Climate clippings 121

1. Denmark winds up wind

In January of 2014, Denmark got just over 61% of its power from wind. For the whole of 2014 it was 39.1%, a world record.

Their leadership is working well for them. Nine out of ten offshore turbines installed globally are made in Denmark. They plan to be fossil fuel free by 2050.

Elsewhere Germany and the UK smash records for wind power generation. Scotland hopes to be fossil fuel free by 2050.

On Boxing day rooftop solar met one third of South Australia’s demand and at least 30% from 11.30am to 3.30pm. Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, said goodbye diesel and hello 100% renewable electricity.

California Gov. Jerry Brown last week called for

the state’s electric utilities to boost their renewable energy procurements to 50% of retail electric sales and discussed future initiatives to support rooftop solar, battery storage, grid infrastructure and electric vehicles.

As Bill Lawry would say, “It’s all happening!”

2. 2014 the hottest year

The first set of figures is in, this time from the Japan Meteorological Agency, showing 2014 as the hottest year so far:


The red line is the long-term linear trend.

The blue line is the 5-year running mean.

Australia had the third hottest year on record.

3. Chinese three-wheeler is for real!

From John D’s Gizmag collection we have the Spira4u three-wheeler car:


It’s not a toy, it’s a serious car which has gone into pilot production as a 10 kW electric or a fuel-injected 150 cc version with an economy of 2.94 l/100km (80 mpg).

It has a handy parking option:


And it floats:


An amphibious version is under development.

4. California starts to build a high-speed rail system

The first phase of California’s high-speed rail system will be a 29-mile stretch from Fresno slightly north to the town of Madera. From there the project will link up with urban centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco, eventually allowing commuters to travel between those two cities at 220 mph and cutting the trip from nearly six hours to less than three. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations.

The full rail system should be in use by 2028.

5. Solar at grid parity in most of world by 2017

At RenewEconomy:

Investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, and says the collapse in the oil price will do little to slow down the solar juggernaut.

Quiggin at The Conversation and his place: Only a mug punter would bet on carbon storage over renewables.

6. When you are in a hole, stop digging!

From a study in the journal Nature:

“Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves, and over 80 percent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2°C,” write authors Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins of University College London.


Keeping the increase in global temperatures under 2°C will require vast amounts of fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, including 92 percent of U.S. coal, most of Canada’s tar sands, and all of the Arctic’s oil and gas…

In 2013, fossil fuel companies spent some $670bn on exploring for new oil and gas resources. The figure should be zero.

7. Climate change will create more environmental refugees

Natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan—which devastated the Philippines in 2013 displace more people than war, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center in Geneva. And as climate change sets off increasingly lethal natural disasters, so will the numbers of environmental refugees increase, Reuters reported.

It is a reality that governments must prepare themselves for. In 2013, some 22 million people were displaced by extreme natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, a number three times the number of those who were forced to migrate because of war, according to the IDMC.

Earlier this summer New Zealand accepted a family who cited climate change as the reason why they had to flee their homeland, thought to be the world’s first official environmental refugees.

13 thoughts on “Climate clippings 121”

  1. It seems the point at which the proportion of power produced from renewable sources presents difficulties for management of the grid may be a good deal higher than first suggested.

  2. The power companies were incredibly technically dumb when they dealt with the surge in peak demand due to the growth of air conditioners by a brute force expansion of business as usual. It would have been smarter, but perhaps less profitable to do things like put air conditioners on controlled power or install solar PV or energy storage at locations where grid overload was causing supply problems.
    It is a bit like Campbell Newman and his costly obsession with big civil engineering projects as the solution to transport overloading instead of using smart solutions like super streets, smarter traffic lights and rerouting.
    The power companies are playing the same dumb game re the amount of renewable energy that can be handled.
    A tough government would be considering a royal commission into the gold plating scandal and threatening to bring in German experts to run the power system.

  3. And just to remind people, John D, how that Gold Plating came about, and this is particularly pertinent for Queenslanders right now, Robert Merkel sent me this link that he posted originally back in July

    I think that part of the haste with this election is that some of QLD assets are about ot show significant profits in the coming year so the “flog it off” ideologues are desperate to have these assets stripped out of the tax payers hands before they do.

    To understand that

    electricity prices were pushed up to pay for the infrastructure enhancement.

    the enhancement (gold plating) is done and paid for.

    the electricity price should either come down to original levels or

    these assets should pay significant dividends to the Qld Government ie the tax payer.

    if the assets begin to make good returns the pressure to sell them out of public hands will be gone.

    Hence the urgency, giving people no time to think about it.

    Vote the bastards out.

  4. Brian
    ( dragging over from CC 120 )
    We’ve established rainfall has increased in Australia ( probably more accurately northern Australia ) this century and that rain is predominantly monsoonal.
    Yet cyclone trends are down , I assume due to the theory that AGW increases el nino frequency and el nino has fewer cyclones.
    A conclusion could be drawn that the NW of Australia is getting a wonderful increase in rainfall.
    Would it be fair to say that development of that area is essential, in an economic sense , in the very near future ( like, yesterday )?

  5. Yes, John, he’s bribing us with our own money. And it might work!

    Quiggin reckons we get an initial sugar hit and then pay almost $2 billion pa to 2020, and then forever.

  6. I have to say that I really like the amphibian Chinese 3 wheeler. It may look dorky and make shift, but it has a very real place in the tropical belt where mobility is repeatedly being disrupted by Global Warming induced flooding. Expect to see a lot of this type of product appearing in the places such as the Philippines and Pakistan. I would love to be involved in designing such vehicles. New challenges, new solutions.

  7. An interesting piece on the Chinese news. Driven by their smog problem the Chinese are promoting EV’s, and installing super charge stations on their motorways.

    Climate Action occurs where an Abbott would least expect it.

  8. Bilb: And climate action happens for reasons other than global warming.
    The EU is promoting renewables because they don’t want to be dependant on Russian gas.
    China wants to do something about smog and supports EV’s etc.

  9. And climate action happens for reasons other than global warming.

    Well, someone finally admits it, huzzah !!
    John, I admire your honesty.

  10. Jumpy, I think the Europeans are more genuine in their concern for climate action than most, but naturally they are also concerned about dependency on Russian gas, which I think overall is only about 30%.

    The Chinese are too deep for me, you can never really tell what they are thinking.

  11. The Chinese are too deep for me, you can never really tell what they are thinking.

    Well it’s impossible to know what the Chinese people are thinking because no democracy but the the ruling elite couldn’t give a tinkers cuss about CO2 unless they can profit financially.
    From 2007- 2013 the rise of Chinese Billionaires went from 15 to 250.
    How many in the ” renewable ” sector, I don’t know.
    Any support for co2 reduction by the Chinese ( communist party ) is a sales pitch.
    And they seem to be good at it, Obama bought it and he’s very careful with tax payers dollars./not
    ( note; co2 doesn’t create smog )

Comments are closed.