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Forced Responses: Oct 2020

Filed under: — group @ 10 October 2020

Bimonthly open thread for discussing climate policy and solutions. Climate science discussion should go here.

413 Responses to “Forced Responses: Oct 2020”

  1. 1

    Replacing nuclear power with wind power doesn’t make sense in Sweden, study shows

    https://phys.org/news/2016-06-nuclear-power-doesnt-sweden.html

  2. 2
    russell says:

    What do Mike Hulme, wild bears, man-eating leopards, Bruno Latour and climate change have in common?

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/10/will-climate-change-lead-to-conspiracy.html

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Carl Ellström says:

    #1

    Agreed. Nuclear needs to stay operational in Swede for a long time if we are to be serious about electrification, combined with an expansion of hydrogen generation (for iron ore reduction, etc). The electricity demand in Sweden and the neighbouring countries is projected to increase by 70% the coming 15-20 years. That’s a short horizon for new power. The current policy of phasing out nuclear power is unrealistically in light of the increased electricity demands in Sweden and the rest of Europe.

  5. 5
    Ian Roberts says:

    A four year old study using seven year old data in field that is rapidly changing. Do you have anything more recent?

  6. 6
    zebra says:

    Richar Creager And Adam Lea, from the other thread:,

    Richard says:

    Regenerative ag, permaculture, drastic simplification are promising principles to organize a sustainable society around. They are not a plan to get from our current to a sustainable world.

    And Adam says pretty much the same.

    Now, I tend to disagree with that first sentence, but what concerns me far more is this tendency (not just from you guys) to confuse the two issues.

    I don’t think there is any way, apart from intervention by all-powerful space aliens, for there to be a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. Whether it is Killian’s (yet to be determined) fantasy, or building hundreds of nuclear plants, or even getting wind and solar up to scale fast enough, the technological/social characteristics of the end state are irrelevant. They are all vaporware in the short term, because the obstacles to achieving them are political, geopolitical, societal, and psychological, not technical.

    I would be happy to have a serious dialogue about what kind of sustainable society I project, compared to some other. I’ve proposed it previously, far more specifically than anything Killian has produced.

    I would also be happy…although it is really depressing…to consider the mechanisms by which we might make progress; I happen to think my future sustainable society has a more realistic path to existence, albeit a long one.

    But you can’t just use an arbitrary Nirvana Fallacy…that we can’t get there in 50 years…as an argument against anything, unless you do indeed know how to contact those all-powerful space aliens.

  7. 7

    @6:

    Whether it is Killian’s (yet to be determined) fantasy, or building hundreds of nuclear plants, or even getting wind and solar up to scale fast enough, the technological/social characteristics of the end state are irrelevant. They are all vaporware in the short term, because the obstacles to achieving them are political, geopolitical, societal, and psychological, not technical.

    Political and psychological problems are the problem now, but the rising scale of climate-related disasters world-wide is changing minds all over the place.  Sooner or later this is going to result in a “preference cascade” which sweeps the old regime away in as little as one election.  I understand that the USA’s political situation has already changed quite a bit, with the unprecedented-in-the-last-half-century rapid certification of both the NuScale and Oklo reactor designs.

    Further, we don’t need hundreds of nuclear plants, we need literally thousands.  And we can do it, too; if the USA could turn out Liberty ships at the rate of 2-3 per day, there’s nothing preventing us from cranking out NuScales, PRISMs or BWRX-300s about as fast.

  8. 8
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @6 is right to the extent that scaling up some sort of simplification plan, or renewable energy or nuclear power are all going to take longer than we want, due to a combination of political and psychological factors, however I hate being too pessimistic about it, and there’s some false equivalence going on as well.

    For example, Killian’s simplification plan involves such huge changes to the physical infrastructure of cities, and socio economic structures, and lifestyles so I think you are talking about a century long project, even with good personal and political commitment, and I’m not even sure you would get enough personal and political commitment. In comparison, scaling up renewables looks at least somewhat easier and quicker.

    But I think we definitely need more weapons up our sleeve than just renewable energy, just in case its a disaster. More specifically, I think the primary goals right now should be:

    1) Scaling up renewable energy as much as possible (or nuclear power, both can technically do the job)

    2) Developing negative emissions strategies, including forestry and regenerative farming to absorb carbon, as a small but useful wedge measure, and it has additional benefits to soils. There are others like basalt weathering.

    3) Making big reductions to waste, adopting a circular economy and recycling. I’m using the term waste widely to include landfill waste, burning fossil fuels, environmental pollution, wasting less energy and reducing our over consumption of technology, (although Im not as optimistic as Killian about how much technology people will give up).

    Sweden is already having a lot of success reducing waste. It covers so many problems and issues, it has some chance of gaining traction, and it appears to resonate with the public. Yes there are political and psychological hurdles to scaling it up, bet I suggest less so than some of the other options.

    4) Getting population growth to slow down, and ultimately fall. This obviously won’t stop warming going over 2 or 3 degrees, but if we do make a total mess of renewable energy, it might be the only thing that stops warming getting right up to truly insane numbers. And its not a high cost option. Religious obstacles are clearly diminishing.

    There is nothing remotely original in any of this, but they are the 4 things that have at least SOME CHANCE of gaining traction and having meaning, given the realities of human nature.

    As an aside, I think some elements of Killians ‘simplification’ plan are quite good, for example regenerative farming in a general sense, but others are not so good for example its debatable whether shared ownership of the means of production or resource base and shared governance structures are a good solution to anything. These things mostly have a bad history in modern societies. The oceans are essentially in shared ownership, and are a form of commons and they are being raped! It’s not the ownership structure that matters, its how its used, and how its regulated by governments or local communities.

  9. 9
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    Why on earth isn’t this: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ss_wHCS1Aw much more discussed as green-energy solution?

    I can’t see any negative aspects of it. It’s clean as long as we avoid letting out the gases/fluids inside the heat transfer systems, little to see above the earth surface, it doesn’t depend on weather and climate, and therefore storing of the energy is no problem, it can be used almost everywhere etc.

  10. 10
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel: It’s not the ownership structure that matters, its

    AB: the ownership folks feel.

  11. 11
    Himanshu Papola says:

    Engineers are changing the world, here know about the engineeers who turned into successful entrepreneur breaking society stereotypes.

  12. 12
    Killian says:

    On Degrowth vs Green Growth. One of the two is crazy talk.

    https://www.jasonhickel.org/blog/2020/10/9/response-to-mcafee

  13. 13
    Killian says:

    6 zebra: Richar Creager And Adam Lea, from the other thread:,

    Richard says:

    Regenerative ag, permaculture, drastic simplification are promising principles to organize a sustainable society around. They are not a plan to get from our current to a sustainable world.

    And Adam says pretty much the same.

    This is ridiculous. Sustainability is a good goal but not a good pathway? That’s unintelligent and illogical.

    I don’t think there is any way, apart from intervention by all-powerful space aliens, for there to be a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

    Be honest: There is, but you’re not willing to do it. Even to the point of denying you already have been told:

    Whether it is Killian’s (yet to be determined)

    Liar. You being too stupid or ideologically entrenched to admit you’ve had a thing explained to you does not equal it not having been explained.

  14. 14
    Killian says:

    4 Carl Ellström: The electricity demand in Sweden and the neighbouring countries is projected to increase by 70% the coming 15-20 years.

    And if that happens, you can kiss your ass goodbye. If you don’t yet understand simplicity is our only immediate (at least through this century, probably longer)future, then you have no idea what’s going on. How to transition to simplicity is the only conversation on economics worth having. Anything else is delusion.

  15. 15
    Killian says:

    8 nigelj: For example, Killian’s simplification plan involves such huge changes to the physical infrastructure of cities, and socio economic structures, and lifestyles so I think you are talking about a century long project

    Why do you keep repeating this stupid goddamned lie? What huge changes to physical infrastructure? You’re an idiot. A lying idiot.

  16. 16
    nigelj says:

    Killian @15

    “Why do you keep repeating this stupid goddamned lie? What huge changes to physical infrastructure? You’re an idiot. A lying idiot.”

    No lies at all. Here are a just a few examples that you have talked about on these pages: 1)Converting the worlds cities to become walkable communities, 2) replacing highrise buildings with low rise, eco friendly communities, and 3) replacing or extensively modifying the worlds buildings to become passive solar. (Currently almost none are passive solar).

    You have discussed these things numerous times all over this website. This is all obviously a huge project that requires a lot of rebuilding work, and new building work, so it will take many decades towards a century to fully scale it up. Perhaps you have no idea of building design, construction and costs. And the difficulties motivating people to do this, and the political and psychological obstacles.

    This project is orders of magnitude harder than building solar and wind farms. Not saying its a bad idea, and obviously we can make a start in small ways, just that it wont be easy or quick, so can only be a small wedge measure in fixing the climate problem.

    Your problem is you fool yourself about how quick or easily things can be done.

  17. 17
    mike says:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-why-nuclear-won-t-cut-it-if-we-want-to-drop-carbon-as-quickly-as-possible

    nuclear doesn’t fare well in actual emission reduction versus renewables.

    Not a big surprise to most of us. I still think there may be a niche for SMR technology, but I continue to be less than thrilled about nuclear. It is not in the same category as wind and solar.

  18. 18

    @9:

    Why on earth isn’t this: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ss_wHCS1Aw much more discussed as green-energy solution?

    Way too scarce.  Earth’s average heat flux is well under 1 watt per square meter; sunlight at the surface averages over 200 W/m².

    It’s also a non-renewable resource on human time scales.  I understand that generation at The Geysers in California has fallen by roughly half due to depletion of the heat reservoir.

    Ironically, uranium is more renewable than geothermal heat.  Fission of 10,000 tons of uranium per year would more than replace all other human energy consumption.  Uranium is recoverable from seawater, and every year rivers add another 32,000 tons or so to the inventory.

  19. 19
    Silvia Leahu-Aluas says:

    Here are some policy solutions in the US, debate is welcome but without personal attacks and with reliable arguments and sources:

    S Res 59 Green New Deal
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-resolution/59/text

    H688 Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act of 2020
    https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/ACTS/ACT153/ACT153%20As%20Enacted.pdf

    S6599 New York: includes 70% renewable by 2030 energy provision

    Find your local, state, federal legislation and push for it. If there is none, ask your elected officials to enact what you or your organization support as legislative solutions to the climate emergency.

    In what regards nuclear, not only it is not necessary, but it is dangerous, non-economical and with no acceptable waste disposal solutions. Whoever argues for nuclear, please ask for the plant or the waste to be placed in your back yard.

    Is it non-economical? Yes, here are a few examples:
    https://apnews.com/article/toledo-ohio-bills-u-s-news-91ba582c11e9c773b18ffaf30bba63b1

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NuclearVsWWS.pdf

  20. 20
    Mal Adapted says:

    I just finished KS Robinson’s latest novel, The Ministry for the Future. It begins in 2034 with a heatwave in India that kills millions, and ends some 30 years later with both atmospheric CO2 and global human population past their peaks and starting to decline, while wildlife populations rebound thanks to large-scale rewilding. It’s a mixture of speculative fiction with detailed explication of how we might get there from here. It’s not spoiling the plot to say that various collective interventions, including anonymous terrorism, lead to global carbon negativity in the mid-21st century.

    I recommend the book to KSR fans, of which I am one; others may find it a little tedious, at least if they’re looking for “science fiction”. KSR is definitely alarmed, but not alarmist, and projects a reasonably attractive near-future. And damn, the guy’s mastery of the climate change issue is impressive!

  21. 21
    Russell says:

    Brace yourselves for a Marvel superhero movie.

    Swedish epigraphers have tied the longist runic inscription in Scandinavia to 6th century cooling and crop failure that they link to the myth of Ragnarok.

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/10/climate-of-ragnarok-epigraphy-meets.html

  22. 22
    Guestimous says:

    “Profits nothing else matters”

    Friedman and Powell et al

    a new book following on from Fantasyland

    Kurt Anderson: “Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BgGCu5N–I \

    https://www.kurtandersen.com/evil-geniuses

    and being “useful idiots”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/i-was-useful-idiot-capitalism/615031/

  23. 23
  24. 24
    mike says:

    The world’s best solar power schemes now offer the “cheapest…electricity in history” with the technology cheaper than coal and gas in most major countries.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/solar-is-now-cheapest-electricity-in-history-confirms-iea

    Storage issues can be managed with hydrogen, batteries, pumped water, etc. It’s time to commit to solar in a wholehearted manner.

    Mike

  25. 25
    zebra says:

    Sylvia L-A #19,

    “Debate is welcome.”

    But to have a debate, there has to be a proposition. That’s kind of the point of my comment #6; all too often people are just talking past each other, and reciting their memes and talking points, because they haven’t agreed what it is they are supposedly disagreeing about.

    What is your clearly stated proposition that is there for debate??

    The nuclear thing? Oh good, we can have some more repetitive months of “it’s safe” “it’s not safe” and all the the other repetitive blah blah blah that we’ve been hearing, over and over, for decades, on that topic.

    (I solved that one, but pragmatic solutions don’t fit the endless repetition paradigm.)

    Anyway, what is it that you are saying about those other references you listed?

  26. 26
    Mal Adapted says:

    Russell:

    Swedish epigraphers have tied the longist runic inscription in Scandinavia to 6th century cooling and crop failure that they link to the myth of Ragnarok.

    By Thor and Odin, Russell! The peer-reviewed paper linked in the Archaeology article is amazing. It caught my attention because of my RL paternal ancestry in Jämtland, north of Rök a ways, where I visited the Frösö runestone. Not having a lot of historical-linguistic meta-literacy, AFAICT the authors’ interpretation of the Rök runestone is as good as any. They sure worked hard:

    The Rök inscription is too complex and offers too many interpretational possibilities to merely read word by word and from there arrive at the purpose of the text.

    ! (“Yes!” in Icelandic, pronounced “Yow!”).

  27. 27
    David B. Benson says:

    Silvia Leahu-Aluas @19 — Unfortunately you have been misled regarding matters nuclear. I suggest exploring the World Nuclear Association website for reliable information.

    I also point out that the nuclear power plants in Texas appear to have no trouble competing successfully for generation.

  28. 28
    concerned citizen says:

    About Ragnarok, that runestone and climate change…
    The finnic synonym to Fenrir is Hukko, more widely known as Ukko / Uku. The finnic creation myth (of land created from the waters, 700 years pregnancy of Ilmatar, Väinämöinen, bird and eggs / egghills) describes the Allerod meltwater pulse which freed the Haanja and Otepää uplands and Egghills (the largest hills named Suur Munamägi and Väike Munamägi, and their siblings) in south-east Estonia about 14600 years ago. The old county was called Ugandi, Uku+andi (the gift from Ragnarok).

    Long story short, Odin’s warriors may have been periglacial firemakers around the time of summer solstice to spread soot onto low lying glaciers and surrounding snow to speed up summer melt. Estonian epic hero Kalevipoeg made a journey to seek out “the end of the world” and his guide Saami wiseman led him towards a mountainous snowy region (one place had volcanoes, another place had a large “glass hill”), one can only guess that it was around north latitude 62-66.
    That combat with the glaciers (finnic / estonian jäätunu means ‘iced over’, while jäetunu means ‘a leftover’, thus land ice forms as leftover snow from last summer) may have been eradicated by the christian church (right before the onset of the “little ice age”) but it may have survived in the form of Walpurgis night and summer solstice firemaking events. But before christianization each region may have had to provide a seasonal firefighting (icefighting) team and there may have been occasional mishaps and deaths, perhaps when fire got out of hand.

  29. 29

    @17:

    nuclear doesn’t fare well in actual emission reduction versus renewables.

    It quotes the fraudster Sovacool.

    The article carefully avoids the fact that there aren’t ANY mostly-decarbonized grids which use mostly wind and solar.  All the grids with near-zero emissions are based on hydropower and nuclear.  Ontario is a case in point; my just-now visit to Canadian Energy Issues shows that the current generation mix is emitting a mere 32 gCO2/kWh; since midnight the average has been a bit over 11 grams.

    “Green” Germany’s grid has higher per-kWh emissions than the United States average!

  30. 30

    @19:

    In what regards nuclear, not only it is not necessary, but it is dangerous, non-economical and with no acceptable waste disposal solutions.

    Hogwash.  If nuclear got the same preferences and subsidies as “renewables”, it would be highly economical.  Nuclear is literally the safest electric power on the planet even including the hypothetical toll from Chernobyl.  Last, you’re not going to decarbonize our energy systems without it.

    Wind power appears to have a strongly negative effect on flying insect populations, and that’s just one more nail in the coffin for our collapsing ecosystems.  Nuclear energy requires only tiny areas and has little effect beyond the plant fence.

    Whoever argues for nuclear, please ask for the plant or the waste to be placed in your back yard.

    There’s already some SNF up the road a ways from me (stored in dry casks), but I’d be willing to have some of it LITERALLY in my back yard as long as I could run a coolant loop to put some of the wasted heat energy to my own personal use.

  31. 31

    E-P 30: Nuclear is literally the safest electric power on the planet

    BPL: And it comes with two bottle openers and a blade!

  32. 32

    #29, E-P:

    …there aren’t ANY mostly-decarbonized grids which use mostly wind and solar.

    Actually, there is at least one that comes awfully close, and getting closer all the time: Denmark.

    80% of the electricity produced [in 2019] came from renewables: wind power (57%), biomass and other combustible renewables (20%) and solar power (3%)… domestic production of electricity was equal to 83% of the total consumption, while net imports were 17% of the total consumption.

    The math says wind was 47.3% of total consumption, with solar adding 2.5%. Close enough to 50% to merit “mostly” if you ask me, given that everything else is well below the wind share.

    I suppose that you could fight about whether Denmark’s grid is ‘mostly’ decarbonized, given that term wasn’t defined quantitatively. But at the least, given that prior to 1980 Denmark’s grid was pretty much 100% fossil-fueled, their achievement is pretty remarkable.

    That aside, the snappy answer, if you stipulate E-P’s assertion, is:

    “Yet.”

    Global wind capacity, 2009: ~159 GW
    Global wind capacity, 2019: ~651 GW

    10-year increase: 4.1x

    Global solar capacity, 2009: ~22 GW
    Global solar capacity, 2019: ~594 GW

    Ten-year increase: 27x

  33. 33

    Kevin McKinney blathers, evades and obfuscates @32:

    there aren’t ANY mostly-decarbonized grids which use mostly wind and solar.

    Actually, there is at least one that comes awfully close, and getting closer all the time: Denmark.

    80% of the electricity produced [in 2019] came from renewables: wind power (57%), biomass and other combustible renewables (20%) and solar power (3%)… domestic production of electricity was equal to 83% of the total consumption, while net imports were 17% of the total consumption.

    Going down a list here:

    1.  50% is FAR from “mostly”.  Anything less than 95% falls way short of what’s required to arrest climate change.

    2.  Denmark is NOT its own grid, it is a relatively small part of a regional grid (heavily connected to hydro-dominated Norway).  One must also consider neighboring Sweden, which generated 40% of its electricity from nuclear and another 40% from hydro in 2017.

    3.  Any country which outsources its swing production to neighbors must account for all associated emissions itself; by your own admission, Denmark relied on imports for 17%.

    4.  Biomass and “combustible renewables” are anything BUT “carbon-free”.

    The math says wind was 47.3% of total consumption, with solar adding 2.5%. Close enough to 50% to merit “mostly” if you ask me

    “Bare majority” is not “mostly”, and totally inadequate to deal with the problem we’re facing.

    given that prior to 1980 Denmark’s grid was pretty much 100% fossil-fueled, their achievement is pretty remarkable.

    Given that France nuclearized its grid to ~80% in 17 years and pretty much decarbonized it totally, Denmark is pathetic.

    That aside, the snappy answer, if you stipulate E-P’s assertion, is:

    “Yet.”

    That’s fucking pathetic too.

    Wind and solar are NOT dispatchable.  Fraction of nameplate capacity falls far short of fraction of generation, and we need OTOO 95% of GENERATION (not just for current grid demand but all other energy consumption too) to close the emissions gap enough to make up the rest.

    I found a bunch of sources for total “renewable” generation.  I could NOT find anything relating ruinables to the total with a search for them; I had to use far more general search terms.  Wikipedia gave hydro as 7% and ALL OTHER renewables as 4% in 2018.  Just how pathetic can you be, whether in achievement or credibility?

  34. 34

    From Forbes:

    “NuScale is building its modular SMR on the DOE’s Idaho Falls site and has a contract to sell the electricity to a consortium of rural electric cooperatives, two of which recently dropped out because of spiraling cost projections.”

    -Forbes Oct 13, 2020,09:21am EDT
    “New Design Molten Salt Reactor Is Cheaper To Run, Consumes Nuclear Waste”

  35. 35
    Russell says:

    28

    Gypnir na slitnu, en frekki renna !

    A turf war between Estonian theogeny and the Elder Edda sounds like cultural appropriation to me.

    If Climatic Change isn’t ready for papers on Neolithic albedo management , you can always submit to Hau

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/10/will-climate-change-lead-to-conspiracy.html

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    Engineer Poet @33, I don’t see why the electricity generation system has to be 95% renewables. For example it could be 80% solar and wind, and 20% natural gas, and you bury the emissions from the gas. Or eventually you power the gas fired plant with carbon neutral electromethane. Home and dry with basically clean zero carbon electricity.

  37. 37

    E-P 33: Denmark is NOT its own grid

    BPL: E-P once again shows himself unable to do basic arithmetic. If Denmark is getting 80% of its electricity from its own domestic renewable power, it can be getting, at most, 20% from other countries, and it’s probably less. Denmark is decarbonizing fast. But E-P will always come up with some spurious reason why it “doesn’t count.”

  38. 38
    Mal Adapted says:

    Barton Paul Levinson:

    From Forbes:

    “NuScale is building its modular SMR on the DOE’s Idaho Falls site and has a contract to sell the electricity to a consortium of rural electric cooperatives, two of which recently dropped out because of spiraling cost projections.”

    -Forbes Oct 13, 2020,09:21am EDT
    “New Design Molten Salt Reactor Is Cheaper To Run, Consumes Nuclear Waste”

    Thanks BPL, I took a look. The Forbes article is free, but requires disabling your adblocker. The author is reasonably skeptical of all SMR implementations to date:

    Some SMRs are revolutionary, like the traveling wave reactor supported by Bill Gates. Others, like the frontrunning NuScale reactor, are built on light water technology. The cost savings for SMRs is to come from manufacturing these new-generation reactors offsite in factories.

    But there is skepticism in the industry about these claims: None has proved itself yet.

    Heh. The embedded link, OTOH, is to a recent (paywalled) Wall Street Journal Opinion piece that’s not skeptical at all: its title is “Clean Power, No Thanks to Al Gore”. Good ol’ Forbes, “The Capitalist’s Tool” ;^). Too bad about Gore, “The Greeny-Basher’s Strawman”, though. His place in history seems assured 8^(.

  39. 39
    Michael Sweet says:

    If 95% of electricity is required to be non-carbon (as EP states in post 33) than France, the highest producer of nuclear power in the world, does not qualify. According to Wikipedia:
    “The electricity sector in France is dominated by nuclear power, which accounted for 71.7% of total production in 2018, while renewables and fossil fuels accounted for 21.3% and 7.1%”.
    In 2004 nuclear accounted for 88% of electricity in France. France is currently shutting down nuclear and building out renewable energy. It is easy to make nuclear look good by making false claims.

    EP: apparently your article on nuclear power was too much of a hagiography and was rejected by Skeptical Science. Try again with peer reviewed references (if you can find them) and you might be more acceptable.

  40. 40

    #33, E-P–

    My, my, someone is cranky!

    I leave it to others to decide who is really “obfuscating” here, and who is drawing attention to fundamentals.

    F’rinstance:

    The EIA estimates coal generation will total 724.2 billion kWh in 2020, compared to 761 billion kWh of renewables. Just a year ago, coal accounted for 959.5 billion kWh​ while the share of renewables was 688 billion kWh. Renewable generation will continue to outpace coal in 2021 — 833.8 billion kWh to 810.3 billion kWh — the EIA says. Many people are expecting renewables to overtake and pass coal, but Amanda Levin, a policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, tells Utility Dive that COVID-19 has increased the speed of the transition. “I do think that 2019 is going to be the last year that coal produces more power than renewables,” she says.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/05/15/latest-eia-report-predicts-renewables-in-us-will-outpace-coal-for-all-of-2020/

    Is it adequate? No, not yet. But unlike E-P’s pipedreams, it’s real, substantial, and growing.

    I really hope those SMRs work out as well as some think they will. Even so, they will not be making a big contribution before 2030, IMO. And quite possibly not then.

    Accordingly, the Department has provided substantial support to the development of light water-cooled SMRs, which are under licensing review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and will likely be deployed in the late 2020s to early 2030s.

    https://www.energy.gov/ne/nuclear-reactor-technologies/small-modular-nuclear-reactors

    Meanwhile, per the IEA, just solar is projected to grow globally between 3-6x over the next ten years, depending on policy choices. (The low end figure is essentially assuming BAU.) Even that BAUish number would mean that globally, solar capacity would surpass coal capacity in 2030. With more progressive policy choices, the IEA analysts see it happening sometime in 2025.

    https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2020/outlook-for-electricity#abstract

    And while E-P will predictably whine about RE capacity factors, the reality is that in the real world, RE has tended to drive down *coal* CF because of the economics and inflexibility of coal. (Also, RE are getting ‘firmer’ all the time with the falling costs of storage, as we’ve seen previously. But that is a whole other topic.)

  41. 41
    Guest (O.) says:

    Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA
    Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA

  42. 42
    Killian says:

    16 nigelj: Killian @15

    “Why do you keep repeating this stupid goddamned lie? What huge changes to physical infrastructure? You’re an idiot. A lying idiot.”

    No lies at all. Here are a just a few examples that you have talked about on these pages: 1)Converting the worlds cities to become walkable communities

    How does this involve wholesale change? It does not. Unintelligent assumption. Repurposing to simplicity is not like changing a meatpacking plant into a car manufacturing plant. It’s SIMPLICITY. Something you make no effort to understand the implications of. Many cities are already walkable with nothing more than a change of consumption. In Korea, you can buy everything you need within your neighborhood. Many cities never became the suburbian nightmares of the Anglo idiots.

    2) replacing highrise buildings with low rise, eco friendly communities, and

    I have not said this. “Replacing” is wrong. However, it is not so difficult to use the resources from one building to build another. However, given the new buildings, if even needed (which is another assumption that will often be wrong), should be built from local renewable materials, there will often be no need to transfer materials at all. These are choices that CAN be made, not MUST be made. Design is ALWAYS local. You like to ignore that. Well, you just have no goddamned clue, but can’t prevent your mouth from spewing bullshit.

    3) replacing or extensively modifying the worlds buildings to become passive solar. (Currently almost none are passive solar).

    This is not something that must happen immediately. We have far more energy being produced than we need as we simplify. We can shut down all FF energy production and be fine. Without changing every building, or even a significant portion.

    I have said many, many times that I am almost always talking about the endpoint, not the transition. Those are two different conversations, but since none of you have the slightest damn clue what a regenerative future will and must look like, that is what I talk about because you CANNOT create a regenerative future without knowing what it is.

    All those unsustainable buildings are ALREADY BUILT. Embedded energy. The decision to change or alter them is LOCAL and would be happening over anything from a few years to as long as people choose. A simple solution for ALL humans is to simply dress differently, change fuels, live differently to not need energy or alteration. To over-simplify the response to those three things, and LIE that it entails wholesale change “of the world’s cities” just shows the depth of your utter ignorance.

    You have discussed these things numerous times all over this website.

    Yet you have learned nothing and insist on lies of ommission, mischaracterization, distortion, hyperbole…. and on and on.

    This is all obviously a huge project that requires a lot of rebuilding work, and new building work, so it will take many decades towards a century to fully scale it up.

    There is no “scaling up.” It’s scaling down. That’s why you don’t get it. All these years, you still understand exactly nothing.

    Perhaps you have no idea of building design, construction and costs. And the difficulties motivating people to do this, and the political and psychological obstacles.

    Perhaps you’re an idiot. No, definitely.

    This project is orders of magnitude harder than building solar and wind farms.

    Bullshit. Stupid. Building completely new infrastructure from resources taken from the planet is easier than repurposing, recycling, simply doing much less? This is the product of your fear of simplicity.

    Not saying its a bad idea, and obviously we can make a start in small ways, just that it wont be easy or quick, so can only be a small wedge measure in fixing the climate problem.

    Wrong. Every community can shift to DIY water, food and energy in almost no time whatsoever. You don’t need a new building if you can simply wear more clothes. You don’t need a new building if you use the concept of, e.g., a winter apartment and use a fraction of your large space instead.

    If utilities are made Commons, everyone gets energy and the consumption level can be reduced dramatically as community-centered decisions on use are made and cooperation increases exponentially. E.g.

    You are not only ignorant of what is needed, but willfully so, yet WILL NOT close your damned mouth. Propagandist.

    Your problem is you fool yourself about how quick or easily things can be done.

    Your problem is the refusal to learn, to use your head, an absolute lack of creativity and imagination, absolute ignorance of your own ignorance, an unending need to run your mouth on every topic raised on this forum despite having expertise in none and nothing useful to say on any, and an unswaying willingness to Trump every issue.

    Worst of all, you have no interest or willingness in understanding the risk, what you have a choice about and what you don’t. You think you can impose your measly little mind on the reality of Nature. No matter how many times I say simplicity is a necessity, not a choice, you keep talking about what you WANT.

    Why will people alter their lives? Because they have no choice.

  43. 43
    Adam Lea says:

    36: ” I don’t see why the electricity generation system has to be 95% renewables. For example it could be 80% solar and wind, and 20% natural gas…”

    I’m not convinced that in a country like the UK, is it a good idea to try and meet a significant amount of the national demand for electricity from solar. In the last 12 months, October, November, January, February, June, July and August have all been duller than average (February was the wettest on record with major flooding). Better to put the solar farms in countries with high sunshine totals and where the daylight is much more than seven hours long in December. Connecting the UK grid to Iceland via an underwater cable and tapping into their geothermal energy might be another option. Wind (mostly offshore), tidal, hydro, solar from someone elses deserts, geothermal from someone elses fault line, combined with an increase in energy efficiency and reduction in energy consumption (by simplification) might do it.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Silvia Leahu-Aluas says:

    @25 No need for italics or any other emphases and my name is spelled Silvia.

    The topic of this thread is climate policy and solutions, so it should be obvious that I suggest certain policies for debate, besides supporting them. So, zebra, what is your position on the Green New Deal?

    It should also be obvious that what I am saying with the two nuclear references is to read them and then offer arguments why nuclear energy should be included in the future climate-neutral, economically feasible energy mix, anywhere. Nuclear energy is the most policy-dependent and the most geopolitically sensitive, it cannot exist without government and multinational support and strong regulation. It is clear that there still is a significant debate about the technology, climate impact and economics of nuclear, so I will continue to participate in it, as I am deeply invested in solving the climate emergency. I will also continue to oppose any policy that supports nuclear energy, as I subscribe to the 100% renewable energy model proposed by the Stanford team referenced in my last link. If you prefer others, please share them.

    @27 I prefer objective sources on any energy matter. Have you ever seen an industry association criticizing its own industry or referencing science that contradicts its claims? I agree that we should not completely disregard industry associations, of course, but we should not consider them to be the most reliable and objective sources.

    @41 Excellent news. Even IEA, with its constantly wrong forecast on global energy mix, is accepting the reality about renewable energy.

  46. 46
    Guest (O.) says:

    This link is for Stefan Rahmstorf:

    https://sciencefiles.org/2020/10/19/unerwunschte-wahrheiten-was-sie-uber-den-klimawandel-wissen-sollten-rezension/

    I got the link from a professor emeritus of economy, who is impressed by the pseudo-scientific language of that blog…

  47. 47
    David B. Benson says:

    The director of the World Nuclear Association recently stated an expectation of 10–20% of electricity generation from nuclear power plants.

  48. 48
    Bill Henderson says:

    Haven’t been back in awhile but you guys are neolib entrapped in energy – 100% renewables or nuclear – when the real problem is urgent emission reduction.

    Two new resources for understanding our climate mitigation predicament:

    Dr. Emily Grossman’s Net one pager: Emergency on Planet Earth
    https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-truth/the-emergency/

    A good dip-in might be the current science concerning carbon budgets and steep emission curves:
    https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-truth/the-emergency/part-6/#What-are-governments-%E2%80%98supposed%E2%80%99-to-be-doing-to-address-the-climate-crisis

    and Climate Reality Check 2020 from Aus’s David Spratt
    https://www.climaterealitycheck.net/

  49. 49

    Michael Sweet hits a sour note @39:

    If 95% of electricity is required to be non-carbon (as EP states in post 33) than France, the highest producer of nuclear power in the world, does not qualify. According to Wikipedia:
    “The electricity sector in France is dominated by nuclear power, which accounted for 71.7% of total production in 2018, while renewables and fossil fuels accounted for 21.3% and 7.1%”.

    So, within striking distance… for the electric sector.  A long way to go for the economy as a whole.

    What gets me is that there are simple things France could do to cut carbon emissions at minimal expense.  For instance, instead of load-following with the nuclear plants, run them flat out and replace fossil fuels with excess electric power instead.  Use EV chargers and perhaps even process heat at e.g. the Total refineries as places where nuclear energy displaces fossil fuel.  Yet this wasn’t done.

    In 2004 nuclear accounted for 88% of electricity in France.

    In other words, France’s grid was essentially carbon-free at the time.  All this “Green” crap has led to backsliding.

    France is currently shutting down nuclear and building out renewable energy.

    Paying more and doing less.  Michael Shellenberger:

    For years, Germany has been pressuring France, which has a smaller economy, to follow its lead and shut down its nuclear plants and scale up solar and wind.

    France has increasingly done what Germany wants. According to the Commision de Regulation de L’Energie, €29 billion (US$33) billion was used to purchase wind and solar electricity in mainland France between 2009 and 2018.

    But the money spent on renewables did not lead to cleaner electricity, according to a new analysis by my Environmental Progress colleagues, Mark Nelson and Madison Czerwinski.

    In fact, the carbon-intensity of French electricity has increased. After years of subsidies for solar and wind, France’s 2017 emissions of 68g/CO2 per kWh was higher than any year between 2012 and 2016.

    The reason? Record-breaking wind and solar production did not make up for falling nuclear energy output and higher natural gas consumption.

    That’s going to leave a mark.

    It is easy to make nuclear look good by making false claims.

    To make “renewables” look good, you have to carefully cherry-pick your facts.  Cherries commonly picked include listing nameplate capacity without de-rating for capacity factor, and claiming that “renewable” generation automatically reduces CO2 emissions.  As we’ve seen in Germany and France both, that isn’t the case.

  50. 50

    Wrote Kevin McKinney @40:

    My, my, someone is cranky!

    The word you are looking for is “curmudgeonly”, my prosaic pal.  Say it a few times.  “Curmudgeon.”  “Curmudgeonly.”

    I wish I could put you in my shoes for a week so you could see just how much I’ve earned the right.

    F’rinstance:

    The EIA estimates coal generation will total 724.2 billion kWh in 2020, compared to 761 billion kWh of renewables. Just a year ago, coal accounted for 959.5 billion kWh​ while the share of renewables was 688 billion kWh. Renewable generation will continue to outpace coal in 2021 — 833.8 billion kWh to 810.3 billion kWh — the EIA says. Many people are expecting renewables to overtake and pass coal, but Amanda Levin, a policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, tells Utility Dive that COVID-19 has increased the speed of the transition. “I do think that 2019 is going to be the last year that coal produces more power than renewables,” she says.

    What, no mention of the REAL factor at work here?  You know, natural gas?

    I leave it to others to decide who is really “obfuscating” here, and who is drawing attention to fundamentals.

    Gentlemen (and ruinables fags), I refer you to those self-same fundamentals, specifically the 6-month totals for 2019 and 2020:

    Coal:  down 145,762 million kWh YoY.
    Hydro, solar and wind:  up 27,326 million kWh YoY.
    Natural gas:  up 50,700 million kWH YoY.

    50,700 million kWH is one mighty big cherry to pick.

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