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Bob Wallace

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Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« on: July 12, 2014, 11:49:43 PM »
I'm opening this thread as a place to "post optimism".  To consider the chance that we can avoid severe climate change.  And to discuss what we can do to increase our odds of success.

Now, there's no way to guarantee that we can dodge that huge bullet, but there's also no guarantee that I'm aware of that we can't.  Those who are convinced that we have no chance are invited to discuss doom and gloom on a different thread.

Here's my starting position.

Quote
“A leaked draft of the (IPCC) report sent to governments in December suggests that in order to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) by the end of the century — the stated goal of international climate talks — emissions need to fall by 40-70 percent by 2050.”

http://www.evwind.es/2014/04/05/what-is-the-future-of-fossil-fuel/44609

Yes, 2 degrees C is going to cause us some hurt, major hurt for many, but it is AFAIK survivable for the greater part of humanity.

And, for clarity, that 40% to 70% reduction is based on 2005 emissions.

That leak occurred a few months ago and I've seen no great outcry from climate scientists that it's badly incorrect, so until I see something to the contrary that carries some scientific weight I'm going with 40% to 70% and we probably squeak through.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 01:16:37 AM »
Now, what are our odds? 

Let me restrict things to the US electricity for the moment.  One reason is that the US is among the world's worst on a per capita CO2 basis.  Another reason is I am much more familiar with US data.

I'm willing to assume that some countries won't do their share so in the US we probably need to aim for the 70% rather than 40% end.

We've started making progress since 2005.  We've knocked off the first 10%.



That means that in order to hit the 70% mark by 2050 we need to average a "1.7% per year" shift from fossil fuels to renewables.  Doable?  In 2012 non-hydro renewables produced 3.46% of all US electricity and in 2013 they produced 4.13%.  That's a 0.67% swap, short of 1.7% but installation rates for renewables are increasing and prices falling.





In 2011 and 2012 the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), selling price for wind averaged $0.04/kWh for the US.  We have preliminary, unconfirmed data that says the PPA dropped to $0.021/kWh in 2013. 

DOE "2012 Wind Technologies Market Report"
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2012_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf


Wind - $0.021/kWh average 2013 PPA.  Unconfirmed number but from a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-Price-Gap-Is-Closing-Between-Renewables-and-Natural-Gas

Lower prices will drive installation rates higher.

Solar prices are also plummeting.  Solar PPAs are now being signed for $0.05/kWh in the SW. 


http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/big-solar-now-competing-with-wind-energy-on-costs-75962

EOY 2013 solar prices from Greentech Media's research arm reported the average cost for US solar, all sizes at $3.04/W. Residential $4.59/W. Commercial $3.57/W.  Utility Scale $1.96/W

The year on year average price drop was 15%, Residential was down 8.8%, Non-residential 16.3% and Utility 13.7%.

Those sorts of cost drops are expected to continue over the next few years as the installation industry matures and soft costs drop.

Over the next 35 years many of our coal plants will have to be replaced.  The average lifespan of a US coal plant is about 40 years.  That's capital investment that will have to be made and it's very unlikely we will replace coal with coal.  We've pretty much quit building coal plants and are likely to based on cost alone.




Now, does that mean we can relax and let market forces save us?  That would be irresponsible, IMO.  The responsible path would be to push to get to 70% years sooner.  But, to me, it says that meeting the IPCC top end goal with electricity in the US is doable.


Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 01:32:28 AM »
Transportation.  Recently President Obama was able to negotiate new mileage requirements for vehicles which would raise current  would require new cars and trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving by 2025. 

That's roughly a doubling of 2005 27.5 MPG standard.  And mileage ratings are already climbing. Over 35 years those "27.5" cars will age out and be replaced by much newer cars.  That's about a 50% cut in CO2 for cars.

There are also new requirements for trucks, large and small.  And that includes SUVs. 

Then there are the emerging electrics.  We're probably short years from affordable 200 mile range EVs.  We already have plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that are capable of cutting about 80% of our gas use.  We've pretty much got the technology to hit the 70% target for personal transportation.

Our first high speed rail project, from San Francisco to LA seems to be moving along, with the stumbles one expects from those who oppose all things new.  IMHO once Americans experience the comfort and convenience of riding the fast rail airplane use will drop away for medium distance trips and we'll join the rest of the 'more developed' world and start building HSR.

Electric buses and delivery trucks are starting to appear in our cities.  The payback for moving to electrics is short and sweet.  We can expect rapid transition here.

Seems to me we're in good shape of cutting transportation by 70% before 2050.

Buddy

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2014, 01:46:48 AM »
Quote
Electric buses and delivery trucks are starting to appear in our cities.  The payback for moving to electrics is short and sweet.  We can expect rapid transition here.

Five years from now people will be SHOCKED with HOW FAR.....and HOW FAST.....the transportation mode will have changed....
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Nick_Naylor

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2014, 04:26:02 AM »
We've started making progress since 2005.  We've knocked off the first 10%.

. . .

Now, does that mean we can relax and let market forces save us?  That would be irresponsible, IMO.  The responsible path would be to push to get to 70% years sooner.  But, to me, it says that meeting the IPCC top end goal with electricity in the US is doable.

Thanks for this Bob. You have certainly listed some reasons for optimism.

I should make a few comments about our progress since 2005 though:

- Our imports from China have nearly doubled over that period, and a fair accounting of emissions would assign CO2 emissions related to Chinese production and transportation of goods to the U.S., as OURS.
- The 2008 financial crisis is responsible for a significant temporary reduction in energy use, that presumably presents a headwind against further progress as the US economy hopefully approaches full employment.
- The remaining big driver of progress has been the emergence of cheap natural gas, which has displaced coal to a significant degree. The Obama rules for existing power plants should make it harder to backtrack on this shift, even if problems emerge in the gas industry or cheaper coal becomes available - as long as the courts don't throw a wrench in the works.

All that being said, the rapid decline in the cost of renewables is very promising, and the important things are to prevent advocates of the status quo from obstructing the rapid adoption of the new technology, and to do whatever we can to get this technology in the hands of emerging economies as quickly as possible.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2014, 06:05:11 AM »
Good points.  I intend to do a separate post on China.  The summary is, I'm pretty optimistic about China.  I think China will hit the 40%/70% window.  And I think most of our manufacturing moved to China/overseas prior to 2005.  That's based on looking at balance of trade data.

The recession.  Take a look at the US graph.  CO2 certainly fell as the recession hit.  We popped up a bit but fell back down.  Our economy is in decent shape.  Unemployment hit 6% recently which is only 1 number away from what is generally considered 'full employment'.  (Certainly there are a lot of people working below where they should be, but that's a different issue.  They're burning gas commuting to work, etc.)

Yes, we've replaced some coal with gas and we'll replace some more.  But that doesn't really bother me.  It's good in the short term.  (I'm not addressing the fracking issue, but CO2.)

Gas is dispatchable.  The wind does not blow all the time.  The Sun does not shine all the time.  But when the wind blows or Sun shines gas tends to get pushed aside.  Wind and solar have zero fuel cost and NG plants are stuck with fuel costs.

Coal plants can't be turned off and on quickly and it's more likely that coal plants would "pay" wind and solar to curtail if the time period was only an hour/short time.   With NG we stand a much better chance that hour/short will be supplied by w/s.

We are also at the point at which storage is starting to replace NG.  Stored electricity is starting to compete with gas peakers. 

(Methane leaks are a separate issue.  We have the ability to contain most of the methane during drilling/extracting.  Most of the methane leak problem seems to be from our 'ancient' distribution system which has little to nothing to do with running NG plants.  I expect we'll see major action on the part of the EPA to get methane leaks under control.)

Coal is basically dead in the US.  We've permitted almost no new coal plants in the last few years.  I think there was one 'special case' on the Navajo reservation.  Any other new capacity that has come on line in the last few years was permitted several years ago.  We've got ~200 coal plants closing over the next couple of years. 

Wind and solar are going to eat into the profits of the remaining coal plants.  Our coal plants are getting old and my guess is that it won't make financial sense to make major repairs if needed.

Glenn Tamblyn

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2014, 10:17:10 AM »
Your graph in post 2 on regional changes in the US is interesting Bob. NorthEast is the best performer. I wonder is that the old industrial heartland getting smashed by the recession? Or the Cap & Trade system run by the states in the North East?

Glenn Tamblyn

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2014, 10:20:41 AM »
Also a documentary I watched recently had Tesla announcing they were going to build a production EV for around $30,000. If that has the sort of range that Tesla's upmarket sport model has that could be a game-changer. If you can get something like 500 km range at around that price point, you have totally cracked open the EV market.

Glenn Tamblyn

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2014, 10:25:47 AM »
And don't underestimate what China might do. Yes they are undemocratic and just plain bad at times. But this also means they can get stuff done unlike in our democracies where it is all about herding cats.

Never underestimate just how SCARED the central government is of the social upheaval if they don't get their massive conventional pollution problems under control. Dealing with CO2 emissions might just ride on the coat-tails of their other pollution reduction priorities.

greatdying2

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2014, 11:25:56 AM »
For a policy insider's perspective, see: .

Quote
Getting Serious About Climate Change - Charles David Keeling Annual Lecture
Published on Jun 30, 2014
(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) This year, the Keeling Lecture features UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies Professor David Victor, an internationally recognized leader in research on energy and climate change policy He is the Director of the school's new Laboratory on International Law and Regulation, and author of numerous books including his most recent, "Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet." Series: "Perspectives on Ocean Science" [7/2014] [Science] [Show ID: 27846]

The policy part starts at 29:11.

In the spirit of this thread as described in the top post, if you want to self-censor, the "Can we do better" part starts at 45:09.

But may I point out that to "increase our odds of success" [top post], realism is warranted in addition to optimism. In that light, you may also find other parts of the presentation worth watching.
The Permian–Triassic extinction event, a.k.a. the Great Dying, occurred about 250 million years ago and is the most severe known extinction event. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct; it is also the only known mass extinction of insects.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2014, 05:05:29 PM »
Thanks GD2, I watched the whole lecture. I gleaned three places for optimism:

1. Methane leaks from extraction and old infrastructure could quickly be fixed.

2. Individual people could be persuaded that eating vast amounts of industrially produced meat has to stop.

3. Developing countries could quickly reduce their unhealthy pollution to benefit their populations and have the side effect of improving albedo in places like Greenland and the Himalayas where soot accumulates.

A fourth area which he doesn't discuss seriously (he makes fun of biofuels) is green crude made from algae grown in unusable water on un-arable land. I've just been looking at this the past week and it gives my optimism a big boost. It can quickly replace fossil fuels without changing the transportation infrastructure at all.

UC at San Diego is a big participant in work on this.

http://www.latimes.com/brandpublishing/localplus/ucsandiego/la-ss-ucsd-how-algae-could-change-the-world-dto-story.html

Sapphire Energy is using engineered algae to make green crude oil (and has already gone to scale on this selling to Tesoro for refining and marketing) and make it profitable by using byproducts in pharmaceutical applications. It's also got China started with an "algae-derived renewable crude oil project has been selected for the U.S.-China EcoPartnerships program, announced today [Dec. 6, 2013] in Beijing, China, by the U.S. Secretary of State and the People’s Republic of China State Councilor."
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Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2014, 06:35:51 PM »
Your graph in post 2 on regional changes in the US is interesting Bob. NorthEast is the best performer. I wonder is that the old industrial heartland getting smashed by the recession? Or the Cap & Trade system run by the states in the North East?

I don't know the answer, but I think most of our industry (the parts we lost) had left the country prior to 2005.   Perhaps someone else has a better handle on this.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2014, 06:41:56 PM »
Quote
But may I point out that to "increase our odds of success" [top post], realism is warranted in addition to optimism

I am trying very hard to stay realistic.  I include no breakthroughs, but stick with the technology we have in hand and what seems to be very probable short term developments.

If you see something that seems unrealistic then let's discuss it.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2014, 07:00:19 PM »
Methane.

We have a methane leak problem.  One that must be addressed along with our CO2 emissions.

We have a lot of leakage at wells.  Probably more than the EPA numbers claim.

http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/04/16/study-find-marcellus-drilling-methane-leaks-1-000-times-epa-estimates-casting-doubt-bridge-fuel-notion

We also have at least one study (which I can't locate at the moment) that finds that methane leaks at well sites can be controlled and kept at low levels.

And we have significant leakage in our distribution systems.  Take a look at how badly gas lines are leaking in part of Boston...



Now, this stuff is fixable.  The cost of fixing will be at least partly offset by the value of the gas not lost.  The EPA has the power to force these leaks to be fixed. 

I'm assuming EPA power based on recent Supreme Court rulings that allowed that the EPA has the power to regulate GHG emissions.

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/new-supreme-court-ruling-epa-authority-over-greenhouse-gases-ghgs-little-clarificati

The realist in me recognizes that if we turn the White House back to Republicans then the EPA may be neutered.  The optimist in me thinks that's a low probability event.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2014, 07:25:46 PM »
Another bit of hope here, although listening to Tom Steyer lay out the extent of the political resistance is discouraging.

This talk is worth watching: Confronting Climate Change: A Political Reality Check


Tom Steyer, Nextgen Climate

Steyer is working with Hank Paulsen and other heavy hitters, campaigning to make innovations in sustainable energy a political priority at the local level by addressing particular climate impacts likely in various US constituencies. Voters have to care enough to make it a voting issue.

People say, what about China and India! Well, the US has to do it first, then go to China and India to continue. The US has to walk the walk in order to have the credibility to lead the world in lowering emissions.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 07:57:28 PM by Lynn Shwadchuck »
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Nick_Naylor

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2014, 07:53:47 PM »
The realist in me recognizes that if we turn the White House back to Republicans then the EPA may be neutered.  The optimist in me thinks that's a low probability event.

I assume by "low probability" you mean less than 50%? I must say George W. Bush's EPA was pretty neutered - have you read the decision in the Massachusetts vs. EPA decision in 2007? It's pretty instructive to see how hard EPA tried to avoid doing anything.
Decision: http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/supreme_court/orders/2005/062606pzor.pdf
Supporting Documents: http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/supreme_court/docket/2006/november/05-1120-massachusetts-v-environmental-protection-agency.html

If we have a republican president, senate and house, the probability of entrenched energy companies getting protection against competition from renewables has to be taken very seriously.

Americans for Prosperity isn't spending upwards of $100 million per election cycle out of patriotism, and I haven't seen a republican candidate in a long time that has taken positions they (Koch Industries) don't like.

Not trying to be negative - just to point out potential obstacles.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2014, 08:01:22 PM »
China's government publicly acknowledged climate change some time ago, something that the entire US government has yet to do.  And China stated that they realized that China would be among the countries who would most suffer from climate change.

China is the world's major coal consumer and will continue to be for a number of years.  But China is attempting to stop the growth of coal burning and then reverse levels.  China attempted to cap coal use starting in 2015 and lower use to 2011 levels, but they were unsuccessful.  They are now saying that they may be able to stop growth in 2017, but it seems that they are being a bit more cautious having missed their earlier target.

China has a massive program of building low CO2 capacity.  Dams, nuclear, solar and wind.  China leads the world in both wind and solar installation.  In 2013 China installed more PV solar than the US has over all years.  And China expect to install even more solar in 2014.

The growth of wind in China has slowed a bit due to transmission problems.  But China is now building large transmission lines to move electricity from its windiest areas to where electricity is most needed.  Wind installations should start accelerating soon.

Quote
Solar PV and wind energy will beat both coal and gas on costs – without subsidies – in the major Asia energy markets of China and India by 2020, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

BNEF, in its Markets 2030 report last week, predicts a fundamental shift in Asia’s energy mix as the major economies turn increasingly to renewables and away from fossil fuels.

The attraction of renewables means that it will account for two thirds of total power additions in capacity terms between now and 2030. It predicts more than 800GW of solar PV, more than 500GW of wind energy and around 440GW of hydro.

This is going to translate into a renewable share of electricity production of 45 per cent for India by 2030, 33 per cent in China, 31 per cent for Suuth-East Asia and 26 per cent for Japan.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/solar-wind-beat-coal-costs-china-india-2020


33% renewable production by 2030.  Between 2030 and 2050 many of China's current coal plants will wear out.  It will make no sense for China to replace old coal plants with new coal plants when renewables will be cheaper.

A lot of coal is still used in China for home heating and cooking.  Over the next 35 years almost certainly that will become a thing of the past. 

Moving away from petroleum.  China is building lots of electrified high speed rail.  Their BYD electric buses are being used thousands.  And the government is providing massive support of EVs. 

China doesn't seem to be hampered by a strong coal industry as is happening in the US, Australia, Germany and some other countries.  Their extremely powerful central government basically gets what it wants and it has stated that it wants to be a leader on solving the climate change problem.  Not simply a country that trails along after the pack.


Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2014, 08:19:49 PM »
Quote
If we have a republican president, senate and house, the probability of entrenched energy companies getting protection against competition from renewables has to be taken very seriously.

Yes, and possibly no.

The realization that climate change is happening, is caused by humans, and is a real danger is apparently more common at the top levels of the Republican party than one would think by listening to what they say to their base.

There's an ex-senator named Bob Inglis who lost his seat mainly because he acknowledged climate change while serving from South Carolina.  He's been working since then to educate Republicans.  He claims that many senators and representatives are concerned about climate change but are afraid to speak out and risk their seats.

I suspect if we had a total Republican government renewables would suffer some, but not an extreme amount.  Besides, the need for subsidies has almost disappeared.  If wind is truly below 4c/kWh and solar prices continue to fall then both are competitive without subsidies.  The rate of installation might slow, but they would both be preferred candidates for old coal plant replacements.  And both are already hedges against rising NG prices.

Then one has to realize that the wind industry has a lot of support in conservative Midwestern states.  Wind farms are putting money into local economies and state tax revenues.  Jobs have been created.  We've seen Republican governors lobbying for continued wind support.

And the cost of residential solar has become attractive to financial conservatives.  Anything that saves them money.  Additionally, we've seen the Georgia Tea Party push for inclusion of solar on state grids as a way to lower their electricity bills.

For the most part the federal government has done the hard work bootstrapping renewables to the point at which market forces take over and drive them home.  The only danger I see is that fossil fuel/nuclear interests might create some sort of legal roadblock to renewables.  But I don't see that likely, anymore than I see it likely that Republicans gain control of Congress and the White House.

wili

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2014, 08:36:29 PM »
"China would be among the countries who would most suffer from climate change."

Indeed!

With only one meter of sea level rise, which now looks like the least we can expect by century's end (but probably much sooner), Most of the province of Jiangsu, home to some 80 million souls, will be under water.

At three meters slr, which now looks possible by the end of the century, Shanghai, the largest city in China and the largest 'proper city' in the world, will be largely under water water, not to mention most of the region around Tianjin, major industrial city in the north, and around Guangzhou (near Hong Kong) in the south. These are all very populated regions and crucial ones to the economy of the country.

I'm sure at least some of the folks in charge of the show there are aware of this. I'm not sure how well understood it is among most of the people living in these areas.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2014, 08:56:46 PM »
My travels in Asia (not including China) tells me that climate change is well understood.  And there doesn't seem to be the sort of denial we deal with in the US and a few other western countries.

China not only has a problem with rising sea levels, but also fresh water.  Their inland fresh water supply is already stressed and increased droughts would be a major problem for them.

Like in India, the coal industry uses a tremendous amount of fresh water.  Part of China's decision to build no more nuclear inland was attributed to cooling water supplies.  Both countries will cut coal use, especially domestic coal use, as a way to reserve more water for agriculture and population use.    Water is another factor which will increase renewable use, drive down coal consumption, and reduce carbon emissions.                                                                                                                                                                             

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2014, 10:17:31 PM »
China sticks with coal gasification to curb smog despite potentially big rise in CO2 emissions

Coco Liu, E&E Asia correspondent
ClimateWire: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Last month, when China's National Energy Administration called experts for their opinions on coal gasification, how to mitigate the impact of carbon emissions and other environmental problems were among discussed topics. The administration later said in an online statement that it will revise its policy on coal-to-liquid and coal-to-natural-gas, though no information was made available on what change will come, on which aspect, and how.

"Unless China requires carbon capture and storage for synthetic natural gas, which seems unlikely now, the environmental regulations in China do not put any limit on carbon emissions at all," Yang said.

"The potential increase of carbon dioxide emissions from synthetic natural gas could be so huge and disastrous," he said, adding that "the interest groups are still completely ignoring the problems."

http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059995991
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Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2014, 07:12:55 AM »
China is establishing a carbon tax.  They've run six or seven versions (IIRC) in different parts of the country as a sort of pilot study.  I think they're about to implement nationwide.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2014, 09:03:14 AM »
Interesting news out of India -

Quote
In India, a budget that focused on solar technology - the building of “mega” capacity solar farms, off-grid solar pumps for irrigators, solar installations over canals, cuts in tariffs for solar components and a doubling of the tax on coal – has been followed by an announcement that the country will look to expand a “rent-a-roof” program from solar installations initially begun in Gujarat, the home state of new PM Narendra Modi, who has promised a “saffron revolution” of solar power.

Tata Power, the energy offshoot of the country’s largest industrial group, also said it would provide “interest free” financing for up to $4,000 to help middle class consumers install solar power in their homes. The scheme will be rolled out in 20 Indian cities before being expanded nationally.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/coal-price-crashes-abbott-relies-fossils-plan-b

Their new prime minister is a major backer of solar.  Part of his agenda is to get at least one electric light into every Indian home by 2017, even if it's only a solar lantern.  If he can pull this off it will do a great deal to fire up a massive move to solar in India.  As people use and understand solar on a small scale many will grow their systems.

That "doubled tax" on coal revenue goes to installing solar.

jonthed

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2014, 04:04:07 PM »
From initially despairing when i first realised the severity of the climate crisis a few years back, I am now relatively optimistic that change is happening, and it is largely inevitable.

The current renewables technologies are already in a strong position to be rolled out as first choice in many places of the world, and this is only increasing. Likewise for the outlook for EV transport, various carbon reduction schemes, and even international agreement and cooperation. Despite The 'debate' in the US, and Australia's recent step backward, most of the world is slowly getting on with the task and realising that their efforts only need to be stepped up further.

On top of this, more and more extreme or unseasonal weather events, the world over, only serve to convince more of the public that actually there is something going on and it's not looking good. The arctic decline will continue and will further cement peoples demand for action, as will all the new heat records and rainfall records that will keep being set, especially when we finally get the next full blown el nino.

So I am optimistic that change will happen.

I am less optimistic that we can avoid severe climate change. In fact, I think we've already missed the boat on that one. The slow response of the earth system and the various feedbacks that are happening means that the system is still along way from equilibrium for this concentration of CO2, yet we can already see severe changes to our climate, which our only going to get a lot worse. We have a lot of sea level rise in store, and we have major changes to the precipitation patterns in store as well.

Personally, but based on the science I've seen, I think that even with a fairly fast shift to renewables, we're going to see some very devastating changes and events before we even get close to stabilizing our climate again.

greatdying2

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2014, 03:31:25 AM »
A ray of hope, or at least good intentions. Thought this a good place to share it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/opinion/sunday/lessons-for-climate-change-in-the-2008-recession.html?_r=1
The Permian–Triassic extinction event, a.k.a. the Great Dying, occurred about 250 million years ago and is the most severe known extinction event. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct; it is also the only known mass extinction of insects.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2014, 05:36:49 PM »
Not sure I trust Hank Paulson, "named in Time Magazine as one of the "25 People to Blame for the [2008] Financial Crisis" to sincerely be in favour of a carbon tax. We'll see how that unfolds after the next US election, I guess. Not happening in Canada, for sure.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

Laurent

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Bob Wallace

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Re: Do we stand of chance of avoiding the worst?
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2014, 10:31:46 PM »
"The liberal climate agenda is doomed to failure"

Not.

Facts are, utilities are now installing large amounts of wind and solar capacity.  They are starting to test drive storage technologies.

Very major money is being invested in storage technology which will be needed to make wind and solar 24/365.  Storage is going to be a very, very large industry.

Car manufacturers are bringing EVs, which can be 100% powered with renewable energy, to market.

Businesses are investing in efficiency and installing solar on their roofs.  They are adding EVs and PHEVs to their fleets.

The liberal climate agenda, as I understand it, is 'use less energy' and 'use renewable energy'.  It's rather ironic, but big business is busy implementing the liberal climate agenda.  And things are moving right along.