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Comments 351 to 400:

  1. Climate impacts

    Sorry I meant the IPCC predicted a worse case scenario of approx, 5 degrees celsius by 2100 and 10 - 12 degrees celsius by 2300. 

  2. Climate impacts

    Economics does not have the tools to make reliable long term predictions. Its history of prediction is poor, gdp estimates even a couple of years ahead lack accuracy, they never predicted the 2008 financial crash, or any crash really. This is because economics assumes people behave in simplistic ways when they don't, and because they take a narrow view of climate costs. This is not to say their work is useless of course, but it suggests a risk that climate costs will more likely be underestimates, and that we need to be wary.

    Economics measures things in terms of profits and gdp growth. Very little attention is given to measuring happiness or human well being. The mines will keep extracting minerals even in a heatwave, to an extent and  at a cost,  so gdp output might march on, but its a miserable thing to live with heatwaves especially  in countries that are already hot. Evidence suggests heatwaves may make parts of the world uninhabitable.

    What projections are the economic models based on? The IPCC predict a worst case scenario of 10 degrees by 2100 if we go on burning fossil fuels. Economics has to consider worst case scenarios. Have they considered this, because my reading is they don't.

    You don't even need an economic analysis to know worst case scenarios of 10 degrees will cost significantly.

    How do you price climate tipping points? Its hard to even evaluate climate outcomes from those other than to say all the evidence suggests they will be mostly negative.

    You have species loss potentially on a huge scale in worst case scenarios. How do you price this? A study I saw threw a rather arbitrary and small sum of money at this issue, but clearly many people consider loss of species a serious issue. Perhaps its an emotional thing, but this is not unimportant, and the natural world supplies approximately 50% of our pharmaceutical drugs.

    Have they considered the costs of climate refugees? Causation would include heatwaves, crop losses, and loss of coastline just for starters. Look at the problem we have right now with political refugees, and you can triple that. It's not just the economic cost either, its the anxiety and tension.

    Then theres the potential of refugeess leading to global conflict. Of course economists aren't bothered by wars, because gdp typically increases, but the rest of us might be bothered.

    Economics is a useful tool, but a very crude too in evaluating the climate problem, and imho almost certainly underestimates the impacts.

  3. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    Art Vandelay @17,  fair point that Australia's Carbon tax had some problems, and political policies were a big part of this, but its worth digging a little more on just why it failed. Most of these failings were unique to Australian politics and personalities,  and can be avoided in other countries and appears they are. So don't read too much into Australias scheme. The principles were largely not wrong, it was more mistakes in execution.

    It was also not a carbon tax and dividend scheme. Instead there was an income tax cut, -  but perhaps people didn't believe they were even getting a cut. A dividend is much more visible and should work better.

    I'm not seeing any obvious evidence that it was intended to be socially redistributive as such but perhaps this was in the way they structured the income tax bands. I don't have a problem with some income redistribution as an ideology, but I think it should be kept separate from the climate tax issue if its going to be politically contentious and could stall passing the legislation.

    Quick history of the key points cobbled together:

    The Australian government introduced a carbon pricing scheme or "carbon tax" through the Clean Energy Act 2011. The initiative was intended to control emissions in the country, as well as support the growth of the economy through the development of clean energy technologies. It was supervised by the newly-created Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Regulator. However, although it did achieve a reduction in the country's carbon emissions, the initiative faced significant challenges from the opposition and the public, as it resulted in increased energy prices for both households and industry and was finally repealed in 2014.

    When Julia Gillard took over as leader of the Labor Party in 2010, she solemnly swore not to impose a carbon tax. Then she formed a coalition with the Greens and promptly broke her promise. The carbon tax was introduced two years ago, and people hated it from the start. They threw the Labor Party out of office and elected Mr. Abbott, who promised to "axe the tax."

    A carbon pricing scheme in Australia..... As a result of being in place for such a short time, and because the then Opposition leader Tony Abbott indicated he intended to repeal "the carbon tax", regulated organisations responded in a rather tepid and informal manner, with very few investments in emissions reductions being made.[2] The scheme was repealed on 17 July 2014, backdated to 1 July 2014. In its place the Abbott Government set up the Emission Reduction Fund in December 2014.

    As part of the scheme, personal income tax was reduced for those earning less than $80,000 per year and the tax-free threshold was increased from $6,000 to $18,200.

    So its a lesson in how to not introduce a carbon tax. Im sure other countries can learn and do it better.

  4. A eulogy to Guardian's Climate Consensus - the 97%

    This decision on climate reporting seems irrational because it doesn't make a lot of economic sense to get rid of volunteer contributors payed a limited amount. It looks like a power trip by people wanting to change things for the sake of change, to put theirpersonal stamp on things. Have another think about it Guardian.

    Having said that the Guardian is generally a good newspaper.

  5. There is no consensus

    I agree with the consensus research. But I want to address something to those who don't believe it. That is: is there NO CHANCE that these scientists are correct? As in zero? It's hard for me to accept that a thinking person could rule out the possibility unilaterally.

    So let's assume for argument's sake that there is some chance these scientists are right, and that climate change is as real and dangerous as they say. Maybe not even a 50% chance. Maybe just a 20% chance.

    Now put a single bullet in your 5-chamber revolver, spin the cylinder, point it at your child's head, and pull the trigger. Why not? There's only a 20% chance it will go off, and an 80% chance it won't. But of course no reeasonable person would do that because the consequences of being wrong are unthinkable.

    I would argue that climate change isn't that different. Already, low-lying countries like the Maldives and Bangladesh are losing real estate. Already ski areas in the U.S. are going out of business because winters are warmer. Some lakes have dried up completely. Thousands of square miles of ponderosa pine are dead in the southwest because winters are no longer cold enough to kill the bark beetle. Hundreds of American kids are getting sick because the Lone Star tick is no longer confined to the deep south, but has been found as far north as the Canadian border, bringing with it five diseases and an allergy to mammal meat. And this is just the beginning. Are we ready for NYC to be under water in 40 years? For our farmland to become desert? For wars over drinking water? (Those crazy liberals at the Pentagon are preparing for climate change, check ut their published studies. Maybe we should be preparing, or better yet preventing, too.)

    I happen to believe the scientists are right. But even if you don't, can you reasonably argue that there's no possibility you're wrong?

  6. A eulogy to Guardian's Climate Consensus - the 97%

    The Guardian is not alone in publishing articles by hapless general purpose reporters who reveal that they cannot even discern work from power, let alone handle the job of teasing a useful message from often seemingly conflicted scientific narratives. 

    This is basically a situation of a street light being allowed to burn out and nobody being in charge of noticing or replacing it. The street goes dark and people have to blunder through as best they can. 

    This non-decision was worse than stupid: it was thoughtless. 

  7. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money


    We want to install renewables as rapidly as possible.  With a carbon fee that incentivizes people that much more.

    Because so many big companies have sunk assets in fossil fuels they are resistant to investing in renewables even when renewables are cheaper.  That is why they fund denial.  A carbon fee will make it easier to overcome that institutional resistance.

    In any case, why should fossil fuels be allowed to pollute the atmosphere for everyone for free??  They should have to pay for the damage they do. 

    Fossil fuel companies are currently trying to get the Republicans to pass laws so that they cannot be sued for the damage they have caused with their pollution.  People who lose their homes to climate change should be able to sue Exxon and BP for their losses.  Why should fossil fuel companies get to keep the profits and make us pay all the damage?

  8. One Planet Only Forever at 01:14 AM on 2 November 2018
    China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    These actions happening inside China and other parts of Asia (and many other actions in developing parts of the world - often due to developed desires in the supposedly more advanced parts of the world - as pointed out by people like Naomi Klein) are a clear indication of what free market capitalism can be expected to produce. It proves rather conclusively that for progress to occur most effectively, least harmfully, human activity needs to be governed altruistically (do no harm to others, strive to help others especially the future generations). And people need 'help to learn how to behave better'. Compromising with people who have developed a liking for getting away with harmful unsustainable behaviour, developed a resistance to changing their mind because they like what developed, is not helpful. It can be very harmful.

    Strictly monitored and enforced regulations are clearly required to keep harmful and unsustainable activity from developing the popularity and profitability that will make it even more difficult to correct. And that needs to include global imposition of corrections on nations that fail to behave responsibly. And the wealthier and more powerful they are the more responsibly they should be required to be (nations, states, corporations, individuals).

    The USA is the poster child for how bad things can be when wealthy powerful people are not altruistically governed (and have become wealthy and powerful by getting away with failing to altruistically self-govern their behaviour). The history of the USA and all of its tag-alongs, is a steady stream of damaging developments becoming popular and profitable, that get so bad that they prompt a partial correction of the bad behaviour (which prompts angry reactions by people who divisively polarize themselves away from the corrections required by improved awareness and understanding - which can unfortunately lead to angry responses to the resistance to correction). And that partial correction and partial clean-up is often unjustifiably declared to be a brilliant improvement - evidence of progress.

    Even a very well informed person like Steven Pinker makes the erroneous claim in "Enlightenment Now" that the partial correction and clean-up of incorrect harmful developments (and the partial elimination of poverty) by the wealthier nations is 'proof that wealth developed that way is the only way to make things better'. That is logically incorrect since any reduction of non-renewable resources and any amount of legacy harm that future generations have to deal with is a deterioration of reality for future generations (a worse future), no matter how much faith a person has that future generations will develop brilliant technological solutions to the challenges imposed on them by the callous anti-altruistic actions some people got away with in previous generations.

    "The Enlightenment" is not the pursuit of perceptions of technological advancement in pursuit of increased personal enjoyment and perceptions of superiority relative to others that results in the development of the understanding of what needs to be corrected.

    The History of UN developments of improved awareness and understanding regarding the corrections of what has developed is "The Enlightenment", starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and including all the steps along the way to the current Sustainable Development Goals that includes Climate Action.

    The fact that the USA leadership in the 1970s understood the future harm of burning fossil fuels, and the USA has developed to the leadership it has today speaks volumes about the 'damaging power of the freedom to pursue popularity and profitability' which is amplified by systems such as free market capitalism that gives competitive advantages to people who get away with behaviong less acceptably, which is further amplified by the ability to get away with misleading marketing.

    Attempts to blame less wealthy and less powerful people for emulating that undeniable behaviour of the Global Winners, without admitting the root of the problem being the undeserving nature of the Global Winners and the need to correct the systems that create such undeserving Winners, is So Unjustifiably Rich (and powerful).

  9. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    I can foresee many people asking the obvious question; If renewables are cheaper, why is it necessary to have a carbon tax or levy etc ?

    The tax being proposed in canada appears to be similar to the one implemented in Australia in 2010, which was employed as a means of redistributing wealth as much as it was to mitigate emissions. It looked good on paper and should have wooed voters of the working and lower-middle classes, but ultimately it was a political disaster and hasn't been revisited. 

  10. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43

    Jonas: Thank you for the positive feedback.

  11. China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    CFC-11 is also a very powerful greenhouse gas, so that trend is very troubling, as is the suggestion that China is paying mere lip service to climate change and environmental stewardship.

  12. China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    In an excellent article on building coal-fired power stations, Peter Sinclair suggests that China’s transgressions are administrative. He notes that ‘The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away’, suggesting that Beijing has simply lost control – or is not monitoring – what Provincial governments are doing.

    I find it difficult to imagine how wide manufacture of CFC-11, in at least 10 Provinces, could have gone unnoticed by Beijing for 5 years or more. It is even more difficult to explain how Chinese Government owned companies, financed by the Central Government to build coal fired power stations in China and abroad could not be acting in accordance with Government Policy.

  13. China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Jonas - thanks.  Correction made.

  14. One Planet Only Forever at 11:23 AM on 1 November 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    "Making Polluters Pay" is a punchy and defensible selling point regarding actions to curtail the creation of more CO2 from fossil fuels (technically and politically correct).

    Some people will not like it, but it is undeniably harmful to try to please those type of people.

  15. One Planet Only Forever at 11:17 AM on 1 November 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    Scientists can technically refer to the CO2 from burning fossil fuels as emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

    Leaders should call things what they are to be clearer about their acceptability, while still being technically correct. The term Pollution applied to CO2 from burning fossil fuels is well suited for that purpose. And a political discussion where someone tries to politically say it isn't pollution is a perfect opportunity to make it clear that they are politically and technically incorrect.

    Paraphrasing what Steven Pinker says in "Enlightenment Now", some people will not be pleased to have the reasons that their beliefs are incorrect pointed out, but correcting incorrect beliefs is human progress, and human progress is the future of humanity.

  16. One Planet Only Forever at 10:50 AM on 1 November 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    nigelj and Wol,

    I do not share your optimism that people who are 'upset' about CO2 being called 'pollution' will accept it being called 'emissions' and agree to correct their incorrectly developed preferences for benefiting from the burning of fossil fuels.

    The term 'emissions' does not carry a clear implication of unacceptability the way pollution does. Therefore, it does not relate as effectively to the need to correct what has developed. Therefore, calling it emissions makes it easier to dismiss the need to do anything about it (and The Enigma of Reason makes it pretty clear that people can be very easily impressed into 'not changing their mind')

    But I agree, rather than getting into a discussion about terms, we should all be able to agree that what has developed, the popularity and consequences of burning fossil fuels, is unacceptable and needs to be corrected and cleaned up 'by the current generation', particularly by the ones who got the most benefit from making the mess that has been made and is continuing to be made worse. (hopefully no objectionable terms have been included in that statement)

  17. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43

    Many grateful thanks @John Hartz for continuously providing the list of weekly news posts: every saturday I .. well .. do not .. look forward to it (i.e. I look forward to the list, but not to the often sad things reported in it). Some of it I share with other people (also not on FB) and I regularly promote the weekly list as an invaluable source of information, just as the whole of SkS.

  18. China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    >"possibly until 2160"

    2060 was meant?

  19. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    OPOF @11

    OPOF, I have to agree with Wol @8. Carbon pollution is not the best term to try to use, and emissions is fine. Its an issue that really bugs me as well.

    I personally think you are of course essentially right in theory that its pollution, and about people not liking the truth, but trying to convice everyone to label carbon emissions as carbon pollution might a battle not worth fighting. You have to loose a few battles to win the war.

    There are so many downsides to promoting the term pollution for so little gain.The counter arguments like CO2 is plantfood are endless and will take up a lot of time. It soaks up energy that is better put into discuusing the general fatcs, motivating change and reducing emissions. It will put huge attention back onto the denialists, and will never convince the right wing, who probably don't believe noise is pollution either in many cases.

    It's a giant can of worms better not opened. Its rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

    Definitions are important things, but we can end up going around in circles as well. Whats important is underlying cause and effect and talking about that.

  20. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    One Planet Only Forever @ 9:

    In a logical and technical sense I agree fully with what you say. But I am talking about the psychology of deniers' arguments (such as they are.)

    As nigelj says intimates above, is it worth US agreeing about the strict meaning of a word if the use of one word against another allows anyone to divert a logical argument towards semantics?


  21. One Planet Only Forever at 08:40 AM on 1 November 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    People objecting to the pollution of CO2 from burning fossil fuels being called "Pollution" could also be asked if they have also disagreed with (acted in the past to express dislike for) the terms "Noise Pollution" and "Light Pollution (that damaging effect on Dark Sky regions)".

    The "Enigma of Reason" by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber presents a good case that everyone is capable of understanding what is justified by Reason, but will be tempted to allow a personal interest to keep them from being reasonable.

    A very powerful motivation for people to disagree with climate science is the fact that actually accepting or understanding it lays bare the indefensible claim that 'people being freer to believe what they want and do as the please in competition for appearances of superiority relative to others will develop Better Results'. The responsibility to develop sustainable improvements for future generations and not harm others justifiably limits freedom, even if a person can claim that 'The previous generation did not treat them fairly, so why should they care about the future?'.

    The cycle of inflicting harm on future generations has to end, the sooner the better for the future of humanity.

    Some people simply do not like the idea of being corrected, especially if their developed perception of enjoyment of life would be severely compromised by being corrected. And the ones profiting from the incorrectly developed enjoyments of life are more powerfully motivated against being corrected. But none of that changes the understanding of the required corrections.

  22. China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Countries are simply virtue signalling by making some reductions in their emissions while exporting the climate problem, eg China, Norway, Canada, Russia and others. Looks like the Paris Accord has a huge loophole if it permits this. Depressing but not surprising. :(

  23. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    I think pollution is the correct term for CO2 emissions in a technical sense, but the public equate pollution with toxic substances like smog, and explaining why CO2 can be defined as pollution is a lengthy exercise attacked all along the way by the denialists. Is that all worth it to change a name from emissions to pollution? I'm not so sure.

    But clearly its still important to discuss the processes of why fossil fuels are a problem, because its too much CO2 for natural sinks to absorb. Even if the hard core denialists are not receptive to this,  it helps persuade the middle ground, and there's fulfillment in simply understanding whats going on in the world.

  24. Stratospheric Cooling and Tropospheric Warming - Revised

    Josbert, when you have model for how something works, then science works by making predictions from the model and comparing them to observations. Cooling of the stratosphere while warming of the troposphere falls straight out the radiative transfer equations (RTE). The RTE are widely used (think about why US Air Force are people that developed the MODTRAN codes) and their predictions about observed radiation whether observed from earth or satellite are matched in equisite detail. However, this is a "shut up and calculate" approach to science and doing an explanation without the math for non-specialists is challenging. I dont like them. However, I can assure you that you are in for an uphill battle convincing anyone that the RTEs are wrong without doing the math and showing that somehow your model produces even better match to observations.

  25. Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    citizenschallenge: You wrote:

    The entire climate science denial campaign is based on misrepresenting people's scientific work, and demonizing scientists. There is not one leading climate science communicator who hasn't suffered juvenil attacks on their character.

    Riddle me this: Why are we (the children of the intellectual revolution) so impotent against that?

     "We" do not have the money and power that "they" have. The unequal distribution of wealth throughout the world could very well lead to the destruction of civilization as we know it. 

  26. One Planet Only Forever at 05:57 AM on 1 November 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money


    Do not allow people who deliberately evade detailed discussions that would lead to a common-sense agreement, to evade discussing the details of the issues because of their sensitivity to 'Terms'.

    Try the following with anyone who questions CO2 from burning fossil fuels being pollution.

    Pollution is anything produced by human activity that accumulates, changing the environment it is released into, rather than being rapidly neutralized by the recycling environment. And the more serious the consquences of the pollution the more aggressively the cause of the pollution and the clean-up of the accumulation to date needs to be.

    That can be understood to apply to a very broad range of items from oil spills to silt flows into streams from deforested hillsides.

    By that definition, human body wastes released gradually into an ecological system that processes it is only pollution if the rate of release exceeds the ability of the ecosystem to process it without accumulation. And human CO2 respiration releases are clearly not the same as the CO2 from burning ancient buried hydrocarbons. Human exhaled CO2 was in the recycling environment before. It is part of the developed natural recycling system.

    Therefore, any increase in atmospheric CO2 due to human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, and excluding human breathing because it does not increase the CO2 in the atmosphere, is "Pollution".

    As for 'plant food' claims, point out that CO2 is still accumulating (a pollution) regardless of the 'term' they want to use for CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Anyone who is not interested in being corrected does not deserve to be compromised with. In fact, the climate science issue has proven how damaging it can be to compromise with people whose private interests make them uninterested in being corrected. Those few scientists making up questionable claims raising doubts about climate science as a personal compromise of what they potentially better understand have been extremely damaging.

  27. citizenschallenge at 01:02 AM on 1 November 2018
    A eulogy to Guardian's Climate Consensus - the 97%

    Dana, sorry to hear that the Guardian lost interest in continuing their Science and Environment blog networks, which were dedicated to discussing our home planet, the one we depend on for everything.

    It’s sad, this was a nice eulogy, more cake.  What makes me profoundly  sad is the placid acceptance that your write up displayed.  Que Será, Será.

    Seems to me the Guardian’s cancelation deserves a deeper post mortem, one that take a hard look at why the failure . . .   (wish I had the time, but the workingman's whip is cracking hard these days)

  28. citizenschallenge at 00:11 AM on 1 November 2018
    Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    nigelj: "I think its probably also not good to demonise conservatives, because they will just become entrenched in their views, and ditto liberals."

    I wonder, can you explain why the extreme right (which has morphed into the Republican Party) has been so successfull with their over-the-top explicit demonizing of Democrats using transparent lies and emotionalism. (ever listen to FOX news, or heartland radio talk programs?)

    The entire climate science denial campaign is based on misrepresenting people's scientific work, and demonizing scientists.  There is not one leading climate science communicator who hasn't suffered juvenil attacks on their character.

    Riddle me this: Why are we (the children of the intellectual revolution) so impotent against that?  

  29. A eulogy to Guardian's Climate Consensus - the 97%

    Great post Dana. Thanks for your persistence and great reporting.

  30. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    A small point, but IMHO an important if seemingly trivial one, but I think the use of "pollution" in relation to articles on carbon emissions is counterproductive.

    It raises the hackles of the denial brigade, who leap into print with irrelevancies such as "plant food" etc, steering any conversations away from the point.

    "Emissions" is a much more neutral moniker

  31. Josbert Lonnee at 15:55 PM on 31 October 2018
    Stratospheric Cooling and Tropospheric Warming - Revised

    I'm not satisfied by this story. See also how it is debunked in the comments. Let me propose a new theory here and see how people here think it adds up. The theory is somewhat similar to the story here. Maybe I am just explaining the same, but differently. My Theory:

    1) About CO2:
    - When a molecule collides with any other molecule, it either keeps its kinetic energy (KE) or gets in excited state (E).
    - When in (E): When it collides, the excitement might get converted to KE. Or, after a while, it turns to normal state by radiating some IR.

    2) About the atmosphere, for simplicity there just are:
    - An upper part, Stratosphere (S), low pressure.
    - A lower part, Troposphere (T), high pressure.

    3) About what changes:
    - The concentration of CO2 increases in both layers of the atmosphere.
    - All IR still travels in all directions through both layers, but the chance of hitting CO2 is increased.

    4) The explanation why S cools down and T warms up:
    - In S the CO2 molecules have less frequent collisions than in T, just by the lower pressure.
    - We have chance A: The chance that an excited (E) CO2 molecule radiates IR (chance A).
    - We have chance B: The chance that an excited (E) CO2 molecule turns back to normal state by the next collision radiates IR (chance A).
    - In S chance A is much higher than B.
    - In T chance B is slightly higher than A.

    Reactions are appreciated.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "See also how it is debunked in the comments"

    It is not debunked in the comments.

  32. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    I think Canada's climate initiative could be most accurately called a carbon levy and dividend. A levy is technically a type of tax applied for a specific narrow purpose, or a temporary tax (time limited). The fact the money is collected and then handed back doesn't really change the fact that the money is collected. Taxes are often redistributive by nature.

    The term levy has a more politically saleable sound than tax, which is useful.

    It is indeed a price on carbon at one level, but that is too long a term to use.

    Should it be called a fee? You could argue all day about that, and what is gained? It also starts to look like blatant spin.

    However I don't think its wise to get into a public debate about how the categorise canadas carbon levy and dividend, and whether its really a tax, levy or fee, because this just goes nowhere and is negative and just stupid.

    I think if people try to claim its a tax to try and put it in a negative light, and argue about it,  just say no its technically a levy, but openly concede it has some features of a tax. Emphasise whats really important is how it actually works and what its trying to do. This shuts debate about terminology down, and moves things on to what really matters.

  33. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    One Planet … I too am leery of the tax reduction route to revenue neutrality no matter what economists say because, like you apparently, I see it as much too prone to manipulation by powerful interests; whereas a straight dividend, or Climate Action Incentive Payment, whatever it’s called, is more transparent, people know they are getting it and that everyone else is getting the same. It’s distributional and progressive because lower incomes spend less in total dollars so will incur less increases in living costs. With everyone getting the same payment, lower incomes net out higher. Then the economy will benefit because low incomes will spend the money faster. Certainly, the REMI report commissioned by Citizens Climate Lobby showed economic benefits from carbon fee and dividend.

    I’m going to take another shot at my point 4) since I wrote it in haste making something of a dogs-breakfast of it, mixing up different issues, and thereby failed to stress its general importance, not just to Canada.
    I don’t mean to beat up on poor Dana, but he kept using “carbon tax” to refer to the Canadian federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. Not that he’s the only one. But in all their voluminous communications, written and oral, the feds themselves have never called it that, to the best of my knowledge (and I’ve read most of it – poor me). The legislation talks about levies and charges. And the Prime Minister and other Ministers in TV broadcasts call it pollution pricing or putting a price on pollution.
    Oh yeah, but we all know it’s really a tax, right? I beg to differ. Google the meaning of the word – what comes up is “a compulsory contribution to state revenue”. The pollution price, also known as the Federal Backstop (because it applies wherever the provinces or territories have failed to enact their own carbon pricing to the federal standard) is NOT a contribution to state revenue. All the proceeds will be recycled quickly (90% to individuals as tax credits, i.e. adds to the amount a person would otherwise get back or deducts from what they owe). I’m sure many will overcome their usual procrastination and send in their tax returns as soon as they get the required documentation, which is usually in January. Thus, the carbon levies and charges will flow to us even before they have been collected (during the course of the year).
    What’s in a name? Sometimes plenty. Maybe you have to be as old as I am to appreciate the significance of the following example. There was a time when news reporters refused to call the great boxer Muhammad Ali by his proper name after he converted to Islam. When sports commentator Howard Cosell introduced him by his former slave name, Ali looked hurt, asking him, “Howard, are you going to do that to me. too?”. To his credit, Cosell responded graciously “You are quite right. I apologize. Muhammad Ali is your name. You’re entitled to that.”
    But in this case? If you lived in Canada, you’d know that the opposition is building up “job-killing-carbon-tax” as the issue for taking power and, as the astute political commentator Chantal Hébert concluded her column in the Hill Times today, “if next fall’s federal election does turn into a plebiscite on whether or not to try to mitigate climate change by taxing (sic – ugh!) carbon pollution, its outcome could finally put the debate to rest”. And it’s hardly going to inspire trust and confidence in carbon pricing elsewhere in the world that within the period of a little over a year three governments in Canada fell in a row, at least partly, over carbon pricing - #1 was in Ontario this summer, #2 is likely Alberta next year and the feds would be #3 if it happens.
    And that would be a pity. For three decades, most economists and the odd climate scientist (James Hansen) have told us carbon pricing is the way to go. I’m sure politicians understand that but understand elections better. Now, finally, we have one willing to bite the bullet. Let it not be shot down in flames.
    Will it make any difference what we call it? The feds are no doubt a lot smarter than I am and they seem to think so. And, in any case, why not call a price on pollution what it is – a price on pollution.

  34. One Planet Only Forever at 09:37 AM on 31 October 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    John S, a minor supplement to your point: "I've heard the argument that it is a tax because the government gets the money and then does what it wants with it, albeit that is to give it back. And there is a view that says it would only be revenue neutral if other taxes are reduced rather than payments made."

    The Conservative/Right 'call it a tax' as a deliberate election marketing strategy. They get lots of support by claiming they will cut taxes. And their history of tax cutting is to reduce taxes on the 'builders of the economy - the richest', whether they build any sustainable improvement or not with their 'extra riches and without any need for them to prove they have developed improved conditions for the rest of the population. They market their tax reductions as a benefit for everyone, but have a history of structuring them to give more benefit to a richer person than apoorer person (just like the latest USA tax changes). So their idea of 'carbon tax' off-sets to be neutral would be collecting the carbon fee from everyone, but reducing the taxes on the richest substantially more, potentially making the richer people net-benficiaries of the program while everyone else is closer to break-even or substantially losing.

  35. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

    The new president of Brazil loooks like a very unfortunate choice.

    "Bolsonaro has an environmental hit list that is bold and brash.

    Just when the world needs the "lungs" of the world more than ever, he is planning a paved highway to run right through the Amazon rainforest. And no more will a government commitment to preserving vast areas for indigenous people be tolerated. Bolsonaro has previously said that he will "not give the Indians another inch of land".

    "Because that's the Amazon's job. The rainforest absorbs approximately a quarter of the CO2 absorbed by all the land on earth. Every inch of deforestation matters. And what's the motive for deforestation in Brazil? Cattle ranching. The billions of us have created a massive consumer demand for beef so that clearing land for cattle ranching is lucrative and with Bolsonaro in charge, now unstoppable."

    Etcetera. Sorry the article is a bit political.

    In my view unfortunately the left leaning candidate was not the greatest, mired in corruption and poor economic management. There seems to be a peculiar lack of sensible leaders around at the present time, people with a centrist view, and a reasonably clean personal history. It's completly a mystery to me why this is so, given theres no shortage of people or politicians. 

    However Bolsanaro has to get his insanity past congress and the courts,  and will come up against the same resistance Trump gets.

  36. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

    PS: I picked that map somewhat at random rather quickly just to illustrate a general point. Not sure how up to date it is -  I think America is more at risk from climate change from recent information but theres still a differential with Latin America and Mexico.

  37. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

    It looks like South America and Mexico are highly at risk from climate change, more so than the USA according to this map. This is a population of approximately 500 million people on Americas southern border.

    This source of potential climate refugees will put a lot of pressure on Americas southern border that no wall will keep out. It's going to get ugly, and this will be the price of ignoring the climate problem.

  38. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money
    Thanks for the article Dana; for the sake of accuracy and not perpetuating slightly erroneous takes on this, here are a few picky corrections: 1) Saskatchewan should be coloured red - it too will get the Federal Backstop (BTW if the Alberta election next year goes the way it is looking, that province too may join the happily Backstopped), 2) the feds will pay individuals directly as credits on their tax forms (not via the provinces), - it could have been via the provinces if the latter had been co-operating, 3) the Output Based Pricing System (OBPS) I wouldn't say was similar to cap and trade - and it does not apply to all industry, only to those emitting > 50 kt/year (and optionally > 10 kt/y) in so-called Energy Intensive Trade Exposed (EITE) sectors that are specifically indentified and have a standard sector emission intensity; they pay the same carbon charges as everyone else but only on emissions over their limit; their limit is their output multiplied by their standard sector emissions intensity - the only sense this is similar to cap and trade is that if they reduce emissions below their limit they get credits they can sell to those whose emissions are above their limit. 4) I know I'm fighting a losing battle on this one, but, as regards terminology, nowhere in the federal literature about this, nor in the legislation is it ever referred to as a tax - it's a price, levy , charge, fee, but not a tax and the feds now call the payments Climate Action Incentive payments, not rebates  (this is even hairier, but the word rebate is also inappropriate and potentially misleading, because it implies return of some of what was paid, whereas everyone gets the same payment, but different degrees of polluters incur correspondingly different extra costs due to the carbon price). I defintely object to the word tax - its a payment from polluters to people  (make the polluters pay you) channelled through government.  George Shultz said "it's not a tax if the government doesn't keep the money" - I've heard the argument that it is a tax because the government gets the money and then does what it wants with it, albeit that is to give it back. And there is a view that says it would only be revenue neutral if other taxes are reduced rather than payments made.  These seem like academic points for economists.  I know reducing other taxes is supposedly more efficient but this way is easier to get the balance straight (BC had difficulty with that one), it's more transparent (Marc jaccard, Economics Professor at Simon Frase in BC, one of the arctitects of the revenue neutral BC carbon tax (wince) said "everyone in BC benefited, but no-one thought they had benefited") and its automtically progressive. My view on it would be stronger if they gave 100% to individuals not the 10% to hospitals etc because I understand those insitutions have difficulty passing on the costs (this is Canada remember, royal shakespearian national health service) but as Dana says very adroitly this is just the start, lets complete step 1 successfully before worrying about step 14, in which none of the MUSH sector, greenhouses, farmers, EITE industry would get free rides, the price will keep rising until we achieve net zero emission and leakage will be plugged with Border Adjustments, not OBPS - in other words Carbon Fee and Dividend.
  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

     The Guardian has an interesting article here that suggests that many of the migrants coming to the USA from Central America are climate refugees.  Their farms have failed due to climate change and they have to move to be able to live. 

    Estimates are for there to be 150 million climate refugees by 2050.  Since the affects of climate change have been bigger than expected for years, it may be sooner than that.  What will the world do with 150 million refugees??  Only 1 million went to Europe in the past few years and it has caused much upheaval.  When people are desperate it is very hard to stop them.

    The Guardian has had a lot of interesting articles about climate change recently.

  40. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    "(all tax is bad)" ....Except for taxes required for fossil fuel subsidies, updated nuclear weapons, prisons for drug users, politicians air travel, their latest BMW cars...

  41. One Planet Only Forever at 12:35 PM on 30 October 2018
    Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    The Right-wing political groups in Canada, who like to call themselves Conservative if they can get away with it, are delivering mass misleading marketing appeals encouraging voters to believe that a Carbon Fee or Levy or tax is another 'Bad Tax (all tax is bad)'.

    CBC News item "Jason Kenney, Ontario Premier Doug Ford to hold anti-carbon tax rally in Calgary"

    Many people mistakenly believe that a Carbon Fee would be liked by current day Right-wing/Conservatives. The current 'United greedy and intolerant claiming to be Right' have made-up their minds to support each other's unacceptable desires. Any conservative who votes for those United Right groups will excuse denial and dismissal of climate science even if they agree with the science and the need to correct what has developed. They are more powerfully motivated by Other unacceptable personal interests that can only be conserved or imposed on society if they vote United with people who have other unacceptable personal interests.

    Negotiating with such selfishly made-up minds will just end up unacceptably compromising what undeniably needs to be done. That is why one of their main claims is that they are not being heard or compromised with. And they will avoid getting into a detailed discussion where reason would end up leading to a common sense consensus. They prefer rallies of their faithful fans who are not interested in being corrected.

    Tragically, those types of political animals are likely to win the leadership of Alberta in early 2019.

    This recent CBC News item includes the point that polls indicate that the NDP is trailing behind the UCP.

    The popularity and profitablity of unacceptable developed activity can make it very difficult to correct, no matter how correct the science is that identifies the need for correction, or how well it is presented.

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 08:15 AM on 30 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

    The next step of improved awareness and understanding is that the need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere in parallel with rapidly ending the addition of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is "What the current generation (particularly its winners/leaders) owes the future generations of humanity."

    Statements like "... even though researchers haven’t yet figured out how to do so economically" imply that if the correction of something understandably harmful isn't economic (meaning profitable) it does not need to be done. That is clearly incorrect.

    The most cost-effective safe and sustainable way to technologically remove CO2 should already be happening (at the expense of the people benefiting most from the burning of fossil fuels), along with the natural ways. And the efforts to develop even better technological ways to do it should be encouraged, without any hint that there is the potential for big profit to be made. A reward of $1,000,000 for each person who participates in developing 'proven to be better ways' would be enough reward.

    History is full of examples of corrections being imposed on the marketplace by responsible leaders. It would be best if the responsible leaders were winners in the business community. But that is unlikely to ever be the case because free-market misleading advertising boosted capitalism abhors that type of business leadership (and encourages and rewards the other types of people).

    If the system encouraged responsible leaders, those type of leaders would be the winners almost all the time, and those type of people would win often enough to have their kind of political leadership keep power (responsible Conservatives or responsible Liberals or responsible Socialists or responsible Communists or responsible Dictators or responsibly led autonomous communes ...).

  43. Canada passed a carbon tax that will give most Canadians more money

    Canada's carbon tax and dividend is an important policy development because taxes are a proven tool to alter behaviour, and they have stuck to the basic carbon tax and dividend policy idea rather than altering it too much, and the idea is instituted nationwide. Yes there are a couple of obvious omissions. potential criticisms, and compromises, but I think Trudeau and everyone involved deserve a lot of credit for this scheme.

    It's always better to do something than nothing. Things can then evolve over time, tracking and responding to developing circumstances. However its going to have to be ramped up pretty fast given the latest concerns about warming.

    It makes the USA look completely incompetent.

    But Canada has to address the elephant in the room, its tar sand exports, a huge source of emissions, and the carbon tax and carbon trading scheme don't appear to impose much influence over this.

  44. Climate change and compassion fatigue

    dkeierleber @5

    "I think the scientific community has been screaming about the problem. What have you guys been doing?"

    I  didnt say they haven't been, and your tone is quite accusatory. I always encourage people to speak out.

    "Nigelj's comment is especially troubling."

    In what way?

    "To alter our conversations in fear of what they will say would be truly cowardly."

    Nobody has suggested this.  Compassion fatigue is a well known fact and understandable surely? It doesn't mean we should alter our conversations, or stop speaking out. But if you dwell on a horror story 24 / 7 without swithching off to some extent it will drive you insane.

    I think you are reading too much into this.

    Agree with your last paragraph.

  45. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

    Let's achieve a double benefit by letting nature help us pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

  46. Climate change and compassion fatigue

    @2, @3, @4, I think the scientific community has been screaming about the problem. What have you guys been doing? Nigelj's comment is especially troubling. The denailists will continue to deny, create fake temperature charts and claim it's global cooling. To alter our conversations in fear of what they will say would be truly cowardly.

    It is now a sure bet that we will not keep below 1.5C of warming. Doing so would require drastic reductions in emissions (that no one is prepared to shoulder) plus developing ways to take vast amounts of existing carbon out of the atmosphere. Who here thinks our government will respond favorably to the call for emergency research in how to do that?

    The frustration of watching how this has played out has already caused a lot of anxiety and driven some people over the edge. It is good to regain some perspective and remember that we must continue to function in our day-to-day lives. That does not mean anybody is giving up the fight.

  47. Breathing contributes to CO2 buildup

    "It should come as no surprise that, when confronted with the challenge of reducing our carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, some people angrily proclaim, "Why should we bother? Even breathing out creates carbon emissions!"

    This statement fails to take into account the other half of the carbon cycle. As you also learned in grade school, plants are the opposite to animals in this respect: Through photosynthesis, they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, in a chemical equation opposite to the one above. (They also perform some respiration, because they need to eat as well, but it is outweighed by the photosynthesis.) The carbon they collect from the CO2 in the air forms their tissues - roots, stems, leaves, and fruit.

    These tissues form the base of the food chain, as they are eaten by animals, which are eaten by other animals, and so on. As humans, we are part of this food chain. All the carbon in our body comes either directly or indirectly from plants, which took it out of the air only recently"

    Only one problem, not all plant life is cycled through animal or human consumption. And, although you talk about plant respiration and proclaim that it is a very small contributor of carbon dioxide, it seems you forget that plants release carbon through decay which, when mixed with oxygen, then becomes carbon dioxide. Also, seems the issues of "carbon" and "carbon dioxide" are being confused here. Although humans may consume carbon, they produce carbon dioxide when they exhale. So, to suggest human respiration is carbon neutral is not true and to suggest plants make up for what carbon dioxide it is humans exhale doesn't seem viable either. Plants are only carbon neutral in that they take in the CO2 of which they themselves produce and convert it to O2. However, C (carbon) is produced in the form of waste, or decay. And, when that C (carbon) is exposed to oxygen, it then becomes carbon dioxide of which the plants, again, recycle and turn into oxygen and, again, into carbon in the form of waste/decay. And, the cycle goes on, and on, and on, and on. As I type this, it is autumn and I am watching the leaves fall off the trees. These leaves will decompose and, although some animal and insect life will consume some of these leaves, they will not consume all of these leaves and these leaves will decay and produce carbon. And, when said carbon is mixed with oxygen? It will become carbon dioxide. Of which, of course, these trees will use to produce new leaves when spring time arrives and will also use to continue to live throughout the rest of autumn and through winter.

  48. New research, October 15-21, 2018

    I don't doubt CO2 plays a significant role, yet I've heard nothing in the news of how global broadcast transmitters could play a role in climate change by stimulating an ozone depletion mechanism called Relativistic Electron Precipitation. Is anybody aware of this?

    Our climate is changing as many of us are aware and many have dedicated their lives and time to doing our best to set right the challenges we face so that our children and generations ahead may have a healthy ecosystem to grow in and thrive upon. About ten years ago I dove deep into the climate change issue and learned about many facets of this astronomical challenge we face, most importantly the problem that rising CO2 levels pose from man made sources. In my process of learning about various climate forcing mechanisms I became aware of another mechanism and have wondered for years of its potential significance in climate change. Through discourse with friends and others it seems little are aware of this other factor that could potentially play a role in the dynamics we’re seeing and I’m hoping to connect with you in hopes that you or one of your colleagues may be able to shed light on these curiosities should there be more to this other climate forcing mechanism, or good reasons to dismiss it. If we truly wish to solve this incredibly difficult task it seems to me that we should leave no stone unturned. So here I am doing my part and due diligence as best I know how. I hope it is well received with an open mind and an open heart.

    In 2007 I learned of a phenomenon known as Relativistic Electron Precipitation - REP and that some of the leading researchers of ionospheric physics, such as Michal Parrot of CNRS France head of DEMETER micro-satellite mission and VERSIM (VLF/ELF Remote Sensing of Ionospheres and Magnetospheres 96’ - 05’) who said in a research paper that using scientific transmitters it was becoming clear that it stimulates REP and could have a potential impact on “the global warming of the earth”.

    “At VLF frequencies between 10 and 20 kHz, the ground-based transmitters are used for radio-navigation and communications. Their ionospheric perturbations include: the triggering of new waves, ionospheric heating, wave-electron interactions, and particle precipitation. At HF frequencies, the broadcasting stations utilise powerful transmitters which can heat the ionosphere and change the temperature and the density. All these wave dissipations in the ionosphere could participate to the global warming of the Earth because the change in global temperature increases the number of natural lightning discharges in the atmosphere. Then the supplementary lightning discharges produce more magnetospheric whistlers which could produce heating and ionization in the lower ionosphere.

    Furthermore, it is a feedback mechanism because two different processes could be involved. First, lightning is a source of NOx, and NOx affects the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Second, precipitation of energetic electrons by man?made waves may trigger other lightning discharges. It explains the importance of the study of such man-made waves [7]. Ionospheric perturbations by natural geophysical activities have been made evident by two methods: the study of the electromagnetic waves, and the measurement of the electron density.” LINK

    Since learning of REP and its potential role in climate change we’ve seen more and more research coming out that could potentially support the possibility that REP, along with increasing CO2, play a significant role in the climate change we are seeing. For example REP is potentially linked to the most notable region of climate warming in the entire Southern Hemisphere. “In this report we attract attention to a fact that the global maximum of the outer belt energetic electron precipitation is localized in a narrow longitudinal belt centered in the Weddell Sea i.e. in the area of climate warming in the Southern hemisphere. It was shown by several explorers that energetic resources of this electron precipitation are sufficient to change temperature regime of the stratosphere and troposphere.”

    Peculiarities of Long-Term Trends of Surface Temperature in Antarctica and Their Possible Connections with Outer Belt Electron Precipitation 

    As you may well know the stratospheric ozone level is at an altitude above the carbon from man made sources and acts as a valve for UV rays coming into our atmosphere heating these greenhouse gasses. While most of the scientific community has been focused on rising CO2 levels, we’ve heard very little about how our potential use of broadcast energy on a global scale could be stimulating this REP ~ ozone depletion mechanism.

    Though we hear more about the potential healing of the ozone holes in polar regions, we’ve heard little about how ozone levels over most populated areas are thinning increasing UV rays: "The potential for harm in lower latitudes may actually be worse than at the poles..The decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted, but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there.

    A 2016 scientific report first coined the term Anthropogenic Space Weather and discussed the effect our output of electromagnetic energy specifically in the VLF range has been directly observed by NASA satellites to radically alter our magnetosphere creating an artificial bubble of energy around the planet capable of blocking high energy particles from space. This article frames the energetic bubble as being beneficial to blocking radiation from space, but could it also be playing a role in stimulating ozone depletion through Relativistic Electron Precipitation? 

    First-time evidence shows electrons precipitating or 'raining' from Earth’s magnetosphere are destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center— 

    In 2002 Bo Thide from the Swedish Institute of Space Physics wrote a paper titled, “Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Mission, an Elaborate Science Case” in which he put out a call for ideas regarding this REP climate forcing mechanism saying that the public should be concerned. Bo Thide is one of the world’s leading ionospheric physicists. He wrote the book on Electromagnetic Field Theory and single handedly revolutionized our understanding of ionospheric research with multi channel ionospheric probing; awarding him the Edlund Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1991. If he’s saying “the public should be concerned”.. why aren’t we even aware of this?

    So after looking at all this I’m left wondering how significant our use of broadcast energy could be in climate change given these new findings? Are NASA and other scientists looking into this possibility and do they deem it potentially significant in climate change? If not.. Why not? Perhaps there is indeed a good reason I’m not aware of.

    According the the IPCC, REP was discounted as a potential player in climate change because it’s variability was too closely linked to solar proton events which are unpredictable and REP is seen as “natural”, but if we’ve been outputting EM energy into the ionosphere longer than we’ve been able to measure it, then how can we know what is or isn’t “natural”? “Nevertheless, VLF transmissions of anthropogenic origin may constitute a key space weather influence on pathways that fundamentally alter the storm-time radiation belt. Under these assumptions, it is interesting for the reader to consider what the terrestrial radiation belt environment might have been in the pre-transmitter, and pre-observation, era.”
    Anthropogenic Space Weather 2016 - 

    It has taken our scientific community a long time to realize the dire effects man made CO2 plays as a climate forcing mechanism. I don’t doubt its significance and am left wondering if it will take another 50 years before we see there’s potentially another part in the wholistic equation of our complex climate system.

    If we’re truly dedicating our time, careers and lives to solving this monumental problem for generations ahead.. are we looking at the potential significance of how our global broadcast may be stimulating an ozone depletion mechanism allowing more UV rays to heat increasing levels of greenhouse gasses most of all CO2 from man made sources? How do we determine what is or isn’t worth our time when looking for answers?

    I really appreciate all the energy and effort you and others are dedicating to solving the issues of climate change and appreciate your time and consideration around this letter.

    Thank you sincerely, Professor Lewis Carlson PhD ~

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Hyperlinked references (URLs were breaking the page formatting).  Please learn to do this yourself, thanks!

  49. Skeptical Science at EGU 2018

    @GeoffThomas - not sure what you mean with "received no emails from S S since this"? Also, the link to Facebook isn't working if I copy & paste it - just get a "content not available" message. Perhaps send us a message via the contact-form or directly to our contact-address?

  50. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43

    As the Gulf stream weakens, Coriolis weakens and stops pulling the ocean away from the East Coast of the USA.  Less heat is transferred northward so the waters off the southern part of the coast warm up and of course there is the overall rise in sea level.  Some time in the not too distance future one almighty storm will turn Cape Cod into a sand bank devoid of trees and houses

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