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Forced Responses: Jan 2021

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2021

A new open thread for climate solutions in the new year (and the soon-to-be new US administration actions). As for the climate science open threads, please try to renew your commitment to constructive dialog that prioritises light over heat (like LED bulbs for instance!). Thanks!

632 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jan 2021”

  1. 251

    Nigel-san,

    I didn’t get your emails. I will check the spam filter.

  2. 252
    mike says:

    Pro-tax story at Carbon Brief:

    If done right, tax rises can bring the economy back faster and greener

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/done-properly-tax-rises-can-bring-the-economy-back-faster-and-greener-r0fv7jbxk?utm_campaign=Carbon%20Brief%20Daily%20Briefing&utm_content=20210119&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20Daily

    I think we need to talk up the benefits of taxes verus interest rate hikes whenever possible to open a broader discussion of the various positive things that can be done through taxation.

    Cheers

    Mike

  3. 253
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @244

    “Killian still believes the fairy tale that the currency of rebuilding the world economy to be net zero emissions is money, and we can make as much of it as we like. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s labor (a considerable amount of it skilled) and energy……..”

    Exactly right, and thank goodness, SOMEBODY else on this website understands it! Like I said @247 resources on this planet are limited. All MMT can do is shift those resources around a little bit, and whether its in useful ways will depend on who is in government, how you define useful, and none of them are going to want to be increasing taxes especially on high income earners like themselves or on low income earners that may be their voting base. So hmmm give MMT a go if you want people, but don’t blame me if its a complete shambles.

  4. 254
    Piotr says:

    – Killian: “ Can you explain why you think people realizing there is a threat to their very lives and/or civilization won’t result in behavioral changes?
    – Piotr (235) “We are talking about NOW, not ONCE “people realize”.
    – Killian (250) “This is a distinction without a difference.

    I don’t agree. Given the people’s response to the climate change so far, and the number of people and politicians who can’t make themselves do even small sacrifices
    in the face of the _imminent_ danger to the lives of them and their families (COVID) – your ONCE the “people realize” – it will be too late.

    So I’d rather push NOW for things like revenue-neutral carbon tax, that by being revenue-neutral are more politically possible, and use them to advance the less polluting technologies, rather than wait for the Big Revelation of 8 billion people willingly rejecting MOST of their consumption (to stabilize CO2 at the current
    levels we would need our emissions by 70-80%).

    The best is the enemy of the good.

  5. 255
    Piotr says:

    Killian (250):”I didn’t raise that point, piotr did. The formatting got screwed up.

    Formatting was OK. So my money is on the confusion caused by your cutting the quote in mid-sentence:
    – Mike(212) “We need to talk about taxation in a positive way”
    – Piotr (227): I responded with “I am not sure how politically realistic is this unless you make the carbon taxes revenue-neutral”
    – Killian (230) cuts from answer from … “unless” on.

    This CHANGED my showing HOW Mike “can talk about taxation in a positive way”, into my … rejection of this idea (“not realistic”).

    With Killian then opposing my so-truncated argument, it would have appeared that Killian supported Mike. Hilarity ensues (Killian has to explain to Mike that he was NOT agreeing with him…)

  6. 256
    Killian says:

    244 Engineer-Poet:
    18 Jan 2021 at 4:38 PM

    Killian still believes the fairy tale

    While the rest of seem to be attempting to change tone and presentation around here, not everyone is on board.

    that the currency of rebuilding the world economy to be net zero emissions is money, and we can make as much of it as we like. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s labor (a considerable amount of it skilled) and energy.

    Your logic is badly flawed. Talking about the role of money and the economic/financial aspects of mitigation and adaptation tells you nothing of my views on labor and energy. Had I wished to address those two aspects, I would have. That I did not does not support your characterization.

    Future posts that begin with belittling and false claims will be ignored.

  7. 257
    Killian says:

    246 Piotr says:
    18 Jan 2021 at 5:06 PM

    There is nothing of use on this post. It is all opinion based on politics of the last 100 years. We are in a new era and your comments below do not reflect that.

    I told people in Detroit the activism of the 60’s was not going to work in this era because the underlying problems are different. There simply is not *time* for 400 years of incrementalist activism to change things as we have taken for racism, women’s equality, etc.

    Centuries, and we are still fighting those fights. If you want to solve these problems, you are going to have to start seeing the new parameters and letting them determine what course to take.

    Your comments below inherently accept that nothing fundamental can or will change and that all we have to do is draw down carbon.

    Wrong. We have to regenerate all ecosystems, we have to stop virtually all use of finite resources that results in the destruction of fundamental alteration of those resources, we have to end economics as we know and we have to change governance as we know it.

    If you take what I say and try to fit it into your world view that the past is only a little changeable, and only slowly, it seems absurd.

    But the opposite is also true: Cant’t be done! is suicidal and indicates one has not fully come to terms with the risk.

    More and more voices are saying what I have said for ten years: 90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes, and, globally, that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations.

    There are very recent papers stating we must change everything.

    No shit, Sherlocks? LOL… Yeah. That’s been obvious for a long time. Limits to Growth really got that going, though they didn’t specify anything like that, and we understand it much more fully and in far greater detail now.

    The problem is not my analysis, it’s that you either do not accept the risks or do not understand them, imo, because when I look at the risks I see no choice. We have waited to long. You think rapid simplification is a choice. I wish you were right.

    You said:

    Killian(238) “ This is simple. Tax at the end-user point, not the source, because then you reduce emissions by the more direct and long-term method of demand destruction. ”

    So let me see if I understood you:

    1. you are not interested in using taxes to give competitive advantage to the less polluting consumption over more polluting consumption, BECAUSE one can’t differentiate taxes in proportion to the incurred emission “at the end-user” level – since this would require the detailed knowledge of the life-cycle-emissions of EVERY type of consumed product. (as opposed to my suggestion of taxing at the start, which could be as simple as adding one number in the gas, or power, bill receipt).

    2. Instead, you want to use INDISCRIMINATE (see your p.1) taxes to …” destroy demand“, i.e. consumption. To stabilize CO2 we need reduction of emissions by 70-80%, more if we want to reduce CO2. So we would need the destruction of 70-80%, or more of global GDP?

    Good luck with running on _this_ platform in the next election. Denier politicians would LOVE you as their opponent. In fact, if people like you didn’t exist, they would need to invent you – so they could use to discredit by association everybody saying about the need to reduce emissions, by painting ALL as the extremists who want to remove 70-80% of people’s consumption.

    And good luck with that message in the poorer countries, where people often use MOST of their consumption to just survive (food, heat, shelter).

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. So I’d rather stick with my imperfect revenue-neutral carbon tax.

  8. 258
    Killian says:

    252 mike:
    19 Jan 2021 at 12:47 PM

    Pro-tax story at Carbon Brief:

    That’s not Carbon Brief. If you’re going to link to paywalled sources, please bullet point for us to poor to pay for paywalls.

    Cheers

  9. 259
    John Kelly says:

    Shoot me now for doing this, but is anyone swayed by Hansen’s latest chapter releases about the role for … nuclear power in a future energy mix? No one is always right, but overall I hold his opinion on climate issues in very high regard. I’d be more interested in hearing from folks who are not the usual suspects on this particular topic. My support for nuclear would be dependent on the technologies he discusses, safer and generating little waste, being fully developed. Although he doesn’t explicitly say this, my take is that he sees the future as either renewables plus gas, or renewables plus nuclear. Conspicuous by its absence is storage, which I take to mean that he must not view it as a viable solution to intermittency. To be more frank, I think he thinks that science and nature have given us this insanely energy intense miracle, and we’ve chosen out of ignorance to not use it. But maybe I’m reading him wrong, or he’s stuck with outdated thinking. Thanks, and apologies in advance.

  10. 260
    nigelj says:

    Piotr @254 says

    “So I’d rather push NOW for things like revenue-neutral carbon tax, that by being revenue-neutral are more politically possible, and use them to advance the less polluting technologies, rather than wait for the Big Revelation of 8 billion people willingly rejecting MOST of their consumption (to stabilize CO2 at the current levels we would need our emissions by 70-80%)…..The best is the enemy of the good.”

    This comment is a little bit similar to my comments from at least two years ago on this website as follows: Massive reductions in consumption of energy, resources and consumer goods would obviously greatly improve all environmental problems, including the climate problem, but 1) we don’t know how to make such huge energy efficiencies in a technical sense and 2) we cant assume we will and 3) people are likely to be resistant to making such massive voluntary reductions, because they are addicted to consumerism and they may question whether the pain and potential problems of such a policy is worse than its ability to solve the environmental problems. They will immediately point at other potential solutions.

    Given most people must surely have been be aware of environmental problems and scarcity of resources for decades, and the climate problem for at least ten years and haven’t done much to change their lifestyles, then the great “awakening” might be a slow process. Nothing wrong with promoting such things of course, but I tend to focus more on things that look practical and likely to gain some traction with the public: Carbon fee and dividend, renewables subsidies, eliminating or vastly reducing waste, smaller family size, changing diets, flying a bit less.

    Even these ideas are not proving easy but they obviously have some chance because they are not as painful as massive and rapid reductions in consumption. And they do not mean we cant tackle massive reductions in consumption at a future point. They start the process but gently and feasibly while reducing harm. I cant see an alternative. Its unlikely people would massively reduce consumption overnight, but if they make smaller reductions and realise it has benefits they might make some more over time.

    The following article highlights another problem that people are hardwire to respond best psychologically to short term threats, rather than longer term and more distant threats like climate change. (although its gathering pace and is having at least some immediate and serious consequences) One work around might be to focus more attention on the multiple benefits of climate mitigation. Clean energy, electric transport, a low red meat diet, and flying less and smaller homes all have well known multiple benefits that add together to make them attractive options. Some benefits are at least reasonably immediate which helps motivate responses.

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5530483

  11. 261

    Piotr, to Killian–

    So I’d rather push NOW for things like revenue-neutral carbon tax, that by being revenue-neutral are more politically possible, and use them to advance the less polluting technologies, rather than wait for the Big Revelation of 8 billion people willingly rejecting MOST of their consumption (to stabilize CO2 at the current levels we would need our emissions by 70-80%).

    The best is the enemy of the good.

    FWIW, I agree 100%, and in fact have made substantially the same argument in the past. Even if we do have the great “come to Jesus”–or perhaps, collective “Oh, shit!”–moment on mitigatory simplification some day, we will be in proportionately better place, the lesser the emissions in the meantime.

    Gen. Patton was supposed to have said, more or less, “A good plan well executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

  12. 262

    John Kelly @259:

    is anyone swayed by Hansen’s latest chapter releases about the role for … nuclear power in a future energy mix?

    I’m already sold, of course (I was sold over 40 years ago).  But where’d you see these chapter releases?  I did a search and only came up with old material.

    My support for nuclear would be dependent on the technologies he discusses, safer and generating little waste, being fully developed.

    You seem to be under the impression that existing nuclear is dangerous and generates lots of waste.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Nuclear is about 4x as safe (0.04 deaths/TWh) as runner-up wind (0.15), and generates so little spent fuel that we literally stack it up at the plant site (contrast fossil fuels, which use the atmosphere as an open sewer).  We don’t need to make nuclear safer, we need to make it cheaper.

    Conspicuous by its absence is storage, which I take to mean that he must not view it as a viable solution to intermittency.

    Ironically, it might be a viable solution to nuclear’s problem with economic viability.  Something like Form Energy’s sulfur-based flow battery would allow nuclear plants to bank some or all of their output and allow them to bid into the RTO markets for both capacity and other ancillary services.  For a rundown on the fine details on this, I highly recommend Meredith Angwin’s tour de force “Shorting The Grid”.  She got grid physics a bit off in the first edition, but I can send you a list of errata.

    we’ve chosen out of ignorance to not use it.

    Not ignorance so much as political pull and propaganda.  Rod Adams details the influence of fossil-fuel interests at his blog, atomicinsights.com.  You want to search under the “smoking gun” tag.

  13. 263
    Piotr says:

    Killian(257): “ More and more voices are saying what I have said for ten years: 90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes, and, globally, that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations.

    It will be not enough, not even close. Here is why: To stabilize CO2 at current level we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 70-80%, MORE if we want to reduce CO2 to reasonable level, AND EVEN MORE if your change does not happen immediately and we have to bring down CO2 from higher levels than today.

    But you CAN’T possibly get there by targeting ONLY the rich countries – since Europe, North America and Oceania _combined_ emit only slightly above 1/3 (36%) of global GHG emissions. So the majority of the cuts would still have to come from the rest of the world.

    Ironically, the only thing that could possibly save YOUR argument, are the dismissed by you … revenue-neutral carbon taxes. Used to support lower-GHG technologies and lower-GHG consumer choices, they would make our consumption less GHG-intense AND therefore slow the increase of CO2. This, in turn, would give more time for ecosystems to adjust to climate change reduce the probability of the run-away climate change.
    AND with more GHG-effective consumption and smaller atm. CO2 to bring down –
    the % of consumption reduction does not to have to be as deep as in your world.
    I will illustrate the latter in separate post.

    As for the rest of your post, I see only misreadings / misrepresentations of my arguments and then lecturing me on what you think I said. Have I missed something?

    But your wit: “ No shit, Sherlocks? LOL… Yeah” – very impressive!

  14. 264
    prl says:

    On revenue-neutrality of carbon taxes – that didn’t save the carbon tax introduced by the Gillard Labor government in Australia in 2011, though it wasn’t revenue-neutral in the way that Piotr @235 suggested: ‘refund cheques to each household with BIG letters “Carbon Tax Refund” ‘.

    As soon as the Liberal/National coalition took back control, they got rid of it.

  15. 265
    nigelj says:

    Regarding my previous comment. Carbon fee and dividend can be taken as equivalent to carbon tax and dividend (or rebate). Ive heard both terms used along with carbon levy and dividend.

    ———————-

    KM @261 we are singing from the same songbook there, more or less.

  16. 266
    nigelj says:

    This is relevant to recent discussions here, because it discusses a comparison of the politics of carbon tax and other mitigation options like the GND infrastructure package now Biden is elected. Like with so many things the devil is in the detail:

    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/01/commentary-what-biden-and-democatic-senate-can-do-on-climate-in-their-first-100-days/

    “What Biden and Democatic Senate can do on climate in their first 100 days. Biden administration progress on climate change will have to overcome roadblocks left by the Trump administration and some arcane Senate rules. But hope springs eternal….”

  17. 267
    Killian says:

    Piotr, Kevin, et al.:

    You can repeat the things you said over and over, but they are denialism.

    So, I’m going to ask you to put your money where your mouth is.

    State unequivocally you do not believe there is an existential threat to humanity if we take an incremental approach to climate, resources, and ecosystem destruction.

    Stating this clarifies why you are sanguine about rates of change and think an incremental approach is worthwhile. However, it does not justify your characterization of my position as perfect vs the good.

    You always leave my thinking on the risks out of your responses and use that off-base and patronizing phrasing rather than actually address the full context I state.

    Before you get angry, understand your use of such phrases means you think I’m too fucking stupid to realize sometimes the middle way is best, but this isn’t a Confucian school for scholars, it’s a planetary ecosystem unraveling. Or, that incrementalism never is applicable. It is, if you are going 55mph and have half a mile to come to a stop. It’s not when you’re going 100 mph and have 100 yards to stop.

    You are accusing me of creating some perfect vision and adhering to it out of sheer stubborness. I have stated the supporting assumptions and observations for years. Perfection? Who gives the slightest fuck about perfection? So let me remind you, this is about risk and nothing else.

    There *might* be time for carbon neutral in 30 years, but the chances of that shrink every day and in my well-supported opinion such time frames risk the worst consequences imaginable. If it were clear net-zero by 2050 was safe, why would I fight so hard against it? I wouldn’t. It would be a huge relief. That is not what the facts support:

    According to Wagner, many insect populations are dropping about 1-2% per year. As he put it to The Guardian: “You’re losing 10-20% of your animals over a single decade and that is just absolutely frightening. You’re tearing apart the tapestry of life.”
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/01/12/nature-under-siege-scientists-sound-alarm-about-insect-apocalypse

    That one quote validates my position, and there are many other data points that also suggest the options are down to one: Rapid Simplification. To characterize this view as asinine enemy of the good thinking is bullshit patronization and has no place in this conversation.

    10-20% losses PER DECADE. See, you don’t do what I do. You don’t deal with the very fabric of life on a daily basis, so perhaps this doesn’t resonate so deeply for you, but those numbers mean the ecosystem is already collapsing.

    You are all aware we’ve already lost, e.g., 90% of large oceanic fish. That’s a collapse. It’s not in process, but has already occurred. And if you understand even a little about trophic flows, you should be shaking in fear at such statements.

    This very recent literature review and assessment reminds us the Paris Agreement leaves a 34% chance of catastrophic warming at levels we’ve *already reached.* Actually, i think the accord itself says that! You want incrementalism at a 34% risk of existential failure?

    That is an insane level of risk, and that is what you advocate with the incremental approach. Here is what incrementalism is getting us:

    More broadly, most of the nature-related United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (e.g., SDGs 6, 13–15) are also on track for failure (Wackernagel et al., 2017; Díaz et al., 2019; Messerli et al., 2019), largely because most SDGs have not adequately incorporated their interdependencies with other socio-economic factors (Bradshaw and Di Minin, 2019; Bradshaw et al., 2019; Messerli et al., 2019). Therefore, the apparent paradox of high and rising average standard of living despite a mounting environmental toll has come at a great cost to the stability of humanity’s medium- and long-term life-support system.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2020.615419/full

    I do not advocate rapid, massive change because I *prefer* it, I do so because anything less is a massive existential risk.

    To reverse your characterization, middle wayism is the enemy of survival.

  18. 268
    Killian says:

    255
    Piotr says:

    No. You are not getting what he said. He thought something you said was attributed to me, not whether I agreed or disagreed. And he is more than capable of checking the original. You are simply not understanding what was said.

  19. 269

    E-P 262: Nuclear is about 4x as safe (0.04 deaths/TWh) as runner-up wind (0.15)

    BPL: Based on the assumption that all deaths from radiation leaks and unplanned releases are zero. And not counting plant workers as “civilians.”

  20. 270
    zebra says:

    John Kelly #259,

    Bang!

    The problem, John, is that you say you don’t want to hear from the usual suspects, but you are presenting, One! More! Time!, the usual list of tired tropes and memes. If we’re talking about the same chapter, so is Hansen.

    But the same question that has gone unanswered for decades is still there:

    How do you get it done???

    The only real-world example of conversion of the electricity sector to almost all nuclear is France. And France did it by nationalization, or, to use that fine All-American curse word, Socialism.

    Is that the plan for the US? France used what was considered safe technology at the time; let’s say we’ve made great progress on that and have a way to deal with waste, yadayada. Now what?

    Is the US Federal Socialist Government going to tell States to build nukes…what kind, and what location… when there are so many economically viable alternatives, in particular natural gas?

    I’ve posted a few comments recently linking to the way technology is moving right along, like GE producing a really giant offshore wind turbine. Here on the East coast, even during the Trump disaster, offshore wind projects are moving forward. How does it make any sense for us to let our ports and maritime sector continue to decline by not developing this very steady resource? Nukes make no sense here; nor does paying for transmission lines to flyover country for their wind, where I certainly would rather not send my money anyway.

    And other locales each obviously have their own particular needs and resources. I’ve pointed out in the past that the best chance for nuclear to get used is in a true free market, where it may be the most economically sound. And the only counterargument I ever hear is “but it’s safe, don’tcha know?

  21. 271
    Mal Adapted says:

    nigelj:

    But we also have a higher consciousness that knows that responding to this stuff is often futile, a waste of time and that the threat is rather hollow.

    Yup. We’re pseudonymous commenters on a blog. No threat is any more serious than the neighbor’s dog barking at you from its fenced yard (gotta love metaphor). That’s a good thing, because you’ve go no way to shut the dog up except by calling the sheriff, i.e. appealing to RC’s moderator. I, for one, prefer not to do that over a barking dog, leaving me little choice but to ignore it and go about my business. Still, some dogs just make me want to bark back, even knowing I’ll annoy all the neighbors ;^).

    Seriously, by not even skimming the comments of habitually antagonistic avatars, thankfully a short list, I’ve no doubt overlooked a few direct insults. What I don’t know, can’t hurt me!

  22. 272
    Piotr says:

    E-P: “ You seem to be under the impression that existing nuclear is dangerous and generates lots of waste. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nuclear is about 4x as safe (0.04 deaths/TWh)“.

    For this number, how many deaths after Chernobyl did you assume?

    and generates so little spent fuel that we literally stack it up at the plant site”

    and for how long do you have to safely store them before they become benign?

    Then you have issues other sources of energy do not seem to have, at least to the same extent:

    1. nuclear power helps to proliferate nuclear weapons: by providing dual-purpose technical expertise and equipment, by providing raw materials for the weapon grade enrichment, and by providing a plausible-deniability cover for the entire program – that’s why Iran, despite overflowing with oil, decided to go into nuclear generation. And I doubt Pakistan or North Korea would have had their nuclear weapons without their peaceful nuclear energy programs.

    2. nuclear power plants make a nice target during a war – if you can hit a nuclear powerplant, say with a tactical nuclear weapon – with a single strike you could render the enemy country uninhabitable for millenia.

    I wonder whether this is the reason, why Israel, a that has many nuclear weapons, developed thanks to their research nuclear reactors, does not a have single industrial electricity generation reactor, DESPITE the fact since their formation – Israel for tis energy had to rely on the imported gas (and other fossil fuels).

    3. Terrorists may intercept a nuclear weapon that nuclear power has helped to built in some potentially unstable countries

    4. Terrorists may intercept nuclear fuel along the way form the mine to power plant, or spent fuel rods, at the plant or during a transport elsewhere once the nuclear plant is decommissioned. And then use it as a material for a dirty bomb.

    5. Since the US managed to destroy some of the Iranian nuclear equipment by planting a computer virus – I wonder if somebody could hack into the safety system of one of the reactors. And if the nuclear enthusiasts have their way – there will be MUCH more of such targets, and built in many different countries, some stable and secure, other – not so much.

    So when comparing the safety of nuclear with wind or others – those things should be added to the past realized damages. Say, you calculate the damage (in lives or in money) by each of this 5 points and multiply it by the probability of its happening. Then you ADD it to the human/financial cost of the building of all additional nuclear plants, operating them, decommissioning them, and transport and storage of the spent fuel in human scale “forever”.

    And then you do the same for the alternatives.

  23. 273

    BPL @269:

    Nuclear is about 4x as safe (0.04 deaths/TWh) as runner-up wind (0.15)

    Based on the assumption that all deaths from radiation leaks and unplanned releases are zero.

    There is no reason to assume otherwise.  Studies of natural high-radiation areas like Kerala, Ramsar, Guarapari and Colorado show no negative effects.

    And not counting plant workers as “civilians.”

    A study of Navy shipyards found better health among the nuclear workers than the rest.  A study of Hiroshima survivors found that the conclusions supporting “LNT” were based on faulty assumptions, and the data actually support the phenomenon of radiation hormesis at low levels.

    Paranoia over radiation has been the main means used by fossil-fuel interests to keep out the emissions-free baseload competition.  It takes a 1% increase in fact-ramping generation capacity to support just a 0.88% increase in “renewables”, and those fast-ramping plants burn far more gas than the combined-cycle plants we should be using instead.  The fossil interests know this.  Why don’t you?  Stop being a tool of the fossil lobby.

  24. 274
    mike says:

    Mal says: “Seriously, by not even skimming the comments of habitually antagonistic avatars, thankfully a short list, I’ve no doubt overlooked a few direct insults. What I don’t know, can’t hurt me!”

    I remind myself that “what you think of me is none of my business.”

    Cheers

    Mike

  25. 275
    nigelj says:

    I think climate change is a very serious problem for humanity. But I dont think there is an existential threat to humanity if we take an incremental approach to mitigating climate change ( the general targets and mitigation strategies in the paris accord and IPCC). I see some increased mortality in the tropics but its hard to see a problem in cold and temperate climates.

    An existential threat to humanity has to be greater than just a mild to moderate increase in mortality in just some regions otherwise everything would be an existential threat. Sea level rise looks like an expensive nightmare more than civilisational collapse.

    Its hard to see an extinction level event from mineral shortages. We lived for millenia without minerals so its hard to see a extinction threat provided we get the size of global population down, stabilise per capita consumption, and recycle.

    Ecosystem destruction is already an extinction level event for some species and poses a serious threat to humanity by undermining the basics we depend upon. Its mainly caused by converting natural habitat to farmland, over population of humans, over use of pesticides and fertilisers, over tilling, and uncontrolled pollution so the solutions are somewhat self explanatory.

  26. 276

    @272:

    For this number, how many deaths after Chernobyl did you assume?

    I didn’t.  I got that number from Next Big Future, and no source was cited.  However, the number probably assumes LNT, which is an error.  The USA generated 809 TWh from nuclear power in 2019, so 0.04 fatalities per TWh means we should have seen about 32.  The actual number is indistinguishable from zero.

    and for how long do you have to safely store them before they become benign?

    Realistically, you don’t have to store them at all.  You could dissolve them in the oceans and forget about them.  We’re fastidious about them because of anti-radiation paranoia.

    Now contrast the waste products of fossil fuels.  How long do you have to store the mercury and arsenic in coal ash before it becomes benign?  Eternally.

    nuclear power helps to proliferate nuclear weapons

    Every last nuclear weapons state, with the possible exception of India, developed nuclear energy AFTER creating the bomb.  North Korea has no nuclear energy, Japan and Taiwan have no nuclear weapons.

    with a single strike you could render the enemy country uninhabitable for millenia.

    Gross exaggeration.  Have you ever seen the shield building around a nuclear reactor?  They’re built like missile silos, and they’re just as strong.  You’d have to have a nuclear explosion practically on the surface of one to do significant damage.  Further, the major radioisotope inventories just aren’t all that dangerous unless concentrated.  If they ARE concentrated, you can sweep up the concentrations and ignore the rest.

    A 3300 MW(t) reactor generates the energy-equivalent of a kiloton about every 21 minutes.  Most of the hazardous radioisotopes are short-lived, so your worst-case radiation hazard is only a few times what the bomb required to release it produces.

    Terrorists may intercept a nuclear weapon that nuclear power has helped to built in some potentially unstable countries

    And this differs from nuclear weapons that fossil fuels helped to build, how?  That’s how the USA, USSR and NK did it.

    Terrorists may intercept nuclear fuel along the way form the mine to power plant, or spent fuel rods, at the plant or during a transport elsewhere once the nuclear plant is decommissioned. And then use it as a material for a dirty bomb.

    This is pure paranoia.  Have you SEEN the casks used to store and ship spent nuclear fuel?  They are enormous, and require special transporter vehicles to move.  Any “terrorist” who pried spent fuel out of one would be an ex-terrorist by the time they were finished.

    I understand this has actually happened.  As I heard it, IRA terrorists attempted to steal some Co-60 sources to use in a plot.  The heavy sheild casings were too hard to carry, so they pulled a source out.  The man carrying it was dead in 15 minutes.  A few hundred feet away, you’d never measure any human effects.

    Since the US managed to destroy some of the Iranian nuclear equipment by planting a computer virus – I wonder if somebody could hack into the safety system of one of the reactors.

    You couldn’t do that with the old tech, because it was analog.  NuScale eliminates the hacking problem by running their systems on FPGAs, not computers.

    you calculate the damage (in lives or in money) by each of this 5 points and multiply it by the probability of its happening.

    Probabilies so small they can’t be measured, and every scenario you painted is far less attractive to non-government bad actors than much simpler, cheaper things like… flying airliners into skyscrapers.

    Then you ADD it to the human/financial cost of the building of all additional nuclear plants, operating them, decommissioning them, and transport and storage of the spent fuel in human scale “forever”.

    And then you do the same for the alternatives.

    Been done.  A wind farm requires about 10x the steel and concrete per average MW as a nuclear plant does, and the nuclear plant is likely good for a century vs. 20-25 years for wind.  There are large parts of a wind turbine that you can’t recycle, like the blades.  We’re already landfilling stuff that will NEVER break down.  What about the cost of that?

  27. 277

    #267, Killian–

    The response makes no sense. What I said was that it makes sense to undertake mitigation NOW, even though we are not at a place where many people are ready for radical simplification. This clearly does not in any way imply that I think we don’t face existential risk.

  28. 278
    Piotr says:

    Killian (255) No. You are not getting what he said. He thought something you said was attributed to me, not whether I agreed or disagreed. And he is more than capable of checking the original.

    Nice attempt at ingratiating yourself with Mike, as a “defender” of his capabilities against my contempt. But it won’t work, since:

    1. it was YOU who suggested that Mike … couldn’t figure out on his own who says what without … different fonts:
    Killian (250):” I didn’t raise that point, piotr did. The formatting got screwed up.

    2. AND, to make it better, by the same sentence it was YOU who implied that he was NOT “capable of checking the original”, after you screwed up the fonts.

    My dear Pyrrhus, a few more victories like this, and we will be annihilated.

  29. 279
    Piotr says:

    KIllian: [Piotr, Kevin, et al.:]

    10-20% losses [of animal species] PER DECADE. See, you don’t do what I do.

    Sure – neither me, Kevin, Nigel [street name: “et. al”] do CAPITALIZE words … nobody challenged.
    Nobody challenged the urgency of the problem, but only your, Killian’s, solution: your contemptuous dismissal of using carbon taxes to give advantage to less polluting technologies and consumer choices, in favour of your using taxes for “consumption destruction“.

    Your mistake was to put numbers to what you mean by your “consumption destruction”:
    Killian(257): “ More and more voices are saying what I have said for ten years: 90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes, and, globally, that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations. ”

    See a number I could respond with numbers, showing why “it will be not enough, not even close” Piotr (263):
    “To stabilize CO2 at current level we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 70-80%, MORE if we want to reduce CO2 to reasonable level, AND EVEN MORE if your change does not happen immediately and we have to bring down CO2 from higher levels than today.

    But you CAN’T possibly get there by targeting ONLY the rich countries – since Europe, North America and Oceania _combined_ emit only slightly above 1/3 (36%) of global GHG emissions. So the majority of the cuts would still have to come from the rest of the world.”
    =====

    See, the numbers! You can’t live with them, you can’t wiggle out of them – by changing the subject, bringing up you glorious past or lighting up the sky with your brilliant wit (“ No shit, Sherlocks? LOL… Yeah”).
    No, you can disprove numbers only with numbers, by proving my numbers wrong.

    So put your numbers where your mouth is, Killian: show how “destroying” 90% of the consumptions of N.America, Europe and Oceania, which produce 36% of global GHGs,
    will reduce our global emissions by 70-80% or more if actually want to reduce
    atm. conc. to safer levels.

    And as before:
    “Ironically, the only thing that could possibly save YOUR argument, are the dismissed by you … revenue-neutral carbon taxes. Used to support lower-GHG technologies and lower-GHG consumer choices, they would make our consumption less GHG-intense and therefore slow the increase of CO2. This, in turn, would give more time for ecosystems to adjust to climate change reduce the probability of the run-away climate change. And with more GHG-effective consumption and smaller atm. CO2 to bring down – the % of consumption reduction does not to have to be as deep as in your world.

    Then again – your response to carbon taxes used it this way was:
    There is nothing of use on this post.
    Killian (257)

  30. 280
    Killian says:

    263 Piotr:
    20 Jan 2021 at 11:34 PM

    Killian(257): “ More and more voices are saying what I have said for ten years: 90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes, and, globally, that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations. ”

    It will be not enough, not even close.

    Excuse me? You are proposing smaller reductions, but 90% is not enough?

    Here is why: To stabilize CO2 at current level we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 70-80%, MORE if we want to reduce CO2 to reasonable level

    So, again, I said 90, you said 70-80, but my number is inadequate?

    You’re barking words here.

    AND EVEN MORE if your change does not happen immediately

    More is a given. But the issue here is yearly emissions, not total. We need to get to negative yearly. No matter what, it will take time. Even in an idealized scenario (although, if you could get everyone to understand it, very simple to do and be at negative emissions within 5 years… *or less*), you’re looking at 5 to ten years to get to negative emissions if we want a relatively gentle downshift. So… more is a given.

    But you CAN’T possibly get there by targeting ONLY the rich countries

    “roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations.” does not equal “only targeting the rich countries.” In fact, even thinking country by country is nonsense; there are rich and poor in all countries and the correct approach is to target the wealthy regardless of nation. THAT SAID, the overall systemic change will be greatest in the “rich” countries because they are the furthest from sustainability and simplicity.

    Ironically, the only thing that could possibly save YOUR argument

    You do not know my argument, based on this post. You’ve gotten it pretty much wrong. For one thing, how did you get it on your head my sole platform was to reduce emissions? It’s nonsensical. It’s something a neophyte might suggest, not a long-time climate campaigner and permaculturist who developed the Regenerative Governance model.

    are the dismissed by you

    This is false.

    revenue-neutral carbon taxes.

    I was a proponent of T&D before I ever heard Hansen talk about it, but one day the consumption-boosting aspect of it occurred to me and from that point on I realized it was not going to be useful as a primary response, and there is a real danger in it cementing in place a large amount of consumption we need to end ASAP. Still, anything we might consider might have some utility, fill a niche, but making C tax/div. the core of a policy would be a massive error.

    Used to support lower-GHG technologies and lower-GHG consumer choices, they would make our consumption less GHG-intense AND therefore slow the increase of CO2.

    Sure. As I wrote maybe 12 years ago. At the time, T&D wasn’t a thing I was aware of. I suggested gov’t grants to every household. Later, T&D came to my attention and it’s a simple shift from grants to dividends for funding. I’ve written about it on these pages multiple times. Use T&D to fund localized (DIY preferred) buildout of renewables.

    http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2008/03/build-out-grid-vs-household-towards.html

    This, in turn, would give more time for ecosystems to adjust to climate change

    If you think slowing emissions a little = giving ecosystems significant time to adjust, you’re not understanding the problem. It’s still mere decades to adapt vs tens of thousands to millions of years. This is a moot point because the effect would be tiny.

    reduce the probability of the run-away climate change.

    Same as above. Again, with the results of recent papers and analyses, we’re looking at over 2C just from what’s already in the atmosphere. This is an excellent argument for rapid simplification. And COVID shows the “Can’t be done!” claims are just the projections of those saying it.

    AND with more GHG-effective consumption and smaller atm. CO2 to bring down –
    the % of consumption reduction does not to have to be as deep as in your world.

    Wrong. This is getting the risk all wrong: You don’t know where the tipping points are. You don’t know if there is *any* time left, let alone many decades, or even a century.

    I will illustrate the latter in separate post.

    No, you won’t. You’ll try, but as we see from the above, your arguments are based on assumptions of things I didn’t say, assumptions of risk that may be very, very optimistic, etc.

    As for the rest of your post, I see only misreadings / misrepresentations of my arguments and then lecturing me on what you think I said. Have I missed something?

    Yes. I mean, there’s more, but it’s kinda hilarious you lecturing me on something I wrote, and posted here on, 10~12 years ago, don’t you think?

  31. 281
    Killian says:

    277 Kevin McKinney:
    21 Jan 2021 at 11:13 PM

    #267, Killian–

    The response makes no sense. What I said was that it makes sense to undertake mitigation NOW, even though we are not at a place where many people are ready for radical simplification. This clearly does not in any way imply that I think we don’t face existential risk.

    If you think we have time for incremental approaches, then you think there is no, or very low, risk. You have never argued for nor supported rapid simplification, Kevin, so far from not making sense, what I said was completely accurate. Anyone can claim, “Well, we should do *SOMETHING!*” is a legit climate stance, but it’s just bloviating. Sure, do *something,* as I have long advocated (Appropriate Technologies, Bridge Technologies, anyone?), just don’t conflate that with a viable solution set. And that is my argument in a nutshell: 1. You don’t have a comprehensive solution set and 2. what you do advocate suggests you consider risks far enough into the future to risk incremental change.

    Perhaps you’d outline some detail on your solution set and timeline to hot regenerative conditions, or point me to one elsewhere?

  32. 282
    Killian says:

    278 Piotr:
    22 Jan 2021 at 12:09 AM

    Nice attempt at ingratiating yourself with Mike

    This kind of shit is why I have not engaged you in the past.

  33. 283

    BPL: Based on the assumption that all deaths from radiation leaks and unplanned releases are zero.

    E-P: There is no reason to assume otherwise. Studies of natural high-radiation areas like Kerala, Ramsar, Guarapari and Colorado show no negative effects.

    BPL: Right, people don’t move in and out of Colorado or the other cities mentioned. You didn’t control for permanent residency, did you?

  34. 284

    E-P 273: A study of Navy shipyards found better health among the nuclear workers than the rest.

    BPL: Dueling studies. Let’s see, 8 plants workers contaminated at the Manhattan Project, 9 injured at Sylvania Electric Projects Metallurgy Atomic Research Center in 1956, 8 plant workers contaminated at Sequoyah Unit 1 in 1981, 45 plants workers contaminated at Tsuruga power plant in 1981, 35 plant workers contaminated at Tokaimura power plant in 1997. How many wind power workers have been contaminated with radioactive material?

    Then there are the dead ones: 4 at the Manhattan Project, 1 at Los Alamos in 1958, 3 at SL-1 in 1961… that one was interesting, since it was probably sabotage. How many wind turbines have been fatally sabotaged? 8 dead in submarine K-19 in 1961 (they were “naval”), 1 dead at Charlottestown in 1964, 2 dead in Surry Unit 2 in 1972, 2 dead in a Czech plant in 1976, 2 dead in K386 in 1976 (“naval” again), 10 dead in K13 in 1985 (naval), and, of course, Chernobyl. Best estimate now is 56 prompt deaths and 4,000 since the accident.

  35. 285

    E-P parodies himself: “The man carrying it was dead in 15 minutes. A few hundred feet away, you’d never measure any human effects.”

  36. 286
  37. 287

    E-P, #273–

    The man has abilities, but chooses not to use them when inconvenient for his argument. [Yet another] case in point:

    It takes a 1% increase in fact-ramping generation capacity to support just a 0.88% increase in “renewables”…

    Note how categorical, how precise that sounds, and how free of caveat or nuance. It must be an immutable law of nature!

    But follow the link, and what do you find? This:

    The researchers analyze data on the installed capacity of renewable energy, including solar, wind, geothermal, ocean/tide/wave, and biomass, in 26 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries between 1990 and 2013. All other things equal, more renewable sources were installed in those countries with fast-reacting fossil fuel plants available to compensate for supply variability. A one percentage point increase in the share of fast-reacting fossil generation capacity in a country is associated, on average, with a 0.88 percentage point increase in the long-run share of renewable energy.

    So, short versions:

    Research: Between 1990 and 2013, OECD countries studied installed, on average, 0.88% RE for every 1% fast-ramping backup.

    E-P: The proportion of RE installed is limited to 0.88% of fast-ramping backup.

    These are not equivalent statements. In fact, “on average” implies that in a considerable proportion of cases studied, this supposed limit was exceeded!

    Then there’s the small problem that the study period opened 31 years ago, and closed 8 years ago. Even the 8 years ago is a very, very long time in the context of the development of RE and especially the deployment of battery storage.

    Contrast this:

    Although once considered the missing link for high levels of grid-tied renewable electricity, stationary energy storage is no longer seen as a barrier, but rather a real opportunity to identify the most cost-effective technologies for increasing grid reliability, resilience, and demand management.

    As I and others have already shown repeatedly on these very threads, battery storage, often integrated with wind or solar generation farms, is now displacing peakers across a considerable (and rapidly growing) portion of the world. And it’s doing it on economic grounds. We’re actually in a virtuous circle in this respect: as deployment increases–“explodes” would actually be fair–the increased scale drives down costs, which in turn increases deployment. (That’s not to say that policy is irrelevant, of course. We still need to do more, and luckily, there’s every reason to think we can. And, with the new Administration, will, in the US and perhaps internationally as well.)

  38. 288

    Claim: “Wind turbine blades can’t be recycled.”

    Reality: Wind turbine blades present considerable challenges to recycle, and so largely haven’t been–yet.

    #1: But “largely” doesn’t mean that they aren’t being recycled at all:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-wind-turbine-blades-could-be-recycled-instead-of-landfilled/

    https://resource-recycling.com/plastics/2019/03/27/company-expands-wind-turbine-recycling-operation/

    https://energynews.us/2020/02/20/midwest/wind-turbine-blade-recycler-trying-to-fit-the-pieces-together-at-iowa-factory/

    [I especially like the sound of this next one, as it evinces a lifecycle approach involving the turbine manufacturer with planning for end-of-life disposal, apparently involves a more significant scale of operations, and also displaces some energy- & carbon-intensive steps in cement-making.]

    https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/2020/12/08/ge-and-veolia-team-up-to-provide-wind-turbine-blade-recycling/#gref

    #2: Of course, recycling is just one of the “Rs”:

    https://www.re-wind.info/update/2020/12/17/wind-blades-arrive-at-cork-institute-of-technology-for-pedestrian-bridge-bladebridge-construction

    [A nascent application still, but there could be considerable potential for repurposed blades. I think that a key to reuse concepts in this and other areas might be socio-economic rather than technical–that is, finding and implementing financial mechanisms to enable re-users to capture the value of the full avoided costs of landfilling valuable materials.]

    #3: It’s also possible that blades could be made recyclable from the get-go:

    https://energypost.eu/recyclable-wind-turbine-blades-thermoplastic-next-generation/

    (Ignore the multiple iterations of the “can’t” meme.)

    [In general, it amazes me that some folks are willing to impute a near-total ability of engineering to solve problems with some power technologies, while simultaneously assuming its utter impotence to deal with issues in other technologies.]

  39. 289
    Piotr says:

    prl (264) On revenue-neutrality of carbon taxes – that didn’t save the carbon tax introduced by the Gillard Labor government in Australia in 2011, though it wasn’t revenue-neutral in the way that Piotr @235 suggested: ‘refund cheques to each household with BIG letters “Carbon Tax Refund” ‘

    Sorry to hear it. And that’s why I stress that the revenue-neutrality, like justice, not only has to done, but also be seen to be done… Nobody will connect their pain at the pump (and in Canada – oil companies itemize taxes on the gas receipt), with the fact that collected carbon taxes a year later were used to drop a % point on your annual tax form.I have even suggested that when tax is introduced – every family should get a preliminary tax cheque, for the next year (or quarter), so they don’t face the situation that they pay now, but have to wait to see how much they were refunded later.

    Otherwise, carbon tax quickly falls a victim to the misinformation campaign
    equating it with tax grab the hard working families cannot afford, pushed
    by cynical politicians (who know better, but do it nevertheless) and well funded by the vested interests of the powerful fossil fuel lobby, whose entire business model is based on externalizing costs/risks (dumping GHGs into the atmosphere for free).

  40. 290
    Piotr Trela says:

    E-P: Nuclear is about 4x as safe (0.04 deaths/TWh) as runner-up wind (0.15)

    BPL: @269:Based on the assumption that all deaths from radiation leaks and unplanned releases are zero.

    E-P: There is no reason to assume otherwise.

    – What said the brochure for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, USSR, before the “unplanned release” ?

    Alex, I’ll take: “They Learned Nothing From History” for $200.

  41. 291
    mike says:

    “None of the world’s challenges loom as large as climate change, the United Nations chief told a major climate action summit on Tuesday, reiterating his belief that global warming poses an “existential threat” to humanity.” from
    UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, May 2018.

    “International Energy Agency estimates that 2017 investments in renewable electricity amounted to $242 billion, said the UN chief, that was still far less than the funds invested in new fossil fuel development. Billions of dollars more needs to be invested in renewables if we are to see a “full-scale transition to clean energy” by 2020, said Mr. Guterres.

    Moreover, some 75 per cent of the infrastructure needed by 2050 has still not been built.

    The above from here: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/05/1009782

    If you can’t see climate change as an existential crisis, you may be looking in the wrong places. I am thinking that a lot of petroleum industry science and publications will help you if you are seeking confirmation of climate change as nothing more than a mild to moderate increase in mortality in some regions. That still assumes that you think it’s reasonable for some regions to incur mild to moderate increase in mortality. This strikes me as neocolonial thinking. I understand that it sounds right to folks who have found a way to embrace neocolonial thinking, I am just not one of those people.

    So, let’s think this through… The UN Secretary General is talking about climate change as an existential threat and some comfortable first world folks on the internet are saying, not it’s probably not that bad. Hmmm… I am going with the Sec Gen, thanks.

    Here is a link to more current ideas on global warming from Gutteres:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-13/un-tells-world-leaders-to-declare-states-of-climate-emergency/12978646
    World leaders should declare states of “climate emergency” in their countries to spur action to avoid catastrophic global warming, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told a climate summit…

    “Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?” Mr Guterres said via video in his opening remarks.

    “That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a state of climate emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.”

    I think Guterres has this figured out correctly.

    Cheers

    Mike

  42. 292
    Piotr Trela says:

    Killian (282) Piotr(278): Nice attempt at ingratiating yourself with Mike
    This kind of shit is why I have not engaged you in the past.

    How …convenient after you just modestly … deleted your own words that precipitated my comment, and then deleted my proof of your hypocrisy:

    ==== beginning of Killian’s deletion ===============
    Killian(255) to me: “ [Mike] is more than capable of checking the original.

    Piotr(278): [Nice attempt at ingratiating yourself with Mike,] as a “defender” of his capabilities against my contempt. But it won’t work, since:

    1. it was YOU who suggested that Mike … couldn’t figure out on his own who says what without … different fonts: Killian (250):”I didn’t raise that point, piotr did. The formatting got screwed up.

    2. AND, to make it better, by the same sentence it was YOU who implied that Mike was NOT “capable of checking the original” after you screwed up the fonts.

    My dear Pyrrhus, a few more victories like this, and we will be annihilated.
    ========= end of Killian’s deletion ===================

  43. 293
    Piotr says:

    Killian(257): “ More and more voices are saying what I have said for ten years: 90% reduction in consumption for the highest-consuming classes, and, globally, that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations.

    Piotr(263) It will be not enough, not even close.

    Killina: “Excuse me? You are proposing smaller reductions, but 90% is not enough?”

    Learn to read, please. These are % reductions of DIFFERENT things!

    Piotr(263): Here is why: To stabilize CO2 at current level we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 70-80%, MORE if we want to reduce CO2 to reasonable level

    So, again, I said 90, you said 70-80, but my number is inadequate?

    So again, please learn to read.
    I say: “To stabilize atm. CO2 at current level we need 70-80% to reduce CO2 emissions”.
    You say that can achieve it ONLY by taxing the rich:
    90% reduction in consumption by the highest-consuming nations./i> ”

    To which I answered:
    “you CAN’T possibly get there [to 70-80% of the CO2 emissions cut] by targeting ONLY the rich countries – since Europe, North America and Oceania _combined_ emit only slightly above 1/3 (36%) of global GHG emissions”

    In other words: 0.9*36% = 32%. And 32% < 70-80%

    and I continued: "So the majority of the cuts would still have to come from the rest of the world."

    And this was my proof of my opening statement that you can stabilize Co2 conc.
    with a 90% cut to the consumption of only rich countries :

    " high-consuming countries” “will be not enough, not even close”.

    But, please, do lecture me:
    Excuse me? You are proposing smaller reductions, but 90% is not enough?
    So, again, I said 90, you said 70-80, but my number is inadequate?”
    You’re barking words here.

  44. 294
    nigelj says:

    prl (264) “On revenue-neutrality of carbon taxes – that didn’t save the carbon tax introduced by the Gillard Labor government in Australia in 2011, though it wasn’t revenue-neutral in the way that Piotr @235 suggested: ‘refund cheques to each household with BIG letters “Carbon Tax Refund”

    The real picture appears a little bit different. I cant find any evidence it was a revenue neutral carbon tax and dividend scheme, in any way, shape, or form. However I don’t have all day and stand to be corrected, if someone can provide a link.

    However you are right to the extent there was a carbon tax. The main reason for the failure of the Australian carbon tax was not really the tax as such. Political leader Julia Gillard had promised no carbon tax before the general election, and when her party was elected they went back on that promise and introduced a carbon tax. Her party got voted out , and I recall the political commentary at the time attributed this in large part to the broken promise, not so much the tax itself and its effects.

    The incoming centre right government abolished the carbon tax and moved to an ETS for what appear to be ideological reasons.

    Details and timeline below:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-10/carbon-tax-timeline/5569118

    The carbon tax did achieve good results:

    https://www.carbontax.org/blog/2020/01/07/australias-brief-shining-carbon-tax/

  45. 295
    nigelj says:

    Mike @291
    “If you can’t see climate change as an existential crisis, you may be looking in the wrong places. I am thinking that a lot of petroleum industry science and publications will help you if you are seeking confirmation of climate change as nothing more than a mild to moderate increase in mortality in some regions.”

    I think you might have misinterpreted what I said. Please read what I said again: “But I don’t think there is an existential threat to humanity IF (my emphasis) we take an incremental approach to mitigating climate change ( the general targets and mitigation strategies in the paris accord and IPCC).” So in other words provided we mitigate the problem in that middle ground sort of way I don’t think there would be an existential crisis. If we don’t mitigate the problem at all, or only with the current rather inadequate measures, there could very well be an existential crisis. I don’t see it wiping out humanity, but I think there could be a huge increase in mortality in tropical countries, just for a start.

  46. 296
    Linley says:

    #276 engineer-poet

    This comment is really a request for opinions and information.

    I noted in comment 276 it was mentioned that it requires 10 times the concrete and steel per unit of energy for a wind farm than a nuclear plant. I think I have seen this figure before. If electricity generation is based around wind and solar then there also needs to be batteries and/or hydrogen generation etc, so even more materials.

    With all these materials it seems logical that a lot of energy will be needed to mine, smelt, process, transport, manufacture, construct, maintain, dispose and recycle.

    Yet, when I read studies of how a country’s energy profile may look in the future I have never seen an increase in energy needs to run the energy systems. I did see one figure that 7% of the energy in the US is currently used to build and run the energy systems. Intuitively then, 10 (or more) times the materials suggests 10 (or more) times the energy to build and run. This would suggest an increase in total energy needs in the US of 50 to 100 %.

    I know what I have said is ridiculously simplistic but it is hard to believe that the energy needs to build and run all this material can be ignored.

    Can anyone throw any light on this?

  47. 297
    Piotr says:

    Piotr(263) : ” Ironically, the only thing that could possibly save YOUR argument, are the dismissed by you … revenue-neutral carbon taxes. I will illustrate the latter in separate post.”

    Killian(280): “No, you won’t”

    And yet – I do:

    Scenario 1: Killian’s solution: we don’t use taxes to make the consumption less GHG intense (Killian: “There is nothing of use [in the post arguing for such use of carbon taxes”). Instead, we use taxes to “ destroy consumption“. Specifically “90% reduction in consumption by the highest-consuming classes that roughly also equates to the highest-consuming nations.

    As shown before: North America + Europe + Oceania make up 36% of the GHG emissions. With Killiam’s “destruction” of 90% consumption, this gives us a 32% reduction in GHG emissions. So in the REMAINING regions we have to cut 74% of their consumption (0.9*36% + 0.74*64% = 80%).
    If we needed to reduce CO2 to safer levels, we would need deeper cuts in global GHG emissions, say to 90% – then the “rest of the world” countries would have to cut their consumption not by 74%, but by 82.5%. I.e. Africa, Latin America and Asia would have to live on 17.5% of their previous income.

    Scenario 2. My “There is nothing of use” argument: using carbon taxes to support lower-GHG technologies and lower-GHG consumer choices, so they make our consumption less GHG-intense AND therefore slow the increase of CO2. Lower-GHG consumption means lower accumulation of CO2 in the atm, so perhaps instead of reducing our emission by 85% to quicker reduce the higher level of CO2 in scenario 1, perhaps we could get away with a lower (80%?) reduction in the emission.
    The other part is that scenario 2 consumption is more GHG-efficient than the one in scenario 1. Say the for the same GHG emission I can produce TWICE as much consumption as in scenario 1. In other words, allowed GHG emissions for “the rest of the world” instead giving their people 26% of original consumption, gives
    them instead 52%.

    So my asking people of Africa, Asia and Latin America to reduce their consumption by 52% compared to today may still a big task, but it least their first instinct would not be to put my head on a pike if I asked them to reduce their consumption to 26%, and probably make their children starve, to fix the problem that has been largely produced by the rich people of Europe and N. America.

    Piotr
    ====
    P.S. Changing after the fact your argument from “nations” to “people” won’t get Killian out the pickle either. I will show it in a separate post.
    And to save us time:
    – “ No, you won’t
    – Yes, I will. Watch me.

  48. 298

    Killian, #281–

    No, I’m not advocating an “incremental” approach. I’m advocating for doing as much mitigation as possible, as quickly as possible–not waiting for an awakening that may not come until far too late.

    And no, I don’t have a Grand Plan. In fact, with a crisis this complex and extensive, there never will be one that covers all the ground, still less gets implemented. Mitigation will inevitably be a bit of a muddle, with differing approaches in many different jurisdictions.

    As far as strategies go, I have my thoughts. But I doubt there’s anything remarkable or surprising about them. I think we should:

    –Accelerate the decarbonization of the grid, primarily through accelerated deployment of RE and energy storage
    –Decarbonize agriculture
    –Electrify transport to the extent possible, and find non-fossil solutions where electrification isn’t practical
    –Increase energy and material use efficiency
    –Structure financial incentives around decarbonization (eg, carbon taxes and the like)
    –Reduce barriers to decarbonization around the world, whether social or financial
    –End the culture of disposability and consumerism

    The last is deeply connected to simplification, as best as can I understand it. I put it last not as an indeicator of importance, but because I think it’s a dep cultural change that’s apt to take quite a while to accomplish. In fact, it’s likely a generational project.

    Of course, that could change with a massive social crash, which would *force* simplification on everyone, ready or not. But I think that would be a suboptimal solution.

  49. 299
    nigelj says:

    I think that if we were to try to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions by relying purely on massive (eg 70 – 90 %) reductions in consumption this would be crippling on low and middle income people and resisted by high income people. I think this is all virtually self evident. I think you might get 20 reductions in consumption, just intuitively, as an average number. However some products are higher carbon than others so that is a consideration as well.

    The world will have to make up the other 80% by relying on renewable energy ( and a bit of nuclear power maybe) and developing low carbon products and negative emissions strategies and 80% suggests all this will have to be robust. Carbon taxes help propel all those processes. Dont know why all this wouldn’t almost be self evident either.

    Want to disagree? Show me a plan on how you convince people to make truly massive cuts to consumption. Telling them climate change is a really, really, serious issue hasnt worked to date. Telling them that we could run out of resources so should conserve what we have left is worth trying, because the problem is real, but its a relatively distant problem unlikely to impact them much personally, and so it could be hard to motivate them.

    The whole over consumption thing is a real headache to resolve. The standard answers I see posted on general media websites are recycle and get size of population down and live in smaller houses. Perhaps these are not wrong. They are practical things that can actually save money in some cases, making them attractive, assuming living in smaller homes doesnt translate into buying more consumer products.

    I know I hammer the more practical application side of the issues.

  50. 300
    Piotr says:

    Linley (296) If electricity generation is based around wind and solar then there also needs to be batteries and/or hydrogen generation etc, so even more materials.

    Nuclear energy would need it storage too. The demand for power vary quite considerably during 24-hrs, and between days of the week and between seasons.

    So unless you have built large overgeneration (which is a form of expensive material-waste and fuel-waste) – then you would need storage for the energy surplus during the low demand and to release it during the high demand. Looking at https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42915 it seems that daily peak-low are about 20% of average load in January and 60% in July. The demand is the highest during day and then drops at night.

    Damn, if we only had some power source, which produced more energy during day and was especially effective in summer … ;-)

    And since July power consumption is higher – you would have to gear your storage to meet the July’s peaks. And the the damnedest thing, this is also precisely the time of the year when the nuclear and coal power output typically … drops, just when you need it the most:

    France has been forced to temporarily shut down four nuclear reactors as soaring temperatures hit the region, energy company EDF said […] to keep the plant from overheating the nearby river.

    I can already see our Poet countering: screw the fish! But in Poland, where I am sad to say, they would often share this sentiment, their coal-power plants also had to shut down or reduce generation during a heat wave – not because they wanted to save the fish, but because:
    1. the volume of water in the river dropped, so there was not enough water to use
    2.the temperature of the water that was used was much higher – making the power plants less effective

    And all that – at the precise time when the power demand was as its peak – with all the air-condition running at max. You know, “heat wave”.

    But let’s hope that under climate change the average temperatures will drop, and heat waves and droughts become a thing of the past! Particularly, if we offer them as main energy source to the Third World countries – renown for their blood-freezing temps.