The Glaciers Will Melt, The Sea Will Rise Up

Sea levels are going to rise

The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere directly and indirectly determines the sea level. The more CO2 the higher the sea level. The details matter, the mechanism is complex, and as CO2 levels change, it takes an unknown amount of time for the sea level to catch up.

The present day level of CO2 is just over 400ppm (parts per million). For thousands of years prior to humans having a large effect on this number, the level of atmospheric CO2 was closer to 250. Human release of CO2 into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuel, and other human activities, are responsible for this difference. We expect the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to rise considerably by the end of the century. It is remotely possible that by 2100, CO2 will be about where it is now, but only if a significant effort is made to curtail its release. If nothing is done about the release of CO2 by human burning, the number will exceed 1000ppm by 2100. Reasonable estimates assuming the most likely level of effort to change the energy system put CO2 at somewhere around 600 to 700ppm by the end of the century.

So, it is reasonable to ask the question, what is the ultimate sea level likely to be with atmospheric concentrations of CO2 between 500 and 700ppm?

How long will sea level rise take?

Once the CO2 is in the atmosphere, it stays there for a very long time. So, if we curtail emissions and manage to keep the atmospheric CO2 between 500 and 700, that number will not drop for centuries. So, again, we have to expect sea levels to rise to whatever level is “normal” for an atmospheric concentration of CO2 between 500 and 700ppm. That is a conservative and perhaps even hopeful estimate.

A fair amount of research (but not nearly enough) has been produced over the last two or three years with the aim of estimating how fast and to what degree the major glaciers of the earth (in Greenland and Antarctic) will melt with global warming. In the long view, all of this research is irrelevant. The simple fact is that with higher CO2 levels, a lot of that ice will ultimately melt, and sea levels will ultimately go up. But in the short and medium term, that research is some of the most important research being done in climate change today, because it will lead to an understanding of the time frame for this rise in sea level.

None of the research I have seen satisfactorily estimate this rate, but with each new research project, we have a better idea of the process of deterioration of major glaciers. As this research progresses, the glaciers themselves are actually deteriorating, but they are only beginning to do so. As the research advances, we will get a better theoretical model for glacial deterioration. As the glaciers deteriorate we will have increasing opportunity to calibrate and test the models. I expect that in a few years from now (ten or twenty?) there will be active competition in the research world between theoretically based models and empirical observations to provide rate estimates for sea level rise. But at present we have mainly theory (the observational data is important but insufficient) and the theory is too vague.

A new paper came out this week that explores the process of deterioration of a major part of the Antarctic glacial mass. I’ll summarize this research below, but the main point of this post is to put all of this recent research in the context outlined in the first few paragraphs above. How much sea level rise can we ultimately expect, even if we have no good idea of when it will happen?

It may not matter how fast sea level rises

Uncertainty about the time frame for glacial melt is important for all sorts of practical reasons, but an interesting aspect of human culture and economy obviates that uncertainty, and does so rather ironically. In our economic system, we value things in many different ways. There are things that have great value in part because they are fleeting, rare, or ephemeral. People pay a lot for a great meal that is gone in 20 minutes, a random act of erotic pleasure, two minutes of terror on a carnival ride, or a small pile of white powder.

But we also pay good money for things because of their long term value. A classic problem in economics asks why a man (it’s always a man) in, say, Egypt, is willing to plant and tend hundreds of date tree saplings, knowing full well that the first fruit will not be provided until long after his own death. The reason, of course, is that his son will inherit these trees. Of course, his son is not likely to gain much from these trees because they will still be young and small. So the value of this grove of trees to his son is based mostly on the value to the son’s son. And so on.

This is how we place value on real estate. The main reason that a home you might consider buying today is of a certain value is that you can sell it for a similar or greater value in the future. The fact that short term fluctuations may destroy a good part of that value over the next decade does not obviate the longer term value of the property.

Some of the most valuable property in the US and in many other countries is within spitting distance of the ocean. The ocean itself adds this extra value either as commercial or industrial space, or as high-end domestic or tourist space.

If sea level rise sufficient to destroy that property was imminent, so the property would be destroyed this year, then the value of that property would be zero. But considering that the value of the property is always based in large part on the future sale value, then sea level rise sufficient to destroy it, but that won’t happen for a century, is sufficient to destroy that long term component. If you acquire property today that will eventually be flooded by the sea, you might think you own it. But really, you are renting it. When the sea rises up and inundates the lot, the lease is up.

So, in a way, it does not matter how long it will take the sea to rise, say, 10 meters. Any property that would be destroyed with sea level rise is, right now, worth less than a market ignorant of this inevitability would price it.

Why is it hard to estimate the rate of sea level rise?

Most of the ice in Antarctica is sitting on the interior of the continent, well away from the sea. But much of this ice is held in large catchments, or valleys, that have outlets to the sea. Those outlets are plugged with huge masses of ice, and that ice is, in turn, held in place by grounding lines, where part of the ice sits tenuously on the bedrock below sea level.

Behind the groundling lines, upstream, are valleys of various depths, but deeper than the point of grounding itself. It is thought that if the ice sitting on the grounding line falls apart, the plug of ice will deteriorate fairly quickly until a new grounding line, perhaps many kilometers upstream, is established. But that grounding line may be subject to deterioration as well, and eventually, the outlet valley that connects the interior catchment to the sea becomes open water, and the ice in that catchment can also deteriorate, and fall into the sea mainly in the form of ice bergs regularly calved off the glacier, like we see today in Greenland.

The main cause of global warming induced melting of the ice near the groundling line is warm water. The surface of the Antarctic glaciers does not melt very much from warm air, because the air over the southern continent is rarely above freezing. However, with global warming, we expect air temperatures to go above freezing more commonly. This would contribute to thinning of the ice over the grounding lines, and thus, more rapid breakdown of the plug holding most of the ice in place.

It is thought that when a grounding line fails, and the plug of ice begins to move into the ocean, steep cliffs are formed alongside the deteriorating ice. This would cause the ice behind the cliffs to destabilize, causing ice bergs to form at a very high rate. Also, the interior ice, in the large catchments, is generally thought to be unstable, so when Antarctic glaciers reach a certain point of deterioration, those glacial masses may deteriorate fairly quickly.

Each of these steps in glacial deterioration is very difficult to model or predict, as these phenomena have never been directly observed and the process involves so many difficult to measure mechanical and catastrophic events.

Upstream from the grounding line, though the horizontally flowing glacial masses in the plug, and up into the catchments, the sub-ice topography is complex and will likely control, by speeding up or slowing down, glacial deterioration. It is thought that many of the glacial masses that make up Antarctica’s ice have melted and refrozen numerous times, and glacial ice has moved towards the sea again and again, over the last several million years. As glacial ice moves along it carves out valleys or deposits sediments in a complex pattern, which then determines subsequent patterns of ice formation or deterioration. It is reasonable to assume that each time the glaciers melt and reform, the terrain under the ice becomes, on average, more efficient in allowing the movement of ice towards the sea. Thus, any estimate of the rate of glacial movement and deterioration based on past events is probably something of an underestimate of future events.

This has all happened before

We know that the world’s glaciers have melted and reformed numerous times from several sources of evidence, and that this has been the major control of global sea level, as water alternates between being trapped in glacial ice and being in the oceans.

We know that global sea levels have gone up and down numerous times, because we see direct evidence of ancient shorelines above current shorelines, and we have direct evidence that vast areas of the sea have been exposed when glaciers were at maximum size.

We can also track glacial growth and melting by using oxygen isotopes that differ in mass. Glaciers tend to be made of water that contains a relatively high fraction of light oxygen, while the ocean water tends to have relatively more heavy oxygen. This is because water molecules with heavy oxygen are slightly less likely to evaporate, so precipitation tends to be be light. Glaciers are ultimately made of precipitation. There are organisms that live in the sea that incorporate oxygen from sea water into their structures, which are then preserved, and can be recovered from drilling in the deep sea. By measuring the relative amount of heavy vs. light oxygen in these fossils, controlling for depth in the sea cores, and dating the cores at various depths, we can generate a “delta–18” (short for “Difference between Oxygen–18 and Oxygen–16”) curve. This is an indirect but very accurate measure of how much of the world’s free water is stuck in glaciers at any given moment in time.

The Delta–18 curve for Earth for the last ca 800,000 years looks like this:

Oxygen Isotope Levels Over Time

(from here

That curve is made from deep sea curves, and unfortunately, the deep sea curves don’t go back far enough in time to get a good idea of glacial change, at this level of detail, for enough time to really get a handle on the full history of glaciation. But by piecing together data from many sources, and careful use of dating techniques like Paleomagnetism, it is possible to get a long view of Earth history. The following graphic (from The Panerozoic Record of Global Sea-Level Change by Miller et al, Science 310(1293)) shows the general pattern.

Sea Levels Over Millions Of Years

The Earth was warmer many tens of millions of years ago (before the modern ecology, flora, and fauna evolved), fluctuating between warm and very warm over long periods of time. Then, in recent millions of years, things cooled down quite a bit. It is during this cooler period that the modern plants and animals became established, and that humans came on the scene.

Here’s what I want you to get out of this graphic. Look at the purple line. These are global sea levels after about 7 million years ago. Note that sea levels were often tens of meters higher than they are today (relative to the zero line on this graph).

Now have a look at this graph.

Atmospheric CO2 and Sea Levels Over Time

This is a very complicated graph and in order to understand all of the details you’ll have to carefully read the original paper. But I can give you a rough idea of what it all means.

Each of the four graphics is a different way that paleoclimatologists can look at the relationship between atmospheric CO2 and sea level, and compile a large number of data points. Think of each graphic as a metastudy of CO2 and sea level using four independent approaches and all of the data available through about 2012.

In each graph, note the dotted lines. The vertical dotted line is CO2 at 280ppm, taken as the pre-industrial value (though we know that is probably an overestimate since lots of CO2 had been released into the environment by human landuse and burning prior to the presumed beginning of the “pre-industrial” period). The horizontal line is the present day sea level.

Each of the little symbols on the graph is a different observation of CO2 and sea level from ancient contexts, using various techniques and with various paleoclimate data sets over many millions of years.

Note that at the point where the pre-industrial CO2 and the modern sea level intersect, there are many points above and below the line. This is partly error or uncertainty, and partly because of the time lag between CO2 reducing over time and subsequent growth of glaciers. It takes many thousands of years for these glaciers to grow (they melt much more quickly).

As we go from pre-industiral levels of CO2 through the values of interest here, getting up to 600 or more parts per million, past sea levels are generally higher than the present. In fact, at 400ppm, where we are now, sea levels are substantially higher than the present for almost all of the data points. This probably means the following, and this is one of the most important sentences in this post, so I’ll give it its own paragraph:

Present day carbon dioxide levels are associated with sea levels many meters above the present sea level; the current Earth’s atmosphere is incompatible with the current Earth’s glaciers, and those glaciers will therefore become much smaller, and the sea level much higher, even if we stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere this afternoon.

The other interesting thing about this graph is that above about 600ppm atmospheric CO2, the sea levels observed in the past are even higher, way way higher. These are time periods when there was virtually nil glacial ice on either pole, or elsewhere. This is what the Earth looks like when virtually all the ice is melted. This is the Earth that we are likely to be creating if we allow CO2 levels to approach 1000ppm, and the track we are on now virtually guarantees that by the end of the century.

One might assume that we would never let that happen, that we would solve this problem of where to get energy without buring fossil fuel before that time. But at this very moment there is about a 50–50 chance that the next president of the United States will be a man who believes that climate change is a hoax. In other words, it is distinctly possible that one of the largest industrial economies in the world, and a globally influential government, will ignore climate change and forestall the transition to clean energy until 2024.

Look at this graph. The upper line, “High Emissions Pathway (RCP 8.5)”

Future CO2 levels

I now officially rename the “Trump Line.”

So, how high will the sea levels rise?

There really is little doubt that we are looking at several meters of sea level rise given our current CO2 levels. How many meters?

From the paper cited above: “…our results imply that acceptance of a long-term 2 degrees C warming [CO2 between 500 and 450 ppm] would mean acceptance of likely (68% confidence) long-term sea level rise by more than 9 m above the present…”

Personally, I think this is a low estimate, and the actual value may be more like 14. Or more. There is no doubt that we are going to add many tens of ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere over the next few decades even if we act quickly on changing our energy system, and the chances are good that we will be close to 600. This is at the threshold, based on the paleodata, between lots of glacial ice melting to produce 9, 15, or so levels of sea level rise, and nearly all of the glacial ice melting, to produce sea level rise of over 30 meters.

And, if we follow the Trump Line we’ll reach that level of CO2 well before the end of the century.

Again, the question emerges, how long will it take for sea level to rise in response to the added CO2? Than answer, again, is we don’t know, but in important ways, as noted above, it matters less than one might think.

We are probably going to be stupid about sea level rise

There is another aspect of this problem that is underscored by the most current research, and several other research projects. For the most part, the glaciers will not melt evenly and steadily. This is not a situation where we can measure how much ice melts off every decade, and extrapolate that into the future. What we now know about the big glaciers is that they will almost certainly deteriorate a little here and a little there, then suddenly and catastrophically break down, losing a huge amount of their ice to the sea, then for a period of time continue to fall apart at a lower but still accelerated rate, which will slow down after a while until some level of stability is reached. Then, that stability will remain threatened for a period of time until the next catastrophic collapse of that particular glacier.

Also, as noted in the research project I’ll report below, some of these catastrophic steps that happen later in the process may in some cases be the largest.

Here’s why this is important. Honestly, do you even believe that we have already added enough CO2 to the atmosphere to flood all of the planet’s major coastal cities, and major areas of cropland, and that this can’t be stopped? Isn’t that a bit extreme, alarmist, even crazy? Of course it seems that way, and even if you accept the science, a significant part of you will have a very hard time accepting this conclusion.

Those in charge of policy, the people who can actually do something about this, are not immune to this sort of cognitive dissonance. So, as long as the glaciers are only adding a foot a century instead of a foot a decade, the massive melting scenario will be on the back burner. Then, of course, one or two or more of these glaciers are going to lose their grounding lines within a few years of each other, and start to add huge amounts of water to the sea, and everyone will freak out and catastrophic coastal flooding will happen, and then the whole thing will slow down and more or less stop for a period of time, and once again, the prospect of sudden and major sea level rise will return to the back burner.

Then it will happen again.

New research on glacial collapse

OK, about that new research. Here is the abstract:

Climate variations cause ice sheets to retreat and advance, raising or lowering sea level by metres to decametres. The basic relationship is unambiguous, but the timing, magnitude and sources of sea-level change remain unclear; in particular, the contribution of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is ill defined, restricting our appreciation of potential future change. Several lines of evidence suggest possible collapse of the Totten Glacier into interior basins during past warm periods, most notably the Pliocene epoch, … causing several metres of sea-level rise. However, the structure and long-term evolution of the ice sheet in this region have been understood insufficiently to constrain past ice-sheet extents. Here we show that deep ice-sheet erosion—enough to expose basement rocks—has occurred in two regions: the head of the Totten Glacier, within 150?kilometres of today’s grounding line; and deep within the Sabrina Subglacial Basin, 350–550?kilometres from this grounding line. Our results, based on ICECAP aerogeophysical data, demarcate the marginal zones of two distinct quasi-stable EAIS configurations, corresponding to the ‘modern-scale’ ice sheet (with a marginal zone near the present ice-sheet margin) and the retreated ice sheet (with the marginal zone located far inland). The transitional region of 200–250?kilometres in width is less eroded, suggesting shorter-lived exposure to eroding conditions during repeated retreat–advance events, which are probably driven by ocean-forced instabilities. Representative ice-sheet models indicate that the global sea-level increase resulting from retreat in this sector can be up to 0.9?metres in the modern-scale configuration, and exceeds 2?metres in the retreated configuration.

Chris Mooney has written up a detailed description of the research including information gleaned from interviews with the researchers, and you can read that here. In that writeup, Chris notes:

Scientists believe that Totten Glacier has collapsed, and ice has retreated deep into the inland Sabrina and Aurora subglacial basins, numerous times since the original formation of the Antarctic ice sheet over 30 million years ago. In particular, they believe one of these retreats could have happened during the middle Pliocene epoch, some 3 million years ago, when seas are believed to have been 10 or more meters higher (over 30 feet) than they are now.

“This paper presents solid evidence that there has been rapid retreat here in the past, in fact, throughout the history of the ice sheet,” Greenbaum says. “And because of that, we can say it’s likely to happen again in the future, and there will be substantial sea level implications if it happens again.”

And, from the original paper (refer to the graphic below):

The influence of Totten Glacier on past sea level is clearly notable, but for any particular warm period it is also highly uncertain, because the system is subject to progressive instability. Our results suggest that the first discriminant is the development of sufficient retreat to breach the A/B-boundary ridge. This causes an instability-driven transition from the modern-scale configuration to the retreated configuration. Under ongoing ice-sheet loss, the breaching of Highland B causes further retreat into the ASB. Each of these changes in state is associated with a substantial increase in both the absolute and the proportional contribution of this sector to global sea level.

Figure 1 from Aitken et al. "Repeated large-scale retreat and advance of Totten Glacier indicated by inland bed erosion.  The sea is to the north, the inland glacial basin is to the south.
Figure 1 from Aitken et al. “Repeated large-scale retreat and advance of Totten Glacier indicated by inland bed erosion. The sea is to the north, the inland glacial basin is to the south.

This is a video by Peter Sinclair that dates to a bit earlier than this research was published, but covers the same issue:

Many of the interesting natural areas, like national parks or preserves, have a museum. In the museum there is often a geology exhibit, showing the changes in the landscape over long periods of time. Almost always, there was a period of time when the place you are standing, looking at the exhibit, was part of a “great inland sea.”

Let me introduce you to my little friend … the Great Inland Sea. Because it is coming back.

The_Ancient_Inland_Sea_Is_Coming_Back

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227 thoughts on “The Glaciers Will Melt, The Sea Will Rise Up

  1. “Honestly, do you even believe that we have already added enough CO2 to the atmosphere to flood all of the planet’s major coastal cities, and major areas of cropland, and that this can’t be stopped?”

    It’s been obvious to me for quite a while – but I pay attention.

  2. Using 3.4 mm per year per degree C gives a range of 714 years to 2000 years for 10 meters of sea level rise (depending on C of course).

    That number comes from a 2007 paper (cannot remember the citation).

    700 years is a long time to slowly move the cities higher.

    I am not sure how much of a problem this really is for society.

    How much of a problem has the 120 meter sea level rise over the last 20,000 years been for humans?

    Not much – but of course there are more people and we now have cities (harder to move than a tent or tepee).

    If the useful life of a skyscraper is 100 years – we can build seven buildings on the same spot, each dealing with a little over 1 meter of rise.

    And with 2000 years, 20 buildings, each dealing with 1/2 a meter of sea level rise.

    I am not sure anybody will be inconvenienced.

    Depending on the value, I would be happy to lease Al Gore’s seaside property for 700 years.

  3. Greg #5:

    I did read it.

    It boiled down (for me) to – we don’t know how long it will take for the sea to rise 9 meters (or more) – but it shouldn’t really matter because people will take the future valuation into account today, which should devalue their property (causing economic damage today).

    I think it does matter how long it takes for the sea level to rise – and I don’t buy your premise about economic devaluation – so I disagree.

    I think there are plenty of people who will not pull a valuation from 700 years (or 200 or 500 or 2000) from the future (land under water) into today’s valuation – because they will be happy to enjoy the property for 700 years, or 500 years or just 100 years.

    If people really pull the future value into today’s value (assuming all the assumptions are correct) – I am sure there are people who would be happy to take the properly of all the coastlines off the current owners for the low valuations you postulate. Reminds me of the Lex Luthor superman movie when he was going to cause CA to fall into the ocean and buy up the future coastline.

  4. Brainstorms @7:
    You weren’t really expecting self-reflection from someone capable of saying

    Reminds me of the Lex Luthor superman movie when he was going to cause CA to fall into the ocean and buy up the future coastline.

    were you? RickA has long demonstrated he isn’t capable of rational or honest thought on this.

  5. Methane is very important, but long term it breaks down into CO2 pretty fast, so CO2 is still the big deal. But it is indeed important.

  6. @RickA #4, about 120 meters of that 120 meter rise happened more than 5000 years ago. I think your cite might be that Fred Singer guy — he likes misusing the 20,000 year average rate like that.

  7. You weren’t really expecting self-reflection

    No. I was only expecting self-interest. As ably demonstrated elsewhere on this blog. Many times.

  8. For the most part, the glaciers will not melt evenly and steadily. This is not a situation where we can measure how much ice melts off every decade, and extrapolate that into the future.”

    Then RickA proceeds to do just that. Seriously, I do think Skeptics/deniers (call them what you will) have different logic circuits from the rest of us. Plus they appear unable to read….

  9. Chuck #15:

    Thats pretty funny.

    We have no idea how long it will take to melt but seem to have high confidence about how much will melt (9 meters but Greg thinks more like 14). Meanwhile we only saw 8 inches last century, are on track for 11.8 inches this century – but it will be way worse in the future. It is always way way worse in the future.

    Now that it is pretty clear that the melting is going to take hundreds if not thousands of years, we are seeing a switch over to messaging about the total amount of melting expected (but downplaying the time over which this will happen).

    Yes – I am pushing back against that.

    Because it makes a huge difference if we get 10 meters of sea level rise tomorrow or in 2000 years. (or ever).

    Coastal property values going forward will tell the tale.

    It is all very well to think (or wish) that values will plummet today because people “KNOW” that someday there property will be underwater.

    But I predict that coastal property values will not plummet due to future fears of sea level rise (just an opinion of course).

    The market will tell us what the answer is.

    Lets check back in 25 years and see how coastal property values did relative to inland sea levels.

    1. We have no idea how long it will take to melt but seem to have high confidence about how much will melt (9 meters but Greg thinks more like 14).

      Historically, about 80 meters when almost all of the ice melts.

      Meanwhile we only saw 8 inches last century, are on track for 11.8 inches this century

      1.2 meters is not 11.8 inches.

  10. “All hail the Market, for it shall tell us What Is, and it shall guide us to eternal salvation!!”

    Thank you, RickA. You never let us down.

  11. Bob #15:

    Sounds like an overestimate to me Bob.

    Even the IPCC in AR5, with the highest CO2 emissions (RCP 8.5) only projects .53 to .98 meters of sea level rise by 2100.

    The lower emissions level (RCP 2.6 – which is what the temperature rise is following) only projects .28 – .61 meters of sea level rise by 2100.

    200 million people displaced sounds like a big number. How many of those people just need to build a grass hut a few feet higher, sometime over the next 84 years?

    Even if we have to move a skyscraper to higher ground – what is the useful lifespan of a skyscraper?

    I am not sure this is as big a problem as it is made out to be – but that is just one persons opinion.

  12. Brainstorms #17:

    Glad I could bring a little light into your day.

    The markets will tell us the reality, which we can then compare against the projections (lower prices because my land will be underwater someday).

    We will see.

    I hear that the sun will evolve into a red giant in 5 billion years, and the Earth will be engulfed by the sun.

    I wonder how much impact that will have on current property values.

    Not only will it be really really hot – but when the oceans boil away, there will be so much more land than now. You know what they say – more supply, lower prices.

  13. “The market will tell us what the answer is.”

    As long as we have a non-significant percentage of people who still believe in the wisdom of the market and humans as rational actors we will continue to be screwed

  14. dean #21:

    I am not surprised you think that.

    I happen to believe that as long as a non-significant percentage of people think problems should be solved with other peoples money we will continue to be screwed.

  15. “But I predict that coastal property values will not plummet due to future fears of sea level rise (just an opinion of course).”

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-03-28/real-estate-booming-south-florida-even-sea-level-rise-becomes-reality

    “The real estate community doesn’t really want to talk about this and they’re not required to talk about flood risk,” Bagley explains. “When you buy a house and there’s lead paint you have to get a disclosure form. There’s nothing like that for sea level rise, climate change and flood risk.”

    and

    “Mayor Philip Stoddard of South Miami has his own idea of what is ultimately likely to happen.

    “My own prediction is that there will be some natural event — a hurricane, a big storm surge — [that] is going to shake people, just shake their confidence, and some people are going to start moving out,” Stoddard says. “And at that point, it’s anybody’s guess what happens to real estate prices. Once the perception is there that it’s not a safe place to park your money, real estate prices drop.”

    You are thus right that prices will not drop due to future risks. It’s when the disaster strikes that prices suddenly plummet. By then it’s too late, and a lot of people will feel horribly misled. It’s the nature of many people to ignore real risks because of often imaginary gains. And thus people pay top-dollar for houses in SF that are the most likely to get destroyed in an earthquake (“Oh, but look at the surroundings! And that earthquake, if it ever even comes, will not be so bad, will it?”)

  16. Rick A

    Even the IPCC in AR5, with the highest CO2 emissions (RCP 8.5) only projects .53 to .98 meters of sea level rise by 2100.

    AR5 didn’t include non-linear SLR driven by ice sheet dynamics, which is what the OP is about.

    Basically the gradualist approach you are taking is obsolete bullshit.

  17. Although RickA’s numbers are nonsense, Greg invited the general argument by introducing an obvious error into the post. It DOES matter, enormously, how fast the seas rise. Property values are the least of it, though homes do depreciate and if yours will be ready for teardown decades before it’s flooded, your successors can choose not to rebuild. When an area becomes slowly and incrementally less habitable, it can be gradually abandoned and the trend of movement from one place to another will be barely noticeable among the millions of people coming and going elsewhere. When a large area becomes unliveable rapidly and hundreds of thousands of people head in the same direction, the result is often not only impoverishment but vicious persecution of the refugees. It is fashionable at the moment to persecute refugees because many happen to be Muslim, but keep in mind how Californians persecuted “Okies” – allegedly fellow citizens of the same nation – during the Dust Bowl.

    Now, I don’t have any trouble believing the heresy that we have already committed to enough sea level rise to flood coastal cities in the next century. But I also believe the even greater heresy that says we won’t be able to keep on extracting and polluting at ever-escalating rates while all that is going on, as hitting 1000+ ppm by the end of the century would require us to do. It’s questionable whether that much economically recoverable fossil fuel even exists. If it does and we go for it, the costs of the resulting climate change and other pollution (crop failures, infrastructure loss, health damage) will keep gnawing away at the foundations of our economy, weakening our ability to keep extracting. These are the Limits to Growth “standard scenario” and “pollution crisis” models respectively. The realistic Limits to Growth simulations all suggest that industrial civilization will be well into the process of collapse long before 2100.

  18. The lower emissions level (RCP 2.6 – which is what the temperature rise is following) only projects .28 – .61 meters of sea level rise by 2100.

    All the scenarios are bunched together at this point so it is pretty much impossible to compare with observations which are anyway subject to decadal variability. You are bullshitting and misrepresenting the science again. Stop it.

  19. Jane

    Much of the process of ice sheet collapse is gravity driven and once fully initiated – which seems more likely than not this century – it is unstoppable and independent of further warming. We only need to get the ball rolling, so to speak, and even if you are more right than wrong, it is perfectly possible to end up with multimetre SLR even if emissions tail off somewhat towards the end of the century.

  20. RickA does not do cutting-edge, creative bullshit. He only recycles old, obsolete bullshit. I think it’s a sentimental thing for him.

  21. BBD #30:

    I did read it.

    This article is talking about ice sheets and not sea level rise.

    But I do recall that some do think the IPCC AR5 underestimated sea level rise.

    So what!

    Today’s estimate is different than the estimate from 3 years ago and the estimate 3 years from now will be different that the estimate today.

    The point is we don’t have a real good idea how warm it will get, and therefore how much ice will melt, and by when.

    My advice – move the portion of cities 1 foot above sea level to the most inland portion of the city over the next 85 years.

    Repeat each century.

    If sea level starts rising faster, adjust.

  22. This article is talking about ice sheets and not sea level rise.

    And the difference is… ?

    Today’s estimate is different than the estimate from 3 years ago and the estimate 3 years from now will be different that the estimate today.

    It will be higher.

    The point is we don’t have a real good idea how warm it will get, and therefore how much ice will melt, and by when.

    Warm enough to get the ball rolling.

    My advice – move the portion of cities 1 foot above sea level to the most inland portion of the city over the next 85 years.

    I don’t think it will be that simple.

  23. Marco #23 said ” It’s when the disaster strikes that prices suddenly plummet. By then it’s too late, and a lot of people will feel horribly misled.”

    Do you have any evidence of this happening in the past?

    After any hurricane in Florida (for example).

    After any Earthquake in California (for example).

    Based on my anecdotal understanding of history, people just shake off each disaster as they come, and the property values of coastal properties continue to rise more quickly than inland properties (in general).

    I am not sure sea level rise will ever happen fast enough to be classified as a “disaster” – but even so, not sure disasters change peoples desire to live on the coasts.

    Like lakeshore in Minnesota – it has always been more desirable and will continue to be more desirable for the foreseeable future.

    Even if mosquitoes were to grow to 1 foot in length (an exaggeration) people will still want to live on a lake.

  24. BBD – Oh yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if we [our kids and grandkids] get 2 meters by 2100, and there will be more to follow. With the economy they will likely have by that point, the good news is that they probably won’t be even close to 1400-ppm-equivalent. The bad news is that they will lack the resources for huge infrastructure projects, either to defend against sea level rise or to rebuild on higher ground, so every inch of sea level rise will convert more people from simply poor to destitute. Indeed, we are leaving a crappy world for the future.

  25. Rick A

    Based on my anecdotal understanding of history, people just shake off each disaster as they come

    The past cannot be used as a guide to the future in the way you suggest.

    The flaw in your argument is that unlike the past, future damage will just get worse and worse.

  26. jane #35:

    Ha! Good one.

    It should be pretty cheap.

    Might be worth picking up a few hundred square kilometers and tuck it away for the next glacial period when it is exposed again (for your descendants of course).

    I wonder who you could buy it from?

    Can anybody buy seabottom?

  27. BBD #36 said “The past cannot be used as a guide to the future in the way you suggest.

    The flaw in your argument is that unlike the past, future damage will just get worse and worse.”

    I just cannot understand what you are basing that on.

    The sea rose 120 meters over the last 20,000 years.

    That is an average of 6 mm / year, which is twice our current rate.

    It seems to me that 3 mm / year (which is what we are at now) is less than 6 mm / year – but I could be wrong.

    I am sure there were periods when it was much higher than 6 mm / year and periods when it was much lower than 3 mm / year (over the last 20,000 years) – but how can you say the future will be worse than the past (given what we know about the past)?

    You act like people are just going to stand in the ocean for 1000 years and drown.

    I can assure you that people will not just stand there.

  28. I just cannot understand what you are basing that on.

    […]

    but how can you say the future will be worse than the past (given what we know about the past)?

    When in the past was there an abrupt and massive increase in CO2 forcing?

    Averaging deglacial SLR over 20ka is misleading and a false equivalence. A twofer of misinformation. Well done.

  29. BBD #37 said “This seems to be Rick’s blind spot.”

    I am sure I have many.

    After interacting with many bloggers since I started following this issue in 2009 I have to say that some people are just optimistic and some are pessimistic.

    I happen to be of the optimistic nature.

    I think the world of today is better than the world of our parents and grandparents.

    We live longer, we are healthier, there are more of us, we have more food (enough to feed almost 8 billion), we know more, we have a handle on what the issues are for the future and we have plenty of time to deal with them.

    I have no doubt that at some point in the future, we will invent a power source which is non-carbon producing and cheaper than all the fossil fuel power sources.

    Over time that will take care of all of the worries most posters on this site have. The market will take care of it.

    Maybe that invention will be fusion, maybe space based solar, (hell – maybe even artificial gravity) maybe something else we cannot even imagine.

    But it will happen and the odds of it happening only increase as we run out of fossil fuels and the costs go up.

    The more brains working on it the faster we will solve it.

    If not with 8 billion, maybe with 12 billion.

    I believe we will eventually move all of our industrial output into space and reclaim all that land for people and crops. Voila – no more pollution on Earth.

    We may even grow crops in space someday (Ringworld anybody?).

    A space elevator would make getting into space much cheaper – who knows we might invent a material which will make that possible someday.

    Hopefully we will get some people off the planet someday so all our eggs are not in one basket and claim the rest of the solar system and all of its resources.

    Just an optimist I guess.

    Well – I am off to the cabin for the weekend.

    It is going to be a beautiful weekend – and thanks to global warming, my lake level is higher than it has been for 30 years (while the number of days above 90F has been lower than 2008-2009, and even lower than 2005-2007).

    Brainerd MN

    Year # Days >=90F
    2015 1
    2014 1
    2013 8
    2012 8
    2011 8
    2010 2
    2009 0
    2008 0
    2007 13
    2006 14
    2005 10
    2004 4

    Things look better to me (locally anyway).

    I will be checking in my iphone – so rest assured – I will be reading the comments.

    Have a great weekend everybody!

  30. I happen to be of the optimistic nature.

    I think the world of today is better than the world of our parents and grandparents.

    Nothing like this has ever happened before. So optimism predicated on the past is on thin ice.

  31. I have no doubt that at some point in the future, we will invent a power source which is non-carbon producing … and the odds of it happening only increase as … the costs go up.

    RickA has led the way with what we must do to speed up solving this FF problem: As he so adroitly points out, we must artificially raise the prices on fossil fuels.

    So, will that be a carbon tax or just a straight tax per barrel or ton of coal? I should think $120/barrel, maybe $150/barrel of petroleum would be a good start.

  32. “and thanks to global warming, my lake level is higher ”

    You will never get someone like RickA, who’s concern towards people other than himself is “fuck em”, to have an honest bit of conversation about this.

  33. Funny how RickA believes that his “optimism” makes all these troubles go away. That and his “market”.

    Just couple RickA’s optimism with the market and there will be no overheating, no sea level rise, no property loss, no wars over lost territory, and no deaths.

    You’re right, Dean. Add all that together and out pops “Fuck ’em.. I got mine, too bad for you!”

  34. Meanwhile, here’s a start at the 200,000,000

    “Cyclone Roanu: Bangladesh moves 2 million people from coast
    Coastal districts expected to be hit by storm surge on Saturday, following heavy rains and landslides in Sri Lanka this week
    Bangladesh is relocating around 2 million people from its coastal areas ahead of cyclone Roanu’s anticipated landfall on Saturday evening, an event that also has authorities in neighbouring India and Myanmar on edge. …”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/20/cyclone-roanu-bangladesh-moves-2-million-people-from-coast

  35. Rick is too blinded by his belief in the laissez fairy to realize that AGW is a total failure of the market.

  36. Once the CO2 is in the atmosphere, it stays there for a very long time.

    Maybe. I have seen some historians speculate that, between them, the depopulation of the Americas by European diseases, and the previous 1/3 loss of population in Eurasia from the Black Death, caused sufficient carbon entrapment by reforestation to bring on the “Little Ice Age”.

    Considering we (humans) would have to trim well over half our present population to allow the trees to engulf sufficient farms and cities for major atmospheric decarbonation, I can’t quite bring myself to count this prospect as an optimistic scenario.

  37. RickA – We knew you were small-minded, but your comments on local Brainerd temperatures is a very fitting example. You obviously aren’t even aware of the warming in your own state. I may be from Wisconsin, but my wife is from Duluth and my father and his siblings grew up on Red Lake.

    I suggest you read Climate Change in Minnesota: 23 signs and enlarge the size of your anecdotal evidence.

    One excerpt:

    “At Pokegama Dam near Grand Rapids, between 1887 and 1936 there were an average of 10 nights a year that got below 30 degrees below zero. Since then, the average has been 3 nights a year. In fact, over just the past two decades, the average has been about 1 night a year.”

  38. “Do you have any evidence of this happening in the past?

    After any hurricane in Florida (for example).

    After any Earthquake in California (for example).”

    Both events are usually very unique. Flooding every few years isn’t. The comparison would thus not make sense.

    Maybe more appropriate is the results from a Dutch survey:
    http://www.tudelft.nl/en/current/latest-news/article/detail/woningmarktonderzoek-groningse-leefbaarheid-en-woningmarkt-onder-druk/ (don’t worry, text in English).
    There is a small region of the Netherlands which has recently seen repeated small earthquakes due to natural gas extraction. This has had negative consequences on housing prices and personal wellbeing.
    Think about what may happen if you have repeated floods (however small they are).

  39. @44. Rick A :

    BBD #37 said “This seems to be Rick’s blind spot.”
    I am sure I have many.

    We are all sure you do too.

    You really don’t have to keep proving it here as we’ve seen you do time after time after on this blog alone!

    Perhaps given you now recognise your have a blind spot here you could could maybe start addressing that and learning and finding ways to stop being so blind? Maybe you could , say, metaphorically “check your blindspot” before commenting and avoid crashing into the flaws you have there so embarrassingly – for you – each time?

    I sure hope for the sake of everyone on the road that you don’t drive like you argue here.

  40. I wonder in these graphs and calculations, how many and how much some of the exacerbating escalating feedbacks such as albedo factor of ice vs ocean, the melting of permafrost e.g. in Canada & Siberia, the darkening of arctic and other ices due to increased wildfires etc .. have been taken into account?

    It seems likely to me that there’ll be a combination of many of these escalating feedbacks that will pile on together, snowballing and simultaneously getting ever worse as things, well, get worse and making everything else worse.

    Are we taking this into account enough? I don’t know.

  41. Meanwhile thinking of that top image of Bangladesh :

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/deaths-cyclone-roanu-pounds-bangladesh-160521135642512.html

    A cyclone has battered the coast of Bangladesh on Saturday, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 100 after lashing India’s east coast with heavy rain and wind.

    Authorities in low-lying Bangladesh have relocated about 500,000 people into 3,500 shelters, the disaster minister said on Saturday, even as Cyclone Roanu killed seven people in house collapses as trees fell on them and two more in landslides.

    Whilst (globally) nearby~ish :

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36339523

    A city in India’s Rajasthan state has broken the country’s temperature records after registering 51C, the highest since records began, the weather office says. The new record in Phalodi in the desert state comes amid a heatwave across India. The previous record for the hottest temperature stood at 50.6C in 1956. The heatwave has hit much of northern India, where temperatures have exceeded 40C for weeks.

    And here’s another news item on latest (?) implications of melting ice and esp. the tottering, teetering Totten glacier :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-19/warning-on-tipping-point-for-east-antarctic-glacier/7425362?section=environment

    The Totten Glacier in East Antarctica has an unstable area that could collapse and contribute to more than two metres of sea level rise beyond what is generally predicted if climate change remains unchecked, researchers say.

    Storms, heatwaves with ever more extreme temperatures , sea level rise, flooding, spread of tropical pests and diseases, mass extinction of flora and fauna, incalculable human suffering and death and loss all coming towards us quicker and quicker and oh yeah. Happening right now.

    But hey, at least one person reckons it’s nicer (for now anyhow) in one so far fortunate local spot by his lake. So that’s nice ain’t it? Some flippin’ selfish, heartless people.

  42. GL describes the “bursty” (or at least “lumpy”) nature of the increase in seawater volume over time, but there’s also the dynamic nature of the ocean containment volume: This seawater is not going into a neat cylinder or martini glass. As sea level rises, the river delta nation of Bangladesh, for example, will have positive feedback of erosion, with widening channels and accelerated slumping of earth seaward. In karst-y Florida, rising seawater will push inward into the aquifers, and salt water will push further into flattish river systems like the Nile, Amazon, Mekong. Higher and warmer seas will bring storm surges further inland, and will feed record-setting rivers of rain further still.

    For a sampling of various factors that can affect local sea level rise:

    Remember, too: ALL SEA LEVEL IS LOCAL

    1. Yes, I usually discuss these things in detail, but this post had gotten long.

      Sea level rise is not as straight forward as finding a higher topo line that matches the expected chance in sea level.

  43. StevoR writes: “Some flippin’ selfish, heartless people.”

    This is the irony. If you look at the political divide over AGW the side that self-proclaims themselves ‘christian’, ‘moral,’ ‘family values,’ actually exhibit just the opposite in their views and actions (inactions).

  44. After interacting with many bloggers since I started following this issue in 2009 I have to say that some people are just optimistic and some are pessimistic.

    You can be optimistic all you want, but it really doesn’t justify most of the arguments you want.

    You’ve made some pretty absurd ones, like averaging together the sea level rise of the entire last 20,000 years. The bulk of that sea level rise happened relatively quickly, as we left the last “ice age” and the Earth warmed. And then sea levels mostly levelled out, until very recently when we started quickly warming again.

    Seriously, how does that even parse as a fair comparison to the sea level rise of the last few thousand years? I mean, doesn’t your mind balk at making such grossly misleading claims?

    If anything, the quick sea level rise during the glacial-to-interglacial transition is evidence that the sea level can rise quickly when the global temperature changes. It’s not evidence that we can sit back and do nothing. You have to do logical backflips to get that.

  45. #561 Pierce
    The 1525-1600 CO2 drawdown was almsot certainly cuased by the 50Mperson die-offf in Americas, as pewr Bill Ruddiman, but that was only 9-10ppm. Se <a href="http://i39.tinypic.com/if0m5g.jpgCO2 Law Dome.

    SO, that certainly contributed to that part of the LIA, but i think people generally believe volcanoes especially, and solar minima helped keep it there until the Industrial Revolution got going.

  46. I mean, doesn’t your mind balk at making such grossly misleading claims?

    Of course not: RickA is a lawyer. (“Oh…”)

  47. A key finding, if not THE key finding, of Mann, Hughes etc. is that the NH climatic variation we variously call the MWP or LIA are small, and greenhouse induced surface warming is big.

  48. I am back!

    I was right – a lot of pessimists and some insults also – the usual. Ah – it is good to be back.

    Johnl #50 said AGW was a total failure of the market.

    How so? People are using the cheapest form of energy, which is what one would expect from the market.

    My goal would be to invent a form of energy which is cheaper than fossil fuels, but non-carbon emitting. That is the path of least resistance and what we should be working on.

    Kevin #52 cites that the # of days below minus 30 have decreased.

    To someone from Minnesota this is not bad news – but good news. Now more days with highs over 90 F is bad news – but the last 10 years have been better than 2005 – 2007 were. Maybe it will get worse in the future – maybe not.

    Marco #53 says small floods every year could be bad.

    Maybe. I bet the people living along the Nile wouldn’t like it if the annual flooding stopped. In Minnesota we have spring flooding every year – from the melting snow. They are a normal part of life here. People keep building in the flood plains – oh well.

    Windchaser #59 points out that sea level rose very quickly thousands of years ago. Yes – I pointed that out also. The point is that it wasn’t high levels of CO2 which caused the sea to rise more quickly than now. I personally think that some significant percentage of warming and sea level rise we have experienced over the last 135 years is natural. Of course, some significant percentage of warming and sea level rise is also caused by humans also – and I accept that.

    I don’t think we yet have a good handle on the exact proportions of natural versus human. It could even be 50/50.

    We will see, as the science continues.

    By the way – I never advocated sitting back and doing nothing. Many times on many threads on Greg’s site I have advocated raising the amount of nuclear power in the USA to 75%, from the 20-25% we produce now. And to use recycling reactors and regional storage of waste.

    My preferred solution is to go nuclear and also invest in research to invent a cheaper form of non-carbon producing energy than fossil fuels.

    I do not favor a carbon tax, as that makes everything more expensive for everybody – food, fuel and energy (and therefore manufacturing and transportation).

  49. An in-law of mine just returned from a work trip to Antarctica. He commented on the torrential rains they experienced there, something that experienced crews had never seen in the area that they were in, at that time of year before. And yes, this is an anecdote, of little scientific value, but interesting, never the less.

  50. “Maybe. I bet the people living along the Nile wouldn’t like it if the annual flooding stopped.”

    People in Egypt have not seen annual flooding since the 1970s. They still grow crops though…

  51. Johnl #50 said AGW was a total failure of the market.

    How so? People are using the cheapest form of energy, which is what one would expect from the market.

    FFs are only ‘cheap’ under the false accounting which externalises the environmental costs entirely. Your first argument therefore fails. Stern was correct: AGW is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.

  52. Marco #66:

    I had forgotten about the dam. They use fertilizer instead now.

    BBD #67:

    If you want to include externalities you have to include the good with the bad. Hard to quantify either.

    Ask yourself this – what would happen if we just stopped producing oil, coal and natural gas. I think externalities net out to be a good thing, so if you included all externalities, good and bad, it would change nothing (imo).

  53. If you want to include externalities you have to include the good with the bad. Hard to quantify either.

    No I don’t. You were talking about *costs* when you unwisely tried to claim that AGW is not a colossal market failure:

    How so? People are using the cheapest form of energy, which is what one would expect from the market.

    As I explained, this is false as most of the true cost of FFs is externalised.

    So as I said, you are wrong and Stern was correct. And now you are trying to weasel out of your error.

  54. BBD #69:

    Yes – I used the word “cheapest”.

    But of course I meant what a consumer actually pays in response to a bill. An electric bill, a natural gas bill or a fill-up at the pump.

    As you correctly point out – none of these include any externalities – good or bad.

    I am afraid you misunderstood me and I am not trying to weasel out of anything.

    Cheapest really does imply money shelled out (at least to me).

    If you think the default is to price in externalities – we will have to agree to disagree – because I see no evidence of that in any utility.

  55. As you correctly point out – none of these include any externalities – good or bad.

    There are no ‘good’ external costs.

    You most certainly *are* trying to weasel out of something – which being the indisputable fact that AGW represents the greatest market failure of all time.

    It is a direct product of your beloved ‘free market’. So own it.

  56. Sorry, there should have been a quote in the previous comment:

    The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

    The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.
    Elon Musk: oil campaign against electric cars is like big tobacco lobbying
    Read more

    Nicholas Stern, an eminent climate economist at the London School of Economics, said: “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There is no justification for these enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, which distort markets and damages economies, particularly in poorer countries.”

    Lord Stern said that even the IMF’s vast subsidy figure was a significant underestimate: “A more complete estimate of the costs due to climate change would show the implicit subsidies for fossil fuels are much bigger even than this report suggests.”

  57. Fossil fuel subsidies run at about $10 million USD a minute according to IMF figures.

    Let me help you, RickA: You are “shelling out” this cost, in part, from every paycheck you receive. It’s called payroll withholding taxes, some of which is going to these FF subsidies.

    Are you arguing that we should transfer to the pumps all of the costs that we “shell out” in all their varied forms so that we pay them consciously, totally, and directly with every fill-up? Do you know how much per gallon you’ll be “shelling out” then?

    If we did that, how would you play your misdirection game?

  58. @64. RickA : Nothing from you about my #54 or #56 here then?

    Cheaper for who at what price for others?

    At what longer term costs for us all?

    Do these questions not occur to or bother you at all? Not even a bit?

  59. SteveR #75 and 76:

    #54 was just an insult and I assumed merely rhetorical. I typically don’t respond to insults. I dont’ see the point.

    #56 is just a list of natural disasters. I could google and find a list of beautiful weather events and it would be just as meaningless. There is no statistical evidence that natural disasters are being increased by increasing CO2 levels. See the SREX report.

    As for your vague question about costs – of course I think about that. I think fossil fuels have served humans well. The standard of living of most people in the world is up, and so is life expectancy. Fossil fuels are net good, in my opinion.

    If we had a cheaper source of energy which didn’t produce carbon I would switch (and the market would cause everybody to switch over time) – but we don’t (yet). One day we will. it would be a good idea to support research in this area. I support the use of tax dollars for this purpose.

    Until then people will still use electricity and drive their cars, and it is a little silly to nash your teeth and tear your hair out about the inhumanity of it all. Especially if you also use electricity and drive a car.

  60. @ ^Rick A : My #54 was a response to your admission of your own blindspot and a suggestion for what you could do having acknowledged that blindspot of yours rather than an insult.

    My #56 was more than just noted “natural disasters with nothing in common. The three items listed were the situation in Bangladesh – which I noted was referred to in the OP with the top image – the record-breaking heatwave in India and a scientific assessment of the instability of the Totten glacier and its implications.

    These are connected with the expected outcomes of Global Overheating and note that there is a distinct trend of more extreme record-breaking events globe ~wide as a consequence of Global Overheating.

    Do you seriously contend that you finding weather reports in other places somehow refutes that or suggests that the record-breaking heatwave in India, the devastating hurricane in Bangladesh and the ongoing melting of the Totten glacier aren’t simply implying and showing what they clearly are?

    The two events I listed were supporting evidence showing the consequences of the current Global Overheating and the changes that we can expect to see more of based on the scientific evidence.

    Whilst it is true that there have always been hurricanes and heatwaves, the severity and frequency of these has been increasing and as NASA climatologist James Hansen has explained very well here :

    We’ve been “loading the dice” to more extreme events and the trends and disasters that we are seeing as a result are showing how horribly right that is and how damaging it is.

    I think fossil fuels have served humans well. The standard of living of most people in the world is up, and so is life expectancy. Fossil fuels are net good, in my opinion.

    Have being the operative word and the burning of fossil fuels has also had negative consequences and impacts that other alternatives such as renewable energies avoid.

    Clearly also the standard of living and life expectancy we now enjoy will be very badly hit by more such extreme events and climate change generally. If you want people in the future – now even – to continue to have good standards of living and increasing life expectancies, then we need to address Global Overheating.

    If we had a cheaper source of energy which didn’t produce carbon I would switch (and the market would cause everybody to switch over time) – but we don’t (yet).

    Problem is there’s been a lot of vested oil and coal interests that have been stopping progress in this area and the market is not really working here because of that. Setting aside the other flaws of free market capitalism which is a whole other debate..

    Until then people will still use electricity and drive their cars, and it is a little silly to nash your teeth and tear your hair out about the inhumanity of it all. Especially if you also use electricity and drive a car.

    I’m neither gnashing my teeth nor pulling my hair out over this but I am seriously worried about the future – yes, frightened even knowing what the reliable expert science and observations are telling us all. If you aren’t that’s because you haven’t been listening and taking in the implications of what the climate experts have been saying.

    Yes, we need electricity but there are certainly other ways to get electrical power that are renewable, sustainable and don’t leave us dependent on hideous regimes like the Saudis or cause sort of the environmental catastrophes that using fossil fuels are causing.

    Also you know our supplies of oil are ultimately going to run out and so we’ll one day need to switch to better alternatives anyhow right? Why not do that as soon as possible in any case?

    1. Plus, for RickA

      The above, not true. If the trillions in subsidies were removed from fossil fuels, and applied instead to renewable energy, it would already be cheaper. As it is, renewable energy is almost as cheap as FF already.

  61. PS. RickA : “There is no statistical evidence that natural disasters are being increased by increasing CO2 levels.”

    Er, actually there is – see :

    https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/science/extreme-weather.html

    There have been changes in some types of extreme weather events in the United States over the last several decades, including more intense and frequent heat waves, less frequent and intense cold waves, and regional changes in floods, droughts, and wildfires.[1] This rise in extreme weather events fits a pattern you can expect with a warming planet. Scientists project that climate change will make some of these extreme weather events more likely to occur and/or more likely to be severe.

    Plus :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/extreme-weather-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    There are numerous examples of increased extreme weather frequency already being attributed to humans in the published peer-reviewed scientific literature. For example, Pall et al. (long list of papers and evidnece follows)

    Plus from my own country :

    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/category/extreme-weather

    (Collection of a lot of linked articles and good information on this.)

    Among other places.

  62. Chuck #80:

    You are wrong.

    Without grid level power storage (which does not yet exist) renewables over a certain percentage are unworkable.

    When it is not windy or sunny, what will you do for power? If you think you can just move power around from a place where it is always windy or sunny, you are sadly mistaken. That will never work with out current grid structure.

    The grid cannot handle the swings without grid level power storage if renewables go over a certain threshold percentage. Although there are people trying to invent grid level power storage, there is no currrently viable solution. We have to add that to the list of new technology we need to invent (along with non-carbon power sources which are cheaper than current fossil fuel prices). Will these items be invented someday – yes. Can we deploy them now – no (first we have to invent them).

    Not to mention the incredible amount of space wind and solar would take if deployed to provide 100% renewable power.

    Now what is technically feasible is nuclear. It is baseload (not intermittent). It can be scaled up to provide as much electricity as we need. It doesn’t take much space. We have free fuel sitting around at all the current nuclear plants.

    We could build 300 power plants and ramp up our nuclear share of power to 75%, and that would help. It would occupy a very small footprint and cut down on transportation of coal and oil – although eventually we would still get all economically available fossil fuels out of the ground until the price is higher than nuclear or wind or solar (not there yet).

    People on this site should face the facts. We will use up all the economically available fossil fuels until the price of fossil fuels rises to match the costs of alternative fuel sources which can supply the level of energy we need at the time. That is an economic fact. Maybe we can stretch out the time over which it takes to use up the fossil fuels, but they will get used up – to the point it is no longer economical to extract them.

    So plan for that.

    Coastal communities should plan for slowly moving to higher ground over the next hundred years (and thousand years) – perhaps with new building codes. For example if you required everybody building 1 meter over sea level to elevate 1 meter – that would make buildings within 1 meter more expensive, which would naturally encourage siting new buildings on higher ground. And the rich can still build at sea level if they want (this will always be true).

    Chuck – France has lead the way to the real solution to this problem. Nuclear, with some recycling reactors. The rest of the world really needs to follow Frances lead.

  63. “People on this site should face the facts.”

    You are accusing people of not facing facts? You, the habitual liar?

  64. Id’ almost forgotten how good Sb could be. Rick A…thanks for opening a window in a discussion that seems to trend towards battening down the hatches anxiously awaiting the future like it was a Hollywood disaster flick. It amazes me how many seem to think the human historical narrative is so negative and I appreciate (and hopefully share) the optimism your perspective promotes. It’s heresy, I know, but without rancor. At times like these it seems to be most appropriate.Wishing you more nice weekends to come and good books from which to learn. Cheers.

  65. dean #82:

    I don’t lie.

    And yes – a lot of people on this site don’t face the facts.

    Wishing will not keep fossil fuels in the ground.

    In fact, nothing will keep fossil fuels in the ground (in my opinion).

    There is no plan (as far as I can see).

    So therefore, the plan (which doesn’t exist) cannot even be subjected to a cost/benefit analysis.

    The way some on the site even measure costs and benefits is bizarre, so it probably would be fruitless to even try.

    Why so many on this site reject nuclear as a solution is difficult to understand. The more people study it, the more people will understand that is where we need to go.

    The anti-nuclear people really blew it.

  66. RickA

    Now what is technically feasible is nuclear.

    While I agree that there is a very considerable technical challenge facing large-scale renewables deployment, even the most optimistic scenarios suggest that nuclear could only hit ~30% global electricity generation by 2050.

    You are engaging in exactly the same silly argument as the anti-renewables claque. You are trying to push low-carbon generation technologies off the table before we even get properly started with decarbonisation.

    The pragmatic (sane) and most likely to succeed decarbonisation policy is holistic. We need everything in the mix. Not least because there are very real geopolitical constraints on the deployment of nuclear plant globally.

    We could build 300 power plants and ramp up our nuclear share of power to 75%

    This ‘we’ being the USA? Which is *not* the world now, let alone in 2050. Please try not to be parochial – it distorts your analysis.

    People on this site should face the facts.

    I agree. You could start by not playing down the true magnitude of the problem posed by SLR later this century and in the centuries to come.

  67. BBD:

    “We” is the USA in my analysis – so yes.

    I live and vote in the USA, so that is the only place I have any influence over.

    I don’t see a problem building 300 nukes by 2050.

    Other countries can build their own nukes, once they decide to do so.

    That takes care of most countries except a few we don’t trust with nukes (North Korea and some Middle Eastern counties).

    I see 1 foot of sea level rise per century.

    In a couple hundred years, if I am wrong (and still here) I will reevaluate.

    In the meantime, I would get busy building nukes – say break ground on 10 per year, for the next 30 years.

    By the way – I am not against renewables. They just cost to much today and take up to much space and are too intermittent. By all means we should invest in research to fix those issues, along with grid level power storage, non-carbon power that is cheap (cheaper than fossil fuels), and lets throw in thorium reactors.

    But renewables are only going to provide like 5% of the power for the foreseeable future, and we are wasting a lot of money that could be better spent pushing them to hard.

  68. I don’t see a problem building 300 nukes by 2050.

    In your usual vaguely dishonest way, you have sidestepped the point, which is that *nobody* thinks that nuclear can scale up to more than about 30% of global electricity demand by mid-century. It is this behaviour that prompts people to regard you as less than entirely worthwhile, Rick.

    I see 1 foot of sea level rise per century.

    And expert opinion is that it will be far higher. Who should we listen to? The glaciologists and palaeoclimatologists, or random contrarians on the internet? Let’s get real, Rick. Face the facts, and all that.

    But renewables are only going to provide like 5% of the power for the foreseeable future

    Says who, Rick? Plausible analyses tend to centre on about 30% renewables by 2050, with ~30% nuclear if we stop fretting and get it built. The rest – fossil fuels, still.

    Too little, too late, but people who play push-it-off-the-table games with ANY low carbon technology are making >40% fossil fuels post-2050 that much more likely.

    What you are doing is just as stupid and misguided as the anti-nuclear brigade. Try thinking objectively and using standard figures instead of your own made-up shit for once and join the rest of us in facing the facts.

  69. “I don’t lie.”

    Your repeated comments about not having an idea what percentage of warming is due to human activity is one contradiction to that (you’ve been informed several times and continue to ignore the explanations).

    “I see 1 foot of sea level rise per century.”
    Picking numbers out of your ass that are not supported by any research is not exactly honest.

    Making large statements in a discussion about issues that have world-wide impact (your nuclear comment) then scurrying to hide by saying “well, I meant the USA because people in other countries don’t mean shit to me” is again, an attempt at seeming ethical after the fact.

    Did you pay your law school tuition with your integrity?

  70. Brainstorms #89:

    Church and White 2011 found 2.8 mm/year based on tide gauges.

    2.8 * 100 is 280 mm, which is 28 cm / 2.54 cm per inch gives 11.02 inches per century. I rounded up to 1 foot.

  71. dean #90:

    Yeah. A difference of opinion is not a lie. I have research to back up my assertions. Your lack of understanding is not my problem. I still retain all my integrity.

    You just don’t like my point of view.

    And that is ok – that is your right.

  72. A difference of opinion is not a lie. I have research to back up my assertions. Your lack of understanding is not my problem. I still retain all my integrity.

    Not a surprising response from someone in so much denial of reality.

  73. I have research to back up my assertions.

    No you don’t. That is a *lie*.

    Church & White (2011) – which I notice you were careful not to link – examines historical rates of SLR. Not what is expected in the future with ice sheet dynamics producing a nonlinear response to ever-increasing forcing.

    Past rates of SLR cannot be used as a guide to future rates of SLR. Read the headpost and stop misrepresenting the science.

  74. BBD #95:

    Ha ha.

    Does that apply to temperatures also?

    If you want me to admit that nobody knows what the future will bring (about anything) than I admit it.

    But a linear extrapolation based on an historical rate is research. You may disagree – but I have explained what I based my opinion on.

    My opinion is not naked assertion.

    It is based on research and math.

    Whether my opinion will turn out to be right, or whoever you rely on will turn out to be right (however we measure that) – we will just have to wait and see.

  75. Ha ha.

    I don’t know what you are laughing about, RickA

    Does that apply to temperatures also?

    Does *what* apply to temperatures also?

    If you want me to admit that nobody knows what the future will bring (about anything) than I admit it.

    We know the future will bring >2C warming unless there is very substantial emissions reductions. We are well past the point where pretending we don’t know this is anything but a refuge for the dishonest.

    But a linear extrapolation based on an historical rate is research. You may disagree – but I have explained what I based my opinion on.

    I don’t just ‘disagree’. I pointed out that you are *wrong*. Your opinion is based on fallacious reasoning. Insisting otherwise after correction means that you are either a clown or dishonest or both.

    You are getting on my tits tonight, RickA.

  76. BBD #97:

    I am laughing because your own argument says past temperatures cannot be used as a guide to future temperatures.

    But then you say we “know the future will bring > 2C warming . . . “.

    I think you are basing your opinion on past temperatures – which according to you cannot be used as a guide to future temperatures.

    Just because you say I am wrong doesn’t make me wrong.

    You cannot force someone to agree with you – especially agout a guess about the future.

    Have you heard the phrase applied to the stock market – past performance is no guarantee of future performance?

    Or how about – your guess is as good as mine?

    We are all just guessing about the future, and no one knows what will happen – with regard to temperatures or sea level.

    So you either base your educated guesses on past data or you cannot say anything at all.

    That is what is so funny.

  77. I am laughing because your own argument says past temperatures cannot be used as a guide to future temperatures.

    No, the argument is that a linear extrapolation of SLR from 1880 – 2009 is not a robust predictor of SLR for the next century and beyond.

    But then you say we “know the future will bring > 2C warming . . . “.

    I think you are basing your opinion on past temperatures – which according to you cannot be used as a guide to future temperatures.

    Nope, see above and below.

    Just because you say I am wrong doesn’t make me wrong.

    Agreed. But it’s not *me* saying it. I’m referring you to the expert scientific opinion. Who do you think you are?

    We are all just guessing about the future, and no one knows what will happen – with regard to temperatures or sea level.

    No, we aren’t ‘guessing’ about the future. We know from palaeoclimate behaviour that a doubling of CO2 results in roughly 3C warming.

    So you either base your educated guesses on past data or you cannot say anything at all.

    That is what is so funny.

    Laughter in the dark, if there ever was, RickA.

    1. Ricka: “Just because you say I am wrong doesn’t make me wrong.”

      All of the world’s experts on the subject say you are wrong; all of the evidence shows you are wrong; being wrong makes you wrong. See it now?

  78. HEADLINE: In today’s news, RickA informed the scientific world that in his opinion, all of physics and chemistry is in actuality, a set of random processes that allows no predictions based on mathematical models, observations, or (by extension, deluded) understandings of the underlying physics and chemistry of natural processes.

    Gentlemen, hang up your hats and turn in your degrees. RickA has pointed out the futile nature of your careers and fields of study. It’s all random, and there can be nothing but guesses as to what will happen. In fact, your guesses are so hopeless that they are no better than the guesses of an ignorant layman such as RickA himself.

    And this is what is so funny. Seriously. Funny.

    1. Brainstorms: “HEADLINE: In today’s news, RickA informed the scientific world that in his opinion, all of physics and chemistry is in actuality, a set of random processes that allows no predictions based on mathematical models, observations, or (by extension, deluded) understandings of the underlying physics and chemistry of natural processes.

      Gentlemen, hang up your hats and turn in your degrees. RickA has pointed out the futile nature of your careers and fields of study. It’s all random, and there can be nothing but guesses as to what will happen. In fact, your guesses are so hopeless that they are no better than the guesses of an ignorant layman such as RickA himself.

      And this is what is so funny. Seriously. Funny.

      I like the idea! Every year I must rebuild the fences when the river floods. From now on I will just tell the bossman that the river doesn’t exist, and he’s stupid, and he is Part Of The Evil World-Wide Rivers Exist Conspiracy Cabal, and then demand that he prove to me the river really exists. After I finish coughing river water out of my lungs from him throwing me in, I will insist it’s just a bad case of pneumonia, and demand some sick leave.

  79. Makes you wonder if he realises he just said huge areas of science and statistics are worthless, simply because he wont make any attempt to understand them.

    1. Dean: “Makes you wonder if he realises he just said huge areas of science and statistics are worthless, simply because he wont make any attempt to understand them.”

      That is why I never pay income tax: it’s just oh so very complicated. And the forms are ugly. Visually unpleasing.

  80. Makes you wonder if he realises he just said huge areas of science and statistics are worthless, simply because he wont make any attempt to alter his agenda to agree with reality.

    (Fixed that for you…)

  81. Desertphile, I hate to burst your bubble, but RickA’s wise(ass) counsel is that the river likely exists, but there is no possible way of predicting whether or not it will flood. Past flooding is meaningless for predicting future flooding, and even knowing the relative elevation where the fence is located won’t tell you anything. You simply cannot know or predict any flooding, and, on the whole, your guess is as good as mine if it will or it won’t. So your best course of action is to do nothing except wait and see. And, as RickA points out, you shouldn’t spend any money trying to prevent either the flooding, nor should you spend money to make the fence more flood resistant, because it’s money better spent elsewhere. The only exception is if you can make the fence nuclear powered.

  82. Hey guys – it was BBD that said you cannot use the past to predict the future, not me.

    I was merely pointing out that if you cannot use the past to predict future sea level – than you cannot use the past temperatures to predict the future temperatures either.

    Of course I think you can use the past to predict the future (both as to temperatures and sea level).

    I just point out that the actual numbers are lower than past predictions and therefore maybe we should be predicting lower estimates for the future.

    We are not on target for 3C by 560 ppm of CO2 (whenever that happens) and we are not on target for 1 meter of sea level rise by 2100.

    The actual numbers show we are on target for about 1.6C for temperatures and about 11 inches of sea level rise.

    Now I understand that many scientists say the future is going to be different (non-linear or whatever) than the past – and that is their opinion (and right).

    But nobody knows what the future warming and sea level will be until we wait and measure in the future.

    So nobody can say “I am right” or “You are wrong”.

    All we can say is “I see problems with your educated guess.” or have you considered this or what about that – etc.

    It snows every year in Minnesota and I rely on that.

    It floods every year in Minnesota and I expect that.

    Every year the summer is hotter than the winter.

    Of course the past can be used to predict the future. And that is what I have been doing.

    My numbers are just a lot lower than yours.

    You guys should be directing your insults to BBD – not me.

  83. RickA

    Hey guys – it was BBD that said you cannot use the past to predict the future, not me.

    Since I have now explained – twice – why this is *not* what I said, you are lying (#95; #99).

    We are not on target for 3C by 560 ppm of CO2 (whenever that happens) and we are not on target for 1 meter of sea level rise by 2100.

    The actual numbers show we are on target for about 1.6C for temperatures and about 11 inches of sea level rise.

    Oh dear. Look, Rick, if you are going to comment on climate blogs, you need to sort out the difference between the transient climate response (TCR) and the equilibrium sensitivity (ECS). You are muddling them up.

    As for SLR, no, you are flat-out wrong and since I have pointed that out several times on this thread, you are again lying.

    Do you just not give a shit how bad you look, or what?

  84. Of course the past can be used to predict the future. And that is what I have been doing.

    Incorrectly. And you’ve been told, over and over again. How many times is it necessary to go over this before you admit error?

  85. Hey RickA – it was YOU who said one cannot use Science to predict the future, not us…

    We were merely pointing out that if you cannot use your opinions to predict future sea level – then you cannot use your opinions about temperatures to predict the future temperatures either.

    Of course you think you can use your opinions to predict the future (both as to temperatures and sea level). Because you are a self-serving science denier.

    We just point out that the actual numbers are predictable using science and therefore maybe we should be predicting higher estimates for the future, based on scientific observation and understanding.

    We are certainly on target for 3C by 560 ppm of CO2 (when that happens) and we are not on target for 1 meter of sea level rise by 2100, but more than 1 meter.

    Now, we understand that many scientists say the future is going to be worse than the past – and that is their opinion (and they’re probably right).

    But you don’t know what the future warming and sea level will be and we cannot merely wait and measure in the future, for that would be immoral and irresponsible.

    So everybody can say “You are wrong” and be correct about that.

  86. RickA, you are again lying. Do you just not give a shit how bad you look, or what?

    RickA is a self-claimed lawyer, BBD. Lying therefore comes naturally, as does a having a dead cinder of a former (but possibly never existing) conscience.

  87. Will I will just get out my ruler and measure sea level rise at 2100 and we will see what we will see.

    I may turn out to be wrong – but that still won’t make my opinion about the future level a lie.

    Ditto for the global mean temperature when CO2 is 560 ppm.

    Sure – I might turn out to be wrong, but I still won’t be a liar.

    And no – I don’t care how bad you (speaking collectively here) think I look.

    I don’t care that you don’t think I have a conscience.

    I don’t care that you think lawyers are liars.

    Hell – I don’t care that some here don’t believe I am an electrical engineer.

    I don’t care that some here don’t believe I am a lawyer.

    Those sorts of characterizations roll off my back like water off a duck.

    I feel no need to prove I am an engineer, or a lawyer or have a conscience or am a really nice guy or whatever.

    You would think that after all this time you guys would get that and stop making meaningless insults – but I am used to it..

    It is funny that you guys just don’t understand the difference between an opinion, being wrong and a lie.

    In the meantime – I ask you all – what do you think we should do to solve the problem of human emitted CO2?

    Wouldn’t it be more fruitful to discuss specifics?

  88. Wouldn’t it be more fruitful to discuss specifics?

    Why discuss specifics with you if you deny there’s any established need/reason to do so?

    If you give us your opinion that the needs and reasons are invalid, how could we believe that you would honestly discuss any of these specifics? Why should we make that investment with you?

  89. I may turn out to be wrong – but that still won’t make my opinion about the future level a lie.

    More weaseling from RickA.

    Every time you repeat an argument that has already been debunked, you are knowingly repeating a falsehood.

    That is called ‘lying’.

  90. Brainstorms #113:

    If you don’t want to discuss specifics than you don’t have to. You don’t have to make any investment with me at all.

    BBD #114:

    I can see that you truly don’t understand the meaning of the word “lie”. No wonder we have trouble communicating.

    A lie is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive”. Notice the word “intent”.

    Now a flat earther who literally believes that the Earth is flat is not a liar – even if you and I agree they are wrong.

    Ditto for a creationist who doesn’t believe in evolution.

    You are misusing the word “lie”.

    You see – I don’t agree that I am knowingly repeating a falsehood. And that makes all the difference.

  91. I can see that you truly don’t understand the meaning of the word “lie”. No wonder we have trouble communicating.

    A lie is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive”. Notice the word “intent”.

    Your errors are repeatedly corrected yet you repeat them. This presents two possibilities:

    – You are too stupid to understand the explanations, in which case you should not be commenting on a climate blog at all

    – You are deliberately ignoring the science in favour of pushing a political peanut, in which case you are acting with intent to deceive.

  92. You don’t know that I am in error and therefore cannot correct them. What you mean is that you think I will turn out to be wrong, based on what somebody else thinks will happen in the future.

    I can be in error about something which has happened.

    I cannot be in error about something which I think will happen in the future.

    It requires observation to falsify a prediction, not another prediction.

    Perhaps one day you will understand this very tricky issue.

  93. If the basis for your opinion is flawed, your opinion incorrect. Once you have been shown that your reasoning is fallacious, we are back to #116.

  94. You don’t know that I am in error and therefore cannot correct them.

    It is you who doesn’t know that he has indeed found your errors. Nor are you honest and self-aware enough to face up to your own personal dishonesty.

    And yes it’s clear that you do care what people think of you. Like any troll you revel in the heated disapprobation of others.

  95. I cannot be in error about something which I think will happen

    Oh yes, you can be. Science, RickA, is not a set of legal constructs, and you cannot treat it like it were some sort of legalism.

    Your legal education notwithstanding.

    So in that you are also in error.

  96. it is all hype but fact is we’re facing server water shortage and people around the world will recycle sea water for use, so the rise of sea level didn’t matter but we will dry up seas too 😛

  97. RickA your “…120 meter sea level rise over the last 20,000 years…” contain the overly optimistic and grossly inaccurate assumption that SLR is a smooth millenial process
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015PA002847/full
    “The MWP-1B event at Barbados is better constrained as beginning by 11.45?kyr?B.P. and ending at 11.1?kyr?B.P. during which time sea level rose 14?±?2?m and rates of sea level rise reached 40?mm?

    yr?1”
    Also, your linear extrapolation of 3.4 mm/yr SLR for the next century is mathematical foolishness.
    The massive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets respond slowly to changes in earth’s temperature; as far as they’re concerned, the temperature rise over the last fifty years is no different from a

    step change. The changes in ice sheet balance would continue for hundreds of years even if temperatures miraculously stabilized – and those changes are growing exponentially.
    An improved mass budget for the Greenland ice sheet; Ellyn M. Enderlin, Ian M. Howat, Seongsu Jeong, Myoung-Jong Noh, Jan H. van Angelen, and Michiel R. van den Broeke4; Geophys. Res. Lett.,

    41, 866–872, doi:10.1002/2013GL059010
    “The rate of loss increased from 153 ± 33 Gt/a over the period 2000–2005 to 265 ± 18 Gt/a from 2005 to 2009 and 378 ± 50 Gt/a between 2009 and 2012, giving a total acceleration of 27.0 ± 9.0 Gt/a2

    since 2000. This acceleration is in good agreement with the 2003–2012 acceleration of 25 ± 9 Gt/a2 detected by GRACE [Wouters et al., 2013]”
    The conversion from ice mass loss to sea level rise can be derive from Velicogna who showed “The combined contribution of Greenland and Antarctica to global sea level rise is accelerating at a rate

    of 56 ± 17 Gt/yr2 during April 2002–February 2009, which corresponds to an equivalent acceleration in sea level rise of 0.17 ± 0.05 mm/yr2 during this time” and “The F-test show that the

    improvement obtained with the quadratic fit is statistical significant at a very high confidence level.” doi:10.1029/2009GL040222
    That was in 2009; a more accurate answer should include recent findings from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6237/899.full – “We use satellite altimetry and gravity observations to show that

    a major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized. Ice mass loss of the marine-terminating glaciers has rapidly accelerated from close to balance in the 2000s to a sustained rate of –56 ± 8

    gigatons per year, constituting a major fraction of Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea level. The widespread, simultaneous nature of the acceleration, in the absence of a persistent atmospheric

    forcing, points to an oceanic driving mechanism.”
    Set up a spreadsheet with accelerating ice loss/SLR using the 25 GT/yr^2 that Enderlin et al saw from Greenland, the 56 Gt/yr^2 that Velicogna et al saw from Greenland plus Antarctica, and
    optionally the additional 56 GT/yr^2 from Antarctica seen after Velicogna did their analysis, and tell me how many years it take to achieve the 40 mm/yr SLR seen at the close of the Younger Dryas.

  98. Pointless arguing with, or even acknowledging RickA.

    He has no idea of Physics, non-linear processes, or science for that matter, and his idea of research is looking to find the first bit of data that confirms his idealogical bent, and going with that.

  99. “The steady accumulation of recent landmark climate reports is drawing a new form of pushback: not denial, but delay. In a world where denial has no scientific basis, delay provides a fig leaf of legitimacy…

    “Delayers” often profess agreement with the scientific consensus and support for climate action, at least in theory. Voices like Bjorn Lomborg, Roger Pielke Jr. and others at the Breakthrough Institute have pioneered this tactic, which establishes credibility and grants entrance into a mainstream media increasingly closed to the denial of basic science. But after token acknowledgement of the problem, a litany of excuses for inaction begins, often on economic grounds. At its heart, the delayer argument is to wait: for better technology, for other countries to act first, for greater scientific certainty or even for other problems to be solved first, like poverty or inequality or growth (as if we can only tackle one problem at a time).
    None of the standard delayer excuses hold up against the most current scientific and economic analyses. For example, new evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that addressing climate change is practical and affordable.
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2014/may/25/climate-deniers-give-way-to-delayers/#

    Re. some of the most recent research on the affordability of an energy system based on renewables:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2016/05/25/harvesting-clean-energy-in-cities/#comment-633672

  100. THE WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION – RickA!

    RickA is cruising. Stops. Says, “Hey guys, wanna go for a ride?” The guys pile in. RickA locks the doors, parks the car. The guys are going nowhere, again, and they never catch on.
    The end.

  101. cosmicomics #125 and #126:

    These threads get derailed when people starting insulting and calling others liar.

    I don’t insult people or call them liar just because I disagree with them.

    Perhaps if the other posters would avoid the insults and name calling we would all be better off?

    So look to others for the ride to nowhere – I am not causing that.

    1. RickA: I don’t insult people or call them liar just because I disagree with them.

      No one here does that either. We call you “a liar” when you lie— not because we “disagree” with you. See how it works, now?

  102. @112. RickA :

    “In the meantime – I ask you all – what do you think we should do to solve the problem of human emitted CO2? Wouldn’t it be more fruitful to discuss specifics?”

    You know I have already done this and provided you with a whole list of books and sources and ideas that address that very point some threads ago.

    You have ignored it and are now either lying or showing you have the memory of a mythical goldfish.

    At this point it doesn’t really matter which.

    You,RickA, have proven unwilling or unable to engage in actual constructive conversation and discussion here. That’s just objective fact.

    As I wrote back on May 7th here :

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2016/05/06/the-meaning-of-the-fort-mcmurray-fire/

    In addition to at least one other occasion much earlier still – complete with links and sources that you have already been referred to and ignored for some unknown reason. :

    ***

    @Rick A. You never did read all those books actually offering plans that I suggested for you in another thread year a few months or more ago did you?

    (Link snipped – avail. on original linked thread.)

    George Monbiot Heat : Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning

    (Link snipped -avail. on original linked thread.)

    Carbon Detox by George Marshall. (Book and website – ed.)

    (Link snipped -avail. on original linked thread.)

    Oh & :

    (Link snipped -avail. on original linked thread.)

    Another plan as mentioned in the excellent book ‘Storms of my Grandchildren’ by NASA’s top climatologists Dr James Hansen.

    You got the memory of a goldfish Rick A or .. what?

    ***
    Deja vu anyone?

    RickA keeps spewing up the same stale Denier PRATTs over and over and over again and I’m not sure why he’s still permitted to foul up this blog with such a proven record of bad faith and bad arguments that seem to serve little useful purpose or even entertainment value.

  103. Oh & atleats one earlier occassion RickA goes through his whole routine can be found here :

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/10/30/protection-of-climate-scientists-against-harassment/#comment-626500

    #23 Rick A :

    “I put up a plan on another thread and I don’t even believe in CAGW. .. Why don’t you put forward a plan?
    Or comment on mine.

    #43. StevoR :

    @ 23. RickA : “Give me a plan!”

    Very well then; I suggest you read George Monbiots ‘Heat :How we can stop the planet Burning’ (penguin Books 2006 &2007.) plus George Marshall’s ‘Carbon Detox : Your step by step guide to getting real about climate change’ (Octopus publishing group 2007) in addition to ‘at least chapter 9 “An Honest, Effective Path” (pages
    172 to 222) of NASA climatologist James Hansen’s ‘Storms of my Grandchildren’ (Bloomsbury,2009.) – although I also recommend reading that whole book.

    These have plenty of good suggestions, I like Hansen’s Fee and dividend idea among many others – some of which overlap and others don’t. There are plenty of other plans and suggestions out there but those texts are a good starting point and all contain lots of plans and ideas worth adopting. Many of which would be beneficial even if Global Overheating were not a reality. E.g.weaning ourselves off polluting and non-renewable energy sources. … (Continues.)

    & #43.

    PS. RIckA thinking of plans did you really not see the plans and actions noted in this thread :

    scienceblogs (dot) com/ gregladen /2015/10/30/ clean-energy-the-state-of-the-states/

    Immediately preceding this one? Lots of US states taking action and also planning to do so in terms of shifting from non-renewable, GHG emitting fossil fuels to solar renewable energy.

    Does this really not seem like “a plan” (plans plural indeed) and actual progress towards a better world -on a whole number of fronts – to you?

    Rick A is being, as usual, willfully ignorant and ,yes, lying by omission and repeated demands for information he’s already been told.

  104. D’oh! And now I’m going to be repetitive and again wish fervently for editing ability here! Or even just preview capability.

    Dangnabbit! Sorry all.

    Except Ick A , he owes us all more apologies than he can ever give – not that he would anyhow.

  105. So StevoR’s plan is to go read George Monbiots book.

    Your right – I didn’t go read George Monbiots book.

    Why don’t you summarize his plan for us?

  106. RickA, you need a mommy to read to you now?

    Good grief, you’re getting more & more ridiculous as this theatre of yours drags on.

  107. Why don’t you summarize his plan for us?

    Try this – you can view it *now* online.

    TL-DR: decarbonisation by *all* available pathways including nuclear *and* renewables at high integration. Or we’re fooked.

  108. Brainstorms #134:

    Telling somebody to buy a book is kind of a conversation stopper. But if you want to read it to me go ahead. I went to Amazon and saw one review, which alludes to stopping most airplanes flights, as part of the plan. But no other detains of the plan from chapter 9.

    BBD #135:

    I followed your link and read pages 231 – 239. I got that we need solar plus nuclear. Sure – that sounds like what I have been saying – we need nuclear for sure, and the author seems to think we need solar also.

    Ok.

    Now that we are agreed on that – how do we get our government(s) to build more nuclear (and solar)?

    It has been pretty obvious we have needed more nuclear for years and it is not happening.

    Meanwhile the costs of solar are dropping – but still pretty expensive. If we started rolling out solar on the scale we needed – would we run out of rare earth metals?

    Thoughts?

  109. Now that we are agreed on that – how do we get our government(s) to build more nuclear (and solar)?

    By voting out science-denying right-wingers.

    If we started rolling out solar on the scale we needed – would we run out of rare earth metals?

    Not as far as I know.

  110. Why do you guys want the government to build electricity generators of any kind? Do you also favor Soviet/Cuban style government farms? Nationalization of oil wells like Venezuela?

    I must be missing something. Why electricity generation?

  111. I must be missing something. Why electricity generation?

    You favour whale oil for light, heat and cooking and running industrial processes?

  112. To be more serious: central government is a necessary catalyst for infrastructure development. It both instigates and regulates. Without it, we might not get what we want, or expect, from the private sector.

  113. Zebra, if you want industry to develop these on their own initiative (which you seem to be implying), then you will have to start by having the government make use of fossil fuels illegal, or, regulating them into impracticality.

    Otherwise, if you leave things as they are, and “allow the market to solve the problem”, you are indeed missing something. As is RickA (for the same reasons).

  114. Brainstorms,

    I thought RickA was the one that wanted the government to build them? #136

    And obviously, if you don’t put a price on CO2, what would be the point even if the government does build the generation plant– it would still be more expensive than coal.

  115. zebra

    I assumed that RickA wrote carelessly and would have been more correct to say ‘how do we get our government(s) to facilitate build[ing] more nuclear (and solar)?’.

  116. Yes – sorry – I want private sector utilities to build them and the government to get the regulation out of the way to allow that to happen.

  117. As I have pointed out here before, only two things are necessary to eliminate CO2 from electricity generation:

    1. Price CO2, and offer subsidies equitably to non-FF sources.

    2. Require “utilities” to act as common carriers, and prohibit them from generating electricity. They provide only transmission infrastructure and facilitate (equitably) transactions between buyers and sellers– a combination of UPS and Amazon Marketplace, or similar organizations.

    1 and 2 are well within the normal operation of government in the US– no new policies are necessary. This approach eliminates manipulation and gaming the system that would otherwise slow down the process. If I want to put solar panels on my roof, or you want to build a nuclear plant, that will be a private market decision. May the best technology win.

  118. zebra

    2. Require “utilities” to act as common carriers, and prohibit them from generating electricity. They provide only transmission infrastructure and facilitate (equitably) transactions between buyers and sellers– a combination of UPS and Amazon Marketplace, or similar organizations.

    In the UK, at least, the National Grid does not generate electricity:

    What do we do?

    We own and maintain the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales (Scotland has its own networks), balancing supply with demand on a minute-by-minute basis.

    The network carries electricity from the generators to substations where the voltage is lowered ready for distribution. Most of our network is overhead lines, underground cables and substations. We are responsible for balancing the system and managing generation output to make sure that it matches demand throughout the day, and that voltage and frequency are kept within acceptable limits.

    Generators, distribution network operators and suppliers pay us for the right to connect to our assets and to use our system to transport electricity on their behalf.

    What don’t we do?

    · Own or operate electricity generation assets in the UK

    · Own or operate electricity distribution networks in the UK

    · Buy or sell the electricity we transport

    · Sell electricity to end users in the UK.

  119. zebra #148:

    Well in Minnesota, utilities are kind of common carriers now – because of net metering requirements.

    If I generate electricity (say with wind power) the electric company has to buy it from me at the highest price per kwH, and net it against the electricity I buy from them.

    If I produce more than I use, they cut me a check.

    I rather doubt the government (state of federal) will allow individuals to operate nuclear power plants – so I don’t think that is going to fly.

    Maybe solar and wind – sure – but not nuclear.

    The best we can expect is to get utilities to invest in nuclear and get government out of the way to let that happen.

    Even that is going to be tough – but it is doable.

    Now if you could invent a small, totally contained fission system which lasted 20 years and you could swap with a new one, and it provided all the power a household needed for 20 years – that might be a good idea.

    Bury it in the back yard.

    Now sure what size it could be reduced to – but that would be nice.

    Something else t invent.

  120. RickA 150,

    When I say “you”, I mean either an individual investor or a corporation. Remember, corporations are people.

    Obviously, a corporation can build a solar or wind farm as well.

    I don’t mean “I will create my own solar panels and put them on the roof myself”.

  121. BBD 149,

    Yes, there are many variations of this in operation, that’s why I say it isn’t some strange new concept that requires a ten-year study.

    Here in the USA, we have a hodge-podge of systems at the State level (as with everything else we do, unfortunately). So we would have to pass Federal legislation to normalize things, and that should be feasible since much of the traffic is interstate commerce, just like over-the-road shipping.

    Instead of wasting time arguing about which technology is best, why not let a truly free market figure it out after the price on using FF is established, and FF subsidies are transferred to non-FF.

  122. I am alright with transferring FF subsidies to non-FF, as long as we are talking real subsidies (actual cash or tax credits).

    Not some sort of virtual number which computes the “damage” fossil fuels are causing and trys to price that in as a subsidy.

    I am not in favor of that.

    What do you mean by subsidy?

  123. As to whether corporations are people – all 50 states (in the United States) treat corporations like people as far as property is concerned. But corporations cannot vote. They can own real property and intangible property and advertise and contribute to political campaigns and lobby and seek redress for their grievances and use the courts and so on. They have 4th amendment rights (you need a search warrant), and so on.

    However, a state would be free to change that – because corporate law is state law (in the United States).

    If Minnesota wanted to, they could change the law so corporations couldn’t own property (not sure how that would work – but it is up to each state).

  124. zebra

    Instead of wasting time arguing about which technology is best, why not let a truly free market figure it out after the price on using FF is established, and FF subsidies are transferred to non-FF.

    ‘Free markets’ don’t really exist at the national infrastructure level because energy policy at scale requires planning.

    Then you run into the mire of what is, and is not, actually costed. Let’s take a very simplistic example. Nuclear is expensive up front while renewables are cheap up front but very expensive to integrate at scale. Classic free-market cost-driven decisions will not automatically result in optimum energy policy.

    It’s a pig’s bum.

  125. These two articles give a description of Denmark’s energy policies. In 2015 Denmark got 42% of its electricity from wind, and the current trajectory will result in more than 50% by 2020.
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/10052016/denmark-clean-energy-transition-climate-change-wind-power-fossil-fuel-habit-oil-justin-gerdes
    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/12/11210818/denmark-energy-policies

    Regarding the stability of an interconnected system based on renewables, I refer again to my previous comment:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2016/05/25/harvesting-clean-energy-in-cities/#comment-633672

    Various Danish organizations have produced plans showing how Denmark can go 100% renewable, without nuclear energy. Anyone with an internet connection and a brain can find plans for or towards a fossil-free America. Here are two, one with, one without nuclear:

    “The principal finding of this study, conducted using the PATHWAYS and GCAM models, is that it is technically feasible to achieve an 80% greenhouse gas reduction below 1990 levels by 2050 in the United States (U.S.), and that multiple alternative pathways exist to achieve these reductions using existing commercial or near^commercial technologies. Reductions are achieved through high levels of energy efficiency, decarbonization of electric generation, electrification of most end uses, and switching the remaining end uses to lower carbon fuels. The cost of achieving these reductions does not appear prohibitive, with an incremental cost to the energy system equivalent to less than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the base case. These incremental energy system costs did not include potential non^energy benefits, for example, avoided human and infrastructure costs of climate change and air pollution.”
    http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/US-Deep-Decarbonization-Report.pdf

    “This study presents roadmaps for each of the 50 United States to convert their all-purpose energy systems (for electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to ones powered entirely by wind, water, and sunlight (WWS).”
    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

    If you read the article I linked to above
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/commentary-climate-deniers-give-way-to-delayers-ep-504708115-325299071.html,
    you’ll find that RickA uses every trick he can find in the delayer handbook:
    He always claims to worry about costs, but refuses to recognize the costs of externalities, i.e. the savings from moving off fossil fuels. The only alternative he proposes is nuclear, and he doesn’t care how much that costs, or that it’s so uncertain that financial institutions won’t go near it. He further argues for delay by advocating forms of nuclear that don’t even exist. In short, he’s open to a new energy system, but every argument he makes is designed to prevent change.

    Reminds me of this:

  126. The above dialogue notwithstanding, an unbiased review of the world’s history over the past 7 or 8 hundred million years shows definitively that forces other than the concentration of atmospheric CO2 have to be the principle mechanism that has triggered and sustained substantial dynamic fluctuations in the earth’s climate. Despite the many learned-sounding research papers proclaiming otherwise, and forecasting doom upon doom, our understanding of climate science remains in its infancy, and we are at a loss to satisfactorily explain with any reasonably degree of confidence why the numerous glacial and cool periods have occurred , and why they are interspersed with warm periods of varying length and magnitude. But we do know that.it all went on without human contribution. To now think that we can stop–or even influence–our climate from changing now is the ultimate in scientific/political arrogance!

  127. RickA,

    I don’t care about the details of the corporation thing– I was just clarifying what I meant by “you”.

    As for the subsidy question– no, the societal cost is recovered by a tax or fee, which also serves the compelling interest of the government in reducing CO2 emissions.

    But there has to be equitable distribution of the value of any benefit so that no technology is favored. That means, for example, if the government limits liability of nuclear plants, it must provide an equivalent monetary subsidy to all other technologies. Likewise security of waste products and so on. Otherwise, it isn’t a true free market. We don’t want the government picking winners and losers.

  128. One of the functions of governments is to facilitate things that society finds valuable, but for which the “free markets” fail to address (or to address efficiently or in a timely manner).

  129. BBD 157,

    Circular reasoning. You need planning because you need planning?

    People will figure it out, just like they do with every other product if the government makes sure the market operates freely– which is exactly what I am suggesting.

    If someone invests in nuclear and gets the long-term demand numbers wrong, they lose. Then someone else fills the need, by whatever method works. If I fill up my roof with solar panels and nobody wants to buy the intermittent electricity, I lose, and someone else fills the need, by whatever method works.

    What’s the problem?

  130. Brainstorms,

    1. Government ensures free market.
    2. Free market optimizes the allocation of resources.

    You are not talking about free markets; you are talking about laissez-faire capitalism.

  131. Circular reasoning. You need planning because you need planning?

    Fundamental change to national energy infrastructure requires planning. No circular logic that I can see there.

    What’s the problem?

    I think you are missing my point.

  132. 1. Government ensures free market.

    On what basis? Cheap up front? Isn’t that what is propelling the current mess into the future?

  133. BBD,

    Yes, I’m missing your point. Perhaps like Brainstorms, you are confusing “free market” with “laissez faire capitalism”?

    Why don’t you address my suggestion without worrying about labels but what I describe as the mechanism. What specifically “needs planning”?

  134. What specifically “needs planning”?

    Regional / national utility-scale energy storage. Regional / intercontinental grid interconnections. You don’t get a supergrid without a bit of planning, zebra.

  135. BBD,

    I don’t like to get into silly definition debates about things like circular reasoning, but you are just assuming up front that a “supergrid” or “regional/national utility-scale energy storage” is necessary. To me that is circular.

    You have not demonstrated that there is a demand for any of that.

    The market will decide if people want to e.g. “store energy in their basements” or pay someone to do it for them.

    Likewise, if someone wants to e.g. build a giant windfarm (or nuclear plant) in the midwest to supply the east coast, their money people will figure out if they need transmission lines, and act accordingly.

    That’s the point of the model. You don’t pre-assume anything.

  136. BBD,

    Your really aren’t making sense.

    My proposal will result in some mix of sources for electricity generation. How do you know it will not be exactly what your reference suggests?

  137. @133. RickA :

    So StevoR’s plan is to go read George Monbiots book. Your right – I didn’t go read George Monbiots book. Why don’t you summarize his plan for us?

    Let me guess you didn’t read the chapter of Jim Hansen’s book I referred to either, ..

    … nor read George Marshall’s book,

    … nor read the wikipedia article on the Stern review I offered you

    … or the online article on the fee & dividend plan provided via a link here :

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2016/05/06/the-meaning-of-the-fort-mcmurray-fire/#comment-633027

    Nor did you read the Clean Energy: The State of the States thread posted by Greg Laden on the 30th October 2015 where a lot of ideas and plans were suggested immediately preceding a thread when you asked for a plan (again) nor have you done any homework or research on your own which would have very quickly brought you lost of different plans and suggestions and ideas and policies and alternatives.

    Such as :

    &

    https://www.oxfam.org.au/what-we-do/food-and-climate/what-you-can-do/getting-smart-on-climate-change/

    As already noted in several old threads you have the option of Google and wikipedia and libraries. Whilst its nice to get other people to do your research and suggest plans for you – as many of us have already repeatedly done only to be ignored and mocked by you – we do NOT have any obligation to spoon feed you all the information you are too lazy or ignorant to seek out on your own and have proven unwilling to read and listen to when provided for you.

    You have proven yourself a disingenuous liar who is willfully ignorant and arguing in bad faith who refuses to listen to or read evidence and who is not worth engaging with at all.

    Those, btw, are not insults but observations based on lots of previous discussions where I have tried to help you understand reality and answer your questions. More fool me for doing so I guess.

    This is going to be my last response to you.

  138. zebra

    Your really aren’t making sense.

    I could retort that apparently, you aren’t really paying attention.

    My proposal will result in some mix of sources for electricity generation. How do you know it will not be exactly what your reference suggests?

    Your proposal is to allow the lowest up-front cost to drive decision-making. This isn’t going to result in optimal planned decarbonisation. It’s going to result in the usual goat-fuck of short-term profit-seeking. Which is why energy policy does not allow market forces to determine the future energy mix. The objective is to meet demand, 24/7/365 while decarbonising supply. That requires a planned evolution of the entire infrastructure – generation, storage and grid. Not a cheapest-on-the-day free for all.

  139. you are just assuming up front that a “supergrid” or “regional/national utility-scale energy storage” is necessary. To me that is circular.

    These are not my ‘assumptions’. They are everywhere in the literature. I also get the sense that you have fallen for the ‘lone warrior’ fallacy – solar on the roof, battery in the basement, world saved. Not so. Read MacKay or similar.

  140. BBD 172,

    You just keep making the same assertion– “you need a planned evolution” without any follow-up, and you keep talking some generalization about “short-term profit-seeking” without any specific reference to my approach.

    I say you don’t need government planning as long as you prevent monopolies and other market-distorting mechanisms like regulatory capture. I gave examples.

    Can you give some specifics of what you see as a problem with my approach?

    (And no, saying things like “you can’t prevent regulatory capture” doesn’t count– that’s a Nirvana Fallacy.
    Play it straight).

  141. I’ve explained why there are fundamental issues with your position repeatedly and clearly, zebra. If you choose to ignore the obvious then I cannot compel you otherwise. But this conversation stopped being fruitful yesterday.

  142. BBD,

    Sorry, but you haven’t given one concrete example to support your claim. Might as well try to have a discussion with RickA.

  143. Sorry, but you haven’t given one concrete example to support your claim.

    Nor did you. And now you are being ridiculous. What I said is self-evidently correct. Perhaps a greater willingness to accept that there are flaws in your argument would be helpful at this point.

  144. BBD,

    No, what I said is self-evidently correct. Wow, what a scientific argument! Stop being childish.

    I gave examples, you didn’t refute them. If there is a demand, people will invest in some technology to meet it. If they make a poor investment decision, the demand will be filled by an alternative.

  145. I gave examples, you didn’t refute them. If there is a demand, people will invest in some technology to meet it. If they make a poor investment decision, the demand will be filled by an alternative.

    Sigh.

    There’s a demand for energy. So if we go all unplanned and invisible hands on it, we will get an incoherent mess of gas, solar and wind which will not integrate at the national scale because there won’t be enough storage or grid interconnection to offset variability in the renewable components of the mix because nobody planned for it.

    This is so obvious as to make me wonder what the hell we are arguing about here.

  146. Because some elements of the energy transformation are mid- and long-term but *very* expensive, you need a plan and specifically a plan which is not predicated solely on short-term market-driven price of a kw/h. The idea that a market-based free-for-all will result in a coherent displacement of fossil fuels is beyond naive. Can I remind you once again that it is exactly this misplaced faith in the power of the free market to produce optimal solutions that got us into the mess we are now in.

    It. Doesn’t. Work. Learn from history rather than argue determinedly that we repeat it.

  147. BBD,

    I repeat my earlier observation that you are talking about laissez-faire capitalism not free markets. We haven’t had free markets in electricity production here in the USA, for the most part.

    So your “history” claim is meaningless. It doesn’t apply to my model.

    And I’ve already dealt with storage and variability.

    1. If you need a constant 24/7 supply, buy your electricity from a nuclear plant.
    2. If you object to nuclear for some reason, buy it from a large-scale storage enterprise.
    3. If you object to that, buy a house battery and/or EV from Tesla and buy electricity from solar or wind suppliers.
    4. Same as 3 but with your own rooftop panels.
    and so on…

    In each case, someone will provide the service at an appropriate price, as long as there are enough customers to make a profit at that price. It’s like any other market– for example, you can buy organic food or local food or brand name food or generic supermarket food. That’s not the result of government planning, but sellers meeting the demand from buyers.

    And if someone calculates incorrectly, as I said more than once earlier, they lose their investment, and some other modality meets the demand.

    What’s the problem?

  148. It’s simple, really: It is a holy Religion. You must not question it. Examples and proof are not required. You must believe in the power of the Holy Free Market and you shall be set free!! All your problems will melt away when faced with the power of the Free Market. You must stop thinking rationally and instead have faith and believe. Planning shows a lack of faith. Don’t be childish and think in circles. Simply implement the Free Market and constrain your government to do nothing but enforce the principles of the Free Market and all will be in harmony and peace and prosperity will reign for all. This is not cult. Do not pay any attention to the man behind the curtain. The Great Oz has spoken!

  149. What’s the problem?

    Your assumption that without government policy and planning and regulation and oversight there will be:

    1. nuclear plant

    2. large-scale storage enterprise.

    3. solar or wind suppliers capable of meeting 24/7/365 demand because there exists sufficient large-scale storage / nuclear to compensate for intermittency and slew and seasonal insolation change

    4. Lone warrior fallacy. See MacKay, #173

    It’s like any other market

    No, it isn’t. National-scale energy infrastructure is *nothing* like shopping around for organic food.

  150. We haven’t had free markets in electricity production here in the USA, for the most part. So there doesn’t exist any proof that these Free Market-driven principles will work in the U.S. and solve the issues.

    No matter — proof is not needed, you must take it on faith. If you’ve seen one market, you’ve seen them all; they’re all the same and what applies to one applies to the others. Theory says this will work out just fine and there’s no difference between theory and practice. What could go wrong?

  151. BBD,

    Circular, sorry.

    The question is whether “national-scale energy infrastructure” is necessary in the first place. You haven’t demonstrated that; you keep assuming it and then saying you need national-scale government planning.

    The USA already has nuclear plants, large scale storage, and so on, and none of it is the result of a national-scale plan. People build these things because they think they can make a profit.

    And most important, a detailed national plan is never going to happen here. The US is not the UK, nor France. We are really, really big, and diverse, and States have an inordinate amount of power because of our government structure. What I suggest is about as possible as it gets.

    You are also hedging now by including “regulation”, “oversight”, and “policy”.

    Of course there has to be regulation and oversight, and the “policy” is as I stated in the first place– reduce CO2 by putting a price on it, and ensure a free market to optimize the modalities that take the place of fossil fuels.

  152. The question is whether “national-scale energy infrastructure” is necessary in the first place. You haven’t demonstrated that; you keep assuming it and then saying you need national-scale government planning.

    I’ve been trying to avoid excessive bluntness, but since you repeat this nonsense I have no choice. You are obviously and hopelessly out of your depth. You know nothing about the way in which large-scale renewables integration works. It requires wide-area integration between grids and regional storage. It requires national-scale partitioning by renewables type so the relative proportions of eg. wind and solar are going to integrate to meet demand on a national scale. So a national-scale infrastructure plan is mandatory. I suggest that you stop talking and read. You might start with the references at #I58. You aren’t in a position to have this discussion yet.

  153. BBD,

    You are stuck in some kind of mental loop, and I can’t get you out of it.

    Let me ask you this: Does the USA currently have a national energy infrastructure? If not, can you explain what would have to change for there to be one?

  154. Let me ask you this: Does the USA currently have a national energy infrastructure? If not, can you explain what would have to change for there to be one?

    No, and as just one necessary step towards a transition to a high-renewables energy mix, the US would need to interconnect all its regional grids. This would absolutely require an national infrastructure *plan*.

  155. You are stuck in some kind of mental loop, and I can’t get you out of it.

    You really should be careful with this. Only one of us knows what they are talking about here, and it isn’t you.

  156. BBD,

    Yes, only one of us knows what they are talking about:

    America’s electric grid is actually comprised of three smaller grids, called interconnections, that move electricity around the country. The Eastern Interconnection operates in states east of the Rocky Mountains, The Western Interconnection covers the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountain states, and the smallest — the Texas Interconnected system — covers most of Texas, as displayed in the map below:

    That’s from energy.gov . But what do they know.

  157. The dangers of not having a clue, Zebra.

    Here is a non-technical overview.

    It explains why the US does not have a national grid and why it will be necessary to create one using HVDC grid interconnectors. This will require a national energy plan and that will have to come from Federal Government. And anyone who doesn’t like that can join the ranks of those striving to halt or delay essential policy responses to climate change on political grounds.

    Is this where you want to be? That’s not my impression, so I genuinely wonder if you have simply combined poor topic knowledge with a reluctance to admit error.

    1. BBD: “It explains why the US does not have a national grid and why it will be necessary to create one using HVDC grid interconnectors. This will require a national energy plan and that will have to come from Federal Government”

      The blog writer’s opinion is not well supported for the necessity of #1 going Direct Current and #2 connection regional grids. AC out of synch with other grids is not a problem when there are thousands of grids, and where neighboring grids of an off-line grid can take the load.

      If enough copper could be mined to supply the thicker wires, there is still no reason to set up only 32 interconnected “nodes.” There should be 28,000+ nodes, with energy production occurring on people’s roof tops and back yards; the energy should be generated where it is being used.

      Current energy suppliers will eventually switch to being transporters of energy instead of producers of energy as energy production shifts to consumers, so they might as well embrace the change instead of opposing it as they currently are.

  158. Here’s another non-technical article about the potential for intra-grid integration which highlights the problem you pointed to earlier about grid infrastructure being owned by companies which also own generation plant. Another reason why a Federal infrastructure plan will be necessary to evolve the US grid.

  159. BBD,

    You are the one who is not admitting error.

    You said regional grids would have to be interconnected. That is not correct, as I demonstrated with actual facts at 190. From a real source, not some blog.

    If you don’t even know that the Eastern grid is already connected over an incredibly large area with all kinds of renewables available, maybe you shouldn’t be pretending expertise?

  160. Okay, we’ve now got to the point where you are apparently not reading links and just ploughing on regardless of the facts.

  161. You said regional grids would have to be interconnected. [they will] That is not correct [it is; see links above], as I demonstrated with actual facts at 190 [no, you didn’t].

    Please stop.

  162. Ghosts of RickA linger in the blog-o-sphere…

    A “computer virus” of sorts? Perhaps an i-Zika? Micro(computer)cephaly? Narcomputing? Something contagious is afoot… I’m going to disinfect my keyboard now.

  163. Desertphile

    The blog writer’s opinion is not well supported for the necessity of #1 going Direct Current and #2 connection regional grids.

    The experts disagree. We should defer to the experts, should we not?

    We now switch from blogs to technical sources with the imprimature of the US Government: NREL Renewable Electrical Futures (RE Futures).

    From the executive summary:

    Generation from wind and PV technologies is variable, with lower capacity factors and relatively limited dispatchability. The growing deployment of this variable generation in these scenarios, increasing with renewable electricity penetration (from 20% in the baseline scenario to as high as 90% at the other end), drives the need for a growing amount of aggregate electric generation capacity in order to meet demand. Specifically, adequate capacity from dispatchable resources is required to ensure delivery of necessary generation year-round.

    This means: national grid interconnection is necessary to compensate for regional variability in renewables output.

    And:

    Transmission Expansion in High Renewable Electricity Futures

    As renewable electricity generation increases, additional transmission infrastructure is required to deliver generation from cost-effective remote renewable resources to load centers, enable reserve sharing over greater distances, and smooth output profiles of variable resources by enabling greater geospatial diversity. Many of the system flexibility resources and options described above can benefit from transmission infrastructure enhancements to enable the transfer of power and sharing of reserves over large areas to accommodate the variability of wind and solar electricity generation in combination with variability in electricity demand. With high penetrations of variable generation, net load (load minus variable generation) in a specific region can show dramatic ramps. Transmission between regions helps reduce ramps in net load because it allows system operators to access a larger pool and more diverse mix of variable generation, with some smoothing of output profiles and demand profiles over larger geographic areas. Figure ES-8 shows projected new transmission capacity deployed over the 40-year study period for the exploratory scenarios. Demands for new transmission capacity are much greater in the higher renewable generation scenarios than in lower renewable generation scenarios, outstripping the effects of the low-demand assumption, reductions in transmission use by conventional fossil generation (freeing up the lines for renewable generation), and deployment of renewable resources that are proximate to load centers (e.g., PV and offshore wind).34 The increase in transmission needs as renewable electricity supply grows, for all 80%-by-2050 renewable electricity scenarios, result in an average annual projected transmission and interconnection investment that is within the recent historical range for total investor-owned utility transmission expenditures in the United States (i.e., $2 billion/yr to $9 billion/yr from 1995 through 2008) (Pfeifenberger et al. 2009).

  164. BBD,

    The grids are interconnected physically, as I said.

    Now, I’m not saying you are as unhinged as RickA and other Denialists, but you just did that thing they do, at 192, where you gave me a link that supports my argument not yours.

    Apply my approach:

    1. We put a price on CO2
    2. We require all grid operators to allow consumers to buy electricity from any sellers.

    That’s All!

    -Consumers in Wyoming will buy the cheaper solar electricity from California.
    -People in California will put more panels on their roofs.
    -If the traffic starts to put a strain on the existing transmission lines, the grid operator will upgrade, and pass the cost along to buyers and sellers.

    No planning by the Federal Government required.

    You are creating this narrative in your mind where you have facts and I don’t, which is far from the case– I’ve been following this topic for a long time and have read a couple of the big national studies, and, I have the background to understand the engineering issues pretty well.

    If you don’t want to listen and learn that’s up to you. (And while typing this, your 198 showed up and it is the same thing, where your source contradicts you– the report *doesn’t* say there is some government plan that must be followed; it says multiple scenarios are possible that would work.)

  165. The grids are interconnected physically, as I said.

    You don’t understand the topic.

    Now, I’m not saying you are as unhinged as RickA and other Denialists

    As always, I am simply reporting expert opinion. In this case, it is encapsulated in the last line of the abstract of MacDonald et al. (2016) Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 emissions:

    This reduction in carbon emissions is achieved by moving away from a regionally divided electricity sector to a national system enabled by high-voltage direct-current transmission.

    If you wish to continue arguing against the expert view, then I cannot stop you. But it is clear that you have no substantive counter-argument against the expert position. So I’m not sure where we go from here.

  166. Now, I’m not saying you are as unhinged as RickA and other Denialists, but you just did that thing they do, at 192, where you gave me a link that supports my argument not yours.

    That’s not true, zebra. From the link:

    But the bigger picture remains: Grid expansion has to happen eventually. The climate certainly doesn’t care about California’s emissions; it only cares about total emissions. If sharing VRE with PacifiCorp lowers overall emissions, it is to the good, even if Californians consume less VRE than they might otherwise have. Somehow, the economics and politics of grid expansion have to be worked out.

    […]

    Hooking up into larger and larger grids is part of the logic of transitioning to clean energy. It is necessary in order for California to hit its ambitious 50 percent renewables target. And it’s probably necessary in order for the US to hit the targets it promised in Paris.

    On some time scale, a national grid is both necessary and inevitable.

    You are convinced that this will happen without central government oversight and I am not. Particularly as there is likely to be a cost involved and this would deter investment under the free market approach you favour.

    We can leave it there, if you like.

  167. #201

    I think there’s another important argument, which you haven’t made, that ties what you’re saying to Greg’s post, and that’s the element of time. Even if free markets eventually led to the optimal energy system, the time it would take to get there would ensure additional meters of sea level rise.

  168. #161: One of the functions of governments is to facilitate things that society finds valuable, but for which the “free markets” fail to address (or to address efficiently or in a timely manner).

    1. Your comment ignores the essential constraint on government, namely the Constitutional boundaries which both permit and restrain its functions. You also suggest a capability of government that has only very rarely been demonstrated–and then only in unique situations– the ability to act either efficiently or in a timely manner.

    1. Given the context, I did not think that the focus of my comment was that obtuse, but I obviously presumed too much. To clarify, I was reacting to the over reaching broadness of your claimed authority and ability of government to act.
      In response to your specific question about the Corp of Army Engineers, while they have the ability do accomplish some tasks, they certainly are not noted for efficiency (quite the opposite!), and I would not bet on their productivity vis-a-vis top construction companies. Their “benefit” is that they can be used without having to go thru the bidding process.

  169. BBD (et al)

    “You are convinced that this will happen without central government oversight”

    It is obvious that you guys are one-note Charlies. You want to continue your well-rehearsed argument against laissez-faire capitalism, so no matter how many times I say that my plan…

    Requires strong intervention and oversight by the Federal Govenment to ensure a free market!!!

    …you continue to flail away at the Strawman.

  170. No one is flailing at a strawman. It’s been pointed out that there needs to be planning to implement complex and interconnected grid changes for renewable energy sources for electricity generation. You disputed this. You got arguments countering your disputation. And now you’re calling these arguments strawmen?

    Again: It is not sufficient to merely have the government play what amounts to a passive role as “free market idealism policeman” to make this work in a timely and successful fashion. That is NOT a strawman.

  171. The domain authority of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce (which includes interconnected electrical grids being used to trade power) is neither broad nor (last I heard) disputed. And I have yet to hear an argument against federal regulatory bodies setting and enforcing standards for the specifications, performance, and operations of our national-scale electrical grids.

  172. Brainstorms,208

    (I don’t know which comment 209 responds to.)

    And yes it is all strawmen all the time.

    1. I am talking about generators, not grid operators. You don’t need the Federal Government to decide there should be a windfarm in Oklahoma and a NPP in Chicago and so on. In fact, it would be near impossible to get some system like that passed in the USA. Are you suggesting a “revolution”? French Socialist type national energy policy? What?

    2. “It is not sufficient to merely have the government play what amounts to a passive role as “free market idealism policeman” to make this work in a timely and successful fashion. ”

    Other than asserting it, I have yet to hear any evidence for this. In fact, I haven’t heard anyone define what “timely and successful” would be. (The pace of conversion depends on how severe the CO2 penalty is. If you want to go faster, increase that.) Give an example of how my approach would fail.

    With respect to 209, if that’s for me, I said way back the Feds have the authority to do what I suggest. I imagine some idiot Republicans in some States will fight it, but interstate commerce is a strong principle. But I don’t see how they could fight the CO2 penalty, so it’s kind of moot.

  173. #209 is for the parallel thread with rac: 204, 205, 207, 209.

    You don’t need the Federal Government to decide there should be a windfarm in Oklahoma and a NPP in Chicago and so on.

    I’m not arguing against that, and I don’t think Cosmi has either. Sounds like a strawman being stuffed by you… (But I prefer to think that all this kerfuffle is just mis-communication due to eagerness to refute winning over reading for comprehension.)

    If you’re proposing that the U.S. conduct its business in a new fashion, following an ideology you favor (so strongly), I think the onus is on you to demonstrate why your novel approach would succeed (and do so better/faster/cheaper). CO2 is piling up, so we have no time to test-tweak-retry until we work out the bugs of a Brave New World Order…

  174. 211

    Well, if you agree that central planning can’t be done, what are we comparing my plan to with respect to better/faster/cheaper?

  175. zebra

    And most important, a detailed national plan is never going to happen here. The US is not the UK, nor France. We are really, really big, and diverse, and States have an inordinate amount of power because of our government structure. What I suggest is about as possible as it gets.

    That is an argument for American exceptionalism. It may not withstand a global crisis.

    * * *

    (And while typing this, your 198 showed up and it is the same thing, where your source contradicts you– the report *doesn’t* say there is some government plan that must be followed; it says multiple scenarios are possible that would work.)

    NREL RE Futures says that as renewable penetration into the US energy mix increases, a higher degree of regional interconnection is necessary. As does the rest of the technical literature on the subject. Since rapid and substantial emissions reductions are required, one has to look at the high renewables scenarios. Not the low ones.

    One might even need to countenance some Big Government.

    * * *

    #210

    Give an example of how my approach would fail.

    Oh don’t take the piss. I just did. Repeatedly. National grid interconnections.

    I’m disappointed to see you still digging your hole. I thought you were smarter than that.

  176. Brainstorms — Your #209 response makes no sense with regard to the subjects of your earlier (# 203, 205) posts. You go from all inclusive to unrelated single examples. What is you point, if any?

  177. Well, if you agree that central planning can’t be done

    Nobody made that concession. Don’t verbal other commenters; it’s impolite.

    More with the American exceptionalism, I see. A picture is beginning to emerge, zebra.

  178. That’s American exceptionalism with a miniature, emasculated, bankrupted government…

    “Because government never can do anything in a timely, efficient, or cost-effective manner”, and “corporations are exemplars of better-faster-cheaper”, free of corruption, nepotism, cutting corners, and foot-dragging to extend income streams.

  179. RAC: My point:

    Your comment ignores the essential constraint on government, namely the Constitutional boundaries which both permit and restrain its functions.

    The points being made in the replies on this blog post do not ignore the essential constraints on government. They do not respect the ideologies of certain political agendas that seek to rashly minimize and eliminate government, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, especially with the justification that “the baby is dirty, too.” (I will leave you to figure out the metaphors; don’t ask me to elaborate again.)

    You also suggest a capability of government that has only very rarely been demonstrated–and then only in unique situations– the ability to act either efficiently or in a timely manner.

    You make accusations of broad statements after making such a risible broad claim such as that? You allow no ability for anyone to refute that! You provide nothing to back that up, and any counter-examples provided by any of us will lead to you immediately playing the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. No thanks; I’m not taking that bait.

  180. BBD,

    How does my approach prohibit interconnections? I think you need to review what I am proposing. Nothing prevents the building or upgrading of transmission lines, as I described in 199.

    And what in the world does “don’t verbal” mean? Is that a Brit thing?

  181. Brainstorms, I await your answer to 212. Against what are we comparing my plan, so I can explain how it is better, faster, cheaper?

  182. Zebra, I think the point being made (endlessly, but anyway) is that your “plan” is incomplete. At this stage, no comparisons are called for. (Isn’t this issue muddled enough as it is?)

  183. Brainstorms,

    I see. You were for calling for comparisons before you were against them.

    And, my plan is complete. If you think it isn’t, then you should be able to tell me why.

    But maybe you will now reverse 220 as you did 212?

  184. zebra

    I’m not going to repeat myself again. It was clearly enough set out the first few times. If you don’t understand what I said, then I cannot fix that for you.

    And what in the world does “don’t verbal” mean? Is that a Brit thing?

    Possibly it is. It means do not falsely attribute statements to others.

  185. If you think it isn’t, then you should be able to tell me why.

    Done already, at length. You are behaving very like a troll at this point.

  186. zebra, I haven’t responded to your 212, so no reversal there. Nor have I any inclination to reverse what I said in 220. I haven’t called for any “comparisons”. I did ask you, given your call for a new system of handling this, to demonstrate why your novel approach would succeed. You haven’t responded. What are you claiming that we’re against anyway? We’ve only been taking the position that government needs to be involved in making changes to the grid to accommodate large-scale renewable generation. Your plan is not complete, except in the sense of “Government should only play free market cop and then corporations will make the right things happen in a timely fashion”. That’s not complete — you left a lot of key details to hand-waving and nebulous faith in Free Market idealisms. Pray tell, HOW is all this supposed to happen?

  187. By happy coincidence, the latest at Climatecrocks is No brainer: rebuild the grid.

    Right now, despite the miracle of the invisible hands nothing is being done. And it needs to be, and soon. At national scale, coherently, correctly. At vast cost, but almost certainly unprofitably in the short – medium term.

  188. #223. Par for the course with zebra. This is not the first time that discussions have gone in this direction with him. No point in continuing… I’ve got better things to do (doing PLANNING… in the course of GOVERNMENT work… the kind that INDUSTRY CAN’T/WON’T do…)

    Don’t bother with #224. I’m tired of flogging the dead horse of free market uber alles ideology inanity.

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