Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #393

The Week That Was: January 4, 2020, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race[’s] experience from the past. I see it that way. – Richard Feynman (1966)

Number of the Week: 14°F – 28°F (8°C – 16°C) Change

Science Is Dynamic, Not Static: As articulated by Richard Feynman, the scientific method is an on-going process of trial and error correction. It is not imposed by any organization or political power. It is a process of evaluating various concepts, ideas, guesses. If the guesses agree with physical evidence, obtained by experiments and / or observations, then they are tentatively accepted. If the guesses do not agree with the physical evidence, then they are changed or discarded. Failure to do so leads to poor science.

Elaborate models always include many assumptions, and computational models produce sets of numerical calculations. For elaborate models, it can be impossible for third parties to evaluate the internal logic, including the validity of the assumptions. Thus, the ability to describe and predict is usually the key for evaluating complex models, such as climate models. For several decades, the US climate models have not been able to correctly describe the atmospheric temperature trends. Thus, there is no logical reason to assume these models can predict changes in trends far into the future. In the formation of government policies, they should be dismissed as having no importance.

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Climate Alarmist Banks Go Carbon-Colonialist

By Paul Driessen and David Wojick – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Africa must move forward without them, using fossil and nuclear energy to build prosperity

Africa has the world’s lowest electrification rate. Its power consumption per capita is just 613 kilowatt-hours per year, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 in the United States, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina observed in July 2017. That’s 9.4% of EU and 4.7% of US electricity consumption. It’s equivalent to Americans having electricity only 1 hour a day, 8 hours a week, 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch.

It’s actually even worse than that. Excluding significantly electrified South Africa, sub-Sahara Africans consume an almost irrelevant 181 kWh of electricity per capita – 1.4% of the average American’s!

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Bloomberg: RCP8.5 Climate Catastrophe is Unlikely – Because of Cheap Renewables

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Heatwaves will become a daily occurrence over summer in some regions even if global warming is kept to 2°C. CREDIT Anna Jiménez Calaf on Unsplash

According to Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith, untold suffering is pretty much locked in, but we won’t have to dismantle Capitalism, because cheap solar energy will soon eliminate the need for fossil fuel.

Worst Case for Climate Change Doesn’t Look Realistic

A major overhaul of energy production is still needed, but not a dismantling of capitalism. By Noah Smith

But a growing chorus of climate scientists and energy policy analysts has begun to question whether the dreaded RCP8.5 scenario should be taken seriously. The scenario assumes that after a brief flirtation with natural gas and renewable energy, the world returns to fueling industrialization primarily with coal. But it seems vanishingly unlikely that the global coal industry will increase sevenfold, as RCP8.5 envisions, even if natural gas proves to be a temporary phenomenon.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #391

The Week That Was: December 21, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

Number of the Week: 1/1,000,000,000,000 (One part per Trillion)

The Greenhouse Effect – With Clouds: The CO2 Coalition has published a paper by Richard Lindzen addressing climate sensitivity trying to explain why US climate models do so poorly when tested against observations from nature. Until climate models can describe what is occurring in the atmosphere today, there is no reason to accept projections / predictions from such models about the future. Lindzen’s approach to the problem is different from those by Wijngaarden & Happer, and Roy Spencer discussed in the previous two TWTWs.

Among other things, Lindzen includes the influence of high-level cirrus clouds, which form above the tropopause, where water vapor freezes out. As Lindzen states:

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #390

The Week That Was:, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Quote of the Week: “In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works. [Boldface added.]

“If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.” Richard Feynman on the Scientific Method

Number of the Week: 20 to 30º C (35 to 55º F) warmer

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Is Wind Cleaner?

By Duggan Flanakin – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Inconvenient facts show why wind energy is not renewable, sustainable or climate-friendly

Wind turbines continue to be the most controversial of so-called “renewable” energy sources worldwide. But, you say, wind is surely renewable. It blows intermittently, but it’s natural, free, renewable and climate-friendly.

That’s certainly what we hear, almost constantly. However, while the wind itself may be “renewable,” the turbines, the raw materials that go into making them, and the lands they impact certainly are not. And a new report says harnessing wind to generate electricity actually contributes to global warming!

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Some Facts About Energy

By Wallace Manheimer – Re-Blogged From WUWT

The industrial age, namely using coal, oil and gas to generate power instead of human and animal muscle, and wind and solar have lifted billions out of poverty. Before the industrial age, civilization was a thin veneer on top of a vast mound of human misery, that civilization maintained by such things as slavery, colonies, and tyranny. The recent calls to reject fossil fuel and go back to the former ways motivates one to see in a quantitative way just how important fossil fuel is and how we rely on it. It takes some numbers, which generally bore people as compared to generalities and preposterous claims, but numbers are important, and in fact are simpler to understand than the vague generalities.

First let us look at the power that the world uses. BP is one of many organizations that publishes this data. Below is their graph of the power used by different parts of the world at various years and with projections for the future. The unit on the vertical axis is billions of tons per year of oil equivalent. Since this is not the usual units we think of, just think of a billion tons of oil per year as approximately equal to a trillion Watts, or a terawatt (TW). These Watts are the same units we are all use to, for instance we know what a 100-Watt light bulb is. Keep it on for 10 hours and you have used a kilowatt hour of energy and added about a dime to your electric bill. Here we will reduce all units of power to Watts, so everything will be in the same units and we can compare the power usage of one aspect of our lives to another.

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Note that now the world uses ~14 (TW). Also note that it is the less developed parts of the world that is increasing power use. However, power use is very unequal. The billion or so people in the developed part of the world use about 6 TW, or about 6 kilowatts (KW) per capita. In the United States we use about 8 KW per capita. The billion or so people in China are greatly increasing their power use. At a science meeting in 2009, a high-ranking member of the Chinese Academy of Science said that in 2000, the average Chinese used about 10% of the power of the average American, and they would not rest until the power use is about the same. The 1.2 billion Chinese now use about 2.5 KW per capita, or about 30% of what the Average American uses. Regarding the rest of the world, the other 5 billion people use ~ 1 KW per capita.

Let’s see what these power number means. Take a typical American family with two parents and two children in the household. Say both parents work in different places so they have 2 cars and drive each one the average of 12,000 miles per year. If their cars get 30 miles per gallon (most cars average less), they use together 800 gallons of gas per year. A gallon of gas (or heating oil) has the energy equivalent of about 40 KW hours, and there are about 30 million seconds in a year, so the family’s cars use about 5 kW. Now say they use the average of 500 gallons of heating oil to heat their house; this is about 3 KW. Then say that their home electrical use is the average of about 1.3 KW. However, electricity is produced with an efficiency of, of about 1/3, so their electrical use claims another 4 KW total (of say coal, gas or nuclear fuel). Hence their total power use is ~ 12 KW, or about 3 KW per person for the 4 of them.

But where does the other 5 KW’s come from? Obviously the home is not the only source of power; there are offices and other public buildings, factories, the military, public transportation, airplanes, ships, railraoad,s etc, which use the other 5 KW per capita.

Now think of what the lifestyle in the rest of the world where the average power use is only 1 KW. These countries also have factories, a military, airlines…. The average power these citizens use in the home is probably more like 0.5 KW per capita. These people live on a much, much lower standard than we do in the United States. Is this what we want either for us or for them? Of Course not, not only is it immoral, the citizens of these poorer countries will not stand for it much longer, just like the Chinese do not stand for it now. The world needs more power, not less.

Let’s see what the sources of power are. Here again we turn to BP. Below is their graph year by year of past and predicted world power by source.

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Clearly fossil fuels count for ~80% of world power, and at least currently, renewables ~1%. While BP predicts it will go up to ~10-15% in 20 years, this is speculative and depends on strong subsidies for renewables, dependent on the changeable political will of the nations. There are all sorts of speculations of

what the consequences of climate change might be in a worst-case scenario, which everyone seems to assume. However, we should also consider the consequences of ending the use of fossil fuel before a substitute becomes available at about the same quantity and price. The unquestionable consequence of greatly reducing fossil fuel any time in the next 20 or more years will mean the end of the industrial age, and the impoverishment of billions of people worldwide. Furthermore, it would mean nearly continuous war, as different countries scramble for the diminishing resources. No, more than that, there is no doubt that it would it would mean the end of civilization as we know it.

Reference:

The graphs can be found on page 14 of the 2018 edition of the BP Energy Outlook: https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/energy-outlook/bp-energy-outlook-2018.pdf

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