2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics

Jan 20, 2015

Credit Louise Murray/Robert Harding World Imagery, via Corbis

By Justin Gillis

Last year was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and undermining claims by climate change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped.

Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year. Records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except near Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms.

In the annals of climatology, 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and nature.

“Climate change is perhaps the major challenge of our generation,” said Michael H. Freilich, director of earth sciences at NASA, one of the agencies that track global temperatures.

Of the large land areas where many people live, only the eastern portion of the United States recorded below-average temperatures in 2014, in sharp contrast to the unusual heat in the West. Some experts think the weather pattern that produced those American extremes is an indirect consequence of the release of greenhouse gases, though that is not proven.


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88 comments on “2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics

  • Of the large land areas where many people live, only the eastern portion of the United States recorded below-average temperatures in 2014, in sharp contrast to the unusual heat in the West.

    There is a strong local feed-back effect on the US and Canadian east coast where the sea is cooled by icebergs floating south from Greenland in the Labrador current. Increased melting increases the volume and number of icebergs.

    In spring and early summer, this current transports icebergs from the glaciers of Greenland southwards into the trans-Atlantic shipping lanes. The waters of the Labrador Current have a cooling effect on the Canadian Atlantic provinces and USA upper Northeast coast from Maine south to Massachusetts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrador_Current

    When global warming increases the melting and break-up of the Greenland ice sheet and glaciers, this greatly increases the number of icebergs carried south on the Labrador current.

    https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/ice_sheets.html
    Laser altimetry from ICESat has now supplemented radar altimetry measurements for more detailed volumetric-based studies. In 2009, using ICESat, measurements of both Greenland and Antarctica found that dynamic thinning (ice loss resulting from accelerated glacier flow) now reached all latitudes in Greenland,

    A 2012 study (Shepherd et al. 2012) combined satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data from the same regions, time spans, and models to examine ice sheet balance. The study found reasonable agreement between the different satellite methods, and arrived at the following best estimates of mass balance changes per year for 1992 through 2011: Greenland: lost 142 ± 49 gigatons;



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  • In addition to what you said…

    The effects of CC-GW would be easier to explain in smaller scales. E.g., the beautiful Outer Banks of NC are threatened with rising sea levels. Climate skeptics could more readily relate, the closer it becomes personal, I think.

    PBS Ribbon of Sand, narrated by Meryl Streep.



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  • Humans live a relatively short amount of time in comparison to the vast lifetime of our Earth and its’ associated climates. I think the problem some of us have with the ‘climate change alarm’ is that it is pushed with the same level of furvor by those who embrace it as do the same people we, atheists, criticize. That is, forget discussion or thoughtful analysis; ‘it is SO and don’t you dare come up with challenges to the idea.’ The latter kind of thinking is poisonous no matter what the subject matter may be. ALL ideas, beg to be questioned and should be. So, could those who claim to support free thought PLEASE tone down on their own hypocrisy.

    Most of you will recall, that originally the whole ‘climate change’ was under the banner of ‘global warming’. Not enough scientific support for that, so the label changes to something more vague like ‘global climate change’. The latter is simply a silly phrase – of course the global climate is always changing – it has been doing so for millenia; including recurring ice ages (over the early life of our planet).

    What IS truly at the core of the debate is how significant a role mankind plays in the process. As most of you (should) know; methane is a ‘greenhouse gas’ that is around 20 to 30 times more (some estimate even higher) potent than CO2 at being a greenhouse gas. Methane does have a shorter ‘lifetime’ in the atmosphere than does CO2, but its effect is a potent one.

    Sources, massive in quantity (when compared to human contribution), of methane everywhere on our planet. Not just cows, think oceans, forests, wetlands, wildfires, volcanoes; the list goes on.

    So PLEASE, if we are all supposedly of the mind that all things deserve rational discussion and analysis, let’s please lose the almost shrill insistence that, so-called, ‘global climate change’ is beyond discussion or doubt. Let’s prove that we as a group REALLY support the notion of independent, reasoned thought and always welcoming of a discussion.

    Sadly, some of the global climate change camp often remind me of the fundamentalist Christians making their claims in the same, insistent shrill tones. Let’s not become the same thing we are purporting to change. The whole ‘carbon offsets’ notion was a little more than repackaging of the sales of Indulgences by the Catholic church in the time of Martin Luther. Churches pulled this scam, let’s not be of the same ilk, as they. The latter should scare/concern any of you out there that really DO embrace the need for careful and reasoned conversation and thought.

    In closing – is there climate change? Well of course, and it has been going on for millenia. Humans weren’t around to cause the recurring ice ages of our own planet,, but it happened. The problem is that humans occupy such a small portion of the life of the planet that our analyses looks at a relatively short interval of time (even less when you consider the amount of time that we have had instruments to measure changing temps and greenhouse composition).

    I end with these thoughts from a George Carlin monologue on ‘Saving the Planet’:

    “We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this sh-t. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a sh-t about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

    We’re going away. Pack your sh*t, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

    The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

    Plastic… a**hole.”

    ― George Carlin



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  • Eddie Jan 21, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Humans live a relatively short amount of time in comparison to the vast lifetime of our Earth and its’ associated climates.

    But geologists and climatologists have built up records and worked out the mechanism driving change.

    I think the problem some of us have with the ‘climate change alarm’ is that it is pushed with the same level of furvor by those who embrace it as do the same people we, atheists, criticize.

    Nope! The creationist style pseudo-sceptics, just copy nonsense from carbon industry sponsored charlatans and denialist muppets when they should be reading the scientific reports.

    That is, forget discussion or thoughtful analysis; ‘it is SO and don’t you dare come up with challenges to the idea.’

    You are welcome to cite scientific evidence to challenge the evidence but you will be hard-pressed to find anything that can stand up to the huge bank of multiple-checked scientific evidence from numerous reputable independent sources.

    The latter kind of thinking is poisonous no matter what the subject matter may be. ALL ideas, beg to be questioned and should be.

    People who question science really should bother to try to find and understand the answers.

    So, could those who claim to support free thought PLEASE tone down on their own hypocrisy.

    I see you do irony!

    Most of you will recall, that originally the whole ‘climate change’ was under the banner of ‘global warming’. Not enough scientific support for that, so the label changes to something more vague like ‘global climate change’.

    You made that up or copied it from ignoramuses!

    The latter is simply a silly phrase – of course the global climate is always changing – it has been doing so for millenia; including recurring ice ages (over the early life of our planet).

    .. and it has been mapped in detail by the very climatologists who have looked at the underlying natural cycles and the billions of tonnes of carbon humans are burning every year.

    What IS truly at the core of the debate is how significant a role mankind plays in the process.

    Of course! .. and the activities of humans have been positively identified as the cause of the increased heat inputs and the rising average global temperatures and rising sea-levels.

    As most of you (should) know; methane is a ‘greenhouse gas’ that is around 20 to 30 times more (some estimate even higher) potent than CO2 at being a greenhouse gas. Methane does have a shorter ‘lifetime’ in the atmosphere than does CO2, but its effect is a potent one.

    Actually it is about ten times that of CO2 but breaks down more quickly as monitoring and tests show.

    So PLEASE, if we are all supposedly of the mind that all things deserve rational discussion and analysis, let’s please loose the almost shrill insistence that, so-called, ‘global climate change’ is beyond discussion or doubt.

    Climate change is open to EVIDENCED discussion, but that huimans are causing the warming with billions of tonnes of CO2 added to the atmosphere, is beyond doubt.

    Let’s prove that we as a group REALLY support the notion of independent, reasoned thought and always welcoming of a discussion.

    So, when you stop making stuff up and show the evidence for your claims and some understanding of how climate cycles work, an evidence based reasoned discussion can begin.

    First you need to have a rethink about some of the nonsense you have been told!
    http://skepticalscience.com/97-percent-consensus-cook-et-al-2013.html



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  • Eddie Jan 21, 2015 at 9:41 am

    To come back to scientific evidence and reality: –

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2013/13

    The year 2013 ties with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This marks the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Currently, the warmest year on record is 2010, which was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above average. Including 2013, 9 of the 10 warmest years in the 134-year period of record have occurred in the 21st century. Only one year during the 20th century—1998—was warmer than 2013.

    Yes! –
    The measurements show beyond doubt that the planet IS warming, and the billions of tonnes of coal oil, and gas burned every year is the cause for temperatures NOT following the normal cyclical climate patterns.



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  • What’s the frequency, Kenneth – I love the smell of being misconstrued in the morning.

    plastic

    Yeah, when the cashier asked if I wanted my bags thrown away, should’ve instructed to incorporate them into a new paradigm, instead of recycling. Damn, I’ll know for next time.



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  • bonnie Jan 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Yeah, when the cashier asked if I wanted my bags thrown away, should’ve instructed to incorporate them into a new paradigm, instead of recycling.

    In addition to recycling plastics, there are corn-starch based biodegradable carrier bags being widely used.

    http://ecosac.net/
    Established in 2002 – Ecosac is the exclusive appointed distributor in the UK and Ireland for a wide and innovative range of biodegradable and compostable products:

    Compostable Biodegradable Sacks
    Compostable Biodegradable Bags
    Compostable Biodegradable Carrier Bags
    Compostable Biodegradable Bin Liners



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  • Eddie Jan 21, 2015 at 9:41 am

    In closing – is there climate change? Well of course, and it has been going on for millenia.

    Let me introduce you to the basics of the climatology of ice-ages and the changing Solar, orbital, and climate cycles which explain why and how the climate changes! :-

    http://www.sciencecourseware.org/eec/GlobalWarming/Tutorials/Milankovitch/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml



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  • We’re going away. Pack your sh*t, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

    If this happens to homo sapiens, and there is nothing we can do about the cause, then so be it. If we self inflict this future on ourselves, then we deserve to go extinct. How stupid can humans be to voluntarily commit mass extinction. And Eddie, I put you in this category.

    For anyone watching the BBC series Human Universe with Brian Cox, at the end of episode three, there is suggestive evidence that we may be the only self aware intelligence species in the galaxy (universe?). That puts a huge responsibility on our shoulders, to not self expire. Eddie, every decision you make should bear in mind the consequences of your decision for the next thousands years. You can start by ceasing to be an unpaid spokesmen for big oil, repeating without thinking the spin doctors words selectively place in your brain with malice aforethought.

    To quote a great Australian. “Do yourself a favour.” Read Merchants of Doubt. At least then you will know who has messed with your mind.



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  • Humans live a relatively short amount of time in comparison to the vast lifetime of our Earth and its’ [sic] associated climates.

    The contemporary rate of climate change, if it has ever occurred historically at all, has occurred only during times of mass extinction. There are good reasons 50% of species today are expected to be extinct by 2100. They’re not all living in deforested trees.

    it is pushed with the same level of furvor [sic] by those who embrace it as do the same people we, atheists, criticize

    Fervour isn’t why we criticise religion; the issue is belief in the absence of supporting evidence, or even despite critical evidence.

    ‘it is SO and don’t you dare come up with challenges to the idea.’

    In my experience, people who disagree with the scientific consensus make their arguments and those arguments are critiqued, and they summarise this criticism in much the way you just did. But rarely have I ever seen anything remotely of the form you describe. I’d like to see evidence of it, or of anything contentious the heterodox say about this issue.

    ALL ideas, beg to be questioned and should be. So, could those who claim to support free thought PLEASE tone down on their own hypocrisy.

    Again, I don’t see any condemnation of such questioning, but… maybe you should skip to it? Please point out to me what’s actually suspect about anthropogenic climate change due to industrial GHG emissions. From a well-informed scientific perspective, that is. If you manage to use the phrase “radiative forcing”, for example, that would suggest you know what you’re talking about.

    originally the whole ‘climate change’ was under the banner of ‘global warming’. Not enough scientific support for that, so the label changes to something more vague like ‘global climate change’.

    Wrong.

    methane is a ‘greenhouse gas’ that is around 20 to 30 times more (some estimate even higher) potent than CO2 at being a greenhouse gas. Methane does have a shorter ‘lifetime’ in the atmosphere than does CO2, but its effect is a potent one. Sources, massive in quantity (when compared to human contribution), of methane everywhere on our planet. Not just cows, think oceans, forests, wetlands, wildfires, volcanoes; the list goes on. So PLEASE, if we are all supposedly of the mind that all things deserve rational discussion and analysis, let’s please lose the almost shrill insistence that, so-called, ‘global climate change’ is beyond discussion or doubt.

    Why would the existence of another greenhouse gas (whose rise is also due to humans) undermine the occurrence of contemporary global warming? Incidentally, “20 to 30 times more” is per unit mass, but atmospheric methane has increased by about 100 times fewer kilograms than has carbon dioxide.

    The whole ‘carbon offsets’ notion was a little more than repackaging of the sales of Indulgences

    There are plenty of much better policies to reduce our carbon footprint. I’ve yet to see you make a case against trying to do so being a good idea. All you’ve done is cite another example of a carbon-rich greenhouse gas to which human activities contribute.

    The problem is that humans occupy such a small portion of the life of the planet that our analyses looks at a relatively short interval of time

    How do you decide how long an interval we need to look at to discern trends? The answer is not “compare it to Earth’s age”. It’s based on an understanding of how climate change works. Earth’s climate is due to a combination of radiative forcing trends (due to the greenhouse effect being too strong or too weak to conserve heat) and heat-transferring cycles (such as the 30-year ENSO cycle that transfers heat between the oceans and atmosphere). To discern a trend amidst cycles, one uses Fourier analysis and looks at time periods equal to at least 1 cycle of such processes. We don’t need to include ones which, over such time frames, have empirically negligible rates, such as orbital forcing (which would cause the kind of warming we’re talking about only over periods of tens or hundreds of thousands of years). There’s a very good reason that the last 15 years, and the 15 years before that, don’t show very statistically significant warming trends, and yet the last 30 years as a whole show a very, very, very statistically significant warming trend. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s due to a statistical effect called autocorrelation.

    I end with these thoughts from a George Carlin monologue on ‘Saving the Planet’:

    Yeah; I’ve seen that YouTube clip too. Even if he were right about everything, it would prove that we are in very real danger. He spent a very long time building a joke around critiquing the phrase “save the planet”. But let me ask you a question: do you, or do you not, agree that we should, for the concerns of our modern human world, seek to slow the ongoing increase in the greenhouse effects of the gases that our industrial processes produce? (Since satellites can say in which wavelengths heat is being gained or not being gained, we know in fact that this effect is very much in force.) We can have a more constructive dialogue after we know your position on that.



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  • David R Allen Jan 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    For anyone watching the BBC series Human Universe with Brian Cox, at the end of episode three, there is suggestive evidence that we may be the only self aware intelligence species in the galaxy (universe?).

    Hi David!

    I think this is one of the hazards of well meaning physicists presenting biology.

    http://www.dolphin-institute.org/our_research/dolphin_research/awarenessofownbehaviors.htm

    Awareness of One’s Own Recent Behaviors

    Self-awareness is a rich but controversial concept with many facets. Can self-awareness be demonstrated in animals? A mirror self-recognition task has been used most often for this purpose. Chimpanzees and, recently, dolphins have been shown to recognize themselves in a mirror, as indicated by their attention to and inspection of marks placed on their body. The marks can only be seen with the aid of a mirror. At our laboratory, we have asked other types of questions about self-awareness.

    One of these questions is whether a dolphin is aware of its own recent behaviors. For this purpose, we ask the dolphin to perform a particular one of five different behaviors in response to a symbolic gesture given by a trainer. . . . . . . . .

    . . . . . The dolphin’s ability to carry out whichever action is called for, repeating what it just did or choosing a different behavior, means that it must maintain a mental representation of the behavior it last performed and update that regularly as each new behavior is performed. In other words, it must remain aware of its own behaviors.



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  • I’m dismayed by the trend to pick out a scapegoat for global warming by incessantly harping on a villain called “Global Warming Skeptics.” This demon has become an easy target, an obsessive diversion, for environmentalist crusaders. Rather than elucidating solutions which show promise for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global economy of scale; rather than promoting innovative technology combined with conservation and recycling, government policies and socio-economic reforms that will pragmatically reverse the growth of carbon emissions measured on an annual basis, we get the same stale articles “explaining” global warming, or (more helpfully) describing its advancing manifestations in geographical regions. But worse than any back-page lamentation is the self-righteous notion that “global warming skeptics” are to blame for a warming planet. No, “WE” homo Sapiens are collectively the cause because we use, and must use huge quantities of oil, natural gas and coal to maintain middle class standards of living, and for the less fortunate, something approximating a human quality of life sustaining the 7 – soon to be 9+ billion people we’ve packed onto this shrinking blue planet.

    (For the record, I’ve become convinced that solar energy in particular holds out hope that carbon emissions may be reduced. However, I remain skeptical, because of technical, political and socio-economic challenges, that solar energy, along with a basket of other mitigation measures, will be implemented on a scale over the next 30 years sufficient to bring about the desired result.)



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  • Melvin Jan 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I’m dismayed by the trend to pick out a scapegoat for global warming by incessantly harping on a villain called “Global Warming Skeptics.”

    Perhaps you should do a little homework and be “dismayed about the actual damage to the planet and the lies being circulated, by the well funded denial campaigns, rather than indulging in vacuous disparaging of those who are exposing them, and advocating new technologies.!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/u-s-senate-votes-against-science/
    Today, the Senate took up an amendment by Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders (an Independent who caucuses with Democrats). That amendment asked the Senate to agree that climate change is real, that it is caused by humans, that it has “already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world,” that “a brief window of opportunity exists before the United States and the entire planet suffer irreparable harm,” and that “it is imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible.” It failed on a vote of 56-42.

    It seem the Republicans are still recruiting from “Rent-a Muppet” and “Rent-a-Stooge” science deniers!

    This demon has become an easy target, an obsessive diversion, for environmentalist crusaders.

    No it isn’t! You really should stop making stuff up after taking information from the like of Faux News and tabloid comics!
    It is a well funded, strongly politically supported campaign of science denial!

    Rather than elucidating solutions which show promise for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global economy of scale; rather than promoting innovative technology combined with conservation and recycling, government policies and socio-economic reforms that will pragmatically reverse the growth of carbon emissions measured on an annual basis, we get the same stale articles “explaining” global warming, or (more helpfully) describing its advancing manifestations in geographical regions.

    There are numerous details of new technologies on this site going back years! – Some recent ones involving yourself! Here are some examples!
    http://old.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/632627-harness-the-sea-national-geographic-june-2011-tidal-wave-power-generation

    http://old.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/643310-water-cooled-nuclear-power-plants-aren-t-the-only-option

    The explanations are in response to the lies put about by deniers seeking to obstruct political and industrial progress to low-carbon technologies, in addition to explaining projected consequences of inaction, and inevitable changes caused by past pollution.

    But worse than any back-page lamentation

    Your post looks just like a mirror-projection of tabloid pseudo-science lamentations!

    is the self-righteous notion that “global warming skeptics” are to blame for a warming planet.

    Of course the doubt-mongering pseudo-sceptics are responsible for a warming planet! They are the propagandist stooge wings, of the coal, oil, and gas industries which are promoting the generation of CO2 pollution, and continuing to lie about it, and about the work of the scientists monitoring it.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dark-money-funds-climate-change-denial-effort/
    The study, by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, is the first academic effort to probe the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the climate denial movement.

    It found that the amount of money flowing through third-party, pass-through foundations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, has risen dramatically over the past five years.

    .In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.

    Meanwhile the traceable cash flow from more traditional sources, such as Koch Industries and ExxonMobil, has disappeared.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/denialgate-infographic-illustrating-heartland-denial-funding-machine.html



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  • For the record, I’ve become convinced that solar energy in particular holds out hope that carbon emissions may be reduced. However, I remain skeptical, because of technical, political and socio-economic challenges, that solar energy, along with a basket of other mitigation measures, will be implemented on a scale over the next 30 years sufficient to bring about the desired result.

    Goodness me. Its almost as if there were some kind of roadblock to rational change that has been holding us back…as if some skeptical fellows or other believed that change might not be necessary.

    We all cottoned on at different times. Some of us only recently. Collective, uniform guilt is the single least useful thing just now. Asserting the increasing guilt of the remaining skeptics in the face of accumulating and then overwhelming evidence is the political motor we need to drive change.



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  • Of course the doubt-mongering pseudo-sceptics are responsible for a warming planet! They are the propagandist stooge wings, of the coal, oil, and gas industries which are promoting the generation of CO2 pollution, and continuing to lie about it, and about the work of the scientists monitoring it.

    If we expend less energy shrieking in a hoarse voice about silencing the lying tongues of our enemies and more energy in implementing the green technology we are arguably awash in, then there’s hardly a soul on earth who wouldn’t welcome it. Build it and they will come.



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  • Melvin Jan 25, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    If we expend less energy shrieking in a hoarse voice about silencing the lying tongues of our enemies and more energy in implementing the green technology we are arguably awash in, then there’s hardly a soul on earth who wouldn’t welcome it. Build it and they will come.

    You seem to be the only one “shrieking in a hoarse voice” as a tone-trolling exercise!

    You seem determined to entirely miss the point, that the sponsored lying tongues and lying print, fed to the media, are getting votes for denial muppets who are diverting the investment capital required for green technologies, into silly pipelines from heavily polluting tar-sands, and taxpayer subsidies for drilling for new fields of oil and gas, which are unburnable in a sane world.

    Most fossil fuels ‘unburnable’ under 2C climate target
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211

    .Most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground if dangerous global warming is to be avoided, modelling work suggests.

    Over 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil reserves are “unburnable” under the goal to limit global warming to no more than 2C, say scientists.

    University College London research, published in Nature journal, rules out drilling in the Arctic.

    And it points to heavy restrictions on coal to limit temperature rises.

    “We’ve now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit,” said lead researcher Dr Christophe McGlade, of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources.

    “Policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2C goal.”



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  • I have spent the last few years working at management level in the off shore wind farm industry, particularly in the design and construction of the maintenance support craft, so I can claim to be reasonably well informed.

    At the end of the day it is pretty difficult not to be cynical about this facet of the “renewable energy” equation.

    Going to the websites of the three most obvious operators in the North and Irish Seas, and the Baltic, I get a quick count of 46 offshore windfarm support vessels. These are typically highly sophisticated, powerful, high speed (30 knots) aluminium vessels of about 28 to 35 meters in length.

    Aluminium anything has a very high carbon footprint from the electricity used to extract it from bauxite, and apart from the carbon footprint, they cost on average about $10 to $15 million each. They have high speed diesel engines that together burn about 120 gallons (US) of diesel per hour, per ship.

    Each is crewed by three expert and well paid mariners, and carry typically 20 expert and well paid technicians to the turbine towers, located progressively further from the coast.

    The towers themselves have an amortised life span of about 20 to 25 years, after which they will have to be replaced, typically with newer technology. There are studies that show the energy generated will fall short of the energy expended in their creation and maintenance.

    So why do it? Basically it is to spend the money promised at Kyoto, and other international symposia where politicians rabbited on about their contribution to stopping global warming. Really it was about supporting industry with tax dollars, and creating skilled employment. The beneficiaries are the shipbuilding industries, the turbine manufacturers, notably Siemens, the oil companies who supply the fuel, and the skilled workers involved.

    The planet does not really get much out of it at the end of the day.



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  • JC Sheepdog Jan 25, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Aluminium anything has a very high carbon footprint from the electricity used to extract it from bauxite, and apart from the carbon footprint, they cost on average about $10 to $15 million each. They have high speed diesel engines that together burn about 120 gallons (US) of diesel per hour, per ship.

    We really need to get things like green electricity into aluminium production, but unfortunately we are going to have to use obsolete technologies to build the new ones until they come on line.



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  • I’ve clarified my position about holding out hope for clean energy sources, most promising from spectacular growth in the solar power sector. JC Sheepdog’s sobering observations made from first hand professional experience in the field of offshore wind farms serves as a reminder we should not get our hopes too high.

    The next 5 years, or 10 years at the outside, should reach benchmarks which will either establish a viable paradigm shift for greenhouse gas remediation within the century or clang the first dong-dong of doom brought down on humankind by anthropogenic global warming.

    As a layman, and an elderly one at that, I cannot tell how, when, where or even “if,” remedial technology will come on line with sufficient impact to stabilize then steadily reverse greenhouse gas emissions in time. Phil and Alan4 seem certain that the technology is already here and simply awaits the demise of a handful of powerful Global Warming Skeptics for its global distribution. I hope you’re right but there’s little evidence on the ground that promotes that scenario. As some wit remarked, “predictions are hard to make especially about the future.”



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  • Iceland is building, not without controversy, a huge hydroelectric dam and aluminium smelter as a means of indirectly exporting electricity.

    It gives an idea of the scale of cost, that construction of this magnitude is justified in a country with no bauxite, which will be shipped to the smelter from probably mostly Russia, and possibly as far away as Australia.



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  • the technology is already here and simply awaits the demise of a handful of powerful Global Warming Skeptics for its global distribution.

    No. Its hundreds of millions of voting skeptics, mostly thoughtless change phobics, championing their man [sic]. If reason cannot access the voting populace then maybe a little extra deserved guilt-tripping will, or at least, enough. If we don’t press all the buttons, if we don’t stop adding spurious noise to the message then those who most fear change, the anxious fingers in ears right, will get more of it than they and we can handle.



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  • Aluminium is the most recycled material. Its products are hugely long lived. Its embodied energy from conversion thus becomes one of the lowest. Remelting is a much smaller problem and considering the green energy it goes on to facilitate it is easily self justifying. Indeed, recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy, and produces 95% fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), than manufacturing primary aluminum. Off shore wind is a very long term project. It currently offers power at double the cost of on shore power, but it is steadier and stronger which has value in the mix.

    These installations are as much for us to learn over the next few decades how best to handle it and the expensive HVDC infrastructure it depends on. The costs of this latter are set to come down now the Power GaN (switch) market is taking off. Possible routes for the technology involve the co siting of wave power and the final inclusion of (in one instance) a link to both the island of Ireland and the mainland on an HVDC arc that includes these off-shore sources that can then extract maximum value out of the link and its maintenance in balancing power between the geographies. Such links on continental shelves may then become the obvious choice for future sitings, dropping costs.



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  • Phil,

    You have a point, at least in so far as recycling goes. For the shipbuilding and engineering industries plate and extrusion, that comes with stamps, and ladle analysis, and classification society paperwork, it is all new material.

    I am intrigued by some of the wave power generation methods that are being mooted, from the very sophisticated involving heavy offshore engineering, never a cheap or easy task, to very simple but ingenious wharf mounted series of motion amplification floats, which while not generating high amperage, are probably limited to serving their immediate area. Which of course brings up the other major technology barrier of the offshore industry, which is power transmission

    We are not talking about cute and skinny fibre optic data cables here, but the low tension, resting on the seabed, equivalent of familiar high tension transmission lines with megawatts of power moving through them at high voltage and low amperage. They are in a medium, ocean water, at inaccessible depths for routine inspection, that will destroy them the moment the insulation breaks down or leaks. These are not cables to be trifled with, and the special purpose ships and the men that man them are another huge cost..

    This of course is not a problem for shore based transmission lines, air being its own insulator.. As long as it is lifted off the ground, and ice and wind loads are accounted for, the job is finished.

    The electrical side of the industry does by no means consider its problems are close to being solved, and the further out the towers extend, the more difficult it gets.

    There will be solutions, after all there are some pretty clever people working on it, but economically viable and carbon neutral offshore wind generation is not here yet, by any means.



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  • JC Sheepdog Jan 26, 2015 at 3:55 am

    The electrical side of the industry does by no means consider its problems are close to being solved, and the further out the towers extend, the more difficult it gets.

    The Indians in the gulf of Kutch are considering combining off-shore wind farms with tidal turbine farms to share the infrastructure.

    http://atlantisresourcesltd.com/projects/india.html
    The state of Gujarat in north western India is working actively to exploit its vast resources of wind, solar and tidal energy to establish an international hub for renewable power. With the longest coastline of any Indian state and numerous inshore water management projects, Gujarat has the potential to develop tidal and hydrokinetic energy into substantial contributors to the electricity mix.

    It also makes sense to use off-shore islands for wind farms as these get more wind, without the problems of individual turbines standing in water.



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  • This does sound like a workeable scenario, and one that is tailored to a geographical circmstance. Areas of high tidal flow, if located near population centers, by no means something that can be taken for granted, are other obvious candidates for tidal generation.

    The same advantage can be said of offshore island chains, although there are commonly environmental concerns. The thought of wind turbines along he length of the barrier reef, although probably sound engineering, sends shivers down my spine.

    I just hope our unloved Prime Minister does not read this, a pretty safe bet, or the idea, awful as it is, may grow wings.



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  • JC Sheepdog Jan 26, 2015 at 6:20 am

    This does sound like a workeable scenario, and one that is tailored to a geographical circmstance. Areas of high tidal flow, if located near population centers, (by no means something that can be taken for granted), are other obvious candidates for tidal generation.

    You might be surprised at the location of some of the pilot projects!

    http://www.power-technology.com/projects/roosevelt-island-tidal-energy-project-new-york/
    Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project is being developed in the East Channel of New York’s East River, in the US. The one megawatt pilot wave power project is being executed by Verdant Power.

    RITE is the first tidal project in the US to have received the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) commercial pilot license. The license was issued in January 2012 for a period of ten years.

    Upon completion in 2014, the project will have the world’s first group of grid-connected tidal turbines. It is expected to generate 2.4GWh of electricity annually.



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  • JC

    The mitigation of embodied energy by recycling is available to the downstream uses of it. 75% of all aluminium made since the end of the nineteenth century is still in use. This rate is going up and Alfed (UK Aluminium Federation) are keen to point out that if best reprocessing practices are followed such aluminium is fully equivalent to prime metal. I completely understand in building a new business no risks would be taken with that caveat (best practices). I suspect in the years to come with experience recycled metal from secure sources will start to appear in these high risk applications

    I’m fully familiar with MV and HV cable types. I used to design test equipment for above ground applications. My comments for offshore wind are directed at perhaps larger planned installations than you may be working on. I posted here some links to the new power transmission technologies being considered. HVDC is the most promising allowing very much more compact cables for burial and maritime use.

    Reliability in these has improved substantially by lowering the risks of corona inception and dielectric loss for a given power capacity. HVDC’s major costs and major sources of loss are the inverter systems at its terminations. These are falling quite rapidly now with new topologies and materials queuing up to take over. SiC is off and running but the new markets in bulk GaN will transform efficiency and cost as this finds its way into the market over the next ten years or so..

    Here’s a good summary of the technologies Note the example of the Atlantic Wind Connection. Now many offshore turbines can share an HVDC backbone making numerous land falls adding not only redundancy (fault tolerance) but adding to improved distribution of land based generators. Generators placed along a new HVDC link between Scotland and Northern Ireland will serve these same multiple roles sharing infrastructure costs.

    Capital costs are high but the investments are in long term infrastructure. I have always claimed that the life costs are already low enough now if we can encourage longer term investment plans via government economic policy changes disfavouring UK/US style high-stakes casino banking and favouring a more stabilising Northern European investment model.



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  • the technology is already here and simply awaits the demise of a handful of powerful Global Warming Skeptics for its global distribution.

    “No. Its hundreds of millions of voting skeptics, mostly thoughtless change phobics, championing their man…”

    I would be reluctant to praise the intelligence of the electorate but the exchange between you, Alan4 and Sheepdog clarifies my intention. I’ll let the Big Dog speak for himself: There are studies that show the energy generated will fall short of the energy expended in their creation and maintenance… The planet does not really get much out of it [expenditures on offshore wind] at the end of the day. As always your replies are informative, congenial, and above all reassuring that staying the course, implementing this or that innovation in technology and finance, will win the day “over the next few decades.” Sheepdog then defaults to the hope that people of good faith share: “There will be solutions, after all there are some pretty clever people working on it, but economically viable and carbon neutral offshore wind generation is not here yet, by any means.”

    The ambiguity that any reasonable person entertains about the potential and feasibility of technology to remediate global warming by mid-century can be dissolved into scenarios of persuasiveness by demonstrations of actual equipment, multi-media dissemination of reports, documentaries, power point presentations saturating the public and political leadership with positive information. Needless to say the pragmatic viability of such remedial technology seeking qualification for public support – finance and development – will be assessed from multiple perspectives incorporating further research, and a continuous cycle of demonstrations.

    The public will be won over within the constraints of a tight time frame much more effectively employing “demonstrations” than force-fed the same tired lectures repeating ad nauseum the science of global warming coupled with scornful denunciations of Global Warming Skeptics/Deniers. Showing the public substantial advances rather than insulting a demographic characterized as “hundreds of millions of voting skeptics, mostly thoughtless change phobics” will encourage rather than retard progress.



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  • Offshore wind is currently twice as expensive as onshore. We should spend some effort on it to see how we can get its costs down and understand its particular problems. It is attractive because of the unsightly nature of onshore and it is the amongst the steadiest of 24 hr resources and is useful in the mix. As ever we can increase cost effectiveness by integrating it with other needs.

    Existing solutions are already cost effective and need the leg up of being made attractive investments to the woefully underused capital in the hands of the 0.1%.

    Fixing this under-utilisation (conservatively put at 20%)is a financial sector reform which is entirely where we should be focusing our efforts (and for lots of other reasons too). Favour long term investments and our infrastructure spending will grow to the level it needs to. For those indifferent to AGW, sustainability and political stability, securing steady wealth creation, should be attraction enough.

    We should push as many buttons as possible with all voters, however. Conservatives are indeed, change phobics. No insult at all. They wish to preserve a way of life. My plea to create stability through financial reforms should appeal very strongly.



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  • Melvin Jan 26, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    The public will be won over within the constraints of a tight time frame much more effectively employing “demonstrations” than force-fed the same tired lectures repeating ad nauseum the science of global warming coupled with scornful denunciations of Global Warming Skeptics/Deniers.

    You really need to leave the ranks of the change-phobics, and study the subject. Adopting the prevarication policies of the media promoted denialist pseudo-sceptics, has, and will have, massive costs and hugely destructive effects on millions of humans, on coasts, those dependent on irrigation water, and those vulnerable to storms, floods, and droughts.

    You appear to be among the ranks who abysmally fail to recognise the consequences these environment changes.
    The “lectures” are only “tired” to the head-in-sand, closed minds and closed ears, which don’t want to listen to the evidence of reality.

    Showing the public substantial advances

    There are huge lists of low-carbon technologies – many of which Phil, myself, and others have linked on this site in the past.

    The ambiguity that any reasonable person entertains

    I think you are talking about the “uniformed person”. Uncertainty based on a lack of seeking evidence, has nothing to do with reason! Every farmer who sows a crop is uncertain about the season’s harvest. This is not a “reasonable” argument against sowing crops!

    about the potential and feasibility of technology to remediate global warming by mid-century can be dissolved into scenarios of persuasiveness by demonstrations of actual equipment, multi-media dissemination of reports, documentaries, power point presentations saturating the public and political leadership with positive information.

    This information is already available, but unfortunately as I have already pointed out, it is being submerged and swamped by multi million dollar disinformation campaigns, specifically designed to disrupt and obstruct, progress in replacing obsolete dangerous carbon technologies.

    The investment capital in banks is being diverted by denialist politicians away from loans to the green technologies, and into dead-end “investments”, seeking to extract more unusable carbon!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211
    We could end up having to bail out banks (again) which have poured the money they have been entrusted with, into bottomless carbon black-holes (which will produce nothing usable), just like they did with written off “loans” in sub-prime money pits!

    Showing the public substantial advances rather than insulting a demographic characterized as “hundreds of millions of voting skeptics, mostly thoughtless change phobics” will encourage rather than retard progress.

    Unfortunately gullibility, stupidity, and denial, are facts of reality regardless of if those who possess them in abundance, and don’t want to be bothered with unpleasant realities, think recognition of these attributes is “insulting”, and dress up their obstructivism in pseudo-scepticism.

    There is a wide range of alternative technologies to choose from, which are individually suitable for particular geographical circumstances, so if any one of them is not suitable in a particular area, there are others available. Some adjustments will be locally unpopular with people such as those mining coal, but industries can move to use Solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and tidal power in other locations.

    What is needed is long term planning of these moves, NOT denial of the requirements to get started.



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  • Phil, and Allan, and Melvin,

    First of all, good discussion guys, although much of this has been raked over in other threads, it is highly appropriate that it gets brought up again, as new information comes in.

    A short disclaimer: Phil in particular has far deeper electrical knowledge that do I. My field, ship design, is a very mature technology and can put its hand and mind quickly to pretty much any new requirement from sub sea to racing yachts to wind farm support vessels.

    The HVDC (6KV! DC? Wow, try keeping that genie in the bottle!) electrical science that the ultimate success of much remotely generated power, wind, tide or wave, will depend upon is not a mature technology and one that is requiring huge capital, much more so than something simple, like a new ship, to develop. However, the capital is being invested, and the engineers are being trained, hence I share Phil’s confidence in future solutions.

    A quick google of HVDC pictures will give an idea of the massive scale of facilities and infrastructure involved.

    Back to my original point, that I think is getting missed, which is my cynicism at governments taking the public high road of environmental and global warming consciousness while in reality hurling tax dollars at the most expensive technologies they can find, in industries that are lapping it up. I would love to see an accounting of the dollars committed at Kyoto. My nasty suspicious mind tells me that most of it is in the pockets of the shareholders of major companies, with little genuine public benefit.

    The argument that reducing power requirements, in other words, stop making unnecessary crap, is one that is cheap, and requires no new technology. It can ultimately do more good, certainly in the short term, and is one that I fear is neglected in the rush to embrace expensive new technologies, which will permit yet more power, to make yet more crap. And, the power required to create them will come from burning coal for a long time yet.



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  • Offshore wind is currently twice as expensive as onshore. We should spend some effort on it to see how we can get its costs down and understand its particular problems.

    I defer to Sheepdog, the professional watchdog of the offshore wind farm industry. He has been to the front and reports that the battle is not going well. With due respect to the impressive body of cutting edge green technology illuminated on the thread discussion combined with suggestions for diversion of financial resources from the public and private sectors to long-term global projects, I’m incredulous that other “clever” people working in the field whether in research and development, manufacturing, maintenance and marketing are oblivious to the wisdom offered by Phil, Alan4 and others. Cumulatively, I suspect, the knowledge and experience of folks working currently in the trenches represent magnitudes of wisdom greater than what folks write on blogs. The Nike ad philosophy of “Just Do It” won’t cut it.

    What many are not getting is the scope and complexity of the problem. Renewable energy, especially solar, has proven to be an important, small part of the mix but the question of “too little too late” still looms as fossil fuel extraction and consumption are projected to grow by leaps and bounds for at least the next 30 years.

    Finally, while I do not deny that influential cadres exist who operate “propagandist stooge wings, of the coal, oil, and gas industries,” the ordinary person on the planet uses oil, natural gas and coal because they are plentiful, relatively cheap, and universally available through a worldwide infrastructure built over centuries. Just leave them in the ground because burning them will prove harmful to present though predominately future generations proposes nothing short of apocalypse now. As Keynes said, “in the long run, we are all dead.” If the world stopped burning fossil fuels today, most of us will be dead in the short run. Think months.

    Pragmatic solutions to Global warming certainly have to overcome obstacles rooted in our political systems, global fossil fuel economies and infrastructure, human ignorance and inertia. Raging about stooges, change phobics, global warming skeptics/deniers and the dreadful news programs they watch will succumb to the law of diminishing returns.

    If scientists and engineers dedicated to the research and development of alternative energy, can demonstrate the pragmatic value of their projects to the public and political leadership through popular media productions, lectures, etc. then maybe progress can be accelerated. To be blunt about it, we should not underestimate the power of positive PR campaigns. The negative old guard has sent too many zealots out to wander in the desert, turning over rocks in hopes of finding a rattlesnake to shoot.



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  • JC Sheepdog Jan 27, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    The argument that reducing power requirements, in other words, stop making unnecessary crap, is one that is cheap, requires no new technology, and ultimately does more good, certainly in the short term,

    Very much so! As we discussed on earlier threads, reducing power demands and waste, is as much a part of the equation as introducing low-carbon technologies. LED light bulbs, energy efficient white-goods, insulated buildings, heat retrieval systems on waste water and ventilation systems, ground heat storage linked to buildings. – especially “new-build” buildings.

    http://www.icax.co.uk/alternative_energy.html
    Interseasonal Heat Transfer

    Interseasonal Heat Transfer is a new form of on site renewable energy that combines the merits of solar thermal collection in summer with heat storage in ThermalBanks to double the efficiency and Coefficient of Performance of ground source heat pumps in winter.

    Interseasonal Heat Transfer captures surplus heat from summer sunshine, stores it in ThermalBanks™ in the ground and releases it to heat buildings in winter.

    Interseasonal Heat Transfer also captures cold on winter nights, stores this in ThermalBanks™ in the ground and releases it to cool buildings in summer.

    An IHT system includes an Asphalt Solar Collector, a ThermalBank to store heat energy, a heat pump and a smart control system.
    Intrabuilding Heat Transfer

    Intrabuilding Heat Transfer is the transfer of excess heat from hot rooms within a building to cold rooms needing space heating. ICAX is able to extract heat from IT fileserver rooms and transfer it to cold rooms by using the heat transfer mechanism in the ICAX Skid in conjunction with WR2 technology from Mitsubishi Electric.

    Intrabuilding Heat Transfer saves energy by balancing the heating loads and cooling loads within a building. Where a building suffers an overall cooling need in summer, ICAX uses Interseasonal Heat Transfer to transfer the excess heat to a ThermalBank in the ground. Where an overall heating need exists in winter ICAX recovers the stored heat from the ThermalBank to heat the building in winter using the ICAX Skid which incorporates heat pumps.

    Intrabuilding Heat Transfer is a major step towards balancing the heating loads within a building and achieving Zero Carbon Buildings.

    Thermal Bank

    A Thermal Bank is a bank of earth used to store heat between seasons. Alternative descriptions include: Heat Bank, Heat Battery, Heat Store, Heat Vault, Underground Energy Storage, Seasonal Heat Store, Interseasonal Heat Store, Seasonal Thermal Store, Interseasonal Thermal store, Underground Thermal Energy Storage (“UTES”), Rechargeable Heat Battery.



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  • Melvin Jan 27, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Finally, while I do not deny that influential cadres exist who operate “propagandist stooge wings, of the coal, oil, and gas industries,” the ordinary person on the planet uses oil, natural gas and coal because they are plentiful, relatively cheap, and universally available through a worldwide infrastructure built over centuries.

    They are only cheap at retail sales points, because they are being subsidised by allowing polluters to walk away from their responsibilities, and clean-up costs.
    It took decades even to get companies to pay for cleaning up tanker spills and there are still thousands of leaky oil wells and old mines which were owned by companies which have ceased trading and are now public liabilities.

    If scientists and engineers dedicated to the research and development of alternative energy, can demonstrate the pragmatic value of their projects to the public and political leadership through popular media productions, lectures, etc. then maybe progress can be accelerated.

    Which is precisely what they are doing with prototypes and pilot projects.

    To be blunt about it, we should not underestimate the power of positive PR campaigns.

    Of course we should be promoting positive promoting of effective technical solutions and ones which are still under development.

    The negative old guard has sent too many zealots out to wander in the desert, turning over rocks in hopes of finding a rattlesnake to shoot.

    Nope! The media is still full of denialist, venomous, paid rattlesnakes, spreading poisonous doubt-mongering and lies, about the need for low-carbon developments.
    What we need is more effective rooting out of these well paid thoroughly dishonest anti-social vermin!

    As I pointed out here: https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/2014-breaks-heat-record-challenging-global-warming-skeptics/#li-comment-166817, they are now seeking better hiding places!



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  • Hi JC.

    The HVDC isn’t just 6kV its 100 to 1000kV! This makes for huge power capacity in the cables. You’ll see most international power trading is done via it and all new significant grid infrastructure proposals like those linking the UK to Iceland (hydro and geothermal) and Norway (hydro) will use it because of its efficiency and (now) lower costs.

    In my experience the monies allocated to renewables are reasonably in synch with their immediate prospects. Though off shore is currently not cost effective it is essential to allocate some resources to them as a piece of functional “Research and Development”. Its costs will come down as a result (it always works like this).

    My only regret (well almost) is the lack of R&D funding for thorium. (Alan too no doubt.) This would be a wonderful secure underpinning energy technology for us if successful. (I still think we pay Iran to stop with Uranium if they concentrate on thorium and joint venture…)

    Energy efficiency and circular economy efforts pay the biggest dividends in creating/releasing new energy capacity. Way better than any new energy sources. Worse than making crap is just throwing it away and making crap mark two and three..

    Credit Suisse have since 2009 been the go to bank for the best analysis on renewables. Their predictions have been bullish and accurate.

    Credit Suisse analysts see Renewable Energy Standards (RES) as driving much of the coming growth, but they aren’t shy about saying (repeatedly) that renewables are also now cost competitive, and that technology improvements just keep advancing their prospects.

    “We think old-line arguments against renewables – too expensive, too intermittent, too remote – will continue to fade, allowing a resource base that is underappreciated in the market but is positioned to have a broad impact on power and energy markets.”

    Credit Suisse are advising- invest here, folks!



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  • Melvin, I appreciate you reading my efforts and occasionally quoting some bits, but I am no longer going to respond to your pieces in these areas. I think we all have full measure of your opinions now, but until they become bolstered by new facts there is not much point in further debate.

    I will leave things in Alan’s careful and correcting hands to prevent onlookers from leaving without the facts.



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  • The increased frequency and unpredictability of these extreme events will cause severe damage from floods, storms and droughts which will be difficult to plan for!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30985039

    Extreme weather arising from a climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean will get much worse as the world warms, according to climate modelling.

    Parts of the world will have weather patterns that switch between extremes of wet and dry, say scientists.

    The US will see more droughts while flooding will become more common in the western Pacific, research suggests.

    The study, in Nature Climate Change, adds to a growing body of evidence over climate change and extreme weather.

    The latest data – based on detailed climate modelling work – suggests extreme La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean will almost double with global warming, from one in 23 years to one in 13 years.

    Most will follow extreme El Nino events, meaning frequent swings between opposite extremes from one year to the next.



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  • phil rimmer Jan 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Credit Suisse analysts see Renewable Energy Standards (RES) as driving much of the coming growth, but they aren’t shy about saying (repeatedly) that renewables are also now cost competitive, and that technology improvements just keep advancing their prospects.

    Credit Suisse are advising- invest here, folks!

    . . .and if you want to know where the ethical smart money is NOT investing, but is disinvesting:-

    https://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/rt-rockefeller-oil-dynasty-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels/

    In a symbol of the times, America’s biggest “oil family”, the Rockefellers, has announced it will get rid of any investments or holdings in fossil fuels from its $860 million charitable fund, and target clean energy instead.

    The announcement is part of a $50 billion pledge by over 180 institutions to cut oil, natural gas, and coal from their portfolios and redirect investment into clean energy.

    “Our immediate focus will be on coal and tar sands, two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions,” the statement said, adding that investment in the two sectors will be reduced to less than 1 percent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014.

    The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was established in 1940 from wealth acquired through the family’s company Standard Oil, once the world’s largest oil refiner.

    “John D Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, moved America out of whale oil and into petroleum,”
    Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, said, saying that if John D. Rockefeller were alive today, he would invest in clean, renewable energy.

    About 7 percent of the fund is currently invested in dirty fossil fuels.

    In 2013, the Rockefeller charity gave over $6 million in grants to sustainable development projects.



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  • Interseasonal Heat Transfer captures surplus heat from summer sunshine, stores it in ThermalBanks™ in the ground and releases it to heat buildings in winter.

    Interseasonal Heat Transfer also captures cold on winter nights, stores this in ThermalBanks™ in the ground and releases it to cool buildings in summer.

    You can do this on a house by house basis and through day night cycles. A body of water under the foundations. Distribution pipes within the slab foundation or through radiators. Roof mounted collectors. In summer. circulate the water a through the roof collectors at night chilling the water. A moist surface on the collectors helps chill through evaporation. Store the cold water over night and pump it through the house during the Australian summer day cooling the house. You could also pump it through radiators. Reverse the process in winter and collect heated water then use it overnight to warm the house. All solar / battery powered.

    I’m not an engineer but I am a “Shed Guy”. I understand that one of the greatest losses of energy is trying to transport it over distance. I wonder if we are doing it wrong. Trying to create huge infrastructure projects to deliver energy, only the loose it during transmission. I’ve heard of places like Woking in the UK where they installed small block by block generators and get substantial carbon savings. Build the power supply as close as possible to the user. We will always need some larger source of power, wind / solar / thermal to smooth out the peaks, but maybe they should be smaller scale placed closer to the users. We also need to take responsibility for producing our own power and saving energy where we can. I’ve got a 4Kw solar PV on the roof. I’d like a windmill but last century rules won’t let me put one up. I over produce my own power needs by around 25% and sell this back to the grid.

    I suspect the final solution will be all of the above. Some large scale projects. Some small close to the ground solutions. Our engineering thinking is blinkered and frozen in trying to replace power stations to power the existing grid. I think we need to wipe the white board clean and start again.



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  • …nothing short of apocalypse now…If the world stopped burning fossil fuels today, most of us will be dead (by tomorrow)”

    No. Hysterical fear of change is a characteristic of right wing(nut)ism. I doubt that there is anything we science “zealots” could ever say to allay your irrational anxiety Melvin.

    “extraction and consumption are projected to grow by leaps and bounds for at least the next 30 years.”

    Melvin, we don’t have a few decades and we lack the resources to implement the costly PR campaigns your theology demands. Most scientists aren’t wealthy thousandaires as you imagine. Conservative governments retard progress. Billionaires effectively own most prominent conservative governments, and they’re banking on fossil fuel.

    You would benefit from investigation instead of criticizing those who have bothered to do so as being alarmist zealots.



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  • David, I recently found an excellent site dedicated to “tracking the next industrial revolution” which I reckon you’d appreciate, if you haven’t already seen it. Reneweconomy dot com dot au (to avoid awaiting mediation due to embedded links) is the address. They have articles about Chile’s efforts to be mostly renewable energy within a decade or so, and the Saudi plan to implement “baseload” solar power.

    Thanks for the fine effort you make to discussions here. Much admired and appreciated mate.



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  • Melvin

    We, the collective humanity of this planet won’t do anything until we get a slap in the face. It is our evolutionary nature to only worry about the next feed and where to find the ripe fruit in the next stand of trees. We don’t have a brain that can comprehend decisions made today that will impact in 100 years time. Thus, we will continue on towards a potential self induced civilization collapse with a worst case scenario of a mass extinction event.

    When the video of the Ozone hole was played in news rooms all over the world, it took us 5 years from the Go button to get an universal international treaty banning CFC’s. Because global warming is so slow, we won’t get a video. For the average mug punter, most of the world’s population, the slap in the face from warnings about global warming is about the same as the breezed generated by waving a tissue at someone from 30 paces. They’re not even feeling it. So until half the Greenland ice sheet slides into the North Atlantic, we, humanity will not act. Which is just stupid. We’re just a stone age hunter and gatherer going about our business. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

    I could almost get religious and hope for the second coming. When Almighty Ralph comes this time, the first edict he will issue will be “In 10 years time, I am going to turn all of the oil and gas into limestone so if you wants lights, TV and Facebook you better get on with switching to renewables.” And you know what Melvin, in 10 years we would see little difference from what we see today. We can do it. We choose not to. Mostly because of the evolutionary reasons above.



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  • Phil is right. We’ve been beating a horse that died many comments ago on another thread. I’m starting to get sick hearing myself repeat what I’ve already said. (“Alan’s careful and correcting hands” may confer fulsome praise on someone afflicted with so many anger management issues.)

    At the end of the day, at the end of the decade, and by mid-century when the world has added 3,500,000,000
    more consumers of energy to the number of consumers throwing light switches and turning ignition switches in the year 2000, the debate will have vanished with the breath of those who voiced it. Then the children of the future will take measure of the land, the sea and the air and rejoice in triumph or lament in folly.



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  • I’m starting to get sick hearing myself repeat what I’ve already said.

    Well Melvin, you’re not the only one so affected you know. Delay is clearly the new Denialism. Obstinate contempt for science is the mark of a true believer, whether masquerading as an atheist or not.

    Adopting modern, renewable technologies is the obvious solution. Your population reduction theories won’t assist in timely fashion. For your plan to work billions would need to be eliminated immediately, or within a month or two.



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  • If scientists and engineers dedicated to the research and development of alternative energy, can demonstrate…

    What do you expect us to do next Melvin, set up ain international panel of scientists from every government to distil the information for you?

    We’ve already done that.



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  • Obstinate contempt for science is the mark of a true believer, whether masquerading as an atheist or not.

    You know, I find this nonsense insulting. I have never held science in contempt. The warming of the near earth atmosphere is a global phenomena caused by the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from human activity. The process is time sensitive and “adopting modern, renewable technologies” in a “timely fashion” may not occur if current annual increases persist for years to come. I did not invent the problem which originated about three hundred years ago when human societies acquired the ability to raise their standard of living by consuming more and more energy through burning increasing quantities of fossil fuel both collectively and per capita. We may not be able to uproot the fossil fuel infrastructure established and still alive and well and thriving throughout the world for many decades to come. If science tells us such an outcome is unacceptable, then the “obvious solution” is reduced to a hope. And hope is not an “obvious solution.” Skepticism counsels that we should prepare for the challenges to sustainability over the next 200 years, a strategy which easily accommodates significant global population reduction along with technological measures to stabilize then reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



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  • Skepticism counsels (anything)

    I find such grammatical affectations irritating but never mind that.

    You claim that:

    “we should prepare for the challenges to sustainability over the next 200 years…”

    Science counsels us to reduce emissions now by as much as we can, to help avoid catastrophic tipping points of climate. Denying this is tantamount to flat earthism. Population anxiety is a side show. Education solves any tendency to over-populate. What you have failed to appreciate Melvin, is the urgency of the task facing us all. Perhaps if you were a little sceptical of your own rusted-on beliefs….



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  • According to many predictions, 2014 is likely to be a record year for global carbon dioxide emissions, with expectations that emissions will reach a new record high of 40 billion tonnes.

    Carbon dioxide emissions reached a record year in 2013 but records, as cited above, are made to be broken.
    (Carbon dioxide emissions have increased about 63% since 1990.) But take heart. 2014 with its [predictied] record year eclipsing the record year of 2013 was last year. We are in the first month of 2015, the 25th “Now Year” signaling the “right” now time since 1990 to begin to reduce emissions now by as much as we can. Where did I ever deny that we should ever rest from from reducing emissions now by as much as we can or that the world is flat? I’m not making up my own “skeptical “beliefs” out of whole cloth. I’m citing the retrograde way the world has gone for the last 25 years with respect to carbon dioxide emissions. Shoot the messenger if you will but the reported facts are what they are.



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  • It might be valuable for us all to remember the time constants associated with each variable in the chain. Methods for controling population tend to take one to two generations to kick in with the associated health dividends we are currently experiencing (and must morally maintain). Demographics show a thirty to fity year run-on in population bulge after viable births per woman drop below two.

    Renewable technologies that are good to go may take a decade or so to make worthwhile (ten percent say) inroads into their carbon mitigation.

    Altering the financial landscape to favour long term investments of cash stream businesses (renewables being the exemplar and the weather of our altering climate being far more predictable thirty years from now than the state of Russia or the Middle East)…erm….altering the financial landscape to taxationally favour long term stability and penalise poor short term investment of other people’s money by setting due dilligence standards (ISO9000 for investment advice as a requirement for professional insurance receipt and legislation to permit suit against advice givers for short term investment losses)…erm….altering the financial landscape can happen within the life of a parliament say and take immediate effect in greatly broadening suitable technology take off, their individual contributions with decade and two decade time constants aggragate and effectively bring that ten percent point forward in time to maybe three or five years.

    Ramping fossil carbon tax then becomes (new) business friendly and, provided oil companies recollect they were in the process of re-branding as energy companies, they should be favoured as investors in renewables by taxationally compensating this investment against their loss of business through the carbon tax ramp.

    Fixing the casino banking system needs to be done now for entirely its own reasons, and we need to move to sustainability to deliver the political stability to take advantage of our longer term investment focus. AGW is a potentially catastrophic hurry up, (the sooner the lesser). Global population (read African population) boom will be an unparalleled moral catastrophe that will have less financial impact on the world than we might imagine. Most countries will have joined the western countries on their way down by 2050. The only way out of this apart from declaring the RCC a terrorist organisation is to nakedly buy the behaviours we seek. This will have the double whammy of lifting Africans out of poverty and requiring smaller families.



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  • The phrase in the comment above: –Where did I ever deny the we should ever rest from reducing emissions etc. should read: –Where did I argue that we should not make efforts to reduce emissions now by as much as we can or that the world is flat? I regret the late night error and confusion.



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  • Paragraph 3 again. (The post escaped early and I couldn’t fix it in time.)

    Altering the financial landscape to favour long term investments of cash stream businesses (renewables being the exemplar and the weather of our altering climate being far more predictable thirty years from now than the state of Russia or the Middle East) can happen in five years. Altering the financial landscape to taxationally favour long term stability and penalise poor short term investment of other people’s money by setting due dilligence standards (ISO9000 for investment advice as a requirement for professional insurance receipt and legislation to permit suit against advice givers for short term investment losses) can solve a huge swathe of other financial ills. Altering the financial landscape can happen within the life of a parliament and take immediate effect in greatly broadening suitable technology take off, their individual contributions with decade and two decade time constants will aggragate and effectively bring that ten percent point forward in time to maybe three or five years. Fix financials for the fastest track.



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  • Thank you Phil. Change is certainly challenging to our species… could be “apocalyptic” some tremble.

    This is an encouraging development:
    “Investment bank Citigroup predicts that the wide deployment of battery storage technologies will hasten the demise of fossil fuels across the globe in the coming decade, including oil, coal and gas.
    And it also warns that the battery phenomenon will be even more profound than the solar revolution currently sweeping the globe…” from Reneweconomy’s Giles Parkinson reported today.

    Solar competes now with fossil fuels in well irradiated regions. Chile is a poster child for this. And costs and efficiencies continue to improve. I can’t understand why Conservatives are so terrified.



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  • Two new fast charge battery technologies (nano dot and graphene) may well be disruptive to even our current rosy technology picture. It will fix EVs and it will smooth renewables and clip demand spikes with much cheaper infrastructure at pretty much one and the same time.

    The problem is what to do with oil companies and their lobbying for their very survival. To neutralise them we need to make plans that use them to make the change. This cannot happen at company level because of concerns for loss of competitive edge, so governments must weigh in here with thought through tax and legislation policies, time-scaled in consultation with them, but aggressively so.

    If the battery technology pans out they are the perfect people to manage the conversion of fuel stations into battery assisted recharge stations.



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  • Melvin Jan 28, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Where did I ever deny that we should ever rest from from reducing emissions now by as much as we can or that the world is flat?

    While you admit there is a problem, only a few posts back you were disparaging the scientist environmental campaigners, who are exposing the multi-million $ sponsored fraudsters, who are doing, and have done, all they can to deny the warming, confuse the public about the science, and obstruct the urgent action which is needed.

    Some of them are the same paid charlatans who inflicted cancer on multitudes of smokers for years after warnings were given, by rubbishing valid research on health in the media, and obstructing legislation, – in order to maintain the profits of the tobacco industry which was paying them. These people are utterly despicable!

    Large sections of the voting public need to be shaken out of their lackadaisical complacency!

    Melvin Jan 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm – I’m dismayed by the trend to pick out a scapegoat for global warming by incessantly harping on a villain called “Global Warming Skeptics.” This demon has become an easy target, an obsessive diversion, for environmentalist crusaders.

    So while the carbon industry deniers funnelled $558 million into misleading the public, and sponsoring senators on the US Senate which denied the science, in 2013, the Rockefeller charity gave over $6 million in grants to sustainable development projects.

    I wonder which money was better spent for the benefit of the people and the ecology of the planet????

    I’m not making up my own “skeptical “beliefs” out of whole cloth. I’m citing the retrograde way the world has gone for the last 25 years with respect to carbon dioxide emissions.

    Nobody is denying that there are political hurdles, and technological development which need working on, but you are the one who is nay-saying about constructive actions, without seeking the evidence on which to build your views.

    Shoot the messenger if you will but the reported facts are what they are.

    The facts are what they are, so it would be better if your opinions were based on researching them, rather than nit-picking selected negative aspects, and disparaging those exposing the obstructive saboteurs for the charlatans they are.

    Large numbers of the public should be getting very angry with the rogues and charlatans, who are jeopardising everyone’s future for personal profit, while posing as respectable leaders!



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  • Len Walsh Jan 27, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    What do you expect us to do next Melvin, set up ain international panel of scientists from every government to distil the information for you?

    We’ve already done that.

    http://www.climate2013.org/spm
    The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report was approved and accepted by the IPCC Panel on 27 September 2013. The version that was released on that date was subject to copy edit and final layout.



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  • So while the carbon industry deniers funnelled $558 million into misleading the public, and sponsoring senators on the US Senate which denied the science, in 2013, the Rockefeller charity gave over $6 million in grants to sustainable development projects.

    Whilst I am arguing for the need to deal with the oil companies, even bribe them, such is the nature of realpolitik and realeconomik, the moral argument is entirely with you on this.



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  • phil rimmer Jan 28, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Whilst I am arguing for the need to deal with the oil companies, even bribe them, such is the nature of realpolitik and realeconomik, the moral argument is entirely with you on this.

    Politics works in mysterious ways!

    The Saudi OPEC cartel has just effectively shot down various oil and gas exploration projects, by starting an oil price war to maintain their share of the market!

    Unfortunately, unless governments get their fingers out, it could also slow green developments.



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  • The Saudi oil minister claim that they will be as big in solar energy sales as oil suggests win win for them. They have the remaining oil, the money and the sunshine. They don’t have to fear peak oil endgames and can probably see funding their OPEC, oil producing neighbours’ own solar kit.

    We need governments to see deeper into the political implications of not being masters and suppliers of renewable technology. Saudi’s too often immoral stance and China’s amoral stance are set to win too much of this business for my liking. The likelihood of not being the ones to put solar into sub saharan Africa is depressing. Not having influence to drive behaviours there is an important opportunity lost.



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  • Solar power holds more than the promise of mere mitigation of CO2 emissions by 2050.

    *According to the IEA, solar PV could conceivably be used to generate as much as 16 percent of the world’s electricity needs by mid-century, with solar thermal electricity generated by concentrating solar plants (CSP) accounting for another 11 percent. (These figures could easily be revised upward.)

    The reports state that when combined, PV and CSP could cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than 6 billion tonnes – effectively equaling the current output of worldwide transportation emissions and exceeding all CO2 emissions produced in the U.S. today.

    According to Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy, a decrease in the emission of 4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year could occur with worldwide installation of 4,600 GW of PV capacity by 2050. In order for this to occur, total PV capacity will have to reach an average of 124 GW per year, rising to 200 GW per year between 2025 and 2040….

    The second report, Technology Roadmap: Solar Thermal Electricity, stresses the inherent abilities of concentrating solar plants (CSP) to store thermal energy and provide necessary backup power on during peak times, on cloudy days, and overnight. Currently, the sum total of global solar thermal deployment is 4 GW – but the report projects with the installation of 1,000 GW of CSP capacity by 2050, 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions could be eliminated every year.*

    Advances in solar power technology and rapidly falling production costs (predicted to drop by 65% by 2050), have resulted in exponential growth in global supply-and-demand subsequent to exponential annual growth in the share of this renewable clean energy among the mix of fossil fuels (and other renewables).

    We all know what Exponential Growth means: Doubling Time. Pertaining to solar energy the observed growth rate of 41% per year calculates into a doubling time of 2 years. Doubling even from the base of a tiny absolute number, in the case of solar = .3 % of current global energy share, arithmetic shows the awesome potential for solar dominance by 2050 (or sooner).
    .3 X 2 = .6 2015
    .6 X 2 = 1.2 2017
    1.2 X 2 = 2.4 2019
    2.4 X 2 = 4.8 2021
    4.8 X 2 = 9.6 2023
    9.6 X 2 = 19.2 2025
    19.2 X 2 = 38.4 2027
    38.4 X 2 = 76.8 2029

    Of course real-world contingencies will qualify the calculated result showing solar power accounting for 77% of the global energy production/consumption around 2030. Huge capital expenditures required upfront with longer-term payoffs will require hundreds of billions of dollars invested by the public and private sector annually or about 1% of global GDP.

    If the solar energy growth model is based on sound supply-demand figures recorded over the last several years which can be extrapolated into a 10 to 15 year projection, then fossil fuels are destined to remain in the ground while the economy which supported their extraction and burning will die after a short stay in hospice.

    Why not shout findings from the IEA reports on solar from the rooftops -from the media, from the halls of power, from schools, from eloquent persuasive demonstrations contrived from every corner of the human imagination? Why linger on shots of melting glaciers while admonishing Global Warming Skeptics/Deniers that “you, know..you guys are really really wrong.” If solar can power the world in the second half of the 21st century then fossil fuels will become the “alternative energy,” foul, filthy, expensive and useless.

    Educate, inform, enlighten, motivate and build.



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  • Sorry. The link for the article quoted above is: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/10/iea-report-predicts-solar-power-domination-by-2050

    IEA Report Predicts Solar Power Domination by 2050
    Two reports released simultaneously last week by the International Energy Agency (IEA) say that by the year 2050, solar power could eclipse fossil fuels, hydro, wind and nuclear as the world’s most widely used source of electricity generation.

    Vince Font, Contributing Editor
    October 08, 2014



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  • Melvin Jan 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Good to see you are looking at positive efforts to deal with the climate issues.

    Why not shout findings from the IEA reports on solar from the rooftops -from the media, from the halls of power, from schools, from eloquent persuasive demonstrations contrived from every corner of the human imagination?

    I think you are addressing the question to the wrong people. The short answer is that the popular media is largely paid for by advertisers, who really do not want this information going out to the public. I have already linked the figures from some of the deniaist slush funds.

    Both the earlier and the more recent IPCC reports are available on-line.

    Why linger on shots of melting glaciers while admonishing Global Warming Skeptics/Deniers that “you, know..you guys are really really wrong.”

    Melting glaciers are very important to many populations. Electricity is no use to them without irrigation and drinking water.

    http://www.howmany.org/population_and_water_shortages.php
    Glaciers are melting at unprecidented rates around the world. One such area is Bolivia, where the glaciers whose Summer melt-off has provided Glaciers vanishing near LaPaz Bolivia the water for hundreds of thousands of people are now disappearing or completely gone. The reservoir that collects the water from the glacier provides 80% of the drinking water to the city of El Alto and the outskirts of La Paz. According to the most recent census, El Alto has a population of 827,000 people [es], which is increasing every year at a rate of 5.1% per year.

    Halfway around the world, Himalayan glacial melt threatens the water supply for 1.3 billion people. The glaciers of the Himalayas store more ice than anywhere on Earth except for the polar regions and Alaska.
    The steady flow of water from their melting icepacks fills seven of the mightiest rivers of Asia: the Indus River in Pakistan, the Brahmaputra that flows through Bangladesh, the Mekong that descends through Southeast Asia, the Irrawaddy in Burma, and the Yellow and Yangtze rivers of China. Himalayan glaciers release water steadily throughout the year, most critically during the hot, dry, sunny periods when water is most needed.

    The United Nations body studying global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released a report in May 2009 warning that these glaciers could be much smaller within three decades. “Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps getting warmer at the current rate.”

    There are many uncertainties in predicting the effects of Climate Change on these glaciers, and there has been criticism of this report. A more conservative estimate by Yao Tandong, a Chinese glaciologist who specializes in the Tibetan Plateau, is that 30% of the glaciers will disappear by 2030, 40% by 2050, and 70% by 2100. (Ice, Snow & Water, 2009 conference report from U.C.San Diego

    This is going to make for much less dry season water in these regions.

    If solar can power the world in the second half of the 21st century then fossil fuels will become the “alternative energy,” foul, filthy, expensive and useless.

    Solar energy is just one feature of renewable systems, and works best in sunny climates. It needs to be used in combination with the other low-carbon systems.



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  • Why not shout findings from the IEA reports on solar from the rooftops

    Because we’re way too busy publishing for that. We’ve all got jobs to do Melvin, and now you expect us to discharge your responsibilities as well. We’re fully occupied working on the technology and lack the time to do your job too. We’d be accused of alarmism if we shouted from rooftops, whereas a smooth talking character like yourself may make an impression.

    Instead of blaming us for neglecting to do your job you could animate yourself forthwith. Oh, and just for information Melvin, you’re misusing the word “skeptic”.

    “Educate, inform, enlighten, motivate and build.”

    Please review the above posts by Phil, Alan and David. We can’t do it all by ourselves Melvin. Sooner or late you will have to pull your weight too. And remember, the sooner we implement modern technology the cheaper it will be. That’s the metric you need to understand.



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  • “Why not shout findings from the IEA Reports from the rooftops -from the media, from the halls of power, from schools, from eloquent persuasive demonstrations contrived by every corner of the human imagination?”

    I think you are addressing the question to the wrong people. The short answer is that the popular media is largely paid for by advertisers, who really do not want this information going out to the public. I have already linked the figures from some of the deniaist slush funds.”

    Alan: I think you are indulging in hyper-skepticism mined from unwavering faith in conspiracy theories about the media, Big Money, and retrograde special interests. (There is truth here of course). In the U. S. we have an abundance of liberal media, National Public Radio, Public Television, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Atlantic, etc. and -need I mention- -Hollywood. I’m certain reporting has been done on the IEA projections but I don’t remember seeing or hearing any of them. Curiously, the IEA forecast of a paradigm shift in global energy away from fossil fuels to solar dominance within 35 years has inexplicably failed to make it into current news cycles or into film and other popular media. Have sponsors and monied interests effectively censored every journalist, every reporter, every creative media mind in the country? Truth be told, I seldom hear much from environmental activists, writers or documentarians on the exponential growth of solar power surging year by year towards carbon-neutral hegemony in energy markets. Instead the public gets global warming set pieces like the article above confined to familiar alarms of setbacks oblivious to the “glorious revolution” going forward under our noses.

    Solar energy is just one feature of renewable systems, and works best in sunny climates. It needs to be used in combination with the other low-carbon systems.

    I agree. The appeal of the IEA Reports has many vectors emanating from a single source. Solar power has the twin virtues of being both the mother lode solution and the low-hanging fruit solution to global warming. Other technologies, notably wind power, have a legitimate role to play but the public is better served -educated and motivated- by focusing largely on the distribution of solar power installations on a global economy of scale where it is predicted to play the predominant role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions to sustainable levels by mid-century.



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  • @Melvin

    Now. Today. Melvin. Go out and buy the award winning book, Merchants of Doubt. This book references publicly available court and government documents. There is an internet citation for every document referred to in this book. You can sense check if for yourself. That means it has high integrity. When you are finished reading it, you will see that your statement below is without foundation. Alan4D’s position is entirely correct.

    Alan: I think you are indulging in hyper-skepticism mined from unwavering faith in conspiracy theories about the media, Big Money, and retrograde special interests.



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  • Nice to see sources from you again, Melvin.

    David’s referenced book is hugely important, not least for revealing a strong motive behind this manufacture of ignorance. It is an adherance to the faith in (maximally) free market capitalism and an abhorence of government led initiatives and dirigisme. The manufactured doubt is sold to the change phobic right who are sufficiently numerous to block political initiatives. Like most they judge truth not on a case by case review of its evidential merits but on the channel by which it was received. That liberal channels exist is nothing like as helpful when highly funded and consistent propaganda pops out of Faux News.

    The likes of Credit Suisse (see here) are the real opportunity to interrupt this flow of misinformation. They are in the vanguard of similar financial institutions who have seen the fossil free light. Make no mistake their hands are still dirty with existing oil investments and there is something of a culture war still going on withinn them but the corner is now clearly turned.

    Melvin, how can we get the right to see this burgeoning new direction the financial institutions are taking? How can we get them to see change will happen and that hurrying through it to get to the new super-stable sustainable state will create the least political disruption and do the smallest societal harms? How do we sell what they want? How can we smuggle it into their channels?



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  • Melvin Jan 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Alan: I think you are indulging in hyper-skepticism mined from unwavering faith in conspiracy theories about the media, Big Money, and retrograde special interests. (There is truth here of course).

    David has recommended the excellent expose “Merchants of Doubt.” about the dishonest campaigns I mentioned.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/UQ-Physics-Colloquium-this-Friday-Communicating-Climate-Science-Countering-Disinformation.html
    There are many roadblocks in communicating the realities of climate change to the general public. Climate science has faced one of the best funded disinformation campaigns in history. Mainstream media has portrayed the impression of a 50/50 debate when in reality, 97% of climate scientists are convinced of man-made global warming. On top of these external influences, a number of psychological barriers remain. Ideology, fear of change and the conceptual difficulties of long-term climate trends all make it difficult for people to grasp the threat of global warming. Climate communicators need to navigate all these barriers. As well as explaining the science, countering disinformation requires providing an alternative narrative on how disinformers mislead as well as explaining the science. I outline ways to frame the science in terms the general public understand. I also explain the main rhetorical techniques of climate deniers, and how to rebut common climate myths.

    Your thinking still seems buried in rubbish accepted on “faith” from the media disinformation campaigns;- hence you make the above groundless claim about exposing REAL WELL DOCUMENTED CONSPIRACIES, even after I have given you links to the sources of the disinformation campaign funding.

    The information on denial campaigns is not hard to find! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial
    Written by a public relations specialist for the American Petroleum Institute and then leaked to The New York Times, the memo described, in the article’s words, a plan “to recruit a cadre of scientists who share the industry’s views of climate science and to train them in public relations so they can help convince journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain to justify controls on greenhouse gases.” Cushman quoted the document as proposing a US$ 5,000,000 multi-point strategy to “maximize the impact of scientific views consistent with ours on Congress, the media and other key audiences,” with a goal of “raising questions about and **undercutting the ‘prevailing scientific wisdom.‘”

    In Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change (2010), Clive Hamilton describes a campaign to attack the science relating to climate change, originating with the astroturfing campaigns initiated by the tobacco industry in the 1990s. He documents the establishment of the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) as a ‘fake front group’ set up ‘to link concerns about passive smoking with a range of other popular anxieties, including global warming’. The public relations strategy was to cast doubt on the science, characterizing it as junk science, and therefore to turn public opinion against any calls for government intervention based on the science.

    As one tobacco company memo noted: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”[35] As the 1990s progressed … TASSC began receiving donations from Exxon (among other oil companies) and its “junk science” website began to carry material attacking climate change science.

    So Melvin! Time to dump the projection of the disparaging “faith-based” assertions, and do the basic homework on the wealth of information available on the denial campaign conspirators!



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  • Melvin Jan 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    I have already linked the figures from some of the deniaist slush funds.”

    Alan: I think you are indulging in hyper-skepticism mined from unwavering faith in conspiracy theories about the media, Big Money, and retrograde special interests.

    You seem to have moved from denial of the potential value of low-carbon technologies, to denial of well evidenced carbon and tobacco industries’ conspiracies to mislead the public.

    http://monthlyreview.org/2012/05/01/petroleum-and-propaganda/
    Chapter nine describes “Toxic Tanks”—think tanks that promote global-warming denial. These toxic tanks have swell-sounding names (e.g., “Frontiers of Freedom”) that do not hint they are climate-change deniers. Powell describes in detail four (out of a much larger number) of these fossil-fuel-company-funded think tanks.

    1. The now-defunct Global Climate Coalition (GCC) included Exxon-Mobil, Amoco, Chevron, American Petroleum Institute, Shell, Texaco, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, and the American Forest and Paper Association. The GCC, established in 1989, operated from the offices of the National Association of Manufacturing. The GCC hired a PR firm which produced a video to combat the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. However, some of its member companies left the GCC; they thought it too risky to be publicly identified with global-warming denial, and feared the fate of Big Tobacco; it had ended up losing lawsuits for health-care costs of smokers, ultimately settling for damages of $251 billion. Beset by the defections, the GCC disbanded in 2001.

    During its lifetime, the GCC established a research arm, the Science and Technology Assessment Committee, which was staffed by industry scientists. A committee led by Mobil Oil chemical engineer L. C. Bernstein produced a confidential 1995 report which was circulated to the members of GCC: oil and coal companies, electric utilities, attorneys, National Mining Association, etc. In a stunning admission, the Bernstein Report concluded that “the scientific basis for the greenhouse effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.” The report knocked down one of the most popular contrarian arguments: that global warming could be attributed to changes in the Sun’s brightness. In opposition to the contrarian view, the Bernstein Report stated that changes in the brightness of the Sun were too small by at least a factor of five to cause the temperature change observed in the last 120 years. It pointed out that the deniers had no alternative theory of their own, saying “The contrarian theories raise interesting questions about our total understanding of climate processes, but they do not offer convincing arguments against the conventional model of greenhouse gas emission-induced climate change.”

    Thus, while the oil companies and their hired hands were proclaiming in public that global warming was not caused by burning fossil fuels, their own scientists were saying exactly the opposite in private. If you have never heard of the Bernstein Report, you have lots of company. It did not surface until 2007, a dozen years after it was written, during a discovery process in a California court proceeding.

    You really should abandon denial, and study the evidence some of us are already familiar with.



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  • JC Sheepdog Jan 26, 2015 at 6:20 am

    This does sound like a workeable scenario, and one that is tailored to a geographical circmstance. Areas of high tidal flow, if located near population centers, by no means something that can be taken for granted, are other obvious candidates for tidal generation.

    There are some big commercial hi-tech companies involved in developments which might interest you.

    http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/us/news/press-releases/2014/march/140318-mst-lm-and-atlantis-resources-ltd-harnessing-the-power-of-ocean-tides.html
    .New contract highlights Lockheed Martin’s continued role as leader of ocean energy.

    BALTIMORE, March 18, 2014 – Adding to its recent momentum in ocean energy, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced today that it is further advancing the next generation of tidal energy. Lockheed Martin has commenced a contract from global tidal energy leader Atlantis Resources Ltd. (ARL:LN) to optimize the design of Atlantis’ new 1.5-megawatt tidal turbine, the AR1500.

    Designed to facilitate operation in highly energetic tidal locations, the AR1500 turbine will be one of the largest single rotor turbines ever developed and will have active rotor pitch and full nacelle yaw rotation. The increased capability and integrated, advanced functionality will help bring commercial tidal energy to reality, and will initially support the MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth and deployment in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. Once completed, the MeyGen project – the world’s largest tidal stream project under development – is expected to deliver up to 398 megawatts of power, enough energy to power 200,000 homes. The MeyGen project will contribute to Scotland’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.



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  • Melvin Jan 27, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Skepticism counsels

    This sounds much more like denialist prevarication! Scientific sceptics base views on evidenced understanding, not fantasy.

    that we should prepare for the challenges to sustainability over the next 200 years, a strategy which easily accommodates significant global population reduction along with technological measures to stabilize then reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    .. and is a head-in-the sand abysmal failure to deal with the urgency of the escalating climate problem.
    It is about as much use as shutting the stable door after the horses are long gone.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/2014-breaks-heat-record-challenging-global-warming-skeptics/#li-comment-167187

    The MeyGen project will contribute to Scotland’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.

    People with some vision of the future, have more effective targets!!



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  • Alan, you principally cite the “now defunct” Global Climate Coalition founded in 1989 and disbanded in 2001. The exposure of their denialist propaganda machine finds damning expression in the 1995 Bernstein confidential report which admits “the scientific basis for the greenhouse effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.”

    1989 to 2000 was the Golden Age of climate science denial because the public was befuddled and inclined to be more incredulous about what it perceived as the “alarmist” claims of a “new” science. Indisputably well-funded “Toxic Tanks” are still with us representing special interests inevitable in oppositional politics and consistent with their rights in a democracy.

    But fast forward to 2015. Accumulating evidence of growing atmospheric co2 emissions and concentration, rising temperatures, melting ice streets and catastrophic weather events have combined to force a sea change in public opinion. What Bernstein told his handlers in 1995 is now the conventional wisdom. Consider the results from late 2014 Pew Research polls:

    In broad terms, developing alternative energy is viewed (by 60% to 30%) as a more important priority than expanding the exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas, according to a December 2014 survey…About eight-in-ten (81%) Americans support requirements for better fuel efficiency for cars and trucks.

    About two-thirds (64%) of the American public said in a November survey that they favored stricter limits on power plant emissions to mitigate climate change, while a 31% minority opposed stricter limits on emissions.

    Pew notes the partisan divide on the issues. Still, large minorities of Republicans joined with large majorities of democrats, adds up to about two out of every three Americans believing firmly that anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming is occurring and measures must be taken to mitigate harmful effects.

    Pew shows a disturbing disconnect between “belief” and “practice.” Most Americans will champion the abstract “priority” to search for alternative energy while still supporting the practical urgency of more offshore oil drilling. The apparent cognitive dissonance is resolved by the realization that nearly all vehicles run on petroleum. My 1999 Camry runs like a top on cheap gasoline. Telling me to buy an all electric car or a quasi-mythic hydrogen powered car is a non-starter. I can’t afford one and even if I could, I could not operate within the limited driving range and extensive charging times.

    The EIA Reports, projecting the growth of solar power on a global scale, provide an appealing pragmatic strategy for advocating policies and programs, funded on new paradigms in the public and private sectors, which will expedite projects to supply and install PV and CSP at an accelerating pace worldwide in coming decades.

    I recognize the value of educating the public unceasingly about the science and real-world catastrophes of increased atmospheric warming and engaging obstructionists in political, social and economic arenas. I intend no respect to these ongoing efforts. My comments on this thread have been directed to finding an elusive pragmatic solution to reversing co2 emissions rather than limiting advocacy to conservation, recycling and an assortment of piecemeal mitigations. The EIA Report offers just such a pragmatic solution based on empirical-scientific evidence that has realistic potential to comprehensively tackle the problem within 35 years. Wind turbine power, insulating buildings, using low-carbon materials and cleaner burning engines and fuels, using less polluting fertilizers with less polluting run-off components will also play important roles.



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  • But fast forward to 2015. Accumulating evidence of growing atmospheric co2 emissions and concentration, rising temperatures, melting ice streets and catastrophic weather events have combined to force a sea change in public opinion.

    AND

    Most Americans will champion the abstract “priority” to search for alternative energy while still supporting the practical urgency of more offshore oil drilling.

    This is the problem. If we agree with the first quote, why haven’t we done anything substantial. We are tinkering around the edges with token projects. We can’t build a wind farm because of “noise pollution” but we can compulsory install gas fracking wells on peoples farms, each with a V8 motor running 24/5 and burn off flares a constant. 800 acre farms with 5 wells. Just plain stupid.

    The second paragraph is a commentary on homo sapiens. We can agree with the evidence that there is a problem, but we won’t act because our short term evolutionary brain doesn’t have the faculties to make a decision that will benefit people in 100 years time. We are selfish @#@$%$ Irrational.

    We should have started in the 1990’s with a serious plan to phase out the use of fossil fuel across the world. We’ve wasted 25 critical years because of those highly funded global warming denier lobby groups have paralyzed the political systems around the world. This a a crime against humanity and I hope in the future, prosecutions follow.



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  • Melvin Jan 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    My comments on this thread have been directed to finding an elusive pragmatic solution to reversing co2 emissions rather than limiting advocacy to conservation, recycling and an assortment of piecemeal mitigations.

    The nature of low=carbon energy solutions is to tailor them to the local geographical conditions, so they have to be a co-ordinated collection of “piecemeal” systems. Soar thermal, photovoltaic, tidal, wave, wind, hydro-electric geothermal, (thorium) nuclear, biofuels, along with changes to transport systems, energy efficiency , insulating buildings etc.

    The EIA Report offers just such a pragmatic solution based on empirical-scientific evidence that has realistic potential to comprehensively tackle the problem within 35 years. Wind turbine power, insulating buildings, using low-carbon materials and cleaner burning engines and fuels, using less polluting fertilizers with less polluting run-off components will also play important roles.

    Glad we can agree on these. – I have advocated them in various earlier discussions.

    Here is some background information.

    http://cleantechnica.com/category/clean-energy/

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/06/japan-plans-ample-support-for-fuel-cell-car-technology/

    http://www.itheo.org/thorium-energy-conference-2012

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/folger-text
    In June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlined a $19.5 billion plan to defend New York City against rising seas. “Sandy was a temporary setback that can ultimately propel us forward,” he said. The mayor’s proposal calls for the construction of levees, local storm-surge barriers, sand dunes, oyster reefs, and more than 200 other measures.

    Ignoring the emissions problem, or failing to act soon enough, will lead to costs like these being incurred all over the planet!



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  • David R Allen: My apologies for not acknowledging your helpful reference to Merchants of Doubt. Obviously we have differences in perspective and emphasis. I too deplore the influence that pseudo-science propaganda funded mainly by fossil fuel industries has exerted on the media, the government and the public. Such propaganda has been crafted to promote climate science denial/skepticism contributing to obstructionism against efforts at remediation.

    We should have started in the 1990’s with a serious plan to phase out the use of fossil fuel across the world. We’ve wasted 25 critical years because of those highly funded global warming denier lobby groups have paralyzed the political systems around the world.

    The world’s people who woke up in the mornings of 1990 and for years later had no clue about the scale or urgency of cutting C02 emissions. Phasing out fossil fuels was not an option then because those energy sources were the only ones available (with hydropower being the only natural exception). Even the fuel efficient hybrid car did not come on the scene until 2000. Britain and other EU countries with small stagnant populations began bragging about small emission reductions actually outsourced along with their “dirty” manufacturing to China. Everyone was swimming in the same water.

    Today few national governments in Europe, the Americas and Asia can be blamed for global warming apathy. Most international leaders have joined a consensus recognizing the crisis and the havoc it will unleash on the planet. Accords to regulate and innovate for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 or sooner have proliferated throughout the international community.

    I especially favor jumping on the exponential growth potential of solar energy on technological and economic grounds. Alone among alternative energy sources, solar has demonstrated the robust supply-and-demand growth in world markets and the long-term staying power necessary to achieve energy hegemony and eclipse fossil fuel dominance in the 21st century. (The welter of statistics extrapolated from various scenarios and models makes projections about solar energy share attributed to future time frames highly uncertain -much less certain, I confess, than the outcomes I’ve quoted from diverse internet sources.)

    Needless to say, firm measured government regulation and funding will be necessary to accomplish the mission. Most folks, when they see the unprecedented benefits of the energy paradigm shift emerge before their own eyes, will join the parade.



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  • Melvin Jan 30, 2015 at 2:12 am

    It’s good to see you are using researched material for a more constructive discussion.

    I especially favor jumping on the exponential growth potential of solar energy on technological and economic grounds. Alone among alternative energy sources, solar has demonstrated the robust supply-and-demand growth in world markets and the long-term staying power necessary to achieve energy hegemony and eclipse fossil fuel dominance in the 21st century.

    This is a good source, but is certainly not alone demonstrating viability or potential for expansion. It depends on the local geography.
    In Norway electricity supply is predominantly powered hydro-electrical systems, while Scotland has a predominance of wind in moving towards its target of 100% renewable generation by 2020.
    Brazil is heavily into hydro and biofuels, but uses wind around its coast.

    The world’s people who woke up in the mornings of 1990 and for years later had no clue about the scale or urgency of cutting C02 emissions. Phasing out fossil fuels was not an option then because those energy sources were the only ones available (with hydropower being the only natural exception).

    That is only partially correct. In France electricity has been mainly nuclear for a long time, with some tidal power from the Rance barrage since the 1960s.

    The safer thorium nuclear was considered around 1947 onwards, but was dismissed by politicians because it was useless for making bombs! It is now being researched by the Chinese. ( see link in my previous comment.)



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  • Also in the mix of energy sources then was negawatts, energy efficiency. This was hugely cost effective then and is still the pre-eminent investment strategy for creating new capacity now.

    The mind boggling inefficiency of American vehicles, the astonishing use of incandescent display lamps in its department stores when Europe used clean high pressure discharge lamps was noticed keenly by outsiders. I spent a lot of time in the US consulting and designing energy efficient systems and products first for the auto majors then the lighting majors. California more often than not got it, but elsewhere energy use patterns were decades and decades behind best energy efficient practice.

    Thank goodness when Obama had a broke Detroit over a barrel his bail out with tax dollars was got at the cost of insisting upon improved energy efficiency in the vehicles.

    Where ever you looked in the US its success was bought on the back of copious amounts of energy. US road/highway specs call for only half the lifespan of European roads. This penny pinching short term investment was hinged on cheap concrete, from cheap energy, and huge quantities of CO2 generated twice as often.

    The tool of energy efficiency was always available to the US.

    (I am, rest assured, an equal opportunity offender. I can pick on Australia for its huge domestic electricity consumption and the UK for its antique housing stock, the thermally leakiest in Europe etc. etc. We all could have done a lot more a lot earlier.)



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  • phil rimmer Jan 30, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Thank goodness when Obama had a broke Detroit over a barrel his bail out with tax dollars was got at the cost of insisting upon improved energy efficiency in the vehicles.

    There does seem to be an almost pathological objection to being required to think and do pre-emptive planning.

    One feature I noticed almost straight away on a fairly recent visit to New York, was the absence of low-level safety side-bars on trucks.

    These as a requirement in Europe, help prevent cars, motorcycles, cycles, and pedestrians, ending up under the back wheels of trucks and trailers.
    Manufacturers and US operators would have to pay for these, and it would probably reduce the business of hospitals, insurance companies and lawyers, if they were fitted, but the pre-emptive planning reduces accident injuries. – and requires regulation plus up-front thinking!



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  • The mind boggling inefficiency of American vehicles, the astonishing use of incandescent display lamps in its department stores when Europe used clean high pressure discharge lamps was noticed keenly by outsiders.

    Once more Phil’s assessment is spot on. Alan4 reiterates the indispensable contribution of various other technologies other than solar to defang the threat of global warming. My little-Johnny-one-note focus on solar power development, besides suggesting feeble mindedness, has a geopolitical rationale. A moment’s research will discover that China, the U.S., and India are the three leading countries responsible for carbon dioxide emissions. Paradoxically, China has become both the poster child for carbon pollution, on track to account for 25% of world total, while also becoming the poster child for solar power production and consumption. While the whole world is watching, China may well become the laboratory where solar power will lead the revolution, the transition from fossil fuel to carbon neutral energy sources.

    China seems the most promising candidate to lead the world out of the wilderness with the pure light of solar replacing the filth of coal, the exemplary course for other countries to emulate. The United States allied with the European Union will certainly play a co-leadership role in the global paradigm shift to clean energy. (The U.S. is the second largest supplier of solar energy next to China.)

    Generalizations embedded in this scenario are subject to serious and extensive qualification. Wind power will play an important supplementary role to solar, notably in China, the U.S. and Northern Europe. (China also leads the world in wind turbine production and installation). Conservation, recycling, and multiple energy efficient technologies employed globally will also be mandatory for success.

    Solar nonetheless has been predicted to become the main source of clean energy in the paradigm shift away from fossil fuels in the 21st century. The motivational value of solar power development is integral to the success of the revolution, whatever value is added by other technologies. Humankind, in the sense of a global collective, must have a fail-safe, effective and affordable technology to put their faith and money into. Solar -growing exponentially in supply and demand while coming down in cost- is the perfect match for this requirement. Simply put, it works and people can see that it works both in the short term and the longer term.

    Solar also has far wider distribution for human use than popular belief assumes. Most of world population lives in sunny climates. China, India, and Africa; Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia -even Southern Europe (with proximity to North Africa) and Southern regions of the United States and Oceania are awash in sunny days. Integrating solar power from PV and CSP facilities into modified grids through building new networks of transmission lines will constitute the major but not insurmountable challenge. Supplementary alternative energy -hydropower, wind and even (gulp!) nuclear will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in more remote northern regions of the planet.

    I take under serious advisement, Sheepdog’s implicit warning that exorbitant expenditures on boondoggles like some offshore wind farms, tidal energy marine current turbines and other spectacular cost-benefit failures should be avoided. Public distraction from steady remunerative progress might morph into inaction and obstruction because of disillusionment with politicized environmental spendthrift excesses.



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  • I think your blessing of Solar is fine. Globally it is set fair with possibly its greatest potentials within reach of the poorest.

    It is worth noting that the US profile for renewables (according to Credit Suisse) for the next several decades will be 80% wind to 20% solar. Solar will figure much more strongly in Africa and Asia as it is 10 hours wide rather than four, with far more opportunity for lateral feed out of insolated zones, and has landmass a full 15 degrees of latitude high, a full 15 degrees nearer the equator. It also has valuable markets to the north (mainly) and south.

    Bless away, but don’t curse other technologies just yet. Decades of thinking have gone into all of this though the work is underfunded and behind the curve. We need a variety of eggs in our basket with their differing advantages and disadvatages and I must repeat until clear, off shore wind is a commercially functional R&D effort for those involved. We need to do these things to master them and there is a lot to get right. There are not many projects going ahead at the moment, consistent with this exploratory mode. Solar started small and expensive $76/watt in 1977, now at 36cents/watt it can be huge. It had to go through the pain of early losses and project failure to get where it is today. All new technologies are bleeding edge until they die or succeed.

    Executive summaries are difficult to get right in the few paragraphs allowed. The trick, I’ve found is not to risk hostages to fortune with overly much dogmatic conviction. Remember if we have a hotter planet we may get higher water content in the atmosphere, more cloud cover possibly, but also a more volatile, energetic weather system with higher winds.



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