What matters (and doesn’t) in the G7 Climate Declaration

by Judith Curry

Most reactions ignore the fact that the G8 leaders already agreed to “the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050” in advance of the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. (You judge the results.) – Michael Levi

The G& leaders concluded their meeting in Bonn, and have issued the following statement:  G7 Leaders Declaration.  The Declaration covers a lot of ground, and environment and climate issues were an important topic.

Michael Levi

A lot of news reports on the G7 meeting, and many post meeting analyses.  If those that I’ve read, I find this analysis by Michael Levi to be the most insightful What Matters and (Doesn’t) in the G7 Climate Declaration. Excerpts:

I’m struck in particular the parts that seem to be the most important are different from those that have generated the most headlines.

“[A Paris] agreement should enhance transparency and accountability including through binding rules at its core to track progress towards achieving targets…. This should enable all countries to follow a low-carbon and resilient development pathway….”

The United States has long pressed for a shift away from binding emissions reduction commitments and toward a mix of nationally grounded emission-cutting efforts and binding international commitments to transparency and verification. European countries have often taken the other side, emphasizing the importance of binding targets (or at least policies) for cutting emissions. Now it looks like the big developed countries are on the same page as the United States. The language above is all about binding countries to transparency – and there isn’t anything elsewhere in the communiqué about binding them to actual emissions goals.

“We will intensify our support particularly for vulnerable countries own efforts to manage climate change related disaster risk and to build resilience. We will aim to increase by up to 400 million the number of people in the most vulnerable developing countries who have access to direct or indirect insurance coverage against the negative impact of climate change related hazards by 2020 and support the development of early warning systems in the most vulnerable countries.”

This is the most substantive portion of the climate part of the communiqué. It reflects an increasing focus on adaptation in general and on insurance in particular. Indeed this part of the communiqué is unusually straightforward, and therefore well suited to clear follow-through. The mushiest bit is the undefined “climate change related hazards”. Ideally G7 countries would help vulnerable populations get access to insurance against extreme weather hazards of all origins – whether or not those are generated by climate change – and, in practice, that’s presumably what insurance would do.

“We emphasize the deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonization of the global economy over the source of this century…. As a common vision for a global goal of greenhouse gas emissions reductions we support sharing with all parties to the UNFCCC the upper end of the latest IPCC recommendation of 40 to 70% reductions by 2050 compared to 2010 recognizing that this challenge can only be met by a global response.”

This statement generated the biggest headlines (“G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuels”), but it’s also the least consequential. Most reactions ignore the fact that the G8 leaders already agreed to “the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050” in advance of the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. (You judge the results.) And the idea that an 85-year goal will have much impact on present policy or investment is a bit ridiculous. (Had you told a physicist in 1905 that a fifth of U.S. electricity would be generated by nuclear fission within 85 years, they would have said, “What’s a nucleus or fission?”)

News reports have experts debating whether Paris can assure the world of cuts this deep. The answer should be obvious: it can’t. No decisions made today will assure any particular outcome in 2050 or 2100. Having a basic guide is useful, but beyond that, the details are pretty unimportant. Bottom line: Fiddling with distant targets is a great way to generate headlines, but doesn’t do much to affect policy and emissions themselves; at best it’s marginally irrelevant, at worst it lets people feel good without doing anything.

Sophie Yeo

Sophie Yeo of CarbonBrief provides a comprehensive analysis, some excerpts:

The G7 declaration calls this year’s UN talks in Paris “crucial for the protection of the global climate” and says: “We want to provide key impetus for ambitious results”. It promises to put climate protection “at the centre of our growth agenda”.

However, the G7 nations only account for 19% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd argued recently that the larger G20 needed to drive the planned global climate deal.

As such, the good will of the G7 is hardly enough to guarantee success in Paris on its own. In the run-up to the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen — variously described as a “failure”, “setback” or a “disaster” — the then-G8 group of leading nations said:

“We are committed to reaching a global, ambitious and comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen.”

The same 2009 G8 statement set a goal of cutting emissions by “at least” 50% by 2050 – within the 40-70% range set out by the G7 today. It said developed countries should collectively cut emissions by “80% or more” compared to 1990 levels.

Despite its shortcomings, the stronger elements of the G7 communique were not easily won. Wording on the long term goal could reverberate at the UN negotiations taking place this week in Germany, sending a message about the pressure that countries such as Japan and Canada are under to toe the climate line.

Other articles

Business Insider has a good interpretation of some of thorny issues [link]

American Progress has an article Harnessing Insurance Markets to Enhance Climate Resilience, that relates to the G-7’s goal on expanding insurance coverage  to people who are most vulnerable to climate-related hazards.

The Conversation has a good article:  Good luck G7 leaders, we won’t be off fossil fuels by 2100.

Implications for Paris?

Well this all seems a bit of a yawn.  Apparently China and India reject calls for tougher climate goals [link].   I will be surprised if the forthcoming Paris meeting lives up to the UNFCCC’s expectation.  And even if the desired agreements are supported, the pathway to meeting these goals in the coming decades just aren’t there.  The G7 meeting in Bonn is interesting in that it  highlights some of the key roadblocks.  Michael Levi sums it up with this comment:

Most reactions ignore the fact that the G8 leaders already agreed to “the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050” in advance of the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. (You judge the results.)


95 responses to “What matters (and doesn’t) in the G7 Climate Declaration

  1. It’s a yawn, until the EPA starts regulating whether I can light a damn fire in my fireplace or not. I can’t believe that taxpayer money is spent on this crap. I hate to get political again, but what it is is simply ceentralized economic planning – WHICH HAS NEVER WORKED AND NEVER WILL WORK.

    • I agree that it SHOULD be a yawn, and while it may not actually change much on an international scale, it will be used by the green mobblob and the MSM to ratchet up pressure in elitist developed countries to decarbonize and move toward “renewables” – mostly wind and solar, which, cannot survive without fossil fuels. The insanity continues.

    • What matters is what’s missing:


    • The EPA already regulates whether I can or can not light a fire in my fireplace. If the local air quality standard is less then ‘really good’ then there is a burn ban…which includes fireplaces.

  2. The reaction I felt I learned the most from was this from Paul Younger, a Professor of Energy Engineering at University of Glasgow. One key paragraph I pared down for Twitter:

    You can conceive of running large numbers of domestic cars on green electricity by charging them on the grid. But the idea that anybody is going to be able to produce a battery big enough to store the electricity to power a passenger aircraft or a major container ship is laughable.

    It’s called “Good luck G7 leaders – we won’t be off fossil fuels by 2100” and it gives a number of convincing reasons why. As I said in Twitterese:

    Idea anybody is going to produce battery big enough to store electricity to power major container ship is laughable. But this and many other miracles needed for G7 promise of end of fossil fuel use by 2100. Plus higher energy prices will be deadly for poor. Best for world leaders not to be fantasists who ignore impacts on most vulnerable.

    Such international gatherings encouraging fantasy still bothers me, though I take Michael Levi’s point that the meat, if any, lies elsewhere.

    • Richard

      The trouble is that our Govt seems to be trying to phase out electricity by default. Our energy policy is a complete mess and it is hard to see how our increasing reliance on green energy- at the expense of grown up predictable power- is going to end well.

      A cold winter with our very typical winter conditions of a windless high pressure dragging in lots of clouds rendering our renewables impotent, whilst the population shivers and industry is rationed, is not the recipe for a dynamic and forward looking country.

      I am all for research on batteries for renewable power storage as without them green energy has many drawbacks. However, it is very difficult to see batteries doing anything more store small amounts of power for short range electric vehicles.

      Our govt is delusional in their beliefs and don’t seem to want to think the energy policy through in a rational manner


      • Quite Tony. One of the deleterious effects of fantasy at the global level for 2100 is inability to think straight locally right now, with immediate negative consequences for the most vulnerable.

      • tonyb
        Really fairly heartbreaking. CA is rushing ahead w 30% and then 50% solar and wind. Kills lots of birds and messes the views but this is a rich state and can afford to experiment in a federal system. Highest electricity rates in the US. Big water problems here and rooting for El Nino in the fall to bring the rains. That may also raise the surface air temp and it will be interesting to see the response. The 2014 increase advertised by NCDC as hottest ever was so much smaller than the potential error in measurement it will generate lots of discussion if we actually have an 1998 type El Nino. If the pause continues though we will see a lot of settled science falsified. Hard to know what to root for. Rain or heat?

      • patmcguinness

        Actually the conclusion of ‘the Conversation” piece is overly negative and to me implies a necessary endorsement of nuclear power. It’s really down on solving this problem because it sees transport and electricity as separate categories, but its not thinking about possible alternatives in the transport space. Yes, we can do biofuels, but thats a waste on many levels. Local transport can be electrified (Leaf, EVs, etc.) , 50 miles of Li battery in a chevy volt ‘works’ to electrify 80% of car transport miles.

        But he’s right about long-distance shipping. Nobody will power an ocean ship with batteries. There is only one way to power ships long distance without fossil fuels, and – other than going back to the sail and ‘clipper ships’ – its nuclear power. We’ve done subs, carriers, and its more than possible on consider civilian uses of same, so long as there are safeguards on fuel, reactors, etc.

        But to me, the rest test of those who claim that climate change is an existential crisis for all of humanity is whether they are willing to admit that technology solutions beyond their hobby horses are required. You suggest nuclear power and they recoil; if they do, they are dishonest or not thinking clearly about it.

        There are many reasons why CO2 is not a crisis, but our ultimate ace in the hole is technology. It’s changing a lot faster than the climate. Perhaps by 2050, we will have genetic engineered cyanobacteria or nanobot photosynthesis cells generating light oil for transport from the sun and CO2. This would be 10x more efficient than biofuels of today. Once it becomes cheaper than drilling, poof … problem solved.

    • The facts:
      1. CO2 is beneficial.
      2. Spending hundreds of billions to reduce CO2 emissions is paying money to take food off our table and makes no sense.
      3. Fossil fuel is limited and we will by the end of the century be using something else.
      4. Batteries will eventually have the power densities to power aircraft and just about anything else. However a battery with that power density is a bomb if something goes wrong.
      5. Using todays batteries on the scale needed for massive use of renewable energy is crazy because current battery technologies cause a lot of pollution to build and/or consume scarce resources and/or are toxic.

      It makes sense to do research. Deploying pilot facilities and fielding equipment when the technology is cost effective makes sense.

      Massive deployment of expensive, resource/land intensive, technology that causes a lot of pollution during manufacturing doesn’t make a lot of sense. We should wait and do better.

      The advocates of massive renewable energy today have another agenda. They are either lining the pockets of green interests, trying to maintain the illusion that radical environmentalism is still relevant, deliberately trying to cripple the US economy, or some combination of these and other motivations.

      The one thing we do know is that the “deploy it nowers” do not give a damn about the best interests of the American people.

      • Frankly, I think most are simply detached from reality. They have feel good “solutions” that cause harm while producing nothing of value. And, they don’t care about the well being of ANYONE, not just those of us living in the USA.

      • PA,

        “Last year Boeing grounded its entire fleet of the next-generation plane after the lithium batteries on two of the aircraft caught fire.”

        The finest research by the finest researchers, the “next generation”, and that was the safest, bestest, battery they could find. These things happen, unfortunately. My guess is that battery technology is not quite settled science yet.

        Maybe if they employed a climatologist or two, they could look into the future.

      • patmcguinness

        “Massive deployment of expensive, resource/land intensive, technology that causes a lot of pollution during manufacturing doesn’t make a lot of sense. We should wait and do better”

        Yes, absolutely. Moreover, we can fund renewables development by using it where it already IS cost-effective (eg remote and offgrid applications, wind energy for island communities, etc.) We are getting to the point where the technology will develop on its own at sufficiently fast pace without govt forcing it.

        The ‘we must act now’ cries are those of carnival hucksters. They are slling us a lemon and want ‘action’ without full consideration.

      • patmcguinness | June 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm |

        Yes, absolutely. Moreover, we can fund renewables development by using it where it already IS cost-effective (eg remote and offgrid applications, wind energy for island communities, etc.)

        I have actually converted systems to run on solar – swapped out the AC parts to use DC and optimized to maximize up time and reduce power consumption.

        There are some applications where solar has been a winner for a while now.

        However more than a modest helping for grid applications is problematic. The current renewables create so much pollution during manufacture and require so much land and resources that renewable energy is not a “clean” winner over other power sources.

        Economics should decide the choice of grid power sources, not subsidies and politics.

  3. Well this all seems a bit of a yawn.

    I agree with you there.

  4. David L. Hagen

    Nature’s Oil Rules
    “Today we consume around 4 times as much oil as we discover.”
    Conventional oil discovery peaked around 1965 (backdated to original field discovery).
    Actuary Gail Tverberg documents the rate of rise in global oil production dropped ~ 90% from ~ 7.8%/year in 1965-1975 to 0.4%/year since 2007.
    We are now about at “peak oil” for conventional oil using primary and secondary (water flood) recovery. (CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery can about double total petroleum recovery – if we can cost effectively capture the CO2.)
    Fracking for tight oil is proving a short term breather.
    We need to very rapidly develop and deploy replacement fuels cheaper than oil – else our economies won’t make it to 2050, let alone 2100!
    See TOTAL oil expert Jean Laherrere 2008

    • Your CO2 EOR number is very optimistic. Has been used in the Permian Basin, and at Wayburn in Canada. Nothing like these results on a general basis. Wayburn (the IEA example) is 25%. BP says that since 1950, all EOR methods together have enhanced recovery factors by about 25%.

      • David L. Hagen

        ristvan – Your numbers are typical for conventional recovery within the same field after primary and secondary recovery with some tertiary. The additional recoveries come especially by CO2 from Residual Oil Zones (ROZ) SEPATE from conventional oil (where there is no “primary” (pumping) or “secondary” (water) recovery), and further CO2 recovery from BELOW conventional oil. Apologies for not distinguishing and detailing that. See the presentations at the annual December =http://www.co2conference.net/>CO2 Conference (for Enhanced Oil Recovery) (Texas), and the annual U of W’s EROI (Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute) Wyoming CO2 Conferences; and the Permian Basin ROZ conference. e.g. See especially specialist Steve Melzer’s 2013 presentation on ROZ. especially slides 44 and 45. He estimates CO2 Tertiary & Quaternary ~ 110% of primary and secondary recovery. etc. Further see Denbury achieving 11% to 20% recovery of Original Oil In Place using CO2 only. See Slide 29 compared to 10% – 18% for typical industry from CO2.

      • David L. Hagen

        Errata: Annual Texas CO2 Conference

      • DLH, thank you much for the extra information. I had not known about ROZ before. Mea culpa. Note that ROZ production in the Permian is still a small fraction of production from the traditional saturated producing zones. Still, this another hopeful extension of the petroleum gamma distribution long tail. Softens the later consequences of, but does not avoid, the impending peak in production. Since any gamma with the front side roughly coinciding to a logistic has roughly the same peak mode. Previously ran that math, since both probability functions are available in Excel stats. Used Prudhoe and North Sea for data inputs to get the function fits.

      • Not all reservoirs have residual oil zones. I’ve seen simulations of supercritical CO2 injection in residual zones, it seems to work in the models, but there’s bound to be hairs in that soup. When I consider how much oil we have to produce I deduct what I think is overbooked by opec nations and add in EOR projects like this. But, in the medium term, it’s not going to save us from very high prices.

      • David L. Hagen

        The biggest challenge to CO2-EOR for both conventional and ROZ is that only about 85% of the needed CO2. This CO2-EOR potential has been developed by Vello Kuuskraa of Advanced Resources International with reports to and by NETL (National Energy Technology Lab) of the the US DOE. e.g., Primer CO2 EOR
        Improving Domestic Energy Security and Lowering CO2 Emissions with “Next Generation” CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) 2011 DOE/NETL-2011/1504

      • Fernando, we come from different places, but are on the same page with respect to liquid hydrocarbons (oil).

      • David L. Hagen

        OPEC has pushed US oil producers into cutting costs to be competitive.
        Why This Shale CEO Isn’t Afraid of OPEC or Low Oil Prices

        EOG can now make the same profit with oil at $65 a barrel that it could with $95-a-barrel crude two years ago.
        The overall decline in costs may outpace early industry hopes of realizing 25 percent reductions, according to analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. After six months of oil prices hovering between $50 and $60, producers in the top three drilling regions of the Permian Basin have dropped the so-called breakeven price — which includes a 10-percent profit — to about $42 a barrel, a decline of 19 percent from last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

    • If Rud and Fernando would predict exact prices 5 years apart into the future, they would probably be systematically higher than it will actually be, and oil will probably be economical to use longer than they currently believe.

      That being said, it is still prudent to enact some no-regrets policies. IMO, I don’t see that wind and solar are likely to be no-regrets. This is because we don’t have a cheap way to store electricity for later use. Right now, this is hopium, and might remain hopium for a long time to come.

      Instead, we need to develope and build nuclear reactors; large, medium, and small – molten salt, and other more safe and fuel efficient designs.

      • Dunno Jim, I’m not into predicting oil prices. I used to tell my boss the best oil price predictor was a secret equation I can’t reveal. As if this morning it says the oil price for WTI will average 96.5 USD per barrel over the next four years (2015,16,17 and 18). Write it down and we will see how it does.

        Meanwhile, the Saudis seem to be abandoning plans to expand capacity. Their minister says its up to Lybia to increase capacity.


        The party is over.

      • Fernando, and Rud, don’t get me wrong. You get a lot of points from me for even trying to predict the future of oil E&P. It’s not as complex as, say, climate. But it is still subject to uncertainties. These days, the biggest long term uncertainty is technology. The US has about 8 times more total oil, as the situation is now understood, as recoverable oil. So, there is a lot of room for improvement. The same story, more or less, for other oil producing countries.

        Even if the Saudi’s can’t squeeze out another million barrels, there are other countries that will maximize their production to the largest extent possible.

        At any rate, I have no quibble with the fundamental idea that oil is a limited resource. And because of that, IMO, we should pursue nuclear power now.

      • David L. Hagen

        Your “nopium” does not infer “hopium” when the cause is insufficient R&D to develop the sustainable cheap replacement fuel. Holywood/Fukushima/Green fright is stopping nuclear power.

  5. The thing that makes most sceptics, sceptics, is that we look at what is actually happening, whereas what makes alarmists alarmists – is that they look at what they believe might happen.

    So this seems to be satisfying everyone: the sceptics can see nothing is happening and the alarmists believe something will happen.

    Win – win!

  6. Money is a proxy for energy. No energy, no money to subsidize so-called “renewable” energy. A closed loop for subsidy payments won’t work any better than Bamster care will ever work. Governments bureaucrats just aren’t among the brightest lights on the string.

  7. Pingback: What matters (and doesn’t) in the G7 Climate Declaration | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  8. Good luck having UNFCCC force transparency commitments on China. Paris is shaping up to be a worse train wreck than Copenhagen.

  9. Wishful thinking. We’re having a difficult enough time with technology issues pushing an excess of intermittent renewables in the electricity supply industry.

    Good overview at The Conversation:

  10. G7 is less and less a portion of global GDP:

    and is also less and less a portion of global CO2:

  11. Pipeline wars and politics, strait and maritime disputes, territorial disputes, major alliance/trade shifts, all these tensions and more with energy at the centre…while the developed West is sleepwalking toward energy poverty and dependency.

    So the G7 are going to “insure” the poor maybe by infrastructure spending, or maybe by getting the atmosphere just right, or maybe by all of the above? (They never exactly say, do they? Why define ‘climate change related hazards’ when you can just use the words as a shamanic spell?) For dialling a better atmosphere those German solar panels at 50+ degrees N are no doubt a good start…but let’s hope for Asia’s sake that they don’t achieve the atmospheric conditions of 1970, 1881 or 1839.

    But debt. What’s the point of worrying if the fridge has the maximum number of green stars if the repo truck is coming for all your appliances? Oh well, later.

    Can’t look down on G7 members, however. Australia, geologically and politically stable, stupendously rich in coal and uranium, is the zombiest sleepwalker of them all. We presently have a supposedly conservative/skep leadership and they are like rabbits in a spotlight before the airheads of the press and the shills of Big Green. But wait till you meet our new Labor leadership! Rally the Guardinistas, get ’em democratically elected, show ’em any dotted line and they’ll sign! (Just make sure you ask those union lawyers for your pen back, however.)

    • I agree most, but don’t fret too much. Australia and the USA are rich in some combination of oil, gas, coal, and uranium. Most importantly, we still have some rational voters. One day this scam will be uncovered and we’ll see some greens doing the perp walk.

      • We can only hope, but I am not sure if will happen in our lifetime. The progressives shout louder and are supported by what has become a fully corrupted MSM – and they are all too invested in the horrors of AGW to back away anytime soon. Plus, given that every extreme weather event will be due to AGW (and the events do not even have to be extreme at this point), we have a lot of work to educate the gullible, low/no info voters.

        However, the Sierra club is systematically and successfully carrying out lawsuits to shut down coal plants in the US. If they continue their success and the impact is felt by a sufficient number of people, there may be a chance. We will, however, need to overcome the narrative that it’s all the utilities fault for not planning and investing better while milking the rate payers.

      • Barnes, that’s why we skeptics must become more proactive. In PR and in politics, not just on this or other blogs. Lots of ways. I wrote a book. Actually three. And stopped contributing to my alma mater, since they are brainwashing students using professors like Oreskes. And post occasionally to give Judith more technical ‘ammo’. To paraphrase someone we should not emulate, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Get going.

      • Rud – I fully agree.

      • justin, Australia has some rational voters on this issue and even some rational politicians, but the current government (which still takes CAGW seriously but wants to spend less dealing with it) has frequently been knocked back in the Senate, where it is far from a majority (silly voting system). It recently agreed a deal to expand wind energy a lot more than it wished because without a deal the previous government’s higher target would have remained. Immediate response: closure of coal-fired power stations in South Australia and, I think, Victoria well within their previously expected lifetimes. So we spend billions on expensive intermittent energy supplies and retire fully depreciated functional low-cost energy infrastructure. Madness.

      • From the front page of today’s Australian:

        The winds of change have claimed their first victims. Two coal-fired power plants in South Australia slated for closure next April are, experts say, the “first major dominoes to fall” as the nation’s electricity generators grapple with the inexorable, government-sanctioned rise of renewable energy. Alinta Energy yesterday brought forward by 12 years the planned closure of its aging coal-fired power plants at Port Augusta, 310km north of Adelaide, and its associated coal mine at Leigh Creek, 260km further north.

        A “massive oversupply in generation capacity” from wind and solar has reduced its share of the state’s power supply from 35 per cent to 15 per cent in the past two years and created net losses of $100 million. Alinta’s move follows Alcoa’s announcement — before the Renewable Energy Target was revised last month — to close its Anglesea coal mine and power station near Geelong in Victoria in August.

        It also puts pressure on vulnerable brown-coal-fired power stations such as Hazelwood and Yallourn in Victoria’s La Trobe and Vales Point and Lidelle in the NSW Hunter Valley. Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood said Alinta’s coal-fired power plants were the first to be “pushed out the back and picked off by the lions” as owners assessed viability in an industry making way for a required 6000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to be built in Australia by 2020.

        The announcement of the closures came as Tony Abbott declared he wanted to limit the growth of wind farms and their “visually awful” turbines. But he said the move to renewables was inevitable.


  12. “Ideally G7 countries would help vulnerable populations get access to insurance against extreme weather hazards of all origins – whether or not those are generated by climate change – and, in practice, that’s presumably what insurance would do.”

    Insurance in the form of prevention, not in the form of insurance payouts. The funds pumped into “climate research” would be much better invested in helping vulnerable population to have access to food (agriculture) and to decent housing. If the UN organized an International Panel for Underdeveloped Countries with they some budget as for the IPCC many million people could have a better life and become in turn suppliers and customers of developed nations. Surely a win-win.

  13. What’s changed since Copenhagen is that the market for the international trading of CO2-pollution indulgences has gone the way of Solyndra and all of the insiders have flown off in their private jets while Western governments ponder the Maunder and rethink whether they really want to print more money to blow up the Tesla bubble and on windmills in the sky. Cap-and-trade is dead.

  14. I see predictions in here that we will run out of oil and natural gas in the near future, less than 100 years. This is very unlikely. Predictions that the world would run out of oil go back to the mid 19th century and they have all been wrong. See Professor Deming’s interesting monograph here: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/bg159.pdf. At least read his conclusions on page 10, I wholly agree. We do not have an energy resource shortage. Any problems will be political.

    • This is very unlikely.

      Well, again history is relevant to the future only if you understand the history.

      The 20th century was mostly exploration problems. Those were solved by better exploration.

      The 21st century issues are getting more oil from existing fields and going to new difficult-to-get-to fields.

      The 20th century oil cost less than $10 per barrel to extract. The new fields and enhanced extraction from old fields is running about $50 per barrel. And the extraction cost of new oil is steadily increasing.

      The claim that we will run out of oil per se is wrong. But the claim we won’t run out of economically extractable fossil fuels is equally wrong.

      • The new marginal fields require between 80 and 100 USD per barrel. North Dakota’s Bakken can’t be fully developed at $60. Neither can the Canadian or Venezuelan heavy oils. Ditto that high risk Arctic play of Shell’s in the Chukchi. The key is to understand the game involves putting the last daily barrel in the customer’s tank. And this requires ever increasing resources. We can’t keep on raising production throwing money at very expensive projects. And if we can’t meet demand then prices have to rise. Guys like Deming didn’t understand the way this really works, or chose to keep it from the public.

      • Fernando, we can continue as long as oil is at least as competitive as alternatives.

      • PA,

        At what price can hydrocarbon fuels be produced from nuclear energy And seawater. The US Navy and Audi both estimate it can be produced at $3-$6 a gallon.

      • Yes genghis, that’s it in a nutshell as long as the high oil prices don’t choke weaker economies.

        Take for example Jamaica. They use liquid fossil fuels to generate electricity, have two small wind farms, and a few solar panels. I believe electricity costs three times what it costs in the USA. At some time in the future we will have to charge $150 per barrel. This isn’t going to go over well in such a weak economy, so they’ll have to find alternative energy sources to reduce the amount of oil they import. And this implies less oil consumption and less emissions.

        Temporarily they could choose to move over and consume LNG. But this implies a much larger market demand for natural gas. And much higher prices, which in turn depresses demand.

        I like to bring up the subject because the IPCC has a “business as usual” case with a 170+ million BOPD peak in the 2070s, and that’s an insane figure. I have serious doubts we can reach 100 mm bopd crude oil plus condensate. And that’s a huge difference in emissions.

    • You misunderstand peak oil. Or, have been misled by those that have misunderstood. It is not and never was about running out even though that will somewhen happen. It always was about the eventual inability to produce more per year, and the sharp run up in prices that will cause thereafter. Despite the short term US shale/OPEC kerfuffle, my money’s still on an overall peak sometime between 2020 and 2025. The logic is in several essays in the ebook.

    • Andy, I wasn’t around making predictions in the XIXth century. But I have been in the oil industry 40 years, and I have had access to better information than Dr Deming (simply because we are here now, so I have more data).

      I also happen to be retired, I don’t have an axe to grind, my oil investments are less than 3 % of my portfolio and I already cashed in my options. If you wish I can explain why I think we are indeed about to face an era of much tighter oil supplies. Gas isn’t as depleted, but I see the demand growth and to satisfy it in 25 years we will need much higher prices. People I know who studied coal feel it’s also facing a problem if demand keeps increasing.

      I don’t think this is a site to write extensively about the subject, but I bring it up because I sense the global warming problem is based on cornucopian beliefs, and the business as usual case the IPCC likes to wave around is based on nothing. Those figures were made up as far as I can tell.

    • David L. Hagen

      See constraints on production and resources: Depletion of fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change—A review
      M Höök, X Tang – Energy Policy, 2013 – Elsevier

      It is concluded that the current set of emission scenarios used by the IPCC and others is perforated by optimistic expectations on future fossil fuel production that are improbable or even unrealistic. The current situation, where climate models largely rely on emission scenarios detached from the reality of supply and its inherent problems is problematic. In fact, it may even mislead planners and politicians into making decisions that mitigate one problem but make the other one worse. It is important to understand that the fossil energy problem and the anthropogenic climate change problem are tightly connected and need to be treated as two interwoven challenges necessitating a holistic solution.

      For quantitative depletion rates see: Mikael Hook, May 2009, Depletion and Decline Curve Analysis in Crude Oil Production, Licentiate Thesis, Department for Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University,p.70.

    • David L. Hagen

      andy may
      See “Depletion of fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change: a review”
      Höök, M., Tang, X. (2013) Energy Policy, 52: 797-809
      URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.10.046
      Permanent link to this version:
      concludes that limits to availability of fossil fuels will set a limit for mankind’s ability to
      affect the climate. However, this limit is unclear as various studies have reached quite different
      conclusions regarding future atmospheric CO2 concentrations caused by fossil fuel limitations.
      It is concluded that the current set of emission scenarios used by the IPCC and others is perforated by optimistic expectations on future fossil fuel production that are improbable or even unrealistic. The current situation, where climate models largely rely on emission scenarios detached from the reality of supply and its inherent problems is problematic. In fact, it may even mislead planners and politicians into making decisions that mitigate one problem but make the other one worse. It is important to understand that the fossil energy problem and the anthropogenic climate change problem are tightly connected and need to be treated as two interwoven challenges necessitating a holistic solution.

      • It sure begs the question …. How does CO2 remain suspended in the atmosphere.?

        Its easy to see that humans are emitting lots of CO2 .. Yet emission and re-emission and yet further re-re-emission keep to CO2 in suspension is the process.

        The earth has abundant carbon that perhaps is more easily sequestered than liberated.

        The underlying assumption is that man is selfish stupid and evil. Carbon emission is a bad destructive activity by extension. This original sin is one heck of an assumption of faith!

  15. When I’m feeling most discouraged with the brainpower of our fellow residents of this earth, I drift toward worrying they are not dumb, but in reality, vastly immoral.
    They know that the world they want cannot sustain billions of unemployable people, so rather than educating the masses, they are engineering a new world in which the vast majority of “true believers” starve themselves to death “to protect the planet” while the elites merrily fly huge jets from one resort to another.
    They are not just awaiting a die-off, but counting on and planning for it!
    If they cared about the 3rd world, they’d teach them to frack!

  16. The G-7 meeting was an exercise in futility and an utter waste of time, at a huge expense.

    The same can be said for the Paris meeting which will make Copenhagen look like a a new year’s party.

    Recall that China’s $46 billion loan to Pakistan to develop a large coal deposit and build eight coal-fired electric power plants will swamp any cuts the G7 makes in CO2, In short, this is over before it begins.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

    • Well, since 1980 fossil fuel emissions have doubled.

      Only 21% of the post 1980 additional emissions is going into atmosphere.

      Given the trend it is possible that future increases in emissions may have no impact or a negative impact on the atmospheric CO2 increase.

      Even if as much as 21% of future increases goes into the atmosphere – there isn’t much possibility of reaching 500 PPM let alone the fantastic numbers in the IPCC scenarios.

  17. At the G-7 meeting the two delinquents were Japan and Canada. It’s important to know about Harper’s position on this. He takes a lot of flack from warmists, but he has been steadfast over many years.

    Stephen Harper as Canadian Prime Minister has always claimed that his reluctance to address climate change is based on two factors.
    First, he says he does not want to put Canada’s economy at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the U.S.
    Second, he says that an international climate change deal makes little sense when some of the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitters, like China, are not taking part.

    The China-US deal is less than meets the eye. China will keep on their present course, and the US side of it is politically fragile.

    Harper’s theory of the Canadian economy views resources — particularly energy resources — as the driving forces of the entire economy.
    If oil is the focus, then most of Obama’s climate-change initiatives are, to this Canadian government, irrelevant.

    The U.S. president has tackled his country’s biggest carbon emitters — coal-fired electricity generating plants. What he has not done is introduce regulations to reduce emissions from U.S. oil and gas producers.

    Until Washington does that, Harper won’t act against Canada’s petroleum industry, even though it is now the single biggest source of carbon emissions in this country.
    That’s what the prime minister means when he talks of matching Canada’s actions to those of the U.S., sector by sector. To this government, the fact that the U.S. is on track to meeting its carbon-reduction targets while Canada is not, is immaterial.

    All that matters is oil and gas. The Conservative government will not introduce regulations that reduce industry profits by a penny unless Washington does so first. That is Harper’s ironclad position. There is no indication he can be shamed (and there is plenty of that being thrown his way).
    As someone who does not accept IPCC science and claims of calamity, I applaud his principled and logical stance. There is however a federal election coming up, and Canada leans much more leftward than does the US.

  18. David L. Hagen

    Climate Control = Eugenics 2
    G7 is enforcing the UNFCCC’s purpose to depopulate earth. See:
    UN Official: We should make every effort to depopulate the planet

    Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently stated in an interview that the Earth is already over burdened with people and that we should look at depopulating the planet.

    “There is pressure in the system to go toward that; we can definitely change those, right? We can definitely change those numbers,” Figueres stated.

    “Really, we should make every effort to change those numbers because we are already, today, already exceeding the planet’s planetary carrying capacity.” she claimed.

    “So yes we should do everything possible. But we cannot fall into the very simplistic opinion of saying just by curtailing population then we’ve solved the problem. It is not either/or, it is an and/also.” Figueres continued.

    • Reduce the global
      population infestation?
      No -no – fer we
      are the music
      while the music
      lasts, we
      reflect upon
      the universe – we
      respond ter song birds – we
      make our own music, Shakespeare’s
      – Beethoven’s ‘Tempests,’ we
      seek ter solve problems. eg
      Newton’s grand theory of gravitee
      – exploration of the universe, fer we
      adapt, imagine, appreciate, we
      are the music while
      the music lasts, we

      Disclaimer: acknowledgement that we
      are fallible, Socrates, Sophocles, Euripides
      (and serfs.)

      • You could halve the population and Figueres would just double up on her misanthropy and sclerotic thinking. The world works best without two-bob intellectuals…and with plenty of humans.

  19. All this just sets up Obama and other world leaders to stand up and declare what forward looking leaders they are and bloviate about how they are saving humanity.

  20. Science proves that CO2 has no significant effect on climate. The proof and identification of the two factors that do cause reported climate change are at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com (now with 5-year running-average smoothing of measured data, R2 = 0.97+ since before 1900)

    CO2 doesn’t matter but other stuff in coal does. Some good could be done by the developing countries incorporating technology in their new coal-fired plants to remove real atmospheric pollutants such as particulates, NOX and sulfur. (The Chinese should be encouraged to retrofit to reduce the smog in Beijing).

    • “We often hear lamentations that the coal stored up in the earth is wasted by the present generation without any thought of the future, and we are terrified by the awful destruction of life and property which has followed the volcanic eruptions of our days. We may find a kind of consolation in the consideration that here, as in every other case, there is good mixed with the evil. By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind.”

      – Svante Arrhenius.

      Good all Svante!

      We don’t seem to be running out of coal. Maybe we should adopt Svante Arrhenius’ advice. Burn more coal, and enjoy more equable and better climates. Sounds like win win to me!

      What’s the problem?

  21. Pay attention to what they do and not what they say. Watch the giant carbon footprint headed to Paris and note the hypocrisy. Also notice all the partying and expensive food and drink on the tax dollar while Greece goes bankrupt.

  22. As usual…the political timelines of advocates and the timelines of engineers are quite different.

    The first demonstration reactors of the Gen IV Nuclear Initiative won’t be ready util sometime after 2020..possibly closer to 2030.

    So we end up with three groups….

    Those who think we can/should make deep cuts in emissions with current technology, those that think we will never be able to make deep cuts in emissions at a price anyone is willing to pay…and those who don’t what new technologies are going to be available in 10 or 20 years but are confident that their will be new technology that will solve the problem.

    Personally I think climate change is a scam…I also think investing in R&D for cheaper,faster,better energy technology is a good idea.

    • HarryWR2,

      Personally I think climate change is a scam…

      I’ll nuance that a bit. I think human are having an effect on climate. However, I don’t know whether it is on balance good or bad. I think abrupt cooling would be very damaging and it is due (on geological timescales). So anything we are doing to reduce that risk or delay the next abrupt cooling is good risk management (whether inadvertent or otherwise. On the other hand, I am far from persuaded that global warming and increasing CO2 concentrations are a bad dangerous or net damaging for the whole world. In fact, I tend to believe Richard Tol’s analyses that suggest to me (my interpretation, not his) that warming up to around 3 C would be net beneficial. If we had cheap energy it could be beneficial to well beyond that. I know that cheap energy is available and will come, when the ‘progressives’ stop blocking progress. So I am not concerned about GHG emissions.

      I also think investing in R&D for cheaper,faster,better energy technology is a good idea.

      I do too. But I think we can have “cheaper,faster,better energy technology” without govenment subsidies, or government intervention – other that to remove the massive interventions they’ve already imposed (over the past 50 years or so). Here’s how to get to cheap, clean, safe, low emissions energy:

      How to make nuclear cheaper

      Nuclear power will have to be a major part of the solution to significantly reduce global GHG emissions. It seems it will have to reach about 75% share of electricity generation (similar to where France has been for the past 30 years) and electricity will have to be a significantly larger proportion of total energy – this could reduce the emissions intensity by around 90%.

      To achieve that, the cost of electricity from nuclear power will have to become cheaper than from fossil fuels.

      Here’s my suggested way to get to nuclear cheaper than fossil fuels:

      1. The next US Administration takes the lead to persuade the US citizens nuclear is about as safe as or safer than any other electricity source http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html. US can gain enormously by leading the world on developing new, small modular nuclear power plants; allowing and encouraging innovation and competition; thus unleashing the US’s ability to innovate and compete to produce and supply the fit-for-purpose products the various world markets want.

      2. The next US President uses his influence with the leaders of the other countries that are most influential in the IAEA to get the IAEA representatives to support a process to re-examine the justification for the allowable radiation limits – as the US announced in January it will do over 18 months “WNN 20/1/15. Radiation health effects http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Nuclear-Radiation-and-Health-Effects/

      3. Once the IAEA starts increasing the allowable radiation limits for the public this should be the catalyst to reducing the cost of nuclear energy.

      a. it will mean radiation leaks are understood to be less dangerous than most non experts believe > less people will need to be evacuated from accident effected zones > the cost of accidents will decline > accident insurance cost will decline;

      b. the public progressively reconsiders the evidence about the effects of radiation > they gain an understanding it is much less harmful than they thought > fear level subsides > opposition to nuclear declines > easier and less expensive to find new sites for power plants > increased support from the people in the neighbourhood of proposed and existing power plants > planning and sight approval costs decline over time;

      c. The risk of projects being delayed during construction or once in operation declines; > all this leads to a lowering of the investors’ risk premium > thus reducing the financing costs and the fixed O&M costs for the whole life of the power plants;

      d. Changing perceptions of the risks and benefits of nuclear power leads to increasing public support for nuclear > allows the NRC licensing process to be completely revamped and the culture of the organisation to be changed from “safety first” to an appropriate balance of all costs and risks, including the consequences retarding nuclear development and rollout by making it too expensive to compete as well as it could if the costs were lower (e.g. higher fatalities per TWh if nuclear is not allowed to be cheaper than fossil fuels).

      4. NRC is revamped – its Terms of Reference and its culture are changed. Licensing period for new designs is greatly reduced, e.g. to the equivalent of the design and licensing period for new aircraft designs.

      5. Small modular reactors are licensed quickly. New designs, new versions, new models, and design changes are processed expeditiously. This will lead to more competition, more innovation, learning rate continually improves so that costs come down.

      6. The efficiency of using the fuel can be improved by nearly a factor of 100. That gives some idea of how much room there is to reduce the cost of nuclear power over the decades ahead.

      7. Eventually, fusion will be viable and then the technology life cycle starts all over again – but hopefully the anti-nuke dinosaurs will have been extinct for a long time by then.

      • Peter – I admire your optimism that the next US president could pull off what you suggest and fully agree that at this point in time, nuclear is the only viable alternative/replacement for fossil fuels. The one element missing from your plan is converting a fully corrupted msm into a supporting voice. As it stands right now, the only “leaders” in the US who would consider nuclear are republicans – I don’t see hillary,bernie, or if she decides to run, lizzy supporting any energy policy other than the current insanity of replacing ff with wind and solar. Regardless of the msm’s current scrutiny of hillary, if she wins the dem nomination, they will turn their full ire on any republican and launch a full scale smear campaign while glossing over, apologizing for, or totaly ignoring any baggage carried by hillary – or any dem candidate for that matter. While my rose colored glasses see signs that the average US voter may be wising up a bit, I doubt that there are a sufficient number to overcome this bias in a national election – but I hope I am wrong. If by some miracle a republican is elected, that person will have to be willing and able to stand up to what would likely be an even more hostile msm that will be seathing from a bitter defeat, and we will need to not only retain control of congress, but find real leaders there willing to support such a plan. We have an uphill battle to say the least.

  23. I must say, it is nice of Harrywr2 to drop in on the Aussie web site :)

    • Peter,
      Do you know the Japanese plans on shutting down their nuc plants. 20,000 people died in the earthquake and tidal wave and 3 got 25 rem doses at Fukushima which can increase cancer risk from 22% to 22.1% over 70 years. How does spending for coal and renewable sources there stack up against restarting idle nuc plants and building new ones. It seems the non-rationale fear is costing big yen and adding new risks to the energy mix. It is hard to see how this can come out well for the people and if Japan won’t restart existing plants what chance does US and Australia have to build new ones?

      • Scott,

        Many people who make the same argument as you are making do’t consider time frames. Politics and beliefs change. They can be changed by good leadership and information. However, physical constraints cannot. The relevant points are clear: Nuclear is:

        1. the safest way to generate electricity
        2. effectively unlimited fuel supply
        3. potentially a huge cost reduction over time (the fuel is 20,000 times more energy dense when used in an LWR and up to 2 million times more energy dense a breeder reactor
        4. If we want to greatly reduce global GHG emissions the world will have to move to nuclear for electricity, heat and for producing unlimited transport fuels (e.g. from sea water).
        5. Renewables cannot do the job.

  24. Here’s what matters: polar bears are so threatened by “global warming” that they’re turning around and threatening dolphins:

    Thanks, global warming: Now polar bears are devouring dolphins

    Sorry for the above image. But you know who’s even sorrier? The white-beaked dolphin that’s getting gnawed on like a meat popsicle. Yikes.

    According to Norwegian scientists, we likely have climate change to thank for the ghastly sight. In a paper recently published in Polar Research, they report that polar bears — who usually dine on seals — have expanded their palates to include dolphins as well, which has never been documented before.

    It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the way people are looking more closely at polar bears, trying to prove they’re threatened.

    • I looked at about 6 stories on the subject. Almost all of them had the above picture in them. “How do dolphins protect themselves?
      A lot of dolphin self defense relies on strength in numbers. When a predator threatens, the entire pod may take part in neutralizing the threat. For example, dolphins will ram a shark’s soft underbelly to kill it or drive it away. Dolphins are also adept at communicating danger to one another through the various sounds they produce.” http://www.key-largo-sunsets.com/bottlenose-dolphins.html In a fair fight, I am betting on the dolphins. I suppose the bear’s defense is that global warming caused him to do it.

  25. Here we see what happens when climate scientists tell us their “meaningful” thoughts.

    From the article:

    CHRIS CUOMO: Now, we will have a dramatic preview for you of an unprecedented ABC News event called “Earth 2100.” We’re asking you to help create a story that is yet to unfold: What our world will look like in 100 years if we don’t save our troubled planet. Your reports will actually help form the backbone of a two-hour special airing this fall. ABC’s Bob Woodruff will be the host. He joins us now. Pleasure, Bob.

    BOB WOODRUFF: You too, Chris. You know, this show is a countdown through the next century and shows what scientists say might very well happen if we do not change our current path. As part of the show, today, we are launching an interactive web game which puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world. The first stop is the year 2015.

    [NOTE: ABC provides no graphics or identification for any of the following individuals/activists featured. Identifications taken discerned from web article.]

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: The public is sleepwalking into the future. You know, sort of going through the motions of daily life and really not paying attention.

    JAMES HANSEN (NASA/AL GORE SCIENCE ADVISOR): We can see what the prospects are and we can see that we could solve the problem but we’re not doing it.

    [Graphic: Welcome to 2015]

    PETER GLEICK (SCIENTIST/PACIFIC INSTITUTE): In 2015, we’ve still failed to address the climate problem.

    JOHN HOLDREN (PROFESSOR/HARVARD UNIVERSITY): We’re going to see more floods, more droughts, more wildfires.

    UNIDENTIFIED “REPORTER:” Flames cover hundreds of square miles.

    UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: We expect more intense hurricanes.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE #5: Well, how warm is it going to get? How much will sea level rise? We don’t know really know where the end is.

    UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #2: Temperatures have hit dangerous levels.

    UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #3: Agriculture production is dropping because temperatures are

    HEIDI CULLEN (WEATHER CHANNEL/CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERT): There’s about one billion people who are malnourished. That number just continually grows.

    CUOMO: I think we’re familiar with some of these issues, but, boy, 2015? That’s seven years from now. Could it really be that bad?

    WOODRUFF: It’s very soon, you know. But all you have to do is look at the world today right today. You know, you’ve got gas prices going up. You got food prices going up. You’ve got extreme weather. The scientists have studied this for decades. They say if you connect the dots, you can actually see that we’re approaching maybe even a perfect storm. Or you have got shrinking resources, population growth. Climate change. So, the idea now is to look at it, wake up about it and then try to do something to fix it.

    WOODRUFF: But the best of these regular reports that come from people that are watching, we’re going to put those on, all of this on our two-hour production that’s going to happen in the fall. And we just want more of these people to watch. And we’ve gotten already some remarkable interviews from these people. And just take a quick look.

    UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER: It’s June 8th, 2015. One carton of milk is $12.99.

    SECOND UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gas reached over $9 a gallon.

    THIRD UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m scared [bleeped] right now, but I have to get this out.


    • Couldn’t they find anyone to participate who didn’t have their “head up their … ” ?

      • Many of the people pushing CAGW were lying then and they are lying now. Some merely may be deceiving themselves. But others are misrepresenting the depth of their knowledge about climate and that amounts to a lie.

    • patmcguinness

      From 2007 documentary: “HEIDI CULLEN (WEATHER CHANNEL/CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERT): There’s about one billion people who are malnourished. That number just continually grows. ”

      Has she retracted that absurd claim?

      • Well…

        The absolute number tends to go up and down but has a general downward trajectory, with some credit to increasing CO2 (more plant growth means cheaper food)..

        The percentage of malnourished has steadily declined and any claim otherwise is an outright lie. In 25 years we have cut the rate of undernourishment over 40%.

      • Interesting charts, PA. Thank you.

  26. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #183 | Watts Up With That?

  27. The goal is control.