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On The Way Back to 280 ppm

Good work, Bernardus, we need all the help we can get and many more people could also get involved in organic growing of fruit and vegetables, and there are many job opportunities in making soil (even in deserts) more fertile, apart from the many job opportunities in clean technologies such as EVs and solar and wind power.  

There are many ways to use biomass. Composting can reduce emissions and improve soil quality. Even better than composting, though, is pyrolysis of organic waste, to produce biochar as a soil supplement. This process can be carbon-negative and minimize many types of emissions, while it can also produce biofuels, hydrogen and bio-oils.

July 27, 2011    View Comment    

On The Way Back to 280 ppm

 

> (Ed Reid) Wind investment will not occur if wind receives only low, off-peak prices. 
Wind energy earns good money for the energy generated at many hours of the day, Ed, and this attracts investment. Wind turbines also generate large amounts of electricity at times of low demand, hence the low off-peak prices. 
> (Ed Reid) The investment economics do not work. That is currently being demonstrated in West Texas and on the BPA system.
In February, when Texas experienced rolling blackouts due to the loss of over 50 fossil-fired power plants totaling over 7,000 megawatts, wind plants continued to steadily produce 3,500 megawatts.
More recently, the mountain snowpack melt required hydroelectric dams to release more water, while there are also other factors such as salmon. This doesn't mean that the economics didn't work, it underlines that the shift to clean energy will increasingly make cheap clean electricity available at times of low demand. As said, investing in wind energy is already attractive, but I agree that the shift to clean energy should be further helped by rebates, funded through fees on polluting energy (facilities). 
> (Ed Reid) Read the post again. There is nothing there that provides a path to an 80% reduction in global CO2 emissions by 2020.
Read the posts again! Reducing the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere can best be achieved through two types of feebates, with energy feebates capable of completing the necessary shift to clean energy within a decade.
> (Ed Reid) Read the linked post. It does not address the sources of the investment capital needed to achieve the transition.
Read the post again! It explains that it makes economic sense for America to shift to clean energy, while - as I said repeatedly - I agree that the shift to clean energy should be further helped by rebates, funded from fees on polluting energy (facilities). 
> (Ed Reid) The investments required to reduce the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 280 ppm are not addressed.
Feebates can be adjusted, so where there is insufficient investment, fees can be increased to make things happen. 

> (Ed Reid) Wind investment will not occur if wind receives only low, off-peak prices. 

Wind energy earns good money for the energy generated at many hours of the day, and this attracts investment. Wind turbines also generate large amounts of electricity at times of low demand, hence the low off-peak prices. 

> (Ed Reid) The investment economics do not work. That is currently being demonstrated in West Texas and on the BPA system.

In February, when Texas experienced rolling blackouts due to the loss of over 50 fossil-fired power plants totaling over 7,000 megawatts, wind plants continued to steadily produce 3,500 megawatts.

More recently, the mountain snowpack melt required hydroelectric dams to release more water, while there are also other factors such as salmon. This doesn't mean that the economics didn't work, it underlines that the shift to clean energy will increasingly make cheap clean electricity available at times of low demand. As said, investing in wind energy is already attractive, but I agree that the shift to clean energy should be further helped by rebates, funded through fees on polluting energy (facilities). 

> (Ed Reid) Read the post again. There is nothing there that provides a path to an 80% reduction in global CO2 emissions by 2020. Read the linked post. It does not address the sources of the investment capital needed to achieve the transition.

Read the posts again! Reducing the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere can best be achieved through two types of feebates, with energy feebates capable of completing the necessary shift to clean energy within a decade. The post America can win the clean energy race explains that it makes economic sense for America to shift to clean energy, while - as I said repeatedly - I agree that the shift to clean energy should be further helped by rebates, funded through fees on polluting energy (facilities). 

> (Ed Reid) The investments required to reduce the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 280 ppm are not addressed.

Feebates can be adjusted, so where there is insufficient investment, fees can be increased to make things happen. 

 

July 27, 2011    View Comment    

On The Way Back to 280 ppm

> (Ed Reid) I do not understand . . .

In various settings renewable energy is already economically competitive, says the IPCC, and that's before subsidies and tax credits are included. Also, that's before the full cost of fossil fuel is included in the price. Wind turbines generate large amounts of electricity at times of low demand, resulting in low off-peak prices with implementation of Time of Use (TOU) rates and Time Varying Pricing, i.e. pricing electricity prices more in line with supply and demand.

> (Ed Reid) I also do not understand how solar and wind grow . . .

Read the post again, and click on the image for more details.

> (Ed Reid) The post also does not address the sources . . .

Read my post America can win the clean energy race.

> (Ed Reid) Finally, the post does not address the investments . . .

As the post suggests, reducing the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere can best be financed through fees on non-energy polluters, such as livestock products, nitrogen fertilizers and concrete. Feebates are self-financing and can be implemented in budget-neutral ways.

> (Ed Reid) Hand waving and "humma humma" will not get the job done. After 16 COPs, I am not convinced anything will, ever.

The more reason to support the way it can best be done, i.e. through the two types of feebates described in the post.

July 27, 2011    View Comment    

On Earth at Boiling Point

My point is that a 4ºC rise could make most areas where most people now live uninhabitable. Some areas could become flooded as sea levels rise, while other areas increasingly face heat stress. Sherwood particularly focused on heat stress. But an area can also become uninhabitable due to recurring wildfires, floods, droughts, storms and further extreme weather events that cause erosion, desertification, crop losses and shortages of fresh water. 

I've changed the post to better reflect that. Hope that makes things more clear. 

June 15, 2011    View Comment    

On Earth at Boiling Point

Several teams of scientists warn that we can expect a rise of 4oC within decades. I quoted Sherwood's study to point out that there are limits to what people can bare, such as heat stress. It seemed obvious that such a rise would result many further problems (apart from heat stress), such as droughts, wildfires, lack of water and food. 

Anyway, to avoid confusion that we were safe until temperatures reached 95°F (35°C) everywhere around the world, I have split the paragraph in two at the original post. If I edited the post here, that could change the date posting. Also, my posts and comments are moderated and it appears to take more than a day for a moderator to have a look. So, I'm rather hesitant to change the post here. 

June 15, 2011    View Comment    

On America can win the clean energy race

Geoffrey: "I could quibble with your choice of data and interpretation of several of the charts, such as the one on trade deficits."

You did, Geoffrey, at Oil prices soar in spite of sharp increase in U.S. production under Obama, but let's leave it at that. 

Geoffrey: "My bigger concern is that I find the whole "race" analogy enormously unhelpful.

Guess who do appear to find it helpful: 

President Obama, March 30, 2011, in:
BLUEPRINT FOR A SECURE ENERGY FUTURE
blueprint_secure_energy_future.pdf
from:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/blueprint_secure_energy_future.pdf
page 32:
"A global race is underway to develop and manufacture clean energy technologies, and China and other countries are playing to win.
and page 28:
“Race to Green”
Secretary Steven Chu on April 18, 2011, in
We're in the Global Clean Energy Race to Win: Federal Investment in California Solar Energy Plant
"Today, we are in a global race to develop and deploy clean energy technologies.  We can either sit on the sidelines and watch the competition pass us by or we can get in the race and play to win. 
When we rev up the great American innovation machine, we can out-compete any other nation."
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/18/were-global-clean-energy-race-win-federal-investment-california-solar-energy-plant

President Obama said, March 30, 2011, in Blueprint for a secure energy future:

page 32: "A global race is underway to develop and manufacture clean energy technologies, and China and other countries are playing to win."

page 28: “Race to Green”

Secretary Steven Chu, April 18, 2011, in We're in the Global Clean Energy Race to Win: Federal Investment in California Solar Energy Plant:

"Today, we are in a global race to develop and deploy clean energy technologies.  We can either sit on the sidelines and watch the competition pass us by or we can get in the race and play to win. When we rev up the great American innovation machine, we can out-compete any other nation."

April 19, 2011    View Comment    

On How Much Are You Willing to Pay to be Nuke-Free?

Robert: "I understand why nuclear power rather than solar power fills a third of Japan’s electricity needs."

Japan has less sunlight than some other places, but it has good wind. Japanese wind turbines are performing well, despite the quake and tsunami. Japan also has potential in geothermal and wave energy. Japan now needs to put in place the policies that will facilitate the shift to clean and safe energy.

Your proposal to change taxation is definitely an improvement. Even better would be to impose fees on polluting products and use the revenues to help clean local alternatives.

March 19, 2011    View Comment    

On Electric Vehicle Buildout Implications

Hi Willem,

I support the idea to have taxes on polluting items and to support clean alternatives. In my view, the best approach is feebates, i.e. fees with their revenues used to support rebates on clean local alternatives.

 

March 16, 2011    View Comment    

On Oil prices soar in spite of sharp increase in U.S. production under Obama

Mind you, Geoffrey, I'm always keen to correct errors, in fact I spotted a typo in one of my earlier comments; the February budget deficit should read $222.5 billion. The graphic, however, is not incorrect nor misleading; the contrary, it shows that only partial electrification of America's vehicle fleet could end oil imports, cutting the trade deficit by more than half. That is good reason to speed up transport electrification, while there are many further reasons to do so. As said, I haven't seen any politician come up with better ways to improve the balance of payments, but if you had something in mind, please let us know.

March 15, 2011    View Comment    

On Oil prices soar in spite of sharp increase in U.S. production under Obama

No, Geoffrey, my "calculation" doesn't compare oil imports with total imports; instead, the graph presents the value of oil imports against the background of the trade deficit, and there's nothing "incorrect" about that, in fact, it makes a lot of sense given the intricate link between the two.

In January 2011, oil imports amounted to $24.5 billion, reports Bloomberg, quoting an economist who points at oil prices and says: “There’s no doubt the trade deficit will continue to widen through the quarter.” Bloomberg also adds that auto imports were the highest since February 2008. Note that this is a report about the trade deficit; Bloomberg evidently does see the obvious link. 

AP, in its report on the trade deficit, says that a "surge in oil prices helped push imports up at the fastest pace in 18 years in January, giving the country the largest trade deficit in six months." Remember, this was the January trade deficit, the big rise in oil prices started in February.

Even the Commerce Department, in its announcement of the January 2011 trade deficit ($46.3 billion), points at the link, adding that "the increase in the goods and services trade deficit was due to increased imports of petroleum products, automotive vehicles and parts, consumer goods, and capital goods, which reached a record monthly level."

The point is that, to improve the balance of payments, the obvious place to look at is to cut imports of oil, oil-consuming vehicles and their parts. Across the political spectrum, there is little or no doubt about that. As to the best ways to achieve this, rapid electrification of transport tops the list.

March 14, 2011    View Comment    

On Oil prices soar in spite of sharp increase in U.S. production under Obama

The chart is correct in comparing oil imports with the trade deficit, Geoffrey. If all imports are to be included in the picture, then it's not just oil that needs to be looked at, but also other items such as vehicles and their parts, such as batteries, lights, etc. Imported vehicles is a growing part of the vehicles sold in America, as illustrated by the graph below.


The point is that electrification of transport could cut the trade deficit significantly (by more than half, I'd say), while it could also save America's car industry and open opportunities to export electric vehicles. That would not merely save a lot of job and investment opportunities, it could actually create many additional clean domestic job and investment opportunities in areas such as production of clean energy, smart meters, interconnecting grids, etc.

Without making the shift to clean energy and electric transport, America would have no car industry left, while the growing national debt would make it increasingly difficult for Americans to import cars (and oil) from abroad. At some point in time, internal combustion engines and their parts will become obsolete and it will be prohibitively expensive to import such parts. By contrast, electric vehicles have few parts and require very little maintenance.

The shift to electric vehicles makles sense from numerous other perspectives as well, such as to improve our health, energy independence and security, grid efficiency, and - of course - the environment and global warming.

March 12, 2011    View Comment