The Insanity of the IPCC Energy “Bible”


The IPCC has released a “draft” report about energy usage for the Earth that might be the worst piece of science ever produced to date by any UN body.  That is an incredible achievement in futility.  I started writing about it and ended up needing a series of articles to cover just how bad this report really is.  The ideas included in this report are so absurd that they make perpetual motion appear reasonable.  Dissecting this much bad information will take some time, so I am going to spend the next week or two slowly tearing this thing to pieces.  It is so bad that it deserves this kind of detailed attention.  I might wrap up early if I finish up, but I will have to include some articles that explain the real science so I can point out just how bad this report really is.

Everything that actually needs to be known about the latest major “draft”report from the IPCC is that the lead author is the renewable energy director of Greenpeace International by the name of Sven Teske.  If that doesn’t reek of conflict of interest then nothing ever will.  That single fact alone is enough to make me disregard the entire report out of hand because putting someone with a known and vested interest in renewable energy in charge of an international report on the future of the worlds energy ensures the conclusion of the report.  There is not even an attempt to make this appear legitimate.  That is truly audacious.

Nor is there much out there in actual information on the report itself (since it is 1,000 pages long), but there is a convenient 29 page summary for policymakers that is floating around.  That is where the fantasy of this report becomes evident to anyone that actually understands physics, science and engineering.  Clearly the people that put this report together do not.

First off I must define what the report classifies as renewable energy.  The very narrow definition is Geothermal, biomass, solar, wind, hydroelectric and tidal/wave energy generation.  Since the report is basically from Greenpeace it would appear that nuclear is not renewable.  That is hardly a surprise in today’s current political climate.

With only those methods as allowable sources of energy, the first fantasy appears from nowhere.  It states that the accepted forms of renewable energy would be capable of providing all of the worlds power, heating and transport based on 2008 energy usage by 2050.  That is an absolute lie, but it is a clever lie because of how they define available energy.

That definition is so broad that it is akin to including all the water in the oceans as easily available for use as drinking water in the middle of the Sahara Desert..  Yes the oceans have a lot of water, but it is not in a usable form for human consumption.  If simply pumping water from the oceans to the desert would solve the problem, Los Angeles  would not be chronically short of water.  Yet that is how they choose to define energy.

That definition is a word game of misdirection to make it appear that converting all energy uses to renewable is easily achievable when nothing is further than the truth.  So right away this report is on some very shaky and maliciously false ground.  I will have to clarify why this is the case, but it is based on the lack of defining the types of energy that are used and the differences in grades of energy.  In this regard they are blatantly ignoring the laws of thermodynamics.

This issue with the definition of energy is what leads to the fantasy aspect of the report.  The idea that humanity could harvest 100% of the available energy is a dream that people have been trying to solve for hundreds of years.  Much like perpetual motion is a nice idea, it is a fantasy or as my favorite author Vernor Vinge likes to say, a failed dream.

For example even if harvesting 100% of the available wind energy was possible, the result would be no more wind because all of it would be converted into usable electricity.  That is obviously impossible, but that is the basis they are using for calculating the available wind power that could be harvested.

This is why the report concludes that only 2.5% of the potential energy will be properly harvested by 2050.  The idea that all the energy could be harvested is not actually stated as possible, but nor is it ruled out as the fantasy that it is.  So the report oscillates between the potential energy that is available for renewable energy, but then repeatedly claims that it won’t be used unless we change our ways.  What it fails to recognize is the difficulty and expense that harvesting more and more of the renewable energy.  By definition all renewable energy is low grade energy and converting that to high grade and usable energy is always very inefficient.

It does get into the expense though.  It uses $12.3 Trillion (with a “T”) as the amount of money that MUST be spent by 2030 on renewable energy by 2030 in order to achieve that 2.5% rate of harvesting the potential energy (PE) available for renewable energy.

This leads to fantasy #2.  That harvesting the mythical 2.5% of the available energy will be enough to replace fossil fuels.  Explaining this fallacy without discussing types of energy is difficult, but it appears that 2.5% of the PE would cover about 16% of the worlds energy needs.  That is such an absurdly low percentage of the energy demands that there is almost no real impact.  That is an incredibly low return on investment, it is also optimistic and false, but again the devil is in the details, but I will get more into depth on this over the next couple of weeks.

To contrast this I will use nuclear power which is at least 4x cheaper to produce electricity without CO2 emissions.  The cost of nuclear power is a hotly debated subject, but the cost of $1 Billion per $1GW of installed capacity is reasonable.  That would also make it about 4x cheaper than the renewable energy.

The simple math is that 4x more energy for the same money and that $12.3 Trillion would boost total renewable up to 16% from…  a very small percentage.  If that same $12.3 Trillion were applied to nuclear power, then it would boost nuclear from 6% to 88% of the worlds energy needs.  That in fact understates the total effect because nuclear power is very efficient at producing high grade electricity.  That $12.3 Trillion would be more than enough to cover the worlds energy needs if nuclear power (and really, really, really good batteries were developed).

So they are talking about investing $12.3 Trillion to produce 16% of the worlds energy when that same money would produce all the worlds energy and eliminate most CO2 emissions.  This is only the tip of the iceberg for the fantasy on this report.  It is also why I don’t take any warmist seriously that objects to CO2 and nuclear power.  If anyone really wants to reduce CO2 they talk nuclear.  Otherwise they are living in a fantasy.

Posted in Bad Science and Cap & Trade by inconvenientskeptic on May 7th, 2011 at 8:03 am.

1 comment

This post has one comment

  1. JohnM May 8th 2011

    They can print what they like.
    We all know that the only thing greens are interested in is zero population, except for them.

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