Deniers club: Meet the people clouding the climate change debate

Sep 19, 2016

By Michael Mann and Tom Toles

August tied July as the hottest month on record, according to NASA data released this past week. This year we’ve seen half a dozen thousand-year floods, along with epic droughts. Mother Nature is telling us there’s a problem. The long-term trend lines are clear. Yet we have a Republican presidential nominee who has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax.” “Perhaps there’s a minor effect,” Donald Trump told The Washington Post’s editorial board, “but I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change.” So it goes in the madhouse of the climate debate. Even as the evidence has become unmistakable, and even though the alarm has been sounded several times, public policy has been paralyzed — sometimes from ignorance, sometimes from uncertainty, but often from a campaign of deliberate misinformation. Here are some of the worst offenders.


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155 comments on “Deniers club: Meet the people clouding the climate change debate

  • Here’s what makes me nuts:

    The science and explanation that informs about global warming is simple, eloquent, and demonstrable. It boils down (no pun intended) to the only two things that definitely exist — matter and energy. There are more particles (matter) in the atmosphere than before and these particles are moving faster than before because of the temperature (energy). Now here’s the part that pisses me off.

    If your business, your paycheck, your children’s next meal relies on your business fucking up our earth…. I get it…. i am ashamed, i disagree with you and all the rest of the shit that can be said…. BUT, step up and fucking say it to me. Be a grown up. Own it. Say, “look, asshole, I simply do not prioritize the environment above my family thriving…” or whatever the story may be. But STOP fucking challenging my intellect and telling me that my science doesn’t check out as if you have any clue as to what science is or how it works.

    The problem is dishonesty. Just stand up and say that your profit margin is more important than my earth. At least we’d be able to speak to one another. But when you stand there and assault what I stand for and hide behind denial and name calling…. well…. now we have to fight.



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  • shoe … why not try it like this ….
    .
    it’s obvious to all but the most obtuse that our climate is changing, as it always does. And given the changes in our ice caps, it’s pretty clear that it’s getting warmer. Now we, as a group need to determine what to do about it. So if you are think you have the solution, show it by living your solution. If you think it’s man made, but you own four homes and 6 cars and jet around the world to preach your “solution”, come clean. Admit it to us and to yourself. Own it. If your livelihood, and your families next meal depends on you burning copious fossil fuels, own that when you suggest that burning fossil fuels is the problem. Don’t try to hide behind your offsetting donation to some “green” charity, walk your walk. In fact, if you truly believe it’s fossil fuels that are harming our planet, stop using them. You’ll actually garner some respect and you may turn a few heads.
    .
    if you aren’t prepared to man up, stop pointing fingers at the rest of the world.
    .
    The problem is dishonesty. If you have a vested interest in the proposed solution you are touting, be upfront. If you aren’t starting by making the changes yourself, step aside and let the grown ups speak. Because you’ve shown yourself for what you are. An opportunist who does not believe what they are saying.
    .
    Once that is settled, we can get down to the business of how best to deal with what is happening. Once the charlatans and vested interests are weeded out, we can discuss the benefits of conservation, new technologies, mitigation of the results of climate change and how to deal with the inevitable changes to the world. And everyone in Florida can move to higher ground.



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  • DC Toronto #3
    Sep 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

    So if you are think you have the solution, show it by living your solution. If you think it’s man made, but you own four homes and 6 cars and jet around the world to preach your “solution”, come clean.

    There are indeed some rich hypocrites around, but for most people, the problem is lack of awareness of low-carbon options, and confusion from “merchants of doubt” promoted by media muppets who will sell any story which makes them money now!

    Admit it to us and to yourself. Own it. If your livelihood, and your families next meal depends on you burning copious fossil fuels,

    Such people clearly need to move to new jobs and a new life style, but collective efforts are needed with governments and large companies leading.

    own that when you suggest that burning fossil fuels is the problem.

    The reason why it is currently “the problem”, is because of starts delayed by disinformation campaigns and misdirection of investments by prevaricating politicians!

    Don’t try to hide behind your offsetting donation to some “green” charity, walk your walk. In fact, if you truly believe it’s fossil fuels that are harming our planet, stop using them.

    Individuals can’t simply stop using electricity, but we can progressively change to low carbon generating systems appropriate to the local geographical conditions which can provide energy from sun, wind, tides, geothermal heat, hydroelectric potential, biofuels etc. We can also reduce waste, as with wall and roof insulation, LED lighting, high efficiency appliances, and heat recovery systems. Electrification of transport and vehicles can also reduce carbon burning if green sources are used.

    You’ll actually garner some respect and you may turn a few heads.

    People can also make collective political decisions in voting for climate-savvy responsible candidates, and ensuring that their pension funds are not badly invested in obsolete, potentially bankrupt, carbon based industries.
    The ethical and smart money is already getting out of these potentially “stranded assets”, and reinvesting in green and low carbon technologies.

    http://www.qualenergia.it/sites/default/files/articolo-doc/01416%20Divestment%20and%20fossil%20fuel%20assets%20report%20-%20web.pdf

    There are a wide range of current and emerging risks that could result in ‘stranded assets’, where environmentally unsustainable assets suffer from unanticipated or premature write-offs, downward revaluations or are converted to liabilities.
    These risks are poorly understood and are regularly mispriced, which has resulted in a significant over-exposure to environmentally unsustainable assets throughout our financial and economic systems.
    Some of these risk factors include:
    .
    Environmental challenges (e.g. climate change, water constraints)
    .
    Changing resource landscapes (e.g. shale gas, phosphate)
    .
    New government regulations (e.g. carbon pricing, air pollution regulation)
    .
    Falling clean technology costs (e.g. solar PV, onshore wind)
    .
    Evolving social norms (e.g. fossil fuel divestment) and consumer behaviour (e.g. certification schemes)
    .
    Litigation and changing statutory interpretations (e.g. changes in the application of existing laws and legislation)




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  • DC Toronto

    if you aren’t prepared to man up, stop pointing fingers at the rest of the world.

    The problem is dishonesty. If you have a vested interest in the proposed solution you are touting, be upfront. If you aren’t starting by making the changes yourself, step aside and let the grown ups speak. Because you’ve shown yourself for what you are. An opportunist who does not believe what they are saying.

    Once that is settled, we can get down to the business of how best to deal with what is happening. Once the charlatans and vested interests are weeded out, we can discuss the benefits of conservation, new technologies, mitigation of the results of climate change and how to deal with the inevitable changes to the world. And everyone in Florida can move to higher ground.

    I work in eco-technology and am now seeking to wrap the various projects into a circular economy business model. I work with a large number of businesses (peopled mostly by folk half my age). My colleagues attend conferences and meet very many more. Like me they all walk the walk. We eat our own dog food.

    Your imputation, as far as I can see is utterly specious.

    Folk seem often to put off action themselves because… Oh… “others aren’t doing anything yet” or “the technology isn’t here yet”. Simply buying the best eco products currently available… purchasing electrical power from eco-vendors… not buying that SUV but a micro-turboed one litre compact, an electric bike for the local shopping and hiring the SUV for your holiday… giving a damn enough to do this… will very, very quickly drive the changes we all seek.

    I can point all the fingers I like and I point them first and most accusingly at all the obfuscaters.

    “No charlatans then we’ll listen.”

    How’s that going to work? How will you ever be sure without actually engaging and learning yourself?



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  • DC Toronto #3
    Sep 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

    The problem is dishonesty. If you have a vested interest in the proposed solution you are touting, be upfront. If you aren’t starting by making the changes yourself, step aside and let the grown ups speak. Because you’ve shown yourself for what you are. An opportunist who does not believe what they are saying.

    The problem is indeed dishonesty! The oil companies and mining companies were indeed opportunists when the PR departments as “liars for profit” and “merchants of doubt”, spread disinformation about climate science and climate scientists. The fact was, that for most of them their own company expert scientists were telling them that the evidence was sound, but “liars for profit”, don’t let things like evidence get in the way of propaganda campaigns!

    .
    Once that is settled, we can get down to the business of how best to deal with what is happening. Once the charlatans and vested interests are weeded out, we can discuss the benefits of conservation, new technologies, mitigation of the results of climate change and how to deal with the inevitable changes to the world.

    There is absolutely no need to wait for the propagandists and charlatans to be weeded out!
    The science is clear and the science advisors already know who the charlatans are!
    Most deniers are science illiterates anyway!

    The charlatans however, have no intention of admitting their dishonesty, respecting scientific expertise, or shutting up, so the ignoramus denial noise in the media is likely to continue!

    The real issues are in the debates between science, technology, and business experts, about which are the best options for particular locations, particular community and business needs, and how to get these in place on realistic timescales.



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  • 7
    Pinball1970 says:

    @1

    Do you not think that some of the guys are deluded or just dont get the science?

    If they are dumb enough to embrace a 6 day creation or Moses parting the red sea climate change (it seems to be rich republicans mainly) would be akin to a lecture on quantum entanglement.

    I agree that they just want to make money

    The guy in this YT post is pretty convincing and would be to a layman who wants to hear what he wants to hear.

    Luckily we have people like Brian Cox! He came prepared – 5.19

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVB-rpC2x3w



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  • DC, I think we are saying mostly the same type of thing. When Phil and Alan4 bring their formidable assets to the table, it makes our table bigger. Both of you are dead on with the idea of informing and educating. Then pinball makes the very good point of asking if they “believe” in dumb shit, maybe they don’t get the science…. and pinball is right.
    I think this demonstrates something. The science is not really the debate. What to do with it is. And my point was that i’d rather be honestly stabbed in the front than backstabbed by dishonest people.



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  • 9
    Pinball1970 says:

    @8 Hi Crooked
    Honest truth is I don’t understand it all and I rarely comment on climate change themes on here because of that.
    I am lazy and I trust the scientists on this.
    Another good compass is Donald Trump, if he is against an idea the chances are it’s a good one.



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  • SO depressing. The USA has an astonishing number of numbnuts- which includes CC deniers, god-botherers,
    conspiracy freaks and many others. Arguing logic with such jellyfish-brains is futile; some other techniques
    may be effective but I’ve yet to find one.
    A lifelong friend in England is thus afflicted and it boils down to one simple thing- his electricity bill!
    Apparently the universe has been set up to penalise him personally… what can you say?



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  • Another load of nonsense from Michael Mann

    We have a Denier among us! God be praised! It MUST be true- ‘cos he says so.
    As my Ph.D brother-in-law once said- ‘because I say so’… and I thought he was
    kidding me.



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  • 15
    rocket888 says:

    @pinball1970

    I tried to read that chart held up by Brian Cox entitled “global land-ocean temperature (something)” and a comment was made in the video about the data from the 1940’s – to which everyone laughed at the stupid climate denier.

    Here’s what bothers me about that chart:

    Where did Brian Cox get the data for that chart? Did he just google it? Whenever I’ve tried to find “raw” temperature data online, I’ve only been able to find data that was produced by computer filter software – whose output was then called “the raw data”. When I read the code (remember those leaked emails, called climategate) I discovered various correcting algorithms were in use, and there were some comments about values that seemed too low, so they were adjusted. So, how can anyone be so sure about the data in that chart? Where at minimum are the error range estimates?

    I do know for certain that prior to 1950 or so there were few computers around. Even in the ‘50s the mainframes were pretty clunky and everything you did involved punching holes into cards or paper tape.

    So, I think that it’s fair to assume that the raw data before 1950 was not originally computerized. So by whom and when was this old data digitized? Who checked it? Was the original raw data hand written? Where was this data stored for all these years and in what form? What “world” coverage was available back then?

    So, what was the raw data that was used to make the left half of the Cox chart?

    One of my first jobs (circa 1960’s), involved digitizing hand written data on the elevations of various beaches and then to create graphs for erosion studies. I didn’t want to do it by hand, so I learned to program a punch card Univac computer. I had data produced by volunteers who filled out sheets by walking around a beach and looking at sand levels on pipes sunk in a grid. Nobody doubled checked the data, and later someone copied the data onto optical scanning forms (pencil marks on sheets of paper). It was my job to digitize that data. Oh, and did I mention that putting wrinkled paper into a sheet reader could be rather exciting – when it jammed?

    When I finally produced the results and I showed it to my boss, he said “That’s neat – uh, but how do you know it’s right?” That was my first experience with computer data reduction. I never forgot that lesson. There were many things that could go wrong.

    Years later when I worked for NASA, I was on a project to archive old (raw) computer tape data from the early unmanned missions and transfer them to CDs. The tapes had been stored (expensively) in a controlled environment, and still most of the data was not even readable. And we were barely funded since nobody really was even interested in the raw data any longer. Could this be the case for the temperature data before 1950? Who was motivated to secure all the world data on temperature before anyone knew about climate change and when all we had was paper to store data on?

    I also worked at a pre-computerized life insurance company where everything was on paper, but we had to do everything twice, once by me and again by an independent checker. When money is at stake, you have to make sure it’s right. I wonder how much care was put into global temperature measurements way back in the 1940’s. What was the motivation to get it right, after all the world was at war, and not with climate deniers. Who had the time to check some temperature data to make sure it was right.

    So as the old computer saying goes: GIGO. Or as my old boss said, “…is it right?”



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  • Articles like this obscure the substance and scope of the global warming process by
    yucking up the foolish gibberish of a handful of American deniers whose names have become
    infamous. The operative term for understanding emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases that drive up atmospheric temperatures is “GLOBAL.” Currently China has far surpassed the United States in such emissions, yet nowhere on this list does the reader find the names of the Chinese industrial planners who are building
    coal-fired plants at a clip of one per week. Tar and feather Sarah Palin, gloat in the sacrificial ritual of the clownish scapegoat, then sleep peacefully in the delusion that the Washington Post is fighting climate change? I don’t think so.



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  • Currently China has far surpassed the United States in such emissions, yet nowhere on this list does the reader find the names of the Chinese industrial planners who are building coal-fired plants at a clip of one per week.

    Melvin, this rocketed China from nowhere to Manufacturer of the World in decades. Astonishing. If you look at all industrialisations in history they always went through peaks of carbon intensity until they caught up. The UK started first and went through the biggest peak of all, making new geography, the Black Country. All industrialising nations went through subsequently lower peaks and as we’ve discussed future industrialisations will be the most benign yet. China’s industrialising process was exceptionally brief.

    The facts

    China has 4.3 times the population

    China use only 30% of the energy per person compared to the USA.

    24.7% of their power is renewable, 13.8% for the USA

    China has probably gone through peak CO2

    The USA’s emissions continue to rise with the biggest contributor to the rise, the domestic sector. Bamboozelors have a lot to answer for. The capacity of the American citizen to consume power is prodigious compared to her Chinese counterpart.

    Ordinary Americans pointing fingers at others on every occasion, justifying their own inaction, without the pertinent facts are the roadblock too.

    Bamboozelers come in all flavours.



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  • rocket888 #15
    Sep 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Where did Brian Cox get the data for that chart?

    He got it from thousands of relevant independent studies which confirmed each other’s findings.

    Did he just google it?

    Brian Cox is a professor of physics at a world-leading university (UMIST)!
    He knows how to find and read peer-reviewed science papers and articles.

    Whenever I’ve tried to find “raw” temperature data online, I’ve only been able to find data that was produced by computer filter software – whose output was then called “the raw data”.

    It is a regular ploy of denial campaigns, to direct those who cannot understand the subject to look for “raw-data” – implying that the scientific studies and (thousands of) scientists are not to be trusted with honesty or competence!
    The ironical feature is that the PR agencies making these assertions, have no regard whatever for truth, are usually scientifically illiterate, AND unaware of the vast range of scientific data available.
    It’s like throwing some amateur citizen into the Pacific Ocean in a park rowing boat, and telling them to evaluate all the decades of navigation data – while feeding them mountains of disinformation about satellites, so (as with creationists) they can choose what they “want to believe”!

    When I read the code (remember those leaked emails, called climategate)

    Ah! The climategate disinformation campaign, which was thoroughly investigated and found to consist of groundless allegations and doubt-mongering!

    Some examples of processed “raw data” are linked on this other discussion. (even photographs have to be processed joined into larger panoramas, and the scale calculated)
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/09/obama-on-climate-change-the-trends-are-terrifying/#li-comment-211306

    There is of course years of “raw data” from every Earth monitoring satellite from every space agency, and every ground station, so in a few centuries or millennia, you could probably read through the data which has accumulated to date!

    Of course while you were reading the first few studies (which took several years each to conduct), several more centuries of reading would be accumulating “raw data”!

    That is why we employ (thousands of) expert scientists, mathematicians, computer specialists and software developers!

    I have seen many people parroting the call for “raw data”!
    It generally indicates they have no idea about how data is generated, with many not even knowing what are the basic instruments on satellites or weather stations, or the techniques, which are used to make this into intelligible information.

    As I said earlier, their argument is: “I don’t know what to measure or how to measure, so these high-tech scientists are wrong because I have no idea how they work or what their instruments do, so I will shout for mountains of input data which I (and the public) can’t understand”! – and then play the game of “god-of-gaps” disinformation doubt-mongering, with other science illiterates and gullibles, – pretending that climate scientists are as ignorant and clueless as they are!



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  • rocket888 #15
    Sep 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Whenever I’ve tried to find “raw” temperature data online, I’ve only been able to find data that was produced by computer filter software – whose output was then called “the raw data”.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=88607

    In 136 years of modern record-keeping, July 2016 was the warmest July according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

    The animated figure above {on the link} shows global temperature anomalies for every month since 1880, a result of the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) model run by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. Each line shows how much the global monthly temperature was above or below the annual global mean from 1980–2015. Note how monthly temperature anomalies rise over the 136-year record.

    The GISS team assembles its temperature analysis from publicly available data acquired by roughly 6,300 meteorological stations around the world; by ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature; and by Antarctic research stations.

    So when you have finished reading and evaluating the “raw data” instrument readings and calculations from those, 6,300 or so records, come back and we can discuss satellite instrumentation (multi-spectral analysis and false-colour imaging, ice penetrating radar, ground penetrating radar, satellites monitoring gravity anomalies, Sentinel atmospheric remote sensing, etc).



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  • https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/09/the-house-science-committees-anti-science-rampage/

    It came from Lamar Smith, the Texas congressman who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and it demanded that the N.O.A.A. scientists turn over records and internal communications. They had already turned over their data in response to previous requests but refused to turn over scientists’ correspondence. In a statement, Smith accused the N.O.A.A. scientists of falsifying their data:

    Smith has a background in American studies and law, not science. He has, however, received more than six hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from the oil-and-gas industry during his time in Congress—more than from any other single industry. With a focus that is unprecedented, he’s now using his position to attack scientists and activists who work on climate change. Under his leadership, the committee has issued more subpoenas than it had during its previous fifty-four-year history.

    Here is a classic example of a sponsored science denier, who, having been given the data, has decided it does not tell him or his sponsors what they want to hear, so (like the UEA email conspiracy theorists), he is demanding more irrelevant stuff to cherry-pick for misquotes to use for media doubt-mongering, while he laughably makes up spurious allegations about scientists competence and integrity!

    He is probably too scientifically illiterate to use a scientific calculator, let alone evaluate scientific papers, but in no way feels inhibited by his personal ignorance!



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  • Global warming and carbon dioxide producing industries, individuals, etc is the classic ethical dilemma of the tragedy of the commons. The price of gasoline and jet fuel should reflect it’s damage to all of our commons.



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  • bonnie2 #22
    Sep 22, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Low oil prices are currently stunting local recycling efforts.

    They are also bankrupting oil exploration companies working in marginal areas – which is the plan of the Saudi oil producers, trying to corner the market and reduce competition.

    A follow up from cheap sources of green energy such as wind, could push more polluting industries out of production, if green developments are given political priority.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/09/obama-on-climate-change-the-trends-are-terrifying/#li-comment-211496

    China has been building two wind turbines every hour, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has told BBC News.

    This is the world’s biggest programme of turbine installation, double that of its nearest rival, the US.

    The nation’s entire annual increase in energy demand has been fulfilled from the wind.



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  • Melvin #16
    Sep 21, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Articles like this obscure the substance and scope of the global warming process by yucking up the foolish gibberish of a handful of American deniers whose names have become infamous.

    Unfortunately stardom in the US media is more dependent funded campaigns and sponsorship, than on competence, honesty and accuracy!
    The rantings of “Stupidity Smith” (@#20), are much more likely to be presented in the public media as credible claims, than the work of a thousand honest expert scientists who have no PR budgets!



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  • @Alan #24

    Smith is just reflecting the attitude of the deniers, as was the late Justice Scalia in his infamous quote, “I told you before I’m not a scientist.” Over a brief flutter of laughter from observers, he added, “That’s why I don’t want to have to deal with global warming, to tell you the truth.”



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  • @ Phil: “Melvin, this rocketed China from nowhere to Manufacturer of the World in decades. Astonishing. If you look at all industrialisations in history they always went through peaks of carbon intensity until they caught up…”

    I’m aware of the history of industrialization. Industrialization is not a stage humankind has passed through, it is the reality we live in. “Peaks of carbon intensity” is both a useful and misleading phrase. Fossil fuel power plant and engine efficiency coupled with clean refining, “scrubbing,” carbon capture, etc. has pushed the amount of energy generated per unit of cleaner fuel to impressive heights. “Intensity,” however, has not put global carbon emissions in the rear view mirror. Population growth will more than double over 1990 levels by 2050 -33 years away from us. Billions of people multiplied in the near future are energy poor. Demand for fossil fuels will soar during the next three decades in non-OECD countries with greenhouse gas levels rising at rates studies can only speculate. Even with more renewables coming on line, gradual and slight drops in global levels will not put a dent in the 80% + cutbacks projected as necessary to address the magnitude of the problem.

    If world population had stabilized in 1990 then embarked on a gradual downward trajectory toward mid 1960s levels (about 3.5 billion) through slightly sub-replacement total fertility rates, then global warming might well have fallen within a manageable range. Official silence from world leaders about overpopulation -the growing population crisis especially in Africa but also in Asia outside of Europe, North America and Australasia- will be the fatal absurdity of our times. Turning on buffoons who deny global warming is an impotent refuge for those who are clueless about the monstrous overbreeding of Homo sapiens on this planet.



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  • @ #20

    [Lamar Smith] is probably too scientifically illiterate to use a scientific calculator, let alone evaluate scientific papers, but in no way feels inhibited by his personal ignorance!

    It may or may not be true that Mr. Smith is scientifically illiterate, but that’s not the real problem anyway. The real problem here is that Mr. Smith has an agenda and priorities motivated entirely by greed for short-term (his lifetime) financial gains and seems to have no concern for what “might” happen after he’s gone off to “the good place”. If this were not the case, he probably would not have been “elected” in the first place and he certainly would not have been selected to chair this “science” committee.



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  • Melvin,

    I see you have again deflected the need to push for policy changes and simply retreated into trend fatalism. Pining for earlier population control is fatuous. Population cannot be turned around anywhere near as fast as people imagine. The health dividend ensures effectively all 1.9bn children under 16 alive now will be alive in 2090. Unless you can stop them reproducing in the next twenty years, the population will continue to grow even with increasingly ubiquitous negative birth replacement rates due to rapidly improving health and growing lifespans. It is generally considered the health dividend produces a two generation run-on.

    The huge birth rates of Africa and still significant birthrates of the Indian subcontinent are supplemented by these decent health dividends and failing the imposition of pan African dictatorships and programs like the one child policy of Mao’s China, nothing much is going to halt this slow train wreck. The best we can do because birthrate is inversely proportional to personal wealth in societies is lift people as quickly as possible out of poverty, educate women and make them financially self sufficient and reduce the need for children as biddable slaves/pension. We do this in part by making them energy self sufficient, and not wasting money on soon to be useless fossil fuel infrastructure. From a clean start now, in solar rich areas, there need be no carbon spike. The greatest growth in IT and Lighting in Africa is the off-grid sector. Off-grid lifts more people more quickly out of poverty in Africa than any other technological inovation. Education and commerce are transformed, agricultural expertise disseminated, people connected.

    http://www.energynet.co.uk/event/africa-energy-forum-grid-2016

    The biggest problem remains the energy gluttonous individuals of first world countries (American domestic consumtion was the growth point there) and, I repeat, trend-fatalism and a disinclination to affect policy by voting and purchasing power. The current EIA projections for Chinese coal use are now untirely undercut by circumstance, the energy efficiency advances ahead of the curve and on the fly policy changes, bringing forward the projected peak at 2025 to 2013.

    So now I make it that you have a grand total of four deflections and excuses for fatalism and innaction with this latest, population.

    People live for a long time these days. Declining populations will have to wait patiently through our demographic time bomb and also lifting people out of poverty. Far faster is a policy change that creates new businesses and brings political stability to all players.

    The technology is here and ready to significantly subvert the trends that depress you. Will it be enough? No, not for my kids or theirs, but we can do significantly better than the trends currently extrapolated.

    I claim we are waiting for you, Melvin and folk like you, more than any.



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  • @Phil: “… Pining for earlier population control is fatuous. Population cannot be turned around anywhere near as fast as people imagine.”

    I agree that pining for earlier benchmarks is fatuous. That’s why world leaders are no longer talking about reducing carbon emissions below 1990 levels and have moved on to talking about reductions below 2005 levels. By 2020, talking about 2005 levels will probably acquire a pining-for-the-past stigma and a “realistic” benchmark will be advanced to 2010.

    Sub-Saharan Africa’s total fertility rate of 5 children per woman (on average) is indeed horrendous and not quickly checked with 40 something per cent of the population under 15. You apparently refer to population momentum with huge cohorts of women coming into their childbearing years generating growth for decades after replacement fertility is achieved. You also apparently recognize that the parallel pulse of greenhouse gas emissions in our lifetime will inflict harm for decades after effective reductions.

    The biggest problem remains the energy gluttonous individuals of first world countries (American domestic consumtion was the growth point there)

    There is some truth here. But “Gluttonous individuals” is largely an exercise in scapegoating because everyone in the world wants “a better life for themselves and their families.” The millions of “refugees” from Syria – in reality mostly economic migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and other assorted hellholes- are fleeing to Europe because they want to enjoy the European standard of living with high energy consumption at the core. “The biggest problem” is threefold: People, People, People.

    Conservation marks the man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness but how much do first world countries cut back on energy consumption -50%? 60% while the developing world matches the decrease with population increase?

    Finally I concur that each of us should do our part in conserving and pushing green policy but we see what we see with respect to “trends-currently-extrapolated.” In my view China will make marvelous gains in wind turbine generated energy while holding onto the carbon emissions crown for decades. And God knows what shitloads of pollution are going to come out of India and Africa in the near future. The picture is mixed and very, very clouded.



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  • Melvin, I feel we are now converging.

    But “Gluttonous individuals” is largely an exercise in scapegoating because everyone in the world wants “a better life for themselves and their families.”

    It is an excercise in fingerpointing specifically at those who most fingerpoint at (say) the Chinese, who are only responsible for 30% of their CO2, and most deny they are the problem.

    Here you can see per capita emissions.

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

    US 16.5 tons per capita

    China 7.6 tons per capita

    On coal there is a joint top position with the US and China tying at 2.1t/c.

    China has probably peaked in CO2 and recently announced a large cutback in their coal programme. The US hasn’t. Its still increasing in CO2 mostly because of domestic energy consumption. (The US and commercial sectors are doing much better often class leading when they are not old money enterprises.)

    The list of high profile AGW deniers and the right wing stance on the issue is the instigator of this US domestic failure to comprehend their own obligations to act. Little such resistance to the truth of AGW within the populace exists in Europe. (Its difficult to tell about personal views in China. But the daily reality of coal and cars is a choking fact for very many.)

    What can turn on a dime? Not population, seemingly not long term investment plans when you are a mature democracy. Public opinion, public buying habits. A look at public reactions to something like shunning sexism, acceptance of gay marriage show a long slow start then a rapid shift of the majority and a long slow tail for the stragglers.

    American public attitude can flip whole industries, can secure changes in long term investment plans.

    We must pull every lever with them



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  • Correction

    the Chinese, who are only responsible for 30% of their CO2,

    should read

    “the Chinese who are only responsible for 30% as much energy consumption per capita.”

    CO2 per capita followed.



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  • The picture of the sign in the OP, illustrates the use of “Biblical interpretation blinkers”, showing a “prediction” of global warming from Luke’s fairy story!
    ( Not sure what earthquakes have to do with it! – But hey – faith-blinkers can interpret any words to say “God-did-it”!- and “Come to our proselytising website for more ‘information’,” is of course included. )



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  • DC Toronto #3
    Sep 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

    it’s obvious to all but the most obtuse that our climate is changing, as it always does. And given the changes in our ice caps, it’s pretty clear that it’s getting warmer.
    Now we, as a group need to determine what to do about it.

    I think the need for such a group to determine what to do about it, has been recognised and acted upon for several years now!

    It’s quite a long time since the IPCC was set up to co-ordinate scientific research, study computer models which make predictions of where and how changes are and will be taking place, and make the conclusions and expert recommendations to governments, industries and members of the public who are interested in studying them.

    https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/

    The decision to prepare a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was taken by the members of the IPCC at its 28th Session (09-10 April 2008, Budapest, Hungary). Following the election of the new IPCC Bureau at the 29th Session of the IPCC (31 August – 04 September 2008, Geneva, Switzerland) and discussions about future IPCC activities at the 30th Session of the IPCC (21-23 April 2009, Antalya, Turkey), a Scoping Meeting was held (13-17 July 2009, Venice, Italy) to develop the scope and outline of the AR5. The resulting outlines for the three Working Group contributions to the AR5 were approved by the 31st Session of the IPCC in Bali (26-29 October 2009).

    Each Working Group contribution to the AR5 has been published and is available commercially from Cambridge University Press. Hard copies of the Summaries for Policymakers, Technical Summaries of the Working Group contributions and the AR5 Synthesis Report in English and in the UN official languages, as well as electronic versions of the full reports, can be obtained free of charge from the IPCC Secretariat once they have been published and translated.



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  • “the Chinese who are only responsible for 30% as much energy consumption per capita.” Phil, you’re making my argument. Per capita fossil fuel consumption and per capita carbon emissions tie the increase in global warming to population growth. All along your main premise is that the world could be ready now to implement
    a zero-emissions energy infrastructure with shovel-ready technology, government policy and subsidy changes, and plain will power.

    Also: Per capita emissions figures by nation are misleading in isolation. China’s 7.6 per capita reflects a radically different energy mix than the United Kingdom’s comparable 7.96, resulting mainly from massive coal-fired plants while much of the population stays mired in consumer poverty. Other anomalies among nations have nothing to do with perverse indulgence in excess or the virtue of conservation.



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  • @crooked #8
    I’m not sure we are saying the same things. I don’t really think you need to be told by the guys in oil/gas that their paycheques depend on, well … oil and gas. That’s pretty obvious. And the world needs oil and gas. We are not about to stop using fossil fuels, so protesting against them is foolish and hits the wrong target.
    .
    ‘You may be correct that many don’t understand the science. I’m certainly one of them. I’ll admit that. But even those who purport to understand it take much on faith. See the discussion on this thread about the collection of data. Neither side of that debate has an answer, one says he’s reviewed leaked computer algorithms (post #15) while another says that Mr Cox knows “how to find and read peer-reviewed science papers and articles” (post #18) and decries that climate ‘deniers’ favorite tactic is to obfuscate.
    .
    that may be true. But if you want to convince others of your position on this subject you need not only good science, but you need to be honest with those you seek to convince. As seen above, neither the supporters nor the sceptics have actual information to support their claims on this thread. both rely on their confidence in the information and the source that they rely on.
    .
    my complaint is that those at the front of the climate debate are often hypocritical to the point that they can not be possibly believed. people like Gore and Canada’s David Suzuki leave large carbon footprints in their bid to convince the rest of us to do our part.
    .
    [Disparaging personal remark about another user removed by moderator.]
    .
    But as I said, it does seem quite obvious that our planet is warming and our climate is going through a change. Outright denial is the realm of trolls and fools. The next big question however is what to do. So far many of the suggestions have later been shown to have many enriching benefits for the proponents of said solution. Carbon caps and trading come to mind. Add that to the outrageous cost of electricity in my province of residence, much of it related to green initiatives, and you get stagnation of a delay in taking action.
    .
    I don’t disagree that something should be done. Agreeing on what to do is the hard part. Hard enough in one Canadian province. Harder still among nations. And almost impossible on a worldwide scale. And in the end, the world will still be here. Temperature and weather patterns might change, but the world will not disappear, and in the end, humans will adapt as needed to survive.



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  • @Alan4discussion #4
    I think you missed the point I was making. Having climate “champions” like David Suzuki flying around the world to talk about greenhouse gas emissions is the height of hypocrisy. Are you suggesting they should stop? What about the IPCC flitting around for their meetings. Seriously? Venice is the best place for them to meet? Are they suggesting this is the lowest carbon footprint meeting place they can find? (post #33)
    .
    Besides, they do not make policy for countries, they simply advise on the issue. In Canada, we make our own decisions about how to structure our economy. A big part of which is natural resources including oil. You may not like our oil, but one thing that is missing (admittedly I haven’t researched completely) is a full costing of the various sources of oil. Our processing is very intensive (to be kind) however there are no wars fought to ensure our oil flows. Comprehensive costing is needed to make truly effective decisions. To date I am not aware of any.
    .
    And before you consider railing against Canadian production, consider that in this world, Canada is a net Carbon absorber by an estimated 20-30% more than we emit. If we are going to make economic and social decisions, at the very least try to have all the facts on hand before attempting to make those decisions.



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  • @ phil #5
    if the “others” who are not yet acting to curb their footprint are the same people who are banging the drum for conservation by others, then yes, it does make sense to follow their actions and be suspicious of their words.
    .
    Somehow I’m not surprised that you ride an ebike. But I doubt it’s an issue of conservation of fossil fuels.



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  • DC Toronto #35
    Sep 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    That’s pretty obvious. And the world needs oil and gas. We are not about to stop using fossil fuels, so protesting against them is foolish and hits the wrong target.

    While we can’t stop instantly, it is a crass assumption to claim that technologies are not available, or going to soon become available, to provide alternatives.
    Have you looked at biofuel use in Brazil, or the new developments in battery and smart grid technologies? ?

    ‘You may be correct that many don’t understand the science. I’m certainly one of them. I’ll admit that.

    I think that is an issue you should try to address before making pronouncements on the subject. There is a big difference between a lack of information and someone’s personal lack of awareness of it.

    But even those who purport to understand it take much on faith.

    Confidence in scientific methods which cross-check information and measurements, multiple times and multiple ways and publish it for wider scrutiny, is not simple “faith” or whimsical opinion!

    See the discussion on this thread about the collection of data. Neither side of that debate has an answer,

    That is simply an assumed false equivalence, based on a lack of research.
    The work on man made global warming has been checked in details – ranging from global coal, oil, and gas production figures, to weather stations and satellite temperature and heat measurements over decades.

    one says he’s reviewed leaked computer algorithms (post #15)

    I think he said he studied computer algorithms in the 1950s.
    The technology has moved on rather a lot since then.

    while another says that Mr Cox knows “how to find and read peer-reviewed science papers and articles” (post #18)

    That would be because professors of physics DO know how to find and read research papers on which they base their work and their presentations.

    It is also because I have read up on the information I would expect him to use.

    and decries that climate ‘deniers’ favorite tactic is to obfuscate.

    Some of us have been checking up on multimillion $ dishonest denials and doubt-mongering for years – as can be confirmed by looking back at the archives of this site.

    But if you want to convince others of your position on this subject you need not only good science, but you need to be honest with those you seek to convince.

    That is the integrity expected of scientists and feature utterly lacking from denial campaigns.
    Scientific measurements are no less accurate because some dishonest science illiterate contradicts them in the mass media!

    As seen above, neither the supporters nor the sceptics have actual information to support their claims on this thread.

    That is utter nonsense! Quotes and links can be provided to those who ask.
    I realise that those unaware of the scope of research data, may struggle to frame the right questions, but that is no basis for claiming answers are not available.

    both rely on their confidence in the information and the source that they rely on.

    The skill of the scientist is in checking the honesty, competence, and validity of sources, by both reputation and by comparing multiple independent sources.

    Frequently deniers simply don’t have any sources as they are simply contradicting the evidence, spouting rhetoric, making stuff up, or illustrating that they are science illiterates, by making schoolboy errors in the basic science.

    And in the end, the world will still be here. Temperature and weather patterns might change, but the world will not disappear, and in the end, humans will adapt as needed to survive.

    I would want to see some evidence for that claim, given that past climate changes have brought about extinctions of around 90% of the life forms on the planet! The planet will still be here.
    A massive human population crash, starvation , wars and poverty, would be very painful for millions.

    I would also want to see a balance sheet which included items such as the cost of writing off all the coastal ports and cities, desertification of tropical farmlands etc., against the cost of ditching obsolete polluting technologies and investing in clean replacements.

    Carbon caps and trading come to mind.

    I am not in favour of carbon trading much of which is corrupt.
    I am in favour of stopping state subsidies to coal mining and oil exploration.

    Add that to the outrageous cost of electricity in my province of residence, much of it related to green initiatives,

    Really? Perhaps you are getting your information from dubious sources!
    Are you aware that on-shore wind turbines produce the cheapest electricity of all compared to the selection of other production methods? – and of course the costs of dirty electrical generation would cost more if the costs of the damage caused by the pollution was paid for by the polluting companies, rather than by the public and by future generations.



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  • @ alan
    I note that you didn’t respond to my final point, that Canada is currently a net absorber of carbon, and therefore has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any country in the world. But I’ll respond to a couple of your claims.
    .
    biofuel has been shown to be a more carbon intensive proposition than fossil fuels. And it reduces food output from the worlds limited arable land. Are you suggesting they’ve solved these problems?
    .
    I’m not questioning the scientific method, I’m questioning the scientists and those who interpret and report the data. And I’m suggesting that there are as many with vested interests who are attempting to use this issue to enrich themselves.
    .
    It is not nonsense that the people on this thread did not provide the evidence, both were working on faith in those who did the actual work. You may be blinded by your own desire to see your point of view, but the poster did not provide any links to the scientists data.
    .
    I agree with you that significant subsidies on exploration are not desirable and a more natural price for energy would be preferable. I spent some time reviewing methods to reduce gas usage for commercial real estate, looking mainly at geothermal as an option. It was shelved quickly as electricity prices rose in Ontario and natural gas prices declined.
    .
    Evidence that humans survived climate change? How about that guy they found frozen in the ice? He didn’t survive, but others in his ‘family’ most certainly did. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
    .
    And again to the last point of my comment. Canadians per capita are net absorbers of carbon. Our country does more to combat climate change than most anyone else.



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  • DC Toronto #36
    Sep 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    @Alan4discussion #4
    I think you missed the point I was making. Having climate “champions” like David Suzuki flying around the world to talk about greenhouse gas emissions is the height of hypocrisy. Are you suggesting they should stop? What about the IPCC flitting around for their meetings.

    We need a limited number of priority people travelling to make international treaties and co-ordinate plans to look after the planet and arrange trade . Nobody is suggesting we stop all air travel!

    It is the volume of gratuitous carbon pollution from extravagant life-style decisions, expanding consumption, and expanding populations, which is the problem.

    And before you consider railing against Canadian production, consider that in this world, Canada is a net Carbon absorber by an estimated 20-30% more than we emit.

    If the planet keeps on heating, the permafrost melts and the tundra and forests keep on drying out, peat and forest fires will very quickly change that situation! That is just ONE of the probable feed-back effects.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/fire_regimes/AK_tundra/all.html

    Arctic and subarctic regions are expected to be disproportionately affected by climate change. Warmer temperatures are expected to lead to a longer snow-free season, changes in vegetation, and loss of ice and permafrost, which in turn are likely to lead to longer fire seasons and increased fire frequency, severity, and area burned.

    If we are going to make economic and social decisions, at the very least try to have all the facts on hand before attempting to make those decisions.

    I think we already have enough “facts” on:- projected ocean acidification which is reducing CO2 absorption and fish-stocks, coastal flooding from polar ice melt, more powered-up energetic weather and storms, tropical droughts and desertification, loss of dry-season water supply for drinking and irrigation due to reduction in mountain snow cover, – along with increased down-stream wet-season flooding as the snows turn to rain over the mountains.

    There are also many facts available to those who seek them, about technical alternatives to carbon polluting industries.
    It would be very unfortunate to kill off large sections of the planet, due to a lack of information or imagination on the part of leaders or voters.



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  • @ Alan, it’s easy to dismiss the actual science when it doesn’t fit your narrative isn’t it? The fact is Canada is one of the cleanest countries on the planet. Do you have scientific evidence that it will reverse with global warming? At what point will it reverse? How about a link to a peer reviewed study?
    .
    So tell me alan, what have you done to combat global warming? Do you own a car? House? Cottage? Have a family? Or do you ride an ebike about town and live in a basement apartment to conserve carbon?
    .
    Personally, I recently replaced my gas hvac in my home. I briefly considered geothermal, but given the cost of energy, it would have been a significant net loser for me (Ontario hydro rates vs nat gas – which may relate to your point about subsidies, although green energy receives significant subsidies as well). My car is not currently large, but that may change if I feel like it. My point is, the country I live in is one of the cleanest in the world. There is virtually no action in other countries so my contribution will be minimal and would reduce my lifestyle. If I’m headed for oblivion with the rest of you, I plan to enjoy the ride.
    .
    going back to my recent hvac decision. There are a few communities that operate on geothermal heating. There is an added saving in reducing the infrastructure requirement for natural gas lines. This seems like one of the biggest areas of potential savings … but it’s not sexy so gets little recognition from the global warming warriors among us and in at least some of the communities they were required to put the gas lines in anyway … and pay the city to do it! (unions you know)
    .
    I’m out for today … will try to look back in future. enjoy the weekend Alan.



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  • DC Toronto #39
    Sep 23, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    biofuel has been shown to be a more carbon intensive proposition than fossil fuels.

    This is misleading nonsense!
    With biofuel, growing plants take CO2 from the atmosphere and it is returned to the atmosphere when it is burned, giving a net CO2 increase of nil.

    Fossil fuel takes carbon from outside underground sources and adds CO2 to the atmosphere. This can be measured in two ways:-

    By looking at the global trade figures for production of (billions of tons of) those commodities, and
    By measuring the atmospheric Carbon 14 content. (Fossil carbon contains no Carbon14 because of the short half-life of carbon14)

    And it reduces food output from the worlds limited arable land. Are you suggesting they’ve solved these problems?

    Biofuel does reduce food production where primary crop production and farmland is used. However various methods of biofuel production use waste materials or marginal land unsuited for food production.

    There are no single universal answers!
    A mix of solutions and technologies is required. These need to be geared to local geographical conditions – such as Saudi Arabia setting up solar electric generation, and Norway generating 98% of its home consumed electricity from hydro, – and then building undersea cables to export electricity to the UK and Germany.
    .

    I’m not questioning the scientific method, I’m questioning the scientists and those who interpret and report the data. And I’m suggesting that there are as many with vested interests who are attempting to use this issue to enrich themselves.

    That is the big lie which has been given much media coverage, but its source is in the propaganda campaigns funded by the coal and oil industries.

    There is no doubt that some developers are seeking to establish profitable new industries, but there really isn’t much evidence that they are seeking more “enrichment” from green developments, than from their other enterprises.

    http://atlantisresourcesltd.com/turbines/ar-series/ar1500series.html

    The AR1500 is the latest tidal power turbine system under development at Atlantis. The AR1500 will have a rated capacity of 1.5MW at 3.0 m/s and will be designed to withstand the extreme environmental conditions expected to be encountered in the Pentland Firth in Scotland and the Bay of Fundy in Canada. The detailed design of this cutting edge turbine was completed by Lockheed Martin Corporation during 2014. The AR1500 system will have pitching blades and full nacelle yaw rotation capability to facilitate operation in highly energetic deployment locations.



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  • DCToronto

    Somehow I’m not surprised that you ride an ebike. But I doubt it’s an issue of conservation of fossil fuels.

    Currently I ride a bike, but age needs some help. I’m after a particular mountain bike tricked out with hub motor and the biggest battery for my 11 mile journey along the river to work. The journey is getting too much for me and of late I’ve been taking the car.

    My big thing is rather more sustainability, which I see as the over-arching issue, and, of which, AGW is only a symptom.

    I’d be fascinated to learn what my real motives are in all this. After twenty years its about time I discover the truth.

    Oh and what on earth claims do I make for my business activities? I have said nothing about any specifics.



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  • Melvin

    Per capita emissions figures by nation are misleading in isolation.

    Which is exactly why I presented the three per capita figures of Coal (par) CO2 (45%) and Energy (30%).

    you’re making my argument. Per capita fossil fuel consumption and per capita carbon emissions tie the increase in global warming to population growth.

    No. Discussing per capita figures (that must always exist) doesn’t prove a specific causal or necessary quantifiable link between population and carbon impact. We have discussed already the reducing carbon trajectories of new (culturally) population growth.



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  • DC Toronto #41
    Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    @ Alan, it’s easy to dismiss the actual science when it doesn’t fit your narrative isn’t it?

    Those who try to do are likely to make fools of themselves!
    Well evidenced and researched science, is not at all easy to dismiss!
    These sorts of claims are usually circulated by those seeking to equate their own unevidenced opinions with expert opinions based on solid research and calculations.
    They can fairly easily be pilloried when they do so in public!

    The fact is Canada is one of the cleanest countries on the planet. Do you have scientific evidence that it will reverse with global warming? At what point will it reverse? How about a link to a peer reviewed study?

    There are no peer-reviewed studies which suggest global warming will be reversed in the foreseeable future.
    All the reports state that global warming will continue to increase for decades or centuries even if we quickly reduce CO2 emissions now! The multi-billions of tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere during the last hundred years, is not just going to go away in 5 minutes!

    So tell me alan, what have you done to combat global warming? Do you own a car? House? Cottage? Have a family? Or do you ride an ebike about town and live in a basement apartment to conserve carbon?

    I have installed wall insulation, loft insulation, and double-glazing, in my house. I have also planted trees to the north and north-west to reduce the wind chill on the house, without reducing the warming from the sun coming from other directions.
    I grow some vegetables for home consumption and avoid products which require air miles.

    I also avoid unnecessary travel, use public transport, and while I have a car, I only do a low mileage. It is also a fuel efficient car doing 50 or 60 miles to the gallon.

    I also seek to educate people (especially politicians), on the available green technologies which we should be developing to reduce carbon foot-prints.

    The people with visions of the future don’t want to abolish air travel. They want to convert it to using green technology and clean hydrogen fuel which burns to produce water instead of CO2!

    http://www.iflscience.com/technology/plane-will-take-you-anywhere-world-4-hours/



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  • DC Toronto #41
    Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    My point is, the country I live in is one of the cleanest in the world. There is virtually no action in other countries

    That is simply wrong.
    While many polluters – aided and abetted by foot-draggers, continue to pollute, new technologies are in the process of development, and can, if there is the will to get on with it, fairly quickly take over many energy systems while obsolete dirty technologies are closed down.

    so my contribution will be minimal and would reduce my lifestyle. If I’m headed for oblivion with the rest of you, I plan to enjoy the ride.

    While individuals should show a responsible attitude to what they are leaving for future generations, most of the big key decisions need to be taken collectively at international, national, area, or company level.



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  • DC Toronto #41 Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm My point is, the country I live
    in is one of the cleanest in the world. There is virtually no action
    in other countries

    There’s me thinking the Alberta/Athabasca tar sands are in Canada-
    and NO, they’re not ‘oil’ sands but TAR sands. d’oh!!



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  • @rocket888

    A lot of your questions were addressed in this excellent Q&A with a climate scientist and a whole crowd full of climate skeptics worth a bit of a look he explains very clearly why models often have to make adjustments for say they heat island effect.
    here

    You also seem to be making the assumption that hand written data does not have inbuilt assumptions and filters built in. I’m really not very good at maths but I am aware that various statistical methods are often used to deal with various forms of data to get a whole picture. Even calculating an average is an algorithm that smooths out the local bumps. So I feel you are asking the wrong question. I suggest you go to your local university and find a climate scientist and ask them why the particular algorithms are being used. I think you will find there are usually very good reasons.

    You comments also show a bit of a misunderstanding about how the long term data is collected and calculated. There is not one measure that is being turned into this data but many streams of both current and ancient forms of temperature record that have to have taken into account.

    For example: (been awhile since I did any study on this but the basics are correct I think)

    temperature measurement – from thermometers.

    ice core data – ratio of different isotopes of oxygen give an idea of temperature in the oceans water with oxygen with more protons is heavier and correspondingly harder to evaporate so hotter years result in more heavy water in ice core samples.

    Coral data – corals contain different ratios of heavy water that are opposite corresponding ice core data so if an ocean is very hot less heavy water will appear in the corals and sediment layers. These are opposite to and the ice core data and constitute collaborating data.

    Tree ring data – growth of tree rings can indicate weather conditions.

    and numerous others.

    Now the raw data from these will not tell you exactly what the temperatures were you may have other factors influencing for example tree ring growth how much moisture was in the air, was there a volcano that blasted off that year and effected other aspects (I’m just guessing here you you get the point that not all data will be perfect as raw data – it will be lumpy). So these are the sorts of things the experts have to debate about and confirm and cross correlate and often therefore as difficult as it might be for an amateur to understand why some adjustment has been made the correct response (unless you are just not wanting it to be so) is to ask someone who knows more than you before you jump to a conspiracy. In fairness to you, you have expressed doubt and not a definite position but your time would be better spend asking someone qualified to explain why different filters are being used.

    Regards



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  • DC Toronto underscores a pragmatic question laymen are asking about the climate change issue. Whenever we ask, “I get the general science, so where do we go from here?” The first answer ignores the announcement that we get the science, and puts us through the ringer of listening again to the 20 lectures on the syllabus for Anthropogenic Climate Change 101 tricked out with recent alarming reports and studies. The prolonged second part consists of calling out deniers and ridiculing them tediously for their ignorance, stupidity, and greed ad nauseum. The third part scolds “Americans” in particular and the first world in general for excessive energy consumption and pointlessly extols the virtues of conservation in a world where the preponderant output of carbon will come from China, India, and other poorer nations outside North America and Europe. Despite optimistic assertions about the imminent dissemination of anemic wind, solar, and flow-through batteries that just aren’t selling on a global scale, the unavoidable conclusion is we’re whistling in the dark until we are blue in the face. The truth is we just don’t have the answers now. Isn’t it more productive (and “scientific”) to admit to not knowing and get back to the drawing board?

    (Note to DC Toronto: The fact is Canada is one of the cleanest countries on the planet. In terms of per capita
    carbon emissions this ain’t so. Canada is almost on a par with the U.S. (17.5) at 14.67. Australia achieves closer parity at 16.75 and tiny Oman soars by nearly every other country at 20.56.)



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  • Melvin

    Despite optimistic assertions about the imminent dissemination of anemic wind, solar, and flow-through batteries that just aren’t selling on a global scale,

    Strawman. I’m not optimitic about such imminent dissemination. That indeed is my point here. “Too little too late”.

    I am optimistic we have all the technology we need. My response to your first excuse for inaction.

    I am dismayed by many things but most about the indifference of the average American to the state of things and their own moral responsibilities.

    Anemic.

    (Very happy to see you now using per capita metrics.)



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  • DC Toronto #41
    Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    so my contribution will be minimal and would reduce my lifestyle.

    That is simply no so.
    Everyone can replace their old energy guzzling systems with energy efficient electrical appliances, LED lighting, etc. They can also support local government authorities in energy saving plans such are replacing old street-lighting with remotely controlled LED lights.

    Those living in isolated communities in the forests of Canada can use the bio-fuel wood in efficient stoves (but should be careful in managing the toxic smoke and keeping it away from the air they breathe). – Providing that harvesting of wood, is equal to, or below, the rate of regrowth, this can be carbon neutral if green fuels are used in the process, or low carbon if not.
    Wood-smoke (like smoke from coal tar) is a bad pollutant in cities so should be avoided, – but wood and wood waste, could be used in out-of town generation plants.

    If I’m headed for oblivion with the rest of you, I plan to enjoy the ride.

    That attitude is the global problem which is created by large numbers of people abdicating personal responsibility, and claiming parity with the planets worst selfish polluters, rather than seeking the best options to benefit everyone!

    There are also large areas of Canada, which will literally “sink into the quagmire”, if the permafrost continues to melt at an increasing rate.



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  • This quote is needed in my last response-

    admit to not knowing and get back to the drawing board

    If you are advocating increased spending by governments on this, wonderful.

    But here’s the thing about technology, you’ve seen it over and over. The first manifestations of new technology are a bit crap and expensive as hell. The only way to realise its full potential is by trying it see what works what needs fixing and doing better. This is exactly what has happened with wind and solar. The latest wind turbines have no gearboxes and GaN switching gear to act as an electronic gearbox. They are an order of magnitude more “available” and better eke energy out of more windspeeds. Its only by installing and trying again and again that we see the next refinement. No technology ever sprang from the drawing board perfect. What we need is sustained investment to bring the the whole interdependent system into an increasingly refined being.

    Solar exactly the same with tumbling manufacturing costs and installers learning how to do their bit better. The costs of these sources has been and continues on a downward trajectory and onshore wind beats just about anything on cost now. Solar and their new inverters and Wind and their hugely simplified mechanics become very long term assetts indeed. At last technologies like flow battaries (just on the starting blocks but with steadily enhancing round trip efficiencies) and trans and intercontinanetal power line technologies ever dropping baseload requirements.

    (Look the full picture is much richer than this. Baseload provision should start to move to multiple local CHP providers. (The technology is super sound but the compound businesses are complex to set up.) Running initially from natural gas these transition to green gas by becoming the focus of garbage and sewage disposal for their area.) Etc., etc..)

    What is missing to extract all the value out of these long term assetts? Commitment and long term investment, the invention of new types of compound businesses, legislative reform to support them.

    Only last Friday, China’s State Grid Corp Chairman Liu Zhenya (the head of the world’s largest power provider) said his company rejects the so-called all-of-the-above energy strategy to meet China’s evolving power needs and address climate change. Liu argues it’s better to move on to the next generation of energy technologies and that China believes it might as well start now.” The only hurdle to overcome is mindset, according to Liu. “There’s no technical challenge at all.”

    So, admit to not knowing and get back to the drawing board?? Or carry on noticing the technology is here and the political and economic job is only a quarter done?



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  • @51 – There are also large areas of Canada, which will literally “sink into the quagmire”, if the permafrost continues to melt at an increasing rate.

    . . . and having sunk into the quagmire during the spring melt, some will go up in flames during the lengthening fire season!

    @40 – If the planet keeps on heating, the permafrost melts and the tundra and forests keep on drying out, peat and forest fires will very quickly change that situation! That is just ONE of the probable feed-back effects.

    Here’s a link to expand on the science behind that comment.

    http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/climate-change/forest-carbon/13103

    Fire plays a significant role in forest ecosystems. An average of 9000 fires burn more than 2 million hectares each year in Canada. This is twice the average area burned in the early 1970s, and various modeling scenarios predict another doubling or more by the end of this century, because of warmer temperatures expected as a result of climate change. The growth in fire activity will have major implications for forest ecosystems, forestry activities, community protection and carbon budgets.

    The effects of fire on the boreal forest have received considerable attention. However, less is known about the effects of fire on boreal peatlands. Peatland ecosystems cover 2%–3% of the earth’s land surface, but 25%–30% of the boreal forest region. It is estimated that they store 30% of the world’s terrestrial carbon, but about 64% of the estimated total global boreal forest carbon stock. These carbon reservoirs are likely to become increasingly vulnerable to fire as climate warming progresses.

    Peat fires release significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In addition, peat fires release mercury into the atmosphere at a rate 15 times greater than upland forests, which may be a serious human health concern.

    Models for predicting fuel emissions from fires are still being developed, but preliminary estimates suggest that peat fires across western Canada emit about 6 teragrams (million metric tons) of carbon annually, while fires across Canada as a whole emit about 27 teragrams. This means that peat fires are already contributing significantly to carbon emissions in Canada. Deep-burning peat fires have the potential for even higher emissions, as the carbon density of peat increases exponentially with depth.

    Peat fires can also be difficult to extinguish, and severe fires in peatlands can last for months, even burning throughout the winter under the snow layer. These are often smouldering fires that create a lot of smoke from incomplete combustion and result in greater emissions of carbon monoxide.

    Because peatlands vary in their moisture conditions and fuel structure, their vulnerability to burning and rates of fuel consumption also vary. However, human impacts, such as climate change and the draining of wetlands, are increasing the overall susceptibility of peatlands to fire.

    Warming temperatures will lead to more droughts, greater evapotranspiration and a subsequent lowering of the water table, which will leave peat more vulnerable to burning. In North America, over the last 50 years, there has been an increase in both very large fires (greater than 100 000 hectares) and fires occurring late in the growing season, when the water table is usually lower.

    Climate change may also lead to melting of permafrost, which can in turn lead to additional peat material being consumed by fire.

    If peatlands begin to burn at a greater rate or to a greater depth, as may be expected under a warming climate, fires in the boreal region could contribute to even greater carbon emissions.



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  • @DC Toronto

    somehow I’m not surprised that you ride an ebike. But I doubt it’s an issue of conservation of fossil fuels.

    Why do you have an issue with riding electric bikes? And why would you doubt it has anything to do with saving fossil fuels?

    I do ride an ebike currently have done so for the last 1000km or so. I can tell you a significant part of my buying it was not just to save money (which it does), not just to save my wife time (which it does), not just to get some exercise (which it does – not as much as a non-electric bike but you still pedal just not as hard, or if as hard you go much quicker), but also did it to do what I could to help reduce climate change. This is also why I have an electric lawn mower, insulation, led lighting and spend more buying energy efficient refrigerators, washing machine etc. It’s why we use a clothes line unless it’s been raining for over a week.

    The fuel I have saved mind you is not a significant amount (about 3 tanks of gas based on city consumption) but the decision was made because mornings were becoming chaos with only one car and I cannot and will not anytime soon be able to afford to buy an electric car. I don’t need to though as I can buy an electric bike and get to work without too much sweat (I don’t need to shower) and I have massive panniers which allow me to take my laptop a tonne of files or paperwork (marking etc) and much more. Almost everyone I know has two cars because of similar levels inconvenience and most could achieve the same levels of independence replacing their second car with an ebike. So I could have driven the 1000kms of trips to work and while that is important to me I have also not needed a second car who’s manufacture, transport to this country, maintenance and upkeep, not to mention carbon used in extracting and processing said fuels, minerals etc would be significantly more than 3 tanks of gas.

    I’d strongly encourage anyone who used to ride a bike but isn’t as fit anymore and doesn’t want to get to work sweaty to go electric. Many are hideously overpriced but for about $500 you can buy wheel hub kits with a battery pack and a controller that you can convert your old trusty bike to an ebike. They are great, mine if run at full power gets about 45 km before it starts to get low and need a charge but I’ve ridden it at lower power settings for 75km so long as your happy to go a bit slower. Riding to work is an absolute pleasure, not too exerting but you do get a little puffed. Do it. If everyone replaced one car with an ebike we’d be a long way ahead.



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  • The peat. The peat! The peat is on fire!
    .
    Alan, you’ve inadvertently made the point that the science is far from settled. How far are we down the road to lower water tables and vulnerable peat fields? Is this still reversible? And if so, what would it take on a global basis to achieve this? These questions are not yet answered – and these are the key questions to answer to make policy going forward. We should also understand what would happen to those peat fields after a fire. As your post shows, fire is a major driver of forest eco-systems. The peat will be vulnerable if the water table is lower (which is counter-intuitive to higher ocean levels …) but a lower water table would allow it to be replaced by forest.
    .
    It’s not that there isn’t general consensus on certain aspects of the science. But the predictions are open to a fairly wide interpretation … and much of the information is missing.
    .
    Layered over this uncertainty is the political aspect. JimJ comes in with the expected slam against the oilsands in Canada. But Jim conveniently ignores the cost of maintaining the middle east oil in flowing. At least a portion of the massive military oil consumption must be attributed to maintaining the middle eastern oil flowing …. when added to the transportation costs (not to mention human rights abuses as most democratic nations understand them) and oilsands production is not as dirty as it’s made out to be.
    .
    But that was not my main point. Sure, the peat fields may burn baby burn …. but they are not now. And Canada overall is a net absorbing nation. Here is a link to start you off … http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/canada-may-already-be-carbon-neutral-so-why-are-we-keeping-it-a-secret
    .
    you might want to question the source … but the underlying report is from a well respected organization. And this aspect is rarely considered in climate change discussions. Nor is the difference in geography. Canada will always have additional emissions because of our winters. This will not change and to live here people need to heat their homes. Our vast distances will require additional transportation costs. That;s not going to change. My point is however, that the solutions to date have looked only at one side of the equation, without credit for the vast amounts of carbon that we store for the world each year.
    .
    You MIGHT be correct, it might reverse. But it hasn’t yet.
    .
    There is a discussion of china’s per capita emissions on this thread. The key point is the poverty experienced by so much of the population in China. Measure output for urban populations and compare those. Then get back to me about how clean china is. And how long they will stay clean as more of their population rises out of poverty.
    .
    If you really want to talk about the peat …. get back to me when you can assure us that Russia’s peat bogs wont thaw (hint – it’s already too late). That alone will put us in a massive hole greenhouse gas wise.
    .
    In the final analysis, people make decisions based on what is best for them. Much of this comes down to short-mid term economics. As i noted, at this time, the economics is skewed towards fossil fuels due to their huge energy density and portability. That is key to maintaining a persons place in the world and most will be quickly overwhelmed if they don’t take advantage in the same way their neighbors do.



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  • DC Toronto #56
    Sep 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

    The peat. The peat! The peat is on fire!

    Alan, you’ve inadvertently made the point that the science is far from settled.

    Nope! You just made that up! A massive amount of it IS settled!

    How far are we down the road to lower water tables and vulnerable peat fields? Is this still reversible? And if so, what would it take on a global basis to achieve this?

    That is the wrong question! The key question is: “Can we reduce industrial CO2 pollution enough to avoid triggering massive feed-back effects which convert huge amounts of peat into atmospheric CO2”.
    There are also increasing massive effects from tropical peat fires which are the result of warming and drying.

    http://www.un-redd.org/single-post/2016/07/31/Peat-fires-stoke-global-warming
    The UK Met Office says carbon dioxide levels have seen a surge in recent months as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon, which has warmed and dried the tropics. These conditions not only limit the ability of forests to draw CO2 from the atmosphere but also trigger huge fires around the globe that inject extra carbon into the air.

    Forest fires on peatlands are particularly worrying: The 2015 forest fires in Indonesia are estimated to have generated more CO2 on some days than average daily emissions for the whole of the USA. They also caused an estimated US$ 16.1 billion in overall economic damage (twice the value of the Aceh Tsunami Reconstruction), affected 43 million people, hospitalized 550,000 and killed 24 people.

    Peatlands cover 3-5 per cent of the Earth’s surface but store over 30 per cent of all soil carbon. The area of peatland currently classified as drained and degrading covers less than 0.4 per cent of the global land surface but is responsible for 5 per cent of global anthropogenic emissions. Peatlands are therefore disproportionately important to the climate system.

    These questions are not yet answered – and these are the key questions to answer to make policy going forward. We should also understand what would happen to those peat fields after a fire.

    We know the potential for damage!
    The question is “How much worse will it get, and how quickly?” –
    Not;- “Will it happen?”

    As your post shows, fire is a major driver of forest eco-systems.

    I am a biologist. I understand ecosystems and the routine fire-cycle in some forests.
    These increases in fires are exceptional, not routine!
    Much of this tundra peat which is now burning has been waterlogged or frozen for ten thousand years!

    The peat will be vulnerable if the water table is lower (which is counter-intuitive to higher ocean levels …)

    The water table will be lower with longer drier summers.
    Most of the peat is nowhere near the ocean and most of it is nowhere near sea-level! To suggest a relationship, is nonsense! The article I linked explains it very clearly.

    but a lower water table would allow it to be replaced by forest.

    That does nothing to mitigate the massive CO2 feedback!
    .
    It’s not that there isn’t general consensus on certain aspects of the science. But the predictions are open to a fairly wide interpretation … and much of the information is missing.

    That is just doubt-mongering waffle! Much of the evidence is solidly supported and not at all “open to dubious interpretations.
    It is some of the finer details and the issues dependent on political and business decisions which are uncertain – NOT because of errors in the science, but because of the indecision by the politicians!
    .

    Layered over this uncertainty is the political aspect. JimJ comes in with the expected slam against the oilsands in Canada.

    The oil sands are just about the dirtiest, mosyt inefficient and most polluting ways of extracting oil on the planrt.

    But Jim conveniently ignores the cost of maintaining the middle east oil in flowing.

    I don’t think so! Saudi Arabia is planning to shift investments into mining, manufacturing and solar energy.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/saudi-arabia-oil_us_56fea15ce4b083f5c60788d7
    The world’s dependence on oil is fading, and Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to get left behind.

    The kingdom will build a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund to slowly but unmistakably transform its economy for a post-oil world, Bloomberg reported Friday morning.

    Just how big is $2 trillion? It’s almost twice as big as the world’s 9 major oil companies combined and enough to buy the world’s four largest companies (Apple, Google’s parent company, Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway), Bloomberg notes.

    It’s also enough to break a new renewable energy investment record for five years or pay for the entire world’s fossil fuel subsidies for four years.

    The transition will take two decades because, as they say, you can’t turn an oil tanker and $2 trillion on a dime. But the very decision to sell shares of Aramco is itself telling: It is a clear indication that the Saudis really do think oil’s era is ending.



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  • DC Toronto #56
    Sep 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

    But that was not my main point. Sure, the peat fields may burn baby burn …. but they are not now. And Canada overall is a net absorbing nation. Here is a link to start you off

    Canada has lots of natural forests which absorb CO2. This is not an excuse to ignore industrial pollution.
    If you are going to quote from links to the Global carbon Project, perhaps you should start with the basics of the graph of global CO2 increases over recent decades.

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

    Global carbon dioxide emissions, 1800 to 2007

    In late 2006 researchers from the project claimed that carbon dioxide emissions had dramatically increased to a rate of 3.2% annually from 2000. At the time, the chair of the group Dr Mike Raupach stated that “This is a very worrying sign. It indicates that recent efforts to reduce emissions have had virtually no impact on emissions growth and that effective caps are urgently needed,”.[2]

    A 2010 study conducted by the Project and Nature Geoscience revealed that the world’s oceans absorb 2.3 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide

    If you really want to talk about the peat …. get back to me when you can assure us that Russia’s peat bogs wont thaw (hint – it’s already too late). That alone will put us in a massive hole greenhouse gas wise.

    Russia’s tundra peat will thaw and burn, just like all the others! That is why global emissions must be reduced by everyone!

    WE are talking about the future of the planet – not some debating game for point-scoring!



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  • DC

    There is a discussion of china’s per capita emissions on this thread. The key point is the poverty experienced by so much of the population in China. Measure output for urban populations and compare those.

    Nope. Countries don’t work in a piecemeal fashion.

    The population of China is feeling pretty good at the moment, GDP per capita is going up whilst the Gini Index is falling quite sharply now. This latter is a measure of national income equality, e.g. it rolls in a rural/urban disparity. (The USA as a kleptocracy, and currently as bad as China, is worsening….the UK too…) In China carbon intensity is falling well ahead of the rate of any possible growth in GDP. A series of five year plans on managing rural impoverishment due to workforce depletion (30% move to cities) allowing the formation of much larger and more efficient collective businesses has seen rural incomes jump in the last two year of 12% and 9%. This is part of a bigger plan for Chinese food quality, moving to greener practices and higher values.
    China is pitching at stabilisng around this rural urban balance pretty much.



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  • DC Toronto #56
    Sep 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

    In the final analysis, people make decisions based on what is best for them. Much of this comes down to short-mid term economics. As i noted, at this time, the economics is skewed towards fossil fuels due to their huge energy density and portability. That is key to maintaining a persons place in the world and most will be quickly overwhelmed if they don’t take advantage in the same way their neighbors do.

    Anyone who takes a casual attitude to CO2 levels, the greenhouse effect, rising temperatures, and triggering feed-back effects, should read this link VERY carefully!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event

    The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, colloquially known as the Great Dying,
    the End Permian or the Great Permian Extinction,[2][3] occurred about 252 Ma (million years) ago,[4] forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.
    It is the Earth’s most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species[5][6] and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct.[7] It is the only known mass extinction of insects.[8][9] Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[5] possibly up to 10 million years.[10]

    There is evidence for one to three distinct pulses, or phases, of extinction.[7][11][12][13] Suggested mechanisms for the latter include one or more large bolide impact events, massive volcanism, coal or gas fires and explosions from the Siberian Traps,[14] and a runaway greenhouse effect triggered by sudden release of methane from the sea floor due to methane clathrate dissociation or methane-producing microbes known as methanogens;[15] possible contributing gradual changes include sea-level change, increasing anoxia, increasing aridity, and a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change.

    Of course humans have substituted industrial pollution for Permian–Triassic volcanic initiated CO2 emissions, but the other feed-backs can be triggered if temperature thresholds are crossed.



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  • DC Toronto #56
    Sep 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

    My point is however, that the solutions to date have looked only at one side of the equation, without credit for the vast amounts of carbon that we store for the world each year.

    I think the point is, that you haven’t checked on this sort of research, and are just making stuff up to match your preconceptions while cherry-picking a few figures.

    Yes – Carbon is being stored in dead plant matter and stored in the ground. That’s how the peat got there in the first place.
    It is not rocket science to work out that this year’s storage pales into insignificance if the last 10,000 years of CO2 stored in peat goes up in flames, putting 10,000 years of absorbed CO2 back into the atmosphere!



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  • Phil, I’m not sure what motivates you to make such poorly considered posts, but if you think China is leading the way on sustainable energy production then you truly don’t have a clue. China built more coal fired plants in the past few years than anyone else. These will be in service for decades.
    .
    And yes, phil, the future estimate of a countries output MUST consider lifestyle patterns of the population. As more Chinese move toward the middle class they will increase sharply in their emissions. Ignoring this fact is the same type of thinking that ensured that Kyoto was never implemented. It penalized countries that were not in a recession as of the base year and rewarded those who were. That type of one sided bargaining will doom any agreement for any thinking person.



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  • DC Toronto #63
    Sep 25, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Phil, I’m not sure what motivates you to make such poorly considered posts, but if you think China is leading the way on sustainable energy production then you truly don’t have a clue.

    You really do like making stuff up rather than investigating!

    China built more coal fired plants in the past few years than anyone else. These will be in service for decades.

    They certainly built a lot of coal fired power-stations – and hydro electric dams, and a lot of solar panels for export, and a lot of wind turbines!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37409069

    China has been building two wind turbines every hour, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has told BBC News.

    This is the world’s biggest programme of turbine installation, double that of its nearest rival, the US.

    The nation’s entire annual increase in energy demand has been fulfilled from the wind.

    But the IEA warns China has built so much coal-fired generating capacity that it is turning off wind turbines for 15% of the time.

    “China has now a clear over-supply. In the province of Gansu, 39% of wind energy had to be curtailed (turned off because there is not enough capacity on the grid).

    The average European wind farm is forced to stop generating between 1-2% of the year.

    He said: “China’s position is clearly unsustainable. It will need strong policy decisions, including the construction of many more grid lines and a phase-out policy for older, more inefficient coal power plants.

    State media has reported China’s plans to impose a moratorium on all new coal-fired plants until 2018.

    The IEA says China installed more than 30,000 MW of new wind energy in 2015 – partly thanks to a rush driven by the Chinese government making its existing subsidies less attractive.

    Construction has slackened in 2016, but only to a level of more than one turbine per hour.

    Steve Sawyer from the Global Wind Energy Council told BBC News: “China’s build up of its capacity in wind – and now solar – is truly without parallel.



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  • Wow Al, good point. A single year of carbon storage is not as significant as 10,000 years of peat storage. I’ll take your word for it, although you’ve provided no stats. I believe our forest covers significantly more land area than the peat …. but I’ll accept your premise.
    .
    Still, it’s not relevant. We are discussing Canada’s contribution to greenhouse gasses right now. This year. And right now, we are a net absorber.
    .
    And as you said, the peat is already on fire. So that ship has sailed. And you still haven’t shut down the 600 coal plants in china. They might reduce the number they open in future …. but I’m still skeptical that will actually happen. You’ve got virtually no real commitment from the big polluters to resolve the issue. And these are the important points …. because if every living Canadian bought a hummer and drove it every day, the emissions from our 35million population does not compare to the emissions of a billion Chinese, the US, Europe or india. It’s simple math Al.
    .
    I get it, you don’t like the oilsands. In a perfect world that oil would stay put. But our world isn’t perfect Al. You still haven’t factored the cost of foreign wars and military spending/emissions into your middle eastern oil’s footprint. And to hold Saudi Arabia up as a paragon of virtue in this equation is mind boggling. Maybe you agree with the cultures of the middle east … which would be interesting here on Mr Dawkins website …. but there is far more to a barrel of oil than simply what it takes to remove it from the ground and refine it. To think otherwise is simple minded at best.
    .
    No Al, you don’t make a convincing case for increasing costs for our businesses through misguided green initiatives. To date they have been applied unevenly, have not been universally accepted, and have ignored many very important aspects that we already do to combat the problem. That’s the nitty gritty of the issue that needs to be dealt with to get more of the population on board a plan to reduce emissions. The alternative is to make the best of what’s coming and plan for a future with radically altered climate. I have my eye on some acreage in the not too far north … somewhere that will warm up nicely in the coming years. Something out of harms way where my family can settle if (or I expect when) the world fails to make significant headway on the issue.



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  • DC

    I don’t know if you bother to read my links here or in the other thread? It seems not. My comments are based on the latest data. China cancelled 40% of its new build of coal fired power stations in April. Peak CO2 appears to have arrived a decade early.

    One of the key things to keeping track of events in these matters is to follow national policy decisions. China is really interesting with more coherent and sustained policy making than most democracies could manage.

    I already dealt with your second paragraph. Carbon intensity is now falling faster than earlier (high!) growth rates.



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  • DC Toronto #65
    Sep 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I get it, you don’t like the oilsands. In a perfect world that oil would stay put.

    I’m against tar sands because they need to burn the equivalent of 9 gallons of oil in the process of producing one! As I said its a VERY inefficient and polluting source of oil.

    You still haven’t factored the cost of foreign wars and military spending/emissions into your middle eastern oil’s footprint.

    I have spoken out against all of those wars except the first Iraq war, – until it was left in a mess and then I spoke up.

    The wars are to do with commercial greed and political manipulations by the oil interests. Far from supporting them, green innovations undermine those who engaged in wars over oil.

    And to hold Saudi Arabia up as a paragon of virtue in this equation is mind boggling.

    You really don’t get this do you!
    I gave the example of Saudi Arabia not because it is a “paragon of virtue”, but because EVEN HISTORICALLY THE WORST DENIERS of global warming, and worst carbon polluters, are starting to invest in green technologies!

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/solar-power-invades-oil-rich-middle-east/
    In a patch of otherwise empty desert 30 miles south of Dubai, the outline of what is expected to become the Middle East’s largest photovoltaic solar project is taking form in the sands of the United Arab Emirates.

    The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, launched in 2013 with 13 megawatts of capacity, is expected over the next 15 years to expand to 3,000 MW, providing the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) enough power to meet 15 percent of UAE’s demand.

    Nearly 4,000 miles away, on a desert plateau in Morocco, one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) complexes is being built in Ouarzazate province,

    These two massive energy projects, along with other solar developments in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, are demonstrating that the oil-rich region known in policy circles as MENA — Middle East and North Africa — is beginning to challenge long-standing assumptions about its energy resources.

    Maybe you agree with the cultures of the middle east … which would be interesting here on Mr Dawkins website.

    Perhaps you should read some of my posts from the archives of this site, rather than making stuff up!

    …. but there is far more to a barrel of oil than simply what it takes to remove it from the ground and refine it. To think otherwise is simple minded at best.

    What? You mean they need pipelines, tankers refineries, distribution networks, and users of the fuels lubricants, bi-products, etc. – with lots of expensive infrastructure – and in some greener places, bioethanol to blend with it?
    Who would have thunk it?

    Electric cars with solar panel recharging is rather more “infrastructure light”!

    There are however and increasing number of innovative substitutes for oil powered transport and heating systems, – about which many deniers seem to be utterly unaware! (eg. Electric trains {with sustainable generation systems}, run as well or better than diesel ones!)



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  • Phil, a single pronouncement from China is not enough to convince me that they will follow through to reduce their emissions. Just as releasing a single wrongly imprisoned Canadian will not convince me that they are a now a country that respects human rights. Maybe you’re more easily convinced than I.
    .
    Either way, Canada as a country is much cleaner. So we are still leaps ahead.



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  • Al, Saudi’s invest in many many industries. One of the key reasons they work with the US to avoid a US recession is effect it would have on the billions of $’s they have invested the the NYSE. Investing in green technology is no more a sign that they now believe the climate science than it is that they are now squeezing the final drops of oil from their reserves.
    .
    Dig a bit deeper friend …. the simple answer is not always the correct one.



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  • Al, I haven’t suggested that we shouldn’t look to make our infrastructure more green where it makes sense. Electric trains, great – if they really are greener, and can be run for a similar price.
    .
    I’ve already agreed with you that we should put all energy types on a level playing field. Subsidies that skew decisions make the decisions more difficult. But we don’t have a full costing of different fuel types. We have broad consensus that fossil fuels are not fully costed for the environmental impact they cause. but neither are batteries or photocells and their waste products. And I don’t believe we are getting there any time soon. Our decisions will still be political in nature, and I don’t have faith in that system. I’ve seen the mess in green infrastructure here in Ontario. It has not helped and in fact we have both overcapacity AND the highest rates in virtually all of North America. A true boondoggle if there ever was one.
    .
    And here’s my good friend Phil telling me that china is now going to be the leader in green energy, even though they overbuilt their coal fired plants by the hundreds and have worse smog than anywhere in Canada. That sounds like a plan I want to sign onto.



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  • DC Toronto #65
    Sep 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Wow Al, good point. A single year of carbon storage is not as significant as 10,000 years of peat storage. I’ll take your word for it, although you’ve provided no stats.

    Really??? I gave you various links to science papers and news articles!

    You really should be able to look this stuff up on feed-back effects for yourself! Google is your friend!

    Here’s some to be going on with!

    http://phys.org/news/2012-02-peat-climate.html

    n 1997, a forest fire in Indonesia ignited an area of peatlands that smouldered for months. By the time it was over, the fire had released greenhouse gases equal to 20 to 40 percent of the total worldwide emissions that year from fossil fuels.

    But that could be a drop in the bucket compared to future emissions from peat fires. Indonesian peatlands are dwarfed by Canada’s. The total area of all peatland in Canada is estimated to be about twice the size of Saskatchewan.

    At this week’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Douglas Woolford of Wilfrid Laurier University will present findings that show how the fire season is becoming longer, and Mike Flannigan of the University of Alberta will highlight the increased risk of peat fires.

    During a forest fire, especially in years of drought, peat can also ignite. When that happens, it produces a smoldering, smoky burn that is difficult to extinguish. Peat can grow several meters deep beneath the ground. In fact, some peat fires burn right through winter, beneath the snow, then pick up again in the spring.

    A warming climate appears to be increasing the risk of peat fires in the North, according to Flannigan. For example, in 2007, Alaska’s Anaktuvuk River region experienced a “tundra fire” fuelled by peat that covered 1,000 square kilometres. Until then, fire had largely been absent from the tundra since the Holocene epoch—12,000 years ago.

    It’s really not hard to find reputable sources!



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  • https://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/melting_permafrost.asp

    Permafrost is not only affected by climate change, but eventually will affect climate change itself by releasing the greenhouse gases it stores.

    Permafrost stores an immense amount of carbon and methane (twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere). In a warming environment, permafrost is expected to degrade, and these gases which have been in storage will be released. This process has already begun in some parts of the world, including western Siberia, and is expected to increase in earnest by the year 2020. Furthermore, as of 2011, no climate model incorporates the effects of methane released from melting permafrost, suggesting that even the most extreme climate scenarios in the models might not be extreme enough.

    A third of the Earth’s soil carbon is found in the Arctic tundra soil, stored in frozen organic matter. If the high northern latitudes warm significantly (as they are expected to; see Figure 3), permafrost will thaw, allowing the organic matter within the permafrost to decompose. The decomposition will release carbon into the atmosphere. This already happens within the active layer each summer. As the active layer thaws, some organic matter decomposes. Under normal climate conditions (i.e. a cold arctic region), the ground remains cold enough to keep the decomposition very slow. But as air temperature increases and the ground warms, this process will speed up, and scientists think this could begin very soon. Some suggest the arctic tundra could go from being a carbon sink to a carbon source by the mid-2020s.

    Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center estimate that by 2200, 60% of the Northern Hemisphere’s permafrost will probably be melted, which could release around 190 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This amount is about half of all the carbon released in the industrial age. The affect this will have on the rate of atmospheric warming could be irreversible. At the very least, these estimates mean fossil fuel emissions will have to be reduced more than currently suggested to account for the amount of carbon expected to discharge from melting permafrost.



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  • DC

    a single pronouncement from China is not enough

    Nor was it singular. Prodigious amounts of material, investment plans, commentaries from other businesses confirm their faster than expected achievements and renewed determination to become technology leaders.

    DC, you seem to have a rather quaint and period picture of the Chinese. It is the most rapidly changing society on the planet with a hundred cities over one million in population. They will population peak before 2030 entirely by lifting folk out of poverty whilst relaxing the one child policy.

    The middle classes must consume more carbon? They did in the bad old American days. They don’t have to. Make ’em pay for sustainable, Jinping. These Chinese nouveau riche aren’t wastrels. They’ll pay for eco, because eco will be how they’ll eat most of American and Canadian’s techno-lunch.

    Their lamentable human rights may well be a cost of tightly managing their nifty societal course corrections.



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  • DC

    I’ve seen the mess in green infrastructure here in Ontario.

    Can you point to an article or commentary on this? I’m sure quite a few fnck nps happen in various places. What went wrong there?



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  • DC Toronto #69
    Sep 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Dig a bit deeper friend …. the simple answer is not always the correct one.

    Oh Dear! – The level of superficiality is overwhelming!

    You really should read the links provided for you!

    DC Toronto @#70 – I’ve already agreed with you that we should put all energy types on a level playing field. Subsidies that skew decisions make the decisions more difficult. But we don’t have a full costing of different fuel types. We have broad consensus that fossil fuels are not fully costed for the environmental impact they cause.

    They are not only not costed for environmental impact!
    They are heavily subsidised as well!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-11-12/fossil-fuels-with-550-billion-in-subsidy-hurt-renewables

    Fossil fuels are reaping $550 billion a year in subsidies and holding back investment in cleaner forms of energy, the International Energy Agency said.

    Oil, coal and gas received more than four times the $120 billion paid out in incentives for renewables including wind, solar and biofuels, the Paris-based institution said today in its annual World Energy Outlook.

    The findings highlight the policy shift needed to limit global warming, which the IEA said is on track to increase the world’s temperature by 3.6 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. That level would increase the risks of damaging storms, droughts and rising sea levels.

    The huge subsidies fossil fuels enjoy worldwide gives incentives to their consumption, which means that I’m paying you to pollute the world and use energy inefficiently,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, said at a news conference in London today.

    Renewable use in electricity generation is on the rise and will account for almost half the global increase in generation by 2040, according to the report. It said about 7,200 gigawatts of generating capacity needs to be built in that period to keep pace with rising demand and replace aging power stations.

    The share of renewables in power generation will rise to 37 percent in countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the IEA.



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  • DC Toronto: You are bringing many intelligent practical questions to the debate. Optimistic folks
    just can’t entertain the likely scenario that BOTH fossil fuel consumption AND renewable energy will probably increase until at least 2050. Some reductions may be achieved as the world turns more away from dirty coal to cleaner natural gas but a pound of emissions from either fossil fuel weighs the same.

    Just a note regarding your inadvertent contention that Canada is a “clean” country. With respect to per capita emissions by nation, this just ain’t so. Canada ranks right up there with the USA with 14.67 compared to 17.5. Australia has achieved virtual parity at 16.75 and tiny Oman is off the radar screen with 20.56



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  • Melvin,

    Optimistic folks just can’t entertain the likely scenario that BOTH fossil fuel consumption AND renewable energy will probably increase until at least 2050.

    Trend fatalism comes from those who don’t see what has been made possible by technology and much more importantly by advancing government policy. Some governments actually bucking trends.

    Again(!) no-one is optimistic, otherwise I’d just ignore you.



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  • Melvin #77
    Sep 26, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Optimistic folks just can’t entertain the likely scenario that BOTH fossil fuel consumption AND renewable energy will probably increase until at least 2050.

    The laws of physics and the planet’s climate, don’t care if humans are optimistic, pessimistic, rational or stupid!

    If heat inputs cause temperature rises in the atmosphere, the ice and the oceans to reach threshold trigger-points for chemical reactions which cause escalating feed-back effects, nature will deal drastically with a reckless human overpopulation.

    The options are to quickly end the age of coal and oil in an organised handover to sustainable energy systems, or to carry on increasing atmospheric CO2 regardless, and end the age of oil in climate chaos, – with extensive areas of the Earth no longer capable of sustaining the human, animal, plant populations, and food resources, currently occupying them.

    As Phil points out, many new technologies are available.
    Unfortunately many people would rather die than bother to think!



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  • Melvin

    Unfortunately many people would rather die than bother to think!

    Many do.

    Adding to Russell-

    Of those that are left, many others would rather die than act.

    Most, in fact.

    The concerns I express, Melvin, are not about the disaster to come. (Well, its here.) But about how it will be compounded into a horror, by the prevaricators, their fatalism and their four excuses for their inaction.

    My biggest fear is not China. It is not even Trump. It is decent, thoughtful you.



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  • phil rimmer #80
    Sep 26, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Of those that are left, many others would rather die than act.

    This reminds me of a quote from my brother, after he was rescued from a ferry which had a hole ripped in the engine-room when the crew took a short cut across rocks with the tide a tad too low!

    Brother (in the dining room three decks down)
    “That was an almighty jolt! We’re going to the boat deck to get life jackets!”

    Brother – To diners at the next table:-
    ” Are you coming too? – The engines have stopped.”

    Fellow passenger;-
    “No! I haven’t finished my dinner!”

    (The crew were also feckless, initially tried to pretend there was no serious problem, and failed to launch any lifeboats as a storm brewed and the ship drifted out to sea! –
    A couple of hours later it was still afloat and happened to blow on to an island where it wedged on the rocks and listed, making it impossible to launch lifeboats on rocky landward side, and impossible to launch lifeboats on the seaward side where waves were crashing against the hull.
    Eventually the navy arrived and took everyone off by helicopter.)

    The diners were probably quite smug – having finished their dinner by then! – … and somebody else had taken responsibility!



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  • Again(!) no-one is optimistic, otherwise I’d just ignore you.
    My biggest fear is not China. It is not even Trump. It is decent, thoughtful you.

    Trend fatalism comes from those who don’t see what has been made possible by technology and much more importantly by advancing government policy. Some governments actually bucking trends.

    The first two lines are attempts to transform the discussion into an ad hominem tantrum.

    The next two lines express an opinion based on a belief system. The world has been building wind turbines and nailing down solar panels on roofs at an accelerating clip for 15 years. Redoubling our efforts reflects actual current policy not developments that only a handful of visionaries are recommending. My role in the discussion is to make realistic observations about the mix of fuels and sources of energy people are using globally based on multiple reports and extrapolations into the future. Impoverished sub-Saharan Africa will add a billion poorly educated people by 2050. Certainly these folks will take advantage of considerable solar power, but the process will take place gradually and also use plentiful reserves of oil and natural gas to build not only energy infrastructure but physical infrastructure as well: roads, bridges, urban centers and suburbs, airports and ports, mining and manufacturing facilities, industrialized agriculture and cattle feedlots. The opportunity to take some dwellings off the grid will be blunted by corrupt regimes more committed to self-enrichment than funding grants to destitute people for residential solar installation.

    Finally I must express an opinion based on inferences from empirical observations that might enrage you. Wind and solar are relatively anemic sources of energy constrained by installation costs, (high costs for battery power,) low energy outputs, geographic logistical obstacles, portability and transmission limitations. Fossil fuels come with some of the same costs and additional environmental-health costs. But the fossil fuel infrastructure is up and running on a global scale. It’s taking care of most of the world’s energy needs here and now. I’d welcome a zero-emissions energy regime completely supplied by renewables at reasonable consumer cost when the energy output of such renewables is stepped up to meet global demand for 10 billion people.



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  • The first two lines are attempts to transform the discussion into an ad hominem tantrum.

    Not at all. Not at all. It has been my consistent concern, not just with you here but with all who have some impression of the higher profile bits of what is going on and criticise it in this piecemeal way. I truly see it as damaging, most particularly in the USA. I have often written here about the error of thinking the problem one of technology when the real stumbling block is political will, better legislation to manage compound businesses and reforming financial markets to better profit from long term investments.

    In 2009 a Stanford (?) paper analysed China’s wind assetts and decided that wind alone could meet all her future needs. Yes it would a huge number of turbines but these are now very long term investments and much cheaper to maintain than once. Why on earth you should imagine a solution like huge power stations (non anaemic?) should be the solution configuration, when even these are being re-imagined as much smaller and numerous thermal plants scattered throughout the landscape. (Many many small plants allows CHP applications that push efficiency from 40 to 44% up to 70%, increase system robustness, and drop transmission losses often 8 to 12% end to end.) Or maybe I have misunderstood anaemic.



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  • Melvin #82
    Sep 26, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Impoverished sub-Saharan Africa will add a billion poorly educated people by 2050. Certainly these folks will take advantage of considerable solar power, but the process will take place gradually and also use plentiful reserves of oil and natural gas to build not only energy infrastructure

    You are missing the whole point that photovoltaic panels and solar cookers don’t need “an energy or heavy transport infrastructure”!
    Small wind turbines can be fairly local too.

    but physical infrastructure as well: roads, bridges, urban centers and suburbs, airports and ports, mining and manufacturing facilities, industrialized agriculture and cattle feedlots.

    Subsistence farmers don’t need these either!
    Solar-powered lighting, internet, radio, and TV, are all that is required for communication, plus very basic roads, tracks, or cycle tracks, to take goods to market, and bring fairly light materials back to villages.

    The opportunity to take some dwellings off the grid will be blunted by corrupt regimes more committed to self-enrichment than funding grants to destitute people for residential solar installation.

    Third-world dwellings which have never been on a grid and have no grid or grid capacity in their neighbourhood, don’t need to “come off-grid”!

    They simply use solar energy on-site, instead of transporting fire-wood, cans of oil fuel, or bottled gas.

    Any additional 3rd world population, is not going to born “on-grid”!
    You need to get rid of the obsolete “big infrastructure” mind-set!

    It is the promoters of foreign takeovers of lands and resources, who prop up corrupt regimes sympathetic to their imported, white elephant, big infrastructure schemes, and cash-crops for export.



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  • 85
    rocket888 says:

    @Alan4discussion

    “There is of course years of “raw data” from every Earth monitoring satellite from every space agency, and every ground station, ”

    I was only questioning the data prior to 1950 – where there were no satellites or space agencies, and no computers. I know there’s a lot of data out there, but I wonder where it all came from and how it was data reduced to a single chart held up by Cox, as one might hold up the bible and say, “see all the answers are here!”

    “That is why we employ (thousands of) expert scientists, mathematicians, computer specialists and software developers!”

    Exactly. And I was one of them. What I remember the most is all the fighting over budgets. At NASA it’s how well you can get funding that determines your value to the rest of the organization. One of my bosses couldn’t stand Carl Sagan but when Carl offered us a job on his Cosmos series, my boss accepted. Money always talked first.

    I met a lot of charlatans working for NASA. The best ones could give a talk that nobody understood but nobody dared to question risking looking stupid. I was at just such a briefing where a computer model took in data from 1000’s of spacecraft sensors and dumped out one or 2 magic numbers, supposedly to predict failures. The deputy director of JPL was there and he just smiled dumbly like the rest of us. My co-worker who was supposed to use this great new software whispered to me, “but this is all total B.S.”. It took a few years before they were found out. But by then, all the geniuses were on to new projects.

    Since I am retired and don’t have a job that depends on belonging to the chorus, I can ask the tough questions. I only asked one: where did the data prior to 1950 come from. Some have answered this by saying that it’s all done indirectly, core samples, etc. and one claimed:

    “shows global temperature anomalies for every month since 1880, a result of the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) model run by NASAs Global Modeling and Assimilation Office”

    which means a computer model. But it doesn’t mention where the pre-1950 non-computer data came from.

    My first boss was skeptical when I proudly held up a computer-generated chart that reduced a lot of questionable data to a single sheet of paper. So, I am skeptical of Brian Cox for doing just that. Maybe that chart is right, but I don’t know and just because Cox is a wonderful presenter of science documentaries, doesn’t mean he gets a free pass here.



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  • @ Phil Rimmer,

    Here in Australia regulations mean we can only have 250 watt motor (I know a number of people have much bigger as they have brought kits etc.) I have a 10amp/h battery. As I said it I still have to pedal and I find myself pedaling fairly hard until I get puffed and then drop the speed down a bit and pedal hard again. The difference is the speed If I have it on high the bike will on flat ground will do about 35 to 40 km/h which is a quick as I’m comfortable going anyway. If I turn it to a lower setting the speed drops. But the feeling is like someone gently pushing you from behind. My brother and sister in law also have ebikes and I’ve ridden them, they are all great. Just enough to a good push, Up hills I can maintain 30km/h if I push hard and are not in top gear. even with my panniers full to the brim. Again many of the ebikes in stores are wildly overpriced. Just get a decent kit and convert the old bike or even buy a new light bike and convert it. the simplest is to get a front wheel replacement with hub motor. Plenty of reviews on-line. Good luck.



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  • rocket888 #85
    Sep 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    shows global temperature anomalies for every month since 1880, a result of the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) model run by NASAs Global Modeling and Assimilation Office”

    which means a computer model. But it doesn’t mention where the pre-1950 non-computer data came from.

    I thought the link and comments explained that the computer models were assembled from on the record historical data.

    @-19 – The GISS team assembles its temperature analysis from publicly available data acquired by roughly 6,300 meteorological stations around the world; by ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature; and by Antarctic research stations.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_meteorology#20th_century
    1860 – Robert FitzRoy uses the new telegraph system to gather daily observations from across England and produces the first synoptic charts. He also coined the term “weather forecast” and his were the first ever daily weather forecasts to be published in this year.

    – After establishment in 1849, 500 U.S. telegraph stations are now making weather observations and submitting them back to the Smithsonian Institution. The observations are later interrupted by the American Civil War.

    1869 – The New York Meteorological Observatory opens, and begins to record wind, precipitation and temperature data.
    1870 – The US Weather Bureau is founded. Data recorded in several Midwestern cities such as Chicago begins.
    1870 – Benito Viñes becomes the head of the Meteorological Observatory at Belen in Havana, Cuba. He develops the first observing network in Cuba and creates some of the first hurricane-related forecasts.[38]
    1872 – The “Oficina Meteorológica Argentina” (today “Argentinean National Weather Service”) is founded.

    1873 – International Meteorological Organization formed in Vienna.

    – United States Army Signal Corp, forerunner of the National Weather Service, issues its first hurricane warning.

    1875 – The India Meteorological Department is established, after a tropical cyclone struck Calcutta in 1864 and monsoon failures during 1866 and 1871

    1881 – Finnish Meteorological Central Office was formed from part of Magnetic Observatory of Helsinki University.
    1890 – US Weather Bureau is created as a civilian operation under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    and so on . .. . . . . . .

    As I said earlier, – you could read through all the raw data on temperature, pressure, wind-speed etc. from all 6,300 stations which they have recorded since 1880, – but it could take quite some time!



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  • @Phil: the error of thinking the problem one of technology when the real stumbling block is political will, better legislation to manage compound businesses and reforming financial markets to better profit from long term investments.

    Reading the statement aloud sounds good, but there are no specific policies outlined for actions effectively tailored to specific locations. Will power, hope and polemics are not policies. “Long term investments” is just too vague to be a useful term once you get out beyond five years of some poor Joe putting his money up. Keep in mind the time frame crucial to reversing carbon emissions -about 30 years. When Joe goes to his banker/broker and says I’ve invested $10,000 with you over the last 10 years and it’s time to cash out in order to send my kid to college, buy a new house and so on, he can’t be told, “sorry you’re locked in for the long term.
    Come back in ten more years.

    The claims of shovel-ready green technology; how quickly and at what cost it can be implemented on an economy of scale; and the level of energy output sufficient to meet growing demand while drastically reducing
    greenhouse gas emissions is far from obvious. California, for example, leads the nation in solar installations while ranking number two in carbon emissions behind number one Texas. Denmark is the wind energy capital of the world well ahead of China yet per capita carbon emissions exceed those of the UK. Once more, the complex mix of energy sources actually used keeps renewables at the margins and puts into question their
    effective output to meet national and global energy demands.

    As Alan points out, studies can extrapolate the number of wind and solar installations necessary to meet global energy into some astronomical number that must also increase as population grows by the billions.
    In my view, such extrapolations have little practical value. By 2050 about 85% to 90% of the world’s people will live in developing countries with corrupt governments, many with no central governance at all in a state of civil war like contemporary Syria. Trying to coordinate their political and economic systems with the complex progressive models you propose on an international stage will take a miracle. I do put my money on inventing or radically upgrading new green technology that is energy effective, flexible, affordable, and feasibly installed rapidly on an economy of scale. It is the build-it-and-they-will-come principle.



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  • 89
    rocket888 says:

    As I said earlier, – you could read through all the raw data on temperature, pressure, wind-speed etc. from all 6,300 stations which they have recorded since 1880, – but it could take quite some time!

    I am amazed at how much FAITH people have in data collected 50-100 years ago before computers. Is it not conceivable that some of that data is simply wrong, because of the tortured path it must have taken to become the output of all those perl scripts?

    I wonder who got the thankless job of digitizing all that old data.

    About 5 years ago when I tried to find the raw data, I read the code used to produce some temperature data sets. I saw comments in the code about how the people maintaining it didn’t understand the code. As is often the case, the original developers had become bored and moved on. They weren’t professional programmers. Their code sucked pretty bad – that’s what the comments said. Yet this was what was used to provide the world with “raw data”.

    Now I certainly don’t know who’s right on this. But I think extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. As long as there’s a ton of money to be made on climate change science, I will remain skeptical of those that hold up a chart like it was the word of God and say “here’s the proof”. (see the video with Brian Cox).



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  • Melvin,

    It is Institutional Fund managers and the like who can afford the due diligence of vetting the quality of longer term investments and are themselves seeking additionally cash stream returns from pure cash generating (by being energy generating) businesses. Many in the market are discovering the financial joys of assett based cash stream businesses. What needs reform is that institutions become more expert in the specific technological and commercial offering and its ongoing servicing needs, along the lines of the German intelligent financing in the Mittelstand sector. Most specifically it needs to see Governments offering worthwhile tax concessions to very long term investments in assett based cash generating business. (I don’t want to divert here onto the circular economy intent on creating indefinitely sustainable businesses, but this kind of favoured investment will hugely benefit this also.)

    Governments should favour such assett based investments as it will greatly stabilise this rather dangerous and hot headed financial sector. 2008 and Casino banking/trading (post Glass Steagal) was a substantial disaster still not guarded against enough.

    Nothing happens overnight with such technology and it is possible to be entirely daunted by the great mesh of things that are also needed. Every 3MW turbine planned, planted and paid for needs wiring in not just locally but supported by smart infrastructure that can allow its electricity sold very far away. (China is playing catchup on this infrastructure with a 28% uplift in spend on the Grid.) Wind, viewed on a large enough scale is constant, and will be until someone turns off the sun. Every turbine planted in a different location multiplies up the value of every other turbine by reducing the extent of baseload provision. (Solar has similar fascinating opportunities by spreading over large lateral timezones, smearing and sharing generation and consumption peaks. Europe/Africa/Asia have together an 11 hour belt of very high generation opportunity to work with. Hurrah for GaN switching and HVDC transmission.) The more you do the better it gets and increasingly for keeps. But we need that Moonshot mentality to get the popular support for these huge changes.

    I have failed to convince you on how different Africa will be. But I and the companies I work with are firmly convinced the roll out of energy use will be quite different, with a pan African smart grid (of greatly reduced need) coming after a much of the topical generation and use is already in place. This will be where green gas/CHP integrated businesses, rolling up waste management will flourish most, as much because they don’t need to compete with existing infrastructures.. Big institutional lenders, like tech savvy Credite Suisse, will increasingly not finance increasingly risky fossil infrastructure given they are a diminishing assett. The bulk of Africa will never have telephone lines, they won’t even have to the door cable or fibre. They will look back at the rest of the world, and note that the past is a foreign country…they do things differently there.



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  • rocket888 #89
    Sep 26, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    As I said earlier, – you could read through all the raw data on temperature, pressure, wind-speed etc. from all 6,300 stations which they have recorded since 1880, – but it could take quite some time!

    I am amazed at how much FAITH people have in data collected 50-100 years ago before computers. Is it not conceivable that some of that data is simply wrong, because of the tortured path it must have taken to become the output of all those perl scripts?

    Your doubt-mongering and denial is showing!

    You clearly have not investigated even the basic methodology used to produce such weather and climate data on a day-to-day basis.

    Are you seriously suggesting that scientists at weather stations around the world, cannot/could not, read temperatures on a daily or hourly basis, and write down the figures to compile charts and graphs in their decades of meticulously kept, pre-computer, handwritten records and logs?

    This is the sort of activity which teenage geography students are given as an introduction to the subject! Like the source data, it is readily publicly available, to anyone seriously investigating the subject!

    http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/The-Stevenson-Screen.htm

    The Stevenson Screen or thermometer screen is a standard shelter (from rain, snow and high winds, but also leaves and animals) for meteorological instruments, particularly wet and dry bulb thermometers used to record humidity and air temperature.

    It is kept 1.25m/4.1ft (UK standard) above the ground by legs to avoid strong temperature gradients at ground level, has louvred sides to encourage the free passage of air, and is painted white to reflect heat radiation, since what is measured is the temperature of the air in the shade, not of the sunshine.

    To allow comparability from screen to screen every aspect of construction and exposure is specified by the World Meteorological Organization. For example, its doors opens towards the pole to minimize disturbance when reading in daylight. Double roof, walls and floor of white-painted wood provide screening, and extensive louvres maintain adequate ventilation on all but the stillest days.

    It was invented by the British engineer and meteorologist Sir Thomas Stevenson (1818-1887), the father of Robert Louis Stevenson.

    . . . and of course those ground-based weather stations have continued and are continuing, to record temperature and other data at the present time! – This can be compared with earlier data to show changes at those locations.



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  • Phil I cannot argue with your impressive knowledge in technical fields of your expertise. I hope your techno-financial model gains traction on a global scale in the near future. From one layman’s perspective
    I see a reluctance on the part of societies and governments to put up the mega-cash necessary to fund these massive undertakings on a worldwide scale when so many other “needs” take priority in public funding. Because
    global climate change proceeds so slowly in its impact, the public cares more about maintaining the “old” economy and infrastructure that supports current standards of living. You’re proposals seem to call for major disruptions and austerities in the lives of ordinary people, many who are already poor, people aspiring to increase discretionary income spending for the good life afforded by consumerism in the here and now.



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  • Melvin,

    Thank you for your generous comment and thank you for sticking with this.

    You’re proposals seem to call for major disruptions and austerities in the lives of ordinary people,

    I earnestly don’t think it need come to that. The major disruptions are to old money businesses and old money banking.

    Old money businesses are seeing their assetts starting to haemorrhage value and increasingly fail to get the finance they need to maintain them. Old money banking want to keep their casinos and cocaine, trading hundreds of times the value of GDP in “financial instruments”. Since the eighties they have had the maths to understand that trading with large enough chips skews the outcomes in their favour. Theirs are zero sum investments favouring….banks.

    These folk have a disproportionate amount of clout and have the ear of too many politicians and the voice of too many media outlets.

    Inflation is historically low. The time to disfavour casino banking for longer term plans and invest in cash stream assetts like wind, solar, smart grids, negawatts and compound CHP businesses, (these pay for their investment as they go, generating cash from day one) is now. The astonishing amount of money tricked out of the poorer by the richer with casino banking is hugely under utilised. An estimated 20% is lying completely idle. No one will go to prison for this open handed “crime” but governments might mitigate the past harm by encouraging it back into investment use with attractive tax incentives in return for some guaranteed income.

    This is mostly for the likes of the USA. If fully seized this opportunity could put the USA back into a sustainable technology lead in the sector. It could revitalise the industry and create jobs in virtuous new businesses with global markets crying out for their product. Any small energy hike would soon pass. In the UK we protect old folk in energy poverty. This would be an easy temporary measure. Even back in 2009 the levelised cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines was lower than coal. Encouraging longterm investment would realise this effortlessly.

    The Chinese spending well ahead of the curve has done nothing to harm the impressive rate of growth in personal wealth of all its citizens. It is telling that the head of the Chinese solar industry (and university) expects only to succeed because of commercial superiority now.

    Africa is transforming the wealth and education of its poorest precisely because of solar. Its implementation costs by skipping the infrastructure and by jumping to the latest technologies are tiny in total compared to first world’s investment upon investment.



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  • DC Toronto #3
    Sep 20, 2016 at 10:37 am
    shoe … why not try it like this ….
    .it’s obvious to all but the most obtuse that our climate is changing, as it always does. And given the changes in our ice caps, it’s pretty clear that it’s getting warmer. Now we, as a group need to determine what to do about it.

    And there’s the problem: Solutions to ill defined problems. The glaciers and ice sheets have been melting for at least 12,000 years, well before Chevy Luminas hit the streets and coal power plants improved everyone’s quality of life. Nossir, let’s not qualify it with a lot of technical stuff like AGW vs NGW. Let’s pretend to fix things that you couldn’t possibly have control over.

    When you demonstrate mastery and control of volcanism; plate tectonics; orbital mechanics; solar wind, cosmic rays or solar irradiance, let us know. Then we’ll take you seriously.



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  • The real problem, Tom, is sustainability. AGW is just one possible manifestation of this. The scale of the risk and the error bars on the predictions make the thing scarier not less so. Because the underlying need is sustainability (don’t steal the good materials from our kids, don’t mess the place up) the solutions are a no brainer. The economics of sustainability are rapidly approaching flipping point and the political arguments for indefinite energy security are winners already.



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  • Tom Connor #95
    Sep 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    The glaciers and ice sheets have been melting for at least 12,000 years, well before Chevy Luminas hit the streets and coal power plants . . .

    The difference between climate scientists and climate change deniers, is that climate scientists know why the ice caps were melting before the massive burning of fossil fuels by humans started, and they know what causes the relationships between increases in CO2, changes in temperature, and the present increased ice melt.

    Climatologists like Milankovitch have understood the basics for decades even if they made a few initial mistakes!

    Deniers who don’t know what to measure or how to measure, just like to pretend everyone else is as ignorant as they are, so throw around complex science issues which THEY don’t understand!



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  • Tom Connor #95
    Sep 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    and coal power plants improved everyone’s quality of life.

    Ah yes! Those choking and dying of lung disease, in the smog of Victorian London, 1960’s Los Angeles, and modern China, really do/did have their quality of life “improved” by burning fossil fuel????

    No ssir, let’s not qualify it with a lot of technical stuff like AGW vs NGW.

    No! – We don’t want to pull our heads out of the sand and actually look at temperature inputs of natural climate cycles and separate the baseline temperatures from the added human effects of burning known and measured quantities of fossil fuels. .
    That would be ditching denial and using science to achieve a realistic view!

    Let’s pretend to fix things that you couldn’t possibly have control over.

    I mean to say: We have absolutely no control over how much fossil carbon fuel humans extract and burn!!!!? Do we????

    When you demonstrate mastery and control of volcanism; plate tectonics; orbital mechanics; solar wind, cosmic rays or solar irradiance, let us know. Then we’ll take you seriously.

    There are features of nature which are beyond our control, so let’s pretend this allows us to abdicate responsibility for damaging actions which ARE well within out control!

    EPIC LOGIC FAIL!



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  • Tom Connor #95
    Sep 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    and coal power plants improved everyone’s quality of life.

    @#98 – Ah yes! Those choking and dying of lung disease, in the smog of Victorian London, 1960’s Los Angeles, and modern China, really do/did have their quality of life “improved” by burning fossil fuel????

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37483616

    World Health Organisation – A map of global concentrations of air pollutants, which the WHO says is the most detailed study it has ever released
    Nine out of 10 people on the planet breathe polluted air, even outdoors, the World Health Organisation said.

    Some 92% of the population live in places where air pollution exceeds WHO limits, which can contribute to lung cancer, heart disease, and strokes.

    The south-east Asia and western Pacific regions account for nearly two out of every three such deaths, it said, with poorer countries “getting worse”.

    Around three million deaths every year are linked to outdoor air pollution.

    When “indoor” air pollution – which includes pollutants like wood smoke and cooking fires – is added, air pollution is linked to one in every nine deaths worldwide, the WHO said.

    The air quality model used in the data measures the smallest particles, less than 2.5 micrometres across – which can enter the bloodstream and reach the brain.

    “Rich countries are getting much better in improving the quality of the air,” Dr Carlos Dora from the WHO told the Associated Press.

    “Poorer countries are getting worse. That is the overall trend.”

    However, he said, North America is doing better than Europe, mostly because Europe depends more on diesel fuel and farming practices that create ammonia and methane.

    China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.

    The WHO pointed to sustainable transport, waste management, and renewable energies as possible ways to reduce air pollution.



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  • Why not give priority to stabilizing then reducing population by factoring in decreasing aggregate demand along with advances in green energy and conservation. The logic seems airtight. Whatever the per capita carbon footprint – whether small, medium, or high- reductions in aggregate emissions will also be matched with reductions in population size. If a population of 1,000 emits carbon at 1 ton per person annually, total emissions for the year will be 1,000 ton. If the population decreases to 800 with the same per capita footprint, then carbon emissions will be reduced by 20% to 800 tons corresponding to the 20% fall in population. The advantage prevents population increases from wiping out progress in lowering per capita carbon. Suppose our 1,000 people cut per capita rates in half from 1 to .5. If population doubles to 2,000 the gain is wiped out. The gross emissions return to the annual 1,000 tons.



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  • @ Phil #74
    .
    Our provincial government contracted to pay above market rates for green energy while also contracting to produce more energy than we need and selling to neighbour provinces and states at less than current market rates. A double whammy that has enriched many “green energy” entrepreneurs.
    .
    they also contracted to build several gas powered generating plants which they cancelled weeks before an election to ensure a win in that riding. The cost to cancel the contracts was approx. $1 billion (if my memory serves), and that’s before the cost to build the plants in the new location.
    .
    it has been a huge boondoggle (to be kind) and we now have some of the highest electricity costs in the world. Corruption, greed and political expediency are the most likely causes. It has put us far behind other jurisdictions and has been a significant factor in a loss of manufacturing and industry in the province.



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  • @ Alan #75
    .
    do you know what these subsidies represent? Do you actually think that is what I referred to in my comment?
    .
    @ Alan #76
    .
    Phil is a stickler for per capita measurement. What is it per capita? How does THAT relate to other countries?



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  • @ Alan #99
    .
    “China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.”

    I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them …. but hey, you and phil think they will save the ice caps from melting …. I’d hate to see if things were bad.



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  • DC Toronto #101
    Sep 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    they also contracted to build several gas powered generating plants which they cancelled weeks before an election to ensure a win in that riding. The cost to cancel the contracts was approx. $1 billion (if my memory serves), and that’s before the cost to build the plants in the new location.

    it has been a huge boondoggle (to be kind) and we now have some of the highest electricity costs in the world. Corruption, greed and political expediency are the most likely causes.

    Political U turns, corruption, and political incompetence have no inherent connection to green technologies.
    Globally carbon industries get about three times as much subsidy as innovative clean green technologies – actively promoting pollution and obstructing progress.

    @#103 – What is it per capita? How does THAT relate to other countries?

    Per capita is the average per head of population.
    The per-capita figure makes meaningful fair comparisons of countries with different population sizes possible. – Otherwise we just get figures which suggest the obvious – that large (industrial) countries usually produce more CO2 than small ones.



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  • @ Melvin #77
    .
    you didn’t bother to read to the end of the comment.
    .
    The land in Canada absorbes vast amounts of carbon. More than ALL Canadians combined spew into the air by a factor of about 20%. Canada as a country reduces the greenhouse gasses both in aggregate, and for Phil, per capita.



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  • @ Alan #104
    .
    If you don’t know, just say so. It’s ok. I already know there are many things you don’t know.
    .
    political U turns and corruption have EVERYTHING to do with implementing the technologies and solutions to combat the human component of climate change. All of the changes currently proposed or even just imagined will require massive investments and significant changes for people. Fairness, openness and effectiveness will be needed to get significant numbers of thinking people on board. Ineptitude will set the process back significantly.
    .
    You can see examples of this in the government of my province (the largest in Canada), in some of the initial proponents of sustainability, who didn’t live sustainably themselves (Gore, Suzuki) and in the rise of politicians and ideologies that reject global warming and the emerging solutions (and the attendant accords and agreements). Kyoto died a wimpering death because it was seriously flawed. Paris has no teeth, but with luck it will align countries and move us a step forward. But even getting to that point we needed to spew massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere so that everyone got a trip to Paris – yippee! And mostly on the taxpayers dime.
    .
    which brings us almost full circle to my initial comment. I’ll ask you what I asked phil …. what have you done personally to combat global warming?



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  • DC Toronto #103
    Sep 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    “China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.”

    I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them ….

    China was one of the worst polluters with its coal power-stations and
    poorly regulated nouveau industrialisation.

    It still has a long way to go, but has enthusiastically embraced green technology production.

    but hey, you and phil think they will save the ice caps from melting …. I’d hate to see if things were bad.

    The point for Canada, is that it WILL suffer as a result of global warming, and must avoid the triggering of massive feedback effects from peat fires and sea-floor clathrate methane releases.
    Global problems require everyone to play their part in fixing the problems – including setting an example and pressing others to behave responsibly.



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  • DC Toronto #106
    Sep 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    @ Alan #104

    political U turns and corruption have EVERYTHING to do with implementing the technologies and solutions to combat the human component of climate change.

    Most of the green technologies used in suitable locations, are economically viable in the long term, so the problem is with the politics not the technologies.

    All of the changes currently proposed or even just imagined will require massive investments and significant changes for people. Fairness, openness and effectiveness will be needed to get significant numbers of thinking people on board. Ineptitude will set the process back significantly.

    As I have pointed out, feedbacks such as permafrost melt and peat fires
    are part of the future.

    Stupid investments such are extracting tar-sands and more oil drilling, is only going to make matters much worse.

    As CO2 levels and temperatures climb, the laws of physics don’t care who is responsible, or who is ducking responsibility.
    If the human populating does not get a grip on this, everyone will suffer!
    Some a lot more than others.



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  • Melvin

    Why not give priority to stabilizing then reducing population by factoring in decreasing aggregate demand along with advances in green energy and conservation.

    Because that is too slooooooow. The health dividend runs on for two generations, There are no good levers to pull on this for many countries without creating a demographic disaster of unproductive and expensive old folk and a political backlash.

    By contrast if we merely look at negawatts, energy efficiency, that is galloping ahead. In one of my own current sectors, lighting in the residential, hospitality and retail, there is an as yet unused capacity to drop energy use by a further 55%, with a further 20% by 2020. Current products using conventional business models lag well behind what is actually possible.

    This applies to all energy use sectors, and is why negawatts gives the biggest CO2 hit per dollar of any investment. It is why Chinese carbon intensity is dropping so rapidly and facilitating the gear change away from coal earlier than expected.

    Mega changes are possible. If we had mortgages for e-vehicles made modular, (50 to $100k) with most components maintainable for fifty years, carbon fibre chasis, non crashable, re-manufactured batteries in the premium, ten re-skins in the total price. We could be running 200mpg CO2 equivalent vehicles moving to infinite over the decades. It would stimulate innovation in the modular parts because much smaller companies can join in. With modular formats mass customisation creates more varieties not less, it re-vitalises local businesses with real local added value rather than imported, it drops manufacturing effort and waste, embodied energy and CO2 by 80%. Back in 2000 or so I had the CEO of a Californian energy Company (not PG & E) talking so excitedly about the appearance of sufficient EVs and their batteries. For him even then it would be game over for fossil.

    Or like the youth of Paris who no longer buy cars but car share or rent an Autolib to zip them round Paris as cheap as the metro.

    https://www.autolib.eu/stations/

    There are so many tractable ways to make deep cuts in our energy use (I have a big long list). They will all work faster and deeper and with less social impact than population control.

    The spectacular birthrates most needing tackling are in the poorest areas…Africa etc. What will bring its 5 plus birthrate tumbling down is lifting them out of poverty, educating women and giving women the prospect of earning. More than anything Solar is achieving this. There is no fear of gas guzzlers appearing here, they have half a century of development to go. E-transport will be in place then, because…..of course it will. The equivalent of a trillion barrels of oil fall out of the sky everyday. A very great deat of it lands on them.

    What will happen with these good ideas is that they will dribble out, be fudged and grow much more slowly than they could. Moonshot and “War” mentalities show an upper limit of what we could do with the social compliance these things bring and sufficient committed money.

    Renewables and eco-tech are actually the way to do most good most quickly and will increasingly bring other societal and political benefits. I assert they will be better levers to pull to bring our population peak forward and down from 12bn in 2100.



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  • @ Alan #107
    .
    how do you think Canada will suffer? Have you considered the benefits available?
    .

    108 …. I didn’t say it’s the technology …. have you stopped reading? Those technologies will not be implemented without the political will …

    .
    And Al, you’ve conveniently avoided answering my question about the subsidies you complained about in post #75 …. do you now what you were complaining about? Or did you just press google, find a big number and post it? You really do need to dig in and understand what you’re posting.



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  • DC Toronto #103
    Sep 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    @ Alan #99
    .
    “China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.”

    I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them ….

    I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them YET!

    Once their rapidly expanding green technologies replace their old polluting energy systems, their pollution levels will drop!
    At least some Chinese are trying to fix the problems, rather than trying to pretend climate problems don’t exist, or that the pollution is nothing to do with them.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/09/deniers-club-meet-the-people-clouding-the-climate-change-debate/#li-comment-211749



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  • @ Alan #75
    .
    sorry AL, you’re not correct. The number you quoted was an estimate of the discrepancy between price and underlying costs in various nations in the world. Canada is not included in that list.
    .
    it does not include any actual subsidies to resource companies.
    .
    it’s important to know what you are posting. As I said before. I agree with you that the various energy forms should compete on an even basis. But it is not as simple as you’d like to make it.
    .
    Ending direct energy subsidies would be a useful thing. I don’t see it happening in the near future, but it would allow the world to make more effective decisions. But it would have to include the all in cost of the various forms of energy, pollution (in the form of carbon from fossil fuels, or nuclear waste or battery waste) and it would need to recognize the built in advantages of the headstart enjoyed by oil/gas energy and the existing infrastructure they enjoy.
    .
    it’s not a simple task and I’m not optimistic that the world will get it right.
    .
    and to continue that thought, even if the world gets it right, I don’t think it will be in time to avoid significant disruption from climate changes.
    .
    as for the calculation of the price gap subsidy … while some may find it an interesting idea, I don’t believe it’s terribly useful number. Oil has historically had significant price manipulations (see OPEC 1973). And subsidies in oil producing countries, particularly where the state earns the bulk of the resource revenues, is simply taking from one pocket to the other (let me know if you need further explanation). It would be much more useful to look at subsidies granted directly to oil/gas producers to reduce the cost to consumers. OF course, this would need to be net of the tax revenue generated by the sale of these products to find the real net subsidy, but I expect you get my meaning.
    .
    My real point AL, is that if I thought we could gather the information to make the right decisions and get enough people on board and do it in a time frame that would actually have a meaningful impact, I’d be all for it. And step one on that road is to call out the imposters who use it as a populist issue to garner wealth or power. Good luck with that Al … pointing fingers at those who raise this issue won’t help.



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  • @ Al #111
    .
    in the last decade china built 100’s of oil burning electricity plants with 40-50 year life spans. That is the minimum time horizon to see a significant shift in their overall output.



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  • DC Toronto #106
    Sep 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    @ Alan #104 – If you don’t know, just say so. It’s ok. I already know there are many things you don’t know.

    If you have reputable sources of information on these subjects which you think will add clarity to the debate, please post links to them.

    Phil and myself are already well versed in the technical options available globally.

    It would seem you have quite a number of experts available to give advice on clean energy systems quite near to you.

    http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=0f274fc518dba310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=401132d0b6d1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

    A growing number of Canada’s leading environmental innovators call Toronto home. More than 36,000 people are employed in over 1,700 Toronto-area companies that provide alternative energy and cleantech products and services across a wide range of sub-sectors.



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  • DC Toronto #101
    Sep 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm
    .
    Our provincial government contracted to pay above market rates for green energy while also contracting to produce more energy than we need and selling to neighbour provinces and states at less than current market rates. A double whammy that has enriched many “green energy” entrepreneurs.

    So here’s an article on a report on green energy.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/green-energy-costs-minimal-for-consumers-study-says/article17484685/

    Green energy costs ‘minimal’ for consumers, study shows
    The cost of green energy has a relatively small impact on residential electricity bills in Ontario , a new study to be released Friday suggests, and that will not change significantly even as renewables take up a bigger portion of power generation.

    That should be a lesson for other provinces considering the shift to renewables, says the study’s sponsor, Environmental Defence Canada, because it shows Ontario’s pro-green energy plan is not as costly as some critics claim.

    The analysis conducted for Environmental Defence by independent energy consulting firm Power Advisory LLC, shows that the cost of energy from solar, wind and bioenergy currently makes up about 9 per cent of an average electricity bill in Ontario. Other forms of power make up about 48 per cent of the bill, while the balance is the cost of delivering power, a regulatory fee, tax and a charge to retire the debt on nuclear power plants. Ontario residents also get a 10-per-cent rebate called the “clean energy benefit.”

    In 10 years time, the study says, renewables will account for about 16 per cent of a household’s total bill.

    By that time, the Ontario government has projected, solar, wind and biofuel will make up about 17 per cent of the province’s energy supply, up from about 5 per cent in 2013.

    Renewable power is often blamed for rising electricity costs, said Environmental Defence campaign director Gillian McEachern, but they “play a fairly small role in Ontarians’ electricity bills today.

    Ontario’s opposition Conservatives have often criticized the Liberal government’s green-energy policies for driving up electricity cost, and they have pledged to kill off subsidies to wind and solar if they take power.

    In Ontario’s long-term energy plan released in December, the government estimated that an average monthly power bill in the province will rise from about $137 this year to about $191 in 2024– a jump of about 40 per cent. But Ms. McEachern said the bulk of that increase will come from inflation, not the increasing use of renewable source of power.

    There are also significant benefits of the shift to renewables that are not reflected in those bills, she said, such as the reduction in health care costs that will result from the elimination of coal-generated power in the province. The distributed nature of renewable power – such as when solar panels are installed on rooftops – can also reduce the cost of transmitting power over long distances, she added.

    While the report focuses on Ontario, where the debate over green energy has been most intense because of the province’s efforts to promote renewables, there are lessons for other provinces, Ms. McEachern said.

    “There is this false perception that [Ontario’s] Green Energy Act has failed,” she said. “That is potentially damaging for the transition to renewable energy nationwide. The lesson here is that Ontario has gotten off coal, has put in place renewables, and the … cost to the average person is minimal.

    As the cost of renewables – particularly solar power – continues to fall, they will become “more and more appealing,” she said.



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  • DC Toronto #115
    Sep 28, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    here is a link Al

    Thanks. This does seem somewhat focussed on fossil fuels, but perhaps that is not surprising in view of the organisation’s origins and connections.

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

    Ahead of the launch of the 2009 World Energy Outlook, the British daily newspaper The Guardian, referring to an unidentified senior IEA official, alleged that the agency was deliberately downplaying the risk of peak oil under pressures from the USA. According to a second unidentified former senior IEA official it was “imperative not to anger the Americans” and that the world has already entered the “peak oil zone”.[11]

    The Guardian also referred to a team of scientists from Uppsala University in Sweden who studied the 2008 World Energy Outlook and concluded the forecasts of the IEA were unattainable. According to their peer-reviewed report, oil production in 2030 would not exceed 75 million barrels per day (11.9×106 m3/d) while the IEA forecasts a production of 105 million barrels per day (16.7×106 m3/d). The lead author of the report, Dr. Kjell Aleklett, has claimed that IEA’s reports are “political documents”.[12]

    The anticorruption NGO Global Witness wrote in its report Heads in the Sand that “Global Witness’ analysis demonstrates that the Agency continues to retain an overly-optimistic, and therefore misleading, view about potential future oil production.” According to Global Witness, “the Agency’s over-confidence, despite credible data, external analysis and underlying fundamentals all strongly suggesting a more precautionary approach, has had a disastrous global impact.”[13]

    In the past, the IEA has been criticized by environmental groups for underplaying the role of renewable energy technologies in favor of nuclear and fossil-fuels.[14] In 2009, Guy Pearse stated that the IEA has consistently underestimated the potential for renewable energy alternatives.[15]

    The Energy Watch Group (EWG), a coalition of scientists and politicians which analyses official energy industry predictions, claims that the IEA has had an institutional bias towards traditional energy sources and has been using “misleading data” to undermine the case for renewable energy, such as wind and solar. A 2008 EWG report compares IEA projections about the growth of wind power capacity and finds that it has consistently underestimated the amount of energy the wind power industry can deliver.[16]

    For example, in 1998, the IEA predicted global wind electricity generation would total 47.4 GW by 2020, but EWG’s report states that this level was reached by the end of 2004.[17] The report also said that the IEA has not learned the lesson of previous underestimates, and last year net additions of wind power globally were four times greater than the average IEA estimate from its 1995-2004 predictions.[16]

    Amid discontent from across the renewables sector at the IEA’s performance as a global energy watchdog, the International Renewable Energy Agency was formed on January 26, 2009.
    As of July 2015, 143 States are members of IRENA, and further 29 are in the process of accession. Two notable exceptions from the participating states and applicants are Brazil and Canada.




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  • @ Alan #118
    .
    here is an article that explains it.
    .
    http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/how-green-energy-is-fleecing-ontario-electricity-consumers
    .
    There are many hidden costs in our electric bills in Ontario. They’ve instituted time of use pricing among other advances that have made the bills virtually unreadable to the layman. Costs have rising substantially in Ontario, and as you can see, rates are above market for our green energy.
    .
    it may not be the fault of the technology, but it’s a reality for people who live here and creates suspicion around new initiatives …. which was my original point.



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  • and one that shows the provincial gov’t backtracking on their wonderful rhetoric about renewable energy.
    .
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/ontario-cancels-plans-to-purchase-more-green-electricity/article32071794/
    .
    it’s important to understand what you’re posting Alan. This province has suffered immensely in our bid to become greener. This will set back the useful programs by years as the memory lingers in voters minds.



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  • @ Alan #119
    .
    I fail to see the point of your posting long sections of already published material. The link I provided was related to YOUR article about the subsidies on fossil fuels. This was the source for the Bloomberg article you linked. Ultimately, this was YOUR source. Your post seems to suggest that YOUR source is not reliable.
    .
    In any event, I addressed the issues with the method used by your source. I think your quoted subsidy number is virtually useless as noted. So far the response has been to suggest your source is not very good. Do you have information that is relevant to the discussion?



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  • DC Toronto #120
    Sep 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    To @ Alan #118 – here is an article that explains it.

    @ your link – how-green-energy-is-fleecing-ontario-electricity-consumers

    Last year, in a report for the Fraser Institute called “Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, . . . . . .

    What’s the solution? If the Province wants to contain electricity rate increases it needs to halt new hydroelectric, wind and solar projects.
    In order to reverse rate increases, the province should seek opportunities to terminate existing contracts between renewable energy companies and the OPA. Alas, as the Premier has indicated, that’s not where they’re headed.

    Alternatives to costly new renewables include using some imported electricity from Quebec while Ontario refurbishes its nuclear power plants and maintaining 4 of 12 coal-fired power units at Lambton and Nanticoke

    Ah! I wondered where you were getting your ideological disinformation!
    That is why I asked for reputable sources.

    You may recall the carbon industry funded “Merchants of Doubt” were mentioned earlier! Transparency was also mentioned!

    https://bctf.ca/publications/NewsmagArticle.aspx?id=7914

    Who funds the Fraser Institute?

    Aspiring reporters are taught to “follow the money” when doing business or government stories. Who’s financing the project? Who will benefit from the rezoning or the tax break? Who will lose out?

    Last year, the Fraser Institute celebrated its 30th anniversary. A gala was held in Calgary for 1,200 well-fed libertarians, conservatives, and reactionaries. Only two numbers were mentioned in the news coverage: 30 and 1,200.
    Missing was the more important number: 100 million, the dollars, more or less, that have been funnelled through the institute over the years.

    Early on, Executive Director Michael Walker had to scramble to meet his payroll of $100,000. Last year, he brought in $6.6 million, the largest amount in its history, vaulting it past some of its sister propaganda outfits in the U.S. When averaged, the grand total is about $100 million.

    Forgetting what their journalism profs told them, reporters never asked who’s pouring that much money into the think tank, and why?

    True, it isn’t easy to answer this question unless Walker divulges the information, and for once, he’s not talking. Canadian law for tax-exempt societies does not require contributors to be made public. The institute’s annual report provides a breakdown by category of donor: 52% from foundations, 38% from organizations, and the remainder from individuals.

    Tax-exempt foundations must list recipients of their grants, so it is possible to identify most of the foundation money. Four large Canadian foundations provide the lion’s share of nearly $3.5 million from that source.

    Until recently, the leader was the Donner Canadian Foundation, a key organization in the project to change the ideological fabric of Canadian society. It is known as paymaster to the right, and it’s safe to say that the reactionary right would have made little headway in Canada in the past decade without Donner’s backing. Stephen Harper would be a nobody, for instance.

    Donner, with assets of $200 million, gives out two million a year to right-wing causes. In the mid-1990s, it established three new libertarian think tanks: the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, in Halifax, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, in Winnipeg, and the Montreal Economic Institute.

    In 2002, the latest year for which figures are available, Donner contributed nearly half a million dollars to the Fraser Institute, including $200,000 for Donner Awards in the Delivery of Social Services. This is a program to undermine government by ostensibly demonstrating that the voluntary sector does better than the public sector in delivering social services. (So who needs government?)

    In their fawning coverage of the institute’s anniversary party, reporters never asked who has poured $100 million into the right-wing think-tank, and why.

    Donner also gave $100,000 to start CanStats, a Fraser Institute division that purports to monitor how the media report science and statistics. Most of the work is done by ideologues who are neither scientists nor statisticians. Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman call this activity “flak.” By criticizing and harassing mainstream media, flak organizations can pull media reporting to the right.

    So you have given me a link to a well funded right-wing propaganda organisation, instead of a reputable science or economics report.

    @#118 – it may not be the fault of the technology, but it’s a reality for people who live here and creates suspicion around new initiatives …. which was my original point.

    Ah! The creating of suspicion around new initiatives by well funded propagandists, who recommend abandoning clean projects and going back to coal! !
    No surprises there!



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  • DC Toronto #121
    Sep 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    and one that shows the provincial gov’t backtracking on their wonderful rhetoric about renewable energy.

    theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/ontario-cancels-plans-to-purchase-more-green-electricity/article32071794/

    it’s important to understand what you’re posting Alan.

    It certainly is!

    This province has suffered immensely in our bid to become greener.

    BUT – That’s not what your linked article says!

    Ontario’s renewable energy industry has been dealt a blow with the province’s decision to cancel the latest round of green power projects.

    The Liberal government announced on Tuesday that it is killing off its second “large renewable procurement” plan, the process in which companies bid to build wind and solar farms and other projects.

    Mr. Thibeault said contracts signed in an earlier green-energy procurement will be honoured. In March, the province reached 16 deals with 11 firms to build wind, solar and hydroelectric projects for a total of 455 megawatts of new capacity. The negotiated prices were much lower than earlier fixed-price contracts for renewables because of the competitive bidding.

    Ontario already has more than 4,000 MW of wind capacity and 2,000 of solar power.

    The Liberal government has been under pressure from the opposition and rural residents who oppose wind farms to scale back its renewable plans and to find a way to trim increases in electricity prices.

    But the cancellation was a shock to the renewable-energy industry, which was counting on the new program, which would have awarded contracts for about 1,000 MW of projects in 2018.

    John Gorman, president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, said the decision could hurt manufacturers and installers of solar product in the province just as they are becoming significant global competitors. “We are on the cusp of being recognized players in the international community, and we are at the doorstep of other provinces like Alberta [which are about to start] developing vast amounts of solar,” he said, adding that the changes in Ontario could damage the industry before it gets a chance to expand.

    Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said the wind industry is “shocked and extremely disappointed.” He said the decision is a “missed opportunity” for the province to prepare for future energy needs and mitigate climate change. He also noted that the cost of wind is now competitive with that of other forms of power generation.

    Lobby group Environmental Defence called the cancellation “short-sighted” and said this is “exactly the wrong time to put the brakes on renewable energy.” It noted that *prices for wind- and solar-generated power are dropping and are now competitive with new nuclear power or natural gas sources**. Gideon Forman, an analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation, said the move was “baffling,” at odds with Ontario’s low carbon plans, and potentially puts many jobs at risk.

    However, John Cook, president of Toronto-based clean-tech investment firm Greenchip Financial Corp., said many Canadian power producers have already shifted development plans from Ontario to provinces that are moving away from coal-fired electricity production, such as Alberta.

    Mr. Cook said it is important that Ontario residents realize green energy was responsible for only 5 per cent of the total increase in the price of electricity for the past five years.
    “The real cause of [higher] electricity prices has been nuclear refurbishment, transmission upgrades, the HST, and debt retirement,
    ” he said.

    This will set back the useful programs by years as the memory lingers in voters minds.

    It certainly will set back useful programs:- which is of course the intension of the carbon promoting propagandists, who have blamed green developments for the increased prices resulting from nuclear refurbishment, transmission upgrades, the HST, and debt retirement, to encourage deceived voters and misled politicians to make these foolish decisions.



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  • China’s coal fired power stations are continuing to slump in the levels of their utilisation (%age of capacity). Now they are down to 50.9%. China’s aggressive plan to cut coal provision is proving painful in some provinces with the years plan possibly missing its plan deadline of November. Part of the problem is in the speed of change being required and the impacts on businesses and communities. 1.8 million coal and steel workers are to be laid off. I have seen reports that China may pay to speed up the process.

    Here’s a little more on that Liu Zhenya commentary and its context. This article explains that base load provision at best is no longer needed or is at worst a fossil fuel con. It was of course one time true and as catchment area and capacity of renewables expand so it diminishes. I might be truer to say that old money fossil is well motivated to hang on to the concept the longest.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/base-load-power-a-myth-used-to-defend-the-fossil-fuel-industry-96007



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  • phil rimmer #125
    Sep 28, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Excellent link – killing the base-load myth now the Chinese grid has enough geographical coverage.

    @link- “Base load is an archaic term that is no longer commercially relevant. Once that capacity is built – coal-fired generation is the most expensive marginal cost of supply because of the fuel cost, because it has to burn coal to operate.

    “We believe that with more renewables and storage, peak electricity prices will halve over the next 20 years. Once you build solar and you build storage, the marginal cost of production is zero.”



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  • DC

    It is entirely possible to screw up the transition to renewable. Expecting too much too soon, not having the courage to extend solar systems (!) across a large enough lateral spreads or wind turbines accessing different geographical wind assets. Early adopters mistakenly feeling they should not be getting into the sunk cost fallacy and not upgrading through the rapidly improving equipment, can actually see terrible returns on their planning, approval, tower planting and connection investment by not up-speccing generators and blades.

    Innovation in the design and manufacturing of wind power generation components continues to be critical to achieving our national renewable energy goals. As a result of this challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Program and Advanced Manufacturing Office are partnering with public and private organizations to apply additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, to the production of wind turbine blade molds.
    The Wind Program works with industry partners to increase the performance and reliability of next-generation wind technologies while lowering the cost of wind energy. The program’s research efforts have helped to increase the average capacity factor (a measure of power plant productivity) from 22% for wind turbines installed before 1998 to an average of 33% today, up from 30% in 2000. Wind energy costs have been reduced from over 55 cents (current dollars) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1980 to an average of 2.35 cents in the United States today.

    http://energy.gov/eere/next-generation-wind-technology

    Manipulating feed in tarrifs is entirely the way governments can invest in transforming their country’s energy infrastructure and favouring its new technology businesses. As a number of earlier posts have already explained new technology takes time to stop being a bit crap and very expensive. Canada was early into this arena. Sometimes being second is the safer position… just back from the “bleeding edge”.



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  • Do You want more? Do you think we all atheists have money?

    Look at yourself, or have for yourself a mirror.

    Money, money , money, isn’t it a christian problem.

    I don’t have. Which does not mean that I should have it, in in the afterlfie…

    So shut up Your Trumps.

    I
    Do you really think all inteelligent people do have money? Look at Trump. And don’t aska our poor people for donations. If you have money, just do with it, most of the peaople, evevn atheists, have to do without i.



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  • Ah, here we go.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/china-coal-capacity-idUKL3N1AS3FA

    This is government policy turning on a dime. If anything this shows how rapidly they are intent on changing things.

    Posting old stuff on China is clearly to underestimate their responsiveness to need and the coherence of their newly formed plans. (The 5 year 28% uplift in grid spending was a recent decision taken very hot on the heals of the analysis Wind investment not being fully realised without more copper.)



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  • Phil, this U.S. IEA report from May, 2016 discusses China’s ambitious programs for reducing coal consumption but projects the time frame out to 2030 and 2040 hardly showing government policy turning on a dime .

    Coal consumption in China reaches a peak of nearly 90 quadrillion Btu around 2025 before gradually declining to 83 quadrillion Btu in 2040 (Figure 4-11). Government policy [concern for air pollution, carbon emissions and a shift from manufacturing to a balanced service sector-consumer economy] and an economic [manufacturing] slowdown are responsible for the peak and ultimate decline in China’s coal consumption… (my words in [brackets] )

    More alarming is what the IEA reports in the following paragraphs, especially about India, and world increases in coal fired energy projected out to 2040:

    In the IEO2016 Reference case, world coal production increases by 1.2 billion tons from 2012 to 2040, with 0.7 billion tons (62% of the total increase) coming from India (Table 4-1). China remains the largest coal producer through 2040, although its annual production declines in the second half of the projection period after peaking at approximately 4.7 billion tons in 2025. Production in Australia, Africa, and Russia also increases substantially, with their combined increases representing 24% of the world’s total
    production increase…

    Piling bad news on top of bad news, the report looks at projections for Africa:

    In the IEO2016 Reference case, total coal consumption in Africa increases from just under 5 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 7 quadrillion Btu in 2040, mainly as a result of demand in the electric power sector and metallurgical industries. South Africa accounts for more than 90% of Africa’s total coal consumption and more than 72% of its total primary energy consumption in 2012…chronic power shortages combined with the economic advantage of coal-fired generation suggest that coal will continue growing as a primary source of energy supply for South Africa.

    However we may prefer one data set over another; one analysis and projection over another, The EIA report for May, 2016 cannot be considered “posting old stuff on China” [and the rest of the world] nor can it be considered the output of biased hacks.

    Reasonable people may ask why you seem to be saying something very different from the EIA on the topic…???



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  • Melvin,

    Did you intend to refer to this?

    https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/weo-2016-special-report-energy-and-air-pollution.html

    This report is about NOx, SO2, CO and VOCs (CO2 is not considered a pollutant in its analysis) it is “Based on new data for pollutant emissions in 2015 and projections to 2040,” Its window of view will not take in events just a few weeks before its publication date. In another debate this is entirely the evidence I would use to shame folk into action. But we are having a debate here about trend fatalism and asking the question is action (albeit two degrees too late) from governments a possibility. (Your contention…technology stands in our path, my contention politics and economic policy do).

    The report reads government policies in the light of its own remit (air pollution). I would contend that whilst there is a little economic slow down in China its rate of increase of energy intensity (energy effiiency through technology and business model shift) is a far bigger factor in realising opportunities for energy policy change.

    Completely agree about South Africa. If you will recall that is one of the countries I excluded in my analysis of Africa. Its has a lot of fossil legacy that it will find too tempting not to use. One silver lining though is to note SA has half the birthrate of African average. This is consistent with my claim that lifting people out of poverty will solve the population issue by default (with the health dividend caveat).



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  • @#123 – You may recall the carbon industry funded “Merchants of Doubt” were mentioned earlier! Transparency was also mentioned!

    Who funds the Fraser Institute?

    The US also has a long history of Merchants of Doubt for hire, who use “THE TOBACCO STRATEGY” to try to discredit reputable scientific studies, while ironically propagating false claims that others are participating in the sort of corruption of information in which they wilfully indulge!

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

    In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question or deny the health risks of secondhand smoke and to lobby against smoking bans.[2]:233–34[3]
    In the decade after 2000, the Heartland Institute became a leading supporter of climate change denial.[4][5] It rejects the scientific consensus on global warming,[6] and says that policies to fight it would be damaging to the economy

    Heartland says it has a full-time staff of 29, including editors and senior fellows,[22] as well as 222 unpaid policy advisors.[23] As of 2015, the Heartland Institute’s board of directors includes Bast, Chicago real estate property manager Robert Buford,[24] Texas lobbyist Jeff Judson,[25] investment fund manager Brian D. Singer,[26][27] and Dan Hales.[28] Heartland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.[22][29] It reported revenues of $4.8 million in 2013

    Heartland has long questioned the links between tobacco smoking, secondhand smoke, and lung cancer and the social costs imposed by smokers.[37] One of Heartland’s first and most prominent campaigns was against tobacco regulation.[6] According to the Los Angeles Times, Heartland’s advocacy for the tobacco industry is one of the two things Heartland is most widely known for.



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  • For those who are not familiar with “merchant’s of doubt” type deceptions, – here is a guide for rational people:-

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/A_comparative_guide_to_science_denial

    A comparative guide to science denial
    When you watch science denial in action, you will see the same sort of arguments being used over and over, often in much the same order. Here is a handy-dandy cut-out-and-keep guide, with examples from:

    tobacco industry,
    creationists, and
    climate change deniers.




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  • DC Toronto #122
    Sep 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm – @ Alan #119

    I fail to see the point of your posting long sections of already published material.

    The point is to pick out relevant sections from long documents and highlight key features.

    Putting in links which simply throw pages of text at someone, accompanied by a dubious claim that something in them supports some viewpoint, is simply unhelpful.



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  • As well as rising seas, loss of irrigation water etc, there are a few other agricultural issues associate with failing to control rapid warming”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37489916

    A study has highlighted the risk posed by projected climate change on the world’s ability to grow enough food.

    A US team of researchers found that forecasted shifts in climate by 2070 would occur too quickly for species of grass to adapt to the new conditions.

    The species facing an uncertain future include wheat, corn, rice and sorghum, which provide almost half of the calories consumed by humans.

    The findings appear in the Royal Society Biology Letter journal.

    Not only does the grass family (Poaceae) of more than 11,000 species form the staple of people’s diets across the globe, natural grasslands cover about a quarter of the planet’s land area and provide a home to a rich diversity of dependent flora and fauna.

    In order to gain an insight into the impact of projected climate change on the world’s grasses, they estimated the rates of climate change niche change in a representative sample of 236 grass species and compared these rates with rates of projected climate change by 2070.

    “A climatic niche is basically the temperature and precipitation conditions where a species occurs,” explained co-author John Wiens from the university’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

    “What is important about it is that if you are thinking about one species living in one place and it can only survive under a limited set of conditions then, as the climate changes, it either has to shift its climatic niche or it is going to go locally extinct.”

    The team examined how quickly the grass species’ climatic niches were able to change, based on they had changed in the past.

    “What we found was that they do not change all that much – a few degrees Celsius over a million years. There are just small changes over long time scales,” Dr Wiens observed.

    “In some ways, that is the most important part of the story; these climatic niches generally seem to change relatively little and relatively slowly.

    “Then we looked at future climate projections for a range of localities, and we asked how much they were going to change.”

    The team found that the difference between the rates of change in the study’s grass species’ climate niche and projected changes in a location’s climate was often “20,000-fold”.

    “The findings are similar across all the groups so they could be applied to wild species as well as to the cultivated ones. There is no way that cultivated species are somehow exempt from our findings,” Dr Wiens added.

    These finding present a bleak outlook; apparently squashing the hope that crop species would be able to cope with a warming world.



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  • DC Toronto #39
    Sep 23, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I’m not questioning the scientific method, I’m questioning the scientists and those who interpret and report the data.

    . . . But that is just parroting the doubt-mongers who spread disinformation in the popular press.
    The real charlatans don’t misinterpret the data!
    They just make it up according to the propaganda agendas of their funding employers.

    And I’m suggesting that there are as many with vested interests who are attempting to use this issue to enrich themselves.

    There certainly are – and they are well known despite serious attempts to hide from transparency and accountability!

    When discussing deniers, perhaps this issue needs more airing, since some information linked to articles on this thread, track back to such denier sponsored sources as Fraser Institute, behind the articles presented to mislead the public.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dark-money-funds-climate-change-denial-effort/

    “Dark Money” Funds Climate Change Denial Effort

    A Drexel University study finds that a large slice of donations to organizations that deny global warming are funneled through third-party pass-through organizations that conceal the original funder
    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.



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  • PHIL: The link I referenced for the information on projections for China and other regional, and national
    entities encompassing global production/consumption of coal out to 2030-2040 is from the United States Energy Information Administration official report International Energy Outlook 2016. Click on the link:
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/ Go to the IEO Section at the upper right top of the first page and click down the list on “coal.”

    The report covers everything you’ve been saying about China, concurs that coal and carbon emissions will subside (perhaps 22%) for various reasons, but takes a far more emphatic view about the prominence that the role of coal will play in the mix of energy in China and worldwide by mid-century:

    The moderating growth of the total energy consumption and the shrinking coal share suggest that China’s coal consumption could stay on the path of slow grow followed by decline. However, the sheer size of the country’s additional future energy demand even with weaker economic growth, plus coal’s dominance and economic appeal, indicate that coal will remain the leading energy source in China for many years to come. Therefore, while seeking to limit coal consumption on one hand, the Chinese government has also focused on consolidating and modernizing the domestic coal mining industry, mitigating the environmental effects of coal in coal mining, and improving the logistics of coal supply to ensure the steady operation and continued development of the country’s coal sector and to improve the economic competitiveness of domestic coal relative to imports.
    Coal consumption in China reaches a peak of nearly 90 quadrillion Btu around 2025 before gradually declining to 83 quadrillion Btu in 2040

    The question I asked you is simple and has nothing to do with arguing on the side of “trend fatalism.”
    Any data and projections should be contested especially as the magic year of 2050 draws closer, but why do you talk so differently from the U.S. EIA interpretation of the data projecting global coal consumption out to 2040? Should the EIA be dunned for their “realism” and you commended for your “vision.” Are they and you not experts alike?



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  • Melvin

    Should the EIA be dunned for their “realism” and you commended for your “vision.” Are they and you not experts alike?

    No. think think they did a good job, but Events.

    April this year saw the announcement of a dramatic 40% cut to the coal development program. At the time this may have been taken as gestural. In fact it seems so far they were deadly serious. We see that this really was ambitious and that their years target of cut back “may not meet its November and remedial action is next. The further policy announcements of raised funding in complementary areas later in the year show this is a substantial and focused course correction.

    It has been a source of great relief over these last few months to see this narrowing down on the program, with decidedly ambitious statements from Chinese industry leaders (Grid and Solar) in support. Much more importantly seeing money formerly earmarked for coal removed and support for 1.8 million redundancies likely.

    The EIA report if published next year would be slightly more upbeat.

    For me this year has proved that big energy policy can be changed or brought forward on the fly. It also confirms what we negawatt purveyors have been saying all along that energy efficiency and intensity (the most effective sustainable investment) will exactly bring forward the flip time and drop future investment burden. We just need to see more of these course corrections happen and see that these actually build on the value of earlier investments. (Every new turbine or grid link uplift adds value to the earlier turbines etc.)

    In the USA the problem is the politicisation of the issue. (Myself I always prefer sustainability over AGW because it is a bigger problem, just not quite so obvious.) This generates an easy snow job for a very complex set of interdependent technologies. In a rapidly changing scene, old views need to be rapidly swept away. This is easier said than done.

    A couple of years ago I would not have been so assertive that the technology was in place. (I knew it would come but when and when cost effectively. I watched fuel cell and hydrogen development closely but found the cost projections were never met.) Flow batteries (a form of fuel cell technology) is now technologically ready to play its part, we can see great round trip efficiencies as possible. We see great EV investment adding to this peak shaving and gap plugging prospect. Fully available new negawatts (55% in my sector), funding starved by conventional businesses. There is sooo much technology available now that wasn’t viable 2 years ago, I have changed my tune. China has just a few months ago signaled hers. The problem is political and economic.



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  • @ Melvin,

    re: you comments about controlling population as a prime strategy.

    Melvin, I’m with you to a point, we do need to control our population. However can’t we walk and chew gum the same time? Billy Connelly had a novel solution “If we could convince everyone to eat just one other person we’d halve the problem overnight”. His maths is wrong but the idea would have to be something as extreme as that to have an impact in time (as Phil has pointed out). However I agree that as a species we keep running into these crises one after another and if we do lick climate change additional growth in population or more precisely additional increases in consumption in any given population will continue to push other environmental factors. Nature is clearly telling us we’ve exceeded our sustainable population.

    However I’d ask you to consider this. While doing some study on this (very little Alan and Phil know miles more than I do so I’ll rely on them to correct me if I have this wrong) I was reading up on how CO2 is absorbed by the oceans and transported through currents under the oceans. This is not new to you or anyone, however what was news to me was the time this cycle takes. The CO2 being absorbed right now off the coast of say England will dive down as it travels North and flow around the world popping up (I believe – been a while) somewhere around South America 700 years latter. So it’s pretty clear to me that coal is while not quite dead certainly coughing up blood. Certainly in the next 25 years no one will care to burn coal clean alternatives will be too cheap. Gradually over a few hundred years plants will sequester the CO2 back into the ground, the atmosphere will return to a more natural state. But in 700 years from now our carbonic acid laden water will be belched up into the atmosphere again as that water emerges from the deep ocean. This is not certain it’s possible all sorts of nasty things might happen to the ocean currents but this is the legacy we will be leaving for our ancestors. Do you really think we have the right to subject them to it? Of course my child will be dealing with this his whole life insects, birds, fish are all changing migration, many organisms are being pushed out of existence in the process. We have to do better now, and limit population as well.



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  • Reckless Monkey: “We have to do better now, and limit population as well.” ( Thank you.)

    I suggested this complimentary approach in a comment up the thread: “Why not give priority to stabilizing then reducing population by factoring in decreasing aggregate demand along with advances in green energy and conservation.”

    Phil thoughtfully begged to differ: “Because that is too slooooooow. The health dividend runs on for two generations, There are no good levers to pull on this for many countries without creating a demographic disaster of unproductive and expensive old folk and a political backlash.”

    Population stabilization followed by reduction involves disruptive dilemmas on several fronts. Ambitions to “control” population from 1950 through the 1970s were ham-fisted and backfired with dystopian nightmares like forced abortions carried out in India that led to widespread repudiation. Castigated for trying to contravene the human right of personal reproductive choice, nations usefully adopted “indirect” methods: the dissemination of contraception, sex and reproductive education, the empowerment of women, etc. While these methods showed impressive progress in dropping international birthrates toward replacement level (about 2.1 children per woman), there were significant failures notably in sub-Saharan Africa, India; South Asia and Southeast Asia. Combined with population momentum, huge cohorts of women under 15 coming into their childbearing years, these developments will inevitably lead to a world population topping off at 11+ billion people this century an addition of 8 billion people to the world population of 3 billion in 1960.

    Phil is right that population stabilization will lead to “temporary” (50 year) dependency ratio disparities between shrinking numbers of younger workers 18 to 60-65+ and growing numbers of retired older cohorts 60-65 +.

    The fallacy is twofold. The process also works in reverse. The “older” poorly educated subsistence farmer parents in Africa are charged with supporting, nourishing, educating their 7 children but cannot earn enough income or otherwise employ personal capacities to meet this responsibility. More importantly, we cannot overlook the reality that everyone ages. The classic population pyramid with larger numbers of children, adolescents and young adults at the base tapering into smaller and smaller cohorts of older middle age and elderly cohorts at the pointed pinnacle (death) would seem ideal for maintaining a healthy dependency ratio supplying a large younger workforce to care for a small group of old retired folks. In practice maintaining such a demographic age structure would only mathematically accelerate rapid and infinite population growth. We’d have to bight the bullet and accept some disruptions of an aging population on the road to stabilization/reduction at some point sooner rather than later. – Politicians have failed to explicitly admit that homo-sapiens are but another species. When we overbreed, just like deer or rats, we destroy our ecosystem environment whether through over-consumption, resource depletion, pollution, and, yes, global warming.



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  • Melvin

    I am really happy with a “both and and” approach to our travails.

    Maybe four or five years ago, population control was my number one concern (though I worked in eco-tech.) Slowly I flipped my priorities as I understood how reliable a rule the correlation was between fecundity and poverty and female education. Before the only lever to pull seemed draconian on the Chinese model of one child, one not available to democracies. What the Chinese discovered was that their population continued to decline after their fiercest application of “one child” seemingly as a “wealth dividend” took up the slack.

    Bill and Melinda are doing great work introducing family planning into Africa (RC Melinda will not be beatified, I’m guessing) but they know that for it to be effective they have to lift the health prospects of their off-spring. Kids are biddable slaves and pension fund to the poor and they need to know that they will have sufficient around when they are older and /or feel comfortable of their own future wealth. So, this I contend is wrong-

    The “older” poorly educated subsistence farmer parents in Africa are charged with supporting, nourishing, educating their 7 children but cannot earn enough income or otherwise employ personal capacities to meet this responsibility.

    Children of the poor work to support themselves and their families and their aging parents… particularly girl children who are far more often kept from any available education.

    I’ll put this here as a starter

    https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth?language=en

    Lifting people out of poverty, ensuring child health (so you don’t need a spare), educating and empowering girls, not only automatically alters birthrates very quickly, it also facilitates a more tractable population. So active family planning programs become the quid pro quo sought by the helpers (like Bill and Melinda).

    As I’ve argued before off grid solar is entirely a wealth, health and education facilitator bringing opportunity in Africa. The population catastrophe is merely (!) a continental one before being a global one. AGW is entirely now and the result of the most advanced and rapidly advancing nations and the moral and practical obligations are on them.

    Government policy change and economic reform can happen today. And make real changes within a year or two. Family planning works over generations.

    My fear is if tackling AGW is primarily to be ameliorated by population reduction we truly will be mega stuffed. The peak is currently 2100. We may bring this forward to 2050 (We should try to and more.) But this will be avoiding the African catastrophe. The big polluters (already below replacement rate and into the health dividend run-on) don’t have that many births to curtail so easily. (Five down to two because money and now they’ll both live is an easier argument to make than two down to one or none is taking away life purpose for many already comfortable.)

    This is why Sustainability should be the actual objective. I am far less sure about a specific size of population being ideal. I rather like 7 billion at the moment because it gives us 7 million folks with an IQ of >150. Were it sustainable it would give us greater wealth, power and brains to insure against external (rather than self inflicted) catastrophes. The actual size we need in future is contingent on such survival requirements, the quality of the stock and what (who?) we make to help us.



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  • Government policy change and economic reform can happen today. And
    make real changes within a year or two.

    First you have to quell the noise of the deniers, which I rather think was the point of the article. Their distraction is slowing the necessary focus. For instance, here in the States, one of the primary candidates for POTUS believes global warming is a hoax. A secondary candidate believes corporations will voluntarily take the needed steps.



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  • Vicki

    First you have to quell the noise of the deniers

    Indeed, but an equal and possibly greater problem I have contended here and in the Obama climate thread is the ease with which the allegedly and actually sympathetic can contribute to a prevarication and delay in achieving the political momentum needed. I won’t re-vamp the sources of prevarication here. I have counted five so far but they sit on often well meaning misunderstandings.

    Adjusting the views of the well meaning prevaricators is far easier than tackling outright denialism. We need to push on pushable doors.



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  • I agree with Vicki.

    A POTUS Denier would enable more prevarication.

    Talk of excessive population is Prevarication, or lightly camouflaged Denialism, whether consciously or not.



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  • Hi, Len.

    A POTUS Denier would enable more prevarication.

    Sadly I cannot control possible POTUS AGW deniers once in office. I might though affect his potential electors and get them to change their choice.

    In a democracy even one so clearly in the pocket of old money, our only chance to change outcomes is to appeal to ordinary folk.

    Choosing to flip the minds of those halfway there seems a better use of resources.



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  • Melvin #130
    Sep 28, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    More alarming is what the IEA reports in the following paragraphs, especially about India, and world increases in coal fired energy projected out to 2040:

    In the IEO2016 Reference case, world coal production increases by 1.2 billion tons from 2012 to 2040, with 0.7 billion tons (62% of the total increase) coming from India (Table 4-1).

    India seems to be looking for change!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-37536348

    India, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, has ratified the Paris global climate agreement.
    Under the deal, India has committed to ensuring that at least 40% of its electricity will be generated from non-fossil sources by 2030.

    CO2 emissions are believed to be the driving force behind climate change.

    Last December in Paris, countries agreed to cut emissions in a bid to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.

    The Paris deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement.

    It will only come into force legally after it is ratified by at least 55 countries which between them produce at least 55% of global carbon emissions.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last month that India would ratify the agreement on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the struggle for independence from Britain.

    “India has deposited its instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement with the United Nations,” the UN said in a statement on Sunday.

    The US and China – together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions – both formally joined the Paris global climate agreement earlier this month.

    India accounts for about 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and became the 62nd country to ratify the agreement.

    The European Union is expected to do so in the near future, taking approvals past the 55% of emissions threshold.

    Paris agreement: Key points

    To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
    To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
    To review progress every five years
    $100bn a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future
    Once the deal comes into force, countries that have ratified it have to wait for a minimum of three years before they exit




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  • @ Phil #129
    .
    “this is gov’t policy turning on a dime”
    .
    yeah phil, our PM trudeau admires how the communist government in China can make quick changes … to everything except human rights, access to markets, floating their currency and financial disclosure. Oh, and democracy. Don’t forget that right to select your own government phil.
    .
    who will measure china’s progress and hold them to account? Call me a sceptic, but I need more proof than a quick policy reversal before I’m quite convinced.



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  • DC Toronto #147
    Oct 3, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    @ Alan #136

    nice ad hominem AL.

    Quoting from audited accounts and university studies is NOT “ad hominem” simply because it tells you what you don’t want to hear! It is valid criticism.

    I guess you had nothing of substance to refute their claims so you attack their funding.

    You are just making this up and presenting it backwards!
    There is nothing of evidenced substance in their claims, as anyone who understands the science knows!

    When you proffer a report from a ‘green’ thinktank, do you expect the same?

    Oh dear! I think you have just illustrated the root basis of your science and accounting denial! The evidence comes from thousands of university studies and expert bodies – not “green think-tanks”.
    It is the junk denials which come from sponsored propaganda think-tanks with prior commercial and political agendas and no credible scientific evidence.

    I know you like to think that it’s “science”, but it’s not really. There are no measurements or results as it is speculation about the future.

    Just because you have not looked at climate change measurements or can’t recognise science when it is presented to you, in no way invalidates the science or the measurements on links I have provided.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a point to the science, just that it’s a best guess at the future.

    That is simply a clueless assertion. Numerous features are predictable to high levels of probability on the basis of climate history, climate records, measurements, and calculations based on physics.
    Many of the earlier predictions have been fully validated as they have been overtaken by events.
    Quite a few which were disparaged as “alarmist and grossly exaggerated”, turned out to be far too conservative, as the predicted climate changes kicked in.

    In fact, it could easily be much worse than they suggest … we could have passed the tipping point so that we are now bailing water on the titanic by cutting emissions.

    That becomes an increasing possibility as politicians sit in denial and refuse to take urgent remedial action. There are plenty of examples in planetary science as to the range of possibilities.
    .

    Anyway, you’re off on a tangent again, straying far from the original point that I made. But you are correct, I only read a portion of what you write as you seem to go on at length without making substantial points and more than once I see you revisiting posts multiple times.

    Chains of unevidenced assertions often need each point explained separately. – Lack of reading could explain a lack of comprehension and “points” sailing past without triggering understanding.
    .

    Yours is an interesting response on a web-site devoted to questioning religion and by extension anything that is taken as gospel, which you seem to do given your seemingly blind reliance on pro-green studies.

    I’m afraid this is just a psychological projection of your mirror imaging of your own blind denial of evidence which you can’t or won’t understand!
    .

    as an example, in your post #118 you’ve highlighted what you deem important in the article. You are claiming that renewable energy is not a driver of costs, by claiming that only 9% of the bill relates to green energy. But what portion of Ontario’s energy is ‘green’ energy? And more important, how much of what consumers consume is green energy (ie, subtract the amount sold off the get the net amount we actually consume).

    There are some up-front investment costs in new technologies, over and above the basic running costs of fully depreciated existing equipment, but that would have to be replaced anyway, and up-front long term investments, can usually be recouped from efficiency savings.
    .

    you also quote from this same article that prices will rise by 40% in the next 8 years. I am dubious since they’ve been spectacularly wrong in all of their estimates, but if true it is still 5% per year. They claim this will be from inflation – although the inflation rate is not projected at 5% for the next 8 years (check their budget forecasts). In any event, inflation in what? Many of the costs are sunk costs. Their operating costs are labour and consumables. Is this related to increases in the cost of the gas at electricity plants? How reliable do you think that number is Al? Just today our federal gov’t announced a carbon tax. Is that factored in?

    It is reasonable to factor in carbon taxes to pay for the damage which CO2 pollution is causing.
    .

    You don’t have to run around and answer these questions Al, because so far your answers have been uninspiring.

    Scientific studies based on years of research and checked-out by critical thinkers in top science and engineering journals, are the best quality and most reliable information we have, regardless of if you prefer to take your “inspired” information from sponsored deniers who just make stuff up!

    What you should do is examine your attitude to discussing climate change.

    My attitude is one of looking into the credentials and reliability of sources, the evidence, and methods on which they make claims: – as it has been for some decades of studying the subject.

    I am well known on this site for effectively debunking bad science, incompetent science, dishonest representations of science, and pseudo-science – as is illustrated on other science discussion threads.

    You are not the expert you think you are.

    How would you know anything about my specialist areas of expertise?

    And your attitude is one of the problems that arises in discussions such as these.

    You are back to psychological projection again.

    Competing claims and self appointed experts who don’t recognize legitimate questions. That is no way to move more people to the cause my friend.

    I know! That is why I drew your attention to the well funded science illiterates and charlatans on whose words you seem to dote!

    Until you learn to recognise valid scientific and economic studies published at reputable expert sources, on links, you will continue to be a science denier with no credibility on a science site!



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  • @#146 – The European Union is expected to do so in the near future, taking approvals past the 55% of emissions threshold.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37553134

    The European Parliament has backed the ratification of the Paris climate deal, paving the way for the world’s first global agreement.

    The deal aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature increases “well below” 2C.

    It was approved with 610 votes in favour, 38 against and with 31 abstentions.

    The vote, attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, paves the way for the pact to come into force globally.

    The deal on Tuesday means national ministers can now ratify the agreement on behalf of the EU later this week.

    To become operational, the treaty needs at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions to complete all the steps.

    “With the action taken by the EU parliament, I am confident that we will be able to cross the 55% threshold very soon, in just a matter of a few days,” Mr Ban said.

    “I am extremely honoured to be able to witness this historic moment,” he added.

    The Paris deal has raced through the UN ratification process in double-quick time. It took eight years to get the previous Kyoto Protocol agreed ‒ and that was nowhere near as comprehensive.

    That is good news for the climate. Further positive news is that renewable energy is plummeting in cost, so the burden faced by nations turning away from fossil fuels is not so great.

    The bad news, however, is that politicians in Paris have admitted that the targets set for curbing emissions are not tough enough.

    Coal-fired power stations are still being built at a furious pace in developing countries, even as rich nations turn away from the energy source.

    The Paris agreement sets an aim ideally for a maximum rise in global temperatures of 1.5C. But scientists have warned that action has been delayed for so long that there is now a need to develop ways of actually sucking CO2 out of the air.

    We are still going to have to deal with the deniers’ damage, caused by years of delaying tactics!



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  • Ignorant conspiracy theorists continue to be given prominence in the US media!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/matt-drudge-hurricane-matthew-conspiracy_us_57f6badfe4b00885f2c6bbe3

    Matt Drudge’s Hurricane Theory Takes Conspiracies To A Dangerous Level

    Conservative commentator Matt Drudge joined the likes of Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday by floating a conspiracy theory that the government is lying about the intensity of hurricanes to convince people climate change is real.

    But while Drudge and Limbaugh deny any danger, others are exceedingly concerned. In a candid broadcast Thursday, Fox News’ Sheppard Smith warned that if Matthew moved 20 miles to the west, “you and everyone you know are dead.

    As of around 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, Matthew was listed as a Category 4 hurricane with a maximum sustained wind speed of 130 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

    But in Drudge’s amateur opinion, the people of Florida can expect to experience a far weaker storm.

    He will now be gloating, after storm Matthew weakened a bit, and remained further offshore than in some possible predicted tracks.

    Of course a National Hurricane Center warns of worst case scenarios, and unlike conspiracy theorists, does not gamble with people’s lives playing at being smarts arses!



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  • DC Toronto

    yeah phil, our PM trudeau admires how the communist government in China can make quick changes … to everything except human rights, access to markets, floating their currency and financial disclosure. Oh, and democracy. Don’t forget that right to select your own government phil.

    Already noted by me up the way.

    But if they save the planet. If they pull Africa out of poverty more than others, if they keep their own folks increasingly happy, the USA has a problem, by not inventing a means of speeding up its ability to do the big stuff.

    The American government-phobic mentality will be the death of its top nation status. It will lose again and again in its technology lead by not offering equivalent platforms to the Chinese. Formulating big plans is thwarted by the lazier rich. Democratic market economies can work better than this if the market is rebalanced (by Government!) like thus and so and money markets made less like Las Vegas and more like the seventeenth century coffee houses where real money making adventures were planned and funded.

    Purely commercial standards agencies from Standard and Poors through to Underwriters Laboratories serve the USA ill at the moment. The former is part of the disgrace of the financial, markets the latter safety standards works against innovation from smaller companies. Elsewhere, governments driving opportunity from “mittelstand” type/size companies could form broad standards for a new class of modular product, for cars, houses, personal IT etc. favoured by tax incentives where long lived parts are keepable, short lived re-manufacturable. These will have huge environmental impact reduce/exclude imports, repatriate jobs increase innovation rates by modularising problems….

    Governments need to re-invent market forms and rules to facilitate compound (integrated and interdisciplinary) businesses. The USA can keep up if the old money can be told to shut up for long enough and simple-minded libertarian economists can be made to see the street market is no longer the paradigm it once was.



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  • I think my second to last paragraph above doesn’t quite encapsulate what I wanted to say.

    Standard setting agencies of all types are underperforming in the USA because of the dogma that government must not engage in things that can be simple market entities, forcing upon those agencies a commercial requirement. This applies equally to setting the standards of the free-ish market and using tax as a tool of technological change. By turning these agencies into funded centres of expertise like the Law and Judges, critical and expert power but distanced from the levers of government except without extensive due process, far less biddable and old money purchasable decision making becomes possible. I would indeed like to see such an unbiddable and fact based policy formulating entity developing market and taxation policy, even.



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  • While the article does become fall into ad hominem and genetic fallacy, this does not change the fact that many of these people have much to gain from denying climate change and much to lose if the government continues towards environmentally-friendly climate-aware policies.
    However, I do think that it is likely better to argue the scientific facts as opposed to the people, and leave the ad hominem attacks to those with no other valid arguments.



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  • While the article does become fall into ad hominem

    An attack on lies and false claims, along with identifying those incompetently or dishonestly making such assertions, is NOT an ad-hominem attack.

    However, I do think that it is likely better to argue the scientific facts as opposed to the people, and leave the ad hominem attacks to those with no other valid arguments.

    The evidence is abundant and readily accessible, so those who recklessly doubt-monger or incompetently promote contradiction of it, are perfectly valid targets for criticism!
    It would be very far fetched to suggest that those in public office and active in public debates, had never had facts or criticisms of their views, pointed out to them before they make their denials!



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  • Alan4discussion #154
    Oct 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    The evidence is abundant and readily accessible, so those who recklessly doubt-monger or incompetently promote contradiction of it, are perfectly valid targets for criticism!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37900400

    New data released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) shows that the five years from 2011 to 2015 were the warmest on record.

    The report, published at global climate talks in Morocco, strongly links human activities to rising temperatures.

    The new report highlighted the human fingerprint in these emissions and the link to extreme weather events by looking at academic literature in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

    “Of 79 such studies published by BAMS between 2011 and 2014, more than half found that anthropogenic climate change contributed to the extreme event under consideration,” the new report says.



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