Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

30 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. A Merry Christmas from the IEA?

    From their just published 2022 report on renewables:
    “Global renewable capacity is expected to increase by almost 2,400 GW (almost 75%) between 2022 and 2027 in the IEA main-case forecast, equal to the entire installed power capacity of the People’s Republic of China (hereafter “China”). Renewables growth is propelled by more ambitious expansion policies in key markets, partly in response to the current energy crisis.”

    Web version: https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2022/renewable-electricity#forecast-summary ; fuller pdf version – not identical -: https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/64c27e00-c6cb-48f1-a8f0-082054e3ece6/Renewables2022.pdf , page 17. Hydrogen, for all the hype, will only take 2% of global renewable capacity in 2027.

    Good news, but not good enough. The world needs to match the IEA’s “net zero by 2050” scenario to secure (they say) an even chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C. To do this, renewables would need to hit 3,777 GW capacity by 2027, 57% higher than the base estimate.

    The IEA does reckon that the gap could be cut in half by reasonably feasible policy changes in an “accelerated” scenario that hits 2,950 GW by 2027 (+23%). That means for instance the EU actually hitting its declared targets, stronger support for heat pumps, grid investment, targeted help to LDCs, etc, nothing obviously very difficult. For the remaining 800 GW, we have apparently to trust to luck: technology breakthroughs, dramatic policy shifts, lifestyle Damascene conversions. There is still work and activism to do.

    How reliable are IEA forecasts anyway? Its long record is of systematically underestimating growth in renewables. https://xwpxpfefwalgifkr.quora.com/A-modest-proposal-to-the-International-Energy-Authority We can safely treat its base scenario as a lower bound. On the default methodology of assuming the future will be like the past, it is reasonable to hope for better. The Web version of the report (oddly, not the pdf) includes charts of the historic and projected global capacities of wind and solar generation ( https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2022/renewable-electricity#abstract ). What these show is not industries buffeted by policy gyrations, but steady and pretty smooth exponential growth. This suggests to me that the expansion is fundamentally driven by continuous incremental improvements in technology and the supply chain, and much less by policy. It’s an uncomfortable message for the IEA, an IGO whose stock-in-trade and professional audience lies in policy analysis. Perhaps, too, for readers of this blog.

    It is however fun, if not necessarily enlightening, to speculate on the wild cards, the unexpected shocks that could bounce renewables off their stately progress along the tramlines of inertial growth.

    The gloomy case on renewables has always had two components. One is that growth must flatten as we near saturation, giving the familiar S-shaped curve for adoption of any innovation. True, there isn’t much scope left for replacing fossil fuels in Norway, Denmark, Paraguay, or Bhutan. However, the major emitters – USA, China, the EU, India, and in a global sectoral perspective, cement, steel, aviation, trucks and cars, and shipping – are nowhere near saturation, and still won’t be in 5 years. The other is that cost reduction is concentrated in wind and solar generation. Even if their farm-gate price were zero, electrical supply would still have to meet the costs of firming and transmission. There isn’t much sign of technological progress there outside batteries, so there is a limit to overall cost reduction. To which the answer is, so what. The effect may cut the growth rate a bit, but again, not realistically in the next 5 years.

    The optimistic wild card is politics. The IEA predicts that the stock of renewable assets will nearly double in the next five years. The holders of these assets will try to protect them. They have managed to do this quite well so far, and they will be much stronger going forward. Conversely, the owners of fossil fuel assets will face ever stronger reputational and regulatory challenges, leading to declining political leverage. In this battle, only one side can win. Putin’s and MBS’s opportunistic but short-sighted manipulation of global oil and gas markets has not gone down well. Policymakers in importing countries now think they have workable, secure and affordable domestic renewable alternatives that don’t expose them to such blackmail, and they are acting accordingly.

  2. Fusion. Tomorrow! Yeah, it is the joke, yet perhaps…

    James said “The optimistic wild card is politics.”. And, maybe, Fusion, yet “Issues of scale, cost, timeline, and manifold other matters notwithstanding, it’s a momentous and long-awaited event. ”

    Tomorrow we get to hear the official ‘Historical’ announcement re “achieved net energy gain in a fusion reaction. That means more energy was produced from the reaction than it took to power the reaction.”

    Judging by the withhold period – successful test happened last week – and the list of Luminaries at announcement, I assume they think this will make History.

    Announcement about 1am Tuesday aest.

    “Secretary Granholm to Announce Major Scientific Breakthrough by DOE National Laboratory

    “U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Jill Hruby will announce a major scientific breakthrough accomplished by researchers at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Joining the Secretary and Under Secretary will be White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Dr. Marvin “Marv” Adams, and LLNL Director Dr. Kim Budil. Following the Secretary’s press conference, experts from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will hold a panel discussion on the major scientific breakthrough their team achieved. Q&A sessions will follow both the press conference and panel discussion”
    https://www.energy.gov/livestream

    FT paywalled so you’ll have to do with;
    ” How to Watch Tomorrow’s Big Announcement About Nuclear Fusion Energy

    “Word of the expected news is already out, as the Financial Times reported yesterday that the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved net energy gain in a fusion reaction. That means more energy was produced from the reaction than it took to power the reaction.

    “Per the Financial Times’ reporting, it’s expected that the DOE will announce that a reaction at the National Ignition Facility produced more energy than it took to catalyze the reaction. Issues of scale, cost, timeline, and manifold other matters notwithstanding, it’s a momentous and long-awaited event.

    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2022/12/how-to-watch-tomorrows-big-announcement-about-nuclear-fusion-energy/

  3. Reparations + Denial Delay punitive damages from the USA?

    The climate fact checkers are still checking denialist claims, not transition; “in the United States, most instances assessed claims about whether climate change really existed. ”

    At least “Australian instances most often were fact-checking claims about solutions,”.
    *

    “Study analyzes how fact-checkers from four different countries assess climate change claims

    “The analysis showed that among the four aspects of climate change fact-checking, in the United States, most instances assessed claims about whether climate change really existed. Australian instances most often were fact-checking claims about solutions, In the United Kingdom, most instances regarded impact. Overall, about one-fourth of claims fact-checked were about its existence, again with most of those coming from the United States, and about 22% were regarding climate change effects.

    “That pretty well reflects what we see in the public discussion here, division about whether climate change even exists,” Vu said. “I’d say that tells us, in the U.S., the issue is more contested—it is very contentious. It shows we’re still in the early stages of finding an agreement, there is still a lot of denial, meaning it will take longer to adapt and develop a plan to mitigate climate change.”

    “We found most of the claims being fact-checked were made by politicians, about 81%. That suggests fact-checking services tend to spend most of their time in a watchdog role, checking claims politicians made,” Vu said.

    “The majority of claims that were fact-checked originated from the United States, as more than 300 of the nearly 500 fact-checking instances took place here.”

    https://phys.org/news/2022-12-fact-checkers-countries-climate.html

  4. Murderbots – “The problem is that the world’s leading AI companies do not know how to control their AIs.” (2.) says Scott Allexander, and I agree.
    *

    “San Francisco Has Reversed Its Killer Robot Plan

    “The city rolled back a controversial decision to let robots use lethal force without human intervention. But the fight is far from over.

    https://www.wired.com/story/san-francisco-police-killer-robots-ban/
    *

    2.
    “Finally, as I keep saying, the people who want less racist AI now, and the people who want to not be killed by murderbots in twenty years, need to get on the same side right away. The problem isn’t that we have so many great AI alignment solutions that we should squabble over who gets to implement theirs first. The problem is that the world’s leading AI companies do not know how to control their AIs. Until we solve this, nobody is getting what they want.

    https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/perhaps-it-is-a-bad-thing-that-the

  5. With respect to the Robodebt system, and the current enquiry into it, I’d say that any normal minister would have the legality of the scheme at top of mind. Very odd to say you can’t remember when the legality of the scheme dropped off the radar. Since policies usually entail some level of legislative change, how is it that this policy wasn’t of that nature, and how was it that the minister’s received advice was that the scheme was lawful? Isn’t it more likely that the issues around lawfulness would have been put to the minister before the rollout of the scheme? Lots of questions need asking, and boy they need answers.

    In the absence of actual transparency, I would feel compelled to the conclusion that the entire purpose of the scheme was a punitive one, a scheme that could be promoted to the base on the certain Sydney shock-jock shows, and Sky’s rather partisan efforts. The fact that there were real world consequences upon people already struggling on the margins was neither here nor there. No political party should feel that punishing people who are or have been doing it tough is acceptable behaviour.

  6. Geoff Miell: just which of the IEA’s claims are you describing as “fantasy”? The 2,400 GW increase in renewables by 2027 in their base scenario? I supplied reasons for thinking this is if anything too conservative. The extra 550 GW in their “accelerated” scenario? They carefully make this a hypothetical no a forecast, and the what-ifs look well-grounded and feasible. The equation of net zero by 2050 with a 1.5 degrees C cap on global warming? This is as close as makes no difference to the 1.6 degrees of the IPCC’s best-case scenario.The IEA does present its analysis as a glass half full, not the glass half empty of critics like Steffen. By temperament, I am one of those who cling to hope. Despair paralyses. It is now the fallback strategy of the denialists.

    The IEA completely ignore fusion, and quite right too. The much-hyped fusion “breakthrough” in California amounted to getting about 25 MJ of net fusion energy output from 20 MJ of laser energy input. brushing aside another 300 – 400 MJ wasted in the inefficient high-power lasers. We are supposed to be impressed. https://jabberwocking.com/warning-the-nif-fusion-facility-didnt-really-produce-a-net-energy-gain/

    Fusion is easy if you are God: just provide 330,000 Earth masses of gaseous hydrogen in a big cloud. Gravity will automatically collapse the cloud into a spinning solar disc, whose super-dense centre will eventually self-ignite. For humans it’s fiendishly difficult to replicate the conditions at the solar core. It took the Manhattan Project 10 years (1941 to 1951) to turn Fermi’s back-of-an envelope idea into something that exploded, and another 3 years to build a deliverable bomb. That’s over twice as long as it took to build the first fission bombs (1939 to 1945, six years). We are now 71 years on from the first fusion bomb test, and research on fusion power generation is just beginning to meet its first extremely low tests. There is, I gather, no chance of anything resembling a prototype fusion power reactor for another decade. The technology may just be worth pursuing, but it is irrelevant to the energy transition on which humanity is now desperately launched.

  7. James Wimberley: – “Geoff Miell: just which of the IEA’s claims are you describing as “fantasy”?

    The one about: “an even chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C.” Didn’t you look at the link to my earlier comments?

    Per Hansen, the Earth System’s first breach of +1.5 °C warming threshold could be as early as 2024, if a strong El Niño emerges in 2023-24.

    On 9 May 2022, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated (bold text my emphasis):

    There is a 93% likelihood of at least one year between 2022-2026 becoming the warmest on record and dislodging 2016 from the top ranking. The chance of the five-year average for 2022-2026 being higher than the last five years (2017-2021) is also 93%, according to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, produced by the United Kingdom’s Met Office, the WMO lead centre for such predictions.

    Dr Leon Hermanson, of the Met Office led the report. He said: “Our latest climate predictions show that continued global temperature rise will continue, with an even chance that one of the years between 2022 and 2026 will exceed 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. A single year of exceedance above 1.5 °C does not mean we have breached the iconic threshold of the Paris Agreement, but it does reveal that we are edging ever closer to a situation where 1.5 °C could be exceeded for an extended period.”

    https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/wmo-update-5050-chance-of-global-temperature-temporarily-reaching-15%C2%B0c-threshold

    James, are you disagreeing with NOAA, IPCC AR6 WG1 SPM Table SPM. 1 (page 14), WMO, Professor Will Steffen, Professor H.J. “John” Schellnhuber, Dr James Hansen, etc. etc.?
    What’s your evidence/data?

    James Wimberley: – “By temperament, I am one of those who cling to hope. Despair paralyses. It is now the fallback strategy of the denialists.

    Net zero by 2050 is ‘hopium’. There is now NO CARBON BUDGET REMAINING for a safe climate for humanity.

    Sir David King said in the Mar 2021 interview in the Vimeo video titled CES21 – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HANS VAN DER LOO AND SIR DAVID KING (from time interval 0:06:24):

    Today, we are emitting – if I count methane and NOₓ gases – over 51 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year into the atmosphere. I don’t believe we will be able to remove more than 30 or 40 billion tonnes in a year, but I believe that is doable, and if we do that even if we are at zero emissions, it’s going to take to the end of the century to get to 350 parts per million, which is manageable by human societies – we know that from our past. So, I think we are facing two challenges: One; how do we get deep and rapid emissions reduction? Two; let’s quickly develop these [atmospheric carbon removal at large scale] technologies; but three, in the meantime as you’re saying, what about the melting ice? We’re never going to catch that without actually focusing on the areas where ice is being lost.

    I’d suggest atmospheric GHG removal is futile without a concurrent deep and rapid reduction of the current rate of human-induced GHG emissions (CO₂ + CH₄ + NOₓ).

    It’s about being brutally honest about what’s happening now, and what we are already ‘locked-in’ for in the near future, and the limited drastic & timely options available to us now to avoid even worse outcomes.

    James, you can choose to be paralysed by despair, or work harder and smarter to avoid something worse while the window of opportunity still remains. But don’t wait too long.

  8. “Twindemic, tripledemic, lots of blah about anything but COVID. Classic information warfare as I explain in my book, “Dark Winter”. COVID eclipses them all AND likely increases risk of other infections – look at the data (in countries where data are not censored or obfuscated).

    The information warfare is to brainwash ppl into seeing COVID as no different to flu. It is orchestrated, but cannot be sustained long term. Not even with the death of public health as we knew it.” – Raina MacIntyre.

    And:

    https://easychair.substack.com/p/immune-dysregulation-and-disrepair

    (Just quoting and linking. Not technically breaking my “no blogging my own words here” policy here not getting into any arguments.)

  9. Geoff, James, et all brave or foolish predictors… feel free to set up predictions in “WMO Lead Centre for Annual-to-Decadal Climate Prediction” page link below. I note the CSIRO is included as one of the “Global Producing Centres”.

    Then post. We may verify trends, predictions and temperament (ha) predilection in one or five years time. 

    This para “The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5°C has risen steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero.  For the years between 2017 and 2021, there was a 10% chance of exceedance. That probability has increased to nearly 50% for the 2022-2026 period.”
    … makes for the Geoff M retort; “James Wimberley: – “Geoff Miell: just which of the IEA’s claims are you describing as “fantasy”?”

    “The one about: “an even chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C.”…
    … seem – unfortunately and I want to be on James’ side – the likely scenario as Geoff urges us to accept. Rhetoricall you are both correct as IEA says “even chance” yet as the paragraph above shows the rate change “was a 10% chance of exceedance. That probability has increased to nearly 50%” I can only see the 50 50 turn into +50% long before we arrest heating.

    So. Predictions at blog paces, over one to five years. I’ll buy you both a beverage for being brave. Or foolish.

    As Geoff says “But don’t wait too long.
    *

    Press release where 50:50 claim originates; 

    “WMO update: 50:50 chance of global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C threshold in next five years

    Press Release Number: 
    09052022

    Geneva, 9 May 2022 (WMO) –
    “There is a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years – and the likelihood is increasing with time, according to a new climate update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

    “There is a 93% likelihood of at least one year between 2022-2026 becoming the warmest on record and dislodging 2016 from the top ranking. The chance of the five-year average for 2022-2026 being higher than the last five years (2017-2021) is also 93%, according to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, produced by the United Kingdom’s Met Office, the WMO lead centre for such predictions.
    ….
    “The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5°C has risen steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero.  For the years between 2017 and 2021, there was a 10% chance of exceedance. That probability has increased to nearly 50% for the 2022-2026 period.

    “The findings of the annual update include:

    “The Arctic temperature anomaly, compared to the 1991-2020 average, is predicted to be more than three times as large as the global mean anomaly when averaged over the next five northern hemisphere extended winters.

    https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/wmo-update-5050-chance-of-global-temperature-temporarily-reaching-15%C2%B0c-threshold
    *

    “WMO Lead Centre for
    Annual-to-Decadal Climate Prediction

    “The Lead Centre for Annual-to-Decadal Climate Prediction collects and provides hindcasts, forecasts and verification data from a number of contributing centres worldwide.

    “Please use the drop-down menus below to explore the predictions, verifications and timeseries of annual to decadal predictions.

    “See the System Configuration Information for further information about the models used.

    Forecasts – Verification – Timeseries

    “The multi-model mean forecast and each contributing centre is shown as an anomaly from the 1991-2020 climatology (forecasts before 2021 have other climatologies as indicated below the colour bar). Forecasts are available for annual, May to September (MJJAS), and November to March (NDJFM for the year of November) averages for the next year or the mean of years 1-5. Verifying observations for older forecasts are shown when available. Note that predictions are intialized at the end of the year issued and interannual forecasts for seasons are not available before 2021.

    Year Issued:
      2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010                        Forecast period:
                             Year 1: Annual Year 1: May-September Year 1: November-March                         Year 1-5: Annual Year 1-5:  May-September Year 1-5: November-March                       Element:
                             Temperature                    Precipitation             Sea-level pressure           Atlantic MOC                       
    [Output as thermatic maps.  Full data and originator plus contributors available in System Configuration Information link above]

    https://hadleyserver.metoffice.gov.uk/wmolc/

  10. KT2: – “Geoff, James, et all brave or foolish predictors…

    KT2, it seems to me you too haven’t read/understood the contents in the link (to comments addressed to you in an earlier thread): https://johnquiggin.com/2022/12/05/monday-message-board-579/comment-page-1/#comment-257810

    Additionally, in the YouTube video titled Keynote Debate Can the Climate Emergency Action Plan lead to Collective Action_ (50 Years CoR), at the Club of Rome’s 50th Anniversary Summit, of the afternoon session on 17 Oct 2018 (just over 4 years ago), Professor Schellnhuber (at that time founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change) responded to Jørgen Randers’ question, from time interval 0:46:12 (bold text my emphasis):

    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 Earth System is now a little bit warmer than in 2018, at +1.1-1.2 °C. Stop burning fossil fuels and the aerosol emissions from them dissipate from the atmosphere, and at least an extra +0.5 °C of global mean surface warming manifests. Dr James Hansen refers to this outcome as the “Faustian payment”, stating in Aug 2021:

    The Faustian payment that we noted in 1990⁸ and is discussed in detail elsewhere⁹ is now due. Dr. Faustus had to pay the debt himself. We have willed it to our children and grandchildren.

    Click to access July2021.pdf

    It seems to me that global mean surface warming is apparently happening at a much faster rate than the expectations of policymakers, business leaders, the media, and it seems also for KT2 & James Wimberley.

  11. To change the gloom focus, PVMagazine:
    “The International Renewable Energy Agency’s latest annual report on the progress towards UN sustainable development goal seven estimates 670 million people will still lack electricity in 2030, and more than 2 billion will be reliant on unhealthy, polluting cooking methods.”
    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2022/06/07/irena-gives-latest-update-on-stark-chances-of-electricity-access-for-all-by-2030/

    The cooking thing is very important – mainly for health (indoor air pollution kills 4 million a year), but burning wood and charcoal for cooking also contributes to deforestation emissions. Solar is not the answer here: a lot of cooking is done after the sun goes down, and pv plus batteries is far too expensive. My solution is bottled butane, produced by green energy. A gas bottle can be transported on a rural track with a moped. Until I put in an induction hotplate a few years ago, I cooked on bottled gas, as do many of my Spanish neighbours. One bottle lasted several months.

  12. Pollyanna geothermal news

    Press release from Canadian EGS geothermal startup Eavor:
    “Deep Energy will finance at least five projects, requiring up to €1 billion, from Eavor’s growing European and American project pipeline.”
    https://www.eavor.com/press-releases/deep-energy-capital-and-eavor-technologies-to-build-5-geothermal-projects-as-construction-gathers-pace-at-their-first-european-site/

    €1 bn is serious money. The pilot commercial installation at Geretsried in Germany must be going well. Eavor have signed a pioneering Heat Purchase Agreement (HPA, a variation on the familiar PPAs of wind and solar) with the district heating system of nearby Hannover.

    What I like about Eavor is that the technology is actually retrograde. The tricky part of hot-rock geothermal has always been cracking the rock sufficiently to extract worthwhile quantities of hot water. Eavor bypass this step entirely, just drilling a loop of sealed pipes carrying water to be heated up by simple contact, in an inverse radiator configuration. The high-precision drilling is tricky but controllable, and has been sufficiently developed by the fracking industry. Lining the well tubes is standard drilling practice. The supply of hot rocks is practically unlimited if you drill deep enough. Geothermal has always ticked all the boxes apart from geographical availability and cost: completely reliable 24/365, completely despatchable in minutes, small footprint, handy size 8typically 50 -100 zero emissions, no supply chain issues. It will therefore become commercially viable even at a premium cost.

    You can nitpick about sustainability as a particular installation will cool down the rock reservoir after a few decades, and will have to rest a bit to recover, but the developers can always drill another underground radiator nearby to feed the steam generators.

  13. Site your own solar or wind farm.

    Geoff I note Lithgow / Goulburn looks promising.

    It astounds me that the commercial operators already know this, yet we have to recreate the resource – again – just to balance information, for say a local council, to reduce information asymmetry to enable a fairer negotiation with commercial proponents.

    And that is hasn’t been done on a continuous basis, by Government, enabling smooth/er planning and transition.
    *

    “Australia needs much more solar and wind power, but where are the best sites? We mapped them all”

    “A particularly attractive region for solar and wind farms in NSW is the Goulburn-Lithgow district. It’s well served by transmission and has good wind and solar resources.

    “Solar and wind generation within each pixel is assigned to one of five cost classes: A, B, C, D and E. The lower-cost A, B and C classes are strongly preferred.

    “For each local government area in Australia, we estimated potential solar and wind capacities for the five different cost classes. The renewable resource that can be used will depend on local transmission line capacity and local loads. We can provide detailed information to local councils.

    https://theconversation.com/australia-needs-much-more-solar-and-wind-power-but-where-are-the-best-sites-we-mapped-them-all-196033

    Maps:
    “Investigators: 
    Cheng Cheng, 
    Andrew Blakers, 
    Anna Nadolny.

    “On this page
    – Map links
    – Indicative cost and spacing densities
    – Map Images
    – Detailed cost assumptions
    https://re100.eng.anu.edu.au/heatmaps/#map-links

  14. KT2: – “Geoff I note Lithgow / Goulburn looks promising.

    Those people who attended the 10 May 2021 information session hosted by the Lithgow Community Power Project already know about the energy transition opportunities around Lithgow. Speakers included Professor Andrew Blakers. I’m very disappointed that the people who video recorded this session have never made it publicly available (as far as I’m aware).

    Then there’s the webinar earlier this year hosted by Calare independent 2022 candidate Kate Hook, also including Professor Blakers.

  15. I remain very doubtful fusion will deliver useful energy at all, let alone any time soon. To say there is still a long way to go is a serious understatement.

    It sounds very much like the “more energy came out than went in” achievement for laser style “inertial confinement” fusion is based on the energy the lasers delivered, not how much energy the lasers used. I don’t know how energy efficient the specific lasers at the National Ignition Facility are – I did a quick web search and got no answers – but above 20% would be an efficient laser.

    Without that clarified I’m inclined to simply reject claims they got more energy out than went in as false and misleading accounting.

  16. Geoff M, thanks, but does the Council know what proponents know, and why is this obviously necessary scoping project not legislated and funded from day 1?

    Ken Fabian, I did start with the old joke – Fusion. Tomorrow!

    Ikon, I expect full post now, from quotes only. “They” may then argue with “them”.

    “Degrowth can work — here’s how science can help

    “Wealthy countries can create prosperity while using less materials and energy if they abandon economic growth as an objective.”

    Jason Hickel0,Giorgos Kallis1,Tim Jackson2,Daniel W. O’Neill3,Juliet B. Schor4,Julia K. Steinberger5,Peter A. Victor6 &…Diana Ürge-Vorsatz7
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04412-x

  17. JQ may have an opinion on “This alternative, risk-weighted expected utility maximization”…

    Sean Carroll interviews;
    “Lara Buchak on Risk and Rationality

    December 12, 2022 

    “We often find ourselves in situations where we have to choose between different kinds of uncertainty; maybe one option is very likely to have a “pretty good” outcome, while another has some probability for “great” and some for “truly awful.” In such circumstances, what’s the rational way to choose?

    “Is it rational to go to great lengths to avoid choices where the worst outcome is very bad?

    “Lara Buchak argues that it is, thereby expanding and generalizing the usual rules of rational choice in conditions of risk.

    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2022/12/12/220-lara-buchak-on-risk-and-rationality/

    “Precis of Risk and Rationality
    Lara Buchak

    ABSTRACT
    “My book Risk and Rationality argues for a new alternative to the orthodox theory of rational decision-making. This alternative, risk-weighted expected utility maximization, holds that there are three important components involved in rational decision-making: utilities, probabilities, and risk-attitudes. This essay explains the basic outline of the theory and precisely how it differs from the orthodox theory.
    It also summarizes the main threads of argument in the book.”

    escholarship.org/content/qt01z98751/qt01z98751_noSplash_754b04dd6c6c0ad3e3e05427fc44f5d0.pdf

  18. “The Causes of and Responses to Today’s Inflation,” a Roosevelt Institute paper by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this false inflation narrative, revealing it as a sham aimed at destroying workers’ lives, offering a far more plausible explanation for inflation:”

    From;
    “This “inflation” is different

    “The Causes of and Responses to Today’s Inflation,” a Roosevelt Institute paper by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this false inflation narrative, revealing it as a sham aimed at destroying workers’ lives, offering a far more plausible explanation for inflation:

    Click to access RI_CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation_Report_202212.pdf

    “More than that, though, the authors show how sharp interest rate hikes actually harm the economy, deepening the recession and increasinginflation. They compare monetary policy inflation remedies to medieval bloodletting, where “doctors” did “more of the same when their therapy failed until the patient either had a miraculous recovery (for which the bloodletters took credit) or died (which was more likely).”

    “Let’s start with the case against bloodletting. Inflation hawks warn us of the wage price spiral, which is when inflation goes up and powerful workers bargain for higher wages, which drives up costs, and thus prices, and thus wages. This is the fairy-tale version of what happened in the 1970s and it’s entirely true except for the fact that it was OPEC’s embargo driving up oil prices that caused inflation, a fact that makes it entirely false, but oh well.

    “Still, let’s be generous to bed-wetting, seventies-haunted inflation hawks and pretend that we’re worried about a wage-price spiral. Good news! There isn’t one. Wage growth peaked in June at 4.8% and by October it had declined to 4.2%, making real wages 2.3%lower than they were in Oct 2021.

    “How is it that America’s all-powerful workforce was willing to take a paycut rather than demanding wages that keep pace with inflation? “Weak unions, globalization, and changes in the structure of the economy.”

    “But there’s another factor at play here: workers don’t think inflation is going to get worse, so they’re not demanding inflationary raises. For all the fearmongering about “inflationary expectations”: “Inflationary expectations have also remained tame, which is consistent with our interpretation of the data.”

    https://www.newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/sce#/

     https://pluralistic.net/2022/12/14/medieval-bloodletters/#its-the-stupid-economy
    *

    See Ikon, no arguing, just a quote; “Still, let’s be generous to bed-wetting, seventies-haunted inflation hawks and pretend that we’re worried about a wage-price spiral. Good news! There isn’t one.” 😊

  19. Augument ahead! Masks!!!
    (And excess deaths just revised up, narrowly beating influenza for excess deaths.)

    “Lack of correlation between school mask mandates and paediatric COVID-19 cases in a large cohort”

    December 14, 2022
    by Andrew

    “This all makes sense. The only part I don’t buy is when they argue that their results represent positive evidence against the effectiveness of mask mandates:

    “Our study also uses observational data and does not provide causal estimates either. However, there is an important difference: while the presence of correlation does not imply causality, the absence of correlation can suggest causality is unlikely, especially if the direction of bias can be reasonably anticipated. In the case of school mask mandates, the direction of bias can be anticipated quite well. . . .

    “Maybe, but I’m skeptical. So many things are going on here that I think it’s safer, and more realistic, to just say that any effects of mask mandates are not clear from these data. From a policy standpoint, this can be used to argue against mask mandates on the grounds that they are unpopular and impede learning. Unless we’re in a setting in which mask mandates are demanded by enough people, in which case they could be better than the alternative. For example, when teaching at Columbia, I didn’t find masks to be a huge problem, but remote classes were just horrible. So if a mask mandate is the only way to get people to agree to in-person learning, I’d prefer it to the alternative.:

    https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2022/12/14/lack-of-correlation-between-school-mask-mandates-and-paediatric-covid-19-cases-in-a-large-cohort/

  20. KT2: – “Geoff M, thanks, but does the Council know what proponents know, and why is this obviously necessary scoping project not legislated and funded from day 1?

    What Council? If you mean Lithgow City Council (LCC), then I can confirm seeing the LCC General Manager, Craig Butler, and at least two of the Councillors (that have since been re-elected to office) were at the 10 May 2021 information session.

    There are a few energy storage project proposals at various stages of development in the LCC Local Government Area (LGA):

    * “Wallerawang 9” 500 MW / up to 1.0 GWh BESS, by Greenspot, at the former Wallerawang Power Station site, NSW DPIE approved 4 Aug 2022, construction start early 2023?, operational 2024?

    * “Great Western” 500 MW / up to 1.0 GWh BESS, by Neoen, near Wallerawang, NSW DPIE planning assessment phase, construction start likely 2023?, operational 2024?

    * “Mt Piper” 500 MW / up to 2.0 GWh BESS, by EnergyAustralia, at Mt Piper Power Station site, feasibility study announced 13 Oct 2022, currently at NSW DPIE prepare SEARs planning phase, operational end-2026?

    * “Lake Lyell” 335 MW / up to 8 hours PHES, by EnergyAustralia, at Lake Lyell / Mt Walker localities, currently undergoing geotechnical evaluations, NSW DPIE planning phase 2023-25?, construction phase 3 years?

    Nearby in the Bathurst Regional Council LGA:

    * “Central West” 325 MW / up to 2,600 MWh (8 hours) PHES, by ATCO/Altura, south of Yetholme, preparing EIS for public exhibition early 2023?

    BESS map of Australia: https://reneweconomy.com.au/big-battery-storage-map-of-australia/
    PHES map of Australia: https://reneweconomy.com.au/pumped-hydro-energy-storage-map-of-australia/

  21. On Fusion again – those lasers turn out being VERY inefficient – (from Washington Post) –

    “However, that 2.05 megajoule input did not represent all the energy that went into the ignition process — just the amount that inefficient lasers managed to get to the hydrogen pellet. It took far more energy in total — on the scale of 300 megajoules — to produce that 3.15 megajoule result.”

    Doing it at all took all they had – doing it efficiently wasn’t a priority, or perhaps more correctly, not an option.

  22. Geoff – investment in storage is ramping up. I have suspected big batteries got a start as a quick fix, not because they were expected to be cost effective but because it gave a bit of time and breathing space when it was still unclear that growth of wind and solar would be sustained but it was clear that more coal wasn’t an option. I do wonder if it will work a bit that way as the quick fix whilst waiting for interconnectors; unlikely to make those unnecessary but perhaps the value they deliver will exceed expectations.

    I do expect to see our grid’s backbone get strengthened but I also expect contraction around the rural peripheries. My own circumstance is probably not unusual – 2 grid connected homes on one string of poles and wires, that surely cost far more to maintain than it would to provide 2 homes with lots of solar and batteries and maintain them.

    We have a compressed air project at Broken Hill, a Sodium battery project at Mt Isa. Isn’t there an Iron Flow battery in the pipeline too, or was that just an Iron Flow Battery manufacturing plant? Vanadium batteries are in there as well. Plus the pumped hydro. Then there are electric cars and the potential for providing grid load leveling and reserve power. A lot to be optimistic about despite so much to be pessimistic about.

  23. James Hansen and Makiko Sato published their latest communication on 13 Dec 2022 titled Global Warming in the Pipeline. They report:

    With 14 co-authors, we have submitted Global Warming in the Pipeline¹ to Oxford Open Climate Change. With permission of Editor-in-Chief Eelco Rohling, the submitted version is available on arXiv, the website used by physicists for preprints.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/

    Global warming in the pipeline, submitted 8 Dec 2022, last revised 12 Dec 2022, begins with:

    Improved knowledge of glacial-to-interglacial global temperature change implies that fast-feedback equilibrium climate sensitivity is at least ~4°C for doubled CO2 (2xCO2), with likely range 3.5-5.5°C. Greenhouse gas (GHG) climate forcing is 4.1 W/m2 larger in 2021 than in 1750, equivalent to 2xCO2 forcing. Global warming in the pipeline is greater than prior estimates. Eventual global warming due to today’s GHG forcing alone — after slow feedbacks operate — is about 10°C. Human-made aerosols are a major climate forcing, mainly via their effect on clouds. We infer from paleoclimate data that aerosol cooling offset GHG warming for several millennia as civilization developed. A hinge-point in global warming occurred in 1970 as increased GHG warming outpaced aerosol cooling, leading to global warming of 0.18°C per decade. Aerosol cooling is larger than estimated in the current IPCC report, but it has declined since 2010 because of aerosol reductions in China and shipping. Without unprecedented global actions to reduce GHG growth, 2010 could be another hinge point, with global warming in following decades 50-100% greater than in the prior 40 years. The enormity of consequences of warming in the pipeline demands a new approach addressing legacy and future emissions.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2212.04474

    I’d suggest nuclear fission (or for that matter Earth-based fusion) technologies won’t save us.

  24. Rog, not peer reviewed yet but I expect it will be, and published with little change; hardly amateur efforts in Hansen’s case. That paleo-climate keeps saying greater climate sensitivity than derived out of models is concerning and it is easy to insist Hansen builds unwarranted pessimism into his work.
    The point that the rate of emissions is now at or near the record highest level, that each subsequent decade is going to have more warming than any decade of the last century is disturbing too.
    Even the assumptions that the highest emissions scenarios won’t happen (because of unexpected renewables rather than mainstream intent) looks a bit dubious in light of emissions being cumulative; those scenarios barring the hypothetical worst case don’t generally include significant continuing emissions, such as if we get partway and stall. There are certainly politically powerful interests that still seek to have no constraints on fossil fuel use, with strong support from mainstream political parties that are willing to indulge in serious misinformation and culture war politicking.

  25. What would B F Skinner say? We need some human nature technology boosts. As well as…

    Wow! The 21st century science & technology is almost unbelievable.

    “What happened next would have been unthinkable just a few years ago and has been made possible by incredible advances in genetics.

    “The team at Great Ormond Street used a technology called base editing, which was invented only six years ago.

    “Bases are the language of life. The four types of base – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T) – are the building blocks of our genetic code. Just as letters in the alphabet spell out words that carry meaning, the billions of bases in our DNA spell out the instruction manual for our body.

    “Base editing allows scientists to zoom to a precise part of the genetic code and then alter the molecular structure of just one base, converting it into another and changing the genetic instructions.

    From;
    “Base editing: Revolutionary therapy clears girl’s incurable cancer
    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-63859184

  26. Groan… “the pet rock stands as both a tribute to and mockery of the perennial wonders of capitalism.”

    Your year top toy?

    “1975: The Pet Rock
    Original estimated retail price: $3.95

    “Gary Ross Dahl supposedly thought up a pet rock over drinks with friends, imagining the ideal pet as one that made no mess and required no effort. Pair that idea with clever marketing and lucky timing, and you end up with arguably the most famous, most useless product in the history of America. Indeed, even decades later the pet rock stands as both a tribute to and mockery of the perennial wonders of capitalism.”

    https://stacker.com/retrospective/top-holiday-toys-year-you-were-born

    Gary Dahl
    “Later career

    “From the proceeds of his “pets,” Dahl opened a bar in Los Gatos, California, named Carrie Nation’s (named after the famous bar smasher). He later attempted to follow up this success selling “Sand Breeding Kits” and “Red China Dirt,” ostensibly a plan to smuggle mainland China into the US, one cubic centimeter at a time. These novelties failed to attract as much interest as the Pet Rock.[6]

    In 2000, Dahl won the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest,[3] the San José State University–sponsored competition that awards authors for crafting particularly bad “purple prose.” He defeated over 4,000 entries from all over the world. Dahl’s winning entry:

          “The heather-encrusted Headlands, veiled in fog as thick as smoke in a crowded pub, hunched precariously over the moors, their rocky elbows slipping off land’s end, their bulbous, craggy noses thrust into the thick foam of the North Sea like bearded old men falling asleep in their pints.[7]

    “In 2001 he published Advertising For Dummies.[3]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Dahl_(businessman)

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