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The Climate Shell Game

Posted on 21 March 2022 by Evan, jg

This is an opinion piece. I offer my views of how some data is presented to focus on small gains and away from large setbacks in addressing the climate crisis. I invite you to give your opinions in the "Comments" section at the end of this post.

With feet firmly on the accelerator pedal, we're speeding faster and faster down an increasingly treacherous road. The brakes ineffective, so far, to slow us down. One last chance to exit this road before it becomes unnavigable at our speeds. Cruising by the 1.7°C exit ramp, we are told there is a plan to develop, install, and then apply new, better brakes before we reach the 2°C exit ramp. These untested wonder brakes can not only stop our speeding car before we reach the 2°C exit ramp, we're told, but they can do so without spilling any drinks!

Some even talk about stopping so fast that we exit at the 1.5°C ramp.

Really!?

I'm skeptical!

If this was a simple car with a simple engine and a simple reverse gear and driven by a single person who just had to apply the simple brakes ... maybe. But this is a car not being propelled by a single, controllable engine, but by 8 billion people all pushing this car. The car is accelerating because each year 80,000,000 additional people get behind the car to push it to higher speeds.

The Climate Shell Game

A shell game is played, knowingly or unknowingly, that showcases spotty successes, and hides the true scope of the climate crisis and requisite solutions. In this post I offer a couple of views on how the shell game is played and, more importantly, a simple method for determining if you're being snookered. We need to support efforts to stabilize climate. That is not the question. But to effectively plan for the future, you must learn how to assess our actual progress towards climate stabilization.

Consumer Disconnect

John Mason discusses the disconnect of people from the world around them (read here). The environment is not something we live in, it is something we see when we go into the “country”, to the “beach”, or somewhere associated with a “nature” place. Apples don’t come from trees, they come from the supermarket. Gas does not come from oil wells, but from the local gas station. People are fed a version of reality that is intertwined with fictional dramas. We become scripted actors on an artificial stage. The goal of those running the "show" that we call "life" is to maintain compliant consumers who ask few questions and loyally consume what they are fed while asking a minimum of questions.

The trained consumer is served optional realities selected from myriads of media feeds. To attract viewers, stations create palatable, marketable versions of reality. Into this world of viewer-selected alternate realities we will try to channel information about the real-world climate emergency, what we plan to do about it, and how scripted actors are expected to participate. That is, provided disconnected consumers don’t change the channel to a station where the weather is always nice and predictable and where tragic events are OK, because they’ve happened before and they always happen somewhere else. The "News" has become little more than another "Daytime Drama."

This disconnect is dangerous, because the climate emergency may only ever be nightly news entertainment. If one channel offers a version of reality more pleasant and less guilt-ridden, --click--. This continues until like an Amazon-Prime package, reality is finally delivered one day, by the environment, to your front door in the form of one of a smorgasbord of natural disasters. At that point we may have reconnected one person to reality. One down, many more to go.

Science Disconnect

Examples abound of scientific miracles that have transformed our lives: smart phones, medical devices, apps that do just about anything imaginable. More recently, the rapid and successful development and deployment of Covid vaccines. The abundance of examples of successful transitions from conception to consumers creates a blind faith that anything scientists develop will be rapidly and successfully deployed to consumers. But to succeed, new ideas must navigate the following deployment chain

  • Scientists develop new tech.
  • Engineers package new tech into new devices.
  • Industry develop processes and channels to deploy new devices.
  • Politicians create a favorable environment for rapid deployment of new devices.
  • Consumers accept the new devices.

Which illustrated looks like

Science deployment chain

Be skeptical of how quickly and easily we'll implement the scientific miracles developed to save us from the climate crisis. Not everyone participating in the deployment chain is as enthusiastic as the authors (think vested interests). Or there may be pesky problems such as budget limitations, material shortages, technical issues, or consumer rejection (think Covid vaccines).

The job of scientists is to feed ideas into the start of the deployment chain. The job of consumers is to remove devices from the end of the deployment chain. Consumers and scientists are, for the most part, disconnected from the difficulties and realities of getting scientific ideas through the deployment chain.

This leaves scientists disconnected from the real-world path their ideas must traverse from concept to consumers. Their ideas may be oversold, in part, because the difficulty of navigating the deployment chain is minimized.

How the Shell Game relies on Disconnected Consumers and Science

The shell game works because marketeers hype their products, hide impediments, with the effect of maximizing hope while minimizing hurt. Disconnected Science sells well to Disconnected Consumers who hold in their hands the miracles of science, sold to them for a modest price. Disconnected Consumers are easily led to believe that science can produce any kind of life-saving miracle. The shell game feeds into this narrative by compressing the difficult science-migration path from its full form illustrated above, to the much simpler form

Science → Consumer

Those pesky intermediate steps that slow down the deployment chain are conveniently omitted, or hidden in charts that often highlight only the positive trends. The idea that emerges is more like, because we have wind turbines and solar panels, with the wave of a hand we can easily switch from fossil fuels to renewables. Cars? Now that all the car companies have announced aggressive plans to electrify their fleets, we simply start buying EV's and we will easily eliminate vehicular GHG emissions.

Despite all of the progress and hopeful news, here are two examples of the kind of shell games played, knowingly or unknowingly, that make me skeptical of how "easily" and "quickly" we'll stabilize the climate. The point of this analysis is not to discourage you nor to criticize particular entities. The goal is to help you gauge the effort needed to stabilize the climate so that we can enact effective mitigation and adaptation strategies. The job will be much more difficult than we're being told, and we need to prepare for a more difficult struggle to tame the climate than the Disconnected Science projects.

Examples of how the Shell Game is played

Here are two examples of how the shell game is played. The first example shows how the presentation of population data can hide what is really happening and show an opposite trend. The second example shows how focusing your attention on one set of data, and ignoring another, gives a false sense of progress.

Misleading statistics

Global population is one of the main drivers of the climate crisis, because each person is a carbon emitter. Until I got involved studying climate issues, I routinely heard here and there that global population growth was slowing, heading down at the good clip shown in Fig. 1. The implications were that we would not have to worry about the effects of overpopulation because birth rates were "stabilizing".

Population growth as percentage of population

Figure 1. Annual, global population growth as a percentage of current population (data is here).

Great, we have that problem under control and there is no need to worry. Population should be leveling off just as soon as that straight line hits zero. There is a problem with Fig. 1, however. It does not show population growth, it shows population growth as a percentage of the current population. Figure 2 shows a plot of actual population growth.

Population growth - number of people

Figure 2. Annual, global population growth as a percentage of current population (dashed line) and as actual growth (solid line). Data is here.

So, all these years the population growth rate had actually been increasing, not decreasing. Or, because we don’t want to split hairs, the population growth rate has been nearly constant for the last 50 years at about 80,000,000 people/year. Growth in a finite world with limited resources ends only one way. Just ask a bunch of breeding rabbits with limited food supply.

After many years of being misled by statistics, I now know the truth. But before you cheer at the downward trend since 2015, the governments of many countries around the world have noticed that drop as well, and now are actively encouraging their populations to have more children. Even when the natural progression of human civilization is taking population where we know it needs to go if we are going to “solve” the climate crisis, governments are stepping up their efforts to prop up global population. Drat!

The shell game presents population data in such a way as to hide the 50-year trend of steady, consistent, unchanging population growth. Will government intervention maintain that steady growth?

Showing the good parts, hiding the bad parts

Then there is the issue of the deployment of renewable-energy systems: wind and solar and others. Theoretically that is going great guns with exponential growth starting in 2000, and a rosy future for continued, exponential growth to come. The growth shown in Fig. 3 makes us feel very good and hopeful. To build extra hope, it's good to show the arrow busting up through the top of the graph.

 Rapid growth of renewables

Figure 3. Global renewable electricity generation by year (data is here).

Just look at that steep climb. It’s like a rocket headed for the Moon. Or is it Mars? Graphs like this are great for lifting the spirits of people who know a thing or two about the climate crisis. Thing is, over this same time period the Keeling Curve has not deviated from its upward acceleration one bit. Not at all. Why? Because

The Keeling Curve does not care about the rise of renewable energy!

Any scientist or educated science communicator knows this, and yet we're shown graphs such as Fig. 3 which show this rapid growth of renewables. The Keeling Curve cares about what’s happening to fossil-fuel consumption. The Keeling Curve will only take note if the rise of renewable energy substitutes for fossil-fuel use and does not supplement it. How about we plot the two together to see how the rise of renewables has affected fossil-fuel use.

Rise of fossil-fuel usage together with rise of renewables and Keeling Curve

Figure 4. Global renewable electricity generation, global fossil-fuel usage, and Keeling Curve. Renewable energy data is here, fossil-fuel usage data is here.

How impressive does that "Global renewables" line look when compared to the fossil-fuel usage line? What impact has it had on the "Global fossil-fuel usage?" For all our progress with renewable energy, it remains little more than a hope for the future and currently is coexisting with, rather than replacing fossil-fuel use. Apparently the vested interests powering our world with fossil fuels are happy to let renewable energy mop up the energy crumbs while fossil fuels command the lion's share of energy supply. How easy will it be to switch the position of the renewable-energy and fossil-fuel curves? Might the vested interests resist this swap?

Up to 2020, there is no indication of any slowdown in fossil-fuel use. There is lots of talk about slowdowns in isolated segments here and there, but the total usage keeps going up. The Keeling Curve responds to the fossil-fuel usage curve, and not to the renewable-energy curve.

The shell game focuses our attention on the meteoric rise of renewables, and distracts us from the comparable rise of fossil-fuel usage and the upward acceleration of the Keeling Curve. Don't just ask "What will it take to scale up renewable energy systems?" Ask also, "What will it take to scale down entrenched fossil-fuel systems?"

How to tell if you're being snookered

Science communicators advertize solutions for stabilizing the climate at 1.5°C, even though in 2022 there is enough carbon in the atmosphere to take us to 1.7°C and by 2050 we will easily have enough carbon in the atmosphere to take us to 2.0°C or more ... if we don't succeed in getting the Keeling Curve to descend.

How can you assess whether you're being snookered by climate-stabilization projections? How is the climate shell game being played?

Global policy makers raise hopes by citing all of the agreements that have been reached. Promises for what climate negotiators around the world say their governments will commit to in the future. One company after another announcing they are carbon-neutral. Questionable, opaque methods likely used to determine carbon neutrality. Now the grand plan is to make the entire world carbon neutral by sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere.

I'm not here to throw cold water on the negotiations and efforts under way. I support them. I am here to help you assess how well we're converting talk into action. Future plans you and your family make depend on the sum total of our effort, not on the bits and pieces, and certainly not on bold talk.

There are two things to monitor: global population and the Keeling Curve. Global population is one of the prime drivers of the Keeling Curve. Although there are bold plans to reduce the per-capita carbon footprint, adding 80,000,000 new carbon emitters each year simply means that however more efficient we make each carbon emitter, year after year after year we keep adding more and more of them. As long as global population growth continues anywhere near 80,000,000 new carbon emitters/year, it represents a very strong headwind. Figure 5 shows a near linear relationship, over 100 years, between global population and annual atmospheric CO2 accumulation.

CO2 accumulation rate vs global population

Figure 5. Annual atmospheric CO2 accumulation rates vs global population. Various notable events are shown. The dashed lines show the trend towards Net-Zero we might have followed had we started immediately after the IPCC was formed, and the trend currently proposed. This figure implicitly assumes that we will reach a global population of 9.5 billion by 2050, the target year for achieving Net-Zero.

Or to put it into an easier form to monitor, Table 1 shows the pace at which we need to ramp down the annual rate of CO2 accumulation to reach Net Zero by 2050. Table 1 also shows the resulting CO2 concentration. Keep track of how well we're doing. The numbers bounce around from year to year, so don't expect them to exactly follow this trend every year.

Table 1. Path to achieving Net-Zero by 2050.

Year ΔCO2 [Δppm/yr]  CO2 Conc [ppm]
 2021  2.5 415
 2022  2.5 417.5
 2023  2.4 420
 2024  2.3 422.4
 2025  2.2 424.7
 2026  2.1 426.9
 2027  2.0 429
 2028  1.9 431
 2029  1.8 432.9
 2030  1.7 434.7
 2031  1.6 436.4
 2032  1.5 438
 2033  1.4 439.5
 2034  1.3 440.9
 2035  1.2 442.2
 2036  1.1 443.4
 2037  1.0 444.5
 2038  0.9 445.5
 2039  0.8 446.4
 2040  0.7 447.2
 2041  0.6 447.9
 2042  0.5 448.5
 2043  0.4 449
 2044  0.3 449.4
 2045  0.2 449.7
 2046  0.1 449.9
 2047  Net-Zero 450

This path shown in Table 1 leaves us with 450 ppm CO2 in 2050, sufficient to take us to 2°C warming, if we don't get CO2 to start decreasing at that point.

It would be a huge success to stabilize the climate at any temperature.

It would be an even larger success to stabilize the climate at 2°C.

What would it take to stabilize the climate at 1.5°C?

To stabilize the climate at any temperature will hurt. There will be sacrifice and people forgoing things they want. But that is not the message that is being broadcast. The messaging needed is alluded to by a quote from Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows in a paper they wrote (read here):

“… this is not a message of futility, but a wake-up call of where our rose-tinted spectacles have brought us. Real hope, if it is to arise at all, will do so from a bare assessment of the scale of the challenge we now face.”

It is time that we stop playing a climate shell game, deceiving people about what it will take to get out of our climate mess. Telling people the truth is not a guarantee of success, but deceiving them about what it will take to solve the climate crisis will commit us to ineffective action. Will we inform them of the truth or wait until climate disasters wake them one-by-one from their stupor?

If climate skeptics/deniers are being dishonest about how bad the problem is, a vocal part of the scientific community, or scientific messengers, are not being honest about what is needed to effectively deal with the climate crisis.

Playing the climate shell game will not magically solve the problem. At best, it keeps consumers happy until they are woken from their slumber by an unwelcomed, but expected climate demon.

These are my thoughts on the subject. What do you think? How do you feel about the information you're getting? Tell us below in the "Comments" section.

 

 

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Comments 51 to 93 out of 93:

  1. Jan @38.

    I was wanting to know your academic qualifications  to see if you had any relevant to the issues. I'm reluctant to commit time to reading very long articles by people if they have no relevant qualifications at tertiary level. Your engineering degree is definitely very relevant. I believe that a person with an engineering degree could definitely do "science". However calling yourself a scientist could cause confusion and I think you are unwise doing that, fwiw. And I see no need for you to do so. 

    ----------------------------------------

    Jan @40, ok we seem to be roughly in agreement, and I get your point about China: They are actually expanding their EV fleet much faster than its expanding renewables which is out of step. However China is non typical with its autocratic government having huge control over EV production. However  there are other reasons they are pushing EVs really hard, namely to reduce high levels of particulate and nitrous oxides air pollution in their cities.

    Yes the data speaks loudly. I had a friend who always said when arguing about contentious issues, and opining on them, always go back and look at what the basic data says. Regardless of the issue and field of enquiry. 

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  2. Evan @48,

    Agreed that it is not helpful if the presentation gets too complicated or triggers unjustified reactions.

    Another way to address the marketing problem is to describe how it affects every aspect of the diagram without presenting it as part of the image. Marketing is about raising awareness and trying to influence what people think about things. Marketing is helpful when it raises awareness and fully informs regarding the awareness being raised. It can be especially helpful when it does that regarding Harm Being Done. But marketing almost never gets done that way because the pursuit of reward and benefit (popularity and profit) powerfully motivates what is done.

    That pursuit of reward limits what is Investigated.

    • It can keep scientists from looking into the potential harm of developed activities, especially activities that are popular and profitable (because who is going to fund or reward the investigation into the potential need to limit, change or stop popular and profitable activities).
    • It can tempt scientists into focusing on research that appears to have the potential to be profitable or popular, because that is more likely to be funded and be rewarded with patents.
    • It certainly discourages consumers from investigating if what they are tempted to desire is harmful.
    • Engineers have a fairly powerful motivation to limit harm done. But even they can be tempted to participate in developing more harmful results due to the potential for more reward to be obtained that way (or get less reward if they won't play the 'behind the curtain' game that way). And some of them push for 'lower minimum standards', or push to not have standards, because that gives them cover/excuses for participating in producing riskier more harmful results (what they did did not contravene any established requirements - that they were aware of).
    • Undeniably, the potentially harmful marketing angles of the Industry (pursuers of profit) and Political (pursuers of popularity) players are the most dangerous drivers/motivators of the game/system. And the most dangerous condition is when there is no clear separation of Industry from Government.
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  3. Evan @48,

    Agreed that it is not helpful if the presentation gets too complicated or triggers unjustified reactions.

    Another way to address the marketing problem is to describe how it affects every aspect of the diagram (competition game/system) without presenting it as part of the image.

    Marketing is about raising awareness and trying to influence what people think about things. Marketing is helpful when it raises awareness and fully informs regarding the awareness being raised. It can be especially helpful when it does that regarding Harm Being Done. But marketing almost never gets done that way because the pursuit of reward and benefit (popularity and profit) powerfully motivates what is done.

    That pursuit of reward limits what is Investigated.

    • It can keep scientists from looking into the potential harm of developed activities, especially activities that are popular and profitable (because who is going to fund or reward the investigation into the potential need to limit, change or stop popular and profitable activities).
    • It can tempt scientists into focusing on research that appears to have the potential to be profitable or popular, because that is more likely to be funded and be rewarded with patents.
    • It certainly discourages consumers from investigating if what they are tempted to desire is harmful.
    • Engineers have a fairly powerful motivation to limit harm done. But even they can be tempted to participate in developing more harmful results due to the potential for more reward to be obtained that way (or get less reward if they won't play the 'behind the curtain' game that way). And some of them push for 'lower minimum standards', or push to not have standards, because that gives them cover/excuses for participating in producing riskier more harmful results (what they did did not contravene any established requirements - that they were aware of).

    Undeniably, the potentially harmful marketing angles of the Industry (pursuers of profit) and Political (pursuers of popularity) players are the most dangerous drivers/motivators of the game/system. And the most dangerous condition is when there is no clear separation of Industry from Government.

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  4. @michael sweet #50

    The car's energy conversion efficiency is one thing; electricity consumption per 1km is the second point. You have to recharge the consumed energy somewhere. And 70 kWh of electricity will always be only 70kWh of electricity, no matter what source you use for recharging. This has nothing to do with energy conversion efficiency while driving in a car. This is the energy (not the capacity) you need to return to the battery. You need also calculate another big impact - batte charging is a Power factor and dirting of the power grid. When you don't understand this basic energy principle, then I'm here by mistake.
    When you got the arguments and accused me of fossil fuels propaganda, neither of us understood anything. Nice. 

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  5. jan@54 another reason I bought an EV. In Minnesota about 90% of our gasoline comes from tar-sands oil. That alone drove me to want to minimize my use of gasoline. IMO, just about anything is better than burning tar-sands oil.

    One thing you should consider is that if you want to buy an EV today, you might end up waiting a long time because of supply-chain issues. This is the reality of how long it may take to switch from ICE's to EV's. Even if EV's only operate at break-even GHG emissions in some places because of high usage of fossil fuels, it is worthwhile to start switching manufacturing towards EV's, because the transition will likely take a very long time, given real-world distribution factors.

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  6. Evan @55,

    All things considered, burning gasoline from the oil sands is indeed potentially worse then using Minnesota's electricity to power a car.

    One big harm, hidden from many people by the Shell Game, is that upgrading heavy crude (like Alberta's Western Canada Select) produces a by-product called 'coke'. Coke is like a very crappy coal (very high ghg emissions for the heat units obtained, and other crappy emissions from burning the stuff). Some places are OK with dirtier cheaper stuff to burn. They will burn Coke. It has been burned at oil sands operations in Alberta. But, to reduce emission in Alberta, the materials are often now exported as heavy crude (Western Canada Select) which exports the impacts of upgrading, including coke, to the importing nation. And the upgrading facilities in the USA producing the gasoline for Minnesota likely export the coke they produce to be burned somewhere else in the world (so the coke is not counted as a USA waste or ghg impact).

    The more you know the more there is to dislike about extracting and burning up the oil sands stuff, and other heavy oils, and coal (and sour natural gas - note that WCS is also a very sour crude - lots of sulphur). Those all really should be the first fossil fuels terminated no matter how many investors lose perceived wealth because 'their assets ended up stranded - unusable'.

    Note that the Shell Game includes Alberta Oil Sands promoters claiming it is More Ethical Oil (amusing note Shell sold its oil sands assets).

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  7. OPOF@53 Sobbering comments. It's scary to know the marketeers know how to get into our heads and how to apply leverage to people who other might object to the kind of harms to which you're referring.

    OPOF@56 Very interesting, sad education you're providing. I knew enough about the tar sands to know we did not want to burn anymore of it than we have to. You only deepen my resolve.

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  8. michael sweet @50

    The poor are building out renewable energy in many locations. Why build a coal generator when renewable energy is much cheaper? Why build out central facilities wheen distributed generation (like PV) is much cheaper? You guys need to read the literature and give up on the fossil fuel propaganda.

    I assume you mean undeveloped countries?  Or people who are actually poor?  Coal is being built out because, apparently, it's been easier to get the financing for them from China:

    Banking on coal? Drivers of demand for Chinese overseas investments in coal in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Vietnam

    Perceptions of coal for baseload reliability and low cost seem to be the driving factors, but biased by the availability of financing for coal.

    I looked through the Connelly link you provided, but that solution was for wealthy Europe.  Then clicked from that page to Jacobsen: Matching demand with supply at low cost in 139 countries among 20 world regions with 100% intermittent wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) for all purposes

    Seems like that would speak to your claim which I quoted above.  Haiti is poor and would have less than 10 cents average electric cost with 65% solar PV (nameplate, table 2).  Table 3 shows Haiti with a mainly flexible load (my point earlier).  Seems practical and fairly reasonably priced.  But "much cheaper"?  I don't see that.

    Please note I am not promoting coal, just stating the facts of where coal is headed (e.g. as shown by endcoal.org). 

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  9. Eric (skeptic) @58, just something fyi:

    "Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced at the UN General Assembly that China “will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad”. Shortly after this, the Bank of China said it would no longer finance new coal mining and power projects abroad for the last quarter of 2021." Here.

     

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  10. nigelj @59, thanks, that sounds promising.

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  11. Jan@54

    I am sorry, I thought that you had done your homework and that I did not have to do your work for you.

    The debate about wether it is worthwhile to drive an electric car using power from coal power stations was resolved over 10 years ago in the peer reviewed literature.  Newbees who try to do their own calculations simply are wrong.

    This peer reviewed paper published in 2011 states: 

    'We find that EVs charged using [100%] electricity from coal do not have significantly different GHG emissions from driving in regular cars"

    Since the efficiency of electric cars has improved since 2011, it is now more efficient from a release of CO2 standpoint to drive an electric car than using an ICE car, even if 100% of the electricity comes from coal.  In China, since 30% of the energy is renewable, it obviously is better to drive electric cars.  Evan, using at least 50% wind energy, is way better than an ICE car.  You are simply uninformed.  I do not like being lectured to by people who do not know what they are talking about.  I note that you have cited exactly zero peer reviewed papers in your posts here at Skeptical Science while I have cited papers to support my position.

    Since electric cars release less CO2 no matter how the electricity is generated, it is best for everyone everywhere to try to purchase an electric car.  Waiting until more renewable electricity is being generated results in more CO2 being emitted.  Many other reasons also result in the conclusion that it is best to buy an electric car as soon as possible.

    Simply looking at the efficiencies I cited in my previous post it can be concluded that it is more carbon efficient to drive an electric car powered by coal electricity than to drive an ICE car.  The fact that ICE cars are less than 20% efficient in converting the energy in the gasoline into kinetic energy is the critical factor. Electric cars are about 90% efficient at converting electricity into kinetic energy.  I can provide the calculations for you if you want to see them.

    In the future as much transportation as possible needs to be converted to electric because electric motors are so much more efficient than ICE motors.

    Your claim that we should wait to purchase electric cars until more renewable energy is being generated is simply fossil propaganda.  The more electric cars there are the less demand for gasoline there will be.

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    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Please tone it down a bit.

  12. Eric @58,

    The articles you link at 58 are discouraging.  This article from Carbon Brief, from Sept 2021, titled "How World's coal-powered pipeline has shrunk by three-quarters" since 2015 offers me more hope.  The data is similar to the data in your articles but is looked at from a different angle.  I see two primary issues with coal plants:

    1.  Fossil interests have tremendous political power.
    2. It takes 10-15 years to plan and build a large fossil fuel plant.

    We all need to work hard to overcome the political power of fossil fuel interests.  The market will eventually build out a lot of renewable energy since it is cheaper, but the power of fossil fuel iterests can delay that for a long time.  

    All the coal plants being built world wide were planned before renewable energy was the cheapest power.  The article I cited indicates that many coal power plants are being cancelled since they are no longer economic.  It takes the market a lont time to reset completely now that renewable energy is cheapest.  The political power of fossil fuels slows down the transition. 

    Statements upthread like "we will know where to target policies and programs ($$$) to help leapfrog the cheap coal electricity phase" are simply incorrect.  Coal electricity costs more than renewable energy.  Less developed countries would be better off going straight to renewable than to build out expensive coal plants now.  Even if coal were cheaper today, in a few years developed countries will institute carbon fees on imports that will make coal power even more expensive.

    It is often hard to be optimistic when politicians respond so slowly.  I take hope from the fact that 10 years ago politicians were not even talking about trying to reduce carbon emissions in most countries.  Hopefully the turnaround will be soon enough to avoid the worst consequences.

    In many poor locations people are purchasing small off grid PV to charge phones, power lights, run refrigerators and other domestic uses.  I saw a picture of solar panels that powered a water pump to irrigate opium poppies in Afganistan.   This is chepaer than large central generators with long transmission ines, and the transmission lines cannot be cut by war.

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  13. I don't understand what Jan is talking about at 54. The problem of how the electricity is generated is such a basic consideration that it has been studied enough to draw conclusions. Multiple studies have shown that the life cycle carbon footprint of EVs is lower than that of ICEs even if they are charged with electricity produced with coal. The battery production process is carbon intensive but that is compensated by the superior efficiency over the lifetime of the car. In pure mpg equivalent over only road use, it more than compensates, even with FF produced electricity.

    It takes only 2 years on average for the balance to tilt in favor of EVs. Location and driving habits make it vary. However, when comparing EVs to ICE, it is always possible to reach a mileage where the whole vehicle life carbon emissions become lower for the EV and it is always a realistic number of miles. It just takes more miles when using electricity that has a lot of fossil fuel in the production mix and batteries made in Asia.

    CarbonBrief has looked at this in details:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change

    Unfortunately, a vehicle is a big purchase. I already have a hybrid that I bought only a few years ago so no EV for me in the near future. Would help also if they became a little less expensive...

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  14. @michael sweet #61

    I will continue to use the facts only:

    1. in my post #40 you can read:

    Vehicles operation is not global but regional. It follows that we cannot use global emissions from cars as a tool to calculate emission reductions with the introduction of EVs, but strictly regional, per country. It will be mathematically correct (the global data approach), but you will not be able to put it into practice.

    What was the purpose of my discussion regarding the largest producer of GHG emissions with the largest EVs market in this world (+50%) with +70% of Power production from fossil fuels (and it grows). I don't like Global Math Averages. In principle, the arithmetic mean is the least accurate indicator of reality. I presented you with the NREL study, which may not fit into your concept, but it cannot suit everyone. However, if the comprehensive study by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is not enough for you, it is difficult to look for anything more accurate.

    So we can check your mentioned study about the EVs better emissions for Global strategy:

    2. Your study (Vliet et all, 2011) mentioned in #61 contains a different statement (page 7):

    "We find that EVs charged using electricity from coal do not have significantly different GHG emissions from driving in regular cars."

    and as you wrote here:

    "We find that EVs charged using [100%] electricity from coal do not have significantly different GHG emissions from driving in regular cars."

    the value [100%] was defined on the basis of your own interpretation?

    link to the study to confirmation of the mentioned wording (page 7)

    following the study you need to take into account:

    - study is from 2010 (published)

    - it is about the Netherland's specific conditions only, you can't take it as the holy grail for each country

    - also specific conditions for Power production must be taken into account - the NGCC technology is more predominant in this country = lower emission factor than coal-fired plants (you can see the differences in Table 4.: Electricity generation capacity in the Netherlands)

    - you will find there also an increase in the pulverised coal-fired plants for the 2015-2030 period (Table 4)

    - and finally - Summary and conclusions (Page 11) ... read carefully:

    WTW GHG emissions from electric driving depend most on the fuel type (coal or natural gas) used in the generation of electricity
    for charging, and range between 0 g km−1 (using renewables) and 155gkm−1 (using electricity from an old coal-based plant). Based
    on the generation capacity projected for the Netherlands in 2015, additional electricity for EV charging would largely be generated
    using natural gas, emitting 35–77 g CO2eq km−1. In the Dutch context, emissions vary little with charging patterns, and are unlikely
    to change much before 2030.

    And here is a summary from the IEA report 2020:

    In 2018, TPES came from natural gas (42%), oil (37%), coal (11%), biofuels and waste (5%), and small shares from nuclear, wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal. The Netherlands is still one of the largest gas producers in Europe; however, domestic gas supply and gas exports are rapidly declining as production from Groningen is being phased out. Domestic oil supply is small, especially in comparison to the large oil demand. All coal is imported and is used primarily for electricity generation and steel production. The electricity supply is also heavily reliant on fossil fuels. In 2018, electricity generation came primarily from gas (52%) and coal (27%).

    link

     

    it means that there was no such significant coal damping as the study mentioned for 2015 = 55%; it's actually less. And even worse for 2021:

    The current energy mix in the Netherlands is natural gas (38%), oil (35%), coal (11%), biofuels and waste (5%), and 11% from nuclear, wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal.

    link

     

    Following reality, the mentioned study is out of a doable plan. I like data and I would like to listen more than personal attacks, rather more deep-dive information from my base education in Energy engineering. I'm the proud owner of a small PVe and Solar water heating, so you really don't have to swear at my fossil fuels lobby. I understand energy - from its production, distribution to consumption.

     That's why I'm researching anything related to emissions. Not everyone will like this option - but I'm not a friend of extreme solutions or chaos.

    Finally, I'm sending a link to one peer-reviewed study from The Nature - A plant-by-plant strategy for high-ambition coal power phaseout in China. link

    If you will find at least 3 fatal mistakes that should not appear in The Nature or any peer-reviewed studies, you have passed the Energy engineering exam. Otherwise, we can no longer talk about Energy engineering from the position where you want to be a professor. 

    I judge people by what they write about and how they write. I don't care what their education is. And I don't care if the document was peer-reviewed because:
    - Energy engineering is my native domain
    - We have scientists like Ivar Giaever and similar creators here
    - you can choose peer-review as a service from your defined contacts, even in reputable journals.

    Each of my documents contains data only from scientific sources and/or national sources from which I drew (defined). I don't like bending data. I do not have time for this.

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  15. correction in my text in #64

    posted:

    it means that there was no such significant coal damping as the study mentioned for 2015 = 55%; it's actually less.

    valid:

    it means that there was no such significant gas boosting as the study mentioned for 2015 = 55%; it's actually less.

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  16. Jan @64:

    And I don't care if the document was peer-reviewed because:
    - We have scientists like Ivar Giaever and similar creators here

    I don't consider Ivar Giaever to be a reliable source:

    https://www.desmog.com/ivar-giaever/

    - you can choose peer-review as a service from your defined contacts, even in reputable journals.

    Ah, the old "Pal Review" myth. It sure works well for the fake skeptics. Covered elsewhere here at Skeptical Science.

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  17. I'm not sure I'm sold on the "driving is regional" argument. In Europe, one can go from the UK to France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany in one day of driving, although rail would be a better option. The European Union is a very integrated region, where the electrical grid is essentially one system. Establishing standards can not be done only at the scale of one small country like the Netherlands, and the overall benefit is what must be considered. Furthermore, the one thing that really matters is global emissions; whether we like it or not, that is what makes the radiative forcing. Any way to lower global emissions is beneficial.

    There are more recent studies than Vliet et al. 

    Hall and Lutsey found in 2018 that in all studied European countries, EVs lifecycle emissions over 150,000km were less than ICE, except perhaps in Germany.

    One could say that just the benefit of cutting on particulates would be enough to give EVs an advantage if CO2 life-cycle emissions are comparable. One could also, as was done earlier, argue that waiting until the generation mix is more favorable is counterproductive in the perspective of a large scale transition. As the generation mix improves, the CO2 equivalent/km of a given EV will decrease over the lifetime of the vehicle. 

    In China, just the benefits of cutting particulates emissions from numerous discrete sources close to people (like cars) is certainly enough to argue in favor of EVs. The overall benefits of switching to EVs stand, whether on a regional or global level. Of course, electric trains and any/all "wedges" should be used as well. EVs are not a panacea.

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  18. @Bob Loblaw #66

    when you will read all my posts in this thread you will understand my point to Ivar Giaever.

    Especially in a portal which is about the science, as appears SkS also it's necessary read entire thread. Science is (should be) about a complex information gathering. Otherwise, one gets into a situation where he evaluates only part of the available information, which must lead to a wrong conclusion.

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  19. @Philippe Chantreau #67

    I will divide the answers to your post #67 into several logical sections to make them clear.

    Section 1 ---------------
    Your opinion:

    I'm not sure I'm sold on the "driving is regional" argument. In Europe, one can go from the UK to France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany in one day of driving, although rail would be a better option.

    My point:
    Sure, you are right in this premise. However, from a scientific point of view, we must look at the following aspects:
    a) What is the mileage ratio in the region defined by the country vs abroad ratio
    b) For the individual car segments (passenger cars, local trucks, foreign trucks, agricultural vehicles,…). This can give us a much better view of the basis of this hypothesis (chaotic or controlled migration from ICEs to EVs). The mentioned Dutch study focused only on passenger cars. I quote: "The car class we focus on is the compact 5-seater. It includes the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Toyota Corolla and Opel Astra. We compare EV configurations to a regular petrol car, diesel car, parallel hybrid car and SHEV."
    c) What is the current energy mix that is created in each country (starting point of the research). This was taken into account in the Dutch study. It should be borne in mind that some countries are heavily dependent on electricity imports from neighbouring countries. For example, the Netherlands had imports at 18% of their consumption in 2020 (19.8 from 111 TWh); link Then you need consider the import Power sources also.
    For a quick look at the energy mix in individual EU countries, you can see this link. However, this source uses older data from 2018. Or in detail on Eurostat datasets – more precise.

    d) What is the plan of individual countries in terms of the energy mix in the distribution network in short-term and long-term planning. This was taken into account in that Dutch study very lightly. And as I wrote today's reality in the Netherlands is entirely different - so the scenarios from that study are out of real range. The benefit of such a study is therefore only in the idea, not in its conclusions.
    e) What is the state of individual parts of the energy distribution grid region (Transmission lines capacity, distribution lines, terminal stations, transformers capacity - their age and efficiency impacts). This is essential for defining sustainable transition ICEs to EVs. It is not possible to connect sources of such huge quantities anywhere. The physically impossible without affecting the sustainability of the Power grid.

    Every single mentioned information (from a to e) is publicly available. But I understand that it is easier for someone to create an "average value" of emissions in Europe than to do fundamental research. It is impossible to say that every EV can be charged because an electrical outlet is enough what you need for it. Without analyzing the inputs mentioned above, this mistake is just a mistake and a chaotic approach.

     

    Section 2 ---------------

    Your opinion:

    The European Union is a very integrated region, where the electrical grid is essentially one system.


    Partly answered above:
    - Yes, in terms of network quality regulation. I mentioned in # 33 that the EU was 1/2021 near Blackout due to the power supply failure that is suspected of having originated in Romania disrupting the Continental Europe Synchronous Area. Its frequency dropped to 48.75 Hz (target frequency 50Hz), which caused the South-East area to be separated from the rest of the grid.
    - Not, because of the fundamentally different inputs of energy production sources at the country level. I mentioned the example in # 34 or in Section 1.
    These parameters cannot be separated and generalized. Therefore, this is not a scientific approach to analyzing and interpreting a hypothesis.


    Section 3 ---------------

    Your opinion:

    Establishing standards can not be done only at the scale of one small country like the Netherlands, and the overall benefit is what must be considered.

    My point:
    100% agree, but the “overall benefit is what must be considered” must be qualified strictly regionally without the usage of “strange” average fixed value per continent. The UC Berkeley science philosopher Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), observed that scientists frequently tend to ignore data that does not fit into their scientific paradigm.

     

    Section 4 ---------------
    Your opinion:

    Furthermore, the one thing that really matters is global emissions; whether we like it or not, that is what makes the radiative forcing.


    100% agree

     

    Section 5 ---------------
    Your opinion:

    Any way to lower global emissions is beneficial.

    My point:
    From a prime perspective, I agree with you.
    However, if we really want to heal this planet and we really want to achieve the conditions for a permanent reduction in emissions, then we cannot just generalize it and not deal with it chaotically at all because it suits us in the discussion. If we pretend that there is only one way to reduce emissions and ignore others, we can reach the blind alley stage.
    If you are interested, study my latest analysis carefully: GHG emissions problems in a dark box - Part 05 - Population, Land, Food, Emissions and data disaster
    link (btw reviewed by 3 independent persons at Academia.edu)

    Maybe some context will open up your eye. Because the problem is complex. I looked at the dependencies of population growth, emissions generation, the food systems, the agriculture sector and linked them into one story. The biggest problem I am constantly discovering is the inconsistency of the data used for the research. For example, I am in direct touch with the European Joint Research Centre, which manages the EDGAR Emissions Databases for the UN. We have concluded that they will adjust their datasets so that divergent and even inappropriate interpretations of their emissions data do not arise. Unfortunately, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) and their FAOSTAT do not communicate at all. There is a heavy data mess.
    I don't force anyone to follow my thoughts.


    I'll finish the rest of your post later.

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  20. @Philippe Chantreau #67

    this is my response continued from #69


    Section 6 ---------------
    Your opinion:


    Hall and Lutsey found in 2018 that in all studied European countries, EVs lifecycle emissions over 150,000km were less than ICE, except perhaps in Germany.


    Back to the study wording:
    As a result of the high efficiency of electric motors and the ability to generate electricity from low-carbon sources, electric cars typically have lower emissions in the use phase compared to similar internal combustion engine vehicles.
    They use the term “low-carbon sources” based on their own research: INTEGRATING ELECTRIC VEHICLES WITHIN U.S. AND EUROPEAN EFFICIENCY REGULATIONS (Lutsey, 2017); link. I found there some discrepancies:
    a) there is no available term like “low-carbon sources” or “low-carbon”
    b) just the “average European grid” or country-specific grid values (Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, Norway)
    If I'm referring to something, I should follow the wording.


    However, the “low-carbon sources” term was used first time in the NREL study based on a previous study (Brinkman, 2015), which was mentioned by me here #40: Emissions Associated with Electric Vehicle Charging: Impact of Electricity Generation Mix, Charging Infrastructure Availability, and Vehicle Type (McLaren, 2016); link
    https://afdc.energy.gov/files/u/publication/ev_emissions_impact.pdf
    where the Daily profile of the low-carbon grid (sources) is based on:
    - 97% from ZERO Emissions Fuels
    - 3% from the Natural Gas
    - 0% from the Coal.


    In a timeline, it fits, because in 2016 the NREL study was issued and in 2018 they used the term “low-carbon sources” in the study by Hall and Lutsey, 2018.
    So yes, I must agree with the study (Hall and Lutsey, 2018), that:

    As a result of the high efficiency of electric motors and the ability to generate electricity from low-carbon sources, electric cars typically have lower emissions in the use phase compared to similar internal combustion engine vehicles.

    Anyway, the study (Lutsey, 2017) compares the mentioned countries - Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, Norway. And this comparison confirmed my analysis and conclusion that we need to compare apples to apples - energy mix by country and not by continents and never by the single global number. See page 7, Figure 4. Electric and conventional vehicle test-cycle and upstream fuel-cycle emissions in Europe …. Where France and Norway have they have fundamentally different values of CO2 emissions (g/km) for EVs (up to 4-5x less than the Netherlands or Germany or UK). Reason:
    Electric vehicles have particularly low CO2 emissions in France and Norway due to the high share of nuclear power in France and hydropower in Norway.

    This is another example of why we can’t use a single emission number as a useful strategy.

     

    Section 7 ---------------
    Your opinion:

    One could say that just the benefit of cutting on particulates would be enough to give EVs an advantage if CO2 life-cycle emissions are comparable. One could also, as was done earlier, argue that waiting until the generation mix is more favorable is counterproductive in the perspective of a large scale transition. As the generation mix improves, the CO2 equivalent/km of a given EV will decrease over the lifetime of the vehicle.


    You need to consider that electricity for 100% transition from ICEs to EVs needs to be produced – it doesn’t exist now.

    Then you need to calculate complex variables:
    - you must create a plant to achieve Carbon Neutral till 2050. I have never seen a complex worldwide plan based on UN IPCC outcomes.
    - you must calculate the common energy consumption growth in each country (w/o EVs impact). This will mean that you will need to replace much more energy by 2050 than we produce today. And China is in this area mandatory variable again.
    - you must calculate fossil fuels energy production YoY growth in fundamental countries, i.e. China. What will make a heavy impact on your Carbon Neutral calculations.
    - you must calculate the energy production for EVs in each country. This energy doesn’t exist now. Note – not just for the passenger cars.
    - You must calculate energy production for the transition of combustion energy sources (biomass) to clean energy sources – this energy doesn’t exist now also.
    - You must calculate that Climate change has an impact on the possibility to keep efficiency or sustainability for some RES. Then you need to plan exactly what kind of RES you will use where. You can’t do it without Nuke.
    - You must calculate that this planet has limited sources for croplands and the population will grow to huge numbers (where).
    To be sure – biomass has so negative impact on emissions than fossil fuels.

     

    Section 8 ---------------
    Your opinion:

    In China, just the benefits of cutting particulates emissions from numerous discrete sources close to people (like cars) is certainly enough to argue in favor of EVs.


    My point:
    China is the High-carbon electricity producer -  according to the mentioned NREL study. Is there exact evidence that China's electricity production is falling with emissions? Unfortunately, I did not find one from the official Chinese Energy Portal. If I'm wrong, I have no problem admitting it.

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  21. Jan @70 and prior :

    Thank you Jan, you have made many statements in this thread ~ but many of the points you mention are somewhat discursive and without clear focus.   I mean, to a casual reader such as myself.

    For the benefit of the casual reader, would you please be so kind as to condense your overall message into a single paragraph containing the main point (or two) which you wish to present & educate us with.   Some of what you have said is self-evident and is not really in dispute; some is already widely known; and some is not very pertinent to this thread.

    I would be grateful to learn the point  (or points) which you consider particularly valuable to the readers of this thread, in moving the discussion forward.

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  22. @ALL

    here is a single slide explanation of Trasport emissions core from last year: GHG CO2 - Part 02 - Transport race to zero emissions analysis in a single pagelink

    Based on the last EDGAR V6 dataset, nothing is dramatically changed in the Transport emissions. Few interpretations for EU27 countries:

    - Germany is responsible for 20.45% of emissions. Germany's 2000-2020 emissions growth is -18% (negative), but during the 2010-2019 period it was +6% increase (the 2020 pandemic year we can't take into account)

    - 66.62% of emissions are produced from 5 countries (27 total) - Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland (sorted by emissions)

    - Germany is responsible for the same value of emissions as Italy + Poland together

    - Poland is growing +37% in the period 2010-2019

     

    The energy mix in these countries is different (2019):

    - Germany 78% from Fossil fuels (zero Nuclear from 2023), high carbon grid

    - France 48% from Fossil fuels

    - Italy 79% from Fossil fuels (zero Nuclear), high carbon grid

    - Spain 72% from Fossil fuels, high carbon grid

    - Poland 89% from Fossil fuels (zero Nuclear), high carbon grid

    IEA source

    So when these 5 countries responsible for 66.62% of EU27 emissions from transport will migrate during a single day all of their ICE vehicles to EVs and on the same day they will migrate energy production to the low-carbon grid, we will get max. 0.9% savings from the Total world CO2 fossil fuels emissions (35,962.87Mt in 2020); based on EDGAR Dataset v6/2021. The Low-carbon methodology used in the NREL study - was mentioned in my posts.

    Which doesn't happen.

    Btw: the value from the entire EU27 Transport emissions is 695Mt CO2. In comparison with China's Energy fossil fuels emissions 4794Mt CO2, it's just a 14.5% share.

    Saving 10% of China's Energy emissions will bring -479.4Mt CO2, which is 69% of the Total Transport EU27 Emissions = or ZERO Transport emissions in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands. China grows YoY 2%.

    Think about it, if you still think that the uncontrolled exchange of ICEs to EVs is a good idea for reducing Climate change.

    That's why I prefer to set a strategy for eliminating emissions through the Pareto principle - look for 20% of sources that will solve 80% of the problems.

    However, from some answers here at SkS site, I feel that shooting into the dark aka 80% of the sources, which will solve only less than 20% of the problems, is the only thing I learned here.

    No one has invented anything good through chaos yet.

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  23. @ Eclectic #71

    thank you. Could you be pls. more specific regarding the:

    but many of the points you mention are somewhat discursive and without clear focus.

    it will help me to better understand your point. I decided to provide my answers in sections, according to the logical units in the communication to which it follows = to increase clarity.

    -----------------------------------------

    Community conversation improvement (for this portal operator):

    the backend of this portal was modern in 2005. If I could suggest, there are already clearer forms that run on OpenSource such as XenForo and similar systems. 3 years ago, I co-launched a portal for Synology users (independent from the Vendor). It costs just 300USD/y (extended license fee). However, it is possible to create different groups, private messaging, resources/blogs, automated quotations, edit the post after sending, notify users, advance search, the moderator can create immediately new thread when the discussion has crossed another topic and no one loses the messages, .... link - when you like to check the conversation improvements for the SkS (I'm not a sw coder).

    If you are interested, I can help you with that.

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  24. Jan

    I find your posts good value, but I agree with Eclectic its a bit hard following what you say. It would be helpful if you summarised your views briefly in plain language, and without all the detailed numbers and jargon.

    Trying to understand the numbers. Surely you dont need 100% renewables grid for EVs to have lower lifetime emissions than an ICE car? So what is the proportion of renewables you need?

    I'm guessing that you would need a grid with at least about 20% renewables and 80% fossils fules for an EV to have lifetime emissions lower than an ICE car. That you would need at least 20% renewables to effectively cancel out the embedded carbon in manufacturing the EV. What would you say?

    But its not all about emissions. Personally I will buy either an EV or PHEV in a couple of years parlty for climate reasons but also because of reliability and low running costs.

    In an ideal engineering world the numbers of EVS and the grid should be in perfect harmony but the "cat is effectively out of the bag" and people might decide they just want EVs right now, and government's can't really tell auto manufacturers how many EVs to produce. The grid would then have to run to catch up with the EVs.

    I do vaguely understand your grid stability concerns when lots of people are suddenly charging cars. Frequency and voltage issues and stuff like that.

    But perhaps its all somewhat academic. I mean that in a plausible and likely real world scenario, renewables will expand gradually to hopefully be 100% by 2050 or probably a bit later, and EV's will gradually expand as well in approximate synchronisation with the energy grid. I'm picking about 100% by 2050 or maybe even later. It takes time for auto manufacturers to build new plant and most people find EVs a bit expensive. So the natural course of things will control the potential chaos. China will be an outlier because its not really a free market economy.


    Sorry if my points arent too clear. Hopefully you get what I'm saying.

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  25. Jan , from your posts #72 and #73 , I discern two points where you could provide useful information to readers.

    (A)  With regard to the Pareto Principle ~  please describe what you believe are the 20%  of necessary changes which will produce an 80%  reduction in fossil fuels CO2 emissions . . . and that reduction being over a suitably short time span, of course.

    (B)  Please clarify why you think making small or marginal benefits in emissions reduction [are] not worth attempting.  Here, I realize that your clear explanation of point (A) may well provide your explanation of (B) .

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  26. jan and others,

    The following CBC News item seems to capture the main points about how EVs and grid generation get discussed.

    With Nova Scotia's reliance on coal, are electric vehicles the greenest option?

    The main points are that even the Nova Scotia grid with a fairly high fossil fuel percentage, and a significant amount of coal, makes EVs a good choice. And it highlights the added reason that the grid will get better quickly.

    The following NPR News item ties back to the Shell Game problem, but more precisely to the harmful misleading marketing part of the Shell Game.

    Misinformation is derailing renewable energy projects across the United States

    The main point in the USA is the ways that harmful promoters of misinformation are delaying the improvement of the electricity generation, delaying he benefits of EVs.

    A final point not in either article is that everybody who wants an EV in the next few years will be unable to get one because the production has to ramp up. However, in 10 years time there will be a massive percentage of EVs on the roads everywhere.

    A final point is: I find it very disingenuous, almost harmfully biased, to claim that the problem is a developing nation like China (and potentially India would be named next, and maybe the entire continent of Africa) because of some 80-20 made-up rationalization. I agree with targeting the 20% causing 80% of the problem. That would be the 20% of the global population that is the highest personal impacting portion of the population. That would include some people in India and China (likely many among the richest). But it would include a higher percentage of the population of the more advanced nations, because many of the richer people in the more advanced nations failed to reduce how harmful their ways of living and profiting were through the past 30 years, while others were simply developing up to match their examples. The 'legacy harmful leaders by example' are the ones to be targeted for correction. Those legacy richer more harmful people deserve to be targeted ahead of the 'new rich harmful' people who followed the bad examples.

    A closing comment. Fossil fuels are a dead-end technology. Future generations cannot continue using a non-renewable technology even if it was not producing other harmful impacts. The ultimate requirement is for policy to be developed and implemented 'everywhere' that will reduce the 'consumerism materialism madness'. The policy needs to be especially focused on correcting and stopping harmful developments even if they are 'cheaper or more profitable or more popular' than more sustainable alternatives. That harmful driving force has created the climate, biodiversity, and other Human Impact threats to the future of humanity. There is no future for that misleading marketing fuelled pursuit of personal desires or competition for impressions of superiority relative to Others.

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  27. Jan @ 68:

    when you will read all my posts in this thread you will understand my point to Ivar Giaever.

    You have mentioned his name twice, that I can see. No, it is not obvious as to why you bring up his name. In the first case (comment 38), you are discussing "Who is actually a scientist?" In the second case, you are saying "And I don't care if the document was peer-reviewed because..."

    You are not expressing yourself as clearly as you think you are. For someone who has arrived here telling other people how they should communicate, you need to up your game. You need to be much more concise, and you need to make your points clearly.

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  28. In addition to my comment @76,

    The comparison of total impacts, production and power impacts, of ICE vs EV at 150,000 km of vehicle use under-estimates the benefits of EVs if the vehicle is driven further. Many vehicles are driven far further than 150,000 km.

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  29. @Bob Loblaw #77

    I'm not a fan of Ivar Giaever (Climate change opinions)

    ------------------------------------------

    @nigelj @Eclectic and others

    100% agree - that the communication here is difficult. From any aspects.

    If I may suggest you, try to study the documents I have proposed (see a short list below), which will help you understand that I am not taking numbers out of my pocket here, but that there is serious research behind it. I describe the documents through the mutual stories that interact. There is a lot of visualization because the clean text is an outdated form of interpretation.
    I repeat, this problem is so complex that it cannot be described by keywords. So if Skeptical Science is really about Science, then we need to get to a state of understanding at least in the basic domains. My documents will help you with that. Subsequently, we can resume the discussion on specific issues. Based on specific sources and data. Not just based on opinions.
    I will be happy to explain the basic principles of the energy lifecycle, but - this SkS forum = an offline and technologically outdated system will complicate it. That needs to be said. I admit that I am not a great writer, such as Dr. Greger, who can enchant the masses only through keywords. This, on the other hand, has a negative impact - because it has created a religion in the field of what is now called Nutrition Science. And he doesn't have to prove anything to his audience. 

    If you have the interest to get some deeper answers mentioned here, you can start with this document reading list in the order (pls download them because Academia.edu portal has for preview just low res extracts):

    1.  GHG emissions problems in a dark box - Part 05 - Population, Land, Food, Emissions and data disaster

    In this document, I address the impact of FOOD systems on anthropogenic GHG emissions. I was prompted to analyze several polarizing articles that appeared to be scientific, but they had little in common as is customary with science. It creates such a fake, dare I say, a manipulative area in which the masses are lost because they cannot understand the depth of the problem.
    The emission issue associated with Food systems cannot be declared with a single number that has zero significance. The knowledge that we are composed of approximately 7 x 1027 atoms does not alone allow us to compose a functional human body.
    Also, being aware that Food systems cause 1/3 of GHG emissions can't help us understand the core of the problem. It's just a number without expressing complex relationships. This problem is complex, and each new interaction confuses the situation even more.

    2. GHG [CO2] emissions problem in a dark box - 1st part of the Global warming series

    The purpose of this analysis and consideration is to offer a clearer report on how the current efforts to reduce GHG are failing This failure is that much bigger because at a mathematical
    level it is not possible to secure the promises of individual countries I hope this will help open your eyes I'm afraid people are too contempt with what someone has drawn Now it's time for a cold shower.

    3. GHG CO2 emissions - Part 01 China Power production, race to zero analysis

    Because China is the main indicator of our worldwide race to zero from all the possible points. Chinese Power industry emissions share 12% of Global CO2 emissions (2019), source
    by EDGAR . The Second challenge is a statement of president Xi Jinping at the General Debate of the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly: “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before Source So the challenge is accepted, there is a simple hypothesis:

    Is it doable to achieve CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve the carbon neutrality before 2060 in China?
    The answer is:
    “No” for the emission peak before 2030. Technically and mathematically not doable. Even with totally frozen industry.
    “No” for the carbon neutrality before 2060. Technically and mathematically not doable. Even when China will freeze its industry for the next 39 years it’s questionable.
    The document focuses mainly on the Power Production segment from the CO2 emissions point of view. All the interpretations are again based on publicly available data, including references to them. So everyone can check my interpretations based on free access to data.

    4. China Power production CO2 emissions issue in single page

     

    Single page conclusion how is impossible to reach Carbon Neutral 2060 Chinese plan by their current attitude

    5. GHG CO2 - Part 02 - Transport race to zero emissions analysis in single page

    Single page definition of the 20% issue focus on the 80% of emissions decrease

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  30. Jan @79 : thank you for your further contributions.

    What I observe in the articles & comments columns of SkS [SkepticalScience]  is that there is a very wide range of readers and participants.   This can be seen in the threads and "Climate Myths" articles & commentary during the past dozen years or more.

    The majority of commenters are (like me) at a basic level of critical thinking & scientific education ~ let us say, at the level of upper highschool to undergraduate university.   Yet there are also many others at a very advanced level of education (like you).

    Nevertheless, the SkS website must cater for the whole range.   And that includes readers who are too time-poor to devote hours per day in the pursuit of climate knowledge and in the acquisition of well-informed opinions in the practicalities of tackling climate & energy.   It is this very group [the large majority, like me] who rely upon the helpful summarizations provided by experts [like you].

    One of the markers of true expertise, is the ability to give a concise and lucid explanation of important ideas & concepts.  We see that ability in great minds such as Einstein and Feynman.

    For all these reasons, Jan, I must again ask you to put aside all the fine details which distract ~ and to provide readers wth the pragmatic core of your understanding of the way forward in climate solutions.   In particular, please educate us (in concise form) about the [Pareto] 20%  of climate-correcting actions we can undertake to fix 80%  of the CO2 emissions problem.   Your statement about the 20%/80%  , in relation to climate, is intriguingly new to me (and doubtless intriguing to many other readers, too).

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  31. @Eclectic #80

    First of all, it is necessary to unify what kind of data we will interpret:

    a) or GHG emissions converted to CO2 equivalent = CO2 + other types of gases enter the atmosphere may/may not be related to the combustion of fossil fuels
    b) "pure" CO2 emissions from fossil fuels only

    Then B) emissions are a subcategory of the A) emissions.

    All of the above emission values come from qualified estimates (some with a more accurate attitude some with how to say ... based on an estimate from the estimates), there is nothing like 100% true in this area. I'm not writing this because of the Climate denier topic, but in research and interpretation, it's really important to understand how those datasets are created. Otherwise, incorrect/inappropriate interpretations may (and often do) occur.
    Many people don't know about it and then compare pears to apples.

    Therefore, it is necessary to create, adhere to and comment on data according to "data taxonomy" = a classification of the data according to the right categories/subcategories, sources, credibility, ...

    General Data taxonomy unfortunately very missing. I suggested to the European JRC that I could handle them. Including the facts described by the positive effects on the exchange of data between UN FAO - EDGAR datasets. Including the negative scenarios that exist today and will be maintained unless they change that. As I mentioned above, the European JRC has responded and is consulting the options. On the contrary, the FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) is silent.
    The biggest problem with these qualified estimates is the data inconsistency. E.g. the EDGAR model for defining emissions by individual states and regions (Power production, Transport, Building, ...) is still "active" = today's exported data for 2019 do not match the data you exported from the same model in 2021 for the same year 2019. It is very difficult to qualify the shift in YoY emissions because what was true last year is no longer valid today.
    A simplified example:
    This is similar to achieving 2.5% YoY Product Sales for a Car company in 2019 (calculated in 2020), but if you want to recalculate this in 2021, you will reach 1.9% YoY only. One would say that the 0.6% is a negligible value. At 35Gt of CO2 emissions, this makes a difference of 0.21Gt, which is more than the annual Transport emissions generation from 21 EU27 countries or more than the annual total of 92 countries for the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. For the average reader, 0.6% means nothing. For a data scientist, this is a data disaster.

    If you read my simple essay, which is more intended for the average user, you will find the basis of the 80/20 problem explained in a really simple way:

    No More Good News on Global Warming

    Let me know when you read it.

    -------------------------

    Used acronyms:

    EDGAR: Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research
    JRC: EU Joint Research Centre
    FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    FAOSTAT: Statistical authority of FAO

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  32. Jan @ 79:

    @Bob Loblaw #77

    I'm not a fan of Ivar Giaever (Climate change opinions)

    Yet @68 you said:

    when you will read all my posts in this thread you will understand my point to Ivar Giaever.

    So, you just stuck in his name (twice) because you are not a fan, and had no other point to make? Remember, @77 I said:

    No, it is not obvious as to why you bring up his name.

    I still don't know why you mentioned him (twice), and now I don't care. Your writing style and approach is discouraging people from reading whatever point you are trying to make.


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  33. Jan @81 , thank you for your link to No More Good News on Global Warming.    As I am time-poor, I have put it on my To Do list, and I hope I will have the opportunity of letting you know when I have read it.

    In the meantime, please think of Einstein and Feynman and other great teachers.   ~Execute the Alexandrian solution !    Cut through the Gordian Knot of taxonomies and epistemologies !    Penetrate at once to the heart of the pragmatic solution of the fossil fuel CO2 emissions (and maybe their equivalences as well? ).

    In particular , please enlighten our fretful readers about the most efficient solutions to AGW, as you have hinted in your statement regarding the intelligent usage of the Pareto Principle ~ where 20%  of the effort can produce 80%  of the desired result.   This is important information, surely, and deserves immediate attention here.   What is the 20%  you speak of?   Can you not give a decent outline of it, per a single paragraph?   Please express the heart of the idea (and minor details can be examined later).

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  34. @Eclectic #80


    This was the base of my hypothesis in early 2021 - copy/paste from document No. 2 mentioned in my last post.
    All the emissions defined here are Emissions from Fossil fuels only.
    ---------------------


    2010 Global CO2 fossil fuels emissions: 33 971 Mt CO2 (EDGAR-AR5 model)
    In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40 60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045 2055 interquartile range). .... based on IPCC AR5.


    2030 goal = 33 971- 45% (15 287) = 18 684 Mt CO2 in 2030
    the value: 15 287 Mt CO2 is slightly over of equivalent of the entire: China + US + India emissions (TOP3 emission providers in the world in 2019)
    or
    179% of 2019 Total emissions from the rest of the TOP20 countries in the world are responsible for 81% of CO2 emissions. Remember the TOP20 label for all the later considerations in this document.
    So looking for solutions in the rest of the 188 countries, which generate only 19% of CO2 emissions, is nice, but it has a very small impact on achieving the goals defined in the IPCC AR5.


    2019 Global CO2 emissions: 38 017 Mt CO2, then till 2030 we need to decline the emissions by about 50% from 2019 til 2030 (reach the 2010 target), and reaching net zero around 2050.

    The annual (linear) declination step must be 1 567 MT CO2 = entire Japan+Turkey. Each year. It's supposed to go down, but on the contrary, it's going up. Every year.

    With the existing approach to emissions-reducing, we will achieve only 50% reduction from 2020 to 2050.

    This means that we will be outside any safe borders as early as 2037, defined by the IPCC as Pathways with higher overshoot. At the end of 2025, this scenario will either be confirmed or refuted.

    In global numbers, we should reach less than 30GTin 2025 if we are to adhere to the IPCC predictions to keep warming up to 1.5C.

    (Note from 2022: just thanks to the pandemic we get 35.96Gt in 2020, but in 2021 we were back in increase).

    However, this means that the TOP20 countries in the world must reduce their emissions by at least 8GT = 27% of their cumulative value from 2019.

    Because the rest of the 188 countries have total CO2 emissions of about 7Gt – so there isn’t a doable plan to ask them for a 100% reduction by 2030 (even for 50%).


    Just for your imagination, the 27% decrease from the TOP20 countries:
    - it is 71% equivalent of their cumulative Power production emissions
    - it is 119% equivalent of their cumulative Industry emissions
    - it is 151% equivalent of their cumulative Transport emissions ........................ (Note: as you can see no way for EVs to reach it)
    - it is 98% equivalent of their cumulative Transport and Buildings emissions
    - it is 125% equivalent of their cumulative Buildings and Others (Agricultural, ...) emissions


    Till the end of 2025, we only have 4 years and 7 months remaining. (Note: the document is from 2021)

    The first bad sign of discomfort will be 34.5Gt at the end of 2025. According to the AR5 report, we need less than 30Gt in 2025 and less than 20Gt in 2030.
    I'll be really happy if someone refutes this plan.
    Otherwise, it won't be good at all.

     

    Pareto principle:

    20 (10%) countries are responsible for 81% of CO2 emissions. ...... here we need to try to find major reduction scenarios.

     

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  35. jan,

    I think I see the problem.

    You appear to have fallen for the Shell Game claims that Top Total Impacting Nations is the way to identify the major part of the problem.

    The problem is undeniably the top 20% impacting people. Comparing 'national totals' is a very incorrect way to look at this issue (And comparing the regional totals within a nation can also miss the key point of the need to target the highest impacting portion of the population - I am very sensitive to this point as I am a low impacting person living in Alberta, Canada, disliking being unfairly identified as a problem because of Alberta's 64 tonne per person annual impacts which are higher than many oil producing nations).

    Looking at the TOP20 per capita impacting nations would be the proper way to seek the highest impacting people. But even that misses the problem of the high impacting portion of a lower per capita impacting nation.

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  36. jan,

    Another important consideration is 'history of per capita impacts'. Current day people in a nation often benefit from the harmful ghg impacts of the past by 'the nation or region they were born in or live in'. And that past harm should be attributable to them as something they should make amends for.

    Our World in Data Per Capita CO2 Emissions Table presentation provides an excellent way to explore the per capita by nation. Of course, that evaluation misses the identification of harmful high impact regional populations like Alberta inside Canada. And, as mentioned @85, that method of seeking to identify the problem can miss the fact that the real target needs to be the highest impacting people benefiting from fossil fuel use. That can include a very small number of people in a very poor nation with very low per capita impacts. It can also be investors in harmful pursuit of profit activity in a region who do not live in the region.

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  37. Jan @79

    I don't have a problem with the body of your text as such. I realise it needs to be technical and detailed to some extent. I'm just suggesting that you summarise your views briefly and in simple terms at the top of all that text so we know where you are going. Like an introduction. Your single page China summary helped in that respect.

    Putting it another way, I dont want to have to read through a lot of pages to figure out what the main points are. You may think they are obvious and they may be to engineering experts but not the rest of us.

    You also didn't answer my questions and points @74 . Not going to read the hundreds of pages in your links hoping the answers are in there.


    Regarding your views on China. We all know their trends in coal use are continuing to some extent, and this is not looking good and makes it hard to see how they will achieve their ambitious climate plans. I don't find your graphs a revelation. To meet their gloals they will have to stop this pretty soon and engage in massive replacement of coal fired plant.  Time will tell I guess.

    Rapid transformation of energy grids looks plausible to me in theory. Just look at what America did in five years of WW2 to change its economy. Whether such a thing happens with the climate problem is basically a motivational and political issue. I admit I'm not too optimistic. And the window for even a massive and rapid transformation is getting smaller all the time because some things are just impossible.

    I accept your point that a small number of developed or largely developed countries are the main emitters and will have to make most of the changes, but again its not some new revelation. I had to read a lot of numbers to see that this was the basic point you were making.

    However while we do talk about countries emissions it's a matter of resolving the Paris Accord issues. OPOF is quite right that what really matters most is per capita emissions and social groups issues.

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  38. @ OPOF and Nigelj

    Gents, whether you like it or not - you will not change the fact that Emissions or GDP per capita is only an imaginary value and another inaccurate and unnecessary indicator, which has nothing to do with the division of the country's emissions / economic output.
    The global community's strategy must include tools to measure emission reductions and sanctions for non-compliance. The mandate should also be at the UN level. However, there is no such thing.
    The UN does not need to consider the existence of one person in Canada who behaves wisely and his neighbour across the street who does not act responsibly. This is what Canada should address as a low-level entity responsible for reducing emissions as a country. But the country must take responsibility, which creates "wealth" associated with emissions through its activities.
    Another factor in your inaccurate consideration is that GDP in relation to emissions is a misleading figure. GDP generally does not include issues of companies that have HQ (registration) in a given country, but do business globally and thus generate emissions in other countries as well. Therefore, the responsibility for such emissions should lie with the HQ of the company and thus the country in which the HQ is registered. After all, there is GNP for this purpose. And this is how emissions should be recalculated as well. This would add to the reality that may not be felt again by the G7 / G20 countries.
    Because many western countries have moved production over the last 22 years, not only to China (mainly), but also to other Asian and African countries.
    The last mistake is to divide countries into developed and developing countries. By which metric:
    - UN / DESA WESP? (there is also third level - transition)
    or
    - IMF?

    Gents, you really only deal with your feelings here. No hard data. You bend the data into absurd indicators that this world will not cure. And praise each other for buying EV. Rename yourself to the EVs and RES fan club. But I haven't found a single reasonable opinion on feasible emission reductions based on IPCC reports. If you do not understand, there is no time for games.

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  39. Jan @88

    "Gents, whether you like it or not - you will not change the fact that Emissions or GDP per capita is only an imaginary value ........"

    Per capita emissions and gdp are not imaginary value. Such a thing is calculated and forms part of my countries statistics database.

    However I agree that country by country data is really important, and I did say that. In hindsight I would say per capita emissions are an equally important consideration, not more important. But its obviously an issue for a countries internal affairs.

    "The global community's strategy must include tools to measure emission reductions and sanctions for non-compliance. The mandate should also be at the UN level. However, there is no such thing."

    Agreed.

    "Gents, you really only deal with your feelings here. No hard data. You bend the data into absurd indicators that this world will not cure. "

    Not clear what you mean. However I dont think that suggesting high income people should reduce their emissions more than low income people is a "feelings" issue. Its actually simple commonsense. I admit that it would be very difficult to get high income people to reduce their emissions dramatically more than low income people.  However it's probably no more challenging than your suggestion "The global community's strategy must include tools to measure emission reductions and sanctions for non-compliance. " 

    "And praise each other for buying EV.Rename yourself to the EVs and RES fan club."

    I don't recall prasing anyone for buying an EV. I did say I was contemplating buying an EV or PHEV. But I recall you said you owned a PHEV and had solar panels on your house. So aren't you a fan PHEV's and RES? Jan, your comments appear contradictory.

    If you are not a fan of EVs and RES, what are your preferences please? And why?

    "But I haven't found a single reasonable opinion on feasible emission reductions based on IPCC reports. If you do not understand, there is no time for games."

    I have promoted EV's, so I conclude you appear to oppose EVs as "feasible emissions reductions". Yes or no? Care to elaborate? Please give simple, clear, unambiguous answers.

    If you cant answer the simple questions I have put above and on my previous post,  I will not be bothering further discussing anything with you, or reading any of your links. Right now I'm inclined to think you are some sort of troll. This is your last chance to prove me wrong.

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  40. jan @88,

    I agree with nigelj's comments and questions.

    I will be as succinct as possible while proving a fuller framing for understanding my comment which is admittedly 'not the norm developed perspective'. The focus of my perspective is 'how people create impressions of wealth'. And it is aligned with some, but not all, of what you present.

    Anyone who obtains wealth or other impressions of superiority relative to Others in ways that are harmful does not deserve their perceptions of superiority (Law and Order developed to deal with that ... but harmful powerful people can and do pervert Law and Order for their benefit).

    The utilitarian 'benefits outweigh the harm' type of evaluation is only valid in cases where the harm (or potential harm) is only experienced by the person/people benefiting. When groups (like nations) are evaluated to benefit from harm done no harm is to be done to anyone outside the group. And the harm to the members of the group needs to be proportional to the benefit obtained. No one in the group should benefit at the expense of harm done to Others. No members of the group should benefit a lot without being harmed a lot.

    A related understanding is that anyone who has advantageous circumstances due to past harmful actions does not 'deserve their advantage relative to Others'.

    Having that fundamental ethical understanding as the basis for policy development is essential for the policy being developed to produce lasting improvements and corrections of harmful developments.

    Kyoto was an example of a presentation of what was required regarding climate change impacts. The backlash to Kyoto exposed the harmfulness of what has developed (socially, politically, economically, and technologically). And the most harmful thing is the power of undeserving people to protect their developed perceptions of superiority. And a powerful way they do that is with misleading marketing that promotes and prolongs harmful misunderstandings and the resulting Shell Games that delayed helpful corrections that would have limited the harm done and would have resulted in a less challenging correction being required today.

    A solution, perhaps the only viable one, is for the powerful to collectively penalize the harmful powerful people (actions like imposing costs on developed harmful activities or people no longer investing in fossil fuel ventures and consuming less energy, particularly less fossil fuel, to help speed up the end of harmful unsustainable fossil fuel use). And the less powerful need to learn to support the restriction and penalizing of harmful undeserving powerful people. That can apply to many harmful developments that have made undeserving people powerful and wealthy, not just the climate change impact problem.

    People pursuing improvements of their lives need to aspire to be like the people who are perceived to be more valuable members of humanity. And those higher-status people need to providing the better examples of how to live better lives (less harmful, more helpful). And that means all of the wealthiest should be required to be living carbon free life-styles far sooner than any Others. And they should also help others live improved lives less harmfully. And the supposedly superior (wealthier) people who are not interested in competing to set the better examples need to be bumped down to a level of status (and influence and wealth) that is more appropriate for their attitude (the less fortunate can be excused for being more harmful).

    Everyone can learn to be less harmful and more helpful to Others. The problem is the people who are tempted to be more harmful and less helpful. They prefer to believe harmful misunderstandings rather than learn that what they developed a liking for is harmful misunderstanding.

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  41. Well this thread has grown ar an amazing rate. To go back to Jan's response at #70:

    I see that we agree on pretty much all the important stuff. I certainly wouldn't disagree that an "uncontrolled" transition to EVs could be detrimental. Considering how entranched ICEs are, I see it unlikely that a detrimental transition pace could develop. The full life cycle analysis of EVs impact has been done ans can be found in the most thorough work I have seen so far on the issues it touches. This highly detailed report is worth studying for all who have participated here so far. It concludes that electric vehicles "have significantly lower environmental impacts across all vehicle types."

    https://perma.cc/BC72-QJ9N 

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  42. Philippe @91 , your link is a rather large chunk to chew on.   But it shows the EV's being better than I expected, for their life-cycle.   Ones hopes that the growth in renewable-sourced electricity will outpace the EV growth.

    There may be further improvement, if the lithium batteries (or the next generation - after lithium technology) have some form of economic recycling.   The EV studies did not account for any recycling benefits (but admittedly such recycling has not received much development yet).

    Jan ~ you have given many figures of emissions growth, and of "imaginable" percentage reductions that would be needed to reach closer to Nett-Zero-Carbon.  These figures are not surprising, and not new.   But with or without Pareto Principles, it would be useful if you could contribute an actual physical plan of how to improve the present situation.   ~Other than technological advances, I suspect we would be wasting our time if we try to achieve a socio-political revolution in how the rich (us Westerners & similar) can be reducing total energy usage.

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  43. A follow up to Eclectic's points @92,

    Tesla may be the furthest along the path of development of maximized recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

    An internet search on "Tesla lithium battery recycling" will bring up Tesla's claim and recommendations regarding battery recycling. It will also bring up many reports regarding what Tesla's arrangement for recycling looks like. The following quote is from Tesla's Support page regarding Battery Recycling:

    "Extending the life of a battery pack is a superior option to recycling for both environmental and business reasons. For those reasons, before decommissioning a consumer battery pack and sending it for recycling, Tesla does everything it can to extend the useful life of each battery pack. Any battery that is no longer meeting a customer’s needs can be serviced by Tesla at one of our service centers around the world. None of our scrapped lithium-ion batteries go to landfilling, and 100% are recycled."

    That makes an important point that is not part of the evaluations like the "Determining the environmental impacts of conventional and alternatively fuelled vehicles through LCA" report prepared for the European Commission (linked to by Philippe @91). It is important to maximize the length of use of EVs before ending their life with 'hopes for recycling'.

    And that maximum use of things, not just the use of less harmful things, connects to the need for something like 'degrowth of consumer materialism'. J.B. MacKinnon's book "The Day the World Stops Shopping" is one of the more recent presentations about the importance of changing the developed consumer pursuit of More Conspicuous (and incorrectly perceived to be rewarding) Consumption.

    For people who already live in ways that are above the level of basic living (having adequate safe air, water, food, ...), pursuing a Better Life means less consumption with the pursuit of all of that reduced consumption being less harmful. That means buying fewer, but longer lasting, things and re-using or re-selling (second-handing) things rather than the hope for full end-of-use recycling of "More Stuff Bought, Used Briefly, and Tossed".

    That leads to understanding that it is foolish to believe 'Shell Game types of claims' that the 'solution to harmful over-development is the expectation of future development, by other people in the future, of new things that will be believed to solve the problem'. It is also foolish to expect less fortunate people to just accept that they 'deserve their circumstances' and cannot develop to live more like higher-status people because that would be 'harmful'.

    Less harmful consumption and less consumption, and no Shell Games creating harmful misunderstandings, are key parts of the development of lasting improvements for humanity.

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