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Discussion > What do we want this blog to achieve?

The DLR measurements have too large an error bar to show an increase over the short period we have been making them - I was only including it to show that the idea that there is NO back radiation from GHGs is measurably flawed.

May 13, 2012 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Why too large an error bar? It's a simple measure of radiation, isn't it? Don't tell me it's 333 watts/m2 if it isn't. If it in fact varies by large amounts over the day in one spot. It's supposed to be three light bulbs worth per square metre. How hard can it be to measure?

This is an indication of my problem with proofs. Why are we worrying about a bunch of trees in the back of beyond when the thing could be measured right now. Don't tell me we are making a difference to the IR balance of you can't measure it. There is enough daily or seasonal variation in CO2 to show a difference in back radiation if it exists. The satellite which can see half the earth can see a sea level rise of mm but can't see the IR balance? Why not? You (climate science, not you personally TBY) are telling me some Swede could measure all this radiative physics more than a hundred years ago and now we can't?

May 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

James: "Without massive investment to convert them...". So on one day they are working fine and on the next they need massive investment? Convert them for what? Your 'the lights are going to go out' catastrophe theory reminds me of something....

Rhoda: My guess is that the satellites are not in geostationary orbit, as watching a single spot on the equator would probably not be a good use of the investment. So they are most likely in polar orbits and are unable to watch 'one spot' but instead capture the whole globe in (perhaps narrow) bands during successive orbits. This data will then have to be processed heavily to get useful information. The difficulty of doing this is probably only apparent when one knows something about it (which I don't).

May 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I try to keep an open mind. After all it is just about possible that there is "something wrong with the climate" and some kind of combined effort of all mankind is needed to avert a crisis.

But what troubles me is the idea of double jeopardy. The "climate concerned" have brought along their best evidence and it is weak. Worse than that it is mixed in with lies. Why did they do that - mixing easily-refuted lies with their best evidence? Plenty of people on the inside knew there was something wrong but why did they just sit on their hands instead of speaking out?

Double jeopardy means they don't get another go in my book.They can only shout "wolf" once and if I can't see a wolf they are toast. I computer simulation of a wolf does not cut it.

May 14, 2012 at 3:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

BB:

"You're assuming that cutting CO2 and other emissions must necessarily reduce economic growth worldwide. Is this really so? ...Suggesting that western populations in general care very much whether the third world is in poverty is a stretch."

The costs in the UK are already huge - hndreds per year DIRECTLY on energy bills, and much more hidden in subsidies to "renewables" setup or installation. Government statements paint a rosy but unrealistic picture - drastically misleading. Here are a couple of sources you might consider (also follow the links from the articles). I think one of them includes the estimate that increased heating costs have caused tens of thousands of extra deaths in the UK, basically old people.

I am a pensioner. My fuel bills are up by hundreds of pounds a year because of the CAGW idea. If warmng is not a crucial issue this is wasted money. More to the point, I make regular charitable donations to a third world charity amounting to a few hndred pounds a year. As it happens, I have a relatively good pension, so I can just spend a bit less, so the UK retail sector will take the loss rather than the charity - you know, MoonPig instead of Clintons, Amazon instead of Waterstones (Border have already gone), ITunes instead of HMV (Zavvi have already gone), Poundstore instead of Wilkinsons (Woolworth have already gone), etc, etc. Critics reckon that Ed Milliband's Legislation on energy and climate change, on which the Calition is following through, will cost about a trillion pounds over the next few decades - say £20Bn a year as a round figure (rounded down, that is).

If it cost nothing to address the imaginary disaster it wouldn't matter; but it will actually cost a fortune, and in the process drive hundreds of thousands out of work and onto benefits for a further cost of the order of a billion a year.

May 14, 2012 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterlogicophilosophicus

From reading this and previous threads, I'd say that just about everyone contributing here believes the world would be a lot colder without CO2, the official figure of 33C not being disputed by anyone here.

So can we infer from this that a doubling in the level of CO2 will lead to an increase of 33C in global temperature, or has CO2 some, as yet, unproven and un-demonstrated magical property where it stops heating up the planet at the previous rate just at the level it is now?

I know some people say it should be 3-5C, whilst other more sceptical people believe it should be nearer to 1C. On the basis of what experimentally derived data do they arrive at these differing values?

I'm not interested in HOW the warming takes place, just in how it is calculated (other than carefully adjusted temperature measurements designed to prove the existence of the warming effect).

May 14, 2012 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Whoops - sources:


http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/true-cost-of-electricity-generation.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/9000132/Chris-Huhne-is-piling-on-the-make-believe.html

May 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterlogicophilosophicus

Whoops - sources:


http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/true-cost-of-electricity-generation.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/9000132/Chris-Huhne-is-piling-on-the-make-believe.html

May 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM | logicophilosophicus>>>>

Hi,

I too am a pensioner and like yourself I find it very wrong that, because of green tariffs designed to make landowners richer, many other less fortunate pensioners may well suffer from hypothermia because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

Regards,

May 14, 2012 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Pensioners dying is not a side-effect of the policy it is the result of the policy. The goal is to get people to use less energy by making it more expensive.

May 14, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

RKS, I base my beliefs on Trenberth's energy budget calculations. I tried to duplicate the energy budget, so apologies in advance if I've made some error. My calculations are summarised as:

265 W/m^2 Measured by satellite - solar insolation, the amount of energy we get from the sun entering the top of the atmosphere. This is after we deduct 0.3 for the albedo of the earth.

Since the earth isn't heating up (disregard tiny GH rises) then the earth must be in radiative balance with the universe. Therefore if it is absorbing 265 W/m^2 then it is also emitting at this rate. So we can use the Stefan-Boltzmann formula to work out what temperature that is: J = SBc x T^4

(Stefan-Boltmann constant (SBc in my equation) = 5.6704E-08)

Which gives a temperature for earth of 261.5 Kelvin (about -11.65 degrees Celsius)
This is the temperature the earth would be by being simply heated by the sun.

In fact the measured temperature of the surface is more than this: 288K on average. So *something* at or near the surface is causing an extra heating of 26.5 Kelvin. (Please don't say pressure, because the lapse rate is well known in the atmosphere - about 6K colder per km up you go - air pressure is not enough to provide 26 Kelvin)

Worse than that (or better for humans) is that a new higher temperature for the surface means that it is emitting at a new higher flux - using the SB equation again for 288K gives an energy output of 390.1 W/m^2 for the surface of the earth. Since only 265 W/m^2 is getting out of the top of the atmosphere, then there is a 'missing' 125.1 W/m^2 going missing in the atmosphere.

So two mysteries: Why is the surface hotter, and where is the resultant extra energy flux going? It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes.... go back to basic thermodynamics. Since the surface is not heating up (ignore GHG) - then it must be in radiative balance with the universe - which means not only is it emitting an extra 125.1 W/m^2 it must be <u>absorbing it too</u>.

The only thing the surface can absorb from is the atmosphere, and since all energy into the atmosphere from space is accounted for, the extra energy the atmosphere is radiating must be from the earth's surface - the famous 'back radiation' - some of the energy which the earth is emitting to transmit 265 W/m^2 into space is being absorbed by the atmosphere and re-emitted - and about half of it is coming back and hitting the earth again, warming it up, causing it to emit more, and so on. By the time this feedback has reached equilibrium, the surface is 26K warmer than it needs to be - all because of the atmosphere.

But can we prove it? Well, yes. In two ways.

First - is there a 'back radiation' at all? Yes, it can be measured using an instrument called a pyrgeometer. Thiis basically a thermocouple which can measure the amount of appropriate wavelength radiation (more of that in a moment). And yes, on dark clear nights, a pyrgeometer measures downward flux. There have been some error bar problems with this instrument, especially earleir versions, but even if the error bar is 10% or 20%, it is still measuring a magnitude of downward longwave radiation from a night sky which is or the right size to be the back radiation effect.

Secondly, can we prove it comes from the earth? Yes. There is one useful by product of the black body equation - a body radiates most radiation at a wavelength appropriate for its temperature. A warmer body radiates photons with a shorter wavelength than a cooler body. The Sun, being very hot, radiates photons under about 4µm. The earth, being somewhat cooler, radiates photons with wavelengths in the 5-20µm range. This makes it easy to work out where radiation is coming from - if we can see the spectral range of the photons.

And people have gone out and pointed spectrum analysers at empty sky and have indeed seen energy coming back in very specific bands above 5µm. Because the downward flux is comprised of photons coming from different molecules, and each molecule absorbs/emits around very particular known wavelengths, peaks in the spectral shape can be observed - around the CO2 and H2O emissing wavelengths. We know this flux is coming from GHGs, and therefore is re-emitted radiation from the surface of the earth itself. The GHGs in the atmosphere are warming the surface - to the 288K we know and love today.

So now we know GHGs are warming the atmosphere, what will adding more of them do?
That's the bazillion dollar question. Firstly, CO2 is not the most important GHG - that would be H2O - analysing the sprectral density, it can be shown that H2O is worth roughly 60% of the GH effect, with CO2 only coming in around 28%. (This can be done by working out the area under the graph using integration) The rest is made up of trace gasses, CH4, etc.

So a simple doubling of CO2 won't double the effect, because only 27% of the effect is from CO2. Also, the effect may not be linear (it isn't). There is a saturation effect, where doubling the CO2 won't double the effect of that CO2's absorption/emission. Also, there are other feedback mechanisms in play here, such as convection and variable albedo (clouds) which will affect the delta experienced by a doubling of CO2. This is what climate scientists call 'climate sensitivity' - a sort of 'multiplier' which we apply to the bald amount of CO2 doubling which will give us a temperature rise. They come up with 1.2K for doubling of CO2.

We can do a back-of-envelope version here which comes out with a bigger temperature rise, but that's because I'm doing it using simple assumptions (which are probably wrong), and not a huge numerical GCM, but it will give an idea of why I am OK with a 1.2K rise:

OK, lets lay out the known facts.

1. The effect from CO2 is around 27% (by looking at the spectrum)
2. The effect of doubling has a logarithmic saturation

So if 27% off the effect comes from CO2 now, we can model that as 27 parts of 100. If we add another 27 parts, we get (27+27) / (100 + 27) +> 1.575 x the effect from doubling. This noddy calc takes into account the relative volumes of the gases before and after.

Now we have to model logarithmic saturation. An easy way to do this is to multiply by 1/ln(multuiplier), hi this can 1/ln(2), combined with the above, gives a multipler of 1.289 x Again this is just a 'ballpark' guesstimate.

So now, if all GHGs produce 125.1 W/m^2 flux and CO2 is worth 27% of that, then CO2 produces 33.8 W/m^2 on it's own. The effect with out multipler would be 1.289 x 33.8 = 43.5 W/m^2, which is 9.8 W/m^2 more than before (this is about twice what Trenberth makes it after much more details and erudite calculations than mine here - this is our version of the 'radiative forcing' and is out by a factor of two, ho hum)

So we can add this 9.8 to the existing surface flux of 390.1, to give a new surface flux of 399.9 W/m^2, and using the Stefan-Boltmann equations, we can work out what temperature this is:

T= 298.8 Kelvin. Which is 1.8 degrees of a temperature rise due to CO2 doubling.

Since I know I'm out by a factor of two compared with Trenberth, 1.2 K rise does not seem too alarming.

This is the basis of my 'belief' in a GHG induced rise of 1 degree.

May 14, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

On the subject of skeptics considering CO2 as 'carbon pollution':

It's not carbon. It's carbon dioxide. The reason activists call it carbon is because it has a connotation of black, soot, dirt. A colourless, fairly unreactive gas is not alarmist enough, and so they play on the public perception of what carbon is to make it sound more scary. By that definition, steam is 'Hydrogen' pollution.

It's not pollution: pollution is the addition of something to an environment where it never was before which affects the quality of that environment. When you pour a bottle of Evian water into a lake (other brands are available) you are adding H2O to an already existing pool of H2O. You are not polluting it with H2O. This is not 'Hydrogen pollution'. I'm not saying it has no effect, but it's not pollution. Again this is playing on the public's perception of 'pollution' as some dirty black nasty chemical.

It's all about alarmist language use

May 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The goal was to get people to subsidise the technology that is required to provide cheap energy for the third world by making it more expensive for those in the western world.

The onset of the world recession was at an inopportune time for the plans but as yet has not derailed them even though it is looking increasing likely to do so. Keeping the incentive going is now the prime objective even if it collapses some national economies, the opportunity will not be realised again for a hundred years.

Make no mistake that the political process is in any way tied to the science, the only external effect upon the enforced contribution of western society to relief of the poorest nations is the world economy and whether more nations will be dragged down than poorer nations benefiting from the process.

This is now the world benefit system, we and our children will work for longer to pay the increasing taxes so that our fellow mankind will be raised out of poverty, charitable giving just didn't cut the cake, so along with continually increasing national foreign aid, focused on family planning, we need to provide cheap energy to those that have none, in order to raise their standard of living.

Whether you or I or any individual has any opinion upon the matter makes not the slightest difference when governments, of any political persuasion, are told to follow the plan my multi-national unelected bureaucracies and multi-national charities.

/rant off

May 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

TBY, you can't do that sum with averages, you have to do it in, say, latitude bands and integrate. You can't use average temps in a fourth-power equation. You can't use average insolation on a spheroid which rotates. You can't assume equilibrium in a system which only seeks equilibrium but doesn't have time to get there in any actual location. Does the moon match your 'what the temp should be' case? I heard that it didn't.

May 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Yes, I know all that Rhoda, you can't really do the internal energy transfer calcs with a monolithic grey body atmosphere and a solid perfect black-body emitting globe, which makes my 'what happens is' in the 2nd part of that speculative - done for purely 'ballpark' figures that at least there is enough energy in the system to power a 1 degree rise. There is.

That is all I was proving. No matter what goes on internally, we know how much insolation we get, we know how hot we are now, so we know how much effect the atosphere has at present. The 2nd half of my article was just me having a stab at an estimate for climate sensitivity. You can add it in with the hundreds of other ones out there, which are all basically wet fingers in the air, some more or less sophisticated than mine.

May 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

BB:

The great failure of electrical engineering has always been to produce a compact and efficient method for storing electrical energy. (Or rather, it's nature's failure to provide the possibility of materials with the necessary electrochemistry.)

Assuming the Wikipedia entry is trustworthy, the Tesla is not cheap. " The Roadster has a base price of US$109,000 in the United States, GB£86,950 in the United Kingdom".

Ouch. If it's being bought as an example of conspicuous consumption to impress the neighbours, it should do the job. But as a way of cutting down the total cost of motoring, even if it could have its battery recharged for free, it has a way to go. And, if like me, you believe that the free market price of a thing in current production is a good guide to its total use of resources, then the Tesla's production evidently gobbles them.

Tesla calls its battery "the ESS". "Tesla Motors stated in February 2009 that the current replacement cost of the ESS is slightly under US$36,000, with an expected life span of 7 years/100,000 mi (160,000 km)" So wear and tear on the battery alone costs $0.36 per mile, even on the maker's figures - and you can be pretty sure they did not quote the worst case.

Even forgetting the depreciation on the $109k car, forgetting the cost of financing its purchase, forgetting the insurance on a $109k sports car and forgetting all the other running costs (including electrical energy), it's not that cheap.

The Tesla's battery cost translates to 0.28€ per mile. Last time I ran the spreadsheat, I calculated that my 2.4 litre diesel Volvo has cost 0.31 € per mile total (fuel, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, tyres, fees) over around 100,000 miles.

"emissions control rubbish"? Gosh, I must really learn not to crack jokes where anything remotely to do with ecology is concerned. But I'd really like to understand why American cars, at least while I was a frequent visitor to the USA, up to a few years back, have huge engines that seem to produce output power comparable with european cars of 2/3 the engine capacity. I've always assumed it is due to overkill in the emissions control, is there any oother explanation? Maybe there is and it partly explains why, outside the ghetto and the redneck states, the Mercedes rather than the Caddy is now the car of choice for the well-to-do?

May 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

TBY. yes, you knew that, and I know you knew. The problem being that simplification doesn't always help. On another thread someone mentioned best evidence. I believe it is a principle in law that best evidence must be presented. It cannot be omitted from what is produced at the whim of the advocate. What is the best evidence for CAGW? All I ever see is an old hypothesis, a shaky paleohistory and some unverifiable models all in the hands of partial advocates. Is that the best there is? Are non-supporting data being left out? Could we find better evidence elsewhere? This is where measurement comes in. I could look for specifics related to actual vs model in a small area, or I could look for global IR budget stuff from spatial observation. Does that evidence exist? If so, why is it not used to support the case? If not, why is nobody working on it?

May 14, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

TBY. yes, you knew that, and I know you knew. The problem being that simplification doesn't always help. On another thread someone mentioned best evidence. I believe it is a principle in law that best evidence must be presented. It cannot be omitted from what is produced at the whim of the advocate. What is the best evidence for CAGW? All I ever see is an old hypothesis, a shaky paleohistory and some unverifiable models all in the hands of partial advocates. Is that the best there is? Are non-supporting data being left out? Could we find better evidence elsewhere? This is where measurement comes in. I could look for specifics related to actual vs model in a small area, or I could look for global IR budget stuff from spatial observation. Does that evidence exist? If so, why is it not used to support the case? If not, why is nobody working on it?

May 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

I don't believe the case for AGW is proven. I have always said, as a lukewarmer I have two things which sway me:

First there is indicative evidence that temperatures have risen over the last 150 years. I say indicative, because there are hands at work readjusting history to suit their needs, and eradicating what might be natural oscillations, for their own ideological ends. So just: 'indicative'.

Second, there is a possible physical process persented which satisfies physics, which is back radiation, as I described above. I have seen it disputed, all over the web, but never disproved. The effects may be mitigated by other natural processes, such as clouds, convection, etc. So just: 'possible'.

Those two things are enough to make me think that the hypothesis, whilst unproven, is worthy of consideration. I don't believe policy decisions can be made based on it. I do believe research funding can be decided based on it - we need to find out more.

The rest is politics.

May 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Logico: Where I live, in what you would call the developing world, it is rare to have built-in heating. The apartment is fairly stable at about 17-18C, sometimes down to 15 or 16 on a cold day or night, sometimes making it to 19 or 20 on a warm day with the windows open. At 17 and below, I wear a body warmer and/or vest but we are mostly comfortable. I know outside temperatures can be a lot colder in the UK, but how does my example compare to your inside environment and behaviour?

Your theory is that the decline of the high street is a direct result of energy taxes? Good luck with that one. I thought it was out of town shopping centers and the internet. (BTW, I was looking at buying albums from iTunes recently but found that buying real CDs from Amazon would be FAR cheaper.) Your energy production cost link is interesting - I'll take a closer read of the original document later, but I note that it says that new wind+gas-backup is cheaper than new coal. And yet your Booker article says, "As everyone knows, renewable sources such as wind farms are far more expensive than conventional ones". One of these must be wrong - my guess is Booker. Your quote of tens of thousands of deaths from lack of heating is sad if true, but is offset by the reportedly large death toll due to particulate pollution from burning fossil fuels. Which is your favorite statistic? I'm sure there is a lot that one can do to improve one's housing (insulation, draughts etc), but how do you avoid particulates in the air?

BTW, well done with the charitable donations. I'm sure they will be far better spent than the foreign aid that Lord Beaverbrook rants about.

James, nobody mentioned 'carbon pollution'.

Martin, yes it does look expensive. It wasn't such a good example was it? Still, I there are other options - MacKay lists a few. Sorry for not recognising your "emission control rubbish" as a joke; there are people who believe such statements. Are US emissions regulations stricter that european ones? It seems unlikely.

May 14, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Not together, I grant you. But you have used the word "pollution" to describe CO2, and used the word "carbon" instead of CO2 in the course of this and other threads. Nit-picking, yes. But the common usage has a cumulative effect, so best avoided.

May 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

BB:

A few things there, but the main issue was cosy comparison. In the source I gave new-wind-plus-gas-backup is cheaper than new-coal but more expensive than existing-coal. That's a win for existing-coal, then.

But the pale grey part of the new-coal cost bar represents AGW costs - no deleterious AGW, no cost. So the actual comparison shows new-wind-plus-gas-backup and new-coal almost neck and neck, assumng that the NAS estimate of new-coal's non-carbon health costs is not exaggerated, and that wind+ has no non-carbon health costs whatsoever, and that the aesthetic and wild-life impacts of windfarms cannot be costed. (See how the value of a Welsh Cottage changes when a couple of hundred metre turbines go up on the next hill...)

And then, since this is an American study, compare the output of a British turbine and a Texas turbine and, more to the point, the cost of the natural gas for back-up. Natural gas in Europe is a resource domnated by the availability and cost of Russian gas. But even for the US, if they stopped using coal in favour of gas, gas would rapidly increase in cost, so the current near parity at just under 10 cents would vanish. On even the best analysis, the best (part-) renewable energy is only briefly competitive (ignoring the health cost query) so the issue is whether global warming is really a) a problem and b) mainly manmade.

You don't give a statisic for particulate related deaths and their attribution to modern coal power stations, so I can't compare, but I'll dig something up.

May 14, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterlogicophilosophicus

"Are US emissions regulations stricter that european ones? It seems unlikely."

I had always assumed US regulations were needlessly stricter than European ones, but I don't know for sure. I'll take a look at the question when I get the time.


"the reportedly large death toll due to particulate pollution from burning fossil fuels."

I think up to the 1960's, coal smoke in big cities in winter was a major killer. Particularly as the majority of people then were also fag smokers and their lungs had already been injured by fag smoke.

I didn't think it was significant in the Western world now. Coal fired power stations have used electrostatic precipitators for many years to remove particulate rubbish from the exhaust gases. From a quick look at what figures I could google, I have the impression (without wanting to belittle anyone's death) that it's now down in the noise level, so far as the Western world is concerned - that is to say, far below the level of death still caused by fag smoking and therefore very hard to know anything for sure.

Mind you, I'm all in favour of cutting down further on particle matter emitted by diesel vehicles (my diesel Volvo excepted).

I do believe what I have read, that in the third world, where the normal method of cooking is a wood fire in the centre of a dwelling, domestic smoke is a very signifianct cause of disease in all age groups. This is topic some people here have a gripe about - that CAGW activists campaign to deny fossil fuel power to such third world communities.

I can also believe that power stations in the developing world are less bothered about particle emission than in the West.

May 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

James, I was trying, perhaps not very effectively, to answer your question: "Who wants gases belching into the sky if we can avoid it?" If, as I noted, sceptics do not consider CO2 a pollutant, why would they object to CO2/water vapour belching from power stations even if it can be avoided, especially if it is cheaper than any alternatives. Hence the answer is 'climate sceptics and agnostics'.

The major cause of particulates where I live is diesel cars, lorries and in particular busses. They are really foul trailing a plume of smoke when they accelerate. I often wear a mask, but I think it is ineffective. The Wiki entry on particulates makes for disturbing reading for me. Its entry on coal and the environment indicates a million excess deaths annually, worldwide, attributable to coal (source WHO). But I guess readers will not believe Wiki or WHO.

As I've said before, I do believe AGW is a problem but I don't for one second believe that those in power worldwide have any intention of reducing CO2 and other emissions to the necessary degree. There are too many vested interests. On the hopeful side, as I think Lomborg has said, once solar is cheap enough, why would anybody even think of using fossil fuels.

May 14, 2012 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Is CO2 emission by power stations a problem, compared with the emissions of HS2 nand other poisons etc in the first half of the 20th century...and then there was lead. Things are so much better now. We should rejoice Even particulates from diesels can be contained.

However, I would like to see how Bitbucket suggests ways in which a coal or gas-fired power station can survive for more than 30 years without a major rebuild...which will require downtime. The windthings will not pick up the slack. If you run an engine on continual load for 30 years, compnonents will wear out. I am surprised it needs to be pointed out. But since he can buy a Tesla, it has probably not occurred to him.

May 14, 2012 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

It depends where you are I guess. Here, leaded petrol is still available at £1 per gallon. Particulates from diesel are not 'contained'.

Machinery does have down-time - it is a fact of life and can be planned. There is spare capacity and there are HVDC interconnectors to France, Belgium and Ireland with others under discussion to Norway and Iceland. One to Spain would seem a good idea... Panicking over generating capacity falling off a cliff is unnecessary. Get the incentives right and someone will build all the capacity you need.

May 15, 2012 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket