climate change

Matthew Pennycook MP is a dunderhead

Praising Joe Biden’s climate plan our more local addlepate declares:

In the process, he intends to create millions of well-paying, unionised jobs making wind turbines, building sustainable homes and manufacturing electric vehicles;

Pennycook is stupid enough to think that this is a benefit of the plan rather than a cost.

We’re never going to have a well run country when those who would do the job are this ignorant, are we?

Green ammonia

On the high seas of the Norwegian continental shelf, cargo ships are a familiar sight. If scientists have their way, however, a new type of ship could soon appear over the horizon, powered not by a dirty pollutant but ammonia….

Of course, all knowledge is local etc etc. But this looks like something of a waste to me.

They’ve got to get the ammonia first – steam reforming of methane, or perhaps hydrogen from electrolysis driven by windmills – which has emissions. Sure carbon capture, mebbe.

But if you’re going to do that why stop with ammonia, which is highly corrosive, has to be cooled and compressed etc. Why not carry on the chemistry to a hydrocarbon? Which we know how to carry around, we’ve already a century of experience in making the engines using it efficient and so on.

Of course, again, all knowledge is local etc. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find that for certain applications – maybe ships, more likely jet engines – the replacement for oil is oil. Just, we make the oil rather than drilling for it. The economic point here being that if you make hydrogen cheap enough then it works. And if you make electrolysis from solar and or wind cheap enough then it works again.

“Cheap enough” being an interesting definition in itself but still true. In fact, we already know how to make avgas and the like this way, it’s just not cheap enough yet.

The greatest benefit of this process being, obviously, that it will piss off so many greenies.

Oh Aye?

The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned.

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

The argument that we’ve got to do it all now does keep getting repeated. My own view – prejudice perhaps, based upon experience of how the political world works – is that the catastrophists realise they’re rumbled. Which is why the cries become ever more shrill. It all started out as let’s avoid 3 oC – OK, we can do that by a tweak or two to the system. But, but, we want to kill industrial capitalism, so, we’ll argue for 2 oC as the target. There, Hah! Hmm, well, yes, we can manage that with another tweak or two. We’ve already started fracking so that entirely rules out RCP 8.5 anyway. Solar and wind have got vastly cheaper, so we’re on RCP 4.0 maybe.

But, but, we want to kill industrial capitalism! So, 1.5 oC. Hah! And so on ad infinitum as it becomes obvious that killing industrial capitalism is never the answer yet is the desired goal.

Now of course I’m a cynic for saying so but it is how I read it. And thus we get this latest 6 months to save the world – it’ll be 24 hours to save the NHS next.

At what cost?

Hip and knee operations ‘should be done under local anesthetic to help cut carbon emissions’
Switching 1 million hip and knee operations to local anaesthetic would save the equivalent of 7.3 million miles driven in a car

Sure, OK, we can see the benefit, reduced emissions. But what’s the cost?

For example, 7.3 million miles, average car does 11,600, average annual emissions from average car 4.6 tonnes, each tonne CO2 cost of $80 as per Stern, that’s a net emissions benefit of $232,000 a year.

Cool, what’s the cost? Each life is statistically worth $2 million – say, there’s a range of values – so does our use of local not general increase the chance of a death by one tenth of a death over all those treated? Actually, gien that general is itself dangerous it probably reduces but still, this is the sort of calculation we should be doing.

Sure, there’s a benefit to this as with anything else. But we also need to know the cost.

Yes, yes, of course

Worst-case global heating scenarios may need to be revised upwards in light of a better understanding of the role of clouds, scientists have said.

Recent modelling data suggests the climate is considerably more sensitive to carbon emissions than previously believed, and experts said the projections had the potential to be “incredibly alarming”, though they stressed further research would be needed to validate the new numbers.

Modelling results from more than 20 institutions are being compiled for the sixth assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due to be released next year.

Compared with the last assessment in 2014, 25% of them show a sharp upward shift from 3C to 5C in climate sensitivity – the amount of warming projected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the preindustrial level of 280 parts per million.

This must be true. For as it has become increasingly obvious that RCP 8.5 is not true, cannot be true and has never been true how are we going to keep panicking the proles unless we change some other parameter to ensure that disaster looms?

After all, industrial civilisation is the enemy, everything else just an excuse.

There is just the one little fly in this ointment:

The IPCC is expected to include the 5+C climate sensitivity figure in its next report on the range of possible outcomes. Scientists caution that this is a work in progress and that doubts remain because such a high figure does not fit with historical records.

As it doesn’t explain what has happened it’s not a great deal of use in trying to explain what will now, is it? Weird that so many adults are fixated on the fantasies of a teenage girl but there’s no accounting for sexual tastes.


The Australian Press Council ruled that the language in Bolt’s August 2019 article breached standards because it attempted to “diminish the credibility of Ms Thunberg’s opinions on the basis of her disabilities and by pillorying her supporters on the basis of her disabilities”.

No, not the specific here, just feel the general there.

We are not to use disability as a manner of diminishing the credibility of opinions. Say, Caroline Lucas’ entire inability to understand economics is not to be used in determining the validity of her opinions upon economics? Retardation to the point of not being able to count means that views on mathematics are just as valid? The claim of being able to see carbon dioxide does not lead to a certain discounting of views upon climate change – or, actually, anything at all?

Finally The Guardian admits it

The global coal industry will “never recover” from the Covid-19 pandemic, industry observers predict, because the crisis has proved renewable energy is cheaper for consumers and a safer bet for investors.

A long-term shift away from dirty fossil fuels has accelerated during the lockdown, bringing forward power plant closures in several countries and providing new evidence that humanity’s coal use may finally have peaked after more than 200 years.

That makes the worst-case climate scenarios less likely, because they are based on a continued expansion of coal for the rest of the century.

It never was true that just carrying on would lead to that RCP 8.5. It was necessary that we used ever more coal – not just more, but as a greater portion of our energy supply – for that to ever come to pass.

Now, I wonder. Will the next time someone presents a prediction based upon “business as usual” – which is almost always that RCP 8.5 that isn’t going to happen – The Guardian tell them to bugger off?

Non sequiter

Fundamentally, fighting the climate crisis is about fighting the injustice that it magnifies. Preventing the poor, who played no part in fuelling the climate fire, from getting burned. Enabling those with little wealth to build dignified lives without the use of coal, oil and gas. Creating a better world, where we stop exploiting the planet as if its resources were infinite and, through cooperation, learn to live within our means.

There’s actually nothing in that first set of desires – hey, let’s not have global warming – which leads to that second – hey, let’s all be poorer. But guess which of the two makes Damian Carrington lick his lips?

As Prof Myles Allen of the University of Oxford has pointed out, slavery was once a highly profitable provider of energy and we brought it to an end because it was an affront to the values that make us human.

Well, actually, no, we didn’t. We brought it to an end because it was no longer economic. As Carlyle was so dismalled to find out. And the same will be true of our use of oil and gas etc.

So here’s one: 19 November 2020. That is when the UN climate change conference, hosted by Boris Johnson and the UK government, is due to end. Unless nations dramatically increase their pledges to cut emissions, we will remain on track for a terrifying 3-4C of heating.

No, we won’t. Because that is to assume that it’s only governments making pledges which cut emissions. Archetypal tosspottery from Damian there. No government pledged to cut emissions by fracking for oil and gas, thereby making coal largely uneconomic in the US. But it still happened, still reduced emissions.

Fair enough

The good news is that there are now real grounds for optimism that we can slow and ultimately stop greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy currently outcompetes fossil fuels in many areas and continues to become cheaper every year. New energy storage options, ranging from cheaper batteries to green ammonia, are emerging. New ways to produce proteins at scale without destroying rainforests are being developed.

When these solutions become so good, and so cheap, that they routinely outcompete their fossil fuel and biodiversity-destroying counterparts, greenhouse gas emissions will decline to near zero. Getting there, though, needs some serious focus on green technologies supported by policies that will get them rolled out.

Yep, the solution will be technological. We need more and better technologies that is. So, what do we know about innovation? That governments can’t do it, are incapable of planning it. Capitalism and markets are great at it.

Note, please, innovation, not invention, which both are equally good at.

So, to beat climate change we need capitalism and markets, not government and planning then. What’s being proposed? Government and planning.

So, over there on the naughty step please, dunce’s cap upon bonce.

Sure, it’s possible to reject the entire thesis out of hand. But how stupid do you have to be to accept it and then reject the known solution?


Tensions at the Greek-Turkish border and the coronavirus show why the European Union needs a climate law that binds member states to net zero emissions by 2050, the EU’s top official on climate action has said.

Frans Timmermans, a European commission vice-president who leads on the climate emergency, said the different crises facing Europe underscored the need for a climate law in order not to lose track of reducing emissions.

This makes about as much – actually, less – logical sense as “Because Jeff Beck is now playing in E Flat therefore Parliament must be painted orange.”

Err, yes?

Almost half of the world’s sandy beaches will have retreated significantly by the end of the century as a result of climate-driven coastal flooding and human interference, according to new research.

The sand erosion will endanger wildlife and could inflict a heavy toll on coastal settlements that will no longer have buffer zones to protect them from rising sea levels and storm surges. In addition, measures by governments to mitigate against the damage are predicted to become increasingly expensive and in some cases unsustainable.

In 30 years, erosion will have destroyed 36,097km (22,430 miles) or 13.6% of sandy coastlines identified from satellite images by scientists for the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European commission. They predict the situation will worsen in the second half of the century, washing away a further 95,061km or 25.7% of Earth’s beaches.

These estimates are far from the most catastrophic; they rely on an optimistic forecast of international action to fight climate breakdown, a scenario known as RCP4.5. In this scenario of reduced ice-cap melting and lower thermal expansion of water, oceans will only have risen by 50cm by 2100.

Note that this is climate plus human interference. Yet at no point are we told how much is climate, how much the idiots sticking up flood defences, or dredging, or whatever, that changes the currents and thus the beach.

Three is also the obvious point that whatever is depositing sand at its current location will almost certainly be depositing it 50 cm further up after climate change as well. Not so much vanishing beaches as moved a couple of feet that is…..

This is somewhat unkind

But there’s also a certain amount of truth in it. The question being, well, how much of it is simply being unkind and how much is the simple truth?

Greta Thunberg’s extraordinary transformation from a near-mute 11-year-old into the world’s most powerful voice on the climate crisis is revealed today by her mother.

In an emotional account, Malena Ernman describes how her daughter came to be diagnosed with autism, and how activism helped her overcome an eating disorder.

Ernman writes of the first indications that her elder daughter was unwell in extracts published in the Observer from Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis, a book by the whole Thunberg family.

How much of this is Mummy living and being famous vicariously through her daughter? My suspicion is quite a lot.

This is really filling the bleachers

The event, titled “Women for Bernie Climate Change Town Hall,” featured former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, author Naomi Klein, healthcare activist Dr. Victoria Dooley, and Amy Vilela, the Nevada co-chair of Sanders’ campaign. It took place on Thursday afternoon, in an intimate town hall setting. About 75 percent of the seats were filled, tallying about 30 people in attendance.

Well attended event don’t you think?

Ain’t that the truth

Overall there is huge amounts of ambition and support for this. I would caveat that by saying it is relatively easy to engage intellectually and socially with these ideas but it is more difficult when it comes to us having to make a decision which might mean changing certain behaviour. Some students and members of the public are less supportive when they see what being net zero energy actually means for their everyday lives.

“A lot of them can be naive. They don’t fully appreciate the changes this will bring to their lives.”

All too few are grasping the costs which those against climate change are trying to impose….


But the decision to extend the diesel and petrol ban to all hybrid cars took the motor industry by surprise, and was condemned by motoring groups and manufacturers as “a date without a policy”.

Seriously stupid.

More elsewhere later today.

This isn’t irony, you idiot

And the chief cause of global greening we’re experiencing? It seems to be that rising carbon dioxide emissions are providing more and more fertilizer for plants, the researchers say. As a result, the boom of global greening since the early 1980s may have slowed the rate of global warming, the researchers say, possibly by as much as 0.2 to 0.25 degrees Celsius.

“It is ironic that the very same carbon emissions responsible for harmful changes to climate are also fertilizing plant growth, which in turn is somewhat moderating global warming,” says study coauthor Dr. Jarle Bjerke of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

It’s a negative feedback…..

George’s mistake

In the climate emergency, our aim should be to maximise both the reduction of emissions and the drawing down of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. There is no safe level of global heating: every increment kills.

Maximisation is implicit in the Paris agreement

No, it’s to optimise.

Set off all the H Bombs tomorrow after lunch and we’ll have no human caused emissions by March. That would be maximisation. There would also be a certain cost to this. Thus we don;t want to maximise, do we? We want to optimise.

This means growing wood to burn in power stations, then capturing and burying the carbon emissions. It is likely to cause more harm than good. Could the committee’s enthusiasm have anything to do with the fact that one of its members works for Drax, the energy company pioneering this disastrous technology? Throughout the report, business appears to come first; nature and climate last.

Which is why we shouldn’t use bureaucracy or markets to do the optimising. Just reset prices and let the market chew through it.