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Climate Hustle

Can we fix global warming?

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate Advanced
Scientific studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change.

Climate Myth...

It's too hard
"The fact is that there is no one in the world who can explain how we could cut our emissions by four fifths without shutting down virtually all our existing economy. What carries this even further into the higher realms of lunacy is that such a Quixotic gesture would do nothing to halt the world’s fast-rising CO2 emissions, already up 40 per cent since 1990. There is no way for us to prevent the world’s CO2 emissions from doubling by 2100" (Christopher Booker)

In order to avoid dangerous global warming, we need to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 50% by the year 2050.  Skeptics often make the argument that we simply don't have the technology necessary to reduce emissions this much, this quickly.

Pacala and Socolow (2004) investigated this claim by examining the various technologies available to reduce GHG emissions.  Every technology they examined "has passed beyond the laboratory bench and demonstration project; many are already implemented somewhere at full industrial scale."  The study used the concept of a "stabilization wedge", in which "a wedge represents an activity that reduces emissions to the atmosphere by a certain amount. The study identifies 15 current options which could be scaled up to produce at least one wedge:

  1. Improved fuel economy

  2. Reduced reliance on cars

  3. More efficient buildings

  4. Improved power plant efficiency

  5. Substituting natural gas for coal

  6. Storage of carbon captured in power plants

  7. Storage of carbon captured in hydrogen plants

  8. Storage of carbon captured in synthetic fuels plants

  9. Nuclear power

  10. Wind power

  11. Solar photovoltaic power

  12. Renewable hydrogen

  13. Biofuels

  14. Forest management

  15. Agricultural soils management

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other possible wedges, such as other renewable energy technologies they did not consider.   The study notes that "Every one of these options is already implemented at an industrial scale and could be scaled up further over 50 years to provide at least one wedge."  Implementing somewhere between 7 and 14 wedges would be necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.

The bottom line is that while achieving the necessary GHG emissions reductions and stabilization wedges will be difficult, it is possible.  And there are many solutions and combinations of wedges to choose from.

Last updated on 8 November 2010 by dana1981.

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Comments

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Comments 51 to 73 out of 73:

  1. James P wrote: "...it is fairly obvious to the non-scientist like myself..."

    So you are a non-scientist... but you insist that scientific peer review must be like whatever (non-scientific) review process you are familiar with? What was that you were saying about bias and opinions and personal passions clouding issues?

  2. What about a subset of the "It's too hard" people who are saying that it is too late? According to them, even if all emissions ended today, we have already pumped so much heat into the atmosphere that catastrophic climate change will still happen. Therefore we shouldn't even bother with trying to fix global warming, and all we should do now is simply live the best we can until the end. I know Guy McPherson thnks this way.

    Is there accuracy to this claim?

  3. I dont think Guy McPherson has much scientific support for his claims. The consensus position in WG2 of the IPCC reports certainly doesnt support that.

    I also find it odd that someone should think that because we are in a deep hole, it makes sense to dig even deeper. Any scientific assessment of what the effects of climate change has error bars, and maybe things will pan out at the top end of that error bar if we are very unlucky. However, continued emissions is guaranteeing that things will be worse than if we stopped now.

  4. well i hate to brake it to you but a great majority of people running our countries are extrmily dumb. but i have a great idea and i am 100 percent positive it will work.

    in canada there are plenty of places a giant 70 mile wide hole can be dug 10 miles deep and with a mile wide manmade river we it can slowly take up the access water from the melted ice caps.
    the hole may need to be bigger im not a math matician. or a scientest but i am certain everyone else is two dumb to do anything less to fix the problem.

  5. andrewrussell @54, unfortunately your 70 mile wide hole, 10 miles deep only has enough volume to remove 87 mm of sea level rise, or 27 years of current sea level rise and 1/6 to 1/12th of the expected sea level rise by the end of the century.   To do that we would only need to dig an open cut 4 times deeper than the deepest mine ever built, and with an area 65 times that of the world's most extensive open cut.  That is probably not even technically possible with current mining technology, and is almost certainly an uneconomic partial solution to the problem.

    If we were to try a solution in that area, it would be far cheaper to pump water into the Aral sea to raise it to its former volume.  The lost volume of the Aral sea being about 1/3rd of that of your open cut.  Potentially raising the Dead Sea to sea level (and hence flooding the Jordon Valley), and similarly raising the level of Lake Eyre in Australia would be cheap methods with regards to engineering (though probably prohibitive with regard to economic cost for the former, and environmental cost for the later) to reduce the rate and level of sea level rise.  All such measures woudl be stop gaps, however, as the final volume of sea level rise will overwhelm anything we could do of this nature.

  6. I'm calling poe on andrewrussell @54, but Tom Curtis's reply was a good one anyway.

  7. andrewrussell @54,

    I would fully concur with the conclusions of Tom Curtis @55 although I'm not in agreement with him on the size of your giant hole.

    I have before been in SkS discussions about how to sequester sea water to reduce Sea Level Rise (SLR), filling up the Caspian Basin, adding dams there and elsewhere to increase storeage, even pumping sea water up onto Antarctica to store it as ice. While I haven't discussed digging a big hole before, the conclusion is ever the same - such schemes would become far to expensive well before they usefully reduce SLR.

    I make your hole 70 x 70 x 10 miles = 200,000 cu km which is the volume of 550mm of SLR. This would be a useful achievement but as you have to consider SLR beyond 2100AD, you are not providing a 50% reduction in peak SLR, rather reducing it by 20%, 25%. While the massive costs of a 50% scheme could be argued against the cost of sea defences/damage from the extra 50%SLR it prevents, that becomes difficult to argue when a scheme tackles less of the problem and the need for major sea defences/damage will continue, abet a couple of foot lower.

    And the best way of tackling SLR is by cutting our emissions. Once that is achieved, the second-best way would be to sequestrate the troublesome atmospheric CO2. This pushes sequestering sea water as a way to reduce harmful sea level pretty-much off the back of the queue.

    One impractical aspect of a hole of this size is its depth. A 10 mile deep hole would be 10x deeper than the deepest open pit and as mentioned @55, 4x deeper than the deepest mineshaft. It would also be 33% deeper than the deepest borehole. Note the temperatures encountered at 7½ miles down were 180ºC which isn't compatable with having a lake on top. However, depth is not essential other than in reducing the geographical footprint of the scheme, which doesn't have to be all in one spot.

    To give some idea of how massive the digging effort would be, it would require 55,000 copies of the largest excavation machine in the world working for a century to dig such a hole. Happily, this particular machine is an electric vehicle (although sadly being used to dig coal) yet it would take a massive amount of electricity to dig the hole if this technology was used. One of the 55,000 machines uses 65.5MW. If it was fossil-fuelled electricity, at current levels of carbon footprint for electricity (100g/kwh) and assuming the giant digger will be working 24/7 to excavate 100,000cu m/day, for all 55,000 diggers we would be talking 80Gt(C) of CO2 emissions, or 8 years of today's global emissions, which at 550ppm/doublingCO2, 2.3m(SLR)/ºC AGW and ECS=3ºC yields 660mm resulting SLR (at equilibrium). Using renewable electricity is thus an essential requirement for such a scheme.

  8. MA Rodger, I calculated for the size of a circular hole, but clearly have also made a major error in the calculation.  Thankyou for the correction.

  9. Sorry if there is already another article for this question, but this is the most fitting a found:

    "The bottom line is that while achieving the necessary GHG emissions reductions and stabilization wedges will be difficult, it is possible. And there are many solutions and combinations of wedges to choose from."

    I understand this to mean that the only thing proven or at least made plausible is that technically sufficient reductions would be possible.

    But that the exact choice and the concrete implementation would require political activity; e.g. choosing the most preferred "wedges" and implementing policies; e.g. deciding to pursue the nuclear wedge and implementing the necessary policy choices (which could be many from selecting the optimal safety requirements - too high and costs are too high and building speed is too low, too low and risk of serious accident is too high - to sufficiently training, equipping and politically supporting riot police, so that anti-nuclear protests are subdued quickly enough).

    Is it somewhere/somehow studied if politics is actually capable of doing that?

    Is it somewhere/somehow shown that the risks of having politically such far reaching issues decided and implementet by politicians, courts and agencies of "average" competence are lower than the risks from doing nothing or only very limited action about CO2 emissions?

    Please understand as background for that question, that in my view it is undeniable that when government does large restructering of economy there is a certain risk - could be well in 1- 10% region - that government just messes things up and little of what is intended is achieved, while some or even many dead bodies pile up.

     

    Most extreme examples would be the great leap forward with a body pile of maybe 30 millions and the holdomor of maybe 7 to 10 millions. A less severe example would be today Venezuela, where "fortunately" the body pile currently numbers maybe only in the hundreds or thousands.

    Based on this, i think one should at least consider the issue, that a severe but messed up CO2 reduction effort being enacted upon 2+ billion people (depending upon which nations one considers to have too high per capita emissions) could also end up with a body pile numbering millions or tens of millions.

    Whether and how this risk compares to the risk of doing nothing or only what hurts little about CO2 emissions, is my question and what hard scientific evidence exist in this direction (by which i mean something different than economist X produced one study supposedly showing that the economic benefit would outweigh the disadvantages in year 2070; because economics is simply not a science suitable for reliable predictions on such time scales)

    Thanks for answers

  10. carn @59, the preferred option for many policy advisors is to simply place a price on well mixed GHG emissions based on their CO2-eq contribution to warming.  Different policy advisors have different preferences as to how to do that, with perhaps the most popular current option being the fee and dividend model were a carbon tax is imposed on emissions, and reimbursed to citizens on an equal per capita basis.  The advantage of such mechanisms is that the majority of decisions are made by private actors, with the consequent market efficiency that often entails.

    One problem with such an approach is that it cannot generate very rapid change.  The longer we take no, or little, effective action, the more rapidly we will have to respond later - and the more rapidly we respond, the higher the economic cost of the response.  If we delay long enough, then only direct regulation, and/or direct government capital investment will be rapid enough a response.  Delay too much longer after that, and the cost of action will be more than the potentially catastrophic costs of AGW.  That point is the AGW "skeptics" end game.

    So, in response to your question, currently minimal government action of a type already proven to not "stack up the bodies" by responses to other issues is sufficient to effectively solve the problem.  But not taking that minimal action will cost us.  Indeed, not taking it in 1990 when the isue was sufficiently resolved that it should have been taken, has already cost us.

  11. Thank you, Tom Curtis.  The situation is straightforward.

    Carn @59 , you really need to clarify the line of argument you are wishing to make [or perhaps I am wrong in assuming you were trying to make any such thing].

    Surely it is difficult to find any historical lesson that can be applied generally to the rest of the world, from the unique event of the "Great Leap Forward" (and the unique situation of then-Communist China, around 60 years ago).   And even more difficult to find relevant parallels between the "GLF" and the modern world with respect to the need to de-carbonise the national economies of the world.

    You may have noted how the president M. Macron has indicated that France should be able to achieve something close to zero nett CO2 emission by 2050 (but you will also have noted that France already has the advantage of much nuclear power).   Still, other advanced countries should be able to achieve the same goal — if led by long-sighted statesman-like politicians (rather than the present batch of short-sighted politicians).

    Venezuela is currently a sociological basket case.  IMO, no useful lessons are to be learnt there, about solar power / wind power / etcetera.

    Carn @59 , I must also ask you to clarify how fitting a billion solar roof-panels will cause "a body pile numbering millions".

    Clarity, Carn.  Clarity, please!

  12. Wow, fast responses.

    @59 Tom Curtis:

    "One problem with such an approach is that it cannot generate very rapid change."

    I agree.

    "The longer we take no, or little, effective action, the more rapidly we will have to respond later - and the more rapidly we respond, the higher the economic cost of the response. If we delay long enough, then only direct regulation, and/or direct government capital investment will be rapid enough a response. Delay too much longer after that, and the cost of action will be more than the potentially catastrophic costs of AGW."

    That might be the case; but there are some who seem to think we are already past the point of anything but direct action; and others who seem to think that such direct action would in any case outweigh the negative consequences of what the former try to prevent by direct action.

    But all this seems to be in my eyes "guesswork"; so it seems we have no way to determine e.g. "till 2025 non-direct mild action is sufficient and its negative consequences would be likely acceptable", "till 2035 non-direct but not so mild action would be sufficient", "till 2040 direct action still less severe than doing nothin would help", "beyond 2040 only drastic direct action would help, but likely would do more damage than what it prevents"; anybody filling such numbers would probably be guessing.

    Or is there any reliable study in that direction?

    "You may have noted how the president M. Macron has indicated that France should be able to achieve something close to zero nett CO2 emission by 2050 (but you will also have noted that France already has the advantage of much nuclear power). Still, other advanced countries should be able to achieve the same goal — if led by long-sighted statesman-like politicians (rather than the present batch of short-sighted politicians)."

    The later being close to my point; we have the politicans we have; they must politically do the job. Does Macron base his goal on a realy factual well thought basis and with already the concept of a plan in mind? And can we therefore expect, that when he and his successors carry out such plans do it with minimized otherwise damage?

    Or is Macron just an empty babbler, who just thinks it scores some points to say such things with no actual plan or concept and ending up that somewhere in 2030-35 some hasty stupid things will be done, so enviros can be pleased for the next election?

    Pretty hard to tell from the distance.

    And my question is:

    "Whether and how this risk [of incompetent politicians pursuing ecological goals doing more harm than good] compares to the risk of doing nothing [so to the effect of a 5-6°C warming, which doing nothing might lead to] or only what hurts little about CO2 emissions [so to the effect of a 2-4°C warming, which doing what doesn't hurt might lead to]"

    "Carn @59 , I must also ask you to clarify how fitting a billion solar roof-panels will cause "a body pile numbering millions"."

    I'll first do it with this one:

    "Biofuels:"

    Incentives by governments to use biofuels -> higher prices for respective "biofuel" plants -> more area devoted to "biofuel" plants -> higher food prices -> as governments happen to be non-competent they do not do enough about this issue -> some poor people starve due to governments pursuing biofuels.

    "solar"

    Incentives by goverment to use solar power & government incompetence leads to insufficient funding of grid structure, backup powerplants, storage -> in a period of long but not unexpected low solar output, grid brakes down for several days -> civil unrest -> dead bodies

    Doing this for the 13 other points i think is irrelevant, because sometimes governments mess up things so glaringly simple (e.g. building an airport; thats child play compared to decarbonizing economies), that governments if it happen to be at its worst certainly can mess up any of these points

  13. Carn @62 ,

    you are too pessimistic by far.   The major problems (caused by AGW) won't be solved by fear & paralysis.

    2050 is 33 years away.  A third of a century.  Look back in history and see what great changes have been achieved in the past 33 years — from the internet/computerization and GPS satellites, to lithium batteries and cheap solar panels.  Or the 33 years earlier still [i.e. back to 1950 ..... almost the Fred Flintstone Age ;-) ..... except for the H-bomb, that is! ] .

    Now look forward 33 years into the likely future : and at the much faster technological rate of change occurring now and increasingly during that third of a century.   And we can do a damn fine job eliminating two-thirds of (present day) CO2 emission rate, using the technology available today.   All it needs is some good old-fashioned Can-Do attitude !   (Surely the Can-Do attitude didn't die out in year 2000, did it? )

    The remaining one-third of emissions will need more effort and R&D — especially the liquid hydrocarbon fuels for planes and ships.   You know it yourself, that the current "biofuels" are a complete scam [carried out for county/state political reasons : not for genuine scientific reasons] as well as being detrimental to actual food-growing (as you well point out).

    No, Carn, let's face it — jetfuel and diesel fuel from renewable sources will require advanced catalysis-based chemistry in yet-to-be-built factories (using recycled organic "waste" feedstock) and/or vat-fermentation with algal enzymes (also using "waste" feedstock).  The latter is already commencing in a tiny way with small pilot plants — but is still $200 or more per barrel of "oil".   But give it another 20 years!

    No need for "the piles of bodies" which will happen with even worse floods, wildfires, droughts and forced migrations, that occur if we fail to act in a sensible intelligent way (to slow down & halt the global warming).

    Rock and a hard spot.  But sitting on our bums will be the worst choice.

  14. Carn @62, in recent history 4.3 to 5.3 billion bushels of corn have been used for animal feed (2011/12 to 2014/15, see table 1 here).  Over the same interval, 4.6 to 5.2 billion bushels have been used for fuel alcohol, a fairly consistent 140 million bushels have been used for alcohol for manufacturing use, and human consumption, a fairly consistent 490 million bushels have been used for high fructose corn syrup, and a fairly consistent 200 million bushels have been used for cereals (ie, direct human consumption). 

    Now, if the 5 billion bushels used for biofuels creats a threat to human life by using essential foods, so also does the equivalent amount used for animal feed (which provides only a tenth of the human food quantity in animal protein).  Likewise the much smaller amounts used for corn syrup or bourbon.  Yet the people who think the amount used for biofuels leads to starvation never draw the same conclusion about those other usages, and certainly never suggest regulations restricting that use of corn so as to maximize the corn available for human consumption.

    That leads me to conclude that those people do not believe their own argument; or that to the extent that they do, they do not care about people starving due to lack of corn.  If they did, they would be equally concerned about the other inefficient (in terms of food content) uses of corn.

    I agree that much of the biofuel industry is a boondoggle driven by a political desire to subsidize the profits of corn farmers.  It is not, however, a threat to human life.

  15. @Tom Curtis

    "Now, if the 5 billion bushels used for biofuels creats a threat to human life by using essential foods, so also does the equivalent amount used for animal feed"

    Correct.

    But if in a situation factors A, B, C and D cause death of humans, the deliberate introduction of a factor E, which also causes deaths, is not ethically made ok by A, B, C and D existing. It is still ethically questionable (or at least one should care about the negative consequences and minimize them).

    "and certainly never suggest regulations restricting that use of corn so as to maximize the corn available for human consumption."

    Trying to change the existing factors A, B, C and D is very different from not introducing factor E; changing something about the former might or might not be difficult; not introducing E is in itself always easy; just do not do it. Hence, it might be that the position of being against introducing factor E but also not to do much about A to D could be a reasonable position, if trying to alter A to D is expected to be futile.

    Note, that i just try to explain how the people you consider to not believe their own argument, might actually believe their own argument and have a - from their POV - somewhat reasonable and ethically sound position (Important word in this sentence: "might"; of course many of the people you talk about might also be simply incoherent or have not thought enough).

    @Eclectic

    Personally, i tend to be against many GHG reduction proposals (in the way proposed by those actors themselves) suggested by anyone more to the left and especially by people devoted to ecological issues; basic reason is that they both tend not to understand what can be expected of scientific progress, when and how sometimes things are technically actually not possible, the efficiency of central planning and the unseen problems possibly caused by interference in free markets.

    Entrust them with the task of decarbonization and give them the power to do so and i would expect the probability for disaster to be too high.

    I generally prefer that their ideas and proposals are only implemented in rather diluted form by center or conservative politicians (though of course, they sometimes do too little).

    "No need for "the piles of bodies" which will happen with even worse floods, wildfires, droughts and forced migrations, that occur if we fail to act in a sensible intelligent way (to slow down & halt the global warming)."

    Sorry, but the maximum capacity of the state to produce dead bodies is only rivaled by earthquakes, impacts, volcanoes and diseases (only the latter influenced by climate; but far more influenced by ecos banning DDT and other useful stuff to fight mosquitos); so i will remain sceptical about suggestions proposing very drastic change.

    And this is supported by seemingly many people being unaware about the problems entrusting the state to implement drastic changes can cause.

    And about technical progress, think about H-bomb; its still the best option for large scale destruction; and it will likely remain for the next decades, maybe even for longer, potentially even "forever"; because it might be the best large scale destruction mechanism in any reasonable way available, that nature has to offer. In 2050 it will probably still the best and only option if one wants to destroy a mega city with a single strike.

    Such technical boundaries can exist in any field and no plannable research and development can take us across the boundary (evidence: defense spending in general, especially for nuclear weapons; if anything more destructive would be achievable with a few decades of development, it would already have been devloped).

    Even something like processing power might hit a "wall" in 15-25 years; cause nature is a nasty bitch and has its rules and does not care about what we would like to develop.

    So while a lot will change to 2050, it could well be that the certain changes we desire simply will not arise.

  16. Carn @65 :

    "So while a lot will change to 2050, it could well be that the certain changes we desire simply will not arise." (unquote)

    Yes Carn, that outcome is quite understandable — if we deliberately do nothing more than sit on our bums.   Though I am not quite sure why you would wish to be so passive & fearful, in facing the clear and present danger from a situation [AGW] which is steadily worsening.

    Please show some Can-Do attitude, and express your own ideas of how best to tackle the AGW problem.   After all, to ignore the problem of rising CO2 atmospheric levels, is a failure of the personal responsibility that each of us has to help our neighbours (now and in the future).

  17. @ Eclectic

    "Yes Carn, that outcome is quite understandable — if we deliberately do nothing more than sit on our bums."

    No, this is not only a "function" of our efforts, but also depend upon laws of nature and what they allow for and what they do not allow for. Science and research is not some 'work hard and you get what you want'; its 'work hard and maybe nature is nice, maybe it isn't; and maybe one day it falls into your lap without effort; and maybe you will achieve it never'.

     

    "Please show some Can-Do attitude"

    Its just the "Can-Do attitude" by some ecos that gives me the chills; they claim that something is possible via R&D at some date; then laws are passed towards that; and nobody ever caring whether it is realistic or not; leading to all kinds of problems and maybe not even helping in regard to GW.

     

    "and express your own ideas of how best to tackle the AGW problem"

    Change rules for building permits, safety regulations and police laws such, that nuclear power can be ramped up by at least 50% per decade. Especially weaken the insanely low concentration limits for radiation and the insane differntiation between "natural" and "artificial" radiation. Cut all funding for all eco groups having the slightest problem with that and use all legally avaible means to utterly bankrupt, destroy, dissolve such groups.

     

    Cut subsidies for solar power and electric cars to such an extent that devlopment continues but building lots of ecologically inefficient solar power plants/cars is avoided.

     

    Subsidies for wind power can to some extent remain (wind power is lot more ecologically efficient than solar).

     

    Also change building permit rules, ecological protection laws, etc. that the scenario "there is enough water flow for a hydro power plant" results in 75%+ of all cases within 15 years into "there is a hydro power plant"; hydro power is the most ecologically efficient stuff out there and can serve as near perfect storage for compensating changing wind power output. If any eco cries about some poor endangered species living in the area effected by a dam, directly kill some of the creeps so the ecos understand no one cares about animals (which we do not need), since the issue is saving human lives.

     

    Develop the technology for using nuclear power plants to create hydrogen, so nuclear plants can operate either in elcetric production more, when wind output is low, or in hydrogen production mode, when output is high.

     

    But it seems to me, that many people will disagree with my suggestions; some for good reasons, but many due to simply not thinking but letting their emotions think.

  18. Carn @67 ,

    you seem to be very enthusiastic for a big increase in nuclear generation of electricity, but at the same time strongly opposed to government subsidies (i.e. the hand in the taxpayer pocket).

    Yet nuclear power dies without subsidy.  

    And even with a big building program, the OECD and World Nuclear Association expect that they would achieve a "too little, too late" result by 2050 (in reducing world CO2 emissions).  And it all needs government money, anyway.

    There is the problem of up-front costs (and slow build rates, despite cutting regulations) plus de-commissioning costs.  And many other aspects, of course.   And after the severe financial embarrassments of the latest Finnish power plant (at Olkiluoto-3), it has come down to a reliance on government money (some from Finland, some from the Russian government) to get things done.

    Private company investors are running for cover, when it comes to the suggestion of financing nuclear power plants.   (And even with government money, it "just ain't gonna happen" in most of the tropical and near-tropic countries of the world.)

    My own money, for instance, is invested in a spread of things giving a good return — not in the low-return / very-high-risk area of nuclear plants.  And fund managers everywhere have much the same idea.

    # Big new hydro schemes are mostly just not on : because there's really not much scope for expansion there nowadays.  Even recent ones such as the Three Gorges scheme, come from [Chinese] government money — and may be embarrassed, some decades in the future, by water-flow alterations consequent on effects from the ongoing global warming.    However, as you say, there is room for numerous tiny pumped-hydro plants, to supply electricity overnight where originally generated from solar & wind.  And some of these could draw on seawater as their fluid.

    Wind power is cheap enough nowadays for private companies to be willing to invest in, even without subsidy.  And similarly with large-scale solar plants.  And solar power is cheap enough now for private individuals to install their own roof panels — again without subsidy.  So I don't know why you are so "down" on solar.

    #  If you are ideologically opposed to any subsidies, then you should be strongly opposed to the direct & indirect subsidies given to coal-fired plants and indeed also to most other fossil-fuel usage [not only because of CO2 emissions] where there are large taxpayer subsidies — some open and obvious, some hidden or indirect/external.

    One guy I know says (only half-jokingly) that the entire costs of the USN Fifth Fleet over past decades should have been added to the per-gallon price of gasoline.

  19. @Eclectic 68

    I have nothing in principle against subsidies; but too early and too much subsidy to have a technology on the market, that is too far away from cost efficiency, is a mistake.

    For such technologies one only needs subsidies too such extent, that development continues.

    Regarding hydro potential, i maybe have not specified enough, what i mean with chenging "ecological protection laws"; for example, i would want to have that thing:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_Canyon_Dam

    in operation within 15 years. Forget about "The lower dam would have flooded a number of natural features, including Redwall Cavern and Vasey's Paradise." Human lives are at stake due to global warming, so nobody should care about that stuff.

    Just look at all conservation areas; there is some potential for a hydro increase.

    "the OECD and World Nuclear Association expect that they would achieve a "too little, too late" result by 2050 (in reducing world CO2 emissions)"

    "Private company investors are running for cover, when it comes to the suggestion of financing nuclear power plants."

    Based on current rules and handling, yes. Therefore they would have to change.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power#Development

    "Installed nuclear capacity initially rose relatively quickly, rising from less than 1 gigawatt (GW) in 1960 to 100 GW in the late 1970s, and 300 GW in the late 1980s. Since the late 1980s worldwide capacity has risen much more slowly, reaching 366 GW in 2005."

    Get the speed of the 60s and you have 150 GW per decade. Nuclear power was throttled late 70s onwards with superflous burden; of course with that superflous burden still mostly in place, OECD is correct to estimate, that nuclear cannot do much. Therfore, one needs to change things so that build up can again be done with the speed of the 60s.

    "And similarly with large-scale solar plants. And solar power is cheap enough now for private individuals to install their own roof panels — again without subsidy."

    From the calculations i know, no, not yet. Especially comparing generating electricity for one's own household to buying electricity with taxes, regulations and power grid costs, is an error. Solar is not more cost efficient than coal or nuclear. Its more cost efficient than taxes; not a useful criteria for technical efficiency.

    "One guy I know says (only half-jokingly) that the entire costs of the USN Fifth Fleet over past decades should have been added to the per-gallon price of gasoline."

    Fine, but do not forget to also calculate the cost increases caused by superflous envirmental regulations and activities. It is just completely crazy to pay billions and billions to backward regimes for oil and another billions and billions for military equipment to keep them in check, but leave a single drop of oil at home unused cause some birds or fish might die.

    Effectively, US politics in part sacrificed human lives - mostly in the middle east - so ecos could be pleased at home and some animals saved. Despicable.

  20. Seven years later, with all the action of the last decade having produced st best a plateau in emissions rise with minimal increases (and even then I have reasons to doubt that this is actually a sign of an end to increased emissions) is this article still valid?  Every year without a reduction in emissions makes the future reduction curve necessary steeper and steeper -I think Dr. Hansen has said it will take 6% decrease each year now to prevent 1.5 degrees in increase, and probably some car removal geoengineering scheme which may or may not even be possible.  

  21. Thank you for posting!!

    Climate change destroyed our earth so much. Climate change that we made it because of human's want. It changes our world from clean to dirty. It's too hard to change our globe back, but we can stop it before it destroys us more. If we help each other, we can reduce climate change. By reduce to release greenhouse gases such as CO2, CH4, water vapor. Climate change is not too hard to stop if we help together.

  22. Thank you for posting!!

    Climate change destroyed our earth so much. Climate change that we made it because of human's want. It changes our world from clean to dirty. It's too hard to change our globe back, but we can stop it before it destroys us more. If we help each other, we can reduce climate change. By reduce to release greenhouse gases such as CO2, CH4, water vapor. Climate change is not too hard to stop if we help together.

    Is it would be harder, if we won't do anything?

  23. What do you think of Drawdown.org.  They have listed the "top 100 solutions to global warming".  This raises many interesting questions which have been mentioned on the thread.  I did a search of the website name on your site and it seems there has not been a discussion of it, so I have brought it up. 

    Interesting among the top 100 solutions to global warming are some observations here: 

    - the top 1 is to improve management of refrigerants, 2nd is to build more on shore large turbine windmills

    - nuclear power is on the list, it is higher than halfway up the list

    - many of the top 10 items refer to agriculture and food, and imply less meat eating.  Many other items refer to clever uses of grazing animals. 

    - many curious, fascinating items are on the list which I had not heard of

    It seems to me that in the future, the global warming debate will be more about politicking over which solution deserves the funding.  Those who would in the future argue that clean coal and nukes should get all the funding, should be denied credibility in those future debates, if their position at this time is denial*.  (*Regardless if they deny they are denying it while they deny it.)

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