Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Glimmer of hope? A conservative tackles climate change.

Posted on 16 June 2012 by Tom Smerling

[crosspost from ClimateBites]

A conservative specialist in environmental law—Professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University—lays out a thoughtful conservative approach to tackling  climate change in a recent post at The Atlantic magazine.

Climate hawk David Roberts (Grist) accurately describes Adler’s piece as  “an eloquent, principled case for the simple notion that ‘embrace of limited government principles need not entail the denial of environmental claims.’”  

Adler suggests four policy changes to “make it cheaper and easier to adopt low-carbon technologies:”   1) prizes to spark  innovation, 2) lower legal barriers to  deployment, 3) a revenue-neutral carbon tax, and 4) adaptation.

Roberts notes, and most scientists would agree, that Adler understates the scale and urgency of the problem, cause and solutions.    And no doubt, Adler—like Peter Wehner, Bob Inglis and a few others—is an outlier among today’s conservative leaders, for whom denying climate change has become a litmus test.

But Prof. Adler is clearly  making, as he has for years, a serious attempt to grapple with the climate reality without abandoning conservative principles.   Is there anything more important in climate politics today?

Adler’s short Atlantic article is worth reading in its entirety, as are some of his links below, for clues on how to speak effectively about climate to conservatives.   Here's the gist of his argument:

First, he makes the case, for skeptics, that global warming is real (the links are Adler’s; bold emphasis is mine):

“Though my political leanings are most definitely right-of-center, and it would be convenient to believe otherwise, I believe there is sufficient evidence that global warming is a serious environmental concern.   I have worked on this issue for twenty years, including a decade at the Competitive Enterprise Institute where I edited this book.  I believe human activities have contributed to increases in greenhouse concentrations, and these increases can be expected to produce a gradual increase in global mean temperatures.  While substantial uncertainties remain as to the precise consequences of this increase and consequent temperature rise, there is reason to believe many of the effects will be quite negative.

Then Adler pivots to an interesting moral/legal case for climate action based on property rights.

“This is of particular concern because these effects will be most severe in those nations that are both least able to adapt and least responsible for contributing to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

It is a well established principle in the Anglo-American legal tradition that one does not have the right to use one’s own property in a manner that causes harm to one’s neighbor. . .

My argument is that the same general principles that lead libertarians and conservatives to call for greater protection of property rights should lead them to call for greater attention to the most likely effects of climate change.

Finally, Adler proposes four solutions, which, though no doubt insufficient, are creative and serious.     Most interesting is his case for a carbon tax à la Hansen.

“I believe the United States should adopt a revenue-neutral carbon tax, much like that suggested by NASA’s James Hansen.  . . [and] that is fully rebated to taxpayers on a per capita basis.  This would, in effect, shift the incidence of federal taxes away from income and labor and onto energy consumption and offset some of the potential regressivity of a carbon tax. For conservatives who have long supported shifting from an income tax to a sales or consumption tax, and oppose increasing the federal tax burden, this should be a no brainer.

Interesting, no?   Isn’t this the debate—how to solve the problem in a manner compatible with one's values—that  responsible leaders should be having?    Adler’s piece is a good starting point for such a discussion—and offers at least a glimmer of hope for dialogue instead of a shouting match.

0 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page | Repost this Article Repost This

Comments

Comments 1 to 36:

  1. I put on my conservative hat to read this and here is what I got:

    First paragraph: "la la la la substantial uncertainties remain la la la"

    Second paragraph: "effects will be most severe in those nations that are both least able to adapt and least responsible" [Yeah! not us! stop reading]

    Third paragrpah: "la la la tax la la la tax la la la tax"

    Lots of people have been saying these same things without getting the conservatives to listen. Why do you think they will listen now?
    0 0
  2. Well, that could be read alongside Michael Fumento's piece in Salon. Or perhaps Fumento first and then Adler.
    0 0
  3. I have to agree with BKsea. Adler will simply get labled a RINO (Republican in Name Only) because he deviates from the party line. I hear it over and over again in the USA. Climate science is now no different from tax policy, health care reform, and social welfare programs to America's conservatives. Watch this guy get shunned by his fellow conservatives and show up later as a Democrat.
    0 0
  4. Dennis @#3 -- Adler has been saying this for several years (check out his links above). To my knowledge he is still widely-regarded as a conservative analyst in good standing, as is Peter Wehner and others. There's more tolerance of diversity of opinion in think tanks than, say, among Republican political candidates.

    BKSea @#1 Nobody claims that Adler is going to change anybody overnight. What I'm saying is that if we're serious about getting movement on climate policy, it is very important to encourage and promote intellectally-honest conservatives who accept the science, are searching for solutions, and can serve as role models for others.

    That would make it a lot easier for rank-and-file conservatives -- I'm not talking here about denizens of denial websites -- to take a stand.

    Think about old ad slogan for Levy's Jewish rye bread: "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's" They increased their market share, and made it into the Ad Slogan Hall of Fame.

    If we want to make progress, we need to be able to say "You don't have to be liberal to accept climate science."
    0 0
  5. While Adler deserves some credit for breaking away from the party line, this piece isn't a "conservative's approach" it's a white flag of surrender. Conservatives traditionally have 2 responses to externalities like global warming - deny they exist (Milton Friedman) or claim that property rights can be assigned to construct a market (Ronald Coase). The latter is the cap and trade strategy. Adler's piece is an implicit repudiation of bedrock principles of conservatism. The claim that a carbon tax is a "small government" solution is dubious. Any effective carbon tax will have to be global, requiring considerable international negotiations and considerable adjustments of present world economic arrangements. These are hardly "small government" tasks. Similarly, his recommendation that legal barriers to deployment be eased is essentially advocacy of increased governmental regulatory power.

    Adler is trying to run away from conservatism while maintaining some rhetorical cover. That Adler proposes remedies that violate conservative principles, at least those of American conservatives, demonstrates the bankruptcy of conservative ideas.
    0 0
  6. Tom @4: Do you know of any of the conservative think tanks (e.g., Cato, Heritage, AEI) that accepts the IPCC scientific reports, or major scientific organization (e.g., AAAS, NAS, AGU) scientific statements on climate change? My mind wanders to a guy like Patrick Michaels at Cato, who clearly does not.

    When you write about "tolerance of diversity of opinion" at conservative think tanks, I can't think of any regarding climate science. In fact, I find the opposite, as I mention above. Adler is at a university -- a very different beast entirely -- and yet another community that conservatives routinely attack as part of the "liberal bias" -- even for science!
    0 0
  7. Dennis - re: think tanks, I was actually thinking of Peter Wehner, who is at the neo-con Ethics & Public Policy Center, described by SourceWatch as "the cutting edge of the neoconservative-driven culture war against progressive theology and secularism, and the associated effort to ensure right-wing control of the Republican Party."

    To be more accurate, I could have written "academia or some think tanks."
    0 0
  8. Ralbin @#5 I fully understand why some of Adler's far-right critics say that given what Adler wrote, he can't be a real conservative. I have a harder time understanding why we would want to reinforce that logic, thereby forcing people to choose between climate science vs. their identity and their peer group. How is that a winning strategy?

    BTW, Dan Kahan (referenced in Andy Skuce's SkS post immediately before this one) explores this issue in great detail through his research on "Cultural Cognition." Maintaining one's identity and one's status among peers trump objectivity almost every time.
    0 0
  9. ralbin:

    Adler has discussed why a cap & trade solution is unsatisfactory from a conservative-libertarian perspective in the Atlantic article compared to the fee & dividend approach advocated by Hansen (namely, per Adler the former is more susceptible to rent-seeking & special interest interference than the latter).

    In addition, I am not certain how your claim

    Similarly, his recommendation that legal barriers to deployment be eased is essentially advocacy of increased governmental regulatory power.

    follows from what Adler wrote. In fact, the example he gives, where a wind power project has been postponed for some time by delays in obtaining permits, is much more likely to be the opposite of what you assert. Surely reducing permit requirements is a rollback of governmental regulatory power rather than an increase?
    0 0
  10. From his paper on prizes
    Prizes are no panacea. Indeed, barring some serendipitous discovery, there is no panacea for the climate policy challenge. Yet technology inducement prizes offer a relatively low-cost way to encourage greater innovation than traditional grant-based R&D funding. In order to encourage greater levels of technological innovation, it would also be desirable to reduce existing regulatory barriers to the development and deployment of alternative technologies, as well as to place a price on carbon, ideally with a simple and straightforward carbon tax.

    When people argue that there is no possible technological fix for the carbon emission problem they are strengthening his argument for prizes. He also argues that the atmosphere as a commons needs super-competition since it cannot be protected by competition. An argument against his proposal is that prizes are a gamble. But considering the magnitude of the needed reductions, a seems like a worthwhile gamble to me, basically libertarian and a believer in innovation.
    0 0
  11. As things are now, it's refreshing to hear statements like this coming from Americans -- "Though my political leanings are most definitely right-of-center, and it would be convenient to believe otherwise, I believe there is sufficient evidence that global warming is a serious environmental concern."

    We could do worse than give them more oxygen in the US. It's a different story in Europe where even the right side of politics seems to gets it. For me, it's important to emphasise every time that the right/left politicization of climate issues is nowhere near universal.

    In 2009, when Copenhagen city council voted to become the world's first carbon-neutral city, how close was the vote -- 50/50 or perhaps a sweeping 80/20? It was unanimous.

    It's not surprising that they are on track so far to achieve their 2025 goal.
    0 0
  12. What a great discussion. But we have let go of science to talk about politics. As politics should properly be separated from science.

    But if politics is to enter this fray, then Alder should be scientifically vetted. Most politicians seem to regard the 2007 IPCC as the accepted science - quite dated. Like trying to fight a house fire based on initial reports of smoke. Rather than the flames before us now.
    0 0
  13. The way things are going, I am grateful that anyone on the same side of the fence as Monckton can show that they have actually considered the situation. What we always seem to get is denial that Climate Change is happening, or if it is, denial that it is anything to worry about. Adoption of these positions seems to be a right-wing rite of passage, even though it is obvious that they neither know nor care where the passage in question is leading them.

    I rather think that we are at the last chance saloon. The science is not going to win the day with the denialati. Even the knowledge that YouTube etc. has a wealth of evidence showing those who are responsible for the lack of action on tackling Climate Change does not deter them, and I would not be in their shoes for all the tea in China when the public eventually sees through the deception. So let's encourage Professor Adler. We might as well, nothing else is working.

    Overly pessimistic? Possibly, but who reading this seriously expects anything dramatic to come from next week's Earth Summit 2012? And we really are now at the stage where only dramatic action is going to guarantee a tolerable future for the next generation and beyond. This blog should now be at the stage where it is discussing the scientific merits, or otherwise, of the remedial actions currently proposed instead of seeing a "Glimmer of hope" because a right-winger speaks some sense for a change.
    0 0
  14. On the conservative side of things, the Economist, has a great special on global warming in the current addition. They don't start from a position of denial, represent the data accurately, and speak to the benefits and dangers of the warming. Absolutely nothing is going to come from the Earth Summit, except more warming.
    0 0
  15. Tom@7: I'm afraid that you are discussing rhetorical strategy, not real policy choices. This kind of conservative ideology is one of the major reasons we're in this predicament. Trying to be nice to these people in hopes of persuading them to come to your side is a delusion. The reason so many conservatives repudiate the concept of global warming is that they implicitly, and occasionally explicitly, recognize that admitting the existence and magnitude of the problem undermines their ideology. For a good example, take a look at the part of Rachel Maddow's interview of Senator Inhofe where he admits that global warming seemed reasonable to him until he thought about the consequences of conceding its existence. You may think the conservatism means defending the status quo, but Adler's version of conservatism, widely prevalent in the USA, is a form of neo-liberal (Coasian) libertarian radicalism.

    Composer@9: So, what are the legal barriers and how would they be reduced? How would permitting be simplified? In the USA, this would mean reducing reducing local and state authority and de facto strengthening federal authority. Equally important, Adler's suggestion would likely involve reducing the ability of existing property owners to use court systems to obstruct wind developments. Again, this would tilt authority to administrative bureaucracies, most likely Federal level ones. This is hardly a libertarian, "conservative" approach. Several of Adler's proposals are sensible, including regulatory reforms to facilitate offshore windpower developments, but claiming that these are "small government, conservative" policies is window dressing.
    0 0
  16. Ralbin@15 -- Surely it's OK to discuss 'rhetorical strategy'. It's just another phrase for climate communication and that's a valid topic for discussion. I guess that labelling people and putting them in boxes is valid too, as long as we keep sight of the fact that the main game is persuasion, not classification.
    0 0
  17. I think conservatism in the US has become different from conservatism in the rest of the West. I think conservatism there has become obsessed with attacking the left and will attack most things that the left supports just because the left supports them. Libertarianism is threatened by the market not having an answer to AGW and hence is looking for reasons to believe it does not exist. Denialism is a club created by libertarians that has been enthusiastically adopted by many conservatives as something to beat the left with. With the libertarians the matter is what they are protecting. With conservatives it is part of the general attack on the left.

    Most other Western countries have a pragmatic secular conservatism rather than the religious conservatism or the libertarianism that seem to form most of the right in the US. What denialism you fing elswhere is i think mostly ispired by the denialism in the US. .
    0 0
  18. GillianB@16. The game is developing sensible policies to meet the challenges of global climate change. Encouraging the (-snip-) of individuals like Adler is potentially self-defeating as these long-falsified libertarian ideas are part of the problem. This problem has two dimensions; one is the actions and influence of sincere but misguided individuals like Adler. The second and greater dimention is that "(-snip-)" like Adler provide the ideological justification for what would otherwise be transparently exploitative actions of the wealthy. This is a major feature of public life for the past few decades. For a concise and actually prescient account, try David Harvey's short history of neo-liberalism. Developing sensible climate policy requires combating these powerful and deeply entrenched special interests, An important aspect of such efforts is discrediting their ideological support.

    Lloyd@17 - Thatcherite Britain was one of the major sources of neo-liberalism, though I agree that the strong evangelical component of American conservatism is a pretty distinctive feature. When you refer to the pragmatic secular conservatism of the rest of the world, I suspect you are mainly thinking about Europe (possibly Australia as well, I'm not competent on this point). The relative moderation of conservatism in much of western Europe is an interesting consequence of WWII and the nature of the postwar reconstruction of western Europe. The catastrophe of WWII had the general effect of discrediting a large spectrum of right wing politics, pushing the political center leftward. There is a nice discussion of this point in Tony Judt's fine book Postwar. Conservatism in Europe and America has been consistently obsessed with attacking the left for approximately 2 centuries.
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [DB] Inflammatory snipped.
  19. ralbin@15 & 18 -- "Trying to be nice to these people in hopes of persuading them to come to your side is a delusion."

    Yes, it certainly appears that no amount of persuasion will convince the right. Indeed this is almost a definition of "the right" these days. Far-right and central-right in the US and Australia seem prepared to cause a lot of damage on their way to getting and keeping power. That makes for an asymetrical power struggle because the left isn't prepared to trash the economy, the environment and science itself.

    Thanks for the perspective on the right in post-WWII Europe. It makes sense. I think Germany's position is also bolstered by the fact that Angela Merkel is scientifically literate. As was Margaret Thatcher.
    0 0
  20. GillianB: "the main game is persuasion, not classification"

    I am glad that other people see that. There have been other threads here that discussed potential ways to appeal to conservatism like promoting self sufficiency and getting government out of the energy subsidy business. Seems to me that a steady dose of persuasion along with some facts about inevitable long term consequences and the carbon commons will be more effective than horse trading to try to win over politician by politician.
    0 0
  21. Gillian et al., I've had decent success when I avoid using absolutes (labeling, categorizing, using terminal rhetoric) and when I ask questions. The paid-for machine gains traction on the closed minds of those who want the silly memes to be true. Work on some of those minds publicly in comment streams and in face-to-face discussion. Open them up to the possibility not that AGW is real, our responsibility, and bad, but simply that it's possible that you can be reasonable, that someone who accepts the theory is not actually an ideologue or memebot. Model reasonable dialogue. Find common ground. Pop a few hypotheticals. Draw the person out from behind the curtain of ready-made opinion. Even spending a week working on one person in a public venue is worth it, because of the sharp contrast it provides to the Rush Limbaughs and Christopher Bookers of the world -- the opinion-makers.

    And, of course, modeling effective and respectful dialogue is a gift that keeps on giving.

    In the last few weeks, I've been able to move people from very loud and cliched claims of hoax to being open to talking about solutions to the problem. Of course, this has typically been something like, "Well even if you're right the carbon tax will be a total fail." It has taken a lot of time, but I'm pretty sure I'm not just working on one person at a time. It also confirms and informs the people who accept but don't understand the details. It's better than a "Shut up, you Repubnutter."
    0 0
  22. ralbin:

    With regards to:
    So, what are the legal barriers and how would they be reduced? How would permitting be simplified? In the USA, this would mean reducing reducing local and state authority and de facto strengthening federal authority. Equally important, Adler's suggestion would likely involve reducing the ability of existing property owners to use court systems to obstruct wind developments. Again, this would tilt authority to administrative bureaucracies, most likely Federal level ones. This is hardly a libertarian, "conservative" approach.

    As far as I can see, from a logical perspective the "de facto strengthening" of federal authority does not follow from reducing local or state authority.

    In addition, you appear to be omitting the property rights of the wind farm developer in your statement about the property rights of nearby owners. Logically, reducing the ability of non-owners to override the developer's property rights (by interfering with a wind farm development) does not, of necessity, require additional bureaucracy or administration.
    0 0
  23. ralbin @15: The point you're making follows up nicely with what I was asking Tom. There are precious few conservatives left in the USA who are willing to disgree (in public at least) with their bottom line argument that government can do nothing right. It's become an ideological litmus test for them that didn't exist twenty years ago. Hence, people like Adler and Wehner are few and far between. And I would bet that they don't get much funding for their work from self-identified conservative sources. A good example of type of person who once used to be considered reliable to at least recognize facts and offer a conservative response to them is George Will. But look at how he gets smacked down for misuse of facts (e.g., Arcic ice, the 70's "consensus") when he does try to deal with science.
    0 0
  24. Lloyd@17, truer words I have not seen written here. I am usually fairly centrist, with a left-leaning tendency on social issues. The "right" has taken upon itself as a Crusade, to be against *anything* the "left" are for, irrespective of its basis in fact. As an earth scientist (geologist) with a strong interest in climate change, I find it increasingly and frustratingly difficult to use reason and logic with any denier.

    "I think conservatism [in the USA] has become obsessed with attacking the left and will attack most things that the left supports just because the left supports them. Libertarianism is threatened by the market not having an answer to AGW and hence is looking for reasons to believe it does not exist. Denialism is a club created by libertarians that has been enthusiastically adopted by many conservatives as something to beat the left with. With the libertarians the matter is what they are protecting. With conservatives it is part of the general attack on the left."
    0 0
  25. It's interesting to read the comments. I've blogged myself that I'm philosophically very aligned with "small l libertarianism" but that philosophy must yield to the realities of the limits of a finite planet in terms of resource depletion and self-poisoning (of which climate change is one, but not the sole, example).

    I'm also conservative in a classical sense of conserving natural resources, financial wherewithal, personal responsibility, the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, etc. I've also blogged that I'm most embarrassed, when describing myself as conservative, to be associated with today's Republican party and the so-called conservative mouthpieces. I've got a post entitled "I used to be a Republican," which I did. Of course, I ended that post with "But don't mistake me for a Democrat."

    Therefore, I'm a bit taken aback by comments from such as ralbin who would, I believe, write such as me off when I contrarily think "my type" is, in a sense, key to our chances. Anyway, my point is that there are people of a conservative frame of mind who are not enemies of facts. One would think that the readership of SkS would regard that as a good thing.
    0 0
  26. "Anyway, my point is that there are people of a conservative frame of mind who are not enemies of facts."
    As a conservative American who contributes to this forum, I felt your comment resonated with me. I hold many of the "classical" conservative values you mention dear yet differ from those Republicans I get classified (by default) with for much the same reasons as you.
    "One would think that the readership of SkS would regard that as a good thing."
    I do. Keep posting.
    0 0
  27. pa32r @25, I come from a very different political perspective to either you or Daniel. However, I absolutely agree that the key issue here is whether or not you are guided by the science or not. I would gladly accept a conservative response to climate change, so long as it was an effective response; and am very happy for conservatives such as you, Daniel, Barry Bickmore and Richard Alley to have a voice.
    0 0
  28. Total agreement, TC. Having the same conversation on several threads around the nets. I'm probably considered "progressive" by people who feel the need to label me. Even so, when I read the Fumento piece, I felt some sort of weight lift from my shoulders.
    0 0
  29. I find many of the comments here refreshing, and am eager to hear more from thoughtful conservatives/libertarians on this topic.

    DSL@28 Where are the other threads "around the nets" you mention?.

    BTW, in addition to Adler, Wehner, Fumento, et al, theres' a list (with links) of libertarian's who take climate seriously at bullet #5 at "Toward a Productive Libertarian View on Climate...etc." and some interesting links in the Wikipedia entry for "Green Libertarianism" -- a phrase I just heard for the first time.

    Of course, there are also several related threads right here on SkS.
    0 0
  30. Various news site threads attached to articles on GW. It's like trench warfare in cyberspace. Yet it's also an opportunity to model a better way of communicating that draws a mighty contrast to the mass of condemnatory one-liners filled with beautiful frankenwords like "libtard."

    I'm professionally interested in how misinformation spreads--how it changes, the rapidity of the spread of a meme, how entrenched the beliefs are, etc. Comment streams are a rich source of information, even when trolled by the apparatchiks of opinion-making organizations. It's kind of a game for me, even though there are real-world implications. I pick a few commenters who seem badly misinformed and belligerent, and I work them patiently, evenly-keeled, until I get them to start asking questions and admit that neither of us has a handle on absolute truth, but that a blanket condemnation is clearly a bad idea.

    One common starting point presents itself when people say things like "the climate has been changing for millions of years." I ask, "how do you know that?" And that, of course, presents a lovely paradox for them. Some never respond. Some crack open their can of critical thinking just a little and admit the situation is not as simple as "all climate scientists are liberal commies and frauds (climategate proves it!)."
    0 0
  31. My biggest problem is on a conservative forum that I have been on for 13 years. I pick the worst of the misunderstandings, often repeated by the same commentors, and try to chip away at those. The number one problem is debates on fundamentals (e.g. GHG physics) being presented as mainstream scientific controversy. The presence of fringe controversy is a fact and strength of science, but it is obviously being badly misused. Some of those posters are knowing disinformation trolls, but some are not. I don't assume anything, just try to post facts. I also post about what I believe to be legitimate scientific controversy such as some aspects that I have argued on this forum.
    0 0
  32. More conservative advocates of a revenue-neutral carbon tax:

    A short list of quotes from other conservative supporters of a revenue-neutral carbon tax can be found at CarbonTax.org.

    The Frum Forum hosts a Kenneth Silber post titled, "How the GOP Should Explain Climate Change," with a sample speech for a Republican candidate that includes a ringing call for a carbon tax:

    "My plan is straightforward and honest. We will raise taxes on carbon emissions across the board, while cutting taxes on payrolls and incomes. That means more money in people’s pockets, and more incentives for industry to develop cleaner and safer energy supplies."

    [links to the above can be found at the bottom of the original post at ClimateBites.)
    0 0
  33. I'm curious about the logic of 'revenue neutral' here. Setting aside general justifications for government R&D for new technology, and some other things, following the concepts of an efficient market and externalities, the tax rate is justified by the public cost, so it would make sense to spend the revenue on those costs. Of course, the way in which the costs are realized is somewhat up to us even given a particular forcing scenario - relocation verses adapation in place, paying for injuries as the happen verses proactive actions. We could concievably spend the money now on adaptive water supply infrastructure - or those bits which we can design now given our climate knowledge (some additions might concievably have to wait until we know more details about where and when the rains will go, etc.). There could also be agricultural R&D. And some costs will be incurred by the government itself, of course.

    One caveat is that you would generally want to avoid spending money to subsidize innefficient adaptation means. One might want to pay compensation once for a reduction in property value suffered or for upgrades (but maybe only up to a point, since people (setting aside more caveats) already have had opportunity to retreat from coasts and drying and heating-up regions, for example), but wouldn't want to mask the price signals when insurance costs rise at some location, as that may encourage people to relocate to a less risky place.

    Maybe some mix between tax and dividend (equal per capita) and tax and cut other taxes could be seen as an economic investment, so that there will be more wealth in the future that can be taxed when public spending on the costs of climate change will be necessary, and also as a general compensation to people now for what they or their heirs may deal with later or for there proactive measures taken now, but there will be inequalities.

    And compensation, in some form, will eventually have to cross national boundaries...
    0 0
  34. ... on national boundaries - the tax itself could come along with some tariff (somehow proportional to emissions (if all countries did this, then I think it would only be the emissions only in what was done to a product/service in the last country, not the entire upstream chain)/export subsidy (not proportional to emissions on a per product/service basis - why reward our own polluters just because another country would?) proportional to the tax and to differences among national policies.
    0 0
  35. 'inequities' probably a better word choice for last word of 2nd-to-last paragraph of my first of 2 prior comments; sorry for being nit-picky.
    0 0
  36. Patrick, I believe what is meant by revenue neutral is that tax is collected on carbon emission and all of it distribute back on per capita basis. That way is it is not adding to government or redistributing wealth to the unworthy - concerns for the right wing.
    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

TEXTBOOK

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

THE DEBUNKING HANDBOOK

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2014 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us