climate change

We are all so surprised by this, aren’t we?

Scientists who specialise in climate change fly more than other researchers, according to a study by Cardiff University that has prompted calls for them “to look in the mirror” before demanding that others cut emissions.

Climate scientists take about five flights a year on average for work while other researchers take four. Climate professors catch nine flights a year compared with eight for all professors.

Even when trips for fieldwork were removed from the comparison, climate scientists still flew more than scientists from other disciplines.

The difference could be that climate scientists attend more international conferences, according to Lorraine Whitmarsh, an environmental psychologist and lead author of the study.

Such conferences never, ever, taking place in Nome in December, or Dhaka during the monsoon or – nope, always in places convenient for whores and good restaurants jet travel

Err, yes, thought we knew this?

Climate change wiped out early humans, a study has found, as scientists warn that global warming could have a greater impact than previously thought.
Cousins of Homo sapiens failed to adapt to the cold tens of thousands of years ago, a new paper argues, leaving them vulnerable to extinction when temperatures dropped below the levels they were used to.

The land disappears under a mile of ice and humans will find it difficult to survive, yes. Thought this was well known?

The lesson, of course, being pump out that CO2 so the land doesn’t disappear under a mile of ice……

The Earthshot Prize

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough have joined forces to launch what they hope will become the “Nobel Prize for environmentalism”.

They say the search is on for 50 solutions to the world’s gravest environmental problems by 2030.

With £50m to be awarded over a decade, the “Earthshot Prize” is the biggest environmental prize ever.

OK, well, we know what the solution is. From the IPCC, Stern Review, Nordhaus et al. We need globalised capitalism with a carbon tax.

So, my £1 million would be spent on proselytising that around the world. However, given the judges, don’t think I’d actually win, would I?

Be nice to have some evidence about this

Climate and environmental breakdown are a crisis of inequality, rooted in profound imbalances in wealth and power both within and between countries. A spate of reports and letters from leading scientists have sounded the alarm on this sober reality, and warned that we will likely fail in combating the climate crisis unless we radically reduce inequality and redistribute consumption and resource use.

The IPCC’s models actually say that a more equal world is one which has a worse outcome. So it would be nice to have some evidence of these assertions…..

Err, yes, weren’t we told this?

More muggy evenings as study finds that nights are warming faster than days
Climate change is causing more cloud cover, which means nights are heating up

I thought this is what all the models said would happen? That sure, warming, but largely at night.

You know, that absolute disaster of not much change to day temps and an extra degree maybe on night?

This looked interesting, sorta

The world can achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century for an annual investment of US$1 trillion-US$2 trillion, or up to US$60 trillion over the next 30 years, a coalition of major oil firms, companies in other energy-intensive industries, and banks said.

The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) is a coalition of 45 leaders from energy producers, energy-intensive industries, financial institutions, and environmental advocates, including BP, Shell, Sinopec Capital, Rio Tinto, ArcelorMittal, Bank of America, HSBC, Iberdrola, Ørsted, and Vattenfall.

Worth checking out at least.

The ETC is co-chaired by Lord Adair Turner

Ah, no, it’s bollocks.

Further, over and above it being bollocks because it’s Adair Turner the co-chairman manages to allow them to misspell his own name/title in the report itself. He ain’t the second or subsequent son of a Duke. He’s Adair Turner, Lord Turner, even, if he really wants, Adair, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell. But something he ain’t is Lord Adair Turner.

It’a also bollocks in the technical sense because it just doesn’t address the main question. Do we do all this now, or as soon as possible – or do we do the sensible thing as Bill Nordhaus says and replace worn out stuff with emissions free rather than tearing down perfectly good functional stuff to replace it? Without addressing that question you’re not being serious.

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.

Eh?

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?

Eh?

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.”