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Messages - Ken Feldman

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"Big Food" is training farmers to use regenerative agriculture methods.

General Mills, the packaged food giant, is one of several Big Food corporations jumping on the regenerative agriculture bandwagon, escalating the buzz around the idea that capturing carbon in the soil could reverse climate change. The company took the lead when it announced this spring that it would apply regenerative agriculture to 1 million acres by 2030 — about a quarter of the land from which it sources ingredients in North America.

General Mills has since rolled out a pilot project for oat farmers, as well an open-source self-assessment app available to anyone interested in implementing regenerative practices. Soil health academies and individualized coaching for farmers are in the works, as is the conversion of thousands of conventional acres into organic production.

"We've been looking at these farmers as the examples of what is possible in terms of soil health, diversity and farmer resilience," Mary Jane Melendez, General Mills' chief sustainability and social impact officer, said. "Imagine what you could get if ... more farmers were implementing these practices. It could be revolutionary."

Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, and a dozen other companies are not far behind. At the recent United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, they announced the One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) coalition to advance regenerative agriculture, rebuild biodiversity and eliminate deforestation. And Land O'Lakes, the dairy and animal feed behemoth, is also touting its soil conservation efforts, including a new initiative to help bolster sustainability on 1.5 million acres of U.S.-grown corn.

David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington and author of “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations” and “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” said there’s no question that regenerative agriculture can sequester carbon, but the amount of carbon that can be added to the soil is finite. Therefore, it’s not a panacea.

One much-cited estimate of potential soil sequestration published to date suggests that if regenerative practices were used on all of the world’s croplands and pastures forever — a huge assumption — the soil may be able to sequester up to 322 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That’s a far cry from the 1 trillion ton sequestration some claim possible.

“The claims that you can reverse climate change with regenerative agriculture, that’s a real stretch. The more credible estimates are a good down payment on reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Montgomery said. But he also stresses that the effort can easily be undone.

Policy and solutions / Re: Alaska Coal and Warming
« on: October 29, 2019, 06:17:02 PM »
On peak coal:

EnvironmentAugust 22, 2019 / 9:02 PM / 2 months ago
China's coal demand to peak around 2025, global usage to follow: report

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s coal demand will start to fall in 2025 once consumption at utilities and other industrial sectors reaches its peak, a state-owned think tank said in a new report, easing pressure on Beijing to impose tougher curbs on fossil fuels.

“With coal demand in China falling gradually, world coal consumption is forecast to reach a peak within 10 years. Meanwhile, China’s coal demand, currently accounting for half of the world’s total, will decline to around 35% by 2050,” the report said.

On coal exporters facing financial difficulties:

Australia’s hopes to expand coal exports in south-east Asia ‘delusional’, experts say

Region’s expected increase in coal-fired power plants could turn out to be ‘more fizz than boom’ as construction rates fall markedly

The number of new coal-fired power plants starting construction across south-east Asia has fallen markedly over the past two years as Australia has increasingly looked to the region to expand its thermal coal exports.

Analysis by US-based climate research and advocacy group Global Energy Monitor found work on only 1.5 gigawatts of new coal generation – equivalent to one large Australian plant – began in the region in the six months to June, all of it in Indonesia.

It follows construction starting on plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts last year, a 57% fall below 2017 levels and 79% less than in 2016.

The government’s chief economist reported in September that south-east Asia was expected to be a key source of growth for thermal coal exports as demand from the biggest markets in Japan, China and Korea declined in coming years. The region increased imports by 15% in 2018 and was the only area in which coal’s share of electricity generation rose.

But Ted Nace, Global Energy Monitor’s executive director, said the latest data suggested the expected south-east Asian thermal coal expansion could turn out to be “more fizz than boom”.
He said as the impetus to combat the climate crisis grew, it was increasingly difficult to get people to commit the hundreds of millions needed to build a coal generator.

Tim Buckley, from thinktank the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the number of Asian coal projects to have secured financial backing had fallen by between 50% and 70% over the past three years, while the rate of plant closures had increased 50%.

He said it suggested Australia’s thermal coal sales would steadily decline over two-to-three decades. “Any suggestion that thermal coal exports have growth potential is delusional or outright misleading,” he said.

Policy and solutions / Re: Alaska Coal and Warming
« on: October 29, 2019, 06:08:28 PM »
Given that existing coal exporters are struggling financially due to the decrease in the growth of coal demand (it's already declining in the developed economies and coal is projected to peak in the early 2020s), and the amount of investment needed to mine and ship the coal, the project is dead before it even begins.

Note that the economically recoverable reserves in Alaska are barely visible.  There's more than enough economically recoverable coal elsewhere to keep the power plants running for the decade or so that they have left.

Renewables are already cheaper than operating coal in most of the world.  And the price of renewables is continuing to fall.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 29, 2019, 05:35:12 PM »
Germany slowed the reduction in the use of coal power to phase out nuclear more quickly after Fukushima.  As more renewable capacity is installed, they'll take more coal offline.

Even with the slow-down in retiring coal power plants, the amount of power generated by coal is still decreasing:

From DeConto and Pollard 2018:

4.3 Antarctica
We now use the coupled model to examine the role of mélange during rapid retreat of Antarctic ice. Starting from the ice-sheet model state equilibrated to modern climate (with no mélange), an instantaneous change to a warm ~3 Ma mid Pliocene climate is imposed. As described in Pollard et al. (2015), atmospheric forcing is provided by a regional climate model with a warm austral-summer orbit and atmospheric CO2 level of 400 ppm, and circum-Antarctic ocean temperatures are assumed to warm 2 oC above modern climatology.

Note the bolded assumption.  Ocean temperatures around Antarctica need to be 2 degrees C warmer than they are currently (not warmer than pre-industrial) for MICI to begin.  So how fast are the waters around Antarctica currently warming?

outhern Ocean Warming
Jean-Baptiste Sallée 
Published Online: August 15, 2018

Article Abstract
The Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in global climate. With no continental barriers, it distributes climate signals among the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans through its fast-flowing, energetic, and deep-reaching dominant current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The unusual dynamics of this current, in conjunction with energetic atmospheric and ice conditions, make the Southern Ocean a key region for connecting the surface ocean with the world ocean’s deep seas. Recent examinations of global ocean temperature show that the Southern Ocean plays a major role in global ocean heat uptake and storage. Since 2006, an estimated 60%–90% of global ocean heat content change associated with global warming is based in the Southern Ocean. But the warming of its water masses is inhomogeneous. While the upper 1,000 m of the Southern Ocean within and north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current are warming rapidly, at a rate of 0.1°–0.2°C per decade, the surface sub­polar seas south of this region are not warming or are slightly cooling. However, subpolar abyssal waters are warming at a substantial rate of ~0.05°C per decade due to the formation of bottom waters on the Antarctic continental shelves. Although the processes at play in this warming and their regional distribution are beginning to become clear, the specific mechanisms associated with wind change, eddy activity, and ocean-ice interaction remain areas of active research, and substantial challenges persist to representing them accurately in climate models.

At current observed rates of warming (with GMSTA around 1C above pre-industrial), the oceans around Antarctica are warming at 0.05 degrees C per decade.  At that rate, it would take 400 years to hit one of the necessary triggers for MICI to start.

That may be why DeConto and Pollard are urging more caution now about the MICI models.  They are still claiming that hydrofracturing could begin as GMSTA approaches 2C above pre-industrial, but that results in centimeters of sea level rise, not meters as MICI would project.

Climatic Thresholds for Widespread Ice Shelf Hydrofracturing and Ice Cliff Calving In Antarctica: Implications for Future Sea Level Rise

Monday, 10 December 2018

Here we explore the implications of hydrofacturing and subsequent ice-cliff collapse in a warming climate, by parameterizing these processes in a hybrid ice sheet-shelf model. Model sensitivities to meltwater production and to ice-cliff calving rate (a function of cliff height above the stress balance threshold triggering brittle failure) are calibrated to match modern observations of calving and thinning. We find the potential for major ice-sheet retreat if global mean temperature rises more than ~2ºC above preindustrial. In the model, Antarctic calving rates at thick ice fronts are not allowed to exceed those observed in Greenland today. This may be a conservative assumption, considering the very different spatial scales of Antarctic outlets, such as Thwaites. Nonetheless, simulations following a ‘worst case’ RCP8.5 scenario produce rates of sea-level rise measured in cm per year by the end of this century. Clearly, the potential for brittle processes to deliver ice to the ocean, in addition to viscous and basal processes, needs to be better constrained through more complete, physically based representations of calving.

Robert M Deconto
University of Massachusetts Amherst
David Pollard
Pennsylvania State University
Knut A Christianson
University of Washington
Richard B Alley
Pennsylvania State University

I'd also note that given trends in the decline of the coal industry and the rate of renewable energy installations in the past two years (the period in which renewables became cheaper than coal and are threatening to overtake natural gas), it's virtually impossible for us to burn enough fossil fuels to hit the RCP8.5 scenario.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 29, 2019, 12:11:56 AM »
Southeast Asia is supposed to be the region where coal growth is the strongest.  If that's the case, then stick a fork in it, 'cause it's done.

More fizz than boom: 2019 sees coal plant growth in Southeast Asia dwindling as pipeline continues to shrink
Wednesday 23 October, 2019: Despite Southeast Asia being heralded as a major growth region for the coal industry, new data from Global Energy Monitor (GEM) reveals that only Indonesia saw new coal-fired power enter into construction in the first six months of 2019.

According to GEM, this year is shaping to be the second in a row in which the regional coal pipeline has declined sharply, with 1,500 megawatts (MW) entering construction in the first six months of 2019, following only 2,744 MW entering construction during 2018. As shown in Figure 1, construction starts have fallen dramatically since peaking at 12,920 MW in 2016.

According to Ted Nace, Executive Director of GEM, construction starts are a strong indicator of the vitality of the coal pipeline. “New construction is the acid test of whether a proposed project is real or just some plans on paper,” Nace said. “To go into construction you have to get someone to commit hundreds of millions of dollars. In Southeast Asia, it looks like it’s becoming a difficult case to convince people to commit that kind of money.”

Beyond construction, the amount of coal plant capacity in pre-construction stages in Southeast Asia also continues to contract, shrinking 52% from 110,367 MW in mid-2015 to 53,510 MW in mid-2019 (Table 2). With so few projects moving from pre-construction to construction, a continuation of recent trends will mean that most of the remaining 53,510 MW in pre-construction development is more likely to be cancelled rather than implemented.

Permafrost / Re: Permafrost general science thread
« on: October 28, 2019, 11:30:46 PM »

By 2200, the PCF strength in terms of cumulative permafrost carbon flux to the atmosphere is 190 ± 64 Gt C. This estimate may be low because it does not account for amplified surface warming due to the PCF itself and excludes some discontinuous permafrost regions where SiBCASA did not simulate permafrost. We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid‐2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42–88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible and accounting for the PCF will require larger reductions in fossil fuel emissions to reach a target atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Hattip Jay.
Bolding mine.

This flip should be prevented and thus our collective time frame for action is wrong.

That study came out in 2011 and was considered in the IPCC 2019 SROCC.

The permafrost soil carbon pool is climate sensitive and an order of magnitude larger than carbon stored in plant biomass (Schuur et al., 2018b) (very high confidence). Initial estimates were converging on a range of cumulative emissions from soils to the atmosphere by 2100, but recent studies have actually widened that range somewhat (Figure 3.11) (medium confidence). Expert assessment and laboratory soil incubation studies suggest that substantial quantities of C (tens to hundreds Pg C) could potentially be transferred from the permafrost carbon pool into the atmosphere under RCP8.5 (Schuur et al., 2013; Schädel et al., 2014). Global dynamical models supported these findings, showing potential carbon release from the permafrost zone ranging from 37 to 174 Pg C by 2100 under high emission climate warming trajectories, with an average across models of 92 ± 17 Pg C (mean ± SE) (Zhuang et al., 2006; Koven et al., 2011; Schaefer et al., 2011; MacDougall et al., 2012; Burke et al., 2013; Schaphoff et al., 2013; Schneider von Deimling et al., 2015). This range is generally consistent with several newer data-driven modelling approaches that estimated that soil carbon releases by 2100 (for RCP8.5) will be 57 Pg C (Koven et al., 2015) and 87 Pg C (Schneider von Deimling et al., 2015), as well as an updated estimate of 102 Pg C from one of the previous models (MacDougall and Knutti, 2016). However, the latest model runs performed with either structural enhancements to better represent permafrost carbon dynamics (Burke et al., 2017a), or common environmental input data (McGuire et al., 2016) show similar soil carbon losses, but also indicate the potential for stimulated plant growth (nutrients, temperature/growing season length, CO2 fertilization) to offset some (Kleinen and Brovkin, 2018) or all of these losses, at least during this century, by sequestering new carbon into plant biomass and increasing carbon inputs into the surface soil (McGuire et al., 2018). These future carbon emission levels would be a significant fraction of those projected from fossil fuels with implications for allowable carbon budgets that are consistent with limiting global warming, but will also depend on how vegetation responds (high confidence). Furthermore, there is high confidence that climate scenarios that involve mitigation (e.g. RCP4.5) will help to dampen the response of carbon emissions from the Arctic and boreal regions.

1. How to trigger a shutdown of the MOC? The main engine of the MOC is the downwelling in the polar regions. The critical issue here seems to be the ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice and whether it will be enought to stop the MOC in a <100 years timeframe. (Not much will happen in the Antarctic in this time frame that might affect MOC.)

I disagree with many of your assumptions but the one that I highlight in bold underline above is the most important.  You are posting in the Ice Apocalypse thread and the vast majority of posts in this thread provide supporting evidence that at least significant portions of the WAIS may collapse prior to 2100, possibly due to MICI-mechanisms.  If you care to respond to all of that evidence then I might take your highlighted assumption more seriously, but until then I believe that you are merely repeating consensus science assumptions/caveats on this matter (all of which err on the side of least drama).

Please keep in mind that not even the authors of the MICI hypothesis believe it will occur before the end of this century.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 18, 2019, 10:18:50 PM »
India requires at least three bidders for any new coal mine projects.  The problem is that the prospects for coal are so dire, that they can't get three bidders on most of their projects.

Tepid response for the coal mine auction rounds
Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on October 10, 2019 Published on October 10, 2019

Just 6 out of 27 mines get adequate bidders

Poor market sentiment and expectations of commercial mining have led to a tepid response for the blocks on offer during the current round of coal auctions.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 18, 2019, 07:47:36 PM »
The grim news for US shale drillers continues.

U.S. oil production growth has slammed on the breaks, as low prices and the loss of access to capital markets has forced a slowdown in drilling.

Third quarter earnings reports will soon start to trickle in. Three months ago, the shale industry saw improvement in some of the headline cash flow figures, but the second quarter results also revealed some deeper concerns about drilling operations and raised questions about the longevity of an unprofitable oil boom.

The problem for the shale industry is that, if anything, the outlook has only become gloomier since. Oil prices have languished and investors have grown more skeptical.

The cutbacks have translated into slower output and have led to questions about the “end” of the shale boom.

“A marked slowdown in the US shale patch since the start of the year has led us to lower our expectations slightly for US crude production for 2019 and 2020,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its October Oil Market Report. “Despite many new pipeline projects coming on-line during 2H19, operators continue to lay off rigs and instead prioritise investor returns.”

The Paris-based energy agency noted that U.S. oil production only grew by 140,000 between January and July, a notably modest increase, especially when compared to the 740,000 bpd U.S. drillers added in the same period last year.

The IEA said that cutbacks in spending were a big part of the slowdown. “Pure-play shale producers and independents had already flagged a 6% decline in upstream spending this year in their initial 2019 guidance,” the agency said. “Operators shed another 29 rigs during September so that by end-month, there were 172 fewer active rigs than at end-2018. The frac spread count has declined 23% since March, to a 2.5-year low.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 18, 2019, 07:43:24 PM »
Here's a link to an interesting article about how renewables are being built to replace a coal power plant powering a large still mill in Colorado.

As I watched recently, the great arc furnace at one of the nation’s most storied steel mills was sucking in more electrical power than any other machine in Colorado, produced in part at a plant a few miles away that burns Wyoming coal by the ton.

But the electrical supply for the mill is changing.

A huge solar farm, one of the largest in the country, is to be built here on the grounds of the Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel mill. In addition to producing power for the giant mill, the farm, Bighorn Solar, will supply homes and businesses across Colorado. So far as I can tell, Evraz Rocky Mountain will be the first steel mill in the world that can claim to be powered largely by solar energy.

There is a caveat: The mill operates 24 hours a day and solar panels do not, of course. Over the course of a year the solar farm is expected to produce electricity roughly equal to 95 percent of the mill’s annual demand. On sunny days, excess power will be sold to the Colorado grid, but at night the mill will draw power from the grid, which still includes a good bit of fossil energy.

But that is getting fixed, too. Xcel Energy, the utility that supplies the Pueblo mill with electricity, has made one of the most ambitious commitments in the country to clean up its system. Luckily, about the time solar panels are going dark, strong winds whip up across the plains of eastern Colorado, where wind turbines will turn it into power.

Alice Jackson, who runs the Colorado division of Xcel, told me that at certain hours during the night, wind farms can supply as much as 70 percent of the power on the state grid, and that is likely to be true more and more often as the company signs contracts with new wind farms.

Why would a steel mill install a solar power plant next door? The company cares about going green, certainly, but this is also about money.

We do not know the exact price the company will pay for its solar power — that is a secret under Colorado law — but we do know that the cost of large-scale solar farms has plummeted. To improve its finances, Evraz seems to be locking in low-cost power for the long term.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 15, 2019, 11:56:00 PM »

From 2016 through 2019, Argentina’s government awarded contracts for 6.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity, helping make wind and solar the country’s cheapest unsubsidized sources of energy. Roughly 5 GW of this capacity is already either in operation or under construction, attracting nearly $7.5 billion in new investment and creating more than 11,000 new jobs.

How is it "unsubsidized" when the government is footing the bill?

Isn't it socialism when Government owns the means of production?  Does that mean that all socialist enterprises are subsidized?

Do you think there might be a scenario between "nothing to see here" and "we're already doomed and there's nothing we can do about it?" 

The "consensus scientists" that many posters here sneer about seem to be operating as if there is a possibility that if we cut our carbon emissions, we may end up in a far more livable future than if we don't.  Based on what I've read, I tend to believe the scientists.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 15, 2019, 08:59:00 PM »
A couple of related articles from unrelated sources.

First, the problem for the fossil fuel companies:

Opinion: The energy revolution is already here

Published: Oct 14, 2019 6:10 p.m. ET
The transition to low-carbon fuels is occurring faster than most people think
By Jules Kortenhorst

BOULDER, Colorado (Project Syndicate) — For the longest time, the prevailing narrative about renewable energy featured clumsy technologies, high costs, and burdensome subsidies. In the absence of strict mandates and far-reaching policy changes, the chances for mass adoption seemed slim. Electric vehicles (EVs) simply couldn’t go the distance, and LED lights were unattractive and unaffordable.

But now that these technologies have come of age, a new story is being written. Around the world, businesses, governments, and households are taking advantage of more cost-effective low-carbon technologies.

As in any rapid transition, a full understanding of what is happening has lagged behind events. Many incumbent energy producers find it hard to believe that their world is undergoing a revolutionary change, so they insist that their heavily polluting technologies will remain relevant and necessary for some time to come.

And the inevitable consequences of renewables being cheaper than fossil fuels:

Rise of renewables may see off oil firms decades earlier than they think
Pace of progress raises hope that fossil fuel companies could lose their domination

The world’s rising reliance on fossil fuels may come to an end decades earlier than the most polluting companies predict, offering early signs of hope in the global battle to tackle the climate crisis.

The climate green shoots have emerged amid a renewable energy revolution that promises an end to the rising demand for oil and coal in the 2020s, before the fossil fuels face a terminal decline.

The looming fossil fuel peak is expected to emerge decades ahead of forecasts from oil and mining companies, which are betting that demand for polluting energy will rise until the 2040s.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 15, 2019, 08:50:12 PM »
Vietnam isn't the only country that has gone from negligible to significant renewable electricity generation in a short time.  Argentina started a program in 2016 that is now greatly increasing the share of electricity generated from renewables.

Oct 15, 2019, 07:20am
Argentina May Be the Hottest Renewable Energy Market You Haven’t Heard Of. Can It Spur a Global Boom?

Silvio Marcacci

An innovative approach unlocked Argentina’s renewable energy market, making it “the most interesting in the world” in just three years. And now, the approach could open the door to billions in renewable investment in developing nations worldwide.

From 2016 through 2019, Argentina’s government awarded contracts for 6.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity, helping make wind and solar the country’s cheapest unsubsidized sources of energy. Roughly 5 GW of this capacity is already either in operation or under construction, attracting nearly $7.5 billion in new investment and creating more than 11,000 new jobs.

When fully operational, these projects will push renewables to 18% of Argentina’s total power supply – a breakthrough considering they were at just 1.8% before 2016 – and could avoid more than 2 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the next 20 years. 

Argentina’s renewable energy boom created wide-ranging economic and climate benefits. According to the Secretariat of Energy, renewable energy project prices fell by a factor of five from around $240/MWh in 2015 to $50-$60/MWh in 2016-2019, making wind and solar the country’s cheapest unsubsidized sources of energy. Nine new manufacturing plants were built in the country, creating 11,000 new project development and equipment manufacturing jobs.

Now, Argentina’s success could go global with the assistance of a Climate Breakthrough Project award to Undersecretary Kind, who is adapting the RenovAr model to other emerging economies through the Global Renewable Energy Mass Adoption Program (GREENMAP).

GREENMAP intends to create renewable energy markets in countries with underdeveloped renewable energy resources and longstanding financial barriers arising from political or economic instability. By setting up standardized tool kits and credit enhancement instruments, model contracts, established eligibility criteria, and international funding guarantees, GREENMAP aims to attract renewable energy investment and reduce project prices.

The upside could be massive, says Undersecretary Kind: 75 GW of new renewable energy capacity, $110 billion in new greenfield investment, and 3 gigatons avoided CO2 emissions within the next 20 years. GREENMAP is targeting at least 15 countries where dependence on fossil fuel imports has reduced energy access, increased energy prices, and pushed up greenhouse gas emissions, while worsening economic and environmental conditions.

Policy and solutions / Re: Global economics and finances - impacts
« on: October 15, 2019, 07:42:34 PM »
The investors of the $13.4 billion University of California endowment and $70 billion pension fund are divesting from fossil fuels.  The reasons aren't political pressure but that the investments are too risky.

We are investors and fiduciaries for what is widely considered the best public research university in the world. That makes us fiscally conservative by nature and by policy — “Risk rules” is one of the 10 pillars of what we call the UC Investments Way. We want to ensure that the more than 320,000 people currently receiving a UC pension actually get paid, that we can continue to fund research and scholarships throughout the UC system, and that our campuses and medical centers earn the best possible return on their investments.

We believe hanging on to fossil fuel assets is a financial risk. That’s why we will have made our $13.4-billion endowment “fossil free” as of the end of this month, and why our $70-billion pension will soon be that way as well.

So what’s the bottom line?

In April 2014, when Jagdeep arrived to become UC’s chief investment officer, UC Investments had a total of $91.6 billion in assets under management. As of June 30, the total portfolio stood at $126.1 billion. In five years, that includes $2.4 billion in value added above our benchmarksand a savings of $1 billion in reduced costs of management.

During that same time frame, we made no new investments in fossil fuels and four years ago, we sold our exposure to coal and oil sands. We found them too risky — and it’s worth noting that Jagdeep joined UC from one of Canada’ sovereign wealth funds in the heart of the oil sands region. We continue to believe there are more attractive investment opportunities in new energy sources than in old fossil fuels.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 15, 2019, 07:35:16 PM »
State and local requirements as well as corporate PPAs are driving large increases in projections for growth of solar in the US Midwest in the next decade.

The Midwest’s solar future will be unlike anything seen before
Fitch Solutions Marco Research has boldly predicted the region will be a main driver towards the 100 GW of solar power capacity expected to hit the U.S. over the next 10 years. The procurement [sic] will be led by city and utility commitments to renewable energy, the falling costs of solar and the continued expansion of popular community solar programs.

October 11, 2019 Tim Sylvia

Chief among those bold predictions, Fitch states that it expects the region to contribute heavily to the 100 GW of solar power capacity expected to come to the United States over the next 10 years. This astronomical, gargantuan, whichever word of scope you use to describe, prediction is supported mainly by the region’s large proposed solar project pipeline, with a total potential added capacity of a smidge under 79 GWac that are registered within the MISO, SPP and PJM generation interconnection queues – the grid operators that cover the region.

Fitch expects that this unprecedented development will be driven by the strengthened renewable energy targets of Midwest states, cities and utilities. Chiefly among these targets, Fitch references Wisconsin’s 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 goal, the 100% renewable electricity pledges made by Chicago, IL and Madison, WI, DTE and Xcel’s plans for carbon neutrality by 2050 and the litany of renewable energy-based requests for proposals sweeping the region.

Strangely, the report doesn’t address the trend of large corporations increasingly adopting renewable generations to fulfill their power needs. The report, however, also attributes the projected growth to year-ver [sic]-year improvements in the technologies associated with solar projects, the evert [sic]-falling costs of developing and installing solar and the expanding adoption of community solar initiatives in the region.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: October 15, 2019, 07:25:10 PM »
Any links to research relating to non russian (or non S&S) methane research cruises there?

And links to the work of ´multiple scientists look at the ESAS using both similar and more complex methods and have come back with radically different answers.´?

It would be interesting to contrast those just to see what kind of emissions we can expect as a lower bound.

Outside of replication we have things like the #1087 record size plumes. Something you could have expected in this starkly warming world.

I wonder if the more complex methods reproduce them...

Here's a link to the Thornton et. al 2016 paper about their 2014 cruise in the same area that S&S covered.

The Laptev and East Siberian Seas have been proposed as a substantial source of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. During summer 2014, we made unique high‐resolution simultaneous measurements of CH4 in the atmosphere above, and surface waters of, the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. Turbulence‐driven sea‐air fluxes along the ship's track were derived from these observations; an average diffusive flux of 2.99 mg m−2 d−1 was calculated for the Laptev Sea and for the ice‐free portions of the western East Siberian Sea, 3.80 mg m−2 d−1. Although seafloor bubble plumes were observed at two locations in the study area, our calculations suggest that regionally, turbulence‐driven diffusive flux alone accounts for the observed atmospheric CH4 enhancements, with only a local, limited role for bubble fluxes, in contrast to earlier reports. CH4 in subice seawater in certain areas suggests that a short‐lived flux also occurs annually at ice‐out.

Also, if there were persistent methane leaks in the amount of those hyped by S&S recently, the methane would drift to the observation sites around the Arctic.  There's a paper that looked for increased methane concentrations due to those types of emissions from the ESAS that was published in 2016.

Atmospheric constraints on the methane emissions from the East Siberian Shelf

Abstract. Subsea permafrost and hydrates in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) constitute a substantial carbon pool, and a potentially large source of methane to the atmosphere. Previous studies based on interpolated oceanographic campaigns estimated atmospheric emissions from this area at 8–17TgCH4 yr−1. Here, we propose insights based on atmospheric observations to evaluate these estimates. The comparison of high-resolution simulations of atmospheric methane mole fractions to continuous methane observations during the whole year 2012 confirms the high variability and heterogeneity of the methane releases from ESAS. A reference scenario with ESAS emissions of 8TgCH4 yr−1, in the lower part of previously estimated emissions, is found to largely overestimate atmospheric observations in winter, likely related to overestimated methane leakage through sea ice. In contrast, in summer, simulations are more consistent with observations. Based on a comprehensive statistical analysis of the observations and of the simulations, annual methane emissions from ESAS are estimated to range from 0.0 to 4.5TgCH4 yr−1. Isotopic observations suggest a biogenic origin (either terrestrial or marine) of the methane in air masses originating from ESAS during late summer 2008 and 2009.

Note that this paper confirmed the S&S estimates for summer emissions, but found that the winter emissions were far less than those assumed by S&S.

The stories about the recent large plume of methane measured by S&S are mostly hype.  We've seen other stories about methane bubbling up in the past, this is the first time they've been measured while actually active.  There are many pingo-like features on both land in the Arctic (the famous Yamal methane craters are an example) and below the sea.  Here's a paper describing the sub-sea pingo like features.

Methane release from pingo‐like features across the South Kara Sea shelf, an area of thawing offshore permafrost

The Holocene marine transgression starting at ~19 ka flooded the Arctic shelves driving extensive thawing of terrestrial permafrost. It thereby promoted methanogenesis within sediments, the dissociation of gas hydrates, and the release of formerly trapped gas, with the accumulation in pressure of released methane eventually triggering blowouts through weakened zones in the overlying and thinned permafrost. Here we present a range of geophysical and chemical scenarios for the formation of pingo‐like formations (PLFs) leading to potential blowouts. Specifically, we report on methane anomalies from the South Kara Sea shelf focusing on two PLFs imaged from high‐resolution seismic records. A variety of geochemical methods are applied to study concentrations and types of gas, its character, and genesis. PLF 1 demonstrates ubiquitously low‐methane concentrations (14.2–55.3 ppm) that are likely due to partly unfrozen sediments with an ice‐saturated internal core reaching close to the seafloor. In contrast, PLF 2 reveals anomalously high‐methane concentrations of >120,000 ppm where frozen sediments are completely absent. The methane in all recovered samples is of microbial and not of thermogenic origin from deep hydrocarbon sources. However, the relatively low organic matter content (0.52–1.69%) of seafloor sediments restricts extensive in situ methane production. As a consequence, we hypothesize that the high‐methane concentrations at PLF 2 are due to microbial methane production and migration from a deeper source.

David Archer, an expert in global methane sources, debunked hype about the Siberian craters years ago at Real Climate.

Siberia has explosion holes in it that smell like methane, and there are newly found bubbles of methane in the Arctic Ocean. As a result, journalists are contacting me assuming that the Arctic Methane Apocalypse has begun. However, as a climate scientist I remain much more concerned about the fossil fuel industry than I am about Arctic methane. Short answer: It would take about 20,000,000 such eruptions within a few years to generate the standard Arctic Methane Apocalypse that people have been talking about. Here’s where that statement comes from:
How much methane emission is “a lot”? The yardstick here comes from Natalie Shakhova, an Arctic methane oceanographer and modeler at the University of Fairbanks. She proposed that 50 Gton of methane (a gigaton is 1015 grams) might erupt from the Arctic on a short time scale Shakhova (2010). Let’s call this a “Shakhova” event. There would be significant short-term climate disruption from a Shakhova event, with economic consequences explored by Whiteman et al Whiteman et al (2013). The radiative forcing right after the release would be similar to that from fossil fuel CO2 by the end of the century, but subsiding quickly rather than continuing to grow as business-as-usual CO2 does.

If the bubble was pure methane, it would have contained about … wait for it … 0.000003 Gtons of methane. In other words, building a Shakhova event from these explosions would take approximately 20,000,000 explosions, all within a few years, or else the climate impact of the methane would be muted by the lifetime effect.

There have been many studies (by both Russian and non-Russian scientists) into methane emissions from the Arctic seafloor.  Here is an example.

Methane oxidation following submarine permafrost degradation: Measurements from a central Laptev Sea shelf borehole

Submarine permafrost degradation has been invoked as a cause for recent observations of methane emissions from the seabed to the water column and atmosphere of the East Siberian shelf. Sediment drilled 52 m down from the sea ice in Buor Khaya Bay, central Laptev Sea revealed unfrozen sediment overlying ice‐bonded permafrost. Methane concentrations in the overlying unfrozen sediment were low (mean 20 µM) but higher in the underlying ice‐bonded submarine permafrost (mean 380 µM). In contrast, sulfate concentrations were substantially higher in the unfrozen sediment (mean 2.5 mM) than in the underlying submarine permafrost (mean 0.1 mM). Using deduced permafrost degradation rates, we calculate potential mean methane efflux from degrading permafrost of 120 mg m−2 yr−1 at this site. However, a drop of methane concentrations from 190 µM to 19 µM and a concomitant increase of methane δ13C from −63‰ to −35‰ directly above the ice‐bonded permafrost suggest that methane is effectively oxidized within the overlying unfrozen sediment before it reaches the water column. High rates of methane ebullition into the water column observed elsewhere are thus unlikely to have ice‐bonded permafrost as their source.

Here is the article linked to from Skeptical Science (in my post above).

A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Looks Far Less Likely
But experts warn that our overall picture of sea-level rise looks far scarier today than it did even five years ago.
Robinson Meyer
Jan 4, 2019

One of the scariest scenarios for near-term, disastrous sea-level rise may be off the table for now, according to a new study previewed at a recent scientific conference.

Two years ago, the glaciologists Robert DeConto and David Pollard rocked their field with a paper arguing that several massive glaciers in Antarctica were much more unstable than previously thought. Those key glaciers—which include Thwaites Glacier and Pine Island Glacier, both in the frigid continent’s west—could increase global sea levels by more than three feet by 2100, the paper warned. Such a rise could destroy the homes of more than 150 million people worldwide.

They are now revisiting those results. In new work, conducted with three other prominent glaciologists, DeConto and Pollard have lowered some of their worst-case projections for the 21st century. Antarctica may only contribute about a foot of sea-level rise by 2100, they now say. This finding, reached after the team improved their own ice model, is much closer to projections made by other glaciologists.

Skeptical Science has a good webpage about MICI here.

It covers DeConto and Pollard's 2016 paper, the Edwards et. al 2019 response and discuss updates planned by DeConto and Pollard.

In that 2016 paper, DeConto and his co-author, Prof David Pollard of Penn State University, used an ice sheet model to ascertain how periods in the Earth’s history that were only slightly warmer than today managed to have sea levels that were many metres higher.
Simulating the Pliocene, around three million years ago, and the Last Interglacial, 130,000-115,000 years ago, DeConto and Pollard found that the high sea levels from those periods could only be recreated when MICI was included. DeConto explains:
“One key point is that including these brittle processes in ice sheet models is the best way we’ve found to reproduce the high sea levels we see in the geologic past.”
Turning their attention to the future, DeConto and Pollard ran model simulations calibrated on their findings for the past. They found that including MICI “greatly increases the pace of future sea level rise in high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios”, says DeConto.
The new paper revisits these estimates. It uses a statistical model, called an “emulator”, to replicate the model created by DeConto and Pollard. This allowed the researchers to expand the number of model simulations they ran to explore the full range of possible future outcomes – including those that do not include MICI – as well as calibrating the model with satellite data.
In simulations with MICI, the “most likely” model outcome under the high-emissions RCP8.5 scenario is a contribution from Antarctica of 45cm by 2100, says lead author Dr Tamsin Edwards, a climate scientist and lecturer at King’s College London. She tells Carbon Brief:
“This is much lower than the mean values in DeConto & Pollard – interpreted by many as the most likely values – which ranged from 64cm to 114 cm.”
But their findings also suggest that MICI was not necessary to produce the sea level rise seen in the Pliocene or the Last Interglacial. Without MICI, their most likely contribution from Antarctica is 15cm by 2100 under RCP8.5, with a “likely” range of 13-31cm. There is just a 5% likelihood of Antarctica contributing more than 39cm to sea levels by 2100, Edwards says:

DeConto and Pollard are also currently revisiting their 2016 results in a new paper. DeConto says he is not able to comment on it directly as it is undergoing peer review. However, he has presented some preliminary results at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in December.
An article published in the Atlantic shortly afterwards reported that DeConto and Pollard “have lowered some of their worst-case projections for the 21st century” after making improvements to their model. The results are likely to put Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise in 2100 at “about a foot” (30cm), the article says, which is “much closer to projections made by other glaciologists”.

Arctic sea ice / Re: When will the Arctic Go Ice Free?
« on: October 11, 2019, 09:26:05 PM »
     FWIW, the September 2019 IPCC cryosphere report shows Extent becoming asymptotic at about 10% of the 2000 level around 2070.
     Given the length and detail of the IPCC cryosphere report, there is a surprisingly brief discussion of Arctic sea ice trends.  ASIF is a better source than IPCC! (seriously). After a quick search, I found nothing in the IPCC report about ASI volume projections.  Figure 3.3 on page 3-13 is the closest information.  It charts ASI Extent under the RCP scenarios.  In those projections, even the RCP8.5 scenario retains 10% September Extent for 2070-2100. 

      The scientists who donate their hard work to IPCC reports are the experts and I feel like an ungrateful flea telling the dog what to do in critiquing their work.  But my small fevered brain is unable to reconcile the trends charted by Wipneus and Stephan, or that I can see for myself in the data from PIOMAS, with the IPCC statements shown below from page 3-25.  To be blunt, I suspect that the IPCC is under-estimating the severity of the ASI trends.

Same conclusions (on bold, made by me), long time ago. The IPCC is in fact, avoiding the discussion of when the Arctic will be ice free. It is easier to simulate that they are doing their work, at the same time that they respect politicians.

On the other hand, some of them are politicians!
 ---> IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.

Greta Thunberg speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference:

We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again.
We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.
We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.
"...we are running out of time" but the IPCC is still talking about 2100.
"...The real power belongs to the people." ---> ASIF?  ;)

Each of the IPCC reports issued this decade has made projections of when the Arctic will be ice free.

AR5 (2013) Chapter 11, page 995

Though most of the CMIP5 models project a nearly ice-free Arctic (sea ice extent less than 1 × 106 km2 for at least 5 consecutive years) at the end of summer by 2100 in the RCP8.5 scenario (see Section, some show large changes in the near term as well. Some previous models project an ice-free summer period in the Arctic Ocean by 2040 (Holland et al., 2006), and even as early as the late 2030s using a criterion of 80% sea ice area loss (e.g., Zhang, 2010). By scaling six CMIP3 models to recent observed September sea ice changes, a nearly ice-free Arctic in September is projected to occur by 2037, reaching the first quartile of the distribution for timing of September sea ice loss by 2028 (Wang and Overland, 2009). However, a number of models that have fairly thick Arctic sea ice produce a slower near-term decrease in sea ice extent compared to observations (Stroeve et al., 2007). Based on a linear extrapolation into the future of the recent sea ice volume trend from a hindcast simulation conducted with a regional model of the Arctic sea ice–ocean system (Maslowski et al., 2012) projected that
it would take only until about 2016 to reach a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer. However, such an approach not only neglects the effect of year-to-year or longer-term variability (Overland and Wang, 2013) but also ignores the negative feedbacks that can occur when the sea ice cover becomes thin (Notz, 2009). Mahlstein and Knutti (2012) estimated the annual mean global surface warming threshold for nearly ice-free Arctic conditions in September to be ~2°C above the present derived from both CMIP3 models and observations.
An analysis of CMIP3 model simulations indicates that for near-term predictions the dominant factor for decreasing sea ice is increased ice melt, and reductions in ice growth play a secondary role (Holland et al., 2010). Arctic sea ice has larger volume loss when there is thicker ice initially across the CMIP3 models, with a projected accumulated mass loss of about 0.5 m by 2020, and roughly 1.0 m by 2050, with considerable model spread (Holland et al., 2010). The CMIP3 models tended to under-estimate the observed rapid decline of summer Arctic sea ice during the satellite era, but these recent trends are more accurately simulated in the CMIP5 models (see Section For CMIP3 models, results indicate that the changes in Arctic sea ice mass budget over the 21st century are related to the late 20th century mean sea ice thickness distribution (Holland et al., 2010), average sea ice thickness (Bitz, 2008; Hodson et al., 2012), fraction of thin ice cover (Boe et al., 2009) and oceanic heat transport to the Arctic (Mahlstein et al., 2011). Acceleration of sea ice drift observed over the last three decades, underestimated in CMIP3 projections (Rampal et al., 2011), and the presence of fossil-fuel and biofuel soot in the Arctic environment (Jacobson, 2010), could also contribute to ice-free late summer conditions over the Arctic in the near term. Details on the transition to an ice-free summer over the Arctic are presented in Chapter 12 (Sections and

Special Report Global Warming of 1.5C (2018) Chapter 3, Page 205

3.3.8 Sea Ice
Summer sea ice in the Arctic has been retreating rapidly in recent decades. During the period 1997 to 2014, for example, the monthly mean sea ice extent during September (summer) decreased on average by 130,000 km² per year (Serreze and Stroeve, 2015). This is about four times as fast as the September sea ice loss during the period 1979 to 1996. Sea ice thickness has also decreased substantially, with an estimated decrease in ice thickness of more than 50% in the central Arctic (Lindsay and Schweiger, 2015). Sea ice coverage and thickness also decrease in CMIP5 simulations of the recent past, and are projected to decrease in the future (Collins et al., 2013). 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). Model simulations suggest that there will be at least one sea ice-free Arctic5 summer after approximately 10 years of stabilized warming at 2°C, as compared to one sea ice-free summer after 100 years of stabilized warming at 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures (Jahn, 2018; Screen et al., 2018; Sigmond et al., 2018). For a specific given year under stabilized warming of 2°C, studies based on large ensembles of simulations with a single model estimate the likelihood of ice-free conditions as 35% without a bias correction of the underlying model (Sanderson et al., 2017; Jahn, 2018); as between 10% and >99% depending on the observational record used to correct the sensitivity of sea ice decline to global warming in the underlying model (Niederdrenk and Notz, 2018); and as 19% based on a procedure to correct for biases in the climatological sea ice coverage in the underlying model (Sigmond et al., 2018). The uncertainty of the first year of the occurrence of an icefree Arctic Ocean arising from internal variability is estimated to be about 20 years (Notz, 2015; Jahn et al., 2016).
The more recent estimates of the warming necessary to produce an icefree Arctic Ocean during summer are lower than the ones given in AR5 (about 2.6°C–3.1°C of global warming relative to pre-industrial levels or 1.6°C–2.1°C relative to present-day conditions), which were similar to the estimate of 3°C of global warming relative to pre-industrial levels (or 2°C relative to present-day conditions) by Mahlstein and Knutti (2012) based on bias-corrected CMIP3 models. Rosenblum and Eisenman (2016) explained why the sensitivity estimated by Mahlstein and Knutti (2012) might be too low, estimating instead that September sea ice in the Arctic would disappear at 2°C of global warming relative to pre-industrial levels (or about 1°C relative to present-day conditions), in line with the other recent estimates. Notz and Stroeve (2016) used the observed correlation between September sea ice extent and cumulative CO2 emissions to estimate that the Arctic Ocean would become nearly free of sea ice during September with a further 1000 Gt of emissions, which also implies a sea ice loss at about 2°C of global warming. Some of the uncertainty in these numbers stems from the possible impact of aerosols (Gagne et al., 2017) and of volcanic forcing (Rosenblum and Eisenman, 2016). During winter, little Arctic sea ice is projected to be lost for either 1.5°C or 2°C of global warming (Niederdrenk and Notz, 2018).

Special Report on Oceans and Crysphere (2019) Chapter 3, Page 3-25

3.2.2 Projected Changes in Sea Ice and Ocean Sea Ice
The multi-model ensemble of historical simulations from CMIP5 models identify declines in total Arctic sea ice extent and thickness (Sections;; Figure 3.3) which agree with observations (Massonnet et al., 2012; Stroeve et al., 2012a; Stroeve et al., 2014a; Stroeve and Notz, 2015). There is a range in the ability of individual models to simulate observed sea ice thickness spatial patterns and sea ice drift rates (Jahn et al., 2012; Stroeve et al., 2014a; Tandon et al., 2018). Reductions in Arctic sea ice extent scale linearly with both global temperatures and cumulative CO2 emissions in simulations and observations (Notz and Stroeve, 2016), although aerosols influenced historical sea ice trends (Gagné et al., 2017). The uncertainty in sea ice sensitivity (ice extent loss per unit of warming) is quite large (Niederdrenk and Notz, 2018) and the model sensitivity is too low in most CMIP5 models (Rosenblum and Eisenman, 2017). Emerging evidence suggests, however, that internal variability, including links between the Arctic and lower latitude, strongly influences the ability of models to simulate observed reductions in Arctic sea ice extent (Swart et al., 2015b; Ding et al., 2018).
CMIP5 models project continued declines in Arctic sea ice through the end of the century (Figure 3.3) (Notz and Stroeve, 2016) (high confidence). There is a large spread in the timing of when the Arctic may become ice free in the summer, and for how long during the season (Massonnet et al., 2012; Stroeve et al., 2012a; Overland and Wang, 2013) as a result of natural climate variability (Notz, 2015; Swart et al., 2015b; Screen and Deser, 2019), scenario uncertainty (Stroeve et al., 2012a; Liu et al., 2013), and model uncertainties related to sea ice dynamics (Rampal et al., 2011; Tandon et al., 2018) and thermodynamics (Massonnet et al., 2018). Internal climate variability results in an uncertainty of approximately 20 years in the timing of seasonally ice-free conditions (Notz, 2015; Jahn, 2018), but the clear link between summer sea ice extent and cumulative CO2 emissions provide a basis for when consistent ice-free conditions may be expected. For stabilized global warming of 1.5°C, sea ice in September is likely to be present at end of century with an approximately 1% chance of individual ice-free years (Notz and Stroeve, 2016; Sanderson et al., 2017; Jahn, 2018; Sigmond et al., 2018); after 10 years of stabilized warming at a 2°C increase, more frequent occurrence of an ice-free summer Arctic is expected (around 10-35%) (Mahlstein and Knutti, 2012; Jahn et al., 2016; Notz and Stroeve, 2016). Model simulations show that a temporary temperature overshoot of a warming target has no lasting impact on ice cover (Armour et al., 2011; Ridley et al., 2012; Li et al., 2013).

Policy and solutions / Re: Global economics and finances - impacts
« on: October 11, 2019, 09:06:09 PM »
Over the past two years, the African Development Bank has prioritized investments in renewable projects over coal.  They announced that they will no longer fund coal projects last month.

NAIROBI — The African Development Bank will no longer finance coal projects, bank president Akinwumi Adesina announced this week at the U.N. Climate Action Summit. It was the first public announcement by the bank committing to end financial support for coal.

“Coal is the past, renewable energy is the future,” Adesina told the audience. “For us at the African Development Bank, we are getting out of coal.”

The last coal investment the bank made, which was in 2015, was a supplementary loan of about $4 million for a small, 125 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Senegal that it originally financed in 2009, according to Oil Change International, a U.S.-based advocacy organization.

“The African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The share of renewable energy in the Bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14% when I became President in 2015 to 100% last year,” President Adesina said. “Our support last year alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. And, with adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020.”

The Bank has also committed to triple its climate financing to 40% of new approvals by 2020, and is deploying programs and actions to combat fragility and strengthen resilience.
This, the President explained, includes the Sahel region with a US $261-million program; the Horn of Africa with a $281.6-million program; and, for Lake Chad, now seriously affected by the degradation of its productive ecosystems, a US $101-million program to restore the productivity of the basin ecosystem.

The Desert to Power initiative spearheaded by the Bank aims to turn Africa’s deserts into new sources of energy, by working with partners to develop 10,000 MW of solar power systems across the Sahel. The initiative is expected to provide electricity to 250 million people, with 90 million of these provided through off-grid systems.

“We have already started with development of a 50 MW solar power system in Burkina Faso,” Adesina said. “The initiative will protect the Great Green Wall of trees established to protect against desertification in the Sahelian zone, from being cut down by energy-poor households for use as fuel wood. When completed, we expect this to be the largest solar power system zone in the world.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 11, 2019, 08:41:01 PM »
India’s solar and wind boom is fizzling - MIT Tech Review

Strong arm government actions (such as stopping paying suppliers to get lower prices) and too aggressive cuts in tariffs endanger India's plans for 175GW of renewable capacity by 2022 - could end up as low as 104GW. The problem when the state is highly corrupt and unpredictable.

The background: India had aimed to install 175 gigawatts of renewable generation by 2022, a central policy plank for the recently reelected Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the Mumbai rating agency CRISIL now predicts the country is going to miss those goals. The S&P-owned firm expects India will only reach 104 gigawatts by 2022, coming up more than 40% short, it said in a recent report.

What’s happening? The report notes that the state of Andhra Pradesh simply stopped paying developers, despite long-term power purchase contracts, in a strong-arm effort to force developers to slash rates. Meanwhile, the state-owned distribution companies have pushed down prices for proposed projects to the point where they’re often not financially viable.

These and related actions have chilled investment, stalled projects, and discouraged developers from bidding for new ones. In the last fiscal year, more than a quarter of state or federal auctions for new projects “received no or lukewarm bids.”

The underlying report:

Yes, India is known for that type of behavior.  It effects all projects, not just energy and in the energy sector, not just renewables.

However, even with the corruption involved, India has made good progress on building renewables.

Can India achieve 175 GW of renewable energy by end of FY22?
With only 23 GW of renewable power capacity left to bid, India is confident that the target of installing 175 GW of renewable power capacity will be met

Anilesh S Mahajan        Last Updated: October 11, 2019  | 21:10 IST

In a statement issued a day before the two day power ministers' summit at Tent City, Narmada in Gujarat, the MNRE spokesperson said, as of end-September, India has an installed renewable energy capacity of 82,580 MW and another 31,150 MW is at various stages of installation. By the first quarter of 2021, India would have installed more than 113 GW of renewable power capacity. It further stated that 39 GW of renewable power capacity is at various stages of bidding which would be installed by September 2021. With only 23 GW of renewable power capacity left to bid, India is confident that the target of installing 175 GW of renewable power capacity will be met.

Meanwhile, India has overbuilt coal power plants and many sit idled, in part due to the increase in wind and solar projects.

Has Growth in Electricity from Coal Stopped in Its Tracks?
Structural and short-term factors have brought India’s half-century rise in coal-fired power to a halt, at least for now.


Conventional thinking represented by the BP Energy Outlook or the International Energy Association’s forecast suggests that India’s thirst for electricity requires ever more coal.
But coal’s continuous rise has ground to at least a temporary halt.

As of this week, at just after the halfway point of FY’20, India has  generated less electricity from coal (and lignite – brown coal) than in the same period a year ago, while overall electricity production grew by 2.9%.

Data from the National Load Despatch Centre run by the Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) showed that this crossover took place on October 9th, with 2019-20’s cumulative coal generation dipping to just over 500 GWh less than the equivalent period in 2018/19.

One factor eating into coal’s share is the continued rise of renewable energy, especially solar.  Though still a modest contributor, and itself suffering from an investment dip and push-back by DISCOMS seeking lower tariffs (notably Andhra Pradesh), renewable energy has maintained generation growth and now provides just over 9% of India’s electricity on an annualised basis.  The Indian Electricity Grid Code 2010 requires discoms  to purchase renewable energy when available, which has the effect of squeezing out conventional power unless there is sufficient demand.

Will coal resume its upward march? A return to higher economic growth would be a necessary condition, and some of the temporary factors such as hydro’s recovery may stall or even reverse. In addition, periodic coal supply interruptions, such as that from late September’s Coal India strike or last week’s inundation of Chhattisgarh’s Dipka mine by the Lilagar river, may not recur. 

Even so, the coal power sector still faces barriers of excess capacity, decreasing competitiveness and massive new costs when air pollution controls finally take effect. Then there are constraints from uncertain cooling water availability.  These factors will hinder coal’s outlook whether or not the renewed global focus on climate change bolsters India’s ambition to curtail carbon emissions with enhanced goals and new policies.

No wonder, then, that the optimistic forecasts from BP and the IEA, which make broad statistical projections at the expense of taking a more fine-grained perspective, have been joined recently by far more measured commentary and analysis about coal’s place in India’s electricity future.

Consequences / Re: Global Dimming - The aerosol masking effect
« on: October 11, 2019, 08:12:34 PM »

There's a forum in the Science section about aerosols.  We've shared many papers on the subject.

Recently, someone went to a talk by a scientist specializing in aerosols and asked about the warming that would occur if we stopped producing man-made aerosols suddenly.

Did the question about a possible spike in warming from reduced aerosols with the reduction in fossil fuel burning come up?  If so, what was the answer?

Yes, I actually asked about Hansen et al.'s 2013 paper on aerosol masking, and the effect that immediately stopping production of sulfates via oil/coal/etc. Dr. Haywood said he respected Dr. Hansen, but believed that the warming effect would not be as great or as rapid as Hansen described. Additionally, Dr. Haywood said that sulfates would be replaced with other aerosols that occur naturally, the names of which escape me.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 11, 2019, 01:19:16 AM »
While the coal industry is looking to Vietnam to at least postpone its decline, Vietnam is going to renewables instead.

In a country like Vietnam, for instance, last year our story was that Vietnam was the country with the largest number of new coal fire power plants. They were going to build 25 new coal fire plants. And then the government came out with a new policy – [companies] get offered a [tariff] for large-scale solar.

Vietnam had a target to reach 4.5GW of solar then by 2025. This is a lot if you have nothing.
The target was to be reached by 2025, and to everybody’s surprise they reached that on the 1st of July this year.

From nothing to 4.5GW — and not plans, not ideas but projects that are already built and connected to the grid.

Hanoi (VNA) – Since 2017, the Vietnamese Government has issued a number of priority policies to develop renewable energy to boost production and attract domestic and foreign investment, heard a workshop in Hanoi on September 17.

As a result, in just two years, the proportion of renewable energy in the national electricity structure has increased rapidly to more than 9 percent with wind power and solar power being the two main sources.

Vietnam looks to solar to fill energy void
By Taylor McDonald -2019-09-24

Vietnam is looking to renewable energy solutions to solve a growing power shortfall which is intensified by the dispute with Beijing over oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 11, 2019, 12:46:09 AM »
Those of you interested in the East may want to look into the stranded assets in India and Bangladesh.

In May this year the Bangladesh Power Development Board halted approvals for new power plants because those already being constructed will be able to meet demand until 2030. There are differing views on whether Bangladesh is facing a power glut, but the discussion highlights the risks faced by Chinese investors in overseas power projects.

Buoyant electricity demand has made South and Southeast Asia key markets for energy investments by Chinese firms – particularly in coal power. But after the rapid expansion of power plant construction, some countries are facing power surpluses, increasing market and policy uncertainties, or seeing the profitability of coal-fired power fall and the risk of stranded assets rise. Chinese firms and financial institutions investing in overseas coal power projects should therefore take a long-term view of the investment environment and proceed with caution.

The following three factors explain how Bangladesh has gone from suffering power shortages to risking a surplus:

1. Estimates of electricity demand were based on GDP targets, not actual figures

Bangladesh’s 2016 plan for power sector development used government-set GDP growth targets to estimate future demand. So a target of 7.4% annual GDP growth from 2016 to 2020, combined with longer-term development plans, resulted in estimated 2030 demand of 40,000 MW. This approach did not consider cyclical fluctuation (such as seasonal and daily changes) and ongoing falls in the energy-intensity of the Bangladeshi economy. The chair of Bangladeshi consulting firm Power Cell has suggested the industry considers realistic electricity demand and improves its methodologies.

3. Existing capacity is underused

Oil-fired power makes up the bulk of generation capacity added over the past decade, with 80% of this being small 50-150 MW power plants. These smaller plants are inefficient and expensive. And with oil becoming more expensive and in short supply, some have not been running at full capacity, highlighting the price and supply risks faced by fossil fuel power generation.

Bangladesh is no isolated case. Initial estimates by Greenpeace, based on power and energy development plans, see a number of South and Southeast Asian nations at risk of power surpluses.

The Indonesian national power company, PLN, predicts annual growth in demand for electricity of 8.3% between 2017 and 2026, and has planned to expand capacity accordingly. But in reality, demand for electricity grew by only 3.1% in 2017. If PLN pushes ahead with its plans, the Java-Bali region will have a generation capacity 41% higher than peak demand, far higher than the Chinese industry standard of 20% to 30%. As a result, PLN reduced predicted annual growth for 2018-2027 to 6.9% and cancelled or delayed some projects, to reduce the risk of power surpluses.

Similar trends can be seen in Vietnam and Pakistan. Utilisation of coal power capacity in Vietnam is already at a historic low. Pakistan still suffers from power shortages, but IRENA predicts a reserve margin of 37% by 2020. The Pakistani government has already cancelled some unneeded coal power projects, including a Chinese one.

Signs of surpluses are appearing in multiple energy markets around the world. Chinese companies and financial institutions can avoid potential losses by recognising that risk and adjusting investment plans accordingly.

Greenpeace figures show that China was involved in 18.4 GW of coal-fired power projects in Bangladesh as of May 2019 – accounting for 78% of the country’s expected total coal-fired power capacity in 2022.

China is making huge investments in coal-fired power in Bangladesh, mostly in the form of equity investments. In the past, Chinese firms tended to sign Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) deals, which offered fixed returns if the plant was built and running on schedule. Equity investments go deeper, giving the Chinese firm a say in the running of the plant and a stake in long-term profits – but also mean longer-term risks. According to Greenpeace’s figures, 98% of Chinese coal-power projects in Bangladesh involve equity investments, and these are all already under construction, or in planning. Those in planning account for 76% of all equity investments. Information in the public domain does not allow for an estimate of how many of these Chinese-invested projects are at risk from the possible halting of approvals, but the risks to power investors of future surpluses in Bangladesh should not be underestimated.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 11, 2019, 12:16:13 AM »
‘Coal is still king’ in Southeast Asia even as countries work toward cleaner energy

The demand surge is primarily driven by Indonesia and Vietnam, accounting for almost 60% of Southeast Asian power demand by 2040, said Tao.

LOL.  Even in Southeast Asia, renewables beat coal on price.

The world’s dirtiest fossil fuel is in decline from the United States to western Europe. But in Southeast Asia coal has found one of its final frontiers: last year it was the only region where coal’s share of power generation grew. Yet the growing urgency of the climate crisis and increasingly affordable renewable power could help catalyze a regional shift away from the fuel towards cleaner energy.

But change might be afoot. “It’s an absolute pivot point for renewables in Southeast Asia,” Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told The Diplomat. While the region “has been a laggard” on renewable energy he points to game-changing recent developments. “The finances are shifting to green globally. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand will all pivot over the next two years.” Vietnam, for instance, has seen a surge in solar power development in the last year alone.

“No-one forecast Vietnam can do that. That’s how quickly you can pivot markets,” said Buckley. Earlier this month an auction for a solar power project in Cambodia saw the lowest power purchase tariff for solar so far in Southeast Asia. The Asian Development Bank, which supports the scheme, described it as “a new era for renewable energy development in Cambodia and the region”.

“In many ways Southeast Asia reminds me of where India was five years ago,” he added. “They built a significant number of coal plants, but now they’ve got stranded assets. It’s a big problem. Southeast Asia has the opportunity to avoid that.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 10, 2019, 11:55:34 PM »
South Africa's coal exporting companies are facing increased competition as global demand for coal declines.

A report on the export outlook for South African coal published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a respected international energy think-tank, warns that new energy technologies will replace coal-fired power faster than most predict.

Eskom and Sasol, which together take nearly two thirds of the 250 million tonnes of coal produced by South African mines each year, are planning to curb their use of the fossil fuel.

And there are signs that major coal importers like India, Pakistan and South Korea – which together take more than half of South Africa’s coal exports – are either transitioning away from coal or have limited growth potential. As the overall market shrinks, South Africa is expected to face increased competition from other coal exporters such as Indonesia, Australia and Russia.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 10, 2019, 11:38:31 PM »
The linked article on coal's decline in the southeastern US has some interesting predictions for the growth of solar in the region.

The ready availability of low-cost natural gas has led to a freefall in coal generation across the region over the past 10 years that has outpaced even the national drop in coal-fired generation. This, despite the fact that the area is home to companies such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, Southern Company and Duke Energy—three of the traditionally most coal-reliant utilities in the country. The decline is also noteworthy because the region’s utilities are still vertically integrated—controlling generation and transmission—and thus largely shielded from economic pressures like those in fast-changing markets like Texas and the PJM Interconnection,2 where more competitive generation resources often have an easier route to the market.

This is just the opening act in what is essentially a two-stage transition that will further erode coal’s generation market share in the region over the next five years and beyond—a trend that in several of the states affected could lead to the zeroing out of coal generation. The second act will be driven by solar, which, while still a modest contributor to regional electric output, is poised to grow substantially through the 2020s.
The region has 13.1 gigawatts of installed solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and more than two-thirds of that total is in just two states, North Carolina and Florida. But significant growth is on the horizon. SEIA sees an additional 21.5GW of solar coming online in the region by 2024,3 an outlook that may be already out-of-date given recent utility and state announcements that are likely to expand the total.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 10, 2019, 06:39:01 PM »
Poland is importing record amounts of electricity because it costs less than the domestically produced coal power.

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland is on track to import a record amount of electricity this year as power traders buy cheaper and cleaner electricity from neighboring countries, reducing demand for the mostly coal-fired energy produced by state-run utilities.

The majority of Poland’s electricity imports this year came from Sweden and Germany, where average wholesale prices in the first half of the year were 175 zlotys ($44.71) and 165 zlotys per MWh respectively compared to 229 zlotys in Poland.

Exports amounted to 2.9 TWh and 4.2 TWh in 2018 and 2017 respectively. Until 2014, Poland exported more energy than it imported.

Analysts said that while Poland continues to produce most of its electricity from coal, prices will be higher than in neighboring countries, which use more green energy sources.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 10, 2019, 06:34:46 PM »
China's largest energy companies are taking a huge financial risk with coal.

China's Coal Power Giants Seen Charging Ahead Into Climate Risks
By Jasmine Ng
October 6, 2019, 9:01 AM PDT

China’s top six listed coal-power generators are failing to respond to climate change, lagging international peers and leaving them misaligned with Beijing’s broader environmental policies, according to a sustainability and governance risk consultant.

That’s keeping shareholders without adequate information on how the firms are addressing climate change or adjusting their businesses to adapt, Singapore-based Asia Research & Engagement said in a report Monday. The companies, with a combined market capitalization of almost $91 billion at the mid-year, account for about a fifth of China’s power and emitted nearly 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide in 2017, according to ARE.

“China’s large listed power companies are struggling to take meaningful steps on the transition to cleaner energy,” ARE said in the report. “Foreign investors find it harder to justify holding shares.”

“International investors are under pressure to reduce exposure to coal,” ARE said in the report. “Without a transition pathway to generating portfolios with cleaner characteristics the companies will face increasing challenges in marketing their shares internationally.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 10, 2019, 05:53:16 PM »
Chile is replacing its coal plants with renewables.

Engie Energia Chile SA launched on Friday the construction phase of its investment plan to install 1,000 MW of renewables, which starts with three projects in the Chilean region of Antofagasta.

Two of the three are already in construction, the Chilean energy company said. These are the 150-MW Calama wind farm and the 100-MWp Capricornio solar park, both slated to begin operations throughout 2021.

Construction of the third project, the 120-MWp Tamaya solar park, is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020. Engie Chile estimates that the initial investment in the three schemes will reach around USD 300 million (EUR 273.4m).

The linked reference provides information about MISI and MICI and the IPCC's (consensus scientists) acceptance of those hypothesis.  The pertinent section is on pages 3-55 through 3-58 of the report.

Cross-Chapter Box 8: Future Sea Level Changes and Marine Ice Sheet Instability
Authors: Rob De Conto (USA), Alexey Ekaykin (Russian Federation), Andrew Mackintosh (Australia), Roderik van de Wal (Netherlands), Jeremy Bassis (USA)
Over the last century, glaciers were the main contributors to increasing ocean water mass (Section However, most terrestrial frozen water is stored in Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, and future changes in their dynamics and mass balance will cause sea level rise over the 21st century and beyond (Section 4.2.3).
About a third of Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is ‘marine ice sheet’, i.e. rests on bedrock below sea level (Figure 4.5), with most of the ice-sheet margin terminating directly in the ocean. These features make the overlying ice sheet vulnerable to dynamical instabilities with the potential to cause rapid ice loss - so-called Marine Ice Sheet and Marine Ice Cliff instabilities, as discussed below.

The disappearance of ice shelves may allow the formation of ice cliffs, which may be inherently unstable if they are tall enough (subaerial cliff height between 100 and 285 m) to generate stresses that exceed the strength of the ice (Parizek et al., 2019). This ice cliff failure can lead to ice sheet retreat via a process called marine ice cliff instability (MICI; Figure CB8.1b), that has been hypothesized to cause partial collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet within a few centuries (Pollard et al., 2015; DeConto and Pollard, 2016).
Limited evidence is available to confirm the importance of MICI. In Antarctica, marine-terminating ice margins with the grounding lines thick enough to produce unstable ice cliffs are currently buttressed by ice shelves, with a possible exception of Crane glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula (Section  Overall, there is low agreement on the exact MICI mechanism and limited evidence of its occurrence in the present or the past. Thus the potential of MICI to impact the future sea level remains very uncertain (Edwards et al., 2019).
Limited evidence from geological records and ice sheet modelling suggests that parts of AIS experienced rapid (i.e., on centennial time-scale) retreat likely due to ice sheet instability processes between 20,000 and 9,000 years ago (Golledge et al., 2014; Weber et al., 2014; Small et al., 2019). Both the West (including Pine Island glacier) and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet also experienced rapid thinning and grounding line retreat during the early to mid-Holocene (Jones et al., 2015b; Wise et al., 2017). In the Ross Sea, grounding lines may have retreated several hundred kilometers inland and then re-advanced to their present-day positions due to bedrock uplift after ice mass removal (Kingslake et al., 2018), thus supporting the stabilizing role of glacial isostatic adjustment on ice sheets (Barletta et al., 2018). These past rapid changes have likely been driven by the incursion of Circumpolar Deep Water onto the Antarctic continental shelf (Section (Golledge et al., 2014; Hillenbrand et al., 2017) and MISI (Jones et al., 2015b). Limited evidence of past MICI in Antarctica is provided by deep iceberg plough marks on the sea-floor (Wise et al., 2017).

In summary, Rob DeConto, one of the co-authors of the MICI papers, believes their is limited agreement or evidence for MICI, which may cause a partial collapse of the WAIS in a few centuries.

Policy and solutions / Re: Low GHG Meat
« on: October 09, 2019, 12:26:24 AM »
Adaptive multi-paddock (AMP)grazing can reduce the carbon footprint of cattle grazing and even turn grasslands where the grazing occurs into carbon sinks.

Beef has become one of the central villains of the climate crisis. Many environmentalists limit their cow consumption or eat entirely from lower levels of the food chain. But though it's true that global figures on beef's carbon hoofprint are worrisome, they perhaps also gloss over the complex system that these cows are a part of. There are many, many ways of producing burgers and steaks—and some ranchers argue cattle can actually be a force for good. In fact, cattle might play a surprising role in mitigating climate change. If done right, grazing can heal grasslands and enable them to stow away more carbon from the atmosphere, even becoming carbon-negative systems.

Often during the pasture stage, cattle are free to roam about entire ranches, nibbling on whatever patch of grass they like, whenever they want. But especially with large numbers of animals, this continuous grazing can erode the grassland ecosystem. Uninterrupted trampling can reduce a once-vibrant prairie to patches of scraggly, weedy plants and bare, compacted soil. And with that erosion and loss of plants goes the ability of the soil to store carbon in organic matter, a key function of grassy regions.

This bleak picture might lead you to question beef’s sustainability. But the grazer-grassland relationship is not inherently destructive; native ruminants and plants evolved together, and they have a mutually beneficial relationship in natural ecosystems. Millions of bison once roamed the United States, and they instinctively moved between pastures, giving plants and soil a chance to recover.

If done carefully, Kebreab says livestock grazing can mimic this natural function. Additionally, he notes, "the thing that people might not consider is that a lot of these cattle occupy land that's considered to be marginal—you can't really do anything apart from growing grass." So, when considering the amount of land used to produce beef, which many environmentalists cite as a negative impact, it's important to realize that that grazing land can support way more than cows. As long as the operation takes places on a natural rangeland—as opposed to the destructive practice of chopping down a forest to produce pasture—there's potential to foster a healthy ecosystem and store carbon in addition to producing beef.

Rotational grazing, including the AMP approach Ranney uses, seeks to mimic those historic herds of bison and other grazers that once trod the land, creating a microcosm of this ecological relationship. In it, a ranch is divided with fencing to create many smaller paddocks. The herd will chow down on one small area for as little as a few hours before ranchers move them to a new spot. Then, the mowed-down spot gets a long rest, usually at least a couple months. "This adaptive multi-paddock grazing is a way to manage [cattle] in a way that emulates large native herds of wildlife," says Steven Apfelbaum, an ecological consultant with Applied Ecological Services, Inc.

Managed grazing can transform a degraded area, a net carbon source, into a net carbon sink, according to Richard Teague, a range ecologist at Texas A&M University. Based on data he collected "across the fence" between Texas ranches, he calculated that AMP grazing could store a ton of carbon per hectare of land per year in a site that previously was continuously grazed. For wetter climates where plants grow faster, that rate is likely even higher.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 09, 2019, 12:09:10 AM »
Japan is facing billions of dollars in stranded coal assets as renewables become cheaper than coal.

As Solar and Wind Become Cheaper, Japan Faces Billions in Stranded Coal Assets
The decreasing costs of solar and wind energy could generate $71 billion in stranded coal assets in Japan by 2025, according to a new report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a financial think tank, and the University of Tokyo. Offshore wind power will be cheaper than coal in Japan by 2022, new solar cheaper by 2023, and onshore wind less expensive by 2025.

“Building coal power today equals high-cost power and fiscal liabilities tomorrow,” the report says. “Japan’s planned and operating coal capacity is partially protected by regulations that give coal generators an unfair advantage in the marketplace.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 08, 2019, 10:49:30 PM »
Another utility releases plans to shut down coal plants and replace them with wind and solar backed up by battery storage.

The Yakima Herald reports that PacifiCorp derives 56% of its electricity from coal-fired plants, a statistic that has made it a target for criticism by environmental groups. Now, however, the company says it is embarking on a plan to close two-thirds of those emission-spewing beasts by 2030 and most of the rest by 2038 and replace them with wind and solar coupled with battery storage. Renewables “are simply more cost-effective to meet our customer needs,” said Rick Link, a PacifiCorp vice president, during a conference call with reporters.

During that time period, the utility company plans to invest billions of dollars in wind, solar, and battery storage. Here are the details of the PacifiCorp plan as reported by Green Tech Media.
3,000 megawatts of new solar in Utah paired with 635 megawatts of battery storage, phased in between 2020 and 2037
1,415 megawatts of new solar in Wyoming paired with 354 megawatts of battery storage, phased in between 2024 and 2038
1,075 megawatts of new solar in Oregon paired with 244 megawatts of battery storage, phased in between 2020 and 2033
814 megawatts of new solar in Washington paired with 204 megawatts of battery storage, phased in between 2024 and 2036.

Rick Link insists shutting down the coal-fired power plants on a tighter timeline would risk a shortage of supply that could force the utility to purchase electricity on the spot market, which could be very expensive. The likelihood of that happening increases if other western utility companies also shut down their coal plants ahead of schedule.

The only reason for not shutting down the coal plants sooner is that there aren't enough renewable plants yet!

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: October 08, 2019, 10:06:52 PM »
Bernie has announced that he'll resume campaigning after the October 15th debate, which he is participating in.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said the heart attack that has briefly sidelined him from the campaign trail did not mean he would be moving up the timeline to release his medical records, telling reporters they would come out “at the appropriate time.”
“We always planned to release them and we have more medical records, obviously, now” after the heart attack, he explained to reporters staked out outside of his Burlington, Vt., home.

The senator has vowed he’ll be on stage for next week’s Democratic debate, where his aides are betting he’ll showcase his strength and resiliency. Until then, though, Sanders has canceled his campaign events, emerging from his house for periodic walks with his wife Jane as the cameras roll.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: October 08, 2019, 08:25:56 PM »
Thanks Vox.

Here's the abstract from that paper.

Oceanic emissions represent a highly uncertain term in the natural atmospheric methane (CH4) budget, due to the sparse sampling of dissolved CH4 in the marine environment. Here we overcome this limitation by training machine-learning models to map the surface distribution of methane disequilibrium (∆CH4). Our approach yields a global diffusive CH4 flux of 2–6TgCH4yr−1 from the ocean to the atmosphere, after propagating uncertainties in ∆CH4 and gas transfer velocity. Combined with constraints on bubble-driven ebullitive fluxes, we place total oceanic CH4 emissions between 6–12TgCH4yr−1, narrowing the range adopted by recent atmospheric budgets (5–25TgCH4yr−1) by a factor of three. The global flux is dominated by shallow near-shore environments, where CH4 released from the seafloor can escape to the atmosphere before oxidation. In the open ocean, our models reveal a significant relationship between ∆CH4 and primary production that is consistent with hypothesized pathways of in situ methane production during organic matter cycling.

The total oceanic emissions of 6 - 12 TgCH4 per year seems to rule out the S&S estimate of 8 - 17 Tg from the ESAS alone.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 08, 2019, 07:58:16 PM »
With all of the bad news at the Federal Government level, it's easy to overlook the progress that is being made in the transition to a carbon free economy.  With renewables being cheaper than fossil fuels, "green-washing" has given way to lowering costs by going green.

At a time when the federal government is increasingly stepping away from addressing issues like sustainability and climate change, corporate America is stepping up. Retail giants from Target to Walmart to Amazon; and tech titans from Apple to Google to Facebook, are taking action to respond because it’s good for business and good for corporate image. For many consumers, addressing core issues like climate change and sustainability go hand-in-hand with attracting their business.

Going green has never looked so good — or cost so little. Solar power is almost 90 percent cheaper than it was 10 years ago and wind power is about 70 percent cheaper, said Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive of the American Council on Renewable Energy, a nonprofit that promotes the transition to renewable power. That explains why companies in the United States purchased three times as much power generated from solar and wind energy in 2018 than they did the year before.

“Every aspect of retailing’s machine is going to be modernized and ultimately energized green,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst at The NPD Group, a research and consulting specialist. This green evolution not only applies to energy use, but everything from packaging to fuel consumption during delivery, he said. “Retailers will chase greenness to be viewed as part of their DNA.”

This has left many of the world’s biggest companies falling all over themselves to embrace solar power, wind power and other renewables. But over the past decade, major retailers like Target and Walmart, who use vast quantities of energy in their stores, have gone from sticking a toe in the water to diving in headfirst.

I think that many of the posters on this site who embrace a negative outlook on the growth of renewables are under-estimating the pace of the transition.  They think that the current deployment rates, which involve decisions made when renewables cost more than fossil fuel energy, can be used to forecast the future.

But new investments being made now will have to take into account that it's cheaper to build new renewable power plants (or slap a bunch of solar panels on a roof) than it is to buy power from an operating fossil fuel plant.  That means that the only limit on how fast fossil fuels will be phased out is how quickly new wind and solar plants can be built.

That's not hopium, that's economics.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: October 08, 2019, 07:46:36 PM »
China's situation is pretty complicated.  On the one hand, the Government claims it is acting to clean up pollution and working to cap China's carbon emissions.  On the other, it keeps approving new coal-fired power plants, even though they will have to shut down before they reach the end of thier useful lives.

The huge Mengneng Xilin Thermal Power Plant's third unit, expected to deliver 700 megawatts of power to China's north, was ordered to cease construction in January 2017.
The order came from China's National Energy Administration as part of a government plan to eliminate millions of tons of "overcapacity" caused by a rush of approvals and the construction of "illegal" power plants. It is also part of President Xi Jinping's pledge to reduce the country's reliance on coal and reach peak carbon emissions by 2030.

But even as China reiterated its commitment to reducing emissions last week in New York, earlier this month at least three large, new coal-fired power stations appeared to be either operating or under construction in Inner Mongolia in northern China -- including Mengneng Xilin.

In 2018, China sourced 59% of its energy from coal and 22% from gas, nuclear power and renewable energy.

By next year, it has pledged to reduce its reliance on coal to 58%, and to continue ramping up its renewable energy to a target of 20% by 2030. In 2017, China accounted for almost half of all investment in renewable energy worldwide.

"I think on one hand, China has already become the largest manufacturer developer and investor when it comes to some of the most advanced renewable technologies," Greenpeace's Li said.
"But on the other hand... China is pumping money into coal, both at home but also overseas."

According to Climate Action Tracker, China's carbon emissions rose an estimated 2.3% in 2018, the second consecutive year of growth after emissions appeared to stall between 2014 and 2016.

The quiet approvals of these coal power plants doesn't just make life harder for the Inner Mongolian herders or local officials struggling to meet their pollution goals, it could completely undermine global efforts to stop climate change.

Analysis by climate change activist group CoalSwarm, released in 2018, found that if China finished construction on all the new planned coal power plants while still operating their older stations, it would make it very difficult for the international community to avoid rapid temperature increases.

"Complying with the Paris agreement requires rapid retirement of the current coal fleet and no additional capacity additions," the analysis said.

Not only is China's funding of coal power stations domestically a problem, but a 2019 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found that Chinese companies were helping or promising to finance at least one in four newly-constructed polluting plants globally.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: October 08, 2019, 06:06:35 PM »
US Official: Research Finds Uranium in Navajo Women, Babies

About a quarter of Navajo women and some infants who were part of a federally funded study on uranium exposure had high levels of the radioactive metal in their systems, decades after mining for Cold War weaponry ended on their reservation, a U.S. health official Monday.

The early findings from the University of New Mexico study were shared during a congressional field hearing in Albuquerque. Dr. Loretta Christensen—the chief medical officer on the Navajo Nation for Indian Health Service, a partner in the research—said 781 women were screened during an initial phase of the study that ended last year.

Among them, 26% had concentrations of uranium that exceeded levels found in the highest 5% of the U.S. population, and newborns with equally high concentrations continued to be exposed to uranium during their first year, she said.

The hearing held in Albuquerque by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Haaland and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, all Democrats from New Mexico, sought to underscore the atomic age's impact on Native American communities.

At Laguna Pueblo, home to Haaland's tribe, the Jackpile-Paguate Mine was once among the world's largest open-pit uranium mines. It closed several decades ago, but cleanup has yet to be completed.

In her testimony, Christensen described how Navajo residents in the past had used milling waste in home construction, resulting in contaminated walls and floors.

While no large-scale studies have connected cancer to radiation exposure from uranium waste, many have been blamed it for cancer and other illnesses.

By the late 1970s, when the mines began closing around the reservation, miners were dying of lung cancer, emphysema or other radiation-related ailments.

Thanks Vox.

Nuclear advocates often overlook the radiation exposure to surrounding communities from mining operations.  It's good to remind them of the dangers that nuclear power poses, even if the reactors are run safely (which they often aren't).

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: October 08, 2019, 05:54:09 PM »
Scientists have achieved a big breakthrough in Lithium-Carbon Dioxide batteries.  If it can be brought to market, it will help with EVs, storage for renewable energy and provide a market for captured CO2.  They have seven times the energy density of current Lithium ion batteries, however, they only last 500 recharges.  That's a big step up from 10 charges which was their previous limit.

For many years, scientists have salivated at the prospects of finding a material that could significantly extend the life of Li-ion batteries and allow them to last longer between charges. Now, researchers have discovered that lithium-carbon dioxide batteries fit the bill beautifully, since they possess up to 7x higher energy density than the common Li-ion batteries.

But one little problem has been dogging them, though: they just couldn’t figure out how to make them last beyond a few charge cycles.

Until now.

Only last year, researchers at MIT demonstrated a prototype that lasted a grand total of 10 charge cycles. At the time it was an important breakthrough that solved one of the problems in the market. It was a game-changer, even though it didn’t provide enough efficiency.

But now that’s about to change. The newer version by the University of Illinois is an even bigger step-up in terms of the shellacking it can take in the form of charge cycles before giving up the ghost.

The technical cul de sac that the researchers have overcome revolves around a tendency of carbon buildup on the catalyst during charging.

How it works

So, how does this new wonder gadget work?

According to Amin Salehi-Khojin, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC's College of Engineering and author of the paper, lithium-carbon dioxide batteries have been plagued by the accumulation of carbon, which not only blocks the active sites of the catalyst but also prevents efficient diffusion of carbon dioxide and triggers electrolyte decomposition in a charged state.

To get around this challenge, Salehi-Khojin and his colleagues used a hybrid electrolyte in conjunction with molybdenum disulfide as a cathode catalyst to help incorporate carbon in the cycling process.

In plain speak, the scientists created a single multi-component composite product rather than a hodgepodge of separate products, which helped to enhance the recycling process.

While the new batteries still cannot hold a candle to high-end Tesla batteries that can be recharged up to 5,000 times and last up to a million miles, 500 charge cycles is good enough to make them practical for many everyday uses, including in portable power packs, smartphones, UPS systems and possibly even some electric vehicles.

The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: October 07, 2019, 09:31:47 PM »
I'm sorry that Bernie is not a few years younger. Hope he recovers (though I doubt he'll campaign anymore)

He's announced that he'll be at the debate on October 15th.  He'll probably resume campaigning after that.

And he has senior people from his campaign going to scheduled events in Iowa and South Carolina this week.  If he wasn't going to resume campaigning, they wouldn't be doing that.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 07, 2019, 09:00:35 PM »
The long-term outlook for the oil industry is even worse, as the number of new oil field discoveries is at a historic low.

The last three years has been the worst stretch of time in seventy years for new conventional oil discoveries.

A new report from IHS Markit finds that conventional oil discoveries plunged to a seven-decade low and “a significant rebound is not expected.” Conventional exploration – as opposed to unconventional development, including shale – had already been trending down following the 2008 global financial crisis and its aftermath, which overlapped with the rise of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in several U.S. shale basins.

But the collapse of oil prices in 2014 really knocked conventional exploration – and thus, discoveries – on its back.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 07, 2019, 08:53:27 PM »
Meanwhile, the frackers in the rest of the US are having trouble getting money to continue their operations.

The growth in U.S. shale production is grinding to a halt as low prices put drillers in a financial vice.
The slowdown has been unfolding for much of 2019, but the latest slide in oil prices is another blow to cash-strapped companies.

Rig counts have fallen by 20 percent since last year, drilling is down, hotel rates are down, and employment is in decline. “If you can’t wring out any costs savings then you’ve got to buy less stuff if you want to get your costs down, and that’s the phase we’re entering into,” Jesse Thompson, senior business economist at the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told Bloomberg.

According to a survey of financial institutions as well as oil and gas firms by law firm Haynes and Boone, the industry is set to see “a decrease in credit availability for producers and a strong interest in alternative sources of capital.”

In other words, lenders are turning off the spigots.
Interestingly, when respondents were asked when equity markets might reopen for upstream oil and gas companies, only 25 percent said 2020, while 47 percent said 2021. A further 14 percent said 2022 and 13 percent said sometime after 2022. That suggests that the vast majority of industry and financial players see several years of restricted access to credit for the shale industry.
Without capital, shale drillers have to take an axe to their spending budgets, which means less drilling and ultimately lower-than-expected U.S. oil production. It also means that bankruptcies are likely to continue to pile up. Through the end of September, there have been 199 oil and gas bankruptcies in North America since 2015, according to Haynes and Boone, and the number of companies folding this year is at the highest since 2016.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: October 07, 2019, 08:50:10 PM »
Trump administration approves California gas fracking plan
The Trump administration has finalized its plans to open hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land in Central California to oil and gas leasing, paving the way for more fracking to soon begin in the state.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the oil and gas exploration plan “based on the administration’s goal of strengthening energy independence and the BLM support of an all-of-the-above energy plan that includes oil and gas underlying America’s public lands,” it said in its record of decision released Friday.
“Turning over these spectacular wild places to dirty drilling and fracking will sicken Californians, harm endangered species and fuel climate chaos. We’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure it doesn’t happen,” Lakewood said in a statement from the group.

The Center for Biological Diversity was behind the lawsuit that effectively halted BLM oil and gas leasing in California since 2013. A U.S. District Court ruled that BLM failed to consider the environmental impacts of fracking when evaluating drilling leases, forcing the federal government to restart the planning process.

LOL.  Another Trump announcement that plays well to his base but will go nowhere.  Due to geology.  And public opposition.

Geology Poses a Problem
Why did the shale boom leave California behind? California has a significant oil resource in the Monterey Shale. In 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that the Monterey Shale could hold up to 23.9 billion barrels of oil. At that time this was more than the Texas Eagle Ford and North Dakota Bakken Shales combined.
However, the EIA later slashed its estimate of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale by 96% to just 600 million barrels. There are several reasons for this.
The primary reason is that the Monterey Shale is more geologically complex than other shale formations. It is jumbled and folded, which means it can't be as easily exploited by horizontal drilling.
As part of my research, I checked the trajectory and number of wells being drilled in Texas and California. According to the Baker Hughes Interactive Rig Count Map, in early March there were 502 drilling rigs in Texas, with 92% of those drilling horizontal wells. In California there were only 15 drilling rigs, with 20% drilling horizontal wells. So the geology of the Monterey is the single biggest issue.
Environmental Opposition
But there are other barriers.
The resistance to fracking in California is much greater than in Texas, with more restrictive rules and some localized bans. This is especially true in areas where California's oil resource is under prime agricultural land. Farmers are among those concerned both about the competition for scarce water, and that fracking could potentially contaminate the water supply.
As an aside, I would point out that the aquifers are near the surface, where each year farmers put thousands of tons of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers directly on the ground. (Source.) There are also highways, cities, and plenty of industrial activity directly above the aquifers. These aquifers are a few hundred feet below the surface, but residents seem more concerned about fracking thousands of feet below the aquifers.
Conclusion: California Shale Boom Unlikely
In any case, even if California residents completely embraced the idea of fracking, it is unlikely that the state would experience the kind of boom seen in places like Texas and North Dakota. Geology has conspired against California.

One significant reason (others include: more than expected heat has gone into the oceans and into melting ice and that the negative impact of aerosols were greater than previously assumed) that estimates of ECS based on observed changes in mean global temperature are lower than what society is likely going to face for the rest of this century...

Recent studies indicate that the aerosol effect has been overestimated, not underestimated.

Uncertainty in pre-industrial natural aerosol emissions is a major component of the overall uncertainty in the radiative forcing of climate. Improved characterisation of natural emissions and their radiative effects can therefore increase the accuracy of global climate model projections. Here we show that revised assumptions about pre-industrial fire activity result in significantly increased aerosol concentrations in the pre-industrial atmosphere. Revised global model simulations predict a 35% reduction in the calculated global mean cloud albedo forcing over the Industrial Era (1750–2000 CE) compared to estimates using emissions data from the Sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. An estimated upper limit to pre-industrial fire emissions results in a much greater (91%) reduction in forcing. When compared to 26 other uncertain parameters or inputs in our model, pre-industrial fire emissions are by far the single largest source of uncertainty in pre-industrial aerosol concentrations, and hence in our understanding of the magnitude of the historical radiative forcing due to anthropogenic aerosol emissions.

Depending on the emitted species, modelled total global fire emissions in the PI are estimated to be between approximately two-and-a-half and five times higher than those in the CMIP6 dataset (Supplementary Table 2), reflecting the large contribution to the uncertainty in fire emissions from fire modelling processes and assumptions about land use change (see Methods). These differences also lie well outside the perturbations assumed in multi-model sensitivity studies36, and have a different spatial distribution due to differences in fire emissions corresponding with changes in the location of PI fire occurrence rather than a uniform global increase. Seasonal patterns in fire emissions are similar between fire models, except in spring where LMfire simulates significantly more emissions than SIMFIRE-BLAZE in both hemispheres (Supplementary Figure 4). Overall, the fire model simulations suggest that a large source of PI aerosol emissions is currently missing from climate models and the CMIP6 experiments.

Organic nucleation is an important source of atmospheric aerosol number concentration, especially in pristine continental regions and during the preindustrial period. Here, we improve on previous simulations that overestimate boundary layer nucleation in the tropics and add changes to climate and land use to evaluate climate forcing. Our model includes both pure organic nucleation and heteromolecular nucleation of sulfuric acid and organics and reproduces the profile of aerosol number concentration measured in the Amazon. Organic nucleation decreases the sum of the total aerosol direct and indirect radiative forcing by 12.5%. The addition of climate and land use change decreases the direct radiative forcing (−0.38 W m−2) by 6.3% and the indirect radiative forcing (−1.68 W m−2) by 3.5% due to the size distribution and number concentration change of secondary organic aerosol and sulfate. Overall, the total radiative forcing associated with anthropogenic aerosols is decreased by 16%.

Unfortunately, it appears that the CMIP6 models are being run with aerosol effects that are higher than they should be, so that may explain why they're coming in with higher ECS than the CMIP5 models (which tend to run hotter than observations).

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 02, 2019, 08:23:29 PM »
In my (unpopular) opinion: This thread and the cars, the spaceX and the Tesla threads are for highly addicted people that are in 'the bubble', desperately clinging to the modernist futuristic SF dreams. Not wanting to let go of destructive technology, high energy use, lazyness and egoism (i.e. it's only for the rich and the rest can F* off, "I don't wanna think about it, the losers").

I think social and infrastructure collapse will happen in the coming 10 years. So in my view there's no time for all the proposed multi-decadal tech solutions. After collapse, the technological progress and supplylines stop and you have only the machines you own until they break down and you have nothing. Even repairing will be hardly possible; you won't be able to buy new parts. That goes for all 'renewable' energy tech.
In stead of switching your high energy lifestyles to a renewable green variant, the best is to use less energy. To minimise your energy use, to only use a minimal amount of technology. To forgo of all the shiny buttons and start using your body. OK it goes completely against consumerism so will not happen. It's the addiction. Even for most well-informed people on this forum.
I estimate collapse in 30 years, not 10. Makes a big difference as to whether partial solutions that can't scale to 8 or 10 billion people are still better than doing nothing. If collapse comes in 10 years we can all just lay down and die, but I think your timeline is not realistic.
On a wider note, why do you assume that people who follow such "Green BAU" trends necessarily do it to maintain their filthy rich lifestyle? Have you considered that humanity is not just you (the moral one living a relatively sustainable lifestyle) and me and others on this forum (striving to be better but nowhere near where we should be) but multitudes of others who care nothing about doing better, whether because they are busy surviving, or they don't believe the science, or they just don't care. And these multitudes buy 100 million new cars per year, use gazillions of joules of energy, and consume the planet to oblivion.
Anything that causes these multitudes to consume less, use less energy and pollute less is something I would cheer. I am specifically interested in solutions that cause non-environmentalists and non-minded people to consume less and use less energy, because that's where you get the most improvement in absolute terms, even if in percentage terms it's rather little and certainly not enough.
I support and cheer this "partial solution" even if it maintains BAU. Because BAU is happening whether you like it or not, and a thousand or ten thousand like you won't prevent BAU from happening. And over 30 years the effect will be positive, and the world we leave to our descendants will be a little bit less harsh.
Of course I would prefer a complete solution, and I advocate for it when I can, but I am a realist so I estimate that it will not happen. I see that you share the same sentiment.

It would certainly be easier to reduce the impacts of climate change if people adopted lifestyles that were easier on the environment, but short of a collapse, that isn't going to happen.  Instead, we see people in less developed countries wanting to attain the lifestyles of the wealthier nations and people in the wealthier countries wanting to maintain or even improve their standards of living.

The science doesn't support collapse at 1.5 C or 2 C of increased temperatures, which we can achieve if we get off of fossil fuels by 2050.  Delaying that means that wealthier countries will have to spend some money on carbon removal infrastructure later this century.  We may overshoot the desired target by a tenth or two-tenths of degree, but that doesn't trigger a catastrophic tipping point.  You may want to actually read the IPCC 2018 report on the differences between 1.5C and 2.0C.

Fortunately, the transition to carbon free electricity and transportation isn't science fiction.  It's well underway.  Wind and solar are currently cheaper than fossil fuels and electric vehicles will soon be cheaper than gas/diesel vehicles.  And more attention is being paid to restoring soils through and restoring soils to act as a carbon sink and reduce methane emissions through better agricultural practices.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: October 02, 2019, 01:32:51 AM »
Good news about renewables in the report, "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2019" published by the UNEP in September.  Here's the link to the report.

Here are some excerpts:


- Investment in renewables capacity in 2018 was about three times global investment in coal and gas-fired generation capacity combined. This came despite further reductions last year in the average capital cost per MW of solar and wind projects.

- The world added a record 167GW of new capacity of renewables excluding large hydro in 2018, with solar additions hitting their own record of 108GW. This helped renewables excluding large hydro to raise its share of global electricity generation, from 11.6% in 2017 to 12.9% in 2018, helping the world to avoid an estimated 2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions

Permafrost / Re: Toward Improved Discussions of Methane & Climate
« on: October 02, 2019, 12:41:30 AM »
The findings that stand out to me are that the increases are mostly from anthropogenic sources.  With all the hype that's given to "the permafrost is melting" or "methane craters are exploding in Siberia", that seems surprising.  However, if you follow what's been happening with fracking for natural gas and increased coal mining in China, it's not surprising.

Here's the summary on anthropogenic sources.

Based on the ensemble of databases detailed above, total anthropogenic emissions were 366 [348-392] Tg CH4 yr-1 for the decade 2008-2017 (Table 3, including biomass and biofuel burning) and 334 [325-357] Tg CH4 yr-1 for the preceding decade 2000-2009.

Global emissions of methane from fossil fuels, other industries and transport are estimated from four global inventories yielding 127 [111-154] Tg CH4 yr-1 for the 2008-2017 decade (Table 3), but with large differences in the rate of change during this period across inventories. The sector accounts on average for 35% (range 30-42%) of the total global anthropogenic emissions.

An average increase of 32 Tg methane emissions per year this decade compared to the previous decade.

By contrast, estimates of emissions from the ESAS have gone down.

For geological emissions, the most used value has long been 20 Tg CH4 yr-1, relying on expert knowledge and literature synthesis proposed in a workshop reported in Kvenvolden et al. (2001), the author of this study recognising that this was a first estimation and needs revision. Since then, oceanographic campaigns have been organized, especially to sample bubbling areas of active seafloor gas seep bubbling. For instance, Shakhova et al. (2010; 2014) infer 8-17 Tg CH4 yr-1 emissions just for the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), based on the extrapolation of numerous but local measurements, and possibly related to thawing subseabed permafrost (Shakhova et al., 2015). Because of the highly heterogeneous distribution of dissolved CH4 in coastal regions, where bubbles can most easily reach the atmosphere, extrapolation of in situ local measurements to the global scale can be hazardous and lead to biased global estimates. Indeed, using very precise and accurate continuous land shore-based atmospheric methane observations in the Arctic region, Berchet et al. (2016) found a range of emissions for ESAS of ~2.5 Tg CH4 yr-1 (range [0-5]), 4-8 times lower than Shakhova’s estimates. Such a reduction in ESAS emission estimate has also been inferred from oceanic observations by Thornton et al. (2016a) with a maximum sea-air CH4 flux of 2.9 Tg CH4 yr-1 for this region.
Therefore, as discussed in Section 3.2.2, we report here a reduced range of 5-10 Tg CH4 yr-1 for marine geological emissions compared to the previous budget, with a mean value of 7 Tg CH4 yr-1.

Thawing permafrost on land also gets a lot of attention.  Here's how it contributes the current global methane budget.

The thawing permafrost can generate direct and indirect methane emissions. Direct methane emissions rely on the release of methane contained in the thawing permafrost. This flux to the atmosphere is small and estimated to be at maximum 1 Tg CH4 yr-1 at present (USEPA, 2010a). Indirect methane emissions are probably more important. They rely on: 1) methanogenesis induced when the organic matter contained in thawing permafrost is released; 2) the associated changes in land surface hydrology possibly enhancing methane production (McCalley et al., 2014); and 3) the formation of more thermokarst lakes from erosion and soil collapsing. Such methane production is probably already significant today and could be more important in the future associated with a strong positive feedback to climate change (Schuur et al., 2015). However, indirect methane emissions from permafrost thawing are difficult to estimate at present, with very few data to refer to, and in any case largely overlap with wetland and freshwater emissions occurring above or around thawing areas. For instance, based on lake and soil measurements (Walter Anthony et al., 2016) found that methane emissions (~4 Tg CH4 yr-1) from thermokarst areas of lakes that have expanded over the past 60 years were directly proportional to the mass of soil carbon inputs to the lakes from the erosion of thawing permafrost. Here, we choose to report only the direct emission range of 0-1 Tg CH4 yr-1, keeping in mind that current wetland, thermokarst lakes and other freshwater methane emissions already likely include a significant indirect contribution originating from thawing permafrost. For the next century, it is estimated that 5-15% of the terrestrial permafrost carbon pool is vulnerable to release in the form of greenhouse gases, corresponding to 130-160 Pg C (Koven et al., 2015). The likely progressive release in the atmosphere of such an amount of carbon as carbon dioxide and methane may have a significant impact on climate change trajectory (Schuur et al., 2015). The underlying methane hydrates represent a substantial reservoir of methane, estimated up to 530 000 Tg of CH4 (Ciais et al., 2013). Although local to regional studies are conducted (e.g. Kuhn et al., 2018; Kohnert et al., 2017), present and future emissions related to this reservoir are difficult to assess for all the Arctic at the moment and still require more work.

So if we can decrease the use of fossil fuels, we can greatly reduce the methane concentrations in the atmosphere.

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