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Comments 51 to 100:

  1. They didn't change the name from 'global warming' to 'climate change'

    I can concede that the terms "global warming" and "climate change" have been used interchangeably for decades, but the fact that Frank Luntz suggested using "climate change" instead of "global warming" is a sure indication that one term is less likely to promote activism than the other, and activism on the problem of global warming was never what Luntz advocated nor has it been a feature of conservatism for nearly a decade.

    I'm going to stick with the term "global warming" unless it becomes repetitive. It is the cause of climate change, not the reverse. I want people to be alarmed about it. I want them to do something themselves and insist their representatives in government do something about it, also. If it didn't matter what it was called, Luntz would never have written what he did. What we call things matters. It can make all the difference. Luntz knows this. We should, too, if we care about making a difference.

  2. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    "warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade". More specifically and quite interestingly:

    +0.165 degrees / decade: La Nina years 1967-2012
    +0.165 degrees / decade: ENSO-neutral years 1970-2013
    +0.20 degrees / decade: El Nino years 1966-1990
    +0.23 degrees / decade: El Nino years 1990-2013 (sparse data though)

    El Ninos are "pulling away".

  3. The GOP and Big Oil can't escape blame for climate change

    The Nathaniel Rich history is an excellent history and all credit to the LA Times for publishing this. The more climate coverage like this the better!

    However imho the article does indeed make way too many excuses for the fossil fuel industry and the Republicans, and this is so frustrating and peculiar. The writers own conclusions contradict his own history. I think the writer was trying to be nice to everyone and unbiased, and took this too far to the point of sanitising the real history, all perhaps because of the attacks on the media lately by Trump made him reluctant to be too critical of one side of politics. It's good to be unbiased and impartial, but being unbiased should not mean sanitising history.

    Or perhaps the writer is just a political centrist or something. 

    However you have to ask why did the brief political consensus break down? Imho Naomi Klein has it right when she refers to the frustrating and flawed neoliberal ideology that gained traction from the early 1980's, with the Reagon and Thatcher reforms and the anti tax and anti regulation agenda, and tendency to put excessively huge faith in free markets and unlimited economic growth. This was the birth of the "greed is good" generation that falsely believed that all problems will be solved by the unlimited pursuit of profitability, and the near idolisation of wealth aquisition. Neoliberalism has also been an excuse to let money excessively influence political campaigns. If  we blame anything, its probably more useful to blame this neoliberalism, than scapegoating political parties as such.

    Not that all elements of neo liberalism are flawed, for example I personally have no problem with free trade and profit is not an evil thing. In other words, the 'neoliberal' issue is confoundingly complicated, and hard to unpack, especially in a world that deals in simplistic slogans and sound bites.

    The article also tries to lay home blame on "everybody" for the climate problem, and by arguing our lack of action is "human nature". Well we have more confounding complexity here!

    I guess we are all to blame in a very general sense, because we continue to consume products with a high fossil fuel content etc, however some do this more than others, and one side of politics has been more obstructive towards things like a carbon tax and renewable energy development. So some are more responsible than others. Those are the facts of history.

    And solving the climate problem has two sides. Individually we must make voluntary and responsible changes in how we consume, yet the government has a part to play as well. It has to provide energy and transport alternatives, or incentivise the development of these, and ensure fossil fuels are priced to reflect the damage they cause with carbon taxes or something similar. And we need to support political parties which have the strongest climate policies.

    And while humans are governed by our human nature, people do clearly rise above the baser instincts of human nature at times. Whether we do this enough to solve the climate problem is of course the big question. Do we wait until climate change is so severe that it can no longer be ignored, or take a more planned action? I hope for the later, but increasingly fear it will be the former.

    The article ends with an interesting point. It makes the observation that humans are not good at acting to prevent long term problems that involve many future generations, because psychology shows us we are more tuned to respond rapidly to short term threats than long term threats. Again there is some truth in this, yet it's a generalisation and somewhat defeatest in tone, because some people do clearly think and act with consideration to long term issues. We all care about our grand children.

    James Hansen certainly looks far into the future, so for me if we want to leave the planet in sound condition for our children and grand children perhaps people can be encouraged, and taught to think longer term. I dont think we are totally captive to our evolutionary instincts of "short termism".

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Rich's article was published as Sunday's New York Times magazine.

  4. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    I'm wondering if anyone who has access to it has reviewed this report, which suggests that eliminating beef could get most of the way toward meeting President Obama's 2020 emissions goals that he announced in 2009.

  5. One Planet Only Forever at 00:34 AM on 7 August 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    william @2,

    The real tragedy is how correct some leaders were centuries ago about the unacceptable types of leadership that have been winning unjust power recently.

    This is not new learning. It is learning that was even written about by the Greeks. And it is understanding that exists in most religious texts (though many have decided to selectively interpret those texts in other ways).

    Closer to the climate change issue, and the way it has exposed the real problem, Al Gore wrote "The Assault on Reason". That book contains very important points of understanding for humanity, particularly for Americans, including the following:

    “The derivation of just power from the consent of the governed depends upon the integrity of the reasoning process through which the consent is given. If the reasoning process is corrupted by money and deception, then the consent of the governed is based on false premises, and any power thus derived is inherently counterfeit and unjust. If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant portion of the citizenry to lose confidence in the integrity of the process, democracy can be bankrupted.”

    He also wrote about America's founder's concerns about religion intruding on government:

    “They were also keenly aware of the thin and permeable boundary between religious fervor and power-seeking political agendas. “A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction,” wrote James Madison, but the new American nation would nevertheless be protected against the ungovernable combination of religious fervor and political power as long as the Constitution prohibited the federal government from establishing any particular creed as preeminent.
    This principle was so well established that in 1797 the U.S. Senate unanimously approved, and President John Adams signed, a treaty that contained the following declaration “The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan Nation.””

    Al Gore losing to Bush because of a sigh during the debates (which made him clearly one of those disgusting Ivory Tower Intellectualies who tell people they are wrong, compared to Common People Bush who tells people what they want to hear) and Conservative Judges making an undeniably biased 'recounting of the Florida votes' could be one of the worst things that ever happened. It may have been a significant boost to the incorrect direction of development that has resulted in the global lack of climate action and the election of someone like Trump as President of the USA (a result that bankrupts, and makes a mockery, of the idea of USA Government of the people by the people for the people).

    My developed summary description of the problem is: The United diversity of greedy and intolerant supporting each other's understandably unsustainable and harmful interests, and claiming to be Right about everything, is undeniable Wrong about almost everything (must give them credit for potentially having a selfish interest that aligns with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - it could happen).

    And that disease, grown in the USA, has been infecting other parts of the planet.

    Inoculation against that disease, treatments that get people to be more Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (GHAR) people could be the cure. All that is needed is for GHAR to govern over the other types of thinking, to keep them from being harmful, and to try to educate everyone to be more GHAR.

    This is all pretty new to me. But I am hopeful that it is already happening because of Trump winning, and a similar lack of GHAR resulting in the  Brexit result.

    Perhaps every deplorable Trump Tweet and Team Trump action is a Good Thing, in a backhanded way. Maybe Trump is a genius.

  6. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    @ nigelj #3:

    By portraying the early years of climate politics as a tragedy, the magazine lets Republicans and the fossil-fuel industry off the hook.

    The Problem With The New York Times’ Big Story on Climate Change by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, Aug 1, 2018

  7. The Skeptical Science temperature trend calculator

    I should probably clarfy that my thanks is a year and a half late. The update was done about a day after I made the request.

  8. The Skeptical Science temperature trend calculator

    A year and a half late, but thanks for updating UAH6 to the options.

    I was curious exactly how the 12-month averaging is centred. I can figure out how to centre a 13-month average - 6 months either side of the month in question+ the month in qestion. But how is it done with a 12 month average?

  9. One Planet Only Forever at 13:38 PM on 6 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,

    Another weakness of the USA is their failure to care for their entire population. They have the lousiest social safety net system of the developed nations. And many developing nations put them to shame on that front.

    Admittedly that lack of concern for 'All of their fellow citizens' can be part of the reason so many justifiably are living horrible frightful existences, in the richest nation on the planet, with some of the richest people on the planet pulling the strings of its leadership by powerful misleading marketing that appeals to a population that is desperate because of unjustified leadersip actions that make the richest even richer.

    That free-for-all competition madness can also explain the lack of concern for the plight of the less fortunate in other parts of the planet.

    And it certainly explains the growing unjustified power of wealthy people who are willing to give religious extremists just enough of what they want to get their votes of support.

  10. One Planet Only Forever at 13:26 PM on 6 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,

    What I call Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning should govern/limit the actions of 'everyone'. That includes GHAR people being the majority, and making good changes and corrections in spite of fears among the less altruistic minority who do not like things changing from 'their developed way' 'their developed beliefs'.

    Science is destined to disappoint and anger those type of people. It has to, or it isn't being done properly. (Admittedly as a Professional Engineer in Canada I had to disappoint clients and managers, for Good Reason. So my understanding is that even my good reaoned understanding will not be welcomed by everyone, but that is no reason to abandon standing firm on Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning grounds. It is called Being Ethical)

    Here are a few quotes from Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" for you to seriously consider.

    “The derivation of just power from the consent of the governed depends upon the integrity of the reasoning process through which the consent is given. If the reasoning process is corrupted by money and deception, then the consent of the governed is based on false premises, and any power thus derived is inherently counterfeit and unjust. If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant portion of the citizenry to lose confidence in the integrity of the process, democracy can be bankrupted.”

    In that book Al Gore also wrote about America's founder's concerns about religion intruding on government:

    “They were also keenly aware of the thin and permeable boundary between religious fervor and power-seeking political agendas. “A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction,” wrote James Madison, but the new American nation would nevertheless be protected against the ungovernable combination of religious fervor and political power as long as the Constitution prohibited the federal government from establishing any particular creed as preeminent.
    This principle was so well established that in 1797 the U.S Senate unanimously approved, and President John Adams signed, a treaty that contained the following declaration “The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan Nation.””

    America appears to have been losing its way in a dangerous way, starting way before Trump entered the Republican race.

    Leadership is about determining what to encourage and what to discourage, who to please and who to disappoint.

    The USA is struggling to overcome being governed by unjustified made-up beliefs and claims that make some people irrationally fearful and hateful. What you have presented is a fair presentation of the damaging beliefs fueling the extreme right-wing that has unjustifiably taken control of the Republican Party.

    On the climate science front, what appears clear is that some people will need to be shaken out of their fear before they will hear. And having something change in a way that they fear or do not expect to like, then gradually learn that it was good that the change happened (rather than the alternative), is a more likely future than getting the minority of angry fearful greedy people to change their minds first.

  11. One Planet Only Forever at 12:57 PM on 6 August 2018
    America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    nigelj,

    A serious concern is: the tactics used to 'delay and dimishment climate action' by the people opposed to rapidly correcting the understandably incorrectly developed burning of fossil fuels (especially what has continued to develop through the past 30 years).

    I am particularly concerned about the unjustifiably wealthier people not be chastised and penalized for failing to lead the rapid correction in personal actions, including efforts to make te entire poulation more 'correctly' aware and 'correctly' understanding what needs to change, the unacceptability of what has developed.

    The wealthier people have no good excuses. They cannot claim they were 'confused' or 'unaware'. They cannot claim it is too expensive to live more sustainably. Living that way is undeniably less proftable and more expensive than continuing to get away with benefiting from damaging unsustainable burning of fossil fuels. But the richest can all easily afford it (though they won't be as rich relative to others, they will still be richer).

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 12:42 PM on 6 August 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    A brief aside regarding the transmission tower.

    A downed transmission tower is indeed a damaging result of an event. But toppled transmission towers are more common than many people may expect. And it is not even necessary to build the towers so that they will not be knocked down by a fairly common weather event.

    My familiarity with transmission tower design includes knowing that a new design code was being planned for the US (and may have already been implemented). It will be based on event probability rules, similar to the European and Canadian codes, to ensure that appropriate combinations of potential events are considered as the basis, such as:

    • The larger surface area of an ice encrusted system when a winter wind is blowing strong.
    • Or the weakening of a structure heated by fire that also has a wind blowing on it (Mind you the weakening of metal in the heat of a fire can easily be enough to bring down a tower, no other influences on the tower required other than gravity).

    That new design code may result in stronger towers, but it also may not. And it does not ensure that towers will not come down or that power lines will not break.

    The more important point is that a transmission line owner/operator does not typically consider the failure of a tower to be as serious as the failure of a building, and should not have to. Nobody will be hurt when a tower comes down in a farm field or other unpopulated area.

    Winter storms have resulted in broken transmission systems somewhere in Canada almost every year. The harm comes when a region is left powerless for an extended period of time. And that may have more to do with a failure to ensure at least 2 widely separated independent feeds of electricity to every serviced community.

    Towers can be rebuilt while power supply is delivered through the alternate feeds (every utility delivering electricity could ensure at least two paths of feed to every served community). Making every tower more expensive is not as cost effective as having to occassionally rebuilt some towers.

  13. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    The following article losing the earth is from the NY Times. It's a fascinating history the growing awareness of the climate problem from the 1960s until today, and very engagingly written. Don't be put off by the length. It covers scientific, political,and psychological issues.

    There has been some valid criticism that it goes too lightly over the failings of the fossil fuel industry, (possibly in an attempt to be seen as unbiased). 

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    Regretibly, the Guardian has got it completely backward.  We have seen again and again governments doing exactly the opposite to what their so called constituency requires them to do.  The reason is simple.  WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE.  As long as politicians get money from the various vested interests they will do their bidding.  Only the most extreme pressure from the public will upset this paradigm and we in the west are far too civilized/apathetic to apply that sort of pressure.  We think we are getting some sort of a bargain when businesses and the rich finance our politicians.  Look what it is actually costing us.  Perhaps the collapse of our civilization.

  15. One Planet Only Forever at 08:19 AM on 6 August 2018
    Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    The term believe is used too generically in the article. Aware and understand should be used when appropriate.

    It is important to differentiate between 'belief and faith' and 'awareness and understanding'.

    Awareness and understanding relate to things that people can independently verify based on the reasoned evaluation of available evidence. They relate to explanations of physical Reality including how the human mind works (Sean Carroll's "The Big Picture" provides a very good summary of developed awareness and understanding).

    Belief and Faith are not based on the reasoned evaluation of available evidence (spiritual stories and rules written a long time ago are not 'evidence' or a reasoned basis for anything). They relate to potential reality, with the probability of their potential being a function of developed awareness and understanding of reality.

    This is a challenge for science. Pursuit of improved awareness and understanding is destined to develop awareness and understanding in ways that will reduce the potential for belief in faith-based claims like the ones that people trying to resist the increased acceptance of climate science keep making up. And when the rich and powerful got what they got unjustifiably there is trouble ahead.

    Al Gore's book the "Assault on Reason" provides the following awareness and understanding:

    “The derivation of just power from the consent of the governed depends upon the integrity of the reasoning process through which the consent is given. If the reasoning process is corrupted by money and deception, then the consent of the governed is based on false premises, and any power thus derived is inherently counterfeit and unjust. If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant portion of the citizenry to lose confidence in the integrity of the process, democracy can be bankrupted.”

    In that book Al Gore also wrote about America's founder's concerns about religion intruding on government including the following:

    “They were also keenly aware of the thin and permeable boundary between religious fervor and power-seeking political agendas. “A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction,” wrote James Madison, but the new American nation would nevertheless be protected against the ungovernable combination of religious fervor and political power as long as the Constitution prohibited the federal government from establishing any particular creed as preeminent.
    This principle was so well established that in 1797 the U.S Senate unanimously approved, and President John Adams signed, a treaty that contained the following declaration “The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan Nation.””

    Understanding that is contrary to powerful interests can be expected to be fought against viciously, because Good Helpful Altruistic Reason based awareness and understanding is contrary to what they want to be believed.

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    Fire Vortices!

    Straight physics, impressive and they occurred with the fire-bombing of cities during WWII. There are accounts of people stepping into the streets and being blown right into the vortex.

  17. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    OPOF @11, I understand all the logic in calling it a fine, and the comparison to an armed robbery is reasonably valid, but calling it a fine has just as bad connotations from the publics point of view as a tax. I think a levy is probably the best word. It's a bit of a euphemism, but that's sometimes ok.

    I think we need to promote "Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning" because its our best hope of convincing people of the benefit of a carbon levy (or fine or tax). So I think MA needs to ponder on that one! Of course I have no illusions that it will be easy, but  we have to promote what we think makes sense and is for the best.

    Remember a carbon tax could be graduated to affect the rich more than the poor.

    I agree most people have some level of altruism in them, and team harmfully selfish has rather artfully manipulated the system in their own interests.  Trump's policies are almost all bad for the world and he  shamelessly manipulates people. People put silly fears about immigrants and lgbt people promoted by Trump above far more important concerns and it just amazes me, but in the end they will be the losers.

    Have a read of the following NY Times article. Losing the Earth. This is an important article with some good points and history, although in its commendable efforts to be unbiased, it goes too easy on  the fossil fuel industry. 

  18. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    And I notice young people now use the term ridiculous to mean something insanely good, (in NZ anyway) a most annoying and confusing development!

    Language evolves of course, because none of us talk like Shakespeare and that's probably a good thing, but I think its evolving too fast! 

  19. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    Eclectic @7, I dont like it either. Disinterested should be used just for its proper meaning of being dispassionate.

    Having said that, I avoid the term and try to use terms like the person is relatively impartial. Perhaps the problem is its easy for people to confuse the terms disinterested and uninterested.

    Sometimes its ok for language to evolve towards better clarity and simplicity. Sometimes. And I say only sometimes,  because the strength of English is indeed its nuance and subtlety.

    But I agree about the Orwellianisation (is there such a word?) of language and the rest of your comments.

    I would even say calling America a democracy is dubious, given the wierd business of the electoral college, and how preference is given to rural states regardless of their actual population...And the peoples republic of North Korea has always amused me as well. 

    As to Trump and his  over simplification of language, and his insanely hypocritical accusations of fake news, and mostly ridiculous policies,  its probably not good for my blood pressure, and I hope this ridiculous virus of nationalism doesn't spread any futher.

  20. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    Nigelj @6 , 

    ~ Quite so.  I'm not surprised that Merriam has given up the battle to preserve disinterested in its special [sharp, chisel-like] meaning, but it is disappointing to hear that the latest editions of English dictionaries have abandoned a very useful differentiation of meaning.  Essentially it is degradation of the language which we use to communicate thoughts and ideas and concepts.   "Disinterested" really only lingers on in the old (but chisel-like useful) phrases: disinterested advice and disinterested party.  ~They are concise and important concepts, and our language/thought is much poorer if we allow disinterested to be equivalent to uninterested.

    To a small degree, it demonstrates the "1984" NewSpeak-ization of language, where it becomes more and more difficult for the citizen to think about important (and/or subtle) ideas.   Didn't you just love the quote: "We don't do nuance in Texas" ? 

    Look at what's happened with the word democracy — it is almost meaningless nowadays.   Think of the degradation implicit in Democratic Republic of Germany, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or in the democratic elections in Cambodia, or in Russia, etc.   Closer to home, think of the degraded trumpizations such as "Fake News Media" and the deliberate divide-and-conquer policies all concealed under hate speech & NewSpeak blather.   To discuss real and important ideas, it is often now necessary to make use of overlong circumlocutions which are clumsy and won't survive a 5-second televised "grab".

    Excuse me for wandering so far Off Topic . . . but I was sure that you, Nigelj, would be "interested" in the ideas expressed.

    And not entirely Off Topic: for those battling against climate science & good public policy, are making it a rhetorical war of words (since they have no science or common sense to support their position).   We need to have our wits about us in dealing with their careless or deliberate abuse of the English language.

  21. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    Eclectic@5, the trouble is disinterested has two meanings. It can firstly mean uninterested (as in bored and disengaged) and secondly mean impartial, or unbiased, so with no stake in an issue. Both Merriam Webster and Cambridge say this. 

    It appears to be up to inferring the meaning from the context! 

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 12:36 PM on 5 August 2018
    America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    nigelj and Mal Adapted, Thank you for the feedback.

    I will try to clarify my comment @4. I tried being brief and ended up triggering some controversy. I failed to adhere to Einstein's advise to keep things simple, but not too simple. (I suspect I have now failed in the other direction - with some very long sentences, but what is done is done).

    I am not disagreeing with imposing an added cost on fossil fuel burning. I am trying to point out that getting drawn into calling it a Tax is not helpful (Some people have deliberately made Tax a four-letter word, and even calling it a Levy misses the point). The added cost should be called a Fine or a Penalty, like the actions applied to curtail any other unacceptable activity. And, like other unacceptable behaviour, the more likely it is that the person behaving unacceptably understands it is unacceptable to behave that way and the more they have tried to benefit from behaving unacceptably, the more severe/aggressive the corrective actions should be.

    The set of points I presented are the expected results of getting drawn into calling it a Tax or Levy. Once in that loop, it can/has become a fairly futile debate about the 'proper' financial 'value' for the tax or levy.

    What needs to be discussed is simply the magnitude of penalty required to achieve the required rapid correction of what has incorrectly developed. That discussion starts with the admission thta burning fossil fuels is unacceptable. And there should be consideration given to applying more severe penalties to richer more powerful people who behave unacceptably, because they 'should' know better, as well as having more capability to behave better.

    Armed robbery was not the best comparison to fossil fuel burning. But I still think it is applicable. Burning up fossil fuels is an activity that obtains personal benefit by wilfully unjustifiably taking from others, removing the ability for others to benefit from buried ancient hydrocarbons, without those others being able to do much about the action. And it creates harm to those others who can do little, or nothing in the case of future generations, to reduce the harm done. And admittedly the robbers run the risk of potentially suffer some personal harm. The 'armed' part also relates to the military actions and other violent actions, like violent police actions, that happen when powerful aggressors attempt to win more unjustified ability to benefit from fossil fuels (more brazen bank robbers).

    “Organized crime” is probably a better comparison to the fossil fuel burning industry:

    • People are tempted to buy the ill-gotten goods because they are cheaper
    • People buy into addictive activities
    • Desperate people who don't have better choices than to be exploited get exploited
    • People are tempted to join the gang that is doing what is 'understandably unacceptable but appears to be an easier quicker way to appear to have wealth and power relative to others'.

    And, like organized crime, everyone fights to be the biggest winners any way they can get away with. They use threats that they can get away with against their 'competition'. And as they become more powerful competitors they can abuse marketing appeals to primitive impulses, like fear of others and appearances of personally tribal glory, to stay in the Top of the Gang (to gather an unjustified passionate loyal following).
    Regarding the differences between Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Burning, the following may be better presentations of the differences:

    • Tobacco smoking can actually be a sustained activity. It can continue virtually forever, as long as people are willing to try out an addictive harmful activity and not seek treatment to end their addiction. Fossil fuel burning is also an addiction that people choose not to seek treatment to end. Though potentially beneficial as a temporary measure during a time of focus on the development of a transition to a sustainable way of living, fossil fuel burning grew into a massive damaging addiction that is like a terminal disease for humanity (that may seem over the top - but it is not far from a potential future reality. And the powerful resistance to being corrected is like a disease that has developed resistance to treatment).
    • The primary harm of tobacco is experienced by the person who chooses to consume it. Laws limiting the exposure of others to second-hand smoke offer significant, and likely to be adequate, mitigation. And there is no significant legacy harm on future generations (actions discouraging the smoking by expectant mothers reduce the potential harm). The already wealthy people who have continued to try to obtain more benefit from the burning of fossil fuels for the past 30 years are undeniably like the wealthy tobacco people who worked to develop a more addictive tobacco as secretively as possible and misleading market their product to prolong their ability to profit, to maximize their benefit). A big difference is that the consumers addicted to benefiting from the habit of burning fossil fuels are not personally likely to seriously suffer the negative consequences. The majority of the suffering will be by future generations, including the potential loss of the ability to benefit from easily accessible buried ancient hydrocarbons. And today the main ones suffering harm are the poorer people and others who have not obtained significant benefit from the burning (including the people who try to dramatically reduce their personal impacts but are surrounded and overwhelmed by others who do not care to behave better).

    As for the JSMill's quote. It comes from a section in “On Liberty” about the wealthier educated and more aware portion of a society having a responsibility (and actually having the ability) to help the entire population be more aware and understanding of what is really going on. It is not passive-aggressive. It is insightful. And one of the Einstein quotes at his Memorial in front of the National Academy of Science in Washington DC is “The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.”

    Regarding Mal Adapted's query about what army will bring about the required correction?: People becoming more aware, thoughtful and considerate will make the change happen, no army required (and the corrections required will not happen without the development of leadership that is responsibly governed by Good Reason - a major point made by Al Gore in “The Assault on Reason”). The sustainable alternatives to burning fossil fuel have always existed. They have just been less convenient, required more effort (walking or biking), or lacked the collective interest and resulting responsible leadership in developing them (or faced deliberate efforts to debilitate them like the efforts to keep places like early Los Angeles from developing effective public transportation).

    Eliminating the fossil fuel subsidies is part of the solution, but it will likely only happen when a larger portion of the population choose to be more Altruistic than Selfish. So, it would be helpful to argue against the ability of people to claim that fossil fuel burning is a Good Thing. For at least the past 30 years it has been undeniably unacceptable for any already more fortunate people to try to get even more benefit from the burning of more fossil fuels. That essential point is lost in a debate about the way to financially calculate the tax rate to apply to the burning. A carbon tax lets the richer person continue to get richer from the unacceptable activity, while failing to require them to show leadership by leading the correction to living the lower impact life that they can actually afford to live (and could have afforded 30 years ago). How about discussing the penalty for an already rich person who tried to get richer from the activity through the past 30 years?

    If awareness of that understanding does not increase then the sustainable development objectives are unlikely to be sustainably achieved. All that will be developed is appearances of having done something regarding some of the goals that will later be learned to have also been unsustainable and is likely to also be discovered to be more harmful than the available best alternatives (because less sustainable is almost certain to be cheaper and easier than more sustainable). A sustainable better future requires all of the SDGs to actually be achieved and improved upon. That requires Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (GHAR) to govern over and limit the 'far too easy to encourage to develop' primitive impulsive selfish interests (PISI).

    I see the potential for massive harm to occur before enough people are helped by the wealthier more powerful people to keep the harmful unjustified pursuers of wealth and power from winning more. Large Corrections/Revolutions can be ugly things. They often turn violent when the ones who deserve to be corrected resort to violence and threats of violence to resist being corrected, and as a result develop a larger required correction. The sustainable decent objective that they fight against being achieved must also be maintained (or even be tightened). Their resistance to correction should not be allowed to move the goal posts (those attempts to delay and diminish the corrective actions is the damaging way they want to play the game). And the unjustified among the wealthy and powerful pushing to see how far they can push things, especially with misleading marketing, before triggering a powerful revolution of awareness and understanding against them, can be understood to be just about the worst that can happen, because it can develop and trigger violent support (offensive defence) from their Tribe (and it clearly delays the potential for humanity to develop a sustainable better future).

    Developing GHAR takes more effort for a human who is immersed in a competition to appear to be superior to others. Especially, when that competition is full of marketing that tries to get their primitive gut-reaction responses to overpower their ability to thoughtfully and considerately evaluate what is really going on and determine how to be sure their actions, and the actions of others, are helpful rather than harmful.

    I would contend that even in the USA today the majority of the population is still inclined to be more altruistic. Republicans as a whole are still below 50% support. And part of that support is actually reasonably altruistic people who have allowed themselves to be misled into being fans of Team Harmfully Selfish (and too a smaller degree some supporters of the Democrats are greedy and intolerant). Though Team Harmfully Selfish is the minority, they have succeeded in rigging the game in their favour as much as they can get away with (gerrymandering, blatantly biased Supreme Court appointments, and making up bad laws particularly laws that selectively restrict access to voting). They also succeed in rigging public opinion regarding fossil fuel burning in their favour by unjustified but appealing claims that the science is wrong or that there is no viable alternative (while their rich team members who could actually afford to live in the existing sustainable alternative ways do nothing of the sort). JSMill's comment is spot on regarding those undeserving rich people and the consequences to the future of US society and global humanity as a result of their ability to so easily impress enough people to Win (they should not even be allowed to compete - sports have all learned to penalize or eject the unacceptable competitors).

    The more robust point I am starting to make regarding claims of burning fossil fuels being a Good Thing is to require evidence confirming that a truly Sustainable Good Thing was developed because of fossil fuel burning (a benefit that people thousands of years from now will be able to continue to benefit from). The production of steel is one of the few things that comes to mind. Many things attributed to fossil fuel burning could have also been achieved without fossil fuel burning. And many of the Sustainable Good Things, like more walk-able and bike-able cities, can be understood to have been delayed in developing because of the unjustified popularity and profitability of burning fossil fuels.

    One Sustainable Very Good Development of fossil fuel burning is the undeniable understanding that competitions to appear to be a winner relative to others based on power, popularity and profitability will not produce Sustainable Good Results if they are not governed/limited by Good Reasoning that determines acceptable/allowed behaviour.

    The awareness and understanding that burning fossil fuels was unsustainable has been undeniable for a long time. Understanding that burning up non-renewable resources was unsustainable, could not be continued to be benefited from in the future, is something that the biggest beneficiaries of the activity have been aware of for a long time. They have fought for the ability to be the biggest beneficiaries for as long as they can get away with (to maximize their benefit). They have even succeeded in winning Subsidies for their unacceptable activities. The fact that the activity was also harmful, and harmful in many more ways than climate change impacts, has also been understood for a long time by those who have benefited most from the activity. And it is that group that is the problem, the small percentage of the population that is able to gather unjustified popular support for an understandably damaging and unsustainable activity rather than making others more aware and understanding of how to live sustainably and not be harmful to others. And the abuse of misleading marketing power to do that is glaringly clear for everyone to see, it is actually undeniable.

    I believe that most humans do not want to be associated with criminal/harmful groups. As it becomes more undeniable that a political/economic group is behaving like a harmful criminal group, gathering unjustified support/benefit through misleading marketing efforts and attempts to fight against being exposed/corrected any way that can be gotten away with, more people should choose to oppose it.

    I consider the Winning by the likes of Trump among the USA Republicans to be one of the greatest threats to the future of humanity to ever develop (positive-great in the sense of the undeniable example it presents, as well as the obvious negative-great). Hopefully it will result in Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning sustainably gaining more support, the sooner the better for the future of humanity.

  23. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    David @4 , the point Mike is making is that "disinterested" was completely the wrong choice of word.

    Disinterested means one thing, and uninterested means another thing — and there is really a huge gulf of difference between the two.  Yes, they are often seen to be used interchangeably in the careless heat of the moment, just like some "workman" will grab a chisel instead of a screwdriver to turn a screw.  Ain't good practice though, because the chisels lose the edge they were designed for.  And one day you really do need a chisel for a precision job . . . and all you've got left is a boxful of good and bad "screwdrivers".   The same with scientific conventional jargon : it is worth making the effort to preserve useful distinctions of meaning, to achieve clear communication of ideas.  Even though it's an uphill battle, at times.

  24. David Kirtley at 02:31 AM on 5 August 2018
    Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    Mike @3 - Yes, I probably shouldn't have compared this paper's "disinterested" to Yale's Six Americas' "disengaged". I think if you look at the Six Americas, you will see that their "Disengaged" category is only 7% of Americans. But I'm not sure how the Yale survey would track to this paper's accounting of "disinterested". I think for this study, "disinterested" would be a broader catagory: there may be people in any of the Yale categories who are just disinterested in the topic of "the environment/global warming". From the paper:

    All participants were asked to rate on 5-point scales, from 1 (not at all) to 5 (a great deal), how interested they were in information about the environment and information about global warming. [my emphasis]

    Whereas the Yale studies measure Americans' beliefs about whether AGW is real or not, etc.

    So, slightly different things. Does that clear things up?

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

    OPF, Ok, I dont live in US but will have a try at the opposite perspective based on reading rightwing media and blogs.

    My tribe are good people who value community, hard work, respect the law, know how to behave and love the freedom we have fought so hard for.

    The Other tribe are bad people who support baby-killing, dont respect our leaders, police, or military and given half a chance would take away our freedoms. The are very unfair and have repeated uses taxes to take from hard-working folk and giving it to people who dont deserve it. Lately they have been letting lots of other very bad tribes into our country because these people would vote for them. In grandpappy's time, everyone in this town belonged to the same tribe. You didnt have to lock your doors and kids could walk safely to school. I'd like it to be like grandpappy's time again.

    Climate change sounds really bad. The measures to fix it were worse. It's been tough for my tribe lately and lots of folk have to drive long distances for work now including my kids. Taxing fuel would force them to leave town. Then I heard my neighbour would lose his job because they wanted to close the mines. America then signed a deal that would give billions of money from workers here to tin-pot dictators in countries so badly run they couldnt cope with change. Wasted money because the dictators would just steal it.

    Then I realised that all the noise was being made by the Other tribe. Some were more honest about it trying to destroy our capitalist system. How can you trust scientists who belong to Other tribe? Fortunately, scientists from our tribe looked at it, and said it was all a hoax by the Others to get power. I am not qualified to judge these arguments but I know who to trust.

    Perhaps others from US could confirm whether I have captured the spirit of their countrymen? I have heard every part of above on blogs.

    OPF, you say But I am confident that I am developing a more robust way of presenting them. If you want to preach to other than the choir, then you need to think about how the others think. When faced with conflicting information, people, especially right-wing as they are wired of it, will trust information that identifies with their tribe.

  26. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    OPOF @4:

    Fossil fuel burning is like speeding or armed robbery. The harm and risk to harm to others requires penalties and enforcement that effectively limit the amount of the riskier more damaging activity.

    Your comments are often incisive, but this is over the top. Speeding I might agree to, but while in some ways fossil fuel burning is like armed robbery, one key difference is that (I presume) not all of your friends and neighbors are armed robbers. In the same way, there are both similarities and differences between fossil fuel consumption and tobacco use. For one thing, tobacco benefits only its users, and in a non-essential way. Supplemental (i.e. non-food) energy inputs, OTOH, drive much of the daily business of living for virtually everyone in the world. In the absence of sufficient supplies of alternatives to fossil carbon, you're proposing to criminalize not just our daily crosstown errands, but the consumption of any good or service downstream of someone else's fossil-fuel burning. How will you persuade everyone to walk away from Omelas? Let me keep it simple: you and what army?

    OPOF:

    Democracy and free markets only produce good results when they are governed or limited by Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (same goes for communism, any other -ism, or any religion). As John Stuart Mill warned in “On Liberty”: “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.”

    Now we come down to the issue of actually achieving global decarbonization, not just growling about the immorality of not doing it. JS Mill's fine passive-aggressive words aside, GHAR isn't commonly found in our species. How do you propose to elicit it consistently, from everyone?  How much force will you have to use to make it stick?

    Whereas a per-tonne carbon fee on fossil fuel producers and importers of manufactured goods, just large enough to eliminate their products' price advantage over existing carbon-neutral alternatives, would immediately encourage everyone to use less fossil carbon and nudge the good ol' invisible hand of the market to build out alternative supplies and infrastructure within a few decades. Forget the discount rate, and start the carbon fee/tariff at $40/tonne of carbon. Everyone pays the subsequent market price for fuels within our borders, as well as for imported manufactured goods based on embodied carbon. All revenue is returned to each taxpayer in equal-size periodic dividends: that is, the measure is revenue-neutral, though resulting in some net income transfer downward. Raise the fee/tariff periodically, as needed to keep reducing fossil carbon emissions. See citizensclimatelobby.org for model Carbon Fee and Dividend with Border Adjustment Tariff legislation. Be genuinely skeptical, of course, of mercenary AGW-deniers who co-opt the idea.

    The point is that paying $XX/tonne more for fossil carbon, whenever we buy energy, can achieve what moral exhortation alone can't. Then it will only be worthwhile to criminalize obnoxious behavior like rolling coal, and attempts by fuel producers or goods importers to evade the tax. I, for one, am confident that with a little nudging from the visible hand of collection intervention, the invisible hand will manage the transition to a carbon-neutral global economy within the time available, with minimal punitive sanction required.

  27. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    '...disinterested in the environment or global warming — the "disengaged"...'

    There's disconnect here - by 'disinterested', don't they mean the 'uninterested'? Surely those with neutral views, the disinterested, are a very small minority?

  28. Permafrost and wetland emissions could cut 1.5C carbon budget ‘by five years’

    More directly on topic: The use of models here appears to be very effectively executed and the carbon budget approach is quite useful.
    I have to say, I wish the carbon budget concept was a good deal more intuitive and thus easier to grasp by a wider audience. For example, if I were to share this article on Facebook most of my friends and relatives would find the title confusing. Many (most?) would not go on to read the whole thing. Some of them might come away thinking the title meant the opposite of what it is trying to convey.

  29. Permafrost and wetland emissions could cut 1.5C carbon budget ‘by five years’

    Greetings Jef:
    I've encountered similar disinterest in venturing far from "safety" and comforts. I believe part of the problem is plain old fear of the dark. Here in the USA most people spend their waking hours bathed in bright light. Even while they sleep most yards are lit by security lights. Neighborhood streets are brightly illuminated through the night by a mix of powerful mercury and sodium vapor lights.
    Some of my neighbors request additional sodium vapor street lights be mounted on their side of adjacent utility poles. Their properties resemble prison yards at night!(Our local electricity supplier subsidizes this practice. It charges only for the electricity used, the light assembly and its installation comes free of charge.)

  30. Permafrost and wetland emissions could cut 1.5C carbon budget ‘by five years’

    This World of ours holds so much beauty and wonder it makes me cry.
    I feel fortunate that I have been able to imerse myself in much of it and let it all wash over me. I could tell you stories....
    Unfortunately most of the people who I talk to about my experiences in nature express how they would be way too afraid to do anything like that. There is a general fear of the natural world that is totally unwarranted. Nature is not malicious but you do need to have respect for it and be prepared for what will come. If prepared you can expect to be bowled over with some of the most spectacular experiences available to humans and for the most part they are cheap almost free.

  31. One Planet Only Forever at 07:10 AM on 3 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    John Hartz@37,

    Graphic presentations can be powerful.

    I would add information about the purpose of US Militarization.

    It is claimed to be for Defense, without an explanation of exactly what it defends (freedom is often stated, but whose freedom and what they are to be freer to do is not clarified).

    It clearly is meant to be used as a threat to Others. And clearly some American leaders think that it is a more effective threat if the new technology gets live-action testing on a reasonably regular basis.

    Bush Sr. did Desert Storm to test new systems and deter Saddam (though my understanding is that the US duped Saddam into invading Kuwait for Kuwait's over-extraction of oil from the oil fields on the border between Kuwait and Iraq, but telling Saddam that the USA did not care about Arab-Arab conflicts when Saddam approached them about the problem he wanted to resolve). Clinton was able to test new equipment for good purposes in Bosnia and Serbia. Bush Jr. invaded Iraq. The Obama-era increased the use of drones producing massively damaging effects. And Trump just had to use that bunker buster somewhere. And some 'advisors Trump likes' have said that a small nuclear conflict could be a 'Good Thing'.

    That power to terrorize others can Help or Harm the development of a sustainable better future for humanity. And it is very difficult to justify that the ways the US has used its military and financial powers have been Helpful to anyone other than wealthy exploiters of the ability to do unacceptable things Freer, with a greater sense of impunity (the quote from the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" that I refer to that states that global leaders act in the unacceptable ways thta they do because they can get away with it).

    The value of the US military clearly depends on who is winning the leadership influence games in the USA. The Doomsday Clock has moved from 6 minutes to midight in 2010 to 2 minutes to midnight in 2018, through a period of increasing Republican-right-wing-extremists influence in the USA.

  32. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    Interesting observations on perceptions and polemics!

    I have on various occasions served as an "expert witness" in litigation. There are two sides, the plaitiff and the defendant (altho there may be several parties on each side). If the data overwhelmingly favor one side, the other will almost always settle or drop out before the case goes to court. Litigation is generally better than war, because in the latter case, there is a common tendency of the losing side to fight to the bitter end. So having a dicotomous view of conflicting views is generally healthy; what is unhealthy is a situation that prefers a dicotomous view of a situation in which dicotomy fails to represent the data distribution.

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

    Media Matters (2012)

    Marc Morano: Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year

    [Video]

  34. One Planet Only Forever at 15:15 PM on 2 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp@36,

    You said "I wish people would use reason but the evidence is that they dont. I dont think you are going to change that."

    The use of that type of gross generalization is unhelpful, and may be part of why we disagree. Many people are altruistic caring individuals who want to help develop a sustainable better future for humanity, even if doing so is detrimental to their personal acquisition of wealth and material gratification. Many of those type of people were involved in the increased awareness and understanding that was the basis for developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And many others are easily misled into selfishness that they actually are willing to turn altruistically away from when they are made aware of the better understanding that has been developed.

    You also said "You also seem imply that environment is source of beliefs despite evidence for genetic influence."

    Read my comment. I said (for good reason) "People are unique regarding their predispositions for altruism vs egoism. However, the environment they develop in influences the way they 'choose to develop their thinking'"

    A person who acts in ways that are understandably harmful to others is being selfish.

    Actions that are contrary to developing a sustainable better future for humanity (contrary to rapidly achieving the SDGs), are "Selfish, even if they are claimed to be Identity based".

    And the improved understanding of psychology actually is (based on the content of the books I listed): People are born with a range of temperaments, ranging from more altruistic to more egoist. Their experiences influence what direction they develop their thinking relative to their starting point temperament. And temptation to allow primitive gut-reactions to over-power thoughtful consideration can result in the rationalization of selfish behaviour that is harmful to others. Competition to appear to be superior to others breeds more egoism, pushes people to develop that type of selfish thinking. Competition to justifiably be understood to be more helpful to others and to the future of humanity would push people to be more altruistic.

     

    Thank you for the feedback. It has helped me clarify my thinking.

    The Good Objective of a Human Life: Helping to protect and improve conditions for a robust diversity of humanity sustainably fitting into the robust diversity of life or this or any other Amazing planet.

    I should not have used the term irrelevant when identifying the categories of a human life lived. The categories should have been: Helpful, Inconsequential, Harmful to the robust diversity of humanity sustainably fitting into the robust diversity of other life.

    Thoughtful considerate helpful altruism needs to govern over irrational instinctive primal harmful egoism.

    My Tribe: Humans who want to helpfully sustainably fit into the robust diversity of life.

    My Self Interest: Protect My Tribe and improve the conditions for My Tribe (and all others) into the future.

    Who can be in my Tribe?: Every human has the ability to be a member of My Tribe. Everyone can learn to become more aware and better understand what is actually going on and strive to help develop the new things that will be justifiably beneficial to the future of My Tribe (justified by Good Reason), and correct already developed things that are unsustainable or detrimental to the future of My Tribe (and all others).

    Every human is born with the ability to have their thoughtful consideration govern over their impulse to primitively react. My Tribe can include people from every spiritual belief system as well as atheists and agnostics. And My Tribal understanding/objective can be found in virtually all spiritual beliefs. My Tribe can also include: Capitalists and Communists, People wanting to be in Democracies, People who like to be ruled over by Authorities, Right and Left wingers, Extroverts and Introverts, Hip-Hop lovers and classical music lovers, any identifiable race, speakers of any language, all the robust diversity of gender identity and sexual identity - Everyone is welcome.

    Most serious Threats to my Tribe: People who, when made aware of the importance of being a member of My Altruistic Tribe, deliberately choose to act in ways that are detrimental to My Tribe and its objectives. People who use fear and threats to get support for their unjustified beliefs and desires or to feel superior to others are the enemy of My Tribe. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

    My Tribe needs to be protected from developments that may be popular or profitable but are understandably harmful to the objectives of My Tribe. Antifa and people that Others refer to as Eco-terrorists actually can be helpful members of My Tribe, as long as they do not unjustifiably harm others (stopping others from unjustifiably getting away with things that are detrimental to My Tribe and its objectives is not harming them, it only disappoints or angers them).

    And My Tribe definitely needs increased acceptance of climate science and the required corrections of what has developed to stop the harming of the future of humanity.

    As always, my thoughts on this are a work in progress. But I am confident that I am developing a more robust way of presenting them.

  35. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    A nice supplement to Dana's article...

    Political Cartoon

  36. Coming full circle: from study to comedy sketch to study

    Great video. The climate change issue has become politically tribal, and this means people form rigid views. People will deny compelling scientific evidence like the IPCC reports, in order to agree with those around them.

    Humans are hardwired to be politically tribal here and here.

    Humour is well known to break down social and cultural barriers, so might help break down some of this political tribalism.

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

    In my opinion, the spending priorities of the US federal government have been out of whack for decades as illustrated in the gaphic below. It's mind-boggling to imagine what could be accomplished if one-half of the US Defense budget were to be spent on mitiagting and adapting to manmdae climate change.

    Graphicr

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

    Actually we continue to disagree. You percieve people are more selfish. I think you are imputing selfishness for behaviours that are identity based. You also seem imply that environment is source of beliefs despite evidence for genetic influence.

    I wish people would use reason but the evidence is that they dont. I dont think you are going to change that.

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 09:05 AM on 1 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,

    I agree that the trends of developed attitudes in western competitive consumerism impression based environments result in many people being unjustifiably selfish (and some of them will spin that into a claim that everyone is selfish).

    How many people are altruistic is a function of the environment hey develop in. People are unique regarding their predispositions for altruism vs egoism. However, the environment they develop in influences the way they 'choose to develop their thinking'.

    The western cultures, particularly the New World countries built by pushing aside existing populations, and especially the USA with it's aggressive imperialist beliefs in manifest destiny and attempts to annihilate the Others (existing populations) of the land they took over, clearly develop more tribal selfish people.

    My understanding comes from my MBA training in subjects like Organizational Behaviour, observing what is going on, and reading many different books, with the ones including references to recent psychological understanding that I have recently read being:

    • Guy P. Harrison "Think" and "Good Thinking"
    • Sean Carroll "The Big Picture"
    • Susan Cain "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking"
    • Al Gore "The Assault on Reason"

    All of those books present the understanding that I have been expressing. People have the ability to apply Good Reason. If they did not develop it before being confronted with the awareness and understanding of the need for everyone to act for Good Reason they can learn to be Good Reasoning people.

    I agree that an unjustified developed sense of personal prestige, prosperity or superiority relative to others (the harmful selfishness I refer to needing to be corrected) can impede a person's choice to become helpful. But I share John Stuart Mill's understanding that for humanity to have a better future it is important to maximize the number of Good Reasoning people to ensure that Good Reason over-rules those other desires.

    There are 3 possible categories for the results of a person's life. They all relate to how the life thta was lived affected others, including how it affected future generations. They are: Helpful, Irrelevant, Harmful.

    I appreciate that many people will be happy to live their life in the irrelevant category. But I feel it is important to help them understand that they should at least try to be on the helpful side of irrelevant. As you say, lots of people want to be helpful. As I say Altruism, not Egoism (selfishness), is the path to being more helpful.

    All that said, I understand that some people do not like to have their choices limited (especially not be limited by Others). As an engineer I face that reality regularly. But as a professional, I never allow the unjustified desires of a manager, client, or even another engineer, over-rule Good Reason. That would/should apply to all professions, and should apply to everyone.

    Increased awareness and better understanding how to help develop a sustainable better future for humanity is what a good life is really all about in the end.

  40. Climate change made 2018 European heatwave up to ‘five times’ more likely

    From New Scientist: Warming Arctic could be behind heatwave sweeping northern hemisphere

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

    Well I think it is extremely counter-productive to tell people that the reason they behave in some way because they are selfish when their behaviour actually has other motivations. We are all selfish but we are all social animals too. Sure, censure is effective in behaviour. We are incredibly sensitive to traces about what is acceptable behaviour or not. But we take our clues as to what is acceptable behaviour from our identity group and freely ignore what an "outsider" says. However, we have many circles of identity - what our family does, what our community does, what our church does, what our country does. The trick is to ensure the trace has the right identity.

    I still reckon good luck with "Good Reason". I think there is a lot of truth in the "You cannot reason people out of positions they didn’t reason themselves into." As I have said before, I think critical thinking is about as natural as breathing underwater. Effective change comes from strategies better aligned with what we know of human psychology. I happily acknowledge Niki Harre's "Psychology for a better world" as influencing my thinking here. 

  42. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    M Sweet @6,

    "Does it really make sense to take away renewable subsidies while giving fossil fuels over 5 trillion dollars????"

    I agree it most definitely does not! If fossil fuel subsidies remain in place, renewable energy must be equally subsidised. It has to be a level playing field, regardless of any carbon tax or other additional measure.

    Of course it would be more sensible to cancel fossil fuel subsidies and push that money into subsidisng what we want, namely renewable energy projects. However I have no illusions about the political difficulties of this.

    Or cancel both subsidies and rely on a carbon tax mechanism?

    I have no objection to subsidies in general principle. I just think they need to be mainly to help industries get started, and be time limited to ensure industries don't become permanently reliant on such things. For example electric cars  receive subsidies in the USA and I think this is until the underlying price becomes competitive and numbers of sales reach a certain level. This is not unreasonable. It could also have been just for a defined time period.

  43. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    OPOF, I agree with the general thrust of your comments, but fossil fuel use is more like tobacco smoking than you think. Fossil fuel use harms the individual and other people, and also many future generations. Passive smoking obviously harms the individual, but it also harms other people through passive smoking, and it harms the unborn child.

    Taxes are applied to tobacco for two reasons, firstly to pay for costs of illness, and secondly  to reduce the rates of use of tobacco, so taxes (or a 'levy') seem appropriate as a mechanism to reduce fossil fuel use. Tobacco taxes have lead to a considerable reduction in use in NZ despite the fact tobacco is extremely addictive. 

    There are other ways of phasing out fossil fuel use, like imposing a fine in literal terms, or forcing fossil fuel companies to phase down production, but its hard for me to see this having wide public and political appeal. A carbon tax and dividend might be the measure that has impact and is politically plausible and has some characteristics of a fine.

    And clearly fossil fuel subsidies should be immediately cancelled.

  44. Other planets are warming

    Further to the comment @51, for those unfamiliar with the mentioned 'local fluff', there is a Wiki-page and this web-page puts some bones on its potential impact on climate (or not, as the case may be).

  45. michael sweet at 02:22 AM on 1 August 2018
    America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    What do the people who don't like the small subsidies for renewable energy think about these subsidies? 

    Do you really think we should take away all subsidies from renewables (the energy of the future) and make them compete on this unequal play field? 

    Does it really make sense to take away renewable subsidies while giving fossil fuels over 5 trillion dollars????

    We have to have renewable energy policies that consider the realities of the current system.

  46. One Planet Only Forever at 01:13 AM on 1 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,

    The rule of law is the enforcment of better behaviour on those who resist behaving better. It comes into effect when the education of the population fails to develop responsible self-governing individuals.

    Selfishness is not a default human behaviour. It is the result of a lack of better education and of competitions to 'appear' to be superior to others, to 'appear' to be a winner.

    It is actually very dangerous to excuse harmful selfishness as 'what all humans do and that cannot be corrected'. It is similarly harmful to compromise increased awareness and better understanding just to 'get along with people' who selfishly are not interested in being more aware and better understanding how to be helpful to the advancement of humanity through truly sustainable development.

    Openly identifying and admitting the real problem is required to obtain a viable solution. That is the fundamental of Engineering and Business Management and Politics, and everything. Compromising what is understood to be required or corrected, for any excuse, will not develop a Good Result.

  47. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    The International Monetary Fund has a working paper accessible via https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2016/12/31/How-Large-Are-Global-Energy-Subsidies-42940 that estimates total world subsidies to fossil industries (including external costs) to have been for

    2011—$4.2 trillion (5.8 percent of global GDP)

    2013 - $4.9 trillion (6.5 percent of global GDP)

    2015 - $5.3 trillion (6.5 percent of global GDP) 

    Externalities were about 80% and about 75% of externalities were not climate change, suggesting their impact would be local and self-interested countries should mitigate regadless of climate change.

    And I'm SWAG-ing (scientific wild-ass guessing) that future climate change damages could be far more than historical depending on the extent to which we mitigate and with uncertainty (per Weitzman's "fat-tail") that effectively makes them practically "priceless".  

     

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link. In future please create the link yourself using the link button in the comment editor.

  48. One Planet Only Forever at 00:33 AM on 1 August 2018
    America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    Discussing the ongoing debate and argument about 'how much added cost' should be applied to fossil fuels needs to include a clear statement that the actual required added cost is the amount of added cost (or other actions) that will produce the required rapid termination of the global fossil fuel industry.

    Fossil fuel burning is not like tobacco. Tobacco users only harm themselves, where public smoking is limited by laws. And the tax on tobacco can be sort of figured out to cover public health care costs for those people. The people benefiting from fossil fuel burning are not suffering the negative consequences.

    Fossil fuel burning is like speeding or armed robbery. The harm and risk to harm to others requires penalties and enforcement that effectively limit the amount of the riskier more damaging activity.

    Debating a Carbon Tax with people who do not care to be corrected, because being correct is contrary to their developed personal interest, has gone the way it would be expected to:

    • The first step is actually their denial that what has developed is unacceptable. Instead of admitting that penalties are required to stop the unacceptable behaviour, they want to debate how much the unacceptable activity that needs to be rapidly curtailed 'should cost' (while never intending to agree to any added cost, just using the debate as a delay tactic and propaganda tool based on 'attempts to increase the cost' to drum up unjustified support for nothing being done).
    • Then the debate over the cost becomes an argument about the discount rate to be applied (which moves even further from the reality that the activity is simply unsustainable and harmful and must be stopped). They push for a higher discount rate to reduce the 'corrective cost' to be applied.
    • And they apply that higher discount rate to an understated evaluation of future harm done.
    • All of this diminishes the amount or degree of corrective action, and delays it being implemented.
    • Then they claim the small added cost will do nothing meaningful or helpful - and they are correct because doing nothing meaningful is their end game (because meaningful helpful actions are detrimental to their developed desires and interests).

    Democracy and free markets only produce good results when they are governed or limited by Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (same goes for communism, any other -ism, or any religion). As John Stuart Mill warned in “On Liberty”: “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.”

    Humanity needs Good Reason to govern what humans do. Everybody can understand that (even the people who are determined to resist admitting it). And this is nothing new. Greeks were writing about it thousands of years ago.

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

    Is building a Facebook alternative worth the effort? MeWe thinks so

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

    There's one study missing concerning the scientific consensus on climate change:

    The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters

    => The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters

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