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Messages - rboyd

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Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 12, 2019, 11:34:20 PM »
Coal use in India has dropped as renewables increase market share.

The weasel words in the article you reference are highly misleading:

In the meantime, generation from all non-coal sources, which include solar, hydro, wind and natural gas, rose by 24,000 GWh, or 8.4%, over the same period, the report said.

Those non-coal sources include nuclear as well as hydro, as in the drop in coal consumption (from the qz article referenced below)

can be attributed to the unexpected rise in generation from hydro and nuclear power projects this year, said Ashish Nainan, an analyst at Care Ratings.

This season’s monsoon rains in India have been the heaviest in 25 years. As a result, hydro projects generated about 96 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in the first half of this financial year, 9.8% more than what the central electricity authority (CEA), the government’s planning arm on electricity systems, had estimated earlier.

In the same period, nuclear power stations generated 24 TWh of electricity, 11.45% more than the CEA’s estimates. India’s nuclear plants are running at 80.69% of their overall capacity, an improvement of nearly 20% over “last year when two nuclear plants had been under maintenance for around four months,” Nainan said.

The article provides a nice chart that shows hydro, nuclear increasing significantly while wind generation fell and solar rose significantly (I had to look up the source info as they used yellow for both solar and natural gas in the chart).

The quality of journalism from some so called reputable sites (e.g. Reuters) is quite appalling, I have been taught, and keep getting taught, to always double check what they say unfortunately.

So - big jumps in hydro (weather related), a significant increase in solar (weather or capacity increase?) and a jump in nuclear together with an economic slowdown cut fossil fuel consumption (coal and nat. gas). With the government looking at boosting the economy plus all that coal plant spare capacity, this could turn around very fast.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 09, 2019, 11:36:13 PM »
China's coal based electricity fleet way more efficient that the US

Interesting report on the Chinese coal-fired electricity generation fleet. 50% is already made up of super-critical and ultra super-critical units (higher temperatures and steam pressure produce more electricity per unit of coal) and by 2020 all units will have to meet an efficiency level that the top 100 units in the US cant meet. With the very low utilization rate of the fleet, less efficient ones can be shut down without the need for replacement. All new plants are at the least super-efficient, so will increase the efficiency of the whole fleet.

Since China’s fleet uses more advanced technology, it also consumes less coal: an average of 286.42 grams of coal equivalent, or gce, consumed per kilowatt-hour of power produced in China versus 374.96 gce consumed per kilowatt-hour produced at lower heating value in the United States.

In 2016:
- Subcritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 32% thermally efficient
- SuperCritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 36% thermally efficient (that's 12.5% more efficient than subcritical)
- Ultra SuperCritical coal power plants in SE Asia were on average 39% thermally efficient (that's 22% more efficient than subcritical)

China already has Ultra Supercritical plants that are 10 years old running at 45% efficiency (thats 41% more efficient than subcritical). The goal is to get to over 50% efficient.

This means that China may very well be able to cut coal usage in electricity production while actually increasing the amount of electricity generated from coal.

At these levels of efficiency coal plants are pretty close to natural gas plants for CO2 emissions and have much less fugitive methane emissions during production and transport of the coal/NG.

There is also significantly less flue gas to deal with for the sulphur and nox scrubbers to deal with.

Geopolitical Strategic Sourcing of Oil During The Energy Transition

These dynamics look really interesting, so I am looking to write a paper on them:

If/When an actual transition from fossil fuels (especially oil) starts in earnest there could be a number of considerations that concentrate the negative impacts upon a limited set of exporters:

1. In the face of a known long-term transition, net importers that have their own production will tend to want to take advantage of their own reserves "whilst they can", this means that the reduction in consumption will be taken by imports. This is very much the case with China, where domestic production provides for about 30% of consumption.

2. Many of the exporters are heavily dependent upon fossil fuel rents for the elite's survival, and therefore may become unstable as those rents fall, an issue which will be exacerbated by the relative inelasticity of oil supply to demand - i.e. a relatively small drop in demand creates a big drop in price as supply does not drop significantly.

- This means that importers may look to more stable providers, especially if/when one or more suppliers start to have domestic issues. This should benefit suppliers such as Norway, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Russia (the latter also has/will have extensive natural gas exports through in place pipelines to Europe and China that the importers rely upon for space heating as well as electricity peaker plants and fertilizers etc.). I am assuming that Europe generally will resist pressures from the US with respect to Russian fossil fuels as Germany has with Nordstream 2 (especially with the Dutch Groningen gas field being closed in 2022)

- With an increasingly negative international environment, China will look to make sure that it helps out its allies, Russia and possibly Iran, by sourcing oil and gas from them. The US will want to continue to punish exporters that it sees as "enemies" - Russia and Iran (offset by China) and Venezuela.

So the domestic suppliers and "safe" and allied exporters may maintain/increase their export volumes but at a lower price. The rest get the lower price plus much lower volumes. Who could this unlucky bunch be?
- The African suppliers with offshore deposits may be ok, as its relatively easy to protect far offshore platforms. That does not include Libya.
- The Middle East: Saudi Arabia (which needs $80+/barrel to balance its budget at current export levels), Iraq, Kuwait etc. Perhaps the world will then simply end up not caring about such countries. Given the massive population growth in these nations, plus the highly volatile domestic politics (e.g. the Shia crescent where most of the oil and gas is located) things could get bad relatively quickly - especially if China focuses its souring on Iran.

An unrelated dynamic will be on the demand for US$ in the case where the cut in oil usage is focused on exporters and a significant portion of those exports are paid for in local currencies (e.g. between China, Russia and Iran or between Europe and Russia). This would remove a big reason for  countries having to hold US$ reserves and reduce the power of the US/IMF as "lender of last resort".

We live in interesting times ....

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:32:29 AM »
I was working on a paper on climate change with the senior climate lawyer for a given country and they saw no issue with flying themselves and up to 20 others to climate meetings in places like Fiji etc. Stunning intentional ignorance. I bet they fly business class given the distance to be travelled.

Greta should just stay where she is and use Skype, during which she should lambast all the physical COP25 attendees as complete hypocrites (she could borrow a few points from Kevin Anderson). Of course she could have done that rather than take that billionaire's racing yacht across the Atlantic.

Or grab a ride on Air Force One if Trump is going to Europe and act pissed all the way across while sharing via twitter and instagram.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: November 06, 2019, 01:58:25 AM »
My problem is when I see NeilT openly shitting on 'radicalism', Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. On a Forum that is supposed to be serious about AGW.

I shit on Greta and XR because I see them as a highly co-opted and controlled opposition which will end up facilitating "climate capitalism" within ongoing economic growth - a mixture of feel-good virtue signalling climate offsets (e.g. the "all we need is more trees" bullshit) and massively profitable geo-engineering (solar radiation management, BECCS, DACS, crushing massive amounts of igneous rock and spreading across the remaining rainforest etc.) - without really stopping climate change/ecological collapse.

Then again, I am just some cranky old bastard who has been watching this shit intensify for the past three decades, but I really do hate the hypocritical jerks like DiCaprio who waffle on about the need for action while having a carbon footprint the size of a small town (he had some very nice pics taken with Greta!).

I do sometimes suffer cognitive dissonance moving from the Sea Ice, Antarctica, and Consequences areas to the Policy area - a disconnect from the urgency of the former three and the relative lack of urgency of the latter.

Now back to EV's.....

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 05, 2019, 06:16:54 AM »
This is also the story of renewables, still falling behind the growth in overall energy use and therefore not stopping the growth in greenhouse gases. Also, the reason why Germany pushed so hard to get the Nordstream 2 natural gas line from Russia to Germany completed is so that they can burn more NG to help replace nuclear and coal.

California is on track to miss its climate targets—by a century MIT Technology Review

But for all its regulatory achievements, California also offers a case study in just how hard it is to make progress on the only thing that really matters: reducing emissions.

The state’s climate pollution declined by just 1.15% in 2017, according to the latest California Green Innovation Index. At that rate, California won’t reach its 2030 decarbonization goals (cutting emissions to 40% below 1990 levels) until 2061—and wouldn’t hit its 2050 targets (80% below 1990 levels) until 2157.

Why India may not achieve its 2022 clean energy target Economic Times

Rating agency CRISIL in a recent report said India would not have 100 GW of solar capacity and 60 GW of wind capacity even by 2024, leave alone 2022. CRISIL said it expected India to only have 59 GW of solar plants and 45 GW of windmills by March 2022. The government, not surprisingly, rubbished the report and said India would not only meet the target but exceed it.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 31, 2019, 03:43:13 AM »
PSA Group: EVs threaten the car industry

“EVs are far simpler [than internal combustion engined vehicles]," she explained. "They need less parts, less time in the workshop. Ultimately, it means less time in aftersales. That’s why we’ve chosen to diversify into areas such as shared mobility.”

PSA, which owns the Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands, already offers its Free2Move car sharing service in Paris, France, where 550 of its vehicles are available via a smartphone app.

Lees, talking at today's Auto Futures event, said: “We haven’t commercialised a lot of [mobility services] in the UK, but we will do, such as Free2Move, which encompasses anything complementary to car ownership or substitutes such as leasing or rental, but also our use of telematics and technology to enable peer-to-peer car-sharing. On our new vehicles, you can get a digital key so you can assign the car to others remotely.”

Lees added that despite the inevitable decline in aftersales revenue in the short-term, the increasing sales of EVs does bring opportunity.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 30, 2019, 11:33:48 PM »
PSA (Peugout, Citreon, Opal, Vauxhall) + FCA (Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep) = Too big to fail and eligible for bailouts and subsidies from five different countries (France, Germany, UK, Italy and US).

Making your corporate structure even more complex and massive at this stage when you need to reinvent the company in a move from ICE to EV doesn't make much sense to me. Also, none of them are big in China (unlike VW, BMW and Mercedes) - Fiat's JV in China is not doing that well. PSA is also in a much better place with EV products than FCA.

Looks more like a big multi-country subsidy/bailout grab to me. Being spread across three of the big EU economies (assuming Brexit for the UK) also gives them a lot of clout at the EU level.

They will have a lot of ICE engine plants to close down, in four different languages ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: October 28, 2019, 08:37:47 PM »
The whole of modernity is the problem. There is unfortunately no solution other than mass culllling of population, which is not going to happen.

The brutal truth, you just have to look at the treatment of the environment by the Communist regimes of Russia and China to see it. I feel that we will drive down the techno-utopian road until the very end, with geo-engineering (first Solar Radiation Management probably, then more expensive options but very profitable for some). Of course, they will not deal with the many cascading crises inherent in exponential growth within a limited biosphere. Maybe we will even make real the Black Mirror episode of little robot bees to replace all the dead ones? Humanity (at least its elites) will fight to the very end with the kind of weapons we are used to using, an acceptance of limits is not an option.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 28, 2019, 08:24:17 PM »
If there is free-market capitalism and you give a fuck about things, you jumpstart the dynamics described above by Gerontocrat.

An accurate description of the neoliberal world that we live in unfortunately, together with the corrupted/ideologically blinded bureaucrats that facilitate it.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 27, 2019, 07:28:15 PM »
The Great Biomass Boondoggle

The urgency of the climate crisis is inspiring some extreme and unproven ideas for how to hide carbon and cool the planet, such as ocean fertilization, turning CO2 into rocks, and seeding the atmosphere to dim the sun. Arguably one of the most reckless ideas, though, is already well underway: burning “forest biomass”—that is, trees—in power plants as a replacement for coal. The problem with this so-called green energy source is that instead of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, it increases the amount of CO2 coming out of the smokestack compared to fossil fuels, and the climate “benefit” is claimed by simply not counting the emissions. 

While policymakers in developed countries (the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, and Korea, among others) seem perfectly happy with this solution, scientists and activists are reacting with bewilderment and fury as entire forests are vaporized into the atmosphere in the name of renewable energy. Meanwhile, the burgeoning biomass and wood-pellet industries are dancing away with billions in renewable energy subsidies. To counter this atrocious trend, I founded an organization in 2010, the Partnership for Policy Integrity, to provide reliable science and policymaking clarity on the forest and climate impacts of burning forests for fuel. Since then, many environmental groups have joined the fight, but we still haven’t ended this parade of stupidity, because the forces are powerful and the pool of money is deep.

Since all the usual tactics of the nonprofit community had failed, including documentary photos, briefings, and scientific evidence, we felt we had no choice but to sue the EU (with the European Parliament and Council as defendants) over the new rules. My organization thus coordinated a March 2019 lawsuit that challenges inclusion of forest biomass in the new renewable energy directive. We worked with plaintiffs from the EU and the US who demonstrated in their testimony how the biomass industry is causing direct harm to their health and livelihoods, and we are now waiting to hear whether the EU court will accept the case. 

Climate science shows that to avoid the most catastrophic warming impacts, the world must cut its carbon emissions in half in the next few years, and be carbon-neutral, balancing emissions with carbon uptake, by 2050. There is no way to achieve this without a vast restoration and expansion of the world’s forests. Provided these forests are natural and not monoculture plantations, this initiative could also help to address another great environmental crisis we face, the extirpation of so many of the world’s species. Many member states have signed on to the EU goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, but a great deal must change: right now, EU member states allocate billions in renewable energy subsidies to promote wood-burning, but little to forest restoration.

Consequences / Re: Forests: An Endangered Resource
« on: October 27, 2019, 01:43:52 AM »
Amazon rainforest 'close to irreversible tipping point' Forecast suggests rainforest could stop producing enough rain to sustain itself by 2021

Bolsonaro is helping rapidly accelerate our journey to the Amazon tipping point it seems, anytime between the early 2020's (worst case) and last 2030's (best case). This is in my life time (I am 56), that reality needs to get through to the masses, its not the grandchildren's problem it will be their life experience.

Soaring deforestation coupled with the destructive policies of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, could push the Amazon rainforest dangerously to an irreversible “tipping point” within two years, a prominent economist has said.

After this point the rainforest would stop producing enough rain to sustain itself and start slowly degrading into a drier savannah, releasing billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, which would exacerbate global heating and disrupt weather across South America.

The warning came in a policy brief published this week by Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC.

The report sparked controversy among climate scientists. Some believe the tipping point is still 15 to 20 years away, while others say the warning accurately reflects the danger that Bolsonaro and global heating pose to the Amazon’s survival.

“It’s a stock, so like any stock you run it down, run it down – then suddenly you don’t have any more of it,” said de Bolle, whose brief also recommended solutions to the current crisis.

Bolsonaro has vowed to develop the Amazon, and his government plans to allow mining on protected indigenous reserves. Amazon farmers support his attacks on environmental protection agencies. His business-friendly environment minister, Ricardo Salles, has met loggers and wildcat miners, while deforestation and Amazon fires have soared since he assumed office in January.

The policy brief noted that Brazil’s space research institute, INPE, reported that deforestation in August was 222% higher than in August 2018. Maintaining the current rate of increase INPE reported between January and August this year would bring the Amazon “dangerously close to the estimated tipping point as soon as 2021 … beyond which the rainforest can no longer generate enough rain to sustain itself”, de Bolle wrote.

“If Bolsonaro is serious about developing the Amazon without paying any attention to sustainability or maintaining the forest’s standing, these rates would happen within his mandate,” she said.

Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s leading climate scientists and a senior researcher at the University of São Paulo’s Institute for Advanced Studies, questioned her calculation that estimated deforestation would quadruple from an estimate of nearly 18,000 km2 this year to nearly 70,000 km2 by 2021.

“It seems very improbable to me – the projected deforestation increase is more an economic calculation than ecological,” he said. However, he added: “We are seeing an increase in deforestation, I am not questioning this.”

Last year, Nobre argued in an article written with celebrated American conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy that the Amazon tipping point could happen in eastern, southern and central Amazonia when 20% to 25% of the rainforest has been felled – not expected for 20 to 25 years. He has since brought forward his prediction by about five years.

“The Amazon is already 17% deforested, so when you calculate at the current rate of deforestation, this 20% to 25% is reached in 15 to 20 years,” he said. “I hope she is wrong. If she is right, it is the end of the world.”

But Lovejoy, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, said that de Bolle’s projection could come true because global heating, soaring deforestation and an increase in Amazon fires have created a “negative synergy” that is accelerating its destruction – citing droughts in recent years as a warning sign.

“We are seeing the first flickering of that tipping,” he said. “It’s sort of like a seal trying to balance a rubber ball on its nose … the only sensible thing to do is to do some reforestation and build back that margin of safety.”

Saudi Arabia Is in a Double Bind on Oil Prices: Chatham House

According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia needs an oil price greater than $80 a barrel (and in the range $85–$87 for the current year) in order to balance its budget. As such, the economy has suffered as a result of lower oil prices since the latter part of 2014.

This is a huge issue for any movement away from fossil fuels, as a huge percentage of fossil fuel production (e.g. Middle East, Nigeria, Angola) could go offline well before it is no longer required, due to state collapse (or one state trying to take out another's production) as their revenues (needed to bribe and discipline their populations) collapse.

I can see the UN/NATO etc. being involved in dispatching large-scale military contingents to allow for the controlled run down in oil and gas production. Another way would be to "sanction" the usual list of US-defined "bad actors" (i.e. anyone that doesn't toe their line - Iran, Venezuela and Russia) to try to take competing supply off the market. Another would be for long-term contracts for some countries, it would make some sense for China to support the opponents of the US/West this way (i.e. the "bad actors" plus probably Iraq) and force the security issue onto the western nations.

The Saudi budget is bleeding cash, leading to a run down in their national wealth funds. This is why they are so desperate to sell a chunk of the national oil company: they need cash.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 20, 2019, 10:50:41 PM »
Renewables emit the gas the highest warming potential - SF6!

23,000 greater warming impact than CO2 and lasts for a 1000 years in the atmosphere. Looks like its not that great an offset to the saved GHG emissions, but still annoying.

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom ... Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations. It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2). Just one kilogram of SF6 warms the Earth to the same extent as 24 people flying London to New York return. It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years.

Where once large coal-fired power stations brought energy to millions, the drive to combat climate change means they are now being replaced by mixed sources of power including wind, solar and gas. This has resulted in many more connections to the electricity grid, and a rise in the number of electrical switches and circuit breakers that are needed to prevent serious accidents. Collectively, these safety devices are called switchgear. The vast majority use SF6 gas to quench arcs and stop short circuits.

"As renewable projects are getting bigger and bigger, we have had to use it within wind turbines specifically," said Costa Pirgousis, an engineer with Scottish Power Renewables on its new East Anglia wind farm, which doesn't use SF6 in turbines. "As we are putting in more and more turbines, we need more and more switchgear and, as a result, more SF6 is being introduced into big turbines off shore. "It's been proven for years and we know how it works, and as a result it is very reliable and very low maintenance for us offshore."

Concentrations in the atmosphere are very small right now, just a fraction of the amount of CO2 in the air. However, the global installed base of SF6 is expected to grow by 75% by 2030.
Another concern is that SF6 is a synthetic gas and isn't absorbed or destroyed naturally. It will all have to be replaced and destroyed to limit the impact on the climate.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 20, 2019, 10:41:11 PM »
A tax on the weight of a car would be a very good thing right now.

Yes, we could tax all the 9000 consumer products that are especially CO2 consuming. Or we can just have a carbon tax. Same effect, but 8999 fewer fights. ;)

Agreed, based on the GHG emission effects. I hate the term "tax", seems the deniers have won with their effort to brand it a tax. I believe in "fee and equal dividend" which makes the rich (as the highest GHG emitters) pay the most and receive the same amount back in dividend as everyone else - a winning electoral formula given its progressive income redistribution effect. Funny how the so-called "progressive" and "eco-friendly" parties seem to work so hard not to provide this as a choice (a bit like "Obama-care" vs. Medicare for all). My own country's Liberals seem to be experts at this.

An outright ban on certain "unconscionable" luxuries such as corporate jets and yachts would also be a good move to properly share the pain of a transition and gain mass support.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: October 19, 2019, 11:42:57 PM »
Not specifically an EV topic, but the move back to SUVs both increases GHG emissions AND makes it harder for the move to BEVs given the greater weight (and therefore battery requirement for acceptable range) os SUVs. A tax on the weight of a car would be a very good thing right now. All the ICE efficiency improvements of the past years has gone into more weight and energy sucking add-ons.

A combination of more BEVs and more ICE SUVs may lead to continued increases in ICE oil consumption, as detailed in the article:

With major automakers announcing new electric car models at a regular pace, there has been growing interest in recent years about the impact of electric vehicles on the overall car market, as well as global oil demand, carbon emissions, and air pollution.

Carmakers plan more than 350 electric models by 2025, mostly small-to-medium variants. Plans from the top 20 car manufacturers suggest a tenfold increase in annual electric car sales, to 20 million vehicles a year by 2030, from 2 million in 2018. Starting from a low base, less than 0.5% of the total car stock, this growth in electric vehicles means that nearly 7% of the car fleet will be electric by 2030.

Meanwhile, the conventional car market has been showing signs of fatigue, with sales declining in 2018 and 2019, due to slowing economies. Global sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars fell by around 2% to under 87 million in 2018, the first drop since the 2008 recession. Data for 2019 points to a continuation of this trend, led by China, where sales in the first half of the year fell nearly 14%, and India where they declined by 10%.

These trends have created a narrative of an imminent peak in passenger car oil demand, and related CO2 emissions, and the beginning of the end for the “ICE age.” As passenger cars consume nearly one-quarter of global oil demand today, does this signal the approaching erosion of a pillar of global oil consumption?

A more silent structural change may put this conclusion into question: consumers are buying ever larger and less fuel-efficient cars, known as Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

This dramatic shift towards bigger and heavier cars has led to a doubling of the share of SUVs over the last decade. As a result, there are now over 200 million SUVs around the world, up from about 35 million in 2010, accounting for 60% of the increase in the global car fleet since 2010. Around 40% of annual car sales today are SUVs, compared with less than 20% a decade ago.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: October 10, 2019, 01:14:44 AM »
China is on track to meet its [so2 and no and particulate] emissions goals for 2020

The good news - the local air pollution from coal plants in China has been cleaned up a lot.
The bad news - the climate cooling levels of SO2 from Chinese coal plants have been reduced a lot

The team found that between 2014 and 2017, China's annual power plant emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter dropped by 65%, 60% and 72% each year respectively from 2.21, 3.11 and 0.52 million tonnes in 2014 to 0.77, 1.26 and 0.14 million tonnes in 2017, which is in compliance with ULE standards.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 04, 2019, 06:48:54 PM »
This stinking pile of shit article is debunked so often by now, why is it still shared??

The original study is from 2016 and not at all that negative.

In a case study of a system with load and renewable resource characteristics from the U.S. state of Texas, we find that energy storage delivers value by increasing the cost-effective penetration of renewable energy, reducing total investments in nuclear power and gas-fired peaking units, and improving the utilization of all installed capacity.

Below is the abstract of the underlying study, which I have read. I have italicized the part that you quoted AND highlighted the very next sentence. I have also bolded the piece that notes that the marginal benefit of storage diminishes with scale.

i.e. In small scale, storage does offer a lot of benefits BUT as you scale up to allow for greater amounts of variable renewables there are significant cost issues. These researchers call for "flexible nuclear" as an answer (one I do not agree with).

$2.5 trillion is not actually that much spread out over a 10-year period, lets remember that Trump gave away $1 trillion in his last tax cut and the "flying pig" F35 already cost $1 trillion. The US economy is $20 trillion in size. A good-sized "weapons to ploughshares" program could easily provide such funding. The yearly real US defence budget (when all hidden costs are taken into account) is about $1 trillion per year, a quarter of that would fund the required grid/battery investments. The "market" will not fix this problem by itself, large-scale government action can. Thats how the US highway system was built.

Electrical energy storage could play an important role in decarbonizing the electricity sector by offering anew, carbon-free source of operational flexibility, improving the utilization of generation assets, and facilitating the integration of variable renewable energy sources. Yet, the future cost of energy storage technologies is uncertain, and the value that they can bring to the system depends on multiple factors. Moreover, the marginal value of storage diminishes as more energy storage capacity is deployed. To explore the potential value of energy storage in deep decarbonization of the electricity sector, we assess the impact of increasing levels of energy storage capacity on both power system operations and investments in generation capacity using a generation capacity expansion model with detailed unit commitment constraints. In a case study of a system with load and renewable resource characteristics from the U.S. state of Texas, we find that energy storage delivers value by increasing the cost-effective penetration of renewable energy, reducing total investments in nuclear power and gas-fired peaking units, and improving the utilization of all installed capacity. However, we find that the value delivered by energy storage with a 2-hour storage capacity only exceeds current technology costs under strict emissions limits, implying that substantial cost reductions in battery storage are needed to justify large-scale deployment. In contrast, storage resources with a 10-hour storage capacity deliver value consistent with the current cost of pumped hydroelectric storage. In general, while energy storage appears essential to enable decarbonization strategies dependent on very high shares of wind and solar energy, storage is not a requisite if a diverse mix of flexible, low-carbon power sources is employed, including flexible nuclear power.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 03, 2019, 07:02:07 PM »
The $2.5 trillion reason we can’t rely on batteries to clean up the grid

Lithium-ion batteries could compete economically with these natural-gas peakers within the next five years, says Marco Ferrara, a cofounder of Form Energy, an MIT spinout developing grid storage batteries. “The gas peaker business is pretty close to ending, and lithium-ion is a great replacement,” he says.

But much beyond this role, batteries run into real problems. The authors of the 2016 study found steeply diminishing returns when a lot of battery storage is added to the grid. They concluded that coupling battery storage with renewable plants is a “weak substitute” for large, flexible coal or natural-gas combined-cycle plants, the type that can be tapped at any time, run continuously, and vary output levels to meet shifting demand throughout the day.

Not only is lithium-ion technology too expensive for this role, but limited battery life means it’s not well suited to filling gaps during the days, weeks, and even months when wind and solar generation flags. This problem is particularly acute in California, where both wind and solar fall off precipitously during the fall and winter months.

This leads to a critical problem: when renewables reach high levels on the grid, you need far, far more wind and solar plants to crank out enough excess power during peak times to keep the grid operating through those long seasonal dips, says Jesse Jenkins, a coauthor of the study and an energy systems researcher. That, in turn, requires banks upon banks of batteries that can store it all away until it’s needed. And that ends up being astronomically expensive.

There are issues California can’t afford to ignore for long. The state is already on track to get 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2020, and the legislature is once again considering a bill that would require it to reach 100 percent by 2045. To complicate things, regulators voted in January to close the state’s last nuclear plant, a carbon-free source that provides 24 percent of PG&E’s energy. That will leave California heavily reliant on renewable sources to meet its goals.

The Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based energy policy think tank, recently found that reaching the 80 percent mark for renewables in California would mean massive amounts of surplus generation during the summer months, requiring 9.6 million megawatt-hours of energy storage. Achieving 100 percent would require 36.3 million. The state currently has 150,000 megawatt-hours of energy storage in total. (That’s mainly pumped hydroelectric storage, with a small share of batteries.)

Similarly, a study earlier this year in Energy & Environmental Science found that meeting 80 percent of US electricity demand with wind and solar would require either a nationwide high-speed transmission system, which can balance renewable generation over hundreds of miles, or 12 hours of electricity storage for the whole system (see “Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy”). At current prices, a battery storage system of that size would cost more than $2.5 trillion.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 02, 2019, 01:12:29 AM »
Thanks for the ray of light gerontocrat! Oh, its an oncoming train.....

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 01, 2019, 09:53:00 PM »
The Industry Forecasts For Renewables Are Horrendous

As part of my research I am rechecking the industry forecasts (GWEC for wind, Solar Power Europe for solar) and they are absolutely awful.

GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council): net new wind capacity will increase by on 2.7% per annum between now and 2023.

Solar Power Europe: yearly new new solar capacity growth crashes from 25% in 2019 (a big rebound from the single digit growth in 2018) to 12% in 2020, 10% in 2021, 7% in 2022 and 6% in 2023.

The result of these forecasts, barring a global recession, will be increases in fossil fuel use and GHG emissions between now and 2023.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: September 30, 2019, 07:19:01 AM »
A Yacht built for a Rothschild and now earned by the Grimaldi family dynasty (the Grimaldis that have ruled Monaco since the 14th century and are worth about $1 billion), a Tesla from Schwarzenegger (worth about $400 million), Greta is certainly blessed with elite connections. Pure hypocrisy for the elites, given their massive personal consumption and wealth all dependent on fossil fuels. No real change comes from such elite supported "revolutionaries".
The optimist in me likes to think these rich and powerful folks want to jump Greta’s bandwagon because they like her message and they see her as a potential catalyst for change.

Greta is in a feel good video pushing "natural climate solutions" which is really the "natural capital solutions" with a more cuddly name - i.e. the privatization of nature and the failed REDD (polluters buy carbon offsets rather than actually cut emissions, usually on highly questionable sequestration claims) on steroids in the name of ecosystem services to be implemented at the upcoming 2020 UN conference on Biodiversity.

This is the "Extinction Revolution"?, you (and Greta unfortunately) are being played by the elites. Its the classic redirection of popular energy into meaningless avenues, or even into ones that benefit those elites. Lots of money to be made in ecosystem services, and lots of opportunities for the greenwashing of big polluters. Also, lots of possibilities for throwing poor people of their lands in the name of "saving forests" and conservation.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: September 30, 2019, 04:44:05 AM »
A Yacht built for a Rothschild and now earned by the Grimaldi family dynasty (the Grimaldis that have ruled Monaco since the 14th century and are worth about $1 billion), a Tesla from Schwarzenegger (worth about $400 million), Greta is certainly blessed with elite connections. Pure hypocrisy for the elites, given their massive personal consumption and wealth all dependent on fossil fuels. No real change comes from such elite supported "revolutionaries".

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 29, 2019, 09:20:48 PM »
The USA EIA updated its energy data - up to June 2019.

Here is a graph that shows monthly energy consumption from 2010 - when wind+solar started to get consumed in measurable quantities..

You can see coal reducing as well.

The sad thing is that solar+ wind growth in value is more or less the same than total growth of energy consumption.

And thats in the slow growing US. At the global level the yearly growth in energy usage is greater than the yearly addition of renewables energy production - i.e. fossil fuel usage keeps going up. Slightly hidden by the focus on CO2 emissions when methane emissions are going up significantly (due to the increased natural gas usage).

Without much greater government action (very high carbon taxes, subsidies for renewables, buyouts and enforced closures of fossil fuel plants, enforced phase out dates for fossil fuel processes and products) this reality will continue right into the next UN FCCC meeting in 2022 and beyond. The solar and wind energy industry body forecasts for the next 5 years underline this reality.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: September 29, 2019, 09:12:46 PM »
Greta a climate debate tipping point?
I have never seen so many articles on climate change and associated topics, as I see now. She has certainly tipped the scales. Will it help? I certainly hope so, though the old and greedy people's inertia is very strong.
I'm worried that it might only support greenBAU, excepted if people would really start to reduce their consumption, but I don't feel that many people get the point.

"If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it." That's from Severn Cullis Suzuki, 12 years old at the Earth Summit, 1992 in Rio. Thanks to Terry for giving the info.

I think that you have a very good point. GreenBAU can also include massive geo-engineering such as Solar Radiation Management, and massive industrial scale efforts to "recycle" emitted carbon dioxide - all good profitable opportunities. "Saving the Planet" can take many forms. This is the worry that I have about Extinction Rebellion, they end up supplying the overlying narrative for further industrializing the planet rather than propose solutions. "Just fix it" may be ambiguous enough for a "big tent" movement, but can then be used by economic elites for their own beneficial (and incredibly risky) answers. Anything but actually reducing elite consumption and wealth.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: September 28, 2019, 01:56:11 AM »
Listen to the Children - Severn Cullis-Suzuki's famous speech on the environment (1992)

This is from 1992, a child's speech to the UN on the environment in Rio. Sounds a lot like Greta. The adults listened and then went off and made things much worse (apart from "fixing" the ozone hole).

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: September 28, 2019, 12:41:32 AM »
I've just stumbled on this article, that gives some hope for "extinction rebellion" making a real difference
Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.
There are, of course, many ethical reasons to use nonviolent strategies. But compelling research by Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard University, confirms that civil disobedience is not only the moral choice; it is also the most powerful way of shaping world politics – by a long way.

Looking at hundreds of campaigns over the last century, Chenoweth found that nonviolent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns. And although the exact dynamics will depend on many factors, she has shown it takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Chenoweth’s influence can be seen in the recent Extinction Rebellion protests, whose founders say they have been directly inspired by her findings.

I read the book that this is based upon as part of my comprehensive exams. The way in which cases are classified and the statistical analysis is deeply flawed and simplistic, if not actually consciously misrepresented. Complex examples, such as the Philippines where the army played a major role in pressuring the leader to go, are massively oversimplified. Different types of cases are also treated as if they are the same and more complex linkages (the Indian Army mutiny and terrorist activities prior to the "peaceful" ending of colonialism in India, the "peaceful" South Africa example when the ANC had an active military wing) are ignored.

The research was also heavily funded by the CIA, which is not disclosed openly up front. The author has received a lot of funding on other projects from Homeland Security, the Department of Defence and the CIA etc. Pretty much embedded in the security state. Would they be interested in selling the proposition that non-violent protest works?

A contrasting viewpoint:

Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but Germany ....
« on: September 23, 2019, 12:08:57 AM »
Please start another thread, maybe call it "But, but, but immigrants" and allow this one to be about the climate policies of, and progress/lack of progress in emission reductions, of Germany.

Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:25:16 AM »
Airlines' CO2 emissions rising up to 70% faster than predicted
Carbon dioxide emitted by commercial flights rose by 32% from 2013 to 2018, study shows

Researchers said the rate of growth far exceeded that used to develop projections for CO2 emissions by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization.

The ICCT report says: “The implied annual compound growth rate of emissions, 5.7%, is 70% higher than those used to develop ICAO’s projections that CO2 emissions from international aviation will triple under business as usual by 2050.”

The total increase over the past five years was equivalent to building about 50 coal-fired power plants, the ICCT calculated. The study shows the UK is responsible for 4% of global aviation CO2 emissions, behind only the US (24%) and China (13%).

Domestic flights in the US and China account for a quarter of all aviation emissions. The US, China and EU account for 55% of all emissions.

A forecast released by Airbus on Wednesday said the number of commercial aircraft in operation would double to 48,000 planes worldwide by 2038. It predicted urbanisation and an emerging middle class would fuel rapid growth, particularly in the Asia-Pacific.

...BUT "offsets" and Technology will save us

“That is why from 2020 all growth in international aviation CO2 will be offset, reducing carbon by millions of tonnes a year. And by 2050 we aim to cut total emissions to half the 2005 level, using a combination of sustainable fuels and radical new technologies.”

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, called on the UK aviation industry to take the lead in introducing electric flight. In a speech at Cranfield University in Bedford on Thursday, he said: “We need to get to grips with commercial aviation greenhouse gas emissions for the sake of our children and our fragile environment.”

He said aviation “supercharges our economy, drives prosperity, jobs and tourism and helps promote Britain’s interests globally … But with aviation set to grow significantly over the next three decades, largely driven by rising demand from emerging markets, particularly Asia, the Middle East and India, I want to pave the way for the transition towards commercial use of cleaner electric planes.”

Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:19:54 AM »
Almost Tom. Almost.  ;D :P

18, rule of 72. But still really bad news.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:07:09 AM »
rboyd, please avoid using Trumps racist rhetoric here. Thank you.

Elizabeth Warren repeatedly claimed to be a native American when in fact she had no basis for that, proven by her own publicized DNA test. I can understand the issue with the usage of the name Pocahontas, a native woman kidnapped and raped by a white man (not the fairy story peddled by Disney and others). I will use "Fake Indigenous" in the future.

And I had to wake up to finding out that my fake progressive (fake climate change activist, fake indigenous rights, fake electoral system reformer ...) Prime Minister enjoyed applying black and brown face multiple times in his adult life. I knew that was wrong in my youth in the 1970s and 1980s so there is no excuse.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 19, 2019, 07:32:42 PM »
Terry, I imagine a special chamber in hell directly under Dante's backside.

It's one of the real reasons why a second Trump term would be an absolute disaster - continued aggression toward climate friendly actions. Unfortunately the Democrats (excepting Bernie and OCAS etc.) were/are very fossil fuel friendly (Obama boasting about his role helping the fracking industry!) and will not do nearly enough.

That PV installations curve needs to be exponential (as does the wind curve and the energy efficiency curve), aided by carbon taxes, massive government grid investments, and an explicit green industrial policy. If we get Creepy Old Joe or Pocahontas Warren (or "lock up em up if they are poor" Harris) there is no way that that will happen.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 18, 2019, 09:27:32 PM »
There the pipeline of pending solar projects in the US has a total capacity of 37.9 GW, which is the most ever.

That graph shows an end to the exponential growth in the amount of new PV capacity installed in 2016, followed by much lower levels for three years, then a move above the 2016 level in 2020 followed by a plateau for four years.

The amount of new capacity added in 2024 will only be a bit higher than in 2016. That may be realistic but extremely troubling from the point of view of significantly reducing fossil fuel usage in the US electricitiy sector.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 18, 2019, 09:21:26 PM »
UAW membership has ticked upward in recent years, recovering from its post-financial-crisis nadir. Now it faces a new threat from the next great shift for the auto industry. The electric car may be great for the planet and glorious for drivers, but it’s no good for jobs.

The problem with EV's is that their production does not need the vast array of skilled labor required to make internal combustion engines and the related gasoline feeds, gear and clutch assemblies etc.This removes a huge amount of relatively skilled work in automobile plants AND within car maintenance facilities (e.g. car dealerships). Then on top of that there will be additional losses from the manufacturing "losers" - overall, given the scale of the car manufacturing and maintenance industry (plus all those gas stations and tanker drivers), will be a very disruptive change for the economies to deal with.

The UAW will end up trying to manage the continual decline of their numbers. One of my girlfriend's daughter was thinking of being a car mechanic and I told her that that was probably not a good occupation for her future given the advent of EV's.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: September 12, 2019, 07:31:03 PM »
So much for the Energiewende ....

German wind power industry warns of “precarious” situation at major industry fair

Wind power is Germany's most important renewable energy source and at times already provides over one-third of all electricity in the country. However, expansion fell to the lowest level since 2000 in the first half of 2019, mainly due to the fact that the construction of more than 2,000 turbines has been put on hold due to licensing problems caused by lawsuits from citizens, environmental groups and aviation authorities.

Onshore wind power auction in Germany once again fails to attract enough bidders

The lack of interest in Germany's onshore wind power auctions continued in the latest auction in September, which once again failed to attract enough bidders to meet the auctioned volume, Germany's federal network agency (BNetzA) said. Of the 500 megawatt (MW) auctioned, only 187 MW could be awarded to a total of 21 bidders. "This is clearly not enough to speak of competition," the BNetzA said. The average support awarded to bidders stood at the "record-high" level of 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), the agency said. The largest share of the auctioned volume, about 64 MW, went to Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

The expansion of onshore wind power, which is supposed to become Germany's chief source of electricity in the future, has stalled significantly, reaching the lowest level in 20 years in the first half of 2019. A flawed auction design and difficulties in obtaining licenses for turbine construction have discouraged investors and led to sinking participation volumes in onshore tenders. Energy minister Peter Altmaier called a national wind power summit in early September, where he and his state colleagues promised a set of legal reforms to ensure wind power expansion reaches the level needed to meet the country's renewable power expansion goals.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 12, 2019, 07:25:30 PM »
China Sees Decline In Electric Vehicle Sales For Second Consecutive Month

A bit of a hangover from the subsidy cuts at the end of June - down 16% year over year.

China has reported a decline of 16 per cent in electric vehicle sales for the month of August. Last month the cumulative sales of all pure-electric, fuel-celled, and plugin hybrids vehicles stood at 85,000 units the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, compared to 100,000+ vehicles sold during the same month in 2018. In addition to the decline in year-on-year (YoY) sales, China also registered month-on-month (MoM) drop of 4.7 per cent compared to the total EV sales in July 2019. This for the second straight month the EV sales have gone down in China, following the local government's decision scale back subsidies.

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: September 10, 2019, 07:14:51 PM »
"The default is going to be fascism ..." (Roger) is the one of the best insights in the video, the other is the problem of asking the non-rich of humanity to give up their aspirations to "be like us" (Marc), let alone asking the rich to give up their current way of life.

The latter leads to the former, as people look to a strongman/woman to find an easier way out.The very rich are only too happy to support such a person, as they were with Hitler and Mussolini. Democracy (even the make-believe version currently practised in western countries) is not a pre-requisite for successful capitalism.

I don't think that Rupert is "managed opposition" just much less optimistic.

Policy and solutions / Re: US Green New Deal
« on: September 08, 2019, 09:29:21 PM »
The Green New Deal Is Cheaper Than Climate Change
Last year, two EPA scientists, working independently of their agency, published a pessimistic study in Nature Climate Change. They compared the potential economic impacts of two scenarios. In the first, humanity misses the 2 degrees Celsius target established in the Paris framework by 0.8 degrees. In the second, we would overshoot the target by 2.5 degrees Celsius. Looking at how warming would affect 22 sectors of the US economy by 2090, they estimated that we would face additional losses of $225 billion per year in the hotter scenario. But the researchers cautioned that because “only a small portion of the impacts of climate change are estimated” in their analysis, it “capture[d] just a fraction of the potential risks and damages.”

A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research estimated that if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at our current pace, it would reduce global economic output by 7.2 percent by the end of the century. If we were to meet the goals set forth in the Paris Accord, output would drop by only 1.1 percent. The difference between those two figures, in 2018 dollars, would be over $5 trillion per year.

Mainstream economists live in a hard science free bubble that allows them to continue to make utterly stupid statements that are directly challenged by actual scientists. Anything above 3 degrees will equal the end of modern civilization given the triggering of feedbacks that will drive temperatures higher - just ask a real climate scientist. Thats a close to 100% loss of GDP (together with billions of lives etc.).

Economists analyzing climate change is like the proverbial driver looking for his lost keys under a street lamp because that's where they can see things the best. Its like saying that the loss of the agricultural sector will mean a loss of only 3% of GDP (or less given how it is measured by economists) while we all starve to death.

The Chinese have an alignment between geopolitical and economic self-interest and policies that are climate friendly.

I think that the problem in Canada is that we have short-term interests (fossil fuel corporations, banks lending to them, high-paid Tar Sands workers etc.) that conflict with our long-term interests (the ability to be a major provider of renewable energy).

I don't think that it will be too long (10 years?) until the Canadian population will be disgusted at our current choices as the Tar Sands become uneconomic (and the massive clean up costs fall upon the state) and the cost of refurbishing the crappy Candu nuclear reactors in Ontario sky-rockets and the LNG projects get mothballed/cancelled. Quebec may well become the new Alberta, annoyed at its central government transfers being used to support the feckless Albertans.

I was talking with the Kitchener Green Party candidate recently, and we agreed on the idiocy of how the carbon tax was implemented - seemed designed to piss people (especially the poorer people) off while having a carbon tax set at a completely ineffectual level.A much higher carbon tax with a simple fee and progressive dividend structure (send government checks to people rather than the complex tax refund process) would have been much, much better. Probably far too successful for the fossil fuel interests.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbon tax
« on: September 08, 2019, 08:58:49 PM »

The Waterloo light rail seems to be one of the most useless transport projects I can think of (it even diverts from the main thoroughfare of King Street!). Electric buses would have been much cheaper, much less disruptive and much more flexible. I live in Waterloo and have to watch this white elephant every day. Makes it so easy for the conservatives to make fun of low carbon initiatives (e.g. "that white elephant is what my carbon taxes are paying for?!!!").

I spoke to a number of KW residents a few evenings ago, and though none had ridden the trolley/light rail, they all claimed to have seen ~dozen passengers each time one passed.
It's still a very young system - give it a little chance to grow and become accepted. It has yet to see it's first winter.
The group I was speaking to were older, probably wealthier people who may be the demographic most resistant to change.

One of my friends (in her twenties), who takes public transport often, told me that a number of bus routes had been cancelled, therefore forcing people to ride the light rail. I am very supportive of public transport, but I am also against obviously wasteful expenditures.

The example of Curitiba in Brazil shows what is possible with well planned dedicated bus routes at much less cost:

How Curitiba's BRT stations sparked a transport revolution – a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 43

Curitiba Bus System is Model for Rapid Transit

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 08, 2019, 08:47:24 PM »
Will Germany's car industry survive? | DW Documentary

Excellent documentary!  “The German auto industry is a victim of its own success.”

More and more the electric engine is looking like one of those discontinuous technological changes which destroys the competitive advantage of the incumbents (producing ICEs), while at the same time making those previous advantages into weights holding them down, and makes it much simpler for new entrants (the "ICE has 20000 parts, an EV 2000" point in the video was very telling). The next 5-10 years are going to be more eventful for the automobile industry than the last 50.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 05, 2019, 07:53:57 PM »
China is leaning on ride-hailing to boost sales of electric vehicles

I don't have statistics on miles driven by different user types, but I would hazard a guess that it may have the Pareto 80/20 structure - 80% of the miles driven by 20% of the users (taxi drives, delivery vans, trucks, buses etc.). This type of pressure, targeting one of the high mileage user groups will have an outsized impact on oil usage and emissions.

The Chinese state position seems to be "suck it up and stop complaining" when it comes to such focused policies.

Hua would prefer not to drive a battery-electric car.

But after the Chinese city of Guangzhou began implementing rules that made it all but impossible to use his gasoline car for ride-hailing, he rented an electric model from BYD in April. Now he worries constantly about the car running out of range, especially on hot days that can drain the battery faster. One time he paid an expensive parking lot fee downtown to use its charging facility, only to find the charging station he’d pulled into was broken. It was a lot easier when he could use his regular car for ride-sharing, but restrictions on when gas cars could be on the streets forced him to make the change.

In "Oil, Power, and War", a part of the thesis is that War's energy requirements provide a reason to declare all reserves as well as active production capacity to be strategic resources.  Massive thermo-industrial capacity is wins wars.

Yep: energy = industrial capacity = ability to wage war (both "hot wars" and "economic wars"), is one of the basic beliefs within Realist international relations thinking (e.g, Waltz, Mearsheimer, Zakaria).

The beauty of oil is that it is an easily transportable energy dense liquid, so refuelling tanks, planes etc. can be done quickly without much infrastructure (oil tanker trucks and planes). With batteries you would need an electrical infrastructure unless you can quickly swap out and replace batteries (maybe with tanks but you cant do that in mid air with a plane).

Will be interesting to see what happens during the next ten years, could we see battery driven or hybrid light tanks as battery ranges increase? The advantage of the latter would be no complex ICE to break down in the middle of a battle, no hot exhaust fumes and noise to give away a position, and if the batteries are at the bottom of the tank maybe fewer fires (although mines could be really dangerous).

One of my colleagues is studying the carbon emissions of the military, which are colossal. Governments try really hard not to disclose the scale of the military's GHG emissions.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: September 05, 2019, 03:06:54 AM »
And to think that GM was once way ahead of the competition with the EV1 .... then they took them all and crushed them.

UBS chair Axel Weber: Climate change occurring at 'astonishing' speed
Weber called on investors and finance professionals to overhaul financial markets and investment processes to make tackling climate change a key priority.

“Financial markets are enormously effective in moving capital where it is needed most,” he said. “But how can financial markets be moved to mobilising capital and aligning capital allocations more strongly with sustainability?

“During the financial crisis and before, and in its aftermath, finance has been part of the problem. We need to do what we can do best — that is financial engineering, financial plumbing — to become a force for good.” ...

"Financial markets are enormously effective in moving capital where it is needed most", no they are not. They are very good at moving capital to the most profitable opportunities irrespective of overall social benefit. That is why industrial policy, regulations, and public investment banks (as in China, Japan, Germany etc.) are required. The US was able to fight WW2 because of central planning, not "the market" or "the financial markets". Europe was rebuilt after WW2 because of the massive state-directed and state protected public and private investments (the latter piggy-backing on the former and many government policies).

Thanks for the very insightful comments Terry, you put forward a very interesting hypothesis. A policy of autarky, with the replacement of foreign goods with Russian (and perhaps Chinese) ones. The biggest area would be the high technology sector, but working with China which has the same concerns about the US, could be possible. It will be interesting if we see more moves like Huawei using a Russian O/S.

Russia has a phenomenal technical education system, but many graduates left for the west in the past decades - I hired quite a few when I was an IT executive (a BSc from Russia seemed to be at the western MSc level, and their math skills were always far ahead). Perhaps Chinese money can help develop the fledgling Russian private high tech sector?

It is interesting that in the "Collapse of British Power", Barnett notes that in WW1 the British state built a machine tools industry from the ground up in 2 years (then with the end of WW1 went straight back to laissez-faire and let their new creation wither). The Russian state must have already done some of this to be able to create their new high tech weapons. So perhaps between the Russian state and Chinese investments such a renaissance could be done. It would still probably take a decade at least though.

In the short term, pressure would be on to maintain foreign earnings to buy required technologies etc., and therefore the emphasis on fossil fuel exports would remain. At home, Russia is not driving very hard to replace fossil fuels, the current status is:
- 20% of electricity provided by renewables, overwhelmingly hydro and bio-energy
- Decree 449 (2013) provides some support to new renewables, but still very limited. It does require a high level of local content to help develop the local industry (what the Japanese challenge to the WTO made Ontario stop successfully doing)
- IRENA thinks that Russia could expand all renewables to 11% of final energy consumption (4.9% right now) with the right policies

But exactly how Russia intends to achieve a dramatic acceleration in RES investment and deployment is still a mystery, and the central position of the country’s state-owned thermal energy companies in its exports, domestic power system and foreign policy presents a high barrier to the kind of renewable penetration that has been seen in world-leading countries like Germany and Norway

This is a very good 2019 paper assessment (paywalled unfortunately):
The future of Russia’s renewable energy sector: Trends, scenarios and policies
Liliana N. Proskuryakova, Georgy V. Ermolenko

However, several factors significantly reduce generating and grid companies’ interest in solar, wind, and small-scale hydropower. First of all, there is a surplus of installed capacity in the
country (the load-to-installed-capacity rate is 0.69). Installing more capacity would only aggravate the situation further, despite the plans for dismantling inefficient outdated coal-fired heat and power
plants. Secondly, the predominant traditional management views are to have 100% back-up facilities for renewable-based power plants, conventional power plants’ flexibility must be stepped
up (such as nuclear power plants and older gas-based thermal power plants). At the same time, Russia’s national grid faces a problem of unloading power plants at night-time and summer
time, as well as low capacity factor at heat power plants (less than 49% of calendar time). Thirdly, the insufficient density of electric grids significantly limits the scope for a free flow of electricity.

The United States

Up to about 2010 the US was starting to go in the right direction with respect to climate change because of its increasing level of dependence on imported fossil fuels (and the increasing acceptance of the peak oil scenario). The shale oil and gas revolution put a stop to that, with the US now nearly self sufficient in fossil fuels (with Trump an extreme case of support for the FF industry, but Obama was the one who facilitated and supported the shale oil and gas expansion).

The US administration now explicitly sees this new position as a geopolitical weapon as it can attack oil exporting nations that do not accept its leadership without greatly increasing the oil price (and any increase would benefit US shale producers). Hence, the sanctions and aggression against Venezuela, Iran and Russia. The US administration sees the situation as a golden opportunity to be taken advantage of. This position only strengthens the position of the fossil fuel industry (oil and gas) within the US administration. The relatively minor industrial policy support for renewables and EV's has been limited as much as possible by the Trump administration, and regulations on fossil fuel producers significantly reduced.

From 2011 onwards China was identified as the main challenger to US global dominance, with Russia a secondary concern. The US will attempt to keep the size of its economy as close to that of China, as economic size is highly correlated with geopolitical power - resulting in it optimizing its energy resources as much as possible to support growth. It will attempt to stop China becoming a dominant regional power, as that is seen as a base from which China will develop into a global power (in the same way that the US used the western hemisphere as a base from which to become a global power). It will also attempt to retard China's technological development so that it maintains a technological lead - the outright attack on Huawei is much more about geopolitics and technology leadership than technology copying and net security (Huawei is years ahead in 5G for example and China now claims more technology patents per year than the US and produces many more technology engineering graduates per year).

What is missing in the US is a full blown industrial policy to reinvigorate US industry, apart from Defense Department outlays which are highly inefficient, due to the embedded beliefs in "free markets". Tariffs against China will not fix this, as production will simply move to other relatively cheap nations rather than the US. This position maps very well to that of the free-market (and free trade) blinded UK state in the period 1870 to 1939.

The US has a window of opportunity of maybe at the most 10 years (quite possibly a few years less) before the Chinese economy is significantly bigger than the US (in purchasing power terms it is already bigger, US$ measures are highly misleading), it is technologically independent of US producers, and Chinese weapons render a South China Sea engagement a losing proposition to the US. This is the "danger window" that hegemonic power theorists see as one power overtakes another. During this period, there will be absolutely no short/medium term incentives for the US policy elites to take any climate policy actions that retard its growth or reduce any of its advantages (like being self sufficient in fossil fuels). Quite the opposite. Geo-engineering, such as solar radiation management (SRM) will be the preferred solutions.

For the US there is a direct clash between geopolitical considerations of maintaing unchallenged global leadership and GHG emission reduction policies.

NOTE: The best policy for China is to avoid direct conflict until it has significantly surpassed the US, including desecuritizing its energy supplies by curtailing seaborne energy imports and rendering a South China Sea war untenable to the US. US corporate production facilities in China (such as Tesla's) will be supported as a means of gaining more leverage in Washington to delay such US state actions. The same goes with respect to a US absolute cutoff of access to technologies that China has not yet replicated or has access to through third parties. The result will be that the "2025" China plan for replacing US technologies will be quietly accelerated as much as possible (e.g. the Huawei use of a Russian OS to replace google in some markets).The possibility of such an accelerated replacement is why many high-tech US corporations have been pressuring the US government not to escalate the trade war.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbon tax
« on: August 31, 2019, 10:44:37 PM »
Could not agree more on the public ownership of the energy utilities, just like in Quebec! The much cheaper public Quebec car insurance would also be a great idea in Ontario - shame that an ex Ontario premier wimped out on that one in the early 1990s.

The Waterloo light rail seems to be one of the most useless transport projects I can think of (it even diverts from the main thoroughfare of King Street!). Electric buses would have been much cheaper, much less disruptive and much more flexible. I live in Waterloo and have to watch this white elephant every day. Makes it so easy for the conservatives to make fun of low carbon initiatives (e.g. "that white elephant is what my carbon taxes are paying for?!!!").

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: August 31, 2019, 10:42:25 PM »
What the Left Can Learn from Extinction Rebellion

XR has mobilised so many so quickly under the vaguest of unifying principles: there is a climate emergency. It is going to be bad. It is urgent. Governments need to act. Who could disagree? XR’s lack of a substantial political analysis of the root causes of the ecological crisis is precisely the reason they have been able to get so many people on the streets so quickly.

With no explicit ideological story of climate breakdown's causes and solutions, people spanning the political spectrum have felt comfortable in XR. XR has shown that very many people can join a cause demanding something be done about climate change – and with the something unclear, that there is little for potential participants to disagree with to the extent that they refuse to join.

The contradiction born out of this is important. Proposing specific policies would inevitably fragment a coalition held together only by a shared belief in the scale of the crisis and the urgency of the need to act. On the other hand, without strong demands, XR is politically toothless and little more than enhanced awareness raising.

Whatever you think of XR, and regardless of its prospects for reform, we must all take this moment as an incentive to leap into the climate movement. This could be agitating to change XR by getting involved. More productive, though, would be organising through our political parties, unions, workplaces, faith groups, schools and universities, demanding a future of prosperity for all, underwritten by environmental stability.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: August 31, 2019, 10:17:50 PM »
Labelling all those that question the Greta phenomenon as climate deniers
Pray tell, how else to label? (Perhaps conspiracy theorists? But these are also climate deniers...)

1. Hard Climate Deniers: "natural cycles", "sun spots", "lying self-serving scientists" blah, blah, blah. - Trump administration, right-wing groups such as La Pen in France, Saudi Arabia, Russia

2. Soft Deniers: "climate change is happening, but we still have time to to fix it with eco-modernist and engineering solutions (including fanciful future technologies) and we don't need to stop exponential growth and we can still expand fossil fuel production (Tar Sands, fracking etc.). UN IPCC, WEF, Western European, Chinese, Indian, Canadian etc. governments, plus Obama administration and large corporations (including the media conglomerates who live off consumption-related advertising revenues).
- All the people unconditionally celebrating Greta.

3. Eco-Socialist / Realist: The rich have to drastically cut consumption (top 10-20% are the majority of the emissions - including all those WEF attendees and media moguls celebrating Greta) and costs should not be dumped on the poor/less powerful (like the French diesel taxes while at the same time cutting taxes for the rich, or the poor of Africa and India not having electricity).
- Kevin Anderson is a great example, and you certainly CANNOT call him a climate denier.

Charles Eisenstein - A Message to Greta Thunberg and the Youth Climate Strikers

And I would caution that there are powerful forces that would like to co-opt that energy and divert it onto things that actually don’t disrupt the status quo too much. This is not just some technical matter of finding alternative energy sources to keep civilization-as-it-is running to maintain business as usual. We live on a planet that is alive.

We could cut emissions to zero and if we continue to degrade the organs of this living being - the forests, the wetlands, the whales, the elephants, the fish, all of the beings on Earth, all of the ecosystems - then the Earth will still die a death of a million cuts. Even if we cut emissions to zero.

So be careful about getting diverted onto these, and used, to promote these technical solutions such as geoengineering, such as bleaching the sky a paler shade of blue with sulphur aerosols that reflect sunlight. Problem solved! If you’re going to keep the issue to a narrow matter of global warming, problem solved. Business as usual can continue and we’ve saved the world.

My mixed feelings are put quite well by this woman, her comments about the Obama photo op. are very insightful. fyi: I do eat organic fish and meat, but I do agree with respect to industrialized agriculture and animal husbandry.

Can we please stop the bullshit labelling/ad hominems, and actually discuss points of view now?

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