A Reanalysis of “California’s climate moon shot” (Grand-Scale Climate Fail)

Guest reanalysis by David Middleton

Analysis

California’s climate moon shot

Jeff Spross

August 31, 2018

California may be done waiting for everyone else to get their act together on climate change.

Earlier this week, by a vote of 44 to 33, the state Assembly passed a bill that would require California to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2045. An equivalent measure already passed the state Senate. A whopping 72 percent of Californians support the measure. All that’s left is for Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to sign the bill. And he’s expected to do so.

You only have to look at the news to see why. The biggest wildfire in state history has been burning for over a month, scorching some 400,000 acres, killing one firefighter, and clogging cities and towns with smoke. Meanwhile, sea level rise threatens the state’s prosperous coastal communities even as skyrocketing temperatures dry up farmland in the Central Valley.

So assuming Brown signs the bill, can California actually pull it off?

“It’s mostly a question of willpower,” Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, told Scientific American last year. “From a technological, economic point of view it’s possible to do it.”

Jacobson is one of the lead authors of a 2014 paper that laid out an entire roadmap for how California could do just this.

[…]

The whole planet needs to decarbonize between 2050 and 2070. California has 39 million people and an economy that would be the fifth biggest on Earth if it was its own country. It isn’t the world. But if California can pull this off, it would be one heck of a demonstration project.

The Week

How does this qualify as “analysis”?

Unsubstantiated claims that California’s wildfire season and the drying of the Central Valley were the work of climate change, rather than the State’s mismanagement of forests, wild-lands and water resources doesn’t strike me as “analysis.”  The claim that “sea level rise threatens the state’s prosperous coastal communities” is preposterous.  And the assertion that “the whole planet needs to decarbonize between 2050 and 2070” is simply bat schist crazy.

The closest thing to analysis is the citation of a “Unicorns are real” paper that was thoroughly destroyed and debunked.  Destroyed and debunked so thoroughly, that the author tried to sue the debunkers.

Although the characterization of California’s folly as a “Moon shot” is rather apt… Only because we haven’t returned to the Moon, relegating the Apollo Program to the status of a demonstration project in the eyes of many, if not most, people.

Why would anyone refer to Jeff Spross or The Week for “analysis” of energy policy?

Where to start? The Publication and author

The Week Magazine

The Week bills itself as “All you need to know about everything that matters”…

The Week is generally described as having a center-left bias; however, to their credit they do publish articles and opinion pieces from a more conservative perspective.  So, it is possible that The Week is a cut above The Nation, The Huffington Post, The Grauniad, Scientific American, etc. as it pertains to articles of at least a quasi-scientific nature… But not exactly a primary source for energy policy analysis… And certainly not even close to all I need to know about everything that matters… It’s more like “All you need to know about everything that matters” to social justice warriors with an occasional mild rebuttal.

Jeff Spross, the author

Jeff Spross
BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT

Jeff Spross is the economics and business correspondent at TheWeek.com. He was previously a reporter at ThinkProgress.

On his LinkedIn page, he describes himself as “Media Jack-of-All-Trades,” with significant experience in blogging and video production.  He has a BS in Radio/TV/Film from The University of Texas at Austin.  The lack of any qualifications whatsoever in anything to do with energy and/or climate science doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong… But it leaves me lacking any reason to be interested in his opinions on energy policy… beyond ridiculing them.

Analysis and reanalysis

Reanalysis: “the act or an instance of analyzing (something) again : repeated or renewed analysis”.

The Spross Analysis

California decarbonization by 2045.

Earlier this week, by a vote of 44 to 33, the state Assembly passed a bill that would require California to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2045. An equivalent measure already passed the state Senate. A whopping 72 percent of Californians support the measure. All that’s left is for Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to sign the bill. And he’s expected to do so.

Reanalysis

So what?

A whopping 72 percent of Californians would probably support measures that repealed entropy and protected California from the ravages of plate tectonics.  People can vote for Unicorns too.

For the sake of argument… Let’s assume California successfully decarbonizes its electrical generation by 2045… It won’t have any affect on California’s climatic woes, real or imagined.  95% of the electricity in these United States and District of Columbia isn’t generated in California.

 Total Net Electricity Generation, May 2018
Rank State  Thousand MWh % of US Total
1 TX                      41,697 12%
2 FL                      20,493 6%
3 PA                      16,243 5%
4 CA                      15,566 5%
5 IL                      14,978 4%
6 AL                      12,243 4%
7 WA                      11,346 3%
8 NC                      11,183 3%
9 GA                      10,856 3%
10 NY                      10,538 3%

US EIA

The Spross Analysis

Wildfire prevention through decarbonization…

You only have to look at the news to see why. The biggest wildfire in state history has been burning for over a month, scorching some 400,000 acres, killing one firefighter, and clogging cities and towns with smoke.

Reanalysis

This is simply laughable.

Note the pattern:

While, the NIFC states that “prior to 1983, sources of these figures are not known, or cannot be confirmed, and were not derived from the current situation reporting process. As a result the figures prior to 1983 should not be compared to later data” and there is a clear seam in the number of fires, the acreage burned is not as subject to reporting errors and is very consistent with the data from Oregon.

It appears that CO2 might just be a good fire extinguisher.

NIFC, NOAA and MacFarling-Meurre, 2006.

The Spross Analysis

“Sea level rise threatens the state’s prosperous coastal communities”

Reanalysis

Words fail me… So I’ll use pictures.

Sea level trends (NOAA). Annual rate of sea level rise (mm/yr). Hand holding various sized beads for scale.

Sea level trend San Francisco. (NOAA) Rock hammer for scale (Estwing).

 

Sea level trend Los Angeles. (NOAA) Rock hammer for scale (Estwing).  Sea level has risen less than one rock hammer since the death of Wyatt Earp.

Sea level trend Los Angeles. (NOAA).  Hollywood height Chart for scale.  Sea level has risen from the tops of the late  Vern Troyer’s shoes to the tops of Danny Devito’s shoes since the death of Wyatt Earp.  Wasn’t Peter Dinklage great in Avengers: Infinity War?

Sea level trend San Diego. (NOAA) Rock hammer for scale (Estwing).

The Spross Analysis

“Skyrocketing temperatures dry up farmland in the Central Valley”

Reanalysis

He’s referring to “The Valley That Hope Forgot.”

We have droughts in Texas too.  We build dams and other water infrastructure.  The issue is water resource management. Texas and California drought patterns have similar relationships to the ENSO. Texas deals with its droughts; while California doesn’t. The primary difference is that Texas relies on supply side solutions.

Meteorological drought conditions are the acute cause of water shortages. Government is the chronic cause of the water shortages. 35 years of idiotic governance have resulted California’s inability to deal with cyclical drought conditions. They have allowed environmental nonsense to block the expansion of their water infrastructure to keep pace with population and development.

Southern California and the Central Valley have always needed additional water storage and delivery capacity.

The 10 largest reservoirs in California, linchpins of the water system for 38 million people and the nation’s largest farm economy, were all built between 1927 and 1979. Shasta Lake, the massive inland sea on the Sacramento River near Redding, was finished in 1945. Oroville, the tallest dam in the United States, at 770-feet high on the Feather River in Butte County, was started under Gov. Pat Brown’s building boom in 1961 and finished in 1968.

The last huge reservoir built in California was New Melones, on the Stanislaus River in Calaveras County. Since the Army Corps of Engineers cut the ribbon on it in 1979, California has grown by 15 million people, the equivalent of adding everyone now living in Washington, Oregon and Nevada to the Golden State.

The Mercury News

Much of the Great State of Texas has also always needed additional water storage and delivery capacity.

Texas surface reservoirs are at 72% capacity, despite persistent drought issues…

Texas has steadily increased its surface reservoir capacity over the past 80 years…

During the previous ENSO-related drought prone period, Texas quadrupled its surface reservoir storage capacity…

Texas is meeting the current ENSO-related drought prone period by building more water infrastructure, including 26 new major surface reservoirs…

In the 2012 State Water Plan, 26 new major reservoirs are recommended to meet water needs in several regions (Figure 7.1). A major reservoir is defined as one having 5,000 or more acre-feet of conservation storage. These new reservoirs would produce 1.5 million acre-feet per year in 2060 if all are built, representing 16.7 percent of the total volume of all recommended strategies for 2060 combined (Figure 7.2). Not surprisingly, the majority of these projects would be located east of the Interstate Highway-35 corridor where rainfall and resulting runoff are more plentiful than in the western portion of the state.

WATER FOR TEXAS 2012 STATE WATER PLAN

The Spross Analysis

“One heck of a demonstration project”.

The whole planet needs to decarbonize between 2050 and 2070. California has 39 million people and an economy that would be the fifth biggest on Earth if it was its own country. It isn’t the world. But if California can pull this off, it would be one heck of a demonstration project.

Reanalysis

If the “whole planet needs to decarbonize between 2050 and 2070,” the decarbonization of 5% of US electricity generation by 2045 won’t be “one heck of a demonstration project.”  It would be a barely noticeable demonstration project.

In the meantime, Texas will continue to increase oil and gas production, increase electricity generation (from all sources that work) and build out water infrastructure (initially funded with oil & gas revenue).

Texas vs California  TX  CA TX/CA
Electricity Generation, May 2018  (1,000 MWh)          41,697      15,556 2.7
Wind Generation Capacity, 2016 (MW)          21,450         5,561 3.9
Crude Oil Production, May 2018 (1,000 bbl/month)       131,541      14,391 9.1
Natural Gas Production, 2016 (mmcf/year)    7,203,012    205,024 35.1

So, if California pulls off one heck of a  a barely noticeable demonstration project, it won’t make any difference anywhere outside the wallets of Californians.  And, quite frankly, this is how the “whole planet” looks from here:

David Middleton is a petroleum geologist and has been a naturalized Texan since 1981.

 

 

via Watts Up With That?

https://ift.tt/2NN6JLt

September 4, 2018 at 04:39PM

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