The film `Cool It! `
last third of the film
    General about the film                                                                    first third of the film                                                                middle third of the film

The film "Cool It" by Ondi Timoner, presenting Lomborg´s approach to global warming

Review of the film´s contents  based on notes taken when watching a presentation. These notes are incomplete and not necessarily very accurate. Preliminary critical comments are inserted on certain subjects.

Part three:

Solar energy
Dennis Kucinich (democrat who ran for nomination as a president candidate in 2008; he is opposed to nuclear power) is seen at his home. He tells about the efficiency of his solar panels.
The problem is their price. Solar panels cost a fortune. The electricity produced costs $250 per thousand kWh (?). 

Wind power
We see Daniel Kammen, IPCC lead author and specialist in alternative energy sources. He says that wind turbines are vulnerable to the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) problem. But obviously there is plenty of space. Wind turbine parks can be set up in desolate places and at sea.
We see Lomborg in airplanes looking at marine wind turbine parks in Denmark and UK.
Lomborg: Electricity produced by wind turbines costs $120 per thousand kWh (?). The cost is going down 20 percent per decade. So wind mills will probably become competitive. But you can buy too early. At present we have set up way too many windmills way too soon.
   Comment: Lomborg distorts information on the efficiency and costs of  Danish wind turbines. One of Lomborg´s coworkers produced a report for the Danish right-wing think tank CEPOS, stating that Danish wind energy was heavily subsidised by taxpayers. Rebuttal of such statements may be found here: link.

Copenhagen Consensus on Climate
We return to the Copenhagen Consensus Conference on Climate in Wahsington DC in 2009. Lomborg tells us that he has assembled the best economists in the world. We see Thomas Schelling, Roger Pielke Jr. and Nancy Stokey.
   Comment: Roger Pielke Jr. is a well known moderate climate skeptic, but not an economist. His field of study is environmental policy, and he is a strong opponent of those who dare to criticize Lomborg (see here on Lomborg-errors). He hardly contributes to the quality of economic considerations, but certainly helps assure that conclusions will fit into Lomborg´s agenda.
- Nancy Stokey talks about green energy costs and the importance to make it cheap.

The need to store energy
Wind energy is said not to be unreliable at present. The most important issue is to invent storage mechanisms for solar and wind energy.
We see chemistry professor Daniel Nocera at MIT, who works on artificial photosynthesis, i.e. electrolysis of water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen. By putting hydrogen and oxygen separately into fuel cells, you can store 100,000 times more energy per volume than in an ordinary battery.
If you invest $100 billion per year in research you may reach an efficiency 50 times larger than today.
If something does not happen in this field within 5 years from now, he will be disappointed.
Jonathan Trent, NASA Ames Research Center, studies how to grow algae. You can do that when processing waste water. Much of the oil that we are now pumping up came from algae that lived millions of years ago. Many species of algae produce huge amounts of oil. To keep planes flying we need an alternative source of oil. That could be algae. To grow enough fuel for all aviation we would need 10.5 million acres, that is 128 miles X 128 miles. We have the space for that.

Nuclear power
Nathan Myhrvold, co-founder of `Intellectual Ventures´, says: Give anyone on the planet US energy levels. Intellectual Ventures has created the firm TerraPower which is deveoping a new kind of nuclear reactor that uses depleted uranium (spent fuel). It is called a fourth generation nuclear technology. The waste problem is small, because after 150 years the spent fuel has low radioactivity. Bill Gates is interested in promoting the technology. The process has up to now only been investigated by computer modeling. Until a test reactor has been built, we cannot know for sure if it works. As to the cost, it is believed that the energy price will be competitive to coal.

Wave energy
Stephen Salter, professor emeritus at Edinburgh, built in 1977 a wave tank to study utilization of wave energy. His agenda was to find an alternative energy source that would function during the winters in Scotland. We see his invention, the so-called Salter´s duck, which can stop 90 percent of wave motion and can convert 90 percent of that to electricity. The potential in wave energy is that it could supply fifty percent of USA´s energy needs.
If the potential is so large, why has it not been implemented? The costs of a full-scale test would be high. The assessment task was given to people from the Atomic Energy Commission, which had an obvious interest in turning the project down and did so in 1982. In their report, they built in the assumption that because of the utilisation of wave energy, an undersea electric cable would break on average once in 1,000 years, and this hypothetical cost made the project unprofitable.
   Comment: A quick check on the internet (here) seems to confirm the story about the unjustified turning down of the wave energy project.
- We need a coherent science led policy. There are no millionaires from solar or wind energy.
The change from a coal based infrastructure to an oil based infrastructure took fifty years. The next transformation may therefore also take fifty years.

Adaptation will be necessary, at least during a transitory period.
Richard Lindzen: We humans have adapted to many things. We can adapt to basically anything.
Adaptation to sea level rise: building dikes.  Dikes have been used in Holland for centuries.
River outlets must pass through the dikes. To protect the inland during floods, sluices close the outlet when seawater levels are high.
In 1953 a massive storm hit Holland and many people died. It was a wake up call, and in the following years an ambitious flood defence system was conceived and deployed.
In 2005 New Orleans got its wake up call.
Ivor van Heerden headed the investigation team in the days after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. His comments in public media were highly critical of the government´s levee system. Because of his criticism, he got fired. Today he says that the city needs a decent levee system building on Dutch experience. Katrina was a disaster only because the levees failed.
Jon Sader is the director of a firm that builds new homes for residents who lost everything in hurricane Katrina. The houses are built with new construction technologies and materials that make green, energy efficient, storm resistant homes.

Adapting to the urban heat island effect
In 2100, 80 to 90 percent of all people will live in urban areas. So the urban heat effect will be important. Cities become warmer than the rural landscape because there is so little water, so little greenery, and dark asphalt surfaces absorb heat from the sun.
We hear about the European heat wave in 2003, when many people died. Lomborg says: "But we can do something about it". There are cheap ways to make cities cooler. We can reduce the amount of sun energy absorbed, and reflect the sun´s energy back into space.
Example: How to make Los Angeles cool at a cost of about 1 billion dollars.
Instead of ordinary concrete, use pebble concrete where water goes through. It has a  lighter colour and reflects more light. Paint roofs and other surfaces in light colours.

Lee Lane is director of the geo-engineering project at American Enterprise Institute.
Cut to Stephen Schneider. He says: "I have always supported research in geo-engineering."
There was also (unintended) geo-engineering in former times. When humans cut down the forest, climate changed.
In 1783 the Laki volcano on Iceland erupted with devastating local effects. But there were also longer-ranging effects, because dust and sulfur particles from the eruption clouded the skies in Western Europe and caused a very cold winter in 1784. Benjamin Franklin was aware of this. He understood that the dust from the volcano blocked the sun´s rays.
Once more, the large eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 sent a lot of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, and the globe was cooled.
In geo-engineering, we may produce an `official volcano´ and we can do it locally.
The plan is stratospheric aerosol injection. Permanent lines, fixed at the ground, are suspended up to a height of 25 km. The lines are furnished with nozzles that eject aerosols. The cost of the project? It could be tested for tens of millions of dollars, and implemented for hundreds of millions of dollars. But the benefit could be about 18 trillion dollars.
Cut once more to Stephen Schneider .
Next theme: cloud brightening. Large bubbles or drops are dark, small bubbles or droplets are more white. If the surface of clouds can be manipulated to have more small droplets, they will be more white and reflect more of the sun´s rays.
We are presented with a project in which a fleet of boats spray seawater droplets into marine clouds to make them reflect more sunlight. Each boat will cost about 1.5 to 3 million dollars.

   Comment: The most extensive criticism of this project is written by Alan Robock on the RealClimate web site, here.
- One more option is just to catch CO2 right out of the sky.
Cut once more to Stephen Schneider.
Cut to David Vaughan who talks about pumping sea water up onto the Antarctic Ice.
Another option is to plant a trillion trees.
Al Gore is not keen on geo-engineering.
Stephen Schneider: There is a moral hazard. Geo-engineering is a way to buy time until we become better at solving the problems, it is not a permanent solution.

   Comment: Steven Schneider died in July 2010. Throughout his career, he was against geo-engineering and adaptation as methods to `fix´ the climate problem in an easy way. This attitude is mentioned directly in his obituary here. So those parts of the interview with him that have been included in the film, are not very representative of his opinions when he was alive. Now that he is dead, we cannot obtain his comments to the way he is presented in the film.

Economics has to evolve.
The time it took from production of the first aeroplane to production of the first rocket was about 60 years.
The message from Al Gore was that we must do something about global warming. As a result of this, a lot of scientists got totally energized.
Daniel Nocera: the solution is us, the scientists.
Lomborg presents a radically practical solution. He has a total budget of $250 billion per year, which, he says, it what the carbon cutting programs would cost the European Union.
The money should be used simultaneously on various issues:
   $100 billion per year should be used on research in how to tackle climate problems, i.e. to find green solutions. To this is added $5 billion for geo-engineering, $12 billion for dealing with urban heat islands, and $36 billon for adapting to sea level rise and inland flooding. In total this means using $ 153 billion per year on climate issues. This leaves $ 97 billion per year for other global problems . This reamining amount is then spent on health issues ($ 33 billion per year), hunger ($ 32 billion per year), water supplies ($ 10 billion per year) and education ($22 billion per year).
    Comment: After the presentation of the film in Copenhagen, Lomborg was asked from the audience, what is the source of the economic estimates. The answer was that some had been computed by economist Richard Tol, and the results may be found on the Copenhagen Consensus web site. Many other figures have been computed by Lomborg himself, using the DICE  computer model of William Nordhaus. This is also indirectly evident from the book Cool It, where the source for many figures is stated as Nordhaus 2006, which refers to the DICE and RICE computer models. Lomborg has run these computer models himself, which means that nobody can check the validity of these computations.
- Democratic senator Jay Inslee is one of the authors of the book Apollo´s Fire, in which he argues for creating millions of green-collar jobs and lifting dependence on foreign oil and coal. He says: We are going to do all three, that is an effort to fight both malaria, HIV and global warming.
Lomborg asks: "Why didn´t you do that for the last ten years?"
   Comment: The answer to Lomborg´s rhetorical question is probably that Jay Inslee could not mobilize a majority in favour of his proposals, partially because many politicians have listened to Lomborg´s assertions that it would be wrong to reduce consumption of oil and coal. 

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