Skip to content

Starve or Fry?

October 5, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

The BBC’s Matt McGrath has been getting increasingly agitated by the IPCCs
prognostications this week in Seoul, all deliberately designed to scare us about a bit more warming.
We are supposed to be worried about another half a degree or so of warming this century, even though the current climate is no worse off, and arguably better, than in the 19thC.

 

Plans have been mooted about how we could extract co2 from the atmosphere later in the century, to keep warming down to 1.5c. It is easy to read the logic-they know full well that emissions cannot be constrained in the way they would like, while the rest of the world wants to grow its economy.

 

Hence plans to plant forests and burn biofuels using carbon storage in a big way later in the century.

 

However some think that this is all just a big excuse to kick the can down the road and carry on using fossil fuels in the meantime.

 

McGrath reports:

Climate scientists meeting in Korea are being urged to avoid relying on untested technologies as a way of keeping global temperature rise under 1.5C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish a report on how the world might stay below this limit.

Early drafts said it would require machines to suck carbon out of the air.

The ideas are unrealistic, said one expert, calling them “carbon unicorns”.

The IPCC special report, to be released on Monday, is expected to point towards the use of technology as a critical part of efforts to keep below the guardrail figure.

Earlier versions of the document stated that all the pathways to keeping below 1.5C required rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions with net-zero reached by the middle of this century.

If emissions continue at the present rate, the world would “overshoot” 1.5C by 2040.

What are these technology solutions?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption BECCS: Wood pellets are now being burnt in power stations

If this happens, researchers believe that carbon dioxide removal technologies, in some form, would be needed to help bring the Earth’s temperature back down.

The IPCC report is expected to mention a number of approaches that range from planting more trees, to direct air capture of CO2, to bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

The latter involves growing large amounts of plants that capture CO2, and then burning them for energy while capturing and storing the gas that is emitted.

This has long been a controversial approach – requiring huge amounts of land to grow crops for burning. Previous research calculated an area twice the size of India would be needed to help the world stay under 2C of warming this century.

“It sounds crazy, and it is crazy,” said Dr Glen Peters, a climate researcher at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

“But this may be the only way to keep temperatures well below 2C.

“I struggle to see how the world can remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere for decades, but if we want 1.5C then we have to accept that this may be the only possible pathway.”

Others agree that BECCS is possible but impractical, diverting huge amounts of land from food production at a time when the world population is expected to be touching 9 billion.

What about forests?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Planting trees on a massive scale may be needed to limit climate warming

A group of some 40 leading researchers on forests have signed a letter, saying that BECCS is not the “primary solution”.

“Achieving significant amounts of carbon dioxide removal through use of wood for energy and capturing the resulting carbon in geological reservoirs requires technology that is untested at large scale,” the authors write.

They believe that protecting, and sustainably managing the forests we already have, and restoring the ones we have lost, is the best use of trees in limiting climate change.

“Our planet’s future climate is inextricably tied to the future of its forests,” they say.

Why not simply suck CO2 from the air?

Image copyright CARBON ENGINEERING
Image caption Some are proposing to filter the air to remove greenhouse gases

The IPCC report will also mention the use of machines that capture CO2 directly from the air. A number of companies around the world have developed this type of technology – with some success.

Earlier this year, Canadian company Carbon Engineering published a peer-reviewed research paper showing that CO2 can be captured from the air for less than $100 per tonne. The company has now raised over $11m to expand its existing pilot and design its first commercial plant.

But some environmentalists see great danger in all these ideas of negative emissions. They believe they are mythical solutions that allow people to keep on using coal, oil and gas.

“There are some countries whose economies are based on fossil fuels who are not ready to face the reality yet, and they will want to continue digging and selling those fossil fuels for quite some time,” one seasoned climate expert told BBC News.

“I suppose they’re presuming that in the future some unicorns will pop up and suck the extra carbon from the atmosphere!”

Another factor that is likely to complicate the rapid reduction in fossil fuel usage is the continuing growth of coal as a power source.

A new analysis by a group of environmental organisations says that 1,380 new coal plants or units are planned, or under development, in 59 countries. If built, these plants would add 672,124 megawatts of energy capacity to the global coal plant fleet – an increase of 33%.


 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45742191

 

 

Quite why the BBC take this all so seriously is beyond me, as most of the world does not.

But at least the grown ups realise that burning plants for fuel, which could otherwise have been used as foodstuffs, is inherently evil and self defeating.

Not that this stops some climate idiots from proposing it:

The IPCC report is expected to mention a number of approaches that range from planting more trees, to direct air capture of CO2, to bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

The latter involves growing large amounts of plants that capture CO2, and then burning them for energy while capturing and storing the gas that is emitted.

This has long been a controversial approach – requiring huge amounts of land to grow crops for burning. Previous research calculated an area twice the size of India would be needed to help the world stay under 2C of warming this century.

It sounds crazy, and it is crazy,” said Dr Glen Peters, a climate researcher at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

“But this may be the only way to keep temperatures well below 2C.

“I struggle to see how the world can remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere for decades, but if we want 1.5C then we have to accept that this may be the only possible pathway.”

 

 

All of this of course is reserved for future generations, who will no doubt thank us wholeheartedly for starving half of them to death.

19 Comments
  1. Graeme No.3 permalink
    October 6, 2018 1:02 am

    If CO2 causes global warming why get rid of it?
    Apart from the ludicrous “we must keep the temperature below a 2℃ rise” slogan what damage will be done? More agricultural land in Russia, Africa and Australia? The Sahara green as 5-7,000 years ago? Less arctic ice so cheaper (with less emissions) transport of goods from Asia to Europe? Less than half of Canada under snow (in summer)? Greenland thawed out to something like Viking times?
    It’s true that if we go too far then England might return to Eemian conditions (~125,000 y.a.) with elephants, giraffes, and lions roaming the Thames Valley leading to traffic problems. And hippos in the Thames might make the boat race a bit chancy. Still humans survived then.

  2. tom0mason permalink
    October 6, 2018 2:11 am

    Dear Matt McGrath,
    Please be advised that all microbes, plants and animals on this planet currently have their heritage traced back the microbes, plants and animals that survive the hot and cold periods of the past. Live survives, some of it very well. Humans and our immediate heritage goes back between a quarter and a half million years (depends on where you start saying some primitive is like us). Guess what polar bears survived the medieval warm period, when arguably there was less ice than now. Sponges and corals have been around for millions of years in forms very close to today’s species. They’ve survive truly colossal changes, from extremely warm periods to ice-ages.
    So this planet has warmed up eh? Since the end of the LIA we’ve warm by about 1°C, that’s slothful I’d say. And maybe it’s sped-up over the last 50 years or so but it sure don’t look like it’ll last. And by 2020 for the climate ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’…

  3. NeilC permalink
    October 6, 2018 3:44 am

    Today I have been collecting raw daily (48×1/2 hourly obs) weather data for 27 locations in the UK for 20 years. Considering we are told that CO2 in the atmosphere is a well mixed gas, levels of CO2 in the last 20 years have risen 11.3% but the average monthly mean temperature has remained flat as a pancake.

    My temperature data is “raw” in other words it has not been adjusted in any way (non-homogenised). If monthly mean was adjusted by 1.5 Deg C downward to account for UHI it would show CO2 cannot possibly increase temperature. In fact it’s the opposite.

    My quesion to our government, in view of the above findings is, why are we continuing with the marxist CCA 2008, when we should be building new clean coal and fracked gas fired power stations, to provide inexpensive electricity?

  4. October 6, 2018 6:34 am

    The loony left seems firmly in charge of the future. Let’s hope that the Donald is successful.

  5. October 6, 2018 7:53 am

    Your and your readers might enjoy Gulliver’s Return [https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07J1WGDZV/ref=pe_385721_48721101_TE_M1DP], a remarkably transgressive satire which has just been published on Amazon and which has a chapter on Climate Change in Grand Boetonia: a place where everything is the opposite of what it is in Great Britain, so the hysteria–not to mention hersteria (it’s a Feminist utopia)–is about Local Cooling. But the “science” is just the same!

  6. Tony Budd permalink
    October 6, 2018 10:56 am

    Don’t tell me that the IPCC people flew to South Korea! What was their carbon footprint? If they couldn’t get there by the new wind-powered sailing ships, couldn’t they just have had an online conference and all stayed at home?

  7. ThinkingScientist permalink
    October 6, 2018 11:11 am

    Does sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere with machines actually use less energy than burning fossil fuels to put it there in the first place? Seems unlikely, in which case its a non-starter.

    • October 6, 2018 11:40 am

      Trying to undermine the natural carbon cycle is never going to work and is totally pointless.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      October 6, 2018 11:44 am

      The usual method involves either reaction of CO2 to insoluble compound (although not using concrete) or a reverse reaction to some form of Carbon or liquid fuel. The latter requires much energy input but that is (waves hands around vaguely) from solar power.
      Don’t wate your time on them.

    • October 8, 2018 12:56 pm

      Reminds me of several years when I had to purchase a new dehumidifier for my basement studio. The FIRST thing in the instructions manual was, “Not for outdoor use.” Apparently this for the same people who think you can suck CO2 out of the atmosphere–they can make their picnic more comfortable.

  8. October 6, 2018 3:00 pm

    From the article it appears that IPCC is going to warn us about “Hothouse Earth.” We should remember where we are in the history of our planet. Christopher Scotese shows us:

    The GMT estimates on the right side put us warming up toward 15C, the “Icehouse” category. Better than “Severe Icehouse” but still a long way from “Hothouse”. And Scotese also informs us that further warming leads to a reduced gradient between equator and poles, with the additional warming restricted to the coldest places.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/fact-future-climate-will-be-flatter-not-hotter/

  9. Derek Buxton permalink
    October 7, 2018 11:08 am

    And so the “great global warming fraud” progresses at speed. Surely there are Scientists who can combat this, over the Earth’s history we have had climate changes time after time after time, but we are now better off than in the past. Stop the fraud before we all die from starvation due to the choice between paying for energy or food.

  10. saparonia permalink
    October 8, 2018 11:50 am

    Venus has a lot of carbon, and there’s a joint effort going to take place soon between Russia and NASA to extract ‘something’ from the atmosphere.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4302860/NASA-reveals-joint-mission-Russia-Venus.html

    https://phys.org/news/2018-07-nasa-awards-drones-venus.html#jCp

    http://toughsf.blogspot.com/2016/10/how-to-live-on-other-planets-venus.html
    “…carbon dioxide is a primary resource for liquid methane/liquid oxygen rockets”

  11. October 8, 2018 1:23 pm

    Are any of you are familiar with The Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee? It is a very mountainous area of the Southern Appalachians with steep sides and deep valleys. The forest is deciduous with spruce-fir along the higher ridges. It is a moist area prone to temperature inversions. Add to these factors the natural pollutants produced by the vegetation and you have the “smoke” which gives the area its name.

    These totally natural phenomena of topography and vegetation are the “culprit.” Different plant species emit varying levels and types of “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs) that act as natural pollutants. In fact, plants and trees emit almost the same mass as the human population in the form of the VOC isoprene, which is the main natural volatile organic compound related to atmospheric pollution. Isoprene is produced by many deciduous trees including members of the oak and sweet gum family which are present in high numbers in the Southern Appalachian deciduous forests. It contributes to the largest fluxes in Earth’s atmosphere, and has estimated annual emissions even greater than those of some common anthropogenic pollutants

    When free in the atmosphere, VOC pollutants can interact with nitrogen oxides (NOx) to form ozone. Ozone is beneficial high in the Earth’s atmosphere, where it acts as a shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation. However, at ground level it causes increased greenhouse effect, breathing problems, and plant damage. VOCs also may compete with atmospheric oxidants and prevent them from destroying methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. So, according to researchers, there is the potential then for VOCs to inadvertently affect climate by allowing methane levels to rise.

    Now it is the evil trees. Probably Trump’s fault.

    • dave permalink
      October 9, 2018 9:56 am

      “Probably Trump’s fault.”

      I remember President Reagan being howled at with laughter by the ‘Love to Hate the Right’ big-mouths of HIS time, when he said that the ‘smoke; over the Appalachians was natural pollution. He was merely being scientific, of course.

      • October 10, 2018 12:20 pm

        I have known the origin of the “smoke” since 1966 when I entered The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a graduate student in botany. My major professor took our advanced taxonomy class to western NC. I had a brother in Oak Ridge, TN and we had been going to visit him since 1960.

        When checking the facts for what I wrote I came across articles actually anti-tree due to the “pollutants” they produce. Palm species are also on the hit list.

        The very term “pollutant” denotes something unnatural. The war on CO2 and trees which produce volatile compounds is silly, but dangerous in the hands of these jokers.

  12. Gerry, England permalink
    October 8, 2018 2:10 pm

    The new Sandwich wood burning plant is open and already finding it a bit hard to get supplies. It burns a truck load of wood an hour, every hour. I heard mention that wood was being driven from Wales to fuel. As we were discussing wood as a fuel and the moisture standards, it was pointed out that driving wet wood across the country was like transporting water. Perhaps this would make an interesting future post.

  13. Gamecock permalink
    October 8, 2018 10:29 pm

    ‘Climate change resulting from human activities made the current Europe-wide heatwave more than twice as likely to occur, say scientists.’

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the scientists.”

    H/T Shakespeare

    If ‘scientists’ actually said this, they should be forced to take a Philosophy 101 class in logic. It is an utterly stupid thing to say.

    This appeared in BBC News. Their editors should also be forced to take a logic class.

    • dave permalink
      October 9, 2018 10:13 am

      The ‘scientists’ were merely reading from the screens of their little computers.
      I have programmed my computer to tell me every morning, “You are wonderful!” I found out it was being unfaithful to me and was telling everyone who fondled its on-button the same thing. After a little discipline, it now says “DAVE is wonderful!”

      Seriously, what the ‘scientists’ are saying is – technically – that the ‘rate’ of a certain random Poisson process has doubled. Have they got even a glimmering of an idea of the amount of evidence that would be required to prove such a statement?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: