They Must Have Their Climate Change Numbers Wrong Here

There’s a report stating that pumping water up onto the Antarctic ice sheet would reduce the flooding of cities. Seems obvious enough really. The next stage though, not so obvious. And there’s got to be something wrong with their numbers here. Because they’re insisting that this is all ludicrously expensive and so we’d better just cut emissions instead.

At which point, well, really?

Spraying trillions of tons of snow over west Antarctica could halt the ice sheet’s collapse and save coastal cities across the world from sea level rise, according to a new study. The colossal geoengineering project would need energy from at least 12,000 wind turbines to power giant seawater pumps and snow cannons, and would destroy a unique natural reserve. The scientists are not advocating for such a project, but said its apparent “absurdity” reflects the extraordinary scale of threat from rising sea level.

Ending the burning of fossil fuels remains the key to tackling the climate crisis and sea level rise, the researchers said.

Well, OK, but let’s check the absurdity.

For instance, the uplifting of the ocean water alone would require a theoretical minimum of 145 GW (neglecting frictional losses), a power that, in theory, could be provided by more than 12,000 high-end wind turbines driven by the regional wind fields, which in principle would have sufficient capacity

Yes, obviously, this isn’t the only nor entire cost. But how much is that?

‘Leccie is about 10 cents a kW, $100 a MW, $100,000 a GW. 145 GW is therefore an entirely trivial $14.5 million. OK, that’s against the flooding of major cities? Get building this right away.

That’s not what they mean though. Cannot be. They must mean that sort of level of capacity.

The report identified investment of €10.34 billion in the offshore wind sector in 2018, financing some 4.22GW of offshore wind capacity, which works out at €2.45 million/MW.

So, using those numbers, call it some $300 – $400 billion. Which, actually, is rather cheaper than the entire overthrowing of capitalism some are instead recommending. So, still, let’s go do it, eh? Because, you know, the total costs here look like being less than Germany alone has already spent on that Energiewende, that process by which they’ve gone green by increasing coal emissions.

Actually, it looks like a bargain, doesn’t it? Far from absurd, we should do it.

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Phoenix44Jonathan HarstonRhoda KlappBoganboyLeo Savantt Recent comment authors
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Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

Start with the answer you desire and work backwards to the question(s).

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

This proposal is on a par with flat earthers for stupidity, especially as total frozen water (snow and ice) in Antarctica is on the increase, all without pumps and sprays, one despairs.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

I like Shellenberger’s argument of 11 Sep 18 in Environmental Progress that if Germany and California had spent on nukes the money they’ve wasted on windmills and solar panels, they’d already have decarbonised.

But no doubt this is because I hate relying on fiendish foreigners for our energy.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

It’s essential to get the units right when discussing energy and power.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

If I invented a cheap means of removing CO2 from the air, the Greens would try and ban it.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

It’s called a tree – quick, patent it!

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

Sadly not remotely practical on any kind of effective scale. Obviously, since fossil fuels are highly compacted trees (and other stuff). And which is why burning fossil fuels replaced burning trees.

Weird how things actually work.