Emission reductions, negative emissions, and overshoots

I was wanting to briefly discuss a paper I ran across that looks at What would it take to achieve the Paris temperature targets? The basic idea is to develop emission pathways that depend on three basic parameters; the time at which emission reductions start, the time it takes to get halfway between the initial and final emission levels, and the target emission level.

Credit: Sanderson et al. (2016)

Credit: Sanderson et al. (2016)

I thought I would just shows some of the results. The figure on the left illustrates the temperature thresholds for emission reductions starting in 2015 and 2020. The y-axis is the emissions in 2030, and the x-axis is the time of emission neutrality (anthropogenic sources and sinks are net zero). The yellow region is likely below 3oC, the green region is likely below 2oC, and the blue is likely below 1.5oC. The horizontal lines are RCP8.5 emissions in 2030 (red), current policy (yellow), unconditional INDCs (orange), and conditional INDCs (green).

There are few interesting things in the figure. For example, if we have emissions in 2030 of around 50GtCO2, then we could likely keep warming below 2oC if we get to emission neutrality between 2050 and 2070. However, the white contours indicate the final emission level. They show that the earlier we reach emission neutrality, the lower (more negative) the final emission level needs to be. This is a little counter-intuitive, but I think the reason why is illustrated in the figures below, which are only for emission reductions starting in 2015. The slower the initial emission reductions, the sooner we need to reach emission neutrality and the more negative the final emissions need to be.

The green and blue dashed contours also indicate regions where we can have temporary temperature overshoots. Given that these pathways include the possibility of negative emissions, it becomes possible to overshoot a target, and then use net negative emissions to bring temperatures back to the target level. Example emission pathways are illustrated in the right-hand panels of the figure below.

Credit: Sanderson et al. (2016)

Credit: Sanderson et al. (2016)

What I think is interesting is that negative emissions and temperature overshoots seem to now becoming part of the narrative. One obvious reason for this is that we’re on the verge of leaving it too late to achieve these targets without them. We could still do so, but it would probably require drastic emissions reductions starting now: the figure above indicates that achieving these targets without negative emissions, and without a temperature overshoot, would require 50% reduction in emissions by around 2030. So, I guess we have to hope that negative emissions of the level required are actually possible, or that – if we don’t achieve these targets – the impacts will be less severe than might be the case.

In a sense, I’m reasonably optimistic. I think it’s at least becoming clearer that emission reductions are necessary, and it seems as though this is being taken seriously. On the other hand, I don’t have a good sense of whether or not negative emissions of the level required are viable or not. Some of what has been suggested (BECCS, for example) seems unrealistic, but maybe there are other possibilities, and we can’t discount our natural ingenuity. Maybe someone who knows more about this than I do, could comment.

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66 Responses to Emission reductions, negative emissions, and overshoots

  1. Nice science fiction…now work one with RCP4.5, let emissions drop at 2% per year after 2075.

  2. I think we roughly already know the outcome of that.

  3. I forgot: that profile yields peak CO2 concentration in ca. 2125. It’s evident the focus should be on geoengineering research.

  4. There are also clusters of emissions producers which vary in their difficulty to eliminate. The electric grids and supplies are perhaps the easiest to do. Efficiency is also easy, and pays for itself. Transportation is more difficult, since there is an inventory of vehicles which need to be replaced over time and at cost. Electrifying transport is one way to go, but if it does not succeed or goes slower than expected, that’s an issue. Ironically, public transport is more difficult to completely electrify than private, because there are municipal procurements involved, and replacing trains also means providing wires and ships are tough. Moreover, much of our consumption from factories oversees is provided by shipping. Aircraft are the toughest, and, alas, they are a substantial contribution to emissions.

    Cement production and other kinds of manufacturing contribute a significant share.

    Finally there is agriculture. Even if machines and shipping are all based upon zero Carbon energy, growing food by itself is a big contributor, possibly as much as 5% of all present day emissions. Since people are going to need to eat, and forcing is based upon cumulative emissions, not intensity, that by itself suggests some kind of global mechanism for negative emissions needs to be built.

    A lot of these data are available from https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/sources.html

    More can be see here, over time: http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/?q=en/emissions

    I think the need for negative emissions technology is apparent. One aspect of that which is interesting is that it then provides an immediate answer to the question of how much Carbon should be prices. The Institute Of Physics once estimated $1000 per tonne of CO2 or about $300 per tonne of Carbon in order to construct and operate a clear air capture CO2 sequestration system. I think those kinds of prices are much easier to think about than trying to assess a nebulous “social damage”, and fossil fuel companies ought to be increasingly asked if they have a plan and a budget to clean up their mess.

    See the post https://667-per-cm.net/2015/09/16/no-turning-back-on-the-effectiveness-of-artificially-removing-emitted-co2-from-atmosphere-for-remediating-climate-disruption/ which is based upon the work of Tokarska and Zickfeld on these technologies.

  5. hypergeometric,
    Thanks, I’ll have a look at those.

  6. David B. Benson says:

    From the Wikipedia page on the Pliocene, the carbon dioxide concentration was 450 ppm, like today, the temperature was 2–3 K warmer and the sea stand was 25 meters higher than now. So even if all excess carbon dioxide emissions ceased immediately the climate will continue to worsen. So-called negative emissions are required to lessen the impact of this pulse of excess CO2.

    One way is to plant very many trees. Ornstein et al. “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara and Australian outback”, available in a free pdf, suggests that planting all that would take up all the excess carbon dioxide emissions at the time the paper was written. I think the paper places the cost at US $150 billion per annum, easily affordable. So doing that while replacing most fossil fuel and natural gas consumption by low greenhouse gas emitters would put the world on the right course.

    The temperature would have to lower substantially to avoid serious sea level rise. Stopping Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets from disintegration takes lowering CO2 to far below 350 ppm.

  7. Bob,
    Something to bear in mind is that the long-term atmospheric concentration to which we are currently committed (absent negative emissions) is equivalent to about 25% of our total emissions. Our total emissions are about 600GtC, so about 150GtC will remain in the atmosphere for millenia (without negative emissions). Divide this by 2.13 and you get an increase of 70ppm. Hence the long-term atmospheric concentration we will tend towards is more like 350ppm, if we were to halt all emissions now.

    However, we can’t – of course – halt all emissions, so we are probably committed to a higher atmospheric concentration unless we can develop negative emission technologies.

  8. paulski0 says:

    David B. Benson,

    I don’t think the mid-Pliocene is a good analogue for where we would be heading under a restricted emissions scenario with ~400ppm stablised concentration. The Pliocene as a whole is characterised by a gradual cooling trend, which suggests temperatures weren’t stable at this geologically relatively low CO2 level. Higher temperatures were partly a consequence of significantly lower ice/snow albedo at the Poles, which was probably a hand-me-down from previous, warmer epochs. This accounts for sea level too.

    I suspect we would need to initially warm by more than 2-3ºC from now (likely requiring at least an initial doubling of CO2 from 280ppm) in order to push ice sheets far enough the other way to eventually stabilise at something like 400-500ppm and 2-3ºC. Think of the mid-Pliocene as the position of a ball having gently rolled part way down from the top of a hill. To get up to the same level again we have to struggle to push the ball uphill.

    Having said that, we’re currently (I think) near a minimum in terms of Polar exposure to insolation, due to Milankovitch movements. Higher sea levels and high-latitude temperatures in the Eemian (peak last interglacial) compared to the late Holocene are attributed to a Milankovitch configuration with greater Polar insolation. Has there been any work looking into what happens when we hit an Eemian-like configuration in several thousand years with CO2 stabilised at, say, 400-500ppm after initially only reaching about 560ppm? Would irreversible loss of Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets be a possibility even under these relatively conservative CO2 levels?

  9. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    What I think is interesting is that negative emissions and temperature overshoots seem to now becoming part of the narrative.

    Now all we need to do is to include the effects of melting permafrost, mega-forest-fires, and clathrate releases.

    That’s the frustrating thing about the narrative – It has a bad habit of playing catch-up.

  10. pete best says:

    The issue of GHG emissions is now more urgent than ever and even the IPCC requires the use of yet to be invented negative emissions technology.

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/scientists-see-urgency-for-negative-emissions-20588

    So its a matter of urgency now for this technology to be invented on a scale than can deal with hundreds of billions of tonnes of airborne GHG emissions which is very worrying considering that the technology does not exist a yet on the scale required.

    However, more to the point is the issue of denial and more precisely political and economic denial. For 40 years and for all of the global meetings regarding ACC/AGW the issue has been buried and the public left as if it is not an issue and now we are getting hung out to dry. Too much fossil fuel money has denied and obfuscated for too long and for all of the science and for all of the good intentions little has been done and even though Paris broke new ground the issue is still a big one and now a different take on dealing with it is needed and the only option is negative emissions which means that the fossil fuel companies can in principle emit so long as we draw down more than we emit.

    Strange world of how vested interests always trump reality.

  11. David B. Benson says:

    Paulski0 — I meant the Wikipedia page on Pliocene climate. Indeed, I was referring to the mid-Pliocene warm interval, about 3.15 Ma, with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of 400 ppm, like today.

    While never a perfect analogy, it is the best we have from paleoclimate as the Isthmus of Panama was closed so the ocean circulation has been the modern one since somewhat before then.

    The major point I attempted to make is the necessity of serious negative emissions to avoid the rise in sea stand.

  12. It is of course fascinating to speculate about the energy technologies that may be available to us in 50 years time. Fact is, most of the coal-fired power plants that are currently being build will still be operational then, and someone will lose a lot of money if they are prematurely decommissioned.

    The short-term is clearer. Over recent centuries, emissions have gone up. In all scenarios shown above, emissions go down from now onwards. In 2016, we celebrate 25 years of climate policy (taking Norway’s 1991 carbon tax as the starting point). Emissions haven’t gone down in the first decades of trying. Why would anyone think that climate policy will be successful (in reducing emissions) in the near future?

  13. Richard,

    Why would anyone think that climate policy will be successful (in reducing emissions) in the near future?

    Well, when there are people out there actively trying to ensure that it is not, it’s quite possible that it won’t be. There are many who think that getting emissions to start reducing in the not too distant furture is very important. YMMV, of course.

  14. @wotts
    Climate policy is essentially unopposed* in countries like the UK, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Japan … no sharp decline in emissions, no enthusiastic adoption of similar policies by their neighbours.

    *if you consider votes in parliament

  15. Richard,
    I’m really not quite sure what your point is. Getting emissions to reduce is difficult? Sure. We haven’t yet managed to get global emissions to reduce? Sure. None of this changes that there are indications that maybe we should be finding some way to do so and that if we don’t start doing so soon, we could end up having to do something more drastic in the future. Of course, we might be fortunate and discover that either climate sensitivity really is low, or that the impacts are benign and easy to deal with, but we won’t know that until we get there.

  16. @wotts
    That’s not the point. Sanderson’s paths towards 2K are, I think, rather unlikely at the start. If near-term emissions are higher, then long-term emissions need to be lower (for the same temperature target). There are doubts about whether negative emissions can be delivered at the scale required in the paths shown — but I think we’d need much more than that.

  17. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard just a reminder, I’d still be interested to hear exactly what sort of penalty term you use in fitting your piecewise linear model; the closest you actually got was:

    “Instead, I use a more appropriate Bayesian approach, of course correcting the degrees of freedom for the number of estimated parameters.”

    but you didn’t say what you actually did so that the study was repeatable (I’d be interested to see what would happen if Tol 2002 was excluded as a potential outlier). A reply on the original thread would be appreciated.

  18. Richard,
    Sanderson et al. are developing continuous pathways defined in terms of a start year, a time to get halfway from the initial to the final emission level, and a final emission level. The figures I showed are illustrative. If emission reductions don’t start now, then you can determine a pathway from a different start date. However, it’s not that hard to work out that if we start at a later time, and we wish to achieve the same target, then you’d either need to reduce emissions more rapidly than you would now, or you’d need to have a more negative final emission level.

    A reply to Dikran’s question – or a link to where you’ve already replied – might also be interesting.

  19. Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says: “Climate policy is essentially unopposed* in countries like the UK, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Japan … no sharp decline in emissions, no enthusiastic adoption of similar policies by their neighbours.

    No sharp decline, but a gradual decline in most of these countries:

    https://www.google.de/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=en_atm_co2e_pc&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:DEU:FRA:NLD:DNK:GBR:AUT:IRL:SWE:JPN&ifdim=region&hl=de&dl=de&ind=false

    Furthermore, we do not only have to reduce emissions (in a few countries), they have to go to almost zero over our lifetime everywhere. Thus more relevant is how fast renewable energy is getting cheaper and how much of the energy production is zero emissions. That makes good progress. Even in the USA:

    Setting a new annual record, renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for almost two-thirds (63.85 percent) of the 16,485 MW of new electrical generation placed in service in the US during calendar year 2015.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/02/renewables-provides-two-thirds-of-new-us-generating-capacity-in-2015-3-500-times-more-than-coal.html

    #FreeTheTol300
    #FreeTheTolPenalty

  20. Magma says:

    Fact is, most of the coal-fired power plants that are currently being build will still be operational [in 50 years time], and someone will lose a lot of money if they are prematurely decommissioned. — RT

    The first part of that statement is not a fact, but pure speculation. The second part may be true, but so what? There are well-known business tools available to any private or publicly-traded corporations that poured large amounts of capital into coal-fired plants in the last decade, including write-downs or bankruptcy.

  21. Magma says:

    To clarify the end of my last comment, given the information available over the past decade, and the looming inevitability of global GHG emission reduction measures, any corporation allocating billions to new long-lived fossil fuel projects, particularly coal, deserves every bit of its likely failure.

    Note that for the most part large oil and gas companies are not run by stupid people. Around the world a large number of capital projects have been postponed or cancelled outright, including deepwater drilling, heavy oil or bitumen extraction, LNG plants, pipelines, and refinery expansions. (Although off-topic, nuclear power plants could be added to the list.)

    Many major multibillion-dollar/euro fossil fuel projects require on the order of 15-20 years of consistently reasonable profits to pay back their design, permitting, construction and financing costs, and are expected to operate profitably for another 20 or 30 years after that. If these underlying assumptions are brought into question, the process can come to a grinding halt very quickly.

    The FACT (contra RT’s example) that costs for solar and wind are dropping and that individual projects are far more scaleable or granular than their oil and gas counterparts (costs of millions/tens of millions vs. billions/tens of billions) is an enormous advantage for such energy projects, though simplistic politicians or economists seem to have difficulties grasping this.

  22. Cheers Steven, I hadn’t seen that one. I helped organise a challenge on causal feature selection a number of years ago (mostly just provided baseline solutions), fascinating topic (unfortunately IIRC it was very difficult to beat regularisation instead of feature selection, causal or otherwise, but it convinced me that is was a problem well worth studying). Bernhard Schökopf (if I got the HTML formatting right) is one of the very best in machine learning, so I suspect the paper is a good one. Personally I find physics more reassuring than statistics, but it isn’t always available.

  23. Canman says:

    It’s time to get over it. We are not going to significantly reduce CO2 emissions! Developing nations are not going to stop developing. Factories will leave countries with expensive unreliable electricity supplies as they are doing in Germany. People are not going to give up their air conditioning and they have no intention of giving up their cars. They don’t want to go back to more labor intensive agriculture, no matter how happy it would make Bill McKibben. Leanardo DeCaprio and Bono are not giving up their private jets. The only solution, if CAGW is a serious problem, is technological progress in giving us tremendous amounts of CO2 free energy and using some of it for geoengineering — perhaps something like this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/science/carbon-capture-and-sequestration-iceland.html

    The best prospects are with 4rth generation nuclear, and they should be pursued. Maybe Lockheed-Martin will solve it all with their proposed fusion scheme.

    Renewables are too dispersed and intermittent, no matter how excited they make the two Marks (Jacobson and Ruffalo). It’s interesting to see how people warning about techno-fixes, think a battery breakthrough is just around the corner. Peter Lang put the cost of viable energy storage at minus $100/MWh:

    https://judithcurry.com/2016/08/06/week-in-review-science-technology-policy-research/#comment-801115

  24. We are not going to significantly reduce CO2 emissions!

    This may be true. This may not be a good thing.

  25. @magma
    Coal-fired power plants are typically designed to work for 40 years, although some keep going long after that. Premature retirement is feasible but expensive.

  26. Joshua says:

    Mainly in passing, I’d like to say that everyone here will be glad to know that Judith has finally posted on Salby as she promised so many months ago, and finally gave her scientific opinion on his theory refuting the hoax of a causal relationship between ACO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations.

    https://judithcurry.com/2016/08/10/murry-salbys-latest-presentation/

    Oh. Wait.

    Nevermind.

  27. Factories will leave countries with expensive unreliable electricity supplies as they are doing in Germany.

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Power supply in Germany unreliable? Funny, very funny. I did not experience a power cut in over a decade. I really hope you are from the USA, that would make this comment even more funny.

    http://energytransition.de/2014/10/germanys-energiewende-clean-and-reliable/

  28. Oh, and it is cheap. The consumer price per kWh is higher than in the USA, but we use less due to better quality of the appliances and housing. In the end a family pays about the same as in the USA. The wholesale price for the industry has dropped enormously since the energy transition started.

    The greens got renewable energy, the conservatives got price cuts for the industry and higher subsidies for solar power, which is most profitable in the South where the conservatives live. You have to make political compromises.

  29. Joshua says:

    VV –

    Do guy have a link for per capita cost (versus price in Germany compared to the US? The incomplete argument pointing only at price comes up often at
    Climate Rtc., and it would be good to have a link to provide to “skeptics” who are always so eager to check their arguments for validity. 🙂

  30. Pingback: Murry Salby in London | …and Then There's Physics

  31. Magma says:

    @ Joshua at 6:29 pm

    There was a climate scientist by the name of Judith Curry who was at Georgia Tech a few years ago. What are the odds of that?? Meanwhile, her namesake blogs the following:

    Salby states: “The premise of the IPCC that increased atmospheric CO2 results from fossil fuels emissions is impossible.”
    This is a very well crafted and clearly presented talk… He makes a number of very interesting points. He closes with some skeptic-pleasing comments on CO2 emissions policies. He clearly has a different perspective on the carbon budget than does the IPCC. The talk is well worth listening to.

    The talk is worth listening to, if only to observe a charlatan at work.

  32. Joshua, I naturally do not have peer reviewed literature for this topic, but this homepage on the energy transition in Germany is quite reliable and they even have a page on this topic:

    http://energytransition.de/2015/05/german-power-bills-low-compared-to-us/

  33. Mal Adapted says:

    Canman:

    We are not going to significantly reduce CO2 emissions!

    It sounds like you’re dismissing the potential for a carbon tax to drive the transition to a carbon-neutral economy, Canman. I’m surprised you have so little confidence in market forces. Surely you’re aware that AGW has costs that are already being paid, and that will continue to mount along with fossil carbon emissions. Whether those costs are catastrophic or not depends on whether you’re the one paying them, but we will all pay one way or another. Given that AGW is perhaps the biggest externality in history, the common-sense solution is to internalize its cost in the price consumers pay for its principal source. Economists favor a carbon tax for the purpose, and so should market-oriented conservatives.

    A carbon tax need not account for the full cost of AGW, only enough to eliminate the artificial price advantage fossil fuels now enjoy over renewables. If history is a guide, that ought to stimulate rapid development of carbon-neutral energy supplies (not ruling out nuclear, BTW) and infrastructure, while keeping overall energy prices low. If a carbon tax on fossil fuel producers at the source is coupled with a Border Adjustment Tax on imported goods keyed to their embodied fossil carbon, manufacturers won’t have the incentive to emigrate. The tax + BAT revenue can provide the capital for investment, either by government or, if the tax is revenue-neutral, by private industry. There are lots of ways to design a fair and effective carbon tax: I support Hansen-style “fee” (i.e. tax) and dividend proposals myself, but the details must be left to our politicians (that’s not itself an argument against a carbon tax, though).

    Developing nations are not going to stop developing. Factories will leave countries with expensive unreliable electricity supplies as they are doing in Germany. People are not going to give up their air conditioning and they have no intention of giving up their cars. They don’t want to go back to more labor intensive agriculture, no matter how happy it would make Bill McKibben. Leanardo DeCaprio and Bono are not giving up their private jets.

    The notion that anyone will have to “give up” anything is alarmist, Canman. Energy prices may a little higher at the outset, depending on the application, but reducing fossil carbon emissions will pay off in reduced AGW costs. In a few decades, when the transition to a carbon-neutral economy is complete, it’s not unreasonable to expect energy prices to be about what they are now. Dude, you’re promoting CAGWM: Catastrophic AGW Mitigation! I’m sure you’re making David and Charles Koch very happy.

  34. anoilman says:

    Richard Tol (@RichardTol) says:
    August 10, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    @magma
    Coal-fired power plants are typically designed to work for 40 years, although some keep going long after that. Premature retirement is feasible but expensive.

    No. Its not expensive. Most old plants are paid for which is why coal is largely cheaper. So.. no problem. The owners were already paid out.

    As for newer ones, you need to look at each plant individually.

  35. Joshua says:

    VV-

    Thanks.

  36. Pete best says:

    If we were significantly reducing co2 emissions then negative emissions technology would not be needed. However I guess it all depends on what temperature you are trying to avoid.

  37. @anoilman
    Do take a second look at your textbooks on capital budgeting, investment analysis, and project evaluation.

  38. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard, I have found a clear error in your paper on the piecewise linear model, which you can find here. There are also some other discrpancies identified with your previous work on which I would appreciate clarification. Thanks in advance.

  39. Barry says:

    “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara and Australian outback”

    I’ll read this, but how does the author expect the Australian outback to be irrigated?

  40. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Barry, they hope that irrigation will only be needed while establishing the inland forests and that eventually they will generate enough rain to be self-sustaining.

    Personally, I think a better solution would be a humungous slug-like bladder filled with sea water. This would act as an artificial mountain range that would generate precipitation on its windward side. It could also be used to produce fresh water for irrigation via reverse osmosis.

    Stick it in the middle of Western Australia. (Nobody would notice.) Rainfall to its west, desalinated water to its east. Simples.

    Of course we’d need an awful lot of rubber but this is a global emergency. If we could do without park railings in WW2 I’m sure we can do without condoms, tyres, hot water bottles (which we won’t need soon, anyway) and fetish gear in these equally troubled times.

  41. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Personally, I think a better solution would be a humungous slug-like bladder filled with sea water.”

    how about a giant wheeled pycrete rabbit?

    The sawdust would provide mulch for the seedling trees

  42. anoilman says:

    Richard Tol, Sorry man but we have that exact scenario playing out here in Alberta. Coal power plants here have an average cost of 4.9c (cdn) per kwh. That includes amortized construction 20+ years ago, and (subsidized) coal fuel.

  43. anoilman says:

    Mal Adapted..
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/emission-reductions-negative-emissions-and-overshoots/#comment-83588

    Canman is a fossil fuel apologist. If there’s a way to misrepresent or misunderstand renewables he will, and if there is a way to promote fossil fuels, he will. I also note that the reason we haven’t done enough about global warming is expressly because of people like him.

    Anyways, I think Richard Tol figures a carbon tax of $125 a ton(?) would be enough to really move away from fossil fuels.

  44. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Dikran, giant wheeled pykrete bunnies are clearly the way forwards but perhaps they could be given a helping hand by Arthur Pedrick’s trans-oceanic 500 mph snowballs:

    https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/description?CC=GB&NR=1047735A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=&date=19661109&DB=&locale=en_ep

    He reckoned you’d only need about 100 floating ten-foot diameter pipes to cover the whole of the ‘Dead Heart’ of Australia with 30 inches of Antarctic fresh water. (This being the Sixties, Pedrick was worried about overpopulation as a threat-multiplier but his scheme is equally valid as a partial solution to angst about climate change.)

  45. Canman says:

    Victor Venema links to a site from a foundation promoting the Energiewende. Good luck countering the energy buffs at Climate Etc. Germany is getting about 30% of electricity from “renewables”, with about a third being from hydro and biomass, which have almost certainly topped out. This leaves a small 20% of solar and wind that is now going up against diminishing returns. This is the reality.

    Can a carbon tax be the answer? I think it might help some, but what it really amounts to is energy austerity for a marginal effect. The thing that really matters is what technology will prevent the effects of CAGW. I think government should try to develop technologies that have the best prospects and they have. They built the Fast Integral Reactor, as described in the movie, Pandora’s Promise, and the Clinton administration (with Al Gore as VP) killed it.

    Am I proposing that the government pick winners and losers? Well, right now they have clearly picked wind, solar and ethanol — a bunch of losers! A bunch of states have renewable portfolio standards that exclude nuclear. Wind and solar have become a religious obsession and it is taboo to offer any criticism.

  46. Canman,
    A key point about a carbon tax (as I understand it) is that it properly prices carbon emissions (internalising externalities) and – in principle – allows for the optimal operation of the market. If an alternative is cheaper than a fossil fuel source with a carbon tax, it will have an advantage. If an alternative is not cheaper than a fossil fuel source with a carbon tax, it won’t. You seem to be somewhat ambivalent about a carbon tax, and yet propose government fund the development of alternatives. Why is that latter a better option than the former and why would it be less expensive than imposing a carbon tax?

  47. BBD says:

    canman

    Am I proposing that the government pick winners and losers? Well, right now they have clearly picked wind, solar and ethanol — a bunch of losers! A bunch of states have renewable portfolio standards that exclude nuclear. Wind and solar have become a religious obsession and it is taboo to offer any criticism.

    You aren’t ‘offering criticism’. You are making a sweeping and probably incorrect assertion that wind and solar are ‘losers’. As someone who does occasionally critique equally sweeping and probably incorrect assertions from the ‘other side’ I thought I’d mention how unproductive your pitch is going to be.

    You need an argument, with whys and wherefores, not just ‘wind and solar are crap and a non-existent nuclear technology is all we need’.

  48. Canman says: “Victor Venema links to a site from a foundation promoting the Energiewende. Good luck countering the energy buffs at Climate Etc. Germany is getting about 30% of electricity from “renewables”, with about a third being from hydro and biomass, which have almost certainly topped out. This leaves a small 20% of solar and wind that is now going up against diminishing returns. This is the reality.

    Translated: I could find no errors on the page Victor linked to, but I know it must be wrong because Renewable Energy is religion. My ideological buddies at Climate Etc. will surely be able make something up to counter this.

  49. Canman says:

    Victor Venema, I don’t need to find any errors. Their own graphic shows I’m correct:

  50. > Their own graphic shows I’m correct: […]

    Correct about what, Canman?

    Please mind your “but CAGW.” We already have Vinny to peddle this one every month or so.

  51. anoilman says:

    Canman, thanks for showing us the latest readings. Of course.. it doesn’t explain anything, where they came from, or what’s going on or how they will get there. Typical effort from you.

    In light of that, here’s how Germany is doing for emissions. It looks like they are doing just fine;
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-climate-targets

    So, their current crunch is grid upgrades (coming) to deal with geographic variance of renewable sources (Wind, and Solar).

    Emissions are indeed going down… owch…
    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/this-is-what-the-utility-death-spiral-looks-like

  52. David B. Benson says:

    Barry — The irrigation water is desalinated sea water. Presumably a combination of solar and nuclear energizes the desalination and pumping.

    The advantage in using the Sahara and the Australian outback is that rains will increase with increased planting to provide about half of the water.

  53. Pingback: Climate scientists are now relying on a terrifying assumption : Geoengineering Monitor

  54. Mal Adapted says:

    anoilman, yeah, Canman has been peddling CAGWM alarmism on the blogosphere for years. He consistently downplays AGW’s costs and inflates the cost of the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. His “reasoning” appears to be motivated by his cultural identity as a “conservative”, with predictable enmity toward “liberals” and distrust of scientific expertise when it delivers ideologically inconvenient truths:

    On the issue of climate change, liberals want everyone to rely on the authority of an insular group of climate “experts” and submit to ever more autoritarian control of the economy. They have staked out a rigid position that CO2 emissions must be drastically cut, and in what rigidly proscribed manner it must be done. It is conservatives who are bringing up nuances like feasability and cost effectiveness.

    I’ll say this for Canman: he stays on message 8^)! IMO, he’s not interested in understanding physical reality, but in waging culture war. He seems determined to stand his ideological ground, and AFAICT his reliance on popular AGW-denier memes serves primarily to bolster his own resolve.

  55. Willard says:

    Jonathan Haidt, a self-avowed centrist:

    It really is a fact that liberals are much higher than conservatives on a major personality trait called openness to experience. People who are high in openness to experience just crave novelty, variety, diversity, new ideas, travel. People low on it like things that are familiar, that are safe and dependable.

    Haidt goes on to explain how it can become a problem.

  56. Canman says:

    Jonathan Haidt on libertarians

    @24:00:

    Libertarians are the smartest people out there. They are the most rational, clearest thinking, least emotional …

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/inquiring-minds-jonathan-haidt-tea-party

    @40:00:

    Libertarians are the most individualistic, the least emotional, the least sociable, the most rational. They’re the smartest. …

    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2014/01/jonathan_haidt.html

    @14:30:

    Libertarians are the smartest, most logical, least emotional across all emotions …

  57. Canman says:

    Mal Adapted, if CAGWM is not a typo, whats the “M” stand for?

  58. anoilman says:

    Canman… I minor point for you to quibble ad nauseum over, and thus avoid any serious discussion? 🙂

  59. Vinny Burgoo says:

    ‘Ad nauseum’ ad nauseam: the correct spelling suffered a steep decline in the 1970s.

    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=ad+nauseam%2Cad+nauseum&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=0&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cad%20nauseam%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cad%20nauseum%3B%2Cc0

    Something to do with the cockiness of Baby Boomers?

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  61. anoilman says:

    No Vinny. I’m not a booma… I are and engineer. It comes with a lot of issues with spelling and grammar, which is offset with an enormous ability to understand math, science, and generally make sense with logic. Clearly you have better spelling. 🙂

    I seem to recall that your argument was made with every generation dating back hundreds of years.
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/52209/15-historical-complaints-about-young-people-ruining-everything

    So really, you’re letting down your great grandfather, by misquoting, mis-characterizing, misunderstanding, and of course forgetting what you’ve said. A shame really.

  62. Mal Adapted says:

    Canman:

    Mal Adapted, if CAGWM is not a typo, whats the “M” stand for?

    Apparently you didn’t read my first comment on this thread. For some reason, that doesn’t surprise me.

  63. Mal Adapted says:

    Canman, quoting Jonathan Haidt:

    Libertarians are the smartest people out there. They are the most rational, clearest thinking, least emotional …

    There’s a class of people calling themselves libertarians who acknowledge that AGW represents market failure, and who accept the rationale for a carbon tax. They’re not paragons of rationality though: they’re still dogmatically opposed to government regulation, and they call for making the carbon tax revenue-neutral by cutting corporate income tax rates. In any case, no one who adheres to deontological libertarianism can claim to be fully rational. The rest of us are all consequentialist libertarians, more or less.

  64. Canman says:

    Mal Adapted,

    “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Mitigation (CAGWM)”

    Thanks, that seems like kind of a minor detail to remember or maybe I’m just drinking too many beverages out of aluminium containers.

  65. Pingback: Climate Scientists Are Now Relying On A Terrifying Assumption » Climate Scientists Are Now Relying On A Terrifying Assumption | Geoengineering Watch

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