"The Tantrum that Saved the World"


There are all kinds of ways we can reduce our “carbon footprint.” This book will help children understand what they can personally do. As for your comment about “silly propaganda of renewables” … words fail.

(GJDS) #31

Indeed, words fail:

(a) simple arithmetic will show anyone that high point source emitters will continue to add CO2 at the same rate, no matter what words are used. If these are not reduced, the increase in CO2 will continue at that rate - this is indisputable.
(b) every country that has tried to address CO2 emissions using renewables has caused the price of electricity to increase dramatically, along with subsidies that in some places are 50% of the capital costs; add legislated feedback tariffs, and the arithmetic is indisputable.
© the misinformation that I see is appalling, be it modelling that makes erroneous predictions, to reports that renewables can provide sustainable power (when challenged, they include batteries to avoid the lable of dishonesty).

The industry has understood that a sensible mix of lower emissions fossil plant and renewables is the way for progress. The ideologues oppose this with cries of “the world will end soon”.

I will not indulge you further in your “words that fail”.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #32

My words don’t fail me. I’ll give you numbers instead. You wrote regarding newer better coal plants:[quote=“GJDS, post:29, topic:36891”]
This can be reduced to about 800kg CO2/MWh while providing a secure supply, by replacing the old plant with new.

In contrast to that (800kg CO2/MWh for your new more efficient coal plants), wind energy comes in at about 18kg CO2/MWh --right now already just as they are. That is wind outperforming your new improved coal plants by 44 to 1; and outperforming the existing ones by ~70 to 1.

Regarding the power being more expensive? Sure. New technology is more costly than existing established technologies. So yes, making power more expensive can add economic pain to the poor. We should find other ways to mitigate that instead of clinging to dirty sources in wanton disregard of everyone’s (including poor people’s) environment. Here in Kansas we get around 30% of our state’s electrical power from wind now, and our electrical bills aren’t noticeably different (other than typical inflationary creep perhaps). That also may be due in part to subsidies for renewables here. But even so --that means we have found a way to make better choices without hurting the poor.

Agreed on that – with “sensible” being the key word. I’m glad to see you aren’t just opposed to renewables across the board. Yes; it is irresponsible to engage in fear-mongering. I like to think I’m promoting better energy choices, not because of doomsday fears, but because it is the logical and compassionate thing to do in a world that tends to glorify wanton exploitation and promote it as ‘business as usual’. The one thing missing from all this is the best and most painless energy solution of all that you never hear promoted in politics at all any more is this: conservation. Just turn off the darn lights when you aren’t in the room, and put on a sweater instead of hiking the thermostat. Those simple things blow everything else out of the water.

There – was that tantrumy enough? Did I save the world?


Agreed. And if we do nothing the poor will suffer more than anybody else. Read my previous comments.



(GJDS) #35

I agree with all that you have said, but again, I add my original point - in most countries and particularly where I live, the old dirty coal power stations continue to be profitable mainly because the increases in cost of power (here people pay about $300 /MWh, which is more than twice the amount paid before renewables were subsidised). This hurts the poor, and yet the emissions from the old stations have continued at the same rate. When we add the very high cost of bringing peak generation (with even lower efficiency and higher emissions), we have the worst outcome. States that seek a 40% renewable target are in trouble and their people pay the highest prices … period.

A sensible approach would include conservation, renewables where they can be shown to be competitive, and new high efficiency coal plant to supply baseload (secure supply 24 hrs per day). This would eventually remove the worst polluting plant, provide secure supply, and gradually change the grid towards a continuous reduction of CO2 emissions.

This is a sensible approach and renewables can be positioned where they can do the most good.

I am somewhat bemused by the opposition to this approach. Can you tell me why there is so much negative response?

(Phil) #36

All good thoughts, and since they save the world for our children, guess it is ok on the homeschool forum

As to why there is so much opposition, it seems to go back to tribalism and the set of beliefs you have to have to be part of the club. The green faction see any coal plant as heresy, and the right leaning see giving in and supporting renewables and conservation as being "compromised "

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #37

I’ve been a fly in the wall in this conversation, since I know almost nothing about climate science, but I’m just piping in to say this: In most of the truly poor areas of the world (i.e., far below what passes as poverty in the USA), people don’t generally need to be told this. They’re already economizing in every way possible (if they have electricity at all).

But yes, your comments are quite germane to most of us in the US (…who aren’t part of the Great Generation).

(GJDS) #38

This is so often swept away by the “tribalism” @jpm - it is worth noting the West achieved its prosperity in no small way to cheap and plentiful electricity and fuels. Yet liberals are keen to avoid the obvious inequality in that as these countries emerge from their weak economies, they too would need affordable and secure power. The world needs practical solutions, not silly rhetoric and absurd politics.


Beyond Houston, a World Awash (How more extreme weather disproportionately affects the poor.)

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #40

I’m more familiar with the discussions around HFC air conditioning gases, where similar issues are at play. Rich Western countries want strict controls on them, which will push up prices, right when the middle classes in some developing countries (mostly in hotter regions of the world) are finally getting access to affordable air conditioning for the first time. And it’s not just about comfort, but it affects economic output — in many of these countries, without air conditioning, the work force is considerably less productive because the heat is oppressive.

I don’t know the climate science enough to know whether such bans are justified in the long run (I’m inclined to believe they are), but it sure does seem unfair in the meantime. All these dynamics come into play with renewable energy sources as well.

That said, I think BeagleLady’s also right — failure to reverse climate change will also disproportionately impact the poor. The poor get hit both coming and going…

(Mervin Bitikofer) #41

Quite right that it is the biggest consumers who have the biggest cuts to make. There are a few caveats to that principle, though. My information in the following example may be a bit dated, though I would be surprised if the situation had improved very much in the last 30 years. Deforestation in Haiti (originally due to historical exploitation by the French) is now exacerbated by the need of poor Haitians for wood fuel to cook their food. If they had some other affordable / available means of heating (solar?), then young trees might get more of a fighting chance. But my brother-in-law spent some years there, in part trying to cultivate reforestation efforts. At that time it was an up-hill battle for a lot of these economic (as well as other) reasons. Could some form of solar (decentralized energy sources) help fill such a need? Certainly it is more accessible than trying to imagine a hugely expensive (not to mention hurricane-vulnerable) power grid such as we insist on having in more affluent places. They are discovering in Puerto-Rico too --that maybe power grids just aren’t as maintainable in every situation. It could be that even through tragedy some places may take lessons to heart and leap frog toward even better ways to do things. I hope that is the case, as painful as it is to have to have such reflections forced on you by disaster or long-term poverty.

(GJDS) #42

I have been active in dealing with power generation and climate change (GHG) for decades, so I am somewhat amused by beaglelady and her comments. The problem is very complex and simplistic notions do not help. GHG intensity from fluorocarbons (fridges etc) are thousands of times more intensive as CO2 - and making silicon for solar cells has used materials that have devastated regions, emitted potent gases, and using better materials boosts the costs.

It is a serious global problem and teaching people and children that putting some solar cells and wind is a solution, simply makes it harder to provide an effective outcome. I can go on with how poor countries would benefit, stopping use of wood for fires helps the environment, the impact of economies of scale, technology that eventually can use CO2 to make valuable materials (all scientifically doable), and designing a grid that ensures emission of CO2 is constantly reduced, but methinks such facts and discussions fall on deaf ears.


Climate and Human Health from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

“As the planet warms, oceans expand and the sea level rises, floods and droughts become more frequent and intense, and heat waves and hurricanes become more severe. The most vulnerable people—children, the elderly, the poor, and those with underlying health conditions—are at increased risk for health effects from climate change. Climate change also stresses our health care infrastructure and delivery systems.”

(GJDS) #44

New plant would replace old plant, meet increased demand, and effectively reduce the point source intensity. Doing the maths will show that reductions in emissions can be met in this way - if wind is added that is good. Wind cannot supply power 24 hrs per day, per week, per year. Adding wind to old polluting plant doe not reduce the point source emissions - so how would this reduce GHG concentrations?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #45

True enough that wind turbines don’t produce energy 24/7. That is why they do studies about where they should place turbines and don’t stick them just anywhere. Some states here in the U.S. just don’t have any significant wind energy. For those that do, though, the facts on the ground are that they make a significant contribution (29.6% of our electricity here in Kansas in 2016-17). All of that then is energy that didn’t have to come from our existing coal plants, thereby decreasing their need for coal. Sure – the plant is already there and still needed and used, but we’re still dealing with that 70 to 1 difference between a Kwhr of energy coming from wind instead of coming from coal that then went up the smoke stack.


A hurricane battered Ireland and parts of the U.K. Wowzer! Sure, that’s normal weather.

Hurricane Ophelia Sheds Light On Another Climate Change Concern

(GJDS) #47

The discussion is about ways to continuously decrease emissions from power generation while meeting the demand for electricity. You need to get data on the supply/demand for your grid, and the mix (proportion between coal, gas, renewables) and the total emissions for the last decade or two. When this data is examined you will understand the gist of this discussion.


I looked again at my original post (what an idea!) and saw that the kickstarter campaign to get this book published is fully funded and has even exceeded the original goal! The original goal was $23,599. They have currently raised $26,766. And there are still 22 days to go in the campaign. So it’s a go!

(Jon Garvey) #49

It was a pussy-cat here in England, compared to the 1987 job, in which I remember our large eucalyptus tree bent over at an angle of 45 degrees (it survived, unlike much of the loacal oak wood and the power lines). This one did give us interesting yellow skies and a red sun, from dust picked up in Spain in the Sahara.

But taking single events as signs of change is as bad on either side of the climate debate as it is for Fundamentalists predicting the end of the world by earthquakes. By far the worst storm in our history was way before the Industrial Revolution. So the recent one might be normal, or part of some cyclical trend, or genuinely part of climate change.