370 - COP26 | Scoins.net | DJS

370 - COP26

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I have very low expectations from this conference. I expect there to be a load of hot air and that subsequent action shows that the promises made become steadily worthless as political short-termism erodes what has been promised. At root, a country can perhaps fix its own issues. Perhaps a country can provide financial or other support to help another country move to a safer position. What is more likely to happen is that there are fantastic announcements made and then corruption steps in to pocket those monies in offshore accounts that have nothing to do with progress, except that of self-promoting greed.

Cynical, me?

Look at the British example. This is one of the richest nations on the planet, perhaps sixth. We have policies that are directed to benefit the already wealthy ¹ and anything that does that automatically works against the less advantaged. List of examples to write.

At an individual level, what might we be prepared to do? Immediately we are confronted by the distinction between those who can (afford to do anything) and those who cannot. Let's look, then at the things that those with spare capital might do, besides simply hand over a load of that money to the state as various forms of taxation.

1. Reduce travel. Easily done, but what are the consequences? If you're advantaged, why would you give up the car? If you move to an EV, then this is one of those actions that is possible for the advantaged and currently priced to advantage (i.e. it adds advantage to those who already have it). A new EV under £40k collects significant subsidy, garners at at-home charger (which implies you have the space to install one off-road and secure), collects what is probably zero road tax and the right to enter cities otherwise closed to traffic. This all panders to the already advantaged. 

2. Move to public transport. Yes, of course you can do this. I have looked at this several times and the conclusions were that, apart from having to mix with the repellent British public (which includes me), such transport is uncomfortable, very difficult to use with load, remarkably inconvenient and, in terms of time spent, actively works against wanting to travel. It really doesn't matter how wonderful the transport system is if the end-effects are so riddled with obstruction that the whole trip is a nonsense. Look, if you're not already convinced, at the alternatives of rail and air, and look at the time involved. I once had the prospect of some work in northern central Scotland and saw the possibilities of plane, train and car as nearly equivalent. But the plane required either taxi or parking at the home end, the far end required a lift of some description as there was no public transport at all; the train was going to be quicker overall and had fewer end-effect obstacles, but the last few miles remained very expensive. The car was not quicker when allowing for tiredness stops, allowed no other travel activity but driving, but left no end-effect issues. Because this was a repeating event I eventually tried all three. My conclusion was that the drive was the most enjoyable (then) but, if end-travel could be sorted, the plane came a close second, though a large amount of time was spent effectively unable to do anything at all except perhaps read a book. The train had much on common with the plane, but the trip was spoiled by movement of people around the train and their attached noise. Luggage issues applied to train and plane, as the amount of stuff I was expected to take exceeded what I could easily carry. So the fourth such trip was an informed one; I drove.

3. Install a heat pump at home.  I've written about this several times now. This has an attached cost of around £5k for installation. There are several issues; principally, a heat pump raises water temperature to around 55ºC, not the 65º that a gas boiler achieves. Heat pumps therefore work adequately with larger radiators (around twice the surface area), with very well insulated houses, with under-floor heating and with houses that are expected to stay at much the same temperature all of each day. So they fit the image of the well-off retired person who has moved to somewhere (small and) thermally efficient. I have continued to fail to find models that use heat pumps as pre-heat boilers, though this would, to my mind, be a good solution for many houses where there is sufficient capital for the pump but not for the additional insulating work. I have found several suggestions that a typical capital cost for sufficient insulation to turn a home into one in which a heat pump will work at around £20k. I've worked this out for myself and the disruption is enormous; the room will shrink by probably 20 cm on all external walls and probably the floors need to come up. So, in effect, even if only one room is processed at a time, the disruption is significant and the process cannot be quick. Not even in my house, where we can easily lose a room on each floor. As for how you treat the edges, around windows and external doors, I soon decided that it was dramatically cheaper to carry on paying for heating, or to simply not use some rooms in the winter.

4. Plant trees. And wait 20 years for there to be any effect at all, so planting a tree is no good if the tree is removed within a generation. We planted 600 trees on our property in Cornwall in probably 1995, but there are none on that land now, so all the virtue we gave ourselves for being ahead of the game (which it isn't but you know what I mean) is killed off with the discarded trees. I continue to want to think that the new owner broke all sorts of rules

Buying someone else's trees is a sop. It is the same as selling your thermally inefficient house and buying instead one that is better insulated. It fixes your problem but does not contribute to fixing the problem.


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When I find reviews of what has been 'agreed', I'll post a review of that. Meanwhile, the telling report, for me, is the one that says forget 1.5ºC, which was the whole point of the IPCC report (Essay 358), we're on target for 2.4ºC. Or more. Given that my read of the IPCC report said basically everything at 2º was at least twice as bad as the bad things that happen at 1.5º, we might well read 2.4º as more than three times as bad. BBC report. Guardian report. Of course, we've already been told that when we pass a 2º rise, we have several features that are irreversible. Next bit of reading. I suppose what we need is the crystal ball that tells us the effect of what we say is agreed in 2021, before 2025, 2030, etc. What I can see happening is the usual steady panic, short-term effects – which always, always turn out to be so much more expensive than the considered and definite early action. What we need to have change is the incentive; 'cheap and dirty' has to turn into 'dirty is expensive', 'clean (or zero) is good', 'negative is even better' – and to make that happen we will require financial penalties for failure.  

Now, there's a whole new minefield.

This is so very like trying to fix your pension in the last few years of work; you end up having to work some more years. Here, we're screwing with the planet; there is no alternative – and we all have to co-operate. Though, looking at the way the damage caused is spread, it is the usual suspects who must make the most repair. But, given that those left behind (think of a lot of Africa and Asia) will want to 'catch up' I can see the first world having to finance the third world's required jump. 

It would all be so much simpler if there were a lot fewer damned humans. Like a third, or a quarter...… let's go for 21st century decimation...²


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The report of which a selection of the press have taken not is the Climate Action Tracker [1], [2] which has, apparently, taken the promises made across COP26 and applied it to their world model, only to discover that the temperature rise at the end of the century, far enough away to show whether or not we've effected a result, is 2.4º, not the 1.5º target. What is significant about this is that the IPCC 6th report made it very clear that past 1.5º, and especially at 2.0º, we have some results which are irreversible, i.e., permanent change for the worse. See [5] for the data that the media have passed on, but this is perhaps the essential element:  Current policies presently in place around the world are projected to result in about 2.7°C[1] warming above pre-industrial levels. NDCs alone[2] will limit warming to 2.4°C. When binding long-term or net-zero targets are included warming would be limited to about 2.1°C[3] above pre-industrial levels, or in probabilistic terms, likely (66% or greater chance) limit warming below 2.3°C. Warming estimates for the pledges and targets scenario has fallen by 0.3°C compared to last assessment due, primarily, to the inclusion of the US and China’s net zero targets, now that both countries have submitted their long-term strategies to the UNFCCC.

As of today, there is a draft agreement to view. I have no doubt that subsequent behaviour will be very much in line with all EU agreements, with brinksmanship galore as various interests strike poses for what they want, almost all of which will be something different from fixing the planet and instead far more about greed, probably directly individual greed.  I tried hunting for the document, perhaps found at [5].

My read says 

• there is too little money in the Least Developed Countries Fund.

• that the target of 1.5º has crept to under 2.0º, while continuing to recognise that even 1.5º is not a good thing.

• that there is a need for cooperation over ocean warming (changes in international waters, basically, where no one nation has responsibility)

• in the mitigation section, §24, that by 2030 we should have reduced global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century.  We will have to wait to discover what that means. If I were to set that as a comprehension question for a top set Y9 class (numerate and clued-up) I am sure there would be a wide range of answers and largely unsatisfactory acceptance of the end result. Or results. Note that §26 says  the aggregate greenhouse gas emission level, taking into account implementation of all submitted nationally determined contributions is estimated to be 13.7 per cent above the 2010 level in 2030.

Which I think means that the desired target of 45% reduction is a difficult objective since we're already at +14%. Yes, we knew that; the conference was supposed to result in action that achieved the necessary changes. I found large agreement between the NDC report [6] and the climate action tracker report [1]. The diagram I have copied below suggests to me that what was proposed at the start of the conference was nowhere near what is needed. Yet again I conclude that we don't deserve to be here.


Snafu, then.


In what follows, I have looked at separated issues. These may well move off into other essays just to keep the essay length fairly consistent, which might include extension of existing, apparently older, essays.


Forestation. See essay 360 and [9]  write about just this in criticism, perhaps different essay.   More than 120 countries also promised to end deforestation by 2030. [10] The declaration is at [15], but is really no more than a list of signatories. I see no teeth in this, no methods for causing compliance and no reparations when in breach of the agreement. Therefore it might as well be hot air.


Other reference [10]. Interesting chart just here. Current national plans – known as nationally determined contributions(NDCs) – would lead to 2.4C of heating, according to an influential analysis this week by Climate Action Tracker. [13]  Bated breath then for the matching chart dated 15th Nov. if it ever appears.

"Australia brought the coffee".  Australia’s former Cop negotiator has slammed his country as a climate problem nation in the ranks of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Richie Merzian said all Canberra had brought to Cop was “good coffee”. [16

Fulfilling commitments on climate finance will be critically important for building trust in the talks. For its part, Australia pledged an additional A$500 million in climate finance to countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific – a figure well short of Australia’s fair share of global efforts. Australia also refused to rejoin the Green Climate Fund.  And quite a bit more of [10] shows Oz in a negative light.

Australia's problem is its coal. Coal is Big Industry in Oz and has a powerful voice politically. Coal mining occurs in every state, most on the East Coast [read wikipedia] 70% is exported and most of the remainder used for electricity generation, 29% of all Australia's emissions. So any planned change is going to also result in a rush to do as much mining as possible before any change. 32% of global coal (that might be anthracite) export is Australian and the mining is 14% of global production. Australia has enormous reserves If this [5% p.a.] rate of growth would-be maintained to extinction all current economically demonstrated black coal in the country would be depleted in under 40 years.  To summarise, causing Australia to change its attitude to coal requires a major shift in its economy. A campaign entitled 'clean coal' reads to me like a vested interest story, simply delaying any change. Or, perhaps, having your cake and eating it (silly phrase), so that coal is still burnt for electricity generation (oh, for a label with fewer syllables) but the SOx, NOx and COx are removed. An earlier essay has explored the difficulties of removing COx and the extent to which that has not been achieved, including the issue of quite when carbon has been sequestrated (i.e., put into the ground out of reach of return to the atmosphere). One suspects that when all of these processes are made to work, coal will prove to be more expensive than, say, nuclear generation. I'd love to have the evidence and supporting numbers (please). Of course, if we had ways of actually generating clean coal, then the invested industry would be rescued, in a sense. ³


Money [10] But this week the developed world fell short of fulfilling a decade-old promise – to deliver US$100 billion each year to help poorer nations deal with climate impacts.  Why should first-world support or finance third world activity? Because it is the first-world that has mostly caused the CO₂ (etc) output and it is the third-world that suffers the consequences. Such as, thinking of a piece on the BBC yesterday, the loss of land in Ghana due to sea level rise. [18] Yes, we could do some coastal adaptation, not cheap; yes we need to make farming (the biggest economic activity) very much more efficient to accommodate forced migration created by lost land already highly populated. This is a problem to solve and the onus falls upon the first-world nations. That $100bn promised in Paris has resulted in no payments. Personally, I say that African corruption explains that away, but the Chinese model of road-building suggest to me that we could make any money be well used by giving the result rather than the funds, i.e., to go build sea defences rather than hand over money for that, to go teach better farming practices rather than again, hand over money supposedly for that activity. Cut out the corruption cycle; share the wealth at a far more local level.

Methane  More than 100 countries signed on to a new pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. [10] The argument here is that methane is having a greater effect (by 86 times over two decades) on causing warming, amounting to a quarter of the warming we can explain. [19]. In the same bracket we can place fluorine gases used in refrigeration (search F-gas) , which woudl seem both an easy target and fix. The EU imports more than 80 per cent of its fossil gas, 90 per cent of its crude oil and 40 per cent of its coal from non-EU countries, essentially outsourcing its methane emissions to them. [18]. Half of the strategies to reduce methane emissions considered in the paper would incur no net cost to implement; pursuing all available measures could avoid a quarter of a degree of warming by 2050 and half a degree by 2100. Put like that one's instinct is to say "Just do it".

Methane emissions come from (fill this in yourself; you're supposed to know this already, which is why the diagram is so small). Best answer from Wikipedia (yes, I've contributed again this year), which explains that a lot of methane is produced naturally (of course it is, naturally) but human activity raises this by 150%. Which is to say that 40% of what there is, the 100% of methane production is natural and 60% is our fault. A whole third of that 60% is from fossil fuel infrastructure, simimalr tot that created by animal agriculture (meat farming), the last third is shared between plant agriculture and waste treatment (or not, in the case of landfill). Of the 40% from natural sources, three quarters, a whole 30% of the 100%, comes from wetland. So therre's an instant argument against regenerating wetland ecologies.

Be aware that natural processes remove methane far more effectively than carbon dioxide. My interpretation is that the half-life of atmospheric methane is about a decade. Of course, the carbon part becomes CO₂. Search GWP20 for methane and discover GWP20 is 87 gCO2eq./gCH4. If it wasn't for us, making anthropogenic change, atmospheric CO₂ would be stable. The ways to change that were covered in essay 360 and you might look at [20]  too.  On that general topic, I heard on the radio a discovery that warming the ocean only a little causes the ability of the sea, and in particular the sea bed, to hold CO₂ to reduce quite significantly. Our models for carbon capture assume that the sea continues as it has done and this shoves the results more towards Bad and Worse.  Biofuel digestion and biomass burning are made to look like a Bad Thing, here, demanding that if we are to use this for generation we simultaneously prevent methane escape.

As for COP26, what is promised is a 30% reduction (by 2030, compared to 2020 levels. China, India and Russia did not commit (of course they didn't). Try [21] for reasoned content, towards the end. I found nothing explaining what the target actually means, nor even certainty what the 30% reduction applied to. I think that the promise is that the 2020 methane production, (and I assume the 60% anthropogenic, see the tracker) is to reduce by 30%, so that the whole reduces by 18%. Chart methane emissions (kt of  CO₂ equivalent) from here, which I read as taking us perhaps back to 2005 values. Getting to a precise result is surprisingly difficult, not made easier by the media assumption that we're all disnumerate idiots. If we achieve the promise for 2030 then one would hope that thtarget woudl be to fall to levels akin to those of 1970 by 2050. the UN says the target is zero greenhouse gas emission.

I conclude that the agreement is very vague; the nicest interpretation I can put on this is that discovery needs to be made, but the chart I show indicates steady growth and the graph needs to reverse that growth—swap the gradient to equal but negative—to achieve the weak (my opinion) target. Perhaps this is indeed weak, but achievable. I found the figures missing and a load of indication that measurement needs to improve, but maybe it is that improvement that will direct any action. Cynicism says this is more can-kicking, more action that moves the problem off a politician's desktop while achieving very little.



Traffic   This conclusion,  one with which I disagree easily, [11],  says that, in American English,  Public Transit Use Must Double to Meet Climate Targets. There are so many assumptions made and undeclared: specifically that the requirement for travel remains as it is. Moving a large proportion of traffic (people in cars) onto public transport is clearly more efficient in terms of pollution per travelled mile per vehicle. That works when the end-effects, the first and last walk, is both unladen and short. It fails, conversely, with load and change. For example, taking a taxi back from the supermarket when well laden makes sense (if the cost is reasonable), while perhaps a bus to the supermarket whiel unladen makes more sense. The experiments I have run say that the end effects are such that the public transport is of no help at all; I could most sensibly leave the transport to be done of the shopping to the shop, not from the shop to my home. Altogether better is shop delivery, which I still cannot get to work, though the biggest impediment there is the wife's demand to make the choice of product (that particular cucumber, those potatoes). So I continue to think that this is a solution (vested interest perhaps) trying to find a problem. 

Realistically the solution is to reduce the demand for travel. Couple that with making delivery very much better (including for the delivery drivers) so as to reduce demand for travel, with encouraging working from home to continue, with staycations rather than overseas travel, with use of Skype and Zoom rather than leaping into the car, and we might well make some progress. I look (quite often) at what is lost in this scenario.

I've written quite a lot about this already. 15-minutes, for example.  

Road transport accounts for 10% of global emissions, and its emissions are rising faster than those of any other sector.  From [22] I guess anthropogenic emissions are meant. 

As ever, I find the language incomplete; 

How you can help (presumably aimed at governmental bodies)
  • Countries and states: commit to ensuring all new car and van sales are zero emission vehicles by 2035 (advanced markets) or 2040 (all other markets); put in place policies to accelerate uptake of zero emission cars, vans, buses and trucks.   
  • Vehicle manufacturers: commit to selling only zero emission vehicles by 2035 or earlier.  
  • Fleet-owning businesses: commit to achieving a fully zero emission fleet by 2030 or earlier; join the EV100 initiative.  
  • Civil society: build support for all of the above measures. 

So do any of those measures remove any vehicles from the roads? What is an advanced market? [23] says Transport also accounted for 27% of the UK’s Green House Gas emissions in 2019. That's a lot, and therefore something we int he UK could sensibly consider. Almost all transport will be zero emission at point of use in 2050, and the remainder offset. Emissions from the manufacture of transport solutions will be zero or offset. Raw materials will be sustainably sourced and products will be designed for resource efficiency, remanufacture and recycling to create a circular economy. Oh dear, offset again? Too often that means buying a tree; increasingly it is deferred mitigation, planting a tree now when its effect will begin in twenty years if it is still there.  

I read a lot of this document (which displayed correctly in Chrome but not in Safari), wrote a precis and then binned the lot, a wasted hour. Basically, we have huge predicted growth and are not expected to move to public transport, while policy isn't(even)  attempting to change that. Instead, we are predicted to move to EVs at scale and to continue to increase travel. I say this is WRONG both in prospect and as action.  I noticed, for example, a 2020 national survey suggests that more than 75% of public transport users are willing to regain previous public transport habits if the right precautions are in place does not mean that 75% of people will change to public transport, only that at the time of the survey it was a reason not to use public transport.  As ever, how people respond to a survey has little to do with what they will actually do, so; I see this as failure to design surveys well.

[24] points to another COP26 declaration, this one on transport. I found nothing new. Teacup storm possibly, here.

One way of viewing the demands of climate change is to suggest that Global public transportation usage has to double by 2030 [link towards source]. That last is only the press release, the referenced report only applies to large-ish cities. Why must they exaggerate? It is quite sufficient, to me, to indicate that a vast improvement of pubic transport, around doubling capacity in cities, would have a positive impact on emissions. Of course it does; that does not persuade people to make such a change, unless the transit system itself becomes a more positive experience. Swapping a journey for working from home strikes me as preferable, most of the time. I continue to read and write wtf, when I should see/type WfH. Less serious read.

A lot of what I found to read is echo-chamber of earlier pieces; there is surprisingly little different evidence. One point I realise I had taken as obvious is that the demand has to be for a reduction of transport, not merely making it have a lower footprint. [27] suggests that the travel chain end needs to be 500m or lower (to the public system), but I say that this limit is what applies to the bit of the system you want to use, while planners will say any bit of the system will suffice. That's taking no account of the time consumed in travel, which, in my head, explains a lot of the demand for personal transport. Thus I think that part of the way forward lies in individual personal vehicles, which might be e-scooters and a lot of the progress will be made by persuading us we don't need to travel at all. Which will deserve a push back so that we settle on a sensible amount of travel that preserves mental health at an acceptbale level.

All of the time I'm reminded that we'd make a lot of rapid progress with a lot fewer humans.

Emissions [12] That 45% figure....   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said emissions must be cut by 45% by 2030 compared with 2030 levels to stay within 1.5C.  See 'mitigation'. The UN Climate action sets a 2050 target of (net) zero emissions. What we really need to do is become climate neutral, a clearer and more challenging prospect that does actually allow the planet to recover from this dis-ease that is humans.

What we are supposed to mean by 'net zero' is achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere. [25] I think those ought to be anthropogenic measures on both sides, but what we very clearly have is an accounting problem. Clearly we need to find ways of reducing the atmospheric carbon (and other greenhouse gases) back to the target of pre-industrial levels. We use the word sequestration to mean removing carbon from the atmosphere. Offsetting is a cheat (say I, but I'm not alone). 


Kicking the can down the road. Egypt 2025 [14]. I've copied a chart from the World Resources Institute [26], whose linked page shows where we're at – and where we aren't, like not being remotely on target. That linked page shows, in effect, the position of the NDCs as declared beofre the conference began. 

If we took the carbon out of the hot air generated at and by COP26, would there be anything left?

I'm afraid that nothing that I have read about COP26 gives me any encouragement that any government is going to set an example that others will follow. I suspect that countries with low population and lots of trees (Sweden and New Zealand leap to mind) have manageable targets to make their national position look good. Places like England, the heavily populated bit of the UK, despite being relatively rich and at the same time historically heavily responsible for this awful position, have a very long way to go. We can make sufficient change and I think that the UK population would support a load of quite radical change, but at the same time I think our politicians are craven, short-term thinkers who fail to match that sense of willingness to attack the problem within these shores. I also doubt that we will front up the vast sums of money that need to go in adaptation. Adaptation here means money to be given to less well-off nations who have infrastructure change to make to cope with floods, fire, rising sea levels, loss of farmland and so on – all those effects we have seen repeatedly this last year.

What I think is going to happen, as I wrote at the top and before doing any 'research' (essay 365) is that individual nations will pay lip service to the international agreement. What I'd like to see happen is a wholesale change of attitude within Britain—and I pick that small nation because I sense that change is available, thanks to the pandemic—that moves us very rapidly towards a net zero or even negative position within our own borders. On this path I can see us generating know-how and technology that we can demonstrate to others. For us to be the proving ground, spending excess effort on ourselves so that we can then offer it (preferably at cost or less) to others. 


However, my lack of faith in the political classes punctures every balloon of hope.

Quiz trivia

The USA is the biggest generator of CO2 emissions, historically followed by China and the EU. That's the cumulative effect. On an annual basis, the biggest currrent emitter recently is China (and the USA is second, India third, Russia 4th. wikipedia. The top ten emitting nations provide ⅔ of the global total. On a per person basis though Qatar, Kuwait,  the UAEand Saudi Arabia top the list, then Canada, Australia and the USA. In most lists of this sort, the larger countries are going to be at the top of the list.The biggest growth of emissions from fuel (only) on a percapita basis puts Indonesia, Iraq and Africa in excess of 5% and quite a lot of Europe on negative growth (in this regard). Amalgamating GHGs (wikipedia) the biggest in total are China, USA, India (then perhaps indonesia and Brazil) and, on a per capita basis, Canada, USA, Russia, Iran, Germany, Japan, China,..



DJS 20211109

Top pic seen first by me in the Guardian 6th, but attributed to Robert Perry/EPA, and perhaps taken on the 1st or 2nd Nov. Was he asleep at the time? The jury is out, but see this series, which suggests he was not asleep, just nicely caught for a sixtieth of a second.

1.  You want a list? Well here are some examples. 

• We have had subsidy for installing solar panels, which began at 40p a unit generated, to run for 20 years. The current rate is about 3p with no time guarantee at all. The people who are still collecting at the higher rates are all those who had the capital to invest. This is pandering to the stereotypical Tory voter.

• The situation with EVs is very similar. There are a load of subsidies given to those who choose to jump at having an EV. This may even include the installation of a charging point. But that assumes that you have a suitable secure space, which implies some sort of garage (not a space used for storage, a proper vehicle garage). Again this is for the suitably rich.

• Heat pumps again have a load of subsidies attached as encouragement or nudging. Yet again, a heat pump will work if your house is very well insulated (EPC A, only perhaps B) because the heat pump (£5k and upwards) only raises water temperature to about 55º (on a good day), so central heating radiators need to be either 2 times bigger or replaced by underfloor heating (a very much bigger radiator). As for the hot water system, other heat needs to be added. We need to see heat pumps as a form of pre-heat; I continue to fail to find ways that this is made to work. 

2.  Properly decimation was removing a tenth, but increasingly the use in the media means 'a lot smaller' often 'down to a tenth of what it was'. But this is just another example of media exaggeration. Thus all elections result in a landslide, all growth is exponential, all large reductions are decimation. The list of these words is, of course, infinite

3.  Of course, there are counter-arguments that say clean coal ought to be no coal. What is required is to sequester the carbon from burning coal, not merely to improve the burning process but to eliminate  the carbon generation as air-borne gas. Elimination, not reduction, though I'f expect that somethign like 90% reduction would go a long way, unlike the 7% or so from recent improvements, which really amounts to generating more power from the same volume of coal (i.e. the measures used arre suspect). Clean coal is also used to refer to burning better choices of coal, ones with lower levels of impurities and this serves to handily muddy the water if you've a vested interest.

Related issues here at  [17], which sourced the green bar graph nearby. But do read wider than just that image. Based on the studies reviewed, the following observations can be made:

(i) Greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear power plants are among the lowest of any electricity generation method and on a lifecycle basis are comparable to wind, hydro-electricity and biomass.

(ii) Lifecycle emissions of natural gas generation are 15 times greater then nuclear.

(iii) Lifecycle emissions of coal generation are 30 times greater then nuclear.

(iv) There is strong agreement in the published studies on life cycle GHG intensities for each generation method. However, the data demonstrates the sensitivity of lifecycle analysis to assumptions for each electricity generation source. 

(v) The range of results is influenced by the primary assumptions made in the lifecycle analysis. For instance, assuming either gaseous diffusion or gas centrifuge enrichment has a bearing on the life cycle results for nuclear. 

One of my takeaways from this is that I knew gas was bad but not that coal is twice as bad. What we use the gas or coal for is then irrelevant, up to the point at which we succeed in seriously reducing the sox, nox and cox vented to atmosphere.

4.   I keep reading forestation as fore-station, the platform part of a train station. De-fore-station gives me far less issue, which would be perhaps a reduction in platform area, perhaps by addition of sales spaces such as kiosks, advert-sing hoarding and street furniture. Principally this would be solved by changing the spelling to forrestation, causing the first vowel to shorten because of the doubled letter following.  Ridiculously, forrest (wikidiff) means the most to the front, the fore-est. I say this is back to front. At some point English lost the doubled-r. The etymology says that forest was 'beyond the park', foreign (same root, Latin foris, outside). In Britain we could talk about wooded ground, but we wouldn't talk about rewooding or retreeing an area.

5.  [wikipedia]  The term "net zero" is increasingly used to describe a broader and more comprehensive commitment to decarbonisation and climate action, moving beyond carbon neutrality by including more activities under the scope of indirect emissions, and often including a science-based target on emissions reduction, as opposed to relying solely on offsetting.  (See Criticism) [...] “The net-zero pledges are both welcome and dubious. Most are back-end loaded, meaning the majority of the cuts are to come well after 2030...Most of these targets also assume...steady technological advances and outright breakthroughs...Fossil fuel exports will not figure into the national accounting for the net-zero goal.”[169]

Oh, twisting words so that the vested interests get what they want. What we ought to mean is climate-neutral, which includes all greenhouse gases along with carbon neutrality. Carbon neutrality means balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal (often through carbon offsetting) or by eliminating emissions from society (the transition to the "post-carbon economy"). And offsetting aims to neutralise a certain volume of greenhouse gas emissions by funding projects which should cause an equivalent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions somewhere else, such as tree planting. Under the premise “First reduce what you can, then offset the remainder”, offsetting can be done by supporting a responsible carbon project, or by buying carbon offsets or carbon credits. I think a lot of this offsetting is better labeled greenwashing. Example article from 2010. Unless I have misunderstood completely, 'offsetting' involves buying into a scheme that protects existing trees. That strikes me as saying that there are ways the planet rescues us from our current madness, so I'll label this little bit as fixing my problem. That doesn't change anything.

All of which simply fuels my cynicism. 


[1] https://climateactiontracker.org/climate-target-update-tracker/

[2] https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/    but you might look at [6-8], the UN synthesis report [8], which is the same thing done on a different model. 

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-59229652

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/nov/10/cop26-draft-text-annotated-what-it-says-and-what-it-means is the 'final text' in draft form, with comment. The Guardian wins again.

[5] https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/10/world/cop26-draft-agreement-full-text-climate-intl/index.html seems to be the draft text without comment. Well done, CNN. On the other hand, the document is almost unreadable.

[6]  https://unfccc.int/news/updated-ndc-synthesis-report-worrying-trends-confirmed  

[7] https://unfccc.int/news/full-ndc-synthesis-report-some-progress-but-still-a-big-concern 

[8] The full report is here; https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cma2021_08_adv_1.pdf      It is not unreadable, but it is forty pages or so.

[9]   https://theconversation.com/deforestation-why-cop26-agreement-will-struggle-to-reverse-global-forest-loss-by-2030-170902?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202107020854&utm_content=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202107020854+CID_a3258cbed9aba17029ee980721a9b08e&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=deforestation%20agreement   

[10]  https://theconversation.com/cop26-its-half-time-at-the-crucial-glasgow-climate-change-summit-and-heres-the-score-170869?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202107020854&utm_content=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202107020854+CID_a3258cbed9aba17029ee980721a9b08e&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=halfway%20through%20the%20summit  

[11]    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-10/transit-use-must-double-to-meet-1-5-c-goal-mayors-warn?cmpid=BBD111021_CITYLAB&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=211110&utm_campaign=citylabdaily

[12]  https://theconversation.com/global-emissions-almost-back-to-pre-pandemic-levels-after-unprecedented-drop-in-2020-new-analysis-shows-170866  

[13]  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/12/second-cop26-draft-criticised-for-weakened-language-on-fossil-fuels

[14]   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/nov/10/cop26-draft-text-annotated-what-it-says-and-what-it-means  

[15]  https://ukcop26.org/glasgow-leaders-declaration-on-forests-and-land-use/

[16]  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2021/nov/11/cop26-climate-crisis-conference-glasgow-global-heating-day-11-live?page=with%3Ablock-618d07ac8f08f6be4a84cbbf

[17]  https://www.world-nuclear.org/uploadedFiles/org/WNA/Publications/Working_Group_Reports/comparison_of_lifecycle.pdf

[18]   https://research.fit.edu/media/site-specific/researchfitedu/coast-climate-adaptation-library/africa/regional---africa/Brown-et-al.--2009.--SLR--Impact-in-Africa.pdf   See particularly pages 20-24.


Of course, people actually flooded are going to move to higher ground fairly soon. This forced migration is a big problem, because these people (so explained the Ghanaian interviewed) grow their own food, so what is lost is the land and the habitation, so making the problem of migration extreme as the migrants need support, from land that is not available. So the land in use has to rapidly become more efficient. 

Yes, fewer people is one solution. 

The A1F1 scenario imagines a rise of (only) 1.4ºC, hitting 6 in 2100. Case A1B says 0.9 in 2030 (not going to happen) and 2.6º in 2100 (possible COP26 target). Case B1 is where we'd like to be, 0.5º in 2030 and a mere 1º rise in 2100. Not going to happen. Rahmstorf has a higher sea level rise and is otherwise like the A1B model, 0.9º and 2.6º rises.

[19]   https://eia-international.org/news/if-the-world-acts-fast-to-cut-methane-emissions-we-could-dramatically-slow-global-warming/?gclid=CjwKCAiAvriMBhAuEiwA8Cs5lXIgUSt0rOwLObLHMJr0-eqdneQ2dV4kmsjUH1gRpfZBAbrn6CecwBoCXqgQAvD_BwE

[20]  https://www.wri.org/insights/6-ways-remove-carbon-pollution-sky

[21] https://news.mongabay.com/2021/11/as-carbon-emissions-rise-unabated-scientists-eye-a-methane-removal-fix/  also http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2021/11/11/turning-cop26-methane-promises-into-action/ explore further at https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/energy/what-we-do/international-methane-emissions-observatory.  For more scare, look at  https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Report-Europes-most-chilling-crime-Spreads.pdf

[22] https://ukcop26.org/transport/

[23] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1008833/IUK-050821-4293_Innovate_Future_Transport_A4Portrait.pdf

[24] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cop26-declaration-zero-emission-cars-and-vans/cop26-declaration-on-accelerating-the-transition-to-100-zero-emission-cars-and-vans

[25]  https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/what-does-net-zero-emissions-mean/

[26] https://www.wri.org/insights/net-zero-ghg-emissions-questions-answered

[27] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-10/electric-cars-are-great-even-better-no-cars?sref=AN2927tl






summary article  from The Conversation

The gavelling that sealed the Glasgow Climate Pact was muted. Not just on the screens outside the negotiating room, where I watched with journalists jockeying for space. But inside too, where most delegates accepted the text of the biggest climate agreement since Paris in 2015 with weary resignation. After two weeks of intense debate, countries agreed to meet yearly to submit more ambitious emissions-cutting plans, to double aid for developing countries to adapt to extreme weather, and to reduce rather than eliminate (thanks to a last-minute intervention by India and China) unmitigated coal power.

Simon Lewis – a professor of global change science at the University of Leeds – was inside the room with the delegation from Gabon. Together with Mark Maslin, professor of earth system science at UCL – he explains why the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C is still on life support, and four other things you need to know about the deal. They were joined over the weekend by experts from across our international network giving their reactions to the most significant outcomes from the summit. You can read their thoughts on deforestation deals, methane pledges, fossil fuel subsidies and nature-based solutions here.

I’m writing this on the train home after spending the final week of COP26 in the sprawling Clydeside convention centre that hosted it. The three words that were repeated most by delegates I spoke to and that threatened to pierce the conference’s stage-managed facade were “loss and damage” – the harmful impact of climate change that many argue rich countries should pay for. Though plans for a compensation system for poorer countries were blocked, the summit showed this issue is becoming unavoidable

summary from The Atlantic: The United Nations’ annual summit on climate change is in a frantic push for a final agreement. But no matter the outcome of the high-profile proceedings in Glasgow, the global checkup has already previewed where the conversation goes from here.  

  • Nuclear power is having a hot moment. Meltdowns gave the technology a bad rap. This year “it’s been invited to the cool kids’ table,” Robinson Meyer points out in his latest.
  • All eyes are on methane. A new international pact to limit emissions of the gas is “unusually good near-term climate news,” Rob tells me. But “the deal is like fiddling at the margins, because it … doesn’t reduce our overall use of oil and gas, which is what truly matters.”
  • Climate justice is top of mind. The costs of the coming crisis will be borne unequally. Right now, the world is on track for a sort of demi-armageddon, Emma Marris explains: The planet may avoid the worst outcome—but certain populations will get stuck with the burden.
why?  Email: David@Scoins.net      © David Scoins 2021