Sunday, 6 March 2011

MyWorld 2050 - GIGO in action

The UK Propaganda Department of Energy and Climate change has released their energy policy toy, called MyWorld 2050.

The idea is to let people play around with energy supply, like fossil fuels, nuclear and alternatives, and then match this with the demand coming from industry, housing, heating, transport and travel.

The goal: get to 80% CO2 reductions by 2050.

You can try the model yourself at the MyWorld 2050 web site.

Now, some issues that the model behind the game doesn't lay bare:

  • There is extremely low probability that oil will flow at 50% of current levels in 2050. There just are not enough resources, drill holes, tankers and manpower.
  • Not using fossil oil creates a liquid fuel problem, which the model suggests one fix with biofuels. The problem is that the model assumes we can burn the rest of the developing world's (who have all the money, btw) food for fuel. And the model further assumes this will reduce CO2 emissions and be net energy positive. The premises behind that logic are faulty.
  • Clean coal and gas power are supposed to give a 15 point CO2 cut. Eh, where exactly do we have clean coal? And oh, the North Sea gas is mostly in decline by 2025 (remember the model is originally for UK).
  • Hydrogen cell powered cars. Sigh, that's like selling second order financial derivatives on a lollipop you have already eaten. Most sane thinkers thought we we past that already.
What the system does underline, is that it is impossible to not to have a liquid fuels problem, unless one goes all out on biofuels overseas in developing nations. What the system doesn't tell is that there is no arable land left to do this, unless we take it from food production or burn down the rainforests.

And all this is done with extremely low demand scenario, where people will be living in 16C temperature homes and travelling very little privately, doing mostly car sharing and public transport.

Good luck selling that scenario to the ignorant masses at large.

The more technically minded can download the 2050 Pathways Excel spreadsheet (Office 2010 format, thank you DECC idiots) that reveals some of the thinking behind the model.