Record Drop in Coal Burning Raises Question — Is Peak Fossil Fuel Use Happening Now?

Peak oil, gas, and coal.

It’s a possibility that many who believe the fossil fuel industry’s false dependency mantra look at with fear and trembling. Because, for years, that industry, through various public relations efforts, has perpetuated a myth that a loss of access to fossil fuels would ruin the modern global economy. That fossil fuels were so high-quality no other energy source could effectively replace them.

It’s a myth that, in many ways, competes with the threat of human-caused climate change for space in the public’s collective imagination. One that is not without a few valid supports. For the shifting of energy use away from one set of sources and on toward another set is a massive, disruptive undertaking even in the case where the new energy sources are superior to the old.

November Through April 2015 2016

(This is what a real existential threat to global civilization looks like. From the 1880s to the six month cold season of 2015-2016, global temperatures warmed by 1.38 degrees Celsius. At the end of the last ice age, it took about 3,000 years for as much warming to occur as human fossil fuel burning has achieved over just the last 136 years. Dealing with what is a problem of geological scale ramping up with lightning speed will require a necessarily rapid reduction to zero fossil fuel burning over the coming decades. Recent swift curtailments of coal use provide some hope that such a reduction may be possible. But rates of fossil fuel use will have to peak soon and be cut even more swiftly to prevent a very rapidly intensifying global emergency. Image source: NASA GISS.)

But despite a few reasonable worries, the overall effect is to generate a decoy existential threat to the very real threat of a new global mass extinction event if fossil fuel burning isn’t somehow halted in very short order. One that removes innovative thinking and generates a false impression that there really is no way to effectively mitigate and respond to the impacts of an ever-worsening long climate emergency.

The World Health Organization implicates fossil fuel based carbon emissions as one of the greatest risks to human health this Century stating:

Climate change is among the greatest health risks of the 21st Century. Rising temperatures and more extreme weather events cost lives directly, increase transmission and spread of infectious diseases, and undermine the environmental determinants of health, including clean air and water, and sufficient food.

At the same time, many of the same policy and technology choices that drive climate change, such as polluting energy sources and unsustainable transport systems, also have large immediate and local health impacts – most notably the more than seven million deaths that are caused each year by air pollution (emphasis added).

Given what is a very real danger to human health and well-being arising out of the practice of burning fossil fuels coupled with potential human civilization collapses due to severe climate change, sea level rise, disruptions to the growing season, and extreme weather, it’s worth considering the notion that a functional world without them is not only possible — it is absolutely necessary. For shift away from what some have called energy sources from hell and we open up the potential to expand prosperity, to increase prospects for not just the rich, but for practically everyone. For by doing so we shift away from fuels that result in severe systemic harms in a transition to new, less damaging, more distributed and democratic fuels.

And with a massive curtailment of coal energy use, with a rapidly growing adoption of renewables, and with increasing challenges to growth in natural gas and oil consumption all showing up during 2015, it appears that just such a shift may have already started.

*****

Today’s harbinger of what may well now be an ongoing massive move away from harmful fossil fuel energy is itself a bit ironic. For the message comes in the form of a new report out from the fossil fuel giant British Petroleum. And it’s a real eye-catcher. For this fossil fuel industry based report found that global coal use fell by the largest margin ever recorded. With oil and gas struggling to make up the difference, with the fortunes of renewable energy on the rise, and with fossil fuel energy use growing at a very sluggish net annual rate of about 0.56 percent, we’ve got to ask the question — have we reached the age of peak fossil fuels? And, if so, why isn’t the world economy falling apart as some predicted?

Record Drop in Coal Use

The big shock comes in the form of a massive 1.8 percent annual drop in coal use globally. Lead by China and the US, total global coal curtailment reached 71 million tons of oil equivalent during 2015. This was the greatest single annual drop in coal use in the entirety of the 50 year BP record.

Plummeting Coal Use

(According to fossil fuel industry giant, BP, global coal use fell by its largest margin ever. Image source: Carbon Brief.)

The massive drop in coal also occurred at a time when prices for the carbon-emitting commodity were at or near historical lows. A situation that would normally stimulate demand — all other things being equal.

But with coal, all things are not equal. China suffers from some of the worst air and water pollution conditions in the world due to its reliance on the stuff. Its people are getting sick from emissions particulate related lung damage and from coal-based water contamination. Many are dying prematurely as a result. And since coal use is the greatest contributor to China’s air and water woes, China has undertaken a massive effort to curtail its burning.

Globally, coal is also the worst fossil fuel contributor to Earth System warming on a pound-burned for pound-burned comparison. With global temperatures now hitting near the 1.3 C above 1880s temperature marks on an annual basis — a level high enough to begin to inflict severe climate change related harms — world leaders are increasingly feeling the heat to cut coal.

No Global Recession, But Fossil Fuel Use Stagnates

Curtailment of coal use on such a large scale due to climate, health, welfare, and environmental concerns is unprecedented. In the past, large drops in coal use have only occurred during times of economic recession or when another major fossil fuel source such as natural gas out-competed coal on the global market. During this year of greatest coal losses, neither was the case. Coal remained competitive with natural gas on a cost vs cost comparison basis during 2015 even as the global economy grew by about 3 percent according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

Global Growth International monetary fund

(Despite stagnating fossil fuel use and plummeting rates of coal use, the global economy grew by 3.1 percent during 2015. Image source: The International Monetary Fund.)

Coal’s loss also comes in the context of a declining fossil fuel share in the global energy mix. According to BP, fossil fuels accounted for only 86 percent of global energy use — which was the lowest level ever recorded. Non fossil fuel interest sources such as the recent REN21 paper on the global state of renewable energy put that number even lower — close to 80 percent.

But the BP numbers look bad enough from the fossil fuel industry perspective. Globally, both gas and oil use increased by a combined 134 million tons of oil equivalent. A gradual rate of growth that follows historical lines for those two sources. However, when you account for the loss of coal, net fossil fuel energy use only grew by 63 million tons of oil equivalent — and that represents just a 0.56 percent annual rate of growth for the fossil fuel sector. This compares to a historical annual growth rate in fossil fuel use of 1 to 3 percent during non recession years.

Peak Fossil Fuel Use as Boon Not Bane

Rising rates of renewable energy adoption are the primary reason for coal’s fall and fossil fuel stagnation. Globally, according to BP figures, the net add in non-hydro renewables energy use was equivalent to 48 million tons of oil. A number that, if BP is correct, is nipping away at fossil fuel market dominance by achieving a rate of adoption similar to that of a mainstream energy source.

Renewables Rise Fossil Fuels Stagnate

(Renewable rise while coal plummets, dragging down fossil fuels’ overall share of the global energy supply during 2015. Image source: Carbon Brief.)

Falling rates of overall energy gain for fossil fuels may well represent the start of a period when oil, gas, and coal begin to go into net decline. This has not happened yet. But it will be necessary if the world is to have much hope of preventing extremely catastrophic rates of warming by greater than 2 C above pre-industrial levels this Century. So the big coal curtailment during 2015 as the global economy continued a 3 percent annual growth rate was a huge step in the right direction. But to prevent a future in which ever-more-harmful rates of warming occur. In which 3 C, 4 C, or even 5 C warming becomes likely during this Century, then we will need to continue seeing renewables advance. Then we will need to see what would be a benevolent peak in fossil fuel use. One that is coming on a bit late for comfort and that couldn’t happen soon enough.

Links:

BP — Coal Use Fell By Largest Recorded Margin in 2015

The International Monetary Fund

Choose Between Fuels From Hell and Renewable Jobs Economy

Renewables Global Status Report

NASA GISS

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98 Comments

  1. Colorado Bob

     /  June 9, 2016

    New Greenland paper, and it ain’t good –

    “The number of melt days in the north eastern, western and north western regions, was up to 30-40 days above the 1981-2010 average and setting new records for melt water production and runoff in the north western region.”

    Link

    It’s thought that by lessening the temperature difference between polar latitudes and more temperate regions, climate change can slow down the jet stream, and this slowdown could give the jet stream enough wiggle room to let it bend far more northward than it usually does. In fact, the study reveals the northernmost record of the jet stream ever observed.

    Link

    Wobbly Jet Stream Is Sending the Melting Arctic into ‘Uncharted Territory’

    A shift in weather patterns created a month of extreme melting, prompting scientists’ concern about the impact on long-term climate models.

    Extraordinary melting in Greenland’s ice sheet last summer was linked to warm air delivered by the wandering jet stream, a phenomenon that scientists have increasingly tied to global warming.

    This interplay of climate phenomena, described in a new study in the journal Nature Communications, is more evidence of the complex ways in which the Arctic’s climate is heading for “uncharted territory,” said the study’s lead author, Marco Tedesco.

    The study adds to an emerging theory on the effects of the pronounced warming of the Arctic, where temperatures are rising faster than in more temperate zones, as models have long predicted. Known as “Arctic amplification,” this moderates the normal temperature incline that drives the jet stream. If it makes the jet stream wobble, as some scientists suspect, it would suck warm air up into the Arctic—as was observed in Greenland last year.

    Link

    Reply
  2. Ryan in New England

     /  June 9, 2016

    Great piece, Robert. This is very encouraging news. We are at a turning point in human history, no matter how it turns out. If we don’t curtail emissions we could be at the start of accelerated warming that ends up at 3,4, or 5C this century, radically altering our global civilization. Or we are witnessing the end of fossil fuels, which will lead to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world for everybody. Either way, we are witnessing a remarkable point in time.

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  June 10, 2016

      Ryan your fine hope that change for the better will come ‘..for everybody’, depends entirely on the end of capitalism, that everywhere and always works to increase poverty, inequality and elite wealth and power.

      Reply
      • We’d be far better off like Sweden, for example, than the free market based model that has been so disruptive and harmful globally. That said, we are mixed economies and you want to encourage benevolent trade processes that work to foster equal access to resources.

        Reply
    • Cheers, Ryan. I really appreciate it. There’s a huge economic and political struggle going on now between renewables and fossil fuels. A big part of that struggle is for hearts and minds. And we should be very clear that we can live in a world without fossil fuels. That it is a far better, more hopeful world in the end. That the shift in energy sources absolutely addresses the center of gravity of the climate crisis.

      The issues regarding capitalism are separate. Could you have a capitalistic society powered by renewables? Yes. Would it be more resilient than one powered by fossil fuels? Absolutely. Would it suffer from other systemic harms, instabilities and inequalities? Yes. But there’s a caveat here that the distributed nature of renewables tends to cut against the grain of a pure monopolistic capitalism. The fact that any farmer or homeowner can have a hand in controlling their own energy source is an unprecedented democratization of access to power without being beholden to outside agencies. And this provides a systemic equality simply based on the kind of power that is used which ends up being unprecedented.

      Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  June 9, 2016

    Donald J. Trump and three of his children were among the signatories on a Dec. 6, 2009, full-page advertisement in The New York Times calling for President Obama and Congress to act on climate change.Credit
    Donald J. Trump has had such a habit of reversing past positions that you can find some 30 varieties of flip-flops with his name on them for sale on Zazzle.

    Link

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  June 9, 2016

    RS – I’m in spam locker with a 3 link comment/

    Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  June 9, 2016

    Aqua/MODIS
    2016/161
    06/09/2016
    02:00 UTC

    Wildfire in southwest Kamchatka

    Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  June 9, 2016

    Aqua/MODIS
    2016/158
    06/06/2016
    09:40 UTC

    Dust storm over the southern Caspian Sea

    Aqua/MODIS2016/15806/06/201609:40 UTCDust storm over the southern Caspian Sea

    Reply
  7. “And, if so, why isn’t the world economy falling apart as some predicted?”

    What makes you think it isn’t falling apart?

    “So the big coal curtailment during 2015 as the global economy continued a 3 percent annual growth rate was a huge step in the right direction. ”

    There was not 3% growth in 2015. The forecast has been revised down to 2.4%. Word I’ve heard is that no one believes that number, either. It’s more like, oh, 0.56% growth, if that.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 9, 2016

      Mike Crews –
      It doesn’t make any difference what the world’s GDP is. If we strip the planet to feed that number, Nobody makes money. And by the way the GDP is a pure construct of the mind of man. The Earth which man lives on , doesn’t give a rat’s fuzzy butt about that number.

      Reply
    • My estimates of world GDP show growth of 2.1% in 2015 compared with minus 1.3% in 2009. And coal demand fell by more last year than it did in 2009.

      Reply
    • What we need to do is decouple the GDP from fossil fuels. Considering the huge amount of solar energy available, that is possible – even maybe easy and inevitable.

      Reply
      • I have more trouble with posting images. OK, here’s the link:

        What this diagram shows is that there is more than 10 times more solar energy available in a single year than is available from the total cumulative supply of fossil fuels.

        Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  June 9, 2016

    A most beautiful image with a terrible message. In space every thing as certain beauty.

    Terra/MODIS
    2016/157
    06/05/2016
    09:15 UTC

    Hydrogen sulphide eruptions along the coast of Namibia

    Reply
  9. Jack Polonka

     /  June 9, 2016

    Robert,

    The problem I have with this is that global manufacturing, especially in China, is on a down slide since 2nd half of 2015. It is the manufacturing index which correlates with fuel consumption, especially coal for the BRIC countries (China being the “C”) and global economy is sliding into a recession. Look at the glaring indicators for the first half of this year. The bottom falling out of the Latam Brazil/ Venuzela region and the economic news coming out of China to the point of the where China government put their currency on a gold standard to stabilize it and the exchange rate against the US dollar. The economic/manufacturing indicators show that the developing world is sliding into recession and taking the coal consumption with it……

    Jack

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 10, 2016

      Reply
    • Mark from OZ

       /  June 10, 2016

      Great observation Jack!
      Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal ( in dollar value) but the figs are down sharply over the past few years-peak was in 2011.
      “The value of coal exports by country totaled US$78.9 billion in 2015. That amount represents a -45.2% decline from 2011 when coal shipments were valued at $144 billion. Year over year, the value of exported coal fell by -20.8% from 2014 to 2015.”

      http://www.worldstopexports.com/coal-exports-country/

      It’s important to understand that the ‘unit’ price has also fallen during this time–‘spot’ prices declining ~ 70%. Here’s a link to the Reserve Board of Australia on something they watch very closely–commodity prices. I’m with you on anticipating a substantial economic slowdown being driven by the ‘developed’ economies.

      Select for “Bulk Commodity Prices” and see what’s happened to Australia’s biggest exports-coal and iron ore.

      http://www.rba.gov.au/chart-pack/commodity-prices.html

      Reply
    • Yes, coal use is more closely tied to IP (industrial production) than GDP. But world IP is also holding up (though admittedly a bit soggy). World IP fell 7.9% in 2009, but rose 1.7% last year. And even so, coal demand fell by more in 2015 than in 2009.

      Reply
    • We have slowly rising net industrial production and a record fall in coal use. This looks like a decoupling to me.

      Reply
      • Jack polonka

         /  June 10, 2016

        All,

        The key thing here is to look at the 2nd half of 2015 to 1st half of 2016 to see the bottom falling out of the global economy, industrial production index and less coal used (which in China is the principal fuel source to generating electricity). The higher growth indicators for the 1st half of 2015 of set and “masked” the second half results.

        Suggest looking at the trend from 3rd quarter 2015 to 2nd quarter 2016 for the steep decline in both coal consumption and global economy.

        Reply
        • Sorry, Jack. I think you’ve greatly overstated the situation even as you’re pointing to the wrong set of indicators. The bottom is not falling out. So there’s no reason to light your hair on fire. But there are systemic concerns that have nothing at all to do with a benevolent energy transition.

          We saw gradual growth in 2015 and there’s every indication that this is continuing into 2016. The primary cause for slower growth, however, is a lower overall demand for global goods and services. Demand destruction is part of the deflationary cycle that results from systemic inequalities in which wages globally have stagnated and wealth has tended to concentrate at the top of economic spectrums.

          Loss of commodities demand due to competition from renewables is a net positive in that hits to fossil fuel based industry are over-balanced to the positive due to a net increase in employment in the renewables sector and by what amounts to trading an industry that has negative health and environmental impacts for one that reduces net harm. Systems dependent on fossil fuel based throughput will therefore suffer as wealth is transferred into more distributed hands. This is ironically counter to the deflationary trend that a commodities spike induces and we can probably thank renewables for helping to keep the world out of recession.

  10. – Even at this late date, it’s good news to see the downturn in coal use
    .
    Excellent info and graphics by Carbon Brief.

    The graph “Year-on-year changes in coal use…” 2001- 2002 has China surging up in coal use and dwarfing all the rest.
    Is this from a rise in Chinese consumer spending, etc. or an indication of manufacturing for export? For some reason(s) China sure started burning a lot of coal. Did they burn the coal for others?

    – In the US we still have a Republican controlled Congress with Senator Mitch ‘Coal’ McConnell running the Senate.
    The PNW is still in a struggle to keep coal export terminals from taking over. Such terminals would service Asia for the most part.
    PNW and the West Coast do get atmospheric pollution originating in Asia.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 10, 2016

      In the US we still have a Republican controlled Congress with Senator Mitch ‘Coal’ McConnell running the Senate.

      Don’t bet on that.

      Reply
    • Jack polonka

       /  June 10, 2016

      A very arge part of it is used for manufacturing for export. Coal consumption is both internal and imported. That is how China affects global supply/demand of coal

      Reply
      • A big chunk of the energy used in manufacturing comes from electricity. And there’s a global push to increase the electricity proportion of the manufacturing energy consumption chain. In addition, petroleum, gas and coal use in manufacturing are increasingly under threat even in the BRICs countries. In the west, this trend has been established for some time. Take a look at this recent report from Norway:

        “Although there was a reduction in total energy use in 2013, the consumption of electricity increased by 4 per cent and was just under 45 000 GWh in 2014. This means that the proportion of electricity of total energy use in manufacturing, mining and quarrying rose from 55 to 58 per cent. The consumption of gas declined by 4.6 per cent from 2013 to 2014, which represents a decrease of 780 GWh. Consumption of stationary petroleum products decreased by 8.9 per cent, while consumption of coal products remains stable with a 1.1 per cent increase.”

        Link: https://www.ssb.no/en/energi-og-industri/statistikker/indenergi/aar/2015-06-19

        In addition, if you look at China where coal use is rapidly falling, you end up finding out that 51 percent of China’s coal use goes to electricity, while 25 percent goes to manufacturing. So even in this country, the greater proportion is going directly to electricity rather than to thermal uses for fabrication.

        The notion that the drop in coal is due to manufacturing weakness also fails on two other points. The first is that China is actively pursuing curtailment of coal burning for electricity while replacing it with renewables and other sources. The second is that though manufacturing has been ebbing in China since 2006, it’s moving to other countries. And this was part of a separate trend that has been settling in over the past decade. One that is unrelated to the large drop in coal use.

        Reply
  11. Jay M

     /  June 10, 2016

    But there is no question that consumption will have to decline along with abandoning much of the ff waste. More resilient communities are necessary that are not merely the function of cargo boxes and diesel trailers being offloaded and consumed. The cargo cult reference is hackneyed but somewhat accurate. Young people need jobs transforming the way society works.

    Reply
    • Jay M

       /  June 10, 2016

      There needs to be an electric railway that is primarily solar that links this nation together.
      My opinion, doesn’t need to be maglev.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 10, 2016

      Young people need jobs transforming the way society works.

      Bingo !

      Reply
  12. climatehawk1

     /  June 10, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  13. Claudia

     /  June 10, 2016

    Very encouraging news, indeed!

    Also, have you heard of the CarbFix project? It’s an Icelandic project turns carbon dioxide into stone.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3633878/Scientists-turn-chief-global-warming-gas-harmless-stone.html

    Reply
    • Oh, a two year reaction time, to transform 95% of the CO2 injected into the basalt into limestone! Oh, fabulous!!! That is much faster than anyone predicted, I think.🙂

      This really makes carbon capture and storage a real alternative for drawing down atmospheric CO2 levels, I think. This would work especially well if the power plants are retrofitted with oxygen combustion and a topping cycle to pay for the energy cost of oxygen production and compressing the CO2 for deep injection.

      The article is wrong about the ultimate cost of carbon capture, I think. It could be very low if the above oxyfuel / topping cycle retrofit is done to adapt combustion technology to the new realities of global warming.

      We should nationalize (or buy) all of the combustion power plants of the United States, and start to transform them, with NASA or an agency similar to NASA running the project, I think. We should take the power plants and transform them into oxyfuel / biomass power plants, plant huge biomass plantations at higher elevations than the power plants, and then transport the biomass downhill along the slope of the watersheds to the transformed power plants. River transport by barges down the navigable rivers, especially the entire Mississippi valley should be done, I think. The biomass should be quick growing, like sawgrass, sugar cane, or eucalyptus, to start to pump CO2 out of the atmosphere ASAP. Waste biomass from the forests and from crop residues should also be burned in these CCS power plants. Biomass plus CCS can be done so that it is carbon negative, if care is taken regarding sources of biomass, and we can start generating electricity while pumping CO2 out of the air and back underground.

      Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage (BECS):
      a Sequential Decision Approach to the threat of Abrupt Climate Change

      http://www.iea-etsap.org/web/Workshop/worksh_6_2003/2003P_read.pdf

      The power plants should be given solar thermal assistance, too. While we’re at it, we should transform as many dams as possible into pumped water energy storage dams, to store electricity from wind and solar photovoltaics.

      The maximum carbon we could easily capture by this scheme is maybe a billion tons of carbon per year, in the US, I think. But this would displace another billion or so tons of carbon emissions, and electricity from the power plants could be used to fuel a fleet of electric vehicles, avoiding maybe another half billion tons of carbon emissions.

      So, I think the US acting alone, could solve maybe a quarter of the worldwide carbon emissions problem. If China, India, the EU, and Australia come on board with this scheme, we could really start to see reductions of CO2 levels, I think.

      That’s assuming that the methane hydrates survive the pulse of heat we are throwing at them, and that natural carbon sinks continue to give us some help, of course.

      Reply
    • I’ve always thought that if we were to start with the right rock – basalt – as a raw material, a true carbon sequestering cement might be possible. The surprising speed of the CarbFix project carbonation experiment might make this more possible.

      The geopolymer cements might be able to do this:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geopolymer#Geopolymer_cements

      In this scheme basalt would be crushed to a fine dust mechanically. The basalt would be exposed to acidic supercritical CO2 and water mixture, as in the CarbFix project. Perhaps this could be done in something like a huge steel lined concrete tank, reinforced with steel cables under tension, to handle the high pressures. Because the basalt is crushed and finely ground, the reaction would take place faster, and would produce heat (carbonation is an exothermic chemical reaction) which would speed up the reaction.

      Maybe a month later, the residual CO2 could be transferred into another tank, and the original tank opened to get the basalt / limestone dust out. This basalt / limestone dust would take the place of the blast furnace slag in the above wikipedia article, acting as a source of calcium and magnesium ions to speed up the setting of the cement. The carbonates would be the ultimate destination of the CO2.

      We would also need a large source of alkaline materials, soluble silicates, and kaolin clay, and the kaolin would probably have to be heat activated to become metakaolin, I think.

      The geopolymer cement mixture would be at least irritating to the skin and lungs, and might have to be so alkaline it would burn the workers without protective gear. Or, maybe this high alkalinity and irritation could be minimized through product development, and the workers provided with protective gear.

      Reply
    • Here’s a link to the full paper, from Science.

      Rapid carbon mineralization for permanent disposal of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions
      http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/352/6291/1312.full.pdf

      Since this is a geothermal site, I thought that the higher temperature might be accelerating the reaction:

      “The formation water temperature and pH in the injection interval range from 20° to 33°C and from 8.4 to 9.4, and it is oxygen-depleted (15)”

      A temperature of 33C is about 90 degrees F – maybe slightly higher than normal for this depth, but not by much, I think. These sound like pretty typical conditions – good news, I think.

      Reply
    • Correction- The CarbFix project does not use compressed supercritical CO2. It uses a water solution of CO2, like carbonated water in soft drinks. So the energy required to compress the CO2 for deep injection would not be necessary.

      The carbon negative cement idea above would remain the same, but the requirement for a huge pressure tank would be gone. Thin walled tanks, maybe even plastic lined ponds would do.

      It does seem to require a lot of water, but the water is not consumed by the reaction, so it could be recycled for carbon negative cement production. For in situ projects like CarbFix, maybe sea water would be the best.

      For cement production, it might be possible to enhance the rate at which the rock gives up calcium and magnesium ions by using something like EDTA immobilized on magnetic beads. I think this would absorb the ions from solution and might shift the chemical equilibrium to make the rate of dissolution faster.

      It might be possible to enhance the rate of the carbonation reaction itself by using immobilized carbonic anhydrase on magnetic beads:

      Carbonic Anhydrase Immobilized on Encapsulated Magnetic Nanoparticles for CO2 Sequestration
      http://www.ugcfrp.ac.in/images/userfiles/48674-CEJ.pdf

      Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    Trump has said we go back to the 18th century. When coal fueled the pumps in the mines in Britain .

    Not one time in history , have coal miners ever prospered from mining coal. They were always held in a trap of owners. For 300 years.

    Reply
  15. Jay M

     /  June 10, 2016

    We need to sequester the detritus and propagate the bounty of nature. Unfortunately, the CO2 blanket will move growing towards the high latitudes in some cases. Look at a Sunset garden book and study the growing zones. People have been doing this stuff.

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    These coal miners need a way out. A brighter future. And there is,

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 10, 2016

      We need away to make coal miners , come into the Sun.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 10, 2016

        Novel solar absorber to improve efficiency of concentrating solar power technology
        Summary:
        Researchers have discovered a novel way to significantly increase the amount of sunlight that a solar absorber can convert into heat. By converting more of the solar energy that reaches Earth’s surface into heat in a low-cost way, the solar absorber can help make sustainable technologies that rely on solar heat, like solar thermal technologies, more efficient and affordable.

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160609064749.htm

        Reply
  17. Mark from OZ

     /  June 10, 2016

    Apologies RS-included two(2) links and got caught by the spambot. OK to drop the ‘worldstopexports’ one and keep the ‘commodity price index’ as this one is probably more valuable in the context.
    many thanks!
    M

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    \Novel solar absorber to improve efficiency of concentrating solar power technology
    Summary:
    Researchers have discovered a novel way to significantly increase the amount of sunlight that a solar absorber can convert into heat. By converting more of the solar energy that reaches Earth’s surface into heat in a low-cost way, the solar absorber can help make sustainable technologies that rely on solar heat, like solar thermal technologies, more efficient and affordable.

    Link

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    The world is not sitting still., It’s racing ahead of our dreams.

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    Santana – Saideira

    Reply
  21. Kalypso

     /  June 10, 2016

    According to Michael E Mann 405 ppm of CO2 is all that is required to raise global average temperatures 2 degrees Celsius, when aerosols from burning fuels like coal drop out of the atmosphere. While it’s definitely good for the long term that we are stopping coal use- it’s probably going to result in increased rates of warming because we’re still burning oil and natural gas which add CO2 to the atmosphere but without the cooling effect of aerosols. Current atmospheric CO2 is 407-409 ppm and the yearly average CO2 content of the atmosphere could reach, or surpass 405 by next year. I don’t mean to be a party pooper and there is plenty of good news to celebrate, but I feel like we may have sealed our fate possibly missing our chance years ago. The death of coral reefs across the globe is a stark indicator of a dangerous threshold that we may have just crossed.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-will-cross-the-climate-danger-threshold-by-2036/

    Reply
    • Anne

       /  June 10, 2016

      Prof Wadhams on Hartmann, June 9

      Reply
    • Read the article. Mann did not say that 405 ppm CO2 warms the world to 2 C by 2036. What Mann is saying is that under Business as Usual Fossil Fuel burning and under the worst case Earth System Sensitivity, the Earth may pass the 2 C climate threshold by 2036. Mann’s model provides for different variables and if all the variables are positive — human emissions, the Earth System, etc, then you could get 2 C by 2036. This decade (2015 to 2025) we might average 1.3 or 1.4 C and we might see single years in the 1.5 C range. But if we rapidly cut emissions now we have a shot at pushing back the 2 C timeline.

      As for aerosols, they don’t exist in a vaccum and the problem RE aerosols is often over-stated. If you halt fossil fuel burning and mining, the aerosols fall out and you get a bit of a kick (0.1 to 0.2 C, maybe 0.3 C initially). But a big chunk of the human emitted methane (the remainder comes from meat-based agriculture which also should be addressed) also falls out (it only has an 8 year atmospheric lifespan) which provides a bit of a lag that quickly takes down the aerosol punch.

      405 ppm CO2 by itself, according to our best understanding of paleoclimate and Earth Systems sensitivity, is enough to warm the Earth by about 1.8 C this Century and 2.5 to 3 C long term. The current human forcing is equal to 490 ppm CO2e, much of this is methane. About 60 ppm CO2e is masked by aerosols. 490 ppm CO2e if maintained gets you to around 2.2 C warming this Century and 4 C warming long term.

      The only way to avoid even worse warming is to cut fossil fuel emissions to zero as rapidly as possible and to manage the rest of the human system so that it operates under net zero or net negative carbon emissions. Cutting fossil fuel emissions to zero results in a loss of large portion of the human methane emission and a net loss in atmospheric methane over a rather swift time-scale. Rapid cuts in human emissions allows the ocean to balance with the atmosphere and generates a 5-10 ppm CO2 dip short term (1-3 decades).

      This puts the breaks on rapid warming. Earth System feedback over longer periods may generate added warming (long shot jump in Earth System feedback could make the picture worse, but it looks like the Earth System isn’t capable of matching the human emission). Human activity to draw carbon out of the Earth System provides a mitigation for the long term warming trend and the Earth System feedback.

      If you do not halt fossil fuel burning, you get between 650 ppm CO2e and 1000 ppm CO2e by the end of this Century. You get between 3 and 5 + C warming by the end of this Century and an insult to the Earth’s carbon stores that has likely never happened over so short a period. Halting fossil fuel burning as rapidly as possible is the far, far better scenario. Missing 2 C may be out of the cards. But humanity may be able to survive and mitigate 2 C warming by commiting to generational projects and gentler ways of living on the Earth. Human civilization probably won’t survive 3 to 5 C warming by the end of this Century and 6 to 10 C warming long term.

      Reply
      • Kalypso

         /  June 10, 2016

        That makes me feel much better and much more hopeful. Thank you for correcting me and clarifying my understanding.

        Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    Carlos Santana – Oye Como Va

    Reply
  23. redskylite

     /  June 10, 2016

    Thanks for the very detailed and illuminating article on the state of the coal exploitation business, hopefully we will see the industry decline quickly now as it is the major cause of our woes. Apart from providing a living for mining communities it has caused misery with mine incidents, black lung and bad respiratory affects and does not belong in the 21st century for sure.

    In an interesting piece in Gizmodo today, partly responsible for state of the art marine engines seizing up in the Persian Gulf.

    The makers of the billion-dollar warships, including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems Maritime, claim that the ships were not designed to be used in that kind of environment for an extended amount of time, although they are supposedly engineered for a wide range of temperatures from sub-Arctic to tropic.

    http://gizmodo.com/this-might-get-the-world-to-finally-pay-attention-to-cl-1781662009

    Reply
  24. Ryan in New England

     /  June 10, 2016

    I’m very skeptical of carbon capture and storage, for obvious reasons. One thing I am a fan of is progress towards reducing CO2 emissions or removing it from the atmosphere. This news appears to fall in both camps, so I’m unsure of how to react.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/09/co2-turned-into-stone-in-iceland-in-climate-change-breakthrough

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 10, 2016

      Ryan, my reaction was similar to yours…first, oh wow—then, oh wait….. I suppose fixes like this could be a small, local part of the solution at some point? but could it ever happen on a big enough scale for us to say, Great, now we can keep using FF till the cows come home? I doubt it.

      Reply
    • Cate, Ryan, skeptical too. We’ve seen so many of these ‘oooh lookit this new tech breakthrough that exists only in a lab!’ articles that never pan out. And it’s ok that many of those breakthroughs never pan out, because that’s the nature of the tech advancement beast, but it’s the hype that bothers me.

      Reply
    • ok, so this sounds a lot more hopeful and feasible than cold fusion. Main issue is who’s going to pay for it? Will this be cheap enough to be worth putting into cap and trade schemes?

      Reply
    • I am afraid that the whole CCS concept is a pipe dream (or maybe a smokestack dream?) perpetuated by the FF industry, aided and abetted by governments.

      As Cate says, the problems of scale are enormous. Consider that for every ton of FF burned, approximately 3 tons of CO2 is emitted. Somewhere in the cyberverse (wish I had kept the link), I have seen an excellent video in which an engineer very cogently discusses the fact that for CCS to be meaningful, would need to deal with about 10 gigatons per year. We do not have any industry that deals with anything like that scale of operations – FF works in megatons per year. Establishing infrastructure to handle it would take decades.

      Second point is that it takes a bunch of energy. A FF electric generating plant will use 20% – 30% of its output to do the CCS, meaning that for the same usable output, even more FF required – great for the FF industry!

      All in all, I do not see it as a very viable option, and believe that research in that area is pretty much a waste of time and resources. See it basically as another FF industry scam.

      Reply
      • Regarding scale – we deep inject about 3 billion tons of brine from oil and gas operations every year, and do it so quietly that most people have never heard about it:

        https://www.epa.gov/uic/class-ii-oil-and-gas-related-injection-wells

        “It is estimated that over 2 billion gallons of brine are injected in the United States every day. Most oil and gas injection wells are in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Kansas.”

        The large quantities of CO2 needed to make an impact, pipeline required, and so on are fossil fuel utility talking points, coming from entrenched fossil fuel utilities that don’t want to do CCS – they don’t want to do anything.

        The real fossil fuel industry scam is exaggerating the costs and difficulties of CCS, I think.

        Reply
      • Regarding energy to do CCS:

        That is true, mostly. Doing CCS requires energy, but differing concepts have differing energy requirements. There is something called pressure swing adsorption that may be a low energy path to producing oxygen for OxyFuel combustion, for example:

        http://www.ou.edu/class/che-design/a-design/projects-2007/Oxygen%20Generator-Presentation.pdf

        Many fossil fuel utility power plants are very inefficient, though. They are simple massive coal burning plants that have thermal efficiencies in the 30-40 percent range, or even lower.

        Combined cycle power plants have higher thermal efficiencies, in the 40-50 percent range Addition of a gas turbine topping cycle makes them more efficient than conventional steam cycle power plants.

        What I think is that when conventional steam cycle power plants are retrofitted to be oxyfuel biomass plus CCS power plants, a topping cycle should be added to increase the efficiency of the power plant. The extra power generated can then be used to pay for the energy cost of cryogenically producing the oxygen for combustion and compressing the CO2 for deep injection.

        So, it is possible to increase efficiency enough to pay for the energy cost of the CCS, I think.

        Reply
    • So my attitude tends to be a reverse take on this.

      1. Fossil fuel companies do tend to trot out CCS every time someone proposes a switch to renewables. This is a dog and pony show because the fossil fuel industry is unwilling to commit to a:
      2. Price on carbon emissions that incentivizes CCS because:
      3. It would make fossil fuel use uneconomical when compared to renewables but:
      4. I believe that if we continue to have fossil fuel power stations, that they should be required to use CCS by placing a high price on carbon emissions or a substantial carbon tax that would render traditional forms of fossil fuel burning completely uneconomical. Caveat:
      5. Atmospheric carbon capture is an issue we should absolutely be pursuing because we’ll need it in order to reduce the period of time that the Earth spends near or above 2 C in the event that we are able to cut fossil fuel emissions rapidly to zero. So:
      6. This new innovation in carbon capture and storage looks like a bit of a decent breakthrough from my standpoint. It deals with the problem of having to store CO2 as a gas — which makes it unstable. And it appears to be less expensive than traditional CCS processes. Putting things together we find that:
      7. As noted above, the article is right. Even though this process is less expensive than traditional CCS, it still is a bit pricey. It would therefore require the economic incentive of a price on carbon or a carbon tax. Renewables are already out competing many forms of fossil fuel on price and a CCS system mated to a gas or coal plant would put the total LCOE costs today at about parity with renewable energy + battery storage and well higher than renewable energy + a smart grid. Considering the fact that both battery and renewable energy prices keep dropping, the fossil fuel industry is caught between a rock and a hard place. Falling renewable prices and climate change are already driving a transition away from fossil fuels. Add in a price on carbon and that pace quickens. Eventually, it is likely that the fossil fuel industry will completely miss the carbon price and CCS window (or has already missed that window) and come running to government in a plea for nationalization (this has already happened in parts of Europe). As a result, we could see remaining fossil fuel generation being linked to CCS in isolated instances where that form of power source is still needed even as the rest of the industry goes away. Some notes on practicality include:
      8. CCS is a big water hog. This hurts sustainability of fossil fuels + CCS from a climate change standpoint. Water resources are hit hard by climate change and you don’t want a huge number of CCS plants making that problem worse. The article mentions that sea water can be used. But that is predicated on the notion of placing CCS plants close to a rising ocean — which doesn’t sound to me like the most well-thought-out of plans. There may be some locations where steep elevation provides for opportunities to place CCS plants near rising seas, but this would tend to be the exception rather than the rule. And with regards to atmospheric carbon we should consider the notion that:
      9. CCS + biomass plants provide the opportunity to draw CO2 out of the atmosphere. The problem with this endeavor is that if wood biomass is used, large scaling of this process could result in a rapid clear cutting of the world’s forests. This is absolutely undesirable as forests serve as a natural carbon sink/store. That said, limiting wood pellet biomass burning + CSS and incentivizing other biomass burning (like hemp for example) + CCS may provide a decent path forward for moderate number of plants of this kind capable of sequestering on the order of 200 to 500 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year. My opinion is that, if managed well (and this tends to be a big if because pretty much everything seems to fly off the rails these days due to people seeming to think that responsible oversight is for some reason not necessary), this new storage technology could enable the construction of one pillar of the atmospheric carbon capture mitigation that we will absolutely need in order to deal with global warming as it approaches and probably begins to exceed 2 C (under even the better scenarios by 2045 to 2080).

      Reply
      • Hi Robert and all-

        Regarding water – oxyfuel combustion (burning biomass in a mixture of oxygen and recycled flue gas consisting mostly of water vapor) produces water. The carbon in the biomass ends up as CO2, but the hydrogen in the biomass ends up as water. So if water is needed to make the CarbFix process go, well, oxyfuel combustion produces an almost pure stream of CO2 and water.

        Oxyfuel is of course not the only process to capture CO2, but it is the one I favor because it offers the possibility of higher combustion temperatures enhancing the efficiency of a topping cycle, it’s simple, and it can be retrofitted to existing power plants. Topping cycles are used in combined cycle power plants to increase the efficiency of the power plant. One variation requires a high temperature ceramic heat exchanger which heats a stream of inert gas like nitrogen and then expands that nitrogen (CO2 could also be used, I think) through a gas turbine, reducing the temperature from maybe 1000 degrees C to maybe 500-600 degrees C. Some electricity is produced at this step, maybe 40 percent of the total, I think. The exhaust from the gas turbine is used to produce steam at 500-600 degrees C, which runs a conventional steam turbine power plant. So the combined cycle power plant produces a lot more electricity from the same amount of fuel, making it more efficient than an old style steam turbine power plant.

        The extra efficiency of the topping cycle can be used to pay for cyrogenically producing the oxygen and compressing the CO2 for deep injection.

        The reason I think we should nationalize the power plants is that the fossil fuel industry routinely lies and spins and wastes a lot of time. We don’t really know how expensive CCS is, because a lot of the calculations have been done by the fossil fuel utilities, their paid scientists, or their lobbyists, and they always have a motive to lie or spin the results.

        The fossil fuel industry doesn’t want to do CCS – they want to do nothing. The public doesn’t generally want to do CCS, although this CarbFix result might change that, at least somewhat. But nothing impacts the math of the problem like the synergistic effect of being able to simultaneously generate electricity, put carbon back underground, and displace fossil fuel use, as can be accomplished by BECCS.

        We should nationalize the power plants and just do what needs to be done as quickly as possible, and not have to wait around for the profit motive to indirectly influence an entrenched, conservative industry to do what needs to be done.

        If we are going to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere, we need to move a lot of carbon – hundreds of millions of tons of it per year, minimum. Billions of tons per year would be better. The fossil fuel power plants move a lot of carbon. Right now they move the carbon from fossil fuels into the atmosphere. With BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage) they could be transformed to move the carbon from the atmosphere back underground.

        Reply
        • “But nothing impacts the math of the problem like the synergistic effect of being able to simultaneously generate electricity, put carbon back underground, and displace fossil fuel use, as can be accomplished by BECCS.
          We should nationalize the power plants and just do what needs to be done as quickly as possible, and not have to wait around for the profit motive to indirectly influence an entrenched, conservative industry to do what needs to be done.”

          If we were forward-thinking, we’d do this and more. We’d look at BECCS as a land trade off for meat farming (we would regulate the industry such that its impacts on forests were not harmful). In other words, we’d set aside a portion of our marginal farming land that goes to feeding livestock to fast growth biomass for BECCS (such as hemp or switch grass). We’d set up downstream powerplant conversions for BECCS and plan for a global rate in the range of 100 to 300 million tons of carbon each year (as a start). And we’d absolutely start nationalizing the fossil fuel power stations as part of a planned mothballing and conversion process.

          Under laissez faire, what we have now is an industry that will eventually fight until bankruptcy (1-30+ year time horizons) and then beg for nationalization (or a bailout) after the fact. But you’re right. We can head this off at the pass by planning a phased nationalization strategy now. Finally, we’d provide incentives for each ton of carbon captured.

          I’d look at BECCS as part of a larger global atmospheric carbon draw down strategy that would also include increasing forest growth, biochar use for fertilizer and as a base for soil rejuvenation (and putting in place additional soil rejuvenation programs), and indoor and vertical farming methods to reduce agriculture’s impact on global land use (effectively setting aside land for forest regrowth).

          We can do this if we work together and plan. Right now, everything’s just running on toward the next catastrophe and reactive response. We’ve got some resiliency in the mix, but it’s more just haphazard than anything truly prescient.

      • Correction – recycled flue gas is a mixture of CO2 and water vapor. It’s mostly CO2, I think.

        Third OxyFuel combustion conference, 2013, Spain:

        http://ieaghg.org/docs/General_Docs/OCC3/OCC3%20Summary%20Brochure_final_high%20res.pdf

        Reply
      • Thanks Robert.

        The trading meat farming for biomass is a good idea, I think. Or just grow biomass wherever we can. I need to get some GIS (Geographical Information System) software and start to see just where the biomass is and how much of it there is, and how much of it there could be if plantations are planted. I’ve done some of this, but need to do more.

        To be honest, I don’t know for sure that there is enough biomass to put a billion tons of carbon per year back underground. Oak Ridge National Labs says we can come up with 1.6 billion tons of biomass pretty easily, from forest residues and urban and crop wastes, but that only gets us to maybe 300-400 million tons of carbon, I think. So, we need more biomass, to get to a billion tons of carbon per year in the U.S, and completely displace coal. Hence the idea of biomass plantations, as advocated by Read and Lermitt, and the idea of charcoal or wood pellet imports.

        https://www1.eere.energy.gov/bioenergy/pdfs/billion_ton_update.pdf

        Most fossil fuel power plants are on rivers and lakes for large amounts of cooling water. So, it seems like river transport – the cheapest form of transport, especially downhill – is a good idea and could supply many power plants with biomass. The whole Mississippi river system would be the place to start, I think, since then most of the huge Mississippi watershed becomes potential plantation area . Planting the biomass plantations at higher elevations than the power plants seems like a good idea.

        Thank you for providing this space to communicate. This is a unique place, that you’ve built here, and many of us are very grateful for that🙂

        Reply
        • My wife working on a certification for GIS map creation🙂. Maybe we can see about a project over the next year that might help.

      • Oh, great! I have some spreadsheet links for biomass information from the EPA, and such. If the project materializes, let me know what the software is and I’ll try to buy something compatible.🙂

        Reply
  25. Ryan in New England

     /  June 10, 2016

    Alaska’s year to date temperature is 10F above average!

    For the year-to-date, the state is running 10.3F above the 1925-2000 average of 26.1°F (-3.3°C) and 2.4°F (1.3°C) higher than the previous mark of 23.7°F (-4.6°C) set in 1981. In fact, the past three January-May periods are among the four warmest in Alaska’s records.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/09/alaska-on-track-for-hottest-year-since-records-began

    Reply
  26. Cate

     /  June 10, 2016

    Jason Box has posted a video dated 9 June 2016 on the Arctic sea ice/Greenland melt connection. Much to think about here, of course, but I particularly like that he highlights the fact that we can all now watch the Arctic pretty much as it happens, on our tablets and phones. He wryly suggests we grab our popcorn and settle in to watch….

    Reply
  27. The Media’s “Murrow Momment” Missed Trump’s dangerous climate views…
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/09/3786515/media-trump-racism-climate-denial/
    A quote from the article:
    Donald Trump can proclaim the wackiest of anti-science climate denier talking points for months, and in 20 debates, the media asked him precisely zero questions about this greatest of all preventable threats to America. Trump proclaims “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement” — humanity’s best if not only chance to avoid catastrophic irreversible climate change lasting 1000 years — and the media treats it as a one-day story if they cover it at all.

    Reply
    • So true. But the media continues to act as if climate change is only a matter worthy of a ‘special report.’ They should have been all over Trump on this since the Fall. Problem is, the media would also need to be all over pretty much the entire republican party for its own climate change denial. It’s not just an issue with Trump. Trump is terrible. But he’s just a reflection of the larger republican party’s attitude on the issue. If I could split myself into five, I’d have at least one of me writing daily on the issue of Trump and republican climate change denial.

      Reply
      • But what mystifies me about the media “silence” on climate change..is that the majority of Americans now believe in human caused CC…and wouldn’t it make sense to do segments on CC since Americans seem to be waking up to its dangers…since all they care about is ratings and this might increase their ratings?

        Reply
        • Good point. Why would that be indeed?

          You know, I did hear a lot of ads on the radio the other day about ‘becoming an energy voter’ sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. And I did see this thing on PBS the other day referencing the Koch Brothers as a sponsor for ‘this day’s science hour.’ And I do notice that Rupert Murdoch, a well known climate change denier and fossil fuel backer, owns a big media monopoly that holds numerous TV stations, online outlets, and newspapers around the world.

          I wonder if all of this represents any kind of conflict of interest at all when it comes to providing responsible reporting on the issue of climate change?

          There’s a reason why many countries have outlawed or controlled tobacco advertisements. Part of this reason is due to the ability of advertising to misinform the public on an issue that is related to its health and well being. But the other part of the reason is due to the amount of influence that advertising dollars have the ability to wield over media organizations.

          Consider this:

          “The European Union and World Health Organization (WHO) have both specified that the advertising of tobacco should not be allowed. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into effect on 27 February 2005, requires that all of the 168 countries that agreed to the treaty ban tobacco advertising unless their constitution forbade it.

          Some countries also impose legal requirements on the packaging of tobacco products. For example, in the countries of the European Union, Turkey, Australia[31] Iran [32] and South Africa, cigarette packs must be prominently labeled with the health risks associated with smoking.[33] Canada, Australia, Thailand, Iceland, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and some EU countries have also imposed labels upon cigarette packs warning smokers of the effects, and they include graphic images of the potential health effects of smoking. In Canada, cards are also inserted into cigarette packs, explaining reasons not to smoke and different methods of quitting smoking.”

          Given the numerous harmful affects associated with fossil fuel burning to include the terrible and worsening impacts of human-caused climate change, shouldn’t governments consider a similar ban or control over advertising related to the use of fossil fuels?

          The WHO has stated that:

          “Climate change is among the greatest health risks of the 21st Century. Rising temperatures and more extreme weather events cost lives directly, increase transmission and spread of infectious diseases, and undermine the environmental determinants of health, including clean air and water, and sufficient food.”

          But no-one as yet at WHO has apparently considered the fact that the industry that is responsible for the causes of climate change has an outsized influence over the global media bodies of the world. The WHO has not considered, as it did with cigarettes, how such an influence would have a deleterious effect on the public’s ability to recognize the threat to their health and to respond.

          Despite efforts on the part of the fossil fuel industry to prevent global responses to climate change, the public is now more aware. This is due to some publications acting in a responsible manner and due to the actions of what I would term climate media activists and the scientists whom they support. This amounts to guerilla media warfare on behalf of a public health and welfare issue against the fossil fuel influence in the larger media. This, however, is not an ideal state for either public health or for a well informed public that is enabled to respond to a worsening climate situation.

          Climate change is not only one of the greatest threats to public health this Century, it basically threatens to ruin the prospects for healthy lives for millions this decade, for tens of millions in the next 2-3 decades, and for hundreds of millions by mid Century. Its scale is global and unavoidable by practically everyone. Individual behavior is not the cause — as it was with cigarettes. So responses to global climate change are not as simple as cessation of smoking cigarettes. The problem is an issue of systemic dependency on fossil fuel burning and the problem will have consequences to people and generations far removed from the initial place of burning and from the initial time period in which that burning took place. In other words, we are in the process of delivering the Earth as a wasteland to future generations. To reducing its life-carrying capacity such that lives in the future will be short, miserable and brutal if human lives exist at all.

          That’s the context of what it means to continue to burn fossil fuels. So, yeah, pretty much far more terrible that the cancer, heart, and lung disease causing cigarettes. And yet we still allow the agencies that promote the use of fossil fuel to conduct vast campaigns to influence the public and global governments in order to expand and extent that fossil fuel burning which, in turn, will surely ruin global human health and welfare prospects this Century.

      • Thank you Robert for your thoughtful and thorough response to my query. I have copied and pasted it to my personal journal…in hopes, I can use parts of it on other sites to point out the dangers of CC in relation to health concerns.

        Reply
  28. Abel Adamski

     /  June 10, 2016

    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jun/10/climate-change-melbourne-renewable-energy-project-provides-global-blueprint

    Climate change: Melbourne renewable energy project provides global blueprint

    The project, which would create a guaranteed market for renewable energy, aims to reduce city’s annual emissions by 138,000 tonnes a year

    The Melbourne renewable energy project, conceived and managed by the city council, has been two years in the making. Thirteen major institutions operating in the city have formed a consortium that will sign an agreement to purchase a large chunk of their electricity from a new large-scale renewable energy project.

    The strategy is revolutionary, as it is the first time in Australia that a group of buyers has joined forces to purchase large-scale renewable energy. In fact, the council says it is not aware of a similar model anywhere in the world, especially under the leadership of a city council.

    “We don’t often talk about government being the innovators but this is a really innovative project driven by the city of Melbourne,” Wood says.

    More importantly, major cities around the world are watching closely to see if Melbourne’s strategy could become a blueprint for them to follow. .

    It is only a step, but one aimed to increase the city’s renewable energy from 12% to 25%

    Reply
    • Good news. If I were a coastal city, especially, I’d be looking at reducing my carbon emissions contribution to net zero or net negative as soon as possible. There are a bunch of cities sitting on death row due to climate change. But the ones with the most immediate execution times are along the coast. It’s a hard way to say it. But it’s basically true. These guys are in a fight for their lives whether they realize it or not.

      Reply
  29. Robert in New Orleans

     /  June 10, 2016

    Royal Navy Destroyers having problems dealing with warm Persian Gulf waters:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/09/europe/britain-royal-navy-warships/index.html

    Reply
    • So pretty much every energy system has an issue with waste heat. The skin of a vessel is the most efficient way to bleed waste heat off into the environment. This works great when water temperatures tend to range from 50 F to 70 F. But if the water rises to 90 F, well, then you’ve just lost a big chunk of your ability to bleed off waste heat. Too bad the British Navy didn’t prepare for climate change…

      Reply
      • – And, from the Gizmodo piece:

        ‘The Persian Gulf is a very shallow body of water that absorbs more heat than the open ocean, and it’s situated in one of the hottest places on Earth. Water temperatures regularly range from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

        … the Gulf States have recorded many of their most extreme heat waves in recent months. A “heat dome” stretching from Dubai to Beirut resulted in the second-highest heat index ever recorded on Earth; the air in the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshahr felt like 165 degrees Fahrenheit.’

        Reply
  30. Brian#2

     /  June 10, 2016

    The Powell Memorandum was basically a call to arms for corporate business interests to take back the free market capitalist system which they felt was under immediate threat from radical environmental and political activists and anti-war subversion centred on college campuses across America. Of special interests was consumer advocate Ralph Nader after publication of his book. “Unsafe at any Speed,” which was an expose of corruption and dangerous cost cutting and pollution standards in the American auto industry. Powell felt that Nader was enemy number one and a threat to the entire free enterprise system.

    The Powell Memorandum would basically become the philosophical inspiration and centrepiece for the Neo-Conservative movement and their radical effort to roll back New Deal legislation, which had probably reached its high water mark by 1970, in favour of the kind of free market fundamentalism and “hands off business,” ethos that would be the hallmark of U.S. economic policy from the Reagan era to today. Amongst the many recommendations Powell made was that of the creation of well funded policy think tanks that would seek to influence public opinion through the media, college textbooks and lobby efforts in congress and the State Department. The goal was to unite the forces of business elites across America into a focused attack on any efforts to regulate or undermine corporate consolidation of power. The Powell memo would inspire the creation of right-wing Libertarian think tanks such as The American Heritage Institute, The Cato Institute, Sound Economy…Accuracy in Academe, and so on, reaching its conclusion with that institute we all know and love so well, The heartland Institute.

    The first real test for the new ethos of attack and destroy enemies of free enterprise came with the effort to discredit the growing scientific evidence that tobacco was a threat to public health and the dirty fight to combat any kind of regulation over the tobacco industry. Ultimately, the strategy failed but in the meantime tobacco companies were able to continue wringing huge profits out of their product while the nascent denial machine sharpened its tactics and learned to subvert the scientific evidence through using paid scientific consultants and a mass targeted media campaign. This was the origin of the denial machine we see so hard at work today attempting to delay any regulation of or accountability for the fossil fuel industry.

    In fact, many of the very same people who were involved in the effort to discredit the science of tobacco’s health hazards, Fred Seitz, Fred Singer and Robert Jastrow, among others would go on to be active in the effort to deny the evidence of climate change. As Naomi Orestes points out in her excellent book, “Merchants of Doubt,” not only did it seem like the same people who were attacking me, it was the same people.”

    Anyway, I think it is instructive to know where these attacks originated and the kind of ethos we are up against because it is not going to go away after the next American election. …

    Here is a link to the body of the Powell Memorandum as published in 1971:

    http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/

    Reply
  31. Robert in New Orleans

     /  June 10, 2016

    Reply
  32. Barrow, AK has been getting some snow. This after recent warm spells.
    This also points to the posted Jason Box video comment of a “roller coaster” of temps and weather.

    Reply
    • NWS Fairbanks ‏@NWSFairbanks 5h5 hours ago

      The 1.7 inches of snow that Barrow received on Thursday set a record for June 9th. The previous record was 0.5 inches set in 1992. #akwx

      Reply
  33. Reply
  34. Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 11, 2016

      #KeepItInTheGround. The cheapest, quickest, surest, most efficient method!

      Reply
  35. Note: ozone destroys biotic tissue. As such, it is harmful to all living things.

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  June 10, 2016

    Reply
  37. JPL

     /  June 10, 2016

    The Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity, including 60% of Europeans and nearly 80% of North Americans

    I first saw the Milky Way at age 43 while doing some remote January snow camping on Mt. Rainer. Needless to say, I was floored. I had never previously considered the consequences of urban light pollution until that moment. Funny that pre-industrial humans had this amazing sky to enjoy every night. I don’t even look up at night – there’s ‘nothing’ to see.

    John

    Reply

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