At last, a Plan B to stop global warming

Bjørn Lomborg writes on hisFacebook page about this story on WUWT: Newsbytes: Japan Stuns UN Climate Summit By Ditching CO2 Target

The last twenty years of international climate negotiations have achieved almost nothing and have done so at enormous economic cost. Japan’s courageous announcement that it is scrapping its unrealistic targets and focusing instead on development of green technologies could actually be the beginning of smarter climate policies.

Japan has acknowledged that its previous greenhouse gas reduction target of 25 per cent below 1990 levels was unachievable, and that its emissions will now increase by some 3 per cent by 2020. This has provoked predictable critiques from the ongoing climate summit in Warsaw. Climate change activists called it “outrageous” and a “slap in the face for poor countries”.

Yet, Japan has simply given up on the approach to climate policy that has failed for the past twenty years, promising carbon cuts that don’t materialise – or only do so at trivial levels with very high costs for taxpayers, industries and consumers. Instead, al…most everyone seems to have ignored that Japan has promised to spend $110 billion over five years – from private and public sources – on innovation in environmental and energy technologies. Japan could – incredible as it may sound – actually end up showing the world how to tackle global warming effectively.

Unfortunately the Japanese model is not even on the agenda in Warsaw. The same failed model of spending money on immature technologies remains dominant. That involves the world spending $1 billion a day on inefficient renewable energy sources — a projected $359 billion for 2013. But a much lower $100 billion per year invested worldwide in R&D could be many times more effective. This is the conclusion of a panel of economists, including three Nobel laureates, working with the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think-tank that publicises the best ways for governments to spend money to help the world.

If green technology could be cheaper than fossil fuels, everyone would switch, not just a token number of well-meaning rich nations. We would not need to convene endless climate summits that come to nothing. A smart climate summit would encourage all nations to commit 0.2 per cent of GDP – about $100 billion globally – to green R&D. This could solve global warming in the medium term by creating cheap, green energy sources, that everyone would want to use.

Instead of criticising Japan for abandoning an approach that has repeatedly failed, we should applaud it for committing to a policy that could actually meet the challenge of global warming.

Read the full article in Britain’s The Times:

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/article3924584.ece

More on Japan’s new climate policies: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-11-14/japan-sets-new-emissions-target-in-setback-to-un-treaty-talks

h/t to David Hagen

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Hoser

The green tech has to be not only cheaper, but available when needed.

Alan Moran

Well, $100 billion wasted is better than $359 billion but it is a leap of raith that the technology will work if only the government throws money at it. Let’s keeep looking for Plan C

Magoo

But that undermines the whole point of the green movement – wealth redistribution from the rich to the poor. Of course it’s not on the agenda in Warsaw.

Hmm, Plan B, isn’t that OTC at the corner pharmacy?

Japan’s courageous announcement that it is scrapping its unrealistic targets and focusing instead on development of green technologies could actually be the beginning of smarter climate policies.
Not really, but it could be the beginning of smarter policies that recognize that preparing for a changing climate is a better alternative than wasting time, effort, and money attempting to change the climate.

I think the decision to drop the old targets was inevitable, given the decision to shut down all the nuclear power plants for an indefinite period.

O. Olson

What global warming would Bjørn be talking about again?

David

With Japan out, it should now be clear that the Kyoto Accord was a European deal and not a world deal. Developped countries have no targets, Eastern European countries’ level started from pre-collapse levels, North-America is out, Australia in and out,… Only Europe wanted this. It`s time to move Europe`s model aside, and start becoming more realistic.

Gary Hladik

“Instead, almost everyone seems to have ignored that Japan has promised to spend $110 billion over five years – from private and public sources – on innovation in environmental and energy technologies.”
Will that include safer nuclear power, the only “green” technology that might economically replace some fossil fuels in the near future?

Ian W

As nobody has shown that there is actually any ‘catastrophic’ global warming that needs to be stopped. By all means reduce waste, improve energy and resource efficiency, and stop energy projects that are dangerous for the environment such as wildlife killing windmills. But otherwise we are on the climate train and it has far more power than some people’s hubris lets them believe. Therefore, the best way forward is what is known as ‘masterly inactivity’ or perhaps don’t do something, sit there!

Pedantic old Fart

I’m sorry, but if CO2 is not a significant driver of global climate, isn’t all this discussion a bit pointless?

And how does this stop global warming? Is this a calculation based on someone’s climate model?

Psalmon

Only innovation will make things more efficient. Innovation comes from prosperity. Global Warming policies stifle prosperity. This entrenches the very technologies advocates seek to replace, with no return, leaving nothing but a wealth transfer. It’s ineffective, wasteful, and at it’s worst a scam. Good for Japan.

Oh, and is global warming something we really need to be concerned about?

GeologyJim

After all the chest-thumping, and pontifications, and prognostications, and multimillion-dollar climate models, the simple obvious fact is that CO2 doesn’t really make much difference at all (except for the positive plant-fertilization part).
The EARTH has been conducting her own experiment that has shown no rise in global temperatures over 15+ years despite addition of 10% more CO2. Q.E.D. – carbon dioxide is not a climate driver and need not be contained, sequestered, nor reduced.
Conserving energy is a good thing, just as an expression of efficiency. But it’s a personal choice.
Reducing CO2 is pointless, expensive, and full of negative consequences for national sovereignty.
Let’s build thorium-based reactors instead!!

cheap green energy sources! What cheap green energy sources? Verso Economics in Scotland in their report last year found that for every green job produced two to three ordinary jobs are lost from the economy! so much for cheap green energy!

dscott

Climate Change, err, I mean the new mini-ice age threat that is upon us will require the world to push for greater efficiencies in existing energy usage and greater insulation effectiveness to husband limited supplies of energy so there will be enough to go around. Japan being a northern hemispheric nation subject to prolonged intense cold of winter must act now to protect it’s population from freezing. To that end, the most cost effective solutions need to be taken first such as CTL technology for coal to diesel oil production for transportation, transferring as much thermal processes as possible to natural gas from electricity such as industrial, commercial, residential cooking, heating homes and water.
Thorium reactors need to built as soon as possible to replace outdated accident prone, light and heavy water reactors for the production of electricity and also to replace the existing coal fired plants.
We must act now, any delay will cause millions to die of cold and starvation. It is irresponsible to wait until the crisis is upon us. Can you take the chance of it not happening in your lifetime?

Kit P

What are ‘green technologies’ and would you happen to have a LCA showing that they have a lower environmental impact?
Since AGW is a non-problem, having a non-plan B makes a lot of sense. Not very innovative however. California and Germany have been doing it a long time.

Mike Smith

David says:
With Japan out, it should now be clear that the Kyoto Accord was a European deal and not a world deal.
Support from the mainstream in Europe is waning too. It seems that the Euro taxpayers in France, Germany, Spain, Greece et al are running out of money to flush down this particular toilet.
Before long it will just be down to the Marxists and environmental whackos. Shame on us if we allow those extremists to dictate economic policy.

Maybe “off topic”, but I’ve recently seen TWO “Tesla” cars, with labels on them (license plate frames) which said: Zero Emissions!
My thought, that completely explains the mentality of the owners. ENOUGH SAID.

“The last twenty years of international climate negotiations have achieved almost nothing…”
YAY!

Jimbo

“At last, a Plan B to stop global warming”

Boy, plan be is fast. Global warming has stopped! 🙂

Tom in Florida

“Cimate change activists called it “outrageous” and a “slap in the face for poor countries”.
Freudian slip, your red interior is showing through your green coating.

John West

Here we are at the end of interglacial and “we’re” worried about global warming. WUWT?
Ok, so, for those that just insist on ignoring all the data that clearly shows that increasing atmospheric CO2 isn’t a problem; nature has provided you with the answer to arresting if not reversing the atmospheric CO2 trend. Mt. Pinatubo eruption paused the CO2 increase by some mechanism, some say increased primary production due to increased diffuse solar radiation:
http://faculty.washington.edu/timbillo/Readings%20and%20documents/CO2%20and%20Forests%20readings/Gu%20et%20al.%202003%20Science%20Pinatubo%20and%20photosynthesis.pdf
This conclusion would need to be confirmed, but if true, then the obvious answer is to spend money increasing primary production. Just think if all the money wasted by NGO’s lobbying for carbon regulations, government projects, climate junkets, and carbon trading were spent on projects like increasing irrigation in developing countries. WOW! Feed people and stop the CO2 increase at the same time.
If your motivation is really to save the world from increasing CO2, Mt. Pinatubo shows you the way, however, if your true motivation is to rebel against the status quo then just keep on doing what you’re doing.

Jordan

Gary Hladik says: “Will that include safer nuclear power, the only “green” technology that might economically replace some fossil fuels in the near future?”
If the UK experience is anything to go for “economic nuclear” would appear to be an oxymoron.
http://www.thegwpf.org/nuclear-subvention-amount-truly-astronomical-cost/

Gil Dewart

Let’s be more explicit about the money flow from such schemes as it actually works in this corrupt world. It goes from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.

We already have a practical affordable technology – it’s called nuclear energy. If Japan had any sense, it woud be restarting all its reactors – they have been gone over with a fine-toothed comb
by the regulators and there is no reason to keep them idle. Of course, if Japan wants to spend a lot of money to produce bad emissions (and I don’t mean CO2) , they probably deserve them.

John West

Jimbo says:
” Global warming has stopped!”
That has now been declared a myth. The heat was hiding in the arctic. They’ve got the headline and that’s all they need to make it “true”. Just like the 97% and the hockey sticks, it doesn’t matter if the paper is discredited or not. The headline rules popular opinion. Sad days.
If we stick with global warming has stopped they’ll use that as evidence that we’re “deniers”. Perhaps: “Global warming has slowed” would be less open to attack from the CO2 cult. Their models are still heavily warming biased even if we just roll with the new excuse. It’s just not enough to save them if we don’t play into their hands.

‘Climate change activists called it “outrageous” and a “slap in the face for poor countries”.’
Watermelons…..green on the outside and red on the inside. And they probably have about the same I.Q. as watermelons too. Ho hum.

What an outstanding article from WUWT. Now I do think I understand the direction that the Warsaw talks are taking. The World Empire (UN) cannot offer its services of governance and economic subordination through regulations and taxation for less than $100 billion per year, and they currently do not receive enough Tribute. So that must be good. (;
And meanwhile, efforts continue in the UK to leave the European Union – a political union that was originally cast as a trade agreement. According to Nigel Farage, it costs the country millions of pounds per day for the privilege of receiving legislation from Brussels. How would Britain pay a percentage of its GDP to the UN, when it already pays a percentage of its GDP to the EU?

meemoe_uk

That’s what we soooooooooooo wanted all these years. It’s the blog post we’ve all been hoping for for 10 years, everyday refreshing our browser, and just feeling deep disappointment. But now we’ve finally got it.
a plan B to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

Doug Proctor

Magoo says:
November 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm
But that undermines the whole point of the green movement – wealth redistribution from the rich to the poor. Of course it’s not on the agenda in Warsaw.
Magoo makes the salient point: the money proposed to be spent is to be spent BY the “poor” countries IN the poor countries BY the poor countries. It just comes FROM the wealthy countries.
“Fixing the problem” is not the prime objective, i.e. the process, not the outcome, is what is driving the current agenda. Shows up everywhere, including the refusal to stick to only the proven facts.

D.J. Hawkins

Pedantic old Fart says:
November 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm
I’m sorry, but if CO2 is not a significant driver of global climate, isn’t all this discussion a bit pointless?

Baby steps, PoF, baby steps. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run.

We know that warming isn’t a problem and we know that the Greens don’t want the “solution” to be anything but as they stipulate it – but I like this piece (and gave it a “like”) because it is a sensible step away from what the Greens desire and one that they cannot argue with without showing their hand. Think positive, people. From this step, there will be another… and another. The Greens will hate it. 🙂

Speed

Climate change activists called it “outrageous” and a “slap in the face for poor countries”.
I’m waiting for the Climate Change Activists to publish their own plan that includes an energy budget; a portfolio of proven energy sources with amount of energy supplied, cost to build and operate and carbon emitted by each; sources of energy use reduction, cost to implement and its economic impacts; expected rate of economic growth (or shrinkage) by country and effects on both developed and developing countries. It’s hard work and potentially embarrassing which is why it hasn’t been done yet.

Steve from Rockwood

Ian W says:
November 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm
————————————-
Don’t just do something. Stand there!
I always thought there was value in being a procrastinator but never really had the time to investigate.

R. de Haan

I am absolutely convinced that the same people who shut down the Thorium projects in the USA
(Nixon) and the people who now push for the carbon tax and UN Agenda 21 and who litter our landscapes with useless windmills are the very same.
They act from greed and fear of a human made Armageddon.
If we let them go ahead we will see a society we don’t like.
Now in order to get the Thorium technology finally introduced and rid ourselves from the climate scam we need to kick the current political establishment out of power.
This is the only way to go.
We need to get politically organized, write a world view that includes cheap and abundant Thorium based energy, clean landscapes without wind farms, without generator farms and without bio converters. A world view without facial recognition, spy camera’s and Big Brother watching you but a new age of freedom, a thriving economy where creative people decide their own destiny and their own future.
The current clan of crooks has been bogging humanity for decades now and their actions are running out of control. Instead of giving humanity wings they have decided to destroy our Middle Class and jeopardize our wealth, our pensions and our savings.
If not stopped we will face extensive exclusion zones, limits on energy use (for those who can still afford it) and travel restrictions.
All our freedoms will be gone and we will be managed and controlled like any other species.
The time has come to draw a line and we still have the freedom to draw it in a peaceful manner through the existing political systems within our nations.
Expect nothing good from people who act on a scare.
The time has come for the brave to take charge and secure the freedoms of all mankind.

SAMURAI

Japan should stop wasting money on wind and solar and devote most of its time and money in developing liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRS), especially since they closed down all their Light Water Reactors (LWRs) after the Fukushima fiasco.
Nuclear Power used to supply roughly 26% of Japan’s energy needs, which they’ve had to replace with coal and natural gas power stations at tremendous cost to their economy.
Compared to LWRs. LFTRs are 200 times more efficient, produce 200 times less nuclear waste, are many orders of magnitude safer, run at single atmospheric pressure making Fukushima-type disasters impossible and are roughly 50% cheaper to build and operate, etc.
The recent surge of coal/natural gas imports have lead to Japan’s longest string of monthly trade deficits since the end of WWII. To top it off, Japan’s Central Bank is printing money like crazy, which is weakening the Yen and making those coal and natural gas imports that much more expensive.
China is developing LFTRs technology at a rapid pace and expect to have their first test LFTR on line by 2020. If Japan doesn’t try to catch up with China on LFTR development, it’ll have devastating and long-term economic consequences in terms of economic efficiencies and production/price competitiveness.

Gary Hladik

Jordan says (November 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm): ‘If the UK experience is anything to go for “economic nuclear” would appear to be an oxymoron.’
According to this article, the contract price for electricity from the Hinkley Point plant is £92.50 per MWh, indexed for inflation, starting in 2023.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/30/hinkley-point-nuclear-power-plant-uk-government-edf-underwrite
According to this article, British offshore wind electricity is priced at £155/MWh, onshore at £100/MWh (when the turbines are running).
http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1188054/uk-announces-new-wind-energy-prices
None of these are bargain prices, of course. There are allegations that the government has messed up (wouldn’t be the first time) on the Hinkley Point deal, since the Chinese are getting similar reactors for about half the price of Hinkley Point:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station#Economics
Part of the Chinese advantage may be economy of scale, i.e. ordering a number of plants at once. Supposedly the price of Hinkley Point electricity will be slightly less if another proposed plant is also ordered.
If the Japanese spend part of their $100 billion “green research” money on making nuclear power more affordable, that would seem to be a better investment than “renewable” fuels.

David Ball

Capitulation (sung to the tune Anticipation by Carly SImon).

Leo Smith

Japan may do all te R & D it likes, but they know deep down the only answer is nuclear power
http://www.templar.co.uk/itzman/RenewablePoliciesAndCosts.html
There is nothing that renewable energy can do that nuclear can’t do better, and cheaper.
It will take time, but in the end the reality is that a move away from fossil fuels will be a switch to massive deployment of nuclear power.
This is not a point that governments want to admit, but there really is no cost effective alternative.
And renewables are not an alternative to fossil fuels anyway. They are just ‘go greener ‘ stripes painted on the side of a fossil grid.

Pete of Perth

Plan nine from outer space is my default position

Plan 9 from Outerspace?

JimF

“…end up showing the world how to tackle global warming effectively….” If only there were global warming that we can do one damn thing to tackle. Bjorn is a neat guy, but he’s still wandering in lala land.

Pete of Perth

philjourdan
Plan9; Just as stupid but more entertaining in solving a non-existant apocalypse.

@Pete of Perth – yea, but Plan 9 is now considered a classic. Something Plan B probably will not have to worry about. 😉

Grey Lensman

Japan has a huge natural resource, one it can even export and the technology exists right now, 100% proven, 100% viable, 100% “clean” 100% cheap.
GEOTHERMAL

Kit P

“If the UK experience is anything to go for “economic nuclear” would appear to be an oxymoron. ”
Surely Jordon can predict the price of the natural gas that must be imported to the UK for the next 60 years.
“liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRS), especially since they closed down all their Light Water Reactors (LWRs) after the Fukushima fiasco. ”
Of course, Japan would shut down LFTRS for review if the seismic design criteria suddenly changed.
What we have here is a good argument for a balanced mix of energy sources.
“LFTRs are 200 times more efficient ”
So you are saying LFTRs have a 7000% thermal efficiency?
“China is developing LFTRs technology at a rapid pace and expect to have their first test LFTR on line by 2020. ”
No! http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/China–Nuclear-Power/
The nice thing about paper solutions is that you can make up anything you want.
Let me be blunt. Nuclear reactors are built to make power not to reduce ghg emissions. China did not get serious about building nukes until slave labor could produce enough coal.

Brian H

The full article is paywalled, of course.
Any initiative or technology offering real increases in energy efficiency would pay for itself, and attract plenty of R&D on the merits. It’s only boondoggles like renewables and mitigation that need to assemble cabals to push them.

Brian H

Kit P says:
November 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm

China did not get serious about building nukes until slave labor could [not] produce enough coal.

Proofread. Then check. Then read aloud. Otherwise you, too, may end up saying the opposite of what you intended, often, as here, making no sense at all.

Lokki

Actually, the fuel of the future for Japan (and perhaps all of us) is methane hydrate.
http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2013/09/03/japan-energy/
Of course, we have to get past the Co2 boogeyman, first….