37 thoughts on “Take heart at what’s unfolded at COP26 in Glasgow – the world can still hold global heating to 1.5℃

  1. Unsurprisingly, I welcome JQ’s more polished statement of a position of qualified optimism I’ve been inexpertly trying to make here.

    One niggle. “In the US, Donald Trump has not ruled out a presidential bid in 2024 which, if successful, would almost certainly reverse progress there.” Trump did put policies against air pollution (including methane) and for nature conservation into reverse, mainly by systematically failing to enforce current law. He tried and failed to stop the energy transition.

    Trump’s coal rescue plan was so incompetent it was laughed out of court by Republican regulators at FERC. Ohio Republicans tried harder, but their scheme was so massively corrupt that it eventually led to criminal investigations. Coal plant closures under Trump continued at roughly the pace under Obama:
    (You can ignore the EIA’s timid projections; FERC has been notified of 29 GW of closures in the next 3 years, a lower bound.)

    Solar and wind installations grew steadily, EVs rapidly. The effect of Trump was a modest brake on the transition, now driven by technology and economics. I see little reason to think that a Trump second term would be very different overall. Trump would be even more unhinged and autocratic, but mentally in deeper decline, and facing even stronger headwinds in the energy economy.

    The picture with Morrison is similar, apart from the hypocritical net zero figleaf. Politicians in hock to fossil fuels can delay the transition – possibly with severe consequences since the need is for rapid acceleration – but can no longer stop it.

  2. Green shoots
    On the margins of COP-26, Denmark and Costa Rica have launched the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). Supporters so far: France, Ireland, Portugal, and Sweden, along with Greenland, Quebec and Wales (legally regions not states). New Zealand and California, which don’t comply with the full membership criteria, joined the alliance as “associate members” while Italy declared itself “a friend” of the group. https://www.climatechangenews.com/2021/11/11/space-opening-discuss-oil-gas-exit-cop26-lobbyists-pushing-back/
    Counting all of these, that´s the representatives of 220 million people, not bad for starters. Australia will presumably declare itself “an enemy” of the group.

  3. QJ,
    You include in The Conversation piece:

    But heading into the final days of the Glasgow summit, the goal of limiting heating below 2℃ looks attainable, and 1.5℃ is still possible.

    The compelling scientific evidence indicates the world cannot still hold global heating to anywhere near +1.5 °C. JQ, why are you propagating false hope?

    The Earth’s mean surface temperatures in recent years are indicating it’s now at about +1.2 to +1.3 °C, and the warming trend is increasing from a gradient of 0.18 °C/decade (best fit from 1970–2015) to a gradient apparently now emerging that’s closer to +0.3 °C/decade.
    See Figure 2 in: https://mailchi.mp/caa/july-temperature-update-faustian-payment-comes-due

    There are sufficient GHGs already in the atmosphere to drive global mean warming to overshoot the +1.5 °C threshold, regardless of ANY further action humanity may do (or not) to reduce emissions from now on. Crossing the +1.5 °C warming threshold is INEVITABLE, and likely BEFORE 2030.

    From David Spratt at Climate Code Red:

    The models producing 1.5°C scenarios are not up to scratch:

    * Current climate models are not capturing all the risks, including the stalling of the Gulf Stream, polar ice melt and the uptick in extreme weather events. Carbon dioxide and methane release from deep permafrost are not routinely included in climate models;

    * Climate models do not account well for increased warming due to loss of Arctic sea-ice: “Losing the reflective power of Arctic sea ice will advance the 2ºC threshold by 25 years”; and

    *The IPCC 2021 report gives “a best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3°C” but including factors such as “slow” feedbacks (carbon stores) and albedo changes (reflectivity), warming may be as high as 5–6°C for a doubling of carbon dioxide for a range of climate states between glacial conditions and ice-free Antarctica.


  4. @GM Responding to the claim by Will Steffen, cited in your link that “it’s virtually impossible to hold warming to 1.5 degrees C” . I was involved in the Academy of Science report that put this claim forward, and wasn’t happy with it. The small print is that this refers to a carbon budget that gives a 66 per cent probability of holding warming to 1.5 C. It’s still possible to achieve budgets with median warming of 1.5 degrees, AFAICT.

    Spratt may be right, but he is (as the quotes you give point out) a critic of the mainstream modellers. I think it’s reasonable, in a 700 word article to look at the mainstream. While the feedbacks he mentions are important there are also possibilities like direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere – I excluded these from consideration also.

  5. JQ: – “The small print is that this refers to a carbon budget that gives a 66 per cent probability of holding warming to 1.5 C.

    From David Spratt and Ian Dunlop’s Briefing Note titled CARBON BUDGETS FOR 1.5 & 2°C published by Breakthrough on Apr 12, page 1:

    1.5°C case studies

    The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Working Group 1 Synthesis report (Table 2.2) shows a carbon budget for 1.5°C of 400 gigatonne (GT) carbon dioxide (CO2) for the period 2011-2100 (66% chance of success). Emissions for the period 2011-2019 exceeded 400 GT CO2, so the budget reduced to zero by 2020.

    The 2018 IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C increased the 1.5°C budget by underestimating the warming to date by around 0.2°C, and using an estimate of climate sensitivity — the TCRE or transient climate response — which underestimates warming at system equilibrium. This created the illusion of a budget when none existed. “We are closer to the 1.5°C and 2°C thresholds than they [the IPCC] indicate and our available carbon budget… is considerably smaller than they imply… they paint an overly rosy scenario by ignoring some relevant literature,” said Michael E Mann
    (Waldman, 2018, ‘New climate report actually understates threat, some researchers argue’, Science, 12 October).


    The carbon budget for 1.5 °C (66% chance of success) has already been used up.

    JQ: – “It’s still possible to achieve budgets with median warming of 1.5 degrees, AFAICT.

    Per Professor H. J. Schellnhuber CBE, Director Emeritus, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Member, Pontifical Academy of Sciences; Member, German Advisory Council on Global Change, on 17 Oct 2018, at the Q&A session in response to Jørgen Randers’ question, following his Aurelio Peccei Lecture: Climate, Complexity, Conversion (bold text my emphasis):

    0:46:12 Professor Schellnhuber: Ja. OK, let me answer it directly, because it is such a rich question, ja? So I will not take others for the time being, but of course later. Now first of all, we are not mixing-up timescales. We have to consider all of them in parallel, unfortunately, ja? And I just introduced the Pliocene and the Miocene and all these, ah… stupid names, er… geologists have developed, ja, simply because this is our reality lab, ja? I mean, if I cannot see under comparable conditions, a major shift in the state of the planet, in the back, er… in the… in the… back in fifteen-million years, when I have no evidence, actually. So, this is just in order to underpin some of the things. And looking forward, I mean, I excuse for… I apologise for that, but… we have actually ended the ice age cycle, the, er… the glacial dynamics for good, or for bad, or for whatever – that’s how it is. But your question is of course extremely important, because… I… I once coined… We had a meeting at the Belgian Academy of Sciences and I coined this expression, which became quite… quite, er… sort of seminal, actually: ‘Avoiding the unmanageable and managing the unavoidable.’ So you see, avoiding the unmanageable would be three, four, five, six degrees. I’m, I’m pretty sure we cannot adapt to that. But if the world warms by one… it has warmed already by one degree, and actually half of a degree is masked by air pollution. So if you would clean the air over China and India and so on, you immediately would… you get another half degree. So, one-and-a-half degree – we are there already, ja? But if we stop it at two, er… two-point-five degrees maybe… and actually CO2 stays within the carbon cycle for more than twenty-thousand years. People think this is a matter of a hundred years. Yes, it goes into the sediment, but it’s re-mineralised and goes back into the air, and so on. So it’s longer lived than plutonium, actually, ja? Atmospheric CO2!

    The cooling effect of aerosols in the atmosphere is masking at least 0.5 °C of further warming. The Earth System is already currently around +1.2 to +1.3 °C, add 0.5 °C additional warming (with the removal of aerosols from the atmosphere by eliminating burning of fossil fuels) and that then means at least +1.7 to +1.8 °C global mean warming threshold will be breached.

  6. Something else happened in Glasgow. Michael Barnard at CleanTechnica poins t he language in the joint US-China side agreement https://cleantechnica.com/2021/11/11/breaking-news-china-and-usa-joint-declaration-on-climate-action-collaboration/:
    “The United States and China, alarmed by reports including the Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report released on August 9th, 2021, further recognize the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis.”
    This is the language of Hansen, McKibben, Guterriez and Thunberg, not of Rio or Paris. It would be very hard to walk back.

    Of course, the gap between the alarmist rhetoric and timid action is still very wide, here and more widely. The sceptical reading is that the rhetoric is hypocritical greenwashing, an attempt to buy a few more years of inaction. If so, it won’t work. The activists and even the MSM are fully aware of the disconnect. Morrison’s pitch has aleady failed. More likely. it is part greenwashing, partly an attempt to shift the Overton window and prepare public and elite opinion for more drastic measures down the road. Delenda est Carthago, repeated Cato, and he eventually got his brutal way

  7. “The standout Australian performer at COP26 has been the very popular coffee machine in the official pavilion. It’s attracted an appreciative queue at all hours. ”
    Morrison could easily raise Australia’s rock-bottom standing in the world by replacing Angus Taylor by the hit free coffee machine, incidentally deploying robust existing technology.

  8. JQ (at NOVEMBER 12, 2021 AT 10:40 AM): – “Responding to the claim by Will Steffen, cited in your link that “it’s virtually impossible to hold warming to 1.5 degrees C” . I was involved in the Academy of Science report that put this claim forward, and wasn’t happy with it.

    Your statement has been troubling me. Why weren’t you happy with it? Were there others also not happy?

    Is this another example of, as Professor Schellnhuber puts it in his Foreword to David Spratt & Ian Dunlop’s 2018 report titled What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk, “erring on the side of least drama” to downplay the inconvenient truth?

    Schellnhuber ends his Foreword with (bold text my emphasis):

    In conclusion, one should not be overly critical of the IPCC, since the scientists involved are doing what scientists are expected to do, to the very best of their ability in difficult circumstances.

    But climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.

    Therefore, it is all the more important to listen to non-mainstream voices who do understand the issues and are less hesitant to cry wolf.

    Unfortunately for us, the wolf may already be in the house.


  9. Bill McKibben makes some very good points. Sugarcoating the problem has not worked.

    At the some time I would take issue with him on his “pill” analogy. People want a magical pill to solve all their problems. Even science based medical pills, otherwise known as medications, are not magical solutions; they are not perfect and they do have side-effects. Changing your lifestyle, along with taking pills if necessary, is much more effective than just taking pills alone. This is ture for many chronic and developing conditions. We need to change our lifestyles as well as taking solar panels like pills. People continue to expect the same level of consumption. That is unsustainable even with solar panels etc. We must move to renewables AND reduce our consumption of non-essentials.

    J.Q. himself has written a brilliant article on why neoliberal governments do nothing. Their ideology and policies eschew doing anything at the state, public or common good levels.Everything is left to business and corporations (other than the subsidies, armies and police paid to look after corporations). Corporations are only interested in near-term profit and therefore will take no action in relation to climate change other than window-dressing, green-washing and outright deception. Hence, even in the terms of J.Q.’s analysis there is no hope and no heart to take while neoliberalism continues to reign supreme. Only system change can possibly defeat climate change and the window is closing as we approach the runaway climate change inflection point.

  10. Published yesterday in the SMH was a piece by Nick O’Malley headlined On the brink: will COP26 fail Greta’s generation?, which includes a reference to a comment that Barack Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, once made about climate change:

    “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering,” Holdren said in 2007.

    “We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.”


    It looks like we/humanity are choosing suffering together with much more expensive adaptation.

    I’d suspect the graphs in the SMH article that show how quickly we would need to reduce emissions to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 & 2.0 °C don’t include the cooling effect contributions of aerosols from fossil fuels and what happens when they are eliminated.

    ICYMI, Ember published on Nov 11 new analysis in their report titled Global Electricity Review 2021, that includes findings:

    Australia has the highest emissions per capita in the world from burning coal for electricity. The average Australian emits 5x more CO2 from coal power than the average person globally. South Korea and the United States emit almost 4x and 3x the global average respectively, according to research from energy think tank Ember.


    Is this is “the Australian way” that Scott Morrison is talking about?

    Meanwhile, tweeted by Prof Terry Hughes yesterday morning:

    I think of this image every time some journalist complains about climate change protesters disrupting traffic…..

  11. (19:00 Glasgow time 13/1/21) Chairman’s final draft of the main COP-26 decision : https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cma2021_L16_adv.pdf?download
    In theory this can still change, but it’s very unlikely. They will adopt either this or nothing, and the tone in the plenary is for adoption.

    Some highlights
    Adaptation finance: paragraph 18
    1.5 degrees C target; paragraph 21
    Annual pledge schedule: paragraphs 28, 31
    Fossil fuel phaseout: paragraph 36

  12. Update 19:50 Glasgow time. Text adopted. But in a last-minute coup, India managed to water down paragraph 36 to speak of a coal “phase-down” not “phase-out”. The amendment adds a request to developed countries to help pay for it. The majority of delegations are furious at this manoeuvre, and Alok Sharma made himself look weak and biased. My quick take: Modi may think he’s scored a victory, but in fact nobody will send India money to prop up its slowly dying coal sector. Nor should they. As Fiji pointed out, the change weakens the commitment to 1.5 degrees.

  13. The Club of Rome Limits to Growth Report got it right. Watch the following ABC News Report from 1973. Note that it predicts early trouble by circa 2020 and serious trouble by (and indeed even before) 2040. The overall predictions to date have been broadly and fundamentally correct. It was and is a LIE promulgated by opponents of the systems science that LTG predicted collapse by 2000. It never predicted that. It predicted (a little later than its first report) that if we didn’t change course by 2000 then we were heading for a highly likely unavoidable collapse by about 2040 to 2060.

    It was and is the capitalist attack against impact science in general and ecological and systems science in particular which has now doomed us, almost certainly, to collapse. From 2000 to the present, capitalism doubled down on its prescriptions, repelled all attempts to modify or change its production methods and denied the science of climate change. The scarcest resource has turned out to be the environment and climate system itself which is vulnerable to the wastes of production rather than the raw resource inputs, which can be substituted to some extent.

    However, there is no substitute for a relatively stable and benign climate (the Holocene climate) and no substitute for a balanced and relatively stable ecology. These, we have recklessly destroyed. Even at this point, which is really the “13th hour”, we won’t change in any significant way. Therefore nature will effect the changes for us.

    I still advocate attempting to create a sustainable and renewable economy. There is a tiny chance that, by some flukes and lucky happenstances, it might work and we might engineer a soft landing and transition for a proportion of the global population. Saving all the global population is already a pipe-dream. I don’t advocate “prepping”. That would be counter-productive at scale.

  14. What is most disappointing and dismaying to me is the certainty that Morrison and his team are almost certainly pleased with their contributions to delivering a weaker than required outcome.

  15. Nature Bats Last November 13, 2021…

    Livestream Scheduled for Sunday, 14 November 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time (New York).

    Kevin and Guy will be Discussing the failures of COP26.

    Monday, 15 November 2021, at 9:00 a.m. AEST, or proper time all the time per Queensland, Australia.

    Others may differ: 24timezones.com/difference/new_york/aest

    …we will be joined via Livestream by Kevin Hester …
    Click here ( https www youtube.com/watch?v=T60TgkqiESs ) to participate.
    The resulting video will be archived in this space for future viewing.,,,

  16. Cop 26 blah blah blah and the inevitable failures. It all goes back a long way.

    I read recently again of the evidence that the homo sapiens brain shrunk in size quite recently on an evolutionary timescale with the emergence of homo sapiens sapiens. It was hypothesised that the change occurred at the time of the increasing size of social groups. IIRC this was said to have occurred around some 50,000ya. With the sharing of knowledge in the distributed way inherent in the evolving large societies there was no longer advantage in having the former large brain required to store and process all the knowledge required for survival by individuals and small groups. Ants were said to be a good model for this social grouping effect and more research was to be directed there.

    Looking to Place Blame?
    by Guy McPherson on November 1, 2021

    …The rapid rise of global-average temperature in our demise will prevent other species from flourishing. Acccording to a paper* in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications, Earth’s average temperature will rise by an additional 55 percent globally as humans go extinct due to the loss of aerosol masking. Temperatures over land, where most humans live, will rise by 133 percent. The rapidity of this rate of change likely will lead to the loss of all life on Earth, as explained by a process called, “co-extinctions.” Particularly important to this argument is the peer-reviewed paper by Strona and Bradshaw published in Scientific Reports on 13 November 2018.

    *nature > nature > communications >articles > article
    Article Open Access Published: 15 June 2021

    Jia, H., Ma, X., Yu, F. et al. Significant underestimation of radiative forcing by aerosol–cloud interactions derived from satellite-based methods. Nat Commun 12, 3649 (2021)

  17. John Goss: The Article 6 rules are a holdover from Paris and previous COPs. They seem to be set out in three technical documents here, high up in the rightmost column “CMA”:
    I have no idea what they mean in practice.

    The same page has the adopted version of the main decision under “Glasgow Pact”. The fossil fuel “phasedown” is now paragraph 20. The other numbers may have changed as well.

  18. Thanks James. It seems that a Supervisory Body has been set up to make the rules for trade in carbon credits. Not sure how much power it has been given. It’s something Ross Garnaut thought was a good thing in his insightful piece about Glasgow in the AFR today. Garnaut’s article makes a very clear case as to why it is in Australia’s interest more than any other country to move quickly on climate change action. He has a remarkable intellect. We’re lucky to have him.

  19. IT issues with the prior link youtu.be/T60TgkqiESs hampered the livestream of the failures of COP26 Q&A as scheduled for Sunday, 14 November 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time (New York). guymcpherson.com/livestream-scheduled-for-sunday-14-november-2021/

    The Nature Bats Last livestream video streamed live 89 minutes ago. View 1:18:25…

  20. Updated crib sheet on key Glasgow paragraphs
    Glasgow Pact https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource – quick version, not the final final one, which will be very carefully checked.b/cop26_auv_2f_cover_decision.pdf
    Adaptation finance: paragraph 11
    1.5 degrees C target; paragraph 16
    Methane: paragraph 19
    Fossil fuel phasedown: paragraph 20
    Nature conservation: paragraph 21
    $100 bn per year: paragraphs 25-27
    Loss and damage; paragraphs 37ff – all process and no real commitments, but the principle is minimally recognized.
    I can’t find the annual pledge schedule (paragraphs 28, 31 of the Chairman’s third draft). I assume this is an oversight, it was clearly part of the final compromise. If not, it’s a catastrophe.

    It looks as if I was too hard on Alok Sharma, who defended “phaseout” in Hindi to the Indian delegation. The weakening was apparently backed by China as well, which made it impossible to resist. “Phasedown” was in the joint US-China declaration, so the language is OK for the USA as well. It may help Biden with Manchin.

  21. By the way, the decline of sulphur and aerosols is a good thing: the local pollution impact of these on human health and the environment is more important than their cooling effect (which is somewhat localised, and has little impact on e.g. the whole southern hemisphere).

    i.e. acid rain is actually a real problem, and (largely) solving it in the west was a major step forward.

    In fact, the health costs alone of burning stuff massively exceed the costs of replacing existing energy sources with clean energy.

    It is worth remembering that humans have cooperated on cross-border atmospheric pollution issues before, in an effective way, on this and on e.g. the ozone layer issue. There will be damage that cannot be repaired, but how much damage is still a matter of collective choice.

  22. COP26 was fixed from the outset. It was intended to fail.


    “The environmental campaign group Global Witness analyzed the provisional list of conference attendees, provided by the United Nations, and determined that representatives of fossil fuel companies have the largest single delegation at COP26, more than any single country.

    The group found that at least 503 people linked to coal, gas and oil companies were in attendance, counting both direct representatives and those coming as part of groups acting on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. “The presence of hundreds of those being paid to push the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies will only increase the skepticism of climate activists who see these talks as more evidence of global leaders’ dithering and delaying,” a representative of Global Witness said.” – COP26 climate summit ends in failure – Patrick Martin.

    Also look at “From Paris to Glasgow: Fossil Fuel Industry Is Blocking Climate Action” – Belén Balanyá, Lala Hakuma Dadci, Myriam Douo.

    Behind the scenes, the fossil fuel lobby is still in close to complete control of the agenda. The levels of corruption are stupendous. The “people” have no idea and no power over the agenda. Complete collapse is certain. But those who knew their stuff knew that from 1972 (Limits to Growth) or maybe even from 1962 (Silent Spring). It was clear the capitalist industrial complex (including the state capitalisms of Russia and China) was going to destroy the world . Really, the process was inevitable from about AD 1500 (the early imperial and proto-capitalist era).

    It’s what any species does without controls. It destroys everything. It’s not a question of fault. It’s a question of fundamental nature: not of humans but of nature itself. Bellum omnium contra omnes. Nature is the war of all against all. When one species gets an undue advantage (technology in our case) it grows out of control… until it destroys the systems it depends on.

  23. Ben, a relative few cheap and subsidised exhaust sulphur scrubbers, and replacing a few refrigerant and propellant gasses with readily available alternatives with very slight adjustment impact on bau and little short term effect on profits and growth at all costs aint anything like the ghg and associated aerosol problems.

    Exhaust ghg gasses cannot be switched off in any way similar. The scale disconnect is beyond stupendous. The alternatives are far away off being a ready, easy, and complete switch.

    Acid rain was causing heavy damage in certain areas to certain ecosystems, but, bugger those, it was the threat to profits sourced from forestry and agriculture and threat to food supplies that motivated the top down economics directed change. Ozone layer depletion was addressed for similar reasons.

    With global heating and climate destruction come global ecosystem wipe outs. The only thing presently delaying that outcome slightly is the temperature masking due to short lived aerosols continuously sent skyward with the ghg emissions. COP 1 through 26 show clearly that the economic doctrinaire establishment won’t even allow a sensibly phased and well balanced change of energy sources from non-renewables to low emitting renewables. With respect to rapidly rising global temperature they haven’t, can’t, and won’t juggle just those two balls in the air, and they certainly won’t juggle three with the addition of balancing aerosol reduction and temperature. They are out of time. They don’t care.

    Any rapid reduction of the temperature masking aerosols ensures ecological wipe outs that also knock off humanity globally. Without rapid reduction in ghg emissions the same consequences ensue. One of those early consequences is a rapid reduction in ghg emissions as civilisation first falls apart and its fossil exhaust emissions cease. And that delivers a killer blow to life on Earth, not that it is needed, of a sudden, sharp, and sustained jump in global temperature due to rapid depletion of the previously masking aerosols. The show is over.

  24. I doubt that life on earth is over. Consider the extremophiles.

    “An extremophile is an organism with optimal growth in environmental conditions considered extreme and that it is challenging for a carbon-based life form, including all known life, to survive. These organisms are dominants in the evolutionary history of the planet.” – Wikipedia.

    Various extremophiles will survive and will kick off a new round of evolution if;
    (a) There is enough solar time left; and
    (b) A runaway warming to Venus levels is avoided.

    But certainly a couple more degrees C will see the end of mammals. A few more degrees than that and only microscopic life will be left. But again that is enough to restart evolution while conditions (a) and (b) above obtain.

    We humans think ourselves important. We are not. I find it consoling that despite our best worst efforts we probably won’t end all life on earth. One more round of evolution to amazing creatures on earth might be possible, just with no-one around to be “human-amazed” by it.

  25. The point is that the local pollution issues associated with burning things, which have been reduced to ‘tolerable’ levels in the west, by quite expensive technical means, but still cause a huge toll in terms of mortality, are still an incredibly large problem in developing countries. This involves burning things in fields, burning solid fuels in houses, very cheap low-tech ICE engines, as well as unregulated industrial pollution. This is the source of a large fraction of the sulphur and aerosol problem; these are largely health and not climate issues.

    It is worth looking at a car, for example. A modern emissions system is quite complicated, with parts to allow gas recirculation, a catalytic converter (with precious metal catalyst), a suite of sensors and computer control (cleaner fuel is also a substantial upstream cost). Many jurisdictions require yearly testing of the emissions, and it is quite common for part replacement to be needed during the life of the car. Car manufacturers have desperately tried to sidestep these challenges because this is not an easy technical problem.

    Similarly, the e.g. gas network was built out at substantial cost in places like the UK largely to solve the problems caused by solid fuel burning (“pea souper”), with houses retrofitted with gas pipes and appliances.

    Even power station emissions controls are expensive: it is one of the reasons that so few coal plants have been built in the west recently.

    i.e. we already spent a significant amount of money trying not to choke on our own fumes, and have had to win battles for the last hundred years or so to be able to breathe relatively clean air. It seems logical to view CO2 as a continuation of this war, and the participants and their strategies are largely the same.

    Luckily the people battling for cleaner air didn’t just run around wailing that it was all too hard.

  26. Luckily the people battling for cleaner air didn’t just run around wailing that it was all too hard.

    The past is another country. A few ran around battling bits where allowed. They didn’t know it was too hard. They didn’t address the core issues. Stuck in cornucopian dreams they stuck to the rules and were tossed a few crumbs occasionally, and so they stuck tighter. Stuck firmly in that paradigm they couldn’t break out, nor unite anywhere near enough against having their cake and eating it. The dirty air increased. World ending gas got by them too. Their future is toast. Their legacy is a future cooked. Well done? Similar to a tree falling in a forest with none there to hear it, it’s over done and it won’t be heard.

  27. Some blowback from Japan – apparently the big car makers are trying to sabotage EVs – there are serious doubts as to how Japan can supply enough grid power to charge the batteries.

    Or maybe they are too stuck in their ways.

  28. It is a pretty straightforward calculation to show that EVs will never be that big a proportion of average electricity use, so arguments that they will ‘overload the grid’ tend to assume they all charge at the wrong time or that it is impossible to generate more electricity. i.e. just the usual suspects claiming that doing anything about anything is impossible.

  29. akarog the Japanese industry and government cartel don’t like that they have have backed the wrong horse. VHS whacked beta sideways and down, globally bev is similarly whacking H2 a long way away from personal powered transport.

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