The global economy must be transformed immediately to avoid catastrophic climate damage, a new United Nations report declares. Climate economist William Nordhaus has been made a Nobel laureate. The events are being reported as two parts of the same story, but they reveal the contradictions inherent in climate policy—and why economics matters more than ever.
Limiting temperatures to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges, is economically and practically impossible—as Mr. Nordhaus’s work shows.
The IPCC report significantly underestimates the costs of getting to zero emissions. Fossil fuels provide cheap, efficient power, whereas green energy remains mostly uncompetitive. Switching to more expensive, less efficient technology slows development. In poor nations that means fewer people lifted out of poverty. In rich ones it means the most vulnerable are hit by higher energy bills.
The IPCC says carbon emissions need to peak right now and fall rapidly to avert catastrophe. Models actually reveal that to achieve the 2.7-degree goal the world must stop all fossil fuel use in less than four years. Yet the International Energy Agency estimates that in 2040 fossil fuels will still meet three-quarters of world energy needs, even if the Paris agreement is fully implemented. The U.N. body responsible for the accord estimates that if every country fulfills every pledge by 2030, CO2 emissions will be cut by 60 billion tons by 2030. That’s less than 1% of what is needed to keep temperature rises below 2.7 degrees. And achieving even that fraction would be vastly expensive—reducing world-wide growth $1 trillion to $2 trillion each year by 2030.
The European Union promises to cut emissions 80% by 2050. With realistic assumptions about technology, and the optimistic assumption that the EU’s climate policy is very well designed and coordinated, the average of seven leading peer-reviewed models finds EU annual costs will reach €2.9 trillion ($3.3 trillion), more than twice what EU governments spend today on health, education, recreation, housing, environment, police and defense combined. In reality, it is likely to cost much more because EU climate legislation has been an inefficient patchwork. If that continues, the policy will make the EU 24% poorer in 2050.
Trying to do more, as the IPCC urges, would be phenomenally expensive. It is important to keep things in perspective, challenging as that is given the hysterical tone of the reaction to the panel’s latest offering. In its latest full report, the IPCC estimated that in 60 years unmitigated global warming would cost the planet between 0.2% and 2% of gross domestic product. That’s simply not the end of the world.
The new report has no comparison of the costs and benefits of climate targets. Mr. Nordhaus’s most recent estimate, published in August, is that the “optimal” outcome with a moderate carbon tax is a rise of about 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Reducing temperature rises by more would result in higher costs than benefits, potentially causing the world a $50 trillion loss.
The Ötztal Alps, more than 5300 years ago. A Neolithic clan has settled nearby a creek. It is their leader Kelab’s responsibility to be the keeper of the group’s holy shrine Tineka. While Kelab is hunting, the settlement is attacked. The members of the tribe are brutally murdered, amongst them Kelab’s wife and son, only one newborn survives and Tineka is gone. Blinded by pain and fury, Kelab is out for one thing alone vengeance. He sets out after the murderers on what turns into a grand odyssey where he must fight constantly for the infant’s survival; against the immense forces of nature; against hunters he encounters; and, amongst the loneliness of the quest, against a growing sense of doubt over the morality of his mission.
Beside the generally engaging storyline – this film likely quite accurately portrays life well before modern time. Life was far from easy, childbirth was dangerous and without pain killers, danger was ever-present, be it danger from the environment or danger from fellow-man keen to secure new resources, whatever they may be. It is a very worthwhile reflection, a reflection on our current abundance, long lives and freedoms. We live in a world which by comparison is largely devoid of suffering, where individual rights have supremacy, where long life is almost assured and where the frontiers of human thought can be explored.
This is a remarkable film not for its entertainment value but as a reflection on our forebears, the suffering they experienced, the challenges they faced and modern abundance, accepted simply as an entitlement by the vast majority. There can be no guarantee that we will not revert to such times and we likely will.
The lead character is based upon Otzi- the Iceman discovered in the Swiss alps, now a 5,000 year old fully preserved human, the oldest preserved human ever discovered.
A remarkable film and not a single word of a spoken modern language. Strongly recommended.
Hungarian National Asset Management Inc., (“MNV”) has announced the public tender for the Recsk Deposit and assets in Hungary.
The Recsk Cu-Au-Pb-Zn-Ag-Mo property in Hungary hosts arguably one of the largest and highest-grade undeveloped copper-gold porphyry and skarn systems in Europe. With 240,000 metres of drilling, two 8 metre internal diameter, 1,200-metre-deep, concrete lined shafts and 9 kilometres of underground development, the Recsk deposit is estimated to contain 5.6 million tonnes (12 billion pounds) of copper and 4 million ounces of gold.
Cmi Capital is available to assist a suitable party to participate in the tender. Cmi Capital held extended discussions with the Government of Hungary prior to the announcement of the tender and as such has a unique understanding of the deposit and the political and economic environment. Cmi Capital or an associated corporation seeks a long-term concentrate offtake agreement on commercial terms and may at its sole discretion provide up to US$250 million in an offtake pre-payment repaid from production with the usual customary terms and conditions following completion of an advanced economic & technical study.
A considered work by Alessandro Strumia, but one that is so politically incorrect and despicable that it requires censure, sanction for the author and dismissal. What do you think?
If the presentation had been about the other end of the IQ curve would anyone have objected. Would anyone have disputed that there are a greater proportion of men with a lower IQ than women? Would anyone a have disputed that there are a higher proportion of low IQ individuals in prisons? Would anyone have disputed that there are more men in prison than women because more men commit more crimes? Would anyone have called for convicting more women to even up the demographic?
Men and women have similar mean IQs with a quite different standard deviation. That is there are longer tails at the low and high ends of the curve for men. Likely there is a good evolutionary reason for this disparity.
Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism
The last 3,600 words is Mein Kampf (Vol. 1., Chapter 12) rewritten from the perspective of intersectional feminism, using peer-reviewed references and terminology. The paper received praise from its academic reviewers “The reviewers are supportive of the work and noted its potential to generate important dialogue for social workers and feminist scholars.”
Peer-reviewed literature has an important impact on society. This paper received approval for publication because to nicely fitted the ideological position of the reviewers, despite the evocative title. It says a great deal about the standards of academic research in certain portions of the social “studies” disciplines and the corruption of academic principles that has occurred on campus.
It would seem that all research is not created equal and the same must apply to post-graduate degrees in general.
Just got a new Standup Desk. If you are spending all day sitting you might consider this – it is a lot healthier and far better for blood circulation and general physical fitness. It is not so easy to stand all day and I have added 15 cms of foam to the floor and a nice red bar-stool. Strongly recommended. Beware – it does change the way you work but it makes it far more productive on telephone calls as I can easily walk to the white board for note taking etc. At sunset the barstool also comes in useful 🙂You might note the wall map, we reprocessed 6 million km2 of gravity data to better understand Tertiray basin structures and to assist in a regional geological and structural interpretation.
The conference will address advances and breakthroughs in understanding the setting, genesis and characteristics of magmatic systems related to Sn-W-Critical Metal mineralisation, including Rare Metal Pegmatites. The program will feature presentations from world-class researchers in the field, including:
Rolf Romer (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany)
Jingwen Mao (Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, China)
Shao-Yong Jiang (China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China)
Dr Phillip Blevin (Mineral Systems, Geological Survey of NSW, Maitland, Australia)
Zhaoshan Chang (Colorado School of Mines, Denver, USA)
David Cooke (CODES, Hobart, University of Tasmania)
Dr Peter Pollard (Pollard Geological Services, Brisbane, Australia)
Dr Yanbo Cheng (EGRU, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia)
See you at the event – should be well worth attending. If anyone is interested in a little pre-confernece rainforest hiking for 2-3 days before the event – message me.
A recent paper in Science authored Ilya Bobrovskiy, Janet Hope and colleagues from ANU, the Russian Academy and European institutions has remarkably (and convincingly) discovered molecules of fat in Dickinsonia, a marine genus of the Ediacaran biota.
This has confirmed that the 558 million year old Dickinsonia is the earliest animal in the geological record and maybe a presursor to – you!
The strange creature called Dickinsonia, which grew up to 1.4 metres in length and was oval shaped with rib-like segments running along its body, was part of the Ediacara Biota that lived on Earth 20 million years prior to the ‘Cambrian explosion’ of modern animal life. The Ediacara biota are a diverse assemblage of macroscopic body forms that appear in the sedimentary rock record between 570 million and 541 million years ago. First recognized in Namibia and Australia, these remarkable organisms have since been found in Russia, China, Canada, Great Britain, and other regions. Although they immediately preceded the rapid appearance and diversification of animals in the Cambrian (541 million to 485 million years ago), their position within the tree of life has long been a puzzle. Some Ediacaran fossils appear segmented, but most lack obvious characters such as appendages, a mouth, or a gut that might link them to animal clades.
Prior to this study Dikinsonia affinities were unknown and while its mode of growth is consistent with a bilaterian affinity some thought that it belong to to the fungi, or even an “extinct kingdom”
Bobrovskiy et al. conducted an analysis using lipid biomarkers obtained from Dickinsonia fossils and found that the fossils contained almost exclusively cholesteroids, a marker found only in animals. Thus, Dickinsoniawere basal animals. This supports the idea that the Ediacaran biota may have been a precursor to the explosion of animal forms later observed in the Cambrian, about 500 million years ago.
Obtaining evidence of cholesteroids first involved finding exceptionally well preserved fossils. The Dikinsonia fossils used in this study came from a narrow strata in the remote White Sea are of Russia.
Lead senior researcher Associate Professor Jochen Brocks said the ‘Cambrian explosion’ was when complex animals and other macroscopic organisms—such as molluscs, worms, arthropods and sponges—began to dominate the fossil record.
“The fossil fat molecules that we’ve found prove that animals were large and abundant 558 million years ago, millions of years earlier than previously thought,” said Associate Professor Jochen Brocks from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
“Scientists have been fighting for more than 75 years over what Dickinsonia and other bizarre fossils of the Edicaran Biota were: giant single-celled amoeba, lichen, failed experiments of evolution or the earliest animals on Earth. The fossil fat now confirms Dickinsonia as the oldest known animal fossil, solving a decades-old mystery that has been the Holy Grail of palaeontology.”
The enigmatic Ediacara biota (571 million to 541 million years ago) represents the first macroscopic complex organisms in the geological record and may hold the key to our understanding of the origin of animals. Ediacaran macrofossils are as “strange as life on another planet” and have evaded taxonomic classification, with interpretations ranging from marine animals or giant single-celled protists to terrestrial lichens. Here, we show that lipid biomarkers extracted from organically preserved Ediacaran macrofossils unambiguously clarify their phylogeny. Dickinsonia and its relatives solely produced cholesteroids, a hallmark of animals. Our results make these iconic members of the Ediacara biota the oldest confirmed macroscopic animals in the rock record, indicating that the appearance of the Ediacara biota was indeed a prelude to the Cambrian explosion of animal life.
Europe’s decision to promote the use of wood as a “renewable fuel” will likely greatly increase Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and cause severe harm to the world’s forests, according to a new comment paper published in Nature Communications. The authors posit that this new directive “will lead to a vast new cutting of the world’s forests” as additional wood equal to all of Europe’s existing wood harvests will be needed just to supply 5 percent of Europe’s energy.
European officials agreed on final language for a renewable energy directive earlier this summer that will almost double Europe’s use of renewable energy by 2030.Against the advice of 800 scientists, the directive now treats wood as a low-carbon fuel, meaning that whole trees or large portions of trees can be cut down deliberately to burn. Such uses go beyond papermaking wastes and other wood wastes, which have long been used for bioenergy.
The paper also estimates that using wood for energy will likely result in an increase of 10 to 15 percent in emissions from Europe’s energy use by 2050. This could occur by turning a 5 percent decrease in emissions required under the directive using solar energy or wind energy into a 5 to 10 percent increase by using wood.
Europe’s increased wood demand will require additional cutting in forests around the world, but the researchers explain the global impact is likely to be even greater by encouraging other countries to do the same. Already, tropical forest countries like Brazil and Indonesia have announced they, too, will try to reduce the effect of climate change by increasing their use of wood for bioenergy.
Although wood is renewable, cutting down and burning wood for energy increases carbon in the atmosphere for decades to hundreds of years depending on a number of factors, the researchers explained. Bioenergy use in this form takes carbon that would otherwise remain stored in a forest and puts it into the atmosphere. Because of various inefficiencies in both the harvesting and burning process, the result is that far more carbon is emitted up smokestacks and into the air per kilowatt hour of electricity or heat than burning fossil fuels, the authors explained.
While regrowing trees can eventually reabsorb the carbon, they do so slowly and, for years, may not absorb more carbon than the original forests would have continued to absorb. This results in long periods of time before bioenergy pays off the “carbon debt” of burning wood compared to fossil fuels.
The paper also explains why the European directive’s sustainability conditions would have little consequence. Even if trees are cut down “sustainably,” that does not make the wood carbon free or low carbon because of added carbon in the atmosphere for such long periods of time.
The directive also misapplies accounting rules for bioenergy originally created for the U.N. Framework Convention Climate Change(UNFCCC). Under the rules of that treaty, countries that burn wood for energy can ignore emissions, but countries where the trees were chopped must count the carbon lost from the forest. Although this rule allows countries switching from coal to wood to ignore true emissions figures, it balances out global accounting, which is the sole purpose of those rules, and does not make bioenergy carbon free.
The system does not work for national energy laws, which will be required by the directive. If power plants have strong incentives to switch from coal to carbon-neutral wood, they will burn wood regardless of any real environmental consequences. Even if countries supplying the wood report emissions through UNFCCC, those emissions are not the power plants’ problem.
Finally, the paper highlights how the policy undermines years of efforts to save trees by recycling used paper instead of burning it for energy. Also, as the prices companies are required to pay for emitting carbon dioxide increases over time, the incorrect accounting of forest biomass Europe has adopted will make it more profitable to cut down trees to burn.
This comment raises concerns regarding the way in which a new European directive, aimed at reaching higher renewable energy targets, treats wood harvested directly for bioenergy use as a carbon-free fuel. The result could consume quantities of wood equal to all Europe’s wood harvests, greatly increase carbon in the air for decades, and set a dangerous global example.
In January of this year, even as the Parliament of the European Union admirably voted to double Europe’s 2015 renewable energy levels by 2030, it also voted to allow countries, power plants and factories to claim that cutting down trees just to burn them for energy fully qualifies as low-carbon, renewable energy. It did so against the written advice of almost 800 scientists that this policy would accelerate climate change1. This Renewable Energy Directive (RED) is now finalized. Because meeting a small quantity of Europe’s energy use requires a large quantity of wood, and because of the example it sets for the world, the RED profoundly threatens the world’s forests.
Makers of wood products have for decades generated electricity and heat from wood process wastes, which still supply the bulk of Europe’s forest-based bioenergy2,3. Although burning these wastes emits carbon dioxide, it benefits the climate because the wastes would quickly decompose and release their carbon anyway. Yet nearly all such wastes have long been used4.
Over the last decade, however, due to similar flaws in the 2008 RED, Europe has expanded its use of wood harvested to burn directly for energy, much from U.S. and Canadian forests in the form of wood pellets. Contrary to repeated claims, almost 90% of these wood pellets come from the main stems of trees, mostly of pulpwood quality, or from sawdust otherwise used for wood products5.
Comments from the Authors
Tim Beringer, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin “The directive reverses the global strategy of trying to subsidize countries to protect their forests and their carbon. Instead of rewarding countries and landowners to preserve forests and the carbon they store, this directive encourages companies to pay them for the carbon in their forests, but only on the condition that they cut the trees down and ship them to Europe to be burned.”
Bjart Holtsmark, Statistics Norway “Although the directive encourages countries to harvest wood to burn, it does not require that they do. Countries should follow alternative strategies, focusing on solar in meeting European requirements for more renewable energy.”
Dan Kammen, University of California-Berkeley “Compared with the vast majority of what counts as ‘bioenergy by harvesting wood,’ solar and wind have large advantages in land-use efficiency and lower and lower and lower costs. The focus on wood is not only counterproductive for climate change but unnecessary.”
Eric Lambin, Stanford University and Université catholique de Louvain “Treating wood as a carbon-neutral fuel is a simple policy decision with complex cascading effects on forest use, energy systems, wood trade and biodiversity worldwide. Clearly, many of these effects have not received due attention.”
Wolfgang Lucht, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin “It makes no sense at all to save trees through recycling and then turn around to burn them for energy. There is nothing green, renewable, or environmentally friendly about that. Global forests are not disposable. The European Union should wake up and limit the role of bioenergy in the transition to renewable energies.”
Peter Raven, Missouri Botanical Society “Any increased demand for wood as fuel will have huge negative impacts on global biodiversity because many kinds of forests throughout the world, including the most biodiverse, will also end up being cut to satisfy the endless demand locally and to send to rich countries as they exhaust their own managed forests.”
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Université catholique de Louvain “European citizens once more experienced the harsh effects of global warming this summer. In the name of reversing climate change, this counterproductive policy will increase deforestation and carbon emissions rather than contribute to decreasing them. More emissions will only make the summers even hotter for decades to centuries.”
What was there before the Big Bang? This is one of the most perplexing contemplations in physics and astronomy. There are number of theories to glimpse this distant past, however data is likely very scant, but maybe them is evidence of a prior universe in clear sight.
Here is a series of quite remarkable videos to help you contemplate what went before, before the oldest observable photons, 13.5 GA.
While I strongly recommend that you simply watch these videos in series, the last in the series is likely the most remarkable and my opening comments alluded to this.
Conformal Cyclic Cosmology(CCC) is a scheme whereby the universe is seen to be cyclic even though it never recollapse and bounces back out. Instead it undergoes whats called a conformal rescaling. What’s that ? Watch the film, all will be explained. CCC promises to solve many deep mysteries in cosmology such as why was the entropy of the big bang so low? What happened before the big bang? Where does the dark matter in our universe come from? This film addresses both the theory of CCC and the possibility of experimental verification.
Below you will recognise the image of the Cosmic Background Radiation gathered from the COBE Satellite over a 9 year period.
While much was made of the homogeneity of the data and the implications of this there are obvious patters in the data and various researchers have found concentric low variance circles in the CMB as can be seen in the image below.
Penrose and Meisner suggest that Conformal Cyclic Cosmology implies that these structures are the product of the collision of supermassive black holes which occurred towards the end (or indeed the infinity) of an earlier universe. This is a most remarkable suggestion. In a future universe a similar pattern may be all that is residual from our universe. Conformal Rescaling of gravity at the scale of the singularity could reconcile gravity and quantum mechanics.
Enjoy, I most certainly have.
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