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Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “climate change”

New Dutch Sea Level Data – Rise not Alarming

The Dutch independent research institute Deltares, over the three years before 2019, has elaborated a new method to evaluate sea level data on behalf of the government, and they have come to fairly reassuring results: over the past 128 years sea level rise was linear, with a speed of 1.86 mm/year or 18.6 cm/century. There is no acceleration.

[deltares.nl] – Long-term sea-level rise necessitates a worldwide commitment to adaptation
[deltares.nl] – About Deltares

Global Stilling – and then the Wind Stopped Blowing

Science magazine Nature confirms global stilling between 1980-2010, but also a sharp uptick after 2010.

The British DailyMail is not the most active proponent of renewable energy. Yet they have to be taken serious, if they report that over the past 4 decades, there has been a notable decline in average wind speeds, which is bad news for the wind energy industry. And societies that intend to rely heavily on wind energy in the future.

Reason behind the declining wind speeds: climate change. The poles are heating up faster than the territories in temperate zones, reducing the temperature difference, which reduces the wind speeds. It is like with electricity: if the voltage is lower, the current is lower and the power even more so (P=V*I).

[dailymail.co.uk] – Where has the wind gone? ‘Global stilling’ is blamed as wind speeds drop across Europe cutting green energy production – threatening to drive up energy prices even FURTHER

How bad is it?

Global terrestrial stilling is the decrease of wind speed observed near the Earth’s surface (~10-meter height) over the last three decades (mainly since the 1980s), originally termed “stilling”. This slowdown of near-surface terrestrial winds has mainly affected mid-latitude regions of both hemispheres, with a global average reduction of −0.140 m s−1 dec−1 (meters per second per decade) or between 5 and 15% over the past 50 years. With high-latitude (> 75° from the equator) showing increases in both hemispheres. In contrast to the observed weakening of winds over continental surfaces, winds have tended to strengthen over ocean regions. In the last few years, a break in this terrestrial decrease of wind speed has been detected suggesting a recovery at global scales since 2013.

[wikipedia.org] – Global terrestrial stilling

For Europe, with its existing and projected large offshore wind parks of many GWs, the effect is negligible. And then there is this:

[nature.com] – A reversal in global terrestrial stilling and its implications for wind energy production

The trend of declining wind speeds seems to have been reversed since 2010. And more important:

The declining wind speed trend applies mostly to wind over land, not the seas, strengthening the case for offshore wind. Yet, even if the wind loses a few %, it won’t be a showstopper for the renewable energy transition:

[windpowermonthly.com] – Solar PV to ‘overtake wind by 2023’

Wind power is suitable for highly technologically competent countries, like those bordering the North Sea and Baltic. Countries that can handle 300 m high mega-structures at sea, offering them a minimum of local energy security. In the long run, solar will outpace wind globally, because it is much simpler, cheaper and can be applied anywhere, including countries in the global South. There is no man overboard if Europe will be forced to outsource a considerable part of its hydrogen production to the South, so the latter gets money to buy our (European) products.

Nevertheless, the energy production from wind over the past few months did show that the feared “dark doldrums” are very real and that the success of the renewable energy transition hinges around the success of developing cheap and efficient (electric) energy storage. We’re not there yet.

IPCC & Climate Problems Explained in 15 Minutes

[bbc.com] – Climate change: IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’

Sailing from Rotterdam to Amsterdam in 10 minutes

Fascinating video that shows the vulnerability of the western parts of the Netherlands for sea level rise. Note that in many cases, the water level in the canals is meters higher than the surrounding land. As a rule of thumb, the Netherlands can handle 1 meter sea level rise, but at 3 meters it is game over for the West of the Netherlands. Difficult to see how this scenario can be avoided in the long term (100-200 years). Some scenarios predict that 3 meters will be reality by 2100, 80 years from now.


The socalled “Green Heart“, rural area between Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

Elevation map of the Netherlands. Near Rotterdam, the land is up to 6 meters below sea level.

NASA sea level rise observations 1995-2020, fairly linear: 3.3 mm/year.

[wikipedia.org] – Sea level rise

Projecting future sea level is challenging, due to the complexity of many aspects of the climate system and to time lags in sea level reactions to Earth temperature changes. As climate research into past and present sea levels leads to improved computer models, projections have consistently increased. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected a high end estimate of 60 cm (2 ft) through 2099, but their 2014 report raised the high-end estimate to about 90 cm (3 ft). A number of later studies have concluded that a global sea level rise of 200 to 270 cm (6.6 to 8.9 ft) this century is “physically plausible”. A conservative estimate of the long-term projections is that each Celsius degree of temperature rise triggers a sea level rise of approximately 2.3 meters (4.2 ft/degree Fahrenheit) over a period of two millennia (2,000 years): an example of climate inertia. In February 2021, a paper published in Ocean Science suggested that past projections for global sea level rise by 2100 reported by the IPCC were likely conservative, and that sea levels will rise more than previously expected.

The Rise and Fall of Dutch Emissions

The rise has been achieved, the fall is planned and in the works.

[twitter.com] – Martien Visser

National Emission Reduction Performance

Yellow = better than agreed upon, orange = worse. Vertical axis: deviation in %

[twitter.com] – Martien Visser

Sea-Level Rise 2 m by 2100 Plausible

[source] From the Netherlands (what’s in a name?): it was nice to have known you all.

Global sea levels could rise by two metres (6.5 feet) and displace tens of millions of people by the end of the century, according to new projections that double the UN’s benchmark estimates. The vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain enough frozen water to lift the world’s oceans dozens of metres. The expansion of water as oceans warm also contributes to sea level rise.

But predicting the rates at which they will melt as the planet heats is notoriously tricky.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said its 2013 Fifth Assessment Report that under current emissions trajectories—a “business-as-usual” scenario known as RCP8.5—would likely rise by up to one metre by 2100.

That prediction has since been viewed as conservative, as the levels of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise year on year, and satellites showing accelerated rates of melt-off from massive ice sheets atop Antarctica and Greenland.

A group of the world’s leading ice scientists this week released a expert judgement on the situation, drawing on their own experience and observations.

While there was still a significant margin of error, they found it “plausible” that under the business-as-usual emissions scenario, sea-level rises could exceed two metres by 2100.

[phys.org] – 2-metre sea level rise ‘plausible’ by 2100: study
[deepresource] – Sudden 50 cm Sea Level Rise Possible Within 20 Years

UN – 1.5 C in 2040, a Decade Earlier

[source]

Against a backdrop of huge and unprecedented forest fires in Greece, Turkey, western US and Siberia, as well as floods in NW-Europe, the UN comes with a doomsday report, warning that the target temperature increase of 1.5C will be reached in 2040, a decade earlier than past prognostications.

The 1.5 C mark is a threshold, past of which climate change becomes increasingly dangerous. Since the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, average global temperatures have increased with 1.2 C already.

[dailymail.co.uk] – Global warming is ALREADY causing extreme weather and the world will heat up by 1.5C by 2040 – a decade earlier than forecast, warns doomsday UN climate report
[spiegel.de] – Was der neue Bericht des Weltklimarats für uns bedeutet

Carbon Farming – Storing CO2 in the Soil as Biomass

Carbon Farming is a new way of farming to sequestrate carbon in the soil. Carbon that otherwise ends up as CO2 in our atmosphere, causing climate change. There are many ways to do this: from small adjustments on farm level – like applying fertilizers rich in carbon, reduced or no-tillage, or planting cover crops – to changes in the entire farming system – like enriched crop rotation or agroforestry.

[northsearegion.eu] – What is carbon farming?
[wikipedia.org] – Carbon farming
[ec.europa.eu] – EU sets the carbon farming initiative in motion
[zlto.nl] – Carbon farming: koolstofboeren in Zeeland

Read more…

Gulf States Create Artificial Rain with Drones

[dailymail.co.uk] – Dubai creates its own RAIN to tackle 122F heat: Drones blast clouds with electrical charge to produce downpours

Norway and CO2 emissions

Deutsche Welle documentary about Norwegian carbon sequestration efforts:

Oil nation Norway plans to help fight climate change by capturing and storing Europe’s carbon emissions. The ‘Northern Lights’ project will store captured CO2 emissions in the North Sea. But this procedure is not without risks.

The world is facing a climate catastrophe, and despite rapid growth in renewable energy production, some industries continue to emit vast amounts of CO2 during production processes. Two of these industries are cement and steel, both crucial for the economy. A solution is needed, and Norway believes part of the answer for Europe is carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The country has called its CCS project ‘Northern Lights.’ The plan is to capture CO2 emitted from industrial sites, liquefy it, and then transport the liquefied gas via pipelines to be stored in the North Sea, approximately 3000 meters below sea level.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that the only way to limit the global rise in temperature to a maximum of two degrees is to capture and store many billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases. But in Germany people have protested against the use of carbon capture and storage.

The technology has been fraught with problems in the past. And there are other, more natural alternatives. One option could be to restore moorlands and bogs. When wet, these store carbon that has been sucked from the air by plants. But many bogs have been drained for farming, and as drained moorlands dry, CO2 is produced, meaning they have become a source of pollution rather than carbon storage. Reversing this and returning them to their carbon storing potential could be relatively inexpensive, as well as being a more natural way of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

This documentary weighs up the pros and cons of CCS and investigates why the restoration of moorlands has hardly progressed in years.

US Order for 200 Swedish 19-Passenger e-Planes

Heart Aerospace Hangar in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Two US companies have ordered 100 battery e-planes each at the Swedish Heart Aerospace company. The planes could be operational by 2026.

Data: 19 passengers over 400 km. Charging time: less than 40 minutes. Battery: 600 kWh or 0.1 kWh/km/passenger. The author of “wattisduurzaam” fears this is too good to be true, but why not? A single person in a car “burns” a comparable 1 kWh on 10 km, so why can’t a small 19-person plane represent the equivalent of 19 cars? And then there is this:

[deepresource] – e-Genius Update

Data from 2015 and a 2-seater e-Genius plane, crossing the Alps at 4000 m: 365 km, 43 kWh. That’s 43/365/2 = 0.06 kWh/km/passenger. This German plane from 2015 has a better efficiency than the (bigger) Swedish plane.

[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Voorwaardelijke order voor 200 elektrische 19-persoonsvliegtuigen

25 Mega-Cities Produce 52% Global Emissions

[source]

From the top 30, no less than 23 are Chinese, all near the top of the ranking. Furthermore: Moscow, Tokyo, New York, Manila, Bangkok, Dubai, Seoul.

1. Chinese Handan (199.71)
2. Shanghai, China (187.93)
3. Suzhou, China (151.79)
4. Dalian, China (142.51)
5. Beijing, China (132.58)
6. Tianjin, China (125.89)
7. Moscow, Russia (112.53)
8. Wuhan, China (110.86)
9. Qingdao, China (93.56)
10. Chongqing, China (80.58)
11. Wuxi, China (76.88)
12. Urumqi, China (75.32)
13. Guangzhou, China (71.03)
14. Huizhou, China (68.74)
15. Shijiazhuang, China (67.80)
16. Zhengzhou, China (66.16)
17. Tokyo, Japan (66.08)
18. Shenyang, China (64.10)
19. Kaohsiung, China (63.64)
20. Kunming, China (62.96)
21. Shenzhen, China (62.91)
22. Hangzhou, China (61.41)
23. Hong Kong, China (55.90)
24. Yinchuan, China (55.49)
25. Ch2engdu, China (54.49)
26. New York City, USA (51.31)
27. Manila, Philippines (49.47)
28. Bangkok, Thailand (49.22)
29. Dubai, United Arab Emirates (48.26)
30. Seoul, South Korea (48.06)

[editorpen.com] – Source city list
[frontiersin.org] – Original study
[reuters.com] – Handful of cities driving urban greenhouse gas emissions
[dailymail.co.uk] – Just 25 ‘mega-cities’ produce 52 per cent of the world’s urban greenhouse gas emissions — with Shanghai, Tokyo and Moscow topping the list

Heat Wave British Columbia Causing Wildfires

[bc.ctvnews.ca] – Sudden deaths recorded during B.C.’s heat wave up to 719, coroners say
[edition.cnn.com] – Unprecedented heat, hundreds dead and a town destroyed. Climate change is frying the Northern Hemisphere
[eand.co] – This Isn’t a Heatwave — It’s a Dying Planet
[reuters.com] – Western Canada lightning strikes up tenfold, stoking fires
[Google Maps] – Lytton

Fire in the Gulf of Mexico

Iconic pictures from the Gulf of Mexico and bad publicity for fossil fuel. Nice additional argument to leave fossil fuel before it leaves us.

Western US Entering Period of Megadrought

A megadrought (or mega-drought) is a prolonged drought lasting two decades or longer.

[nationalgeographic.com] – ‘Megadrought’ persists in western U.S., as another extremely dry year develops
[forbes.com] – Scientists Said The West Was Entering A Megadrought. Now It’s Twice As Bad
[wikipedia.org] – Megadrought

Shell Defeated in Dutch Court

The Dutch environmental club Milieudefensie has won a landmark court case against Shell. The court ruled that Shell has a global responsibility to curb emissions, to the tune of 45 % (!) by the end of 2030, as compared to 2019. Currently, Shell had the goal of merely 20 % by 2030. The court ruling is widely considered as “historic”, with enormous implications for Royal Dutch Shell. Shell announced it will appeal the verdict.

[nos.nl] – Milieudefensie wint rechtszaak tegen Shell: CO2-uitstoot moet sneller dalen
[n-tv.de] – Gericht drückt Ölriese scharfe Klima-Ziele auf
[rechargenews.com] – ‘Historic victory’: court tells Shell to slash emissions on Big Oil’s day of climate pain
[independent.co.uk] – Shell forced to slash global emissions after landmark court ruling
[rechargenews.com] – Court ruling Shell must slash emissions ‘does not help’ climate fight: oil giant’s Dutch boss

Switzerland Rejects CO2 Law

[source] Nearly all the world’s glaciers are melting at an accelerated pace, study finds. The iconic Swiss glaciers and tourism highlights are expected to be vanished before 2100.

Grüezi mitenand. Switzerland, in a referendum, has rejected a law that would enable the country to achieve the objectives, as laid out in the Paris Accords, a treaty nota bene, Switzerland itself signed.

[swissinfo.ch] – Switzerland misses its emissions targets

Since 1990, Switzerland reduced its CO2-emissions with 14%, where the EU achieved 20% over the same time frame. Ironically, Switzerland and its mountain regions, suffer more than average from increased temperatures. To be fair, Switzerland has a low carbon footprint (CH-4.8, EU-8.3, D-9.1), not because of a titanic effort to curb emissions, but because it is blessed with a share of 59% hydro-power, a gift from nature and mostly implemented for reasons of economic advantage, before the climate issue became pressing. And additionally, Switzerland has 19% nuclear power, a dubious source of power. Nevertheless, the referendum outcome sets a bad example. A solution for the world’s environmental problems can only come from the rich European countries, including one of its richest, Switzerland.

From America, little can be expected, as that country is too busy trying to militarily subjugate the rest of the world, an entirely futile effort, while it is rapidly morphing into a Third World country, that eventually will blow itself up as a result of unsurmountable inter-ethnic tensions, paving the way for a return of a united Europe onto the world stage after 2030. During the rest of the 21st century, Europe (incl. Russia) and China will be vying for geopolitical pole position, just like the US and USSR did after WW2.

Regarding Switzerland (and Britain), it’s understandable to become skeptical about the wisdom of referendums on complicated issues. The lower strata of the populist-minded population in general votes for small-minded egoism, flag-waving and not-taking responsibility for international problems. The Swiss are very much like the English in this respect: geographically and historically isolated.

They both fared well in recent history, because the UK had an empire to milk and Switzerland used its isolation to offer itself as a heaven of neutrality and natural base for international organizations and even stronger: a banking system bordering on criminality, that at some point laundered 50% of the world’s criminal money.

No more. Both the UK and Switzerland are going to experience first hand what it means to maneuver yourself into isolation: no friends, no favors. In all likelihood, the UK is going to fall apart as a result of the Brexit referendum and subsequent economic devastation. Switzerland, that recently broke off negotiations over new relations with the EU, will soon find out what it means to oppose yourself against a body, 55 times your size.

[reuters.com] – Swiss reject law to help country meet Paris carbon emissions goal
[swissinfo.ch] – Volk lehnt CO2-Gesetz mit 51,6 % ab
[tagblatt.ch] – Scherbenhaufen in der Schweizer Klimapolitik: Die Mehrheit will das Klima nur schützen, wenn es nichts kostet
[dailymail.co.uk] – Irish deputy PM Leo Varadkar risks inflaming bitter Brexit row as he says unifying the island of Ireland is his ‘mission’
[telegraph.co.uk] – Lord Heseltine suggests Brexit vote allows Germany to win WW2
[bloomberg.com] – How Delusions About World War II Fed Brexit Mania

Sudden 50 cm Sea Level Rise Possible Within 20 Years

Within 20 years, the Pine Island Glacier on Western Antarctica could break off and release 180 trillion tons of ice into the world’s oceans, causing a sea level rise of 50 cm.

And then there is the Thwaites Glacier, also in Western Antarctica, worth 3 m sea level rise.

Both glaciers mentioned move at a rate of 1 km/year (Thwaites) to 2.5 km/year (Pine Island), according to ESA data.

[sciencemag.org] – Ice-shelf retreat drives recent Pine Island Glacier speedup
[washington.edu] – Original Source: University of Washington
[dailymail.co.uk] – “Antarctica’s Pine Island ice shelf is ‘ripping apart’, meaning the 180 trillion ton glacier it is helping to hold back could COLLAPSE within 20 years, study warns”

Read more…

German Government Increases Renewable Energy Ambitions

[source]

Germany’s CDU-CSU-SPD government coalition has upgraded its 2030 renewable energy targets in the context of its “Climate Emergency Programme 2022”.

Rather than aiming for 71 GW onshore wind, the new target is 95 GW. Likewise, PV solar new target is 150 GW, rather than 100 GW. Additionally, an extra €8 billion is allocated for building energy efficiency, e-car subsidies and other climate-friendly industrial projects.

These figures originate from a draft proposal only.

[cleanenergywire.org] – German govt to propose higher renewables targets in climate emergency programme

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