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Climate Hustle

Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change

Posted on 17 March 2011 by John Cook

The central question of climate change is, How will it affect humanity? New research has been published examining this question, estimating which regions are most vulnerable to future climate change (Samson et al 2011). The researchers then compared the global map of climate vulnerability to a global map of carbon dioxide emissions. The disturbing finding was that the countries that have contributed the least to carbon dioxide emissions are the same regions that will be most affected by the impacts of climate change.

To estimate the impact of climate change on people, James Samson and his co-authors developed a new metric called Climate Demography Vulnerability Index (CDVI). This takes into account how regional climate will change as well as how much local population is expected to grow. They incorporated this index into a global map and found highly vulnerable regions included central South America, the Middle East and both eastern and southern Africa. Less vulnerable regions were largely in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere.

Figure 1: Global Climate Demography Vulnerability Index. Red corresponds to more vulnerable regions, blue to less vulnerable regions. White areas corresponds to regions with little or no population (Samson et al 2011).

Next, they created a map of national carbon dioxide emissions per capita. They found the countries most severely impacted by climate change contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions. It is quite striking that blue, less-polluting regions in the CO2 emissions map correspond to the red, highly vulnerable areas in the vulnerability map.

Figure 2: National average per capita CO2 emissions based on OECD/IEA 2006 national CO2 emissions (OECD/IEA, 2008)  and UNPD 2006 national population size (UNPD, 2007).

The study didn't delve into the question of which countries are least able to adapt to the impacts of climate change. But it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to surmise that the poor, developing countries that emit the least pollution are also those with the least amount of infrastructure to deal with climate impacts. So we are left with a double irony - the countries that contribute least to global warming are both the most impacted and the least able to adapt.

This research put into perspective those who try to delay climate action, arguing that "CO2 limits will hurt the poor". This argument is usually code for "rich, developed countries should be able to pollute as much as they like". This presents us with a moral hazard. If those who are emitting the most greenhouse gas are the least affected by direct global warming impacts, how shall we motivate them to change?


Note: I've added a new graphic to the Climate Graphics resource: a comparison of the polluting countries versus the vulnerable countries.

A shorter version of this post has been published on Huffington Post.

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Comments 51 to 88 out of 88:

  1. 34 Giles "i don't know any wealth comparable with current western countries without or before the use of oil. "
    well, I'm not answerable for what you don't know. But I don't see the relevance. The fact remains that although our industry currently depends on oil there has been nothing essentially about that historically - oil having played a very minor role in many periods; nor is is a necessary truth for the future.

    The onus is on you to prove that there's something absolutely irreplaceable in oil in the future. Please don't do this by waffling. Hard facts... something from basic engineering and economics is required.
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Fixed unclosed italic tag.
  2. This quote from Larry Summers got me thinking:
    The average Chinese citizen is not nearly as rich as an average American was even two or three generations ago

    Expressed - as an imprecise, but never the less fun - exercise: The Chinese citizens (all billion or so of them) chugging their way through piles of coal and oil today; are not as wealthy as the American citizens (all couple of hundred thousand) where 150 odd years ago - before oil became such a big factor of production (mostly the coal era).

    So, this contradicts the idea that oil consumption increase is necessary for wealth. We have lots of consumption in China now and little in the US 150 years ago - yet we have more poorly off citizens now then we did then. No proportionality there, even.

    What made the yanks well off a 150 years ago was 'free' land - we've all read Cowen by now, right? Indeed it's interesting that Cowen hardly even considers FF consumption ... indeed he hardly considers oil. If he did, he'd probably observe - to be consistent - that the growth from oil consumption has been had in (at least) The West and we should look else where for future growth technologies.
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  3. les - I think you have your timeframes incorrect.

    "Two or three generations ago" means in the time of grandparents and great-grandparents of people around 20-odd years of age.

    I'm close to double that age, and my grandparents grew up in the early years of the 20th century.

    So probably between the wars would be around the right timeframe for the comparison, I'd guess. And oil was definitely having an impact at that time (Model T, anyone?).
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  4. I'm not so sure - a generation can also be just that, a generation - around 50 years. Never the less - I'm not so sure mid to late 1800s makes much difference (I'm not calculating anything precise here!) According to the Wiki carbon emissions chart the impact from oil isn't significant till after 1900 and, overall we're talking less than 10% of todays combustion...
    ... and clearly the US was wealthy before that etc. etc.

    I'm not sure my point is sensitive to with 50 years.
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  5. Marcus, you can find all relevant numbers on gapminder , as I already indicated you. You can conveniently select "GDP per capita" on y-axis and "CO2 emission per capita" on x-axis. And you can follow tracks throughout the century. So which country are you thinking of when you say that " You've also failed to show contrary evidence that it was the accumulated wealth of the 1st world which came *before* the rise in fossil fuel use-not because of it as you've constantly contended." ?

    you can also take any other index of wealth and correlate it with CO2 production.

    Now I don't understand what you're seeking with a "correlation between energy intensity and GDP" - this is of course quite different from a correlation between energy consumption and GDP. The fact that energy intensity correlates weakly with GDP proves exactly what I'm saying - that it has not varied a lot throughout the history, although of course it has changed.

    I would like to make you notice that all "correlations" between climate and anything else are also subjects to large fluctuations and are by no means "constant" in the sense you seem to demand for FF consumption. So I'm surprised that you're not so critical to evaluate the effects of CC.

    And if you recognize that "Anyway, at least you're correct about the amount of food waste we're currently seeing in the First World, " , do you recognize also that it doesn't prove that we could suppress entirely food without harm? - that's the same for FF. We can conserve and spare some of them - this doesn't mean we can suppress them. And furthermore, this would not lead to an overall decrease of the integrated amount (integrated over time I mean).

    Michael sweet#50 : I said that FF should be replaced by sources with the same applications and low cost to avoid a collapse of civilization, and that I don't know any of them- except for a limited amount of electric power, but it's not enough to do everything. Where is the contradiction with what ?
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  6. "The average Chinese citizen is not nearly as rich as an average American was even two or three generations ago"

    you can check on gapminder that this is plainly untrue - average chinese citizens are just as rich and burn as much FF than average american around 1890. They're just a little bit late. After this date, american were richer, but they also burnt more oil and other FF.
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  7. Gilles: You say "I don't know any of them"
    Fortunately there are people who are more technical and imaginative than you. this thread describes ways to electrify Australia, using only current technology. They writers of the Zero Carbon Australia promise additional reports to answer your questions. Scientific American has published two articles about alternate energy. One powering the entire USA (all power, not just electricity) using solar alone and one using mixed renewable energy. The second article seemed more practical to me. If you include the external costs, like health problems caused by coal burning, renewable is cheaper than FF.

    It is difficult for me to discuss solutions with someone who strongly insists we must continue FF use or civilization will collapse while ignoring that FF will shortly run out. I see little or no citation of written support for your positions, only your opinion. I think I will leave this argument to others who have more patience.
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  8. Has Gilles ever cited a paper to support any of his claims on any thread?

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    [DB] In his most recent 40 posts, Gilles references the IPCC once, but no original research papers.  Before that here at SkS: not that I recollect.  He may have in his tenure over at RC; I did not catch all of his comments there (but saw most).

  9. Michael , I said "except for a limited amount of electric power" - I already know countries with a much lower carbon content of their electricity than Australia (Iceland, Norway, France), the issue is that their "solutions" are not applicable to the whole planet. That the same for heat concentration solar plants - basically you need deserts close to cities, and this doesn't happen everywhere. Mostly Australia, California, some parts of Spain. It doesn't make a lot of people worldwide.

    For papers : papers deal with research, that is, disputable issues. A (even reviewed) paper has never been a proof of anything. I'm citing known facts that are never discussed in papers - because what has been proved to be true doesn't need any research anymore.
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  10. Gilles: If you were citing known facts you would not be controversial. You are citing your unsupported and uninformed opinion as fact.

    This article describes how to replace all FF consumption world wide with renewables. Electricity, transportation, heating and all other uses of energy. Perhaps if you read it you would not have to say "I don't know" so much.

    Papers start out with ideas which develop into accepted explainations over time. The facts they contain are screened to weed out the problems. Your postings, unfortunately, are not screened and the "facts" are only your uninformed opinion.
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  11. Michael sweet : just a reminding. In the sixties, some people wrote that nuclear energy could produce so much electricity that it would be too cheap to meter .

    I'm not young enough to believe in fairy tales, sorry. Again, I'm just looking at facts.
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  12. Gilles wrote : "Again, I'm just looking at facts."

    Sorry, but I must have missed those "facts" you refer to - did you include some in any of your recent posts ? If so, please be so good as to point me to them. Thanks.
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  13. 56 - Gilles.
    According to gapminder, US income / person was 5580 in 1890, The Chinese caught that up in 2006. within the definition of "even two or three generations" that's close enough. Very far from "plainly untrue" - which you accused Larry Summers of being, without quoting one number.

    If someone wanted to pick bones with the remark - and I mean someone who had a clue - it would be with the "mean income" remark - as we know one of the big issues is that mean income and median are really quite different things in terms of the weal fair of citizens. Actually that'd make the argument stronger not weaker and it's a deficit of gapfinder that it uses averages.

    I suggest you get round to quoting some real facts some time soon and not just alleging that things are true and not true as suites your preconceptions.
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  14. les , I don't understand. My English may be poor, but "not nearly as rich as ..." doesn't have the same meaning as "nearly as rich as", does it ?

    JMurphy : I referred to gapminder as a convenient source for data and graphics, that you can easily display for all countries and throughout the history of industrial civilization. If you want me to post here tedious lists of numbers, I can do it too.
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  15. Gilles - I am sorry yo have introduced data and to have confused you. I picked a point they where the same to get a benchmark. It's what scientists do.

    I thought you'd enjoy the point as it's just hand waving and broad brush strokes - your style.

    It it doesn't work for you, please feel free to present sone facts - of the level if rigger you require from others - to back up your assertions.
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  16. Yeah, self-evident "facts" like reducing carbon emissions will destroy the world economy and bring in a new dark age.

    I think everyone here has duty to ensure Gilles assertions are backed with data.
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    Moderator Response: [muoncounter] A worthy goal; however, some commenters, especially those who tend to be prolific, resist substantiation of their opinions at all costs. Makes it all that much harder for the fact-based community.
  17. les : you started with a citation , that
    "This quote from Larry Summers got me thinking:
    The average Chinese citizen is not nearly as rich as an average American was even two or three generations ago"

    do you agree that this sentence is plainly wrong, because average Chinese citizen is indeed as rich as an average American was even two or three generations ago ? (just the opposite of what is said ?)

    scaddenp : please understand me carfully. I didn't claim that "reducing carbon emissions will bring in a new dark age." I said that "suppressing FF would bring a new dark age". And I said that even if we improve the energy efficiency (which is a good thing anyway), there were no reason to limit the FF because a lot of poorer people need them anyway. In other words, I said that improvements of energy use have always led to a larger GDP for a given world energy consumption, and not to a smaller world energy consumption for a given GDP (this is linked to a subtle difference in mathematics between partial derivatives "keeping something else constant" - it depends of the "something else".

    At least, before continuing the discussion, do you understand the last point, and do you understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with a statement that we shouldn't improve energy efficiency, that I never made ?
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  18. Giles: No I don't think the statement is false - because, as I hinted, "average" probably doesn't mean "mean" (as used by gapminder) but median - the point I quoted was made in a casual interview, not a rigorousness paper and it's not specified. Not even the median American is any richer then the median American a generation ago... despite a continued use of oil.
    I apologies for only hinting at the answer, maybe to subtle... But the reference to Cowen is a big clue!

    Or, are you are avoiding the point by concentrating on a point of view of a small detail which you think works for you? You wouldn't be the only one to take this approach. In so doing you avoid your responsibility to provide good evidence by sniping at other from the sidelines.

    It's a shame. The impact of various factors of production on the growth of wealth and wellbeing is a key economic issue and always interesting to discuss. No one would be so stupid as to put the various wellbeing improvements over the last century, world wide, down to just one factor or another; even harder - very hard - to identify a single factors as essential (oil in your case). That's a very strong thesis and, to all our disappointment, not one you've supported particularly strongly...
    ... unless you think sniping is a good pedagogically? If so, I pity your students.
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  19. les : I don't have figures for the "median american" and "median chinese " (especially in 1890 !) - but I think you should at least substantiate your claims. The point is that you used Summers' citation to deduce something about energy use - and now you're saying that "average" means in reality "median" , but you don't have anything substantiating neither that he meant "median", nor that the citation is correct even if you replace "average" by "median". So what do you try to prove exactly ?

    My claim is that on average, and despite a normal dispersion in energy intensity, the wealth is globally well correlated with energy use, and that a minimum amount of FF is necessary to insure cheap and available energy throughout the world (current figure is around 80 % when you include non marketed heating wood and 90 % if not). And that it is untrue to say, as Marcus said, that FF consumption followed the increase in wealth - actually that's just the opposite, because FF where first used for applications that do not produce much wealth, such as heating and basic commodities, and then the efficiency improved.

    It may be possible to further improve this number - maybe 70 %. It is quite unlikely that we could produce as much energy as now with a lower number. I don't see how this claim is non "pedagogical" - it's just based on simple inspection of simple figures.
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  20. note added : it is plainly contradictory to argue that energy efficiency has improved recently in western countries and that FF consumption has followed economic growth. If energy efficiency (defined as the ratio of GDP to energy consumption ) has improved, this can only mean that the energy consumption has increased first faster, and then slower, than economic growth , which is exactly the case, and so that economic growth has lagged energy consumption growth - and as the relative share of FF has increased in the past, FF consumption has increased even faster.
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  21. Indeed he didn't say which average he was using (real statisticians know that there are several kinds of average, "replace 'average' by 'median' isn't a meaningful statement; "use the median average" would be); and median is the only one which makes sense - and I do have something substantiating that, i.e. Cowen.

    I wasn't actually proving anything (unless you think hand waving is proof, which I never claimed) - just illustrating.

    My 3rd paragraph states clearly (I had hoped, anyway) what I'm trying to "prove" - or rather explore, which is the significance of various factors of production, in particular FF consumption, in the provision of wealth and welfare... mind you, if you really believe that "heating and the production of commodities" are not wealth producing, I think our understanding of economics is very divergent.
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  22. 69 Gilles - OK, two proper claims.

    1/ wealth is globally well correlated with energy use
    Correlation - as the old adage goes - is not causation. Never the less, I think - as I said above - that most people (and in this place it's hardly credible what people will nit-pick and snipe at!) would agree that energy is a factor of production.
    So, correlation isn't the important issue: the question is how significant a factor is it compared with, e.g., education, communications, various technologies, processes etc. etc. (and before you say it, of course these use energy, but then energy production uses most of these).

    2/ a minimum amount of FF is necessary to insure cheap and available energy throughout the world
    I would have agreed that a minimum amount of petrochemical produce have no substitutes in site - but the assertion that there are no substitutes for FF down to some number. I'm not sure from your word - are you saying that 70% of energy must, of necessity, be FF based?

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  23. Les :Well, I thought that Summers' citation was introduced by you because it was important to state that wealth could be produced without energy , taking old american people as an example. I just said it was untrue - old american weren't richer than current chinese one , for their energetic consumption. Now you seem to use some obscure distinction between median and average (well I know the difference, but I don't think it's relevant here). Introducing a strong variation in average/median ratio should translate to a strong difference in repartition of wealth, measured for instance by the Gini coefficient . I don't have time right now to look at data concerning America in 1890 - I'm not sure it is that different.

    I didn't say that heating and low cost commodities produce "no" wealth, I said "not much". Please cite me correctly.
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  24. 73 Gilles "wealth could be produced without energy" where did I say that? I did say "oil consumption increase is necessary for wealth"... Please cite me correctly ;)

    But really... Do you not understand the concept of factors of production?

    And, for pittys sake! You refer to a sophisticated concept like the gini coefficient - but think that the difference between "average" and "median" is obscure - while claiming to understand it?!?!? really?

    anyway, looking forward to moving things on via post 72... with facts, evidence and references please.
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  25. Yes, oil consumption has been definitely necessary to increase the wealth of american people by a factor 6 since 1900. There is a definite "death line" of oil consumption below which no modern industrial country can go for a given GDP - just for obvious reasons of needs of transportation. For instance here

    where the "dead zone" is the upper left corner. I agree that may be US could improve a lot their oil use. But note that despite their might, they burn "only" 25 % percent of the oil, so improving by a factor 2 would only result in a 12.5 % gain for the planet - which could be (actually *will* be) easily swallowed by all emerging countries.

    And I am not saying that the difference between median and average is obscure to me. I say that your argument is obscure, because it has been never stated by Summers that the important distinction was between average and median, and you didn't gave any support for that.
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  26. 75 Giles
    "And I am not saying that the difference between median and average is obscure to me. I say that your argument is obscure, because it has been never stated by Summers that the important distinction was between average and median, and you didn't gave any support for that."

    but the difference is clearly obscure to you. median is an average, as is mean. Just how hard is that?
    The Summers link is a pretty high powered economist, I've no doubt that the difference isn't obscure to him - but, as I pointed out, it was a casual interview... and as such an easy target to someone who can only argue by sniping.

    Anyway, clearly you're following the general point as you've
    presented some data(!) - which I assume shows GDP and oil consumption averaged by taking the total and dividing it by the population - which is the mean - just so as it's not obscure ;)

    So, a nice graph showing that US and EU-27's increase in GDP is absolutely not correlated in any way shape or form to rate of oil consumption. And South Koreas fell out of correlation at 2 g/day. Further, so far as South Korea did ever follow a correlation curve, as did/does India and China - they are different curves... That shows that could be taken to show that any causal affect that might exist at some time is substantially under-determined by just considering oil consumption (otherwise the curves would be the same); all in all this shows that oil consumption is a week factor of production.
    So, that's a fail on point 1/ in my post 72.

    Now, for obscure arguments... your "death line" - I presume you mean the curve following South Korea, more or less? The line China seems to break? Is that it?
    If that is what you mean by "death line", then that's a fail for point 2/ in post 72.

    Of course, the other side of the argument (2/) on the table is that there are no substitutes (sorry, another technical ecnomics term) ... and that's clearly not demonstrated in your post... but I'll wait... I have faith in you.

    Anyway, well done on having a go at presenting data - I hope all those who said you couldn't do it are feeling shame right now!
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  27. les : for me , median is the value of the variable splitting the sample in two equal halves - that's the french "mediane" at least. It's not usually computed as an "average" (= weighted sum of all values , Sigma(Pi.Yi)/Sigma(Pi)) - I don't think there is a way to express the median as a weighted average, but I may ignore that.

    concerning the relationship between GDP and FF consumption, it is true that , on average, the coefficient tends to improve , for a simple reason : evolution of techniques allows a continuously better use of energy (it is very rare that people replace a good technique by a bad one, after all !). So I never stated that the coefficient was constant throughout the history. But I argue (like on the other thread) that
    a) improvement doesn't go to zero FF energy
    b) improvement doesn't result in a decreasing energy consumption for a given wealth, but in increasing the wealth for a given energy consumption (the energy consumption per capita in the world has stayed fairly constant since the 80's, a remarkable feature not explained by economists to my knowledge - which is proving in my sense how poorly they understand these issues).
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  28. PS death line is not the Korea curve, but an imaginary upper straight line above all curves - for the record, I expect that with the exhaustion of conventional FF and the continuous rise of extraction cost, economic growth will end and all the curves you're seeing will soon have a turn backwards and go back to the origin ... we'll see !
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  29. 77 Giles "for me..." well, yes, for you. But in the real world - and even in France - 'average' is a measure that tends to the center or typical, of which mean, median and, indeed, mode are examples which apply variously in different population types. There are others. Sorry writing 'sigma' whatever and pretending your doing maths doesn't make you right.

    Then some waffle

    then 78 - oh, i see, an imaginary line. ohhh kayyyy... we ask for hard facts and analysis and we get an imaginary line. It's a good strategy because I really have no response to that.
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  30. OK ,let say that I don't know exactly what the precise semantic field of "average " in english. So your claim is that the 600 000 000th richest chinese guy to day is much poorer than the 40 000 000th american in 1890 ?

    that's an interesting idea - but how can you (or Summers) know that ? if you want use it as a "serious" argument to say anything about energy and economy, you should have at least a vague idea of how to be sure of that ?

    and i said "imaginary" in the sense of that it doesn't correspond to an actual line drawn on the graphics - it's just an envelope. If you complete the graphics with the history of other countries, it will fill some kind of broad triangle. Now is your claim that there is no issue in imagining that this triangle will move indefinitely towards the high end of the y-axis? I don't think so. For me, that's just an illustration of human hubris.
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  31. Gilles - the average Englishman knows that when you're in a hole, stop digging.

    One technical question ... is that an imaginary envelope? For writing to your imaginary friends?

    But wait! Now I'm to imagine a triangle!

    I don't think so either
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  32. ... I realize that that first sentence looks like I think I've dug my self into a hole. That was poorly put. It was meant to be advice to Gilles... redundant, I know; as he's clearly off digging himself into other holes else where.
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  33. "b) improvement doesn't result in a decreasing energy consumption for a given wealth, but in increasing the wealth for a given energy consumption"

    But that doesn't have to be from fossil materials, does it?

    This item about Bangladesh tells us people can just skip right over the fossil powered step. Once they've made a bit more money with the system they've got, they'll be buying a bigger and better version of that. They won't sit down and wait for government or big business to build a centralised fossil burning power station.
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  34. adelady, I don't know what you mean by "have to". Obviously poor countries can develop only through an increase of FF consumption, despite all what is written about all marvelous possibilities to make it without them. They probably don't read enough.
    Les - I checked that even in English, envelopes are not always packaging letters ;)
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  35. "Obviously poor countries can develop only through an increase of FF consumption," Here we go again. Tell us what to read to back that assertion.
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  36. 84 Gilled I know what an envelope is mathematically.
    That proves exactly and identically nothing about your statements except that they are mumbo-jumbo psudo science. You say the words but don't link them to reality.

    I really have no idea why you bother. It fools no one. For the attention, maybe?

    Anyway, at least we agree that you have completely failed to backup your points I had noted above. So there, really, is an end to it.
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  37. Gilles@84. Huh?

    Perhaps you and I have a different definition of 'develop'. Why on earth would a poor country "develop =only= through an increase of FF consumption."?

    They now have options, much more developed options than we had at the same stage of development out of mainly rural communities. One of those options is to choose, really choose, to 'develop' at a rate that can be supported by renewables only. It might be slower than you or I might prefer, but it is still development.

    If they get it right, as their building standards upgrade, they'll be able to use solar roofing materials pre-coated, ready to plug in to business and domestic power supplies. Distributed power generation is a far better option for currently developing countries anyway for a whole heap of reasons.

    If the pace is slow and steady, when the accumulating wealth of the population allows a real move to individual cars for a larger middle class - there'll be a ready supply of EVs to meet that need too - and those people will be in a position to upgrade their re-charging facilities as well if they need to.

    There is nothing exciting or glamorous about the 19th century technology of digging stuff up to burn it to generate power. I can see no good reason why anyone would want it, apart from politicians addicted to ribbon-cutting events. Even then, I presume local mayors and the like could cook up some sort of ceremonial ritual when a few villages gather enough resources to establish a communal windfarm, if they wanted to.
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  38. "One of those options is to choose, really choose, to 'develop' at a rate that can be supported by renewables only. It might be slower than you or I might prefer, but it is still development. "

    why do you think it would be slower, after all, if the capacities are the same ? the only thing to do is to built power plants, after all. What limits the rate of annual growth of electricity production, following you ?

    and how do you explain that "far better " solutions aren't adopted by anybody , and that they absolutely refuse to sign anything constraining their absolute CO2 production (which is usually considered as "understandable" in international discussions)?

    BTW, chinese politicians do not seem to have a strong aversion against renewable hydroelectricity. So why don't they produce everything with renewable energies, if they accept water? do you think there is a strange mental disease leading to like electrons from water and to dislike electrons from wind and sun ?
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  39. "They"? 'They' seem to consist of China and India if I read the rest of your #88 correctly.

    I didn't have either of them in mind when I based my comment on Grameen Bank driven activities in Bangladesh. I was thinking more along the lines of Bangladesh and a dozen or more other countries in Africa and Asia with very large proportions of their population still at or near subsistence farming levels.

    "Capacities are the same..." The gradualism arises because of the lack of capital, including that required for grid infrastructure. The mere fact that the Bangladeshi example is financed by the Grameen Bank is a pretty good indicator that we're talking very, very small amounts of capital.

    It's not possible to buy or use a tiny fractional part of a centralised FF or hydro power plant and build it up piece by piece to a larger, wider power supply network. The much vaunted centralised power plants can't do that, they're all or nothing propositions.

    And the associated grid is built from large power stations outward whereas this Bangladeshi arrangement is about independence and freedom from reliance on such a centralised arrangement. Interconnectedness can follow rather than precede or prevent access to power supplies.

    Many countries are too poor to build enough centralised power stations, and certainly to instal the extensive grid needed to reach everyone in the further reaches of the countryside. Why should development of such communities, villages and towns passively wait for delivery of power they can't currently afford to buy anyway? Far better to build from the bottom up. Building local wealth and education from surplus income earned through judicious use of a small power supply, thereby allowing quicker eventual participation in the larger economy, looks like a winner to me.
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  40. actually FF and hydropower haven't to be centralized. Historically , people began to develop small thermal and hydro power plants everywhere - they just realized after that it was better to build large networks to stabilize the grid and to gain on scale factors by building larger plants -but it is by no ways necessary. Note also that water- and windmills were abundant before : if the main plants used hydro and not windmills, it was for obvious reasons of intermittency. Water , FF and nuclear have an obvious advantage : they can have tanks. Now you can think that it is easier to do it differently - I just don't know any case where developing countries didn't increase their FF consumption. When reality contradicts principles, who is wrong? reality, or principles ?
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  41. Comparisons of greenhouse gas per capita plays down the total greenhouse gas emissions of a country. It allows a high population growth as long as greenhouse gas per capita reduces, even if total greenhouse gasses increase considerably.

    Why is the comparison per capita and not per square kilometer? A country is responsible for managing all of its square kilometers in terms of sustainable population and greenhouse emissions. I know I am talking population levels and controls, but it needs to be done sometime. In 88 years Australia is projected to have 100 million people, and even with a small carbon footprint that is still a lot of emissions. If highly populated countries lncrease the carbon footprint , the total emissions are frightening.
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