Funny this really

National Grid reported that, on Wednesday lunchtime, power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of UK energy.
Add in nuclear, and by 2pm low carbon sources were producing 72.1% of electricity in the UK.

Wood pellets aren’t low carbon of course.


No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century.

This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

There’s a lot more technological inertia in an economy than that.

We’ve not actually got a viable electric car as yet. That is, one which people will willingly buy unsubsidised. OK, but not one in volume. The Model T was probably the first mass market car, came out in 1913. When was the last pony trap sold? As something other than a toy or recreation? 1930s sometime for the US and UK maybe? Amish are fun but don’t count here.

Technological change just doesn’t happen that fast.

Dunno really

The National Grid has announced Britain’s first full day without coal power “since the Industrial Revolution”.

A combination of low demand for electricity and an abundance of wind meant the grid completed 24 hours relying on just gas, nuclear and renewables.

Engineers at the company said Friday marked a “historic” milestone in Britain’s shift away from carbon fuels, and that coal-free days would become increasingly common.

Was Drax online burning those wood chips that are even more polluting than coal?

No, this isn’t a river vanishing

This is a river moving:

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

No, really, it didn’t:

For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.

Rivers do in fact change their beds. This is notable for the size of the change but not much more.

Enquiring minds want to know

Within them sits some 80,000 years of history, offering researchers tantalising clues about climate change and the Earth’s past. At least that was the case – until the precious cache of Arctic ice cores was hit by warming temperatures.

A freezer malfunction at the University of Alberta in Edmonton has melted part of the world’s largest collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic, reducing some of the ancient ice into puddles.

“For every ice-core facility on the planet, this is their No1 nightmare,” said glaciologist Martin Sharp.

Were they using renewable energy to power those freezers?

So stop bloody flying around thew world then Mason, you idiot!

It hits you in the face and clings to you. It makes tall buildings whine as their air conditioning plants struggle to cope. It makes the streets deserted and the ice-cold salons of corner pubs get crowded with people who don’t like beer. It is the Aussie heatwave: and it is no joke.

Temperatures in the western suburbs of Sydney, far from the upmarket beachside glamour, reached 47C (117F) last week, topping the 44C I experienced there the week before.

Hang on a minute!

Physicist Steven Desch has come up with a novel solution to the problems that now beset the Arctic. He and a team of colleagues from Arizona State University want to replenish the region’s shrinking sea ice – by building 10 million wind-powered pumps over the Arctic ice cap. In winter, these would be used to pump water to the surface of the ice where it would freeze, thickening the cap.

The pumps could add an extra metre of sea ice to the Arctic’s current layer, Desch argues. The current cap rarely exceeds 2-3 metres in thickness and is being eroded constantly as the planet succumbs to climate change.

“Thicker ice would mean longer-lasting ice. In turn, that would mean the danger of all sea ice disappearing from the Arctic in summer would be reduced significantly,” Desch told the Observer.

Desch and his team have put forward the scheme in a paper that has just been published in Earth’s Future, the journal of the American Geophysical Union, and have worked out a price tag for the project: $500bn (£400bn).

But geoengineering is wrong, isn’t it?

And if it isn’t wouldn’t we be better off spending $20 million (perhaps) on iron seeding the Southern Ocean to capture a billion tonnes a year of CO2?

Michael Mann still really just doesn’t get it

Beyond destroying our politics and corroding public trust in science, climate change denial also threatens the future of a habitable planet and a viable global economy. As a growing body of research has revealed, the maintenance of a “fossil fuels forever” mentality has real implications for the future of global food production, biodiversity, social functioning and geopolitical security. Leading economies around the world have recognised that the decarbonisation of energy and transport systems are key to the future prosperity of human civilisation.

The dramatic fall in the cost of renewable energies and commitment to large-scale investment in solar and wind energy highlight a pathway away from coal, oil and gas. But government leadership is badly needed to take the threat of climate change seriously and ramp up the scale of economic transformation on a par with the political and economic mobilisation we have applied to other existential threats in the past.

As the actual IPCC reports (specifically, the SRES) point out, and as every economist who has turned their attentions to the subject insists, all we have ever needed to do is make non-fossil fuels cheap and we’re done. True, the economists have been saying we should aid this process by sticking a tax of the social costs of carbon on the fossil side but that’s a matter of efficiency in reaching the goal, not the goal itself.

If, for example, solar is cheaper than coal then we’re done. Simply because people will naturally install solar off into the future, not coal.

And we are told, repeatedly, that solar is now cheaper than coal. Thus we’re done in active measures. We can just sit back and allow the market to carry the weight for us. True, if solar isn’t cheaper then the market won’t, but then that means that all those people telling us it is cheaper are being economical with the actualite, doesn’t it?

In the US and Australia, we must shift away from a culture of politically motivated climate change denialism to an acceptance of the truly existential threat now facing humanity.

But this is the point. Given the advances that have been made in non-fossil electricity generation we don’t face an existential crisis. We have already shifted from A1FI to something more like A1T, or from RCP 8.5 to 4.5 or even 2.6.

This is, of course, only true if what we’re being told about renewables is true. But if it is then we’re pretty much done here.

This is the point at which we rise up and hang them all

OK, so, climate change, data faked for the paper that insisted there was no pause and all that.

Ho hum.

And then this:

“the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure,” which means the study cannot be replicated.

Ecksie? Go get that gallows would you? We’re going to need it.

Won’t this all be terribly fun? The first public executions for the new crime of “taking the piss”.

Well, yes, maybe

Deutsche Bank, the biggest bank in Germany, has said it will stop financing coal projects as part of its commitments under the Paris agreement to tackle global warming.

“Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries will not grant new financing for greenfield thermal coal mining and new coal-fired power plant construction,” it said in a statement.

Is this a victory for green campaigners or a victory for the market? Given that thermal coal looks like a money sink from now off into the future?

Jeebus Polly!

The idea is to make us all stop and think. For example, we commentators on politics and society need to ask ourselves what’s wrong with us? Why is it that we mostly ignore this fast-approaching cataclysm, as we write about daily political dramas instead – Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Davos today, Jeremy Corbyn’s failed joke at PMQs yesterday, Boris Johnson comparing the potential behaviour of the French president to that of a Nazi prison camp guard.

The trouble with climate change as a political issue is that it’s too big to grasp, too ever-present. An occasional fixed point of global decision – the dramatic last-minute signing of the Paris climate change deal – briefly flashes up on the political grid, but once over, it falls back as if done and dusted. The planet is heating up fast – but not fast enough for the hungry 24-hour news cycle.

We already do too much about climate change. We’ve got solar down to cost comparison with coal, that’s the basic one thing that we needed to do. We’ve thus knocked the world off the RCP 8.5, or A1FI track. We’re onto something much more like A1T, or RCP 2 pointwhateveritis. And we’re done.

Haven’t you been paying attention?

Oh well done to The Guardian here

Indian firm makes carbon capture breakthrough
Carbonclean is turning planet-heating emissions into profit by converting CO2 into baking powder – and could lock up 60,000 tonnes of CO2 a year

The slight problem being:

A breakthrough in the race to make useful products out of planet-heating CO2 emissions has been made in southern India.

A plant at the industrial port of Tuticorin is capturing CO2 from its own coal-powered boiler and using it to make soda ash – aka baking powder.

No, soda ash is sodium carbonate. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.


Isn’t Roger Harrabin supposed to be a science reporter?

My word, this is an achievement!

The 130 giant wind turbines that sprout from the peaks, slicing the air with a rhythmic sigh, have helped Portugal to a remarkable achievement. For four and a half days in May the country ran entirely on electricity from renewable sources: wind, hydro and solar power.

Despite fears of a blackout, the lights stayed on for a record 107 hours between 6.45am on Saturday 7 May and 5.45pm the following Wednesday.

What excellent news, isn’t it?

Sá da Costa traces Portugal’s interest in renewable energy back to 1970, when almost all the electricity consumed in the country was from renewable hydropower plants.


And, as someone who lives here, there’re a hell of a lot of them around. Everything above a stream that can be dammed is.

And will Greenpeace and FoE allow us to do the same to Britain?

So, looks like we’re done here

Buckley said India’s “absolutely transformational” forecast was also driven by technological advancements that have led to the price of solar energy falling by 80% in the past five years.

We never did need to change the structure of our economy. We just needed to make non-fossil fuel generation cheap. Since we’ve done so, we’re done.

Problem solved.

One For Mr. Conolly I Think?

the iPCC has looked at a number of
different cases and it reports that temperatures
could be, in the worst case, up
to 4˚C higher by 2100. However, based
on Frank’s work, when considering the
errors in clouds and CO2 levels only, the
error bars around that prediction are
±15˚C. this does not mean—thankfully—
that it could be 19˚ warmer in 2100.
rather, it means the models are looking
for a signal of a few degrees when
they can’t differentiate within 15˚ in
either direction; their internal errors and
uncertainties are too large. this means
that the models are unable to validate
even the existence of a CO2 fingerprint
because of their poor resolution, just as
you wouldn’t claim to see DnA with a
household magnifying glass

This is why I stay away from this sciencey stuff, I have no inflation base from which to be able to judge such claims. But perhaps someone with more knowledge could do the judging?

Hyperventilating much Paul?

After all, climate change is an existential threat in a way local pollution isn’t, and the installation of the Trump team in power may mean that we have lost our last, best chance for a cooperative international effort to contain that threat.

Everyone who contributed to this outcome — very much, if I may say, including the journalists who elevated the fundamentally trivial issue of Hillary Clinton’s emails into the dominant theme of campaign reporting — bears part of the responsibility for what may end up being a civilization-ending event. No, that’s not hyperbole.

The emails weren’t the dominant theme. Rather, what an oaf Trump was was. And re climate change, come along, you’re an economist for fucks sake. You know damn well that all we’ve got to do is get some non-fossil fuel method of electricity generation as cheap or cheaper than fossil and we’re pretty much done.

Looked at the price of solar recently?

Why not just have a fucking carbon tax?

Gruaniad piece, ooh, climate change is scary, we’re all deniers! And the solution?

That future is possible. It might even be probable. But it’s not inevitable. We can choose to see climate change, and we can choose to do this before it’s too late. So how can we escape the quagmire of denial? As it turns out, the first step isn’t that hard: just talk about it. To your friends, family, colleagues – even to yourself. By talking about climate change, you’ll make it feel less scary. By talking about it, we’ll unlock solutions. And, crucially, it’s by talking about climate change that we’ll break the silence that allows it to go unnoticed and ignored.

Err, talk to people while you’re knitting your yogurt.


Why not actually demand something is done?

Whadda we want?

A Carbon Tax

When do we want it?