Month: September 2019

Net-Zero CO2 Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day

What makes achieving Net Zero by 2050 impossible is a failure to accurately understand the scale of the challenge and the absence of policy proposals that match that scale.

Image result for Net Zero on nuclear power plant every day

More than a decade ago, Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner characterized climate policy as an “auction of promises” in which politicians “vied to outbid each other with proposed emissions targets that were simply not achievable.” For instance, among Democrats competing for the presidency in 2020, several, including Joe Biden, have committed to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Candidate Andrew Yang bid 2049, and Cory Booker topped that by offering 2045. Bernie Sanders has offered a 71% reduction by 2030.

One reason that we see this “auction of promises” is that the targets and timetables for emissions reductions are easy to state but difficult to comprehend. Here I’ll present what net-zero carbon dioxide emissions for 2050 actually means in terms of the rate of deployment of carbon-free energy and the coincident decommissioning of fossil fuel infrastructure.

To conduct this analysis I use the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which presents data on global and national fossil fuel consumption in units called “million tons of oil equivalent” or mtoe. In 2018 the world consumed 11,865 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum. The combustion of these fossil fuels resulted in 33.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In order for those emissions to reach net-zero, we will have to replace about 12,000 mtoe of energy consumption expected for 2019. (I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.)Today In: Business

Another useful number to know is that there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 mtoe of carbon-free energy consumption (~12,000 mtoe/11,051 days) every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years. Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day.

Another important number to consider is the expected increase in energy consumption in coming decades. The International Energy Agency currently projects that global energy consumption will increase by about 1.25% per year to 2040. That rate of increase in energy consumption would mean that the world will require another ~5,800 mtoe of energy consumption by 2050, or about another 0.5 of an mtoe per day to 2050. That brings the total needed deployment level to achieve net-zero emissions to about 1.6 mtoe per day to 2050.

The concept of an mtoe is pretty hard for anyone to get their head around. So let’s put the mtoe into a more comprehensible unit, a nuclear power plant and specifically the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station in Homestead, Florida. The amount of energy reflected in 1 mtoe is approximated by that produced by the Turkey Point nuclear plant over a year.

So the math here is simple: to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the world would need to deploy 3 Turkey Point nuclear plants worth of carbon-free energy every two days, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. At the same time, a Turkey Point nuclear plant worth of fossil fuels would need to be decommissioned every day, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050.

I’ve found that some people don’t like the use of a nuclear power plant as a measuring stick. So we can substitute wind energy as a measuring stick. Net-zero carbon dioxide by 2050 would require the deployment of ~1500 wind turbines (2.5 MW) over ~300 square miles, every day starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. The figure below illustrates the challenge.

The scale of the challenge to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions in 2050.
The scale of the challenge to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions in 2050. ROGER PIELKE JR., BP 2018

Of course, in this analysis I am just looking at scale, and ignoring the significant complexities of actually deploying these technologies. I am also ignoring the fact that fossil fuels are the basis for many products central to the functioning of the global economy, and eliminating them is not nearly as simply as unplugging one energy source and plugging in another.

Full post

The post Net-Zero CO2 Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

September 30, 2019 at 12:36PM

Water Behaving Badly

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Those who know me are aware that I’m a tropical boy, a hopeless addict of warm blue seas and coconut-laden islands with white sand beaches. Here’s where I used to live and work, Liapari Island in the Solomon Islands.

That is how I like my water to behave, soft, warm, and inviting. But when the ice jumps out of my tropical-type adult beverage and starts running around the countryside covering everything in white and floating in giant chunks all over the ocean, well, I call that “water behaving badly”. 

And as you might imagine, other than brief visits I tend to avoid places where water behaves badly.

However, thinking about such icy climes when I’m someplace warm, that’s a more pleasant matter. So I got to considering ice, in particular, sea ice. And as is my wont, when I consider something I go get the longest dataset that I can find. In this case, that was the HadCRUT ice and sea surface temperature dataset. It claims to go back to 1870 … but that doesn’t mean that it’s good back to 1870. Figure 1 shows why. 

(As an aside, Figure 1 also shows the importance of starting by running the old Mark I Eyeball over your data before subjecting it to any mathematical gymnastics … but I digress.)

Figure 1. Hadley Centre HadISST Ice data, 1870-2019.  Top panel shows global data, middle panel shows southern hemisphere data, and the bottom panel shows northern hemisphere data. Note that the three panels are all at different scales.

Notice the very regular signal in the early days of both the northern and southern hemisphere data, and as a result in the global data. This is obviously just a perfectly regular repeating signal added to the later actual observations. We can get a better idea of when the real observations start (and stop) by removing the regular repeating seasonal signal from our dataset. Figure 2 below is the same as Figure 1, but with the regular repeating average seasonal variation removed.

Figure 2. Global and hemispheric ice areas, HadISST Ice data. Note that the three panels are all at different scales.

The regular signal in the earlier parts of the record is an artifact. It is an interference pattern resulting from the removal of the seasonal signal. Only the latter part of the datasets contain valid observations.

In Figure 2 above we can see that Arctic measurements (northern hemisphere, blue above) are only good since about 1960. Note the odd lack of data (with missing data replaced by a regular signal) from about 1940 to 1952.

Antarctic ice area (southern hemisphere, red above) actual measurements are more recent. The Antarctic record is only good since 1973. As a result, we can only look at global data since 1973. However, that’s approaching a half-century, so it is still of interest. Here’s the global ice area since 1973, the period where we have actual observations. It’s worth noting that since 1979 we have full satellite observations of ice areas.

Figure 3. Global ice areas, HadISST Ice data, Jan 1973 to July 2019.

Now, I was surprised by Figure 3. Surprise is the very best part of science to me. I love the first sight of the graphics, turning what before was just a bunch of numbers into a record of the past.

There were a couple of surprises in Figure 3. First, from 1980 through 2004, a quarter-century during which there was general global warming, there was no trend at all in global ice area. None. Well, to be accurate, the trend 1980 through 2004 is -0.0000000000000001% per decade … and as you imagine, not statistically significant.

After 2005 the global ice area went down, but by 2010 it had recovered. From there to 2015, it was above average. And since 2015 global ice area has dropped precipitously but then recovered back to average. Finally, there is no statistically significant trend in the full 1973 – 2019 dataset.

So … lots of things of interest in Figure 3. However, I gotta say, I’m not seeing the evil hand of steadily increasing atmospheric CO2 in that record. Nor am I seeing any “anthropogenic fingerprint”. Perhaps most importantly, am I unable to detect any sign of any “climate emergency” in that record.

The final surprise was the recent several-year deep drop and then recovery of the ice area. I figured it must be from what alarmists have termed the “Arctic death spiral”, the widely trumpeted decrease in Arctic sea ice. So I added the separate Arctic and the Antarctic records to Figure 3 above. Figure 4 below shows those records.

Curiously, the amount of ice at the two poles is just about the same, at ~2% of the globe. But that makes it hard to compare the Arctic and Antarctic ice. So in Figure 4 below, I’ve offset the northern hemisphere (blue line) by 1% for clarity. You’ll need to add 1% to the northern hemisphere ice areas to get the actual values. Figure 4 shows the globe as well as the two halves of the planet separately. Note that in this graphic they are all to the same scale.

Figure 4. Global, northern hemisphere (Arctic) and southern hemisphere (Antarctic) ice areas. Northern hemisphere values have been offset downwards by 1% for clarity. Add 1% to the values shown for the true values.

And for my final surprise, it turns out that the recent variations in global ice area are largely the result of variations in the Antarctic ice area, and not in the Arctic ice area that we spend so many electrons discussing …

So what I found out regarding the global ice areas was that I didn’t know all that much about global ice areas … and speaking of which, just what the heck did cause the drop and subsequent recovery in Antarctic sea ice area from 2015 to the present?

Here on the north coast of California, it’s the leading edge of autumn. We had our first rain this week, which left the forest full of the damp dark green smell of life, decay, and rebirth. And when I just looked outside, the rain had come again. What a joy it is to investigate the mysteries of this endless universe, even the vagaries of water behaving badly!

Best to everyone,


via Watts Up With That?

September 30, 2019 at 12:18PM

Buried beneath Brexit: Boris’s bonkers boiler ban

By Paul Homewood


Ben Pile has an excellent article up at Conservative Woman:


NEWS emerged this weekend that the Conservative Party Conference will hear the leadership’s proposals to achieve Theresa May’s ‘legacy’ Net Zero 2050 target. According to reports, amongst the first steps on this path will be the outlawing of gas connections to any newly built home. This makes no practical, economic or political sense.

Nobody who wants this will vote Conservative. Few who want it will even thank Boris Johnson for it. And what green Tories there are will turn out to be a bigger liability for future governments, the PM and the party than the Remainers, Conservatives among them, whose parliamentary shenanigans last week were intended to humiliate him, overturn the referendum and sabotage the conference.

No doubt the country needs new homes, but onerous green legislation will make building and operating them more expensive. This is because, as anyone who has had to endure low-quality rented accommodation can attest, electric appliances are inconvenient, nasty and expensive compared with gas-fired central heating boilers and cookers. That is why people continue to choose gas over electric.

But it will not be just the occupants of new-builds who will be deprived of the freedom to choose how to heat their homes. The policy will eventually be rolled out to all existing homes, and the Net Zero agenda will impose ever more constraints on individuals and businesses to the detriment of freedom and the economy. This includes the abolition of petrol and diesel-powered transport and, it seems likely, the rationing of flights. It will require the expensive retro-fitting of existing properties to meet ‘standards’, which in the case of both new and old homes may reduce comfort, create problems such as damp, and divert cash from making homes fit for purpose towards making them fit policymakers’ bizarre green fantasies.


 Full story here.


September 30, 2019 at 12:12PM

It’s Greta or Windmills, Claims AEP

By Paul Homewood



AEP is off on one of his usual rants about how wonderful renewable energy is:



We have a choice. Either we fight runaway climate change with liberal market policies and capitalist creativity, or we cede the field to Malthusians and the Green Taliban.

Retreating into denialism – or more corrosive these days, into shoulder-shrugging nihilism – will not cut it. Last week the France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) warned that global warming could reach seven degrees by the end of the century under current policies. 

This week the UN warned – after the Saudis lobbied furiously to tone down the language – that the biochemistry of the oceans is changing with alarming speed. Water acidity has increased by 26pc. The pace of melting ice has quickened fivefold (147 Gt yr) in a decade. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are at vanishing at an “accelerating rate”.

There are tipping points and feedback loops all over the place. The impact is hitting earlier than we supposed and at lower CO2 and temperature thresholds. We risk an unstoppable chain-reaction. Greta Thunberg is right about that. ………..

Technical solutions and eternal economic growth are our only salvation. They are also achievable at zero or even negative net cost with the right market signals. The technology leaps are in fact happening – late in the day – with breath-taking speed. ……

Solutions are at hand. They just need an extra push. We have cracked the challenge of renewable electricity. Solar is cheaper than coal in most southern latitudes. The distortions of China’s Silk Road – Beijing’s way of shunting excess industrial capacity abroad – is the chief reason why new coal power plants are still being built in South East Asia. As of late 2019, at ‘2 cent’ solar costs, they are no longer uncompetitive.

The latest auctions for UK offshore wind came in as low as £39.50.  Few had thought this possible even by mid-century. Germany has got the message. It is now ramping up its offshore wind target to 20 gigawatts by 2030.

Energy storage for weeks at a time is in sight at costs that match and may soon undercut gas peaker plants to balance intermittent renewables. Highview Power’s 4GW liquid air project in Texas will compete toe-to-toe with cheap US shale gas, providing wind back-up at levelized costs below $100 per megawatt/hour. It is aiming for $50 within a decade.

“We have a clear path to zero-carbon power from wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal covering 75pc to 85pc of the world’s needs. The last 15pc is harder,” said Mr Liebreich.

“All road transportation up to 200-300 miles is going electric. By 2025 mayors in European and US cities will have banned diesel vans for deliveries,” he said.

“We have a clear path to zero-carbon power from wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal covering 75pc to 85pc of the world’s needs. The last 15pc is harder,” said Mr Liebreich.

“All road transportation up to 200-300 miles is going electric. By 2025 mayors in European and US cities will have banned diesel vans for deliveries,” he said…

The next frontier is green hydrogen made from solar or wind by electrolysis. This is harder to crack but the top US universities are all over it. So are London hedge funds. BNEF thinks the levelized cost will drop to $24 MWh by 2030, and to $15 by 2050.

This opens the way to limitless production of hydrogen for shipping, long-haul road freight, and railways, or for replacing coke in steel making. Once the cost is low enough huge offshore islands could produce limitless amounts of energy from wind and solar for synthetic fuels.

Heating, farming, and land use will be last but nothing is beyond our innovation. The National Farmers Union has plans for net zero emissions in British agriculture by 2040.

There is no necessary macro-economic ‘cost’ to this great transformation. Economic systems are not like family budgets….

What we must not do is carry on with business as usual.  As Greta says, our remaining safe carbon budget will be gone in under nine years. That way lies the temptation of green political tyranny.


It is the usual rehash of previous articles, with this Greta being the target.

I’ll ignore the apocalyptic nonsense, which has been debunked many times. (By the way, how can sea be 26% more acidic, when they are alkali?).

AEP remains convinced that we can run a modern economy on wind and solar power, whittering on about how cheap they both are. Intermittency and fluctuations in demand? Don’t worry, we can soon sort that out with a few batteries.

Clearly AEP has not got a clue about how power grids work, or how little energy battery and other systems can actually store.


But don’t just take my word for it. Even the Committee on Climate Change, in their Net Zero report, admitted that we would still need large volumes of natural gas, both for power generation and also converting to hydrogen for heating.

Below is the key chart:



148 TWh of gas generation is actually greater than last year, when gas power amounted to 131 TWh. The requirement for 225 TWh of hydrogen is also considerable, when compared with current domestic consumption of natural gas, which was 309 TWh last year. For these to be compatible with zero emissions, the CCC assume that carbon capture and storage will be available. If this comes about, of course, AEP’s windmills are pretty much redundant.

This need for hydrogen is because power grids simply cannot cope with the enormous spikes in winter demand for gas.

By all means, build as many wind farms as you want, but you will still need proper dispatchable capacity on standby. In other words, you simply double up the cost for no good reason.

He reckons that our remaining safe carbon budget will be gone in under nine years. But does he really believe China and India are going to shut down all of their coal plants, steelworks and pretty much their whole economies, so that they can live on solar power? Fortunately for their citizens, their governments have not fallen for AEP’s illusions.


September 30, 2019 at 11:30AM