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EGEB: Major paper published fake climate change attacks; Trump in or out of Paris?; more

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Decision makers are ‘compelled’ by value of solar-plus-storage – “They’re willing to trade the savings from the solar for the resiliency. So the school is still saving money on the solar-plus-storage system, they’re just not saving as much. Being able to trade dollars they didn’t have in the budget – the savings they created out of the solar – for this priceless public service, that’s a big deal.” Local power production, along with energy storage, is worth more than the monetary savings from solar electricity alone. After watching hurricanes debilitate local populations administrators are starting to wise up to the weaknesses of being dependent on distributed wiring systems. Energy storage – local batteries – are going to rule the world.

I guess today is Climate Change Monday…

At this point, who cares what Trump says on the Paris Agreement? Not sure if the newspapers are playing a game, but we get these two, seemingly contradictory, headlines from the weekend: Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord – or – US staying out of climate accord. In a few tweets from the administration and from the WSJ article, the nuance arises that Trump will stay in the agreement with the right terms for the USA. The USA isn’t going to renegotiate a deal with greater than 190 countries. Many analysts think the US will meet the Paris Agreement terms due to simple market forces and technology advances anyway…so really – this pullback is just the USA giving up leadership to China.

Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed – Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, worked with a team of researchers to look at the 38 papers published in peer-reviewed journals in the last decade that denied anthropogenic global warming. “Every single one of those analyses had an error—in their assumptions, methodology, or analysis—that, when corrected, brought their results into line with the scientific consensus,” Hayhoe. The most interesting part of this page, other than such a large volume of fake research, is the actual number of papers that are referenced – 38. Thirty eight papers driving the ‘anti-consensus’ movement. Thirty eight papers – reviewed, one by one, and brought to their knees.

‘The Mail on Sunday’ forced to acknowledge it published fake news about climate change – The story alleged that an academic paper by Dr Thomas Karl and colleagues at the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which was published in the journal ‘Science’ in June 2015, “exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change”. Except…well…some of the more level headed folks in the room pushed back and – Now, after a seven-month investigation, IPSO’s Complaints Committee has decided that Mr Rose’s article was inaccurate and misleading, and contained multiple breaches of its Editors’ Code of Practice. You’re being lied to. The question becomes – why? Is it purely the money? Or is it part of a longer, larger ideology whose purpose is to undercut broader society…

The idea that climate scientists are in it for the cash has deep ideological roots – Buchanan and Koch developed and propagated their ideas through a private organisation called the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) – an influential group known as the “neoliberal thought collective” that was established in 1947 by famed free market economist Friedrich Hayek. Buchanan was a former president and joined in 1957. Koch, who has poured millions into groups attacking mainstream climate science, joined MPS in 1970. Philosophies of life take decades to propagate through society. Just like it has taken decades for anti-science propaganda to circulate via Exxon’s marketing efforts, this effort to build a strong anti-state effort started in the 1950s and has really come to fruition in the late 2000s with the Tea Party. I’d argue, it is probably healthy to have some anti-state actors to balance out the extremes – but the portion of this movement that seems to be attacking the fundamentals of climate science is very unhealthy for our species as a whole. Yes, science has been wrong in the past – and actions in its name have been quite inhumane – but we’re looking at a unique challenge.

And to end our climate discussion on a note that spells out the consequences: New Climate Risk Classification Created to Account for Potential “Existential” Threats – “When we say 5 percent-probability high-impact event, people may dismiss it as small but it is equivalent to a one-in-20 chance the plane you are about to board will crash,” said Ramanathan. “We would never get on that plane with a one-in-20 chance of it coming down but we are willing to send our children and grandchildren on that plane.” An increase greater than 5°C (9°F) could lead to “unknown” consequences which they describe as beyond catastrophic including potentially existential threats. The specter of existential threats is raised to reflect the grave risks to human health and species extinction from warming beyond 5°C, which has not been experienced for at least the past 20 million years. We stand at a precipice humanity.

5,000 ‘Dieselgate’ deaths in Europe per year – In May this year, a study in the journal Nature said “excess” emissions from  vehicles exceeding certification limits were associated with about 38,000 “premature” deaths globally in 2015. The researchers from Norway, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands calculated that about 10,000 deaths in Europe per year can be attributed to small particle pollution from light duty diesel vehicles (LDDVs). Almost half of these would have been avoided if emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel cars on the road had matched levels measured in the lab. Another reason for an electric car – beyond all of the cool technical things that we so enjoy reading about on this website – is that they don’t directly kill people. I can’t think of a single reason shifting from diesel to electric shouldn’t be aggressively happening.

Simple beauty, from the skies –

Header image from the ‘Hit me with your SunShot‘ photography contest. A worker checks an inverter at the 2 megawatt CoServ Solar Station in Krugerville, Texas. The 16-acre site was previously home to a peanut farm. Photo by Ken Oltmann/CoServ.

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