The red dragon of China. World dominance by 2025 averted? A Limerick.

Insane is to praise the Chinese

and say they go green, planting trees;

for they lie, cheat and steal,

human rights they repeal.

We must stand, no more time to appease.

Beijing’s massive tree planting campaign has worsened air pollution in the city, a new study by Chinese scientists suggests. The “Green Great Wall” prevented dispersion of as much as 15 per cent of PM2.5 – health-damaging fine particulates less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter – during a major smog episode in the capital in January 2014, according to researchers. At its peak during the period studied, the PM2.5 reached 350 micrograms per cubic metre of air – 14 times the safety level recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Man-made forest slowed down the winds that otherwise help to disperse smog and turned the city into an enormous trap for air pollutants, according to the scientists.

How can that be?

China burned 51.2% of the world’s coal in 2012, USA produced 12.5%. China’s production was more than four times larger. This has now stabilized and was in 2018 47%, because India and the real developing world are increasing their dependence on coal for electricity production, and also for cooking meals.

This of course is with the Paris accord in mind. U.S. and the European countries are to limit their emissions and slowly diminish them, down to a per capita emission comparable to the mid 1800’s, while China, being a “developing” country is allowed to increase their emissions until 2030, and then stabilize them, not decrease them.

How can they be burning nearly half the world’s coal mined?

One reason is they are the world’s state controlled manufacturing company. They are also responsible for half the world’s Steel production. China produced 50.3% of the world’s crude Steel in 2015, USA produced 4.9%. China’s production was over 20 times larger than the U.S.Some of this steel was dumped below production cost to crush our domestic low end steel industry. An example: Rolled steel to make steel cans were exported at about $200 a ton, the production cost in the U.S. is more like $400 a ton. They can do this, since their environmental regulations only pay lip service to pollution. Remember how Pittsburgh was 60 years ago? China is much worse.

Cement production. China produced 51.4% of the world’s cement in 2015, USA produced 1.8%. China’s production was almost 30 times larger.

It takes a lot of concrete to build artificial islands so they can take control of the South China Sea. But they are building many other things,  Ghost Cities, but also an impressive infrastructure with high speed trains on elevated concrete tracks.

Worrisome as that may be, it isnothing compared to China,s dominance in Rare Earth Metals. Let me explain why rare earth metals are so important to our modern economy.

First, rare earth metals re not rare at all, they exist in small quantities together with Thorium and sometimes Uranium wherever other metals are mined.

The Lanthanides occur in quantity in Monazite, a byproduct of mining Phosphates, but also as a byproduct of mining Titanium, and even from some Iron ores. The rare earth metals are free to begin extraction if it was not for one thing, they also contain Thorium, and Thorium is radio-active, so in the mid 1980’s the NRC and IAEA reclassified Monazite and anything containing Thorium as a “Source Material” and after that it became too costly to comply with all the regulations for nuclear material, so all production of rare earth minerals ceased in the U.S.

China saw an opportunity to grab the world market for Rare Earth Metals and is now controlling about 94% of the supply of all rare earth metals.

So what are rare earth metals used for?

China now has a de facto monopoly on all usages of rare earth metals, and in the case of war or an embargo, not only are our precious cell phones and computers in jeopardy, so is our defense, night vision goggles, aircraft engines, navigation systems, laser guidance, just to name a few uses.

And not only that, we import the completed parts from China, even for our most sophisticated military equipment, such as the F35 aircraft, after telling the Chinese how to make the components. The very same components are now in China’s version of the F35, still under development, but in a year or so China will have their faithful copies made! A F35 aircraft contains about 935 pounds of rare earth metals.

This is clearly unsustainable, so in 2014  Congress tried to pass HR 4883 and         S 2006 to remedy the situation, but the bills got killed in review by none other than the defense department, citing National Security! Our only major rare earth metals mine reopened, only to go bankrupt in 2015. It has since reopened, but the ore is shipped to China for refining! One good point is that the Mountain Pass mine is scheduled to reopen the processing facilities late 2020.

The idea was that we should change our electricity production into renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Wind power uses a lot of rare earth metals to get the most efficient generators, all made by China. Wind power is about maxed out, that is, if you care about birds, especially eagles and raptors. The allowable bald eagle kill was upped from 1200 to 4200 a year for all U.S. wind turbines during the Obama administration. Killed golden eagles and storks has a S250000 fine, paid by the electricity users, and if we build it out more, we may exterminate some species.

Solar power looked promising until pollution was taken into consideration.  China added 53 GW solar capacity in  2017.  The forecast for this year i 45 GW, and for next year 35 GW.

The efficiency of solar panels are drastically reduced by the layer of soot accumulating daily from air pollution. They have to be cleaned daily with water, and water is in short supply in northern China. The yellow river no longer reaches the ocean during large periods of the year, all water is spoken for. In southern India a solar farm used up so much water that the wells went dry and there was no more water for agriculture and people, except during the monsoon season. Germany has given up on their solar program except for special needs.

Where it rains, China pollutes. The Yang -Tse  river carries nearly half the plastic waste that is dumped in the ocean. It can be stopped, but it will mean a lot of energy, both man-power and electricity  to do all the cleanup.

The solution is found in Thorium power. Here are 25 reasons why we shouls jump on the opportunity to solve the energy crisis:

1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

3. One ten-thousandth of the TRansUranium waste compared to a U-235 based fast breeder reactor.

4. Thorium based nuclear power produces Pu-238, needed for space exploration.

5. Radioactive waste from an LFTR decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors.

6. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

7. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers.

8. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe.

9. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel is already molten.

10. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

11. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions.

12. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

13. Thorium Nuclear Power generators  scale  beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

14. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas.

15. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

17. Russia has an active Thorium program.

18. China is having a massive Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program.

20. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

21. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, disasters like Chernobyl are impossible.

23. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

24. Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

25. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

Did I mention that Thorium based reactors do not produce CO2, and molten salt reactors do not use water?

Oh – and wish President Trump well in our negotiations with China. Pray, if you believe.

 

Climate emergency? No, but plenty of environmental and conservation challenges. Only Thorium Nuclear power can solve the energy challenge.

We live in challenging times. while, in a previous blog it was pointed out  that the” climate catastrophe” is not real and the scientific reasons why for a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration the average temperature rise would be less than 0.4C, almost negligible and well within the Paris accord without changing anything we are doing about CO2 emissions.

If increasing CO2 production is not the problem, then what is? Let us take a look at the sources  from which U.S. generates electrical energy.

Image result for us electricity generation by source

We live in challenging times indeed, with enormous environmental challenges. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the mess we have generated over the ages. It would be a shame to use up our remaining coal, oil and gas to produce the electricity needed to clean up. Oil coal and gas will eventually be depleted and we need to save some for our great grandchildren so they can enjoy flying like we have become accustomed to. Like the famous conservationist Sarah Palin once said: “for when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Solar generation is about 4 times more expensive (without subsidies) to produce energy than coal and gas, but has important niche applications, such as on roofs for backup in case of short grid failures and for peak power assist. The Amish people have given many practical applications on how to live off the grid.

Wind power is cheaper when the wind blows, but the full generation capacity has to be there even when the wind doesn’t blow, so the only gain from wind power is to lessen the mining or extraction of carbon. In addition, wind power kills birds, the free yearly quota of allowable Bald Eagle kills was upped from 1200 to 4200 during the Obama administration. Golden Eagles and a few other rare birds have a quarter of a million dollar fine associated with their kills. If wind power is increased without finding a solution to the bird kills, whole species may become extinct.

Hydroelectric power is for all practical purpose maxed out, except one large untapped resource; the Kongo river in Africa. Some hydro electrical project do more harm than good, such as the Aswan Dam in Egypt, and some are waiting for the next big earthquake, such as the Three Gorges Dam in China.

Geothermal power is good but difficult and risky to utilize in geologically unstable areas.

Biomass should never be burned for electricity production but be used for soil regeneration to combat erosion. Only polluted biomass such as medical waste and plastics should be incinerated at high temperature, complete with scrubbers to eliminate poisonous gases.

All necessary cleanup and recycling consume a lot of energy, and it has to be generated somehow. We would like save some Coal, Natural Gas and Petroleum for our great grandchildren. This leaves us only

Nuclear power.  After a nearly thirty year hiatus in building new nuclear power plants they are slowly being built again. The permit process is fraught with citizen opposition (NIMBY), very strict bureaucratic delay, first by the Three Mile Island incident, then by the Chernobyl disaster/unintended sabotage, and finally by the Fukushima catastrophe. In addition conventional nuclear power produces large amounts of transuranium waste products that has to be stored for a million years. The Obama administration ended reprocessing of spent fuel rods, so not only must the transuranium products be stored, but also some unused U235. This makes conventional nuclear power using enriched Uranium too expensive to compete against coal or natural gas. But there are powerful commercial interests to keep it this way. After the Westinghouse bankruptcy GE has a virtual monopoly on nuclear power. They are in no hurry to make any changes.

There is a better way: Thorium Nuclear power. The advantages are:

1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

3. One ten-thousandth of the TRansUranium waste compared to a U-235 based fast breeder reactor.

4. Thorium based nuclear power produces Pu-238, needed for space exploration.

5. Radioactive waste from an LFTR decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors.

6. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

7. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers.

8. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe.

9. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel ia already molten.

10. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

11. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions.

12. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

13. Thorium Nuclear Power generators  scale  beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

14. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas.

15. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

17. Russia has an active Thorium program.

18. China is having a massive Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program.

20. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

21. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, disasters like Chernobyl are impossible.

23. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

24. Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

25. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

There is no time to waste. This is my suggestion list:

1. Immediately take Thorium off the list of “source materials”. While Thorium is radioactive slightly above background radiation no amount of Thorium can make it go critical, and it cannot be source material for making bombs.

2. Make separate regulations for Thorium based Nuclear plants apart from Uranium plants. One thing that goes away is the need for evacuation zones due to the inherent safety of Thorium Nuclear plants.

3. Declare Thorium Nuclear Power to be the preferred replacement for Coal or Gas powered electric plants.

4. Streamline the permit process, like Uranium powered plants enjoyed when there was a desire to build Nuclear Bombs.

5. Increase research and development into Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactors to speed up their development.

6. Develop hybrid Tokamak powered Thorium reactors like the one Russia is developing to burn off transuraniun  nuclear waste products.

With all this done, I envision coal, gas and biofuel Power stations to be eliminated within ten years, and transuranium waste products to be eliminated within twenty years.

When Coal, gas and biofuel are eliminated as source for Electric Power, then it is time to switch most of the transportation to electric cars and trucks, but not before.

After that, maybe, just maybe it is time for Fusion Power to take over.

Let us get going!

 

 

Climate catastrophe? What is the truth? Do the presidential candidates even care about the truth? A Limerick.

The Epoch called Anthropocene:

Man’s fire appeared on the scene.

CO2, it is good

makes it green, grows more food.

To call it THE threat, that’s obscene.

We live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, where Earth faces the immediate danger of a climate catastrophe. So say most of the Democratic party presidential candidates.  Science Advances wrote in 09 Nov. 2016: Nonlinear climate sensitivity and its implications for future greenhouse warming.  The paper claims that as temperature increases due to increased CO2 levels the climate sensitivity also increases leading to global heating runaway. To prove the point it provides the following graph:

globaltemperatureIt was timed for the day after the U.S. election to highlight the necessity of complete adherence to the Paris accord. This accord was one of  the accomplishments of the Obama administration, as former President Barack Obama said April 22, 2016: “Today is Earth Day — the last one I’ll celebrate as President. Looking back over the past seven years, I’m hopeful that the work we’ve done will allow my daughters and all of our children to inherit a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet. But I know there is still work to do.

Can this really be true that implementing the Paris agreement is our only chance to avert this disaster?

Oh yes I remember it well,  the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth. It was in Philadelphia, and Ira Einhorn,Earthday1070IraEinhorn later known as the Unicorn killer was master of ceremonies. At that time the great fear was that we are heading for another ice age because of all the acid rain the coal burning electricity plants spewed out, and having just visited Pittsburgh, I totally agreed and was ready to jump in and help. The acid rain was  killing the trouts in the Northern, acidic lakes, and pollution was seen everywhere. Being from Sweden and having just 6a00d83451580669e2019b01ece999970bimmigrated I was appalled at the lack of concern for the environment, and the imminent threat of the coming ice age. Even Time Magazine jumped into the fray and wrote about the rapid increase of the Arctic Ice cover and other signs of the onset of a new Ice age. Average temperatures was to be maybe up to seven degrees colder by the year 2000, so prepare!

Having been raised in Sweden, born in a town on the granite covered shores of lysekil-swedenSkagerrak there were signs of the last ice age everywhere. Sweden is still recovering from it and is rising out of the ocean at a rate of up to three feet per century and has been doing so since the inland ice began to melt. Of course this contributes to sea levels rising in the rest of the world.  The Ice Age left evidence of cataclysmic events as the climate switched from cold to warm. I still remember when, as a lad my father took me to a place in Western Sweden, called “Brobacka” where there are  around 40 “jättegrytor” (giant kettles),  including the biggest giant kettle in the Nordic Countries, measuring 59 feet diameter. They were formed when large rivers formed under the rapidly melting ice pack. We learned in school about ice ages, and that we are at the end of the interglacial period, and we narrowly avoided a new ice age in the 1600’s and are thankful it didn’t happen then. We also learned that during the Minoan warm period temperatures were much warmer than now, and the northernmost latitude for willows was at least 400 miles further to the north.

The normal climate for the earth is that we are in an ice age, which is a very stable period, but for  some reason an imbalance occurs and the climate switches abruptly to an interglacial period. After a few thousand years we go back into an ice age and stay there for around 100000 years and the cycle repeats. The question is, what mechanism is ruling ice ages and interglacial periods?

antarctic_icecoreTDoes CO2 concentration drive climate change? From the chart above it seems so. Properly plotted there seems to be a near perfect alignment.  But to find what is cause and effect we need to expand the time scale as is seen in the figure below:

end-of-ice-age-edWe can see from these charts that CO2 concentrations and temperature follow each other closely, but, and this is important:  Air Temperature rises first, then comes the increase in CO2 and finally the rise in ocean temperature. As ice melts and the ocean temperature increases it releases CO2, and this leads to a further temperature rise.  But at some time the temperature stops rising, while CO2 levels still rise.  Since about 10000 years ago the temperature has been slowly decreasing and so has the CO2 levels. The Coral reefs make carbonates, the bogs make cellulose, the oceans revert to cooling and start to absorb CO2 again.

Give thanks for “the pause” and clouds. A Limerick.

What is the reason for the cooling? Could it be volcanic eruptions?

Maybe, but volcanic eruptions are temporary and does not cool the climate for more than a few years. Meanwhile, enjoy the vegetation during this interglacial warm period.leaf-areaIt is true that CO2 is a greenhouse gas,  second only to water vapor in importance.It is responsible for about 9 degree Celsius rise in global temperature, and if CO2 increases, so does its greenhouse effect. The increased temperature leads to more water vapor in the air, and water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas, so there is a risk of reaching a “tipping point” when we could experience a thermal runaway of the planet. All of this is true, so U.N. and many governments around the world have sponsored studies to model  climate change, over a hundred models have been constructed, they all come up with rather gloomy forecasts. The research is so intense that over 3 billion dollars of government monies are spent yearly on climate change research.

All models show a similar pattern, a fairly steep and more or less linear rise in temperature as CO2 increases. There is only one major thing wrong with them. They do not agree with what is happening to the global temperature. We have now had 224 months (Sep 2015) without any global warming. Since then there has been a rather strong el nino, much like the one in 1998 and global temperatures have been at new record temperatures after adjustment of old temperatures.

Back to a climate models chart

CMIP5-73-models-vs-obs-20N-20S-MT-5-yr-means1What is wrong with the models? They all assume a passive earth, where there is no negative feedback to the changing environment. It turns out, the earth has a “governor”, and it can be expressed in one word, albedo, which means “whiteness” or how much of the incoming sunlight that gets reflected back into space. The major albedo changes of the earth are the appearance of clouds. How did the models do on clouds?

CloudmodelsNone of the models agree with reality when it comes to clouds. It also matters what type of clouds there are, and when they occur. Night clouds keep the warm in and increases the greenhouse effect. Daytime clouds reflects the incoming sunlight and the result is a net cooing effect.

Other albedo changers are the amount of ice around the poles, but even land use changes, such as forests cut down and replaced by agriculture and urbanization.

When there is snow or ice on the ground, more sunlight gets reflected and it gets colder still. Urban heat islands are warmer than the surroundings, airports are warmer than its surroundings. Interestingly, that is where we are placing our new weather stations. (This is great for pilots that have to evaluate take-off and landing conditions, but is less than ideal for climate research. But then again, climate research has moved from the realm of physical science to political science, where different rules do apply.)

The most important albedo changers of the earth are clouds. Without them no land based life would be possible since clouds serve both as rain makers and temperature stabilizers. If there were no clouds the equilibrium temperature at the equator would be around 140 degrees F.

Over the oceans, in the so called “doldrums” where there are no trade winds, the mornings start with a warm-up, and when the conditions are right a shower or thunderstorm occurs. The ambient temperature is usually between 84 and 88 degrees when this happens. As CO2 concentrations increase thunderstorms occur a few minutes earlier and last a little bit longer, but they are no more severe and as a result the average temperature stays the same.

See the following chart. It is divided into five regions, Arctic, North temperate, tropical, South temperate and Antarctic.uah-lower-troposphere-temperatureThe next region is the North temperate. This includes the desert areas. In desert areas of the world this temperature regulator doesn’t work well, so deserts will receive the full force of temperature increase which is 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit per doubling of CO2 levels.

In the temperate region the temperature increase will be somewhere in between. Dry days will be warmer, cloudy and rainy days will have the same temperature as before, since the cloud regulator starts to function.

The Arctic and Antarctic regions are a special case. None of the models have done a good job at modeling the clouds at the poles, especially the South Pole. (See the cloud chart above.) The Arctic will warm up more than 2 degrees F, how much is a question. In the South average temperatures will rise from – 70 degrees F in the interior all the way to maybe – 63 degrees F, and come closer to freezing in the summer at the northern edges. There will be added snowfall that will expand the ice sheet. The Antarctic ice sheet has set new records since record keeping began, and war 2 years ago bottoming out at 30% more ice than the 30 year average. Recently even the Antarctic ice sheet been receding but are now stabilizing again.

The North Pole region is even more complicated since it is partially land, partially ocean. The oceanic ice cap has been shrinking  at a fairly constant rate the last 30 years, but since 2012 it broke the trend and grew back to break the trend line. The winter snow cap has remained at about the same level year to year with a slightly positive trend line, this year being no exception.  So, why is the snow cover growing slightly, but ice cover shrinking? The common explanation has been global warming, but the ice cover kept shrinking even as the temperature increase leveled off. There are two possible explanations: Warming oceans and changes in pollution. The North Atlantic Oscillation has been mostly positive (warmer) since 1970 and has only recently turned negative, so that is certainly part of the cause of the shrinking of the icecap, but another candidate is even more likely: Carbon Pollution. With that I do not mean CO2, but good old soot, spewing out from the smokestacks of  power plants in China. 47% of all coal burned is burned in China, often low grade lignite with no scrubbers. The air in Beijing is toxic to humans more days than not. (China turned off some of the most polluting power plants during the 2008 Summer Olympics.) Some of that soot finds its way to the arctic and settles on the ice, changing its albedo, and the sun has a chance to melt the ice more efficiently. This occurs mostly in the months of August and September when the Sun is at a low angle anyway, so the changing of the albedo has very little effect on temperature. The net result of all this is that the average temperature in the North Pole region will rise about 4 degrees Fahrenheit for a doubling of the CO2. The maximum temperatures will not rise, it is all rising minima due to sligntly increased cloud cover. This will have a very minor effect on the Greenland ice cap since they are nearly always way below freezing anyway (-28 degree C average). The largest effect will be in August and September when all new snow has melted and the soot from years past is exposed. It will also lead to an increase in the precipitation in the form of snow, so the net result is the glaciers may start growing again if the amount of soot can be reduced.

An interesting fact is that the sunlight reflection is larger over water than over ice in August and September in the Arctic, so melting the Arctic ice reduces the greenhouse effect.

The conclusion is: The temperature regulator of the earth is working quite well, and the increase in temperature at the poles is welcome as it lessens the temperature gradient between the tropics and the polar regions, which in turn reduces the severity of storms, and tornadoes, since they are mostly generated by temperature differences and the different density of warm, humid and dry, cold air.

The number of major hurricanes that makes landfall in the U.S. is on a slight decline

even after taking into account hurricanes Florence and Michael that are not included in this chart.

Tornadoes are holding stable, but major T\tornadoes are on a decline.

 

tornado chart

The second half of May had a large number of tornadoes, but it is still over 6 years since there was a Category 5 tornado.

tornadosvsco2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Polar bears will do quite well, their numbers have more than doubled in the last 50 years.

Will droughts increase? The data does not indicate so:

sdata20141-f51

Then there is the case about wildfires. It used to be much worse before modern forest management

What about ocean acidification? As CO2 increases, a lot of it will be absorbed in the oceans, thereby making the oceans more acid. This is true, but CO2 is a very mild acid and has a minor acidic influence. Of much more importance is acid rain. At one time in the 70’s some lakes in Norway had a Ph. of about 4.5, enough to kill most trout fishes. In Sweden it was said they fertilized their rivers and lakes four times as much as tilled soil, leading to significant acidification of both the Baltic and the North Sea. The Baltic Sea is still in danger of total oxygen depletion. By comparison to these dangers CO2 in the ocean is only a very minor disturbance. Clean the rivers and lakes first!

ph-feb-ocean-800

Oh, and one more thing. The sea level rise is a natural phenomenon of tectonic plate movements, the Atlantic Ridge the Hudson bay, Greenland and the Nordic countries are rising and the Eastern Seaboard is sinking.  These movements will continue to occur regardless of climate.

John Kerry once gave a speech said in Indonesia the other day: “The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.  And in a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.

The opposite is true, increased levels of CO2 is a major vehicle of wealth distribution. (Green is increased plant growth, red is decreased,  1982 – 2010)

increaseThe increase in temperature is manageable and even desirable in most regions of the world, desert areas and areas prone to flooding being the exception.

In conclusion:

CO2 is a clean gas, necessary for life, and an increase in the amount of CO2 is highly desirable.

The very minor increase in temperature (Global about 0.7F ) is on balance beneficial, since it leads to a less violent climate, with fewer storms, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The increase in CO2 makes us able to feed another 2 billion people on earth, not to mention additional wildlife.

Ocean acidification is a problem, not so much from CO2, but from sulfuric acid, nitrates and other pollutants. The major offender: China.

The increase in precipitation is beneficial, except in areas already prone to flooding. It is especially welcome in arid areas. The chart below show no increase in heavy rains as CO2 increases.

heavyrainfallvsco2

On the other hand the great conservationist SARAH PALIN once said: “We’ve got to remind Americans that the effort has got to be even greater today toward conservation because these finite resources that we’re dealing with obviously – once oil is gone it’s gone, once gas is gone, it’s gone. And I think our nation has really become kind of spoiled in that arena.”[Fox News, Hannity’s America, 10/12/08]

Coal, oil, peat, wood  and natural gas are our best raw material to sustain life as we know it, and are far to valuable to waste on electricity production, so let us switch electricity production to thorium based nuclear energy

. https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/nuclear-power-and-earthquakes-how-to-make-it-safer-and-better/

https://lenbilen.com/2019/06/23/twenty-five-reasons-to-rapidly-develop-thorium-based-nuclear-power-generation/

https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/nuclear-power-why-we-chose-uranium-over-thorium-and-ended-up-in-this-mess-time-to-clean-up/

Coal can be converted to jet fuel and gasoline, air planes have no alternative fuels.

I welcome constructive comments. Tell me where I am going wrong. I have done my very best to look at what is really happening to the earth and from there draw conclusions, rather than rely on climate models.

 

Climate emergency? Pray tell why. The climate change has never been better since the end of the ice age.

New York City and seventeen other U.S.Cities has just  joined 650  cities worldwide in declaring a climate emergency. We may have environmental and ecological disasters such as urban asphalt jungles where lots of people live and suffer, erosion and using up the aquifers, but climate disaster, no, not if you live closer to nature and can observe the temperature controller it provides in the forming  and disappearing of clouds.

Many years ago the earth was in an ice age and the CO2 level was around 180 ppm, barely sustaining plant life. The ice age ended, most of the ice melted, and the CO2 level rose to around 260 ppm. The oceans warmed up, the humidity increased, more clouds formed and the temperature rise stopped and has been on a slow cooling trend since then. The Greenland ice cores give a good record:

Greenlandgisp-last-10000-new

All this time the CO2 level was fairly constant at around 260 ppm. This time is different; CO2 levels are now over 400 ppm, rising about 2 ppm per year with no end in sight. The question is: Is it good or bad? If it is bad, how bad is it going to be?

To answer this question the world spends over 400 billion dollars a year in climate research and are starting to spend much more in climate remediation. Over 30 nations are making climate models trying to predict future temperature trends. Of the models so far all but one fail miserably when compared to what actually is happening. The sole exception is the Russian model which tries to fit the model to past temperature records rather than postulate that response from CO2 and water vapor are always additive.

There is a better, far simpler way to predict future temperature trends. The reason CO2 and water vapor are not always additive is because water vapor is a condensing gas, sometimes forming clouds, which drastically alter the temperature of the surface. Clouds forming at day reflects a large portion of the sunlight back into space, clouds at night keep the heat in.

Willis Eschenbach has made en excellent analysis of 19 years of data from CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System from NASA). He compensates for the effect of Advection (horizontal heat transfer of energy from one place on earth to another.) The results are startling:

The 3.7 W/m2 is the expected increase of heat retention for a doubling of CO2 as per IPCC  (the U.N  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). A similar result is obtained if one is to include data from HadCRUT (Temperature data from the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office)

Tis agrees very well with my own, much coarser examination of data, but sould include that the expected temperature increase observed for a doubling of CO2 is by no means evenly distributed. In addition, if temperature rises 0,39C there will be  about 2.6 % more water vapor in the air which would rise temperature another 0.35 C. This too is not evenly distributed. Here are the expected result:

In the tropical doldrums there will be no change at all, the water vapor is all dominant and thunderstorms keep the average temperature constant.

In the 10-40 latitude there will be an increase, but increased clouds will moderate the increase except in the most arid deserts that will carry the full 0.9 C increase.

The temperate regions will experience about a 0.4 C increase in the wet areas, and about a 0.6 C in the arid parts.

Most of the increase will be experienced around the poles, with minimum temperatures rising five to ten degrees, but maximum temperatures staying about the same.

Why is that? With on the average 2.6 % increase in water vapor there will be an increase in the rainfall, about 2.6% on average, but since there is no change in the tropics it will be concentrated at the higher latitudes, especially around the poles where it will manifest itself as more snow, and that is the main reason for the increased minimum temperatures.

So, how bad is it going to get if nothing is done to stop the increase in CO2?

The temperature difference between poles and equator will be less, which means:

Fewer and less severe hurricanes, less severe tornadoes, less severe winter storms, less droughts.

But there will be about 2% more average cloud cover, more rain and more flooding.

So, with an 0.4C average temperature we will not even be back to the medieval warm period, much less the Roman warm period, not to speak of the Minoan warm period.

The sinking eastern seaboard is a problem that has very little to do with ocean rising, and all to do with tectonic plates movements, which we will have to accept.

Will anything good come out of this climate change?

Yes, indeed. With a doubling of CO2 there will be a corresponding response from plant life increasing biological productivity 30 to 60%. It is not linear, and above 800 ppm it tapers of for most plant species. But we will be able to feed at least another 3 billion people and keep them from hunger, but also much cattle and wild animals, (yes that includes flies and gnats, but I digress)

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/increase.png?w=660

This picture gives us hope for the future. Notice the most significant increase was in Sub-Saharan Africa and eastern India.

 

 

Twenty-five reasons to rapidly develop Thorium based Nuclear Power generation.

Twenty-five reasons to rapidly develop Thorium based Nuclear Power generation.

We need badly to develop and build Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactors to secure our energy needs in the future. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissible material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

3. One ten-thousandth of the TRansUranium waste compared to a U-235 based fast breeder reactor.

4. Thorium based nuclear power produces Pu-238, needed for space exploration.

5. Radioactive waste from an LFTR decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors.

6. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

7. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers.

8. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe.

9. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel is already molten.

10. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

11. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions.

12. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

13. Thorium Nuclear Power generators  scale  beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

14. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas.

15. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

17. Russia has an active Thorium program.

18. China is having a massive Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program.

20. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

21. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, disasters like Chernobyl are impossible.

23. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

24. Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

25. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 18. China is having a massive Thorium program.

  China is having a massive Thorium program. The People’s Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology. The thorium MSR efforts aims not only to develop the technology but to secure intellectual property rights to its implementation. This may be one of the reasons that the Chinese have not joined the international Gen-IV effort for MSR development, since part of that involves technology exchange. Neither the US nor Russia have joined the MSR Gen-IV effort either.

Geneva, Switzerland, 21 August 2018 – As the world struggles with a record-breaking heatwave, China correctly places its trust in the fuel Thorium and the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR) as the backbone of its nation’s plan to become a clean and cheap energy powerhouse.
​​The question is if China will manage to build a homegrown mega export industry, or will others have capacity and will to catch up?
For China, clean energy development and implementation is a test for the state’s ability. Therefore, China is developing the capability to use the “forgotten fuel” thorium, which could begin a new era of nuclear power.​
The first energy system they are building is a solid fuel molten salt reactor that achieves high temperatures to maximize efficiency of combined heat and power generation applications.
However, to fully realize thorium’s energy potential and in this way solve an important mission for China – the security of fuel supply – requires also the thorium itself to be fluid. This is optimized in the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR).
The TMSR takes safety to an entirely new level and can be made cheap and small since it operates at atmospheric pressure, one of its many advantages. Thanks to its flexible cooling options it can basically be used anywhere, be it a desert, a town or at sea. In China this is of special interest inland, where freshwater is scarce in large areas, providing a unique way to secure energy independence.
“Everyone in the field is extremely impressed with how China saw the potential, grabbed the opportunity and is now running faster than everyone else developing this futuristic energy source China and the entire world is in a great need of.”
– Andreas Norlin, Thorium Energy World
Picture

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 17. Russia has an active Thorium program.

Russia has an active Thorium program This is a self-contained Thorium Nuclear Reactor on a barge. Coolant readily available. Hoist it a couple of cables and the town to be serviced will have all the power it needs. This is especially useful in the Arctic. Russia is trying to establish Arctic domination, both commercially and militarily. They have over 30 ice breakers, some of them nuclear. U.S. has two, only one of which are operational.
Russia is also trying to commercialize hybrid fusion-fission reactors:
Nuclear Engineering International: 29 May 2018

Russia develops a fission-fusion hybrid reactor.
A new fission-fusion hybrid reactor will be assembled at Russia’s Kurchatov Institute by the end of 2018, Peter Khvostenko, scientific adviser of the Kurchatov complex on thermonuclear energy and plasma technologies, announced on 14 May. The physical start-up of the facility is scheduled for 2020.

The hybrid reactor combines the principles of thermonuclear and nuclear power – essentially a tokamak fusion reactor and a molten salt fission reactor. Neutrons produced in a small tokamak will be captured in a molten salt blanket located around tokamak. The facility will use Thorium as a fuel, which is cheaper and more abundant than uranium. Moreover, unlike a fusion reactor, a hybrid will not require super high temperatures to generate energy.

Hybrid reactors reduce the impact of the nuclear fuel cycle on the environment. The concept combines conventional fission processes and fusion reactor principles, comprising a fusion reactor core in combination with a subcritical fission reactor. The results of the fusion reaction, which would normally be absorbed by the cooling system of the reactor, would feed into the fission section, and sustain the fission process. Thorium in a molten salt blanket will enable breeding or uranium-233.

Some of the expected advantages include:

  • Utilization of actinides and transmutation from long-lived radioactive waste;
  • An increase in energy recovered from uranium by a large factor;
  • The inherent  safety of the system, which can be shut down rapidly; and
  • High burnup of fissile materials leaving few by-products.

The hybrid fission-fusion reactor is seen as a near-term commercial application of fusion pending further research on pure fusion power systems.