How about that hiatus?

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratioh has just released its global climate analysis for May 2015. The results

May 2015 was

* The warmest May on record globally
* The warmest May on record on land
* The warmest May on record on the oceans
* The warmest May on record in the Northern Hemisphere
* The warmest May on record in the Southern Hemisphere

Also, the warmest March-May, Jan-May and (I think) 12-month period in the record.

Comment is superfluous, but don’t let that stop you.

132 thoughts on “How about that hiatus?

  1. The only blue-coded land masses are the USA and Australia. God really is joking around with that one.

  2. @chrisl

    I interpreted it as concerned not jubilant, and saying deniers need to give up denying the facts and get on board to stabilise the climate.

  3. I see no solution if the Third World expects the same living standard as Westerners.

    Even with all the fancy meetings by our millionaire politicians – the facts are that per capita CO2 emissions are increasing, according to this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

    So even if there was no increase in living standards but just population increase – emissions would still increase.

    Having atmospheric CO2 above 300 causes endless global warming and our carbon sinks are becoming saturated.

    So we are doomed by two things – injustice between Third World and First World plus population increase which is so necessary for our capitalist mode of production.

    The only way out is ZPG and economic de-growth.

    I see no alternative.

  4. @Ivor

    So no renewables? No hope for fusion power? No belief that human ingenuity will triumph? No possibility that we can actually stop being as wasteful and profligate as we are now?

    And what is this about ZPG? The actual projections already show population growth reaching zero and declining in the second half of the century – just because they are.

    And rather than economic de-growth, why not just de-grow the CO2 producing stuff?

  5. @John Brookes
    …what is this about ZPG? The actual projections already show population growth reaching zero and declining in the second half of the century …

    John, I’d love to think this was true but could you refer us to the authority for this?
    The last time I looked at population growth graphs, we were increasing exponentially. Projections into the future showed straight line rises.

    This site:
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/world-population-new-study-
    11bn-2100
    offers some hope but seems to assume half the population will be de-sexed at birth.
    If the population does start to decrease (global warming?), will our current economic models cope? At present, our economic health seems to depend on growth, which seems to be correlated with population growth and increased consumerism.

  6. @John Brookes

    Yes. Science says we must have renewables, but investment bankers, hedge funds and miners say we need more coal and oil.

    Population will not be declining in the second half of the century.

    See: Evidence

    In order to prevent climate catastrophe, reducing emissions is not sufficient.

    How do you degrow “just the CO2 producing stuff” when Africans want to live in the same type as houses as Westerners and have roads and office buildings too?

    Can Africans have cars and computers too? Can everyone in India have sealed roads, concrete paths and concrete gutters? Can everyone in China or South America have the same rights to air travel as the West?

    Can every city in the Third World expect to have high rise buildings?

    It seems pretty obvious to me what the answer is.

    There is absolutely no reason why the globe will not become uninhabitable due to CO2 because this was how the earth’s atmosphere was originally.

    The necessary changes are just too radical for either capitalism or market socialism or even cooperatives to even consider.

  7. @John Brookes

    Yes. Science says we must have renewables, but investment bankers, hedge funds and miners say we need more coal and oil.

    Population will not be declining in the second half of the century.

    See: Evidence

    In order to prevent climate catastrophe, reducing emissions is not sufficient.

    How do you degrow “just the CO2 producing stuff” when Africans want to live in the same type as houses as Westerners and have roads and office buildings too?

    Can Africans have cars and computers too? Can everyone in India have sealed roads, concrete paths and concrete gutters? Can everyone in China or South America have the same rights to air travel as the West?

    Can every city in the Third World expect to have high rise buildings?

    It seems pretty obvious to me what the answer is.

    There is absolutely no reason why the globe will not become uninhabitable due to CO2 because this was how the earth’s atmosphere was originally.

    The necessary changes are just too radical for either capitalism or market socialism or even cooperatives to even consider.

  8. @Ivor

    investment bankers … say we need more coal and oil.

    Investment bankers?

    The CEO of the Clean Energy Fund Corporation (which the Abbott Government has tried to shut down), Oliver Yates, is an investment banker by profession.

    From the CEFC’s website

    Mr Yates has over 20 years of global experience in corporate advisory, financial structuring, project finance, debt structuring, equity raising and listings, with extensive experience in clean energy. At Macquarie Bank he was involved in establishing new businesses and growing operations internationally, and leading the Bank’s initiatives in wind, solar, biofuels, carbon credits and other renewable businesses.

    He also sought Liberal Party preselection for the senate in 2009.

  9. @Uncle Milton

    Interesting anecdote.

    But the picture remains the same – more exploration licences and activity is spreading across the globe.

    Big business will always purchase elections so that their politicians can close down or out-flank renegades like Yates and co.

  10. @Uncle Milton

    people need to get real.

    To reduce emissions sufficiently these few companies [List ] need to close down their oil extraction projects and switch to building alternative industries.

    So what is the strategy for this?

  11. @Uncle Milton

    people need to get real.

    To reduce emissions sufficiently these few companies [List ] need to close down their oil extraction projects and switch to building alternative industries.

    So what is the strategy for this?

  12. Not that I like to get the boot in but the CEFC is not operating in a commercially sound manner. On 1/7/15 they should have gotten a cumulative total of $6bn from the Treasury. However I’d expect an independent valuation of their investments and reserves should be well short of this ie some of their investments will prove to be duds. Their accounts seem to be shrouded in multiple layers of obscurity see if you can work them out
    http://www.cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au/reports/annual-reports/files/annual-report-2013-14/appendices,-glossary-and-index/appendix-c-cefc-special-account.aspx
    They can also help ARENA who give rather than lend money. Some projects got over 40% financing from grants ie 0% cost of capital pro rata. Soon we can expect a native woodchip furnace to get some free cash.

  13. Looks grim. Get some chickens, plant a garden (won’t need a hothouse) and buy a gun. Only fools and cowards don’t prepare to protect themselves and their loved ones.

  14. The lack of guns in this country is one of the things that add to my pollyanna-ish optimism.

  15. Rational liberal, I think only fools would imagine that guns will protect you where defending the social institutions like government, police, courts in order that they protect your loved ones won’t. If the latter go down, your guns won’t do much more than add to the carnage.

    Our governments are not serving us very well with climate science denial and obstructionism yet I don’t believe those can remain tenable too much longer; when political unity of purpose – because our future is widely accepted to be at stake – much becomes possible that previously appeared beyond our capability.

  16. Is rational liberal actually Peter K Rosenthal, head film critic for The Onion?

    Here’s their retrospective review of Home Alone:

    http colon doubleslash www dot theonion dot com slash video slash the-onion-looks-back-at-home-alone-37681

  17. Dare I say that Ivor Rational Liberal and possibly Ivor have moved on a denialist stage in the climate debate?

    Straight from “Nya nya nya its not happening, so no point doing anything about it” to “OMG its the end of the world, its too late, no point actually doing anything about it.”

  18. @John Brookes

    You are not correct.

    It is what science says.

    It is what multinational fossil fuel companies intend to do.

    It is a reality that emissions in 2040 will be 13% ABOVE 2014 levels according to todays Age newpaper pg 32.

    The same point is made by Yahoo finance…

    World emissions will start to fall after 2029 to 14.8 gigatonnes in 2040, which is 13 percent above 2014 levels.

    at: https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/world-power-sector-emissions-seen-110000957.html

  19. @Ivor
    Ivor, that is what is known as a forecast. It may be the case that emissions are at that level in 2040 or it may not, but it is hardly a ‘reality’. Emissions in 2040, like anything that may happen in 2040, is pure conjecture.

  20. Ivor.
    nothing about 2040 is a reality yet. We have many many choices to make before we know what emissions will be in 2040. And don’t forget that the rich elites don’t want to end up with a dead world, so eventually most of them will come around to the need for carbon emission control even though at present they are desperately trying to maximise their profits from fossil fuels.

  21. @Tim Macknay

    @john goss

    The projections are evidence based – after decades of analytical work.

    Their statements are many times stronger than simple unauthorised “may not”.

    The factors they used are “reality”.

    If the rich don’t want to end up in a dead world they need to understand exponential growth and the parable of the boiling frog.

    Unfortunately enough people will only want someting sufficient done when it is far too late.

    If there is near 10 billion people (as expected in 2050) then 14.8 gigatonnes is just 14.8 metric ton per capita p.a. This is way, way, way off target.

    Acording to the IPCC (2007) to stabilise CO2 at between 445 and 490ppm (resulting in an estimate global temperature 2 to 2.4oC above the pre-industrial average) emissions would need to peak before 2015, with 50 to 85% reductions on 2000 levels by 2050.

    See: IPCC 4

    A 50% reduction, on 2000 levels globally, is 50% of 4.1 metric tons per annum (using data for “World” from table cited earlier). 2 metric tonnes per capita seems a sensible benchmark by 2050.

    So where is the necessary plan, strategy or theory for this?

    What sort of lifestyle results in 2 metric tons p.a. per capita?

  22. @Ivor
    “What sort of lifestyle results in 2 metric tons p.a. per capita?”
    The one we have now. Just replacing fossil generators with rewables, and ICE vehicles with evs, almost does the trick by itself. Look at the invaluable LLNL energy flowcharts (for the USA, but Australia must be quite similar) and track the 60% of wasted energy today. The two changes I mentioned will cut the waste to around 20%. So that’s 40% of primary energy gone, mostly fossil. The rest can come from efficiency gains in industry, commerce and housing: not too tall a hill to climb in a quarter-century.

  23. @Ivor In Australia the corporate sector is dominated by extractive industries. Elsewhere corporates are divided, and if anything tend to support action on climate change. There is absolutely nothing in the natural interest of either corporations or the rich that would lead them to oppose action on climate change.

  24. @John Brookes
    I recorded a comment in reply to John Brooks. It was not offensive: it simply doubted John’s optimistic opinion that world population would decline after 2100.
    Could I be advised why it has been deleted?

  25. @Ivor
    You seem to have an unrealistic view of the reliability of this kind of forecasting. There’s a reason why all forecasting used for commercial purposes carries a disclaimer saying that past performance cannot be used as a reliable guide to future performance – because human affairs are extremely resistant to reliable prediction.

    The significant and surprising changes over the last few years in the areas of energy and climate change, that were not predicted (including the massive price declines, and exponential growth in the capacity, of renewable energy; the decline of coal imports and consumption in China; the rise in gas production in the USA and accompanying decline in coal-fired power generation; and the 2014 pause in the increase of global GHG emissions) are all demonstrations of the limitations of forecasting.

    All forecasts are guestimates. They can be informative, but to treat them as ‘reality’ is folly.

    Acording to the IPCC (2007) to stabilise CO2 at between 445 and 490ppm (resulting in an estimate global temperature 2 to 2.4oC above the pre-industrial average) emissions would need to peak before 2015, with 50 to 85% reductions on 2000 levels by 2050.

    Presumably you’re aware there is a Fifth Assessment Report, released in 2014, which used more up-to-date modelling. So why cite the older report? Because the more up-to-date report doesn’t suit your argument quite so well?

  26. Warming ? Its been ferociously cold in Canberra lately .Trust is so much more easily destroyed than built up .Groups that thrive on paranoia have a natural advantage. Since we didnt care for our disadvantaged properly in the richest countries in the best of times ,I fear what we will do if the promise of ever increasing consumption is threatened.

  27. @Geoff Andrews

    Maybe JQ is too busy to get to the comments in moderation and let them out. I have one there also and I didn’t think I said anything controversial.

    Did your comment go into moderation or was it actually deleted?

  28. @Zucchini

    This was the case in the 1990’s and they did nothing that had a meaningful impact.

    It was also the case after Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” but they did nothing meaningful.

    They presumably read the IPCC report in 2007(?) and, nearly 10 years later, they have done nothing even though it was spelt out clearly that to stabilise at between 445 and 490 ppm CO2 the world needed to peak in 2015.

    Now they will not peak until after 2040.

    Games such as pretending that the 5th report in 2014 is relevant (Tim Macknay) is wrong as action was required from 2007 all the way through to 2014 when the report did not exist.

    This did not happen because of the interests of Western economies to power ahead, and of Third World nations to catch-up.

    It is very simple – GHG concentrations need to be reduced to pre-industrial levels before the rate of warming (@ 0.15 per decade) overwhelms the climate system.

    If we are over 350 ppm for the next 100 years (which is likely), unstoppable temperature will increase around 15 degrees C minimum.

    I only focus on CO2 because it has a long half life @ approx 50 years.

    The steps that are now required are beyond the capability of economies based on growth-first attitudes and associated policies.

    There may be a scientific solution and some magical ingenuity that can suck CO2 out of the atmosphere at gigatonnes per day – but funds are not being directed to finding and developing it.

  29. @Tim Macknay

    You misunderstand the point.

    The exact numbers are not so important, nor even the rate or timescale.

    It is the structure of the problem and its trend.

    Comments saying some report changes things – and not providing evidence – just wastes everyone’s time.

    This common ‘head in the sand’ waffle is why nothing is done and everyone expresses meaningless concern knowing that when serious concequences arise there will be an entirely different generation who will be devastated.

    If you do not agree that CO2 needs to be reduced 50% to 85% on 2000 global levels, then provide your evidence.

  30. The automoderation has been overzealous lately. I just approved 10 comments. Remember not to use lots of links.

    On population, there’s still lots of uncertainty about when global population will peak and at what level. But it seems pretty clear that net reproduction rates are headed below replacement in most places, which means that population must eventually stabilize and decline

    http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/01/humanitys-future-below-replacement-fertility/

  31. @James Wimberley

    Yes – replacing fossil with renewables does the trick. Although human induced methane either through agriculture or through releases from melting Tundra is also an issue.

    I think we have known that for several decades now.

    We did not know how intrenched business interests would be and took no account of the legitimate right of China and India to aspire to the same living standard as in the West.

  32. @John Quiggin

    In 2011 the top demographics experts of the United Nation suggested by 2100 there would be 10.1 billion.

    This has now been revised upwards according to the link posted by Geoff Andrews [ ].

  33. @John Quiggin

    In 2011 the top demographics experts of the United Nation suggested by 2100 there would be 10.1 billion.

    This has now been revised upwards according to the link posted by Geoff Andrews [ Here ].

  34. @John Quiggin

    Current population trends are [ Here ]

    The need is for the whole world to have net increase of zero or leass than single digits carbon emission per capita.

    The actual numbers are not as relevant as are the trends and structure of the problem and responce as demonstrated so far.

  35. @John Quiggin

    Current population trends are [ Here ]

    The need is for the whole world to have net increase of zero or leass than single digits carbon emission per capita.

    The actual numbers are not as relevant as are the trends and structure of the problem and responce as demonstrated so far.

  36. @Ivor
    You misunderstand the point.

    No, I think I understand it well enough.

    The exact numbers are not so important, nor even the rate or timescale.
    It is the structure of the problem and its trend.

    So you’re backing away from relying on a particular forecast with specific numbers, and falling back on vague generalities.

    Comments saying some report changes things – and not providing evidence – just wastes everyone’s time.

    This common ‘head in the sand’ waffle is why nothing is done and everyone expresses meaningless concern knowing that when serious concequences arise there will be an entirely different generation who will be devastated.

    This is meaningless waffle.

    If you do not agree that CO2 needs to be reduced 50% to 85% on 2000 global levels, then provide your evidence.

    What on Earth are you talking about? All I did was dispute your claim that a particular forecast of emissions out to 2040 should be treated as if it were a foregone conclusion.

  37. @Tim Macknay

    Science is not vague generalities.

    Science is as science does – and if there is a problem with a conclusion there would be evidence?

    Anyone can make claims. either which way.

    So where is your evidence?

  38. @Ivor
    “Science” is not a magic word that converts vague generalities into facts.

    Anyone can make claims. either which way.

    Indeed.

    So where is your evidence?


    Evidence for what?

  39. Ivor, do you think it is likely that birth rates in North America, Europe, China, and Japan will rise to replacement level? Because that’s what the study in the link you provided assumes and that’s rather an odd assumption to make in my opinon and I’d be interested to know the thinking behind it.

  40. @Ronald Brak

    I am quite happy using UN expert data without provoking them with unevidenced quips such as in various posts above.

    Using UN resources, I expect that population will increase to around 10 billion near 2040 a nd some sources are claiming higher.

    Even if population levels out or declines, CO2 emissions will not fall as required by IPCC 4 or 5 or even the next one.

  41. “on record”, simply means these events and experienced and recorded data of energy levels in the environment-atmoshphere has never happened before in the constraint of our records. Comment is superflous, the trend is seriously alarming.

  42. @Tim Macknay

    I now know why you have not provided any evidence to support your claim that the 5th report somehow changed things.

    I used the 4th which set a benchmark of 50% of 2000 levels (ie 50% of 4.1 metric tons).

    The 5th report set a bench mark of 40% of 2010 levels (ie 40% of 4.8 metric tons).

    you probably knew this, and did not cite it because the 5th report completely substantiated the 4th and increased the requirement.

    Page 10-11 incl. footnotes is particularly relevant – [ Here ].

  43. @Tim Macknay

    I now know why you have not provided any evidence to support your claim that the 5th report somehow changed things.

    I used the 4th which set a benchmark of 50% of 2000 levels (ie 50% of 4.1 metric tons).

    The 5th report set a bench mark of 40% of 2010 levels (ie 40% of 4.8 metric tons).

    you probably knew this, and did not cite it because the 5th report completely substantiated the 4th and increased the requirement.

    Page 10-11 incl. footnotes is particularly relevant – [ Here ].

  44. My local member (Perth northern suburbs) has just sent an survey asking for feedback where you can select 4 of 10 pre-determined issues as being those of most concern to you. Climate change does not get a mention so I presume it is not seen as a top 10 issue!.

  45. <
    @Julie Thomas
    Re: Your question at 12.15pm
    I noted that my comment at 8.36am was “under moderation”, then sometime later it disappeared. I asked for a reason on 11.14am
    JQ has since explained (12.26pm), after your comment at 12.15pm, that the auto-moderation was a bit sensitive. My original offending comment has now been restored.
    Hope to see yours soon, too.

  46. @Ivor
    No, I genuinely wondered why you would use an outdated report when a more recent one was available. I certainly didn’t think that the AR5 report did not substantiate the AR4, although I note that the AR5 does not contain the explicit statement that emissions need to peak by 2015 in order to stabilise emissions at 450ppm, possibly because the IPCC authors are aware of the error margins and uncertainties inherent in the modelling (indeed, the specifically refer to them) even if you are not.

    Contesting evidence based science needs evidence and rigor at the same level.

    Ivor, your blog comments are not ‘science-based evidence’.
    “Having atmospheric CO2 above 300 causes endless global warming” is not evidence-based science – where’s the evidence?
    “we are doomed” is not evidence-based science.
    “the only way out is ZPG and economic de-growth” is not evidence-based science.


    Otherwise people are just running interference.

    I must say I find this comment bizarre.

    As far as I can tell (and I could be wrong, because you are rather obtuse), your purpose in making the claims that you do and citing the references that you do is to assert that it is not possible to achieve the kind of emissions reductions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. While you are clearly not a denialist, this is essentially a denialist line of argument (i.e. it’s too late, there’s nothing we can do, etc), which has already been pointed out by other commenters.

    As far as I’m concerned, the sources you’ve cited don’t support that view. They support a range of possibilities. They certainly do not support the assertions I quoted above.

    So if that is what you think I’m ‘running interference’ against, I suppose you’re right. But the expression ‘running interference’ suggests that something important is going on in this thread that is being sabotaged, and that your comments represent some significant, potentially influential line of argument worthy of running interference against. They don’t Blog commenting is essentially intellectual (sometimes, at least) entertainment, or at least the urge to respond to SIWOTI. Your comments here don;t actually matter, and neither do mine.

  47. @Tim Macknay

    I don’t agree with several of Ivor’s statements in this thread so I am not defending his statements. However, I note that the optimists’ brigade makes hopeful comments without providing thorough evidence but criticizes the pessimists’ brigade if they make statements without evidence.

    The default position of the optimists’ brigade seems to be that pessimists must prove their case (which is fair enough) but that the optimist position can be stated as the default case without proof that it is correct.

    If the pessimists have to prove we are doomed (which categorically pessimists cannot do to 100% certainty) then optimists also have to prove we are not doomed (which categorically optimists cannot do to 100% certainty).

    It’s standard optimism bias. I would argue that optimism bias has been a key reason for our complacency and inaction. This optimism bias has been very dangerous and damaging to getting real action on climate change. Activist pessimists (not fatalist pessimists) have been trying ginger up climate change action from all the complacent optimists. So far to no avail.

  48. @Tim Macknay

    “Having atmospheric CO2 above 300 causes endless global warming” is not evidence-based science – where’s the evidence?

    This sounds like Monkton.

    If you don’t agree, what is the alternative – 325? 340? 400? 250?

    According to ice-core data 300 was crossed in the early part of the 20th century when the standard hockey-stick graph of temperature started its obvious radical rise.

    It is quite possible that human induced warming commenced earlier, so maybe 250 is a better figure.

    It is not possible to achieve the kind of emissions reduction and decline in CO2 levels because of;

    – population increase,

    – the expectations of Third World nations to have the same standard of living, and

    – given that governments have shown no interest in arresting fossil fuel exploration and exploitation.

    Further all the evidence points to increasing emissions until by 2040 they will be over 13% higher than 2014 levels. This is after account has been taken of renewables and carbon capture etc. and a temporary drop due to recession.

    The IPCC tried propagating a benchmark of 50% of 2000 (min). But this did not work. So they then tried 40% of 2010 (min).

    In the future, when (if) it dawns on our politicians that something must be done, the IPCC could well have to seek 30% of 2020 levels.

    De-growth and ZPG is the only possibility or, theoretically, some plan to have the whole world restricted to 2 metric tons per year per capita without de-growth.

  49. Maybe we need to define (or re-define) the terms:

    Pessimism = there’s no point in even talking about it any more, we’re totally doomed no matter what happens.

    (It seems obvious that nobody here falls into that category)

    Optimism = there is some point in talking about it because we may not be totally doomed and we may be able to work out what to do about it.

    (Here we are talking about it – most of us with good intentions it would seem)

    So we’re all “optimists”!

  50. @Ivor
    Apologies for the typos and grammatical errors in my previous comment. I was trying to belt it out before heading off to a football game.

    This sounds like Monkton.
    If you don’t agree, what is the alternative – 325? 340? 400? 250?
    According to ice-core data 300 was crossed in the early part of the 20th century when the standard hockey-stick graph of temperature started its obvious radical rise.
    It is quite possible that human induced warming commenced earlier, so maybe 250 is a better figure.

    I wonder if our disagreement is essentially linguistic.

    My comment in relation to your statement about 300 pmm CO2 causing ‘endless global warming’ was in response to your assertion that your claims were scientific and required ‘science-based evidence’ to refute them. I assumed by evidence you were referring to such things as links to scientific publications, so on that assumption, you made the claim without providing any evidence at all. Whether the claim was plausible was secondary.

    But now that you’ve elaborated on it, I must say I find it puzzling.
    It isn’t consistent with most of what I’ve read in relation to climate science, and it certainly isn’t consistent with the IPCC AR4 goal of stabilising CO2 levels below 450ppm by 2100, or the AR5 goal of returning them below 450ppm by 2100, or even the 350.org goal of getting them down to 350ppm or below by that year. If your claim is correct, then your statement that we are doomed would appear reasonable, since not only would the most optimistic scenarios in the IPCC reports would be futile, but even achieving emissions reduction goals substantially more ambitious than those contemplated in the IPCC reports would be futile. Even your proposed solution of ZPG+de-growth would probably be futile. Given that the IPCC goals are scientifically well-informed, that seems implausible to me.

    It’s also hard to avoid the impression, from your comment above, that you arrived at the view that 300ppm causes endless warming simply by eyeballing a ‘hockey stick’ graph, noting that 300ppm appeared around where the curve got steeper, and assuming that the 300ppm was responsible for all the subsequent warming (rather than further increases in CO2 concentration being responsible for it). Sorry mate, but your own speculation from eyeballing a graph doesn’t count as ‘science-based evidence’ IMHO (as I said, maybe it’s a linguistic thing), and it also seems to me to be erroneous.

    However, if I’m wrong and your statement was based on some actual scientific research which showed that a level of 300ppm was not stable and would actually result in endless warming, I’d be appreciative if you could provide a cite.

    Your statement about population, developing world expectations, and government attitudes, is one that I would interpret as meaning that you consider that meeting the required emissions targets as very unlikely due to both the scale of the problem to be overcome and the lack of political will to overcome it. Phrased that way, it’s not something I would regard as unreasonable.

    FWIW, my own view is that, based on the existing emissions levels, our knowledge of what is required, the current trajectory of emissions, and the sort of emissions reduction commitments that have been made to date, and the kind of scenario modelling that has been done based on those assumptions, it looks like it will be extremely hard to meet the target of 450ppm in 2100, based on the IPCC scenarios, and we may well be looking at the prospect of emissions being above 450ppm, although that in my view does not necessarily equate to ‘doom’ – the risks and adaptation issues increase, and the likelihood of a catastrophic outcome increases.

    I also think, though, that the recent developments I mentioned earlier, which were not predicted, demonstrate that changes can occur in a positive direction as well as a negative one, and that the prospects of meeting the 450 target, or not overshooting it by much, now appear better than they did a few short years ago.

  51. Thanks Julie. At least you have the self awareness to know that you have a Pollyanna-ish optimism. Congratulations. It’s a good start. Next step is to face reality head-on. The crims still have guns. It’s the law-abiding, taxpaying citizens who have to rely on overstretched, over-criticised police forces. Trust me, when you really need them, they will not be there. Smarter thing is to be prepared yourself.

  52. Wonder away JD. Maybe you should also wonder why you’re not happier and more successful than you are.

  53. @Ken Fabian

    Thanks for your reply Ken. You’ve got me wrong, I do support the police and courts. They do a very difficult job, usually very well. But they can’t be everywhere at once. I also agree our government is not serving us well. Too much tax. Too much intrusion.

    Cheers

    RL

    @John Brookes

  54. John Brookes, you’ve got me wrong. Climate change is obviously real. I prefer to think about taking advantage of change, rather than resisting it. Just a personal perspective on life I guess. What I won’t be is a naive gullible fool who believes everything non accountable bodies like the UN and the EU and our own government tell us about the situation and how we should approach it. Follow the money and the power trails. They tell you all you need to know.

  55. @Tim Macknay

    I am quite willing to substitute 350 ppm provided the benchmark is “below 350” as this is the figure arrived at by James Hansen’s paper in 2008.

    However that is not the point.

    The fact is, even though it is known that CO2 emissions cause climate change, fossil fuel explorations and industrial development are proceeding fundamentally as usual and the latest documents show both the population increasing and carbon emissions increasing.

    The IPCC has therefore increased the requirement for carbon reduction, and will probably have to again when the next body of work emerges.

    There is no work being done on how to have the global standard of living so that only 2 GtC is emitted per year by 10 billion people. There are two key factors:

    1) development crisis
    2) commercial interests

    The chart at page 31 [ Here ] illustrates this.

    The rest of the document gives additional context. The failure to have CO2 emissions peaking in 2013, and then in 2015, suggests there will be no peak in 2017.

    As the authors state:

    Most G8 governments, for their parts, are officially committed to the 2°C target, but nevertheless advocate global reduction targets … that cannot and will not deliver it.

    p27.

    2 GtC divided by 10 billion is 0.2 metric tons per capita a year. 1 return flight for 1 person Sydney to Heathrow is 8 tonnes.

    5 vehicles (engine capacity 1.5 litres) travelling 20 km a week produce 1 tonne per year.

    So how is this even conceivable?

  56. @Tim Macknay

    I am quite willing to substitute 350 ppm provided the benchmark is “below 350” as this is the figure arrived at by James Hansen’s paper in 2008.

    However that is not the point.

    The fact is, even though it is known that CO2 emissions cause climate change, fossil fuel explorations and industrial development are proceeding fundamentally as usual and the latest documents show both the population increasing and carbon emissions increasing.

    The IPCC has therefore increased the requirement for carbon reduction, and will probably have to again when the next body of work emerges.

    There is no work being done on how to have the global standard of living so that only 2 GtC is emitted per year by 10 billion people. There are two key factors:

    1) development crisis
    2) commercial interests

    The chart at page 31 [ Here ] illustrates this.

    The rest of the document gives additional context. The failure to have CO2 emissions peaking in 2013, and then in 2015, suggests there will be no peak in 2017.

    As the authors state:

    Most G8 governments, for their parts, are officially committed to the 2°C target, but nevertheless advocate global reduction targets … that cannot and will not deliver it.

    p27.

    2 GtC divided by 10 billion is 0.2 metric tons per capita a year. 1 return flight for 1 person Sydney to Heathrow is 8 tonnes.

    5 vehicles (engine capacity 1.5 litres) travelling 20 km a week produce 1 tonne per year.

    So how is this even conceivable?

  57. @Ivor

    2 GtC divided by 10 billion is 0.2 metric tons per capita a year. 1 return flight for 1 person Sydney to Heathrow is 8 tonnes.

    It’s certainly true that air travel using current technology poses a big problem for reconciling the idea of universal westenr living standards with low global emissions, if universal western living standards requires the same usage of air travel. However, your figure of 8 tonnes seems a bit high (For example, calculator on the site carbonfootprint-dot-com gives a figure of 2.7 tonnes for the same flight). How did you arrive at it?

    More generally though, I’m more convinced than before that we’re running into language-based disagreements. For example, I would regard the modelling done by the IPCC on low-emission scenarios, and well as the emissions reductions strategies designed for various countries by university groups and other academic and scientific bodies, as examples of ‘work being done on how to have the global standard of living so that only 2GtC is emitted per year by 10 billion people’, but clearly you would not, since you have said you believe no such work is being done. It’s not clear to me how you would define such work.

    The GDR Framework document from 2008 is an interesting one, although the information in it is getting somewhat dated now (particularly the political analysis, and some of the country emissions projections, for example, are too pessimistic).

    So how is this even conceivable?</em

    >

    I’ll take that as a rhetorical question, as you’ve already stated that you don’t believe emissions can be reduced sufficiently to prevent a catastrophe. There are many ways of conceiving how it can be done – to my mind the real question is how difficult is it?
    It appears that you believe it is too difficult to even be possible. I think it is difficult, and I don’t know if it can be achieved or not.

    Clearly a relatively dramatic change in the level of commitment to reducing emissions, and the pace of emissions reduction, will be necessary to make it possible, but I also think that economic, technological and political changes of the last few years have made the prospect of dramatic change more plausible that I believed it was five years or so ago (that doesn’t mean I believe it will happen, though. It might. Or it might not).

    To some extent I think our disagreement lies in what we intuit from the numbers. You look at the figures for per capita emissions and the figures for aviation and vehicle travel and think “it can’t be done”. I don’t have the same reaction – I tend instead to think of alternatives to air and car travel, and how they might be used to fill the same needs (note: I’m investigating the psychology of our respective thinking here, not asserting that my response to the numbers is somehow right and yours is wrong). PWC, in its Low Carbon Economy Index 2014, states that the world economy needs to decarbonise at a rate of 6.2% per year in order to achieve the 450 target, a rate five times the current rate. To me, while that figure clearly requires a dramatic change in commitment, it certainly doesn’t seem impossible. However I imagine you might respond to it differently. (It’s worth noting that the PWC report emphasises that the global economy is not on track to meet the 450 target, that very significant change is required if it is to do so, and that many politicians do not seem to grasp the urgency of it. That view, which I certainly accept, I think chimes in with what some of the people who label themselves ‘pessimists’ are saying).

    The one final point I’ll make is that I don’t really see how a ‘ZPG+degrowth’ strategy would be more likely to succeed than emissions reduction in the presence of growth, such as that modelled by the IPCC and others. In the absence of any numbers, it not clear to me that they would be intuitively more plausible than the numbers for more conventional approaches, and it virtually goes without saying that ZPG-degrowth would be politically much more difficult to achieve.

    In fact, I’ll echo your own incredulity by saying that I can’t conceive of how such a policy could be implemented. The only plausible way I can conceive of ZPG+degrowth occurring (in the short to medium term at least) is as an unintentional side effect of some global disaster. Which is kind of what we are trying to avoid in the first place. Just sayin’.

  58. @Tim Macknay

    Simple use a carbon calculator [ Here ]

    1 return trip, Sydney to heathrow, 26/06/2015, economy.

    result 8.82 tonnes.

  59. @Ivor
    I did use a carbon calculator – I described the link. The one I used came up with 2.7 tonnes.
    Makes those carbon calculators rather less than useful, it appears…

  60. @Ivor

    The difference between the two calculators cannot be explained.

    Anyway it is over 2 tonnes per journey.

    So everyone cannot have a right to travel by air or use air freight.

  61. Eight tonnes of CO2 would require the burning of 3,200 liters of jet fuel which currently costs about 50 cents a liter which means the fuel cost alone would be $1,600. Qantas says they will take me from Sydney to London for $1,365. So either airlines are extremely generous and heavily subsidise the cost of each and every ticket out of the goodness of their hearts, or clearly someone’s carbon calculator is very broken.

    It is actually possible to look up the CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer for the types of planes that make the journey, but I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

  62. Tim, it is quite possible to have air travel with zero net emissions using present technology. Also, quite old technology.

  63. @Ronald Brak

    Why not just use Wikipedia’s estimate of 0.18 kg per passenger per mile – en.wikipedia.org /wiki/ Environmental_impact_of_transport#Aviation.

    London is 11,000 miles away so this equates to 2 tonnes out and 2 tonnes back.

    At 4 tonnes, this is half what one calculator says and double what another calculator says.

    However it is closer to the result of using around 100 gms per km per passenger for long haul flights over 20,000 km as at:

    [ Here ]

    To get to London I usually transit Dubai or Singapore, so 4 tonnes is about right.

  64. @Ronald Brakels
    I think it’s fair to say though, Ronald, that it would not feasible, with today’s technology, to provide the typical westerner’s level of jet transport usage to a population of 10 billion with net zero emissions, which was the context of the original point. Low emissions jet travel is currently limited to some experiments with biofuel, hydrogen and Mobil process synthetic fuels, as well as some hyper-efficient designs on the drawing board. Things will probably change in the future, but that’s the situation in the present, as far as I’m aware.

  65. I agree with you Tim, with todays technology it would not be possible to provide air transport to 10 billion people with net zero emissions on account of how we lack the ability to clone the extra 3 billion people we’d need to get to 10 billion.

  66. As I pointed out years ago, air travel could be cut by half with a minimal reduction in welfare. Half of business meetings could be replaced by teleconferences (or better, not held at all). Leisure travel could be cut by half if people took holidays half as often, twice as long, more like they did in the 20th century.

    That will only happen with some big price increases, of course.

  67. @John Quiggin

    I see no reason for “price increases” as this just means the rich will fly whenever they want and workers will never. Also neccesary business travel costs can all be passed on to the final end use consumer.

    A voucher system would be better, so workers with a voucher who did not want to travel could sell it and gain a benefit.

    Rich people will still travel more than others but with some compensation to others.

    But annual carbon emissions per person per year @10 billion people, can only reach 2 tonnes for all purposes. This is not much air travel.

  68. Recall that excise on jet fuel was increased by about 6c a litre in lieu of carbon tax. That is roughly consistent with 2.4c c.t. per kg CO2 X 2.5 kg CO2 per litre burned. Anyways the airlines said before and after it would discourage air travel. Evidently they didn’t get the point about reducing emissions. Some early protests are recorded here
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/national-affairs/air-fares-to-rise-as-a-result-of-excise-on-aviation-fuel/story-fn99tjf2-1226091896020
    It seems as though nothing must impede continued use of planes, trains and automobiles powered by fossil fuels. The PM’s solution to road congestion is to build more roads.

    Long distance trucks can use chilled or compressed natural gas as the tank weight is less critical. Australia now imports about 70% of its liquid fuel, both crude oil (which peaked here in 2000) and refined products like petrol, diesel and jet fuel. If oil goes back to the $150 a barrel of mid 2008 we’re screwed. At some point we won’t be able to sell enough crushed rocks (coal, iron ore etc) to pay for liquid fuel imports.

  69. @John Quiggin

    I suspect it’s technically possible to fabricate aircraft fuel through a Fischer-Tropsch process based on resort to low carbon sources, existing bio-waste etc. a product called ‘blue diesel’ is being produced by Audi — though it’s yet to be commercialised.

    More broadly though, most air travel (and for that matter, air transport) is entirely discretionary, and we ought to move towards that model, at least until a very low carbon option is available.

  70. …..electric aircraft have come on in leaps in just a handful of years. Airbus enthusiastically have developed their eFan programme and have committed to a manufacturing facility for their 2 seat and 4 seat vehicles

    http://eadsmastpd.edgesuite.net/mm/flvmedia/4969/9/b/0/9b01b253fees—enc—w640_ng-2745479.mp4?cid=4969&aid=2745479&afid=5441343&assetid=2745479

    It is difficult to accelerate the programme without matching developments in battery technology, but from what I have seen even five years out from now there will be a steady expansion of flight capability of electric aircraft.

    There is nothing yet on the horizon for longhaul aircraft, but I suspect that a study of fuel consumption regional to long haul might reveal some surprises which might relieve the concern once the regional hybrid electric aircraft come into the picture. There are huge technological hurdles to pass before this all comes to pass, but it is being tackled with determination.

  71. I forgot to add that the eFan noise level is 65 decibels, or the level of normal conversation. Very different to current light aircraft.

  72. As has been mentioned elsewhere, there is a group within the Liberal party who are determined to find evidence that the books are cooked on the rate of increase of global temperature, and they want to know how come the models didn’t predict the “pause”. Well, there wasn’t one! Bit hard to predict what isn’t there. This news hasn’t yet filtered down to the junior ranks…

  73. Interesting paper here BilB.

    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20130010780.pdf

    If you look on page 12 under “B. Refrigeration Options” (for cryogenic cooling of electrical components) you will see in passing what fuels they envisage using (jet fuel, hydrogen fuel or methane). The turbo-electric distributed propulsion engine is way of replacing mechanical gearboxes with “electrical gearboxes”. These are not battery powered aircraft. Just in case anyone is under that misapprehension.

  74. What are you saying Ikonoclast. Are you suggesting that this is a pointless exercise? What do you know about flight energy cycles of aircraft?

  75. Tim, it is fairly trivial for an Australian earning median income to eliminate the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions from result from flying to Europe. And even in a world where all the low hanging fruit have been picked and more expensive options must be used to reduce or remove emissions the cost might still only be a few hundred dollars or less. With the median Australian income being around $50,000 at 2% growth it should take less than a year for their income to grow more than the cost of carbon free flying to Europe and back each year. Even if you want to be stupidly pessimistic on the cost side of things, and assume no futher improvements decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from flight than what is already commercially used and $300 a tonne to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it, then you are looking at about 2 years growth to repair the wallet pain for a once to Europe and back each year currently median income Australian.

  76. @Ronald Brak
    Ronald, for the record, I don’t think reducing emissions poses any insurmountable technical or economic obstacles. The primary obstacle is socio-political, if you like. In the short-to-medium term, offsets are the only option for jet travel (other than substitution, as Prof Q suggests). In the context of my discussion with Ivor above, which about a future scenario with 10 billion people and an extremely constrained carbon budget, in which western living standards are universalised, I prefer to be relying on something much more robust than offsets. In the long run I think the most likely solution will be improved efficiency combined with renewable produced synthic fuel. But who knows? I can’t predict the future. But if we end up having no option but to go back to sailing ships, I can live with that. I like sailing. 😉

  77. Air travel will become the whipping boy for those who want a diversion for their inaction in their own field. As Ikonoclast demonstrated rather than count the achievement of technology that reduces emissions by as much as two thirds the purist angle is latched onto, “its not perfect, its a hydrid, not a purely battery powered solution”. That is despite the fact that bringing vudl consumption for a flight down to a third of present practice it brings that fuel requirement within the achieveable range of algal oil or manufactured fuel such as Audi’s “blue fuel”, which requires huge amounts of electricity and can only realistically be produced with nuclear power.

    Frankly, I get quite annoyed at those who have no practical solutions to offer so seek to elevate themselves with criticism of others efforts. In order to achieve a low or zero carbon emission economy it is going to take the positive efforts of everyone, whether it is engineers, designers, economists, politicians, people who choose a low carbon solution over bau, or just people turning of the lights when not needed. Every one will have a roll to play in this no matter what their expertise is.

    Offsets are a claytons solution to be used by those who don’t have the imagination to create an actual alternative to their emissions. Nuclear power is the other energy magic wand for those who do not want change, or who want to protect their “kodak” interests.

  78. BREE’s July 2014 energy bulletin says we got 65% of our electricity from coal and 21% from gas. Transport took 38% of our primary energy mostly based on oil. If we want to electrify transport the gross energy requirement could shrink due to more efficient propulsion systems eg cars without gearboxes. However the stationary electricity requirement then goes up significantly. Somebody should think of a way to supply more electricity which is both low carbon and meets predictable demand cycles.

    I suspect the next bulletin is not going to show things heading in the direction we want. That is more coal, less gas and hydro and about the same amount of wind and solar. We are probably driving less. However we are not preparing for the major future realities.

  79. Sailing ships are certainly an option. The record time for a clipper to travel from London to Melbourne was 61 days. The record from Melbourne to Liverpool was 65 days. Assuming modern sailing vessels manage to average record clipper times (very unlikely using only wind) and passengers pay $50 a night for basic amenities in their wind blown hotel, then the hotel and opportunity cost alone from time spent not working for someone earning the current median income of about $50,000 when traveling from Australia to England would come to about $12,000. Then there is the cost of the ticket on top of that which is likely to be quite high as a passenger is locking up the capital required for 9 weeks instead of 21 hours. So zero net emissions flight will be a cheaper option. Using rail travel as much as possible is also likely to be cheaper. There are currently high speed trains in service with operating speeds of 320 kilometers an hour which is more than one third the cruising speed of a 747. Japan has announced they will have a line with an operating speed of almost 400 kilometers an hour in place in 12 years time.

  80. @Ronald Brak

    You completely miss the point. It does not matter whether there are technologies that can replace, reduce, or remove carbon.

    The problem is that any capitalist adding to their costs by employing these technologies will be outcompeted by other businesses who do not.

    So passenger and container ships will never occur as long as other nations still run oil based shipping.

    Presumably battery powered trucks, buses, cars and machinery are technically possible or soon will be, but except for niche markets will not be spread through any economy because businesses using these will be outcompeted by businesses that still use fossil fuels.

    Carbon capture and storage is not $300 a tonne it is significantly less see [ Table 2 ].

    But how do you store the CO2 from a jet aircraft as it zooms overhead?

    So the globe will continue to have carbon emitting aircraft, shipping, transport, machinery and cement production for a long time yet, and we will never reach 2 tonnes per capita for 10 billion people.

    How can you possibly reach 2 tonnes per capita when fossil fuel companies are still exploring and developing additional carbon fuel resources.

    For example, how are you going to stop East Timor and PNG from producing oil which they are doing at around 100,000 barrels per day?

    When will Australia stop producing over 300,000 barrels per day?

  81. @BilB

    Where did I say it was pointless? I said it was an interesting paper. I said “These are not battery powered aircraft. Just in case anyone is under that misapprehension.” I meant “anyone”.

    It is very experimental at this stage. Or even theoretical. Have they built any test craft yet? It might well lead to more efficient flight. (Save fuel.) They might well be able to fly with methane fuel which would be very useful as we can probably find CO2-neutral ways to make “synth-methane” safely.

    The videos were long on pretty graphics and short on technical detail. I inferred (rightly or wrongly) that on glide descent the fans will reverse and make power. Not sure where that power would go: probably into a modest battery bank (for auxiliary power not flight power) and also straight into auxiliary power and into running the cryogenic refrigeration plant, pumps etc. for the “electrical gearbox(es)”. This would save some fuel.

    But if you know the full technical details or have links to comprehensive information please post.

  82. @Ronald Brak

    You completely miss the point. It does not matter whether there are technologies that can replace, reduce, or remove carbon.

    The problem is that any capitalist adding to their costs by employing these technologies will be outcompeted by other businesses who do not.

    So passenger and container ships will never occur as long as other nations still run oil based shipping.

    Presumably battery powered trucks, buses, cars and machinery are technically possible or soon will be, but except for niche markets will not be spread through any economy because businesses using these will be outcompeted by businesses that still use fossil fuels.

    Carbon capture and storage is not $300 a tonne it is significantly less see [ Table 2 ].

    But how do you store the CO2 from a jet aircraft as it zooms overhead?

    So the globe will continue to have carbon emitting aircraft, shipping, transport, machinery and cement production for a long time yet, and we will never reach 2 tonnes per capita for 10 billion people.

    How can you possibly reach 2 tonnes per capita when fossil fuel companies are still exploring and developing additional carbon fuel resources.

    For example, how are you going to stop East Timor and PNG from producing oil which they are doing at around 100,000 barrels per day?

    When will Australia stop producing over 300,000 barrels per day?

  83. @BilB

    You have completely misinterpreted and misrepresented me. See my post above. You did not post any significant technical details about these projects just some videos sans technical data. How do you expect people to suddenly understand the whole concept and whether it has theoretical and practical viability now or in the future?

    Which achievement are you referring to when you say “rather than count the achievement of technology that reduces emissions by as much as two thirds”? You use present tense. Are these craft actually working now? None of your previous posts said that. You make it sound like I denigrated a current fully-fledged and operational achievement. Is it already in the air?

    Now please don’t misrepresent me again and make out I am saying it will never happen. I am not saying that. I am simply wondering if it is still future technology can we yet say “by as much as two-thirds”?

  84. @Ronald Brak
    I admit I’m not entirely sure of the point you’re seeking to make, Ronald. Apart from the fact that I don’t accept that offsets are a complete and durable solution (rather, they are a ‘better than nothing’ stop-gap, although they are the only option for jet travel until low-emissions fuels are developed). Apart from that, I don’t think we’re in disagreement.

  85. @BilB
    BilB, I’m not sure why you think Audi-style synfuel can only be realistically produced with nuclear power. Anything that can be produced using nuclear power can be produced with hydroelectricity and probably with solar or wind energy as well. In all likelihood, more cheaply too.

  86. Ivor, thanks for the concern, but I haven’t missed any points that I wanted to make. I pointed out that flying from Australia to London does not result in 8 tonnes of CO2 emissions. And I pointed out that zero net emissions flying is pretty trivial matter for people in wealthy nations such as Australia.

  87. Tim, just making the points that zero net emissions flight is a trivial matter for people in wealthy nations. And I made a point that there is unlikely to be a return to sea travel. What is an offset?

  88. TimMacknay,

    The shear amount of energy required to produce a product at 50% to 25% efficiency. I have demonstrated that it is feasible to produce all of Australia’s electricity from 12 million 4.5 kw PVT systems including running the entire national vehicle fleet , at least in principle. But that requires that the vehicles are powered electrically at 90% efficiency. If the electricity is to be used to produce a fuel that is then burnt in internal combustion engines at 25% efficiency this becomes far less economic. It would take the claims of the Nuclear lobby of near zero electricity cost, and 100% safe and reliable to be true for that level of energy loss to be a viable solution.

    I believe that shipping has to be powered by Nuclear energy in the future. But the fact thathis has not happened despite there being 100 container ships per year being manufactured in just 1 Korean ship yard says a number of things.

    Nuclear cannot compete head on with fossil fuel energy for operational cost despite its claimed tiny cost of fuel. Secondly that being the case to manufacture synthetic fuel using nuclear energy at half the efficiency to burn in diesel engines cannot be even slightly economic. Thirdly if reactors cannot be built economically for ships despite the opportunity for assembly line mass production, then the notion that they can be rolled out cheaply for land based use has got to be false.

  89. Ronald Brak :
    zero net emissions flying is pretty trivial matter for people in wealthy nations such as Australia.

    What does this even mean?

    Wealthy nations do not control CO2 emissions.

    Wealthy nations have no intention of ever implementing zero-emissions flights, passenger ships or land transport.

    1 barrel of oil produces between 1/3 to 1/2 tonne of CO2.

  90. Ivor, “…zero net emissions flying is pretty trivial matter for people in wealthy nations such as Australia”, means that people will still be able to fly and will still fly even if they are required not to increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by doing so. This is clear from the fact that although flying was reduce when oil cost $147 US a barrel, people still travelled by air.

  91. BillB at some point nuclear ships will be cheaper than oil or synfuel powered were it not for the likely minefield of legal impediments eg the inability to dock in NZ. I notice though that Qld premier Palaszczuk recently welcomed the USS George Washington to Brisbane having previously said words to the effect it was strictly a coal town.

    This week Germany closes the 1350 MW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant. No need to fear tsunamis now. In March it opened the 800 MW Moorburg coal plant that will need imported hard coal eg from the US. Perhaps I’m channelling Basil Fawlty but the Germans seem to me to think in odd ways.

  92. I think that Nuclear for shipping can be affordable now, Hermit, the problem is that the industry has completely let that business possibility go past while they waited for multi billion dollar opportunities guaranteed by governments. The New Zealand moratorium on nuclear weapons keeps coming up, but that is just one tiny country, hardly a road block. The Toshiba 4s 100 megawatt reactor could be adapted apart from, and I am guessing here, that it cannot be ramped. I think that it is kicked off and runs at a steady state for 30 years. There is a possibility that it can be damped by rotating the reflector plates though I could see that as feature in the design images available.

    It is unrealistic to talk about container sailing ships powered by wind. The amount of shipping required completely excludes that.

    The real reason why it has not occurred is that it is investment institutions that want to invest in high earning infrastructure with a long stable operating life, base load nuclear fits that profile perfectly. the fly in the ointment is rooftop solar which by its very nature diminishes the customer base and can render a nuclear plant uneconomic in a relatively short time frame, hence the anti solar negativity campaign by some interest groups. Shipping does not suit the insurance investment profile, and so the designs have not been explored. It is going to take an international agreement to kick off nuclear shipping, and the climate talks are the right place for that to happen. I suspect though that the vested interest are too locked into their channel to broaden their thinking into shipping.

  93. Some odd reasoning there BilB. As far as I know solar doesn’t supply grid electricity at night which could be why the Germans are building new coal plants nearly a decade into their green energy program. There were some interesting facts in an article by Sid Maher in The Australian which seems to be paywalled on the second look. We here in sunny Oz have 4 GW of solar capacity the Germans have 55 GW I believe. Yet if I recall the article Berlin gets just one hour of direct sunlight a day in December. The magic of mandates. If coal stations close because of solar fair enough but I think here the main reason is the manufacturing downturn.

  94. The “Australian” and “facts” are mutually exclusive terms, Hermit. December sunrise in Berlin 8.17 and sunset 4.00, that would be a safe 6 hours of sunlight(just one hour shorter than midwinter Christchurch NZ where I lived for 17 years) . Germany is installing new power plants because the DesertTech programme came to a grinding halt with the Arab Spring and the subsequent instability across the top of Africa. This was both a tragedy for Africa and for Europe in many ways. But you can’t expect a dirty dish rag like the Australian to even faintly understand what is going on in the world, let alone report on it with any authenticity.

    Why do you bother saying things like

    “As far as I know solar doesn’t supply grid electricity at night “?

    …for starters it is blatantly obvious that the sun does not shine at night, which is the perpetual jibe of the Nuclear lobby, but at the same time the statement is factually false. The Andesol solar plant in Spain is delivering grid electricity into the night as are plants in the US, and elsewhere. The fact there is not a lot of it is entirely due to political stupidity, bad luck (Africa), and the ignorant tactics of the anti science Libertarian brigade.

  95. Ronald Brak :
    people will still be able to fly and will still fly even if they are required not to increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by doing so. This is clear from the fact that although flying was reduce when oil cost $147 US a barrel, people still travelled by air.

    This does not describe zero net emissoin flights.

  96. yet another scheme, that may just go the way of every other.

    Here

    Still it is interesting.

    Of course our capitalists will out-flank any such schemes.

  97. Tim, no I’m not joking. I just wanted to get a definition before I used the word. As you know, some people get easily confused. But actually it probably doesn’t matter. Now that I have had time to consider, I don’t think I have anything useful to add on the topic of offsets at the moment.

  98. Ikonoclast, if you don’t fully understand something, and clearly in this case you don’t, ask questions. When you see photogaphs of technology it might be real, when you see anmated graphics it is imaginary. AirBus, as aviation technology has lead times in the decades, are attempting now to anticipate where the industry must be 30 years from now. I thought that was pretty clear from the presentation. An aircraft only uses 80% of its power during takeoff and climb, after that the vehcle is powering back all the way to landing. That means in a 4 engined aircraft that at least 2 of the engines after the initial climb are along for the ride, and therefore are hugely expensive in fuel terms for the full duration of the flight. AirBus are examining the the prospects of a hybrid aircraft where one engine works at capacity for most of the flight and the bulk of the work is done by fans, powered from both the engine and a storage battery, the blue thing in the middle. The hybrid aircraft takes off using battery and engine power, cruises on the power from the one engine, not 4, and recovers energy during decent when the aircraft returns to dense air at lower altitude, charging the batteries for the next flight. The shorter the flight the greater the benefit, 1 to 2 hour flights the savings are huge, 10 hour flight savings are less but still significant.

    All of this is for the second half of this century, an equally important economic period for future human beings. With some 20,000 major passenger aircraft flying ( a difficult figure to nail down) change for aviation fuel consumption is not going to be instantaneous, but that does not mean that there is no point in finding solutions. “Can’t fix it now so don’t bother” is not an acceptable position.

    What you did was glance at the presentation, didn’t understand it, didn’t seek more information, then made the “not a battery aircraft people, nothing to see here”, pronouncement. Not what I would have expected from someone as generally astute as you are. I was shocked. This is what I have come to expect from Jonovians, or the BNC egotistical nutters, not Ikonoclast. It really puts into doubt the comprehension skills of the Average Australian. I have been talking about the hardware of alternative energy here for nearly a decade, and I am struggling to think of a single question to the material that was not an attempted put down,… in all that time. It might be why high enders such as Robert Merkel don’t bother sharing their knowledge and powers of analysis any more.

  99. Absolutely, Ikonoclast, “by as much as much as two thirds”. That is every possibility from nothing to two thirds. I haven’t misrepresented you, other than saying you sought no new information. Yous did in fact track down NASA’s lift body concept which has some common elements, not that you earnt anything. Your conclusion, uses fuel, not battery powered. Wrong. As I said prior this is a hybrid power system, the aifbus presentatoon clearly shows the system has a very large battery, in the middle on the center of lift, which contributes to take off power, then recharges at cruise and on decent. The fuel savings are considerable, the system is engine assisted battery power. Your conclusion “These are not battery powered aircraft. Just in case anyone is under that misapprehension” , is false, and as you have so little grasp of the technology despite the very straight forward presentation I am left wondering why you felt a need to make the statement you did.

  100. @BilB

    In an effort to clarify my position once again;

    (1) There is not enough technical information in the videos alone to form a clear picture of what this technology might achieve.

    (2) I did go and find that NASA article so I did look for more information.

    (3) The “jet” is a hybrid craft not a battery powered craft so I was correct in saying it was not battery powered flight. (A fully battery powered vehicle or aircraft stores the energy for the entire journey in the battery.)

    (4) I did not denigrate the concept, I simply sought clarification.

    (5) The design program for the jet-electric or turbine-electric aircraft is still highly theoretical for now; at least in composite as a complete system. I was correct in pointing this out.

    (6) Saying something is still at the theoretical design stage is not the same as saying it will never happen. However, it does leave open the possibility that it might not happen.

    (7) The commercialisation implementation timetable is still long term not near term. In this sense it is like Gen IV nuclear reactors: a technology which might never come to commercial fruition and even if it does it will be too late to have any significant impact on CO2 emissions in time to stop dangerous global warming.

    (8) Having said the above, it might indeed come to fruition and it might indeed be useful as part of a total electrical economy which is sustainable past 2050. That is a good sign.

    It all boils down to whether you can understand a nuanced, realistic position on the topic rather than a Pollyanna futurist position.

  101. All these initiatives need to be kept in mind.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Electric_vehicles

    However lobbyists and political representatives of capitalism have not demonstrated the necessary intention to use these to abolish fossil fuels.

    They expect that electric power will only emerge when it can out compete fossil fuel while still providing the same rate of profit.

    So while governments can run solar-powered buses (eg Adelaide’s Tindo bus) the rest of capitalist production still runs on fossil – diesel, gas, petrol.

    Technology is one thing – capitalism is the problem.

  102. @Ivor

    I agree. Capitalism is the wrong system for the next steps humanity needs to make if we are to avoid a future of barbarism or extinction. Those who defend capitalism as the final system, the ne plus ultra of all economic systems, are the same style of unimaginative defenders of an oppressive and exploitative status quo as those who in their day defended absolutism, slavery, theocracy, medievalism and so on. They can conceive of no other system other than that which is extant in their own time and which (of course) advantages them.

  103. Not to mention that the Solar Impulse II has broken the record for the longest non-stop solo flight in aviation history – 76 hours across the Pacific Ocean on the way from Japan to Hawaii, powered purely by solar energy. While we obviously won’t be jumping in Solar Impulse II-type aircraft for our next trip to Bali, it’s a symbol of what is possible.

  104. Exactly, TimM. And Solar Impulse is a technology experimental platform. There are a lot of systems being tested in this exercise, and huge amounts of data collected. But you don’t need a 24 hour solar plane to have fun. For the more casual daytime only flying couple there is Sunseeker Duo. Most of the same features of the international effort from a husband and wife team.

  105. Here is an excellent more personal video telling the Airbus electric story. It is about exploration, challenge, and achievement.

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