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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Did Michael Moore's Film Bash Renewable Energy?

    One of the best critiques of MM's film is in Just Have a Think

    Hard to understand what happened to Michael in this film.

  2. Did Michael Moore's Film Bash Renewable Energy?

    Breaking news...

    Michael Moore film Planet of the Humans removed from YouTube

    British environmental photographer’s copyright claim prompts website to remove film that has been condemned by climate scientists

    by Jonathan Watts, Environment, Guardian, May 25, 2020

  3. Did Michael Moore's Film Bash Renewable Energy?

    The nice folks at have covered this also.

  4. Did Michael Moore's Film Bash Renewable Energy?

    A very personal take on MM by Peter Sinclair => Michael & Me

  5. Did Michael Moore's Film Bash Renewable Energy?

    Well said. One nit pick. The audio volume is very low in this video even at maximum setting. 

    To me the negative association of renewables with a growth based capitalist system is as bizarre as the denialists claiming renewables are a product of green socialism. Its just an energy source that should be judged purely on its merits surely.

    Our growth based industrial civilisation goes back a long way and looks to me like it has enormous intertia and could take quite a while to slow down and change. It should be possible to change the energy grid faster, because its just one part of the whole. Renewables could form part of a zero growth economy, or a low growth recycling economy.

  6. James Charles at 18:05 PM on 25 May 2020
    PETM climate warming 56 million years ago strongly tied to igneous activity


  7. The Underground Solution To Climate Change

    John S @2:

    I used to think UBI was an answer to many things, but IMHO it's actually not viable in the real world outside of the trials going on in various places.

    It has to be expensive from the exchequer point of view, and when the costs are transmitted down the line to the street it makes offshore manufacturing even less expensive unless every country has similar policies - which ain't going to happen.

    It might just work in large countries/economies like the US or EU, which possibly are large enough to essentially close borders and become island economies - but just look at the shambles the Euro has spawned: I can just see the Germans swallowing it!

  8. The Underground Solution To Climate Change

    Further to my previous comments, predictably and steeply rising prices on carbon will help; revenue neutral so the dividends to be received by everyone mollifies them against freaking out about how high the carbon price will go; this is exemplified in the Energy Innovation and Carbon Divided act currently before the US Congress and by the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act already in force in Canada, except Canada needs to commit to continue increasing the price beyond 2022, to a steeper rate of increase and to make it more obvious that people are actually getting back the dividends (anecdotal evidence suggests, incredibly, a lot of people still don't believe it - they just didn't notice the slightly higher refund they got from the tax return - a direct deposit dividend into their bank accounts would be more noticeable); the dividends can trigger the start-up of Universal Basic Income, which will partly address inequality; the dividends would be reasonably predictable and continue rising for about 15 years (my rough spreadsheet projection) even while emissions decline because of the increasing price.  Another way it addresses inequality is the fact that corporations also pay the carbon charge, but only individuals get the dividends.  The UBI could help especially owners of single family homes view their energy retrofit loan repayment obligations with more equanimity. 

  9. The Underground Solution To Climate Change

    Very pertinent - I'm a retired district heating consultant who sometimes worries how we'll get fossil fuels out of building heating - it won't be easy because right now gas is so cheap, about the equivalent of 1 cent/kilowatt hour - the other problem is that building heating is a very peaky load.  It will take massive deep energy retrofits to reduce heat energy consumption (and peak demand, the second problem) which will be costly, labour intensive and time consuming (but nevertheless we have to do it eventually so we'd better get started, or more accurately ramp up what's already been done).  COVID 19 recovery stimulus is another reason to ramp up these efforts through more and easier loans, e.g. on the building rate assessments.  This is also one of the few areas where I would support Pigouvian subsidies.  Deep refrofits could include geo-exhange with heat pumps.  Very dense areas, with lots of apartments, condos and large commercial/institutional buildings, could be converted to district heating sourced from central geoexhange.  All new buildings should be mandated to be zero-emissions.  The builders can figure out how best to do that.  Of course, as the video mentioned, heat pumps consume some electricity, though delivering heat way more efficiently than straight electric heating (because most of the heat comes from the ground - even air source heat pumps are not too bad in moderate climes). Similar to electrifying transportation, we ideally want a 100% clean grid, although they are still beneficial even with some fossil still on the grid, so there is no excuse not to go for this option as aggressively as possible. 

  10. James Charles at 21:12 PM on 23 May 2020
    PETM climate warming 56 million years ago strongly tied to igneous activity

    Is this the case?

    “Michael G. O'Brien
    James Charles
    What has happened during the past 125K years is uplift of the ESAS clathrate deposits from their formation and safe zone 700 meters deep to 50 meters deep by mantle convection . At that depth when the ice is gone latent heat takes two years to start the chain reaction of methane runaway. They were not import last interglacial because they were safely deep enough then. “

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This is a bit offtopic here. Any responses to this should go here please. James, please also see this resource from modeller (Archer) who looked into this.

  11. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming


    Exactly correct but it goes deeper than that. 

    There is a logic flaw every time we suppose that any type of food is "harmful" to the environment or causes AGW. 

    Food does not cause AGW...EVER.

    Agriculture can contribute to AGW if the methods used have impact, but this is a result of methods used. Agriculture is equally capable of mitigating AGW as contributing to AGW. In this regards it is even more important than fossil fuels vs renewable energy.

    Renewable energy is hugely beneficial of course, but there is no renewable energy that is a net negative. (although theorectically there are potentially ways to manage it, none exist now at our current technology)

    Agriculture on the other hand varies from a large net emissions source to a large net emissions sink depending on the methods used. It absolutely can be done at a net negative, unlike renewable energy which simply tapers down to zero.

    Focusing on the food itself, rather than the production methods for that food is a critically flawed strategy the simply obfuscates and confuses, rather than actually helping to make the changes needed to mitigate AGW.

    Bottom line is that yes, factory farmed animal husbandry is a net source for emissions, but properly managed animal husbandry is quite capable of easily being a net sink. Eating less meat when it is being raised as a net sink actually INCREASES your carbon footprint, rather than decreasing it. While eating less factory farmed meat does decrease your carbon footprint.

    Thus it is not what you eat nearly as much as it is how what you eat was produced.

    This is not any different than energy actually. Electricity is not inherently a cause of AGW either. Produced by a coal plant sure. Then it is. But produced by a windmill? Certainly not. So it's not the electricity itself to blame, but rather the way the electricity is generated. Food is exactly the same as this, including meat.

  12. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    Thanks for admitting me to the forum and for this interesting discussion. When we are talking about climate change it seems to me that we need to be thinking about 'carbon in the biosphere' as being the primary issue rather than 'carbon in the atmosphere' (which is a consequence of the former)! Something that has really puzzled me for some time is the (I think) indisputable fact that these two classes of carbon are frequently not differentiated when we discuss food footprints. I understand that in Australia virtually all beef production is 'rangeland' meaning the animals rely almost entirely on natural pasturage and waters. Granted, the sheer (and increasing) quantum of animal production - with concommitant transport and other f/f inputs - is a major issue - but it does seem to me that the GGEs supposedly associated with animal production remain quite misunderstood. What exactly is the long-term GG issue associated with ruminant husbandry is the CO2 and methane being produced is based on carbon that is already in the biosphere? Doesn't this husbandry and consequent consumption just move the carbo atoms around in the biosphere? Isn't it the introduction of long-sequestered carbon into the biosphere via use of fossil fuels what we should really be focussed on? 

  13. Michael Moore's Movie is Garbage

    Another critique:


  14. PETM climate warming 56 million years ago strongly tied to igneous activity

    Part 3: "both the Gutjahr et al and Jones et al research suggests that any amplifying feedback from an extra carbon reservoir (like clathrates or permafrost) was small if it existed at all in the PETM world"  The reason for this seems to have been answered in Part 1: "[to have caused the PETM]...a large reservoir of clathrates...[needed] to be there... We know they exist in today’s seabed but the Paleocene ocean was much warmer than today’s, so the reservoir was probably as good as empty [... and the lack of permafrost as a PETM trigger is similarly explained]." 

    So we may not be out of the woods, on feedbacks, just yet.

  15. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    Whariwharangi - for all intents and purposes, the spectrum of the IR emitted is determined by surface temperature (Planck's law). Sea is generally cooler than land, but any modelling of emissions absolutely takes that into account.

  16. doug_bostrom at 07:40 AM on 22 May 2020
    Michael Moore's Movie is Garbage

    At my age I prefer Nigel's option. That may be more a reflection of "old fuddy-duddy speakiing" but Just Have A Think does offer a lot more facts, less snark. 

    That said, all buttons must be pushed and there are a lot of different shapes and styles of buttons. :-)

  17. Michael Moore's Movie is Garbage

    The following video here is a good, detailed, professional criticism of the Gibbs/ Moore movie, reinforcing the point that much of the material is old, typically ten years although some is even older. A published peer reviewed study quoted in the movie is very old, and the date of publication is mysteriously missing, apparently blanked out. 

  18. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    Whari @408 : Sorry, but I am confused by the wording of your question.   Can you re-state the point you are discussing?

    Am I right in assuming you are talking about the upward Infra-Red radiation spectrum detected by satellites?  Or something else?  The satellites can detect reflected radiation (visible and near-visible light) or they can detect IR radiation emitted from land / sea / clouds /  atmospheric gas (H2O; CO2; CH4; etcetera).

    From a GreenHouse point of view, the satellites are detecting upward IR radiation from the upper troposphere (so-called TOA - Top Of Atmosphere - which is at an altitude of approx 3 - 10 km, depending on which latitude and which of the GreenHouse Gasses you are considering). The upper atmosphere is a swirling mix of air (averaging of horizontal winds and vertical convections) and so is not directly  connected to the ocean or land surface below.

    Heat is lost upwards from ocean & land, by means of air convection & evaporation/re-condensation & Infra-Red radiation (from molecule to molecule in the air).

    My apologies if I am misunderstanding you.

  19. Whariwharangi at 02:46 AM on 22 May 2020
    Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    My question is about greenhouse radiation spectrum. Is the radiation spectrum different at surface of blue water ocean and surface of land?

    Any spectrum curve I've seen that has location is over land. If there is a difference then the amount of energy available to be absorbed by CO2 would be significant in the discussion.

  20. One Planet Only Forever at 06:30 AM on 21 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

    nigelj, the final sentence in your comment @8 has led me to more reasoning.

    "Hard to see how anyone of sane mind could argue against being helpful."

    The Root of the problem is Self Interest being deemed to be an acceptable basis for humans to base their actions on. Humans have evolved and succeeded as Social Beings planning for the Future, not as Individuals acting in the Moment.

    What can be understood is how people who are intellectually competent, well-educated, "sane" people could incorrectly argue for being harmful to Others by claiming the supremacy of being Helpful to Themselves or Their Tribe, arguing for Limited Consideration of Others.

    It is True that Absolute Altruism is not an appropriate expectation for human behaviour. But Altruistically Helping others by pursuing expanded awareness and improved understanding should be everyone's aspiration combined with diligent effort to ensure no harm is done to Others, no matter how beneficial a harmful action may be perceived to be.

    People who will not Self-Govern that way will need to have their actions Externally Governed and Limited. Their Self Interest based arguments can include denial of harm done or a claim of Net-Helpfulness from their perspective. They can even argue that harm only exists if a current living person can prove that they were harmed by the actions of another currently living person or Tribe of People (with those Tribes being any organized group of people - like: nations, states or corporations). That is what often limits legal actions these days, a living person has to prove that the actions of Other living people harmed them. And it is what allows all manner of environmental impacts as long as they are remote from influential people.

    The basic argument of Self Interested people is that self interest is a rational basis for determining the acceptability of actions. They can argue that risks and concerns about counter-actions against them by Other Self Interested people will result in no one trying to Help Themselves or Their Tribe in ways that are Harmful to Others. Simple observation of what actually happens can be seen to disprove that claim, not just the Tragedy of the Commons Concept.

    Derek Parfit presented a robust evaluation showing the unacceptability of Self Interest as a basis for Morals or Ethics in his book Reasons and Persons (the Wikipedia page on Derek Parfit includes a summary of the book but is not as good as reading the book). His presentation met a barrier to the consideration of future generations that he called the Non-Identity Problem. The problem is the way that the reasoning struggles to address Future Humans because until they actually exist they are not Certain Persons. The actions of current humans affect who the specific future Persons are. So future humans never count as Persons because they are not certain to be the people in the future. It is a rather twisted barrier to consideration of future generations.

    I consider the Non-Identity problem to be an incorrect logic artifact that is the result of starting the argument from the Perspective of an Individual Person. Parfit starts his arguments from the Self Interest basis and builds out the argument from that basis. Starting from the Individual Perspective, which Parfit successfully shows to fail to be reasonable, ends up unreasonable regarding future generations.

    Instead of Self Interest, the starting point for the arguments needs to be consideration of the entire future of the entire potential of Humanity. From that starting point the basis for Ethics and Morals becomes something like "Pursuing expanded awareness and improved understanding applied to resist harm being done to Others and aspiring to help Others, with Others including all potential future humans on this planet, or any other planet"

    That pulls the understanding of Helpfulness out of the Self Interest realm where it can tragically be argued that "A person is Justified to pursue an action based on their perception of how helpful it is to themselves vs. their perception of how harmful it is to Others". The selfish perception becomes the root cause of the problem. It can allow Utilitarians to argue for very harmful actions. And it allows people to argue for Their collective actions to be allowed to harm Others by considering things from the perspective of Their Tribe or Collective.

    If the perception of the Tribe becomes the entire human population, now and eternally into the future, then the perception of self interest benefit from actions by any sub-set of that massive total population can be easily seen to be nullified by the need to consider the total harm done to all Others.

    Applying that to climate change impacts leads to understanding that "No amount of perceived benefit by the current beneficiaries of activities that contribute to rapid climate change, or breaching any other planetary impact boundaries (regionally or globally), can match the total harm done to all the Others Today and into the far future, unless consideration of the future is Discounted (which I argue is reasonably obviously an incorrect thing to do).

  21. PETM climate warming 56 million years ago strongly tied to igneous activity

    William - the focus is now very much on what feedbacks added to, or reduced, the PETM warming. As you can see from the quotes here, some scientists see a larger role for feedbacks than others, but the Jones et al and Gutjahr et al papers point to a modest role for them in relation to the igneous-liberated methane and the volcanic CO2. This hinges on very high emissions - but is in line with a new paper for the end-Triassic mass extinction:

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 13:52 PM on 20 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20


    The total global population will not be 2 billion at any point in the foreseeable future. And it is likely to be peaking at or above 10 billion soon and be declining slowly after the peak.

    The real issue is the Total Impacts of human activity being sustainable. And the Planetary Boundaries are a pretty well developed understanding of where human total impacts are, and where they are headed.

    Wikipedia is not my favorite Reference resource. But the Planetary Boundaries presentation on Wikipedia is quite well done.

    All identified areas of impact can be understood to be getting worse, with some impacts already beyond the sustainable levels of impact. And some, like Climate Impacts, are not at the limit yet but the developed understanding is that exceeding many of the Limits will be Locked-In soon unless there is a very rapid correction of the socioeconomic-political systems that promote, develop and defend harmful drivers of human behaviour.

    Back in the 1970s when the 1972 Stockholm Conference was held there was still time for the gradual implementation of corrections of many harmful things that had developed, but not the Ozone Layer.
    Though the Ozone layer problem was fairly successfully addressed, a significant response to the larger understanding of required corrections was the Reagan/Thatcher 1980s with their declaration that Government Helpfully Governing and Limiting what could be done was Evil.
    The elections of leaders like Bush, Inhofe, McConnell and Trump in the USA are the result of the social devolution and related resistance to improved understanding that was promoted, encouraged and defended by that grossly harmfully incorrect ultimately unsustainable belief that Government could not be Helpful.
  23. doug_bostrom at 08:32 AM on 20 May 2020
    PETM climate warming 56 million years ago strongly tied to igneous activity

    A terrific series, Howard. Science encylopedia quality, but not as dry and dusty in the exposition. :-)

    Thanks so much. 

  24. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

    OPOF @6,

    "a Sustainable Total Population
    with Sustainable Total Consumption
    and Sustainable levels of Total Waste and Other Negative Impacts.
    with the most fortunate setting good examples for everyone else to aspire to develop to and helping the least fortunate live basic decent lives."

    This is good but needs development. The 12 billion total global population quoted in the research as sustainable is a maximum. No reason is given to maximise population. Like you say a smaller population could have a better standard of living, all other things being equal. We should be looking at a minimum sustainable population and research suggests 2 billion people as below (just a couple of examples form a quick google search, not suggesting they are perfect examples).

    Obviously this reduces all enviromental pressures other things being equal, and provided we can also encourage people to stabilise or reduce consumption. I fear it will be very difficult to rely 'purely' on hoping people reduce consumption to fix environmental problems, and may not be sufficient anyway, hence the need to consider population size.

    Imho sustainable total consumption might be defined as 1)living within the ability of the biosphere to regenerate and 2) not wasting and squandering non renewable resources and 3) defining robust and generous minimum acceptable areas for natural resources, eg the Amazon rainforest.

    Sustainable waste might be to aim for zero waste while recognising some things cant be recycled, and can be disposed of in landfill if its done safely.

    Hard to see how anyone of sane mind could argue against being helpful.

  25. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

    OPOF @6 and anyone interested.  New article in our media on climate change, population growth and consumption. 

  26. PETM climate warming 56 million years ago strongly tied to igneous activity

    If, during the PETM, the ocean acidified, a further feed back loop could have been the suppression of the growth of various marine organisms that sequester Carbon dioxide as Calcium carbonate.  Such 'organisms' as coral reefs, oysters, Pteropods  may all have been suppressed, removing a sink for the extra Carbon dioxide.  In addition, methane, as a short time green house gas is about 140 times as powerful as Carbon dioxide so this may have had an effect as well.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Self-promotional advertising snipped.

  27. One Planet Only Forever at 12:56 PM on 19 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20


    We do agree on the majority of the issue. But I still perceive an important difference of understanding.

    Getting people to give up the incorrect over-development of harmful wasteful consumption that the dominant socioeconomic-political systems have encouraged to develop will require fundamental aspects of the developed systems to be corrected.

    Another Objective based way of identifying the Root Cause is - Sustainability of the Total of Human activity Everywhere Now and Forever is essential. And that requires every human to at least be living a basic decent life in ways that limit Harm to Others (and the future generations are Others deserving Equal consideration). The future consequences of failing to achieve that objective are well understood. Even military strategists recognize the risk, the potential for harmful regional abuse by misleading appealing Political Actors, of failing to achieve that. So that means:

    • a Sustainable Total Population
    • with Sustainable Total Consumption
    • and Sustainable levels of Total Waste and Other Negative Impacts.
    • with the most fortunate setting good examples for everyone else to aspire to develop to and helping the least fortunate live basic decent lives.

    There is no absolute number for the ideal population, just an upper planetary resource limit. And the current understanding is a population limit of about 12 billion. A lower total population does indeed allow a better way of living for the least fortunate (and everyone else). But at 12 billion it is possible for everyone to live a decent basic life with many living with More than their basic needs being decently met.

    The current global development is Off-Course in many ways (and way off-course in some ways like fossil fuel use), especially the ways that the majority of the Richest and Most Powerful, and the many admirers who want to be Part of That Gang, have developed a liking to Act. And that development off-course has been happening long enough to create many harmfully unsustainable perceptions of How To Live A Good Life, massive harmful wasteful Over-Consumption.

    Liking harmful unsustainable activity, and a failure to appreciate the importance of Being Impressed and Contented with Pursuing Actual Sustainable Improvements, is the Root Cause of Climate Change. That change of attitude will be required to achieve the required limits of climate change harm to future generations.

    The required course correction, the return down from the incorrect over-development, involves altering the Driver. Being impressed by flashier, fancier, more enjoyable, cheaper and quicker ways of doing things, and being impressed without understanding if there are harmful results of what is Impressive is a serious problem - a root cause of many harmful developments (and harmful resistance to giving up incorrectly over-developed ways of living).

    The current dominant Driver of "Competing for Perceptions of Superiority in poorly governed and harmfully unrestricted games of Popularity and Profit" must be Governed and Limited by the Helpful Objective "All human activity being Governed and Limited by the pursuit of expanded awareness and improved understanding to correct the harmful likings that have developed and help develop sustainable improvements for Humanity."

    That is "Learning to be Helpful", which is not quite the same as Morals or Ethics but related. Learning is open to change and correction. Many people consider Morals or Ethics to be Fixed Rules which is a very unhelpful way of thinking about Moral or Ethics (it can lead to attempts to Game or Cheat The Rules).

    That Alteration of the Driver will not be easy. Some people will learn to Responsible Self-Govern, even older people can learn that. But many people will try to get away with Behaving More Harmfully, Less Helpfully. A lot needs to be corrected and the resistance to correction is very powerful. There is so much Personal Perceptions of Benefit at Stake (those middle class likings you refer to). But there is no lasting improving future for humanity without that Driver Change occurring.

    The developed systems that prolong or increase the Incorrect Driving Behaviour are ultimately the Root Cause of almost all Human Caused problems. Anything that is not Human Caused is a Challenge for Humans to Learn to Adapt to. Any Human Caused Problem requires Correction even if the correction is Unpopular or Unprofitable.

  28. michael sweet at 02:50 AM on 19 May 2020
    Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths


    Sorry about that.  For anyone else here is the correct link.

    Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I:
    Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure,
    and materials
    Mark Z. Jacobson a,n, Mark A. Delucch

  29. One Planet Only Forever at 15:01 PM on 18 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20


    Many Human activities, not just fossil fuel use, are contributing to Climate Change. And all of them need to be corrected.

    Some of them, like fossil fuel use, need to be stopped (to be replaced by energy generation that is sustainable).

    Other activities that need to be stopped are ones that also produce ghgs like cement and steel production (to be replaced with materials or methods of production that are sustainable).

    And other activities, like cutting down and using trees, needs to be done sustainably, which includes being done in ways that do not increase ghgs.

    So the root cause of climate change and many other harmful developments is the unsustainable ways of living that humans have developed a liking for, and resist correcting.

  30. Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths

    Michael@28 The link doesn't work but I have found the paper and downloaded it. I will read it as it sounds like I could learn something from it, if not give me a bit of hope.

  31. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

    Pie chart of USA emissions profile here.

  32. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

    OPOF @2

    "The root cause of climate change is the Total Impact of Human activities."

    No, with all due respect. The root cause is typically defined as "A root cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a causal chain that leads to an outcome or effect of interest. The term denotes the earliest, most basic, 'deepest', cause for a given behavior; most often a fault." I think that implicit in this is identifying one singular cause if possible, or as few root causes as possible. Total impact of human activities are just contributing causes. Fossil fuels fits the definition of root cause best.

    In the USA 90% of emissions come from transport, heating, industry and electricity and almost all of that comes from burning fossil fuels. 10% comes from agriculture. So the root cause of climate change is predominantly fossil fuels, with agriculture added on as a smaller root cause. If we had not discovered oil and coal, and had nuclear power or renewables, electric transport etcetera, climate change would not be a significant issue. 

    Reducing our consumption and population are just tools to combat the climate problem because renewables are unable to do the job alone in time. But its serendipitous because reducing consumption and population growth have other obvious benefits as well.

    "However, simply reducing the Total Population or Total Consumption, even dramatically doing that, is not a Good solution. A smaller population with more harmful but 'lower' consumption could be much worse."

    Agree with this and the rest of your comments. A smaller population could also consume more per capita, especially as the resources might become available. So smaller population is a necessary but insufficient condition. Humanity just needs a change of mindest away from rampant materialism. Maybe its a moral issue ultimately?

    But we have to be realistic, and its hard for me to see people giving up basic products that are an established part of middle class life. They might however give up on things that are just for show and cost a lot of money like big SUV's and big flashy homes. Either way, because of these unknowns and difficulties, it seems prudent to use several tools to attack the climate problem.

  33. One Planet Only Forever at 02:26 AM on 18 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20


    The root cause of climate change is the Total Impact of Human activities.

    Over-consumption is a significant factor in the Total Impact. The Total Human population and the ways of living that the Total Population aspire to Enjoy is also a signficant factor.

    However, simply reducing the Total Population or Total Consumption, even dramatically doing that, is not a Good solution. A smaller population with more harmful but 'lower' consumption could be much worse.

    The solution is to reduce the Total Negative Impacts. And that does require dramtically reducing the harm done by the ways of living that have harmful impacts (which can be related to Over-Consumption). That requires all of the Leaders and Winners, not just the sub-set who choose to care, to set the examples and improve the understanding of the ways of living that everyone can aspire to develop to enjoy, and help the less fortunate advance to better ways of living.

    The most significant required correction is the ending of the harmfully incorrect belief that 'Better Results will develop if people are freer to believe whatever they want to excuse doing whatever they develop a liking for'.

    The Best Future Result is achieved if All Human Actions are Governed and Limited by 'Expanding awarenss and improved understanding of what is going on pursued and applied to reduce the harm done and to help develop lasting improvements for humanity'.

  34. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

    Most of these look like great books.Thank's.

    "Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac paint two side-by-side visions of the world in 2050: a hot, pollution-choked hellscape rife with water wars and nationalist paranoia, and a hopeful, forested world of high-speed trains, energy efficiency and community-based agriculture."

    To me this gives clear choices, a useful realistic solution, and hope.

    "We won’t get there with solar panels and electric vehicles alone, he says, criticizing those as market-based mechanisms that reinforce the status quo. Instead, success requires a political and economic revolution"

    To me this is empty hand waving. Solar panels and EV's have been around for ages. The first silicon based photo voltaic solar panel was developed by Bell Labs in 1954. The first working electric motor and electric vehicle, a small locomotive that used two electromagnets, a pivot and a battery, was built by Thomas Davenport, an American from Vermont, in 1834 or 1835.

    Its true the recent expansion of solar panels and EV's are products of markets, and market friendly mechanisms like cap and trade, but virtually everything we consume is a product of "the market". I doubt that the governmnet should build solar panels, and I doubt that the writers provide an alternative to the market that can be implimented in time to fix the climate problem, and that is going to gain wide traction. You are better to look at sensible interventions in the market, and the scandinavian model that combines market with some government action.

    "The end of the book touches on several big interventions that might curb climate change, ...., but Jahren argues these won’t fix the root cause of climate change: overconsumption. "

    I thought the root cause was burning fossil fuels, actually. Even if we only burned them at half current levels we would arguably still have a climate problem, just delayed. However reduced consumption is obviously one helpful tool in mitigating climate change. What you have to think about is how much the average person would be prepared to reduce consumption, and plan the total mitigation strategy around that, and then have a backup plan in case people don't reduce their consumption. You also need a backup plan in case we dont build renewables fast enough, although its clearly gaining a life of its own as prices have tumbled.

  35. michael sweet at 07:31 AM on 15 May 2020
    Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths

    The Solutions Project (Jacobson runs it) has plans for most of the countries in the world.  The UK solution projects Percentage of United Kingdom Land Needed for All New Wind, Water & Solar Generators
    0.80% Footprint area 0.99% Spacing Area.  That is hardly half the land in the UK.  Offshore wind is about 33% of power.  Perhaps a different method of measuring the area is used in the two sources.

    The area used by renewable energy was a big argument 12 years ago when your book was printed.  After Jacobson 2011's calculations it has been rare to hear this issue raised.

  36. michael sweet at 07:06 AM on 15 May 2020
    Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths


    Jacobson 2011 includes calculations of how much land will be occupied by the required generators (primarily wind and solar).  In most of the EU, more wind will be used since they are so far north.   For the UK there is a large wind resource off shore which would use up zero land, only fill ocean space. 

    In general the land area used turns out to be realtively small.  From the abstract of Jacobson 2011

    "Such a WWS infrastructure [producing all power from renewables] reduces world power demand by 30% and requires only 0.41% and 0.59% more of the world’s land for footprint and spacing, respectively." my bracket

    For onshore wind the foot print of the generators is very small.  The land in between generators can be used for farming or other uses.   Currently strip mining renders a lot of land unusable.

    World power demand is reduced because renewable energy is much more efficient than fossil power.  For example to generate 1000 watts of electricity from a coal burning power plant: 10% of the power in the coal is used to mine and transport the coal to the power plant.  Thermal generators are about 40% energy efficient (the remainder is waste heat).  To generate 1000 watts of electricity you need to mine 2800 watts of coal.  If you use solar panels to provide 1000 watts of electricity to the grid you only need to generate 1000 watts of electricity at the panels (essentially 100% efficient).  Electric cars save even more power because ICE motors in cars are only 20-25% efficient.

  37. Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths

    MA Rodger @26

    Page 114: "We've established that the UK's present lifestyle can't be sustained on the UK's own renewables (except with the industrialisation of country-sized areas of land and sea).

    Figure 28.2 on page 215 shows a map of renewable energy generation with a bit of nuclear and clean coal thrown in. As mentioned several times in the book, the land area required is huge, nearly half the land in the UK.

    He shows plans that might work which include importing renewable energy from overseas, such as solar farms in deserts, and geothermal from Iceland.

    It is a bit unfortunate in the UK that the places which have the highest potential for renewable energy generation also have the lowest population density (Scotland), and vice versa (SE England).


    Since the book is out of date and so is overly pessimistic regarding renewable energy potential, I will have a look at some of these research papers that say transitioning to renewables is easy.

  38. Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths

    Alea @24,

    You say of the book you cite ('Sustainable Energy - without the hot air' by  David MacKay) "The conclusion is that Britain cannot live on its own renewables" but this is surely not the message presented by the book. The book shows the task is possible but not easy with the conclusion saying:-

    32 Saying yes

    Because Britain currently gets 90% of its energy from fossil fuels, it’s no surprise that getting off fossil fuels requires big, big changes – a total change in the transport fleet; a complete change of most building heating systems; and a 10- or 20-fold increase in green power.
    We need to choose a plan that adds up. It is possible to make a plan that adds up, but it’s not going to be easy.
    We need to stop saying no and start saying yes. We need to stop the Punch and Judy show and get building.



  39. michael sweet at 21:19 PM on 14 May 2020
    Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths


    There are hundreds of peer reviewed papers that show that it will be easy to transition to renewable energy.  The transition to renewable will result in more jobs, cheaper energy, much less pollution and increased health (primarily from decreased pollution).  The book you cite was never close to accutrate even 12 years ago.  Further advances and decreases in cost of renewable energy since then make it all the more absurd.

  40. Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths

    Has anyone read the book "Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air"?


    The author calculates the energy usage of the average British resident per day, and goes through a list of renweable energy sources using observational energy density (power generated per sq km) to see whether they can meet the demand. One primary message that comes out is that renewable energy is very dilute, so you need huge land (or sea) areas for solar or wind electricity generation. The conclusion is that Britain cannot live on its own renewables. Admittedly the book was written about 12 years ago so maybe the energy density of renewables has increased (but so has energy consumption).


  41. Climate sensitivity is low

    Climate theory  is most certainly not based on climate modelling, but observation including the measurable increase in surface irradiation from increased CO2. If sun increased output by 4W/m2 then you would surely expect earth to warm (if not, what is your theory for seasons), but somehow increase from GHG wont cause warming. Climate models are our best guide as to how the future might look. Far from perfect but lightyears ahead of reading entrails or believing nothing will change. I remain stunned that people insist the consensus reported by the IPCC is wrong while obviously having never even opened it the WG1 reports.

  42. Climate sensitivity is low

    @381 Deplore This. Everyone has seen this argument. It was a well known published "merchant of doubt" argument full of logic fallicies and false premises designed to mislead people like you... which unfortunately it seems to have worked so far. However, if you are honestly seeking a University level course, I suggest you change your google search terms to "statistical modeling" and /or "statistical modeling of climate change" and you will find a whole lot of universities in the world can help you.

    And yes sensitivity is a factor in all of them. In some as a constant and in a few papers there are calls for sensitivity as a variable to fine tune accuracy.

    However, the statement, "The theory is based upon modeling climate sensitivity to CO2" is false. Called a false premise logic fallacy.

    Actually global warming is based on empirical evidence.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] The user to whom you are replying has recused themselves from further participation here.

  43. Deplore This at 03:36 AM on 14 May 2020
    Climate sensitivity is low

    I am an anthropogenic climate change denier because I have never found any scientific evidence that supports it. The theory is based upon modeling climate sensitivity to CO2 and as you state: “In truth, nobody knows for sure quite how much the temperature will rise”.

    We hear regularly from the media that 90+% of scientists believe in anthropogenic climate change but my question is how many scientists are actually trained and practice climate modeling?

    I’ve looked at the undergraduate and graduate curriculum for the top US environmental science universities and have found only one course on climate modeling. Penn State offered METEO 523 in Spring 2020 and only 6 of 30 seats were filled and the course has been since dropped. So what course is available in climate modelling so I can learn the science?

    Given the lack of curriculum on climate modeling it is apparent that all climate science curriculum is based upon the assumption of anthropogenic climate change without providing any scientific evidence or expertise. This isn’t science, it’s group think. So the opinion of those 90+% so called scientists is based upon blind faith rather than science. This isn’t science it’s a hoax.

    I remain interested in finding a quality course in climate modeling.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB]  Please start off by reading this thread and this thread.  Then proceed to this post, which discusses the empirical evidence for AGW.  Skeptical Science has dedicated posts on pretty much every point anyone would think to contend with the science of climate change on, just use the Search function to find the most appropriate thread, read it including the comments, and only then if you still have questions, post them there, and not here.

    Off-topic and Gish Gallop snipped per the Comments Policy, which you should also read.  As this is a moderated forum, you should also ensure that future comments are constructed to adhere to it.

    Moderation complaints and sloganeering are unacceptable.

  44. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

    Scaddenp @9, yes I know what William is saying. However using dunite as enhanced weathering to essentially capture carbon might be a little bit quicker than you think. I mentioned it because this is a sort of general news page.

    Depends on how you define quickly I guess. This article suggests that if broken up and spread thinly and scaled up, it has the potential to capture 20% of our yearly emissions, so one years emissions in five years, ten years of current emissions in 50 years, which is a significant sized chunk of what's in the atmosphere. It just surprised me a bit because I thought it would be slower.

    It's expensive, but without some of the tricky problems of other approaches. Might make for an interesting article. Its not even remotely a replacement for renewable energy, but could be useful technology.

  45. One Planet Only Forever at 00:39 AM on 13 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

    The BBC item I linked to @10 is a comprehensive presentation that is based on the information sources MA Rodgers has noted and a little more.

  46. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

    William @5,

    Regarding the effect of a Covid-19-induced reduction in CO2 emissions & the impact on atmospheric CO2, there is a CarbonBrief article by an impressive list of guest authors on this very subject. They suggest that atmospheric CO2 (as measured at MLO) would have shown a BAU increase of 2.80ppm (± 0.57) but, with the reduction in global CO2 emissions due to the Covid-19 crisis, estimate at 8% for the year with the implied atmospheric CO2 increase being 0.32ppm less or 11% smaller.

    As a rule of thumb, we need to reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 50% to put a halt to increasing atmospheric CO2 (and this a temporary halt without continued cuts in emissions). However, under BAU we are still seeing small increases in CO2 emissions (Global Carbon Project numbers averaging 1% increase per year in recent years, down from 3% a decade ago but still an increase.)

  47. One Planet Only Forever at 15:01 PM on 12 May 2020
    2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

    william @5,

    As scaddenp has indicated the CO2 production reduction during the COVID-19 restriction of activity should not be expected to result in a reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels. Even if no more new CO2 was being generated by any human activities, the process of CO2 removal is rather slow. More important, the reduction of fossil fuel use has not been a full shut-down, not even close.

    Check out this recent BBC News Item.

    The reduction of production of new CO2 is very significant. And the COVID-19 Dip could help achieve the globally agreed limit of harm to future generations, harm being done by portions of the current generation continuing to desire to benefit from harmful fossil fuel abuse. But the real test will be if there is actually an increased awareness and improved understanding that it is unacceptable for people to only care about their personal opportunities for benefit and risk of harm.

    Will more people realize that the fact that they are not the only human requires that they strive to Not Harm Any Others, and try to help develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity? That is what the COVID-19 restrictions are all about, personal limits of behaviour to reduce the risk of harming Others.

  48. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

    Nigel, I understood William to be asking about Covid-related CO2 reduction which I dont think could reduce atmosphere CO2. Even if emissions went to zero, natural CO2 removal cant happen fast. Dunite and other enchanced-weathering based solutions are very slow. And emissions havent stopped, just slowed.

  49. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #19

    Excellent recent national geographic article on reducing waste and the circular economyhere.

  50. 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

    Scaddenp @7. One word. Dunite.

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