RealClimate logo


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. 401

    P: this _should_ have been answered by epidemiological studies

    E-P 387: THEY’VE BEEN DONE. The problem, if you want to call it a problem, is that the results contradict the reigning LNT dogma, so people work very hard to find ways to ignore them.

    BPL: Except when they find higher cancer rates around nuclear plants, such as the work of Ernest Sternglass, in which case it’s the nuclear advocates who ignore them.

  2. 402
    mike says:

    at Piotr at 396: Your thoughts match with what I was thinking about with the idea of floating solar on lakes. This is already an environment that has been disturbed to produce energy. The hydro electric system in place means there is existing infrastructure to wheel power from the location out to consumers, so it seems like an idea that has some inherent efficiencies and attractions.

    I think it makes sense to be careful about this secondary development of the impounded river to maximize the biological characteristics of the disturbed river/lake system, but it seems like a reasonable idea to me.

    Cheers

    Mike

  3. 403
    David B. Benson says:

    Regarding low-level ionization radiation dose rate, see my earlier #390.

  4. 404
    David B. Benson says:

    Mike @394 — at least one thousand people who were too frail to be moved then died in the forced Fukushima evacuation. Everybody could just have stayed inside; that would have sufficed.

    Barry Brook wrote extensively about Fukushima dai-ichi on
    Brave New Climate
    which is distinct from
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/

  5. 405
    mike says:

    Out of a sense of fair play, I give nuclear folks a listen occasionally. DBB’s take on Fukushima is not credible. Barry Brook?

    Tas Uni academic Barry Brook’s university webpage (see the Career tab, under “Awards and Prizes”) says that in 2005 he was listed as one of the “2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century” by the International Biographical Centre (IBC). But the IBC is a zero-credibility, money-making operation.

    The WA Government’s Dept of Commerce ‘ScamNet’ website states: “The material promoting the International Biographical Centre creates a false impression about the credentials of the organisation. It also wrongly implies that the receiver of the letter has been picked through a special research process considering their work and qualifications.”

    If there was any doubt about the IBC’s illegitimacy, one of Brook’s academic colleagues nominated a squeaky toy lobster and Prof. Lobster was accepted for inclusion as one of the ‘2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century’.

    https://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/barry-brook-bravenewclimate

    Here is a WHO link regarding Fukushima:

    https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/fukushima_report_20130228/en/

    Cheers

    Mike

  6. 406
    nigelj says:

    “Here is a WHO link regarding Fukushima:”

    https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/fukushima_report_20130228/en/

    This is a good source, but still comes across to me as indicating rather low increase in cancer risk even for people in the worst affected inner zone, apart from Thyroid cancer risk.

    all solid cancers – around 4% in females exposed as infants;

    breast cancer – around 6% in females exposed as infants;

    leukaemia – around 7% in males exposed as infants;

    thyroid cancer – up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%).

    For comparison purposes, I recalled some discussion last year about increased risks of bowell cancer from eating processed meats (eg salami) and I found this: “But it said the risk rises with the amount consumed — each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.” Doctors recommend a diet that is low in processed meat.

    From memory I think red meat also has a bowel cancer risk of about 5%. The medical people where I live advise a diet low in red meat consumption, but not avoiding it alltogether.

    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/link-red-meat-cancer-need-know/

    I mean obviously nuclear accidents are seriously concerning, scary as hell, but there does seem to be a lot of poor understanding of the risk levels.

  7. 407
    Piotr says:

    E-P: “Piotr let forth with the most ignorant statement I’ve ever seen here.

    You are right – my bringing up the radioactive decay in my auxiliary explanation was wrong. Worse still, it distracted from the point I was making. And worse still I didn’t need to talk about it at all! ;-) Talk about self-inflicted wound.

    Here is why: the subject of this discussion was whether it makes sense to build nukes as a BACKUP for wind. I argued against, since if you spent so much money just to build them, then it does not make much ECONOMIC sense to reduce the electrical out of the plant, when wind blows.

    To which David answered: Pressurized light water reactors can be controlled from 20% to maximum and reverse, sufficiently quickly to track wind power variation

    I pointed that this is (an 80%) reduction in electrical OUTPUT, not (80%) reduction in COSTS. So the ONLY way to make economical sense would be IF the difference in costs between producing 20% and 100% of max electricity WAS MUCH LARGER than the CONSTANT costs, which have to be covered REGARDLESS whether you produce 20% or 100% of your max. electricity.

    These CONSTANT costs include:
    1. initial costs: building, decommissioning, cost of financing, etc.
    2. the constant part of the operating costs.

    Heck, I don’t think I even need “2.” – since nukes are typically described as
    “expensive to build but cheap to run”.

    But just in case, if David’s nukes were the opposite, i.e. much more expensive to run than to build, decommission and finance ;-), then I could dash his hopes with words from his fellow nuclear enthusiast:
    Engineering-Poet: “ it’s true that nuclear plants don’t get any benefit from turning their output down“.
    With friends like this, who needs enemies… ;-)

  8. 408
    Piotr says:

    mike (402) – the existing hydro not only provides existing infrastructure to wheel power – but can also be used as backup – you run water over the turbines at night
    when the floating panels don’t work.
    So your _existing_ hydro, in addition to being a source, also doubles up as the storage. And you get this storage without spending money and resources, which you would have if you built the storage for new solar from scratch.
    No wonder Killian immediately rejected it… ;-)

  9. 409
    Killian says:

    I wasn’t going to go there, but…

    1. The article does not say 1% of the surface of each, it says 1% of reservoirs. 1% of each would be highly inefficient.

    2. Why on reservoirs at all? Roofs are the best place for solar panels. This is a solution creating a problem rather than a problem getting a solution.

    3. Every dam in the world should be destroyed, yet they are building 50 MORE? The ecosystem is massively disrupted by them. So, again, we are solving a problem by destroying the planet. Stupid.

    4. Hydroelectric dams are in no way, shape, or form renewable.

    So, let’s all just start at #3 and stop wasting time discussing maladaptive bullshit, eh?

  10. 410
    Killian says:

    395 mike says:
    30 Jan 2021 at 5:53 PM

    at K at 393: are you thinking that sunlight reduction would cause the lakes to die because of placement of solar panels (aka solar on a boat).

    I skimmed the article and there was discussion that suggested 1% coverage options that penciled out. Almost anywhere we deploy solar we have to consider the loss of sunlight below the panels. That’s just a fact.

    Yeah, I responded. 1% might not cause much harm and, theoretically, could be beneficial to a small local community. That’s a local solution, so fine. But creating these things to feed into a regional grid is not so useful.

    More so, as you note above, my #3 in my previous post covers the real reason this is a stupid idea. Some on natural lakes? Sure. For local consumption. But, again, why not rooves…?

  11. 411
    David B. Benson says:

    mike @405 — you have been taken in by Friends of the Earth, an organization devoted to opposed nuclear power. FOE even hired an Australian associate to go around opposing nuclear power in Australia.
    Barry Brook is a perfectly competent environmental scientist, irrespective of the paid-for slurs.

    As for the WHO study, I assume that LNT was used to form the estimates. This is an example of bad statistics; I previously gave a link to a BNC Discussion Forum page on the matter.

  12. 412
    David B. Benson says:

    mike @405 — Here is some background reading for you:
    https://atomicinsights.com/h-j-muller/
    Muller invented LNT.

  13. 413
    Killian says:

    Can soil carbon really be the solution to Climate Change?

    If anything, it’s even easier than I thought.

    Some useful numbers:

    1 hectare’s top 4-6 inches/10-15 cm can hold 450 tons of SOM (Soil Organic Matter) or 320 tons carbon drawn down from 1,200 tons of atmospheric CO2.

    1 ton of soil carbon = 3.75 tons of CO2

    Increasing 1.6% SOM globally could sequester all our excess atmospheric carbon. – Robyn Francis, 2015

    895 million hectares of arable land

    1ppm CO2 = 2.13 gt > 7.82 gt CO2

    1 gt: 1,000,000,000 tons

    417ppm – 260 ppm = 157 ppm to be removed.

    157 ppm x 2.13 gt = 334.41 gt

    On average, 1 cubic meter of soil = 2 tons
    1 hectare = 10,000 sq meters

    ========

    Need some help with math, which I am utterly unskilled at. I’m watching a video of Robyn Francis from 2015 where she lays out some soil sequestration data. Problem is, at a key point she says “excess carbon” and I do not know whether that means per year or the total excess in the atmosphere so I can’t estimate my results’ accuracy. Another problem is she says “increase soil carbon by 1.6%…” but percents only have meaning if you know the current content. So…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzBm-xisIts&t=1708s

    I want to know how to calculate how much carbon we have to sequester per hectare to get from where we are (around 417~418 ppm this May, most likely) down to 260ppm.

    Calculation I
    33,441,000,0000 tons / 895,000,000 hectares = 373 tons per hectare.

    157 ppm x 7.82 gt CO2 = 1,227.74 gt CO2

    1,227,740,000,000 tons / 895 hectares = 1,371 tons per hectare

    bamboo = 250 tons C of carbon per hectare

    So… about two crops of bamboo per hectare, or the equivalent, to get back to 260ppm?

    Check my math, folks. Her #s are at about minute 28.

    Calculation II

    On average, 1 cubic meter of soil = 2 tons

    1 hectare = 10,000 sq meters

    1.6% of 4000 lbs is 64 lbs.

    64 x 10,000 = 640,000

    640,000 / 2,000 = 320 tons SOM per hectare

    320 tons x 895 million hectares = 286.4 billion tons

    286.4 billion tons / 2.13gt = 134.46 ppm.

    I think Robin is calculating to a higher ppm than I am, and/or we are about 12 to 14 ppm higher now than 6 years ago. I figure we need about 1.8% added SOM per cubic meter of soil to get to 260 ppm and get enough cooling to avoid serious consequences.

    1.8% of 4000 lbs is 72 lbs.
    72 x 10,000 = 720,000

    720,000 / 2,000 = 360 tons SOM per hectare

    360 tons x 895 million hectares = 322.2 billion tons

    322.2 billion tons / 2.13 gt = 151.267 ppm.

    It can’t just be 72 lbs of organic matter, can it? THAT easy to save… everything? Of course, we need to either account for the @ 5ht/yr excess, too, or reduce consumption to lower that number.

    Some of you may recall I claimed we could potentially reduce atmospheric by up to 5ppm/year if we maximized sequestration from all possible methods. That was a really rough estimation that I don’t even recall the calculation for. But, yeah, unless my math is really, really off – and it likely is, eh? – we could theoretically, if we wanted to grow bamboo on every hectare of arable land, grow two full crops in ten years, turn it into bio-char, etc., and be down to 260 ppm.

    Mind you, this is only arable land. It includes no reforestation, no afforestation, no nothing. Not even reduced emissions. JUST adding SOM by 1.8% per cubic meter. Imagine if we actually decided to have a haelthy regeneratively simple society on top of this? Of to have all those acres plus home gardens/community gardens, etc?

    There are farmers who have documented adding 1% SOM/year. If we trained all farmers to do that we have no climate change in… 2 years?!

    So, stop talking nuclear or solar or wind to save us all and get with the regenerative food systems/regeneration of natural systems program. (But check my math first.)

  14. 414
    Piotr says:

    E-P: “renewables” (wind and solar) lock in fossil fuel consumption.
    Killian: No, they reduce it.
    E-P(397) “ That depends. Let me take you on a little trip down memory lane. Remember this post from the “trillions of trees” thread back in 2019?

    No need to go that far back – in Jun-2020 you have made similar claims and I questioned FIVE of your assumptions underlying similar claims – see post (1) in https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2020/06/forced-responses-jun-2020/
    Each of these 5 points were specific and falsifiable – so our Poet announced …
    E-P: “ I note that you have no specific objections to my conclusions; it’s all hand-waving.

    … and then went on to dismiss the capacity of hydro to provide BACKUP, by pointing that hydro is too small to provide … BASELOAD of the US. ;-) After my several attempts to explain to our ENGINEER the difference between the BACKUP and BASELOAD – he ended further discussion with a “GFY” (=” Go Fuck Yourself“).
    As a (former) husband of Linda Kozlowski would say: “ This not an argument, THIS is an argument! ;-)

    More recently (this thread !) our Poet became aware of an ADDITIONAL and STRONG argument against his “ wind and solar locking in Fossil Fuels“: In my (300), I linked a graph: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42915 in which US peaks in electricity consumption during day over night, and in summer over winter (20-25% higher). Hence my quip:
    P(300): “Damn, if we only had some power source, which produced more energy during day and was especially effective in summer … ;-)”

    The figure suggests that if 20-25% of energy mix of the US was solar – solar would need VERY LITTLE BACKUP:
    – in during summer, when the demand is the highest – solar works at its MAX – hence providing the extra 25% compared to the winter peaks
    – in winter when solar efficiency drops sharply – we don’t NEED backup for solar in winter – because BASELOAD is more than enough – winter peaks are lower 20-25% lower than summer ones PLUS in winter the effectiveness of thermal generation is HIGHER than in summer (the large the temperature difference -> the more effective).
    So all E-Ps calculations that assume need for large backup from the less-efficient gas turbines, go out of the window.

    What was E-P response? Well, to my: P(300): “Damn, if we only had some power source, which produced more energy during day and was especially effective in summer … ;-)”
    – he attempted irony in kind: E-P “Damn, if we only had some power source which produced energy 24/7 and was especially effective when it’s cold out.”

    Unfortunately, irony works ONLY if based on truth, i.e. it WOULD work if the highest demand for energy in the US was when it is “cold out” and if winter consumption was flat – thus requiring constant “24/7” supply. But as the US EIA figure showed, it is NOT. So much for engineers knowing how to read graphs ….

    What was response of E-P when pointed all that in my (315)? Well, our Poet …moved on, and started lecturing … other people how … “wind and solar lock infossil fuel consumption“. And when BPL and Killian questioned it – he avoided the still fresh discussion 10 days earlier, in favour of “ taking [the reader] on a little trip down memory lane” to his glory days of … “ back in 2019“. When the going gets tough, the tough … relive the past?

  15. 415
    nigelj says:

    Piotr @407 ( and others) “Pressurized light water reactors can be controlled from 20% to maximum and reverse, sufficiently quickly to track wind power variation….I pointed that this is (an 80%) reduction in electrical OUTPUT, not (80%) reduction in COSTS. So the ONLY way to make economical sense would be IF the difference in costs between producing 20% and 100% of max electricity WAS MUCH LARGER than the CONSTANT costs, which have to be covered REGARDLESS whether you produce 20% or 100% of your max. electricity.”

    Ok fair comment, but isn’t the issue ultimately one of comparing the costs of these light water reactors used as backup, with storage (batteries or pumped hydro) or alternatively gas fired plant plus carbon sequestration underground? Has anyone done this? I’m shifting the discussion a bit but it seems the main point.

    Intuitively light water fast response reactors might be very cost effective, given the high costs of storage right now. But things are changing so fast, sulphur flow batteries appear to be low cost, etc, etc.

    We would be back to the same public dislike of nuclear power. However that might diminish as climate problems intensify, and they might be receptive to a limited use of nuclear power like this backup application.

  16. 416
    Piotr says:

    Killian (410): “ The article does not say 1% of the surface of each, it says 1% of reservoirs. 1% of each would be highly inefficient.

    Covering 1% of hydro reservoirs results in DOUBLING of hydro-output. So, if we want to use the EXISTING power lines to wheel the power, it would not make sense to cover MOST area of the selected few, and nothing on others since
    – you could not wheel away the power over the existing lines
    – “ if you want dead lakes rather than productive lakes, sure” [Killian(393)].

    Covering 1% of each reservoirs, or, say, 5% of 20% of them, on the other hand, won’t make them dead any of them – see my previous post. If anything would make
    them … less dead (reduction in eutrophication and therefore anoxic waters, and increasing biodiversity by increasing habitat heterogeneity).

    Killian(410) “ 3. Every dam in the world should be destroyed
    If you want dead lakes rather than productive lakes, sure“. Who said that ?

    Since this is your TRUE reason for ridiculing mike’s suggestions, shouldn’t you lead with _that_? Would save us time trying to address your concerns about the loss of “productive lakes”, as if your concern for them were ingenuous. We now know it weren’t, you now, with you wanting them all dead … (drained by “destroying every dam in the world” Killian(410)).

    George Costanza: “ Simplicity NOW! “. Or something.

  17. 417
    Douglas says:

    Hi all,

    I would like to ask the thoughtful readers here a question I’ve been thinking about. I have read many times over the years that passing a carbon tax is an absolutely necessary precursor to getting effective climate action (in the United States anyways). It would effectively incentivize clean energy solutions by making dirty energy more expensive. What I would like opinions on is whether this still would be an effective thing to do given the rapid expansion of clean energy in the absence of a carbon tax. I would love your thoughts on this. Thank you.

  18. 418
    nigelj says:

    “Increasing 1.6% SOM globally could sequester all our excess atmospheric carbon. – Robyn Francis, 2015”

    I’m sceptical of this. Big claims need to be backed by strong, independent, verifiable evidence. Its not clear what evidence she has that we could increase SOM by 1.6% and that it would sequester all our excess atmospheric carbon. A quick google failed to find any evidence. It didn’t turn up evidence of independent field trials and laboratory analysis, which is the only way to be certain the numbers are viable. It didn’t turn up any maths. Perhaps someone else can find something ON HER SPECIFIC CLAIMS, and copy and paste it, because I didn’t spend that long on it.

    If we were to assume these numbers are correct and place farming as a major component of climate mitigation to the exclusion of other approaches, and the numbers turned out to be wrong, we could have a huge disaster on our hands. All I could find was that Robyn Francis appears to be a permaculturalist and all I could find was some general information about her on wikipedia. It didnt state her educational background. I have nothing against permaculture per se, and it would probably increase soil carbon.

    And the published science that is based on science and field trials suggests sequestering soil carbon would be a small part of the solution to climate change. This published study reviews the literature:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15794-8

    The study finds that soils can be made to sequester up to an additional 1.85 gigatonnes carbon per year assuming the proper forms of farming are used and scaled up globally to include all or most croplands. For comparison purposes, total emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels and industry are 36 gigatonnes per year. Now this is comparing CO2 emissions against carbon so its rough but its clear that soils are only a small part of the answer to the climate problem. And the ability of soils to to sequester additional soil carbon like this will saturate in a couple of decades as soils warm even in the most optimistic scenarios.

    However sequestering carbon in soils does seem to have no downsides, making it a very attractive option to add to planting trees. I think a concerted effort with farming and planting trees plus rock weathering technology would be a good approach.

  19. 419
    Piotr says:

    Nigelj (415) – Ok fair comment, but isn’t the issue ultimately one of comparing the costs of these light water reactors used as backup, with storage (batteries or pumped hydro) or alternatively gas fired plant plus carbon sequestration underground?

    No, it was not the issue. The issue was that using nuclear power as back-up does not make, GHG or economic, sense: if you ALREADY built nuclear then there is no point in building wind as are practically NO further savings in GHG emissions nor in costs NOT TO run them at 100% of max electricity generation, instead of 20% when the wind blows. In nukes – most of their GHG has been committed to building and decommissioning of the power plant (and most of their costs for building, decommissioning, financing, and constant part of the operating costs) AND AS such independent of their CURRENT (i.e. adjusted to the needs of wind) electrical output. And since MOST of GHGs and costs from the lifetime of your nukes will be realized WHETHER you run it at 100% electricity generation or at 20%.

    The same goes for ANY OTHER backup in that either
    1. you can’t easily ramp down, when there is wind i.e. which produce power and emit GHGs whether you have surplus of energy from wind or not

    2. OR that where you _could_ quickly reduce electric output, BUT it does not reduce your GHG emissions, because most(or all) of your GHG emissions and costs are to be there REGARDLESS whether your run it at 20% of max electrical output or at 100%.

    And that’s why I was perplexed when David Benson touted using nukes as … backup for wind – if anything it increases GHG emissions (construction of the unnecessary
    (because only partially used) generation capacity) and hugely increases costs (since you are stuck with the bill for both nukes and wind).

    About much more interesting question – what we can use for storage and backup – I’ll write in a separate post.

  20. 420
  21. 421
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Renewables aren’t working for the Europeans:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/europes-unforeseen-renewables-problem

  22. 422

    #421, KIA–

    Another ‘quality’ effort from KIA, in which a link doesn’t support the big claim, and moreover the author of said story conflates the inertia issue with the intermittency issue, thereby showing they really don’t know what they are talking about.

  23. 423
    jgnfld says:

    @421

    Why would you be reading a vaguely libertarian site (too much Putin-philia to really be libertarian in any classical libertarian sense) which has been consistently deplatformed by internet companies and only accepts cryptocurrency for your science?

    Re. depatforming: This includes Google adverts as they violated Google’s policies for monetizing “hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination”. They are also fond of conspiracies as well as Russia.

    Even if this were an honest resource it is not in the least one to get your science from.

  24. 424

    #413, KIA–

    I did check the math, and it seemed to be OK–though not organized for easy comprehension–barring a misformatted number (misplaced commas).

    The issues I had were:

    1). The number for bamboo carbon/ha, which was higher by several multiples than the numbers I found in searching (and which themselves were darn variable).

    2). The question of how efficiently the carbon can be incorporated into the soil structure. (I.e., how fast can the sequestration happen.
    ?)

    3). The question of how stable it is in the soil. (There are carbon fluxes between soil and air all the time, so how does the interchange net out over time?)

    4). I know this was proposed as sort of an order of magnitude estimatation exercise, but if we were to transition to a practical plan, we’d need to figure just how much of that arable land we could afford to devote to mitigation, given that we’d still need to grow food. (And BTW, the numbers for arable land that I found were all over the place, too, which I found surprising.)

    All in all, an interesting exercise, but one that left me with a lot of questions.

  25. 425
    David B. Benson says:

    Killian @420 — That is from weapons production. Nothing to do with nuclear power.

  26. 426
  27. 427

    https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/europes-unforeseen-renewables-problem

    Unforeseen?  More like, warned about for years.

    People should be forced to put money down on such assertions, or better yet, surrender their political offices and votes when they’re wrong about things they should have known better about.

  28. 428
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Congratulations or Condolences (whichever he deems appropriate) to Gavin on his new agency-level responsibilities. Tell Bhavya “Hi” for me.

  29. 429

    Mr. KIA said

    “Renewables aren’t working for the Europeans:”

    But fossil fuels are finite and non-renewable and fading fast — the nearly-useless sludge from Venezuela is apparently the biggest reserve left.

    https://www.statista.com/chart/16830/countries-with-the-largest-proven-crude-oil-reserves/

    Saudi Arabia went public with Saudi Aramco trying for one last grift. Canada is a house built on sand.

    So what do you plan doing about it?

  30. 430
    Mal Adapted says:

    douglas:

    I would like to ask the thoughtful readers here a question I’ve been thinking about. I have read many times over the years that passing a carbon tax is an absolutely necessary precursor to getting effective climate action (in the United States anyways). It would effectively incentivize clean energy solutions by making dirty energy more expensive. What I would like opinions on is whether this still would be an effective thing to do given the rapid expansion of clean energy in the absence of a carbon tax. I would love your thoughts on this. Thank you.

    You may regret asking, because my answer is long. There will not be a quiz, however. I tried to make it pithy, but I’m really just typing for self-enhancement here ;^).

    soapbox>As RC regulars know, I advocate a US carbon fee and dividend with border adjustment tariff. In concept, CF&D-BAT is simple, fair and hard to game. A bill was introduced in Congress last year: the Energy and Innovation Act. The bill’s chances for passage recently improved, although AFAICT they’re still pretty slight. IANENP (I Am Neither Economist Nor Politician), thus unwilling to debate the bill’s fine print here. Y’all can if you wish, but please also contact your congressional delegation. IMHO, the principal obstacle is the political power of concentrated fossil fuel wealth, amplified by popular distaste for internalizing historically socialized costs 8^(. Sadly, even now climate realism has only the slightest of margins at the polls.

    What’s my rationale? As we all know, anthropogenic climate change is a classic tragedy of the commons. US consumers don’t currently pay for our marginal climate-change costs when we buy fossil fuels or any good or service made with them. That’s because fuel producers don’t have to pay for the emissions cost of their products when they come out of the ground, so they don’t ask us to. Free of direct collective intervention in prices, fossil fuel producers on the “free” market gain their profits by externalizing their climate change costs from their books, while we consumers gladly send the ensuing emissions out our private tailpipes for free. IOW, the “free” market allows both buyer and seller to socialize the marginal climate-change cost of GHG emissions from fossil fuel prices. Involuntary 3rd parties pay instead, with their homes, livelihoods and lives. The cumulative socialized cost of carbon is already being paid around the world. As ever, the socialized costs of economic growth fall disproportionately on the people least responsible for them. The tragedy is in the inexorable workings of forces seemingly beyond our control, and the grief and misery of every victim, as well as the accelerating erosion of the biosphere.

    The point is that as long as humanity in aggregate keeps transferring fossil carbon to the atmosphere by the gigatons annually, GMST is certain to keep rising; and though the costs of the resulting weather changes around the world are borne inequitably, everyone will pay one way or another, into the far future. Voluntary choices to reduce carbon consumption or pay more for renewables seldom extend to the volunteer’s entire budget, and are asymptotic for all with even the most tenuous link to the global economy, and in aggregate are swamped by the free-rider problem. That’s why capping the GMST trend below a global-civilization-destroying level requires collective intervention in the otherwise-free energy market, to internalize the same fraction of everyone’s marginal climate-change cost in their private budgets. It is a matter of both justice and enlightened self-interest: IMHO, CF&D-BAT offers the best chance to cap the cost of AGW short of human die-off in the billions. Since that tragedy potentially includes me and my collateral family unto the 7th generation, I’m highly motivated to forestall it. A “lukewarmer”, OTOH, is somebody who doesn’t think it’s bad enough yet. That begs the question, “FFS, how bad do you want it?” I, for one, think denying other people’s tragedy in defense of cheap comfort and convenience is vile, but that’s just me.

    How would CF&D-BAT work? It would charge some fraction of the social cost of carbon per ton to US fossil fuel producers at the source, and from importers of commodities and manufactured goods per ton of embodied carbon, then let them pass on as much of their increased cost as they dare to their customers large and small. By the time the higher marginal cost filters down to US consumers, we all pay only in proportion to the social cost of the carbon we personally consume or cause to be consumed. Since per-capita energy use is tied to household income, returning 100% of the revenue to all taxpayers in periodic dividends drives a net downward income transfer; and decouples the dividend from the pain of higher prices “at the pump”, but leaves the fee and tariff revenue in the economy, available for re-investment under the new price signal. The border adjustment tariff keeps our industry and emissions onshore, and encourages our trading partners to follow our lead. Market forces will then drive a shift to carbon-neutral production of all goods and services by mid-century. At least that’s the theory. It sounds about right to me, but YMMV.

    Is CF&D-BAT actually necessary? To be sure, piecemeal collective interventions, such as direct subsidies for renewable energy production or consumption, regulations that raise producer cost of compliance, outright bans on coal or fracking, and of course public investment in science and R&D, have helped drive the cost of renewable energy down rapidly. Other global market events, e.g. the sudden abundance of natural gas or the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, have reduced our aggregate emissions as well. Have they peaked? Ted Nordhaus thinks so, Ken Caldeira doesn’t. We’re a long way from decarbonization, either way. That’s why economists of both major parties support national CF&D-BAT legislation, to shift demand and profit from fossil fuels to carbon-neutral energy, then let consumer thrift and the good ol’ profit motive build out the net-zero US economy with customary alacrity. Adding it all up, I’m persuaded./soapbox>

  31. 431
    nigelj says:

    “Increasing 1.6% SOM globally could sequester all our excess atmospheric carbon. – Robyn Francis, 2015”

    Adding to previous comment @418. It might be possible to sequester that quantity of carbon given thousands of years of the application of the right types of farming. But that is not a lot of use to our immediate predicament. The published science suggests sequestering carbon in soils is a relatively slow process as previously noted.

  32. 432
    Mal Adapted says:

    Me:

    Since per-capita energy use is tied to household income,

    Corrected link.

  33. 433
    nigelj says:

    Douglas @417

    It depends what you mean by already having “rapid” expansion of clean energy without a carbon tax. Rates of expansion off clean electricity generation does not look rapid enough to meet Paris accord timeframes. Rates of uptake of electric cars certainly arent rapid enough. A carbon tax should speed up expansion.

    ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­—————–

    Mal Adapted @430 gives a very sensible text book account of the value of carbon tax and dividend idea, except that America is so tax adverse it is probably the hardest country to make it work politically, even although the dividend component makes it more accceptable to the public. Personally I like carbon tax and dividend, but the basic goal is clean electricty grids, electric cars, reduced carbon footprints etc,etc and there are many ways of achieving this, for example carbon taxes, cap and trade, regulations, subsidies, quotas. Do what works in the local environment. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

  34. 434
    Mr. Know It All says:

    429 – Paul P
    “But fossil fuels are finite and non-renewable and fading fast — the nearly-useless sludge from Venezuela is apparently the biggest reserve left…..

    So what do you plan doing about it?”

    Paul,
    As you know, I’m not smart enough to do anything HUGE about it. I can make a small difference maybe, but my suggestion is that those who have the real smarts put those smarts toward finding “acceptable and affordable” solutions to remove CO2, or to block or reflect some of the light/heat coming from the sun, or better CO2 scrubbers for power plant emissions, or better batteries/storage using materials that are sufficiently abundant and non-problematic, etc. Possibly get a think-tank of EP types plus nuke skeptics to find an acceptable nuke solution.

    If as is claimed, scientists agree on warming, why continue using so much brain-power trying to calculate the effects of AGW when what we need are solutions to stop it. A calculation of warming that is twice as precise as the one we did last year isn’t helping that much. And no, shutting off all fossil fuels will not work – we must have a functional economy with sufficient food etc as we make the transition over decades to renewables. Unless we want to starve several billion people, or intentionally cause an economic collapse, or world war/civil war, etc.

  35. 435
    Killian says:

    424 Kevin McKinney:
    2 Feb 2021 at 10:01 PM

    #413, KIA–

    I almost missed this bc I am not KIA, and I make it a habit of skipping their posts and any responses to them.

    I did check the math, and it seemed to be OK–though not organized for easy comprehension–barring a misformatted number (misplaced commas).

    I don’t think so. It’s hard for me to math with exponents, so I broke the numbers down to their simple forms. I counted places a number of times.

    The issues I had were:

    1). The number for bamboo carbon/ha, which was higher by several multiples than the numbers I found in searching (and which themselves were darn variable).

    Bamboo is not important. Clearly we’d starve if we only grew bamboo. It was a simple way to show the long-tail possibilities of rapid draw down.

    2). The question of how efficiently the carbon can be incorporated into the soil structure. (I.e., how fast can the sequestration happen.
    ?)

    This is somewhat moot in that we know it is possible to, in at least some cases, sequester 1% a year. There is a major global initiative for 0.4%/ year, so clearly that is considered relatively easy to do. 1% really is not a stretch, but would likely represent a mature system at full capacity.

    3). The question of how stable it is in the soil. (There are carbon fluxes between soil and air all the time, so how does the interchange net out over time?)

    Terra Preta. Extremely.

    The problem with scientists doing these sorts of calculations and analyses is they simply do not know how to do it like we do and/or the limits of experimentation in complex systems bc of the need to limit variable. This is why we don’t wait for the science to catch up. We know it works and need to just do it.

    Scientists won’t consider the interplay of the chickens, the garden, the goats, the no-till, the cover crops in spring and fall and even between and during growing seasons/crops, rotational grazing, humanure, and on and on, all happening at the same time. Can we do 1% a year? Yes.

    4). I know this was proposed as sort of an order of magnitude estimatation exercise, but if we were to transition to a practical plan, we’d need to figure just how much of that arable land we could afford to devote to mitigation

    Not at all. We aren’t going to do this with bamboo, (though that can be ramped up since it grows so fast and has so many other uses) and we can get to 1%/year without it. All we need to do is regenerative ag everywhere possible, and it’s possible everywhere. But when I say “regenerative ag” I really mean growing food and anything else we grow. Flowers for floral arrangements can be regenerative. Forests, and in essence every forest is a food forest, are regenerative. Grasslands are regenerative, particularly if we can repopulate them with the animal bio-diversity they once had.

    given that we’d still need to grow food.

    So, growing food is how we do it. There is zero conflict between rapid draw down and food supply. If anything, food supply will be enhanced significantly.

    And BTW, the numbers for arable land that I found were all over the place, too, which I found surprising.)

    Not really an issue. We have more than enough land for rapid draw down. Consider: The U.S. famously grew 40% of fruits and vegetables in home gardens during WWII. Space is not the issue, it’s awareness, willingness and urgency.

    All in all, an interesting exercise, but one that left me with a lot of questions.

    It’s about time we got down to discussing things that are true solutions, universally applicable, universally available, and require exactly zero gov’t and corporate involvement/interference.

    If we haven’t not only reached zero net C by 2050, but nearly reversed the full load of excess atmospheric carbon by then, it’ll not be because we can’t.

  36. 436
    Killian says:

    Further to 424 Kevin McKinney:

    If we could, in theory, sequester all excess atmospheric C in only two years, if we know we can use farming to add 1%/yr to soils, if we know we can ramp all this up with bio-char, vermicompost, humanure, composting, waste management, various forms of what are now called agroecology, afforestation and reforestation, ecosystem restoration, etc., all without any simplification, then my original claims to be at 260ppm within 20 years become child’s play.

    As I noted previously, there is a global movement for 0.04% per year of new soil carbon. But if we can do 1% a year, then even as little as 0.01%/year gets us there in 20 years.

    Without *any* lifestyle changes. No simplification. Add simplification and get emissions down to @ 8 gt, it’s just that much easier.

    I said 20 years. That was very unambitious, it turns out.

  37. 437
    Killian says:

    431
    nigelj says:
    3 Feb 2021 at 3:15 PM

    “Increasing 1.6% SOM globally could sequester all our excess atmospheric carbon. – Robyn Francis, 2015”

    It might be possible to sequester that quantity of carbon given thousands of years of the application of the right types of farming.

    I swear to god, nigel… This is the kind of crap that got you in hot water with me in the first place. I showed, clearly, a theoretical upper limit of only 2 years with, for simplification of the math, only bamboo as the global crop. But we know farmers are doing 1%/YEAR. So that, takes us from theory to practice. 2 years to 260ppm if every farmer and all arable land were ramped up to that 1% level.

    An international movement for 0.04%/year exists, so clearly there is solid science behind 0.04%. Again, theoretically getting all arable land to that 0.04% means… 5 years to 260ppm.

    So, let’s say we do a really shit job at it, only 0.01%/year: Twenty years.

    Where in the hell did you pull “thousands of years” from?

    There is no physical or actual barrier to global application of agroforestry, so the only limits are this kind of “Can’t be done!” nonsense.

  38. 438

    Re: my #424–

    Sorry, sorry, SORRY for the misattribution. It was purely a typo. Wish I could blame autocorrect, but I’m pretty sure it was a brain spasm on my part.

  39. 439

    #429, PP–

    Canada is a house built on sand.

    Nice play on words, but nah. Despite the best efforts of the former Harper government, Canada never quite became a true petro-state. Energy accounts for ~10% of GDP, of which 1.7% is ‘clean energy’–and growing. (Environmental protection exclusive of energy is worth another 1.5%.)

    So the decline of oil will be a challenge for Canada, but not a disaster.

  40. 440
    David B. Benson says:

    Piotr @419 — I certainly didn’t “tout”, merely provided links to sources regarding wind power backed by nuclear power.

    As for the lack of economy, various legislatures have required so-called renewables without understanding the consequences.

    Regarding storage as backup, consider
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/739/long-duration-storage

  41. 441
    nigelj says:

    Killian @437 says

    “But we know farmers are doing 1%/YEAR. So that, takes us from theory to practice. 2 years to 260ppm if every farmer and all arable land were ramped up to that 1% level.”

    From carbon brief: Since the industrial revolution, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon have been emitted by humans into the atmosphere. From published peer reviewed research below based on independent field trials, soils can be made to sequester up to an additional 1.85 gigatonnes carbon per year assuming the proper forms of farming are used (no tilling, mulching, crop rotation, biochar.) and scaled up globally to include all or most croplands. So it would take at least 202 years to seqester all CO2 emitted. (ignoring effects of other carbon sinks). And the problem is as soils warm their ability to sequester CO2 diminishes further. Someone check the maths.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15794-8

    So there is just a gigantic gap between what you posted and what the published research appears to suggest. This is in no way a criticism of permaculture and the obvious value of sequestering soil carbon.

  42. 442
    Piotr says:

    David B Benson (440): I certainly didn’t “tout

    If after going with E-P for months? years? how bad the “so-called” renewables are,
    and how great the nukes are – you inform that nukes may even provide wind with backup, I call it “touting nukes”, you call it “merely providing links to source”. I say tomato, you say tomato.

    DBB(440): As for the lack of economy, various legislatures have required so-called renewables without understanding the consequences.

    If you said it at the start – that it does not make sense to use nukes for backup of wind, we would not have this discussion! Instead, you apparently were under the impression that it made sense – and said that some reactors could reduce their electrical output to 20% of their max.
    But what you have missed was that reducing the electricity output to 20% does not mean that the costs were reduced to 20% – because MOST of the costs and GHG emissions have to be carried REGARDLESS whether you produce 20% or 100% of the max.
    That’s why I have listed things that COULD provide sensible backup – where you would actually reduce costs and pollution, when you reduce your electricity supply to 20% of max. Nukes, traditional coal, and gas turbines that can’t easily switch on and off – WERE NOT one of these.

    DBB(440): Regarding storage as backup, consider (link to bravenewclimate board)

    Anything to support you claims about nukes in this thread on RC? I ask because the last two times I followed your links to BNC, it did not turn out as advertised. e.g.
    ====================
    1. Piotr to DBB on RC: “Why would you “suppose” that anybody would choose THE WORST possible, the least flexible and the most polluting source for the backup energy???

    2. DBB “Well, its done in the state of West Australia.” and gives a link to BNC

    3. in that very link on BNC the same David Benson wrote: “The isolated, antiquated grid of West Australia is certainly not a lesson for the majority of the world

    and didn’t see any contradiction … ;-)
    ===================

  43. 443
    Mr. Know It All says:

    439 – Kevin
    “So the decline of oil will be a challenge for Canada, but not a disaster.”

    Only true if they can keep their economy and their food machine running as the transition is made to other energy sources. That is not a trivial task.

    Oil may be only 10% of GDP, but oil RUNS the entire world economy. Every job, every dollar made, every product produced, every bite of food eaten, every transaction of any kind is possible because of oil. Starting to get the picture now?

  44. 444
    mike says:

    a link on carbon sequestration in soil
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15794-8

    I hope the countries of Africa commit to a serious attempt to move agriculture to a permaculture approach. I believe permaculture agricultue could save a lot of lives in African

    Cheers

    Mike

  45. 445
    Piotr says:

    nigelj (400) to EP(387): “Ok the source material does say this, but I would like to see more studies.

    Nigel, by “ have been DOCUMENTED for over 60 years,i> ” our RC Poet must have meant that the best document he could find was “over 60 year old” (1958). But if you want less ancient studies – you can use the 2018 review study. Interstingly, it was the first source our Poet claimed:

    Poet: (352) Moderate radiation exposure is associated with a DECREASE in cancers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121451/

    But he suddenly switched from the 2108 peer review paper to … some obscure appendices from a 1958 report. I wonder whether it had anything to do with the fact that I challenged the honesty of his presentations of the finding of the 2018 study conclusions:

    =======
    Piotr (370):
    “- your source says “low dose”, not “moderate”
    – not clear how the lab experiments on mice, or cancer cells with some arbitrary amount of radiation, with shor (e.g. 6-24hr) exposure, are relevant to _chronic_ exposure to radiation.
    – this _should_ have been answered by epidemiological studies, except their results are contradictory, and notorious for poor control for confounding factors, EVEN in studies where in theory it should have been easy to control for them – like workers of nuclear power plants

    The conclusions [of the 2018 paper are] nowhere as unequivocal as your shouting with capital letters: “DECREASE” would suggest, but rather guarded and cautious:
    we believe that in the near future, it will be confirmed”, “low-dose radiation may have beneficial effects depending on the conditions; otherwise, it may have no effects
    I guess it did beat the alternative version: “Well, another 3 months we will never get back – studies are crap, the effects are weak and contradictory, and we can’t say anything with any confidence one way or another“.
    =========================

    E-Poet answered to that criticism in (387) by … changing the source from the 2018 review article to … appendices of some report reflecting the current state of knowledge in the year 1958. How well _that_ went – see my (399).

  46. 446
  47. 447

    @443:

    Oil may be only 10% of GDP, but oil RUNS the entire world economy.

    This is true, but the role of oil can be taken over in many applications, particularly in ground transport.  Pretty much all rail can be electrified, and I’ve seen firsthand just how much gasoline you can replace with electricity using a relatively small (and cheap) battery.

    If we actually care about the climate, that’s one of the more effective changes we can make.

  48. 448
    David B. Benson says:

    Piotr @442 — Given that the wind turbines exist and are required to be used, what’s to power the grid when the wind doesn’t blow? In the linked articles I provided nuclear power plants were proposed.

    I question whether you actually understand how electrical power grids actually function. Try reading
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/714/pjm-style-electricity-markets

    I also recommend stopping the flogging of dead horses. Doesn’t assist your reputation.

  49. 449
    Mr. Know It All says:

    447 E-P
    “I’ve seen firsthand just how much gasoline you can replace with electricity using a relatively small (and cheap) battery.”

    Maybe. Electric cars ARE becoming more popular for those with the $ to buy them. Probably a few million of them in the USA now. Can we obtain enough of the required materials to produce say another 200 million EVs to replace the current fleet of ICE vehicles? If so, by what date, and what would be the cost per vehicle? And who will buy the vehicle for those who can barely keep their 25 year old beater running to get them to work and back?

    How you going to power them? Most seem to be against nukes, and it’s kind of dark most of the winter up here in the PNW, and when it isn’t dark it is frequently very cloudy, wind is rare, hydro is maxed out already. (No comments about how PVs will produce electricity when it’s cloudy please – for all practical purposes they do not. To size a system based on current best-technology cloudy-day-output would cost more money than will ever exist on earth in all of history.)

  50. 450

    I question whether you actually understand how electrical power grids actually function.

    I am going to recommend two books here.

    The first is “A Question of Power”, by Robert Hargraves, which goes into how electricity is practically synonymous with civilization.  It details just how far people will go to guarantee reliable electric power, including details on the “generator mafia” in Lebanon and the coal-fired sprees in India and China.

    The second is “Shorting the Grid”, by Meredith Angwin.  It explains how our RTO grid governance has left vast areas with NOBODY responsible for reliable electric delivery, and the building crisis of which last year’s rolling blackouts in California are just a taste.