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Climate and Climate Change

Climate and Climate Change

Climate Change

Two days before Halloween, 2011, New England was struck by a freak winter storm. Heavy snow descended onto trees covered with leaves.  Overloaded branches fell on power lines.  Blue flashes of light in the sky indicated exploding transformers.  Electricity was out for days in some areas and for weeks in others. Damage to property and disruption of lives was widespread.

That disastrous restriction on human energy supplies was produced by Nature.  However, current and future energy curtailments are being forced on the populace by Federal policies in the name of dangerous “climate change/global warming”.  Yet, despite the contradictions between what people are being told and what people have seen and can see about the weather and about the climate, they continue to be effectively steered away from the knowledge of such contradictions to focus on the claimed disaster effects of  “climate change/global warming” (AGW, “Anthropogenic Global Warming”). 

People are seldom told HOW MUCH is the increase of temperatures or that there has been no increase in globally averaged temperature for over 18 years.  They are seldom told how miniscule is that increase compared to swings in daily temperatures. They are seldom told about the dangerous effects of government policies on their supply of “base load” energy — the uninterrupted energy that citizens depend on 24/7 — or about the consequences of forced curtailment of industry-wide energy production with its hindrance of production of their and their family’s food, shelter, and clothing. People are, in essence, kept mostly ignorant about the OTHER SIDE of the AGW debate.

Major scientific organizations — once devoted to the consistent pursuit of understanding the natural world — have compromised their integrity and diverted membership dues in support of some administrators’ AGW agenda.   Schools throughout the United States continue to engage in relentless AGW indoctrination of  students, from kindergarten through university.  Governments worldwide have been appropriating vast sums for “scientific” research, attempting to convince the populace that the use of fossil fuels must be severely curtailed to “save the planet.”  Prominent businesses — in league with various politicians who pour ever more citizen earnings into schemes such as ethanol in gasoline, solar panels, and wind turbines — continue to tilt against imaginary threats of AGW.  And even religious leaders and organizations have joined in to proclaim such threats.   As a consequence, AGW propaganda is proving to be an extraordinary vehicle for the exponential expansion of government power over the lives of its citizens. 

Reasoning is hindered by minds frequently in a state of alarm.  The object of this website is an attempt to promote a reasoned approach; to let people know of issues pertaining to the other side of the AGW issue and the ways in which it conflicts with the widespread side of AGW alarm (AGWA, for short).  In that way it is hoped that all members of society can make informed decisions.

Adaptation and Survival

The universe is estimated to be approximately 13.7 billion years old. Our solar system is estimated to be approximately 4.6 to 5 billion years old, while the earth is estimated to be approximately 4.3 to 4.6 billion years old. Earth’s history is one of periodic glacial periods, shifting continents, volcanic creation and destruction, occasional meteor impacts and a variety of other major and minor events.

Our understanding of earth’s atmosphere and climate is very limited prior to approximately 500 million years ago. The graph below illustrates our current understanding of the earth’s climate history over that period.

Temperature on Planet Earth

The most recent period in earth’s history is arguably the period of greatest temperature stability in the historical record. However, it is obvious the climate continued to change over this period. There is no obvious period of temperature stasis anywhere in the record; and, it seems strange to suggest that the current period should become a period of temperature stasis. There is also no reason to believe that Milankovitch cycles have ceased. Rather, the graph above suggests that the earth might be approaching the peak of a Milankovitch cycle, which would then be followed by several thousand years of cooling temperatures.

The graph below illustrates both the temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration over the entire estimated period of earth’s existence. Temperatures and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been substantially higher in the past than is the case today. The glacial periods shown in the graph above all occurred when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were as high as or higher than current atmospheric CO2 concentration, as shown in the graph below.

Geological Timescale of CO2

Dr. Vincent Gray’s conclusion from this graph: “It will be seen that there is no correlation whatsoever between carbon dioxide concentration and the temperature at the earth’s surface.”

Modern humans as we know them are thought to have evolved approximately 315,000 years ago, though there is evidence of other hominin species as long as 6-8 million years ago. The red X in the graphs above indicate the approximate appearance of modern humans. Modern humans are believed to be the only one of the hominin species which has survived. However, if we accept Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the predecessor organisms of modern humans and all other currently existing creatures have existed on earth throughout its existence, adapting and surviving or not adapting and becoming extinct.

The graphs above make it clear that our human ancestors have adapted, survived and ultimately thrived through a series of temperature changes. The historical record illustrates that humans have fared better in warm than in cool periods. The temperature changes during the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the current warm period pale in comparison to the temperature changes labeled as the Milankovitch Cycles in the first graph above, no less the temperature changes which occurred more than 8 million years ago.

 

Tags: Global Temperature, Temperature Record

Highlighted Article: Hurricanes and Climate Change

  • 4/4/19 at 06:00 AM

 

By: Judith Curry

A five part series from Climate Etc.

"This Report is easier than my Special Report on Sea Level and Climate Change.  Sea level and glaciers are very fast moving topics, whereas for hurricanes, the big picture conclusions haven’t really changed in a decade."

 

1) Hurricanes & climate change: detection

2) Hurricanes and Climate Change: Attribution

3) Hurricanes & climate change: landfalls

4) Hurricanes & climate change: recent U.S. landfalling hurricanes

5) Hurricanes & climate change: 21st century projections

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security

  • 4/2/19 at 05:00 AM

From: CO2 Coalition

February 21, 2019

 

What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security

 

Plant production has been boosted, the need for water and fertilizer has been brought down, and field experiments show that these effects are likely to increase in coming decades.

Global food security is one of the most pressing problems facing the planet’s growing population. Continuing advances in agricultural technology and expertise will certainly increase food production in many regions, but the required doubling of production by 2100 as diets improve with rising income will still be a difficult task. Fortunately, carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is created when fossil fuels are converted into energy, has proved to be a powerful plant food.

 

What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: Judith Curry Statement to the US House Committee On Natural Resources

  • 3/28/19 at 05:00 AM

By: Judith Curry

STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Hearing on Climate Change: The Impacts and the Need to Act

"... I am increasingly concerned that both the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified.1 For the past decade, I have been promoting dialogue across the full spectrum of understanding and opinion on the climate debate through my blog Climate Etc. (judithcurry.com). I have learned about the complex reasons that intelligent, educated and well-informed people disagree on the subject of climate change, as well as tactics used by both sides to try to gain a political advantage in the debate.

With this perspective, my testimony focuses on the following issues of central relevance to climate change, its impacts and need to act:

  • The climate knowledge gap
  • The climate change response challenge
  • The urgency (?) of CO2 emissions reductions
  • Resilience, anti-fragility and thrivability
  • Moving forward with pragmatic climate change policies ..."

 

STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Warming Significance

Recent research has provided greatly reduced estimates of climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This research suggests that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, to 540 ppm, would result in an increase of ~1.7°C (~3°F) above pre-industrial global annual average near-surface temperatures. Approximately 1°C (~1.6°F) of this projected increase is reported to have already occurred.

 

Climate Sensitivity Estimates Declining

 

Based on recent analyses, that 3°F temperature increase would manifest as an increase of ~1°F in average annual maximum temperatures and an increase of ~2°F in average annual minimum temperatures in many of the most populous nations on the globe; and, as the average for the globe. These changes would be expected to occur over approximately the remainder of the century, assuming rates of global annual CO2 emissions remain relatively constant.

An increase of 1°F in annual maximum temperature would be of greatest concern if it manifested as an increase in the number of very hot days or an increase in the temperatures on the hottest days. However, this is not the case, at least in the US, where the annual number of days reaching or exceeding 95°F has been declining on average over the period from 1900 to 2018; and, declining precipitously since the peak in the 1930s.Rather, the increase has manifested as an increase in the average daily maximum temperature while not significantly affecting the frequency or magnitude of extreme temperatures.

 

Percent of Days above 95

 

Similarly, the number of nights reaching temperatures at or below 0°F has decreased over the period 1900 to 2018, indicating that winter temperatures have become less extreme as well.

An increase of 2°F in annual average minimum temperatures would be of greatest concern if the increase were associated primarily with the occurrence of extremely hot days. However, as noted above, the frequency of extremely hot days is decreasing, so it is likely that the increase in average minimum temperature during the summer months is more uniformly distributed.

 

Percent of Nights Below 0

 

The combination of the more rapid rise of average annual minimum temperatures, relative to average annual maximum temperatures, and the decline in both hot and cold extreme temperatures has resulted in a decrease in the average daily temperature range of approximately 2°F ,or approximately 10%, in the US over the period from 1900 to 2018. However, this still means that daily average temperatures change by +/- 23°F roughly every 12 hours and +/- 40-50°F seasonally.

 

Average Daily Temperature Range

 

Mexico is the only one of the most populace nations in which the annual average maximum temperature is increasing more rapidly than the annual average minimum temperature, though both are increasing more slowly than the global average temperature change.

Russia and Nigeria are the only ones of the most populous nations in which the average annual maximum temperature is increasing more rapidly than the global average temperature change.

China is the most anomalous of the most populous countries, in that the annual average maximum temperature is increasing at only ~7% of the rate of increase of the global annual average temperature; and, only ~3% of the rate of increase of the annual average minimum temperature.

 

Tags: Climate Sensitivity

Highlighted Videos: Green New Deal

  • 3/21/19 at 05:00 AM

By: Clear Energy Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

  • 3/19/19 at 10:27 AM

From: Quillette

By: Michael Shellenberger

February 27, 2019

 

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

 

“I thought the solutions were pretty straightforward: solar panels on every roof, electric cars in every driveway, etc. The main obstacles, I believed, were political. And so I helped organize a coalition of America’s largest labor unions and environmental groups. Our proposal was for a $300 billion dollar investment in renewables. We would not only prevent climate change but also create millions of new jobs in a fast-growing high-tech sector.

Our efforts paid off in 2007 when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama embraced our vision. Between 2009–15, the U.S. invested $150 billion dollars in renewables and other forms of clean tech. But right away we ran into trouble.”

 

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: Global Mean Surface Temperature: Early 20th Century Warming Period – Models versus Models & Models versus Data

  • 3/14/19 at 05:00 AM

 

 

Global Mean Surface Temperature: Early 20th Century Warming Period – Models versus Models & Models versus Data

 

This is a long post: 3500+ words and 22 illustrations. Regardless, heretics of the church of human-induced global warming who frequent this blog should enjoy it. Additionally, I’ve uncovered something about the climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive that I hadn’t heard mentioned or seen presented before. It amazed even me, and I know how poorly these climate models perform. It’s yet another level of inconsistency between models, and it’s something very basic. It should help put to rest the laughable argument that climate models are based on well-documented physical processes.

 

Global Mean Surface Temperature: Early 20th Century Warming Period – Models versus Models & Models versus Data

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Green New Deal Summary

 

 

This series of commentaries has evaluated various aspects of the “Green New Deal” (GND) focused on reducing US emissions of “greenhouse gases” to avoid a projected climate catastrophe.

 

These commentaries have identified a deadweight loss of approximately $62.5 trillion, mostly resulting from the abandonment of energy resources and energy industry infrastructure. They have also identified costs of approximately $3.5 trillion for a national high-speed rail network; approximately $18 trillion for building retrofit and reconstruction; and, between approximately $3–9 trillion for electric vehicle infrastructure. This represents a total investment requirement of approximately $25-30 trillion.

These commentaries have not addressed the non-emissions related aspects of the GND. Dr. David Wojick has estimated that the total cost of the GND would be approximately $100 trillion, or approximately 50% of the US gross domestic product over the 10-year implementation period.

The GND would require major changes in US society and in the US economy. It exists today only as non-binding House and Senate resolutions. The GND resolutions have 64 House and 9 Senate Democrat co-sponsors, including 6 announced Democrat 2020 presidential candidates. This would appear to assure that the GND will be a subject of very active discussion during the 2020 presidential campaign and numerous 2020 House and Senate campaigns.

The climate change aspects of the GND might well be a “stalking horse” for the socialistic and redistributionist aspects of the GND; and, on a global scale, for the UN Agenda 21.

The concern regarding potential catastrophic anthropogenic climate change remains based strictly on projections produced by unverified climate models fed with uncertain climate sensitivity, forcing and feedback estimates. These remain poor justification for extremely extensive and expensive societal change.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal and the Road

Transportation applications account for approximately 29% of US energy consumption annually. Approximately 60% of this total is motor gasoline for use by automobiles, light trucks and other small to medium engine applications. Approximately 26% of this total is diesel fuel for use in some automobiles and light trucks, but predominantly in heavy duty trucks, road tractors and farm implements. The GND would require that these transportation applications switch from fossil fuels to either electricity or biofuels to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions.

Ethanol/gasoline blends and biodiesel are currently in use in the US as motor fuels. Internal combustion engines can be designed to run on 100% ethanol, but are not now in common use. Ethanol currently represents approximately 10% of US motor gasoline blend consumption, so ethanol production would have to be increased by an order of magnitude to replace gasoline as a motor fuel. However, straight ethanol is not compatible with current motor vehicle engines and fuel systems; and, adaptation of existing vehicles to run on ethanol would be complex and expensive.

Approximately 95% of current US ethanol is produced using field corn while only 5% is cellulose sourced. Production of cellulosic ethanol is currently more expensive, even though it relies primarily on waste products and grasses as its source. However, an order of magnitude increase in production would require greater reliance on crops grown specifically for use in ethanol production, requiring increased agricultural acreage.

Biodiesel currently represents approximately 5% of US diesel fuel consumption. It can be used interchangeably in current diesel engines. Current biodiesel production relies significantly on waste feedstocks, but replacing petroleum distillate with biodiesel would greatly increase dependence on crops grown specifically to support biodiesel production, requiring increased agricultural acreage.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are currently available for personal use, but offer relatively limited range compared to vehicles operating on gasoline/ethanol blends or biodiesel. Also, battery electric vehicles typically require several hours to recharge their batteries compared to the few minutes required to refuel gasoline and diesel vehicles. Vehicle range and recharging time are functions of the installed battery capacity in the vehicles, the rate at which the batteries can accept charge and the capability of the charging station. The current state of the technology limits BEVs to roughly half the range of current gasoline and diesel vehicles.

The first BEV road tractors are expected to be introduced to the US market in 2019. The road tractor is expected to have an operating range of approximately 500 miles and a recharging time of approximately 30 minutes. BEV transit buses are currently available, with an estimated range of approximately 350 miles, which would satisfy the requirements of many urban routes. This technology could be applied to tour buses as well, though the requirement for under-floor baggage storage would limit volume available for batteries, probably limiting operating range significantly.

BEVs are currently more expensive than gasoline and diesel vehicles, primarily because of the cost of the batteries. BEVs with longer ranges require larger battery packs and consequently are more expensive than those with limited range.

There are currently approximately 270 million motor vehicles operating in the US. The GND would obsolete all of the current vehicles with the exception of the diesel vehicles remaining at the end of the 10 year implementation period, assuming that sufficient biodiesel fuel were available to fuel the diesel vehicles. The residual value of these vehicles, on the order of $1 trillion, would be a deadweight loss.

There are currently 120 million vehicle fossil fuel dispensers in the US. Simply replacing these dispensers with high speed electric vehicle charging Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) would require an investment of approximately $3 trillion. However, the greater time required to recharge electric vehicles might well require a significantly greater number of EVSEs, perhaps doubling or even tripling the investment required.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal and Buildings

The principal energy efficiency thrust of the “Green New Deal” is "upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification".

Building Green analyzedThe Challenge of Existing Homes: Retrofitting for Dramatic Energy Savings” several years ago. The residential sector includes approximately 125 million dwelling units, including approximately 85 million single family detached structures; and accounts for approximately 20% of US energy consumption.

Intelligent choices regarding building envelope characteristics, window and door choices, appliance and equipment choices can make large differences in building energy consumption, typically at relatively modest cost. Retrofitting existing buildings of any type is far more challenging and expensive.

Building retrofits are an exercise in “Broken Window Economics”, since functional components such as windows and doors, appliances and equipment are being removed and replaced with more efficient equipment before the ends of their useful lives. Improving the insulation in existing structures is also frequently very difficult and expensive. Additional attic insulation and installation of insulation over crawl spaces is relatively straightforward, as is adding insulation to uninsulated walls and replacing caulking and weather stripping. However, adding insulation to walls which are already insulated, though not optimally, can be both very expensive and relatively ineffective. Adding insulation to existing building slabs is typically prohibitive.

The intent of the GND is to accomplish what Building Green refers to as a major energy retrofit, which they estimated would incur an average cost of approximately $50,000 per dwelling unit. Accomplishing a major energy retrofit of 125 million dwelling units in the 10-year time horizon suggested by the GND would cost approximately $6 trillion, assuming the availability of sufficient building materials and sufficient skilled labor to complete the retrofits. The number of dwellings to be retrofitted each year would be an order of magnitude greater than the number of such retrofits being performed each year today.

There are approximately 5.6 million commercial buildings in the US, containing approximately 87 billion square feet of floor space. These buildings consume approximately 18% of all US energy. The average commercial building is approximately 7 times the area of the average residential dwelling.  Applying this ratio to the major energy retrofit cost for the average dwelling suggests that accomplishing a major energy retrofit for these buildings would cost approximately $2 trillion, again assuming the availability of sufficient materials and skilled labor to accomplish the retrofits.

Retrofits of industrial facilities could only be analyzed on an industry by industry basis, since the structures involved vary so greatly, as does the process equipment in use at these facilities. Such an analysis is beyond the scope of this commentary. However, US industry consumes approximately 33% of total US energy consumption, so major energy retrofits would be essential to achieving the energy consumption reduction goals of the GND. The costs could easily approach $10 trillion, assuming that the required alternative energy use technologies and equipment were even available for application.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal - High Speed Rail #2

A previous commentary discussed: the requirements for a high speed rail system; an approach to designing such a system; and, the US High Speed Rail Plan (HSRP) system design developed by the US High Speed Rail Association. The GND approach to high speed rail focuses on eliminating the need for air travel in the US, while the US High Speed Rail Plan (HSRP) assumes that trips over approximately 1,000 – 1,500 miles would be made by air. This assumption has significant impacts on the HSRP design shown in the map below.

 

High Speed Rail Map

 

The HSRP design includes no distance optimized cross country routes, though it does include distance optimized North / South routes along the East and West coasts. The HSRP, including the lower speed feeder routes, has an estimated total cost of $3.5 trillion.

The addition of the following distance optimized cross country routes could displace the HSRP reliance on air travel for longer trips.

  • New York City – Chicago – Seattle                       790 +  2,110
  • New York City – Chicago – San Francisco                      2,135
  • New York City – Chicago – Los Angeles                         2,018

These routes are shown in the map below as black dotted lines. These distance optimized routes would add a total of approximately 7,000 miles to the HSRP developed by the US High Speed Rail Association, at an estimated additional cost of approximately $1 trillion, for a total system cost of approximately $4.5 trillion.

 

High Speed Rail Map

 

Chicago O’Hare International Airport currently serves approximately 80 million passengers per year, or approximately 220,000 passengers per day, roughly divided between arrivals and departures. If we assume that approximately half of these passengers have Chicago as their point of origin or destination, then 50,000 passengers per day would arrive and depart Chicago daily on trains taking them to or from their point of origin or destination.

Typical high-speed trains can be assumed to have a passenger loading of 1,000. Therefore, approximately 50 trains would arrive and depart the Chicago rail terminal, in addition to the through, non-stop trains to and from New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Numerous other trains would arrive and depart Chicago to and from other points of origin and destinations.

Annual passenger trips between New York City and Los Angeles total approximately 2.8 million. In addition, annual passenger trips between New York City and Chicago total approximately 2.3 million; and, between Chicago and Los Angeles total approximately 1.6 million. Therefore, the rail lines between New York City and Chicago would move approximately 5.1 million passengers per year, or approximately 14,000 passengers per day or 14 trains per day for that 3.5-hour trip. The rail lines between Chicago and Los Angeles would move 4.4 million passengers per year, or approximately 12,000 passengers per day or 12 trains per day for that 10-hour trip.

Therefore, there would be one train moving on the rail lines between New York City and Chicago non-stop in each direction at any given time.; and, there would be 2 trains moving on the rail lines between Chicago and Los Angeles non-stop in each direction at any given time. There would be additional trains operating on these rail lines serving intermediate stops on each route.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal - High Speed Rail

     The GND Line is a mighty good road

     The GND Line is the road to ride

     If you want to ride you gotta ride it like you find it

     Get your ticket at the station on the GND Line

     (Apologies to Lonnie Donegan / Rock Island Line)

 

The “Green New Deal” currently being promoted by socialist Senators and Congresspersons and several Democrat 2020 presidential candidates exists today only as a conceptual framework. A portion of this conceptual framework deals with proposed efforts intended to reduce or eliminate “greenhouse gas” emissions. One of the most challenging of these proposed efforts involves rendering air travel unnecessary, primarily through development of a high-speed rail network throughout the US.

The defining characteristics of a high-speed rail system for the US might be as follows:

  • new dedicated dual track right-of-way
  • dedicated station infrastructure
  • system design for 220 mph operation
  • no grade level crossings
  • continuous intrusion barrier
  • full electronic real-time monitoring
  • electric powered drive systems

These characteristics are common to high-speed rail systems operating in other countries.

The first step in designing such a rail system would be determining the cities to be connected by the system. Since displacing air travel is the objective, the rail system would have to connect the locations of the nation’s most heavily used airports. The connected cities would thus include: New York; Charlotte; Atlanta; Orlando; Miami; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; San Francisco; Seattle; Denver; and, Chicago. Washington, DC would also be included, since this would be a federally funded project. Each of these airports serves more than 40 million passengers per year, or more than 100,000 passengers per day. The route system would then be expanded to include additional cities with significant populations.

The US High Speed Rail Association has developed a US High Speed Rail Plan and maps showing the proposed four stage buildout of a US high speed rail system.

 

High Speed Rail Map

 

The US High Speed Rail Plan includes most US cities of 500,000+ population in the 220-mph high speed service Cities of lower population are connected by 110-mph feeder lines which would bring passengers to the higher speed system.

The US High Speed Rail Plan (HSRP) envisions a 17,000-mile system which would be completed by 2030, essentially in line with the GND timetable. However, the HSRP assumes that most trips in excess of approximately 1000 miles would be by air, unlike the GND. A cross-country trip of approximately 3000 miles, which would take approximately 6 hours by air, would require approximately 13.6 hours by non-stop high-speed rail.

Developing the investments required to complete such a plan is an extremely time consuming and costly process. However, the recently cancelled California high speed rail system project provides some idea of the estimated cost of a joint Federal/State high speed rail project. The most recent estimate of the complete project cost for the California system is $77 billion for a 520-mile route, or approximately $150 million per mile. Thus, a first estimate of the cost of the 17,000 mile HSRP would be on the order of $2.5 trillion. A first estimate of the cost or approximately 10,000 miles of 110 mph rail lines would be on the order of $1 trillion.

The issue of international air travel is unaddressed in the GND conceptual framework.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal - Flights of Fancy

One of the most perplexing aspects of the “Green New Deal” (GND) and one of its most difficult technical and economic challenges in the elimination of the need for air travel, since air travel without the use of fossil fuels appears to be beyond the ten-year time horizon of the climate plan. Just the replacement of all passenger vehicles, small and medium-size trucks and tractor-trailer rigs is a major challenge with currently available technology.

The plan for domestic travel would require the construction of a high-speed rail network using dedicated track to accommodate very high-speed trains operating at speeds up to 220 mph for long haul routes and high-speed trains operating at speeds up to 110 mph for shorter routes. This network would be constructed without grade level crossings, both to avoid the possibility of road traffic damage to the high-speed rails and to avoid the potential for collisions between the trains and road vehicles. The network would require long, sweeping, banked curves to allow the trains to maintain speed along the entire route.

The very high-speed trains would permit cross country non-stop trips of approximately 15 hours, compared to approximately 5 hours for non-stop domestic air travel. Very high-speed trains operating with minimal stops might add 15 – 30 minutes per stop to that cross-country schedule, similar to the experience with domestic air travel. The need to change trains in-route would likely add 1 – 2 hours per stop to the schedule, as is common with domestic air travel. Passenger mile data from the airline industry would likely be used to establish the number of transportation corridors, the number and location of transportation hubs and the number and location of cities served by both the very high speed and the high-speed rail networks.

True high-speed rail service is unknown in the US. The closest approach is the Acela service offered by Amtrak in the Boston – New York – DC corridor, which is very limited in speed relative to the Shinkansen in Japan and other high-speed rail systems. The Acela service has proven to be unpopular and unprofitable, likely because there have been faster alternatives available at relatively similar prices. The unavailability of choice would dramatically change the equation.

The issue of international travel is a totally different matter, since high-speed rail travel between the US and either Europe or Asia is currently unavailable; and, is unlikely to be an option in the ten-year time horizon of the GND. Air travel from the US would not be possible because fossil-based aviation fuels would no longer be available. Air travel to the US would require planes capable of making the round trip without refueling, since fuel would not be available in the US, or the establishment of refueling stops in countries taking a less aggressive approach to emissions reductions.

China, which is taking no approach to emissions reductions during the time horizon of the GND, could perhaps construct giant floating air terminals off the coasts of the US in international waters, in close proximity to the major coastal high-speed rail hubs. Aviation fuel could be provided to these air terminals by supertankers operating from ports in the major oil producing nations. Transportation from the air terminals to shore near the rail hubs could be provided by sail-powered ferries. This arrangement would add significantly to international air travel times to and from the US, which would make such travel far less desirable. The issue of continued fossil-fueled air travel in US air space by non-US airlines is not addressed in the GND at this time.

If this all sounds rather silly, that is because it is rather silly, like the remainder of the “Green New Deal”.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal - Deadweight Loss

The Green New Deal would be the most extensive exercise in “Broken Window Economics” in the history of the globe. The “Green New Deal” would cause massive deadweight losses in virtually every sector of the US economy, while producing no measurable impact on global climate.

“Deadweight loss can be stated as the loss of total welfare or the social surplus due to reasons like taxes or subsidies, price ceilings or floors, externalities and monopoly pricing. It is the excess burden created due to loss of benefit to the participants in trade which are individuals as consumers, producers or the government.” (The Economic Times)

The following is a list of key industries affected by the climate change aspects of the “Green New Deal”. However, all US economic activity would be affected to some extent, so the total affects are likely significantly understated.

 

 

Obviously, the major financial impact is the result of the plan to leave the US substantial energy resources “in the ground”, as has been advocated by numerous environmental groups previously.

 

The impact of the plan to render air travel obsolete, combined with the intent to halt the production of the fuels required by the airline and air freight industries would expand well beyond the US. Air service to and from the US to other locations would also be impacted, since refueling would not be available in US. International air operations would require that the aircraft carry sufficient fuel for a round trip or add a refueling stop in some country which still permitted production and sale of aviation fuels.

The impact of terminating fossil-fueled electric generation and not only replacing the existing generating capacity but also adding sufficient capacity to power the replacements for direct-fired residential, commercial and industrial energy end uses would be profound. The electric energy required to meet all current electric end use consumption plus the direct end uses currently served by oil and natural gas and their derivatives would be approximately three times the quantity of energy currently provided by existing electric generators. Also, the intermittent nature of current renewable energy systems would require that the installed renewable generating capacity per unit of electric energy consumption be approximately three times the generating capacity of the fossil-fueled generating capacity it replaced; and, that the renewable generating capacity be supported by long duration, transmission-level storage capacity.

Current US electricity production is approximately 4 trillion kWh per year, of which approximately 2.5 trillion kWh is produced using fossil fuels and 0.8 trillion kWh using nuclear generators. Increasing US electricity production to approximately 12 trillion kwh per year would require increasing the current wind and solar electricity production from its current approximately 0.3 trillion kWh per year, or by a factor of approximately 40.

Current US electric generating capacity is approximately 1,000 GW, of which approximately 750 GW is fossil fueled. Replacing this dispatchable fossil fueled generating capacity with a mix of intermittent clean and renewable generation with an average availability of approximately 25-30% would require the installation of approximately 2000 GW of new generating capacity, plus the storage capacity necessary to assure reliable service. US EIA has estimated the cost of installing new solar photovoltaic generating capacity at approximately $3,700 per kW and new wind generating capacity at approximately $1,900 per kW. Assuming an average of $2,800 per kW of clean and renewable generating capacity, the installed cost of 2000 GW of new capacity would be approximately $5.6 trillion.

 

A trillion here, a trillion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

(with apologies to the late US Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen , R, IL)

 

Tags: Green New Deal
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