# Climate change: The Critical Decade

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by James R, May 23, 2011.

1. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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You can say that as many times as you want, but it isn't going to stick.

The relevant measure of speed of deployment to a thread about global warming is the rate at which overall reliance on renewables is proceeding. That should be obvious. If you aren't addressing that - and mere quantity of installation in absolute terms pointedly does not address that, as you repeatedly admit - then you are going off topic, persistently and in direct refusal of repeated good-faith attempts by others to keep the interaction on-topic.

Can you give me one serious reason we should care about what the rate of installation of renewable facilities is, independent of its impact on overall reliance on renewable energy, in the context of a thread on energy policy as it relates to climate change? Because the only rationale I can see for your line here is that you harbor some overriding need to feel that you are correct and iceaura is wrong, regardless of the relevance. This seems to be all about your ego.

And which you have now spent many pages pointedly refusing to address in any meaningful way, preferring instead to obfuscate the issue and beat your chest over irrelevancies. Looks for all the world like a tactic: shotgun pages of bullshit everywhere to distract from points you don't want to address.

Then you are agreeing that said pace - "fast as they could" or otherwise - is "far too slow" in the sense relevant to the thread topic (climate change). Why you won't simply aknowledge this plain fact and drop the energetic distraction is the question, at this point. I guess because it would require conceding that iceaura has a point, and you don't?

And so the rate of installation, in the relevant terms, is "slow." I've covered this before - why do you think you can avoid admitting error via these unilateral declarations that we're talking about something other than what we obviously are? You aren't even attempting to challenge the rationale I've provided as to why the relevant measure of deployment rate is impact on fossil fuel reliance; you're just running a broken-record line of naked counter-assertion. Which is pretty clearly a bad-faith mode of engagement.

That the USA may not be going slow if measured in some way that is irrelevant to the thread topic is irrelevant to the thread topic. Harping on it for multiple pages doesn't make you correct - it makes you a troll. Everyone gets what you're saying, and knows exactly what you have and have not said. Repeating yourself is not a meaningful response.

If you don't have a good-faith response to that, then stop making bad-faith responses.

Unless it were heavily subsidized, you mean. Which it is.

Actually, I'm not even positive that ethanol does cost less than the relevant fossil fuels, even with the subsidies (it's as much stuff like coal and natural gas going into the ethanol, as oil).

That issue is totally irrelevant to the thread topic, and nobody other than yourself has endorsed it as "the issue." That means it isn't "the issue," but a distracting irrelevancy that you are determined to pursue, thereby driving the thread off-topic. These are not the tactics used in good-faith engagement.

So, since you are determined to transform a debate about energy policy as it relates to climate change, into a debate about installation of certain capacities independent of their impact on fossil fuel reliance, you are in flagrant violation of your first rule, there. I eagerly anticipate your self-application of appropriate sanctions for this grevious, ongoing violation.

3. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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Just to (hopefully) put this objection to bed once and for all, consider this graph:

This graph is based on data between 2002 and 2010.
This graph is a scatter plot with doubling time on the Y axis and the number of data points between 2002 and 2009 (effectively the number of years for that time period that wind power generation was available over that period).
This graph is based on 68 Data points, out of 73 countries that I have been able to calculate doubling times for. I have excluded 5 countries from this data set, because two of them show negative doubling times, and 3 of them show doubling times in excess of 100 years (one as high as 600 years).

You will note that there is no trend using a linear least squares in deed, the opposite is true - a very weak negative trend is picked from the data, suggesting that doubling time improves slightly the linger a country has been doing it (practice makes perfect, and all that). You will also note that of the 37 countries examined that have full data sets over this period of time, 33 of them have doubling times less than the global average of 4 years and 9 months.

So no, it can not be reaosnably inferred that considering the doubling time unreasonably penalizes the US.

Of those countries with doubling times less than the global average (not to be confused with the doubling time of the global capacity) the median doubling time sits around 1 year 11 months, with Australia sitting slightly above it, and New Zealand sitting slightly below it, with the US being 5 countries below NZ.

Take from that what you will, however TBH I have no problems what so ever with admitting that based on that NZ could pick up its pace as it's flagging, however although, according to this arrangement, although New Zealand may be slow, the United States is slower still. The take home message being that whether the US is fast or slow depends on what data you look at, and how you define fast and slow.

If anybody is interested, using doubling times, based on the data set I have, the fastest growing country is Vietnam, however Vietnam only has two data points in the set. The fastest country with a full data set is Hungary, the two countries with negative doubling times are Israel, and Ecuador. The three countries with doubling times in excess of 100 years were Colombia (255 years, 7 data points), Jordan (286 years, 7 data points) and Cape Verde (677 years, 6 data points) and the country with the longest doubling time and 9 data points was Latvia (29 years, 9 months).

5. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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Finally (I hope) consider this graph:

This graph is a graph of the doubling times for all of the developed countries (as defined by their HDI) that I have data for. You will note that it is ordered from shortest doubling time to longest doubling time.

Also note that I have excluded Denmark with a doubling time of nearly 30 years, from this graph, and associated calculations as an outlier.

You will note that the United States is in the middle. It is precisely in the middle of the list, it is, as it happens, the median point of this data set (not deliberate, I can assure you).

I had been going to suggest that those above the median point might be considered 'fast' and those below it might be considered 'slow'. So this would mean that those countries going faster than the US can reasonably be called 'fast' and those slower than the US can reasonably be called slow.

So while it might be unreasonable to characterize the progress in the US as being slow, it is reasonable to suggest that it is faster going elsewhere.

(Incidentally - if you consider the data between 2002 and 2005, the US doubling time actually increases from 2 years 5 months to 3 years 2 months so considering the whole data set makes the US look better, not worse).

Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

7. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Sure it is. There are 4 people debating this, ice who raised the point, you, me and Trippy, and you are the only one who doesn't seem to understand the specific issue currently being debated: Is the US going slow relative to other countries in relation to the installation of renewables?

That is indeed one topic, and that was discussed. By me in fact, about 5 pages back.

I did in fact address that very point and I did so by producing figures to support the notion that even though the developed world was installing new renewables at a breakneck pace they have still only been able to lower their own growth of CO2 down to ~0.7% annual rate of increase, but at the same time (from 2001 to 2008), the Global output of CO2 from fuel combustion has gone up by 5.7 gigatons or a 24% increase (~3% per year) and that 94% of that growth came just from Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Asia. (IEA data thru 2008)

So clearly that point, that you think I somehow am avoiding, was in fact brought up by me and supported with data that I took the time to research. You know, add actual content to the thread.

Well I think the issue is important to understanding the overall renewable investment situation and the US role in renewables and the implications it has to policy.

I do think the US is going fast, because it is investing and advancing in all fronts on the development/installation of renewables, with particular emphasis on the emerging technologies.

For instance Wind capacity is increasing at a substantial rate, year on year, which is largely due to our ongoing 2c per kWh production subsidy for the first 10 years of a turbines operation. If wind wasn't increasing as FAST as it is, then that would argue that policy would likely have to be changed to increase the subsidy. But at present we are limited mainly by site and supply side issues in the installation, not on demand. Same with Solar, our 30% tax credit for both residential and commercial installations has substantially increased our rate of installation of PV systems such that in 2009 we had 1,255 MW of Grid connected PV but by 2010 that had grown to 2,152 MW or a 71% annual increase.

And clearly our subsidy of Ethanol has helped make this a reality (and also supports the FAST installation of renewables, as Ethanol is now almost 10% of our gasoline)

Nope, as pointed out above, the relative rate of installation of renewable capacity is a valid issue to understand. It is not the ONLY issue however, but then I have previously addressed those other issues you have brought up and posted supporting data about it as well.

No need to acknowledge a point you made yourself is there?
Indeed, it appears that you didn't bother to read the data I've posted in the thread and apparently just jumped into the middle of the discussion.

So Quad, if that's not true, then please explain to me what you think the point of this post was?

http://sciforums.com/showpost.php?p=2793944&postcount=278

Seems pretty clear:
A) the developed nations rate of CO2 growth has been slowing but even with installing renewables at a fast pace, CO2 is still growing at .7% per year (ie fast but still not quite enough to completely reverse the trend in CO2 production)

B) the developed nations account for about half the CO2, developing nations the other half.

C) The global rate of growth of CO2 emissions is about 3% per year with the majority of the growth coming from the developing nations.

Which clearly shows that the global rate of installation of renewables is not keeping up with our energy use and that's a key issue because that's where the growth in CO2 is coming from and also because they export so much CO2 production to the developed nations.

If you account for China's CO2 exports then their rate of CO2 growth decreases by about 20% and gets shifted mainly to the West. (on average someone in the EU imports about 4 tons of CO2, someone in the US about 2.5 tons (net of exports) Carnagie Study)

Except within a thread, related side issues come up like this one has and are debated to conclusion. As long as the issue is related to climate change (as this is) then it isn't irrelevant or off topic, and as I pointed out previously, the specific question we have been debating for these last few pages does have relevance.

Every one of my posts about the relative rate of US installation of renewables has been in good faith, and most posts contain data to support the assertions.

Except the cost of Ethanol was compared to the cost of gasoline PRIOR to the Ethanol subsidy, so that is irrelevant.

If that were the case then Ethanol, prior to subsidies, would have to cost much more than the cost of the fossil fuels that make it up, otherwise the farmers and distillers and truckers would make no profit since they would have to buy/use more gallons of oil than they produce. But they do make a profit and they sell their product for less than the cost of the oil/NG used in the process.

But again, to the issue that we are installing renewables fast, the huge growth in our ethanol issue does support that point.
If you want to argue that that growth in ethanol is not very effective or the subsidies would be better spent somewhere else, that's a different point, which I would tend to disagree with the former and partially agree with the latter, except for where we are trying to increase our use of other source materials besides corn to produce ethanol.

http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/re_ethanol_cellulosic.htm

It is a valid issue, and it is related to the thread topic, and you don't have to debate this point if you don't want to. If you have an actual point you want to debate, then make it.

Indeed, if you want to debate why the US rate, while fast relative to other developed countries is still not fast enough, feel free to do so, but you will find that I already made that point, indeed I showed that if the all of the countries in the Developed world, including the US, cut their CO2 production by 50% by 2030, which is higher than any planned reductions, and the developing world cut their current CO2 growth rate by half, we would by 2030 still be producing much more CO2 than we are today and nobody disagreed with that.

That data was posted to show that not only are we not doing enough to lower CO2 now, we aren't even planning on doing enough.

No, I'm not trying to transform the debate at all and if the moderator thinks I am derailing the thread I presume I would be so informed. But every post in this thread doesn't have to be about energy policy as it relates to climate change either. One can indeed debate a specific related point, in this case, the relative rate of US installation of renewables compared to the rest of the developed world until that point is settled, as we are doing here. In this discussion I believe both Trippy and my posts are on topic, contain actual work/data and so are informative. The whole point is to learn, which is why we discuss and support our differing views and in this subtopic I think we both have learned more than when we started this discussion.

I will say though that these repeated allegations of yours would best be handled directly with the moderator and outside the actual thread as they are indeed distracting.

Arthur

Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
8. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Which goes to show you that this method doesn't work.
Any method trying to show who is installing wind fast and for which makes you throw out a clear world leader, is clearly not giving you the data you seek.

Denmark is the 10th nation of total wind capacity installed in the world and has by far the highest amount of installed capacity per capita, with other clear leaders being Spain (4th in the world total, 2nd per capita) and Germany (3rd in the world total and 4th per capita) and so while they are also clear leaders they are shown as being SLOW on your chart.

So no, your chart does not help us pick out who the clear leaders are in the installation of Wind.

As far as actual capacity, just the top five countries in installed capacity are: USA, China, Germany, Spain and India and they represent ~75% of the worldwide wind capacity. Clealy they have been going at it fast, Spain and Germany get special nods because of their high rate per Capita, China and the US get special nods because of huge amount they have installed (~43% between them, over 40 GW each).

The next 5, Italy, France, UK, Canada, Denmark represent about 12% global capacity. Clearly they have also been going at it fast and Denmark get's special ranking because of the amount of wind per capita.
The next 5, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Ireland, Turkey represent about 6% and so it's hard to say that these countries, at most 2 GW, are going particularly fast.
The rest of the world (24 countries with over 100 MW installed) represents only about 7% or about 13 GW.

Hungary has 172 turbines and 329 MW of installed capacity (wiki).

We have 31 times as many people, but even so, Hungary would have to install over 4 times as much to have as much per capita as the US has installed.

Or consider France, 4th on your list, but on a per capita basis they have only 26 GW compared to our 40.

Arthur

9. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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Ethanol still isn't "renewable."

Prior to which subsidy?

There are a whole lot of them. The tariffs on imports of Brazilian ethanol have been in place for over 30 years now, for just one example.

Prior to which subsidies?

Are you talking about some time 100 years ago, before all the massive argicultural subsidies and automotive transport were introduced, or what?

They make a profit because they are converting coal and natural gas into liquid transport fuel. In addition to being heavily subsidized.

The profitability wasn't the issue. The renewability was. And since it takes as much fossil fuel energy to produce the ethanol as you get back out of the ethanol, ethanol isn't a renewable energy source. It's a way of repackaging fossil fuel. That this can be made "profitable" if the right combination of fossil inputs are combined with the right level of subsidy support is irrelevant to that.

No, it doesn't, because ethanol is not "renewable." This is like asserting that the construction of coal liquifaction plants represent building of "renewable" infrastructure.

10. ### quadraphonicsBloodthirsty BarbarianValued Senior Member

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Rather, what it shows is that your personal, not-endorsed-by-anyone-else definition of 'clear leader' has everything to do with the scale of current infrastructure, and nothing to do with the rate of deployment.

11. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Not to interrupt this most excellent bash-each-other-over-the-head thread, but ethanol, since it comes from biological material (corn, sugar and plant waste) is indeed renewable. Coal based fuel is not, since coal is not a renewable resource; once it's gone it's gone.

12. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Yes it is.
We grow corn, and the corn uses energy from the sun + water and CO2 to make starch and sugars which we turn into ethanol. When we burn it we release the energy we got from the sun as well as the CO2 and the H20.

Of course feel free to edit the wiki article: Bioethanol is a form of renewable energy that can be produced from agricultural feedstocks.
The key one is the 45c per gallon subsidy per gallon of ethanol.
The tarriff simply raises the price of imported Ethanol, it isn't in addition to the 45c subsidy.

Note that fuel ethanol goes for about $2.75 a gallon, so that 45-cent-per-gallon direct subsidy alone amounts to something like 20%. The profit margin on ethanol is only about 25 cents per gallon. Ergo, the profitability of ethanol depends entirely on the subsidy - remove that, and you're losing 20 cents on every gallon you sell. Those are all rational metrics for assessing who has the most existing installed capacity. That is not what is under discussion. What is under discussion is who is going "the fastest." What you need are metrics of the speed at which new infrastructure is being deployed, not metrics of how much existing infrastructure is already out there. 17. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member Messages: 10,890 I thought this was interesting - it seems to support one of iceauras contentions: Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! It comes from the office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, so I'm inclined to accept it. It shows that (in Texas at least) Nuclear power is more heavily subsidized than wind power. I also found it interesting that a 2003 interdisciplinary MIT report had this to say: And according to United States Energy Information Administration (government run) Wind power is cheaper than nuclear, and comparable in cost to coal and gas.(EG: Source) - all of which supports iceauras contention (IIRC) that Nuclear power is both more heavily subsidized, and more expensive than wind (those calcs, I believe, take into account capacity factor). This map was fairly interesting as well: Map. Apparently the US has sufficient wind generation capacity to support 9 times its current energy usage (better get building). 18. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member Messages: 7,829 Trippy The difference is that Wind is subsidized based on kWhs produced, Nuclear is not. Wind has an open ended subsidy, and the amount of wind energy produced in Texas in 2010 was FAR greater than the wind energy produced in 2006, so the subsidy has gone up considerably. So looking at that chart, in 2006, of the total subsidy pie, Wind got 10% and Nuclear got 20%. But at the end of 2005 there was 1,995 MW installed, and at the end of 2006 there was 2,739 MW installed, so taking half the 2006 growth as being installed all year long, gives 2,367 MW, which at 30% capacity yields 6.2 million MWh of elecricity. But they currently have 10,135 MW installed which is good for 26 Million MWh. So the subsidy for Wind has grown by ~4 times and would now be about double the Nuclear Subsidy BUT They have 4 nuclear power plants, with a capacity of 5,170 MW, which at 90% capacity yields 40 Million MWhs, or nearly TWICE what they get from wind (and they get it during their peak summer periods as well). So the Wind subsidy is roughly 4 times as much as the Nuclear subsidy based on kWh produced. Further future wind power additions, for which many are planned, will only increase this margin http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/upload/1Q-11-Texas.pdf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Texas http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/ Arthur 19. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member Messages: 7,829 Actually no it doesn't. From that link: Subsidies and Support to Electric Production by Selected Primary Energy Sources Primary Energy Source FY 2007 Net Generation (billion kWh) -Subsidies in Million$ - $subsidy per MWh Natural Gas and Petroleum Liquids 919$227 $0.25 per MWh Coal 1,946$854 $0.44 per MWh Hydroelectric 258$174 $0.67 per MWh Biomass 40$36 $0.89 per MWh Geothermal 15$14 $0.92 per MWh Nuclear 794$1,267 $1.59 per MWh Wind 31$724 $23.37 per MWh Solar 1$174 $24.34 per MWh Refined Coal 72$2,156 $29.81 per MWh Of course this was in 2007, so our wind subsidy, which is open ended, has gone up considerably because$20 of the $23.37 subsidy is based on production. Since we had 17,000 MW installed at the end of 2007, and we have 42,000 MWs now, the wind subsidy this year will be about 2.5 times greater or roughly$1.8 billion, much more in total than Nuclear, but nuclear will provide over ten times as much power. This margin will continue to grow.

http://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/energy_subsidies.cfm

Arthur

20. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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No I'm not.

Anyone whose statistical method of choice does not show that Denmark is a LEADER in installation of Wind is clearly flawed.

They lead in so many different metrics that is patently absurd.

Most wind per capita.
Highest percent of electricity from wind (which is why so much of what we know about integration of lots of wind into a grid has come from studies done in Denmark, you know, because they were the LEADER).
Most offshore wind installed.
Most wind per \$ of GDP.
And they are in the top 10 in the world in installed wind capacity.

LOL
Hungary has a TOTAL installation of 329 MW but Denmark, with over 3,000 MWs already installed, installed another 269 MW last year (Denmark is half the size of Hungary), so again Denmark is clearly leading the world

Developed countries have been installing renewables at a breakneck pace

Which is why TOTAL installed is by far the best indicator that the countries HAVE BEEN installing....

They, like the US, Spain and Germany clearly HAVE BEEN installing renewables at a breakneck pace.

That's why they are global leaders in the amount of installed renewables.

Arthur

Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
21. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Not actually needed, but is used because you get more YIELD than it costs you.

Can't wait. Please let us know when you do.
I always like a good laugh.

Well then according to you, the ethanol market will totally collapse without the Subsidy and Tarrif which expire at the end of this year.

We will just have to wait and revisit this then.

FINALLY

Actually it is:

This is the statement in contention:

Developed countries have been installing renewables at a breakneck pace

Nope, if you use "going the fastest" as your metric you get bogus results like Trippy has been posting (Hungary with only 329 MW installed as the leader) or you might think Romania, which led the world last year with a 3,300 percent increase (462 MW at the end of 2010, up from the 14.1 MW installed capacity in 2009), was a leader in wind installation.

That's because new players are almost always the ones who are supposedly "going the fastest" at any point in time and so that metric is not very informative, but installed capacity, considering how new the emerging renewable fields are, is the best indication of which countries HAVE BEEN INSTALLING renewables at a high rate over a period of time.

Which is the real issue that I raised to show that even with all that INSTALLED CAPACITY the developed nations had invested in they were still growing their year to year CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

Arthur

Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
22. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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It would help if you actually provided any independent facts to back up your assertions.

http://geoheat.oit.edu/bulletin/bull28-1/art2.pdf

Most of the energy to produce ethanol simply requires a heat source and that doesn't have to come from fossil fuels.

Ethanol IS renewable, even if getting the ethanol industry off the ground is going to initially use NG for much of the energy since it's realatively cheap and easy to use.

Arthur

Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
23. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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This conversation is over, as far as I'm concerned, and here's why:
Considering total new capacity instaled, per capita, per dollar of GDP, or other wise, that only considers the last ten years, will NOT show Denmark to be a world leader, for the reasons that I have previously outlined.