And now for something completely different. Via Watts Up With That I learned about a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study titled “Halfway to zero: progress towards a carbon-free power sector“. The conclusion of the study is that the US power sector is already halfway to zero carbon emissions. This is their overview graphic with all the gains that were made since 2005:
They didn’t look at actual emission decreases from 2005, but compared current emissions to emission projections made in 2005.
They exhausted this technique in the rest of the study. Another example is the statement that the total electricity bill in 2020 is 18% less than projected. Mind you, this again is not an actual decrease. Consumers don’t see their electricity bills drop by 18% since 2005, it was projected in 2005 that the electricity bill would be higher in 2020 than what it actually was in 2020.
That is a pretty neat technique, they basically show that things could be worse and can then declare this as a gain.
I am in a cheeky mood right now, so let me try to apply this technique in my own life and see how much gain I can squeeze out of it…
Around the same time that I started writing previous post, I came across the article Guaranteeing power at all times is absurd (Dutch ahead) about our energy security. It is an opinion piece by Belgian economist Etienne De Callataÿ after our new Federal Government announced its intention of closing our nuclear infrastructure by 2025.
In that article, he makes the case that security of electricity supply should not be top priority for our Government and goes as far to write that one or two days of blackout per year is not the end of the world…
I think that I can somehow understand his reasoning, but first let’s look how De Callataÿ explains his strategy.
A remarkable tweet that I stumbled upon (translated from Dutch):
You often hear on the right that Belgium has the highest tax level. What is not told is where the money is going.
Belgium, king of the fossil fuel subsidy …
It has been a while since last post. I am learning new skills and this has a negative effect on the post frequency. I am still in the learning process, but I couldn’t resist when I saw this list of quotes in a tweet from John Cook (my emphasis):
These quotes are a collection extracted from an Independent article on “The spread of climate denial on Facebook”, which contained some quotes from John Cook. These are all interesting quotes, but I will limit myself in this post to the first quote (yellow marking):
Through his research, Dr Cook has found that climate misinformation that is spread on social media disproportionately affects conservatives and has little impact on liberals.
I can understand that conservatives and liberals have different worldviews, therefor react differently to the same information, but there is much more nuance to it than that.
Some seem to believe that a EU emission decrease will have a huge effect on world emissions, as is shown in this curious tweet from a Belgian politician (my emphasis):
Without getting the EU climate neutral, you will not get the world below 2 degrees C. And if we do not achieve that, the costs and losses cannot be foreseen.
This is a bold statement and it doesn’t make much sense. Firstly, the EU emissions were in the order of 10-11% of world emissions in 2018 and secondly, developing countries like China and India have strongly rising emissions without engagements to lower them, so their emissions are very likely to further increase in the future, likely even after 2030. Africa will likely follow soon.
He rightfully got criticized for that in the reactions on the tweet. In this post, I want to go a step further and try to find out how EU emissions relate to global emissions and to what extent these are big enough to compensate for the increase from the developing regions.
This is the follow-up of on previous post in which I discussed a Guardian article of October 2006, claiming that we only had ten years to save the planet “from mankind”. This was only one article in a string of others that I found having the same structure: number of time left to save the world/planet.
Fast forward two years.
When researching previous post, I came across the article in the Guardian on James Hansen stating that “Obama had only four years to halt devastating climate change”. When I finished that post, I wondered how many other similar claims (in the form of “number of years/months to save the planet/world”) were there in Guardian articles.
As expected there were more than the one I accidentally bumped into. This post will be about the first article I found, there will be a follow-up post on the others.
That first article that I found is titled “Ten years to save the planet from mankind“, written by Gaby Hinsliff and published on 29 Oct 2006. Its subject is the Stern report that was published a day later (it is striking how the Guardian succeeds to know what is in a report before it is published). It was initially not really clear what the “from mankind” in the title is about.
One of the things that became abundantly clear in a previous post is how incredibly easy it is replace past failed predictions by a brand new one, even when incompatible with the failed prediction. There was the example of a Belgian activist who in 2008 claimed that we only had ten year left to avert tipping points by limiting the temperature increase to 2 °C, but in 2018 -when we horribly failed to reach that target- he made a new prediction that we now had another ten years to prevent tipping points by limiting the temperature increase to … 1.5 °C.
In that post, I also noticed the similarity between this prediction and the prediction by Andrew Simms and his onehundredmonths campaign. Both claimed that 2 °C had to be averted otherwise we were in for tipping points, pointed to the authority of the IPCC to justify their claim, both started their campaign roughly at the same time (2008), both had a hard deadline in the near future for this to happen (100 months for Simms, 10 years for Balthazar). The deadlines expired without reaching the goal in both cases and both adopted a new target: limiting to 1.5 °C temperature increase, basically forgetting about their previous claim. Simms learned his lesson and didn’t propose a new deadline anymore. Balthazar apparently wasn’t that smart and adopted another, rather close-by, target date (2030). I wonder what new claim he will make when his current prediction will not materialize (odds are that it will not materialize, because his claim is not substantiated by the report he claims it is based on).
“We have about ten years before we get into a irreversible situation”, said Nic Balthazar (see previous post). Just as in an earlier interview at the end of December 2018, he based his claim on the IPCC SR15 report that was “clearer than ever”. But then, I read the SR15 report before and I didn’t find anything that suggests that there would be tipping points at a 1.5 °C temperature increase.
As far as I know, the SR15 report was commissioned at the 2015 Paris conference and the question back then was: which are the effects of the threshold of 1.5 °C (proposed at the conference) compared to the 2 °C threshold that was valid until that conference?
That is what I also see in the SR15 report: how do the two thresholds compare. So how on earth does he come to the conclusion that the SR15 report shows that there will be a tipping point within ten years and it will be game over for our society in twenty years?
When I looked at the stats of my previous post a couple days ago, I noticed that there were quite some visits coming from Twitter. However, when I looked at the tweet linking to my post on my own twitter account, I didn’t see that many views and hardly any engagements, so only few clicked the link. These stat views definitely didn’t come via my own tweet. This prompted me to search for the distribution of the link to my previous post on twitter.
I quickly found some twitter accounts that picked up the link to my previous post. Two of them were interesting, these are both replies on tweets about (alarmist) articles from the Guardian and the Independent.
This is the tweet that originated from the Independent:
The tweet stated that a sane person would not need more convincing than the 11,000 scientists backing up the “report” (it is actually a viewpoint). He took the list of 11,000 “scientists” as a confirmation that we are in a climate emergency (and maybe even are too late already). I am pretty sure that the tweep didn’t look at that list…