A bimonthly open thread for discussions related to climate solutions. Note that open discussions of climate science are here. Possible topics of interest are the trial carbon-capture effort in Iceland and the discussions in the lead up to COP26. Please be constructive and substantive.
542 Responses to "Forced responses: Sep 2021"
Reality Check says
Authors debrief chat –
Three decades of climate mitigation, why haven’t we bent in the curve?
Full Access Paper – Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?
Ray Ladbury says
Unfortunately, the answer to that is easy: Half of humanity has been actively opposing mitigation efforts by any means, fair or foul, and the rest of us have been half-assing it. And I don’t see that changing until we see consequences sufficiently catastrophic to wake us from our slumber.
Kevin McKinney says
Perhaps someone beat me to it, but BEST–Berkeley Earth, that is–has a new tool up. Pretty nifty, if you’re considering impacts and/or emissions on the national level. It projects current trends, showing 2 net-zero path trends for comparison.
I’d have liked to see sortable lists, too, so you could easily see the larger picture, but hey, this is still a nice resource.
Reality Check says
@nigelj regarding cost-benefit analysis issue, 25 oct https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2021/09/forced-responses-sep-2021/comment-page-3/#comment-797199 .
This recent paper discusses aspects of cost-benefit analysis, IAMs, competing economic frameworks/orthodoxies, and related environmental Financialization issues, possibly a fair overview of complex reality. I think it’s a good paper that touches on all the tough issues/barriers succinctly with good refs/info.
Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: see section 4.1. Economics and Financialization
Reality check. Thank’s for the reference. The paper covers a lot of ground. I think it’s good. I think several things can be dismissed as lunacy. The BECCS scheme requires too much land and fertiliser. The sorts of CCS schemes that attach to coal fired power statons just perpetuate burning fossil fuels so slow down necessary change. I think CCS schemes that suck carbon out of the air might have some future but again they do tend to encourage continuing to burn fossil fuels and are in their infancy so we cant assume too much about them.
The ETS idea is so damn complicated it is probably full of opportunities for clever people to rip off the scheme commercially. And yet the ETS aims to be a stand alone solution and that looks suspiciously simplistic to me. I think economic studies like Nordhaus work have very limited value. How do you put a cost on biodiversity or tipping points?
Large and rapid cuts to consumption look unwise to me because they could seriously destabilise the ‘economy’ and lead to mass unemployment and a downwards spiral like the great economic depression of the 1930s, a nasty example of what degrowth can mean in reality. Obviously we are overconsuming, but solving this is going to be a nightmare because its a powerful drug, and our whole civilsation is based upon it. Every job is tied to it. I lived simply as a university student (not much choice) but that is different from billions of people making a massive and comparatively rapid transition.
Personally I think a carbon tax in combination with specific regulations and subsidies is more robust and less likely to be abused than an ETS.
I tend to agree with Ray Ladburys comment above that we are somewhat stuffed because half the population are trying to stop mitigation and the other half just dont care about the climate issue. The countries that have temperate climates so the least damage are gambling they can adapt, and they dont care about the countries in the tropics that will get hit hardest. The other thing is fixing the climate problem requires so much change I dont think the average person is mentally equipped to embrace it so they tend to want to stay with the status quo. They are scared of the possible costs of mitigation, and when you are stuck paying a mortgage I can understand that.
I still advocate change and renewable energy because its the right thing to do, and ultimately inevitable anyway because we will run out of fossil fuels. Or we could adopt nuclear power. I dont care they both could work. And I try not to overconsume or fly, unless really necessary for personal family reasons. Despite some criticisms I do think regenerative agriculture has a part to play. Bear in mind its a negative emissions technology so some countries might see it as a get out of jail free card as well. Thats one reason why I say the whole climate issue is complex and challenging to resolve properly. There are so many agendas and they get abused and played off against each other. Those are just a few things that occur to me.
Simplification would just be HORRIBLE! And besides, can’t be done! Can’t be done in 30 years! Only in 1 year and three months! But, can’t be done, I say! Nobody wants to live that way!!!!!!
I remind you one middle-aged/elderly woman did this in 10 years:
But, CAN’T BE DONE!
Reality Check says
I am still working my way through Reality Blind by Nate Hagens
While easy to read and understand, it’s not easy going, at times grim, so I have to stop for a break. Some recent sections stand out in Energy sections:
The Bottom Line: We can print money, but we can’t print energy.
The more money we print today; the faster we consume, and the less
energy and stuff we will have tomorrow.
More technology causes us to use more energy because
most technology is ABOUT how to use more energy to
provide things we need and want.
Efficiency and Affordability? The Rebound Effect or Jevons Paradox
In large modern societies, adding complexity greatly increases
systemic risk (e.g. 95% of the antibiotics used in the US are Made
Energy is the “master resource” which drives society, because
without it, we have no ability to acquire any other resources.
It’s a major point of divergence between Reality101 and the
entrenched beliefs of our current civilization, upon which
our future and our world’s future are now based.
The Bottom Line: Malthus was correct. His timing was not.
Here’s an historical stat I have heard a few times recently and which I still have trouble absorbing … the last 30 years since 1990 humanity has consumed more fossil fuels energy, generated more GHG emissions than in the entire 300,000 years of our existence before hand. Cheers
Richard the Weaver says
“Three decades of climate mitigation, why haven’t we bent in the curve?”
Richard: Perhaps because fossil fuels are like drugs: demand is not terribly important when it comes to consumption. Until the actual lever, production is addressed the curve will remain quite stiff.
Agreed. Human “economics” is the wrong lens for viewing the world as a whole, and probably for viewing most things.
That only works if the short flights are not replaced by medium-distance LDV trips with more emissions per km. Gotta watch that.
Sufficient carbon taxation can help straighten out the calculations.
(And look, you webmasters. Setting text as anything BUT #000 is wrong; setting blockquotes as #999 is simply sadism. Do NOT decrease contrast without need. Do not use funky fonts either. Set everything as either Times New Roman (serif) or Arial (sans serif), no exceptions. Your ridiculous insistance on Raleway speaks very poorly of you. Just stop it. NOW.)
MZJ’s paper so aptly demolished by Clack et al. assumed no storage beyond existing hydropower… which he assumed could produce many times its nameplate rating. Both generators and rivers have physical limits.
Nuclear energy. Duh.
I admit to being fascinated by the possibilities of prestressed cast-iron pressure vessels. They eliminate most if not all of the constraints imposed by forged steel vessels, such as the need for massive forges to manufacture them. The PCI material is the support for a solid (albeit thin) liner which actually contains the internal pressure. Ductile cast iron can work at up to 750°C; this is substantially more than the outlet temperature of projected first-generation high-temperature gas-cooled pebble-bed reactors. 7 MPa working pressure for a HTGR is less than half of the steam pressure of a boiler at that temperature, so the pressure vessel can be quite a bit thinner and thus cheaper. Individual units operating at under 300 MW thermal can passively cool without fuel damage, so emergency core cooling and its power requirements are eliminated. This also allows “black start” capability for the nuclear plants. You get a further advantage from the meltdown-proof reactors, which allows them to be sited inside built-up areas and provide district heating as well as electric power.
Thorium holds the potential for a rapid scaling of nuclear energy generation, due to its neutronic properties. I don’t understand the details of thorium as well as I’d like, but I have suspicions. The neutron economy of PBMRs is very good due to the lack of neutron-absorbing light-water coolant, though the pressure vessels are larger than LWRs. PCI construction eliminates a bunch of constraints on pressure-vessel size. Modularity allows the replacement of a single fossil-fired boiler with a number of nuclear reactors providing steam at the same pressure and temperature.
The major unknowns for me are the potential thorium supply (there are a number of resources including coal ash dumps and the byproducts of rare-earth refining) and the details of the fuel cycle. I don’t have the expertise to calculate the detailed neutronics, such as the absorption of neutrons by Pa-233 and consequent production of non-fissile U-234. Just how to manage the cooling vs. reprocessing of thorium-based breeding-blanket elements is way beyond anything I can analyze. I can speculate, but I won’t do it here. There may be several workable solutions but finding the one(s) which can do the job at the required pace is something for experts, not laymen like me.
Engineer Poet. Sorry my question sounded a bit dumb because I didn’t realise you made the comment because you used a different name. I realised just after I hit submit, looking at the little face.
Jacobson did also allow for molten salt storage, although I accept your basic point that he was light on storage.
It’s probably fortunate that you posted the reply here, because I wouldn’t have looked back at the other page. This new website format is headache inducing.
As an engineer you should know about the Siemens Martens method, “Tiegel- guss Stahl” and the British Armstrong- guns of casted high quality steel elements that were “shrinked” onto each other in concentric layers. See also Krupp- stahl.
There is hardly need for anything better.
Thorium is much more abundant than uranium in the earth crust, and refining is very much cheaper because isotopic seperationn is not needed. That you should know. I have been told early on that the CIA has bought up the fameous very large thorium resources here where I live.
Thorium was discovered by Jöns Jacob Berzelius in an obscure mineral from here quite next by.
And India also with great thorium resources has had a reactor of it running.
The problem, I am told, is that thorium and uranium were both equally promising in the start, but Uranium took over because it delivered plutonium for the arms race (or madness) as a by- product that subventioned the nuclear power plants.
Your mentioned ideas of pre stressed cast iron pressure wessels however seem astray. That looks like commercial fake news, fishing in stirred water..
The technique is very traditional in gun (cannon) fabrication, but “cast iron” is not the material there. I would suggest chrom vanadium, that Henry Ford also cunningly took for the frame of his T- ford, it is especially strong and never breaks.
Fabrication of very exotic strong high temperature steel metal is well under control in the exhaust- turbine blades of jet engines. Look at that tremendous force from a very small engine when any helicopter or turboprop plane takes off. It all goes through those small turbine blades at orange and yellow hot.
Richard the Weaver says
Happy Halloween. Have fun and don’t do anything I probably will…
As usual, I’m going as Doc Brown, but this year I get to take drawings for the temporal torque transfer device.
We did hardly celebrate Halloween in Norway until quite recently after it has come in by americanized comjmerce. But there are old elements of the same in other annual folklore ceremo0nies in late autumn. ..
The lantern frestival in late autumn and thanksgiving which is Martinius, who gave out half of his very coat to a poor beggar to become holy and a due favourite and moral example…
But Halloween fell exactly on Bots og bededag, Buss und Bettag, Day of repentance and prayer, that you will find on Wikipedia, and which is quite exactly what they assemble for in Glasgow this year.
And it was also the reformation day as Martin Luther hammered up his 95 sentences against sinful misuse and luxury and corruption behind closed doors in the mainstream commercialized media and politics, at night on the church door of Wittenberg oct 31 1517.
Also quite funny.
Thus we whish them happy repentance, prayer, and reformation also, in Glasgow this year.
Greta Thunberg told last year that her halloween costume will be going to be be the most scaring. “I shall not even have to dress up”
Hi folks, would you mind clarifying how national emission reduction targets are calculated?
I am familiar with the concept of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, as defined here: https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/default/files/August%202021/document/national-greenhouse-accounts-factors-2021.docx
For the headline reductions in the media (such as https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-03/will-australia-meet-and-beat-2030-emissions-target/100568416), which scope is being applied?
Specifically, for a country like Australia that exports a lot of coal, which nation is given the blame for the CO2 produced from burning that coal? When the US imports a manufactured item, which country is considered responsible for the CO2 effects of manufacturing?
I’m not so much interested in how this should be counted, but in how it is actually counted. There is, obviously, huge scope for fudging the numbers, and if it is possible to fudge numbers, then I have great confidence the Australian Govt will try to do so.
Thanks in anticipation.
Reality Check says
Saying it is complicated is an understatement TWoE …. but fwiw iirc scope 1 2 3 emissions only applies to organizations and companies making future emission reduction plans. It’s not part of the UNFCCC NDCs for countries.
and the burning of FF exports are accounted for in the importing nations, not in australia. Only production, energy use, mining, transport, land clearing fugitive emissions etc to produce exports are accounted for inside Australia.
and all shipping (aviation) is not accounted anywhere for any country as well, ~3% of global total iirc.
Currently, national emissions inventories conducted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) only consider emissions that occur within the borders of each country. Responsibility for emissions associated with trade remains with the exporting nation.
But those impacts are more or less known. eg K Anderson always mentions these re the UK. Australia ignores them in politics, the media and in general.
Basically Australia has always been a major recalcitrant with the treaties to date. Thank the LNP for that, in power at the times of major decisions. Howard, Abbott and then Turnbull.
see LULUCF activities and the 3 articles re Kyoto … and australia’s unique dispensations out to 2020.
after gaining special exceptions the they refused to ratify Kyoto until labor came to power in 2007.
But in 2010 Kyoto 213-2020 “ Under the Gillard Labor government, Australia agreed to an underwhelming 5% decrease in emissions between 2013 and 2020. “ So not innocent either.
Had forest clearing not been included in the 1990 baseline, Australia’s emissions in 2017 were 31.8% above 1990 levels.
The facts? Australia has essentially done nothing so far and plans to do next to nothing out to 2030.
all in country emissions included … lulucf, agriculture, mining, electricity, transport, etc
See Australia’s intended nationally determined contribution – abbott/turnbull
Target: 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030
UPDATED 2020 Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution morrison
Compare with Canada
Original 30% with much more detail than Australia
2015 detailed plan
Canada Updated 2021 – very detailed
Canada’s updated NDC is to reduce emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030
LULUCF activities are now included in most NDCs to 2030 … but not necessarily in developing nations as many can’t record that data reliably.
and see the oct 2021 ndc synthesis report – in particular Item 13.
– The total global GHG emission level in 2030, taking into account implementation of all the latest NDCs, is expected to be 15.9 per cent above the 2010 level.
– According to the SR1.5 to be consistent with global emission pathways with no or limited overshoot of the 1.5 °C goal, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions need to decline by about 45 per cent from the 2010 level by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050.
– For limiting global warming to below 2 °C, CO2 emissions need to decrease by about 25 per cent from the 2010 level by 2030 and reach net zero around 2070.
So Australia is not the only recalcitrant not meeting the 2015 Paris Treaty commitments made back in 2015.
Net zero by 2050 seems to now be defunct as a practical UNFCCC / Paris goal.
As is reducing ghg emissions by 45-50% below 2010 levels globally by 2030 ….
The global carbon budget to stay below +1.5C will be gone sometime in the next 6 to 12 years — which specific year, makes no difference.
COP26? Where the extremely delusional meets the dunning-kruger effect of conceited politicians and other general idiots. Anyone talking sense (like the Bolivian President) gets drowned out and/or not even reported on …. as usual the MSM simply regurgitate verbatim what the worst leaders say with the worst ideas and most ineffective plans which only serves to magnify the BS while pointing out Greta used swear words … tsk tsk. Bad naughty little girl!
lost in the noise.
By the time COP26 is over hopefully the fantasy dreamers (such as M Mann et al) will move on from repeatedly & falsely claiming that staying under 1.5C and reducing emissions by 45% by 2030 using currently available technology is still possible … when it is not possible, obviously….at least not the faux solutions they have been promoting (alongside their books for sale.) They need to get out the way imo because they are out of their depth…..
She pretty much stole that from Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci). “I’m going as a serial killer. They look like everyone else.”
You can say THAT again.
Seriously, say it again. And again. And AGAIN, until they FIX THE BLASTED THING.
They need to start with the fonts and colors, which are perverse and sadistic. Then they need to move on to the threading. How does someone discover a new comment in a thread that’s way up the page, or even on a previous comment page? There is no way to do this except by re-reading everything. That is also perverse and sadistic. A reasonable and feasible way to do threading is to post at the base indent level with hard-links to the parent comment (as I have been doing), perhaps adding forward links to child comments at the parent comment. This way, a reader can follow all child comments just by bookmarking the last posted comment in the thread and going forward. THEN they need to re-implement the comment preview (the removal of which is ALSO perverse and sadistic).
They’ll probably continue to ignore the voice of experience just because I’ve been doing this for decades.
Go over this paper and tell me if you still think so:
The method is sound. A thin, continuous liner is surrounded by blocks of relatively hard backing material (the cast iron), which are held in compression by tension tendons/fibers outside of them in turn. This eliminates the need for large forgings, removing a major limitation on the production rate of pressure vessels. Instead, relatively small foundries and rolling mills can produce all the essential pieces of a vessel of indefinite size. This is, in the American parlance, a game-changing development.
Reality Check says
Global Methane Pledge asks countries to cut their methane emissions by 30% over 2020-30 and agree to stronger reporting standards.
Using simple climate models known as “emulators”, we show that cutting methane can have a huge impact on limiting near-term warming, but global methane reductions of around 50% will likely be needed to realise the 0.2C saving.
In our methane mitigation scenarios, we applied global methane reductions of 30%, 40% and 50% in 2030, relative to 2020, and kept them at that level into the future. We then applied straight-line methane reductions between 2020 and 2030 to transition towards the 2030 scenarios.
For comparison, we also simulated the impact of another COP26 priority – phasing out coal power.
The figures also indicate that methane reductions of around 50% – rather than 30% – will likely be needed to realise the 0.2C of avoided warming aimed for in the pledge. (In addition, our scenarios refer to global emissions and so are more ambitious than the pledge as it stands.)
Does not matter how they slice and dice it. They keep on dancing around the edges calling it progress. While the scientists keep coming up with optional theoretical scenarios supposedly to make us all feel better and keep our spirits up …… huh, wtf? It’s like playing Monopoly and believing you really are a real estate tycoon. Isn’t it?
Until it’s enough it is never going to be enough, period, end of story.
Richard the Weaver says
The temporal torque transfer device consists of two magnets. The stator is a ring magnet that is radially oriented, so south points inward and north outward. The outer radius of the stator changes depending on direction. I’ll use a two cylinder engine as an example. The point (direction) representing top dead center has the largest outer radius. The stator is vanishingly thin at BDC.
The rotor is a bar magnet shaped like an ice cream cone (or a raindrop as we incorrectly draw them) with north being at the pointy end.
The rotor is shorter than the stator’s inner diameter so its pointy end is right next to the stator’s inner edge and its round end is far from the stator’s inner edge.
Let the magnets do what they want and the rotor will orient itself at TDC and resist attempts to move it. So, as the engine runs, starting at TDC:
:BANG: goes one of the two cylinders. Said cylinder produces positive torque. The TTTD’s outer diameter shrinks rapidly, dropping its field strength, so the TTTD produces negative torque that drops net torque to precisely the engine’s average torque over a full rotation.
The stator’s outer diameter continues to shrink as needed until BDC, subtracting torque as needed to keep net torque constant.
At BDC the stator’s outer diameter starts increasing, adding torque as needed to keep net torque constant.
Throttling is achieved by moving the stator to one side, misaligning it and so weakening the field. This means that the TTTD’s rotor (or the crankshaft) needs a bearing to resist the resulting lateral force. This bearing represents an inefficiency. My question is whether there are any other losses, given that there are no conversions. It is purely the interaction of moving but non-varying magnetic fields.
EP? Piotr? Ray? BPL? Anyone?
Oh, and the TTTD looks wicked cool. It’ll make a great logo and t-shirt.
Richard the Weaver says
The TTTD replaces the flywheel so it doesn’t add weight. And think of the ramifications. Two-cylinder engines are dirt cheap. The fossil guys will surely use this to extend their rule. As Urkel says, “Did I do that?”
Reality Check says
One example of the MSM being Off with Faeries because they listen to, then mindlessly accept without questioning the global Politicians mad assertions and wild claims made at COP26 and in it’s lead up.
Kevin Anderson says:
I’m at a complete loss how on @R4WorldTonight top environmental journalist @MattMcGrathBBC can claim the UK (& even the US) targets are “very much in line with 1.5°C”. What carbon budget & equity criteria can he be using, or is it just huge ‘negative emissions’ NETs?
Peer reviewed paper analysing UK (& Swedish) carbon budgets implied by Govt legislation puts UK CO2 pathway nearer 2.5-3°Cthan 1.5-2°C.
See https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14693062.2020.1728209 & the summary at https://theecologist.org/2020/jun/08/beyond-climate-comfortable-ignorance
Interested where @MattMcGrathBBC thinks this analysis is flawed …. end quotes
AS IF McGrath would have a clue about analysis, right. As if Biden or Johnson have a clue either. Like seriously. What’s the point of even holding a COP or any UNFCC meeting given the rubbish that gets trotted out.
Which will tip first – us or the planet?
Aaron Thierry | 28th July 2020
So, @BorisJohnson has warned that unless leaders at #COP26 address the #ClimateEmergency, we risk the collapse of civilization. Is this really a possibility? Unfortunately, yes, many leading climate scientists are indeed warning of collapse https://twitter.com/ThierryAaron/status/1455286720329617408
“…virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear & present danger to civilization”
The human species will survive somehow but we will destroy almost everything we have built up over the last 2000 years
“…there is a widespread view that a 4°C future is incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community”
I can’t see this civilization lasting to the end of this century, no chance in my view on the current trajectory
“Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet. The climate is nearing tipping points”
this system is eroding human- and societal-well being, even in the wealthiest countries,
collapse is the most likely outcome of the present trajectory of the current system”
“Climate change is an existential threat to our global civilization”
Reality Check says
So funny, so quick and clever too, she’s got class.
I am pleased to announce that I’ve decided to go net-zero on swear words and bad language. In the event that I should say something inappropriate I pledge to compensate that by saying something nice.
Research study of interest and its open access: “Discourses of climate delay”
“‘Discourses of climate delay’ pervade current debates on climate action. These discourses accept the existence of climate change, but justify inaction or inadequate efforts. In contemporary discussions on what actions should be taken, by whom and how fast, proponents of climate delay would argue for minimal action or action taken by others. They focus attention on the negative social effects of climate policies and raise doubt that mitigation is possible. Here, we outline the common features of climate delay discourses and provide a guide to identifying them.”
I find all these excuses frustrating but trying to counter them is like trying to kill an army of zombies. There are so many and they keep multiplying.