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Climate Hustle

Republican politicians aren't climate scientists or responsible leaders

Posted on 28 October 2014 by dana1981

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to become the Senate Majority Leader after the forthcoming election on November 4th, although despite hailing from conservative Kentucky, McConnell is in a very tight race. The Cincinnati Enquirer editorial board recently had a long discussion with McConnell and tried to pin him down on the subject of global warming.

McConnell wouldn’t directly answer whether he believes in climate change.

Enquirer’s editorial board volleyed several questions about what it would take to convince him of climate change. He turned the subject every time to jobs. McConnell said he believes imposing regulations to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for climate change would only hurt America and not mitigate what other countries, such as China, are doing...

“We can debate this forever,” McConnell said. “George Will had a column in the last year or so pointing out that in the 70s, we were concerned the ice age was coming. I’m not a scientist. I’m interested in protecting Kentucky’s economy.”

Leaving aside McConnell’s reference to the 1970s ice age myth, the cop-out about not being a scientist is a strange and dangerous one. Most members of Congress aren’t scientists, or doctors, or military experts, or teachers, and yet they set our country’s science, health care, defense, and education policy. Usually they do this by listening to the experts in each subject, which is the smart approach.

For example, as Lee Papa has pointed out, McConnell had no hesitations in expressing his opinions about dealing with the threat of Ebola and deferring to the experts at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

I’m not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world ... I think we ought to listen to what the CDC thinks they need either in terms of financing or certainly they’ll decide the procedures for travel and all the rest. I think we need to follow the advice of the experts who know how to fight scourges like this

These comments stand in stark contrast to McConnell’s unwillingness to take a position on human-caused global warming, or to listen to the climate scientist experts on the subject.

McConnell is far from alone – this refrain has become one of the most popular responses among Republican politicians when asked about the climate. “I’m not a scientist” is used to abdicate responsibility for mitigating the immense risks posed by climate change. This abdication would be considered unacceptable in the face of other threats like ISIS and Ebola, and the same should be true for global warming.

When it comes to climate change, the expert consensus is clear. Humans are causing global warming, and the resulting climate changes (more damaging extreme weather, for example) on the whole are harmful and dangerous. There are ways to reduce carbon pollution at a lower cost than paying for the immense damages caused by unabated climate change. In fact, there are small government, free market solutions that appeal to political conservatives and would reduce carbon pollution while growing the economy.

The good news is that the Democratic Party is taking climate change seriously. President Obama has shown strong leadership on the issue in his second term, Democratic Senators are drawing increasing attention to it, and many Democratic candidates running for office are speaking up about the need for climate action. Climate Hawks Vote has a good list of those candidates.

Unfortunately, many Republican politicians receive substantial campaign funding from fossil fuel companies. Many also rely on the most conservative Americans as their voting base, and those voters have been misinformed about climate change by the conservative media.

Because of that media bias, climate change is treated as a political, cultural, and ideological topic in the United States instead of a scientific and risk management issue. In the rare case where Republican politicians show responsible leadership in trying to tackle global warming, their jobs are threatened. Thus rather than showing leadership to address our greatest long-term threat, Republican politicians resort to abdicating responsibility.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 72:

  1. Republicans always have been Penny Wise and Dollar Foolish ..... They'll spend 10 future dollars just to save a single penny today

    It is always, always ALWAYS cheaper to mitigate pollution than it is to pay for the health and environmental damges later. I have yet to find a single example or have anyone point out an example of this not being true

    You would think that after the trillions Society has spent cleaning up just lead andf asbestos pollution they'd have learned their lesson but apparnently not ....

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  2. Perhaps the politicians have stolen the rmantra of "I'm not a scientist" from the many commenters on blogs such as this where, if a view with which they do not agree is given, it is dismissed with the comment "he/she is not a climate scientist"

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  3. Ashton, can you point me to an example?

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  4. Ashton...  This issue there, as I see it, comes when people are making sweeping claims about the science, in contradiction to the overwhelming body of climate science, without having any sort of background in the field.

    It's one thing to not be a scientist, or have expertise in fields outside of climate science, and try to explain your understanding of the research. It becomes something completely different when you try to reject what 97% of the experts say. 

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  5. McConnell is not an economist, yet he'll be more than happy to provide you with an enormous amount of economic opinion.

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  6. Once one becomes a partisan, whether this week's flavor is labelled "democrat", "repblican" or "tiramisu", creditibility is lost.

    Politics is about power, and altering the perception of truth among the 80% who are too busy, who don't care or are too young to see the lizard behind the curtain.

     

    When McConnell does this:

    "McConnell wouldn’t directly answer whether he believes in climate change."

    he means roughly this:

    He understands that his political survival depends on not acknowledging climate change, and almost certainly understands that it's happening. Thus he can't say anything of substance. Most likely, he is waiting for his constituents and a few donors to alter their position, at which point he can say "well, I'm no scientist, but y'know when I was a kid there were glaciers" etc etc

    There are (many) politicians truly stupid enough to believe the denialist lines, but not all. But what all sucessful pols have in common is figuring out how to get elected and re-elected.


    There's also the economic issue: someone whose job disapeared is not thinking about the climate in 2100 (which is when it will truly hit, if it continues). They are thinking that they'll lose their home, their family and the little bit of security they've managed to carve out.  Demands to "end international trade", "end first world overconsumption" (compared to some Western blogger's perception of 3rd world lifestyle) sound like the guy with the "Word ends in 2012" sandwich board.


    It would be smarter to engage with people like McConnell privately, explain what's going on and develop a working relationship.  That way, we have a hope of getting economically viable ways to deal with CC in place, rather than fantasies.  We certainly won't get far with train wrecks like creating a pump'n dump scam to produce solar panels at a higher unit production cost than the Chinese sell at retail.  Curiously, a major campaign donor just happened to be a key investor, and this same investor was given priority over taxpayers when the balloon inevitabtly popped.   That's politics in operation.

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  7. A small bright side of this is that 5 years ago McConnell would have said that he did not think climate change was happening, or that it was a hoax.  The current claim by deniers that they are not scientists is a step up from there.

    I teach High School Chemistry.   5 years ago if we discussed climate change there were always two or three students in each class who insisted that scientists were liars and climate change was a hoax.  I have not had one of those for two years and only one three years ago.  People see the changes around them.  After 2014 sets a new record for hottest year even McConnell and Inhofe will say they are concerned about AGW, they will just not want to do anything.

     The question is how long will it take to get people excited.  Hopefully it will not be too late.

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  8. We should imagine, perhaps, that 'I'm not a scientist' is a delaying strategy, to be held until the transition from Democracy to Dollarocracy is complete.  Afterward, they won't have to pretend anymore to care what the 'voter' thinks, and can brush such pesky questions off.

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  9. No offense, Dana, but your article seems to give the impression that McConnell's Democratic opponent embraces the science, which is certainly not the case.

    "President Obama’s new EPA rule is more proof that Washington isn’t working for Kentucky. Coal keeps the lights on in the Commonwealth, providing a way for thousands of Kentuckians to put food on their tables. When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I will fiercely oppose the President’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my number one priority.”

    alisonforkentucky.com/newsroom/press-releases/grimes-statement-on-the-epas-new-overreaching-regulations/

    Any politician advocating for tougher EPA regulations in Kentucky couldn't get elected dogcatcher, and running briskly away from the President's position (which is pretty weak, sad to say ... he is still wedded to the fantasy of "clean coal") is the only reason that the election is close.

    See also West Virginia, where Joe Manchin omitted to even endorse a sitting President of his own party to get elected.

     

    As a side issue, I am increasingly uncomfortable with the message "receives funds from fossil-fuel interests"  as if it was always pertinent. James Inhofe of Oklahoma recieves tons of money rom the energy companies ... but is it at all likely that all we need do is make him a better offer to have him change his position? Characterizing your political opponents as cynical and venal is something I expect of "skeptics", but I do expect better from you.

     

    Best wishes,

    Mole

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  10. Longjohn. .. there is a huge difference between co2 and asbestos.   CO2 is not pollution.  Neither is heat.

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  11. Both are hazardous to human well-being, if in very different ways and concentrations.

    While the links between changing climate and things like hurricanes and jetstream patterns are controversial, linking AGW to increased risk of drought, heatwaves and enhanced precipitation is certainly not. If you disagree, present some evidence.

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  12. Donny: Heat is not pollution? Think again:

    Anthropogenic heat flux

    see main text

    "Globally, in 2005, this anthropogenic heat flux (AHF) was +0.028 W/m2, or only about 1% of the energy flux being added to Earth because of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. The spatial distribution of AHF, derived from national energy-use data and population density, is shown to the right. Although small globally, current AHF averaged over the continental United States and western Europe is, respectively, +0.39 and +0.68 W/m2, or up to 40% of the local forcing from carbon dioxide. A projection of 2040 AHF is shown in the bottom panel."

    I short words: today this is a local pollution problem, but still is only a tiny part of the global warming problem. However, given our current energy consumption/production growth rate, in a few decades it will be serious regional problem and a moderate global one.

    In a few centuries it may be worse than the greenhouse gas pollution, and eventually even endanger the habitability of the planet, because, unlike the enhanced greenhouse effect, there are no natural limits to how big it may become provided an abundant nonrenewable energy source (like nuclear fusion) becomes avaivable.

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  13. Asbestos is harmful in any dose.  Heat and co2 are required to live.   Should water be considered a pollutant since it too is harmful in huge amounts? 

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  14. This is irrelevant to Longjohn's point. His point is that history is full of examples where it would have been cheaper to mitigate hazards (be it pollution or whatever) rather than clean up afterwards. Arguments about what is a pollutants is just semantics - something to entertain lawyers not scientists.

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  15. Donny, I notice you havent taken my earlier challenge to say what mitigation measures you would entertain. I have little interest in arguing with someone whose position on climate is based on ideology rather than data.

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  16. Scaddenp@ 14.... and why do you think he was making that point after reading this article?  It's not at all semantics.   The EPA can only regulate pollutants.   

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  17. Scaddenp@ 15....  mitigate what? 

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  18. Donny... The EPA is tasked with the protection of human health and the environment. There is nothing specific that says they "only regulate pollutants."

    There is a large series of document written regarding the EPA's endangerment findings should you care to be interested.

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  19. Donny, I mean methods aimed at reducing CO2 emissions - political actions that would have this result.

    I agree that interpretation of an Act means semantics, but what he said didnt mention EPA and was taking in general about the lessons learnt from mitigating hazards versus clean up later. If one Act isnt up to it, then government needs to write one that will or amend it.

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  20. Donny @17:

    "pollutant (p-ltnt)
    A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.
    The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved."

    Further, as you relate the question to the EPA, the EPA is required by legislation to regulate noise pollution, and gases that destroy ozone in the stratosphere, neither of which are pollutants in the sense that you would have it.  Clearly, therefore, your sense of the word is inapplicable to the EPA.  Finally, the EPA's ability to regulate CO2 as a pollutant has been challenged in the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court found that CO2 was a pollutant in the sense required by the EPA.  Ergo you are also wrong in law.

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  21. Interesting.  EPA Carbon Pollution Standards.

    It's seems that Tom is right once again. The EPA regulates CO2 as a "pollutant."

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  22. Tom.... I know that. .... this is the reason I brought it up.   I disagree with their take on co2.

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  23. Donny... The EPA's endangerment findings are there to read. You can disagree but they do have an overwhelming body of science and the full weight of law on their side.

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  24. Scaddenp@ 19.... take most of the grant money away from the climate change crowd and invest in renewable energy innovations.  Let's just assume that we are going to have a .1 or .2 per decade temperature rise and start solving the issue. 

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  25. Laws are funny things and so is evidence. ... both more fluid than you might think.   Rob.... I thought you said it didn't matter if co2 was a pollutant or not. ..

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  26. "take most of the grant money away from the climate change crowd and invest in renewable energy innovations."

    There's a load of dung if I ever saw one. That would disappoint skeptics, who are the ones claiming that the science isn't settled and that we need more research. How about diverting 20% of fossil fue companies net profits? Much more efficient, no doubt.

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  27. If we reduce our co2 emissions by reducing the amount of energy we use and try and institute new energy forms.... there will be sacrifices. ... fish with hydroelectric dams.... birds and wind mills. ... temperature related deaths will increase.   I know people in my area are all talk... they don't actually want to sacrifice when it comes down to it.

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  28. Donny...  "I thought you said it didn't matter if co2 was a pollutant or not."

    That's not what I said. What I said was, "There is nothing specific that says they 'only regulate pollutants.'"

    My mistake was thinking that the endangerment finding was separate from the definition of "pollutant." Tom and the EPA page showed I was incorrect.

    And, no, law and science are not that fluid. You're making stuff up again just to suit your purposes.

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  29. Or we could take Phils money. .... this is exactly what I am talking about. ... people wanting other people to pay.  Guess what Phil if the fossil fuel companies are making too much money then make it easier for more competition.   

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  30. Phil. ... we can't buy our way into more climate certainty..... only time can give us that. 

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  31. Rob you are funny. ... you say laws aren't fluid I say they are. ... but it's me that is making something up?  At least have a fair discussion.

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    Moderator Response:

    [Dikran Marsupial] Please everybody, lets get the discussion back to a less personal tone and keep the discussion factual.  Any further content-free comments, such as this one, will be deleted.

  32. Donny @31, here is another (less tendentious) definition of pollutant for you:

    "In general, substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource. A pollutant may cause long- or short-term damage by changing the growth rate of plant or animal species, or by interfering with human amenities, comfort, health, or property values. Pollutants may be classified by various criteria: (1) By the origin: whether they are natural or man-made (synthetic). (2) By the effect: on an organ, specie, or an entire ecosystem. (3) By the properties: mobility, persistence, toxicity. (4) By the controllability: ease or difficulty of removal."

    As you say, laws can be changed.  Therefore despite the fact that CO2 meets standard dictionary definitions of "pollutant", and is so considered by the EPA and the Supreme Court, it really comes down to whether or not CO2 emission causes harm.  What is obliquely claimed by those to claim CO2 is not a pollutant is that CO2 does not harm; whereas those who claim it is are obliquely asserting that it is.  If, however, that is what you want to debate, don't hide it behind an apparent discussion of semantics.  Argue the case directly on the appropriate thread, preferably after reading the articles involved and related comments.

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  33. Well said Mr Curtis. ... I agree with your breakdown. 

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  34. Donny @24:

    "take most of the grant money away from the climate change crowd and invest in renewable energy innovations. Let's just assume that we are going to have a .1 or .2 per decade temperature rise and start solving the issue."

    That is really two suggestions.  The second, assuming that temperature increase will not be greater than current mean rates of increase and are likely to be half of that over the forthcoming century simply ignores the relevant science.

    The former, is even more absurd.  The current investment in climate research in the US is $2,658 million annually.  Much of that is used for launching satellites, and a fair portion is already used in research on "renewable innovations", but we can ignore that.  

    The current profits of US oil companies are $20 billion for the top three alone.  They already, no doubt, spend significantly on research for more efficient extraction, and to find new reserves, money that is counted as business expenses, and hence not taken out of profits, but we will ignore that.  It follows that for the top three oil companies alone to match the proposed research into renewables, they only need to commit 13.3% of their profits which a small price to pay.  And that is just the top three oil companies. 

    GE has announced an intention to spend $10 billion through to 2020 on energy research.  That is 54% of the climate change research budget from just one company.  Other energy companies will also be spending.  Although GE calls the funding part of its "ecoimagination" budget, it will be spent on making gas turbines more efficient, and improving fracking technology (ie, on fossil fuels).

    The idea that problems with climate change can be solved just by throwing research money at renewable energy is already close to magical thinking.  It makes the task harder from the get go by setting a higher bar for a successful solution (ie, one that undercuts fossil fuels in price).  To pretend that doing so on current federal research budgets, which are already massively out spent by fossil fuel and energy company research budgets is fanciful.  If just throwing money at research will generate a successful solution (the assumption in such suggestions), then throwing more money at research by fossil fuel companies will generate a counter solution.

    Consequently it is far better to raise the price of carbon emissions.  That way the private enterprise research money will be preferentially directed at solving the problem rather than making it worse.

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  35. “For example, as Lee Papa has pointed out, McConnell had no hesitations in expressing his opinions about dealing with the threat of Ebola and deferring to the experts at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

    I’m not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world ... I think we ought to listen to what the CDC thinks they need either in terms of financing or certainly they’ll decide the procedures for travel and all the rest. I think we need to follow the advice of the experts who know how to fight scourges like this"

    The post wrongly gives the impression that the Republican Party defers to expertise in areas other than climate change. The above quote would indicate that the experts recommend discontinuing flights from affected areas. There are no direct flights to the U.S. from these areas, and the experts have been quite clear in opposing travel bans. Climate change is not an outlier. It is completely justified to say that Republicans exist in an alternative reality that is driven by ideological expediency, rather than respect for facts.

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  36. The arguments above regarding whether or not CO2 is a pollutant seem to be due to imprecise use of English.  Clearly CO2 is not a pollutant per se on earth as without it the earth would not support life as we know it and it is an essential by product for mammalian metabolism as without it cells would not produce energy via entities such as the Krebs Cycle.  However too much CO2, like many things, could be classed as a pollutant.  This topic was covered extensively in Skeptical Science in 2010 (http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-CO2-a-pollutant.html)

    As John Cook said then "How we choose to define the word 'pollutant' is a play in semantics".  If adjectives had been used appropriately the above argument need never have occurred.

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  37. Ashton @36:

    "Clearly CO2 is not a pollutant per se on earth as without it the earth would not support life as we know it and it is an essential by product for mammalian metabolism as without it cells would not produce energy via entities such as the Krebs Cycle."

    Oddly, faeces and urine are also (indirectly) essential for life as we know it, and are certainly natural products of mammalian existence, just like CO2.  I have never yet seen that advanced as a reason to stop wasting money or sewage treatment plants, nor to not call a beach awash with sewage heavilly polluted.  Calling the third natural effluent of mammalian existence, the gas first discovered by its ability to extinguish animal life a pollutant is entirely untoward.  Quoting John Cook out of context does not change those facts.

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  38. Tom Curtis, the piece to which I refer is titled "Is CO2 a pollutant?"  You could hardly class that as being "out of context" when I'm commenting on the conversation beteen you and Donny on CO2  It is in fact far more appropriate as a posting place for Donny than the article to which you refer. 

    The entire quote from John Cook in "Is CO2 a pollutant" is:

    "How we choose to define the word 'pollutant' is a play in semantics. To focus on a few positive effects of carbon dioxide is to ignore the broader picture of its full impacts. The net result from increasing CO2 are severe negative impacts on our environment and the living conditions of future humanity"

    That suggests John Cook realises that CO2 can be both a pollutant and a non-pollutant

    I cannot see what I have quoted out of context for, as you will notice, John Cook uses the adjective "increasing" to define what constitutes CO2 as a pollutant.  That is exactly what I have done.  Perhaps you might prefer the example of  commensals and  pathogens where a commensal, or a "non-pollutant" can become a pathogen, "a pollutant" if it translocates to  an inappropriate place or is present in the appropriate place but in overwhelming amounts.

    Finally I am entirely mystified by your comment "Calling the third natural effluent of mammalian existence, the gas first discovered by its ability to extinguish animal life a pollutant is entirely untoward"   Surely that comment should be directed to  the EPA raather than to me?  As I thought I had made plain whether or not CO2 is classed as a pollutant largely depends on its concentration.  In addition, it seems a total non sequitur to your comment "I have never yet seen that advanced as a reason to stop wasting money or sewage treatment plants, nor to not call a beach awash with sewage heavilly polluted". It is very unclear, at least to me,  whether you regard CO2 as  a pollutant or not.

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  39. "That suggests John Cook realises that CO2 can be both a pollutant and a non-pollutant."

    It does not do this at all. It shows unambiguously (not "suggest") that J. Cook is aware of the roles of CO2 on Earth and of its overall negative effect when massively released on a short time scale. Ashton's spin tactics are of rather low quality. It is abundantly clear to me what Tom Curtis' opinion on what constitutes a pollutant is.

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  40. Ashton...  "Clearly CO2 is not a pollutant per se on earth..."

    Radioactivity at natural background levels is also safe. It's at increased levels that it becomes hazardous. CO2 at natural levels, seen over the past 10k years, is perfectly fine and necessary. But that doesn't mean that doubling natural concentrations of atmospheric CO2 is safe. In fact, it has been very clearly determined to have potentially severe consequences. 

    There is little doubt that a business-as-usual emissions path that takes us past 4C over preindustrial would be horrendous. All from a gas "without [which] the earth would not support life as we know it..."

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  41. Ashton...  "That suggests John Cook realises that CO2 can be both a pollutant and a non-pollutant."

    That is true of every substance known. In certain concentrations it is harmless. At other concentrations it causes harm. It's all of function of how we humans are changing the concentrations.

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  42. About Tom Curtis post #34, for those who did not follow the link, let's point out that the figure for research spending is on annual basis, whereas the oil companies profit number is a quarterly result.

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  43. Ashton @38, as the full quote of John Cook indicates, he was arguing that it was quite appropriate to call CO2 a pollutant.  You, however, quote him without quoting the second sentence and use that isolated quote to suggest that calling CO2 a pollutant was inappropriate.  Hence you were quoting him out of context.  To be more specific, you might reasonably quote Cook as supporting the view that it is a matter of indifference as to whether you call CO2 a pollutant, or not.  But that indifference does not support a condemnation of the use of the term as inappropriate, as you clearly try to force it to do when you write "If adjectives had been used appropriately the above argument need never have occurred."

    I apologize for my sentence which has caused you confusion.  I miswrote it, and had intended to indicate that it was entirely appropriate to call the third effluent polution.  I attribute my failure of copy editing to a bout of insomnia that has afflicted me over the last 24 hours (as you could probably determine from my posting times).

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  44. Donny says " people wanting other people to pay."

    That is not the meaning of the word "investment." I have no problem at all with fossil fuel companies getting a return on their renewable energy investments in the future. There has been discussions before on other threads of how utilities are run in the US, and it unfortunately boils down to private companies telling the public: "you buy me a power plant and then I'll run like it's entirely mine." Talk about having others pay.

    It reminds me of a situation in which mega banks and investment companies mismanage their money so badly that they're all about to go under and wreak most of the World economies along with themselves. So, the only option is using the public's money to salvage the whole mess. Having others pay. Such a bad thing, that is.

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  45. Tom@37,

     I once read an article (sorry, no cite) that discussed when sewers were first installed in major cities (specificly London).  Deniers at the time said sewers would be too expensive and the human manure was being used as fertilizer on nearby farms so it would be unfeasible to bild sewers to take it away.  New Your did not treat all its sewage until 1986!

    Do these arguments remind you about AGW skeptic arguments at all?  Sewage costs about 3% of GDP but most people feel that is a good investment.  If we invested 3% in combating CO2 pollution we would see great straides made in containing this problem.

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  46. Philippe... That echoes Steven Schneiders words quite well, where he said, "“We also knew that you had to stop using the atmosphere as an unpriced sewer to dump your smoke stack and tail pipe waste..."

    Also interesting is the fact that, at this point, what we're talking about is probably <2% of GDP. It's a very similar problem.

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  47. I'm at a loss to know how better to express  my view on CO2 other than stating again "However too much CO2, like many things, could be classed as a pollutant".   Prior to that I had said "CO2 per se is not a pollutant" Perhaps it would have been better if I had written "at low concentrations CO2 is not regarded as a pollutant but at high concentrations is regarded as a pollutant". I had thought my command of the English language was reasonable but it appears I was mistaken.

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  48. Michael Sweet @45, this may have been the article you had in mind, although as explained in the article, the original exposition (as an analogy for tackling climate) comes from Richard Alley in Earth: The operator's manual, which I highly recommend.

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  49. That 'Great Stink of London' article is an important analogy, in how waste can become a pollutant, and how sometimes the only way to deal with our common waste problem is 'commonly'.  When people say they don't want to pay for a common fix for our common gas waste problem because it empowers the 'big government' I generally ask "Did you use a toilet today?  If you did, did you feel that big government sucking away your freedoms?'.  These kinds of solutions become so universally expected that, today, its actually the Absence of a toilet, when you need one, that is mostly likely to engender a blistering harangue at 'that stupid government'.

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  50. Donny said "Longjohn. .. there is a huge difference between co2 and asbestos. CO2 is not pollution. Neither is heat."


    Wrong on all accounts.

    Noise Pollution
    Light Pollution

    Pollution can and is caused by anything. CO2 is a pollutant in the context of climate change and ocean acidification.

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