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Comments 401 to 450:

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

    Nigel, you may have heard of Moral Foundation theory? Haidt? One interesting feature of it, is the observation across cultures that left-wingers make gut moral judgements based on just care and fairness foundations. Right-wingers also use what are called binding foundations (loyalty, respect for heirarchies/authority, and purity). The last one means you have right-wing more ready to deal with pollution than rising sealevel.

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

    "My point was that if Germany, Sweden and France have not fully implemented the necessary changes to meet the Paris goals, there is a reason why they have not."

    How about it takes time? But if you never start, you will never get there. The OECD report looked only at taxes and only to 2015. Post-Paris there has been a raft of additional measures, in EU and other places (but not Canada or US) and it remains to be seen whether these will be sufficient. In countries which dont have neoliberal governments, measures other than carbon taxes are acceptable to the electorate. If you dont want to advocate for those, then you had been be ready to advocate for carbon tax.

    Disruption to the economy is inevitable - either from decarbonizing or from adaption to a new climate. Why would you not choose to take the cheapest route?

  3. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 101:

    The third "arbitrary group" was "or some other group", which gives you free form to explain why you are not part of the first two. I can't see why that has been so hard.

    You say "To try to do some kind of "weigh scale" measurement of costs and benefits as between different groups would be impossible." That is exactly what economic analysis attempts to do. When they do it, they try to clearly state assumptions, and provide explicit definitions for the terms they use. DIfferent assumptions end up with somewhat different results, but they nearly all indicate that future costs will outweigh future benefits.

    At this point, I can only conclude that all your attempts to say things like "bring the economy down", "materially damage the economy", "put the economy into trouble", "industries that would immediately suffer greatly ", "a massive transfer of wealth", "out of a job", "all those direct costs you allege", etc. really were just rhetoric, and had nothing to do with an actual cost/benefit analysis (which you now say is impossible).

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

    NorrisM @101

    "Again, to the extent we are talking pollution rather than the consequences of rising temperatures and rising sea levels I think measurements can and should be made."

    Nobody here is likely interested in a carbon tax based purely on particulate emissions and their relation to lung problems. That's just a non starter, and too contrived for words.

    And the public might find such a strategy confusing and devious. 

    It also doesn't make sense  because theres a huge difference between health effects of burning coal, gas and oil. It would be a nightmare practically.

    If anything, a carbon tax should include the effects of both climate change and something limited added on for respiratory health effects. And it just goes to show a carbon tax has several justifications.

    However, just my opinion, others may disagree.

    Norris M @104, you are just spamming, and repeating yourself.

    You have also not answered my question: do you accept a carbon tax and dividend scheme starting at about $30, and ramped up to about $80?

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

    NorrisM: I posted a link to the Reuters article about the new OECD report as a commenter and author of the OP, not as a Moderator. For your edification here is the complete OECD news release that prompted the Reuters article. 

    Governments should make better use of energy taxation to address climate change

    14/02/2018 -Taxes are effective at cutting harmful emissions from energy use, but governments could make better use of them. Greater reliance on energy taxation is needed to strengthen efforts to tackle the principal source of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, according to a new OECD report.

    Taxing Energy Use 2018 describes patterns of energy taxation in 42 OECD and G20 countries (representing approximately 80% of global energy use), by fuels and sectors over the 2012-2015 period.

    New data shows that energy taxes remain poorly aligned with the negative side effects of energy use. Taxes provide only limited incentives to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency and drive a shift towards less harmful forms of energy. Emissions trading systems, which are not discussed in this publication, but are included in the OECD’s Effective Carbon Rates, are having little impact on this broad picture.

    “Comparing taxes between 2012 and 2015 yields a disconcerting result,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Efforts have been made, or are underway, in several jurisdictions to apply the ‘polluter-pays’ principle, but on the whole progress towards the more effective use of taxes to cut harmful emissions is slow and piecemeal. Governments should do more and better.”

    In 2015, outside of road transport, 81% of emissions were untaxed, according to the report. Tax rates were below the low-end estimate of climate costs (EUR 30/tCO2) for 97% of emissions.

    Meaningful tax rate increases have largely been limited to the road sector. Fuel tax reforms in some large low-to-middle income economies have increased the share of emissions taxed above climate costs from 46% in 2012 to 50% in 2015. Encouragingly, some countries are removing lower tax rates on diesel compared to gasoline. However, fuel tax rates remain well below the levels needed to cover non-climate external costs in nearly all countries.

    Coal, characterised by high levels of harmful emissions and accounting for almost half of carbon emissions from energy use in the 42 countries, is taxed at the lowest rates or fully untaxed in almost all countries.

    While the intense debate on carbon taxation has sparked action in some countries, actual carbon tax rates remain low. Carbon tax coverage increased from 1% to 6% in 2015, but carbon taxes reflect climate costs for just 0.3% of emissions. Excise taxes dominate overall tax rates by far.

    “The damage to climate and air quality resulting from fossil fuel combustion can be contained, but the longer action is delayed the more difficult and expensive it becomes to tackle this challenge,” Mr Gurria said. “Aligning energy prices with the costs of climate change and air pollution is a core element of cost-effective policy, and vast improvements are urgently needed. While in some cases compensation for higher energy costs faced by households or firms may be deemed necessary, especially to those more vulnerable, lower tax rates or exemptions are not the way to provide it – targeted transfers should be favoured.”

    Further information on Taxing Energy Use, including graphical profiles of energy use and taxation in the 42 countries is available at:

    An embeddable version of the report is available, together with information about downloadable and print versions of the report.

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

    scaddenp @ 96

    Where did I say anything about comparing Germany, Sweden and France on the one hand and North America on the other?

    My point was that if Germany, Sweden and France have not fully implemented the necessary changes to meet the Paris goals, there is a reason why they have not.   And the best guess is that the politicians are concerned that the required changes would bring with them substantial changes to the economy that would not be accepted by their electorates.  I used the term "harm the economy" but if you want to say "significant changes to the economy" then so be it.  But if these changes were not costly changes (or impractical at this time) I am sure Angela Merkel would moved on them by now. 

    Governments are clearly taking steps but they will not be sufficient to meet the Paris goals.  As noted by the Moderator, the OECD has so much as said that.  But they are doing what they can based upon political realities.  Nothing profound here but it is stating the obvious. 

  7. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Whoops! Not into clouds but on to Page 3.

  8. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw

    I hit the Submit button with a reply but it seems to have disappeared into the clouds.  I will wait to see if it appears before I try to replicate it.  I agree that your question was not a yes/no. 

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

    Bob Loblaw @ 93

    My apologies.  Your question was obviously not a yes or no answer.  My answer should have simply stated that I cannot pick one of your arbitrary groups.   We simply have to let the chips fall where they may on a cost/benefit analysis (outside of pollution costs) when it comes to the use of fossil fuels over the last 150 years because all groups however you classify them have benefitted.  To try to do some kind of "weigh scale" measurement of costs and benefits as between different groups would be impossible.  Again, to the extent we are talking pollution rather than the consequences of rising temperatures and rising sea levels I think measurements can and should be made.

  10. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    I said "it depends on whos axe gets gored". I  meant of course whos "ox gets gored". I think I got confused with people having axes to grind.

    Anyway, on the subject of the ox,  have a break, have cup of tea, and read the parable of the ox and have a good laugh:

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

    Norris M made the claim that fossil fuels reduced poverty, and so on.

    They have in a broad sense over time, and nobody disputes that fossil fuels have  been a benefit in the past. Quite what this has to do with the issue at hand eludes me. Asbestos was a great benefit, until we discovered it had serious problems.

    Anyway, its also misleading to claim the reduction in third world poverty since the 1980's (related to the numbers in MA Rodgers comments) is somehow a miracle caused by using fossil fuels. Eonomists say its strongly related to free trade and more open investment. (Something else America seems determined to dismantle). 

    And progress is driven more by 'energy', and we have options.

    Ironically its arguably more practical to drive poverty reduction in Africa with solar power anyway.

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 06:41 AM on 20 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Poverty elimination that is sustainable, not just temporary perceptions of reduction, is just one of the set of comprehensive objectives in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    What is understandable is the need for all of the SDGs to be achieved, not just some of them. And another one of the SDGs is Climate Action. So, the rapid curtailing of negative climate impacts created by the burning of fossil fuels is one of the required actions to 'sustainably reduce poverty'. That will mean the more fortunate changing their ways to sustainably improve conditions for the less fortunate and also changing their ways to stop personally benefiting from the creation of increased climate change challenges.

    The key is sustaining any perceived improvement. And what cannot be shown is how any fossil fuel burning activity has created a 'sustainable improvement for the least fortunate', an improvement that will continue after the unsustainable and harmful burning of fossil fuels is terminated (to put it a little absurdly but to make the point, I would want to see the proof of 'how people being able to enjoy burning fossil fuels to race around on water for pleasure' sustainably makes anything better for the less fortunate).

    Also, Poverty is a tricky thing to talk about. There is Extreme Poverty which is being reduced, but not because of the burning of fossil fuels. And there is also Poverty which may actually be increasing in spite of Extreme Poverty being reduced.

    In spite of those complications of discussing poverty, Global GDP has grown at rates greater than the global population increased (even in Africa the GDP has grown faster than the population), yet a significant portion of the population remains desperately poor, suffering horrible brief existences (never really living).

    So any claim of the improvement being a benefit for the poorest is challenged by the reality that the poorest, the most in need of improvement of living circumstances, have not actually been the dominant recipients of the increased perceptions of prosperity. And claims that the burning of fossil fuels are the reason for any actual reduced poverty are hard to substantiate. Poverty reduction is due to more equitable distribution of opportunity to benefit which is completely independent of the form of energy involved. In fact, it can be more successfully argued that the continued ability of more fortunate people to benefit from burning fossil fuels has delayed the development of sustainable improvements for the least fortunate, delayed the development of truly sustainable ways of living better.

  13. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    And further clarity:

    A failure to end emissions ahead of your timeline is not evidence that you cannot achieve your timeline.

    A requirement that other countries reduce their emissions to zero before you will start to implement measures to reduce emissions is unreasonable.

    Attacking an $150/tonne carbon tax is tilting at windmills.

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "why Germany, France and Sweden (I can probably add NZ) have not fully dealt with the issues of moving from fossil fuels to other sources of energy?"

    Seriously, you are trying to defend North America doing nothing about CO2 emissions, by saying the Sweden, Germany, NZ have not managed to completely go FF yet? That is absurb. Sweden is committed to by FF free by 2045, wants end of FF cars by 2030, is using ETS instead of carbon tax and thinks they are poster child for increasing economic growth while reducing emissions. Germany's emission reduction is more modest but chose to try and get off nuclear as well which masks the scale of their renewable investments. NZ is at 80% renewable and well on track to its targets for 100% generation. NZ problem is that 50% of its GHG emissions are from ruminants which is much tougher problem to tackle.

    Other countries might be far away but they are rapidly changing that. And by comparison, North America has made what steps????

    Your objection that carbon tax wont compensate other countries affected by climate change is ludicrous. No one suggested it should. The best way to help other countries is stop emitting so they arent adversely affected in the first place. Carbon tax is a mechanism, supposedly more acceptable to right-winger who dont like more direct measures, for encouraging an energy transition, nothing more.

    As has been pointed out to you before, noone is denying that FF have brought benefits in the past, but for the future they clearly bring problems. Claiming past benefits as reason for doing nothing is yet another piece of rhetoric, substituting for a logical reason.

    Are you trying to convince us that North American should do nothing (you are failing miserably) or trying to justify yourself?

  15. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @91

    Thank's for the comments, however I didn't say "The so called "harm the economy" issue is meaningless". I said harm the economy is "meaningless and scarmongering until you define exactly what you mean". I defined the points that need consideration for you.

    Like Bob Loblow says, it "depends on whos axe gets gored". Fossil fuel producers will hurt, but as I pointed out thousands of companies go bankrup each year. Its part of the "creative destruction" of capitalism that the Republicans "say" they support (only when it suits of course, when their favourite oxe isn't being gored).

    I think the main risk is inflation, but this can be easily managed and contained to low levels. The risk is because obviously a very high carbon price abruptly introduced would push up fuel costs considerably and abruptly, and for example the supply of electic cars would not keep up. So you have a lower starting point for carbon and ramp it up, so the supply side of the economy has time to expand. On that basis do you have an objection to starting moderate at about $30 and ramping up to $80 over time of a decade? (To pick a middle ground example, for the sake of simplicity). This is your incrementalism, so I struggle to see why you would object.

    "If concerns about the effects of major impacts on the economy are meaningless, then please respond to my question as to why Germany, France and Sweden (I can probably add NZ) have not fully dealt with the issues of moving from fossil fuels to other sources of energy?"

    All these countries have made at least some some progress with renewable electricity. Germany has a unique problem where they took all their nuclear offline, after Fukushima, and went back to coal because it was just easier. However Germany is now back to building wind and solar farms.

    The UK has actually done much better with renewable electricity, particularly wind farms, because it has separated the decision making process from government , by creating an independent body, and it has a a reasonable sort of carbon tax as well. It's a good model of development.

    New Zealand has 80% renewable electricity already, mostly hydro and geothermal, and with some wind power. We have plans being consented to build more wind and geothermal power.

    Of course none of this is proceeding fast enough, and needs more incentives like a carbon tax and dividend scheme. People are perhaps understandably nervous, and politicians are scared of change, in case it upsets anyone including their campaign donors. And we have had a misleading , scaremongering campaign against climate science and renewable energy. But things like this inevitably change, for example the new government in New Zealand was elected with quite a strong climate policy platform, by facing down industry lobby groups.

    People will see through the climate denialist nonsense, and it will happen with a huge rush. Just a couple more years of record temperatures. It's just how human psychology works.

    Nobody in industries affected by a carbon tax will starve to death. Most industries will adjust fine, looking at other historical disruptions, and the renewable electricity industry by its nature tends to create a lot of jobs and with good salaries, so if anything its a bit of a "win win" situation for society as a whole. I'm not saying it won't hurt, but I haven't seen any compelling actual hard evidence of huge harm to the economy, just idle speculation on biased think tank websites, dressed up to sound superficially convincing. 

    "Perhaps part of the answer is that until the storage problem is solved there is no adequate solution. But surely Sweden does not have a storage issue with its abundant hydroelectric power. I suspect it is making too much money selling it to Germany when the wind is not blowing."

    The storage problem is largely solved in terms of technology. Look at the huge Tesla lithium battery complex in southern Australia, that is now saving them money. Sweden does indeed have planty of hydro storage, and the issue is rather obviosly slow implementation of wind power. Its reasonable to expect battery storage costs to fall over time. Again the issue is more politics getting in the way as mentioned above.

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 91:

    Now you are just engaging in "whataboutery".

  17. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Please learn to be more specific. The question posed in #23 (repeated in #84) is not a "yes/no" question. Your answer of "yes" does not answer it, unless you are accepting my impression stated in #84 that "you want to be part of the group that is happy to let someone else pay for damage caused by your use of fossil fuels while you get the benefits." (That contradicts your closing statement that you want polluters to pay.)

    As to your request for me to "reconcile" what you see as contradictory statements: you are creating strawmen positions. I have told you that I want a higher carbon tax than $30, and I want it introduced incrementally, and that I want observations of its effects to dictate how high it goes. I have told you that "all costs" is not my position, I have also told you that a carbon tax is not enough - other actions will be needed.

    You talk again about wealth transfer. You have not, from what I remember, ever addressed the fact that I mention in #23 - that the externality of having costs of fossil fuels borne by people other than the consumers represents a transfer of wealth. You only seem concerned about transfers of wealth away from your small portion of the economy. As long as the poor people got a few crumbs, why apologize for eating most of the cake?

    Action on climate change is not about righting past wrongs. It is about preventing future wrongs. The primary benefit of a carbon tax and other actions would be to prevent much of the future fossil fuel use, and thus avoiding much of the future damage.

    Ideally, technology will allow us to use other sources of energy, without carbon, and in the long run a carbon tax would provide little revenue (whether it is held by governmnent or transferred to others). If we don't burn carbon, a carbon tax has little effect. I would be very happy if 50 years from now nobody is paying a significant carbon tax (although I won't live to see it).

    Any of the economic analyses you have been pointed to will indicate that past fossil fuel use has been a net benefit, but it will become a net loss as atmospheric CO2 and climate change become more severe. Ask someone in Houston if their fossil-fuel-based job will continue to be a benefit if it means getting flooded every ten years like they did last year.

    Those analyses also indicate that poor countries will bear much of those future costs, with benefits concentrated in rich counties. Ask someone in Houston how their rebuilding is going. Then ask someone in Puerto Rico. If there is a difference, think about why. And when asking someone in Houston, make sure it isn't someone who sells building materials or does construction work or mold remediation - I bet their businesses are booming (and at least a few aren't apologizing for it).

  18. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

    And growing plants for carbon removal only works if it is charred and buried underground, currently requiring even more diesel to dig the holes and transport the logs and/or the charcoal. We would be trying to replicate coal formation...better to leave the damn stuff where it is.

  19. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    It's a 10-day-old multiple-choice question and the troll still cannot aswer it.

    Question @23 - Do you want to belong to group A, group B or group C?

    Answer @89 - Yes!!

    While the industrialised society we belong to has pulled many from poverty creating a post-Malthusian world, to suggest that the poverty figure set by the World Bank (actually 'extreme poverty' figures with income levels $1:00-a-day in 1990, $1:90-a-day today, which shows the 1990 level of 35% in extreme poverty shrinking to 10% by 2013) is properly showing the achieving of the World Bank Group’s mission “Our Dream is a World Free of Poverty” is naive in the extreme. And then the follow-on suggestion that this give the industrialised world licence to pump CO2 into the atmosphere for ever-and-a-day is a rather distasteful one.

    Poverty levels

    Also the choice @91 of 'litmus test' countries France, Germany & Sweden appears designed to be annoying.

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    nigelj @ 80

    "The so called "harm the economy" issue is meaningless"

    If concerns about the effects of major impacts on the economy are meaningless, then please respond to my question as to why Germany, France and Sweden (I can probably add NZ) have not fully dealt with the issues of moving from fossil fuels to other sources of energy?

    Is that not the litmus test?

    The Moderator has provided a commentary from the OECD that supports my assumption that these nations are far away from what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

    Perhaps part of the answer is that until the storage problem is solved there is no adequate solution. But surely Sweden does not have a storage issue with its abundant hydroelectric power.  I suspect it is making too much money selling it to Germany when the wind is not blowing.

  21. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

    So Saudi Arabia exports oil, while building greenhouses to absorb C02. They will need to build about a billions greenhouses to cancel out their oil exports.

    What about all the water the greenhouses will use, where will they source that? Latst time I checked the middle east was not a high rainfall area. And the CO2 emissions in the manufacture of the building materials?

    Some of these technical fixes are the very definition of stupid.

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 04:42 AM on 20 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The more that NorrisM presents, the more certain I am that his thoughts are personally motivated in the way I described in my recent post on the "How to Change Your Mind About Climate Science" OP.

    "Regional socio-economics can result in indoctrination/brainwashing of many people including people who have completed high levels of education. To change their minds, they would have to admit they have allowed themselves to desire unacceptable things, admit their developed desired ways to pursue benefit are harmful to others, and admit that their perceived success/superiority relative to others is not deserved. Those can be powerful motivations to not change their minds."

    NorrisM is still pursuing additional income from the burning of fossil fuels (unless his comment about going to Alberta for a light crude oil related business matter was Pro-Bono). It is also likely he desires the ability to obtain other benefits from the activity rather than dramatically reduce his personal benefit from the burning of fossil fuels.

    As observed by others, his arguments have to be selective. And they may not even be accurate presentations of the selective points he raises. His objective is to justify his position that a 'business as usual' approach to the 'required correction of the development of popularity and profitability of an understandably harmful and ultimately unsustainable activity' simply has to be accepted.

    His claims have to over-look the fact that business and political leaders have been well aware of the need to correct the way things were developing for over 30 years. His argument is that 'very little should be done now because very little has been done previously'. That is not how he presents it but that is what it is. It is almost comical when presented the way it really is. It is a claim that a lack of corrective action in the past justifies a lack of corrective action today, rather than admitting that the lack of responsible action by the most fortunate in the past has created the need for more dramatic correction today. And it side-steps the reality that the correction must be to the detriment of some of the most fortunate today, the ones who inconsiderately gambled on getting away with behaving less acceptably.

    His presented views are a good insight into the ways that 'made-up minds that are determined to continue to benefit any way they can get away with' will attempt to argue a case. Admittedly that is the way some lawyers (not all of them) learn to win, it is a developed skill. And with many lawyers Winning political leadership roles, the way NorrisM approaches this matter is likely similar to those elected representatives (so many Republicans still claiming to be, or acting as if they were, ignorant/dismissive regarding the corrections that climate science has indicated are required for the benefit of the future of humanity).

    NorrisM correctly identifies that understandably unacceptable pursuits can be popular and profitable. However, his claim that 'that just has to be the way it has to be' cannot be defended. Note hat he offers no suggestion of action that would correct the problem. The most obvious required corrective action is more correctly educating the population, which will require the creation of new measures that will effectively promote/reward Helpful Winners (educators) and penalize/discourage Harmful Winners (indoctrinators/misleaders - people who argue/fight against developing awareness and understanding that is contrary to their Private Interests).

    Harmful economic activities get shut down all the time. Popular opinion in support of understandably unacceptable activity that is artificially propped up to prolong the unacceptable activity just leads to a more dramatic required correction. The recent curtailing of viability of the town of Asbestos in Quebec is an example of what happens when unacceptable pursuits are regionally propped up and prolonged, people in the future eventually suffer the inevitable consequence. The unfortunate current reality faced by USA coal workers is another example.

    NorrisM appears to be OK with the unacceptable activity continuing to a more dramatic correction 'in the future, when it is less likely to affect him'. That way of thinking is understandable. And it is understandably unacceptable, in need of help to correct, challenged by motivations to resist change.

  23. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw @84

    I will answer your question if you answer mine.  My question to you is how you can reconcile a carbon tax at levels presently suggested by other commentators on this thread with a carbon tax levied on industrialized societies at a rate that will make those societies pay for all the direct damages these societies have or are about to wreak on lesser developed nations.   I assume your suggested solution is to then transfer a large portion of the proceeds from this high level of carbon tax to those societies in some sort of wealth transfer.  But are you not effectively proposing a carbon tax on developed nations at a level much higher than $30-$80?

    If you do not propose such a solution then what is all this talk implicit in your question at #23?

    So here is my answer to your  question posed at #23.  The answer is yes.  And the reason is that fossil fuel use throughout the world has transformed this world to the benefit of everyone in this world, not just the developed nations.  What has happened is just a cost of our industrialized society up until now. 

    Although I only heard this figure on a Sam Harris podcast on some topic entirely separate from any discussion of climate change, this commentator said that today only 10% of the world's population exists at a poverty level whereas 90% are above that poverty level (I know there are many measurements of poverty but we are talking generalities here).  However, 150 years ago, those figures were reversed.  90% of the world population lived in poverty. 

    I trust you get my point.  Our industrialized society has lifted 80% of the world's population out of poverty.  So I do not think we have anything to apologize for when it comes to past use of fossil fuels which has propelled us to where we are today.

    When it comes to pollution I am completely in the camp of charging those who have polluted.  As an example, I think the plastics in our ocean are a travesty.  If we could figure out where it came from proportionately, then I would be all in favour of some UN Convention to get nations to pay up based upon their contribution to clean up this mess.

  24. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    To follow up nigelj's comment @ 86, and return to my list of economic changes @ 56:

    • The changes that brought about the development of railways and personal automobiles had a devastating effect on the horse and buggy industry. If the horse and buggy industry was a major source of political financing at the time, would we have seen political action to block advances in steam locomotives and the mass production lines that brought us the automobile? Would we have seen a reluctance to spend public dollars on road networks?
    • If the typewriter industry had been a major source of political donations, would we have seen a stifling of the development of computers and word processing software? The typewriter isn't dead, but it's not the industry it used to be. You might even say that the repercussions were serious.
    • Was the financial crisis of 2008-2009 a good thing because a few people that managed to keep their jobs and had cash on hand (instead of in equity) suddenly found out that they could buy houses at 50% off? What a tremendous benefit!

    As I said before, it depends on who's ox gets gored.

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


    Proposed theoretical reactors that have never been built are not solutions.  Abbott discusses the breeder reactors you propose.  The fact that none have been able to run for significant amounts without problems tells us how likely it is that they will be useful in a reasonable amount of time.  Work out a timeline: if they have a design next week it will take them 5-10 years to build.  Then it will take 5-10 years to determine if the alloys they have chosen can withstand the extreme conditions in the breeder reactor and if their complex purification scheme for the fuel will work (both unlikely).  Then they will have to apply to scale up and buiild new plants which take 9-19 years to build from the initial proposal.  It will be at least 5+5+9 = 19 years before the first plants will be on-line in 2037.  That is too late, we need a solution that we can build out today.

    Abbott used the diagram of elemental abundance to show that the elements needed for nuclear reactors do not work.  He included a table of how much of these metals are currently in production and current reserves which you did not address.  This data showed that there are not enough materials for your nulcear utopia.  Apparently Berylium is one of the key short materials.  I mentioned it above but it appears to have slipped your memory. 

    India's "thorium reactor" includes uranium to burn the thorium.  In 2013 it was scheduled to fire up in 2014.  In 2014 in 2015, in 2015 2016,  and last summer (2017) in early 2018.  It has not fired up yet.  Placing all your money on an untried technology that is years behind schedule and even in the best case will not be ready in time is not a very good plan.  Not very convincing.

    In any case, nuclear is completely uneconomic.  Renewable energy is half the cost of nuclear.

    If you cannot be bothered to find references to support your wild claims you should comment at anonther site where they do not care what absurd claims you make up.

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


    If you are going to argue against a carbon fee and dividend you must choose an amount that is at least near a believable sum.  Find one person who has proposed a $150 carbon tax as a start.  The proposals I have seen start at about $20 and increase over time.  If there were economic issues the fee could be adjusted as needed.  This does not even rise to a straw man argument, it is just rediculous.

    Please find one economist who has studied the economic effects of climate change who has criticied the Stern report.  I have seen a lot of propaganda from fossil fuel interests and economists who have not looked at any data but I am not familiar with a single economist who has studied AGW who criticied the Stern Report.  

    If you want to engage in informed debate you must support your insane claims.  You are just spamming us here.  You will never convince anyone here with your strawmen and imaginary data points.

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

    Ice is melting at an alarming rate in the Arctic and initiatives that soak up carbon dioxide should be encouraged. An Arab-Korean initiative intends to build an agricultural city in the barren Qattara Depression. Extensive use of greenhouses is to be implemented and if done throughout Africa this could help. explains.
    Another concept that will probably come to the fore is the use of moist air to enable plants to grow. Recently plant physiologists have shown that absorption of water from leaves and transport of this water to roots occurs. The concept of moist air from greenhouses supplying water to plants via leaves could be a future reality and help soak up CO2. More info on water absorption by leaves at

  28. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

    Such low sea ice in summer and winter presumably means low spring sea ice as well. Polar bears hunting becomes affected as follows.

    I agree the general public probably relate best to sea ice minimums and maximums, but Im interested more in total volumes. Maybe I'm just weird.

  29. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    A carbon tax should be set at a moderate level and increased over time to full level, so the economy has time to adjust and doesnt experience significant inflationary effects. This is actually the main thing to worry about.

    Tens of thousands of businesses go backrupt In America each year, and new businesses start. Fossil fuel companies will be eventually replaced by alternative fuels. A carbon tax and dividend scheme can drive this process effectively.

    The industrial revolution was pretty disruptive, and seems wider in impacts than just energy use. You could argue it harmed the economy short term in a 'disruptive sense', but improved the economy long term. Almost nobody now looks back and says its a bad decision.

  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Recommneded supplemental reading:

    OECD says energy taxes in developed economies too low to fight climate change by Nina Chestney, Reuters, Feb 14, 2018 

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    If you can't define "harming the economy" then it is pretty hard to have any sort of reasonable discussion about the issue.

    You now use the phrasing" You do not need "peer reviewed articles" to know that a $150/tonne carbon tax would have serious repercussions on a number of industries, just a little common sense." (Bolding mine.)

    Well, now you're really digging in deep. The economy is not "a number of industries", it's every industry, every person, every bit of economic activity.

    If your criterion for a carbon tax is that it not have any detrimental effect on even one industry, then you are setting impossible standards. If you are limiting your discussion of "the economy" to some fraction of the total economy, then you're going to need to clearly define what is in and what is out of your "number of industries". And you will need to justify why the rest of the economy doesn't matter to you.

    At #23, I had asked (and you have not yet answered)

    Do you want to be part of the group that pays for the damage costs of someone else's fossil fuel use, part of the group that is happy to let someone else pay for damage caused by your use of fossil fuels while you get the benefits, or some other group?

    It is looking more and more as if you want to be part of the group that is happy to let someone else pay for damage caused by your use of fossil fuels while you get the benefits. Your "number of industries" that you want to protect from damage are likely the ones that provide you with those benefits. And the part of the economy that you want to ignore is likely the part that makes others suffer from the costs of fossil fuel use.

    In comment #56 I gave a list of historical events. Every one covers changes that will have winners and losers. If you get to choose which parts of the economy to include in a cost-benefit analysis, then you can make any one of those look like a good change or a bad change.

    To choose which evidence you will consider on the basis of what you like leads you down the path of motivated reasoning.

    Up your game. Stop making vague assertions that mean nothing when examined closely.

  32. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

    John, it’s far worse than that.

    The Arctic had less sea ice last year than any other year on record.

    There, I've said it. It has gone totally unreported.

    NOAA's Arctic Report Card, Jeremy Mathis, Emily Osborne, National Snow & Ice Data Center, Eric Holthaus, Grist, the National Geographic, Brad Plumer, Vox, they all decided, together with endless more people, against releasing this key climate change data to the public.

    Axel Schweiger at PIOMAS tried to sugar the pill by claiming 2017 volume tied with 2012 for the lowest on record, but later conceded it was in fact lower by about 5%.

    Don't believe me? Check out the very–very downplayed info in the 2nd paragraph at

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Link fixed. Note that "annually averaged" sea ice volume qualification. Not such an easy concept for public grasp compared to seaice maximum and minimums.

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

    Alchemyst @18, interesting information on mortality rates for various sources of electricity. However the most relevent  comparison is really nuclear against wind and solar power, and there the gap isn't so huge. I assume solar power deaths are installers falling off roofs! And yes the mortality rate per trillion watts is the important thing.

    But again, remember most nuclear power is currently in well run countries like America and France. Also, its not just about mortality rates. Chernobyl polluted large areas of land, and decimated the Ukraines agricultural exports for years.

    I think it's also a psychological perception issue. Nuclear accidents are scary events, even although very uncommon. Its similar to islamic terrorism in western countries. The public struggle to realise deaths from these things are low, measured against population, or watts of electricity. Not that this makes either acceptable things of course.

    It won't be enough to say "safety has been improved". I suggest it will need something distinctly new to win over the public. However right now wind and solar power is proving popular with generating companies,  and results like this speak larger than theoretcial claims.

    Sorry for blathering on as well. But its an interesting issue.

  34. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Lets suppose the you have 100% efficient carbon tax and no action to reduce carbon. Everyone gets the money they spent on carbon tax directly back. Its an odd and unnecessary circle but if money doesnt leak, then where is the harm?

    Of course it is massively disruptive if in fact consumers/generators react by switching to other energy forms. But again the question, does that harm the economy? Locally yes - collapse of coal mining in UK under Thatcher has communities still in recovery mode, but did it damage the economy of UK?

    I would say much of the resistance is fact due to FUD or worse from the FF industry. You point to Europe, but they took steps under Kyoto and brought in ETS (as did say NZ with its abundant hydro) instead. There are pro and cons to ETS versus carbon tax (especially when there is a big defector like the US), but it is incorrect to say other nations have done nothing. The US is the big non-actor and its failure to do anything ( or even exploiting others ETS) is the major problem.

    And back to incrementalism - it is pretty obvious that increasing carbon emissions at rate we have done has had a serious backfire that needs to be redressed very quickly. I strongly suspect the Popper would say that when untended consequences from failure of incrementalism occur, then reverse is a desirable option.

  35. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    michael sweet, nigelj, scaddenp & Bob Loblaw

    I have obviously hit a nerve with my comments regarding "harming the economy". 

    First of all, that comment was initially addressed at Bob Loblaw and then scaddenp regarding his graphic. But I was really only addressing the imposition of a carbon tax at a level that would have deleterious effects on the economy.  No I am not going to get involved in defining "harming the economy" because it is too complex an issue.   You do not need "peer reviewed articles" to know that a $150/tonne carbon tax would have serious repercussions on a number of industries, just a little common sense.  My understanding is that Bob Loblaw is not suggesting this level but I suspect that all his proposed direct costs would in fact result in a level at least this high. 

    My principal point was that governments have the resources to make those decisions on what will and will not harm the economy.  As part of that process they will have to convince their electorate.

    I am not also going to attempt to research "peer reviewed articles" that show what damage certain environmental policies would have on the economy for the very same reason.  This is a very complex matter that cannot be resolved on a climate website.  Let governments decide whether "peer reviewed articles" on the costs of conversion are realistic.  My understanding is that the Lord Stern report has been severely criticized by a number of his peers.

    So cutting to the quick, here is the question:  If the proposed steps have not yet been taken by any country in the world (other than promises to do so by 2030), then why has it not been done to date?

    Why  has not Germany, France or Sweden taken the required steps to date?

    My guess, is that politically it would be impossible for them to do so.  Politically they can sign the Paris Agreement but they cannot politically follow through.

    That is only a guess but here are three forward looking countries. Clearly all of them are taking steps but have they have not done what is required of them even to meet a 2C target.  My understanding is that Germany is having serious issues politically with the issue of coal.  But why is Sweden not there with their abundance of hydro to assist them?

    If this is so simple and does not pose any danger to the economy (Lord Stern notwithstanding), then why cannot we point to these countries as having "achieved the goal"?

    To me the answer is that the solutions would not be approved by their electorates.  So I am back to democracy and incrementalism.  Do what you can do.      

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

    The Abbot paper  looks for problems but does not indicate that are solutions already known but possibly in need of development. He is basing his arguments on current designs of light water U-235 reactors where there are alternatives that have been used in the past and future designs. He also only discusses liquid metal cooled breeder reactors where alternativea are currently in development.

    With regards to my diagram of elemental abundances I believe that it is the same one that Abbott used both cite USGS

    Abbott starts with a premise that future nuclear reactors will be the same design and require the same construction materials as currently used, however there are alternatives. 

    Halfnium is used as a control rod /scram material, yet boron is an abundant and cheap alternative and has certainly been used in the past> Other alternatives are also used, silver and cadmium, gadolinium(bit rare)

    Zirconium used for cladding the fuel rods, stainless steel , not as good but is also used.

    He bases his arguments on U-235 (points 8,9 10)
     fuel cycle which amounts to 0.711% of uranium. Yet thorium is 400 times as abundant as U-235.

    Thorium is not fissile and is converted to U-233 in the reactor. This is done by using an initial charge of U-235 (or the dreaded Pu-239) after which as the U-235 is burned up it is replaced at a ratio of slightly grater than 1 to 1 by U-233. 

    Demonstration breeder reactors have been operated using U-238 fuel as well as thorium.. Many have used liquid metal as the coolant (eg sodium which is explosive in contact with water) yet in Julich, Germany a gas cooled reactor was operated for 20 years, but it did have a number of problems with contamination leaks. However pebble bed reactors do not need control rods (no halfnium) since as the temperature rises the reactivity of the reactor decreases and so do not go to meltdown. The fuel is clad in carbon and silicon carbide so no Zirconium is required. There has been an other prototype in Germany but that is shut down, There is a third currently operational in China, with another in construction.

    India is currently constructing a thorium heavy water cooled reactor.

    Thorium  technology is largly undeveloped so we cannot write it off nor can we state that it will be the saviour. It still has the uranium cycle problems of public acceptance, potential bad practices. However as thought, to my knowledge there has only been one accidentaldeath in a civilian US Nuclear facility in the last 50 years (citation required but it was an NRC announcement some 5 years ago when it happened) and it was a non nuclear accident.

    It is hard to believe but take a look at this reference

    This is far too big a topic for me to complete and I realise that I have rambled a bit and no I will not provide peer reviewed citations because I do not have the time. 

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

    I think there should be a nuclear article to collect comments. As it is we have the same comments over again every two or three months.   The problem is that if I write the article it will be negative.  In general I do not like to read negative articles so It would be better for someone who likes nuclear to write the article.  So far the people who support nuclear have not been willing to put in the effort.

  38. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "What the public most thinks most about are jobs, education, health care, pensions, taxes, etc etc ie. the "economy". So "harming the economy" is very relevant. "

    But the point is that harming the environment will hurt society and economy. I am continuing to harp on about the fact that you are concerned about "harm to economy" from decarbonizing (with little to support that contention), but unconcerned about damage climate change does the economy if you dont address it. Economic studies to date show better to mitigate than adapt. Where is your peer-reviewed reports to show the opposite.

    I agree that decarbonizing will disrupt the economy. (FF industries go to the wall). I am unconvinced it will harm the economy. Show me the studies that show more harm from decarbonizing than adaption.

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

    I am neutral on nuclear power - looks a good option for some parts of the world, but Abbot's review is pretty sobering. The lack of response from the nuclear industry is also rather worrying. Perhaps new technology will change things.

    However, the biggest issue with nuclear world wide would seem to be lack of investors -some strong doubt as to whether investing in nuclear will make a reasonable return (if at all). If Alchemyst is so sure about the technology, then by all means buy some shares in companies wanting to build one. For me though, my money is in hydro, solar and geothermal which have all done well for me.

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

    I agree with PC @13. A world with thousands of reactors becomes problematic for numerous reasons, but we shouldn't completely rule out nuclear energy. For example if a country doesn't have other good options, but they appear to be in a minority.

    I wonder if France developed nuclear power, because of limited hydro and coal reserves, and a desire not to be reliant on importing coal from germany? This is just a pure guess, and could well be wrong, but does anyone know, I couldn't find anything.

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

    M Sweet @12

    I think an article on nuclear power would make sense. It would provide some background information on strengths and weaknesses, and as you say its a place to direct nuclear commentary. In this sense, it ensures peoples opinions on nuclear  aren't simply being ignored which is important in terms of balance  and website image. 

    Theres an old saying "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is". I think nuclear power had near miraculous promise, but I remember thinking at the time it looked too good to be true. We have discovered a whole range of downsides, and other alternative electricity sources. 

    Best not to be closed minded of course, but I think its entirely up to the nuclear industry to provide a safe afforable version of nuclear power. I hear this talk of thorium, but if its as good as the advocates claim, why isn't it a reality?

  42. Philippe Chantreau at 01:39 AM on 19 February 2018
    The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    France is certainly one of the best examples to see what widespread application of nuclar energy looks like. It was a success and then hit some limits. One of them is time: the plants are all ageing, they need extensive work to go on for another 50 years, which is quite a short time span in the grand scheme of things, especially considering that the reactors will be something to manage in some form or another for pretty much ever. Ironically, nuclear energy production is also suffering from climate change: as the waters used by the plants (outisde the closed circuit of the core) tend to be warmer and the temperatures increase, they are faced with restrictions as to how much water can be released and how warm these waters can be. Constructions of new plants has not been very well received: the one built in Finland is 10 years behind schedule and billions over budget, reflecting poorly on the industry's capability to deliver, even from actors with one of the highest expertise in the matter. The costs are extremely high. Although the problem of waste remains, it is notable that France never had a major incident, unlike the US and Russia. Japan also has an excellent record, except for the Fukushima event, which was owed mostly to poor siting. It is highly dubious, however, that such safety performance could be maintained across a wide range of less well functioning states if nuclear was to be generalized through the world as a main energy source. It shouldn't be ouright ruled out inall circumstances but it is certainly no miracle solution.

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

    Alchemyst at 10,

    I note that you have cited Wikipedia twice but have no peer reviewed data to answer my peer reviewed study that concluded that nuclear is completely impractical.  I will also point out that no-one has published a response to Abbott 2011.  Nuclear proponents appear to have conceded that Abbott is correct.  You only responded to 2 of Abbotts 14 issues regarding nuclear.  Presumably you think the others are correct.  (Note: Wikipedia references to percent abundance of materials in the crust are not the same as economically recoverable reserves).

    France has announced that they are expanding renewable energy and reducing nuclear.

    When I go to Brave New Climate, which nuclear supporters used to cite as the go to web site for nuclear information, I see that nothing in support of nuclear has been posted in over 18 months.   Barry Brooks (owner of Brave New Climate) was one of the reviewers of Abbott 2011 so he must have been convinced.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have asked nuclear supporters to write an article in support of nuclear for Skeptical Science.  No one who supports nuclear feels that it is worth their time to write such an article.  You are welcome to write the article.  If you cite peer reviewed data (Wikipedia is not good enough) it will probably get posted.  

    I have thought about writing an article based on Abbott 2011 so that we have one location for all the pro-nuclear blather.  Do other readers think it would be worth having such an article?

    Here is a peer reviewed article that shows there are enough materials to manufacture all the needed wind and solar power generators.  There was not enough neodynium for the wind turbines so new wind turbines have been designed that do not use neodynium.

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

    Alchemyst @10, 

    People seem to get very passionate about advocating nuclear power for some reason. Its almost a little extreme.

    Please note there may be large quantities of hafnium in sea water and in zircon (?) etc but this gets expensive to extract, that is probably the significant point. Its the same issue with minerals in general, and they are all essentially limited finite resources ultimately.

    And regardless of resource issues, not many countries are building nuclear reactors, due to capital costs, time delays and so on. You can't force it upon them.

    "You should read the news a bit more Iran and North Korea already have nuclear power"

    Iran only has one nuclear reactor fully operational last year I think, and gets most of its electricity by far from gas and other sources.

    But the real point is thousands of reactors around the world will create a real global safety risk, especially in badly run countries. These sorts of accidents don't respect borders. You could do a complicated costs benefit analysis, but I still don't like it too much.

    I confess I grew up during the three mile island scare and chernobyl, and these things imprinted a little on me and made me sceptical, but clearly these disasters were still pretty serious. I think I have it in perspective, and the safety issue is still a very real concern.  Chernobyl needed a concrete encasement costing billlions, and this already leaks, and needs to be replaced every 100 years basically forever.

    France is a well run country, but others aren't and will have slack safety standards. You would need to be very careful in earthquake vulnerable countries, because one blunder with the design of the building and its all over. Have you seen what building standards are like in third world countries? Its shockingly poor and corrupted.

    I think the nuclear advocates need a safer technology, and then you will find people will listen.

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

    Sweet at 03:16, 13 feb

    Please look at the graph in Wiki

    There is far more Halnium on earth than there is uranium.

    Halfnium is used as a neutron absorber in a nuclear reactor and absorbers are only necessary in small amounts in civilian reactors. Its use is mainly needed for naval reactors where high power to weight ratio is essential and the fuel is highly enriched and so a greater proportion of  neutron absorber is required. Civilian reactors use low enriched fuel less than 5% U235 and use far less absorber than a naval reactor. Neutron absorbers are only a minor component in a civilian reactor (but very important) In fact netron absorbers lower the reactivity of the reactor and so the leas used the better. For civilian reactors there is absolutley no need to use halfnium it is a design choice since there are many other absorbers that are also used such as boron (100 times more abundant than uranium) and  considerably cheaper than hafnium, gadolinium and samarium. At a push cadmium may be used but is toxic.

    I  could go through the rest of your diatribe but will give you a couple examples, 70 % of the electricity generated by France is from nuclear power (40 % of total energy) If France can do it the the rest of the world can.

    . It has found space to put them, and exports electricity to Britain and Germany.

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

    You should read the news a bit more Iran and North Korea already have nuclear power

    Now for the finite uranium resource. In the current type of reactors U-235 is almost exclusively the only fuel. It is present at 0.711% in natural uranium and using current enrichment techniques just over a half of the material is extraced into the fuel, the rest remains in the tails for future extraction.

    The rest of the uranium, mainly U-238 can be used in an other design of reactor. which leads us to 99 times the current fuel resouce. In addition thorium can also be used to fuel reators in which there is a further ten fold abundance on earth.

    It is not the lack of resource that limits the use of nuclear power but the public acceptance and the improved technology that that would require.

  46. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    I think a lot of this climate denialism is founded in political ideology, and fear of change, which goes deep in some people, along with fear of giving up even a little financial benefit for the sake of environmental goals. These attitudes are complex and partly learned and partly genetic, with plenty of science on this issue.

    However we just can't avoid change sometimes. We would all be better off if we let science guide us on matters of change, because its the most rigorous information we have. That would be the main thing.

    And everyone likes to make a profit. Renewable electricity is now profitable, and watch everyone eventually accept this and get on board, apart from the complete crazies.

  47. One Planet Only Forever at 09:00 AM on 18 February 2018
    How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Further thoughts related to my comment at 28.

    This issue could also be seen as a conflict between Teaching/Education and Indoctrination/Brainwashing.

    Teaching and education today is very different from the past. That is because, when performed properly teaching/education is updated as new awareness and more complete or more correct understanding develops.

    Attempts to maintain previous understandings can be seen as being the result of effective indoctrination/brainwashing rather than genuine educating that leaves the learner open to new learning, or as a result of personal resistance to new awareness and understanding (a self-imposed indoctrination/brainwashing).

    And new awareness and understanding that contradicts a perceived to be personally beneficial belief could even be challenged as being an attempt to indoctrinate/brainwash people (that could be how it is perceived by people with a motivation to hold onto beliefs that the new awareness and understanding contradicts).

    That would explain the high percentage of highly educated people in regions like Alberta choosing to disagree with the developed better awareness and understandings of climate science and arguing that 'they do not have to give up their potential for benefit just because of claims about the future developed by climate science', after all, they can vote in their preferred leaders and profit from the activity, so it must be justified.

    Regional socio-economics can result in indoctrination/brainwashing of many people including people who have completed high levels of education. To change their minds, they would have to admit they have allowed themselves to desire unacceptable things, admit their developed desired ways to pursue benefit are harmful to others, and admit that their perceived success/superiority relative to others is not deserved. Those can be powerful motivations to not change their minds.

  48. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

    On second thoughts, electricity generated by wood pellets and the like probably wouldn't respond fast enough to help with wind intermmitency issues, power outages or sudden peak load situations?

    Humanity is sure in the deep end over climate issues, and making sense of solutions. However we have quite a range of possible negative emissions systems, and promoting all of them equally may be the best option right now, and they will add together.

  49. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

    BECCS has its merits, but there just probably isn't enough land to scale it up massively. Biofuels would have to take priority over BECCS, as they are the only realistically potential way of dealing with aircraft emissions.

    The article also gave no indictation of whether there are enough geological formations suitable for storing such massive quantities of CO2 from plantations the size of India. Storing emissions like this also looks expensive to me.

    However BECCS has one advantage not mentioned. Wind and solar have intermittency problems, and BECCS could resolve those perfectly if it was perhaps 10% - 20% of electricity generation. The land areas required to do this might be realistic in scale, and you are getting at least some absorption of atmospheric carbon. So maybe BECCS is destined to be part of an overall mix of negative emissions technologies and systems.

    Sequestering soil carbon seems an attractive option to me, because its just a change of technology using existing land, and doesn't require additional land or huge changes in crops. Its almost purely a question of convincing 570 million farmers. But a lot of farmers already use no till or reduced till farming, and regenerative farming has a range of benefits in addition to the climate issue. Its a huge scaling up challenge in terms of education, but at least there are no hard land limits like BECCS, and there are no obvious downsides.

  50. One Planet Only Forever at 04:48 AM on 18 February 2018
    How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    As a professional engineer I was never opposed to climate science. I was less aware than I should have been, mainly because the socio-economic systems were not raising awareness of the issue.

    Increased awareness and understanding of climate science was natural for me as an engineer dedicated to constantly increasing my awareness and understanding of things related to my works as a civil and structural engineer. Regional extreme climate design conditions are the basis of much of the designs developed by civil and structural engineers. So the rapid pace of climate change potentially creating unanticipated climate conditions became a serious concern of mine.

    As I was becoming more aware of, and better understanding, climate science I was amazed to see others in my profession in Alberta being dismissive of climate science and even being angry at anyone who tried to increase proper awareness and understanding of climate science.

    That behaviour needed an explanation. I also have a MBA, and learned about the way that pursuers of wealth can develop damaging desires and try to justify them (usually wanting the items I was engineering to be cheaper and done quicker and not liking me pointing out the reasons they could not get what they wanted). It led me to wonder about the power of socio-economic situations on the way people think, and to date I have reached the following understanding, consistent with many other presentations of human behaviour.

    The socio-economic environment a person developed their ways of thinking in can challenge their ability or willingness to change their minds about climate science, or many other matters that they have a Private Interest in.

    A Developed Lack of Concern for Others or the Future of Humanity can be the result of a competitive socio-economic environment (a desire for the best possible personal Present any way that can be gotten away with). And that lack of concern can lead to unacceptable ways of deciding what is acceptable.

    People can be easily tempted to believe that acceptability should be determined by comparing personal (Private Interest) perceptions of joy/benefit to the perceived harm/detriment that actions cause, with the personal conclusion being that things are acceptable as long as the perceived personal joy/benefit obtained exceeds the assessment of harm done (as the person pursuing benefit sees it).

    And competition to appear to be better-off ruled by popularity and profitability, rather than competition to be understood to be most helpful ruled by Good Reason, develops more people who are more determined to believe that unacceptable way of determining the acceptability of attitudes and actions.

    And groups of people who share that unacceptable way of determining acceptability can be seen to gather together in opposition to any developing better understanding that contradicts their preferred, but understandably unacceptable, Private Interest beliefs.

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