The average Australian car travels about 15,000 km/yr.
This car would consume only 16.5 litres per year! Continue reading Climate clippings 146
The average Australian car travels about 15,000 km/yr.
This car would consume only 16.5 litres per year! Continue reading Climate clippings 146
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!”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Japanese have run an actual train with people in it at 500 km/h. The Chinese have built a train which can theoretically run at 1800 mph by encasing it in a vacuum tube.
It looks as though high speed rail could become a real alternative to air for intercity travel.
Thanks to John D for the headsup.
The world’s first power-to-liquids (PtL) demonstration production plant was opened in Dresden on 14 November. The new rig uses PtL technology to transform water and CO2 to high-purity synthetic fuels (petrol, diesel, kerosene) with the aid of renewable electricity.
The article does not say how efficient the process is, but presumably less so than using the electricity directly.
The World Bank has traditionally been one of the world’s largest funders of fossil fuel projects. Now it:
will invest heavily in clean energy and only fund coal projects in “circumstances of extreme need”…
No doubt this policy stems from the bank’s commissioned report Turning down the heat.
Hope has been injected into the Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, scheduled to run from 1 to 12 December by the recent US/China agreement. The optimism stems as much from the fact that the two largest emitters in the world are finally working together as the level of ambition. The EU has also recently pledged to cut emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.
Countries will be working on the text of the draft agreement for Paris in 2015.
Countries are expected to put forward their contributions towards the 2015 agreement in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the end of March . These will then be used to craft the Paris treaty. The Lima gathering will help provide guidelines and clarity for what these INDCs must entail, especially for developing countries still reliant on fossil fuels to meet fast-growing energy demand needed to achieve developmental goals. These options could range from sector-wide emissions cuts to energy intensity goals to renewable energy targets.
We’ll be represented during the second week by Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb, a climate change denier. Seems Bishop went bananas when she found out, and Robb doesn’t want to be there anyway.
Giles Parkinson reports that we’ve sent a delegation of 14, the smallest in 20 years and probably not enough to be actively obstructive as we were in Warsaw last year.
This is how it’s shaping:
Record hot years are often El Niño years. This year is a neutral ENSO year so far.
That’s so far; there is at least a 70% chance that El Niño will be declared in the coming months, according to the BOM. Looks like a hot, dry summer.
On Sunday, Germany’s biggest utility E.ON announced plans to split into two companies and focus on renewables in a major shift that could be an indicator of broader changes to come across the utility sector. E.ON will spin off its nuclear, oil, coal, and gas operations in an effort to confront a drastically altered energy market, especially under the pressure of Germany’s Energiewende — the country’s move away from nuclear to renewables. The company told shareholders that it will place “a particular emphasis on expanding its wind business in Europe and in other selected target markets,” and that it will also “strengthen its solar business.”
E.ON will also focus on smart grids and distributed generation in an effort to improve energy efficiency and increase customer engagement and opportunity.
“With its decision, E.ON is the first company to take the necessary steps from the completely changed world of energy supply,” German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, said Monday.
The Commission and European Environment Agency’s Progress Report on climate action says:
according to latest estimates, EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012 and reached the lowest levels since 1990. So not only is the EU well on track to reach the 2020 target, it is also well on track to overachieve it.
Kevin Anderson is not impressed:
The consumption-based emissions (i.e. where emissions associated with imports and exports are considered) of the EU 28 were 2% higher in 2008 than in 1990. By 2013 emissions had marginally reduced to 4% lower than 1990 – but not as a consequence of judicious climate change strategies, but rather the financial fallout of the bankers’ reckless greed – egged on by complicit governments and pliant regulation.
Then he really gets stuck in:
In the quarter of a century since the first IPCC report we have achieved nothing of any significant merit relative to the scale of the climate challenge. All we have to show for our ongoing oratory is a burgeoning industry of bureaucrats, well meaning NGOs, academics and naysayers who collectively have overseen a 60+% rise in global emissions.
The US navy has been investigating the production of fuel from seawater using electricity from ship’s nuclear power systems for a number of years. This process would allow aircraft carrier task forces to stay at sea longer without depending on vulnerable fuel tankers to keep the planes flying. The navy has now announced that they have successfully used the fuel from their pilot plant to fly a plane with an internal combustion engine. (Well, OK a model mustang.)
The process used involves electrolysis of sea water to produce CO2 and hydrogen followed by a catalytic reaction to produce hydrocarbons. There is nothing radically new here. Hydrogen has been produced commercially using electrolysis for a long time. There are also well established commercially available processes for converting mixtures of hydrogen and nitrogen or hydrogen and CO2 into a range of useful chemicals and fuels. My guess is that most of the effort taken by the US navy has been focused on developing a process that could fit into a small part of an aircraft carrier.
The potential of these types of development go well beyond the needs of the US navy. Think about it: Unless there is an amazing breakthrough, renewable power plus batteries are not going to be able to deliver 100% renewable transport. Renewable power + batteries is not going be suitable for long distant flights, travel in the Australian outback or long distance sea travel. There is a need for energy intensive transportable fuels to cover these needs.
Bio-fuels are not the answer. Diversion of land to the production of bio-fuels is already causing starvation of people in some countries as well as damage to the environment. (Think jungle clearing for palm oil production.) In addition, the production of bio-fuels is vulnerable to climate change and pests as well as posing potential problems if the organisms used escape into the wild. What is needed are low impact renewable fuels produced by inorganic processes such as the US Navy process mentioned above.
This week I’ve concentrated on the practical side of Climate change – mitigation and adaptation and the relevant policies.
According to Giles Parkinson news reports from China indicate that the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has proposed a cap on emissions from 2016, from RenewEconomy, picked up at Clean Technica.
What’s more it looks as though China will cease to be an importer of coal within a few years (please note Gina, Clive et al).
Please note also, Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt. The coalition will be phasing out the carbon price just as China is phasing it in. The LNP reckoned a price on carbon was unnecessary because the rest of the world was not going there, remember?
[Update: indigo @ 8 advises that this story is based on a passing comment from a delegate of the NDRC and that no proposal has yet gone forward.]
Two weeks ago Giles Parkinson attended a day hosted by the Carbon Market Institute looking at the future of carbon markets in Australia. It seems that the audience of bankers and such had never taken the Direct Action thing seriously, they thought was just a bit of politicking. Now they are having to face the fact that Greg Hunt, former champion debater, will almost certainly be tasked to implement whatever it turns out to be.
Antony Green’s session was the best attended. The only serious question to be resolved on September 15 is whether the LNP can get the numbers in the Senate. The final numbers, Green explained, can be a lottery, with the balance of power possibly finally held by fringe candidates no-one has heard of. Still markets have to deal with the possibilities and this is how they sit:
The forward curve of the carbon market – such as it is – is pricing odds of 60 per cent that the carbon price will no longer exist by July next year, analysts say. The market odds for it to be gone by 2016 are 80 per cent.
The forward curve for contracts in the National Electricity Market is pricing the odds around the same level. Even Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which said earlier this year that there was just a 30 per cent chance of repeal, is now reviewing that assessment and is likely to lift the odds to above 50 per cent.
And yes, there is an issue of compensation, which doesn’t figure so far in LNP budgeting.
I was intrigued to find a blogger from Knoxville, Tennessee listing five policy briefs released by Australia’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), with seven more to come by June 30 this year. On closer investigation, I found this speech by Yvette D’Ath officially launching their research portfolio, a portfolio of more than 140 peer-reviewed research projects across 33 universities around Australia. D’Ath praised the work of the scientists and appealed to them for help in countering climate denialism.
Ironic really as the NCCARF is to be wound up by the end of June as there was no more money coming from the Government. More than 100 researchers will be affected nationally.
Instead NCCARF2 will be funded at $3 million per annum for two years as a dissemination project.
The same Knoxville blogger notes the release of the EU Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation which was produced by the Directorate-General for Climate Action, which is a program, not a project, of the European Commission. Their 2013 program of work is worth €20.75 million and the employ 160 people internally and externally.
European technology giant ABB has developed a new technology that will help power the world’s first high-capacity flash charging electric bus system, where buses will receive top up charges in 15 seconds at selected bus stops. A pilot project termed TOSA (Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation) is planned in conjunction with Geneva’s public transport company.
An arm connects with an electricity outlet in the roof of the bus shelter. At the end of the run three to four minutes gives a complete charge. It’s like a trolley bus without overhead wires.
I’m wondering how electric vehicles go with heart pacemakers. I’ve just learned that you can’t use electric hand tools with a pacemaker.
This link has a video showing roughly how the bus shelter connection is made.
It was thought that ‘black carbon’ created by the burning of organic matter such as grass or forests stayed in the soil for millions of years.
By examining carbon in rivers it is now thought that up to 40% of such black carbon dissolves and flows into the oceans.
I gather that soil carbon farming is a different issue, but seems similarly fraught. Di Martin investigated the soil carbon conundrum.
The shorter story is that some exceptional farmers have demonstrated that soil carbon can be increased dramatically. One farmer did this by ‘pasture cropping’. Native grasses were encouraged and the crop was sown directly into the pasture, rather than plowing, harrowing etc.
Another used ‘cell grazing’, which involves high intensity and high rotation grazing, with long rest periods for pasture.
There are problems in measurement, which may be resolvable with new technology. What is not resolvable, however, is the 100-year guarantee required by international protocols if the activity is deemed to benefit the planet.
Bernard Keane, following Lenore Taylor, was rather scathing about Direct Action soil magic.
The fossil fuel incumbents are rolling out a campaign to damage the solar industry. One nasty trick being considered in Queensland is the following:
Gross metering – a proposal made in Queensland which would force households to sell all the output from their rooftop systems to the grid operators, and buy it back at a higher price
Campbell Newman keeps saying that feed-in tariffs PV solar are “just ridiculous”.
The campaign seems to be extending to the whole Coalition policy on renewables, if there is one.
There is increasing concern in the [renewables] industry that the Opposition will pave way for the Renewable Energy Target to be diluted, under pressure from state governments, utilities and generators worried about sliding profits from their coal and gas generators, and noisy anti-renewable lobbies promoted by the likes of [Alan] Jones.
Please note the note at the end of the piece:
it seems the biggest problem the [coal] industry faces is a lack of demand. We’ve noted this before, but this week, this was reinforced by reports from China that imported coal is sitting unwanted and clogging up the country’s biggest ports.
Deutsche Bank energy analysts said this was due to “weak coal demand all over China” which had been apparent since late last year. Indeed, half the coal companies in one region of Mongolia had ceased production of thermal coal because of falling prices, and most small coal mines in Shanxi Province had also closed, Deutsche Bank reported.
Now for something lighter: solar panel art.
I’ve used a random image for the featured image of this post. I was going to use the one that once was my gravatar (to the left) but the original is quite small and it came up fuzzy. Continue reading Climate clippings 67
I’m currently working on another project, which is taking up much of my time. This week we had about 200mm of rain in one day. That could have been why my cable connection to the internet disappeared for 36 hours. I’m grateful to John D who sent me the links for each item in the following except the last.
A new zero-emissions engine capable of competing commercially with hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric systems appeared on the radar when respected British engineering consultancy Ricardo validated Dearman engine technology and its commercial potential.
The Dearman engine operates by injecting cryogenic (liquid) air into ambient heat inside the engine to produce high pressure gas that drives the engine – the exhaust emits cold air. It’s cheaper to build than battery electric or fuel cell technology, with excellent energy density, fast refuelling and no range anxiety. It just might be a third alternative.
Among the advantages are that it doesn’t catch fire or explode and doesn’t require rare materials. Continue reading Climate clippings 64
The WMO is agnostic about the reason for the increase in methane emissions, but in this ABC story Paul Fraser from the CSIRO tells us what they are thinking and it’s not good news.He says that the increase of methane is coming from high and low attitudes, which seems to indicate that northern permafrost and tropical wetlands may be the source.