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Dan Thompson
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Dan Thompson

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...I have been pointing out for a while that following the steep decline in the cost of wind and solar energy, an energy transition is a free lunch. It’s a simple calculation.
Citibank are just the latest team of experts to confirm the “no or negligible net cost” conclusion. (Pdf report page 23; press coverage.) They make the total world outlays on energy to 2040 in a fossil-heavy BAU at $192 trillion, those in an energy transition at $190.2 trillion, net saving $1.8 trillion. The last number is well within the error range, and should not be taken too seriously. The less precise “next to nothing” conclusion is solid. I stress that is the consensus expert position: the IPCC WG3 (pdf, page 15) say the same thing, as do Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel for Germany. Can any reader cite a credible study suggesting the contrary? In case you are worried, these professional scenarios do include the costs of grid integration for variable wind and solar energy, it’s not back to candles.
Net cash cost of energy transition to 2040 ≈ $0.
Fossil fuels are also responsible for huge amounts of local and regional air pollution. This contributes to a steadily lengthening list of health problems and premature deaths. UNEP gives the world total of premature deaths from all air pollution at 3.5 million a year. The OECD has estimated the annual health costs (basis 2010) attributable to outdoor air pollution in its member states plus India and China at $3.5 trillion a year (pdf, page 2). Half of this is due to road transport. This estimate (endnote) excludes a good number of countries including Brazil and Indonesia, plus the effects of indoor air pollution from wood fires and kerosene stoves. It is almost certainly a major underestimate. A full energy transition eliminates all of these costs in time. There will be a few deaths from solar and wind installers falling from heights, and electrocutions from electric vehicles. More significantly, air pollution has improved in OECD countries since 2010, but not enough to change the overall picture.

A complete energy transition would eliminate these health costs gradually, and in the end completely. Using a straight-line reduction from $3.5 trn a year in 2015 to zero in 2060, we get a total saving of $25.3 trillion.
Health saving to 2040 from energy transition ≈ $25 trillion.
So the net undiscounted cost to 2040 of the energy transition (cash for energy plus health) is minus $25 trillion. That’s a $3,500 bonus for every man, woman and child alive today.
I have not included anything for avoided GDP costs from extreme weather, hotter summers, and sea-level rise. Citi guesstimate these at $44 trn to 2060 (pdf, page 8). Here’s a higher estimate. On top of that, there are avoided burdens in loss of biodiversity and the risk of catastrophic disaster. These impacts are all real but methodologically difficult. It’s not downplaying these to leave them aside as superfluous to the proof. Discounting (what rate?) would also add a layer of technical difficulties and does not affect the conclusion.
We are faced with the greatest free lunch in the history of humankind.

Turning it down
One objection is that if it’s so, why haven’t we tucked in already? Replies:
Cultural, economic and political inertia
The world’s energy system is enormous. The trillions in physical and financial assets and the millions of workers are supported by a whole ideosphere of professionals who have spent their lives thinking and writing about fossil fuels. One example among many: the energy statisticians at the EIA do a good job on fossil fuels in the USA, but their forecasts on wind and solar have been laughable. The IEA in Paris have been almost as bad. There is something wrong when the best forecasters on global solar pv installation have been at Greenpeace.
Vested interests in fossil fuels
The Kochs and others have been fighting with desperation and complete lack of scruple for their businesses to survive. It’s already too late for several large coal companies. Curiously, the industry has not yet mobilised to stop the electric car threat. Possibly because Big Oil is still living in a dreamworld where oil and gas continue to grow to 2035 and carbon emissions don’t fall at all. If they ever wake up, they will be up against the electric utilities and a good part of the car industry.
But don’t underestimate their past work. The Cloud of Unknowing created in the English-speaking world by Exxon and the Kochs on climate change must count as one of the great achievements of agitprop. The denialists still show up in dozens on Joe Romm’s blog and others, and it’s not likely they are all paid: many are Willi Münzenberg’s “useful idiots”. The denialist control of the Republicans in Congress is partly venal, but partly also convinced. It’s not like the political protection of Florida sugar barons from cheap imports, which everybody accepts as purely mercenary, and has no ideologues.
There are other losers more deserving of our sympathy, like coal-miners and roustabouts. The benefits of the transition would allow generous compensation, retraining and community regeneration policies, but on past experience these are sadly unlikely.
Front-loading of the spending
In the early years of the transition, spending is higher than under BAU. Renewable energies and electric vehicles are nearly all upfront capital expenditure, with very low operating costs. In their infancy, they also need subsidies to get them along the learning curve to cost parity. Fraunhofer’s scenario of the costs of the Energiewende in Germany shows the problem.
The problem should not be exaggerated. The infant subsidies to wind and solar are largely past history, or embedded legacies like FIT guarantees that don’t affect future investment decisions. Brazil and Chile are installing wind and solar without subsidy. Electric vehicles are still dependent on subsidies, but the learning curve on batteries is so steep that the subsidies may go in five years. In any case, OECD countries are operating well below full employment, so the opportunity cost of additional public and private investment will be negligible for some time to come.

As Mike O’Hare has stressed, climate change is the problem from hell because it’s all about externalities: the harm to other people and the biosphere caused by actions that look beneficial to individuals and organisations like companies. It is therefore an issue of collective action, and the solution goes through government. The dominant ideology of today, free-market liberalism, is instinctively opposed to such solutions and therefore minimizes the problems. Combined with the front-loading, we are facing some combination of carbon taxes, costly emissions regulations, subsidies to clean technologies, and direct public spending say on railways and buses. Merkel and Cameron, fearful of the impact of household electricity surcharges, have already backtracked on solar subsidies.
The world may get lucky on some of this. The subsidies to wind and solar energy are largely history (Danke, Tak, Arigatō). Those to electric cars – up to €10,000 a pop in France – won’t need to last long. Electric buses are competitive on a lifelong cost of ownership basis. Green technologies may win in power generation, transport and heating/cooling without any externality pricing. I don’t though see a transition happening in aviation, shipping, steel and cement, or large-scale reforestation, without the heavy hand of government. Large scale carbon sequestration, if we find it necessary (and James Hansen is usually right), cannot be a commercial proposition without carbon pricing or equivalent regulation.

The imaginary free rider problem
The international free rider problem was a major obstacle to a global agreement when it was assumed that the net costs of climate mitigation were large. The benefits of action in one country would mainly accrue to foreigners, so you needed an impossible global deal before anybody got started. With the falling costs of renewable energies, and the realization of the local costs of air pollution, the problem has disappeared in fact. A rational policymaker in most countries will find that national climate action has net benefits in isolation, though these are much higher if everybody else joins in. This has made possible the turnaround in the prospects of climate negotiations, seized on by Christiana Figueres, and then by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. However, not all policymakers are rational, and the free rider fallacy still grips many in the US Republican Party and elsewhere.

The Dwarfs’ banquet?

The free lunch explains why politicians as different as Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Angela Merkel, Dilma Rousseff and David Cameron are all now backing the energy transition. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and on balance their voters or subjects will not punish them for the policy. They and other nervous leaders are reassured by the examples of California, Denmark and Germany, whose aggressive climate policies are plainly no obstacle to prosperity. After decades of flaffing around, a decent climate agreement in Paris next month is now odds-on.
The obstacles to taking up the offer explain the hesitations, delays, ambiguities, and backtracks of these same leaders. The five reasons for inaction are incoherent in logic, but psychologically and politically they add up to a formidable constellation of nay-saying forces. Only a handful of countries have adopted a hard zero-carbon target, and they don’t include Germany. What politician has had the courage to tell the coal and oil industries that they must go out of business well before 2050?
The banquet is not quite like Aslan’s. The dwarfs are behaving more like terrified and hungry savages, darting in to seize a pie from the table, then running off to consume it in safety. There must be a catch. We won’t let go of our fears of joy and plenty.
Humankind may still fail. The rejection of the $25 trillion free lunch, if it continues, will be the greatest ever failure of public policy, worse than August 1914: since this time, all our grandchildren will be in the trenches at Verdun
Originally published on Same Facts. By James Wimberley There is a disturbing passage towards the end of the final book in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia septet: Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good
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Sometimes I feel a little sorry for the telemarketers who are stuck in this grinding job, but this anti-telemarketer bot is genius!
 
FEEL the EVIL! You can almost HEAR the telemarketer's blood pressure spiking! :-D :-D XD XD

https://www.onthewire.io/driving-robocallers-crazy-with-the-jolly-roger-bot/
Robocalls are among the more annoying modern inventions, and consumers and businesses have tried just about every strategy for defeating them over the years, with little success. But one man has co…
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I've done magazine advertising telesales - and I was good at it (though not especially enjoying it) because I actually talked to people and wouldn't sell them something that wasn't right for them.

However it was the guy who rang me and just kept talking.

I tried to stop him, I tried to get him to actually speak to me as opposed to at me.

Eventually I said "look, I don't want to do it but if you don't talk to me properly I'm going to put the phone down."

He didn't stop. I put the phone down.

I felt so sorry for him, that someone would have become so desperate they had fallen so far.

But I think I would use this...
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Bang On

The dominant model for the origin of our Moon is the impact model. In this model, about 4.5 billion years ago proto-Earth was hit by a Mars-sized body known as Theia. It’s generally been thought that the collision was somewhat off-center, causing the remnants of Theia and some outer layer material from Earth to form the Moon. But new evidence suggests the collision was more head-on.

If the Earth-Moon system was caused by an off-center collision with Theia, then we would expect to see close similarities in the chemical compositions the Earth and Moon, but still some differences. Earlier research found some differences in the amount of isotopes, such as the ratio of oxygen-17 to oxygen-16 differing by about 12 parts per million between the Earth and Moon. But new work analyzing oxygen isotopes in lunar rocks and volcanic rocks on Earth found their oxygen isotopes to be indistinguishable. Since oxygen is common in both rock samples, the fact that they are indistinguishable suggests that the material forming the Earth and Moon were mixed together before they formed. This could be achieved by a more head-on collision between proto-Earth and Theia.

If that’s the case, then much of Theia became a part of Earth’s core, and our planet is actually the product of two worlds. It’s an interesting twist on the impact origin of the Moon.

Paper: Edward D. Young, et al. Oxygen isotopic evidence for vigorous mixing during the Moon-forming giant impact. Science Vol. 351, Issue 6272, pp. 493-496 (2016)

New evidence suggests Earth may have been formed from two worlds.
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The Win is strong with this one. 
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Debts of My Fathers is coming along

For those of you wondering, the sequel to Ships of My Fathers is chugging along through copy edits in very capable hands. 
 
Got through 128 pages (out of 208) on the second pass for +Dan Thompson today. I'm very pleased with that.

Time to call it a day here and get busy with the evening's doings. Later, kids.
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Dan Thompson

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Sadly, this does not encourage me to switch to metric.
 
A unique "interpretation" of the two systems...

Found at: (http://buff.ly/1S7COg4)
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There isn't enough space in this galaxy for all of the would-be Kylo Rens and Yek Nebs.
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To be clear, I'm pro-breastfeeding and anti-scare-by-naming-common-chemicals.
 
Confirmed here :)
Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and aluminium concentrations in human milk at early stages of lactation
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24231114
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Poe's Law in 3... 2... 1...
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This is why Elon Musk's wall-battery for home use is such a big deal for the future of solar power.
 
Cue the playing of the world's smallest and saddest violin:

Currently, utilities are threatened by distributed rooftop solar panels. They are pushing back against rooftop solar in states across the country.

It turns out, though, that by squashing or rolling back current support mechanisms for rooftop solar, utilities are only accelerating the development of a much more serious and enduring threat to their business model.

Interesting. Let's break down why...

A solar customer who's getting the full retail rate for her surplus power has no financial incentive to store any of her energy. When she sells it, she gets the retail rate; when she buys power, she pays the retail rate. She has no reason to prefer her self-generated electricity to the utility's. It's all worth the same.

But if retail rates rise, incentives for solar decline, and new fixed charges are imposed, the game changes.

Under those circumstances, when generating surplus energy the solar customer faces a new choice. She can sell her power to the utility (for below retail rate) or she can store it and use it later, when she would otherwise be paying retail rate.
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Austin, TX
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Writer, programmer, artist, dude
Introduction
Father of three, programmer, writer, etc.  I do weird stuff with my brain for fun and profit. :)

You can see my blog here: DanThompsonWrites.com

And my books: DanThompsonWrites.com/Books

For my programming, I did 18 years working on Computer Aided Design programs, everything from add-ons to being on the core graphics team for AutoCAD.  These days I'm still doing a little consulting and some personal explorations with genetic algorithms.

I've been writing off and on since I was eleven, but I've been doing a lot more of it in the last 5 years.

I also have special needs kids, and I've spent a lot of my time on them for the last few years.
Bragging rights
Had a startup, sold it, written a few books, survived twins (so far), have done more strange things than most, but nearly as many as I'd like to.
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I write fiction. I used to program for a living, and I probably still could, but for now I write fiction.
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