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Devil in the Details: Three “Profoundly Disturbing” Carbon Scenarios

15 June 2008

by Jack Rosebro

Jr1
Projected social, economic, and environmental changes associated with each scenario. Click to enlarge.

The Stockholm Network, a London-based pan-European think tank which also functions as a networking hub for 130 other market-driven think tanks in Europe, has released the report Carbon Scenarios: Blue Sky Thinking for a Green Future. The report charts the results of an exercise in which three possible futures for climate change, envisioned by a diverse panel of participants, were used to develop emissions models which were then run through a climate model by the UK’s Meteorological Office Hadley Centre to determine the projected rise in global temperatures associated with each alternative future.

The general outlook of the scenarios has been termed “profoundly disturbing” by one participant, climate researcher and author Mark Lynas.

Jr2
General overview of the three scenarios. Click to enlarge.

Arguing that “debate on climate change has now shifted decisively from science to policy, generating a new set of questions and challenges,” lead authors Paul Domjan and Gulya Isyanova note that the shift is nevertheless hampered by “a lack of clear, synthesized data on the climatic, economic, technological, political and even social consequences of different policy options; how these developments would interact; and their plausible impact on different countries.

All three of the report’s scenarios define “success” as a greater than 90% chance of less than 2ºC (3.6ºF) warming above pre-industrial levels, which is the most commonly accepted scientific threshold for successful mitigation of adverse effects of climate change, as well as a stated goal of the EU, UK, and UN. None of the scenarios see that goal met, although one, Step Change, could achieve a weaker goal of a greater than 90% chance of a little less than 3ºC warming above pre-industrial levels.

This means that all scenarios see the total disappearance of Arctic sea ice; spreading deserts and water stress in the sub-tropics; extreme weather and floods; and melting glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas. Hence the need to focus far more on adaptation: these are impacts that humanity is going to have to deal with, whatever now happens at the policy level.

—Mark Lynas

The scenarios share the same storyline at first:

With accusations still ringing in their ears that the Bali 2007 conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was nothing more than a talking shop,” the authors write, “ministers at the Poznán [Poland] 2008 conference* try to get down to business and agree on a post-2012 framework. After some wrangling, however, nothing concrete is achieved.“ Oil and food prices remain high in following years, and the climate begins “changing in front of our eyes.” The December 2009 UNFCCC Conference of Parties, widely viewed as the best hope for a “new Kyoto” agreement on GHG reduction, is about to convene in Copenhagen.

At this point, each scenario’s storyline goes its own separate way.

The scenarios are respectively called Kyoto Plus, a future in which a global framework for climate change mitigation is in place by 2012 using currently proposed mechanisms, Agree and Ignore, which assumes “backsliding and delays” as many countries fail to match intent with actions, and Step Change, in which random and severe weather events prompt sudden policy changes. The intent of the scenarios was to examine how think tanks can bring together experts on “neutral turf” to explore the most effective ways to inform future climate change policy.

Kyoto Plus. This scenario envisions significant yet conventional efforts toward the mitigation of the effects of climate change through a gradual movement toward a global agreement to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions beginning in 2012. The current climate policy context is extended; however, neither EU, UK, or UN GHG reduction goals are met. Most of the world’s “green technology” is deployed in the West.

By January 2012, the US adopts a carbon cap-and-trade scheme that is largely modeled on California’s carbon market, with a “safety valve” mechanism that initially requires the US to sell additional permits to emit GHGs when the price of permits hits a predetermined ceiling. A similar cap-and-trade system goes into effect through much of the world by the end of that year.

While possible backsliding has been avoided in the first few years of the new framework and more and more countries are moving up the ladder towards a national cap, international tensions remain.” The warming trend is more than 90% likely to be held to no more than 3.15ºC (5.67ºF) by 2100, and the world’s economy grows, albeit slowly.

Agree and Ignore. In Agree and Ignore, short-term concerns about economic competitiveness lead to a fragmented, regionalized patchwork of policies. While leaders agree on the need to mitigate climate change, systematic action is minimal at best. Climate policy is, by and large, hampered by dysfunctional political processes in this scenario: the political reality of four- or five-year voting cycles, along with voter expectations, are out of step with the time-scale of climate change, which requires“short-term sacrifice for long-term benefits.”

Foot-dragging, ineffective national carbon markets, and the absence of a global carbon market or cap lead to an overall weakening and deterioration of international GHG reduction agreements. Progress gives way to backsliding, and global GHG production gradually rises rather than falling, leveling off by 2050 and stabilizing at that level until at least 2100. Warming is more than 90% likely to be held to no more than 4.8ºC (8.64ºF), economic growth is severely constrained, and the effects of climate change beyond 2100 are significant.

Step Change. In response to the disappointing results of the previous two scenarios, Step Change was specifically designed to explore whether or not a plausible future could be constructed in which global warming is limited to 2ºC or less. To achieve this, the panel asked:

  • Could global policy take a radically different course?
  • What could trigger this change?
  • What would the likely results be?

Here, significant climate-related events prior to 2012 catalyze a major shift in global climate change policies. Although the initial costs of such policies are higher, long-term economic growth is more robust. Despite failing to limit warming to 2ºC or less, this scenario envisions the lowest amount of global warming, with a 90% chance of an increase of 2.85ºC (5.13ºF) or less by 2100, and a peaking of emissions as early as 2017.

The shift in policy nevertheless comes with a heavy price:

Having already experienced a particularly hot summer in 2009, Europe goes on to have another scorching one in 2010: hotter than in 2003, with wildfires worse than those of 2007. Emergency services struggle to cope, and low rainfall leads to serious water rationing, especially in the Mediterranean and some of the newer EU Member States.

The Indian subcontinent continues to experience a heavy and long monsoon season, leading to serious flooding and loss of life, especially in Bangladesh. High temperatures and low rainfall also cause several crops to fail in Africa, leading to tensions around water usage terms in the Lake Victoria and the Nile River regions. As a result, many parts of the Indian subcontinent and Africa experience famine.

The combined demands on the UN World Food Programme are of an unprecedented level, and it is unable to cope. Hundreds of thousands starve. However, although these humanitarian crises receive media coverage in the West, they vie for attention with the much documented and highly-publicized acceleration in the disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic, which by this point has been projected to completely disappear by 2025.

The authors take pains to distinguish scenario from prediction:

We are not saying that the events in this [Step Change] scenario are probable. Rather, we would argue that they are possible, and provide a useful exercise in thinking through the causal implications of two statistically unlikely but not impossible occurrences: firstly, the simultaneous onslaught of several extreme events, and secondly, a quick and straightforward international response. In other words, we are considering the best possible solution to the worst possible problem.

Carbon Scenarios emphasizes that new market measures are needed in light of the likely failure of existing market mechanisms to achieve even a 3ºC limit on warming above pre-industrial levels, and one of the drivers of the relative success of Step Change is the introduction of a global, upstream cap on actual carbon production, rather than a cap which estimates the effects of trading and sequestration schemes. The transparency of such a cap encourages participation and simplifies the carbon market. A portion of revenue from that market is set aside to provide incentives for developing economies to come on board.

What Policy?

Three key policy lessons emerged from the scenario-building sessions:

  • Mitigation alone is no longer enough;
  • The potential for many delays is, at present, embedded in the UNFCCC process; and
  • Wealth transfer is key
Jr3
Past and projected CO2 emissions for developed and developing countries. Click to enlarge. Source: EIA International Energy Outlook 2007

Although the West is responsible for the majority of past GHG emissions, emerging economies will be responsible for the majority of future emissions. Underdeveloped countries, which are the least responsible for GHG emissions, will suffer the greatest impacts of climate change. A successful global climate policy will therefore requires mechanisms to transfer some wealth from developed to developing countries.

Developing countries will only agree to an international climate scheme that gives a credible guarantee of, and a clear framework for, this wealth transfer,” contend the authors of Carbon Scenarios. The Agree and Ignore scenario achieves a leveling rather than a reduction of GHG emissions, and only does so by 2050, in part because emerging economies are not incentivized to adopt emissions reduction policies.

The exercise also yielded a list of future issues that were seen to be likely to drive global climate change policy:

  • Climate policies of China and the United States, as the world’s two dominant emitters of greenhouse gases, and their influence on the policies of other countries.

  • Continuing tension between the West and developing countries: emerging economies that could see reduced GDP growth as a result of climate policy, as well as poorer countries that have the most to lose from impacts of climate change.

  • The role of extreme weather events in shaping public perception of the direct consequences of climate change, as well as the need to address consequences and the willingness to pay to do that.

In the words of the authors, “the horse has bolted, but there is still scope to contain the greatest extent of damage [from climate change] through innovative and efficient policy.” “When the panel of experts set out to develop a set of scenarios about climate change,” remarked lead author Paul Domjan, “the general public thought there was a trade-off between economic growth and carbon reduction. In fact, the scenario that delivers the most carbon reduction, also delivers long-term economic growth by replacing a pick ’n’ mix of complicated, confusing and opaque policies with a clear, long-term carbon price.

The UNFCCC Talks in Bonn

Carbon Scenarios: Blue Sky Thinking for a Green Future was released just prior to the latest round of UN-sponsored global climate change negotiations in Bonn, which concluded Friday. The Stockholm Network explained the timing of the release:

While the UK and the EU will probably just manage to meet their goal of reducing emissions by 20% [compared to 1990 levels] by 2020, the bulk of future emissions will come from the developing world. However, without the assistance of the developed world, they will not realistically be able to curb their emissions. We need to create a framework that is transparent and credible in order to bring this about... Discussions at the UNFCCC meeting in Bonn are therefore crucial and need to move beyond the flaws inherent in the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation.

However, the Bonn conference, which was attended by around 2000 representatives from more than 170 countries, produced little more than an acknowledgment that progress was not moving fast enough. Representatives of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), for example, labeled progress as “feeble” and complained that nations were presenting nothing more than “shopping lists” rather than blueprints for action.

Although Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that he was encouraged that the talks were beginning to shift from discussions to negotiations in Bonn, particularly with respect to adaptation, he nevertheless termed the challenge to develop agreements in time for the Copenhagen meeting as “daunting.” A week earlier, at the beginning of the Bonn talks, de Boer had spoken in more enthusiastic terms, stating: “I really am confident that at the end of the day, the deal will be struck.”

Added Harald Dovland, chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, “We need a completely new spirit of cooperation from here, because if we continue in this mode of work, I fear we will not succeed in achieving the goals set in the work programme.

The next set of UNFCCC talks will be held in Ghana in August, and the last round of negotiations in 2008 are to be held in Poznán, Poland in December. Additional talks will be scheduled in 2009, leading up to the Copenhagen meeting in December of that year. In addition to setting new targets for reducing emissions, the Copenhagen talks have been mandated to produce agreements on how to help developing nations and emerging economies adapt to shifts in the climate, as well as how the international community is going to finance the measures.

*The Poznán (Poland) 2008 conference is referred to as COP (Conference of Parties) 14, and is a UNFCCC event. The UNFCCC meets regularly to discuss international responses to findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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What is most disturbing is that none of the presented schemes have any working basis for real change. Adding a “carbon tax” is simply another cost of business, not a method of actual change.

A plan of how to go about achieving positive change is necessary.

My suggestion is to place a cap on new coal generation capacity by ending all subsidies for it while instead making public money available for funding wind energy and other renewable projects.
If we install enough wind power, then old oil, gas, and coal generating plants can be converted and used to energy shift, by making hydrogen at night then burning it at peak times in the day.

The stone age didn't end due to a lack of stone, and we should not have waited till the end of oil before switching to clean energy.

John:

Will the world shift to more efficient electrified vehicles and cleaner alternative energy sources as long as cheap ICE vehicles and cheaper dirty energy is available?

Greed is still much stronger than global warming predictions.

People will buy cheaper ICE polluting vehicles (the unsold one will be much cheaper for many years) as long as they can afford to buy the fuel to use them. There are only two or three effective ways to change that behavior; 1) stop sales of ice vehicles (not very democratic); 2-a) progressively raise fuel price to $10/gal with whatever means, preferably with a carbon/sale tax; 2-b) progressively raise ICE vehicles registration fees; 3) promote electrified vehicles purchase with negative sale tax and registration fees.

Apply similar financial motivation to reduce sale of polluting coal produced electric energy and increase sale of cleaner electrical energies.

You cannot rely solely on the market to implement the changes required. Governments have to play a decisive role, as they did for tobacco, even if it cost a few (hard core) votes.

Harvey and John: You are both right. John for how to produce the energy and get there quickly, and Harvey for how to pay for it and provide incentives for people to change.
I firmly believe this approach would also have economic payoff for the US. By becoming energy independent, we eliminate the balance of payments deficit, strengthening the dollar. In addition, electricity will reduce air pollution in turn reducing health care costs, and eliminating one major argument for moving industry overseas.

Without good batteries, EVs are still dead in the water. We're not there yet, and optimistically won't be for several years. And unless there are economically viable options, artificially raising the price of gas to $10 will just make people feel like they're raising taxes for the sake of raising taxes. I read an article not too long ago that "Britons will not foot the bill" for green taxes because of just that sort of feeling.

Besides, there are other sources for petroleum being devised that don't involve pumping it out of the ground.

I think I erred in my last post somewhere. Forgot to close an HTML tag properly.

I fear the time frame is too long. It is too easy to rationalize this away or just ignore it. Action will be delayed and will be slow when/if it happens. Delayed even more because the pain does not hit until after some future election.
Maybe the pain of peak oil, oil shortage and gas prices will save us. Maybe we can go solar, wind, geo hydro etc in time. Maybe.
http://science-community.sciam.com/topic/Solar-Grand-Plan/Solar-Grand-Plan/300005617&start=15

companies move jobs out of the US because it is cheaper to work overseas and transport the goods back. It's not just health care, it's everything. Cost of regulations, cost of antipollution, cost of health care, cost of employees. jobs will come back in the US when we are paid Third World wages and similar societal expenses. Why else would companies count on unpaid internships and recent college graduates as employees?

As a population, the poor consume more energy because they can't afford to conserve energy. They buy cheap, they live in inefficient housing, they have poor quality heating all because they can't spend the money for something that works better. This matters not just because these people are hurting but because because there are a large population, and this population is growing all the time. If you're going to subsidize any change, subsidize low income apartment buildings around transit stops. provide nearby subsidized office space for companies that hire people living in the low income flats. subsidize megamart's so the local residents can get higher-quality food than they could with a smaller supermarket. Make it possible for poor people to live without four wheeled vehicles and be able to have a good quality life with two wheeled (motorcycles, scooters) transport.

Why subsidize this? Domino effect. If you make it possible for people to live in urban spaces and get work close to home, then the non-subsidized will find a reason to live in the region which will reduce their energy usage profile. The energy-saving devices will become more efficient and cheaper because of this subsidize deployment.

I still wonder how society is going to make it possible for most people to live in cities? How are they going to compensate people who own suburban property for the migration to a place with more expensive urban property

Wind energy is a no brainer as far as readiness, There is no waiting for enabling technologies, skills or production facilities. Of all the options it is almost too simple.
But solar photovoltaic and thermal plus geothermal, water-pumping and others as specifically appropriate will enhance the grid and enable the greatest penetration by balancing and smoothing the grid.
Unfortunately the mechanisms required to roll this concept out are mostly being utilised .
Capital and political power and influence follows profit and the fossil fuel industries are showing this in spades.
It seems nearly anything is acceptable in the interests of capital.(And supposed national interests)
Should read "anything is acceptable....
We have the ability but not the market mechanism. Resources are diverted to the exploration of more of the problem, and justified by legal requirements to look after the shareholders (capital) interests.
That is scarce capital that should in the interests of all be funding solutions, pure research, directed research and development.
If the old industries were given a strong enough market message, the money will flow.
We need to encourage the policy makers to take that leap of faith.

Cervus:

Had we used the same resources, we used for ICE development during the last 125 years, to create better baterries, we may have very high performance (500+ Wh/Kg) EV baterries (ESSU) today.

Electrovaya's is up to 330 Wh/Kg and going to 450 Wh/Kg within 2 or 3 years. Toyota may come up with a post-lithium improved ESSU by 2012/2015. ESStor's ESSU may have similar performance even before. The price of lithium baterries is going down at 17% per year and the performance is gradually going up.

Sometime between 2012 and 2015, we will have high performance (300+ Wh/Kg) ESSUs @ $300 Kwh or less.

The cost and performance of ESSUs will no longer be a deterrent to affordable electrified vehicles.

However, changing 800+ million ICE vehicles for electrified vehicles will take time (20+ years) and is still a major challenge, but it will come.

What is interesting is the amount of rapid change going unnoticed. There is enormous critical mass moving government, private and public sectors the world over toward alternative energy. Is it fast enough? Not for some. But for others it is landmark change unpredicted twenty years ago. Wind expansion at 30% annually should grow even faster once pump-water storage systems are standardized. High temp electrolysis to H2 will attract traditional energy investment and provide the coal alternative for large scale electric generation (as well the the FC market.)

Energy transition is continuing at a reasonable pace regardless of "Profoundly Disturbing" headlines. A little optimism in California:

http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2007/5/14/califAirQualityShowsImprovement

Harvey

We are still far from the energy density that you claim from a commercial point of view, we are in the 70Whrs/Kg right now and at inaffordable price. Plus don't forget that a best you can discharge a battery a 70% so here we are : 200Kgs for 40 miles (Volts in 2010)even if you quadruple the energy density (very optimistic) give you 200miles for 300Kgs of batteries.

Acceptable but still a long way to go, as for EESTOR is probably a scam.

I disagree that there were little investment in batteries these past centuries, some industry were really wiling to improve battery (automotive but also military) in the 70s we had the same promise with the NaS chemistry (300Whr/Kg) than today with Li-ion. Batteries have always been slow to progress.

Honnestly I don't belive that the all electric car is round the corner, I see only a niche market for city car and a much more significant market for PHEV.

Also don't forget that if the electric car pick, you will see the price of commodities like Li, Zn, Ld, Ni, Co, Mn and last but not leasr Cu. skyrocket to a point it could kill the battery business (all these commodities have already quadrupled these 5 past years).

The Green Army

We must be practical and realistic in the green fight.

The cessation of coal fired generation of power will not be tolerated by global decision makers. In the near term, instead, they may respond to a call to sequester the CO2 emissions from these plants.

In order to impose environmental discipline on the world, coal must be prohibited from export. Countries that are not environmentally disciplined cannot be given the power to destroy the atmosphere.

As long as the sun shines and the wind blows, wind power will increase and multiply because it is cost effective.

As long as the sun shines and the sky is blue, solar power will increase and multiply because it is also cost effective.

But most importantly, as these technologies are increasing adopted by the developed world, the first world will gain moral authority to set an example for other nations to act likewise.

Such authority is critical, because if you can’t get your own house in order, you can’t tell other nations to restrain their world damaging practices.

This moral authority will allow the first world to recruit a core of young idealists, a green corps if you will, to enter the service of the environment, perhaps for an enlistment of two years.

These recruits will be trained in all aspects of green technology applications in a boot camp by master sergeants of the environment.

They will learn green techniques from the most primitive to be applied on the village level to the most sophisticated to be discussed in the halls of power in the capitals of the third world.

A lively give and take among the troops and their leaders can hone the effort from real world experiences much like and army adapts to the tactics of the enemy.

The green corps can gradually turn the tide of battle, and push back the practices that are building the greenhouse.

The spirit, ideals, and energy of youth can be put into productive service to improve the human condition much in the way that the Peace Corps did almost a haft century ago.




So John, how are you going to produce enough clean energy for electric vehicles? If you don't phase-out coal, the carbon offsetting costs of electric vehicles are way too high.

I don't see how you will be generating clean energy on a large scale. Wind and solar are intermittent sources, so you must have some kind of a baseload.

If you want this baseload to be provided by coal, you will have to implement CCS, which is not very much favored by green lobbies.

Nuclear doesn't seem to be a very cost-effective option.

Making clean hydrogen as baseload is highly expensive, because again you either need coal with CCS (but then, if you implement CCS, you don't need hydrogen), or you need to go the electrolysis pathway, which is way too costly and inefficient. The only viable and cost-effective way of making hydrogen is via the gasification of biomass, but it's much more efficient to use biomass directly in power plants.

So unless there is a clean, reliable baseload (currently only biomass is capable of delivering this), both wind and solar are not a real option.

You could think of importing biomass on a large scale from developing countries (pyrolyse biomass to make it more easy to transport).

But these countries will be using their biomass for their own biofuels which will power their millions of cheap ICE cars.


So I don't really see the viability of a clean electricity infrastructure.


Recently, PG&E in California bought 107MW of biomass-solar hybrid power. The solar-thermal plant will provide some electricity during the day time. At night and for baseloads and peakloads, biomass does the work.

PG&E contracts 107MW of fully renewable solar thermal-biomass hybrid power - June 12, 2008

Maybe this is the way forward.

Couple wind, solar and biomass. But without biomass component, the electricity from the general pool of sources, even including some wind and solar, is likely to be either very expensive or very polluting.

Harvey suggested increasing Gas to $10/gallon, but it is approx $8 in Europe and there is not sign of panic - plenty of anger but everyone still drives (and buys smaller gas and diesel cars).
The only thing that will get people out of their cars is actual shortages and huge queues, or rationing.

Wind is a partial solution to electricity generation, but while the wind bit is cheap up to say 15%, it gets much more expensive after that as you try to buffer it with pumped hydro or whatever.
+ there is a shortage of windmills due to huge demand.
On a brighter note, there is huge money going into battery research, so we might see some action in the xEV space in the next 5 years.

Another possibility is ebikes, which are very light on the environment and can get you into work without a sweat. (Or just ordinary bikes if you live in a temperate zone or have showers in work).
(And have a < 5 mile commute and are < 60 years old).

There was an article linked on Auto Blog Green that indicated gasoline demand in the UK was down 20% from last year due to high prices. Now there's some demand destruction. The US is about 5% lower by comparison.

I looked at the Auto Blog Green article, which referred to an article in the daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/11/npetrol111.xml which quoted Eduardo Lopez of the IEA as saying that petrol sales have dropped 20% in the last 12 months in the UK.
But a guy in the petrol retailer's association Ray Holloway, from the Petrol Retailers Association, said "that there had been a sharp fall in fuel sales over the past three weeks, especially in the north of England.
However, he said he was surprised by the drop in demand reported by the IEA. "We don’t see evidence that it has fallen off a cliff,"

There is no mention of this on the IEA website.

I find it very hard to see a 20% reduction in fuel use in 12 months short of a strike or a war.
The brits have had expensive fuel for years and have purchased efficient cars accordingly, so they are already pretty good in this department.
In the medium term (say 5-10 years) you might expect to see this, but not in 12 months.
Not without a war.

In my my experience, during times of war that fuel prices rise. A recent destabilising saber rattling statement (Israel -on Iran ) saw prices rise another $20.00 overnight.
The military also account for a large amount of total American consumption of transport fuels.
I recall a figure of ~20%, If anyone has good numbers on this.

The losses in waterpumping have been described as ~4% but again every location is different and would not be possible in many areas. Given a specific location, solutions can be pursued, the water may be saline or the elevated water storage may be remote from the generator as load balancing is a small component of a well integrated system.
Here's a thought, integrate recycled waterpumping with
water treatment. If the system has enough buffer, then the water treatment may recycle the same water through the treatment system more than once.

Take GARBAGE-IN data fed into a GARBAGE-CREATING GCM software model and get expected GARBAGE-OUT Results.

They assume that no changes to CO2 reduction have been, or will be made. That is wrong, of course.

But it betrays the easily assumed ineffectiveness of all the dreary doomday hectoring; along with the ineffectiveness of Carbon Taxes. And of course the ineffectiveness of EU carbon limits placed on autos.

And the clumsy AGW hysterics do not even object about how badly their prescriptions and nostrums (don't) perform.

It appears they easily say no progress is possible along those lines.

Even I, assuming that AGW is mostly a disproved scientific hypothesis from the age that didn't know of computers, Black holes, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, or a myriad of other advances like the Internet, the End, (or really even the beginning of) the Cold War, etc.

It was a pure speculation that was turned into a scam hysteria and a taxing opportunity. Lots of socialist programs never workas advertised; but even I would never say that all the actions were as if nothing had been done. All attempts were to no effect, at all.

Is Cap-and-trade really that useless?

They feed that same GARBAGE data into models that can't produce the valid results of the actually happened to Earth when fed historical data from twenty or thirty years ago. But suggest an alternate reality of a Saharan transformed environment, that has been already created. But of course never was, in reality.

Then they publsih this GARBAGE-OUT result, as if it were a revelation.

Sorry fellas, I already saw the same act, several other times before. Why would the execution run of the same bogus software, with the same bogus input, produce anything other than the same bogus output?

This is NEWS?

I think think tanks greatly underestimate what the average american has been REALY planning to do when things got hard.

I think the next 3 years will see many massive changes burst out as people who have been waiting for the right time to act pick that time.


I expect america will look very alien to us in just 22 years mucvh less 42.

But one thing is sure.. it will be ODD.

It wont be sane it wont be senseable it shouldnt work it will confound and annou think tanks for decafes to come..

As for global warming.. not a snowballs chance in hell we are gona get that right. I expect HOT HOT HOT with a side order of global resoirce wars.

While you are reading this
take note of the coal seam gas emissions from abandoned mines. These outgassings can be fed direct to readily available generators which will clean up the pollution and generate substantial amounts of super cheap electricity.
Or collect and store (often under its own pressure)

20% of US emissions from aviation fuels in 1990, 5.5% in2006

10% of US emissions from marine transport fuels in 1990 10% in 2006

Now that's what I call garbage.
nwww.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads/08_Energy.pdf

sorry the n before www has no place in the above address.

for those who think that the revolution of EV and PHEV is round the corner have a look at this link

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/06/14/volt-battery-decision-soon-and-20-mile-ev-option-possible/

doesn't sound like it will be as fast and easy as some keep trumpeting here...

Don't get me wrong I am impatiant to be able to buy a PHEV (rather a toyota than a GM though) but I am afraid they will still be nice but unaffordable toys for quite some time...

Tree:

If you want lower priced first generation EVs pressure the Republicans in Congress to pass HR6049. This bill provides for tax rebates/incentives/credits for renewable technologies and would help keep prices for any PHEV well under $30k.

GARBAGE-IN … GARBAGE-OUT is another trade mark of Stan Peterson.

Since he has not insulted anyone in his post, I will address the issue that he raises.

If one looks beyond his propaganda, there is a grain of true to what Stan implies.

Namely, no one can predict what global society will do in 100 years. There are way too many unknowns: technical, political and geological.

Climate models are not yet sophisticated enough to accurately predict climate to any degree of certainty.

Most models don’t take into account ocean currents that are by far the major determinate of global climate.

Then there is the sun spot cycle to account for.

In fact, a NASA climate model predicts a drop in temperature in Europe and North America in the next 10 to 15 years due to a change in Pacific Ocean currents (PDO - Pacific Decadal Oscillation) to a much colder pattern.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=18012

Furthermore, this is contradicted by a very hot Atlantic current (MDO – Mid Atlantic Drift Osculation) trend in that period.

No one really knows which current will dominate the climate.

But all of this uncertainty should not be grist for the propaganda mill either green or troll.

What is not now known it the exact date/time of dooms day.

What is absolutely known is that any exponential increase is any one of the many climate factors is dangerous.

Wind mills and solar energy are a no loss proposition.

Moderation in green house gas production is prudent.

As a matter of fact, a prudent approach to energy production and use will have as large a mix of “clean” production methods as possible.

In summary, Stan if you approach the Gcc in a civilized and polite manner then a dialogue of the issues can proceed.


@ HarveyD ~> “Will the world shift to more efficient electrified vehicles and cleaner alternative energy sources as long as cheap ICE vehicles and cheaper dirty energy is available?”

Of course not. The point is that this option is no longer viable. There simply is not enough dirty energy to drive all the ICE cars that people want.
You are correct though, having a tax push in the renewable sustainable direction would help accelerate our shift to a cleaner future. As you note, we do have the technology to change.

@ Cervus ~> So you think we don't have batteries and hope for bacteria oil. Please note that 10 years ago, the EV1 had workable batteries just with old led acid. Today we do have better. Bio bacteria oil is untested technology that may pay off ... or not. Reduced demand in some countries is offset by increasing demand in others. We need the technology to change, and a part of that is to change our own thinking to realize it can be reality and demand it be the political goal.

@ Tom ~> “the pain does not hit until after some future election.”
This is the thing we can change by putting “green” at the top of our own political agenda.

@ arnold ~> We need to encourage the policy makers to take that leap of faith.
I agree. Doing nothing lets the problem get worse.

@ gr ~> I guess I'm one of the people for whom change to a sustainable future cannot come fast enough.

@ Treehugger ~> “Honestly I don't belive that the all electric car is round the corner”
Shame on you. The EV1 proved that the electric car was viable with a 100 km range. We see lots of improvement since. Your second post link shows the Chevy Volt getting a 40 km range, a rather backward step. We best stop expecting GM to lead the way forward, and begin looking to other companies with vision.

@ Jonas ~> “So John, how are you going to produce enough clean energy for electric vehicles? If you don't phase-out coal, the carbon offsetting costs of electric vehicles are way too high.
I don't see how you will be generating clean energy on a large scale. Wind and solar are intermittent sources, so you must have some kind of a baseload.”
You see the problem, but miss the solution. Wind and other renewables are becoming price competitive with dirty power. Lets presume wind is the primary choice just because it is a developed robust proven technology that is now cheaper than unsubsidized coal power plants.
At over 20% penetration, their will be times, especially at night, when the wind machines produce excess power. We cannot just turn off the wind, so storing this energy is our best option. One method is electrolysis to hydrogen, then burning the hydrogen in retired coal plants next day. Other methods will be more efficient. The point is that 100% of our power needs can be wind generated even with intermittent winds.

@ mahonj ~> “+ there is a shortage of windmills due to huge demand.”
This shortage is being rectified by doubling production capacity each year. The change over to green energy will be perhaps faster than we think. However, we need to be proactive to ensure this progresses at the fastest possible speed. I currently ride an e-bike but would prefer an e-car.

@ wintermane ~> “I think the next 3 years will see many massive changes.”
We live in interesting times. However, it is up to each of us to help promote the changes we realize will be most beneficial.

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