JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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India, China: Clean dust, pollution off solar panels every two months, and still lose up to 35% of production?

How often do you clean your solar panels? Spare a thought for the poor sods in the Middle East, India and China, where migratory dust coats solar panels and hangs around in the air, blocking incoming sunlight. Researchers in India who cleaned their panels every few weeks and discovered that they got a 50% jump in efficiency each time. If the cleanings happened every two months, the total losses were 25 to 35 percent.

The article very much blames human pollution for half the capacity loss, but in the detail, the press release admits that 92% of the dust on each panel was natural. Apparently human made particles are smaller and stickier which makes the 8% human-emitted-dust equivalent to the 92% of other dust.

Either way, real pollution and natural dust will slow the clean-green-energy future in India and China until we get auto-cleaning panels or roof slaves. Unfortunately, cleaning panels also risks damaging them, so the price of solar power really needs to include the cost of windscreen-wipers/slaves, electricity losses, damage to panels, and damage to the panel cleaners too.

But solar panels will definitely power all the other parts of the world that are near enough to the [...]

Climate leader China, taxes all kinds of pollution but not CO2

Looks like China is going to apply punitive taxes all sorts of human pollution even noise pollution, but they’re not taxing CO2:

Polluters will be charged for contributing to air, water and noise pollution, according to a copy of the legislation on the NPC’s official web site.

But CO2 did not make the list, which includes air and water pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and sulfite, taxed at rates beginning at 1.2 yuan ($0.17) and 1.4 yuan ($0.20) per unit respectively.

It also stipulates a monthly tax ranging from 350 to 11,200 yuan ($50 to $1612) for noise pollution.

China is the worlds largest emitter of CO2 and they are happy to do symbolic things for the climate, like sign the Paris agreement where they can commit to do nothing til 2030, and not much after that. But taxing carbon does  actual collateral damage on an economy. China is obviously having none of that.

For a change, the thing that apparently inspired these new laws was a real pollution problem:

The new law was precipitated after 20 cities in Northeast China went on high smog alerts, which forced the closure of factories and the removal of cars off [...]

Emergency Theater for Paris Agreement: China, US rush to sham ratification

Tell the world it is all an act.

It’s a do or die moment for The Cause. Brexit has hit them hard, and the Trump factor threatens to wreck everything. The Paris agreement has stalled pathetically at 1.1% of all human emissions (they need 55% to come into force). They need a gamechanger or the illusion of one.

Next week expect a grand performance from US and China — or rather from two men who look solemn and can sign important looking carbon chastity vows on behalf of 1.8 billion people. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will say they have ratified the Paris agreement. Expect triumphant parades, and smiles, handshakes and talk of a historic moment. It’s all for show. China will agree to do nothing different until 2030 when its population growth peaks, and Obama can’t get the support of Congress.

But the gala performance may work if enough other countries fall for it — especially the stupidly obedient Anglosphere, and the trapped EU. India, Russia and Brazil will only buy into it they are fed enough pork. But the pork has to come from somewhere, and that’s us — The West. That’s who this show is [...]

Something serious happening to the Chinese economy?

Something suddenly changed in December last year in the world’s second largest economy (some say it’s the first). For the last few years private investors in China have been running away at a faster and faster pace. Apparently, no one wants to invest in the Chinese economy except the government, and six months ago, the State launched a rocket.

The massive growth of China is partly thanks to rampant money-printing. Say hello to Malinvestment. The Chinese economy is sick. It’s distraction time. Anyone want to stoke a war?

 

I saw the graph on the ABC news last night thanks to Phillip Lasker. The original graph came from Bloomberg under this unlikely headline:

 China Proves Doubters Wrong For Now as Credit Boom Stokes Growth

“Stoking Growth” is not always desirable — to go biological — cancer “stokes growth” and so does Ebola.

“The amount of cash Beijing is shoveling into the economy is stunning,” said Andrew Collier, an independent analyst in Hong Kong and former president of Bank of China International USA. “Given high fixed-asset investment among state-owned enterprises, it’s likely most of it is being consumed by the inefficient state sector. This is [...]

Coal power on the rise: Will China end up selling electricity to Germany?

Get a load of this.  China has been adding a new idle coal fired plant nearly every week. It is building 368 coal fired plants and planning a further 803. The Greens think the Chinese have over capitalized, made a bubble, and have built a bunch of white elephants (maybe they have). But Germany has crippled its electrical generators in order to make the weather cooler, and pays exorbitant prices per kilowatt hour that are driving businesses overseas. Merkel is still trying to get solar power to work in a land where the only thing that will make the current panels economic is if the Earth changes its orbital tilt.

Well say hello to the savvy Chinese investors who may be able to solve both problems. It seems hard to believe but all that surplus energy might just find its way to Germany. With new ultra hot coal power there is talk they can produce electricity so incredibly cheap they can send it on ultra high voltage lines all the way to Berlin. Barking? They’ll probably earn carbon credits for doing it too.

The Times UK

Coal’s future burns bright — Graham Lloyd

Greenpeace likes to think [...]

5.5 million dying from air pollution, shame no one cares

A bike used to transport coal for domestic use in China.

The death tally: Real pollution kills 5 million people annually,  CO2 saves 500 million with extra crops.

The problem: The poor lack cheap clean electricity.

The groupthink solution: Restrict coal consumption, reduce “emissions” (and make electricity more more expensive).

What do countries with low air pollution do? They burn coal. (75% of Australian electricity comes from coal.)

What do people who care about the poor do: A)  Copy success, or B) Start a carbon market?

Some people are conflating issues here.

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, China and India.

Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person’s health. New research, presented today at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the [...]

Planetary Heroes meet in Paris to save Earth from bad weather

Never before has there been so many egos in the one room:

It was the largest single-day gathering of heads of state or government in history, the UN said.

“Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life,” French President Francois Hollande said in an opening speech.

“The hope of all of humanity rests on all of your shoulders.”   — Paris Climate Change Talks begin, The Australian, Graham Lloyd.

Glory be. Pray to our Elected Fathers (and Mothers) who have come to save us from our sins.

The Chosen Ones shall rescue us with full gloss PR. For it is only in the world of Mass Marketing that we can call China a climate saviour:

[Obama] then met Chinese President Xi Jinping before the summit started, with his focus turned to deepening co-operation between the world’s two biggest emitters of the greenhouse gases that cause ­global warming.

“As the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,” Mr Obama said as he sat alongside Mr Xi.

And so [...]

Factories in China produce four times as much CO2 as Western factories

China is making the world’s products, but in terms of carbon they are horribly inefficient compared to the West. Old factories and coal fired electricity mean the country is pouring out CO2 — not that that matters, but it rather puts the squeeze on anyone who thinks it’s good for the environment to shut down clean western factories and give that production to China.

Figure 2 | China’s emission exports and the top exporting provinces. a The emissions embodied in goods exported from China to the US, EU and Japan are shown, representing 58% of all emissions embodied in trade in 2007 (the largest flows are labelled in MtCO2 yr-1.

A new study came out by Lui et al. with headlines all over like “Goods manufactured in China not good for the environment, study finds”. But none of these media outlets put a number on it — how much more polluting were these Chinese factories? The answer was right there in table 1 of the paper. Lui et al compare 15 products made in China and the EU, and found that China produces 4.4 times the emissions of CO2 in order to produce the same product.

When Chinese workers [...]

India and China don’t want to cut carbon, but do object to “doublespeak”

India organised a little shindig for the last couple of days with like minded developing countries (called LMDCs), like China, and announced they did not want any obligatory stuff from the UN about cutting carbon emissions.

I quite like the Indian environment minister’s way of phrasing it:

“All countries have decided to take action, but that action is voluntary and nationally determined, not internationally determined,” India’s environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar said addressing the negotiators this afternoon.

“Paris can become a festival if the world accepts this scenario – all countries take action, whatever is possible with their resources,” Javadekar said.

“If we welcome everybody’s nationally-determined actions, without criticising each other and without entering into a blame game, Paris will be successful.”

But they do want more money:

The LMDCs have also asked the developed countries to provide “additional, predictable, and sustainable climate finance” to help developing countries enhance their climate actions to cover the period up to 2020 and beyond.

I think this translates to: We’re very committed. We’ll do a lot. Don’t check up on us, just pay us.

Spot the UN double speak

The plain speaking Indian [...]

Peter Doherty: Australia is “public enemy number one”, cites “couple of people”

Why launch a $15 billion dollar tax? Forget any scientific reason; let’s do it so people overseas don’t laugh at us. This is as good as the reasoning gets. Have you got a Nobel? You too, could waffle on about hobbling our economy in the quest for international popularity.

Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty says Australia is being seen internationally as “public enemy number one” on climate change

“Australia is being regarded as public enemy number one,” said Professor Doherty, who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 1996.

The evidence Australia is seen as a public enemy?

“That’s a statement that’s been made to me by a couple of people – so that’s obviously a kind of buzz that’s going around the climate change community.”

Not exactly a large poll or a mass survey, but it impressed Dan Harrison, the Sydney Morning Herald and perhaps Ben Cubby (Environment Editor) too. Who needs evidence when you have the right “buzz”? Baseless ramblings are good to go.  File that rant under “Health and Indigenous Affairs” I suppose. It sure isn’t science.

The SMH could interview other Nobel Prize winners who use evidence and reason [...]

Why did China pick 2030? Oh look…

After nine months of secret negotiations President Obama managed to get the Chinese to agree to stop their emissions rising after 2030. But look what else is peaking in 2030.

Population.

China: Projections of population growth

Did Obama do his homework? Seems President Xi did.

h/t to Andrew V

Election over, so US, China agree to make unenforceable long term commitment with no consequences

Now that the mid-term elections are over in the US,  Obama is free to announce the climate commitments that voters didn’t need to hear. (I did say this would happen.) It’s a “landmark” agreement and a “gamechanger”, but no one can point out what  happens if either country doesn’t stick to its agreement.

The end-point of this grand theater of intent and glorious promises is Paris 2015.

What matters is the appearance of “momentum” — and this show ticks all the boxes. The two global superpowers make a sudden, unexpected agreement to reduce emissions and the press can call it “remarkable”, as if it has substance.  Obama –  the President without a majority in either house of Congress –  has announced a big new target of 26% reduction by 2025.  What can a lame-duck President achieve? Fluff and PR. As it happens, US emissions have been falling for years because of the miracle of shale gas and oil. This announcement supposedly doubles the pace of that reduction which was occurring anyhow, and which had nothing to do with any green policies aimed at reducing emissions. Furthermore, Obama, magically, will do it without  imposing new restrictions on [...]

Peak China

Australia might be the largest coal exporter in the world, but only because all the larger producers of coal keep their own and use it themselves. China is the silent giant coal monster — in 2009 Australia exported 260Mt of coal (our largest export industry). That same year China produced (and used) 3 billion tons. In this era, to predict anything globally, we need to understand China. David Archibald is author of the  Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short. He slices the energy data. (Energy, of course, drives everything). China is eating through its coal — it may be able to sustain this peak rate for a decade or so. Chinese oil appears close to reaching its peak. Growth in Chinese steel production has been slowing since 2006. The implications are provocative. — Jo

Guest Post by David Archibald

China has become wealthier in the last couple of decades but unfortunately is using some of that new wealth for military adventures against its neighbours.  The neighbours aren’t happy.  Over 60 percent of the people in countries bordering the South China Sea fear Chinese aggression and expect imminent war.  If [...]

Sun controls half of the groundwater recharge rate in China for last 700 years

Could this be why climate models do rainfall with all the competence of tea-leaf-reading? Tiwari et al report that as much as 47% of the recharge rates of ground water in China are controlled by the sun. Apparently climate models miss the minor factor of the major cycles.

Try this radical idea on: imagine a world where climate models worked. Not only could the BoM warn people that there would be a drought coming, they could name the region, and the years.

Tiwari et al:

Here for the purpose of comparison of long term ground water recharge rates with long term solar activity, we used the 10-year average sunspot time series, for the period 1300 to 1905 AD, published by Solanki et al., [2004]. Also the additional average annual sunspot number time series (1700 to 2000 AD) is used from data source Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre. In addition to decadal data annual sunspot number data from 1700 to 2000 AD downloaded from Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre is used in the present study. The cross-correlation coefficient (+0.63) between the groundwater recharge rate time series and decadal sunspot number [Solanki et al., 2004] shows that there is statistically significant solar [...]

China going cold on carbon market? Cites Australia and US

Another day is The Backdown? Everything is more important than carbon action these days. In China, real pollution is trumping the fake kind. China has been toying with carbon markets, but this month announced they might have to back away. (The shame!)

[Reuters]  “…the all-out efforts to combat China’s disastrous pollution levels might get in the way of plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions in a bid to stunt the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions, Zhu Guangyao, the vice environment minister, said.

“We have to reflect the requests of the majority through many consultation rounds,” he told the Beijing Morning Post from the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary sessions.

A carbon tax is increasingly controversial among lawmakers, said Zhu, adding that an environment tax would be easier to push through without carbon in the mix.

Zhu also referred to the fact that Australia, under a new conservative government, is trying to abolish its carbon tax, while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States.”

China’s carbon markets were never serious anyway –  the glorious plan was to launch seven pilot trading schemes –  and each new market was an excuse for environmental activists to issue press [...]