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Messages - Ken Feldman

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Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 22, 2021, 05:58:11 PM »
I don't know about that.  First there is the geopolitical concern, with Russia being a kleptocracy being run by Putin whereas USA is still a Democracy (barely) under an administration that will now enforce environmental regulations.

So are the carbon emissions from the energy used in liquifying and then returning the natural gas to gaseous form and then transporting it from the USA to Europe more than the additional fugitive methane emissions and the energy used to pump it from Russia to Germany?  Keep in mind that much of the electricity in Texas and increasingly more of the southern US is now being generated by wind and solar.  Russia still generates almost all of their electricity from fossil fuels.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 21, 2021, 11:59:37 PM »
Initial reports indicate that global investment in renewable energy increased by 2% in 2020, despite the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  With the prices of renewables still falling, this lead to large amounts of wind and solar capacity installed.

Renewable energy investment. Global investment in renewable energy capacity moved up 2% to $303.5 billion in 2020. This was the second-highest annual figure ever (after 2017’s $313.3 billion), and the seventh consecutive total of more than $250 billion. Falling capital costs enabled record volumes of both solar (132GW) and wind (73GW) to be installed on the basis of the modest increase in dollar investment.

Highlights of the renewables investment total included a leap of 56% in financings of offshore wind projects to $50 billion, including the largest deal ever in that sub-sector—$8.3 billion for the 2.5GW Dogger Bank project in the UK North Sea. The year also saw the largest single solar park ever funded, the 2GW Al Dhafrah in the United Arab Emirates, at a cost of $1.1 billion.

Overall, solar capacity investment was up 12% at $148.6 billion, and wind (onshore and offshore) down 6% at $142.7 billion. Biomass and waste-to-energy financings were down 3% at $10 billion.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 21, 2021, 11:30:29 PM »
While it's interesting to track the forcings from other greenhouse gases, CO2 is the one that will determine how much global warming we'll experience.  The others don't add up to much, and once fossil fuel extraction is shut down, methane concentrations will decrease, leading to a cooling that offsets the minor warming from the other long-lived greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Rapidly increasing CO2 emissions, mainly from our energy systems, almost solely determine Earth’s long term warming commitment. These emissions continue to grow with no peak in sight, at a rate unprecedented in the past 66 million years.

February 18, 2018 (Updated: September 26, 2020)

Chart 2. Annual change of radiative forcing by greenhouse gas, 1980-2019. Data: NOAA ESRL3

Chart 3 shows the same data as chart 2, but by share. The share of annual change caused by civilisation’s CO2 has been greater than 70% for every year since 1993, and reached 90% or more in 2003, 2005 and 2013.

Chart 3. Annual change of radiative forcing by greenhouse gas, as share of total annual change, 1980-2019. Data: NOAA ESRL.3

Our long term warming commitment is almost solely determined by cumulative CO2 emissions (nitrous oxide (N2O)7 is also a long-lived greenhouse gas that contributes to our warming commitment, but as shown in chart 1(a) above, it’s contribution is much smaller than that from CO2).

Thank you Ken, that is exactly what I was writing above. The 20s and 30s will see pretty much as much in emissions and likely more warming (due to Arctic feedbacks) as the 10s.

We're currently about 1.2 C (based on five year averages, 2020 was 1.25 C) above the baseline temperature for the IPCC 1.5C Report.  Global temperatures have been increasing by 0.2 C per decade.  With three decades before we get emissions close to net zero, we'll be at 1.8C.

The key is that once we achieve zero emissions, temperatures stabilize and then begin to decrease.  So an overshoot of 1.5C looks likely, but we can keep the temperature increase to under 2.0C.  The IPCC special report on 1.5C published in 2018 outlines the impacts of this temperature range.

As this article written in October 2020 states, carbon emissions may have peaked in 2019.

CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuels May Have Peaked in 2019
Oct 16, 2020

In the 2000s, global CO2 emissions were increasing at an unprecedented rate. Global coal use was skyrocketing, and many predicted that emissions could triple by the end of the 21st century, ushering in truly nightmarish scenarios involving warming of 4℃ to 5℃ above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Fast forward a decade and the world looks very different. Global coal use peaked in 2013 and is unlikely to pass that level again. Clean energy has become cost-competitive with fossil fuels for electricity generation in many countries, while the electrification of transportation and other sectors of the economy is picking up. It has become undeniable that the world is undergoing an energy transition, and it is quite possible that global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels peaked last year in 2019, based both on our own analysis and the newly released IEA World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2020.

The decline of coal is the single most important factor driving down future emissions projections. Most prior energy modeling efforts, such as those from the IEA WEO, had suggested a world of growing — or at best stagnant — future coal use. This year’s WEO shows a dramatically different picture, where global coal use is projected to go into structural decline for the foreseeable future.

The IEA has notably reduced their projection of future global FF&I CO2 emissions through 2040 in their latest WEO report. They now expect global emissions to fall by around 6.7% in 2020 compared to 2019 levels, before recovering back to around 2019 levels by 2030 and plateauing there. The figure below shows the new 2020 WEO projection (green) compared to the same scenario in last year’s report (red).

Even these latest IEA projections may be a bit conservative. The IEA has, over time, reduced their forecast of future emissions each time a new report is released, as a result of both policy developments and a history of underestimating the rate of clean energy deployment. There is no reason to think that this trend will reverse itself in the future, particularly with China’s recent net-zero commitment, which will influence short-to-medium-term energy policy in ways not included in the latest assessment.

Again, this chart was made before China and the US made their updated climate policies to acheive carbon neutrality by 2060 and 2050 respectively.  SSP1-2.6 (the update to RCP 2.6) is within reach.

Paradigm shifts in science happen slowly.  The current generation of climate scientists have been brought up with the mantra that RCP8.5 equals business as usual. It's only in the past year that the paradigm has begun to shift.

29 January 2020

Emissions – the ‘business as usual’ story is misleading
Stop using the worst-case scenario for climate warming as the most likely outcome — more-realistic baselines make for better policy.

Zeke Hausfather & Glen P. Peters

More than a decade ago, climate scientists and energy modellers made a choice about how to describe the effects of emissions on Earth’s future climate. That choice has had unintended consequences which today are hotly debated. With the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) moving into its final stages in 2020, there is now a rare opportunity to reboot.

In the lead-up to the 2014 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), researchers developed four scenarios for what might happen to greenhouse-gas emissions and climate warming by 2100. They gave these scenarios a catchy title: Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)1. One describes a world in which global warming is kept well below 2 °C relative to pre-industrial temperatures (as nations later pledged to do under the Paris climate agreement in 2015); it is called RCP2.6. Another paints a dystopian future that is fossil-fuel intensive and excludes any climate mitigation policies, leading to nearly 5 °C of warming by the end of the century2,3. That one is named RCP8.5.

RCP8.5 was intended to explore an unlikely high-risk future2. But it has been widely used by some experts, policymakers and the media as something else entirely: as a likely ‘business as usual’ outcome. A sizeable portion of the literature on climate impacts refers to RCP8.5 as business as usual, implying that it is probable in the absence of stringent climate mitigation. The media then often amplifies this message, sometimes without communicating the nuances. This results in further confusion regarding probable emissions outcomes, because many climate researchers are not familiar with the details of these scenarios in the energy-modelling literature.

For those making real-life decisions, the choice of scenario becomes important14,16. Emphasizing ways of adapting to an extreme RCP8.5 scenario with around 5 °C warming in 2100 is out of step with the requirement to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities in the near-term. Most users of climate scenarios care more about the world as it is now, rather than what might have been had global emissions not slowed over the past decade7. Users focused on mitigation are keen to capitalize on emerging opportunities such as cheap renewables, or to avoid overinvesting in stranded assets in dying industries. For example, they want to know whether the rapid cost declines in renewables might make investments in fossil fuels high risk. A RCP8.5 baseline renders these applications useless, because it implies that recent climate policies and technological progress are halted or even reversed.

For policymakers, mitigation policies that depend on the assumptions underlying high-emission baseline scenarios such as RCP8.5 will seem exorbitant, because they do not incorporate the plummeting costs of many low-carbon technologies over the past decade. The marginal investments required to move from 3 °C of warming to well below 2 °C (the main Paris goal) will be much less than moving from 5 °C to well below 2 °C. A narrative of progress and opportunity can make the Paris targets seem feasible, rather than seemingly impossible.

Keep in mind that the chart above was published in January 2020, well before the drop in emissions in 2020 and the new climate commitments made later in the year and just yesterday.  China's stated policy in now to peak by 2030 and be carbon neutral in 2060.  The US stated policy is now to have a carbon free electric grid by 2035 and be carbon neutral by 2050.

RCP 2.6 is now within reach.


I am pleased to see someone else argue optimistically that BAU has changed dramatically. Too many around here believe in climate catastrophe is imminent.


Being realistic is not equivalent to expecting climate catastrophe. I, for one, am quite cynical about politicians, but at the same time expect humanity to completely give up fossil in due time. I expect no catastrophe whatsoever. But I expect decades of warming still, because going to zero carbon is a very long process.

- 95% of cars sold in 2021 are using gas/diesel. Those cars will still be on the roads in 2050 (in India, Africa, etc).
- many industrial processes are hard to decarbonise
- gas turbines are needed to counterbalance volatile solar/wind
- newly built coal plants will NOT be closed for a long time (at least a decade) due to sunk costs

Will emissions start to go down some time in the 20s? Hopefully yes (but considering that oil will at least be stable, gas will go up, coal down and industrial and agri likely up that is not sure at all). Shall we hit zero by 2030-40? Absolutely not. Not even by 2050.

2015-20 warmed +0,29 C vs 2005-10. Considering Arctic feedback, it is hard to see how that will not be more in the next decade, since emissions are higher now than 10 yrs ago. We are already +1,2 C above pre industrial. This means that by 2030 we shall hit at least +1,5 C. If you are optimistic then you can argue that warming will slow after this, so maybe +0,2 C and +0,15 C and +0,1 C the following decades. This still means that we will reach around +2 C by 2060 - provided that there are no sudden climate impacts.

I don't think this will make the Earth unlivable. I even think that it will be positive agriculturally for many NH midlatitude countries as they will warm by another 1,5-2 C.

Be careful about stereotypes.  About half the vehicles purchased in Africa are new.  The average age of vehicle in Africa is only slightly more than the US or Europe.  And African consumers look at fuel efficiency and reliability as the most important features of the vehicles they purchase.

And many African countries ban the importation of used vehicles that are older than 8 years.

On the other hand, the East African Community is working to align standards: in 2015, Kenya banned used car imports older than eight years of age, Tanzania charges additional excise duty on used vehicles eight years of age or older (counted from the year of manufacture), and the whole EAC began to apply standardised depreciation rates to these imports.

Currently, apart from the four African countries that completely ban used car imports, 25 place a maximum age limit on imports, 10 countries ban imports over five years old and six ban imports over 10 years old.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 21, 2021, 06:22:07 PM »
To finalize my update on greenhouse gases here is the summary of the four postings in the individual gas concentration threads.

More radiative forcing of the "NOAA gases" (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6) in September 2020 than in September 2019, but less than in August 2020, because CO2 reaches its seasonal maximum in May.

The values [W/m²], change to August 2020 and change to September 2019:
CO2 2.095    (- 0.017)    (+ 0.035)   
CH4 0.523    (+ 0.002)    (+ 0.005)
N2O 0.206   (+ 0.000)    (+ 0.004)
SF6  0.0054 (+ 0.0000)  (+ 0.0002)
sum  2.830  (- 0.014)    (+ 0.045) (rounding differences)

The relative annual increase is 1.62 %, a little bit higher than August 2020.

This recalculates to a CO2eq of 471.7 ppm (annual increase of 3.9 ppm).

Compared with 1980 [average was 1.578 W/m²] the increase since then sums up to 79.3 %.

Stephan does a great job in calculating the changes to radiative forcings from greenhouse gases each month.

It's important to remember to subtract 1 from that number (the combined forcings from aerosols and land use changes as estimated in the IPCC AR5 published in 2013) to compare them to the RCPs.  So the most recent calculated radiative forcing would be 1.83 W/m2 (the 2.83 from greenhouse gases -1 for aerosols and land use changes).  This is still within the RCP 2.6 pathway.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 21, 2021, 05:47:10 PM »
It looks like Biden will close the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, one day after Trump opened it.

Biden Continues Anti-Oil Promises On Day One
By Julianne Geiger - Jan 21, 2021

President Joe Biden will issue a “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR area, Biden’s transition team said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement comes a day after President Trump’s finalized 10-year Arctic drilling leases on nearly 400,000 acres in Alaska’s ANWR—an action he took on his last day in office.

Unfortunately for Trump’s actions that granted hundreds of thousands of acres for drilling, leaseholders would still need to get permits from the Biden Administration before they can drill.

And it would appear from today’s statement that those leases are unlikely to come.

While the Trump Administration boasted in its win leading up to the lease sale, the results of the auction were disappointing, with no major players taking an interest.

President Biden’s sparring with President Trump over the oil industry has so far included the Keystone XL pipeline project, the ANWR drilling rights, the Paris Climate Agreement, and banning oil and gas drilling on all federal land. Unlike the ANWR issue, Biden’s promise to disallow the Keystone XL pipeline will hurt.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 21, 2021, 05:43:44 PM »
The American Petroleum Institute  (API), a lobbying organization for the oil and gas industry, is dropping opposition to regulations to reign in fugitive methane emissions.

API Bows To Biden On Methane Emissions
By Julianne Geiger - Jan 21, 2021

The American Petroleum Institute will support federal regulations for oil and gas industry-generated methane, the industry body said on Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner.

 This is in stark contrast to its previous position against federally regulating the greenhouse gas.

Methane is a part of natural gas and is sometimes vented or leaked during the course of its extraction, causing climate concerns that have been growing in recent years.

API’s shift on methane regulations is about as severe as the shift in U.S. President from Trump to Biden, and the oil and gas industry is likely to see more such shifts courtesy of the regime change.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: January 21, 2021, 12:43:34 AM »
The US is back in.

Biden Moves To Have U.S. Rejoin Climate Accord

January 20, 2021

In one of his first acts in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement, the largest international effort to curb global warming.

It will take 30 days for the U.S. to officially rejoin the agreement, but meeting its targets is going to be a taller order. The U.S. is the second-largest producer of carbon emissions, behind China, and has contributed more to global climate change over time than any other country.

As a candidate, Biden made a bold pledge to cut all greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's electric sector by 2035 and to make the country carbon-neutral by 2050. Carbon emissions have been decreasing from the country's electricity sector as coal plants have been retired over the last decade and utilities ramp up their reliance on renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Global concentrations of Carbon Dioxide are averaging about 412 ppm, which is in line with the RCP 2.6 scenario.  RCP 8.5 would have the 2020 global average at 415 ppm.
Ken, what counts is CO2eq which is well above 415 ppm. And the main negative force, aerosols, is gonna go down fast if we transition to renewable.

This misunderstanding about CO2eq often pops up on this forum.  CO2eq is a way to take all of the greenhouse gas forcings and combine them into one number.  The IPCC reports take the concentrations of each greenhouse gas and add their forcings.  This is what I showed in the IPCC chart with the individual forcings graphed.

Spikes in temperature due to the decrease of aerosols from the reductions of fossil fuel power sources have been demonstrated to be false.

18 September 2019
Cutting air pollution would not cause ‘near-term spike’ in global warming

A reduction in air pollution brought about by shifting away from fossil fuels would not inadvertently cause a short-term acceleration of global warming, a new study says.

Earlier modelling work using scenarios where fossil-fuel burning ends instantaneously had suggested that a rapid decline in aerosol emissions could remove their cooling impact on the climate and cause a spike in warming.

However, the new study, published in Nature, finds that “even the most aggressive” shift from fossil fuels to clean alternatives to limit warming to 1.5C “provides benefits for climate change mitigation and air quality” at all timescales.

However, there is a key limitation with these studies, says Smith, in that they typically assume an instantaneous removal of all emissions. This is not “realistic in our complex, interdependent world”, he says, which would take much longer to phase out fossil fuels.

In the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for example, “frequently asked question 12.3” (pdf) states that “eliminating short-lived negative forcings from sulphate aerosols at the same time (e.g. by air pollution reduction measures) would cause a temporary warming of a few tenths of a degree”.

The accompanying figure (see below) showed this spike in global surface warming (blue dotted line) compared to constant emissions (red) and if the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases was held constant at present-day levels (grey).

The model simulations show that, even under the most rapid transition away from fossil fuels, “it takes a good deal of time to actually move the entire planet’s energy systems to clean energy”, says lead author Prof Drew Shindell, professor of earth sciences at Duke University.

The results suggest that, under these more realistic scenarios, “global average temperatures do not show a near-term spike in warming”, the paper says.

While the scenarios show some continued warming in the near term, “none exhibit an acceleration of warming to 0.3C or higher’, the paper says, and “all show a rapid decline in warming rates starting in the 2020s” with some showing cooling by the 2040.

Here's the study referred to in the article:

Shindell, D., Smith, C.J. Climate and air-quality benefits of a realistic phase-out of fossil fuels. Nature 573, 408–411 (2019).


The combustion of fossil fuels produces emissions of the long-lived greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and of short-lived pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, that contribute to the formation of atmospheric aerosols1. Atmospheric aerosols can cool the climate, masking some of the warming effect that results from the emission of greenhouse gases1. However, aerosol particulates are highly toxic when inhaled, leading to millions of premature deaths per year2,3. The phasing out of unabated fossil-fuel combustion will therefore provide health benefits, but will also reduce the extent to which the warming induced by greenhouse gases is masked by aerosols. Because aerosol levels respond much more rapidly to changes in emissions relative to carbon dioxide, large near-term increases in the magnitude and rate of climate warming are predicted in many idealized studies that typically assume an instantaneous removal of all anthropogenic or fossil-fuel-related emissions1,4,5,6,7,8,9. Here we show that more realistic modelling scenarios do not produce a substantial near-term increase in either the magnitude or the rate of warming, and in fact can lead to a decrease in warming rates within two decades of the start of the fossil-fuel phase-out. Accounting for the time required to transform power generation, industry and transportation leads to gradually increasing and largely offsetting climate impacts of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, with the rate of warming further slowed by reductions in fossil-methane emissions. Our results indicate that even the most aggressive plausible transition to a clean-energy society provides benefits for climate change mitigation and air quality at essentially all decadal to centennial timescales.

There are many incorrect assumptions being made about the science and impacts of climate change on this thread.  These often lead to people concluding that we are already doomed, when it is quite clear that the situation has improved dramatically in the past two years and we can limit global warming to well under 2 degrees C.

One of the reasons to keep the temperature increase well under 2 degrees C is that the incidences of loss of the Arctic sea ice decrease from about once per decade at 2 C versus once per century at 1.5 C.

The probability of a sea-ice-free Arctic Ocean5  during summer is substantially higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming (medium confidence). Model simulations suggest that at least one sea-ice-free Arctic summer is expected every 10 years for global warming of 2°C, with the frequency decreasing to one sea-ice-free Arctic summer every 100 years under 1.5°C (medium confidence). An intermediate temperature overshoot will have no long- term consequences for Arctic sea ice coverage, and hysteresis is not expected (high confidence). {3.3.8,}

A substantial number of pre-AR5 studies found that there is no indication of hysteresis behaviour of Arctic sea ice under decreasing temperatures following a possible overshoot of a long-term temperature target (Holland et al., 2006; Schröder and Connolley, 2007; Armour et al., 2011; Sedláček et al., 2011; Tietsche et al., 2011; Boucher et al., 2012; Ridley et al., 2012). In particular, the relationship between Arctic sea ice coverage and GMST was found to be indistinguishable between a warming scenario and a cooling scenario. These results have been confirmed by post-AR5 studies (Li et al., 2013; Jahn, 2018), which implies high confidence that an intermediate temperature overshoot has no long-term consequences for Arctic sea ice coverage.

The Jahn, 2018 study addresses both the probabilities of ice-free states and whether they're reversible.

Jahn, A. Reduced probability of ice-free summers for 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C warming. Nature Clim Change 8, 409–413 (2018).


Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly with increasing global temperatures. However, it is largely unknown how Arctic summer sea-ice impacts would vary under the 1.5 °C Paris target compared to scenarios with greater warming. Using the Community Earth System Model, I show that constraining warming to 1.5 °C rather than 2.0 °C reduces the probability of any summer ice-free conditions by 2100 from 100% to 30%. It also reduces the late-century probability of an ice cover below the 2012 record minimum from 98% to 55%. For warming above 2 °C, frequent ice-free conditions can be expected, potentially for several months per year. Although sea-ice loss is generally reversible for decreasing temperatures, sea ice will only recover to current conditions if atmospheric CO2 is reduced below present-day concentrations. Due to model biases, these results provide a lower bound on summer sea-ice impacts, but clearly demonstrate the benefits of constraining warming to 1.5 °C.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 20, 2021, 10:10:27 PM »
Bad day for pipelines.  Keystone XL and Nord Stream 2 bite the dust.

Western Companies Abandon Russia-Led Nord Stream 2 Project
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jan 20, 2021

The U.S. imposed on Tuesday sanctions on the Russian pipe-laying vessel that was expected to complete the construction of the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, while several Western companies are said to have abandoned links to the project for fear of sanctions. 

The final stretch of the construction of the controversial pipeline now looks even more uncertain, and even Russian gas giant Gazprom has warned investors that the Nord Stream 2 project could be suspended or entirely discontinued due to extraordinary circumstances, including “political pressure.”

Biden To Kill Keystone XL Pipeline, Rejoin Paris Agreement
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jan 20, 2021

On his first day in office on Wednesday, incoming U.S. President Joe Biden will sign executive orders to reverse decisions of the previous administration and will rejoin the Paris Agreement, revoke a Presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and issue a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Biden’s Day One Executive Actions will include an executive order under which the United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement. The instrument Biden will sign will be deposited with the United Nations today. The United States will officially become a Party again 30 days after that, the Biden-Harris transition website says.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 20, 2021, 09:02:07 PM »
China installed about 72GW or wind power in 2020.  They also added 48GW of solar.

China Blows Past Clean Energy Record With Wind Capacity Jump
By Dan Murtaugh
January 19, 2021

China blew past its previous record for renewable energy installations last year with a massive -- and surprising -- addition of wind power.

The National Energy Administration said in a press release on Wednesday that China added almost 72 gigawatts of wind power in 2020, more than double the previous record. The country also added about 48 gigawatts of solar, the most since 2017, and about 13 gigawatts of hydropower.

China could peak CO2 emissions as early as 2025 with steep declines in the 2030s.

Wed, Jan 20, 2021
What China’s march to net-zero emissions means for the world

New Atlanticist by Larry Luxner

Joe Biden’s inauguration today as the 46th president of the United States may turn out to be the single most important milestone in the battle to reverse climate change—arguably rivaled only by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge at the United Nations General Assembly last September that his country would reach peak carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Carbon neutrality by 2060 is actually “not hugely ambitious for China. If you look at the current mitigation efforts underway in China, notwithstanding the recent bump-up in coal, 2060 is eminently doable,” said Kevin Rudd, the former prime minister of Australia and current head of the Asia Society. “And China’s past practice on these sorts of targets has been to under-promise and over-deliver.”

Chinese carbon-dioxide emissions could peak around 2025

Zhang Xiliang, the director of the Institute of Energy, Environment, and Economy at China’s Tsinghua University, expects his country’s carbon emissions to peak around 2025, followed by a plateau and then a sharp decline.

By 2035, he predicted, China will see a 20 percent decline in CO2 emissions relative to that peak. By 2050, it could witness more than a 70 percent decline, leading to carbon neutrality by 2060.

Furthermore, Chinese coal use will taper off after 2025, with usage of natural gas also peaking at that time and oil consumption peaking around 2030, according to Zhang. He predicted that the contribution of renewables and nuclear to China’s energy mix will reach 25 percent by 2030 and exceed 80 percent by 2060.

Apart from the graph axis labelling, I am somewhat puzzled by post 63. The RCP value is the radiative forcing of all greenhouse gases at the year 2100. That value is already at 3.2W/m2 and the progression seems to be tracking rcp 6.0 maybe higher. RCP 2.6 seems to be a forlorn hope.

Feel free to disagree.

The RCPs consider the total of all contributions to radiative forcings, some of which are negative.  According to the 5th IPCC report in 2013, total radiative forcing was 2.29 W/m2. (NOAA's greenhouse gas index does not include the negative forcings from aerosols and land use changes).

RCP 2.6 actually assumes a peak and decline in radiative forcings, so the peak may be over 2.6 W/m2 during the middle of the century with a decrease to 2.6 by 2100.

And the US will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement today, with a much more ambitious goal of a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 and being carbon neutral by 2050.  A court decision yesterday will allow President Biden to do this by Executive Order, with no need for Congressional approval.

Jan 20, 2021,09:34am EST|209 views
Court Decision Lets Biden Set New Emissions Rules To Meet Paris Agreement Climate Goals
Allan Marks

Soon after Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of office today as the 46th President of the United States, he is expected to take two steps to reestablish climate change as a priority for U.S. policy, foreign and domestic. First, the United States will re-join the Paris Agreement. Second, thanks to a new court decision yesterday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have a clean slate to implement new rules intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants in the United States. These two steps are inextricably linked.

On January 19, 2021, in the latest major legal decision affecting domestic regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that the EPA under the Trump Administration adopted in June 2019.  The case drew widespread attention, with attorneys general for most states taking part and briefs filed by Members of Congress, industry groups, labor unions and scholars. The practical effect of yesterday’s court ruling, in American Lung Association, et al. vs. EPA, is that Joe Biden’s EPA will now have the opportunity to create a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from thermal power plants without going through the cumbersome regulatory process of repealing the Trump era rule.

On January 19, 2021, in the latest major legal decision affecting domestic regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that the EPA under the Trump Administration adopted in June 2019.  The case drew widespread attention, with attorneys general for most states taking part and briefs filed by Members of Congress, industry groups, labor unions and scholars. The practical effect of yesterday’s court ruling, in American Lung Association, et al. vs. EPA, is that Joe Biden’s EPA will now have the opportunity to create a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from thermal power plants without going through the cumbersome regulatory process of repealing the Trump era rule.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in its American Lung Association decision yesterday found that both the EPA’s repeal of the 2015 Clean Power Plan and the adoption of the replacement 2019 Rule were legally flawed, stating that the EPA’s 2019 “amendment of the regulatory framework to slow the process for reduction of emissions is arbitrary and capricious.” Based on its “endangerment finding,” the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The new decision in the American Lung Association case reaffirms the EPA’s 2015 finding that carbon emissions from power plants cause or contribute significantly to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.

So, a path is open for President Biden to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonize the energy sector, and set a model for other countries participating alongside the United States, once more, in the Paris Agreement process.

Also, China announced a new policy goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.  That means the growth of coal in China will be very limited.  This newspaper article (from the perspective of Australian coal exporters) sums up the future for coal in China very well:

Forget about the trade spat – coal is passé in much of China, and that’s a bigger problem for Australia
January 19, 2021

Australian coal exports to China plummeted last year. While this is due in part to recent trade tensions between Australia and China, our research suggests coal plant closures are a bigger threat to Australia’s export coal in the long term.

China is changing. It’s announced a firm date to reach net-zero emissions, and governments in eastern provinces don’t want polluting coal plants taking up prime real estate. It’s time Australia faced reality, and reconsidered its coal export future.

Coal mining in China mostly occurs in the western provinces. Southeast coastal provinces are largely economically advanced and no longer produce coal. Instead, power stations in those provinces import coal from overseas.

This coal is cheaper than domestic coal, and often easier to access; transport bottlenecks in China often hinder the movement of domestic coal.

Data from monitoring group Global Coal Tracker shows between 2015 and 2019, China closed 291 coal-fired power generation units in power plants of 30 megawatts (MW) or larger, totalling 37 gigawatts (GW) of capacity. For context, Australia decommissioned 5.5 GW of coal-fired power generation units between 2010 and 2017, and currently has 21 GW of coal-fired power stations.

The closures were driven by factors such as climate change and air pollution concern, excess coal power capacity, and China’s move away from some energy-intensive industries.

Second, we found retired coal power stations in China had much shorter lives than the international average. Guangdong, an economically developed region of comparable economic size to Canada, illustrates the point. According to our calculation, the stations in that region had a median age of 15 years at closure. In contrast, coal plants that closed in Australia between 2010 and 2017 had a median age of 43 years.

This suggests coal power stations in China are usually retired not because they’ve reached the end of their productive lives, but rather to achieve a particular purpose.

China’s coal exit is in part due to its strategy to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2060. Australia must realistically appraise its coal export prospects in light of the long-term threat posed by shifts in China and other East Asian nations.

A reminder about the assumptions in the RCP scenarios:

Developed just over a decade ago, none of them forecast a major role for wind and solar.  They all assumed that fossil fuels would be cheaper and therefore renewables would play a minor role in the energy mix.

That's no longer true.  In 2018, renewables became cheaper than fossil fuels.  Coal use peaked in 2013 and the number of new coal power plants in the planning stages is less than 100.  It's likely that the last new coal-fired power plant will be built in the next five years and that it won't operate for it's full useful life.

Global concentrations of Carbon Dioxide are averaging about 412 ppm, which is in line with the RCP 2.6 scenario.  RCP 8.5 would have the 2020 global average at 415 ppm.

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: January 20, 2021, 06:40:55 PM »

The perspective piece by Siegert, Alley, Rignot, Englander and Corel (2020), provides responses to many of the issues that you raise.

Siegert, M., Richard B. Alley, Eric Rignot, John Englander and Robert Corel (2020), "Twenty-first century sea-level rise could exceed IPCC projections for strong-warming futures", One Earth,

Abstract: "While twentieth century sea-level rise was dominated by thermal expansion of ocean water, mass loss from glaciers and ice sheets is now a larger annual contributor. There is uncertainty on how ice sheets will respond to further warming, however, reducing confidence in twenty-first century sea-level projections. In 2019, to address the uncertainty, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that sea-level rise from the 1950s levels would likely be within 0.61–1.10 m if warming exceeds 4o C by 2100. The IPCC acknowledged greater sea-level increases were possible through mechanisms not fully incorporated in models used in the assessment. In this perspective, we discuss challenges faced in projecting sea-level change and discuss why the IPCC’s sea-level range for 2100 under strong warming is focused at the low end of possible outcomes. We argue outcomes above this range are far more probable than below it and discuss how decision makers may benefit from reframing IPCC’s terminology to avoid unintentionally masking worst-case scenarios."

Extract: "Ice-shelf thinning and flow acceleration in the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica, especially Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers, could lead to retreat into deep interior basins with as much as 3 m of sea-level rise before stabilization on the next bottleneck. Some large East Antarctic glaciers have begun changing, and those draining the Wilkes, Aurora and other basins have even greater potential to raise sea level. Similarly, in Greenland, marinebased outlets underlain by deep channels extending inland (e.g., Petermann, Humboldt, Zachariae, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, Jakobshavn) house enough ice to raise sea level by 2.3 m.
One model that simulated ice-shelf loss and retreat from bottlenecks, including calving from grounded ice cliffs, found that, for cases in which strong anthropogenic warming triggered major West Antarctic retreat, the marine basins largely deglaciated over the following century or so. This model restricted ice-cliff calving to rates that have been exceeded elsewhere; much of the contribution to rapid sea-level rise came from the great thickness of the West Antarctic ice and the huge width of the calving front that developed during retreat. A West Antarctic calving-cliff retreat would produce much higher and wider cliffs with much larger stresses than any that have been observed, so calving might be faster, or indeed much faster, than previously measured. Ice-shelf loss and calving-cliff retreat are well recognized at the fjord scale but often are not included well in ice-sheet models. This is partly because of inherent difficulties in simulating fracture processes. (Small differences in conditions may cause a ceramic coffee cup dropped on a hard floor to bounce unharmed or break into fragments.) Furthermore, with no recently observed catastrophic retreats on the scale of Thwaites Glacier or other major Antarctic basins, models cannot be well calibrated against observational or historical data. The transition from non-floating to floating ice, commonly called the grounding line, is really a complex grounding zone with important but poorly known processes. In addition to calving of grounded ice blocks, retreat and faster flow are promoted by preferential melting undercutting the base of marine-ending ice cliffs, a process not yet included in many ice-sheet models. More broadly, the issue of melting at grounding zones of ice shelves and grounded cliffs remains an area of active research. Ice sheet models are sensitive to basal melt rates imposed at grounding zones. Large observed fluctuations in grounding-zone position during tidal cycles promote ocean-water flushing and melting over many kilometers, and inclusion of grounding-zone melting in models is required to match some recent observations. Inclusion of such processes in models, and their interactions with cliff undercutting and calving, could amplify projected ice-sheet response to warming.  The grounding-zone transition remains the least well explored and most challenging part of the ice-ocean system, and yet is central to the future evolution of these glaciers.

In our considerable but anecdotal experience, many coastal planners, policymakers, and members of the general public fail to fully appreciate the meaning of the likely range in the assessed sea-level-rise projections. Instead, some treat the high end of the likely range as a worst-case scenario or else the upper end for practical designs. Such a situation is far from ideal because the upper limit of the IPCC likely range was never intended as a worst-case scenario.

Sea-level rise will be one of the most challenging issues faced by society in the coming decades unless we decarbonize fully by mid-century. An objective appreciation and more-effective dissemination of what sea-level rise is possible under strong warming, as opposed to what is deemed likely or is currently accounted for by numerical models, would better inform decision makers, who must increase decarbonization ambition to avoid the most severe of outcomes."

Caption: "Figure 1. Analysis of ice-sheet mass balance and IPCC sea-level projections (A) Measured ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica plotted against IPCC Fifth Assessment Report predictions. AR5 upper range relates to the business-as-usual RCP8.5 scenario, whereas the AR5 lower range corresponds to the RCP2.6 scenario of strong action on carbon dioxide emissions.32 (B) Components of observed and predicted, as in (A), annual sea-level contributions from Greenland and Antarctica between 2007 and 2017, broken into components of ice dynamics and surface mass balance."

No, it doesn't.  That study addresses impacts from warming of 4 degrees or more.  Since we're on track for under 3 degrees of warming, with a good probability of staying under 2 degrees now in the current political and economic climate, the study is as irrelevant as any run under RCP8.5 or SSP 8.5.

People tend to forget that renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels.  In fact, in the US, power utilities can build new renewable power plants and shut down operating coal power plants and save money doing so.  Most of the coal-fired power plants operating in the US wont be by 2030. 

The rest of the world is in a similar situation.  Since renewables only became cheaper than fossil fuels in the past two years, the manufacturing plants needed to scale up solar and wind production are still in the planning stages.  However, global solar panel manufacturing capacity is set to increase exponentially in the next few years.

The energy transition is well underway.  The Covid recession stole the headlines last year, but the coal industry is on it's last legs and the oil and gas industry are starting to recognize that oil demand has peaked and natural gas peak demand is imminent.

In the US, the Biden administration is poised to reverse the policy changes implemented by the Trump administration within the first few days in office.  The new stimulus package to be enacted this spring will include many measures to address climate change.  And the new cabinet secretaries who will be taking office soon are in favor of many climate-friendly policies, from regenerative agriculture to shifting oil-service industries into geothermal energy.

And China recently announced it's policy to go carbon neutral by 2060.  The new five-year plan to be introduced this spring will include energy investments with that policy in place.  This winter, they've greatly curtailed coal use even though parts of the country are suffering blackouts in freezing weather.  They will be able to use their great head start in solar panel manufacturing to address the gaps in their power system.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 19, 2021, 07:12:05 PM »
Some alternative graphs:

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 19, 2021, 07:03:40 PM »
And in the next four years, with almost all new sources of electrical generation added to the grid being renewable, expect that graph to look much different.

The problem with presenting the information in that way is that it looks much like what climate change deniers do when they show global warming in degrees kelvin and start the graph axis at 0 degrees kelvin. (I'm not going to link to denial pictures, but it looks very similar to the depiction of wind and solar on Gero's graph).  It masks the recent changes in global warming by making the changes look gradual and very minor.

What would a graph that just shows renewable sources over the last four years look like?

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: January 19, 2021, 06:47:52 PM »
It's helpful to review DeConto and Pollard's study of the mechanisms that could lead to more rapid Antarctic ice melt and see why they needed to raise the global ocean temperatures by 2C to initiate MICI.  They covered that ground in their 2015 paper, with Richard Alley as third author, linked below:

Potential Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat driven by hydrofracturing and ice cliff failure
David Pollard, Robert M. DeConto, Richard B. Alley
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 412, 15 February 2015, Pages 112-121


Geological data indicate that global mean sea level has fluctuated on 103 to 106 yr time scales during the last ∼25 million years, at times reaching 20 m or more above modern. If correct, this implies substantial variations in the size of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). However, most climate and ice sheet models have not been able to simulate significant EAIS retreat from continental size, given that atmospheric CO2 levels were relatively low throughout this period. Here, we use a continental ice sheet model to show that mechanisms based on recent observations and analysis have the potential to resolve this model–data conflict. In response to atmospheric and ocean temperatures typical of past warm periods, floating ice shelves may be drastically reduced or removed completely by increased oceanic melting, and by hydrofracturing due to surface melt draining into crevasses. Ice at deep grounding lines may be weakened by hydrofracturing and reduced buttressing, and may fail structurally if stresses exceed the ice yield strength, producing rapid retreat. Incorporating these mechanisms in our ice-sheet model accelerates the expected collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to decadal time scales, and also causes retreat into major East Antarctic subglacial basins, producing ∼17 m global sea-level rise within a few thousand years. The mechanisms are highly parameterized and should be tested by further process studies. But if accurate, they offer one explanation for past sea-level high stands, and suggest that Antarctica may be more vulnerable to warm climates than in most previous studies.

2.4. Combined hydrofracture and cliff failure

Today, cliff failure in Antarctica is prevented by (1) grounding lines at basin sills not being deep enough (<~800m), (2) insufficient surface melt to cause hydrofracturing and weakening at the grounding line, and/or (3) buttressing at the grounding lines by major ice shelves. In our warm-climate simulations, a combination of increased sub-ice ocean melt (reducing buttressing) and hydrofracturing (reducing buttressing and weakening grounding-line columns) leads to cliff failure in the major basins (Fig. 2). For deep basins, this sequence proceeds catastrophically, until either (i) surface melting and hydrofracturing lessen, strengthening ice columns at the grounding line, (ii) normal deformational ice flow across the grounding line exceeds calving and ocean melting, so that a substantial ice shelf re-forms and provides buttressing at the grounding line, or (iii) the grounding line retreats to the inner part of the basin with beds shallower than and little ice above flotation.

To investigate the impact of the cliff-failure and melt-driven hydrofracture mechanisms, the ice-sheet model is run forward in time, forced by climate representative of past warm periods. Simulations are started from a previous spin-up of modern Antarctica using observed climatology. An instantaneous change to a warmer climate is applied, broadly representative of a warm Pliocene period. The past warm atmospheric climate is obtained from the RegCM3 Regional Climate Model (Pal et al., 2007) applied over Antarctica with some physical adaptations for polar regions, and with 400 ppmv CO2 and an orbit yielding particularly strong austral summers (DeConto et al., 2012). Detailed simulation of ocean warming beneath Antarctic ice shelves is currently not feasible on these time scales, so a simple uniform increment of +2C is added to modern observed ocean temperatures, broadly consistent with circum-Antarctic warming in Pliocene paleo-oceanic reconstructions (Dowsett et al., 2009). The climate forcings are described in more detail in Supplementary Material Section S.3.

Fig. 4. Global mean equivalent sea level rise in warm-climate simulations. Time series of global mean sea level rise above modern are shown, implied by reduced Antarctic ice volumes. The calculation takes into account the lesser effect of melting ice that is originally grounded below sea level. Cyan: with neither cliff failure nor melt-driven hydrofracturing active. Blue: with cliff failure active. Green: with melt-driven hydrofracturing active. Red: with both these mechanisms active. Geographic ice distributions for the latter run are shown in Fig. 3, and for the other runs in Fig. 5.

The individual contributions of the new mechanisms can be assessed by re-running the simulation with cliff failure and/or melt-driven hydrofracturing turned on or off, as shown by the sea-level curves in Fig. 4, and maps in Fig. 5. With both mechanisms turned off (Fig. 5a), the model functions much as in earlier work (Pollard and DeConto, 2009). As expected, West Antarctica undergoes major collapse driven primarily by increased sub-ice melt from the ocean warming, causing reduced buttressing at the major WAIS grounding lines, and leading to classic marine instability (MISI) into the deepening interior beds (Weertman, 1974, Schoof, 2007). The time scale of this retreat is several hundred to a thousand years (Pollard and DeConto, 2009, and Fig. 4, cyan curve). There is very minor grounding-line recession into the outer Slessor–Bailey troughs and Lambert Graben due to ice-shelf thinning and reduced buttressing, but the retreat stops, presumably due to greater side-drag and funneling of ice compared to the wider West Antarctic grounding zones. Similar minor retreat occurs in a few other East Antarctic locations, but nothing on the scale of the retreat in Fig. 3. The same is true if cliff failure is active alone (without hydrofracturing, Fig. 5b), because ice shelves still exist, which buttress grounding lines and prevent cliff failure. With hydrofracturing activated alone (without cliff failure, Fig. 5c), the drastic removal of floating ice further reduces buttressing, allowing MISI to produce partial retreat into the Wilkes and Recovery–Slessor–Bailey basins, but not into the shallower Aurora. Full collapse into all basins, and greatly accelerated collapse in West Antarctica, requires the combination of melt-driven hydrofracturing and cliff failure (Fig. 5d). More analysis on the roles of the individual retreat mechanisms, and other sensitivities and basic model tests, are included in Supplementary Material Sections S.4–S.7.

If you think this is a red herring, take it up with DeConto and Pollard by publishing your work in a peer reviewed journal.

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: January 16, 2021, 12:30:50 AM »
According to DeConto and Pollard, ocean temperatures around Antarctic must warm by at least 2C to initiate the massive amounts of hydrofracturing that would enable Marine Ice Cliff Instability (MICI) to occur.  And the "wolfpack" of CMIP6 models that run hot need the southern ocean to run so hot that the clouds above it dry up for their extreme climate sensitivities to kick in.

So what is the Southern Ocean doing?  The linked reference seems to state that it's hotspots have cooled and that after undergoing accelerated warming during "the pause" in global temperature increases from 2003 - 2012 that the warming has slowed down since 2013.

Recent Shift in the Warming of the Southern Oceans Modulated by Decadal Climate Variability
Lina Wang, Kewei Lyu, Wei Zhuang, Weiwei Zhang, Salvienty Makarim, Xiao‐Hai Yan
28 December 2020


It has been reported that the Southern Hemisphere oceans experienced rapid warming during the decade‐long global surface warming slowdown (2003–2012) and the earlier period of the Argo record (2006–2013). In this study, we analyze updated observations to show that this rapid warming has slowed down, leading to less contribution of the Southern Hemisphere oceans to the global ocean heat storage (∼65% over the available Argo period 2006–2019). Two warming hotspot regions, the southeast Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, have experienced cooling over 2013–2019. This decadal shift is related to variations in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). The isopycnal deepening (shoaling) forced by changing winds dominated the regional ocean temperature changes over the earlier warming (later cooling) period. Our finding demonstrates how decadal variability modulates long‐term climate change and provides important observational information for the ongoing calibration of decadal prediction systems.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 12, 2021, 06:22:33 PM »
Wind power provided more electricity than coal in Texas in 2020.  And wind, solar and batteries make up 95% of planned capacity additions to the Texas grid.  (For those who aren't aware, Texas is basically the center of the US oil and gas industry, with many corporations headquartered in the State and a large share of refineries and export facilities).

Wind power overtakes coal in Texas electricity generation
Renewables capacity is surging in US state that is the heartland of fossil fuels
Justin Jacobs 1/11/21

Wind power surged past coal in Texas’ electricity mix for the first time in 2020, the latest sign of renewable energy’s rising prominence in America’s fossil fuel heartland.

Wind turbines generated nearly a quarter of Texas’ power in 2020, beating out coal’s roughly 18 per cent share of the market, making it the second-largest source of generation in the state behind natural gas, according to data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), the state’s main grid operator.

And the low carbon boom in Texas, by far the largest power producing state in the country with the second-largest population and a large base of oil refineries and petrochemical plants, looks set to gather pace from here.

Wind, solar and batteries combined make up about 95 per cent of new generation capacity that project developers have proposed connecting to the grid in the coming years, according to Ercot.

President-elect Joe Biden has promised to deploy tens of thousands of new wind turbines and millions of new solar panels as part of a plan to put the US on a path towards net zero emissions in the electricity sector by 2035, a central pillar of his $2tn climate platform.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 12, 2021, 05:53:28 PM »
US gasoline demand is well off peak levels and hindering the oil industry recovery from the Covid shutdowns.

Why The Last Leg Of The Oil Demand Recovery Is The Hardest
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jan 11, 2021

Over the past six months, excess U.S. crude oil and product inventories have declined from their surplus at the start of the summer of 2020. Petroleum inventories have been slowly falling and are now at just single-digit-percent surpluses over five-year averages, compared to 20-30 percent excess over five-year seasonal averages last summer.   Demand for gasoline and other petroleum products in the United States has recovered from multi-year lows in April and May, but the last leg of the recovery to pre-pandemic levels proves to be the most difficult and seems to have stalled at the end of 2020.

However, the largest component of U.S. oil demand—gasoline consumption—was still down by a double-digit percentage. Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 7.9 million bpd, down by 11.8 percent from the same period last year, EIA said.

This suggests that the last part of the oil demand recovery will be the hardest, with the most recent data pointing to a stall again due to reduced travel amid measures to fight soaring COVID-19 cases.

U.S. gasoline demand was at the lowest level for the last week of December in 23 years (since 1998)—at 8.1 million bpd, with holiday travel down by at least 25 percent, AAA said last week. As of January 4, AAA expected gasoline demand to dwindle in coming weeks as the holiday season ended.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 11, 2021, 08:45:31 PM »
Experts suggest we've seen both peak oil demand and peak oil supply.

The Very Real Possibility Of Peak Oil Supply
By Alex Kimani - Dec 26, 2020

[Three months ago, British oil giant BP Plc. (NYSE:BP) sent shockwaves through the oil and gas sector after it declared that Peak Oil demand was already behind us. In the company’s 2020 Energy Outlook, chief executive Bernard Looney pledged that BP would increase its renewables spending twentyfold to $5 billion a year by 2030 and ‘‘... not enter any new countries for oil and gas exploration.’’ That announcement came as a bit of a shocker given how aggressive BP has been in exploring new oil and gas frontiers./quote]

Delving deeper into the global oil and gas outlook suggests that it’s peak oil supply, not peak oil demand, that’s likely to start dominating headlines as the quarters roll on.

BP has modeled 3 possible scenarios for the future of global fuel and electricity demand: Business as Usual, Rapid Transition, and Net-Zero. Here’s the kicker: BP says that even under the most optimistic scenario where energy policy keeps evolving at pretty much the pace it is today (Business as Usual) oil demand will still suffer declines—only at a later date and a slower pace compared to the other two scenarios.

The oil bulls, however, can take comfort in the fact that under the Business-as-Usual scenario, BP sees oil demand remaining at 2018 levels of 97-98 million barrels per day till 2030 before falling to 94 million barrels per day in 2040 and eventually to 89 million barrels per day three decades from now. That’s a loss in demand of less than 1% per year through 2050.
However, things could look very different under the other two scenarios that entail aggressive government policies aimed at reaching net-zero status by 2050 as well as carbon prices and other interventions aimed at limiting global warming.

Though rarely discussed seriously, Peak Oil Supply remains a distinct possibility over the next couple of years.

In the past, supply-side “peak oil” theory mostly turned out to be wrong mainly because its proponents invariably underestimated the enormity of yet-to-be-discovered resources. In more recent years, demand-side “peak oil” theory has always managed to overestimate the ability of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles to displace fossil fuels.

Then, of course, few could have foretold the explosive growth of U.S. shale that added 13 million barrels per day to global supply from 1-2 million b/d in the space of just a decade.

It’s ironic that the shale crisis is likely to be responsible for triggering Peak Oil Supply.

In an excellent op/ed, vice chairman of IHS Markit Dan Yergin observes that it’s almost inevitable that shale output will go in reverse and decline thanks to drastic cutbacks in investment and only later recover at a slow pace. Shale oil wells decline at an exceptionally fast clip and therefore require constant drilling to replenish the lost supply. Although the U.S. rig count appears to be stabilizing thanks to oil prices rebounding from low-30s to mid-40s, the latest tally of 320 remains far below the year-ago figure of 802.

There is a new post on this subject over at ATTP.

The "And Then There is Physics" blog post refers to a 2010 Real Climate post about a study published in about Zero Energy Commitments.

Here is the Real Climate post:

Climate change commitments
— gavin @ 3 March 2010 - (Español)

There is an interesting letter in Nature Geoscience this month on what climate changes we have actually already committed ourselves to. The letter, by Mathews and Weaver (sub. reqd.), makes the valid point that there are both climatic and societal inertias to consider.

And here is the letter in Nature that they were describing:

Matthews, H., Weaver, A. Committed climate warming. Nature Geosci 3, 142–143 (2010).

To the Editor

The perception that future climate warming is inevitable stands at the centre of current climate-policy discussions. We argue that the notion of unavoidable warming owing to inertia in the climate system is based on an incorrect interpretation of climate science. Stable atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases would lead to continued warming, but if carbon dioxide emissions could be eliminated entirely, temperatures would quickly stabilize or even decrease over time. Future warming is therefore driven by socio-economic inertia, and is only as inevitable as future emissions. As a consequence, mitigation efforts to minimize future greenhouse-gas emissions can successfully restrict future warming to a level that may avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The challenge of climate mitigation, although daunting, is fully within the scope of human control.

Climate change commitment is defined as the future warming to which we have committed ourselves by virtue of past human activities. Because of the slow response time of the climate system, the equilibrium climate consistent with current levels of greenhouse gases will not be reached for many centuries. This so-called constant-composition commitment results as temperatures gradually equilibrate with the current atmospheric radiation imbalance, and has been estimated at between 0.3 °C and 0.9 °C warming over the next century2 (Fig. 1).

Constant-composition commitment is often misinterpreted as the unavoidable warming that is yet to manifest in response to past greenhouse-gas emissions3. However, the climate warming commitment from past greenhouse-gas emissions is more correctly defined as a 'zero-emissions commitment' — that is, the future climate change that would occur, should greenhouse-gas emissions be eliminated entirely4. In response to an abrupt elimination of carbon dioxide emissions, global temperatures either remain approximately constant, or cool slightly as natural carbon sinks gradually draw anthropogenic carbon out of the atmosphere at a rate similar to the mixing of heat into the deep ocean5,6,7,8 (Fig. 1). From this we conclude that the elimination of carbon dioxide emissions leads to little or no further climate warming; that is, future warming is defined by the extent of future emissions, rather than by past emissions.

This is a fundamentally hopeful conclusion; if we can successfully coordinate international emissions reductions in the coming decades, we can successfully restrict global temperature increases to a level that will prevent dangerous impacts on both human and environmental systems.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: January 11, 2021, 07:55:45 PM »
In the US, utilities keep advancing the planned retirement dates of coal plants.  That's because it's more expensive to burn coal than to build new solar or wind plants.

Another coal plant to retire early; Wyoming's biggest utility delays discussion on coal
Camille Erickson Jan 8, 2021

nother coal-fired power plant will retire earlier than originally planned just south of Wyoming’s border.

The Hayden Generating Station in northwest Colorado will join dozens of other coal units in closing early to save ratepayers money on electricity and meet new climate protocols.

Utility company Xcel Energy announced this week it plans to close Unit 2 of its Hayden Generating Station by 2027, about three years earlier than previously planned. Unit 1 would be retired by 2028, instead of in 2036. Together, the units have 441 megawatts of generating capacity. The Colorado-based Twentymile mine supplies the plant with coal.

Though a minority owner, PacifiCorp reported it would save ratepayers $81 million if it shuttered the Hayden units early.

The move to retire the facilities sooner than originally planned is part of a growing effort by utilities to lower carbon emissions and transition to lower-cost energy sources. Xcel aims to slash its carbon emissions from electricity to zero by 2050.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 11, 2021, 07:49:02 PM »
Solar, wind and batteries are projected to be more than 80% of the new addition to the US electricity grid in 2021.  Natural gas will be 16% and nuclear, if the new reactors in Georgia are operable this year, will be 3%.

January 11, 2021
Renewables account for most new U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2021

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electricity generators, developers and power plant owners plan for 39.7 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity to start commercial operation in 2021. Solar will account for the largest share of new capacity at 39%, followed by wind at 31%. About 3% of the new capacity will come from the new nuclear reactor at the Vogtle power plant in Georgia.

Battery storage. EIA expects the capacity of utility-scale battery storage to more than quadruple; 4.3 GW of battery power capacity additions are slated to come online by the end of 2021. The rapid growth of renewables, such as wind and solar, is a major driver in the expansion of battery capacity because battery storage systems are increasingly paired with renewables. The world's largest solar-powered battery (409 MW) is under construction at Manatee Solar Energy Center in Florida; the battery is scheduled to be operational by late 2021.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: January 11, 2021, 07:40:39 PM »
At one point in the last decade, there were six planned coal export terminals on the US west coast.  None of them have been built.  Five of the six have already been cancelled.  The sixth one was cancelled last week.

US coalminers’ Asia ‘pipe dream’ evaporates
Collapse of west coast port project deals blow to hopes of an export-driven recovery
Gregory Meyer 1/11/21

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   US coal miners’ last-ditch hope for shipping big volumes to Asia has crumbled as the developer of a sprawling export terminal abandons its project on the Pacific coast.

The Millennium Bulk Terminal would have loaded 44m metric tonnes a year of thermal coal for export to electric utilities — a potential boost for producers reeling from the decline of coal-fired power generation in the US.

But the project’s bankrupt owner on Saturday pulled the plug, making it the last of more than half a dozen proposed west coast coal ports never to be built. “It’s the end of the pipe dream that Asia can save the US coal industry,” said Clark Williams-Derry, analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a research group that favours clean energy.

The Millennium project’s current owner, the mining company Lighthouse Resources, filed for bankruptcy protection in December. The company on Saturday relinquished the site to land owner Northwest Alloys, a subsidiary of the aluminium maker Alcoa. Alcoa said it would evaluate plans for the location, making no mention of coal.

It's important to note that the IPCC projects that the Arctic Ocean would see substantially fewer summers with an ice free Arctic with 1.5C global warming then with 2C.  This is from the special report on 1.5C, Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, produced by the IPCC in 2018.

The probability of a sea-ice-free Arctic Ocean during summer is substantially higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming (medium confidence). Model simulations suggest that at least one sea-ice-free Arctic summer is expected every 10 years for global warming of 2°C, with the frequency decreasing to one sea-ice-free Arctic summer every 100 years under 1.5°C (medium confidence). An intermediate temperature overshoot will have no long- term consequences for Arctic sea ice coverage, and hysteresis is not expected (high confidence). {3.3.8,}

...However, the modelled sea ice loss in most CMIP5 models is much smaller than observed losses. Compared to observations, the simulations are less sensitive to both global mean temperature rise (Rosenblum and Eisenman, 2017) and anthropogenic CO2 emissions (Notz and Stroeve, 2016). This mismatch between the observed and modelled sensitivity of Arctic sea ice implies that the multi-model-mean responses of future sea ice evolution probably underestimates the sea ice loss for a given amount of global warming. To address this issue, studies estimating the future evolution of Arctic sea ice tend to bias correct the model simulations based on the observed evolution of Arctic sea ice in response to global warming. Based on such bias correction, pre-AR5 and post-AR5 studies generally agree that for 1.5°C of global warming relative to pre-industrial levels, the Arctic Ocean will maintain a sea ice cover throughout summer in most years (Collins et al., 2013; Notz and Stroeve, 2016; Screen and Williamson, 2017; Jahn, 2018; Niederdrenk and Notz, 2018; Sigmond et al., 2018). For 2°C of global warming, chances of a sea ice-free Arctic during summer are substantially higher (Screen and Williamson, 2017; Jahn, 2018; Niederdrenk and Notz, 2018; Screen et al., 2018; Sigmond et al., 2018)

That means that if we can achieve zero emissions in the next few decades and keep the global warming to 1.5C, we haven't locked in the additional 0.19C of warming from losing the remaining sea ice in the Arctic. 

With the energy transition well underway, we have a realistic chance of achieving zero emissions within the lifetimes of most people reading these posts.

Once we lose all the summer ice on the Arctic shan't we have such a change in albedo that would result in much more solar energy to enter the Earth system and thereby keeping it warmer even if we cut all Co2 emissions?

Meaning that we have a system change that can not simply be undone even by going to zero?

A recent study calculated that the complete loss of Arctic Sea ice would raise global temperatures by an addition 0.19C over the assumed 1.5C of warming that caused the loss.

Wunderling, N., Willeit, M., Donges, J.F. et al. Global warming due to loss of large ice masses and Arctic summer sea ice. Nat Commun 11, 5177 (2020).

27 October 2020

Global warming due to loss of large ice masses and Arctic summer sea ice


Several large-scale cryosphere elements such as the Arctic summer sea ice, the mountain glaciers, the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet have changed substantially during the last century due to anthropogenic global warming. However, the impacts of their possible future disintegration on global mean temperature (GMT) and climate feedbacks have not yet been comprehensively evaluated. Here, we quantify this response using an Earth system model of intermediate complexity. Overall, we find a median additional global warming of 0.43 °C (interquartile range: 0.39−0.46 °C) at a CO2 concentration of 400 ppm. Most of this response (55%) is caused by albedo changes, but lapse rate together with water vapour (30%) and cloud feedbacks (15%) also contribute significantly. While a decay of the ice sheets would occur on centennial to millennial time scales, the Arctic might become ice-free during summer within the 21st century. Our findings imply an additional increase of the GMT on intermediate to long time scales.

With CLIMBER-2, we are able to distinguish between the respective cryosphere elements and can compute the additional warming resulting from each of these (Fig. 2). The additional warmings are 0.19 °C (0.16–0.21 °C) for the Arctic summer sea ice, 0.13 °C (0.12–0.14 °C) for GIS, 0.08 °C (0.07–0.09 °C) for mountain glaciers and 0.05 °C (0.04–0.06 °C) for WAIS, where the values in brackets indicate the interquartile range and the main value represents the median. If all four elements would disintegrate, the additional warming is the sum of all four individual warmings resulting in 0.43 °C (0.39–0.46 °C) (thick dark red line in the Fig. 2). Our results regarding the amount of warming are of comparable magnitude to previous efforts computed for late Pliocene realisations (PRISM) of the ice sheets40,41. Both studies show a pronounced warming in the proximity of the locations where ice is removed, which is in good agreement with our results (see Fig. 1 and Supplementary Fig. 2). The disintegration of all elements at the same time can very closely be approximated by the sum of single elements disintegrated indicating that their effects on GMT add up linearly. This can be found in Fig. 3, where we also show the warming for CO2 concentrations from 280 to 700 ppm. Fig. 2 highlights the additional warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial.

Warming from the Arctic summer sea ice

We obtain that the warming results are independent from the CO2 concentration forcing between 280 and 700 ppm apart from the Arctic summer sea ice (see Fig. 3a), which shows a decreasing additional warming for higher CO2 concentrations (Fig 4). This can, in turn, be explained: In CLIMBER-2 simulations we find, with increasing prescribed CO2 concentrations corresponding to increasing GMT, that the Arctic summer sea ice area declines in a linear way, which was also found in observational records42 and in GCM simulations9. For a CO2 concentration of 400 ppm corresponding to 1.5 °C in CLIMBER-2 above pre-industrial GMT levels, the additional warming is 0.19 °C (0.16–0.21 °C). The actual minimal sea ice cover observed by NERSC (Nansen Environmental & Remote Sensing Center) as an average area from 1979 to 2006 is on the order of 5.5–6.5 × 106 km2 which would correspond to a warming of approximately 0.15 °C in our simulations (see Fig. 4). In Supplementary Fig. 3, we show the sea ice area over the course of 1 year for the control and the perturbed run.

This is the science article Rogelj is referring too:

Is there warming in the pipeline? A multi-model analysis of the Zero Emissions Commitment from CO2


Thanks for posting the link to the science study.  I apologize for not including it in my original post.

Here's the abstract and some supporting excerpts:

MacDougall, A. H., Frölicher, T. L., Jones, C. D., Rogelj, J., Matthews, H. D., Zickfeld, K., Arora, V. K., Barrett, N. J., Brovkin, V., Burger, F. A., Eby, M., Eliseev, A. V., Hajima, T., Holden, P. B., Jeltsch-Thömmes, A., Koven, C., Mengis, N., Menviel, L., Michou, M., Mokhov, I. I., Oka, A., Schwinger, J., Séférian, R., Shaffer, G., Sokolov, A., Tachiiri, K., Tjiputra , J., Wiltshire, A., and Ziehn, T.: Is there warming in the pipeline? A multi-model analysis of the Zero Emissions Commitment from CO2, Biogeosciences, 17, 2987–3016,, 2020.

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The Zero Emissions Commitment (ZEC) is the change in global mean temperature expected to occur following the cessation of net CO2 emissions and as such is a critical parameter for calculating the remaining carbon budget. The Zero Emissions Commitment Model Intercomparison Project (ZECMIP) was established to gain a better understanding of the potential magnitude and sign of ZEC, in addition to the processes that underlie this metric. A total of 18 Earth system models of both full and intermediate complexity participated in ZECMIP. All models conducted an experiment where atmospheric CO2 concentration increases exponentially until 1000 PgC has been emitted. Thereafter emissions are set to zero and models are configured to allow free evolution of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Many models conducted additional second-priority simulations with different cumulative emission totals and an alternative idealized emissions pathway with a gradual transition to zero emissions. The inter-model range of ZEC 50 years after emissions cease for the 1000 PgC experiment is −0.36 to 0.29 ∘C, with a model ensemble mean of −0.07 ∘C, median of −0.05 ∘C, and standard deviation of 0.19 ∘C. Models exhibit a wide variety of behaviours after emissions cease, with some models continuing to warm for decades to millennia and others cooling substantially. Analysis shows that both the carbon uptake by the ocean and the terrestrial biosphere are important for counteracting the warming effect from the reduction in ocean heat uptake in the decades after emissions cease. This warming effect is difficult to constrain due to high uncertainty in the efficacy of ocean heat uptake. Overall, the most likely value of ZEC on multi-decadal timescales is close to zero, consistent with previous model experiments and simple theory.

The analysis here has shown that across models decadal-scale ZEC is poorly correlated to other metrics of climate warming, such as TCR and ECS, though relationships may exist within model frameworks (Fig. 12). However, the three factors that drive ZEC, ocean heat uptake, ocean carbon uptake, and net land carbon flux correlate relatively well to their states before emissions cease. Thus, it may be useful to conceptualize ZEC as a function of these three components each evolving in their own way in reaction to the cessation of emissions. Ocean heat uptake evolves due to changes in ocean dynamics (e.g. Frölicher et al., 2015) as well as the complex feedbacks that give rise to changes in ocean heat uptake efficacy (Winton et al., 2010). Ocean carbon uptake evolution is affected by ocean dynamics, changes to ocean biogeochemistry, and changes in atmosphere–ocean CO2 chemical disequilibrium, where the latter is also influenced by land carbon fluxes (e.g. Sarmiento and Gruber, 2006). The response of the land biosphere to cessation of emissions is expected to be complex with contributions from the response of photosynthesis to declining atmospheric CO2 concentration, a continuation of enhanced soil respiration (e.g. Jenkinson et al., 1991), and release of carbon from permafrost soils (Schuur et al., 2015), among other factors. Investigating the evolution of the three components in detail may be a valuable avenue of future analysis. Similarly, given their clearer relationships to the state of the Earth system before emissions cease, focusing on the three components independently may prove useful for building a framework to place emergent constraints on ZEC. Future work will explore evaluation opportunities by assessing relationships between these quantities in the idealized 1 % simulation and values at the end of the historical simulations up to present day.

Our analysis has suggested that the efficacy of ocean heat uptake is crucial for determining the temperature effect from ocean heat uptake following cessation of emissions. Efficacy itself is generated by spatial patterns in ocean heat uptake and shortwave cloud feedback processes (Rose et al., 2014; Andrews et al., 2015). Thus, evaluating how these processes and feedbacks evolve after emissions cease is crucial for better understanding ZEC. As the spatially resolved outputs for ZECMIP are now available (see Data availability at the end of the paper), evaluating such feedbacks presents a promising avenue for future research.

Here we have analysed model output from the 18 models that participated in ZECMIP. We have found that the inter-model range of ZEC 50 years after emissions cease for the A1 (1 % to 1000 PgC) experiment is −0.36 to 0.29 ∘C, with a model ensemble mean of −0.07 ∘C, median of −0.05 ∘C, and standard deviation of 0.19 ∘C. Models show a range of temperature evolution after emissions cease from continued warming for centuries to substantial cooling. All models agree that, following cessation of CO2 emissions, the atmospheric CO2 concentration will decline. Comparison between experiments with a sudden cessation of emissions and a gradual reduction in emissions show that long-term temperature change is independent of the pathway of emissions. However, in experiments with a gradual reduction in emissions, a mixture of TCRE and ZEC effects occur as the rate of emissions declines. As the rate of emission reduction in these idealized experiments is similar to that in stringent mitigation scenarios, a similar pattern may emerge if deep emission cuts commence.

Overall, the most likely value of ZEC on decadal timescales is assessed to be close to zero, consistent with prior work. However, substantial continued warming for decades or centuries following cessation of emissions is a feature of a minority of the assessed models and thus cannot be ruled out purely on the basis of models.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: January 06, 2021, 06:03:27 PM »
The global coal industry is relying on new power plants in Asia to make up for the demand loss caused by the retirements of coal fired power plants in the US and Europe.  In 2020, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam cancelled 45 GW of planned new coal plants.  This is in addition to the 27 GW cancelled by Pakistan, noted above.  More plants were deferred until the 2030s and with the growth of renewables, those plants will probably not be built.

Will Asia Actually Fuel A Comeback In Coal?
By Felicity Bradstock - Jan 05, 2021

According to a report published by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), large emerging Asian economies Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam cancelled as much as 45GW of coal power during 2020. While coal appeared the obvious answer for short-term energy supply across Asia, the experience of the energy sector in 2020 has made many look towards renewables for the future of energy.

While many suggested a ‘renaissance’ of the coal industry throughout 2020, this is looking evermore doubtful. Several big funds are moving away from coal, including Australia’s biggest super fund, AustralianSuper, and Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global; which has a tight cap on its coal investments.

In addition to a reduction in financing from major funders, energy companies are themselves hinting at a movement away from coal. Glenmore, the western world’s biggest coal producer, stated plans for a “managed decline of its coal business” and net-zero emissions by 2050 in its annual investor update. This suggests a gradual but eventual shift away from coal.

Generally, despite optimism for a coal comeback throughout 2020, the realities of 2021 suggest otherwise. Pressure to invest more heavily in renewables and the lack of economic incentive to develop the coal industry further means that the coal era may be coming to an end.

The politics / Re: Biden’s Presidency
« on: January 06, 2021, 08:09:03 AM »
It looks like the Democrats are going to win both Senate seats in Georgia, which will mean they effectively have won the Senate (a 50 - 50 tie with vice - President elect Harris casting the tie breaking votes).  This means Biden will get his cabinet secretaries and Supreme Court (and other Federal justices) approved. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of Republican senators switch parties in the next year.  Trump’s anti-democratic coup attempt will leave many Republicans questioning their party loyalty. 

While very centerist by European standards, Biden’s cabinet is shaping up to be the most progressive in American history:

Many of the nominated Cabinet Secretaries that control policies related to fighting climate change (Energy, Interior, Agriculture, Transportation) are vocal proponents of advancing policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.  Biden’s proposed policies clearly have fighting climate change as a central theme, and with the results in the Georgia Senate elections tonight, thing look very favorable in the US Congress now.

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: January 06, 2021, 07:54:34 AM »
Raphael Warnock (D) just won the first Georgia Senate seat and John Ossoff (D) took a 3,500 vote lead with about 60,000 to be counted, mostly from democrat counties.  It looks like the Democrats will have a 50- 50 Senate majority, because Vice-President elect Harris will be casting the tie-breaking votes!  This is great news for the fight against climate change.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 06, 2021, 01:35:11 AM »
Only a small portion of France's nuclear waste can be vitrified.  The nastiest stuff has to be stored in stainless steel containers and locked away for thousands of years.

The 90% of least radioactive waste is sealed in drums, metal boxes or concrete containers. Final storage is handled at three Andra centres located in the Manche and Aube departments.

The 10% of most radioactive waste is currently conditioned in stainless steel containers and placed in intermediate storage at AREVA’s La Hague plant. Given its half life of up to several tens of thousands of years, the law provides for the containers’ transfer to a deep geological disposal facility (Cigéo). Being built at the boundary of the Meuse and Haute Marne departments, Cigéo is expected to open in 2025. Waste will be stored in cells excavated at a depth of 500 metres in a stable geological environment surrounded by impermeable argillaceous rock. Another repository is currently being designed to store power plant decommissioning waste.

EDF does vitrify nuclear waste produced by its British plants.  The vitrified waste must still be locked away for eons in geologically isolated storage facilities.

In the UK, where legislation is different, EDF Energy works with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which is responsible for waste storage. Low and intermediate level waste is retained in dedicated facilities within the power plants and ultimately compacted, incinerated or recycled.

High-level waste is currently vitrified and placed in intermediate storage at the Sellafield reprocessing plant. The British government took a decision in 2006 to ultimately store it in deep geological repositories.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 05, 2021, 08:40:10 PM »
The UK geothermal industry is getting underway.

UK’s geothermal sector gets a boost with deal to power thousands of homes
Published Tue, Jan 5 2021

Energy firm Ecotricity has signed a ten-year deal for electricity which will be produced by a British geothermal power plant, representing another step forward for the country’s fledgling industry.

According to an announcement from GEL, electricity from the facility will be sent to Ecotricity customers via the National Grid. Power production is expected to commence in the spring of 2022. 

Both companies claim it will be the first time geothermal electricity has been generated and sold in the U.K. It’s hoped thousands of homes will be powered through the deal.

While the U.K.’s geothermal sector is nascent it is more developed elsewhere. Iceland’s National Energy Authority says geothermal power facilities produce 25% of the country’s total electricity production.

According to preliminary data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, geothermal power plants across seven states – California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Hawaii, Idaho and New Mexico – generated around 16 billion kilowatt-hours in 2019. This, it adds, was “equal to 0.4% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: January 05, 2021, 08:36:40 PM »
Vitrification shares a similar characteristic with many nuclear technologies such as fusion, molten salt reactors, small modular reactors and thorium reactors.  All seem like magical solutions that will solve all of our problems.  None of them have been built and in practice are so expensive that they'll likely never be built.  (Although fusion is only two decades away 8))

Science / Global Warming Would Stop Quickly After Emissions Go To Zero
« on: January 05, 2021, 01:30:10 AM »
A lot of people still assume that temperatures would continue to increase after emissions go to zero.  However, that's no longer what the science shows.

Many Scientists Now Say Global Warming Could Stop Relatively Quickly After Emissions Go to Zero
That’s one of several recent conclusions about climate change that came more sharply into focus in 2020.
By Bob Berwyn
January 3, 2021

Some scientists punctuate their alarming warmings with hopeful messages because they know that the worst possible outcome is avoidable.

Recent research shows that stopping greenhouse gas emissions will break the vicious cycle of warming temperatures, melting ice, wildfires and rising sea levels faster than expected just a few years ago.

There is less warming in the pipeline than we thought, said Imperial College (London) climate scientist Joeri Rogelj, a lead author of the next major climate assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“It is our best understanding that, if we bring down CO2 to net zero, the warming will level off. The climate will stabilize within a decade or two,” he said. “There will be very little to no additional warming. Our best estimate is zero.”

The widespread idea that decades, or even centuries, of additional warming are already baked into the system, as suggested by previous IPCC reports, were based on an “unfortunate misunderstanding of experiments done with climate models that never assumed zero emissions.”

Those models assumed that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would remain constant, that it would take centuries before they decline, said Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, who discussed the shifting consensus last October during a segment of 60 Minutes on CBS.

The idea that global warming could stop relatively quickly after emissions go to zero was described as a “game-changing new scientific understanding” by Covering Climate Now, a collaboration of news organizations covering climate.

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: December 23, 2020, 06:53:47 PM »

It has been a while since I said that I would create an updatable overview of my opinion of how an 'Ice Apocalypse' could unfold in something like the next hundred years, so I decided to make this post to:

a) Motivate myself to assemble such an overview and

b) To note that I currently propose to subdivide this updatable overview into three threads:

   i) A Maximum Credible Domino Scenario (MCDS) thread underpinned by Hansen et al. (2016) and their 5-year doubling freshwater hosing scenario (see the first two images); and by the early MICI work by DeConto, Pollard and Alley (2015-2018) and by output from the CMIP6 'Wolf Pack' model projections (see the third image).  These MCDS scenarios would be based on roughly 10-year intervals (from 2020 to 2150) of Bayesian Networks (see the fourth image for the period from 2030 to 2040) using Domino Effect Analysis (see the first linked reference).

   ii) A Domino Fault Tree analysis (see the second linked reference and open source Fault Three analysis software from the GitHub link) thread to try to substantiate the 'credible' probability of such Domino Bayesian Networks of freshwater hosing events and their associated rough-order probabilities.

   iii) A list of references used to support a 5-year doubling MCDS scenario, and/or other members of a family of such scenarios (in the tradition of the IPCC's radiative forcing scenario families such as: RCP or SSP).

Are you going to estimate the probabilities for your scenarios?  For risk analysis models using Bayesian approaches, that's a critical first step.

In you MCDS scenario, you start with a very, very, low probability event, MICI.  According to DeConto and Pollard, for MICI to start, hydrofracturing, which requires water ponding on the ice shelves, must occur.  And hydrofracturing to the extent required doesn't start until the ocean temperatures around Antarctica increase by 2 degrees C.  They needed to artificially increase the ocean temperatures in their models instantaneously by 2 C just to get MICI starting in the 2070s.  So MICI would appear to be very less likely than 1% to start before the end of the century.

What about events that appear to be mutually exclusive?  For "the wolfpack" climate scenarios to be correct, the clouds over the southern ocean need to warm, change from ice to water and eventually disappate to get the extreme climate sensitivities they predict.  However, for Hansen's fresh water feedback to occur, precipitation needs to increase over the southern ocean, freshening it.  This would seem to imply more clouds to cause more precipitation.  Which is more likely and how do those two seemingly contradictory scenarios interact?

The politics / Re: Midterm American elections 2022
« on: December 23, 2020, 06:24:52 PM »
A google seach leads to a Wikipedia article that answers your question.  Try it and post your answer.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 22, 2020, 08:46:45 PM »
The stimulus bill passed by the US Congress yesterday includes many provisions to spur the investment in renewables and other green energy technologies.

Stimulus deal includes raft of provisions to fight climate change
The most substantial federal investment in green technology in a decade includes billions for solar, wind, battery storage and carbon capture. Congress also agreed to cut the use of HFCs, chemicals used in refrigeration that are driving global warming.
By Sarah Kaplan and Dino Grandoni
Dec. 21, 2020

In one of the biggest victories for U.S. climate action in a decade, Congress has moved to phase out a class of potent planet-warming chemicals and provide billions of dollars for renewable energy and efforts to suck carbon from the atmosphere as part of the $900 billion coronavirus relief package.

It will cut the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chemicals used in air conditioners and refrigerators that are hundreds of times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. It authorizes a sweeping set of new renewable energy measures, including tax credit extensions and new research and development programs for solar, wind and energy storage; funding for energy efficiency projects; upgrades to the electric grid and a new commitment to research on removing carbon from the atmosphere. And it reauthorizes an Environmental Protection Agency program to curb emissions from diesel engines.

The HFC measure, which empowers the EPA to cut the production and use of HFCs by 85 percent over the next 15 years, is expected to save as much as half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century. Scientists say the world needs to constrain the increase in the average global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial times to avoid catastrophic, irreversible damage to the planet. Some places around the globe are already experiencing an average temperature rise beyond that threshold.

Included in the energy package are roughly $4 billion for solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal research and development; $1.7 billion to help low-income families install renewable energy sources in their homes; $2.6 billion for the Energy Department’s sustainable transportation program; and $500 million for research on reducing industrial emissions.

In a boon for renewable energy companies, Congress extended tax credits for wind and solar and introduced a new credit for offshore wind projects, which Heather Zichal, chief executive of the American Clean Power Association, called “America’s largest untapped clean energy source.” One Department of Energy analysis suggested that developing just 4 percent of the total U.S. offshore wind capacity could power some 25 million homes and reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by almost 2 percent.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 21, 2020, 07:49:13 PM »
Pakistan is cancelling 27 GW of planned coal plants and building renewables instead.

Pakistan raises eyebrows by dropping plans for new coal plants

18 December 2020 | By GCR Staff

In a surprise move, Pakistan has abandoned plans to build 27GW of coal power plants between 2030 and 2047, and will invest in renewable energy instead.

Some $6bn of plants under construction will be completed, but no new projects will be undertaken.

Pakistan had based its energy strategy on the discovery, in the early nineties, of a huge coal deposit beneath the Thar desert in Sindh Province. The country has just begun to exploit this with a Chinese-financed coal mine and 330MW power plant, completed last year.

Over the last five years, Pakistan has built 18 wind power projects generating 937MW, six solar power projects producing 418MW. However, wind, solar, hydro and nuclear make up only 36% of the energy mix, and the remainder is produced by fossil fuels – mainly natural gas.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 21, 2020, 07:24:21 PM »
Companies are recognizing the potential of geothermal energy as a renewable baseload power source.  When external costs and availability are included in the cost/benefit analysis, geothermal energy comes out as the most effective source for generating energy.

Geothermal energy, the forgotten renewable, has finally arrived
By Michael J. Coren

Climate reporter
December 20, 2020

Utilities weren’t prioritizing low-carbon baseload until now. “Geothermal fills a critical gap to complete the energy transition,” says Jesse Jenkins, an energy systems engineer at Princeton University, who estimates it could one day exceed the capacity of nuclear and hydropower. “Technical potential is not really the question. It is the economic question.”

Historically, geothermal looked like the expensive option. Geothermal power can cost about $140 per megawatt-hour, double the price of onshore wind, and nearly five times more than solar, according to the California Energy Commission. In 2017, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, which holds rights to much of the Salton Sea’s geothermal field, finally abandoned a permit for a 215 MW plant after years of struggling to find buyers for its electricity.

But that calculus ignored something critical: Wind and solar can’t provide baseload energy. A better way to calculate the cost to utilities is to measure the price of adding a particular megawatt to the grid. Electrons that can be turned on or off are worth more than those that can’t. Using this approach, the US Energy Information Administration says, new geothermal capacity in 2025 should cost just $37 per megawatt/hour, cheaper than almost every source besides solar photovoltaic ($36 per MWh).

Creating new geothermal fields, it turns out, requires just the right mix of rock and heat. Luckily, those conditions exist almost anywhere—if you’re willing to drill. For every kilometer down into the Earth’s crust, temperatures rise about 25°C. “If you can figure out a way to tap that, you can get a phenomenal amount of energy,” says Will Fleckenstein, an engineering professor studying unconventional drilling at the Colorado School of Mines. “It’s essentially everywhere.”

Private investment has started ramping up in anticipation. In the first half of 2020, global geothermal investments exceeded $675 million, six times more than the year prior, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (renewables investments overall rose only 5% during that time). Within five years, global geothermal production capacity is predicted to rise from 16 gigawatts to 24 GW, according to Rystad Energy.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 21, 2020, 06:41:46 PM »
Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, predicts peak gasoline demand in China by 2025.  Many refineries are being built there though, which means a lot of stranded assets.

China's Top Refiner Sees Oil Product Demand Peak By 2025
By Charles Kennedy - Dec 18, 2020

China's largest refiner, Sinopec, expects domestic demand for oil products to peak by 2025 due to COVID impacts and the rise of electric vehicles, Argus reported on Friday, citing Sinopec's research think-tank as saying in its annual report.

"China's oil products will enter a final growth phase before peaking in the next five years," the Economics and Development Research Institute (EDRI) at Sinopec said, as carried by Argus.

According to the research institute, gasoline demand in China will likely peak in 2025, while demand for diesel could peak as soon as next year.

Despite the expected imminent peak in domestic demand for oil products, refinery capacity in China is set to jump to nearly 20 million bpd by 2025, up from an estimated 17.83 million bpd in 2020, Sinopec's forecasts cited by Argus showed.

Surging Chinese oil product exports are set to put pressure on refiners elsewhere in Asia as the global refining industry is struggling with overcapacity. Refiners around the world have been announcing permanent closures of refinery capacity this year after the pandemic crushed fuel demand worldwide, and significant overcapacity still remains, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last month.

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