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

Lindzen Illusion #3 and Christy Crock #5: Opposing Climate Solutions

Posted on 3 May 2011 by dana1981

Christy Crocks (200 x 70 pixels)Recently, "skeptic" climate scientist John Christy testified before U.S. Congress, and both Christy and fellow "skeptic" Richard Lindzen have been interviewed on an Australian radio talk show regarding the country's proposed carbon tax. 

In each situation, these two scientists spoke out against efforts to address climate change by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Tragedy of the Commons Once Again

Their main argument seems to be becoming a favorite amongst "skeptics": "CO2 limits will make little difference."  In his radio interview, Christy applied the argument to California (which is attempting to implement a carbon cap and trade system), Australia (with the aforementioned proposed carbon tax), and in his congressional testimony, to the USA:

"We’re talking about less than a hundredth of a degree [if California cuts emissions by 26% by 2016]. It’s just so miniscule; I mean the global temperature changes by more than that from day to day. So this is what we call in Alabama “spitting in the ocean”."

"On the climate front, [Australia cutting its emissions by 5% by 2020] will be imperceptible or minuscule compared to what the rest of the world is doing."

"you're looking at most at a tenth of a degree [reduction in global temperature] after 100 years [if USA imposes CO2 limits]"

Lindzen attempted to apply the argument globally:

"The evidence is pretty good that even if everyone [cut emissions] in the whole world it wouldn't make a lot of difference."

We have previously addressed this argument as applied to Australia by Chris Monckton and David Evans, and applied to the USA by David Montgomery.  However, given that the USA is the largest historical CO2 emitter, the second-largest current emitter, and high on the list in terms of per capita emissions, it may be worthwhile to evaluate these claims.  Let's run the numbers using CO2 emissions data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration

Current global CO2 emissions total approximately 30 billion tons (Gt) per year, with the USA contributing approximately 20% (5.8 Gt per year).  US emissions have risen approximately 15% since 1990, so let's assume in a business as usual scenario, they will continue to rise at that rate.  In this case, total US CO2 emissions between now and 2050 will total approximately 275 Gt.  The IPCC projects that in business as usual, global CO2 emissions will total approximately 2,200 Gt over that period.

If the USA were to follow through with proposals to reduce CO2 emissions 83% below 2005 levels by 2050, the result would roughly cut the country's emissions over that period in half, to 140 Gt, reducing global emissions to approximately 2,060 Gt.

Approximately 55% of human CO2 emissions currently remain airborne (the remainder is absorbed by carbon sinks), and each 7.8 Gt CO2 emitted corresponds to roughly 1 part per million by volume (ppmv) increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.  Thus the US cuts would reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration to approximately 540 ppmv compared to 550 ppmv in business as usual in 2050.

Assuming the IPCC most likely climate sensitivity value of 3°C for doubled CO2 (incorporating only fast feedbacks - remember, long-term sensitivity is even higher) is correct, these US emissions cuts by themselves would reduce the amount of equilibrium warming by 0.08°C, from roughly 2.9 to 2.8°C surface warming above pre-industrial levels.  And of course Australia and California's cuts would have even less effect on global temperatures, as they have smaller populations and thus lower total emissions.  So Lindzen and Christy have a point here, right?

Well, no.  In particular, Lindzen claims that global emissions cuts "wouldn't make a lot of difference."  But let's say international negotiations succeeded in convincing countries all around the world to reduce global CO2 emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.  Now suddenly instead of 2,200 Gt CO2 emitted in the next four decades, it's only about 820 Gt.  Now instead of 550 ppmv in 2050, we're looking at about 450 ppmv. 

Instead of committing ourselves to 2.9°C warming above pre-industrial levels as in business as usual, we're only committed to 2°C, which keeps us right at the cusp of the global warming "danger limit."  Plus rather than blowing past the danger limit with CO2 levels continuing to rise rapidly, we'll have set up the technologies and infrastructure necessary to continue reducing emissions to safe levels.  Remember, the last time atmospheric CO2 was at current levels, global temperatures were 3 to 4°C warmer than pre-industrial, and sea levels were around 25 meters higher than current sea level.  So we really should aim to eventually stabilize atmospheric CO2 at no higher than 350 ppmv, and the more CO2 we emit now, the more difficult that will be.  We're currently adding another 2 ppmv  CO2 to the atmoosphere per year, continually moving further away from that 350 ppmv target.

So clearly Lindzen is wrong that global emissions cuts won't make a difference.  And the only way we're going to achieve large global emissions cuts is if major emitters like the USA and Australia lead the way in reducing their emissions.  And the USA is more likely to proceed if states like California demonstrate that CO2 limits can be implemented successfully.  Thus although these individual cuts won't have a significant direct impact on global temperatures, they can have a major indirect effect by triggering more widespread emissions cuts.

Costs vs. Benefits 

In his Australian radio interview, Lindzen also claimed that the costs of CO2 limits would outweigh the benefits.

"[CO2 limits are] a heavy cost for no benefit, and it's no benefit for you, no benefit for your children, no benefit for your grandchildren, no benefit for your great-great-great-great-grandchildren. I mean, what's the point of that?"

Christy made a similar argument both in his US Congressional testimony and his Australian radio interview.

"this issue has policy implications that may potentially raise the price of energy a lot, and thus essentially the price of everything else."

"I would think a couple of things will happen [if Australia cuts its emissions by 5% by 2020]. One is that your energy prices will rise and your economy then will begin to turn downward. And you will provide opportunities for other nations to take up the slack that Australia used to provide the world."

It's true that carbon limits would likely cause a modest rise in the market price of energy.  However, the funds from selling carbon emissions permits could be used to offset this price increase through improved energy efficiency and other measures.  Economic studies showed that the proposed CO2 limits in the USA would have virtually no impact on average electricity bills, for example.  It's important to distinguish between prices and bills – an increase in the former doesn't necessarily cause an increase in the latter, if other measures are taken to prevent bills from rising.

Moreover, the true cost of coal energy, on which Australia and the USA rely heavily, is approximately triple the market price, which does not account for factors like impacts on public or environmental health.  Thus a carbon price more accurately reflects this true cost in the market price, and also aids in the transition to other energy sources whose true cost is actually lower than fossil fuels.  So although market prices may rise, the total cost paid by Australians, Americans, etc. will actually fall.

This is one of the reasons that contrary to Lindzen's claims, the benefits of carbon limits outweigh the costs several times over.  This is something that economic studies and economic experts consistently agree about.  You could even call it an economic climate consensus.  A recent survey of 144 of the world's top economists with expertise on climate change found that 88% agreed that the benefits of carbon pricing outweigh the costs, and over 94% agreed the US should reduce its GHG emissions if other major emitters also commit to reductions (which many already have, particularly in Europe):

should US reduce emissions

 

NYU IPI survey results when asked under what circumstances the USA should reduce its emissions

Stick to What You Know

In their comments dissuading Australian and American efforts to address the threats posed by global warming and climate change, Lindzen and Christy made a number of erroneous and false statements.  Perhaps these climate scientists should leave the economic arguments to, you know, economists.  And they should certainly stop promoting the Tragedy of the Commons.  If the USA can argue that its emissions cuts won't make a difference, then every country can make the argument.  And if everyone makes it, we'll fail to achieve even modest emissions cuts, and as a result we will all doom ourselves to increasingly dangerous global warming and climate change.

A good scientist should not encourage us to play Russian Roulette with the climate, all the while adding more and more bullets to the chamber.

0 0

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

Comments

1  2  3  Next

Comments 1 to 50 out of 110:

  1. "Assuming the IPCC most likely climate sensitivity value of 3°C for doubled CO2"

    Aye, there's the rub.
    0 0
  2. ClimateWatcher @1,

    Vacuous comments are not constructive.

    You need to please read this post, and the overwhelming scientific literature that supports a sensitivity of near +3 C warming for doubling CO2, and then re-read the article.
    0 0
  3. Climate Watcher (#1) appears to have cherry picked a quote out of context and in doing so is essentially arguing against the contextual point of the author: “So Lindzen and Christy have a point here, right?”
    0 0
  4. The longer you argue that limits on CO2 will have no effect, the more truthful it becomes. Which of course is the whole point of the skeptic/denier game.
    The aim is to delay.
    0 0
  5. As it so happens, the next Lindzen Illusion (coming later this week) will be on climate sensitivity. For now let's just say the smart thing to do is to assume the IPCC is right.
    0 0
  6. Presumably Lindzen's belief that global emissions cuts would have negligible impact is founded upon his belief that doubling CO2 would cause at most 1 C of warming... which doesn't appear to be founded on anything, and indeed directly contradicts observed reality.
    0 0
  7. CBD - I agree, Lindzen's position is likely based on a presumed low climate sensitivity. As I noted, we'll be addressing that Lindzen Illusion next. There really is no reason whatsoever to believe Lindzen is correct on low sensitivity, other than perhaps misguided wishful thinking.
    0 0
  8. 2. & 3.

    The trends since 1979 indicate a rate of warming at 1.5 K per century (1.7 for GISS, 1.3 for CRU).

    I'm having a hard time justifying the 3 spot from there.
    0 0
    Response:

    [dana1981] As other commenters have noted, atmospheric CO2 has not yet doubled.  In fact if you read Lindzen Illusions #1 and #2, you'll see that the warming over the period in question is indeed consistent with 3°C sensitivity (as will be discussed in LI #4).

  9. ClimateWatcher - I hope you will note that we haven't doubled CO2 yet, and that in addition there hasn't been enough time for a full response to the forcings we have induced.

    3K seems about right. Your comments are rather hard to justify, though.
    0 0
  10. CW#8: "I'm having a hard time justifying the 3 spot from there. "

    Why? Just because? Or do you have some inside information that you'd care to share?

    The current trend of 0.15C per decade is consistent with 2-3deg/doubling of CO2. Considering the NH warming rates are more than twice the global and the global temperature graph is concave up, worse is yet to come.
    0 0
  11. ClimateWatcher - My apologies - reading that over, my last post was unnecessarily harsh.

    However: we're at 390 ppm, pre-industrial levels were 280, and we won't have doubled CO2 until we reach 560 ppm. At that time the best estimates are of a 3C temperature increase for short term, rather more for long term as ice and CO2 feedbacks kick in.

    Hence a 1.5-1.7K per century, rate increasing, (~0.8C so far) for the GHG increase we have induced so far is just about right for the various IPCC estimates.
    0 0
  12. ClimateWatcher, how about you work out the difference between the most recent trend you have given and, say, the trend for the 32 years previous to that - from 1949 to 1981. What do you find ?
    0 0
  13. The tragedy of the commons certainly applies, but what I think a lot of people who argue that any individual country derives no benefit from reducing its own emissions neglect is the fact that world powers do not exist in a vacuum. If you are a small player, you would derive no benefit, but if, say, China and the US cooperated in reductions, they could exert enormous influence on other countries to follow suit.

    For example, they could say, "If you want to trade with us, either follow our lead on CO2 reductions, or we'll tax your imports." Either country might suffice to get the ball rolling, but if the EU, China, and the US forged an agreement, the rest of the world would have little choice but to follow suit.
    0 0
  14. That's a very good point, Chris G. It's somewhat complicated by real world politics, though.

    If the US told China to apply a carbon price, or they'd tax all imports, what would China do? Considering that if they chose to play hardball, the US would almost certainly cave (given that a large portion of the US economy now depends on goods from China, and China is also the largest holder of US foreign debt, they're really over a barrel).

    On the other hand, if China chose to impose a carbon price, I don't think the US would have any real choice but to go along.

    Another complication is whether the WTO would regard a carbon tax on imports (from countries that don't have a carbon tax) as a form of protectionism. I'd hope they were smarter than that, but it's hard to say.
    0 0
  15. Chris G, Bern

    China's economy is growing fast, and so are its emissions.

    But unlike the US, they're investing heavily in renewables too.

    The US is being held hostage of FF lobbyists. It's perhaps an important weak point of their democracy, and it's making them lead the world's denialism and delayed action. Which is ironic, given the fact that a lot of the climate science, research and monitoring is US made.

    China does not seem interested in a carbon tax, AFAIK. They're doing the transition from a central command, just because the government saw it strategically fit. The US and EU, as large consumers, could impose efficency and environmental standards to exporters. This could be a big impulse for cleaner practices. The carbon tax could play an important role here, making these cleaner energy and goods more attractive to the internal consumer.

    But the US is choosing to lag behind. This will not look good in future history.
    0 0
  16. "It's important to distinguish between prices and bills – an increase in the former doesn't necessarily cause an increase in the latter, if other measures are taken to prevent bills from rising."

    And in a competitive economy what measures would those be?

    Bankrupcy??
    0 0
  17. 16, Ken,
    Bankrupcy??

    This is alarmism of the worst kind, and the crux of the problem with those who fiercely resist the science and the solutions. This panicked fear that costs must be extreme, to the point of destroying economies, is absurd.

    First, no one is very easily going to give up comforts, let alone necessities. No one is going to sit idly by while all of civilization crumbles. That only happens when the economy spirals out of control through greed and mismanagement (see 1929, 1987, 2007).

    Second, a transition to alternate energy sources does not represent a net loss to society as a whole. The infrastructure of society is constantly being renewed. Nothing lasts. Manufacturing and transportation equipment, roads, rail lines, power lines, power plants, everything is constantly being maintained or replaced.

    So if we simply change what we use to replace the old... newer, better techniques using renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels... there is no net loss to the economy. The loss is only to those who would profit from purely fossil fuel solutions. In the long run, there is a net gain for society.

    All economies benefit.

    In fact, the only losers will be those who desperately cling to the old, inefficient and uneconomical ways, as the smarter, more adaptable economies move forward and embrace change.

    Alarmism and panic are not helpful.
    0 0
  18. Ken,
    For only the most simple example:
    If energy costs go up 50% and I install more insulation so that my energy use goes down 60% I save money and have lower total bills. Your suggestion of bankruptcy is alarmism of the worst kind and is easily shown to be untrue.

    If I install a ground source heat pump I save money, even if energy costs go way up, and it expands the economy since I have to pay to have the heat pump manufactured installed.
    0 0
  19. Bern, Alexandre,
    Absolutely, it is a simple concept at the highest level; it is more complicated as you get into the details. I concur on everything you said, FF industry, US indebtedness to China, US in historical view (nevermind when the world's hungry turn their baneful eyes from their own leaders to the US), etc. IMHO, it would be foolish for the US to try to strong-arm China. It is to be hoped that we have a rational leadership when talks resume.

    No, I would guess that China is not interested in a carbon tax. A tax is how governments steer a free market, and China's market is not as free as the US's. Any agreement would have to focus more on emissions reductions rather than the mechanism for how those reductions were achieved. Pity that CO2 satellite did not make it in to orbit.

    My main point is that, despite the rather un-democratic nature of it, it might be more effective to pursue an emissions agreement amongst the top few economies rather than pursue one that is acceptable to 100 or more at the start. At this point, I, personally, would accept a non-democratic solution over no solution.
    0 0
  20. Sphaerica at 00:17 AM on 4 May, 2011

    I have noticed this "alarmism against mitigation" for some time now. Dan Moutal mentioned an interesting similar pattern by the time of the CFC problem: people claimed that prices of apliances would skyrocket, poor countries would be denied access to these conveniences, manufacturers would go bankrupt, and so on. Of course, the world survived the Montreal protocol quite well.
    0 0
  21. Of course, neither the US nor China want to put their economy at a competitive disadvantage; so, China wants to focus on per capita reductions and the US, it is not clear to me what the US officials want to focus on. But, we have one of the higher per capita emission levels, especially when you consider the cumulative totals; so, our leaders tend not to like China's proposals.

    Political backlash is a problem in a democracy. If the elected officials make an agreement that puts what the average person sees as a competitor on a level playing field, those officials are likely to lose the next election and have their agreement tossed out. Maybe the US debt to China can be leveraged to enforce an agreement, a calling of the debt if the US fails to comply. That would not save the officials, but it might save the agreement.

    I don't know; politics is not my strong point.
    0 0
  22. Ken #16 - instead of resorting to knee jerk alarmism, maybe try reading the post and links. When prices go up, the easy way to curb bills is to decrease consumption, by investing some of the carbon funds in energy efficiency programs. In fac that's exactly what the RGGI states are doing, as I discussed in "A Real-World Example of Carbon Pricing Benefits Outweighing Costs". They invested 52% of the funds from their cap and trade programs in energy efficiency.

    China plans to establish a carbon cap and trade system by 2015, by the way. It will be incredibly embarrasing if they beat the US to it.
    0 0
  23. Chris G

    I would not suggest to strongarm China. The US is a huge importer. It's in the position to demand efficiency standards, for example. This would affect the US consuption directly. Chinese consumers would end up having access to the same goods, and that woul eventually affect their overall efficiency as well. American an European standards tend to be copied elsewhere in the world overtime, so I do believe this kind of role model leadership would have a practical effectiveness.

    Our Brazilian automotive emission laws only happened because developed countries did it first, then our bureaucrats thaought it would be a good idea to adopt it too.

    Those restrictuions could maybe include emission standards for the manufacturer. Also if the US had a more aggressive reneweable energy research (like say Germany), the costs of these sources would drop more rapidly, stimulating the migration without so much cohersion.

    I don't think the influence of the US as a world leader should be underestimated, even if it's not as hegemonic as it was years ago. The American influence on this issue has been negative so far. I'm convinced an American positive influence would make a large difference.
    0 0
  24. Typing from my cell phone here. Please disregard the many typos above...
    0 0
  25. "And in a competitive economy what measures would those be?
    Bankruptcy??"

    Of course, this is a text book argument from the Contrarian Movement. As has already been pointed out, the additional cost of carbon-rich energy, when taxed, will be applied to the *unit* cost of the energy (in MJ or kw-h), not to the total bill. In the last 10 years, I've seen my electricity tariffs rise by 8c/kw-h (due almost entirely to privatization & inflation), yet I'm currently paying about $40 per month *less*-on my total electricity bill-than what I was 10 years ago, simply by halving my daily use (purchasing energy efficient appliances & light globes, less reliance on stand-by modes & swapping my electric hot water system for a continuous flow gas hot water system). Now it's true that I spend about $20/month for my gas hot water, but that still leaves me $20/month better off than 10 years ago-& I can probably improve my position further by getting insulation installed to reduce my energy use for heating & cooling-so claims that reducing our CO2 emissions will send us *bankrupt* are just complete nonsense. Businesses & Industry also have plenty of room for reducing their CO2 emissions *and* reducing their total energy use. For example, the cement industry generates about 1t of CO2 for every tonne of cement made. Now I've seen evidence to suggest that this can be significantly reduced by measures like (a) recycling of old cement, (b) use of aluminium silicate instead of Calcium Carbonate, (c) capturing the CO2 from baking Calcium Carbonate & converting it to algal biomass, (d) using bio-gas, rather than natural gas, to bake the calcium carbonate. Of course, if the industry also captured its waste heat & converted it to electricity, then they could offset the costs of a carbon tax via the sale of electricity (co-generation). So we see that, yet again, a Carbon Tax represents an *opportunity*, more than it does a *burden*.
    0 0
  26. Who is against energy efficiency? Not me. But any method of reducing usage must make economic sense.

    Use of PV Solar panels with huge taxpayer subsidies is not one of them - and State Govts in Australia are winding back or abandoning such costly schemes.

    Solar hot water, ground heat pumps, insulation, low energy bulbs all make some economic sense at current energy costs.

    Some consumption is inelastic - putting up the price won't reduce usage much because there are not any short term alternatives. Diesel or petrol for a transport operator to earn a living is a good example.
    0 0
  27. Ah, another textbook Denialist Argument from Ken-in 2 parts no less.

    Part 1 is to decry the "evil" subsidies enjoyed by the still relatively young renewable energy industry, whilst remaining deafeningly silent about the much larger direct & indirect subsidies still enjoyed by the *mature* fossil fuel industry. What's the matter, Ken, afraid of having to operate on a more *level* playing field?

    Part 2 is the claim that "some consumption is inelastic" because there are "no short term alternatives". Well if there is any truth to that, its because the fossil fuel industry-with the help of complicit governments-have worked very hard to make sure that there *aren't* any alternatives available. In strict technical terms, though, there are numerous options for reducing the current consumption of fossil fuels-be it switching to alternative fuels (algae derived bio-diesel, diesel-electric vehicles, blended fuels & transporting of freight via trains instead of by road). Price signals will definitely help put pressure on government agencies, vehicle & fuel suppliers to get off their collective *you-know-whats* & start making these alternatives more readily available.
    0 0
  28. "Use of PV Solar panels with huge taxpayer subsidies is not one of them - and State Govts in Australia are winding back or abandoning such costly schemes."

    This claim is long on propaganda, but very short on fact. The subsidies for PV solar panels are actually quite small-compared to many other subsidies provided to Middle Class families in Australia. Also, the WA & NSW currently provide an overly generous solar energy subsidy for *all* electricity generated, & so these 2 governments are currently looking at bringing them in line with the schemes provided by most of the other States-namely a subsidy *only* for the energy fed into the grid-a move I happen to agree with. Also, wherever they are in place around the world, feed-in tariff subsidies were *never* designed to be permanent. As their goal of making renewable energy more cost competitive with fossil fuels is increasingly achieved, the feed-in tariff subsidies were always designed to be *phased out*-unlike the very generous subsidies that still remain for the fossil fuel industry.
    0 0
  29. Had to laugh

    On the one hand you post that Lindzen and Christy are wrong about whether cutting emissions will make a difference.

    "...So Lindzen and Christy have a point here, right?

    Well, no. In particular, Lindzen claims that global emissions cuts "wouldn't make a lot of difference." But let's say international negotiations succeeded in convincing countries all around the world to reduce global CO2 emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. Now suddenly instead of 2,200 Gt CO2 emitted in the next four decades, it's only about 820 Gt. Now instead of 550 ppmv in 2050, we're looking at about 450 ppmv."


    Where you point out that if everything went right and everyone followed along , globally we might cut emissions to 450ppm

    And in your very next post you tell us that 450ppm means disaster.

    "Prior to these developments atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450ppm was equated as limiting average global temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. This can no longer be maintained. Hansen and Sato (2011) using paleoclimate data rather than models of recent and expected climate change warn that “goals of limiting human made warming to 2°C and CO2 to 450 ppm are prescriptions for disaster”."

    It seems Lindzen and Christy were right afterall. Or 450ppm doesn't spell disaster. Pick one.
    0 0
  30. TTT @29,

    Well, now we are both laughing. I'm sure Dana, and others, are going to have much fun with your post @29.
    0 0
  31. TTTM @29, to use an analogy, 450 ppm is like an express train running into some freight cars. 550 ppm is like an express train running into some freight cars when no-one has applied the brakes! The question is, why are all the deniers advising our analogical Casey Jones to jump?
    0 0
  32. @ Tom.

    Bad analogy, Tom. Casy Jones died.

    And so following on with your anaogy, we all pull the brakes on CO2 emissions ...and then apparently all die in the upcoming "disaster" anyway.
    0 0
  33. TTTM#32: "we all pull the brakes on CO2 emissions ...and then apparently all die in the upcoming "disaster" anyway. "

    OK, then, you've got yet another argument for doing nothing. What new heights of illogic will we find along this path? A crash at 60mph will kill you, so why not go 100 mph?
    0 0
  34. Why is it you think that I believe we should do nothing?

    What you and I believe have different drivers. My driver is having a sustainability based focus with and mitigating actual risk associated with "weather" by doing things like building pipelines and dams, avoiding floodplains where possible and so on. This is where I'd spend my money.

    Your drivers are focussing on reduction of CO2. This is where you'd spend your money.
    0 0
  35. TTTM @32 - good analogy - the passengers survived; but they wouldn't have if the brakes had not been applied.

    @34 I fail to see how my not living in a flood plain will save the Great Barrier Reef from destruction, the Amazon from turning into grassland, or the Arctic from melting. All of these are probably consequences in a plus 2 degree world.
    0 0
  36. "I fail to see how my not living in a flood plain will save the Great Barrier Reef from destruction, the Amazon from turning into grassland, or the Arctic from melting. All of these are probably consequences in a plus 2 degree world."

    The thing is Tom, the two SkS articles have suggested thats where we're heading with or without global reduction in CO2. So my approach actually helps whereas yours doesn't. Apparently.
    0 0
  37. TTTM. Of course, most of us here would argue that no-one from the Contrarian Movement has been able to show that the cost of CO2 mitigation will be greater than the cost of Adaptation. In fact, all available studies show that Mid to long term costs for mitigation approach zero, whereas adaptation costs will continue to grow over time. Secondly, the starting & finishing costs of adaptation are going to be *much* higher in a 560ppm world than in a 450ppm world. Also, the time for climate stabilization & eventual normalization will be a lot greater in the 560ppm scenario. None of which means that we shouldn't *try* to avoid reaching 450ppm too.
    0 0
  38. TTTM, why do you believe that this is a better use of money than CO2 reduction? The costs per person of protecting my city from 1m of sealevel change are extremely challenging. And if you dont limit CO2 at all, then eventually have cope with many meters of sealevel rise, so is that realistic?

    Now what about risks to water cycle (floods/drought)? Costed those?

    I've yet to see a report that makes realistic assumptions about climate change effects that suggests adaptation would be cheaper than mitigation. I'm all ears if you have a link though.
    0 0
  39. 36, TimTheToolMan,
    So my approach actually helps whereas yours doesn't.
    Actually, no, I think your approach fails, in that you will ultimately find that there are many things to which you simply can't adapt (like massive famine, if temperatures are allowed to rise to a point that dangerously impacts food production), and more importantly that the cost of such adaptation (or alternately minimalistic, hope-for-the-best mitigation) is far in excess of what it would cost to simply carefully and conservatively but efficiently and deliberately retool our energy infrastructure, starting as soon as possible.
    0 0
  40. TTTM, why do you believe that this is a better use of money than CO2 reduction?

    Because I believe I have a better sense of perspective than most people. The cities of today are radically different to those of 100 years ago. And the same will be true in 100 years time. We dont need to change it all at once, we do it over many generations and we wont even notice the costs.

    Do you think we've been hit with exorbitant costs over the last 100 years from sea level rise? I mean it rose and we dealt with it didn't we?

    I doubt you've even thought about previous rise and the associated costs because its not a worry to you.

    Floods happen. Droughts happen. We're better off building infrastructure to manage those events than to pretend we can make them go away by reducing CO2 emissions.

    I am 100% correct in saying building better infrastructure will help protect us from future weather events. Your probability is much lower by focussing on the reduction of CO2 emissions.
    0 0
  41. TTTM,

    Your problem, I think, is that like many contrarians you adopt an unrealistically panicked and alarmist approach. You equate simple, effective action now (to replace fossil fuels) with some sort of crazy, anarchist surge to completely wipe civilization and our modern economies from the face of the earth.

    That sort of cartoon view of the actions that we should be taking hamstrings your ability to consider mitigation from a rational perspective.
    0 0
  42. "Your problem, I think, is that like many contrarians you adopt an unrealistically panicked and alarmist approach."

    The irony is that as an AGWer this is your job, not mine. I also agree we should move away from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy sources but notice I said "sustainable" rather than "polluting" which is your mantra.
    0 0
  43. TTTM#40: "We're better off building infrastructure to manage those events than to pretend we can make them go away"

    Unfortunately for that hypothesis, rampant denialism has turned even the most minimal attempts into political punching bags. Look at the controversy over US EPA mileage reduction proposals -- even as watered down as they are, even though they will save consumers money in the long run, the deniers oppose them because it they smell of 'carbon tax.' Thanks for that result.
    0 0
  44. "the deniers oppose them because it they smell of 'carbon tax."

    Nobody likes being told what they can and cant do.

    Ultimately price will bring the US back into line with regards their fuel usage, car sizes and associated efficiencies but they've got a long way to go to get down to say, Europe's fuel prices.
    0 0
  45. TTTM @36, I believe the two articles are quite clear that a 450 ppm plus world is likely to be two degrees or more hotter than preindustrial levels, while a 350 ppm world will not be. If we reduce CO2 emission levels fast enough, we can stabilize between the two values; and with various carbon sequestration techniques (biochar or similar) can reduce the levels below current values. So my approach can avoid the train wreck. In contrast, with your approach CO2 levels will continue to rise in perpetuity, or at least until the breakdown of civilization puts a stop to the madness.
    0 0
  46. "Because I believe I have a better sense of perspective than most people."

    Ah, & like a true Denialist, TTTM believes he knows better than everyone else-how *typical*. Also, it is the Denier Camp who keep moaning & whining about how "Rooned" our economy will be if we adopt a more efficient, zero-carbon economy. Of course, what the Denialists are *really* saying is "better tax payers be forced to pony up the cost of adapting to climate change than the fossil fuel industry should lose even a single dollar of profits". I'd say that pretty much sums up your entire attitude TTTM.
    0 0
  47. "The irony is that as an AGWer this is your job, not mine."

    Sorry, but what is an AGWer exactly? Do you mean someone who has a very realistic idea of how bad things will get if we don't start adopting some key CO2 mitigation strategies ASAP? Now contrast that with the Denialists, who would seem to suggest that even 1kw-h of electricity *not* derived from fossil fuels somehow represents the end of civilization as we know it-which is about as panicky & alarmist as you can possibly get.
    0 0
  48. So tell us Tim, who is going to pay for those pipelines, dam walls & relocation of people impacted by climate change? The fossil fuel industry has contributed the most to the problem, so I think they should be contributing to the *solution*-be it mitigation or adaption, or both-but hark at the outrage from Denialist Camp when you suggest that.
    0 0
  49. I thought it went without saying that a bad result is better than a catastrophic result. But apparently some people need it said. TTTM seems to also have missed this part of the article:
    "Instead of committing ourselves to 2.9°C warming above pre-industrial levels as in business as usual, we're only committed to 2°C, which keeps us right at the cusp of the global warming "danger limit." Plus rather than blowing past the danger limit with CO2 levels continuing to rise rapidly, we'll have set up the technologies and infrastructure necessary to continue reducing emissions to safe levels."
    It's also worth noting that economic studies consistently show that TTTM is wrong, and mitigation costs far less than adaption.
    0 0
  50. TTTM - when in human civilisation have we dealt with 1m in hundred years? Its already an expensive problem. Nightmare going forward. Chances of us getting in adaption money from polluters? nil. So far "my perspective" doesnt cut it for me. Can I go to city hall for that? Care to back that with proper analysis or is your perspective based on betting there won't be 1m in 100 years?

    Now if we weaned off CO2 emissions so that we could be confident that ONLY 1m sealevel was going to happen and that sealevel would stablise again, then I think we could live with it. Otherwise,1.5-2m in the next century means abandoning my city.
    0 0

1  2  3  Next

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