2019-05-31

The electricity mix during two weeks without coal in Great Britain

D75sYB-W4AAuIuj.png_largeA nice pic of  the electricity mix during two weeks without coal in Great Britain, from CarbonBrief. Nukes are near-constant, as expected, as is biomass; gas is reactive; solar and wind are variable. I wonder what we ascribe the imports to? French nukes probably.

This shows I think that there is scope for more solar and wind before getting problems with running out of the gas+imports buffer, but that we'll start hitting limits eventually. An alternative view is provided in this twit, showing percent not absolutes, but it is somewhat misleading; notice how nooks look like they're variable, but of course they aren't.

Some people are very anti-gas, including the predictably-wrong David Roberts, but I think that's misguided. I was going to rant about that post but decided I couldn't be bothered. I was also going to rant about A call to climate action by that nice Jonathan Overpeck in that rag Science but realised that was misguided: he has nothing new to say, and I have nothing new to say in response.

Refs


* Down with pumped hydro storage, Up with dispatchable hydropower! - Brian
* RS elaborates on the idea: THE UPHILL FIGHT FOR DISPOSABLE DISPATCH
* Speaking of which: Stemming the Plastic Tide: 10 Rivers Contribute Most of the Plastic in the Oceans / The Yangtze alone pours up to an estimated 1.5 million metric tons into the Yellow Sea. None of them are in the West, who could possibly have guessed?
* Why is Immigration a "Contentious Issue in Classical Liberalism"? by Bryan Caplan

2019-05-30

Weird shit from Mann

61587538_1166425846887067_41158319410249728_o The Dems are terribly sad about a nasty video about Pelosi1. Meh; this is politics. But in their flailing around trying to express how outraged they are about it, they are doing strange things. Which leads me to Facebook is a big obstacle to averting climate catastrophe, scientists say by unthinkprogress, as endorsed by and indeed quoting da Mann. The irony of complaining about fb on fb is entirely lost on Mann. The blindness of failing to see that Mann and many others used and still uses fb to spread information, ditto.
.
This is all rather reminiscent of our more parochial Brexit: Boris Johnson ordered to appear in court over £350m claim. To which the answer is Free Speech. And yes that does include the "right to lie", somewhat dependent on context; but in this case the context was political campaigning and so yes you are allowed to lie. Because the alternative is judges policing what pols are allowed to say, which is far worse. And no you do not get to say "but this lie was blatant; whereas the routine lies that my favourite pols trot out were nuanced / white / things I don't notice / things I'm happy for people to lie about"2.

"scientists say" is possibly technically correct, in that unthink have found two people who say it: the aforementioned Mann, and "environmental sociologist Robert Brulle". But two is a very small number.

I find unthink's What was particularly shocking is that in defending this move, Facebook told the Washington Post, “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true.” particularly fuckwitted. There should be no shock at all. Why should fb have to go around policing whether all the info on it is true or not? And do we really expect fb to go around removing all the drivel that AOC says?

Mann appears to have joined the ranks of the "all those who are not 100% for us are against us" idiots.

Notes


1. Disclaimer: I haven't bothered watch it. Why would I?

2. To take an example that has just arrived, consider the Graun's US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as 'molecules of freedom. Is this true? No, it isn't: it is only considering natural gas, not all fossil fuels. Moreover, it isn't rebranding: it's just one press release. So since it isn't true it must be false and therefore should be banned?

Refs


* FACEBOOK CATASTROPHE LINKED TO CLIMATE REBELLION, SENATOR WALKER DEMANDS IMPERIAL TROOPS INTERVENE
* Tom Padget by Spiers and Boden
There are two sorts of people in the world...
* Climate Proposals Fail at Exxon, Chevron Shareholder Meetings (note to self: this refs my unpublished "At Exxon, a failure of governance on climate risk?" post
* Where are they now? Skeptics Are Being Recruited for an "Adversarial" Review of Climate Science

2019-05-28

Bollocks to Brexit

61245671_2283880105025220_3126558212338221056_o The EU elections provides some test of Brexit. Arguably, they were also about other things, but if they were, I didn't notice those other things and I saw nothing about them in the EU press. VV offers A historical climate election in Germany as an interpretation from Over There if you're interested in the other things.

The graphic here shows one way to think about it, and nicely - sez oi - relegates the two "traditional" "major" parties to has-beens. It also nicely shows that anti-Brexit1 did better than pro-Brexit. If you measure it by vote share. Alas, as is traditional, the good guys split up (mostly into LibDem and Green) and so got fewer seats overall2. Miriam found another analysis that split up the Labour vote as 80% remain, and the Tory as 60% leave (or some such, I forget the details3) and again got Remain ahead in vote share. Another way to measure this is to note that votes for the Brexit Party were 5,244,893; whereas the Petition to revoke Article 50 got 6,085,017 signatures.

But that brings me to my main point, which is that after all the fuss and all the talk and dominating the headlines for months, still only 37% of those eligible bothered to turn out to vote. So the true winner was still the Don't Give A Toss party. And if you believe JA - that Brexit will eventually fall apart under the weight of it's own contradictions - then perhaps they were right.

I voted LibDem, if you care. It was that or Greens. If it had been clear what maximised my chance of a Remain MEP, I'd have done that, but it wasn't clear, so I went for maximising the vote share of a clearly Remain party. So in a way I was in the DGAT party too: I (rationally) didn't bother put a great deal of effort into working out what my "best" vote was.

Notes


1. But never call yourself anti-X; because it concedes a part of the argument to X. Arguably, in this case, correctly. I am more strongly anti-Brexit than I am pro-Remain, if that makes any sense. On the grounds that our MPs are too much of a bunch of clueless incompetents to manage Brexit.

2. The Change UK people, who look increasingly like roadkill, got stoated as I think they deserved. Their problem is that the only sensible thing for them to do is to merge into the LibDems, but they can't quite bring themselves to do it.

3. Ashcroft's poll provides enough info to do the split yourself, if you want to: So while Leavers and Remainers have gravitated to parties who are unambiguous about Brexit, those who have stuck with the main parties are also polarised: two thirds (67%) of Tory Euro-voters want to leave the EU, while nearly two thirds (63%) of Labour Euro-voters want to remain.

Refs


* Governance is hard
Brexit schmexit [2019/03]
Brexit, again [2018/12]
My Euro-election post-vote poll: most Tory switchers say they will stay with their new party - Lord Ashcroft Polls
Say no to Brexit and Post-referendum thoughts and Brexit means Brexit? [2016]
* Labor Income For Top 0.1% Exceeds Income from Capital by David Henderson
* More double standards - American policy - by Scott Sumne
* Typical - CafeHayek on who will run the world
* War for Poverty by Bryan Caplan
Britain’s constitutional time-bomb - the Economist

2019-05-25

Sweden’s Expressen newspaper is now going to publish daily CO2 levels in the atmosphere

little-known Swedish teenager writes Sweden’s Expressen newspaper are now going to publish daily CO2 levels in the atmosphere “due to climate emergency”!! Very hopeful! Who will be the next to follow? An even less well known English greybeard replies That's gonna be pretty dull. They don't change much day-to-day. A more hopeful colonial inquires Can they take it to hundredths of ppm or something or are there detector limits or noise overwhelming signal problems? And this is a reasonable question.

So: "reporting" on day-to-day global CO2 levels is silly, because they don't change much day to day. Indeed, the annual round of There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans is dull too. CO2 is increasing, at about 2.5 ppm per year, but there's a seasonal cycle of about 4 ppm, so there's a peak every year, at which point the "news" that there's a new peak is breathlessly released. And if you were to report, daily, the global average, you'd be reporting declining CO2 levels for maybe a third of the year, which is probably not what the "climate emergency" folk want to see. But can you rescue the interest by reporting the measurements to hundredths of ppm? I don't think so.

Those global measurements are of course made up of lots of little individual measurements and the pretty graph shows how those typically vary by latitude. So, it's kinda like global temperature measurements, which are also going up but which also have a seasonal cycle and spatial variation; and the accuracy of the global average is better than the accuracy of the individual measurements.

Finally, you can look at individual measurements like the Keeling ones at Mauna Loa, and you see how they vary during the day. And you notice that the daily average is very much not the average of the hourly average. If that makes you think "aha! Gotcha you lying scientists can't even do averages properly" then you need to read Dumb America; which will lead you to Eli if you want more detail and How we measure background CO2 levels on Mauna Loa for even more excruciating detail.

Refs


EXTINCTION REBELLION THREATENS UNDEAD LANGUAGES
How confident are you about confidence intervals? - quiz
* Eli being rather less patient with deniers
* Less wrong isn't necessarily right - TF on How the Rural-Urban Divide Became America’s Political Fault Line by Emily Badger
* A call to climate action - Jonathan T. Overpeck, Cecilia Conde - Science  31 May 2019 / Vol. 364, Issue 6443, pp. 807 / DOI: 10.1126/science.aay1525.

2019-05-19

Rearranging deckchairs defo the right thing to be doing now

qgOiUoI As I said to that nice Richard Betts. Context: Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment From now, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’. Or you may prefer RS's take.

Update: ATTP notes something I should have mentioned," suggesting using climate science denier instead of climate sceptic". This is fair enough, for the majority of the denialists who simply are; be cautious about labelling the less committed as such.

Refs


* Peter Gabriel - FAMILY SNAPSHOT (Melt)
* The Style Guide at the End of the World - citizen joe smith
* Antitrust’s Sordid History by Donald J. Boudreaux
ASPIRING CLIMATE REFUGEES CROWD EVEREST SUMMIT - RS

2019-05-13

There are two sorts of people in the world...

D6STVOUWsAEho1z ...those who divide the people of the world up into two sorts, and those who don't. I'm one of the latter :-), Tamino it would appear is one of the former:
When it comes to man-made climate change, there are two kinds of people: those who take it seriously enough, and those who don’t. Joe Biden says he has a climate plan, but everything I hear about it (from both Joe and his opponents) leads me to believe he’s in the second group: he doesn’t take it seriously enough. Not even close. Anyone who claims we can deal with the problem but avoid a “radical transformation of the economy” is a fool...
So that leaves poor old Joe Biden, me, Donald Trump and Antony Watts in the second group, whilst the Pure of Heart stand proud in the first group. This reminds me of something I'm actually able to find, just for once: Oedipus Tex, and other Choral Calamities. And to spell out the obvious: when it comes to man-made climate change, there are many kinds of people. One group of people - distinct from Trump and Watts and Tamino - are those including me who "believe in" GW but think the GND is not just stupid but would in the unlikely event of it being imposed be actively harmful; and at best a pointless distraction.

And, no. I'm not teaching you how to think for yourself, or even offering to.


Refs


* The Guardian view on a Green New Deal: we need it now - Editorial
Trump Calls The Majority Who Voted Against Him Enemies And Losers In New Year’s Message?
* Partisanship is no substitute for values - Rich Puchalsky

2019-05-07

IMF working paper 2019: Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates

I think this is going to turn into an update to Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF? from 2015. The report (WP/19/89) itself is available from here. We read:
This paper updates estimates of fossil fuel subsidies, defined as fuel consumption times the  gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations), for 191 countries. Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017. The largest subsidizers in 2015 were China ($1.4 trillion), United States ($649 billion), Russia ($551 billion), European Union ($289 billion), and India ($209 billion). About three quarters of global subsidies are due to domestic factors—energy pricing reform thus remains largely in countries’ own national interest—while coal and petroleum together account for 85 percent of global subsidies. Efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015 would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28 percent and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46 percent, and increased government revenue by 3.8 percent of GDP.
coalSo that's nice - they have told us what they mean by "subsidy". Now I look, the previous report (WP/15/105) has much the same authors but a somewhat different abstract; my quibbles from before about what should "really" count as a subsidy remain. As before the "implicit" subsidies are much larger than the "explicit" ones. Let's look at one of their pictures, to try to make this clearer.

The pic tries to compare existing and efficient prices across the world for coal. One obvious puzzle is that the retail price (yellow circles) is near constant. Coal is globally trafficked, but that degree of constancy seems weird. GW is accounted for (red) at $40 per tonne. And for coal, the rest is local pollution. Some of this makes sense - presumably the Ukrainians burn bad coal badly in densely populated areas; ditto Thailand, China, Russia. The very low values for Mexico, Tanzania and Ethiopia are harder to understand. World-averaged, their calculations are that about 2/3 of coal "subsidies" are local pollution, and 1/3 GW.

gas Maybe looking at petrol will make things clearer. We see now what we already knew, that retail prices vary wildly. But we see something else that we probably didn't realise, that part of the implicit subsidy for petrol is "accidents". Another quite large one is congestion. Leading to the apparently bizarre conclusion that a country could potentially reduce it's fossil fuel subsidies by building more roads. Wait, what?

In a very few (basket) cases retail cost is less than supply cost, and these are the usual suspects: Saudi Arabia, Iran. These are unquestionably subsidies. Glboally, about 2/5 of petrol "subsidy" is local pollution; 2/5 other local factors; and the rest a mix.

So there you have it. This is of course not an IMF official document merely a working paper, but that won't stop people saying The IMF — no enemy of business — estimates that globally fossil fuels, which poison our future, are being subsidized $5.2 TRILLION annually...

Incidentally, I have no objection at all to their defining a quantity that is "the  gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations)". That seems like a useful quantity; I'm just doubtful that the bare word "subsidy" is a useful shorthand for that quantity.

Refs


* Why is carbon pricing in some countries more successful than in others? by Franziska Funke and Linus Mattauch
* The Hidden Subsidy of Fossil Fuels - A new report says that the world subsidized fossil fuels by $5.2 trillion in just one year. But that calculation is less tidy than it seems -  by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic.
* Walmart Bullied by Government, or Was It? by Pierre Lemieux
What Can A Research-Minded Metal Detectorist Do In Sweden? Aardvarchaeology – by Dr. Martin Rundkvist

2019-05-03

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency?

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency, Aunty tells me. The only hint the Beeb gives that they think this is all posturing is subtle: they don't bother tell you what was in the motion, or bother link to it. The Graun, who are perhaps less aware, say The motion called for the declaration of a climate emergency and urgent remedial action such as a green industrial revolution as well as changes to transport, agriculture and other areas; but again, can't be arsed to link to the motion itself. But I care deeply - well, it is unfair to mock it without reading it - and so found:
That this House declares an environment and climate emergency following the finding of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change that to avoid a more than 1.5°C rise in global warming, global emissions would need to fall by around 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by around 2050; recognises the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on UK food production, water availability, public health and through flooding and wildfire damage; notes that the UK is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets, with an alarming trend in species decline, and that cuts of 50 per cent to the funding of Natural England are counterproductive to tackling those problems; calls on the Government to increase the ambition of the UK’s climate change targets under the Climate Change Act 2008 to achieve net zero emissions before 2050, to increase support for and set ambitious, short-term targets for the roll-out of renewable and low carbon energy and transport, and to move swiftly to capture economic opportunities and green jobs in the low carbon economy while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon intensive sectors; and further calls on the Government to lay before the House within the next six months urgent proposals to restore the UK’s natural environment and to deliver a circular, zero waste economy.
Meh. Dull and wrong-headed. No mention of a carbon tax, but this is command-and-control Corbyn, so that's hardly surprising. Note the while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon intensive sectors which is the kind of special pleading that should be firmly squashed.

As if to prove that the pols are uselss for anything but squabbling, amendment b adds some irrelevant hobby-horsing about Brexit, and another pile of useless words. Amendment a is just dull.

Still, on the plus side, this satisfies the first demand of the Extinction Rebellion folks, so they can be well satisfied with their excellent progress. Or does "Tell the truth: Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change" mean they want the govt do do something? Maybe they aren't so happy after all. FWIW, I would say that on "tell the truth" they have nothing to complain about: the govt - as pretty well all Western govts - is straight down the IPCC line, perhaps even ahead of it; just read their gumpf.

Refs


Idea: To The Reader of these Sonnets by Michael Drayton - TF
* Bowties considered inappropriate? Update! AOC insults Rossiter!
* Would you like to read something more positive? Try We can't save the planet with half measures. We need to go all the way by Varshini "who he?" Prakash in the Graun
Warren Buffett’s Case for Capitalism
* Sorry, Emma Thompson, but you’ll never be perfect enough to save the planet - by Zoe Williams. Grauniad luvvie who cares deeply but wants to continue to fly defends other luvvie ditto.
An Economy Is Neither a Family Nor a Firm; It Is a Catallaxy
Am I a denier, a human extinction denier? - Mike Hulme; or, THE REPORT OF MIKE HULME'S EXTINCTION..... - RS; or, ATTP's take.
The 10 facts that prove we're in a climate emergency - Wired. Spot the stupidity.