Blah, Blah, Blah

Greta Thunberg at COP26 This blog is based on the post Blah, Blah, Blah — Losing the Name of Action. An earlier post The Name of Action (and the matching video) take its title from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. A theme of Shakespeare’s play is that Hamlet knows that he needs to take action, but he fails to do so (until the very end). He talks and talks, but does not act.…

SEC Extends Comment Period

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the comment period for the proposed rule on Climate-Related Disclosures. Commissioner Gary Gensler said the SEC extended the deadline in response to "significant interest" from a wide range of investors, issuers, market participants and other stakeholders. The original deadline was May 29, 2022. The new deadline is June 17, 2022. The…

Summary of Posts Week Ending 2022-05-06

This week’s posts have been on the theme ‘The 300-Year Party’. The posts describe how we learned to extract fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — in bulk 300 years ago. They literally fueled the industrial revolution and the modern way of living. The posts are: The 300-Year Party: Peak Forests In order to understand the nature of our current dilemma, including climate change, it is useful to…

The 300-Year Party: The Church of Progress

This blog is based on the post The 300-Year Party: The Church of Progress. The Parable of the Inheritance A lady had a low-paying job and not much in the way of savings. Nevertheless, she kept her expenses under control and was able to live contentedly within her income. Then one day she received a large inheritance. It was party time — she bought a large home, a late model car and took…

The 300-Year Party: Peak Forests

This blog is based on the post The 300-Year Party: Peak Forests. In order to understand the nature of our current dilemma, including climate change, it is useful to consider how the development of our society that is based on the use of fossil fuels came about. Like all living creatures, humans take in energy in order to live, grow and reproduce. For virtually all of human history we humans…

Words, Words, Words

This blog is taken from the post Words, Words, Words. Yesterday’s post — “The Name of Action” — took its title from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. The title of today’s post comes from the same play. Hamlet knows that he needs to take action but fails to do so (until the very end). He talks and talks and talks, but does not act. So, when Polonius asks Hamlet, “What do you read…

The Name of Action

This blog is based on the post The Name of Action. In the video The Name of Action we note that, in spite of decades of warnings, there has been little progress on controlling climate change. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to climb. Why? Why has our response been so inadequate? Broadly speaking, there are three types of organization that can take climate action. They are…

Summary of Posts Week Ending 2022-04-22

The posts for the week ending 2022-04-22 are summarized here. The posts suggest that, when it comes to climate change, we should listen to generalists in addition to subject matter experts. The posts are: Who’s the (Climate Change) Expert? Which Climate Change Generalist? The Name of Action Words, Words, Words

Hydrogen from Methane Pyrolysis

This blog is taken from the post Hydrogen from Methane Pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a well-established process in which an organic material is heated to a high temperature in the absence of oxygen. Depending on the source materials used, the products from the reaction consist of organic materials and solid carbon in the form of char/charcoal/carbon black. Charcoal Burners Credit:…

Climate Change Hope

This blog is taken from the post Climate Change Hope. I regard the Russian decision to cut gas supplies to western Europe as being one of the most important and hopeful climate change events of recent years. The way we have responded to the climate crisis so far is to look for alternative sources of “clean energy”. The unspoken assumption is that we are entitled to maintain our current energy…

Russian Gas and the Forcing Function

This blog is taken from the post Russian Gas and the Forcing Function. Earlier this month we published the post A Forcing Function. In that post we compared the potential for cuts in Russian gas supply to the principles of lean management. We said, A principle of lean management is to reduce intermediate inventories of goods and spare equipment. Companies do this, not because inventory is a…

Enter the Engineers

The full version of this blog is available at the post Enter the Engineers. Scientists study the world as it is, engineers create the world that has never been. Theodore von Karman Listen to the Scientists We often hear the phrase “Listen to the scientists”. What is meant by this is that we should read the analyses and reports that they publish in order to understand climate change. We…

The Name of Action

The text version of this presentation is available at https://iansutton.com/downloads/Name-of-Action.pdf.

Which Climate Change Generalist?

This blog is based on the post Which Climate Change Generalist? This post is the second in a series to do with the ‘Net Zero Professional’. In yesterday’s post — Who's the (Climate Change) Expert? — we discussed the critical distinction between the generalist and the specialist. We suggested that the first step in becoming a professional in this area is to become an educated generalist. We…

Who's the (Climate Change) Expert?

This blog is based on the post Who's the (Climate Change) Expert? One of the problems to do with climate change is that everyone has an opinion, regardless of whether they have done the necessary research and analysis. In this post we consider some of the attributes that make someone qualified to speak on the topic. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) One of the many challenges that we face when…

Summary Posts Week Ending 2022-04-15

The posts for the week ending 2022-04-15 are summarized here. They are all to do with the topic of hydrogen as a fuel. Last week our posts focused on the topic of hydrogen as a fuel. They were: Hydrogen HSE (Health, Safety and Environmental); Energy Properties of Hydrogen; Colors of Hydrogen; and Manufacture and Use of Hydrogen; and Green Hydrogen: A Reality Check.…

An Energy Evaluation System

This blog is based on the post An Energy Evaluation System: Technology for a Changing Climate. At the heart of any Net Zero program lies the decision as to which alternative energy sources to adopt. We cannot continue to rely on hydrocarbon fuels — coal, natural gas and crude oil — because they generate greenhouse gases, and because they are being irreversibly depleted. The internet is awash…

Need for Action

The material in this blog is taken from the post Need for Action and from the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. Fine words butter no parsnips. Talk doesn’t cook the rice. When it comes to climate change, there is no shortage of reports, books, web sites, social media and blogs that describe the dilemmas we face. These publications typically explain what climate change is, its causes and…

Transition Steps

The content of this blog is taken from the post Transition Steps and the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. Green Hydrogen One of the decisions that companies will have to make as they move toward Net Zero is whether to invest in transition technology, i.e., technology that moves the organization partway toward the final goal in two or more steps. The development of hydrogen manufacturing…

Synthesis

The material in this blog is taken from the post Synthesis and from the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. The material in this post is taken from the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. Let us take a short detour into 18th century philosophy and the thoughts of Georg Hegel. Georg Hegel (1770-1831) Hegel was a German philosopher whose writings are notoriously obscure, even by the standards of…

Net Zero by 2050: Three Questions

The material in this post is taken from the post Net Zero by 2050: Three Questions and the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. The ebook starts with a quotation from one of Jordan Peterson’s talks. He tells us that those writing a book should have a “real question that you don’t know the answer to”. With regard to climate change, I suggest that there are three “real questions” that books such as…

Carbon Dioxide to Carbon

This blog is taken from the post Carbon Dioxide to Carbon. One of the themes of this site is that new technologies may provide some pleasant surprises when it comes to climate change. This does not mean that there is some deus ex machina that will take of all our problems. Nor is there aa magic wand that will allow us to maintain our current, energy-guzzling lifestyle. Nevertheless, it is…

Green Hydrogen: A Reality Check

This blog is taken from the post Green Hydrogen: A Reality Check.  The hydrogen molecule The previous four posts in this series have provided background information to do with the use of hydrogen as source of “green” energy. The posts were: Hydrogen HSE (Health, Safety and Environmental); Energy Properties of Hydrogen; Colors of Hydrogen; and Manufacture and Use of…

HSE: Health, Safety and Environmental

This blog is based on the post HSE: Health, Safety and Environmental. In this post we look at the term Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE). (The order of the letters is not important — different companies use the terms SHE, HES and ESH — they all mean the same thing.) As alternatives to the fossil fuels are considered, it is important to consider their safety, health and environmental…

Just Do It . . . or lose the name of action

In the year 1988 the Nike Company adopted the slogan “Just Do It” for its advertising theme. It worked — the slogan was instrumental in making the company an international success. It is also a slogan that could be helpful for those working on Net Zero projects. With regard to the climate crisis the posts at this site are built around three themes, each of which can be part of a “Just Do It”…

The Precautionary Principle

The material in this blog is taken from the post The Precautionary Principle and from the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. Posts such as this are all about predicting the future. Yet those who try to forecast what the world may look like in just a few years are often sadly wrong. Making predictions for a time that is as far away as the year 2050 is simply foolhardy. I myself learned the…

Another Clunky Sentence

This blog is based on the post Another Clunky Sentence. The phrase ‘Net Zero by 2050’ comes from an IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2018 report. The pertinent paragraph reads as follows, In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net…

Business Imagination

This blog is based on the post Business Imagination.and on the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. Organizations that succeed in this radically changing world will not only have to adopt and sponsor new types of technology, they will also need a new management structure, a new way of interacting with suppliers, customers, and government agencies. There will also be new types of corporate…

Problems of Scale

The material in this blog is taken from the post Problems of Scale. The material in this post is taken from the ebook Net Zero: An Opportunity. A focus of the materials at this site is on the use of technology to slow down the rate at which the climate is changing and to mitigate the effects of such changes. As has already been stressed, technology is not a solution, we cannot return to our…

Hydrogen HSE

This blog is based on the post Hydrogen HSE: Health, Safety and Environmental.  A Hydrogen Fire. Credit: Detectape This post summarizes some of the HSE (Health, Safety and Environmental) issues that need to be considered when manufacturing, transporting, storing and using hydrogen. Safety Diamond The safety diamond for hydrogen is shown below.  Hydrogen Safety Diamond The numbers and…

Oil Prices and Alternative Energy

This blog is based on the post Oil Prices and Alternative Energy. The Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline For the last three weeks the world has been riveted to the news coming out of Ukraine, and empathizing with the suffering of the people of that nation. What the long-term outcome of the attacks will be is at this point anyone’s guess. Events are moving so quickly that forecasting what may happen…

Colors of Ammonia

This blog is taken from the post Colors of Ammonia. Additional information to do with ‘colors’ is provided in the post Colors of Hydrogen. Ammonia Molecule: NH3 Most discussions to do with climate change focus on the emissions from the fossil fuels in transportation. Yet there are many other sources of CO2 emissions, including those from the chemicals industry. For example, the Haber-Bosch (…

A Clunky Sentence

The term ‘Net Zero by 2050’ has been adopted by organizations all over the world. It is also the theme of the posts at this site. Therefore, it is worth spending a few moments examining where the phrase came from and what it means. The IPCC The Net Zero story starts with the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the year 1988. The IPCC is a United Nations body…

Why This Newsletter?

This blog is based on the post Why This Newsletter? Anti-Social Media Hogarth’s Gin Lane, 1751 In its early days social media were seen as a force for the good — people shared useful information and personal news with one another. That is still true, of course. But what few people anticipated were the negative, anti-social and even dangerous consequences of the growth of social media. (For…

Energy Properties of Hydrogen

This blog is based on the post Energy Properties of Hydrogen. This is the third post in a series to do with hydrogen in a Net Zero economy. The post Manufacture and Use of Hydrogen provided an overview to do with the production and use of hydrogen. Colors of Hydrogen described the color terms that are used to describe the different ways in which hydrogen is manufactured. The following Table…

Colors of Hydrogen

Credit: Unsplash This blog is based on the post Colors of Hydrogen. Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas that is imperceptible to the human senses. Hydrogen is not available naturally; its low density means that any hydrogen in the atmosphere immediately escapes to space. This means that it has to be produced using an external source of energy. (This is an important point — hydrogen is…

Manufacture and Use of Hydrogen

This blog is based on the post Manufacture and Use of Hydrogen.  Credit: Ian Sutton Hydrogen is often seen as being an important, even vital, part of our response to the climate change dilemma.  When hydrogen is burned it creates water vapor (and a few nitrogen oxides, which are greenhouse gases). Needless to say, it is not that simple. Although hydrogen will undoubtedly play an important…

Superbowl Ads

This blog is taken from the post Superbowl Ads. Capturing our attention In the posts Another Clunky Sentence and Climate Scientists: Ready to Strike we critiqued the IPCC and the scientific community for failing to communicate the urgency of their findings to the general public. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has just released yet another alarming report as to the dire…

Who Will Respond?

This blog is taken from the post Who Will Respond? There are many publications that describe the predicaments in which we find ourselves. But few of these publications provide credible, realistic suggestions as to how to respond. Climate reports often make suggestions that sound good but that would be difficult to implement. For example, one activist group calls for making public transport…

Climate Scientists: Ready to Strike

This blog is based on the post Climate Scientists: Ready to Strike. A recent article in the New York Times discussed the frustration that many climate scientists feel when it comes to communicating their findings. The subtitle for the article reads, Evidence on global warming is piling up. Nations aren’t acting. Some researchers are asking what difference more reports will make. An…

A Mixed Message

This blog is based on the post A Mixed Message. When historians write about our times they are likely to focus on the following conundrum. The people of the early 21st century were warned repeatedly that climate change would lead to catastrophic conditions by the year 2050. Yet these people, by and large, never really understood the severity of their dilemma. They certainly did not take…

The Word “Must”

The post The Word "Must" suggests that some of the climate change communication difficulties that we face are due to the language used by the scientific community. For example, few scientists have the political or financial authority to tell governments what they must do. Persuasion is needed, as illustrated in the post Selling Net Zero.

Marketing Net Zero

This post is taken from the blog Marketing Net Zero. Failed Communication Why have the scientists failed to communicate? And why have the car companies been so successful? I suggest that there are two basic reasons. The first reason is to do with motivation. The scientists publish bad news and then say that, if we do not take action, our lives will get worse. Their message is one of fear. The…

Selling Net Zero

This blog is taken from the post Selling Net Zero. A theme of recent posts has been that climate scientists have failed to persuade people to take action, even though the climate situation is dire. The scientists at the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and other research organizations can respond to this criticism by saying that it is not their job to generate action — their…

The Coffee Shop

This blog is taken from the post The Coffee Shop. In February 2022 the IPCC published its Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report. The report makes for scary reading — it tells us that, if we do not take immediate and urgent action, we face catastrophic consequences. Just a few days after the report’s publication I visited friends at a local coffee shop. Given that the report’s warnings…

Small Potatoes

This blog is taken from the post Small Potatoes. Three climate activists met at the local coffee shop to discuss the latest IPCC report, Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The three of them had different opinions on most topics. But, regarding this report, they will in full agreement: it was almost unreadable. For example, with regard to food supplies, the report says, There is high…

That Lonely Feeling

This post is based on the blog That Lonely Feeling. ********************************** The post When the History Books Are Written started with the following statements. When historians in future generations look back on the early twenty-first century they are likely to summarize the events of our time as follows. Theirs was a time of extraordinary communications technology. Anyone with…

A Forcing Function

The material in this post is taken from the blog A Forcing Function. Credit: Russia Insider The conflict in Ukraine has highlighted the dependence of western Europe on the oil and gas supplied by the Russian Federation. The European countries have imposed harsh commercial and financial restrictions on Russia, but they are reluctant to stop the energy flows. Their hesitancy is understandable…

It Takes Time: Steam to Diesel

A theme of the posts at this site is that we cannot switch from one source of energy to another overnight, or even in just a few years. The time it took the American railroad industry to switch from steam to diesel power illustrates this point. The original post is here. One of the foundations of the industrial revolution was the steam-powered railway locomotive. Yet, by the start of the 20th…

When the History Books Are Written

Working Group III Report The full blog post is available here. It starts with the following words. When historians in future generations look back on the early twenty-first century they are likely to summarize the events of our time as follows. Theirs was a time of extraordinary communications technology. Anyone with anything to say could use social media, web sites, blogs and YouTube…