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  1. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

    Pope  Francis taking climate change seriously, and having some mathematical insight, may relate to the fact he attended a technical secondary school and graduated with a chemical technicians diploma (according to wikipedia, I checked out of curiosity).

  2. One Planet Only Forever at 15:00 PM on 17 June 2018
    The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    An additional Bad Thinking related to the push to export diluted bitumen rather than upgrade the bitumen into oil or refine it into end products ready to burn is the attempt to 'reduce the appearance of Canada's GHG impacts'.

    By doing the least possible before exporting the product, the GHGs generated in Canada are lowest, allowing Leaders in Canada to make more misleading claims about how "Good Canada is on GHGs".

    I reluctantly agree that the less fortunate should be allowed to benefit from the burning of fossil fuels as a brief transition to sustainable better living. But in many cases the best assistance for the less fortunate is to completely by-pass the fossil fuel burning stage, going straight to decentralized renewable energy production with an interconnecting grid as backup supply in cases where the renewables temporarily suffer a regional failure to meet the needs.

    That means that already more fortunate people should no longer be allowed to benefit.

    As a step towards that correction, perhaps the International community needs to start counting 'all of the GHGs that will be generated by fossil fuels exported by nations with per-capita GDP that is higher than the global average' as part the GHGs generated by that more fortunate exporting nation, as well as in the end user nations. That will double count some GHGs, but the intent is to limit the pursuit of benefit by already more fortunate people, and the double counting is a way to shed a brighter light on undeserving bad thinking alreday more fortunate pursuers of more benefit from fossil fuel burning.

  3. One Planet Only Forever at 14:33 PM on 17 June 2018
    The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    The development and defence of increased rates of Oil Sands extraction in Alberta are the result of bad excuses developed by bad thinking, thinking that is worse than the kind of thinking that Guy P. Harrison eloquently argues needs to be overcome by increased “Good Thinking” (title of one of his books) increased reality-based, rational, scientific, skeptical, critical thinking. It is more like the thinking of mere children warned about by John Stuart Mill in “On Liberty” when he states that “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

    I say it is worse than thinking that Guy's Good Thinking is intended to overcome which is because of a lack of awareness by the thinker leading them to make poorer choices. It is worse because the motivation for the bad thinking is socioeconomic winners/leaders trying to create popular bad excuses and form carefully crafted misleading messaging to attempt to increase or prolong their ability to unjustifiably and ultimately unsustainably Win.

    That ability of misleading messages to be appealing is similarly not the result of totally unaware recipients of the messages. People liking those messages are also likely allowing their thinking to be motivated by selfish personal interest (the wealthier or more influential the person is in the socioeconomic system, the less likely it is that they are unaware of the unacceptability of what they are choosing to believe, but selfishness can also be a powerful motivator of Bad Thinking among the less aware).

    The bad thinking by winners/leaders, and many others in the population (portion of humanity) they appeal to, can be understood to be an expected result of people growing up (developing their thinking) in a competitive consumer marketing focused socioeconomic system where popularity and profitability are deemed to be the best measures of value or merit, and where appearing to be the winner is all that matters (consideration for others, especially future generations, are excused away). The system naturally develops encouragement for people to try to get away with behaving less responsibly, less ethically, less helpfully, more harmfully.

    The people willing to try to be less ethical will have a competitive advantage as long as they can get away with it. And misleading messages appealing to selfishness motivated bad thinkers increases the chances of winning that way.

    And there are many things that develop to further encourage understandably bad behaviour: Bad Laws, Bad Legal Decisions, Bad Government policy, Bad Business leadership, Bad Consumer behaviour, Bad Thinking being governed by short-term tribal interests in pursuit of obtaining maximum personal benefit any way that can be gotten away with (almost always at the expense of others, and usually with an awareness that their Winning is to the detriment of others).

    In this pipeline case the legal system was developed with rules that legally defend (justify) understandably harmful behaviour (because all interests should be balanced - in favour of current day benefit for the more influential), and can result in legal decisions in defence of understandably bad thinking. Note that the pipeline promoters have had the ability to keep pursuing an understandably Bad Thought as many times as needed to eventually Win, and then likely have that win be defended forevermore, including the related bad thinking that if at any future time the general public becomes more aware of the unacceptability of the win, that future general public will have to be pay the people who pursued personal benefit from that Bad Thinking what those Bad Thinking people claim to have lost (and that future generation will also have almost no ability to extract wealth in the future from the people who may be discovered to have actually illegally obtained their winning in the past).

    Government leaders also exhibit Bad Thinking because of the temporary regional benefits that understandably bad unsustainable economic development will generate, at the expense of other life, especially at the expense of future generations who cannot continue to benefit that way and get nothing but the future trouble that is created. Leaders exhibit bad thinking when they strive to encourage popular support for such activities.

    The currently developed Oil Sands of Alberta are the result of lots of Bad Thinking. And the current day defence/promotion by the current Federal Leaders and many of the Provincial Leaders is near the pinnacle of Bad Thinking. In March of 2017, PM Trudeau stated “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil and just leave it in the ground. The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure this is done responsibly, safely and sustainably.” That is populist misleading claim-making, done for very Bad Reasons.

    To begin, there is absolutely nothing sustainable about benefiting from burning fossil fuel. The PM cannot rationally claim to misunderstand this point, so, by default, he knows that oil sands extraction is fundamentally unsustainable. Only bad excuses can be made to claim there is anything sustainable about it. And the claim attempts to side-step consideration of the responsibility to safely protect the future generations from the impacts of burning up all that fossil fuel (those responsibility and safety considerations actually being contrary to the stated objective of the current generation benefiting from all of the oil sands being burned up). And that undeniably unacceptable Bad Thinking is made more appealing by explaining that money from the burning up of the oil sands will pay for things like education, health care and assistance to the poor.

    Those claims of the benefits obtained from promoting and defending this activity never explain what happens in the future when no one can practically benefit from fossil fuel burning. And they completely ignore the future challenges and costs that will have been developed, often poorly excused by claiming that growing the GDP today by pursuing unsustainable harmful activity will result in sustained growth of GDP into the future (perhaps by counting the future human efforts to deal with the results of rapid climate change to be 'counted as beneficial economic activity', just as nation rebuilding after wars is a great economic boost, on top of the war-time boost of weapons and war machine production).

    In their defence, many elected leaders are powerfully motivated to get revenue from things like the oil sands because 'lower taxes' is the law (or at least it is so popular it might as well be a law). Their focus on current day revenue can ignore what will happen in the future, because a powerful Bad Thinking portion of the population 'likes that type of leadership - leadership incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives (as JS Mill would refer to it)'.

    And there is more of that type of popular profitable Bad Thinking by Leaders regarding the Oil Sands of Alberta. It is estimated that the current developed Oil Sands have a clean-up obligation that is greater than $20 billion dollars. And bad laws created by bad thinking leaders wanting to encourage the development of the oil sands do not require oil sands operations to fully fund their clean up until decades into the future (coal operators have to provide funds for the full clean-up from the day they start a mine).

    As things like Better Helpful Thinking are developing globally, there may not be decades of revenue from the oil sands, in spite of the glowing evaluations of the future for the oil sands by groups that have a vested interest in prolonging the unjustified popular support for the oil sands. If more oil sands is not sold soon, the near future general population of Alberta and Canada will have nobody who benefited most being obliged to properly clean it up, all that wealth created in the past being worthless/useless in the future.

    And all of this started in the 1990s when Bad Selfish Motives ruled and fuelled the development of more Bad Thinking among leaders/winners in business and politics and in the general regional/tribal population. At that time the unacceptability of the global burning of fossil fuels was well understood by all leaders in business and politics. Yet badly motivated bad thinking prevailed.

    And here we are today, having to try to limit/correct the mess developed by Bad Motives being allowed to develop Bad Thinking and the related Bad Excuse Making that is popular among the Badly Motivated self-interested Bad Thinkers.

    'People having more freedom to believe what they want in pursuit of their personal interest to appear to be the winners in competitions for popularity and profitability' will undeniably develop more Bad Thinking, likely worse than the Bad Thinking that developed and still attempts to defend the Alberta Oil Sands problem.

    I will close with a quote from the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" that accurately captured the bad thinking that has developed the oil sands problem. Note that 1987 predates the bad thinking of the 1990s that pushed for expanding oil sands extraction.

    "25. Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable - in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, too quickly, on already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts. They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us for our spendthrift ways, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.
    26. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations. Most of today's decision makers will be dead before the planet feels; the heavier effects of acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, or widespread desertification and species loss. Most of the young voters of today will still be alive. In the Commission's hearings it was the young, those who have the most to lose, who were the harshest critics of the planet's present management."

  4. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    It's hard for me to see exponential rise in melting of the antarctic, like a doubling or tripling per decade, given most climate trends are following more of a quadratic trend. But I agree its going to be far more than 3.5mm per year, and I think multi metre sea level rise by 2100 is a real possibility.

  5. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    Apologies.  I must have been having a mathematical melt down.  The story is more like this.  If we are indeed trebbling the melt rate every decade and if this is truly an exponential curve then it means that the melt rate is increasing by about 11.6% each year (1.116 raised to the tenth power equals 2.997).  You then have to raise 1.116 to the eighty second power (number of years remaining in the century)  to see what the melt rate will be at the end of this century.  Clearly a ridiculous answer (I hope).  I think we will find that after a couple of more decades, we won't see a trippling each decade from the previous decade.  It does suggest, though, that we are in for far more than 3.5mm per year for the rest of the century.

  6. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

    I probably would not have picked this one.  It might be true or not. 

    The fact that we are using and misusing antibiotics on a biblical scale, particularly in food production in the tropics, confounds the data available, which makes it look like sensationalizing.

    Just a niggle really.

  7. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    1 Nigel

    Depends if this is part of an exponential curve or just a blip in a linear curve.  (can we call a linear graph a curve.  Probably).  A few more years should clarify this.  If each decade we tripple the melting then we raise 1.03 to the eighth power to get the melting by the end of the century and integrate under the curve to see how much total water has entered the oceans.  Not a pretty picture.

  8. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    I wonder if that is indeed true - that the poorest will suffer the most.  Yes, the poor in the slums and favelas of the world will likely be in dire straights but the bigger they are the harder they fall.  If sea level rise overcomes the cities of the world that have been placed where rivers meet the sea, the economic strain on these countries will be extreem.  We have seen how poorly even a very rich country like the USA coped with Katrina.  Multiply that an order of magnitude or two and the highly over-extended economies of such countries may well collapse.

  9. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    Here are my thoughts about the Tar Sands and Kinder Morgan. Please bear in mind that my family has been in the Albertan Oil business since 1930. One of my uncles designed, built, and operated Shell’s Scotford Upgrader. Another uncle ran Mobil Oil’s Atlantic Offshore operation from Norway to Sable Island. Grandpa worked the cable tool rig in Calgary’s Heritage Park. Most of my family still works the oil fields.

    The price for WCS is lower than any other crude because no one wants to buy it.

    Western Canada Select sells at a discount because it is the worst, and most expensive, crude to bring to market:
    it takes massive quantities of natural gas and water to separate the bitumin from the sand. Current estimates suggest that our production uses 1 barrel of crude to produce 4 barrels of crude. The Saudi’s produce 70 barrels of crude for each barrel of input energy;
    it is the worst crude to make a profit because the diluent used to liquify the crude is worth twice as much as the crude;
    it is the worst crude to refine because it needs an upgrader facility just to make it approach normal heavy crude values;
    it needs two pipelines to get to market - one to get the diluted crude to tidewater, and another pipeline to pump the diluent back to the wellhead for reuse;
    it is the most dangerous to move by rail because the diluent used to liquify the crude is explosive;
    it is the worst crude for pollution because it produces huge amounts of CO2, petroleum coke, polluted water, devastated boreal forest, and catastrophic environmental damage when it spills at sea.

    Exxon/Mobil Canadian subsidiary Esso now values its Kearl tar sands operation as WORTHLESS for SEC and accounting purposes. Many other majors (Statoil, Shell, Marathon Oil) have left Fort Mac and won't return as there are many other places that produce oil of much higher quality, for much lower cost.

    The Cowgry oil industry, after quacking for 100 years about the nobility of free enterprise, and the utility of the market, now hope the Gubment and the rest of the country, will shout ‘Mommy’s coming’. This is hysterically funny, and contemptibly hypocritical, but not a rational basis for energy investment or economic development.

    SO IN WHAT BUSINESS FANTASY WORLD DOES INCREASING THE SUPPLY OF A DESPISED, POOR-QUALITY CRUDE, IN A MARKET FLOODED WITH MUCH HIGHER QUALITY PRODUCT, RESULT IN INCREASED DEMAND, AND HIGHER PRICES?

    Renewables have dropped dramatically in cost. The same market forces that removed any chance of competitive, unsubsidized energy from coal and nuclear power are now going to peel off the lowest quality crude oils from the market. This process will continue until crude oil is completely replaced as an energy source by natural gas and renewables.

    The future of the Albertan oil fields will be in petrochemicals, not energy. Most of our energy will come from the sustained, high-velocity winds that blow across southern Alberta.

  10. Ari Jokimäki at 15:10 PM on 16 June 2018
    New research, June 4-10, 2018

    Nigelj, I change the order of the papers weekly so that each subsection gets the "headline section" once in three weeks.

  11. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    Correction:  The 2nd para should begin by saying 'While the Paper does not specify the magnitude ...

  12. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    In their Paper, Hansen et al 2016 note that . . . . ‘sea level reached +6.9 m in the Eemian, a time that we have concluded was probably no more than a few tenths of a degree warmer than to-day’. Mean global temperature is predicted to be well in excess of the Eemian by 2100.

    While the Paper does specify the magnitude of sea level rise likely by 2100, it can be argued that, given that CO2/CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere already exceed by 40%/267% the levels present during the Eemian thermal meximum, sea level rise in excess of the level then reached is at least possible by 2100.

    You may also be interested in this video in which Dr Hansen discusses the work embodied in Hansen et al 2016. Based on decadal doubling of ice mass loss during the 21st century, I estimate SLR by 2100 would exceed 6 metres. This view seems to be supported by recent research undertaken by the IMBIE Team and published on 12 June 18 in Nature.

  13. New research, June 4-10, 2018

    Other research: Antarctic ice is melting three times as fast as a decade ago.  This is obviously very concerning. What are implications for sea level rise by 2100? Has anyone calculated this? 

    I find the list of research above very comprehensive, but in a confusing order. Wouldn't it make more sense to order it science first, then human impacts, then mitigation?

  14. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    The only way tar sands will be stopped is if they are made uneconomical by, for instance, the continual reduction of the cost of renewable electricity and the continual uptake of electric vehicles.    At the risk of having my comment removed, we thought that the recent Canadian election would solve the problem.  Sadly no.  We must try again next election.

  15. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    What absolute tripe. The majority of tar sands production comes from in-situ technologies and is in general no worse than any other oil production mechanism and in the preferred embodiment, is cleaner than other oil production methods. 

    Petcoke can be put to good use such as the CVR refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas does by converting it to ammonia for fertilizer.

    Rather than all the caterwauling why not put your considerable brain power to use to solve carbon emissions. There's plenty of evidence to show that new soil science methods technically can store all anthropogenic emissions in the soil and if implemented widely could reduce atmospheric carbon to pre-industrial levels within 50 years.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Inflammatory sloganeering snipped. 

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  16. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    Riduna, keep an eye on Norway. They're well ahead of the rest of the world on EV adoption (~50% of new car sales and >5% of total fleet) and in 2017 they saw a corresponding reduction in petroleum fuels usage for the first time.

    Thus, as Norway continues down this road it will likely provide guideposts for how much EV adoption in other countries will be required to reach a given level of petroleum fuel reduction, how quickly that can happen, where any inflection points might occur, etc.

  17. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    In an essay on coming problems for oil producers, I argued that up-take of electric and hybrid vehicles by 2023-25 was likely to result in reduced demand for oil and its refined products. The essay concluded that, possibly as soon as 2023, demand for oil-based fuels could contract by 2 million bbl/day resulting in a continually growing oil glut as EV sales increased.

    Faced with the disruption of a contracting market, refineries would reduce and eventually cease purchase of those crude oils which were the most difficult and expensive to refine. These are the Extra Heavy and Heavy oils produced by Canada, Venezuela, Indonesia and several other countries.

    Extra Heavy crude are undeniably the most polluting and damaging to the environment but are likely to be the first to cease production, probably by 2023 and will be followed by Heavy crude oil, not because of their damaging effect but for purely commercial reasons.

    Uninformed or ignorant politicians and judges may prolong use of Extra Heavy crude and this should be resisted now but over the next 5 years it is likely to occur anyway. In the meantime it is good to see people like John Abraham and James Hansen call-out those who produce and use these oils.

  18. Antarctica is gaining ice

    Worth noting that there is now comprehensive review published here concluding "it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). "

    More importantly, it discusses the reasons behind the different estimates and why the variation, especially with ICESet altimetry data.

  19. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    This horrible tar sands oil is expensive and hard to extract, so is dependent on low oil prices continuing, and a friendly american and european market. Looks like a big gamble.

    Canada has become very reliant on oil exports (20% of exports), and the boom bust oil cycle prices affects their currency hurting manufacturing.

    They spend 3 billion a year propping up their oil industry, and the effects of tar sands oil on the local environment, indigenous peoples,  and climate are horrendous and well known.

    Looks like Canada has made a deal with the devil.

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #21

    It seems mysterious why tar sand oil is minded in the first place, given its such a low quality, high extraction cost, environmentally devastating resource. I found some brief background on Canadas tar sands and environmental impacts here, and a history of extraction, export strategies, and pipelines controversies here.

    It appears the primary reasons for mining tar sands are that Canada has huge reserves of tar sands, so is influenced by this , and has close ties with the American market, and oil and fuel products comprise approximately 20 % of Canadas exports, so there's already a large inbuilt dependency .

    But it seems to me like Canada has taken a huge long term gamble that demand will continue be sufficient to pay for the high capital costs, and this goes against climate policies in its export countries to reduce oil consumption that are likely to increase, and cheap oil resulting  from fracking in the USA.

    This tar sand oil is only truly economic at $100 barrel, and this figure fluctuates wildly. The boom and bust oil cycle leads to swings in the Canadian curreny value that hurt their substantial manufacturing sector. Canada also gives the oil industry three billion dollars each year in subsidies here so its artificially propped up.

    The environmental impacts are huge, off the scale.

    Its like Canada has made a deal with the devil.

  21. 97% of Climate Scientists Really Do Agree

    Related research: Climate scepticism in the media. Brilliant article. 

  22. The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

    The fact that we burn gasoline in Minnesota derived from the Alberta Tar sands was one of the factors that influenced my wife and I to switch to driving an EV.

  23. Benefits of curbing climate change far outweigh costs

    It has seemed likely for quite some time that at least in the conversion to renewable energy and even after we have converted, we will be better off economically.  Countries are now even conemplating a universal wage whether you work or not.  How much better to have high employment with the satisfaction that comes with it.  The extraction of fossil fuel uses less and less people as more and more automation is employed.  Installing and maintaining renewable energy facilities employs far more people.  The way we are going, soon there will be no one left to buy the goods produced by automated factories.  For heaven sake, they are now automating the massive trucks that shift the iron ore up in the Pilbara in WA.  However conversion to renewables doesn't benefit the companies who finance our politicians.  Who pays the piper calls the tune.  It isn't rocket science.  Until our politicians are financed from the public purse they will do the bidding of their financiers.  Does it sound expensive that we finance the politicians.  The present system is costing us so much more in so many ways.

  24. Benefits of curbing climate change far outweigh costs

    Do any of these studies consider how much the US will be disadvantaged when other countries are using free source energy generation while the US is still paying for energy sources if it falls behind in converting?

  25. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

    @nigelj  That sounds like the Fermi Paradox

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

    perhaps they too polluted their atmosphere with CO2 from burning fossil fuels :)

  26. Benefits of curbing climate change far outweigh costs

    There is a school of thought that says not only is continued endless economic growth implausible, given resources are finite, the world should deliberately aim for zero economic growth in the short term, to avoid painfall longer term shocks and severely depleted resources. Of course poor countries can't be expected to stop growing their economies and would have to be exempted or assisted.

    However it depends on the nature of the economic growth, and whether it's based around resources or the services sector, and the ability of some materials to be recycled. It also relates to increasing population growth trends which obviously magnify the problems, and which simply have to slow right down.

  27. Benefits of curbing climate change far outweigh costs

    Climate change will indeed reduce rates of economic growth. Heat stress is not going to be helpful in terms of increasing labour productivity, crop yields, etcetera, and these are some of the basic causal factors in generating economic growth.

    But economic growth is going to decrease for other reasons as well adding to this. This means there's just no way continued economic growth can pay for adaptation to climate change. Its utterly delusional to believe otherwise. This is why mitigation has to be the preferred principal option, so that we avoid as much adaptation as possible.

    The following graph shows how economic growth rates have been steadily falling in America and the UK for the last 50 years. The trend is rather starkly obvious. Many people think they will continue to fall. Look at how much public spending and newly created money has been thrown at economies since the global financial crash of 2008, and it has barely managed to get growth to about 2% pa in western countries. (I'm not saying these were the wrong things to do as such). But its been the same for about 20 years, in that high levels of public and private spending, much based on borrowing,  are not generating much gdp growth in western countries.

    The following book summarises the key reasons and the following in depth article goes into the details, and related published economic research.

    Growth will most probably continue to fall in developed countries until it hits zero or close to it, and it probably increase in developing countries medium term then fall.

    The causal factors relate to saturating markets, lower rates of technological advance (this may be counter intuitive but read the article), costs of extraction of finite resources, and poor labour productivity rates. And none of this is likely to improve, given the nature of the issues.

    Sounds rather doomy and gloomy, but growth in some aspects of the economy will probably continue, and zero or steady state growth can still deliver a high quality of life and will be more sustainable long term.

  28. One Planet Only Forever at 13:52 PM on 12 June 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    Studies like the DICE study appear to fail to recognize (perhaps deliberately) that any economic activity that is unsustainable (like the consumption of non-renewable resources or creation of accumulating environmental impacts) will have no future value and create no lasting value, only create negative future impacts.

    The assumptions of continued growth presume something that will justify the growth will always exist.

    In the 1960s, as the ability to extract wealth from non-renewable resources in less powerful nations was starting to become a little more difficult, increased consumer debt became a major tool to boost the appearance of economic growth.

    An increase in consumer debt, or an increase in the ability to extract wealth from non-renewable resources somewhere cheaper than has been available in the past, is not available into the future. And developed activities that create accumulating environmental impact need to be curtailed.

    There is little justification for the hope of continued growth just because there has been a history of growth so far. The ability of the more fortunate to extract even more benefit from unsustainable activities appears to have reached the point where a careful climb-down was required decades ago (the 2008 debt-triggered crash was a warning that things have already developed too far in the wrong direction).

    Unfortunately, popularity and profitability can be seen to lead to development that favours the members of the current generation of humanity to the detriment of the future generations. It also develops more benefit for the already more fortunate. Global wealth has risen faster than population - though admittedly they are unsustainable perception of wealth - yet many still suffer brutal short existences. And the divide between the richest and poorest has increased (which is another unsustainable direction of development).

  29. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    Related to my previous comments. Looks like the DICE study was even more wrong in claiming deaths from heat waves are cancelled out  by fewer deaths from cold:  "Climate skeptics sometimes like to claim that although global warming will lead to more deaths from heat, it will overall save lives due to fewer deaths from cold. But is this true? Epidemiological studies suggest the opposite."

  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    The 'Dice' economic model predicts a 10% reduction in economic output. Summary of the dice model here. While the model does not appear to have some hidden agenda, even just a brief examination of the summary shows some considerable oddities:

    1) I can't see any reference to quantifiyng the effects of climate refugees. Clearly with higher temperature scenarios this could become a huge economic issue like Riduna says. Regardless of effects on gdp growth, this has a range of other effects such as on house prices and road congestion.

    2) The Dice study assumes population at 8.6 billion by 2100 which seems odd to me, because all the estimates I have read suggest 11 billion is the most likely number.

    3) The Dice study assumes fatalities from heatwaves and reduced winter cold will cancel out. This seems optimistic to me given 1)the serious and yet very plausible scenarios for increased heatwaves and 2) the argument that deaths from winter cold are largely related to people congregating inside, so transmission of infections, and this is something that would not change much even in a warming climate.

    4) It's very hard to reconcile even middle range estimates for increased hurricanes and flooding, and only a 10% reduction in economic output.

    5) Dice assumes on advice of experts of a 6.8% chance at 6 degrees of 'catastrophic' climate change (defined as a 25% reduction in economic output on a near permanent basis. My note - this equates to the reduction during the 1930s great economic depression). The climate science field is moving quickly, and this looks like a totally outdated and conservative figure, but its still not partcularly good odds even at 6.8%, especially given the disastrous potential economic consequences.

    6) No price appears to be put on species decline. But animal and plant species have economic value particularly the pharmaceutical industry.

    7) No obvious recognition of realistic future economic growth trends. Economists mostly assume gdp growth will just continue at good rates and the dice study almost certainly assumes this, but reality suggests this is far too optimistic. Economic growth is already slowing, and has fallen from 6% in the 1950's to about 3% now in western countries, and there are convincing reasons to think we are heading to a world of zero economic growth this century. So in a world of static economic output, any reduction due to climate change will hurt even more.

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    Cost-benefit analysis is not required to show the stupidity of the DICE model (a 6-degree rise in global average temperature — which the physical sciences characterize as an unlivable hellscape — would only dent global GDP by 10 percent).  Nor is it needed to realise that a rise in temperature of >2°C by 2100 producing severe climate conditions, partial collapse of agriculture and sea level rise flooding some major coastal cities could to have a negative effect of more than 10% on global GDP.

    Continuing increase in the incidence of infrastructure damage through fire and severe climate events is also likely to occur and contribute to GDP contraction. Such outcomes, accompanied by expected increase in global population to >11 billion by 2100 is likely to result in starvation in some parts of the world and uncontrolled, possibly violent population movement in others.

    We live in ‘interesting times’ yet do far too little to avoid catastrophic outcomes, while debating the merits of cost benefit analysis as a prognostic tool.  Bit like the 14th century when some debated the number of angels who could stand on the point of a needle while the Black Death raged throughout Europe killing 60 % of the entire population.

  32. The Wall Street Journal keeps peddling Big Oil propaganda

    The Wall Street journal would beneft from knowing just a tiny little bit of history, and they would see climate science has never been some political scam. Climate science and greenhouse gas theory dates back several centuries now.

    Imho the only feasible solution to climate change is a combination of individual initiative and action, and government support for renewable energy and some sort of carbon tax or cap and trade scheme. This sort of combined individual and government response was how countries effectively dealt with other environmental problems historically. Sulphate aerosols form coal burning were partly resolved with a cap and trade scheme for example.

    However the science leads to a requirement for some level of government response and this upsets people who have anti government agendas, so they try to undermine the science, and falsely claim its somehow become politicised by the left. The so called left are happy with a revenue neutral carbon tax to avoid money being captured by "big government", and the left simply accept the science which is supported now by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.

    However the fact that even a revenue neutral carbon tax is dismissed suggests vested business interests is probably an even larger driver of climate denial. Climate denial has it's own "gish gallop" of causes.

  33. The Wall Street Journal keeps peddling Big Oil propaganda

    Fred Singers many sea level claims are stated in this article. He claims recent sea level rise is just driven by historical warming going back many centuries before emissions significantly increased. He argues that sea level continued to rise even although ocean temperatures didn't increase over the period 1940 -1975 , showing sea level rise is independent of recent ocean temperatures (and by implication CO2 emissions), and is driven entirely by some very distant past historical processes.

    However he is wrong. While some of the sea level rise is from previous centuries of warming much isn't. Sea surface temperatures did actually increase over the period 1940 - 1975, its only land temperatures that stalled. Sea level rise also has some level of medium decade level intertia and could be responding to warming in the 1920's. In addition, much of the sea level rise is driven by melting ice - so land surface temperatures.

    I'm just an arm chair amateur, no atmospheric physics degree, so how can someone like Singer not even know sea surface temperature trends? The rest of what he claims makes no sense either, and is inconsistent with the evidence.

  34. michael sweet at 23:24 PM on 11 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONiel,

    From your reference to Chinese nuclear plants:

    1. The title of the article is "Is China losing interest in nuclear power?" (the title is in your link).
    2. The subtitle is "Slowing demand for electricity and competition from renewables have halted new reactor approvals".
    3. It states "China has 20 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity under construction but plans for additional capacity are being delayed." and "The National Energy Administration did not approve any new nuclear plants between 2016 and 2017" and "“achieving targets set in the past now looks uncertain, with reactors that have been built and that are ready for fuelling and going into operation also on hold.” (!!!) and "“Work out supply and demand and you can see that the market is unable to absorb any more nuclear power,” (my emphasis)
    4. Their designs have been criticized by Western nuclear supporters as unsafe and outdated.

    It seems to me that your reference would be a better citation for someone opposed to nuclear power.  It appears that China is finishing off plants started 10 years ago before renewables became economic and are finally being completed.  Since renewable energy is now cheaper they are ending their nuclear adventure.  Look at Nijelj's reference for updated costs of power.  If that is the best you can find I think it confirms my point so I will not add any to it.

    Congratulations on finding a peer reviewed paper that supports your position!  Unfortunately, my earlier reference  showed that Hansen has given up on his claims that nuclear has to be a major part of future energy supplies and will at most be a minor energy source.  Since my reference is from 2016 and yours is from 2013 it appears that Hansen changed his mind.  Perhaps he read Abbott 2011.

    Doing background reading I noticed that nuclear reactor disasters release I-131 and not I-129 as you suggested here. When someone uses the incorrect isotope it suggests they do not understand radioactivity.  I-129 has a half-life of 16 million years, is a low energy beta emitter and only a small amount is produced in reactors so it is not a big concern in accidents. I wonder who you used as your source of information that does not use the correct isotope.  Was it the Breakthrough Institute?

  35. Tiny shrimp could influence global climate changes

    This reminds me of something I saw many years ago about the cumulative effect of Lyrebirds on the geography of the New South Wales Blue Mountains.

    It was shown that over the millions of years that these ground scratching birds have been present that they can account for virtually all the erosion which has shaped the scenery of this area. Small effects multiplied can have huge consequences.

  36. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONeill @35

    Selecting China with its low nuclear costs is an example of confirmation bias, ie looking for one country that supports your case. In fact the Lazard energy analysis find that both wind and solar energy have lower costs than nuclear power and coal 'globally', and its november 2107 so is more up to date. This is a much wider, more realistic, reliable and useful review of costs than picking a media comment from one country.

    Do you want to live in a communist dicatatorship? And how many corners have been cut in the construction?

  37. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    The article on economic modelling is persuasive. But do these economic models do a cost benefit analysis over the next 100 years, or do they consider costs over 1000 years, which is the time frame of the most significantly elevated CO2 levels? It would seem to me a 1000 year period of more destructive weather globally would be a pretty massive total cost. I don't think we could limit the studies to just this generation of people (picking up on what OPOF said)

    How would you even put an economic cost on animal species extinctions, loss of habitat, ocean acidification  etc? Yet these are all intuitively negative sorts of consequences.

    I have total respect for people trying to model all this, because its obviousy exceptionally complicated with so many factors to consider. It may be a case of trying to think more widely than economic modelling. There are many reasons to reduce carbon footprints in addition to crude cost factors, we will run out of fossil fuels anyway, etcetera. This is how I rationalise it all.

  38. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Michael Sweet -

    'Nuclear is uneconomic. If you check through my old posts I do not question nuclear power on its abysmal safety record, which is the basis of your argument. The fact that you bring an argument here that we do not use proves that nuclear is unsafe.'

    I was actually responding to nigelj's comment. 

    'In price terms, the ( Chinese ) National Energy Administration’s National Electricity Pricing report, published in 2016, ranks nuclear power second only to coal on cost, and says it is much cheaper than electricity generated from natural gas, wind and solar. In an interview last year, Ye Qizhen of the Chinese Academy of Engineering Sciences, was also upbeat about the economics of nuclear power in China. He told China Energy News that power costs from China’s Generation II+ reactor designs, which are now entering operation on the south-east coast, will be on a par with those from coal-fired power, and some may even be cheaper.' https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/10506-Is-China-losing-interest-in-nuclear-power-

    Of course, what they manage in China now is completely unattainable in the West these days. Glad your not bringing up nuclear's abysmal safety record.

    'Nuclear Power Prevents More Deaths Than It Causes' - paper by James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha, 2013, 142 citations https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es3051197

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed links. Please learn to do this yourself with the link icon in the comments editor.

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 06:15 AM on 11 June 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    It must become understood that future generations are "Others". The future is not "Our Future", and the present is not "Their Present".

    It also must be understood that it is morally/ethically unacceptable to try to benefit in a way that can be understood to be causing harm to Others.

    And an undeniable understanding is that many pursuits of personal benefit among today's generation are causing harm to the future generations.

    That leads to understanding that pursuing a better present to the detriment of the future is inexcusable.

    That means there is no economic justification for any already fortunate people to continue benefiting from burning of non-renewable buried ancient hydrocarbons. Only the least fortunate should benefit, and only temporarily, and only if burning fossil fuels produces a significant to benefit the poorest (very temporarily).

    Economic analysis attempting to balance 'lost opportunity for benefit today if the harmful burning is stopped' with 'the magnitude of negative impacts in the future' is undeniably absurd excuse making, yet remains popular among supposedly more advanced and educated people.

    Self-interest can have a powerful negative affect on thinking.

  40. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

    Regarding intelligence I heard an astonomer discuss an interesting  theory. Some people think the reason alien life has not visited our planet is that alien civilisations have probably destroyed their environments with environmental impacts and perhaps even climate change, causing a collapse of their civilisations before they were able to develop interstellar space flight. They ended up simply trying to survive. 

  41. Climate Science websites around the world

    In Série negacionismo: “não há consenso científico”
    Por cienciaeclima on 2018/05/06. Please see my previos comment 

  42. Climate Science websites around the world

    It is interesting to note that the Brazilian site has the paragraph

    The study concluded that the debate about the authenticity of global warming and the role of human activity seems to be largely absent among those who know the details and the scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, in fact, seems to be the way to communicate this fact to those who determine public policy and the public in general (...).

    just before the last graph....

  43. michael sweet at 00:04 AM on 11 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONiel,

    It is clear from your post that you do not know the difference between acute radiation poisoning and chronic radiation damage.  You obviously do not know the chronic effects of long term exposure to radiation or the amount of radiation that causes that damage.  You do not know why Cesium137 causes different problems than Iodine 129 so the tolerable dose is different.  Since you have claimed only training in History you look like an idiot lecturing knowledgeable scientists about a subject you know nothing about.

    As I previously said, I have years of training and experience working directly with radiation.  Experience you know nothing about.  I do know the acute and chronic problems of radiation.  I know the difference between Cesium, Iodine, vitamin D and Mercury.  Your diatribe above, supported only by your reputation as a history major- you do not say where you found this misinformation, is simply ignorant ranting.  Since you have provided no references I will not provide them.

     Nuclear is uneconomic.  If you check through my old posts I do not question nuclear power on its abysmal safety record, which is the basis of your argument.  The fact that you bring an argument here that we do not use proves that nuclear is unsafe. 

    These posts are off topic so I will not continue.

    John ONiel should be banned for sloganeering off topic and complaining about the moderators that he is too ignorant to get his posts on the board.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Over the line.

  44. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Plus we will probably never know the true numbers for cancer related to Chernobyl. I don't think the data would be terribly reliable, for obvious political reasons.

  45. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONeill @31

    What you have appeared to argue is a low dose of radiation affecting farmland like those after Chernobyl and Fukushima are harmless, because only an extremely high dose killed all dogs within a year. This is not the case. While risk level is proportional to the dose, low doses at the levels we are discussing have clearly been determined to still have a significant risk particularly for iodine. And you have also omitted the fact this low dose will be ingested many times over by many people as they eat agricultural produce.

    I stand to be corrected on this, but I think they consider a probability of a 5% or 10% increase in risk of cancer as significant. They also look at other health affects. 

    I also think you missed the point of what I'm saying a little. Regardless of the 'actual' level of risk, the public perceive theres a high level of risk, people won't want to buy contaminated food, and politicians will "play safe" with setting standards, and what agricultural produce can be sold. You are unlikely to ever change this, so the only answer is safer nuclear power. Yes you and I know its possible to get excessively hysterical about risk, and many things in life have risks, but not everyone reacts this way. You have to look at nuclear power in the context of people and the real world, as well as theory and technicalities.

  46. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    OK, I'll try again.

    'Fukushima polluted the local ocean and Chernobyl polluted a lot of farmland and had huge impacts on the Ukraines food exports.'

    Radioactivity is a carcinogen, but a weak one. For example, cesium 137 decays mainly with the emission of a beta ray - an electron - at an energy of up to about 0.5 million electron volts. Potassium 40, in every cell of your body, emits beta rays at about 1.3 MeV. Since it has a half life of about 1.25 billion years, the K40 background radiation when life originated would have been ten times stronger. Cells have had a long time to optimise their repair mechanisms. Cesium 137 is used to irradiate tumours, to kill them; the tissue surrounding the tumour gets about half a lethal dose, yet induced cancers resulting are uncommon.

    ' In July 2011, meat from 11 cows shipped to Tokyo from Fukushima Prefecture was found to have 1,530 to 3,200 becquerels per kilogram of Cs-137, considerably exceeding the Japanese legal limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram at that time. In March 2013, a fish caught near the plant had a record 740,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive caesium, above the 100 becquerels per kilogram government limit.' ( Wiki )

    'A 1972 experiment showed that when dogs are subjected to a whole body burden of 3800 μCi/kg (140 MBq/kg, or approximately 44 μg/kg) of caesium-137 (and 950 to 1400 rads), they die within 33 days, while animals with half of that burden all survived for a year.' ( Also Wiki ). That's 140 MILLION becqerels per kilo - 190 times higher than the fish, which was still 1480 times above the then regulatory limit. ( That fish was inside the closed-off dock of the plant, and had a far higher reading than any out in the ocean. ) So the lethal whole-body dose was about 280,000 times higher than the Japanese regulatory limit just for food - which subsequently, ' to reassure people ', they reduced by a further factor of 5 , to 100 becquerels per kilo.

    As a comparison, vitamin D, essential to life, can also be toxic. ' The daily requirement of vitamin D is about 200-600 units. The skin produces 10,000 units of vitamin D after total body exposure to UV light. The current tolerable upper intake level in both Europe and North America is 50 ug/day (2000 iu/day) but overwhelming bulk of clinical trial evidence indicates that prolonged intake of 10,000 units of vitamin D3 likely poses no risk. Because of this wide therapeutic index, vitamin D toxicity is extremely rare, but does occur at excessively high doses. Doses more than 50,000 IU/day raise levels of 25(OH) vit D to more than 150 ng/ml and are associated with hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia.'

    So a vitamin becomes a poison at about a hundred times the recommended therapeutic dose, but radiation is required to be a million times below lethal dose - and that's the whole body dose, whereas food eaten will be another two orders of magnitude lower again.

    The estimated amount of cesium 137 deposited over the whole of Germany after Chernobyl was estimated at half a kilo. The annual figure for mercury, from the coal they burn, is about seven tons. http://www.dw.com/en/why-is-environmental-role-model-germany-among-the-largest-mercury-polluters-in-europe/a-18959309

    All the measured increase in cancer after Chernobyl, apart from the firefighters, was from iodine 129, not cesium 137. The difference is that cesium is taken up over the whole body, and takes thirty years to deliver half its beta rays.( Meanwhile, the body replaces half its cesium in about 110 days.) Iodine concentrates in the thyroid, a ~ 3,000 times smaller target, and blasts it with all its energy inside two months. The cell's efficient mechanisms can repair damage happening at normal rates - oxygen causes far more strand breaks than background radiation - but a brief assault at 500,000 times the intensity can overwhelm them. At Fukushima, people were told to avoid local milk and vegetables for the critical period, and took non-radioactive iodine supplements. A measurable increase in thyroid cancer is unlikely. Psychological effects, from being told they'd been poisoned, are likely to be much more serious, as they were in Ukraine and Belorusia.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS]If you are writing very long comments,you might being hitting a character-limit in the Sks database. (maybe 65k??). Writing your comment in a text editor and then pasting into Sks is always a good idea when putting a lot of effort into a post (on any system). If it doesnt show, then try splitting it.

  47. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    I see my posts aren't appearing, so will desist. Last word from James Hansen.

    "Nuclear, especially next-generation nuclear, has tremendous potential to be part of the solution to climate change," Hansen said during a panel discussion yesterday. ( 2015, reported by Scientific American.) "The dangers of fossil fuels are staring us in the face. So for us to say we won't use all the tools [such as nuclear energy] to solve the problem is crazy."

    For his trouble, he was labelled ' a new kind of denier ' by Naomi Oreskes.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] None of your comments have been removed.  Your ability to post comments has not been restricted.

  48. Climate Science blogs around the world

    http://www.wetter-center.de/blog/

    German Blog about climate and weather. The author is a meteorologist.

  49. michael sweet at 23:36 PM on 9 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John Oneil,

    Your first reference is to the Breakthrough Institute.  The Harvard University for Ethics says about them: 

    "The Breakthrough Institute has a clear history as a contrarian outlet for information on climate change and regularly criticizes environmental groups. One writer describes them as a “program for hippie-punching your way to fame and fortune.”

    A bunch of paid deniers.  Hardly a suitable reference for a scientific blog.  Your second reference is to a random blog by someone with a BA in a non-scientific field and little relevant experience.  You claim that you wrote an essay that contradicts Abbott 2011 on your own authority.  Then you dis Abbott who has over 16,000 citations in the scientific literature and is a world recognized expert in electrical Engineering.

    Since I have a Masters in Chemistry, have taught college chemistry for 10 years, worked for years with radiation and have held a Curie of high energy Beta radiation (for the untrained like you that is an immense amount of radiation) in my unshielded hand, I have much more experience and authority than you.  How much radiation have you held in your hand?  So much for your radioactive training.

    Reviewing our posts, I see that invariably I have cited the scientific literature and not relied on my experience while you have cited only blog posts, astroturf nuclear organizations and your own authority as a History major with a BA.

    Since this is a scientific board perhaps you should start by learning how to support your claims on a board that requires you to provide bonafide evidence.  Astroturf organizations and blog posts from random internet persons do not cut it.  If you cannot find a paper to support your claims, as in this case, that generally means that scientists agree that you are incorrect.

  50. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    The  considerable and ongoing impacts of Chernobyl on farming in former Soviet union countries. 

    www.oecd-nea.org/rp/chernobyl/c06.html

     

    www.cbsnews.com/news/chernobyl-radiation-belarus-farm-produce-milk-high-level-radiation/

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