By Mark Halper
Posting in Cities
The world continues to increase its use of fossil fuels, and global warming is still way above safe levels, head of International Energy Agency warns US Energy Secretary Chu and others.
The executive director of the International Energy Agency has warned U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and 22 of his counterparts from governments around the world that the planet has increased rather than decreased its use of fossil fuels and is still very much on a disastrous warming path.
In a stark call for renewable energy that does not emit CO2 - linked to global warming according to many scientist - IEA boss Maria van der Hoeven wrote in The Guardian newspaper that the world is on track to warm by 6 degrees C by the end of the century, when it needs to rein in the increase to 2 degrees C. She writes:
"The world's energy system is being pushed to breaking point, and our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available, but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences."
Van der Hoeven wrote the piece ahead of her appearance before the Clean Energy Ministerial, taking place this week in London, and chaired by Chu and British Energy Secretary Ed Davey. She warns,
"The present state of affairs is unacceptable precisely because we have a responsibility and a golden opportunity to act. Energy-related CO2 emissions are at historic highs; under current policies we estimate energy use and CO2 emissions will increase by a third by 2020, and almost double by 2050. This would probably send global temperatures at least 6C higher within this century."
In a separate story reporting on her essay, The Guardian notes that a rise of 6 degrees C "would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe unihabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration, according to scientists."
Delivering a double dose of doomsday, The Guardian notes today that the Royal Society has warned that the world has to stabilize its population and consumption - especially in rich nations - if the planet is to sustain itself. The world's population will exceed 9 billion people by 2050, up from the current head count of 7 billion.
The Royal Society - which claims to be the world's oldest continuous science academy - implores political leaders to push population control and over-consumption to the top of their agendas, making health and education a priority. Reporting the appeal, The Guardian writes:
"At today's rate of population increase developing countries will have to build the equivalent of a city of a million people every five days from now to 2050, says the report. 'Global population growth is inevitable for the next few decades. By 2050, it is projected that today's population of 7 billion will have grown by 2.3 billion, the equivalent of a new China and an India.' "
The Royal Society notes:
"The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption ... or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future."
Emerging countries must avoid CO2 production, the Royal Society points out.
Meanwhile, back at the Clean Energy Ministerial, British Prime Minister David Cameron summarized a number of new initiatives in wind, carbon capture, biofuels, energy innovation and other fields. We'll report on some of these over the next few days.
In one announcement linked to the energy confab, as we reported earlier this week, Chu and UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey agreed that the U.S. and UK will cooperate on the development of floating offshore wind turbines.
Floating turbines potentially save money because they don't have to be anchored to the seabed, and operators can maintain them by hauling them back to port. They also permit wind farms further out at sea, where wind resources can be greater.
Other countries and regions represented at the Clean Energy Ministerial, which ends today, are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. Chu and Davey have co-chaired the proceedings.
Updated 7:21 a.m. PT, April 26, to include list of countries attending the Clean Energy Ministerial.
Photo: David Eerdmans via Wikimedia Commons.
Also from the London gathering of world energy ministers:
Apr 25, 2012
Slow down anti-nuke person. The problems that developed with Japan's reactors was because of a dumb design flaw in the backup system, and NOT with the reactors themselves. Specifically, the backup generators that should have supplied the cooling systems with energy for a controlled shutdown were in the frigging basement, where the sea water shorted them out. I was really impressed with how efficiently the solar and wind systems kicked in to meet the increased energy demand when Europe had that nasty cold spell this past winter. Oh wait a sec, the windmills froze up and there was not enough sun to have the solar pannels run very efficiently. Not surprisingly, the AGW hypocrites went back to hydrocarbon based generators when they should have stood on their collective principles and froze their ass in the dark.
Obviously, we have not yet found that visceral event -- a climatic 9-11 -- to sway American and Chinese opinions.
The rapid surge in methane from the arctic and oceans could result in extreme rapid climate change a few or couple of dozen months or a decade rather than over a century or two. ???Uncertainty in the future atmospheric burden of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, represents an important challenge to the development of realistic climate projections,??? say the scientists. ???The Arctic is home to large reservoirs of methane, in the form of permafrost soils. Furthermore, methane is produced in the surface ocean and the surface waters of the Arctic Ocean are supersaturated with respect to methane.??? Until now, it had been unknown what happened to this oceanic methane. Now it seems that some at least is being released into the atmosphere - causing unknown and unpredictable effects on the environment. Not to worry, however. Rapid warming also means the equally sudden emergence of new viruses that launch a human- and mammal-culling pandemic or two, or three, that will, as far as our species goes, resolve our worries: The dead don't complain or consume. Heck, it might even begin in earnest near the end of this year. Probably not, but soon: A few or couple of dozen months or a decade rather than over a century or two. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2134468/Global-warming-puzzle-MORE-complex--methane-detected-seeping-directly-Arctic-ocean.html#ixzz1tA2M03cR
Simply stated, one large male cow! Fossil fuels will not be the end of the world. Much bigger chance that some type of science project, medical experiment or military weapon will. Planet warming is nothing more then creating mass panic to make the few very rich at the expense of the uneducated masses and over taxed citizens paying for this made up disaster.
"The planet has increased rather than decreased its use of fossil fuels" The United States has decreased its use of fossil fuels. The increase comes from China, India, and other developing nations. The executive director of the International Energy Agency has warned the wrong people.
- - -today???s population of 7 billion will have grown by 2.3 billion - - The world???s population will exceed 9 billion people by 2050. - - Why are western nations being beaten over head on this? All projections are that of the 2.3 billion in expected growth, 1 billion will take place in Asia and 1 billion in Africa. The pollution growth curve those parts of the world are on will have them generating over 80 percent of the worlds toxic waste and pollution by 2050. We will all die of toxic poisoning before the seas rise from any global warming.
Until now, the worst case scenarios for temperature rise by the end of the century were about 3 degC (or about 5 or 6 degF). A 6 degC rise would be about 11 degF, which I have never heard of before. It's estimated global temperatures during the industrial age (when CO2 has roughly doubled) have so far increased only about 1 degC, While this last decade has been the hottest in the last 150 years, it's been flat (no additional temperature increase) during that time. This is certainly not in line with a prediction of 6 degC by the end of the century. Just because some bureaucrat makes up some number, why should we pay any attention? At best, this number is the result of computer models which didn't even predict the flat temperatures of the last decade. It certainly doesn't mean the world economy should devote tens of trillions of dollars doing something about it. Back in the late '60s, the Club of Rome used computer models to tell us that by 2000 the world's economy would collapse and there would be mass starvation because of resource depletion. Yet today the world has never been more affluent and one of our biggest problems is obesity. No doubt one day scientists will get it right, but it would be wise to see a little proof first before we take their word.
No, wind and solar are not "dispatchable". No one claimed that they are. But Europe has the world's most devevoped system of biomass (mostly wood but other low-value feedstocks as well) based heat and power plants. These are dispatchable, and they are based on renewable resources. And by the way, when Europe is hit by a long, dry heat wave, the first power to be shut in due to lack of cooling water is nuclear.
Because Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365, as Fukushima proved, we need to shift to Solar (of all flavors) ASAP before yet another Fukushima or worse happens! We need to stop Nuclear Fascism* before it is too late! * http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nuclear+fascism
Sorry bb_abtix, I should have listed the countries/regions on the conference roster. I've now added that info to the bottom of the story. They include some of the countries you mention. In addition to the U.S. and UK, they are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.
"Humans reproduce until the exceed their available resources" It's a quote from one of Darwin's contemporaries but I wish I could find which one. We know that education, especially educating women and girls, can do a lot to minimize our historical trend, and even reverse it. Allowing women to participate in the economy also helps. And if they don't resolve the issue themselves, famine and resource-based wars will do it for for them.
You are right about the projected increases in population in developing countries; the increase of humans puts a lot of pressure on food and water resources. At the same time, the industrial nations have slowed down in population increase; most of the population increase is people migrating from developing countries. The increase in the consumption of oil is no surprise when one considers that China and India have been making great strides so that more people do have more money to spend on cars. Both countries are consuming more oil and that impacts everyone. The US does consume a lot per capita than almost any other country. The solutions are bitter and painful. There is too much egocentric thinking that feeds into regional-centric thinking that rewards the aggressive at the expense of the passive. Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy postulated that events would wind up in a crisis so intense that at the end a solution would be found that fixes the crisis; but the solution eventually becomes a problem that escalates in to a crisis with its own different solution. I think that this is as good an explaination for the growing global crisis with over population and over consumption that is causing what used to be vast to become scarce and expensive. Our thinking is too short term and not enough long term.
CO2 levels have risen from about 280 ppmv pre-industrial to about 390 ppmv today, about a 40% increase. To double they would have to rise to 560 ppmv. If you think the major climate models even attempt to "predict the flat temperatures of the last decade" you don't understand how they work. The ones I'm familiar with use a 30 year moving average for temperature. Why should I pay attention to someone who obviously doesn't know what they are talking about.
But I think natural gas IS a hydrocarbon based fuel. So you are agreeing that they gave up ther principles to keep warm. It should also be noted that bio mass provides a negligible percentage of Europes heat as nearly 100 percent of the bio industry effort is being put into meeting a goal of 10 percent of transportation fuel being bio based by 2020. When it looked like they would not meet the 2010 goal of 10 percent the bio fuel industry set an unofficial target of 5.75. A target they apparently did meet.
Only 1 nation from Africa. Yet some estimates predict Africa will surpass Asia in population by 2050. Many others predict they will be a very close second to Asia. Europe and the Americas will be distant followers with only modest growth, mostly by immigration.
Should we let famine control the population in Africa? Should we stop shipping food that only ends up being fought over by war lords who want to run the place? For 40 years I have been hearing about the starving kids in Africa while the population exploded from around 200 million after WW II to over 1.2 billion now. It sounds like all we did with our generosity was exasperate the problem.
But I want to add that US per capita usage is trending in the right direction. Down. While per capita usage is trending up in India, China and Africa. Added to the population growth that only spells trouble.
If the models can't do better than a 30 year moving average, then why pay attention to them at all? The industrial revolution has been with us only 200 years, major CO2 increase much less than that. That's not nearly enough time to verify the models that don't have a resolution under 30 years. It's much worse when the scientists change the models on the fly, such as suddenly blaming the flat temperatures of the last decade on sulfate emissions from Chinese coal plants. Perhaps the models are only incomplete, and the scientists haven't yet figured out all the major variables and how they interact. But that's just another reason not to spend tens of trillions on a theory that's incomplete and unproved. I don't know where all of a sudden the increase for this century has been raised to 6 degC. Probably just another "adjustment" to models we are all supposed to bet our futures on. In any case, if we can't do better than a 30 year moving average in our predictions, then there must be a lot of uncertainty attached to that 6 degC as well. But the uncertainty in that number is never mentioned in public. And it's one thing for a model to explain the past, since it's like writing a test when you know all the answers. The real test of a scientific theory is in its predictive powers. So far the global warming models haven't done much better than "it's gonna get hotter", and they haven't been too accurate at that as the last decade shows. So why should we let you and the other man-made global warming advocates spend tens of trillions of our money when you can't do better than that? I may not know what I am talking about, but there's as yet no scientific way for you to prove you do either. In fact, as the Club of Rome fiasco shows, it's the man-made global warming scientists who have a lot to prove.
If the Progressive "green" agenda is ultimately successful, it will solve the problem. And it won't be pretty. As we become less affluent and food & transport costs escalate due to implementation of a non-market-based anti-carbon agenda, we will no longer have the surpluses that have allowed us to so easily export food and technology to these places. What food we grow will stay here, and we will no longer be exporting wealth overseas. When the ships of food and technology stop arriving at those far-away ports, that will be the day of reckoning.
That is why I said that the solutions are bitter and painful. To control and reduce the human population would take a psychopath who would not be bothered by the deaths of billions. Total war is a relatively new form, it started with the American Civil War and acheived its ultimate in the nuclear bombing of Japan. Prior to that, most battles happened in a small space between armies with civilians picnicing near by to watch the battles. Total war includes collateral damage to civilians and infrastructure. This definition does not include the conquests by Ghengis Khan or Attila the Hun. I think that nature or perhaps the dark nature of mankind will correct the population gloabally. The who, when , how and where are not certain or known.
...and until we do, the problem will only get worse. Of course, the west is much of the problem, although not for the reasons usually sited by the crisis industrial complex. The real problem is that through our humanitarianism and charity, we've made it possible for populations to grow where otherwise they would not have. We've done it by exporting surpluses of food and health technologies to poor and developing populations that have increased lifespans globally to historical highs while reducing infant mortality to historical lows. And one of the reasons we have such surpluses is because we are affluent, and that affluence has the side-effect of reducing our urge to breed as an economic necessity as it still is in much of the lesser-developed world. How we correct this problem is both politically and morally troublesome, and brings up uncomfortable questions that those in the crisis industrial complex simply do not want to address. For example, the simple and obvious solution would be to stop subsidizing this unsustainable population growth by cutting off food and health aid to the places we've been artificially sustaining for generations. (I am not advocating this; I just state it as an obvious solution that would solve the problem, albeit in a manner that would be considered a human disaster) But since the crisis industrial complex can't even acknowledge the real causes of the problem, what hope is there of them actually being able to solve it? It's so much easier just to say that it's the west's fault for being so affluent (which it is) and ask for more money, which actually is part of the problem, and solves absolutely nothing. Not long after I first evaluating this problem, I came to the same conclusion. Historically, there have been 3 ways that this problem has been addressed. The most common, at least in recent centuries, unfortunately, has been war. (Wars are usually conflicts over access to natural resources) Wars have been terribly effective at thinning out populations. Then there is nature, which does it through disease or natural disaster, or both. Of course, the least likely is a "managed" approach. Generally, history has not viewed those responsible for the best known "managed" approaches very favorably outside of certain extremist circles. Personally, I find it disturbing to have to consider Stalin or Mao as ecological heroes.
...than the one that greets newcomers today. There was no such thing as a "safety net", much less the myriad of services and benefits that exist today. This is what made America unique; we literally did have a different DNA than residents of the old world; a DNA that favored risk taking and self-reliance. The downside of generations since of extreme affluence has watered that DNA down.
When my forefathers came here, in waves since the 1600s if you look at the many branches of the tree, they came here with 1 expectation. If they worked hard they could make something of themselves. This held true to the last immigrant, my grandmother, at the start of the 20th century. I was raised in a city that saw every immigrant wave to hit the shores of the US. From people fleeing religious persecution before the revolution up to people fleeing Pot Pot and the USSR. Every immigrant I knew through my youth held this same attitude. Work hard and you can be successful. I know successful immigrants from over 20 nations. Many of them I call friends and all of them are over age 50. They will tell you that many, possibly a majority, of todays immigrants come here with 1 expectation. Getting a hand out. France and the UK are finding out the hard way what giving free stuff to illegal immigrants can do. To quote a statement by the presidents Aunt Zeituni during a 2010 interview with a local TV station about her living in state subsidized housing and receiving food stamps and welfare while fighting deportation for her lengthy illegal immigrant status. - - America is the land of the free. I want my free stuff. ???
The US used to be the world's melting pot that blended different peoples into a common society, at least that what we believe we did. Every wave of immigration brought hard working people and also problems of assimulation. The country has benefitted from immigration but the current problem is the illegal immigration that has been ongoing for several decades. The recession and anti-immigrant laws have reduced the population of illegal aliens in the US. Immigration is a growing problem in Europe. The problems are that people immigrate from poor, developing countries to western countries for a better life but are failing to adapt to western culture and keeping aspects of their culture that conflicts with western culture for various reasons. I don't see this as a shakedown of the west, I see it as more people wanting a share in the imagined riches of the west, but having problems adapting to western culture. The benefits of immigration are many and do outweigh the problems in the long run. The Irish were a hated sub culture during the potatoe famine, but American culture has been enriched by those immigrants and the Irish are now seen as good people.
...is entirely due to immigration. Just the other day, it was reported that America takes in more refugees than all other western countries combined. The Progressives like to cry about the population problem, without being honest about the causes. It's this dishonesty that cements my impression that when combined with the "carbon" issue, what this really is about is an economic shakedown of the west.
How can you criticize climate models if you have no clue what they're really trying to do? They're called climate models, not weather models for a reason. Climate is not something that can be defined by only 10 years because natural variability and cycles such as El Nino/La Nina can skew the results in such a short time period. What climate models attempt to do is to define the envelope within which weather operates. The weather will vary chaotically within that envelope but should average out close to what the model projects over longer time periods. A recent study found it takes at least 17 years to separate the global warming signal from the noise of natural variability. "Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale", Santer, et. al., 2011 http://www.agu.org/journals/jd/jd1122/2011JD016263/ So, as I said originally, if you think climate models should project as short a period as one decade you don't understand what they do and you don't understand the science well enough to understand why they can't predict a single decade well. Here are some references to FAQ's on climate models and a comparison of model output to real world data. They are written by the scientists who are actually doing the work: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/ http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/ http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/02/2011-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/