Wind electricity to be fully competitive with natural gas by 2016
So says Stephen Lacey at Climate Progress:
The best wind farms in the world are already competitive with coal, gas and nuclear plants. But over the next five years, continued performance improvements and cost reductions will bring the average onshore wind plant in line with cheap natural gas, even without a price on carbon.
That’s according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. They say that cost reduces by 7% for every doubling of installed capacity, while efficiency has steadily improved.
APEC countries to slash tariffs on environmental goods
Yes, indeed and it seems we are set to clean up on water-conserving shower heads.
Water from air
Maybe we can sell this gadget also. From John D’s Gizmag collection, but I also picked it up at environment360 on a feed, we have a simple gadget to pull water out of the air for irrigation purposes. The video claims it is suitable for large-scale agriculture, but I dunno. Maybe for orchards and vineyards.
Power from pee
You’ve no doubt heard of making fertilizer from pee. Now it’s pee power.
They intend to harness pee from farm animals, which might mean equipment like this:
World oil production stalled
I don’t follow the peak oil story closely, but Kurt Cobb points out that we’ve now had six years of no growth of conventional oil production. It seems that well depletion costs us 4% each year. Total liquids production – which includes ethanol, biodiesel and natural gas liquids – has moved up only a paltry 2.6% during the period from the end of 2005 to today.
The following gives cause for pause. The deepwater Gulf of Mexico field is thought to contain between 3 and 15 billion barrels. A billion barrels lasts a mere 12 days.
The Brits aim lower
It seems that the UK Government has quietly put on the brakes in terms of their climate mitigation ambition.
…at the Conservative annual conference [it was announced] that Britain would cut carbon emissions “no slower but also no faster” than other European countries. “The greenest government ever” thus becomes “as green a government as the others but no greener”.
Since the IEA energy outlook post I’ve been wondering what might shock the world into significant action. An ice-free Arctic might be one such. Barry Brook was impressed and depressed by this graph of the Arctic sea ice volume:
Thin ice drifts more easily and is more likely to be exported into the warm North Atlantic waters. Hard ice reflects about 90% of the sun’s heat, whereas open water only reflects about 10%.
Brook was also depressed by the increase by 6% of emissions in 2010 over 2009.
Unfortunately those two will only impress people knowledgeable about climate change.
Climate Vulnerable Forum
I hadn’t been aware until I read this BBC report that climate vulnerable nations had formed their own group. If you read the article through, these nations feel climate vulnerability viscerally, but apparently there is still a lot of uncertainty over extreme weather impacts featured in the draft of the next IPPC report, though less as the century proceeds. As to sea level rise, well you can adapt to that. Look at the Dutch!
Adaptation costs money, and it appears that only 8% of the “fast-start finance” pledged in Copenhagen has showed up.
If you check out the Wikipedia entry the membership comprises 33 rather poor countries, observed by 25 mostly rich ones. I’d give them marks for trying but would have no great expectation that the rich and the big polluters will take much notice.
Litigating extreme weather
In the New Scientist, Fred Pearce looks the possibility of litigating over extreme weather events. One opinion is that Rahmstorf and Coumou’s article could “increase the prospects of private law claims succeeding”. Yet in his post I linked to last week Rahmstorf says it was not an attribution study.
Peter Stott in suggests that we need an attribution service that can give us an authoritative assessment of any link for any specific event. Accordingly at the Hadley Centre they have:
begun to put together an international collaboration of scientists called the Attribution of Climate-related Events Initiative, or ACE for short.
Seems we can’t rely on extreme weather to tip policy into real action within the time-frames we need.
Will the bankers kill King Coal?
As linked already by John D, Giles Parkinson asks whether bankers will kill coal. Parkinson was depressed by the apparent futility of the IEA World energy Outlook 2011. Please note that the reference scenario, the New Policies Scenario has become the main scenario. That would gladden Martin Ferguson’s heart, as it sees massive growth of coal, oil and gas-fired energy.
But the banks, if they are smart, will notice facts like this:
Remember, the IEA said that if concerted action was not taken as early as 2015, then 45 per cent of the world’s fossil fuel plants would have to close early over time to meet the 2°C scenario.
I had always hoped that the banks would take note of the long-term aims and factor this into their risk calculus. It seems that HSBC has, and is worried about dud loans and stranded assets.
Bankers save the world!
What global warming means
One hopes that senior bank executives are humans too, with children and grandchildren. They should check out where 3.5C of warming will get us.
This post provides a handy summary, degree by degree, on what global warming might mean. The news is bad all the way, starting with:
Six thousand years ago, when the world was one degree warmer than it is now, the American agricultural heartland around Nebraska was desert.
Deserts will reappear particularly in Nebraska, but also in eastern Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, northern Texas and Oklahoma. As dust and sandstorms turn day into night across thousands of miles of former prairie, farmsteads, roads and even entire towns will be engulfed by sand.”
Unfortunately there are a few problems with this post. The information seems mostly accurate, but it has no author. It seems to originate here. The only name attached is Berrens. I’ve seen various versions and some have a University of Adelaide advertisement attached.
Much of the information cited comes from the Hadley Centre and it reads like an update of Mark Lynas’ 2007 book Six Degrees. But clearly it isn’t. At least not by him.
One technicality is that it references the temperature as “now” without defining it. One would have to assume a 20 year average with 2000 as the midpoint, which would put it about 0 0.7C above pre-industrial.
That post concluded with a summary of a recent methane hydrate study which is fingered as the likely cause of the six degree rise in the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 56 million years ago. This is a worry:
“The amount of carbon released then is on the magnitude of what humans will add to the cycle by the end of, say, 2500. Compared to the geological timescale, that’s almost instant.”