The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the following dire declaration the other day:
The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification.
In the first nine hours of October 2, 2013, fossil-fired electric power generators in Ontario, running almost entirely on natural gas, dumped 9,429 more tons of CO2 into the global atmosphere, thereby increasing the concentration of this global-warming and ocean-acidifying gas ever further. (For the daily running total of CO2 emissions from Ontario’s power sector, see Table 2 in the left-hand sidebar.)
Climate change skeptics will of course claim that the IPCC is a scientifically biased organization of the United Nations, funded by people who hate oil companies. This claim is nonsense. The IPCC is as independent of political and corporate interference as it is possible to be. It is not independent, however, of the data it is reporting. Skeptics will eventually just have to suck up the inevitable conclusions the data force us to.
The global “green” movement will surely say exactly that. The day the IPCC issued the above statement, the David Suzuki Foundation, a typical green think tank, sent me an email saying the following:
The [IPCC] report … shows it is still possible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if we make the changes now needed to reduce carbon emissions.
“Our future will not be determined by chance. It will be determined by choice: either we ignore the reality of the science or we make changes to reduce carbon emissions,” said Ian Bruce, Science and Policy Manager with the David Suzuki Foundation.
The DSF is well known for its utterly conventional and doctrinaire position on nuclear energy, which produces huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon: DSF is totally against nuclear. The DSF explains its position on nuclear on this web page. On that page, you will find the usual conventional and totally erroneous claims about the cost (nuclear is the second cheapest electricity source in Ontario; only hydro is cheaper) and alleged dangers of the “waste” (an odd term for an organization that promotes recycling to use when describing an eminently recyclable byproduct of reactor operation).
But what is totally unacceptable is this statement, from the same web page:
Even with [the subsidies nuclear power allegedly receives], nuclear power is far more expensive than both fossil fuels and renewables.
The last 20 reactors built in the U.S. had an average cost of $5,000 per kilowatt of capacity; the last one built in Canada cost $4,000 per kilowatt. Compare these prices to the current prices for large-scale wind power and natural gas plants, currently at $1,200 and $1,000 per kilowatt respectively.
Is DSF actually promoting natural gas-fired power generation, which has dumped over 10,000 metric tons of global-warming and ocean-acidifying CO2 into Ontario’s air since midnight, and advising against nuclear, which since midnight has produced nearly six times as much power, with zero CO2?
I cannot see how anyone can say it is not promoting natural gas, the same CO2-intensive fuel that makes oil sands GHGs so high.
I am sweating in my office, partly because of unseasonably high temperatures likely directly related to the CO2 the IPCC has warned against. And partly because of outrage and anger against mealy-mouthed organizations like DSF that pretend to oppose CO2 emissions but actually support greater use of the fossil fuels that produce them.