Category Archives: Coal

The Paris Agreement is Failing

Germany, Poland, etc., for example, are not meeting their self-imposed commitments regarding CO2 emissions reductions. In fact, the Paris Agreement bookkeepers show that almost no one is meeting their commitments. Let’s look at the graphic they have developed to show the status:




The chart shows how the key nations or national groups are performing with respect to meeting the self-imposed commitments for CO2 emission reductions.  The Paris Agreement objective is to hold Global Temperature rise to 1.5C by 2050.   These initial commitments are not enough to do that but were planned to be a start with the nations and national groups accomplishing further reductions as time passes.  That may be problematic if they can not even make the “easy to accomplish” initial commitments.

I hope you can read the chart, but just in case you can’t it is constructed as follows:

Across the top are 6 performance categories—   

·         Role Model

·         1.5C Paris Agreement compatible

·         2C Compatible

·         Insufficient

·         Highly insufficient

·         Critically Insufficient

No one has made the Role Model category

Morocco and The Gambia are 1.5cº Paris Agreement Compatible.   Are you beginning to see why I say the Agreement is failing if only these two inconsequential nations (with respect to emissions) make the grade.

The 2cº compatible  category has Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India and the Philippines. Well, India is a major emitter but what they tell the Paris Group and where the Indian leaders appear to be taking the country are very different.

Insufficient category nations are Australia, Brazil, the EU, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and Switzerland. The EU is a major emitter, but the others are not.  

Highly insufficient nations are Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and the UAE.   China is already the world’s No.1 CO2 emitter and they don’t plan to stop increasing their emissions until 2030.

And now for the Critically Insufficient we have Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the USA, and Ukraine.

The US has reduced its emissions as a result of the ongoing change over from coal to natural gas.  That change over is driven by economics, and not by government edict.

There is another surprise waiting for those that think the all is well with the Paris Agreement.  Starting next year, a $100billion fund is to be created by the “developed nations”.  The money is then available to the less developed nations to accomplish CO2 reductions in their nation.  Each year a new $100billion are to be deposited into this fund by those same developed nations, perhaps forever.

 $10billion was to be deposited into this fund over the past 5 years.  Then President Obama, chipped in $2billion.   Last I looked, the fund has not reached the expected $10billion.  These countries can’t come up with $8billion in 5 years.  Make a guess if they are going to contribute another $100billion into that fund next year.  And the year after that, and the year after that, etc.

You might think that the writers of the Paris Agreement wanted to make a joke to see if anyone would catch it by making this arrangement—China, the world’s largest emitter of CO2 and the 2nd largest economy in the world, is part of the group that can draw on that fund, not contribute to it.     Unfortunately, it is not a joke.


Can Wind and Solar Sources Replace Fossil Fuels by 2050?

Can wind and solar sources replace fossil fuels by 2050?   Beginning with today’s positing, I will let Mark Mills answer that question.  I plan a series of posting on this topic beginning with  a summary of Mills’ views. The summary is a condensation of his report titled “THE “NEW ENERGY ECONOMY”: AN EXERCISE IN MAGICAL THINKING “.  I plan to serialized the report as a follow-up for those who want to dig deeper.  I bet you will find the serialized posting to be enlightening and what little math is used is  limited to multiplication, addition and subtraction.



Want an Energy Revolution?

by Mark Mills

Throughout history, some 60 percent to 90 percent of every nation’s economy has been consumed by food and fuel costs. Hydrocarbons changed the way that humans organize their productive capacity. The coal age, followed by the oil age, and now by the ascendant age of natural gas, has (at least for developed nations) driven the share of GDP devoted to acquiring food and fuel down to around 10 percent. That transformation constitutes one of the great pivots for civilization.

Many analysts claim that yet another such consequential energy revolution is upon us: “clean energy,” in the form of wind turbines, solar arrays, and batteries, they say, is about to become incredibly cheap, making it possible to create a “new energy economy.” Polls show that nearly 80 percent of voters believe that America is “capable of creating a new electricity system.”

We can thank Silicon Valley for popularizing “exponential change” and “disruptive innovations.” The computing and communications revolutions that have transformed many industries have also shaped both expectations and rhetoric about how other technologies evolve. We hear claims, as one Stanford professor put it, that clean tech will follow digital technology in a “10x exponential process which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade.” Or, as the International Monetary Fund recently summarized, “smartphone substitution seemed no more imminent in the early 2000s than large-scale energy substitution seems today.” The mavens at Singularity University tell us that with clean tech, we’re “on the verge of a new, radically different point in history.” Solar, wind, and batteries are “on a path to disrupt” the old order dominated by fossil fuels.

Never mind that wind and solar—the focus of all “new energy economy” aspirations, including its latest incarnation in the Green New Deal—supply just 2 percent of global energy, despite hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies. After all, it wasn’t long ago that only 2 percent of the world owned a pocket-sized computer. “New energy economy” visionaries believe that a digital-like energy disruption is not just possible, but imminent. One professor predicts that we will see an “Apple of clean energy.”

As it happens, energy does have something to do with the fact that today’s smartphones are much cheaper and more powerful than a room-size IBM mainframe from the 1980s. The essential feature of that transformation is that engineers collapsed the energy appetite and size of transistors, consequently increasing their number per chip roughly twofold every two years. In other words, computing power per energy unit doubled five times per decade. The compound effect of that kind of progress—formally dubbed Moore’s Law, after Intel cofounder Gordon Moore—has indeed caused a “disruptive” revolution. A single iPhone at 1980 energy efficiency would require as much power as a Manhattan office building. Similarly, a single data center at 1980 efficiency would require as much power as the entire U.S. grid. But because of efficiency gains, the world today has billions of smartphones and thousands of datacenters.

A similar transformation in how energy is produced or stored isn’t just unlikely: it’s impossible. Drawing an analogy between information production and energy production is a fundamental category error. They entail different laws of physics. Logic engines don’t produce physical action or energy; they manipulate the idea of the numbers one and zero. Silicon logic is rooted in simply knowing and storing the position of a binary switch—on or off.

But the energy needed to move a ton of people, heat a ton of steel or silicon, or grow a ton of food is determined by properties of nature, whose boundaries are set by laws of gravity, inertia, friction, and thermodynamics—not clever software or marketing. Indeed, the differences between the physical and virtual are best illustrated by the fact that, using mathematical magic, one can do things like “compress” information to reduce the energy needed to transport that information. But in the world of humans and objects with mass, comparable “compression” options exist only in Star Trek.

If, in some alternative universe, the performance of silicon solar cells followed Moore’s Law, a single postage-stamp-size solar cell could fuel the Empire State Building. Similarly, a single battery the size of a book would cost 3 cents and power a jumbo jet to Asia. Such things happen only in comic books because, ultimately, physics, not policies, dictates the possibilities—and thus the economics—for energy technologies, regardless of subsidies and mandates.

Spending $1 million on wind or solar hardware in order to capture nature’s diffuse wind and sunlight will yield about 50 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over a 30-year period. Meantime, the same money spent on a shale well yields enough natural gas over 30 years to produce 300 million kilowatt-hours. That difference is anchored in the far higher, physics-based energy density of hydrocarbons. Subsidies can’t change that fact.

And then batteries are needed, and widely promoted, as the way to convert wind or solar into useable on-demand power. While the physical chemistry of batteries is indeed nearly magical in storing tiny quantities of energy, it doesn’t scale up efficiently. When it comes to storing energy at country scales, or for cargo ships, cars and aircraft, engineers start with a simple fact: the maximum potential energy contained in hydrocarbon molecules is about 1,500 percent greater, pound for pound, than the maximum theoretical lithium chemistries. That’s why the cost to store a unit of energy in a battery is 200 times more than storing the same amount of energy as natural gas. And why, today, it would take $60 million worth of Tesla batteries—weighing five times as much as the entire aircraft—to hold the same energy as is held in a transatlantic plane’s onboard fuel tanks.

For a practical example of the physics-anchored gap between aspiration and reality, consider Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) recently announced plan to replace an old gas-fired power station with the world’s biggest battery project—promised to be four times bigger than the current number one, a system Tesla installed, to much fanfare, last year in South Australia. The monster FPL battery “farm” will be able to store just two minutes of Florida’s electricity needs. That’s not going to change the world, or even Florida.

Moreover, it takes the energy equivalent of about 100 barrels of oil to manufacture a battery that can store the energy equal to one oil barrel. That means that batteries fabricated in China (most already are) by its predominantly coal-powered grid result in more carbon-dioxide emissions than those batteries, coupled with wind/solar, can eliminate. It’s true that wind turbines, solar cells, and batteries will get better, but so, too, will drilling rigs and combustion engines. The idea that “old” hydrocarbon technologies are about to be displaced wholesale by a digital-like, clean-tech energy revolution is a fantasy.

If we want a disruption to the energy status quo, we will need new, foundational discoveries in the sciences. As Bill Gates has put it, the challenge calls for scientific “miracles.” Any hoped-for technological breakthroughs won’t emerge from subsidizing yesterday’s technologies, including wind and solar. The Internet didn’t emerge from subsidizing the dial-up phone, or the transistor from subsidizing vacuum tubes, or the automobile from subsidizing railroads. If policymakers were serious about the pursuit of the next energy revolution, they’d be talking a lot more about reinvigorating support for basic science.

It bears noting that over the past decade, U.S. production of oil and natural gas has increased by 2,000 percent more than the combined growth of (subsidized) wind and solar. Shale technology has utterly transformed the global energy landscape. After a half-century of hand-wringing about import dependencies, America is now a major exporter. Now that’s a revolution.

Want an Energy Revolution?



Fisking Of The Posting “If Trump And GOP Don’t Understand Climate Change, The Don’t Deserve Public Office.”

The following fisking is of an article posted on CNN Opinion, by Jill Flipovic  on August 21 2018 titled “If Trump and GOP don’t understand climate change, they don’t deserve public office:.

I have added comments to Ms Filipovic essay in red.

The Trump administration’s latest efforts to undo more of Barack Obama’s efforts to slow climate change come as no surprise. Nothing gets this President more excited than trying to undo his predecessor’s legacy.

But his proposed new EPA rules — tagged with the laughable misnomer the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule — are not just vindictive, they are dangerous. The administration wants to allow coal-burning power plants to emit more deadly carbon and to give states greater leeway to allow big-money companies to pollute. The new rules would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions.  

Several things wrong here. First “deadly carbon” is an ignorant thing to say.  Does she not know that virtually every living thing is composed of carbon?   The globe is greening due to the increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2).  Wheat and corn fields are becoming more productive as atmospheric  CO2 increases.   Secondly, her ignorance shows.  She is wrong if she thinks shutting down US coal plants will have any effect on the planet.  Using the warmers own formula for calculating the effect of reduced CO2 emissions by a shutdown US coal plants,  shows that any temperature decrease will be too small to be  measurable.
Thirdly the emission of CO2 from US coal plants is pretty small compared to China.  Her rant is  missdirected.  China is  adding a new coal plant every week. And guess who gave the Chinese  permission to continue doing this until 2030 —none other than forward looking savior Barak O.   Obama thinks we should close our coal plants down but its ok for the Chinese to keep building them.  Not just China , world-wide construction of coal based plants is on the rise.  Coal sales are on the rise.

The proposal reflects a longstanding and fundamentally damaging idea in right-wing politics: That climate change is a matter of opinion, not fact, and that people who have no interest in the facts still deserve to hold political office. 

It is obvious, she belongs to the church of unending climate catastrophes.  If she would look at actual recorded temperatures versus the computer PREDICTION, she might come down off her high horse. Paraphrasing the last sentence, Those who hold catastrophic climate change based upon religious beliefs  do not deserve to write ignorant opinion pieces.

The deluded perspective is not confined to America’s Republican Party. Conservatives in Australia have also latched on to the theory that climate change is debatable, and that efforts to fight it are a liberal conspiracy against big business.

 Well, Germany, and other European countries are increasing their CO2 emissions.  The third world is increasing their CO2 emissions. The Paris Agreement is a scam.  This is evading Ms. Filipovic.  She lives in a world of make believe.  Perhaps that shows that only the US and Australia are not hiding under the covers.

The GOP has long been in the pocket of polluters, who have who have made clear that they are quite comfortable destroying the planet for our children and grandchildren in return for getting rich now. The party has helped to make this denialism politically feasible by systematically undermining the public. 

Once again Ms Pilipovic seems to be ill informed.  What President Trump is doing is to make electricity affordable.   Go look at the reports from England and Germany, two nations that have gone head over heals in renewable energy, about the poor people that are dying because they can no longer afford electricity.  Every intelligent person knows that the people that will suffer the most as energy prices go skyrocketing are the poorest people among us. 

That the new Trump rules will cost thousands of lives — 1,400 every year by the EPA’s own admission — doesn’t seem to matter to this President and his GOP enablers, who put corporate profits first, ahead of citizens’ health. In this, they are joined by a base that seems willing to accept any lie, indignity or even undermining of health and life.

When you read about the deaths of 1400 every year, you may wonder where that came from.   Ms Pilipovic may know but my guess is that she doesn’t.  The Obama EPA knew that the coal plant CO2 emissions were insufficient to justify the “Clean Power Plant” plan.  They needed something else. So, they settled on 2.5-micron particles.  Too small for you to see, but they postulated that people are breathing them in and dying.  They had a problem.  All the test they had run as well as other groups outside of the EPA never found that the 2.5-micron particles were killing people.  So, they got a group of “scientist” to run these tests again.  Guess what.  They found out that it was a serious situation.  Two things are fishy here.  The first that they would not publish their test data.  Of course, no one could disprove their results without access to their data.   BUT the EPA accepted the results.  A new bill has been passed saying that the EPA can no longer use “secrete science”.  And the group of scientists that did this secrete science have amassed over $20, 000,000 doing studies for the EPA.  They know who is buttering their bread.

It’s a sad state of affairs — but also a real and growing threat to a country experiencing wild weather mood swings, the largest wildfires in recorded history, floods, droughts and on and on.

The bible of the warmers is the IPCC reports.  These reports have consistently said that the “wild weather “is not a function of climate change.

In any reasonable universe, those who deny basic scientific facts that connect this grim reality to humans’ role in global warming would be deemed unfit to hold office.

Here we go again. Who is unfit to hold office is the catastrophic global warmers. Get this, James Hansen, the god father of the catastrophic global warming movement says their theory is all wrong.   Click here to read.

Imagine a congressman who questioned whether gravity was real, or a senator who insisted the earth was flat. We would rightly say that they’re intellectually deficient, and that their bizarre theories mean they probably shouldn’t be making vital decisions that affect millions of Americans (not to mention billions more people around the world).

Is this a mistake on her part?  Normally people would say Representatives and Senators not congressmen and senators.

But somehow climate change falls in a different category (along with, among a majority of evangelical protestants, for example, a disbelief in evolution).

This seems to be religious bias.  I was told that liberals never sank that low.

It’s one thing to be ignorant — and, to be sure, many non-climate-change-denying Americans don’t understand the basics of climate change either. But most Americans also don’t understand the details of how a bill becomes law, how our court system works, or how the national budget gets set — all things we expect of our nationally elected officials.

I think we have shown who are the Ignorant ones.

Politicians should similarly be expected to understand the basic science of climate change, and to listen to the scientific experts instead of seeking out the few outliers who confirm their own half-baked beliefs.

Oh yes, such people as Al Gore and Bill Nye are the biggest half baked, maybe only unbaked catastrophic global warmer educators.

Of course, Trump has appointed a series of cronies and amateurs to his cabinet, and he himself holds the highest office in the land, with zero previous experience for the job, zero intellectual curiosity, and zero ability to train his attention on just about anything other than Twitter and Fox News.

Gosh he only amassed several billions of dollars in his business career.  Of course  Barak Obama’s experience as a community organizer made him much more qualified than Donald Trump. (sarc)

Again, showning who the ignorant one is.

His presidency makes full mockery of the theory that those in charge should know anything at all. And with this latest green light to polluters and contaminators, all of us are again paying the price for that unapologetic greed and ignorance.



Paris Agreement—Are the Germans Leading the Developed Nations?

It looks like Chancellor Merkel believes that now that Ex-President Obama has been replaced by President Trump, she is the developed nation’s leader regarding the Paris Agreement.

So, is Germany leading the way? The Chancellor’s plan “Energiewende” (transition to renewable energy) has set out goals with a timetable to reduce CO2 emissions and switch the national’s energy supply to renewables that can replace fossil fuels. The table below summarizes these goals:

The Greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals are spelled out in the table. The goals, for the years 2014 through 2050, are shown as an amount of reduction based away from the1990 emissions of CO2.  That was the year of the reunification of East and West Germany.  The goal in 2050 is a minimum reduction of greenhouse gases of 80 to 95%.

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Do Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the UK know what they have gotten into?


The Manhattan Contrarian posted “Looks Like Global Action On “Climate Change” Is Dead by Frances Menton.  There is not much in the posting that I have not already covered.  However, there are two things that do standout that I want to pass on. Menton’s posting is relative to the members of the G 20, that have just reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement in the Summary statement at the end of the G 20* meeting.  The US did not join in the reaffirmation.

Menton notes that Russia’s intended reduction is based upon their CO2 emissions in 1990 before they collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union.

“Then they closed down all that inefficient Soviet industry.  According to a graph at Climate Action Tracker here, by 2000 their emissions were down by almost 40% from the 1990 level, and they have only crept up a little from there since.”

That was their ploy back in the days of the Kyoto Pact, too.

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Paris Agreement Doomed By Projected Coal Based Power Plants

The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) posted “Forget Paris—1600 New Coal Power Plants Built Around The World.”  The GWPF provides the chart below that focuses on Europe, Asia and Africa using data from Coal





As you can see, China already has 2,363 coal based plants and expects to have 1,171more.  It comes as no surprise that China and India are major users of coal based power currently and they will be the major builders in the future.  No other country is even close.  It is illustrative to see that European nations are forecast to be increasing coal based capacity, not reducing it as their none too subtle “holier than thou” attitude would suggest.

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Why Did ExxonMobil Lobby To Stay In The Paris Agreement?

ExxonMobil lobbied President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement. Can you figure out why that company would wish to do so?

Here are some pickings from the most recent ExxonMobil global energy forecast:

·         Total energy demand by 2040 will be 25% higher than in 2015.

·         Global energy supply in 2040 will be 55% from oil and natural gas. Wind, solar and biofuels will supply only 4% in 2040.

·         Coal use will decline but will still be the third largest supplier of global energy.

·         Global electrical energy demand for transportation will only be 2% of the total global energy demand in 2040.

·         Wind and solar electricity supplies will approach 15% of total electrical energy supply by 2040

·         Although utilization improves over time, intermittency limits worldwide wind and solar capacity utilization to 30% and 20% respectively.

·         By 2040 US and Europe combined CO2 emissions will be about 8 billion tonnes.  The total global emissions in 2040 will be about 36 billion tonnes,

·         Electric cars are a very high-cost option, at about $700/tonne of CO2 avoided.

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