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Comments 201 to 250:

  1. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    [JH] Recommended supplementary readings:

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

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

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

  2. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    MA Rodger @ 58

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

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

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

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

  3. New study ‘reduces uncertainty’ for climate sensitivity

    I found the IPCC reference

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

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link activated.

  4. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


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

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

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

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

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

    Bob Loblaw @ 56

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  6. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 51:

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

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

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

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

    Any proper "risk management" covers two areas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Or, you could just stop with the rhetorical flourishes.

  7. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

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

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

  8. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

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

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

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

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Also see:

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

    This article contains some impressive graphics as well. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Honestly Pruitt would drive anyone to total despair.

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

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

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

    "Warming is good for humanity"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Conradin Sakison,

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

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

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

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

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

    Moderator Response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Let us cut to the core of the issue.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  24. Conradin sakison at 02:53 AM on 13 February 2018
    The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    There are three schools of thought.
    0 / There is no such thing as human caused global warming.

    1/ It can be cured by using the products of recent sunshine.

    2/ It can only be cured by using the products of ancient supernova catastrophes.

    There are people who think that the third option above, nuclear, can be "part" of the solution, along with what is popularly called "renewables", but a careful analysis shows that renewables of the solar origin sort, other than hydro when it has received sufficient H2O precipitation, is not at all dispatchable. Therefore it needs backup. If that backup is non-fossil, then it is Gen IV nuclear. If you have enough geothermal, hydro, and nuclear to meet peak demand, you gain nothing from intermittent renewables.

  25. Conradin sakison at 02:44 AM on 13 February 2018
    The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    It's hard to see how to ignore the political nature of Administrator Pruitt's activities, but I'll confine myself to saying he's unscientific. James Hansen's analysis is conclusive, and see Alex Cannara on "the Evil Twin or Global Warming"

  26. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The issue is more complex than it is presented.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] In what way?

    [JH] Which "issue"?

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw @ 50

    I am afraid I have to be in Calgary tomorrow on an oil and gas related venture so I cannot respond right now (light oil not heavy oil).  I think I have been very forthright about my business interests even if I am pretty well fully retired.

    But let us cut to the chase.  What per tonne carbon tax would you think would be reasonable to impose on the US at this time which would not have a significant economic impact?  You surely appreciate that a large carbon tax even if completely "refundable" would have massive economic impact on the US economy.

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

    It has been a busy weekend.... Others have commented, but as NorrisM has directly responded to my earlier post #23, I will weigh in again.

    NorrisM @ 31: " really think I agree with the uninformed and anti-science attitude of the Trump administration. "

    I really think that you have much more sympathy for some of their claims than they deserve. And that makes it more difficult to draw a clear line between what you think and what are clear "denier talking points".

    For example, you say "...if imposing such a charge would put the world economy into a tailspin."

    "A tailsipin" is a vague, unsupported assertion. You portray a division between jobs and the environment. A carbon tax with dividend does not remove money from the economy, nor does it move money from private to public hands - it just shifts who has it in private hands. As I stated before @23, allowing those who benefit from fossil fuel use to avoid the damage costs of using them (known in economics as an externality) is a transfer of wealth. A carbon tax (with dividend) reduces that externality. Average carbon users will break even - the dividend that they receive will pay for their extra costs of carbon-fuel-based goods. HIgh carbon users will pay more (and can probably easily afford it if they wish to continue to consume), and low carbon users will receive a benefit and will have more money to spend in general. All will have an incentive to use less carbon. How this equates to an economy in a "tailspin" is difficult for me to see.

    Most economic studies indicate that the "massive benefits" of fossil fuels will be outweighted by the costs in the future. It is the future that we worry about. Past benefits are not a result of future fossil fuel use. Future costs will arise from past fossil fuel use, and future costs will rise if future fossil fuel use is not reduced. Your tendency to handwave that away by referring to "economy into a tailspin" and similar rhetoric does not put you in a favourable light.

  29. So, why is two degrees the magic number?

    There was a discussion here at SkS a couple of years ago (I think) on the effect of a sudden complete cessation of all emissions.  Andy Skuce was involved in the discussion.  If I remember correctly, for several decades the inertia of the climate system roughly cancels the temperature drop one would expect.  So the temperature remains roughly constant — with some ups and downs — until it finally starts to decline in the next century.

  30. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Perhaps changing peoples thinking ultimately changes their values, over time.

    "If people are going to admit that climate change is problem that is solvable by humans, then there needs to be strategies that work that dont involve an end to capitalism."

    Yes to that and for numerous reasons. If the world holds a conference on how to reform capitalism, my prediction is we will still be debating it in 50 years, exactly too long to be of any use in fixing the climate problem. And conservatives will blow a huge fuse.

    Capitalism will evolve and change anyway. ("Incrementally" of course). It always has, and didn't come as a complete package fully worked out at some point in history. 

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

    Yes, removal is possible by several mechanism. Old tech is removing CO2 from industrial gas streams with amine solution. This is used to remove CO2 from natural gas for instance (eg at Kapuni for a close-to-home example). More radical methods have been pushed by Wally Broecker and particularly Klaus Lackner, see this for example. Cost and commitment are the big factors.

    Other schemes note that natural systems already absorb CO2 (eg plant more forest) and CO2 sequestration in oceans is dependent on Ca flux from silicates (the weathering thermostat). Theoretically you could mine and crush lots of Ca- bearing silicates and let weathering leach the Ca into ocean. I suspect you will find more discussion in the IPCC WG3 reports.

  32. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    Is it possible to  remove CO2 directly out the atmosphere, and bury it? I'm no chemist, but at  a guess there would seem to be various pathways possible, involving sucking air through solutions, and converting CO2 to carbonate compounds etc.

    You could power the fans with solar power. However presumably it's a huge task, and would require massive numbers of instillations.

  33. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    In my liturgically conservative parish, famously liberal in everything else, deniers are very few. A dozen-or-so years ago, this was not the case. I have discretely investigated what got people to change their minds. Overwhelmingly, it has simply been seeing that among the more intellectual parishioners (there are three big universities in the area; the parish has a disproportionately large number of professors… and chefs), there was no climate denialism whatever. I should add that very few if any of the people thus "converted" were passionate deniers. Indeed, the passionate deniers continue to deny at least as passionately as ever. (Fortunately, their presence lacks the persuasive presence of the intellectual elite.)

  34. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    If you stick to thinking "naturally", then yes, we are all extremely prone to motivated reasoning  (scientists included) to support value-based predispistions based on upbringing and genetics. If that was the end of the story, science wouldnt exist. However, the practice of science (if not necessarily every scientist) has evolved to counter-act this problem. The critical thinking approach is at least an approach which a self-aware thinker can use to reduce their biases. If you ask most people whether they think a position should be determined by data or values, they will reply that of course their position is based on data (even if that turns out to be deceptive blog posts). If they are  honest and open enough (and any encounter with flat-earth society will make you realize that not everyone is) then they might be induced to try a more disciplined approach to evaluating a position.

    Broadly speaking, I think you can change a person's mind but not a person's values. Demanding that the only way to solve a problem is doing something deeply offensive to their value system and identity is going to be completely counter-productive. I think a lot of environmental activism has got mixed in with left-wing political positions to the detriment of the environment. If people are going to admit that climate change is problem that is solvable by humans, then there needs to be strategies that work that dont involve an end to capitalism.

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

    Robert De Niro takes aim at US President Donald Trump's climate change policy.

    "Hollywood star Robert De Niro has taken aim at US President Donald Trump's stance on climate change, telling a packed audience in the Middle East that he was visiting from a "backward" country suffering from "temporary insanity".

    He said that in the country he was describing, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency suggested last week that global warming may be a good thing for humanity.

    "I am talking about my own country, the United States of America. We don't like to say we are a 'backward' country, so let's just say we're suffering from a case of temporary insanity,'' he added.

  36. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    chapeaured @15

    I think you are exactly right in all of that, and thank's for posting some detail on it. Here's some more published research on a genetic basis for liberalism and conservatism that I was reading some weeks ago.

    Having said that, while genetics  predisposes some people to xenophobia for example, the vast majority of people in my country including conservatives appear to have now become pretty supportive of multi cultural immigation. There has been a change in attitude over time with at least some conservatives, perhaps partly because they have seen these people are largely well behaved, self reliant, and largely hard working, values they admire. There is however a smaller group of conservatives who remain bitterly and totally opposed to "foreigners", and no evidence shifts their view.

    But the bottom line is we have to at least try to convince people of various things. The way to change attitudes is normally to find common ground and build on that, however this appears to have broken down in America recently. It hasn't however broken down in every country.

    However blaming conseratives or  liberals as a group for whatever problem will cause people to become defensive and even more entrenched and tribal. I think the focus still has to be on criticising a particular behaviour or faulty reasoning, even although this is hard going. But I'm interested if anyone disagrees, or has a better idea.

  37. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    There are major genetic constraints to critical thinking on topics like climate change. For 17 years starting in 1995, I tried to reason with a group of very conservative American foresters in an Internet discussion group called SAFNews that morphed into ForestryFocus. They argued that we have no significant environmental problems at all and that global warming was a hoax. I had assumed that climate change was real, but the conviction of this group took me aback. For about four years, I would look up their sources, and became convinced they were all wrong. Evidence that I would present on anthropogenic global warming only seemed to strengthen their conviction that it was a hoax. I am a very strong liberal and I had never med people like this. I found it very difficult to accept that one could not find a way to reason with these people. I tried every tactic I could think of. After 17 years of trying, I finally came to conclude that they were sincere in their belief and there was no way to change that.

    Then, about two years after giving up, I read “The Republican Brain” by Chris Mooney, and it explained what I had just experienced. The book summarizes peer reviewed research that found that there is a strong genetic influence on our political orientations and that strong conservatives are incapable of thinking rationally/critically/logically about issues that conflict with their conservative beliefs. Conservatives recognize correctly that if global warming were true, then, not only does it necessitate a role for government to intervene in the economy, but, horror of horrors, all the governments in the world need to collaborate together to solve the problem. So therefore, it can’t be true and global warming is a hoax. And the most incredible research finding of all is that it is the best educated conservatives who are the least capable of thinking critically about things that conflict with their beliefs. And there is no equivalence on the liberal side – it is the best educated liberals who are the most capable of thinking critically about things that disagree with their political beliefs.

    More recently, I read the book “Our Political Nature” by evolutionary anthropologist Avi Tuschman. It argues that our genes are responsible for just over half of our political orientations and it goes into what scientists believe the evolutionary selective factors were for our political orientations. Conservatives are genetically predisposed to be more xenophobic, have greater religiosity, to be more repressive of women’s rights, to be less concerned about fairness than liberals and to have a darker view towards human nature. One can clearly see this being played out on the national stage today.
    Roy Hagen

  38. Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer

    Understand too that if you want to blame greenland melt on geothermal activity, then you need to demonstrate a change in geothermal activity of an appropriate magnitude. That is not to say that higher than expected geothermal flux may be responsible for a mismatch between modelled and observed ice loss in parts of Northeast Greenland (eg see here ), but that is very different from postulating that a change in heat flux has occurred.

    The observed high heat flux is 0.093Wm-2. This is indeed high compared to a global average of 0.050Wm-2, but no indication that it has changed recently. Compare that to a global heat flux change of 3.7Wm-2 from doubling CO2 and you can see why geothermal is a bit player in ice melt.

  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The whole idea of the Paris accord was to let countries decide their own way to limit emissions. Its just not practially plausible to get the whole world to agree on one way to limit emissions, for example carbon tax, emissions trading, command and control. Paris implicitly recognised this.

    We dont have the right to tell other countries how to run their economies so whether they have command and control or carbon taxes etcetera. We can only advocate our philosophical preferences, and hope to persuade them, but it would be wrong to manipulate the climate issue to try to somehow coerce them to take a particular position. The only exception might be if their preferred solution involved  life threatening human rights violations. 

    I'm a pragmatist as well on economic policy. Its a question of what makes sense in the specific circumstances, and I rule nothing out. Maintream economics says free market economies work best an are the preferred default option, but there is sometimes a definite place for command and control provided its used sparingly. This makes total sense to me.

    Simply having a police force is command and control, so free markets in a pure sense are a fiction anyway. The debate is about what to do in specific circumstances (hopefully on the basis of evidence) and I dont have much time for people who can't work this out. Obviously we should always be careful not to let government crowd out private sector solutions, but neither should we assume the private sector always has all the answers. Welcome to the real world of complexity.

    If one accepts a middle ground flexible economic philosophy of this kind, its a question of what is going to work best on the climate issue. This might actually be regulatory command and  control because of the limited time period we have. However because this is politically difficult to swallow,  at least as the main dominant mechanism, carbon taxes are the next best option, and Im totally happy with that.

  40. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    Thanks as always for these.

    Something for next week's News Roundup?

    Climate Impacts From a Removal of Anthropogenic Aerosol Emissions


    “Limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C requires strong mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concurrently, emissions of anthropogenic aerosols will decline, due to coemission with GHG, and measures to improve air quality. However, the combined climate effect of GHG and aerosol emissions over the industrial era is poorly constrained. Here we show the climate impacts from removing present-day anthropogenic aerosol emissions and compare them to the impacts from moderate GHG-dominated global warming.

    Removing aerosols induces a global mean surface heating of 0.5–1.1°C, and precipitation increase of 2.0–4.6%. Extreme weather indices also increase.

    We find a higher sensitivity of extreme events to aerosol reductions, per degree of surface warming, in particular over the major aerosol emission regions. Under near-term warming, we find that regional climate change will depend strongly on the balance between aerosol and GHG forcing.”

  41. So, why is two degrees the magic number?


    I typed "how much will temperature rise if all fossil fuel usage stops" into GOOGLE and the first hit was this article from the Conversation.  It suggests that the temeprature would rise about 0.6C more before it levels out.   There are a lot of caveats. 

    As OPOF points out, land usage and agriculture also affect temperature.  I do not think the 0.6C number includes heating from decreased albeido due to meltig of ice sheets which takes a longer time frame.  This is about what I remembered from articles I have read before, although the linked article does not provide a link or a graph to support the claim. 

    Google found several more interesting articles.

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 03:03 AM on 12 February 2018
    So, why is two degrees the magic number?


    An evaluation of the global average temperature increase due to an immediate stopping of all fossil fuel burning does not "put a lower bound on the problem".

    Fossil fuel burning is only part of the human impacts that are producing increased GHG and resulting in increased global average surface temperature. And there is a range of climate sensitivity values that could be used for the evaluation. The detailed analysis comes down to a probabilistic evaluation through the various potential future realities (similar to the Monte Carlo financial analysis that is performed by companies to evaluate the probably outcomes of major investment opportunities).

    So doing an analysis of a hypothetical stopping of fossil fuel burning does not produce "a lower bound". Such a question may be analytically interesting, but it really would not establish anything meaningful.

    What needs to be changed and corrected in the current developed ways that humans live (particularly the biggest winners, the biggest consumers, the biggest impacting people), is presented in many sources including the IPCC reports. The presentations typically discuss the carbon budget, meaning the GHG impacts, that is still available before there is a a reasonable probability that the global average surface temperature would reach 2.0C.

    The focus of any discussion about what needs to be done should include the understanding that the current challenge is bigger because the biggest winners did not begin to responsibly behave better decades ago when the understanding of the needed changes/corrections of behaviour were very well established.

    Note that understanding is not determined by regional temporary popular opinion. And the actions of many of the biggest Winners to attempt to influence public opinion in favour of their understandably 'harmful to Others, particularly to future generations' Private Interest pursuits (understandable to the biggest winners that they had a lot to lose if the general population better understood the required corrections, and that they could gain benefit by misleading portions of the general population) is a major part of the problem they should be penalized for deliberately trying to make worse.

    There are legal cases developing (particularly in the New York region that includes the Stock Exchange where Team Trump are currently trying to get their preferred legal leaders in place) in the hopes of penalizing the real trouble making Winners at the top - the ones who are very well shielded from legal consequence - their best defence being denial of awareness of what was happening 'below them' that was undeniably very beneficial 'to them' - people who may try to claim that a particular expectation was unrealistic because things had already been pushed to a higher level of trouble 'by others' - people who would abuse an analysis of a calculated value of the global average surface temperature impact already created to claim it is unfair to 'expect them to not try to legally pursue maximizing their, and their investors, personal potential for benefit ' based on a 2.0C limit of total impacts (it is generally not illegal to mislead the general population, and the limited legal requirements for truth in product and services advertising do not apply to political advertising, but it is illegal to mislead investors). Those biggest winners likely knowing they are acting harmfully can also claim 'someone else should have to do more first - to be fair'.

    Hopefully that gives you reason to no longer care about the temperature expected if fossil fuel burning was stopped today, or tomorrow, or any other day. What is important is the understanding that the harmful impacts of burning fossil fuels needs to be ended far quicker than the games of popularity and profitability would end them. And the reluctance of people in the recent past to behave more responsibly has created an even bigger challenge today, with bigger loses required to be suffered by the ones who gambled more on getting away with not changing their minds and behaviour. They can be expected to perceive such personal loses as being 'unfair to them' but that is clearly an incorrect way of thinking about this matter. They need to be helped to better understand that.

    The climate science based understanding of a 2.0C limit (with the aspiration of rapidly correcting things to undo human impacts back down to a 1.5C level for the greater benefit of the future generations), accepted by all global leaders in the Paris Agreement, and the changes/corrections needed to have a good chance of achieving it, is what needs to be focused on, for many Good Reasons.

  43. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Arguing that China needs a carbon tax is simply a variation of your opinion that capitalism is better than command economies. I agree but whether a carbon tax is effective in their existing political structure is something for the Chinese to decide. Democracies can also simply impose a moritortium on an new generation plants that carbon (as the NZ Clarke government did). Let the market decide how to meet future power needs. However, carbon tax advocacy is mostly trying for a solution that is acceptable to the political right where an ideological position limits government intervention to correcting externalities that the market does not cover. 

    I frankly have little time for ideological solutions unless they are also pragmatic. I'll back command solutions, moritoriums and carbon tax as all potentially effective ways to decarbonize an economy.

  44. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM, moving off fossil fuels is necessary to avoid excessive adaption costs. If you do not agree that we can move off fossil fuels at the same rate as we increased our usage of them, then your argument from incrementalism is pure sophistry as michaell sweet was hinting at here.

  45. So, why is two degrees the magic number?

    One Planet @11.

    I agree with you.  However, my question remains unanswered.  Can you direct me to someone who may have run such an analysis?

  46. Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer

    Understand that underground geothermal activity is a small factor for a landmass the size of Greenland.

  47. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change


    Not "everyone in physics". von Jolly, who's main claim to fame was that he was Max Plank's professor is quoted as advising his student against physics as "in this field [physics] everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes"

  48. One Planet Only Forever at 10:26 AM on 11 February 2018
    So, why is two degrees the magic number?


    The understanding I am aware of is that, in addition to the rapid ending of the burning of fossil fuels, there will need to be actions taken that remove some the created excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Truly responsible leadership would push for that combination of actions to minimize the peak increase of global average surface temperature and rapidly bring the CO2 levels even lower than the 2.0C levels.

  49. Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer

    Greenland has been loozing a lot of its ice lately (2017-2018)

    Could it be because of this underground thermal activity.They do have nateral hot water pools in greenland.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link activated.

  50. So, why is two degrees the magic number?

    To put a lower bound on the problem, what is the expected temperature rise in 2100 IF if we were to stop all human produced greenhouse gas emissions RIGHT NOW right now? Has anyone plugged these conditions into their computer?

    Moderator Response:

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

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