Old Energy Left Behind — Equivalent of 7 Gigafactories Already Under Construction; Tesla Plans 10-20 More

In an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio during late 2016, Elon Musk famously claimed that it would take just 100 Gigafactories to produce enough clean energy to meet the needs of the entire world. As of mid 2017, in the face of an ever-worsening global climate, the equivalent of 7 such plants were already under construction while plans for many more were taking shape on the drawing boards of various clean energy corporations across the globe.

(Elon Musk shares climate change concerns, expresses urgency for rapid transition to clean energy in interview with Leonardo DiCaprio during late 2016.)

Tesla’s own landmark gigafactory began construction during late 2014. Upon completion, it will produce the Model 3 electric vehicle along with hoards of electric motors and around 35 gigawatt hours worth of lithium battery storage every single year (a planned output that Tesla said it could potentially triple or more to 100-150 gigawatt hours). During May, Tesla stated that it would set plans for four new gigafactories after Model 3 production began in earnest late this summer. And this week, Elon Musk announced an ultimate ambition to construct between 10 and 20 gigafactories in all. For reference, so many gigafactories could ultimately support vehicle production in the range of 12 to 24 million annually.

Racing to Catch up With Tesla

Tesla’s ramp-up to clean energy mass production, however, is not going unanswered. In China, CATL is building a gigafactory that by 2020 will produce about 50 gigawatts of battery packs every year. This massive plant is the centerpiece of China’s push to have 5 million electrical vehicles operating on its roads by 2020. It’s a huge facility that could outstrip even the Tesla Gigafactory 1’s massive production chain.

Meanwhile, another 11 facilities under construction around the world will add around 145 gigawatts of additional battery pack production capacity by the early 2020s as well. Add in both China’s CATL and Tesla’s Nevada battery plant and you end up with 230 gigawatts of new battery production — or the equivalent to just shy of 7 gigafactories that are already slated for completion by around 2020.

(Steep climb in EV adoption pushes global fleet to above 2 million during 2016. Swiftly dropping prices and expanding production chains will help to drive far more rapid adoption during 2017-2020. Massive factories producing EVs will also help to speed larger energy transition away from fossil fuels. Image source: International Energy Agency.)

Race to Win the Energy Transition 

According to news reports, the big-ramp up in battery production has already driven prices down to $140 dollars per kilowatt hour. That’s a major drop from around $550 dollars per kilowatt hour just five years ago. An amazing trend that is expected to push batteries for electrical vehicles down to below $100 dollars per kilowatt hour by or before 2020, and to around $80 dollars per kilowatt hour not long after. This means that battery packs for vehicles like Nissan’s new Leaf, the Chevy Bolt, and Tesla’s Model 3 are likely to range between $5,000 and $7,000 dollars in rather short order. A price level that will allow EV production at cost parity with similar fossil fuel driven vehicles within the next three years.

But ambitions appear to go well beyond just the transportation industry. Based on Musk’s earlier assessment, it appears that he’s aiming to control a 10-20 percent stake in the larger global energy market. An aspiration aided both by the innate fungibility of battery pack production (after-market EV batteries can be resold to the energy storage market) together with Tesla’s recent Solar City acquisition. It also appears that he is helping to spur a race between various companies and nations for new, clean energy, leadership. And with so much momentum already building behind the big clean energy push, it appears the choices for present energy and transport leaders are either to join the race or get left behind.


100 Gigafactories Could Power Entire World

Battery Gigafactories Hit Europe

Lithium-Ion Batteries are Now Selling for Under $140 Dollars per kwh

China Battery-Maker Signs Massive Supply Contract

Tesla Plans 12 to 24 Million Vehicles Per Year

Electric Batteries $100 Dollars Per kwh by 2020, $80 Soon After?

Tesla — 4 More Gigafactories

Global EV Outlook 2017

Tesla to Build 10-20 Gigafactories

Hat tip to Greg

Leave a comment


  1. climatehawk1

     /  June 12, 2017


  2. Robert in New Orleans

     /  June 12, 2017

    Robert you really need to interview Mr. Musk in person. I would like to know his thoughts about global warming and how it relates to Tesla/Solar City and SpaceX. A good question to ask him is would Tesla consider selling its power trains to other automotive manufacturers. Another question to ask is his urgent ambition to colonize Mars emblematic of a dystopian future Earth ravaged by climate change.

    • Greg

       /  June 13, 2017

      Robert in NO, there are plenty of interviews out there to gain insights into Elon’s thinking. He obviously believes in a probable future worth fighting for. Mars is a nutty idea but motivates him and a whole generation of youth who are going into the sciences and engineering based in this dream. Even a worst case scenario for climate catastrophe has better life on this planet than Mars.

      • Thanks for this, Greg.

        It’s worth adding that human beings need to learn essential environmental care and support skills in order to effectively build habitats on lifeless worlds and in space. Earth is kind of a test case for us — in that we need to transition from taking from and destroying the Earth environment to coexisting with and enhancing the vital life support systems of our planet.

      • Robert in New Orleans

         /  June 13, 2017

        Mr. Greg, why are you throwing shade on my suggestion that RF should interview Mr. Musk? I have seen more than a few EM interviews on Youtube and they are for the most part fine and dandy. But this is RF’s blog and I want to see or hear him formulate the potential questions for Mr. Musk, because Mr. Fanney is obviously an intelligent writer who would not countenance BS, confabulation, obfuscation or Jedi mind tricks from anyone.

        Also going to Mars is not nutty (maybe in your opinion)and it is not a dream. Mr. Musk did not appear in this video about the technology to travel to Mars because he is delusional. Colonizing and terraforming Mars is better option for preserving humanity than geoengineering in the event of a worst case CC scenario in my honest opinion.

        • I don’t agree re colonizing Mars. I’m influenced by E.O. Wilson’s comments in his short book “The Meaning of Human Existence,” which basically revolve around how little we know about the human microbiome and the ways in which it interacts with the biosphere (at least, that’s my dimly recalled interpretation of what he said).

          Maybe we CAN artificially create (and fine-tune) all the organisms and microorganisms needed to make it work, but maybe we can’t. I’m skeptical that it’s an answer, or that even if it is, it’s something that can be accomplished within a few decades.

          Lifelong SF fan here, would be happy to be proven wrong, but I think it’s a real long shot scientifically speaking.

        • Cheers, guys.

          In my view, I think that colonizing space is certainly a worthy goal that human beings should pursue. It is a very risky endeavor that presents considerable challenges, however. But, also in my opinion, our greatest asset for achieving sustainable systems in space will spring from our learning to live sustainably here on Earth.

          The Biosphere experiments starkly revealed that we are a species that still takes too much from the Earth environment without understanding how to give back. Failure to form such cooperative relationships has resulted in varying degrees of environmental destruction wherever humans have traveled and established settlements. And we should be very clear that, compared to most of the rest of the universe, the Earth environment is far more forgiving and far more easy to live sustainably in. So humans are pretty far behind the curve in this respect. Establishing less extractive and more cooperative human systems will provide us with the needed knowledge and skills to attempt the even greater challenge of bringing life to space and places like Mars in a manner that can support human life over the long haul.

          In other words, recycling, reuse, efficiency, and cooperative human-biosphere relationships here on Earth combined with various renewable energy technologies will provide the techniques needed for settlers of other worlds to achieve success. Humans that inherently know how not to waste the Earth environment will be far better equipped at establishing and sustaining liveable environments in space and on Mars. Safer, more powerful hard technological systems will also be helpful. But our life cooperation and preservation technology is still pretty woefully inadequate to the challenge and, in my view, requires considerable advancement to meet it effectively.

        • I’ve always thought that Gerard K. O’Neil’s space colony idea had a better shot at supporting life off this planet than a Mars colony. Could be wrong, but containing an atmosphere in a big can is a lot more materials efficient way to keep it in one place than using the mass of a whole planet to do that by gravity. Planets are a horrible waste of materials, it seems.

          O’Neil’s ideas were good ones, I think. Use of solar energy to catapult lunar materials into earth orbit seems like a good way to provide the space colonies with metals and inorganic materials. Discovery of water ice on the moon in deep craters has been claimed, and that would make it a lot easier to supply the colonies with hydrogen and oxygen. One advantage of space colonies is that if one colony ecosystem crashes, it won’t bring the whole system down. Volatiles could also be catapulted from earth into orbit.

          Plate tectonics and the rock weathering cycle appear to be a huge part of the innate stability of the earth’s climate. Without plate tectonics on Mars, that might be a problem. How common such stable environments are in the universe is a good question. If this stability maintained by negative feedback had not occurred, life on Earth would likely not have developed, and we wouldn’t be here to debate this stuff. So the anthropic principle tells us we still have no clue how common living biospheres are. I believe myself that living biospheres are probably exceedingly rare-
          we may in fact be alone in the galaxy.

          Ken Caldeira : The need for mass balance and feedback in the geochemical carbon cycle:


          Best to not destroy the biosphere before we know how to build a replacement, of course.

        • Still have to figure out how to duplicate the human body’s connections with the biosphere at the cellular and microbiotic level. I do agree, more plausible with a space-based artificial environment than another planet. Two things to note:

          1) Kim Stanley Robinson’s “2312” posits a future with artificial environments and colonies in which everyone has to return to Earth and live there for one year out of seven, which suggests to me that he gets the problem.

          2) Radiation loading presents another issue I know very little about. Maybe this could be dealt with in space habitats by substantial water-tank shielding?

          Bottom line remains, long shot and we are far better off trying to heal the habitat that has been devised for us by millions of years of evolution than trying to design our own. I’m no expert, just a geek and SF fan, so MHO.

        • Actually, the huge open spaces of Gerard K. O’Neil’s space colonies are also likely too inefficient to be incorporated in space colonies, at least at first. Food will likely be grown in relatively small external modules, I think. Population density in the main colony would be high.

          So, where should we colonize? Earth orbit, the Lagrange points, and so on, the way O’Neill proposed, I think

          The torus designs seemed like a good idea, with large stationary cosmic ray shields and rotating living spaces. Most materials would be catapulted from the moon, using solar energy and electric mass drivers. Some materials could also be catapulted from the earth. People could ride up in rockets or space planes, or eventually in space elevators.

          With solar energy and recycled materials the future could be bright…if we stop the climate from destabilizing.

        • With lunar and asteroid materials, solar energy, and a system of space colonies, population problems might just vanish. Or, we might find it cheaper to stay home on earth, and take advantage of the huge number of free services our biosphere provides us with.

          Unless, of course, the free services stop coming.

    • Fantastic thoughts and a good idea. I’ll send out a feeler to Musk and see if we get any nibbles. I’d also like to ask him if his view is generally one aimed at overall human advancement and that threat response has now been wrapped into his general thrust due to immediate urgency? Would like to also hear his thoughts on how an energy transition might help enable space travel by driving down the cost of base energy and hence, rocket fuel…

      • Greg

         /  June 14, 2017

        Great questions. I had actually thought Elon could learn a lot from you and should interview you!, or at least use you as a communicator re:Climate change and threats on his behalf. I don’t think Mars is unworthy just that it is not an escape. It provides valuable insights and experimental opportunities but we should concentrate, like you’ve said, on our own home. If we can’t get this relationship to our Earth right then it’s folly to think we’ll do better somewhere else.

        • So I think Elon’s ultimate goal to make humankind a two planet species and to bring life to lifeless, or mostly lifeless, worlds is certainly a worthy one. But it is also an extraordinary and very risky goal. If successful, the project will still take many decades to centuries to create habitats capable of sustaining human beings on a level where human population and resource pressure could potentially be somewhat relieved here on Earth. And it is the scale of this challenge and likely time required to effectively carry out such a project that makes it highly unlikely that it will serve as any kind of effective response to human forced climate change in the 21st Century.

          Elon’s own very ambitious goal to get a million people living on Mars by mid Century is just at the very edge of what’s potentially achievable. And these pioneers, if they do go, will be taking considerable risk of loss of life and severe degradation of standard of living. Lower gravity on Mars will permanently alter any settler’s physiology — likely rendering them incapable of returning to Earth without suffering a crippling response to Earth’s higher gravity and a likely shortened lifespan. New medical breakthroughs could overcome these obstacles, perhaps, but they are still quite considerable. So I guess the question is — who wants to go to Mars if it means risking a possible permanent exile from the home planet or loss of life in an environment that is far more hostile than Antarctica, for example? Or — how can these considerable physiological, biological, and long distance travel constraints be reasonably overcome?

          As for creating new self-sustaining biospheres… That is also a considerable challenge. One that I think is necessary to overcome to achieve sustainable settlements in space and on other planets. In this field, we have just scratched the surface of understanding. But it’s a barrier we’ll have to cross so that whatever space settlements we set up do not require continuous resupply from the home planet. Hothouses, hydroponics, vertical farming and other methods do provide some leverage for humans in this area. But energy and material requirements for such systems are pretty substantial and it’s questionable whether we’ve developed the needed techniques to use raw material from the Mars environment effectively as feed stock for even controlled environment farms (in pressurized surface habitats or tunnels underground).

          Terraforming is an even greater (and probably worthy) challenge. But we should consider that Mars has few of the inherent protections enjoyed by the Earth. Mars has practically no magnetic sphere — which renders it more vulnerable to solar flare radiation even though it is further out from the Sun. Such solar flares would tend to strip any atmosphere developed on Mars over time — which would require constant replenishment or the development of a barrier to periodic solar radiation bursts. Mars lacks a moon that generates a beneficial tidal flux and serves as a barrier to asteroid strikes. Lower Mars gravity has already been mentioned. But less gravity will tend to result in more atmospheric migration into space. Mars soil is highly oxidized and toxic — serious work will need to be made to turn peroxide soils into life-supporting soils. And we would have to build the atmosphere on Mars from practically scratch — providing necessary materials for the atmosphere to generate its own protective ozone layer (which would be vulnerable to being stripped by solar flares without a protective magnetic field).

          These are just a few of the very serious challenges. Bringing people to Mars is a difficult endeavor in its own right. Very difficult given the present disposition of human technology. But actually having people live their lives there in a healthy fashion over long periods of time is an even greater challenge. One can certainly imagine expensive outposts that are little more than self-enclosed warrens that continuously require resupply from the home world. But such facilities would not be appealing to many of us who enjoy such rich abundance of air, water, beauty, and life here on Earth. And any mechanical failure of a critical system or inability to access resources or resupply would result in almost certain loss of life. For masses of people going to Mars without considerable forethought and additional techniques beyond present understanding of sustainable systems, one could well imagine a number of tragic incidents similar to those experienced by Jamestown (mass starvation) or the Lost Colony (complete loss of the settlement).

          This is why I think it is very important that we work to learn more about sustaining life here on Earth. That we work to better establish cooperative relationships with natural systems and to really appreciate how powerful and amazing and precious the rich pageant of life here is. We’ve taken it for granted for far too long. But those seeking to colonize a great blasted and mostly lifeless rock in space like Mars won’t have the same luxury.

  3. Greg

     /  June 13, 2017

    Robert, thank you for this. The profitability of the Model 3 is assessed to occur at 130$/kw, depending on configuration. This battery cost may come about within a year, not even three, but Tesla keeps this info tight. Shortly, then, the ICE competition will find no compelling case anymore based on cost and performance, never mind carbon pollutuon, and a rapid shift to electric will occur. It will ripple through the economies of the industrialized world and big oil will be left reeling with trillions of stranded assets. Not hyperbole. September is the semi truck and pickup truck reveal by Tesla, which will shock the cargo industry. All good for climate hawks and humanity. Norway sales this month were greater than 30% for electric passenger sales which gives us insight about our near future.Give this giant ego, Musk, your money– anything you’ve got, likely a great investment for yourself and humanity.



    • Again, many thanks for the great insights and links.

      I tend to keep tabs on the size of the production chain as an indicator of future trends. Back during 2012 to 2014, the solar pv supply chain was rapidly expanding and it was pretty clear we were going to see a panel price crash that would hit parity with fossil fuel generation in a few years. We are now in that zone and both wind and solar are now less expensive than FF in many applications which is leading to an explosion in their adoption rates.

      With the production chains for batteries now rapidly expanding we will see a similar availability for these storage systems in relatively short order.

      It’s important to add that cheap energy storage removes a key barrier to renewable energy adoption and enables the rapid mating of renewable energy systems like wind and solar with transportation.

      The combined effect of low cost renewables + storage (EVs) will tend to pull the rug out from under marginal fossil fuel demand in rather short order. This will first put pressure on new projects (high CAPEX), then on higher cost operators (like tar sands and many fracking projects), then on higher resource enhanced recovery operations, and finally on the last easy to reach supplies.

      The speed at which this happens will in large part determine how terrible and harmful the climate crisis ultimately becomes. A fast transition can mitigate many of the worst impacts, a slow transition dramatically increases risks to human civilization and the Earth’s environment.

  4. Bob

     /  June 13, 2017

    Ted Talks, Elon Musk April 2017. Gigafactories etc.

    • Heavy rainfall also enables oxygen loss in waterways due to increased runoff which seeds the water with nutrients. This enhances the size of algae blooms which, when they die, rob oxygen from the water. As mentioned here by BBC, higher temperatures also lower oxygen content in waters.

      To be clear, heavier rainfall events, increased runoff, larger algae blooms, and higher temperatures are all effects related to a warming climate. Humans compound this problem by adding nutrients to the soil, reducing the ability of lands to capture runoff (deforestation etc), seeding surface waters with nitrogen fallout (fossil fuel burning), and flushing nutrients into waterways. In other words, human activity is the primary cause of worsening anoxia in most cases.

      The solutions/responses are to stop fossil fuel burning (and mitigate related warming), to better manage lands and run-off, to continue to shift away from methods of farming that result in high levels of nutrients hitting waterways, and to work to better reclaim nutrients that would otherwise be flushed out of human sewers and drains and into waterways.

      • Tigertown

         /  June 13, 2017

        Thanks. I had forgot about that. The same thing happened with the Mississippi River, which passes through farm land, did it not and caused a huge dead spot in the Gulf of Mexico. I think I may have first read about that on here.
        I found an image of it and the Sabine River seems to also contribute to it.

        Article here.www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/080415-gulf-of-mexico-dead-zone-above-average.html

  5. Spike

     /  June 13, 2017

    In other news there’s a lot of new offshore wind planned in Europe too if this hasn’t already been posted on previous threads:


    • Thanks for this, Spike.

      Some key takeaways from the article —

      Europe is looking to expand its offshore wind capacity from 13 GW to 73 GW over the next decade (a fivefold increase).
      Costs have fallen by 48 percent for offshore wind.
      These falling prices are expected to bring offshore wind to cost parity with fossil fuels before 2030.
      Onshore wind is already cost competitive with fossil fuels in a number of regions, but the size of the offshore wind resource is arguably greater.

      If offshore wind hits price parity with fossil fuels soon it will be yet another powerful enabler for energy transition adding to already competitive onshore wind, solar PV, and falling battery prices. It’s also worth noting that new technology advances for concentrated solar power are also providing leverage for renewables. Concentrated solar power has fewer intermittency issues than traditional PV but tends to cost more. In any case, in context, renewable energy technology advances and expanding supply chains continue to enable lower costs and higher EROEI on pretty much all fronts.

  6. Spike

     /  June 13, 2017

    In a bid to deliver on its pledge of reaching 170 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW is to come from solar, India is expected to experience a banner year in 2017 with the addition of around 10 GW of solar.


    • Another excellent reference.

      What is really extraordinary is that since February India added about 7 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity. That’s a rate of 2 GW per month. At this growth rate, India would have a total of around 420 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2033. By comparison, India’s conventional generation capacity is around 265 GW.

      Worth noting that, from the article, we find that coal’s percentage of India’s generation capacity continues to shrink even as renewables are rapidly growing.

  7. davidveale2014

     /  June 13, 2017

    It’s not the creation of “renewable energy” (batteries are not energy sources!) that will save us, but the abandonment of fossil energy, which would in fact destroy our ability to create renewable energy. Focus on destroying fossil infrastructure. If we really need it, and can create it in a sustainable manner… then we can set up renewable sources.

    • This is a common misunderstanding.

      First you should think of modern civilization as something that is already up and running. But also as something that is constantly replacing its constituent parts. This includes energy infrastructure. Given this base understanding it is easy to move on to:

      1. Renewable energy systems can readily replace those constituent fossil fuel based parts.
      2. This can happen rapidly if we incentivize it at every level and
      3. If we rapidly deploy infrastructure to that effect and
      4. If we simultaneously remove incentive for fossil fuel development as well as directly oppose existing fossil fuel projects/infrastructure.

      With regards to batteries… Again, this is a pretty old misconception. Battery storage is integral to transitioning both transportation and energy away from fossil fuels.

      1. In transportation, low-cost batteries readily enable the mating of vehicles with wind and solar energy sources.
      2. In energy generation (electricity), low cost batteries enable distributed and grid storage of intermittent energy supplies and trading of energy at times when rates are higher due to increased demand.

      We should also be clear that gigafactories represent base industrial production capacity. They could be aimed at battery, wind, or solar production and through scale reduce cost and increase access to these supplies. In essence, through a mass production process this enables the ability to out-compete fossil fuel economically by leveraging technological advancement chains and economies of scale simultaneously.

      I’ll go ahead and address another issue that you have not mentioned —

      Base energy use is the primary source of carbon emissions. Transitioning that to renewables would cut human carbon emissions by 85 percent or more. Energy and thermal capacity (which can also be transitioned to renewable sources) is also the primary carbon emitter in both agriculture and materials production. Other carbon emitting aspects of materials (like steel and concrete) and agriculture are more marginal compared to fossil fuel burning. And these carbon emissions can be addressed by changes to material production processes and agricultural practices.

      In addition, material production can be moved to carbon negative by producing materials from captured carbon or that themselves pull carbon out of the atmosphere over time. Such advances are less accessible and produce a lesser effect than base energy transition. However, they will probably be needed after a full energy transition to hit net carbon negative societies.

    • So to engage in a bit of open discussion and informed speculation on the subject…

      Lots of new bits to consider here. Immediate thoughts are related to possible implications for cyclone formation. If we have increased storm formation in the tropics and since much of the tropical region is dominated by ocean and if tropical ocean surfaces are warming — it appears that these factors point toward increased cyclonic formation.

      Especially if:

      “The new study is published in the journal Nature Communications. It puts the decrease in high tropical cloud cover in context as one result of a planet-wide shift in large-scale air flows that is occurring as Earth’s surface temperature warms. These large-scale flows are called the atmospheric general circulation, and they include a wide zone of rising air centered on the equator. Observations over the last 30 to 40 years have shown that this zone is narrowing as the climate warms, causing the decrease in high clouds.”

      In which case, more instability would tend to be injected into the tropics from the middle latitudes if it is true that the tropical GC shrinks.

      Would also relate to various observations of weird jet stream behavior and concerns about changes to overall global seasonality.

      A lot to think about. Thank you for the link.

    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks.

  8. wili

     /  June 13, 2017

    Sorry if this is too OT here, but hey, it’s all ultimately relevant:

    “Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future U.S. Elections”


    “Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.”

    • Not OT at all, Wili. It’s a must-read article.

      And it’s certainly related to the larger geo-political discussion. I think any rational outside observer would recognize Russia’s fossil fuel related incentive to attempt to slow the U.S. energy transition by helping to elect a climate change denier. Of course, Trump’s election was also a huge hit to U.S. global leadership, which, by extension, would create more opportunities for the present Russian expansionism and related attempts to destabilize Europe.

      In any case, the compromise by Russia of 39 state electoral processes, in my view, is unprecedented to such a degree that I’m sure many rational observers will consider it tantamount to an act of war. This was probably Obama’s reason for using the red phone after learning a number of facts related to the cyber warfare and information warfare campaigns conducted by Russia against the U.S. The integrity of the voting process is critical to the stability of any democratic state. Destabilization or manipulation of that process from the outside harms the US on a fundamental level. These were outright coordinated mass attacks of considerable scale.

      The fact that evidence is mounting that key Trump officials and campaign representatives were linked to or colluded in this process and that the Republican party in general delayed responses to what was happening is further cause for both serious concern if not an entirely justified outrage.

      Trump’s own real estate ties to Russian oligarchs shifting public money overseas through shady real estate deals is just the cherry on top of the whole stinking heap. The fact that any American could support Trump (or even many within the Republican Party) after all that we’ve learned runs beyond the pale. But we live in very weird times and it seems rather obvious that the basic facts of the situation haven’t filtered down to typically ill-informed groups. Otherwise, I think the level of outrage would be even more intense than at present.

      To this point, it appears to me that the mainstream press is basically walking on eggshells and doing its best not to overplay the situation. It’s a situation that could spiral pretty easily — producing its own harmful instabilities. What we need here, as a nation, is an integral due process — but a due process that is not corrupted by the considerable outside forces that we’ve so suffered from these past years. And we also need a seriously heightened response to these very harmful cyber attacks that continue to mount.

      • wili

         /  June 13, 2017

        Thanks for your insights, again, rs. I was surprised to find that neven has been rather dismissive of US citizens’ concerns around this issue (though he has been rather quiet about it recently, so perhaps his mind is changing now?). At what point do we call the US a puppet state of Russia?

        • There’s probably a decent argument to be made that Trump energy policy and European policy is evidence of Putin Puppetry and that the republicans continue to keep the door half open to worse incursions and distortions in the future. The film Occupied has become a must watch (sadly prophetic in many ways).

    • Suzanne

       /  June 13, 2017

      Reading that article literally made me feel ill. We have been attacked by a foreign hostile power…but somehow it doesn’t seem to matter to the majority of Republican politicians and Republican voters. I…just..do..not..get..why.

    • X miller

       /  June 13, 2017

      Touch screen voting machines should be relegated to places like North Korea and Russia where the outcome of every so called election is obvious for years into the future. Our democracy will not survive unless we consign all manner of paperless, connected voting schemes to recycle bins where they belong and switch to dumb optical scanners of paper ballots with humans compiling the results.

      • Mblanc

         /  June 13, 2017

        In the uk we get a pencil and a piece of paper to mark a cross on, and that article makes me glad we are so low tech.

      • I have to say I agree. Too few people in the loop with voting machines makes them unreliable and more subject to potential tampering.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 14, 2017

      Not just political systems.

      Hackers allied with the Russian government have devised a cyberweapon that has the potential to be the most disruptive yet against electric systems that Americans depend on for daily life, according to U.S. researchers.

      The malware, which researchers have dubbed CrashOverride, is known to have disrupted only one energy system — in Ukraine in December. In that incident, the hackers briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev.

      But with modifications, it could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos, a cybersecurity firm that studied the malware and issued a report Monday.

      And Russian government hackers have shown their interest in targeting U.S. energy and other utility systems, researchers said.

      Putin has stated in a past interview that global warming and melting of the Arctic would be of huge benefit to Russia and Russian agriculture etc, the fact that large areas of the planet would become uninhabitable, including Israel and Jerusalem is of no concern to the Northern brutal oligarchs.

      Incidentally an absolutely excellent post (2nd) by Gingerbaker

      • Thanks for this, Abel. Worth considering that a decentralized power system based on renewables would be far less vulnerable to this kind of interference.

      • Robert E Prue

         /  June 15, 2017

        The bank I have an account with, might have been hacked. Was told today I’d be issued a new card and such. This cyber hacking is getting out of hand!

      • Robert E Prue

         /  June 15, 2017

        Putin wants global warming? Thought he was smarter than that

        • He’s been sandbagging renRussia ewable energy growth for some time now. Long term Russian global energy policy is directed by the false notion that Russia can game climate change for its own relative benefit while other nations suffer. Most Russian economic eggs, due to Putin’s stance, are placed in fossil fuel baskets.

  9. Suzanne

     /  June 13, 2017

    Thanks for this Robert. The virtual flood of bad news coming out everyday as it relates to Trump and his Regime…has been daunting. I literally spend most of my day, calling and contacting Representatives..and Departments..to raise my voice against the many, many atrocities going on, as this Republican Regime continue to destabilize our nations institutions.
    It has been hard to keep up with so much happening so rapidly…
    Just wanted to pop in to see the latest post..and it did my soul good to see a positive post..I needed that today. 🙂

    • Thank you for all you do, Suzanne! You are a diamond among all the coal 😉

      An anecdote that may also do you more good. This past weekend, a couple of family members came up to DC to visit. They’re big baseball fans and invited us to go to a Capitals game. I’ve actually never been. But decided to take them up.

      As an experiment, I wore my Resist Trump climate march T shirt to see what sort of reactions I would get. It’s worth noting that sports can tend to draw more conservative folks. But I was delighted to get numerous positive comments/reactions on my T. I’d be waiting in line for a veggie dog and some completely random stranger would come up to me to thank me or give me a thumbs up. No negative responses whatsoever.

      Of course, all anecdotal, but very encouraging.

      Keep up the great work!

      • Suzanne

         /  June 13, 2017

        I will take hopeful signs that the Trump teflon is wearing off anywhere I can find it. I am also hopeful that the latest Disapproval rating for him is at 59%. I just worry because he is such a “Tyrant Wanna Be”..and thus far, the Republican party seems to be putting “party over country”..which is truly disturbing. I can only hope and pray that we can turn Congress Blue in 2018..to try to stop this Trump train wreck…before he turns our Democracy into an Authoritarian Oligarchy..

        • Tossing Trump and the Republican party into the electoral equivalent of Boston Harbor sounds like a capital idea to me 😉

        • wili

           /  June 13, 2017

          Remember, when Teflon burns, it becomes toxic to those around it!

        • Abel Adamski

           /  June 14, 2017

          Boston Harbour sounds like a good alternative to the flames

  10. Bob

     /  June 13, 2017

    China takes the lead on many fronts as opposed to backsliding in the US.

    • Trump + republicans are trying to pull the U.S. backward. This really hurts our future competitiveness and gives others like China, Europe, and India the opportunity to take the lead. But it’s also pretty clear that much of the U.S. isn’t cooperating with the backslide agenda.


      On China’s charging ahead to take the lead (highlights from the excellent article above):

      “China put 352,000 new electric vehicles on the roads, compared with 159,000 in the US, with plans for 3 million units a year by 2020.” (Yeah, this should make American auto industry people sweat…)

      “China is planning to flood the market with tiny, $5000, low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) and is the world leader in electric buses.” (Going low cost mass market fits well with China’s present population and likely helps to open markets in various developing regions around the globe. LSEVs also combine with high quality automakers like Tesla to put the squeeze on gas powered vehicles at both ends of the economic spectrum.)

      “[China’s] 400 [solar energy] manufacturers have turned out 77 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, with plans for a further 100 GW in the coming three years. By 2030 the sun may provide 20% of its energy needs.” (The article also notes that China’s solar manufacturing sector — the largest in the world — was critical to driving down global solar costs.)

      “Last year China added 23 GW of the total of 55 GW of windpower installed worldwide. [xi] Its target is for 26% of its national energy needs to come from the wind by 2030. At the same time, it has cancelled more than 100 coal-fired power plants that were planned or under construction, and announced plans to close over 1000 coal mines.” (This compares to the U.S. which added about 15 GW of new solar and 8 GW of wind energy)

      • Shawn Redmond

         /  June 13, 2017

        Not to diminish what is happening in China, but it is not yet a leader of the sort required.

        China also falls short in the eyes of some independent monitoring groups that assess countries’ climate commitments. The 2017 annual report by German Watch and the Climate Action Network ranks China 48th—just a few places behind the United States at 43rd—in terms of how much it has done to avoid climate change and how much it plans to do. True climate leadership belongs to the Europeans—France, Sweden and the United Kingdom, in particular—although even these climate leaders come in for some criticism. Moreover, the Climate Action Tracker, produced by three international research institutions, indicates that China’s current emission reduction targets are not consistent with ensuring that the earth’s warming remains below 2 degrees C.

        • A good counter-point here, Shawn. That said, when it comes to being the arsenal of the energy transition, China is clearly setting itself apart from the pack.

          Worth noting, though, that China’s massive coal binge in the 90s and 2000s put it well behind the curve and it’s still recovering from that debacle. And that means from the societal standpoint that these various European countries definitely lead on the overall sustainability front. I suppose what’s most encouraging about China is the overall change in direction in addition to the massive amount of resources allocated to transitioning its very large and highly polluting energy system. The U.S., by comparison, is proceeding in fits and starts and continuously gets sand bagged by republicans and folks like Trump. It’s pretty discouraging to those of us who are devoted to American progress.

          It’s an interesting thought experiment to imagine what would have happened if the U.S. had actually leveraged its own wind and solar advances at scale in the 80s and 90s. We could have probably helped prevent the big coal build out and been 0.2 to 0.3 C cooler than we are today.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  June 13, 2017

          If only RS. Globally we’re still doing baby steps when we should be running as if the devil himself was chasing us. Still, stiff upper lip and all that stoic sort of stuff might just work, if enough join in and to hell with waiting for the political class. Again not to disparage the efforts of marches and the “in their face stuff “. Can’t let them off the hook, not for one second.

        • Yeah, well, the devil is definitely breathing down our necks at this point. So your sense of urgency is spot on.

  11. Bill H

     /  June 13, 2017

    Last year Joe Romm wrote about the “second life” as grid storage units that old EV batteries were finding:
    https://thinkprogress.org/why-used-electric-car-batteries-could-be-crucial-to-a-clean-energy-future-6ab9a2308cdb :
    “Indeed, with hundreds of thousands of EVs already sold in the U.S., at least one company that purchases used EV batteries has indicated the price is an astounding $100 per kiloWatt-hour, far cheaper than anything on the market today.”
    With NEW batteries soon at $100 per kWh what will the price of this form of storage fall to? $30, $25 per kWh? That would be amazingly cheap.

    • Well done, Romm for highlighting this critical trend.

      That’s what mass produced EVs will help do for storage. It’s the after market batteries and latent storage of EVs that really help to speed along the energy transition. And it’s one reason why these mass produced EVs are so helpful overall.

  12. OT, but every since Robert reported on the cross hemisphere flow jet stream issue, I have been looking in and wondering about significance. Of late there has been quite a lot of cross hemisphere air flow, if not directly jet, than off the jets, particularly over the Pacific Ocean. In today’s shot at Earth Nullschool the flow is quite substantial. It must mean something.


  13. Mblanc

     /  June 14, 2017

    It looks to me like we are in an upward spiral with renewable energy technologies, with one technology reinforcing the credibility of others. Surely now it is just a question of when we decarbonise, when you look at the trends.

    I worry about the transition precipitating a financial crash, if it is as rapid as it looks like it might be, but I worry about the planet more.

    In terms of reasons for hope, we have a lot more to talk about than we did 5-10 years ago. Sadly, when it comes to bad news, the same is true.

    This is the link to my best source for green motoring. I can’t recommend it enough, I also use it to follow climate news, it covers most of the the useful media.


    • So with new technology replacing old technology there is less risk of an overall financial crash and more risk of crashes in certain regions and sectors that get left behind holding the bag. Regions, countries and industries that bet on fossil fuels and put all their eggs in that basket are particularly vulnerable.

      That said there is a lot of speculative interest in oil right now driven by bad financial reporting. The fossil fuel market does look a bit like a bubble about to burst. Although we’ve already seen the hard hit to coal. It’s just that oil and gas are coming. The question is when.

      To be clear, I don’t see this taking down the whole market in an epic crash as yet. But we are probably looking at some serious volatility as fossil fuel markets crash, big companies get devalued, and various countries that did not diversify away from fossil fuels take a series of hits. Meanwhile, the smart money will be moving to greener pastures which should serve to stabilize. In any case, this is a rough trend that you do not want to be on the wrong side of. One that, because it is actively being fought by a number of considerable economic and political powers, is likely to result in a good deal of global turmoil.

      A kind of Renaissance-like overturning is unavoidable at this time. A reckoning is underway for fossil fuels and the world’s geopolitical/economic picture will be dramatically altered as it runs its course. The overall outcome is very positive. But change is particularly painful to those who resist it.

      • Mblanc

         /  June 14, 2017

        As my granny never said to me, you can’t make an omlette without breaking eggs!

        I guess countries that have resource-based economies will have it worst, especially the oil producers. My worry is things like pension funds, which control massive amounts of investment capital, which might not have divested before the confidence disappears. I don’t really know how far down the divestment route the big institutions have gone, so maybe I should inform myself.

        • +1

          Divestment has grown past its infancy and has entered its developmental stage. Many institutions, communities, states and nations but not most have undertaken some form of divestment strategy.

          Divestment is a long term public education, climate change response, and economic threat mitigation campaign run by 350.org, among others. Updates are available here:


          Divesting from fossil fuels is certainly a moral issue. But it also ultimately boils down to economic common sense. Fossil fuels will fail eventually. It’s not a matter of if but when. Even from the most hard-minded and pragmatic point of view, it makes sense not to be the one left holding onto stranded assets that are continuously losing value.

  14. Mblanc

     /  June 14, 2017

    From the above source, Tesla are selling ex-lease cars for as little as $40k. Apparently they get snapped up pretty quickly, but batches are being marketed fairly regularly.


    • Very good to see the second market for lease vehicles heating up. Some of these are great deals. $38,000 for a 2013 model S is fantastic.

      • Mblanc

         /  June 14, 2017

        I’m sure has his critics, and nobody is perfect, but Elon Musk will go down in history as one of the greatest Americans who ever walked our precious earth.

        • Bill H

           /  June 15, 2017

          Even if he is a S. African 🙂

        • He’s a visionary leader in an age that, for the most part, has been a vision vacuum. He’s an advocate for positive action in an age of apathy. Like all of the rest of us, he’s human and not perfect. But I would give my left foot to have just 5 more like him. We need forward-thinking leaders who are willing to put it all on the line to achieve a better future.

  15. Abel Adamski

     /  June 14, 2017


    That solitary tanker leased by Shell is the reality that blows away the hype and B.S

    If a single ship can capture the current state of the global oil market, it’s the supertanker Saiq, floating idly about 850 kilometers (530 miles) south of the Canary Islands.

    Until a few days ago, the 330-meter-long tanker, chartered by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, was steaming at 13 knots toward the Chinese port of Tianjin after loading a 2-million-barrel cargo of North Sea oil at the Hound Point terminal near Edinburgh. Then, it suddenly stopped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Its problem: China isn’t buying much crude right now, leaving the tanker searching for a customer. While the vessel was floating near Africa last week, Shell offered to sell the cargo in a ship-to-ship transfer all the way back in Scotland. There weren’t any takers.

    • Ouch. And this with China only at approx 400 K EVs. Oil is going to hit some rough times over the next few years. It’s a marginal market and the margins are going to take it harder and harder.

  16. Shawn Redmond

     /  June 14, 2017

    Stranded assets are getting more coverage. I expect to see more of this sort of thing. Inflated optimism to bolster their bottom line so as to make their companies look more valuable. Than leverage that with loans against this fictitious pie in the sky. A financial system that values past performance as if it guauntees the future will be the same. Does anyone else see a problem with this sort of valuation system. Talk of decoupling the economy from what happens in the environment, magical thinking. Growth for growths sake based on extraction in a finite space, Keynesian theory is a thought experiment that should have never been allowed out of the philosophy class.

    That’s according to a new briefing note from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which tracked the proved oil reserves of 68 publicly-traded U.S. energy companies. (That doesn’t include such privately-held giants as Koch Industries.)

    “Proved reserves” are those which it makes financial sense to extract. When oil prices drop, some of those proved reserves become unaffordable for producers, and they write off those assets — at least until prices pick up again.

    Canada saw by far the largest write-down among U.S. companies’ holdings of foreign oil.

    As more becomes visible the worse it looks. Decouple? Decouple from what? Reality? I don’t think it ever was coupled with reality. Greed is it’s matrimonial partner. Time for divorce proceedings. A steady state economy is looking pretty sexy. Maybe we should start up an affair with that one. Rethinkx is an interesting bit of thought I’m digesting at the moment. If growth economics is kept in play these sorts of changes are going to hard on a lot of people. The job gains will not offset the loses. Hey that’s alright the economists say, they will find other jobs. Where, in south east Asia, sending their kids to work in the meat cookers they call factories? Sorry for the rant but the more I look at economics in order to draw a line between what we do and where it leads us, the tougher it looks. We have to change the way we think, but will the amygdihya even allow this sort of departure from evolution?


    Savings on transportation costs will result in a permanent boost in annual disposable income for U.S. households, totaling $1 trillion by 2030. Consumer spending is by far the largest driver of the economy, comprising about 71% of total GDP and driving business and job growth throughout the economy.3
    ê Productivity gains as a result of reclaimed driving hours will boost GDP by an additional $1 trillion.
    ê As fewer cars travel more miles, the number of passenger vehicles on American roads will drop from 247 million to 44 million, opening up vast tracts of land for other, more productive uses. Nearly 100 million existing vehicles will be abandoned as they become economically unviable.
    ê Demand for new vehicles will plummet: 70% fewer passenger cars and trucks will be manufactured each year. This could result in total disruption of the car value chain, with car dealers, maintenance and insurance companies suffering almost complete destruction. Car manufacturers will have options to adapt, either as low-margin, high- volume assemblers of A-EVs, or by becoming TaaS providers. Both strategies will be characterized by high levels of competition, with new entrants from other industries. The value in the sector will be mainly
    in the vehicle operating systems, computing platforms and the TaaS platforms.
    ê The transportation value chain will deliver 6 trillion passenger miles in 2030 (an increase of 50% over 2021) at a quarter of the cost ($393 billion versus $1,481 billion).
    ê Oil demand will peak at 100 million barrels per day by 2020, dropping
    to 70 million barrels per day by 2030. That represents a drop of 30 million barrels in real terms and 40 million barrels below the Energy Information Administration’s current “business as usual” case. This will have a catastrophic effect on the oil industry through price collapse
    (an equilibrium cost of $25.4 per barrel), disproportionately impacting different companies, countries, oil elds and infrastructure depending on their exposure to high-cost oil.
    ê The impact of the collapse of oil prices throughout the oil industry value chain will be felt as soon as 2021.
    ê In the U.S., an estimated 65% of shale oil and tight oil — which under a “business as usual” scenario could make up over 70% of the U.S. supply in 2030 — would no longer be commercially viable.
    ê Approximately 70% of the potential 2030 production of Bakken shale oil would be stranded under a 70 million barrels per day demand assumption.
    ê Infrastructure such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would be stranded, as well.
    ê Other areas facing volume collapse include offshore sites in the United Kingdom, Norway and Nigeria; Venezuelan heavy-crude elds; and the Canadian tar sands.
    ê Conventional energy and transportation industries will suffer substantial job loss. Policies will be needed to mitigate these adverse effects.

    • Shawn Redmond

       /  June 14, 2017

      amygdihya should read amygdala, %$#@ spell checker

    • Keynesian thinking is fine within well regulated limits. It’s laissez faire malinvestment chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that always gets us in the end.

      Pretty clear that fossil fuels are a huge malinvestment at this time and that the various firms are seeking to avoid reality by pumping more malinvestment into the pot. So classic bubble situation. Of course, there have been various pinpricks to the market that reveal the underlying inconsistencies and a lot of money has already shifted away. Ironically, the divestment movement is a decent mitigator for this particular bubble as a number of assets are less vulnerable than would otherwise be the case due to this particular thrust. Of course, more concerted divestment now would be a very helpful mitigating factor.

  17. Shawn Redmond

     /  June 14, 2017

    RS this way off topic, but as a threat analyst what’s your take on CRISPR technology? Could this be Frankenstein’s monster?

    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 14, 2017

      Gene Splicing. ?
      Read an article recently, Gizmodo I think where they are starting to find unexpected side effects, their testing has been using models whereas real world the unexpected unexpected is happening elsewhere in the organism.

      Caution and real world experimentation is becoming the order of the day in the labs, even if the marketers are still hyping

    • I think it’s pretty dangerous at the present time. The law of unintended consequences writ large. A lot of hubris is presently associated with our ability to crunch numbers. Gene splicing messes with the foundation of our beings. It’s one of those things that you’d better get right, otherwise all hell breaks loose.

      To this point, use of the tech in mice to cure blindness produced a thousand unintended genetic errors:


      That’s a pretty high fail rate… Of course the study referenced here was vigorously contested by CRISPR advocates.

      Gizmodo makes an excellent conclusion, IMO:

      “Despite all our recent progress, there is still a lot we don’t know about CRISPR. It does indeed allow us to make precise gene edits more easily than ever before, but this ability has limitations that could wind up being disastrous if used in humans, and disappointing when genetically engineering everything else. CRISPR is still a nascent technology, and whether one day it might really be used to cure diseases or create a unicorn, there are still a whole lot of things that need to happen first.”

      The fact that it’s not really able to fight its way out of the labs, for the most part, is a pretty clear indicator that the tech is probably still too risky and dangerous for prime time. There are a lot of social and economic consequences in addition even if it does work as intended.

  18. Shawn Redmond

     /  June 14, 2017

    As we here are only too aware there is lots of “new” old energy knocking about:

    Bangladesh – Dozens Killed As Heavy Rain Triggers Landslides
    Honduras – Deadly Floods in Choluteca After 190 mm Rain in 24 Hours
    Philippines – Floods Affect Thousands in Maguindanao and Cotabato
    UK – Evacuations After Flooding in North East Scotland

    • Hyrdological events on the wet side of the scale have been writ large for 2017. 1.2 C warming backing off from the 2016 El Nino has a lot of atmospheric moisture aloft to work with. We see the results in these deadly floods.

  19. Abel Adamski

     /  June 14, 2017

    And for something completely different


    It’s worth noting that the two are of a similar age: Viktor is 73, while the President turns 71 this week.

  20. Abel Adamski

     /  June 14, 2017


    In April, with an eye toward selling off public land, President Trump issued an executive order calling for a review of federal land set aside using the Antiquities Act of 1906.

    An interim report by the Interior Department was due June 10, focused mainly on the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35 million acre site in Utah encompassing Native American land. The report was to produce recommendations on whether to alter the status of Bears Ears, “and other such designations as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for inclusion in the interim report.”

    It’s bad.

    While acknowledging some parts of Bears Ears include Native American artifacts, traditional gathering places, archeological sites, and rock art, Zinke says those areas should be identified and separated, with other sites given other designations or offered for activities like timber harvest or mining.

    It’s not clear which exactly is the greater insult to the public — that the administration is clearly determined to sell off even culturally and archaeologically sensitive sites for commercial use whenever possible, or that the administration can’t be bothered to do more than pretend to take concerns with doing so seriously.

  21. Greg

     /  June 14, 2017

    So this is where it all comes together, the inanity of denial. Tangier island, an amazing place in the Chesapeake Bay, which has some of the hardest people you will meet, voted 87% for Trump. The historical and unique island is literally sinking while also being drowned by rising sea levels. Trump assures them not to worry. The dynamics of the interactions detailed below are just heart breaking.


    • It doesn’t really require any more comment. Climate change denial will probably become a warning for the ages as visceral as any of the great warnings from the past like Jeremiah raising the alarm about imminent Babylonian incursions. We’ve been saying all along that if you keep burning fossil fuels, the seas will rise and cities, communities, even nations will drown. This is fact. Trump telling people not to worry is Oedipus level blindness.

  22. Solar paint offers endless energy from water vapor. Compound catalyses splitting of water atoms. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170614091833.htm

    (Video a bit short on specifics but molybdenum is the catalyst)

  23. Large Canadian Arctic climate change study cancelled due to climate change. June 13, 2017 University of Manitoba. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170613150651.htm

    The Science Team of the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has cancelled the first leg of the 2017 Expedition due to complications associated with the southward motion of hazardous Arctic sea ice, caused by climate change.

    This regrettably postpones the much-anticipated Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys) involving 40 scientists from five universities across Canada. Timing was key for this $17 million, four-year, University of Manitoba-led project.

    The need to deal with extreme ice conditions in the south meant the ship would arrive too late on site to meet research objectives.

    • June

       /  June 14, 2017

      The ice was largely multiyear ice flushed from the high Arctic. From the Guardian’s take on the story:
      …The icebreaker was soon diverted. Dense ice – up to 8 metres (25ft) thick – had filled the waters off the northern coast of Newfoundland, trapping fishing boats and ferries…“It was a really dramatic situation,” said David Barber, the expedition’s chief scientist. “We were getting search and rescue calls from fishing boats that were stranded in the ice and tankers that were stranded trying to get fuel into the communities. Nobody could manage this ice because it was far too heavy to get through.”

      It was an unexpected find, said Barber, given the time of year and how far south they were. “It’s not something you would expect to see there and not something we’ve seen there before,” he said. “In the high Arctic, climate change is causing the ice to get thinner and there to be less of it. What that does is that it increases the mobility of ice.”


      • Marcel Guldemond

         /  June 14, 2017

        Posters on the Sea Ice Forum have observed a very early break up of the ice bridge across the Nares Straight, allowing a large amount of ice from the Lincoln Sea, which was some of the thickest ice left in the Arctic, to get flushed down Nares and into Baffin Bay. Perhaps that’s where that ice came from?

      • Just wanted to chime in and thank everyone for the very informed discussion here. Would like to add that Nares Strait export has become a significant Arctic sea ice reduction and instability related feature during recent years. There is some concern that winds blowing out of the Arctic will flush ice out of the grounding zone between Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago and the Central Arctic resulting in a completely free floating ice mass by late summer or early fall. Such winds already sweep Hudson and Baffin Bay clean of ice during most summer melt seasons. But adding a new flush/ice export zone in this critical ice stability region is a serious contributing factor to loss of multiyear and thick ice. This particular region is the last haven for thick ice. And its considerable diminishment is one of the major factors resulting in record low sea ice volume in the PIOMAS measure during recent months.

    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 15, 2017

      It sounds like that ice (25 ft thick) was from some of the oldest ice left in the Arctic. Soon there won’t be any multi year ice left.

  24. Mblanc

     /  June 14, 2017

    Seeing as we have been talking about stranded assets, here are some amazing photos of the so-called oil rig grayeyard of Cromarty Firth.


    ‘Instead of disassembling their oil rigs, these companies have towed them away from the deep sea and into the safe harbor of Cromarty Firth, where they could remain on stand-by and ready to go out to sea again as soon as the economy turns in their favor. Some of these rigs are “hot-stacked”, meaning they still have a skeleton crew on board, looking after the expensive machines and power is still on. Others are shutdown completely. A couple of them were already towed away to be scrapped.’

  25. coloradobob

     /  June 15, 2017

    It’s the little things making the jump first –

    Climate Change Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic
    Temperature changes around the globe are pushing human pathogens of all kinds into unexpected new areas, raising many new risks for people.

    Mysterious Disease Attacks Rattlesnakes
    Scientists are hunting for the cure as a wave of fungal disease sickens American snakes.

    Same site .

    Bizarre, Glowing Sea Creatures Bloom in the Pacific
    Tropical, tube-shaped animals called pyrosomes, known as “fire bodies,” appear by the millions off the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. No one knows why.

    Same site .

    I would say that each of these events are locked in a common idea, that in a warmer world the really small things are racing ahead into the New Earth. I hold my breath when they attack our inverted food supply .

    So sorry I broke down . I used to cross the Great Divide , in a heart beat, now I take 3 days to mow the front lawn.

    • Much appreciated Bob. But, please, I beg of you, try not to lash out. We can do so much more by acting positively. Lashing out because we are angry or upset only hurts us.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 16, 2017

      It’s OK CB, we are all human and have our limits, we just have to recognise them and as you know those limits change over time so stick with fighting the most important fight with intelligence avoiding the anger the best we can

    • Barbara Burnett

       /  June 17, 2017

      Thanks for the info, CO Bob. It’s good to have you back; we need your wisdom.

    • Hi, CB.
      Welcome back.

  26. david

     /  June 15, 2017

    An article about tipping points ….makes alarming reading, from a scientist arguing for rapid change here in NZ, with us being primarily a farming / dairy dependant country. Not just machines, so it is our plate food and how it gets there as a potential culprit for our extinction,too.
    A couple of paragraphs here I have included. Slightly off topic, but you may want to post this after a read, Robert, Thanks.
    “Analysis has been done by the Stockholm Institute into ‘planetary boundaries’ to find the tipping points that must not be exceeded for humankind to continue to exist.14 Its analysis showed that of the 10 boundaries identified, three have already been drastically surpassed: biodiversity, the nitrogen cycle and climate change. The nitrogen cycle is more than three times the safe limit; biodiversity loss is more than 10 times the limit; and with CO2 at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere climate change is well past the 350 parts per million boundary.”
    “If we continue on our present path, GHG emissions from food and agriculture will dramatically increase, with a predicted 80 per cent increase by mid-century, due to population growth and dietary changes moving toward animal-based foods that are more emissions-intensive. If we do nothing by 2050, food-related GHG emissions could account for up to half of the total emissions. We have ignored non-CO2 emissions for too long now — and the biggest component of those emissions is from livestock, particularly ruminants. It is simply a ‘them or us’ choice: if we don’t drastically reduce livestock from our diets, as we reduce other GHG emissions, we have no future.”


  27. Shawn Redmond

     /  June 15, 2017

    The power that is now aloft around and above us is as awesome as it is terrifying. As long as your not the one terrified.
    A tiny rise of 0.5°C in mean summer temperatures in India or another comparable tropical developing nation could result in a 146% rise in mass death from the heat.

    Average temperature increases by the end of the century for the Asian subcontintent, the Middle East and Africa are likely to be at least 2.2°C and could be as high as 5.5°C. Although the heatwave prediction for India is based on a statistical model, the model itself is based on half a century of carefully-measured temperature, heatwave and heat-related mortality data.

    The message is that even moderate increases in mean temperature will have negative effects on human health. And for the poorest – and in India more than 300 million people live on an income of less than $1.25 a day – the effects could be fatal.

    • We’re on the edge of a load of serious problems at this time. I think that folks need to realize that damage compounds with each increase of 1 C — with harm at 2 C warming probably orders of magnitude greater than harm generated by 1 C warming. At 1.2 C above 1880s, we’re in that zone where things can start falling off the climate truck in pretty rapid succession.

  28. Abel Adamski

     /  June 15, 2017

    It brought a smile to my dial


    Audi took a clever shot at Tesla with its latest billboard campaign in Berlin.

    The ads, posted on Audi’s Deutschland Facebook page and around the city of Berlin, call the automaker’s upcoming electric SUV a “Musk-have.” Audi is planning to introduce the vehicle, dubbed the e-tron quattro, in 2018.

    Electrek’s Fred Lambert was first to report the news.

    The new Audi will directly compete with Tesla’s Model Y, which Tesla plans to reveal by the end of this year. Audi has said its electric SUV will have a range exceeding 300 miles and be able to charge in 50 minutes.

    Audi’s new ad campaign shows the German car maker is confident its SUV can take on the Tesla name.

    When the German automakers are playing catch up

    • The strategy to instigate change by presenting these challenges to industry is a very effective and compelling one. It’s also an amazing force for transformation. Not the only effective one. But certainly an asymmetric one with out-sized impacts.

      Musk has basically forced more and more of the industry ante up to the energy transition table. It’s clear this is a high stakes game. One that no-one can afford to opt out of. And late arrivals are penalized with a worsening handicap.

      They’re so many who are racing just to catch up to Tesla. Now a big diesel manufacturer can’t sit on the sidelines anymore. Musk just keeps drawing them in:


      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 16, 2017

        Re Diesel
        Saw a cautionay on a Major Investment analysis site giving negative ratings to all the Big Diesel Power Plant Manufacturers citing Tesla (trucks etc) – Public Transport, Stationary Plant etc mid to long term market share concerns.

        As an Aside.
        Re the Hacking Risk to the grid, also saw where the DOD and Government Bodies are looking to storage and local energy to avoid dependance on the grid, solar features strongly as does batteries, they are trialling several different flavours, not just Li . They had had a trial program they were playing with , that has suddenly become serious.

        Being National Security even the GOIP will have to come on board, though I suspect they will be pushing for local Gas Fired or Diesel Back up

  29. ml

     /  June 15, 2017

    Re: Large scale agricultural contribution to GHG emissions. Big Agriculture also includes massive amounts of fossil fuels through out every phase. Research published by the UN Environment committee has found Livestock production as one, of if not thee biggest single source of GHG emissions, simIlar for concrete.
    Both are also main factors in ongoing ecological collapse.

    • +1

      But should clarify by saying — “including fossil fuel use in the sector, agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”

  1. Old Energy Left Behind — Equivalent of 7 Gigafactories Already Under Construction; Tesla Plans 10-20 More | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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