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The Saviour Machine

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, January 9th, 2018 - 66 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, climate change, Economy, energy, Environment, global warming, International, making shit up, science, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , ,

101* of 116 integrated assessment models (IAMs) factored into IPCC synthesis reports mapping a pathway for warming of less than 2 degrees C, include negative emissions technology. For the most part, the technology we’re talking about is BECCS (Bio-Energy Carbon Capture and Storage).

It’s a fantastic idea. (Wired) Grow lots of stuff and burn it to produce electricity while capturing the carbon that results from burning stuff, and bury that carbon in deep ground reservoirs.

There’s even a plant up and running. It can be done!

 

And that there’s a photo of the world’s one and only operating BECCS facility – the Archer Daniel Midland plant in Decatur, Illinois. Impressive, is it not? It’s only taken 15 years to get this far. Only 15 years to store a total of 1.4 million tons of CO2. Now sure, things start off slow and gather pace. The plant reckons it can store another 5 million tons over just the next few years. The US emits about 3 x that every single day. Just saying.

Oh. And…

In a recent paper, engineers Mathilde Fajardy and Niall Mac Dowell, of Imperial College in London, explore best- and worst-case BECCS scenarios in excruciating detail. In worst-case scenarios (say, burning willow grown on grasslands in Europe), it’s possible to never even achieve negative emissions. You spend too much carbon transporting crops, preparing land, and building a plant. And even in best-case scenarios (using fast-growing elephant grass on marginal cropland in Brazil), you still need land use on par with [Kevin] Anderson’s multiples of India and water use on par with what we currently use for all agriculture in the world

So here we are. At present rates, not increasing rates of emission, warming of under 2 degrees will be impossible by about 2030. Meanwhile, political leaders and policy makers want us all to put our faith in them and their fixation with an idea Henrik Karlsson had while watching late night TV back in 2007. Henrik may or may not have been stoned. I don’t know.

What I do know is that we need a movement of movements that derails capitalism. That, or we burn. Or, if you prefer the words of an academic – Andrea Malm:

Capital will not lead the exit from the fossil economy. Only a movement of movements can amass a social power greater than the enemy’s in the little time that is left.

*The remaining 15 IAMs work out to below 2 degrees, because in those assessments global emissions peaked in 2010. Some IAMs incorporate both a 2010 peak date and BECCS

 

 

66 comments on “The Saviour Machine”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    “…Capital will not lead the exit from the fossil economy. Only a movement of movements can amass a social power greater than the enemy’s in the little time that is left…”

    Yeah, because the revolution from below has worked out real swell so far. That has to be about the stupidest thing I’ve read forever, and if that is really the only plan anyone can come up with to save us all from global warming then we are well and truly f**ked.

    The US government pays 20 billion dollars a year to oil and coal companies as direct subsidies. That would fund a lot of BECCS. Let’s face it, the oil companies will fight tooth and claw to keep that money.

    Given the corruption in US politics those subsidies won’t go away. Relying on some sort of magical revolution of the people to change things is magical thinking. But what if you said to the big energy companies we’ll subsidise you to build and run BECCS plants to the tune of 25 billion per annum instead?

    Corrupt politicians still get their kickbacks and Exxon happily become a good guy by stopping using the subsidies to extract oil sands and instead building BECCS, and because they get to keep their subsidy that keeps the shareholders and the markets happy.

    Everyone wins.

    • Bill 1.1

      You missed the bit about how BECCS simply won’t fucking work?

      But then, seeing as how you harbour some strange notion of social change being magical, your comment shouldn’t elicit any measure of surprise.

      • Sanctuary 1.1.1

        I was thinking more in terms of general industrial carbon sequestration technologies.

        They only don’t work because no one has any incentive to develop any. If you let people make a fortune from doing so, then they get the cash to bribe their own politicians, and if you are going to have corrupt politics driven awash with corporate money, it might as well be from the carbon sequestration industry.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          They only don’t work because no one has any incentive to develop any.

          And that’s different to “they don’t exist”, how?

          Seems like a nice extension of the magic money tree concept you got going there. Now not only is the tree magical, but the money itself has magical properties and can bring impossible things into existence.

          Before you respond to this with some mention of piddly “bench top” experiments, think about the following two things.

          One. In engineering, things do not generally just scale up, as in, we have a wee one, so we just make it bigger et viola!

          Two. We have maybe a couple of decades of time. So how do a dozen or so techniques get scaled up (all their problems ironed out) and the thousands of required plants get located, built and maintained within the next several thousand days?

          It doesn’t happen Sanctuary. It’s a logistical impossibility. By way of comparison, maybe consider the “One Belt One Road” that China’s building. That’s a small project by comparison, that’s using tried and tested technology, and it’s not expected to be completed until 2049.

  2. RedLogix 2

    The combination of solar, wind and a global super grid could have the world’s electricity generation at close to zero carbon emissions within a few decades or so. The idea has been around since at least the 80’s and the technology is quite mature:

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/lets-build-a-global-power-grid

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_grid

    And oh look who may well lead the way:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-state-grid-envisions-global-wind-and-sun-power-network-1459348941

    The challenge is not technical, it’s not even economic. It’s political.

    • +1

      Yep. BECCS is obviously a waste of time while simply building up renewable generation and decreasing fossil fuel use would work.

      The problem is that too many people are dependent upon the systems that are destroying the environment and the politicians don’t see a way out of that.

    • Bill 2.2

      I disagree with your take on what the main challenge is RL. It’s not technical, or economic or political (although those things definitely present barriers and obstacles).

      It’s time.

      No-one has come forward with a scenario that demonstrates how humanity could possibly build the colossal amount of wind and/or solar generation in the time window that we have before the creation of +2 degrees conditions.

      We want out of this cul-de-sac we have to build stuff like there’s no tomorrow and slash and burn our energy use like there’s no tomorrow.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        Fair enough Bill; and for that critical shortage of time the blame lies squarely with the fossil fuel companies. I believe criminal trials will eventuate from this.

        Yet the historic evidence strongly once a new technology becomes about an order of magnitude cheaper than the old one, the transition can be remarkably fast. Less than a decade. Already there are utility scale solar PV plants generating at costs in the range 2 -3 c/unit. New coal plants are greater than 7c/unit and factor in transmission costs, you reach the same conclusion most people in the industry have already reached … all coal assets are stranded. Gas is not too far off the same fate.

        Generation cost for renewables is already the cheapest option; the remaining hurdle is storage and transmission on a global scale.

        Perversely enough one of the best options for pumped storage (using either water or air) is to repurpose old coal mines as giant storage vessels.

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-17/german-coal-mine-to-be-reborn-as-giant-pumped-hydropower-battery

        http://reneweconomy.com.au/bhp-sees-500mw-solar-storage-potential-disused-mines-20836/

        The combination of low cost global transmission using HVDC supergrids and regional buffering in storage projects described above, doesn’t involve any high risk cutting edge technology; it’s pretty much all stuff we already know how to do. Align the political and economic incentives … and it could all happen a lot faster than most people would guess.

        • NewsFlash 2.2.1.1

          Hope you’re not using Aus as an example of good use of renewables, SA has taken the lead as have several other states, but political will and leadership is the only thing lacking from transforming the country to low emissions, from the worst polluter per capita.

          Transmission of electricity over vast distances, as you probably already know, is very inefficient.

          In NZ, solar generation, domestic or commercial is almost non existent, and how many wind farms are there? Fortunately NZ has an abundance of hills suitable for pumped hydro technology, however, Aus coal mines are predominantly pit type excavations with little Head height, unlike the German underground mine with a 600mtr head height.

          An acquaintance living up the road from where I live said he was working in the UK on a new Power generation plant, unfortunately the plant is burning fuel for generation (steam turbine), the new technology being used is supposed to be considerably more efficient and kinder to the environment, the plant will be burning “Wood chip” which is change from the all the other fuel types, and then he tells me the chip is coming from Canada as waste product from processing pine logs, I have to say I was taken back by that information, to purchase the fuel and then transport it by ship to the UK, I guess the distance isn’t too far, but the carbon footprint from transporting it would probably negate the benefit of the fuel.

          • RedLogix 2.2.1.1.1

            Hope you’re not using Aus as an example of good use of renewables,

            In the comment above … no. But in general Aus is way ahead of NZ in terms of actual solar PV installations. In many places every third roof or more has a big install on it. Commercial installations between 30 – 100kW are readily spotted.

            As for the politics; this is pretty much boils down to a relatively small cabal of denier in the conservative factions of the Liberal and National parties, led by Abbott, who are becoming increasingly marginalised every year. Another election or so and they’ll be gone. The energy industry is pretty much just ignoring them wherever possible.

            In many ways with so much hydro NZ has been able to avoid confronting the issue, while Australia has had to grapple with it is a much more vigorous fashion.

            Transmission of electricity over vast distances, as you probably already know, is very inefficient.

            Please feel free to read the linkys. The whole point of HVDC ‘supergrids’ is that they do transmit electricity very efficiently. Losses of around 1- 3% over 1000km are achievable.

      • Pat 2.2.2

        “It’s time.”

        Hallelujah!…at last.

        First and foremost It IS time,… the lack of and that already squandered…everything else is now secondary.

    • reason 2.3

      Our politicians are a big part of the problem …. and their bullshit machines that surround and promote them…..
      Take this piece of climate change Government serving propaganda http://i2.wp.com/www.wrongkindofgreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/RacistAvaazAd.jpg?w=720 …. Those who pretend to be our saviors are our saboteurs.

      This AVAAZ propaganda poster pretends to push for action ….is about climate change,… and the power of leaders to initiate change at Government and law making levels …. It also seems to have a good ‘white knight’ good leaders theme versus the dark and muslim bad leaders.

      Cameron and Key are presented as the good guys … the opposite of the truth.

      Just Like their personalities ,,,, their polices were also filth in fighting atmospheric pollution

      Key and Nationals list of shame regarding climate change is so bad,… that our Sir Johnny made-off should be wearing a Orc mask.

      Off the top of my head ….. He and his Nact party

      1) About 9 years ago his new government Immediately shit canned and stopped the first baby steps of energy efficiency regulation that Labor were going to implement …. They thought fighting ” HELENGRAD ” and her ‘ nanny state’ was more important .

      2) Tried to start up a Lignite industry.. …. spending money on something that is so dirty and crap that it makes coal look clean. …. It failed/ went bust after spending millions buying land in Bill Englishs electorate.

      3) Decided to invest Billions on roads … encouraging more cars and traffic …. creating more greenhouse pollution

      4) Subverted the world wide carbon trading scheme by dealing in fraudulent carbon credits..

      5) Passed laws banning protests at sea … for the benefit of the oil and Gas mining industries

      6) Oversaw massive growth and intensification of Dairy farming … more methane from increased cow numbers ….. deforestation and environmental destruction from the Palm ( kernel ) industry

      7) Even Keys own special area of work and effort while in Govt …. Tax Havens ….. Help with illegal logging, deforestation and every other type of exploitation … environmental or otherwise.

      …………………..

      Cameron like Key, is a grubby bastard too… His dirty list.

      Supporting Extremist Muslim terrorists …. like ‘the Manchester boys’ …. to work for them in the middle east … for oil

      The Torys large cash donations they receive from dirty energy companies

      Cameron and his Tory support of Tax havens …. and all the filth that goes with them.

      Through leaders like cameron & Key …… Greed and money trumps action against climate change.

      Finally I wonder if AVAAZ asked …. and how Peter Jackson feels ….about his Weta CGI work … The eye of Sauron ,,,, being used in bullshit Propaganda like this ….

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    For the most part, the technology we’re talking about is BECCS

    …and the various negative emission plants that have been commissioned.

    It could still be a false hope, naturally. At least the technology works and actually captures carbon out of the atmosphere, which means if that mass movement ever materialises, or emissions are reduced to zero by some other means, the ppm reading could actually start to come down.

    • Bill 3.1

      Yeah. Seriously, we’d be as well breathing out through great big bloody long straws that are sunk into the ground if that’s the kind of shit we think’s going to avert 2 degrees.

      Case in point (my emphasis) on the shit we’re dealing in here.

      When it opened in October 2014, SaskPower’s $1.5 billion Boundary Dam carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant was the world’s flagship demonstration on the frontier of clean-tech innovation.

      but

      Only 400,000 tons of CO2 were captured during the past year, roughly 40 percent of the rated capacity of the one-million-ton-per-year plant. This caused SaskPower to miss CO2 deliveries to Cenovus Energy, the Canadian oil company that signed a 10-year contract to buy most of the gas to use for enhanced oil recovery.

      So, a $1.5 billion plant that took 11 years to bring into operation, captures 1 million tons of CO2 per year when it actually works and the US emits 14 million tons every fucking day of the year.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Preaching to the choir, Bill. I said it could be used to reduce the PPM if emissions ever get to zero. As you may recall, I think the weather is going to do most of the work anyway. The mass movement thing would be nice, the political will would be nice, the technological breakthrough would be nice.

        I think the weather is going to smash things until it’s a moot point and several billion people are dead. Call me cynical.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.2

        Further, I suspect that under these conditions, ‘mass movements’ will become increasingly unstable and prone to perverse outcomes.

        Of course, there’s a meta analysis that feeds my cynicism.

        Are violent conflict and socio-political stability associated with changes in climatological variables? We examine 50 rigorous quantitative studies on this question and find consistent support for a causal association between climatological changes and various conflict outcomes…

        I’d suggest Stoicism or Taoism but they’re mass movements too 😈

        Bastard Gordian knots.

  4. Rosemary McDonald 4

    I’ve read a bit about ADM…encapsulated here for us by wiki…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer_Daniels_Midland

    Poacher turned gamekeeper?

    Casts a pall over such innovative technologies when advanced by the morally impoverished profit-driven.

  5. weka 5

    Good important post, thanks Bill.

    (who is Henrik Karlsson though, and what was his idea?)

    • Bill 5.1

      Henrik Karlsson is a tenor who was watching late night TV and saw a programme on “clean coal” that led him to have an epiphany about burning vegetation, and who became an entrepreneur setting up a company to do with BECCS in 2007. The company was bankrupt by 2014. It’s all in the Wired article linked in the post.

  6. Pat 6

    I was beginning to worry about your judgement Bill …until “Impressive, is it not?”

    and of course it is not…it is more like the clutching at straws of a drowning man who sadly will drag everyone else down with him.

  7. lprent 7

    After the growth in emissions has at least declined between low and negative this engineering stuff becomes worth looking at scaling up.

    Say in 2040. In the meantime there are a lot of known replacement for the big emmissions of power generation (solar, wind, direct sequestration of co2 and maybe tides) and transport (electric).

    I still can’t see any technology to replace the generation of emissions from burning lime (ie concrete), or creating steel. That would be a bit more interesting as it is capital plant suitable for direct sequestation of CO2.

    • Bill 7.1

      It’s not possible to get negative emissions without some technology coming into play.

      Emissions are on the rise, not declining.

      By 2040 (the way we’re going), the horse will have well and truly bolted and the stable on it’s way to being nought but a smouldering heap.

      Stuff doesn’t generally just “scale up”. Problems tend to arise that weren’t evident at the smaller scale end of things.

      There are replacements for concrete in some construction scenarios (but not in the case of very sizable structures) and concrete use is dropping.

      And we have electric arc furnaces which may be of some use, but not in all production settings.

    • McFlock 7.2

      Apparently, if we figure out Roman marine concrete it might end up being a carbon sink, as well as more durable.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.3

      What’s the 2040 deadline based on, given that ‘things’ are happening at the top end of the model scenarios?

      • lprent 7.3.1

        2040 is pretty much when I think that most of the base power generating systems will have either shifted to renewables or have effective (but not complete) sequestering systems. Both are teetering on the scalable edge at present

        It is also about when I think that ground transport fleets will have largely converted to fully or hybrid vehicles.

        Those are the best benefit bitsag present.

        • Bill 7.3.1.1

          You might want to look at some figures and charts for fossil based energy sources and renewable energy sources and revisit that nice idea of “just switching” by 2040.

          The world’s flagship sequestration plant (carbon capture from coal) opened in 2014 after 11 years of planning and building – and it’s busted/doesn’t work. And that’s dealing with a source of combustion that is much more chemically homogeneous than anything that might be dreamed of when dealing with bio-fuels.

          Nothing that you mentioned in your comment is “teetering on the scalable edge at present”. To say so is simply to indulge in wishful thinking.

          Yes. Car fleets won’t be dominated by petrol and diesel. But that’s only because “everyone” is banning new sales of them over the next 10 or 15 years. And that’s much too little and far too late – though it keeps “business as usual” trucking on for a while longer, which, let’s face it, is the principle focus of politicians, policy makers. industry and finance.

      • Bill 7.3.2

        The 2040 baseline is when the last of our carbon budget for two degrees will have been exhausted. You can push it out several years if you like. Or it might be more realistic to reel it in by several years.

        It depends on rates of CO2 emissions between now and year x. Presently we’re emitting CO2 at an increasing rate of volume per year. It flat-lined for a year (maybe 2?) when China pulled the plug on a number of its coal fired power stations. The slack has been more than taken up by the burning of ever greater quantities of gas.

        • Pat 7.3.2.1

          Agree Bill….and we may not have yet reached peak CO2 per annum with the worlds economies apparently resuming growth…think it fair to observe that the 3 year relative hiatus was largely assisted by weak economic growth.

          “While the slowdown in emissions over the past few years and the “peaking” of emissions by a number of countries has been cause for cautious hope, this is tempered by the uptick in emissions projected in 2017. According to UN Environment, existing commitments by nations fall well short of what is needed to meet warming targets and emissions will not fall quickly until the world undertakes much more ambitious mitigation actions.”

          https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-co2-emissions-set-to-rise-2-percent-in-2017-following-three-year-plateau

  8. greywarshark 8

    And to push up the climate warming level – a giant oil tanker collision spilling x tonnes of condensate not crude oil into the ocean, it may not be crude but it does more harm and is more volatile, is clear so can’t just be quickly sighted and assessed and can mix with water and affect the fish etc etc.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/world/asia/ship-collision-oil-tanker-china.html

    Panamian-flagged ‘The Sanchi was built in 2008, had at least four previous names and was previously flagged in four other countries, according to the International Maritime Organization and MarineTraffic, a ship monitoring service.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/08/asia/china-tanker-freighter-collision-intl/index.html
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll3L3ST4JEo with titles.

    This item come up with another angle, to make a triangle, and a reference to the paranormal. Also to inadequate safety measures and controls for ships in Asian waters.
    “In this day and age with anticollision systems, radar, with ship identification systems, two enormous ships like this should not collide,” oceanography expert Dr Simon Boxall, of the University of Southampton, told ABC Radio.
    “Particularly seeing as they weren’t in a narrow channel, there wasn’t restricted navigation, there was no excuse for this accident to occur.”

    http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/thirtytwo-missing-oil-tanker-on-fire-after-collision-off-china-in-worlds-new-bermuda-triangle/news-story/56871933fd8e14c43038eddccc1883dd

    Looking at the images it may be that the Chinese and other countries’ efforts to limit the fire are succeeding as some views seem to show lack of smoke and flames but they might have been from the beginning.

    While we are waiting this is some footage of a brave driver in Turkey shifting a burning petrol tanker to prevent worse. He managed to jump out at the end.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cafrnBQXvYk

  9. Ed 9

    “What I do know is that we need a movement of movements that derails capitalism. That, or we burn. ”

    Spot on Bill.
    Thank you for this post.

    Neoliberalism must go.
    The consumer culture must go.
    Growth must go.
    Our western lifestyle must go.
    Meat eating must go.

    Or we burn.
    Soon.

  10. 44 south 10

    You are delusional if you think that this predicament is going to have any outcome other than the worst leading to the extinction of, certainly humans, and likely most other lifeforms.
    We MUST do this and we MUST that!
    It’s not going to fucking happen!
    AND it’s already too late.
    This should be ALL anybody talks about, and the ONLY thing that is in the media!
    Most of this blog is devoted to other issues, utterly trivial by comparison.
    You think that there are going to be “gender issues” or “human rights” when this shit really kicks in?! And that is likely to be much sooner than most of you think, because it’s ALWAYS sooner than expected!
    The choices we must soon make will be those no human being should have to make,and that is shameful.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      Since this thing has already kicked in. I wonder what you are getting at with the ‘gender and human rights’ comment.

      Are you saying that the people who respect human rights and gender issues will become powerless to defend them against those who don’t?

      Or that circumstances will dissolve those ethics? BM used to project his ‘Mad Max’ fantasies onto such scenarios. Is that what you’re getting at? Probably it’s some other thing that hasn’t occurred to me.

      I can’t tell whether I’m delusional or not, but I’m very suspicious of the kind of certainty that you’re projecting. Perhaps you just want to do things to people and are looking for a ‘TINA’ excuse.

      • BM 10.1.1

        The point probably is that if it all falls apart it’s going to be every man/woman for themselves.

        Top of the list
        -Staying alive

        Bottom of the list
        -Gender issues or human rights

        I doubt we’ll reach that point though and I’ll never get the chance to don my studded leather underwear and hockey mask. 🙁

  11. McFlock 11

    No saviours.

    Just multiple technologies that will help humanity adapt and mitigate, and then eventually manage the earth’s climate.

    Rumours of our imminent extinction are greatly exagerrated.

    • Bill 11.1

      You didn’t read the links, did you?

      And you didn’t sit back and contemplate any possible roll-out of these un-named “multiple technologies” in a 20 year time frame either – even if they did exist at scale away from some “bench top” scenario.

      There are no “multiple technologies” either developed, rolled out or able to be rolled out. And the idea that humanity will eventually manage the earth’s climate is, quite frankly, frighteningly delusional.

      Nice to see you reaching for the straw man of exaggeration again (just like you do with “fascism!”) in an attempt to create a comfort zone of “what is” for yourself.

      No-one quoted in the post, nor linked to in the post made any claims about imminent extinction. And in all the posts I’ve done on warming, I’ve never suggested humanity faces imminent extinction.

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        OK, the extinction thing was following on from the previous commenter.

        And no, I treated your post as a self-contained piece.

        But the idea that we won’t end up managing many of the key determinants of climate is a bit silly, seeing as we’ve already done it. We monitored a growing hole in the ozone layer, determined the cause, and have largely rectified the problem. In a few hundred years or sooner we’ll be able to maintain things like CO2 levels within baseline concentrations. And before then we might be using high altitude vapours to reflect more sunlight – yes, chemtrails might actually become a real thing in the next few years/decades.

        Not “weather control”. Climate control.

        As for multiple technologies – apparently more people in the US are employed in solar energy than coal. AGW needs to be attacked on two fronts – emission elimination and some manner of sequestration. Emission control is reaching a threshold of being easier than coal stations and 96octane V8s. Only a couple of avenues of sequestration need to pan out and we’ll be choosing which CO2 concentration we want.

        • Pat 11.1.1.1

          “Only a couple of avenues of sequestration need to pan out and we’ll be choosing which CO2 concentration we want.”

          and only an extra planet or two of landmass to make it viable.

          • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1

            bollocks

            • Pat 11.1.1.1.1.1

              “Limiting the global temperature rise to 2 °C, with any confidence, would require the removal of some 600 gigatonnes of CO2 over this century (the median estimate of what is needed). Using BECCS, this would probably require crops to be planted solely for the purpose of CO2 removal on between 430 million and 580 million hectares of land—around one-third of the current total arable land on the planet, or about half the land area of the United States.

              Unless there are remarkable increases in agricultural productivity, greatly exceeding the needs of a growing global population, the land requirements to make BECCS work would vastly accelerate the loss of primary forest and natural grassland. Thus, such dependence on BECCS could cause a loss of terrestrial species at the end of the century perhaps worse than the losses resulting from a temperature increase of about 2.8 °C above pre-industrial levels.

              A more fundamental concern is whether BECCS would be as effective as it is widely assumed to be at stripping CO2 from the atmosphere. Planting at such scale could involve more release than uptake of greenhouse gases, at least initially, as a result of land clearance, soil disturbance and increased use of fertilizer.”

              to repeat…one third of arable land available…every year without fail and no storage failure for an extensive period…..all while preserving food production and biodiversity…..yep, definitely bollocks

              http://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.5.8165/full/

              • McFlock

                Algae.

                • Bill

                  Can I ask that you at least do a minimum of reading on all of this McFlock and stop with the stupid?

                  • McFlock

                    The point was that the doom and gloom brigade have a routine that’s just as pat as the AGW deniers’: take one technology, assume current tech limits, and then point out how it alone could not possibly solve our problems.

                    I’ve reached my limit of this bullshit today anyway – it’s either do something else or slit my wrists because we’re all doooooomed.

                    • Bill

                      How’s about accept physical constraints and time limits? Because that’s the realistic approach.

                      And yes. We’re in the shit. And no amount of magical thinking will alter that fact.

                      The realistic option is simply to “kill” our use of fossil. Child’s play. No need for fancy tech. No need for grand schemes. Just stop burning the shit.

                    • McFlock

                      Lol, that’s your idea of realistic. Kill every car, coal/gas power plant, factory, aircraft, and ship that uses fossil fuels.

                      Fossil fuels will never be killed, they’ll only fade away.

                      You’d have better luck hoping for minor tech advances in only a couple of several complementary areas. But that expectation is hoping for magic…

                    • Bill

                      Yeah, McFlock. The bit you seem to be missing is that there is no tech, alone or in combination, that can possibly allow us to keep burning fossil and hold warming below 2 degrees.

                      Meanwhile, “everybody knows” that burning fossil is what lies behind global warming.

                      Your approach is seriously akin to someone drinking a glass full of some deadly toxin in the hope that an as yet unknown antidote is procured before the effects hit.

                    • McFlock

                      And your approach is akin to the idea that wars will stop if everyone just sat down and talked it out. True, but a fantasy.

                      Improvements in technology are far more likely than the global population choosing to conduct world trade by wood-and-canvas sailing ship again.

                    • Bill

                      Well no, that’s way off beam as a take on my approach. It’s the “international community” that has been doing fuck all besides sitting down and talking about global warming these past 30 years. “Fuck that” is what I say.

                      Odd how you don’t appear to countenance improvements in tech, or any application of existing tech, in order to supplant fossil. The necessary (not permanent) deep cuts in energy use that have to run in tandem with that have only become necessary because the “international fucking community” did nothing but ‘talk away’ all the time we had.

                      And again. There is not a technology or any combination of technologies – neither existing nor on the horizon – that will allow us to continue burning fossil and stay below 2 degrees of warming.

                      So we stop burning fossil, or we, and everything we’ve developed and built by way of a globally integrated civilisation; it all burns.

                    • McFlock

                      Okay, so when we talk about eliminating fossil fuel use, we can include possible technological improvements, but not when we talk about addressing the CO2 already in the atmosphere and oceans.

                      🙄

                    • Bill

                      I’m happy enough to talk about tech that’s envisaged to remove carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. (This entire post was about just that) And I think R&D should be provided.

                      Meanwhile, we have to act with what we’ve got. And that means tumbling our energy consumption while shifting all sources of energy to non-carbon ones.

                      And if at some point in the future a technology is developed that can remove carbon from the oceans or atmosphere in the huge quantities required, then all fine and good – a bonus. (Unlikely given the horrendous logistics involved. But hey…)

                      Meanwhile,your position, stated repeatedly over time and riddled through with deep shades of reckless madness, is for us to carry on in much the way we are at present and to rely on some type of carbon sucking technology just panning out and working.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, I’ve repeatedly said we need both capture and replacement for fossil fuels. The problem is that while battery levels are getting high enough to make electric cars viable, and alternative grid generation is actually more viable than building a fossil fuel plant now, nobody sees a technology just over the near horizon that will replace the bunker fuel used in our global shipping lanes. Which means it will still be used for the forseeable future, because no way in hell will people give up large scale global trade (or air travel, for that matter).

                      So “just kill it” is a massive fantasy, but it’s lucky we’ve done the groundwork on emerging technologies that might actually come to fruition.

        • Bill 11.1.1.2

          Yeah, cause the ozone hole was a controlled experiment sort of an affair. And we’re managing the arse off a sub 2 degree outcome for average global temp rise. Silly me 🙄

          btw – you realise that the CO2 we put into the atmosphere this year stacks on the CO2 we’ve emitted over the past 150 years or so, yes? That the problem is cumulative and not something that just “stops and drops” when we stop burning fossil?

          We. have. no. large scale sequestration tech. And even if we did, where the fuck do you think we could put tens of billions of tonnes of captured carbon? You think we just need to dig a hole – a B-i-i-i-G and humongous and fuck-off hole – and cover it in or something?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.2.1

            humongous and fuck-off hole

            Basalt bedrock based CCS doesn’t require any extra space, unless I really don’t understand it. I mean, you;re probably right and everything, but hey y’know, facts.

            • Bill 11.1.1.2.1.1

              Yeah. And transporting everything to the site. And how many viable sites are there anwyay and what is their reckoned holding capacity? And…CCS is not a zero carbon energy source. And we need zero carbon sources of energy – not any of this ‘net zero’ tosh, ’cause facts

          • McFlock 11.1.1.2.2

            The ozone hole wasn’t an experiment. It was a globally affecting observation that was altered by a determined change in human behaviour.

            Who said “stops and drops”? I didn’t.

            But if we stop, then anything we do in the way of sequestration “drops”, no?

            Yes, the problem is a couple of hundred years in the making. That doesn’t make it impossible to solve.

            And yes, I was totally proposing getting a few gigatonnes of carbon molecules and burying them in a big hole… thanks for that observation, you have adequately demonstrated why I should be a glum bloody pessimist about damned near everything /sarc

            Although funnily enough I did read somewhere a programme to reinject carbon into the wells they were drained from in the first place, but I don’t think that particular one will go anywhere. I suspect it’ll more likely be something we build artificial reefs from that also takes carbon dioxide out of the water around it in some manner.

            • Bill 11.1.1.2.2.1

              … it’ll more likely be something we build artificial reefs from that also takes carbon dioxide out of the water around it in some manner.

              Magical thinking is wonderful, is it not? Sea weed and various planktons do that now. Just a shame we’re in the process of making their habitat really fucking hostile.

              • McFlock

                Not magical. Just not assuming that no tech advances will be made.

                We already make artificial reefs.

                We know Roman marine cement (for example) will be carbon negative, when we figure out how to make it again.

                As for plankton, large scale experiments in iron and nutrient seeding to boost plankton growth have been under way for decades.

                Will it keep us under 2C? Probably not. Might stop it getting much worse than that, though. Then might actually make it better.

                • Bill

                  It’s not about “no tech advances” being made. It’s about them being made, developed and rolled out on a massive scale within a couple of decades. As I pointed out elsewhere, the Chinese “belt/road” project pales in scale, is using tried and tested tech, and hasn’t got a planned completion date before 2049.

                  Artificial reefs are, to my knowledge, ship wrecks or whatever else acting as an anchor for marine life.

                  We know how the Romans made cement. But guess what? Volcanic materials aren’t ubiquitous. And how many metres thick of concrete you reckoning on burying the planet under? We don’t have more than enough of the stuff already?

                  You boost algaec plankton growth and zoo plankton really struggles. (I did a post referencing the studies) The post was title Sugar Coated something, if you want to look it all up.

                  You really want the least bad scenario? Then end fossil use today. If not today, then tomorrow. If not then, as soon as possible. From the post.

                  Capital will not lead the exit from the fossil economy. Only a movement of movements can amass a social power greater than the enemy’s in the little time that is left.

                  I do not know of a single person who has looked at AGW who disagrees with the basics of that statement. Not one. (And I know a fair number of conservative scientists)

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.2

        Bill: the idea that humanity will eventually manage the earth’s climate is, quite frankly, frighteningly delusional.

        McFlock: the idea that we won’t end up managing many of the key determinants of climate is a bit silly, seeing as we’ve already done it.

        I think both these statements are true. The calculation of ‘optimal’ global climate conditions is political, to put it mildly. Putin has already validated this ‘take’ on things. Winners and losers much?

        So Bill’s right: “humanity” won’t come into it. And McFlock’s right: it’s already happening, and those truths being so, I think the weather will smash things until the argument is moot.

  12. But the idea that we won’t end up managing many of the key determinants of climate is a bit silly, seeing as we’ve already done it. We monitored a growing hole in the ozone layer, determined the cause, and have largely rectified the problem.

    Not only that – the very fact that we’re having this conversation is due to humanity having developed the capacity to affect climate, and the need to control those effects.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Genie, meet bottle. Or to put it another way, a ‘back-in-the-box’. Easier said than done.

  13. bwaghorn 13

    i know , let’s have a little loony get a hold of some nukes and get him to taunt a big loony with heaps of nukes ,
    nuclear winter to cool things as well as a rapid reduction in the main cc gas baddies (humans that is)

    two birds with one rocket .
    now where is that tin foil hat

  14. cleangreen 14

    Yes we pay far to much transporting our products now all around our country since everything was ‘centralised’ we see travelling a very long way by inefficient road freight when before we had separate production plants everywhere around the country so we have gone backwards since the 1060’s I am afraid with every export product now.

    This has caused a marked increase in road freight carbon footprint as the minister of transport accused Steven Joyce of increasing road freight emissions 46% since 10yrs ago he said in parliament during Q+A in December 2017.

    NATIONAL= climate change hobbits.

  15. SPC 15

    Reducing carbon. Electric cars.

    With the move to electric battery cars will need to come an equivalent move to free up electric power for this – greater solar panel use in homes and linking this up to the grid (or home battery development).

    A national network for electric cars and mass uptake of solar panels in homes is the next broadband roll out.

    Time.

    A Maunder minimum is forecast to occur – it would offer some assistance time wise. Even if its impact was and would be well under 1 degree.

  16. Pat 16

    so much time wasted…and continues to be….

    “American oil’s awareness of global warming – and its conspiracy of silence, deceit, and obstruction – goes further than any one company. It extends beyond (though includes) ExxonMobil. The industry is implicated to its core by the history of its largest representative, the American Petroleum Institute.

    It is now too late to stop a great deal of change to our planet’s climate and its global payload of disease, destruction, and death. But we can fight to halt climate change as quickly as possible, and we can uncover the history of how we got here. There are lessons to be learned, and there is justice to be served.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming

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