materiales vinculados al curso de verano de la UAM “alternativas ecosociales en el siglo de la gran prueba”, 6 a 8 de septiembre

Situacion_del_Mundo_2012 Naredo ECONOMÍA VERDE

Naredo, Ident. humanas y transform, 06.09.2017

entrevista con David Schweickart, sept. 2017

EcoCapEcoSoc.UAM (TRAD) D. Schweickart

EcoCapEcoSoc(TRAD) David Schweickart

Cuatro décadas perdidas, Emilio Santiago Muíño 2016

Sustento-y-sostenibilidad-S.Alvarez 2017

Definir espacio seguro_Kate Raworth

volver_al_campo_mientras_el_mundo_se_derrumba Almazán y Escalante 2017

YayoHerrero_Economia-feminista 2016

DEMOCRACIA DIRECTA Christos Zografos

Christos Zografos Direct Democracy 2015

Gram Swaraj, Carlos Valmaseda

La búsqueda de alternativas radicales, Ash. Kothai 2016

Ashish Kothari ECO-SWARAJ

philippe-bihouix-l-age-des-low-tech

relecturas de Marx, José Núñez del Prado 2017

La conservación de la Naturaleza desde la cosmovisión de los pueblos originarios, con una perspectiva de género. Romero, 2017.

Alicia_Valero_Transiciones_energeticas_UAM

Benach y Muntaner entrevista Ecología Política (2009)

J.Benach TODA SALUD ES POLÍTICA Entrevista Izquierda Diario (2015)

J.Benach y otros SALUD BAJO EL CAPITALISMO Papeles 137 (2017)

J. Riechmann ecosocialismo_descalzo_en_el_siglo_de_la_gran_prueba VIENTO SUR 150

seminario Ofelia Agoglia

AGOGLIA EL DEBATE SOBRE LA SOSTENIBILIDAD

Agoglia. La crisis ambiental como transición

AGOGLIA. REVISTA PESQUISA EN EA

AGOGLIA_El_Marco_Categorial_de_la_Crisis_Ambiental

La corriente ambiental crítica. AGOGLIA

La incidencia del proceso de instrumentalización de la razón.AGOGLIA

 

Pregunta para evaluación: A lo largo del curso hemos oído hablar en varias ocasiones de progreso: la ida de progreso lineal, la pérdida de fe en el progreso, la revitalización de la confianza en el progreso, la crítica del mito del progreso, etc. A la luz de la problemática examinada en el curso, hoy -en 2017- ¿te parece que tiene sentido hablar de progreso? Y si fuera así ¿en qué podría consistir un progreso humano real? Arguméntalo en un máximo de mil palabras, y envía (el 15 de septiembre como muy tarde) el documento digitalizado (en programa de tratamiento de textos) a la dirección de correo-e: jorge.riechmann (a) uam.es

SERÁ UNA VEZ MÓSTOLES 2030 (EL MOVIMIENTO EN TRANSICIÓN “ENTRA EN CAMPAÑA”)

El pasado viernes 17 de junio el movimiento en transición mostoleño desarrolló la acción poéticaSerá una vez Móstoles 2030, con la idea de reencantar la ciudad y repoblar nuestros imaginarios colectivos mediante visiones de futuro estimulantes, basadas en la idea de la lujosa pobreza. En un contexto de campaña electoral, en el que somos bombardeados por mensajes que incitan únicamente al voto, desde el movimiento en transición apelamos a la poesía para despertar las ganas de acción en la escala más importante del cambio, que es la vida cotidiana de cada uno y cada una.

A continuación, un pequeño vídeo resumen y un comunicado público del Movimeinto en Transición Móstoleño, del que el Instituto de Transición Rompe el Círculo forma parte. También algunas fotografías y el acceso a alguno de los materiales más interesantes que pudieron ser encontrados la noche del 17 de junio en Móstoles, como el bando de la Comuna Municipal, fechado en 30 de marzo de 2030, o las nuevas asignaturas impartidas en centros de educación primaria y secundaria. (…)

Será una vez Móstoles 2030 (el movimiento en transición “entra en campaña”)

una entrevista con carmen madorrán (sobre rené dubos y otras cuestiones)

Carmen Madorrán: “Si pensàssim un poc més globalment, es produirien canvis de gran magnitud”

Carmen Madorrán (Pamplona, 1989) és llicenciada en Filosofia per la Universitat Autònoma de Madrid, on cursà també un màster en Crítica i Argumentació Filosòfica. Actualment està cursant estudis de doctorat sota la direcció de Jorge Riechmann. La seva preocupació per la crisi socioecològica l’ha duita a participar en el grup d’investigació transdisciplinari sobre transicions socioecològiques. Madorrán ha publicat recentment una antologia de textos de René Dubos titulada Pensar globalmente, actuar localmente dins la col·leccióClásicos del Pensamiento Crítico de l’editorial Los Libros de la Catarata. Amb ella parlàrem precisament del pensament ecològic de Dubos recollit en aquesta antologia.

Quins criteris heu seguit a l’hora de seleccionar les obres i els fragments que formen part de la vostra antologia sobre René Dubos?

He treballat principalment amb tres textos: Un animal tan humà! (1971), Celebracions de la vida (1985) i Un déu interior (1986), perquè em sembla que recullen de manera bastant completa les preocupacions socials i ambientals de Dubos. Sempre és difícil escollir entre les obres d’un autor tan prolífic que va tractar tants de temes. Evidentment l’obra Un animal tan humà!, amb la qual va guanyar el premi Pulitzer d’assaig de no ficció el 1969, era una referència obligada. Jorge Riechmann, gran coneixedor del treball de René Dubos, em va suggerir les altres dues obres, i no va poder encertar més. Després, l’elecció dels fragments va respondre a un criteri de claredat, sens dubte, subjectiu. René Dubos no escrivia tractats sobre un tema concret, sinó que posava exemples, contava anècdotes, com ara les diferències entre la vida durant la seva infantesa en un poble francès i la seva vida als Estats Units, faules, algun conte… Tot això fa que la seva lectura sigui, sens dubte, més interessant, però en aquesta selecció de fragments volíem transmetre alguns dels pilars centrals del seu pensament.

Quin sentit té en un món globalitzat la sentència “Pensa globalment i actua localment”, introduïda per Dubos? Creis que és un dels principis bàsics que ha de continuar guiant les accions dels governs, dels grups ecologistes i de la ciutadania?

Per mi té molt de sentit. Que vivim en un món globalitzat és un fet, però no ho és tant que pensem globalment. De fet, pensar a aquesta escala no és una tasca fàcil i exigeix sortir de la comoditat que suposa el fet d’haver nascut a la part privilegiada d’un món globalitzat, sense assumir les responsabilitats corresponents. Si pensàssim un poc més globalment, es produirien canvis de gran magnitud també en el nostre entorn local. Per això crec que és un principi fonamental que hauria d’orientar les accions dels governs i dels ciutadans però, amb algunes excepcions, això no s’ha produït encara.

Quines varen ser les principals contribucions de Dubos a l’ecologia política?

Jo destacaria la idea de límits i de la impossibilitat de continuar amb un creixement exponencial en un planeta finit, ja sigui de la població, la demanda d’energia o la generació de residus. Em sembla que és una lliçó que, malgrat que fa diverses dècades que es va formular, encara no hem aconseguit assumir com a societat. O potser tal vegada ni ho hem intentat. Una altra idea fonamental que ha aportat Dubos a l’ecologia política és la rellevància de la vida i la interdependència entre els éssers vius i els ecosistemes dels quals depenem.

René Dubos, juntament amb Bàrbara Ward, va ser l’autor, el 1972, de l’ Informe Una sola Terra , preparatori de la primera Cimera de la Terra que va tenir lloc a Estocolm. Quina valoració feia Dubos en els seus escrits d’aquestes megaconferències i dels seus resultats?

Dubos tenia una relació ambivalent amb aquestes conferències, encara que algunes vegades es queixàs de la manca d’eficiència de conferències i cimeres internacionals i criticàs que, en acabar, no es produïen més que recitals de bones intencions. Dubos defensava que, atesa la magnitud i la urgència del canvi que s’havia d’escometre, eren imprescindibles. Per això en donà exemple i va participar en la cimera d’Estocolm i va desenvolupar un paper actiu com a assessor en cimeres posteriors.

Dubos en alguna ocasió es va referir a la naturalesa com a un jardí; se sap també que solia utilitzar el seu jardí com a despatx de treball… Quina concepció tenia Dubos de la naturalesa?

La concepció que tenia Dubos de la naturalesa no era senzilla ni tampoc unívoca. D’una banda, interpretava que la naturalesa era el lloc on viure i, per tant, que havíem d’alterar-la, però això no volia dir destruir-la. En aquest sentit, remarca el vincle indissociable dels humans amb la Terra. Una vegada darrere l’altra reapareix en els seus assaigs la idea de la simbiosi entre naturalesa i humanitat, a més de la importància d’entendre aquest vincle per evitar rompre amb els lligams dels quals depèn la nostra pròpia existència. Tal vegada la millor manera de definir això sigui atenent a una proposta feta pel mateix Dubos segons la qual “la llei fonamental de l’ecologia és que cada cosa estigui relacionada amb les altres”.

Què pensava Dubos de la invitació de la filosofia moderna a dominar la naturalesa?

Dubos rastreja la idea del domini o conquesta de la naturalesa de la Bíblia ençà, encara que ell no troba en el text sagrat cap crida al domini ni a la superioritat dels humans, com sí que han fet altres autors. En qualsevol cas, li semblava una errada monumental i perillosa entendre la nostra relació amb la naturalesa com una relació de domini, com si fos un rebost inert i infinit, del qual puguem extreure en qualsevol moment allò que necessitam.

Dubos no era un intel·lectual ingenu, sabia que la naturalesa era també una font de perills per a la humanitat. Quina posició teòrica proposava que adoptàs l’home modern en relació amb la naturalesa?

Efectivament, no era gens ingenu. De fet, parlant de la particular naturalesa dels éssers humans, deia que ens considerava, biològicament parlant, com el gran amateur del regne animal. Dubos estudia i es fascina amb la nostra capacitat de jugar i amb la curiositat, que és, entre d’altres coses, allò que ens ha duit a explorar tots els racons del planeta, però a la vegada adverteix que ja no queda espai cap on anar per començar de zero. Només tenim el planeta Terra i no n’hi ha cap més enfora. Pot semblar una estupidesa, però tant de bo fos quelcom vertaderament assumit pel sentit comú. La relació que proposava entre els humans i la naturalesa era de cooperació, una relació de la qual haurem de ser conscients i tenir-ne cura, perquè si no ho feim, perdrem quelcom molt humà.

De quina manera va influir en la construcció del pensament de Dubos la concepció desesperadament optimista que tenia de l’ésser humà?

Crec que aquest optimisme va influir-hi molt. Malgrat enfrontar-se a grans problemes, Dubos demostra en els seus escrits molta confiança en l’elasticitat i capacitat d’adaptació dels éssers humans. Malgrat ser perfectament conscient dels problemes que analitzava, la seva posició no era en absolut la d’algú derrotat, i això és una cosa que, com a lectora, li agraesc. De fet, talment insinuau en la vostra pregunta, Dubos va titular ‘L’optimista desesperat’ la columna que escrivia a l’ American Scholar.

Creis que l’escenari de la crisi ecològica i social dels anys 70 que donà origen al pensament de Dubos ha canviat a pitjor?

Hi ha multitud d’estudis, des de diversos punts de vista i seguint indicadors objectius, que afirmen que estam pitjor que en els anys 70. Pensem, si no, en el canvi climàtic, el zenit d’extracció de certs minerals, l’ús dels combustibles fòssils, els milions de refugiats climàtics, per anomenar només alguns dels problemes que estam patint. Estic convençuda que estam molt pitjor, de fet, perquè les dinàmiques que ja havien creat alguns dels problemes sobre els quals ens alertava Dubos i molts d’altres científics han continuat o bé s’han incrementat.

Pensaria tal vegada Dubos que parlar de col·lapse per referir-se a la situació de crisi de civilització actual seria massa catastrofista i, per tant, contraproduent? Quin hauria de ser el to del discurs ecològic ajustat a la situació actual?

És cert que Dubos defugia els escenaris catastrofistes i que sempre veia una finestra oberta. No sé què diria avui, crec que intentaria donar-ne una de freda i una de calenta, és a dir: parlaria de col·lapse, però proposant mesures de transició i canvis que permetessin frenar el cop que ens ve a sobre i així alliberar-nos de les seves pitjors conseqüències. Però no crec, encara que pugui semblar una opinió llançada al buit, que donàs suport als qui actualment defensen que per no espantar la població caldria endolcir el missatge. I no ho faria perquè existeix una evidència científica molt clara de la necessitat de realitzar de manera urgent una sèrie de canvis a escala global.

Creis que el pensament ecològic està a l’altura de les circumstàncies i pot ser capaç de combatre eficaçment la colonització mental neoliberal favorable al creixement, la productivitat i el sobreconsum?

Crec que molts de grups i pensadors ecologistes fa anys que mantenen aquest combat. Són encara pocs i tenen altaveus no gaire massius. Crec que és un fet que s’ha de revertir la tendència al creixement desmesurat i al sobreconsum, però com s’ha de fer, això ja és una altra cosa. No crec que la qüestió sigui si els grups ecologistes estan a l’altura, sinó de si hi estam tots: volem estar assabentats d’ alguns dels canvis que hem de fer i ser capaços de fer-hi front?

Pensau que hi ha més possibilitats de superar la crisi de civilització millorant la capacitat predictiva i explicativa o posant en pràctica noves relacions socials i experiències més harmòniques amb la naturalesa?

Jo diria que tant la teoria com la praxi són necessàries i van de la mà, és a dir, crec que ambdues són molt importants i que no s’ha de deixar de treballar en l’àmbit teòric, perquè s’han de poder explicar els fenòmens a la població; a la vegada que, en la pràctica, s’han de continuar posant en funcionament experiències de transició. Però crec que per superar la crisi ecològica i social és imprescindible la implicació política de les institucions nacionals i internacionals, perquè són les instàncies amb major capacitat regulativa i impositiva.

Què s’hauria de fer segons Dubos perquè la Terra no esdevingui la tomba de la humanitat?

Posar fi al mite del creixement i a la idea que no hi ha límits. És evident que el tipus de canvi que necessitam per frenar la creença en el creixement il·limitat de les economies i l’augment de les demandes d’energia, minerals i generació de residus que implica és enorme. En aquest sentit, Dubos parlava de la necessitat d’un “redescobriment” de l’associació entre l’ésser humà i la naturalesa, i es referia a aquests canvis en termes de revolució intel·lectual i moral. És a dir, per ell, no es tractava només de promoure un canvi d’hàbits, sinó d’acceptar el fet que certes renúncies són imprescindibles si volem garantir uns nivells mínims de qualitat de vida a les generacions futures i si ens importa mínimament la justícia global. Aquesta nova ètica social a la qual es referia haurà de posar en el centre el reconeixement de la unió i de la relació d’interdependència de l’ésser humà amb la naturalesa.

materiales para seminario de j.r. en CELARG, caracas, 3 a 6 de noviembre de 2015

Jorge Riechmann cap. 1 AUTOCONSTRUCCIÓN, 2015

Alicia Valero: Mantenernos lejos de Thanatia https://youtu.be/EYkwzRo06Ug

CÓMO PENSAR LAS TRANSICIONES POSCAPITALISTAS versión actualizada 2015

cómo cambiar hacia sociedades sostenibles ISEGORÍA 32 J. Riechmann

Monografía PENSAR LA TRANSICIÓN (1) dentro del número 16 de la REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA CRÍTICA, 2013

Monografía PENSAR LA TRANSICIÓN (2) dentro del número 17 de la REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA CRÍTICA, 2014

“Frente a la urgencia ecológica: proyecto de sociedad, programa, estrategia”, por Daniel Tanuro, 2015

JB-Foster-Marxism-and-Ecology-Common-Fonts 2015

Is there a growth imperative in capitalism? A commentary on John Bellamy Foster (part I), por Yorgos Kallis

Can there be green socialist growth? A commentary on John Bellamy Foster (part II), por Yorgos Kallis

Schwartzman & Saul, CNS 2015

Horizonte ecosocialista para Venezuela, Schwartzman y Saul 2015 (versión en español)

debate sobre comunismo solar (Schwartzmann, Prieto, de Castro…), 2015

——————————

Ya publicados los vídeos de las cuatro sesiones:

3 de noviembre: https://youtu.be/optPdjqvV_k
4 de noviembre: https://youtu.be/_yT4CKK2C_k
5 de noviembre: https://youtu.be/uxeD2EAxz3k
6 de noviembre: https://youtu.be/HUiGwRO6rs0

———————–

Recordemos el programa del seminario:

 

I Circuito nacional de seminarios de la Red Venezolana de Centros de Investigación e Investigadorxs en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades. CELARG: septiembre-noviembre 2015

Organizan: la Red Venezolana de Centros de Investigación e Investigadorxs en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, y el Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Cultura

Dirigido a estudiantes, investigadoras e investigadores y activistas del poder popular. Cupo por cada seminario: 25 personas

Seminarios acreditados por el IDEA, el IVIC, la UBV, CIM, CELARG y la UNEARTE

Lugar: Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos Rómulo Gallegos (CELARG), http://www.celarg.org.ve/Espanol/index.htm

 

Seminario de ecología política impartido por Jorge Riechmann:

¿CÓMO PENSAR LAS TRANSICIONES SOCIO-ECOLÓGICAS?

3 al 6 de noviembre, 5 a 7 pm.

1. Introducción: una encrucijada histórica en el Siglo de la Gran Prueba
2. ¿Cómo pensar las transiciones socio-ecológicas?
3. Autocontención, biomímesis, ecoeficiencia, precaución: cuatro principios básicos para una economía alternativa (con la participación de Miguel Ángel Núñez)
4. La propuesta energética de David Schwartzman y Quincy Saul: ¿un horizonte de comunismo solar, pensando en una Venezuela ecosocialista? (con la participación de Quincy Saul)
5. Discusión general

sobre ecosocialismo y cambio climático -intervención de jorge riechmann en bogotá

Material para intervención en el plenario “¿Nuevo clima, nuevo modelo de desarrollo”?

Encuentro de las Américas frente al Cambio Climático

Jorge Riechmann

Bogotá, 22 de septiembre de 2015

1

Agosto de 2015 fue el mes más cálido en el planeta Tierra desde que hay registros (1880).[1] Y 2014 fue el primer año, a lo largo de toda la era industrial, en que la disponibilidad de energía primaria per cápita disminuyó con respecto al año anterior[2] (exceptuando shocks del petróleo exógenos como el de 1973-74). Estas dos dinámicas –calentamiento climático y escasez creciente de energía y materiales—están determinando ya, y van a hacerlo de forma mucho más intensa, el destino de los seres human os en el siglo XXI –que hace tiempo yo vengo llamando el Siglo de la Gran Prueba.

Estamos en una situación de emergencia planetaria, y los tiempos que vienen son muy duros. Acá, en Colombia, padecen ustedes la peor sequía de las últimas décadas –con el agua ya racionada en 130 municipios a mediados de septiembre de 2015, y otros trescientos que podrían pronto llegar a la misma situación- al mismo tiempo que sus científicos e investigadoras se inquietan por la combinación de enfermedades (muy probablemente relacionada con el cambio climático) que está amenazando a los frailejones, esa hermosa planta de los páramos altos de la que depende, precisamente, buena parte del suministro de agua de muchos pueblos y ciudades colombianas.[3] (Pues el páramo, como bien exponía el alcalde mayor de Bogotá Gustavo Petro en su intervención inaugural en el Encuentro de las Américas Frente al Cambio Climático, el 21 de septiembre de 2015, es como una esponja que absorbe y guarda el agua –gracias a sus frailejones, en combinación con el resto de los componentes de ese ecosistema excepcional… “Si el frailejón muere nos quedamos sin agua”, dijo el alcalde con gran rotundidad.)

2

Sabemos que en París, en diciembre de 2015, tendrá lugar una reunión internacional de trascendental importancia. Pero también sabemos que en esa COP 21 se llegará –es lo máximo a que aspiran los actores en el ruedo internacional- a compromisos voluntarios, no a acuerdos vinculantes. Compromisos voluntarios asumidos por Estados cuya soberanía es limitada, con un puñado de excepciones (EEUU, China, Rusia…). Hoy –casi da vergüenza tener que decirlo- el verdadero poder soberano es el del capital transnacional… Lo que tendremos serán, entonces, acuerdos voluntarios firmados por autoridades políticas con escaso poder real, mientras que la maquinaria económica sigue entregada sin trabas a su automatismo: la acumulación de capital.

Sin un vuelco hoy casi inimaginable, la catástrofe climática está preprogramada.

3

No hay posibilidad de hacer frente a la gran crisis climática sin acudir a un sentido del límite del que la cultura hoy dominante carece por completo. Ahí donde hoy se pregona que “más es mejor”, deberíamos ser capaces de formular colectivamente un: “lo suficiente basta”. Me refiero a un sentido del límite que encontramos expresado, desde esos márgenes donde hemos relegado a la contracultura ecologista, por ejemplo en las palabras siguientes de Ivan Illich, escritas hace más de cuatro decenios: “Hay que reconocer que la incorporación de algo más de un cierto quantum de energía por unidad de un producto industrial inevitablemente tiene efectos destructores, tanto en el ambiente sociopolítico como en el ambiente biofísico. (…) No es posible alcanzar un estado social basado en la noción de equidad y simultáneamente aumentar la energía mecánica disponible, a no ser bajo la condición de que el consumo de energía por cabeza se mantenga dentro de límites.” [4]

4

Deberíamos intentar un ejercicio de realismo; situarnos de verdad donde estamos en 2015, dejando de lado en lo posible denegación, autoengaño y pensamiento desiderativo (wishful thinking). Hagámonos cargo: no estamos en 1972 (año de la primera “cumbre” mundial de NN.UU. sobre medio ambiente y desarrollo humano, en Estocolmo; y año de la publicación del importantísimo primer informe al Club de Roma, The Limits to Growth), estamos en 2015.

En diciembre de 2013 se publicó un importantísimo artículo científico, del climatólogo James Hansen y sus colaboradores: “Assessing dangerous climate change”.[5] ¿Qué nos dice este trabajo? Que incluso los daños asociados a un incremento de temperatura promedio de 2 ºC (sobre los niveles preindustriales) son insoportables –y recordemos que se trata del objetivo oficial de las instituciones políticas de nuestro disfuncional mundo político, y que no se está haciendo nada por acercarnos a ese objetivo insuficiente, antes al contrario: cada vez nos alejamos más del mismo–.Y que si existe todavía alguna posibilidad de “resolver” el problema climático, consistiría en disminuir las emisiones globales –que ahora siguen creciendo, en la misma senda en que lo han hecho durante los decenios últimos– a un rapidísimo ritmo del 6% anual, sostenidamente, durante cuatro decenios ¡empezando en 2013!

De hecho, los cálculos de otros prestigiosos climatólogos, como Kevin Anderson del Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, llevan a conclusiones aún más duras: los países ricos (los del anexo I del Protocolo de Kyoto) deberíamos reducir nuestras emisiones entre un 8 y un 10% anual a partir de 2013.[6]

Adaptar la economía mundial a los límites biofísicos del planeta (asunto ineludible si la especie humana desea tener un futuro más allá de las crisis del siglo XXI, el Siglo de la Gran Prueba)[7] exige una regulación global de esa economía… a la que los poderes capitalistas de este mundo se oponen ferozmente. Pues advierten, por ejemplo, que reducir las emisiones de gases de “efecto invernadero” en las magnitudes y plazos necesarios, no ya para estabilizar el clima del planeta, sino para frenar lo peor del calentamiento (recordemos: reducir al menos un 6% anual durante cuatro decenios, a partir de 2013), no es compatible con mantener la rentabilidad que exigen los capitales privados en el sistema de producción capitalista (y con el crecimiento de la producción y el consumo necesarios para esa rentabilidad)… Climatólogos como Kevin Anderson, director adjunto del Centro Tyndall para la Investigación del Cambio Climático en Gran Bretaña, señalan que ya hemos perdido la oportunidad para realizar cambios graduales:[8]

“Tal vez, durante la Cumbre sobre la Tierra de 1992, o incluso en el cambio de milenio, el nivel de los dos grados centígrados [con respecto a las temperaturas preindustriales] podrían haberse logrado a través de significativos cambios evolutivos en el marco de la hegemonía política y económica existentes. Pero el cambio climático es un asunto acumulativo. Ahora, en 2013, desde nuestras naciones altamente emisoras (post-) industriales nos enfrentamos a un panorama muy diferente. Nuestro constante y colectivo despilfarro de carbono ha desperdiciado toda oportunidad de un ‘cambio evolutivo’ realista para alcanzar nuestro anterior (y más amplio) objetivo de los dos grados. Hoy, después de dos décadas de promesas y mentiras, lo que queda del objetivo de los dos grados exige un cambio revolucionario de la hegemonía política y económica[9] (la negrita es del propio Anderson).

5

No se trata sólo -¡sólo!- de un “nuevo modelo de desarrollo”, como reza el título de esta sesión plenaria en la que nos encontramos, acá en el auditorio de la Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá. Se trata de salir del capitalismo.

Ojalá se tratase de algo más sencillo, como –pongamos por caso- los nuevos Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio que está terminando de ajustar NN.UU. para el período 2015-2030 y se aprobarán esta semana, el 25 de septiembre. Pero no es así: la cuestión, como digo, es enfrentarnos a la contracción económica de emergencia que necesitamos (para evitar el calentamiento climático catastrófico –si es que aún es posible) saliendo del capitalismo.

Hoy ya no bastan los cambios incrementales, las medidas graduales relativamente indoloras que hubieran sido posibles de haberse comenzado la acción necesaria hace dos o tres decenios (como los impuestos al carbono que de todas formas seguimos preconizando). Necesitamos cambios estructurales muy profundos, un verdadero volantazo para impedir que el vehículo civilizatorio donde viajamos se precipite al abismo que ya está muy cerca. Para que nos demos cuenta del cambio revolucionario que es preciso: los países “desarrollados” tienen que comenzar a reducir ya sus emisiones, al ritmo casi inconcebible del 10% anual, y completar la descarbonización de sus economías en tres-cuatro decenios. Pero los grandes países “emergentes” han de seguir por esa senda muy poco después… Y, tanto en el Norte como en el Sur, hay que salir del extractivismo en tiempo récord, pues las cuatro quintas partes de las reservas existentes de combustibles fósiles deben quedar bajo tierra (si queremos tener alguna opción de respetar el límite de seguridad de los dos grados centígrados de incremento sobre las temperaturas preindustriales).

6

Debo insistir en ese último asunto, sobre el cual han llamado la atención los firmantes de un importante manifiesto publicado en el pasado mes de agosto: “Dejemos los combustibles fósiles en el subsuelo para acabar con los crímenes climáticos” era su título. Leíamos allí:

“Sabemos que las multinacionales y los gobiernos no abandonarán fácilmente los beneficios que perciben de la extracción de las reservas de carbón, de gas y de petróleo o de la agricultura industrial globalizada tan glotona en energía fósil. Para seguir actuando, pensando, amando, cuidando, creando, produciendo, contemplando, luchando, hay que presionarles. Para desarrollarnos como sociedad, individuos y ciudadanos debemos actuar todos para cambiarlo todo. Lo demandan nuestra común humanidad y la Tierra.

(…) Trabajamos para cambiarlo todo. Podemos abrir los caminos hacia un futuro vivible. Nuestro poder de actuar resulta a menudo más importante de lo que imaginamos. Por todo el mundo luchamos contra los verdaderos impulsores de la crisis climática, defendemos los territorios, reducimos las emisiones, organizamos la resiliencia, desarrollamos la autonomía alimentaria con la agro-ecología campesina, etc.

Al acercarse la Conferencia de la ONU sobre cambio climático en Paris-Le Bourget, afirmamos nuestra determinación de que las energías fósiles permanezcan en el subsuelo. Es la única salida. Concretamente, los gobiernos deben poner fin a las subvenciones que se destinan al sector de combustibles fósiles, y congelar su extracción renunciando a explotar el 80% de todas las reservas de combustibles fósiles.

Sabemos que esto implica un cambio histórico de envergadura. No vamos a esperar a que actúen los estados. La esclavitud y el apartheid no desaparecieron porque los estados decidieran abolirlos, sino por movilizaciones masivas que no dejaron otra elección.”[10]

7

No hablemos tanto de desarrollo o de Estado del Bienestar: hablemos de esclavos energéticos, y las cosas quedarán más claras.[11]

A escala mundial, y con datos de 2013-15, las emisiones personales endosomáticas de carbono (en forma de dióxido de carbono) rondan los 90 kg. anuales; recordemos que la mayor parte de la energía primaria que consumimos procede de los combustibles fósiles. Pero las emisiones exosomáticas (la energía “externa” al metabolismo de nuestro organismo) alcanzan los 1.260 kgs. por persona y año (promedio que enmascara enormes diferencias entre Norte y Sur globales, entre clases sociales, entre varones y mujeres…). Grosso modo, eso quiere decir que cada uno y cada una de nosotros vivimos disfrutando de catorce esclavos energéticos en promedio (muchos más en el Norte, muchos menos en el Sur).

La gran pregunta, la enorme pregunta, la descomunal pregunta: ¿podemos convertirnos en esclavistas –energéticos— modestos? ¿Configurar formas de vida buena con sólo dos o tres esclavos energéticos por cabeza, y con justicia global?

(Un par de pistas: Cuba consume sólo una quinta parte de la energía primaria per capita de Alemania, pero mantiene un Índice de Desarrollo Humano alto, por encima de 0’8. Pero dentro de Alemania existen numerosas experiencias locales –por ejemplo Feldheim, o Sieben Linden, o el barrio de Vauban en Friburgo— donde el consumo energético se asemeja a la media cubana: reducciones de tres cuartas partes en el consumo de energía primaria con respecto al promedio alemán.)

8

No se trata de “aportar cada cual su granito de arena” como suele decirse; se trataría de transformaciones revolucionarias en un tiempo récord. El alcalde Gustavo Petro, en un discurso pronunciado en el Museo de Bogotá el 21 de septiembre de 2015, decía medio en broma: “pedimos a París otra revolución, de las que nos tienen acostumbrados…” Pero esa necesidad de revolución no es una broma.

Pero si queremos plantearlo desde la perspectiva del individuo, reparemos en lo siguiente.

Es sabido que Simone Weil, una de las grandes pensadoras del siglo XX, se dejó morir –cuando su salud era frágil– al no querer alimentarse, en la Gran Bretaña de 1943, mejor de lo que consentían a la gente hacerlo con las cartillas de racionamiento de la Francia ocupada por los ejércitos hitlerianos. Una loca, pensará más de uno. De hecho, el forense que la examinó emitió el dictamen siguiente: “La fallecida se mató al negarse a sí misma suficiente alimento cuando se hallaba con las facultades mentalmente trastornadas”.[12]

Si hoy, en la situación de extralimitación planetaria (overshoot) en que nos hallamos, consideramos esa locura de no querer para sí ventajas con respecto a la situación de quienes se hallan peor; si hoy quisiéramos actualizar la locura igualitaria (llamémosla solidaridad) de Simone Weil pensando en los límites biofísicos de la Tierra, ¿qué hallaríamos? Jennie Moore y William E. Rees, a partir de la metodología de la huella ecológica, se plantean esa clase de preguntas. Aproximadamente la quinta parte de la población mundial vivimos en países de renta alta (la mayor parte de Norteamérica, Europa, Japón y Australia, más las elites consumistas de los países de renta baja). Superamos entre tres y seis veces (o incluso más) la capacidad ecológica de nuestro propio territorio, a costa de otros; nos apropiamos de las cuatro quintas partes de los recursos mundiales y generamos la mayor parte de las emisiones de gases de “efecto invernadero”. Grosso modo, ese sector de renta alta vivimos como si dispusiéramos de los recursos y la capacidad asimilativa de tres planetas Tierra. Si nos ciñéramos, a lo Simone Weil, a vivir como en una sola Tierra -¡la cual es de hecho la única morada de que disponemos!-, ¿qué resulta?

Según los datos de estos investigadores, la ingesta de carne debería reducirse aproximadamente a una quinta parte (de unos cien kg. anuales a unos veinte). El espacio habitado, a una cuarta parte (de unos 34 metros cuadrados en promedio a 8). El consumo energético por hogar, a una cuarta parte (de 33’5 gigajulios anuales a 8’4). Los desplazamientos en vehículo motorizado, a menos de la décima parte (de 6.600 km./ año a 582). Los desplazamientos en avión, a la vigésimocuarta parte (de 2.943 km./ año a 125). Los vehículos motorizados, a sólo cuatro por mil habitantes. Sí: en un país como España, tendríamos que pasar de veintitantos millones de vehículos a sólo 180.000…[13] Nada de automóviles privados, sino sólo las ambulancias, autobuses y coches de bomberos indispensables. No un “día sin carros”, como en la importante iniciativa que ha impulsado el alcalde Gustavo Petro en la ciudad de Bogotá (hoy, 22 de septiembre de 2015): todos los días sin carros. No podemos permitirnos la movilidad motorizada individual.

9

El vuelo de Madrid a Santa Cruz de Tenerife cubre 1.971 km.; ida y vuelta, 3.942 km. Eso significa que, según los cálculos de Rees y Moore, a los madrileños y madrileñas nos correspondería en términos de justicia planetaria uno de estos viajes cada 31 años y medio; dos veces en la vida. O un viaje transatlántico en avión una vez en la vida… si asumimos esa moralidad de Simone Weil que casi todo el mundo juzgará heroica locura.

Pero no hacerlo supone ser cómplices del ecocidio y genocidio que están en marcha.

Así que yo no tendría que estar con ustedes esta mañana, después de haber volado de Madrid a Bogotá: hubiera sido mejor una intervención telemática… Espero que, al menos, las incómodas ideas que les he expuesto les causen a ustedes la misma incomodidad que yo siento. El nudo de contradicciones es inextricable. Un botón de muestra: la intervención inaugural del alcalde Gustavo Petro en el Encuentro de las Américas Frente al Cambio Climático, el 21 de septiembre de 2015, a la que acabo de referirme, fue muy buena. Con apenas algún matiz, la crítica que realizó el alcalde a la desregulación de los mercados, la privatización del agua o la dominación financiera sobre las dinámicas políticas la podría suscribir cualquier persona ecosocialista o ecofeminista. “Sin romper la idolatría del mercado no es posible construir las vías que nos lleven a salvar la vida en el planeta”, decía Gustavo Petro (a su denuncia de la mercadolatría yo añadiría la de la tecnolatría –un asunto enorme que ahora no puedo abordar). Pero a esa intervención crítica, elocuente, rigurosa y bien trabada del Alcalde Mayor de la ciudad de Santafé de Bogotá le siguió, sin solución de continuidad, un vídeo promocional –elaborado por su propio ayuntamiento- que exaltaba una “Bogotá turística, gastronómica y centro de negocios”… lo cual contradecía, de modo bastante frontal, sus propios planteamientos. (Por no mencionar más que uno de los asuntos, la industria del turismo internacional –uno de los sectores económicos que está creciendo más deprisa- es del todo incompatible con una economía sustentable.)

Así de prieto es el anudamiento brutal de nuestras contradicciones.

Casi todo el mundo asume que para abordar la enorme cuestión del cambio climático hay que hablar de hábitos de consumo y lifestyles… Casi nadie asume que hacen falta transformaciones socioeconómicas revolucionarias –comenzando por la socialización de la banca y las empresas energéticas. Es pura fantasía pensar que puede haber un capitalismo verde.

[1] Según la Administración Nacional para el Océano y la Atmósfera de EEUU, que hizo público este dato el 17 de septiembre de 2015.

[2] “En 2014, como destaca el informe anual de BP, la producción [de energía] ha aumentado solo el 0,9%, un hecho insólito fuera de períodos sin crisis económica grave. (…) Este aumento del 0,9% está por debajo del de la población mundial, lo que se traduce en una menor disponibilidad energética per cápita, un probable cambio de tendencia secular…” Juan Carlos Barba, “Hemos chocado con el iceberg y aún no nos hemos enterado”, blog “El gráfico de la semana” en El Confidencial, 19 de junio de 2015; http://blogs.elconfidencial.com/economia/grafico-de-la-semana/2015-06-19/hemos-chocado-con-el-iceberg-y-aun-no-nos-hemos-enterado_892175/

[3] “El frailejón, al tener vellosidades en sus hojas, logra tomar como una esponja el líquido vital que viene con el viento y desde el cielo. Este a su vez logra concentrarse en sus raíces y es de esta captación que se alimentan los embalses. Dice [Jorge] Jácome [investigador de la Universidad Pontificia Javeriana] que el 80 por ciento de los municipios del país se provee de fuentes hídricas que nacen en los páramos, donde el frailejón es la especie estrella en esta captura hídrica…” Laura Betancur Alarcón, “La misteriosa enfermedad que ataca a los frailejones”, El Tiempo, 19 de septiembre de 2015. http://www.eltiempo.com/estilo-de-vida/ciencia/enfermedad-que-ataca-a-los-frailejones/16379695

[4] Ivan Illich, Energía y equidad, Barral, Barcelona 1974, p. 13 y 19.

[5] Hansen J, Kharecha P, Sato M, Masson-Delmotte V, Ackerman F, et al. (2013) “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature”. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81648. doi: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0081648

Sobre el borrador de este artículo Ferrán P. Vilar había llamado la atención hace dos años, en mayo de 2011: http://ustednoselocree.com/2011/05/20/que-es-lo-que-realmente-habria-que-hacer/

El paper completo está aquí: http://www.plos.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/pone-8-12-hansen.pdf

El abstract dice lo siguiente: “We assess climate impacts of global warming using ongoing observations and paleoclimate data. We use Earth’s measured energy imbalance, paleoclimate data, and simple representations of the global carbon cycle and temperature to define emission reductions needed to stabilize climate and avoid potentially disastrous impacts on today’s young people, future generations, and nature. A cumulative industrial-era limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects. Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice. Responsible policymaking requires a rising price on carbon emissions that would preclude emissions from most remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels and phase down emissions from conventional fossil fuels.”

[6] Kevin Anderson y Alice Bows, “Beyond ‘dangerous’ climate change: emission scenarios for a new world”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society vol. 369 num. 1934, 13 de enero de 2011; puede consultarse en http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/20.full.pdf+html . El abstract de este importante artículo reza así: “The Copenhagen Accord reiterates the international community’s commitment to ‘hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius’. Yet its preferred focus on global emission peak dates and longer-term reduction targets, without recourse to cumulative emission budgets, belies seriously the scale and scope of mitigation necessary to meet such a commitment. Moreover, the pivotal importance of emissions from non-Annex 1 nations in shaping available space for Annex 1 emission pathways received, and continues to receive, little attention. Building on previous studies, this paper uses a cumulative emissions framing, broken down to Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations, to understand the implications of rapid emission growth in nations such as China and India, for mitigation rates elsewhere. The analysis suggests that despite high-level statements to the contrary, there is now little to no chance of maintaining the global mean surface temperature at or below 2°C. Moreover, the impacts associated with 2°C have been revised upwards, sufficiently so that 2°C now more appropriately represents the threshold between ‘dangerous’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ climate change. Ultimately, the science of climate change allied with the emission scenarios for Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations suggests a radically different framing of the mitigation and adaptation challenge from that accompanying many other analyses, particularly those directly informing policy.”

Kevin Anderson ha actualizado sus cálculos en 2013: véase la entrada de su blog “Avoiding dangerous climate change demands de-growth strategies from wealthier nations”, 25 de noviembre de 2013, que cabe consultar en http://kevinanderson.info/blog/avoiding-dangerous-climate-change-demands-de-growth-strategies-from-wealthier-nations/

[7] Jorge Riechmann, El siglo de la Gran Prueba, Baile del Sol, Tegueste (Tenerife) 2013.

[8] Así, la gradualidad y el control racional están en entredicho. Una consecuencia de ello sería que no tiene sentido seguir hablando sobre desarrollo sostenible en el segundo decenio del siglo XXI; el tiempo para ello ya pasó. Probablemente había pasado ya en 1992, en el año de la “cumbre de Río”. ¿Por qué deberíamos verlo así? Porque la noción de desarrollo sostenible remite a un proceso gradual, y controlado racionalmente, de transición a la sustentabilidad, que presupone condiciones socioecológicas y político-culturales que no se dan ya hoy. Por una parte, la extralimitación de las sociedades industriales con respecto la base de recursos naturales y servicios ambientales de la biosfera ha avanzado demasiado; por otra parte, la consolidación del neoliberalismo ha socavado las posibilidades de cualquier transición ordenada (que exigiría procesos de regulación global hoy fuera de nuestro alcance). En suma, necesitaríamos una biosfera más grande y rica, y un capitalismo más pequeño y controlable, para que un programa de desarrollo sostenible tuviera plausibilidad. Hacia 1972, cuando se publica el primero de los informes al Club de Roma, era un programa viable; en el segundo decenio del siglo XXI no lo es.

[9] Citado en Naomi Klein, “Por qué necesitamos una eco-revolución”, sin permiso, 17 de noviembre de 2013. Puede consultarse en http://www.sinpermiso.info/textos/index.php?id=6430

[10] El texto completo del manifiesto puede consultarse en la web de sin permiso, donde se publicó el 30 de agosto de 2015 (http://old.sinpermiso.info/textos/index.php?id=8279 ). Un comentario, que ilustra sobre las contradicciones que la crisis climática genera en los gobiernos llamados “progresistas” de América Latina, lo propone Eduardo Gudynas: “Moratoria petrolera y cambio climático: las alternativas otra vez bajo ataque”, América Latina en movimiento, 9 de septiembre de 2015; http://www.alainet.org/es/articulo/172296

[11] En la Atenas clásica, había unos 300.000 esclavos trabajando para 34.000 ciudadanos libres: casi diez para cada uno. En la Roma imperial, 130 millones de esclavos les facilitaban la vida a 20 millones de ciudadanos romanos. Pues bien: en los años noventa del siglo XX, el habitante promedio de la Tierra tenía a su disposición 20 “esclavos energéticos” que no cesaban un instante de trabajar (es decir: ese habitante promedio empleaba la energía equivalente a 20 seres humanos que trabajasen 24 horas al día, 365 días al año). Y en 2011 eran 25 esclavos energéticos en promedio (45 en España, 60 en Alemania, 120 en EEUU) (Antonio Turiel: “El cenit del petróleo y la crisis económica”, ponencia en las Jornadas de Ecología Política y Social, Sevilla (Casa de la Provincia), 12 y 13 de diciembre de 2013).

Así, el control sobre los combustibles fósiles ha desempeñado un papel central no sólo en la liberación respecto del trabajo físico penoso, sino también en la ampliación de las diferencias de poder y riqueza que caracteriza a la historia moderna. Pues ese promedio de veinte esclavos energéticos per capita no puede ser más engañoso: el norteamericano medio, en los años noventa del siglo XX, usaba entre cincuenta y cien veces más energía que el bangladeshí medio; se servía de 75 “esclavos energéticos”, mientras que el de Bangladesh tenía a su disposición menos de uno (para estos cálculos sobre esclavos energéticos, véase Luis Márquez Delgado, “Integración de la agricultura en el medio ambiente”, en AA.VV.: Agricultura y medio ambiente. Actas del III Foro sobre Desarrollo y Medio Ambiente, Fundación Monteleón, León 2001, p. 256; y también John McNeill, Something New Under the Sun, Penguin, Londres 2000, p. 15-16).

Tenemos de esta forma una enorme diferencia en el uso de energía exosomática, de cien a uno –que podríamos poner en paralelo con diferencias semejantes en el poder adquisitivo de unos y otros–. Nunca antes, en la historia de nuestro planeta, existió un nivel de desigualdad semejante en lo que a uso de la energía se refiere. A comienzos del siglo XXI ¡sólo la ciudad de Nueva York consume tanta electricidad como toda el África subsahariana! (excluida Sudáfrica)!

[12] Lo cita José Jiménez Lozano en su introducción a Simone Weil, Reflexiones sobre las causas de la libertad y la opresión social, Paidos, Barcelona 1995, p. 20.

[13] Jennie Moore y William E. Rees: “Un solo planeta para seguir viviendo”, en Worldwatch Institute: La situación del mundo 2013. ¿Es aún posible lograr la sostenibilidad?, Icaria, Barcelona 2013, p. 81-83.

ya disponibles todos los vídeos de las intervenciones en el curso “vivir (bien) con menos”, 2 al 4 de septiembre

2 de septiembre:

 

José Manuel Naredo: Cambio de paradigma en economía: inercias y resistencias https://youtu.be/t0IlSMwks18

 

Ferrán Puig Vilar: ¿Hasta qué punto es inminente el colapso de la civilización actual? https://youtu.be/aJcfQFVqOP8

 

Iñaki Bárcena: Transacción energética en Euskal Herria: sostenibilidad y democracia energética http://youtu.be/CqeTLrchXaA

 

Emilio Santiago Muiño: Móstoles en transición https://youtu.be/JAaL_ZaRHOk

 

José Manuel López: Cómo crear barrios sostenibles https://youtu.be/uP0vW0jcpsg

 

Pilar Vega: Un modelo de transición para una movilidad ecológica http://youtu.be/9btREDanfjI

 

Marc Badal: Límites de las estrategias neorrurales http://youtu.be/Y_SfnosMqI8

 

3 de septiembre:

 

Yayo Herrero y Santiago Álvarez: Estrategias políticas hacia sociedades pospetróleo http://youtu.be/XAy6LYN5GrA

 

Óscar Carpintero y Alberto Matarán: Los inciertos pasos desde aquí hasta allá. Pensando las transiciones bajo la amenaza del colapso: https://youtu.be/lxd-80SHiYA

 

Ernest García: Recortes antisociales y sostenibilidad: Por qué el crecimiento no puede acabar con las formas malignas de la austeridad: https://youtu.be/3EBUoKNfQhM

 

Ernest García: Resultados de la investigación en el proyecto POSTCARBON: https://youtu.be/P20ZC7vv5jg

 

Adrián Almazán: Los peligros del catastrofismo https://youtu.be/WKHOIWGQU08

 

Carmen Madorrán: Rastreando alternativas: la propuesta cooperativista en la democracia económica https://youtu.be/EWfOjJIfUkY

 

José Bellver: Nuevos avances hacia una teoría del intercambio ecológicamente desigual https://youtu.be/XQZ31q5UjLg

 

Jaime Nieto: Evaluación de planes de transición energética hacia sociedades postcarbono https://youtu.be/Bu2b8SedXnw

 

 

 

4 de septiembre:

 

Alicia Valero: Mantenernos lejos de Thanatia https://youtu.be/EYkwzRo06Ug

 

Joan Benach: El paro y la precariedad como cuestiones de salud pública https://youtu.be/VFDahlfheq4

 

Jorge Riechmann: Explorando las sociedades pospetróleo bajo las amenazas de colapso: tentativa hacia algunas conclusiones https://youtu.be/-9XUdJyfIuk

 

 

¿un horizonte de comunismo solar? artículo de david schwartzman y quincy saul, pensando en venezuela (nueva actualización)

“We humbly propose to the people of Venezuela the outline of a plan by which Venezuela could lead a wind/solar power transition in Latin America using a small fraction of her liquid petroleum reserves, while still gaining revenue from oil exports as well as contributing to the same energy transition globally. Implementing this approach would be a critical component of Venezuela’s self-identified path of ecosocialist development…”

Capitalism Nature Socialism, 2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10455752.2015.1069867

Y algunos comentarios de Pedro Prieto:

——————————————————–

En un primer vistazo rápido, se me ocurren los siguientes comentarios:

1. En primer lugar, me parece bien, como idea general, hacer una modesta sugerencia para utilizar la renta petrolera venezolana en cualquier intento que no sea perpetuar el trágico encadenamiento del pueblo de Venezuela al petróleo, esa desgracia de la que hablaba Galeano de los productores exportadores de su America Latina.. Esto siempre es mejor que utilizarla, por ejemplo, en seguir subvencionando una sociedad ultraconsumista de bienes innecesarios.

2. También procede advertir sobre el estado de urgente necesidad de adentrarse activamente en el cambio de paradigma para intentar evitar un holocausto o un cambio climático sin precedentes. Efectivamente, queda muy poco tiempo, si es que queda alguno.

3. Los detalles sobre la evolución previsible de estos graves peligros, así como el relato político de los últimos cambios habidos en Venezuela con Chavez, están generalmente bien relatados.

4. Respecto de la energía que la Humanidad necesita, según los autores, no tengo grandes diferencias ni objeciones, pero 3-3,5 kW por persona están ligeramente por encima del promedio mundial de unos 2,6 kw que ya parecen sobrepasar la capacidad de carga planetaria en un 50%. No obstante, creo que si se pudiesen alcanzar 3,5 kW por persona, bien podría darse una vida bastante digna para todos, independientemente del grado de sostenibilidad y de las dudas, ya mayores, que me surgen respecto de cómo y con qué tipo de energías primarias obtener dicha cuota, porque el mundo, como sabemos, es fundamentalmente no eléctrico.

5. Ya pongo algo más en duda, que pese a sus dignos intentos, Venezuela haya propuesto, más allá de abstractos párrafos de buenas intenciones que contienen bastantes constituciones,  y menos aún conseguido, hacer del ecosocialismo su política oficial. Y menos aún con Maduro que con Chavez. Existen graves contradicciones entre los posiblemente sinceros deseos del gobierno venezolano de atender las necesidades de los indígenas nacionales y ese huero sacar pecho que hincha constantemente el propio gobierno bolivariano (el actual, pero también el anterior) sobre las reservas de petróleo extrapesado del Orinoco, bailando muy al unísono con la música que le ha colocado la AIE de que son el país con mayores reservas del mundo. Me temo que la razonable propuesta de Schwartzman y Saul “oil for no one”, como el caso de Yasuní, no tiene predicamento real alguno en el gobierno chavista, que baraja concesiones en la zona con una diligencia pasmosa. Me temo que las esperanzas que Schwartzman y Saul ponen en lo que se oyó en el IV Congreso de Diversidad Biológica exceden con mucho a la realidad social y a las intenciones gubernamentales venezolanas. Por si fuera poco, son los propios Schwartzman y Saul quienes más adelante también levantan la bandera de las famosas reservas probadas de 298.000 millones de barriles uqe la AIE ha puesto de cebo y que implican las explotaciones de crudo extrapesado de la Franja del Orinoco. Lo hacen cuando intentan asegurar que hay materia prima para producir el cambio de paradigma….¡partiendo del BAU mismo!

6. La propuesta de Gran Misión para una transición solar también la veo bastante fuera de la realidad actual. Creo que para aspirar a esa posibilidad (hablo sólo de poder aspirar) de dotarse de sistemas energéticos autónomos, urge mucho más y mucho antes alcanzar la soberanía alimentaria, que es otra forma de transición solar. Esta batalla está lejos de ser ganada. La fe en que una mezcla de energía eólica, termosolar y fotovoltaica (que además se sugiere en módulos de película delgada, que se han caído del pedestal de la eficiencia hace ya unos 4 años y no compiten ni de lejos con módulos de silicio policristalino y monocristalino convencionales) me parece sinceramente poco documentada e ignora que todas estas tecnologías, si se pretende sean de carácter totalmente autónomo y nacional, exigen una compleja red de industrias y de un complejo tejido auxiliar que no se ve por ningún sitio en Venezuela y debería preceder a este intento de desarrollo, aunque lo acompañase. No creo, por otra parte, que la hidroeléctrica, aunque se haya hecho en el pasado de forma gigantesca, haya que desecharla en este proceso inicial, puesto que los valles ya están anegados y el daño ambiental hecho, pero siguen teniendo menor impacto ecológico, aún así, que otras tecnologías. Además, cuando propone para el desarrollo de las renovables, indefinidos (no define ni los sistemas de almacenamiento ni el coste de los mismos) sistemas de almacenamiento masivo, el más conocido y viable de ellos es precisamente el bombeo inverso

No debe tampoco hacerse esta propuesta de forma ligera, considerando que estas tecnologías resolverán todos los problemas energéticos, puesto que Venezuela (y el mundo) se mueve principalmente con energías no eléctricas y las propuestas lo único que generan es electricidad, en un país en el que las infraestructuras incluso más urgentes y necesarias que la red eléctrica (paso posible en ciertos estadios y no generalmente previo a ellos) están todavía en mantillas en muchas regiones.

7. Los deseos de Schwartzman y Saul de conseguir un programa para secuestrar carbono de la atmósfera para llevarlo a 350 ppm de los 400 ppm actuales, no dejan de ser un wishful thinking muy alejado de la realidad.

8. Finalmente, sus modelos de simulaciones por ordenador parecen en exceso teóricos y sus apriorísticas Tasas de Retorno Energético (TRE o EROEI) de los sistemas que propone, desde luego a mi juicio, están absolutamente fuera de la realidad y no consideran los factores externos de los costes energéticos que denominamos “Energy Input Extended Boundaries”. Con este error de bulto y de principio, cualquier conclusión resulta necesariamente fallida, como por ejemplo, la capacidad de estos sistemas de autorregenerarse o de reemplazar en tiempo y forma a las energías fósiles actuales.

Con estos datos tan alejados de la realidad, no es raro que Schwartzman y Saul pasen por alto e ignoren que tanto la energía eólica, como la termosolar o la fotovoltaica implican también enormes procesos de extractivismo y muy complejas redes activas de sociedades BAU para poder llevarse a cabo y que concluyan que son energías “limpias” y permanentes. Por ejemplo, el factor de carga supuesto para la eólica del 40% es absolutamente irreal.

No especifican cómo llevarían a cabo con esas energías aspectos como el transporte, la aviación, las flotas pesquera o mercante, la agricultura mecanizada (más prioritaria para el cambio, si se quiere pasar a una agricultura más local que exija menos transporte, pero que no evitará todavía enormes flujos de alimentos hacia las grandes macrourbes, que no pueden desaparecer de la noche a la mañana, ni siquiera en el plazo señalado del programa) o incluso las propias fuerzas militares con las que hacer frente a las obvias amenazas externas que ya sufre el país y para las que el gobierno bolivariano sigue dedicando partidas importantes de sistemas de defensa importados de China o Rusia, que no tienen alternativas socioecológicas, que no sean respuestas diferentes. Salvo que se piense en industrias auxiliares complejas para la fabricación de todos los elementos de aerogeneradores, centrales termosolares o fotovoltaicas, del tipo de las misiones jesuíticas, sin defensa alguna contra posibles injerencias externas y que sea lo que Dios quiera si llegan y rompen todos los instrumentos.

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Más la traducción de Quincy Saul al inglés de las observaciones de Pedro Prieto, y la respuesta de David Schwartzman (en negrita).

Commentary from Pedro Prieto… (translation by QMS)

From a first quick look, the following comments occur to me.
1.   In first place, it seems good to me as a genral idea, to make a modest proposal to utilize the oil rent of Venezuela in any way which doesn’t perpetuate the tragic entrapment of the venezuelan people to oil, this disgrace which Galeano spoke of, of the producers/exporters of his Latin America. This is always better than using it, for example, to continue subsidizing an ultraconsumerist society with unecessary goods.

2.   It also comes to warn about the urgent state of necesity to actively get involved in the change of paradigm necessary to avoid a holocaust or a climate change without precedent. Now there is very little time left, if there is any.

3.   The details about the predictable evolutions of these grave dangers, such as the political narrative of the recent changes in Venezuela with Chavez, are generally well told.

4.   In respect to the energy which humanity needs, according to the authors, I don’t have any great differences or objections, but 3-3.5 kW per person is a bit above the world average of 2.6 kW which already seem to overdraw the planetary carrying capacity by 50%. Nonetheless, I believe that yes 3.5kw per person could be achieved, could give dignified life for many, independently of their sustainability and of the doubts, already great, which occur to me in respect to how and with what kind of primary energies this quota will be obtained, because the world, as we know, is not fundamentally electrified.

The world average of 2.6 kW per person overdraws the planetary carrying capacity because 85% of the primary energy consumption is derived from fossil fuels (with nuclear 5%, hydropower (mainly big dams) AT 6% and renewables at 2% (which the IEA includes biofuels, horrows!)). A robust transition to high efficiency wind/solar will greatly increase the carrying capacity, likewise a transition to agroecologies.

5.   I put something else in doubt, which is that, depite its dignified attempts, Venezuela has proposed, beyond its abstract paragraphs of good intentions which many constitutions contain but less have followed through, to make ecosocialism its official politics. Less even with Maduro than with Chavez. There are grave contradictions between the possibly sincere desires of the VZ government to attend to the necessitites of the indigenous nationals, while [I fail to translate the idiomatic phrase here] constantly, the same bolivarian government (the current one but the previous one too) tries to take advantage of the heavy petroleum reserves of the Orinoco, dancing very much in union with the musica from the AIE, that it is the country with the greatest reserves in the world. I fear that the reasonable proposal of Schwartzman and Saul, “oil for no one”, like the Yasuni case, doesn’t have any real basis in the Chavista government, which shuffles concessions in that zone with astonishing diligence. I fear that the hopes which Schwartzman and Saul put in what they heard in the IV Congress of Biological Diversity exceed greatly the social reality and the intentions of the VZ government. It is Schwartzman and Saul themselves who earlier also raise the banner of the famous proven reserves of 298.000 thousand barrels that the AIE has named, and which implies the exploitation of the heavy crude in the Faja del Orinoco. They do it when they want to assure that there is raw material to produce a change of paradigm… coming from the same BAU!

Our support for “Oil for no one” only refers to the heavy oil in the Orinoco basin, not to utilizing the conventional oil reserves in the context of what we outline. Yes, the 298 billion barrels proven reserves is mainly heavy crude, and if the extra heavy crude (tar sands) of Orinoco is included the reserves range up to 1000 billion barrels (e.g.,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_Venezuela). Venezuela is already extracting heavy oil, even supplementing the refined product with imported light oil. The proven reserves of light to medium oil in Venezuela are estimated to be 39 billion barrels (Venezuela Energy in Figures 2012, IESA), although the further expansion of this reserve has apparently been neglected in recent years (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2809337/Venezuelas-crude-imports-PDVSA-picks-pragmatism-politics.html).  We can estimate reaching the same goal of providing 3.5 kilowatt/person to a 400 million Mercosur population using just this light to medium reserve, applying the solar calculator (see the paper under discussion). For an assumed EROEI ratio of wind/solar power equal to 25, this goal can be achieved in 15 years or less using 0.15 billion barrels of this oil per year (0.1 of the renewable is reinvested every year to create more of itself).  Even this light to medium conventional oil will not be exhausted will last for more than 30 years for a 1 billion barrel/year production rate.

6.   I see the proposal for a Gran Mision for a solar transition pretty far out of current reality. I belive that to aspire to this possibility (I’m only talking about being able to aspire) of autonomous energy systems, I urge that much more and much before, we must achieve food sovereignty, which is another form of solar transition. This battle is far from being won. The faith with which they mix wind, thermosolar and photovoltaic (which they moreover suggest in modules of thin film, have fallen from the pedestal of efficiency 4 years ago, and no longer compete by far with modules of polycrystaline silicon and conventional monocrystaline) it seems to me sincerely undocumented and ignores all the other technologies, which if they try to be of a completely national and autonomous character, call for a complete network of industries and a complex web of support which can’t be found anywhere in Venezuela, and which should precede this intent of development, even though/as it accompanies it. I don’t believe, on the other hand, that hydroelectric power, even though in the past it has been done on a gigantic scale, must be thrown out in this initial process, since the valleys have already been negated and the environmental damage made, but they continue to have less ecological impact than other technologies. Moreover, when we talk about the development of renewables, indefinite (neither the systems of storage or the cost of these are defined) systems of massive energy storage, the most well known and viable of these is precisely the inverse pump. (bombeo inverso). The proposal also should not be made lightly, considering that these technologies will resolve all the energy problems, since in Venezuela (and the world), things move principally with non electric energy, and the only thing the proposals generate is electricity, in a country in which infrastructures more urgent and necessary than the electrical network (a possible step in certain states, but not generally before them), are still in baby blankets in many regions.

The solar transition we propose for the Mercosur countries would involve Brazil which already has a wind turbine industry. Venezuela would provide the conventional oil as an energy source to make an expansion of wind and solar possible. Further, the creation of a more cooperative global regime, demilitarization, would greatly increase the speed of a global transition, to which Venezuela and other oil-exporting countries could contribute. The storage issue has been greatly exaggerated; see discussion, our papers posted on our www.solarUtopia.org website.

7.   The desires of Schwartzman and Saul for a program of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere down to 350ppm from the current 400ppm, remain wishful thinking, very far from reality.

It is not being implemented now for sure, but there are technologies already in development to make this possible, both in agroecologies and direct transfer of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the crust by chemical reaction (I am a geochemist familiar with the ongoing R&D). Further, this kind of sequestration will be absolutely imperative to prevent catastrophic climate change, bringing the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere below 350 ppm. The alternative is to accept the inevitable onset of climate hell for most of humanity. And only the creation of a global wind/solar power infrastructure with close to double the present primary energy consumption of 18 trillion watts will have the capacity to make this possible while simultaneously eliminating energy poverty now impacting most of humanity.

8.   Finally, their models of ordering simulations seem excessively theoretical and their aprioristic Rates of Energy Return in the systems they propose, by far in my judgement, are absolutely outside of reality and don’t consider the external factors of the energetic costs which we denominate “Energy Input Extended Boundaries”.

I strongly disagree with this assessment. First the anti-wind/solar lobby has promoted very biased estimates of EROEI ratios by counting waste heat from fossil fuels as energy returned and greatly exaggerating the required inputs for wind/solar. In other words the “EXTENDED BOUNDARiES” approach is inconsistent, favoring fossil fuel over wind/solar.  I am attaching a valuable critique along these lines. In any case the consensus EROEI for wind/solar/CSP composite is already at 20-30, with R&D very likely to make these ratios even larger in the coming decade. For more details go to our papers on www.solarUtopia.org and to the Mark Jacobson lab studies. Even using present wind/solar technologies a complete transition is possible in a few decades. Of course demilitarization is likely required, freeing up vast resources for this transition, likewise the huge savings from eliminating air pollution which now kills 7 million people/year, 1.6 million per year in China alone.

With this error in the package and the principle, any conclusion will necessarily be mistaken, for example, the capacity of these systems to auto-regenerate, or replace in time and form current fossil fuel energy. With these numbers so far out of reality, it isn’t strange that Schwartzman and Saul pass over and ignore the fact that wind power, as thermosolar and photovoltaics, also imply enormous processes of extractivism, very complex networks of activities of BAU societies, to carry out, and to conclude that these energies are “clean” and permanent. For example, the factor of charge supposed for wind energy of 40% is absolutely unreal.

I don’t know what you mean by factor of charge of 40% for wind energy. As our paper points out, the transition to wind/solar will actually decrease extractivism, mining because the capacity to recycle will be greatly enhanced (using fossil fuels to recycle is counterproductive because of carbon emissions etc.). And we can’t imagine this transition occurring under BAU conditions, i.e., radical changes in political economy must be coupled to make possible this energy transition.

They don’t specify how these energies aspects like transport, aviation, merchant or fishing ships, mechanized agriculture (more of a priority for change, if we want to leave a local agriculture which requires less trasnport, but which doesn’t avoid enormous flows of foods toward the big cities, which can’t disappear from night to morning, not even in the time indicated by the program) or even the military forces which facing the obvious external threats that it suffers and for which the bolivarian government continues dedicated important systems of defense imported from China or Russia, which don’t have socio-ecological alternatives, that are not different answers. Except if we are thinking about complex auxiliary industries for the fabrication of auto-regenerating elements, thermosolar or photovoltaic centers, like Jesuit missions, without any defense against possible external heresies, and which will be what God wants if someone arrives and breaks all the instruments.

The solarization of transport is also very feasible with solar-produced electricity and carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels produced from carbon dioxide and water using solar power, again see solarUtopia.org and Jacobson’s papers.

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A lo que Pedro Prieto respondió:

I share the well known comments on utopia made by Galeano or the quotes of the Che: we have to demand the impossible to be realistic.
Having said that, I will summmarize here my position: please, first, in a very first place, I would strongly focus first in self sufficiency in the food production, supply and distribution chain in the countries for all the citizens. And of course think in producing that, as much as it is possible locally and with draft force, and the sooner the better, with a national crash program, rather than with fossil fueled machinery, even Venezuela is today depicted as the first country in the world in “proven reserves” of oil, by both the International Energy Agncy and, more regrettably, by the oown Bolivarian propaganda. Venezuela is post peak and very likely will not extract -or EROI reasons- and ahould not extract -for environmental issues- most of the extra heavy oil theoretically accounted in the Orinoco Strip  (see the excelent post place in The Oil Crash by Antonio Turiel at http://crashoil.blogspot.com.es/2015/08/venezuela-hacia-la-bancarrota.html)
If we have to demand something impossible to be realistic, this is my view of the very first priority. After all, it is really a truly solar communist horizon.
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Y David Schwartzman a su vez:
Here is my take on “Peak Oil”: Global conventional oil reserves are more than sufficient, using less than 30% of proven reserves to implement a complete wind/solar transition if this commences robustly very soon, in an ecosocialist transition. If this path is blocked then a peak of oil production will occur in the context of climate catastrophe.
Pedro says “rather than with fossil fueled machinery”. Here we have argued in our paper to the contrary, rather that Venezuela has the potential to use its conventional oil reserves to lead a wind/solar transition for the Mercosur countries while still earning revenue from oil exports (hopefully the price of oil will go up in the new future!). Keep the heavy oil in the ground and use the minimum conventional oil necessary for a solar transition.
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Pedro Prieto de nuevo:

Sólo un paréntesis. He leído que se ha supuesto que la Tasa de Retorno Energético  (TRE o EROI en inglés) es de 20 ó 25:1 para la energía solar.

Sugiero humildemente revisar este concepto, porque el estudio que realicé con Charles A. S. Hall sobre 4 GW fotovoltaicos en España (el país menor irradiado de Europa) y durante tres ciclos anuales completos (2009-2011), funcionando en el mundo real y no en instalaciones controladas, ofrecía una resultado de una TRE de 2-3:1. En este estudio fuimos, como venimos observando desde entonces, bastante conservadores. Entre otras cosas, porque dejamos fuera de los costes energéticos (Ein) dos factores, el coste financiero de construir las plantas (que es dinero y es energía, por mucho que algunos no lo consideren así) y la mano de obra directa, factores que de haber sido incluidos, podían perfectamente haber dejado la energía solar virtualmente como un sumidero, más que como una fuente de energía.
Otra de las conclusiones de este trabajo es que de los costes energéticos de producción, instalación y mantenimiento de los sistemas fotovoltaicos, aproximadamente un tercio eran los costes energéticos de los paneles, el inversor y la estructura metálica inmediata del sistema y dos tercios eran gastos energéticos de carácter social (societal en inglés), que habían venido siendo ignorados en los estudios de EROI hasta la fecha, pero que eran conditio sine qua non para que estos sistemas fotovoltaicos pudiesen llegar a funcionar y a mantenerse. Esto es clave porque significa, si tenemos razón, que aunque los costes de los paneles bajen de forma dramática,como ha sucedido de hecho desde que hicimos el estudio o incluso llegasen a cero, la TRE/EROI apenas subiría 1/3 del valor previamente considerado. Pero muchos de estos factores sociales sin duda irán aumentando su costo energético, a medida que la energía disponible vaya disminuyendo en volumen o en calidad.
Por tanto, y a mi juicio, se necesita un análisis serio sobre este asunto, porque aunque los módulos fotovoltaicos han pasado de valer 2-3 €/Wp a valer 0,5€/Wp, el mundo no ha estallado multiplicando una producción mundial que curiosamente lleva tres años estancada en los 40 GW anuales. Algo no está casando aquí.
Y si esto es así, la siguiente conclusión clave sería que gastar la energía de alta TRE o alto EROI en desplegar la llamada “solarización” (desarrollo de energías llamadas renovables de tipo solar) de forma masiva sería un error mayúsculo y arrojar lo poco que nos queda en proyectos energéticos que no darían sostenibilidad a largo plazo y agotarían la “bala de plata” del petróleo convencional que le queda a Venezuela y al resto del mundo. Esto viene a colación porque aunque comparta con Turiddu Kronstadt lo de procurar ir algo más allá de las palabras, esta reflexión sí que creo se debe debatir más a fondo, antes de volcarse ciegamente en la llamada “solarización”.
Como se que estas explicaciones le pueden resultar turbadoras y escandalosas a más de uno, aclararé que el trabajo que finamente conseguí publicar en Springer, fue, sin duda alguna, por el reconocimiento que se tiene a nivel mundial a Charles Hall, que fue coautor y revisor extenuante de todos y cada uno de los miles de datos que manejamos y es reconocido mundialmente como el padre del concepto del EROI (aparte de Odum su profesor que ya tenía el concepto claro, aunque no le había dado el nombre). Estando este trabajo en borrador, de alguna forma los grandes estudiosos del EROI solar fotovoltaico, que habían publicado decenas (centenares) de “papers” sobre el tema con resultados variados pero que fueron subiendo de EROI’s de 7:1 a incluso 40:1, ya intentaron poner la proa al asunto e incluso alguno de ellos pidió expresamente a la editorial no publicar (es decir, censurar) el libro, llegando a amenazar a la editorial con críticas furibundas a su falta de seriedad si el libro llegaba a ver la luz. Sin haber leído el libro, dijo que no se había hecho una revisión por pares, algo que es totalmente incierto, aunque obviamente los pares no eran los que solían hacer revisiones hasta entonces en este cerrado círculo.
Afortunadamente, no lo consiguieron, pero a la publicación del trabajo siguieron varios agrios debates en instancias muy académicas, aunque en ninguno de ellos (terminaron admitiendo) pudieron excluir ninguno de los gastos energéticos sine qua non que habíamos considerado en el libro, limitándose a decir que es que no aplicábamos la metodología al uso aprobada por la AIE (que alguno de los interlocutores curiosamente había forjado y conseguido imponer). En estos debates han intervenido expertos de las universidades de Barcelona, Stanford, Columbia, New York, Texas, algnos centros europeos de investigación y editores de artículos científicos.
En paralelo han ido apareciendo mas críticas (Graham Palmer, Weisbachh y otros) que por otras vías han obtenido resultados igualmente bajos, cuando se consideran los costes energéticos “extendidos” (energy input extended boundaries) y ahora las fuerzas están más divididas, porque se empieza a tener conciencia de que algo pasa, cuando después de varios años sugiriendo que ya estábamos en la paridad de red (grid parity), las cuentas de los esperados desarrollos espectaculares de sistemas fotovoltaicos siguen sin ver la luz. Es más, incluso países como Alemania o Italia, con un poder financiero enorme y varias veces más potencia instalada que España, han frenado considerablemente sus tasas de crecimiento, cuando todavía andaban por el 6-7% de su demanda eléctrica cubierta por estas tecnologías.
El problema que empieza a surgir es que todos los estudios previos que ofrecían prometedores EROI de 20:1 consideraban instalaciones teóricas bajo control e irradiancias de 1.700 kWh/m2 y año, algo que la realidad ha demostrado que no es así y ahora, con 140 GW instalados por todo el mundo, generando desde hace varios años, las estadísticas empiezan a demostrar que los estudios teóricos son una cosa y la vida real otra muy diferente. Sin ir más lejos, la poderosa Alemania está generando la mitad de energía que España a igualdad de potencia instalada (MWh por MWp instalado) y no todo ello es debido a la obvia menor insolación de Alemania, sino también a la diferencia de criterios de instalación.
En fin, ya he desarrollado bastante. Por favor, sugiero revisar a fondo los cálculos basados en EROIs de 20 ó 25:1, porque a mi juicio están absolutamente alejados de la realidad. No nos engañemos: las modernas energías renovables, sintiéndolo mucho por Greenpeace y demás grupos que apoyan decididamente estas instalaciones asegurando que podrán sustituir 100% a nuestro modelo de consumo energético actual mundial, son, en realidad, sistemas no renovables, capaces de captar parte de los flujos renovables de energía del planeta Tierra y si su EROI o TRE real (como la vida misma) es menor de 5:1, no podrán mantener el modelo de sociedad industrial (y menos la sociedad hipertecnológica) que tenemos. Serían, en palabras de mi apreciada Gail Tverberg, extensiones de los combustibles fósiles en los que están absolutamente apuntaladas y sin los que no podrían mantenerse. Su expresión en inglés es “fossil fuel extenders”. Si nos empeñamos en insistir por esa vía, creyendo que podrían reemplazar de forma sostenible y duradera a los combustibles fósiles, estaríamos, como dicen los viejos en mi pueblo, haciendo un pan como una hostia.
De ahí mi empeño en priorizar la soberanía alimentaria y además, hacerlo en lo posible y mientras sea posible y haya tiempo, con tracción animal (tracción a sangre, dicen en Argentina), creando bancos de alimentos y de variedades l lo más amplias posible de semillas.
Si alguien tiene dificultades con el castellano/español, que me lo diga y le podré resumir en inglés.
Saludos.
Pedro Prieto
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Schwartzman de nuevo:

I have already responded to Pedro’s argument that a ratio EROEI of wind/solar equal to 20 to 25 (actually there are already studies indicating off shore wind approaches 50) is way too high. Advances in photovoltaics are likewise pushing the ratio up. Here are two links which provide detailed critiques of Hall and Prieto’s arguments:

http://bountifulenergy.blogspot.com/2014/07/renewables-have-higher-eroei-than.html

Also see  my Response to Trainer, 2014) Capitalism Nature Socialism, 25:4, 109-115, which provides recent references; if you want a pdf just email me.

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Pedro Prieto de nuevo:

David, although some of the comments of my last post in Spanish have not been commented here (i.e. 1,700 kWh/m2/year as irradiance; 30 years lifetime, and many others, like the feeling that the supposed arrival to the grid parity is not giving the adequate supposed resuts of an explosive expansion of solar PV everyhere in the world and with Germany and Italiy slowing down their former growth rates and China trying to self-selling their programmed output), the six errors mentioned as critiques to our book in that blog will be commented when I can leave the farm and have some more time.

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Y Quincy Saul:
Mi camarada David ha respondido al nivel tecnico… Yo solo queria anadir al nivel politico, que nuestra propuesta se nutre de la mentalidad Bolivariana. La idea de la solarizacion de Mercosur, y una nueva Gran Mision para convertir el matriz energetica del continente — es bastante “fuera de realidad” como la unidad de Nuestramerica, como la Gran Colombia, como la Plan Patria, como el ecosocialismo mismo. Nosotros lo vislumbramos en el horizonte, y sirve, como dijo Eduardo Galeano sobre la utopia, para andar. El proceso de construir aqui y ahora lo que solo se vislumbre en el horizonte lejana, es dificil y bastante lleno de paradojas y contradicciones. Pero es asi el proceso revolucionario mismo — tiene que rechazar a una realidad reaccionaria, y prefigurar una nueva realidad. Nuestro propuesta es parte de este proceso — no es decir que es perfecta, que no necesita la criticia importante que nos regalaste — pero trata de realizar un sueno Bolivariano, que es ciertamente fuera de realidad, pero que tiene ligas y raices cientificas, politicas, economicas, y sociales, en una otra realidad que viene, que puede venir, si nosotros los revolucionarios son capaces de reconocer “lo fuera de realidad” como proyecto politico. Para citar al Che, “seamos realistas y pedir lo imposible,” y a Sun Ra ” todo lo posible ya se ha tratado y ha fracasado. Lo que necesitamos es lo imposible.” Claro que esta solo se realice junto a la practica concreta politica y cientifica, y para esto los comentarios de Pedro y las respuestas de David nos ayuda mucho en separar lo visionario de la delusion. Pero para “la salvacion del planeta y el especia humana” (5to objetivo de la plan patria) es precisamente necesaria subrayar  la disposicion Bolivariana, prefigurativa, que atreve creer en suenos, como Nuestramerica y el ecosocialismo, los cuales nunca podran aflorecer sin un cambio de la realidad energetica del mundo!
(in english)
My comrade David has responded at the technical level… I would just like to add at the political level, that our proposal is nurtured in the Bolivarian mentality. The idea of the solarization of Mercosur, of a new Gran Mision to convert the energy matrix of the continent, is as much “outside of reality” as the unity of Nuestramerica, as the Gran Colombia, as the Plan Patria, as ecosocialism iself. We glimpse it on the horizon, and it serves, as Eduardo Galeano said about utopia, to walk towards. The process of constructing here and now what one only glimpses on a distant horizon, is difficult and plenty full of paradoxes and contradictions. But the revolutionary process itself is like this — it must reject a reactionary reality, and prefigure a new reality. Our proposal is part of this process — not to say that it is perfect, or that it doesn’t need the important criticism you have gifted to us — but it tries to realize a Bolivarian dream, which is certainly outside of reality, but which has political, economic, scientific and social links and roots in another reality which is coming, which may come, if we the revolutionaries are capable of recognizing what is “outside of reality” as a political project. To quote Che, “let’s be realistic and demand the impossible,” or Sun Ra, “everything possible has been tried already and failed. What we need now is the impossible.” Of course this can only be done alongside a concrete political and scientific practice, and for this the commentaries of Pedro and the responses of David can help us to separate the visionary from the delusional. But for “the salvation of the planet and the human species” (5th objective of the Plan Patria) it is precisely necessary to emphasize the prefigurative Bolivarian disposition, which dares to believe in dreams, like Nuestramerica and ecosocialism, dreams which will never blossom without a change in the energetic reality of the world!
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De nuevo Pedro Prieto:

General introduction to the links of David Scharztman:

1. Linking a third party blog called “bountiful energy” (abundant energy, to say so) to debunk our book on solar PV EROI seems a little bit sarcastic with the general subject for which I was initially quoted: “An Ecosocialist Horizon for Venezuela: A Solar Communist Horizon for the World”, which supposedly treats to change the energy present paradigm in Venezuela for two main reasons: a) the global warming and Climatic Change problems associated to the burning of fossil fuels at 10,000 Mtoes/year rate and b) because more than 50 oil producing countries are already in post peak situation, at least of regular conventional oil and Venezuela is clearly one of them.

2. Quoting a third party link to refute my position, would need further clarification, because I do not know if David Schwartzman assumes all the points of these links or only some of them.

3. The blog author is not well identified. The blog only offers in what is called “view my complete profile” the name (Tom), the place where he lives (California) and a very brief profile indicating: “I study economics. I thought my knowledge of economics might be useful in analyzing doomerism and energy decline arguments”.

It seems something really poor and not much credible, both for the author and for the person that quotes him and gives that articles for granted. It gives the impression that he is one of the typical neoclasssic economists, absolutely opposite to biophysical economists, which I respect a lot, from Howard T. Odum, Solow, or here in Spain, Jose Manuel Naredo, Joan Martínez Alier and now Óscar Carpintero. I cannot resist here to quote Kenneth Boulding, a famous common sense economist: ” Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.”

Now, some introduction to the cases of EROIs, EPBTs and LCAs

The studies of LCA’s and EPBT’s, or for the case, of EROI’s with different types of solar PV modules can be conducted in many different forms.

As for the automobile industry, one can be interested in reaching a consensus and common grounds defining and providing some technical specs. And the industry may reach a reasonable form of giving consumption for private cars in terms, for instance, of liters/100 Km (or miles per gallon in the US) and even define modes of consumption: urban/extraurban or combined; giving acceleration in 0-00Km/h: x seconds or even CO2 emissions in grams/km or mile of each specific vehicle of each specific brand. The measurements conditions being usually controlled, closed and best paved flat circuits, with brand new models and little load.

But there may also be possible trying to understand the global or national behavior of private cars, when in real life, to observe how they behave when in traffic jams, bumpy, steep or also empty roads and streets and to learn how they really serve to the community, beyond the marketing specs provided by car manufaturers. And one can look for different sets of data, equally interesting or perhaps even more interesting and discover how many passengers per car are really being transported in average, how much time they spend idle in traffic lights, consuming in ticking over or how much passengers*Km or Kg*Km of load are resulting in a given country to serve this community.

I could not say that the second procedure is a mistaken one or that is generalizing only negative experiences in a given country. Much on the contrary, I would rather say that the first agreed methodologies are basically good for the car industry marketing campaigns (in this sense, much more mistaken), but contribute very little to understand how private cars are really serving a society in terms of helping to transport humans and loads from origins to destinations to fulfill a function in different countries. Or even less, to check if they do these tasks more or less efficiently than public transportation by road, by train, subway or by plane or ship.

Up to the last years of 20th. century and the first five years of the 21st century, the experience of solar PV systems (not only modules) was certainly limited. Therefore, studies trying to advance and forecast how a given PV system could theoretically behave in the future were of some interest. Tens, if not hundreds of papers were published with LCA’s EPBT’s or EROI’s of a given, specific solar PV technology (a-Si μm-Si μm-Si CdTe CdTe CIGS CIGS, etc.) or a specific topology (fixed, one or two axis trackers) and assuming a given insolation/irradiance.

But in the final part of the first decade of the 21st. century, we have already a well gained real life experience of massive PV systems deployed in real life and working for several continuous yearly cycles.

For instance, we have observed enormous differences in energy generated, depending on the study selected. In most of the papers on LCA, EPBT or EROI, the expected energy generated over a life cycle are based on insolation/irradiance of 1,700 kWh/m2-yr.

But if we go to the real world, that has already deployed over 140 GW, we observe that most of these PV systems have been installed in countries where the irradiance is much less than this. Depending on what to pick (theoretical selected irradiance or real life), results may differ considerably. That is why we decided, I believe for the first time, to make the study on a massive deployment (4 GW) generating over three complete yearly cycles. We selected Spain, because it is the country in which I have worked more, because it is the best irradiated country in Europe, so that we tried to be in the safe side and also because we had one of the most complete and official data sets of installed power and recorded energy outputs, using real and very accurate proven data given by the Ministry of Industry. In fact, countries, like Germany or Switzerland have about half of the Mwh/Mwp installed than Spain.

Our experience in Spain, where most of the installations are ground mounted, is that they give better figures in energy output (energy generated) than rooftop mounted systems ( a second safeguard trying to be conservative). The reason that Germany is generating about half of the Mwh/Mwp is not only lower irradiation, but precisely also the poorer efficiency when rooftop mounted, because in many cases, in rich countries, aesthetics prevail on best orientation and tilting. Also because installations are carried out, generally speaking, on already existing roofs that were not designed and built from the beginning with the best orientation and tilting and for having panels on top with the best position. Or because they may have shadows. Maintenance in scattered installations is always poorer than when there is a multimegawatt installation ground mounted, with better and more professional monitoring and easier access.

What we did, for the energy output (Eout) of the whole was to measure the real life production of about 4 GW nominal -4GWn- of grid connected solar PV Systems installed to date as considered by the Spanish Ministry of industry (and were absolutely conservative when calculating), converting, very conservatively,  into the equivalent Gwp and recorded all the data of three continuous years (2009 through 2011). The measures were the official figures delivered and made public by the Ministry of Industry in month by month series with respect to the installed base of each month. The energy generated was taken from the official sealed digital meters (between 45,000 and 60,000) and summarized by the Ministry. No room for biasing or cheating ourselves playing solitaire here in the energy output (in real life). I do not think we were mistaken or committing errors in doing that.

On the other hand, let’s look, for instance, to a paper titled Life Cycle Assessment of High-Concentration PV systems (Fthenakis, V.; Kim, H. C.) in which the conclusion on the EPBT of a North American system, Amonix 7700 PV, is calculated as 0.9 years, presuming a given output of the system. It should be convenient and advisable a review of that study 5 years later, to check how are they performing in real life.

To the best of my knowledge some of these type of plants have found that many organic Fresnel lenses (crystalline Fresnel lenses should be prohibitive for these uses) are in fact brittled in about 7 years and would hardly support a heavy hail storm; that the secondary focus (a silver plated inverted trunk pyramid) unstick very often; that expansion/contraction processes of the thick cavities to keep the focal distance between the lenses and the high efficiency cells, developed interstices allowing water or moisture entering or condensation affecting the matrix. The big sail constituted by the precision tracker with so many modules of the system accuracy tracking the sun with <1º precision, forces the tracker to put itself in flag position with winds of 40 km/h, thus generating zero even if it is a sunny but windy day. Winds over 20 Km/h create vibration in the tracker and reduce the accuracy of pointing to the cells and therefore, the nominal power. A minimum haze reduces generation in much higher values than for conventional modules. Clouds lead to virtually zero production, even if they are not so dense. One single faulty photomatrix, forces the whole 25 to 50+ kW tracker to stop for sometimes an hour, to replace the damaged one. Cranes or elevators (fossil fuel built, transported and powered) are needed to reach photomatrixes for repair or cleaning, even in horizontal position. The ratio of faulty modules for failure of copper solderings in 5 years may reach incredible high values. In summary, that this US system has not yet proven to be as efficient as the report of energy invested recovered in 0.9 years suggested. Nothing of these problems appeared in the theoretical study of these reputed scientists. The fact that after seven releases of the Amonix devices (any ideas where to place all these energy input costs?), since early nineties of last century have not got any minimum market and that several of their plants have been dismantled five to seven years from installation, is very telling on where the biases of certain studies may lay.

Coming back to our study on Spanish PV installed power, promoters and plant owners finally decided to install the PV systems wherever they found more convenient in Spain (or elsewhere), in general, much more in the best insolated parts of the country (mid South of the Iberian peninsula and in the archipelagos). This is a rather different and much more realistic approach, in my opinion, than the theoretical methodology of applying 1,700 kWh/m2/year given usually for granted in conventional LCA, EPBT or EROI papers. Just to give an example, Germany, with about 8 times more installed solar PV power than Spain has already also several years records of producing about half the energy in Mwh/Mwp installed than Spain. As mentioned before, should real life be applied to the calculations, the LCA’s, EPBT’s or EROI’s would have yield a very different result.

The PV systems considered in our study for Spain, were exactly the same used by any other country in the world and at the state of the art of these years, freely elected and selected by the promoters and buyers from all over the world (Spain as module manufacturer and exporter also included), from individual plant owners, to promoters, national and international investment funds, industrial corporations, cooperatives, banks, etc. We assumed that investors in Spain, that poured several billions of euros in the solar PV business, had made (at least I did them) the corresponding professional due diligences, carefully studied the Performance Ratios, made cautious and prudent engineering processes and assessments, and were not much dumber than in other European countries or in the US to have obtained negative experiences only here. No much room neither for having negative experiences with respect to technologies (exactly the most well known PV manufacturers and technologies) that had not occurred in other countries, at least.

As for the energy inputs required for an energy system to be up and running.

There are different ways to consider these energy inputs. In general, most of the LCA, EPBT or EROI studies have included some of the energy inputs to get Si fedstocks and subsequent processes to obtain the ingot/crystal, the wafer, the cell, the laminated glass, the framing, mounting nd cabling of the module and in some cases, the energy inputs of the inverter (see, for instance, the paper of de Wild-Scholten, Mariska: Energy payback time and carbon footprint of commercial photovoltaic systems) or even some metallic infrastructure.

We have never objected basically these data, procedures and methodology. We even gave for good the averaged resulting EROI’s of some studies of these type till 2010, but considered that there are many other energy input expenses, usually ignored in most of the existing LCA, EPBT or EROI papers and methodologies that are CONDITIO SINE QUA NON for these energy systems to be up and running over their operational life. What it has been called “extended energy input boundaries”

Among them, we had to calculate some of these expenses, as Dr. Hall suggested, by using I/O tabls, in knowing their monetary value as energy equivalent (follow the money), more directly and easy than its direct use of energy which no doubt involves any type of monetary expense. I take advantage here to note that the growing divorce between EPBT’s going to few months, while economic paybacks still resisting (will all the ingredients included) in more than 10 years, cannot last for much longer, before we will be forced to reconcile money and energy (the first being much more unreliable to measure than the second).

As Dr. Hall has already mentioned, these studies haven been also carried out for other alternative fuels LCA’s, EPBt’s or EROI’s, but I will focus here on the ones affecting solar PV systems. However, I believe it is immediate to discover that if our global society is where it is today, it has been possible for a high EROI provided by fossil fuels (still today at 82% of our global primary energy), allowing to these energy systems to clearly breed themselves and BESIDES to shift a big bulk of surplus energy to many discretionary functions; among them universities, theaters, leisure, modern tourism, etc. And also to power and/or underpin some other energy sources, like hydro or nuclear (and not the vice versa), but also modern renewables until now.

I am very aware that a) fossil fuels have, like any other limited source of energy, a declining EROI; b) burning fossil fuels has plenty of undesirable (and likely irreversible) effects on our environment and c) that these environmental costs are ignored environmental externalities in many cases and not included in the studies. But precisely for that, it is of essence to take seriously all the possible and reasonable energy input boundaries of each energy source (EROIext) and how much are they underpinned in fossils without a reasonable time frame to get rid of them.

Because if the conclusion is that these modern renewable energy sources are just simply “fossil fuel extenders” (Gail Tverberg) or, as we discovered, the resulting energy input of our EROI of was composed of about 2/3 of these energy input extended boundaries and only 1/3 as the energy considered in the modules and its components + inverters, we will not progress much in trying to shake off the fossil fuel environment impact and reducing the environmental externalities. And the hailing of price reductions in solar PV modules in the last five years will have a minor impact in improving the solar PV EROIext (maximum one third in our study) to a level in which we could dream of having breeding solar PV systems able to additionally maintain, with their surplus, the present consumerist habits of the fossil fueled society.

Finally, I leave to your consideration to conclude if the below energy inputs are needed for the solar PV systems or not.

Nota bene. For the sake of clarity, not all the below listed energy inputs we calculated were derived from monetary costs. Some of them were directly calculated in energy terms as well, whenever possible.

Here follows the considered ones, additionally to energy used off-site to manufacture ingots/wafers/cells/modules and some equipment, like modules, inverters, trackers and metallic infrastructures (labor excluded):

  • Accesses, foundations, canalizations and perimeter fences
  • Energy investments of evacuation lines and rights of way

  • Operation and maintenance energy costs

  • Module washing and/or cleaning

  • Self consumption in plants

  • Security and surveillance

  • Transportation. From local manufacturers to China

  • Premature phase out of unamortized manufacturing and other equipment

  • Associated energy costs to injection of intermittent loads: pump up costs and/or other massive storage systems

  • Insurances

  • Fairs, exhibitions, promotions, conferences, etc.

  • Administration expenses

  • Municipality taxes, duties and levies (2–4% total project)

  • Cost of land long term rent or ownership

  • Circumstantial and indirect labor (not included in direct labor activities)

  • Agent representative or market agent

  • Equipment stealing and vandalism

  • Communications, remote control and management

  • Pre-inscription, inscription, registration bonds and fees

  • Electrical network/power lines restructuring
  • Faulty modules, inverters, trackers

  • Associated energy costs to injection of intermittent loads: network stabilization associated costs (combined cycles)

  • Force majeure acts of god and others: wind storms, lighting, storms, flooding, hail

We are open to reexamine and analyze these costs that certainly have changed (and will continue changing) over the time. Some of them have certainly decreased. Some others, however, have increased and presumably ill tend to increase more in the future, specially if they rely heavily in our fossil fueled society (circumstantial low oil prices excluded).

Some of these energy inputs have been improved/reduced by human ingenuity. Some others, like transportation, have worsened since we made (energy direct) calculations, considering a big number of solar systems arriving to the sites from Spain itself or from Europe, whereas, today, most are coming from China. Taxes, levies and duties have severely got worse, as governments entered into the big economic and financial crisis and squeeze funds from wherever they can. The associated energy costs to injection of intermittent loads: pump up costs and/or other massive storage systems cost were left intentionally aside, even knowing that this is a key energy input cost, because they could in themselves deserve a book and could have weighted so much as to deviate from our purpose to just start opening the boundaries and looking from a more holistic point of view. These effects of injecting intermittent loads in electric networks requiring stability is still being debated seriously all over the world. Some articles of Dr. Euan Mearns in his ‘Energy Matters’ blog are clarifying and highly recommended.

Force majeure energy input expenses were also left aside, despite having seen whole big plants flooded; others destroyed by winds; others affected by hail or lightening, because insurance companies did not release the required information.

Some countries, no doubt, could perhaps yield better results than Spain, but I believe that most of the countries could get much worse results than Spain, when entering into the business massively. The network stability in Spain, for instance, being better than that of the United States (MIT Report) and the Control Center of Red Eléctrica Española a world pioneering entity in managing the injection of high percentages of intermittent loads in the national grid.

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Although in the previous statements are contained most of the answers to Tom’s Blog, I would take the effort to answer him in some of his article “Six errors in EROI calculations”:

Error 1Energy consumption and energy investment. If we include all the energy consumption as energy investment in the universe, we will certainly have an EROI of <1:1, including fossil fuels and solar from the sun. We do know very well the thermodynamic laws, but we are not talking about that. We are living and considering a limited time frame in the history and the use of energy and in a given type of society. What it gives our present society the status it has today, is not the whole universe entropy trends, but a specific use of some type of energy in a limited period of time, excluding some energy factors, but not others. The whole industrialization has not taken into consideration the general entropy laws and has created a temporal and geographical limited “order” (i.e. EROI >>1:1) by ignoring the higher “disorder” sent to the rest of the closed system we are analyzing.

Therefore, the use of solar energy concentrated in 150-200 million years in the form of fossil fuels in just 150-200 years, is ignoring and excluding the externalities affecting the climate or the embodied energy from the sun we are taking at one million times faster than replacement rate. This obviously gives our moderns society more energy than it spends in extracting, refining and transporting the fossil fuels. Depending on the externalities (energy inputs considered) and the type of sources and depletion considerations or extra costs of using more and more unconventional fuels, we may have EROIs for fossil fuels from 100:1 in the first oil rich and accessible  high quality deposits to 10:1 for oil or even lower (all the closed ones going to EROIs lower than what the present industrial and technological society demands as a minimum.

As I have mentioned before, it is not true that other energy sources, namely fossil fuels, have not considered for the EROI studies some extended energy input boundaries (Charles Hall and some of their former students and scientists, likeCleveland or Murphy), giving much lower EROIs than when excluding these extended energy input boundaries. It istherefore naïve to claim that EROI for fossil fuels did not consider that. Just as a simple quote of many, please read “EROI of Global Energy Resources. Preliminary Status and Trends”byJessica Lambert, Charles Hall, Steve Balogh, Alex Poisson, and Ajay Gupta. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

In this context of the last 150-200 years, I suppose nobody would argue that fossil fuels would have had an EROI lower than 1:1, because we would simply not be here with this society. The criticism that we have considered the embodied energy in fences or security and this is not made in fossil fuels EROIs does not resist a minimum analysis. All the industry protects itself with fences or walls, uses security, travels, etc. etc. and send armies to the Middle East or wherever they deem it convenient to their consumerist interests.  And besides that, the fossil fueled society is obviously able to pay (energetically) for our energy big global consumerist party (Richard Heinberg: The Party’s Over), includingincidental and dispensable activities, leisure time, etc., subsidizes (energetically speaking) the nuclear industry, and of course the modern renewables industry. I suppose David Schwartzman would not argue that without fossil fuels, we could not even dreamed to have 1 MW of solar PV systems or modern offshore wind power, with no horizon to be able to self-breed in a reasonable time frame. At least for the time being, we cannot say the same for modern renewables. The possible energy interdependencies are absolutely asymmetric. Ones are absolutely underpinned in others. Others are not underpinned in ones.

It is obviously unacceptable to state as a critique that in calculating EROI of oil, Hall it includes the energy cost of freeways, automobiles, and so on and concluding “That is a mistake, because those things are energy consumption, not energy investments to obtain energy”. If we do not invest energy in erecting the world infrastructure (asphalted or paved roads and motorways, trucks, ships, machines, buildings, etc., etc. -societal expenses-), how on Earth could we obtain the energy we are using today? This is a very peculiar and biased form of understanding energy investments separated from energy consumption, when both are and indissoluble part of the same equation. In the energy world, each piece of energy spent to create and maintain the societal infrastructure used by the energy systems to generate energy is both an energy expense, but also an energy investment required to produce energy. And this does not necessarily mean, at least in the case of fossil fuels in the last 150 years period considered, that EROI will be lower than 1:1, if we place that in the due context and ignore (as society is doing) that this is concentrated solar energy for 150-200 million years.

Who could extract a single barrel of oil or install a single module if a society would not spend energy in having a legal system to sign and make respect contracts, for instance?

Error 2.Lifetime estimates are incorrect. No one has considered here that solar modules last strictly what the guarantees of the modules specify, but neither give for granted as it does the Task force 12 Group of the EIA about solar PV methodologies, that they last 30 years when there are clear signs and massive deployments proving the contrary. However, I believe we were quite conservative in admitting 25 years life span.

This is key because EROI very much depends on the life cycle considered. Of course, there are modules than we know have lasted 30 years, as well as we all know there are Ford T’s still running after 100 years, but our aim and interest was more to see how the world (or a given national) car park behave in terms of real life average life of cars, replacement rates by industry, availability of spares making impossible some maintenances, etc., than to please ourselves generalizing with vintage cars to the world park. In the roof of the pioneering Instituto de Energía Solar (IES) in Madrid we know there are modules that have worked well for more than 30 years, but now we have massive deployments and it seems reasonable to double check the averaged modules lifespans.

In this sense, it calls our attention and we cannot ignore that most manufacturers offer 25 years in guarantee of power and 5 to 10 years in material guarantee. When asked what will happen if a module fails in year 6 or 11, they would invariably answer that the promoter or buyer will have to pay for a new one, because the material guarantee supersedes the power guarantee, which is only considered if the modules does not fail, but cannot deliver the output power as specified. In fact, in real life, most of the companies that offered guarantees from 2005 through 2013 are not existing anymore, which gives little confidence in honoring the theoretical guarantees offered. Or in the best case, they may, after a long claiming process, accept to replace, but by a new generation module that may not fit in the old array/string in terms of Voc, Isc, etc. and other required matchings, forcing the owner to change a whole array and adjust the inverter.

The data we have recorded of faulty modules and modules damaged for various reasons are indicating, as pointed out by Dr. Hall, that our estimates were already conservative for 25 years. In fact, in 2014, more than 40 MW were dismantled in Spain, as much as the installed power in this year. The reasons may differ from one country to the other: in many countries, the reasons may be lack of proper maintenance or spares or skills; in others climatic conditions (lightening, hail or windstorms, floods, etc).

In some other countries, like Greece, soon in Portugal,  Spain or even Italy, for lack of money to payback credits to the banks and keep the maintenance and other costs going on due to financial or economic crisis; this is also affecting physically to the life cycle assessments, if we want to stick to reality and with over 140 GW installed worldwide, we have plenty of data of what is going on with abandoned or poorly maintained solar PV plants), but again, we have to decide whether we take theoretical 30 years lifespans, like the ones accepted by the IEA Task 12 Group, which we sincerely doubt, or we take references from real world, which already offers us very real data from massive deployments.

I would humbly suggest, not to pointing to Spain as a an unreliable country to take measurements or suggesting it is poorly managed in this respect or the only one having negative experiences, because there are more and more signs that similar problems appear, of course, not only in the 180 countries less developed than Spain, like Morocco, where whole projects have been abandoned much earlier than the rosy 30 years lifespan. Even in most developed and incontestable countries we are finding problems.

For instance, the European Association PV CYCLE (PV CYCLE – Operational Status Report – Europe) calculated the weight of modules, which have failed during transport, installation or operation and have been collected by the responsible for disposal of the failed or exhausted modules. They amounted at the end of January, 2015 to 10,565 tons. If we reasonably translate this weight into installed power, this leads to a considerable number of premature failed MWp. Considering that most of the installations had less than 10 years on the reported data, the data can be translated into some kind of noticeably shorter lifespan than 30 years. TUV Rheinland in its “Quality Monitor, 2013”, stated that 30 % of the modules installed in Germany have serious deficiencies. Similar problems are appearing in Switzerland.

Error 3. Not counting embedded energy which is recovered.

I would have to repeat here that 2/3 of our analyzed SINE QUA NON energy input expenses for a solar PV system to be up and running, were not the module frames or the module immediate infrastructure, but other societal energy inputs. It is amazing and very touching to observe how it is so easily extrapolated that aluminum or any other material (gallium, indium, copper, silicon built to tempered glass, silicon build to solar grade, dielectric of the capacitors, semiconductors in IGBT’s, and some thousands etc. etc.) will be recycled without problems (or minimum or even negligible energy costs) in the next 25-30 years. This is quite biased view, when considering the world as a whole. When we see that even in an abundant and cheap energy society, we are having global problems with non treated waste. It is a sign of limitless faith in the Business as Usual (BAU) way of living, in the very discussion of trying to change the paradigm. It is also hiding or ignoring that we have now 140 GW installed worldwide but that we would need several TW of installed power, that would have to be extracted from mines and not from recycling. Even techno-optimists but respected colleagues, like Antonio García Olivares, a member of CSIC in Spain, still struggling trying to make possible a world 100% renewable, admits severe problems with several (not just one, not just aluminum) row materials, as per the known world proven reserves if we had to go massively to the deployment of these systems.

Error 4.  Waste heat losses are counted as energy returns

This is a recurrent argument for those trying to discredit our calculations from the very beginning. I will try to explain here.

We have used scientific conversion terms to make energy equivalents. We did not invent them. They are in all the physic books and even in the BP statistical yearbook. We do know very well the thermal losses of the thermal electricity generating systems and we also know very well the limits of the Carnot cycle in the Internal Combustion Engines (ICE’s).

In our lengthy discussion with the groups calculating EROI in the previous conventional form, they claimed that every module producing 1 Mwh will save the equivalent, more or less, to 3 to 4 equivalent Mwh of thermal, polluting fossil fuels

We had no problems in admitting that, should this be the reality in a world that is not replacing but just adding, for the time being. In fact, this is the consideration of what I call direct transformity (David Scienceman, Hoard T. Odum), as follows:

Figure 1.

In the above figure this is an approximation of the global primary energy consumed, which goes today to produce electricity. Certainly, if our intention is to “solarize” the electricity networks only and we place a solar PV module or a wind generator in the right side, this will contribute o avoid burning 3 units of primary energy per each unit of energy equivalent in electric form from these devices. We even can ignore how much fossil fuel energy has been spent up front in the first year or two to balance it with the energy that these systems will generate in 25 years term. About 170 EJ/year (or some 4,000 MToes/year) come from fossil or nuclear origin to generate electricity at global level.

But if we try to change the paradigm (what I understood was the origin of this communist horizon for the world), then we have to look with some more perspective.

Figure 2

The electricity is today globally a mere 15% at the output of the generation system and spends 38% of the primary energy to be produced, about 34% of it from fossil or nuclear origin.

This means that the world we are aiming at changing, is operating mainly in a NON ELECTRIC form as it is shown in figure 2 above, taken from IEA Sankey Diagram.

And here we cannot ignore, so bulky it is the amount of energy, the human activities carried out in a non electrical form and the impact of trying to replace them with electricity from modern renewables.

Here, contrary to the big thermal losses claimed by the stalwarts of solar energies, the changes required would operate exactly the other way around; exactly the opposite.

Figure 3 below tries to explain the most common processes to be carried out and the approximate losses we would have to incur in to make the “solarization” of the whole society, a la Jacobson and Delucchi.

Figure 3.

In figure 3, trying to replace the 284 EJ of energy that consume many human essential activities with solar devices, would require the use of carrier systems (i.e. hydrogen generation, massive electric storage systems, etc.) and the losses will be, very likely and despite the wishful thinking of Mr. Jacobson et al, much higher than the 3:1 in the example of direct transformity in the bigger case of inverse transformity.

This assuming it will be technically possible, something which is quite arguably. Time and facts are discrediting enough the papers of Jacobson or also the documents of Greenpeace (renewables 100%, renewables 2050, etc.). Blaming to big fossil fuel corporations (no doubt they are bad for society as capitalists and the priorities they look for), or to lack of will of our governments does not help to seriously revise the real possibilities to undertake the huge changes we all need.

To conclude, I believe we ere much more than conservatives in selecting the conventionally accepted energy conversion factors and trying to avoid playing with thermal games to bias on a given result. The objective of our study was not only replacing the electricity generated in the world form fossils or nuclear, but replacing the whole fossil fuel chain that is going to either be declining soon and then be exhausted and because it may spoil the whole planet in the meanwhile.

Error 5. Outdated figures are used.

We do not feel affected by this error, because we used for our calculations the state of the art technologies used in 2009-2011 period and to the best of our knowledge, it has not been a single breakthrough that could have put the renewable world upside down. Even more, as mentioned above, some of the factors we calculated may have gone down in costs, but many others have gone up and obviously, as the society grows in complexity and fossil fuels start to be scarce and with lower quality, will tend to grow to make good the Jevons Paradox, that has been perfectly valid for the global consumption and also basically in per capita consumption since he wrote “the Coal Question” in 1865.

Error 6. Invalid comparisons are made

Another recurrent criticism. Of course, the comparisons are different than those carried out up to the moment by most of the papers published on the matter, as we explained above.

The real question here is to analyze which one is more correct if the methodology used by Task 12 Group of IEA (basically Fthenakis et al) or our methodology, extending the energy input boundaries to some SINE QUA NON energy inputs for the systems to be up and running.

The first , ignores and excludes from the energy costs many which we consider relevant and undoubtedly tied to the solar systems.

Some prefer to ignore that a module manufactured in inland China, transported by trucks to Tianjing, then by vessels to Valencia, then by track again to Huelva to be installed there, through a complex web of paved and well asphalted roads, with the heaviest byproducts of oil mixed with gravel previously grind with fossil fueled machines and then compacted by roadrollers and painted and protected with fences and metallic guides and metallic signals and petrol stations all the way, and all these infrastructures having to be maintained frequently are energy expenses allowing solar systems to be generating electricity. We do not.

I do not think we need rocket science to understand that the present world infrastructure, from roads, ports, airports, cities, mines, mechanized agriculture, space programs, labs, universities, concert halls, hospitals, schools, armies, and so forth, are here, because the ability of fossil fuels to build and maintain them and before and besides, to spend the energy to extract, refine and transport the energy surplus left to serve the global society.

I do not think we need to explain much further that this implies, whatever is the calculation methodology, that fossil fuels had an EROI in the last 150 years much higher than 1:1.

Nor that they were able to power humans to build, operate and maintain, with all its imperfections, the present world infrastructure in the last 105 years by going from 500 to some 14,000 Mtoe/year in consumption

Fossil fuels are now or will be soon in decline and with declining EROIs also, but it is not needed to demonstrate that they had a high EROI until now.

So please, avoid to talk of comparing pears with pears, but meaning in reality that we all have to abide to the Task 12 Group of the IEA rules, measuring just the modules and inverter embodied energy and try to understand what is at stake, that is much more than a dispute on solar EROI methodologies to avoid losing face, after having published hundred of papers reassuring that modern renewables will cope with what fossil fuels are doing today.

Partial off-topic on energy subsidies

When trying to support modern renewable energies, many mention the fact that fossil fuels are receiving much more “subsidies” than renewable energies. Just some words to debunk this as a fallacy.

In the Webster opinion, a subsidy is either:

a *:* a sum of money formerly granted by the British Parliament to the crown and raised by special taxation
b *:* money granted by one state to another
c *:* a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public

Therefore, for a grant of money to a given project, there must be, previously to it, the accumulation of physical wealth (goods and measurable services) in excess over the own current needs of the lender that can be represented by money to be lent.

If we look to the world in biophysical terms, rather than in fiat money financially oriented terms, we can only lend to someone else if we have previously created a surplus on our own needs (and not of fiat or paper money, but of money representing physical existing goods or measurable services in excess).

That is why, when the IEA says WEO 2014 pages 314 through 321) that fossil fuels are “subsidized”, I sincerely smile. If we look, for instance, to the graphs of the mentioned IEA concept of subsidy (WEO 2012, pages 71 and 508):

Figure 4

Figure 5

we discover that for the OECD watchdog “subsidy” is, basically, whatever fossil fuel is below the prices that OECD riches can pay. This is what they would like: mainly producing/exporting countries, to raise their own domestic prices of fossil fuels (this is what they understand for eliminating the “subsidies”), so that their internal consumption is tightened and there is more fossil fuel energy available to the world market, where the riches (in this case, the OECD), will benefit and prevail.

However, from my point of view, “subsidy” is to grant some resource to other to do a certain activity.

If we consider that only those physical persons or legal entities that have previously ocultada wealth in excess are the only ones in capacity of lending something.

If we consider that +90% of the goods and services existing today in the world (in general wealth, hereinafter) were created by a global society using fossil fuels (mainly oil), saying that fossil fuels are “subsidized” are an enormous oxymoron.

Who on Earth and from the energy point of view, can subsidize oil, or gas or coal? A person or even a multitude with their draft force? To me it is like if I say that I can subsidize with my left pocket where I have the money of my salary earned, to my right pocket to go to the cinema. I could “subsidize” my children to go to the cinema with my money, but I cannot subsidize myself.

I understand perfectly, that the mining of some brown lignites of poor quality could be “subsidized” to pay miners to keep the social peace in the coal basins in Spain for doing something antieconomic. But always from a fossil fueled society. I could admit that kerosene for aviation could “somehow” be subsidized by our fossil fueled society by eliminating the
taxes for kerosene for civil aviation in airports. It is obvious that global society has collected wealth through taxes and this wealth has come from highly profitable fossil fuels as the main source of energy and activity, like gasolines or fuel oil for cars or trucks.

But I cannot admit, in general that fossil fuels are “subsidized”. By whom, by what entity and with what resources has those entities created the surplus to be lent?

So, in this sense, I could also admit that nuclear energy is energetically subsidized by fossil fuels (otherwise, without smelting factories, fossil fuel transport, fossil fuel uranium mining, etc. etc. the nuclear power plants could have
never dream of existing.

I could say exactly the same for modern renewables, which could have never reached the level of being manufactured and produce electric energy, if previously a very powerful fossil fueled society could have not provided the means to make it feasible as fossil fuel extenders.

Once I have clarified my position on subsidies from a biophysical point of view, then in my opinion, it is not only question of pouring more money into an energy system to make it feasible.

The irreversibly declining EROI of fossils and the increasing rate of decline is of essence here.

As somebdy said in ASPO, the day when extracting a barrel of oil from the ground would cost 1 barrel of oil, you can put the barrel at 25,000$ and no one single barrel will be extracted from the ground. And sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani would be right in other sense: the era of oil will not be finished by the lack of oil…but most likely by the lack of enough EROI to extract and use it.

And in a complex society like ours, the deadline will be much higher than an EROI of 1:1. That is why, in my opinión, the EROI methodology has to change from looking exclusively a specific and controlled system and have a more holistic view as depicted in graphs 6 and 7 below . We need that to avoid cheating ourselves with probably the last silver bullet.

Pedro Prieto.

September 5th., 2015

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Y nueva respuesta de David Schwartzman:

First my name is David Schwartzman, not “Scharztman”.  Pedro’s detailed response to the critique provided in the blog is appreciated but I suggest he post it on the blog itself, to get the author’s response!  I don’t know the author of the blog either but the content is surely more important than who is providing it.  Raugei et al. (2012) make similar critique of the Hall and Prieto analysis.

A few short comments.
The embedded energy/costs/subsidies for fossil fuels is immense, and not counted in Prieto and Hall’s analysis, in spite of Pedro’s arguments below. The Pentagon/NATO is the oil (and strategic metal) protection service for the Military Industrial (Fossil Fuel Nuclear State Terror and Surveillance) Complex with global military expenditures now totaling nearing $2 trillion per year.  Demilitarization of the global economy is likely a necessary requirement for a full and robust transition to wind/solar power and termination of fossil fuel consumption, which is really the only alternative to the catastrophic path now facing humanity.
Now just considering wind power which alone could supply the world with several times the present primary energy consumption equivalent to 18 trillion watts (Lu et al., 2009). Consider the following example, suppose 5 MW capacity wind turbines supply all this energy, with a 35% capacity factor. Then 36 TW, double the present primary energy consumption would require 21 million wind turbines produced in 25 years, assuming the lifespan of this technology exceeds this timespan. This production is within the technical capacity of the global economy, noting that 90 million cars and commercial vehicles were globally produced in 2014 alone (http://www.oica.net/category/production-statistics/http://www.oica.net/category/production-statistics/).
The debate about EROI ratios will surely continue, with fossil fuel/nuclear power advocates continuing to downplay the potential of wind/solar power, another example of TINA.  But Charles Hall himself, Pedro’s co-author of the study critiqued by the blog, cites an EROI of 18 from a comprehensive review dated 2010 (Hall et al., 2014), although more recent studies give significantly higher ratios (I have already cited the sources).  But lets be very conservative and assume the present EROI of wind power technology is 15. Our modeling demonstrates that even with this ratio of EROI (equivalent to EROEI) in 25 years twice the primary energy consumption can be supplied globally using an annual input of 6% of present energy consumption and a feedback of 10% of wind power energy delivery to make more of itself (solar calculator, Schwartzman and Schwartzman, 2011, available at www.solarutopia.org). And of course as EROI ratios for wind and solar power technologies grow with R&D, this transition will technically become even easier to accomplish.
Finally, the EROI ratios for photovoltaics are growing with R&D, significantly higher than what Hall and Prieto claim; see Dale and Benson (2013) and Bhanderi et al. (2015).
References cited
Bhanderi et al. (2015) Energy payback time (EPBT) and energy return on energy invested (EROI) of solar photovoltaic systems: A systematic review
and meta-analysis. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 47: 133–141.
Dale, M. and S.M. Benson (2013) Energy Balance of the Global Photovoltaic (PV) Industry – Is the PV Industry a Net Electricity Producer?
 Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013, 47, 3482−3489.

Hall et al. (2014) EROI of different fuels and the implications for society. Energy Policy 64 (2014) 141–152.

Lu, X., McElroy, M.B. and Kiviluoma, J. Global Potential for Wind-generated Electricity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 106 (27), 10933–10938 (2009).

Raugei et al., 2013, The energy return on energy investment (EROI) of photovoltaics: Methodology and comparisons with fossil fuel life cycles.Energy Policy 45: 576–582.

—————-

Y otra vez Pedro Prieto:

I wrote the name of David Schwartzman three times; only one with a clerical error. Apologies for that.

I made a general answer to David critique on my book, not only to the blog of the anonymous author you quoted. If I answered the points of that blog, is because you quoted him as an authoritative critique to my book and comments to the energy proposals made in ‘An Ecosocialist Horizon for Venezuela: A Solar Communist Horizon for the World’. I leave to Saul Quincy to either delete or ignore my previous post or to include it with this last one in the debate he uploaded in the CNS website, but I will never post in a blog whose author hides in the anonymity.

As for the new references to Marco Raugei to our solar PV analysis, we have already had several direct exchanges on the subject, when the critiques have been made public and known to me or they had the deference to copy me. Just as an example, I have published one of the several exchanges we had some time ago. They were made public for its interests among the readers of my blog ‘Crisis Energética'(in my opinion a much more adequate title than ‘Bountiful Energy’ to deal with the problem if we are supposed to change the energy paradigm, because we have an energy problem)

Here it is the link of the debate (the introduction in Spanish; the exchanged comments in English) for those having time and interest:

Otra vuelta de tuerca a la TRE fotovoltaica

With respect to the embedded energy spent in exploring, drilling or mining, extracting, processing, refining and transporting, I have no any doubt that they are immense. We did not have to count them in our analysis, simply because our analysis was on solar PV, not on fossil fuels, although we do know that solar PV is today absolutely underpinned in fossil fuels.

But we should never confuse or mix these enormous amounts of energy spent in the above functions (sort of Ein for fossil fuels) with the ‘subsidies’ claimed the fossil fuels need.

I believe I have already explained that in detail in my previous post and I will not get into more details. Just to make clear that even the Ein amounts of energy spent in the fossil fuel industry are gigantic, they are NECESSARILY coming basically from ….FOSSIL FUELS! which move more than 80% of our world today and are vital for the remaining 20% (nuclear, hydro and even biomass today) to be generating.

Therefore, it is nonsense to insist that fossil fuels are ‘subsidized’, at least, in energy terms. What type of force or energy could ‘subsidize’ or help thesefossil fuels to reach to our society ready for use (net)? Human muscular force, or draft animal force? Hydroelectric energy, perhaps? Nuclear power or modern renewables?

What is happening, as I mentioned in my previous mail, is that monetary terms are introduced on purpose and considered as ‘subsidies’ to these energy sources. This is common in the EIA WEO reports, in the conventional mainstream media, in the supporters of modern renewables and also can be observed in the comment of David, when attributing 2 trillion US$ military expenditures (and I suppose, when included in this debate, correlates them somehow to the fossil fuel industry).

The later only means, in any case, that our world is devoting 2/60 parts of its global GDP to armed forces (being GDP about 60 trillion US$). And in this respect, I fully agree with David that demilitarization is essential for our future and I will fight for that, as much as I can, although I do not see any trend towards this, but very much in the opposite direction, since I can record.

Wind Power. Once solar PV is left in this debate, it appears now that only wind could supply the world several times the 18 TW of power required and gives some examples and quotes for that.

For the sake of a minimum balance, I will quote a paper of the professors of the University of Valladolid, in the Systems Dynamic Group, published in Energy Policy.

Global wind power potential: Physical and technological limits

Carlos de Castro, Margarita Mediavilla, Luis Javier Miguel, Fernando Frechoso. Energy Policy, vol. 39 (19), pages6677-6682. –

As it is a paywall document, see that shorter reference open to public:

GLOBAL WIND POWER POTENTIAL, physical and technological limits

Where these professors do a top-down analysis of the global wind potential, contrary to the most known and publicized studies, which are always made on bottom-up basis (given a turbine of 5 MW generating, for instance, 15 Gwh/year, just multiply by X , the number of turbines and there will be obtained X times the energy of one turbine). In the studies of the Valladolid Group, they conclude that the maximum theoretical power that could be harnessed globally is about TW, meaning about 5 TW of turbines (or the equivalent to one million 5 MW type turbines). This obviously greatly differs from Jacobson and Delucchi projections and upper global limits, if they recognize any.

I strongly recommend to pay a visit to the web of this Dynamic System Group of the University of Valladolid,

Grupo de Energía, Economía y Dinámica de Sistemas. Universidad de Valladolid.

because they have many other studies on upper global limits. Just to allow to have alternative views, before we embark in a massive deployment of modern renewables.

In the words of Carlos de Castro, one of the authors of the above studies, the ones who are clearly violating the thermodynamic laws are Jacobson et al.

Final comments

1. I am not an advocate of nuclear energy. Much on the contrary, I have spent a lot of time making severe critiques in my all presentations and writings on this type of energy. So, I do not share any opinion in this respect with Weissbach or any other of the many pronuclear persons, instances or entities. I do believe that the approximate 450 nuclear power reactor in operation pose the biggest danger to our future, exception perhaps of a generalized nuclear war (also caused by the use of nuclear technology and being, in my opinion, the nuclear reactors for electricity production only a byproduct of the first). Apart that they will not be able to replace fossil fuels in time and volume, due to the scarcity of uranium proven reserves and the horrible EROI, if we precisely count (as I think and believe we must do) the energy input extended boundaries, always excluded by pronuclears, among them, the much higher than calculated rate of accidents always considered by the industry, the ever growing and limitless costs of severe accidents and the unsolvable problem of radioactive waste in terms of energy input costs.

2. for sure, the debate about EROIs or EPBT’s or LCA’s of the different energy sources will continue and I believe it is good and essential. Many authors will continue shifting their figures for the different energy systems, some upwards and some other downwards and many encouraged by the interests they serve (“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair). Having being a consultant for 30 MW of solar PV plants and owner myself of 50 kW and being retired, I feel really in a comfortable situation as a truly independent person in this respect.

That is why I thought it would be adequate to make some comments to the first document on ‘solarization’ of the country that I received from Jorge Riechmann about this Venezuelan group and I made them just to Jorge, even I gave him permission on his request to relay and reproduce.

I believe I have already explained in detail what my position is to the main critiques to our document on solar PV EROI in my previous post and in the links I have delivered and I will not comment further here. For those who can read, there are already alternative views and arguments.

3. Without undermining the merits of energy in any transition, I still stick to my recommendation to develop as soon as possible (energy will always be necessary for that, but can be taken from other discretionary and not essential activities) a self-sufficiency food supply chain for the Venezuelan people, of as close origin as possible and the creation of a large livestock of draft animals (I am proposing also this for Spain, not only for Venezuela and for any other country), as I believe this is the only long term sustainable form of living.

4. As for the possibilities to develop modern renewables in Venezuela, as in any other country, I would also humbly suggest, if finally deciding for that way, to try first the creation of a national industrial infrastructure to have the complete value chain of production of these technologies at massive level under control, as much as it is possible. A country so reasonably concerned about their sovereignty, should prioritize this, in my opinion This would or should include from mining and processing of the main elements, if available within that rich country, to all the secondary industries transforming them into ingots, wafers, cells or modules, pressurized clean chambers, micrometric air filters, etc., etc. in the case of solar PV or in the creation of aluminum or glass plated mirrors, the synthetic oil, the salts to create molten salt deposits or pump up reservoirs and the pipes and all elements for the CSP plants. Or the technologies for wind, from steel for the towers to copper for the wirings and coils, to materials coming from rare earths (praseodimium, neodimium, etc.), to glass fiber or carbon fiber for the blades and even big trucks for transport and vans and big cranes for installation and maintenance, so that developers get first acquainted with the implications of these so called renewable energies, the industrial and technological complexity, the interrelations of the industrial and technological complex web they imply and the dependence that would be created from alien countries, if these technologies are simply imported. They will also help to understand that, in reality, we are not talking about renewable energies, but rather about not renewable systems, able to harness some portion of renewable energy flows in a limited period of time, while they are properly maintained.

Finally, I would like to wish all the bests to this group dealing with an Ecosocialist Horizon for Venezuela and a Solar Communist Horizon for the World.

Pedro Prieto

September 6th., 2015

——————-
Y de nuevo David Schwartzman:

Pedro,

No apologies necessary, my last name is commonly misspelled, and your version was clearly a typo.
Just a few responses.
1) My example with 5 MW Wind Turbine assumed a capacity factor of 35% (state of the technology factors are now rising above this) to get 36 TW globally.
2) No comment below regarding the solar calculator result using a very conservative EROEI ratio of 15, likely less than 50% of the state of technology value for wind turbines, yet still with huge potential for a wind/solar transition in a couple of decades.
3) What is the embedded energy for fossil fuels? To make a fair comparison with wind/solar power, either ignore it for both, or assume it to be the energy needed to construct the  global physical economy, that was the main point of the blog. What is most relevant to a global wind/solar transition is the vast resources, both material and human that would be freed up in demilitariizing the global  economy.
4) The physical limits to tapping into wind/solar are orders of magnitude higher than the present global primary energy consumption level of 18 TW. The claims of the paper you cited (! TW limit for wind) are refuted by  two relevant papers:

Axel Kleidon, Lee Miller, and Fabian Gans. (2015) Physical Limits of Solar Energy Conversion in the Earth System. Top Curr Chem DOI: 10.1007/128_2015_637

Kate Marvel, Ben Kravitz and Ken Caldeira (2013) Geophysical limits to global wind power. Nature Climate Change published online 2012 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1683.

 “There is enough power in Earth’s winds to be a primary source of near-zero-emission electric power as the global economy continues to grow through the twenty-first century. Historically, wind turbines are placed on Earth’s surface, but high-altitude winds are usually steadier and faster than near- surface winds, resulting in higher average power densities1. Here, we use a climate model to estimate the amount of power that can be extracted from both surface and high- altitude winds, considering only geophysical limits. We find wind turbines placed on Earth’s surface could extract kinetic energy at a rate of at least 400 TW, whereas high-altitude wind power could extract more than 1,800 TW. At these high rates of extraction, there are pronounced climatic consequences. However, we find that at the level of present global primary power demand (18 TW; ref. 2), uniformly distributed wind turbines are unlikely to substantially affect the Earth’s climate. It is likely that wind power growth will be limited by economic or environmental factors, not global geophysical limits. “

And finally I too  have  photovoltaics on my roof  (3.75 kilowatt), solar coops are blooming in DC.

——————————————————–
Y otra vez Pedro Prieto:

David,

Answer to the points of your last mail, point by point.

Points 1 and 4. Some data:

European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Global Wind Energy Outlook 2014 (with Greenpeace), Page 10

The above scenarios forecast a 30% load factor…for 2050! But a 28% in 2050. Still in 2050 very far from the 35% load factor you presume for your assumptions.

But if we take the latest BP Statistical Yearbook (labels wind consumption in Twh and wind capacity in MW installed), and we make a reasonable extrapolation of the average installed power per year and the Twh produced, the results get much poorer.

Even the most optimistic scenario posed by the own industry to 2050 (4 TW) is more than 8 times lower than what you assume (36 TW). There is no doubt that you have a very positive and optimistic view, much beyond the wind industry. Your faith in the future of this industry and the improvements of the technology factors will increase the load factor are praiseworthy, but in my opinion, far from the real world. In Spain, most of the promoters started ith class 6 wind fields with about 2,700 hours per year and now they are struggling to find available onshore field with 2,000 nominal hours per year (28% load factor). This, with about 22 GW of installed power in a mountanous and windy country -Tarifa- Gibraltar, lot mountain passes, the big central plateau slopes, etc.- (with much better load factors than Germany, for instance) and a surface of 500,000 Km2. And for the offshore, I believe we should take them with a grain of salt, because although they usually have higher load factors, the costs of doing that are sometimes three orders of magnitude higher than in onshore (and if we follow the money and correlate to energy spent, then we have not such a promising figures) and tehre are not always shallow waters close to big consumption centers, like in the Baltic. Canary islands and the Saharian coast line, for instance, have the wonderful trade winds with 3,300 hours/year, but they have very tiny continental submarine platform and big consumption centers at 3,000 Km or more.

As for the Kate Marvel et al report you quoted (Geophysical limits to global wind power. Nature Climate Change published online 2012 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1683), frankly speaking, I have not seen any possible debunking to the paper I quoted for the Systems Dynamics Group of the University of Valladolid, that established an uper limit of 1 TW (sorry for the new clerical error), equivalent to more or less 5 TW of wind installed power. They are just talking about different worlds.

By the way, De Castro et al established the 1,200 TW, as the Global kinetic energy of the atmosphere, after considering many other studies and being in a reasonable middle term. Even if we had taken higher values, it has always called my attention how easily supporters of wind energy admit that we could harness, for instance 8 or 36 TW without major problems and of course, happily assuming this could be technically and materially achieved without material restrictions.

It seems to me a absolute lack of respect for the global environment.

Just as a comparison, we are really concerned and staring to see and globally accept the effects on Global Warming and Climatic Change of increasing from 280 to 380 (or a little bit more to the 400 ppm at present) of CO2 in the global atmosphere. That is, about 1/10,000 increase of CO2. Being, in its turn, CO2 in the global atmosphere, just the 0.03% of all the gases they compose it.

A on the other hand, we are thinking in harnessing, interfering and transforming the natural wind global cycles in let us say 36/1,900 =1.9% of all global kinetic energy of the atmosphere, thinking it will not have negative or unforeseeable effects on our planet in many different areas, like birds migrations, ocean streams, forests renewability of leaves and trunks, etc. etc. Really surprising.

2. My comments and point of view on EROI, be for solar or wind are expressed in my previous posts.

3. To your question and commments

“What is the embedded energy for fossil fuels? To make a fair comparison with wind/solar power, either ignore it for both, or assume it to be the energy needed to construct the  global physical economy, that was the main point of the blog. What is most relevant to a global wind/solar transition is the vast resources, both material and human that would be freed up in demilitariizing the global  economy”

I thought I had already answered it. I will repeat anyhow. Whatever the energy is embedded for fossil fuels, even admitting that is enormous, IT COMES BASICALLY FROM FOSSIL FUELS, not from any other ‘subsidizing’ energies. So, in this respect, it is crystal clear, in my opinion, that in the lapse time of the industrial and technological civilization (last 150-200 years), that we try to overcome, not in the general thermodynamic plans of the universe, fossil fuels were able to breed themselves and BESIDES to supply and enormous amount of NET energy to society (now, of course, decreasing) to allow it to multiply demographically almost 8 times within this lapse of time and also to power many other societal activities, including the space race, for instance, like no other energy source has been able to do it in intensity, versatility and net energy delivered. I am amazed to observe how this evidence needs to be repeating again and again. I have to repeat once more: I am not defending fossil fuels. I am not being paid by any fossil fuel (or nuclear) multinational or corporation, but I have not found nay energy with the qualities, densities, versatilities to conform the society we are living today. And for what I have observed, solar and wind are beautiful energies, but they deliver at the rates they want, not the rates we try to extract from them to continue with this consumerist society.

I have not made that study of extended energy input costs on fossil fuels, for the simple reason that I only treated solar 4 GW of solar PV installations in Spain in three years, basically with the aim of double checking if solar could have the potential and suitability to take the relay of the very well known amount of fossil fuels moving the global society in volume and time.

And when we talk about “time”, I am afraid that the problem of replacement of fossil fuels should be concluded (if possible) much earlier than the optimists scenarios of 2050 of the European Wind Energy Association, which will not resolve almost anything. We have not that time to proceed, in my opinion.

But talking about fossil fuels, Charles Hall has already debunked many times the libel that he is not considering externalities to fossil fuels and is doing that only in the study we made together in solar PV, so as to say of his critics, to compare pears with pears. He has plenty of studies excluding externalities, but many others including them. My last quote of the Jessica Lambert paper is just one of them.

Pedro

——–
Y otra vez David Schwartzman:

 Please see my responses in red below in Pedro’s text.

On Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 6:12 AM, Pedro Prieto <pappspain@gmail.com> wrote:

David,

Answer to the points of your last mail, point by point.

Points 1 and 4. Some data:

European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Global Wind Energy Outlook 2014 (with Greenpeace)

Page 10

The above scenarios forecast a 30% load factor…for 2050! But a 28% in 2050. Still in 2050 very far from the 35% load factor you presume for your assumptions.

The load (capacity) factor depends on  the wind technology used, the siting of wind farms and of course the pattern of wind speeds.  This is from the wind power article on wikipedia:“A 2008 study released by the U.S. Department of Energy noted that the capacity factor of new wind installations was increasing as the technology improves, and projectedfurther improvements for future capacity factors.[74] In 2010, the department estimated the capacity factor of new wind turbines in 2010 to be 45%.[75] The annualaverage capacity factor for wind generation in the US has varied between 28.1% and 32.3% during the period 2008-2013.[76]”Going back to the example I provided, lets suppose the capacity factor for a wind-powered global supply of 37 TW is 25%. This would require 30 rather than 21 million turbines with nameplate 5MW. Still very doable in the context of the data on annual commercial vehicle production I provided.  Of course a wind/solar transition would include significant supplies from photovoltaics and concentrated solar power from deserts.

But if we take the latest BP Statistical Yearbook (labels wind consumption in Twh and wind capacity in MW installed), and we make a reasonable extrapolation of the average installed power per year and the Twh produced, the results get much poorer.

Even the most optimistic scenario posed by the own industry to 2050 (4 TW) is more than 8 times lower than what you assume (36 TW). There is no doubt that you have a very positive and optimistic view, much beyond the wind industry. Your faith in the future of this industry and the improvements of the technology factors will increase the load factor are praiseworthy, but in my opinion, far from the real world.

I don’t have faith in the industry, in the context of market-driven RE transition, rather in class struggle to make a really robust transition possible. The projections you provide are optimistic ones based on current political economy,  not what is possible with demilitarization in the context of an ecosocialist transition.

In Spain, most of the promoters started ith class 6 wind fields with about 2,700 hours per year and now they are struggling to find available onshore field with 2,000 nominal hours per year (28% load factor). This, with about 22 GW of installed power in a mountanous and windy country -Tarifa- Gibraltar, lot mountain passes, the big central plateau slopes, etc.- (with much better load factors than Germany, for instance) and a surface of 500,000 Km2. And for the offshore, I believe we should take them with a grain of salt, because although they usually have higher load factors, the costs of doing that are sometimes three orders of magnitude higher than in onshore (and if we follow the money and correlate to energy spent, then we have not such a promising figures) and tehre are not always shallow waters close to big consumption centers, like in the Baltic. Canary islands and the Saharian coast line, for instance, have the wonderful trade winds with 3,300 hours/year, but they have very tiny continental submarine platform and big consumption centers at 3,000 Km or more.

As for the Kate Marvel et al report you quoted (Geophysical limits to global wind power. Nature Climate Change published online 2012 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1683), frankly speaking, I have not seen any possible debunking to the paper I quoted for the Systems Dynamics Group of the University of Valladolid, that established an uper limit of 1 TW (sorry for the new clerical error), equivalent to more or less 5 TW of wind installed power. They are just talking about different worlds.

No they are not.They are both discussing the limits to what wind power could supply global society.  And you ignore the Kleidon et al. paper I cited which provides similar high limits as the Marvel et al. paper.

By the way, De Castro et al established the 1,200 TW, as the Global kinetic energy of the atmosphere, after considering many other studies and being in a reasonable middle term. Even if we had taken higher values, it has always called my attention how easily supporters of wind energy admit that we could harness, for instance 8 or 36 TW without major problems and of course, happily assuming this could be technically and materially achieved without material restrictions.

Arm waving. In the example I gave regarding wind turbines supply 36 TW, (see above on the alleged limit on capacity factor) I compared the material requirements to the annual  production now of commercial vehicles. The growth of wind/solar replacing fossil fuels/nuclear power will facilitate much more recycling, far less mining.

It seems to me a absolute lack of respect for the global environment.

Staying with fossil fuels is absolute disrespect for nature and humanity. Further, you continue to ignore the challenges of eliminating energy    poverty now impacting most of humanity as well as that of preventing catastrophic climate change which will require significantly more primary energy consumption in the world than now, but wind/solar rather than fossil fuels/nuclear power.

Just as a comparison, we are really concerned and staring to see and globally accept the effects on Global Warming and Climatic Change of increasing from 280 to 380 (or a little bit more to the 400 ppm at present) of CO2 in the global atmosphere. That is, about 1/10,000 increase of CO2. Being, in its turn, CO2 in the global atmosphere, just the 0.03% of all the gases they compose it.

A on the other hand, we are thinking in harnessing, interfering and transforming the natural wind global cycles in let us say 36/1,900 =1.9% of all global kinetic energy of the atmosphere, thinking it will not have negative or unforeseeable effects on our planet in many different areas, like birds migrations, ocean streams, forests renewability of leaves and trunks, etc. etc. Really surprising.

2. My comments and point of view on EROI, be for solar or wind are expressed in my previous posts.

3. To your question and commments

“What is the embedded energy for fossil fuels? To make a fair comparison with wind/solar power, either ignore it for both, or assume it to be the energy needed to construct the  global physical economy, that was the main point of the blog. What is most relevant to a global wind/solar transition is the vast resources, both material and human that would be freed up in demilitariizing the global  economy”

I thought I had already answered it. I will repeat anyhow. Whatever the energy is embedded for fossil fuels, even admitting that is enormous, IT COMES BASICALLY FROM FOSSIL FUELS, not from any other ‘subsidizing’ energies. So, in this respect, it is crystal clear, in my opinion, that in the lapse time of the industrial and technological civilization (last 150-200 years), that we try to overcome, not in the general thermodynamic plans of the universe, fossil fuels were able to breed themselves and BESIDES to supply and enormous amount of NET energy to society (now, of course, decreasing) to allow it to multiply demographically almost 8 times within this lapse of time and also to power many other societal activities, including the space race, for instance, like no other energy source has been able to do it in intensity, versatility and net energy delivered. I am amazed to observe how this evidence needs to be repeating again and again. I have to repeat once more: I am not defending fossil fuels. I am not being paid by any fossil fuel (or nuclear) multinational or corporation, but I have not found nay energy with the qualities, densities, versatilities to conform the society we are living today. And for what I have observed, solar and wind are beautiful energies, but they deliver at the rates they want, not the rates we try to extract from them to continue with this consumerist society.

Rather, radical changes in both the physical and political economies are imperative. I have never argued that the consumerist society of global capitalism should continue. 

I have not made that study of extended energy input costs on fossil fuels, for the simple reason that I only treated solar 4 GW of solar PV installations in Spain in three years, basically with the aim of double checking if solar could have the potential and suitability to take the relay of the very well known amount of fossil fuels moving the global society in volume and time.

And when we talk about “time”, I am afraid that the problem of replacement of fossil fuels should be concluded (if possible) much earlier than the optimists scenarios of 2050 of the European Wind Energy Association, which will not resolve almost anything. We have not that time to proceed, in my opinion.

But talking about fossil fuels, Charles Hall has already debunked many times the libel that he is not considering externalities to fossil fuels and is doing that only in the study we made together in solar PV, so as to say of his critics, to compare pears with pears. He has plenty of studies excluding externalities, but many others including them. My last quote of the Jessica Lambert paper is just one of them.

Pedro

 —————————————–
Y Carlos de Castro (traducido por Pedro Prieto):

This time, I will not answer, for the moment, the comments of David, but rather will give the way to Carlos de Castro, who has been informed of the comments on his works and has something to add here. It is composed of two mails separated by dots:

He gave me permission to pass you his answers, that I translate into English:

I have partially seen your debate on solar PV and I am afraid it is an endless one.

With respect to the quotes of David Schwartzman on wind energy that are supposedly debunking our approach, they are not the bests he could have used.

Precisely, Kleidon et al know our work. Some time ago, I exchanged with Alex Kleidon some mails in which we reached agreements, that his theoretical physical limit ad our realistic technological limit (two different things) are coherents between them.

The new Kleidon article quoted by Schwartzman refers just to a physical limit, which would in fact imply to fill all the land surface of perfect modules and perfect wind generators. This has nothing to do with the technological reality (and even less with the economical reality)

The paper of Marvel et al, it is a classic example on how enthusiasms and fame allow to publish gross errors in magazines like Nature. I would only suggest to read the draft I prepared and that we published in our blog (we debunk the works of Jacobson, Marvel and others), which confirm that even with a well done and realistic bottom-up methodology, the upper limit would also be around 1 TWe net (+/- 1 TW).

What we are talking about is a realistic technological limit in a real world and for the next decades; we are not talking about theoretical limits. With Jacobson et al it happens something similar than with Fthenakis et al, as you know very well.

The link I refer is http://www.eis.uva.es/energiasostenible/?p=2783,unfortunately for your counterparts in Spanish, as well as a recent article of the Kleidon http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/08/18/1408251112 , concluding that the capturing limit of wind energy is 1 We/m2 (unless we pretend to bankrupt the industry). In fact, it ill be lower, because they have used class 5-6 wind fields, which are excellent and assume the theoretical Cp of the companies (in the real world, for instance, the blades break, the turbines are stopped for maintenance, etc. Ten the Cp is not 0.35, but rather 0.25 or less. At global level we move around 0.22 with data of the own industry, which are not difficult to find, but curiously, nobody considers -see the link-

Then, if we consider that just the 8.5% of the land surface has winds acceptable for wind farms, which includes some deserts, high mountains and so forth and if we consider that most of them are ‘technologically’ inaccessible (filling Siberia or filling the Sahara? Perhaps the Himalayas?). If we consider that many of the accessible ones will be in protected areas (i.e. close to roads, high voltage lines, buildings or cities, railways -in Europe it is forbidden to place a wind generator as close to a paved access so that it could fall on top), etc., then we would end with less than 25% of the accessible areas where these parks could be installed with good winds (in my opinion, this could be closer to 10%). Even with this approach, we would fill about 2% of the global surface. The world occupies 13 billion hectares, which would give a viable occupation for wind generators of about 260 million hectares (new lands to colonize with wind generators, access roads -see the impact of these access roads in many of the aerial photos of the own industry reports and brochures). And this will give an upper limit of 2.6 TWe with the data of the Kleidon.

So, if we consider that the real Cp is not as good as the theoretical one (in a factor 1/3) and that they have selected the best class wind fields and not all the viable wind fields (up to class 3), then the expected reduction of the later upper limit could be reduced in a 1/3 in the real world.

Even so, we would fill the 25% of all the windy areas of the planet.

Of course, imagination is free and we could dream of filling up the Sahara, the upper atmosphere (which is not in these calculations) or the oceans or the Antarctica. I am not one of them.

————————————————————————————-

As for your last answer to Schwartzman. The 1,200 TW are for all the atmosphere of the planet. In the Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL), the possible interaction zones with the wind generators (and where the atmospheric biosphere makes most of its functions) and specifically in the ABL just above not permanently frozen surfaces, some 89 TW are dissipated. To harness 8 Twe would imply to ‘burn’ at least twice the kinetic energy; that is, we would produce disturbances about 18% of the natural wind cycles on the grounds. This is obviously a crazy assumption, that to say the less would change migration bird patterns and would cause unknown regional climatic changes (and I humbly would add, could also change the wind patterns and leave the wind fields much more idle than anemometers would indicate prior to installations, by drifting them by the minimum effort laws. Pedro Prieto)

With respect to your answer in point 3, I would add that the EROI of the fossils would not be as high as some studies presume, if all the energy inputs of the extended boundaries are considered (that is, if we consider the EROI ext for fossil fuels, according to my calculations, the globe EROI is now about 4.4) is also bad news for modern renewables generating electricity, for the simple reason that now and during the transition, they have to be mounted with such a low EROI ext system (some caution here for potential double counting). So your calculations of a solar PV EROI of 2.4:1 would lower to 1.6:1 . Because you are considering, for instance, the fossil fuel energy spent to take the materials to the renewable parks, but not the energy spent by the renewables in extracting themselves, which is far from being negligible. In this link http://www.eis.uva.es/energiasostenible/?p=2903

I explain how I reach to a global EROI of 4.4

Bests.

Carlos de Castro

————————–
Y otra vez David Schwartzman:
This exchange should continue to full wind/solar conversion globally!

I start my response with a summary:

The material resources and land area needed for global solarization are already within reach
:

1) If 15 percent of present world rooftop area were to be used to site photovoltaics with an assumed conversion efficiency of 20 percent, the current global electricity power capacity would be created. (An estimate of global rooftop area is 3.8 × 1011 m2: Akbari et al., 2009)

2) A global wind turbine infrastructure could deliver several times the present global energy consumption while not closing off most of the land where it is sited to other uses (e.g., farming).(e.g., Lu et al., 2009)

3) Concentrated Solar Power(CSP) in the Sahara could supply the current global electricity consumption on less than 6 percent of the Saharan land area (not that CSP should be only sited in the Sahara of course!).
(The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) Project, published online at: http://www.trecers.net/index.html
.)

Global limits to wind (and solar) power

 

           I already shared references to Marvel et al. (2012) and Kleidon et al. (2015)

           Here is a summary of the limits they computed in their modeling:

           1) Kleidon et al. (2015)

           Wind power on land: 114 TW

           Concentrated Solar Power: 11,600 TW

           Photovoltaics: 16,300 TW

           2) Grassi et al. (2015): took into account current global land use

           Wind power on land (130m high): 46 TW

           3) Jacobson and Archer (2012)

           Wind power: 5.75 TW from 4 million 5 MW turbines, 20 TW installed

               (nameplate)

           4) Marvel et al. (2012)

           Wind turbines on land: 54TW

 

           Note that none of these studies included the very significant additional potential of offshore wind farms.

 

Additional references

Akbari, H., Menon, S., and A. Rosenfeld (2009) Global Cooling: Increasing World-wide Urban Albedos to Offset CO2. Climatic Change 94: 275-286.

 

Grassi, S. , et al.  (2015) Mapping of the global wind energy potential using open source GIS data.  Preprint 2nd International Conference on Energy and Environment: bringing together Engineering and Economics Guimaraes, Portugal 18-19 June, 2015

              

Jacobson, M.Z.  and C. L. Archer  (2012) Saturation wind power potential and its implications for wind energy. PNAS  109 (39):15679–15684.

——————————–

Y comentarios de Carlos de Castro:
Y ahora de nuevo Pedro Prieto:
Not to make it long, just on last point 3 of David and Carlos,
> *3) Concentrated Solar Power * (CSP) in the Sahara could supply the current
> global electricity consumption on less than 6 percent of the Saharan land
> area (not that CSP should be only sited in the Sahara of course!).
>  (The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) Project,
> published online at: http://www.trecers.net/index.html.)Irrealistic. Madrid province has a total urbanized infrastructure of 12% of
their land. Most European and very dense countries have a total infraestructure
of less than 6%, Globally (including deserts) around 1-2%. Could you imagine a
2% of a infraestucture in a hot desert? ((did you defend with armies like an
oil field?). In any cse, with the real productivity of CSP this 6% of Sahara
desert gives less than 2TWe. Less than 3TWe for all the hot deserts (Sahara is
more than 50% of hot deserts). 12TW is the final consumption of energy, I remember.
Just imagine a 2% of the Sahara desert, which has 9,400,000 km2 covered by panels, be them solar PV or CSP
Now put that in TW. Then take the data of the own industry praising the number of employments these industries creates (both direct and indirect), just for maintenance, cleaning, repair and local actions. Now think how to accommodate that crowd/crew (housings, water supply and sewage, food supply and all the essentials for that crowd/crew living and working in a severe desert, or imagine ho to move them on daily basis from big cities in Northern and Southern parts of livable borders of Sahara to the faulty parts of the giga field, sometimes hundreds of Km away from their homes.
Frankly speaking, any of those people drawing so happily squares in the middle of the desert trying to convince that it is a question of “just a 6% of the Sahara” has ever imagined the logistics behind, or has realized that these are NON RENEWABLE SYSTEMS needing repair, maintenance, cleaning (a lot of cleaning in tat region! or repolishing the glasses after few sandstorms?
I have worked on the field for more than 10 years with renewable systems directly and have used them in telecommunications for over 30 years, with very good results in many areas (remote repeaters in Bolivian mountains, towers in Haiti, base stations in remote areas of Colombia, Cuba, Argentina, Peru or Chile and I know a little bit about the logistics behind.
Besides, I have worked for two continuous years (2010 and 2011) with top officials of the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment (by the way, quite a comprehensive and interrelated areas), with the Office National de l’Electricité (ONE) the Centre de Dévelopement des Energies Renouvables and the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) and on the other hand with the Spanish Government trying to build multimegawatt solar plants in both Beni Mathar and Ouarzazate, with excellent irradiations. I have been calculating with them the possibility to ship the surplus energy to Europe, through the Gibraltar Strait, with HVDC power lines much beyond the capacities of the present installed lines. I have been updated by Moroccans, but also by the Spanish authorities financing these programs, about the failures of several CSP plants and solar PV rural regions, where payments were not duly made, maintenance stopped and the systems simply were abandoned to their fate and ceased to produce.
I believe I have some credit to say that it is much more than drawing squares in the desert. There are huge realities to listen and to learn; from the reasonable needs of Moroccans to have a local industry, including R&D, to huge problems with water supplies in Ouarzazate with farmers in the region, with just the drifting of the available water flows to a couple of 50 MW CSP plants (imagine different scales) or problems of rights of way in Spain to carry this electricity to Central Europe; The Spanish government wondering why we should install in Northern Africa, having here good irradiation in Almeria and Murcia and thus avoiding strategic problems and burdens and risks posed by a foreign country; France being another enormous obstacle for rights of way, with their own energy policies linked to their independent and isolated nuclear program. And a thousand of problems that are here happily ignored.
I could say that the Desertec program you link here is as dead and unrealistic as the Sarkozy plan of preparing a ring in the Mediterranean which would allow Northern Africa countries to generate and consume, but basically export, because their best irradiance and the Mediterranean European countries being the main consumers (curiously, a reedit of the classical vision: the South provides, the North uses).
I will come back soon to some other comments of David. Perhaps is should be good to repeat that I have nothing against modern renewable energy systems, for given uses and applications. It is just a warning on easy and massive deployment plans that would not resist a minimum reality check.
Pedro
——————————–
Y ahora David Schwartzman sobre los comentarios de Carlos de Castro:
Carlos,
I was joking about how long this exchange should continue. Let’s stop at 2050.

My response are in red  (of course!) below in your text.

On Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 2:08 AM, Carlos de Castro Carranza <ccastro@termo.uva.es> wrote:

My reply inside.

> This exchange should continue to full wind/solar conversion globally!
>
> I start my response with a summary:
>
> *The material resources and land area needed for global solarization are
> already within reach**:*
>
>
> 1) If 15 percent of present world rooftop area were to be used to site*
> photovoltaics *with an assumed conversion efficiency of 20 percent, the
> current global electricity power capacity would be created. (An estimate of
> global rooftop area is 3.8 × 1011 m2: Akbari et al., 2009)
>

15% is an irreal number (you will need a global political dictatorship to do
that). 20% of conversion efficiency is cell eficiency no net system eficiency.
Most rooftops of the world are in >45º North with a poor performance (see
Germany with rooftops against Spain with parks, the Cp of Germany is 1/2 of
Spain, part due to lesser irradiance, part due to rooftop lesser efficiency in
the real world). Your theoretical and optimist 15% of rooftops gives less than
6TWe. La Gennusa et al. using a reallistic landscape (see my work attacched
here) gives 1% of cities, wich translate to 2,6E10m2 and with real numbers of
net productivity and considering global urbanized land gives 0,5Twe (generously)
for this limit.

The current global electricity consumption is 3 to 4 TW. I neglected to mention that the assumed solar insolation for the calculation was for the UK, less than most of the global land area.  20% is close to what silicon photovoltaics are achieving now. Thin film photovoltaics reaching higher efficiencies are likely in the near future with much higher EROEI ratios, promising a revolution in technology analogous to coal/first industrial revolution. I wrote about this possibility in my CNS paper (4 scenarios for 2050). This development could rapidly undermine the power of the Military Industrial Complex, with transnational class struggle finally terminating the rule of capital on our planet in an ecosocialist transition. Demand the “impossible”!

>
> 2) A *global wind turbine infrastructure *could deliver several times the
> present global energy consumption while not closing off most of the land
> where it is sited to other uses (e.g., farming).(e.g., Lu et al., 2009)

False. They use a bottom-up metodology that violates the energy conservation and
momentum principles, my group and Kleidon Max Planck group prove that in
published papers.

The more recent papers I provided, which you didn’t comment on,  disagree with your assessment.  I think you are referring to an earlier paper by the Kleidon lab; the most recent ones, post Marvel et al. (2012) agree with the higher limits.

>
> *3) Concentrated Solar Power * (CSP) in the Sahara could supply the current
> global electricity consumption on less than 6 percent of the Saharan land
> area (not that CSP should be only sited in the Sahara of course!).
>   (The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) Project,
> published online at: http://www.trecers.net/index.html.)

Irrealistic. Madrid province has a total urbanized infrastructure of 12% of
their land. Most European and very dense countries have a total infraestructure
of less than 6%, Globally (including deserts) around 1-2%. Could you imagine a
2% of a infraestucture in a hot desert? ((did you defend with armies like an
oil field?). In any cse, with the real productivity of CSP this 6% of Sahara
desert gives less than 2TWe. Less than 3TWe for all the hot deserts (Sahara is
more than 50% of hot deserts). 12TW is the final consumption of energy, I remember.

Of course I expect that you would disagree about the EROI of CSP. Even 10% of the land area is not unreasonable if it is not sited in one location, again not limited to the Sahara (e.g., Saudi Arabian plateau)! And of course this infrastructure, sited in the global South, should not be the neocolonial energy generator of the global North exclusively. CSP in the Sahara could go far in supplying the 3.5 kilowatt/person minimum to the people of Africa.You say “Could you imagine a 2% of a infraestucture in a hot desert? ((did you defend with armies like an oil field?)”
Again the wind/solar transition on the scale we have been proposing (roughly double the present 18TW) in 20-30 years is inconceivable in the context of a militarized world. Instead, a global cooperative regime is necessary to implement this transition. No more armies to protect oil fields, or CSP in deserts.
——————————–
Pedro Prieto de nuevo:
I hope Venezuela takes actions to change the energy matrix sooner than 2050. Not even this bountiful (here very appropriated word) energy country could have so much time left to do that.

Now, some comments to David Schwartzman some answers in red in mail of September 10th and September 11th. . Mine interspersed in black

September 10th.

The load (capacity) factor depends on  the wind technology used, the siting of wind farms and of course the pattern of wind speeds.  This is from the wind power article on wikipedia:

A 2008 study released by the U.S. Department of Energy noted that the capacity factor of new wind installations was increasing as the technology improves, and projected

further improvements for future capacity factors.[74] In 2010, the department estimated the capacity factor of new wind turbines in 2010 to be 45%.[75] The annual

average capacity factor for wind generation in the US has varied between 28.1% and 32.3% during the period 2008-2013.[76]”

A good indication on how reliable the forecasts of the U.S. Department of Energy are. 

Going back to the example I provided, lets suppose the capacity factor for a wind-powered global supply of 37 TW is 25%. This would require 30 rather than 21 million turbines with nameplate 5MW. Still very doable in the context of the data on annual commercial vehicle production I provided.  Of course a wind/solar transition would include significant supplies from photovoltaics and concentrated solar power from deserts.

I don’t have faith in the industry, in the context of market-driven RE transition, rather in class struggle to make a really robust transition possible. The projections you provide are optimistic ones based on current political economy,  not what is possible with demilitarization in the context of an ecosocialist transition.

The world has installed up to date (end of 2014), in more than 15 years of wind power deployment, some 380 GW of wind power. This is about 76,000 turbines tomes 5 MW equivalent. I cannot avoid your faith that installing 21 millions is a doable exercise. I hope you put a doable timing also, because we have not much time left before oil (and other fossil fuels) leave us and we need to count with oil (and many other fossil fuels, including many millions of commercial vehicles you have calculated) to do that. The last IEA reporthttp://www.energypost.eu/iea-sees-harsh-reality-gas-industry/estimates that China will install from the present 115 GW to 200 G by 2020 (in five years). This means that the country with better expectations will install some 17,000 turbines in 5 years.

Of course, if reality does not conform to our aims we can always turn to technological miracles from the class struggle and demilitarization, but this is somehow contradictory, because such a program, if needed to take into effect would require, as Carlos de Castro pointed out, a very strong coercive system, sort of global political dictatorship. We cannot offer figures against beliefs.

Arm waving. In the example I gave regarding wind turbines supply 36 TW, (see above on the alleged limit on capacity factor) I compared the material requirements to the annual  production now of commercial vehicles. The growth of wind/solar replacing fossil fuels/nuclear power will facilitate much more recycling, far less mining.

I am afraid you are missing here again that the ramp up of fossil fuel needs and production of commercial vehicles to start with a renewable revolution of zillions of 5 MW turbines or TW of solar systems, would imply the immediate cessation of that production of commercial vehicles for at least all the years required for that ramp up until the other miracle of heavy trucks for mining or for road transportation to the sites or for asphalt alternatives to the maintenance of global roads and motorways and alike, could be done in a green mode. Frankly speaking again, I do not see or foresee any of those gigantic ICE machines used for mining, but also for required civil works or merchant fleet or mechanized agriculture being replaced by electric powered alternative vehicles.

About my comment of the ignored effects of capturing/harnessing, transforming and drifting the natural wind global cycles in let us say 36/1,900 =1.9% of all global kinetic energy of the atmosphere, thinking it will not have negative or unforeseeable effects on our planet in many different areas, when we have seen (we are seeing) the effectsof changing 1/10,000 of 0.03% of the atmosphere composition, or the changes in the albedo and reflection equilibrium if several TW of solar devices are placed on Earth, your answer:

Staying with fossil fuels is absolute disrespect for nature and humanity. Further, you continue to ignore the challenges of eliminating energy    poverty now impacting most of humanity as well as that of preventing catastrophic climate change which will require significantly more primary energy consumption in the world than now, but wind/solar rather than fossil fuels/nuclear power.

It deviates and ignores the very crucial question I have posed, being the main impact of fossil fuels precisely a much more minimum change of atmosphere content. This deserves an answer.

Of course, for your comfort, I have no problem to admit that staying with fossil fuels is also an absolute disrespect for nature and Humanity, but we are not going to get out of it by pouring zillions of turbines or solar modules, whose ramp up will require a tremendous initial boost of that disrespectful fuels. Specially, when considering that our huge discrepancies on EROIext (the only one that gives us a clear idea of the real effort to be undertaken) are a crucial point to conclude if that fossil fuel energy we need to pour in advance to this gigantic manufacturing of non renewable devices called renewable energies will be worth the effort or not.

Rather, radical changes in both the physical and political economies are imperative. I have never argued that the consumerist society of global capitalism should continue.  

Neither did I. But even you did not argued this directly, your figures or those of your favorite quotes (Jacobson or Greenpeace for the case) about how much energy these renewables could achieve, point directly to 100% of our present global consumption. And this is very consumerist, at least and mainly in the Western countries from which we debate. I can gladly put some figures of how unevenly we spend the energy, if requested.

September 11th.

The current global electricity consumption is 3 to 4 TW. I neglected to mention that the assumed solar insolation for the calculation was for the UK, less than most of the global land area.  20% is close to what silicon photovoltaics are achieving now. Thin film photovoltaics reaching higher efficiencies are likely in the near future with much higher EROEI ratios, promising a revolution in technology analogous to coal/first industrial revolution.

This again does not tackle the point we made in our book, that about 2/3 of the solar PV energy inputs (Ein) in an EROI ext calculation do not depend on modules themselves, but on other societal factors that may reasonably go upward in energy costs in the “near future”, being near a very imprecise period. Thin film is not having much progress, at least from what I can observe in the last years. The 20%, of conventional modules (multi/mono) as Carlos has mentioned and you continue ignoring, is basically at cell level in the absolute majority of the existing modules in 2015. The ones offering 20% at module level (which I repeat it is still far away from the real net energy delivered, having to pass through the reductions of the Performance Ratios (PRs)) have still prohibitive costs, when compared with 15% efficiency modules, which give the same power with much lower prices, by just occupying a little bit more space, which is not the critical point here and unless we reach your expected several TW of installed power. By the way, I have just exchanged a last mail with Vasilis Fthenakis that admits a PR of 20 to 25% losses, after the module, whereas I had calculated in our book a 15% PR loss, trying to be in a very conservative side. Certainly we were more conservative in this respect than the most optimists.

I wrote about this possibility in my CNS paper (4 scenarios for 2050). This development could rapidly undermine the power of the Military Industrial Complex, with transnational class struggle finally terminating the rule of capital on our planet in an ecosocialist transition. Demand the “impossible”! 

I wish you were right. Again, I am afraid this is more a question of faith than a possibility. Of course, we are obliged, as much as e have an ecosocialist conscience to try things that may appear as impossible (not necessarily the poring of zillions of non renewable machines on Earth) , so let’s keep demanding the impossible, but acting with the reasonably possible. As quoted by Saul Quincy on Galeano we can glimpse on the horizon and use the utopia, because it serves to walk towards, but never create expectations of immediate reward.

Pedro Prieto

——————-

David Schwartman responde:

I agree with Pedro’s first comment.

My responses again below, this time in blue.

On Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 3:36 PM, Pedro Prieto <pappspain@gmail.com> wrote:

I hope Venezuela takes actions to change the energy matrix sooner than 2050. Not even this bountiful (here very appropriated word) energy country could have so much time left to do that.

Now, some comments to David Schwartzman some answers in red in mail of September 10th and September 11th. . Mine interspersed in black

September 10th.

The load (capacity) factor depends on  the wind technology used, the siting of wind farms and of course the pattern of wind speeds.  This is from the wind power article on wikipedia:

A 2008 study released by the U.S. Department of Energy noted that the capacity factor of new wind installations was increasing as the technology improves, and projected

further improvements for future capacity factors.[74] In 2010, the department estimated the capacity factor of new wind turbines in 2010 to be 45%.[75] The annual

average capacity factor for wind generation in the US has varied between 28.1% and 32.3% during the period 2008-2013.[76]”

A good indication on how reliable the forecasts of the U.S. Department of Energy are. 

Going back to the example I provided, lets suppose the capacity factor for a wind-powered global supply of 37 TW is 25%. This would require 30 rather than 21 million turbines with nameplate 5MW. Still very doable in the context of the data on annual commercial vehicle production I provided.  Of course a wind/solar transition would include significant supplies from photovoltaics and concentrated solar power from deserts.

I don’t have faith in the industry, in the context of market-driven RE transition, rather in class struggle to make a really robust transition possible. The projections you provide are optimistic ones based on current political economy,  not what is possible with demilitarization in the context of an ecosocialist transition.

The world has installed up to date (end of 2014), in more than 15 years of wind power deployment, some 380 GW of wind power. This is about 76,000 turbines tomes 5 MW equivalent. I cannot avoid your faith that installing 21 millions is a doable exercise.

 
Only in a business-not-as-usual context, but imperative because of the threat of catastrophic climate change. Again the 21 million 5 MW wind turbines was just a hypothetical example. The wind/solar transition  should employ the complementary technologies of wind/photovoltaics/CSP making possible a reliable global baseload supply of energy.

I hope you put a doable timing also, because we have not much time left before oil (and other fossil fuels) leave us and we need to count with oil (and many other fossil fuels, including many millions of commercial vehicles you have calculated) to do that. The last IEA reporthttp://www.energypost.eu/iea-sees-harsh-reality-gas-industry/estimates that China will install from the present 115 GW to 200 G by 2020 (in five years). This means that the country with better expectations will install some 17,000 turbines in 5 years.

Of course, if reality does not conform to our aims we can always turn to technological miracles from the class struggle and demilitarization, but this is somehow contradictory, because such a program, if needed to take into effect would require, as Carlos de Castro pointed out, a very strong coercive system, sort of global political dictatorship. We cannot offer figures against beliefs.

 
A global political dictatorship? With the termination of the military industrial complex and its Imperial Agenda  the bottom up power of the transnational working class and its allies can be asserted. To be provocative let’s reload Lenin in a 21st Century context, create the dictatorship of the global proletariat and the precariat, but not the all too common experience of the 20th century socialism,  the dictatorship of a party posing as its leadership. 

Arm waving. In the example I gave regarding wind turbines supply 36 TW, (see above on the alleged limit on capacity factor) I compared the material requirements to the annual  production now of commercial vehicles. The growth of wind/solar replacing fossil fuels/nuclear power will facilitate much more recycling, far less mining.

I am afraid you are missing here again that the ramp up of fossil fuel needs and production of commercial vehicles to start with a renewable revolution of zillions of 5 MW turbines or TW of solar systems, would imply the immediate cessation of that production of commercial vehicles for at least all the years required for that ramp up until the other miracle of heavy trucks for mining or for road transportation to the sites or for asphalt alternatives to the maintenance of global roads and motorways and alike, could be done in a green mode. Frankly speaking again, I do not see or foresee any of those gigantic ICE machines used for mining, but also for required civil works or merchant fleet or mechanized agriculture being replaced by electric powered alternative vehicles.

 
You have misunderstood my remarks. I only addressed the technical capacity of present-day society.  You apparently don’t see these changes, but consider the possibilities with a radical change in the political economy driving changes in the physical economy.

About my comment of the ignored effects of capturing/harnessing, transforming and drifting the natural wind global cycles in let us say 36/1,900 =1.9% of all global kinetic energy of the atmosphere, thinking it will not have negative or unforeseeable effects on our planet in many different areas, when we have seen (we are seeing) the effectsof changing 1/10,000 of 0.03% of the atmosphere composition, or the changes in the albedo and reflection equilibrium if several TW of solar devices are placed on Earth, your answer:

The following was not my answer, rather your claims regarding the impact of supplying say double the present 18TW primary energy consumption are contradicted by the papers I provided in my last message.

Staying with fossil fuels is absolute disrespect for nature and humanity. Further, you continue to ignore the challenges of eliminating energy    poverty now impacting most of humanity as well as that of preventing catastrophic climate change which will require significantly more primary energy consumption in the world than now, but wind/solar rather than fossil fuels/nuclear power.

This answer was in response to your statement: 

“It seems to me a absolute lack of respect for the global environment.”

It deviates and ignores the very crucial question I have posed, being the main impact of fossil fuels precisely a much more minimum change of atmosphere content. [bold added by David] This deserves an answer.

I am frankly shocked by this claim which demonstrates profound disregard of the immense evidence for the fossil fuel combustion driving dangerous climate change.
 

Of course, for your comfort, I have no problem to admit that staying with fossil fuels is also an absolute disrespect for nature and Humanity, but we are not going to get out of it by pouring zillions of turbines or solar modules, whose ramp up will require a tremendous initial boost of that disrespectful fuels. Specially, when considering that our huge discrepancies on EROIext (the only one that gives us a clear idea of the real effort to be undertaken) are a crucial point to conclude if that fossil fuel energy we need to pour in advance to this gigantic manufacturing of non renewable devices called renewable energies will be worth the effort or not.

Rather, radical changes in both the physical and political economies are imperative. I have never argued that the consumerist society of global capitalism should continue.  

Neither did I. But even you did not argued this directly, your figures or those of your favorite quotes (Jacobson or Greenpeace for the case) about how much energy these renewables could achieve, point directly to 100% of our present global consumption. And this is very consumerist, at least and mainly in the Western countries from which we debate. I can gladly put some figures of how unevenly we spend the energy, if requested.

Actually, the figures we provide point to double the present global energy consumption generated by wind/solar.  Many countries of  global North like the U.S. should reduce their consumption precisely by eliminating the wasteful uses by consumerist modes of consumption, e.g., shifts to public transport including rail, green cities, and of course the end of planned obsolescence.  The global South would increase its energy consumption reaching the approximate 3.5 kilowatt/person minimum necessary for the highest life expectancy. All this is explained further on our website www.solarUtopia.org.

September 11th.

The current global electricity consumption is 3 to 4 TW. I neglected to mention that the assumed solar insolation for the calculation was for the UK, less than most of the global land area.  20% is close to what silicon photovoltaics are achieving now. Thin film photovoltaics reaching higher efficiencies are likely in the near future with much higher EROEI ratios, promising a revolution in technology analogous to coal/first industrial revolution.

This again does not tackle the point we made in our book, that about 2/3 of the solar PV energy inputs (Ein) in an EROI ext calculation do not depend on modules themselves, but on other societal factors that may reasonably go upward in energy costs in the “near future”, being near a very imprecise period. Thin film is not having much progress, at least from what I can observe in the last years. The 20%, of conventional modules (multi/mono) as Carlos has mentioned and you continue ignoring, is basically at cell level in the absolute majority of the existing modules in 2015. The ones offering 20% at module level (which I repeat it is still far away from the real net energy delivered, having to pass through the reductions of the Performance Ratios (PRs)) have still prohibitive costs, when compared with 15% efficiency modules, which give the same power with much lower prices, by just occupying a little bit more space, which is not the critical point here and unless we reach your expected several TW of installed power. By the way, I have just exchanged a last mail with Vasilis Fthenakis that admits a PR of 20 to 25% losses, after the module, whereas I had calculated in our book a 15% PR loss, trying to be in a very conservative side. Certainly we were more conservative in this respect than the most optimists.

 
Your response again brings up the issue of embedded energy, which has already been debated in this thread. Go to wikipedia on photovoltaics to see the trend in growing efficiency.

I wrote about this possibility in my CNS paper (4 scenarios for 2050). This development could rapidly undermine the power of the Military Industrial Complex, with transnational class struggle finally terminating the rule of capital on our planet in an ecosocialist transition. Demand the “impossible”! 

I wish you were right. Again, I am afraid this is more a question of faith than a possibility. Of course, we are obliged, as much as e have an ecosocialist conscience to try things that may appear as impossible (not necessarily the poring of zillions of non renewable machines on Earth) , so let’s keep demanding the impossible, but acting with the reasonably possible. As quoted by Saul Quincy on Galeano we can glimpse on the horizon and use the utopia, because it serves to walk towards, but never create expectations of immediate reward.

A wind/solar transition is not only “reasonably possible” but imperative to have any chance in preventing catastrophic climate change, as well as eliminating energy poverty now affecting most of humanity. You have not provided any reasonably possible alternative to achieve these objectives.

Pedro Prieto

——————————

Pedro Prieto otra vez:

David,

I am afraid we have reached the limits of this discussion/debate, if we want to be reasonable and we intend both to help Venezuela to find its way before 2050 to a viable ecosocialsim and to the world for solar communist horizon, in which I do deeply believe although not in the technological terms of the modern renewables offfering Terawatts, but rather in ancient forms of using a 100% solar life.

I believe we have already left our respective positions very clear for the readers of these exchanges and very likely we will not move much toward each other in our conclusions. Let’s leave to them to read and conclude what they prefer. They have all the elements to judge on Jorge’s blog. I was a little bit surprised that nobody except you made any comment.

So, I will finish ith my last comments trying to summarize, from my point of view, what I think there are the main differences beteen us and this will be my last post and contribution to this group, wishing to all the bests in their attempts.

The main difference, as per my first comment, is in the EROI of solar PV in particular and solar and wind modern renewables in general. The reason is because in general terms, all the calculatd EROIs to date in solar PV were made for the systems alone and not the involved, explicit and SINE QUA NON energy input expenses required; that is, the EROIext. This view, although minority at the beginning, has been gaining adepts, in Australia (Trainer and Palmer), in Europe and even the editor of Energy Policy that suggested that the EROI methodology, including the IEA Task 12 Group, should be changed to EROIext including societal energy input expenses.

David, and with him a majority of modern renewables supporters are generally considering much higher EROIs for solar, of course considering the existing bibliography up to the moment and ignoring the societal energy input (Ein) expenses.

When conflicted with the other group views, they generally go to argue that the EROIext is not considered for fossil fuels, so that we are not comparing “pears with pears” and give an advantage to fossil fuels and penalize the modern renewables.

Certainly there are many studies of fossil fuels EROIs which do not take into account the “externalities” or energy input extended boundaries (EROIext), which in any case, would have to be considered a “pears to pears” comparison with most of the studies of modern renewables EROI’s which neither consider them. So, nothing to blame here. In them, we can find EROIs for fossil fuels ranging from 100:1 to 12:1 in the worst cases of fields or deposits almost depleted or needing secondary or tertiary recovery or in difficult places. I am not talking about unconventional fossil fuels, where we have seen many studies with very low EROIs that would have to necessarily lead to a bubble explosion some time not far in the future.

In general terms, what we have observed is that when comparing “pears with pears” between fossil fuels and modern renewables (that is, a flat EROI without energy externalities), still the fossil fuels usually give much higher EROIs than modern renewables.

Just as another more example of a sort of EROIext for the whole energy system, can be found at the 2011Sankey Diagram of the IEA (a very good and accurate Agency, when it gives data of the past, rather than when doiing predictions into the future), where out of the 13,137 Mtoe/year burnt in the world, some 784 Mtoe are considered “own use”; this is 6% of all the energy used for the global society; in other wwords thus giving a curious EROIext of about 16:1.

Of course, this EROIext for fossil fuels is just a rough approximation, because many of the energy final uses (Industry, transport, others and even non energy uses (i.e. plastics) will finally end in the fossil fuel value chain, probably approaching the global EROIext, that is basically a fossil fuel one, to a one digit figure (<10:1).

On the other hand, it does not matter that many scientists had also analyzed later the fossil fuels EROIext, in many studies, of course giving much lower EROIs (i.e. Carlos de Castro has pointed in this study to something about 4.4:1. Lambert, Hall et al have given also very low EROIs for oil at “EROI of Global Energy Resources Preliminary Status and Trends”, etc., etc. the critiques of all the supporters of modern renewables, when confronted with the much lower EROIext of these renewable sources, invariably keep maintaining the mantra that we are not comparing pears with pears, because we are not treating the same way to fossils.

The second mantra I would like to emphasize here, is about the idea that fossil fuels are heavily subsidized or more subsidized than the modern renewables, just because the OECD watchdog, the IEA says so.

I believe I have left enough documentation to prove this false, when talking on energy terms. If we live in a fossil fueled society, in forms we could not even dream in past in biomass fueled societies, what energy is subsidizing fossil fuels? Human muscular force, or draft animals perhaps? Nuclear energy? Hydroelectric energy? Biomass?

Well, just look a little bit to the world, think and think about: would nuclear energy have been possible (both civil and military) if we had not have a fossil fueled high mobility high energy surplus society? I think not even the most pronuclear instances would believe that nuclear industry could one day get rid of a fossil fueled society breed itself and give an energy surplus to our 7.2 billion inhabitants society.

Certainly in the past, biomass helped to accomplish the first energy transition, with beams for construction, mining or railways, but in 60-80 years form the starting of massive use of coal, coal passed biomass in global energy usage.

Coal was then used to help oil to develop, with the use of smelting industries, for instance; even the first oil tanks were probably transported by coal powered locomotives in Pennsylvania. But it took just 60 to 80 years to oil to pass to both biomass and coal as the main global energy source.

We have seen 60-80 years more passing and no any other energy source has been able to take over oil or coal. Gas has developed much with the help of coal for semelting metals and oil for transport, but has not passed oil. The only visible trend is that coal is recovering grounds at the expense of a flattened (net) production of oil. But modern renewables have been in place since more than 100 years for wind and more that 60 years for solar and they are still absolutely breastfed by a fossil fuel society and at a very incipient stage.

We could say the same today for nuclear, still bred by a fossil fueled society, without which it could not even dream of existing (just look at Fukushima tasks trying to alleviate the immense tragedy and analyze how many of them are self powered by the nuclear industry)

Even biomass, which today is being obtained much more by oil derivates, like power saws or machine peelers or trucks for transporting or mills for processing, etc. This energy source, is still important in many underdeveloped countries and in the still existing preindustrial societies in our modern world, they could be self-fulfilling sources of energy, assuming the tree felling or pruning would be made at rates lower than natural reproduction rates.

I believe we have a moral obligation to question ourselves why after so many years, the modern renewables are still at negligible global contributions and try to avoid the victimism and conspiranoia that big oil and fossil fuel corporations are maneuvering to put the brakes on renewables.

I am sure capitalists always put brakes to anything harming their interests, but should have they seen the slightest possibility of something viable, they would have gone for it massively, like they were first for coal and then for oil and gas. In fact, I do not know any big oil corporation that has not tried seriously the solar PV industry by creating their own division.

Perhaps, the real reason behind that is precisely the real EROI, the EROIext that gives or denies the feasibility for a given way of living. Perhaps the reason is that the density, intensity per weight or volume, the versatility, the transportability, the easy storage and many other advantages in energy use that modern renewables have not.

And over all, because the EROIext, which makes the total difference.

Along my previous interventions, I have shown my surprise to see how easily we blame on fossil fuels. I am not an advocate (I repeat) of fossil fuels. I do believe they have transformed the world, AT LONG TERM, for bad. I do believe, they are polluting the environment to extents never known before and most likely irreversible. But I am astonished to see how people trust that modern renewables will solve the problem in itself. If modern renewables would have an EROI of 100:1, like the first easy and cheap oil in 19th. Century, or an EROIext of 10:1, perhaps we could dream of having replacements of fossil fuels in time and volume, somehow improving the world affections on environment.

But if modern renewables are giving an EROIext of 1:1 or even less if we count many important and key factors we did not consider in our book, then promoting massive deployments of modern renewables IS IN FACT A CALL TO MULTIPLY THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS, because for each unit of energy generated by modern renewables in the 25 theoretical years of their life span, there would be needed one unit of up front energy in the first year or two of the construction of each so called renewwable system. And of course, you have to tell where it is going to come from. With very low EROIext for modern renewables, blaming on fossil fuels because they are harming the planet, is like blaming the mother that is breeding oneself and keeping it alive because is harming the planet.

That is why I believe the debate on whether we should consider EROI or EROIext is of essence to understand our future, before we embark in massive deployments of non renewable energy systems called renewable sources.

I live you with a couple of graphs, showing my idea of the EROI pyramid of Lambert in a reverse mode, cut by the line that Charles Hall considers the minimum EROIext to have a basic civilization. I hope this can help to understand the views.

The cheetah and any other mammals with sexual reproduction, including the humans as the naked apes we are, needs to be sustainable and existing and survive as species, a minimum EROIext of 2.5 to 3:1. That is, they need, in a life average, to be able to capture his/her preys, spending much less energy (Ein) that the energy that the mammal later obtains by eating this prey. Otherwise, the animal dies and if this problem of lack of enough EROIext is recurrent, the species disappear. Because there are moments in which the couple of cheetahs or naked apes need to feed their offspring, besides themselves (2 animals feeding at least 4, with some spare margins) to be sustainable as species and the minimum reproduction rate is about 2.5 per couple to continue existing as species.

From here, you can imagine how EROI is increasing when we are addding more needs, always requiring more energy. Of course, the higher in the inverse pyramid, the most powerful and consumerist and high level society, but the most unsustainable one and the most harmful for nature. The lower in the inverse pyramid, the lower the comfort and some material benefits, the more sustainable the society is.

The second graph represents the energy per capita consumption of different countries and regions of the world and the types of energy these countries use, which I prepared precisely in kW of power per person, compared with population. This gives us a very clear idea of where we are. The bottom line is the metabolic needs of the human (about 100 watts of power per capita). The second line in red, the world energy that represents the global carrying capacity. The third line, the world average consumption of today, more or less (data are from 2011 and source is BP statistical yearbook of 2012), which is about 50% over the global carrying capacity.

This, despite the huge differences (Pareto principle) between rich countries in the right and the rest of the world in the left, with some singularities, like Singapur, Taiwan, South Africa, Trinidad Tobago, etc.

The GDP per capita resembles a perfect overlap on the energy consumption per capita, with few singularities that are easier to explain: Gulf countries, Russia and some oil, coal or gas big exporters have much energy than per capita income, because either unjust commercial agreements with the powers that be or also because they are accounted as big energy consumers, whereas a bog portion of the energy consumed is energy spent (Ein) to produce energy for exports, not for the country itself.

And that is all, dear folks.

I still insist in my opinion that food sovereignty should be a priority in each area, better country, better province or region, better city (if possible; some have no remedy as they are now), better village. This is my viable alternative and of course, as per the graph lining the present world average consumption and the line of global carrying capacity, the target of 3.5 kW per person you propose it seems too high and not achievable in the long term. I would rather suggest to target more to the 1,800 Watts per capita as a maximum, where I believe it can exist life with dignity and the minimum of the essential needs for human covered.

I hope you are lucky, if you decide this way, in displacing the present industrial-military complex by weakening them with plenty of solar and wind installations evenly and popularly redistributed and can save the 2/60 parts of the GDP you calculated were devoted to this evil complex in the world to other more necessary and just means.

For  any other Lenin approach to a radical change in which we would not repeat the errors of the past, you can count with me.

Over an out.

Bests

Pedro A. Prieto

—————-
Últimos comentarios de David Schwartzman (y respuestas de Carlos):

Comrades Pedro and Carlos,

 
I really appreciate our discussion. We can only benefit by confronting the arguments of those with a different perspective.
 
Your summary below does point to the differences we have especially regarding the state-of-the-science EROEI ratios of wind and solar power. 
 
Finally, I am convinced that the global conventional reserves of liquid oil are more than sufficient to make possible a robust wind/solar power transition IF this transition starts very soon coupled with rapid phaseout of the highest carbon footprint fossil fuels, namely coal, natural gas (because of methane leakage to the atmosphere) and tar sands oil.
 
One last comment below in your text this time in green.
 
 
Red and green till protons decay!
David

On Sat, Sep 12, 2015 at 7:10 AM, Pedro Prieto <pappspain@gmail.com> wrote:

David,

I am afraid we have reached the limits of this discussion/debate, if we want to be reasonable and we intend both to help Venezuela to find its way before 2050 to a viable ecosocialsim and to the world for solar communist horizon, in which I do deeply believe although not in the technological terms of the modern renewables offfering Terawatts, but rather in ancient forms of using a 100% solar life.

I take the “ancient forms” to be either fossil fuels, the result of photosynthesis millions of years ago, or more likely biomass energy. No more needs to be said about the former, but because of the low efficiency of photosynthesis biomass energy cannot provide the level needed to confront the challenges of energy poverty as well as implementing a prevention program to avoid climate catastrophe.
(…)
> *The current global electricity consumption is 3 to 4 TW. I neglected to
> mention that the assumed solar insolation for the calculation was for the
> UK, less than most of the global land area.  20% is close to what silicon
> photovoltaics are achieving now. Thin film photovoltaics reaching higher
> efficiencies are likely in the near future with much higher EROEI ratios,
> promising a revolution in technology analogous to coal/first industrial
> revolution. I wrote about this possibility in my CNS paper (4 scenarios for
> 2050). This development could rapidly undermine the power of the Military
> Industrial Complex, with transnational class struggle finally terminating
> the rule of capital on our planet in an ecosocialist transition. Demand the
> “impossible”!*THE present ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION IS AROUND 2,5TW. THE FINAL ENERGY
CONSUMPTION IS AROUND 11TW, THIS ONE IS THE RELEVANT ONE IF YOU ELIMINATE FOSSIL
AND NUCLEAR FUELS.
THIN FILM TECHNOLOGIES HAVE AN OTHER PROBLEM WITH MATERIAL LIMITS (PLEASE READ
MY WORK BEFORE CRITIZED IT SIMPLY ADDING MORE TECHNOPTIMIST PAPERS) .

Actually 18 TW is still relevant as the primary global energy consumption because it allows the comparison of the roughly 30% savings by wind/solar power producing electricity to do work instead of combustion (see Jacobson’s papers); on the other hand there are new energy challenges facing humanity, besides elimination energy poverty in the global South,  namely carbon sequestration from the atmosphere and climate adaptation especially in the global South that make for a higher primary energy consumption.  I am sure there are problems in new technologies, but the trend is to greater efficiencies in both wind and photovoltaics.

 
OF COURSE, MY EXPERT FIELD IS ON HOLISTIC THINKING, I TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HUMAN
INEQUALITIES, BIODIVERSITY LOSS, CLIMATIC CHAOS ETC. THEY TELL ME THAT THE
COLLAPSE OF OUR GLOBAL CIVILIZATION IS INEVITABLE. tHIS COLLAPSE IMPLY THAT HIGH
TECHNOLOGIES LIKE 5MW TURBINES, THIN FILM AND ALL “NEW” RENEWABLES WILL BE MUCH
LESSER EVEN THAN MY TECHNOLOGICAL LIMITS (1TWE FOR WIND, 2-4TWE FOR SOLAR POWER,
MINUTE FOR SEA, <1TWE FOR HYDRO, <1TWE FOR GEO). THE TREND WILL BE FOR LESSER
EFFICIENCIES BECAUSE PV CELLS WILL BE WITH COMMON MATERIALS LIKE AMORPHOUS sI,
AND WIND WILL BE 5KW INSTEAD OF 5MW, WITH LESS EFFICIENCIES.
IN MY OPINION YOU NEED THINK IN AN ECOSOCIALIST REVOLUTION INSIDE A SOCIETY IN
CIVILIZATION COLAPSE, NOT IN A TECHNOLOGICAL BAU SCENARIO (FOR INSTANCE CLIMATIC
CHANGE COULD LEAD TO REDUCE TO SMOKE OFFSHORE WINDMILLS, OR CHANGE THE WIND
PATTERNS, AND MUCH MORE WORST FOR NUCLEAR FACILITIES…).
(…)

> *The more recent papers I provided, which you didn’t comment on,  disagree > with your assessment.  I think you are referring to an earlier paper by the > Kleidon lab; the most recent ones, post Marvel et al. (2012) agree with the > higher limits.*
YES I COMMENT THE MORE RECENT PAPERS YOU PROVIDED IN THE pRIETO TRANSLATION OF ME (SEE DOWN). NO, I READ THE MORE RECENT PAPERS AND I PROVE FIRST THAT THE KLEIDON GROUP AGREE WITH ME (SEE, PLEASE, THE PRIETO TRANSLATION TO MY FIRST RESPONSE) AND IN MY POSTS I PROVE THAT MARVEL ET AL IS FLAWED. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY MY WORKS AND TELL ME WERE EXACTLY I AM FLAWED. JACOBSON DO A (BAD) THEORETICAL WORK.

And the other recent papers that agree with several times higher over present global  18TW limit to land wind power, not even including offshore wind? I refer the reader to the papers  I have already provided for the detailed case, e.g.,  the summary introduction of Marvel et al. (2012) which disagrees with your conclusions. And what about the technical potential of solar? “The direct use of solar energy already provides the greatest source of renewable energy and future improvements should make this source even greater….only a minute fraction of the land surface would need to be used to meet the human energy demand.” (Kleidon et al., 2015, reference already provided) 

I REPEAT AGAIN, ONCE MORE, MARVEL ET AL. DO A BAD WORK. I PROVE IT IN MY POST.
YOU COULD SEND ME 1000 BAD PAPERS. I REAPEAT “ALL BOTTOM-UP METHODOLOGIES” FOR
WIND (FROM 1980-2015) COULD LEAD TO THE VIOLATION OF FIRST AND SECOND
THERMODYNAMICS PRINCIPLES (LIKE MARVEL ET AL IN FACT). PLEASE, READ MY WORK AND
TELL ME WERE IS THE MISTAKE BEFORE YOU SEND ME ANOTHER 1000 BAD PAPERS. NUCLEAR
AND FOSSIL ADVOCATES THINK THAT THEIR POTENTIAL ARE ENORMOUS AND COULD SEND YOU
AND ME 1000 BAD PAPERS. PLEASE, SCEPTICISM IS THE FIRST CHAPTER OF A SCIENTIST.
I DO NOT ASK THAT YOU BELIEVE ME, I ASKING TO READ CRITICALLY MY CORKS.
SINCERILLY I THINK THAT YOU ONLY READ ONESIDE OF THE DISCUSSION, THE ONE THAT
CONFORM YOUR TECHNOLOGICAL EXPECTATIVES. 
I REPEAT, I READ THOSE WORKS THAT YOU CITE, AND THEY DO NOT CHANGE PRIETO AND MY
POSITION.

i REPEAT AGAIN, ONCE MORE, I READ KLEIDON 2015, HE REFERS TO A THEORETICAL
PHYSICAL, AND NOT TO A REALISTIC TECHNOLOGICAL LIMIT. MY WORK OR PRIETO WORK IS
NOT CONTRADICTED FOR ALL THIS PAPERS.

(…)

OK, FIRST DEMILITARIZE THE WORLD, SECOND DECAPITALIZE DE WORLD AND THIRD TRY WITH MODERN RENEWABLES. IN THIS ORDER. IN THE REVERSE ORDER I DO NOT FOLLOW YOU BECAUSE CAPITALISM WILL CONTAMINATE THE RENEWABLES (IN FACT IS DOIND THAT AT PRESENT) (THINK IN BIOFUELS, OR IN 5MW WIND TURBINES OR IN THE PEDRO pv EXPERIENCE: LIKE NUCLEAR, ARE INTRINSICLY NOT ECOSOCIALIST TECHNOLOGIES BUT CAPITALISTS). TECHNOLOGIES ARE NOT ECONOMICAL OR POLITICAL NEUTRAL. I THINK THAT CAPITALISM COULD NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT THE MITH OF TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS. I THINK THAT ECOSOCIALISM YES. I REMEMBER THE TECHNOLOGICAL MITH OF 1960-1970 OF THE COMUNISTS IN THE URSS, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE (SEE MY POST: http://www.eis.uva.es/energiasostenible/?p=2660 IF YOU COULD READ IN SPANISH). i WILL FOLLOW AND DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE LIKE DEMILITARIZE THE WORLD BUT NOT THE IMPOSSIBLE OF BEING 100% RENEWABLES WITH MORE THAN 1500 W/PER CAPITA, THIS IS NOT ECO NOR POSIBLE (AT LEAST WITH MORE THAN 3500 MILLIONS PEOPLE).

I do not advocate relying on solar capital to deliver salvation, rather that class struggle must push for an environmental, health, ecological regime for the production and consumption of wind/solar under capitalism. If we Accepting a limit of 1.5 kilowatt per capita for humanity is conceding defeat, accepting the inevitability of climate hell and even deeper misery for most of humanity. We strongly disagree about the potential for wind/solar.

ACCEPTING THE REALLITY OF CLIMATIC CHAOS, SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION, PEAK ENERGY
ETC. IS NOT BAD. YOUR ARGUMENT REMEMBER THE CLIMATIC SCEPTICS THAT TELL ME THAT
MY CLIMATIC CHANGE WOULD LEAD TO THE MISERY FOR MOST HUMANITY AND THEIR RESPONSE
IS NOT BELIEVE IN CLIMATIC CHANGE. YOU COULD DISAGREE ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF
WIND/SOLAR BUT NOT BECAUSE OUR RESULTS GIVE TO BAD NEWS (BASED IN THE MITH OF
TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS, I THINK THAT THE HUMAN DIGNITY IS NOT RELATED WITH MORE
THAN 1000W/PER CAPITA). PREINDUSTRIAL OR EVEN PREAGRICULTURAL PEOPLE COULD HAVE
A DIGN LIFE.
———————-
——-
Carlos de Castro otra vez:
I already shared references to Marvel et al. (2012) and

Kleidon

et al. (2015)

Here is a summary of the limits they computed in their

modeling:

            1) Kleidon et al. (2015)

Wind power on land: 114 TW

Concentrated Solar Power: 11,600 TW

Photovoltaics: 16,300 TW

YES, I COMMENT ON THIS WORK 114TW IS ALL THE KINETIC ENERGY IN THE ABL ZONE IN
ALL THE CONTINENTAL ZONES (EXCLUDED ANTARTICA). IN MY COMMENT I TAKE 89TW
INSTEAD 114TW. THIS NOT CHANGE MY CONCLUSIONS, EVEN MORE, 114TW IS THE RESULT OF
A MODEL, 89TW IS THE RESULT OF REAL VELOCITY MEASUREMENTS. GENERAL CIRCULATION
MODELS TEND TO GIVE MORE KINETIC ENERGY THAT MEASUREMENTS…
I REPEAT AGAIN AND AGAIN, THIS IS A THEORETICAL ENERGY SOURCE, NOT A REAL NET
TECHNOLOGICAL LIMIT. I REPEAT, KLEIDON GIVES 1We/m2, IN MY FIRST WORK i TAKE
AROUND 2We/M2 (BEING CONSERVATIVE). I REPEAT, MY TECHNOLOGICAL LIMITS ARE
COMPATIBLE WITH KLEIDON ET AL. WORK.

            2) Grassi et al. (2015): took into account current global

la> nd

use

Wind power on land (130m high): 46 TW

PLEASE, FOLLOW MY FIRST COMMENT (DOWN). YOU REMOVE KINETIC ENERGY AT LEAST TWICE
THE ELECTRICITY BEING PRODUCED: THEREFORE 92TW, JUST ALL THEWORLD KINETIC ENERGY
BEING DISSIPATED IN THE ABL WILL PASS YOUR TURBINES. IMPOSSIBLE.

            3) Jacobson and Archer (2012)

Wind power: 5.75 TW from 4 million 5 MW turbines, 20 TW
installed

(nameplate)

I HAVE PROVED THAT THIS WORK IS FLAWED.

            4) Marvel et al. (2012)

Wind turbines on land: 54TW

I HAVE PROVED THAT THIS WORK IS FLAWED.

*           Note that none of these studies included the very

significa> nt

additional potential of offshore wind farms.*

JACOBSON ET AL THINK THAT COULD ADD 10% OF THEIR LAND LIMIT… 10% OF AROUND
1TWE IS 0,1TWE. TOTAL 1,1, ALMOST 50% OF OUR PRESENT ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION, TO
ME VERY IMPORTANT. ALTHOUGH AT PRESENT I THINK THAT WE COULD REACH AROUND 0,25
TWe UNTIL 2050 IF THE CIVILIZATION COLAPSE IS NOT VERY QUICK AND STRONG.

Additional references

Akbari, H., Menon, S., and A. Rosenfeld (2009) Global Cooling:

Increasi> ng

World-wide Urban Albedos to Offset CO2. *Climatic Change* 94: 275-286.

??? PV ON ROOFTOP COULD DO THE REVERSE EFFECT OF A WHITE HOUSE…

Grassi, S. , et al.  (2015) Mapping of the global wind energy potential
using open source GIS data.  Preprint 2nd International Conference on
Energy and Environment: bringing together Engineering and Economics
Guimaraes, Portugal 18-19 June, 2015

i DO NOT KNOW THIS WORK, BUT, AGAIN, GIS DATA IMPLY A BOTTOM-UP METHODOLOGY,
THIS METHODOLOGY IS ERROR PRONE (BECAUSE WE AND kLEIDON GROUP DEMOSTRATE, IN
SEVERAL PAPERS, THAT COULD VIOLATE THE FIRST PRINCIPLE AND THE MOMENTUM
PRINCIPLE, SORRY PHYSICS IS BEFORE TECHNOLOGICAL DREAMS).

Jacobson, M.Z.  and C. L. Archer  (2012) Saturation wind power

potentia> l

and its implications for wind energy. PNAS  109 (39):

15679–156> 84.

I HAVE PROVED THAT THIS WORK IS FLAWED. EVEN MORE, IN THIS WORK THEY INDIRECTLY
AKNOWLEDGE THAT THE BOTTOM-UP METHODOLOGIES ARE FLAWED, BUT INSTEAD OF
AKNOWLEDGE MY GROUP AND kLEIDON GROUP OF THIS IDEA THAT WE COMMUNICATE BEFORE,
THEY PRESENT IT LIKE IF THIS WERE THEIR IDEA, JACOBSON IS A TECHNOCAPITALIST
BEING ALSO NOT HONORABLE FOR ME). SEE MY POST IN SPANISH, IF YOU DO NOT READ
SPANISH I ATTACH A RESUME IN ENGLISH.
GREEN CAPITALISM IS PROMOTING ALL THIS FLAWED WORKS, BE CAREFUL IF YOU DO NOT
BEGING WITH A NO-CAPITALIST SOCIETY BEFORE YOU PROMOTE “NEW” RENEWABLES.

———-
Schwartzman de nuevo:

Apparently I am older than Pedro and Carlos, so my stamina gives me the last word?

Carlos says below “IN MY OPINION YOU NEED THINK IN AN ECOSOCIALIST REVOLUTION INSIDE A SOCIETY IN
CIVILIZATION COLAPSE, NOT IN A TECHNOLOGICAL BAU SCENARIO”

My response: rather than accept the collapse of civilization and as a result the inevitable onset of climate catastrophe, which would crash down on majority of humanity in the global South, an ecosocialist movement’s responsibility is to prevent such a collapse! In addition, as ecosocialists, we do not accept a “technological business as usual scenario, rather a path constrained by growing power of social governance of both production and consumption.

Finally  Kleidon et al. (2015) provides a potential of 114 TW wind power on land (not including offshore).  Doubling the present global consumption of 18 TW (Kleidon cites 17TW) translates into 32% of this potential, but taking into account offshore and the complementary sources from photovoltaics and CSP reaching 36 TW total is an achievable objective, noting their paper’s much higher potential for solar power.
———————-
Carlos de nuevo:
I will conced the last word to David.
“rather than accept the collapse of civilization…”.
When Titanic crash against the iceberg it was inevitable the Titanic collapse,
this is not a moral, political or technological issue. The same apply in my view
to our Civilization. An ecosocialist view could save many people, in the Titanic
capitalim view of the world Titanic kill many peaople (lifeboats with
undercapacity, many first class people, few third class survival…,
ecosocialims is necesary but it can not figth against the Titanic collapse). In
my view your vision is not a BAU in political terms of course but it is BAU in
technological terms (growth, growth, more growth). In my view your world
ecosocialist vision without military armies, for instance, is an other
Civilization, so you need that the present capitalist civilization collapse
before. You have a chance at present.
And once more, you could repeat 1000 times that Kleidon gives 114TW for the wind
limit and I will tell you 1001 times that this is a physical limit, not a
technological achievable limit, that Kleidon numbers do not contradict my
numbers, even more, they give support to my numbers as I comment with numbers
several times in this e-mails.
Carlos
———
Última respuesta de David:
One last response.

“Growth, growth and more growth”, but of what, the quality of growth is critical; see e.g., my :A critique of degrowth and its politics, (2012) Capitalism Nature Socialism 23 (1): 119-125.

and

 Is zero economic growth necessary to prevent climate catastrophe? (2014) Science & Society 78 (2), 235- 240.

If you read these papers you will see I am not advocating BAU growth, far from it.

Here is what Kleidon et al. (2015) say about wind power, following the quote I gave regarding solar power, demonstrating they are talking about technological potential:

“In comparison, if the human energy demand is met by wind energy, then a much greater fraction of the potential would need to be used. Given the numbers in Fig. 5, this fraction would be 17/114 = 14.9%. Because the dissipation of the kinetic energy by surface friction plays an important role in maintaining the turbulent exchange between the surface and the atmosphere, using a substantial fraction of the wind energy potential results in inevitable climatic impacts at the land surface [18].”

But others such as Marvel et al. (2012) conclude:

We find wind turbines placed on Earth’s surface could extract kinetic energy at a rate of at least 400TW, whereas high-altitude wind power could extract more than 1,800TW. At these high rates of extraction, there are pronounced climatic consequences. However, we find that at the level of present global primary

power demand (18TW; ref. 2), uniformly distributed wind turbines are unlikely to substantially affect the Earth’s climate. It is likely that wind power growth will be limited by economic or environmental factors, not global geophysical limits.”

 

Some there is disagreement about the climatic consequences of wind power on the scale near the present 18TW, but not about the technological potential to achieve it.

 

———————-
Y finalmente una buena noticia desde Venezuela que envía Quincy Saul:

Ganamos todos y todas: El Presidente Maduro derogó el Decreto 1.606

Sociedad Homo et Natura

La lucha mundial por la permanencia de la vida en el planeta tierra y el respeto por lo tanto de la diversidad bilógica, social y cultural, y la democracia se anotó el 30 de julio y ahora el 27 de agosto de 2015 una rotunda victoria sobre la muerte y el extractivismo.

En la reunión del 30 de julio de ecologistas de Maracaibo y Caracas y dirigentes Wayuu, la mayoría  mujeres, con el Vicepresidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela Jorge Arreaza supimos que por orden del Presidente Maduro se iba a modificar el Decreto 1.606 del 10 de febrero de 2015, pues la explotación del carbón y la apertura de nuevas minas se negaban así como la apertura de una planta de generación eléctrica a base de carbón; y que una comisión conjunta de la Vicepresidencia y el Ministerio de Energía Eléctrica evaluarían el reimpulso del Parque Eólico de la Guajira.

La propuesta presidencial nos informaba Arreaza se concretaba en explotar carbón sólo en las dos minas ya abiertas: Paso Diablo y Mina Norte. Tal como se observa hoy en la Gaceta Oficial Nº 40.733 del 27 de agosto de 2015.

En verdad no se deroga el Decreto 1.606, como tampoco todos y todas están felices con esta actitud valiente y soberana del Presidente Maduro Moro seguidora del legado ecológico de Chávez y de su compromiso de vida con la Sierra de Perijá y sus pueblos originales.

No están felices, por una parte, los operadores políticos que desde Maracaibo, la Asamblea Nacional, el Psuv, Estados Unidos y Europa defienden los intereses de los capitales mundiales del extractivismo y el uso de la energía fósil a base de carbón; como tampoco, en segundo lugar, se derogó el decreto. Pero bueno, millones de personas en Venezuela y en el mundo están contentas con esta decisión presidencial venezolana, así como tampoco el decreto 1.606 quedó anulado como tal. La frase utilizada en la Gaceta Nº 40.733 es “se corrige el error material del Decreto 1.606”, que en a los efectos de la vida real es lo mismo: No hay apertura de nuevas minas de carbón entre las cuencas de los ríos Guasare, Socuy, Maché y Cachirí de los municipios Guajira y Mara. Ni va la carboelectrica. Viva.

Ganamos de nuevo, los anteriores triunfos se dieron en el Gobierno del Presidente Chávez, ahora con Maduro en la Presidencia. Pero si estaremos atentos y haciendo monitoreo constante porque hay mucha arrechera de los operadores políticos danzantes que nada les importan el agua del Zulia y sus bosques, ni la muerte negra por neumoconiosis por carbón en sus trabajadores y de centenares de accidentes diarios en las carreteras de poblados por donde circulan los camiones transportando de este sucio y contaminante mineral desde las minas en la frontera con Colombia hacia los puertos carboneros ubicados a orillas del Lago o Estuario de Maracaibo.

Vamos a abrir un observatorio socio ambiental cultural en el Zulia para vigilar el cumplimiento de la ley en esta materia minera de extracción, transporte y embarque del carbón, hacer que capitales privados y del estado venezolano hagan de estas minas unas “minas ecológicas” a la que tanto dicen que existen en China y Brasil. Y nos permitan hacer monitoreo periódicos dentro de las minas y en los puerto de Santa Cruz de Mara, el Bajo-Paraíso en San Francisco y en la Cañada de Urdaneta, así como en barco Bullwayuu ubicado en el Canal de Navegación del Estuario de Maracaibo.

Esperamos que el Ministro del Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Ecosocialismo y Agua nos atienda en este mes de septiembre para presentarle nuestras ideas y un plan de reforestación de la cuenca del río Limón que comprende los ríos Guasare, Socuy, Maché y Cachirí. Así mismo nos explique la Vicepresidencia de la República y el Ministerio del Poder Popular de Energía Eléctrica cual fue el acuerdo o las conclusiones de su visita al Parque Eólico de la Guajira el viernes 7 de agosto de este año.