25 Comments

Climate: The Movie, blows an ozone sized hole in CO2 nonsense: https://youtu.be/A24fWmNA6lM?si=ObBIf_mky-jxuOxv

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Of course this would be nonsense if you'd produce a table that included IMPORTS of goods manufactured abroad. The west has merely outsourced its CO2, it hasn't reduced it.

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Apr 8Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

The Poland thing is in large part as eastern euro heavy industry was wiped out after 1989

Which is why Europe joint Kyoto a Europe

Just another scam

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author

Yes and no

There was a big effect of post-1989 but that does not explain Poland’s place in the table post-2015

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This makes me realize that the U.S. national debt is really just a claim on future energy, and it really illustrates the Inflationary impacts that our energy and climate policies will continue to have on the U.S. economy. By Subsidizing low density energy assets like wind and solar that have low useful lives and will need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years with assets primarily manufactured in China and other developing countries that rely on high density energy....we're just a dog chasing its tail. To me, this illustrates that net zero policies aren't really about reducing emissions. They are really about redistribution of wealth, or what the woke culture calls equity.

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What is the cost of these global decarbonization efforts (subsidies, mandates, higher energy costs, taxes, etc.)? We have achieved 1.6% global reduction since ‘92 at a cost likely to be well into the tens of trillion$, so far. We need better visibility regarding the all-in cost of the failed efforts to date, and projected cost in the coming decades, including long term costs of the US’s IRA.

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Sorry for being thick, but how do you compute the annual decarbonisation rate? How for instance is China decarbonising if their green CO2 curve is increasing?

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Superb, Roger.

We’re really keen to see if someone can pull apart that 3:1 ratio in China on one question: how much is due to the State’s/CCP’s subsidizing solar PV and wind circa 2008 - current, the glut of cheap products that it generated, and the same State/CCP deciding to deploy the excess of subsidized goods that exceeded market demand domestically, rather than let them go to waste?

Hard, maybe impossible to tease out of any data that comes out of China.

It also occurs to us that the U.S. and EU inadvertently paid for part of that domestic deployment in China. But for wedding ourselves to wind/solar, it’s hard to imagine China using trillions in state subsidies, coal-fired power and forced labor in Xinjiang, for example, to become the world’s low cost supplier of solar PV. In essence, US and EU subsidies seem to have helped China “achieve” that 3:1.

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There is a lot to breakdown in that data:

1) The decarbonization rate shown is misleading because it doesn't take into account the reduction in primary energy supply over the same period. This is not decarbonization, this is offshoring of heavy industry to other countries.

As an example UK's 40% drop in emissions 2007 to 2022 is entirely due to a 37% drop in energy/GDP over the same period. Amazing all their investment in renewables essentially had zero effect on their emissions/GDP ratio. I call that a dismal failure of policy.

2) In addition to the above, Poland & Germany's decarbonization since 1992 was largely due to modernizing their Soviet era very inefficient, coal based heavy industry.

3) Most likely the emissions data uses the EU/UK standard that biomass is carbon neutral. Which, of course, is false and indeed ridiculous. The EIA lists carbon emissions of biomass electricity generation @ 1400gms/kwh, vs bituminous coal @ 1100gms/kwh and ultra-supercritical coal @ 700gms/kwh. Take that fact into account and Britain & Germany have been going backwards.

4) The best TRUE emissions reductions, that is taking into account TPES reductions, are going to be found in circa 1976-1989 with the big Nuclear expansions in France, Sweden, Belgium & the USA. With Sweden achieving 650 kwh/capita of avg annual nuclear expansion over the 1976 to 1986 period. Whereas the fastest Germany did with wind & solar was 80 kwh/capita, which is illusory, since intermittent wind & solar are not a direct replacement for fossil electricity generation, unlike nuclear & hydro. In fact Sweden actually did achieve an average of 6% reduction in emissions/GDP in the electricity sector over the decade using nuclear energy. Not far from the target 9%.

https://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/11/7/the-power-to-decarbonize

5) China's reductions in Emissions/GDP is largely due to massive hydro expansions during that period since 1992, as well as a much higher proportion of its manufacturing switching from heavy industrial.

6) The main effort since 1992 on decarbonization has been on vast expenditures (over $5 Trillion) on wind & solar electricity generation. But the data indicates that has been a total failure, there is zero correlation of wind + solar grid penetration and the carbon intensity of each of 62 nations surveyed. Whereas there is strong correlation with both nuclear & hydro grid penetration. For obvious reasons:

https://tinyurl.com/the-power-to-decarbonize

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Nicely done. This is the sort of analysis I expect in a science piece. The term "decarbonization" is so utterly devoid of meaning that it's hard to understand it's inclusion in scientific writing. How exactly are "decarbonized" energy sources made? What is their end of life cost both financial and environmental? What are the multipliers used in determining carbon intensity (biomass is obviously a giant fib that is ignored by too many politicians and journalists) of each energy used?

It is necessary to move forward and agree that science does not provide solutions, it creates, when used properly, better tradeoffs. Terms like decarbonization and net zero perpetuate the fallacious idea that science can beat the physical world and reality. Trying to do so is simply putting the finger on the scale of preferred choices. Certainly the planet is in need of help and we have to improve our effect on it. It would just be refreshing to stop the certitude and derision practiced by captured journalists and bureaucrats.

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Great comment, thanks

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My own reading and even thinking and trying to understand the science put forth by IPCC and its legions of modelers tells me that the focus on CO2 as a control knob for climate/temperature is an agreed upon lie. John Kehr in his work defines Outgoing Long Radiation (OLR) as the real climate control knob.

"The result [of doubling CO2 from 300 ppm to 600 by 2100] is that the “forcing” of CO2 is 3.7 W/m2. The Earth would be warmer by 3°C according to the Theory of Global Warming, but the problem is the Earth would then be losing 7.5 W/m2 more energy than it does today. The earth would be losing more than twice the energy to space than the “forcing” effect of CO2. That ratio increases the more the Earth warms up. Warming up the Earth will always ensure that it will cool down in the future."

In other words, no need to worry about CO2, but that'll never sell. This issue is purely political.

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do you have a reference for Mr. Kehr's work? I'm curious how he compares OLR to incoming solar radiation, which is (i think) what Soon et argue is the main driver.

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Of course. His book is The Inconvenient Skeptic. I cited from page 250 et seq. I looked high and low for his cv. He is apparently a software engineer with a disciplined mind, if a commenter on my blog is to be believed. See below. My take was that he was not someone who wanted to become embroiled in the climate debate, so he just said his peace and moved on. The passage I cited comes with five informative graphs. I leave it to better scientific minds than my own to interpret them correctly.

https://pieceofmindful.com/2024/03/20/winter-is-coming-and-other-stuff/#comment-338555

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Thank you very much. I share your belief (apparent) that climate change is more of a geology thing, and that Piltdown Mann and Friends are products of Bernie's Free-Shit tree. Your reference is very helpful.

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Greenwishing has been a global pastime since Paris. Some were over the rainbow and all of that.

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But John Kerry said “A Horse is a Horse “ and we need more EV’s and beach houses and electric private jets.

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It would seem most nations’ motivations are primarily focused on efficient production of power and use of energy. Part of that evolution is simply using the most dense fuel that current technology can run on. I suspect Poland is like that. If nobody cared about CO2 (most people do not) and central planners were not involved in the energy infrastructure, and there was no IPCC, and no arbitrary CO2 reduction goals - the world would be more prosperous with far lower CO2 emissions than it is now. But if you think CO2 is a threat you’d better be an avid advocate for nuclear power. If you really want to lower CO2 emissions pay the politicians to stay home and not do anything.

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Apr 4Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

Kip Hansen's excellent comment reinforces one of the lessons we should have learned from the covid fiasco. Our world is complex. Any policy we singlemindedly choose to achieve some goal – whether protecting health or reducing emissions – inevitably has other impacts. In other words, there is no question that we can reduce carbon emissions. But when choosing policies to achieve that, we have to pay attention to the side effects: they may create problems worse than the one the policy is supposed to address.

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author

Yes, agreed

Smart policies are better than the alternatives!

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Apr 4Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

Dr. Pielke ==> Using GDP/PPP is fair enough -- but readers should be aware of the definition of GDP/PPP used by the World Bank: "GDP is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the country plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. "

This means, if I am not mistaken, that simple de-industrialization alone could account for the "decarbonization" -- shifts to service industries for your value added (as we have in the United States).

One of my careers was in the IT business -- developed at least one multi-million/billion dollar product using no more energy -- think carbon -- than my own household. That's value-added service industry GDP.

Far different than building cars from domestic steel.

China, on the other hand, has [visually] quadrupled emissions while increasing GDP/PPP by 12 times. Are they just adding non-industrial services as well as increasing in industrialization?

The United States makes the Top Ten but at what cost? Out-sourcing carbon-intensive industries to other nations?

Focusing on "de-carbonization" may mean wrecking both economies and, if one accepts the dominate CO2-Warming hypothesis, the planet as well.

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The US increases GDP when borrowing and spending on government programs which don’t work. I have a prediction that we will meet net zero when the debt reaches 50 trillion, perhaps next year.

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Yes, pretty much agreed

The UK offers a good example of sectoral shifts in the overall economy that have promoted accelerating decarbonization, and maybe also limiting economic growth, while doing little to contribute to any change in global decarbonization

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Apr 4Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

Some questions that come to mind:

Do we get more bang for the buck by increasing GDP or decreasing emissions? Can you think of a policy that decreases GDP but results in a net positive rate of decarbonization.

How do you treat a situation where a highly developed country (USA) requires the mining and treatment of rare earth metals (China) to produce electricity from solar and wind. Who gets dinged for the negative environmental and social effects and how does it affect each country's rate of decarbonization.

Since climate change knows no country boundaries can you come up with a methodology that yields a planetary rate of decarbonization?

Personally I believe that policies that enhance the standard of living in the poorest nations need to be the priority with CO2 emissions being a consideration but not allowed to dominate.

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"Since climate change knows no country boundaries can you come up with a methodology that yields a planetary rate of decarbonization?"

Here is the global analysis:

https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/is-global-climate-policy-working

"Do we get more bang for the buck by increasing GDP or decreasing emissions?"

Deep decarbonization can't occur without both increasing GDP and decreasing emissions (via a deep reduction in the carbon intensity of energy). There are some practical limits to global GDP growth (say, ~2-3%) so that gives us some parameters for estimating how fast energy production would need to change.

Some recent numbers on that:

https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/the-energy-transition-has-not-yet

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