World’s Energy Appetite Growing

by Judith Curry

[W]orld energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. – EIA

The EIA has published International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013).  Highlights can be found here.  Excerpts from the Highlights:

Total world energy use rises from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040 (Figure 1). Much of the growth in energy consumption occurs in countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),2 known as non-OECD, where demand is driven by strong, long-term economic growth. Energy use in non-OECD countries increases by 90 percent; in OECD countries, the increase is 17 percent. The IEO2013 Reference case does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that might affect energy markets.

Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year. However, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040. Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the outlook. Global natural gas consumption increases by 1.7 percent per year. Increasing supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane support growth in projected worldwide natural gas use. Coal use grows faster than petroleum and other liquid fuel use until after 2030, mostly because of increases in China’s consumption of coal and tepid growth in liquids demand attributed to slow growth in the OECD regions and high sustained oil prices.

The industrial sector continues to account for the largest share of delivered energy consumption; the world industrial sector still consumes over half of global delivered energy in 2040. Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46-percent increase.

World economic background

The world is still recovering from the effects of the 2008-2009 global recession.3 As these effects continue to be felt, many unresolved economic issues add to the uncertainty associated with this year’s long-term assessment of world energy markets. Currently, there is wide variation in the economic performance of different countries and regions around the world. Among the more mature OECD regions, the pace of growth varies but generally is slow in comparison with the emerging economies of the non-OECD regions. In the United States and Europe, short- and long-term debt issues remain largely unresolved and are key sources of uncertainty for future growth. Economic recovery in the United States has been weaker than the recoveries from past recessions, although expansion is continuing. In contrast, many European countries fell back into recession in 2012, and the region’s economic performance has continued to lag. Japan, whose economy had been sluggish before the devastating earthquake in March 2011, is recovering from its third recession in 3 years. Questions about the timing and extent of a return to operation for Japan’s nuclear power generators compound the uncertainty surrounding its energy outlook.

In contrast to the OECD nations, developing non-OECD economies, particularly in non-OECD Asia, have led the global recovery from the 2008-2009 recession. China and India have been among the world’s fastest growing economies for the past two decades. From 1990 to 2010, China’s economy grew by an average of 10.4 percent per year and India’s by 6.4 percent per year. Although economic growth in the two countries remained strong through the global recession, both slowed in 2012 to rates much lower than analysts had predicted at the start of the year. In 2012, real GDP in China increased by 7.2 percent, its lowest annual growth rate in 20 years. India’s real GDP growth slowed to 5.5 percent in 2012.

High sustained oil prices can affect consumer demand for liquid fuels, encouraging the use of less energy or alternative forms of energy, but also encouraging more efficient use of energy. Energy efficiency improvements are anticipated in every end-use sector, with global liquids intensity—liquid fuels consumed per dollar of GDP—declining (improving) by 2.6 percent per year from 2010 to 2040. However, some of the greatest potential for altering the growth path of energy use is in the transportation sector. The U.S. transportation sector provides a good example of this potential to change future liquids consumption. More stringent U.S. vehicle fuel economy standards offset growth in transportation activity, resulting in a decline in the country’s use of petroleum and other liquids over the projection. Improving vehicle fuel economy standards will likely be adopted throughout most of the world, helping to moderate future growth in liquids consumption.

In the long term, the IEO2013Reference case projects increased world consumption of marketed energy from all fuel sources through 2040 (Figure 2). Fossil fuels are expected to continue supplying much of the energy used worldwide. Although liquid fuels—mostly petroleum-based—remain the largest source of energy, the liquids share of world marketed energy consumption falls from 34 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2040, as projected high world oil prices lead many energy users to switch away from liquid fuels when feasible. The fastest growing sources of world energy in the Reference case are renewables and nuclear power. In the Reference case, the renewables share of total energy use rises from 11 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2040, and the nuclear share grows from 5 percent to 7 percent.

eia

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor provides some additional  text and comments:

Developing countries are driving the consumption of inexpensive fossil fuels, relying on them to fuel their emerging economies. That growth is likely to continue, but government intervention and international exchanges of low-carbon technology can help mitigate the energy and environmental impacts of economic development, experts say.

“There is still the opportunity, with smart policy interventions, to moderate the energy and emissions growth and potentially preserve the option of limiting warming to 2 degrees,” Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said in a telephone interview. 

“Rising prosperity in China and India is a major factor in the outlook for global energy demand. These two countries combined account for half the world’s total increase in energy use through 2040,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said in a statement Tuesday. “This will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets.”

“China has established itself as a global reader in renewables, in part by acquiring technology developed in the West through licensing arrangements,” Mr. Diringer said. “New coal plants built in China are state of the art. We are seeing the latest technology being deployed, but they are still building coal plants.” 

The result is increasing emissions. Worldwide, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020, according to EIA, and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040. That’s a 46 percent increase over 30 years.

Carbon intensity, on the other hand, is slowly declining. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output is expected to fall by 1.9 percent per year in OECD economies and by 2.7 percent per year in the non-OECD economies from 2010 to 2040, according to EIA. That decline is largely attributed to countries using energy more efficiently.  

“This trend of decreasing carbon intensity, combined with the increase in low-carbon energy sources, is good news, but is not enough to slow carbon emissions to the levels we know that we need to prevent further climate change,” Joanna Lewis, professor of science, technology, and international affairs at Georgetown University, wrote in an e-mail. 

“This only reaffirms our knowledge that ‘business as usual’ energy development is not good enough,” Ms. Lewis added, “and we need to dramatically think about how we produce and consume energy in the coming three decades, as this is a decisive time in determining our ability to mitigate future greenhouse gas emissions.”

JC comments:  The EIA does a very good job with these reports, IMO (I am curious about whether there are critiques of the EIA methods and how well their previous predictions have done).  These are sobering statistics for the UNFCCC:  the Kyoto protocol doesn’t seem to be working (understatement).  If one assumes that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing, does anyone see a realistic path forward that will make a significant dent in these projections on a time scale of 2040?

220 responses to “World’s Energy Appetite Growing

  1. Paging the estimable if yet unmeasured Tom Fuller.
    =================

    • Why, thank you kim. Your request could have rhymed, I’m sure… ;) Paging rhymes with ageing, for example…

      The EIA raised their estimated 30-year CAGR from 1.4% in 2011 to 1.5% in 2013. They also assigned specific growth rates to larger developing countries like China and India, where before they just threw one figure out to cover the entire developing world.

      However, their basic approach is still driven by their carefully constructed model, which looks at bottlenecks and constraints to supply rather than demand. And ever since supply broke free of constraints with the advent of increased supplies of natural gas, undersea oil, China’s relentless construction of hydro-electric facilities, etc., the EIA’s model is increasingly creak and we can see where they patch it in every report.

      Their estimate for 2040 is sadly too low. I’ve been told that they know it and are trying to walk their estimates upward bit by bit. As kim knows I’ve been harping on this for a couple of years at 3000Quads, which takes its title from my estimate of global consumption in 2075.

      Dan Nocera and Roger Pielke Jr. have published independent estimates more or less in line with mine (Nocera precedes me in this, although I didn’t know it until Mosher clued me in on him). Various national entities in China, Brazil and India have also published estimates of future energy needs that are closer to our independent estimates than to the EIA.

      Who would ever suspect an agency would be so tied to a model that they would defend it long after its utility had ceased to exist? They built the model (and indeed the entire agency) to deal with the post oil crisis era where there were emerging constraints to supply. It worked wonderfully for a couple of decades and I understand why they want to hold onto it.

      And Judith, I share your respect for the EIA. They’re really good and do a lot of good work. I think I go there three or four times a week, which probably says too much about me.

      But I predicted 2030 energy consumption of 912 quads compared to their prediction for 2040 of about one hundred quads less.

      The pertinence to the climate debate, if it isn’t screamingly obvious, is that if planners use the EIA’s lower estimates and I am by good fortune correct, the portfolio mix of energy will end up being dominated by coal by default. And if we get to 3000 quads by 2075 and it’s coming from coal, we’re screwed.

      • Tom– We screwed? Based upon what assumptions? Who is we?

      • Hi Rob

        One quad is equivalent to energy obtained from a coal train loaded with anthracite coal that extends to 3,789 miles in length. Stretching from Albuquerque to Anchorage. If we burn the coal from 3,000 trains of such length each year starting around 2075 we will not be able to see the thermometers that tell us whether or not temperatures are rising.

      • As a follow-on comment, Rob, what part of using six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010 is reassuring? (And I’m not arguing for limiting consumption–that’s a non sequitur. I’m arguing for configuring our fuels portfolio to minimize pollution and, yes, climate change.)

      • “…what part of using six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010 is reassuring?”

        It is reassuring that the billions of poor across the globe are having increased access to relatively cheap energy. Even China is slowly moving beyond its bronze age economy, albeit too slowly I am sure for the hundreds of millions living on.

        From the notoriously conservative Wikipedia:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

        (This just proves that as bad as it is, economic fascism – state run capitalism – is better than pure socialism. Although as Russia is showing, it tends to revert back toward plain old socialism in the long run.)

        It’s hard to have any growth where people have no access to energy. The only hope the billion poor Chinese (and Africans and Indians and…) have is of exponential growth in the access to, and use of, cheap energy.

        The prospect of enormous growth in energy use reassures me a lot.

      • Hi Gary M, yes, me too. That’s why I said limiting consumption is a non sequitur. But surely we should plan what fuels we will burn to provide this… Do we want most of the world to have skies as grey as Beijing?

      • Tom Fuller,

        Hi backatcha.

        Nope, we don’t want skies as grey as Beijing. And somehow we don’t, although the last I checked, we are still burning a fair share of the same fossil fuels in the west.

        If some genius entrepreneurs come up with an alternative energy, with limited government financial assistance, I am all for it.

        But the Chinese, Indians, Russians and Africans don’t need windmills, biofuels, or “electric” cars. They need free markets and relatively honest politicians (don’t we all?).

        So no, I don’t think we should “plan” what fuels we should use, collectively. I think we should, as a free society, continue as we have. Our energy use has increased while our pollution problems have markedly improved.

        Did you ever visit the old East Germany before reunification? It was like one of those twin studies done on humans, except at the natural level. Same people, same geography, pretty much the same resources. One an environmental toilet of poverty. The other one of the strongest, cleanest modern economies in the world.

        Alternative fuels will come a lot faster if hundreds or even thousands of companies are pursuing their own research, than if the government picks one or two winners and beggars the losers.

      • Rob Starkey

        Tom
        Tom

        Personally I view the “we” in regards to energy policy as a national concern far more than I view “we” as a global perspective. The planet is governed by nation states and not an optimized world order.
        From a US perspective, yes “we” should have a longer term perspective that has energy independence and a secure supply as a centerpiece of a national economic policy. That might include potentially limiting or highly taxing the export of fossil fuels in order to preserve them for domestic use. It should also include practical measures to deploy alternate energies to fossil fuels where those fuels can be effectively employed.
        A sound national policy would entail decisions made on facts and data and not emotional responses to issues. As an example US policy on domestic nuclear power is largely based on emotion and not engineering or science. If the US was to build modern nuclear plants to standard designs with a vastly streamed lined regulatory process the time to build these facilities would be cut in less than half and so would be the cost. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to energy production. Again- “we” in this case is the US.

      • Rob Starkey

        Tom
        The “we” is also individual nation states doing what needs to be done to protect their citizens from the hams that result from a sometimes adverse climate that is undoubtedly going to vary over time. The construction of robust infrastructure combined with reliable short term forecasts of approaching hazardous weather is the best means to protect people from “bad weather”. It is not the responsibility of US citizens to fix other countries poor infrastructure.
        On a long term basis- CO2 levels will continue to rise. We will sell what happens to the climate/weather as a result.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tom, we should probably talk especially WRT projections for China.

      • ” coal train loaded with anthracite coal that extends to 3,789 miles in length. “

        Not much anthracite coal left in the USA, and most of that is in eastern Pennsylvania:

        http://www.shulersnet.com/coalcracker/coalfeld.htm

        They are also going into West Virginia to get anthracite, but of course that is the home of mountain-top removal

        When we start to move to lignite, the high-EROEI coal party is over

        http://www.wvcoal.com/mining-101.html

      • This is what you have to know about China:

        See that up-turn right after 2000? That is a significant upturn of aerosols and particulates going into the atmosphere — a doubling in under 10 years. And how much of that is brown (lignite) coal is unknown, but is sure to increase over time.

        Are the skies in China brown?

      • Now, if only reality would provide some evidence that CO2 has any effect other than improving agriculture, your posthumous 2075 “screwed” prediction would have a chance of “success”. Fortunately, it’s just more irrelevant wailing.

    • “Who would ever suspect an agency would be so tied to a model that they would defend it long after its utility had ceased to exist?”

      You think that’s bad? Imagine governments and agencies throughout the western world tied like Ahab to the whale to climate models whose utility has never existed

  2. Since we are cooling for how long even kim doesn’t know, the assumption that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing is not a good assumption.

    I say, let the plants vote. That’s where our food comes from.

    Good food, too. OK, OK, define ‘food’ and ‘good’. With links to support the argument, dammit.
    =================

    • Praise Gaia and pass the mitochondrial power.
      =========

      • The mitochondrial membrane potential is generally about 170 mV in steady state and the pH potential is about 12 mV, giving an overall potential of about 180 mV, in the normal steady state of 3.5.
        All your energetic’s is driven by a potential that is less than one tenth of an AA battery, the flux through the system is very impressive.

      • Don’t you mean chloroplast power? The original “photovoltaics” as in “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

    • Kim, “The energy content of dry stool is about 2.3 x 107 J/kg [5]. Thus, a high-fiber population produces 5.98 x 1018 J/year of energy, well short of the 1020 J/year of energy consumed in the world. [7]”

      Combined with Liposuction for fuels, we can poop power the the world.

    • If one assumes that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing.

      Kim +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++…. . .

      Only if you want animals who depend on green growing things to die. It is one form of population control. I vote for as much CO2 as we can get. Plants really grew good when earth had more CO2. That is why we have a lot of fossil fuel.
      Trying to do drastic things to lower CO2, using current consensus, is shooting ourselves in the foot before we really know much about how much we depend on feet.
      More people die in winter from cold than in summer from heat. Fossil fuel helps us run the air conditioners. More food grew in the Medieval Warm Period, in more places, than in the Little Ice Age.

    • for how long even kim doesn’t know

      The last ten thousand years has been very consistent.

      The cooling will last about the same as the cooling after the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods.
      Doubling a trace gas may have a trace influence but it will not be enough for us to measure and separate it from the cooling that is coming.
      Climate scientists have not explained why they think this warming, which is much like all the other warmings of the past ten thousand years, would not have happened this time without us.

  3. to prevent increased demand for energy and food, ladies need to keep their legs crossed. maybe another world war? better increase energy demand…

    • Wrong. De-population will start to bite by about 2050. The Inverted Pyramid is not a stable or pleasant place to live.

    • Brian H | July 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm said: ”Wrong. De-population will start to bite by about 2050”

      planet cannot have more than 5billion people; without drastic damage to the ecology.

      if the ladies keep their legs crossed – wouldn’t need for unpleasant inverted piramid

      • Wiki-world population projections shows 7+ billion now, 8 billion by 2025. According to you, there will be a lot of ‘drastic damage to the ecology’. Do you think that will be due to inability for agriculture to keep up with population, removing natural terrain to farming, or inability to supply adequate food to the billions??

      • Walter Carlson | August 2, 2013 at 10:02 am said: ”Wiki-world population projections shows 7+ billion now, 8 billion by 2025. According to you, there will be a lot of ‘drastic damage to the ecology’’

        overcrowding destroys everything; environment /. quality of life, stability

        1] evenly distribution of food – who is going to pay the producers of that food – they don’t get paid = they can’t function, produce

        2] quality of life is important for social stability, not just subsistence

        3] if economy is good – government can afford to pay to people to look after the environment / national parks

        4] if I’m next to a national park – the children starving – I’ll kill any animal to feed them – / will chop from that park trees to cook meals

        on the end – starvation is not fun/ life not worth leaving. cheers!

  4. Chief Hydrologist

    The most significant event in the short history of climate science happened in 1998/2001. Climate spontaneously reorganized itself in to a cooler mode.

    We should all eat just meat and fruit. Gifts of the vegetable kingdom. Hmmmmm. Praise Gaia.

    • She/It put us here to combat and slow and maybe reverse the suicidal sequestration of CO2 supplies by plants and plankton. We’d better get on with it.

  5. Continued growth of CO2 emissions of 46% every 30 years, would put us above 700 ppm by 2100. That is 3 C above preindustrial even for a low sensitivity, and more like 4 C for medium sensitivity.

    • Jim D | July 29, 2013 at 12:08 am said: ”Continued growth of CO2 emissions of 46% every 30 years, would put us above 700 ppm by 2100”

      Jimmy boy, CO2 is NOT a global warming gas; relax and you can sleep better. You are only scaring yourself; because others have guts or brains.

      • Bush, Baker, Gray are all oil industry guys and they know enough not to be too direct in spelling things out. It is naive to think that a lawyer at that level would directly point out a dying industry.

        No Regrets long-term going to alternative sources of energy while we feed off of transitional forms, and in so doing keep the global economy moving forward.

      • WHT,

        you don’t understand what ‘No Regrets’ policy means. You may be referencing some extremist climate alarmists’ spin.

        ‘No Regret’s’ policies, in standard economic meaning, are policies that would provide net economic benefits whether or not the uncertain events or conditions (e.g global warming, man-made climate change, peak oil, etc) turn out to be as projected by the alarmists or are a non event. That is the standard meaning of ‘No Regret’s’ policies.

        If you stick to the standard meaning, instead of trying to redefine it to suite some political or ideological agenda, then people can have a rational discussion about rational energy policy without being diverted into arguments about redefining definitions about widely accepted terms.

        No point linking to your biased sources. Just accept how the term is being used and try to understand the debate about rational policy options and analysis.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘‘No regrets options are by definition GHG emissions reduction options that have negative net costs, because they generate direct or indirect benefits that are large enough to offset the costs of implementing the options. The costs and benefits included in the assessment, in principle, are all internal and external impacts of the options. External costs arise when markets fail to provide a link between those who create the “externality and those affected by it; more generally, when property rights for the relevant resources are not well defined. External costs can relate to environmental side-impacts, and distortions in markets for labour, land, energy resources, and various other areas. By convention, the benefits in an assessment of GHG emissions reduction costs do not include the impacts associated with avoided climate change damages.’

        http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg3/index.php?idp=292

        Stick to the point – and preferably the thread. So you’re privy to inside information from the conservative ‘big boys’? What a laugh.

        I fully expect a transition from fossil fuels sooner rather than later but it will be driven by technological innovation rather than scarcity. It is still not sufficient to reduce other greenhouse gases to negligible levels. For that you need broader social and environmental programs addressing a far wider range of issues.

        Nor is it ‘no regrets’ carbon mitigation in the common understanding of the term. Confusing terminologies merely serves to undermine communicating.

      • Chief,

        I’ll bold the last line of your quote from the IPCC TAR:

        By convention, the benefits in an assessment of GHG emissions reduction costs do not include the impacts associated with avoided climate change damages.

        Hopefully that will put the argument to bed.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        In principle no regrets are still no regrets even if there are no climate costs. If fuel costs are made higher then that is not no regrets – if prices are lower with technological innovation then that is just business as usual.

      • CH, sometimes the cheaper energy comes with more warming, doesn’t it? That is the crux of the matter. Would you regret the extra warming or not? What is ‘no regrets’ in the context of a hotter world?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I’m waiting for no regret options and not silly little and quite misguided scare stories.

      It is a lot tedious Jim. The world is not warming. Interesting as that is to a natural philosopher – the germane issue is the politics. Hoping that the world isn’t cooling is not a viable strategy if you want to avoid losing another generation to inaction.

      • The Chef does not even understand the concept of a No Regrets policy. We won’t regret moving off of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change since fossil fuels are a finite and nonrenewable energy source in the first place. And so we must replace crude oil, etc with alternative energy sources.

        It is as simple as that, no matter how much the Chef’s infinitely renewable ego wants to complicate matters.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘No regrets options are by definition GHG emissions reduction options that have negative net costs, because they generate direct or indirect benefits that are large enough to offset the costs of implementing the options. The costs and benefits included in the assessment, in principle, are all internal and external impacts of the options. External costs arise when markets fail to provide a link between those who create the “externality and those affected by it; more generally, when property rights for the relevant resources are not well defined. External costs can relate to environmental side-impacts, and distortions in markets for labour, land, energy resources, and various other areas. By convention, the benefits in an assessment of GHG emissions reduction costs do not include the impacts associated with avoided climate change damages.’

        http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg3/index.php?idp=292

        webby again rejects reality and substitutes his own.

      • ‘No regrets options are by definition GHG emissions reduction options that have [zero or] negative net costs, because they generate direct or indirect benefits that are large enough to offset the costs of implementing the options.

        Dead right, Chief.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        let’s make it abundantly clear yet again. There are hundreds of years of fossil fuel supplies available. Nor can we consider liquid fuels to be in short supply.

        e.g. http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/briefs/coaltoliquid/

      • C.Boyden Gray who was counsel to Pres Clinton at the time wrote about the No Regrets environmental policy in 1991. It is very straightforward to understand and has broad practical applications for decision making.

      • Check that, Gray was councel to Pres Bush 1 in 1991.

        One can flip the tables that oil depletion no regrets has the environmental benefit of mitigating climate change.

        It is very simple.

      • Chief, I think Webster and BartR are right. We need to preserve what crude oil we have in order to ensure there is plenty of Vasiline available.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Gray was a classic liberal of the best kind. Webby in his usual style applies a tendentious interpretation to C. Boyden Gray A “No Regrets” Environmental Policy.

        Unless there is agreement on definitions no rational discourse is even approachable. The definition from the IPCC I gave above is by no means different to the sense it is used by Gray and has the virtue of being explicit.

        Gray’s approach is very similar to that of the 2010 Hartwell Paper and ‘Climate Pragmatism: Innovation, Resilience and No Regrets’ from the Breakthrough Institute.

      • The Chef references a 2010 paper when No Regrets policy was defined back in1991

        http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/bcic14&div=6&id=&page=

        “U.S. policy toward climate change-and perhaps other environmental problems involving inherent uncertainty-is characterized by what has come to be known as the “no regrets” policy. According to Secretary of State James Baker, the “no regrets” policy means that the United States is “prepared to take actions that are fully justified in their own right [that is, make economic sense] and which have the added advantage of coping with greenhouse gases. They’re precisely the policies we will never have cause to regret.”

        If you Aussies have your own definition, then follow it on your own terms, but don’t be making stuff up for the rest if us.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        webnutcolonoscope fails even to recognize tat I quoted the IPCC on no regrets.

        Gray and Baker – both conservatives of course – suggest that no regrets policy involves a net positive of benefits over costs. Neither embraced either cap and trade or carbon taxes as far as I can see. The IPCC explicitly excludes avoided climate damage from the calculation. On principle no regrets actions are by the common definition actions that would not be regretted even should climate change fizzle out.

        Webby is seriously warped.

      • The Chef says in one comment that CB Gray is a “liberal” and then in another comment says that Gray is a “conservative”.

        No one should pay attention to anything that The Chef says because he will cook up any kind of argument for no other reason than to promote FUD.

        As defined in 1991, a No Regrets policy is general enough to apply to “perhaps other environmental problems involving inherent uncertainty”. In more informal terms, it is also known as a policy that encourages solving problems via the technique of ‘killing two birds with one stone’.

        Of course, most of the 97% of the scientific community understand and accept this reality. The reality is that we won’t regret moving off of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change since we always knew that fossil fuels were a finite and nonrenewable energy source from the start. So to apply the analogy, one bird is climate change and the other bird is finite oil. We transition off of oil and we can kill two birds with one one stone.

        And that’s why we replace crude oil with alternative energy sources, while ignoring all the FUD spewing from people like The Chef.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I said Gray was a classic liberal – which is not the same as an American liberal who is not liberal at all. Gray is in the great tradition of thinkers committed to freedom as heirs of the Scottish Enlightenment.

        Webby may believe something about fossil fuels – but replacing them with wind and solar hardly seems no regrets policy. Actual no regrets policies are much more clearly defined here – http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Climate_Pragmatism_web.pdf

        It is all such ill educated nonsense from webby – not merely of science but of any sort of wider cultural awareness. A mish mash of insults and clumsily phased and flimsy argument. An obsession with what I call climate trivia and equally with misguided notions of oil depletion without any sense that he has a broader picture of the science of climate or of social and technological dynamics.

      • The Chef now says that a liberal and a conservative are the same thing.

        And The Chef says that C Boyden Gray has some special quality of enlightenment that I could care less about. All that matters is that he recently said that a transition from oil is underway, in much the same way that Churchill plotted a course from coal to oil in the UK:

        http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/25/gray-natural-gas-and-our-winston-churchill-moment/

        This is precautionary principle and no regrets and all those other proposals that policy makers put on the table all the time. They make a case for going in a certain direction based on a broad range of decision criteria.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

        ‘This time, the stakes are too high for us to succumb to blunt reactionary opposition. We can achieve both economic growth and energy preeminence — these goals are not mutually exclusive.

        Finally, there is no reason to exempt gas from the economic principles of comparative advantage that support free trade. Why not restrict agricultural exports for the benefit of American food processors? Exports restrictions make no more sense for energy than they do for agriculture.’

        Read more: http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/25/gray-natural-gas-and-our-winston-churchill-moment/#ixzz2aYZ9G6Xt
        Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

        Gray is talking about gas export – but webby seems to think that this new natural gas supply is not significant in the scheme of things.

        He seems not to be all that honest or consistent.

      • Strictly on the “no regrets” definition: in economic terms, a policy has “no regrets” if the returns are at least equal to the opportunity cost. That is, there are no alternative uses of funds which would yield a higher (risk-related) rate of return. Only policies which meet that test “make economic sense.” So to Webby’s 3.03 quote:

        > “no regrets” policy means that the United States is “prepared to take actions that are fully justified in their own right [that is, make economic sense] and which have the added advantage of coping with greenhouse gases. They’re precisely the policies we will never have cause to regret.” <

        That statement means that policies will be adopted which help cope with greenhouse gases [I'll not quibble here about whether we need coping policies] but which meet their opportunity cost without attributing any benefits to the aspects of dealing with global warming.

        No one could quarrel with such policies. However, in practice, there must be virtually no policies which meet that criteria – almost all policies adopted that I know of have had high economic costs, I can't off-hand think of any genuine "no-regrets" policies. Any offers?

      • Faustino,

        Taking you up on your question “Any offers”, these policies have delivered huge net benefits:

        – free trade agreements
        – floating the currency
        – removing market distortions
        – removing ineffficient taxes and replacing them with efficent taxes
        – removing laws that reduce labor flexibility and reduce productivity
        – promoting and maintaining market competition (eg Hilmer reforms in Australia)
        – privatising the electricity industry (e.g. Victoria)

        I’d argue strongly that reducing the regulatory and licencing laws and regulations that are preventing the development of cheap, small nuclear power plants would be a ‘No Regret’s policy with enormous benefits and minimal costs. it would be no regrets because it would deliver the benefits for the world no matter whether GHG emissions is a big deal or not. an enormously.

        Two more examples of government policies that would deliver large net benefits are scrapping the ETS and renewable energy targets.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Strictly speaking – if benefits exceed costs then there is no opportunity cost. I would stick to the IPCC definition if I were you.

        There are dozens at least of no regrets options. Free trade leads to development – leads to reduced population growth – wealthier people replace black carbon sources with other cooking equipment, replace equipment and institute pollution control, restore ecosystems and repair farmlands. You are not thinking out of the square Faustino.

      • “No regrets measures are those for which benefits, such as reduced energy costs and reduced emissions of local/regional pollutants equal or exceed their cost to society, excluding the benefits of climate change mitigation. They are sometimes known as measures worth doing anyway”

      • Peter & Chief, I was talking strictly in terms of policies intended to reduce emissions etc, which is the context of this thread. Of course there are policies in the great scheme of things which are “no regrets,” and I’ve hopefully contributed to them e.g. in competition policy and regulation.

        Chief, it is not sufficient that benefits exceed costs, there is an opportunity cost so long as there are alternative uses of resources which have a greater return. Choosing a policy with a low rate of return rather than one with a high ROR is not a “no regrets” policy. Peter, this also applies to your second comment. Projects etc with a positive return are only “worth doing anyway” if there is no higher-return alternative. Increased wealth means (generally speaking) more future options, choosing a lower-wealth path is not a “no regrets” option.

      • Faustino,

        Yes, I understood what you meant. Sorry for not prefacing my list with a better lead in introduction. My list of policies was to provide background (to others) to show that policies can be net beneficial and to provide some examples. Then I went on to list some GHG relevant policies that would, IMO, be net beneficial. Allowing nuclear power to compete on a level playing field with other electricity generation options would be hugely net beneficial and also deliver global GHG emissions reductions.

        I take your point about ‘No Regrets’ policies and opportunity cost. However, I do not recall ‘opportunity cost’ being mentioned in the standard definition in the early 1990’s when I was involved in and contributing to the Hawke Government’s Ecologically Sustainable Development ‘Energy Production’ and ‘Energy Use’ reports, to the Industry Commission “Costs and Benefits of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions” and to ABARE modelling. I accept you are correct from a more rigorous economic definition, but I am referring to the widely used wording used in the reports and policy documents at the time. I could dig out the exact wording from the hard copies of these report, which I have, if I wanted to spend the time but don’t see it is worth the effort because it would just be dismissed by WHT and his ilk anyway.

      • Yes, the practical application of a No Regrets policy and the related Precautionary Principle would make most denier’s belly-aching null and void.

        We move away from fossil fuels because they are a finite and nonrenewable resource, and we are seeing the implications of this WRT conventional crude oil depletion big-time.

        Is there something about this that you Aussies do not understand?
        Am I supposed to be afraid of your “ilk”? Are you acting out like a bunch of junior Crocodile Dundees wielding a bigger knife?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Faustino,

        You assume that alternative no regrets strategies are mutually exclusive – they are not. The categories I used were very broad. Health for instance. There are obviously detailed calculations to be made as to malaria or aids treatments – well basically both – but what the optimum public health funding mix is. Better health outcomes is a factor that feeds into reduced population growth. To an extent there are limited aid funds or domestic budgets – but to a greater extent the solution is to increase the pool of available funds through free trade, macroeconomic management, corporate governance, the rule of law, etc. Things that should be done because benefits exceed costs are things that should be done. All of them.

        Repairing agricultural soils is an area where benefits exceed costs. This improves productivity and increases farm income. It also sequesters carbon. Obviously if there is some better way to improve productivity it should be pursued first – but ultimately anything that improves productivity creates resources for other improvements. Thus they are not mutually exclusive and there is no opportunity cost.

        But it remains that no regrets in the sense of environmental economics has a specific meaning – which is what this typically benighted discussion with the idiot Webster was about. Benefits exceed costs and this does not include costs of mooted climate impacts.

      • No Regrets policies are commutative. One can easily start with the initial premise that we should move off of fossil fuels because it is a finite and non-renewable resource and thus will not last forever. We have high confidence in this fact but we can seal the deal by adding the No Regrets criteria of mitigating climate change via this decision.

        It works in either direction.

        See how one can run circles around The Chef?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I was ignoring you webby – because you are an idiot. A climate change ‘no regrets’ policy is defined by everyone that matters in these things as one that has net benefits – not including any benefit from avoided climate impacts.

        Energy substitution makes sense only if the new energy source is cheaper than the old. That might come as a result of increasing prices – or lower cost alternatives or a combination of both. Certainly doable at current prices. Only pissant progressives are opposed to technological innovation and cheaper energy.

      • “No regrets” policy is effectively short for “no regrets if you are wrong.” In the climate context, it refers to policies that might well mitigate GHG emissions, but will have a net benefit even if there is no climate catastrophe and the emission reductions were unnecessary.

        That is what the term means, until the obscurantists get ahold of it.

      • GaryM | July 31, 2013 at 11:42 pm |

        “No regrets” policy is effectively short for “no regrets if you are wrong.”

        Right, that’s why when you add the predictable fossil fuel depletion as a reason to mitigate, you have zero chance of making the wrong decision. no regrets all around.

    • It’s not a scare story, but imagine what a line going up to 3 C tacked onto this would look like by 2100. Its range goes up to less than 1C for all the past climate.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/to:2010/mean:120/offset:0.4

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The background warming is at most 0.08 degrees C/decade. Continuing this until 2100 is not a scary scenario. Funny enough 0.8 degrees C to 2100 is exactly what Jabberwock says.

        But 3 more climate shifts – just like the momentous 1998/2001 climate shift is more likely. You’ve come a cropper Jim. Just give it up and move on.

        That’s it – we have the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976/77 and the Momentous Climate Shift of 1998/2001.

    • Cees de Valk

      Jim D, China is already an aging society, like most, now or soon (except Africa/Middle East). To my knowledge, for that reason, no one is predicting continued growth of CO2 emissions of 46% every 30 years.

      • Agree that “46% every 30 years” is probably exaggerated, since world population growth is expected to slow down over this century to around one-fourth the exponential rate of the 1960-2000 period (0.4% CGR versus 1.6%).

        Even if we ASS-U-ME that per capita energy use from fossil fuels will increase by 30% (it increased by 20% from 1970 to 2000) we only arrive at slightly above 600 ppmv by 2100.

        Of course, if there is a concerted switch to nuclear for new power plants, this could be considerably lower.

        Max

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I think you might underestimate per capita energy growth Max.

      • Rob Starkey

        JCH

        If you believe “Government and industry are working closely on the most expedited process reasonable possible for approval for construction and new plant designs.” I have a great investment for you. The time and cost to build a modern nuclear plant could be drastically reduced if the proces were managed differently.

    • Yep. So why aren’t you out there agitating that Obama and his team stop blocking progress on cheap, nuclear energy to help meet the world’s ever increasing demand for energy?

      • Hi Peter
        I’d love to see your exhortations to people about urging previous presidents to stop blocking progress on cheap nuclear energy. Got any filed away?

      • Rob Starkey

        Tom

        Is it a contest to see which president made the worst choices or is it better to point out when the current one is making bad decisions? Obama could enact policies that would vastly reduce the cost of generating electricity via nuclear power and at the same time speed deployment and increase the creation of jobs– but that has not been done due to political and emotional reasons.

      • +1

        Succinctly stated.

      • Rob, I’d love to see more nuclear energy. So would Obama. He can’t just wave a magic wand and make it happen.

      • Rob Starkey

        Tom

        I strongly disagree that President Obama would love more nuclear power in the US. He could change the practices under which the approval and construction of nuclear plants are made. He could publically endorse a plan to adopt a standard design and advocate the construction of several dozen such plants at the same time to vastly reduce cost. Those steps have no been taken (imo) because the president’s political base is generally against nuclear power.

      • Nuclear Power in the USA

        (Updated July 2013)

        The USA is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30% of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity.

        The country’s 104 nuclear reactors produced 821 billion kWh in 2011, over 19% of total electrical output. There are now 100 units operable and three under construction.

        Following a 30-year period in which few new reactors were built, it is expected that 4-6 new units may come on line by 2020, the first of those resulting from 16 licence applications made since mid-2007 to build 24 new nuclear reactors.

        However, lower gas prices since 2009 have put the economic viability of some of these projects in doubt.

        Government policy changes since the late 1990s have helped pave the way for significant growth in nuclear capacity. Government and industry are working closely on expedited approval for construction and new plant designs.

      • JCH,

        Yes. I know all that. You can spin the facts many different ways. The way I see it is that nuclear power’s proportion of total electricity generation has declined from 18% to 13% and the bloc k in the USA for the past 30 years has been the main reason. The block on development of small nuclear plants has prevented them being available to emerging economies, which is where much of the growth is and will be for decades.

        The USA just the default world regulator. NRC has enormous influence on development.

        The share of electricity generated by nuclear in the USA has been going backwards for decades and still is. The opposite is what should be happening. All that needs to be reversed. The US President could make it happen. See my other comments/

      • Peter,

        I don’t think it fair to say the Obama administration is blocking nuclear. Could more be done to reduce the regulatory burden? Yes. Perhaps the best move would be to limit the ability of interlopers to stop the process through litigation meant primarily to add costly delays.

      • Rob,

        I don’t think Obama has any anti nuclear bias. Some in his administration may and he certainly is aware that a segment of his supporters have strong opinions about it. That didn’t stop him from providing loan guarantees for new construction.

        Of course I don’t believe he cares much about climate change beyond how it involves keeping political allies from dropping their support.

      • timg56,

        I don’t think Obama has any anti nuclear bias.

        OK. If you are right he has no real strength of conviction on it. But that is no use. If he wants to cut global GHG emissions he needs to display strong leadership for policies that can actually achieve the results.

        He needs to support rational policies instead of the near useless and highly economically damaging policies he has been supporting.

      • Some US nuclear plants are worryingly close to sea-level. A particular case is Turkey Point close to Miami. The Florida state conservative legislature has denied that there is anything to be cautious about there. Unfortunately a lot of states in that region with nuclear power plants are conservative. So nuclear power stations are one thing: who controls their planning is another consideration. Some people just shouldn’t be entrusted.

      • One of the last nukes built in the United States was a Comanche Peak near Glen Rose, Texas. I lived in Dallas when it first came on line. We got two bills. One glowed in the dark and one had coal dust on it. The bill that glowed in the dark was sky high. The bill with coal dust on it was dirt cheap.

        The public erupted in outrage.

        The Texas legislature met and altered the plan. The amortization of construction costs was spread over a much longer period of time, and the bills were combined.

        Nuclear power died in Texas. No Texan would ever let the greenies win. Nukes could not compete with coal at virtually giveaway prices. Texans are realists.

      • JCH,

        Either you have read nothing I’ve what I written or haven’t understood any of it.

      • “Rob, I’d love to see more nuclear energy. So would Obama.”

        Yes, Obama wants nuclear power, just like he wants to support traditional marriage, and keep lobbyists out of the White House, and be the most open administration in history, and make energy prices sky rocket.

        Oh wait, he actually meant that last one.

      • Jim D,

        You have joined Dave Springer in showing how ill informed you are regarding commercial nuclear generation.

        The storyline of nuke plants being threatened by sea level rise is fiction. You have to show that sea level is rising at a rate to be concerned about. Until you can do that you are crying at shadows.

        It is crap like this that has me questioning the credibility of people who claim a warmer world is worrying. And if there are in fact impacts we b
        need to be concerned about, you are guilty of distracting people from real problems with your ignorance, gullibility or purposeful intent to spread false information.

      • David Springer

        @timg56

        I’d be offended at you calling me ignorant if you weren’t such a retard.

      • Springer

        My exact words were ill informed.

        As for being a retard, do I need to remind you that while the Marines are looking for a “few” good men, the Submarine Service only accepts good men.

        Joking aside Dave, your opinions on nuclear power have little basis in fact.

      • Peter,

        There are times where I think the only thing President Obama really cares about is himself and his family.

    • Jim D

      Continued growth of CO2 emissions of 46% every 30 years, would put us above 700 ppm by 2100. That is 3 C above preindustrial even for a low sensitivity, and more like 4 C for medium sensitivity.

      Correction:

      If we ASS-U-ME that year 2100 CO2 level will be 700 ppmv (one of IPCC’s higher estimates), we have
      1.3C warming by 2100 with “low sensitivity” (i.e. 2xCO2 = 1.6C)
      and
      2.6C warming by 2100 with “high sensitivity” (3.2C)

      Since your 700 ppmv is on the high side and latest observation-based studies show that sensitivity is around 1.6C (rather than 3.2C, as previously estimated), we are probably talking about warming of around 1C by 2100 (not 3 to 4C, as you’ve stated).

      Just to put things into proper perspective.

      Max

      • In terms of forcing 700+ ppm translates to 5 W/m2, which is not one of the higher estimates. They have 6 and 8.5 W/m2 estimates in AR5, but they include other GHGs in this.

      • “Since your 700 ppmv is on the high side and latest observation-based studies show that sensitivity is around 1.6C (rather than 3.2C, as previously estimated), we are probably talking about warming of around 1C by 2100 (not 3 to 4C, as you’ve stated).”

        Climate sensitivities that will actually impact the human condition are about 3C per doubling of atmospheric CO2. Numbers of 2C or less are obtained if one averages in the ocean surface numbers. However, since very few people live in the middle of the oceans, this does not have as big impact as land-based warming does.

        So once again, Manacker treats observational reality as a silly matter.

      • WHT

        You are moving the goalposts, Webby.

        In all its past reports IPCC has been trying to frighten us with the rising “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly”.

        That indicator has stopped increasing for some time now despite unabated GHG emissions and failed IPCC projections of continued rapid warming..

        So now it’s only the “land only” part that matters.

        Or is it the purported (but unmeasured) increase in OHT?

        Fuggidaboudit, Webby.

        Max

    • manacker, a low sensitivity of 2 C per doubling gives 2.6 C and 3 C gives 4 C by 2100 on a scale where pre-industrial temps are zero. This is for 700 ppm, which itself would be lower than the 46% growth rate gives.
      Also some have the mistaken view that just population growth is causing this increase when it is mainly development increasing the carbon per capita in less developed countries. Development will continue through 2100 unless something catastrophic happens to those societies.

      • Jim D

        Two points:

        You are “starting” your projected warming at some hypothetical “pre-industrial” date around 1750, a period when we were still coming out of the Little Ice Age and had a harsher climate than today.

        This is silly.

        Warming projections should start today. The past is behind us and we are arguably much better off with today’s climate than with that of 1750.

        700 ppmv is very close to IPCC AR4 “scenario and storyline” A1B, third down from the highest estimate, out of the total of six alternates (i.e. two estimates are higher, three are lower than 700 ppmv).

        Just to clear things up.

        Max

        PS No. It is not “scary” to me that you project we could be at 700 ppmv CO2 by 2100. Why should it be “scary”?

      • manacker, in AR5 they have the RCP6 and RCP8.5 projections, where 6 and 8.5 are W/m2 by 2100 versus preindustrial. RCP8.5 may be considered extreme, but RCP6 is not and represents over 700 ppm CO2e in GHGs. Preindustrial equilibrium is used as a base because the current state is not in equilibrium, so some warming is in the pipeline already making it not a well defined starting point for measuring temperature rise.

      • Jim D

        Also some have the mistaken view that just population growth is causing this increase when it is mainly development increasing the carbon per capita in less developed countries.

        It is no “mistaken view” that the human population is responsible for human GHG emissions.

        As this population increases, so do these emissions. Population has increased rapidly since the end of WWII.

        From 1970 to today:

        World population has increased by 92%, while per capita CO2 emissions have increased by 26%

        So you see that the biggest impact comes from population growth, not from per capita CO2 emissions.

        There is no reason to believe that this will not continue to be the case in the future, Jim.

        Max

    • By the way raising numbers like 700 ppm helps to focus the thinking. Is it scary that this value has not been seen for 40 million years and is now on our doorstep? 40 million years ago Antarctica had no permanent ice because it was too warm even there.

    • By GE stock.

    • Don’t even have the sign right!

  6. We need to consider the matter of wasted fossil fuels. For example, Australia burns – and will continue to burn – its abundant coal in aging clunkers. This is because our Green Betters wish to direct future energy “investments” toward what they call alternatives, sustainables etc. They like to point to places like Spain while omitting to mention the colossal amount of nuke power that country has to buy in…although they will happily tell you about the day the wind blew so perfectly that a trickle of power actually went back to France (an energy pauper a few decades ago, now the world’s largest net electricity exporter).

    As we know from the oft mentioned BC and Norway, there is a proven alternative and sustainable energy source which works on a national scale. However, to form the mountains and valleys required for this energy supply could prove difficult. What those who praise BC and Norway like to do is to confound hydro with wind and solar, on the grounds that they are all “renewables”. It is like saying Steven Segal should get an Oscar because he has the same first name and initials as Stephen Sondheim or Steven Spielberg. Good try, guys! (And try building a dam in Tasmania these days.)

    A proposal: let’s abandon green cant and green stunts and burn fossil fuels in modern and very efficient plants. No clunkers allowed (unless green politicians and celebrities are prepared to around in 1970s eight-cylinder Fords to prove that old clunkers are a good “transitional” idea). Also, it takes a lot of coal to produce those wind turbines and solar panels. And it will take a lot of fossil fuel energy to dismantle the silly things. (In the case of wind, I wouldn’t even hope for total dismantlement of all bases, wiring etc.)

    So, start with not wasting fossil fuels. And when something better comes along, do that. And whatever that future and superior energy source will be…don’t waste that either. Just stop wasting stuff.

    • Mosomoso,

      We need to consider the matter of wasted fossil fuels. For example, Australia burns – and will continue to burn – its abundant coal in aging clunkers.

      You are dead right on that. if readers go the EIA web site linked above and download the Excel files for World Carbon dioxide emissions from coal use and the electricity generated by coal, then divide the world averages for these the emissions intensity is 1.67 Mt CO2/MWh in 2005 decreasing to 1.49 Mt CO2/MWh in 2040. That is atrocious. Admittedly some coal is not generating electricity, but even so the world average emissions intensity for coal fired electricity generation is atrocious.

      Yes, we could upgrade to better coal fired electricity generation and that is exactly what China, Taiwan and many other developing countries are doing. But that would give only a small improvement in CO2 emissions intensity compared with going straight to nuclear power. But the world will not go to nuclear power while it is too expensive.

      The USA holds the keys to unblocking development of low cost nuclear power. The USA is the thrombosis blocking the world from having low cost nuclear power. And the ‘Progressives’ are at the core of the problem. The ‘Progressives’ are blocking progress.

  7. Read what Peter Lang has ter say on the cost of renewable energy.

    http://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/third-edition/

    And of course Bjorn Lomberg on energy policy
    yer know it makes sense.
    Bts

  8. Much of the growth in energy consumption occurs in countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),2 known as non-OECD, where demand is driven by strong, long-term economic growth. Energy use in non-OECD countries increases by 90 percent; in OECD countries, the increase is 17 percent.

    Therefore, if we want policies that will cut global GHG emissions out focus must be on policies that will allow the non-OECD countries to get low emissions energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels. if it is not cheaper than fossil fuels, we are pissing in the wind because it will not be adopted.

    Carbon pricing does not make energy cheaper so it will not be adopted in the countries that matter at the rate that will make any significant difference.

    Renewable energy is prohibitively expensive for large scale electricity generation and likely to remain so (compared with fossil fuels).

    • Peter, renewable hydroelectric is growing like gangbusters in the developing world. It is not prohibitively expensive and is likely to get cheaper in relation to fossil fuels. The developing world is also putting up nuclear power plants as well. And solar is proving a boon for getting some electricity to villages far from transmission lines. And since transmission lines cost about a million a mile to put up, even subsidized solar is cheaper than alternatives.

      Renewables aren’t (yet) the answer to all our energy problems. But why diss them with distortions? I don’t get it.

      • Sorry Tom, I know you mean well and believe that solar is going to sneak up on us, but this just misses the mark by a wide margin. You know very well that there is no shortage of climate campaigners screaming that the “solution” to AGW is a cheap and easy switch of existing fossil fuel and nuclear to almost 100% solar and wind.
        Every time it’s pointed out that this won’t work, we get the lame reply that no, no, no, “renewables” means hydro and anyway solar panels works super to power up cell phones in remote African villages.
        To claim that nuclear has “support” is nonsense. They’re either tearing it down or trying to in Europe and the UK right now- the alleged enlightened zone on AGW.
        If the warm had ever been serious about AGW and government action, we’d have been on a crash course of nuclear development since the 1992 Rio summit. We got the opposite, specifically at the request of the warm.
        Obama will accept nukes, but he won’t push them. If he did, it would be an admission that his party has been the one obstructing action on global warming. If he did, Grist and Joe Romm and Bill Mckibben would toddle off to find a new Malthusian bogey-man to replace the warmy one with the inconvenient solution.
        Because the fact is that the warm solution (Kyoto) failed 95-0 in the late 1990s and every day before and since then a nuclear solution would have had Republican support.
        As we say in the south: whenever y’all ready, we’ll git on down the road.

      • Hi Jeffn

        All–all–of the projections I have seen from people who work in the various industries involved say that renewables (and they are usually specifically meaning wind and solar) can supply up to 30% of our non-transportation energy needs. They usually add ‘without overtaxing our aged transmission grid’ or words to that effect. That’s the level at which the grid can cope with the very real intermittency issues involved.

        Sure, some NGOs say that we could power America by putting a gazillion panels on a postage stamp in Arizona. Since when did we take those kind of people seriously? That’s like me holding you responsible for what sky dragon people say…

      • thomaswfuller2

        Peter, renewable hydroelectric is growing like gangbusters in the developing world. It is not prohibitively expensive and is likely to get cheaper in relation to fossil fuels. The developing world is also putting up nuclear power plants as well. And solar is proving a boon for getting some electricity to villages far from transmission lines. And since transmission lines cost about a million a mile to put up, even subsidized solar is cheaper than alternatives.

        That comment is unsupported nonsense adjectives.

        Please quantify all theses adjectives and put each one in proper context so it can be compared with project global energy statistic for say 2040.

        gangbusters?
        prohibitively?
        likely?
        cheaper?
        ‘putting up’ (at what rate)?
        boon?
        some?

      • Tom, All of the people I’ve talked to in industry make sense too. When was the last time the NY Times or CNN listened to them?
        It’s not “some NGOs”, go read the recent string on Dot Earth re nukes, it’s a cornucopia of idiocy on par with a crystal healing convention. Climate campaigners can take pride, they caused this.

  9. Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46-percent increase.

    If USA cut the red tape that is effectively the development of small nuclear power plants like the mPower and the many other designs awaiting development, nuclear power could reduce costs and expand rapidly. If the blocks were removed, competition and production coluld ramp up. But, at the moment it takes 10 years and $1 billion dollars to get a small reactor design through the NRC approvals process and also very high costs every time a vendor wants to change the design to incorporate improvements in the next model. All this is blocking progress.

    If we want to cut global GHG emissions we need cheap nuclear power for the non-OECD countries. It can be done, and the USA is blockage and also has the keys to open the way to progress.

  10. I am just guessing at the units on the chart shown, perhaps BTUs based on the opening paragraph, but notice the strong increase in coal combustion starting right after 2000. That is almost a doubling in 15 years of aerosols and particulates being dumped in the air by low-grade coal burning. Very little anthracite, with bitumen and more and more lignite-quality coal being burned by fast-growing economies such as China and India.

    And the really high-grade liquid fuels such as conventional crude oil are rapidly depleting.

    I realize that the Aussies pile on these late night posts with garbage, so it seems appropriate to provide a balanced view.

  11. WHT,

    I realize that the Aussies pile on these late night posts with garbage, so it seems appropriate to provide a balanced view.

    I don’t understand what you are referring to as “Aussie … garbage”. What specifically are you saying is garbage. Or are you simply, like BartR, displaying your xenophobia, as usual?

    • http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com has a relatively recent post by me concerning lithium-ion battery characterization. You can apply this to how nuclear will be used to charge fleets of electric cars. That is an example of “not garbage”.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Webby’s is an example of self aggrandizing triviality.

        The new generation of modular nuclear design are very promising for a number of reasons. It is relatively mature technology awaiting only widespread commercialization. Something that is underway.

        I suggest that liquid fuels from high temperature hydrolysis and carbon dioxide reduction catalysis might be more viable than fleets of electric cars.

      • Chief, “I suggest that liquid fuels from high temperature hydrolysis and carbon dioxide reduction catalysis might be more viable than fleets of electric cars.”

        Electric cars powered by fuel cells or mini-gas turbine generators with just enough battery storage capacity to take advantage of regenerative breaking. One to 200 KW on a Hummer Chassis getting about 40 MPGe overall and near a 100 in city but with enough arse to get out its own way. Big brush guard up front to protect those LED fog lights from tree huggers.

        Hydrogen – We Own the Road

        http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/04/behold-americas/

      • “I suggest that liquid fuels from high temperature hydrolysis and carbon dioxide reduction catalysis might be more viable than fleets of electric cars.”

        Yeah, everyone should listen to a civil engineer about vehicle design. Every step involving transformation of energy involves dissipative losses. Nothing beats having nature do the necessary steps for us, which is why conventional crude oil served us so well for so many years. Until efficiencies of the various energy sources are compared against one another, using crude as a benchmark, the Chef is just blowing smoke to make him look like he can play with the big boys.

        To quote from a recent movie, Chef would rather “let’s run everything on rainbows and happy thoughts”

        The liquid fuels crisis is real and ongoing.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      webby is a blowhard with zilch credibility.

      The solutions to energy security are technological. Many of solutions are quite mature technologies and need only to be combined in cost effective ways.

      Modular nuclear has multiple advantages over conventional nuclear.

      e.g. http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

      GA are spending $1.7 billion bringing this to market. It provides both waste heat for high temperature electrolysis and power for the grid. After that – there are many ways of catalyzing hydrogen with carbon dioxide to form liquid fuels.

      http://www.airfuelsynthesis.com/technology/technical-review.html

      Of course we can always make oil from almost anything.

      e.g. http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/briefs/coaltoliquid/

    • David Springer

      Let me help explain what Webby meant by Aussie and garbage. If I call something “Aussie garbage” then Webby would say I’m being redundant.

      Hope that helps.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        If I call jabberwocky an ignorant pig it seems not to be a tautology as apparently pigs are very smart usually.

  12. Beth

    According to the EIA blurb:

    Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year.

    The IAEA tells us that in 2009, nuclear power plants world-wide generated a total of 2,558 TWh of energy. This represents around 12% of the world total electrical power consumption of 20,280 TWh (Wiki).

    At the same time, Wiki tells us that total “renewable energy” was around 19% of all electrical power or around 3,870 TWh, but most of this was hydroelectric at 3,420 TWh with wind plus solar (PV) representing around 400 TWh or around 2% of the world total and a smidgen more coming from other “renewables”, such as geothermal.

    Hydroelectric generation did not increase very much (nor did geothermal), so a large percentage of the growth in renewables came from solar and wind.

    But how “smart” was investing in solar and wind power (in order to reduce CO2 emissions)?

    As we all know (and you’ve pointed out on your blog), the big problem with solar and wind is that they only operate around 20-25% of the time, so they require standby plants to cover the 75-80% of the time when they are idle.

    These standby plants are gas-fired. Unfortunately (as you’ve also pointed out) the most efficient combined-cycle plants are not well suited for on-again off-again (intermittent) standby operation, so less efficient plants are used for standby. These operate at even lower thermal efficiency when operated intermittently than when they operate year round, so the net savings in fuel consumption resulting from solar or wind generation is only around one-tenth of the amount used for generating the power from natural gas in the first place – and this at a significant premium capital investment.

    This is obviously not very “smart”.

    Nuclear power generation does not have this disadvantage, and is less costly to boot, essentially competing with coal or natural gas in most locations.

    So Peter Lang is right – if we want to “decarbonize” electrical power generation, solar and wind are not the answer. The answer is nuclear.

    Max

    • Hi Max,

      Yes, them’s the facts … On – again – off – again -in – efficient,
      in – effective – and dog – gone – EX – PENSIVE
      requiring back -up
      rampin’ up’n
      rampin’
      down,
      renew-ables.

      regardless of sophistry,
      regardless of casuistry,
      regardless of
      post -modern
      reductionism,
      them’s the
      facts.

      Beth
      the
      serf.

      • The solar and wind being available only 25% of the time, sounds like an engineering problem, what’s the matter no engineers stepping up to solve?

        Some places solar can achieve a much higher percentage than 25%.

        Smart grids and load following genreators anyone

      • …and they wonder why there are so many sceptics around…

      • Bob Droege

        No. 25% on-line time limit for wind or solar is not primarily an “engineering” problem.

        It is simply a “fact of life” problem: wind and sun are intermittent, especially near locations where people live and electrical power is needed.

        Max

      • Doug Badgero

        “The solar and wind being available only 25% of the time, sounds like an engineering problem, what’s the matter no engineers stepping up to solve?”

        Yes, in the same way Carnot efficiency is an engineering problem. LOL

      • Rainfall is also intermittent and farmers have learned to deal with that “problem”.

        The 3% don’t understand the concepts of energy storage and motivating people to come up with innovations. That’s what I try to look at, but then again, I am part of the 97% of the reality-based world.

      • David Springer

        Doug Badgero | July 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

        “Yes, in the same way Carnot efficiency is an engineering problem. LOL”

        Good one! :-)

    • It has been more than a year now since I read this, but I recall proponents of wind energy projecting wind as capable of covering 20% of current US electrical generation demand by the year 2050. In other words, the most optimistic projection won’t come close to replacing fossil fuels.

      This is not saying continued development in wind generation is a waste of resources. It is simply pointing out that arithmatic can tell you much of what you need to know when deciding energy development plans.

  13. Questions about the timing and extent of a return to operation for Japan’s nuclear power generators compound the uncertainty surrounding its energy outlook.

    That issue can be resolved now and the reactors restarted (over time) since Japan’s conservative government has now won control of both houses of their parliament. Progress can now be made again!!

  14. Peter Lang

    Don’t get concerned about Webby.

    He’s trying to save the planet’s climate and address the impending peak oil catastrophe at the same time by firing all his burners with rubbish.

    Rubbish in – rubbish out.

    Max

    • Manacker is still hurting over his thrashing at rhe hands of BartR. His country of Switzerland enacts the same policies as Bart’s BC in terms of paying upfront for disposal costs. In the cantons of Switzerland, it is common to pay fees on appliances and other merchandise that need to be eventually disposed of. BC does with carbon-based fossil fuels and Manackwr can not deal with the situation when this eventuality occurs in his own country. So he lashes out.

    • What will Australia’s ETS cost the individual?

      According to Treasury estimates, the ETS would cost Australia $1,345 billion dollars in total to 2050.

      That is $61,000 for every person living in Australia now (assuming 22 million Australian). This is what it will cost if we pay it in yearly installments for the 37 years to 2050 – at current prices.

      However, the discounted cost – i.e., for a person who chooses to pay a lump sum up front and no more to pay – is $19,000 per person (or $76,000 for a family of four). In return for this up front payment you hope to get $4,600 per person of benefits, as climate damages avoided, over the period to 2050.

      How many are prepared to pay $19,000 per person as a lump sum now, or prepared to pay $61,000 over 37 years, in the hope of gaining a possible benefit of $4,600 in possible reduced climate damages over the next 37 years?

  15. Countries like Australia with a political idealogical objection to nuclear power will have to change their policies and build nuclear plants.

  16. “This trend of decreasing carbon intensity, combined with the increase in low-carbon energy sources, is good news, but is not enough to slow carbon emissions to the levels we know that we need to prevent further climate change,

    “Decreasing carbon intensity … is not enough to slow carbon emissions to a negative growth rate. To achieve the reductions advocated we need to reduce the carbon intensity of the economy to -5% pa. We cannot do that without massive substitution of fossil fuels by zero emissions energy.

    You can forget renewables as a major player. The renewables line on the chart above is totally misleading. It includes renewables used for all sorts of uses that do no and can never provide high quality energy we need. Renewables (including hydro electric) and nuclear provide near the same amount of electricity globally.

    From IEA Share of total primary energy supply in 2009 (the most recent figures available):
    Oil = 32.8%
    Coal and peat = 27.2%
    Natural gas = 20.9%
    Nuclear = 5.8%
    Hydro = 2.3%
    Biofuels and waste = 10.2%
    Geothermal, solar, wind = 0.8%

    Points to note:

    1. Geothermal, solar and wind are a trivial contributor and will remain so. thye are going nowhere but at huge expense and by being a major distraction from reality, are preventing focus on policies that could substantially cut global GHG emissions.

    2. 80% of the renewables quoted in total primary energy is biofuels and waste. Much of it is firewood and dung used for cooking, and solar energy drying clothes and the like, etc.. It is not the sort of energy we need to be dealing with. It is distracting and making people think that renewable energy is much more prospective than it really is.

  17. Michael Larkin

    http://qi.com/infocloud/horses

    “In the 1890s the key environmental concern was horse manure. London had 11,000 cabs and several thousand buses, each using 12 horses per day – more than 50,000 horses in public transport alone. Each horse produces 15-35 pounds of manure per day; New York had 2.5 million pounds per day to shift, and in 1894 The Times predicted that every street in London would be 9ft deep in dung within 50 years. ‘Crossing sweepers’ were employed to clear paths through the dung, which was either sludge in wet weather or a fine powder which blew about in the dry. The piles of manure produced huge numbers of flies, which spread typhoid fever and other diseases; one estimate is that three billion flies hatched in horse manure per day in US cities in 1900, and in New York, 20,000 deaths per year were blamed on manure.

    “Furthermore, each horse produced about two pints of urine daily; 40,000 gallons per day in New York. They were incredibly noisy (iron shoes on cobbles made conversation impossible on busy streets), and much more dangerous than modern traffic (because horses kick, bite and bolt; the fatality rate was 75% higher per capita than today, and seven times higher per vehicle). And then there were the dead horses. The average streetcar horse had a life expectancy of about three years; in 1880, New York cleared 15,000 carcasses from its streets, 41 per day. Dead horses were unwieldy, and street cleaners often waited several days for the corpses to putrefy so they could more easily be sawed into pieces.

    “In 1898 the first international urban planning conference convened in New York to discuss the issue. It was abandoned after three days, instead of the scheduled ten, because none of the delegates could see any solution – but within a few years the problem had entirely disappeared. Electric trams and then cars and motor buses led to a rapid collapse in the horse population; in 1912, New York, London, and Paris traffic counts all showed more cars than horses for the first time, and most cities experienced their first motor traffic jams in 1914. At the time, the motor-car was widely hailed as an environmental saviour, and some modern environmental sceptics draw from this story the (complacent, to our eye) conclusion that environmental problems just sort themselves out if you wait long enough.”

    1890 to 1912 was only 22 years. Who knows what the next 27 years till 2040 will bring? For all we know, cAGW will be dead, buried and scorned (one can but hope). Maybe we will discover even more exploitable fossil fuels. Maybe there’ll prove to be something to cold fusion. Maybe we’ll have another world war.

    Maybe we’re all arguing about being up to the neck in horse manure and will laugh at how gullible we were. Whatever, I’ll wager that in 27 years, our hopes and concerns will be different. I’m only sure that there *will* in fact be new hopes and concerns, and that some of those in their turn will in due course turn out to be crocks.

    I think our problem is amnesia about the past, and inability to frame the future except in terms of the present.

    • Indeed, Michael, we have left behind the age of dung and smoke and naked flame. We no longer squint beneath candles or make babies at night for warmth or for lack of anything else to do. What babies we make survive in colossal numbers, as do the frail and elderly. The greatest nutritional problem across the developed world is obesity.

      And choice wits of the age see this as a curse.

  18. JC comment

    If one assumes that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing, does anyone see a realistic path forward that will make a significant dent in these projections on a time scale of 2040?

    Yes. I do. I about it in two comments on an Open tread:

    If we want to decarbonise the global economy, we need to approach it in an economically rational way.

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/19/open-thread-weekend-14/#comment-313509

    Alternative to carbon pricing – Reduce existing market distortions

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/19/open-thread-weekend-14/#comment-313514

    In short, The USA could remove the blocks that are preventing the world from having cheap nuclear power. The US President can initiate the changes that will allow this to happen without any need for global agreements, carbon pricing, targets and timetables, or more regulations.

    Once we have cheap nuclear power, electricity will substitute for some gas for heating (industrial, commercial and residential) and also produce low emissions transport fuels (not commercially viable, but inevitable we will get there if we have cheap power).

    If we remove the impediments that are blocking cheap nuclear power, the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy will increase over time. I did an analysis for the amount the mPower reactor (now passing through the NRC regulatory process) could cut global emissions by replacing coal fired electricity generation. The assumptions are:

    1. Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) reduces by 10% for each doubling of capacity

    2. The global capacity doubles every two years

    3. First plant of 360 MW begins commercial operation in 2020

    4. The cost of electricity from the first commercial plants is $113/MWh (based on the Australia government projections for Small Modular Reactors installed in Australia: http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf)

    5. The electricity produced replaces coal fired generation with average CO2 emissions intensity of 1 t/MWh

    From assumptions 1 – 4, the cost of electricity from the SMR’s would be equal to that from new coal plants in 2026 and half the cost of electricity from new coal plants by 2040. Clearly, when nu clear is cheaper than coal, there will be new coal fired plants built (all else equal).

    From assumptions 1 to 5, SMR’s would abate 2.7 Gt CO2 per year in 2040. By 2046 SMR’s would replace all coal fired generation, some gas and abate all the GHG emissions from coal fired generation.

    Of course this is all theoretical. The rates achievable depend to a very large extent politics, social issues and when the ‘Progressives’ decide their concerns about GHG emissions are more important than concerns about nuclear power.

    If the environmental NGO’s became enthusiastic advocates for nuclear power, the opposition to nuclear would dwindle to irrelevant very quickly. Then we could get on with progress, and with the ‘Progressives’ supporting progress instead of retarding it.

    • I forgot to mention another benefit of the SMR rollout mentioned above: would be 0.5 million fatalities avoided by 2040 and 18 million avoided by 2050 (on the basis of the current world average fatalities per TWh of electricity generated by coal (60) and by nuclear (0.09).

    • David Springer

      Why does the US president need to act in order to change the nuclear power equation in Australia? I know you guys worship America and everything it stands for but do you really have to be such little bitches that you can’t act on your own recognizance at all?

      • DS, It’s for the world you dimwit. can’t you read, or is it just you don’t comprehend what you read, or your dishonest.

  19. Amnesia of the past is a problem alright.
    Without broad contexts myopia and myth.
    Tony Brown can tell yer so.

  20. There is always a chance that cellulose ethanol will make sense financially; the currrent wholesale price of gasoline in the USA is over $3 per gallon. We should know within 12 months.

    • Jim

      The price of gasoline in Britain is currently around $8 per gallon, some 60% of which is tax

      http://www.thebamburghstephensons.me.uk/40.html

      Try to run a successful economy at those punitive rates

      tonyb

      • Tony, you write “Try to run a successful economy at those punitive rates.”

        That makes the cost of the gasoline around $3.20 per gallon. If your business is producing a gasoline substitute, cellulose ethanol, and you can make it for $2 US per US gallon – the estimate by POET/DSM – , I suggest you would have a very financially successful company.

      • Jim

        Its even cheaper to use old chip fat

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/8396085/How-to-run-a-car-on-cooking-oil-at-18p-a-litre.html

        however I want to use the end result not create it. Fuel at $8 per gallon severely impacts on distribution costs, inflation, and whether you go to visit family and friends. Couple that with sky high energy costs for homes and the cause of our moribund economy is easy to see-all our money is spent on fuel of one sort or another.

        I hope the Us and Canada are not stupid enough to go down the green high cost energy route.
        tonyb

      • Tony, you write “Its even cheaper to use old chip fat”

        How much old chip fat is available per year? Preliminary estimates by POET/DSM are that if their first enterprise is financially viable, then cellulose ethanol production in the USA, by 2020, could be as high as 16 billion gallons per year.

      • Captain, you write “You should consider a personal cellulose reactor.”

        I cannot consider anything. I dont have billions of dollars to invest in anything. It is up to the organizations who have access to such capital to consider alternatives; e.g. Shell who own the Iogen technology. These are the people who will decide what is the best way for them to spend and invest their money so as to make as much profit as possible. I am sure these people are fully aware of anything you or I or any other CE denizen can think up.

    • Jim Cripwell, You should consider a personal cellulose reactor.

      http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/10/22/211321/89

      • Sorry, in the wrong place.

        Captain, you write “You should consider a personal cellulose reactor.”

        I cannot consider anything. I dont have billions of dollars to invest in anything. It is up to the organizations who have access to such capital to consider alternatives; e.g. Shell who own the Iogen technology. These are the people who will decide what is the best way for them to spend and invest their money so as to make as much profit as possible. I am sure these people are fully aware of anything you or I or any other CE denizen can think up.

  21. “Total world energy use rises from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040 (Figure 1)”

    A nice tidy 2% per year. I guess the EU will do the right thing and have negative growth for the next 30 years to cover China and India since they have been inoculated with unCJD economic antibodies.

  22. China blazes trail for ‘clean’ nuclear power from thorium

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9784044/China-blazes-trail-for-clean-nuclear-power-from-thorium.html

    Bill Gates Tries Thorium

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/07/27/bill-gates-tries-thorium/

    Is thorium the answer? Nobody knows. Will there someday soon be a cheaper, cleaner way to supply the world with energy? Nobody knows but history has always moved in that direction. Maybe the development of 90% efficient solar cells, room temperature superconductors and cheap high-performance batteries will make nuclear power obsolete.

    Was cheap gas from fracking on EIA’s radar 20 years ago?

  23. Where it comes from and where it goes. A nice graphic.

    https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/

    Note that of 95.1 Quads, 58.1 is classified as “rejected energy.” Can you say, “Cogeneration?”

  24. The best we can do, for now, is frack, baby, frack.
    There are huge shale gas reserves everywhere, UK, China, Europe. Developing them will reduce CO2 emissions, but what’s more important – will reduce even more real pollution. You can also use gas for transportation (replacing liquids, or producing liquids from gas).

    I think this will be done, there is no stopping it. Gas is the fuel for the next 30 years or so

    • “Developing them will reduce CO2 emissions”

      no it won’t

    • “I think this will be done, there is no stopping it. Gas is the fuel for the next 30 years or so”

      But of course, there is no stopping it, because it stops on its own accord.

      The 3% don’t understand the low lifetimes of fracked wells.

      • David Springer

        The 97% don’t understand how vast, global, and accessable are continental shales bearing methane. And the continental deposits are just a small fraction of what’s beneath the ocean in methane ice. I wouldn’t bet against a technology emerging to mine methane hydrates from the sea floor.

        Personally I think synthetic biology will be generating liquid hydrocarbon fuels directly from sunlight and CO2 cheaper than refined fossil fuels ever were and this whole discussion will be quaint in 50 years. And history will find mine a voice of sanity in the wilderness of enviromental whackoism that swept the western world in a clear case of mass hysteria.

        So there.

  25. Windmills are a useless and silly waste of resources. Solar might develop to aquire some minor but steady role in energy production, but can in no way be a major player.

    • David Springer

      Direct conversion of sunlight and CO2 to hydrocarbon fuels promises to be so cheap nothing else can compete. We’re close with 3rd generation biofuel plants already and it’s still in its infancy with very rapid progress. There are several orders of magnitude more energy in sunlight hitting the earth than energy used by humanity. A cheap way to convert just 1% of that to chemical bond energy will make fossil, nuclear, and hydro energy obsolete except for rare applications like nuclear submarines and battery-powered portable electronics.

      Nature already did the heavy lifting in R&D for converting sunlight and CO2 to chemical bond energy. It’s called photosynthesis. All we need to do is reverse engineer the simplest photosynthetic organisms (currently a bacteria commonly known as blue-green algae is the example of choice) to optimize their metabolism for hydrocarbon production instead of being an unused byproduct of their metabolism. Natural organisms can’t compete with other natural organisms if all they do is excrete alcohol or diesel. So we need to rearrange their mission in life for said excretion then artificially protect them from natural competition. This is being done as we speak with great success and very rapid progress. Google Joule Unlimited for an example.

  26. Another doable and important step is to replace old, dirty, coal fired power plants with modern coal plants, which are more efficient and much cleaner.
    The greens who oppose and obstruct that (e.g the EPA ) are shooting themselves (and us) in the foot.

  27. Mark Bofill

    “If one assumes that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing, does anyone see a realistic path forward that will make a significant dent in these projections on a time scale of 2040?”
    I don’t.
    There are what I’d call unrealistic (and highly undesirable) ways to go about this though. The recession was arguably the single most effective event ever for reducing CO2 emissions. All we (the U.S.) need to do is to double and triple our pursuit of irresponsible national finanicial policies to hasten the next great depression, which arguably is the easiest thing in the world for our politicians to do anyway. In our interconnected modern world chances are good that this will be a worldwide phenomenon. Smash! That’d slow down emission from China, India, and the rest of the developing world…
    Well, you did ask. :p

  28. Rob Starkey

    Of course the world’s energy use will be increasing in developing countries. Of course it is expected that the people in these countries would aspire to have electricity and personal transportation. Over 40% of the world’s population does not currently have access to either of these things on a regular basis.
    The most significant longer term question in regards to CO2 growth is whether the citizens of currently developed nations will subsidize the development of energy in currently undeveloped nations so that they will use forms of energy generation that emit less CO2 that the lowest cost method that they would choose without being subsidized.
    Imo, the answer is NO because the currently developed nations have spent an unaffordably large a percentage of their budgets on expanding government funded medical care and retirements for their elderly. Imo, the reality is that without subsidization or unforeseen technological breakthroughs, currently undeveloped nations will drive CO2 emissions to rise and adaptation to climate change (to whatever extent it occurs) will be the only option.

    • Take pressure sores. Prior to modern medicine, pressure sores were a forgone conclusion. They were considered unavoidable and a harbinger of death. During the Vietnam War I saw men in VA hospitals who had pressure sores. Over the last decades medicine has stopped accepting them. Today we spend a lot of money, boatloads, preventing them. Then the workers who get that money go make car and house payments and buy groceries and buy consumer goods, etc.

      You would do what?

      • JCH

        What I would NOT do is to inappropriately draw a comparison between two unrelated issues. I described a situation in a straightforward manner. Please try to address a response in the same manner.

      • Ringo, You described something with your usual empty rhetoric. Try again using some substance.

  29. From today’s GWPF Newsletter:

    Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company, has lost patience with its CEO after Peter Loescher’s expansion into green energy and expensive acquisitions led to a fifth profit-forecast cut. Supervisory board officials have asked for the 55-year-old Austrian native to be ousted. A key element of Loescher’s growth strategy was the 2009 announcement that he would transform Siemens into a “green infrastructure giant”, heralding a drive into solar technology to promote Siemens as a partner for companies and governments keen to use more renewable energies. At the 2010 annual general meeting, he wore a green tie and called for a “green revolution.” Since Loescher took over in July 2007, the shares have declined 22 percent. –Alex Webb, Bloomberg, 29 July 2013

    German engineering giant Siemens has confirmed it is completely winding down its solar business. The involvement ended in a disaster, costing Siemens about one billion euros. Plans to sell off its solar business had come to nothing, Siemens admitted Monday in confirming a report in the German newspaper “Handelsblatt”.

    Germany’s exit from nuclear power could cost the country as much as 1.7 trillion euros ($2.15 trillion) by 2030, or two thirds of the country’s GDP in 2011, according to Siemens, which built all of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants. “This will either be paid by energy customers or taxpayers,” Siemens board member Michael Suess, in charge of the company’s Energy Sector, told Reuters. “As an industry, Germany has always reached its goals. Now the whole world is looking at us. If the energy shift should fail … it would undermine Germany’s credibility as an industry nation,” Suess said. –Christoph Steitz, Reuters, 17 January 2012

    Germany’s rise in CO2 emissions is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear plants led utilities to burn more coal. Utilities boosted hard coal imports 25 percent in the first quarter to 10 million metric tons. With elections due in September, the move is a blow to Merkel, a former environment minister who helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto accord curbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. “The trend of rising German CO2 emissions is alarming,” said Claudia Kemfert, who heads the energy unit at the Berlin-based DIW. “Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said on June 10. –Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg, 29 July 2013

  30. People appear to be overlooking the baseline assumptions of the study.

    http://rt.com/business/subsidies-energy-fossil-imf-039/

    Even the OECD (http://www.oecd.org/env/45575666.pdf) while claiming fossil subsidies somehow ‘alleviate energy poverty'(?!) acknowledges:

    Poorly implemented energy subsidies are economically costly to taxpayers and can damage the environment through increased emissions of greenhouse gas and other air pollutants. Recent OECD and IEA analyses indicate that phasing-out fossil fuel subsidies could lead to a 10% reduction in global greenhouse-gas emissions in 2050 compared with business-as-usual (OECD, 2009b; OECD 2010a). Several studies reviewed by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank (IEG, 2009) found that subsidies to fossil fuel use tend to benefit high-income households more than the poor, due to the former‘s higher consumption levels. According to the same study, the bottom 40% of the population in terms of income distribution received only 15-20% of the fuel subsidies in developing countries. (Emphasis theirs.)

    Repeat that to yourself a few times. The poor — who still pay taxes and suffer legal penalties if they do not — benefit only half to a third in proportion for their tax dollars (which have more impact on their budgets than the wealthier). In essence, FOSSIL SUBSIDIES REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH FROM THE POOR TO THE FOSSIL INDUSTRY BY FORCE.

    That’s the reason — the only reason — for fossil fuels to dominate the upper part of the EIA chart and continue to grow and be projected to grow. It’s this socialist agenda to redistribute wealth and paternalistically prop up an industry that can take care of itself that leads to this pattern, not the natural direction of the Market. It’s government interference in private business.

    Put an end to the subsidies, gifts and favors to fossil fuels, privatize the carbon cycle, and instead of growing and increasingly inefficient and expensive carbon consumption you will see every bit as much energy capacity available more cheaply and efficiently while waste in the system is squeezed out, leaving what energy is used more beneficial per unit.

    • Bart

      What is your plan to get Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and the host of other countries to stop subsidizing the use of fossil fuels for their citizens??? Independent nations do what they think is best for themselves.

      • Rob Starkey | July 29, 2013 at 10:37 am |

        My plan?

        My plan is “how you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they seen Paree?”

        I’m fairly certain the average Saudi would rather have the cash than yet more gasoline.

        I know the average Venezuelan, having spent time in Venezuela, would rather have cash than diesel.

        Or are people going to tell me about all the excess winter deaths due to cold in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and how I’m a monster for not wanting to subsidize home heating oil there?

        (And yes, they do have a seasonal pattern of excess deaths just like England, if not more pronounced.)

        And if they don’t? What do I care how they internally distribute the wealth of their citizens under monarchy or socialism? So long as they don’t poach carbon cycle, that’s fine.

        And there are existing international agreements to deal with poaching of extraterritorial resources already, to deal with that.

      • Bart– the point is you have no plan to get the independent nations of the world to adopt your beliefs and never will.

      • Rob Starkey | July 30, 2013 at 11:48 am |

        I don’t even have a plan for me to adopt my beliefs, and I expect I never shall.

        I present facts and inference. I don’t ram it down your throat or attempt to seduce you with focus-group-tested language.

        Believe what you will.

      • By the way, statistically the leading demographic population factor correlating with life expectancy is wealth. The rank of ‘energy burned’ in all forms among correlating factors is.. too low to estimate; it has nearly zero correlation.

        If the choice is to tax a person to provide ‘cheap energy’ or to leave them their money through reduced taxes, then they’ll live longer on average if you don’t subsidized coal or oil, and do privatize the carbon cycle.

    • “The poor — who still pay taxes …”
      The poor don’t pay that much taxes….
      Then the myth of “fossil subsidies”… maybe Saudia and Venezuela do subsidize domestic oil, in non oil producing countries fossil fuels (mainly oil) are taxed, not subsidised. Fossil fuel subsidies is a myth, they exist but are negligible in magnitude.

      • Fossil fuesl subsidies in the US are in the form of deductions against income that every business takes based on the tax code – that is, they are not subsidies at all. And, in hte US, the fossil fues industry accounts for roughly 10% of ALL tax revenue coming from industry. So the reality is that the fossil fuel industry in the US subsidizes the federal treasury, not the other way around, unlike real subsidies to solar and wind companies which are not capable of generating sufficient income on their own to maintain operations, so they in fact do rely on subsidies.

        The argument re: subsidies for fossil fuel industry is a canard.

      • jacobress | July 29, 2013 at 11:14 am |

        http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3505

        There are several dozen other analyses that amount to the same story. The poor pay plenty of tax. For every dollar of tax they pay that goes to energy subsidy, NINETY FOUR CENTS goes to the fossil industry, and only SIX CENTS goes to benefit the poor.

      • Bart,
        From the study you linked:
        Close to half of U.S. households currently do not owe federal income tax. The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that 46 percent of households will owe no federal income tax for 2011. [1] A widely cited figure is a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that 51 percent of households paid no federal income tax in 2009.[2] (The TPC figure for 2009 also is 51 percent.) [3]

        In 2007, before the economy turned down, 40 percent of households did not owe federal income tax. This figure more closely reflects the percentage that do not owe income tax in normal economic times.[4]
        So – between 40 and 51 % of Americans (presumably the poorest) don’t pay any federal income tax

      • jacobress | July 30, 2013 at 9:47 am |

        I’m sure Mitt Romney thanks you for your pity for his plight.

        You sure know how to encapsulate the contrary section of an article, the stylistic placement of all facts and arguments that will either play no role in the final conclusion or will be effectively debunked in the main body.

        Try again.

        Sum up the main body and conclusions now.

        It’s called reading HARDER.

    • Yes Bart R, the poor pay taxes. Sales, Social Security, Medicare, gas, phone, real estate, that one perhaps indirectly, There is some of the equity you are looking for in the Earned Income Credit and the Child Credit. We have a complex government financing system, one for each State to boot. In some ways, maybe like a Climate Model. Projections, shortages of revenues, unexpected revenues, economic assumptions, growth rates, interest to be paid, unemployment rates, supluses, deficits. Future liabilities, current liabilites, unfunded liabilities, Funds, Special Funds, Current Funds, Lack of Funds, Delaying payments until the next year, accelerating revenues into this year. Overhead, Fixed Costs, amortizing of costs, rising costs, cost savings, cost projections cost increases, future costs. I feel I am qualified to make a Climate Model now.

      Bart R, I agree, if there are what I call True Subsidies going to Oil Companies, we should fix that. It’s something we can understand and fix.

      • Ragnaar | July 30, 2013 at 12:30 am |

        In that case, what else can we call the free use of the carbon cycle to dump their wastes but a subsidy?

    • I don’t think CO2 is a pollutant, I think I am following you though. The Atmosphere is used to take up pollution and send it elsewhere. That pollution might be Mercury in the case of Coal.

      • Ragnaar | July 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

        Who said ‘pollutant’?

        I said ‘waste’.

        That the waste happens to be an admixture of CO2, CO, NOx, SOx, Hg, and unspecified aerosol particulates is really picky to an unreasonable degree unless we’re looking to prepare a case of tort for aggravated damages on top of the fair market price as determined by the Law of Supply and Demand.

        Are you arguing for civil action for recovery, over and above privatization?

      • Bart R

        Some facts for you to consider:

        – CO2 is not “waste” (nor is it “pollution”). It is a plant food essential for all life on Earth and a by-product of energy generation from fossil fuels.

        – The CO2 that comes from burning fossil fuels originally came from the atmosphere.

        – Burning fossil fuels creates energy, essential for human well-being.

        – You and I, who are fortunate enough to live in the industrially developed world and have access to a low-cost source of energy, enjoy a good quality of life and a long life expectancy.

        – Life in societies that do not have access to a low-cost source of energy is short and brutal.

        Max
        .

    • ,Bart R | July 29, 2013 at 10:22 am said: ” FOSSIL SUBSIDIES REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH FROM THE POOR TO THE FOSSIL INDUSTRY BY FORCE”

      ”fosil fuel keeps the economy above water – so that western poor can have much more than the poor in Africa

      western poor should be grateful to the fossil fuel industry..

  31. Seems to me the EIA long-range forecasts need to be taken with more than a grain of salt (more like several tons in this case). The ability of technology to pull-a-rabbit-out-of-the-hat is unpredictable but powerful. Case in point: shale gas. I am quite sure there are many more on the horizon.

  32. Page 31 of this link lists the top 10 countries by their Technically Recoverable Shale Resources in oil and in gas.

    http://www.eia.gov/pressroom/presentations/sieminski_07252013.pdf

    Assuming a total ranking is equal to the oil rank plus the gas rank (not attempting to value by energy equivalence), then these are the top countries in order:

    1 China
    2tie US
    2tie Argentina
    4 Russia
    5 Mexico
    6 Canada

    The Western Hemisphere is well represented, with China and Russia dominating the rest of the world. As has been predicted before, shale will have geopolitical significance.

    • Bowland basin in the North of England holds atleat 40 trillion cubic metres of gas. That is 40 billion times $370 (spot price per 1,000 cubic metres).
      Total Russian exports of natural gas are running at 540 billion cubic meters, so the UK has the potential of replacing Russia for 74 years.
      The minimum recoverability is 10%.

  33. The EIA energy demand forecasts are unlike their geophysics based supply estimates. They are ‘just’ econometric models taking into account the declining energy intensity of GDP in the developed, but not the developing, world. As such, they are economically ‘reasonable’ but still deficient. They do not take into account the probable geophysical supply constraints (especially on liquid fuels) that will, according to their own supply models, likely emerge over this same time period. The geophysical data has been previously posted. Those constraints work both to raise prices dramatically and curtailing demand via elasticity and reduced growth, and also absolutely via outright scarcity.
    In this respect, the 2012 IMF energy forecasts that do incorporate geophysics and the economic consequences are more realistic. See IMF working papers 12-109 and 12-256, both available free on line at IMF.org.
    the IMF view is oil at about $200/bbl (double 2013) yet still resulting in absolute scarcity, with eventual market clearing oil prices 4x to 8x 2012 depending on scenario–none of which are pretty. This ‘negative technology shock’ causes sharp contraction, rather than continued expansion, in GDP-with a worse impact on developing regions. The scenarios assume no ‘hoarding’ by producing regions, which is unlikely and would exacerbate eventual overall economic declines. US hesitation about building LNG export facilities ( for example for Japan, where the natural gas price is currently 4x the US) for its newfound shale gas is an early symptom of such possible ‘hoarding’.

    That said, the EIA track record on supply ( not demand) forecasts is better than that of the IEA, since explicitly by law not co-opted by additional political agendas as with the IEA. The one time the IEA ‘came close to truth’ in its 2008 outlook incorporating its survey of actual producing oil fields, the political headwinds were such that there was an ‘absurd’ counterfactual “retraction” by 2010. Factually dissected in another previous post. Will become part of a next book in progress focused only on energy and climate.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The EIA energy supply forecasts explicitly examine potential supply constraints and still project increases in liquid fuel supply to 2035 at least.

      Prices of liquid fuels will never get to $200/barrel because of economic substitution. There are simply too many alternatives available at less cost that that.

      e.g. http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/briefs/coaltoliquid/

      Although we may be better off with modular nuclear to produce hydrogen and subsequent carbon dioxide reduction to produce liquid fuels.

      • David L. Hagen

        Chief
        Re: “will never get to $200/barrel”
        In equilibrium maybe. However, oil has already hit $145/bbl. In the short term, there will not be the time to build the coal-liquid plants to prevent the price from hitting $200/bbl.

  34. So the takehome points are that we are heading into a fully fledged climate disaster. Well I could have told you that.

    • Well, maybe…
      Still it would be far wiser to save all those $$$ spent on useless windmills and solar panels. To save for a rainy (or scorching) day, use for resilience, for research, for anything…
      I mean, even if the sky is falling in, it is no good to bump you head into a wall.

    • Lolwot,

      move to WA or CO.

    • lolwot | July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm said: ”So the takehome points are that we are heading into a fully fledged climate disaster”

      you forgot to say: ”BOO”!!! Say it now; it’s mo efficient fear-mongering…

    • Not really, lolwot.

      Read Rud’s comment again before you have an anxiety attack.

      Max

  35. Judith Curry writes: “If one assumes that reducing CO2 emissions is a good thing, does anyone see a realistic path forward that will make a significant dent in these projections on a time scale of 2040?”

    No. There will be too great a demand for lower cost conventional energy. Worldwide, there isn’t the will to reduce energy consumption significantly. Increasing CO2 levels seem to be expected, and do we really have a chance to slow them?

    If I was on the other side of this issue, I’d conclude, I really don’t think there is much hope of slowing the CO2. Would I accept that political/social, I don’t know what to call it, reality?

    When we hear alarming things from one end of the Consensus, are we hearing that they aren’t ready to accept increasing CO2 levels? That they continue to push back against this, in many ways, overwhelming force that is World population growth, modernization, and the pursuit of higher living standards in poorer countries.

    If we list out everything that the World needs to do, to say cut the rise in CO2 to half its current rate, and then access our chances of getting enough of that, we might start looking at other options. We might concede that we can’t solve the ‘problem’ with CO2 reductions. There’s a lot to be said for realizing your approach doesn’t have much of chance of success. It releases you to pursue new things. You can break out of a losing and perhaps counterproductive position and still contribute in directly related ways.

    • Ragnaar

      Barring the invention and development of a totally new source of energy that does not generate CO2 and is universally applicable plus much less costly than fossil fuels, there is no chance that humanity will cut global CO2 emissions by half by 2040.

      It is a pipe dream.

      But let’s estimate how much global warming we could avert by implementing this drastic CO2 reduction.

      – Let’s say human population will increase to 8.8 billion by 2040 (= 0.8% per year CAGR)

      – For the “business as usual” case, let’s assume that per capita CO2 generation increases by 15% by 2040 (= 0.52% per year CAGR).

      – For the CO2 reduction case, assume total CO2 generation reduced to 50% of today’s emission by 2040.

      BaU will generate a cumulated 1143 GtCO2 from today through 2040, while the reduced emission case will only generate 688 GtCO2.

      This means the BaU case will reach 540 ppmv CO2 by 2040, while the reduced emission case will reach 482 ppmv (a net difference of 58 ppmv).

      At IPCC’s arguably exaggerated 2xCO2 ECS of 3C, this difference will reduce the global warming by 0.5°C.

      This is hardly worth the effort, even if it were possible to do so, pointing to the utter futility of trying to change our climate perceptibly by reducing our CO2 emissions..

      Max

  36. Chief Hydrologist

    Technological innovation is inevitable. A new generation modular nuclear future seems realizable in the near future. It is a relatively mature technology with endless advantages over conventional nuclear designs.

    e.g. http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

    Once there is source like this for cheaper electricity – the way forward to carbon free liquid fuels seems to be obvious.

    This is still not enough for complete mitigation – or indeed for addressing a wider range of social and environmental issues. A broader program that addresses multiple gases, population, development, restoration of farmlands and conservation and restoration of ecosystems is the critical way forward.

  37. “The vast majority of subsidy dollars to fossil fuels can be attributed to just a handful of tax breaks, such as the Foreign Tax Credit ($15.3 billion) and the Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels ($14.1 billion, though this credit has since been phased out). The largest of these, the Foreign Tax Credit, applies to the overseas production of oil through an obscure provision of the Tax Code, which allows energy companies to claim a tax credit for payments that would normally receive less-beneficial tax treatment.” – ELI.org.

    My area is personal income taxes however, don’t let that stop me from looking at this. If you pay a foreign tax on some income, and you have to report that same income on your income tax return, you can get a credit for the same amount you paid to that foreign country. In that case, the books balance. It is not really a tax break. It is paying a tax on income once, not twice. If you had to pay both taxes, you’d be double taxed.

    There may be other ‘true subsidies’ that they do receive. Those should be looked at. I think we want as much of a Market Economy that is possible. True business subsidies can be looked at first, as they often have poor, zero or negative returns as they are often transfers. Transfers can be where Government claims to have created something when they in fact it simply redistributed money in a non-market way. But that’s another subject.

  38. ” …through an obscure provision of the Tax Code, which allows energy companies to claim a tax credit for payments that would normally receive less-beneficial tax treatment.” – ELI.org.

    In English: An option to simply deduct the foreign taxes paid and forego the credit. Credit: One dollar paid means One dollar in credit. Deduction: One dollar paid, times your marginal tax rate (35% perhaps) means 35 cents of savings. Which of these do the accountants and the board of directors pick? The one that gets them a dollar and not 35 cents.

    To refer to this as obscure I think shows a bit of bias. I have been talking about the rules that apply to individials. If you have some foreign dividends earned in an after tax mutual fund account, and you had some foreign taxes paid on those dividends earned, and you are doing your 1040 in the ‘best’ way, you’d be doing the same thing that the Oil companies do. What I’ve written is a generalization and may not apply to each individual’s specific situation.

    • Just to reiterate what I posted earlier, taking advantage of tax breaks allowed in the tax code to enable companies to keep more of the money they earn is not a “subsidy” – or to keep a company from paying taxes twice on the same income, e.g., the foreign tax credit, which is similar to state tax credits received by individuals living in New Jersey but working in New York.

      Only in the liberal mind is allowing a corporation to keep more of what it has earned considerd a subsidy, even if said company pays a couple of billion in taxes.

  39. Hi Judy,

    “JC comments: The EIA does a very good job with these reports, IMO (I am curious about whether there are critiques of the EIA methods and how well their previous predictions have done).”

    The EIA is the best of the national energy statistics agencies, by far. The German BGR shows the signs of political influence.

    Here is a comparison for the predictions for 2010 from the 1995 IEO. For the total, they give a range of 472 to 526 quads. The actual was 524 quads, close to the top end of the range, so I will use the top end of the range for comparisons for the individual fuels.

    Oil (liquids) prediction 194 actual 176
    Gas prediction 116 actual 117
    Coal prediction 133 actual 147
    Nuclear prediction 27 actual 27
    Renewables (other) prediction 46 actual 56

    These are all in quads. This is consistent with my experience that most economic models run high for oil and low for coal. The big misses were OECD oil and Non-OECD coal

    OECD oil prediction 110 actual 93
    Non-OECD coal prediction 68 actual 88

    • Thanks Dave, very helpful

    • Dave Rutledge,

      Thank you. That is an interesting comparison of projections and actuals.

      I did a somewhat similar comparison of predictions versus actual for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Energy Economics (ABARE). I compared their 1991 predictions for 2005 with the actual results for 2005. The comparison covers:

      – primary energy production
      – electricity generation
      – economic recoverable resources
      – CO2 emissions

      [Notice the change in the economic recoverable resources of uranium]

      Accuracy of ABARE Energy Projections

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/22/abare-projections/

      • Hi Peter,

        Thanks for the link. It looks like it fits the same pattern. The model is too high for oil, too low for coal.

      • I wouldn’t call these models, as more often they are cast as projections based on needs.

        So depending on the trending requirements of the worldwide economy for liquid, gas, and solid fuels, the projections are put in place like a carrot before the horse.

        And so when time passes, the actuals from liquid fossil fuels are supplemented with other liquids from the growing gap caused by massive amounts of natural crude oil depletion. Common substitutes include biofuels, compressed natural gases, unconventional (low EROEI) crude, and other book-keeping techniques applied to keep the gap from growing too wide.

        For solids such as coal, any gap is easily kept under control as huge reserves of low-quality brown (lignite) coal will be available for the long term. At some point, even peat moss may be redefined as coal.

        Across the board, fracking techniques are being shown to have very low lifetimes, as I have shown through some novel statistical models: http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/07/bakken-dispersive-diffusion-oil.html
        BTW, this is a REAL model.
        The fact that Bakken-style oil wells have lifetimes of a couple of years is not well known among the public.

  40. You need a heart of stone not to laugh,

    Saudi Prince: Fracking Is Threat To Kingdom
    As the fracking revolution eases demand for the kingdom’s oil and gas, a billionaire prince warns his nation to find new income.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1121610/saudi-prince-fracking-is-threat-to-kingdom

  41. Hi Web,

    “I wouldn’t call these models, as more often they are cast as projections based on needs.”

    They do make some projections for significant natural gas production from Europe and China, even though there is not significant production yet. So there is some supply-side modeling.

  42. David L. Hagen

    Judith
    EIA predicts:

    “fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040″
    “Given current policies and regulations, worldwide energy, related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase 46 percent by 2040, reaching 45 billion metric tons in 2040″

    The prospects of an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 do not look good! (“British” understatement!)

    Re: “critiques of the EIA methods and how well their previous predictions have done”
    Historically, both the EIA and IEA have predicted higher oil production than subsequent reality. For comparisons and errors between predictions and subsequent production see:
    Animation of the EIA Short Term Oultooks from January 2005 to October 2006. Fine lines: past forecasts; Line with circle markers: forecast for the month displayed. From:
    Tracking the EIA Short Term Forecasts Guest post by Gilles, December 31, 2006 – 12:11pm

    Peak Oil Update – July 2009: Production Forecasts and EIA Oil Production Numbers
    Posted by Sam Foucher on July 7, 2009 – 10:05am

    For comparisons between EIA, IEA, BP and JODI, see: Oil Watch: Reconciliation of JODI and EIA C+C Production Data Posted by Euan Mearns on January 17, 2013 – 5:50am

    Tech Talk – OPEC and EIA Short-term Projections Posted by Heading Out on April 28, 2013 – 5:13am

    Oil Watch – Global Liquid Fuel Production Trends (EIA data) Posted by Euan Mearns on December 10, 2012 – 12:40pm

    Further discussion of the EIA at TheOilDrum