Prospects grimmer for reducing greenhouse gases, study shows

https://i2.wp.com/www.aragonproducts.com/products/Gas-x22.gif?resize=139%2C216

Perhaps this will work just as well as any other measure.

By Bill Scanlon, The Rocky Mountain News

Scientists have vastly underestimated the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases in a world where billions are boosting their carbon footprint, an important new report says.

The report throws ice water on projections that global warming can be slowed as energy efficiency helps poor countries develop in a more sustainable way.

China has a chance to do that. But nations such as Colombia, Argentina and Iran don’t have the wealth to convert to more efficient energy, even as their economies grow and their citizens demand more electricity and cars, says the report from Colorado atmospheric researchers.

The study by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado is expected to be a hot topic of discussion at this week’s U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland.

“We always knew that reducing greenhouse gas emissions was going to be a challenge, but now it looks like we underestimated the magnitude of this problem,” said Patricia Romero Lankao, an NCAR sociologist who is the lead author of the study in this month’s journal Climate Research.

“There is simply no evidence that developing countries will somehow become wealthier and be in a position to install more environmentally friendly technologies.”

Technologically advanced nations such as the United States are under pressure to reduce their per capita emissions of fossil fuels. Developing nations are being urged to adopt cleaner technology.

Both goals will be very difficult to achieve, the authors say.

Poor countries are producing more and exporting more, but they’re not gaining enough wealth to convert to energy-efficient technologies, they say.

Consequently, the developing world is pumping more fossil fuels into the atmosphere as more people can afford energy-consuming goods for the first time.

And energy efficiency in technologically advanced nations isn’t coming close to balancing out the extra fossil fuels emanating from poor countries, the report says.

In fact, despite gains in energy efficiency, the developed world also is increasing its greenhouse gas output, said Lankao, who is with NCAR’s Institute for the Study of Society and the Environment.

Their economic growth is outstripping increases in efficiency as demand for more cars, larger houses and other goods keeps bumping up carbon dioxide emissions.

The goods demanded by the advanced nations often come from the Third World, where factories belch dirty coal.

Citizens of the poorer nations aren’t driving SUVs, but they are burning and logging their forests, which contribute to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

“These countries are just now at the stage the United States was at at the beginning of the last century,” Lankao said. “They still have very energy-intense industries. The cement industry, for example, is moving from the U.S. and Europe to China and the developing nations.”

The current economic slowdown could make things worse, because with demand slipping for oil, and prices plunging, there is no longer an incentive to develop solar, wind and alternative energies that could help developing countries bypass their sooty coal eras, she said.

Researchers divided the world into three types of nations — technologically advanced ones such as the United States, the “have nots” such as Tanzania and Botswana, and the “have somes,” such as India and Thailand.

They found that the advanced nations comprise a sixth of the world’s population but account for 52 percent of energy consumption.

The have-nots, representing a third of the world’s population, consume only 2.8 percent of the energy.

In between are the crucial “have some” nations, which comprise about half the world’s population and use about 45 percent of the consumed energy.

In the 1990s, global emissions of greenhouse gases grew at a rate of 1.3 percent a year, the report said.

Between 2000 and 2006, that rate multiplied to 3.3 percent a year.

The authors examined population, wealth and the ratio emissions to unit of gross domestic product.

They found that the economic disparity between the haves and have nots has grown since 1960 and is likely to grow for at least two more decades.

The authors predict that even as the poor nations grow somewhat wealthier by producing more goods for the developed world, there will continue to be a hierarchy among nations.

The poor nations will adopt more environmentally friendly means to produce products, but at a much slower rate than projected by the International Panel on Climate Change, the group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The brightest hopes the authors see are the initiatives by cities around the world to impose emission restrictions, and the prospect that the Obama administration will push for a national strategy to develop green energies.

“We see prospects for hope, but we need to go deeper and go faster,” Lankao said.

55 thoughts on “Prospects grimmer for reducing greenhouse gases, study shows

  1. “An NCAR sociologist who is the lead author of the study” – well that says it all. Meteorologists are not ‘climate scientists’ but a sociologist is? The rest doesn’t need a large grant to figure out; there aren’t many houses with central heating in Botswana..

  2. Finally an NCAR report I can agree with. Clean energy and pollution controls are LUXURIES that can only be afforded by advanced, developed economies that produce more than subsistence-level existence.
    The “have-some” economies represent about half the global population and consume about half the energy. Seems fair.
    Developed economies represent about 15 percent of the global population and consume about half the energy. Seems fair, too. At least the developed economies know how to do productive things that actually enhance “quality of life”.
    Who thinks the next big efficiency innovation will come from Madagascar? Bangladesh? Gabon? North Korea?
    You have to be pretty pampered at NCAR to consider CO2 “pollution” when the natural world knows it as “fertilizer”.
    What, by the way, has become of “global warming” in the last 10 years? I’m tired of shoveling snow in Colorado.

  3. Developing economies would be a lot “greener” were it not for the fact that hydroelectricity and nuclear power have been strongly discouraged for the past several decades. The “green” flavor (issue) of the year just does not leave much room for continuity in energy generation, which, when combined with the decades required to build energy generation infrastructure, results in inefficient energy infrastructure. In order to know what to build to generate energy, one would need to anticipate what the energy politics would be 10 or more years into the future. It is hard enough just to forecast demand, as the recent drop in the oil markets demonstrates.

  4. Lankao is talking BS and the report from the “National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado”, expected to be a hot topic of discussion at this week’s U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland is… not worth the paper it is printed on. It’s a typical report form a “bought” read corrupt University that serves the UN Green Agenda for funding.
    The findings are a disgrace and for the countries mentioned in the report it is an insult.
    The article mentions: Quote:
    “China has a chance to do that. But nations such as Colombia, Argentina and Iran don’t have the wealth to convert to more efficient energy, even as their economies grow and their citizens demand more electricity and cars, says the report from Colorado atmospheric researchers”. end quote.
    First of all China will continue to burn coal and if the CO2 emissions would be a problem (which they don’t since CO2 causing climate change is a hoax and a fraud) the combined emissions of Iran, Colombia and Argentina
    will proof to be insignificant. They will simply be dwarfed by the China emissions.
    If we take a look at the individual countries we find the following remarkable facts.
    Iran:
    Despite years of economic isolation by the West, due to the US embargo,
    Iran has managed to run a huge fleet of modern taxis converted to Natural Gas. Natural Gas is the cleanest of fossil fuels and the Government took up a National Policy Plan to clean up the air pollution in the big cities. Iran currently is one of the leading countries in the adaption of Natural Gas in transportation sector and the USA could learn from this example. Iran is also investing in a massive nuclear project to provide cheap electricity (and the nuclear bomb which is a the real problem).
    Colombia:
    Colombia is blessed with beautiful nature, fast streaming rivers and lots of oil and natural gas.
    They will develop their resources in a responsible way disregarding the alarmist
    findings and they will prosper.
    As soon as the Farc Conflict and the War on Drugs (which causes most of the damage to the tropical forests due to the massive use of Agent Orange than) is finished, Colombia will see very positive development.
    Argentina:
    This is a vast country also blessed with beautiful nature and a wealth of resources including oil and natural gas.
    The only threat posed to this country is caused by corrupt governments and a badly managed economy.
    “This is what the CIA World Fact Book tells us about the country:
    Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Although one of the world’s wealthiest countries 100 years ago, Argentina suffered during most of the 20th century from recurring economic crises, persistent fiscal and current account deficits, high inflation, mounting external debt, and capital flight. A severe depression, growing public and external indebtedness, and a bank run culminated in 2001 in the most serious economic, social, and political crisis in the country’s turbulent history. Interim President Adolfo RODRIGUEZ SAA declared a default – the largest in history – on the government’s foreign debt in December of that year, and abruptly resigned only a few days after taking office. His successor, Eduardo DUHALDE, announced an end to the peso’s decade-long 1-to-1 peg to the US dollar in early 2002. The economy bottomed out that year, with real GDP 18% smaller than in 1998 and almost 60% of Argentines under the poverty line. Real GDP rebounded to grow by an average 9% annually over the subsequent five years, taking advantage of previously idled industrial capacity and labor, an audacious debt restructuring and reduced debt burden, excellent international financial conditions, and expansionary monetary and fiscal policies. Inflation, however, reached double-digit levels in 2006 and the government of President Nestor KIRCHNER responded with “voluntary” price agreements with businesses, as well as export taxes and restraints. Multi-year price freezes on electricity and natural gas rates for residential users stoked consumption and kept private investment away, leading to restrictions on industrial use and blackouts in 2007″. end quote.
    Patagonia and the Pampas attract tourists from all over the world (8% BNP and rising).
    The country is famous for it’s Pampa Meat and it’s a public secret that Argentina is one of the biggest exporters of Cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope.
    If one should worry about negative effects on the climate we should have a serious look at the massive chain of volcano’s. Colombia and Argentina are home to the biggest and most active volcano’s in the world.
    Iran, Colombia and Argentina have to deal with frequent earthquakes that are so powerful and devastating that they make it to the end of the Richter Scale.
    In this light, the Colombia University report looks more like a message from space than a serious analysis of real world problems.
    S don’t send your kids to this University and if you have a chance…shut it down.

  5. Another hand wringer of a report from NCAR. I would suggest they not put too much stock in Obama. He’s about to contend with an uproar from the cattle & dairy farmers of the agricultural segment of the economy. The very liberal Sen. Schumer, here in NY, is already going to bat for the farmers who’ve heard about plans for a tax per head of cattle & dairy cows starting at around $85 and up to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Even the always politically correct news people are reacting as though this is an eye roller of an idea. When the rest of the numbers start rolling in on how much going green will cost across the entire economy perhaps some of these politicos will react in horror at the voter revolt that will develop. Perhaps someone will even suggest doing a little editing job on the Clean Air Act so that they’ll no longer be able to define CO2 as a pollutant. Even looney politicos aren’t so dense as to not being able to see the writing on the wall.

  6. Have there been any comparative tests as to the effectiveness of Gas-X versus Beano? Perhaps Dr. Pachauri has information on bovine grades of these supplements.

  7. “where factories belch dirty coal.” – You’ve gotta love that line… It’s just so accurate.

  8. “per capita emissions of fossil fuels.” I would think it would be a waste to emit fossil fuels, perhaps burning fossil fuels would be more practical.
    “fossil fuels emanating from poor countries” poor countries are emanating fossil fuels!! no wonder they are poor. perhaps they should sell them or even burn them.
    “the developing world is pumping more fossil fuels into the atmosphere ” emitting, emanating and now pumping, somebody got a thesaurus for their birthday.
    “factories belch dirty coal” aaha belch that’s a good one but back to my original point would it not be better to burn coal?
    “buildup of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.” CO2 builds up in the upper atmosphere???
    “sooty coal eras” soot and greenhouse gasses are totally different issues.

  9. “The brightest hopes the authors see are the initiatives by cities around the world to impose emission restrictions”
    That sounds about right, but don’t let them get away with claiming electricity is emission free. Drive home to townies that there are people out here in the countryside too, and we object to being infested with bird-slicer farms and other daft ideas so that they can leave the lights on all night.

  10. Nothing correlates with standard of living more closely than energy consumption. When someone suggests that we should cut back consumption by, say, 20%, ask him to go home and pull the big mains breaker in the fuse box for 3.2 hours each day. Gets pretty boring when the only thing working is the piano.

  11. DaveCF:

    there aren’t many houses with central heating in Botswana..

    Anyone who has spent a night in Botswana, or indeed many arid or semi-arid areas of the world, will know just how bitterly cold it gets after the Sun drops over the horizon.
    The people there just wrap up in lots of blankets and get on with it.

  12. From Leon Brozyna (23:47:11) :
    plans for a tax per head of cattle & dairy cows starting at around $85 and
    -end quote
    Apparently they don’t understand that cows are not fossil fueled … What comes out one end was taken from the air by the plants that are put in the other… details details…
    -quote
    In fact, despite gains in energy efficiency, the developed world also is increasing its greenhouse gas output,
    -end quote
    And they are surprised by this? Someone needs to tell them about Jevons Paradox. We’ve been through all this before (back in the coal crisis of the 1800’s – they though coal was running out). Jevons observed that increasing efficiency of use resulted in more total uses; thus more total consumption of coal.
    The notion that efficiency improvement will reduce aggregate fuel use is broken, and has been know so for a long time… yet it is a staple of the looney left greens. Sigh. Those who don’t remember their history are… what what that line? :=)
    (Sidebar/disclaimer: Yes, efficiency is good. Yes we want more of it. No I’m not saying we ought to be wasteful and sinful etc. ad nauseum… but it’s good for reasons not related to aggregate demand. Yes I’m all for being green, just don’t shut your brain off when doing it.)
    from Phil (22:57:54) :
    The “green” flavor (issue) of the year just does not leave much room for continuity in energy generation
    -end quote
    Yup. And when the real goal is the deindustrialization of society then nothing is acceptable. Hydro damages watersheds. Coal, oil, gas, you know already… Nuclear: horror of horrors glow in the dark kids… All that’s left is wind and solar. But wind turbines are not visually acceptable and chop birds while solar is made with toxic chemicals (Oh my!). Guess all that leaves is growing fuel with natures plants? Nope. Land and food crisis! Destruction of rain forest!
    On another thread was a posting that in England they were being encouraged to burn wood as a green solution, while here in California we’re being told NOT to burn wood for the good of the planet. I don’t know if it’s simple stupidity or a strategic effort at strangulation…
    -Begin quote
    “They still have very energy-intense industries. The cement industry, for example, is moving from the U.S. and Europe to China and the developing nations.”
    -end quote
    And this is a surprise? Isn’t that just what was said would happen with the Kyoto round? Even if the U.S. didn’t sign it, you don’t build a billion dollar facility with the threat of cap & tirade over your head. You go build it in the area that’s going to be exempt.
    As long as China and India get a free pass on the CO2 express, any industry that uses lots of fuel or produces CO2 will be moving there. Steel. Coking. Burnt lime. Cement. Oil refining. Minerals refining. etc. There will be less pollution control and more stuff in the air. This is good?
    From Mike McMillan (01:22:11) :
    Nothing correlates with standard of living more closely than energy consumption.
    -end quote
    And nothing correlates with reduced childbearing and preservation of nature more closely than standard of living.
    The fact is that the best way to ‘save the planet’ is to get everyone as rapidly as possible to a high standard of living. Population growth stops and folks have the money to fund nature preserves. Few on the looney left seem to get this, even though it’s well established in economics. (I’m not sure if the radical right gets it either, but at least they don’t go on tirades to destroy wealth creation and modernity.)
    Sometimes I wonder who stands for the moderate middle…

  13. Back in June, Vindal K. Dar published a paper in Right Side News that is worth reading for its grasp of economic geography with respect to energy.
    =======================================

  14. “The brightest hopes the authors see are the initiatives by cities around the world to impose emission restrictions”
    Yes, that’s the ticket. Many states now are just beginning to see some type of Urban Renewel. That renewel would come to a halt if the total costs of living in a city skyrocket. Perhaps our Alarmists see Detriot as the model city. Forty years ago, Detroit had a vibrant urban culture. Today, people speak of the Urban Prairie when referencing Detroit. Entire neighborhoods are now gone, with only crumbling sidewalks and streets remaining. It’s gotten so bad, that some of the people who remain in urban Detrioit are taking up farming.

  15. Reports, like the one you are referencing here, will be used by future historians who seek to document just how corrupt science was in the early 21st century.

  16. My first reaction is that this report is meant to bolster the case for reducing all economies back to Stone Age levels. That’s hyperbole, of course, but realistically, the only way to meet this dubious goal is to cease the industrialization that sustains all developed countries. That will reduce populations, urbanization, travel, etc. to the point where human populations and their impacts are negligible. The journey will not be pleasant…

  17. Here is something interesting related to controlling greenhouse gases.
    The CO2 growth rate is affected by the temperature. As temperatures go up, the CO2 growth rate increases. As temps decline, the CO2 growth rate declines.
    We know that oceans and plants are absorbing about half of our emissions, but the rate that they can absorb that CO2 goes down as temps go up. This is probably related more to the oceans than to vegetation.
    Here is a chart showing the annual increase in CO2 compared to temperature back to 1959. The CO2 growth rate is impacted 5 months after the temperature change.
    CO2 is still growing (there is only a few periods where temperature decline drops the growth rate to Zero) so we probably can’t rely on stable temperatures to keep CO2 down. Our emissions are getting higher and higher so CO2 will continue increasing even if temps stabilize.
    It does indicate, however, it might be harder and harder to control greenhouse gases if temperatures continue increasing.
    http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/879/co2lagkz2.png

  18. I’ld be willing to bet that coal is used in the US for electricity generation more than any other use. The push to electricity will likely result in more coal fired electricity generation. There are only so many places one can dam a river economically.

  19. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have been increasing since ~1750, when emissions were ~ 0.0005 of today’s emissions levels. Human and domesticated animal populations were also much lower in 1750.
    It would appear logical that, if atmospheric CO2 concentration increases are driving global average temperature increases, then CO2 emission rates would have to be reduced to below the emissions rate at which the atmospheric concentration began to increase; that is, a global emissions rate reduction of 99.95%.
    A reduction of this magnitude would require far more than increased fossil fuel utilization efficiency, or even a total conversion to non-fossil energy sources. It would also require a global conversion to veganism (see PETA for details) and a serious global effort to halt and reverse population growth (see China for one suggested approach).
    One wonders why the “Global Warmists” have been so reluctant to point this out. Perhaps it is because they are truly unserious about the issue; or, because they believe they can achieve their political objectives with far less draconian measures.
    Enquiring minds want to know.

  20. Bill Illis (06:21:59) :
    This is probably related more to the oceans than to vegetation.

    Two parts to vegetation: When it’s hot, plants grow better so soak up CO2 much faster. Dead plants decay faster so more CO2 released from rotting. The balance varies from place to place.

  21. Ed Reid,
    They have no idea, for the most part. Those who do have an idea are keeping very mum about it. Why they are mum is clear if you simply extrapolate the implications of what they demand.

  22. The dirty secret of the IPCC is that the global warming industry needs the solution to be impossible. Without this simple fact, their funding cannot continue to grow.
    Governments like companies exist to expand funding and control. The scientists who make these article also hint that somehow wealthier economies can support alternative energies. IMO this is also clearly false.
    I started my blog looking into the money of the global warming industry. I estimated over 100 billion dollars was being spent annually — on RESEARCH. The UN is very interested in expanding its own 28 billion dollar budget for global warming and is guaranteed to do so with Obama and both houses in the US lining up.

  23. Pamela Gray (06:29:16) :
    I’ld be willing to bet that coal is used in the US for electricity generation more than any other use. The push to electricity will likely result in more coal fired electricity generation. There are only so many places one can dam a river economically.

    About 1/2 of U.S. electricity comes from coal (20% nuke then nat gas turbines, hydro etc. Solar and wind are in the ‘trivial’ bucket.)
    Other major coal use is coking for steel making (much moving overseas) and similar uses (such as cooking limestone to make CaO “lime” and cement – also going elsewhere). Everything else is trivial in comparison.
    Substantially all suitable hydro sites have been built. In the west, many old smaller sites are being removed as they are not economical to repair / rebuild.
    The move to electric cars implies: More coal plant, more nuclear plant, a lot more natural gas turbines, or orders of magnitude more wind, wave & solar. Given that the AGW folks forbid the first three we are left with building a new industry substantially from scratch and depending on it. Not good, easy, fast or cheap. It will take more than a decade to build out all the capacity needed and this will be limiting for electric car adoption.
    The other limit is all the copper this would require… Will Peru & Indonesia welcome the expansion of mining? Do the folks who advocate ‘green’ electric cars recognize the strip mining involved? Will they want electric cars but forbid more mining, then cry about the evil businesses not making the cars they want? Oh, and the lithium batteries limit on the single lithium mine of any size…

  24. Kim says:

    Back in June, Vindal K. Dar published a paper in Right Side News that is worth reading for its grasp of economic geography with respect to energy.
    =======================================

    Linky, linky, linky.
    I must say, when you mistake a sociologist for a scientist you have clearly been drinking too much beer.

  25. Mike McMillan (01:22:11) :
    Nothing correlates with standard of living more closely than energy consumption. When someone suggests that we should cut back consumption by, say, 20%, ask him to go home and pull the big mains breaker in the fuse box for 3.2 hours each day. Gets pretty boring when the only thing working is the piano.

    Wit that low a standard of living you’d have chopped up the piano for firewood long ago…

  26. Neil Jones (01:28:10) :

    Slightly off topic
    Economic realities are biting in Europe

    Sorry Neil, it is right on topic.
    The world economy cannot afford to get rid of fossil fuels, period.
    It has already been ruined by one set of computer models, that is, those models of derivatives the fools in the investment community used to get us into the truly catastrophic mess we are in now.
    Can we really afford another set of computer models, those used by the climate change community, to finish us off? Or worse yet, some sort of carbon trading based derivatives being contemplated now?
    By the way, carbon sequestration is not a viably demonstrated technology and can be quite dangerous.
    Imagine millions of tons of CO2 breaking out of its geological prison. It is, after all, a gas, and has the unwelcome tendency to escape from the ground, following any flaw in the containing geological strata above. One of the key components of a volcanic eruption is large volumes of CO2.
    If there were such an escape from sequestration, the resulting cloud of CO2 would smother to death any breathing thing. CO2 tends to hug the ground, so it would take awhile for it to disperse. Remember too, it is odorless, so the victims would not even notice until too late they had no oxygen to breathe.
    All of this is documented in the book “Terrestrial Energy”. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the drawbacks to all forms of energy production.

  27. “convert to more efficient energy”
    What is inefficient about a modern, coal-burning powerplant? The author has simply appropriated the word “efficiency” to bolster the arguement.

  28. They found that the economic disparity between the haves and have nots has grown since 1960 and is likely to grow for at least two more decades.
    “Economic disparity”?!! Oh noooo, quick, someone make us all “have nots”. Oh wait, no worries, the EPA will control the evil fossssilll fuel polutant. Whew, problem solved. Peace and Social Justice achieved./sarc
    Seriously, I’d suggest something else to deal with chronic panic attacks.

  29. Not sure if Gas-X will help reduce CO2, but I’m sure it would cut down on Methane emmissions.
    ;>P

  30. Jack Simmons (08:59:10) :
    One of the key components of a volcanic eruption is large volumes of CO2.
    Carbon sequestration from past civilisations?? LOL
    Dave.

  31. Ron de Haan (23:30:26) :
    To build on your information regarding Argentina, China, Colombia and Iran, the fact is that China may be the LEAST able to convert to greater efficiency. They are the poorest of the 4 countries mentioned.
    The author, Patricia Romero Lankao, compares China’s chances of increasing efficiency to 3 other countries favorably but I am willing to bet that she never bothered to look at the actual data. She assumes that China is an economic juggernaut because that’s what she’s been told but nothing can be further from the truth.
    Here are some numbers.
    Country GDP GDP Pop. growth rate
    real growth rate per capita
    Argentina 8.7% (2007 est.) $13,100 (2007 est.) 1.068% (2008 est.)
    China 11.9% (2007 est.) $ 5,400 (2007 est.) 0.629% (2008 est.)
    Colombia 8.2% (2007 est.) $ 7,400 (2007 est.) 1.405% (2008 est.)
    Iran 6.2% (2007 est.) $11,700 (2007 est.) 0.792% (2008 est.)
    As you can see the economic “powerhouse” that is China is the poorest of the 4. They are currently growing faster but at 6.2 – 8.7%, none of the other 3 are slouches and frankly it’s more sustainable. The “myth” that China is some kind of economic juggernaut is similar to the myth of global warming. Even questioning it marks you as stupid.

  32. “We see prospects for hope, but we need to go deeper and go faster,” Lankao said.
    I guess she means they need to shovel the BS deeper and faster, because things just aren’t working out for them.

  33. kim (10:06:45) :
    /as-the-earth-cools-what-does-it-mean-for-the-energy-industry.htm
    =========================================
    Richard Sharpe (10:22:47) :
    Seek, and ye shall find (at least with Google):

    That link, http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1464 is a fascinating read.
    Oddly enough, it matches what I’ve been using to project who will win long term in the markets. A couple of quotes with comments for folks who didn’t take the link:
    The fanatical worship of flawed climate and planetary models is a primitive idolatry that makes civil communication across the two antagonistic belief systems impossible.
    I’d agree with that…
    The ability of the West to act unilaterally on carbon management is quite limited. The U.S. and Japan will not tell Asia and Africa to choose poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy over electricity. Europe may but Europe’s hard, soft and moral power are now negligible. Europe has no ability at all to make credible military threats; its soft power compares unfavorably with a wet noodle; its moral authority is imperceptible given that it will miss its own Kyoto targets by a considerable margin.
    Ouch! Such brutal honesty is hard to find these days. I think I like this guy! The notion that the west will tell China to do anything is laughable at best.
    Like oil and gas, there is plenty of uranium in the world but the low cost resource is heavily concentrated. Half the world’s low cost uranium reserves are in just three countries: Australia, Kazakhstan and Canada.
    […]
    At present, India and China have very little in the way of low cost uranium reserves; the EU, Japan and South Korea have none.
    This is true, but misses a couple of points. India has LOTS of thorium and thorium can be easily used in existing nukes (see ticker THPW for example) and India has thorium specific reactor designs. It is also possible to extract U from sea water at economical rates (though not market competitive ones yet) via polymer adsorption. See:
    http://www.taka.jaea.go.jp/eimr_div/j637/theme3%20sea_e.html
    and /or just google “Uranium polymer adsorption japan” for more examples. (both adsorption and absorption are good search terms… why? don’t ask why…)
    So I’d expect that any time U becomes too expensive from land, folks will just start sinking plastic mattresses in the ocean, and lots of countries have coastlines…
    Within the U.S., Illinois, Montana and Wyoming are the big 3 in known recoverable coal reserves, easily accounting for a majority of known U.S. coal reserves.
    This simplifies things rather too much. About 1/4 of the U.S. sits on top of coal. He describes where the coal is presently very cheap and easy to mine, but there is plenty of coal mined in, for example, the soft coal of Texas.
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1996/of96-092/map.htm gives a great view of why the U.S. can tell OPEC to kiss off any time it wants to. Why we don’t is another issue…
    But the meat of it:
    Worldwide coal fired generation may well double in the next 25 or so years propelling a huge increase in coal use; steel making capacity will also grow rapidly impelling even more growth in coal use An astonishing three quarters of the world’s growth in coal use is expected to come from just 2 nations: China and India.
    So exactly why are they exempt from Kyoto? And why ought we to commit economic suicide so they can double world CO2 output? Even if CO2 were an issue, Kyoto does nothing to ‘fix’ it…
    China alone expects to add almost 500 GW of net additional coal fired generation in the next 2 decades or so, while India plans to deploy another net 100 GW of coal fired generation. In addition, China is planning to build several CTL plants over the next 20 years further increasing coal consumption.
    Hey, we can by CTL gasoline and Diesel from them instead of Saudi oil. 8-{
    The anticipated increases alone in the coal fired generating capacity of China and India over the next 25 years are almost twice the existing coal fired generating capacity in the U.S. Roughly once a week, for the next 25 years, India and China will add a coal generator. About every 15 months China and India together will add enough coal generating capacity to equal the entire coal powered generation in the U.K.
    So the U.K. could destroy their economy by shutting down all coal use and it would mean 1 1/4 years of ‘reduction’ (oh, and moving all their jobs to Chindia.)
    The Western nation best positioned to benefit, by far, from the golden age of coal and nuclear generation and LNG trade in Asia is Australia.
    And right now they are way down in price. You can get the closed end fund IAF for dirt cheap (disclosure: I own a bunch and it’s thinly traded) and they are leveraged to China for coal, metals, et. al. (and not subject to Obama and the congress.) The more generic exchange traded fund for Australia is EWA with a high yield and very liquid. RIO and BHP are the miners stocks.
    Contingency planning should entail strategic responses to a warming globe, a cooling globe and a globe whose climate reverberates with laughter at human hubris. Human beings are miserable at forecasting but they are pretty good at improvising and adapting. Why not focus on the strength rather than invest so heavily in the weakness?
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Kim, that you so much for this reference, the article is a gold mine.

  34. That last line ought to have been:
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Kim & Richard, thank you so much for this reference, the article is a gold mine.

  35. Richard Sharpe (10:22:47)
    Much gracious. It’s a long article, breathtakingly lucid, and, I think, clairvoyant.
    ===================================

  36. EM Smith quotes and says:

    Worldwide coal fired generation may well double in the next 25 or so years propelling a huge increase in coal use; steel making capacity will also grow rapidly impelling even more growth in coal use An astonishing three quarters of the world’s growth in coal use is expected to come from just 2 nations: China and India.
    So exactly why are they exempt from Kyoto? And why ought we to commit economic suicide so they can double world CO2 output? Even if CO2 were an issue, Kyoto does nothing to ‘fix’ it…
    China alone expects to add almost 500 GW of net additional coal fired generation in the next 2 decades or so, while India plans to deploy another net 100 GW of coal fired generation. In addition, China is planning to build several CTL plants over the next 20 years further increasing coal consumption.

    I think that the claim that steel production will increase over the next 25 years has to be in doubt right now, at least for the next 10 years. I expect excess capacity for a long while. However, I expect that China will go ahead with its Nuclear power plants and some coal-fired plants, even if only to keep people employed.

  37. FB says:

    “too much beer”.
    I’ve been thinking about this concept for some time now.
    Nope, still can’t understand it.

    Beer goggles …

  38. But on a more serious note, the reference in the subject article to smaller countries makes me wonder how much is really known about CO2 emissions from most countries of the world.
    Maybe there is a reliable-ish measuring scheme, maybe the emissions are so insignificant compared to the developed countries, China and India that it doesn’t much matter. But it seems to me that calculations about the effect of CO2 emissions can only be made if there is reasonably reliable information about how much CO2 is emitted from all sources.
    I have read very little about this aspect of the subject. There’s lots about measuring temperature, more about the way Dr Hansen’s computers are used and even more about other influences on temperature (such as the big shiny thing and the big wet areas). But there is precious little about how much CO2 is produced by wicked America burning polar bears and fluffy bunnies compared to nice China burning coal. We hear a reasonable amount about how much CO2 sits a few miles up, but very little about how much is produced by industrial activity compared to the (utterly harmless) stuff spewed out by oceans and natural forest fires.
    Have I missed it or is this a neglected subject?

  39. One article I bookmarked and keep getting impressed with whenever I stumble across it is http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html . It points out a claim my father liked to make, namely that the fissionable constituents of coal could release more energy than the coal itself. The bulk of the energy is in the Thorium and U-238, so it would take breeder reactors to take advantage of it. Coal has about 1.3 ppm Uranium and 3.2 ppm Thorium, so “Total U.S. releases in 1982 (from 154 typical plants) amounted to 801 tons of uranium (containing 11,371 pounds of uranium-235) and 1971 tons of thorium.”
    Burning coal leaves 15% of its original mass, so the Uranium and Thorium is concentrated by a factor of 7 during burning. “For comparison, according to NCRP Reports No. 92 and No. 95, population exposure from operation of 1000-MWe nuclear and coal-fired power plants amounts to 490 person-rem/year for coal plants and 4.8 person-rem/year for nuclear plants.”
    Remember the old line “Well, do you want to live next to a nuclear power plant?” My response is generally “No, but if I had to live next to a power plant, a nuke would be at the top of the list.”
    I haven’t seen a cost analysis comparing the costs of conventional Uranium mining vs. extraction from coal ash, but the latter is something people will pay to have taken away and arrives as a powder, so a crushing step has already been done.
    As long as we have coal, it seems we’ll have nuclear fuel too.

  40. The dirty secret of the IPCC is that the global warming industry needs the solution to be impossible. Without this simple fact, their funding cannot continue to grow.

    Actually, the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol require that the rich countries give money to climate projects and poor countries (although it also gives priority to reduction of poverty over climate projects).

  41. Richard Sharpe (17:14:41) :
    I think that the claim that steel production will increase over the next 25 years has to be in doubt right now, at least for the next 10 years. I expect excess capacity for a long while.

    The whole business cycle is roughly 10+ years (and remarkably synchronized with sunspot cycles…) 8 up, 2 down. (roughly!)
    The typical length of a recession in the business cycle is 1.5 years. We’re already into this one about a year. The stock market is signaling a bottom and the market typically bottoms about 6 months before the economy does.
    Chinese growth has slowed… from 9+% to 6%. It’s still growing; fast. China is consuming a hugh fraction of world steel and cement production. Now it just won’t push world supplies to the wall for a year or two.
    China has announced a domestic stimulus plan. I think it was about $500 Billion. This will not be spent on tax rebates for folks who pay no taxes or on efficient light bulb promotions. It will be spent on cement and steel projects that produce products, on trains, bridges and other public works. They desperately need more rail and power generation.
    The U.S. congress & Obama have pledged a public works program. They are talking about all the things states can do Right Now. That’s more steel and concrete for bridges and highways. California wants to build a $10B bullet train system…
    Yes, it will take 6 months to a year to saturate capacity again. No, China will not be dumb enough to shutdown construction of new steel, coal, and cement projects during this time. These are 5 year plan communists after all, and you don’t stop new projects with a 6% growth rate.
    There is one wild card. The U.S. economy. Will the Fed and Treasury be able to prevent a new great depression. Since they are not repeating the mistakes that made for the great depression, the odds are very good that this may be a 2yr event but nothing worse.
    Basically, they are doing the right things (as much as that stinks when you look at it … did I mention economics is ‘the dismal science’ 😉 So far it’s not much different from ’72-’74, ’82-’84, etc. Remember the S&L Crisis? Bad mortgages & all.
    So we are on a cusp. If this is 2009 and Froze To Death and Obama brings in protectionist policies with a balanced budget, then yes, no new steel needed for many years. We’ll be coping with Great Depression II.
    If we don’t go protectionist and continue to spend like drunken sailors until the economy restarts, then China will continue it’s boom and we’ll stay alive at low growth. In any case, as the US $ depreciates from over printing, China will want to dump the (?Trillions?) it has and will spend them on capitol stock and production goods (not on plastic kitsch in kiddy meals, tube socks, trinkets & beads…).
    I’m voting for #2 because the alternative is, er, pointless. (Was it Edward Teller who was putting sizes of bombs on a board with delivery systems needed and had one with “none” for delivery system because it would destroy the whole world? That’s the Depression II scenario… There is no need to plan for it because there is no outcome with economic survival…)
    I just hope that either this is not a Maunder type event OR that the business cycle is not coupled to such extreme lows of sunspots… that it is just an accidental correlation that can be broken…

  42. FatBigot (20:32:05) :
    Mr Sharpe (07:50:28) :
    “too much beer”.
    I’ve been thinking about this concept for some time now.
    Nope, still can’t understand it.

    I’ve been struggling with it too. I think it is what happens when you pour into a glass and it foams over “too much beer in that glass, slurp faster!”. 8=0

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