Trump’s election marks the end of any serious hope of limiting climate change to 2 degrees

By David Roberts

The nations of the world have agreed that allowing global average temperature to rise more than 2 degrees from preindustrial levels would be a disaster — that 2 degrees should be avoided at all costs, and that prudence suggests aiming for closer to 1.5 degrees.

Those targets, agreed upon in December in Paris, are now almost certainly out of reach. The fight to prevent dangerous climate change was lost last night with the election of Donald Trump.

I’m seeing a lot of whistling past the graveyard about this. “The main forces determining emission levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide will be just as much out of President Trump’s hands as they were out of President Obama’s,” writes New York Times columnist Andy Revkin. There’s only so much damage Trump can do, right? This is bigger than him. Right?

Sorry, but I don’t think so.


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107 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – “The main forces determining emission levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide will be just as much out of President Trump’s hands as they were out of President Obama’s,” writes New York Times columnist Andy Revkin. There’s only so much damage Trump can do, right? This is bigger than him. Right?

    Sorry, but I don’t think so. (David Roberts)

    Apparently those at the conference and the expert opinion – including the US envoy, take a different view to David Roberts at Vox.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37982080

    US envoy says climate deal is bigger than any one head of state

    The Paris climate agreement will survive a Trump presidency says the US special envoy on climate change Dr Jonathan Pershing.

    He was speaking before the arrival of ministers and some heads of state in Marrakech on Tuesday.

    They are coming to try to take the next steps to tackle global climate change.

    But the meeting has been rocked by the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump will withdraw the US from the pact.
    Shape and thrust

    US lead negotiator Dr Pershing told a packed news briefing that the passion and dedication displayed in the effort to deliver the Paris treaty was strong enough to withstand the impacts of a Trump presidency.

    “Heads of state can and will change but I am confident that we can and we will sustain a durable international effort to counter climate change,” he said.

    Dr Pershing said that he expected personnel from the Trump transition team to start arriving at the State Department in the coming weeks and they would drive the “shape and thrust” of US diplomacy over the next four years.

    On the campaign trail, Donald Trump sketched a plan to “cancel” the Paris Agreement and withhold US payments to the UN body tasked with stemming climate change.

    He has also appointed Myron Ebell, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a man well known for his contrarian views on climate change, to head his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team.

    Dr Pershing said that he had no information on who might lead on climate change issues in a Trump administration. Whoever it was, he said, should recognise the strength of last year’s climate agreement and what it could help the world to achieve.

    “The Paris agreement protects economic growth and the environment, all while providing nationally determined flexibility to accommodate differing circumstances,” he said.

    “It is durable, it is inclusive it is ambitious.”

    Negotiators from across the globe have been reluctant to directly criticise the incoming US administration.

    They have instead opted to focus on the benefits to economies of a transition to greener sources of energy. The EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said that investments in renewable sources were worth more than $329bn last year, six times the amount in 2004. But the commissioner said that Europe expects the US to stay in the agreement.

    “We expect that the commitments made by the Americans on climate change will be upheld, after all they are the second largest emitter in the world and they also have to do their fair share to fix the climate.”

    Away from the conference the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been calling for a carbon tax on US goods if President Trump follows through on his promise to walk away from the Paris deal.

  2. former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been calling for a carbon tax on US goods if President Trump follows through on his promise to walk away from the Paris deal.

    This is good and seems a fair way to treat an isolationist and polluting USA. I think all those huge US tech companies who have found it expeditious to endorse sustainable energy goals may start to look at basing some more of their activities off shore.

    Libertarian Myron Ebell voices that familiar selfish stance of why can’t I do whatever I can afford to do…..

    Ebell has stated that environmentalists believe “humans are evil, the use of human power is always bad; everything we do to nature is bad”. Science and world opinion are viewed as obstacles keeping Americans from living as they choose, and conservation is an infringement on American rights, Ebell stating: “Energy is fundamental to mobility, to comfort. When you start limiting people’s access to energy, you limit their ability to live the way they want, to make choices”

  3. Trump does not have the excuse of ignorance. He knows perfectly well that global warming is happening: after all, he’s applied for a sea wall to be built in order to protect his golf course in County Clare from rising sea levels.

    By tearing up the Paris Agreement, he would be playing (five-chambers-loaded) Russian Roulette with the future of humanity. This doesn’t seem to worry him: but he’s clearly taking no risks with his precious golf course.

  4. It seems John Kerry also thinks the damage Trump can do is limited.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38005101

    The US secretary of state John Kerry says that the overwhelming majority of US citizens support the US taking action on climate change.

    Speaking at a meeting in Marrakech, Mr Kerry said he believed that US commitments would not be reversed.

    President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement once in office.

    Mr Kerry said that market forces, rather than policy, would ensure a transition to a low carbon world.

  5. Market forces should ensure a transition to low carbon emissions, if carbon burning wasn’t heavily subsidised by ignoring the total cost. Once it finds the right price, alternatives will start to look a lot more like the (local, short-term) cost effective option.

  6. former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been calling for a carbon tax on US goods if President Trump follows through on his promise to walk away from the Paris deal.

    Phil #2: This is good and seems a fair way to treat an isolationist and polluting USA. I think all those huge US tech companies who have found it expeditious to endorse sustainable energy goals may start to look at basing some more of their activities off shore.

    This is laughable coming from a descendant of the founding fathers of the industrial revolution in England. In recent decades the UK washed its hands of excessive carbon dioxide emissions and now boasts about “reductions” accomplished indirectly through the globalization trick of outsourcing manufacturing to China, importing Chinese goods and attributing the emissions generated by their production to the filthy Chinese balance sheet. A carbon tax on U.S. goods makes sense if a higher carbon tax on Chinese goods also makes sense. The Paris agreement is gutless because it’s voluntary in an energy-starved world where overpopulated developing countries, notably China and India, have vied to build coal-fired energy infrastructure to lift economies out of poverty, while paying little attention to skyrocketing CO2 and other atmosphere-killing emissions. Twenty-six years after Kyoto, the Paris deal is more of the “we-start-next-year” rhetoric of really, really serious climate control projects.

  7. Thank you, Melvin, for a note of realism. The Paris deal was a farce from beginning to end. First, setting the limit at 1.5C was not even a pious hope: it was an impossibility, because if we remove the cooling effect of industrial pollution, we are already over that limit.

    Secondly, the agreement set no country targets and created no monitoring or enforcement mechanism. Each country would set its own targets, report on its own success (they will all of course “succeed”), and review the situation in 2020. In other words, agree to kick the can five years down the road.

    Finally, even if every other country shut down all its industry tomorrow, China and India will continue polluting as fast as they can, and that alone means an inevitable 4C to 6C rise in temperature. But it is so, so convenient to blame Trump, and not offend our main suppliers of cheap, shoddy goods.

  8. This is good and seems a fair way to treat an isolationist and polluting USA

    That’s great, start a trade war. Do you really think that Trump will not retaliate if you start a trade war with the US? Want the US to really get behind Trump, mess with their imports.

    If you think cutting off trade will produce less emissions, then you don’t understand the economics of trade, in particular the division of labor. The worst thing that could happen would be if the US started making more cars in Detroit instead of trading for them.

    As someone once said, “When trade ceases to cross borders, soldiers soon will”. Just be happy we didn’t elect Hillary, who would have almost certainly started a war with Russia.

    And as the old hippy saying goes, “One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day”. If you truly believe global warming will be bad, just wait until you cause a nuclear winter by putting the US’s back to a trade wall.

  9. rocket888 #8
    Nov 16, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    And as the old hippy saying goes, “One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day”. If you truly believe global warming will be bad, just wait until you cause a nuclear winter by putting the US’s back to a trade wall.

    Actually the Permian mass extinction from run-away feed-back global warming, was thousands, and possibly millions, of times worse than a nuclear winter!

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

    The Permian (along with the Paleozoic) ended with the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, in which nearly 90% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species died out.[10] It would take well into the Triassic for life to recover from this catastrophe.[11] Recovery from the Permian-Triassic extinction event was protracted; on land, ecosystems took 30 million years to recover.

    There is evidence that magma, in the form of flood basalt, poured onto the surface in what is now called the Siberian Traps, for thousands of years, contributing to the environmental stress that led to mass extinction. The reduced coastal habitat and highly increased aridity probably also contributed. Based on the amount of lava estimated to have been produced during this period, the worst-case scenario is the release of enough carbon dioxide from the eruptions to raise world temperatures five degrees Celsius.

  10. Robert Firth #7
    Nov 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Finally, even if every other country shut down all its industry tomorrow, China and India will continue polluting as fast as they can,

    This is simply nonsense.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/china-says-it-will-cut-power-sector-emissions-60-by-2020

    China says it will cut power sector emissions 60% by 2020

    As Paris climate talks enter negotiation phase and smog blankets Beijing, China says it will cut CO2 emissions from coal power by 180m tonnes by 2020

    and that alone means an inevitable 4C to 6C rise in temperature. But it is so, so convenient to blame Trump, and not offend our main suppliers of cheap, shoddy goods.

    This misses the point that the Indians and Chinese have stated objectives and operational policies to greatly increase the production and use of low carbon power systems.

    Trump has clearly stated an objective of going backwards and promoting the use of coal – in addition to his past history of legal actions etc. actively opposing clean power generation projects.

    The criticism of his ignorant stupidity, is therefore perfectly valid!

  11. @12

    The criticism of his ignorant stupidity, is therefore perfectly valid!

    Here’s a prescient quote from H.L. Mencken (an American journalist and satirist who died in 1956) regarding running for the U.S. Presidency:

    “The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

    The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

  12. Melvin, I see our discussions on these issues, for instance, just here

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

    have now been reset by you. I will revisit none of them. I’ve just re-read the thread. Stet. Others if in the least interested, can go read for themselves.

    Rest assured I would be just as punitive to a reversal of the latest UK or Chinese best efforts.

    Blaming earlier ignorance or perverse indifference isn’t a good enough reason to maintain your persistent prevarication in doing better on these matters. I am only accountable for what I call for and what I do.

    Rocket888. The disaster is happening already. Our efforts are too late as it is. Mitigation is the thing and committing to best efforts, knowing that all nations’ policies are transparent, is a more do-able mode. Few know what they can actually achieve, though China is showing the way with its plunging carbon intensity (7% pa) now outpacing a still growing economy, demonstrating that genuine reversal as a result of policy and available technology is possible. Set targets with punitive responses if unreached and people will set themselves the most modest targets. An open competition to save as much human misery as possible may be exactly right.

  13. phil rimmer #14
    Nov 17, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Rest assured I would be just as punitive to a reversal of the latest UK or Chinese best efforts.

    Meanwhile, like many other countries, the UK moves on: –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38014611

    The UK government has signed a document ratifying the world’s first comprehensive agreement on tackling climate change.

    Parliament raised no objections to the Paris deal; after the government signed the deal on Thursday, it is now just awaiting deposition at the UN.

    The government is set to announce tomorrow that ratification is complete.

  14. Meanwhile, some members of the American public, really need to learn to respect warnings and information posted by scientific authorities about natural phenomena!
    These are not arbitrary opinions open to debate by know-it-alls!
    Ignoring them has consequences!

    https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=bbc+news+man+dissolved+in+yellowstone+hot+pool

    Yellowstone Park accident victim dissolved in boiling acidic pool

    According to the incident report, Mr Scott and his sister, Sable Scott, left the defined boardwalk area in Norris Basin on 7 June.

    “There’s a closure in place to protect people from doing that for their own safety. It’s a very unforgiving environment.”

    He said the pair had been specifically looking for an area to soak in the thermal springs, despite the potential danger and warning signs.

    Ms Scott was recording a video of her brother on the phone as he reached down to test the water, before he slipped and fell in.

  15. “Yellowstone Park accident victim dissolved in boiling acidic pool”

    See companion story:
    “At last Science Dispels Myth of Soft Landing in Suicide Leaps from High Rises”

    Alan, you’re reading too many editions of “The Onion.” (Seriously, I know this freak accident apparently occured.)

  16. Why is it that we Brits/Yanks are always going to ‘tackle ‘global warming, a verb that belongs to the team sports of rugby or American football. First we have to fill the car with petrol/gasoline and get the wife and kids to the stadium. After the big game we have to wait for half an hour with engine idling to get through the jam of thousands of other ICE cars, engines idling, to get out of the parking lot!

  17. Melvin #19
    Nov 17, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Why is it that we Brits/Yanks are always going to ‘tackle ‘global warming, a verb that belongs to the team sports of rugby or American football. First we have to fill the car with petrol/gasoline and get the wife and kids to the stadium. After the big game we have to wait for half an hour with engine idling to get through the jam of thousands of other ICE cars, engines idling, to get out of the parking lot!

    I think that would be mainly American football in the USA!
    Most English soccer and rugby fans travel to away matches on trains and coaches, while in many areas large numbers of locals use metro trains, trams, and public buses.

    For big events such as “The Great North Run” – the biggest half marathon in the UK and the World with over 57000 runners taking part, extra public transport is arranged:-

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/great-north-run-2016-how-9986604

    With road closures as well as limited parking, public transport is the best way to get to or from the Morrisons Great North Run for runners and spectators.

    There will be extra bus and ferry services and Metro trains and throughout the day to help you get around quickly and easily.

    We have pulled together everything you need to know about travelling by car and parking here. Or you can find out about where to get metro wristbands here, and how to travel by bus on the day.

    Of course that applies in countries where there is properly arranged public transport provided for predictable timetabled events!
    In places where the mind-set is: “everyone does his own thing”, there is polluting chaos!

  18. Melvin #17
    Nov 17, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    “Yellowstone Park accident victim dissolved in boiling acidic pool”

    Alan, you’re reading too many editions of “The Onion.” (Seriously, I know this freak accident apparently occured.)

    You seem to have missed the point I was making, that it occurred because clear warnings from experts, were casually ignored by people who thought they knew better!

  19. “China says it will cut power sector emissions 60% by 2020”

    No, China said no such thing. (The Guardian is fabricating the news, as usual). China said at the Paris conference that she would stabilise her emissions by 2030 – in other words, kick the can 15 years down the road.

    In fact, her emissions fell just 0.7% in 2015, probably due to a contraction of the economy. To reduce emissions by 60% in 5 years means a 12% reduction from baseline every year, and anyone who believes that will happen probably reads The Guardian.

  20. Human growth resulting in atmospheric, oceanic and continental warming, is firstly, of course, a terrific achievement for the sapient population (which has been likely unaware that that’s what they’re doing – as the Europeans drifting to N & S America were unaware of the disease they brought to the aboriginal sapiens), and secondly, a huge governance conundrum: our instinct is growth/survival, so economically, religiously, politically and geographically we’ve been doing that, and that has resulted in us influencing weather. The understanding is that we’re living like any plant and animal on the planet, but we’ve learnt, unlike the others, techniques for continual growth, and our affluence is now mucking with the atmosphere. For human-caused global warming deniers, there are the examples of cities built by rivers, whereby some the rivers became toxic and we had to learn human waste management to make them drinkable and swimmable again – the same has happened with the atmosphere; and then there’s the question for the deniers, that if 7 billion sapiens are not influencing the planet’s atmosphere, would 14 billion do so? 28 billion? Irrespective of the deniers, and the curbing of green-house gas production, we’re a long way from economic and governance detached from population growth! And we now need to create, somehow, a wonderful planetary existence for a high percentage of most, and to achieve that with negative sapient population growth. Both capitalist and socialist/communist/managed economics are contingent upon sapient population growth. It’s the governance conundrum for our times.

  21. Secular organizations should focus on combatting anti-Islamic sentiment.

    People aren’t going to abandon their faith over night. Persuading the majority of Americans that Islam and Christianity are just 2 sides of the same coin is key to reasoning with them in the future.

    As for what we can agree on.. Better and more comprehensive technical and vocational education programs should be publicly available. We split ourselves into 2 categories: academics and workers. As long as we continue to treat one as more elite or important than the other, we are discouraging the workers from being passionate enough about what they do to explore the more academic aspects of their vocations. This can help them feel less intimidated and outcast by academic-style debate.

  22. Economic development can go hand in hand with environmental protection, actually, must go hand in hand with environmental protection.

    Carl Kruse

  23. fadeordraw #23: we’re a long way from economic [growth ?] and governance detached from population growth! And we now need to create, somehow, a wonderful planetary existence for a high percentage of most, and to achieve that with negative sapient population growth.

    Thank you for speaking up while most are too embarrassed to talk about curbing human population growth. It’s time to call out both the climate science deniers and the overpopulation deniers.

  24. Robert Firth.

    In fact, her emissions fell just 0.7% in 2015, probably due to a contraction of the economy.

    In fact Chinese emissions fell more than economic output fell. They took far less hit than the US after 2008. This is entirely because their carbon intensity is falling now quite steadily. Some of the data is linked to in the thread I pointed to above.

  25. Jake #24
    Nov 17, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Secular organizations should focus on combatting anti-Islamic sentiment.

    The problem is separating the smoke-screen of racist and anti-Islamic bigotry, from the real political, social, and ethical problems, which arise from following Quoranic teachings.
    This problem is compounded by those who irrationally scream “Islamophobia” in response to ANY rational or evidence-based criticism of Islamic preachings, Muslims or theocratic governments. – Further confusing and masking the real the issues.
    There are similar irrational screamings of “anti-semitism” and “anti-Christian”, in response to objective criticism of fundamentalist Zionism or Creationism.

    People aren’t going to abandon their faith over night. Persuading the majority of Americans that Islam and Christianity are just 2 sides of the same coin is key to reasoning with them in the future.

    Fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity do share some of the same flawed thinking processes and destructive attitudes to inflicting dogmas on others.

    Persuading the majority of Americans that Islam and Christianity are just 2 sides of the same coin is key to reasoning with them in the future.

    The problem is not so much persuading the two sectors of “faith-thinkers” that they share beliefs. The pope is trying to do that to unite the deluded religious sects against secular values.

    The problem is persuading them to learn to use rational scientific thinking to make evidence based decisions on judging situations, actions, and people, on their merits, rather than on tribalistic affiliations and shared delusional beliefs. Until they learn the basics of reasoning, attempts at “reasoning with them” will fail as they will just retreat into denial, behind the usual circular arguments and fallacies.

    Islamic jihadism, is just a modern virulent form of the Inquisition, and the crusader wars!
    It is an extreme version of a fundamentally flawed feature of religions in general, which claim dogmas trump reason, science, and the interests of human beings.

  26. Carl Kruse #25
    Nov 17, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Economic development can go hand in hand with environmental protection, actually, must go hand in hand with environmental protection.

    Indeed, like a forest, “economic growth”, of industrial production, cannot just expand like an invasive species rampantly destroying everything else, and chaotically piling new growth on top of old dead decaying structures.

    A well managed economy is like an orchard, where the old dead trees and diseased branches, are pruned out to make room for sustainable, healthy, productive, new growth.

    In natural forests this cycle works by ecological balanced replacements of the old and worn-out.
    In managed economies, the management must have productive vision and direction – NOT obstructive conservatism clinging to the old, corrupted, uncompetitive, and obsolescent!

  27. Robert Firth #22
    Nov 17, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    “China says it will cut power sector emissions 60% by 2020”

    No, China said no such thing. (The Guardian is fabricating the news, as usual). China said at the Paris conference that she would stabilise her emissions by 2030 – in other words, kick the can 15 years down the road.

    Indeed, this is another example of sloppy journalists misquoting or misinterpreting statements. Sorry I did not spot that.

    Here is the quote which should have informed the headline.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/oct/16/which-countries-are-doing-the-most-to-stop-dangerous-global-warming

    China is the world’s largest carbon emitter due to its voracious appetite for coal to fuel its massive economy. For this reason, much attention is on China ahead of the UN climate change negotiations in Paris and its post-2020 climate action commitment was eagerly awaited.

    China has changed its approach to cutting carbon emissions since the disastrous Copenhagen negotiations in 2009 when it was blamed for blocking an agreement. The government is now taking the need to cut emissions seriously and this is reflected in its submission to the United Nations. As part of its pledge to reduce carbon emissions beyond 2020, China has said it will cut its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% from 2005 levels by 2030.

    While 2030 is the stated aim for emissions to peak, China has also said it will “work harder” to do so earlier.

    With its need to tackle air pollution and its slowing economy, many analysts believe China will achieve its targets early. Last year coal consumption dropped by 2.9% and is expected to be down again this year. Li said that he believes China will meet its commitment and likely go beyond it. It is “the starting line instead of the end point,” he said.

    As China attempts to reduce its coal consumption, it is ramping up its use of renewable energies, aiming for non-fossil fuels to make up around 20% of its primary energy consumption by 2030. As part of this plan, it will increase its installed capacity of wind power to 200 gigawatts (GW) and solar power to around 100GW, up from 95.81GW and 28GW today, respectively.

    Per unit of GDP is not the same as overall production of CO2, so the headline was misleading.
    There is however a very significant change in the Chinese approach!

    There are also issues such as large hydroelectric projects coming online.

    It is also worth noting that some of the Chinese pollution is caused in the process of manufacturing green technologies, which will in the longer term replace the polluting systems.

  28. @#29 – Islamic jihadism, is just a modern virulent form of the Inquisition, and the crusader wars!
    It is an extreme version of a fundamentally flawed feature of religions in general, which claim dogmas trump reason, science, and the interests of human beings.

    These attitudes emerge in religions and their leaders from time to time, due to the indoctrination in flawed thinking processes and unearned and undue respect for the writings of ancient primitives, or leaders preaching views on them!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-38023884

    Israeli political and community leaders have called for a top Jerusalem rabbi to be fired after he said Jewish law prescribed the death penalty for gays.
    Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar told Israel Hayom newspaper homosexuality was a “cult of abomination”, which the Torah “punishes… with death”.

    Several members of parliament have written to the prime minister to complain.

    Rabbi Amar has previously been criticised for similar past remarks.

    Last year he was rebuked for saying most people were “disgusted” by homosexuality, and calling Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade “an embarrassing phenomenon”.

    In an interview with Israel Hayom, Rabbi Amar said it was “clear that it [homosexuality] is abomination. The Torah punishes it with death. This is in the first line of serious sins.”

  29. There seems to be real determination to get real about the climate problems at this conference.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38021673

    Delegates from more than 190 countries meeting in Marrakech have issued an urgent call for action to tackle climate change.

    The Marrakech Action Proclamation calls for the highest political commitment to fight global warming

    It is being seen as the united response of countries to the threat of president-elect Donald Trump to pull the US out of the landmark agreement.

    Campaigners say it shows the strength of the global consensus on the issue.

    The promise by Mr Trump to “cancel” the Paris Agreement and end financial support for international climate action has galvanised the countries meeting here in Morocco.

    Climate deal ‘bigger than any one head of state’

    The Marrakech Action Proclamation sees 197 parties assert their belief that the world is warming at an unprecedented rate.

    Every country, it says, has an “urgent duty to respond”.

    “This year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in many multilateral fora,” the document says.

    “This momentum is irreversible.”

    “It is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels.

    “Our task now is to rapidly build on that momentum, together, moving forward purposefully to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts.”

    Aware that current plans submitted by countries are not enough to keep the world from dangerous levels of warming, the proclamation calls for an urgent increase of ambitions on cutting carbon.

    “This demonstrates just what a global consensus there now is around climate change and underlines the determination of world leaders that they will not let the election of Donald Trump hijack the important work being done to secure the safe future of our planet.”

  30. These countries are the ones with high risks of damage from droughts, famines, floods, loss of ice-caps providing irrigation water, rising sea-levels, hurricanes etc., who are going to be paying the price for other people’s prevarication on cutting pollution.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38028130

    Representatives from 47 of the world’s most disadvantaged nations have pledged to generate all their future energy needs from renewables.

    Members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum issued their statement on the last day of the Marrakech climate conference.

    Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Haiti, among others, say they will update their national plans on cutting carbon before 2020.

    Delegates here welcomed the move, saying it was “inspirational”.

    But in an effort to show that even the world’s poorest countries are committed to dealing with global warming, the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) members have issued a promise to fully green their economies between 2030 and 2050.

    Termed the Marrakech Vision, the plan promises that the 47 members will: “strive to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible, while working to end energy poverty and protect water and food security, taking into consideration national circumstances”.

    The countries involved are keen supporters of keeping the global temperature rise this century under 1.5C, a target agreed during negotiations in Paris last year.

    “We are pioneering the transformation towards 100% renewable energy, but we want other countries to follow in our footsteps in order to evade catastrophic impacts we are experiencing through hurricanes, flooding and droughts,” said Mr Mattlan Zackhras, a minister from the Marshall Islands.

  31. Phil #27: In fact Chinese emissions fell more than economic output fell. They took far less hit than the US after 2008.

    Blinding hatred for the United States should not soften the catastrophe of falling into the arms of China.

    Brookings institute: China has overtaken the U.S. to become Africa’s largest trade partner. In 2012, trade volume between China and Africa totaled nearly $200 billion (Xinhua, 2013). The majority of Africa’s exports to China and the U.S. are oil and other primary commodities. There are some important trends in the world oil market. World oil demand will continue to grow by more than one-third over the period to 2035 with China, India and the Middle East accounting for 60 percent of the increase according to the International Energy Agency’s New Policies Scenario (2012). China’s oil demand will increase during this period and oil imports will continue to grow, which means that China will overtake the U.S. to become the largest oil export destination. According to the IEA’s prediction, China will become the world’s largest net importer of oil by 2020, reaching around 13 million barrels a day of net oil consumption by 2035, which means nearly 80 percent of its oil consumption will depend on imported oil.

    Visions of a Divine Scientism sending forth angelic technocrats to impose comprehensive clean energy regimes on repentant world nations, renouncing the sin of sovereignty, conflicting national interests, and wicked foreign policies that exploit fossil-fuel energy, are mirages. China and India and every other nation will pursue ever greater fossil fuel supplies for their growing economies either through extraction technology or through capturing markets that will furnish supplies via trade. Open your eyes and see what China is actually doing on the geopolitical stage.

  32. Alan4 #31: With its need to tackle air pollution and its slowing economy, many analysts believe China will achieve its targets early. Last year coal consumption dropped by 2.9% and is expected to be down again this year. Li said that he believes China will meet its commitment and likely go beyond it. It is “the starting line instead of the end point,” he said.

    From the IEO: “In the IEO [International Energy Outlook] 2016 Reference case, coal remains the second-largest energy source worldwide—behind petroleum and other liquids—until 2030. From 2030 through 2040, it is the third-largest energy source, behind both liquid fuels and natural gas. World coal consumption increases from 2012 to 2040 at an average rate of 0.6%/year, from 153 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 169 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and to 180 quadrillion Btu in 2040.”

    It’s naive to take the Chinese at their word in the larger picture. China will almost certainly cut coal use by several percentage points over the next 20 years (4% according to IEO projections) but coal consumption will simply be transferred to other developing countries, notably India: China and India are the top two coal consumers in non-OECD Asia. India, which is the second-largest coal user in the region, accounts for nearly one-half of the increase in coal consumption from 2012 to 2040.

    Excitement about minor rollbacks of coal use in China do reflect regime and public concerns about air pollution. Nonetheless the main driving force are structural changes in the economy. China is effectively handing the coal baton to India (and many other nations), while spreading propaganda of a new-found conscience about climate change. Naive western new outlets are mistaking whack-a-mole statistics for progress.

  33. Here’s the latest data usefully presented…

    https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/PPT_Lauri-Myllyvirta.pdf

    In this field projections have gone rapidly out of date.

    Blinding hatred for the United States should not soften the catastrophe of falling into the arms of China.

    FFS. I love the US. I have worked there for two decades and have more American friends than British. I, we, need it to succeed. Right at the start I was warning of the Chinese ability to to eat the US’s ecotech-lunch and lamented that this was bought at the price of civil liberty. I want, desperately want the US to notice more its frequent outlier status amongst OECD countries and consider that this is not always a good thing.

    Visions of a Divine Scientism

    Why, bless you!

  34. 23 & #28 re: “Utter tosh”, so phil rimmer, d’you think our economic and governance algorithms that ain’t triggered to sapient population growth? Do you have a negative population growth economic and governance approaches in mind?

  35. Lauri Myllyvirta works at Greenpeace International to support the organization’s coal campaign work in priority countries, with a focus on air pollution issues and …

    The Brookings article cited is by a Greenpeace advocate and activist. Going to “Lauri” at Greenpeace is bottom-feeding on propaganda. The IEA offers a more realistic, longer-term view of the current downturn:

    Is coal production declining?

    No, far from it. Since the start of the 21st century, coal production has been the fastest-growing global energy source. While provisional IEA figures show a slight decrease in 2014 driven by a decline in China and some exceptional circumstances such as unrest in Ukraine, the IEA sees global supply increasing at an average rate of 0.6% through 2020. This incremental growth stems from OECD non-member economies, the Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2015 reports, while falling output in OECD Americas and OECD Europe leads to an overall decline in OECD production despite increased volume from OECD Asia Oceania.

    What about coal consumption?

    Global coal consumption increased by more than 70% from 4 600 Mt in 2000 to an estimated 7 876 Mt in 2013, and at a 4.2% annual rate, coal was the fastest-growing primary energy source in the ten years through 2013. But demand growth has slowed of late. Preliminary data for 2014 showed the first actual decline since the 1990s, falling 0.9%; but the main driver of that result was a reported drop in Chinese demand that is based on preliminary data. Indeed, the IEA expects slowed but continued coal demand growth, with the Medium-Term Coal Report 2015 seeing a 0.8% increase through 2020.

    Annual or short-term fluctuations in coal markets by country fill out a mixed picture that does not imply a radical downward pivot for global coal production and consumption until mid-century:

    In 2040, China’s share of world coal consumption falls to 46%. As a result of the slower growth and decline in China’s coal use, the world coal share of total primary energy consumption declines steadily, from 28% in 2012 to 22% in 2040—in contrast to its sustained growth from 24% in 2001 to 29% in 2009, primarily as a result of increasing coal use in China. Total U.S. coal consumption per year, which peaked in 2007, remains largely unchanged from 2012 to 2040 without the CPP but declines significantly with the CPP. Although coal consumption in China does not change much from 2012 to 2040, coal use in India and the other countries of non-OECD Asia continues to rise. India’s coal use surpasses the United States total around 2030, and its share of world coal consumption grows from 8% in 2012 to 14% in 2040 (Figure 4-2).

  36. Melvin #36
    Nov 18, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Alan4 #31: With its need to tackle air pollution and its slowing economy, many analysts believe China will achieve its targets early. Last year coal consumption dropped by 2.9% and is expected to be down again this year. Li said that he believes China will meet its commitment and likely go beyond it. It is “the starting line instead of the end point,” he said.

    From the IEO: “In the IEO [International Energy Outlook] 2016 Reference case, coal remains the second-largest energy source worldwide—behind petroleum and other liquids—until 2030. From 2030 through 2040, it is the third-largest energy source, behind both liquid fuels and natural gas. World coal consumption increases from 2012 to 2040 at an average rate of 0.6%/year,

    You seem to be locked into IEO pre-policy change estimates, while ignoring Phil’s historical data @#37 which shows these fail to take into account recent changes, both in the historical period where actual data overlaps their projections to date, and in their future projections.
    Nobody is disputing that much more needs to be done, but trend fatalism pretending a continuing policy of “carbon business as usual”, is counter-productive.

    My link @#34, shows that as real massive negative effects kick in, those adversely affected by climate change, and those competently anticipating being adversely affected by climate change, will make increasing efforts to deal realistically with the causes, adapt, and make provision to cope with the effects.
    This is likely to include extensive radical changes in attitudes to deniers and polluters.

  37. fade

    No the utter tosh was the accusation of “embarrassment”.

    I’ve welcomed action on population but pointed out how it is way too slow a fix to deal with AGW issues and topical sustainability in the short term. There are two mechanisms for population growth. One is the number of children born, the other the health dividend doubling peoples average life when modest health provisions are put in place for the poorest. This is why populations still grow for a generation or two after the fall in birthrate.

    Melinda Gates explains how before they can persuade and African woman, say, to have fewer kids they must first reassure her that the kids she does have will live. Poor folk have large families as essentially biddable helpers (a health insurance when sick and a supplement to young and old) and they need spares because of high infant mortality. This is why the foundation’s spend is prioritised the way it is on lifting infant survival rates general health and avoiding nutrition rates so low ill health is mostly always fatal.

    Recently Melinda Gates admitted that contraception rates were undershooting their modest targets. It was tough to change minds until they could be more confident about outcomes.

    Population control as effected by a myriad of Gates foundations will inevitably not produce the immediate effects on AGW we need. The health dividend is entirely like an increased birthrate for two generations. The reduced number born will be substantially topped up by the increasing survivors.

    My beef with melvin is that he still thinks the poor are those that will be to blame for the next say forty years of AGW misery. He thinks these demographic truisms are an embarrassment to the likes of me and obfuscation. This is part of an endless set of deflections he produces to ignore that dramatic and immediate AGW contribution changes are now becoming possible and as a member of the group of the most prodigious CO2 per capita generators, cutting his 5 jet flights down to three or two and supporting his country’s eco-tech businesses with his custom comes first. In China the decade of increasing investment in eco-tech has netted a sustained improvement in carbon intensity (tons of CO2 per dollar of GDP). These changes trigger other dramatic changes. The utilisation of coal fired power stations has now fallen to 50.9%. These things flip quite rapidly and the cost of coal energy now starts to climb. The rate of change will be limited by managing unemployment and retraining. In April this year China cancelled 40% of its planned coal based build, putting 1.8 million out of work. They have used the money set aside for this to manage the people impact. As you can see from the graphs summarising things by the Greenpeace document on the Brooking site the change is notable and sudden and not in the least tied to 2008.

    My concern throughout the last months debating melvin is that a new roadblock to change has come from trend fatalists and prevaricators unwilling to change their own behaviours and supporting the call to others to join them, but pointing to necessary other conditions before they act…work on population first, stop making a profit from eco-tech, be politically more draconian on countries trying to lift their populace out of poverty too,…..(big list here).

  38. Just in case people haven’t twigged. Melvin is offering IEA projections against what actually, actually happened.

    I left Greenpeace because they were idiots. But the numbers here are simply matters of fact and this was a convenient document, which is offered by Brooking.

    Trend fatalism is undone at a stroke. As with all changes they are slow to start and acquire positive feedback attributes that speed them through the changeover period. We see this with new technology again and again and again.

  39. Meanwhile Obama is still making some attempt to deal with environmental issues.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38034518

    Nearly 400 scientists signed a letter urging Mr Obama to eliminate Arctic offshore drilling

    The Obama administration has introduced a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Arctic for at least five years.

    The move is a significant victory for environmentalists who have campaigned for years against drilling in the ecologically fragile region.

    But the ban could be overturned by Donald Trump, who has previously pledged to increase offshore drilling.

    Drilling will be still allowed in Alaska’s Cook Inlet and several areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

    According to the 2017 to 2022 leasing plan published by the US Department of the Interior, drilling will be banned in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off northern Alaska.

    The plan will limit, but not ban, development in the Cook Inlet off south-central Alaska.

    The decision to block Arctic drilling follows a decision this spring to block drilling in the Atlantic.

  40. Alan,

    On Woman’s Hour yesterday an engineer, expert in wave energy and working for Arup, mentioned that her work also entailed planning for the decommissioning of the North Sea Gas infrastructure now the field is mostly depleted. £40bn to £100bn seems to be the cost.

    Maybe some upfront deposit should be demanded in future for damage to geological fixtures and fittings? Though the removal of pipes and surface contamination may need these sorts of amounts, the CCS clean up would be rather more.

    Renewable energy sites? Oh, they just get renewed.

  41. Alan4 #41: You seem to be locked into IEO pre-policy change estimates, while ignoring Phil’s historical data @#37 which shows these fail to take into account recent changes, both in the historical period where actual data overlaps their projections to date, and in their future projections.
    Nobody is disputing that much more needs to be done, but trend fatalism pretending a continuing policy of “carbon business as usual”, is counter-productive.

    Phil #43: Just in case people haven’t twigged. Melvin is offering IEA projections against what actually, actually happened. I left Greenpeace because they were idiots. But the numbers here are simply matters of fact and this was a convenient document, which is offered by Brooking.

    These two guys seem to be channeling each other. We’ve become embroiled in the battle of predictions in general, and about fossil fuel growth in particular. Let me be the first to admit that predictions are very humbling when they turn out to be false. Some short term independent expert predictions carry almost virtual certainty. For example, we can all be thankful that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

    To be sure, a coterie of trend fatalism economists we’re predicting a housing bubble collapse followed by some level of recession in 2003, 2004 but many optimistic peers including Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan countered with “nonsense.”

    What we are discussing on this thread, like the above analogy, are market trends that play out over time in business cycles and fluctuations in supply and demand interacting throughout different countries worldwide. Coal production and consumption are clearly “down” in China partly because of commitments to curb pollution and climate change but mainly because China wants to shift economic activity away from the lopsided manufacturing sector to longer-term sustainable diversity that enlarged service and consumption sectors will bring. China commands a disproportionate share of global coal demand. If she buys and uses less of it over a period of years, coal markets are going to appear to “plummet.” If India and other nations implement a spike in coal-fired energy, coal markets will be said to “recover.”

    Remember that fossil-fuel includes coal, oil, and natural gas. Coal is just one fossil fuel in the mix. Low oil prices have temporarily depressed single resource oil-dependent economies in Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia. But make no mistake, China is ramping up infrastructure to import massive quantities of oil from Africa, notably Nigeria over the longer term. Natural gas consumption increased by 4.3% in the European Union between 2014 and 2015 with many countries recording double digit increases (Sweden +11%). The U.S. may be able to decommission a significant number of coal-fired plants and convert to cheaper, cleaner natural gas.

    The main trend shows little sign of prolonged downturn caused by the marginal though apparently fast-growing impact of renewables. Environmentalists cling to the faith in renewables because doubtlessly huge investments, subsidies, job growth, production and consumption, distribution and personal fortunes loom ever-inflated on the horizon. The delusion persists that solar and wind will supplant fossil fuels world wide in the near to mid-term’ and that these energy sources will change out the fossil fuel infrastructure by mid-century leaving some 10 billion people virtually cleansed of carbon emissions. (The possibility does exist but seems remote given current global demand for massive energy sources necessary for immediate, rapid economic growth and the active fossil-fuel markets that meet that demand.)

    We’ve lost touch with the reality of a fluctuating mix of fuels supplying growing populations throughout the 21st century. The “scientific” authority that clean energy zealots are bringing to the table focus on constrained projects: this wind farm in Denmark (or Texas!); that solar roof neighborhood in Africa (or California!), that hybrid or EV vehicle glimpsed on an American or European roadway. Attempts to conflate these efforts with an end time of mining coal, drilling for oil, pumping natural gas are pipe dreams for the foreseeable future.

  42. Melvin, you will be delighted to learn I won’t be responding to any secondary nonsense like this after I have placed one sign for the passing punter to warn them of any primary nonsense you post that needs it. All carbon projections and actuals are available in the PDF linked and anyone can scale these issues for themselves rather than rely on your none scaled dramatics.

    Your repeated and outrageous straw-manning is frankly disgraceful. After this I will continue to ignore it.

    Its been a while since we started this and this

    The main trend shows little sign of prolonged downturn caused by the marginal though apparently fast-growing impact of renewables

    seems to have forgotten that negawatts are the single most powerful contributor to the solid downturn in energy intensity and therefore carbon intensity, with plenty still to do. China has done excellent work for a long time now on energy efficiency. Picking at random. Their extensive use of High Speed and Very High Speed rail in place of growing air travel infrastructure is hugely energy efficient.

    For the last few years I have had to travel to Bruxelles for work. Normally I would have flown. Paying a bit more and kicking back a bit I use the Eurotunnel train service. My CO2 cost to the planet falls by 91 percent. Trains are just one of the ways China is delivering western sophistication and an expanding economy more carbon efficiently than the US did.

    Enough of this silliness of energy evangelicals. We have hit the iceberg. We simply need to mitigate as rapidly as possible to reduce harms and get through to sustainability as rapidly as possible.

    Those individuals who can mitigate most, those with the most to mitigate and the most choices for mitigation will save the most lives, but they have to own the problem.

  43. Re: 42. Hi there phil rimmer. I once had “AGW issues” and jeese were they were itchy. And I’m glad that you continued to talk to Mervin and sad that your understanding of the Gates’ understanding of population management is limited to African examples of theoretically explanations of instinctual sapient (and all other plants and animals) growth. The key link is pop growth to economic growth, which must be ever increasing; that’s why developed economies are seeking immigration to compensate for declining geo-political populations. The African-India-China-South American traditional of high birth rates per women will lower suddenly within decades and that’s all about communications technology and the shared understanding that we life on the planet like plants and animals; that’s pleasurable with fewer children – or something like that (even African folk will bend toward kid-lean for genetic survival). That capitalism, as well as an explicit state-management geo-political economies, are dependent upon local pop growth is the pivotal thing that needs figuring out. If we don’t have a working management of economies tied to population growth, “we’ll cover every inch of the planet and used what’s on it while we’re at it”.

  44. Phil #40: It is just data Melvin….From the Brooking site…

    I beg to differ. Clicking on the link, a background page fills the screen in solid green. The top Banner reads in large bold type: Greenpeace. Centered below is the article title: New Trends in China Energy Consumption followed underneath by the by-line: Lauri Myllyvirta. Most professional articles conclude the title material with the unmodified author name. Organizational or professional titles, sometimes amended with footnotes, supply the reader with helpful information and indeed implicitly impute general authority to the article. In this curious case, “Lauri” is graced with a vacuous hagiographic sub title: Coal and Air pollution expert. Though the reader does not know “Lauri” from Adam’s mule, she is intended to be disarmed from resistance to what the expert has to say. The “Message” points at the end of the article are the polemical product of an overheated adolescent imagination.

  45. Melvin #49
    Nov 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    The “Message” points at the end of the article are the polemical product of an overheated adolescent imagination.

    You really do need to learn to use data and evidence of technological developments in place of rhetoric and psychological projection.

    Like Phil, I find your wiping of information from earlier discussions, strawmanning, and carbonaceous mental re-sets, tedious, – inviting time wasting repetitions of matters already dealt with.

    The mix of available alternative technologies which can replace coal have been covered at great length on RDFS, but in case you have again forgotten them :- for the last time, I list:-
    Negawatts (improvements in efficient use of energy and reduction of waste), solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal), wind, tidal and wave, ocean temperature differentials, geothermal, heat recovery systems in buildings, ground heat storage, regenerative braking in vehicles, improved battery, super-capacitor and heat storage systems, biofuels+ upgraded photosynthetic processes, biofuels combined with carbon capture to actively reduce atmospheric CO2, solar hydrogen production and solar gas production, various forms of nuclear power generation, smart grids to avoid the need for large stand-by capacities, hydroelectric primary generation and as on demand back-up.

    I can see little point in revisiting these issues other than pasting links to the comments, articles and links on them in earlier discussions.

  46. fade

    I think you could do well to do a little research on demographics. The UN data resources are brilliant and interactive.

    The key link is pop growth to economic growth, which must be ever increasing;

    First of all there is no necessary link between a growing economy (an economy that adds value by an ever increasing tally of solutions to problems) and the growing consumption of finite resources. Indeed, very many of us actively working in the field believe that the “circular economy”, working with finite resources for all but energy, in no way limits the capacity for an economy to grow. Money went off the gold standard long ago.

    Explore here-

    https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/POP/TOT/

    Here’s a projection showing a global peak of about 12bn just of the graph.

    You can change the location between the world and individual countries, but also between WORLD more developed, less developed and least developed. the first peaks and gently declines. The second carries on up and the third rockets up. Hunting the site you can find birthrates by country and development. Africa is the highest birthrate and where the most spectacular Malthusian catastrophe will occur. Sub Saharan African birthrates are running at 5.5 offspring per woman most European countries are already below 2 and Spain is something like 1.3. By 2100 African population is at risk of exploding 400%. Africa will account for most (3bn) of our population delta (4.5bn) by 2100 and The Indian sub continent will account (potentially) for most of the rest (1bn), perhaps South America last.

    The African experience is utterly critical here, though the Gates Foundation works globally.

    Lifting people out of poverty and educating women transforms their attitude to having kids. Who’d a thunk that women don’t particularly like the experience (well the last bit anyway)? If you want more info on this there were a couple of key papers I linked on this site several years ago I could find.

    It was only 120 years ago the UK matched these spectacular birthrates.

    Oh, check out China. How developed they become by 2100. You can bet their economy is not shrinking.

  47. Phil #47: Melvin, you will be delighted to learn I won’t be responding to any secondary nonsense like this after I have placed one sign for the passing punter to warn them of any primary nonsense you post that needs it. All carbon projections and actuals are available in the PDF linked and anyone can scale these issues for themselves rather than rely on your none scaled dramatics.

    I’m showing the courtesy of posting your name and comment number, when I respond. No one is obligated to respond to anyone else on the thread but in the absence of response the discussion dies. All carbon projections and actuals are available in the PDF linked pretty much squashes ambiguous data and trends, or more precisely, unknown outcomes for the future in favor of an Absolute Truth. (Not consistent with the scientific method) Bearing in mind that greenhouse gas emissions have soared in non-OECD (developing) countries overtaking emissions in OECD countries back in 1993, it is not clear what your global emissions predictions are for 2030, 2040, 2050 and beyond. If you believe science and technological inventions will phase out fossil fuels before 2050 or before 2100, fair enough. China has 400 million people living in serious poverty today. High speed trains will probably fail to address all those flesh-and-blood needs . Incremental slow progress in the reduction of CO2 emissions will not be enough. Calculating an astounding 2% compounded rate of global annual reduction from 2016 levels over a period of 23 years until 1940 would set AGW emission levels back to those of the early-mid 1990s. Understand that the calculation requires 2% compound decrease every year starting in 2017 with no setbacks, no emission surges for any reason, no significant downward trends. How do we homo Sapiens accomplish such a project without parallel efforts to reduce both per capita and aggregate upward pressure on emissions driven by population growth in the billions. In my view we must begin vigorous articulated policies to bring down both greenhouse gases and world population growth.

  48. I try to keep an open mind. If I had to bet, I’d put money on some aggregate annual reductions by 2040 to 2050 and beyond but moderate reductions to -say 1990 – 2005 levels will accomplish nothing.

    I appreciate the concept of decoupling. For example if everyone drove a zero-emissions car then increases in the number of cars on the road would have zero affect. Reducing individual vehicle emissions by 90% would go a long way toward thoroughly solving the problem because of the remaining relatively insignificant base of only 10%. However, reducing per-vehicle emissions by 20% or “dramatically” by 50% would not help, given the inevitable growth in aggregate vehicles on the global roadways meeting the demand of growing population. For now, per capita emissions remain decisive in worsening AGW emissions. If I buy a car with x carbon emissions and my neighbor buys the same make and model, we have doubled emissions by 2x. The math is irrefutable. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of automobile manufacture, junked vehicle disposal, and asphalt laid down to make roadways must also be factored in -not just vehicle petrol consumption when the car is up and running. The less people “participating” in the process the better.

  49. Alan 4: The mix of available alternative technologies which can replace coal have been covered at great length on RDFS, but in case you have again forgotten them :- for the last time, I list:-
    Negawatts (improvements in efficient use of energy and reduction of waste), solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal), wind, tidal and wave, ocean temperature differentials, geothermal, heat recovery systems in buildings, ground heat storage, regenerative braking in vehicles, improved battery, super-capacitor and heat storage systems, biofuels+ upgraded photosynthetic processes, biofuels combined with carbon capture to actively reduce atmospheric CO2, solar hydrogen production and solar gas production, various forms of nuclear power generation, smart grids to avoid the need for large stand-by capacities, hydroelectric primary generation and as on demand back-up.

    I can see little point in revisiting these issues other than pasting links to the comments, articles and links on them in earlier discussions.

    I agree. I would like to know how you see the “List” unfolding in practice to 2030, 2050 and 2100 to yield a global atmosphere free from AGW emissions. The list is opaque with respect to real world practices and trends that are currently working against material solutions on the global scale of the problem. How much reason and virtue, sweetness and light is required of billions born into poverty, hunger, humiliation and anger and above all, impatience, to accomplish what you and I have enjoyed over a privileged lifetime.

  50. Melvin

    In my view we must begin vigorous articulated policies to bring down both greenhouse gases and world population growth.

    Happily agree. But as you know the strategy for making population decline a success is to lift the poor out of poverty and as Melinda Gates recently admitted, promising wealth if you use contraception is not going as well as planned. I think folk need to see the money.

    The population projections for Japan and China on the UN site are fascinating. Both are showing peaks around now (Japan just over the hump and China topping very soon) and steep declines.

    Japan, a very equitable country with low immigration, is projected to continue its current decline in numbers, losing 45% of its population by 2100. China shows a very similar trajectory peaking in five or ten years time and declining 30% by 2100.

    China has US levels of inequality at the moment, so why will it do so well? Undoubtedly the draconian one child policy (now abandoned) brought fertility rates down) but China is powering on through because its population is experiencing year on year improvements in wealth (7%). The new plans to lift rural communities out of poverty (year on year improvements of 12%) unleashing opportunities for a new capitalist/collective upscaling of farming, to achieve economies and implement the latest eco-techniques, is exactly right in discouraging population growth where it is most likely still to happen.

    Note also these high rates of change can happen because the health dividend is already expressed in these communities. (China rapidly caught up in life expectancy in the 1960s, two generations ago.)

  51. Melvin #53
    Nov 19, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    For now, per capita emissions remain decisive in worsening AGW emissions. If I buy a car with x carbon emissions and my neighbor buys the same make and model, we have doubled emissions by 2x. The math is irrefutable. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of automobile manufacture, junked vehicle disposal, and asphalt laid down to make roadways must also be factored in -not just vehicle petrol consumption when the car is up and running.

    The lack of vision and lack or imagination, is in the fixated assumption that everyone requires a car, or can actually have their own car, when numerous third world people use bicycles and those in organised cities use public transport systems or cycle tracks – some using electric assisted bicycles or shared electric vehicles.

    The less people “participating” in the process the better.

    This is indeed part of the solution, but requires social co-operation and competent political leadership.

  52. Melvin #54
    Nov 19, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I agree. I would like to know how you see the “List” unfolding in practice to 2030, 2050 and 2100 to yield a global atmosphere free from AGW emissions.

    There are lots of political and business inputs into any such projections.

    The list is opaque with respect to real world practices and trends that are currently working against material solutions on the global scale of the problem.

    The problems are not with the technologies, and the list is certainly NOT opaque in the published material available for study of each individual process or technology.

    How much reason and virtue, sweetness and light is required of billions born into poverty, hunger, humiliation and anger and above all, impatience, to accomplish what you and I have enjoyed over a privileged lifetime.

    This is totally irrelevant to the life of future generations, supported by low carbon technologies, just as prosperity supported by sailing clippers, paddle steamers, horses and carts, narrow-boats, and steam tractors, ceased to be relevant to present generations, when more efficient and productive technologies superseded them!

  53. Vehicle embodied energy is halved by technologies that are twice as reliable, (EV 400,000 kilometres easily possible). City dwellers with great transport infrastructure don’t buy cars or at least use them far less these days. London is now transportationally superb reaching far out beyond the suburbs. Parisian youth is the first generation not to want a car due to the metro and Autolib EV hire.

    Circular economic models seek very substantial reductions in embodied energy of all manufactured goods by modularising products and extending module life. The amount manufactured tumbles. Upgrades for those who want it are cheap. These products leverage service offerings which are ideal for countries without cash for capital goods as these become leased as needed. What is more at the end of their service life because of the longevity of parts and the easy maintainability of modular products these become ideal reliable hand-me-downs. (We intend our products to go to third world applications at such times). Circular economy businesses are proving very politically attractive because they dramatically reduce imports in favour of local value adding maintenance and development.

    I upgraded from a 60 mpg car to a 70 mpg car and deride the SUV owners for simply not realising they had a better choice. Some come to agree. Smug is quite a rewarding feeling.

  54. Tesla charging station just recently installed at Holiday Inn (very cool)- a chance to juice-up before heading west on I-70. The same stretch of road (encouraged by the government) to have electric charging stations w/signs, so motorists don’t feel stranded.

    Alas, project ’tis stalled, for who should pay for it? Continuing west, similar situation in Kansas. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1107051_are-missouri-electric-car-charging-stations-like-pay-phones-why-thats-important

  55. Phil Re: #51 & other entries:

    Re: “First of all there is no necessary link between a growing economy (an economy that adds value by an ever increasing tally of solutions to problems) and the growing consumption of finite resources. Indeed, very many of us actively working in the field believe that the “circular economy”, working with finite resources for all but energy, in no way limits the capacity for an economy to grow. Money went off the gold standard long ago”. And “The African experience is utterly critical here”.

    The direct link between economic growth and population growth is evident in Western economies. Here, the belief in growth and the necessity of growth, has been part of our new atheist religion for the past couple of centuries or so. I strongly encourage you to read Harari’s Homo Deus. At issue is strategies for Western economies to grow with negative population growth. Your jump to Africa with respect to sapient population growth, for which economic development and education, particularly for women, has been UN policy for fifty years, avoids conveniently the faith in growth held by Western democracies. It is this faith in growth that needs addressing with respect to managing sapient effluence influencing the functioning of the planet’s atmospheres.

  56. fadeordraw #60
    Nov 20, 2016 at 11:47 am

    The direct link between economic growth and population growth is evident in Western economies.

    I think the point Phil is making, is that growth in human well-being and living standards, does NOT have to be linked to crude population growth and crude increases in consumption.
    A farmer cropping a field has plant “growth”, but it is not the chain-letter type of all expanding growth, encroaching on other surrounding areas.

    When we use green electricity such as LED lights, this improves standards of lighting while reducing energy consumption. Linked to photvoltaics and batteries, it also provides off grid areas with smoke free light where there was no previous electric supply.

    Similarly, the use of cheap solar cookers in third world sunny climates, provides pasteurised clean drinking water, cooks food, while reducing the labour of collecting wood, reduces deforestation, and avoids smokey air.

    http://forest.mtu.edu/pcforestry/resources/studentprojects/gk.htm

    With increasing use of robotic manufacturing and transport, the link between growth in productivity and growth in population is broken.

    Here, the belief in growth and the necessity of growth, has been part of our new atheist religion for the past couple of centuries or so.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with atheism!
    It is a dogma of capitalist consumerism, which childishly associates conspicuous wasteful consumption with high status!
    (My gas-guzzler is bigger and more flashy than your gas guzzler! + My buffet gives a wider choice and bins more food-waste than your celebration!)

  57. Melvin #54
    Nov 19, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I would like to know how you see the “List” unfolding in practice to 2030, 2050 and 2100 to yield a global atmosphere free from AGW emissions.

    These are the people to watch for the production of an emerging list of research ideas and actual investments in production.

    http://www.breakthroughenergycoalition.com/en/index.html

    Breakthrough Energy Coalition

    THE WORLD NEEDS WIDELY AVAILABLE ENERGY that is reliable, affordable and does not produce carbon. The only way to accomplish that goal is by developing new tools to power the world. That innovation will result from a dramatically scaled up public research pipeline linked to truly patient, flexible investments committed to developing the technologies that will create a new energy mix. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is working together with a growing group of visionary countries who are significantly increasing their public research pipeline through the Mission Innovation initiative to make that future a reality.

  58. Phil #55: Happily agree. But as you know the strategy for making population decline a success is to lift the poor out of poverty and as Melinda Gates recently admitted, promising wealth if you use contraception is not going as well as planned. I think folk need to see the money.

    Actually the world’s poor have largely cleared the hurdles of “demanding” money up front before limiting family size. The vast majority of poor nations have brought birthrates down to replacement, near-replacement, or sub-replacement levels though internal incentives and motivation financed in part by foreign aid and charitable foundation grants. . Reaching critical mass (think China), people have reached a consensus that limiting family size to around two children not only raises standard of living, facilitates the education of fewer children necessary to climb out of poverty, but is necessary for survival in the absence of significant infant/childhood mortality where few children die before reaching working/reproductive age. Then why worry you may ask?

    Nations in Sub-Saharan Africa (and other crucial higher birthrate nations), combined with population momentum in “young” age-structure nations like India, will cause horrific overpopulation until 2100. If you do the math, a one or two billion “minority” with high birthrates within a total population of 8 billion, for example, over time can easily wipe out the gains of the “majority” with low [replacement] birthrates. We can see this happening with world population as the 6 billion in 2000 skyrockets to around 10 billion 50 years later in 2050. We can also see this happening in the United States and Europe where the ethnic “minorities” of the 50s and 60s have become majorities in locales simply because they have on average a fraction of a child higher than replacement level while the complacent nativists have a fraction of a child below replacement level. Here in the States, notably in my native California and other southwestern states, we call the outcome of this process “minority majority.” Indeed the current population of California driven upward principally by Hispanic/Latino immigration and higher birthrates, amended with Blacks and Asians, has become minority-majority with the white European descendant portion shrinking to 49%.

  59. Alan re: 61

    I think the point Phil is making, is that growth in human well-being and living standards, does NOT have to be linked to crude population growth and crude increases in consumption.

    Pls provide an example of a Western economy, from the previous 300 years or so, whereby economic growth was disassociated from population growth? One of Harari’s conclusions is that as we transitioned from feudal to consumer economies, and from religious to science and technology, we acquired a new faith in growth; indeed, continuing growth as if no limits (the pie can just continue to get bigger). So would the US be comfortable, economically, with a declining population?

  60. Alan4 #56: The lack of vision and lack or imagination, is in the fixated assumption that everyone requires a car, or can actually have their own car, when numerous third world people use bicycles and those in organised cities use public transport systems or cycle tracks – some using electric assisted bicycles or shared electric vehicles.

    All true but beside my point. It is not up to me to decide who or who does not “require a car.” Mass transit works marvelously in London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo. Certainly, alternative modes of transportation have to cut into car sales in locales favorable or necessary to those alternatives. Contrary to imagination, car sales are growing at phenomenal rates. The French bought 1.2 million more cars in 2015 than 2014.

    But look at car sales in China as her economy rose up from the ranks of developing countries: Sales of automobiles in China increased 19.3 percent year-on-year to 2.649 million units in October of 2016, the lowest gain in four months. Passenger car sales went up 20.3 percent year-on-year, boosted by sales of sedans (+10.1 percent to 1.1705 million); sport-utility vehicles (+43.3 percent to 896,000) and multipurpose vehicles (+4.7 percent to 231,800). Sales of commercial vehicles rose 7.4 percent to 305,800. The country produced 2.5863 million units, 17.6 percent more than a year earlier. Considering the first ten months of the year, domestic vehicle sales increased 12.3 percent over the same period a year earlier. Total Vehicle Sales in China averaged 901855.77 from 1997 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2785513 in December of 2015 and a record low of 88416 in January of 1998. Total Vehicle Sales in China is reported by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

    My point was to show how population growth affects carbon dioxide emissions on a per capita basis. The rule holds whether we’re considering emissions from a car or a natural gas-fired home heating furnace. If my furnace emits 1 unit of CO2 per hour and my neighbor buys the same make and model, together over an hour we emit 2 units or double the amount of AGW emissions.

  61. Melvin #65
    Nov 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    The rule holds whether we’re considering emissions from a car or a natural gas-fired home heating furnace.
    If my furnace emits 1 unit of CO2 per hour and my neighbor buys the same make and model, together over an hour we emit 2 units or double the amount of AGW emissions.

    That does not follow!
    If you have proper wall insulation, loft insulation, double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets, and your neighbour does not, the heating requirements are not the same.

    Similarly if you have a ground heat storage system which heats up the ground while cooling the house in the summer, and then draws on the heat reservoir in the winter, your needs for gas heating are not equal.

    The failure to recognise such issues, is precisely what I mean by “lack of vision”!

  62. Fade

    The direct link between economic growth and population growth is evident in Western economies.

    It is certainly evident but not in any way necessary. Wealth has been related to material consumption since the days when the main problem to solve was actually having enough to consume, i.e. eat. Wealth was deemed to have increased if people had more to eat and when they had enough to eat wealth was deemed to have increased when more people were available to consume.

    But things started to change when other appetites could be sated by purchase. Does a new Bronte novel increase wealth, a new film, game or phone app? Yep. Intellectual wealth is snowballing with little material need in these days of the download and cheap memory.

    This is why we might better imagine wealth as not so much being a mere consumable good actual or intellectual but as being a problem solved. It is solving problems, hunger, my overlong hair, my unrequited need to know x, my boredom, my need to visit my Australian cousin, better teeth, a garden to make the neighbours jealous, my need to explore the red planet…..that signals our wealth.

    Wealth accumulates as we as individuals can actually have more of our problems solved.

    We are endlessly inventive with our problems. We are never satisfied. And who knew we needed to text? Problems are manufactured by imagineers of all sorts and technologists, and artists and artisans jump to it to solve those problems. Here is the actual growth that is increasingly set to happen. Sustainable economies with material resources part of an endless and closed system enabled by an endless supply of energy that falls from the sky will not grow materially but will grow intellectually as the total of problems solved continues to accumulate.

    Amusingly my new lamp that consumes less is worth more than other lamps. The problems to solve now are entirely about scarce resources. Using less is worth more.

    We shall never lose our economic mojo.

  63. fadeordraw #64
    Nov 20, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Pls provide an example of a Western economy, from the previous 300 years or so, whereby economic growth was disassociated from population growth?

    There are fundamental differences in the transition to industrialisation in Europe and in North America.

    The European maritime colonial powers were fed and supplied with raw materials from colonies, so their home populations were not dependent on home produced food from a relatively small agricultural base.

    In the USA, the full resources of an entire continent were taken over from the relatively small indigenous sustainable populations, causing resource driven massive rapid expansion of population and consumption. In the twentieth century Europe was impoverished by war while the USA profited (initially) from the export of munitions and equipment.

    One of Harari’s conclusions is that as we transitioned from feudal to consumer economies, and from religious to science and technology, we acquired a new faith in growth; indeed, continuing growth as if no limits (the pie can just continue to get bigger).

    Humans are are slightly different case to most animal population explosions, in so far as humans are versatile and can switch resource bases by moving on to exploit/rob others, as they exhaust some.
    This puts off the eventual population collapse while the population can continue to expand – escalating the eventual problem.

    There are however numerous models in animal populations which show that expansion beyond sustainable levels, leads to exhaustion of food and resource bases, intense competition, competition between populations and within populations, destruction of overloaded life support systems, increases in disease, as population densities and increases in waste, promote their spread, and eventually a population collapse to below the previous sustainable level.

    Humans can put this off by invading and exploiting previously unused ecosystems until there are none left on the planet – exterminating competing wild-life, but this will destabilise the entire planet’s ecology, causing other catastrophic population collapses in areas such as fish-stocks.

    So would the US be comfortable, economically, with a declining population?

    The question is not the wish-thinking of what some people would like! It is the choosing from the available options of stabilisation or expansion to the point of catastrophic collapse – of human populations and of the organisms in human food-chains. Collapses and reductions, take the form of famines, mass migrations, refugees, wars, tribal genocides, disease, pollution, malnutrition and mass starvation.

  64. So Phil and Alan, a key is sapiens are living on the planet the same as plants and animals, seeking survival, and sapiens intellectually figured out how to solved Nature’s controls on species’ population growth. And so our instinct is toward survival, and we’re clever enough that that’s really not an issue; but we love our live or survival dramas and are instinctually driven that way. So 1stly, calm down, sapiens are going to survive one catastrophe after another; as we have done. The issue is the experience of all living on the planet (a good experience pls) and how do we get to that. So answer the question: would the US be economically comfortable with negative US population growth (Mother Nature doesn’t like it that way)? We life as plants and animals living on the planet, like liken. Economic and sapient pop growth are married. That’s what we would want to figure out how to manage.

  65. Alan4 #66: That does not follow!
    If you have proper wall insulation, loft insulation, double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets, and your neighbour does not, the heating requirements are not the same.

    Sigh… I suppose it does not go without saying, so I’ll spell it out. The scenario presupposes equal operational circumstances and is limited to the equal emission capacity of identical units multiplied by the number of [per capita] users. The example is intended to illustrate how per capita emissions mathematically multiply aggregate emissions with increasing numbers of users. Or to put it another way, that properly aligns the scenario: If you have proper wall insulation, loft insulation, double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets, **AND YOUR NEIGHBOR HAS THE SAME, THE HEATING REQUIREMENTS ARE THE SAME.The emissions are still doubled from yours alone or his alone in the aggregate.

  66. Phil #68: Find China on this list.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_vehicles_per_capita
    Also: Average engine size is approx 1.6 and going down in China. In the US it is usually 2.5 litre.
    None of your statistics couple to other data to assess significance.

    All of “our” statistics belong to sources and not to us. The conundrum is to find statistics with reliable predictability. One insurmountable obstacle is that we cannot view the future and must default to snapshots of the present that may or may not reference prolonged and sustained trends.

    When I pointed out that the French bought 1.2 million more cars in 2015 than in 2014, the figure is consistent with more and more and more cars on the road every year due to integral growing demand. The Chinese no more than the French are not going to forego ICE passenger cars because they have good metro rail or high speed trains. Obviously China has very small numbers of cars-per-one thousand people. She is a nation of 1.4 billion people living in dirt poverty a mere 45 years ago. Po’ no mo’ as the African-American saying goes. Coming from a virtuaL zero base, new car registrations have grown by leaps and bounds. 1.6 liter engines? Sure, they’er cheaper and make sense for a huge population plagued with scarce oil supplies. Compounding 20% growth rates year on year in car sales, don’t show me their baby pictures. Come back in 40 more years.

  67. Melvin,

    You quote statistics that aren’t directly connected with outcomes.

    More vehicles might have been bought in France but has ownership gone up? Have dirty old cars been able to be got rid of because of an improvement in attractive offers or a feeling of improved wealth? Was it the temporary dip in oil prices? Are more miles being driven and is more CO2 the result?

    The recent oil glut stopped the steady decline in road fuel sales in the UK. Sadly the tory government took their foot off the fuel tax accelerator that has been driving fuel use down without impacting journey miles. Fortunately, we’re seeing a return of more sensible oil prices. The reduced use of road fuel should recommence.

    I’ll try and find a study of French car ownership (its close to saturated and declining in urban areas) and a study of UK fuel use that I know I have somewhere.

  68. fade

    would the US be economically comfortable with negative US population growth (Mother Nature doesn’t like it that way)? We life as plants and animals living on the planet, like liken. Economic and sapient pop growth are married. That’s what we would want to figure out how to manage.

    Man and what he does is the very definition of unnatural, not acted upon but acting from motives increasingly remote from his genetic heritage. We create utterly wasteful art and spaceships, commit suicide when young and plan our day three years hence….

    The big US tech companies are entirely happy with service models, leasing bandwidth and content, rolling hardware replacement. Cash stream businesses are rapidly replacing one off selling things in boxes. Selling services can grow and grow. There will be plenty of new stuff mediating this but its destructive consumption need not be involved. All we need is sustainable energy and that, usefully, falls out of the sky at a rate of over one trillion barrels of oil per day.

  69. Melvin #71
    Nov 20, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Alan4 #66: That does not follow!
    If you have proper wall insulation, loft insulation, double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets, and your neighbour does not, the heating requirements are not the same.

    Sigh… I suppose it does not go without saying, so I’ll spell it out. The scenario presupposes equal operational circumstances and is limited to the equal emission capacity of identical units multiplied by the number of [per capita] users. The example is intended to illustrate how per capita emissions mathematically multiply aggregate emissions with increasing numbers of users.

    I realise that you are fixated on population growth, to the exclusion of other inputs, which is why your examples make the flawed assumptions of continuing unmitigated use of traditional polluting systems, rather than post greening systems!

    Or to put it another way, that properly aligns the scenario: If you have proper wall insulation, loft insulation, double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets,
    **AND YOUR NEIGHBOR HAS THE SAME, THE HEATING REQUIREMENTS ARE THE SAME.
    The emissions are still doubled from yours alone or his alone in the aggregate.

    Which is stating the obvious, but is irrelevant to the issue of efficiency reducing pollution, or alternative heat and energy sources such as scrapping the gas boiler altogether, or manufactured gas from sunlight, or biofuel replacing the carbon pollution.

    Future transport systems do not equate with the personal use internal combustion engined cars burning fossil derivatives, and future heating systems do not equate with burning fossil carbon!

    Present day primitive crude wasteful designs can be replaced and displaced!

  70. Alan4 #75: Present day primitive crude wasteful designs can be replaced and displaced!

    Your proposition is predictive and the crux of the discussion. Will the future see everyone driving battery powered cars? Will the future see everyone using all renewable energy; e.g., solar and wind? Will the future see everyone using, and paying big money for, proper wall insulation, loft insulation, double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets. Because “tackling” climate change is a race against time, how soon will this vision of the future arrive. Are not the people of Africa “primitive”? Does not the vast majority of human populations both within and outside Europe, the United States and parts of Asia employ and continue to employ “crude wasteful designs?’ Even if we could manage to spread most of these
    “new and improved” low-carbon designs to 20% or 40% of the world’s inhabitants where is the evidence today of rapid progress that demands a compounded 2% reduction in CO2 emissions each year through the end of the century? Will billions of “primitive” people yet to be born using the old but available polluting designs fatally obstruct what progress is made? Those are the questions.

  71. Melvin #76
    Nov 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Alan4 #75: Present day primitive crude wasteful designs can be replaced and displaced!

    Your proposition is predictive and the crux of the discussion. Will the future see everyone driving battery powered cars?

    No – some will use biofuel cars and some will use no cars at all and use public transport systems, bicycles etc. (You are still fixated on cars!!)

    Will the future see everyone using all renewable energy; e.g., solar and wind?

    Systems will be geared to the local geography which governs available sources in each location. As they have done in the past, some industries will move to more favourable locations to be near resources.

    Will the future see everyone using, and paying big money for, proper wall insulation, loft insulation,

    Why do you always ASSUME that green technologies will cost “big money”?

    http://www.which.co.uk/energy/creating-an-energy-saving-home/guides/how-to-buy-loft-insulation/loft-insulation-costs-and-savings/

    If you live in a house with no loft insulation and have 270mm, professionally installed, the savings on heating bills will recoup the cost in one and a half to two years, and then continue to cut your fuel use and fuel bills! If you buy a few rolls and put it in yourself as I did years ago you will save even more.

    Cavity wall insulation also cuts bills but takes a bit longer to recoup the costs of drilling and injecting the material.

    double or triple glazing, or heat recovery systems on ventilation and waste-water outlets.

    Heat recovery systems are best installed as area systems on new-build developments.

    Because “tackling” climate change is a race against time, how soon will this vision of the future arrive.

    Most of loft insulation , wall insulation and double glazing has already arrived in my area! In some places it arrived years ago!

    Are not the people of Africa “primitive”? Does not the vast majority of human populations both within and outside Europe, the United States and parts of Asia employ and continue to employ “crude wasteful designs?’

    There is no reason to assume third-world countries are going to ignore easily implemented modern options and choose obsolete clumsy systems, any more than they are going to buy steam tractors, or travel long distances on horse carts when trains are an option!

    Will billions of “primitive” people yet to be born using the old but available polluting designs fatally obstruct what progress is made?

    Nobody in a third-world hut in Africa – given the option of photovoltaic lighting, mobile phone charging, and internet access, is going to sit around waiting for someone to build an expensive coal power-station, rail lines for coal trains, and hundreds of miles of pylons supporting a power-grid.
    Solar cookers will also reduce their need for outside energy sources.
    A few electric assisted bicycles with solar charging, would also help in travelling to market along simple pathways!

    In most tropical countries, not much heating is required anyway although some heat (electrical?) extraction systems may be used for cooling.

    Those are the questions.

    Those are your questions, which you seem to keep recycling, despite answers on earlier threads!

  72. Aklan4 #77 Those are your questions, which you seem to keep recycling, despite answers on earlier threads!

    Do you mean answers on other threads or answers from a catechism?

    There are no answers on a thread or on a catechism, there are only the outcomes of the extent to which diverse populations will use fossil fuel- technology or the extent to which diverse populations will implement low-carbon technology to meet their needs and purposes crucially to 2050 or with exemptions to 2100.

    By the way, the reference to archaic “steam tractors” prompts the anticipation of the unveiling of the first battery-powered tractors and bulldozers by Elon Musk at Tesla motors. (Trigger Warning: Sense of humor required)

  73. Phil & co, re: 74
    So you guys seem such technocrats and I’m sure you’re going to solve human affluence into the atmosphere with technology; just as technocrats did when human affluence into rivers humans have always settled by. The thing is with this one, dear know-it-all technos, is that we’re actually dealing the affluence of humans on the atmospheres (we’re that many). How did this phenomena happen? The answers would include that it’s based upon gene evolutionary survival? As well as that we’ve learned how to grow on the planet very well. That our current economic and political approaches are contingent upon geopolitical population growth may very well/most likely have got us into this human growth predicament.
    So Phil and co., you can put on your techno bandaids, but eventually we’ll need governance/economic management working with negative human population growth. Let’s put a little bit of thinking and articulating on how we might come to that. Suggestions greatly appreciated.

  74. fadeordaw #79: you can put on your techno bandaids, but eventually we’ll need governance/economic management working with negative human population growth. Let’s put a little bit of thinking and articulating on how we might come to that. Suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Right on. We humans are a large animal species with a large brain uniquely equipped with cognitive powers that may prove self-destructive in their application to environmental destruction and over-breeding over the last 200 years. Until we recognize our limitations as an animal species living in harmony with other animal and plant species, ecosystems and the atmosphere itself, we may be doomed by faith in transcendent Scientism; the delusion that science-technology can perform miracles that will solve all existential challenges in a universe indifferent to our survival. Without Science, human culture would be lost but we must also have the humility to recognize our dependence on the natural environment – the resources of land, water and air like any other animal. We must stop the suicidal game of seeing how many people we can crowd onto the planet and foul the nest before it collapses carrying Homo sapiens to extinction. The blind overweening ego must give way to reason.

  75. fade

    What a sneer of a post! Strawmanning like a good’un. Genes have carried us to this point but overlapping with the Malthusian catastrophe they have wrought, in the last hundred or two years we have suddenly discovered that memes and culture have given us powers over them.

    My day job for the last two years has taken me into the world of the circular economy. If you want to bother to research my posts you will see plenty of proposals on how service economies can be managed once markets are served by the right kinds of investment. Once we stop being mesmerised by the need for growth, once all are fed and serviced sustainably, “progress” and new personal and collective needs will create market momentum.

    Why must material consumption continue? This seems some dogma, insufficiently evidenced. The hugest companies make very little physically these days. I don’t know about you but my belly is quite full enough. Its my head that needs feeding.

  76. Melvin

    We must stop the suicidal game of seeing how many people we can crowd onto the planet and foul the nest before it collapses carrying Homo sapiens to extinction. The blind overweening ego must give way to reason.

    My approach to managing population is to notice how Japan’s population is racing down and learn like other demographers the trick of it.

    This sustained demographic ignorance is utterly tiresome and the sniping at earnest endeavours frankly poisonous.

  77. Melvin #78
    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Alan4 #77 Those are your questions, which you seem to keep recycling, despite answers on earlier threads!

    Do you mean answers on other threads or answers from a catechism?

    You seem to have identified your problem of the need to learn to distinguish scientific and technical reports on energy management, from the catechisms of denial you are adopting from the ignoramus popular media. The catechism of: “Nothing can be done because some people’s minds are locked in antiquity, – If it can be done, it is bound to cost big-money more than inefficient antiquated systems!”

    This is particularly laughable in asserting that investing money in radically reducing the heat losses, running costs, AND pollution, from draughty heat sieves of buildings, involves some “prohibitive costs”!

    There are no answers on a thread or on a catechism, there are only the outcomes of the extent to which diverse populations will use fossil fuel- technology or the extent to which diverse populations will implement low-carbon technology to meet their needs and purposes

    Which is precisely what the technical reports on innovative technologies, costings and efficiency comparisons with obsolete polluting systems involves, but for those who can only compare media strawman catechisms of denial, without understanding the explanations and functions, economic mechanisms, are lost in a sea of clinging to familiar obsolescence!

    By the way, the reference to archaic “steam tractors” prompts the anticipation of the unveiling of the first battery-powered tractors and bulldozers by Elon Musk at Tesla motors.
    (Trigger Warning: Sense of humor required)

    Sense of reality and knowledge of history required!
    (Humour is no substitute for research!)
    Biodiesel tractors run on vegetable oil have been in use for decades, since the sanctions against the white apartheid government of South Africa cut off their oil supplies and their farmers grew an extra acre of sunflowers to power their tractors!
    They used sunflower oil but some modern systems use rapeseed oil.

    http://www.renewablesinternational.net/energy-self-sufficiency-thanks-to-vegetable-oil/150/453/88268/

    In 2013, the American manufacturer John Deere has then developed for the first time a vegetable oil tractor with a single tank, the so-called multi-fuel tractor. In the tank, mineral or bio-based fuel can be mixed and can work with pure diesel, pure rapeseed oil or any possible combination of the two.

    Also when processing canola to rapeseed oil, protein-rich rapeseed meal is produced and can be used to feed farm animals – a contribution to rural circular economy. Thus, imports of soybean, on which agriculture rely heavily on, can be reduced.

    The energy balance of vegetable oil is significantly better than that of classic diesel. As we all know, plants grow thanks to water, sun and CO2. Rapeseed oil fuel is basically stored solar energy that is put to use. The CO2 balance of machines powered by rapeseed is also more favorable than that of conventional machines, since the amount of CO2 emitted during the combustion of rapeseed oil is equal to the amount absorbed for the growth of the plant.

    The idea is not to implement a massive use of vegetable oil as an alternative for fossil fuels and extend it to cars or buses. But within the scope of agriculture, each farmer could be energy self-sufficient. Farmers could plant rapeseed, harvest it, feed their animals and produce oil for their tractors – and all this using only agricultural land that requires soil fertilization through crop rotation. Otherwise, they would have to plant corn or soy for livestock feed, which is as a matter of fact limiting crops for humans; or worse, to import soy, of which cultivation is often linked back to deforestation.

  78. Melvin #78
    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    By the way, the reference to archaic “steam tractors” prompts the anticipation of the unveiling of the first battery-powered tractors and bulldozers by Elon Musk at Tesla motors.
    (Trigger Warning: Sense of humor required)

    For those unaware of electric drive-trains on mining equipment!

    http://www.cat.com/en_GB/products/new/equipment/off-highway-trucks/mining-trucks/18232553.html

    For those applications and situations where you prefer an electric drive truck Caterpillar now offers the 795F AC. The Cat AC drive system provides you the best retarding, braking and control in the industry. Designed and manufactured by Caterpillar, the 795 is the first AC electric drive truck that is single sources from one manufacturer and supported by the best dealer network in the industry.

    Nominal Payload Capacity 313.0 tonnes

    Top Speed – Loaded 64.0 km/h

  79. How do you control population?

    I feel as though everything has changed since the election. The right wing has moved further to the right and everyone knows that. Left to their own devices they will destroy what safety nets we already have. They are cruel and insane, think only about preserving their own wealth and god know what—persecution? genocide? Who knows what is in their hearts, what the secret plan might be. Now they have a cipher as their leader, and he is taking advice from the most radical, nefarious and dodgy people. A cloud of depression hangs over us all. An ominous cloud.

  80. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-38069605

    Donald Trump urged Nigel Farage to campaign against wind farms in Scotland because he believes they “sully” the country’s beauty, it has been claimed.

    Donald Trump urged Nigel Farage to campaign against wind farms in Scotland because he believes they “sully” the country’s beauty, it has been claimed.

    The president-elect is said to have spoken out when the two men met in New York last week.

    Leave EU campaigner Andy Wigmore, who was at the meeting, said Mr Trump was “offended” by wind turbines.

    Mr Wigmore said: “He has got a bugbear – he doesn’t like wind farms at all. He says ‘when I look out of my window and I see these windmills, it offends me. You’ve got to do something about these windmills. Let’s put them offshore, why spoil the beautiful countryside?'”

    Of course Wigmore – like Trump, – has no idea what he is talking about, as the wind-turbines Trump went to 3 courts over WERE OFFSHORE!

    He also said Mr Trump had described Scotland as the “most beautiful country ever”, but that he did not want it to be “sullied by these awful windmills”.

    Last December the Supreme Court rejected Mr Trump’s challenge to the offshore wind farm project near his Menie golf resort.

    His company the Trump Organisation previously lost two legal bids in the Scottish courts after ministers approved proposals for an 11-turbine scheme which Mr Trump said would spoil the view from his course.

    He took his case to the Supreme Court, where justices unanimously dismissed his appeal.

    Commenting on the recent discussion about wind farms, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “One would have thought Mr Trump would have far more important issues to be dealing with.

    “The reality is that offshore wind turbines are already making a significant contribution to the UK’s power supply. And, given that Scotland is home to a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource, we should be aiming to make the most of this clean power source.”

    Given that the vast majority in Scotland (62%), voted to remain as part of the EU, Farage’s Europhobic nuttery is just as likely to be dismissed as Trump’s climate change denial!

    Unlike Trump and his backward attachment to coal, Scotland is ambitious in its green energy programmes.

    http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2011/08/04110353/3#renewableenergytargets

    Because the pace of renewables development has been so rapid in Scotland, with the nation now on course to exceed its milestone of 31% of electricity demand to be sourced from renewables by the end of this year, we can now commit to a new renewable electricity target.

    Our new target is to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020.

    By then we intend to be generating twice as much electricity as Scotland needs – just over half of it from renewables, and just under half from other conventional sources. We will be exporting as much electricity as we consume.

    100 per cent of electricity demand is ambitious, but it will require around half of the existing plans for offshore wind agreed with The Crown Estate, around a quarter of the wave and tidal agreements, steady growth in onshore wind, and modest increases in hydro and biomass to hit this target.

  81. The discussion has become personal and aimlessly authoritarian.

    Alan4 #83: You seem to have identified your problem of the need to learn to distinguish scientific and technical reports on energy management, from the catechisms of denial you are adopting from the ignoramus popular media.

    Phil #82: This sustained demographic ignorance is utterly tiresome and the sniping at earnest endeavours frankly poisonous.

    You would think I have denied that LED/fluorescent lighting has reduced energy requirements by more than 90% over incandescent bulbs; that I have asserted that there is no such thing as electric trains, photovoltaic panels or wind turbines. All of the above, deployed on a massive scale in some European Union countries, have reduced AGW fossil-fuel emissions 10% to 20% with targets set for 40% by 2020. A job well done.

    I’ll stick my neck out and characterize the EU as an outlier with respect to global warming and population growth. European ethnic populations have stopped growing with zero potential for internal growth -what demographers call natural increase in the 21st century. Like the United States, all future growth (a shitload) will come from immigration outside of Europe. Western countries in the EU though internationalist in rhetoric are provincial and xenophobic in practice. The Eurocentric ethic operates within the frame of small, homogeneous, well-educated, slow growth (and now no growth) societies. Black, brown, Muslim immigrants have not really been accepted in large numbers nor do most Europeans expect or welcome the cultural changes they bring to a staid way of life.

    Solutions to global warming cannot be solved by transplanting renewable energy technology from the UK to India; by building wind farms like those in Denmark in Nigeria. Ambitions for building low carbon energy infrastructure on an effective scale has gained zero traction in most developing countries whose AGW emissions are on track to increase for decades to come. Proclaiming that implementing solar, wind, and biofuel infrastructure from European blueprints implemented simultaneously with ethereal “circular economics” is cheap, easy and efficient flies in the face of projections reflecting the trend that developing countries are making huge investments in coal, oil, and natural gas because they understand the imperatives of providing energy to huge and rapidly growing deprived populations until 2050 and beyond.

    By way of summary, we cannot look at this statistic in Germany or that statistic in Norway or even unify a UN
    low carbon energy model (Poland generates 90% of her electricity from coal-fired plants). The welter of countervailing data, reports, projections are ambiguous and riddled with propaganda-media distortions. The downward fluctuation in global coal consumption driven by changes in the Chinese economy, supplemented with increased natural gas energy sources worldwide, will almost certainly bring down world carbon emissions at the margins in the short run, but the longer term awaits year on year measurements that involve complex dynamics in the mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources outside of Europe. Predictions that ignore the ambiguous prospects for sufficiently reducing AGW emissions during the 21st century; denying a likely predominate role for fossil fuels in the mix at least until 2050 are unrealistic and dangerous.

  82. Melvin #88
    Nov 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    The discussion has become personal and aimlessly authoritarian.

    That’s the thing about science and technology!
    It works on the authority of expertise citing evidence.
    Uninformed wish-thinking or simple denial, does not cut it!

    To make predictions about use of technology which have any validity, it is necessary to be aware of the scope, the details of the technology, and the rate at which it can be implemented!
    Citing antiquated inertia in fast developing areas as a basis, is the prerogative of the blinkered Luddite!

    I’ll stick my neck out and characterize the EU as an outlier with respect to global warming and population growth.

    This is your error!
    You fail to recognise world-leading innovators and pretend they are a-typical outliers!
    Some are indeed decades behind the leaders, and some primitive thinkers are determined to go backwards, but in this they must and will fail – eventually.
    The scientific laws of climate and population balance, don’t care what people want to think. The options are “adapt or die”!
    Many where populations are out of control, are already dying from strife and starvation – as they were before technical assistance and advice was available to them!
    Groups of humans will collectively manage and moderate their numbers and their consumption of resources, or nature will do it for them – with great suffering to the individuals involved!

    Making major technical changes and large construction projects takes time. (Rome was not built in a day!)

    “This cannot work because I don’t understand it!” is not a credible argument in the modern age of complex technical solutions!

    Iron ships float -Ha! ha! Heavier than air machines fly ??? Men walk on the Moon!? – Preposterous – to the limited minds of the time who were stuck in the past!

    Predictions that ignore the ambiguous prospects for sufficiently reducing AGW emissions during the 21st century; denying a likely predominate role for fossil fuels in the mix at least until 2050 are unrealistic and dangerous.

    However the climate itself will progressively kick trend-fatalists harder and harder until they heed warnings and take action – or are simply wiped out by the changes or the anger of affected parties.
    – As anyone who has tried to argue with a hurricane, a flood, or a persistent drought, quickly discovers!

  83. Melvin #78
    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    There are no answers on a thread or on a catechism, there are only the outcomes of the extent to which diverse populations will use fossil fuel- technology or the extent to which diverse populations will implement low-carbon technology to meet their needs and purposes crucially to 2050 or with exemptions to 2100.

    I see Phil has given another link on one of the African answers we have given you here and on other threads!

    @#90 link – A FEW miles down a rutted dirt road, and many more from the nearest town, a small farmhouse stands surrounded by dense green bush. On the inside of one wall gangly wires reach down to a switch and light that are connected to a solar panel. Readers in rich countries may well consider electric lighting mundane. But in northern Rwanda, where fewer than one in ten homes has access to electricity, simple solar systems that do not rely on the grid—and use a battery to store electricity for use at night—are a leap into modernity. A service once available only to rich Africans in big towns or cities is now available for just a few dollars a week. People are able to light their rooms, charge a smartphone and listen to the radio. In a few years they will probably also be watching television, powering their irrigation pumps and cooling their homes with fans.

    In short, poor people in a continent in which two of every three people have no access to power may soon be able to do many of the things that their counterparts in rich countries can do, other, perhaps, than running energy-hogging appliances such as tumble dryers and dishwashers. And they will be able do so at a fraction of the cost of traditional sources of energy while also acting as a testing ground for technologies that may even make their way back from poor countries to rich ones.

    Off-grid solar is spreading at an electrifying pace. An industry that barely existed a few years ago is now thought to be providing power to perhaps 600,000 households in Africa. The pace of growth is accelerating in a continent that, more than any other, is rich in sunshine (see map). Industry executives reckon that over the next year the number of home-power systems on African roofs will grow by 60-100%. M-Kopa, the market leader, has installed 400,000 systems and, at its current rate of growth, may add another 200,000 to that number over the next year. Smaller rivals such as Off Grid Electric, Bboxx and Azuri Technologies may well double their client base over the same period.

    This fast pace of growth suggests that, if sustained, off-grid connections will within a few years outstrip the rate at which people are being connected to the grid, leapfrogging power lines in much the same way that mobile phones bypassed fixed-line telephone networks.

    Rwanda, one of Africa’s most densely-populated countries, found that it costs an average of $880 to link a house to the grid. Yet even that figure is misleading since it changed its policy to concentrate on connecting only those homes that are already close to existing power lines. Before this change it cost an average of about $2,000 per connection, about ten times the cost of an off-grid system.

    As I pointed out @#77 –
    Nobody in a third-world hut in Africa – given the option of photovoltaic lighting, mobile phone charging, and internet access, is going to sit around waiting for someone to build an expensive coal power-station, rail lines for coal trains, and hundreds of miles of pylons supporting a power-grid.

    It also debunks your oft repeated denialist catechism that green technologies cost “big money” more than cloning obsolete technologies, when the reality is that they frequently make substantial savings!

    They are also talking about 60% to 100% increases in installations NEXT YEAR! – Not by 2020, 2030, or 2050!

  84. Economist: To be sure, home solar will not solve all of Africa’s power problems. Current systems can already light up small shops and service businesses such as hairdressers—Lumos Global reckons that about a quarter of its systems are used in hospitals and businesses. Several firms are working on scaling them up to to provide power to small factories and farms. But even so, off-grid power will not displace the traditional sort when it comes to big industries.

    The article is promotional and mentions nothing about global warming. From Wikipedia:

    Installed Solar Power Capacity in 2015 (MW)[7] # Nation Total Capacity Added Capacity
    – European Union 94,570 7,230
    1 China 43,530 15,150
    2 Germany 39,700 1,450
    3 Japan 34,410 11,000
    4 United States 25,620 7,300
    5 Italy Italy 18,920 300
    6 United Kingdom 8,780 3,510
    7 France 6,580 879
    8 Spain 5,400 56
    9 Australia 5,070 935
    10 India 5,050 2,000

    The reader will observe at a glance that the top 10 nations leading in solar power installation are also in the top ten emitters of CO2 (with several minor exceptions): 2014 (Wikipedia)
    China 10,540,000 29.5% 7.6
    United States 5,334,000 15.0% 16.5
    European Union 3,415,000 9.6% 6.7
    India 2,341,000 6.6% 1.8
    Russia 1,766,000 5.0% 12.4
    Japan 1,278,000 3.6% 10.1
    Germany 767,000 2.2% 9.3
    International Shipping 624,000 1.7% —
    Iran 618,000 1.7% 7.9
    South Korea 610,000 1.7% 12.3
    Canada 565,000

    Once more, we are failing to see the aggregate mix of fossil fuel energy and renewable energy driving actual AGW outcomes within and among nations.

    I’m delighted that millions of rural inhabitants in Africa will have reliable off grid power for lighting, running fans and charging cell phones. But look at the woman holding the medieval hoe in the photograph and the roughly chopped up patch of ground behind her. The productivity of subsistence farming is becoming less viable as a means to a decent standard of living, leaving this woman vulnerable to poverty, health problems, mal-nutrition and under-nutrition, shortened life expectancy and general misery. She and hundreds of millions of other Africans must migrate to cities if they hope to improve their chances.

  85. No one is “failing to see the aggregate mix” as you put it. We have discussed this and graphs of actual mixes for China say have been published by me very recently here. Mitigating actions and the delta’s wrought are entirely the point. Jumping back to trend fatalism and deflection about personal contributions fools few.

    What you fail to accept is that this growth of off-grid connection is significant, quite against your specific statement to the contrary.

    This fast pace of growth suggests that, if sustained, off-grid connections will within a few years outstrip the rate at which people are being connected to the grid, leapfrogging power lines in much the same way that mobile phones bypassed fixed-line telephone networks.

    Yet further energy efficiencies in products like lighting will continue to change the value proposition of solar off-grid (negawatts themselves) further accelerating adoption.

    But yet again you post none pertinent facts rather than counter the specific arguments.

  86. Melvin #92
    Nov 22, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Economist: To be sure, home solar will not solve all of Africa’s power problems. Current systems can already light up small shops and service businesses such as hairdressers—Lumos Global reckons that about a quarter of its systems are used in hospitals and businesses.

    It should be blatantly obvious from earlier discussions, that photovoltaic systems alone will not provide a comprehensive supply for all ventures and all services! Other low carbon options are available.

    The reader will observe at a glance that the top 10 nations leading in solar power installation are also in the top ten emitters of CO2 (with several minor exceptions):

    The heaviest power consumers are at present the biggest emitters until their construction of low carbon systems catch up! Not really a surprise!

    Once more, we are failing to see the aggregate mix of fossil fuel energy and renewable energy driving actual AGW outcomes within and among nations.

    Once more you fail to see the rapid progression to green energy as new developments are started, and others come online, while polluting obsolete facilities are progressively closed down.

    I’m delighted that millions of rural inhabitants in Africa will have reliable off grid power for lighting, running fans and charging cell phones.

    But you don’t seem to see the connection when you make the wild unevidenced claims that large numbers of such people in acquiring electricity, are going to add to the industrial CO2 emissions from fossil fuel generators (because according to you, they will have to use the obsolete polluting technology which appears to be the only option you can think of for them)!

    But look at the woman holding the medieval hoe in the photograph and the roughly chopped up patch of ground behind her. The productivity of subsistence farming is becoming less viable as a means to a decent standard of living, leaving this woman vulnerable to poverty, health problems, mal-nutrition and under-nutrition, shortened life expectancy and general misery.

    Do you have any evidence that sustainable subsistence farming in a tropical climate is “less viable”? Perhaps your problem arises from your consumerist conception of what constitutes “a decent standard of living” – incorporating such features as sitting for hours in traffic jams, or commuting long distances!
    People have lived happily off the land in warm climates in village communities for thousands of years! – Taking surplus products to market to exchange or sell to acquire non-local materials and products.

    Having their land taken from then so multinational corporations can grow food for export, is NOT “more viable for subsistence farmers”, although it is more profitable for corrupt governments and foreign corporations.

  87. Perhaps the failure on both sides is not so much the diverse raw data, but differences in the ways we are interpreting trends and outcomes based on the data. I’ve never denied that solar power is growing rapidly as costs come down and installation demand rises. ( Wind power is growing even faster in some countries, Europe the United States, and China included.)

    Alan4 #94: Once more you fail to see the rapid progression to green energy as new developments are started, and others come online, while polluting obsolete facilities are progressively closed down.

    I take this proposition to predict the growth, construction, and effective predominance of global low-carbon (green) energy infrastructure in the first half of the 21st century. Optimists interpret the installation of off grid solar panels on hundreds of thousands of homes (and some small businesses) in rural Africa as a sign that the the end is near for the fossil fuel grid. Increasing installation of solar and wind facilities, significantly in China, the United States, the UK, Germany, and Japan seem determinative for replacing fossil fuels with wind, solar and biomass energy sources over a period of decades. The basic method of calculation extrapolates from exponential growth models. Doubling times depend on compounded rates year on year, but the high compound growth rates for solar suggest a near-term decommission of coal, oil and natural gas facilities in all energy sectors.

    Other data sets present contradictory or problematic factors for relying on extrapolated outcomes based on compound/exponential growth models for solar in particular and renewables in general. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas. Coal has twice the polluting capacity of natural gas. Coal demand fluctuates according to country but downward trends seem in the offing for obvious reasons. (China will be closing coal-fired plants though probably rely heavily on the fuel until around 2040. India (and other developing nations) have announced vigorous plans to burn more coal to meet energy demands.) Cleaner burning natural gas extraction has produced abundant supplies at cheap prices and predictably nations are taking advantage of using more natural gas to replace dirtier coal-fired plants. Oil (including diesel) will probably continue to power most passenger cars, light and heavy trucks, heavy construction equipment, shipping and aviation. Forms of hybrids, plug-ins, and a smattering of EVs will have minimal impact with hundreds of millions of ICE vehicle registrations coming on line for the next 20 or 30 years.

    If the mix of fossil fuels and low-carbon renewable fuels in the near future is weighted on a global scale of economy by compound/exponential growth rates in favor of zero emission fuels, the pessimistic scenarios of AGW fossil fuel emissions is moot. In order for this to happen there must be far more decoupling of energy growth from GDP and population growth at an accelerating pace for global carbon emissions to drop by at least 70 to 80% by mid century. Currently it seems unlikely that such a rate of decoupling has taken hold. The current global pie-chart shows a large slice of fossil fuels for energy generation by country and a thin slice for wind, solar and biomass even in the stabilized mature economies of the European Union. Moreover, the pie itself is growing with developing economies and populations. Clearly the trend of a rising share of green energy is perfectly consistent with rising production and consumption of fossil fuels. Indeed a strong indicator of this outcome is embedded in national economic plans to produce, import and consume, on aggregate balance, more coal, oil and natural gas. At the nexus of this paradoxical development is the crucial factor of per capita consumption in relation to aggregate (total) consumption. The baked-in scenario at least until 2050, appears that a collective percent of world population will depend on coal, another percent on oil, another percent on natural gas and still another percent will meet nearly all energy needs with low-to-zero carbon wind, solar and biomass power. Population, or in my view gross overpopulation, will necessarily play a decisive role.

  88. Melvin.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-global-coal-idUKKCN11C2N4

    Modi’s populist plans for coal have stumbled badly with the lowest plant utilisations for 15 years. Panicky coal producers keep talking it up and politicians in need of a quick fix to lifting their economies think that pushing cheap power will achieve this. Pushing power, however, is as effective as pushing on the end of string. The growing droughts thwart India’s ability to use coal power effectively/ cost effectively and Indian cities are deteriorating in air quality much faster than Chinese. Internal pushback from cities intent on jumping to the very high value businesses (software and global services) they are now amassing is growing apace.

    Melvin’s reading of our energy future is faultless by being the energetic equivalent of a fortune teller’s cold reading. All important amounts of change, rates of change and rates of change of rates of change allowing us to anticipate inflection points better are missing. Renewable technology, dispersed sources, smart (and international) grid, smart storage/EV assist etc. with each addition multiplies up the utility and value of existing capacity. Restating: technologies catalyse their own adoption in a myriad ways (multiplying effectiveness, accumulating solutions and expertise, building volumetric savings, growing familiarity and acceptance). Equally, ailing technologies catalyse their own demise as volume declines pushing up repair and maintenance costs and reducing expertise etc.. The smooth, steady changeover of technology when effective theoretically cheaper/better alternates exist simply does not happen.

  89. Phil #97: Melvin’s reading of our energy future is faultless by being the energetic equivalent of a fortune teller’s cold reading

    As contrasted with the reliable source for Phil Rimmer’s clairvoyance? And that would be…???

    Renewable technology, dispersed sources, smart (and international) grid, smart storage/EV assist etc. with each addition multiplies up the utility and value of existing capacity. Restating: technologies catalyse their own adoption in a myriad ways (multiplying effectiveness, accumulating solutions and expertise, building volumetric savings, growing familiarity and acceptance). Equally, ailing technologies catalyse their own demise as volume declines pushing up repair and maintenance costs and reducing expertise etc.. The smooth, steady changeover of technology when effective theoretically cheaper/better alternates exist simply does not happen.
    (If anyone can understand this opaque jargon, you’re a better man than I am Gunga Din.)

    I’ve quoted multiple sources including the United States EIA and you’ve quoted articles by Greenpeace and the one above by the anti-coal group CoalSwarm. Fair enough. That’s what I mean by an ambiguous mix of developments, often temporary fluctuations, and the statistics that claim to measure various future outcomes with degrees of certainty and uncertainty. If the matter is to be settled by existing green technology covering the globe with exponentially growing efficiency, affordability and innovation while fossil fuel infrastructures implodes from the internal forces of self-destruction over the next 20 to 40 years , then we are wasting our time arguing about a predetermined future here. There is a plan for our lives with a happy ending after all. Go home and pull the covers over your head. And wait.

  90. There is a plan for our lives with a happy ending after all. Go home and pull the covers over your head. And wait.

    It is already too late. We have struck the iceberg. To restate this is about mitigation. This is about your continued failure to acknowledge your own responsibility in the disaster and the mitigating part you personally can play by adopting more thoughtful habit and more encouraging practical encouragement to others to do the same.

    My complaint to you is that you are a prevaricator facilitating prevaricators. I identified you as the biggest (though fixable) risk to the mitigating process….a provider of excuses not least by the expectation that some African minister is the man we are waiting on to act, initiating draconian population measures that cannot risk curbing child mortality or lifting healthcare for fear of undoing its immediate purpose of reducing the number of Africans owning cars in the immediate future.

    The data, melvin, is the data. That Graph quoting Chinese coal oil and gas usages where simple facts. The plunging utilisations of India coal plants is a fact. The current Indian energy glut is a fact. This pause with pressure could catalyse a redirection of investment by Indian utilities, which also see off-grid as a commercial threat. Their offering could be exactly off-grid with the promise of later linking and using the grid as virtual storage. Misdirect no more! Accept your part, and encourage others to mitigate and to read the bleeping data about the deltas not become trend fatalists, else, go home pull the covers over your own head. And wait.

    I’ve spent two plus decades of my working life working on sustainability, developing technology to cut vehicle weight by 50Kg and boost economy, developing smart micro-grids, the most efficient lighting (biiiig list here, this mostly for US auto and lighting majors, though latterly Indian). My day job needs me to know all this stuff. The costs of energy, the need for negawatts in all the different markets…

  91. Phil #99: It is already too late. We have struck the iceberg. To restate this is about mitigation. This is about your continued failure to acknowledge your own responsibility in the disaster and the mitigating part you personally can play by adopting more thoughtful habit and more encouraging practical encouragement to others to do the same.

    The bold type represents a reasonable view on climate change. The italicized type is pure ad hominem scapegoating. Our discussion cannot and should not be elevated by the non-affect it has on greehhouse gas emissions or bloated with absurd self-flattery to believe it has an affect on public opinion greater than zero. It is an intellectual exercise that has been constrained within the perameters of what has been said by each and everyone of us on the thread.

    There are no simple facts gleaned from fluctuations over the past two years that indicate an accelerating process of effective mitigation out to 2050. Empirically and statistically, that is the reality we have to deal with, using available data, projections models and scenarios. Not a “simple task” where agreement comes easily. In the context of rational assessment confined to a friendly conversation let’s leave personalities out of it. There’s more than a fair chance that technological invention, decreasing costs, exponential demand and dissemination will make global low-carbon energy infrastructure a reality in the 21st century. Each of us can try to do his or her part but with 10 billion people on board by mid century the one-person-at-a-time task is daunting. I will leave off here.

  92. Melvin #100
    Nov 24, 2016 at 11:45 am

    There are no simple facts gleaned from fluctuations over the past two years that indicate an accelerating process of effective mitigation out to 2050.

    It seems there are no simple facts connecting to your mindset!
    However, back in the real world there is a treaty in Paris with an agreement to start to seriously tackle the problems.
    There is also an agreement among vulnerable nations to move rapidly to 100% green energy.

    Empirically and statistically, that is the reality we have to deal with, using available data, projections models and scenarios. Not a “simple task” where agreement comes easily.

    International agreement so far, did not come easily, needs to go further and faster, while vested interests and backward stooge politicians have obstructed, and still are obstructing, wherever they can.
    That in no way excuses foot-dragging or prevarication by anyone else!

    As I have pointed out previously, the climate does not care if humans can agree easily or not. There will be dire consequences for many or all, if humans do not collectively get their act together and clean up their activities!

  93. Melvin,

    I will leave off here.

    I will happily do so too. But I will not stand by and have personal inaction justified.

    This is about your continued failure to acknowledge your own responsibility in the disaster and the mitigating part you personally can play by adopting more thoughtful habit and more encouraging practical encouragement to others to do the same.

    and

    Our discussion cannot and should not be elevated by the non-affect it has on greehhouse gas emissions or bloated with absurd self-flattery to believe it has an affect on public opinion greater than zero.

    Thank you.

  94. ELECTION 2016

    Noam Chomsky: Before turning to this question, I think it is important to spend a few moments pondering just what happened on November 8, a date that might turn out to be one of the most important in human history, depending on how we react. No exaggeration.

    The most important news of November 8 was barely noted, a fact of some significance in itself.

    On November 8, the World Meteorological Organization delivered a report at the international conference on climate change in Morocco (COP22) which was called in order to carry forward the Paris agreement of COP21. The WMO reported that the past five years were the hottest on record. It reported rising sea levels, soon to increase as a result of the unexpectedly rapid melting of polar ice, most ominously the huge Antarctic glaciers. Already, Arctic sea ice over the past five years is 28 percent below the average of the previous 29 years, not only raising sea levels, but also reducing the cooling effect of polar ice reflection of solar rays, thereby accelerating the grim effects of global warming. The WMO reported further that temperatures are approaching dangerously close to the goal established by COP21, along with other dire reports and forecasts.

    Another event took place on November 8, which also may turn out to be of unusual historical significance for reasons that, once again, were barely noted.

    On November 8, the most powerful country in world history, which will set its stamp on what comes next, had an election. The outcome placed total control of the government— executive, Congress, the Supreme Court—in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.

  95. Dan #103
    Nov 25, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Another event took place on November 8, which also may turn out to be of unusual historical significance for reasons that, once again, were barely noted.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38090185

    Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says she has gathered enough money to fund a recount in Wisconsin.

    Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton in the state, but two voting rights experts say the result needs to be more closely analysed.

    There is no indication Mr Trump’s win was down to cyberhacking, one of the experts said on Wednesday.

    One election official in Wisconsin said they are preparing for a possible recount.
    What are the concerns?

    On Tuesday, New York magazine first reported that a group of experts, led by voting-rights lawyer John Bonifaz and J Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, had contacted Mrs Clinton’s campaign.

    The experts urged her campaign to request recounts in two states narrowly won by Mr Trump – Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – as well as Michigan, where he has a small lead.

    Apparently there is a slight chance that there is a Bush-style counting error!

  96. Fadeordraw and Melvin illustrate why meeting 1.5 or 2 degrees of warming won’t be achievable under Trump.

    Both reject the findings of climate science in favour of the dogma of endless economic growth, simultaneously complaining about population growth.

    Trump won’t endure much protest from the average American, who remains obsessed with population growth of other countries, and severe paranoia about the Chinese (or others) gaining some sort of advantage.

    Thank you Phil Rimmer, for valiantly trying to inject reason to counter the trend fatalism which has become the latest stance employed by Deniers.

  97. Fatalism: an interesting way of characterizing climate denial, and other forms of denial (of the ultimately self-destructive aspect of eliminating oversight and regulations in favor of a “free market”, for example). The deniers seem to be in actual denial; but when you present good evidence and you’re aggressive, determined to make them see, they often take recourse (I’ve noticed) in a certain fatalism, which implies something other than denial: a willful determination to let things just unfold. (I”t’s the nature of the beast”, etc.) (A lot of that BS about greed and inequality being natural and unstoppable comes from Rand, the most evil figure in modern intellectual history. Libertarianism will destroy our economy, as Chomsky said, and our country.)

  98. Dan,

    a certain fatalism, which implies something other than denial: a willful determination to let things just unfold.

    It was once “in the blood” then much more specifically it was “in the genes”. Now we know that the huge varieties of cultures show us we really are if not a blank slate an organised slate with some of the parts write-on-able.

    It is, very often, in the memes and particularly those written during childhood. We know from tests children from poor and threatening backgrounds are less likely to complain at unfair treatment to unknown others if they are favoured as a result. Mothers in threatening and deprived circumstances will bring up their children to fend for themselves, literally be more selfish. Those with enough will fight for others. Spurious acts of kindness will one day breed kindness.

    Education transforms also. Japan, stalled by the conservative bully Samurai, when freed and educated sped through a civilising process at ten times normal speed. Already it is rich equitable, post industrial and thinning out to some bucolic sci fi idyll. Of course dramatic change can happen, because, culture is a generational thing.

    It takes parasites to stall people in their tracks and keep them still and quiet, unchanging, so they can be bled. Fear stalls people and breeds fatalists. Japan’s astonishing progress is as much that it has not had the religious or economic parasite bullies (apart from two decades pre-WWII) and a low level of the Yakuza sporting their samurai tattoos.

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