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. @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 ].

  2. 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!.

  3. <
    @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.

  4. @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    No, I genuinely wondered why you would use an outdated report when a more recent one was available.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.

  5. @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.

  6. @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.

  7. 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”!

  8. @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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. @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

  12. 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.

  13. @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?

  14. @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?

  15. @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’.

  16. @Tim Macknay

    Simple use a carbon calculator [ Here ]

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

    result 8.82 tonnes.

  17. @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…

  18. @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.

  19. 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.

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

  21. @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.

  22. @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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. @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.

  26. 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.

  27. @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.

  28. …..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.

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

  30. 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…

  31. 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.

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

  33. 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.

  34. @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. 😉

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. @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?

  39. @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.

  40. @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?

  41. @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”?

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