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Messages - Hefaistos

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Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 11:16:57 AM »
Now - of course - humanity may fail to extirpate this virus. In that case, we will lose 4-12% of the population over the next year or two, and it will become an ongoing predator, culling the old and infirm, the unhealthy, and the weak. In time, those who are genetically less vulnerable will prevail and have children, lessening the impact of the virus; and conversely - suppressing those genetic lines that are less able to withstand its ravages.


Extirpation has only succeeded with smallpox (almost). It needs a vaccine.

And Sam keeps ignoring data. I am sure he knows the Gangelt result where 15 % had had the infection at the time of the study. Death rates are ten times lower than his lower boundary. Lower than 0.4 % of the population (which is about 10 times as bad as a bad flu season).

Data should be more convincing than such looong pieces of overly dramatic prose.

The forum / Re: Who would like to take over the ASIF?
« on: April 09, 2020, 08:03:18 PM »
I have been here since 2013.....and I have seen the forum evolve. Nothing personal, but i do not want to see blumenkraft anywhere near the controls.

better to let the forum die IMO. its too infected with nonsense.

The forum / Re: Who would like to take over the ASIF?
« on: April 09, 2020, 04:51:14 PM »
And i would like to be allowed to fight (snip) racism (of which there is too much on the forum IMHO).

I think your definition of racism is pretty skewed. Your heart is in the right place but you are hypersensitive about it. I remember the drama in this thread where you ended up calling Archimid a "nazi handmaiden" for merely pointing out the fact that there are certain medical differences between genetic populations, such as sickle cell prevalence:,2996.msg249684.html#msg249684

If these are the kinds of posts that you would label as racism and remove, then I am against you being admin, if I am being honest.

The linked paper from Science Magazine indicates that the subset of CMIP6 models with high climate sensitivities are not able to reproduce the temperature trends over the past few decades.  They tend to show higher temperatures over the recent warming period and thus are likely biased "hot" for future warming.  In contrast, models with lower climate sensitivities tend to reproduce the recent warming accurately.

Past warming trend constrains future warming  inCMIP6 models
Katarzyna B. Tokarska, Martin B. Stolpe, Sebastian Sippel, Erich M. Fischer,  Christopher J. Smith, Flavio Lehner, Reto Knutti

Future  global  warming  estimates  have  been  similar  across  past  assessments,  but  several  climate  models  of  the  latest Sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) simulate much stronger warming, apparently inconsistent with past assessments. Here, we show that projected future warming is correlated with the simulated warming trend during recent decades across CMIP5 and CMIP6 models, enabling us to constrain future warming based on consistency with the observed warming. These findings carry important policy-relevant implications: The observationally constrained CMIP6 median warming in high emissions and ambitious mitigation scenarios is over 16 and 14% lower by 2050 compared to the raw CMIP6 median, respectively, and over 14 and 8% lower by 2090, relative to 1995–2014. Observationally constrained CMIP6 warming is consistent with previous assessments based on CMIP5 models, and in an ambitious mitigation scenario, the likely range is consistent with reaching the Paris Agreement target.

DISCUSSIONOur results show that most models with high climate sensitivity (outside the AR5 likely range) or high transient response over-estimate recent warming trends, with differences that cannot be explained  by  internal  variability.  This  probably  leads  to  future  warming projections being biased high. Thus, the raw ensemble median and spread of future warming in CMIP6 (and therefore most other variables that scale to first order with global mean tem-perature) are not representative of a distribution constrained by observed trends, even if some of those models show a more realistic representation of processes in individual components than their CMIP5 predecessors (20–22). Conversely, CMIP6 models with climate sensitivity values that are within the IPCC AR5 likely range show warming trends much more consistent with the observations.

Despite the expectation that the constraint should be weaker in emission scenarios where non-CO2 forcings such as aerosol reduction have a substantial contribution to the future temperature evolution, the SSP1-2.6 warming is also highly correlated with warming during the past decades. Constrained warming in SSP1-2.6, with respect to the 1850–1900 baseline consistent with the Paris Agreement (35), by mid-century (years 2041–2060) is estimated at 1.36° to 1.86°C (likely range), and by the end of the century (years 2081–2100) is estimated at 1.33° to 1.99°C (likely range). Our results thus suggest that this ambitious mitigation scenario is consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement target based on the observationally constrained CMIP6 models, while the Paris Agreement target would be exceeded by several high ECS models.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 04, 2020, 04:09:23 PM »
I would like to come back to a link that was given here a few days ago, which I found had some really important information on the lethality of C19 on population level. This is what the mayor of Nembro writes:

"Nembro, one of the municipalities most affected by Covid-19, should have had - under normal conditions - about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. But the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19 is 31 (...)"

As we all know, Italy has had a lot of deaths in C19, but overall Italian mortality figures indicate a factor of at least 4 of underreporting C19 deaths, depending on which city you look at.

"The difference is enormous and cannot be a simple statistical deviation. Demographic statistics have their «constancies» and annual averages change only when completely «new» phenomena arrive. In this case, the number of abnormal deaths compared to the average that Nembro recorded in the period of time in consideration is equal to 4 times those officially attributed to Covid-19."

I think this is the real end-game story, after all cases are closed, all recoveries and all deaths are checked out of the system, we see that there were very many people who perished from C19.

Why are the data so unreliable? Simply because very many of those who died were never swabbed, never tested, etc. So they never entered the system as C19 cases - they just died.

Please note that the lethality rate in C19 is 1% of the population. The figure is for the whole population of 11,500 people in Nembro. Assumedly they were all exposed to the virus, and those who could get infected got infected and herd immunity has now been reached, as the number of deaths have come down to their normal levels again. If Northern Italy is representative for other developed countries, we should expect to see the same lethality rate in other countries as well.

For the USA this indicates a number of deaths in the millions. Especially as the US population to a very large degree is affected by lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension. This will not happen during the current first wave of infections, but that will be the end result, when we have reached herd immunity.

There is likely some underreporting, especially among those already gravely ill.  C19 may have just pushed them over the edge.  Cause of death is not an exact science, as the medical examiner decides based on the evidence at the time.  I cannot speak to the specific case you state, but the global figures are not likely to be affected much now that the virus is widely known and spread. 

The IFR may be 1%.  I have seen many other experts give similar figures.  Granted, during a pandemic these numbers can vary widely and change daily.  That is 1% of those affect, NOT the population as a whole, unless the entire population gets infected.  That may have been the case in a small community like Nembro.  Extrapolating that to larger communities, countries, or the entire world, is poor science.  Millions will only die in the U.S., if the entire population becomes infected, and the IFR is 1%. 

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 29, 2020, 05:45:50 PM »
Opening this thread, Tom wrote: "Let's hope this thread fizzles in a month or two."

Since we're now two + months in, I thought it may be good to tease/humble some of my betters here, just for (grim) fun:

Blumenkraft wrote: "Still thinking this whole thing is more fearmongering than a serious problem"

Walrus replied: " I would agree with blumenkraft, that it is more fearmongering that a serious problem."

Then this curious bit from Avalon: "it appears to be far, far worse than it appears" (but who at least did take it very seriously)

philopek chimed in with: "so yes, pandemic events are very likely among the possible next large scale reduction in world population and can indeed be used as trigger events for economical collapse but:


By the end of January, to his credit, blumenkraft had changed his tune:

   "Still thinking this whole thing is more fearmongering than a serious problem."

OK, i officially distance myself from my statement there.

   " I hope i'm right on that..."

I wasn't.

Most posters here, though did seem to recognize the potential seriousness of this thing right away. So congratulations on that, and on course corrections as more data came in.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 05:08:24 PM »
Remember please that the percentages Oren cites are from reputable literature, BUT that study was based on a 2.3% CFR for the population. We know that the CFR for the hospitalized population is double that. So - double ALL of the numbers in the table.

For the US, I suspect that the most likely death toll will be about 5 million. I cannot see it being less than 1 million. The high end is likely 25 million.

The high end comes about from presuming that there is not some large unseen portion of the population that never shows anything other than mild symptoms and is never tested; plus presuming the 4.5% CFR is accurate and representative for the hospitalized portion (who then represent everyone); and that half of those requiring intensive care die as a result of the collapse of the hospital systems when they become over run. That last part adds about 7.5% to the CFR of 4.5%, hence a 12% death rate. Italy is already seeing close to that. And they aren't through the worst of it yet.

Sam, why do you assume that we have a 4.5% CFR in the USA? Would appreciate if you could explain that! Latest data show a much lower figure.

I believe that too many analyses are focused on the natural mortality rate with treatment, rather than on the number whose symptoms are severe enough to require hospitalization which is a far higher percentage than occurs with the flu. Even with the flu affecting a higher count each winter than COVID-19 has thus far, the impact on the hospital system is already far outpacing the flu.

The problem with many analyses and forecasts is that they don't take into consideration the issue of overwhelming of the intensive care units (ICU) in the healthcare system, as seen in Italy and Spain, and as will SURELY be seen in the USA, France and UK in the coming weeks. About 6% of the infected in C19 will need ICU, which is way more than for the regular flus.

In a way, the situation is on one hand that we wish for everything to happen quickly, get to herd immunity in the population (=more than 90% infected for this virus), and then C19 will be just like any other flu virus, as we will not have a vaccine or mass vaccination in the nearest 18 months or so. From this point of view, we want the infection to run freely so we can become immune.

On the other hand, we fear death, we don't want people to die. So we want to slow the infection down, and above all suppress it sufficiently so that the ICU units aren't overwhelmed. If 6% of your cases require intensive care and you can’t provide it, most of those people die. As simple as that. We don't want Italy or Spain.

Meanwhile, the disease continues to progress exponentially in many big countries, e.g. USA.  Inflexion point on the positive exponential growth has still not been established. Meanwhile, efforts to measure and contain it seem to be more linear.

Korea has been very actively testing and tracking infected people. Korea tracing/testing has shown that around 11% of positives proceeded to Serious (=supplemental oxygen) or Critical (=ventilator). About 1/3 of those infected in S/C state will eventually die. That is in a health care system that is NOT overwhelmed. We have much worse ratios in overwhelmed Italy.

I think it's not the best metric to use total cases, because ‘active’ cases have yet to be determined. Now that we know the disease course—5 day mean incubation, 9-10 days symptoms, then either recovery or serious/critical on day 11-12, the best CFR proxy is Fatalities/ recoveries. We have a 3.0% CFR ratio in S.Korea of resolved cases, and we have only 1 %  S/C out of active (unresolved) cases.

Moreover, of active unresolved cases, 6.0 % in Italy are S/C, implying that about 45% of those S/C die and 55% eventually recover in a medical system that is overwhelmed.

These data are all readily available on

About USA, we're already getting reports of overwhelmed hospitals/ICU units in some states. And we still have a couple of weeks of exponential growth left. There are 4 million admissions to the ICU in the US every year, and 500k (~13%) of them die. Without ICU beds, that share would likely go closer to 60-70%. Even if only 50% died, in a year-long epidemic you go from 500k deaths a year to 2M, so you’re adding 1.5M deaths, just with collateral damage.

So, on one extreme we have countries like S.Korea, on the other extreme we have the overwhelmed countries. I think any forecast for USA has to take into consideration the issue of the forthcoming overwhelming of ICU units.

The current CFR in the U.S. is 1.5%.  That is based on the official number of deaths (1295) divided by those testing positive (85,435).  This is a straight forward number, and easily calculated.  The IFR, which is an estimate of the true fatality rate, attempts to determine the total incident of infection by including all those who were asymptomatic or undiagnosed.  The IFR is less than the CFR.  During the height of a disease (like now), the CFR can fluctuate widely as the numbers change on a daily basis.  The CFR was as high as 7% in the U.S. on Mar 3, but that was prior to large scale testing efforts.  The CFR did fall to as low as 1.25%, before rising to yesterday's level.  Tomorrow will likely be different.  Perhaps he is assuming that a larger fraction of the currently infected will die in the near future.  Possibly, he is using China as a reference.  After all, their CFR stands at 4.0.  However that number is higher skewed by the high CFR in the early cases, before the virus was well known.  The Chinese CFR for cases after Feb. 1 dropped to 0.7%.  The Center for Evidence Based Medicine estimates the IFR for Covid-19 at 0.29%.  By comparison, the IFR for the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had an older population, was 1.1%. 

In summary, there is no compelling evidence to support a 4.5% CFR value for the U.S. with today's figures.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 12:11:08 PM »
.  The hospitalization rate is somewhere in the 5-20% range.

You are right.
I exagarrated a bit :) but no more than Sam's 12% mortality

But of those 5-20% (I would think rather 5 given the asymptomatic cases) again, "only"  a third need intensive care, so even if hospitals are totally jammed , not everyone who now gets hospital treatment would die lacking that. Far from it. That is my understanding currently.


Out of 100 infected, 30 asymptomatic, 70 shows symptoms, let's say 7 ends up in a hospital, and cca 2-3 needs intensive care, 1 dies. In my book even with zero hospitals there would not be a mortality of above 4% (which of course is also unacceptable and huge).

some breakdown of hospitalization rates / intensive care /mortality here:

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 01:51:43 AM »
The United States has apparently decided to try the most egregious solution.

On the current course, expect in excess of 25 million American dead over the next five weeks, and a wrecked economy.

25 million?  Really?  Didn’t I just see you on a corner with a sign that read, “The end is near”?

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 12:03:43 PM »
It puts a lie to the theory that all is well after 9 days, and that 14 day quarantines are maximally effective.

They're forgetting that the crew would have stayed on board, continually infecting surfaces.
Seeing as the CDC has published this study, I can hardly imagine they would forget such a trivial detail.

Probably not but who knows?  I can't imagine a cruise ship staying empty for 17 days.  But anyway, regarding Terry's comment about 14 day quarantine, that's for people.  Things, inanimate objects, and stuff should be cleaned not quarantined.  There is anecdotal evidence that the Ruby Princess, whose passengers were inexplicably allowed to disembark in Sydney on March 17, was not cleaned or disinfected properly and that passengers became infected by traces left on surfaces by the previous cruise.

Australia now has over 100 extra cases and one death just from that one cruise.

I have been on one cruise in my entire life.  I hated it.  There was nothing to do except drink and gamble.  It was more like a floating prison.  Part of me hopes that that entire industry gets shutdown forever.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 21, 2020, 12:51:38 PM »
Not exponential ?


Here we show that the current growth closely follows power-law kinetics, indicative of an underlying fractal or small-world network of connections between susceptible and infected individuals.

The advanced epidemic models (such as the Imperial College one) explicitly model this network. They also include distributions for seeding, infectivity, and disease progression.

If you want something intermediate between that level of complexity and the naive modelling that gets posted here, this fractal approach might serve. However, power laws do not extrapolate well, like exponentials, they are extremely easy to overfit.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 19, 2020, 12:13:36 PM »

I had this discussion with my wife over morning coffee, and in theory I tend to agree with you. I've already written, somewhere in the depths of this thread which BTW becomes impossible to catch up with, that the collateral impacts at all levels and in all aspects of our lives will be far more serious than the direct impact measured in number of deaths and severely ill.

But devil is in the details. Politics of global confinement as currently enforced in France, despite justified critics of improvisation, background lack of material and human resources etc, are willy-nilly well accepted by the population because people buy this war-like spirit, what we call in French "l'égalité de tous devant le danger commun". Being stuck at home has been quickly adopted as of form of civil defence, and finally it's a rather comfortable way to fight. We have seen those jokes passing around "Your grandparents were called to war, you are called to sit on your couch. You can do it."They are just spot on.

If you start to choose those who are confined based on age, health condition, weight (I heard yesterday that obesity was in the background of many young victims), smoking, allergy ... you would break this war-like spirit, which is in the current state of affairs not that bad, even if the military semantics in which it is ground leads also to closing boarders, which e.g., now inside Europe does not make much sense since there are as many cases on either side of the boarder.

wili's points are correct, too.

Just thinking aloud, but no way forward should be ignored or taboo.

Policy and solutions / Re: Policy & Solutions
« on: March 17, 2020, 05:47:12 PM »
Well we "rich" nations are reducing our consumption.  Whilst the "poor" nations produce more people, who also consume more.

Roll forward 20 years and see where we stand.

C. If you think climate change is the number one topic, you certainly belong in this forum.

Tom has repeatedly stated his number 1 issue is not climate change. It is abortion.
And AGW is number 2, out of literally scores of competing issues.
I tried to keep this out of the forum as Neven asked. When a poster vilified me on my views on right to life in a thread that had nothing to do with that, I did not reply...and another poster called him to task. But Neven opened this with his blanket statement re Sanders. I will now drop the issue on this forum.

Many of the studies linked to in this section of the forum assume unrealistic levels of future ghg emissions. 

Many of the people on this forum seem to be unaware of the transitions going on in the energy and transportation sectors and how quickly "business as usual" can change.

For example, the linked article explains what exponential growth (which is currently underway for the adoption of renewable electricity and electrification of the transportation sector) means.

How Soon Will Electric Vehicles Kill The Gasoline Car?
Wal van Lierop
Jan 24, 2020

When I talk about exponential growth in clean transportation—or say anything optimistic about climate change—the pessimists baulk. C’mon, they say, the overwhelming majority of our electricity comes from fossil fuels. Demand for oil is still growing. Electric vehicles (EVs) are a miniscule percentage of cars sold. What good can a few wealthy Tesla owners possibly do for the environment?

To pessimists, the EV revolution seems underwhelming. That’s because they underestimate the power of exponential growth.

What Exponential Growth Really Means

People say that innovations like the Internet, smartphone and social media grew “exponentially” because they radically changed our lives within a few years of appearing. But what do we mean by “exponential”? The late physics professor Al Bartlett used to demonstrate the shocking power of exponential growth very clearly.

Imagine a glass with one bacterium that divides into two bacteria every minute. In one hour, that doubling process fills the glass. If you started the process at 11 am, at what time would the glass be half full?

Many people assume 11:30 am. In reality, the glass is only half full at 11:59 am. At 11:58, it’s 25% full, and at 11:55, it’s only 3% full! 97% seems like business as usual, with no tipping point in sight. The progress seems unimpressive until the moment the bacteria become ubiquitous. The same is likely true of electric vehicles.

The article goes on to explain that we're at roughly 11:55 for adoption of EVs. 

Many of the studies linked on this section of the forum use the RCP8.5 climate scenario developed in 2005.  That scenario has been shown to be exceedingly unlikely.

Climate change: Worst emissions scenario 'exceedingly unlikely'
By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent
29 January 2020

The worst-case scenario for emissions of CO2 this century is no longer plausible, say researchers.

Referred to as "business as usual", the scenario assumes a 500% increase in the use of coal, which is now considered unlikely.

Rather than being seen as something that only had a 3% chance of becoming reality, it became known as the "business-as-usual" scenario, by climate scientists and has been used in more than 2,000 research papers since.

"Obviously, a lot has changed since 2005 or so when the scenario was created. A lot of clean technology prices have fallen, by factors of five, while global coal use peaked in 2013. And it's been flat since then."

"So what originally was a sort of worst-case (scenario) with less than 10% chance of happening is today, exceedingly unlikely."

Very few scientists realised that RCP8.5 was originally a 90th percentile outcome, not a most likely or business-as-usual outcome. They assumed too much, when they should perhaps have checked, say the authors of the review.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: March 02, 2020, 07:08:18 PM »
If this carbon-silicon anode thing works out, say goodbye to ICEs within a few years.

EV Battery Breakthrough: Twice The Range, Five Minutes To Charge
By Irina Slav - Feb 29, 2020

The amount of research being done into better batteries for electric cars is perhaps the clearest indication of how high the stakes are in the car world. Breakthrough after breakthrough comes from labs around the world, and the latest is among the most impressive: a new anode material that can increase a battery’s range twofold while greatly accelerating charging times.

silicon is not a new material for the battery-making industry. It has a much greater energy storage capacity than graphite—ten times as much, according to the news release of the KIST—but it is a lot less stable than graphite. This means that silicon, unlike graphite, expands and shrinks quickly during charge-discharge cycles, which affects that impressive storage capacity and shortens the life of the battery.

The KIST researchers solved this problem by drying the material. Literally. They mixed silicon and corn starch with water and then heated the mixture up using “a simple thermal process used for frying food” to seal the result, which was a carbon-silicon compound. The compound has displayed four times the energy storage capacity of graphite anodes. It has also made it possible to charge an EV battery to 80 percent in just five minutes. And it’s eco-friendly.

"We were able to develop carbon-silicon composite materials using common, everyday materials and simple mixing and thermal processes with no reactors," the lead researcher, Hun-Gi Jung said. "The simple processes we adopted and the composites with excellent properties that we developed are highly likely to be commercialized and mass-produced. The composites could be applied to lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems (ESSs)."

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: March 02, 2020, 04:54:37 PM »
The right path means using much less energy and other inconvenient choices for rich people. How many solar arrays and windturbines just for rich people's surplus private luxury energy requirements? I use 35 KWh/wk and I have a very old fridge.

The device you are using to read this message has a battery.   It has computer chips made from mined ores, and required energy to make.  Your refrigerator was made from mined materials.  You live in a large multi-room building that many of the world’s poor can only dream about — let alone having a refrigerator or internet access.  If everyone lived like you, and they didn’t go to work and use energy to make things and transport them, you would have nothing to keep in that refrigerator, nor any of the drugs and alcohol you are so fond of.  If no one had been “rich” enough to afford a “luxury” iPhone when they came out, you would not have the affordable device you are using today. 

You’re welcome.

Science / Re: 2020 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: February 26, 2020, 10:44:28 PM »
NOAA now reports the daily numbers for the Globally Average signal, which shows a lot less volatility than the Mauna Loa numbers.

February 25:      411.92 ppm
February 24:      411.92 ppm
February 23:      411.91 ppm
February 22:      411.90 ppm
February 21:      411.89 ppm

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: February 19, 2020, 10:19:34 PM »
In the US, utilities can make money by building new renewables and shutting down operating coal.  Investment firm Morgan Stanley has found 47 GW of coal power production in the US that is expected to be uneconomic by 2024.

Morgan Stanley: $64B capex upside for utilities replacing coal with renewables

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC sees a $64 billion spending opportunity on top of double-digit earnings accretion for more than a dozen utilities that decide to retire uneconomic coal plants and replace them with cheaper renewables by 2025.

"We compared the costs of operating each coal plant against our state-by-state forecasts of renewables costs across 13 stocks and identified [47,000 MW] of coal capacity that will become more expensive than renewables by 2024," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a recent research report. "We estimate this represents a capex opportunity of [$64 billion] and earnings accretion for the stocks we cover of up to 14% in 2025."

AEP has the "largest capex opportunity" at $17.2 billion with 14% earnings accretion in 2025, or $16 per share, the analysis shows.

While AEP owns 12,400 MW of regulated coal generation across 26 units, the Ohio utility is not expected to retire any additional capacity in the near to medium term. However, Morgan Stanley's estimates show AEP has 11,700 MW of coal that will be "uneconomic by 2024" given the economics of wind generation in Indiana, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia.

"We see an opportunity for the company to accelerate the transition away from coal given the utilities' service territory, which benefit from favorable renewable energy economics," analysts wrote in the Jan. 29 report.

Morgan Stanley pointed out that it is likely utilities such as Ameren, Dominion, CenterPoint Energy Inc. and Pinnacle West will outline accelerated coal plant retirements and increased renewable investments when they file integrated resource plans with state regulators in the coming months.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: February 14, 2020, 07:55:40 PM »
The Coronavirus impact on oil demand appears to be getting worse.  There were no buyers for April futures contracts for oil because traders think the prices are going to continue to decrease.

Asia’s Demand For Middle East Oil Plunges On Coronavirus Outbreak
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Feb 14, 2020

The spot market for Middle East crude cargoes loading in April was virtually non-existent this week, as demand continues to be depressed due to the coronavirus outbreak while buyers are waiting for cargoes to become even cheaper than they are now, trade sources told S&P Global Platts on Friday.

The slowdown in China’s industrial activity and the shutdown of factories amid the coronavirus outbreak is causing the worst shock to oil demand in over a decade, Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, said on Bloomberg last week.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: February 11, 2020, 01:00:39 AM »
While some posters on this site like to list the enormous numbers of wind turbines or solar panels that need to be installed to produce energy, they seem to be unaware of the enormous amount of infrastructure needed to maintain fossil fuel production.  Here's an article that provides some background on oil production in the US.

U.S. crude oil and natural gas production increased in 2018, with 10% fewer wells

WASHINGTON - In 2018, while production was increasing, the total number of wells producing crude oil and natural gas in the United States fell to 982,000, down from a peak of 1,035,000 wells in 2014. This increase in production, despite the decline in the number of wells, reflects advances in technology and drilling techniques. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s updated U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Wells by Production Rate report shows how daily production rates of individual wells by state contributed to an increase in total crude oil and natural gas production in 2018.

Although horizontal wells are more expensive to drill than vertical wells, they contact more reservoir rock and therefore produce greater volumes. Only 1% of vertical wells produced at least 100 barrels per day of crude oil in 2018, but 32% of horizontal wells produced at least 100 barrels per day. As horizontal wells became more common, production growth continued as the well count fell.

Note that most horizontal wells are in "tight" or shale fields.  These wells have very rapid decline rates compared to conventional wells.  The following story on the potential impact of a fracking ban highlights this.

As is the case with shale gas, shale oil wells tend to decline sharply, so that a fracking ban would quickly lead to much lower production. The figure below shows the decline rates for various shale oil basins, defined as the monthly drop in production from existing wells as a share of total production. The decline rate of the biggest shale producer, the Permian, has been relatively stable at 5-6% per month, while the oldest basin, Bakken, has stabilized at a lower level, presumably reflecting the existence of many more wells that are past their initial rapid decline phase.

Applying these decline rates to current production (and the EIA’s projected trend for 2020) yields the figure below, which shows that total shale oil production would decline by 8 mb/d over the course of two years (January 2021 to December 2022). This is perhaps slightly overstated (see note at end), and would be potentially offset by in part increased conventional oil drilling, but there would easily be an increase of 4 mb/d in oil imports by the end of 2022.  Even if oil prices did not rise, that translates to an additional $7.2 billion per month on the U.S. trade deficit.

The US could meet very stringent goals for greenhouse gas reductions by implementing a fracking ban.  So if electric vehicles can take a significant market share by the late 2020s, the ban would not have the draconian effects that the article implies.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: February 02, 2020, 01:28:28 AM »
Sorry wdmn but I disagree your first sentence. Most natural sciences and also many other sciences are not politicised in my opinion. e.g. Physics?
Perhaps you mean that much research is starved of funding through governmental policies.

Nanning, I don't want to derail this thread too much, but I will offer up a response that I hope will be stimulating to some, while far from complete (though far too long).

Yes, not politicized means exactly that we don't think of them as political (and this is itself a political movement). We've depoliticized science for at least 4 centuries. It is a fundamental part of "modernity" that we think of economics, politics, science as separate spheres, just as we think of ourselves as both part of and separate from nature: at once subject to its laws, which we learn with science, while also free to organize ourselves as we deem fit (cultural animals), so long as we remember that the two realms must be kept distinct!

What is politics? Or, a more manageable question, "with what does politics concern itself?"

Isn't politics the way in which we organize society and the state (the polis)? The systems and methods we set up defining power relationships within the polis, which voices will be heard, who will have the right to make decisions (i.e. who is sovereign)?

When we think of science as being apolitical we usually mean that it is transcendent, absolutely sovereign, and so we want to grant it a voice that speaks with absolute authority that must be respected no matter your ideology. So then what political role do scientists have within the polis? Are they disinterested, neutral, dressed in beige, as inhuman as their facts, only concerned with Truth and nothing else? Are they priests of nature who speak for it wielding their instruments as the shaman wields a drum, and who must be obeyed; i.e. to which we are subject (political subjects)? Are they agents of the state, asked to unravel secrets of nature in order that the polis might achieve more power (as was done with the Manhattan project, for example)? Are they dangerous heretics threatening the democratic order by speaking with a voice that tramples the will of the people; are they -- as some climate deniers will insist -- corrupted agents, seeking power and money through the manipulation of data and instruments? Is RCP 8.5 just a scientific model, or is it a rhetorical device designed -- as all RCPs -- to be used as a tool of persuasion? Do scientists really not care, are they "neutral" sitting on the sidelines, with no skin in the game? Or do they hope that their work will wield power, that it will be taken seriously, as Fact?

No matter how we choose to answer these questions, the work of the scientists bears on the collective: from the way that we discuss things, to the way the our economy functions, to the way that we have sex, and so to the way that power is distributed.

I can think of no better example than the physics of greenhouse gasses to draw out this point. It turns out that there has been a great divide over whether our measurements of these gasses, and our understanding of the physics of how they work, should bear on the organization of our society. It turns out that in order to keep making the measurements and gaining insight into the physical responses of components within the climate system (such as ice sheets), the scientists need funding, that one can as easily smash the equipment by defunding the scientists as by storming their laboratories. The scientists, it turns out, are a branch of the government, and their efficacy depends on whether or not they recognize that their struggle for (the) power (of their work) is a political one. Even scientists could find their heads in the guillotine (figuratively or literally).

Does the non-human compound CO2 have a force, a political voice? Yes, but is it that of a backbencher, or that of a king? Or something else altogether?

I would suggest that right now many of our poleis have descended into a state of a cold civil war (that could warm up quite rapidly in some instances). Our social contracts are torn to pieces over a disagreement over what sort of political agents the scientists and their facts are, and to what extent the voice of the people is to be subject to them. Too much, it appears, was left out of our constitutions.

If anyone wants to read more on the subject, I recommend the book, "We Have Never Been Modern," by Bruno Latour, which is available here:

From that text:

"every ethnologist is capable of including within a single monograph the definition of the forces in play; the distribution of powers among human beings, gods, and nonhumans; the procedures for reaching agreements; the connections between religion and power; ancestors; cosmology; property rights; plant and animal taxonomies. The ethnologist will certainly not write three separate books: one dealing with knowledge, another with power, yet another
with practices. She will write a single book...


Native Americans were not mistaken when they accused the Whites of having forked tongues. By separating the relations of political power from the relations of scientific reasoning while continuing to shore up power with reason and reason with power, the moderns have always had two irons in the fire."

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: January 26, 2020, 02:40:06 AM »
Without the energy from the Sun the Earth's average temperature would be below 0 F, instead of plus 57 F right now, so we don't have to block that much of the Sun's energy to knock temperatures down by a degree or so.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 25, 2020, 01:09:16 AM »
Details of the RCPs are included in the technical annex to the IPCC Working Group I Report for AR5 published in 2013 available at this link:

Tables for concentrations start on page 1422.

For CO2, the RCP 2.6 concentration in 2020 is 412.1 ppm and the RCP 8.5 concentration is 415.8 ppm.

According to NOAA, the global (which is what should be used, not the Mauna Loa which isn't comparable to global concentrations) CO2 concentration in January 2020 is about 411 ppm. 

So CO2, which is almost 2/3 of the radiative forcing, is under the RCP 2.6 concentration.  Unfortunately, methane, the next highest contributor to the greenhouse effect at 16%, isn't doing as well.

For RCP 2.6 the 2020 concentration of CH4 is 1731 ppb and the RCP 8.5 number is 1924 ppb.  According to NOAA, we're about 1870 ppb.

For N2O (about 6% of the GHG forcing)  the concentrations at RCP 2.6 and 8.5 are 323 and 332 ppb respectively.  NOAA shows us just above 332 ppb.

That's roughly 90% of the GHG forcings summarized.  The big one, CO2 is less than RCP 2.6 and is projected to decrease relatively rapidly compared to the RCPs due to the decline of coal.  CH4 is between RCP 2.6 and 8.5 and will also decrease rapidly as coal mining declines and natural gas and oil are phased out over the next three decades.  Since the lifetime of CH4 is about 12 years, when emissions decrease concentrations will quickly follow.  N2O is tied to agricultural fertilizers and isn't projected to stabilize until global populations level out (at 344 ppb in the later half of this century under RCP 2.6, it keeps growing under the other RCPs).

Science / Re: 2020 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: January 21, 2020, 06:59:22 PM »
The radiative forcings for Methane were updated in 2016.  This is probably what will be used for AR6.

Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing
M. Etminan, G. Myhre, E. J. Highwood, K. P. Shine
First published: 27 December 2016


New calculations of the radiative forcing (RF) are presented for the three main well‐mixed greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. Methane's RF is particularly impacted because of the inclusion of the shortwave forcing; the 1750–2011 RF is about 25% higher (increasing from 0.48 W m−2 to 0.61 W m−2) compared to the value in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2013 assessment; the 100 year global warming potential is 14% higher than the IPCC value. We present new simplified expressions to calculate RF. Unlike previous expressions used by IPCC, the new ones include the overlap between CO2 and N2O; for N2O forcing, the CO2 overlap can be as important as the CH4 overlap. The 1750–2011 CO2 RF is within 1% of IPCC's value but is about 10% higher when CO2 amounts reach 2000 ppm, a value projected to be possible under the extended RCP8.5 scenario.

Plain Language Summary

“Radiative forcing” is an important method to assess the importance of different climate change mechanisms, and is used, for example, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, are the major component of the human activity that led the IPCC, in its 2013 Assessment, to conclude that “it is extremely likely that human influence is the dominant cause of warming since the mid‐20th century.” In this letter, we report new and detailed calculations that aimed to update the simpler methods of computing the radiative forcing that have been used in IPCC assessments, and elsewhere. The major result is that radiative forcing due to methane is around 20‐25% higher than that found using the previous simpler methods. The main reason for this is the inclusion of the absorption of solar radiation by methane, a mechanism that had not been included in earlier calculations. We examine the mechanisms by which this solar absorption causes this radiative forcing. The work has significance for assessments of the climate impacts of methane emissions due to human activity, and for the way methane is included in international climate agreements.

Consequences / Re: The Climatic Effects of a Blue Ocean Event
« on: January 19, 2020, 06:26:28 PM »
This would cause a steep rise in the Arctic's Albedo Warming Potential from its record high in 2019, greatly enhancing the existing climate change from increasing AWP (and open water vs ice-cover).

The sea ice minimum is in mid September or so, thus the first BOE would also happen in September, most likely. Assuming that the first instances of the BOE will be 'light'.
But what about insolation in September? Already very low, thus not so much effect on Albedo.
Thus, I believe 'small' BOE's wll not have that big an effect on climate change as you postulate.
To get to a BOE in September implies accelerated early melting which is, as you say, the key to accelerated increases in AWP. E.g. in 2019 the early melt of the Bering Beaufort & Chukchi Seas made a major contribution to the record AWP

There are climatic effects in Autumn / early Winter from seas with increased open water and less ice cover. Maritime vs icy desert climate.

Consequences / Re: World of 2030
« on: January 19, 2020, 05:07:19 PM »
As I understand it, a multi-meter rise in the ocean is expected no earlier than 2100. By this time, civilization will be able to zero out emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, and even bind all the carbon emitted. I think that by 2100 we will be able to return the planet to a pre-industrial state at the end of the 18th century. That is, we will partially restore the ecological balance that existed on the planet before the advent of Homo sapiens.

I apologize in advance for rehashing this. It will be my last post on the topic in this thread. I will crosspost this to the global surface temperature thread. I would ask that you respond to me there

I trust that the graph below will settle our debate, and we can stop with the gaslighting?

The graph shows 6 temperature data sets: Berkeley Earth’s, NASA’s GISTEMP, NOAA’s GlobalTemp, the UK’s HadCRUT, Cowtan & Way, and ECMWF's.

Note that the anomaly on the graph is compared to the 1981-2010 baseline.

Note that the lowest temperature anomaly for 2019 is ~0.44C in the HadCRUT dataset (dark blue line).

Note that as pasted below (taken from the CopernicusEU website where the ECMWF data is posted) 0.63°C (±0.06ºC) should be added to this value to relate it to the pre-industrial level defined in the IPCC Special Report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C”.

Using this method for the HadCRUT dataset we get 0.44 + 0.63 = 1.07 = ~1.1C above the preindustrial baseline.

Note that the highest temperature anomaly for 2019 is from the ECMWF data set, which gives a corrected value of 1.22 or ~1.2C above the pre-industrial baseline (as posted below from their website).

So all datasets place 2019 above 1C of warming over preindustrial, with the median being ~1.15C above preindustrial, though the mean would be higher since HadCRUT is the most anomalous from the other datasets.

"Averaging over twelve-month periods smooths out the shorter-term variations. Globally, the calendar year 2019 was 0.59°C warmer than the 1981-2010 average. The warmest twelve-month period was from October 2015 to September 2016, with a temperature 0.66°C above average. 2016 is the warmest calendar year on record, with a global temperature 0.63°C above that for 1981-2010. 2019 has become the second warmest calendar year in this data record. The third warmest calendar year, 2017, had a temperature 0.54°C above average.

0.63°C (±0.06ºC) should be added to these values to relate recent global temperatures to the pre-industrial level defined in the IPCC Special Report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C”. Using the central estimate and rounding to one decimal place, the average temperature for 2019 is 1.2°C above the level."

You managed to find one dataset that disagrees with the IPCC.  And you accuse me of gaslighting?

A.1. Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence) (Figure SPM.1) {1.2}

A.1.1. Reflecting the long-term warming trend since pre-industrial times, observed global mean surface temperature (GMST) for the decade 2006–2015 was 0.87°C (likely between 0.75°C and 0.99°C) higher than the average over the 1850–1900 period (very high confidence). Estimated anthropogenic global warming matches the level of observed warming to within ±20% (likely range). Estimated anthropogenic global warming is currently increasing at 0.2°C (likely between 0.1°C and 0.3°C) per decade due to past and ongoing emissions (high confidence). {1.2.1, Table 1.1, 1.2.4}

Also, Copernicus compares it's reanalysis temperatures to the same pre-industrial study I linked to upthread.

Change over the industrial era

The Paris Agreement established the aim of "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C", but did not specify precisely what was meant by "pre-industrial levels". This has now been assessed in a scientific paper independent of C3S that proposes a baseline of 1720-1800 for estimating subsequent change over the industrial era. The paper also estimates that the atmosphere from 1986-2005 was on average between 0.55 and 0.80°C warmer than it was over the baseline period.

As I posted upthread, NASA GISS has a running 5 year average that puts current global temperatures at about 0.9C above pre-industrial.  The IPCC report from 2018 states that we're 1C above average.

Are NASA and GISS gaslighting?  Or are you cherry-picking the one dataset that supports your conclusions and ignoring all other results?

For those who think that I overemphasize the potential economic impacts of following SSP5-8.5 for a few more decades (say until 2050), the linked reference finds that using conventional logic: "Our results show that the largest climate change damages occur under the SSP3-7.0 scenario (involving regional rivalry and high anthropogenic emissions), followed by the SSP3-LowNTCF scenario (which considers significantly reduced NTCF emissions), and that climate change damage costs are expected to grow much faster than global GDP (reaching ~47% of global GDP in 2100)."

YatingChen et al. (2020), "Quantifying economic impacts of climate change under nine future emission scenarios within CMIP6", Science of The Total Environment, Volume 703, 134950,


The concept of “environmental determinism” suggests that climate conditions played a substantial role in shaping modern society. To minimize the social costs of future climate change and to promote economic development through identification of cost-effective adaptation strategies and mitigation policies, quantitative assessments are needed for obtaining a better understanding of the causal impacts of climate change on human society. In this work, we estimate the economic impacts of climate change during the 21st century under nine CMIP6 scenarios, using the PAGE-ICE integrated assessment model driven by the latest anthropogenic emission and socio-economic projections. Our results show that the largest climate change damages occur under the SSP3-7.0 scenario (involving regional rivalry and high anthropogenic emissions), followed by the SSP3-LowNTCF scenario (which considers significantly reduced NTCF emissions), and that climate change damage costs are expected to grow much faster than global GDP (reaching ~47% of global GDP in 2100). Gaps in adaptation resulting from regional inequalities would lead to higher climate change damages in poorer and warmer regions such as Africa and the Middle East. The outcomes obtained under the SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6 scenarios, in which the warming limit targets of 1.5 °C and 2 °C set forth in the Paris Agreement are considered, respectively, reveal that aggressive mitigation strategies pass a cost-benefit analysis and could significantly reduce the economic impacts of climate change.

I think everyone on this forum would agree that it's a good thing we're no longer on an SSP 8.5 or 7.0 trajectory anymore.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 13, 2020, 10:28:16 PM »
US Energy Consumption Trends - Million Tons of Oil Equivalent (Mtoe)

Sources; BP, IRENA and SEIA.

Primary Energy Consumption (2018) 2,301
 - Oil 920; NG 703; Coal 317; Nuclear 192; Hydro 65; Other Renewables 104

10 years growth rate: -0.4%/2018 growth rate: 3.5%
 - Oil -0.6%/2%; NG 1.7%/10.5%; Coal -4.9%/-4.3%; Nuclear 0%/0.3%; Hydro 2%/-2.7%; Other Renewables 14%/10%.

In 2019, US coal consumption was down 18% from 2018 (your numbers are from 2018).  Wind and solar are now cheaper than coal.  We're seeing many announcements of utilities closing coal power plants decades earlier than planned and replacing them with renewables.

Wind or solar plus battery storage is now cheaper than natural gas peaker plants (and more responsive, providing better grid reliability and flexibility).  We've seen announcements of utilities cancelling planned natural gas peaker plants and replacing them with wind or solar plus battery storage.

In a few years, wind and solar will be cheaper than baseline natural gas plants.  Soon utilities will start to cancel planned natural gas plants as they realize that the natural gas power plants wont operate long enough to pay off their capital costs.   Utilities will also retire older natural gas power plants when major maintenance is due because it will be cheaper to replace them with renewables.

And since your post is about total energy consumption, keep in mind that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are projected to reach cost parity with gas burning cars in the next few years (probably by 2022).  Automakers are planning to introduce dozens of new BEV models in the next two years.  So transportation will increasingly be decarbonized in the 2020s.

The majority of low TCR value returns in the CMIP6 runs also have very low ECS while a few of the higher ECS ones have low TCRs as well.

Not true.  It helps to read the entire paper, not just the abstract.

2  Method

We use the CMIP6 multimodel ensemble to find an emergent relationship between historical warming and TCR. We use all currently available models that have control (piControl), historical, Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 3-7.0 (ssp370) and one percent  CO2 increase  per  year  (1pctCO2)  experiments.  From  the  1pctCO2  experiment  TCR  is  determined  as  the  average temperature difference from the corresponding piControl run between 60 to 80 years after the start of the simulation. Values of TCR are given in table 1.

Table 1. List of CMIP6 models used in this study and their equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and transient climate response (TCR). Mean values are reported for models with multiple realisations. ECS and the climate feedback parameter λ are computed using the Gregory method (Gregory, 2004). Starred models had full model output available and are the ones included in the emergent constraint. Values for CMIP5 are from (Flato et al., 2013), and model selection the same as in (Nijsse et al., 2019).

The table is on page 4 of the linked paper (due to formatting issues I can't reproduce it in this post).  The mean ECS for CMIP6 models used in the study is 4.16 and ranges from 2.70 to 5.66.  The mean TCR is 2.06 and ranges from 1.46 to 2.73.

One of the models used, the NCAR CESM2, had an ECS of 5.17 and a TCR of 2.08.  Another, the MOHC UKESM1-0-LL had an ECS of 5.41 and a TCR of 2.72.

After applying emergent constraints, the paper concludes that the mean TCR of the CMIP models, including those with high TCRs and ECS, was 1.82, almost unchanged from the CMIP5 results.  And this is consistent with several other recent studies using emergent constraints.

Instead, the CMIP6 models help to constrain the likely TCR range, without significantly changing the central estimate. Our best estimate for TCR from the CMIP6 models is 1.82K, which remains close to the centre of the likely range (1-2.5K) given in the IPCC AR5 (IPCC, 2013). The emergent constraint on TCR from the CMIP6 models is however strong enough to indicate a much tighter likely range of TCR (1.5-2.2K).

We find a consistent emergent constraint from the CMIP5 models against observed global warming from 1970 to 2018 (1.31-2.22 K). Furthermore, both of these likely ranges overlap strongly with the emergent constraint on TCR derived by (Jiménez-de-la Cuesta and Mauritsen, 2019) using a similar method, but only considering global warming from 1970 to 2005 (1.17-2.16 K). In terms of the classification proposed by Hall et al. (2019), we therefore now have a confirmed emergent constraint on TCR, implying an approximate likely range of 1.5 to 2.2K.

A couple of charts from that second linked reference above really make clear how extreme the RCP 8.5 (updated to SSP5-8.5 for AR6) scenario is compared to current energy use trends:

Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel and industry in CPS and STPS IEA scenarios compared to the range of baseline scenarios examined in the SSP Database, as well as a subset of the baseline and mitigation scenarios chosen for use in the upcoming IPCC AR6 report.

Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel and industry in CPS and STPS IEA scenarios compared to the range of baseline scenarios examined in the SSP Database. Scenarios are extended from 2040 through 2100 by assuming constant emissions after 2040, or by assuming that the rate of emissions growth from 2030 to 2040 continues for the remainder of the century.

AbruptSLR does a great job of highlighting the potential impacts if we stay on what was termed "business as usual" energy scenarios from 10 years ago that drove the IPCC AR5 RCP 8.5 emissions pathway.  He ignores the fact that renewable energy is now cheaper than coal which makes RCP 8.5 to be a more extreme scenario than is possible.  Here are two articles on that subject.

We’re Getting a Clearer Picture of the Climate Future — and It’s Not as Bad as It Once Looked
By David Wallace-Wells

For once, the climate news might be better than you thought. It’s certainly better than I’ve thought.

You may not have noticed it, amid the flood of bad news about the “Emissions Gap” and the collapse of the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, but over the last few weeks a new narrative about the climate future has emerged, on balance encouraging, at least to an alarmist like me. It is this: As best as we can understand and project the medium- and long-term trajectories of energy use and emissions, the window of possible climate futures is probably narrowing, with both the most optimistic scenarios and the most pessimistic ones seeming, now, less likely.

The assumptions about those factors represent a variety of different no-policy futures, each reflecting different assumptions about the way the world’s energy systems and economies will evolve over the next decades. And the assumptions about those factors which are baked into RCP8.5 seem, by the year, more and more implausible — chiefly that global coal use, which is growing slowly, would dramatically increase over the rest of the century. Given that China is still opening new coal plants, and much of the developing world has yet to reach levels of prosperity where energy use explodes, some growth in coal is probably inevitable, perhaps even dramatic growth. But by 2100, RCP8.5 would require 6.5 times as much global coal use as we have today. That may be possible, given how much we don’t know about the path developing nations in south and southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa will take. But given recent drops in renewable pricing, and the positive signs for coal decline in the developed world, as a prediction about energy use RCP8.5 is probably closer to a “worst case,” outlier scenario than anything it would be fair to call “business as usual.”

A 3C World Is Now “Business as Usual”
Dec 18, 2019

The world is on a path to warm around 3C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 under policies and commitments currently in place. This is a far cry from the 1.5C and 2C targets enshrined in the Paris agreements, but is also well short of the 4C to 5C warming in many “business as usual” baseline scenarios that continue to be widely used.

Two recently released reports — the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2019 World Energy Outlook (WEO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP) 2019 Emissions Gap Report — both reflect current trends in clean energy technology costs and deployment and make the case that global emissions will be relatively flat over the next few decades. These estimates are on the low end of those in the latest set of fully integrated baseline scenarios featured in the energy modeling literature that intend to depict a world without climate policy — the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), developed for the upcoming 2021 IPCC 6th Assessment Report (AR6).

But what about by the end of the century? In this analysis, we take the 2040 IEA emissions projections and examine their implications for end-of-century warming. We find that IEA numbers imply that the most likely outcome of current policies is between 2.9-3.4C warming — which is reduced to around 2.7-3C warming if countries meet their current Paris Agreement commitments.

2040 fossil fuel and industry emissions for the three IEA scenarios compared to the range of baseline scenarios examined in the AR5 and the SSP Database. The SSP baseline and mitigation scenarios used by CMIP6 climate models in the upcoming IPCC AR6 are also shown for reference. IEA projections do not include emissions from industry, so FF&I values are calculated by adding a constant 2.4 GtCO2 reflecting 2018 industry emissions.

IEA CPS emissions in 2040 are in-between the SSP4-6.0 and SSP2-4.5 scenarios, and are in the bottom 15% of all the baseline scenarios in the SSP database. The SPS scenario is a bit below SSP2-4.5, and lower than any baseline scenarios — though this is not necessarily unexpected, as baseline scenarios exclude current commitments that have not yet been translated into policy.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 21, 2019, 05:39:13 PM »
Doesn't it feel so good to us Europeans to know the USA is looking after us so bigly.

Permafrost / Re: Permafrost general science thread
« on: December 19, 2019, 07:51:27 PM »
While the news from the Arctic seems dire, keep in mind that in both the cases of the Alaskan tundra carbon emissions highlighted in the 2019 Arctic Report Card and the attention given to thermokarst emissions are based on a few measurements over a short period of time in smaller areas extrapolated to the entire globe. 

Here are the details from the Arctic Report Card.

Another approach to this same question is to measure changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and to separate out contributions from different sources. Given the extent of fossil fuel carbon emissions, it remains a challenge to quantify and separate the effect of ecosystem carbon exchange, but regional atmospheric measurement campaigns can help to focus in on local influences (Parazoo et al. 2016). Recent measurements of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations over Alaska by NASA aircraft have been used to the estimate the net regional impact on the atmosphere by those Arctic and boreal ecosystems for 2012 to 2014 (Commane et al. 2017). This recent NASA campaign was able to provide important insight into the aggregate influence of the carbon exchange for the Alaska permafrost region, across tundra, boreal forests, and wetland/lake/freshwater ecosystems as a whole. During this three-year time period, the tundra region of Alaska was found to be a consistent net CO2 source to the atmosphere, whereas the boreal forest region was either neutral or a net CO2 sink. The boreal forest region exhibited larger interannual variability due both to changes in the balance of photosynthesis and respiration and to the amount of combustion emissions by wildfire.

The Alaska study region as a whole was estimated to be a net carbon source of 0.025 ± 0.014 Pg C per year averaged over the land area of both tundra and boreal forest regions for the three-year study period. If this Alaskan region (1.6 × 106 km2) was representative of the entire northern circumpolar permafrost region soil area (17.8 × 106 km2), this amount would be equivalent to a circumpolar net source of 0.3 Pg C per year. Historically (over hundreds to thousands of years), the Arctic region was accumulating carbon in soils and vegetation and thus was acting as a net sink of atmospheric CO2. Assuming this three-year snapshot provided by NASA aircraft monitoring is indicative of the Arctic's current physical and biological environment, a significant and major threshold has been crossed in the high latitude region whereas the aggregate effect of terrestrial ecosystems is now contributing to, rather than slowing, climate change.

Alaska has a large and active oil and gas industry, which most of the Arctic doesn't.  The oil and gas industry is notorious for having a lot of methane leaks and flaring (which enhances both CH4 and CO2 concentrations in the oil fields).

While the report card does acknowledge that global warming may increase the growing season and thus increase the sinks, the calculations that lead to the headline grabbing results didn't include the effects of the increased growing season.

Another impact of global warming is that the area of tundra (the portion of the Arctic that is increasing emissions) is shrinking and the area of the boreal forest is increasing.  The Report Card states that the boreal forests are either neutral or sinks.

Here's a 2016 paper on the change in the Arctic from tundra to forests.

Enhanced seasonal CO2 exchange caused by amplified plant productivity in northern ecosystems
Matthias Forkel,1*†Nuno Carvalhais,1,2*Christian Rödenbeck,1Ralph Keeling,3Martin Heimann,1,4Kirsten Thonicke,5Sönke Zaehle,1Markus Reichstein1,6

Atmospheric monitoring of high northern latitudes (above 40°N) has shown an enhanced seasonal cycle of carbon dioxide (CO2) since the 1960s, but the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. The much stronger increase in high latitudes relative to low ones suggests that northern ecosystems are experiencing large changes in vegetation and carbon cycle dynamics. We found that the latitudinal gradient of the increasing CO2 amplitude is mainly driven by positive trends in photosynthetic carbon uptake caused by recent climate change and mediated by changing vegetation cover in northern ecosystems. Our results underscore the importance of climate–vegetation–carbon cycle feedbacks at high latitudes; moreover, they indicate that in recent decades, photosynthetic carbon uptake has reacted much more strongly to warming than have carbon release processes.

A variety of factors may contribute to the CO2amplitude trend. Arctic and boreal regions have experienced strong warming in recent decades(6), and a“greening” trend has been detected from satellites, indicating enhanced plant growth(7,8) (Fig. 1, A and B). These satellite observations are confirmed by ground observations showing increases in shrub coverage in the tundra (9),tree growth along the tundra–boreal forest transition zone (10), and deciduous tree cover from recovery after severe boreal forest fires (11). Additionally, various estimates show positive trends in both annual amplitudes and annual totals of GPP (12,13) and in net biome productivity (NBP)(14)in northern ecosystems (Fig.1,CandD).The intensification of agriculture in the midlatitudes also likely contributes to the CO2 amplitude trends (15,16). These multiple observational signals point to amplified plant productivity as a likely cause of the increase in CO2 amplitude(1,3,7,17). Nonetheless, a quantitative explanation of the amplitude trends is still lacking. Current Earth system models consistently under-estimate the CO2 amplitude trend (4) and its gradient with latitude, which suggests that these models are missing or underrepresenting key processes (18).


Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 19, 2019, 06:42:28 PM »
Here's an article explaining the hedging finance mechanism.

Texas moves closer to merchant solar

Intersect Power has gone live with news the company has 1.7 GWdc ready for construction in Texas and California, including a project which holds a hedge and no power purchase agreement.
September 25, 2019

Solar developer Intersect Power says it has reached late-stage development for five utility scale solar projects in Texas and California with a combined generation capacity of 1.7 GWdc. All the projects are “shovel ready” and construction should begin by October next year, said Intersect.

That means contracts have been signed – and indeed they have, with customers including utilities and other wholesale energy buyers under 10 to 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). One of the projects, however, holds a contract for renewable energy certificates and a hedge with a bank for the power sold, instead of a PPA. A hedge contract typically stipulates the guarantor will make up the difference if the energy sold dips below a certain level and will bank the profits if electricity is sold above a specified rate.

That particular Intersect facility is at least the third project with a hedge instead of a PPA pv magazine has seen in Texas. Given shorter PPAs mean a longer “merchant tail”, such arrangements support a move to merchant power. Duke Energy Renewables acquired the 200 MW Holstein project which holds a 12-year hedge agreement with a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and the Misae 1 solar project in Childress County, Texas, also holds a hedge and no PPA.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 19, 2019, 06:21:02 PM »
According to the SEIA, Texas has the 4th most installed solar power in the US, with 3,400 MW.

That's projected to grow to 13,500 MW in the next five years.

Apparently the market conditions have improved enough that larger solar projects are combining PPAs with "hedged" financing to get both the advantages of a set return on a portion of the project while being open to the possibility of larger returns in the spot market.

Another hedged solar project moves forward in Texas

Cubico has closed on financing for the 162 MW Wagyu project on Texas’ Gulf Coast, which holds both a hedge and a PPA, the latest such project to move forward.
October 17, 2019

In Texas’ red-hot solar market, you no longer need a power purchase agreement (PPA) to get financing for your project. In the Lone Star State a new business model of building solar plants to sell power on the wholesale market, with this sale underwritten by hedges, is emerging. What’s more important is that these projects are getting the cash needed to go forward.

But as is often the case with business model developments, the new model of hedges is far from replacing the PPA. As evidence of this, yesterday Cubico Sustainable Investments announced that it has reached financial close on the 162 MW Wagyu solar project in Brazoria County on Texas’ Gulf Coast, which holds both a hedge and a PPA.

And once financing is closed, these projects can be built quickly.

And Cubico is wasting no time in getting the project built; engineering, procurement and construction contractor Renewable Energy Systems has already started building Wagyu, and the project is expected to become fully operational in the third quarter of 2020.

Wagyu is the fourth project to reach financial close in a 580 MW portfolio of solar projects that Cubico bought from Cypress Creek Renewables in January, with the other three located in the Carolinas. Cypress Creek is staying on to provide operations & maintenance services to Wagyu, and also built the 106 MWdc Palmetto Plains solar project. Palmetto Plains is one of the three it sold to Cubico and the largest single-site solar plant to go online in South Carolina to date.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 16, 2019, 06:35:16 PM »
I read that article and didn't come to the same conclusion.

Whilst there is a bit of the Red Queen involved, the article skips over a simple reality.

Where do the older wells come from that provide the base profits? They are the young wells which are still operating.

This is more of an investor issue than a reserves issue.  Each new well is a fund of money to drill new wells as it will never be as productive as in the first year.

However once the first year is over the production does not vanish, it continues at a lower level.

So if you use the profits from the first year to fund the drilling of new wells, then pay the investors from the 1yr+ Wells, you have a sustainable model.

Even more, the supply continues to grow as the older wells do not stop producing. So, in reality, the supply continues to grow. Granted it is always on a bubble of first year drilling, but it is not fizzing out and leaving nothing behind it.

The reality is in the numbers.  Over around a decade production has grown from 800,000 barrels pd to 3.5m.  If this story of the Red Queen were totally fixed, that would have been impossible. It is more a case of supply growth requires continual investment to keep the bubble going. This continual investment is not something investors like.  They want to buy in and milk the profits once supply starts. Should have picked a different market.

I would expect this to level out somewhere around a few hundred thousand wells. Which means we have a few more decades to go with fracking.



The frackers haven't made profits, they've been losing money.

They kept telling investors that profits were just around the corner, but in the meantime, they keep increasing production hoping to capture market share, which just increased supplies to the point of depressing the price.  Thus, they ensured more losses.

Investors are done with fracking.  More and more frackers are going bankrupt.  They keep pumping oil out of existing wells to defray some fixed costs, but they don't have the money to keep drilling new wells.  The most hopeful news articles from the oil patch describe it as a "slowdown", but the reality is that frackers can't hope to compete with the easy oil from the middle east and Russia that can be produced at much lower cost.

Profit and Debt Pressures Spark Slowdown in Shale
By Tom Ozimek
December 15, 2019

Fracking insiders said that the dynamic growth of shale in recent years is suffering a slowdown as industry investors demand higher returns and lower debt.

Shale producers such as Pioneer, Range Resources, EQT Corp, and Whiting Petroleum have reduced production targets and cut staff, aiming to meet investors’ bottom-line demands for more profit and less leverage.

Producers have reduced the number of oil rigs operating for a record 12th month in a row, sidelining a quarter of the country’s drilling rigs in the past year, according to service firm Baker Hughes.

Lack of credit Is latest blow to the struggling shale industry
November 22 2019

Banks have begun trimming back the credit lines of America’s shale producers, further undercutting a beleaguered industry that’s been struggling to rebuild investor confidence.

Laredo Petroleum Inc. and Oasis Petroleum Inc. are among at least six producers whose ability to secure short-term loans against their oil and natural gas reserves have dropped by 10% or more, according to data in earnings statements and filings. The declines offer the first hint of results from a semi-annual bank review of the industry’s borrowing capacity that generally runs through December.

For the first time since 2016, an industry survey done prior to the review found most respondents expected to see declines. The noose is tightening at a time when producers have seen their market values plunge 21% this year. Meanwhile, at least 15 producers have already filed for bankruptcy during the year.

n some cases, producers are struggling under debt loads accumulated in earlier, more heady times. But other issues are at play as well: Some have drilled their best locations and are now turning to lower-quality sites. And some have been drilling wells too close together, resulting in a loss of overall performance.

At the same time, energy is the only sector yielding negative returns in the high-yield debt market, falling over 2% compared to a nearly 12% gain for its index.

In some cases, a borrowing-base cut can send a company spinning into bankruptcy. If a driller has already borrowed heavily on its credit line, and the new limit is lower than the outstanding balance, the company is overdrawn and has to repay the excess to the lender.

The linked reference confirms that AR5 significantly underestimated natural emissions of methane from wetlands worldwide, and recommends that policy makers shoulder the responsibility of taking corrective actions associated with AR5s shortcomings on this matter:

The linked reference indicates that the IPCC underestimated methane emissions from livestock:

Given that we can measure the concentration of methane in the atmosphere and thus calculate the total net emissions (all sources minus all sinks), if two sources were underestimated that implies that another source (or multiple sources) were overestimated or that the sinks were underestimated.

Did either reference provide information about what other sources were overestimated or if the sinks were underestimated?

Here a pre-print paper providing a literature review of what "consensus scientists" think the global methane budget has been from 2000 to 2017.  It is probably a good preview of what will show up in IPCC AR6.

The Global Methane Budget 2000-2017


Understanding and quantifying the global methane (CH4) budget is important for assessing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. Atmospheric emissions and concentrations of CH4 are continuing to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-influenced greenhouse gas in terms of climate forcing, after carbon dioxide (CO2). Assessing the relative importance of CH4 in comparison to CO2 is complicated by its shorter atmospheric lifetime, stronger warming potential, and atmospheric growth rate variations over the past decade, the causes of which are still debated. Two major difficulties in reducing uncertainties arise from the variety of geographically overlapping CH4 sources and from the destruction of CH4 by short-lived hydroxyl radicals (OH). To address these difficulties, we have established a consortium of multi-disciplinary scientists under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project to synthesize and stimulate new research aimed at improving and regularly updating the global methane budget. Following Saunois et al. (2016), we present here the second version of the living review paper dedicated to the decadal methane budget, integrating results of top-down studies (atmospheric observations within an atmospheric inverse-modelling framework) and bottom-up estimates (including process-based models for estimating land surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry, inventories of anthropogenic emissions, and data-driven extrapolations). 

For the 2008-2017 decade, global methane emissions are estimated by atmospheric inversions (top-down approach) to be 572 Tg CH4 yr-1 (range 538-593, corresponding to the minimum and maximum estimates of the ensemble), of which 357 Tg CH4 yr-1 or ~60% are attributed to anthropogenic sources (range 50-65%). This total emission is 27 Tg CH4 yr-1 larger than the value estimated for the period 2000-2009 and 24 Tg CH4 yr-1 larger than the one reported in the previous budget for the period 2003-2012 (Saunois et al. 2016). Since 2012, global CH4 emissions have been tracking the carbon intensive scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Gidden et al., 2019). Bottom-up methods suggest larger global emissions (737 Tg CH4 yr-1, range 583-880) than top-down inversion methods, mostly because of larger estimated natural emissions from sources such as natural wetlands, other inland water systems, and geological sources. However the strength of the atmospheric constraints on the top-down budget, suggest that these bottom-up emissions are overestimated. The latitudinal distribution of atmospheric-based emissions indicates a predominance of tropical emissions (~65% of the global budget, <30°N) compared to mid (~30%, 30°N-60°N) and high northern latitudes (~4%, 60°N-90°N). Our analyses suggest that uncertainties associated with estimates of anthropogenic emissions are smaller than those of natural sources, with top-down inversions yielding larger uncertainties than bottom-up inventories and models. The most important source of uncertainty in the methane budget is attributable to natural emissions, especially those from wetlands and other inland waters. Some global source estimates are smaller compared to the previously published budgets (Saunois et al. 2016; Kirschke et al. 2013), particularly for vegetated wetland emissions that are lower by about 35 Tg CH4 yr-1 due to efforts to partition vegetated wetlands and inland waters. Emissions from geological sources are also found to be smaller by 7 Tg CH4 yr-1, and wild animals by 8 Tg CH4 yr-1. However the overall discrepancy between bottom-up and top-down estimates has been reduced by only 5% compared to Saunois et al. (2016), due to a higher estimate of freshwater emissions resulting from recent research and the integration of emissions from estuaries. Priorities for improving the methane budget include: i) a global, high-resolution map of water-saturated soils and inundated areas emitting methane based on a robust classification of different types of emitting habitats; ii) further development of process-based models for inland-water emissions; iii) intensification of methane observations at local scales (e.g., FLUXNET-CH4 measurements and urban monitoring to constrain bottom-up land surface models, and at regional scales (surface networks and satellites) to constrain atmospheric inversions; iv) improvements of transport models and the representation of photochemical sinks in top-down inversions, and v) development of a 3D variational inversion system using isotopic and/or co-emitted species such as ethane. 

The data presented here can be downloaded from ICOS (; Saunois et al., 2019) and the Global Carbon Project. 

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: November 28, 2019, 04:19:20 PM »
I am reminded (from many years ago) of a politician in the UK saying "the rate of acceleration of the increase in unemployment has declined" - from which he justified seeing "the green shoots of growth".

We do not know
-  when / if the increase in renewable energy will be greater than the increase in energy demand,
-  if the decline in coal will be matched by increases in Natural Gas consumption,
-  how much CH4 fugitive emissions from Natural Gas production will increase,
-  the extent to which the carbon sinks will continue to decay,

We do not know many things, but we do know
- CO2 ppm will increase for at minimum for a few years more,
- if Governments and the industries that own them don't take action p.d.q. CO2 ppm will increase indefinitely,
- The carbon sinks will become less effective given current policies and trends,
- without major action and change it is likely increases in CO2 ppm will accelerate.

ASLR makes it explicit that he is presenting the right tailed risks, not settled science. While it is difficult to accept so much scientific uncertainty (scientific reticence), the message that ASLR conveys in his posts is one of prudence.

I can think of no better demonstration for why extreme right tailed risks must prompt precautionary action even in the face of great uncertainty than the attached image. It shows the shifting attitude within successive IPCC reports to the likelihood of the temperature at which the onset of climate tipping points begins.

Taken from a comment in Nature from today (Nov. 27), by Lenton et. al

Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against

ASLR does a very good job in pointing out the possible consequences of unchecked fossil fuel emissions.  Unfortunately, he also writes disparagingly of "consensus" scientists and conveys a situation that seems much more dire than it is.  Yes, we need to get off of fossil fuels as soon as possible.  However, he often ignores that we're making great progress in doing so. 

He ignores the fact that most of the highly speculative and sensationalist disaster scenarios he writes about are based on the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario which assumes that renewables will be more expensive than fossil fuels through the 21st century when if fact, renewables are now cheaper than coal.

In fact, 2018 may have been the peak of global coal consumption.

Coal-Fired Power Is Declining Thanks to a Slowdown in India and China
2019 could end with a deceleration in overall carbon emissions.
By C.K. Hickey
November 26, 2019, 4:36 PM

After more than a century as the world’s dominant source of electricity, coal may finally be losing its importance. Coal-fired power production is projected to fall 3 percent this year—the largest annual decline on record. According to a new report from three think tanks and published by Carbon Brief, this reduction represents an amount of electricity greater than that generated by coal from Germany, Spain, and the U.K. combined.

As coal’s contribution to electricity usage falls, electricity generated by non-fossil sources is on the rise across the globe. As seen in the chart below, wind power saw the largest growth among energy sources over the last year.

Coal plants still fuel 38 percent of the world’s electricity, however, and so curtailing the carbon emissions from its production remains essential for limiting a rise in global temperatures. The sharp drop projected in coal-fired electricity suggests 2019 could end with a slowdown in overall carbon emissions, according to the report.

AbruptSLR likes to post about MICI, a highly speculative hyptothesis that the authors have backed away from recently.  He likes to post about the CMIP 6 models that have higher ECS, ignoring the CMIP 6 models that have ECS in line with consensus science (that would be half of them). 

But again, the most egregious error he makes (and many of the catastrophists on this site make) is that since current emissions are close to RCP 8.5 emissions, that the emissions for the rest of the century will continue on the RCP 8.5 path.  Since RCP 8.5 assumes an acceleration of the use of coal and that renewables will be more expensive than coal, the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario just isn't possible.

Here's a graphical representation of the RCP scenarios:

The big black area in the middle of that graph is coal use.   You can see that in 2100 it's responsible for more than half of the emissions in the RCP 8.5 scenario.  It's likely to be zero decades before then.

Natural gas is already in dire straits.  Much of the natural gas infrastructure being planned today will be stranded assets well before the end of it's useful life.

Renewables, storage poised to undercut natural gas prices, increase stranded assets: RMI

If all proposed gas plants are built, 70% of those investments will be rendered uneconomic by 2035, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Carbon-free resources are now cost competitive with new natural gas plants, according to a pair of reports released Monday by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Wind, solar and storage projects, combined with demand-side management, have reached a "tipping point," one report finds, meaning they're now able to compete alongside natural gas on price while providing the same reliability services. But unlike the fluctuating price of fuels, these technologies' prices are expected to continue dropping, the reports' authors told Utility Dive.

This reality could leave many natural gas investors and utilities with stranded infrastructure assets, the second RMI report finds, and new gas investments should be made with caution.

Even with the additional carbon being released in the Arctic due to warming, the reduction in CO2 and methane from eliminating those two sources of anthropogenic emissions will result in emissions closer to the RCP 2.6 scenario than the RCP 8.5 scenario.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 27, 2019, 07:51:31 PM »
Ken, this is me 30 years ago:

"Renewables will get cheaper and cheaper. The lifetime of a power plant is 40 years. So it can't take any longer for the energy transition. It's a no brainer. Any time now."

Me 20 years ago:

"Wow, if you extrapolate the numbers we are there soon. Amazing!"

Me 10 years ago:

"Holy shit, renewables are almost as cheap as coal. No one can afford to build a coal plant these days."

Me today:

Reads that new coal power plants are still in the planning.

Yes, and peak coal is now on the horizon.  Of those plants in planning, most (if any) won't be built.

As I posted upthread, global coal use is down 3% this year.  While some of that may be weather related (more rain for hydroplants or milder weather cutting energy demand), much of it is due to the fact that outside of China, more coal power plants have been retired than built this year.  And that trend is only going to continue.

Peak coal on the horizon: a country-by-country review
September 2, 2019 by Christine Shearer

Though the global coal fleet still increased by 17GW in the first half of 2019, net of retirements, the pipeline is definitely shrinking. Two thirds of proposed projects never even get started. Notably, in China existing coal plants have been running, on average, only 50% of the time since 2015, evidence of a large excess of capacity. But is it enough? The IPCC’s pathway to 1.5C requires unabated coal power generation to fall by 55-70% by 2030 and be effectively phased out by 2050. That’s why all eyes are on the 15 countries – headed by China (49%), the US (13%) and India (11%) – responsible for 91% of the global coal fleet, generating 2,027GW worldwide, to turn that shrinking pipeline into shrinking capacity. Christine Shearer of Global Energy Monitor dives deep into the latest global stats.

Around the world, 12.7 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity has been proposed so far in 2019 – less than 3GW above the amount that has retired (10GW). These trends mean the global coal fleet will soon decline, because only a third of proposed capacity has actually been developed since 2010.

In 2019 to date, about 12.7GW of coal power capacity has been newly proposed across eight countries and 12GW of new construction has started across five countries. These developments are concentrated in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh. China also resumed construction on nearly 9GW of capacity that had been postponed under central government restrictions.

Conversely, 132GW of planned new capacity was cancelled in 2019, mainly from lack of activity. The largest numbers of cancellations were in China, India, Myanmar and Turkey.

The implementation rate figure in the table above varies widely, from 0% in Egypt – which has yet to implement any of its projects – to 71% in South Korea. The global average is 35%, meaning just 1GW of new coal has been built or began construction since 2010 for each 3GW of proposed capacity.

India has undergone a large downscaling in its future coal plans, in favour of lower-cost renewables. Turkey has 34GW of coal in the pipeline, but has commissioned only 12% of its proposed capacity since 2010 – a rate that would lead to only 4GW of the 34GW being completed. In reality, the figure may ultimately be even lower than this.

Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have all reduced their proposed coal capacity, with no new large proposals since 2015. Meanwhile Japan and Korea are also facing public pressure to cut their international financial support for coal, which would leave only China as a significant source of global coal funding – given over 100 financial institutions are restricting coal financing.

Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Pakistan have all scaled back plans for coal in their future national energy plans, with many of them experiencing significant coal-related financial problems.

It's possible that 2018 was the year that coal consumption peaked.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 26, 2019, 10:33:12 PM »

ps: Ken, how do you rate the chances of reducing CO2 emissions in 2030 by 55% (7.5% p.a.) for +1.5 celsius, 25% for +2 celsius ?

With solar and wind now cheaper than fossil fuels in about three quarters of the world (already cheaper in the developed countries and now at grid parity in China), pretty good.

Given that we're already seeing drops in global coal consumption (down 3% in 2019) and softening of demand for oil and a huge glut in natural gas, the major wildcard is how quickly battery electric vehicles take over the transportation market.  The forecast year for cost parity between BEVs and ICEs is now 2022.  So we should see peak oil demand within the decade.

I doubt we'll see a new coal power plant built after 2025 or a new natural gas power plant after 2035.  Sales of new ICE vehicles will probably be banned in most countries in the 2030s.

I suspect that we wont hit the 7.5% annual decreases needed for the 1.5 degree C target until the 2030s, but we should be able to hit the 2.0 target for emissions reductions in the 2020s and exceed them in the 2030s and 2040s.  With global temperatures increasing at around 0.18 degrees per decade and the five-year average increase around 0.9 C, we'd hit 1.5 degrees in the 2050s. So we'll end up somewhere by 1.5C and 2.0C temperature increase before looking at options for carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

When people think of CDR, they usually think of artificial leaves or other large machines to suck CO2 from the air and pipe it underground (or deep under the sea).  However, there are much better options that can be used to increase global carbon sinks from better agricultural practices, which are increasingly being used.  Look up regenerative agriculture, biochar, sustainable grazing, renewable natural gas, or reductions in methane from rice farming. 

And there are possibilities in kelp farming, with the kelp reducing acidity in the oceans and then being fed to ruminants to reduce their methane emissions.

In the past decade, a lot of progress has been made in all of these areas.  Keep that in mind when you read a gloom and doom report.  We must continue to press our leaders for more rapid changes to reduce greenhouse gases and improve carbon sinks, and we shouldn't give up hope that it can be done.


These were the CMIP 5 models run with the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario.

AbruptSLR likes to selectively quote from Real Climate's recent post on the preliminary CMIP 6 model results.

No one expects consensus climate scientists to stop erring on the side of least drama, ESLD, anytime soon; however, if the preliminary CMIP6 findings are correct then it is likely that several significant tipping points may well have been crossed before consensus climate scientists publicly acknowledge the dangerous situation that we have collectively put ourselves in.

Here is the image from Tamino's post (the runs with the CMIP 5 models using the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario):

Catastrophist bloggers like to post about how the CMIP 6 models run even hotter than the CMIP 5 models and they also like to post a lot of studies using the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario.  As shown upthread, we are no longer projected to burn enough coal to meet the RCP 8.5 scenario.


These were the CMIP 5 models run with the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario.

AbruptSLR likes to selectively quote from Real Climate's recent post on the preliminary CMIP 6 model results.

Here's the part he quotes:

So what should people make of this? Here are some options:
These new higher numbers might be correct. As cloud micro-physical understanding has improved and models better match the real climate, they will converge on a higher ECS.

Here's the part he leaves out:

These new numbers are not correct. There are however many ways in which this might have manifest:
The high ECS models have all included something new and wrong.
They have all neglected a key process that should have been included with the package they did implement.
There has been some overfitting to imperfect observations.
The experimental set-up from which the ECS numbers are calculated is flawed.
There are arguments pro and con for each of these possibilities, and it is premature to decide which of them are relevant. It isn’t even clear that there is one answer that will explain all the high values – it might all be a coincidence – a catalogue of unfortunate choices that give this emergent pattern. We probably won’t find out for a while – though many people are now looking at this.
Why might the numbers be correct? All the preliminary analyses I’ve seen with respect to matches to present day climatologies and variability indicate that the skill scores of the new models (collectively, not just the high ECS ones) are improved over the previous versions. This is discussed in Gettelman et al. (2019) (CESM2), Sellar et al (2019) (UKESM1) etc. Indeed, this is a generic pattern in model development. However, up until now, there has not been any clear relationship between overall skill and climate sensitivity. Whether this will now change is (as yet) unclear.

Why might these numbers be wrong? Well, the independent constraints from the historical changes since the 19th C, or from paleo-climate or from emergent constraints in the CMIP5 models collectively suggest lower numbers (classically 2 to 4.5ºC) and new assessments of these constraints are likely to confirm it. For all these constraints to be wrong, a lot of things have to fall out just right (forcings at the LGM would have to be wrong by a factor of two, asymmetries between cooling and warming might need to be larger than we think, pattern effects need to be very important etc.). That seems unlikely.

There is some indication that for the models with higher ECS that the changes in the abrupt4xCO2 runs are changing so much (more than 10ºC warming) that the models might be exceeding the bounds for which some aspects are valid. Note these are the runs from which the ECS is calculated. What do I mean by this? Take the HadGEM3 model. The Hardiman et al. (2019) paper reports on an artifact in the standard runs related to the rising of the tropopause that ends up putting (fixed) high stratospheric ozone in the troposphere causing an incorrect warming of the tropopause and a massive change of stratospheric water vapor – leading to a positive (and erroneous) amplification of the warming (by about 0.6ºC). Are there other assumptions in these runs that are no longer valid at 10ºC warming? Almost certainly. Is that the explanation? Perhaps not – it turns out that most (though not all) high ECS models also have high transient climate responses (TCR) which happen at much smaller global mean changes (< 3ºC).

Many of the new CMIP 6 models claim that they're addressing cloud micro-physics better but they were developed a few years ago when studies seemed to indicate that clouds have more of cooling effect than they currently are shown to have.  Here's the abstract from the UKESM1 model development paper which states that it shows too much cooling from the 1950s to the 1980s while touting it's new cloud modelling.

We document the development of the first version of the United Kingdom Earth System Model UKESM1. The model represents a major advance on its predecessor HadGEM2‐ES, with enhancements to all component models and new feedback mechanisms. These include: a new core physical model with a well‐resolved stratosphere; terrestrial biogeochemistry with coupled carbon and nitrogen cycles and enhanced land management; tropospheric‐stratospheric chemistry allowing the holistic simulation of radiative forcing from ozone, methane and nitrous oxide; two‐moment, five‐species, modal aerosol; and ocean biogeochemistry with two‐way coupling to the carbon cycle and atmospheric aerosols. The complexity of coupling between the ocean, land and atmosphere physical climate and biogeochemical cycles in UKESM1 is unprecedented for an Earth system model. We describe in detail the process by which the coupled model was developed and tuned to achieve acceptable performance in key physical and Earth system quantities, and discuss the challenges involved in mitigating biases in a model with complex connections between its components. Overall the model performs well, with a stable pre‐industrial state, and good agreement with observations in the latter period of its historical simulations. However, global mean surface temperature exhibits stronger‐than‐observed cooling from 1950 to 1970, followed by rapid warming from 1980 to 2014. Metrics from idealised simulations show a high climate sensitivity relative to previous generations of models: equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is 5.4 K, transient climate response (TCR) ranges from 2.68 K to 2.85 K, and transient climate response to cumulative emissions (TCRE) is 2.49 K/TtC to 2.66 K/TtC.

The details about how they were able to replicate pre-industrial conditions are enlightening:

The physical core of UKESM1 was already well-tuned before adding ESM components (Kuhlbrodt et al., 2018; Williams et al., 2018), and with the exception of the snow-vegetation interaction above it was not deemed necessary to re-tune the physical model parameters. The TOA radiation balance was however altered by the addition of ESM components, through a combination of changes in cloud, surface albedo and radiatively active gases. Without further tuning the net downward radiation at TOA in 1850 was −0.81 W m−2, which would have resulted in a significant downward drift in model temperatures. We brought the TOA radiation into balance by tuning parameters in the Anderson et al. (2001) parametrisation of DMS sea-water concentration to permit lower minimum values of DMS. The standard configuration of this parametrisation has a prescribed minimum value of 2.29 nM for seawater DMS concentration, while gridded observational DMS datasets, such as those of Kettle et al. (1999) or Lana et al. (2011), contain significantly smaller values than this over large regions of the ocean. Anderson et al. (2001) themselves point out that the data from which their parametrisation is derived is likely to contain a sampling bias towards higher values, so a lower minimum is reasonable. We reduced the minimum from 2.29 nM to 1.00 nM, extending the Anderson et al. (2001) linear relationship (between DMS concentration andlog10of chlorophyll concentration, surface SW and nutrient availability) to lower values of DMS. The ensuing reduction in DMS gave widespread decreases in cloud droplet number (and thus cloud albedo) across the Southern Ocean and stratocumulus regions, resulting in a drop in reflected SW at TOA of 2 to 5 Wm−2over large areas of the ocean.

Here's how the CMIP 6 model ECS, TCR and TCRE compare to the CMIP 5 results.  (Note the statement about cloud mcrophysics and cloud aerosol intereactions).

The UKESM1 values of ECS, TCR and TCRE are all higher than those of CMIP5 models (respectively, 2.1 K to 4.7 K, 1.0 K to 2.6 K, and 0.8 K/TtC to 2.4 K/TtC Andrews, Gregory, Webb, & Taylor, 2012; Gillett et al., 2013). Elsewhere in this special issue, Bodas-Salcedo et al. (2019) analyse the increase in atmospheric climate feedbacks in HadGEM3-GC3.1 relative to the previous version of HadGEM3, whose ECS (3.2 K; Senior et al., 2016) is within the range of CMIP5 models. They find that the feedbacks have become more positive as a result of improvements to cloud microphysics and cloud-aerosol interactions.

And they compare their results to observed surface temperatures.

Surface temperature is one of the few variables for which reliable observations cover the full period of the 1850-2014 historical simulation, which allows us to evaluate the model’s first-order climate response to the evolving forcing over this period. The UKESM1 global mean surface temperature anomaly in the historical ensemble shown in Figure 29, along-side the HadCRUT4 observation dataset (Morice, Kennedy, Rayner, & Jones, 2012). The observations represent only a single realisation of the internal variability of the climate system, so one should not expect the model ensemble to be centred on the observations, but rather that the range of observational uncertainty overlaps the ensemble range (under the assumption that the model ensemble is large enough to sample the relevant in-ternal variability). Most ensemble members begin to warm in the early 20th century, then cool strongly between 1950 and 1970 before warming rapidly through to the end of the simulation. The observations show a limited cooling of 0.1 K to 0.2 K during 1940 to 1970, but the model ensemble mean cools by nearly 0.4 K over the same period. All ensemble members also show a stronger cooling response to the large volcanic eruptions of 1883, 1963 and 1991 than is seen in the observations.

Figure 29 also separates the mean surface temperature into northern and south-904ern hemisphere timeseries. The stronger-than-observed cooling is restricted to the north-905ern hemisphere which, together with its temporal evolution, points to either aerosol or906land use forcing as the prime driver. Further investigation into this discrepancy will be907the subject of future work. In the southern hemisphere the model ensemble overlaps with908the observational uncertainty for the entire duration of the experiment, with the excep-909tion of the dip following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 noted above.

Policy and solutions / Re: Greta Thunberg's Atlantic crossing
« on: November 16, 2019, 03:12:06 PM »
 Those cultural techniques need to go I'm afraid. It is driven by immoral commerce in stead of rational high morality thinking. Do we want to steer our path into the future or not?  ???

I feel so much for our new humans  :'(, I recognize the deep lifelong damage our current culture does to them. Not just the cultural techniques. Parents in thrall of these techniques and addicted to technofixes will give their toddler a screen, which is a low morality action in my view.
Like other animals young humans need a form of 'natural unbringing' in order for their brainstructure, social systems, non verbal communication skills, emotional action/reaction/understanding, discipline, morality, physical skills, touch/smell capacity etc. to develop to a complete brain and human and without faults (I don't mean natural variation).
And all of this development has to take place in the real world. A world increasingly at a distance for our young ones because the grown-ups pull them in all kinds of abstract versions.

I observe that there is not much critical thinking going on. While there are many good articles on this (as seen in The Guardian).

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:44:53 PM »
As per my post in the coal thread, China has a strategic reason to keep its coal-fired generating fleet at relatively low levels of utilization of about 50% - to act as a reserve to replace seaborne natural gas imports and to power greater use of electrical transport (trams, trains, buses, taxis and the couple of a million and increasing number of personal EV's) to replace seaborne oil imports.

This is strategic energy security planning so that they can withstand an energy blockade (as was done with Japan in the months before Pearl Harbour) during any hostilities with the US. By showing that they can, they greatly reduce the possibility of such hostilities. They have also been building up their strategic oil reserve in the past few years and oil and gas imports from Russia and Central Asia through pipelines.

Renewables and nuclear are still at a pretty small amount of Chinese energy use (and capacity), even after the rapid growth of the past few years. So coal will be the bedrock of Chinese energy security. Geopolitics is getting in the way of climate change actions.

If things with the US escalate further, probably after the next Presidential election, I would not be surprised to see China announce a quite radical date for the end of ICE sales in China. EVs move energy supply from oil to electricity (and even with the current Chinese electricity mix reduce lifetime vehicle CO2 emissions). This would also reduce local air pollution a lot (the coal pollution issue having been fixed through very tough particulate matter regulations), especially in the cities, adding to the political legitimacy of the CCP.

So, could be coal use up and CO2 emissions down before 2030 (the Chinese Paris commitment).

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:00:32 PM »
Is coal power winning the US-China trade war?

Actually writing my PhD chapter on China right now, so researching a lot of this stuff. China's greatest worry is a seaborne energy blockade during a conflict with the US, so they are very focused on being able to withstand that.

They keep coal imports at only 6% of consumption, keep a large spare capacity in the coal-fired electricity generating fleet, and are increasing their coal mining capacity (and the efficiency of the coal-fired units). This all gives them the ability to replace all coal imports (increase domestic production) and seaborne natural gas imports (increase the utilization of coal-fired generating plants) if required.

Then their only issue is oil, and they are pushing to increase domestic oil production as well as 20% EV sales share by 2025 (plus most probably all the bus and taxi fleets as well as public transport).Together with removing "frivolous" oil usage, such as vacation air travel and a chunk of petrochemical products, this gives the ability to rapidly reduce oil consumption if required. Russia and Central Asia then become very important as overland friendly suppliers of oil and gas.

The local air pollution issue has been removed through very strict particulate matter regulations (that even the top 100 coal-fired generating units in the US could not meet), so the CCP can focus on the energy security issue given the increasing probability of conflict with the US.

China has signalled that coal power will be a top priority within national energy policy as the government prepares its next Five Year Plan (2021-25).

On 11 October, Premier Li Keqiang chaired a meeting of the National Energy Commission in Beijing that emphasised China’s energy security and coal utilisation and downplayed the importance of a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

Each meeting of the commission, which was established in 2010 and has met only four times, has had a significant impact on policymaking. Chaired by Premier Li and attended by more than 20 chiefs of China’s ministries and bureaus, the commission is the top body for coordinating energy policy.

The government’s concern over energy security is positive for coal given that China has lots of it. At the meeting, Li Keqiang spoke of speeding up the construction of large-scale coal transportation and electricity transmission infrastructure. He wants to promote “safe and green coal mining”, the “clean and efficient development of coal-fired power”, and to “develop and utilise coalbed methane”. 

Li also downplayed China’s low-carbon energy transition. At the same meeting in 2016, Li called on China to: “increase the proportion of renewables in the energy mix” and “accelerate” such a transition. This year, there was no mention of renewable energy’s share of the energy mix and “acceleration” was replaced by the blander term “development”. The change of tone was hard to miss.

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: November 15, 2019, 04:48:25 PM »
Thanks Steve.
I don't follow the Tesla thread but my general advise is: JUST BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.

Behave as if it were a real life conversation/discussion. Amongst friends, sharing a forum and interests, being a group of intelligent humans. Respect.

Make compliments. Be creative with it. It's free :).

when there is no other source of greenhouse gas emissions that can make up for the missing coal emissions.
Such certainty gives you away. 30 years of the IPCC and we have not changed the shape of the keeling curve appreciably.
Coal has mostly been swapped for new gas assets with a fifty year life.
I can think of a few potential sources of greenhouse gas emissions including permafrost melt, burning the Amazon and furtive methane from fracking and faulty infrastructure  that could push us over RCP 8.5
RCP 8.5 is very unlikely but not "impossible" at this point.

On the other hand the lower RCP's always have been impossible being based on technology we do not actually have and the application of which we could not achieve in any reasonable expectation of the  economic and political future. 

In fact, studies indicate that if we can keep the temperature rise to 1.5 C the WAIS won't collapse.
@1.2 C now  and  0.2C  a decade that's less than two decades away without allowing for warming masked by human induced aerosols.
1.5C is already blown 2C is highly unlikely and 3C probable on our present path.

You're entitled to your opinion.

However, the science on temperature increases says:

Pathways consistent with 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels can be identified under a range of assumptions about economic growth, technology developments and lifestyles

In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range).1 For limiting global warming to below 2°C with at least 66% probability CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 25% by 2030 in most pathways (10–30% interquartile range) and reach net zero around 2070 (2065–2080 interquartile range).

As to natural gas infrastructure, I hope you haven't invested in that Ponzi scheme as the wells, pipelines, power plants and associated infrastructure are going to be stranded assets by 2035.

atural Gas Power Stranded Asset Risk Reaches a Tipping Point
By Andrew Burger - Oct 07, 2019

Investment risk in new and proposed natural gas power plants is on the rise. The risk of them becoming stranded assets has reached a tipping point, according to two companion reports produced by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).

Sharp declines in the costs and improving performance of clean energy portfolios (CEPs) that include solar and wind power generation, battery energy storage, energy efficiency and utility-customer demand-side response (DSR) by and large have driven the cost-competitiveness of CEPs below that for new natural gas power plants and electricity across the U.S. That includes investments in the latest, highest efficiency combined-cycle power plants, especially new “peaker” plants designed just to start up quickly and meet sudden, unexpected shortfalls in grid supply or spikes in demand, RMI highlights in The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios and Economic Opportunities for a Shift from New Gas-Fired Generation to Clean Energy Across the United States Electricity Industry.

It will be less expensive to operate new solar and clean energy portfolios than 90% of the proposed combined-cycle natural gas power capacity slated to come online by 2035—some 68 gigawatts’ (GW) worth, according to RMI’s analysis.  And that assumes the pace of clean energy cost declines will slow dramatically and doesn’t consider the impact of prospective climate or renewable energy policies.

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