The Four Corners program Power Failure added to the sense of crisis around our power system, beginning with the breathless comment that there was almost a breakdown of civil order in South Australia when the lights went out in September. The program looked at the difficulties experienced when the power went off for three days. Recently in some places affected by Cyclone Debbie, crews couldn’t get in to start fixing for about double that time. I’ll come back to Four Corners via a series of articles published on the same day.
First, in the AFR tucked away on page 8, Mark Ludlow penned an article Renewables, EIS ‘make gas-fired power redundant’ (paper edition title). Ludlow interviewed Professor Frank Jotzow, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at ANU, who said gas had been overtaken by renewable energy, including battery storage, in the transition away from coal-fired power. We should skip gas and go straight to renewables with batteries. Continue reading Power tipping point
The Climate Council issued a report on the future of gas-fired electricity just after Easter – Pollution and Price: The Cost of Investing in Gas.
Gas is often thought of as a ‘transition fuel’ from coal to renewables. Their advice is clear:
Do not provide policy support for new gas power plants or gas supply infrastructure.
Existing gas plants should be thought of as a short-term, expensive, emergency backup as renewable energy and storage is rapidly scaled up.
Moreover, we should leave most of our gas reserves in the ground. Continue reading Gas has got to go
In the comments thread of the post Is methane hydrate out-gassing going to kill us all? BilB linked to an article The Global Impacts of Rapidly Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice by Peter Wadhams, who is professor emeritus of ocean physics at Cambridge University, a sea ice specialist with 46 years of research on sea ice and ocean processes in the Arctic and Antarctic with more than 50 expeditions to both polar regions under his belt.
He worries about what is happening in the Arctic, and after revisiting my post Reconciling estimates of climate sensitivity, I worry too. Not so much about the extinction of the human race, or about abrupt catastrophic climate change, rather how the earth system is going to end up in the long term after we extract much of carbon sediments deposited over hundreds of millions of years and inject them back into the atmosphere within the space of about a century. Continue reading Climate change and the Arctic: we should worry
Recently we’ve linked to a couple of scary posts, ie. The Methane Threat and Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade, both at the Arctic News blog.
This is alarming to say the least.
The first thing I did was look up the Climate Plus archives tag for Methane. Continue reading Is methane hydrate out-gassing going to kill us all?
When Elon Musk dramatically promised to build a grid-scale battery in South Australia, the media was enthralled. Share traders and a string of Australian fund managers smirked. They’d seen it all before, and were shorting him in the market.
In that very week he was in the market with plans to raise $US1.15 billion in equity and convertible notes. I understand also that Tesla has gone strangely quiet about SA since then. Continue reading Climate clippings 201
1. Methane emissions spiking
The Global Methane Budget 2016 has been released, and the news is not good.
CSIRO researcher Dr Pep Canadell said it was the most comprehensive modelling to date and revealed a potentially dangerous climate wildcard.
“Methane emissions were stable for quite a few years at the end of the 2000s. But they’ve begun to grow much faster, in fact 10 times faster, since 2007,” said Dr Canadell, who is also the executive director of the Global Carbon Project.
Continue reading Climate clippings 194
NSW Greens Upper House politician Jeremy Buckingham set methane bubbling up in the Condamine River alight, making a video which went viral with 2.2m views from Friday to Sunday. The CSIRO had previously investigated the area and found the methane leakage was probably natural.
Buckingham knows better and accused the CSIRO of “making excuses” for the coal seam gas industry. Continue reading Condamine River CSG fire stunt goes viral
1. Lakes warming faster than atmosphere
Courtesy of John D, from Gizmag, an item that has implications for algal blooms, health of species, food and methane emissions.
Specifically, the results show that the average temperature in the lakes has been rising by 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit every 10 years. While that might not seem too significant, it’s a higher rate of warming than witnessed in either the atmosphere or the ocean, and the long-term effects could be pronounced… Continue reading Climate clippings 161
Glaciers observed in a recent study are losing between half a meter and one meter of ice thickness every year – two to three times more than the corresponding average of the 20th century. Continue reading Climate clippings 152
Is the melting Arctic poised to release catastrophic quantities of methane? Actually, that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about, says Anil Ananthaswamy in a New Scientist article (paywalled). I’ve read the article, and I haven’t quite stopped worrying. Not quite. Continue reading Dealing with the methane time bomb
Turn down the heat : confronting the new climate normal is a massive 320 page report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, and hence highly authoritative. Continue reading Turn down the heat : confronting the new climate normal
1. 25 climate change disasters
Business Insider, Australia tells us that 25 disasters may befall us from climate change. The assumptions are conservative – 2°C and half a metre of sea level rise by 2100, though the text sometimes specifies more. Some of the predictions are disturbing: Continue reading Climate clippings 110