Brian and I have agreed to try running some posts as short conversation starters instead of the much longer posts we have both produced in the past.

This conversation post was prompted by “The climate change panic button is coming” by Allan Kohler. It looks at climate change from a financial risk perspective, in particular how the rising number and size of climate change disasters is making is making it harder and harder for the insurance industry to the point where more and more insurance will become unaffordable. Banks will not lend money to projects that cannot be insured.

This post asks you to discuss what might be done to avoid or survive a future of shrinking insurance, shrinking loans and a deteriorating environment.

It is suggested that you read the Kohler article before commenting.

To quote Kohler:

This week it’s floods in Germany, 170 dead and terrible devastation.
A few weeks ago people were dying from the heat in Canada, which reached about 49 degrees Celsius in Lytton, British Columbia.
This is from the global warming that has already occurred, which is about 1.2 degrees above the pre-industrial age.
Then think about bushfires and the impact of sea level rise on assets, insurance and investment.
The world is now trying to stop the temperature from going above 1.5 degrees higher than present by getting emissions down to net zero by 2050.
Even if we succeed in that, which is far from guaranteed, the extreme weather events will be significantly worse and more frequent than they are now.
But at what point will governments hit the real panic button?
Because net zero by 2050 is not it.

Kohler goes on to point out the limitations of simply keeping the temperature below the 1.5 deg C target by 1950. 1.2 deg higher is already causing damage that is adding to the problem by pushing more greenhouses gases into the air, killing vegetation and reducing the area of snow available to reflect heat back into space.
By the time we have reached the 1.5 deg higher more greenhouse methane from melting permafrost will have got into the atmosphere. (Kohler thinks 1.5 deg by 2050 will end up driving us to 2 deg even if humans have reached net zero. (See: ‘Delay is the new denial’: Why the 2050 net-zero fight is missing the real danger.))
Kohler concludes with:

What does the panic button look like?

I’m not sure, but here are some thoughts: Fossil fuels would be suddenly and totally banned, or made prohibitively expensive, and oil, gas and coal would instantly go bust; physical tourism would be banned and air travel confined to essentials and rich elites so the airline industry would collapse; the lithium battery and hydrogen would suddenly boom.
And so on.
Life would change more completely than it has during the pandemic.
In short, it would look like war.
So what do you think? What might we do to:
1. Slow or reverse climate change?
2. Reduce our and other species risk of extinction?
3. Live with sea level rise?
4. Look after our descendants?
5. Manage the economy and the environment?


  1. One tactic needed is to list prominent Climate Action Obstructionists prominently, repeatedly and Internationally. Put them on the permanent defensive.

    Then do as the Dutch do, litigate.

    Climate Action Obstructionism should be made a crime.

  2. If only they had acted back then !!

    A bit previous, since the Greenhouse Effect was first proposed in 1824 and Anthropogenic Climate Change only began around the end of the nineteenth century.
    What actions do you propose they should have taken?

  3. John, sorry I was in a rush this morning. Didn’t see your link.

    Jumpy, for Pete’s sake!

    The German flood has been deemed a 1 in 700 year event. Unless you’ve got your head where the sun don’t shine you know the pattern of extreme events is breaking the established Holocene pattern.

    I don’t feel the need to demonstrate this to you when I know you won’t accept it.

  4. Not to mention, Jumpy, the forty nights and forty days event that floated Noahs boat. Having the Windy App back then would have been very handy.

    Are you vying for a position on the Climate Action Obstructionists list, Jumpy?

  5. Jumpy, what you have done, again, is insert a red herring, one that smells of a denialist odour. I’ll just repeat the business end of John’s post:

      Life would change more completely than it has during the pandemic.

      In short, it would look like war.
      So what do you think? What might we do to:

      1. Slow or reverse climate change?

      2. Reduce our and other species risk of extinction?

      3. Live with sea level rise?

      4. Look after our descendants?

      5. Manage the economy and the environment?

    I’ll make two points here. First, if we accept 1.5 degrees and zero emissions by 2050 we are most likely accepting that we wipe out the Great Barrier Reef, trigger tipping points which will lead to uncontrolled heating, accept that many parts of the world will become uninhabitable, commit the planet to unavoidable sea level rise this century and for centuries to come, and quite possibly stop the AMOC (ocean circulation current) plunging Europe into a freezing climate, while the world as a whole (Europe is not very big) continues to warm.

    In the second link I gave, Will Steffen (and others) recently said we should be aiming for net zero by 2035. I think Adam Bandt is on board with this, but I haven’t checked Greens policy recently.

    Second, some are saying we need to get back to 280ppm as soon as possible in order to slow down SLR which will keep rising because of the heat already in the ocean, chewing out the large glaciers, especially in W Antarctica.

    What Kohler is saying is that the whole approach taken by governments around the world is farcical, and it is quite predictable that we’ll wake up in fright sometime not long hence, and hit the panic button.

    I agree with bilb, Climate Action Obstructionism should be made a crime.

  6. Sorry, if you happened to be reading, it took me four goes to get that comment sorted.

    Have to go to work again today. It’s dry here, also been cold and windy.

  7. Just a few sums from the Monthly Average Mauna Loa CO2:
    Atmospheric CO2 June 2021=418.94ppm
    June 2020=416.60
    Annual increase=2.34ppm
    MauLoa CO2 TREND
    If nothing changes by 2050 (28 yrs time) the figure will be increased by at least 65.5 ppm to over 484.46ppm. (If you look at the graph the rate of increase is increasing.)
    So if we commit to zero emissions by 2050 and do nothing until 2050 problems caused by greenhouse emissions are going to be a lot worse than they are now and, even if we suddenly stopped emissions due to human activity there will still be carryon emissions from things like melting methane containing permafrost, bushfires etc.
    2050 is a distraction that can allow people that will be long retired by then to make promises that they know they won’t have to keep.
    It is a lot more relevant to ask politicians what they are going to do if they control the next parliament.
    They can shut things down, set up contracts and timetables.
    So what do we want to happen in the next three years?
    Actions that will reduce emissions in the next 3 yrs?
    Actions that should start in the next 3 yrs but may only reduce emissions more than 3 yrs down the track?
    R&D that may have a significant effect down the track?

  8. bilb, NOAA has a graph of methane emissions, which started rising seriously again from about 2007, and increasingly look out of control.

    Your link in good on how it works in the Arctic. It’s two years old.

    My recall is that recent methane rises come mainly from natural sources near the equator, which if true is not good news, because I think the idea was that it was coming from drying bogs, swamps and rainforest.

    A quick search threw up this UNEP report which says:

      More than half of global methane emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: fossil fuels (35 per cent of human-caused emissions), waste (20 per cent) and agriculture (40 per cent). In the fossil fuel sector, oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution account for 23 per cent, and coal mining accounts for 12 per cent of emissions. In the waste sector, landfills and wastewater make up about 20 per cent of global anthropogenic emissions. In the agricultural sector, livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation represent roughly 32 per cent, and rice cultivation 8 per cent of global anthropogenic emissions.

    They reckon it’s low hanging fruit to knock off 45% of these by 2030.

    We are supposed to feel good about that, which is exactly my problem.

    If we want to defeat the enemy, we have to have a plan.

    When Robert Kennedy responded to Sputnik he said, we’ll put a man on the moon by 1970. And they did, by 1969. When they began the did not have the technology to do it.

    What we are faced with is more than a moonshot.

    If you look at the second link I gave, there looks like a possibility of agreement on the left of politics of net zero by 2035, but we need to understand that we don’t stop there.

  9. bilb, I’m not saying the Arctic methane is no problem. Chances are it is, and it’s another blind spot.

    Right now I’d rather wait for the IPCC before trying to investigate further.

  10. On methane, I only realised recently that it converts into CO2 and water over a very short period, I think about 12 years.

    In the first year it is 100 times more potent than CO2. You can take the total effect and spread it over 30, 80, or 100 years, depending on your frame of reference.

    Adam Bandt said at one stage that it was 86 times moire potent than CO2, which I think is the 30-year figure. given the focus on 2050 that’s fair enough.

    It means, that we can get a good mitigation effect over the next few decades by knocking it out.

    However, it also means that methane, especially from Arctic clathrates, tundra deposits, equatorial bogs, swamps etc constitute a dangerous tipping point. The main way to mitigate in those cases is to get the atmospheric temperature down, which means net zero plus further drawdowns.

    Net zero as such won’t do it, because it only limits increases from the already bad, with increases continuing to grow while we are getting there.

  11. So what would going onto a “war footing” mean in the climate change context?
    In WWII most of the world went on a war footing. This meant that winning was considered so important and the alternative so horrifying that every effort had to be made to win even if it meant lots of people died, some economies were stuffed and the horror of nuclear war was released. Me I still think of WWII as a battle between good and evil.
    Switch to climate and what we see happening if the war is not won are things like dramatically reduced capacity to feed the worlds population, a growing rate of extinctions, collapsing eco systems and conflicts driven by desperate humans.
    Our crisis is driven by a combination of greenhouse gas driven global and localized climate change and the growing human plague.
    while we are on a war footing it is OK to”
    Unbalance the budget if this is what is required to do what is necessary.
    Quickly shut down fossil fuel producers even if it means complete loss of shareholder value or less reliable power supply.
    Refusing compensation to companies whose directors failed to see what was coming.
    Limiting the number of children women can have.
    The list could go on.
    The key thing is that the sooner the better.
    What is on your list?
    The list goes on

  12. John, that graph is hard for mere mortals, as distinct from energy nerds, as it represents change from the same quarter last year.

    Complicating matters, Yallourn flood happened about 10 June this year, and Callide Power exploded around 26 May.

    There is definitely more sun during the day. I find interesting that wind seems to have compensated for less brown coal 24/7.

    I’ve done a screenshot of what happened in the last three days from this site:

    Black coal is ramped to cover the peaks which occur at 9.30am and 6.30pm. However, stabilising the grid is still gas.

    My subjective impression is that gas has been used more since Yallourn and Callide. Your graph appears to say it is just used differently. I’ll be interested to see what happens in Q3.

    Parkinson reckons price increases have been driven by cool weather in NSW and Qld, and coal outages. I suppose he’s checked but here in SEQ it has been quite warm. On the cooler days we are down around the long-term average, or slightly lower.

    I think the demand/supply equation in coal and gas has seen the prices of power from both quite high. Certainly Qld is producing less power than usual, still often net supplies to NSW, but not so much.

    The bottom line, though, is as you say, progress is being made.

  13. Caught in the headlights” Starts with the position taken by the Barnaby Nationals on fossil energy and : “So why exactly was Barnaby Joyce elevated to the role of Australia’s blocker-in-chief? Apparently, because the National Party is now the champion of blue-collar workers in mines, in smelters, refineries and power stations, and in our oil and gas fields and liquefaction plants. As Matt Canavan, seemingly Joyce’s chief backer, went so far as to say, farmers aren’t numerous enough to be the National Party’s most important constituency.”
    However, it has a lot more to say about good financial and marketing reasons why fossil fuels will have effectively disappeared well before 2050. Part of this is because countries that have cleaned up their act will use things like carbon import taxes to disadvantage the fossil economies.
    The comment on the Chinese fossil market was also interesting:
    “When President Xi Jinping announced the country’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2060 last September, he wasn’t simply indicating that China would adjust its energy mix to reduce emissions, he was giving notice of the complete transformation of its economy and how it produces, transports and consumes energy. For Beijing, energy independence and decarbonisation are inseparable: by winning the clean-energy race, China can cast off the shackles of its reliance on others and dominate the resources and technologies the world needs to decarbonise. This isn’t future gazing. China is innovating, not replicating. Decisive government and private-sector efforts have put it well ahead of the game in virtually all clean-energy supply chains and technologies.

    While China consumes a lot of coal, it isn’t much of an exporter of either coal or coal technology. But it absolutely dominates the global market for solar panels, and it is an increasingly important wind-turbine supplier. It is also furiously building up its manufacturing capability in batteries and electric vehicles. With a population whose health will be greatly improved through the rollout of zero-pollution technology, a move to net zero is unequivocally in China’s own interests.”
    One thing I found interesting

  14. John, I liked the last paragraph, which I think is true:

      Barnaby Joyce is but a minor speed bump in the way of a monster truck poised to mow down Australia’s fossil fuel reliant regions unless we get our act together. At best, we have a ten-year lead time before that truck comes rolling through town in earnest. We need to reshape our energy system to repower mining and manufacturing, so that we are on board that truck rather than under its wheels.
  15. Yes, JohnD, the last paragraph is the real measure.

    If you look at the in 12:00 the black bit puts perspective to how much further China has to go.

    The future is distributed energy generation, NOT Grid generation. Grid generation is essential for city centers, some industry, interlinking, communication, a chunk of transport, etc, but distributed energy generation is how people take charge of their foot print.

  16. Bilb: Years ago someone who had done the sums said that the introduction of roof top solar removed the need for some proposed grid upgrades. My assumption is that increased energy storage in the house or local area would put grid up grades back further even though the grid reduces the need for extra generation and large scale energy storage. It is a case of do the sums.

  17. Call for change as illegal e-bikes reaching speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour.
    Part of the article is about increasing E-bike speeds but there are some interesting stats and discussion of the benefits and issues. For example:
    “Back in 2016-17, about 9,000 people bought an e-bike in Australia.
    Last financial year that figure had risen to 50,000 and it is expected to reach up to 85,000 in the year to July, 2021.”
    BIA general manager Peter Bourke said in the past, e-bikes were typically used by older riders or people with an injury, but that has rapidly changed.
    “In countries such as the Netherlands, every second bike that is sold is now an e-bike,” Mr Bourke said. ”
    In Australia regulations state the maximum continuous power of an e-bike motor is 250 watts and the maximum assisted speed is 25 kph.
    But there is a growing issue with people modifying their e-bikes to exceed those speeds, effectively making them “illegal motorbikes”.
    “We know that people do it,” Mr Bourke said.”
    I don’t own an e-bike but do own an e-scooter. (Try to talk my wife to buy an e-bike so that she could keep up with me when I go for a long ride.) I use the e-scooter as an aid to using public transport and for short rides. I think e-scooters ridden responsibly are safer than bikes because they are much easier to stop and restart at places like traffic lights or to avoid a slow pedestrian. They are safer if they skid because you don’t get entangled like you can with bikes.
    Would have bought a commute e-bike if I wasn’t retired. (One of my Green friends commutes 28 km using his e-bike. He said it is actually quicker than a car because he is not held up by congestion.

  18. Regarding the Grid, John, the government in concert with the power industry promoted the situation where all of the inverters installed in Australia are Grid Tied and not suitable for use with batteries, and ALL will eventually need to be replaced. This was to guarantee that people would need to remain dependent customers.

    Now people are starting to do exactly as I predicted and setting up local power networks which give huge cost savings and great independence. The Grid Industry scam is that power one house in a street reliably powers a house down the street or a local shopping center, business and soon vehicle charging station. They are paying 6cents per unit for this and selling it for 25 cents without providing the full 50% wheeling service that originally shipped the power from up state or interstate generators to the local area. Now all they are providing is the local connection infrastructure.

    Example: the building where I spend my days assembling the machines I developed has 100Kw solar capacity on the roof. The owner could not install more because the cables to the building could not take more power. Recently he installed a battery bank to store some of the power, so now he is expanding the solar capacity again as he can now move power into the grid through the night. He is also keen to instal a number of the thermal panels I am developing to collect even more energy through his system.

    These sorts of commercial building facilities are common here, why? Because the government promotes it with incentives. It’s cost effective, and good for the community and the world.

    The original reason was because this business has some 15 Tesla cars across Europe to power from the one building.

    The Australian Grid industry evolved under Howard and Abbott into a bunch of greedy rent seekers, acting in the short term interests of the coal and gas industries, not the long term interests of Australian consumers. (Read the Jesse Hill “Power Corrupts” article again).

  19. Bilb: I bow to your superior knowledge on grid related matters and sense a somewhat smelly number of arrangements that make it hard for renewables, particularly when talking about household scale.

  20. It’s not a competition, John, but I followed what happened back in 2007 when, at the time , in NSW we were paying 13 cents per unit. Kevin Rudd came in and announced labor’s CPRS. Along with that announcement he directed that electricity distributors should ramp up the price of electricity and he set the ramping rate for that increase so that the industry had the funds ready to pay the Carbon whatever it was that the CPRS mechanism was. Then you will recall Rudd had an agreement with Turnbull on the CPRS and all was going to plan when Abbott rolled Turnbull as the leader of the opposition and resigned on the CPRS agreement which left Rudd hanging. Meanwhile the electricity distributors were collecting ever increasing revenues but without the requirement to pay a carbon contribution. Taking advantage of Rudds failure to just go ahead and impose a carbon tax the grid industry did a quick restructuring of their cost structure and increased the cost of wheeling from one third to one half and that was desperately need to improve to the grid to cope with their anticipated increased power demand. At the time Australia’s total electricity consumption 274 billion Kilowatt hours, but because of the increased price for electricity and a new awareness of efficiency Australian electricity consumption actually fell while the distributors wasted money strengthening the wrong parts of the network as they had no interest in renewables and very specifically did not build the HVDC lines to areas where there was optimal insolation for Solar Renewables. This is where Jess Hill’s piece talks about the gold plating of the grid.

    John you know way more about the grid operations and contracts and stuff, but my interest is very specifically this structural aspect as regards optimal renewables. As regards domestic power PV is most efficient at the point of consumption for a whole basket of reasons, but the main one is that it provides scope for the one thing that is not utilized, the collection of solar thermal energy for water and space heating and cooling.

    Regarding remote power generation a new trend is solar PV mixed farming where panels are placed over crop growing operations providing shade and power for farming operations and export power for nearby communities.

    But while Australia has a sociopath for a prime minister and a donkey with an uncontrollable shlong and gutter sludge for a brain as deputy prime minister there will be no improvement on the scale required.

    It’s time to frame up the rights of future generations and how they are being jeopardized the greed of present political and commercial operators, and litigate.

  21. Bilb, you missed the Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. No-one knows what is going on inside his head.

  22. Disruptive iron-air grid-scale battery is 10% the cost of lithium
    The article says that the iron battery will be much cheaper than lithium batteries and does not depend as much on china.
    However, there is a suggestion that it is not as good as lithium when rapid changes in output are needed. The article says: ” The company says its solution will work well alongside big lithium batteries; presumably, the lithium might be better for fast discharge events like load spike smoothing, and the iron-air batteries will offer a slower-acting energy solution better suited to the times when renewable energy sources aren’t delivering enough grunt to power the grid. 100 hours, or four and a bit days, is a useful period for covering heavy storms, for example, that might take wind and solar mostly offline for long stretches.
    Another key advantage of a system like this comes at the end of its service life; the materials are highly recyclable.”

  23. That looks great, John. It will be even cheaper in Australia as all we need do is put a huge tarp over central WA, run in some big fat copper cables, give it a boot and we can power the whole country.
    Seriously though this looks good, though round trip efficiency may not be so good. I can’t see any clear information but it looks like storage efficiency is high (possibly 90%) but charge efficiency is not (possibly as low as 35%).

  24. … the iron-air batteries will offer a slower-acting energy solution better suited to the times when renewable energy sources aren’t delivering enough grunt to power the grid.

    Sounds like that “base load power” they’re always talking about 🙂

  25. Zoot: “Sounds like that “base load power” they’re always talking about” That is how it came across to me.
    Pumped hydro, solar thermal with molten salt heat storage are similar.

  26. Here is another inverter review for a system designed to work in all modes.


    Another new piece of hardware available in 2020 is the Ionia 5 450 klm range 47 Kw Hr all electric car which, in the review I watched, is set up to be able to power your house if you want and you can plug power tools into it if you are working remotely.

    The hardware is becoming available

  27. Bilb: “Here is another inverter review for a system designed to work in all modes.”
    If I was still living in a house fitted with panels I might want to install a battery system connected to my panels and the grid that would:
    1. Always starts importing if the battery charge is less than W.
    2. May import from the grid if charge was less than X.
    3. May export to the grid if charge >Y.
    4. Must be allowed to export to the grid if charge >Z
    Grid makes the decision for 2 and 3.
    I would also be interested in a system where panels on my roof were connected to a shared battery system.

  28. Power generation related actions that should be considered under a war footing might include:
    1. Blocking new fossil power generators.
    2. Blocking increases in capacity of existing fossil power generators.
    3. Set limit on future lifetime fossil power generation (or future lifetime greenhouse emissions from these power stations.
    4. Schedule for ramping down fossil power generation.
    5. Blocking the development of new thermal coal mines.
    6.. Blocking capacity increases for existing thermal coal mines.
    7. Putting limits on metallurgical coal mines that have thermal coal as a byproduct. (Unless this product replaces thermal coal that would have been produced by specialist thermal coal mines.)
    8. Schedule for the shutting down of metallurgical coal mines and the replacement of steel etc. produced using coal with steel etc. made using green hydrogen or other green reductants.

  29. JohnD, much if not all of that functionality is set up in the battery charge controller and the inverter parameters.

    You don’t mention your … thermal … battery, your water heater, John. Are you not interested in having free water heating too as part of your energy system? Of all systems this is the easiest to set up in exactly the way you describe above.

    With solar thermal if there is sunshine the PV generates power. This starts a small pump which circulates a fluid through a panel affixed to the back side of the PV glass. Any heat that is absorbed from the panel first cools the panel making it more efficient (and the difference in the electricity generated more than compensates for the energy to run the pump). The fluid circulates to a vertical heat exchanger beside the household hot water cylinder. If there is a negative thermal gradient between the heat exchange and the cylinder contents then the water in the cylinder automatically thermosiphons the solar heated water into the cylinder. When the cylinder is fully charged the pump stops. However if at night the hot water is depleted then the grid will supply the short fall in heat via the electrical element.

    I think that meets your optimized needs?

  30. The danger for energy players taking comfort from Taylor’s manipulations is that global pressure will eventually cause Australia to pay its Clamate Change Action way, and negative investments will be face abandonment.

  31. Bilb: “You don’t mention your … thermal … battery, your water heater, John. Are you not interested in having free water heating too as part of your energy system? Of all systems this is the easiest to set up in exactly the way you describe above.”
    I would be interested if I still lived in a house that we owned.

  32. Bilb: “The danger for energy players taking comfort from Taylor’s manipulations is that global pressure will eventually cause Australia to pay its Climate Change Action way, and negative investments will be face abandonment.”
    Any director that supports the Taylor plan is risking big losses when Taylor is gone and their investment is unviable or forcibly shut down.
    Perhaps directors should be forced to explain how their decisions won’t lead to future losses.

  33. The complexities of this are a bit above my pay grade, but I’ve been worrying that Taylor has had a hand in the appointments of a whole new brigade in the NEM governance structure.

    Seems I was right to worry.

  34. JohnD, the advantage of the battery upstream is that people living in North facing apartments can hang a couple of solar panels on the balcony to charge that battery during the day, then plug that battery into a socket after flicking of the mains breakers power their unit at night, or continuously for that matter depending on their consumption.

    Even washing and drying clothes with the Daewoo Winnie Mini http://daewooelecusa.com/products/category-laundry/dryers/washer-dryer-combo.html
    Is possible from that battery.

    That battery concept has a huge future here in Europe with so many people living in apartments.

    So if you had a 6 M flat frontage you could have a bout a 1000 watts of capacity to get perhaps 4 kilowatt hours per day and with our solar thermal panels another 2 kilowatts of thermal energy equivalent for hot water in a small flat for half the year a couple could go full renewables (except for the car).

    But then for the car there will be more community solar panel ownership, so once a contributing partner you will be able to charge your electric car for very little.

    To that end what we need is for Labor to legislate for power distributors to have a local power wheeling charge where panels on a roof in an area can deliver that power to a nearby vehicle power charging point via the local power cables for a nominal fee.

    That is the kind of intelligent action we are waiting for. So to charge your 73 KWhrs Ioniq 5 it will cost $6 depending on what your community solar status is.

  35. John, from the scientific article abstract:

      soil disturbance results in median emissions of 4.9 million metric tonnes (MMT) CO2 per year (equivalent to 1.1 million passenger vehicles or 0.4% of annual emissions from land use, land-use change, and forestry; mean of 16.7 MMT)

    Albeit “highly uncertain (95% PI, 0.3–94 MMT CO2) due to variability in wild pig density and soil dynamics.

    Seems like an ecological problem rather than climate as such, but worth doing something about.

  36. Bilb2: “That sounds like deflection to me, JohnD.”
    Maybe but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consider actions that might reduce the oxidation of carbon stored in the soil and environment in general.

  37. I haven’t experienced the wild pig problem personally, but I understand they penetrated Barakula State Park near where I grew up around the time the foresters and saw millers handed it over. The expectation of the locals was that the pigs would have a better go when National Parks took over.

    Not sure how that worked out.

    My elder bro in Central Qld has had to deal with them on his grazing properties. I recall around the time of the gun laws hearing that the laws were absurd because they prevented graziers from carrying a gun in a 4WD. So if you saw pigs you had to go home and get the gun out of locked cupboards etc.

    The main thing is that pigs make it hard for any other plant or animal species, and if you meet them in the wild they are dangerous.

    So feral pigs are a menace, need to be gotten rid of, the climate angle is interesting but I think secondary

  38. Brian: Never saw pigs near where we lived but saw a number of pigs in the Mt Nebo area as well as Blackwater area.
    Appreciate the gun problem your brother had. Have the laws moved at all?

  39. John, on guns, I’m really not sure. We tend to talk about different stuff now when we get together.

  40. Again, where the research says that non human vertebrates are now at a 5% by biomas level against humans at 36%, the CO2 emissions of wild pigs have to be negligible compared to humans digging up their gardens on the week end, or clearing land for now “development”, or even bush turkeys for that matter.

    The part I do agree on is the danger aspect where wild European pigs have been released into the wild because they are no longer economic to farm, and it was cheaper to just open the gate and let them go. Now Canada has super pigs running wild and growing in population at a staggering rate.

    In Canada the wild pigs are actually a human problem just as Lion fish taking over the Atlantic are Florida problem. In Australia, of course we have the cane toad problem, another human problem.

    So then you also have to consider how much fossil fuel does it take to kill some wild pigs?

    Remember when they would spray the plane interior before you could get off to keep imported bugs from getting out?

  41. Here is a better explanation of the Iron Air Battery. Apologies if this link has been put up and I missed it.


    There is a lot missing from the description. I suspect this system could equally be configured as a flow battery.

  42. FYI info and comment: Get serious”: Eight technologies that could eliminate nearly all emissions by 2035

    RethinkX argues for focused effort into eight solutions in three sectors. These are solar, wind and batteries in energy; autonomous, electric vehicles and ‘transportation-as-a-service’ in transport; and in food, ‘precision fermentation’ and ‘cellular agriculture’ (broadly lab grown foods, especially proteins).
    Tony Seba said society has a choice. “We can either accelerate the energy, transportation and food disruptions and solve the climate crisis by ushering a new era of clean prosperity, or we can waste decades and trillions of dollars propping up the incumbent system”, he said.
    In its report, RethinkX argues conventional climate change analyses tend to underplay the speed and scale at which technology ‘disruptions’ can take hold, citing historical shifts like film to digital cameras and from non-modified to genetically modified corn.
    While technologies and markets lead the change, in order to succeed, governments will need to shut down further subsidies and public investments into “doomed incumbent fossil fuel, legacy road transportation, livestock and commercial fishing” the report states.
    RethinkX presents three different scenarios. Its central “Be sensible” scenario is the one that deliver 90 per cent emissions reductions by 2035 and net zero by 2040. This can be done by choosing to deploy and scale only those core technologies available today.
    The most ambitious response is the “Get Serious” scenario, where policy-makers proactively accelerate the disruption of energy, transportation and food technologies over the 2020s and reforest 20 percent of land freed up by food sector disruptions.

  43. Seems to work, I’ll look later to see what went wrong.

    So to recap, they are suggesting eight technologies:

    These are solar, wind and batteries in energy; autonomous, electric vehicles and ‘transportation-as-a-service’ in transport; and in food, ‘precision fermentation’ and ‘cellular agriculture’ (broadly lab grown foods, especially proteins).

    The two that excites me most are the food technologies. I’ve long thought that we should rely on the bulk of our food from food factories, plus stuff we produce ourselves in cities, through aquaculture or whatever.

    That would allow us to rewild the country side and provide a living space for other species.

    I realise people may not be madly excited about that, so I’ll probably just have to live with my dreams.

    I do have problems with the strategy, however. It assumes that net zero by 2040 is “on time”. I think the time for that was before James Hansen addressed the senate in 1998, when we passed 350 ppm two months later, when 300ppm probably committed us to 6-9m of sea level rise, as per the Eemian.

    I’m doing a post on this ATM, so I’ll skip the links for now, but SLR worries the bejesus out of me. John Englander has identified how it is actually threatening all over the planet, and the equilibrium SLR for where we are now is about 20m. We just don’t know, no-one does and no-one can, what is going to happen in the next 30 years, or 80 or 100.

    He says that what we should do is act like engineers building a bridge. Calculate the worst case as best we can, then add a safety margin of 60% or maybe more.

    He says that adapting to SLR will be the biggest economic driver, going forward. He’s a glass-half-full guy, with interesting strategies.

    However, the bottom line is that if we want to stabilise the ice sheets, we’ll have to cool the oceans, and like to see how that can be done without getting CO2 back to 280ppm.

    All technologies should be considered.


  44. Brian: I remember using you SLR map. 70m rise will have the Darling river/sea tidal at the Qld border. (And the sea reaching the bottom of the street we lived in at Chapel Hill – I rather liked that idea.
    Would not have moved to Ballina to live where we live if I thought levels were going to rise

  45. That is a brilliant find, JohnD. I couldn’t agree more. The thinking is spot. As you know I have very particular views on what will work most effectively, and regularly have unflattering views about others, but, everything that moves forward is important.

    It’s time again for government to engage in investment in the community interest, and that can take many forms

    What we should be doing here is exploring those many forms in positive critical evaluation, as that is the best way to find the many as yet unimagined solutions. Build up a list of go to solutions that can the be quantified for effectiveness.

    There are two levels to this approach, the individual/distributed and the utility/grid levels. Each is important and each is financed in different ways.

  46. John, yes it comes right up to Birdsville and Betoota if all the ice goes.

    To put my long rant more simply, I love the idea of food factories, although you would have to set them up to control waste etc. However, I think we’ll be up against what people like and don’t like. Price may eventually be a decisive factor.

    However, I don’t think the authors realise how much trouble we are really in.

  47. John, here’s the map:

    It was from a post by David Spratt. Actually I think maximum SLR is now put at 70m. I have a photo of the sign at Betoota that says”Elevation 70m”.

  48. John Englander.

    I have taken the approach that the ground I live on should move with me, ie I live afloat. I live afloat, but equally interesting I live (or rather soon will) live disconnected and independent, at least as far as one can do that.

    What I am attempting to do is put together a technology model that can be used by others regardless of whether you live on land or afloat.

    The components are, obviously, solar energy and related technologies to offer the full living standard that Australians cherish, McMansion excessiveness aside.

    There are a number of boat couples who are proving that living off grid and fully electric, including their motive power are possible. And there are new options turning up as time goes on.

    One that I have discovered just this week is ……

    I’ll step back in time here to Julius Sumner Miller’s Summer Science Series, … any one remember those? … and Sumner Miller making the claim that the Peltier Effect can be used to make electricity from the heat in your chimney. Stored that away, kept an eye out, and a few things have come along, but nothing huge.

    …… is that the Peltier Effect, though weak relative, can add up to real power. Those who use fuel stove to heat their homes in winter may be using one of these https://www.vidaxl.nl/e/vidaxl-kachelventilator-met-5-vinnen-zwart-/8719883992754.html to circulate air. These are low power Peltier Chips driving a small electric motor at slow speed and they push the connecting air out into the room for free and noiselessly. It wasn’t until a boatey who is habiting the Arctic waters above Norway mounted his fans in a different way that it suddenly twigged with me that there might be real power going on here. So I looked them up and came across this https://www.otronic.nl/a-63147236/verwarmen-koelen/peltier-module-12v-10a-120w-40x40mm-tec1-12710/ device which you will see is capable of 120 watts . Big deal you say, but if you have five of these attached to your outside flue and you now have 600 watts. Put till now even that would be relatively useless, but when you have energy storage available for electricity, then suddenly it really is a big deal because 500 watts for 10 hours is 6 KwHrs of electricity.

    Get ambitious and mount up 15 such chips nearer the heat box and you can recharge your Tesla Power Wall on those cold non solar days while you stay cozy inside sipping coffee and hot chocolates. Thanks for your vision JSM.

  49. bilb, Englander says you have four basic options when threatened by SLR. One is to build a wall to keep the sea out.

    The second is to build higher structures so that the ground floor of occupation is high enough.

    The third is to move to higher ground.

    The fourth is to float.

    A bit hard, however, if you are dealing with a nuclear power plant.

  50. Interesting, bilb.

    Englander’s point is that generally speaking the floating option is limited. Try it as a solution in Venice, or Singapore.

    He has examples where things are built floating, which is a different circumstance compared to dealing with whatever is already there, and in many cases, has been for centuries.

  51. You might recall, Brian, that I promote the notion of Nuclear Powered Shipping to ensure that Global Commerce remains viable.

    Such ships would have the added function of being able to power shore facilities whilst in port. If you’ve been to Singapore then you will know that there are usually about 100 ships anchored nearby.

    With each ship being about 100 Kw that would mean a continuous power delivery of 10 gigawatts to Singapore and its surrounding region.

    With a Global fleet of some 45,000 Container Ships and Bulk Carrier Ships, several hundred coastal cities might receive some of their power this way, and much of this power will be used to power land vehicles.

    You can’t judge the future on yesterday’s thinking and politics.

  52. Bilb: I have always wanted to live on a boat so the idea of facing the future in a boat has its attractions. Doubt it is more cost effective as building in places that are not going to be underwater for a long long time or using buildings that can be transported .

  53. John, that was exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about. Except that that particular process appears not to produce palatable food, so is intended for animals.

    This sound good:

      The team found that per kilogram, producing microbial protein only required 10 percent of the land of soybeans, the most efficient plant crop. Water use is also reduced, and the need for fertilizer is removed entirely.

      Microbial farms could also make use of areas that aren’t suited for traditional agriculture, such as deserts. The models even showed that the system was still efficient enough at higher latitudes where there isn’t as much sunlight available.

  54. bilb, what excites Englander is that when he throws a problem which seems impossible to a roomful of engineers and such, they typically get quite excited and come up with creative solutions.

    Apparently he suggested the idea of damming the Baltic Sea from Denmark to Sweden at the Kattegat.

    Now there is a proposal for the Northern European Enclosure Dam which goes from Norway to Scotland and Cornwall to France. At €250-€550 billion that sounds cheap at double the price.

    Seems the Dutch are thinking about it too.

  55. Yes, JohnD, the Peltier work in both directions hot plus electricity in to cold, and hot to cold plus electricity out.

    The non solar period is a problem for boaties where the standard solutions are run the main engine or have an auxiliary generator.

    It’s not a new concept to use a peltier device for battery charging when camping, but most of the things on off have been pretty feeble. The twist in thinking here is to add the device to the boat’s heater flue on the outside of the cabin, and the devices seem to offer very useable power. The biggest one that I have seen so far is 250 watts so six of those on a flue stack is 1.5 Kw or 15 KWhrs after 10 hours.

    The thing I like about the fire version is that there is a high level of floating debris to use as fuel in most coastal regions.

  56. Bilb: Like the swimming pool plan for floods.
    However, while it may be OK for slow moving floods I doubt that it would be OK for storm surges in a cyclone or ant significant rise in sea level.
    The best long term plan is to build above the max sea level rise predictions and/or build transportable buildings that can be moved as sea level rises. The scandal at the moment is that places at risk are not being identified and being blocked as places where permanent buildings can be built.

  57. JohnD, like all plans of engineers it has all manner of problems, not the least of which is uneven silting of the hole the house expects to settle back into.

    I’m doing some research here on thermo electric generators, also not that straight forward, but still very achievable, particularly for my boat which has a centre board trunk full of water. The log fire is to be right in front of it so cooling the cold side of the devices will be easy to arrange.

    The other thing I am doing this week end is improving my workshop aboard with a properly built shelf for my lathe, and a storage locker behind for the dozen or so power tools I use.

    The company that is making the tubes for the solar thermal heat collectors has come on board and look like taking the project on as an own product for their future development. End of the month I will be driving across Europe to Prague for a meeting with their engineers, and to pick up the special run of tubes to be assembled for my boat’s PVT’s.

    It is going to be a busy year as I learned yesterday that the Netherlands government is pressing ahead with plans to make every boat owner seal their toilet outflow valves. This means I have to accelerate the development of my compact black waste reactor which will bleach the waste material killing all bacteria and viruses so the material can be released safely. I’ve thought out most of the design, now I have to actually make it happen, else I will be using shore facilities through a European Winter.

  58. Bilb: Thanks for the progress report. Should keep you off the streets for a while. (Where is your boat parked and how much does it travel around?)
    The silting problem with the floating swimming pool concept would work if the house didn’t have to settle into a hole. something a bit raised might be better and/or simply have a house boat on floats that is located where water velocities would be low during floods.

  59. JohnD, I am parked at Marina Stellendam.

    I don’t move around at all at present. I’m still installing the Solar Energy System. This got delayed when I started worrying about lightning blowing up the electronics in the Lithium Batteries. For that I have designed an all metal outer housing to act as a faraday cage. When the parts come back from the laser cutter I can finish that off.

    The other impediments are that I don’t have a VHF license so have to sit for that test. And the other is that I have several things to resolve with the engine. Oh, and I have to tidy up.

    I have a lot of improvements planned, the toilet thing being one, but they collectively will take time, as at 71 I really like taking my time and enjoying the ambience of where I am, while I contemplate Life and the Universe.

  60. Young Bilb: “as at 71 I really like taking my time and enjoying the ambience of where I am, while I contemplate Life and the Universe.”
    Why not. Do it while you can.
    Your marina looks fine, at least until the sea level rises or the gulf stream stops and it all freezes up.. How seaworthy is your boat and can you get into the European river systems?

  61. John, going from memory, Englander says it’s rarely one factor, but a combination of vulnerability to flooding, from land or sea, whether there is subsidence or not, and importantly what is below the surface on land, eg. whether it is porous or clay, or aquifers that are being depleted.

    There may be more.

    Going for high ground alone may not be the answer if the high ground turns into an island. And, he says, most societies need access to the sea for trade and such.

  62. The Dutch understand sea level rise, JohnD. I am safe here for at least 2 meters of SLR. If you looked on Google Earth that structure you can see is called the Haringvliet and is a huge dam with some 13 gates along its length. They were all but one open to let the recent German flooding water to flow out.

    My boat is a true Blue Water yacht but with less than a meter of draft wit hothead keel up, and 4.1 meter beam. It was carefully selected to be suitable for the European Canals and half of the UK ones too.

    You can’t easily see it but on the Southern end of the Haringvliet there are road bridges and a loch (sluis) for boats and small ships to enter the river. If I turn to Starboard coming out of the marina I can go to Switzerland, if I turn to Port and go through the sluis I can go to London, as my boat neighbors periodically do.

    If the AMOC shuts down in the next few years, that will be good news for the Arctic (I think) but I might, looking on the bright side, get to skate the canals as they used to do decades ago.

  63. Bilb: Sounds like a good setup. Me I splurged on a fast, light carbon fibre/kelvar kayak. I live about 50 m from the place where I launch my canoe onto Nth Ck, a tributary of the Richmond river, NE, NSW. Not a good place for sea level rise.
    Used to be a catamaran sailor.

  64. Climate change report a ‘code red for humanity’, United Nations chief warns

    The Earth could be just 10 years from heating by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius — a threshold beyond which even more serious and frequent fires, droughts, floods and cyclones are expected to wreak havoc on humanity.

    Key points:
    Global warming would likely increase by 1.5C by about 2035, the IPCC report says, based on our current trajectory
    The effects of rising temperatures include rising sea levels, longer fire seasons and worse droughts
    In 2015, as part of the Paris Agreement, all governments had agreed to try to stop warming at 1.5C
    That is one of the key conclusions of the most comprehensive climate report ever released — produced by the world’s most authoritative body on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
    The report was a “code red for humanity”, United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres declared.
    “The alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” he said.
    “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.

    Definitely time to panic???
    2035 is only 14 yrs away!!! My youngest grandson will turn 16 in 2035 and I may still be alive!!! It
    is getting personal!

  65. Right there with you, JohnD and Brian. Here is another report in the same level of urgency reported by Bloomberg.


    …I have to say though that it has always been personal for me, I have extreme animosity to those who have pushed anti Climate Action agendas for personal or ideological gain.

    Where are the knife, axe, gun, and coffin emojis when you need them?

  66. bilb, that’s the link, thanks. I was heading for bed last night.

    I’ve put a slightly longer comment on my new thread which was intended as a backgrounder to the IPCC.

    There is a concept at the bottom of this about climate sensitivity (warming that comes from doubling CO2) and within that ‘Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity’, which is meant to be longer term, but I think leaves things hard to capture out, like sea ice, decay of ice sheets, and other tipping points like methane, slowing of ocean currents (or stopping and such).

    It’s complex, and I’m hoping David Spratt and Ian Dunlop will jump in. You can bet your house they will. They are better qualified and have more time than I have.

    I was hoping that we would get a new narrative, like net zero by 2035, and negative flat out from there. What they have done is strengthen the old narrative, which Will Steffen said was a furphy.

  67. bilb, do you mean the blog?

    The answer is yes, but I find a lot of areas of technology that do unpredictable things. When I started my last post, I gathered a range of links and started to write, had to stop overnight.

    Next morning it simply wasn’t there, gone without a trace, and yes, I did ‘save’.

    Viv still has to do some things. I’ve been swamped with work and family crises, so haven’t had time to chase her.

  68. Sorry bilb. It seems to be playing silly buggers. Works for me, but John had trouble, tried again, said it worked, but I can’t see his comment.

    We had double family crisis (we are all still alive and walking), I returned to cutting grass and clocked up nearly 24,000 steps (if I believe my fitbit) plus the fridge broke down.

    Tomorrow morning I’ll email Viv.

  69. Viv didn’t make it. Life does not always run smoothly, and she got a kick in the shins yesterday.

  70. Hi all, Viv here. Just about to put up a new post just to discuss what problems people are having with using the blog right now. I’ll only be able to look in every now and then but if all the feedback is on one page it will be easier to work out what is going on.

    [Edit/Update: troubleshooting post now live here.]

  71. Brian: July was the world’s hottest month on record, NOAA scientists say

    Earth sizzled in July, becoming the hottest month in 142 years of record keeping, US weather officials say.

    Key points:
    Last month was 0.93C hotter than the 20th century average
    It beat the previous record set in July 2016
    The record was driven by soaring temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere
    As extreme heat waves struck parts of the United States and Europe, the globe averaged 16.73 degrees Celsius last month, beating out the previous record set in July 2016 and tied again in 2019 and 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

    The margin was just .01C.

    The past seven Julys, from 2015 to 2021, have been the hottest seven Julys on record, said NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo.

    Last month was 0.93C warmer than the 20th-century average for the month.

  72. Not the good news: Greenland rainfall has scientists worried about melting ice caps

    Scientists say rain falling on Greenland’s highest point for the first time on record is another worrying sign of warming for the ice sheet, which is melting at an increasing rate.
    Key points:
    Greenland’s highest point recorded several hours of rain and temperatures above freezing last week
    Melting on the ice sheet was seven times greater last week than the mid-August average
    Enough ice melted from Greenland in July to cover an area 2.5 times the size of Tasmania in 5cm of water
    The world’s second-largest ice sheet, behind Antarctica, had several hours of rainfall on August 14 at its 3,216-metre summit.
    In total, 7 billion tonnes of rain fell across Greenland over three days, from August 14-16 — the largest amount since records began in 1950.

    The rain and high temperatures triggered extensive melting across the island, which suffered a surface ice mass loss on August 15 that was seven times above the average for mid-August.
    The record-breaking rain is the latest in a string of warning signs about how climate change is affecting Greenland’s ice sheet.
    Greenland experienced a massive melting event in late July, when enough ice melted in a single day to cover an area roughly 2.5 times greater than Tasmania with 5cm of water.

  73. Yes John, I saw that. Rain on snow or ice at any time is one way heat transfers from the ocean.

    I’m worrying about tipping points and the failure of climate modellers, and the IPCC to deal with them.

    I found this impressive long read article in Der SpiegelHave We Finally Broken the Climate?

    The problem with tipping points is that by the time they have revealed themselves it is too late to do anything to stop them. Yet some scientists are saying we should not worry about them until we can be sure they exist.


  74. Interesting one on increasing ocean capacity to deal with CO2.

    Nobody wants people to dump toxic waste into the oceans. But tragically, the very same natural micronutrients that are the most crucial for the oceans to be healthy and generate climate-restoring photosynthesis have been mislabeled by some as “toxic.”

    This is a big mistake, as perhaps our best chance to properly manage the climate crisis is centered on the unique capacity of the oceans, when healthy, to generate the photosynthesis that can remove the ruinous 1 trillion tons of extra CO2 that we have put into the atmosphere.
    After 12 years of investigative climate journalism, I have come to believe that Ocean Pasture Restoration, OPR, offers a uniquely realistic path to avoid climate ruin.

    Worth a read.

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