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Comments 901 to 950:

  1. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Bob Hoye,

    Since I teach college level chemistry I am familiar with the photosynthesis equation.  I note you provide no commentary to support your wild claims.  You have also not provided any peer reviewed papers to support your wild claims.  I will point out that the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere is decreasing since it is being converted into CO2 by reaction with carbon.

    Since you are relying on your personal experience can you provide any evidence that you are an expert on atmospheric chemistry?

  2. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Driving by:

    Can you provide a peer reviewed source to support your claim "it will be a few hundred years in the future."?  I think that if the temperature goes up by 5-6C by 2100 that could cause the collapse of civilization.   Since 5-6C is possible continuing BAU it could be in the lifetime of people now living.

    Suggesting that the problems we face now are not due for several hundred years does not help motivate people to get started working on the problem.

  3. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Oops typpo

    should be = C6H12O6 + 6O2

  4. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Chemical Equation of Photosynthesis:

    6CO2 + 6H2O + light energy = C6H12)6 + 6O2

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This is verging on sloganeering. Having more CO2 does not obviously create more sites (plants) where this reaction can occur, nor does it necessarily change the kinetics. Because we emitting more CO2 than plants can absorb, O2 is dropping and CO2 is rising. If this is the quality of your arguments, then SkS is not the site for you. Please back any more claims with scientific evidence or face having your sloganeering summarily deleted.

  5. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy


    1. If we're due for an anthropegenic extinction event, it will be a few hundred years in the future. 

    2. Each time such an event has occured, life sprung forth again, eventually in more complex form. 

    So another Great Dying, if that happens, will result in a sharp reduction of the human population and will probably not be pleasant until the system is back in balance.  Humanity's arc of history frequently flexes towards vast wars, a die-off will thus prevent a WWIII or totalitarian techno-dystopia. 

    It would have been much better if the world had heeded the warnings about this issue starting in the '50s, we could have avoided the current predicament with ease. But that's just not how humans at mass scale work. Hysteria and witch hunts, we do those very well. Calm, deliberate and effective planning, that's mostly a dream. It happens (Holland, Switzerland) but it is rare.  

  6. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    It's also likely that the massive impactor that hit in the Yucatan region about 65 Mya triggered a dramatic increase in the flow of magma from the Deccan Traps in what is now India also releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide, resulting in climate change that took out about 70% of species on Earth at that time.

    Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs


    There's very little doubt left that rapid excursions in atmospheric carbon dioixde are associated with some of the most destructive periods in the Earth's past.

    250 million years ago it was continental scale flood basalts in what is now Siberia that drove atmospheric CO2 levels rapidly up in pulses that caused climate change that eventually killed almost life in the oceans and most terrestrial life.

    65 Mya an impactor hit what is now Yucatan and would have rung the entire planet like a bell. 11 on the Richter scale at the site of impact and 8-9 everywhere else on Earth. The Deccan Traps probably experienced an effect similar to soil liquifaction as a result of this massive tremblor, vastly increasing the release of greenhouse gases from this one source.

    All the evidence says to be very careful when it comes to rpaid changes in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and climate change. Especially when it comes to the impacts on the oceans.

    Where currently almost all the heat is going that is being downloaded from the atmosphere from the addition of hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 from human activities.

    Ocean Heat Content And The Importance Of The Deep Ocean

    And where all that additional CO2 has already resulted in a rapid acidification of the oceans which is hitting the web of life there right at its base.

    Ocean acidification may cause dramatic changes to phytoplankton



    Most of the official responses from policy makers worldwide seem extremely lukewarm compared to the magnitude of negative changes that have already occured with far more to come as it will take decades for the Earth to come back into a radiative balance with the CO2 we have already emitted due to the lag created by the vast thermal capacity of the oceans.

    We're relying on the lungs of the Earth to buffer us from a rapid warming of the Earth's surface and to absorb massive amounts of CO2 we emit constantly.

    And these factors have already altered the most important natural system on Earth in ways that are troubling to say the least.

    A dramatic change in policy in California needs to be followed by a dramatic change in policy everywhere that does reflect the existential nature of this process.

  7. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Bob Hoye,

    Can you produce a peer reviewed to support your wild claim that more CO2 means more O2 will be generated.  I have never heard that claim before.

    I have heard the claims Doug C. is making many times.  There is ample evidence that most of the mass extinctions in the past were due to climate effects of too much CO2.  The possibility of Hydrogen sulfide poisoning from too high ocean pH is a common proposal.

    It is well known that the ocean pH has changed many times in the past.  this is closely associated with mass extinctions.  typical news report on mass extinctions  SkS article on hhigh CO2 and extinctions

  8. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Bob Hoye @8

    Alarming new study makes today’s climate change more comparable to Earth’s worst mass extinction


    "In “High-precision timeline for Earth’s most severe extinction,” published in PNAS on February 10, authors Seth Burgess, Samuel Bowring, and Shu-zhong Shen employed new dating techniques on Permian-Triassic rocks in China, bringing unprecedented precision to our understanding of the event. They have dramatically shortened the timeframe for the initial carbon emissions that triggered the mass extinction from roughly 150,000 years to between 2,100 and 18,800 years. This new timeframe is crucial because it brings the timescale of the Permian Extinction event’s carbon emissions shorter by two orders of magnitude, into the ballpark of human emission rates for the first time.

    How does this relate to today’s global warming?

    Climate and CO2 have changed hand-in-hand through most of geological time. Mostly these changes happened slowly enough that the long-term feedbacks of Earth’s climate system had time to process them. This was true during the orbitally-induced glacial-interglacial cycles in the ice ages. In warmer interglacials, more intense insolation in northern hemisphere summers led to warmer oceans which were in equilibrium with slightly more CO2 in the atmosphere by adjusting their carbonate levels. In glacial times with less intense northern hemisphere summer insolation, the cooler oceans dissolved more CO2, and carbonate levels adjusted accordingly. The changes occurred over gentle timescales of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years – plenty slow enough for slow feedbacks like the deep oceans and ice sheets to keep pace.

    Rapid carbon belches, such as in the Permian and today, occur within the timeframe of fast feedbacks (surface ocean, water vapor, clouds, dust, biosphere, lapse rate, etc) but before the vast deep ocean reservoir and rock weathering can cut-in to buffer the changes. The carbon overwhelms the surface ocean and biosphere reservoirs so it has nowhere to go but the atmosphere, where it builds up rapidly, creating strong global warming via the greenhouse effect. The surface oceans turn acidic as they become increasingly saturated in CO2. The oceans warm, so sea levels rise. Those symptoms should sound familiar.

    Burgess et al’s paper brings the Permian into line with many other global-warming extinction events, like the Triassic, the Toarcian, the Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events, The PETM, and the Columbia River Basalts, whose time frames have been progressively reduced as more sophisticated dating has been applied to them. They all produced the same symptoms as today’s climate change – rapid global warming, ocean acidification, and sea level rises, together with oxygen-less ocean dead zones and extinctions. They were all (possibly excluding the PETM - see below) triggered by rare volcanic outpourings called “Large Igneous Provinces,” (LIPs) that emitted massive volumes of CO2 and methane at rates comparable to today’s emissions. The PETM may also have been triggered by a LIP, although that is still debated.

    Can we seriously expect Earth’s climate to behave differently today than it did at all those times in the past?"

    Even if this is a 1 in 1000 chance it's an incredibly poor bet to make.

    And as we're experiencing here already, the journey to total catastrophic collapse is not a nice smooth process. It is chaotic and at times very destructive.

    I'm pretty sure that as the oceans go through tipping point after tipping point as we drive them to a state of systemic failure, the impacts in human terms are going to be truly nasty.

    Like the estimated 1 billion people who depend on coral reef systems for their existence right now not having anything to eat in a few decades.

  9. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    After hundreds of millions of years, oceans have suddenly lost the ability to buffer their own chemistry?

    And are going to suddenly emit "clouds" of H2S?

    When has it happened before?

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Please resist the urge to lace your comments with sarcasm. We insist that commenters to keep the conversations civil and respectful on this venue.

  10. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Bob Hoye @6

    Much better than the clouds of poisonous hydrogen sulfide that are going to eventually be wafting across the planet if we keep driving the oceans too far into a warming/dying cycle.

  11. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    No more of that dimethyl sulfide, which is the main fragrance of that ocean smell.

    Shucks, I think I'll move.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Off-topic sarcasm snipped. Please read the SkS Comments Policy and adhere to it in future posts. Thank you.

  12. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Bob Hoye @2

    It's not the direct effect of the CO2 that is concerning, it's the rapid warming that all that extra CO2 is causing on the oceans and the increase of ocean acidity with the additions of so much carbon dioxide(i.e.carbonic acid) to the oceans.

    This is already having a massive impact on coral reef viability which is rapidly heading towards zero globally. 30 years from now it's projected that 90% of coral reef systems will be dead with their huge biotas, up to 25% of life in the oceans now.

    This in conjunction with industrial scale fishing, much of it not regulated at all and ocean pollution at a high level.

    With the warming of the oceans, there is now a cap of warm surface water in many places as well blocking the mixing of atmospheric oxygen to deeper ocean levels creating vast areas of ocean with low oxygen levels where many species cannot survive.

    My concern with the oceans is that as life there is hit so hard at so many trophic levels, then how long will the overall biological structure remain intact.

    And it is that biological structure that is responsible for the production of most of the free oxygen most of the biosphere depends on for life.

    Almost a half of the condensation nuclei that gives us rainfall also comes from molecules produced by life in the oceans as well.

    We're seriously distrupting the key ecosystem on the planet and acting as if all is well.

    Here in BC we struggle to deal with wildfires, what emergency response is there going to be to rapidly dying oceans.

  13. Not so Permanent Permafrost

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Arctic carbon cycle is speeding up by Esprit Smith, Vital Signs of the Planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Aug 3, 2018

  14. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Of course there are some 600 species of fresh and salt water phytoplankton, but it seems the very ones we'd like to keep around are the ones that are most likely to march the road to extinction once the ocean pH falls far enough.

  15. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    To Bob Hoye:

    Yup, more CO2 means more O2, but that's not really where the problem lies.  The issues is the mass death of phytoplankton from ocean acidification that prevents these little creatures from making shells to protect themselves against the very sunlight that lets them photosynthesize. 

  16. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Hi Doug

    "loss of oxygen producing capacity".

    You might take another look at the formula for photosynthesis.

    More CO2 on one side of the equation equals more oxygen on the other side.

    Bob (in Vancouver B.C.)

  17. California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    This is all good, but for many policy makers there still seems to be a serious lack of understanding of the true dimensions of the overall risk we all now face from climate change alone.

    About 50% of the great Barrier reef is now dead, a process that will eventually kill off most coral reef systems globally in a matter of decades. There are also things like increasing presence of low oxygen zones in the oceans that make the entire marine system less and less stable.

    Climate Change Is Suffocating Large Parts of the Ocean

    In conjuction with industrial scale fishing, illegal fishing and pollution, it's questionable how much more the oceans can take. The oceans are the main factor in oxygen generation of the Earth.


    Here in BC we have just had a positive development in an appeal court decision that declared the approval of the tripling of a dilbit pipeline to be biased and not objective at all removing approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. It would have seen an increase in the flow of oil sands synthetic crude from about the current 350,000 to almost 900,000 barrels a day. There's an estimated 173 billion barrels of bitumen in the Alberta reserves, something that the Canadian PM has declared he wants to go after.

    In BC the provincial government - which although it was opposed to the TMX - has committed over $10 billion to build a large hydro-electric project(Site C dam) in the middle of the Montney gas formation that will almost certainly be used to power gas fracking for decades part of which will be turned into LNG to be sold internationally and some of which is sent to Alberta to be used in oil sands production.

    Site C Dam Montney formation

    Our governments here really don't seem to have any real sense of urgency even though BC is having some of the same catastrophic climate change impacts as California with record levels of flooding followed by heat waves and record wildfire seasons.

    For a time the due to the smoke from wildfires the air quality in BC was some of the worst in the world.

    BC air quality due to wildfires

    Even more frightening is the growing prospect of what happens when the the growing damage to the oceans reaches a critical level. Very poor air quality and record level widlfires are one thing, loss of oxygen producing capacity of the Earth is a nightmare scenario.

  18. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #35

    What is often forgotten is that the various ecologies of the world suffered irreversable damage when the first people moved into them.  Australia, 50,000 years ago, The Americas, 12,000 years ago, New Zealand, 700 years ago and so forth.  We are just finishing the destruction.  What is particularly sad is that we are aware of what we are doing and any reasonably bright year 12 student could tell the politicians what is necessary to stop the destruction and then reverse it.  First people didn't have our perspective to realize what they were causing.  We have no such excuse.

  19. citizenschallenge at 00:18 AM on 3 September 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #35

    I'm curious why in the world would they use an term like "risk".

    It's like putting on extra sweaters "may" make you warmer.  We live in a world of petty perceptions and wishful thinking.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] For starters, please read:

    HM Government. UK Climate ChangeRisk Assessment 2017. Presented to Parliament pursuant to Section 56 of the Climate Change Act 2008. January 2017.

  20. New research, August 20-26, 2018

    Hello wilddouglascounty,

    Thank you for the kind feedback, it is much appreciated!

    The resource actually has been available since 2010. It was published then only in my own blog AGW Observer. There is a new research page containing links to older posts also. I don't remember for sure, but I think the resource might have been available even before that in the Twitter (@AGWobserver) briefly before I started making blog posts about it.

    So it started with Twitter and posts at AGW Observer. Initially I just browsed new publications at some journal websites and it was really time consuming. At some point I started using an RSS feed reader, which has been a huge help. Now I only have one site to browse.

    I kept adding bells and whistles to the blog posts and I also started the posts here at Skeptical Science. Then it just became too much and I stopped most of it and continued only in Twitter while making only few blog posts during 2013 in my own blog. In 2014 and most of 2015 I made monthly posts. Then I started making occasional posts and during 2016 I started dividing posts by subject. I was adding bells and whistles again. In late 2016 it was back to Twitter only.

    Currenly I'm posting papers in Twitter and in the weekly posts here. It is sometimes quite tiring and even pressuring, but at the same time it's also interesting and rewarding. Perhaps I should write a new in-depth "about" post, as the old one is quite out-of-date. I'll try to find some time for it in the near future.

  21. The silver lining of fake news

    OPOF @14, I  agree a carbon tax and dividend certainly isn't perfect, or some sort of panacea, but then what is? I would argue the following points:

    1)Its within the existing framework of permissable solutions to market problems.

    2) It puts a price on carbon, so avoids a situation of requiring a complex web of separate regulations.

    3) It appears preferable economically to cap and trade.

    4) It has some chance of being passed into law in America, if Democrats gain control of the house. 

    Carbon tax has a couple of main weaknesses. Firstly the tax will increase to a point of saturation where it stops working. This will mean other approaches are required, but I would say "cross that bridge when you come to it" and we both know there's a range of other tools available if required.

    Secondly as you say it won't have huge impact on the rich, or at least those rich people dismissive of the climate problem. However carbon tax has the probability of changing the behaviour of the masses of people, so more renewable energy penetration would become self reinforcing, and help isolate the influence of the rich to some extent.

    You could at least target the dividend at lower income people, although this only partly solves the problem of the rich.

    The question is what other alternatives are there in terms of changing the attitudes of rich people? I dont know of a government mechanism targeted at climate alone that would send a strong signal to rich people. Normally progressive taxation has helped remind the rich that they have responsibilities beyond exploiting the system, but progressive taxes are under attack in America. I'm old fashioned liberal leaning, so I dont mind progressive taxes within reason, but they are under attack in some countries and soaking the rich too much wont solve every problem of society.

    A moderate wealth or inheritance tax possibly makes more sense economically, and is not incompatible with capitalism, but is stepping outside of the immediate climate concern, and if linked to the climate problem might confuse the issue and further alienate conservatives. However a wealth tax of some sort is a good way of reducing inequality and funding infrastructure, and should be policy anyway, just treated as a separate issue to the cimate problem.

    We all know there's a problem of "money in politics" and if only people would understand how deep it goes. But we can't count on some instant solution.

    I think it comes back to what I said. The issue may be in all our hands. People need to better understand how a small group of sometimes narcisstic rich people manipulate society, and stand up to them. Don't vote for billionaire property developers who have probably made their money in ways that are not entirely of a high standard (choosing my words carefully, dont want to have comments crossed out). Many ordinary people own shares, so get to shareholders meetings, and start demanding that those companies act more sustainably and pay people only for good long term results.

    There are a lot of things that should happen. Imho executives should only get pay rises when they add genuine value, ( thats how I have been paid as a consultant, and I wouldnt expect more) and they should be required to meet environmental goals etc. However I can't wave my arms and make that happen, because it will only happen if everyone gets smarter and demands accountability from people in positions of power and wealth. People are probably scared "they will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs" but I dont think this will happen, because corporations will still want to sell their goods.

  22. wilddouglascounty at 01:32 AM on 2 September 2018
    New research, August 20-26, 2018

    I just read my post and I meant to say November 2011, not 2012 as the date you initiated your efforts.  It may have well preceded this in a less formal way, for all I know.....thanks!

  23. wilddouglascounty at 01:30 AM on 2 September 2018
    New research, August 20-26, 2018


    I just want to say how useful your "New Research" columns have been and continue to be.  I think it is beyond the scope of any one person to keep up with the flood of research on climate change, and I'm sure it feels that way for you, too. But that makes it all the more useful for any attempts such as yours to try to highlight the research you bring to this website, something it appears that you began in 2012. 

    I just read your initial introduction to this series that your wrote back then and saw that you invited feedback, so am writing my appreciation today, almost 6 years later! 

    If you have the time/inclination, I'd love to hear your persective on your efforts to glean the "cream of the crop," and any other impressions that you've gained during your disciplined exercise of research winnowing and sharing over these years that you've provided this service.

    And thanks so much for your efforts once again!

  24. One Planet Only Forever at 00:22 AM on 2 September 2018
    The silver lining of fake news

    I agree with you points.

    I will continue to think more about this, but I can point out that promoting a carbon fee and dividend, as helpful as that mechanism would be, is unlikely to result in the required correction to limit major negative impacts on future generations.

    The main problem is that the mechanism does not significantly deter the inconsiderate people who are wealthier or more influential. The wealthier still get to benefit from businesses related to the burning of fossil fuels, and they can afford the nominal personal extra costs. The people who need to be most significantly corrected are not corrected in any meaningful way by that measure.

    And as you note, actually less expensive truly sustainable usable energy methods are developed (the alternatives being developed have real material limits and can create accumulating harmful consequences either in initial production, transmission, use or end of use, better than fossil fuels burning but not truly sustainable ways for people to live no matter how wealthy they are relative to others).

    So a carbon fee and rebate system can stall out before achieving the required correction. And without other significant corrections of the socioeconomic-political systems that have developed (particularly the correction of the way that people are able to be tempted to allow their primitive selfish human nature overwhelm their ability to do the harder work of GHAR), the winning developed alternatives to fossil fuels are likely to not be the most sustainable of the possible options.

    And getting a carbon fee and rebate implemented will not happen without other corrections occurring. In Alberta, the war chants against the carbon tax are loud. And they will not be quelled by having the carbon levy and rebate program continue. The cries of anger in Alberta get louder when it becomes more apparent that trying to benefit from burning fossil fuels is unacceptable and being effectively impeded.

    A large number of people in Alberta are angrier as a result of the recent Federal Appeal Court ruling that the evaluation that the Federal Government had based its approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion on was seriously flawed. The court decision not only required the specifically identified corrections of the evaluation to be done, the construction was stopped until those corrections were performed because the corrected evaluation, properly performed, may change the final decision (the angry people do not like the idea that the initial decision could actually have been unjustified). And the anger is growing support for ending the carbon levy and rebate program in Alberta. And there is an election in less than a year to determine who decides if the Carbon Tax (as it will be called in the election advertising) will continue given that Alberta is declared by many to be 'the' economic engine of Canada (even though it isn't, and undeniably isn't even a significant sustainable contributor to wealth in Canada since pursuit of benefit from fossil fuels is a dead-end activity, no matter how beneficial it is to the people who benefit from it today).

  25. The silver lining of fake news

    I think we have three important issues at the heart of the climate problem:

    1) Capitalism is useful machine that promotes efficiency, but it doesn't put a cost on environmental damage, particularly long term damage and so we end up with problems. The usual way of dealing with this problem is government legislation, and this worked well enough to deal with the ozone problem.

    But the profit motive is strong, and wealthy business people reject government legislation in many cases. The wealthy in business have an iron grip on governments,  and influence how ordinary people think with media campaigns that seek to attack environmentalism, spread climate denial, and reject the need for government involvement. Its leading to the fundamental rejection of science, empirical evidence and facts particularly by one side of politics. The end result is fake news, ignorance and nonsense that denies solid evidence.

    2) Humans are mostly not great long term thinkers. We want a comfortable life right now, and we put off problems. We respond best to short term threats. People struggle to think about complex long term processes. People think their children will be able to buy their way out of climate problems, or there will be magical low cost solutions, when there won't be.

    3) Nobody will reduce their carbon footprint unless everyone does, so nobody does. Even if one cares deeply for the environment and future of humanity, it doesn't make a lot of sense to drastically reduce consumption, and be one of the few people doing this. This is not to say people shouldn't try. It simply reflects the problem we have on our hands.

    Having said all that, the best single solution to all three problems is carbon fee and dividend because it has leverage. It is the one mechanism that impels everyone to change their behaviour, if its structured correctly. It is attacked by the mega rich in many cases, but we should persist with it anyway. Of course its not the only solution required, but its a key solution.

    It may also be possible to get the mega rich and the corporate sector to think more ethically, but it will only happen if the general public think ethically and a little more longer term, and  put the pressure on, especially if they are share holders. Its good to see this appears to be happening in some cases, but theres a long way to go.

  26. Unprecedented summer heat in Europe ‘every other year’ under 1.5C of warming

    Before long, this sort of weather will be un-precidented.

  27. One Planet Only Forever at 01:26 AM on 1 September 2018
    The silver lining of fake news

    Another way of expressing the root part of the problem I presented in my comment @11 is: In many developed socioeconomic political systems people who increase awareness and understanding of what is going on and try to help advance humanity to a more sustainable future are less likely to be seen as valuable, less likely to be rewarded, than others who tell people stories that excuse them being less helpful or even harmful.

    In many of the developed systems people are encouraged to allow their primitive human nature over-power their ability to develop modern considerate thoughtful humanity (everyone is capable of personally developing that, but they may be reluctant to do that if it may not be as rewarding). And the required corrections of popular and profitable developed activities identified by helpful people can result in a significant portion of the population unjustifiably perceiving helpful people to be threats.

    Many of the developed systems have developed ways of living that are understandably unsustainable and harmful to collective humanity, particularly harmful to the future of humanity because the future of humanity has no influence in the systems what has been developed. And those systems make up understandably unjustified stories to excuse the unsustainable and harmful developed activities. A very appealing story is that the activities develop good results (never admitting the lack of sustainability and ignoring or understating the harm being done). Another appealing story is that everyone freer to do as they please will produce Good Results (significant evidence contradicts that story - and no sport that has ever developed has accepted that story - even Aussie rules football has some rules and some degree of self-limiting of behaviour by the competitors).

    Climate science, and the visceral negative reaction to it, undeniably exposes the requirement for significant corrections of what has developed in order for humanity to have a lasting improving future. And the required corrections are not just the curtailing of the burning of fossil fuels. And the required curtailing of the burning of fossil fuels is unlikely to occur in a way that is significantly beneficial to the future of humanity without significant correction of those other incorrect developments, particularly the correction of the freedom for wealthy or powerful people to claim whatever they want and be believed by enough people to be able to get away with significantly influencing what is going on.

  28. One Planet Only Forever at 08:19 AM on 31 August 2018
    The silver lining of fake news

    CBDunkerson @4
    I see similar things in Alberta and other parts of Canada, with some regions headed as significantly in the incorrect direction as many parts of the USA.

    When GW Bush announced that the USA would not ratify Kyoto he proudly stated that the American people did not have to change the way they lived. Republicans have continued to present the same claim to Americans, a claim many Americans like to hear. It is an unjustified claim because the way they are living, trying to maximize their benefit from harmful burning of fossil fuels, is undeniably an unsustainable and harmful dead-end (though undeniably popular and profitable for some for as long as it can be gotten away with).

    My engineering experience has taught me that accurately identifying the root parts of a problem is critical to developing a sustainable solution or sustainable correction of a problem.

    A root part of the problem in the USA and many other locations (in developed and developing nations), is leaders and wanna-be-leaders hoping to unjustifiably win leadership in many unjustified ways:

    • They abuse how easily many people can be tempted to believe unjustified perceptions of popularity, profitability, prosperity, or superiority relative to others. And the unjustified perceptions of superiority include perceptions that their beliefs are superior to other beliefs. The unjustified pursuers of winning that way tempt people into allowing their selfish primitive human nature over-rule their modern human ability to have Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (GHAR) govern their beliefs and actions.
    • Their bias in favour of their preferred beliefs is spun in their minds in order to justify why they won't accept actual improved awareness and understanding. Improved awareness and understanding is declared to just be beliefs expressed by someone else who thinks they are superior. They will even declare that their own beliefs are superior to the improved actual awareness and understanding of what is actually going on (without legitimate justification).
    • They then hope to get those people who have allowed themselves to develop unjustified and unsustainable perceptions of: prosperity, opportunity for prosperity, and superiority relative to others to vote.
    • They creatively make-up laws in the hopes of keeping 'those others not tempted to like them' from voting.
    • They also abuse critical and scientific thinking to Gerrymander voting districts in their favour.

    Rather than improving the awareness and understanding of the population, the unjustified pursuers of Winning deliberately mislead people by making unjustified claims that support unjustified developed perceptions of superiority relative to others (or unjustified perceptions that they are being denied their right to that superiority relative to others).

    Those types of unjustified leadership actions can be seen to apply to groups like ISIS as well as Unite the Right groups around the planet (not just the current USA Republican Party).

    The real problem is the number of people growing up with a small worldview, uninterested in the effort, changes and corrections required to have a larger worldview. Those small-worldview people are happy to be told things by people they consider to be leaders worthy of their loyalty and support. They like people who tell them things that sound like what they want to hear. They dislike the complications of reality-based justification. Improved awareness and understanding of reality, including the need to everyone to have their actions governed by GHAR, makes it more difficult to believe what is otherwise easy for them to believe. That is similar to your reference to know-nothingism, which can also be called freedom-to-believe-whatever-you-likeism (the key words being that Freedom one, and Freedom of belief).

    Freedom needs to be understood to only be deserved by people who responsibly pursue improved awareness and understanding of what is going on and responsibly pursue helping to develop the required conditions to sustain a robust diversity of humanity fitting in as sustainable parts of a robust diversity of life on this or any other amazing planet. Freedom is reserved for and deserved by people who consistently show they are acting based on GHAR. (a potential answer to the question I posed in my comment @10)

    Many of the current winners in the games people play clearly would not like that type of correction to occur during 'their lifetime'.

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

    MA Rodgers. Interesting. I havent had time to look at it, and probably wont till next week, but my first issue is actually reproducing the GR from that data. A 5 minute play in Excel in lunchtime isnt the way to do it.

  30. Global warming is intensifying El Niño weather

    With more precipitation during the wet phase and less precipitation during the 'dry', we need our glaciers to store water and release it when it is needed.  Not going to happen.  The glaciers are disappearing so what is the solution.  California has to get fanatic about encouraging and protecting beavers in all her catchments.  Beavers are natures furry little glaciers with respect to their effect on evening out eratic water supplies.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Off-topic link snipped.

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

    scaddenp @91,

    The data pointed-to @92 attached to Garrett (2014) 'The Long Run Evoluton of the Global Economy: Part 1 The Physical Basis' is non-controversial except the two-millenium record of World Energy Use (the quantity a) presented in the third of the Supporting Information links. This link does give a smooth exponential-type record for Cumulative gGDP which is the sort of thing you see in other presentations, like the graph below from HERE

    GDP 1AD to 2016AD

    Where things start looking very controversial is the data for World Energy Use in that third link. It stitches on a smooth exponential-type record for AD1 to AD1969 onto the as-expected 1970-to-date data. World Energy Use is not a smooth exponential for AD1 to AD1969. It remains essentially linear from the present day back to 1950. The graph below (gleaned from the internet, another referenced version Fig1.3 HERE) shows this linearity. Using CO2 emissions to calculate World Energy Use gives the same linearity (as well as reproducing the 1970-to-date record accurately).

    World Energy 1850-2000

    I think indy222 is having problems addressing this evident mismatch between the exponential Cumulative gGDP data and the linear (back to 1950) World Energy Use data.

  32. One Planet Only Forever at 14:43 PM on 30 August 2018
    The silver lining of fake news


    Though "Reality will have the last laugh", what is really going on is no laughing matter.

    Uncaring undeserving people are getting away with enjoying their lives more. They are developing unjustified perceptions of superiority relative to others by getting away with harming the development of a sustainable better future for humanity. And they can get away with it because the future of humanity has no chance to vote for representation, no purchasing power, no marketing power, no legal power. The future of humanity can do nothing in retaliation against those doing harm to them.

    When did the global leadership of humanity stop caring about its future? It certainly seemed to collectively care more in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And the global pursuit of improved awareness and understanding has continued since then. But that increased awareness and understanding has not been embraced by all of the leadership contenders in the supposedly 'most advanced nations', because they have only developed perceptions of advancement.

    What will need to happen for all leadership contenders in the supposedly more advanced nations to embrace the understanding of, and urgency of, the required corrections of what has developed?

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

    On the XKCD cartoon; I find it rather "rich" that an economist would toss that at Garrett, when the best that economists have come up with in characterizing a relationship is the Cobb-Douglas relation, which is so clearly a mere fitting function with arbitrary exponents and no thought of getting the physical units even right. It's a confession they don't know how to think about the subject. Also, it entirely leaves out the importance of energy - as if energy is merely something lying around free and its availability plays no role. Garrett's made an attempt to find a more defensible theoretical relationship between energy and economic growth. I find it interesting that the GR is so closely obeyed, and at this point a few percent here or there, compared to the massive changes in civilization along the way, appears not to justify a debunking even if perfect data were to still show them. Clearly in a system with at least some sort of human agency, I think it would not be expected that the GR would be obeyed to the last decimal even in a perfect dataset with no errors at all. When I ponder what does it MEAN that the GR is so closely followed? What I am thinking is this - that the human system and human genetic nature is finely evolved to strive valiantly for the maximum possible efficiency in GROWTH. So that even distant past spending counts every bit as much as recent past spending in the total "Wealth" which is so closely proportional to current Power. It's as if we didn't waste any efforts in spending in the past to bootstrap ourselves to today's massive civilization. That the guiding principle is GROWTH UBER ALLES, and that all energy we can lay hands on, as efficiently as possible, will be put to use to make that growth happen as quickly as possible. Clearly it is in each individual's advantage to grow to his maximum potential regardless of consequences to the environment, because environmental degradation, especially climate, is only evident from the sum total of vast others whom that individual does not control. Dumping my CO2 to the atmosphere has NO impact on climate. Only dumping 7 billion people's CO2 does. But dumping MY CO2 to the environment can have a big improvement in my family's financial well being. So of course - I do just that. These thoughts I believe are embodied in the evident close proportionality Power/Wealth.

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

    The data Garrett used is from the usual official sources, and can be found in the "supplements" to his paper "The Long Run Evoluton of the Global Economy: Part 1 The Physical Basis"

    I got GDP stats from UN data

    with the link indicating it is using Market Exchange Rate (MER) accounting, which is appropriate. Perhaps your source is using PPP (purchasing power parity) conversion accounting? As you saw in my pptx, I argue that MER accounting is the proper accounting as it best includes an estimate of the future network building expected possible in that country. PPP accounting ends up putting a higher weight on poorer countries and since so many of them are growing faster, it ends up giving a spuriously larger global GDP growth.  Garrett derived a conversion between global GDP using PPP vs MER accounting, in the link supplement, derived during the ~2 decades of time when they overlap. The much earlier global GDP estimates from distant history are from Maddison's classic work, but those are in PPP accounting and need a (very small) adjustment to MER accounting.

  35. The silver lining of fake news

    Republicans have an anti intellectual tendency. "Republicans are increasingly antagonistic toward experts. Here’s why that matters." One way to try to drown out uncomfortable messages is obviously fake news, but it won't change reality. Reality will have the last laugh.

  36. The silver lining of fake news

    "Climate change used to be the sole target of this."

    No as others have said,  fake news has a very old history. Refer fake news on wikipedia.

    Earliest example quoted: "In the 13th century BC, Rameses the Great spread lies and propaganda portraying the Battle of Kadesh as a stunning victory for the Egyptians; he depicted scenes of himself smiting his foes during the battle on the walls of nearly all his temples."

    Obviously the internet has multiplied the quantity and spread of such material, and unfortunately this has coincided with the climate science denialism.

  37. The silver lining of fake news

    I first got worried about denialism as a grad student studying philosophy of science, as religious fanatics and politicians in the US began promoting 'creation science'.  Some colleagues thought paying attention to that absurd movement was foolish, but it seems I'm now having the last (somewhat bitter) laugh.  The threat posed by such points of view lies in the policy implications— largely educational in the case of evolution denial, but truly frightening in vaccine and climate denial.  When public authorities declare their independence from facts and evidence, we are all in danger... @dkeierleber, Paul Krugman has commented forcefully on the fictional 'economics' that dominates public economic discourse... Improving education is generally a slow, uphill effort, but when causes and effects are not obviously linked to voters, working connect the dots for them seems to be part of what needs doing.  

  38. The silver lining of fake news

    This website talks a lot about 'inoculation' against fake news, as a method of countering it.  So, I guess there is a 'silver lining' to fake news, in the same way that typhoid fever led to the 'silver lining' of a vaccine.  Still, surrounded by people screaming from a raging infection of 'truthiness', its hard not to mourn what was, and is no longer.  We can innoculate against fake news, but we can never put that demon back in the box.

  39. The silver lining of fake news

    I think this is being oversimplified. It’s a complex issue. It is enticing to dismiss those who mistrust science as being uneducated on the subject. But that leads us to the same dead end of thinking all we have to do is tell the real facts and people will come around to the right way of thinking. Research doesn’t support that view.

    As reported here in the past, regarding climate change, the more educated a conservative is the less likely they are to be persuaded by facts. Presentation of science facts drives deniers further into denial. So I don’t think the problem lies with denialist falsehoods. In my experience, climate change denialists are in love with the lamest over-simplifications. How often have you read the comment about how temperatures could have risen in the past if the cavemen had no SUVs to drive? Ever hear any denialist try to use Roy Spencer’s argument about natural variation tied to the Pacific multi-decadal oscillation?

    Things are even worse on the economic front. Workers who have been profoundly hurt by supply side fiction insist that the wealthy pay too much in taxes. Educated upper middle class conservatives think the top tax rate in America’s Golden Age (the 2 decades after WWII) was 20%. Trying to explain the idea of a progressive tax to young conservatives shows how our education system has changed over the years. We were too distracted by defending evolution in public education to notice that the curricula on basic economic theory took a wrong turn somewhere. Now it seems the age old divide between property rights and majority rule is becoming an economic war and the rich are winning. That doesn’t bode well for the sanctity of our democracy.

    Research has shown physical differences in brain patterns between conservatives and liberals. So part of the problem is that some of us tend to believe those in positions of authority while others tend to ask how they rose to that position.

  40. The silver lining of fake news

    "Climate change used to be the sole target of this."

    Unfortunately, that just isn't true. Evolution is an obvious example, but there are many others. The largest and longest running is likely the whole Southern delusion about their 'noble' Civil War ancestors. The most impactful would probably be the insanity of supply-side / trickle-down / 'give all the money to the rich so they can hire more people' / feudalism 'economic theory'... which HAD nearly died out after the Great Depression, but then came roaring back after the oil embargo and Reagan.

    Et cetera.

    Know nothingism is not some new phenomena in US life. It has been with us for a very long time and has been steadily growing to swallow the Republican party for my entire lifetime (starting with Nixon's 'southern strategy' to embrace the racist narrative rather than letting it politically die when the Democrats finally grew out of it). Climate change was never more than a side skirmish in this ongoing war of reality vs delusion.

    I was warning about this growing problem 20 years ago... it is just that we have finally reached the inevitable end stage where a Republican president has to constantly deny observed reality because that is the only way to pretend their policy positions make sense.

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

    indy222 @89.
    Yes, the message about the quantity being used as the denominator to calculate the Garrett Relation constant λ being cumulative global GDP has been recieved. I even discovered what your GWP acronym means - 'Gross World Product' (= global GDP) which was useful as the Wikkithing page on 'Gross World Product' gives a table of gGDP (1990 prices) from 2014 back to one million BC allowing a calculation of Cumulative gGDP. It has a slower accumlation than that shown by the graphic in Frame 241 of your presentation but the general scheme of things is apparent.
    And while the cumulative trace sits higher up the graph because it is a "more sharply upwardly moving curve", the acceleration of an exponential function remains proportionately in tact. So Cumulatiive gGDP (C) will be accelerating at 3% per annum and as Global Energy Use (a) is showing no signs of acceleration but is instead rising in a linear fashion, the Garrett Relation constant λ cannot be constant for  a = λC  to hold. And that has far more significance that a "lost in the weeds" argument.
    Of course, the Garrett hypothesis, in attempting to narrow projected Global Energy Use, it does not entirely rely on λ being constant (rather the slowness of that acceleration would suffice). But his analysis does need to set out the acceleration if it is to be considered useful.
    And beyond that, while the Garrett hypothesis appears an interesting idea, I would question the theoretical basis of it on a number of grounds (which is of course off-topic for this thread).

  42. The silver lining of fake news

    The Nixon administration was not Americas finest hour, and indeed  started the backlash against the sensible altruist economics that started with the "New Deal",  but Nixon was surprisingly good with environmental legislation, and he started the EPA and vehicle emissions standards.

    At that time there was a level of political consensus in America on environmental matters, but a coalition of ranchers and miners then started to oppose environmentalism in the late 1970's. Anti environmentalism really gained traction with Ronald Reagon, and he downgraded some environmental legislation, and it has unfortunately now become a GOP core ideology culminating with their climate science denial but clearly not limited to this as anyone looking at people like Scot Pruitt would know (and his replacement). 

    I was reading this yesterday. From Vox news : How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism.

  43. One Planet Only Forever at 13:31 PM on 29 August 2018
    The silver lining of fake news

    I agree that things are slowly being corrected, slowly improving the development of a sustainable better future for humanity. And I am also aware that there are many powerful wealthy people who understand that their unjustified developed perceptions of superiority relative to others are threatened by that improving understanding of the required correction of what has developed.

    Primitive human nature is a limited worldview (more self-interested, more tribal-limited, less interested in actions being sustainable or in avoiding harm to others). Modern Civilization is the development of expanded worldviews (more altruistic, accepting of other sub-tribes based on altruistic evaluation of the actions of those sub-tribes).

    Tragically, Modern Civilization is still full of plundering bandits who try to get away with benefiting from harmful unsustainable actions, or who fight against correcting unsustainable unjustified social beliefs. And many of those type of people have become very powerful, particularly with the assistance of misdirected critical-thinking and science-minded approaches to misleading advertising developed to appeal to people who are willing to be easily impressed (and by the uniting the diversity of social and fiscal conservatives, all right-wings, to support each other's unjustified interests in a last ditch hope to still win regionally).

    Developing civilization is always challenged by the ease with which people can devolve to a more limited worldview. It is hard work to ensure that actions are governed by good helpful altruistic reasoning (GHAR).

    Improving awareness and understanding and acting altruistically is hard work for a self-governing individual (especially when understandably harmful and unsustainable activity is allowed to compete for popularity and profitability, and worse when the employment and tax revenue of such activities result in regional leaders trying to promote and protect those activities rather than correct things). It is even harder for the responsible members of a society trying to responsibly govern or limit the behaviour of all of its members. John Stuart Mill identified the problem in “On Liberty” when presenting that a society had the collective ability to properly educate all of its members. He stated: “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

    But the harder work of GHAR in pursuit of improved awareness and understanding of what is really going on, and how to collaborate to develop a lasting better future for all of humanity's diversity of tribes, has always been worth the effort.

    Many people have written about the unsustainable damaging ways that things have been developing, particularly in the USA, particularly since the Nixon Presidency, and particularly whenever the Right-wing have won significant control of power in the USA. And that unsustainable and damaging direction of USA development has been contaminating what happens elsewhere in the world. Admittedly there was a lot of bad stuff done by international leadership including the USA before Nixon's time, but people were starting to become more aware. And even today there are many people doing the harder work of becoming more aware, having a larger worldview. Climate science and the need to curtail the burning of fossil fuels is an example of a developed problem with signs that the problem is slowly being overcome, with occasional damaging set-backs.

    There seems to be a correlation between the way that USA Right-wing leadership changed and the timing of the UN report about significant strides made by the global collaborative effort to figure out what was going wrong globally and the corrections required for the benefit of the future of humanity. The Stockholm Conference in 1972 unmistakably indicated that many of the developed profitable and popular activities were unsustainable and harmful. Those unsustainable and harmful activities developed 'because of freedom to do things' (because of a lack of regulation or restriction by global leadership in business and politics). That undeniable understanding of what was going on was a threat to the ideology of fiscal conservatives (and social conservatives). They wanted more freedom to do as they pleased, and to impose their 'being discovered to be unreasonable and harmful beliefs' on others.

    In addition to increased public awareness of the unacceptability of what the fiscal and social conservatives did not want to give up, there was improved awareness that some winners were undeserving. That improved awareness would be a serious threat to the perceptions of superiority they had gotten away with developing. The outrage of the Right-wing against the developing understanding of the required corrections starts at about that time, at the time of the Nixon Presidency, at the time of the UN Stockholm Conference.

    Al Gore wrote about it in “The Assault on Reason”. And I am currently reading Jonah Goldberg's “Suicide of the West - How the rebirth of tribalism, populism, nationalism, and identity politics is destroying American Democracy”. Neither book makes a connection between the improving global altruism and the increased aggressiveness of the Right-wing against being corrected, that is a connection that I am speculating about.

    Developing improved and sustainable perceptions, services, products or means of production (improved meaning: more fact-based, less waste, less harm, and less unsustainable consumption), needs to be more highly-valued than creating unjustified desires and getting more popularity or profit the easiest possible way for as long as can be gotten away with.

    Enjoying a life in ways that are understood to be sustainable and helpful, not harmful, to others (especially all future generations) is hard work. It is also hard work to protect democracy in politics and the marketplace from the damaging influence of secrecy/ignorance, manipulation by misleading advertising, or other gross distortions of Adam Smith's Invisible Hand that requires all participants to be fully aware, wanting to be helpful, and not wanting any harm done by anyone to anyone.

    Undeniably, it can be easier and more personally beneficial to simply do what is thought to be possible to be gotten away with, without putting effort into figuring out if what is being done is sustainable, or if it is helpful or harmful to others. And it can be very beneficial to deliberately try to be secretive or to mislead others about the decency of what is happening.

    Cooperative collaborative human activity is the most beneficial thing humans have developed the ability to do. To be sustained, any collaboration or cooperative action must be governed by Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning. Competing to improve awareness and understanding of what is going on and to develop sustainable improved ways of living is at a disadvantage if less helpful and actually harmful ways of living are allowed to compete.

    Without GHAR governing and limiting what is done, the actions will corrupt into harmful unsustainable pursuits (tip of the hat to Jonah Goldberg, author of “Suicide of the West”, for helping me understand the possible applications of the term - corrupt). Without GHAR the sub-collectives (tribes) of humanity will devolve into greedier and less tolerant entities (groups of greedier and less tolerant participants). Corrupting to that primitive human nature selfish small worldview is easier than the harder work of improving collective civilization governed by GHAR with everyone pursuing an expanded world-view, harder than embracing and supporting a robust diversity of humanity fitting sustainably into a robust diversity of all other life.

    Critical-thinking science-minded people can also be misdirected into pursuits of new ways to be more profitable or personally beneficial that rely on secrecy (ignorance among the public), or unjustified permission (marketing created social licence/popularity or political leadership allowing/promoting it) to get away with harmful actions for as long as possible. Technology can be a particularly insidious and damaging distraction. It is the result of hard work, but that work can be misdirected into creating appealing distractions from the harder work of GHAR. And that misdirection can develop unjustified desires for unsustainable and harmful to make-use-tossaway “New Amazing Gadgets” or “New ways to Harm or Threaten to Harm Others that can be excused as New Defensive Capabilities”.

    Developing a sustainable constantly improved future for humanity is possible. The UN development of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals is proof that helpful developments of improved awareness and understanding can occur in spite of temporary regional set-backs from the push-backs by the right-wing. It is hard work that can never stop, because the right-wing attempts to get people to corrupt into primitive divisive tribal selfishness. will never go away.

    GHAR needs to govern everyone everywhere forevermore, never allowing primitive human nature to significantly influence things without being evaluated by GHAR for acceptability, only allowing actions that are sustainable and harmless to compete for popularity and profitability.

    That change is developing, in spite of temporary regional set-backs. Sadly, the future of humanity suffers more every time anyone allows their primitive human nature to over-rule their modern human ability to be considerate, reasonable, helpful, altruistic.

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

    Dr. Garrott copied this XKCD in his blog post complaining about how the journal treated him.  Someone had suggested that it applied to his paper.

    Perhaps if more peer reviewed papers and less blog posts were cited in this discussion we could reach a better understanding of the situation.

    Since this is supposed to be a scientific board peer reviewed papers are strongly preferred over blog posts.

    xkcd cartoon

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

    I will explain a bit why I think this point is important. Your argumentation has been based on GR holding, and regard this is an immutable "law of universe" (well a reflection of the law of thermodynamics). I am holding that if it is purely byproduct of underlying mathematical structure (and it formulation), then the only information expressed is the exponential nature of GDP and dependence on power.  To use this information as a guide to the future, then need to consider whether GDP as an exponential is immutable and whether its relation to power is immutable.

  46. The silver lining of fake news

    Maybe you are right and people are increasingly accepting that the climate is changing, and are seeing through the fake news on this aspect of things. I put any increasing acceptance down to relentlessly increasing temperatures more than anything finally registering with people. Fake news can't really hide this, and it can't hide peoples personal experience of bad weather, and a strong sense it is getting worse.

    But given only 58% of people in America think humans are 'causing' climate change after all we have gone through, its hard for me to see this aspect of the issue changing much more. About the same numbers of 40% are still sceptical about evolution 100 years after the discovery of the thing. Fake news has a long history, even as the internet has obviosly multiplied it all.

    One of the problems is some people go by instincts and so called 'truthiness' while others look more at scientific evidence. Only one of these groups can be looking at information the right way.

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

    My criticism on the mathematical structure applies if the whole GDP can be a approximated by a single exponential function and if the relation between GDP and energy production is approximately linear. A quick fit of data that I have shows those conditions are met although linearity of GDP to Energy starting to change.

    If you are willing to share the raw GDP and Power data on which are working (with whatever corrections you feel appropriate), I am happy to check the mathematical structure.

  48. Climate Science blogs around the world

    In French: Chroniques du têtard mouillé (

    The author is not a scientist, but the content is solidly science based. Some french politics, some hiking, but for the most part, climate related news, and critics of the "skeptics" french-speaking scene. Feel free to review and publish or not.

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

    to MA Rodger: In my slide 241 showing the Garrett Relation with the refinments to the biases in the data.... you must pause and realize something Mr Rodger. Pause and realize.... One more time - I use the word "wealth" in the same way that Garrett does. Wealth = time integrated GDP. So when I label a curve "Wealth (GDP+shadow)" that means I'm plotting time integrated GDP, not GDP, and together with the spending that is not included in GDP, which Oztunali and many others refer to as the "shadow economy". Yes time-integrated GDP indeed goes up roughtly exponentially. The integral of an upwardly moving function is an even more sharply upwardly moving curve. GDP has, since the discovery of oil, been, on average, an increasing function. Recessions clearly slow that, but only for a year or so before it resumes typically with renewed vigor. And yet once again, neither Garrett nor I are arguing for a fundamental physics unchangable relation between atmospheric CO2 and global GDP. That graph is only possible when FF's are your ~sole source of energy and given the way CO2 source+sinks behave in the environment. I have already said in my ppt's that I expect that curve will shallow when (if!) renewables begin to make a dent in our FF use. How much renewables begin to make a dent is going to depend on a race - a race between when climate chaos begins to seriously degrade civilization in a rapid way (thus perhaps derailing our attention away from renewables conversion in favor of just hanging on to what we have), and when the "S" curve of adoption of renewables somehow kicks in and FF power plants already built become uneconomical to maintain.

    As for "GWP" as Global Warming Potential, that's a communication point I hadn't considered. I'll tell you why I go back and forth with using it - I'm writing a chapter for a book on the economics of climate change right now, and being confronted with staying inside a word count (!) and "global GDP" is 2 words, and "GWP"  is one word!  Yeah. Sorry, I'll try to use "global GDP" here.

    You can get lost in the weeds of arguing whether Power/Wealth is truly constant. The data that goes into it has biases, and there are no 1-sigma, 2-sigma or other statistical error estimates given by those nefarious economists to Power or GDP(!). Garrett spends a great deal of time making a case for a constancy based on seeing Civilization as a thermodynamics system. I think it has great insight. I've reframed it slightly differently by using "entropy" whereas Garrett frames more in terms of potential energy flows from higher to lower. Each way hopefully will trigger light bulbs in at least some people.  Is the relation PROVEN, in some sort of uncontestable mathematical way, like the Pythagorean Theorem? No - civilization is ruled by human laws as much as by physics, and this is not a closed and perfectly defined and delimited and known logical system like mathematics (at least, not until we reduce biology and the resulting psychology to their quantum mechanical base layer!). Garrett has made a case, and checked to see whether the prediction Power/Wealth=constant holds in the data, and it does. I've looked for flaws in the reasoning and the data, as I started out as a skeptic myself. Instead of finding that the relationship is only a product of flawed data, I find that it is flawed data that makes the small deviations from flatness, and that if we remove those biases the relationship looks even stronger than Garrett thought. Very strong in the historical data. I've not yet seen a case to be made from good reasoning that the GR relationship will be broken. We must not be guilty of "magical thinking", to quote Garrett and to quote a good friend and NAS astrophysicist Sandra Faber. Again, constantly improving energy efficiency is not in either mathematical or logical conflict with Power/Wealth=constant. The complaints here in SkSci seem to be based on misunderstandings in what Garrett is saying. The rest of the reason why Garrett's work has not gotten a wider look may be because - his biggest proponent seems to be the Apostle of Apocalypse: Guy McPherson. As an aside, I've gone out of my way to emphasize criticism of McPherson's clear misunderstanding of Garrett's work and of climate (esp methane) in general and that his belief that all humanity will be extinct in 8 years is ludicrous.... and cruel to those naive enough to buy into his past life as a professor of ecology as sufficient justification to believe him. The last thing that I want, is for McPherson to praise my thoughts or work! I don't need friends like that. The future is grim enough without having the true situation dismissed baby/bathwater along with bogus NearTermHumanExtinction. My sympathies to Garrett.

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

    indy222 @79,
    May we park any rebuttal while the more basic criticisms of Garrett (2011) are addressed here?

    The finer points of something being either a "constant ratio" or a "correlation" are not the issue. Anything presented as a linear correlation that ignores an evident acceleration is poorly presented and especially so if that acceleration throws the correlation beyond its stated confidence levels.
    Your graph of Global Primary Energy on your Slide 241 shows no significant acceleration. Your two traces of World GDP both show a strong acceleration, GDP advancing over three-times more quickly at the end of the 35 years of data relative to the start. (That is a 3% annual acceleration.) Dividing GDP into Primary Energy does not disappear the acceleration. And achieving a better level of linearity for half the data through adjustment of inflation calculations is not the immediate step I would take to illiminate the unwanted acceleration.
    Your final comments @79 throw a whole set of %s around, seeming to suggest that there is a lack of linearity in something but it is less than the noise within the input data so the lack of linearity can be dismissed as not relevant. I would insist on a more reasoned description before considering such an argument.

    indy222 @82,
    Concerning the use or otherwise of "time-integrated real GWP", note that GWP would be taken to mean Global Warming Potential in an AGW context (as you would expect here @SkS). I am unfamiliar with the acronym GWP as used but the expression from Garrett (2011) a = λC would put it (the quantity C) as some measure of Global Present Worth which becomes worthless were civilisation to disappear, and if Global Power Use (a) were to drop to zero, this disappearance would occur as the assertion is that λ is a constant. In Garrett (2011) the quantity C is actually defined in terms of P (Real Economic Annual Production) thus "C is civilization’s historical accumulation of real (inflation-adjusted) economic production of economic value P = dC//dt." Give this relationship, I am not sure why we see a Garrett graphic of Atmospheric CO2 levels against accumulative World GDP in-thread @55 above, the graphic I took for my guide when I plotted Annual dCO2 against Annual World GDP (as linked @77) which would be a more sensitive way of demonstrating the a = λC relationship. Perhaps I should have plotted da/dt = λP  to test for the constancy of λ.

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