Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IPCC reports? We don't need no IPCC reports

On climate change communication....

We don't need any more IPCC reports on climate science.:
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Scientists are in the news, warning about the dangers of escalating fossil fuel emissions:
A quarter century has improved our understanding of ...
  • “Emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing.”
  • “These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth’s surface.”
  • “Continued emissions of these gases at present rates would commit us to increased concentrations for centuries ahead.”
  • “The longer emissions continue to increase at present day rates, the greater reductions would have to be for concentrations to stabilise at a given level.”
  • “The long-lived gases [like carbon dioxide] would require immediate reductions in emissions from human activities of over 60% to stabilise their concentrations at today’s levels.”
Only thing is, the above statements were written in 1990.
The entire Eric Holthaus column can be read at Slate.

My vote for the week's most interesting read on communicating and politics regarding climate change goes to Striving for a Climate Change. If you read it you're probably aware Rick Scott has now been elected Governor of Florida and most of the donkeys backed by Tom Steyer lost.

New communication might be more interesting than doing the same thing for another 25 years.
I viewed a compilation of Presidential, and Vice, debate excerpts regarding climate change. Fascinating how little the content has changed.

With that historical context, here's the Guardian writing on the latest press event/report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC):
Climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, according to the most important assessment of global warming yet published.
The stark report states that climate change has already increased the risk of severe heatwaves and other extreme weather and warns of worse to come, including food shortages and violent conflicts. But it also found that ways to avoid dangerous global warming are both available and affordable.
“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message,” said the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, attending what he described as the “historic” report launch. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.” He said that quick, decisive action would build a better and sustainable future, while inaction would be costly.
Ban added a message to investors, such as pension fund managers: “Please reduce your investments in the coal- and fossil fuel-based economy and [move] to renewable energy.”
Graphic from 1978 - shown in Brave New Climate Post
Renewable energy again.
Affordable again.

What I have read of UN FCC documents indicates to me they haven't even attempted to account for the full costs of adding significant variable intermittent generators.

My previous Levelised Cost Confusion post yielded a sub-reddit comment thread where I addressed the UN FCC non-treatment of the systemic costs of these generators.
...IPCC working group 3 report has good data, but...
footnote 1 on page 3:
"Note that comparability of products is not always given even for seemingly similar ones. For instance, in the case of electricity, the timing of production is crucial for the value of the product and reduces the insights that can be derived from simple comparisons of the metrics used here." Page 4 notes: "Taxes and subsidies are excluded, and it is assumed that grids are available to transport the electricity. Additional costs associated with the integration of variable sources are neglected as well (see Section 7.8.2 for an assessment of these costs)."
7.8.2 is wholly unsatisfactory in assessing the costs to the system of generators lacking capacity value:
"the contribution of variable renewables like wind, solar, and tidal energy to meeting peak demand is less than the resources’ nameplate capacity. Still, determining the cost of additional conventional capacity needed to ensure that peak demands are met is contentious ... Estimates of this cost for wind power range from USD 0 to 10/MWh.... (page 40 at chapter7 pdf )
The cost of $10/MWh strikes me as insanely low. What is the cost of having available a MW of firm generation? For simple-cycle gas turbines perhaps $150,000 per MWyear - which is roughly $17per hour. If you figure wind at 30% capacity factors you might multiply that by 10/3...
It's not simply that the UN FCC reports are communicating the same story lines in the same ways for 25 years, it's that they refuse to undertake the difficult costing exercises necessary to support their "gain, no pain" selling point. That's problematic 22 years after Al Gore was citing Japan and Germany, when in the interim Japan lost a decade, Germany became a poster child for high residential energy costs, and Al Gore introduced now defunct carbon trading markets and introduced an environmental TV station since sold to oil money..

No comments:

Post a Comment