back to article Atmospheric CO2 set to SOAR from 0.0004 to 0.0007 - OECD

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has issued a forecast saying that - unless something big changes - the level of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere is set to rise significantly as the planet's population swells and its poorer nations start to develop their economies and use more energy. In a new document …

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Mushroom

The solution is still nuclear.

Thorium by preference.

If renewables (wind/PV) are the answer it's a bloody stupid question.

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Re: The solution is still nuclear.

Didn't Brain Cox reckon in his last program that global investment in fusion technology amounted to a (paltry) $1billion.

Somehow, billions spent on climate research and horseshit like windpower to combat other billions spent on (currently) economically viable fossil fuel energy production is the way we've decided to go. Who the hell is in charge here. Feels like no-one.

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Stop

The solution isn't nuclear alone.

Thorium is another promise which hasn't delivered yet. Doesn't mean it won't or we shouldn't research it in the hope it will, but we can't put all our eggs in the basket tempted by another as yet undelivered promise - similar scenario with wave power. If the objective is genuinely to reduce C02 to the greatest extent possible, it seems pretty daft to imagine nuclear and renewables to be in competition here as both need development, in the sense neither has the optimal capacity, cost profile, reliability or output characteristics on their own to be expanded to meet the entire requirement and both need careful planning and engineering to obtain safer and more reliable power.

Both nuclear and renewables will perform much better as part of a mixed low carbon supply system in the short to medium term and we are all dead in the longer term. Nuclear becomes more expensive per GwH if expanded too rapidly as this requires more host communities to risk being the next Fukushima. Less of a problem with existing nuclear host communities who need the jobs and who already understand the relatively low risks, but politically a very tall order elsewhere.

Renewables will provide best cost effectiveness in the most optimal sites - once renewables expand to more than 30% of total energy requirements siting also gets more expensive and storage costs start to put total price/GwH delivered up.

Also when the Japanese had to shut down their nuclear capacity, they were very glad they had other sources of electric supply. Much better to have your eggs in more than one basket.

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Paris Hilton

Re: The solution is still nuclear.

Are Thorium reactors viable at present? Perhaps in the future...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

"Also when the Japanese had to shut down their nuclear capacity, they were very glad they had other sources of electric supply."

Are you saying that Japan has no nuclear plants on line anymore? If that's not what you are saying, then what are you saying?

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Mushroom

Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Japan : "Japan's efforts to regain public support for restarting the reactors has made little headway, with 49 out of the nation's 54 reactors offline as of January 2012" . Perhaps I should moderate my assertion to "the Japanese had to shut down 90% of their nuclear capacity".

Please try to imagine where they would have been if they had become as reliant upon nuclear as the French are.

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Re: Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

"....if they had become as reliant upon nuclear as the French are." By reliant, do you mean "have an excess of energy, allowing them to sell that excess to the UK, and also have a viable nuke industry that can make money abroad building nuke power plants, as they will do in the UK", then that sounds quite good to me.

The Japanese problem is that they are in an area of high and severe earthquake activity, whereas the UK is not. Even then, the Fukishima plant still exceeded its design brief in resisting the tsunamii. Standard, Greenpecker, anti-nuke boilerplate whining on about Fukishima is simply not applicable to the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

@Matt...

Reliant and Excess are not mutually exclusive. If France had to shut down all their reactors they would have very little power and not be able to export any, by definition that's reliant.

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Re: The solution is still nuclear.

*sigh*, no, we can't just bomb them. It gets you such *terrible* press... ¬.¬

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Anonymous Coward

@PyLETS

Thank you for the clarification; I had no idea that Japan had taken nearly all their nuclear plants off-line.

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Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

"Also when the Japanese had to shut down their nuclear capacity, they were very glad they had other sources of electric supply. Much better to have your eggs in more than one basket."

If they hadn't any alternatives, they might not have taken nearly all their reactors offline. Most of them aren't actually damaged and the risk of earthquakes or tsumamis hasn't actually changed. It is local politics that is keeping them offline, just as it is politics rather than evidence that keeps the exclusion zone around Fukishima so large.

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@Ken Hagan: Agreed, but

it didn't help the politics any that the Fukishima management misled the Japanese public about the actual risks during the accident because they were concerned the Japanese would react like Americans.

Yes, I'm saying that from the 'Merkin side of the pond.

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Mushroom

@Ken Hagan

"It is local politics that is keeping them offline, just as it is politics rather than evidence that keeps the exclusion zone around Fukishima so large."

No, it's radioactive caesium contamination, combined with democratically accountable representatives making hard choices, advised by unelected public servants who know what the internationally accepted safe limits are and don't want to exceed these either for genuine concern over victims health, and/or due to concern about future litigation by anyone who goes back and gets cancer for whatever reason and sues for negligence based on provable violation of international safety standards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_effects_from_Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster states: 'As of February 2012, the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is still leaking radiation and areas surrounding it could remain uninhabitable for decades due to high radiation. It could take “more than 20 years before residents could safely return to areas with current radiation readings of 200 millisieverts (mSv) per year, and a decade for areas at 100 millisieverts per year” '

50mSv /year is the maximum allowed for US nuclear workers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_%28radiation%29

http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/radlife.html#dose states: "On average, our radiation exposure due to all natural sources amounts to about 2.4 mSv a year" and this same article (tag harmful) states: "With all the knowledge so far collected on effects of radiation, there is still no definite conclusion as to whether exposure due to natural background carries a health risk, even though it has been demonstrated for exposure at a level a few times higher."

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Mushroom

Re: The solution is still nuclear.

yep. nuke the peasants and make huge fuel savings. ;-)

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Trollface

Re: @PyLETS

Bah. LPG has gone up 50% in Oz in the last few months.

I suppose if Europe implodes and takes down the US, manufacturing might take a dive and things will even out.

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Re: The solution is still nuclear.

"Are Thorium reactors viable at present? Perhaps in the future..."

Have a look at the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge.

One of the "problems" with Thorium is that it doesn't provide materials useful for the manufacture of nuclear weapons, which may partially explain why this type of reactor has not been pursued.

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Go

Re: The solution is still nuclear.

George 'road to Damascas' Monbiot likes Integral Fast Reactors. Solves the waste problem, but not the proliferation thing. I also believe you can 'burn' Thorium in them.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/05/sellafield-nuclear-energy-solution

Further reading that claims breeder reactors count as 'renewable':-

http://www.sustainablenuclear.org/PADs/pad11983cohen.pdf

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Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

I get pretty tired of people trying to win arguments or sound wise by saying things like the truth is, of course, somewhere in the middle. Wouldn't want to see you doing maths. If one source of power is better than the other in 98% of circumstances, then why does it make sense to do a widescale deployment of both? You make an argument of "all your eggs in one basket" using Japan as an example. How ridiculous is that? Is it your contention that had a couple of the powerstations struck by the twin earthquakes plus tsunami actually been wind-farms, that things would be different there? The correct application of the "eggs in one basket" principle as applied to Japan would not be different technologies, but different geographic locations.

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FAIL

Re: The solution isn't nuclear alone.

"....If France had to shut down all their reactors...." Which is a pretty pointless statement - what would happen to make the Fwench shut them all down, short of Angela "green-for-votes" Merkel getting elected Prez of some new European Federal state? Please supply a realistic event that would cause such a requirement to shutdown. I anticipate a major amount of fail in your efforts.

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Anonymous Coward

carbon emissions

I do wish we could be more precise and not use "carbon" when we mean "carbon dioxide". I know saying "carbon" makes you send all trendy and eco friendly but they are different things.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: carbon emissions

Er, when I said "send" I meant "seem". D'oh! Hoist, petard, coat, I'm getting it now. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: carbon emissions

I believe when official sources say "carbon" it has factored in methane etc as well and isn't just talking about carbon dioxide. It is irritating, but a lot quicker than saying everything long hand.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: carbon emissions

I doubt that. The only thing they will have factored in is that saying carbon will appeal to the greatest number of trendy eco-greens whereas carbon dioxide sounds a bit chemical and complicated. Besides, a cynic might think that if CO2 ends up not being proved to be the cause of the problem then other carbon based things can be used instead while still claiming you were right all along.

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Go

Re: carbon emissions

Maybe "organic emissions" would be a more appropriate term, but that doesn't sound scary enough.

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Re: carbon emissions

The term "carbon" in this regard means emissions of greenhouse gases measured in carbon dioxide equivalent. For example if methane is 10 times more effective greenhouse gas, then 1 tonne of methane emissions is equivalent to 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Saying "carbon" is a lot easier than saying "carbon dioxide or equivalent". Maybe we should just stick to "greenhouse gases" as a generic term

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Anonymous Coward

Re: carbon emissions

Yes, it would be a shame to commit ourselves to something less vague. Someone might be able to prove we are right or wrong if we get too specific, and we need the wooliness to keep the alarm going.

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FAIL

@Dale Richards

If you need an explanation for the icon, you shouldn't be reading this site, or at the very least need a Chem 001 class. And I say that as someone who ranks very low on the chemistry expertise list, quite near the bottom in fact.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'send'

('seem' + 'sound') / 2 = 'send'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'send'

no, ('seem' + 'sound') / 2 = seems sound, but only half

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Stop

Preconceived agendas, etc.

Lewis, from your headline ("Atmospheric CO2 set to SOAR from 0.0004 to 0.0007") and your concluding paragraphs, you couldn't make it clearer that you don't consider this to be a problem. In that case, please stop writing about it!

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Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

and you consider it a problem? I would say the title indicates what is on the tin.

Take a 1 liter bottle and fill it with water. This will represent your "atmosphere." Would you now like to do the math about how much of that liter bottle the .0003% increase is? It might be easier to imagine and more practical to accomplish if you use a 100 liter tank, or perhaps a 1000 liter tank of water. Actually no. Why don't we do it 1:1? Let's avoid the ml conversion and take a million liter tank. As we are talking about an increase of 3 ppm this should make it easy for you. Now how much water in a 1,000,000 liter tank are we talking about?

It's f%ck all. That's the answer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

@Multipharious

3ppm is indeed very small, but 3ppm of Ammonia in my marine aquarium will kill everything.

Small things can have large effects, those effects could be good or bad, but they can be large.

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FAIL

Re: Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

Good thing that it's not Ammonia that the article is about then, eh? D'uh!

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Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

"Ocean depth predicted to increase by as much 0.1% this century." (3790m x 0.001 = 3.79m)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

I know, it must be terribly inconvenient for the climate alarmists.

We should all STFU and let them scaremonger in peace.

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Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

And that's the point. Physics says that a doubling of CO2 should give us a ~1c rise in temp. Further doubling will result in significantly lower rises in temperature. That's the settled science.

After that we're into the realms of models and feedback effects caused by increased water vapour in the atmosphere. So your analogy may be initially attractive, but it's not really a good fit for the problem...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

@Matt... I was illustrating the point that small amounts of something in an environment can have a large effect. It therefore follows that you can't automatically say that a small increase of a component of an atmosphere will only have a small effect.

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WTF?

Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

You have to remember that Mr. Page has proven again and again he has no understanding of the science behind climate change but prefers to write pithy headlines about something he found somewhere on a deniers website. More often than not these take one aspect of a paper that is usually unread (by him) and behind a pay wall. The deniers tent to write an article on one thing mentioned in the abstract as it is so the whole thing gets taken to stupid levels by the time it gets posted here.

Take his proportions given here in this article, he probably still thinks like Dr. Evil that a million is a large number. 7 in 10,000 is very easily detectable and not an insignificant number as he is trying to make out.

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@multipharious

"Take a 1 liter bottle and fill it with water. ... blah blah"

So based on your argument we could get rid of all the CO2 from the atmosphere and it would have "f%ck all" effect.

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Unhappy

Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

Good thing that it's not Ammonia that the article is about then, eh? D'uh!

You're either pretty ignorant or naturally combative. I'm kind of leaning towards the latter.

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Re: @multipharious

I see the scientist among us has arrived. Simple math too tough for you Burb?

What is the composition of the Earth's atmosphere? Guessing you are not a diver, it is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and then mostly Argon. Somewhere in there we have one of the smaller components of our atmosphere at a whopping f%ck all percent, which then according to the fear mongerer's models doubles to OH MY F%CKING GOD. Yet it still only yearns to scratch the ass of 1% of our atmosphere. If this were a pie chart you could not even see the sliver. A single pixel line would be too thick. It could quadruple and still be so far from even qualifying for a rounding error, yet this gas and its miniscule increase is the culprit for the "global" changes in climate?

Please. Pull the other one. I mean really.

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Re: Preconceived agendas, etc.

"and you consider it a problem? I would say the title indicates what is on the tin."

No it doesn't. It indicates a willful ignorance of the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Without these trace gases, global temperatures would permanently be well below zero, as was established more than a century ago.

Increasing the trace molecule CO2 from 394 ppm to 685 ppm is still a trace, but just like with arsenic, the difference between a small trace and a larger trace can be dramatic.

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Re: Preconceived agendas, etc. @John

small things yes, very small concentrations can be absolutely lethal, but we are talking about the heat retaining attributes of a small percentage of molecules...not the concentrations that are required to poison a fish.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Preconceived agendas, etc. @John

@Multipharious

Go and look up the greenhouse effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect.

The synopsys is that 25%ish of the Greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. No greenhouse effect, no life on the planet, it's that simple. If you think that a just a few molecules which don't have any discernible effect, you are very, very wrong.

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@Steve Crook: Warmmongers, not physics.

No physicist worth his salary would make projections with as many unknowns as the Warmmongers do.

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Re: @multipharious

"Simple math too tough for you Burb?"

No. Simple logic is obviously far too tough for you though. Let me explain.

Your argument is solely based on the proposition that because CO2 is such a small proportion of the atmosphere, it can't have any effect. Even if we initially leave aside the greenhouse effect, that is obviously a fallacy for two reasons that spring immediately to mind. First, the idea that just because something is a trace component necessarily means it doesn't have an effect can be countered by all sorts of examples. There was the poison in the fishtank example someone mentioned; there is doping of silicon to make semiconductors; there is the addition of relatively small amounts of carbon to iron to make steel. Second: CO2 in the atmosphere is an essential part of the carbon cycle which supports life on this planet. Going back to my original post: following your logic, because it is such an inconsequential trace component of the atmosphere, CO2 could be removed without effect. Anyone with half a brain can see that that is nonsense.

But in any case, the greenhouse effect of CO2 is a well understood physical phenomenon that is accepted by pretty much anyone who isn't a crackpot. Even most 'climate skeptics' accept it. Their arguments tend to centre around how much the basic greenhouse effect of CO2 is amplified by other factors.

Your underlying point is presumably that, if it starts out at such a minute proportion, doubling it or whatever won't have an effect. Since that relies on accepting your basic fallacy that the starting amount is inconsequential your argument falls apart.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Steve Crook: Warmmongers, not physics.

@Tom, yes they would, many climate scientists are physicists. What you don't see if the error bars, they're usually not reported but qualify the data.

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Re: Preconceived agendas, etc. AC 12@38

"3ppm is indeed very small, but 3ppm of Ammonia in my marine aquarium will kill everything.

Small things can have large effects, those effects could be good or bad, but they can be large."

WTF has the deadly concentration of Ammonia or any other poison got to do with Carbon Dioxide and it's affects on the climate change?

If I kill you by poisoning your breakfast with a tiny amount of Plutonium or I piss in the ocean and increasing sea level infinitesimally, you think these two things can be equated?

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