Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest MeWe

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

What should we do about climate change?

Posted on 27 October 2010 by Kevin Judd

A short piece for the general audience of RTR radio, Perth, Australia.
(listen to the original audio podcast)

Climate scientists are telling us that the earth is warming, we are causing it, and we should reduce carbon dioxide emissions to lessen the effects. So what should we do?

Firstly, we should either use less energy, or use renewable energy sources, like solar-thermal generators that are now providing energy in Europe more cheaply than Nuclear generators, without the waste products. In Australia, peak energy demand is on hot summer days, when solar energy is most abundant; it makes no sense to not use solar energy to help meet this peak demand.

Most importantly, we must stop listening to disinformation. Contrary arguments have been repeatedly shown to be false and misleading. Claims that climate change is a hoax, or a conspiracy, or that climate scientists have deceived the public, is an inversion of the truth. Climate change denial is the propaganda. Ninety seven percent of scientists agree climate change is happening. The peer-reviewed evidence is overwhelming. The time for scepticism about climate change has past.

Scepticism is a good thing, all scientists are sceptics. I always encourage people to critically examine evidence and motivations. A good place to begin is the following. What is more plausible? That thousands of scientists have been fabricating evidence and theory for over a hundred years in a conspiracy to achieve, well, what exactly? Or that industries and their partners are sponsoring a disinformation campaign because they stand to lose billions of dollars in profits, if people should use less, or alternative forms of, energy? Ask yourself who stands to lose the most if the scientists' warnings are acted on? Then ask yourself who stands to lose the most if scientists' warnings are not acted on.

And keep in mind that the costs of prevention now is less than the cost of trying to fix the damage later

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO PODCAST

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

Prev  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  Next

Comments 251 to 300 out of 380:

  1. Peter Lang wrote : "I wonder if they are using fear of climate change as a means to push their other left wing agendas. I think many people are concerned about this." Comments like this (and others you have posted over at BRAVE NEW CLIMATE and here - including your refusal to give your opinion on global warming) put you squarely in the corner of the so-called skeptics like Monckton, who see conspiracies (particularly left-wing/Marxist/Communist ones - delete as applicable) everywhere. In fact, it also very telling how some so-called skeptics make such a big thing on the nuclear-power issue - either to try to highlight differences among those who accept AGW ("Look, they can't even agree on energy production : how can we trust them on anything !"); or to try to regain some of their conservative, comfort-blanket ideology by forcefully pushing a nuclear agenda they see as being anti-green and anti-lefty. Unfortunately for you, Peter Lang, you are the best advertisement for the blinkered thinking behind the 'nuclear now, whatever' thinking. Thank you.
    0 0
  2. Peter Hogarth, Woops! Yes, that was a typo on hydro. I meant to say 0% to 15%. Sorry. I agree, that hydro is extremely valuable. It has fast response (0% to 100% power in about 75 seconds). The way hydro is used in France is ideal. It is following the load changes and can do so faster than fossil fuels or nuclear. A perfect match. Pumped hydro is ideal for matching with nuclear and coal, but not economic with intermittent renewables. You may be interested in this analysis of a possible pumped hydro scheme in the Australian Snowy Mountains. It would link existing reservoirs, provide up to 8 GW of power and store up to 50GWh of energy each day. If matched with 28 GW of nuclear capacity, the two together could provide the supply meet all the National Electricity Market's current demand. [Our demand (2007) was 33 GW peak, 25 GW average, 17 GW baseload in summer and 20 GW basload in mid winter.] Don't skip the reviewer's comments because this explains why pumped hydro can be economical when matched with a reliable, low cost power supply that provides consistent power through the times of low demand and then generates from storage during peak and shoulder periods. That is, it is used daily. Many comments on this thread are highly informative too. Regarding, the management of once-used-nuclear-fuel, quokka and I both addressed that on earlier posts on this thread. If there are questions on that, we can take it up again. I feel it is a trivial issue from a technical perspective (I agree it is a major pubic concern). The price of uranium and the volatility of it is irrelevant. The fuel makes up about 3% of the cost of electricity from nuclear. Double or quadruple the price of uranium and it makes no significant difference to the cost of electricity from nuclear. There is no shortage of uranium as there is for oil, so no reason to be concerned about escalating fuel prices. That is not where the threat to nuclear is. The threat to nuclear is from political activity and public disruption. It is the threat to the investors and, therfore, the invstment risk premium they require to encourage them to invest their money in it. It is worth keeping the increasing costs in perspective. The cost of wind farms rose 25% in Australia last year (that is part of an ongoing trend). The cost of solar thermal in the USA increased 30% last year (and, remember, that is for day time, summer time power only.) The costs of renewables are far higher than nculear when you compare aon a proerly comparable basis.
    0 0
  3. #243: "France built the nuclear generating capacity at the rate of about 3GW per year." For completeness, you should point out that France was going nuclear in the early '80s, well before: a. GHG levels were at the frightening levels they are today b. the anthropogenic source for GHGs was as clearly understood as it is today c. climate change was as clearly established as it is today d. wind and/or solar was a viable technology at all e. Chernobyl. There are choices and imperatives today that were not the case in the 80s. One has to see this French economic miracle you describe in context. That's neither pro nor con but it is necessary for a rational discussion. France has an almost 20% sales tax, many food products are from within France, thus the workers are paid a first world wage. Most of the big ticket items, health, education, child care, are subsided by the government, thus bring down their costs.
    0 0
  4. Daniel Bailey, Where you lost credibility with me was when you were challenged, several times, to elucidate your position on AGW and the dangers we face from human-produced, fossil-fuel-derived CO2 emissions. And failed to respond. I have decided I can be more effective, and get to a wider audience, if I stick to what I know something about. I’ll talk about cutting CO2 emissions, costs of doing so, security of supply etc, and leave others to join the dots in the way they want to. People have to be convinced of the graveness of the threat CO2 represents so they will want to leave the fossil fuels in the ground. I do not agree. That may apply to a few rich people who live in the concrete jungles and chatter (the chattering classes). Most people just want a life, the best life they can have. If nuclear electricity is cheaper than coal, as it could and should be, then no more coal power stations will be built (I agree there will be a transition period). If the Greens, Greenpeace, WWF, FOE, Australian Conservation Foundation came out and said it is urgent we go nuclear to cut CO2 emissions, the developed countries could gear up very quickly. Australia could have its first 1 GW NPP running before 2020 (even earlier if we really wanted to) and have all coal replaced by 2035 or 2040. Nuclear could and should be far cheaper than coal. It should be small and modular, made in factories, shipped to site and connected. It is not because of 40 years of the anti-nuclear propaganda that we see lots of on this (and other) web sites, togheter with a Lefties dream about renewable energy. Our CO2 emissions are far higher today than they would be if not for the success of anti-nuclear activists of the past 40 years. “And this task will require every energy source available: NPP, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal. All of them, in bulk quantities”. I do not agree. If we spend 80% of our effort, time and money on technologies that can provide only 5% to perhaps 20% of the solution (i.e. renewables), and spend only 0% to 20% of our time and effort on the technologies that can provide 80% to 95% of the solution (e.g. nuclear) then we waste all our wealth for no result. We are doing worse than this because, not only do we spend no effort, time, of funds on nuclear, we actually prohibit nuclear!
    0 0
  5. Peter, 242:
    CBDunkerson, "Also, 100% nuclear is NOT the only option (which is good since it isn't possible)." Who said anything about 100% nuclear?
    254:
    “And this task will require every energy source available: NPP, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal. All of them, in bulk quantities”. I do not agree.
    Congratulations on reformulating the Pareto Principle. You are not the first person I have talked with who pushed nuclear energy as The Solution to a problem they didn't acknowledge existed. It's actually quite common. What is your opinion on my cynicism? Is corner clipping a concern, especially in the regulatory environment you are advocating?
    0 0
  6. Re: Peter Lang (254) Thanks for the answer to my question. It was...sufficient.
    0 0
  7. @Peter Lang: "They cannot because of, so far and probably always, insurmountable technical constraints (like the sun doesn't shine at night)." It seems our friend Peter is forgetting the Earth is a sphere. The sun is always shining *somewhere*. The wind is always blowing *somewhere*. Rivers are always running, and tides ceaselessly come and go. Again, the idea is not to shut out nuclear, but to use it along with renewables in a mixed solution. Oh well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
    0 0
  8. archiesteel, For 30 years I have tried to sell power to the grid. I tried to find a house with a small stream with the idea of setting up a mini-hydro plant but failed to find the right site. Later, when living in windy New Jersey in a location with a genuine Dutch windmill nearby I was seeking planning permission to construct my own windmill but my company relocated me to.....Holland. My next failed project arose when I bought a house that had a buried 1,000 gallon propane tank. I planned to install a generator that would have produced electricity at $0.10/kVAh but the power company would only pay me $0.08/kVAh. There is better technology out there now that might do a better job than my generating plant but I sold that house. I had high hopes for fuel cells but we are still waiting. I am getting too old for building my own power systems so my advice to you is keep trying!
    0 0
  9. Some of the issues with selling power back are simply consumer mindset. If they are paying say $0.12/kWh for electricity from the grid, then they expect to sell it back to the grid for the same price. On the other hand, grid companies cant why they have to pay retail price to get it back rather than the wholesale price that they pay large generators. Once this is understood, then if you can generate power cheaper than power company can supply it, then it makes sense to do so. Selling back excess generation then just becomes a bonus. A marginal proposition dependent on a sell-back price shouldn't be done. However, I can think of very few small-scale renewables where it is worth doing this. Economies of scale apply to renewables too. By the way, thanks to all contributing here. I am finding the arguments and references put up very interesting.
    0 0
  10. Daniel Bailey, Regarding the management and reuse of once-used-nuclear-fuel (nuclear waste to some), you might be interested in this article. If you would like to know more about the Gen IV and small nuclear power plants, this USNRC web site provides authoritative short summaries on the current status of the main players.
    0 0
  11. For those who would place more trust in Scientific American, you might prefer Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste
    0 0
  12. I said upthread that people don't fear nuclear power once they have lived near it. Here is a photo of once of Canada's nuclear power stations, Pickering, nestled neatly in the suburbs of Toronto. Land values around here are higher than around the coal power stations.
    0 0
  13. @Peter I have the feeling we are running in circles. In response to your last post, I will therefore only stress the most important issue I have wanted to bring up: Peter: The point I am making is that if we allow clean electricity to be cheap, it will displace oil for transport and gas for heating and, therefore, reduce emissions from all fossil fuel use. I completely understand the point you are making. I am asking you to provide proof that your hypothesis is correct: If we provide enough cheap energy (e.g. nuclear), that it will automatically make mankind turn away from fossil fuel (even with fossil fuel still available in substantial amounts). Until now, reality proves otherwise (see France and see worldwide CO2 emissions). What makes you think it will be different in the future ?
    0 0
  14. The future of nuclear energy production looks bright, as it has for decades. The present (reality?) turned out to be problematic and we've been waiting for solutions for decades.
    0 0
  15. Peter Lang #242: "Who said anything about 100% nuclear?" Peter Lang #204: "Nuclear is some 10 to 100 times safer than coal for generating electricity as you can appreciate from figure 1 in the link I provided. I point this out because coal is the only other technology, realistically, that can provide the electricity modern society demands." Peter Lang #237: "You believe GHG emissions are a mjor risk, yet you preclude tackling them with the only viable technology available to make serious cuts" Peter Lang #194: "However, the wind figues are not comparable because wind power cannot substitute for coal power; only nuclear can do that (to any significant extent)." Your repeated insistence that nuclear is our only alternative to coal inherently precludes all other options. Also in #242: "That question is really asking: why do you have aphobia about nuclear power?" This in response to a post (#238) wherein I advocated the use of nuclear power; "However, the most logical course is a mix of energy sources... wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, nuclear, et cetera. Each where they are most accepted and practical." It is simply impossible to have a rational discussion with someone who CONSTANTLY makes false statements about the very content of the dialog. Your advocacy of nuclear power is SO combative and SO irrationally over the top that you actually manage to turn OTHER advocates of nuclear power off it.
    0 0
  16. #Peter Hogarth "the current build of Gen III reactors may run out of fuel before the end of their design life if current rates of use accelerate (going by the industries own figures)." Probably not according to a big recent MIT study of the nuclear fuel cycle. However, there are lot's of politics connected with the fuel cycle in the US and I think one needs to read between the lines a bit. In particular, the US would like to control the fuel cycle internationally as much as it can. But that doesn't change the finding of sufficient uranium. The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
    0 0
  17. Re: Peter Lang (260) Thanks for the links. They're appreciated, but completely unnecessary. When it comes to the value of nuclear power as an energy supply source, you're preaching to a choir member. However (there always seems to be a however, doesn't there?), let's be pragmatic. While an end-goal of 100% of energy needs supplied by NPP can be an admirable goal (if there exists no other practical alternatives no wean us off fossil fuels), in the world most of us inhabit there exists no possibility of that happening. In order for that to be an eventuality, there must first take place an extensive educational process to resolve lingering public concerns and fears. So, in the short term, you must make allowances for a place at the energy dinner table for renewable energy sources (specifically wind and solar). Wind and solar also possess the distinct advantage of tying directly into the American self-definition of independence and autonomy, and not being beholden to outside interests. Given the choice, a not-insubstantial segment of the populace would opt for a combination of wind/solar/geothermal energy sources for personal and business usage. And that includes myself, my admiration of NP notwithstanding. So a mixture of energy sources which center around NPP as a primary driver appear to be your best short-term bet. Given time, perhaps, a larger piece of the energy pie will go to NPP. Or not. But a greater personal problem exists for you, Peter, on this blog. SkS exists to provide clarity and education for laymen and interested professionals about the science underlying global warming and CO2's role in that warming. Your refusal to acknowledge a position either in belief of the science underlying humanity as the primary driver of CO2 elevations and their central role as the biggest control knob of global temperatures, or in disbelief of it, stands to severely undermine your credibility in your attempts to sway people's minds here to your advocacy position of NPP. Let there be no mistake on this: there exists no play, no grey area, no middle ground; either you acknowledge the science and CO2's role in the warming we empirically see, or you don't. Black and white. It doesn't make you an advocate of AGW in the same sense that you advocate for NPP's. But it will either restore some needed credibility to you, or take it away completely should you disavow it. As Bibliovermis has stated, you cannot advocate a solution for a problem which you refuse to acknowledge exists and hope to retain a shred of credibility with any here. Including me. The Yooper
    0 0
  18. Peter Lang, I am still agnostic about nuclear power, but I find your arguments singularly unconvincing. The constant insistance that nothing else can possibly work is too extreme to convince me. I have seen other reasonable people propose using both wind and solar with storage. I see many wind generators being built now in the USA and no NPP. The wind must be cost effective or it would not be built. According to you, it would take at least 10 years to get started with nuclear and 20 to make a significant difference, while wind can start now. You want to use unproven technology for the NPP which is a big ask to solve the problem by itself. You have not addressed my question about what you will do in Afganistan, Nigeria and Iran. I am uncomfortable about building reactors in those locations. I find the solutions that incorporate many different sources of power, wind, NPP, solar, geothermal, to be most convincing. The issue is what fraction of the mix is each type. You have been making most of the posts in this thread and I see little headway in getting agreement. Think if you are achieving your goals.
    0 0
  19. ATTN: 3drchase I had a magic wand, I would wave it over your head and transport you to Wnnipeg Can when it is about -30 deg C in the wintertime. As I metioned, hockey practice for the small kids starts at 5 or 6 AM. If you live in Can, you aren't going to ride bicycle to practice when the streets and land are covered with snow and temp is in the -teens below 0 deg C. BTW I live in Metro Vancouver. The rainy season starts in Nov and lasts to Mar. Jun is always cold and rainy. I an old man and ain't going to ride a bicycle when I can drive in comfort in my '82 Merc Capri HB.
    0 0
  20. Consider this Solar panel profitability page. Conclusion: in order to make solar panels a viable option, we need government support. In other words, solar energy is not economically viable at all. For government support is not for free, it is financed by tax money. That is, in order to be able to provide an incentive, more tax should be collected. If this money is subtracted from the profit made on installing solar panels, the net result is still negative. We should clearly wait until both cost of solar panels would approach that of ordinary roof tile and temporary energy storage gets affordable. Until that time all the money should go into honest R+D and none of it into fake projects.
    0 0
  21. quokka at 00:38 AM on 3 November, 2010 I am talking about current build and immediate (20-30 yr) planned build. The MIT report is realistic (though the contributors have vested interest). Several decades worth of standard "single cycle" or open cycle fuel use are envisaged. This is the view of the EU and bodies such as the EIA. Gen III reactor operational lifetime is expected to be ~60 yrs with build over next 30 yrs (and many commercial reactors are already running way past their design life). IAEA quote from 2007: "At the end of 2006, world uranium production (39,603 tons) provided about 60% of world reactor requirements (66,500 tons) for the 435 commercial nuclear reactors in operation. The gap between production and requirements was made up by secondary sources drawn from government and commercial inventories (such as the dismantling of over 12,000 nuclear warheads and the re-enrichment of uranium tails). Most secondary resources are now in decline and the gap will increasingly need to be closed by new production. Given the long lead time typically required to bring new resources into production, uranium supply shortfalls could develop if production facilities are not implemented in a timely manner." The latest industry "red book" from 2009 highlights an extra 15% new ore discoveries and gives slightly more than 100 yrs of economically viable reserves at 2008 consumption rates. Various industry 2010 estimates vary from 75 to 100 yrs. More resource will be discovered, and some new mines have opened recently (not pretty at all) but exploration, ore and processing costs have dramatically increased. Let us suggest consumption doubles as China, India and others build new reactors through the next 50 yrs to displace coal... A solution: Gen IV closed cycle (breeder), or Thorium?: MIT report estimates 50 to 100 yrs to move to new technologies. There are many issues to be solved. As with some of the more significant projected climate changes, I am concerned about and interested in what's next, even if I may not be around to see it. Whilst there is much idealism and glossing over on both sides here (renewables/nuclear), many governments are meanwhile pragmatically planning significant investments in both.
    0 0
  22. Daniel Bailey, (#267) I have read hundreds of posts by Peter Lang on other blogs, so I am mystified by some of your comments in #267. He may be as dedicated a member of the CAGW choir as you. Even NPP nuts like me are not advocating 100% nuclear. I like hydro even more and wind too where it makes economic sense. The trouble with renewables is that they are hard to scale up to take care of even today's demand for electricity. Fossil fuels fill the gap and will continue to do so until a technology that is both cost effective and scalable is available. With regard to reducing CO2 emissions I appear to be in agreement with the majority on this blog so I advocate NPPs as a way to reduce the dominance of fossil fueled power plants in most countries (France being the notable exception). Even if people like me fail to persuade you, it will not matter in the long run. Once the fossil fuels have been consumed the huge reserves of fission fuels will not be left in the ground.
    0 0
  23. Berenyi Peter, I am planning a trip to Florida Power & Light to look at their 75 MW PV plant and their solar plant that is a co-generation source to a conventional plant. I am hoping to learn something about the economics of such projects in this very favorable location. Until you build something on a reasonably large scale it is hard to be sure what the true operating costs are. I am hoping to get some insights on details such as how much cleaning the PVs or mirrors need. You are right (as usual) about my home PV project. It almost makes sense when the government subsidy is taken into account so I am wavering about going ahead with it given that the price FP&L will pay me is not guaranteed. What happened in Spain could happen here.
    0 0
  24. In other words, solar energy is not economically viable at all. For government support is not for free, it is financed by tax money. So the logical extension of this line of thinking is that fossil fuels, which are heavily subsidized, are not economically viable either.
    0 0
  25. #271 Peter Hogarth Here is an interesting development in fast reactors: "The idea of constructing a prototype Prism small modular reactor at the US Department of Energy's (DoE's) Savannah River site in South Carolina is to be jointly explored by GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS). "As part of a proposed demonstration of small reactor technologies that could take place at Savannah River, GEH and SNRS (partnership between Fluor, Northrop Grumman and Honeywell) signed a memorandum of understanding to consider the Prism design (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module)." Prototype Prism proposed for Savannah River
    0 0
  26. BP - solar PV is expensive, no doubt about it. However commercial solar power either uses concentrators on panel, or more commonly solar thermal for electricity production, which is much, much cheaper. A blanket "solar energy is not economically viable" is false. Do you object to the idea that all subsidies on fossil fuels should be dropped for starters so we have a level playing field.
    0 0
  27. Daniel Bailey said:
    Let there be no mistake on this: there exists no play, no grey area, no middle ground; either you acknowledge the science and CO2's role in the warming we empirically see, or you don't. Black and white. It doesn't make you an advocate of AGW in the same sense that you advocate for NPP's. But it will either restore some needed credibility to you, or take it away completely should you disavow it.
    This is a strange position to take. Of course climate change is a strong motivation for society to eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels. But if other people have other motivations, so what? Great, in fact! Common ground here is key. For instance, if a particular political party like the US Republicans love nuclear power, but are dismissive of climate change, then let's embrace the energy synergy and have them support climate action in an indirect way. We're not going to get anywhere by demanding absolutism, and your comment on there being no grey area is therefore dangerously misguided.
    0 0
  28. Dear Ann, @263 you asked: ” ”Peter: The point I am making is that if we allow clean electricity to be cheap, it will displace oil for transport and gas for heating and, therefore, reduce emissions from all fossil fuel use. “ I completely understand the point you are making. I am asking you to provide proof that your hypothesis is correct: If we provide enough cheap energy (e.g. nuclear), that it will automatically make mankind turn away from fossil fuel (even with fossil fuel still available in substantial amounts). Until now, reality proves otherwise (see France and see worldwide CO2 emissions). What makes you think it will be different in the future ?” Good question. I hope the following will address your question. The source of the data used below is IEA http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/ Download the Excel file. I’ve compared the CO2 emissions per capita and per GDP for France and Germany. These two countries are industrialised, have similar standard of living, climate, population density, vehicles, transport, road distances etc and they share the same electricity grid. I am sure you can find differences, but are they significant? If so, please quantify how much difference they make to the conclusions I draw below. Item France Germany Fr/Ge Nuclear proportion of electricity generation 76% 23% 3.28 kg CO2 per capita (total energy) 5,743 9,789 0.59 kg CO2 per capita (electricity and heat ) 792 4,107 0.19 kg CO2/GDP US$ (exchange rate) 0.24 0.38 0.63 kg CO2/GDP US$ (PPP*) 0.29 0.59 0.49 population (million) 64.1 82.1 0.78 * PPP = purchasing power parity Comparing France with Germany, we can see France has: - three times higher proportion of electricity generated by nuclear - 59% the CO2 emissions per capita from all domestic energy consumption - 19% the CO2 emissions per capita from electricity and heat generation - 49% the CO2 emissions per GDP US$ (exchange rate) - 78% the CO2 emissions per GDP US$ (PPP) Conclusion: France, with three times higher proportion of electricity generated by nuclear, has much lower CO2 emissions than Germany’s on every measure - and five times lower from electricity and heat generation. It is clear, that the high proportion of nuclear is the reason for France’s low emissions. It is also interesting that France’s ratio of emissions from electricity to emissions from heat (mostly gas) is much higher than in Germany. Item France Germany Fr/Ge GWh/person (consumption) 7275 6400 1.14 TJ/person (consumption) 2456 5317 0.46 France emits 14% more CO2 per capita from electricity than Germany, but emits only about 46% as much CO2 per capita from heat generation. In France, electricity has displaced fossil fuels for heating to a greater extent than in Germany. As electricity becomes cheaper, the displacement of fossil fuels by electricity will be become faster (Economics 101). Therefore, if we want low emissions electricity to replace fossil fuels (world wide not just in the developing countries), then we need to make low emissions electricity as cheap as possible, not raise its cost. This chart compares the trend in per capita emissions of Australia, France and Germany from 1960 to 2006 I draw the following conclusions: 1. France’s CO2 emissions per capita changed from trending up to trending down in the 1970’s, which happens to be when the rate of commissioning new nuclear power plants accelerated. 2. Australia’s emissions per capita have continued to trend up and levelled off about 1998. We have no nuclear power. To me it is clear. We need low cost, low emissions electricity, and we need to implement it as fast as possible to displace fossil fuel energy use. The main focus must be on providing low cost clean electricity for the developing world. We must lead the way in the developed countries and develop and prove the technologies to meet that requirement. We must focus of providing low cost clean electricity. Raising the cost of clean electricity is exactly the wrong policy. I agree we should regulate emissions but not as the first step. The first step must be to remove the impediments to a level playing field for all electricity generators. We need to remove the impediments to nuclear. If we don’t do that we’ll paper over the issue and leave many of the imposts in place, and they will never be removed. That, of course, is exactly what the anti-nukes are striving for. Nuclear will remain far more costly than it should be. So the roll-out of low emission electricity generation will be slower. The reduction in world emissions will be slower. That is all economics 101. The sort of impediments and regulatory distortions to the market that are blocking nuclear in Australia are: 1. nuclear power is prohibited 2. high investor risk premium because of the politics 3. Renewable Energy Targets 4. Renewable Energy Certificates 5. Feed in Tariffs for renewables 6. Subsidies and tax advantages for renewable energy 7. Subsidies and tax advantages for fossil fuel electricity generators 8. subsidies for transmission and grid enhancements to support renewable energy 9. massive funding for research into renewable energy 10. massive subsidies for research into carbon capture and storage (CCS) 11. Guarantees that the government will carry the risk for any leakage from CCS 12. No equivalent guarantee for management of once-used-nuclear-fuel 13. Massive subsidies and government facilitation for the gas industry, coal seam gas and coal to gas industries (despite the latter leaking toxic chemicals into the ground water and the Great Artesian Basin water) 14. Fast tracking of the approvals process for wind power, solar power, gas industry, coal industry while nuclear industry remains banned from even fair comparative studies by Treasury, Productivity Commission, ABARE, Department of Climate change and more. We can just imagine what the approvals process would be like for a nuclear power plant!
    0 0
  29. #278: "France’s CO2 emissions per capita changed from trending up to trending down in the 1970’s, which happens to be when the rate of commissioning new nuclear power plants accelerated." Just about everybody's CO2 emissions dropped in the late 70's and early 80's due to the Arab oil embargo. Too soon to be due to France's switch to nuclear, which began as a result of those oil price shocks: The present situation is due to the French government deciding in 1974, just after the first oil shock, to expand rapidly the country's nuclear power capacity.
    0 0
  30. Barry Brook wrote : "But if other people have other motivations, so what? Great, in fact! Common ground here is key. For instance, if a particular political party like the US Republicans love nuclear power, but are dismissive of climate change, then let's embrace the energy synergy and have them support climate action in an indirect way. We're not going to get anywhere by demanding absolutism, and your comment on there being no grey area is therefore dangerously misguided." I wonder where you would draw the line at such a devil-may-care attitude ? Is it OK for Iran to embrace that "energy synergy" ?
    0 0
  31. #279 muoncounter You can see the timeline for the deployment of NPPs in France here: Electricity generation by fuel: France The decline in CO2 emissions starting in 1979 looks highly correlated with the NPP deployment over a couple of decades. The IEA electricity generation by fuel charts for most countries are available here: http://www.iea.org/stats/index.asp
    0 0
  32. CBDunkerson @265, ” This in response to a post (#238) wherein I advocated the use of nuclear power; "However, the most logical course is a mix of energy sources... wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, nuclear, et cetera. Each where they are most accepted and practical." It is simply impossible to have a rational discussion with someone who CONSTANTLY makes false statements about the very content of the dialog. Your advocacy of nuclear power is SO combative and SO irrationally over the top that you actually manage to turn OTHER advocates of nuclear power off it.” OK. I get your point (and others have made the same point). I’ll try to clear it up once and for all, and then let’s stop winging about how I argue the case I am trying to put. My impression is that the anti-nuclear and renewable advocates have dominated energy policy for the past 40 odd years. And their dominance is increasing not decreasing. To support this statement I point out that all the so called environmental NGOs are strongly anti-nuclear and strongly pro-renewables. They want nuclear banned, and/or they want to apply so many impediments to it that it is not competitive. At the same time they are forcing governments to waste extraordinary amounts of money and national wealth on subsidising renewables. For no significant benefit. That is the political and policy environment we are in. My position is I want to see an economically rational level playing field. I also believe 40 years of damge has to be recovered and society will have to pay to correct the massive mistake it has made. So, yes, society in the western democracies will have to take the necessary steps, including some subsidies to nuclear until it can be competitive again in the western democracies. The precedent has been set with the massive subsidies we’ve paid to renewables, so arguing this case should not be opposed. My position is we need a level playing field for the selection of electricity generation technologies. We should define our requirements and then establish a fair and balanced regulatory regime for all technologies on an equal basis. If renewables can do the job, that is great. That is my position regarding how the technologies should be selected for each new generating opportunity. This it is an extension and improvement to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s “Statement of Opportunities” . On a different track, I consider what technologies are best able (now and in the forseeable future) to meet what I believe are our requirements. From what I know: 1. coal generates about 80% of Australia’s electricity. Baseload amounts to about 75% of our electricity consumption. 2. Nulcear is best able to replace coal and meet our requirements for baseload electricity. 3. Nuclear and pumped hydro could meet all our requirements now. That would provide very low emissions electricity, and at the least cost (if we removed the impediments). 4. Solar and wind cannot provide baseload power. They are unlikely to be able to for a very long time, if ever. I doubt solar will ever be viable for baselod generation. 5. We are wasting enormous amounts of our wealth chasing the renewable dream. 6. I support a mix of technologies as long as it is economically rational 7. I expect an economically rational mix of technologies to generate electricity to meet the requirements of the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) would comprise something like: 80% nuclear and pumped hydro, 5% hydro, 15% wind and biomass (if we could implement it now). 8. I am not sure about the 15% wind and biomass; I may be being generous. Anything more than this I believe would be irrational. That is my advocacy for a mix of technologies. I agree with you. However, I suspect you are advocating a much higher proportion of renewables than I am just because you want them and don’t like nuclear. I also suspect you want the government to mandate the higher proportion and to subsidise it, just because you believe in it. If so, I hope you will now be prepared to argue the case on a rational basis.
    0 0
  33. At the same time they are forcing governments to waste extraordinary amounts of money and national wealth on subsidising renewables. - Peter Lang How do they force governments to waste money?. And why do fossil fuel subsidies keep getting conveniently neglected when discussing subsidies?.
    0 0
  34. #281:"decline in CO2 emissions starting in 1979" EIA data for international CO2 only goes back to 1980, but the US data show that CO2 emissions fell as early as '74-75. That was a direct consequence of the Arab oil embargo after the 1973 war. Oddly enough, France's CO2 emissions have slightly increased since 1990; during this 20 year period, your IEA graphic shows that their nuclear power grew by about half. Just a thought, in view of Barry's Brook's comment: Since the AGW deniersphere doesn't find CO2 to be a problem and they tend to worship the fossil fuel industry, what are their opinions on the nuclear future you propose? Are pro-nuclear folks hammering away at them with as much vigor as we've seen here?
    0 0
  35. #280 JMurphy
    I wonder where you would draw the line at such a devil-may-care attitude ? Is it OK for Iran to embrace that "energy synergy" ?
    And would you trust the only nation to have used nuclear weapons and the nation that has threatened to use nuclear weapons on more occasions than all other nations combined to be the arbiter of who shall and shall not use nuclear power? Most of the non-aligned nations think not. Apologies for being off topic, but I find it difficult to take neocon beatups targeted at the next Middle Eastern war.
    0 0
  36. Daniel Bailey @267, "However (there always seems to be a however, doesn't there?), let's be pragmatic. While an end-goal of 100% of energy needs supplied by NPP can be an admirable goal (if there exists no other practical alternatives no wean us off fossil fuels), in the world most of us inhabit there exists no possibility of that happening." Firstly, I never advocated 100% nuclear! So let's get that straightened out for a start. Second, you say (with my rephrasing) "in the world most of us inhabit there exists no possibility of [a high proportion on NPP] happening. It will take time to get there. Three decades from when we start. So, I agree that will not happen in the world we inhabit now. I am arguing it is where we should be heading. It should be the vision we are striving for. So we should put the policies in place to be heading in that direction, not trying to prevent them (as most people clearly are). If a remarkable breakthrough is made with renewables systems (generation, storage and transmission), then certainly, we will adapt the plan. But there is no sign of that happneing and to wait means we keep emitting more CO2 for longer. "in the world most of us inhabit there exists no possibility of that happening." It is go nuclear or continued high emissons. Take your pick. Which do you want? Renewables are not viable (except as a token gesture). I get the impression that despite your statements about black or white on DAGW advocacy etc, you'd prefer to chat than actually tackle the problem. It seems you'd prefer to have higher emissions than nuclear. That is the impression I get from the chat by many on this web site. By the way, I'll tell you something else that is not going to happen "in the world most of us inhabit there exists no possibility" that renewable energy and energy efficency will have much impact on cutting GHG emissions! That is the reality. Refer to: Replacing Hazelwood Coal Power station Zero carbon Australia – Stationary energy plan - Critique Emissions cuts realities
    0 0
  37. Rob Painting @283 You might want to read from the start of the thread. We can't go over all this again. For your benefit, the principal points are: 1. nuclear is the least cost way to make substantial and sustained cuts to emissions from electricty generation 2. only nuclear can be built fast enough at the scape required 3. renewables cannot do the job required and are unlikely to be able to in the forseeable future. They cannot replace fossil fuel electricity generation 4. Nuclear is about the safest of all electricity generation technologies when compared on a properly comparable basis. It is about 10 to 100 times safer than coal generation, and we accept coal as safe enough, although we'd always like better. So that is the standard. But 10 to 100 times safer is ridiculous, given that by demanding that we've made it so expensive we cannot afford to have it at all. We'd prefer coal, it seems. 5. Subsidies for renewables are very high given the insignificant amount of energy they generate. Nulcear subsidises renewables in most polaces and also subsidises coal in Germany. 6. We need to make low emissions electricity generation as cheap as possible to speed up the rate of cutting emisisons world wide. Raising the cost of electricity is exactly the wrong policy. See previous posts on this thread, and the links, for substantiation of these statements.
    0 0
  38. Oddly enough, France's CO2 emissions have slightly increased since 1990; during this 20 year period, your IEA graphic shows that their nuclear power grew by about half.
    But not by burning fossil fuels in electricity generation. Electricity production has gone up but emissions from it have not. France's CO2 emissions from electricity generation are, from memory, ~80 grams/kWh. Denmark for example is in the range 500 to 800 (figures vary according to source). I really don't understand what you are getting at. How effective has nuclear power in France been in mitigating CO2 emissions? Try this: French reactor reaches generation landmark "To place one PWh (the lifetime production) in context with other sources, it is roughly equal to the amount of electricity obtained from burning either 350 million tonnes of coal, 220 million tonnes of oil or 60 billion cubic metres of gas." "The nuclear reactors at Gravelines have saved 1000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted to the atmosphere had coal been burnt instead. The high-level waste from the plant – which has been subjected to reprocessing – fills a volume about one-third that of an Olympic-sized swimming pool." The figure in the article of equivalence to 200,000 2GW wind turbines is wrong. Probably more like 10,000 which is still a lot.
    0 0
  39. Muoncounter "Oddly enough, France's CO2 emissions have slightly increased since 1990; during this 20 year period, your IEA graphic shows that their nuclear power grew by about half." France's CO2 emisions in 1990 were 6.06 t CO2-e/capita and in 2008 were 5.74 t CO2-e/capita.
    0 0
  40. #288: "How effective has nuclear power in France been in mitigating CO2 emissions?" From the World Nuclear News? Well, at least that's different from coalpowermag.com. #289: "France's CO2 emisions" Again, I cite eia.doe.gov CO2 Per capita (metric tons per person) 1980 - 8.9 1990 - 6.33 2000 - 6.56 2008 - 6.48 But let's not split hairs; these are way better numbers than the US (19-21 tons per capita). It's just not one-to-one that CO2 drops as nuclear goes up.
    0 0
  41. Could those advocating solar power and wind power - as the better way to reduce CO2 emisisons from electricity generation - please show me the effect of solar power and wind power on a country's CO2 emissions; and also show the cost per tonne CO2 saved.
    0 0
  42. Rob Painting (#283), Forcing governments to waste money is not a problem. The problem is to persuade those in government to spend our tax dollars with the same restraint as they spend their own.
    0 0
  43. Barry Brook (#277) is pointing out that if you want to get something done (as opposed to exchanging hot air with one another) you need to welcome all kinds of people into your tent. Yes, even camels!
    0 0
  44. quokka's comment: "The figure in the article of equivalence to 200,000 2GW wind turbines is wrong. Probably more like 10,000 which is still a lot." gives me the opportunity to explain another point that is often not properly understood. It's pedantic regarding quokka's comment but an important point for those who think wind and solar can provide our electricity supply. Wind turbines on their own cannot replace any (virtually any) nuclear or fossil fuel capacity. The reason is because wind power is not 'dispatchable'. What this means is that wind cannot be 'dispatched' (or directed) by the electricity market operator to supply the power needed at the time needed. The confusion comes because of the commonly made claim "the wind farm will provide the energy to power x homes". The statement is false. This is on the basis of energy. But we also need the power at exactly the time it is demanded. Wind and solar cannot provide that. The statement should say: "the wind farm will generate sufficent energy over a period, so that if the energy could be stored and dispatched on demand, it could provide the power demanded by x homes at all times."
    0 0
  45. quokka, I also checked the 200,000 figure but I calculate the equivalent would be about 30,000 wind turbines (on an equal total energy basis). I suspect my figures is higher than yours because you may have forgotten that the wind turbines have an expected life of 20 years and the NPP 60 years, so you need to multiply your figure by 3.
    0 0
  46. Australia prohibits nuclear energy and subsidises coal, gas, and renewables. The NSW Government is attempting to privatise its government owned fleet of electricity generators. To try to get the maximum price on the sale it is guaranteeing coal at about half price and is opening a new government owned coal mine to supply it - for $1.3 billion (that's a lot of money in Australia). Wind power is subsidised by well over 100%. Solar is subsidised by about 1000%. Government is subsidising transmission to wind power sites (by $1 billion). That is what the anti-nuclear and pro-renewable forces are achieving. The fossil fuel industry loves renewables. It means fossil fuels will continue. The fossil fuel industry realises, even if the general population doesn't, that renewables are just a useless token gesture and they cannot operate without fossil fuels.
    0 0
  47. quokka wrote : "Apologies for being off topic, but I find it difficult to take neocon beatups targeted at the next Middle Eastern war." I don't know what you mean but the political aspect of nuclear power is one of the drawbacks that its most ideological supporters always fail to mention. A country like Iran wishes to produce nuclear power under its own control and without any assistance from other countries, as a means to provide a replacement for oil. Presumably it is also doing so without the so-called restrictions of health and safety regulations, planning, etc. so despised by the fans of nuclear. This would seem to place Iran firmly within the 'nuclear, do or die' fan-club. Also, if it does come to pass that nuclear is allowed to be expanded without petty restrictions (although who decides which are petty and which aren't, is another question unanswered), then who decides which countries are allowed it and which countries aren't ? Or does that not even have to be considered, because it is so essential that we build nuclear now ? Are we are going to 'get into bed with anyone', as long as they are pro-nuclear and willing to build ? Where is the dividing line and who decides ? So, going all-out for nuclear allows Iran to build nuclear too, yes ?
    0 0
  48. JMurphy, I'd suggest you need to decide which you believe is more important: cutting emissions substantially or prohibiting nuclear power. The choice is that simple. Get to grips with it. If you are on this web site you clearly believe you are capable of objective research and analysis. So this is a new topic to get your teeth into. How can we cut emissions by the amounts and on the time scale I presume you believe is necessary, realistically?
    0 0
  49. Berényi Péter wrote : "Conclusion: in order to make solar panels a viable option, we need government support. In other words, solar energy is not economically viable at all. For government support is not for free, it is financed by tax money." Adding to what others have already highlighted about that irony, it's lucky that nuclear has had so much government money pumped into it over the years, otherwise it would never have got going and would not be continuing now. And, having read what others have written about how essential nuclear is now, it makes you wonder whether some believe that a free market should only apply to certain energy supplies and not others. Another report to add to the long list of others posted : Despite 50 years with huge accumulated subsidies, the true economic costs of generation II nuclear energy are consistently far higher than admitted by proponents, who use misleading presentations to hide its very high capital costs. The vast majority of nuclear power stations built to date have been over time and over budget. Furthermore, since 2003 the estimated capital cost of new nuclear power stations has escalated much more rapidly than the capital cost of renewable electricity, with one recent estimate of the projected cost of new nuclear electricity being comparable with that of solar PV power stations. Economics of Nuclear and Renewable Electricity The following I add because of its discussion of various assertions made, particularly with regard to Denmark (and I like the title !) : The Base Load Fallacy and other Fallacies disseminated by Renewable Energy Deniers More available, especially with regard to the energy-production response to global warming, at energyscience All I have read on this and other sites points to a balanced mix of energy production (including a role for nuclear), with renewables being the most important in the long run.
    0 0
  50. Peter Lang wrote : "I'd suggest you need to decide which you believe is more important: cutting emissions substantially or prohibiting nuclear power. The choice is that simple. Get to grips with it." No, the choice is that simple in your view. Cutting emissions is the most important need - the choice in the immediate future is whether we want to pay for that necessity while continuing to waste energy, or whether we want to cut back on the profligate use of the energy we are already producing. The simplest choices are those that are available right now : efficiency of production and use of energy, to reduce present CO2 production; use of available renewables as much as possible now; planning for and use of nuclear where necessary, to plug any gaps between the carbon-based supply of energy of today and the future renewables-based supply of energy; closure of CO2 emitting energy production as soon as possible - all depending on how serious we are (as nations) to pay and to reduce use. That, simplistically, is what we should be getting to grips with but I'm not going to harangue anyone, or dogmatically push any political agenda to get there. I am prepared to compromise to get to a low-carbon economy : are you ? Extremism (whether pro- or anti-nuclear, in this case) will get you nowhere fast.
    0 0

Prev  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  Next

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)


© Copyright 2020 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us