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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Comments 351 to 400:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Nigelj @6 , 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    nigelj and Mal Adapted, Thank you for the feedback.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    OPOF @4:

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

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

    OPOF:

    Democracy and free markets only produce good results when they are governed or limited by Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (same goes for communism, any other -ism, or any religion). As John Stuart Mill warned in “On Liberty”: “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    John Hartz@37,

    Graphic presentations can be powerful.

    I would add information about the purpose of US Militarization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Interesting observations on perceptions and polemics!

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

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

    Media Matters (2012)

    Marc Morano: Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year

    [Video]

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

    scaddenp@36,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A nice supplement to Dana's article...

    Political Cartoon

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

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

    Humans are hardwired to be politically tribal here and here.

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

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

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

    Graphicr

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

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

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

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

    scaddenp,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    M Sweet @6,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And clearly fossil fuel subsidies should be immediately cancelled.

  26. Other planets are warming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    scaddenp,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Moderator Response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Democracy and free markets only produce good results when they are governed or limited by Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (same goes for communism, any other -ism, or any religion). As John Stuart Mill warned in “On Liberty”: “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

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

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

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

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

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

    The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters

    => The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters

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

    "Humanity needs Good Reason to govern what humans do"

    But it wont happen because people dont use reason and no amount of demanding that they do will change that. If you want effective change then you have to work real human nature not an ideal.

    Your own statements really acknowledge this eg.

    "But they are rarely willing to admit the need to achieve all of them, and the sooner the better, for the benefit of the future of humanity."

    Correct - the moment you hit the "how to", you hit political values. And, if you assume people wont because they are greedy and selfish, then you will end alienating them not persuading them. Political values run far deeper than that.

    "there is no real opportunity to reason with the new-age fascists "

    Again, of course not. Tribal identity (or less politely, racism), loyalty to that and belief in structured heirachies underpinned by authority underly fascism. You wont get far with reason.

  34. One Planet Only Forever at 14:24 PM on 31 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,
    I try to focus on Good Reasoning being the required basis for human actions for Good Reason (and I am open to personally developing improved Good Reason).

    This comment will get to Antifa and eco-terrorists, but is mainly about my understanding of the opposition to accepting climate science and the required corrections it has identified.

    My experience is that some people will claim to like the idea of one or many of the SDGs (which include climate action). But they are rarely willing to admit the need to achieve all of them, and the sooner the better, for the benefit of the future of humanity. And they often balk at getting into a reasoned discussion of the corrections of what has developed that are required to actually achieve the SDGs (including the need to un-concentrate wealth and power). They like their developed, but unjustifiable, perceptions of prosperity, opportunity and superiority (they can only rationalize, unjustifiably excuse, their primitive selfish interests). They do not want to understand that their perceptions are unsustainable, undeserved, in need of correction.

    History is full of the bad results that develop when wealth and power get to be concentrated to undeserving people. It is a down-ward spiral that can only be limited by people insisting on Good Reason governing what is done, correcting unsustainable and damaging developments that do not deserve to be popular and profitable.

    When excuse-making for primitive selfishness is not governed or corrected by altruistic Good Reasoning, regional temporary winning can develop that is detrimental to the future of humanity like: the USA backing out of Kyoto and the Paris Agreement, the invasion of Iraq, Alberta pushing to increase the rate of extraction of oil sands bitumen for burning, new-age fascism, religious fundamentalism, and other unjustifiable dogmas excusing demagogues (Read Al Gore's "The Aussalt on Reason").

    Fossil fuel burning is an unsustainable and harmful human development that needs to be corrected. And it does not matter how the need for correction is presented, it will not be liked by people who have developed a taste for the unjustified prosperity, opportunity or superiority that has to be corrected.

    And almost all of the other SDGs require 'a degree of correction of what has developed', not just climate action. Most of them require un-concentration of wealth and power (they require effective political and economic democracy by an aware and altruistic population).

    Debating a Carbon Tax with people who do not care to be corrected has gone the way I expected it would. The first step is actually their denial that what has developed is unacceptable. Instead of admitting that penalties are required to stop the unacceptable behaviour, they want to debate how much the unacceptable activity that needs to be rapidly curtailed 'should cost' (while never intending to agree to any added cost, just using the debate as a delay tactic and propaganda tool to drum up unjustified support). Then the debate over the cost becomes an argument about the discount rate to be applied (which moves even further from the reality that the activity is simply unsustainable and harmful and must be stopped). They push for a higher discount rate to reduce the 'corrective cost' to be applied . And they apply that higher discount rate to an understated evaluation of future harm done. All of this diminishes the corrective action. Then they claim the small added cost will do nothing meaningful or helpful - and they are correct because doing nothing meaningful is their end game (because meaningful helpful actions are detrimental to their developed desires and interests).

    The new-age fascists require distractions, like debating Carbon Taxes, because the Good Reasoned reality is that it is incorrect to limit the evaluation of action on carbon to financial evaluations that try to compare current day lost opportunity or costs to future harms created (some of those evaluations are even used to excuse not doing any correction of the undeniably incorrect and unsustainable developed human activity).

    The reality is that the burning of fossil fuels is an unsustainable and damaging development that needs to be rapidly curtailed to limit the negative impacts imposed on future generations. The Good Reason reality is that there should be no 'protection' for the incorrectly developed perceptions of prosperity, superiority or opportunity. Unjustified concentration of wealth and power needs to be corrected.

    That is the Good Reason basis for discussing Antifa and what is referred to as eco-terrorism. The new age fascists attack every attempt to confront, correct and constrain them. And terrorism is one of their favourite attack terms, as is national security, and declaring that their opposition is Evil (on Satan's side).

    New age fascism is a re-emerging threat to the future of humanity. It needs to be confronted and corrected. Antifa attempts to do that by raising public awareness. Of course any aggressive in the moment passionate actions by the Antifa supporters can easily become new-age fascist propaganda (but they would make it up even if it didn't happen).

    Regrettably, there is no real opportunity to reason with the new-age fascists (the House Freedom Caucus members rarely debate issues in Congress - like the lack of debate that preceded the Invasion of Iraq). They have rationalized poor excuses for what they want. They have rationalized their unjustifiable selfish primitive beliefs and are not willing to use the more human part of their brain to develop Good Reason, learning how to be helpful rather than harmful. The new-age fascists aggressively attack and demonize anyone who tries to confront and correct them (and they do need to be corrected).

    The new-age fascists also like to get away with unacceptable economic pursuits (the 1987 UN Report “Our Common Future” included the chillingly accurate declaration that leaders do what they do because they can get away with it). They will resist being corrected regarding the social and ecological harm done by their unsustainable pursuits of personal benefit. And when they can concentrate wealth and power, like they have done in Alberta, they can 'legally' do all kinds of unjustified things like pushing to increase the rate of extraction of oil sands for burning.

    I am open to better understanding ways to confront and correct the new-age fascists among the Unite the Right collectives of greedier and less tolerant people. But I already have a robust understanding that it is futile to attempt to negotiate a compromise of Good Reason in the hopes of 'getting along with them'. I frankly do not expect them to ever be satisfied (and their actions in pursuit of wealth and power any way they can get away with are proof that I am correct). And my experience to date has confirmed that some Conservatives can understand that they have to 'not vote for' the United Right Conservative Option that may be the only conservative option left in their political system (In Canada the Uniting of the Right eliminated conservative alternatives to try to get people who consider themselves to be conservative to support the new-age fascists/evangelical fundamentalists, and it tragically works).

    A similar Unite the Right new-age fascist group (partnered with fundamentalist evangelicals) are in power in the USA at the moment. And almost all of their actions have been detrimental to achieving the SDGs, especially climate action.

    Pushing for people to learn to have Good Reasons for their actions (particularly for their economic and political choices) is the best way I can see to try to correct the resurgence of rationalized excuses for supporting new-age fascism (concentration of wealth and power). It will also result in more aggressive and effective corrective climate action.

    Democracy and free markets only produce good results when they are governed or limited by Good Reason (same goes for communism, any other -ism, or any religion). As John Stuart Mill warned in “On Liberty”: “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

    Humanity needs Good Reason to govern what humans do. Everybody can understand that (even the people who are determined to resist admitting it).

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

    Antifa and ecoterrorism are extreme examples of people talking past each other - thinking that somehow people will be persuaded by your point of view by engaging in activities that they would automatically label as "bad".

    If you present the SDG to people, I am pretty sure that most would agree wholeheartedly. You say that way to achieve that is say a carbon tax and people would instantly split on party lines. Arguing for reason is mostly futile in my opinion. Most people, most of the time do not use reason (including me). They will rationalize (slightly different) from a gut judgement based deep within their value system. If you present something to them in a way where their reaction is governed from a tribal position, then that is all you will get. Moving forward means finding ways to avoid this so that reason is in fact engaged. "Tax" and "fine" both provoke a gut reaction. Emphasize the "trading" in ETS and you have more hope. Yelling at conservatives about harm and fairness when their mind is made up from other considerations doesnt help. It simply identifies you as belonging to the other tribe who arguments should be ignored - because you belong to the other tribe.

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

    Including Federal and State subsidies, the total is just about the same as NASA's annual budget. A year of Space Exploration as opposed to hand-outs to the fossil fuels industry. I know which I choose as my tax money well spent!

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

    The GOP claims to be the low tax party, yet has to effectively keep taxes higher then otherwise required for unjustifiable fossil fuel subsidides. It's an exercise in hypocrisy, out of control campaign financing rules, and crony capitalism. The Democrats are not much better.

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

    Virtually every aspect of consumer capitalism is subsidised and generates a massive waste stream that is destroying the entire biosphere.

    The entire developing world is doing everything possible to reach higher levels of consumer capitalism increasing the waste stream along with them.

    We need to provide alternatives for people trying to claw their way out of a miserable existance.

  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Considering Alley's work on abrupt climate change and the latest Siberian Traps research, global warming should be considered and immediate existential threat.

    As such, either keep a quasi market system (like WWII mobilization, but hopefully more equitable) or create a rational society that uses less energy, produces more free time and ensures we don't have this issue in the future (as very likely any market 'solution' would insure since markets have always tended to expand)...

    examples of rational societies are Paris Commune (worked well until French allied with German Capitalists to crush it), Catalonia for a few years (until Capitalists crushed it) and Rojova (in process of being crushed by Capitalists)... we know how to have a higher standard of living, using much less energy.

    In the US, the vast majority of people pumps tons of carbon to drive in a big circle to an activity that does not need to happen (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate); couple that with Graeber's bullshit jobs and we've a whole lot of folk that can help others do real (material) work. If automate most of this and localize production (Bookchin, et. al.), we could all have much better lives and save this set of evolution's species (what's left of them anyway).

    We could do this in a democratic way (as in Catolonia).

    Of course, I'm not too hopeful, considering folk on this very site talk about market incentives that might have worked, had they been implented at the turn of the 20th century (and yes folk knew about global warming even then... see Tyndall and others around that time).

     

    We might have 10 or fewer years to get to 0 emissions. Even the overly optimistic Paris Accord depend on carbon extraction that as of now we're not sure will work.

    So, yes, using markets, hoping for new technology, might work, but it doesn't seem worth the risk, considering possible scenarios.

    Notice also the recent study on the AMOC slowing and speeding up in a natural cycle, which of course means two things. It's going to get hotter in the next few years and we get to see if the paper's contention is true or if the extra heat in the newly claimed altantic (from the arctic) ocean will offset the mechanism from the past (the paper contends that in the past, more melting led to a slowdown which led to less tropical water delivered, which reset the cycle... of course that was before all the extra heat we've beening allowing our emissions to trap)

  40. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #30

    I thought the word "Skeptical" meant something. Guess not. This site seems to have been taken over by people who broght you global cooling in the '70s and 80s and now bring you global warming today. Please tell me, where are the real scientists that aren't in it for the money and government substities? You cannot explain the past variations in climate by current theories of MMGW, but youo can make tons of money. Like Diagonies, I am still looking for the honest website.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Blatant argumentative sloganeering snipped per SkS Comments Policy

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can and will be rescinded if the posting individual continues to treat adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

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  41. One Planet Only Forever at 15:05 PM on 30 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp - The leap of faith from what I am pursuing to claims that my thinking is aligned with the likes of Antifa or Ecoterrorism is exactly the type of lack of Good Reason I argue against. The Sustainable Developments Goals and Good Reason are the basis for my pursuits.

    However, I agree that the leap of faith view you presented would be a 'go to way of thinking' for the people I identify as needing to change how they think, people I would talk past for the benefit of bystanding observers.

    Good Reason can be the basis for the thoughts and actions of everyone, all -isms, even Egoism (though Good Reason would lead to the need to abandon many of Egoisms dogmas).

    However, as an example, people who claim they want to help the poor by personally being able to benefit from burning fossil fuels are making up a lot of non-sense, poor excuses, unjustified by good reason.

  42. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Daniel Mocsny:

    As long as people remain immoral enough to actually enjoy doing all the things that account for their personal carbon footprints that remain 5, 10, 20 or more times higher than the carbon fair share, we absolutely remain on pace to burn all the world's economically extractable fossil fuels.

    I'm sorry, but this ignores economic reality while putting all hope for decarbonization on aspirational morality.  Like other commenters, I don't think voluntary personal sacrifice should be discouraged, and it may reduce carbon emissions noticeably.  It won't cap AGW on its own, however, because AGW is a Drama of the Commons.  It's a result of the individual pursuit of happiness, or of sheer survival, agreggated over all individuals in the global economy. Yet we're already paying for climate change in money and tragedy, in the the US as well as globally. If we're not directly affected by a record-breaking weather disaster, our taxes, donations and sympathy go to victims at home or abroad. Nevertheless, while SkepticalScience commenters may voluntarily pay more for carbon-neutral energy ourselves and exhort others to do the same, the bulk of the US and the world's consumers will buy fossil carbon until alternatives are able to compete on price. 

    Because the free market (free, that is, of collective intervention in private transactions) for energy externalizes, i.e socializes, the marginal climate-change costs of each fossil-fuel transaction, FFs enjoy a potent price advantage over alternatives. What's needed is collective (i.e. government) intervention in the 'free' market, to re-internalize a portion of the climate-change cost of FFs in their price 'at the pump', thereby reducing emissions immediately to the extent ernergy demand is price-sensitive, and nudging the 'invisible hand' of the market to drive build-out of the carbon-neutral economy rapidly and at the lowest social cost. I specifically favor a revenue-neutral national Carbon Fee and Dividend with Border Adjustment Tariff. The US economy is the 2nd largest producer of CO2, and our collective national choices at the polls can result in both a disproportionate reduction in emissions, and regain some of the technological and industrial leadership we once possessed. Please see citizensclimatelobby.org/basics-carbon-fee-dividend for details.

    Of course, before anything like CF&D with BAT can be enacted, we first have to tip a few key legislative elections in favor of the candidate who is more realistic, or less in denial, about AGW. It will typically be a choice of the lesser of two weevils. Then we have to lobby our newly-rational legislators to move toward an effective national decarbonization policy. Piece of cake? No, but IMHO well within the realm of probability over the next 15 years or so. The alternative is frightening to contemplate.

  43. michael sweet at 07:23 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    This Climate Central article from 2015 documents the striking increase in fires in the USA.  Since then fires have increased substantially.

    I remember reading a peer reviewed article (sorry no cite) several years ago that looked at fires in remote areaas of the American West where no fire control had ever taken place.  There was a substantial increase in fires recently from the historical average.  This showed that more fires is not due to fire control measures that have been in place for the past 100 years in the USA, although fire control may affect individual fires.

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

    OPF - all true maybe but if your chosen path to the future, particularly in a democracy, depends on changing peoples core value system, especially polical values, then well, good luck. Not a lot of evidence for this being possible without major trauma. With few exceptions, people of all sides really do want a better future, do care somewhat about fairness and the welfare of their fellow man. They also care about a quite a no. of other things as well and ignoring that will not create a conversation that leads to meaningful action. I think Antifa, from what I have seen in media, is a absolute gift to far right. Simialarly ecoterrorism is about as counterproductive to ecological action as you can get. The participants feel self-righteous warriors for the good cause while damaging any possibility of a concensus with conservatives.

  45. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Daniel Mocsny,

    I also think personal initiative in reducing carbon footprints is very important, although I think the term ethics might be more appropriate in this case. We cannot expect and wait for the government to fix every aspect of the climate problem for us. The problem is fundamentally a consumption problem, and we have to consume less fossil fuels and carbon intensive products.

    However we cannot expect people to do this if there aren't viable alternatives such as renewable electricity generation, electic cars,  and alternatives to high use of cement etc. Governments have a role to play in terms of renewable electricity generation and some related issues, because in some countries they own these systems, and in others we need government incentives to help develop this energy source. Of course this requires voters make good moral (or ethical) voting choices to parties that have the strongest positions on reducing emissions.

    I also don't see how you conclude renewable electricy would take a very long time to develop. Society could convert quite rapidly to renewable energy if it wanted, in a practical sense. I don't have time for a lengthy comment, but I suggest look at the massive economic transformation that happened during WW2 in just 5 years, and look at the costs of changing over to renewable electricity generation, which are calculated to be only 1% of a countries economic output per year spread over 30 years. On this basis I think its certainly possible to at least largely transform the transport and home heating sectors etcetera to renewable electricity by 2050, the Paris Accord timeframe, and without huge economic sacrifices or problems. It is more of a political problem than a practical problem. You are right about the power of lobby groups, but they cannot withstand strong popular support for climate policies.

    There is also a role for carbon tax and dividend schemes. Please appreciate no individual wants to make ethical choices unless they sense other people are prepared to do the same, because they will feel their own choices would have no significant effect unless everyone does the same. This dead lock situation can be broken with carbon taxes that put some pressure on everyone that few will be able to ignore.

    The economist.com July 28th edition has just published an article called "Sin Taxes" related to tobacco, alcohol and sugar and looked at the historical evidence and found them to be very effective at reducing use of these products, so carbon taxes are based on sound precedent. However it requires popular public support and understanding of why such taxes make sense, and how a tax and dividend scheme returns the money to consumers and is therefore not harsh on consumers and keeps the tax revenue separate from general government income.

  46. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #30

    Related material : "A rapid assessment by scientists of the ongoing heatwave across northern Europe this summer has found that human-caused climate change made it as much as five times more likely to have occurred."

  47. michael sweet at 03:07 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Daniel Mocsny:

    I think you are incorrect.  If renewable energy is substituted for fossil fuel for all electricity than CO2 release can be contained.  If we converted all heating and transportation to electricity (except airplanes) than we would be well on the way to a completely renewable society.  The remaining power could be from electrofuels.

    In order to have this renewable future we need politicians to make it profitable to switch to renewable and away from fossil fuels.  Most people cannot switch to completely renewable energy on their own. 

    A carbon fee would get society started.

  48. Daniel Mocsny at 02:43 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    #3. michael sweet at 07:23 AM on 29 July, 2018

    Perhaps as more houses lose their value from sea level rise politicians will start to notice.


    It would be nice if politicians were to notice, but politicians do not control the fate of the climate - individual consumers do. Greenhouse gas emissions cannot be curtailed without curtailing the behaviors that emit greenhouse gases. In the very long term, perhaps technological substitution can reduce the emissions from a high-energy lifestyle, but we don't have the long term. We need to slash emissions yesterday.

    A politician can notice coastal flooding all day long, but that won't enable him or her to impose carbon rationing on individuals who refuse to ration their own carbon. Any politician who attempts real action on the climate will just get voted out by voters who refuse to take real action on their own contributions to climate change.

  49. Daniel Mocsny at 02:36 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    #6 billev at 10:21 AM on 29 July, 2018

    U.S. history records many large forest fires throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.


    Of course, but you are sampling from a long period of time (centuries) to find exceptional events, which you then compare to exceptional events from a much shorter period of time (the last few years).

    This is like comparing the heights of men in a professional basketball team to the heights of men in the general population. If you search through billions of men, you will find a few exceptionally tall ones. If we were to apply your reasoning about forest fires, we might erroneously conclude there is nothing unusual about the heights of basketball players.

    The name for what you are doing is: selection bias.

    It's hard for a basketball team of just 12 men to have taller individuals than the general population of billions. But that ignores what is special about the basketball team: its extraordinary concentration of tall men.

    To conclude nothing has changed weather-wise since the 19th and 20th centuries, you'd need to wait for the 21st and 22nd centuries to play out so you could compare equal spans of time. But we only have a small sample of the 21st century so far. And so far that brief span looks unusual compared to most of the similar spans within the last two centuries. What's more, climate scientists have a well-developed theory to account for what is different, giving us good reason to believe we're not just seeing an anomaly, but part of an ominous trend.

  50. Daniel Mocsny at 02:25 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Those worst-case scenarios are still quite unlikely, since they require both that we do nothing to alter our emissions path, which is still arcing upward, [...]

    And the first step in "altering our emissions path" would be to start speaking about it plainly and directly, instead of using stilted distancing language constructed specifically to obfuscate reality and reinforce inaction. "Emissions path" is a euphemism to distract people from the behavior changes necessary for a sustainable civilization. If we can't even speak honestly about what a low-carbon lifestyle looks like, how can we adopt one?

    The only "action" that matters for reducing emissions is behavior change by individuals. Namely, individuals must become moral. Morality is the force that takes the fun out of behaviors that are otherwise enjoyable to the actor but inflict harm on other people, other species, and the shared environment. A moral person may be forced through circumstances to inflict harm on others, but a moral person cannot enjoy doing inflicting harm, and will constantly look for ways to defeat those circumstances. Neither does a moral person use the kind of stilted distancing language which has become standard in the climate change community to deny personal responsibility for causing climate change.

    As long as people remain immoral enough to actually enjoy doing all the things that account for their personal carbon footprints that remain 5, 10, 20 or more times higher than the carbon fair share, we absolutely remain on pace to burn all the world's economically extractable fossil fuels.

    To see what has to stop or scale back by at least 90%, we need only look at where the bulk of a typical modern household's greenhouse gas emissions come from: driving, flying, heating, cooling, eating meat, owning meat-eating pets, and proceating. There are thousands more sources of emissions, but each person's focus needs to be on the largest sources of his or her emissions, not on some abstract world of huge numbers and other people and nations beyond his or her control. Until we control what we can control, how will we control what other people control?

    As long as people lack the moral development to stop them from experiencing pleasure when they rape the climate - for example, by flying on holiday - then they will continue to rape the climate and enjoy doing it. No amount of policy tinkering can substitute for morality, thanks to the iron laws of economics. As long as people are willing to spend money to buy things they enjoy, their money concentrates into the hands of whoever can give them what they want. The money then buys politicians, churns out disinformation, or whatever else is necessary to continue meeting the demand for climate-raping goods and services. The election of Trump shows the folly of imagining policy can substitute for individual morality.

    In contrast, a moral person cannot be lobbied. A moral person does not have to worry about getting re-elected. A moral person cannot be bought. He or she does what is right because it is right. For civilization to survive, it needs the vast majority of its constituent citizens to become moral.

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