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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated

Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated

Almost everything you know about climate change solutions is outdated, for several reasons.

First, climate science and climate politics have been moving unexpectedly quickly toward a broad consensus that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. This has truly revolutionary implications for climate solutions policy.

Second, key climate solutions — renewables, efficiency, electric cars, and storage — have been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected, much faster than the academic literature anticipated. The synergistic effect of all these light-speed changes is only now beginning to become clear (see, for instance, my recent post, “Why The Renewables Revolution Is Now Unstoppable”.

Third, the media and commentariat have simply not kept up with all these changes and their utterly game-changing implications. As a result we end up with recent articles in such prestige publications as Foreign Affairs and the New York Times that are literally out-of-date the instant they are published, as I’ll discuss below.

That’s why ClimateProgress is committed to staying ahead of this rapidly-moving subject and a key reason why I have begun writing more about climate solutions, the area in which I have the most personal experience and expertise. Indeed, now that there is basically a high-level political consensus around the globe about what the science says should be our temperature target, the need to move quickly on solutions has never been clearer...


We Can Stop Searching For The Clean Energy Miracle. It’s Already Here.

Key climate solutions have been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. These solutions include such core enabling technologies for a low-carbon world as solar, wind, efficiency, electric cars, and battery storage.

That’s a key reason almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed other reasons. For instance, climate science and climate politics have moved unexpectedly quickly toward a broad understanding that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. But the media and commentariat generally have not kept up with the science or solutions and their utterly game-changing implications.

This post will focus on the light-speed changes in clean energy technology that have left even the most informed journalists and experts behind, which in turn means the public and policy-makers are receiving outdated information.

The Clean Energy Miracle Is Already Here
Consider solar power. In recent days, both the Council on Foreign Affairs and the New York Times have published claims that were literally out-of-date the instant they were put on the internet....



See also:
The adoption curve

When an innovation is introduced into a market, it takes a number of year to ‘diffuse’ and penetrate the market. The adoption typically looks like an S-curve as shown in the following chart. The adoption curve provides a useful way to break down customers in five segment: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards.

Adoption curve

Innovators are the first to adopt new products and services. They are technology freaks par excellence, and like experimenting and playing around to find out what they can do with their new toys. Innovators typically represent a few percent of the target user base.

Early adopters also invest early on in new technologies, not as technologists, but to address their concrete problems.

- They typically represent about 10% of the target population.
- In companies, early adopters are opinion influencers. Often they will not be decision makers themselves, but are key to convince others. Early adopters are usually at the centre of extensive communication networks, for instance internal management circles, industry fora, or are very sociable individuals in their private sphere.
- When a critical mass of early adopters has developed, the process of technology diffusion becomes self-sustaining and like a snow-ball effect, it spills over to the early majority. On the other hand, competing and incompatible standards slow down the rate of adoption and the transition from early adopters to the early majority.

more at: http://www.business-planning-for-managers.com/main-courses/marketing-sales/marketing/the-adoption-curve/

Nuclear construction shutdown among options amid bankruptcy

Nuclear construction shutdown among options amid bankruptcy

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The head of a utility that's building two of the country's newest nuclear reactors told South Carolina regulators on Wednesday that abandoning the project is an option under consideration.

...Westinghouse, the U.S. nuclear unit of Japan's Toshiba Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection last month, calling into question the future of a number of multibillion-dollar nuclear projects, including the South Carolina site and a similar project at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia.

...SCANA's electric utility component, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., owns 55 percent of the plant. For years, its customers have funded the reactor project through a series of rate hikes approved by state regulators. The state-owned utility Santee Cooper owns the other 45 percent, and it's unknown how ratepayers will be impacted by the Westinghouse bankruptcy.

...SCE&G has raised electric prices on its customers nearly 20 percent since 2009 to pay for the project, which is behind schedule and over the original projected cost....


See also: GA nuke plant soaking ratepayers - may never come online

GA nuke plant soaking ratepayers - may never come online

The money quote:
“If the cost of completing the facility can no longer be accurately predicted the project should be closely and thoroughly reevaluated to reflect market conditions before more ratepayer money is committed to the high-risk project,” Smith said. “(I)f the companies choose to build an electric generation facility with unknown costs to complete and unknown schedules, they should have their shareholders carry the risk not the ratepayers in the area.”"

Troubled nuclear plant costs rising for Savannah residents

Vogtle construction now $3 billion over budget, three years behind schedule

... ratepayers are already paying for the two new nuclear reactors, both of which may never produce a watt of electricity. How much have customers already dished out? For southside Savannah customer Cornelia Stumpf, the Vogtle bills already total more than $500.


Stumpf’s situation reflects that of many Savannah area residents. She lives in a 1,900-square-foot midcentury modern house in Magnolia Park, running her marketing and public relations business from a separate 300-square-foot office in the yard for a total of about 2,200 square feet of conditioned space. A pool in the side yard requires a pump that eats up electricity but her heater runs on natural gas, so her overall usage is typical for Savannah. Her winter bills dip to about 1200 kilowatt hours. Summer zooms to nearly double that amount.

Georgia Power started charging residential customers the nuclear construction cost in 2011 after lawmakers gave the monopoly utility the go-ahead to charge ratepayers for the multi-billion dollar project as it was being built, and before it produces its first kilowatt hour of juice. The amount appears as a line item of the monthly bill under “Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery.”

“It’s a chunk of money,” said Stumpf...

More detail at: http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-04-08/troubled-nuclear-plant-costs-rising-savannah-residents

Nothing can compete with renewable energy

Nothing can compete with renewable energy, says top climate scientist
Prof John Schellnhuber says that if countries implement their pledges made for Paris climate summit it will give huge boost to wind, tidal and solar power

Damian Carrington @dpcarrington Monday 9 November 2015 08.06 ES

Climate scientist, Prof John Schellnhuber, has advised Angela Merkel and Pope Francis. Photograph: Patrick Pleul/CorbisT

Catastrophic global warming can be avoided with a deal at a crunch UN climate change summit in Paris this December because “ultimately nothing can compete with renewables”, according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists.

Most countries have already made voluntary pledges to roll out clean energy and cut carbon emissions, and Prof John Schellnhuber said the best hope of making nations keep their promises was moral pressure.

Schellnhuber is a key member of the German delegation attending the Paris summit and has advised Angela Merkel and Pope Francis on climate change.

He said there was reason for optimism about the Paris talks, where at least 80 heads of state are expected. “That is a very telling thing - a sign of hope - because people at the top level do not want to be tainted by failure,” he said.

If a critical mass of big countries implement their pledges, he said in an interview with the Guardian, the move towards a global low-carbon economy would gain unstoppable momentum...


See also (Open Access) at journal Science
The irreversible momentum of clean energy
Barack Obama

Email: press@who.eop.gov. After 20 January 2017: contact@obamaoffice44.org
Science 09 Jan 2017:

DOI: 10.1126/science.aam6284


Private-sector incentives help drive decoupling of emissions and economic growth.
The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to human activity is increasing global average surface air temperatures, disrupting weather patterns, and acidifying the ocean (1). Left unchecked, the continued growth of GHG emissions could cause global average temperatures to increase by another 4°C or more by 2100 and by 1.5 to 2 times as much in many midcontinent and far northern locations (1). Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear, there is still debate about the proper course for U.S. policy—a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition. But putting near-term politics aside, the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow. This Policy Forum will focus on the four reasons I believe the trend toward clean energy is irreversible.



Market Forces in the Power Sector... <snip>

Global Momentum... <snip>


We have long known, on the basis of a massive scientific record, that the urgency of acting to mitigate climate change is real and cannot be ignored. In recent years, we have also seen that the economic case for action—and against inaction—is just as clear, the business case for clean energy is growing, and the trend toward a cleaner power sector can be sustained regardless of near-term federal policies.

Despite the policy uncertainty that we face, I remain convinced that no country is better suited to confront the climate challenge and reap the economic benefits of a low-carbon future than the United States and that continued participation in the Paris process will yield great benefit for the American people, as well as the international community. Prudent U.S. policy over the next several decades would prioritize, among other actions, decarbonizing the U.S. energy system, storing carbon and reducing emissions within U.S. lands, and reducing non-CO2 emissions (23).

Of course, one of the great advantages of our system of government is that each president is able to chart his or her own policy course. And President-elect Donald Trump will have the opportunity to do so. The latest science and economics provide a helpful guide for what the future may bring, in many cases independent of near-term policy choices, when it comes to combatting climate change and transitioning to a clean-energy economy.

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