Green energy accounted more than 30 % of global energy consumption 2023

Lauantai 18.5.2024 klo 16.25 - Mikko Nikinmaa

It is good news that renewable energy contributed more than 30 % of global energy last year. However, even though this milestone was reached, the global use of fossil fuels still increased. This is mainly because of the increased energy consumption in global South, and simultaneous droughts in, e.g., China, which have caused a decrease in hydroelectric power production that was compensated for by coal and oil burning. Without decreased hydroelectric power production, it is likely that energy production with no carbon dioxide emissions would have increased enough to cause a decrease in fossil fuel-based energy production. With marked building of wind and solar energy power stations, it is estimated that 2023 was the last year with an increase in fossil fuel use.

It is commonly stated that one cannot rely in wind and solar power, since the energy production is highly variable, and in many areas very unpredictable. However, in most cases a combination of wind and solar power is quite constant energy source: when it is cloudy and rainy, and little solar energy is gained, normally it is very windy with large energy production from wind mills; in contrast, when sun shines and solar energy production great, it is normally calm, and little wind energy becomes available. Thus, when both types of power stations are plentiful, variation in energy production is reduced. One can further decrease the variability by energy storage: when energy is cheaply produced by windmills, some of it can be used to pump water to storage sites, which can generate hydroelectric power when little wind power is available.

New ways of renewable energy production will become cheaper with their increased use, and it can be said that energy production using fossil fuels soon becomes markedly more expensive than using renewable sources. In this scenery, it is problematic that in many countries the conservative right has not realized that one should reduce fossil fuel use. For example, in Finland the conservative (Kokoomus-Perussuomalaiset) government has increased the fossil fuel use and support during the past year. Similarly, the US republicans seem to support the oil lobby. And it appears that the republican presidential candidate, Trump, is very much against wind energy.

It is kind of funny, everywhere conservatives say that they are the parties that care of economics. However, their present decisions are not in line of any economic thinking, but supporting energy production using means that are outdated, expensive, and cause environmental damage, which will become very expensive to remediate. I guess this shows mainly that they are hoping to get the golden days of childhood (which only exist in memories) back.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: renewable energy, wind power, solar power, fossil fuels

Climate models give too small temperature increase if decreased air pollution is not included

Maanantai 13.5.2024 klo 12.04 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Air pollution has decreased significantly during the past fifty years in Europe. I remember how in my youth the air in all the densely populated areas was often smoggy, and the sun was always seen through the haze. Air pollution has decreased largely as a result of decreasing number of small particles being emitted in the air. This is mainly due to collecting them in the chimneys and exhaust fumes. Since air pollution is causing millions of deaths per year globally, one would expect that this is unequivocally a good thing.

However, clearer sky also lets solar radiation to pass through more efficiently than during the dirty olden days. Sunshine in summer is associated with heat spells. And the length and severity of those has increased markedly throughout the last decades. In Europe the temperatures have increased much, about one degree, more than the used climate models predict. So, climate change appears to be worse than expected. This appears to be mainly due to the fact that the climate models used to predict climate change have not included decreasing air pollution and consequent increase in solar radiation.

So, combatting air pollution makes climate change worse? Not really, what is seen is the effect of inadequate inputs for mathematical modelling. This means that temperature increases are more drastic for the predicted fossil fuel usage and consequent carbon dioxide load. In other words, we have underestimated the severity of climate change because of inadequate models. However, to a large part, the improvements of air quality can be associated with the decrease in fossil fuel burning, although there have been measures dissociating the two (like catalytic converters). Thus, in the long run, decreased air pollution is the result of discontinued use of fossil fuels, and no disparity between predicted and measured temperatures occurs.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, modelling, heat waves

Financial inequality is a major obstacle to combatting climate change

Maanantai 15.4.2024 klo 18.01 - Mikko Nikinmaa

A lot of people in the rich countries complain about African and Asian people not doing virtually anything to decrease their fossil fuel use. In contrast, coal and oil use is increasing, as people try to get richer and population increases, mostly in Africa. Why don’t they see that they are increasingly causing climate change, whereas we in the rich west have understood how things should be done, and have been able to decrease the per capita footprint in the last decade.

The prime reason for poor people not considering carbon footprint or sustainability in their day-to-day financial decisions is that thy cannot afford it. For most people in the world, their financial situation only allows one choice: the cheapest. Thus, their lack of climate deeds is understandable, but is actually one aspect of financial inequality generating climate change.

The superrich cause much of the climate change. Although their number is small, their carbon footprint is huge. The richest percent of world’s population causes as much carbon dioxide emissions as the poorest two thirds. As compared to an average American or European, the carbon footprint of billionaires is a thousand times greater. An in actual fact the superrich would hardly notice if their wealth were halved. However, if the sums were made available to combatting climate change, that would probably be enough to enable poor people make sustainable choices in their life.

Thus, decreasing financial inequality would be the most effective way of combatting climate change. Another way would be to decrease military spending, which, unfortunately, seems even less likely than addressing financial inequality.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: fossil fuels, wealth, carbon footprint

Another recordhot month - February 2024

Torstai 14.3.2024 klo 18.17 - Mikko Nikinmaa

February was 1.77oC warmer globally than the preindustrial average for the month. It is now the ninth month in a row with highest measured average global temperature. For me this can hardly be happening without climate change contribution. Yet, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says “drill, drill, drill” and right wing populists throughout Europe ask for lower petrol prices. No doubt that they will saying that there is no climate change if and when the temperature decreases next year. A decrease in global average monthly temperatures is expected to happen next year when the cooler La Nina weather pattern will replace the hot El Nino weather pattern in Pacific Ocean.

The February temperature was particularly high in Europe, 3.3oC above preindustrial average. Anybody with alpine skiing as a hobby certainly noticed this. Most ski resorts had only snow in some of the slopes, and offpist was out of the question because of the lack of snow.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, temperature, fossil fuels

Air pollution affects insect olfaction and thereby pollination

Perjantai 16.2.2024 klo 12.11 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Traffic, heating, industrial fumes, burning of wood and plants generate air pollution. The most important polluting compounds are ozone and nitrogen oxides, such as nitrogen trioxide. Green shift with the purpose of combatting climate change has as an ultimate aim to decrease burning. As a result, air pollution, which causes several million deaths per year worldwide, will decrease. This direct effect on human health is just one of the important benefits associated with decreased air pollution.

A recent study by Chan et al. published in Science (Science 383, 607–611; 9 February 2024) shows how ozone and especially nitrogen trioxide affect the scents of flowers. Flower scents are something that even we humans appreciate, but they are much more important for pollinators, which find their feeding places on the basis of the scents. Enough olfactory molecules can be found even several kilometres from the source for the moths to be able to find the flower patches. Especially nitrogen trioxide oxidizes monoterpenes, which are major scent molecules, with the result that the moths cannot find the flowers.

This finding indicates that when we decrease fossil fuel burning in order to combat climate change, we also improve air quality and help pollination. As a result plant diversity is maintained, and populations of pollinating insects strengthened. One positive thing done can lead to several beneficial side effects.


Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: fossil fuels, nitrogen trioxide, burning,

Geological Hydrogen - a Plentiful Green Energy Source?

Sunnuntai 4.2.2024 klo 19.36 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Much has been talked about hydrogen becoming an important energy source, replacing oil and coal. The possibility has recently been hyped more, as geological hydrogen sources have been found. Their size and possibility to extract them is, as yet, not clear, but in the best case they present a green energy source, which is adequate for all the transport needs that are presently fuelled by oil products. It is further possible that geological hydrogen is replenished in underground processes continuously. If this is the case, once a good hydrogen well is found, it will never run dry.

Also, the places, where hydrogen so far has been found to seep to atmosphere, occur throughout the world. It appears that water and suitable rock are required. Thus, it may be that the sites, where successful hydrogen prospecting can occur are completely different from oil or coal fields. However, at present stage geological hydrogen is only a future promise. Solid knowledge is needed before it can be evaluated, if it is the eternal energy source of tomorrow.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: fossil fuels, energy production, fuel

Review of Hannah Ritchie's book "Not the End of the World"

Keskiviikko 31.1.2024 klo 14.14 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Environmental headlines have recently almost invariably been doomsday prophecies. Billions of people living on the coasts will die in climate change-induced floods. Deforestation accelerates temperature increase. Insect pollinators disappear with devastating effects on vegetable food production. Fishes are soon becoming extinct in many parts of the world. Often people reading such headlines start thinking that since catastrophe is coming anyway, it doesn’t pay to try to fight environmental destruction. Instead, they think that they can live as comfortably as possible today since the end of the world is coming tomorrow anyway.

Instead of only doomsday prophecies, true environmentalists should bring forward possible solutions to environmental problems. Based on her strong knowledge of environmental data, this is what Hannah Ritchie does in her book. Or, actually she presents data indicating that many things are not changing towards ultimate doomsday. She argues that we can make choices which make sustainable life for humankind possible. Often the things to be done, based on their environmental impact, differ from what the preconceived ideas of important environmental actions are. Further, focussing on only a couple of the most important changes can make the goal of sustainability feasible.

The two things that will change virtually everything are drastically decreasing the use of fossil fuels and minimizing the use of beef. One thing I noted when reading the book was that Hannah Ritchie virtually never said that one should stop doing something completely. Instead, she advocates marked reductions in the most harmful practices. With regard to energy (heating and electricity) production, fossil-free alternatives have already become cheaper than coal and oil. Thus, global efforts can be directed towards making energy production fossil-free. If burning can be stopped, also air pollution, presently killing millions of people especially in developing countries, will diminish markedly. While electrifying car transport appears to be quite good, the use of biofuels is not advocated by Hannah Ritchie, mainly because then agricultural land is used for cars instead of food production.

Cattle ranching is using up a large part of land and most of the agricultural crops go to animal feed. Thus, if the overall beef eating decreased by three quarters, so much agricultural land would be freed up that deforestation could be stopped completely, and consequently biodiversity loss would largely disappear. This is just one example of how environmental problems and their solutions are intertwined.

It is clearly possible to get us through the population peak, probably occurring in the latter part of this century. However, personally I think that we should aim to a total human population of 3-4 billion at equilibrium. This will probably be the end result after advances in (especially women’s) education. Such lowered human population is needed, as many of the natural resources are overused, and may become limiting in 100-200 years. (Overuse of mineral resources was not included in the book.) Also, I cannot share Hannah Ritchie’s optimistic view about pesticides – they and other pollutants will pose a problem, if we cannot get the equilibrium population down. However, a transition period of 100-200 years with higher population will most likely be feasible, whereafter we can truly reach sustainable state. And as Hannah Ritchie points out, many of the solutions require governmental actions. We, as individuals, must pressurize governments and companies to carry out such actions in order for them to remain successful.  

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, biodiversity loss, fossil fuels, cattle, agriculture, energy production

Climate summit in United Arab Emirates (or is it really an oil lobby)

Keskiviikko 29.11.2023 klo 17.43 - Mikko Nikinmaa

News is dreary. First, it is estimated that climate change already causes more than 6 % decrease in global GNP. No wonder, as climate-related phenomena have diminished crops, caused wildfires and flooding, etc. Many insurance companies have incredibly high fees for house insurance policies in areas, where the likelihood of storms has increased radically in recent past. And GNP (Gross National Product) does not take the environment into account. The indexes which do this had their highest values in rich countries in 1990’s. Also, coal and oil pollution cause millions of deaths yearly, many more than the Covid pandemic. So, climate change is here, and decreases the quality of life more than any other single event.

Although wind and solar energy production has increased markedly during recent past so that clearly more than half of the new global electricity production is fossil-free, about 60 % of world’s energy consumption is still dependent on oil and coal. And, actually, the amount of energy produced using fossil fuels is still increasing although its percentage is decreasing. This apparent contradiction is due to the fact that the global energy consumption still increases markedly.

The above notions should be important to take into account now that world leaders again gather to Climate Summit, this time in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Already the place of the meeting generates suspicion, as UAE has gained its wealth with oil, and continues to do so. Further, the Persian Gulf nations are known for sports washing – World Cup of Soccer in Quatar, Incredible transfer fees of footballers in Saudi Arabia, the number of Kenian athletes now competing under Quatar flag. One can suspect that the Climate Summit is the start of climate washing with oil lobby doing its best to decrease climate actions. This conclusion has become quite credible after a document has leaked, which advises the UEC delegation to lobby oil and gas exports. Further, the president of the summit is also the head of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and has suggested an approach, where renewable energy sources complement rather than replace oil.

Is this the way to combat climate change, which already causes significant damage?

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, GNP

It is free - saving costs and environment with wind ships

Tiistai 3.10.2023 klo 15.42 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Every time one is talking about shipping, it is pointed out that fossil fuel is needed there long after virtually all other traffic becomes independent of fossil fuels. This is just conservative thinking. Since shipping has relied on heavy fuel oil for the past hundred years, people with limited imagination think that the climate-unfriendly fuel shall continue to be used in our ships. Maritime traffic causes about 3 % of all carbon dioxide load. In addition, shipping is an important contributor to oil pollution, shipping using diesel motors causes a lot of noise pollution, and it is the prime cause of whale mortality. All of these can be markedly decreased, if ships use wild as a fuel.

Besides, wind is free! It does not cost a cent. It is actually funny that shipping companies have not gone from fossil fuel-burning ships to wind ships earlier, as every kilometer travelled with wind instead of heavy fuel oil saves money. This shows again that changing our ways to an environmentally friendly direction need not increase, but decreases the costs of future actions. This is completely in contrast to what the conservative fossil fuel-loving people say. Naturally, even the wind ships need motors for moving in congested harbor areas, and in unfriendly winds. However, the amount of fuel that can be saved will be between 50 and 90 %. Further, future motors will use ammoniac or green hydrogen as an energy source, making shipping completely independent of oil.

The question is just: what are we waiting for? The technology is available. Money can be saved. Do we allow people with limited imagination spoil the planet before actions are taken? 


Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, shipping

Flying should be taxed as other forms of transport

Perjantai 18.8.2023 klo 17.49 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Flying is estimated to cause several percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. Its influence on climate is much worse than the emissions, because the gases are emitted at high altitudes. One would consequently think that because there is a sore need to combat climate change, steps would be taken to diminish the effects of flight traffic on climate change. Two such steps have commonly reached the news. First, the possibility of passengers to pay extra to compensate for flying. The compensation is them used to pay either the protection of forests or planting trees. The funds obtained by the compensations are currently so small that it can be said to have only conscience-cleaning effect. Second, an increasing proportion of the fuel, kerosine, is made from biowaste or plant material instead of being fossil fuel. However, the so-called biofuel does not decrease the production of carbon dioxide in the flights, it only decreases the use of fossil fuel. It appears that electric airplanes will at most be responsible for short distance flights in the near future. For long distance travel one needs to ask the traveller if the present-day speed is really necessary. If not, zeppelin-like aircraft could replace a lot of the airplanes and fuel consumption would decrease radically.

However, the biggest change that should be made is that air traffic should be taxed as other traffic forms. Today fuel of airplanes is completely free of taxation throughout the world. As a consequence, air traffic is subsidised, e.g., in Finland approximately 20 times more per customer than environmentally friendly train traffic. And this is true at a time when politicians say that they are trying to get people to diminish travelling, if it has large carbon footprint. Yet they do not use the tax instrument, which would also make fairer to use different ways of transport. It is quite certain that all the nation states say that this cannot be done, since that would generate unfair competition in favour of countries that do not tax their flights or maintain tax level low. However, this is what EU is for. The European Union, which is also otherwise front runner in climate questions, could decide that all European flights would have a common fuel tax. One could try to get a world wide agreement; it should be relatively easy, if climate change is taken seriously.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, carbon footprint, fossil fuels, air traffic

Russia and environmental protection

Lauantai 20.5.2023 klo 15.21 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Russia has now banned Greenpeace, because it demanded that Russia should take actions to combat environmental pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change. That actually says it all about the environmental policy of the present Russian government. Since Greenpeace dares to say that Russia should do something in terms of environmental protection, it is a hostile entity, and shall be banned. This attitude is typical for the Russian dictatorship. No-one is allowed to say anything that could suggest that Russia is not acting completely right. I suppose that all the talk about environmental pollution and climate change is just Western propaganda and lies. Russia is handling all environmental problems perfectly. To say anything else is hostility against Russia.

It doesn’t matter that Greenpeace is also criticizing environmental actions in Europe and North America. That criticism is founded according to Russian government, since Western countries do not carry out environmental protection admirably as Russia does (according to Russian government). It does not matter that environmental standards of Russian industry are low. It is only Western lies that environmental actions are only done, if a company is acting against agreements it has undersigned. It doesn’t matter that Russia is doing virtually nothing to change from fossil fuel-dependent society to fossil fuel-free one. It doesn’t matter that after Western tankers stopped shipping Russian oil, the standard of tankers has decreased increasing the probability of oil spills in the Baltic Sea.

I am afraid that only a revolution in Russia could change it to a more responsible country. Russian imperialism should end, maybe even the small ethnic areas, which now form Russian federation, should become sovereign nation states to enable fruitful dialogue and actions for environmental protection.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, environmental pollution, environmental actions

Electric cars - there are all sorts of environmental problems

Perjantai 5.5.2023 klo 14.22 - Mikko Nikinmaa

In the name of combatting climate change, car manufacturing is rapidly changing from producing petrol- and diesel-consuming cars to electric cars. It is reasonable to ask, if electric cars are a sustainable solution. There are several problems, which should mean that one cannot increase the number of cars, even if they are electric. Rather, to combat climate and other environmental changes, the number of cars should be drastically reduced. The paragraphs below indicate the reasoning for this.

First, electric cars are fossil fuel-free only if the electricity used in them is produced not using coal and oil. The overall electricity use increases markedly with increasing number of electric cars. Hitherto the proportion of electricity produced using fossil fuels has not really decreased, even though the electricity produced using renewable sources has increased markedly. This is due to the increase in the total electricity use. So, presently an electric car user may increase the use of fossil fuels in electricity production (naturally depending on the country).

Second, production of cars is using a lot of steel. Steel production is currently one of the most important sources of emitted carbon dioxide. For example, out of the total carbon dioxide emitted by Sweden, steel production accounts for more than 10 %. The steel producers are aware of their large carbon footprint, and companies are currently competing to have carbon-free steel production. Carbon-free steel will undoubtedly be eagerly bought by car manufacturers. However, its production requires a lot of electricity, so fossil fuel-free electricity production is the key also here.

Third, present electric cars are on average bigger and heavier than petrol-fuelled cars. As a consequence, their production needs more steel. Also, their batteries use more of the metals, which must be mined with dire consequences to the environment. Some of the needed metals occur only in low concentrations even in the richest ores. Electric cars must thus become smaller and new types of batteries utilizing commonly occurring compounds developed.

Fourth, almost every day news alerts us about the dangers of microplastics. It is hardly ever mentioned that by far the most important source of them is tyrewear. They cannot be removed in sewage treatment, as they are produced wherever cars are driven. The amount of particles released increases with the weight of the car, so the heavier electric cars are a bigger problem than current petrol cars.

All in all, electric cars have several problems, so we should try to reduce the number of automobiles in use. By doing that, some land now taken up by roads would be free for other uses. Doing it may be required for the wellbeing of environment.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, microplastics, steel production, electricity

Exxon scientists predicted climate change already in 1970?s - the company marketing sold a different story

Perjantai 20.1.2023 klo 13.49 - Mikko Nikinmaa

The high standard of living in Europe and North America is largely based on the use of oil (and coal). The fossil fuel industry has made immense profits during the time of fossil fuel use. It should now be apparent that the use of oil is causing climate change. Yet, even now climate denial is common, and is supported by oil industry lobby groups.

It was predicted already more than a hundred years ago by the Danish physiologist August Krogh that the use of fossil fuels would increase atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Fifty years later all the big oil companies had scientists working on the atmospheric effects of the company’s products. In a recent number of Science (Science 379, eabk0063, January 13, 2023) Supran et al. review what has been reported by the scientists of the oil company starting from the late 1970’s and up to 2000’s.

The main takeaway from the reports and articles is that Exxon scientists informed the company and academic circles about the likely increase of global temperature as a result of the projected oil use. However, the company itself discounted its own scientists’ findings. The first of the lies of the company was that in 1970’s scientist had reached a consensus that the world was headed towards a new ice age, and now these same scientists are predicting that there will be a marked temperature increase. Clearly, such scientists cannot be trusted. There was no scientific consensus about cooling trend, in fact less than 15 % of climate science papers between 1965 and 1977 suggested temperature decrease. Further, the scientists of Exxon had come to the conclusion that temperature decrease is not probable. The second claim of the company has all the time been that the variability of climate data and predictions is so large that one cannot claim that a single anthropogenic cause could make any difference. However, the scientists of the company had, taking into account the variability, shown that even with the large variability, lack of temperature increase was not a possibility. They also estimated already in 1970’s and 1980’s that one would start seeing clear climate effects in early 2000’s, as has been observed. In addition, they estimated the amount of carbon dioxide, which, if exceeded, would cause problematic warming. Thus, the Exxon scientists appear to have done their best to alert the company.

Instead of heeding the scientists’ warning, the company has lied, hidden unpleasant findings and distorted the data. It appears from this behavior that greed has no limits: who cares about future generations if one can make a lot of profits now.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels

Damage and Repair Fund was established in COP27 Climate Summit - who pays?

Keskiviikko 28.12.2022 klo 19.30 - Mikko Nikinmaa

One of the results of the Climate Summit in Egypt was that the participating nations agreed to establish a Damage and Repair Fund to help poor nations that suffer from climate disasters. Everyone agrees that such fund is necessary. However, what has not been agreed upon is who would give money for the fund. The European Union has again been the primary source of the fund possibility. But EU does naturally not want to bear the cost alone. Thus, European countries think that the biggest fossil fuel polluters should contribute to the fund. Consequently, countries that are normally not paying to global funds, e.g., China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia should be among donors in addition to European countries, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Including oil­-producing countries among the fund donors makes perfect sense. They are making their profits with the fossil fuels that cause the damage. And they have money. As an example, the Soccer World Cup in Qatar cost more than 200 billion euros, ten times more than any Olympic Games up to now. It is kind of funny that that sum of money is available for “sports washing”, but not for helping areas which are suffering from the consequences of getting the riches that make also “sports washing” possible. With the same logic, big oil companies should contribute to the fund. Recently, their profits have been huge, and in my opinion should not line only the pockets of owners, but help the areas, which suffer from their profit-making.

There is no reason for the damage makers not to contribute to the fund. If they do not, it is an indication that greed and selfishness are more important for them than habitable world.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels

Tidal Energy - an Almost Untapped Major Energy Source

Tiistai 29.11.2022 klo 13.39 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Moon gravity creates tides, felt everywhere in oceanic coasts. Tides have immense energy, probably more so than the inland waters, which have been used for generating electricity for years. Furthermore, as flowing water, tides are very regular, occurring regardless of sunshine or wind. Thus, the tidal energy does not suffer from the problems with solar and wind power, i.e., marked daily or seasonal variation. Further, huge tides wash the coasts of many of the world’s rich countries, and in principle the technology for generating electricity from tidal energy is already available.

Because of the above, one would imagine that tidal power features strongly in the renewable energy sector. But no, so far there are only a couple of experimental tidal power plants in function. The main reasons for this are probably the following: First, there was no tradition of converting tidal energy to usable power. In contrast, windmills have been around for at least a thousand years, as also riverine power stations. Second, since coal and oil have been cheap, generating energy using the fossil fuels has been the preferred way for energy production.

The situation must change now that we shall combat climate change. A major argument of the fossil fuel lobbying groups has been that the green shift is not really possible, since wind and solar power have marked production fluctuations. The same argument is used by nuclear power advocates, who maintain that in order to get assured constancy of energy production, nuclear power plants are required. However, tidal energy power plants will produce energy at a predictable rate, and building them is both cheaper and more rapid than nuclear power plants. Also, they do not generate carbon dioxide emissions thus representing a true green shift.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, electricity, energy production, green shift, fossil fuels

Climate Promises from Glasgow - It was all talk

Keskiviikko 26.10.2022 klo 16.13 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Last year 193 countries solemnly agreed in Glasgow to speed up climate actions to decrease the negative effects of climate change. A year has gone and the next climate meeting in Egypt is just around the corner so it is good time to evaluate, if the pledges made have been fulfilled as promised for the year 2022. This is even more important, as the year 2022 has been characterized by huge wildfires, record-breaking heat, extreme drought, melting of glaciers and devastating floods. In addition, deliberate natural gas leaks have been generated and Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused fossil fuel use that much exceeds peace-time consumption.

Further, now that energy price is high, the populistic politicians everywhere demand that more electricity should be produced using subsidized fossil fuels. One would have thought that the pronounced adverse signals that things are going wrong with climate at an alarming rate would have made governments to take mitigation measures of climate change more seriously than a year ago, but no. “Blaah, blaah, blaah, it is all talk”, said climate activists disappointed after the Glasgow meeting.

Indeed, only 26 countries, i.e. 13 % of nations who made pledges to do something extra in 2022, have fulfilled their promises. This means that climate change can continue almost as nothing had happened. For a large part the inactivity is said to be due to actions being economically too expensive. This claim does not hold, as there are funds to repair the climate-caused damages. Indeed, proper combatting climate change could currently turn out to be cheaper than repairing the damage done by climate-related catastrophes.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, wildfires, fossil fuels

Air pollution increases stroke risk

Perjantai 7.10.2022 klo 13.44 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Today, only climate change effects of fossil fuel burning get attention. While climate change is undoubtedly the ultimate stress, it does not seem to reach the minds and be accepted by many people even today when the heat waves, hurricanes, floods and wildfires all testify that climate change is happening. The people with the highest percentage of climate sceptics are also the most susceptible to stroke: overweight, with low education, not exercising and driving a lot. They are not likely to be worried about something that may happen to the next generation or to other people as long as they can live their comfortable life.

But they may get stroke! That is something they are worried about when they drive to work in the congested highways of towns with high nitrogen oxide and elevated small particle levels. In a recent article in Neurology, Tian et al. (DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201316) showed quite conclusively that this kind of air pollution increases stroke risk. Earlier studies have shown that air pollution causes all sorts of lung-related problems. Thus, there is quite clear evidence that fossil fuel use should be stopped even if one is only worried about one’s own health and wouldn’t care at all of the well being of future generations.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, climate sceptics, nitrogen oxide, traffic

Fish kill in Oder river - blame the climate change

Maanantai 26.9.2022 klo 15.11 - Mikko Nikinmaa


The temperature measured in Oder river was exceptionally high, when the mass mortality of fish occurred. Although other factors certainly also had a role, this was the primary reason for the fish kills. This is because the difference between the tolerated upper temperature and the temperature causing death is small regardless of fish species. There are cold water species, species which have very small temperature range where they live, warm water species, and species which live in a wide range of temperatures. However, regardless of their temperature preference or tolerance, when fish are close to their upper critical temperature, the difference between tolerable and lethal temperature is small.

Thus, Oder river fish kill is something we are going to see with increasing frequency, if urgent actions are not carried out to combat climate change. They cannot wait until energy price comes down. And, actually the huge increase in energy price as a result of Russian energy war shows that Europe has been too slow in green conversion. If it had been rapid enough, the stop of Russian gas export to Europe would not have affected energy price at all. Now we are suffering from the slow replacement of fossil fuels by green energy. The Oder fish kill shows that we must tolerate the high energy price and speed up the transfer to green energy.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: temperature tolerance, temperature, fossil fuels, green energy

Oil Exploration Boom Is Heating Up

Maanantai 25.7.2022 klo 13.19 - Mikko Nikinmaa

With huge forest fires raging more carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere than the present restrictions in fossil fuel use diminish the emissions. The net result is further heating, leading to further forest fires, leading to further heating…and so on.

One would imagine that at least now the world leaders would start markedly diminishing our dependency on oil production, but no. It is only last November that virtually every country in the world pledged in Glasgow to do quite a bit to combat climate change. Notably, though, leaders of Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Iran (and a couple of other nations, which I don’t mention as they are not major global players in the production or use of oil) did not attend the Glasgow Summit. Well, the leaders made pledges, but what has recently happened?

Putin has started the war against Ukraine and ridiculed the European aim to shift from oil to green energy production. Since EU, UK and USA are stopping or have stopped to use Russian oil, oil production elsewhere is increasing. For example, President Biden visited Saudi Arabia, asking them to increase oil production. Norway is increasing oil production and offshore drilling. In view of these incidences, it is no wonder that Congo is slipping from its Glasgow pledge. In Glasgow, Congo agreed to protect its large rain forest for the next ten years. In exchange for this pledge, the international community promised to give Congo 500 000 000 USD.

Promises are made to be broken. Congo has now started an auction for oil exploration in its rainforest. It is expected that the oil production of Congo could increase 50-fold. At the same time the rain forest of Congo as a carbon sink would clearly decrease.

The poor countries like Congo maintain that the rich industrialized countries are again being colonial – trying to keep themselves rich and using poor nations as “carbon dioxide sinks” preventing them from economic growth if they have their way. There is some truth in this claim. After all, who are most likely to use the oil drilled from the rain forest in Congo. And the companies getting most of the profits from oil drilling are hardly from Congo. Notably, Elon Musk would rather spend his money on Mars than help people on Earth. He has already spent much more on space travel than the international pledge of funds to Congo is. I wonder which is more important for humankind – or even to him, his space travel or combatting climate change?

All in all, the best way to combat climate change would be to markedly reduce economic inequality.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, economic inequality

Profits before Planet

Keskiviikko 20.7.2022 klo 19.57 - Mikko Nikinmaa

This summer in the industrialized north has been hotter than ever. Temperatures over +40 C have been reached even in England. And the heat is not restricted to one area, but above-average temperatures are measured everywhere in Northern Hemisphere. On top of the acute heat waves it is now estimated that the present trend for temperature increase to 2.7 C above preindustrial values causes 40 % of world’s human population to live outside the thermal niche.

One would imagine that the heat and wildfires would wake up even the climate sceptics, but no. And, unfortunately, many of the people who have much influence on fossil fuel production and consumption belong to the group that does not care about what is happening to the climate. It is profits before planet. These people often say that they are worried about leaving debt to the future generations. However, a little more debt hardly matters, if one can have tolerable climate instead of scorching heat.

Oil price has recently rocketed, and consequently oil companies are making huge profits. It is naturally too much to ask that instead of lining the owners’ pockets, the profits would be used for combatting climate change. Putin’s Russia is one of the countries benefiting from high oil price, even if the sales to Europe and North America are stopped. Putin has throughout his reign been known as climate sceptic, so it was no surprise that he recently ridiculed the European aim to turn from fossil fuels (where Europe is dependent on Russia) to green energy. In the USA the Supreme Court ruling made it virtually impossible to carry out climate actions. The final blow to President Biden’s climate plans came when the “Democratic” Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia decided not to support any legislation supporting climate action. Needless to say that his major donors are companies depending on coal (and oil). What is common to the above people is their age: people around 70 or older hardly need to suffer the scorching heat that younger people must suffer 30-40 years from now.  Unfortunately, even younger people in politics do not seem to take climate change seriously. For example, the candidates for Conservative Party leadership did not have climate change among the important topics they need to address.

And it was +40 in London.

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Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, heat waves

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