Worldwide, solar energy has continued to grow even when economies were shrinking. By 2013, almost 138.9 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic (PV) had been installed globally, states the European Photovoltaic Industry Association in the report Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018.
From the bottom, blue is Europe, brown is Asia Pacific, purple is the Americas and orange is China.
4. Australia could become manufacturing hub of battery storage
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) met in Abu Dhabi last weekend, ahead of the World Energy Future Conference in the same venue. Australia thumbed its nose by sending an embassy staffer rather than a minister, as a country genuinely interested in renewables would have done.
Australia is increasingly being seen as a “no-hoper” and an “outlier” in terms of large scale renewable energy.
Sadoway thinks Australia would provide a strong home market, ideal for remoter population centres difficult to serve with a high quality grid.
The LMBs [liquid metal batteries] are being hailed as a potentially low cost option for utility-scale battery storage. That is because the nature of the technology means that they can cycle – or discharge – thousands of times without having its capacity reduced.
The batteries could last for 300 years.
No doubt the minister for industry will quietly tell him that we don’t do large scale renewables, or manufacturing, in Australia.
Inconvenient words about climate change and torture were snipped out of President Obama’s State of the Union speech when posted on the (Republican) Speaker’s official site. Words like this:
The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.
6. Republican opinion on climate change
Meanwhile the Republican-controlled US Senate has voted 98-1 to say the climate change is real and not a hoax. However, that doesn’t mean that humans are the cause. After all the Bible tells of climate change and it’s just arrogance to think humans are the cause!
A recent Yale study identifies four different kinds of Republicans – liberal, moderate, conservative and Tea Party. While overall only 44% of Republicans think global warming is happening, the sub-groups vary considerably:
Yet overall 56% think CO2 should be regulated as a pollutant, again with vast variations of opinion:
2014 heat referred to surface temperature. Since about 93% of additional heat resulting from global warming ends up in the oceans, they give a better indication of changes in the Earth’s energy system.
Environment minister Greg Hunt, Radio National, November 17:
If you use the full Kyoto period — 1990 to 2020 — the US is minus 5% and Australia is almost exactly the same.
Joe Hockey made a similar statement that “If you compare apples with apples, the American position and our position on reductions are effectively the same.”
The comparisons are complex, because the starting and finishing dates are different, so are the population increases. Moreover Australia has forestry and tree clearing in the mix.
Malte Meinshausen and Anita Talberg make the necessary adjustments and find:
An apples-with-apples comparison shows that Australia lags far behind the United States in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its energy, transport and industrial sectors.
To match US efforts, Australia would have to increase its 2020 ambitions from the current 5% below 2000 to 21% or even 29%, depending on whether different population growth is taken into account, or not.
In short, they lie!
3. The genius of Tony Abbott’s stance on climate
At New MatildaTom Allen comments on Tom Switzer’s claim the Abbott is a climate change genius. Switzer is a climate change denialist, so we won’t bother with that! Allen finds Abbott has proved one thing – that a carbon tax works!
will be remembered as the Prime Minister who proved that the carbon tax worked. After it was introduced, Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions fell, the economy continued to grow and the sky remained in place.
When Abbott repealed it and the country’s emissions began to rise again, using Australia as a vast laboratory, Abbott confirmed it: carbon taxes work.
The world’s oceans are the hottest they’ve ever been in the modern record, especially in the northern Pacific.
In July this year, ocean surfaces were 0.55 °C above the average since 1890, just beating the previous record of 0.51 °C in 1998. In the North Pacific, the temperatures were about 0.8 °C above average, which is 0.25 °C warmer than the 1998 peak.
No explanation is given as to why this pattern has emerged. However, it does seem to be disrupting the development of an El Niño. Small mercy, because the northern Pacific warming has effects similar to an El Niño:
This includes more hurricanes in the Pacific, as well as more storms curling over into mainland US. Meanwhile, there have been fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic, just as happens during El Niño. Elsewhere, dry conditions have occurred across Australia, and the Indian monsoon was delayed – effects all arising from warm oceans, despite the lack of an El Nino event.
6. Turn down the heat : confronting the new climate normal
This is volume 2 of 2 of a report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, and hence highly authoritative. The lead author was Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute.
It’s a massive 320 page report. This is from the Foreword:
There is growing evidence that warming close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is locked-in to the Earth’s atmospheric system due to past and predicted emissions of greenhouse gases, and climate change impacts such as extreme heat events may now be unavoidable.
As the planet warms, climatic conditions, heat and other weather extremes which occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, and considered highly unusual or unprecedented today would become the “new climate normal” as we approach 4°C—a frightening world of increased risks and global instability.
The consequences for development would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources change, diseases move into new ranges, and sea levels rise. Ending poverty, increasing global prosperity and reducing global inequality, already difficult, will be much harder with 2°C warming, but at 4°C there is serious doubt whether these goals can be achieved at all.
That’s about as far as I could get tonight. Climate Progress has a post.
First of all the record does not represent a dramatic increase on the recent average:
By comparison the loss of land ice has tripled in the last five years alone.
NOAA have now given a more detailed explanation of how the increase, counterintuitively, may be related to global warming. Firstly, it’s the wind:
NOAA first points out that “much of this year’s sea ice growth occurred late in the winter season, and weather records indicate that strong southerly winds blew over the Weddell Sea in mid-September 2014.”
Secondly, the melting land ice itself may have an effect:
Most of Antarctica’s ice lies in the ice sheets that cover the continent, and in recent decades, that ice has been melting. Along the coastline, ice shelves float on the ocean surface, and much of the recent melt may be driven by warm water from the deep ocean rising and making contact with ice shelf undersides.
How does the melting of land ice matter to sea ice formation? The resulting meltwater is fresher than the seawater. As it mixes with the seawater, the meltwater makes the nearby seawater slightly less dense, and slightly closer to the freezing point than the ocean water below. This less dense seawater spreads out across the ocean surface surrounding the continent, forming a stable pool of surface water that is close to the freezing point, and close to the ice onto which it could freeze.
The United Nations chose 26-year-old Marshall Islands poet and mother Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner to be among the keynote speakers at the UN’s climate summit in New York recently. Here she is at the mike with her husband and child:
Marshall Islands sits on average about 2 metres above sea level. Already she’s seen waves crashing into their homes and their breadfruit trees wither from salt and droughts.
Jetnil-Kijiner was confident in her speech that, no matter how difficult, climate change would be solved, and her daughter would be able to go on living in the Marshall Islands.
“No one’s drowning, baby,” she said. “No one’s moving. No one’s losing their homeland. No one’s becoming a climate change refugee…We are drawing the line here.”
She said, accurately I think, that saving the Marshall Islands meant “ending carbon pollution within my lifetime.”
Some 125 world leaders were present. Some, like ours stayed away, having more important things to do. Anyone present with half a brain must have known that is not going to happen. The Marshall Islands is expendable.
6. Climate outlook, October to December
In brief, warmer and drier than average, apart from Tasmania, which looks good for rain. There’s more detail and maps here.
This is what the rainfall prospect looks like:
And maximum temperature:
Six of eight international climate models suggest a late season El Niño, or near El Niño, ENSO state is likely.
Most of the energy from global warming goes into the ocean as this graphic from Skeptical Science illustrates:
The linked paper stresses the role of the Atlantic in heat uptake. The following graph shows the heat uptake for the four main oceans. The black line is the sea surface temperature, the red line shows the heat below 1500 metres.
All this is considered in relation to the socalled warming ‘hiatus’. The suggestion is that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is the critical influence and it changes phase every 20 to 35 years. If so the ‘hiatus’ could last another decade or so.
Other scientists see the hiatus as multi-causal. It also depends which temperature series you are looking at. The HadCRUT temperatures always look flatter in recent years, as in this article. The Gistemp series from NASA has 1998 as about the third highest and shows a continuing upward trend, albeit slowed..
2. ‘Unprecedented’ ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica
The Chinese market, when fully functional, would dwarf the European emissions trading system, which is now the world’s biggest.
It would be the main carbon trading hub in Asia and the Pacific, where Kazakhstan and New Zealand already operate similar markets. South Korea will start a national market on Jan. 1, 2015, while Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are drawing up plans for markets of their own.
Looks like quite a trend. Time perhaps for Australia to join in!
Small scale solar power is quite popular in Africa and supported by environmentalists. A few panels are able to run a few lights, a radio, charge the mobile phone but stop short of boiling a kettle. Critics see this as condemning the poor to a constrained future. Only 20% of Kenyans are connected to the grid.
Coal fired power is obviously not the answer. Dams take years to build, are typically over budget, inundate fertile lands or forest areas and interrupt natural stream flow.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo the mega project of the Inga 3 dam is due to start construction on the Congo River. If fully developed it will produce twice as much electricity as the world’s largest, the three Gorges in China. But will it be economically justified and what impacts will it have on the environment?
Carbon emissions from the country’s main electricity grid have risen since the end of the carbon tax by the largest amount in nearly eight years.
Data from the National Electricity Market, which covers about 80 per cent of Australia’s population, shows that emissions from the sector rose by about 1 million tonnes, or 0.8 per cent, at an annualised rate last month compared with June.
That is the biggest two-month increase since the end of 2006, and came as a result of an increase in overall demand and a rise in the share of coal-fired power in the market, according to Pitt & Sherry’s monthly Cedex emissions index.
From what I can make of it, gas is increasingly going to export, there is some scaling back of hydro, presumably because of the weather. and large scale solar was killed off ages ago. The slack is being taken up by old coal, including brown coal.
Abbott’s strategy of saving the coal fired power industry seems to be working.
Building new more efficient coal would be his ultimate aim. This would involve investors and lenders having confidence in the future of coal. Surely they can’t be that stupid!
Reminder: Use this thread as an open thread on climate change.
Last month we had a look at the Bigger, better, new hockey stick from a study by Marcott et al. Since then Skeptical Sciencehas a post on the phoney skeptical/denialist critique of the study. We now have a new study, Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia, by 78 scientists from 24 nations analyzing climate data from tree rings, pollen, cave formations, ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, and historical records from around the world published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The study found:
There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age, but all reconstructions show generally cold conditions between ad 1580 and 1880, punctuated in some regions by warm decades during the eighteenth century.
The real interest was in the regional variations on a continental scale. Temperatures were identified for the Arctic, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and the Antarctic. There was insufficient data for Africa. Continue reading Global heating update→