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On How Much Is Efficiency Helping America Slash Its Carbon Emissions?

Stephen,

Energy efficiency is a powerful driver of economic growth and prosperity, but it really isn't an effective approach for reducing CO2 emissions. A variety of direct and indirect rebounds are almost ceratin to ensure it doesn't. After all, energy efficiency has been THE STORY of 200 years of industrial development and look what has happened.

In the case of the US at the moment, I suspect that the real cause of reductions (outside the natural gas switch) is continuing high oil prices. It is only now that car buyers are really reacting to this (the recession stopped them buying back in 2008-2010) and they are buying smaller, less energy hungry cars.

David

October 26, 2013    View Comment    

On How Much Is Efficiency Helping America Slash Its Carbon Emissions?

Stephen,

Energy efficiency is a powerful driver of economic growth and prosperity, but it really isn't an effective approach for reducing CO2 emissions. A variety of direct and indirect rebounds are almost ceratin to ensure it doesn't. After all, energy efficiency has been THE STORY of 200 years of industrial development and look what has happened.

In the case of the US at the moment, I suspect that the real cause of reductions (outside the natural gas switch) is continuing high oil prices. It is only now that car buyers are really reacting to this (the recession stopped them buying back in 2008-2010) and they are buying smaller, less energy hungry cars.

David

October 26, 2013    View Comment    

On Carbon Capture And Storage: One Step Forward, One Step Back

Joe,

I suggest you read the excellent article a bit down the page from yours (Understanding the Continued Dominance of Fossil Fuels) and then maybe you will recognise the importance of getting CCS going. I agree that progress is hopelessly slow, but that isn't a reason to then kick it when its down.

David 

October 15, 2013    View Comment    

On A Clear Explanation of Why We Need Carbon Capture and Storage [VIDEO]

Lindsay,

Carbon pricing will deliver CCS. Nuclear and RE do not reduce emissions unless they ensure that the fossil fuels they displace stay in the ground permanently. I think you are mixing solutions to energy needs with solutions to not emitting CO2. The point that the video makes is that if fossil fuels are used in the energy mix then they must be matched with CCS. Wide deployment of nuclear and RE may well stop fossil fuels from being used, but they have to reach 100% penetration 24/7 to do that. Nobody said that isn't a possible outcome.

With regards scale, I disagree.

David

September 25, 2013    View Comment    

On A Clear Explanation of Why We Need Carbon Capture and Storage [VIDEO]

Nathan,

I agree that there's lots more that could and needs to be explained about climate, mitigation etc. But the aim was to make a short and interesting video that tries to explain at least some of the story. I have to say that it took ages just to trim it down to what we have. I think it works and there will be other stories to follow.

David

September 25, 2013    View Comment    

On Can a Tech Specific Policy Exist in a Carbon Market?

Bob,

The technology is very accessible and a few large scale plants are under construction around the world today. But without some kind of policy driver (carbon price, mandate etc.), there is no business rationale for doing this.

David

August 11, 2013    View Comment    

On Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

Michael,

What I said about China is that replacing older less efficient power stations with newer ones doesn't mean that cumulative emissions in the atmosphere are lowered over time. Rather, the same total amount of coal eventually gets consumes. I also presented some evidence that argued there are some instances that more efficent use of fossil resources is a driver for expanding the resource base itself, which in turn means higher cumulative emissions over time.

Thanks for the comment.

David

July 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

Jerome,

I agree that there is more of a spectrum of views than I have alluded to, although I have seen some very entrenched views at the EE/REN end. I wrote the posts after being quite surprised by one set of views in particular, but as the meeting was under Chatham House rules I can't comment further.

With regards demand side energy efficiency, there is good evidence that this has a real impact in cities and even at a national level. But then I think that supply dominates and the energy makes its way to others in the global system.

David

July 21, 2013    View Comment    

On Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

Alistair,

I am not convinced by the use / conversion of CO2 for two reasons;

1. Simply shuffling the CO2 around in the atmosphere/ocean system doesn't change the outlook, unless perhaps there is a convincing argument that the use of the CO2 is forcing fossil fuels to stay in the ground. This is unlikely given current trends.

2. I think there is a major thermodynamics problem. The amount of energy required to raise the carbon in CO2 to something that is useful makes the whole exercise questionnable.

Thanks for the comment.

David

July 21, 2013    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the Energy World Map

Geoff,

Thanks for the comment. I agree, there is historical precedent for this, but the social permission to do it is a huge challenge. However, there is also a social permission challenge to overcome for CCS, but I don't think it is quite as big.

David

June 17, 2013    View Comment    

On Climate Change: Looking at 400 ppm and Beyond

Dear IK,

I think we all know that the base line in this case is much closer to 300 ppm than 0 ppm.

David

May 20, 2013    View Comment    

On An Update on Climate Change Legislation

Edward,

I must confess that my response was partly emotive, but I also wonder weather the earth/ocean/ice system can change at such a fast rate. Even at elevated temperatures the global ice-pack will take a very long time to melt. Surely that melting will act as a major heat sink for a thousand or more years due to the latent heat of fusion.

In any case, I will have a look at the material you have pointed to.

David

January 21, 2013    View Comment