May 11, 2011

Next to Nothing...and more : update

The IPCC released a much touted report yesterday on renewable energy. I was not all that interested but I did skim through it. While doing so the following graph caught my attention.

Figure SPM.2 | Shares of energy sources in total global primary energy supply in 2008 (492 EJ) Modern biomass contributes 38% of the total biomass share. [Figure 1.10, 1.1.5].  
Notes: Underlying data for figure has been converted to the ‘direct equivalent’ method of 
accounting for primary energy supply [Box SPM.2, 1.1.9, Annex II]
I was amazed that despite all the hype, all the press and all the investment poured into renewable energy over the past two decades how little there is to show for it, 12.9%

Initially what caught my attention was solar. Granted that this is all energy and they had to convert the various uses to a common accounting method in order to quantify the various sources but the fact remains that solar power only accounts for one tenth of one percent of all global energy. That is the very definition of next to nothing.

Think about that. Think of all that we read and hear about solar energy. Think of the investments both private and public in the billions of dollars which have been poured into solar energy and  to date according to the IPCC we receive 1/10 of 1% of our energy from solar, amazing.

As I was getting ready to write up this note on my incredulity at the minuscule return on investment for solar, something else caught my attention. Obviously biomass accounts for the vast majority of  renewable energy sources but what do they mean by modern biomass? Well I went back through the report and it means exactly what you would expect it to mean.
The largest RE contributor was biomass (10.2%), with the majority (roughly 60%) being traditional biomass used in cooking and heating applications in developing countries but with rapidly increasing use of modern biomass as well.
So in fact 62% or 6.3% of the total global energy that the IPCC lists as biomass which is figured into the renewable energy category is old fashioned wood, animal dung, and various other forms of energy which have been used since the discovery of fire to heat and cook. The same sources of energy that confines the impoverished throughout the world to a life of misery, poverty and death. But it helps with the IPCC's accounting and spin. Unless of course it is the IPCC's contention that these primitive energy sources are good for the future.

So let's look a little closer at the above chart. Taking away the primitive sources of energy responsible for millions of children's deaths each year from lung diseases, modern biomass  accounts for 4.5% of global energy bringing the total down to 6.6%  for renewable energy.

But in a very real way it is worse than that. Would anyone really consider hydropower a modern energy source? No.  There is no doubt that it is a renewable energy source but do we think of it as
a product of the new "green energy"  revolution? No.

So if the IPCC was doing and honest report, I know I laughed just writing that, they would point out that the "green energy" revolution accounts for at most 4.3% of all of the energy in the world.

I won't even point out that the greatest share of that "revolution" is the result of bio fuels which are responsible for higher food prices and shortages around the world. Oops I pointed it out.

The scope of the waste in money and human lives wrought by this sham of climate change is staggering. Thank you climate science community for your service to humanity.

Update: It is worse than my original post. I subtracted the modern biomass from the total rather than the traditional biomass which means even less (4.3%) of the world's energy is the result of the "green energy" revolution. I have corrected this in the text. To put this into context consider how fast the two previous energy revolutions fueled global economic booms, steam and oil and they did it the old fashioned way, they earned it in the free market, not through taxpayer subsidies and government mandates.


  1. Unbelievable!!! The United Nations has become the most dangerous and evil group of people in the World! Their blatant Agenda 21, if ever implemented completely, would do more harm than if Hitler had won World War 11.
    Cloaked in words sounding more like a fairy tale than a language one can understand they have caused more harm to more people than any tyrant in the history of mankind!!

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