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.

Sigh.

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.

Oh.

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.

Sigh.

Why not actually demand something is done?

Whadda we want?

A Carbon Tax

When do we want it?

Now!

Calling Andrew Simms, Calling Andrew Simms

Time is fast running out to stop irreversible climate change, a group of global warming experts warns today. We have only 100 months to avoid disaster. Andrew Simms explains why we must act now – and where to begin

If you shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, when there is none, you understand that you might be arrested for irresponsible behaviour and breach of the peace. But from today, I smell smoke, I see flames and I think it is time to shout. I don’t want you to panic, but I do think it would be a good idea to form an orderly queue to leave the building.

Because in just 100 months’ time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change. That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios. So, let us be clear from the outset about exactly what we mean.

That was 1 August 2008.

So, err, what’s the disaster, where is it?

Or does the fact that The Guardian cancelled the series before Simms trousered 100 cheques mean the prediction is now inoperative?

That ain’t how the American system works Francois

France president Francois Hollande warned Donald Trump on Saturday that US commitments to reducing climate change and global warming are “irreversible”.

Anxiety over the new administration’s stance on climate change was heightened with his appointment of Myron Ebell as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team.

Mr Ebell is a denier of climate change, currently works at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank.

The US doesn’t consider itself bound to anything until it’s been ratified by the Senate.

BTW, at least as far as I know, Ebell’s not a “climate denier.” A lukewarmist at worst…..

Gee, ya think?

A global “greening” of the planet has significantly slowed the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the start of the century, according to new research.

So Freeman Dyson was right then?

But as with Bjorn Lomborg being right about the reduction in solar costs, won’t they all still shout at him for having been right?

But does it actually clean the air in the end?

Dutch inventors have unveiled what they called the world’s first giant outside air vacuum cleaner – a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.

“It’s a large industrial filter about eight metres long, made of steel … placed basically on top of buildings and it works like a big vacuum cleaner,” said Henk Boersen, a spokesman for the Envinity Group which unveiled the system in Amsterdam.

How much power does it use, what’s the power source and the emissions from the generation of that power?

Oooops!

One of the world’s leading institutes for researching the impact of global warming has repeatedly claimed credit for work done by rivals – and used it to win millions from the taxpayer.
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday also reveals that when the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) made a bid for more Government funds, it claimed it was responsible for work that was published before the organisation even existed. Last night, our evidence was described by one leading professor whose work was misrepresented as ‘a clear case of fraud – using deception for financial gain’. The chairman of the CCCEP since 2008 has been Nick Stern, a renowned global advocate for drastic action to combat climate change.

Mail investigations are, of course, Mail investigations but still……

No doubt Bob Ward will Twitter all about it soon enough.

Ignorant stupidity on climate change and population from Travis N Reider

This is really, really, bad work here. It’s an almost Ritchie level of misunderstanding. For what is being done is to work from first principles without going out and looking to see whether other people had already worked through this problem. Those other people having, just possibly you know, come up with an answer to hte question being asked.

So, that question is, well, should we be having babies when the planet might boil? The answer is – yes.

Our philosopher here says no, perhaps not. And it is our philosopher who is wrong.

Yes, humans are producers, and many wonderful things have come from human genius. But each person, whatever else they are (genius or dunce, producer or drag on the economy) is also a consumer. And this is the only claim needed in order to be worried about climate change.

The problem here is that we have a finite resource – the ability of the Earth’s atmosphere to absorb greenhouse gases without violently disrupting the climate – and each additional person contributes to the total amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. So although humans will hopefully save us (we do, in fact, desperately need brilliant people to develop scaleable technology to remove carbon from the air, for instance), the solution to this cannot be to have as many babies as possible, with the hope that this raises our probability of solving the problem. Because each baby is also an emitter, whether a genius or not.

More humans means more emissions therefore we should have fewer humans. This is one of those things which is possibly true. But of course what we want to know is, well, is it true? And the answer is no.

For this has been considered. In the SRES which came out in, erm, 1992? And which is the economic skeleton upon which every IPCC report up to and including AR4 was built. And it specifically looks at the varied influences of wealth, population size and technology upon emissions. That’s what it’s actually for in fact. It can be thought of a working through of Paul Ehrlich’s I = PAT equation, impact equals population times affluence times technology. Except, of course, it gets that equation right, dividing by technology, not multiplying by it.

And the answer is that population isn’t the important variable. Nor is affluence, not directly, it’s technology which is. Move over to non-emitting forms of energy generation (and no, not some crash program, just the same sort of increase in efficiency which we had in the 20th century will do it) as in A1T and we’re done. Or if you prefer a bit more social democracy, as in B1.

Population size just isn’t the driving force behind the problem. Thus it’s also not the solution. And we’ve known this for more than 20 years.

There’s a problem here

A high-level Parliamentary inquiry has called for a massive national investment in carbon capture to revive depressed regions of the North and exploit Britain’s perfectly-placed network of offshore pipelines and depleted wells.

Lord Oxburgh’s cross-party report to the Government has concluded that the cheapest way to lower CO2 emissions from heavy industries and heating is to extract the carbon with filters and store it in the North Sea oil.

It’s not, at least not unless there’s been a major breakthrough just recently, economic to do this.

What is it that either AEP or I have misunderstood?

Ah, how I love snark!

And the hubris which comes with it:

Coal, gas and nuclear generation do not need any storage.

We really would be seriously pissed off if all coal, gas and nuclear released all of their energy in one go at one moment. So they do require storage – storage that we generally refer to as “fuel”.

Yes, I know, I know

Climate change is bollocks and all that.

Now, back in the real world:

The US Energy Department is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the ‘Holy Grail’ of energy policy.

You can track what they are doing at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). There are plans for hydrogen bromide, or zinc-air batteries, or storage in molten glass, or next-generation flywheels, many claiming “drastic improvements” that can slash storage costs by 80pc to 90pc and reach the magical figure of $100 per kilowatt hour in relatively short order.

“Storage is a huge deal,” says Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary and himself a nuclear physicist. He is now confident that the US grid and power system will be completely “decarbonised” by the middle of the century.

The technology is poised to overcome the curse of ‘intermittency’ that has long bedevilled wind and solar. Surges of excess power will be stored for use later at times when the sun sets, and consumption peaks in the early evening.

This transforms the calculus of energy policy.

Ambrose EP can become somewhat enthusiastic, as we know. However, the underlying point here, if we get cheap electricity storage then that changes everything is right.

And I’ve no doubt that we will get cheap electricity storage.

Of course, I’m entirely incompetent to tell you which method will work. But I know very well that there’s already at least one method that does work. Run solar generated ‘leccie through a fuel cell, store the hydrogen produced. When you want power run the hydrogen back through a fuel cell. This does indeed work. There’s absolutely no reason (ie, scientific, engineering or technical) why fuel cells shouldn’t be 10% of the price they are. Solar panels are still, as far as I know, declining in price at 4% a quarter, 20% a year. Over some timespan which is trivial by civilisational terms this will indeed work. And EP is looking at the other various methods being explored.

One or more of them really will work.

At which point of course we’re done.

Yes, yes, I know, climate change is all bollocks. Except….

Think back to our original models about climate change. The SRES which underpinned everything up to AR4. What people call “business as usual” (and isn’t, all scenarios were and are business as usual) is A1FI. This is the same as RCP 8.5 in the newer emissions pathways. This says that we’ve got a problem.

But then there’s A1T. Which uses the same population, economic growth and wealth numbers (that’s the A1 part) but a different technological path. Essentially, if we ditch the coal and get rather more of our energy from non-fossil fuel sources then we’re done. There is no problem. Actually, it’s more than that. A1FI insists that we use more coal, get more of our energy as a portion of all energy from coal in the future. A1T isn’t predicting any massive breakthroughs, it just assumes that energy efficiency and emissions reductions continue in the 21st century much as they did in the 20th.

What EP and I are predicting is that technological advance will be faster than A1T. And a quick look around our world does seem to indicate that this is true. Every time someone touts 50% of energy from renewables today and the like then this is just underlying that fact that technological advance is carrying on. And it’s happening faster then the most Panglossian of those original estimates.

We are, therefore, done. We’ve kicked the global economy off that dangerous path and onto one where we just don’t have a problem. We’ve gee’d up the production of less emitting forms of energy generation. Add in this coming cheap storage and that’s all we need to do. For as our original diagnosis tells us, move to non-fossil fuel energy and the problem goes away.

At which point climate change really is bollocks, isn’t it? No, not as a problem that could have existed, but as one that exists now. Cheap solar (and there’s no shortage of insolation) plus cheap ‘leccie storage mean that we will preferentially use those instead of fossil fuels. At which point there is no emissions problem.

We’ve already put in place the things which mean that A1FI, or RCP 8.5, are not going to happen. We’ve already started the processes which mean that the outcome is going to be better than A1T.

And thus there is no problem.

I’m getting very tired of this shit

What is salient is not important. What is important is not salient. The media turns us away from the issues that will determine the course of our lives, and towards topics of brain-melting irrelevance.

This, on current trends, will be the hottest year ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015; the one before in 2014. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century. Each of the past 14 months has beaten the global monthly temperature record. But you can still hear people repeating the old claim, first proposed by fossil fuel lobbyists, that global warming stopped in 1998.

Cue the standard Monbiot piece on Arrrrrgh! We’re All Gonna Boil! And I’m afraid this shit is getting very tedious.

No, sit within the standard IPCC style work on this. Not because it’s right or wrong but because they say they think it’s right. Thus they should be happy to accept the implications of what they say is right.

Roughly speaking, in the current projections, RCP 8.5 is a disaster, RCP 6 isn’t entirely attractive, 4.5 would be an inconvenience and 2.6 we’d not really note. And everyone, but everyone, keeps predicting what will happen if 8.5 does. And yet we know, absolutely, without any shadow of doubt, that 8.5 simply isn’t going to happen. With what we’ve already done to energy generation it is simply not going to turn out that way. Something between 4.5 and 6 looks likely.

As Matt Ridley is fond of pointing out, 8.5 requires that we not only burn more coal than we used to a decade back, but that we get a greater portion of our energy needs from coal. In 2070.

Now, I may not think that solar is going to power everything, nor that the methods of subsidy we’ve used to roll it out are very good nor efficient. But seriously, what sort of cretin looks at renewables today and argues that coal will make a roaring great big comeback in 55 years sodding time?

The truth is we’ve already done the hard work to beat the worst of those projections. And yet we continue to get the screams based on the one outcome that we absolutely know isn’t going to happen.

Sigh.

Grips my shit it does.

Questions in The Guardian we can answer

Climate change has claimed its first mammal species. Is the hedgehog next?

No.

Or for a longer answer, fuck no:

A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the order Eulipotyphla. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction.

A species distributed across three and a half continents is not threatened by any climactic or other change in the same manner a rat living on a 5 hectare island is.

You fucking idiot.

Idiot sodding stupidity

Why is that journalists just cannot do numbers?

From Grist:

If U.S. health care were a country, it would rank 13th for emissions

The US is the second largest emitter. Health care is some 18% or so of the US economy. US emissions are 5 billion tonnes or so. Thirteenth emitter is Indonesia on 400 million or so.

Yes, and?

The disproof is contained within the proof

The fourth thing we can do is to support the link between science and government. Now more than ever science needs to underpin decision-making in all facets of society.

No one person or segment of society can claim to be totally free of bias and self-interest, and scientists are no exception. However, the checks and balances within the scientific community are stringent and tend to weed out ideas that are not based on rigorous evaluation and testing of competing hypotheses.

Government provides funding for this process in the way of scientific research into societal concerns, such as economic or environmental. The outcomes of that research are made freely available and should provide the basis for decision-making.

We’ve tried that rule by experts thing before. Didn’t work out well to be honest.

But within the same article we have this:

It is beyond question now that the three greatest threats to coral reefs worldwide are overfishing, pollution, and climate change. For the first two, there are tangible ways to affect positive outcomes by management of coastal zones, and through fisheries management.

But many scientists believe that even with these “local” efforts, and the observation that healthy ecosystems are better equipped to deal with thermal stress than disturbed ones, global climate change can quickly overwhelm even the best managed reefs. Part of any strategy to save coral reefs is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to do it now. The COP21 conference agreement in Paris late last year provided a glimmer of hope by recognising that limiting global warming to 1.5C represents our best hope at maintaining ecosystems.

Australia has a special responsibility to cut emissions as the 2016 and earlier bleaching events illustrate that global warming has already had a huge negative effect on the Great Barrier Reef. But we also have a unique opportunity to play a global leading role by keeping coal in the ground and refusing foreign investors to develop what will amount to substantial increases in global CO2 gas emissions.

So the second thing Australia needs to do is to place a moratorium on coal – greenhouse gases need to be cut now, and Australia can play a vital role.

The actual science here says that over some number of decades to come it might be a good idea for us to reduce our fossil fuel emissions. That’s a fair distillation of the IPCC reports. A scientific analysis of what we are doing would also show that that is what we are doing. A1FI, RCP 8.5, we’ve already taken measures to make sure that neither of those pathways will actually happen.

COP21, an entirely political process, might well call for more. But that’s not exactly science, is it? And it’s entirely contrary to the economic science in the Stern Review. Which flat out states that a temperature target is not the right way to do this, but a cost/benefit target is. Further, that the correct way to get to a cost/benefit target is to tax emissions, not use regulatory means.

Thus we find that this appeal to science is actually an appeal to YOU DAMN PROLES DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO AND DO IT NOW YOU BASTARDS.

Which is why that rule by experts didn’t work out all that well when we tried it before.

This one puzzles me

Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped-out from its only known location.

Marsupials are of course mammals. Rodents are not marsupials. And Australia is rather famous for not having rodents but for having marsupials.

So, first order thought would be that this was an introduced species in the first place.

Second order thought is that this might not be quite true up around the Torres Strait and Cape York. Because that’s where those two biospheres, the one with rodents in and the one with marsupials in, sorta meet. Umm, maybe: as you can tell I’m not claiming expertise here.

Third thought is that any species which lives only on one 5 hectare (or whatever) island isn’t going to have a long run as a species. You only need a bit of erosion and it’s gone. Or a decent tsunami or summat.

Not quite the importance to it that some are claiming then I would have thought.

It is also the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change.

Unconvinced to put it mildly.

Aha! Via twatter, I am enlightened:

The small population size means genetic drift, disease and introduced species all pose a threat to the species.

Habitat loss via erosion of the cay is the single most important threat, particularly given that sea levels are predicted to rise thanks to climate change. Bramble Cay is by no means stable. Between 1958 and 1987, the cay decreased in size; but in 2011 it had returned to a size comparable to 1958.

While the size of the cay varies, the vegetation on it is shrinking, and this might be the main cause of the melomys’ decline.

Climate change and rising sea levels not so much then perhaps?