Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Post-socialist EU members find climate alarmist policies undesirable

Websites focusing on policies inspired by the climate hysteria have noticed that
Six EU states cast doubt on proposed 2030 climate goals (RTCC)

Visegrad Group dissatisfied with EU climate policy (Hungary Today)

Poland on course for battle on new EU climate change targets (Financial Times)
Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland (so far, you may call it the Visegrad Group), as well as Bulgaria and Romania (now you may call it the Warsaw Pact, too) have protested against the "renewable energy targets" that some of the EU apparatchiks may have the arrogance to release in October 2014. Also, the countries think that the burden is unfair and the wishful thinking – such as the 40% decrease of carbon emissions by 2030 – seem unrealistic.

The ministers of the six countries gathered in the Slovak capital and identified the introduction of any binding limits as "undesirable". Poorer EU members would have to pay a larger fraction of their GDP for this forced "modernization" (?) of their energy sectors so one shouldn't expect that they will do such things unless they are (partly?) paid for this transition by the richer EU members.

This attitude is nothing else than common sense – eliminating traditional energy sources for dumb pseudoscientific reasons (such as alarmist fads among segments of pseudointellectuals) is a form of luxury and poorer folks are likely to pay less money for luxury – but you will find people on our continent who will pretend that they are surprised:
The Visegrad Group’s opposition to the renewable and efficiency targets are “astonishing”, said Joris den Blanken, director of EU climate policy at Greenpeace, given the benefits and opportunities for renewables and energy efficiency in these countries.
What I find astonishing is that an ecoterrorist group has its own "EU climate policy" department as if it were normal for such people to influence what the policies on the whole continent should look like. Climb back to the trees, hippies, and use the opportunity to shut up.

You may feel that there is an opportunity for renewable crooks but such an opportunity is the same thing as a threat for our economies.
For instance, around 70% of Poland’s coal-fired power plants are over 30 years old, with many due to be decommissioned, offering the opportunity for investment into cleaner alternatives.
Most of those have been equipped with filters and they are working just fine, and if some of them will be replaced, they will be replaced mostly by new coal power plants because they are by far the most acceptable ones from the Polish economic viewpoint.

Painfully enough, Czechia, the wealthiest one among the six countries (on per-capita basis), is also mentioned as the weakest link in the "extended Visegrad Group" because some of our politicians seemed at least open to some proposals of non-binding commitments. Just because we would lose "less" by these counterproductive policies shouldn't be a reason for us to okay them at the end.

But you know, Václav Klaus is no longer the president so although we're still the "skeptics" in general, lots of confused people and downright morons are relatively louder than they were just two years ago.

For reasons that are partly economic in character, Poland is much more outspoken in this issue. Donald Tusk, the former PM of Poland, would become the EU "President" in December. His successor, Ms Ewa Kopacz, promised that she won't allow the energy prices in Poland to grow. She said she realizes coal was of "key strategic importance". While Poland won't okay any of the climate alarmist policies, this country is enthusiastic about the anti-Russia xenophobic EU-wide policies, she added. So this counts as "neutral". ;-) (See her speech in Polish, a video.)


  1. Goals like [the 40% decrease of carbon emissions by 2030 ] reflect not wishful thinking but outright fantasy, and reveal the foundational belief of progressive thought: The world must be as we wish it, not as it is.

    Anyone believing that renewable energy sources, at any future time, will make a significant contribution to mankind's energy budget are simply stupid.

  2. Well, at *some* future time, renewables will have to make up practically all of the energy budget, because non-renewables are finite. But rushing it and putting all one's eggs into immature technology is not a particularly wise thing at this moment in time. As far as I can see, how and when to transition is the question. On the positive side for early adoption is energy independence (for those without oil, gas and coal), on the negative side is economic impact (non-renewables are presently cheaper, especially for those with oil, gas and coal, such as Poland) and how to handle the variability (what to do when the wind doesn't blow, etc).

  3. Tom, I actually find it "somewhat conceivable" that by 2030, most of the energy will be from non-carbon sources, perhaps even just from solar energy. There are lots of improvements to the technology, and so on. They can make a real difference at this time scale.

    At the same time, it's also conceivable that such a needed progress will not materialize, and planning while assuming it may be devastating for the economies.

  4. Counting all hydrocarbons known to exist, ignoring processing costs, gives a timescale of millennia before a final exhaustion time. The shale oil in Wyoming alone is enough to fuel mankind for centuries. Given realistic political horizons of well under a century, it is meaningless to talk of a time when hydrocarbons are used up.

    The real issue is economic. The cost of renewables is so great and their unreliability, as far as grid load is concerned, so large that a country would bankrupt itself trying to go green (not counting the aesthetics of covering the landscape with wind towers and solar mirrors). The last US Energy Dept. report I have seen estimates that the USA, fifty years out and after countless billions in subsidies, will obtain around 10%-15% of its energy from renewables.

    I suppose new technologies (solar power microwaved from space) or huge engineering projects (reservoirs smoothing the wind and solar outputs) could happen, but given intrinsic bureaucratic incompetence, I doubt it.

    Lastly, I fully expect the AGW concept to be eventually revealed as of little consequence and the discussion of renewables to be then forgotten.

  5. Lubos, it is very rare that I disagree with your views but this appears to be an example. I find it inconceivable that by 2030 a majority of energy will be from non-carbon sources. Given that such sources presently represent under 5% of the total, no way we get to 50% in 15 years. It would take central planning that puts Stalin’s to shame, and that is not going to happen.

  6. Sorry to be OT, but Klaus was also just interviewed by the UK press:

  7. Dear Tom, my estimate is always "200 more years of fossil fuels". The timescale depends not only on their amount but also on the growth rate of the consumption.

    But you may be right.

    I just want to assure you that if the people continue to burn fossil fuels for 1,000 years, the greenhouse effect of the extra CO2 will become self-evident.

  8. I don't recommend to bet on it but it can't be excluded.

    We had pretty bad solar technologies a few years ago. But still the percentage of photovoltaics in the Czech energy mix was increasing by 1 percentage point per year. It's enough to double the rate and in 15 years, we might reach 50%.

  9. And meanwhile, our former Minister of Agriculture Miguel Arias Canete, trying to convince the commissioners that he is stupid enough to be Commissioner of Climate Change. I think he is doing a great job (i.e. absolutely ridiculous).

  10. Right, "200 more years of fossil fuels” is a pretty good claim. And a 1000 years of dirty carbon use would, for sure, be measurable. But I expect technology that cleans up carbon use to get only better and better, so I doubt dirty carbon will be an issue a 1000 years out. One example is how much more efficient automobiles are today than 50 years ago. When I first saw LA it was a true nightmare of smog, but I understand today that smog is mostly a thing of the past there.

  11. Hopefully, mankind will realize that nuclear is the way to go. (Can’t all the fission wastes be converted to glass and dumped into ocean where subduction takes it into the earth’s crust?)

    Fusion would be very, very cool, but that still seems to have long odds against. (I find the laser inertial confinement approach quite plausible, but so far the instabilities arising at the interstices of the 192(?) plane waves hitting the target is very problematic - the engineers' similarity solution breaks down.)

  12. The 40% goal is a variation of an American belief that every technical problem can be solved by signing a check. The EU is not even signing a check; it is simply mandating - signing a check assumes a responsibility, not a strong point of bureaucrats. Does anybody know names of three people mostly responsible for this mandate?

  13. Can you tell from the actual paper what she did wrong. I would assume from your comment above that she used the wrong parameter values. Or did she get the GR formulas wrong. Also, given she claims to be at the DAMTP in cambridge one would think she would have shown this to someone competent.

  14. Dear Fred, the task she solved so incorrectly is so elementary that one may only present such a wrong solution if she is unable to think.

    The explanations are muddy and confused. It's like if you are a teacher and a schoolkid in your class has a solution claiming that 8+5=24. It contains some lines that are meant to justify the answer and they don't make much sense.

    How one is supposed to "fix" these lines? It's really a silly ;procedure. It's much more sensible to start from scratch and teach you how to add 8+5 properly.

  15. When cold fusion was announced, before being mostly debunked, greens were aghast about it, proving that they are not actually interested in real energy supply at all, here being their panic about it:

    “It’s like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.” – Paul Ehrlich (mentor of John Cook of the SkepticalScience blog, author of "Climate Change Denial")

    “Clean-burning, non-polluting, hydrogen-using bulldozers still could knock down trees or build housing developments on farmland.” – Paul Ciotti (LA Times)

    “It gives some people the false hope that there are no limits to growth and no environmental price to be paid by having unlimited sources of energy.” – Jeremy Rifkin (NY Times)

    “Many people assume that cheaper, more abundant energy will mean that mankind is better off, but there is no evidence for that.” – Laura Nader (sister of Ralph)

  16. To cause mental meltdown of online climate alarm activists, just quote pro-nuclear Hansen:

    "Can renewable energies provide all of society's energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy." - James Hansen, 2011

  17. This is the Zodiac SpeakingOct 2, 2014, 4:35:00 PM

    Finite is a relative term. 2000+ years of oil supply is finite too. It's more than what we need though.

  18. No doubt that the greenies form a religious cult that hates capitalism and the freedom it represents. It is rather strange how few people comprehend how central energy is to their lives. I would bet a large fraction of the public has no clue at all as to what that electric outlet in their homes is connected to.

  19. How can anyone possibly dispute the existence of black holes these days when their effects have been unambiguously observed and measured, and everyone has seen the time lapse film of dozens of stars whipping round in tight curves a hair's breadth from an invisible object at the centre of our galaxy?!

    That said, I'm prepared to believe the quantum correction that everyone agrees is needed near the singularity of a black hole is of a form that there is such extreme time dilation there that the singularity never actually intrinsically forms but the thing simply bounces back outward, so that what appears as a 10^70 year lifetime (or suchlike vast time) from outside would seem to an infaller no more than a few hours' journey, unsurvivably hectic near the centre, and ending up in a dark place with all sign of the black hole gone!

  20. Dear Luboš.
    My comment may be badly ignorant, since I am not working with GR at all, but may their misconception come from the following statement [Quote from their paper Phys Lett B 738, 61-67(2014) the beginning of the 3d paragraph] : "The whole flux of particles is created from the time the collapse starts, up to the point when the horizon forms, with the very last photon becoming the horizon. From the moment of horizon formation onward, the surface gravity κ of the black hole is nearly a constant and no radiation can escape from the black hole to future infinity, since by the definition of the horizon, photons are trapped by the horizon."
    So they state, that the whole amount of the Hawking radiation, which escapes from the BH later, is *produced* before the formation of the horizon. Since the total amount of (positive) energy in the HR is equal to the mass of the black hole, the backreaction from it should be significant, if all this energy is really there before the formation of the horizon, and they try to take it into account. That's how I have understood the idea of their paper.
    But I do not understand at all, where the statement, that the HR is produced before the formation of the horizon comes from. They quote two papers (Refs. 9 and 18 in their paper) which are supposed to justify this claim, but I haven't looked into them yet. This claim seems to contradict to the usual explanations of the Hawking radiation, which do not include the process of collapse at all, and also the existence of ethernal "BHs in a box" in AdS space. What do you think about it?

  21. Dear nefmax, a big part of the quote contains some basic misunderstandings how relativity works. For example, the comment that "the last photon becomes the horizon" is completely nonsensical. A photon is a particle, the horizon is a codimension one null locus in spacetime. They can't "become" each other.

    Equally importantly, the usage of "before" and "after" in the quotes you posted shows that they don't really understand that relativity prohibits any "objective time".

    One may choose infinitely many of coordinate systems, with infinitely many meanings of "before" and "after". There are coordinate systems in which the Hawking radiation is produced "before" the collapse starts. After all, the Hawking radiation may be thought of as coming from outside the black hole horizon, so there exists a coordinate system in which the whole exterior is "before" the whole interior, and the interior may be identified with the "period of time after the collapse began".

    This coordinate system is one in which "now" are nearly parallel lo the horizon.

    But much more natural coordinate systems, from the viewpoint of observers who fall into the black hole later, have "now" not-parallel to the event horizon. And in these coordinate systems, almost all the radiation is created long before the star collapse.

    These authors are not distinguishing these systems, not specifying carefully what time coordinate is being used in similar sentences, and they just mix everything up - simply because they don't really understand relativity.

  22. Thanks for the explanation! I also was confused, that they use before/after without specification of the coordinates they are talking about.
    So they have chosen some heavily singular gauge in which almost all HR is before the formation of horizon, but somehow did the computations wrong, so their "physical result" is not gauge invariant (actually- just wrong). In the coordinates where HR is after the formation of the horizon the physical picture is mutch more clear, of course.
    There is nothing bad in using singular gauges, sometimes they even clarify the physical picture (e. g. the usage of axial gauge to derive LO parton evolution in QCD). One just should be very careful in computations, so the results should be gauge invariant.


    There is a legitimate criticism of GRT