Pielke Jr.: Net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 requires a new nuclear power plant every day 

Posted: October 1, 2019 by oldbrew in Analysis, Emissions, Energy, Nuclear power, Politics
Tags: , ,

Ringhals nuclear power site, Sweden [image credit: Vattenfall]

Or, theoretically at least, an equivalent amount of power from other so-called ‘green’ sources, requiring vastly greater amounts of non-renewable mined materials than are currently available – assuming they even exist on such large scales. Not to mention all the other practical difficulties of such dodgy ideas.

What makes achieving Net Zero by 2050 impossible is a failure to accurately understand the scale of the challenge and the absence of policy proposals that match that scale, says Roger Pielke Jr. @ Forbes (via The GWPF).

More than a decade ago, Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner characterized climate policy as an “auction of promises” in which politicians “vied to outbid each other with proposed emissions targets that were simply not achievable.”

For instance, among Democrats competing for the presidency in 2020, several, including Joe Biden, have committed to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Candidate Andrew Yang bid 2049, and Cory Booker topped that by offering 2045. Bernie Sanders has offered a 71% reduction by 2030.

One reason that we see this “auction of promises” is that the targets and timetables for emissions reductions are easy to state but difficult to comprehend.

Here I’ll present what net-zero carbon dioxide emissions for 2050 actually means in terms of the rate of deployment of carbon-free energy and the coincident decommissioning of fossil fuel infrastructure.

To conduct this analysis I use the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which presents data on global and national fossil fuel consumption in units called “million tons of oil equivalent” or mtoe.

In 2018 the world consumed 11,865 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum. The combustion of these fossil fuels resulted in 33.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

In order for those emissions to reach net-zero, we will have to replace about 12,000 mtoe of energy consumption expected for 2019. (I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.)

Another useful number to know is that there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 mtoe of carbon-free energy consumption (~12,000 mtoe/11,051 days) every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years.

Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day.

Full article here.

  1. hunterson7 says:

    Yet even Roger Pielke Jr. is afraid to question the underlying assumptions of the hazard of CO2.

  2. Lapis Litore says:

    I have decided I am a “CLIMATE CHANGE ACCEPTOR”. I dont know if anyone has coined the term already yet. If not, … I bags it. Anyone else can join this very special club of gifted, nature loving, human beings of course.

  3. gallopingcamel says:

    I have been advocating “Build a Nuke Each Day” for years!

    My plea was not based on “Mitigating CO2” which would be bad for the bio-sphere.

    My plea was based on making electricity cheaper using Nukes built on assembly lines and shipped to site on trucks.

  4. stpaulchuck says:

    once again a reminder that the kind of people that fall for this sort of crap (AGW) do not have critical thinking skills and never will. They work strictly on emotions and get livid when you do present real science that debunks their current religion.

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    hunterson7 says:
    October 1, 2019 at 3:58 pm
    the only hazard from CO2 is to my bank accounts
    “Meanwhile, conservatives are said to have rejected science if they won’t believe that taxes control the weather.” from moonbattery.com

  6. oldbrew says:

    Back in the real world…

    Sep 29, 2019, 07:21pm
    The U.S. Department Of Energy Says More Oil, More Natural Gas

    Given that economic and population expansion are the primary indicators of more energy demand, global energy demand is set to boom 45% by 2050.
    . . .
    Globally, even with Herculean gains for wind (a 4-fold boom) and solar (more than a 6-fold boom), gas generation soars nearly 60% by 2050.
    . . .
    Just last year alone, global gas demand jumped over 5% to a staggering 137 trillion cubic feet.


    Which whiney teenager is going to tell the customers it’s all got to stop by 2025/2030/2050 or whenever it is? Absurd – yet some politicians ignore, or are oblivious to, the facts.
    U.S. Department of Energy’s EIA just released its ‘International Energy Outlook 2019’
    – – –
    Anyone who thinks carbon capture and storage is at all viable needs to wise up. More chance of knocking out a tank with a peashooter.

  7. oldbrew says:

    gallopingcamel says:
    ‘I have been advocating “Build a Nuke Each Day” for years!’
    – – –
    Willow Run was building one four-engined B-24 bomber an hour in WWII over 70 years ago, without robots or advanced machine tools.


  8. ivan says:

    The problem with all the green idiots and climate ‘scientists’ is that they never deal with real world facts. Because of their lack of knowledge of facts they can’t conceive the amount of power required to keep civilisation going at its present level nor even at the p-re-industrial utopia they dream about.

    The other problem is that nuclear is an anathema to them – it might go bang like the bomb, so they will never even consider that option.

    Nuclear plants don’t have to be large edifices that we see today, they can be small units manufactured on a production line – go RR – that can power towns and scaled up – units combined – cities.

  9. pochas94 says:

    There are gazillions of people emotionally committed to doing something stupid. It relieves the boredom.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Inhofe Announces Climate Hypocrite Awards
    Awards Coincide with Global Climate Week
    Monday, September 23, 2019

    U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced the first of his Climate Hypocrite Awards today. He plans to announce five in total for the week – one each day of Global Climate Week.

    “It is easy to get swept up in the rhetoric of climate alarmists, but it’s important to remember the facts. Climate alarmists are eager to tell Americans that they need to take radical action, including going vegan, ending air travel, not having children and eliminating fossil fuels and nuclear energy, but they aren’t willing to back up their data or take the actions they prescribe to everyone else.”


  11. gallopingcamel says:

    oldbrew said:
    “Willow Run was building one four-engined B-24 bomber an hour in WWII over 70 years ago, without robots or advanced machine tools.”

    Back then the USA was full of confidence and achievement. Over a four year period the USA produced an average of two 14,000 tonne “Liberty Ships” per day. Compare that to a SMR (Small Nuclear Reactor) that can be delivered by road on a single truck.

  12. oldbrew says:

    gc: SMR (Small Nuclear Reactor) that can be delivered by road on a single truck.

    Like this…

  13. Philip Morkel says:

    I’m not so enthused by the SMR solution, having worked on one for two years during the design phase over a decade ago. I walked away from a leading role on the project in 2007. As in Oldbrews’s 5 October picture, it had a 1300 ton reactor, but power density was too low and the safety case could not be established. Power cost was over $1/kWh.

    I went on to research & develop a clean energy, renewable natural gas, carbon-negative project instead. This costs half as much for four times the output and has negative carbon emissions of up to 6 gigatons in its lifetime. Power cost is below 10c/kWh. So the comment (I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.) is not 100% true. Construction should start in 2020.

    This alternative was not a total global solution, but it can reverse almost one year’s carbon emissions by the USA by itself. Is this “at scale” enough?