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Comments 551 to 600:

  1. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONeill, thank's for the reading references.

    Dr Abbott is a physicist and electronics engineer, according to his wikipedia page. I think a physics degree would be pretty ideal to review nuclear power. People directly specialising in the industry have vested interests so would not be that objective (no disrespect intended).

    It doesn't matter anyway. His qualifications and background is not the point and neither proves him right or wrong,  and what counts is what he has published. It has not been formally refuted, which leaves the suspicion that the nuclear advocates find it hard to refute.

    I'm pretty agnostic on nuclear power, in the sense of neither being particularly for or against it. Really I'm just an interested observer on this issue. We could debate the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power forever, and there are many of them going both ways. But right now in America they are slow and expensive to build, and some article I read claimed this was largely due to poor project and cost management.

    I'm not convinced nuclear eanergy has enough fundamental, overwhelming  advantages such that government should somehow favour it, so it seems like its up to the industry to sort its own problems out.

    Nuclear energy is a complicated debate, but I think the safety concern is still the main issue. If the world had thousands of reactors using current known technology, more accidents would be inevitable with the significant potential for something far worse than chernobyl. The public are not stupid, they probably sense this, and so you get resistance at least in western democracies which have free speech.

    I don't see that nuclear energy has enough advantages such that governments would have some right to force nuclear power onto an unwilling population. So basically the nuclear issue is rather political in the west, like a lot of things, (nimbyism) and this resistance to nuclear power can probably only be overcome with safer designs as opposed to endlessly debating the advantages and disadvantages at a technical and cost level.

  2. New Video: Hot Ocean, Hurricanes, Houston, and Harvey

    nigelj@2: I think you're right the first time, and thanks for posting that astounding finding (I think hurricanes are just a class of 'tropical storm' with max windspeed >119 km/h).

  3. Climate Science blogs around the world


    Thanks, but Klimafakten and Cienciaeclima were already included in the first article featuring climate science websites. Neither nor the climate change content of Alpenverein quite fit the blog- or the website category I had in mind for the posts.

  4. Climate Science blogs around the world

  5. Climate Science blogs around the world

    More links here:

  6. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    D Abbott's field of expertise appears to be medical imaging and terahertz waves, and his current home page has no reference to energy systems, climate, or nuclear power. He's more interested in cryptanalysis and solving a cold-case body mystery. I had to track his publications list down and scroll to 2011 to find any reference to this paper, to be sure it was the same D Abbott. There must be enough other venues for those concerned to battle it out.

  7. michael sweet at 22:50 PM on 7 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONiel,

    I will have to go a long time back at BraveNewClimate, I cannot find a pro-Nuclear post there since 2014.  It says a lot that Barry Brooks  has given up on Nuclear.  James Hansen's most recent (2016) paper on nuclear only claims "Some studies project that a doubling to quadrupling of nuclear energy output is required" source, hardly a major source of energy. Like Scaddenp I look forward to seeing peer reviewed studies.

    Since nuclear supporters now claim only a small amout of power from nuclear we have to look at the big picture. In a wind and solar world  stored power on windless nights is most valuable.  Baseload, as supplied by nuclear, is not valuable at all.  That is why even with small wind penetration nuclear plants go out of business.

    We do not have to address that current nuclear designs are unbuidable, that nuclear cannot be built on a timeline or budget, they have no plan for their waste or that nuclear is impratical in countries like Syria, Zimbabwe and Myanmar (all issues that Abbott left out).

    In addition to Abbotts' issues, nuclear is not economic.   Nuclear engineers completely failed at their curret "proof of principle" plants in the USA and Europe. Existing plants are losing money and are at the end of their design life.


    Should I write an article about Abbott 2011so that these discussions can  be contained and not repeated?  Unfortunately, it would be negative about nuclear.  Nuclear proponents have not seen fit to write an article promoting nuclear.

  8. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONeill - but any published rebuttals to Abbott? Abbott is 2011 - surely nuclear science proponents could have hit IEEE with a full rebuttal if Abbott is off mark by now?

  9. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    nigelj - 'M Sweet @2, thats a good debunking. I just wanted to see if anyone could tear it apart.'

    I posted a rebuttal of ( almost ) all of Abbott 2011's points last night, but it seems to be MIA. If it doesn't show up i could try rewriting it - I didn't save it. Alternatively, you could read back issues of Barry Brook's blog, BraveNewClimate. Brook was at Adelaide Uni with Abbott, and is at the top of his credits list at the end of the paper, for people he's had discussions with. Having spent some time in Adelaide myself, I can see how someone there might think, like Abbott, that concentrating solar thermal is the only realistic energy future for mankind. For most other places it patently is not.

  10. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    CBDunkerson -

    The Hanford Engineer Works reactors were plutonium production reactors, not power reactors. From Wikipedia -'The N-Reactor  began production in 1963...It was a one-of-a-kind design in the U.S., being both a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons and, from 1966, producing electricity to feed the civilian power grid.'

  11. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Well the key to HDR is fracking and I guess tight-oil/shale gas has made significant improvements to that cost. This is a tech that is mining heat and it is hardly unlimited. The lifetime of the plant is going to be a significant factor in the cost as well. Like nuclear, it seems to have trouble attracting investors.

  12. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    The UK developed nuclear weapons in 1952, and the first nuclear power plant in 1956, however the main purpose of the nuclear plant was to produce weapons grade plutonium.

  13. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels


    "I have never seen a response to Abbotts clain that materials are severely limited for nuclear energy."

    I'm not even within slingshot distance of an expert on the subject, but it's my understanding that most of the uranium in a load of reactor fuel is wasted when it's removed as "waste".  My (quite vague) understanding is that it becomes unuseable for the intended reactions, but contains plutonium and other fissionable elements.  It is possible to design a reactor that produces more fissionable fuel going out than is loaded going in, but the fuel will be plutonium. It's also possible to re-refine the "waste" from a conventional reactor and recover fuel (probably Plutonium), but this requires reproccessing. 

    Thus you have the problem of handling extremely nasty stuff, and if you have one or three disloyal or corruptible people in the chain, or merely a few idiots, there's a potentially grave problem. I believe France reprocesses fuel, we do not. 

    In any case, nuclear in the US is uneconomical, the layers of safety to make it idiot-proof increase the cost so much that a fossil-fired plant is cheaper, even including the lifetime fuel cost.  Nukes are a fantastic idea on paper, but at least here in the US I believe they don't have a future. 

  14. Philippe Chantreau at 02:21 AM on 7 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels


    Certainly that can be improved on for any source. However, I don't think HDR is anywhere near as bad as nuclear on that front.

  15. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    John ONeil wrote: "The USA didn't have nuclear power when they got the bomb."

    Sorry, but you've got incorrect information. The plutonium used in the first nuclear bombs was produced by the nuclear power reactors at the Hanford Engineer Works in Washington. I haven't checked all the other countries you list, but I suspect that most of them also had nuclear power reactors before they had nuclear weapons... because early on it was easier to produce weapons grade plutonium in a reactor than to enrich uranium sufficiently.

    In any case, the theoretical possibility of developing nuclear weapons without nuclear power does nothing to change the fact that development of nuclear power provides everything needed to develop nuclear weapons.

    Negotiating with countries to avoid nuclear confrontation is all well and good, but ignores the fact that global nuclear proliferation would mean rebel and terrorist groups would also inevitably get access to nuclear weapons... and then inevitably use them.

  16. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    'If the entire world is run on nuclear power then the entire world will have access to nuclear weapons. That's inherently unsafe.' 

    The USA didn't have nuclear power when they got the bomb. Neither did the Soviet Union, the UK, France, China, India, Israel, or North Korea. That genie is out of the bottle, like it or not. If a country with an economy the size of North Korea's can develop a nuclear weapon, so could most of the rest. Repugnant as it might be, we'll just have to learn to negociate with everyone else.

  17. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Jef,  right now if someone wants a new car it's better they buy an electric vehicle than petrol. Whats more, there are many practical reasons to buy an ev as well as environmentally conscious reasons, so it seems plausible that we could see a huge transition to ev's in the next few decades.

    But yes you are right current rates of per capita resource use  are not sustainable long term, and are going to lead to a crash of some sort. Population growth is also obviously not sustainable. But its going to be hard convincing people to make sweeping changes to lifestyles, and it will probably take time. I think humanity has to solve problems in incremental steps, and right now electric cars are easy enough really.

    Like so many basically sound ideas,  I think the idea of markets has sort of been highjacked to justify absurdities and exploitation. And the danger with the climate problem is people will think cap and trade will "sort it out" so theres nothing for individuals to worry about. Fortunately, there are at least messages to reduce carbon footprints. The larger problem is lobby groups who twist the idea of free markets to mean any market intervention must be wrong, and so they oppose wind power subsidies and cap and trade or carbon taxes.


  18. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    There is nothing wrong with EVs or solar per se. The problem is in the fact that they are employed and trumpeted (wow thats a loaded word now) as a way to sustain our existing paradigm, our existing lifestyle of consumption. The message people take away is that we don't need to worry the "market" will solve our problems. 

    This kind of thinking will insure human extenction.

  19. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Yes, I'm middle aged, and safer and better nuclear power has been promised for so long now its becoming clear there must be fundamental technical and / or cost barriers to this.

    I'm a bit of a nuclear energy sceptic at heart, but I also try to keep an open mind on nuclear energy, and avoid all the psychologcal pitfalls of confirmation bias and so on.

    However I read this terrible policy just two minutes ago: 'Economy crippling' and 'third grade' work: Conservatives pan Trump's move to save failing coal and nuclear plants

    Main points:

    *President Donald Trump has issued an order to keep failing coal and nuclear power plants open, potentially by using emergency powers.

    *Conservative and libertarian think tanks panned the plan as "economy-crippling central planning" and the intellectual work of a "third grade" student.

    * Some conservatives who study policy suggested the Trump administration is scrambling to fulfill his campaign promise to revive the coal industry.

    Sigh. What can you say to such things? I'm no libertarian, however I never thought I would see draconican, politicised central planning policies like this again in my lifetime. Gotta go now and do the shopping.

  20. michael sweet at 08:54 AM on 6 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels


    In fact the materials needed for a renewable energy world have been assessed.  Jacobson et al 2011 discusses this topic.

    Jacobson found that all materials needed exist in sufficient quantity except for the rare earth metals needed for the magnets in wind turbines.  Since that time the builders of wind turbines have changed their designs to use less rare earth metals so that is no longer an issue.  I have not seen a peer reviewed challenge to Jacobson's conclusion since then.  In my experience this issue is no longer discussed so I presume that the matter is considered settled.  Occasionally you see someone claim that materials are limited in a public discussion like Schellenburger's essay which is not peer reviewed.  That just shows that they are not informed on the facts.

    As I said, I have never seen a response to Abbotts clain that materials are severely limited for nuclear energy.  Since his claim has not been challenged I presume it is correct.  In any case, many more rare elements are used in a nuclear plant than in renewable installations.

    The bottom line for me is that nuclear is not economic. 

    I am getting old and ever since I was a child nuclear engineers have promised that cheap, safe power was just around the corner.  I no longer believe their claims.  The reactors at Fukushima were placed in areas where a prudent engineer would have known that they were unsafe because of tsunamis. 

  21. New Video: Hot Ocean, Hurricanes, Houston, and Harvey

    Correction: The 100% and 300% increase is for  "tropical storms worldwide"

  22. New Video: Hot Ocean, Hurricanes, Houston, and Harvey

    Related research: Climate scientists: A global increase in the most intense tropical storms due to global warming is not just predicted by models but is already happening.

    According to this research, theres's already been a 100% increase in the frequency of category 4 hurricanes, and a 300% increase in the frequency of category five hurricanes. Ouch!

  23. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    phillipe - just the minor problem of price. That would appear to be holding back any actual development.

  24. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Nigel 1, 4 ―

    I feel your observations are worthy. I worked for several years in the engineering of nuclear power stations, altho never on matters concerning the nuclear reactions. Mostly on matters of seismic resilience (a fascinating subject, unfortunately not relevant). But because I am forever curious and incurably studious, I learned quite a lot. Mostly, that what arguments for and against nuclear power have in common is that both are like dogs widdling on the wrong fire hydrants. They tend to make me think of veganism, halalism, holier-than-thou-ism, et alia, like those wee-hours college dorm arguments I remember from the 1950's. More like dumb religion (full of sound and fury, signifying nothing), not at all like real religion (like dumb religion, sex and politcs, not to be discussed at the table).

    Myself, I'm a fan of nuclear fission power, nuclear fusion power, solar power, geothermal power, wind power, ocean power, flower power, et alia. But mostly I am a fan of conservation. Like quitting smoking rather than praying for safe cigarets.

  25. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels


    "the 'materials problem' for wind and solar power is largely fictional."

    Yes or I would say its not a pressing problem. However its wise to appreciate rare earths have only about 80 years of supply left on the basis of known reserves. Copper has about 40 years left, although its easy to recycle. Obviously there are upper limits because minerals are not infinite. 

    However its worse for uranium, with only 20 years left, and recycling / reprocessing is more difficult than other materials.  All according to this data.

    And yes the numbers are all probably pessimistic and more reserves will be discovered, but these things are still limited resources, and  it demonstrates some of the longer term challenges humanity will encounter.

    "If the entire world is run on nuclear power, then the entire world will have access to nuclear weapons. That's inherently unsafe."

    Good point. The safety issue is also complicated. In fact nuclear energy causes fewer deaths per capita than other forms of energy, an argument used by the advocates, but accidents are environmentally devastating on farming land, and entire towns or cities have to be abandoned. And so we have huge public opposition which is undestandable I think, and why nuclear power probably has a limited future in democratic countries. 

  26. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    nigelj, the 'materials problem' for wind and solar power is largely fictional. The various 'rare earth' materials could be mined from numerous other sources around the world... there just hasn't been a need / market for anyone to do so to date. Other limitations, especially for solar, only apply to the 'currently most popular' components. Completely different construction methods and materials can be used to produce solar panels which are currently almost as good, and which with further research may some day surpass the currently leading designs.

    As to nuclear overcoming its safety issue... it can't. Maybe we could come up with a fool-proof design to prevent accidents. Maybe some safe way of dealing with radioactive waste could be devised. Maybe we could find some way to overcome the cost and limited fuel supply problems and thus avoid their economic impact. Nuclear would still never be 'safe'. If the entire world is run on nuclear power then the entire world will have access to nuclear weapons. That's inherently unsafe.

  27. Philippe Chantreau at 23:31 PM on 5 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    "Nothing is ideal really unless you have a geothermal field perhaps."

    Or you just create said field. That's the idea behind enhanced geothermal or Hot Dry Rock, which is a far better solution than anything else existing today: smaller ground footprint than solar or wind, comparable span of useful life, can be readily integrated as baseline, not weather dependent, no emissions beyond that needed to build (which are far lower than those of nuclear), no waste, minimal safety issues, no adverse impact on wildlife.

  28. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    M Sweet @2, thats a good debunking. I just wanted to see if anyone could tear it apart.  It's  clear solar and wind is winning in terms of costs and quick construction.

    Bit if nuclear could overcome its difficulties, including the safety issue would you have an objection?

    Remember although uranium etc is a limited resources, so are some of the materials in wind and solar power. Nothing is ideal really unless you have a geothermal field perhaps.

    However I think its best a decision for generating companies whether they choose wind, solar nuclear or whatever or some combination. But  anything is preferable to fossil fuels.

  29. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    Hey Brett, I have an EV. Right now with warmer temperatures I'm sitting at nearly 190 MPGe with a projected total range of 345. Are there infrastructure Montana, absolutely but it's been my daily driver since December 1.

  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #22

    Unfortunately, although the world isn't buying into his crazy ideas, he has enough syncophants in critical appointments to kneecap the USA's response to the looming crisis.

  31. michael sweet at 07:48 AM on 5 June 2018
    The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels


    Schellenburger has so many errors that it is impossible to address them.  Read Abbott 2011 which lilsts about 13 reasons why a nuclear utopia is impossible because there are not enough materials to build the plants, places to site them or enough fuel for them, among other issues.   Schellenburger does not address any of them.  For only one, if we built the 15,000 needed reactors we would expect a major accident (like Fukashima) somewhere every month.  I have never heard of or seen a reply to Abbott 2011 from a nuclear supporter.

    They have found it impossible to build "safe" generation 4 nuclear plants.  The Chinese and India are building "unsafe" (according to nuclear supporters) since generation 4 is unbuildable.  Nuclear plants cost more to run than it costs to build and run renewable energy.  Nuclear plants cost too much to build: in the USA the last two plants under construction have already added 20% to the energy bills of theiir unfortunate customers and they will not begin generating for at least 4 years, if ever.  In my area customers paid $1.5 billion for a nuclear plant where they never applied for a permit to build it.

    Schellenburger cries that wind and solar have not been build out much in the past when they were not economic.  Now, just as wind and solar have become economic,  he wants to build nuclear when it is even more uneconomic.   Renewable is now the cheapest power on earth.  This article in the Guardian says that the value of fossil fuel in the ground will collapse and possibly cause an economic problem because fossil fuels will be replaced by renewable in the next 20 years. (peer reviewed article: Macroeconomic impact of stranded fossil fuel assets. Nature Climate Change, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0182-1)

    Why does the value of solar and wind go down as they penetrate the market?  Because they are so much cheaper to produce that they depress the price.  People will certainly complain when their energy bills go down 50%.  That depression of the price of energy is why coal and nuclear are going out of business in the US.

    Most peer reviewed articles on future energy regard nuclear as a non-starter. 

  32. The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

    While I'm impressed with solar and wind power, the following article is a fascinating read on why Schellenberger has become a convert to nuclear power, and he makes some rather persuasive points. Can anyone find fault with his views?

  33. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #22

    When talking about rivers drying up, one must distinguish between rivers that have less annual flow and those that have the same or even greater flow but not when the water is most needed.  In the latter case there is a furry little solution that not only replaces glaciers but does so much more.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] You have been warned before on this. By all means join the conversation and provide links to your own material where it is directly relevant to the discussion with more material than will easily go into a comment. However, using every comment as a vehicle to advertize your own blog is discourteous. Readers will simply ignore your comments, treating them as spam. If you persist, we will too.

  34. One Planet Only Forever at 00:20 AM on 5 June 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22


    There is a more effective action than 'edging up the price of fossil fuels'. But it also faces perception challenges.

    Leaders simply acting to increase the cost of anything face 'popularity challenges'. Their opponents can easily win motivated sure to vote voters simply by saying they will cancel the increased costs (almost always called a tax to trigger an emotion based response because everyone has been trained to dislike taxes) imposed on the poor consumer by that nasty leader, or in a place like Alberta say they would never act in a way that challenges the profitability of the local fossil fuel industry, they would do everything they could to support such an industry be as popular and profitable as possible.

    A better action is the Fee-Rebate approach, where the carbon fee is redistributed equally to every citizen. With that approach the carbon fee can actually be rapidly increased because people should understand that only the people consuming more than the average amount pay a penalty, and the ones consuming far less than average get a big bonus.

    That is the policy implemented in Alberta. And they called it the carbon levy and rebate program. But the Unite the Right opponents of Alberta's current leadership are succeeding is getting people to call it a Tax and only see the cost side of that policy. I regularly come across Albertans who say the carbon tax (they do not call it a levy) penalizes the poor. When I explain that the poorest actually benefit from the program, some people shift swiftly to declaring it to be an unacceptable wealth transfer (flipping almost instantly from declaring their interest in the plight of the poor to clearly disliking actions that help the poor - because their primary motivation is selfish and their claim making is just misleading marketing, and they know that it is)

    What that indicates to me is that the socioeconomic political systems currently ruling the planet encourage people to develop more extreme selfish self-interest. And that selfishness seriously challenges a person's ability to be helpful. It can lead them to critically think about how things 'negatively affect them personally' and be skeptical of any action that does not 'appear to them' to increase their opportunity to continue or increase the activities they developed a desire and taste for enjoying.

  35. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #22

    Trump is quitting many key sensible international agreements, for example: Psychopaths trade war’ - Top economist furious at Donald Trump ‘illegal’ economic moves

    Don't shoot me I'm just the messenger. But this is what really caught my attention in the article: “By instinct, we strive to make sense of Trump’s nonsense, implicitly assuming some hidden strategy. There is none."

    This will apply equally to his climate policies. The good news is it looks like the world isn't buying into any of it. 

  36. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    Reb Baron @18,  ok those are good points, particularly the use of low quality arable land for cattle, and going back more to mixed farming, that  combines crops, chickens and pigs, and this is a good sustainable multi purpose model. 

    I stress test ideas, to see if they stand up to being poked at,  it doesn't mean I'm promoting vegetariansim or anything. Increasingly I'm becoming suspicious of any extreme solutions to most forms of problems. Eliminating all meat consumption completely seems as dubious as this very high meat Atkins diet. But I digress.

    However I think you are still left with the same population problems.

  37. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming


     Here is what you are missing:  Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say

    Now what do you suppose can regenerate those highly degraded croplands? You guessed it, properly managed livestock. Completely unfit for crops yet it certainly not only can be used to provide high quality food, the production of food by grazing can if done right heal the land enough that once again it can become arable! in this case it is clear. Animals always produce more because you can't produce crops there anymore at all. The land became "farmed out".

    You remove all animal husbandry and this very important tool is lost. Then we are locked into the slow slide into desertification and ultimately a crash of all human civilization as farming ends. That's not as far away as you think actually. Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues

    But what about land still capable of producing crops?

    Read that carefully. It says "IF  soil degradation continues" emphasis on the "if". And how do we reverse this trend of soil degradation? By properly integrating animal husbandry back on the farm. When you do that correctly you produce far more calories per acre than without.

    Cant see it? Look here from Australia:

    Why pasture cropping is such a Big Deal

    Read that carefully. See what is going on? The crop is still there, but you get a bonus of forages when the land isn't producing a crop! Whether sheep or cows is irrelevant. The point is that you gain extra food production you would otherwise not had, and restore fertility to the land simultaneously.

    So you get X yields PLUS the extra yields from animals.

    Same goes for many other types of animal husbandry done properly. Culls and scraps being fed to chickens and pigs, goats eating brush and weeds instead of herbicides use, Ducks weeding between rice, the list is very long. In all cases though the integrated farm produces more calories per acre sustainably than crop production alone. Always!

    Either it produces more because you can't even grow crops at all, or... it produces more because you use the animals to cycle waste material and turn it into fertility making crops grow better and gain a bonus of additional animal foods AT THE SAME TIME.

  38. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

    @nigelj #4 

    Agreed, and also agreed that this feature probably won't change.  Run "publicly financed campaigns" by the soldiers of General Public and they'll say "You want to take my money to pay those crooks to get elected."

    When I mentioned the $3 checkoff (tosses $3 of your tax into the next Presidential election matching fund) to the friend who is probably the closest to average said, in effect, that he didn't want to give then any more of his $. Any further discussion on that topic, brick wall. 

    whoops, I'm going off topic here. /end

  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

    Cutting off the supply is a bit draconian.  All that is necessary is to edge the price of fossil fuels up so that more and more people shift to the now cheaper renewable options.  A simple way to do this is to transfer the huge fossil fuel subsidies of various types from fossil fuel to renewables but this will never happen as long as we have the present system of big vested interests being able to finance the election campaigns (and other blandisments??) of the politicians.  The principle is quite simple.  Who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Self-promotional link snipped.

  40. Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way

    While I certainly agree that the media has dropped tha ball in their reporting on Climate Change - I watch a lot of CNN and MSNBC, and it is very seldom even mentioned - one of the main reasons is that they get bombarded by the deniers when they do report anything. Whether or not they are paid trolls - and I gather there is ample avidence that a lot of them are - the media outlets shy away from it just to keep the noise down. So in that way, the disinformation campaign is winning. For now. Of course, when it gets hot enough, the denial will evaporate. Unfortunately, so will everything else...

  41. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    Red Baron @16, I'm pretty sure you would get more calories per acre (or hectare)  from crop land farming, or chicken farming, as against grasslands cattle farming or indeed any conceivable form of cattle farming, no matter how efficient. The following article and research sums it up. Cattle have to eat a lot of food stocks or grasses, and burn much of it off in energy. I can't see how that would possibly change no matter how the farming is done.

    However grasslands and beef cattle farming are important as a carbon sink, thats the other side of the equation. If we want to preserve them, higher population pressure cannot help.

    Answer me a question. Why does the world need more people? Doesn't the environmental, economic, and social evidence suggest we have more than enough people ?

  42. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

    Driving by @2, I would say all those lobby groups can be a problem, whether fossil fuels, silicon valley, all pushing their interests, sometimes fair minded interests, sometimes pernicious interests. Lobbying has taken over politics, entire books have been written on this. Yes they represent "us",  but a lot of it is deceitful, and behind closed doors. 

    However the main problem is it's so tempting to take campaign money from various groups or powerful individuals, and this is necessary for all but very wealthy politicians, and then you are beholden to those groups. People may say they aren't,  but there will be huge subconscious pressure.

    The answer is strict caps on campaign donations, or better still tax payer funded election campaigns. But this probably won't happen in America.

  43. One Planet Only Forever at 04:16 AM on 4 June 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

    To defend the decision to support the Trans Mountain Pipeline to expand the rate of export of diluted bitumen from Alberta, Canadian Leaders have declared that to have a resource like that and not profit from it would be a tragedy. That sounds reasonable and can undeniably be popular and more profitable.

    All leaders potentially able to temporarily profit from damaging unsustainable 'resource exploitation' can claim the same thing. And the pursuers of profit and tax revenue can be expected to support each other making such claims.

    And it is almost always cheaper, easier or quicker to try to benefit from an unsustainable activity. And cheaper, easier and quicker can easily become more popular than alternatives.

    So the real problem is that competition for popularity and profitability can be expected to develop a chain of damaging unsustainable activity, developing massive resistance to correcting the profitable and popular activity.

    That reality is powerful evidence of the unacceptability of what so many powerful, wealthy and hoping to powerful and wealthy people want everyone to believe.

    If less ethical behaviour is allowed to compete in games of popularity and profitability, then ethics will suffer because of the competition, the less ethical proving that their way is more likely to win more.

    Requiring winners/leaders in business and politics to be the most ethical, to ethically lead, is the best chance for humanity to sustainably develop a better future. The richer, and people with more power and influence, should be required to prove that they are pushing the richest and people in the positions of most power and influence to be held to the highest degree of awareness and understanding of reality and what is required to develop a sustainable better future for all of humanity.

    It should be legally possible for the biggest Winners to have their ability to influence things terminated until they learn to 'Be the Best', regardless of their claims that they are acting in accordance with the current laws. Getting away with less ethical behaviour is the reason laws get corrected, and the correction of the laws should not be required before a less ethical winner can be corrected.

  44. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22


    " this is so frustrating and shows the grip fossil fuel lobbies have over politicians..."

    Think a moment. Why did an FF lobby come into being? While that can be answered in many ways depending on which axe is to be honed, it ultimately exists only because it has millions of people who want to buy the end products. Politicians are an expression of who the people actually are, rather than who they say they are. Of course, $$ for one's campaign make a big difference, but no one is forcing people to vote for the candidate with the biggest, most polished campaign.** Those pols, in turn, represent most of the stuff people vote for on the ground by spending their cash on, such as fossil fuel, mass quantities of cheap food, and so forth. Those industries providing stuff the people demand then have cash, some of which goes to lobbying. 

    ** You'll note that in the last US campaign, one side had (perhaps grudging) use of the most adavanced campaign machine ever assembled, plus the might of Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. They couldn't possibly lose, they were The New Lords Born To Rule.  Yet came the test, and the crown slip'd through the talons of the princely posse. 

    -— Edward Teller warned of climate change in the '50s.  It would have been trivially easy to change course then, doing it by small, painless adjustments.   

  45. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    No nigelj, you are wrong there. The current factory farming style of animal husbandry is labor efficient but not land efficient or energy efficient or even cost efficient. Overall it is mostly inefficient.

    Converting to regenerative ag in this case increases food output on less land at a lower cost and higher profit and improves that land rather than degrades it.

    We could easily support far more population, not less.

  46. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    Red Baron, this is a difficult thing. On one side of this issue, prairie style beef grazing creates a good long term carbon sink. Meat is an excellent source of protein.

    On the other side of the issue, meat is an inefficient form of calories compared to crops and has a significant carbon footprint ( but as you say it depends how its farmed). Whats more, a growing population will put pressure on available land, and this will particularly include converting areas of beef grazing to crops.

    The way out of the dilemma is this: If you want your cows, you better be promoting smaller human population size!

  47. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

    New Zealand has just implemented a ban on issuing any new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration. This supply side policy has had the predictable push back form business interests and their apologists in the media, but not hugely so, and it has not reduced the governments standing in public opinion polls. (I admit this is all a shameless promotion of my country).

    A combination of supply and demand side measures does seem the best approach to me. This is often used to resolve housing market inflation by increasing the supply of housing while dampening demand until things meet in the middle at stable prices. It also seems better strategically to use several tools, in case one tool doesn't work as well as predicted.

    Turning off the supply side of fossil fuels would intuitively seem the the simplest and best solution, but do it too fast and it would be too hard for the economy to adjust, and do it at a more managed pace and it will lead to more fuel efficient and smaller cars, and ditto more efficient electricity generation, thus prolonging emissions. Therefore you have to have demand side measures that make electric cars and renewable energy attractive, such as subsidies or tax exemptions. The UK have subsidised renewable energy with good results.

    To fund the subsidies a carbon tax makes sense, whether this is on oil companies, or more at the petrol pump as a demand side measure. I personally favour a carbon tax that gives some dividends back to the public, but also pays for renewable energy subsidies.

    I suppose its also about the art of the possible, and very heavy supply side measures would get huge push back from industry, but this is so frustrating and shows the grip fossil fuel lobbies have over politicians.

    Emissions trading is pure demand side management, and it doesn't really impress me much. It does have the virtue of simply setting a price and letting industy innovate the best solutions and in theory could be a stand alone climate solution, but it inevitably seems to lead to closed door bargaining with industry interests, and multiple industry exemptions, and is a very opaque process. I have a gut feeling that even with a high carbon price, it is just a very slow mechanism for the various price signals to trickle down into actual results, and time is a factor in the climate problem. But it could be part of a range of measures.

    I also don't like the idea of relying on just one mechanism, and emissions trading is a very complex mechanism. Commonsense tends to suggest its best to  have a range of supply and demand side measures.

  48. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    The issue is clearly what type of animal husbandry we are talking about. Managed properly Beef production can be the most effect sink, or improperly managed a very significant emissions source.

    All depends if the CAFO feedlot model is used or not.

    “The number one public enemy is the cow. But the number one tool that can save mankind is the cow. We need every cow we can get back out on the range. It is almost criminal to have them in feedlots which are inhumane, antisocial, and environmentally and economically unsound.” Allan Savory

  49. New research, May 21-27, 2018

    2 jef + mod,

    I think it is fair to at least comment on the junk science found on this list here: Impact of cutting meat intake on hidden greenhouse gas emissions in an import-reliant city

    The paper tries to make a case for consumption based accounting where production based accounting is far more appropriate. Primarily because management changes alone can change animal husbandry from a net emissions source to a net sink. It is the production that matters in this case for mitigation potential. You have posted this under the heading of Emission savings and the is no greater emissions savings than changing production from a net source to a net sink. 

    Ironically another paper on this same list Carbon footprints of grain-, forage-, and energy-based cropping systems in the North China plain

    Shows the smallest footprint for grass!

    Clearly both papers are at least partly in conflict with each other.

    I agree though that further discussion besides mentioning those papers are on the weeks list and are at least partly in conflict would be better done on the animal husbandry threads because more solid science has been posted there already.

  50. New research, May 21-27, 2018

    I am so tired of the simple minded thinking on meat consumption. It is not meat/dairy consumption that is the problem it is the CAFO standard that has been fourced on the industry so a small number of corporations can rake in massive profits.

    We need to go back to grazing livestock. Instead of growing millions of acres of grain, with all the connected FFs involved in that, then cramming it into animals we need to put the animals directly on the land. This has the effect of healthy animals and healthy meat/dairy, it also means healthy pasture lands from natural spread of manure so better CO2 up take. It could also provide millions of jobs.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Your comment is off-topic on this thread.  Please place a version on this thread, if you wish to continue this line of discussion.  Same to respondents.  Thanks!

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