Launching our COP21 crowdfunding campaign

NewcoveringogoWe are happy to announce our greatest endeavour ever!

We have been gathering steam, making new contacts, planning and preparing for months.

Now we are launching our most ambitious crowd-funding campaign ever. We aim to deliver thousands of our book to participants in the COP21 climate negotiations, held in Paris in December this year!

We know! It’s an AWESOME idea! ūüôā See the campaign here!

Why?

From what we have learned, there are some big gaps in the knowledge of the negotiators on several issues regarding mitigating climate change. These include:

  • The science on the realities of the needed decarbonization efforts; several percent each year for decades to come in most western nations.
  • The consensus on the best, and the most likely, speed with which we could build renewable energy production and increase efficiency, and if this can be matched with the needed rate of decarbonization with any likelyhood of success (it cannot).
  • The IPCC’s conclusion on the carbon balances of various energy sources, namely the fact that nuclear is very low carbon, and that biomass is not necessarily low carbon.
  • The consensus of various organizations, IPCC and IEA included, on the absolute necessity that we use all available tools – including nuclear energy, renewables, efficiency, conservation and carbon capture and storage – to mitigate climate change if we are to have any practical chance to avert catastrophic consequences.

And much, much more.

We are also very, very sad about the fact that several groups that call themselves environmentalists, are actively, even forcefully campaigning against the scientific consensus on the matter. They would like to see nuclear excluded from our toolbox of mitigating climate change. According to scientific consensus, this is a certain road to disaster.

We need all the tools. Help us spread this message. Participate in our campaign, spread infromation about it.

World energy use and renewable energy potential according to IPCC (Weekly pic)

Sources: IPCC SRREN (2011), Figure 10.4, and IPCC AR5 WG3 Draft (2014), p. 66.
Sources: IPCC SRREN (2011), Figure 10.4, and IPCC AR5 WG3 Draft (2014), p. 66.

By 2050, Earth will be home to nine to ten billion people. Most of those people will aspire to a higher standard of living, and in poor countries, this will mean more demand for energy supplies. Meanwhile, the raw material deposits the industrialized economy is dependent upon are diminishing in quality, and extracting useful materials will require far more energy inputs. Furthermore, fossil fuels need to be replaced with cleaner alternatives, and since this in many cases involves inherently inefficient conversion processes (for example, pyrolyzing biomass to liquid fuel), the demand for primary energy supplies in these applications will likely rise.

For these and other reasons, almost every serious estimate of the future of world energy demand concludes that the demand will at the very least stay close to current figures, and most likely it will rise substantially. The intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC, estimates that even if climate mitigation is taken seriously Рwhich is currently not the case Рthe world energy demand is likely to rise. A range of scenarios illustrated above trends towards 600 to 700 exajoules per year, and possibly more. If, on the other hand, climate change is approached with the current leisurely fashion, energy demand in 2050 could be much higher: quite possibly as much as 1500 exajoules per year.

You can therefore understand our horror when we realized that the report many environmental organizations lauded as the “most comprehensive” report on the renewable potential so far falls very short of these goals. The report in question, IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation or SRREN for short, assessed¬†164 energy scenarios derived from 16 distinct models. The report was by no means overly critical of renewables; nevertheless, its conclusions are sobering. The most positive outlier scenario out of 164 could perhaps deliver 428 exajoules per year in 2050; the average of all 164 scenarios is just 186 exajoules.

If something goes wrong in either the most positive outlier scenario or in the lower estimates for world energy use, the outcome is clear: the climate is done for. Even 100 exajoules per year from unabated fossil fuel burning would probably be too much, and cause us to fail in our climate goals.

And if anything unexpected happens either with energy demand or with renewable scenarios, the gap between what is needed and what is delivered can be huge.

Yet all this is almost never even mentioned in public discourse. Powerful non-governmental organizations act as if these estimates didn’t even exist, and continue to imply that we could easily power the entire planet with renewables alone. In effect, they act as if the most optimistic outlier in the most comprehensive report to date is something of a “worst case” scenario for renewables, to be easily exceeded when needed.

We believe this to be a huge gamble with our stable climate. At the very least, it is hard to call it responsible policy.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

What is the future of renewable energy? (Weekly pic)

Source: IPCC SRREN (2011), Figure 10.4
Source: IPCC SRREN (2011), Figure 10.2 (Page 803, edited figure number to the correct one 12th September 2015)

It is highly unlikely the world can be powered by renewable energy sources alone by 2050. This is one of the conclusions of the IPCC’s often cited but rarely read Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, or SRREN.

Published in 2011, it reviewed 164 energy scenarios that focus on the role of renewable energy in the world energy supply. While the report finds that the maximum “technical potential” of renewable energy sources is indeed large, these scenarios – which attempted to take into account at least some economic and other practical limitations¬†as well – found that their realizable potential is probably much less.

The above graph sums up the results.¬†Not one of those 164 scenarios could deliver, in 2050, even the amount of energy used in the world in 2010. Even the most positive outlier, based on Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution study (which in turn was largely based on data from renewable industry lobbyists) delivered only 428 exajoules per year. The average of all scenarios was much less, only 186 exajoules per year.

The SRREN report was by no means overly critical of renewables. As several commentators noted after the report’s¬†release, it downplayed or even¬†omitted discussion about several problems with high renewables scenarios. For example, the feasibility of different scenarios was not really assessed: they may be technically possible, but can the world politics put them to practice?

And even if the most optimistic of those 164 scenarios is put into practice and runs into no unforeseen difficulties, the world energy demand needs to drop drastically while world population grows to 9 or 10 billion. 

Let’s suppose we’re building a bridge and order 164 engineering analyses of the proposed structure’s¬†soundness. Every single one of these analyses suggests that the bridge will be unlikely to withstand current traffic, much less the likely¬†increase in the future. We proceed with the plans anyway, and even declare that our plan is the only one worth mentioning. Are these the words of a responsible designer?

Are the words of Greenpeace – and others who advocate for zero nuclear energy – responsible, or are they a gamble with the climate?

Activists or lobbyists? (Weekly pic)

Source: Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution 2012.
Source: Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution 2012.
Greenpeace is one of the largest global organizations opposing nuclear power. While it does commendable work in many other fields and actively promotes renewables, one must wonder whether or not they have crossed a line from being activists to being unpaid lobbyists to industrial interests.

This excerpt from our book simply shows the cover and foreword of Greenpeace’s regularly updated vision for world energy future, the Energy [R]evolution. It is one of the cornerstones of the world anti-nuclear movement, and is regularly referenced to when one questions whether climate and other environmental goals are achievable without nuclear power. The order in which the organizations and signatories appear in this document may be accidental; nevertheless, it reveals that two out of three parties who signed off this document are in fact industry lobbyists.

According to its now-defunct website, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) “represent[ed] the entire renewable energy sector as the umbrella organisation of the European renewable energy industry, trade and research associations […] EREC¬†represent[ed] an industry with an annual economic activity of more than ‚ā¨130 billion and more than 1 million employees.” (Note that¬†EREC no longer exists, as it¬†was forced into liquidation in early 2014 mainly due to high liabilities from its showcase low-energy headquarters in Brussels.)

Similarly, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is the international trade association for the wind power industry, representing¬†“over 1,500 companies, organisations and institutions in more than 80 countries, including manufacturers, developers, component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies.”¬†Its stated mission is to create a better policy environment for wind power, and advocate new policies “to help wind power reach its full potential in as wide a variety of markets as possible.”¬†

Both of these organizations have done and, in case of GWEC, continue to do valuable work in promoting renewables. However, they are by their own admission mouthpieces for industrial interests. Renewable energy is no longer a mom-and-pop business staffed by starry-eyed hippies: it is in fact larger than nuclear industry, that traditional target of¬†activists keen to criticize¬†“big business” for its corrupting influences.

Big business doesn’t get big nor does it stay big without some lobbying. It is perfectly understandable that GWEC and late EREC lobby for their respective industries. It is, however, somewhat more questionable when a large, supposedly neutral or even anti-business NGO uncritically joins forces with them.

Even more questionable is if the said NGO takes the key data for its energy forecasts directly from the industry lobby groups. Which happens to be precisely what Greenpeace has admitted doing. As Sven Teske from Greenpeace freely admits:

The Energy [R]evolution, which is the result of a partnership between Greenpeace and the European¬†Renewable Energy Council (EREC) […] the renewable energy industry provided key technical data for this project […]

Even though modeling for the Energy [R]evolution was done by a neutral group, anyone ever involved in modeling is familiar with the term GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. It means simply that if the key data for a model is biased, the end results will be biased.

We believe that relying on industry lobby groups for key data for the scenario to save the world is, in short, a gamble with the climate.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

Climate Gamble is now available on Amazon Kindle

web-cover_edited
Climate Gamble is now available!

Our book Climate Gamble Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? is now available as a Kindle-version in Amazon!

If you prefer paperback, it will also be available in a few days on Amazon. We will also add some other purchasing options in the coming weeks (if you prefer epub for example).

If you want to get a review copy, please let us know at climategamble@gmail.com.

Sources of world’s energy in 1990 and 2013 (Weekly pic)

Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014
Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014

The second installment of our series of graphics from our book,¬†Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering our Future,¬†covers in more detail the share of different energy sources in the world’s energy mix. In our previous weekly pic, we noted that measly 13 percent of world’s energy currently comes from fossil-free sources, a figure that has barely budged since the nuclear build-up ended in the late 1980s. This graph shows that while oil use has (relatively speaking) fallen somewhat, coal use has actually¬†increased compared to 1990. This despite all the promises and negotiations that have aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, of which coal burning is the largest single culprit.

We can also see that while renewables have shown commendable progress, their shares are still very small of the total. Unless the growth of renewables continues at current, unprecedented levels, shunning nuclear power will be a gamble with the world’s climate.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

Share of fossil-free energy from world total, 1965-2013 (Weekly pic)

Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014.
Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014.

Kicking off the series of weekly posts with graphs and pictures from the English edition of Climate Gamble is this graph of the share of fossil-free energy as percentage of world total energy use. As we can see from the graph, fossil free energy constitutes only about 13 percent of the total, despite decades of warnings about the dangers of continuing our fossil fuel addiction.

One can also see when was the last time world energy supply was substantially cleaned up: during the nuclear build-up in the 1980s. This is one reason we believe that anti-nuclear activism is gambling with our climate.

The data for the graph comes from BP World Energy Outlook 2014.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

Book launch imminent!

Climate Gamble – book cover

We are honored to launch the book worldwide in Paris in European Nuclear Young Generation Forum (event website) on 23rd June 2015.

There will be a limited edition of the book available to the other attendees of the event, free of charge. The commercial edition – which will include some final touches and special surprises we simply did not have the time or change to have on the first edition – will be published worldwide a bit later in the summer.

Rauli and Janne, the authors, will be attending most of the event, and we will blog about it here, and tweet about it with @Climate_Gamble and our personal twitter accounts @kaikenhuippu and @jmkorhonen.

Edit: due to the very busy schedule and hotels’ slow and unreliable WiFi, we coud not get much blogging done. We will get back at it later, meanwhile, there are some pictures and posts on our facebook-page for the book.