Commentary: On the hypocrisy over climate change

Whether we like it or not, we all have a vested interest in the climate, and any changes observed in it. Most interested are the young and younger generation since they will inherit the outcome of the current and prevailing hypocritical debate. But we need to understand why.

a) the younger generation inherits not only the climate, but also the system of governance, and the knowledge base that goes with it.

b) the CO2-centric argument for AGW is fatally flawed. Below explains why.

c) utter inconsistency in the global political rhetoric on the mechanics of AGW policies to be implemented. Starting with top down producers, agreed goals and agreeable methods tied to recognised outcomes.

d) given the scope of inheritance of the younger generations being without limit, how is it that only AGW has captured the world’s attention, and yet the utter lack of criminal prosecutions over the GFC (‘Global Financial Con’) has escaped even 5% of the same level of scrutiny?

e) the AGW argument has yet to confront the imposing limits on developing countries and their energy consumption easements to allow equitable economic, industrial and social development.

Anyhow, on point b) only. The following should be widely dispersed for improving understanding of every kWH of electricity produced on the planet.

The debate over AGW is concerned with heat, and attributes the purported increased temperatures of the planet to CO2. Did you know that heat is universally measured in kilowatts? Well, so is electricity. The thermal efficiency of generating every single kilowatt (kW) and the meterage term kiloWatt-Hours (kWHr) is less than 50% (and in some cases MUCH less than 50%). What this means is for every metered kW of electricity consumed every hour (as kWHr) of every day by every person on the planet, there is AT LEAST that amount of direct heat (as kW’s) going straight into the atmosphere. This waste heat is left over from the process of burning something (i.e. combustion e.g. coal, oil, natural gas) to generate rotating motion (turbine) that spins a generator. The combined thermal efficiency of every piece of equipment that produces electricity would be less than 50%.

Before you get excited, physical limits of thermodynamic are mostly to blame, not just human apathy or lack of finances. State of the art modern coal fired power stations (not cogen or tri-gen) have 49% thermal efficiency. Previous versions are much lower (in the 30%!!). This means for every 700MW turbine output, there is at least 700MW going into the atmosphere as radiant heat and heat waste of exhaust gases and condensate heat exchange. You know the water vapour plumes you see from the hyperbolic cooling towers? That’s waste heat. (and no, it is not radioactive)

Hence, I question the IPCC’s purported role of CO2 almost entirely. Some simple maths can account for a much more equitable and likely AGW effect. In reading through AR4, nothing is mentioned of human radiative heat sources. Namely –
1. Thermal electrical heat output as heating elements, and the waste heat energy expended to create electricity
2.Motor vehicle heat output
3. Human beings as a single radiator heat source
– all of which are substantial and increasing heat outputs.

1. Electrical thermal heat source – IEA 2008 estimate of global electrical energy = 20181 TWh(e) – this is metered/transmitted electrical energy output from all generation sources

67.8% of this generation was from carbon fuels with an average generation thermal efficiency at best 60% (weighted using latest state of the art co-gen and tri-gen). Hence, at least 40% of the thermal conversion of fuel used to generate this amount was waste heat via exhaust heat/parasitic/insulation loss/cooling losses.

20181 x 67.8% div 60% x 40% =
9121 TWHr (th) pure radiated heat loss

Of the 20181 TWHr (e) of electricity that is actually produced, it is arguable at least 50% of this end use results in pure thermal heat loss due to electrical equipment acting as thermal radiators. The balance becomes stored potential energy in processing/production.

10,090 TWhr(th) as thermal radiated heat watts (at end use) – at least (very crudely, best case)

2. Motor vehicles Assuming every motor vehicle has a start and end point at the same location (home/depot), then every bit of energy used to move the vehicle from start to the same finish becomes a direct thermal heat source. The vehicle starts at room temperature, and ends at room temperature (once cooled) – the only differences of wear/tear and fuel consumed – most of this energy has gone into the atmosphere as thermal radiative heat in various forms.

(ABS) Australia has 15.7million registered motor vehicles that travel an average of 13,700kms per year. Assuming 100kW engine capacity at average speed of 60kms/hr (50% ave power)this is 228hrs average per vehicle per year (less than 1 hr per day ave).

Total thermal energy output (Australia)=
228hrs x 15.7M vehicles x 100kW 50% div 0.8 (efficiency)
= 223 TWh (th)

(US DOT) USA has 255.9M, and arguably similar driving habits = 3,646 TWHr (th)

Estimate for China’s cars – assuming 1 car per 4, or 250 cars per 1000. (USA and AUS are 750 cars per 1000). China vehicles typically smaller capacity, but might probably travel more km’s more often – say ave 1 hr per day.

350M cars x 365hrs x 100kW x 50% div 0.8
= 7,984 TWHr (th)

3. A general figure for human heat load in HVAC design is between 140W and 200W per person, depending on the level of activity. Take a global average of 100W 24hrs/day

6.85 billion x 100W (ave) x24hrs x 365 = 6,000 TWHr (th) growing at 1.7% p.a. since 1975.

These radiative heat sources above are by no means inconsequential – and are increasing at a rate of 3.5% per year since 1973. Using the generally accepted climate sensitivity of 0.25 degC per W/m2, the above 2 items currently amount to 0.15 deg temperature rise since 1973 – assuming average heat spread over entire non-water land surface.

They have nothing at all to do with any purported effect on CO2 – as treated elsewhere. The above is simply identifying actual man made and measurable thermal heat sources that are not part of the natural oscillation, and that might contribute to climate change.

Jumping to the end game, the IEA suggests 2008 final global energy consumption of all energy forms (incl electrical) was 8,428 Mtoe. Conversion of Mtoe to TWhr(th) is easy enough, and comes in at a staggering 99,781 TWhr(th). It is not a stretch to say that 40% of this consumption is pure waste heat, and 50% of the remainder ends up as thermal heat radiated to atmosphere from end use.

So 70% of 99,781 TWhrs is manmade direct thermal radiation = 69,846 TWhrs (th) – balance is stored potential energy of process/production/fabrication. Nothing whatsoever to do with CO2 and it’s supposed radiative forcing.

This equates to a measurable amount of heat, even if tiny by comparison to solar radiation. After all, a great deal of emotion surrounds 0.6 degrees of temperature rise outside of trend !!

I argue that the radiative component of temperature rise is caused predominantly by the increase in manmade heat sources such as electrical demand, motor vehicles and petroleum fuels production. Still AGW, but more accurately nothing to do with CO2 – and MUCH harder to direct policy towards it. Hence targeting the use of renewable energies would be less about CO2 abatement and more about reducing the thermal inefficiency (losses) of existing generation via carbon fuels.

Our climate policies should therefore be targeted at (a) thermal efficiency of power generation from all carbon fuels better than 90%, (b) cogeneration/trigeneration/CHP plants for all new generation facilities, (c) consumer efficiency/demand side mitigation, (d) improved total combustion emissions including particulates, (e) smaller motor vehicle engines (not larger) and better efficiency, (f) renewable energies requiring no conversion heat loss.

I haven’t heard a single politician utter any words publically to the effect of the WEO 450 scenario, or a 450ppm target. For example, the Australian GillardBrown carbon tax to help achieve the ‘agreed’ 450pmm scenario via steps x,y and z. If they insist on a carbon tax, then the WEO report is how they will implement it. Period. … and Brown can get used to the idea of nuclear reactors when additional coal fired projects are rejected. Qld can then come to grips with lifting the ban on Uranium mining in a hallelujah moment later this year.

I am assuming here that 450ppm is a universally agreed target cap by consensus of the climate lobby group for it to be a forecasting tool within the WEO report (issued by the IEA). One assumes this consensus to have been the desired purpose of Copenhagen. It is recognised that Governments hold the key to changing investment patterns within the energy sector via the approvals process, but if the Gillard Gov’t thinks this is going to happen without reference to the plan contained within the WEO report then she is kidding herself.

It is the blind leading the blind otherwise on just how this is going to be implemented on a world scale. Brown burnt all his books on hydro and nuclear power generation. Now he’s running out of options. Politicians have many reference documents at their disposal that lays out how to impliment lower CO2 power generation. The reality of the future is things will go up before they go down and developing countries won’t wear the costs.

Highlights of the 450 scenario (‘if’ it is achieved) – these are GLOBAL caps
1. 6% global increase in energy related CO2 emissions by 2020
2. Power generation CO2 intensity decreasing by 21% in 2020 relative to 2007
3. 3% increase in emissions from buildings and 9% increase in industry relative to 2007
4. Additional investment in low-carbon and energy efficiency
There has been no implementation strategy by anyone on just how the cogs of the carbon tax will turn to achieve the above, assuming above 450ppm is the end of the world.
(not saying it is, but if you are going to peddle climate change, then it is past time to agree on what the global limit is to work towards)

Hence the 450 scenario …. expect developing countries to have a say on anything imposed on them by the excesses of the OECD countries. Saying nothing on how this is supposedly going to be montitored once it begins.

Energy use per capita – equitable distribution to every person on the planet is going to be a policy killer! If I were the non-OECD countries, I could use the climate argument to cripple the OECD countries – based on calculations only the top 20 most populated countries, and including the top 30 highest energy consumers per capita (not the same obviously).

What this tells me, if CO2 is linearly related to total energy consumption per capita, then allowing equitable growth energy consumption (per capita) to China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc means a MASSIVE reduction to high consumption centres like Qatar, UAE, Canada, USA, Australia etc. (per capita). Reason being, converting per capita use to totals, then averaging this out to provide equitable growth to undeveloped countries, means the climate movement is pushing a very large barrow up a very steep hill.

It has been said many times, Australia’s contribution to all this is less than 1%. Politically we need to be seen to be doing something – but it will amount to very little on the world stage. In order to allow the increase in standard of living to higher population centres, the reductions will be unattainable. Target reductions to Qatar, UAE, Canada, USA, Australia etc. (per capita) are not going to be achieved, and the developing world is going to be made to carry the burden. This is not equitable in the least, and is blatantly discriminatory to those yet to achieve even a low standard of living, let alone the same. A 100% increase in total energy consumption results from using a target of 3,000 kg oil eq per capita for the entire world.

Currently the developed world average is 5,100kq oil eq. using the 30 highest consumers above Japan at 4,000kq/person. Cannot see it happening. This assumes we are all equal in the eyes of the Energy Gods – which we know we are not. So something has to give, and the non-OECD countries have a big stick to wield. Targeting Japan’s consumption per capita of 4,000kg/person results in a 150% increase over and above 2007 energy consumption. Japan is actually least affected on 2007 data.

The 450ppm provides a calculation on just less than 2,000kgOE (oil equivalent) per capita for 2030 projected population – as a global pollution average per person!! KNOWING that developing countries can, will and are entitled to increase, the debt burden is on those currently consuming higher than 2,000kg to reduce to this number (every OECD country fora start). The magnitude of these cuts to OECD are unattainable!!

This is an impossible task if you ask me, unless you impose tighter restrictions on developing countries = preventing them from further development. The charts provided by the IEA below indicate where the savings MUST come from. If they don’t, then kiss 450ppmm goodbye, and the 2 dec C temp rise with it. Once non-OECD countries wake up to this, I would reasonably expect them to storm the conference and tell the OECD countries where they might put their policies.
WEO report - click image

… and who is the world looking forward to the most to make these changes?
China and the US make up 48% of the rquired reductions – China rightfuly has the lions share (based on population alone)

WEO report - click image

Angela Merkel might need to rethink her countries commitment to CO2 also, and let the world know how she is going to achieve the reductions for the EU. It is safe to say that if the above abatement targets are not achieved, neither is 450ppm, and neither is the successful campaign of the climate movement. I am not accepting the populist climate movement, but if Australian politicians like Gillard and Brown make me pay for it, then I’ll have a say in adhering to the WEO report above.

Nuclear will produce the cheapest cost per kwHr next to that of natural gas cogen/trigenerator units. The ‘free market’ commodity price dynamics will be very interesting to say the least. If any Government fails to adhere to the requirements of this consensus, then their motives were never supportive of the climate movement in the first place. Expect the largest impact to come from developing countries once they wake up to what is going on. Not many really understand what 2,000kgOE means to OECD countries.

Throwing confetti to the wind is all this amounts to. Aside from the debate on climate change, if the various protagonists were even remotely consistent, it would add support to the climate movement. Now that GillardBrown has imposed a carbon tax, then the WEO report framework should be what should be used in consumption targeting by way of mandated policy.

Today is the cumulative resultant of what has gone before – good and bad. However the hypocrisy of the major governments, is that the heat burst given out by millions of exploding munitions, and chemicals that have been poured into the atmosphere by the tens of thousands of armed military transports and aircraft, makes insulated ceilings, double glazing and inverter air-conditioning somewhat redundant.

It is not the CO2, it is the waste heat that goes with every kiloWatt of electricity produced. The total man made heat load via consumer driven demand is contributing to temperature rise, not the CO2 in my opinion. The current reality is that we are spending $Trillions on CO2 abatement only to observe the same or worse temperature rise. Targeting high CO2 output industries is a vendetta, not a policy. Accepting the argument that AGW is a real phenomenon, what happens in the future if temperatures continue to rise with rising energy use irrespsective of CO2 levels?

Equally, the trading platforms for pricing CO2 via open exchange derivatives is a colossal waste of evolution. Surely you would be long CO2 prices, since even Ray Charles can see that as CO2 approaches and exceeds the limits imposed by the 450 scenario, the desperation and alarm in the CO2 lobbying camp will become deafening as the media trumpets the “end of days”. The hysteria with reach fever pitch as false claims fly that $5000 per ton CO2 will fix the world! There will be a bubble in the CO2 price to rival that of previous fantasy markets.

This says nothing of the fact that fully 85% of the worlds population lives in the northern hemisphere, of this more than 2.6Billion people live north of the Tropic of Cancer. Hence 85% of the above consideration belongs to people that Australia’s delusional politicians have no control over. The graph below shows that 40% of the worlds population lives in densely populated conditions accustomed to climate that is sensitive to change.

Global Population Distribution - click image



About atradersrant

Self-employed private trader of equities, commodities and FX for income and investment; Follow me at your own risk! I provide analysis of major market & economic trends .. with too much commentary on fraud and corruption that is rife in the open market.
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3 Responses to Commentary: On the hypocrisy over climate change

  1. Scott says:

    The amount of heat released into the atmosphere by human activity (converting chemical and nuclear energy to heat) is many thousands of times smaller than the amount of heat absorbed from the Sun. The Earth radiates almost all of this heat back into space, which is why the temperature remains relatively constant. CO2 reduces the proportion of heat radiated, which is why scientists are more concerned about CO2 emissions than total energy consumption.

    It’s a bit like bank fees and interest rates. You lose when the bank increases your annual account fee from $20 to $40, but if you have $1 million in the account, even a 0.1% reduction in the interest rate hurts a lot more.

    • atradersrant says:

      Hi Scott,
      You are referring to albedo, and the full spectrum of energy incident on the earth (mostly solar) is absorbed/reflected/re-radiated differently according to the different frequencies. The tiny fraction of anything man made is known relative to solar energy and yet the entire global warming fear is currently over 0.6deg C outside of trend blamed solely on human activities. To suggest the human induced contribution to 380ppm CO2 (correctly expressed as 0.038%) of the atmosphere is responsible for the entirety of AGW is more than grasping at straws. Little collective effort is being made for reaforestation of stripped lands that properly reflects any kind of deliberate commitment to this fear campaign.
      Moreover, the heat sources I identify are tangible and measurable, and are the ‘heat islands’ that are distorting urban data. No-one that I have reviewed to date has quantified the heat sources back to a quantum of manmade heat as I have very breifly summarised here. I contend that it is this direct heat source that is more a cause of the 0.6 degree C departure from trend (acknowledging the CO2 that goes with the associated combustion). Being long Carbon prices is the next sure thing as a result of nothing appreciable being altered by the carbon trading exchanges. Trends in growth of energy consumption and what the 450 scenario mandates are not sharing common aspirations.

  2. Pingback: Why waste heat is the problem and not CO2 – go long carbon price | atradersrant

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