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Forced responses: Dec 2020

Filed under: — group @ 10 December 2020

The bimonthly open thread on climate solution discussions. Topics might focus on the incoming Biden administration, the five year anniversary of the Paris Accords, and the challenge of making post-covid plans sustainable. Climate science issues should be raised here.

187 Responses to “Forced responses: Dec 2020”

  1. 1
    Russell says:

    Having inherited the benefits of rapid research response in vaccine development, one hopes this administration will prove more proactive in expanding the range of policy responses to climate change.

    While it has created a burgeoning academic market in all things styled Anthropocene, a decade of emphasis on alternative energy and global behavioral change as a basic policy aims has had scant impact in the largest nations of the world, witness the continuing expansion of fossil fuel thermal power plants in India and China.

    The acceleration of urbanization and continuing migration into sun belt cities are concentrating the human impact of climate change by amplifying its synergy with urban heat isand effects, and the demand for energy to overcome them.

    All microclimates are local, and with half the world’s population already urbanized, there is an acute and growing political need to develop better ways of managing them,

  2. 2

    @443:

    To which I say, “A ‘best’ that can’t convince is precisely as effective as pounding sand”.

    A consensus that’s contrary to fact is doomed to fail, and is also as effective as pounding sand.  They’re the equivalent of cargo cults, and we have more than a few of them in our society; they are major causes of the breakdown of the USA into two mutually-hateful camps.

    I’d add that CO2 drawdown is important, as is the generation of liquid fuels. Double capacity is NEEDED whether there’s storage or not.

    No argument from me.  IMO the production of fuel ethanol in Iowa should have been centralized around the Duane Arnold NPP, to take advantage of low-pressure steam from the turbines to run the mashing and distillation.  Those processes could be used as dump loads to offset the variability of wind farms, and decarbonize two crucial steps in the process.

    Instead of taking advantage of that wasted resource, they shut it down.  Shameful at best, positively evil at worst.

  3. 3
    zebra says:

    Russel #1,

    Well, moving to Sunbelt cities in the US is certainly a counter-intuitive choice, but concentrating populations around urban environments offers a net positive effect.

    Imagine (hopefully along with reductions in total population) completely depopulating the flyover States in the US. There would be enormous reductions in fossil fuel use, and you would have a wonderful carbon sink as it all reverted to it’s natural state. The cattle-poop-solves-everything folk and gathering-food-from-the-forests folk would no doubt be ecstatic, although it might be bison or some hybrid munching on the grass.

    And ‘urban heat island’ is not in any way a technically difficult thing to fix.

    So you have a North-South axis of extremely efficient transportation, lots of roofs for solar panels, offshore wind on one side and onshore on the other, and, the great bonus in the US would be the vast improvement in our politics.

  4. 4
    David B. Benson says:

    Nuclear power plant cost to decrease according to IEA study:
    https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Nuclear-electricity-costs-set-to-decline,-study-fi

  5. 5

    AB @459:

    AB: because everyone knows that south-facing hills do not exist.

    Dude, steep land is cheap.

    You know, “we had to denude the hillsides in order to save them” has really bad overtones.  What about the species which have been ejected from the arable parts and now live solely on hillsides?  Isn’t the point of environmentalism to PRESERVE the environment, not turn ever-more of it into lifeless industrial plant?

    When your land-use impact is 2.5 orders of magnitude higher than other approaches, you need to take stock of just how much damage you’re doing in your attempts to “help”.  And remember, the impacts come from more than just collectors.  You also have all the transmission-line corridors, which occupy lots more land in your south-to-north scheme.  On top of this, renewables have lots of space and material tied up in storage systems.  All of that simply disappears if you just put 24/7 generation near to your load centers.  THAT is living lightly upon the land.

  6. 6
    Lance Olsen says:

    “Imagine (hopefully along with reductions in total population) completely depopulating the flyover States in the US. There would be enormous reductions in fossil fuel use, and you would have a wonderful carbon sink as it all reverted to it’s natural state.”

    Depopulating the flyover states may not have the effect described. That people would no longer live on the land wouldn’t free it from the fact that the millions in the cities would be living off it, demanding the likes of food

  7. 7
    Piotr says:

    Al Bundy (461 Oct) “EP obviously understands baseload v peak. He simply disagrees with you about how much storage is needed. By Spouting obviously false insults you weaken your case.”

    Fortunately, everybody can decide for themselves whether it is me or you, who “weakens” their credibility by “spouting obviously false insults”. Here are the quotes in question:

    ===
    Poet(414): Pumping the entire volume of Lake Erie to a height 53 meters higher would store about 69 TWh, just 150 hours of average US electric consumption .

    Piotr(426): “150 hours of average US electric consumption” is a BASELOAD not the BACKUP for times when demand exceeds supply.
    ===
    And it was not a momentary lapse of reason – your Poet used THE SAME ARGUMENT dismissing the BACKUP potential by not providing BASELOAD – TWICE BEFORE, I quote:
    ====
    * Piotr (earlier) “ Most of the Canadian hydro is used for a _base_ load, NOT as a backup.”
    * E-P: “ It’s enough to serve the locals, but Newfoundland and Labrador have a combined population of only 536,000.” and Quebec’s hydro is adequate for its 8.4 million, but grossly inadequate for N. America’s 350+ million
    * Piotr: “Huh? This discussion is about the BACKUP for renewables, NOT about providing BASE LOAD (to which giving population numbers apply to).
    =====

    Upon seeing these quotes, AB claims, with a straight face: “ E-P obviously understands baseload v peak” , and lectures …. me about: “Spouting obviously false insults.” … ;-)

    So the ball is now in your court, Al. I see 3 options:

    a) PROVE (and beyond any doubt, you know, strong claims demand strong proofs) that
    – “
    average US electric consumption” IS … NOT about BASELOAD, but instead about the BACKUP
    and that saying that hydro energy used for baseload in NL and Quebec is “ grossly inadequate for N. America’s 350+ million” – is, again, NOT at all about providing BASELOAD

    b) admit the beam in your eye (lecturing … me “ Spouting obviously false insults“)

    c) pretend you don’t understand what I am saying, or move on, as if nothing happened (when the going gets tough, the tough get going, eh? ;-) )

    Only two of these three would make any future discussions with you to have any point.

    Piotr

  8. 8
    nigelj says:

    Lance Olsen @6

    “Depopulating the flyover states may not have the effect described. That people would no longer live on the land wouldn’t free it from the fact that the millions in the cities would be living off it, demanding the likes of food”

    I think the underlying point being made is there will be less people “in total” so less demand for food, so more land reverts to its natural state, probably more so in the flyover states, because there could be a bit of a migration to the coast. That said, people get attached to where they live. Look at how many people still live in the rust belts. Its complicated so its all just a guess.

    ————————————

    Engineer poet @5

    To give some context, this report on the land area required in the USA if all electricity is generated by solar panels:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421508002796

    “In this report, we estimate the state-by-state per-capita “solar electric footprint” for the United States, defined as the land area required to supply all end-use electricity from solar photovoltaics (PV). We find that the overall average solar electric footprint is about 181 m2 per person in a base case scenario, with a state- and scenario-dependant range from about 50 to over 450 m2 per person. Two key factors that influence the magnitude of the state-level solar electric footprint include how industrial energy is allocated (based on location of use vs. where goods are consumed) and the assumed distribution of PV configurations (flat rooftop vs. fixed tilt vs. tracking). We also compare the solar electric footprint to a number of other land uses. For example, we find that the base case solar electric footprint is equal to less than 2% of the land dedicated to cropland and grazing in the United States, and less than the current amount of land used for corn ethanol production.”

    It seems to me that a number less than 2% is so small it could be found without major environmental impacts or impacts on food production, whether it be on waste land or using some farming or forestry land or roofs or some combination thereof.

    Or alternatively why not have solar panels on floating rafts in harbours? So this could be quite near the demand centre. It would work for coastal cities,admittedly not the interior.

    Putting solar panels on the sides of hills shouldn’t just be written off as not workable. Its not comparable to denuding the hills of vegetation, thus making them susceptible to erosion and landslides, because you could design the panels to act as a rain shield with drainage channels to deal with the water runoff and planting between clusters of panels.

    I could go on. However I agree we are talking a lot of materials, which bothers me somewhat. This is where I do think nuclear power admittedly has an advantage.

  9. 9
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: IMO the production of fuel ethanol in Iowa should have been centralized around the Duane Arnold NPP, to take advantage of low-pressure steam from the turbines to run the mashing and distillation.

    AB: Sounds grand, but I think it is time to get out of the grain2ethanol business. Or does the availability of low-grade steam seriously change the math? Of course, such a scheme would bring endless howls about radioactive fuel

    Given a nuke with excess capacity and “free” low-grade steam, which feedstock do you think would be the most efficient ten years from now: grain, cellulose, CO2, or other?

    EP: A consensus that’s contrary to fact is doomed to fail, and is also as effective as pounding sand. They’re the equivalent of cargo cults

    AB: NOW you tell us, after we’ve all been convinced that cargo is created by a little rectangle. You pray to it and hours to a couple days later your prayers are magically fulfilled. You’re obviously a heretic (best compliment you’ve received today, eh?).

    It is all pounding sand nowadays since humanity spends almost all of its efforts in kicking over the other side’s sand castles. Even on RC, religion v spirituality, a subject of just about zero significance, brought a recent brawl between folks ostensibly on the same side, so of course we’ll do everything in our power to destroy nukes or renewables. The GOPpers have won one thing for sure: They gleefully tossed us into the post-truth rage era. Moscow Mitvch’s smirk says it all.

    “In rural Alaska, electricity can cost six times the national average.”

    https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/11/21/nuclear-power-in-alaska-experts-say-its-not-as-far-fetched-as-you-think/

    ElectricityLocal.com: “The average residential electricity rate in Fairbanks is 24.22¢/kWh.”

    AB: Solar and wind may (or may not be) better in most places, but some (or most) places would be better off with nukes. I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for a while, which gets neither sun nor wind for three or so months pretty much every year. Fairbanks needs fossil, bio, synfuel, and/or nukes. Up there wind and solar have little chance of becoming more than bit players, unless Fairbanks’ residents decide to spend $1 or more per kwh. The further north (or south) one goes the more nukes make sense.
    ________________________

    And yep, slopes require significant brains and effort to integrate into a solar farm, and the end result is still an extremely altered local ecosystem.

    Highways and their medians represent already-used land that can be used for turbines, PV, and transmission. It might be pie in the sky, but I like the idea of roofing our highways. Lots of plowing goes away and pavement stays relatively dry, allowing for the use of significantly more efficient tires.
    ___________________

    Russell: Having inherited the benefits of rapid research response in vaccine development, one hopes this administration will prove more proactive in expanding the range of policy responses to climate change.

    AB: I’ll add that rapid research response was an Obama thing. He set up a system of directed research and monitoring to prevent and respond to pandemics. Trump did his best to dismantle the whole shebang. Fortunately he partially failed. Imagine where we’d be if Trump had been president during the Obama years.
    ________________

    zebra on depopulating flyover (GOPpish) states: and, the great bonus in the US would be the vast improvement in our politics.

    AB: Maybe if mass murder is the tool used. Otherwise, remember the GOPper’s excuse for slaughtering far away Others, “If we don’t fight them over there we’ll have to fight them here”. Totally false, of course, but your hypothetical would result in a tidal wave of ignorance slamming into the sane states.

  10. 10

    Nazi boy: “we had to denude the hillsides in order to save them” has really bad overtones.

    BPL: So does “I can only use straw-man arguments.”

  11. 11

    AB 468: AB: Your response shows that you’re a typical Christian. Not even slightly concerned about following the teachings of Jesus, you are. Ain’t it strange that athiests are serious followers of Jesus and you and your kind reject all of his teachings in the name of the Old Testament?

    BPL: “Atheists.” Really got under your skin, didn’t I, Al? And I love the “typical Christian” remark. Lots of bigots at the table today, but you lead the pack, with your long rant. Have a nice day.

  12. 12
    zebra says:

    Lance Olsen #6,

    Take a look at a map, and think about the population distribution as it currently exists. Also the extent of farmland that provides the vast majority with nutrition.

    Interior cities, suburbs, towns… they are not producing food; they are already paved over. What they do produce is pollution, and nodes to which productive areas transport food and other goods in a terribly inefficient network, and then terribly inefficient local distribution.

  13. 13
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: All of that simply disappears if you just put 24/7 generation near to your load centers. THAT is living lightly upon the land.

    AB: Frustrating when folks ignore 95+% of the probability distribution and focus solely on the tip of the fat tail, eh? It is also frustrating how humans care so little about death unless it is caused by an enemy. 3000 deaths in a non-repeatable incident a couple decades ago still motivates USAians to spend trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of USAian lives in order to slaughter Others, but up to 3000 deaths a day for a solid year is a yawner that is not worth mentioning unless someone tries to reduce the carnage.

    Nuclear’s problem is that it has a big “I’M THE ENEMY” sign on its back.

  14. 14
    mike says:

    headline: The world’s rich need to cut their carbon footprint by a factor of 30 to slow climate change, UN warns

    “There is widespread coverage of the latest “emissions gap” report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with the Washington Post leading on the angle that the “world’s wealthy will need to reduce their carbon footprints by a factor of 30 to help put the planet on a path to curb the ever-worsening impacts of climate change”. It continues: “Currently, the emissions attributable to the richest 1% of the global population account for more than double those of the poorest 50%. Shifting that balance, researchers found, will require swift and substantial lifestyle changes.”

    I think a lot of us know this has to happen, but it’s less clear how we persuade the world’s wealthy to agree to the cuts.

    Wealthy folks may agree to drive a Tesla and to buy the newest, most efficient appliances for their homes. They may agree to switch to higher efficiency car elevators.

    I don’t think that is going to get it done. Hope I am wrong.

    for the record: I don’t think I make the cut into range of world’s wealthy. My spouse and I both took earliest retirement possible to reduce our income and footprint. This also produced a situation where we are now “low income seniors” in the US. We often qualify for low income programs when we check in to that kind of thing. We are very comfortable and feel blessed to be living so comfortably in the US with our low income and we are always looking for ways to further reduce our footprint. We can’t afford a Tesla and it seemed like an awful big and heavy car the one time we took a look at one. Our cheapie 2007 Zenn electric car daily driver doesn’t do well in comparison to a Tesla, but it fits better in our lifestyle. In cold weather, I wish the Zenn had a better heater.

    Cheers

    Mike

  15. 15
    mike says:

    The UK needs to cut its emissions by 78% below 1990 levels over the next 15 years, according to the latest advice from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

    For the first time, the government’s climate advisers have proposed a legally binding “carbon budget” that is in line with the national target of “net-zero” emissions by 2050, which was first set last year.

    More specifically, the CCC has now set a target for the five-year period 2033-37, which is known as the “sixth carbon budget”.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/ccc-uk-must-cut-emissions-78-by-2035-to-be-on-course-for-net-zero-goal?utm_campaign=Carbon%20Brief%20Weekly%20Briefing&utm_content=20201211&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

    The report’s scope represents the degree to which the UK’s ambition to tackle climate change has scaled up recently. Just 18 months ago, when the national target was still set at an 80% reduction, the same level of emissions cuts were expected to take twice as long.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Mal Adapted says:

    Here’s a forced response: In the last month, prospects for US national carbon fee and dividend legislation, the form of revenue-neutral carbon “tax” (fee is more accurate) recommended by economists across the political spectrum, became slightly more favorable. H.R.763/S.3791, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, would implement carbon fee and dividend with border adjustment. The dividend provisions should enjoy popular support right off the bat! The border adjustment, a fee on imports of manufactured goods per ton of embodied carbon to match that charged to domestic fuel producers, is a key provision. The initial size of the fees is just $15/ton carbon, but the bills call for automatically raising it by $10 each year. The provision for temporarily “pausing” the EPA’s authority to regulate CO2, while leaving existing regulations in place, is distasteful; however, it may be acceptable if the bill achieves substantial aggregate CO2 emissions reduction, by internalizing a fraction of the marginal climate change costs in prices for fossil fuels and all goods and services made with them.

    The Energy Innovation Act site is the best source for more about the bill, if one is willing to drill down through the menus and scroll past the tendentious infographics. It’s maintained by Citizens’ Climate Lobby, since 2007 the most vocal proponent of CF&D in the US. James Hansen has been on CCL’s Advisory Board since its inception.

    If CF&D is done right, it could drive build-out of the carbon-neutral US economy with alacrity, and bring the rest of the world along with us. H.R.763/S.3791 probably can’t overcome the Republican Party’s strategic climate-science denial even now, but its chances just improved a little. It may not be morally pure, but if it results in net-zero US emissions soon, I for one can live with it. IMHO, it’s time for climate realists to support it publicly. Bring up particulars you don’t like here if you want, but then contact your congressional delegation with your proposed changes. We have to start somewhere!

  18. 18
    mike says:

    EU leaders strike deal on tougher 2030 climate target
    Kate Abnett, Reuters
    EU countries have arrived at a deal to set a more ambitious climate target of cutting emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, after “haggling through the night” at a summit in Brussels, Reuters reports. The article notes that the new target aims to put the EU on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and offers a chance to assert its climate leadership on the global stage. Earlier, EurActiv had reported that as EU leaders were closing in on a deal they had “turned to a potential compromise” that would see “finer points of the deal” concerning the costs of emissions cuts delayed until 2021.

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/eu-summit-climate-deal/eu-leaders-strike-deal-on-tougher-2030-climate-target-idUKKBN28L0O4?utm_campaign=Carbon%20Brief%20Daily%20Briefing&utm_content=20201211&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20Daily

    33% or 50% cuts by 2030 are not going to pencil out as adequate to keep us under levels of disastrous warming, we are already there and we need to make significant cuts now.

    Cheers

    Mike

  19. 19
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy “Your (BPLs) response shows that you’re a typical Christian. Not even slightly concerned about following the teachings of Jesus, you are. Ain’t it strange that athiests are serious followers of Jesus and you and your kind reject all of his teachings in the name of the Old Testament?”

    I see all this hypocrisy of christians as well, or at least some christians (I became an athiest when very young, around 11 or 12), but what you say is a bit of of a series of generalisations and a bit inflammatory, verging on trolling. Not a good look for an athiest. Not relevant to the climate.

  20. 20
    Al Bundy says:

    Piotr,

    Please stop pasting ownership on me. EP is his own person. Wadhams is his own person, too.

    EP said that dams have a limited capacity. As built, he says they CAN’T repurpose to just peak because they would overflow each spring. Something like ‘they have to run flat out’. I’m not convinced that his conclusion is true, that there is no workaround, but his point has value, especially since spring melts are getting faster. When the vast majority of the water from snowpack is released in one big whoosh in spring instead of more slowly over spring and summer there’s a use it or lose it situation. Where are you going to store the spring melt? How do you handle the ever more skewed seasonal feast then famine that global warming provides each year water-wise? That’s the question EP implied. Got an answer?

    Be sure to ask a structural engineer and a geologist about the stability of a system that loads a bazillion tons of water behind a dam each spring and then drains it over the year. That dam better be totally empty come spring, eh? I’m sure the locals won’t mind.

    EP is talking about seasonal shifts. You’re talking as if seasons don’t matter even though hydro, wind, and solar are seriously seasonal beasts. It’s like getting groceries once a year, plenty to last the whole year, but they won’t fit in your fridge. You obviously need to buy a dozen more refrigerators. Is that practical? I guess that depends on one’s definitions and how much coin one is willing to spend on seasonal storage.

    Here’s where EP helpfully notes that nukes don’t care much about seasons. (Oops, did I just take ownership of EP?)
    _____________

    BPL: Lots of bigots at the table today, but

    AB: Returning a shot is NOT bigotry. You lit the fire. Own it.

  21. 21
    J Doug Swallow says:

    Engineer-Poet says:
    10 Dec 2020 at 11:44 AM
    “IMO the production of fuel ethanol in Iowa should have been centralized around the Duane Arnold NPP, to take advantage of low-pressure steam from the turbines to run the mashing and distillation”. 
    IMO the production of fuel ethanol in Iowa and anywhere else that food is being converted to fuel should have been stopped along with wind mills and useless solar panels should have been stopped due this evidence regarding ethanol production.

    We have some fools thinking that ethanol and bio diesel is the answer to the nation’s fuel requirements. I’m sure that “green energy” people want to believe that ethanol is the salvation of the planet when it is as much of a waste of resources as windmills and solar.
    “Science News
    … from universities, journals, and other research organizations
    Study: Ethanol Production Consumes Six Units Of Energy To Produce Just One”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329132436.htm

    Ethanol fuel from corn faulted as ‘unsustainable subsidized food burning’ in analysis by Cornell scientist subsidies
    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2001/08/ethanol-corn-faulted-energy-waster-scientist-says

  22. 22
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: what you say is a bit of of a series of generalisations and a bit inflammatory, verging on trolling. Not a good look for an athiest.

    AB: Sure, if you take a soundbite out of context. I started with (approximately) “sometimes the best way to educate a bigot is with a show of counter-bigotry”.

  23. 23
    Omega Centauri says:

    PV generation and agriculture need not be in conflict. For some crop types it is possible to maintain or increase food production while also generating power. The concept is called agrivoltaics and is attracting a lot of interest.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrivoltaic

  24. 24
    nigelj says:

    Regarding comments by DS@21 hyper critical of ethanol and renewable electricty generation.

    Growing crops like corn for ethanol production is crazy, howling at the moon crazy. Look at how much farmland is being used up for this and how at best it leads to petrol blends with a tiny little component of ethanol, which is useless tokenism. How on earth can it possible scale up properly, without decimating food crop production? If we all became vegetarians I suppose enough land would become available for growing vast areas of corn, but its exceedingly unlikely we are all going to become vegetarians.

    There might be a future for biofuels based around algae produced in industrial facilities or things like that. And you have to ask why are we producing these biofuels ? Do we really need any biofuels? Or how much do we REALLY need? Land transport can all be electrified. (Im talking about biofuels made from organic matter, not carbon neutral product derived from electrolysis etc.)

    But renewables are not a waste of time. It all comes down to the cost of storage and overbuild, and those things are looking better and better by the day. I posted some references on last months FR on pumped hydro projects that have already been built or that are under construction or being planned, as below. The Australian government which is currently conservative leaning would not do this if it was completely unfeasible economically. Prove them wrong by showing me details of these specific schemes and the maths.

    https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp2021/AustralianElectricityOptionsPumpedHydro#:~:text=Australia%20already%20has%20river%2Dbased,about%20175%20hours%20of%20storage.

    But there is no doubt nuclear provides clean low emissions energy with reasonably good economics. The only emissions are water vapour, but newer forms of generation will probably get around this by using other coolant systems. Like AB said somewhere nuclear power has a giant sign on its back saying unsafe or something like that. This is the main issue you have to deal with. You wont convince the public about nuclear power by technical analysis alone, or just rubbishing coal or renewables or talking up how it produces dirt cheap power because it doesn’t. You wont convince the public by bullshitting them it is 100% safe. You have to be upfront that there are obvious risks and never, ever try to downplay the risks, but explain that all forms of generation carry risks of various types and all things considered nuclear power stacks up quite well. Stick to the facts. The public will sniff out spin and misleading claims, and then use that to oppose the whole idea of nuclear power.

  25. 25

    @7:

    No, you bloviating buffoon.  It’s 69 TWh divided by 4,126.882 TWh times 8760 hours (0.4711 TW average).  That’s ALL generation.  (The 2019 numbers give a backup time of 146 hours, which is good enough for government work.)

    “150 hours of average US electric consumption” is a BASELOAD not the BACKUP for times when demand exceeds supply.

    That’s an annual average of ALL GENERATION, which you would have known had you followed my links in the past.

    Suppose you’ve got a month where generation is running 25% less than your average load.  That’ll put you 7.5 days (180 hours) behind at the end of the month.  Even if you start with your storage full, you’re not going to make it to the end of the month with only 146 hours.

    And it was not a momentary lapse of reason – your Poet used THE SAME ARGUMENT dismissing the BACKUP potential by not providing BASELOAD – TWICE BEFORE

    Because you’re too dense to recognize when your point is invalid, like your endless harping about base load vs. backup.  Generation is generation; you either have enough or you don’t.

    Newfoundland, Quebec, etc. use hydro almost exclusively because they’ve got the terrain, the precipitation and low population.  What they do NOT have is the water impoundment to reserve their hydro for what you call “backup”, and they don’t need to.  Having paid for enough generation capacity to serve all their needs, adding stuff they’d need “backup” for just runs the cost up.

  26. 26

    @8:

    “In this report, we estimate the state-by-state per-capita “solar electric footprint” for the United States, defined as the land area required to supply all end-use electricity from solar photovoltaics (PV). We find that the overall average solar electric footprint is about 181 m2 per person in a base case scenario, with a state- and scenario-dependant range from about 50 to over 450 m2 per person.

    It’s not just that.  It’s the overbuilding required even to have sufficient energy in high-latitude winters.  It’s the massive amount of land going to rights-of-way for all the trans-continental transmission lines.

    A 500 kV HVDC line requires a ROW up to about 180 feet wide.  That’s 5.5 ha per km of run, 22 acres per mile.  Moving mid-continent wind power to the load centers on the US coasts, or solar power from the CA-TX sunbelt to industrial centers like Illinois, takes a huge amount of land.  It’s ~1350 miles from the middle of South Dakota to NYC, and that’s NOT bypassing runs through 3 Great Lakes and who knows how many small ones.  It’s over 1200 miles from South Dakota to San Francisco or Los Angeles, 1100 to Seattle.  So, for a single HVDC line you’re talking as much as 46 square miles of land made unfit for other uses… and you’ll need hundreds of them.  That adds up fast.

    Worse, you have to size lines for peak power flows, not average.  The low capacity factor of solar makes this particularly bad.  This is the reason that I don’t believe claims like “generate all our energy on 2% of the land”.  It is somewhere between incompetent analysis or deliberate fraud.

  27. 27

    @9:

    Sounds grand, but I think it is time to get out of the grain2ethanol business.

    You think so, and I think so, but the Iowa voters sure don’t seem to think so.  They’re worried about a glut & price collapse if demand falls so much.  So maybe better to work with them in the short term, decarbonizing the inputs and possibly finding ways to sequester the CO2 byproduct.  Maybe those sandstone aquifers that the Iowa Stored Energy Park was testing as CAES reservoirs?

    Or does the availability of low-grade steam seriously change the math? Of course, such a scheme would bring endless howls about radioactive fuel

    Which has never harmed anyone, and naturally goes away all by itself.  Contrast with chemical contaminants like arsenic and mercury in coal; they’re forever.

    Given a nuke with excess capacity and “free” low-grade steam, which feedstock do you think would be the most efficient ten years from now: grain, cellulose, CO2, or other?

    Definitely NOT CO2, because you have to do the reduction yourself.  I’d like to see more cellulose, because so much of it is wasted and a maize plant yields as much weight of cobs, stalks and leaves as it does grain.  (Problem there is processing it into something useful.)  The benefit of cellulose is that you can switch to perennials like Miscanthus or switchgrass and radically reduce the cost of inputs.  If methanol was accepted as part of an alcohol mix, all our waste cellulose could be readily converted into liquid fuel.  That helps solve the “energy stockpile” problem too.  It takes about twice the volume of the same energy of petroleum, and it’s mildly dissociative so it can promote electrolytic corrosion, but otherwise it’s great.

    You’re obviously a heretic (best compliment you’ve received today, eh?).

    Best laugh since waking up at 4 AM, and that includes “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”.

  28. 28

    Gulag A. Holodomor @11:

    Your response shows that you’re a typical Christian. Not even slightly concerned about following the teachings of Jesus, you are.

    Your attempt to lecture a Christian about Christianity is the very definition of “chutzpah”.

  29. 29

    @14:

    headline: The world’s rich need to cut their carbon footprint by a factor of 30 to slow climate change, UN warns

    Try posting links to such things.  HTML works here.  You know, <a href=”URL goes here”>title text</a>

    There are a few relatively simple measures which would slash carbon emissions of the industrial countries radically.  France, Ontario and Sweden have already largely decarbonized their electric grids, but they need to work on other things (especially transport and industry).  Lots and lots of 24/7 carbon-free electricity is an obvious route to such an outcome, and nuclear is the proven provider.

  30. 30
    Piotr says:

    AB(20() Please stop pasting ownership on me. EP is his own person. Wadhams is his own person, too.
    Huh?? What’s “Wahdmas” has to do with _your_ condescending comments about my arguments that had NOTHING to do with Wadhams???

    And what did you wanted to say with your “pasting ownership”? Wasn’t it _you_ who joined my discussion with E-P, to lecture me on my supposed “ Spouting obviously false insults“ toward _E-P_ ?

    To which I _quoted_ the words of E-P on which I BASED my “obviously false insults”
    That’s how I support my opinions about other people. How about you? Let’s see:

    AB(20): “EP said that dams have a limited capacity”

    even if he said so – that’s qualitative opinion, and a such, of little use. Therefore I discussed his arguments that he made using NUMBERS, because numbers and their assumptions, unlike subjective opinions, can be put to the test. Which I did:
    ====
    1. E-P (414): Pumping the entire volume of Lake Erie to a height 53 meters higher would store about 69 TWh, just 150 hours of average US electric consumption
    2. E-P “ It’s enough to serve the locals, but Newfoundland and Labrador have a combined population of only 536,000.
    3-P “ Quebec’s hydro is adequate for its 8.4 million, but grossly inadequate for N. America’s 350+ million
    To which I answered: “Huh? This discussion is about the BACKUP for renewables, NOT about providing BASE LOAD (to which giving population numbers apply to).”
    ====
    Despite my repeated pointing to him that he can’t dismiss BACKUP by measruing it against BASELOAD – E-P continue to do so not once, not twice, but three times.
    Hence my conclusion that he doesn’t get the difference between BASELOAD and BACKUP. To which … you took umbrage calling my conclusion: Spouting obviously false insults.

    AB(20): “[EP said that dams] as built, CAN’T repurpose to just peak because they would overflow each spring.”

    again, if he said only this, we would not have this discussion, there is only so much you can get out of qualitative opinions. Instead I responded to his
    quantitative argument, using NUMBERS and CALCULATIONS, of which he chastised me
    for supposed … not addressing them:
    E-P: “ You address exactly none of the engineering issues. GFY.
    (“GFY” that’s “Go Fuck Yourself”, if you not fluent in engineering lingo)

    AB: EP is talking about seasonal shifts.

    And he has done so by comparing hydro output to … “ average US electric consumption”???

    ===
    Piotr

  31. 31

    @21:

    IMO the production of fuel ethanol in Iowa and anywhere else that food is being converted to fuel should have been stopped along with wind mills and useless solar panels should have been stopped due this evidence regarding ethanol production.

    As I wrote to Al Bundy in my reply to @9 (reply not yet posted or I’d link it), other people and their interests get a vote.

    We have some fools thinking that ethanol and bio diesel is the answer to the nation’s fuel requirements.

    And I am definitely not one such fool.  I can read the numbers on “net primary productivity” and understand that they are NOT capable of doing the heavy lifting.  But they ARE capable of filling niche requirements, and that’s where we should aim them.  It’s the 80/20 rule:  the first 80% of the job requires 20% of the effort, and the other 20% of the job requires 80% of the effort.  The solution is to attack the last 20% from another side where it only requires 20%*20%=4% of the effort, then you’re done.  The 20% side is biofuels.

  32. 32
    Mr. Know It All says:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340272745_Earth_now_possibly_warmest_in_2000_years_thanks_to_Sun_not_CO2

    Eggscellent comments below this article:

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/12/12/delingpole-no-lying-bbc-britains-weather-isnt-getting-wilder/

    I liked this one by beagle:

    “Sea level rise, is the bottom line on global warming.
    Here, in coastal N.C., we tie our boats up to the same docks Blackbeard did, in 1710..
    There has been no abnormal sea level rise..
    It is all a lie to gain power..”

    And this reply from BK:

    “Same in Sydney Harbour, Australia, no change at high tide marks. Fort Denison for example.

    Add Port Arthur penal colony in Tasmania and many marks carved into rocks during a British Scientific Expedition that sailed around the vast coastline of Australia early 1900s.”

    Irrefutable evidence of zero or minimal SLR.
    ;)

    On the discussion above by zebra to kill everyone in flyover country, that’s stupid – it would be far easier to kill all those in blue cities and that would eliminate far more people than live in flyover country; the resulting 40 point increase in the national average IQ, the 80% budget reduction in welfare, the 80% reduction in pollution and CO2 generation, and the resulting vastly improved electoral college balance would put the USA back on top for the next 100+ years. Who wants to call Kim Jong Un and make it happen? (I don’t speak the language.) WAIT, maybe Killian knows the language? THIS sounds like a potential Killian utopia – everyone living on a farm – am I wrong?
    :)

  33. 33
    David B. Benson says:

    As Terra is currently headed for about 3.5 °C of excess warmth, all methods of providing low-carbon energy are required to stop that:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/697/power-world
    offers quite a variety of suggestions; implement the least cost first.

    Dickering doesn’t help.

  34. 34
    nigelj says:

    KIA @32

    “Sea level rise, is the bottom line on global warming. Here, in coastal N.C., we tie our boats up to the same docks Blackbeard did, in 1710. There has been no abnormal sea level rise..It is all a lie to gain power..”

    Unreliable anecdotal information. And sea level rise since 1710 has been 300 mm (Global Mean Sea Level Reconstruction since 1700 by Jevrejeva et al, 2008), not enough to be disruptive enough to notice, (but make no mistake that will change because infrastructure has its design limits) and the local geology at that specific point might be causing uplift that counters sea level rise. This is all a good example why you should never draw conclusions about climate change from just a local example like KIA does. Keep wearing your tin foil hat over the maga cap, over the dunce cap. Ooops thats not very nice of me.

  35. 35
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    We are, more than ever, on a straight course to hell. All the babble of politicians has led to exactly nothing:

    https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions

    Any reduction in emissions is extremely shortlived and always caused not by politics, but simply by economic downturns. Afterwards, everything continues as always, with business as extremely usual.

    Our socalled leaders, the one percent richest, are in fact the most stupid and narrowminded of all, and they stand by their luxury way of living for most of our relentlessly growing use of fossil fuels and other ecological desasters. No wonder they are doing nothing about this problem except for lip service and hollow sunday speeches. They are NOT “listening to the science”, they aren’t even trying to understand it. They are completely incapable of understanding anything but their swelling bank accounts. Their “politics” is simply the rudest hypocrisy possible to imagine.

    https://ourworldindata.org/energy-mix

    http://uziiw38pmyg1ai60732c4011-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/dropzone/2020/11/word-image-1-680×437.png

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/11/06/two-capitalist-parties-compete-humanity-loses/

    “Billionaires in US have grown their collective wealth by $1 trillion since mid-March. That’s more than it would cost to send a $3,000 stimulus check to every person in America.”

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/11/roaming-charges-9/

    You think Biden is going to change anything, even the tinyest bit, of this? Forget it. As always you have harakiri politics from the “center” and “left of center”, that hasn’t changed a bit from Germany 1919 and onwards to Hitler, except for the total disappearance of any politics even vaguely resembling just Roosevelts new deal (which already then was denounced by all the media squabblers and vulgar economists as “bolchewism” etc.) The last reminisence of that disappeared beginning with the coup d’etat of Reagan. Since then there has been nothing but the straight course towards what he and his fellow madmen called and the epigonics now call armageddon. They are simply longing for the selfdestruction of mankind, because they can’t live with reality as it is. They all suffer from the Hitler-syndrome, megalomaniacs as they are.

  36. 36
    Killian says:

    Poverty is created, not unavoidable, not necessary, not because of laziness.

    You want a sustainable future? Only possible if most of the world is not in poverty relative to the top 20%.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    J Doug Swallow says:

    @24
    nigelj says:
    12 Dec 2020 at 3:06 PM

    When it’s sunny and people are most likely to head to the lake, solar power is abundant and electricity prices drop. This means the pumped storage station earns less money, so the power plant is shut off. In 2009, for example, the turbines in Niederwartha were in operation for 2,784 hours. Last year, Vattenfall ran the facility for only 277 hours. “Price peaks that last only a few hours aren’t enough to utilize the plant to full capacity,” says Gunnar Groebler, head of Vattenfall’s German hydro division.
    […]More and more wind turbines are turning in Germany, and solar panels are basking in the sun, yet the amount of pollutants and greenhouse gases emitted by smokestacks increased last year. This dramatic turn of events is especially evident in small town of Grosskotzenburg, just east of Frankfurt.
    […]This leaves a dirty stain on Germany’s environmental statistics. While the amount of electricity from renewable energy rose by 10.2 percent in 2012, the first year of the new energy policy, the amount of electricity generated in hard coal and brown coal plants also increased by 5 percent each. As a result, German CO2 emissions actually increased by 2 percent in 2012. Environment Minister Altmaier was clearly upset, saying: “This development cannot become a tendency.”

  39. 39
  40. 40
    J Doug Swallow says:

    @24
    Pumped storage hydropower3
    -5
    -0.1%
    Other sources3
    13
    0.3%
    3 Pumped storage hydroelectricity generation is negative because most pumped storage electricity generation facilities use more electricity than they produce on an annual basis. Most pumped storage systems use fossil fuels or nuclear energy for pumping water to the storage component of the system.
    Last updated: February 27, 2020
    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

  41. 41

    radioactive fuel

    Nazi Boy: Which has never harmed anyone

    BPL: This is the type of exaggeration (or is it ignorance?) which has made everyone distrust the nuclear industry. The first (but not the last) accident involving nuclear fuel took place in 1946:

    https://bartonlevenson.com/NukeAccidents.html

  42. 42

    Nazi Boy 28: Gulag A. Holodomor @11:

    Your response shows that you’re a typical Christian. Not even slightly concerned about following the teachings of Jesus, you are.

    Your attempt to lecture a Christian about Christianity is the very definition of “chutzpah”.

    BPL: You’re quoting AB, not me, dumbass.

  43. 43

    KIA 32: Irrefutable evidence of zero or minimal SLR.

    BPL: Look again.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10712-011-9119-1

  44. 44
    Al Bundy says:

    AB: Or does the availability of low-grade steam seriously change the math? Of course, such a scheme would bring endless howls about radioactive fuel

    EP: Which has never harmed anyone, and naturally goes away all by itself

    AB: I wasn’t clear. I was speaking about “radioactive” hydrocarbon fuel. As every radiophobe knows, radiation is like cooties. Get anywhere near it and you’ll glow in the dark forever (if you survive).

    And my question? Does the use of “free” low grade steam slightly reduce or greatly reduce the carbon emissions of ethanol production?
    ______

    Piotr, I was taking EP’s many posts all together. It would be beyond unwieldy for someone to repeat everything every time they post. EP has consistently spoken about seasonal deficits. If he didn’t use that phrase this time anybody who was trying to understand and learn would mentally plug it in. You didn’t. Instead you used an insulting phrase directed at me: “your EP”.
    ______

    AB: EP is talking about seasonal shifts.

    Piotr: And he has done so by comparing hydro output to … “ average US electric consumption”???

    AB: Of course. Are you maintaining that there are wild seasonal swings in energy use? Kinda obvious that if consumption is fairly even throughout the year then seasonal swings in production will cause issues. Heck, my guess is that he was being generous. Spring gets the most hydro and solar and maybe even the most wind (do you know?), but spring is also the season where heating and cooling loads are about their lowest. If one is going to use hydro largely or solely as backup then reservoirs are going to go through HUGE seasonal shifts. It isn’t a trivial exercise to shift hydro to a backup role. River management, recreation, irrigation, earthquakes, lots of stuff is seriously affected. Don’t need backup this week? Better not try to move goods by barge cuz the river is going low or dry. I’m sure the fish don’t mind.

    My lateral levies idea could help. By impounding water and raising the water table the influx of water to rivers and so reservoirs is seasonally smoothed, making the hydro4backup concept more viable.

    And of course, it isn’t as simple as changing policy. If hydro is used as backup then it needs to be able to carry the full load, which likely means rebuilding most dams so their peak output is two? three? four? times higher. Rivers will tend more towards toilet-like operation. HUGE periodic flushes with dryish rivers in between.

    See? You say “Hydro4backup”, which is a grand concept. EP notes the math (did you really just whine about him not cut-and-pasting all of the math he’s spouted here in every single one of his posts?). And I try to design a system that satisfies both of you.

    You’re wicked sharp, so my conclusion is that you’re not putting effort into holistically understanding what he’s saying but drilling down to “gotcha”. “Your EP” says a ton about how you’re approaching the discussion.

    ______

    EP: Your attempt to lecture a Christian about Christianity is the very definition of “chutzpah”.

    AB: OK, but I wasn’t lecturing him about Christianity. That was a personal insult directed at BPL and nobody else. Remember, I started by saying that I was insulting a bigot via counter-bigotry. He insulted my group so I insulted his. Not my proudest moment but he drew first blood. What made it so bad is that he presented his bigotry as common knowledge, as universal irrefutable fact, though, of course, tone can be misinterpreted in text. Lots of online fights start with such a misunderstanding. Perhaps that’s what happened here.

  45. 45
    Al Bundy says:

    mrkia: the resulting 40 point increase in the national average IQ

    AB: Nice job proving the opposite of your point. You obviously have no clue how the IQ scale works. Oh, and welfare is a red state issue. Blue states contribute more to the national coffers than they receive. Red states are filled to the brim with welfare recipients. According to Politifact:
    “Rockefeller Institute, part of SUNY, found that over four years, 2015 to 2018, New York taxpayers paid $116 billion more in federal taxes than the state received in federal funding. During the same period, Kentucky received $148 billion in federal funds more than Kentuckians paid in federal taxes.”

  46. 46

    #32, KIA–

    Stravinsky doctrine time again: “I don’t wish to criticize an uresisting imbecility.”

    I really don’t.

    But:

    Ref. #1 claims a *65-year delay* between solar forcing and terrestrial response! Imbecility.

    “Eggscellant” comment #1: “Here, in coastal N.C., we tie our boats up to the same docks Blackbeard did, in 1710.”

    Which would require me to believe that a) anybody knows where Blackbeard tied up, and b) the docks have remained unchanged for 210 years. (Not to mention that the original anonymous commenter has a shred of credibility.)

    “Eggscellant” comment #2: “Same in Sydney Harbour, Australia, no change at high tide marks. Fort Denison for example…”

    https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.shtml?stnid=680-140

    (No additional comment needed.)

    And a racist comment of KIA’s own, that ‘flyover states’ have a 40-point IQ bulge on coastal ones. Obviously stupid, but:

    https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/we-compared-average-iq-score-in-all-50-states-results-are-eye-opening.html

    The highest state IQ mean: Massachusetts, 104.3
    Lowest: Mississippi, 94.2

    No 40-point swing there, and–insofar as one can divine which are supposed to be ‘flyover states’–the distribution isn’t as alleged, either.

    The clearest pattern in the IQ data isn’t orthogonal to a coastal/interior bifurcation: it’s the correlation of the Old Confederacy to lower positions on the scale.

    South Carolina: 98.4 (#39)*
    Mississippi: 94.2 (#50)
    Florida: 98.4 (#38)
    Alabama: 95.7 (#45)
    Georgia: 98.0 (#40)
    Lousiana: 95.3% (#49)
    Texas: 100.0 (#30)
    Virginia: 101.9% (#16)
    North Carolina: 100.2 (#29)
    Tennessee: 97.7 (#41)
    Arkansas: 97.5 (#42)

    https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/we-compared-average-iq-score-in-all-50-states-results-are-eye-opening.html

    Only Virginia makes it into the top half of the distribution. (Conversely, FWIW, there are 5 New England states in the top 10–that’s all of them except Rhode Island, which comes in at #33.)

    *Full disclosure: I live in South Carolina. I would suggest that the IQ pattern is due to the regional history of devaluing education relative to other places, and especially to historically prolonged efforts to restrict access to it on the basis of race and class.

  47. 47
    Killian says:

    #451 Barton Paul Levenson spouted:

    K 439: I determined any god that is not the best example of a father/mother one could think of was not worth my time and moved on.

    BPL: You, in your Godlike judgment, determined that all the traditional gods and goddesses were “wanting.” Who does God think he is, eh?

    No different than judging any faux being, i.e. fictional character. But I wrote my post as if the gods were real, and, yes, they would still be wanting. Show me one that isn’t some kind of asshole on some level.

    The fact they don’t exist make this all moot, and the aspect of the thread I responded to wasn’t about their existence, but about whether I had acted rashly or thoughtfully as it had essentially been claimed by some dodo here religion is required to be a moral, ethical person. Clearly, it is not, and often (See: Trump and GOP) just the opposite.

    But you wanna make it about existence of gods? You lose. Zero factual basis for any of them.

    I win.

    I get a kick out of Christians, and others, who claim their shiny modern gods are real but all those OLD gods, well, they’re just make-believe. Hint: You look to us like the believers in the old gods look to you, but even sillier given what we can do with science, logic, etc., to show there is zero evidence of *any* god. You’re ruled by superstition and fantasy and are quite the hypocrite given how you treat people here.

  48. 48
    Killian says:

    You goofballs need to look up trophic cascades and figure out which is THE apex predator and why you might not want to remove that predator from ecosystems.

    Abandoning large areas of the planet is 1. not tenable given the current and coming population and 2. is not wise. We need to be present and active in restoring ecosystems because we must Speed Up Succession to enhance carbon drawdown. Further, with all the greedy assholes still on the planet, leaving areas unattended guarantees continued plundering. We don’t need to retreat from Nature, we need to return to it and it’s rhythms, patterns and principles.

    You want to reduce vehicle miles? Localize. You want less energy consumption? Localize. You want wise use of resources that take the least invasive, least consumptive approach to meeting needs? Localize.

    Cities are inherently unsustainable. They have *massive* levels of embedded energy people do not consider in their footprints. And those cities, much like the cells in our bodies, must be replaced over time, continuing a forever cycle of unsustainable infrastructure building.

  49. 49
    Killian says:

    16 mike: link to the carbon brief about cuts required by the world’s wealthy:

    I said 80 to 90% for the global 1%…. ten years ago. Maybe you all should have listened then.

  50. 50
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA, so let me get this straight. You are proposing we believe a self-published book by a frigging petroleum geologist over the overwhelming preponderance of evidence and scientific opinion, and despite that during the period of greatest temperature increase, the proposed mechanism has actually been decreasing.

    And you cite as your support a frigging article by Breitfart? Dude, you really are a useless, broken tool. Maybe lay off the rightwingnut media and quit getting high on your own supply.