Saturday, 10 March 2012

Study: Replacing all coal plants with renewables would have practically no cooling effect 50 or 100 years from now

"I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration"

Al Gore

Robert Rapier, writing in the Consumer Energy Report, summarizes a new paper in Environmental Research Letters, which must be rather depressing reading for Al Gore, Greenpeace and the rest of the anti-coal warmists:

Even if you could in theory shut down all of the coal-fired power plants in the world and replace them with wind, solar, and hydropower — in 50 years the projected temperature is only one-twentieth of a degree C cooler than the base case of continuing to use coal. In 100 years, if I could replace all global coal-fired power plants with firm, renewable power — the temperature is only projected to be about 0.2 degrees cooler than under the coal base case. And the way this is being spun is that the 0.09 degree reduction from switching to natural gas is equivalent to an effect of “zero”, but the 0.2 degree reduction in hypothetically replacing everything with wind and solar power 100 years from now is significant. About the natural gas case, Romm literally said the 0.09 degree lower temperature in switching to natural gas means that “natural gas is a bridge fuel to nowhere”, but the 0.2 degree lower temperature in switching to renewables is “the worlds only plausible hope to avert catastrophic temperature rise.”
Bear in mind that this is for a global replacement of coal — most of which is used in Asia. Good luck trying to sell China and India on a 0.2 degree temperature difference in 100 years if they quickly abandon their coal-fired power plants and replace them with wind power.
To be honest, if I was devoting my life to fighting against the threat of climate change, this would be one of the most depressing papers I have ever read. If we could convince everyone in the world to shut down their coal-fired power plants — which we can’t — and replace them with renewable power — which isn’t available in quantities sufficient to replace coal-fired power — then by the end of my life there would still be no statistically significant temperature change to even be able to tell if my life’s work was successful.

Read the entire article here

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