Friday 6 November 2009

Saving the World Again - Or, Errr, Not ?

Remember how, back in September, Gordon Brown decided it was time to save the world again; and how he was going to elbow Miliband (Ed) aside and personally lead the charge in Copenhagen ? Because mere environment ministers 'don't have enough clout' ?

Well. In the meantime, Obama and the Chinese seem to have decided they'll each adopt a unilateralist approach to climate change: and despite his best huff-n-puff efforts Brown couldn't get the EU to agree anything concrete last week.

And lo ! Little Ed (the one with insufficient clout) has been thrust to the front once more, and is now inviting us to lower our expectations.

I'm guessing there is a spare seat on the plane to Denmark, too ...



Budgie said...

The notion that the whole of the global climate system is totally stable, except for one factor - man made CO2 causing global warming - is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard. It is the AGW believers who are the climate change deniers. They deny that the global climate changes naturally, but it always has and always will.

Bill Quango MP said...

19 Oct 2009 ... Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the “impasse”. Fifty days to save the earth, ...

Only 32 days left .. dum dum dum dum dum dum FLASH {tick,tick} FLASH .. -

Flash - ahh -arr - king of the impossible
He's bored ev'ry one of us
Stand for ev'ry none of us
He'll slave with a clunky hand
Ev'ry man ev'ry woman ev'ry child
With a mighty flash
He enslaved every one of us.

Flash .. no one loves you .. and you still have only thirty two days to save the earth .. dum dum dum dum dumd dum ...

hatfield girl said...

What is it with Brown and the number 5? Five tests for this that and the other, 50 days to save the world now (at least to save the world it's times 10).

Hmm. Perhaps it's time to discuss Brown the person, and personality, again.

James Higham said...

And lower our moral compass while we're there.

Old BE said...

Budgie - even if it is CO2 only, the climate change industry never mention that a medium-sized volcanic eruption can easily exceed several years' worth of man-made CO2 production. Strange that this is never included in any discussion...

Anonymous said...


Brown and 5 is easy.

One Eye, One Hand ==5 fingers =5 neurons

rwendland said...

Blue Eyes, maybe it is not discussed becaue it is untrue:

"volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year ... Emissions of CO2 by human activities ... amount to about 27 billion tonnes per year ... Human activities release more than 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes"

Pogo said...

It doesn't matter about volcanoes anyway. The recent Tripati et al paper, despite being headlined as an AGW scare story has, thanks to "the Law of Unintended Consequences", quietly slipped the skids under the CO2 premise.

They claim that "the last time CO2 levels were the same as today it was 10F (Americans! When I did my PhD we worked in Kelvin!) warmer and sea levels were 20 feet higher. Unless I've been missing something, today's temperatures are still 10F cooler and the sea 20 feet lower - which tends to uncouple CO2 from global temperature.

rwendland said...

Pogo, I've not read the Tripati et al paper, but my guess is that sea-levels are a trailing measure, so there is no contradiction there - we simply haven't stabalised yet.

ND a bit off-topic, but maybe you'd be interested in this snippet I stumbled on. CEO of Exelon (largest nuc fleet in US) telling Senate committee that CO2 pricing needed for economic deployment is

"New wind generating capacity ranges from $45 to $80 per ton depending on the location. New nuclear generating capacity is $75 per ton. A new integrated gasification combined cycle plant with carbon capture and sequestration costs $160 per ton."

He is saying that as a US power generation technology consumer windmills are cheaper than nucs (at current penetration levels). Interesting quote? Both less than plain gas of course. And of course this is a sales pitch for subsidies, so take with due amount of salt.

That $75 for nucs is rather more than the £30-ish floor CO2 price some in the UK are talking about to make nucs economic. Must be that wonderful French nuc technology being demonstrated so well in Finland that will make it cheaper for the UK!

Nick Drew said...

Mr E - the subsidy-bidding war turns my stomach

assume you have seen this ?

rwendland said...

Yep, I've seen that. Very weird linking operational and safety systems like that - an obvious no-no. Especially as the EPR is designed with MOX fuel capability, which is more difficult to control in a reactor and contains much more nasties should something go "poof".

Perhaps there is a fully independent secondary SCRAM system Areva thought was enough defense in depth. EDF engineering (in the past at least) seemed fairly sound, so strange Areva should try this.

Pogo said...

@rwendland: Pogo, I've not read the Tripati et al paper, but my guess is that sea-levels are a trailing measure, so there is no contradiction there - we simply haven't stabalised yet.

Sea levels maybe... But lower tropospheric temperature...? No way. Atmospheric temperature has very little hysteresis, just look at the difference between day and nighttime temperatures on a clear day.

Nick Drew said...

EDF engineering (in the past at least) seemed fairly sound

I recall going to gve a lecture at the big EDF facility at Clamart in the Paris suburbs: they had a bloody Département de Mathématiques !

rwendland said...

Given the shambles Areva are making of building the Finnish EPR perhaps they need a Département de Mathématiques! EDF themselves built the French nucs from Areva (or predecessor) components, and generally did a good job of project management.

Have you seen this op-ed from x-bench Senators "we should consider a border tax on [clean-energy technologies produced in other] countries that avoid these standards." What a stupid and scary U.S. idea. Put tariffs of clean-energy technology, so slow down its adoption across the world.

This sounds like a big-iron generator lobbyist idea. Tariff block future cheap-as-chips domestic technology like heat-pumps and micro-CHP (and wind-turbine components) mass produced in China, and subsidise giant and slow U.S. engineering companies building large plant like carbon capture or nucs.

rwendland said...

@pogo: I'm afraid lower tropospheric temperature is above my head, and the Nature paper itself does not seem online, so I cannot evaluate this issue myself.

All I can do is point to what Tripati herself says:

"Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas, and geological observations that we now have for the last 20 million years lend strong support to the idea that carbon dioxide is an important agent for driving climate change throughout Earth's history"

This doesn't sound like she herself believes CO2 levels are uncoupled from global temperature.

Pogo said...

@rwendland: This doesn't sound like she herself believes CO2 levels are uncoupled from global temperature.

I'm sure she doesn't... But genuine science depends upon the scientific method, not "beliefs".

Taking the report at face value, if ~400ppm CO2 implies that temperature should be 10F warmer than at present, why isn't it? The only logical conclusion is that CO2 isn't that important a contributor to global temperature.

If you use the sensitivity figures from the IPCC report (which may be overstated but there's still a lot of debate about the ERBE satellite results) and remembering that the response to CO2 increase is logarithmic not linear, in order to get 10F of CO2-based warming from today at approx 2F per doubling (excepting any form of feedback as yet unknown) you need something like (387 * 2^5)ppm = 12,384ppm - which is rather a lot.