Tuesday, December 15, 2020

"Unalarmed" Coalition of Climate Scientists Presents its New Leadership

Statistician and Ecologist Step Down, Geologist and Physicist Step Up

December 14, Arlington VA - The CO2 Coalition, a research center made up of 60 leading climate scientists, energy engineers, and economists, is changing its leadership as the Biden administration prepares to take office.

The Coalition informs the general public and policy-makers about the positive impact of fossil fuels and their carbon dioxide emissions on the environment, the economy, and public health, and the negative impact of mandates for expensive and unreliable wind and solar power.

Executive director Caleb Stewart Rossiter and chair Patrick Moore have completed two-year terms and will be replaced in January by Gregory Wrightstone and Will Happer. Dr. Rossiter is a former professor of climate statistics and mathematical modeling; Dr. Moore was a founder of Greenpeace and one of the first scientists to earn a Ph.D. in the field of ecology. Both testified before Congress in 2019, contesting UN claims of future climate catastrophe based on computer models. They cited, instead, current UN climate data showing no increases in rates of extreme weather, sea-level rise, or extinctions of species.

Incoming executive director Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist with experience in fracking in Pennsylvania, and is also the author of a best-selling book exposing climate alarm, Inconvenient Facts.

New chair Will Happer, one of America's leading physicists, served as President Trump's top climate adviser on the National Security Council. Dr. Happer is an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton and is the inventor of the sodium guide star that is widely used in astronomy. He also led the Department of Energy's research office under President George H. W. Bush. Dr. Happer recently published a White Paper debunking the methane scare. He and his coauthor, W.A. van Wijngaarden, a distinguished laser scientist at York University in Canada, showed why methane emissions have only one-tenth of the warming potential of the already minimal forcing from carbon dioxide emissions.

Dr. Rossiter and Dr. Moore, the outgoing executive director and chair, issued this statement:

"We are proud of the CO2 Coalition's record of bringing science and economics to bear in the fight against energy policies that damage grid reliability and raise prices. Science shows that there is no climate crisis being driven by emissions of CO2, a mild warming gas and powerful plant food. As one of our members, Rupert Darwall, reveals in his history of environmental scares, today's call for deindustrialization based on a climate crisis is identical to many earlier calls for deindustrialization based on fears that were eventually disproven. Under the leadership of Gregory and Will, the Coalition will continue to inform the American people about the threat to the environment and the economy posed by the Green New Deal."

Visit us at www.co2coalition.org

Email from The CO2 Coalition: info@co2coalition.org

The geothermal energy revolution

There is a revolution coming in geothermal energy. How big it will be and how fast it can grow remains to be seen, but the revolutionary technology is here now.

We already know about the new technology by name ­ fracking. But that is fracking for oil and gas, the energy revolution we are already living on, that the greens hate. The geothermal revolution is fracking for heat.

Here is the technical bit. The Earth’s crust we live on is just a thin film wrapped around an 8,000 mile diameter molten ball. In some places under the deep ocean this crust is estimated to be just 3 miles or so thick. It is somewhat thicker under the continents but the point remains; it gets hot fast as you drill down into the crust. That heat is geothermal energy.

We have used geothermal energy to make electricity for a long time, but only in tiny amounts. California does the most in the US and its entire generating capacity is about the size of a single large coal fired power plant, about 3000 MW. The whole world is said to just have a minuscule 15,000 MW.

The obstacle to doing more has been that useful energy sources are hard to find. You need a confined reservoir of hot water in fractured crust rock. The reservoir size, location and temperature of the water are all determined by nature. Suitable sites have been very few.

Now all of this has suddenly changed. With hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) we can make these geothermal reservoirs where we want them, the size we want them, and where the heat is the temperature we want, especially very hot. This includes the so-called “supercritical” water at 400 degrees C, which is now used in the most advanced power-plants.

It is like the difference between living on wild edibles, if and when you find them, and farming. Fracking for heat is literally a whole new world. Of course there are still pesky things like cost, feasibility and regulation, but the principal is clear; the technology of revolutionary thermal energy has arrived.

The greens are in a bit of a bind here. Geothermal juice looks like the ideal renewable. Unlike wind and solar, geothermal electricity is constantly available and it is not a land hog. But the greens despise fracking and have labeled it evil. Some States and even whole Countries have banned fracking for oil and gas. Whether this applies to fracking for heat remains to be seen, since the fracturing processes are rather different.

How this dichotomy will play out is anybody’s guess. As they say here in the mountains: “What goes around, comes around.” That is, don't start trouble lest it bite you someplace soft. The greens desperately need geothermal fracking, they just don't know it yet.

The US Energy Department has a Geothermal Technologies Office and they are understandably optimistic. They project something like 60,000 MW of advanced geothermal juice capacity by 2050. Mind you this is still small, given that our present generating capacity is around a million MW.

The amount of geothermal generating capacity installed by 2050 could be much larger, for one simple reason. It is probably the only way to make wind and solar work. A number of analysts, including me, have pointed out that electricity storage on the scale needed to power America with intermittent renewables is impossible. But many States have mandated a high level of renewables, even 100% in extreme cases.

This makes geothermal the perfect renewable, because its power can be available whenever the intermittent generators cannot provide the power we need. The more power we want from renewables, the more geothermal capacity we will need. It is that simple. We could be talking about many hundreds of thousands of MW. If the technology works cost wise it might actually be better than unreliable, land grabbing renewables.

Happily there is a massive frenzy of geothermal research going on, much of it aimed at reducing the obvious obstacles. Searching the engineering and scientific literature for the last five years on the word combination “geothermal” and “research” yields over 100,000 technical articles. That is a lot of research.

So there it is. Geothermal energy is potentially the second fracking revolution. No question the heat is there, thanks to the big molten ball we call Earth. And now we suddenly have the technology to create the infrastructure needed to tap into it. How practical it is, and how acceptable, still remains to be seen. Interesting times lie ahead.

For once, I agree with Greenpeace: carbon offsets are a global con job

By Rob Lyons

Corporations spend millions on ‘preserving’ forests so as to carry on polluting and pretend they’re green & carbon-neutral. The reality is the only thing being 'offset' is facing up to the awful realities of a Net Zero agenda

For those who want to make themselves feel better about the greenhouse gas emissions they create, carbon offsets have long been the easy option. If you're flying off on holiday, just tick a box and all that guilt is assuaged for a small fee. The money will go to planting some trees, protecting a forest or saving carbon-absorbing peatlands.

If you’re a big corporation spewing out emissions on, well, an industrial scale, chuck a few million to environmental groups who conserve trees, and on you go on the pollution merry-go-round.

If this all seems too good to be true, you’re right: it is. This ‘offsetting’ is far easier than facing up to the reality of emissions cutting: doing less, going without, investing in more energy-efficient means of production. The rich can simply buy their way out of it in the corporate equivalent of the Catholic confessional, a pay-to-sin system. Big companies get to virtue signal while carrying on as before, and little, if anything, is actually offset.

A new article by Ben Elgin for Bloomberg Green sets out this deviousness very well. He notes how big businesses like JP Morgan Chase, Disney and BlackRock are spending millions of dollars on preserving forests in the US. The trouble is, as Elgin notes:

“JPMorgan, Disney, and BlackRock tout these projects as an important mechanism for slashing their own large carbon footprints. By funding the preservation of carbon-absorbing forests, the companies say, they’re offsetting the carbon-producing impact of their global operations. But in all of those cases, the land was never threatened; the trees were already part of well-preserved forests.”

That's not to say that the vast majority of carbon offsets are actually fraudulent, although some of them fly pretty close to the wind. As far back as 2002, the UK Advertising Standards Authority ruled against a company, Future Forests, for misleading customers that they were paying for new trees to be planted rather than simply claiming ownership of carbon being absorbed by existing trees.

Other projects fail because expected emissions’ savings failed to appear. One group in South Africa was handing out free, low-energy light bulbs to township residents only to find that the local energy company was doing that anyway. Others bought up EU emissions permits with the idea of 'retiring' them so that companies wouldn't be able to emit those greenhouse gases - only to find the EU issued far too many, allowing companies to carry on regardless.

Schemes that involved planting trees would often claim the credit for the emissions absorbed over the entire lifetime of the trees as if this would happen straight away. But it should be obvious that a newly planted sapling will have little capacity to absorb CO2 in any significant way for some years.

What offsets have become is a lucrative way of environmental organisations making cash, either by creating schemes that can be sold as absorbing carbon or by certificating schemes run by others. Meanwhile, big businesses burnish their right-on eco-credentials by pointing to the offsets as proof that they are working to protect the environment.

In his article, Elgin gives attention to one environmental organisation in particular:

“Few have jumped into this growing market with as much zeal as the Nature Conservancy, which was founded 69 years ago by a small group of ecologists seeking to preserve the last unspoiled lands in the U.S. In the seven decades since, the nonprofit in Arlington, Va., has grown into an environmental juggernaut, protecting more than 125 million acres. Last year, its revenue was $932 million, which eclipsed the combined budgets of the country’s next three largest environmental nonprofits.”

Elgin argues that Nature Conservancy has sold offsets to corporations like JP Morgan Chase on the basis of the emissions saved if the forests concerned are protected from being felled by aggressive logging. But, to give one example, in Hawk Mountain, a wild bird sanctuary in Pennsylvania, the forests were already protected and there was never any prospect of them being cut down.

There have long been such criticisms of offsets, particularly from other green groups. As one article for Greenpeace notes:

“The big problem with offsets isn’t that what they offer is bad – tree planting or renewable energy and efficiency for poor communities are all good things – but rather that they don’t do what they say on the tin. They don’t actually cancel out – er, offset – the emissions to which they are linked.”

The fundamental problem is this: companies and individuals want to carry on enjoying the benefits of an industrialised society built on fossil fuels. With our existing technology, trying to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions rapidly is either very inconvenient (if you're rich) or immiserating (for the rest of us).

Yet governments and corporations, desperate for a great cause to distract from their lamentable failures to improve our living standards, have fallen in with the Net Zero agenda and have proclaimed that they will slash emissions to “save the planet.” Given the huge cost and near-impossibility of doing this – other than by simply giving up the benefits of modern life – the easy way out is to offset those emissions for a trivial fee or to export the production of goods to developing countries that haven’t made such stupid promises. Which – again – doesn’t offset or cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

This is bad faith because it has been obvious for a long time that emissions have just kept on rising and offsets really don't do what they claim. Worse, it's bad for democracy because the elites are claiming that emissions cuts will be painless when they will, in fact, be very costly to society.

It would be far better if we were presented with the true costs of the wealthy West's climate-change policies. Then, instead of the quixotic race to eliminate emissions, we could eliminate the political careers of those who promote such nonsense.

Green power needs to account for all its costs

The Germans have a word for it: dunkelflaute. It means a period in winter when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine.

We have always had them, but they were never a big deal: just another windless and chilly spell in a largely gloomy season. At least that was before we started depending on the weather for an increasing chunk of our electricity. Now, with ever more power coming from wind and solar, it matters greatly if these plants can’t function, or can produce only a fraction of what they normally pump out.

In January 2017, Belgium faced the prospect of blackouts when it experienced a whopping nine-day calm and dull spell. Despite having just 9 per cent of its capacity from renewable sources, the country’s network had to scramble to supply sufficient electricity to avoid disruption.

Even without the dunkelflaute — generally a European phenomenon — other renewables-heavy systems have had problems. California recently imposed rolling blackouts on its citizens after a baking hot spell led to power shortages.

How to manage intermittency is one of the challenges of weather-dependent low-carbon electricity. It is not simply about paying for back-up for when nature refuses to play ball. Sometimes blazing sun and gusting winds can cause the opposite problem: too much electricity. Then plants must be paid to shut or turn output down to stop them overloading the network.

However, there is one melancholy constant in all this balancing and back-up activity: it generates additional so-called system costs.

A recent report by the UK’s business and energy department, Beis, shows how, when these are factored in, they can change the relative economics of different low-carbon energy sources.

Much of the recent story has been about the plunging cost of renewables. For instance, in 2013 the UK government estimated that an offshore wind farm opening in 2025 would generate electricity for £140 per megawatt hour (MWh). It now forecasts that could be achieved for just £54/MWh.

The report sees this trend continuing. By 2035, it estimates an offshore wind farm might on average produce power for as little as £41/MWh; and large-scale solar just £33. However, these figures exclude those system costs, mainly because the solar or wind developer does not have to meet them. At present, these are simply spread across the network as a whole.

When you add them in, as the Beis report does, attributing them to the generating source that caused them, the picture changes. Take the 2035 figure of £41/MWh for offshore wind. With estimated system costs on top, Beis believes the all-in price is closer to £59 to £79 (43-92 per cent higher). For solar, £33/MWh becomes £45-£61. In each case, the range depends on how widespread the use of these renewables is, although does not set out the precise assumptions it is using.

Essentially, the marginal cost of each extra renewable on the system keeps going up as their use increases. Not only does this erode their advantage over other alternatives such as nuclear and as-yet unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS). It suggests that getting to 100 per cent renewables could be expensive.

Could these costs be shrunk? Some argue that it could be possible by expedients such as building more interconnectors with other countries to bring in power when it is needed, or using electric vehicles for distributed battery storage. The idea being that when you plug your car in at night, the charge can be reversed at times of need to feed power back into the grid. While technically possible, it would require infrastructure and a far larger fleet of EVs.

But all of these innovations will still cost money to fix the issue of intermittency. Unless that expense is priced into each solar, wind, or CCS project, there is a risk we could end up with a more expensive decarbonised system than we need.

One simple suggestion made by the economist Dieter Helm is to make all operators meet the system costs for which they are responsible. Rather than giving renewables operators a free option to sell whatever power they produce, as at present, they would bid to deliver specific quantities of power at certain times of day, with penalties either way if they over or under deliver. That would put them on a more level footing with other generators.

Such reform might reveal something closer to the true cost of renewable megawatt hours, while giving wind and solar farms incentives not to generate additional system expenses. So when the next dunkelflaute comes, we are less likely to be left in the dark.


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


1 comment:

jayj said...

Greenhouse gasses have very little effect on global temperatures.


1, Carbon cannot emit more infra-red radiation then it absorbs In other words, carbon does not create radiation.. Carbon and all greenhouse gases merely capture radiation and emit radiation but no more radiation than they absorb.

2 . Carbon in a room does not make heating more efficient. Increased radiation does warm a room.

3. From 1850 to 1970 carbon in the atmosphere was increasing while temperatures were up and down without a trend upward. This means that increasing carbon in the atmosphere did not effect temperatures. In 1970 an upward trend in temperatures began and continues. The interpretation of that trend is because a new factor began in 1970. The new factor was logically a dramatic increase in man made radiation. Increased EMF radiation is the major factor of global warming.

4, There is a modest correlation between man made carbon in the atmosphere and global warming but there is a significant correlation between man made radiation and global warming. Because of 1, 2 and 3 increased radiation is the causation.