2011 on Brave New Climate

So the year 2011 draws to a close. What a tumultuous year it was, particularly for nuclear energy! For climate change, alas, the freight train just keeps gathering steam.

For 2012, I will expect the unexpected, but also hope to see some better signs of progress towards the downfall of fossil fuels. But really, let’s be honest, that is a decadal rather than year prospect.

Anyway, to the BNC year in review. Below I list some of the most read, most commented and most stimulating or controversial subjects of the past BNC year.

1. Fukushima nuclear crisis: This was the biggest story of the year for the blog. Read about the early diagnosis and explanation, ongoing reports, some technical speculation, an essay on what we can and can’t design for,  preliminary and considered lessons learned, what the INES 7 rating means, and the need to avoid radiophobia with some common sense (and data). Another highlight is Ben Heard in his pre-decarbonisesa.com days

2. Renewables in the context of effective CO2 abatement. Some useful analyses on CO2 avoidance cost with wind, climatologist James Hansen admonishes use to get real about how effective (or ineffective) green energy has been to date at displacing fossil fuels, an adventure to energy debates in wonderland, a look at geographical smoothing, an argument that an energy strategy without nuclear does not have history on its side, Geoff Russell deconstructs the situation for India and Switzerland, and I do so for Germany.

3. More depressing climate trends. Sea ice declines and emissions rise, the cost of climate extremes, complications and realities, a plea to clean up the climate ‘debate’, why the argument of ‘no recent warming’ is statistically invalid, and a graphical review of the grim numbers. Continue reading