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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Spot the problem: Man-made emissions flat, but global CO2 hits record high

Yet again, as the onion is peeled we find that at every stage the human influence is so small it is undetectable. Go with the data — humans are not even driving global CO2 levels. What does? — maybe ocean currents, phytoplankton, Australian deserts something else…

The Guardian trumpeted the rise of renewables as the reason man-made emissions of CO2 have stopped rising. Oh Bravo.

Graph — IEA

Note the success and grand achievement of trillions spent on expensive electricity and carbon trading programs  — record global CO2.

Here’s the newest Mauna Loa figures showing an unprecedented high of 408 evil ppm, a tipping point, a sign of numerical doom. Run, run ye heathens!

Why are CO2 levels so high — A record El Nino in 2016 perhaps?

We need global anti-ENSO programs. Give us more money. Save the tradewinds!

Chinese Emissions? Take the emissions figures with a pound of salt. Carbon accounting is hopelessly inaccurate, China can’t be trusted, and everything else is a guess. How can we run a global market on figures so prone to corruption. Is China artificially elevating figures now so they can make cheap “reductions” in future, or are they underestimating [...]

Cut carbon emissions by 50%? — Greens nightmare — Coal gasification may be the answer

A new MIT report suggests a better way to use coal in power-stations and potentially cut CO2 emissions by 50%. The process involves gasifying coal and producing electricity in one process at the same site. The coal only has to be heated once,  and the electricity comes from a fuel cell, not a fire — it’s a chemical reaction across a membrane.  The output is potentially much more efficient, and makes no ash. The researchers argue we could get twice as much electricity for each ton of coal burned. Currently coal fired power pulls out 30% of the chemical energy in coal, but coupling these two processes might increase it to 55-60%.

This report is based on simulations, but the separate processes are already well developed and running. The next step would be a fully functioning pilot plant to put the two together and test the idea. If there was the political will it could be done in a few years. There probably won’t be.

The Greens of course will hate the idea because the Evil-Factor of coal is near 100%.

In the eco-collectivist-world, cutting “carbon” is important, but apparently not as important as propping up a dependent lobby group [...]

CO2 emissions? It’s China China China all the way down…

No matter which way we slice and dice it, China is The-CO2-Player that matters. India is forecast for a larger percentage-wise increase, but it’s starting from a small base. By 2030 even after doubling its output, it will still be barely a quarter of China’s total mega-ton production. The Congo and Indonesia are among countries forecast to ramp up production of CO2 massively, yet both of them are but a spec. The hard numbers show that if CO2 actually mattered, and the eco-greens really cared about it, they be talking about “The China Problem”.

Australia is irrelevant, except in some symbolic sacrificial way. The 28% massive reduction, at great cost, will amount to nothing globally (assuming it can even be achieved). Though Tasmania may win the global race for the fastest transition from first to third world. (North Korea here we come).

In the end, the real drivers of global CO2 may or may not be things like forest and peat fires, ocean currents, phytoplankton in any case.  Won’t it be a great day when we figure exactly where all that CO2 is coming from and going to?

       — Jo



Save the world with legislation? Three quarters of worlds emissions “limited” by red-tape and meaningless targets

Here’s a new form of climate control. Red-tape. Count the laws for the climate!

[ScienceDaily] London School of Economics (LSE)

Three-quarters of the world’s annual emissions of greenhouse gases are now limited by national targets, according to a new study published today (1 June 2015) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science.

Obviously, it’s all taken care of then, and we don’t need to do any more? We’ll just hound and hassle the last few stragglers who haven’t set a limit. But wait… despite the heart warming momentum implied there, apparently this global circle of covenants might not save the world. Oh No! Is there a chance these nations won’t deliver? The sad truth makes a brief appearance in paragraph four: The pledges are unlikely to be “consistent” (read, they’re “inadequate, empty wishes”). Red tape, it seems, will not stop heatwaves exactly, but provides atmospheric things called “confidence” and “credibility”, “opportunity” and “ambition”. But the 75% “limit” makes for a good headline.

The Grantham Research Institute speaks. Your job is to figure out what they are saying:

Lead author of the study, [...]

Germany gives up on emissions target. Japan emits more CO2 than ever

So much for momentum on climate change. Reality bites. Without nuclear power, Japans emissions have hit a new record high. At the same time, even with 17% of its energy from Nuclear power, and with 23,000 wind turbines, Germany stands no chance of reaching its emissions targets. The rich, technologically advanced nation that has spent more than any other on green energy admits they’ve failed.

Those who want to stop producing CO2 have billions of dollars to spend on advertising and pointless windmills, but in the end, chemistry and physics can’t be bought. If renewables could provide cheap reliable power, they wouldn’t need subsidies. Everyone would buy them.

Germany to Abandon “Strict” 2020 Target – 40% cut not possible

Breitbart London

Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has indicated that the country will abandon its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020, from a 1990 base level. In doing so he has won the ongoing clash with his own environmental minister Barbara Hendricks over energy policy, telling her that he will tolerate no further resistance to the change of direction, according to Der Speigel.


North Korea — the ultimate low-carbon ideal

No nation has been more successful at reducing their carbon emissions than North Korea. Over the space of a few years, the carbon footprint of the entire nation was reduced by a massive two-thirds, thanks mostly to centralized planning with some help from famine, disease and the odd gulag. Anyone for Pine-bark cake? — Jo

Decarbonizing an economy – North Korea

Guest Post by Tom Quirk

The North Korean famine and general economic crisis from 1994 to 1998 is an extraordinary example of the failure of central planning and management. The results of what is called the Arduous March[1] are best illustrated by this image the Korean peninsula at night taken in 2014 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Night image of the Korean Peninsula in 2014 shows that North Korea is almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea and China (source NASA).

The North Korean disaster led to the estimated death of between 220,000 and 2,000,000 people, 1% to 10% of the population. The famine, which continues to this day, has led to food rationing, black markets and a government keen to get foreign currency by any means — including drug smuggling and nuclear technology [...]

Where have those fossil fuel emissions gone?

Oh the paradox! Human emissions upset the delicate balance and drive up global CO2 levels by 2ppm a year, but lordy, at the same time, that delicate balance roils and rolls with the seasons by a far larger range. Get the feeling there is more to Life on Earth than humans?

There are places on Earth when CO2 swings every year by 16ppm or more – like Point Barrow. Then there are places like the South Pole, where it barely changes all year round — a bit like the level of greenery there which varies from white to white. And there’s a clue. The other part of the world where CO2 levels don’t swing is at the equator — where it’s 100% green all year long. The big changes in terrestrial CO2 occur in the zones where plant life ebbs and flows.

Tom Quirk tracks the seasonal shifts in CO2 and finds that the northern Boreal forests are probably drawing down something like 2 – 5 gigatons of CO2 every year, and because the seasonal amplitude is getting larger each year, it suggests there is no sign of saturation.  Those plants are not bored of extra CO2 yet. This fits [...]

Astounding discovery: World War II had low carbon footprint

USS Pennsylvania leads convoy to reduce Japanese carbon emissions

Tom Quirk sends me thought provoking news.

File this in the Semi-Satirical Times

Since 1920, ice cores from Law Dome show only one significant pause in an otherwise relentless rise in CO2. Ominously, that sole plateau occurs from 1940 to 1950. If human activity drives changes in global CO2, there is no mistaking that the pause was during the only decade that war went global.

The question has to be asked: Is war an alternative to wind-farms?

Who would have thought all the tanks, bullets and bombs, and all the men in green uniforms, could be so good for the planet? World War II must have been a low electricity use time.

Or was it the mass burials – a form of carbon sequestration? (Though, cremation, after all, undoes the benefits. Does anyone have stats on the ratio of burning versus burial? Can we get a grant?)

In World War 2, direct action against the evil large fossil fuel polluters took on a new meaning. Don’t just tax those factories, bomb them!

Ahem… (all [...]

A Handy-Dandy Carbon Tax Temperature-Savings Calculator

 Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger have created a calculator of exactly how many degrees of global warming will be averted if the IPCC is right. I can’t think why the IPCC didn’t do this before. For example, if all industrialized nations  achieve a 100% reduction  (that is, stop using coal, oil, gas, diesel, and avgas tomorrow*), then 87 years from now the world will be 0.352C cooler (assuming climate sensitivity is a high 4.5C and the models work, and nothing else changes in the atmosphere). The great thing is you can adjust the parameters yourself to see how many ways Global Action does not add up.

Calculator from (Click to go to the calculator)

Unfortunately it does not also project the costs. Version II perhaps?

*Please forgive me for that sweeping assumption. We all know that to get a true 100% reduction in CO2 emissions we’d need to do a lot more. Like building nuclear plants from handmade mud-bricks using solar powered trucks and wind-powered cranes. And no more flights to anywhere unless you have a pedal powered hang-glider or one of those marvelous solar planes that takes 2 months to cross the US.


Climate Aid: The $39 bn industry, mostly used to slow developing countries

Climate Analytics say that developed nations have paid $35.9 billion dollars into the UN Aid program called FastStart. This was the project rescued from the aftermath of the 2009 Copenhagen climate convention.  Somehow $3 billion of private finance has been tossed in as well, making it nearly $39 billion since late 2009.

As usual, when other-people’s-money is spent on the poorest of the poor, the poor seem to get no say, and not much use out of it either.

[Bloomberg] “Seventy-one percent of the total finance went to emission-reduction ventures rather than adaptation projects such as water conservation or flood defense, today’s report shows.”

Sooner or later, the aid-recipients are going to suffer through a flood or a drought (thanks to climate-sameness). But two thirds of this aid money won’t add up to a dime’s worth of protection. Seventy percent of the funds were used to stop emissions of a fertilizing trace gas instead of preparing people against the ravages of the weather. Indeed most of the money was spent reducing something that would be considered an asset if not for the decree of climate models that we already know are wrong.

Hey, but it’s only $27 billion or so [...]