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2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37

Posted on 16 September 2017 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Asia's glaciers to shrink by a third by 2100, threatening water supply of millions

High mountains of Asia hold biggest store of frozen water outside the poles and feed many of the world’s great rivers, including the Ganges

Asian Mountains The Asian high mountains are already warming more rapidly than the global average. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Asia’s mountain glaciers will lose at least a third of their mass through global warming by the century’s end, with dire consequences for millions of people who rely on them for fresh water, researchers have said.

This is a best-case scenario, based on the assumption that the world manages to limit average global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) over pre-industrial levels, a team wrote in the journal Nature.

“To meet the 1.5C target will be a task of unprecedented difficulty,” the researchers said, “and even then, 36% (give or take 7%) of the ice mass in the high mountains of Asia is projected to be lost” by 2100.

With warming of 3.5C, 4C and 6C respectively, Asian glacier losses could amount to 49%, 51% or 65% by the end of the century, according to the team’s modelling study. 

Asia's glaciers to shrink by a third by 2100, threatening water supply of millions, Agence France-Presse/Guardian, Sep 13, 2017 

Links posted on Facebook

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. This video is well worth a look regarding future of electric cars, disruptive technologies, and solar power:

    It also covers self drive cars and future of personal transport generally. By pulling it all together with in depth historical evidence and studies of falling prices as well as projections, it really is an eye opener,  and shows how much just the economics alone is driving this thing, as well as reducing emissions.

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  2. Nigel, let me criticize Tony's talk.

    He introduces the technolog adopting curve as an "s-shape". Then focuses on the assending part of the "s" only for trhe rest of his talk. I.e. he assumes that his exponential, even more than exponential, growth in adoption of solar, battery storage, EV and AV (authonomous vehicle) will continue unconstrained.

    He does not even considers the known limits of expensive rare earth mineral mining needed for production of batteries and environmental impact of solar cell production and keeps counting the years till solar energy doubling every year becomes so cheap that it disrupts not just utilities but the whole buseness model.

    To that bunkum, I can respond: you don't need to fly to the Moon just keep folding a piece of paper until you manage to fold it 50 times. After 50 doublings, a 0.1mm think piece of paper becomes 500,000 km those reaching the Moon. Here is your space trip! It puts the entire NASA program obsolete and all world space agencies of of business. My example is of course sarcastic but logically there is no deifference between it and Toby's talk.

    Obviously, Tony's bunkum is a typical application of a pyramid scheme without any considerations of physical resource limits while scaling his ideas to the level of "global disruption". In order to be more realistic, he must show that there is enough resources on the planet for his disruption to be physically possible. Certainly there is enough sunshine, but I'm not so sure about batteries though and speed of battery recharging. There are just basic things. Maybe he explains it a bit in his book and someone who read it can convince me his ideas are a bit more than just pramid scheme, because just listening to him talking, I'm just skeptical and don't even want to waste money on this book.

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  3. While I certainly dont believe in limitless growth, I think EV and solar can expand massively. As far as I know Li-ion batteries dont use any rare earth minerals (which as has been pointed out are neither rare nor earth) though NiMh used by Prius does. Various rare earths are very useful for making powerful magnetics and certainly are heavily used by EV. But is this necessary for the tech or simply a good economics at the moment? Turbines are also big users of RE for the exactly the same reason. However, you dont need RE for a turbine. Enercon have 40% of market for wind turbines in Germany and dont use any.

    While there are environmental impacts from solar cell production, I am far from convinced that they are larger than the other forms of generation that they are replacing.

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  4. Chriskoz @2

    I agree with several of your criticisms! There was some obvious"hype" in Tonys presentation and he's not a scientist, engineer or inventor as such.

    I just thought the video was interesting and well worth time spent. It was quite interesting even on just progress to date, which is more than I realised.

    But you are right its very danagerous taking a past trend and projecting the trend forever. Moores law has run out of steam and drifted sideways into multiple computer cores.

    Solar panels will drop more in price, but won't decrease in price forever or even that much hugely more,  especially as they use a significant volume of raw material, unlike a microprocessor or smartphone!

    His revolution will take longer than five years (or whatever it was). But that doesnt make it a failure.

    Batteries. Theres enough lithium in known reserves for a billion cars from some calculations I saw, and that's before more reserves are found or its recycled. So I dont think he was unrealistic on lithium power.

    Other battery technologies are quite well advanced like aluminium batteries.  Im a dry old realist, but I do think its basically looking promising.

    What am I saying? Tony is over optimistic and naieve on some things, but the total picture still looks pretty good.

    Another thing. Convergent technology is a valid factor but half the reason the Iphone took off was probably sexy looks, reliability, pocket size. Theres more to it than Tony thinks.

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