Forced Responses: July 2021 2 Jul 2021 by group A new bi-monthly open thread for climate solutions discussions. Climate science threads go here.
704 Responses to "Forced Responses: July 2021"
Scott E Strough says
“And yet one of the first causes of hunger listed on the page is ” food shortages”. I think its safe to say low yields would cause food shortages all other things being equal!”
No! All other things are not equal. You quoted the paragraph title but ignored the actual text?
“Food shortages in developing countries are common. The people most affected are smallholder farmers and their families who depend on their own surplus to survive between harvests.
The period leading up to a harvest is known as the “hungry season.” Food from the previous harvest runs out and families cut back on meals. This period of time may last for months depending on the size of the previous harvest.
Similarly, in the U.S., families with very low incomes run out of money at the end of the month. Families cut back on how much they eat and then eventually skip meals altogether on some days.
Another reason for food shortages is up to 40 percent of food grown in some countries is spoilage. Smallholder farmers do not have adequate storage facilities to protect their supplies against pests and weather.”
This is a poverty problem and a 78% increase in profits to the farmer means this is not at all equal. If they make profits, they can buy food like anyone else! They can also afford storage facilities, so less spoilage and waste. Your conclusions are based on a headline, and your assumptions of what that might mean, rather than what they actually say!
The rest of your post is basically irrelevant. Mitigating AGW is the topic here. Regenerative ag as a tool to help mitigate AGW absolutely does not have the negative side effect of increasing world hunger. The opposite in fact.
“To measure diet costs globally, our project linked World Bank price data for about 800 popular foods across 174 countries to the nutritional composition of those items. Using the prices and nutritional values of each item, we computed the least expensive way of meeting national dietary guidelines and essential nutrient requirements.
For affordability, we compared diet costs to World Bank estimates of what people typically spend on food and income distribution within each country. It turns out that almost everyone in the United States could afford enough ingredients for healthy meals, such as rice and beans, frozen spinach and canned tuna, bread and peanut butter and milk. But most people in Africa and South Asia could not acquire enough of these foods for a healthy diet even if they were willing to spend their entire available income.”
good article about world hunger. Informative in terms of discussion about reduction of meat (an expensive food generally) in diet and the possibility that tweaking the global meat intake would lead to hunger in the developing world.
97 nigelj says:
The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change was written in 2010 by Albert Bates.”
Nigelj: ROFL. Hes not a scientist. Hes a lawyer, author and teacher:
He’s a goddamned genius polymath. He’s every bit a scientist, and more. You truly are a shit human being. You laugh at a man who makes you look like a mosquito on an elephants ass. What a damned fool.
Bates first came to national prominence in 1978 when he sued to shut down the entire U.S. nuclear fuel cycle from mines to waste repositories. The case, which went four times to the United States Supreme Court and was later profiled in a law review article  and two books, was ultimately unsuccessful but raised troubling questions about the health effects of nuclear energy and the ethical dimensions — and civil liberties implications — of the federal role in promoting power deployment while actively suppressing and concealing public health effects.
Founder/key organizer of:
Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), and served as GEN’s chairman of the board (from 2002 to 2003) and president (from 2003 to 2004)
Ecovillage Network of the Americas and served as its president (from 1996 to 2003).
founded the Ecovillage Training Center
Bates’ Climate in Crisis (1990) was the first book published on web (rolled paper) press using a 100% recycled product without chemically removing clays or inks.
he has been planting a private forest to sequester carbon dioxide and related greenhouse gas emissions from travel, business and personal activities. At 40 acres… that forest now annually plants itself as it expands
Right Livelihood Award
Gaia Award from Gaia Trust of Denmark
The holder of a number of design patents, Bates invented the concentrating photovoltaic arrays and solar-powered automobile displayed at the 1982 World’s Fair.
An emergency medical technician (EMT), he was a founding member of The Farm Ambulance Service.
Which, if memory serves, created the first portable defibrillator for use in ambulances/emergency services.
A very long list of books, 18, I think, including 4 in 2019.
“Albert and I talked about bioregional development, ecovillages, biochar, climate change, the importance of protecting and regenerating ocean health, the need for a shift in narrative & worldview, the short-coming of tech solutions, Albert’s work in the anti-nuclear movement, consciousness at the level of Gaia and beyond, interbeing & fundamental interconnectedness, Jung’s four ways of knowing, the paradox of being in and through relationships, access to relational information in the everything through our animate intelligence, the limits of big data and knowing through analysis, Albert’s work as a lawyer and mushroom farmer, The Farm and Albert’s Right Livelihood Award, the early days of the Global Ecovillage Network, creating working bio-refinery and biochar based village scale cooperatives (the Belize Cool Lab as a prototype), the history of biochar use around the world, cascading positive impact, temporal & spatial scale linking and fitting human patterns back into life’s health generating patterns, circular economies at what scale?, bioregions as the locus of focus in ‘glocal’ development, the importance of re-regionalisation as a Deep Adaptation strategy, carbon pricing as an instrument to support carbon drawdown and regenerative development, “the life cycle of civilisation” and our’s being in its “terminal stage”, Tom Goreau’s work on geotherapy from soil to corals and seagrass, the short-coming of searching for a vaccine based “solution” to the pandemic, doughnut economics at the bioregional or nation scale, the Regenerative Communities Network, the potential for restoring the soils of Spain and Mallorca through integrated use of activated biochar and other techniques, doing regeneration glocally!”
Kevin McKinney says
This is a lazy overgeneralization. A better short version would be “why is German residential electricity some of the most expensive in Europe?” And the short answer to that would be “Because the Germans have chosen to fund the energiewende on the backs of the general population in order to subsidize industry.”
But that is only somewhat better as a description; industrial electricity rates vary widely according to an apparently Byzantine regulatory regime:
Indeed, the article from which that quote is drawn backs that with graphs from 3 different analyses, in which Germany is ranked #1/32 (i.e., most expensive); #8/41; or #4/29. Yet
the graph ranking German power most expensive also reveals that “German companies with maximum exemptions would pay the lowest price in Europe (energy price component).” (BTW, Danish power is apparently even more sensitive to rating criteria than German.) But that only scratches the surface of industrial power rate variability. Consider the case of Trimet Aluminum, which, per the story, accounts for 1% of all German electricity consumption, and uses flexibility in its electrolysis operations to create a ‘virtual battery,’ making money when wholesale energy prices turn negative by ‘sinking’ power.
I’m not suggesting that all this arcana is the best way to go, nor that German power isn’t relatively expensive, nor that the cost of such a rapid move to renewable energy isn’t a factor. If I had a magic wand to wave, I’d have had the Germans tolerating the perceived risk of nuclear a bit longer in order to ease the stress of the energiewende. But the bottom line is that if you are going to rapidly transition your energy system to low carbon emissions, you are going to pay one way or another.
As an historical example, the famous French nuclear expansion program, per scholarly analysis of government data, cost ~$429 billion (in today’s USD). That bought roughly 60 GW of capacity over the 3 GW or so extant when Messmer brought in the expansion plan; so, ~$7 bn per GW. That’s a good deal by US standards; Vogtle 1 & 2 cost about double that in current dollars, and 3 & 4 are expected to be about triple. Sadly, the only ongoing French domestic expansion, the 1.65 GW Flamanville 3, is running at an estimated $22.5 billion USD, and will have taken 15 years to build if it comes online next year as currently planned.
Stepping back just a bit, there’s an ‘attribution’ question here. E-P puts the onus for German electricity costs on inherent systemic costs of renewable energy. And it’s absolutely true that the German system charges hefty “renewable surcharges” embedded within its rates. AFAICT, this is determined by fiat in a strictly regulated regime, a bit like US states following a Public Service Commission model. (FWIW, the information on this seems highly accessible to me, so not a case of ‘cooking the books’ at all.) But if system costs of renewables are so terribly high, why then did German wholesale electricity rates decline by ~75% between a peak in 2008 and a nadir in 2015, precisely when deployment was increasing–roughly, an 8x solar increase, and a doubling of wind? (Wholesale rates have ticked up again annually, but that’s due to European carbon price increases, which hit remaining coal capacity hard. It’s not just a German phenomenon.)
But that gets us to a larger question: have relatively high electricity prices actually hurt Germans over the longer haul? You might think that there’s no way the answer could be ‘no.’ But consider:
If a German household comparable to mine pays 37 cents US per kilowatt, but uses a third of the energy we do at 11 cents, then our actual costs are going to be pretty comparable. And their carbon footprint will obviously be a lot lower. I’m not aware of any evidence that Germans have a worse life on average than Americans. (For example, in the 2020 World Happiness Report, the US was ranked #18 in the world at 6.940, just behind #17 Germany at 7.076. I think you can call that a ‘wash.’ FWIW, the Finns were happiest of all at 7.809, and the Kiwi score of 7.300–8th in the world–made New Zealand the happiest all of Anglophone nations. Good on ya, nigel! Canada, Australia, and the UK were tightly bunched in the 11-13 slots.)
Be your opinion of the Happiness rankings what it may, I think it’s at least a reasonable point of view that higher electricity prices may actually be a net good in the German case via incentivization of energy efficiency. “The best watts are negawatts.”
The bottom line from an RC point of view, of course, is emissions. Here the German record is better than some would have you believe, but not as good as I would like. Just before the energiewende came into force in 2013, Germany had emitted 773 metric tons of CO2. In 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, that number was 683.8–a drop of 11.5%. I think that’s not bad for a country with a deeply entrenched coal industry, strong dependence on heavy manufacturing, and a democratic process that gives ample voice to wealthy vested interests. But had they kept all or most of the 17 reactors they were running in 2011, they’d be a lot further ahead–and per one study at least, they’d have saved about a thousand live a year lost to coal pollution.
All of which explains, I hope, why I think the rational course is 1) to build an deploy modern RE, energy efficiency technology and technique, and storage as quickly as we possibly can, while 2) maintaining existing nuclear capacity where it is safe and economic to do so. The first action adds the most non-emitting generation the fastest and the cheapest ways currently known; the second preserves baseline capacity allowing for storage technologies to mature and scale much less painlessly than in the German case.
And speaking of storage, E-P also posted:
Uh, should I point out that it’s a tad disingenuous to extrapolate the Texas conditions to a national scale? (Just as a quick sanity check, I had a look at the PJM generation for February 9-16th; it compared favorably for a similar period last month, and for a March gave less total energy but considerably less variability also. IIRC, most of their area was also affected by the cold, albeit less strongly than the central US, but handled it fine. Nationally, the coasts weren’t hit badly by the freeze, the west being near seasonal norms. And Florida was actually above seasonal norms.
So we see that sizable chunks of CONUS were relatively unaffected temperature-wise, and some at least of the cold areas weren’t particularly hard-hit in terms of RE generation. So simply scaling the need in Texas up to total US generation is a great way to inflate the real need for storage.
Substantiating that conclusion, ETH researchers at ANU find the total US storage need to be ~7 Twh, and state that their algorithm suggests that that’s about 0.5% of the potential identified. (And Canada, which already exports massive amounts of power to the US, has about twice that. Mexico, too, boasts an abundance of potential sites, which might be promising for Texas, which is a little challenged by geography in the pumped storage department–though even they have some dozens of sites in the western part of the state. Mexico would surely welcome the USD income. In fact, given their abundant mountainous terrain, large arid areas and high insolation, they’d do well to strive to become a RE ‘power.’)
Speaking of where PHS candidate sites are located, it’s easy enough to find out; just use the interactive map:
To be sure, not all of these will be practical; see the disclaimer on the site. But with a two-order of magnitude theoretical surplus, things look fairly promising.
Moreover, it isn’t now, and is not going to be, just pumped storage. E-P correctly notes that most battery facilities are nominally 4 hours of storage. But there’s nothing saying that you need to deploy them all simultaneously. For notable instance, solar continues to produce even in cloud (as in fact happened in Texas during the freeze), so solar plus Li banks could potentially scale to cover most daytime demand.
And, as stated before on these threads, flow battery tech is coming to market now as well. It can easily cover longer periods of time.
Richard the Weaver says
No, that’s not quite right. From what little I know of you I suspect that you’re a grand guy in real life.
To clarify, everyone here dislikes the role you have chosen…
A woman sues to be able to join some good old boys club where deals are done. In response, a few guys load up on beans and head to the quilting bee.
Your motivations stink, KIA.
Scott E Strough (94) referring to Piotr(66): “ Please remember the claim, “50% lower productivity per ha” is a bad conclusion due to the logic error of false equivalence.”
Wrong reference: in “@66 Piotr, I merely asked what is the source of the increase in stable C. So your criticism of the “50%” applies rather … your own (45) since this is where I got that 50% from in the first place. (Seller’s remorse? ;-))
And to make things better, not in my (66) but in my (63), I have ALREADY answered your future arguments in your (94), when they first appeared in your (45):
Scott(45) “ Yet because the yields were still 50%, there was the false claim that regenerative ag somehow would decrease the food supply? Really? Taking a degraded piece of land, and returning it to productivity decreases food supply….?”
to which I pointed that your dismissal of that lower by 50% PER unit area crops is based on the … increase the total cultivation area:
Piotr (63): “Yes – because to even MAINTAIN the food supply at the current level with [your examples’s] 50% lower productivity – we would need to DOUBLE the cultivated land, when we already cultivate TOO much of the land, at the expense of the destruction of forests and other land ecosystems”
So your logic has a form: “A is a better land use than B, because in the absence
of either A or B, the land use would be ….”0″??? As in:
Scott(94):”The actual industrial yield from the land before being bought and restored with regenerative agriculture was zero. This is a massive increase in yield”
No, it isn’t, because you use a WRONG CONTROL – your reference yield should NOT be “zero”, but instead the yield that did not break even for the OLD owners – which is the most likely reason for the abandoning of the farm.
So, if 50% lower yield was more than break-even point for the NEW owners, then the OLD owner, having been burdened by SEVERAL times higher costs per ha in the industrial ag., could have well produced, say, 70%, AND WOULD STILL go under.
In such a case your CONTROL would be 70%, INSTEAD of the 0% you used in your argument.
Scott(94): “ [This is also a massive] increase in soil carbon, increase in biodiversity, increase in wildlife, restoration of hydrological and nutrient cycles etc etc etc. with regenerative ag.”
Again, WITHOUT control, you don’t know if it is massive, OR EVEN IF IT IS an INCREASE: you have set your control again to ZERO – when in reality abandoned farms left to themselves and their secondary succession – would have “massive increases biodiversity, increase in wildlife, restoration of hydrological and nutrient cycle, all in the ABSENCE of ANY agriculture. Again, I have ALREADY explained it to you in my previous post:
Piotr(63): “So your “additional” food production comes at the price of forgoing the rewilding/reforestation and the associated ecological and carbon capture benefits that would have happened, if we left the land alone. And the newly growing forest would have been more effective in carbon capture than the already existing forests which are close to zero or a net source (so we need them not for capture, but for preventing the return of the already captured to the atmosphere).”
But, please, do lecture _others_ on their: “bad conclusions due to the logic error of false equivalence.“
Kevin McKinney (104) “Sadly, the only ongoing French domestic expansion, the 1.65 GW Flamanville 3, is running at an estimated $22.5 billion USD, and will have taken 15 years to build if it comes online next year as currently planned
Stupid French – our Engineer Poet could get them 2.3GW for 1/225 of the price and built not in 15 years, but ONE day…
E-P(396), on the ease of converting of the electricity generation to nuclear:
“ A NuScale module [77MWe] is about 1/10 the size and mass of a Liberty ship, which the USA was producing at a rate of 3 per day at one point in WWII…[therefore]…30 NuScales per day …”
Wikipedia: price for 1 Liberty ship – $37mln (2021 dollars)
jgnfld(405): “You are specifically equating building what was essentially a welded barge with an obsolescent triple expansion steam engine to a modular nuclear reactor?
A poet you perhaps are. Can’t say I’ve seen any worth reading. An engineer you are NOT.”
Richard the Weaver says
Mike’s link: vegans need to eat foods fortified with B-12 or take a supplement.
RtW: Which proves beyond a doubt that humans are omnivores. One can argue about whatever, but homo sapiens evolved with a diet affected by cooking and including meat.
Richard the Weaver says
Killian: you currently have grass, it is worth the effort to turn that grass over – literally dig up under it with a flat shovel and turn a square at a time – and sheet mulch over it.
RtW: I don’t get it. Why would one do all that shovel work when Trailer park lawn mowing works:
Sheet mulch (old carpet) prn
Killian, what is the benefit to disturbing the biome before smothering it?
William Jackson says
#82 It might be interesting to note that windmills in Texas suffered from the failure to winterize just as did the gas and oil systems!
K: “The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change was written in 2010 by Albert Bates.”
Nigelj: ROFL. Hes not a scientist. Hes a lawyer, author and teacher:
K: “He’s a goddamned genius polymath. He’s every bit a scientist, and more. You truly are a shit human being. You laugh at a man who makes you look like a mosquito on an elephants ass. What a damned fool.”
Nigelj: No. He’s not a scientist. He’s a lawyer, teacher, book writer and part time inventor. Being good at maths doesn’t make him a scientist. Inventing a few things (some of them impressive) doesn’t make him a scientist.
I didn’t laugh at him. I said “However I’m not dismissing the use of biochar and there is peer reviewed science on soil carbon. ” so clearly I’m not putting him down. You made a claim about what scientists say and can’t back it up. It’s not a huge issue anyway so don’t know why you reacted. You are either a congenital liar, or you can’t read simple plain english, or you jump to crazy conclusions about things.
Scott E Strough @101,
nigelj: “And yet one of the first causes of hunger listed on the page is ” food shortages”. I think its safe to say low yields would cause food shortages all other things being equal!”
Scott: “No! All other things are not equal. You quoted the paragraph title but ignored the actual text?”
Nigelj: The things you suggest make the situation not equal are either not actually pertinent, or are speculative. We have food waste and we don’t as yet have a system to reduce food waste, and it might be difficult, because if it wasn’t the problem would already be solved!
Scott: “This is a poverty problem and a 78% increase in profits to the farmer means this is not at all equal. If they make profits, they can buy food like anyone else!”
Nigelj: It’s not that simple. If global crop yields are lower, the food just doesn’t exist to buy! Someone is going to miss out.
Scott: “The rest of your post is basically irrelevant. Mitigating AGW is the topic here.”
Nigelj: “YOU bought up the issues about yields and food forests etc, etc! But since you haven’t falsified my response I suppose it makes sense to quickly change the subject! Ha ha.
All the other stuff you posted on causes of food shortages and poverty and how farms work looks correct. I don’t have huge disagreement with that.
I just remembered. A polymath isn’t a math’s expert. It’s someone with a wide knowledge or a lot of learning. This still doesn’t make Albert Bates a scientist. Not even slightly. Not criticising the man as such. Just correcting myself for shooting myself in my own foot.
Scott E Strough says
Ok I have had about enough of this again Piotr. Converting cornfields to grasslands does not increase cultivated land. It reduces it. Planting a food forest does not increase cultivated land, it reduces it. Regenerating productivity from barren degraded and abandoned land does not reduce yields, it improves yields. It does not pressure biodiversity, it restores it.
As for your first question that started all this mess I already answered it 4 times. Increasing soil carbon improves yields too.
Here is a nice scholarly article about that since you seem to still resist accepting it, preferring Merchant of Doubt fallacious arguments and logic fallacies instead.
Please note this quote to start off the introduction:
“Among the natural factors determining the productivity of a soil its
humus content is the most important.”
Not just a little important, the most important. Regenerative Ag increases this. Standard “Green Revolution” methods reduce it.
What it means is that any mitigation strategy that includes regenerative farming sequestering carbon in the soil has multiple beneficial side effects. There is no trade off. It’s a true win/win.
Far too many false assumptions are your part are dragging this way off topic. It’s no longer worth discussing with you, as you don’t know enough about the subject to ask informed questions, and this is not the forum for teaching you how to farm.
There are plenty of resources available if you want. NCAT-ATTRA is one I highly recommend to get you started, assuming you actually want to learn it in the first place, rather than just making silly assumptions… And any one else reading this with interest, check it out. There is many years of interesting reading to be found there.
As the mods say, “Please note that if your comment repeats a point you have already made, or is abusive, or is the nth comment you have posted in a very short amount of time, please reflect on the whether you are using your time online to maximum efficiency. Thanks.” I am off to use my time more efficiently.
Either way no hard feelings. I am sure in your field you have a brilliant mind. I would likely be just as ignorant trying to discuss your silo as you are discussing mine. It’s just that your field is not regenerative farming nor soil science, and thus you have no idea how silly what you are saying sounds.
Or if you know how silly it is, but said it anyway just to troll? Then I suggest Prager U instead. You are sure to have a home there.
On tipping points and environmental law: “Taming Gaia 2.0: Earth system law in the ruptured Anthropocene”
at RtW: I think the diet article notes that eggs and dairy supply plenty of B12, so meat not required if a person consumes some eggs and dairy. Vegan is a tough diet in many ways. I respect my friends who work at that and I fix vegan dishes regularly, but I am not a vegan. I eat some meat, but not much, so I am also not a vegetarian.
Meat may be a common component of the historical diet of our species, but a healthy diet can be put together easily without meat if a person wants to do that.
This is not very complicated stuff until you throw in the ideological components that drive some of the arguments.
Reality Check @95, your material on intensive dairy farming in New Zealand and the resulting river pollution from nitrate runoff. Sad and embarrassing but true. I live there. However some new laws have been passed that will help although they fall short of what will be needed. Don’t they always.
But huge progress has been made reducing cattle faeces polluting rivers by fencing and planting barriers. Reducing nitrates is harder work. The country is very reliant on food exports so there’s no simple solution.
One thing related to what you said. Some farms are experimenting with regenerative farming. It is catching on slowly although not the exact and very strict form Killian talks about. And it is entering into public discussion.
Barton Paul Levenson @100
“But if we had to get 95% from renewables and 5% from natural gas, I’d be okay with that. E-P is convinced the rare events where you’d need the 5% prove the whole thing is impossible. As usual, he’s nuts.”
Yes or even 10% gas. You can also capture and store the emissions. 10% might be doable. EP is an engineer and these guys think differently to scientists. I don’t agree with all his views by a long way, but obviously the world needs both skill sets. Disagreements here between scientists and engineers remind me of watching The Big Bang Theory :)
Nuclear Poet (82): “The wind farms were producting at single-digit percentages of their ratings and the PV wasn’t much better”
William Jackson (110) “ It might be interesting to note that windmills in Texas suffered from the failure to winterize just as did the gas and oil systems!
Nuclear Poet manipulation goes much deeper than ignoring the winterization. Note the “weasel-words” [(c) N.Poet] here: “single-digit percentages of their ratings. They are “weasel-words“, because they suggest MASSIVE (down to “ single-digit %“!) and UNEXPECTED drop in power generation.
Except -the grid operators KNOW that both wind and solar OFTEN operate much below their MAXIMUM power – and take it into account in their planning: by overbuilding them, by building storage, and/or by matching with other power sources.
So the ERCOT, Texas’ grid operators, KNEW perfectly well that IN WINTER both the solar and the wind are likely to be much below their “(maximum) ratings”, yet they didn’t expect it to be a problem since:
a) the power demand in the US, and even more so in Texas, in winter is MUCH lower than in summer (when conveniently – both the solar and perhaps wind will be at or close to their max. ratings!)
b) on the other hand: gas, nuclear and coal have their power closest to their maximum ratings not in summer, but IN WINTER (because the higher the temperature difference between the steam and the cooling – the higher the thermodynamic efficiency of thermal electricity generation)
Between the lower winter demand and higher efficicny of thermal, ERCOT forecasted they would be OK if the wind run at a fraction of its (maximum) rating, i.e providing only 7% of winter power in Texas, i.e. 6 GW.
And yet when the freak winter event happened, and the Texas power grid found itself at the verge of collapse, who has saved it, who stepped in and instead of the expected 6 GW … provided 15-18GW? The wind! (see ERCOT’s slide 14)
That’s … not exactly the impression you’d get if you stopped your reading at the snide comments by our
– Nuclear Poet: “ The wind farms were producting at single-digit percentages of their ratings”
or his fellow Anti-Renewables Poets from Texas:
– U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston: “This is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.” “When weather conditions get bad as they did this week, intermittent renewable energy like wind isn’t there when you need it.”
– Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller: “We should never build another wind turbine in Texas.” “Insult added to injury: Those ugly wind turbines out there are among the main reasons we are experiencing electricity blackouts,” “Isn’t that ironic? … So much for the unsightly and unproductive, energy-robbing Obama Monuments. At least they show us where idiots live.”
Great Minds (Very Stable Geniuses?) think alike!
New study with information on issues and costs: “Carbon dioxide removal technologies are not born equal” (open access)
Richard the Weaver @108
“Mike’s link: vegans need to eat foods fortified with B-12 or take a supplement…..RtW: Which proves beyond a doubt that humans are omnivores. One can argue about whatever, but homo sapiens evolved with a diet affected by cooking and including meat.”
Good point. I think its pretty settled science that humans have always been omnivores. I was reading about diets of early humans a few years back. Although the design of our teeth isnt ideal for meat eating, and our digestive systems isn’t great for digesting raw meat and extracting its full calories. Refer:
The studies suggests very early humans mostly ate plants with tender cuts of raw meat being an occasional supplement (as I previously said). There’s still a big controversy about exactly how much meat early humans ate but its clear they ate some meat. Maybe it varied in different locations. I assume when cooking was invented meat eating increased. This makes it easier to digest, and may have lead to a dependence on the B12 vitamin.
109 Richard the Weaver says:
Killian, what is the benefit to disturbing the biome before smothering it?
Time. The grass dies and decomposes faster. And weed prevention: Grass is much less likely to regrow through the sheet mulch. A lot of work, so one must choose whether to be more active or more passive based on their conditions and priorities. In general, we would take the passive approach, but if you need to speed the time to productive gardening, you take the active approach.
108 Richard the Weaver says:
9 Jul 2021 at 3:21 PM
Mike’s link: vegans need to eat foods fortified with B-12 or take a supplement.
RtW: Which proves beyond a doubt that humans are omnivores. One can argue about whatever, but homo sapiens evolved with a diet affected by cooking and including meat.
Period. This is THE First Order issue with veganism. There simply is no debate. Consider: What if we all went vegan and dismantled all animal products production and still collapsed? Where does the B12 come from then?
I find veganism as a policy to be nothing but ideology. In fact, I find the elevation of humans above the natural spinning of the circle of life to be the single most arrogant thing a human could do WRT Nature and our place in it. Why vegans don’t understand the arrogance of telling Nature it is totally effed up because everything eats…
Veganism as policy is ideology, and utter bullshit. Pun intended.
Yet, vegans skip right past the First Order issue so they can argue secondary, tertiary, and beyond, issues to muddle the discussion.
We see the same with climate, energy, ecosystem destruction, econ, politics…
111: nigelWorseThanKIA (KIA knows he’s lying; you lie about even your lying.)
A scientist is someone who systematically gathers and uses research and evidence, to make hypotheses and test them, to gain and share understanding and knowledge.
You’re a goddamned fool.
Piotr, you’re a pedantic asshole. Your cherry-picking, decontextualizing crap is disgusting. These are important issues you trivialize with bullshit to score points like a fucking 6th Grade debater.
FACT: If you take degraded land and make it productive, it can ONLY be seen as a 50% INCREASE. And that land was degraded by destructive mainstream farming.
Stop playing stupid fucking games with everyone’s future.
This is NOT a debate. Regenerative blows away chem ag, and it is not even close. So, either address ALL the factors I and Scott have raised or STFU. You are behaving criminally.
Susan Anderson says
Thanks to the authors for getting out in front of the Cliff Mass problem. We can rely on you (also on Koonin, earlier this year) to provide technical information that helps overcome the always plausible forms of unskeptical “skepticism” – aka climate denial. I’m seeing citations all over the place, so this is important work.
Thanks also to Richard the Weaver currently @105, on the difference between a person and what they do. Exactly.
I’m not claiming it’s a conspiracy, I’m stating that it’s a POLICY which tremendously distorts the market. None other than Warren Buffet stated that the tax credits are the only thing which makes it worthwhile to build wind farms. Obviously the POLICY is what’s driving the profitability, not the raw economics.
Is it possible to get our carbon emissions down to the NEGATIVE levels we need if we’re still using 5% gas? That’s the important thing.
As usual, you miss the point.
David B. Benson says
michael Sweet @85 — And yet India, a non-compliant state, made it’s weapons plutonium without using the CANDU reactors, instead mostly a purpose built reactor.
Please join in contemplating what Breughal the Elder’s Tower of Babel teaches us in this regard.
He does not deserve the respect you just gave him here. There is no honesty in his criticisms. He may be ignorant, but it is by choice, not an accident of his history.
When one is a liar, one should say so.
When one is an enabler of lies, as you are, by refusing to call them out and encouraging rabid False Equivalence, that should be said, too.
If you aren’t calling out the lies, your are guilty of the lies.
Killian @124, you are still trying to claim Albert Bates is a scientist. Killian, even Albert Bates doesn’t claim hes a scientist. Read his bio on wikipedia for a start. Citizen science is not being a scientist by any traditional and accepted definition. The nearest I can find that he has come to science is writing a book about some science based issues. Youre about as honest and smart as a used car salesperson :)
That’s dodging the question. If the “renewables” are supposed to be so cheap, why is ANYONE in Germany paying multiples of the French electric rates? If industry is being subsidized, WHY? Wasn’t industry doing just fine with the pre-Energiewende rates? Cui bono?
Because wholesale prices in a market system are driven by supply and demand, while the “environmental fee” is an out-of-market payment system which can push the bid price of “renewables” to negative values as they can still make a profit.
If the wind farms were only dispatched when prices equalled their feed-in tariffs plus subsidies, do you think there would BE any wind farms?
Less electric use = lower standard of living, and energy poverty is a very real thing in Germany.
Electric transmission is an inherently regional thing; it’s far too costly to build out lines that can e.g. power Texas from Arizona sunshine, let alone AZ to NYC. The grid is weak enough that the wind farms being built in upstate NY can’t even get their power to NYC. This means that each region has to have the capability to weather its own extremes with minimal assistance beyond its immediate neighbors (which will probably have similar conditions).
The longest duration being bandied about at present is 150 hours. The February 2021 cold snap in Texas ran just short of 216 hours, and Rod Adams documents a near-total wind outage in the Bonneville Power Authority service area lasting nearly 2 weeks. We’re bound to see more of these extreme events as weather systems get “stuck” as the historical patterns of movements of air masses are disrupted by things like the weakening polar vortices. We’ll see more and more extremes like the “heat dome” which drove record temperatures in Oregon. Those will also drive extremes in availability of “renewables”, with the same or worse consequences as the Texas cold snap.
Killian(125) “ Piotr, you’re a pedantic asshole. Your cherry-picking, decontextualizing crap is disgusting. These are important issues you trivialize with bullshit to score points like a fucking 6th Grade debater. Stop playing stupid fucking games with everyone’s future. Disgusting. You are behaving criminally.”
Aaa, I see you are still “studiously avoiding” me. And quickly, you may have forgotten to lecture Mike on how it is the OTHERS who are insulting and rude. As for your opinions about me – I care about opinions of people I respect. So no harm done.
As for what you try to discredit as “bullshit to score points like a fucking 6th Grade debater” – questioning claims logic and facts is what is done in science. Then again “scientific” may not carry as much weight for you as me – remembering how you ripped into poor Rasmus for not inviting you to some conference “ My god! The arrogance of scientists! It’s maddening! And, frankly, not very smart. A wise person knows their limits and their strengths.“. The last – unintentionally ironic, given that Rasmus … wasn’t organizing the conference in question.
Killian(125) FACT: If you take degraded land and make it productive, it can ONLY be seen as a 50% INCREASE. And that land was degraded by destructive mainstream farming.
Calling your claim a “fact” and underscoring its factiness with capital letters – does not make it so. The claims live and die by their ability to withstand scrutiny. And yours, poor fella, never stood a chance, having been answered … before you made it: in my (106):
Piotr (106) responding to the “the “50% increase” claim:
“No, it isn’t, because you use a WRONG CONTROL – your reference yield should NOT be “zero”, but instead the yield that did not break even for the OLD owners – which is the most likely reason for the abandoning of the farm. So, if 50% lower yield was ABOVE the break-even point for the NEW owners, then the OLD owner, having been burdened by SEVERAL times higher costs per ha in the industrial ag., could have produced, say, 70%, AND WOULD STILL go under.
In such a case your CONTROL would be 70%, NOT 0% used in your argument.”
Calling this argument names (say:” cherry-picking, decontextualizing crap is disgusting“) won’t magically falsify it. The same goes for my complementary argument – from (106):
Scott: “[This is also a massive] increase in soil carbon, increase in biodiversity, increase in wildlife, restoration of hydrological and nutrient cycles etc etc etc. with regenerative ag.”
Piotr(106):”Again, WITHOUT control, you don’t know if it is massive, OR EVEN IF IT IS an INCREASE: you have set your control again to ZERO – when in reality abandoned farms left to themselves and their secondary succession – would have “massive increases biodiversity, increase in wildlife, restoration of hydrological and nutrient cycle, all in the ABSENCE of ANY agriculture.”
>This is NOT a debate. Regenerative blows away chem ag, and it is not even close.
Strong effects (“blows away”) are easy to prove. Yet despite Nigel asking, you weren’t able to show peer-review papers with such obvious blow-away. Hmmm…
> So, either address ALL the factors I and Scott have raised or STFU
I don’t have to since Scott’s QUANTATIVE claim (in 45): “Yet because the yields were still 50%, there was the false claim that regenerative ag somehow would decrease the food supply? Really? Taking a degraded piece of land, and returning it to productivity decreases food supply….?” was made WITHOUT those OTHER factors. Ergo had to stand on its own.
So no, your “STFU” (“Shut The Fuck Up” for those not fluent in Killian) may have worked in your 6th grade, but won’t work here.
Dunce, I gave you the definition of scientist FROM SCIENTISTS, and you still argue it isn’t the definition. Why? Because you were presented it by me.
Your behavior is infantile.
TEK is science. Permaculture is science (and before you run your stupid mouth on that, Mollison developed Permaculture while lecturing at CSIRO). Anyone hypothesizing testing, falsifying/confirming is doing science, and those who do it habitually are scientists. It does not require a PhD, child. The term didn’t even exist until 1833, so I guess tens of thousands of years of science must have been something else.
Reality Check says
(anecdotal) Extreme heat cooked mussels, clams and other shellfish alive on beaches in Western Canada
Christopher Harley, a professor in the zoology department at The University of British Columbia, found countless dead mussels popped open and rotting in their shells on Sunday at Kitsilano Beach, which is a few blocks away from his Vancouver home.
Harley studies the effects of climate change on the ecology of rocky shores where clams, mussels and sea stars live, so he wanted to see how the intertidal invertebrates were faring in the record heat wave that hit the area on June 26-28. […]
He said the death of a mussel bed can cause “a cascading effect” on other species.
Both scientists said they were concerned that these heat waves were becoming more common and they weren’t sure whether the mussel beds would be able to recover.
“What worries me is that if you start getting heat waves like this, every 10 years instead of every 1,000 years or every five years, then it’s — you’re getting hit too hard, too rapidly to actually ever recover,” Harley said. “And then the ecosystem is going to just look very, very different.”
Scott E Strough @114
“Ok I have had about enough of this again Piotr”
What comments by Piotr? Do you mean @106? It helps to put a number so people can follow things.
I can’t really see anything wrong with what Piotr has said @106 and previously. I can only conclude maybe you just dont understand it. The only criticism I would make of Piotrs comments is he might have stated more clearly that he accepts Regen. agric. would improve productivity of degraded land but it was implicit in his comments anyway.
This is what got my attention from you: “Converting cornfields to grasslands does not increase cultivated land. It reduces it. Planting a food forest does not increase cultivated land, it reduces it. Regenerating productivity from barren degraded and abandoned land does not reduce yields, it improves yields. It does not pressure biodiversity, it restores it.”
I just can’t see where Piotr or anyone else here has suggested any of that. Maybe I missed it. Perhaps could you give a reference and copy and paste?
“Increasing soil carbon improves yields too.”
Your terminology is confusing. You appear to mean humus given your link. Soil carbon is usually taken to be the long term stored component of soil carbon we want to encourage.
You are clearly using the argument that regenerative agriculture can improve the productivity of degraded or abandoned land and this cancels reductions in yields so everything will be fine and dandy. I’m sure regenerative agriculture could nurse some land back to health, and would improve the productivity but you people need to calculate the potential global area to know how this compares with the yields defecit, and how long it would realistically take and whether it can be done economically.
You also make arguments that reducing food waste would help with the yields issue, but with no plan of how we reduce food waste.
Piotr @106 simply suggested that you regenerative people talk a lot about rewilding and soil carbon and forestry and this degraded, unused land probably suits that better than crops. Seems like a reasonable point. And it leaves the yields problem to solve some other unspecified way.
The big thing to me is there is finite land area and so many competing demands on it. In addition Killians simplification plan talks about burning biomass for energy and making use of timber because its a regenerative resources so even more demands for forests or planting. And population growth is expected to increase from current 7.9 billion people approx. to about 10.5 billion people later this century. Thats about a 25% increase in population wanting yet more food and timber. You do not need to be Albert Einstein or an expert in regenerative agriculture to see thats expecting an enormous amount from finite land areas and regenerative agriculture. And climate change is going to impact on yields as well even if we make a herculanian effort to mitigate the problem. Maybe its possible to do everything, but I suspect there will have to be a whole lot of compromises somewhere in this.
Reality Check says
Record-breaking temperatures mean we must change the way we talk about the climate emergency
In addition to being a senior PhD candidate at SFU, Kamyar Razavi is also a national news producer with Global News.
More Data/Information or more Stories? eg fyi …
Last year, stories about climate change represented just 0.4 per cent of all major U.S. broadcast news coverage. In 2019, it was 0.7 per cent. Even in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave stretching from California to Yukon, references to climate change are few and far between.
Information deficit model – Ironically, one of the biggest blind spots has to do with how information about this issue is shared with the public.
The conventional approach relies upon what’s known as the “information deficit model.” The deficit model builds on the assumption that people will take action on climate change if they have more information about it. [..]
Unfortunately, the relationship between how much people know and how they act is not always linear. Feeding more facts to someone who is highly politically motivated to dismiss climate change will not convince them to pay more attention to the problem.
For there to be engagement with this subject and, by extension, political action, the climate crisis must feel personal, relatable, understandable and, most importantly, solvable. [..]
Environmental communicators have long pointed to an excessive use of fear messaging around climate change as one of the main problems with engaging the public on this subject.
The challenge is to pair fear messaging with information about efficacy, namely what people can actually do to mitigate the fear. The combination of fear and efficacy leads to what is known as “danger control,” actions to mitigate the danger, as opposed to “fear control,” actions to shut down the fear.
In the case of COVID-19, the sense of efficacy was clear: hand washing, social distancing, masking. With climate change, efficacy information is far less obvious, and more difficult to act upon. […]
Solutions, notably in the form of stories about people and communities taking action to solve the climate crisis, are among the most effective ways of communicating the emergency.
Such stories about change that is working send a message that action to mitigate the climate crisis by ordinary people is doable, normal, empowering and desirable. They energize and mobilize members of the public ready to take action, by providing visual examples of who is leading the way.
They also move the conversation beyond the conventional emphasis on skeptics and deniers, and normalize pro-environmental values and behaviours for the growing number of people who are already alarmed or concerned about the climate emergency.
Far from driving the fear narrative, stories of climate solutions unlock people’s sense of efficacy and agency in the face of impending danger. In other words, they engage the public on climate change by doing what all good communication does: meeting people where they are at, through a mobilizing story.
This is storytelling 101: engaging audiences, not turning them away, as most climate reports do.
126 Susan Anderson says: “Thanks also to Richard the Weaver currently @105, on the difference between a person and what they do. Exactly.”
Killian @130: “When one is a liar, one should say so. When one is an enabler of lies, as you are, by refusing to call them out and encouraging rabid False Equivalence, that should be said, too. If you aren’t calling out the lies, your are guilty of the lies.”
Nigelj: Killians response is probably one of the most bizarre and ridiculous comments I’ve ever seen on the internet. If Killian bothered to focus on discussion its quite obvious SA (and Richard) was being critical of what KIA does ( as in material he posts including by implication any alleged lies) and drawing a distinction from him as a person. As to false equivalence. Good people sometimes do bad things. Its hard to see how this is false equivalence. Has Killan never done a thing wrong in his life?
I’m reluctant to call KIA a liar anyway. To prove someones lying you have to prove deliberate intent to deceive and thats difficult. Often people turn out to just be mistaken or sincerely believe something that is wrong. He sounds more like hes just deluded and silly, with all his comments about cold temperatures somewhere 100 years ago etc,etc. He does say things that are clearly false, but calling them falsehoods is a better choice of words.
Oops typo. KIA sounds more like hes just deluded and silly, with all his comments about HOT temperatures somewhere 100 years ago etc,etc
Barton Paul Levenson says
K 124, to nigel: You’re a goddamned fool.
K 125, to Piotr: you’re a pedantic asshole.
BPL, to K: And you are a wonderfully calm, logical person who always has something rational and helpful to say.
Barton Paul Levenson says
K 130, to Susan: When one is an enabler of lies, as you are
BPL: And the beat goes on.
michael Sweet says
DBBenson at 128:
Continuing to support your deliberate lie that power reactors cannot make weapons plutonium does not make you look like an honest broker of information. The Indians could easily have used their CANDU reactors to make the weapons plutonium that they wanted but they didn’t need to. Why because a “peaceful research reactor” had already made them all the plutonium they needed. I am amazed that you continue to support this deliberate lie in this forum.
I note that they are building more wind and solar in ERCOT than any other area of the USA. Those state subsidies of wind and solar in Texas must be really high to get people to build out all that unreliable renewable power . How much nuclear are they building in Texas?
Arguing that because currently renewable energy requires fossil backup is stupid. Once enough renewable is built out, storage will replace fossil fuels. The many peer reviewed papers I have cited repeatedly on this site describe how to store renewable energy at low cost. I note that they do not use pumped hydro so anyone who uses that is making it up. Current studies like Williams et al 2021 show that renewable energy will cost about the same as fossil fuels through 2050. After that, since no fuel is required, renewable is way cheaper. When air pollution, acid rain damage and health affects are counted against fossil fuels renewable energy is much cheaper today. Developing countries (and many developed countries) are choking from fossil pollution that will be gone once we switch to renewable energy.
Nuclear is not economic and it takes too long to build.
MIT Technology Review – on the “carbon removal hype”
Things I got from it:
1. “The noise, news and hype are feeding a perception that carbon removal will be cheap, simple, scalable, and reliable. None of which we can count on.”
2. Used by fossil fuel industries as a cover to continue business as usual
3. Not all of them are created equal
4. Particularly questionable – reforestation schemes – the same issues as with selling carbon offsets in the past: “significantly overestimating the carbon-removal capacity of those trees, underplaying the challenges presented by competing uses for that land, and including areas not particularly well suited to growing and sustaining forests”.
As mentioned elsewhere – only young forest capture C, old are zero or negative, no accounting for the return of C in forest fires or decomp when cut and open to fraud – taking credit for things that would happen anyway (“incentivize tree planting or preservation [that] often overcount carbon savings or provide carbon credits for forests that weren’t actually at risk of being cut down”; “Questionable, wonky, and often blatantly dishonest carbon accounting is rampant”).
5. Which, of course makes p.4 the … preferred choice for offsets by the industry – thanks to not accounting for the problems discussed in p.4, they are the cheapest: $5 to $15 a ton. Compare with Climeworks price of $775 per ton to remove CO2 using its direct-air-capture technology.
6. The cheapness of the forest schemes creates “ a discourse that makes net zero seem like a relatively easy thing to accomplish at relatively low costs”
BTW – if you harboured any doubts about climate merits of that schemes – one of the biggest promoters for it was … DJ Trump: “To protect the environment, days ago, I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative”, making him in the eyes of his acolytes the Greenest US President Ever.
7. “ Some of the ones that are most mature and likely to succeed and make a material difference, like BECCS [bioenergy with carbon capture and storage], are getting a lot less attention compared to less mature technologies like direct air capture and mineralization.”
The article’s conclusion: at the minimum, don’t let the promised “negative emissions” to replace emission reductions. Europe places limits on those replacements: Sweden wants to get to 0 by 2045 with 85% cut of emissions, and relying on C capture only in 15%; EU out of its 55% cut target till 2030, only 2% of of that can be met for by C capture.
You may ask: “But what about the favourite subject of this thread?”. Well, there was a link to soil C capture in the article, but it wasn’t discussed explicitly.
I know it disqualifies the article, that’s why mention it at very end. My guess is that some of the issues with reforestation could be a concern here as well – reliable accounting of the achieved CO2 uptake and permanence of the storage:
– labile C, by definition is open to recycling back to CO2 or worse still, as in any ecosystem with limited oxygen access (no plowing) – potentially to methane
– stable C should be safe from biological decay, but still may be released as CO2 by non-biological decay – e.g. the massive seasonal peatland fires in Russia or in South East Asia. So it is hard to anticipate how big a portion of the absorbed C would stay absorbed over next decades or centuries.
But beware – for all we know – it all may be a disgusting assholic criminal cherry-picked and decontextualized bullshit crap [sensu Killian, 2021]
Nobody was expecting half the fleet to be out of commission due to icing.
They don’t overbuild with an eye toward curtailment because that wastes PTC and REC revenue.
Trivial for events on this scale.
And THAT is where the whole thing almost fell apart. With the closure of 6000 MW of coal-fired capacity since 2018, that “matching” was done by gas. Gas supplies were the bottleneck. With many wells frozen (raw gas is “wet” and methane forms solid clathates under the right conditions of temperature and pressure) and heating prioritized, many gas plants that ERCOT was relying on could not get fuel. No fuel in, no power out. Per The Austin American-Statesman:
Know what performed spectacularly while not generating a single gram of emissions? Nuclear, that’s what. And as was proven at what’s now INL, and is being demonstrated at Pevek and Haiyang, you can get space heat as well as electricity from nuclear energy. That would have slashed the demand for gas as well, de-carbonizing the space heat supply while eliminating wells and pipelines as points of failure.
Richard the Weaver says
Scott: Families cut back on how much they eat and then eventually skip meals altogether on some days.
RtW: so folks are forced to do the healthy thing? Woo. One meal a day is the hominoid way.
Toxic food. Poisonous solutions. As if folks could do the right thing. Addiction rules and your piddly food budget is not powerful enough to change reality
Why biofuels made from things like maize, palm oil and soya beans are a bad idea:
Imho this is truly outstanding commentary on public relations strategies, climate disinformation, triblism, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.
And in passing it shows Susan Anderson and Richard Caldwell are so right in their comments that good people can sometimes do bad things, including perhaps some of the climate denialists. Heres the experts view from about half way through the commentary:
“It’s not just bad actors who pollute and polarize public conversations. Carol Tavris, author of the best-selling Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me, told me the moment we make a decision we begin to see all the reasons we are right about it.
We overlook information that suggests we could be wrong. This self-justification protects us from the uncomfortable feelings of cognitive dissonance that come from recognizing we’ve made a mistake. The more time, effort, money, and public face we attach to our decisions, the harder it is to admit we are wrong. We find ways to defend our mistakes rather than facing the alternative, which is to admit doing something stupid, unethical, or incompetent even though we are good, smart, and decent.
Self-justification is a powerful process. Tavris believes the feeling of having two conflicting views of ourselves can be as uncomfortable as hunger or thirst. The mind is highly motivated to reduce this discomfort. Because of this, we have trouble accepting evidence that we made a mistake, or did something harmful, or are holding an outdated belief.
“The greatest danger we face on the planet is not only from bad people doing corrupt, evil, and bad things, but also from good people who justify the bad, evil, and corrupt things they do in order to preserve their belief that they are good, kind, and ethical people,” Tavris said.
(Of course some people are just plain evil. Serial killers etc. In no way am I or the writer exusing people).
“There is no honesty in his (Piotrs) criticisms. ” So typical of Killian. He’s alleging somone is dishonest every five minutes on this website. God knows what the man is like on completely unmoderated forums. Its a very convenient way to deflect attention from hard questions or accurate criticisms, and like this latest example its its rarely backed up with evidence.
Richard the Weaver says
Nigelj: No. He’s not a scientist.
RtW: Says you. But why? Go ahead. Give us a definition and some data.
Richard the Weaver says
Kevin: If a German household comparable to mine pays 37 cents US per kilowatt, but uses a third of the energy we do at 11 cents, then our actual costs are going to be pretty comparable
RtW: this has fried my brain for decades. People seem to rarely consider actual cost, as opposed to cost per input. If your system is ten times as efficient then a five times as expensive input is a steal.
The US could use the National Petroleum Reserve to decouple from the world’s energy market. Everyone in the USA would know the escalating price of oil ten years from now to a fraction of a penny.
Anyone got a reason to not clamp down on fossil prices, to eliminate the trading game? What good does the fossil futures market do?