Extinction rebellion

I’ve written about extinction rebellion before. Although I think they get some of the science wrong, and some of their demands seem unrealistic (we can’t get emissions to zero in 7 years), they are having an impact. We keep getting told that simply providing information is not going to work, so it’s hard then to criticise a group that has at least managed to make this front page news.

They also seem to be riling up the right people. There’s also been a rather remarkable set of Twitter exchanges that included David Rose referring to extinction rebellion as an end of times death cult who are beyond the pale of civilised discussion and Matt Ridley referring to them as lying violent extremists.

Given that both have – in the past – complained of the rhetoric aimed at them, you might find this somewhat ironic. That would require thinking that their previous complaints were based on a genuine desire to improve the dialogue, rather than simply an attempt to control the narrative; calling people climate science deniers is unacceptable, but claiming that climate protestors are a death cult who are lying violent extremists is okay.

Of course, I’m not really surprised by this. It’s just another example of same ol’ same ol’. Probably shouldn’t have even bothered writing a post, but I’m doing dinner, so had a bit of free time while it’s all cooking.

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114 Responses to Extinction rebellion

  1. These are what are called doomers on many of the message boards. The polar opposite of doomers are the cornucopians. Nothing new under the sun as it’s the resurrection of the Erhlich vs Simon debate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager

  2. izen says:

    On the radio this morning a spokesperson from the police explained that it was perfectly acceptable for climate activists to hold demonstrations that did not cause any disruption to others or impact the normal functioning of society, but unacceptable if they engaged in civil disobedience that constituted an arrest-able offence. Then they are an illegal extremist group.

    Gandhi spins….

  3. If you are going to change anything you will have to give up the idea that legal and convenient sign-waving on a street corner is going to persuade the powerful to change their ways. To change things you will have to step off the curb and get in the street and make yourself inconvenient. Folks who step into the street should expect to be harrassed/beaten and possibly arrested by the police force that serves the interest of the powerful. Gandhi knew this, he was arrested many times and he and his followers were beaten and some were killed. It was ever thus. The most bloodless revolutions that ever happened were not in fact bloodless.

    “Gandhi preached rebellion, launched mass civil disobedience and was repeatedly jailed. When arrested, he pleaded guilty and asked for the severest punishment. In South Africa, the charge against him and his co-workers was proved by witnesses furnished by him. The horror, shame and hardship of jail life, originally a punishment allotted to criminals, scared the Indians. Gandhi removed this fear from their hearts.
    He was jailed eleven times. Once he was arrested thrice within four days. If he had to complete all his jail terms, he would have spent 11 years and 19 days in jail. Occasionally his punishment was reduced and and he altogether spent 6 years and 10 months in prison. At the age of 39, he first entered a jail. He came out of the prison gates for the last time when he was 75.”

    https://www.mkgandhi.org/bahurupi/chap20.htm

    The police will respond with violence on protestors who are sufficiently inconvenient in the way that they demand change. We can choose to be non-violent in the way we conduct ourselves in our work to create change, but we cannot force others to respond to us in non-violent ways.

  4. verytallguy says:

    Matt Ridley accused an avowedly peaceful group of being violent extremists?

    Say it ain’t so.

    If Matt Ridley is up in arms about them, they’re definitely doing something right.

  5. Jim Hunt says:

    Messrs Ridley and Rose also accused Tamsin Edwards of terrible things:

    I also discovered today that IPCC author Prof. Catherine Mitchell has recently rolled up her sleeves and entered the fray:

  6. The demands of Extinction Rebellion seem quite reasonable and hardly revolutionary:
    – Tell the Truth (properly reflect what the science is telling us)
    – Act Now (start demonstrating urgency of action)
    – Beyond Politics (involve the public is working out solutions and options)

    Yes, they will claim that the precautionary principle means that while the IPCC’s SR1.5C 66% chance of hitting 1.5C says it will happen between 2030 and 2052 at current emission rates, its OK to call that the earliest date of 2030 (12 years after 2018). Pedantics might disagree, risk managers might say … ok.

    Rose was always just an ideologically motivated and scientifically illiterate journalist, but Ridley has a science background and ought to know better; he is ‘no slouch’ (using Melvyn Bragg’s description). But he is now indistinguishable from Rose in his ideological bis and detachment from the science.

    I think it is interesting that XR’s avoids the trap of specifying solutions, only that solutions respect the science; which Greta Thunberg also says (although I think she is very very careful to avoid charges of specifying solutions). Both are simply demanding that action is as urgent as the situation demands.

    That is hardly extremist. It seems like common sense to me.

  7. mrkenfabian says:

    I remain dubious about the effectiveness of more disruptive style protests, not for any lack of belief in their rightness but pragmatically, for the way it plays into the opposition framing of climate activism as the realm of unreasonable and unreasoning political extremists – the mainstream media is a serious problem. Climate activism needs more people in work clothes and business suits and less people in gas masks and dreadlocks and with fringe political associations; the style of protest needs to invite participation or at least sympathy and support from a broader demographic that for the most part do not have much for protesters… and somehow induce sympathetic reporting in media that too often goes out of it’s way to find negatives. I think the school Strike4Climate ones do that better than Extinction Rebellion.

  8. izen says:

    @-mrkenfabian
    “I remain dubious about the effectiveness of more disruptive style protests, not for any lack of belief in their rightness but pragmatically, for the way it plays into the opposition framing of climate activism as the realm of unreasonable and unreasoning political extremists”

    Tone-trolling non-violent protest has a long history.
    Here is a bit from MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

    “You may well ask, “Why direct action, why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. I just referred to the creation of tension as a part of the work of the nonviolent resister. This may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. We therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in the tragic attempt to live in monologue rather than dialogue.”

    The whole thing is worth a read…
    https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf

    Terrorism that attacks individual, people and the public is rightly decried, but is accommodated with the social system with much less trouble as the moral value of the actions on each side are reasonably clear-cut.

    Non-violent protest however that targets the social structure and commits ‘violence’ against the entrenched orthodoxy often generates a much more violent response ranging from accusing those protesting of being ‘terrorists’ to overt violent reprisals.

  9. anoilman says:

    Richard Erskine: Umm… I wouldn’t go saying Matt Ridley isn’t a slouch. I’m pretty sure he was slouching when he was doing risk analysis for Northern Rock, after all he did set a dubious record as a banker…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalisation_of_Northern_Rock

    I don’t know why people listen to the guy… He clearly can’t be trusted to handle risk.

  10. verytallguy says:

    Richard Erskine

    Rose was always just an ideologically motivated and scientifically illiterate journalist, but Ridley has a science background and ought to know better; he is ‘no slouch’ (using Melvyn Bragg’s description). But he is now indistinguishable from Rose in his ideological bis and detachment from the science.

    Ridley may well have a science background.

    But he also has a background as a hard right wing politician with schooling and social network overlapping with the GWPF and the hard Brexit ideologues.

    He also just happens to have been in charge of the collapse of a bank due to poor risk management, a position to which he was appointed, as was his father, due to his hereditary peerage.

    Oh, and did I mention he owns a coal mine?

    Funny how he’s so exercised by XR, isn’t it.

    His continued ability to vote on our laws and command a platform in the media is the very epitome of everything wrong with our country.

  11. Jeffh says:

    Chris Hedges, in his book “Wages of Rebellion”, argues that, to effect real change, we need rebels. ‘Without them we are doomed’ in his words. Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and other emerging individuals and environmental movements are exactly what we so desperately need right now as the sand slips through the hourglass. Three great movements catalyzed in the 1960s that, temporarily at least, generated change. Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ kick-started the environmental movement; Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Metger Evers and others spearheaded the civil rights movement; and the Viet Nam war led to the formation of the anti-war movement and protests that stretched for what seemed like miles up Pennsylvania Avenue. I remember those times well.

    We need this now more than ever, given that the stakes are much higher than ever before. The fact that Thunberg and ER are eliciting such bitter responses from the deniers and neoliberal elites is proof that their message is getting through. If it wasn’t, then they would be ignored. We need to keep this momentum going and to make it grow. When it reaches critical mass, then we will see real results. I am cautiously optimistic.

  12. anoilman and verytallguy, I was using Melvyn Bragg’s description not as an apology; I have no truck with Matt Ridley. My point was that his academic background makes his terrible behaviour even more terrible. I wrote a piece about his nonsense a while back …

    https://essaysconcerning.com/2018/01/17/matt-ridley-shares-his-ignorance-of-climate-science-again/

  13. David B. Benson says:

    Meanwhile, Drax Group obtains another checkmark for building a big gas-fired generator:
    https://www.power-eng.com/2019/10/07/key-uk-leader-gives-approval-for-1-8-gw-gas-fired-power-plant/

  14. verytallguy says:

    Richard Erskine,

    My understanding is that those who should be able to understand the science are also better at convincing themselves they are so clever they know better than the experts.

    So more science education doesn’t necessarily correlate to less contrarianism, indeed the opposite can be true.

    https://qz.com/1060080/the-biggest-divide-on-climate-change-is-among-the-most-highly-educated/

  15. vtg – fair point. It happens in all walks of life too: the general builder who thinks they can fit an EPDM membrane without training (to take a painful experience from a while back!). But most academics respect the fact they cannot dive into a colleagues field and claim to have spotted a trivial ‘gotcha’, as Ridley repeatedly does. Is there something wrong with our education system that breeds this kind of arrogance, where “knowledge increases individuals’ confidence more quickly than it increases that knowledge.”? It would be interesting to know how this correlates with personality and achievement. Leo Szilard’s “assume infinite ignorance but unlimited intelligence” quote on entering a biology lab is perhaps peek arrogrance, but he at least acknowledged his ignorance!

  16. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Is there something wrong with our education system that breeds this kind of arrogance”

    I’d say it is innate, and if anything education acts to breed it out of us, however most people are not interesting enough for their hubris to be conspicuous (i.e. it is observer bias), one thing that makes people interesting is academic ability.

  17. Joshua says:

    VTG –

    > My understanding is that those who should be able to understand the science are also better at convincing themselves they are so clever they know better than the experts.

    That is one theory, heavily promoted by Dan Kahan (who seems to have disappeared), among others.

    I don’t get the logic. Everyone thinks their own arguments are great, their own views are correct. For example, Trump no doubt doesn’t understand the first element of the science, yet thinks he is supremely capable of discerning a hoax.

    It didn’t seem to me that knowledge is the main variable that explains one’s ability to convince oneself of one’s arguments, but “motivation” likely is.

  18. Joshua says:

    It didn’t = it doesn’t.

    Perhaps more precisely than ‘motivation,” it’s strength of identification wot dunnit (a close cousin).

  19. A Thorpe says:

    @ Richard Erskine

    – Tell the Truth (properly reflect what the science is telling us) – Is this the science that Greta Thunberg wants us to read? She hasn’t said a word yet about what science is correct. Heat cannot be trapped by definition, heat cannot transfer from cold to hot, radiation is not thermal energy. All these basic facts destroy all the argument used to support man made global warming.

    – Act Now (start demonstrating urgency of action) – the objective is to close down everything that has given our advanced standards of living and return to life as it was 200 years ago. Why don’t they go to all the airports and stop flights, all the railway stations and stop trains, blow up all the oil refineries etc.

    – Beyond Politics (involve the public is working out solutions and options) – The public is involved through democratic institutions called parliaments.

  20. dikranmarsupial says:

    A Thorpe “She hasn’t said a word yet about what science is correct.”

    Yes, her message is to listen to the scientists.

    “Heat cannot be trapped by definition,”

    What are thermos flasks for if heat cannot be trapped?

    “heat cannot transfer from cold to hot,”

    No, there is no NET transfer of heat from cold to hot.

    “radiation is not thermal energy.”

    no, but it can be transformed into heat energy when it is absorbed and thermalised.

    “All these basic facts destroy all the argument used to support man made global warming. ”

    No, none of them do. The first “fact” is incorrect, the second is a misleading simplification, and the third is true but irrelevant. Perhaps you shouldn’t have said a word yet about what science is correct?

    Greta’s strategy is sensible. If she said which elements of the science are correct, she would be attacked for any minor error she made as a means of rejecting the message as a whole (c.f. Al Gore). Don’t get your science from 16 year olds, get it from the scientists, as Greta suggests.

  21. angech says:

    Joshua, “. For example, Trump no doubt doesn’t understand the first element of the science, yet thinks he is supremely capable of discerning a hoax.”
    Two different skill sets surely.
    One sincerely hopes for your sake that his skill in his area is wrong for a change.
    After all he says he has matchless intellect as well as supreme hoax detecting ability.

  22. A Thorpe,

    Heat cannot be trapped by definition, heat cannot transfer from cold to hot, radiation is not thermal energy. All these basic facts destroy all the argument used to support man made global warming.

    No, they don’t. I suspect you’re implying that the greenhouse effect violates the laws of thermodynamics, but it doesn’t.

  23. Joshua says:

    angech –

    > Two different skill sets surely.

    I don’t agree. The ability to reason logically applies in both cases.

    > One sincerely hopes for your sake that his skill in his area is wrong for a change.

    For a change? Check out his views on vaccines, Ebola-related public health policy, Illegal votes cast. Obama’s birth certificate, etc.

    I read your recent comments over at Lucia’s. “Treason.” Congrats on going getting your way fully through the looking glass. That isn’t a trivial task.

  24. Ridley may well have a science background. But he also has a background as a hard right wing politician with schooling and social network overlapping with the GWPF and the hard Brexit ideologues.

    So Ridley calls nonviolent protest violent, while he supports a movement that threatens with nationwide violence if they are not allowed to destroy the British economy on the 31 October in a way that was never up for a popular vote and rejected by Parliament. I hope we have statements were he rejects these threats by his friends.

  25. verytallguy says:

    Victor,

    It’s worse than that. Though it may not surprise you to know that Ridley was part of an attempt to filibuster that rejection by Parliament in the unelected House of Lords.

    https://lordsbusiness.parliament.uk/ItemOfBusiness?itemOfBusinessId=67462&sectionId=40&businessPaperDate=2019-09-04

  26. anoilman says:

    Thorpe… Really? You wrote that? Wow… You need to get out more. I don’t even know where to begin. Basic science starts getting explained around grade 9 (Form 4?).

    1) Heat can indeed be trapped, i.e a net build up of heat.

    2) The discussion around the world is about reducing humanity’s carbon footprint. So there’s no need to get all upset and confused. I mean really, its not like we’re going to magically forget all of human knowledge and ride horses again.

    3) Politics are not done in parliament. Ever. All they do there is blow hard about their policies proposed or otherwise, and vote on them. Politicians work for the people, and if they wish that job, they need to listen to them. Greta is unifying people.. which means politicians need to listen.. or lose their jobs.

  27. Jonathan Pie on XR. He makes speaking truth to power seem so easy.

  28. Though it may not surprise you to know that Ridley was part of an attempt to filibuster that rejection by Parliament in the unelected House of Lords.

    A confessing enemy of democracy, he is? Could we make a rule that people who think they are better than us by birth and who wrecked the economy by nepotism are not allowed to be in unelected government bodies?

  29. verytallguy says:

    It’s the mother of parliaments, Victor. Founding seat of Western democracy. Yadda yadda. I fo hope you’re not implying it’s not altogether democratic.

    Anyway, there’s more: Ridley’s accusation during that filibuster attempt It seems to me that there is a surprising degree of hypocrisy here.

    Alas, an insult aimed at others rather than a sudden revelation of self- awareness.

  30. anoilman says:

    Speaking of rebelling against extinction.. How about those electric cars? Have any of you looked at the impact of replacing all the ICEs with EVs?

    Where I am, If I get a Tesla Model S, and drive 30km total a day… (Average city commute Canada is 15km each way.)
    https://pushevs.com/2016/11/23/electric-cars-range-efficiency-comparison/

    That’s equivalent to about 6kwh of power per day. Right? If I have only 20 hours to charge it, that’s 300W for 20 hours right? That is the same as old 3X100 watt incandescent bulbs for 20 hours a day. or 5X60 watt bulbs for 20 hours.

    That’s about 180kwh a month, or 2190 kwh per year.

    Now, where I live, only 5% of energy used in the province is for residential consumption.
    https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/nrg/ntgrtd/mrkt/nrgsstmprfls/ab-eng.html

    The average home in Alberta uses 600kwh a month (we use natural gas for heat).
    https://www.atco.com/en-ca/for-home/energy-101.html

    Overall though, assuming 1 car per household and an average commute, the load on the grid is hardly noticeable. Even if we’re looking at 2 cars per house (or 1 with a longer drive) the impact on the grid isn’t really a concern. (I’m looking at increasing my electric bill 30 to 60%, and never going to a gas station again.)

    Because the grid here is so coal dependent (50\50 coal\natural gas), I’d probably need an economy EV in order to also reduce my carbon footprint. That would also reduce the impact on the grid.

  31. Re EVs.
    My wife and I (she’s the main user of the car) took the plunge and bought an EV 2 months ago. We charge at the rate of 7kW about twice a week and, thanks to the computer in the car, the charging is automatically timed to occur between the hours of midnight and 7:00am, when the off-peak cost of electricity is just £.06 (6p) a unit. Therefore our weekly bill for my wife driving about 220 miles is about £3. As our electricity supplier is Ecotricity we are assured it’s provided by wind turbines. Driving the car is a wonderful experience due the continuous power surge from zero to our self-restricted top speed of 56mph, and the powerful electric regeneration which enables ‘one pedal’ driving with no need to touch the brake pedal. Servicing is limited to a check of the suspension and brakes every 2 years. Road tax is zero. I recommend it.

    Oh, and in spite of the perhaps sometimes unrealistic demands of Extinction Rebellion, I fully support their right to protest and wish them the very best. I’d probably join them (in a suit) if I didn’t live so far from civilisation 🙂

  32. anoilman says:

    johnrussel40, 7kwh? twice a week?

  33. VTG says:

    “My understanding is that those who should be able to understand the science are also better at convincing themselves they are so clever they know better than the experts.”

    Doesn’t take much digging to find that there are very weak spots in climate science understanding. At those points, everyone is in the same boat.

  34. David B. Benson says:

    Paul Pukite, not everyone. Some people have read “Fundamentals of Planetary Climate” by Ray Pierrehumbert.

  35. David Benson,
    Just to refresh awareness, the weak spot in climate science modeling is being able to predict global temperature variations a year or two in advance. Even someone as knowledgeable as Pierrehumbert concedes that in his book that you cite:

    “Set against that is a fair amount of noise complicating the detection of the signal. Climate, even unperturbed by human influence, is not steady from year to year, but is subject to a certain amount of natural variability. This can be due to volcanic eruptions and subtle variations in the brightness of the Sun. There are also various natural cycles in the ocean-atmosphere system that cause the planet to be a bit warmer or colder from one year to the next. Chief among these is the El Nino phenomenon of the tropical Pacific. During El Nino years, the coupled dynamics of the tropical ocean and atmosphere causes warm water to spread throughout the Pacific, leading to a warming of mean surface temperatures both in the tropics and further afield. La Nina years represent a bunching up of the warm water, and an accentuated upwelling of cold water, leading to cold years. The two phases alternate erratically, with a typical time scale of three to five years.”

    Climate science is a relatively narrow discipline compared to something as wide-ranging as physics, and so it’s somewhat disconcerting to realize that one of the primary goals is tantalizingly out of reach.

  36. izen says:

    @-WHUT
    “Climate science is a relatively narrow discipline compared to something as wide-ranging as physics, and so it’s somewhat disconcerting to realize that one of the primary goals is tantalizingly out of reach.”

    You may have got that backwards.
    Climate science is a wide-ranging discipline compared to something as relatively narrow as physics…
    Climate science deals with complex interactive systems with behaviours that are constrained within an envelope of possibilities by the total system rather than simple chains of cause -> effect like Newtons laws of motion.
    In that it is much more like the science of biology which can also have problems with predicting details within the broad outlines. A parallel may be with the epigenetic network of control over genetic expression where the overall mechanism is well understood but the precise detail of outcomes is difficult to predict.

    Claiming that such specific predictions are a primary goal of the science when it is inherently constrained by system complexity may also be a mis-characterisation.

  37. Izen, I appreciate the Wikipedia entry as a working definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatology

  38. dikranmarsupial says:

    PP “Just to refresh awareness, the weak spot in climate science modeling is being able to predict global temperature variations a year or two in advance.”

    And what is the relevance of that to centennial scale climate change, which is the fundamental problem facing society WRT climate?

  39. Jim Hunt says:

    John,

    On the topic of electric vehicles, my better half and I have two. Zoe the ZOE, and Lisa the LEAF. Whilst it’s early days we’d rather like to be able to “smart discharge” them as well as “smart charge” them “peer to peer” with local renewable generation:

    If it wasn’t for the fact that I live and work so far from civilisation I’d probably join an XR protest dressed in one of my wetsuits:

  40. Jim Hunt says:

    Back firmly on the topic of the OP, Tamsin Edwards has put a perfectly reasonable question to some of the usual suspects:

    Answers have not been forthcoming as yet.

  41. DM said:

    “And what is the relevance of that to centennial scale climate change, which is the fundamental problem facing society WRT climate?”

    Perhaps not much. The extent of CO2 warming was IMO settled via the snowball earth argument. The remaining challenging part of climate science is in modeling natural variability, which is evident from the literature. For instance
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0817.1
    “Local Atmosphere–Ocean Predictability: Dynamical Origins, Lead Times, and Seasonality”

    “This is a very important paper in the history of predictability research,” said Shukla, “It will surely inspire further research by the predictability research community. In particular, this paper identifies geographical regions on the globe over which there exists potential predictability which can be harvested for improving operational predictions.”

  42. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Perhaps not much.” well, quite.

    I think predicting internal variability is more weather modelling than climate as it is not about statistical properties of the climate system, but a particular realisation of it (if you adopt that definition of climate), however the boundary between the usages of weather and climate are not very distinct as the time scales get longer.

  43. @ anoilman
    I wrote, “charge at a *rate* of 7kW twice a week”. You imagined the ‘h’. We’re putting in around 25kWh each time, so it takes around 3.5 hours to charge.

  44. Steven Mosher says:

    XR and others(greta) want action now. its a simple black and white message. Pie wamts it too.

    so ya. lets make you all king and each of you get to force one change tommorrow. what is it?

  45. Nathan says:

    “XR and others(greta) want action now”

    Action can only ever be undertaken ‘now’ – it’s not an unreasonable demand

  46. anoilman: “The average home in Alberta uses 600kwh a month (we use natural gas for heat).”

    Mosher: “so ya. lets make you all king and each of you get to force one change tommorrow. what is it?”

    Mine would be to force politicians in Canada to declare before the next election that they intend to turn off that gas heat in Canada in the next few years and force the population of Quebec to pull their furnaces out and replace them with solar electric heat and, where possible, wood stoves.
    Why this change? Because it will make everyone actually evaluate XR’s proposals and vote on them.

  47. DM said:

    “I think predicting internal variability is more weather modelling than climate as it is not about statistical properties of the climate system, “

    “Internal variability” also includes glacial cycles. If orbital variations are the underlying trigger and since orbital variations are predictable, Milankovitch-like models have a significant non-statistical feature. It may be that statistical properties are secondary at every timespan of climate variation — including daily, annual, multi-annual, and millenial time-scales. And the CO2 time-scale is considered as a monotonic centennial variation of this predictability.

  48. izen says:

    @-jeff
    “Mine would be to force politicians in Canada to declare before the next election that they intend to turn off that gas heat in Canada in the next few years and force the population of Quebec to pull their furnaces out and replace them with solar electric heat and, where possible, wood stoves.”

    Such punitive regulations are unlikely to be welcomed by the general public, there might even be a suspicion that they are suggested to elicit a backlash against effective action.

    Perhaps a more effective proposal would be for advanced societies in temperate climates like Canada where heating is required for part of the year to require all new build residential and commercial properties to have zero-energy designs. Effective insulation, heat recovery systems and heat pumps driven by solar/wind energy can ensure that properties do not need to burn fossil fuels to provide a comfortable environment.
    Of course this would make such building more expensive to construct, although much cheaper to run. It would also remove the market for after-sales improvements that allow business to profit from selling individual owners expensive upgrades.

    Older properties without zero-energy features would be cheaper, but increasingly at a disadvantage in competition with the newer, cheaper to run buildings. With government support, there could be an increasing market for retroactive upgrades to old buildings to incorporate some or all of the new efficiency features.

    A historical example of this kind of action would be the UK response to the smog pollution from open coal fires in UK cities in the 1950s. The 1956 Clean Air Act required the use of smokeless fuels in new builds, bringing in the wide use of gas central heating as a new ‘improved’ feature of a new house. The government provided grants to replace open coal fire heating in older buildings to modernise them to the new regulatory standard.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/4-5/52/enacted
    “Adaptation of fireplaces in private dwellings
    (1)If, after the confirmation of an order made by a local authority under the last preceding section, the owner or occupier of, or any person interested in, any private dwelling which is or will be within a smoke control area as a result of the order, not being a new dwelling, incurs expenditure on adaptations in or in connection with the dwelling to avoid contraventions of the last preceding section, the local authority shall repay to him seven-tenths of that expenditure and may, if they think fit, also repay to him the whole or any part of the remainder of that expenditure:”

  49. Steven Mosher says:

    “Action can only ever be undertaken ‘now’ – it’s not an unreasonable demand”

    1. who said it was unreasonable
    2. yes and that also means delay is impossible by your weird definition.

  50. Willard says:

    > force the population of Quebec to pull their furnaces out and replace them with solar electric heat and, where possible, wood stoves.

    Last time I checked, gas was less than 15% of Québec energy consumption, most of which by the industrial sector. Wood stoves are already well alive and kicking soot. Less so since the new regulations, but still not the best solution in big cities. One might need to pick on Albertans for hypothetical gilets jaunes.

    ***

    I wonder why nobody asks George what he’d do. Speaking of whom:

    Our system – characterised by perpetual economic growth on a planet that is not growing – will inevitably implode. The only question is whether the transformation is planned or unplanned. Our task is to ensure it is planned, and fast. We need to conceive and build a new system based on the principle that every generation, everywhere has an equal right to enjoy natural wealth.

    This is less daunting than we might imagine. As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, a maximum of 3.5% of the population needs to mobilise. Humans are ultra-social mammals, constantly if subliminally aware of shifting social currents. Once we perceive that the status quo has changed, we flip suddenly from support for one state of being to support for another. When a committed and vocal 3.5% unites behind the demand for a new system, the social avalanche that follows becomes irresistible. Giving up before we have reached this threshold is worse than despair: it is defeatism.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/15/rebellion-prevent-ecological-apocalypse-civil-disobedience

  51. anoilman says:

    Mosher, I don’t think there is a simple solution, or even a number 1 thing.

    The issue as I see it is that there isn’t a one size fits all solution on the table.. other than coal, gas, and oil. Those work everywhere (arctic not so much?), and provide a stable stable and consistent basis for our capitalist society.

    I believe that we’ve literally bred out the ability to think local. That’s why this Texas Mayor is in the news… He actually did that;
    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/the-conservative-texas-mayor-leading-the-charge-with-renewable-energy-on-the-green-new-deal/

    Much of the pro-renewable material out there is based on only a few places, and not too clear or technical. Many bits out there are experimental. The reason I think this is worth discussing is that local issues dominate renewable availability, reliability and cost.
    Want to use solar? What if you live in an apartment building?
    Want a wind? One won’t do, you need more planning.. and preferably more interconnects.
    Improve house energy efficiency? What if you live in an old one? (I was told $80k to insulate my main floor. Ouch!)

  52. PP if glacial cycles are initiated by milankovic forcing, then that doesn’t sound like *internal* climate variability to me.

  53. Izen- XR says zero emissions. The Green New Deal says zero emissions.
    But you are correct- faced with the reality of what “zero emissions” means, most countries will do something less than that.* [No more #ButGreta, please – W]

    *the Green New Deal and Bernie Sanders both actually “plan” to spend trillions retrofitting every building in the United States.

    Willard, thanks. Social movements ebb and flow. More than 3.5% of the human population went communist in early-mid 20th Century. More than 3.5% went back to capitalism at the end of the 20th.

  54. DM, That’s why I quoted it as “internal variability”, the implication being that much of climatology is an exercise in determining the unknown forcings.

    1. Daily variability — externally forced by earth’s rotation
    2. Annual variability — externally forced by earth’s inclined orbit
    3. Multi-annual variability — externally forced by annual and lunar mix, see Lin&Qian (2019)
    4. Millenial/glacial variability — externally forced by orbital changes
    5. Gradual climate change — externally forced by burning fossil fuels (ancient stored solar energy)
    6. Maunder-minimum-like variability — externally forced by solar (spot) variations
    7. Volcanic induced variability — internal mantle processes, which may be considered external?
    8. Multi-decadal variability — unknown, but correlated to Length-of-Day changes, which are predominantly tidal

    9. Localized variability — internal interactions defining weather, but external Coriolis effect at least partly responsible

  55. verytallguy says:

    Mosh

    so ya. lets make you all king and each of you get to force one change tommorrow. what is it?

    OK, I’ll bite.

    Universal female education to secondary level.

    Your turn Mosh.

  56. izen says:

    @-jeff
    “And because Greta has been told that she’ll die if …. Greta has also been told that … by confessing to Greta”

    Your insight into Greta, what she has been told and what needs to be confessed etc seems to follow a narrative of your own invention.

    Social movements ebb and flow, in part from shifts in political belief, but also in response to technological change and environmental pressure.
    The socialism that arose in the 1800s to deal with poverty and disease emerged in part by improvements in biology, the cause of cholera was finally identified, and in part because the only way the wealthy could protect themselves from the disease and crime engendered by poverty was ameliorating the worst aspects of it. So sewage/water systems and education/social welfare became state imposed communal benefits.

    The changes will likely be incremental, the Clean Air Act of 1956 certainly did not solve the problem overnight. Delay, obstruction and gaming the system resulted in slow progress and while UK cities no longer have black buildings, it was the 1980s before it was possible to clean of a century of soot with any reasonable expectation it would not return. The ongoing problem of ~35,000 people a year dying from pollution from cars is forcing gradual change by the adoption of car free city centres and the rise of the electric vehicle.

    I have no illusions that governments will ever do more than the bare minimum in response to the social, technological and environmental forces whilst striving to maintain as much of the status quo as possible.
    But I would regard it as highly unlikely that capitalism in its current incarnation will persist because it has no coherent response to the problems of environmental damage and social inequality that will increasing drive social beliefs.
    In fact it is increasing perceived as the major cause of those problems.

    The possible future paths range from well managed gradual change to civic strife and societal collapse in the face of refugees, food shortages and toxic inequality.
    The one option that is NOT on the table is BAU.

  57. izen says:

    @-vtg
    “Universal female education to secondary level.”

    Seconded.

    With a further provision that only mothers are able to hold the higher political/administrative positions.

  58. Willard says:

    > More than 3.5% of the human population went communist in early-mid 20th Century.

    Red baiting might not be compatible with your usual “but Nukes,” JeffN.

    Also, not more “but Greta.”

    ***

    Scott Denning, again for the win:

  59. Really fast is right, as long as the product works. What was the carriage (or horse) tax that brought about that change?
    Other rapid changes were PC and cell phone adoption at the personal level.
    And the energy industry has several rapid shifts- late 1960s through mid-80s nuclear went from zero to 20% of power and we’re undergoing a rapid shift to natural gas now in the US and Europe.
    Pace Willy, I mention the N word merely to demonstrate that the electricity generation sector can move substantially and rapidly if given a product that does the job.
    FWIW, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only debate now is what will replace natural gas in about 30 years. Neither renewables nor nukes will be built in substantial quantities until then.

    Izen- my recollection was that the fall of the Berlin wall left western, capitalist nations with a giant environmental mess to clean up in eastern Europe. The idea that non-capitalist economies have better environmental records has no evidence in support and much to the contrary. I think it falls a variation of the old Churchill quote- capitalism is the most environmentally degrading system, except for all the others.

    How many gt of CO2 will universal female education reduce? You’d spend the money on that instead of windmills and solar panels? Interesting.

  60. verytallguy says:

    Jeff,

    Mosh’s challenge was just one thing.

    Climate change requires many actions to mitigate, eg https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_stabilization_wedge

    No one of them makes much difference on its own.

    What does make a difference: lower population, well informed populace, democracy, excellent leadership, less armed conflict etc. What one thing would help all of these…?

    Anyway, how about joining in rather than throwing stones? What’s your one thing?

  61. jacksmith4tx says:

    I have yet to see a better plan than Project Drawdown https://www.drawdown.org/
    They are having a conference on Oct 18-20, 2019
    https://www.eomega.org/workshops/drawdown-learn-conference

    Let’s skip the technicalities of how we answer Steven’s question and look at the long term problem. What would be a optimal population of humans to make the available resources last the longest? Given the arc of human dependence on technology would the obvious result be to evolve into some kind of hybrid human/machine?

  62. I agree that universal education can have an impact, but like many things it requires functional government and economy to really make a difference. If you sent a check to Afghanistan or Venezuela for the education of all women, I hesitate to think of what schools it would go to if any of the money actually got to a school. I’d focus on a solid online education module in multiple languages and global internet access.

    I gave one thing and was serious- put XR type policies up to a vote after fully and honestly explaining them. What other one thing? Establish a global working group on low carbon alternatives- heavy on R&D and engineering. Germany is a manufacturing economy, it has to be globally competitive so it literally cannot decarbonize while still remaining competitive with nations that are not. Moving it’s manufacturing out of Germany does not reduce CO2 emissions- increases them in some cases.
    The only way to solve this is inexpensive, low carbon, high output energy solutions that can be rapidly adopted to power industrial areas in Germany, China and India. And no, renewables don’t do that. If they did, XR wouldn’t be beating drums in the streets.

  63. Joshua says:

    > so ya. lets make you all king and each of you get to force one change tommorrow. what is it?

    It would be illegal to ask irrelevant parlor game red line questions that are ultimately meaningless.

  64. Nathan says:

    Mosher

    ” yes and that also means delay is impossible by your weird definition.”

    No, Delay it is what IS happening

  65. Willard says:

    > If you sent a check to Afghanistan or Venezuela

    Saying you think what would not work does not tell what you think would, JeffN. There’s at least one alternative missing in your if-by-whiskey.

    Occupy Irak costs more than THREE TRILLION. Dollar to donuts it’s thrice the trillion ton of carbon dumped in the atmosphere to reach 2C.

  66. Steven Mosher says:

    my one thing.

    permanent stop on construction of all new coal plants

    Infrastructure is hard to replace, best to not put it there in the first place.
    Its also easy to monitor

    Of course it is not enough. But I picked something that would have a long term effect
    and be hard to cheat on. and be visible and trackable.

  67. David B. Benson says:

    Stephen Mosher, how will you convince the Indians, Vietnamese and Chinese to agree?

  68. Steven Mosher says:

    I’m king. they dont get to disagree. If it wasnt clear, the premise is you are king of the world.
    what is your first action.

  69. Steven Mosher says:

    Good choice vtg !

    Population drives emissions.
    improving access to education for females moderates population growth,

    Good choice because.
    1. Its an action that has a long tail, a change today makes a lasting impression.
    2. WE SHOULD WANT TO DO THIS REGARDLESS
    3. Easy to monitor and measure I think

  70. Jeffh says:

    Jeffnails850 had me on the floor with the absurdity of his ‘cheque to Venezuela or Afghanistan’ comment. So utterly imperialistic. Women, especially the poor, did a million times better under the rule of Chavez than under any of the US puppets that preceded him. The US has a long history of supporting regimes that suppress human rights, freedom and democracy. Why does he not mention Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Or indeed any US-client state where women and the poor are treated abominably? Heck, the US arms, aids and abets more than 70% of the worlds dictatorships. No, he singles out Venezuela because it us not obeying the global hegemon. Predictable.

  71. Willard says:

    If this could not turn into a “but Venezuela” thread, that’d be great. There’s one there:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/peddling/

  72. Yes, it would take kings of all the big CO2 emitting kingdoms of the planet to agree what to do (must be effective, like nuclear) and then implement it consistently for decades.

  73. Ben McMillan says:

    Germany is a useful yardstick of how fast you can build out a load of renewables if that is the way you want to go low-carbon:
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-energy-consumption-and-power-mix-charts

    Basically renewables went from ~10% to ~50% of electricity consumption over the last 15 years. This is at very significant cost and effort, but nothing like ‘wartime mobilisation’. Germany continued to be the EU’s industrial powerhouse during this period.

    Of course Germany’s progress in actual decarbonisation is less impressive given they shut down their nuclear sector at the same time, and other sectors haven’t made much progress.

    So XR’s 12 years to net zero seems pretty extreme, but 30 years doesn’t seem particularly radical (assuming other sectors take about the same time).

  74. dikranmarsupial says:

    While VTG’s choice is better than any serious answer I could give, my flippant answer would be to put a tax on bullshit.

  75. Chubbs says:

    Dikran – With our president as an example, gov revenues in the US would skyrocket under your tax proposal. Renewables/EV have closed the cost gap with fossil fuels, and are still getting cheaper with increasing deployment, so tilting the policy field more in their direction would have a big effect. Also gas is plentiful and cheap to substitute for coal and backstop renewables. So emission progress could be made quickly with better policy. This would need to include some incentives for developing countries.

  76. dikranmarsupial says:

    My point is that better policy would directly result from the reduction in bullshit (which is the main reason we have done so little about climate to date).

  77. Willard, the G7 and western democracies are not just financing fossil fuel projects, they’re exporting fossil fuels to developing nations. How about a ban on all exports and imports on fossil fuels?
    Ben’s link is interesting. Second chart says Germany reduced old-school power generation by 17 GW. Only 4GW of that reduction were coal and mineral oil, the rest was from shuttering nuclear.
    Over the same period, electricity consumption was reduced a bit.
    To compensate for closing 17GW of fossil fuel and nuclear power capacity, Germany installed 101.3GW of renewable capacity and added 9.3 GW of additional natural gas capacity.
    Extrapolating, to get rid of the remaining 59GW of coal, oil and nuclear power plant capacity, Germany will have to install an additional 353GW of renewable capacity plus 32.4GW of additional natural gas. That’s about 98,000 new windmills if Fosen Vind is any guide to how many windmills you need for a GW of capacity.
    Those numbers certainly explain why Germany and France are financing and fighting for Nord Stream 2. Do Germans know they’re only a fourth of the way through the amount of spending necessary? Do they know their renewable plan is really just a switch from domestic nuclear and coal to Russian natural gas?

  78. Germany is a useful yardstick of how fast you can build out a load of renewables if that is the way you want to go low-carbon:

    It could go much faster. The last two governments have dramatically worsened the rules to reduce the speed of the transition to renewable energy. That is part of the reason why the German people are rising up against the current government, which is working for the economic elites.

  79. Willard says:

    > How about a ban on all exports and imports on fossil fuels?

    So many infelicities is so few words, JeffN. Something like a slippery slope rolled into whataboutism to echo “but China” or “but the poor.” I would bet it’s a record if I did not know about the contrarian capacity to generate renewable squirrels. And then there’s the seemingless deflection toward all these Questions you’re Just Asking.

    Yet we both know that reducing animal-based food is the single most important step toward a carbon-neutral world:

    The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

    After all these years, do you still think your leading questions will distract me from getting my points across?

  80. Marco says:

    Jeff, you forget one tiny little detail: Germany has become a major net electricity exporter (chart further down).

  81. anoilman says:

    jeffnsails850: You can’t extrapolate the future of German energy production from those graphs. For instance… they do not show geopolitical events do they?
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-energy-consumption-and-power-mix-charts

    Your first assumption is that everything Germany could possibly do has been done. (Not true at all.)
    – A better understanding of the requirements for interconnected grids, and how to deal with those issues is becoming apparent.
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/dossiers/energy-transition-and-germanys-power-grid

    Your second assumption is that everything in the future must be exactly the same as it was done in the past. (Also, not true.)
    – Don’t get me going on load shifting… we all know that works… But many new technologies and and improvements to technologies are coming on line, like low cost storage. And how about those super high capacity factor wind turbines? (They are taller for a reason.)
    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/3/8/17084158/wind-turbine-power-energy-blades

    Your third assumption is that nothing else is happening in Germany which might affect emissions. (You guessed it… not true.)
    – I can’t predict the future… but looking at the past we can see that Merkel made an about face on her support nuclear for 2 reasons, one was broad support to do so, and the other was a serious wish to be re-elected.
    https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-nuclear-phase-out-explained/a-39171204

    If you actually look at the problems Germany is facing then you’d see that they need hefty changes to their grid, and how their grid interconnects with other grids, and after that there will be geopolitical issues with using renewables as you cannot source all your energy needs locally. To the best of my knowledge Germany faces a much harsher set of issues for the future regarding grid upgrades, however, interconnectedness and technology improvements would ease off the worst and most expensive issues.

    You should also note that I haven’t talked about anything vaguely like your, extrapolated from the past, numbers, as they are devoid of the actual reality Germany is facing. The only thing we can say with certainty is that the massive German expense on renewables isn’t hurting their economy. So why aren’t doing more ourselves?

  82. anoilman- Germany has 59 GW of coal, oil and nuclear to replace to follow Green mandates. They’ve reduce capacity from those three by 17GW and needed 9.3GW of new natural gas capacity to do it.
    You are correct in that Germany will have to build many expensive grid improvements, much storage, and much much more renewable capacity. They have only just started spending on renewables if they really expect to replace coal and nukes with it.
    Which is why they’re building gas infrastructure as fast as they can.

    Hi Willard, the US also exports meat the the nation I’m not allowed to mention. I’m game, a global ban on the import/export of meat and fossil fuels. The Aussies are on line one, are you in?

  83. izen says:

    @-jeffn
    “You are correct in that Germany will have to build many expensive grid improvements, much storage, and much much more renewable capacity.”

    In what way is it ‘expensive’?
    The building of improved infrastructure, whether it is fast broadband, roads, the original integrated national grid or water treatment plant has historically always been a net gain both financially and in terms of improved quality of life for the general public.
    It creates jobs for the workers building the improved infrastructure, it creates money for the businesses making the stuff required, and it improves the service available from that infrastructure.

    Shirely it is not beyond the ingenuity of existing business to game the system to benefit from the building of new improved stuff. That certainly happened with the UK Clean Air Act, the requirement to replace old coal fired furnaces and household fireplaces enabled the smarter players in the industry to profit significantly from all the new work and new technology.

    What objection was there to the interstate highway system instigated by Eisenhower in the 1956 Federal road act ? The total cost in today’s money was over 500 billion dollars, expensive, but for every dollar spent far more was earned by the improved system of distribution and transport both for the individual and business.
    You sound like someone who knows the price of improved infrastructure, but not its value.

  84. Joshua says:

    izen –

    > You sound like someone who knows the price of improved infrastructure, but not its value.

    Ah, once again, the complication of distinguishing price from cost (including consideration of positive and negative externalities).

    Calculating cost requires quantifying value. One day I’ll find a “skeptic” who takes that seriously. Hasn’t happened yet

  85. Ben McMillan says:

    Victor Venema: OK, but Germany in go-slow-mode is still doing pretty well compared to most anyone else.

    Most places (including Germany/UK) look like they will keep lots of gas generation capacity in the short/medium term to act as backup. But it will just run at ever decreasing capacity factors. Seems to be the cheapest way of meeting near-term climate targets.

    In places like the UK the electricity supply is low-enough carbon intensity that the big question becomes how to de-carbonise things like aircraft and concrete instead. And food!

    That is where XRs 12-year target looks pretty ‘extreme’: almost everyone really would have to stop flying. But if you really think that you are in an emergency situation, that doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

  86. izen- your argument works great if you’re building things you really need. The interstate highway network actually went somewhere. The grid improvements you mention are (mostly) unnecessary. You only have to do them to make renewables work, but renewables are not the only alternatives to coal (and don’t even make the grade of being a true alternative).
    Nukes are off the table, so they’re building natural gas turbines and the infrastructure to support them.

    Joshua- what’s the climate externality cost of Germany’s nuclear power plants, and how does it improve by replacing it with natural gas?

  87. anoilman says:

    jeffnsails850: So first, you agree that you are wrong. You can’t predict the future from past graphs. Gosh.. thinking like that could lead to a world financial crisis… Its not like that ever happened, right?

    It clearly follows that you also agree that they do not need as much power as you made up. (Your statement “Germany has 59 GW of coal, oil and nuclear to replace” is clearly wrong.) Since you agree that you wrongly assumed that all power must be produced and consumed as it is now, and you agree that you are wrong that nothing about energy use will change (political\technical changes are coming).

    Next, you should the links I provided, and I highly recommend you learn about renewables and also how grids work. You have very obvious gaps in your understanding.

    Germany is throwing away renewable power now, because they have too much. If they add more renewables now, then they will throw away more. (…aand that is what you are recommending.) The grid really is where their problem is, not renewables.

    If you look around the globe, its the same concern, and experts who actually work on this are looking for solutions. As per ecoquant’s post the other day, here’s how they improve energy reliability, and the reduce waste that you are so oblivious to;
    https://energyathaas.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/the-little-energy-market-that-could/

  88. anoilman says:

    jeff.. Really! Stop making stuff up! “The grid improvements you mention are (mostly) unnecessary. You only have to do them to make renewables work, but renewables are not the only alternatives to coal (and don’t even make the grade of being a true alternative).”

    You absolutely have to upgrade any grid because they also ALL suffer from the same problems. Especially if they use fossil fuels. Here’s a battery for a coal power plant to deal with peak demand;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruachan_Power_Station

    The Tesla Battery is making huge money by stabilizing fossil fuels, and as luck would have it undercutting price fixing the incumbents have been getting up to.
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-big-battery-pulled-in-29-million-in-revenue-in-2018-2018/
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/sep/27/south-australias-tesla-battery-on-track-to-make-back-a-third-of-cost-in-a-year

    Stops big nasty fossil fuel price fixing in its tracks!
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/06/how-teslas-big-battery-is-bringing-australias-gas-cartel-to-heel

  89. David B. Benson says:

    anoilman — I copied the links you provided to the BNC Discussion Forum Australian grid thread
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/678/australian-grid?page=3#post-5980
    and used the occasion as an opportunity to point out that there is no cartel but rather a functioning, open, power market.

  90. David B. Benson says:

    Applying small nuclear reactors for many applications:
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/405/smr-small-modular-reactors?page=4#post-5984

    The talk writeup is particularly good.

  91. Ben McMillan says:

    There is info about curtailment/spilled wind/solar production in Germany in:
    https://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/DE/Sachgebiete/ElektrizitaetundGas/Unternehmen_Institutionen/ErneuerbareEnergien/ZahlenDatenInformationen/zahlenunddaten-node.html
    (see section 9.1 of the “EEG in Zahlen 2017”)
    It adds up to about 6% of renewable production in 2017.

    The advances in battery tech definitely look promising: a lot of the challenges Australia has been experiencing have been issues to do with system strength, frequency response, and the Tesla battery is now dominating the local market in these ‘ancillary services’, despite being fairly ‘small’.

    Being able to turn off idling turbines, rather than having them spinning ‘just in case’ is a pretty big deal.

  92. Jim Hunt says:

    Ben,

    You’re touching on my specialist subject again!

    What do you make of this recent advance in “mobile” battery storage technology displayed in the new Triodos Bank car park outside Utrecht in the Netherlands?

    http://www.V2G.co.uk/2019/09/triodos-new-car-park-with-solar-powered-ac-v2g/

  93. Jim Hunt says:

    Meanwhile over on Twitter David Rose justifies his unjustified attack on Tamsin thusly:

    If we went to net zero by 2025, billions would starve to death. The only way to enforce this would be by a global dictatorship. XR is led by revolutionaries who exploit CC as a way to realise their real goals of smashing democracy and civilisation. The propaganda they put out exaggerates the immediate risk and makes claims that in no way accord with the IPCC. IMHO you have indulged them and given them spurious credibility, even in the director’s cut. You are a wonderful person and we all love you, but this doesn’t change my views.

    The cat appears to have got Viscount Ridley’s tongue, on this contentious issue at least.

  94. Jim Hunt says:

    Should anyone else in here wish to watch the Nobel Peace Prize announcement it is being live streamed at:

  95. Ben McMillan says:

    Jim Hunt: I think things like V2G, demand management, and power-to-X are probably going to make most of the storage that you see in ‘2050 grid’ papers unnecessary. Looks like a lot of conventional approaches to managing the power grid are going to be ‘disruptively replaced’.

    They aren’t ‘necessary’ per se, but are going to make the energy revolution considerably cheaper.

  96. Jim Hunt says:

    BREAKING NEWS:

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

  97. izen says:

    @-“XR is led by revolutionaries who exploit CC as a way to realise their real goals of smashing democracy and civilisation.” David Rose.

    It is amazing how often this accusation is made of ANY group that takes action that challenges the status quo.
    I don’t discount the possibility that there are people involved who want to ‘smash’ civilisation, I do doubt their apparent ability to become the leaders of so many past movements that have striven to change some aspect of current society because of a perceived problems and injustice.
    The workers Union movement in the 1800s, the civil rights movement in the 1960s, even feminist groups back to the time of suffrage movement campaigning for the Vote.

    It is the classic conspiracy theory used to smear the ‘opposition’. It allows the believer to accept that there are reasonable people on among their opponents, even that most of the group and some members -“… are a wonderful person and we all love you”
    But that most of the members of such movements are ‘useful idiots’ who are really led by a small secret cabal of extremists out to destroy democracy, civilisation, and probably all human life as we know it.

    Such conspiracy beliefs provide a useful solution to those who are opposed to movements that campaign for some social change. They may be aware that the vast majority of their opponents are ‘good’ people whose actions are rooted in a rational ethical argument, but for them to still oppose such movements, and attack them in the press/media, the accusation that the shadowy undefined concept of their ‘leaders’ are baby-eatin satanists resolves the internal contradiction.
    It also provides the self-affirming reassurance that if your opponents are led by such an evil force, then how wondrously good and noble you are for opposing them !

  98. jacksmith4tx says:

    I highly recommend everyone to take a moment to read this essay by Robert Pollack. He’s a biologist and author (The Course of Nature) who has grasped the fundamental problem of a finite planet overrun with a species which values growth and consumerism over everything else.
    https://www.edge.org/conversation/robert_pollack-rethinking-our-vision-of-success
    He answers my question posited above, “What would be a optimal population of humans to make the available resources last the longest?”

  99. The commentary around XR protesters in Australia is becoming quite extreme and fascistic.
    It is looking like some may even be gaoled for relatively minor infringements of public order and causing inconvenience. Politicians of both major parties are acting quite crazed about these relatively tame acts of civil disobedience.
    The powers that be are threatening all sorts of draconian measures to stifle any dissent.
    ….and we still have no climate change or energy policy worth calling policy.

    These are just a couple of examples and I won’t bother trying to find the various crazy things our Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has been saying…he is an extremist.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-11/extinction-rebellion-protester-eric-herbert-sentenced-probation/11595318
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-09/extinction-rebellion-protest-brisbane-annastacia-palaszczuk-laws/11585826
    Former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was arrested as part of this week’s Extinction Rebellion protests. Here, he explains why. https://junkee.com/extinction-rebellion-scott-ludlam/224636

    At a time that it is being reported that The Rural Fire Service said that across the bushfire season to date, a total of 89 homes had been burnt down in New South Wales alone, and 2 people so far have lost their lives, towns have run out of water, generally herbivorous wildlife is eating the intestinal contents of other dead herbivores, bad stuff, bad stuff,etc…

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/devastated-bushfires-destroy-at-least-45-homes-in-northern-nsw-20191011-p52zvj.html

    ..and if anyone’s interested in a recent study on changing fire behaviour in Aust.
    ‘Understanding the variability of Australian fire weather between 1973 and 2017’ https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222328

    What was mawkishly amusing was the Center for Strategic and International Studies calling their talk ‘An Ocean of Change: How Climate Change is Upending our View’
    Even they are starting to panic.

  100. anoilman- no, you do not need a battery to help a natural gas turbine deal with peaking. Nor do you need a grid connection to Spain, a man-made island in the North Sea and dozens of pumped hydro facilities in the mountains.
    Germany’s dilemma is the one we all have known about for a very, very long time- the costs and engineering challenges of switching that last 60-70% of electricity production to renewables are an order of magnitude higher than the cost of that first 30-40%.
    Instead of dealing with that and arguing for a mix of alternatives, XR et al say ignore it and forge ahead. That’s a denial strategy.

  101. verytallguy says:

    jeffnsails850

    Instead of dealing with that and arguing for a mix of alternatives, XR et al say ignore it and forge ahead.

    Funny, I wasn’t aware that XR had an energy policy, let alone this one.

    As you know better, could you provide a link?

    Thanks

  102. Willard says:

    Speaking of denial strategies, I wonder what kings would look on bikes:

  103. verytallguy says:

    Dunno about a king on a bike, but there are Queens and Princesses on bikes

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

  104. Jim Hunt says:

    Dunno about Kings on bikes, but here’s the King of the Netherlands waving to me from the driver’s seat of a vehicle-to-grid equipped electric car:

    http://www.V2G.co.uk/2019/03/renault-starts-v2g-charging-pilot-project-in-utrecht/

  105. VTG- I’m commenting under an original post that says this:
    “….and some of their demands seem unrealistic (we can’t get emissions to zero in 7 years)”

    But yes a coalition of leftist activists who consistently oppose natural gas and nuclear have, in this case, been vague other than a generalized call for socialism, so I am taking a leap and assuming some basic level of consistency and interest on the part of XR activists.
    I think it’s a fair assumption.

  106. Willard says:

    > I think it’s a fair assumption.

    And I think you’re just punching hippies, JeffN.

    Please desist.

  107. verytallguy says:

    What’s that Jeff? You just made it up to suit your narrative, you say?

    Shocked I am.

  108. Willard says:

    AT’s new post seems relevant:

    In other words, pursuing the aspiration of the Paris agreement would require aiming to cut global emissions in half by about 2030.

    If you also think that those countries that are richer, and have contributed more to the problem, should do more, then that might suggest that the UK should aim to do more than halve its emissions by 2030. Alternatively, it should aim to cut its emissions in half before 2030. Maybe not quite net-zero by 2025, but still a substantial reduction in emissions on a very short timescale.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/10/11/2025/

    Damn hippies. If they did not exist, we’d have to make them up.

  109. Ben McMillan says:

    Also, just to keep things in perspective, Germany uses about 900 TWh of gas a year. It generates ~80 TWh of electricity using gas per annum. So, given the usual ~50% efficiency, only about 20% of the gas gets used for electricity.

    Once you’ve got rid of coal power, the next priority is electrifying everything, not trying to get to ‘absolute purity’ in the electricity sector, because most of the emissions aren’t from the electricity sector.

    For a lot of places, if some some reason they can ‘only’ get to 50% wind and solar, and they still have 20% conventional hydro and 10% nuclear (the EU is around these figures), and that’s suddenly looking pretty good compared to the status quo.

  110. [Please don’t play the ref, Chris. No need to out yourself. We can click on your name. -W]

  111. jeffnsails850: “Germany’s dilemma is the one we all have known about for a very, very long time- the costs and engineering challenges of switching that last 60-70% of electricity production to renewables are an order of magnitude higher than the cost of that first 30-40%.

    Fortunately German engineers have a can do attitude and did not listen to you. Up to now the percentage of renewable energy produced in Germany is 47%.
    https://www.energy-charts.de/energy_pie.htm?year=2019&month=1

    You should keep your numbers up to date, so that it sounds as if the catastrophe is just around the corner, but people cannot yet proof you wrong.

    Also, you should always mention a specific country, because 47 countries already have more than 50% renewable energy, 12 more than 90%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_production_from_renewable_sources

  112. anoilman says:

    jeffnsails850: Stop making stuff up. You really really should look at how grids work before talking about them.

    You’re saying you don’t need natural gas plants to help with peaking? Do tell. Why do we use them I wonder? Oh right! A natural gas power plant is a PEAKING POWER PLANT for coal!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaking_power_plant#Types
    This sums up renewables; “there is a corresponding increase in the need for peaking or load following power plants and the use of a grid intertie”

    So… if you have a 5GW coal power plant, you must include your plan for its constant failure. Its down 50 days a year, and 25 of those days are at random. So what do you do? Well, you build 2 more 5GW plants, at different locations (this reduces grid costs… but also the reason behind them existing today). Then you need peaking power plants to deal with peaks, and sudden demand shifts. Existing peak supplies for coal include pump storage in the mountains, and natural gas. Lastly, while most regions try to remain autonomous we have grid inter-ties to maintain supply even if just for emergencies.

    The solutions to renewable issues aren’t new, they are the exact same as fossil fuels.

    There are many many ways to reduce the outlined costs as they are known today. [Load shift, storage, efficiency, grid expansion.] All of which is happening today, and fossil fuels are hardly driving grid improvements.

    Did you also notice that renewables have improved Germany’s grid stability? Yeah, they have problems today than they did with coal and natural gas. Funny huh?

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