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Comments 451 to 500:

  1. News network climate reporting soared in 2017 thanks to Trump

    My thanks to PBS, CBS, and NBC for making the effort to report the science.

    Fox are just pathetic, completely asleep at the wheel. Anything that upsets their world view is ignored. This will come back to bite them and their supporters.

  2. Scott Pruitt insincerely asked what's Earth's ideal temperature. Scientists answer

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    It's misleading to ask what Earth's 'ideal temperature' is. Here's what's really important by Andrew Freedman, Mashable, Feb 14, 2018

    The article is chocked full of quotes from prominent climate scientists.

  3. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change


    I suppose you diagnose all your illnesses yourself instead of going to the doctor and fill your own cavaties also.  You build your own car and pilot the airplane whe you travel.

    What a stupid comment.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Over the line.

  4. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Alchemyst @21

    Richard Muller didn't do the calculations for the global temperature record himself. He was part of a large team of scientists called the BEST project as below.

    So this is not so different from other research teams, or even the IPCC in principle.

    I know thats not your point, and its good to check things yourself where possible. But its not always going to be possible, because some issues are too large. So we have to have faith in other people at some level I think. 

  5. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    David Kirtley 3:55 am 14 feb

    "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts

    "I never pay attention to anything by "experts" I calculate everything myself"    -Feynman

    And if it was good enough for Feynman it is good enough for me. I admire Muller for calculating it himself which I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the advocates of man made climate change have not.

    It then becomes an act of faith and that has been horribly wrong in the past. If you believe that you definately know the answers on a subject, then you do not not it well enough.

  6. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    nigelj: We also have this...

    Trump seeks big cuts to science across agencies by Scott Waldman, E&E News, Feb 13, 2018

    Luckily, the US Presidents' budget proposals are rarely, if ever, enacted as proposed. This one will be no different.

  7. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    Speaking of heads of organisations we have the following:

    "Trump’s Science Advisor, Age 31, Has a Political Science Degree
    Because Trump has not nominated someone to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Michael Kratsios is the de facto leader."

    Can anyonee believe the  cynical, destructive,  ideologically driven anti science agenda here? Political science is not a hard physical science, or even much of a science at all.

    "Kratsios graduated from Princeton in 2008 with a political science degree and a focus on Hellenic studies. He previously served as chief of staff to Peter Thiel, the controversial Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump ally."

    "The vacancy might reflect Trump's skepticism on climate change. If the president believes that the Senate would balk at a nominee who questions widely accepted views on climate change, he might prefer to leave the post open, said William Happer, an emeritus physics professor at Princeton University who is considered a leading candidate for the job. Happer says the Earth is experiencing a "CO2 famine."

    "There is no problem from CO2," Happer said last month in an interview with E&E News (Climatewire, Jan. 25)."

    You couldn't make this stuff up. If it was an idea for a fiction book or movie, it would be rejected as too implausible. But no, it's actually happening.

  8. Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    Conradin Sakison @8

    What you say seems quite interesting, and technically true. At that level of thinking, there's no absolute division between natural and un-natural. I would say theres no absolute division between a lot of things.

    However the term natural is just a way of categorising things for convenience in discussion, so we dont have to constantly recite detailed lists. Its sort of a way of organising information. For example saying he died of natural causes saves having to go into complicated details about diseases, especially if more than one contributed to the death.

    It only relies on general agreement on what fits in the category of natural versus un-natural or mad made, and this is generally not so difficult to agree on. Its not a contentious issue in the climate debate, because everyone pretty much agrees on what constitutes the group of natural causes versus human causes. Categories are useful things, even if there are sometimes no absolute divisions between categories.

    I think climate denialists might respond to your idea along those lines, and I'm not sure it would be worth arguing with them. Most of them would also struggle to grasp what you are saying philosophically, because the climate denialist world view seems to crave for absolutes and clear divisions in all things. So good luck!

  9. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM - how come it is okay to harm the environment but we mustnt on any account harm the economy? Which of these is more accurate representation of reality?

  10. One Planet Only Forever at 03:37 AM on 15 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    When considering how to respond keep the following in mind.

    The issue is 'Correcting incorrect over-development to minimize the damage done to future generations'. The current globally agreed understanding, based on all the currently developed understanding of climate science, is to limit the accumulated impacts of incorrect over-development to a level that has a good chance of limiting the increase of global average surface temperature to 2.0C.

    Such corrections will inevitably involve 'harming' the incorrectly over-developed aspects of the global economy. And since 1987, and actually earlier than that date, there has been no valid excuse for any leader, political or economic, to actually believe otherwise (their desire to get away with behaving less responsibly, more harmfully, and try to keep popular opinion on 'their side, excusing them' is understandable, but is not excusable).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that pursuing benefit from light crude is not necessarily better than trying to pursue benefit from bituminous sand deposits. In Alberta light crude extraction can involve tertiary recovery methods that involve high energy requirements, and may include 'permitted' chemical pollution, making such light crude as bad or worse than some bitumen (though totally legal because of the legal loopholes like 'permission' to pollute). And the end result of burning the final consumer products from either source is the same magnitude of problem, something that needs to be rapidly curtailed in spite of the losses that could/should be suffered by the people who gambled on benfiting that way.

  11. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    scaddenp @ 66

    If you were to reduce the rate to take into account population growth during this period, I would have to agree that that level of reduction should not put the economy in trouble.

    I am going to have to apologize that I am going to be out of pocket for a couple of days before we leave for an extended holiday in Mexico.  Once we get there (assuming the WiFi works) I will have more time to reply to Bob Loblaw and OPOF.

    All of us simply do not have the resources to analyze how seriously various steps will affect the economy.  So perhaps all we can do is look to jurisdictions like Canada, Germany and Sweden and others in the European Union to see what can and cannot work without jeopardizing the economy.  California should also be included in this mix.  It is a little like an federal jurisdiction which allows various components to try things and see what works.

    So rather than talk about theoretical percentage reductions in a vacuum I suggest that we would be better to see what these other jurisdictions have done, what has worked and what has not.  All of these jurisdictions have experts who can attempt to advise them on these issues but once again they have to look over their shoulder to see if their voters are going to come along.  None of us (I trust) are proposing steps ignoring the democratic polictical realities that exist at least in most of our Western civilization.  With the acknowledged exception of China (nigelj), we have to respect this process when we make proposals.  

    Having grown up in Calgary, lived in Toronto for three years (while attending law school at UofT), and then having spent my adult life in Vancouver, I think I have a "balanced" view of what is in the interests of Canadians generally and certainly not just Alberta.  My children do not live in Alberta.  

  12. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    If Pruitt opposes renewable energy like wind power, he is just hurting the American People, given its now cheaper than coal, as well as lower CO2 emissions, and it also causes less respiratory health problems. I don't think there can possibly be any logical argument otherwise. I dont live in America, so it's just my observation. 

  13. One Planet Only Forever at 15:59 PM on 14 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    "One of the big reasons our energy demand has increased is because the population of the world keeps on growing"

    The growth of population is a concern. But the real problem is the continued growth of consumption of unsustainable and damaging energy by the more fortunate, the ones who can afford to get their energy more responsibly (admittedly more expensive, but everything else about their efforts to impress others is also - More Expensive) and can afford to reduce the energy they need to live decently (admittedly for no personal perception of increased grandeur relative to others).

    So the answer is actions that will get more responsible behaviour from the Winners of the games people play, not a claim that limiting population growth will meaningfully correct the damage done by the development of popular and profitable but irresponsible and incorrect behaviour that is obvious to anyone who cares to see it for what it really is rather than try to excuse it.

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    But on mechanism, how do you feel about governments simply banning new generation that either not carbon-free or doesnt bury all of its emission (by forests or directly)? Still lets markets decide and largely free of administration costs?

  15. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    No NorrisM, not what I am asking. You argued from Popper's incrementalism that we could only go off FF slowly. I showed the rate with which we increased, and asked were you comfortable with going down at the same rate. I didnt ask for a mechanism to bring us down by that rate.

    I am asserting that if it was safe (from a Popper incrementalism viewpoint) to increase FF at that rate, then it follows that it is safe to bring them down at the same rate. Do you agree?

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Just to clarify I think $80 is a proper carbon price from what I have read, but $25 is a reasonable starting point. But it will need to be ramped up reasonably quickly to the proper price.

    Bob Loblow those are good examples of change, or "disruptions" on the wider scale, and our psychological tendency to ignore certain ones.

    Change and disruption is inevitable. I have a beautiful and expensive stereo cassette deck at home, completely superseeded by compact discs, now almost superseeded by internet services,  all in less than 50 years. 

    I think it's best to avoid generalised, vague ideological positions that act as roadblocks to change. Its better to look at specifics and ask what organisation is best practically placed to so something, so is it government, or private business, or something else? 

    For example I suggest the private sector is best placed to build and also choose specific types of renewable electricity and electric transport etcetera.The government should not rule any out, unless theres an awfully strong reason. 

    But sometimes governments can have a role in the lines network, especially in small countries. There are pretty obvious practical reasons for this.

    Personally I can see government organising a carbon tax, some subsidies for electric cars and renewable electricity etcetera (funded partly though the tax). Taxes are sometimes slow mechanisms, and a subsidy turbo charges the process, and can be funded from the tax, or cancelling fossil fuel subsidies. Put it this way taxes, and subsides work well together.

    Government potentially has a role making sure the electricity market has sensible market rules and deals properly with spot pricing issues. Electricity markets are not your usual market.

    Governments may also have a role in promoting forestry carbon sinks, especially because a carbon tax will not incentivise those, where emissions trading does.

  17. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 57:

    It seems you want to try to pin me down to a fixed number, even though you appear to be completely unwilling to tell me what you mean by such phrases as "a significant economic impact" and "massive economic impact... " That is unfortunate. It looks like yet another rhetorical trick, in which you think you gain advantage by trying to make it look as if I am unwilling to answer. I am too old to respect such debating tactics.

    I will attempt to give you an answer,, once more. I have (in previous discussions) pointed to evaluations that place the social cost of carbon considerably higher than $30/tonne. I am not an economist; I accept these higher estimates as reasonable, and I think that any carbon taxes need to start small and grow over time. $30/tonne will be insufficient, and a carbon tax alone will be insufficient.

    You have continued by using phrases such as "bring the economy down",  "materially damage the economy", "put the economy into trouble", "industries that would immediately suffer greatly ", "a massive transfer of wealth", "out of a job", "all those direct costs you allege", etc.

    If you do not realize that you are using vague, emotional triggers, then you should reflect on what you post. If you are aware of it, then shame on you.

    Having lived in Alberta for a number of years (not currently), I am familiar with the role that the gas and oil industry plays in the economy there. Either consciously or unconsciously, I thnk that your thoughts are dominated by the positive role that fossil fuels play in the wealth of that province, and downplay the hugely negative role that economists forecast for the future world. That is why I see your positions here as far closer to Trump et al than you want to or are able to see.

    You have also said to me "Your theory about it being "neutral" just does not make sense." Bluntly, all you seem to see is the job losses that will inevitably occur in the fossil fuel industries. Those jobs may be you (semi-retired), your friends, or loved ones. Get used to it - it will happen. I have seen three boom-bust cycles in Alberta in my adult life, and every time the general attitude in Alberta is "this boom will never end". It will, whether it is due to action on climate change or just the cycle of business, What you constantly ignore is the job opportunities and economic potential in alternative energy sources. You see costs, not benefits. You need to look more widely.

    You also say "I would much rather governments stick to building the necessary infrastructure rather than making decisions for private sector." This places you squarely in the group that reject climate science and action due to political ideology. I explicitly said that I favour a carbon tax and dividend that leaves money in the proivate sector. Your statement about the public vs. private sector reminds me only too much of the ...but communism..." response that was so common in the years that I lived in Alberta.

    In #56, I gave you list of historical events that I asked you to rate as "significant" or "massive" (your terms). In each of those events, people lost jobs, and parts of the economy suffered. To them, each was a bad event - most likely "significant", and quite possibly "massive". Each of those events also provided others with new opportunities and wealth. Whether you consider those events as overall good or bad depends, it seems, on whose ox gets gored.

  18. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    scaddenp @ 61

    If you are asking for solutions from me beyond a reasonable level carbon tax and some infrastructure projects I have to admit that I do not have many solutions.  One of the big reasons our energy demand has increased is because the population of the world keeps on growing.   Birth control anyone? I think it was Prince Phillip who suggested he would like to come back in his next life as a virus and wipe out half the world.  Leaving aside drastic solutions such as this, I do not really have an answer for the continuing growth of the world population let alone cutting back on fossil fuel use by a static population. 

    Perhaps you can suggest some specific steps beyond a carbon tax (or a much less desirable cap and trade system) which would not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  

    Back to the comment by times24by7.  It is a very complex problem.

  19. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    If you are actually interesting in volcanic contributions to atmospheric CO2, then try

    Burton, M.R., Sawyer, G.M., Granieri, D. (2013). Deep carbon emissions from volcanoes. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 75, 323–354.


    Gerlach, T. (2011). Volcanic versus anthropogenic carbon dioxide. EOS, 92(24), 201–202

  20. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    Atc - I would argue that studies on Lake Nyos disaster are of almost no relevance. From a climatic point of view, the interesting no. is how much CO2 is released on average from volcanoes and whether that is changing. Studies of a highly localized eruption like Nyos contributes almost nothing except when the context of global inventories. Papers on global inventories of CO2 from lakes are another story.

  21. One Planet Only Forever at 10:30 AM on 14 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    You have not answered the questions I have asked. But from your comments I have a clear understanding of your position/perspective.

    You are essentially arguing for only a minor reduction from a Business as Usual scenario. That would be like an RCP 7.0 or 8.0, which can only be argued for by someone who does not understand or accept the globally agreed need to 'limit total human impacts to 2.0C and an aspiration of reducing the impacts inflicted on future generations to 1.5C (significant rapid CO2 removal from the atmosphere)'.

    The understanding of the reason why Business Essentially as Usual approaches that inflict minimum negative consequences to aspects of economies that over-developed in the wrong direction can not be expected to produce the required chnages/corrections was well stated in the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" which included the following blunt assessment of the unreliability of pursuit of profit and popularity to develop the required changes/corrections.

    "25. Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable - in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, too quickly, on already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts. They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us for our spendthrift ways, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.
    26. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations. Most of today's decision makers will be dead before the planet feels; the heavier effects of acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, or widespread desertification and species loss. Most of the young voters of today will still be alive. In the Commission's hearings it was the young, those who have the most to lose, who were the harshest critics of the planet's present management."

    When President Bush Jr announced that the USA would not participate in Kyoto he proudly declared that Americans did not need to change the way they lived. That attitude has developed an unsustainable economy that needs significant correction. The required responsible correction will be a negative result from current perceptions of prosperity. But that current perception is clearly a falsehood, a Fake Economy. The perceptions of prosperity in the USA are substantially built on getting away with deliberately behaving less acceptably.

    As a result, I agree that the USA leadership is unlikely to willingly choose to responsibly and fairly correct the incorrect economic over-developments. Something like carefully targeted international trade sanctions against specific USA activities are likely to need to be developed in order to get more responsible leadership behaviour from the USA (just like sanctions are required to try to get better behaviour from leadership in N. Korea and Russia).

    That a once great leader towards a better future for humanity should have so significantly devolved through the past several decades is a major tragedy.

  22. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    To clarify what I meant by relevance, in the carbon dioxide example. The study was on the deaths caused by carbon dioxide coming out of a lake. Would it be of interest to pursue how much carbon dioxide was coming out? How significant is it? We know it is relevant in this example; but are there other ones with not so obvious relevance? Relevance which we  can’t think of right now. 

  23. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "So perhaps you should be re-visiting the answer you gave to the question asked by saddenp@33"

    I agree. Interested to know.

  24. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    With the AI program, we wouldn’t be searching just for climate change or global warming. We can be searching in other fields such glacier science, volcanology, oceanography, etc. So what we want is for the AI program to be looking for relevance to the topic of global warming or climate change. For instance, carbon dioxide in lakes or submarine volcanoes. They may not have a position on global warming but may be relevant. Just a thought. Don’t know if it will clarify anything or just muddy it more.

  25. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation


    I'm quite curious to see the analysis of which you speak which indicates that solar power is not dispatchable. Certainly, you can't "turn on" more solar panels to meet peak demand when there are clouds, it is night time, etc, but a robust power storage system will still allow a solar powered grid to meet demand when demand peaks. There have been notable recent advancements in solar power that now allow many solar power plants to supply the grid in much the same way as older fossil fuel or hydropower plants were able to load follow. Specifically, concentrated solar power plants use concentrated solar radiation to melt salts or other substances, which are then used to generate electricity thermally, and the molten salts are stored to meet later peaks in electricity demand.

  26. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    Can the survey of peer-reviewed literature be done with some kind of AI program? This way we don’t just have abstracts but the entire paper. We can do all sorts of analyses on the papers. Something like the AlphaGo but for reading research papers.

  27. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Here is another interview with Jerry Taylor in this podcast: Important, Not Important: Episode 3

    Alchemyst @11 - It seems to me that Powell is appealing more to the "authority" of the peer-reviewed science rather than to any particular scientist(s). The "appeal to authority" fallacy usually involves a claim that something is true because "Great scientist x" said so; not by pointing to a consensus of scientists and the wealth of data/theory that the consensus is based upon. A good example of this fallacy (or at least the thinking which it is based on) might be: "One Muller is worth 98 Powells". ;)

  28. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    [JH] Recommended supplementary readings:

    Tomgram: Michael Klare, Militarizing America's Energy Policy, Introduction by Tom Engelhardt, Article by Michael Klare, TomDispatch, Feb 11, 2018

    11 takeaways from the draft UN report on a 1.5C global warming limit by Megan Darby, Climate Home News, Feb 13, 2018

    Expect more 'complete surprises' from climate change: NASA's Schmidt by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 12, 2018

  29. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    MA Rodger @ 58

    I agree that it is somewhat of an over-statement to suggest that a carbon tax is the only tool but with the exception of infrastructue projects I am leery of what governments might do in their zeal to meet certain voluntarily imposed limitations on the use of fossil fuels.  One of those actions is the banning of ICE in automobiles by a certain date when there is no viable alternative on the horizon (will not get into the problems I see with EVs on a massive scale).

    But here is where I strongly disagree with you as to the practicality of this statement by you:

    "In a AGW-mitigated world, without a breakthrough in zero-carbon energy supply, we can expect the use of energy to be much constrained."

    I think we have to plan for a future where the demand for energy increases not decreases.  That has been the history of the world to date and that would be a large ship to turn around.  I just do not see that it is practical to assume otherwise.

  30. New study ‘reduces uncertainty’ for climate sensitivity

    I found the IPCC reference

    It was in TAR. I wonder if there's an update in the 5th Assessment Report.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link activated.

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Your arguing only makes sense if you believe the sole weapon at the disposal of mankind to mitigate AGW is carbon tax and further that all today's industries (presumably not including the FF industries) will be allowed to continue their present-day operations without taking a hit.

    In a AGW-mitigated world, without a breakthrough in zero-carbon energy supply, we can expect the use of energy to be much constrained. So it is a simple consideration for any industry that uses vast quantities of energy to produce its deliverable. I was always amused by the grand efforts of the glass industry to make its bottles more environmentally friendly and their celebrations at achieving sub-400gm Scotch whisky bottles. This is a wonderful technological achievement. But really, unless their aim is to achieve sub-100gm, is their grand effort nought but an example of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic? Unless the glass industry can reduce the energy required to make a whisky bottle to vestigial levels, there will come a day when whisky will no longer be sold in glass bottles. The same message should be understood by all other high-energy using industries.

    It is unfruitful to argue over the efficacy of a particular single level of carbon tax as though it were the sole solution to AGW and then engage in a lengthy debate on the impacts of such a policy, either on today's industries or on the resulting future path of AGW.

    So perhaps you should be re-visiting the answer you gave to the question asked by saddenp@33.

  32. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw @ 56

    In another thread I had suggested a carbon tax of $30 because that is the level of the carbon tax in Canadian dollars that BC has had since 2012.  With the exception of you, I think the other contributors above have weighed in with a number.  All of these numbers make sense because governments have actually proposed them.  My experience is Canada.  Alberta has also recently raised its  rate to $30/tonne and the federal government has proposed a carbon tax on any province that does not introduce its own by the end of 2018, starting at $10/tonne and moving to $50/tonne by 2022.  Nigelj has indicated that the rate in California is around $20/tonne which ballpark matches $30/tonne in Canadian dollars.

    These governments have the resources in the way of economic advice to be satisfied that such "incremental' steps will not bring the economy down and they have to look over their shoulder to make sure their voters are behind them.  Whether we actually see $50 by 2022 in Canada remains to be seen but, once again, these are small steps that will not materially damage the economy.  If the carbon tax is affecting things too greatly then I am sure the governments will respond.  If they do not they will be thrown out of office. 

    But let us not kid ourselves, these rates of carbon tax have no ability whatsoever to get us to the Paris Agreement targets for 2100.

    But we still do not have a number from you.  If you, as well, are in this ballpark then what were you talking about when you proposed that all direct costs that could be reasonably related to fossil fuels have to be included in such a carbon tax?  Was that just "theory"? 

    If you as well are proposing a tax around the level of everyone else on this thread, then you are right back at my point that we have to take steps that will not put the economy into trouble.  Back to "incrementalism". 

    But I thought you were talking about $150/tonne or something like that.  I can name three industries that would immediately suffer greatly would be the airlines, tourism and transportation.   Your theory about it being "neutral" just does not make sense.  You well appreciate that there would be a massive transfer of wealth by any simple carbon refund.  I am sure the complexity of this issue is what times24by7 was referencing in part.  By the time you got the carbon refund to people they would be out of a job because their employer could not price in the carbon tax to his customers. 

    But this is all academic if you are in the same range as everyone else.

    Realistic carbon taxes are the real world way of dealing with weaning ourselves from fossil fuels.  

    I do not disagree with nigelj's comments regarding a mixed economy where there is some government support but I would much rather governments stick to building the necessary infrastructure rather than making decisions for private sector.  Perhaps there is a need in the US for a high voltage power transmission system in the US similar to the interstate project of the US government in the latter half of the 20th century.     

    But again, I hate to come back to reality, but reality in the US is Donald Trump.  So when it comes to the US I think we have to stick to talking about a refundable carbon tax probably imposed state by state unless the proposal supported by James Baker et al gains some traction with Republicans. 

    So back to my question that has not been answered, what number do you have in mind?  Is it $30-50/tonne or is it $150 to $200/tonne which would "capture" all those direct costs you allege.

    If you are starting at $30/tonne and then gradually increasing it over 20 years based upon what the market will bear then this is gradualism.

  33. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 51:

    For starters, I agree with nigelj @55 regarding how to implement a carbon tax. No specific number in mind. Start with something, observe the effects (good and bad), and increase it if benefits suggest so (but be prepared to back off if negative effects outweight the  benefits).

    But to respond to your "cut to the chase" challenge: you have used two terms

    1. "a significant economic impact"
    2. " massive economic impact... "

    You have not defined either "significant" or "massive" in the context of economic impact. I presume that massive>significant, but you haven't even specified whether you are talking about massive benefits or massive costs, or net benefits.

    Any proper "risk management" covers two areas:

    1. Dealing with bad $#!^ that might happen and you hope doesn't but need to have a plan for.
    2. Taking advantage of opportunities that open up, that you coudn't necessarily rely on happening.

    As such, a massive effect could be massively good. I doubt that you are using "significant" and "massive" as good things, though.

    Now, to help me calibrate your scale, could you please rate the following historical economic/societal changes and tell me where they fall on your scale: little to no effect, significant effect, or massive effect?

    • The development of the steam locomotive and expansion of railways in the 1800s.
    • Mass production of automobiles beginning in the early 1900s.
    • Expansion of national road networks in the mid-20th century.
    • Advances in airplane design and growth of the airline industry during the period 1930-1980 (picking 50 years as a nice round number).
    • Advent of the microprocessor and development of personal computing devices since 1980.
    • The 2008-2009 financial crisis.

    If any of the above are "significant" or "massive", you you also please tell me whether you think they were beneficial, or bad?

    If none of these fit your "significant" or "massive" definitions, please provide an historical example that does.

    Or, you could just stop with the rhetorical flourishes.

  34. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    Gavin is visiting Down Under and talking about unknown biosystem, glacial & feedbacks feedbacks we are to hit soon and we need to brace for them:

    Expect more 'complete surprises' from climate change: NASA's Schmidt

  35. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    • And some other research of note that might justify inclusion for discussion on this website at some point. Its not my style to post every latest piece of research, but this one stands out a bit, and just in case it gets missed:

    "Research team detects an acceleration in the 25-year satellite sea level record"

    And Wili that sounds like ominous research, that creates an awful sort of choice. Fossil fuels have become so much like a drug.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Also see:

    Satellite observations show sea levels rising, and climate change is accelerating it by Brandon Miller, CNN, Feb 12, 2017

    This article contains some impressive graphics as well. 

  36. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Regarding your concerns about the effects of a carbon tax and dividend scheme on the wider economy.

    We can calculate some ideal carbon price ok. However modelling the economic effects of this 100% accurately on the economy looks difficult to me ( I do stand to be corrected) because you are dealing with human behaviour.

    The only workable approach is probably to do some modelling, but still choose a moderately low starting point for a carbon tax / price, and ramp it up over time. The effects on the economy from the initial tax / carbon price can then be analysed, and form a basis for futher increases. This has worked well for other consumption taxes.

    California put a $25 / tonne cost on carbon for its ets scheme, and has not had problems, and other countries have introduced modest carbon taxes without problems. Norris you need to acknowledge this, that we already have this information. Therefore $25 gives a safe starting point as a price on carbon, and it can be ramped up over time. However a fuller analysis might suggest another starting point, I'm just demonstrating the way to look at the issue.

    Regarding the effects of carbon taxes on the economy. It will be transformative as others have described, but that will ultimately be manageable and positive.

    Perhaps you are worried about possible negative effects and instability of a carbon tax. Imo, there will not be many. Please note a tax and dividend scheme as desribed previously above is shifting money around rather than pulling demand out of the economy. Its reduced demand that would be a problem but we are not reducing demand.

    There will also clearly be be an optimal rate and also a maximum that the economy can convert from fossil fuels to renewable energy and electric cars. If a carbon tax was too high, it would push demand ahead of supply and could be inflationary for the energy sector, but it would have to be an excessively high tax abruptly introduced to do this. Provided we start with a middle range carbon tax, we would see such inflationary effects evolving, and be able to adjust the tax or supply chain to suit.

    It's hard to see such inflation being unmanageable or significant, and its hard to see such inflation in one sector even if it occured undermining the economy. Economic crashes are caused mostly by by asset bubbles, credit and debt problems,  and business cycles as you would probably know.

  37. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    Honestly Pruitt would drive anyone to total despair.

    "The EPA was weaponized against certain sectors of our economy – fossil fuels generally - and that’s not the role of a regulator."

    Pruits use of the term "weaponises"  uses inflammatory, manipulative language to appeal to emotion, combined with a strawman fallacy. Quite a combination of rhetorical click bait, and unbecoming of someone 'leading' an organisation. And at least my clickbait is accurate.

    And it is actually the job of the regulator to regulate fossil fuels. From Investopedia "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in December 1970 under United States President Richard Nixon. The EPA is an agency of the United States federal government whose mission is to protect human and environmental health. "

    "Warming is good for humanity"

    No it isn't.  The article summed it up well.  Humanity elected the IPCC to do the in depth research on whether climate change is a problem, so that we aren't reliant on the views of one person, with all the baggage individuals have. Its foolish to now loose faith in The IPCC, or to subscribe to the views of people like Pruitt, who have a huge anti enviromental history, and thus a clear bias.

  38. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "You surely appreciate that a large carbon tax even if completely "refundable" would have massive economic impact on the US economy"

    I agree that it would have economic impact - "massive" is merely rhetoric however. Ultimately it would result in closure in all FF industry which is certainly as "massive" and negative as it can get for that particular industry. That is the effect of introduction of automobiles had on livery stables, horse breeders and blacksmiths. On the other side, everyone wants energy so non-carbon energy industries are going to boom like say the auto makers, and oil producers did. Is that an overall negative to the economy?

    How do you figure that cost against the effects on the economy if you don't limit climate change? You seem to think doing nothing is free.

    As to size of carbon tax, well several ways to factor. To be effective it must be high enough to make FF more directly expensive to the consumer than the alternatives and that is highly country and even region specific. If you killed all the FF subsidies, then I would say you could introduce at say $10-15/tonne and let rise to say $60-$80/tonne over ten years. However, I dont have the number to hand for US both on effect of killing FF subsidies nor costs of alternatives to make a definitive statements. I am sure the numbers are out there.

  39. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    Conradin Sakison I agree with your comment about Pruits political motivations.

    "If you have enough geothermal, hydro, and nuclear to meet peak demand, you gain nothing from intermittent renewables."

    The operative word is of course "if". Geothermal power is a limited resource, with only 10 countries using it significantly as below.

    While capacity does exist in some other countries particularly in Africa, building geothermal plant is significantly more expensive than wind and solar power. I live in NZ which is a relatively young country geologically, and very seisimically active being on a plate boundary, and we have geothermal power, but its only sufficient for part of our electricity needs, and we are building wind power as well. I have no opposition to geothermal its great power, but we need to be accurate about the availability and costs.

    Hydro electricty is nearly "maxed out" in many countries with the larger rivers already utilised. Building more dams is contentious, because of the environmental impacts on wildlife and local communities.

    Nuclear power comes up against a long list of problems as pointed out above.

    Therefore as a general rule globally, it appears that the primary focus is going to be on wind and solar , with hydro and geothermal providing supplementary power, or peaking electricity supply in the background, along with storage strategies and some limited use of gas.

  40. Natural gas killed coal – now renewables and batteries are taking over

    Conradin Sakison,

    I see that you have no peer reviewed material to share with us to support your wild claim that nuclear is required to reduce fossil CO2 emissions.  It is sloganeering to continue to make unsupported claims.

    Of course current renewables require backup at this time.  It is still extremely early days for renewable  energy.  As more renewable energy is built out, non-fossil storage will be built.  It is like the argument that cars can never replace horses because there are no gas stations.

    Try to post all your wild claims about nuclear on the same thread so that everyone can follow them.  When you make the same claims on multiple threads it is difficult to respond.

  41. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    Pruitt’s claims fell apart immediately because he didn’t acknowledge that there has NEVER never been a warming trend as rapid as is currently happening. Humanity and the planet are in new, unknown territor, making ignorance even more dangerous. 

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The use of all-caps constitutes shouting and is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy. To emphasize a word or a sentence segment, please use bold font.

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 05:01 AM on 13 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    "Negative emission technologies will not compensate for inadequate climate change mitigation efforts".

    The song remains the same. Burning of fossil fuels is a harmful unsustainable pursuit of Private Interest that the hope for the development of 'new helpful technology' does not excuse.

    The biggest barrier to the development of Carbon Removal is 'a lack of popularity and profitability'. And claiming that 'future generations' will figure out how to overcome/solve the problems created by the inconsiderate pursuits of Private Interest today also does not excuse what some people continue to try to get away with.

    Removing carbon to correct the developed problem faces challenges similar to correcting the amount and type of energy consumption fueling the way people live. What needs to happen is a 'charitable act of self-sacrifice by the wanna-be-winners competing in popularity and profitability games' for the benefit Others (including all future generations of humanity) without any personal reward for the ones making the charitable sacrifice, and a detriment for the ones who gambled bigger on getting away with behaving less acceptably (including those unfortunate people who allowed themselves to be tempted to buy the vehicle they 'were tempted to like' even though it was less efficient than alternatives, or cheaper than more responsible alternatives).

    The ability to get away with burning fossil fuels cheap has significantly delayed the development of more sustainable ways of living.

  43. Conradin sakison at 04:11 AM on 13 February 2018
    Models are unreliable

    I hold that it is a mistake to call the effects of fossil CO2 emissions "Climate Change". For a start, it is too mild. The effects could be Catastrophic Climate Change.
    But my point, with respect to models, is that climate modelling is far more difficult than the simple thermodynamic equation that was contained in the warning of Svante Arrhenius, about a century ago.
    For several millennia, except for the occasional huge volcanic eruption, the temperatures on Earth, or as we might more usefully call it "within the biosphere" remained within a range to which the living organisms had evolved to accustom themselves.
    Arrhenius showed that the thermodynamic balance between radiation received and radiation emitted depends upon the temperatures of terran surfaces being such as to emit radiation, mostly infrared, that balances what has to escape plus that which is recaptured by gases that turn it into their own kinetic energy, and share that.
    Arrhenius showed that carbon dioxide was indeed remarkably capable of capturing infrared radiation of exactly the range that comfortably warm and not-too-cold surfaces emit.
    It is a simple step from there to conclude that a rise in proportion of CO2 from 280 ppm to 400 ppm, which is today well documented, will cause the biosphere to accumulate heat annually at some rate that eventually gets it "warm" enough to emit more energetic infrared.

    The danger is that since the cause of the problem is that accumulation, but the rate of its manifestation is the rate at which snows and ice can melt, and entire oceans can warm, lots of people and even governments may fail to be convinced, until it's too late.

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 04:01 AM on 13 February 2018
    Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    Minor correction/clarification near the end of my comment@7

    "Clearly, even refereed competition for popularity and profitability can feed harmful selfishness. The desires of some to Win any way they can get away with will motivate them to try to be secretive (evade detection by a referee), or try to influence the making up of the rules (eliminating rules or creating loop-holes for the unacceptable behaviour they hope to get away with benefiting from), or trying to get 'their preferred and biased referees' (having rules selectively enforced)".

    Teaching all students about the importance of having Good Reasons for their actions, along with teaching them how to determine if there is Reason to accept a claim, would be more helpful than just teaching them about Reason (because a harmful Private Interest can be a Reason to accept a claim).

  45. Conradin sakison at 03:50 AM on 13 February 2018
    Natural gas killed coal – now renewables and batteries are taking over

    It boggles my mind that California's liberals are so hostile — with the exception of people like Michael Shellenberger — to nuclear. I am also a hardcore liberal and lifelong environmentalist, and have been an American citizen since the reign of Gerald the Pardoner.
    When I was still a British subject, I admired the USA that it could have three of the first four elements to follow those named after the gods Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, be named after America, Berkeley, and California. Yes, I studied nuclear physics.
    I have done enough of the arithmetic to be convinced that solar panels even with batteries are a pathetic approach compared with nuclear research done in the USA on Molten Salt Reactors and the Integral Fast-neutron Reactor, even before the infamous and wildly exaggerated Chernobyl recklessness and stupidity.
    Also, having lived ten years in Scotland and fourteen in Northern Ireland, it is evident to me that sunshine is not the key to world wide solution of the global warming problem.

  46. Conradin sakison at 03:33 AM on 13 February 2018
    Natural gas killed coal – now renewables and batteries are taking over

    I'm sorry to have to write this, folks, but the problem is not the annual rate of CO2 emissions. It is the accumulated sum of all CO2 emissions since Watt perfected the steam engine, or since people started using coal to keep warm in winter.
    So a global switch from coal to something that cuts the emissions rate in half (presuming that the methane released does NOT wipe out the improvement) only reduces by half the rate at which the problem is worsening.
    The fact that gas turbine backup is essential nearly everywhere that the wind and solar "renewables" are installed, explains why Germany's Energiewende has predictably failed to improve Germany's CO2 emissions. The worst part of it, unless you have a financial interest in fossil carbon, was the choice of nuclear power to be replaced.

    The logic of Industrial Oceanic Warming and Acidification demands that  as soon as possible, we reduce the role of fossil carbon to that of horse-drawn carriages, and then find a way to recapture the carbon dioxide from the seas and the air.
    Dr. Alex Cannara, in a presentation about Ocean Acidification , goes into this topic.

  47. One Planet Only Forever at 03:32 AM on 13 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Let us cut to the core of the issue.

    Understanding that having to reduce the benefit obtained from the creation of GHG related to the burning of fossil fuels would 'negatively impact the USA economy' is actually admitting that the USA ecoomy is incorrectly, harmfully and unsustainably developed. Investigating the history of actions by the USA in this regard leads to an understanding of the deliberate efforts to maximize competitive advantage by behaving as unacceptably as can be gotten away with.

    The understanding of the 'unacceptability of activities that have no real future (like burning non-renewable resources) and create harm that others including future generations suffer regardless of their regional temporary popularity or profitability (negative side effects of fossil fuel burning or nuclear power)' was established long ago. That understanding can be seen to be expressed by different people throughout written history.

    The repeated damaging periods of Winning by people with Private Interests that are contrary to the Public Good of developing a sustainable better future for humanity are not 'fundamentally unavoidable' and did not have to become the massive damaging realities they became. However, once undeserving Winning is gotten away with the perceptions  developed among the undeserving winners definitely makes it challenging to 'correct them'.

    So the 'carbon price that would not negatively affect the USA economy' is irrelevant. What needs to happen is the correction of incorrect development to minimize the negative impacts on the future of humanity, not the protection of perceptions in a sub-set of humanity that developed by incorrect development.

  48. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation


    Can you provide a peer reiviewed citation to support your wild claim that nuclear can provide even10% of total power?

    Abbott 2011 gives 14 reasons why nuclear is completely impractical.  Please address at least 4 of them in your citations.  They include: 15,000 sites to locate reactors do not exist, not enough rare elements like hafnium and beryllium exist, the expected accident rate would be one major accident per month, and there is not enough uranium in known reserves.

    I note that to power the world countries like Iran, Syria, North Korea and Zimbabwe would have to install nuclear.

  49. Conradin sakison at 03:14 AM on 13 February 2018
    Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    The adjective "natural" is vague. A strict materialist like myself can argue that there is no such thing as an un-natural death. I your opponent in a duel pierces your chest with his fast "court" sword, then in the nature of things you will die quite soon. Likewise, the entirely natural effect of polonium 210's radiation within Litvinenko's body slew him. Murder by these usages is an entirely natural death.
    But both of these instances are human-caused.
    Perhaps the most ridiculous error in the "climate change is natural" argument is that the Earth's atmosphere for 3500 million years was unbreathable by modern aerobic life.
    When it and the seas became sufficiently oxygenated, they became deadly poisonous to all strictly anaerobic bacteria and archaeans.
    That change was not due to any inorganic cause. It was created bythe first photosynthetic life.

  50. One Planet Only Forever at 03:00 AM on 13 February 2018
    Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    The recommended process is an excellent way to show that there is no Good Reason to believe an unjustified but appealing made-up claim.

    Going through the process with a believer of such a claim would clearly show them that it is not reasonable to believe the claim. However, if their motivation for believing the unreasonable claim is a Private Interest that is contrary to the understanding that Good Reason would develop, they are likely to 'resist changing their mind, perhaps seeking out a different unjustified claim that appeals to their desire for the harmful (not Good) Private Interest'.

    In the case of a person who is motivated by a Private Interest that is understandably harmful or unfair to Others (like a private interest in benefiting from the continued burning of fossil fuels which is harmful and unfair to the future generations of humanity), it will likely be necessary to implement ways of keeping them from being able to significantly influence what is going on until they have proven they have changed their mind about what is a deserving (good/helpful) Private Interest. The focus needs to be on investigating and correcting the actions of all of the wealthiest and most powerful - the Winners; measuring the 'contribution to the future of humanity' of their actions against a comprehensive and robustly established set of Good Goals like the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The international community still struggles to effectively achieve this when horrific current day things like regional genocides are occurring, so it can be expected that there will be even less success in correcting unacceptable Private Interests in pursuit of popularity and profit that mainly produce 'future harm'. But that correction of the behaviour of the International Community of Leaders, political and economic, is clearly going to be necessary for humanity to have a future. It is especially required for the future (regionally as well as globally) to be a sustained improvement from the past.

    The examples of unacceptable reactions to climate science by 'Current Winners in the games of regional popularity and profitability' powerful exposes the need for such change, and exposes the unacceptable attitudes that develop in poorly refereed competitions, competitions that undeniably devolve into fighting to win any way that can be gotten away with, and become more vicious the more that Private Interests are at stake.

    Each person has their individual predisposition in the spectrum of 'harmful selfishness <-> altruistic helpfulness'. Many ancient/aboriginal cultures include parables about people having 'two sides inside them' and identify that the side that grows is the one that is fed. Clearly, refereed competition for popularity and profitability feeds harmful selfishness. It develops people who will resist accepting Good Reason. That needs to change.

    Teaching all students this process would be an excellent step towards the required changes of what is going on. It should be built into as many aspects of the education curriculum as possible, not just be a part of one subject in one grade.

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