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Messages - rboyd

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Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:31:12 PM »
Increase in lake emissions equivalent to 13% of fossil fuel related emissions due to "moderate levels of eutrophication" due to increased temperatures

We are rapidly getting to the point where cuts in anthropogenic emissions could be matched by increased sources and reduced sinks.The UNIPCC takes absolutely no account of this.

Our study shows that GHG emissions from lakes and impoundments are equivalent to ∼ 20% of global fossil fuel CO2 emission (9.3 Pg C‐CO2 yr−1; Le Quéré et al. 2016) and that emissions will rise even further with the continued eutrophication of Earth's lentic ecosystems.

[quote This analysis suggests that these moderate levels of enhanced eutrophication could increase the atmospheric effect of GHGs emitted from lakes and impoundments by 5%, 26%, or 42%, respectively (Supporting Information Table S7). This increased emission would be equivalent to around 1 Pg CO2eq yr−1 or about 13% of the effect of the current global emission of CO2 by the combustion of fossil fuels, and about equal to the excess CO2 emissions to the atmosphere from global land use change (Ciais et al. 2013).[/quote]

Science / Re: 2019 CO2 emissions
« on: April 11, 2019, 06:05:14 PM »
Perhaps look in "2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels"?

Atmospheric levels represent the actions of all sources (natural and anthropogenic) and sinks, and there is a significant amount of natural variation (e.g. La Nina/El Nino). There is also the possibility of feedbacks increasing natural emissions and reducing sinks. So probably not a good link between the two, especially in the short-term.

Coal Usage
Maybe the best proxy is coal usage in China and India, as the increase in coal usage accounted for 70% of the rise in emissions in 2017 and 2018. Forecasts are for 4% growth in India coal usage ongoing and it looks like China is quietly building new coal-fired power stations, so they may not peak for quite a while. Coal consumption statistics are usually quite delayed in reporting though. I ignore any reduction due to increased natural gas usage, as the significantly underreported fugitive methane leaks make it as bad as coal (yes, that means that emissions grew by more than reported in 2018).

Wind and Solar Electricity Generation
Another could be the forecast for the increase in wind and solar electricity generation (not capacity addition which is very misleading due to differing capacity factors) versus the forecast increase in overall electricity generation (growing at about 2.5% per year). If the ratio is greater than 1 (currently less than 0.5) electricity generation is decarbonizing. I ignore hydroelectricity (growth limited and net up-front emissions due to construction and the flooding of vegetation) and the highly questionable bio-fuels (e.g. wood pellets may be just as bad as coal and therefore UK emissions probably did not fall by as much as claimed).

In 2017 humanity utilized approximately 22,000 Terawatt hours of electricity, wind provided 5% of that, and solar 2% of that. Their combined share grew by 1%, which was much less than the 2.6% growth in overall generation. The growth rate would need to treble to start decarbonizing. You can get the data for look-back IRENA (International Renewable Energy Association) and look-forward data from GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council) and Solar Power Europe. Their forecasts for 2019 (which are usually pretty good) point to slowing growth rates in wind and solar, so not decarbonization. Same to 2022.

Internal Combustion Engine Car Fleet
As long as this is growing (as it is rapidly in China and probably soon India, and slowly in the US and Europe) emissions will tend to increase, offset a little by more efficient engines (offset a lot by increases in the size of cars). In 2019 car sales may fall somewhat, but the overall ICE car fleet will continue to grow. Until EV's are a significant share of sales in the USA and Europe this increase will continue. Monthly sales numbers, and EV share, are published monthly. Still too low to reduce the ICE fleet in the USA and EU.

Sorry that its not that simple to do. I track these things in detail because it is necessary for my PhD, it can be quite a pain tracking down accurate (and not misrepresented) data. My take is that, short of a recession, emissions will increase between now and 2022.

I find AbruptSLR to be a refreshing break from the UN Climate Circus prognostications, which continually use sleights of hand (ignoring increased natural emissions, restrictive confidence intervals, low values for climate sensitivity, ignoring the growth in methane levels, assumptions of massive rollouts of hypothetical technologies, assuming a frictionless rollout of renewables etc.) to be able to say that "we can still do it and keep growing" from every report.

His posts remind us that there definitely are possible climate devils out there which we should not be taking the risk of triggering - i.e. The Precautionary Principle. In addition the scientific community/policy keeps taking its time to catch up to the likes of Hansen and others.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: April 02, 2019, 05:03:45 AM »
I wish that I could be more optimistic, but again and again when we dig beneath the "positive" headlines the underlying trend is very different. A big reason that the number of net new coal plants is declining is that India added a huge amount of capacity in the past few years, hence its low utilization rate (and therefore ability to burn a lot more coal with the current fleet). China also has a very low utilization rate.

When it comes to coal, what happens in China (over 50% of global coal usage) and India (over 11% of global coal usage) dwarfs everything else. The Rest of the World (14%) and Indonesia (2%) are also growing coal usage. So cuts in Europe and the USA (less than 9% of global coal usage) that hit the headlines get more than offset by the rest (Germany is only 2% and Poland 1% of global coal usage).

Much of the reduction in coal usage in the United States etc. is with natural gas, which is at least as bad as coal for climate change when the methane fugitive emissions and lack of climate cooling aerosols are taken into account.

Much, much more aggressive government action is required to move away from fossil fuels at the rate required.

The UNFCCC and IPCC have turned into a device to enable growth while keeping the pressure for more fundamental change at bay by creating a mirage of real progress. Every time there is a clash between the need to reduce GHG emissions and growth another rabbit is pulled out of the hat - such things as the inclusion of BECCS and DACS, the manipulation of confidence intervals, and the usage of low estimates for climate sensitivity.

It does look like the science is starting to remove some of the rabbits (e.g. low estimates of climate sensitivity) and the confidence interval cant be messed with any more (the 50% for 1.5 degrees was the lowest that I think they can get away with). The continued increase in atmospheric CH4 is also adding pressure. So the new rabbits for the 2022 IPCC report may be even greater use of BECCS/DACS, plus maybe rock weathering and SRM?

Reading some of Radoslav Dimitrov's articles on the UN FCCC processes (he was a delegate at Copenhagen and Paris) helps show what a political circus it is. He calls the Copenhagen Accord and Paris Agreement "decoy institutions" meant to hide the reality of a lack of any real progress.

The scramble for EV market share is on, with the Germans now joining the Chinese and Tesla in the race after giving the latter two quite a lead. The Japanese still seem to have not found the start point for the race (they took a detour to the hydro-cell and hybrid race), and the non-Tesla US makers seem to be somewhat confused about whether or not the race has started ... That confusion will not be helped by Mr Trump scrapping support for EV's in his 2020 budget proposal.

Policy and solutions / Re: Direct Air Capture (of Carbon Dioxide)
« on: March 30, 2019, 03:59:46 AM »
It worries me that we will end up with a Climate Industrial Complex brought to us by the very industries that created the problems:

- Big Oil and Gas: The expertise to build the pipeline infrastructure needed to transport captured CO2, and the drilling expertise to bury it.

- Big Ag: The planting of "CO2 plantations" of switch grass etc. to capture CO2, then burn for energy, then capture the exhaust CO2 and we are back to Big Oil.

- Big Mining: Massive excavations and crushing of the right types of rocks (the best ones in Brazil and India) to be spread across wet ecosystems to be "weathered", capturing CO2 and transferring alkaline to the oceans.

- Big Military: To protect the above installations

All made at a great profit and counted as additions to GDP. Probably wont save civilization but it will surely be profitable trying.

Paper on the development of the Chinese EV industry

Read an excellent paper on the development of the Chinese EV producers, and the help they got from the Chinese government. Part of the policy was that you could not sell an EV in China unless one of the 3 major parts was made in China. The foreign manufacturers, and therefore also their JV partners did not want to risk giving their technology away so did not set up Chinese production (and therefore could not sell EV's in China).

This left an opening for independent Chinese EV manufacturers, who have very rapidly moved up the curve (at least as much by innovation as copying) and provide 94% of the rapidly increasing Chinese EV sales. This is now a huge threat to the foreign manufacturers and their JV's that have a majority share of the ICE car sales. With this threat, plus new Chinese regs, the foreign manufacturers are rushing to catch up.


A vast literature on technology transitions within industries suggests that early phases of new technologies are marked by periods of intense experimentation, but we know little about the conditions under which these periods emerge. We apply inductive, grounded theory-building techniques to examine what prompts firms to experiment across one emerging technology platform—plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)—in China. Triangulating annual vehicle make and model sales data from 2003 to 2016 (plus monthly data from 2010 to 2016); 112 English and Mandarin archival documents from industry, academic, and news outlets; and 51 semi-structured interviews with industry, government, and academic stakeholders, we develop four in-depth case studies. We find that in contrast to the innovation trajectories of multinational and Chinese arms of joint venture (JV) firms, independent domestic Chinese firms (those with no history of international JV partnerships) are undertaking significant experimentation across multiple levels—infrastructure, core system, subsystem, and component—of the emerging PEV technology platform. We propose the concept of “institutional complementarities” to describe how interactions among institutions—here the national JV regulation and local market support and subsidies—may have turned regional markets into protected laboratories, extending the incubation periods for independent domestic firm experimentation. While this diverse experimentation may be an important antecedent of technology transition, consolidation induced by national policy standardization or competitive pressure may be required for PEV innovations to scale beyond their early, protected regional markets.

"Our case study analysis suggests that this variety of experimentation across multiple levels of the PEV technology platform by primarily one type of firm (independent domestic Chinese) may be related to China’s institutional setting. Specifically, our results suggest that in China’s PEV industry 1) the national JV regulation and local content requirements, have (perhaps inadvertently) removed foreign competition while rewarding domestic firm PEV activities; and 2) local policy support for local firms, such as market protection and subsidies, have extended the incubation periods for independent domestic firm experimentation. Table 3 summarizes the links between China’s national and local institutions and the experimentation by our case study firms across the emerging PEV technology platform."

Helveston, John P. et al (2019). Institutional complementarities: The origins of experimentation in China’s plug-in electric vehicle industry. Research Policy 48, pp. 206-222.

They just woke up to the reduced ice albedo effect? On a CO2e basis, we are already beyond 550ppm.

Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: March 19, 2019, 08:31:08 PM »
We may not be hitting that trend line again.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 19, 2019, 02:20:34 AM »
I think that the producing countries such as the USA will pull out every possible rabbit out of the hat to keep going, externalizing/delaying as many costs (water table contamination, methane leaks, regulatory costs ...) as possible as the EROI keeps falling. A possibility at some point if fracking hits the wall is some kind of government intervention on national security grounds. The attempted coup in Venezuela makes sense as a way to grab a big remaining chunk of oil reserves.

I truly hope that the Chinese EV adoption curve is very steep, forcing other car producing nations to expedite the move. The resulting crash in oil prices as the marginal demand is removed should help kill any new oil production plans.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: March 19, 2019, 02:04:56 AM »
bbr2314, attempting to shut someone down with a highly emotive image is not what I expect in this forum. There is a place for discussion, I myself definitely question the efficacy of some vaccines (e.g. the flu vaccine) while most definitely accepting the efficacy of others (e.g..smallpox, whooping cough, polio etc.). This is not a forum about vaccines, but climate change, so having noted my distaste I will not post on this subject again.

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: March 18, 2019, 08:01:07 PM »
The calculation of CO2e assumes that the level of atmospheric methane will fall, as each methane molecule degrades in about 14 years. Our reality is that the level of atmospheric methane is increasing, as the degraded methane is being more than constantly replaced with new emissions. Therefore a better view of both current, and ongoing, warming would be the continuous CO2e for methane (about 100 times), rather than the 100 year one (the one used in official estimates - about 38 times) or even the 20 year one (about 86 times).

With this number for methane, the CO2e is well over 610ppm.Taking into account the offsetting effect of aerosols (the UN IPCC does this) we are over 550ppm.

In pre-industrial times there was very little of the non-CO2 gases, so the level of CO2 is a good proxy - about 280ppm. So we have already met the doubling of pre-industrial level of CO2e and are adding about another 5+ppm per year.

The level of aerosols is relatively constant as coal use growth has decelerated since mid decade and there is a lot more effort to scrub aerosols in China, while the atmospheric GHG levels (including methane) keep increasing. The result should be an acceleration in global average temperature increases.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: February 18, 2019, 02:42:24 AM »
Boom! Fossil Vehicle Sales Are Officially Now Decreasing In China, Europe, & USA — #CleanTechnica Report

Policy and solutions / Re: US Green New Deal
« on: February 12, 2019, 07:48:23 PM »
If the GND removed all agricultural subsidies in the US, and charged a realistic carbon tax (US$100+) and/or brought in personal carbon quotas, the level of change could be quite interesting. Would also give a break to farmers in many other countries, as they would stop being destroyed by subsidized US agriculture (the EU does very much the same of course). And of course, ban GMOs and do a RICO investigation of Monsanto/Bayer and other big ag. players.

That would be the basis of a real new deal.

Consequences / Re: Abrupt Warming Event
« on: February 12, 2019, 05:03:45 PM »
Agreed, the "UN FCCC system" has turned into a force for cognitive dissonance, allowing us to continue to believe things that are being proven patently false by actual real world events - like being able to reconcile endless growth with combating climate change. The next IPCC report will be interesting reading as to what is the next wheeze to reconcile the unreconcilable, maybe ramping up BECCS and fossil fuel CCS even more, adding in speculative DACS (Direct Air Capture), or perhaps even a little SRM (Solar Radiation Management). A menu for self-deception.

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: February 11, 2019, 06:46:06 PM »
There is a lot of volatility recently in the Mauna Loa numbers, but the underlying trend is very worrying. With no significant difference in ENSO level year over year, we are seeing 3+ ppm changes year over year. Even looking at the global CO2 estimate for 2018 vs 2017, it is 2.63 (based on the November numbers, will be revised as December to February come in). When taking into account methane etc. the annual change is around 5ppm CO2e.

I remember reading that average annual numbers between 2.5 and 3 would be a symptom of increasing carbon cycle feedbacks (reduction in sinks and/or increase in natural sources). Seems we may be at the beginning of this, which would mean that the rate of increase in atmospheric concentrations will continue to increase, even if emissions stabilize.

If this is happening at just over 1 degree centigrade, once again Jim Hansen will have been prove correct. The rest of science will take its usual time to catch up.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: January 10, 2019, 09:53:35 PM »
U.S. Electricity Generation By Source

As you can see from the graph below, the big change in the US electricity production in the past few years was between gas and coal, with gas growing from 25% to 40%, an coal declining from 40% to about 28%.. This is for electricity OUTPUT, not electricity CAPACITY, and therefore properly reflects the lower capacity utilization of wind and solar (and the variability).

If the US state properly accounted for fugitive methane emissions in their greenhouse gas reporting there would have been no reporting of a reduction in US emissions in previous years - as it was mostly driven by the move from coal to fracked gas. The 2018 numbers would also be even worse than reported.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 31, 2018, 10:48:07 PM »

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: December 07, 2018, 07:14:07 PM »
Global carbon dioxide emissions rose almost 3% in 2018

Global emissions estimated to be up 2.7% in 2018 (after up 1.7% in 2017).
- China up 4.6% (27% of emissions)
- US up 2.5% (13% of emissions)
- EU28 down 0.7% (9% of emissions)
- India up 6.3% (6.3% of emissions)
- Rest of the world up 1.8% (44.7% of emissions)

India's coal and oil usage growing at 5% per year, at the stage of economic development that all previous countries heavily utilized coal to drive growth. At current trends, India's emissions with be greater than the EU28 by the mid-2020s at the latest.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: November 20, 2018, 01:49:54 AM »
The sun continues to shine adding to the net global heat energy balance every day. So, how does the warming become equalized?

As a body heats up it emits more infrared radiation, so as the Earth heats up it emits more infrared radiation (energy) - some of that increase escapes to space, offsetting the greater amount of heat (energy) trapped by the increased levels of greenhouse gases. At each level of greenhouse gases (and albedo) there is a temperature level that balances energy in / energy out.

This explains it quite well:

"The increased amounts of greenhouse gases human activities are adding to the atmosphere have upset the balance that has been in place since the end of the last ice age. Adding more greenhouse gases decreases the amount of infrared radiation energy leaving the atmosphere. To get the energy back in balance, the surface of the Earth has to warm up, so that it will emit more infrared energy, some of which will leave the atmosphere and compensate for the effect of the added greenhouse gases. Thus, the greenhouse effect, which is essential for creating the climate for life on Earth, is also responsible for the Earth getting warmer than it was before we started burning large amounts of fossil fuels."

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: November 19, 2018, 05:03:51 PM »
20,000 BAIC EC-Series Sold In Another Record China Electric Car Sales Month

While overall car sales fell in October in China, PEV (plug in vehicle) sales kept their momentum - reaching close to 120,000 new registrations in a single month - and on target for 1 million in 2018 as a whole (the global PEV market just reached a million in 2017).  Year-on-year growth rate of 85%. Foreign car market share of PEV's in China is only 6%! As the headline says, BAIC sold 20,000 of just one model in October (getting on for 30,000 of all PEV models in October). With this rate of growth, it will be the likes of BAIC and BYD rather than Tesla that will become the volume leaders (with all the efficiencies and learning curves that that leads to).

This is where the real PEV car centre is, with the Chinese government very fully driven to keep it going. If energy independence in the USA is measured by how many new shale oil wells are drilled, in China its by how much they can reduce oil usage (or at least the growth in oil usage), and therefore imports that have to travel through the Straits of Malacca. The PEV S-curve seems to be in full flow in China.

As a massive majority of car sales in China are not replacements (the opposite of the US), probably 80%+ of new car sales will have to be PEVs, plus increasing efficiencies in ICE cars, before the growth in oil usage tends toward zero. There also seems to be a big drive in the light-truck area - perhaps developing into heavy-trucks (will have to research that). Of course, China has a growing fully-electrified rail network as well.

Market share of PEV's was 5.8% in October, and 3.8% year to date. Will probably be higher by December. I personally doubted the Chinese governments very aggressive directive for PEV market share, but they certainly seem to be making it happen.

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