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Comments 451 to 500:

  1. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    I doubt Zuckerberg cares at all - it's just business.

    As for "science and reason": remember that Mother Nature Bats Last.

  2. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Correction. The first wind farm in New Zealand was built by Genesis Energy in 1997. It was relatively small, and I had forgotten about it.

    I don't recall any specific government climate change policies from that period, but it must have been a result of emerging climate change concerns, because we have coal and gas reserves.

  3. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    It would be good if there were a method by which we could complain to Zuckerberg personally about this clown.  Banning him and his ilk would be a start. Facebook should start taking a stand for truth, since it is being used as a source of information (news). 

  4. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    Not a high profile science bod, but I will attempt.

    1/ Caution is required. Climate change obviously make heatwaves hotter, but proximal cause of actual heatwave is in the behaviour of jet streams. There is evidence to link climate change to this (see here and here) but it would be a brave person to call this settled science. Trying to explain how the media behaves though it well outside the scope of this site.

    2/ Hmm. I dont see any evidence for this. Peak temperature is usually 3pm and a quick perusal of UK weather data doesnt suggest any obvious change in that. Do you have an analysis to back this up?

    3/ Seems unlikely to me. The 2016 requests in Germany for stockpiling (not just food and water) were issued by CD during spate of attacks. Guessing reasons for government behaviour can be as difficult as for media. Not an area where any physical science has much to contribute.

  5. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    People like Morano promote ignorance. They abuse the right of free speech.

    Social media does create a global platform for ignorance. Sometimes I wonder if the internet is doing more harm than good.

    The climate denial and general internet nonsense shows little regard for dispassionately examining the evidence. It is clearly politically motivated and based on self interest, when you listen to peoples rhetoric, and people are reluctant to back down from this position by looking too closely.

    People get locked into beliefs because they are reluctant to admit they have been fooled. This is why people adhere so rigidly to conspiracies like the nasa moon landings thing, even when presented with obvious evidence otherwise.

    I agree I hope science and reason prevail. I wish they would prevail a little faster.

    It's hard countering an endless gish gallop of myths, and I think the one to focus on most is that climate change is being allegedly caused by solar cycles, because this will be in most peoples minds as a possibility. Show people good evidence that solar cycles don't explain recent warming. But yes, the consensus is very important as well and well proven to be above 90% by numerous studies.

  6. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    The first windfarm in New zealand was buit in about 2005 by Meridian Energy, and without government subsidies. It was a great success.

    The Labour government had been talking about a carbon tax for several years before then, and I recall reading opinion was that Meridian built the scheme because they could see a carbon tax coming anyway. In reality that legislation was never passed and a the next government introduced an emissions trading scheme around 2008. More windfarms were subsequently built.

    It looks like these various mechanisms including a carbon tax and ETS have helped promote wind farms, although our very windy climate is obviously a significant factor giving them good economic viability, so its hard to know what the main reasons were.

    Clearly the bottom line is we need a price on carbon by way of a carbon tax or cap and trade, and if this is sufficient to incentivise renewable energy in a 'timely' way this would be great. If not you will need subsidies as well, or some form of regulatory control. And I suspect you will need something like this.

  7. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    How is it not a crime for Youtube to post all those videos about how The Earth is Flat, or NASA is fake? "Social Media" couldn't care less about what is true and what isn't. When the internet started I thought, great, now people will have the tools to find out the truth about the world. I was wrong. It just gives people a way to find other people who don't care about truth and evidence and concoct even more bs. And now it has penetrated to the very highest levels of our government. I don't think there is much we can do now. Just hope that science and reason can win the day eventually.

  8. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?


    “they were priced too high when first introduced. Just what specific finance options would have overcome that?”

    I agree they probably tried and there weren’t any, or else they wouldn’t have needed the subsidies. With hindsight we can be thankful for these particular subsidies (for wind power).

    Notwithstanding, I’d still say the principle of subsidies in general is bad because it involves politicians giving away other people’s money for projects that have not been able to convince lenders they are worth the risk. Since some of the tax-payers would be on low income (we still pay a fair chunk of tax) and the benefits would go to entrepreneurs who are likely wealthier than low income people, it could also be a reverse Robin Hood.

    Then, how else can we get projects and technologies off the ground that appear to have future promise and, in any case, climate benefits?

    One alternative is regulation. I don’t like that either in general because again it gives too much power to government. However, for particularly difficult problems like how to get the transportation sector off fossil fuels I’d support it. For example, I don’t think it’s an unreasonable imposition on auto makers to require a greatly increased average fleet efficiency – they are still left a lot of flexibility on how to do it. Ditto for all kinds of other mobile equipment (trucks, busses, trains, planes, ships, mining, agriculture, construction and forestry.)

    I’d go with regulation of efficiency in the transportation sector partly because my favourite policy - carbon pricing - is challenged to make a big difference quickly simply because gasoline and diesel are such great fuels (except for their environmental impacts) and so cheap. For example, the scheduled 2022 carbon price in Canada of $50/tonne will increase the price of gasoline by less than 12 cents/litre, which is less than what we’ve seen from the natural volatility of world crude. Not only does it make little marginal impact, I.e. how much people drive (because they just have to get to work and back somehow) but also it has little impact on the capital decisions if low and zero emission vehicles cost a lot more than gas guzzlers.

    But then even here a constantly rising carbon price locked in so that over 20 years it would be over $200/tonne and still rising will surely have an impact even today on decision makers who have a longer planning horizon, like those who decide what type of cars to make in future. Sweden is at about 200 Canadian $/tonne and Volvo has announced it will make no more gasoline cars.

    I know of a certain district heating project that would have a present value several tens of millions of dollars more if the Canada’s carbon price kept rising 10$/tonne per year.

    In the video, the Wind Developer pointed to the advantage that wind could offer a fixed price for 20 years because the cost is mostly capital. He contrasted that with gas where no-one can know its future cost exactly.

    In like manner, a carbon price rising predictably even at only 10$/tonne/year should make investors think twice even about gas power generation because the carbon price alone would be going up every 5 years by more than the current rate for gas quoted by one of the major distributors in Ontario (9.7 cents/litre versus 9.2 cents) – this carbon price would be on top of whatever the delivered gas costs.

    The prices paid to all other forms of generation and hence their finance-ability would be enhanced by the higher cost of what is today, perhaps their next best alternative – natural gas.

    OK, that was not the situation when wind was in its early years, but by lobbying for carbon fee and dividend we can create this situation for the future.

    And the same principle applies across all sectors, not just power generation. And this is a better way to give new technologies a leg up than either subsidies or regulation.

  9. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    How is it not a crime to do what Marc Morano does?

  10. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    I have three questions and I really hope Dana or some other high profile science bod can answer them.

    (1) Why are media outlets in the UK avoiding the use of the term Climate change to explain this heatwave and where climate change is cited doubt is offered by lines such as 'its not just down to climate change'. For example, two Guardian articles in particular took this approach offering the fragmented phase shifting jet stream and a warmer Northern Atlantic as reasons in addition to climate change. However, many other articles have attributed both the changing jet stream and warming oceans to climate change!

    (2) During this heatwave and for sometime now I have noted that the hottest part of the day has shifted to early evening time and noted that the heat is not just dissipating at night like it used to. Is this down to increased CO2 levels and perhaps an up tick in methane levels too?

    (3) Recently media outlets in the UK have been stating that the Government is planning for emergency food stockpiling and provision in the UK and even the RAF has been asked to plan for food distribution. BREXIT has been cited but I would like to ask for opinions on this; to what extent is this heatwave and the impacts to crop yields a more likely explanation for such emergency planning? Germany too has issued warnings and asked citizens to stockpile food and water and the same is true for a number of other EU countries.

    Thanks for reading.

  11. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    I would note that while people have argued that wind power get "subsidied" by free backup, NZ windfarms do not receive subsidies. The alternative to subsidies (which to my mind is government picking winners with tax payer money and is horribly prone to corruption/distortion), is to tax the undesirable (FF) at a level which reflects the externalities that FF generators are not currently paying. This helps not just wind but any other alternative energy competitor.

  12. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    DrivingBy @3

    "Wind farms are not the Internet."

    So? Same principle of subsidies, same emerging and pomising technologies.

    "Politicians demanded and got that taj mahal station....The net useful value of the designer station, topped with something called "The Occulus" (an odd looking spiky thing) is more than zero but certainly far less than its cost. "

    This sort of thing annoys me as well (a lot), but your example of failed, money wasting project and cronyism doesn't invalidate the principle of subsidies. No doubt there are failed projects, but I can think of vast numbers of successes. It just shows bad execution, and applying it to the wrong things. Is pork barrelling the right term? There appears to be a lot of this pork in America!

    I think the answer is to restrict subsidies to certain classes of projects such as technology. I think the case for subsidising buildings and farming is mostly very weak. And let technocrats decide, not politicians.

    "Subsidies are more attractive to bad projects than good; "

    You don't provide any real evidence for this. 

    "good (productive) projects have other options, bad projects depend on subsidies and politics to exist at all."

    But wind power has obvious technical and climate change benefits, but were of no interest to generators because they were priced too high when first introduced. Just what specific alternative finance options would have overcome that? I would think they tried, and this is why subsidies were used. 

    I don't mean to be too criticial. We are on the same wavelength on plenty of things.

  13. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?


    Wind farms are not the Internet.

    Some projects are worth doing, some are not.  Here (USA, NYC) we had a subway station rennovated at a cost of several billion - that's billion with a B - US dollars. The subway system you ride to get to that fancy station is exactly the same as ever, execpt less reliable. Politicians demanded and got that taj mahal station, as it was a photo op for them and round-trip vote buying and payoffs for the many contractors, developers, third cousins and cronies involved.  The net useful value of the designer station, topped with something called "The Occulus" (an odd looking spiky thing) is more than zero but certainly far less than its cost.  

    Unfortunately, public money is considered "someone else's money, therefore free". Thus the massive amounts of time, talent, materials and labor sunk into that hole are considered "free".  The same resources could have been put into tracks, signals, switches and train yards, but politicians and activists don't give a warm spit about those, unless equal or greater graft and photo ops can be had. (The system in question is known as PATH, operated by the Port Authority of NY/NJ, for the morbidly curious). 

    By contrast, the original NYC subway system was constructed by issuing a public bond and contracting with a private builder. The result was cost-effective and quickly created far more benefit than it cost to build.  It was intended to maximize the value of land in NYC and relieve massive congestion at the surface level. The value of goods, services and housing newly within reach of work created by building the subway was greater (many times greater) than the cost of buliding it.  

    Subsidies are more attractive to bad projects than good; good (productive) projects have other options, bad projects depend on subsidies and politics to exist at all.  What, when, exactly how, how much and to what extent are essential when deciding to subsidize the building of something.  We in the USA have not done an Erie Canal project since the Internet, which started in the late '60s. Now it's cronyism and burning cash. 

  14. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy


    Come to think of it, the Alberta government that introduced "user fees" in the early 1990s was using NZ as a model.

    Some user fees make sense: driver's licence and car registration, recreational facilities, sewer and water utilties, etc.. It's when they get applied to essential government services that they start to look like taxes. Alberta was one of only a few (the only?) provinces that charged health care premiums, rather than funding health care out of general revenue. Low or zero-income families could get a waiver, but the premiums added up and were deducted at source for employees in the same manner as income tax.

  15. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Marty Lagina? I know that name. Clearly a successful businessman - has enough money, along with his brother Rick and their partners, to be spending a lot of it searching for Treasure on Oak Island:

    Subsidy is a bad word for many, unless it is for their own industry. Then they'll call it something else and say it is good.

  16. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Wind power subsidies are a great idea that has worked. I think subsidies make sense to help new businesses get started, if they are stuggling to get finance, and have a clear and substantial public good like wind power. Of course there should be time limits on subsidies written into them.

    The internet was developed by universities out of taxes and government grant money. Where would we be if the libertarian ideological free market purists had shut that down?

  17. michael sweet at 22:49 PM on 24 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29


    Summer in Winter was March, 2012.  The current weather forcast (link will only be good today) shows extreme heat across most of Australia for today.  It will not make the news because it is hot in winter so no all time heat records will be broken (daily heat records will be broken).

  18. michael sweet at 22:34 PM on 24 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29


    Nobody notices heat waves in the winter.  Since it is currently winter in the southern hemisphere heat is not mentioned.

    Can you recall the amazing "Summer in Winter" which destroyed existing heat records across North America?  That is because it was a heat wave in winter.  In several locations the low temperature at night was higher than the previous highest daily temperature ever recorded for that location.  Heat records were shattered but it was not reported that much in the mainstream mnedia.

    This article talks about the heat records set during the recent Australia summer.

  19. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    Lachlan @2,

    The NH has had some impressive hotspots through July. give daily maps of temperature anomalies (but not kept up-to-date. At-time-of-writing they stretch to 5th July) as well as the today's anomaly map.  Also there is the 17th July anomaly map cut&pasted here. These graphics also give NH & SH average anomalies so we can see that through July 1st-5th the SH had a cooler anomaly than the NH but as of (the today anomaly map at-time-of-writing) 24th July the NH & SH anomalies were similarly hot (NH +0.5ºC, SH +0.4ºC). We could perhaps speculate with a possible reason for a cooler SH anomaly by suggesting that the latitudes with the hotspots which are boosting that NH anomaly are mainly land but the equivalent latitudes in the SH are mainly ocean.

    As for comparing  this month's anomalies with the MWP, I don't think such momentary events can be compared with multi-century tempurature averages, even if they were similar in form.

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    The article mentioning a "global heat wave" lists places that are all in the northern hemisphere.  Is there really a heat wave in the southern hemisphere too, or is this like the mediaeval warm period?

  21. 97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes

    We have this political tribalism in my country, so its not unique to America. I think much of it has been driven by certain people in talk back radio and other media who use scaremongering, and relentlessly misleading and emotive rhetoric. There's unfortunately a big audience for this sort of thing, and now as you all point out is spread to the internet. It absolutely polarises people.

    But theres no point blaming "other people" too much either, because this won't change things by itself. You cant shut down free speech. Instead media commentators and politicians with an environmental and social conscience also need to have bold, clear positions and really own the debate.

  22. 97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes

    Philippe Chantreau: We are pretty much in agreement. I'll stick with my prediction that "the situation will improve" after the fall elections, but I expect, barring some political miracle, the USA will continue to contribute gaseous emissions and little else for years to come. Solutions to the problems of global warming and mass extinction, if they come at all, will have to come from the world outside my country and will likely have to be imposed on us through economic and diplomatic sanctions. 

    I'd so much rather learn and talk about science, but politics (mostly "politicking" in this case) keeps rearing its ugly head doesn't it? 

  23. Philippe Chantreau at 03:31 AM on 24 July 2018
    97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes

    trstyles, I do not share your optimism. In the 23 years I have lived in the States, I have seen only a continuous degradation of the public discourse, and ever increasing erosion of the critical thinking abilities in the general population. We are now at the point where the emotional attachment to ideology is so strong that no rational exchange is possible at all. The means of propaganda that exist now would have been a dream to the 20th century dictators: not only everyone can be reached at any time, but you can even have people seek and reinforce their preferred narratives 24/7, with robots learning what they like and supplying them with always more of it. The lack of numeracy and scientific understanding are such that source are trusted only on the basis of their compliance with the preferred ideology. It's a nightmare beyond anything envisioned by even the most pessismistic science fiction writer. 

  24. michael sweet at 02:52 AM on 24 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    The Guardian had an interesting article reviewing peer reviewed research that showed suicide increases when temperatures increase.  For a high emission scenario they estimate 9,000-40,000 extra suicides in the USA and Canada alone by the year 2050.  That is in addition to the addditional deaths caused by increased violence due to temperature rise.

  25. 97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes

    I live in one of America's many cities named "Springfield". My Springfield is a "downstate" Illinois city hosting a population of just over 100,000. It also happens to be the state's capitol. In Illinois the gears of civic process are badly rusted. Some say jammed. Attitudes toward almost anything to do with government are deeply negative. While I'm speaking here about a particular corner of a large country, I'm certain what I'll say applies to many other regions.

    When my wife and I first moved here we would ask residents what they liked most about our new community. The most common rejoinder was an enthusiastic observation that real estate taxes were uncommonly low compared to other cities.
    But then such statements were usually followed by complaints about inadequate city and county services or the public school system. Disconnecting taxes-paid from public-services-received struck us as very odd. Now that I have lived here a few decades I better understand the source of this popular mode of thought. Also the circumstances that perpetuate it.

    Througout Illinois, urban and rural areas alike, federal and state government are perceived to be frequently corrupt and almost universally inept. Furthermore citizens commonly feel they have little or no say in matters. The combined attitudes can be expressed as: Why bother to 'fork over' money to a 'bunch of bureaucrats' who will 'waste most of it' and use the rest in ways 'I don't like' or 'I don't understand'? (The ' enclosed phrases are common and reflect the level of exasperation.)

    Almost by accident, these attitudes have trickled down to produce excessive negativity toward local government, even though voters undeniably have more control at this level. Pertinent to our concerns here, negativity-as-normal leads to knee-jerk rejection of most any progressive initiative concerning environmental issues.

    I say "almost by accident" because, by word if not by deed, politicians in the USA routinely rail against taxes as a tactic to win elections. Both major political parties take part in this game, but Republicans have literally "weaponized" anti-tax sentiment. They embrace it as one of their party's cornerstones. (A classic example of the Republican anti-tax mantra was the famous? "Read my lips. No new taxes!" promise of Bush the 1st.)

    While this style of campaigning is by no means new (or limited to the USA) decades of effort by Republican strategists to manipulate perceptions through television and radio outlets have been highly effective. (Using the word "successful" here would be quite misleading. Let's just say they have borne fruit.) Some of the more extreme think tankers are convinced they can graduate to altering the very laws of physics.

    Stubborn rigidity is becoming a defining character of a culture once known for innovation. The normal dynamic of debate between liberals, centrists, and conservatives has been overwhelmed by partisan politicking. Even relatively simple elements of policy provoke over-the-top rhetoric and undue belligerence.

    A huge number of Americans are now fully alarmed by recent events. There is reason to hope their ranks will grow enough by November to punish the Republican party for its hubris. I predict the situation will improve, but it will take time for the USA to establish ("re-establish" doesn't quite cut it) itself as a constructive and reliable partner in efforts to combat environmental deterioration.

  26. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    dianahlynns @2,

    Do you have a reason for stating "So right now we are in a warming trend naturally."? As pointed out by Philippe Chantreau @3, the conventional wisdom is that globally there has been a cooling trend since the Holocene Climatic Optimum some millenia ago.

    As a point of correction, the tilt of the Earth's axis is in a decreasing part of the cycle, not an increasing one but note that this wobble in Earth's tilt does not trigger the ice age cycle. Over the period 2.6My bp & 1.0My bp, ice ages were occurring in 40,000 year 'cycles' but since that time the 'cycle' lasts 100,000 years, coincidental to the eccentricity wobble in the Earth's orbit.

    The idea that "creatures of all sorts, to include plants, has survived it," with "it" meaning "our climate has warmed and cooled" - this is surely not correct. What is correct is that, while climate change will have been lethal for many individual creatures and driven some species to extinction, the remaining species adapt to climate change and thus life goes on. And while it would take a great deal of climate change to make mankind extinct, the adaptation required of mankind to cope with unmitigated climate change (which is of our own making) will be very difficult and also lethal for many individual humans. Then, perhaps that would make us the lucky ones. Other species who are already suffering the impact of a burgeoning humanity are already going extinct and man-made climate change will add greatly to that suffering.

    You do ask what would be required to ensure "a viable environment for years to come". One route would be for AGW to collapse human civilisation and bring about a dramatic shrinkage of human populations. That is entirely possible if we do not strongly mitigate AGW. If we do restrict the impact of AGW, it becomes a more mundane matter of nature conservation measures.

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    Projections of population growth on wikipedia reviews the issue and the consensus of expert research is population will increase from 7 billion currently to 11 billion by 2100, then fall. However more encouragement of slower growth could lead to better outcomes,  but none will be a solution for climate change.

  28. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    dinahlynns imaginative rhetoric and gish gallop of fallacies merits further examination. She states how she doesn't have any scientific numbers, then qotes numerous so called numbers, thus creating a superficial impression of brilliance. Thoughtful people will not be fooled by this.

    Then we have the list of factors related to past climate change and the bold and incorrect assertion that "right now we are in a warming trend naturally". This is an association of sciency stuff to make the conclusion look like it has validity, when in doesn't. This is the  "fool them with technical babble" fallacy (John Cook, you need to add this to your list).

    Then we have the classic bait and switch / red herring with discussion about "population". And a bold and incorrect, wildly wrong statement that population will double in 20 years, said with no shame by someone who claims to have "researched many things" . Ha ha ha ha ha (takes deep breath) ha ha ha ha ha.

  29. Philippe Chantreau at 14:11 PM on 22 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    Dinahlynns, your post amounts to little more than a Gish gallop and includes some erroneous information. We are "naturally" in a cooling period, but that has been cancelled by human activity. Since you claim a focus on volcanoes, you should be aware of the fact that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are about 100 times that coming of volcanoes; that alone makes our activity a truly geological event. It seems you have a lot more to research and learn before you can form an imformed opinion. There is plenty of references available on the relevant threads on this site and others.

  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    I’m a.m. new to this site and new to the age of global warming. I have read many many comments and I have done much research on my own. I am not a scientis, yet.  As a matter of fact my education is in criminal justice and accounting. Why am I looking for a switch?  For the very reason this site exist. There are many unanswered questions.  Now please forgive my lack of scientific numbers, charts and graphs. But let me explain it in layman terms, or at least try. From the very second earth was created climate change began. But not until the 1700’s has humans became a variant. Again this is from the point of view of someone who wants to become a volcanologis/climatologist. We need to understand as much about what affects the earth in hopes to replicate it on, let’s say Mars.  Between the degree earth is tilted on its axis, volcanic activity and external forces our climate has warmed and cooled. We can hopefully all agree on this. And creatures of all sorts, to include plants, has survived it. CO2 is needed to grow plants. Yes 7th grade earth science stuff. And if my reasearch is accurate please tell me when I’m off and direct me to a more accurate site, the earth’s tilt goes in cycles about roughly every 40,000 years. Right now we are at a 23.5 degree tilt going to a 24.5 degree tilt in about 10,000 years. Again HS science stuff. And the other major factor is volcanIc activity. Then comes into play are ocean currents, jet stream, solar output, external forces such as comets. So right now we are in a warming trend naturally.  Ok now we factor in humans and the industrial revolution. now our wonderful planet has survived despite everything that’s been thrown it’s way. So wouldn’t a more accurate assessment be that humans are destroying the environment and not so much climate change?  The climate is always changing and the environment has always found a way to thrive. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say what humans are doing in fact is destroying the very thing we need to survive?  Climate will change whether or not humans survive. World population is set to double in the next 20 years. We are fighting to protect the environment now. What will doubling the world population do to our now taxed environment.  The earth will continue long after humans. And the environment will always survive climate change. Question is what do we do to ensure there’s a viable environment for years to come?  I am sorry I am not up to all of the scientific verbiage. I hope to one day be well versed. And yes I have actually done years worth of researching. It’s kind of like performing an audit, except instead of numbers I’m auditing the earth. 

    Now with that said, the reason I want to be hopefully a volcan climatologist.  If we do not properly understand earth, we can not carry it forward as we explore the habitation on another planet. I can give many scenarios how volcanoes have shaped the earth. How the sun has shaped the earth. But I want to learn more. And that is my objective here today. 

    I was stationed at Andersen AFB, Guam when Mt Pinatubo erupted. So I can and do have appreciation the power of our earth. 

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This comment posits a number of myths covered by the arguments page. Please use the search function (top left) or the "arguments" on menu bar. (By taxomony is good)Read the articles and if you have further comment, make that in the appropriate thread please.

    In particular, you might like to look at "Climate has changed before", "its a natural cycle", "its volcanoes", and "humans survived past climate change". It might help if your "research" included a read of the at the SPM of the IPPC to get a summary of the published science.

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    Something else thats totally depressing yet not surprising. How the Trump administration wants to limit the Endangered Species Act

  32. 97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes

    Great article Dana! ... Grassroots large-scale political-will for a rev-neutral CT is definitely far from sufficient, but it will eventually get there (but alas probably not for another 10-20+ years, much  later than it should be, by any measure of socially justice). I do believe that grassroots political-will does help in no small way, for example, like for volunteer lobbying for sake of the NRA, or in the case of pushing the DOJ to back-off of separating children from their parents (though there wasn't a competing corporation in this case). Building effective CC action political-will pays off in two forms: 1) ballot box (and in getting the most CC action candidates into the general election ballot), 2) lobbying (call in, etc) after the election; both involve substantial & radically active grass-roots. ... Even though polls say the majority are in favor of a CT; it just isn't radical enough (yet) to build substantial enough grass-roots lobbying.
    Also, one other thought: Getting both parties on board (non-partisan) is also semi-required so that the CT policy has durability when the ruling party switches. Industry & thus the economy will be more likely to hold off on making fundamental changes (in reaction to a gradually increasing tax) if they believe the next regime will repeal the tax. The CT has got to be so NON-partisan (politically universal) that the tax is, by the far majority, deemed the right thing to do come what may. 

    Thanks again for the great article and for mentioning CCL.

  33. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    Scaddenp @24

    A harm perogative has to be the basis of concerns about climate change and a carbon levy (fee, tax) because harm is what we are fundamentally concerned about. But I think you are right its far from sufficient to connect with conservatives.

    I don't know how climate change issues are framed in authoritarian terms, but I think the Democrats might benefit from a slightly authoritarian leader, within reason. Bernie Sanders looked like this to me but so did H Clinton but she was let down by other problems. New Zealand had a centre left / liberal government with a moderately authoritarian leader (Helen Clark) and won three elections in a row. It was a type of benevolent authoritarianism and she was regarded by virtually everyone as very strong, even by her opponents.

    A carbon levy could possibly be framed around loyalty to your children. But the challenge with framing a carbon levy around loyalty is loyalty operates between friends, family, and tribe and country and a carbon levy is intended to fix a problem of global scale. It would almost require extending the definition of loyalty.

    It would be easier to frame the levy around the idea of purity.

  34. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    OPOF - I think you are over-estimating completely the amount of thinking going on. The perceptions are based heavily on filtering information sources which in turn are selected by deep biases we all have. You are arguing for moral approach purely based on a harm prerogative. Typical of a liberal mind set. Conservatives balance harm against authority and loyalty to a far greater degree. Too easy to talk past them if you ignore that.

  35. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    We had something similar in NZ. The centre right government of the day promoted tax cuts and a general user pays agenda, and introduced partial user charges for surgery costs in what had been a free tax payer funded hospital services. However this did not go well even with the parties own supporters, and was dropped quite quickly. It made no sense anyway.

    However other tax funded public services have been replaced with user charges. I have mixed feelings. Sometimes it makes logical sense, sometimes its obviously driven by ideology. Some politicians would charge people for breathing the air if they could get away with it. If it doesn't have a price it means nothing to them. They know the price of everything, and the value of nothing, and fail to see the wider benefits of easily accessible public services funded through taxes.

  36. 97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes
    1. A major requirement is for the money to run in a nomination battle, not an election. That's where the anti AGW crowd exerts a lot of their influence in the US system. Especially effective when the state legislature has gerrymandered the electoral districts so that your party's nominee is guaranteed to win most of the congressional seats regardless of the candidates. Once your puppet is in office, continue to flood him with lobbying.
    2. Independence is great until it starts doing something you don't like. Then you need to gut it like a fish. It's like "free speech": I like it for me, but I don't want to hear it from you.
  37. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    In Alberta, after campaigning on a "lower taxes" pledge, one flavour of the former Conservative Party government introduced a whole bunch of "user fees".

    Looked like a tax, smelled like a tax, targetted at specific government servies, but enough of their supporters bought into the idea that it was different that they got away with it - no election promises broken!

  38. 97% of House Republicans foolishly reject carbon taxes

    I dont think you are going to convince the GOP, because they just hate taxes, its become tribal and irrational, and they are taking stubborn bottom line positions. No amount of evidence showing it won't harm the economy will change this intransigent mindset.  Carbon tax is a good idea, but you will have to wait until Democrats have a majority.

    A couple of things I just don't understand about America;

    1)There's no doubt about the powerful influence of lobby groups on politicians, but why is the influence stronger on the GOP compared to the Democrats? Given the Democrats appear to support a carbon tax?

    2) You have this independent EPA set up to deal with environmental problems and to stand above partisan bickering, so why not actually use it?

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 01:38 AM on 21 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    The correct term for what is being discussed is 'Fine'.

    Fines are applied to activities that are understood to be unacceptable and need to be limited or curtailed. And the amount of fine is increased to the level required to achieve the correction of behaviour that is needed.

  40. One Planet Only Forever at 00:41 AM on 21 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    The decision making about what to do about the better awareness and understanding that climate science develops is 'political'.

    And in the so-called more advanced nations the power of misleading marketing that gets people to primitively react selfishly has grown in abuse (less ethical behaviour increasing, especially in politics). It is also abused in less advanced nations, but it should be declining in power and abuse in truly more advanced nations.

    In truly more advanced nations the strong majority should be people with advanced altruistic thinking over-powering temptations to be selfish. In those nations that deserve to be considered to be World Powers all activity (business and politics) would be governed by altruistic thinkers helping everyone else be more aware and understanding, helping everyone else become more altruistic.

    Tragically, many of the more powerful nations are experiencing a damaging surge of perceptions governed by primitive selfishness winning power.

    Each person's perception is what they really believe. And when bad people can succeed at convincing easily impressed people to believe and support harmful selfish primitive desires, the result is delays in humanity's progress and advancement (or worse, serious damage done to the future of humanity).

    Calling efforts to correct undeniably incorrectly developed harmful ways of living a 'Tax' plays the political game the way the bad people want to play it (the perception of reality can Trump actual Reality). It plays into their hand because they have been successfully stacking the deck in their favour by convincing many people to believe that 'Tax is Bad'.

    The bad thinking includes discounting the future negative impacts that others would face, and comparing that diminished impact to the perceptions of loss by people today who would have to be stopped from  benefiting from the burning of fossil fuels.

    The reality is that it is simply unacceptable for one group of people to do something that negatively affects another group of people (future generations are Other people). And playing the tax-name game also gets in to creating perceptions of ways that the Tax will benefit people today, even though additional negative impacts imposed on others continue to increase, with the amount of the tax being negotiated based on discounted perceptions of the future costs.

    The 'perception is reality' crowd need to be over-powered and better educated by those who are more aware of and better understand Real Reality. Many perceptions need to be 'corrected' for humanity to develop truly sustainable advancements rather than develop and defend undeserved perceptions of advancement and superiority.

  41. michael sweet at 23:42 PM on 20 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #28

    The New York Times recently ran an article on laborers suffering heat stroke and other heat related problems now in India (and other tropical countries.)  No need to wait for thirty years for these problems. 

    They cite this peer reviewed article  which estimates $2 trillion per year in losses in tropical countries by 2030 from laborers overheatig alone.  It would be much cheaper to build out renewable energy than to absorb these losses (not even counting that renewable energy is cheaper in the long run).

    Since I labor outside every day in Tampa, Florida, I know from personal experience  that a change in temperature from 90F to 93F means going from just bearable to overheating, I can see where the increase in temperature that has already occured would  cause heat stroke in many laborers.  In the Times they interview several workers who suffered heat stroke multiple times. 

  42. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    My two cents worth on a carbon levy and dividend. Firstly I agree with OPOF its probably best to call this "thing" a carbon levy (and dividend) to avoid the connotations of a tax that some find undesirable, and to avoid a negotiation about other taxes being lowered to compensate as has been pointed out.

    In Australasia we consider a levy a temporary form of tax which does sit well with a carbon levy.

    However this is all treading close to using spin to disguise a concept, something that irritates me, and I would suggest fighting hard to deny its some 'form' of tax would be unwise, if pressed into a debate on the subject. If that makes any sense.

    Its a pigovian tax, but has the additional feature of deterring use. So its not entirely just compensating for the damage caused while perpetuating the activity.

    I think this carbon levy is not the ideal  way, but its a very reasonable way in an imperfect world. It is apparently thought to be acceptable to the GOP, but I note they have recently had a vote on it in congress that did not go well for carbon levy and dividend. But this might change.

    Its a hard reality that any proposal is going to have to have wide political appeal.

    Regarding rapid termination of use of fossil fuels, although desirable in theory, it is not possible to do it instantly, because it would cause some form of blow out in inflation, or economic crash that wont really be much help to anyone. The rate fossil fuels are phased down must equal the speed we can realstically create renewable energy, more or less. However the economy of WW2 (a five year period) shows rapid changes in production priorities are possible if desired, so phase down of fossil fuel use could be considerably faster than is currently being achieved.

    So a carbon levy and dividend could be increased quite rapidly over time providing it does not generate unacceptably large inflation. Right now we have more of a global deflation problem anyway, so inflation is not a major concern. 

  43. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    OPOF. I agree that need to curtail, but I also think that in the hard reality of western democracies, you have to make policy that isnt totally offensive to conservative sensibilities. Direct curtailment would be.  The ETS or carbon tax are both easier to sell.

    We are partly in this mess because the issue has become polarized on political divides, especially in the US. This polarization has also been fuelled by hard left factions using climate action as an excuse to push other agendas especially anti-capitalist. Why anyone would think that this would be persuasive to conservatives is beyond me but the damage has been done and a way out of that polarization is hard to see. However, climate effects are becoming much harder to ignore so I think ETS and CT have more hope in the future. By constrast, I dont think there is a snowballs chance in hell of pushing anything that amounts to ban on FF use through the US system.

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 13:32 PM on 20 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy


    It may be pitched as a pigouvian tax, because that is a developed term that sort of relates to this issue. But the real issue is that the future generations are going to face the consequences of the activity that is 'permitted because the ones benefiting paid a pigouvian tax'.

    The reality is that the activity needs to be terminated, the quicker the better, not be excused by having a premium paid to permit doing it. The richest can afford to behave better. Somehow they need to be made to be ethical altruistic deserving winners. A pigouvian tax does not do that. It just legitimizes the understandably unacceptable behaviour, particularly for the richest who can figure out ways to get a net-personal-benefit even with the tax having to be paid.

    And the related understanding is that, in addition to no longer benefiting from the harmful activity, the current generation owes future generations a proper clean up (CO2 rapidly back below 350 ppm), or actually pay to perform conservative mitigation of the impacts done so that future generations do not experience any negative consequences.

    That leads to the understanding that a carbon levy to gradually reduce the rate of additional harm creation is an unethical action by current day generations. Many perceptions of prosperity and opportunity in the current generation are fraudulent. They rely on continuing to get away with understandably unacceptable behaviour.

    An example I am very familiar with is the actions by Alberta business and political leadership (supported by federal leadership) to expand the rate of oil sands extraction in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. There was little doubt about the unacceptability of trying to get away with that type of action. Places like Alberta should not be 'protected' from facing a significant correction of developed perceptions of prosperity and opportunity, just like any other unsustainable marketplace bubble would burst (and a damage causing bubble should be popped sooner rather than later to limit the damage done - especially when the ones trying to benefit from the bubble may escape any of the damaging consequences).

    And, in spite of all of that, calling it a tax is bound to be less successful because it does not plainly make the case that the activity needs to be rapidly terminated. And tax has been turned into a dirty word, particularly in the nations that have the most changing of ways to achieve, and have to pay the most for the clean up of damage already done.

    I will admit that rapid curtailing of the undeniably harmful activity appears to be unlikely (politics has become highly unethical in supposedly more advanced nations). But I maintain that the unacceptability of the activity and the unacceptability of the response to the understanding that it is unsustainable and harmful, are a necessary part of the required learning process. My bigger concern is that the gradual transition that protects the undeserved perceptions of prosperity and opportunity can result in transitioning to alternatives that are also damaging unsustainable ways of living. It is likely that without correcting the perceptions of what is acceptable, one damaging unsustainable activity will be replaced by another damaging unsustainable activity. The least acceptable way of doing something that can be gotten away with Wins, unless the understanding of what is allowed to compete for popularity and profitability, what is acceptable, changes (that is my ethical engineering methodology - only the truly acceptable alternatives, the ones that are truly sustainable, get to compete).

  45. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    I think that "levy" sounds better but formally it is a pigouvian tax.

  46. One Planet Only Forever at 07:52 AM on 20 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    Carbon Tax is not a helpful term. The following is a lot of thoughts, but it is all related to understanding that point.

    The ideal objective of human activity is to make the future for humanity better than the present.

    As a minimum, the future should not be negatively impacted by the activities of the present day.

    It is essential to have Altruistic helpfulness limit Egoist self interest. The creative development power of self-interest is important, but it must be limited by caring to ensure that what develops is sustainable, not harmful to the future of humanity in any way, with the truly valuable things being developments that are sustainable improvements of the way that humans live.

    The Sustainable Development Goals, which include climate action, are a comprehensive presentation of what is required to be achieved. And most of the goals can easily be understood to be required corrections of what the marketplace competition has developed.

    Climate science, and the related climate actions to develop a sustainable better future, has significantly exposed the unsustainable damaging reality of what competition for popularity and profitability can develop, and has been developing. The push back against the required corrections, the attacks on increased awareness and understanding, has especially exposed the damaging power of misleading marketing appeals for people to be more selfish (greedier or less tolerant of others).
    What needs to be done due to the improved awareness and understanding developed by climate science must be fundamentally well understood. That will result in the understanding that it is incorrect to call efforts to correct what has developed a Tax.

    The currently developed burning of fossil fuels is fundamentally unsustainable. Therefore, to justify it, there must be powerful proof that the future generations would undeniably appreciate that they got a net-benefit from the activity. Making the efforts to slowly curtail the damaging activity a source of tax revenue provides no future benefit. All that happens to the future generations is an increase of the negative impacts, including having less non-renewable buried hydrocarbons available for a potentially developed sustainable use (or for a true emergency use).

    It is not appropriate to refer to any actions that are implemented to correct the incorrect developments of the marketplace as a Tax. They need to be understood to be corrective measures that will rapidly correct what needs to be corrected, to limit the damage that is done. The success of such measures will result in the elimination of the need for the corrective actions. And to make the future better than the present, the corrective actions must also undo the damage that has already been done, or fully fund the measures required to ensure that no negative consequence is experienced at any time in the future. That means that everything that needs to be done to deal with the already created impacts has been sustainably conservatively performed by the generation that generated the future impacts. Conservatively meaning the measures to address the future impacts have been done in a way that will almost certainly survive virtually indefinitely into the future without any additional actions required by future generations.

    So, one acceptable action would be keeping the wealth collected from the corrective actions in a fund that is certain to have value into the future. But, investments in the marketplace will only be certain to have future value if the activities in the marketplace are truly sustainable. That means that, other than the current generation building all the corrections of what has developed to make what is built survive into the distant future, the entire marketplace must be 'only truly sustainable activity'. And the revenue from the actions to correct the incorrect developments can then be invested in that truly sustainable marketplace to actually have future value, to truly benefit future generations. But even that may not be sufficient to negate the negative consequences that have been created.

    So the most important action is to stop making things worse for the future, including putting a stop to excuses like 'the marketplace always grows so the future generations will just be richer because that is the way the marketplace works (a briefer way to say it is 'I declare that things will only get better in the future because of the history of human ingenuity, therefore they will get better, so I don't have to stop creating harmful consequences by using up non-renewable resources').

    Taxes also need to be understood to be 'charitable donations by prescription, not by choice' to provide the funding for actions that are more effectively achieved through a collective approach, for actions that the marketplace cannot be expected to effectively address.

    Many problems can develop if a corrective action is referred to as a Tax:

    • People will not be encouraged to understand why the correction is required or understand that when the correction is achieved things will be more decent (not cheaper or more enjoyable for them, more decent for everyone especially for the future generations).
    • Many people are easily impressed to dislike the idea of taxes. And they will simply transfer that dislike to climate science and be easily impressed to deny the awareness and understanding that climate science has developed, and continues to expand and improve.
    • People who are tempted to 'agree to this action' if they will pay less 'other taxes' will resist the increase of 'other taxes' as this corrective measure succeeds and becomes a diminishing source of revenue. And the reduction of 'proper taxes' will be more beneficial to people who do not need help. It will do nothing to help achieve the other sustainable development goals, and may cripple efforts to sustain any achievement towards those other goals as the revenue from the Carbon Tax declines.
    • As the correction is achieved and the revenue from this source declines there will be reluctance to increase the proper taxes that were incorrectly reduced. This will result in even less help for the less fortunate, or result in deliberate actions by leaders to fail to ratchet up the corrective action to minimize the negative consequences imposed on future generations. This could end up like cigarettes, a damaging relied upon source of popular support and funding.

    What obviously needs to be done is reducing the costs and damage imposed on the future generations. That is what the collected corrective penalty should be dedicated to, along with other tax collection since the collected corrective penalty will not properly penalize the ones who got the most benefit from creating harm to future generations. Being fairer would require a rigorous evaluation of how every rich person got rich since 1990 and assessing back taxes based on how much they benefited from the irresponsible creation of more future problems.

    Tax collection needs to be reasonably reliable, reasonably sustainable. The failure to have a reliable sustainable tax collection system will develop the future surprise of not having the money needed to properly fund actions the decent and ethical provision of help that needs to be done collectively in order to be done for the benefit of all (for the benefit of the poorer and the future generations, and any other things that need to be done that the marketplace fails to properly do).

    Private interests competing to be temporarily perceived to be the winners of popularity and profitability will focus on maximizing short-term perceptions and the interests of the 'customers that matter most' (completely ignoring the interests or needs of portions of the population, especially ignoring future generations, because those portions of the population are irrelevant to their winning).

    Private for profit can succeed by not providing what everybody's needs (Hot Christmas toys do not get produced in time for everyone who wants them for Christmas, and that is fine for Christmas toys).

    Private for profit does an excellent job of meeting the high-end desires of the richest. It does a poorer job of decently developing and delivering what the less rich desire. And, at best, private for profit competition will ignore the needs of the poorest or the future generations. At its worst it will do damage to those 'externalities', those things that are not relevant to maximizing the profitability of a pursuit (read the likes of Naomi Klein's books to understand how damaging the production of 'goods for the middle-class and lower-middle class masses' develops to be and how difficult it is to correct what has developed.)

    Being able to abuse misleading marketing to increase the chances of 'success' of an understandably unsustainable and harmful pursuit of profit is one of the most damaging things that marketplace competition has ever developed. People can be easily tempted by appeals to primitive selfish interests. Those appeals can easily over-power a person's natural ability to thoughtfully consider what is actually going on and determine how they can be most altruistically helpful.

    So, all of that relates to why the efforts to correct the incorrect developments as exposed by climate science should not be referred to as a Tax. If that is too much to consider, then just consider that Tax has been turned into a dirty word in the minds of many (maybe all) of the people who need to be convinced to change their minds so they choose to behave better, do more altruistic self-limiting of their developed and developing selfish desires and interests.

  47. SkS Analogy 13 - Water glasses and Greenhouse gases

    Every morning, my lawn is covered with H2O from the atmosphere. 

  48. One Planet Only Forever at 10:17 AM on 19 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    The Alberta Carbon Levy and rebate approach also limited the rebate to middle income and poorer. That increases the motivation for richer people to reduce their burning of fossil fuels because they get no off-set rebate. They just pay the added fee. That way the poorest also actually make money from the beginning of the program, and make more money as the carbon levy and rebate increases.

    That highlights the flaw of using a carbon tax to reduce other taxes. The reducton of other taxes often means even bigger benefits for the richer people. It can also mean little or no benefit for the poorer people, just the extra cost of the smaller amount of energy they have to use to survive.

  49. It's the sun

    Theodoric - what is lacking is any evidence for other solar changes influencing climate. The magnetic field has fluctuated and reversed throughout earth history without any sort effect on climate such as we see now. By constrast, the effects of GHG increases are precisely what we would expect from well-established physics and changes in GHG throughout earth history is closely linked to climate effects.

    "To lump everything not Sun related into a CO2 bucket seems a bit hasty"

    That is a straw man argument. Even a cursory reading of just SPM of the IPCC reports would tell you that all known influences on climate are considered.

    If you want to argue for some other model for climate, then you need to present evidence. Start by presenting how much extra "energy from Sun and beyond" would heat the earth surface. (Depleting ozone cools the planet by the way)

  50. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    I dont think you need to have global agreement or even uniform rate - you just apply carbon tax at border to anything that cant demonstrate that tax is paid. The US has enough economic muscle that even if it alone did tax, it would cause a scramble for FF-free energy sources in those trying to sell into US. EU, China and USA between them would bring whole world into line. Increasing the price of something is the pretty standard way to reduce demand for goods.

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