Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Here follows an extract of a conversation I have had with members of the Claverton Energy Research Forum, which I have cut-and-paste into a more easy-to-read fashion below the fold :-

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/59dfb3351bb432ec?q=abbess&lnk=ol&

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/bfec36913d002b91?lnk=gst&q=abbess#bfec36913d002b91

As you can see, there are Climate Change sceptic-deniers everywhere, even in the most knowledgeable and respectable circles.

Countering Climate Change denial from so-called “sceptics” takes a lot of time and energy, and is a bump-in-the-road nuisance/irritation distraction from the main priority for human civilisation, which is how to stop being addicted to Fossil Fuels.

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date: 17/08/2010
from: jo abbess
to: Claverton Energy Research Forum

Dear Clavertonians,

If all goes according to plan, I am about to start the second year of a part-time Masters Degree in “*********************************************”.

It should come as no surprise to you that I have chosen Energy, specifically, how to manage the Low Carbon Transition, as the focus area for my original research.

I am interested in how policy and technology frameworks (including targets and standard setting) are changing the landscape for what I call the “Energy Revival”.

I am also engaged by the use of money to effect change, whether through pricing of pollution and emissions, or selectively boosting the uptake of specific technologies, through a combination of subsidy, tax breaks, rebates, regulation, monitoring and targeted investment, in infrastructure or otherwise.

Naturally enough, my tutor has told me I need to do a review of the academic literature before I begin asking documentable questions.

And this is where you, potentially, could come in.

If you know anything I should read, or guess I would find useful, please let me know the citation or reference.

Also, I have no ideas what journals and publications I should be reading regularly, so clues about that too would be welcome.

It would also be useful to have pointers to the organisations that you think are doing the best work on questions of energy investment, “green stimulus”, Green New Deal-type work, policy thinktanking and financial research.

I am interested in developing a network of contacts for the “asking the question” phase of data collection. If you think I should definitely seek the views of particular people, please say who they are. (Yes, before anyone asks, I have already started a dialogue with Gregor Czisch).

Any collaboration will be duly noted in my write-up (about one year from now) !

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17/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Jo

# Questions you may want to pursue could include:

1: Why was the IPCC mandate structured to assume Global Climate Change was anthropogenic in nature, and not a natural phenomenon, probably supplemented to some degree by anthropogenic activity?

2: Given that Dr. James Hansen says atmospheric CO2 must be decreased to less than 350 PPM and we are now at 390 and rising, is there any reasonable expectation that teh World can constrain its present CO2 emissions and remove the necessary CO2 from the atmosphere, in time to avoid GCC?

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17/08/2010
from: Dave McGrath

Jo

Just a thought. Climate change management an “how to manage the Low Carbon Transition”

A low carbon economy implies retaining fossil carbons. Suppose we took a carbon displacement strategy rather than carbon management this simple switch in emphasis changes the debate yet achieves every carbon management objective. As energy then must come locally the transfer of economic activity from exporting cash in exchange for fossils to producing it locally means the money remains within the local economy.

I could go on.

Fossils simply cannot continue to meet global energy demand which continues to rise globally

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17/08/2010
from: Julia Szajdzicka

Hello Jo is your focus international or UK? And also could I ask which university are doing this masters with?

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17/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your comments.

1. The massive and rapid increase in the concentrations of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere owing to mankind’s activities is the single largest factor in projections for future Global temperatures, which is why the IPCC reports focus on the impacts of this Anthropogenic radiative forcing. It is, in effect, almost directly equivalent to a sudden massive pulse of extra Greenhouse Gas in the Atmosphere, completing overriding any normal warming or cooling factors.

2. We have been dealt a very poor hand – it is unlikely that we will be able to significantly reduce the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere over the short term. I don’t see anybody being prepared to starve the world’s economy to pay for Carbon Capture and Storage. The best that we can hope for is a rapid stabilisation of emissions to air and then a phased reduction of emissions over the next few decades. Even so, the current situation means that a further warming of around 1 degree C is locked in, regardless of emissions control.

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17/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Julia,

I intend to focus quite strongly on electricity (obviously) – and there is a growing international collaboration in this area – so yes, I’m going to have some global reach, hopefully.

My place of study is *********** College, part of the University of ***************.

The MSc course is convened in the Department of *********************************, so an international flavour to my study is highly appropriate.

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17/08/2010
from: Andrew Smith

Hi Jo,

what software are you using for reference management? CiteULike, Zotero, Mendeley? I can probably export you my library metadata if that would be helpful. Email me off-board, or ring, for info.

Check out the UKERC TPA studies – their reference sections are a
goldmine of useful leads on the literature, and come in a handy grouped form – all of the papers on intermittency, in the intermittency TPA, and so on:
http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-index.php?page=TPA%20Overview

I take it your Masters gives you a Shibboleth login to get most or all
of the papers you might want?

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17/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for all the superb offers of information.

Electrically,

jo.

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17/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Jo

QUOTE : “1. The massive and rapid increase in the concentrations of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere owing to mankind’s activities is the single largest factor in projections for future Global temperatures, which is why the IPCC reports focus on the impacts of this Anthropogenic radiative forcing. It is, in effect, almost directly equivalent to a sudden massive pulse of extra Greenhouse Gas in the Atmosphere, completing overriding any normal warming or cooling factors.”

# There have been GW and GC incidents in the past, before the influence of Man. These previous incidents seem to be cyclical in mature, and we seem to be at the point in natural cycles where Nature could be the dominant problem. Certainly, Man could be contributing, but with the absence of clear evidence that anthropogenic activity is the dominant factor, it verges on wishful thinking that mere man can out-dominate Mother Nature.

QUOTE : “2. We have been dealt a very poor hand – it is unlikely that we will be able to significantly reduce the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere over the short term. I don’t see anybody being prepared to starve the world’s economy to pay for Carbon Capture and Storage. The best that we can hope for is a rapid stabilisation of emissions to air and then a phased reduction of emissions over the next few decades. Even so, the current situation means that a further warming of around 1 degree C is locked in, regardless of emissions control.”

# Doing what is advocated as being necessary will result in an unprecedented re-direction of resources. With the World Economy being in its present state, and “down” looking more likely than “up”, it is difficult imagining that the Governments and Peoples of the World will actually commit significant resources to do what the Climate Change People want done.

# Climate Change can be good for some parts of the World, and bad for others. Climate Change is bad for the Status Quo. Are the resources of the World better placed by finding ways to adapt to Climate Change, rather than attempting to prevent it?

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17/08/2010
from: Neil Crumpton

Jo,

Re your point 2 – why do you see CCS as more expensive than most renewables and new-build nuclear – that’s certainly not many people’s view of relative costs and surely its too early to say.

The world will probably have a much better idea of relative and actual costs of the various new energy technologies by around 2015 when hopefully less than three EPRs have been built *, a few CCS demos will have been built and giving their first operational results and many new, fast-developing RES technologies (from aluminium-mirror CSP manufacture, solar PV efficiency, yields of next-gen biomass to deep-water offshore wind turbine designs) will have been demonstrated and more accurate and probably lower mid-term costs can be projected at global scale.

Indeed, if next-gen biomass shows promise (eg algae cultivation in arid zone / desert greenhouses) then quite a few poor countries may have a valuable indigenous and export product. And biomass with CCS may be one of the most cost-effective way to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations – or extract to reach 350 ppm.

Lets get some demos built.. CCS, seawater greenhouses, bio-gasifiers (inc cold-plasma), deep water WTs etc – to compare with shale-gas CCGT, underground coal gasification (both with CCS !) and the new EPRs (inc interim storage, repositories and full costs – think BP – accident insurance).

* extract from : http://shepperdineagainstnuclearenergy.blogspot.com/2010/07/olkiluto-4-years-behindflammanville.html

There are two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) being built in Europe right now, one in Olkiluoto in Finland and one in Flamanville in France. Designed by French nuclear giant AREVA, the third generation so-called state of the art design is supposedly about to usher in the nuclear ‘renaissance’ across the planet. We emphasise the ‘supposedly’. How are things looking?
The Olkiluoto-3 reactor is four years late (and counting) and a massive 2.7 billion Euros over budget (and counting). It has been the scene of thousands of construction defects and safety violations. The project has rapidly devoured AREVA’s profits. The farce at Olkiluoto made page 3 of Le Monde last week.
It’s now been revealed that Olkiluoto-3’s sister reactor, Flamanville-3, is two years behind schedule. It’s only been under construction for three. The project is also at least 20% over budget.

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17/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Kevin,

You wrote : “# There have been GW and GC incidents in the past, before the influence of Man. These previous incidents seem to be cyclical in mature, and we seem to be at the point in natural cycles where Nature could be the dominant problem. Certainly, Man could be contributing, but with the absence of clear evidence that anthropogenic activity is the dominant factor, it verges on wishful thinking that mere man can out-dominate Mother Nature.”

Allow me to point you to this :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/08/17/the-sum-of-complexity/

You wrote : “# Doing what is advocated as being necessary will result in an unprecedented re-direction of resources. With the World Economy being in its present state, and “down” looking more likely than “up”, it is difficult imagining that the Governments and Peoples of the World will actually commit significant resources to do what the Climate Change People want done.”

Indeed ! We do need to re-direct the world’s economic resources – into environmentally-protective activities. The current World Economy, based as it is on damaging environmental businesses cannot sustain itself, as the damages outstrip the wealth-creation. It is indeed going “down”. I personally find it easy to imagine that the Governments and Peoples of the World are smart enough to make a firm, regulation-based decision to turn the world economy round to green power and low Carbon transportation.

You wrote : “# Climate Change can be good for some parts of the World, and bad for others. Climate Change is bad for the Status Quo. Are the resources of the World better placed by finding ways to adapt to Climate Change, rather than attempting to prevent it?”

Adaptation will never be enough without Mitigation, reduction in emissions :-

http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-Good-The-Bad-and-The-Ugly-Effects-of-Climate-Change.html

http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/08/kloor-calls-me-hypocrite.html

Respectfully

jo.

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17/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Neil,

Carbon Capture and Storage is always going to be expensive – the rule of thumb I use is based on the Laws of Thermodynamics – the more chemical and energy changes in a process, the less and less efficient and therefore more expensive it becomes. Burning stuff to release Carbon Dioxide is energy-positive, but making that CO2 re-combine with other stuff to make it Global-Warming neutral, now, that’s more difficult. As for pumping it back underground, and hoping it stays there, well, that’s a simple energy-process inefficiency. Why dig it up in the first place ? Why not use lovely, free wind and sunlight to make your energy ? Much cheaper in the long run.

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17/08/2010
from: Chris Cook

Hi Jo

In my view we are currently going through a transition to a decentralised and networked economy.

The current market system is irretrievably broken, and complementary mechanisms are emerging under the radar – based upon direct instantaneous ‘Peer to Peer’ connections – which will in due course see the existing model wither on the vine.

My take is here

http://www.slideshare.net/ChrisJCook/economic-systems-thinking230710

and re energy in particular, here

http://www.slideshare.net/ChrisJCook/energy-pools-scottish-energy-institute-11-11-2009

Best Regards

Chris Cook

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17/08/2010
from: Jérôme Guillet

CCS doesn’t exist, it makes no industrial sense and would cost massively more than any other technology if it could ever be implemented. CCS is just a way to channel subsidies to the legacy utilities (or to dither until there is no choice but to extend/replace the existing coal-fired plants). After years of touting CCS, there still are zero (as in: none) demonstrators, let alone commercial CCS projects, and things will remain that way for a long time, I expect
EPR – think of it as the Gillette business model: give the razor away for free and make your money on the blades. Areva quoted a very low price to make sure the plant would get built, and gets a 50-year fuel supply contract (their real business). A couple billion in apparent cost overruns in the beginning is not a real problem for them.

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17/08/2010
from: Neil Crumpton

Jo,

‘Expensive’ compared to what – unabated fossil generation, offshore wind, new-build nuclear ? And how much more expensive 1% , 20 % 50 % or less expensive 1%, 10% 50 %. The word is simplistic and emotive – it needs qualifying in relative quantity, time, place, circumstance and non-costable outcomes.

You seem very sure of yourself but I can assure you that wind and solar generated energy, and I have been a strong wind and solar advocate for many years, is not free.

Also biomass is using sunlight to make (and store) energy. Storing the carbon dioxide released in biomass energy generation may be one of the most-costeffective was to achieve safe levels of atmospheric concentrations ‘in the longer run’ – especially if such levels are below the current 392 ppm. Then renewables without CCS could have their full day.

Digging up energy (eg natural gas) does suggest that it has been trapped below ground for some time (eg, for millions of years – usually mixed in various concentrations with carbon-dioxide ).

There are the Laws of Thermodynamics and there are established trends of economics – like who cares about how many chemical changes in a process if it cheaper and does the job, or as cheap but does a better job or even more expensive but does a job other things don’t or cannot do.

If Kevin’s anthropogenic warming scepticism turns out to be essentially true then the CCS switch can at least be switched to off and the pipeline infrastructure recycled. That would probably leave any new nuclear station economics high and very dry.

I trust that we will know much more by 2015 about what is a safe atmospheric CO2 concentration and what the likely costs and capabilities of the various new energy technologies are. Doing research which includes such uncertainties in the meantime seems a very useful area for research.

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17/08/2010
from: Dave McGrath

I concur with Chris on this.

You have an opportunity follow historical energy paradigms or try anticipating the future which I think will be substantially different from what people are portraying. There is enough historical industrial precedent to show what and how things can change.

But this is scary prospect for linear thinkers which is what most politicians and most of society actually are. Most cannot do this.

The future is being shaped in no particular order by
* Explosive growth in clean tech.
* Recognition CO2 is a bigger issue and more urgent than previously
* growing world population, economic growth in developing countries and subsequent energy demand growth
* global fossil production constraints
* ageing energy infrastructure in developed economies
* A dozen other variables
Take the conventional UK approach to things and it is possible your study conclusions are over taken by external events

CCS as solution to carbon discharges?. Consider 186 million barrels of oil equivalent is discharged every single day across the world. Fossil supplies will deal with CO2 discharge much faster than CCS ever could come near to. Uk consumes 20mtoe every year. On a global scale it is irrelevant. So for me looking at the bigger picture CCS is utterly irrelevant, of course I may not be right but I have a right to that view

For simple balance of payments arguments alone fossil displacement seems to me a better bet

Time and tide wait or no one and we have yet to recognise the tide has turned and now rushing in figuratively and literally if the Greenland melts are to be believed.

But what is right for your study. Whatever you decide is right for you is the right thing to do. You will never get every one to agree with whatever you choose to do; 50% would be remarkable. So ignore that which does not sit right with you or you cannot believe in and do not bullied by the likes of us.

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17/08/2010
from: Nick Balmer

Hello Dave,

You make a very important point here about the nature and swiftness of
the change about to occur here.

I have been trying to get this point over to my bosses, colleagues and
staff, and I think it is a situation a bit like 1840 on the roads.

I live off the Great North Road (A1) in a former coaching town. If you
had been living here then and your son was considering his future
career, you would almost certainly have looked to the many stage
coaches, horses (600+) and inns in the town and you would have put it
very high on the list of jobs with potential.

However just a few short years later gangs of Navvies came tearing up
the hedges and fields, and shortly afterwards those new fangled trains
arrived. No doubt everybody in the town had heard of them, and had
discounted their potential, but within a decade the coaching trade had
collapsed, the hotels and inns were in very real trouble and the
future was on the rails.

These changes from one technology to another, when large vested
interests and industries long so big and powerful that they can never
be expected to go away or fail nearly always come with startling
rapidity, especially when globalisation occurs.

Think of the huge effect Indian muslins and cotton had on woollen
textile producers in the 1680’s. They caused riots and mass
unemployment here.

The same thing happened in reverse to Indian textile workers in the
Carnatic and Bengal with the development of the great textile mills in
Manchester and Lancashire in the 1815 to 1830 period.

The implications of these changes are going to be fascinating.

For instance…

Has anybody ever worked out what the governments tax take on all the
imported coal and uranium?

The government takes more tax revenue off a barrel of oil (as sold as
petrol) than the Saudi Government does from that same barrel.

If your instance it did prove possible to solve the intermittentancy
issues for wind turbines (and I think solutions are very much closer
than many believe) and Passiv building technologies come to the fore,
how would government cope with a 40% or more % fall in taxation
revenues from imported energy fuels?

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17/08/2010
from: Roy Morrison

I agree CCS is long term scam to extract research money in hope of unlikely low cost capture technology and storage while the band plays once work is bankrolled and supported globally by big coal mining and using nations Australia, China, U.S., Russia, Germany, Britain and supported by long-range projections that it will be cost effective.Best solution is to leave coal sequestered where it is before mining.
You could gasify material and use Fischer-tropes process to grab carbon and burn hydrogen.But why bother? It’s hardly likely to be cost effective.
Renewable transformation is the challenge and the opportunity.

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18/08/2010
from: Ed Sears

Hello Jo

Just finished my masters last thursday (MSc Climate Change at UEA) and my dissertation was on ‘Life Cycle Assessment of biochar from the UEA BIOMASS gasification CHP power plant’. Part of my results was a comparison of energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions for biomass (woodchip in this case) gasification CHP with biochar production vs other biochar, bioenergy and fossil power production methods. I didn’t look at the economics. I need to negotiate with the university on the exact status of my report – some of its contents may be commercially sensitive. However, the figures I was comparing against are all available in the literature (Google scholar and an athens/shibboleth login are your friends here – other research search engines also available) – the work was mainly by Elsayed and Mortimer. Try Elsayed et al 2003, BEAT2 (Biomass energy assessment tool) 2008, and maybe Mortimer et al 2009.

I’ll get back to you about energy transition scenario references (and some of the other things you mentioned), because I need to look into that area myself.

To Kevin, if you are reading, take a look at the impact of human activity on the planet: we are currently the largest geological force active on the surface of the Earth, we are carrying out a Great Extinction (biodiversity loss), depleting the oceans of fish and lowering the pH of the water (via carbon dioxide emissions), use 20% of the land area directly and another 40% for grazing, have created a hole in the ozone layer via ozone-depleting chemicals and so on. The argument that we, the little innocuous humans, cannot influence the atmosphere (the troposphere, the bit with the weather in it, is about 10km thick) is ludicrous. We are measurably changing the composition of the atmosphere via land use change and emitting greenhouse gasses and other pollutants, and not surprisingly this is having a noticeable effect, with the entirely resonable projection of larger changes if we make a greater impact through increasing emissions. Maxing out on coal power stations to provide for the energy requirements of a world population of 9 billion in 2050 is an extremely bad idea, both in terms of climate change and local air pollution. Therefore, we seek another way, therefore Claverton and these posts.

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18/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Ed

QUOTE : “To Kevin, if you are reading, take a look at the impact of human activity on the planet: we are currently the largest geological force active on the surface of the Earth, we are carrying out a Great Extinction (biodiversity loss), depleting the oceans of fish and lowering the pH of the water (via carbon dioxide emissions), use 20% of the land area directly and another 40% for grazing, have created a hole in the ozone layer via ozone-depleting chemicals and so on. The argument that we, the little innocuous humans, cannot influence the atmosphere (the troposphere, the bit with the weather in it, is about 10km thick) is ludicrous. We are measurably changing the composition of the atmosphere via land use change and emitting greenhouse gasses and other pollutants, and not surprisingly this is having a noticeable effect, with the entirely resonable projection of larger changes if we make a greater impact through increasing emissions. ”

# There is no question that Man has had an impact on the Earth. There is also no question that Mother Nature has had an impact on the Earth. CO2 levels in the Atmosphere have been as much as 8,000 PPM, about 20 times as much as now, yet the Earth has survived. Certainly, there were times where it was inconvenient and even deadly for plants, animals, and humans, but Mother Nature will always win Her game. Global Warming is ALWAYS followed by Global Warming, and also, Global Warming is ALWAYS followed by Global Cooling. That is the nature of cycles. Human Population has exploded since the Maunder Minimum 1645 to 1715, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum ) and Dalton Minimum 1790 to 1830 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Minimum ), because of Global Warming, enabling people to live in more places and grow more food. GW since then has been good, if we equate population growth as “good”. However, too much of a good thing can certainly be bad. Mother Nature can be counted on to send us a corrective message. However, if the IPCC simply ASSUMES that Man is the cause of the problem, which they have by refusing to acknowledge the possibility that Mother Nature “has the controls”, their whole premise is faulted.

QUOTE : “Maxing out on coal power stations to provide for the energy requirements of a world population of 9 billion in 2050 is an extremely bad idea, both in terms of climate change and local air pollution. Therefore, we seek another way, therefore Claverton and these posts.”

# Of course it is an extremely bad idea! The first rule, when you are in a hole, is to stop digging. We are messing around with futile and pointless tactics, such as Carbon Credits, which cannot reduce atmospheric CO2, even if the Carbon Credit Scheme is 100% adopted. What it accomplishes is to allow coal plants to be maxed out. Only through a reduction in the fossil CO2 being sent to the biosphere can we reduce the atmospheric CO2 Levels. A lot of money will change hands, through Carbon Credits… thats the driver. There must be a world scale reduction in the mining of coal and the flowing of oil and natural gas, if there is to be any hope for a reduction in atmospheric CO2.
# Can you see any way that the people of the World can be motivated to reduce their annual fossil fuel consumption?

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Dear Ed,

Thanks very much for getting back to me with some ideas and clues.

Will be awaiting your reply on energy transition scenarios.

Hope your Masters gets the toppest marks !

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Dear Chris,

Thanks very much for your thoughts and links.

I am thinking “cusp-ish” just as you are, as regards tipping into the New Generation in Energy.

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Dave,

Thanks for you very interesting reply.

I entirely follow your “re-localisation” of the economy argument about displacing Fossil Fuel use with Local Renewable Power.

The efforts of the Clean Development Mechanism and the Carbon Trading shambles to permit “outsourcing” of Carbon Emissions reductions through the usual model of “globalisation” simply isn’t working. The industrialised countries must, as a necessity, commit to strong Carbon Emissions reductions at home, whilst keeping up their economies through the use of Energy. This essentially moves us through to Renewables.

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Neil,

1. Regarding the use of the word “expensive”

By using this word I mean that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will always be relatively more costly than “proper” Carbon mitigation, in whichever economic “climate” the technology finds itself in.

How can I be sure of that ? CCS is a “remediation” technology. In other words, you create Carbon Dioxide by burning Fossil Fuels or Biomass for Energy and then you burn a bit more Fossil Fuel or Biomass to provide the Energy to pump all that Carbon Dioxide underground (or make some hard core or cement-like stuff with it) to lock it away. So there’s always going to be an Energy penalty for building CCS into a power plant – so it’s always going to be more expensive than the unabated Fossil Fuel or Biomass generation in a like-for-like economic situation.

Long and complicated process chains always incur higher costs – that’s why a massive new round of Nuclear Energy would be too “expensive” for the current poor health of the global economy – or rather the appetite of the financiers.

2. Can CCS draw down Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere ?

Although Biomass burning (all types) could theoretically Carbon-negative, the thresholds are questionable in some cases – for example in the production chain of BioFuels, where studies have shown Carbon-positive BioEthanol, and BioDiesel has been shown to replace rainforest Carbon Sinks with short-lived oil palm, as we want to buy it cheap from South East Asia . Biomass+CCS could tip the balance over into Carbon-positive (and you can’t really do BioFuels+CCS – how are you going to capture all that CO2 from all the tailpipe exhausts around the world ?)

3. The cost of Renewable Energy

I agree that the total cost of Renewable Energy systems is not negligible, especially in the investment phase, but I cannot see anyone trying to impose a price on wind and sunlight – that makes the “fuel” free.

4. Anthropogenic Global Warming scepticism

The world goes through a long, complicated process to report on all the best Science on Climate Change, and Kevin is sceptical about it ? Has Kevin read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report ? Does he know what is “robust” and “uncertain” in that report ? It’s clearly spelled out, so nobody should be quibbling, now, surely, after 25 solid years of research and evidence gathering ?

Global Warming is a basic fact of Physics – put more Carbon Dioxide in the air and the Earth heats up. Obsessing about the near-surface air temperatures shields most sceptics from what’s going on in the oceans, which is where it’s all at – 90% of the heat ends up there.

You write “I trust that we will know much more by 2015 about what is a safe atmospheric CO2 concentration…” My view is we don’t really have the luxury of time to be more certain about those things that the IPCC still has in the “uncertain” box. We already know the Earth’s Climate is sensitive to Global Warming, and the damages are racking up and the temperature’s only gone up by around 0.6 to 0.8 degrees C.

5. On the Laws of Thermodynamics

I know, I know. People do things on the cheap, even if they are quick and dirty. But there are consequences, as environmental damages become unacceptable, and with good regulation, the pollution can be contained – although prices will rise a bit.

6. On demonstration plants

The Nuclear industry and the Carbon Capture and Storage “think tanks” have been bargaining for taxpayer money at every level of government for many years now – the nukers want their new “Generation X” funded explicitly, the CCS people want their “demonstration” plants financed. There are plans to take a percentage from the Emissions Trading Scheme revenues for CCS, for example.

If companies are not prepared to put their own capital into something, and want a “stimulus” or a “bailout” to do so – such as the governments putting forward huge sums for the insurance costs of both new Nuclear and CCS (think – massive clouds of CO2, anyone ?) – then surely the companies know that these things are not “economic” ?

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

BJ Jerome,

En effet, le CCS est propose avec le but de donner legitimite aux bruleurs de charbon, non ?

Le rapport special du IPCC en 2005 – avec tous ses rechercheurs et editeurs des societes fossilisees…

Le roi est nu.

‘fin,

jo.

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Dave,

I see a trip point (or “tipping” point) in the way our society views Energy – things will click into place quickly once they start to move. The factors you outline are part of my thinking.

The “energy security” argument, couched in terms of “relocalising energy” is a strong one – as moves to displace or remove carbon can have very dramatic and immediate effects. It starts with a company, for example, installing a green roof and then finding their total electricity bill drops away because of the lesser need for heating and cooling in the office space. And the facilities manager thinks….wow ! And eventually the chief executives will realise that with hugely lower energy bills facilities don’t need to have staff in them all the time to make it worth the company’s while to heat and cool the building…and then you start getting remote working and more flexible working with all the energy efficiencies that can be gained there, too, and everything becomes much more efficient ! And then you can start looking at how you can convert to green power produced onsite, because you’re not using so much brought-in energy as you were before so the physics of the situation have ameliorated…hey presto – a leveraged Carbon reduction plan. Scaling this up means less national imports and all the inefficiency and insecurity surrounding that. Plus, conservation and relocalising energy makes energy costs more stable – making economic planning more efficient. And so on…

Don’t worry. I want to hear from everyone about clues, references, ideas, resources, but I shall follow my own nose on this one !

With a couple of fellow students, I gave a presentation to my class on “Sustainable Business” in March, asking the question “Is BP a sustainable business ?” looking at issues to do with Peak Oil, difficult deepwater drilling, lack of Renewables investment, environmental fines and the like. I asked my fellow students to consider the implications of having really deep subsea wells. BP was selling up the fact that they could engineer wells at such depths, but we thought they were in denial about the risks. The next month was April…and we all know what BP did in April, don’t we ?

I have shown I can be “on the money”, so I shall just carry on in the same vein…

Thanking you,

jo.

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Nick,

You make a very good point about the tax take from energy and the risks to that from changing the status quo.

One factor is that for those countries that are in oil and gas depletion, such as the UK, the tax take from indigenous energy is probably already dropping away. Is that one of the reasons why the UK Government want to re-open the coalmines ? Something for me to look into…

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18/08/2010
from: dave andrews

Jo – i think you will find we have used all the coal up! see article on claverton site

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18/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Jo

QUOTE : “2. Can CCS draw down Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere ?”

# The important thing is the “new carbon added to the biosphere.” Fossil fuels are new, or additional carbon additions to the biosphere, when they are burned. Biofuels, at their very best, are “carbon positive”, definitely not neutral or negative. This is because of the fossil fuel required for their harvesting, transport, and preparation for burning. However, if biomass is pyrolysed to produce charcoal and pyrolysis gases, with the charcoal being sequestered, carbon can definitely be removed from the biosphere. Charcoal in soil seems to last well in excess of 1000 years. For a given weight of bone dry biomass, the charcoal recovery is about 30% of the starting weight. The energy distribution is about 50-50, between the sequestered charcoal, and the pyrolysis gases. If waste biomass cost say $50 per bone dry tonne ready for retorting, and the charcoal yield was about 30%, the material cost for the charcoal, excluding capital and operating costs, would be about $50/.3 = $166 per tonne of charcoal. It sort of works out that 1 tonne of charcoal has sufficient Carbon content to equal about 3 tonnes CO2, ie, $166/3 = $55 per tonne of CO2 equivalent sequestered. Hopefully, the energy in teh pyrolysis gases, about 9 MJ pre tonne of wood pyrolysed, could run the process, and provide an energy surplus that could be used productively outside the Pyrolysis System.

QUOTE : “4. Anthropogenic Global Warming scepticism : The world goes through a long, complicated process to report on all the best Science on Climate Change, and Kevin is sceptical about it ? Has Kevin read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report ? Does he know what is “robust” and “uncertain” in that report ? It’s clearly spelled out, so nobody should be quibbling, now, surely, after 25 solid years of research and evidence gathering ?”

# I think it was Josef Stalin, who once said “I don’t care what the answer is, as long as they are asking the wrong questions.” If they investigated the possibility of “Natural GW” (NGW) with the vigour that they are promoting Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) their efforts would be credible. Invariably, one gets the wrong answer when one looks at only one side of the story.

QUOTE : “Global Warming is a basic fact of Physics – put more Carbon Dioxide in the air and the Earth heats up. Obsessing about the near-surface air temperatures shields most sceptics from what’s going on in the oceans, which is where it’s all at – 90% of the heat ends up there.”

# Here is an article on CO2 equivalency..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_equivalent

# Here is another one showing that water vapor is 3 to 4 times as potent a greenhouse gas as is CO2.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

# Don’t you think the entire matter is being seriously distorted by ignoring the effect of water vapor, as a greenhouse gas?

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18/08/2010
from: Herbert Eppel

Dave

I’m not sure about “used all the coal up” (can you provide a link to the
article on the Claverton site you referred to?), but an article in the
September issue of Scientific American ( see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-much-is-left ) has this to say on the matter:

“Unlike oil, coal is widely thought to be virtually inexhaustible. Not
so, says David Rutledge of the California Institute of Technology.
Governments routinely overestimate their reserves by a factor of four or
more on the assumption that hard-to-reach seams will one day open up to
new technology. Mature coal mines show that this has not been the case.
The U.K.—the birthplace of coal mining— offers an example. Production
grew through the 19th and early 20th centuries, then fell as supplies
were depleted. Cumulative production curves in the U.K. and other mature
regions have followed a predictable S shape. By extrapolating to the
rest of the world’s coal fields, Rutledge concludes that the world will
extract 90 percent of available coal by 2072.”

I’m taking the liberty of attaching the article (I have a Scientific
American subscription) in the hope that I don’t end up in prison for
breaching some copyright.

The interactive version of the article referred to in the PDF file
doesn’t appear to be available at http://www.scientificamerican.com/section.cfm?id=multimedia yet.

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18/08/2010
from: Neil Crumpton

Jo,

some responses within text

QUOTE : “So there’s always going to be an Energy penalty for building CCS into a power plant – so it’s always going to be more expensive than the unabated Fossil Fuel or Biomass generation in a like-for-like economic situation.”

The energy penalty bit is obvious – but reducing the CO2 emissions saves money on future climate impacts (see your point 4) do you not factor this as a comparative expense between abated and unabated fossil ?

Anyway we were talking about the RELATIVE expense compared to other energy generation sources. Cost will influence investor choices (as shareholders will tend to choose the best pay-back investments for their money be it energy generation or hotel chains). If abated coal or gas were costing say £ 60 MWh to generate and offshore wind were £ 80 and solar PV £ 90 what would you choose as quickest low-carbon path. I’m all for RES (16 years as a front line energy campaigner for FOE) but given commercial and industrial inertias and complexities then IF CCS does achieve the low cost its various proponents claim (eg around 15% energy penalty – comparatively less if CHP added ) then it may be marginally cheaper than much of the UKs exploitable RES resources (mainly offshore wind wave, tidal, and limited indigenous biomass ). If the CCS infrastructure can progressively be used for biomass sequestration then that opens a cheaper emergency option for reducing UK emissions.

QUOTE : “2. Can CCS draw down Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere ?”

I’m not suggesting current biofuel technologies – see my email re desert algae etc. That would probably be significantly C-neg as the biomass would be pretty low-C (inc solar CSP inputs to fans and pumps) and possibly relatively cheap to produce.

QUOTE : “3. The cost of Renewable Energy”

but is not coal and gas more or less free in the same analogy, indeed some coal seams are barely beneath the ground surface and many oil and gas resources sometimes deliver themselves to the utility under a fair amount of pressure too

anyone no one is suggesting imposing a price on wind etc are they ?

QUOTE : “You write “I trust that we will know much more by 2015 about what is a safe atmospheric CO2 concentration…” My view is we don’t really have the luxury of time to be more certain about those things that the IPCC still has in the “uncertain” box. We already know the Earth’s Climate is sensitive to Global Warming, and the damages are racking up and the temperature’s only gone up by around 0.6 to 0.8 degrees C.”

Your response is a non-sequiter. I trust ongoing climate research does better define what levels are safe in the coming years (eg what degree of risk is posed by say 450 ppm or 350 ppm). If 450 ppm is fine then RES alone may be OK. If 350 ppm is considered safe (low risk from significant impacts) then biomass with CCS may be one of the few possible routes to achieve such significant absolute ppm reductions (IPCC regard BECCS as a potential key technology). Possibly biochar or direct air-capture and storage (DACS) may also achieve such reductions – they need testing too.

We don’t have the luxury of time to ignore possible ppm reduction technology options which we could demonstrate by 2015 and also closely define probable wide deployment costs. No one said anything about waiting except those who oppose CCS who would see us waiting for ever for CCS knowledge. I am suggesting something is done very quickly – ie populations in developed world pay a very small percentage of their wealth to demonstrate a small number of CCS schemes around the world. Private companies are responsible to their shareholders – I wish it were different but I don’t expect that world order to change anytime soon (eg certainly not by 2015). Consumers in some developed countries would pay the difference in price (contract-for-differences) for the at least partially shared learning from their country’s CCS demos. Also some CO2 would get buried (is that not worth anything in your view ?) and some strategic CO2 pipeline assets would be deployed for a range of companies, etc to use (even RES companies want low cost grid connections – eg offshore HVDC grid).

QUOTE : “6. On demonstration plants”

Good re some funds for CCS (see above). Actually some eNGOs (think-tanks) have been calling for CCS demos

Renewables of course have required no funds for demonstration – right ? Indeed, biomass with CCS could be considered a very very low-carbon renewable.

QUOTE : “If companies are not prepared to put their own capital into something, and want a “stimulus” or a “bailout” to do so – such as the governments putting forward huge sums for the insurance costs of both new Nuclear and CCS (think – massive clouds of CO2, anyone ?) – then surely the companies know that these things are not “economic” ?”

Would you also propose that ROCs are removed for RES technologies also ? Surely the RES companies know that their things are “economic”.

And at this point I will cease to put the case for my different point of view – I could spend a long time debating with you.

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18/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Dear Kevin,

1. Water Vapour

Yes, I agree with you. Water vapour is indeed a major Greenhouse Gas.

Increasing water vapour in the Atmosphere also happens to be a positive feedback from the Global Warming we are now experiencing which has been caused by the exponentially rising Carbon Dioxide concentrations.

Please get your eggs and your chickens in the correct order.

2. Natural Global Warming

Yes, I agree with you. There are many ways in which the Earth can heat up.

Why, only the other day, I was reading part of a fine book by Bryan Lovell called “Challenged by Carbon” in which he describes how magma plumes from the Earth’s interior have contributed to warming of the surface of the planet.

And as the Earth spins and tilts and shifts the ellipsicity of its orbit around Sol, yes, insolation changes, and cooling and warming take place.

Even further, oscillations in the coupled atmospheric-oceanic climatic cells have been shown to change local and regional temperatures, shift rain bands, storm tracks and so on and so on.

But fine scientists with pedigrees longer than my dog’s have determined through studies in “Detection and Attribution” that the current bout of Global Warming in the last 50 years is for the most part due to the increased radiative forcing from the rising levels of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere caused by increasing emissions from humankind’s activities.

Have you read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report ? They have made a good effort to write in an easy way to describe all the things they have found in their review of the Science.

Please stop reciting to me the worn-out and frankly ridiculous, debunked and discredited pseudo-theories of the Climate Change sceptic-deniers. Please start reading the Science.

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19/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Herb and Dave,

I have been in correspondence with David Rutledge before now, and I put his theories to Ron Oxburgh of the CCS Association at a conference :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2009/03/26/carbon-capture-and-storage-merely-an-elastoplast-technology/

I have also in the last day done my own little calculations on remaining reserves – all terribly ballpark – trying to show that a heating planet with lots of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere produced lots of lifeforms, and then killed them with catastrophic Global Warming and the catastrophically dead things sedimentised to become the Coal, Oil and Natural Gas we in a much cooler Climate so love, dig up and burn, putting all that Carbon right back in the Atmosphere from which it originally came – heating the planet up again…I feel a Sixth Great Extinction coming on with nothing left with a sufficiently good brain to document what happens afterwards and make sure it never happens again, unless we get a grip on the scale of what’s happening and make the appropriate big changes with Energy :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/08/18/judith-curry-carbon-lockdown/

Don’t call me Cassandra – but if you do, remember she was always right :-

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,712113,00.html

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19/08/2010
from: Herbert Eppel

Hi Jo

Thanks for your reply.

Please note that I was by no means suggesting that we should endeavour to dig up and burn all the coal that is left in the ground. Having been actively involved with Friends of the Earth etc. for 20 years I am, of course, well aware that there are indeed very good arguments for leaving the coal where it is. I was merely responding to Dave’s comment that we have already “used all the coal up”.

As for the Spiegel article – I was about to post it myself as recommended reading for Kevin Chisholm, who may also find this article of interest: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/07/15/bad-science-global-warming-deniers-are-a-liability-to-the-conservative-cause/#ixzz0uIrxcAqA

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19/8/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Jo

QUOTE : “Please get your eggs and your chickens in the correct order.”

# You have a good point, as far as you go, but you don’t go far enough. When one digitizes your generalities, we are led to a different conclusion.

# Firstly, you may have your eggs and chickens in the wrong order. You ASSUME that GW is of an anthropogenic origin, as does the IPCC; it simply ignores the possibility of “Natural Cause.” Their “anthropogenic hammer” sees only anthropogenic CO2 as the nails causing GCC, and by following their approach, you are making eh same mistake they are. On several occasions, I brought up this point, and you slough over it.

# Secondly, In teh range of about 45 F to 60 F, 100% saturated air will hold between 44 and 78 grains of moisture per pound of dry air. That is, the incremental change is about 34/15 = 2.26 grains per 1 deg F change in temperature. At 45 Degrees F, saturated air holds 44 grains of moisture, ie, 44/7000 parts moisture per part air, or roughly 6,300 PPM moisture. As mentioned previously, water vapor is 3 to 4 times as powerful a “greenhouse gas” as is CO2. If you do some arithmetic, you can clearly see that water vapor has a much greater “Greenhouse Effect” than does CO2, at a mere 390 PPM, about 1/16 as much. The Greenhouse Effect caused by water vapor is very much more than that which is caused by CO2. If there was any tendancy to “Natural Global Warming”, the water vapor already present is far more effective in exaggerating it than would be CO2

QUOTE : “2. Natural Global Warming…But fine scientists with pedigrees longer than my dog’s have determined through studies in “Detection and Attribution” that the current bout of Global Warming in the last 50 years is for the most part due to the increased radiative forcing from the rising levels of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere caused by increasing emissions from humankind’s activities.”

If trehse pedigreed folks are of teh IPCC Mindset, then they may very well have been misdirecting their efforts. If they observe GW or GCC, and if they are only allowed to attribute the cause to Humankind, then they blame Mankind. What other explanation are tehy permitted to publish?

QUOTE : “Have you read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report ? They have made a good effort to write in an easy way to describe all the things they have found in their review of the Science.”

# No. I have not read it because it is faulted, by refusing to acknowledge the possibility of naturally caused GW or CC. How can you have true science when you eliminate a possible cause from consideration? The IPCC Work is called “Consensus Science.” That means it is based on opinion and not fact. It was Consensus Science that got Galileo into trouble when he had teh gall to suggest that the Earth rotated around the Sun.

QUOTE : “Please stop reciting to me the worn-out and frankly ridiculous, debunked and discredited pseudo-theories of the Climate Change sceptic-deniers. Please start reading the Science.”

# That is very unscientific of you, and is all too typical of people who are worried about being on shakey ground. They switch to ad hominum attacks, rather than dealing with the facts or science of the matter. That is bad form.

# Do you have any palpable evidence that the present GCC situation is NOT the result of natural causes?

Best wishes,

Kevin Chisholm, MD, DD, LLD

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19/8/2010
from: David McGrath
subject: Just a thought

As we get hot and bothered about the stance we take on whatever it is remember it is only our interpretation; which we choose. We can and do portray data in whatever way we choose.

Consider www.dhmo.org

Every thing stated is actually factually correct. It is presented in a particular way to tell a story, in this case to achieve an outcome, entertainment as it happens for the perpetrators.

Lets have the courage to question our own views, motives and interpretations remaining rational, logical, generous of the views of others, open to alternative concepts and devoid of acrimony

We may be looking out different windows as we argue over the view we see, and both right in describing what we are looking at.

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19/08/2010
from: Richard Hellen

Very well put Dave.

The enthusiastic, even passionate promotion of the insights we have and therefore wish to share with others should never lead to personal insult.

And if others seem to not account for our crystal clear understanding of the issues and the inevitable solution we see, then we can always choose to disengage. Something about, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

It is well recognised in psychological circles that what we see is often what we want to believe. If you want an example together with a bit of a chuckle at the end have a look at http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_the_pattern_behind_self_deception.html and by the way, take a few minutes to scan around TED if you have not come across it before – there are some interesting energy / environment related presentations.

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19/08/2010
from: George Wallis

Dear Kevin

Could you please explain the phrase ‘digitizes your generalities’ since I find it somewhat confusing? Perhaps it is jargon of which I am not aware?

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19/08/2010
from: Peter Rowberry

This is the last post on the subject which I will make to the list, as the argument is in danger of becoming unscientific diatribe, but

Kevin,

What question about climate science would you have us ask? Your assertion that natural effects of global warming is not being investigated as thoroughly as anthropogenic change is unfounded and flies in the face of the facts. The fossil fuel industry has been spending large amounts on research and public relations to downplay the effects of climate change. There may be vested interests in climate change acedemia, but these are more than balanced by the industry perspective. In a celebrated recent case, the UK the climate change unit at the Univeristy of East Anglia was criticised for bias in its publications and emails, but after investigation none of the charges aaginst them was found to have any foundation, It was not a surprise that these “revelations” came in the run up to the climate change conference.

I am sorry Kevin, but you obviously have not taken the time to read the Grist site that I refered to in my previous email. If you want to do this you will find the difference between water vapour as a feedback effect and CO2 as a forcing agent explained http://www.grist.org/article/water-vapor-accounts-for-almost-all-of-the-greenhouse-effect/. The historic levels of CO2 and how it is measured are explained. The claim that no consensus exists is rebutted. All of the questions which I can ever remember being asked by climate change sceptics are addressed with many references to support their views. For those climate change sceptics that demand proof of the link between mans’ activities and climate change I can only say that the only science which can offer such certainty is mathematics. Since Heisenberg put forward his uncertainty principle we know that we cannot even predict both the position of a particle and its momentum. The fact that climate change models accurately predict the record of climate change in the recent past means that if nothing else changes their predictions for the future are likely to be reliable.

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19/08/2010
from: Andrew Smith

QUOTE: “If they investigated the possibility of “Natural GW” (NGW) with the vigour that they are promoting Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) their efforts would be credible.”

That has been investigated, for decades. Where on earth did you get the idea that it hadn’t? All of the authoritative overviews of the subject – IPCC reports and others – cover these issues.

QUOTE : “Don’t you think the entire matter is being seriously distorted by ignoring the effect of water vapor, as a greenhouse gas?”

Again, this has been studied for decades, and it’s thoroughly explored in the scientific literature. So wherever you’ve been getting your information is a deeply unreliable source.

QUOTE : “No. I have not read it [IPCC 4] because it is faulted, by refusing to acknowledge the possibility of naturally caused GW or CC”

How on earth do you know what it contains if you haven’t read it?

And what is it in “MD, DD, LLD” that gives you a particular insight into
climate science that you believe has escaped all of the world’s climate
scientists for the past 40 years? I’m struggling to see how a Doctorate
in Divinity is relevant.

Ah, wait a minute. Water vapour, “Doctor of Divinity”, North American
spellings Is there a theme, here, Kevin? Are you by any chance a fan of
Dr Roy Spencer? And there was I thinking that you just had a Bachelors
in Mechanical Engineering. Well, congratulations on the additional
training in medicine, divinity and law – you have been busy. Might one
ask as to the names of the fine institutions that granted these degrees?

And so, finally, to Roy Spencer. For those who don’t know of him, Roy’s
a creationist with a whizzo theory that God has given the Earth a
natural thermostat so that we won’t make a mess of things with global
warming. He thinks it may be something to do with water vapour, even
though this is completely contradicted by empirical data; but then, I
hear that for those people of faith, it trumps the real world.

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19/08/2010
from: jo abbess

Hey Andrew,

Not everybody who has religion denies real world data !

And not everyone who says that they believe real world data actually knows what the real world data is evidence for !

Like Sir John Houghton and John Cook of SkepticalScience.com I have a Christian faith, but the form that it takes has enough room for Science. My faith’s scriptures contain very important guidance for the treatment of the people and environment around us, and you can’t be a proper “Steward of Creation” as the scriptures urge, without empirical data.

The Bible is full of Climate Change, including the story of the famine in Egypt, which Joseph is narrated to have managed by building grain silos…but I’m not going to preach religion, since my version of my faith includes social tolerance not “holier than thou” isolationism. I believe that God speaks to each person directly through what they learn, so I don’t need to tell them what to believe, and I can work with anyone who does Science, regardless of what they believe about spiritual matters.

We are left with the blessings and curses of Moses in Deuteronomy, slightly updated, which include direct mention of Climate Changes : we have the option : follow the evidence and choose to protect Life on Earth; or ignore the Laws of Nature and choose chaotic, possibly catastrophic Climate Change.

Peace & Fried Plantain,

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19/08/2010
from: Bill Bordass

A lovely quote from Infosys, the Indian IT company.

“In God I trust. Everybody else must bring data.”

The evidence clearly supports the man-made climate change hypothesis. But even if it didn’t, there are lots of other good reasons for stopping using fossil fuels.

With good wishes

Bill

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19/08/2010
from: Andrew Smith

Hey Jo,

in this particular context, *those* people of faith I referred to were
creationists. I apologise for having separated the relevant clauses by
so much intervening text that that particular line of argument became
obscured:

QUOTE : “And so, finally, to Roy Spencer. For those who don’t know of him, Roy’s a creationist … I hear that for those people of faith, it trumps the real world.”

Such a position necessitates denial of empirical data that does not
conform to a pre-judged position, even where it means rejecting
fundamental aspects of physics, chemistry and geology.

No comment was intended on those people whose faith does not contradict known science.

Kind regards,
Andrew

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03:03
from: Dave McGrath

Kevin,

May I urge some temperance. Personal attacks are unbecoming

GW may be drive by human activity and natural events. Probably a combination of both % attribution? impossible to say. Some suggest AGW is countering a natural cooling period, who knows. Remember the big numbers 186mboe every single day. Instantaneous release (geologically) of geologically sequestered carbon. This represents for me discontinuity. Nature responds harshly to discontinuities

But interestingly you state “water vapour is 3 to 4 times as powerful a “greenhouse gas” Consider the implication of this statement. As fuel is combusted the carbon is releases as CO2 the hydrogen as H2O So the sequestered hydrogen is being re-released as H2O which does not decompose. It is released as water vapour. Thus the GW impact of each kG of CO2 discharge is in fact amplified 2-5 fold depending on he volumes of water vapour released.

Fun to speculate and I am sure we can create any story we like around it, I shall not though.

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19/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Dave

QUOTE : “Kevin, May I urge some temperance. Personal attacks are unbecoming”

# I do agree with you. Please speak to Jo about “…Please stop reciting to me the worn-out and frankly ridiculous, debunked and discredited pseudo-theories of the Climate Change sceptic-deniers. Please start reading the Science….”

I thought my reply to her dismissive comment was temperate

QUOTE : “GW may be driven by human activity and natural events. Probably a combination of both % attribution? impossible to say. Some suggest AGW is countering a natural cooling period, who knows. Remember the big numbers 186mboe every single day. Instantaneous release (geologically) of geologically sequestered carbon. This represents for me discontinuity. Nature responds harshly to discontinuities.”

# It is my feeling that Global Climate Change is probably driven by both Anthropogenic and Natural Causes. By ignoring the possibility of Natural Causes as a possibile contributor, the IPCC places undue weight on the Anthropogenic contribution, and, as a consequence, undue weight on the ability of Anthropogenic Activity to reverse GCC

QUOTE : “But interestingly you state “water vapour is 3 to 4 times as powerful a “greenhouse gas” Consider the implication of this statement. As fuel is combusted the carbon is releases as CO2 the hydrogen as H2O So the sequestered hydrogen is being re-released as H2O which does not decompose. It is released as water vapour. Thus the GW impact of each kG of CO2 discharge is in fact amplified 2-5 fold depending on he volumes of water vapour released.”

# Yes, indeed. However, the “increment of water vapor” will quickly drop out of the atmosphere, if the atmospheric temperature drops below condensation temperature. The important thing here, however, is that with temperatures as they are now, the “equilibrium water vapor content” is such that its greenhouse effefct is much larger than the effect from CO2

QUOTE : “Fun to speculate and I am sure we can create any story we like around it, I shall not though.”

# Sadly, if we have a premise that is based on Consensus, rather than Science, we cannot be confident that we really are working toward the best solution for dealing with Global Climate Change.

Best wishes,

Kevin

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19/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear Herbert

QUOTE : “As for the Spiegel article – I was about to post it myself as recommended reading for Kevin Chisholm, who may also find this article of interest: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/07/15/bad-science-global-warming-deniers-are-a-liability-to-the-conservative-cause/#ixzz0uIrxcAqA

# I read the article, and did find it interesting. It is basically an Editorial Opinion that “people on the fringe” can act irresponsibly if they have views that go contrary to “the mainstream.”

# Perhaps GCC is 100% caused by Anthropogenic Activity, and perhaps it can indeed be reversed in a sensible and affordable manner. I do not know. However, I do know that when the IPCC eliminiates the possibility of natural causes from consideration, their basic premise is faulted. Certainly, there are some skeptics who advocate silly positions, and the “Entirely Anthropogenic” supporters are quick to dismiss them with fact but they then go on to dismiss all skeptics as “deniers” and “dis-believers”. Science is based on fact, not belief. Dismissing skeptics because they are “dis-believers” is not at all scientific. The IPCC work is based on “Consensus Science”, and this term itself was promoted by the IPCC itself. True Science is based on fact and truth, while Consensus Science is based on belief and agreement. “Consensus Science” is an oxymoron.

# At this point in time, I feel we have three fundamental choices:
1: Do nothing.
2: Assume we can reverse GCC, and direct our resources and activities toward reversing GCC.
3: Assume we cannot reverse GCC, and direct our resources and activities toward adapting to GCC.

# What do you feel is the most sensible way for the World to proceed?

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19/08/2010
from: Kevin Chisholm

Dear George

QUOTE : “Could you please explain the phrase ‘digitizes your generalities’ since I find it somewhat confusing? Perhaps it is jargon of which I am not aware?”

# That is a term of my own coinization” 🙂

QUOTE: “What the phrase means is basically “provide specific fact and numbers to support your generalized statement”.”

# For example, I can say “Photo-voltaic power is too expensive.” If I am connected to a Utility, providing power at say $.15 per kw-hr, then this statement is true. However, if I am operating a communications relay tower that was:
* 4 miles from an Utility line,
* had only seasonal road access,
* was in an area subject to icing,
* and need only a peak solar output of 2 kW to keep my batteries charged,
then, when I costed things out, I would find that PV Power was the most sensible alternative.

# I hope this clears things up.

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19/08/2010
from: Herbert Eppel

Dear Kevin

Thank you for your reply.

You commented on the National Post article but not the Spiegel article Jo had sent – any comments?

As for the three fundamental choices you offered, option 1 is certainly not the most sensible way for the World to proceed.

I’ll send a more detailed reply on my view of the most sensible way forward in due course, but I need to get a few translation jobs out of the way first.

Meanwhile, I hope you will find this short video entertaining: http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/greenblog/index.php/couriermail/comments/walking_the_dinosaur#63248

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19/08/2010
from: Dave Elliott

I’ve been following this discussion and felt I’d add my comments briefly.

1 IPCC accept that natural climate processes are responsibe for some warming (and coollng) – last time I looked I think they said 20%. The rest seems to be down to us, since no other smoking gun can be identified.

2. If they are right, whatever we do now we will need a massive adapations across the world- its not either adapatation or mitigation, we need both.

3. But it makes sense to deal with the problems at source and reduce emissions- to put in simply we cant just keep building higher dikes /flood defences,as sea levels continually rise, or evacuate more and more central belt zones as temperatures rise.

Much of the debate is about what mix of mitigation and adpatation we need and can afford . Mitigation can involve investment which will take time to pay off in climate terms ; adapation can deal with immediate problems, but doesn’t help much long term.

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19/08/2010
from: Andrew Smith

QUOTE : “Dave Elliott wrote…Much of the debate is about what mix of mitigation and adpatation we need and can afford . Mitigation can involve investment which will take time to pay off in climate terms ; adapation can deal with immediate problems, but doesn’t help much long term.”

And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is to say,
money spent on mitigation now saves a fortune in adaptation later.

Furthermore, within the power sector, everything we have to do for
mitigation, we have to do at some point anyway, because the fossil fuel supply is finite.

So, at a conference somewhere, a renewables presentation ends with the summary:
* Clean, safe, endless energy
* No more resource depletion
* Huge reductions in local and global pollution
* Traffic much quieter
* Air much cleaner
* higher energy security
* freedom from strategic dependences on fuel imports
… and at the back, a voice squeaks: “but what if global warming is a
giant conspiracy, and we’ve built a better world for nothing?”

(not my joke – I nicked it from someone at a presentation at
Cambridge Energy Systems week – Nafees Meah from DECC I think – sorry Nafees)

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20/8/2010
from: jo abbess

Hi Clavertonians,

Just a note about consensus and independence.

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/08/20/on-consensus/

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20/8/2010
from: Peter Ravine

Well said Jo! You have a gift for making common sense understandable. Thanks.
Regards, Peter Ravine.

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from: Herbert Eppel

QUOTE : “… and at the back, a voice squeaks: “but what if global warming is a giant conspiracy, and we’ve built a better world for nothing?”

Excellent!

See also this video, which demonstrates in a rather simplistic but
pretty clear way that non-action re. climate change would be plain
stupid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zORv8wwiadQ&feature=related

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from: David McGrath

Mitigation, adaptation…

Lets add displacement to the lexicon

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