Author Topic: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?  (Read 291 times)

Offline mako88sb

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Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« on: October 25, 2020, 12:59:24 PM »
I was trying to explain to my oldest daughter about how difficult/impossible this goal really is. Found this article from last year that does a pretty good job explaining the problem. It’s much more difficult than I realized:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/09/30/net-zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions-by-2050-requires-a-new-nuclear-power-plant-every-day/amp/

So why is such an unrealistic goal being constantly brought up? My daughter says she has a lot of friends getting pretty stressed out about pollution and climate change. I agree things need to be done but the situation is a whole lot more complicated than most of these young adults realize and no simple solutions. Of course fusion is probably the only viable alternative to reach that goal but who knows if/when that will happen.

Offline Peter B

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 05:01:20 PM »
Can I perhaps offer this article in return?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-25/all-sa-power-from-solar-for-first-time/12810366

Quote
AEMO is forecasting an additional 36,000 new solar rooftop systems will be installed in South Australia in the next 14 months.

That is on top of the 288,000 homes — about a third — already generating their own electricity.

So while one nuclear plant a day seems insurmountably huge, consider there's an enormous potential market for rooftop solar. (And IIRC getting onto the renewable energy bandwagon was something Biden was touting in the last debate.)

This is not to say rooftop solar is going to solve all problems - the article points out problems that increasing rooftop solar will cause - but it's worth considering that the growth in roof-top solar has happened pretty much in just the last 15 years.

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2020, 10:45:29 PM »
Can I perhaps offer this article in return?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-25/all-sa-power-from-solar-for-first-time/12810366

Quote
AEMO is forecasting an additional 36,000 new solar rooftop systems will be installed in South Australia in the next 14 months.

That is on top of the 288,000 homes — about a third — already generating their own electricity.

So while one nuclear plant a day seems insurmountably huge, consider there's an enormous potential market for rooftop solar. (And IIRC getting onto the renewable energy bandwagon was something Biden was touting in the last debate.)

This is not to say rooftop solar is going to solve all problems - the article points out problems that increasing rooftop solar will cause - but it's worth considering that the growth in roof-top solar has happened pretty much in just the last 15 years.

Indeed. You can almost argue that every rooftop that does not have some sort of solar power system attached to is it a wasted resource.

The following should be the norm in the future rather than the exception

Solar Panel Covered Parking Areas



Solar Powered EV charging stations



Solar Panel Covered Bus Shelters



Solar Panels on Farmland


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Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 09:10:43 AM »
I was trying to explain to my oldest daughter about how difficult/impossible this goal really is. Found this article from last year that does a pretty good job explaining the problem. It’s much more difficult than I realized:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/09/30/net-zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions-by-2050-requires-a-new-nuclear-power-plant-every-day/amp/

From the article:

Quote
I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.

Well, if they are going to start by removing one of the methods of reaching net-zero that has a lot of potential then I don't know how to respond. It's like someone in 1920 writing "Going to the Moon is impossible. I'm going to ignore the potential of chemical rockets, which don't currently exist at scale."

All I know is that we need to do something or things are going to get very bad. We could be facing our extinction, so that is why we keep bringing it up.

I've been slowly getting through a book called "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming" and while their ideas will require a lot of stubborn people to drastically change their ways, it does give me hope that it is possible.

It seems like one of the first things we need to do is upgrade the power grid. Right now power is generated to meet demand, so a lot of the time the power that could be generated by solar or wind is wasted. We need to add energy storage to the grid so that solar & wind energy can be collected even when it isn't in demand, and then it can be used on cloudy or windless days.

We also need to make it easier for regions with excess power to sell it to other regions that need it. This would make solar & wind more effective, and it also benefits the economy.

The book also goes into other ways of reducing CO2 emissions, such as changing the way we farm so that the soil retains more of the C02.

One of the only benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has made many people realize they don't need to travel to and from an office every day to do their jobs. I started working from home last November so I got a bit of a head start on that... and I'm starting to question whether I really need to own a car. I only use mine when I need to go for groceries, which is once a week at most.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 09:43:28 AM by LunarOrbit »
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 10:57:27 AM »
Indeed. You can almost argue that every rooftop that does not have some sort of solar power system attached to is it a wasted resource.

Agreed. Even if the power generated by rooftop solar doesn't meet all of our demand, it can at least reduce the load on the existing fossil fuel power plants.

And in addition to rooftop solar, I would love to see gardens of small trees (maybe bamboo) growing on the roof of every skyscraper.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline mako88sb

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 04:52:59 PM »
Thanks for the responses and info. I found this YouTube site that I’ve been binging on. The guy does a great job with this topic and I highly recommend him. This first one is pretty mind boggling to find out how much solar energy California can produce but also, unfortunately how much is wasted. The video goes on to talk about what the Europeans have in mind as a solution. Pretty interesting stuff to say the least:
&index=13

Other videos in the series discuss related topics. The latest mentions trying to reduce the amount of cobalt used in batteries which would certainly be a step in the right direction. He has all kinds of other videos on various topics that I’m sure will be of interest to everybody. Just watched the one about Titanium and can fully appreciate now why it’s so expensive to buy never mind actually using it.



Offline mako88sb

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 05:26:28 PM »

From the article:

Quote
I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.

Well, if they are going to start by removing one of the methods of reaching net-zero that has a lot of potential then I don't know how to respond. It's like someone in 1920 writing "Going to the Moon is impossible. I'm going to ignore the potential of chemical rockets, which don't currently exist at scale."


Yes, valid point. I should point out that the article was posted Sept 30/2019 and his numbers are based on the commissioning of renewable/decommissioning of non-renewable at that aggressive pace starting the next day. I don’t know how much of that number we’ve actually achieved since than but I’m pretty sure we are not even close to that pace. I suspect his ignoring carbon-capture is away of offsetting this. I did watch the Real Engineering episode about this on his site and although promising, still seems to have a fair way to go before being implemented in numbers large enough to make a difference. We did a project recently that the customer was going to inject carbon into their concrete making process that will make it 40% stronger. If this and other projects prove successful, I’m sure carbon capture projects would quickly accelerate.

I have that book on order. Thanks for letting me know about it.


One of the only benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has made many people realize they don't need to travel to and from an office every day to do their jobs. I started working from home last November so I got a bit of a head start on that... and I'm starting to question whether I really need to own a car. I only use mine when I need to go for groceries, which is once a week at most.

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2020, 05:33:44 PM »
Thanks for the responses and info. I found this YouTube site that I’ve been binging on. The guy does a great job with this topic and I highly recommend him.

I love that channel, he's very informative and well researched... and he explains things in a way that even I can understand it. ;)


Quote
I have that book on order. Thanks for letting me know about it.

No problem! I find it reassuring that people are looking for (and finding) solutions. We just need to push our governments to do something.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)