A view from the West

Featuring food, fuel and the future in Jersey

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Time for change

No frost this morning for the first time in about a week.  It has been fortunate we have also  had so little wind so though the temperatures have been unusually low it hasn't felt that cold.  I haven't been able to do any vegetable bed preparation involving soil, but there have been a few things to  do.  With help and taking advantage of the still weather  I laid out  and pegged down some mulch sheet to clear grass for new beds. The black sheets appeared white the next morning. Later in the week I'll probably take a few cuttings of fruit bushes to propagate too.

I am trying to get on top of a lot of jobs now as I going to be dragged away in April on a holiday - the first in 4 years.

I've also been thinking ahead on other topics.  I held off thinking on Trump's election in the hope that once he was inaugurated we might see something different from the rhetoric on the campaign trail.  But the first indications are that he's pushing on with it all, and that is very bad news on climate change.  He's spoken about supporting the coal industry in the US and seems to be genuinely in denial, removing references from government web sites etc

It was already going to be a Herculean task to  reach the sort of safe levels of C02 in the atmosphere as indicated at the Paris conference.  Without the USA actively on board it seems to me to be all but impossible.   The targets from Paris already imply -ve emissions  and we really don't yet have a sure way to do that. A few good possibilitites are reforestation and soil carbon sequestration but making them happen on the scale and the speed required isn't likely.

It is true that the implementation of renewables is happening rapidly.  I make it a compound annual growth rate of 6.6%, so doubles in about 10 years. However that is from a base of  20% of electricity production and of course a much smaller proportion of all energy consumption.  How long to we have to get to 0 emissions, how many decades of doubling to get there? And what do we expect to happen to energy demand in the intervening decades?

I've assumed exponential growth in renewables - that's arguably optimistic too.  We are already above 400ppm concentration C02 in the atmosphere and passed the 1 degree C rise above pre industrial levels in 2015. This paper from Nature in 2011 puts the timescale into perspective. Without much more aggressive emissions cuts we hit 2 degree rise somewhere between 2040 and 2060.

We are no longer realistically  looking at preventing serious problems arising from climate change.  There is no credible plan  in sight to do that.  We are at best looking at adaption - what we do to deal with the impacts.  We could have averted this.  If the world had started  that renewables growth just 10 years earlier we could by now of course have double the installed capacity, and  a usefully lower current emissions rate. If we had started seriously following the 1992 RIO Earth Summit we would have had another doubling.

We failed.  We all failed

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Remarkably just a couple of hours after I posted my piece the Guardian published on-line this

"A new study identifies an extra 0.1°C of human-caused warming

And the graph there looks very like the one on the wiki site that has been maintained and updated by a Jersey friend of mine since 2004

Climate Change

This is still based on the yet unproven basis that climate change is human induced. This has yet to be proven - as is the case with all scientific studies. Until a positive correlation between the two can be established, oil and coal are still able to provide the most consistent and ready supply of energy. The majority of homes in Jersey use coal in the fires, and oil in their heating.

You comment is confusing. Correlation and causation are not the same thing. My arguemnt isn't based on "climate change is human induced". it is parlty basedo n the rapid increase in greenhouse gases from current and recent human activities driving the current rapid clinate (and other) changes. That accords with the overwhelming amount of evidence and thermodynamic theory. If there is a satisfactory alternative hypothesis that fits the known facts I have yet to read of it.

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