Claim: Net-zero emissions energy systems

Note that nuclear is part of the “net zero” solution, otherwise, provided without comment, h/t to WUWT reader Alan Tomaly

Path to zero carbon emissions

Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century. Most of these emissions arise from energy use. Davis et al.review what it would take to achieve decarbonization of the energy system. Some parts of the energy system are particularly difficult to decarbonize, including aviation, long-distance transport, steel and cement production, and provision of a reliable electricity supply. Current technologies and pathways show promise, but integration of now-discrete energy sectors and industrial processes is vital to achieve minimal emissions.

Structured Abstract

BACKGROUND

Net emissions of CO2 by human activities—including not only energy services and industrial production but also land use and agriculture—must approach zero in order to stabilize global mean temperature. Energy services such as light-duty transportation, heating, cooling, and lighting may be relatively straightforward to decarbonize by electrifying and generating electricity from variable renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar) and dispatchable (“on-demand”) nonrenewable sources (including nuclear energy and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage). However, other energy services essential to modern civilization entail emissions that are likely to be more difficult to fully eliminate. These difficult-to-decarbonize energy services include aviation, long-distance transport, and shipping; production of carbon-intensive structural materials such as steel and cement; and provision of a reliable electricity supply that meets varying demand. Moreover, demand for such services and products is projected to increase substantially over this century. The long-lived infrastructure built today, for better or worse, will shape the future.

Here, we review the special challenges associated with an energy system that does not add any CO2 to the atmosphere (a net-zero emissions energy system). We discuss prominent technological opportunities and barriers for eliminating and/or managing emissions related to the difficult-to-decarbonize services; pitfalls in which near-term actions may make it more difficult or costly to achieve the net-zero emissions goal; and critical areas for research, development, demonstration, and deployment. It may take decades to research, develop, and deploy these new technologies.

Fig. 1 Schematic of an integrated system that can provide essential energy services without adding any CO2 to the atmosphere.
(A to S) Colors indicate the dominant role of specific technologies and processes. Green, electricity generation and transmission; blue, hydrogen production and transport; purple, hydrocarbon production and transport; orange, ammonia production and transport; red, carbon management; and black, end uses of energy and materials.

ADVANCES

A successful transition to a future net-zero emissions energy system is likely to depend on vast amounts of inexpensive, emissions-free electricity; mechanisms to quickly and cheaply balance large and uncertain time-varying differences between demand and electricity generation; electrified substitutes for most fuel-using devices; alternative materials and manufacturing processes for structural materials; and carbon-neutral fuels for the parts of the economy that are not easily electrified. Recycling and removal of carbon from the atmosphere (carbon management) is also likely to be an important activity of any net-zero emissions energy system. The specific technologies that will be favored in future marketplaces are largely uncertain, but only a finite number of technology choices exist today for each functional role. To take appropriate actions in the near term, it is imperative to clearly identify desired end points. To achieve a robust, reliable, and affordable net-zero emissions energy system later this century, efforts to research, develop, demonstrate, and deploy those candidate technologies must start now.

OUTLOOK

Combinations of known technologies could eliminate emissions related to all essential energy services and processes, but substantial increases in costs are an immediate barrier to avoiding emissions in each category. In some cases, innovation and deployment can be expected to reduce costs and create new options. More rapid changes may depend on coordinating operations across energy and industry sectors, which could help boost utilization rates of capital-intensive assets, but this will require overcoming institutional and organizational challenges in order to create new markets and ensure cooperation among regulators and disparate, risk-averse businesses. Two parallel and broad streams of research and development could prove useful: research in technologies and approaches that can decarbonize provision of the most difficult-to-decarbonize energy services, and research in systems integration that would allow reliable and cost-effective provision of these services.

Conclusion

We have enumerated here energy services that must be served by any future net-zero emissions energy system and have explored the technological and economic constraints of each. A successful transition to a future net-zero emissions energy system is likely to depend on the availability of vast amounts of inexpensive, emissions-free electricity; mechanisms to quickly and cheaply balance large and uncertain time-varying differences between demand and electricity generation; electrified substitutes for most fuel-using devices; alternative materials and manufacturing processes including CCS for structural materials; and carbon-neutral fuels for the parts of the economy that are not easily electrified. The specific technologies that will be favored in future marketplaces are largely uncertain, but only a finite number of technology choices exist today for each functional role. To take appropriate actions in the near-term, it is imperative to clearly identify desired endpoints. If we want to achieve a robust, reliable, affordable, net-zero emissions energy system later this century, we must be researching, developing, demonstrating, and deploying those candidate technologies now.

Full report here: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6396/eaas9793.full

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73 thoughts on “Claim: Net-zero emissions energy systems

    • Agreed, except the “path” is pure cartoon fantasy.

      Just because they could draw pictures, write vague claims doesn’t make any single part of their claims valid.

      That science rag accumulates many processes into one large picture, without any valid components demonstrates wilful misrepresentation and fraudulent claims.

      It’s one thing to daydream fantasies, it is quite another thing to pose that fantasy as planned or designed reality.

    • And change things we didnt plan to change. Linear thinking in a complex polynomial world. Remember Willis’s article on volcanoes NOT changing the temperatures locally around Hawaii because the volcanic aerosols effect to block and reflect sunlight resulted in a reduction in cloud cover, letting in more sunlight to compensate. The climate is full of these reactions of other factors to resist change. Check out the good article on the le Chatelier Principle in Wiki – you’ll be amazed. It is illogical not to see that negative feedbacks are the norm in a long stable entity like earth climate.

    • That might work. But, before we do that we should examine in some close detail the evidence for CO2 warming. It strikes me that climate science hasn’t been subjected to a strict criticism that would reveal errors. Any criticisms are relegated to blogs like this or workshops like the American Physical Society workshop that don’t reach the mainstream media, or even mainstream climate science for that matter, except to deny anything that threatens the mainstream theory. We shouldn’t reject any such criticism as being a result of “denialism,” although that’s exactly how it’s painted, but we should welcome such criticism as helping us to think critically and get the science right. Instead we call those who criticize the mainstream view “science-deniers,” when in reality what’s happening is that those who uphold the mainstream view– and hold power in that realm– are simply practicing the fine art of silencing criticism.

      What would the criticisms of the mainstream theory consist of? Failure to find a clear tropospheric “hot spot;” uncertainty of climate projections; dismissing evidence of natural variations similar to today’s; failure to find any distortion of the atmospheric temperature profile as predicted by infrared cooling models; failure of models to accurately predict bulk tropospheric warming; and so on.

      As I’ve repeatedly stated, there are also no experiments that prove that the internal energy of CO2, activated by IR energy, is passed onto molecules of O2 and N2 to raise their translational energy, thus increasing the temperature of a volume of gas. If this is not the case, then we can throw out much of CO2 warming theory. If this is the case, then we need an experiment to prove those specifics of the CO2 theory: this is basic science. The fallback position for alarmists is that we don’t need any of this because what really happens is that CO2 raises the emissions height and we count down from there to get the surface temperature, using the lapse rate. This, however, is complete BS, although I haven’t figured out exactly why. Then again, conveniently, neither have the alarmists come up with any proof that this is actually happen, except through speculation and assumption. Does the emissions height change surface pressure? If not, then how exactly does it raise temperature?

      I think geoengineering climate is a very, very bad idea: height of stupidity and arrogance. First be sure there’s a problem in the first place.

      • Don132,
        There is no shortage of experiments showing that adding CO2 will raise the
        temperature in a controlled environment. Even myth busters showed that

        • This myth buster video destroyed all credibility of the whole Myth buster series after that. It was a complete fraud. At 1:37 of the video, the CO2 count was 7.351% So instead of a real life CO2 ratio of 1 part in 2500, they were running a CO2 ratio of 1 part in 14.

          • Alan Tomalty : Not the WHOLE series BUT definitely
            THAT PARTICULAR “EXPERIMENT”.
            It simply PROVED that even the MYTH-BUSTERS-TEAM
            (like David Attenborough and many others ) has simply
            BOUGHT INTO THE “AGW SCAM”.. Very disappointingly so !
            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
            What NEEDS to be remembered here is that THIS “SCAM” has
            nothing to do with SCIENCE. Everyone gets so agitated because
            solutions and explanations are SO PLAIN and OBVIOUS !
            IT IS A “SCAM” inflicted by the UN through it’s IPCC and
            they’ve CREATED THEIR OWN RULES which
            ( like the Canadian Human Rights Commission rules)
            are NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION or REASONED DEBATE
            with anybody !!! …………………So STOP TRYING !!
            The “SCAM” EXISTS to justify the POLITICAL AMBITIONS
            of the vast numbers of UN member-states who have VOTED
            THEMSELVES a “pay-rise” ( of $US 100 BILLION per YEAR )
            to be EXTRACTED AS PAYMENT FROM DEVELOPED
            WESTERN COUNTRIES to the indolent greedy ones !!
            This is TO BE JUSTIFIED as a payment to ASSUAGE THE
            GUILT of the WESTERN CULTURE for it’s SUCCESS and
            consequent DOMINANCE of the WORLD in every aspect !
            THE UN WANTS THAT ALL TO CHANGE and THIS is THEIR
            CHOSEN METHOD ! CLAIM DAMAGE caused by the industrial
            processes that have elevated the WESTERN MIND , CULTURE
            and ENTIRE CIVILISATION , cripple them financially and
            un-wind their EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION and then
            everyone can lead a grey , uniform , miserable BUT EQUITABLE
            LIFE ! AND whilst “we” have been so distracted in justifying
            our very existence LOOK HOW SUCCESSFUL THEY HAVE BEEN !
            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
            It is TIME TO MOVE ON and RECLAIM and re-establish “our”
            hard-won WESTERN CULTURE and VALUES .
            That HAS got to start with CLEANING OUT ALL OUR
            ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS , political bureaucracies and
            environmental bodies of their reprehensible
            “Post-modernist-neo-marxist-left-wing-ideology
            -promoting intelligentsia” and REPLACING them with
            proper FREE-ENTERPRISE CAPITALISTS who value
            FREE-SPEECH and INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS and FREEDOMS
            which can ONLY EXIST in OUR WESTERN CULTURE !

        • “There is no shortage of experiments showing that adding CO2 will raise the
          temperature in a controlled environment. ”

          If you say that, then you don’t know what a controlled experiment is. For example, in the myth busters experiment, how many lamps warmed the center two boxes? One in the center and one on each side. How many lamps warmed the end boxes? One in the center and one on only one side. Was pressure controlled? Was experimenter bias controlled?

          So once again: where is the experiment? I get yelled at because “everyone knows” that CO2 will raise the temperature of N2 and O2 according to the equipartition theorum, but I’ve yet to see one single experiment that proves that this transfer of energy actually happens in the predicted chain of causation (any hiccups or misfires?) and consequently raises the temperature of a gas—yet this is the very foundation of the CO2 fear! And not only is there no physical experiment, but we have no tropospheric warming as predicted by models, we have no “signature” tropospheric hotspot at about 300 hPa as predicted by the CO2 warming theory, and we have no proof whatsoever that CO2 is distorting the atmosphere’s temperature profile, as predicted by infrared cooling models that are supposedly (modeled) demonstrations of the actual transfer of energy from CO2 to N2 and O2. So, what gives? Let’s not confuse CO2 infrared absorption/scattering with “raising temperature”: we need to measure this temperature change directly, rather than assume it.

          Maybe we can throw away the theory that CO2 significantly warms adjacent molecules because it has no experimental foundation (or if it does, let’s see it!) and are then left with the theory that CO2 warming is caused by a raised emissions height. But, I don’t think the latter is valid, either.

          • Don132 wrote, “I’ve yet to see one single experiment that proves that this transfer of energy [from the CO2 which absorbs it, to the bulk atmosphere] actually happens…”

            The fact that YOU haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

            Can you think of ANY example in nature in which the molecules of a dye or colorant absorb radiation without affecting the temperature of the material that the colorant coats or is dispersed within?

            GHGs are colorants. They tint the atmosphere (albeit in the infrared, rather than the visible, part of the spectrum). The Precious Air Fertilizer acts as a dye in the atmosphere, which “colors” the atmosphere in the infrared, esp. around 15 µm.

            If you’ve ever walked barefoot on a hot summer day, and stepped from light-colored concrete to black asphalt, you must be aware of the fact that the color of a thing affects the amount of light which it absorbs, and thus its temperature.

            https://sealevel.info/white_sidewalk_and_black_asphalt.png

            If you take a chunk of shiny metal, and coat it with dark paint, and then shine a bright light on it, it will heat up, of course. Do you think the paint, alone, can heat up, without affecting the temperature of the metal beneath?

            Of course not.

            Then why on earth would you imagine that the CO2 in the atmosphere can absorb LWIR radiation without affecting the temperature of the nitrogen, oxygen & argon?
             

            Don132 continued, “Let’s not confuse CO2 infrared absorption/scattering with “raising temperature”: we need to measure this temperature change directly, rather than assume it.”

            Wrong. There’s no “scattering” of IR by CO2 added to the atmosphere.

            When CO2 (or anything else!) absorbs radiation, its temperature increases — always. If you don’t think so, it is you who are “confused.”

            It might not STAY much warmer, for very long, however. At 1 Atm, when a CO2 molecule absorbs a LWIR photon, or otherwise acquires the equivalent amount of energy, it holds that absorbed energy for an average of only a few nanoseconds before losing it by collision with another air molecule (which is warmed by it). Here’s a source for more information:

            http://sealevel.info/Happer_UNC_2014-09-08/Another_question.html

          • I’d like to see that experiment, please, that you imply exists, but that I haven’t seen.

            The fact that molecules absorb and emit energy is nothing new, and I certainly don’t dispute that. The issue is whether the excitation of CO2 by the absorption of infrared, which excites vibrational and rotational modes, is transferred to the translational energy of N2 and O2 to any degree, thereby raising the temperature of a parcel of gas wherein the CO2, O2, and N2 reside.

            I understand the theory, and it sounds good! But where has it been confirmed? I’m not asking for confirmation of the equipartition theorem; I’m not disputing that. I’m asking for confirmation of the measurable elevation of temperature in a specific instance of 400 ppm CO2 in an atmosphere: how much does CO2 raise the temperature? How about if we increase the CO2 concentration to 800 ppm? How about at 60 C? 0 C? Wouldn’t those sorts of experiments be the very first ones we’d perform to confirm our theory of CO2 warming?

            If we go back to the Connolly experiments that looked at balloon data to determine how much the atmospheric temperature profile was distorted according to the equipartition theorem, and as those effects are laid out in infrared cooling models, what do we find? No distortion of the atmospheric temperature profile! So someone who believes this is really happening needs to go back to the balloon data and show us, please, how the atmospheric temperature profile is indeed distorted, the infrared cooling models are sound, and CO2 does affect N2 and O2 as predicted. Or, someone needs to demonstrate in a controlled laboratory experiment how CO2 actually does raise the temperature of a volume of gas.

            If this isn’t happening, then something is wrong with our assumptions.

          • You didn’t answer the question, Don: Can you think of ANY example in nature in which the molecules of a dye or colorant absorb radiation without affecting the temperature of the material that the colorant coats or is dispersed within?

            Prof. Will Happer is a top atmospheric physicist. He probably knows as much about the (misnamed) “greenhouse effect” of CO2 as anyone on the planet. Watch Prof. Happer’s lecture, here:
            http://sealevel.info/Happer_UNC_2014-09-08/

            Then read this follow-up conversation with me:
            http://sealevel.info/Happer_UNC_2014-09-08/Another_question.html

            Then, if you suspect that anything he said or wrote is inaccurate, quote it and give your evidence.

          • I don’t disagree that CO2 absorbs IR, nor that it transfers energy to N2 and O2. That isn’t the issue. The issue is, does this happen in the way that we suppose it does in order to raise the temperature of a volume of gas? Can each CO2 molecule affect 2500 other molecules of O2 and N2 to any degree?

            Where is the graph that shows how CO2 warms a volume of gas? Professor Happer may be right, but I for one would like to see a demonstration of this. A graph that show how much CO2 at 400 ppm warms an atmosphere at 0 degrees C? How about at 20 C? How about 800 ppm CO2? How about 2000 ppm CO2? 4000 ppm? Let me see, please, the actual measurements that confirm the theory. Why do we not see these? Far be it from me to argue with Dr. Happer, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask of any theory that the proof be demonstrated in a physical experiment. If IR excites CO2 and then CO2 passes this energy on to the translational energy of N2 and O2, thereby raising the temperature of the gas within which these molecules reside, then let’s see the actual temperature change. Yes or no? I know what the theory says! I want to know what the experiment says.

            And then there are the experiments of the Connollys. https://globalwarmingsolved.com/2013/11/summary-the-physics-of-the-earths-atmosphere-papers-1-3/ If CO2 transfers energy to N2 and O2, then we should be seeing this in the distortion of the atmospheric temperature profile, confirming the validity of infrared cooling models, but we do not. Then maybe this energy transfer is so small as not to bother with, or maybe it’s not happening quite the way we suppose it is.

            So what I’m arguing over is not any theory. I’m asking for a demonstration that the theory is correct, and I continually find that no one, not one person, has yet to provide me with a concrete, controlled experiment that demonstrates that CO2 will actually warm a volume, as predicted. Where is the proof that what we suppose is true, is actually true? Not a hard request, I should think, for a theory that’s taken the world by storm.

          • My guess is that someone actually has done the experiment to see if CO2 would warm a volume of gas as predicted, but the answers were too insignificant for anyone to bother about and were not what was hoped for. So I’m maybe not so far apart from your view as you think: whatever CO2 is doing, it doesn’t really matter. There’s a concrete way for us to prove this, isn’t there?

            But the fallback hand-waving position is that this doesn’t matter because CO2 raises the emissions height and that’s what really matters. If that’s the case, wouldn’t an increase in surface temperature cause an increase in surface pressure? Faster-moving molecules are under the same gravitational acceleration; wouldn’t that make pressure increase, as well as temperature? So has surface pressure increased?

          • Don132 wrote, “I don’t disagree that CO2 absorbs IR, nor that it transfers energy to N2 and O2. That isn’t the issue. The issue is, does this happen in the way that we suppose it does in order to raise the temperature of a volume of gas?”

            Really? In what way do you suppose that the absorbed energy could be transferred to the bulk atmosphere without raising its temperature?

            Imagine that we were talking about 12.5 cm microwave radiation instead 15 µm infrared radiation, and absorption by water instead of absorption by CO2. Would you say, “I don’t disagree that H2O absorbs microwaves, nor that it transfers energy to the food. That isn’t the issue. The issue is, does this happen in the way that we suppose it does in order to raise the temperature of the food?”

          • I can measure the change in temperature of food that has been microwaved! We can do an experiment on this, and we can make a graph showing temperature change at 20 seconds, 30 seconds, etc. So I assume that with your analogy you’re telling us that we’ve measured the temperature change that CO2 causes in the atmosphere? Let’s see the graph.

            Don’t suppose; prove. A simple graph will do.

            So far the theory that CO2 warms an atmosphere because each molecule of CO2 warms 2500 molecules of O2 and N2 is just that, a theory and an assumption and a speculation, with no proof whatsoever, proof that could easily be demonstrated in a laboratory but apparently never has been. If 400 ppm doesn’t register, try 1000 ppm or 2000 ppm. Demonstrate that the theory is true! Not hard. Unless … unless it’s not really true, after all. Then it would be very hard to demonstrate, and no one could produce any experiment that served as a solid foundation to the theory of CO2 warming, and everyone would be yelling about how it must be true because it must be true because it must be true, and that anyone who doesn’t believe it is ignorant.

            Maybe we’re mistaking theory for reality? How do we prove our theories? I’m not a scientist but I know the answer: experiment!

    • A safe geoengineering experiment was conducted about four (?) years ago in the Gulf of Alaska by a guy who dumped lots of iron oxide into it. Result: a huge increase in salmon catches, with no visible downside. Naturally, the greenie government in BC moved to prohibit future trials.

    • Carbon capture is a complete waste of money. Why would you put carbon dioxide into the ground when the atmosphere needs more CO2 Not less.

    • Where are we going to get the land to produce the crops that will be used to reduce CO2 and make useful byproducts? From third-world countries, of course! So not only do we now need their land to make products to export to the West and for carbon offsets, but we’ll also need more of that land to save the planet. Might even have to cut down some rain forest to make way for useful crops.

      Brilliant!! Sign me up.

      /sarc

      • CO2 emissions, which have increased atmospheric CO2 from about 0.03% in the 1940s to about 0.04% today, are directly responsible for 15%-20% of current agricultural productivity. If CO2 were still at 0.03% instead of the current 0.04% of the atmosphere, we’d need 18-25% more land under cultivation, just to maintain current agricultural output. If all the world’s rain forests were put under cultivation, that would almost, but not quite, make up the deficit.

  1. Models show …. If I took their models and showed how we could get back to 800-1200 ppm of CO2, do you think I could get published?

  2. Talking about technologies not yet invented, to solve a problem not yet proven to exist at all, strikes me as foolish and unproductive. CCS will require a substantial percentage of the output of a power plant to achieve, maybe 40-50%. Yes let’s double everyone’s electricity bills, sure, great idea.

    I am very glad I do not live in California.

  3. This is governmentese being spoken. There are words that must not be spoken so they have a largely incomprehensible workaround lingo. Just the language tells me its a wifty-poofty report. Justin Trudope gave an upbeat speech about the new cheap energy when you factor in that it will create millions of green high quality jobs. Post normal economics is very much on the tonques of these awful people.

    • My take completely Gary.

      The author et al. obviously had not a clue about what he was waffling about. There are far too many of these people about.

  4. So we must bring man’s emissions to net zero in order to stabilize a world temperature that has never been stable to start with. I can see it now, the few people allowed to live walking around with CO2 capture masks on their faces and methane capture devices strapped to their afterthoughts. “What a wonderful world it would be.”

    • Tom, there will be no need to have the capture devices if they can successfully reduce the population down to sustainable numbers. I believe I read somewhere that “they” postulate that number to be around 300 million.

      • Great. Let’s murder billions of humans to make the climate theoretically more stable for the 300 million elites who remain. If a postulated number is good enough to convince you to sanction mass murder, then you need to be one of the first to go.

  5. The only consumers really depending on ‚reliable‘ supply are hospitals, right. They will have to work really hard to treat all the casualties from interrupted supply chains, communication and infrastructure failures.

  6. The irony is that part of the temperature rise is being caused by the rising water vapor not CO2. WV has increased 8% since 1960. It has been rising twice as fast as calculated from liquid water temperature increase. Short term trend, since 2015-2016 el Nino is down but too soon to tell if long term up trend has ended. CO2 has no significant effect on average global temperature. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DhIMgNQVMAA4k76.jpg

      • Because run away global warming depends on temp increase from CO2….then temp increase from water vapor…..

        • Mark Pawelek wrote, “A. Temperature rise caused by more WV, or B. more WV caused by temperature rise?”

          Both. That’s what makes it “positive feedback” loop.
           

          Latitude wrote, “run away global warming depends on temp increase from CO2….then temp increase from water vapor”

          There’s no such thing as “run away global warming.” That’s a myth. Positive feedbacks, like water vapor feedback, do amplify the warming or cooling effect of other forcings, like CO2. But that doesn’t mean they “run away.”

          But the CAGW scare does not depend on that myth. High climate sensitivity estimates depend on positive net feedbacks, but not on “run away” warming.

          The issue (as usual) is quantification.

          “If you can’t quantify it, you don’t understand it.”
          – Peter Drucker

          The question is: what is the net effect of feedbacks on warming? The CAGW hypothesis depends on very strongly positive net climate feedbacks, greatly amplifying the slight warming from additional CO2.

          There’s scant evidence for that. The best evidence is the anthropogenic warming is modest and benign, and higher CO2 levels are beneficial, rather than harmful.

      • Apparently you missed or did not grasp this part “It has been rising twice as fast as calculated from liquid water temperature increase”. i.e. B only accounts for half of the temperature increase.

        From my blog/analysis:
        “Planet warming, as discussed later, increases the vapor pressure of water contributing to the water vapor increase. At present water vapor appears to be increasing about twice as fast as expected based on AGT increase alone. Global temperature increase since 2002 from the UAH trend is about 0.127 K per decade (this automatically includes feedback effect). At 24 °C, (75.2 °F) increase in vapor pressure of liquid water is 6.027% per degree. Percent increase in water vapor due to temperature increase = 0.127 * 6.027% = 0.765%. Measured % increase from TPW in 28 yr = (29.5-28.25)/28.875 = 0.043 = 4.3%. In 10 yr = 10/28*4.3 = 1.54%. Thus measured increase in WV is about 1.54/.765 = 2+ times that for temperature increase alone.”

    • Dan: I cannot understand how you can believe that water warms the planet. If you look around you, you will see water cooling everything. You even cool yourself by sweating.
      For every kilogram of water evaporated from the surface some 680 Watthrs. of energy is pumped up into the atmosphere and beyond to be dissipated. A proportion of which winds up in space. Water also produces lots of lovely Albedo as a bonus.

      In simple terms: The Earth sweats to keep cool; just like you and I.

      • The whole question is how much of the latent heat is released downward upon condensation. If the chart can be considered correct and it is established that temperature follows/correlates well with H2O vapour then obviously some of that latent heat release is causing temperature rise. Dan argues that the H2O vapour increase precedes temperature rise. The alarmists will argue the reverse. I tend to side with us skeptics because the little amount of CO2 increase does not correlate with the huge swings of H2O vapour.

      • Evaporation cooling at the surface is exactly matched by condensation heating in clouds. The increased water vapor slows the radiation cooling of the surface which allows it to get warmer.

        The evaporation/condensation thing moves about half of the energy up to about 10 km but from there on up to TOA it is essentially all radiation with reverse-thermalization to get the energy from non-ghg to ghg for radiation to the cosmos.

    • Dan Where did you get this graph? Hansen shut down the NASA H2O vapour project in 2009 after 20 years of not showing an increase. I assume the dataset comes from RSS satellites who have been tracking H2O vapour over the ice free oceans only.

      • http://www.remss.com/measurements/atmospheric-water-vapor/

        if you read the web site carefully enough you will see that the satellites have a number of issues with coverage. Since they they seem to use many different systems and then combine the data, I suspect big error factors.

        “We have merged the water vapor measurements from the many radiometers in operation since 1987, including SSM/I, SSMIS, AMSR-E, WindSat, and AMSR2. These data were all processed in a consistent manner using our radiative transfer model and careful instrument intercalibration. The water vapor from these instruments are used to create a Total Precipitable Water (atmospheric water vapor) product that is best for use in climate study. This 1-degree, monthly gridded product is further described in the document Merged Monthly 1-degree Total Precipitable Water – TPW.”

        If you go to the document mentioned in the last sentence you will find more smoking guns.

        “a time-latitude plot (a minimum of 10% of latitude cells is required for valid data”
        “For this reason, we only excluded data from grid points with very heavy rain, so high that our microwave instrument processing does not derive an accurate vapor value. ”
        “There are no data values in regions of land, persistent ice, and coastal areas.”
        “and combine TPW values from all instruments using simple averaging.”
        “The quality of the vapor product produced is dependent on the number of data that are averaged into each grid cell. Land and ice proximity affects this number. Radiometers suffer from side lobe interference that prevents obtaining vapor values near land. Due to variations in instrument resolution, look angle, geographic conditions and spatial footprints, some pixels have more observations than others. This results in varying numbers of observations for a given grid cell and poorer quality averages near coastlines and along ice edges. We tested a variety of minimum observation requirements. The figure below shows the count of water vapor data in each one degree grid cell during the time 1990 to 2005. As you can see the number of data falling in any given cell is usually much more than 300. It is only along the coastlines and ice that this number drops and poor quality data can enter the data product. We experimented to see how different thresholds affected resulting trends. We found little difference once a minimum threshold of 160 counts per cell was met.”
        “This product is constructed by merging all valid TPW (water vapor) data from SSM/I, SSMIS, AMSR-E, WindSat, and AMSR2 instruments.”

        So as you can see this is a very imprecise science. I hope models weren’t used to patch up the data. The jury is still out whether we can trust this data. From the graph it seems to have a correlation with the satellite temperature data sets.

        • Alan, all of the method description puts some uncertainty on absolute value but, providing they are consistent in procedure, very little uncertainty on the slope of the trend. I use the slope with essentially no significant influence from the absolute value.

  7. Easy. Just reduce human population to below 500 million and net zero emissions are just about guaranteed.

    • De-carbonizer Dr. John Schellnhuber got his CBE from the Queen for tolerating 2billion (although lately down to 1 billion) with clean hands. Sir, 500 million should earn a knighthood! 😉

    • True. According to several famous climate scientists, future climate change has already been baked into the pipeline. It will take decades to reverse it, no matter what we do. So why try?

  8. A more fundamental question is why “global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century” to avert “dangerous levels of climate change”? To accomplish that goal you have to eliminate humans altogether. From the time we learned to make fire we have been producing CO2. I thought the warmists wanted to take us back to prehistoric times.

  9. Our endowment of “stored solar energy” (aka fossil fuels) are the “training wheels” to establish our economies and rise out of poverty. Yet fossil fuels are finite. To supply transport fuel/energy for 1000 years, we need to develop cost effective sustainable energy systems. e.g. fusion (including solar) or fission power. Davis et al. detail many of these challenges.

  10. “Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century.”

    Is there ANY data to support this doomsday prediction, other than climate models that reflect the biases and incomplete knowledge of their designers? Our knowledge of the climate and its drivers is imperfect. It only takes one unknown factor to change model results drastically. The fact that there are many unknowns make the task of designing an accurate climate model impossible.

    I say, lets take our chances and wait until the end of the century. If the climate actually does show signs of becoming dangerous in the interim, and we haven’t come up with an answer to the problem by then, let’s spend our funds on ways to adapt to changes in the climate. Logic says that would be preferable to spending fortunes now on hair-brained schemes that are likely to be a waste of money or even make our problems worse.

  11. A very important issue is what the authors consider to be a dangerous level of climate change?
    What is deemed dangerous to some may not be to others.

  12. But the models are wrong! Based on the paleoclimate record and work with other models, one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control what so ever. Despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. The AGW conjecture is based on only partial science and is so full of holes that it is indefensible. The AGW conjecture depends on a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. What is totally neglected is that good absorbers are also good radiators and in the troposphere, heat energy transfer by conduction, convection, and phase change dominate over energy transfer by LWIR absorption band radiation. The radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse. in the Earth’s atmosphere or anywhere else in the solar system for that mater. If CO2 really affected climate one would expect that the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused at least a measurable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well. There may be many good reasons to be conserving on the use of fossil fuels but climate change is not one of them. It is all a matter of science.

  13. I can’t think of any “net zero” CO2 emission system that can meet the requirement. When I consider the whole long chain from finding the raw materials, through construction, operation, maintenance and recycling, how can it possibly be done?

  14. If they really wanted to decarbonize, the technology already exists.. but they don’t want it because it is still cheap, abundant and reliable… it is called nuclear. Could also build more dams and lakes, especially in California but Greenies don’t want that either. The Progressives totally ignore nuclear… as far as they are concerned, it is NOT green.

    • They are afraid it would work. They don’t want to solve a problem, they want to oppress, impoverish, and demoralize the lower classes. See? It’s working.

  15. There should be a legend at the bottom of this chart that reads:

    A, B and C pertains to just about everyone because all of those things are essential in a modern society.

    E is only needed to enhance the production of petroleum.

    J can also be called plants (trees, bushes and grasses). They’re very useful for feeding, clothing and housing humans.

    L, Q, R and S all consume more energy than they produce and so should only be used for applications where this is not important.

    Ignore the word “capture” as this usually makes any associated process unprofitable and therefore unrealistic.

    I could go on and on about all the things that are wrong with this picture but I doubt it would sink in with the people who think this picture could ever represent reality.

    This drawing is one of many made by people who are not engineers but think they can “engineer” a system without having any clue as to how things actually work in reality.

  16. “A successful transition to a future net-zero emissions energy system is likely to depend on the availability of vast amounts of inexpensive, emissions-free electricity…” Thank you, Captain Obvious.

  17. 100% renewables are impossible. The best that can be done is a world with 95 % (nuclear power plants, hydro power plants and geothermal power plants) with another 5% of fossil fuels. If this is what the greenies want, then I say take off the subsidies, relax the nuclear regulations and environmental regulations against dams and forget about this silly idea of CO2 being a pollutant, and may the best energy win. If the greenies refuse more nuclear power; then the present level of fossil fuels use won’t drop to any less than 75%. Notice that i didnt mention solar or wind. With subsidies you need fossil fuel back up and without subsidies they die

  18. All this attention to solutions to realise net-zero CO2 emission energy generation just ignores real pollution issues. Humans really have gone mad!

  19. Part of the model has already been validated. Experience to date has shown that only replacing fossil fuels with nuclear power actually reduces CO2 emissions in any measurable way. In Ontario, the provincial government produced a short discussion paper in 1992 showing that there were four periods in the province’s history in which CO2 emissions declined on a year over year basis.

    These periods were: 1973-4, 1982-3, 1984-6, and 1992-3.

    Three of these reductions in CO2 were accompanied by severe economic recessions. One, 1984-6 was a period of strong economic growth. However, the only factor in the province’s economy which could produce this reduction was the commissioning of eight nuclear power reactors and the accompanying reduction in coal-fired generation at Lambton and Nanticoke. During this short period, Ontario’s total electricity generation TWh by source rose from about 30% nuclear to about 60% nuclear. During this time, the province also had average annual GDP growth of about 5-6 per cent.

    None of the accompanying government programs to change electricity consumption (energy efficiency, conservation, renewables) have had any measurable effect. So the choice became obvious. If you want to reduce CO2 emissions for whatever reason, the choice is more nuclear power or economic recession.

  20. Science needs to rename their magazine to Pseudoscience Magazine.

    “Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century” is proof that models can “show,” literally, anything at all, without reference to reality. Even if rising CO2 levels were harmful (for which there’s scant evidence), there still would be no need for fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to “fall to zero” to prevent CO2 levels from rising.

    AR5 estimates that a little over half of all CO2 mankind emits in a year is removed in that year by negative feedbacks, such as greening and absorption in the oceans. AR5 estimates that the terrestrial biosphere removes about (2.5/9.2) = 27% [p. 6-3] or 29% [Fig. 6.1] of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, each year, and that the oceans remove another 26% [Fig 6.1]. (There are wide error bars on those numbers, but the 53%-55% sum has narrower error bars than the two addends.) The rate of removal by those mechanisms is determined by the ambient CO2 level, not by the rate of emissions. So, if we believe the IPCC’s numbers, if anthropogenic CO2 emissions were merely halved, CO2 levels would already be falling (slightly).

    If CO2 emissions really were to “fall to zero,” that would cause dangerous climate change, because CO2 levels would fall rapidly, and the result would be declining agricultural productivity and desertification, and cooling temperatures.

    What’s more, if climate sensitivity is at or below the low end of the IPCC’s range of estimates, as growing evidence strongly suggests, there’s no need to try to reduce CO2 emissions, because the “social cost of carbon” is clearly negative, the hypothetical harms being minimal, and the well-proven benefits large.

  21. Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century. –>

    Models show neither reliability nor any link to the real existing world at all.

  22. must approach zero in order to stabilize global mean temperature.
    ======
    Temperature has not been stable for millions of years. No one knows how to predict or modify natural climate change.

  23. Net emissions of CO2 by human activities—including not only energy services and industrial production but also land use and agriculture—must approach zero in order to stabilize global mean temperature.

    If they start from that ridiculous premise, anything afterward is suspect. Full stop.

    • OK, I skimmed the report. The only place I can see anything about cost is in the Transportation section with some comparison graphs for proposed solutions, but no place can I find comparison to the costs of currently employed technologies. So, like all leftist Utopias, we can begin to build our glorious future only after destroying our current one?

  24. So, even if this fantasy world were to come true, with ZERO net CO2 emissions, obviously, these overeducated idjits haven’t stopped to think about the negative global aftereffects.
    First, CO2 IS. NOT. A. POLLUTANT.
    Second, I guess these overeducated idiots are comfortable living in a desert world, with no plants. (reductio ad absurdum)
    Third, with no plants, I guess they’re good with living with hypoxia.
    But I’m guessing they wouldn’t notice any difference, being already brain-dead themselves.

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