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Topic: Climate Change and You (Read 149 times)

  • OakdaleFTL
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Climate Change and You
Judith Curry says
Quote
A few weeks ago I spotted this quote:

" "Climate change" is just a mental tattoo -- a phrase we invoke with an air of scientific sophistication to give some sense of knowledgeability about the unknowable."

That statement pretty much sums up the whole thing. Climate 'science' has become boring, mostly dotting i's and crossing t's (or worse yet, crossing i's and dotting t's). Even if we assume the science is 'settled', the policy discussion is even more boring - infeasible solutions that even if successfully implemented would very possibly leave us worse off than doing nothing (such has having inadequate electricity and fuel for heating during the winter).
(source)
Post COP 26, how do you feel about "Climate Change"?
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #1
Lots of work remains to be done, we have decades of wasted time to make up for.

The jerk is unlikely to be as strong needed though.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #2
Ah! A physical metaphor for social-economic policy pretending to be about a physical phenomena... :) Do you expect (or hope for) a calamity large enough to convince us[1] to "get with the program"?
Do you claim the goal is an ideal (stable) climate?
The "us" your "we" refers to...
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-31, 23:21:21 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #3
The "program", as you call it, is ending a century of substance abuse. This did not happen at the speed it rationally should have, so there will be adverse consequences.

Those consequences will be there for us all, whether or not subgroups are "convinced". And yes, as a "program" we have moved on from science to engineering. 



  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #4
The substance you mean is -of course- petroleum, usually called oil. (But coal is also a form.) And its uses are myriad, as I'm sure you know. With what would you replace it?
For heating and fuel, there's electricity -- and the obvious source is nuclear power. (I'll let you explain why it hasn't caught on...)
For chemical manufactures, there's what, exactly?
as a "program" we have moved on from science to engineering.
The science is so politicized that it's become too contentious for serious scientists. Climate science has become a realm for activists, politicians, and grifters; of course, some -those few who wisely keep their heads down and continue their work without fanfare- will continue, and there's much to learn. But the public "debate" is poisoned.
Not to say there aren't and won't be more technological  improvements to energy production and storage. But there's no replacement for oil...
Add your "yet" to that and what you have is a campaign promise.

If your concern is over pollution, then indeed engineering is the key - together with prosperity. Without wealth other concerns take precedence. And the proven path to prosperity is abundant energy.
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #5
Climate science was politicized for decades by science denialists, but it doesn't matter that much anymore. There were dozens of those threads on old D&D, but the world has moved past that now.

The substance you mean is -of course- petroleum, usually called oil. (But coal is also a form.) And its uses are myriad, as I'm sure you know. With what would you replace it?
For heating and fuel, there's electricity -- and the obvious source is nuclear power. (I'll let you explain why it hasn't caught on...)
For chemical manufactures, there's what, exactly?

Fossil fuels to be exact, so petroleum, coal, fossil gas and peat. The last one is fairly marginal, and kind of proto-fossil anyway, the other three are splitting the total climate emissions fairly evenly between them.  And agreed, oil is the odd one out of the three, as it is used less for energy/industry like the other two, and more for transport and petrochemicals.

Petrochemicals aren't really the primary concern for emissions. The extraction, refinement and transport of oil have significant emissions, as have the production of plastics, but still relatively small compared with the emissions from burning fossil oils. And the largest use of petroleum is as fuel for fossil (ICE) cars.

As batteries get better fossil cars are disappearing from the new car market. In Norway 3 of 4 new cars sold today are electric, 1 of 5 are hybrids, leaving only 1 out of 40 cars diesel and 1 out of 40 cars gasoline. EU used to be well behind Norway, but is catching up, with 1 out of 4 cars now electric or hybrid.

Here in Sweden 1 out of 4 is electric, 3 out of 10 are hybrid. leaving fossil cars the minority. China is close behind the EU, 1 out of 6 cars are electric/hybrid (13%/3%). The US is lagging, but as roughly speaking the percentage of EVs doubles each year, fossil cars are turning into legacy. Not on the road though, fossil cars remain the majority for many years to come. Even in Norway 5 out of 6 cars are fossil, but as almost all new cars are electric and almost all scrapped cars are fossil, the proportion will change.



  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #6
Again: What generates the electricity? Some areas maintain hydro facilities, but they are increasingly disfavored. Where is the push for nuclear generation?
Climate science was politicized for decades by science denialists, but it doesn't matter that much anymore. There were dozens of those threads on old D&D, but the world has moved past that now.
:) Ah, yes! Denialists! (We won't mention the catastrophists...) Yes, the world has moved on, accepting the nature of the debate: Fanatics can't be reached by reason; evidence is of no importance and the "consensus" is maintained by excommunication... The dogma of AGW is deeply entrenched and demands obeisance and tribute.
But not results --  at least, not beneficial results. What's the latest estimate of -best case scenario[1]- temperature increase forestalled by 2050? By 2100?
(And by "best case" I mean at least that the commitments and promises made by political entities are kept. A very doubtful presumption, no?)
Excluding the cases where modern civilization collapses or where homo sapiens is expunged from the planet...
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #7
The "Is there an anthropogenic climate change?" mock debate was never climate science, at least not in this century. It is about as relevant as discussing phlogiston theory. Even those funded by the fossil economy have moved on to other delaying tactics. That leaves those still to this day insisting on "climate hoax" or similar left behind. In the words of the late Douglas Adams: Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem.

So not a very interesting or fruitful topic of discussion.

Scenarios for 2050 or 2100, now you get me interested. Global average temperatures are guesstimates based on policies and promises, neither of which are very reliable, but we may course correct as we go.



Climate Action Tracker have an update based on the most recent batch of promises and policies (mainly connected to COP26), 



Now, this is as mentioned a promise tracker. As a rough estimate half the promises are held, half are not. 

From these baselines it is possible to construct actual scenarios. 

Again: What generates the electricity? Some areas maintain hydro facilities, but they are increasingly disfavored. Where is the push for nuclear generation?
Oil is not used much to generate electricity, though the relative share might increase if other uses decrease. Our global use of energy including electricity is likely to increase, though not necessarily by a lot. There are large efficiency gains to be had, so the richest countries are likely to continue on their current path, getting wealthier while using less energy.

The very process of electrification is in itself a huge efficiency gain. While electric vehicles take energy from the grid, the energy used is far lower than the energy consumed by ICE. Emerging "middle-class nations" also have a huge efficiency potential. Poor nations, that use very little energy, don't. Their energy consumption will grow with growing wealth, as will the consumption of middling countries. All of this indicates a modest total global increase in power consumption the next 30-50 years. 

In the same period we need to phase out fossil fuels completely, which today provides the most of the energy supply. So we have a major global shortfall over the next 50 years.

In "bang for the buck" in this coming period, there is a clear winner. There is a Moore's law for photovoltaic cells that will not end any year soon. For almost half a century solar PV has gotten dramatically cheaper per kWh, and this will continue for decades more. Other power sources will not be able to compete on this measure. Not coal, not gas, not wind, not fission or fusion. 

However, this leaves us with a problem when and here in Sweden where the sun doesn't shine. As a Californian you know the duck curve. This, the electricity grid, production and logistics issues, and the economics of a rapidly improving products (if you build a solar farm today you will soon compete with newer farms having lower costs) will constrain the ever-higher rise of the sun. 

Coal power plants and nuclear power plants can't really perform that well in such an environment, because they provide flat output of energy. Same output at midday when energy is very cheap as in morning and evening when it is expensive. (That incidentally als makes nuclear a fine replacement for coal power plants, where conditions are otherwise suitable, they have very similar characteristics)

This is a reason hydroelectric is back in vogue. They can provide balancing power, and have a built-in energy storage as well. However they have a large environmental impact, and there's a limited selection of available rivers. Gas power plants (fossil gas or not), and garbage incinerators can provide balancing power too. 

Here in Europe, the northernmost continent, the energy profile is different. Here wind is the greater power, fortunately at the time of year when the need is greatest. But wind is more unpredictable than sun, so the need for balancing power is just as great. 

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #8
Have you considered solar power collection from Earth-orbit?

And -since you haven't replied yet: Might I offer some reasonable words from Roger Pielke, Jr. on Policy Causality?
  • Last Edit: 2022-01-03, 20:16:40 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #9
It's great, if you're already in space. To supply the terrestrial grid makes no sense, even if it were feasible. Similar with the old SF trope of asteroid mining, it makes no financial or engineering sense. The energy to accelerate the minerals to the Earth is higher than the energy expenditure to mine them on the planet.

All other power sources on Earth are way cheaper, way more convenient than orbital lasers.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #10
To supply the terrestrial grid [from space] makes no sense, even if it were feasible.
No sense? As in no pollution, no land-use issues, no trading carbon credits...which only move the "bad stuff" around! And little need to rely on fossil fuels for electricity! (Do you really disbelieve that most of the world's electricity is generated via the burning of fossil fuels?)

As to feasibility:
The technology exists... And -thanks to Elon Musk- reusable boosters are finally here. Something that we (...space aficionados) have waited decades for! While orbiting laboratories are important, it's time for the commercialization of space. And solar power collection seems to me the next reasonable step in that process. Manufacturing should be concurrent; hence the lure of mining... (Will it be cheaper to lift materials up the gravity well than to propel through mostly empty space?) Of course, some folk would prefer we keep our feet on the ground -- even if much of it has to be given over to PV "farms"!
It's easy to be dismissive of technological advances  But it's hard to prevent them.
You're familiar with his Starlink program?[1] Note the complaints against it...

But if we're back to available, cheap energy for which the infrastructure is already in place, we're back to fossil fuels.
China's recent "complaint" seems disingenuous: I suspect the CCP is more concerned about losing control of the internet... :)
  • Last Edit: 2022-01-05, 01:52:47 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #11
There are no land-use issues with solar or any other form of power generation. The land spent on energy is miniscule. Half the land mass of the planet is, mostly inefficiently, used for agriculture. We use a lot more space on roads, and you Americans on parking lots, than we will ever use on energy.

Renewable energy produces very little pollution, and as the energy sector bootstraps the carbon emissions decrease as well. Furthermore the required recycling rate (in the EU) is at minimum 85%, likely to increase to 98%+. Try to recycle solar panels in space. Or repair them for that matter. 


This is a classical case of "how can I promote product/technology X?", you have a product that  It solves problems nobody have, to a much higher cost than benefit, to cause problems nobody need.

Space has no economic value to Earth, now or for the rest of this century. All projects are because we can, because we want to or because we're curious. All valid reasons, but no profitable venture (except for the middlemen in the space industry). But we can think of it as a (very) long-term investment for when not only we, but everyone we know are all dead.

I like to see it as growing an economy. Space doesn't have the resources we had and have, but still the space economy can grow to be self-sufficient, and when it is self-sufficient it can grow to become comparable to Earth, and when comparable it can transcend. Not in millennia, but in centuries. Assuming no OakdaleFTL drive by then, centuries is also what it would take to arrive at other star systems. However, assuming space sufficiency around this star system, shifting to some other shouldn't be too hard, though interstellar space is bleak. But all that is the far future for space machines and those humans who have converted into machines.

  • Frenzie
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  • Administrator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #12
and you Americans on parking lots
There's also the fairly self-evident point that roofing parking lots with solar panels would also provide very welcome shade that is often lacking. (Although it'd be cheaper and nicer looking to provision some space for trees.)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Climate Change and You
Reply #13
Yes, solar panels can share and often enhance the area they occupy. They impact their environment in controllable ways. They generally have low albedo (the intention is to capture sunlight after all), creating an often undesirable heat island effect. But they also provide shade, and they can retain moisture. When not in the form of panels, but films, they can further adapt, e.g. by being semitransparent and/or flexible. They can be combined with indirect light.

So the trick is to combine the effects that are locally desirable and reduce those that are not. Generally sunny regions are hot regions, and PV panels work better where it is cool, so cooling effects are more desirable than heating effects. For similar reasons deserts are not ideal. Not only are they usually hot (or not providing solar energy), they are dusty. The usual way to clean off solar panels are with water, not something deserts tend to have a lot of.

However they combine nicely with hydroelectric (and other) dams. Not only are the dam surfaces unused and mostly unusable surface, panels reduce the issue with evaporation, often solved with rubber balls or some such. Furthermore the water cools the panel, and since both are power plants the hydroelectric plant provides balancing power to the solar plant, and the solar plants extends the longevity and utility of the reservoir in places with irregular water supply.

Intriguingly they also work well with fish farms. The fish seems to prefer the shade from the panels. This indicates they may have a useful role with #aquaculture, floating windfarms, refugia and other sea installations. Offshore windfarms seems to have an incidental effect as artificial reefs, so platforms, floating or fixed, may become multipurpose.

Anything marine is implicitly more expensive to build and maintain. But panels also play well with farming, #agrivoltaics.  Different types of solar cover do well with different locales and types of farming (and many will be better off with pure farming or pure solar farms).

Cities are literally getting greener, with more vegetation, in part to reduce consequences of climate change, in part because they make city living more comfortable. Solar panels and films are likely to take some of the surfaces not appropriated by plants.