The Future That Won't be Denied

By Keith Kloor | June 27, 2012 9:00 am

Of all the postmortems on the recently concluded (and much maligned) Rio +20 Earth Summit, this observation strikes me as the smartest takeaway:

“I think the expectation that there is one document or one approach that can solve one of the major questions of our time “” how do you maintain economic growth and protect the environment? “” there’s not one paper that can do that,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones.

Going forward, if greens are going to play a meaningful role in debates and policies that address global environmental problems, then they are going to have to take this question seriously (instead of dismissing it), and come to terms with economic growth.  Many eco-minded commentators vaguely blamed the world’s governments for the failure of Rio +20, but that’s a gross oversimplification. For as Jeff Tollefson reported in Nature:

Throughout the meeting, the developing countries that make up the Group of 77 negotiating bloc (G77) objected to language that they felt might constrain their ability to grow and lift citizens out of poverty. In one case, the G77, along with the United States, blocked a European proposal to acknowledge the existence of global environmental thresholds that should not be surpassed. Such “˜planetary boundaries’ could include levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and acidification of the oceans. Developing countries also fought against commitments to pursue a green economy unless they were phrased in the context of economic and social development. For such nations, “inclusive growth and a rapid increase in per capita income levels are development imperatives”, declared Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his conference address.

You would never guess that such a development/environment gap existed if you read this hyperbolic essay by George Monbiot, which starts off:

It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations ““ the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia ““ could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth“, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses.

The efforts of governments are concentrated not on defending the living Earth from destruction, but on defending the machine that is destroying it.

This narrow, earth-centric mindset, combined with a hostility to economic growth, is marginalizing environmentalism. When I touched on that in this piece, some critics complained I was painting with a broad brush. I disagreed. In fact, the notion that economic growth can be compatible with environmental protection is, if anything, scorned by prominent figures in the environmental movement. In a recent interview (do listen to the whole thing), Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich flatly said:

Growth is the disease, not the cure.

In the aftermath of Rio +20 , angry environmental groups and NGOs signed a petition called, “The Future We Don’t Want.” What they have failed to come to grips with is that there is a future that won’t be denied.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: environmentalism
  • Jarmo

    Population growth and poverty go hand in hand today when great epidemics are history. Countries with negligible population growth are all wealthy. Wealthy countries can also afford to protect the environment. The real race is for economic growth to beat poverty and the associated population growth.

    Another illusion seems to be that developing countries are very keen on action on climate change. This is due to Kyoto Protocol that promised them money and no obligations to limit or cut emissions. We are already seeing what happens when they are asked to make sacrifices.

  • Tom C

    From Monbiot:
    “The Earth’s living systems are collapsing,…” 
    Evidence?

  • Menth

    If only there were some way to capture the energy from the speed with which Monbiot/Ehrlich continually break the jackass barrier. 

  • BBD

    We can critique the various ‘environmentalist’ discourses but it is undeniable that growth to date has had increasingly negative consequences for the environment. It is undeniable that future growth will have even further negative impacts.

    Looming over all is the atmospheric fraction of CO2 and environmental consequences that will include a significant alteration of ocean chemistry and temperature and very probably persistent mid-latitude drought and coastal inundation.

    Environmentalism is broadly correct. Development comes with an environmental price tag and that price is rapidly increasing.

    Ecopragmatists argue, correctly, that management of the environment inline with development is the sane path to tread, but *there’s no evidence* we are going to do that.

    ‘We’ includes China, Indonesia, Brazil, India etc. What environmentalism protests is the absolute lack of that evidence. 

    I don’t believe the cornucopian, techno-fix types any more. It’s a convenient mask for something else nowadays. I do believe that some things can be improved. I don’t believe anyone except environmentalists is making the case that we are screwing up and desperately need to have a rethink.

    I’m rushing this and will probably regret posting in haste. But never mind. Basically the environmentalists are right. And that’s why we all want them to STFU and bugger off.

  • Menth

    As much as many here don’t give much of a shit about BBD et al’s hand wringing and sanctimonious declarations of others stupidity, there is a substantially larger group who give even less of a shit: billions of poor people. 

  • Joshua

    Keith – I’ve been chewing on something for a while, so I’m going to throw out some loosely formed ideas to see if any of them stick.Just as concerns about GMOs have a rational (and very human) basis, so do fears about growth. Just as there are some who seem irrationally “chemophobic,” there are sound reasons to be skeptical of someone selling snake oil (and it is basic human nature to distrust the new and to want to be as self-sufficient as possible.). Just as there are some who irrationally discount potential benefits from growth, there are also those who tend to disregard reasonable limits on growth or to discount the disproportionate negative impact of growth on some as compared to others.When you isolate concern about GMOs, or fears about growth, from the full context, it is only natural that people will react that you are painting with a broad brush. As much of a pain in the a$$ as it might be to have to always ground criticism in full context, I would argue that it is a necessary prerequisite of a well-developed thesis. IMO an analysis that doesn’t acknowledge and deal with the obvious naysayer is ultimately not fully developed.  A thesis that is not arguable is not a valid thesis. Yes, there are environmentalists who tend towards the extreme in their viewpoints. Is that arguable? Is it arguable to say that on any given issue, there are extreme positions on either end?Is your arguable thesis in your statement that:

    This narrow, earth-centric mindset, combined with a hostility to economic growth, is marginalizing environmentalism.

    Well, maybe, but I don’t see you presenting evidence to support that argument. How would you be measuring degrees of  marginalization to establish relative change? In fact, from reading climate blogs for a while now, I’ve seen many argue that extremist environmentalists have disproportionate influence and are altering our societies and economies. (My guess is that neither of those perspectives is accurate.) Is your argument that some concerns about growth is irrational? It
    would seem to me that you can’t really examine that issue in depth if
    you don’t necessarily include an examination of where/how growth is, in
    fact, harmful.
    Anyway, in your Discover article, IMO, you do a better job of grounding
    “traditionalist” environmentalism in context, but even there you leave
    out an important part of the pictureExtreme resistance to growth is always contextualized by concerns about extremist views that “bigger is better,” and the reality that some will pursue growth as a means to profit irrespective of the impact of that growth to the planet, to others living on the planet, etc. And perspectives on growth are not even limited by the specific domain of environmental impact. When some members of my local coop want to it to invest in growth, there is always a debate with those who caution that overly-rapid growth will have negative economic impact long term. They can support their arguments with plenty of examples. And those on the other side of the debate can offer plenty of examples where a reluctance to grow has led to economic stagnation, economic failure, or simply valuable opportunities lost. Debates about growth among this coop’s members have taken a similar form for over 35 years. Similar debates about growth, I’m sure, take place daily in the offices of virtually any corporation.For me, the larger context always goes back to fundamental attributes of how humans reason. Isolating some folks from that context, as if the pitfalls in their reasoning are somehow unique to their arguments or perspectives or personalities, seems to me to be most likely to only stimulate more blogospheric energy that mostly just disappear into the ethernet. Electrons get moved, but perspectives don’t. That is not to discount the validity of your basic questioning of whether some
    environmentalists are irrationally extreme in their perspective, and I  think that the way you question environmentalism has  valuable, but I think that value is diminished whenever you disregard important context.

  • Joshua

    Uh oh. Forgot to do the reformatting. Well, even more of an excuse for those understandably inclined to skip over my posts anyway.

  • Ian Blanchard

    A few years ago  I heard someone make the statement:’Buying organic food is God’s way of telling you that you’ve too much money.’Government-sponsored environmentalism seems to be the same writ large – Governments are happy to spend some tax revenue on ‘Green’ projects when times are good, but significantly trim their spending in these areas when the money is tight (although they don’t necessarily draw back on the rhetoric – just they become less inclined to put their money where their mouth is).This seems to be an area where some (many/most?) environmentalists have a breakdown in their thinking – rich countries can afford to pay for much better environmental protection than can even moderately wealthy countries (such as those in South America), never mind the genuinely poor ones (like much of Africa). The only area in which the poor countries have less environmental impact is in CO2 emissions, which I guess is why large parts of the environmental movement has focussed on that rather than on local environmental damage (deforestation, land and water contamination etc).

  • MarkB

    Paul Ehrlich? Has any scientist in the 20th century been as wrong as many times to a greater degree than Paul Ehrlich? The cold fusion guys got one thing wrong, and then they went away. Paul Ehrlich was wrong about tens of millions of deaths, and he’s still taken as a representative voice? That tells you all you need to know about environmentalism. Ehrlich and all allied with him as no different than the vaccine kooks and the Intelligent Design crowd. They accept no falisification. If the difference between millions of people alive and millions of people dead doesn’t get your attention, you are not rational.

  • LCarey

    The problem here is that the numbers don’t pencil out: (1) world economy to grow 5x by mid-century, and (2) already using up natural resources and eco-system services at a rate of 1-1/2 earths.  Overuse of the eco-system is by definition self-limiting (where or not we “like” it).  A model of growth based on using the resources of 7-1/2 earths is delusional – it won’t happen because it’s physically impossible (not because marginalized “greens” have their tails in a twist about it).  This story doesn’t end well.

  • jeffn

    “For such nations, ‘inclusive growth and a rapid increase in per capita income levels are development imperatives’, declared Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his conference address.”

    There are two ways to look at this- 1) a huge opportunity- a massive new market that has no experience of “car” or access to electricity. or 2) a catastrophe in the making that must be stopped.
    Option 2 failed, predictably, so best to start looking at 1.
    The opportunity in 1 is to redefine what a “car” is and what house-hold power consumption is. You have two requirements- it has to be cheap (we’re talking about people with growing, but very small incomes) and it has to be reliable (for the same reason).
    Windmills and $40,000 electric compact cars that catch fire will not do it.
    The innovation for the emerging China and India markets can be clean (a glorified golf cart that runs on a hyper-efficient natural gas or alcohol engine for example) and can be used in the west. Whatever they use for rural/suburban electrification in China could translate well to replacement of infrastructure in the US.
    Again, you just have to care enough to get past folding your arms and pretending you can tell the Chinese and Indians “no.” And do the hard work of asking “well, how should we do this?”
    That could be very exciting. The insistence on policies that promote expensive alternatives and unsustainable denial of energy have delayed this discussion.

  • TanGeng

    KK,I hardly see the situation the same way.  If human activity is indeed sending the biosphere to its doom, then something has to be done about it, growth be damned.  What the various peoples of the world are reluctant to do is unnecessarily imposing austerity on themselves and deny themselves all the options afforded by prosperity (insert Ian’s organic food luxury example here) and the lack of opportunity that results from the restrictions.  What they also want to do is take advantage of the situation so other peoples can bear the brunt of environmental protection costs while they pursue their wealth objectives and they don’t like seeing other peoples engage in the same behavior. The key element is still the credibility of the risk and an equitable method to address it.At this point, the risks are credible enough, but people will want CONTINUOUS re-examination of those risks forever and ever.  It is not enough that any one scientific study shows that the risk is credible, but that it has to be consistently and rigorously checked over and over again as long as the policy of austerity moves forward.  Any appearance of lack of rigor in this process will undermine all other efforts.  I believe this is how we should show respect for economic progress.  It simply isn’t enough to declare the science is solid and close the book on the question.  The credibility of the threat of environmental damage must always remain an open investigation.Going forward, we should operate under the assumption of credible risk and attempt to craft an equitable solution of addressing the risks.  This part of the question is still the hardest because crafting policies of austerity measures on carbon have fallen disproportionately on certain peoples – Australian rural farmers are example of a persecuted group under green policy.  Countries and different politics have different priorities, and the varied emphasis on environmental protection verses prosperity makes it very difficult to coordinate all 6 billion people to address the environmental issue.I think that Monbiot has the right idea initially that if the threat of environmental damage is serious enough, we should be addressing it or trying to address it.  He jumps the gun on asserting that we know all that needs to be known about the risks and people of the world better be happy about that explanation and on glossing over the  the challenges of designing an effective policy.  More or less, it shows disregard for sacrifices people will have to make under carbon austerity and shows lack of concern for cheating, free riding, and other policy pitfalls.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @4

    +1

    @6
    Whenever Keith goes into hippie-punching mode he tends to prefer ‘stories’ over ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’. Hope this helps.

  • Jarmo

    Let’s just see when the presidential race in the US (or any other real head of state democratic election) will have a candidate whose platform is built on zero economic growth or negative growth.

    Btw, there is a lot of talk about “green growth”. Judging by comments here, it’s an oxymoron.

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    See how I sneaked in the word ‘undeniable‘ there? Fiendish cunning, eh? This time next year I’ll be willard.
    :-)

  • Steve Mennie

    What Marlowe said…and Joshua, I for one always read you epistles. Don’t know what your day job is BBD but I am waiting for your return to this particular thread. I have a feeling this one might have some legs.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Here is the actual petition:

    THE FUTURE WE DONT WANT

    “Not with our agreement!!! Remove the “with full participation of Civil Society” that is stated in paragraph 1 of the official text.   

    We ““ the civil society organizations and social and justice movements who have responded to the call of the United Nations General Assembly to participate in the Rio+20 process ““ feel that the current state of negotiations severely threatens the future of all people and undermines the relevance and credibility of the United Nations. 

    After more than two years of intense negotiations and millions of dollars invested on the UN CSD 2012 Rio+20 conference, governments are unable and unwilling to reaffirm the commitments on fundamental principles they made in Rio in 1992. 

    Governments must realize that they receive their mandates from their citizenry people and that they must act in its best interest. They must be imbued with a long-term vision, an environmentally-informed mind set, so as to guarantee the sustainable development of civilizations and the best future for all, the future we all really want.

    Although Governments are apparently unable to resiliently deal with the current global economic crisis (a problem confirmed in the G20 meeting in Mexico this weekend), we believe that this is the perfect moment, with potentially cathartic momentum, to embrace sustainable development, social and environmental justice. This is not the time to abandon it on grounds of austere fiscal policies or allegedly pro-growth pressures in the North. We urge the Government of Brazil, the UNCSD Secretary General and all Member States to stop negotiating their short-term national agendas and to urgently agree now on transitional actions for global sustainable progress.

    We want Governments to deliver the people’s legitimate agenda and the realization of rights, democracy and sustainability, as well as respect for transparency, accountability and the honoring of promises and accomplishments already. Sadly, time is running out. A rushed and weak agreement will be neither acceptable to us nor representative of the future we all want.

    We urge our fellow 99% citizens of the world to stand up for the future we really want, and not this one, imposed by a few: the 1% negotiators and their elite constituencies.

    For all, let their voices of the majority finally shape the future.

    I see exactly one mention of the word growth. Keep selling your stories Keith.

  • Tom Scharf

    When the greens stop chasing unicorns and stop pretending the public is just going to miraculously ”accept” punitive eco-taxes and arbitrary poorly thought out eco-limitations to growth, wake me up.

    In their minds, all they need to do is to improve their communication skills, because it’s not the message that is limiting their cause…it is the brain damage of the lowly public plebes.  When the obit is written on this one, it is the failure of the greens to think outside their own echo chamber to find solutions palatable to those who have different values (not brain damage) that will be their downfall.  A singular mindset to coerce and psychologically manipulate others to join their echo chamber is the only solution they embrace.  After all, it is a lot harder to find and implement real solutions than it is to sneer down at others from their throne of perceived intellectual superiority.

    The greens are an intellectually lazy group.  They reliably choose moral platitudes over compromise.  

  • Tom C

    “but it is undeniable that growth to date has had increasingly negative consequences for the environment.” 

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see a shred of eveidence for this statement.

  • Tom Scharf

    @17 Wow.  That is a totally 100% content free statement.  So…….ummmm……what do you happen to perceive the “mandate from the citizenry people” <smirk> to be?  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    As a member of the ‘citizenry people’ cited in the petition, I must say I don’t remember being asked for my opinion about this. Nor do I recall signing anything.

  • PDA

    This narrow, earth-centric mindset, combined with a hostility to economic growth, is marginalizing environmentalism.

    Hm. And here I thought Monbiot was a “green insurgent” who is bravely “speaking truth to green woo.”Seriously, though: what is environmentalism if not an earth-centric philosophy? It’s certainly well and good to advocate a “pro-technology, pro-city, pro-growth” mindset, if that’s what you believe… but that’s not “environmentalism” in any conventional definition of the term.

  • Menth

    “We demand that governments cease to delay action and proceed upon a path of sustainable environmental and social justice. We speak on behalf of all people when we say that sustainable and just environmental action is paramount. Only once the sustainability of ecologically and socially just development is established can the democratic will of peoples around the world be expressed. Peoples of all nations are demanding the ecological and social liberation -in a sustainable fashion- of their land, air and water.  The socially, ecologically, and spiritually unjust colonialism is unsustainable and cannot be sustained. Also: Green Jobs”.   -Every stupid press release I’ve ever seen from an eNGO. 

  • BBD

    Tom C @ 19

    Don’t be a simpleton. And may I remind you again that you are not at WUWT.

  • Tom C

    BBD – I ask you for some evidence to back up sweeping statements – you insult with name-calling.  Might produce a frisson for Marlowe but doesn’t win the debate.

  • Menth

    Here’s a picture of Toronto in 1912: http://www.blogto.com/upload/2011/11/20111114-skyline-smog-1912-f1244_it1122a.jpg

    Economic growth and development are what makes people care about the environment in the first place. You know what’s scarier than a hockey stick or Hansen and Sato 2011? Not knowing how you’re going to feed and shelter your kids.

  • jorge c.

    Comments #21 & #25 +10!!!

  • BBD

    Tom C

    Can’t you even be bothered to look?

    Describing you as a simpleton is not insulting, simply accurate. In fact, restrained.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @25

    If you’re going to invoke idealized environmental Kuznets curves, at least back it up with more than pictures of Toronto’s waterfront!

    Consider, for example:

    In the early 1990s the attention of economists was captured by empirical evidence suggesting that rising income levels in developing countries could be good rather than bad for the environment. This evidence drove a stake into the heart of those opposing growth on environmental grounds. Ultimately, the view that income growth by itself eventually will be good for the environment also appears to be wrong because a causal relationship between income and environmental quality cannot be demonstrated. The original empirical estimates appear fragile at best compared to estimates using more representative datasets, higher-quality data, and more appropriate econometric techniques. More plausible explanations for the observed data revolve around good government, effective regulation, and diffusion of technological change. These factors tend to be related in a diffuse manner with higher income and suggest it is likely, but not inevitable, that a society will choose to reduce pollution levels as it becomes wealthier. 

  • Tom Scharf

    @25 – Menth, try feeding your precious kids without the benefits of “evil” technological growth.  Think cave man.  People used to actually starve to death not so long ago before we solved that problem.  Technology and growth are a good thing.  We are so sorry that you have to look at pictures of factories and shed your tears right before you drive your car to your local grocery store.  The stuff on the shelves doesn’t get there by magic.  You can join the cave men and go hunter – gatherer any time you feel like it.   

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The neo-Malthusians have invaded again. People don’t worry about the environment when they’re hungry. That doesn’t automatically mean they will worry about it when their bellies are full. But a full belly is a pre-condition before you start the discussion.

  • jeffn

    #17
    “…we believe that this is the perfect moment, with potentially cathartic momentum, to embrace sustainable development, social and environmental justice. ”

    A demand for two undefined platitudes based on the assumption that a largely-ignored conference represents “cathartic momentum.”
    Well, let’s all drop what we’re doing and engage in sustainable social justice right now. Whatever that is.

  • harrywr2

    BBD,
    It is undeniable that future growth will have even further negative impacts.Dogma belongs to religion. You’ve missed your calling. The reality is that there is a point at which economic growth disconnects from physical resources.

    You have no idea what impacts future growth may have. Neither do I.

    Go ask James Lovelock what he thinks of the Singapore ‘economic miracle’.

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    Dogma belongs to religion. You’ve missed your calling. The reality is that there is a point at which economic growth disconnects
    from physical resources.

    Thank you for providing such a pertinent example of dogma.

  • BBD

    You have no idea what impacts future growth may have. Neither do I.

    Yes we do. We can look at the development of Western Europe and the US and we can look at China, India, Indonesia etc.

    Pretence of this order is embarrassing. It’s out of the same draw as the ‘we-don’t-know’ school of CC denial. Stow it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Which countries have the cleaner environments?

    Group A: Western Europe, U.S. 

    Group B: China, India, Indonesia

    Answer: Group A. 

    Mechanism: Generation of adequate surplus wealth to enable spending on environment.

    Is group A more virtuous than group B? No.

    Does group B love their planet/country/region/city as much as group A? Undoubtedly.

    Course of action to save the environment: Make Group B as rich as Group A.

    Questions?

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller

    Mechanism: Offshoring of environmental debt to group B.

  • John F. Pittman

    There are some good comments and one of the best is #12 which brings up the idea of credible. What is credible? Take the link from #27.”There is considerable and mounting evidence that elevated degradation and loss of habitats and species are compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide.”This is a not credible statement. There is evidence of degradation of habitats. Actual as in total loss of habitats and the species that must habit those specialized niches has been documented as small. In other words we have more endangered species and endangered habitats, not absolute losses. They still exist. Further there is the undocumented assumption that such is compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide, whereas the truth is that the degradation of habitats and increases in endangered species is caused by billions of people sustaining or improving their quality of life and changing those parts of the ecosystem to ecosystems that humans find more worthwhile. The proof of the nonsense of this article is this quote “Professor Bradshaw said these indices were robust and comprehensive and, unlike existing rankings, deliberately avoided including human health and economic data – measuring environmental impact only.” Mankind, and his economic ecological niches are part of the environment, and for better, or more likely, for worse, these are more and more of the environment.For those who do not wish to be bored by the stats of the study, the measurement is that anything man does to change or use the environment is bad and counts on the authors’ absolute degradation scale. So, by definition wealth, use, surplanting one ecosystem with another is bad. This is not a realistic scenario for a civil or worthwhile conversation, much less using it as a guideline for use to determine a global solution. It ignores the fact that to be best is to have nothing, and instead of billions of people demanding this, they are rejecting this austerity at every turn of the negotiating table. The only thing this article is useful for is to provide the poor with some supposed justification of monies from or guilt of those with wealth.The article and proposed use of the study, and the assumptions of utility, and proclaimed demand by billions is simply not credible.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #37: Industrial Production in the United States increased 4.7 percent in May of 2012. Historically, from 1920 until 2012, the United States Industrial Production averaged 3.9 Percent reaching an all time high of 62.0 Percent in July of 1933 and a record low of -33.7 Percent in February of 1946. 

  • Menth

    Another good example is to look at the island of Hispanola. Haiti is largely deforested while the Dominican Republic is not. 

  • Joshua

    Keith. So what do you think?

    Not to make too much out of one example, but do you think there’s any way that in general you could stimulate a more productive discussion?

    I suspect that if you start the discussion with more context and more focus on a specific argument, you’d get a more focused and nuanced discussion as opposed to yet another dime-a-dozen left/right food fight. People will have something to actually talk about rather than just trot out the ol’ drum and start a’ bangin’.

  • Joshua

    #16 – Steve.

    Thanks. I admire your fortitude.

  • Menth

    *flings pudding at Joshua*

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Readers who are interested in learning more about the evolving academic debate about Environmental Kutznev Curves may wish to start here.

    Some choice bits that are pertinent to Dave H’s comments and Fuller’s simplistic thinking:

    One of the key issues that the EKC has raised is whether the same pattern of growth versus environmental impact can be replicated by the now poor countries in the future. Is the policy ramification for poor countries that they should grow themselves out of environmental problems rather than implementing stricter regulation now? …They demonstrate evidence that the emissions reductions in now rich countries are in part due to export of pollution-intensive domestic production to LDCs, thus suggesting that current poor countries will not be able to replicate this experience.

    Given predictions that some LDCs will not reach EKC turning points for decades to come, it is even more  imperative that economic growth and liberalization should not be thought of as an importansolution for environmental problems. Therefore it might not be optimal, particularly  for LDCs, to follow an EKC pathway for a variety of reasons, including: the likelihood of high environmental damage costs; the high cost of raising environmental quality after the damage has occurred; the potential of reaching environmental thresholds and causing irreversible environmental damage; and the potential damage to human health and economic productivity. A precautionary approach suggests that in order to decouple economic value from environmental degradation policy responses are needed from the earliest stages of economic development.

  • Joshua

    *flings jello-mold at Menth*

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Regarding the Environmental Kuznets Curve, we can call to the podium David Stern of the Rensselaeer Polytechnic Institute in Troy New York, reading prepared remarks from his 2003 paper ‘The Environmental Kuznets Curve’.
    “The EKC is an essentially empirical phenomenon, but most of the EKC literature is econometrically weak. It is very easy to do bad econometrics and the history of the EKC exemplifies what can go wrong. The EKC idea rose to prominence because few paid sufficient attention to econometric diagnostic statistics. Little or no attention has been paid to the statistical properties of the data used such as serial dependence or stochastic trends in time series and few tests of model adequacy have been carried out or presented.

    When we do take such statistics into account and use appropriate techniques we find that the EKC does not exist (Perman and Stern 2003). Instead we get a more realistic view of the effect of economic growth and technological changes on environmental quality. It seems that most indicators of environmental degradation are monotonically rising in income though the ”income elasticity” is less than one and is not a simple function of income alone.

    Time related effects reduce environmental impacts in countries at all levels of income. However, in rapidly growing middle income countries the scale effect, which increases pollution and other degradation, overwhelms the time effect. In wealthy countries, growth is slower, and pollution reduction efforts can overcome the scale effect. This is the origin of the apparent EKC effect.

    The conclusion from all these studies is that the main means by which emissions of pollutants can be reduced is by time related technique effects and in particular those directed specifically at emissions reduction, though productivity growth or declining energy intensity has a role to play. Though structural change and shifts in fuel composition may be important in some countries at some times their average contribution seems less important quantitatively.

     Those studies that include developing countries – Antweiler et al. (2001), and Stern (2002) ““ find that these technological changes are occurring in both developing and developed countries. Innovations may first be adopted preferentially in higher income countries (Hilton and Levinson, 1998) but seem to be adopted in developing countries with relatively short lags (Gallagher, 2003). This result is in line with the evidence of Dasgupta et al. (2002) and the EKC based estimates of time effects in Stern and Common (2001) and Stern (2002).

  • Matt B

    @ 26 Menth,

    That’s not the 1912 Toronto skyline, that’s McKibben’s rendition of the Keystone pipeline………

  • Matt B

    It’s likely just a coincidence but the Kuznets curve sure looks like the Laffer curve:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuznets_curve

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve

    Even a casual observer can appreciate the diligence and brainpower that went into creating these sophisticated mathematical models……

  • Jeff Norris

    HT to Pielek JR

  • Jeff Norris
  • Menth

    @47 Hah! 

    After some research I found a photo of Bill’s muse for his book “Eaarth”: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2012/03/494050.jpg

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Um Tom you do realize that Stern is essentially refuting the arguments you put forward @ #36 don’t you? Talk about an own goal…

  • Menth

    @marlowe
    Speaking of “own goals”, I made a mistake. That photo of 1912 Toronto is actually a black and white photo of modern day Hamilton. 

    #OntarioJokes

  • Matt B

    @ 51 Menth,That picture illustrates one issue where I am in perfect agreement with Wacky Billy Maher…….now if we were looking for Rush Limbaugh’s muse it would be a pile of oxycontin…………..

  • Marlowe Johnson

    and look what it got’em. race to the bottom eh?

  • Menth

    @Matt B
    I disagree. It is surely not the OxyContin….It’s the long line of ex-wives! *rimshot*

  • Menth

    @54 All the good unionized boys would disagree. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Given Tom’s response @45 I’m inclined to think he’s been playing the drinking game ;)

  • Tom C

    BBD -

    I read the article at the link you gave me. Very interesting. I read this quote from a “Professor Bradshaw”:”The environmental crises currently gripping the planet are the corollary of excessive human consumption of natural resources,” said Professor Bradshaw.

    This was a bad start, to say the least. This is how political hacks talk, not scientists.

    But later in the article I came across this: “Professor Bradshaw said these indices were robust and comprehensive and, unlike existing rankings, deliberately avoided including human health and economic data – measuring environmental impact only.”

    Hmm…so if they deliberately avoided human health and economic data how were they able to discern the “crises currently gripping the planet”. Isn’t it the very definition of a crisis that it affects human health and economics?

    So, how, pray tell, did they determine the “crises”. Did they survey the prairie grasses? Query the insects? Canvas the mammals?Please tell me O BBD, for I am merely a simpleton (see #24) and you are BBD, Scourge of 3C Deniers, Lion of climate blogs, Great Debunker of Religion and Defender of Science.

  • Joshua

    #51 – Marelowe

    I was going to give him credit for being honest enough to reexamine his earlier assertion of::

    Mechanism: Generation of adequate surplus wealth to enable spending on environment.

    Do you really think it was just a case of him not understanding that what he later posted undermined his earlier statement?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    Why do you think that “more context and more focus on a specific argument” would get us “a more focused and nuanced discussion as opposed to yet another dime-a-dozen left/right food fight?”

    In fact, I also wonder why this food fight would not show more honesty the usual auditor shuffle.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I think you guys need to read the paper. Let’s break it down.”The Environmental Kuznets Curve does not exist.” ”It seems that most indicators of environmental degradation are monotonically rising in income.”"The conclusion from all these studies is that the main means by which emissions of pollutants can be reduced is by time related technique effects.”"Innovations may first be adopted preferentially in higher income countries (Hilton and Levinson, 1998) but seem to be adopted in developing countries with relatively short lags (Gallagher, 2003).”"The environmental Kuznets curve is a hypothesized relationship between various indicators of environmental degradation and income per capita. In the early stages of economic growth degradation and pollution increase, but beyond some level of income per capita (which will vary for different indicators) the trend reverses, so that at high-income levels economic growth leads to environmental improvement. This implies that the environmental impact indicator is an inverted U-shaped function of income per capita.”"When we do take such statistics into account and use appropriate techniques we find that the EKC does not exist (Perman and Stern 2003). Instead we get a more realistic view of the effect of economic growth and technological changes on environmental quality. It seems that most indicators of environmental degradation are monotonically rising in income though the ”income elasticity” is less than one and is not a simple function of income alone.Time related effects reduce environmental impacts in countries at all levels of income. However, in rapidly growing middle income countries the scale effect, which increases pollution and other degradation, overwhelms the time effect. In wealthy countries, growth is slower, and pollution reduction efforts can overcome the scale effect. This is the origin of the apparent EKC effect.”Econometric criticisms of the EKC concern four main issues: heteroskedasticity, simultaneity, omitted variables bias, and cointegration issues. Stern et al. (1996) raised the issue of heteroskedasticity that may be important in the context of cross-sectional regressions of grouped data (see Maddala, 1977). Schmalensee et al. (1998) found that regression residuals from OLS were heteroskedastic with smaller residuals associated with countries with higher total GDP and population as predicted by Stern et al. (1996).Cont.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry. Previous comment formatted:I think you guys need to read the paper. Let’s break it down.

    “The Environmental Kuznets Curve does not exist.” ”It seems that most indicators of environmental degradation are monotonically rising in income.””The conclusion from all these studies is that the main means by which emissions of pollutants can be reduced is by time related technique effects.”

    “Innovations may first be adopted preferentially in higher income countries (Hilton and Levinson, 1998) but seem to be adopted in developing countries with relatively short lags (Gallagher, 2003).””The environmental Kuznets curve is a hypothesized relationship between various indicators of environmental degradation and income per capita. In the early stages of economic growth degradation and pollution increase, but beyond some level of income per capita (which will vary for different indicators) the trend reverses, so that at high-income levels economic growth leads to environmental improvement.

    This implies that the environmental impact indicator is an inverted U-shaped function of income per capita.””When we do take such statistics into account and use appropriate techniques we find that the EKC does not exist (Perman and Stern 2003).

    Instead we get a more realistic view of the effect of economic growth and technological changes on environmental quality. It seems that most indicators of environmental degradation are monotonically rising in income though the ”income elasticity” is less than one and is not a simple function of income alone.Time related effects reduce environmental impacts in countries at all levels of income. However, in rapidly growing middle income countries the scale effect, which increases pollution and other degradation, overwhelms the time effect.

    In wealthy countries, growth is slower, and pollution reduction efforts can overcome the scale effect. This is the origin of the apparent EKC effect.

    “Econometric criticisms of the EKC concern four main issues: heteroskedasticity, simultaneity, omitted variables bias, and cointegration issues. Stern et al. (1996) raised the issue of heteroskedasticity that may be important in the context of cross-sectional regressions of grouped data (see Maddala, 1977). Schmalensee et al. (1998) found that regression residuals from OLS were heteroskedastic with smaller residuals associated with countries with higher total GDP and population as predicted by Stern et al. (1996).Cont. 

  • Joshua

    Hey willard -

    My theory is that a more sophisticated post is less likely to fall into the pre-established narrative tracks on both sides. There are smart people here. They need to be challenged to think rather than to just respond reflexively with the same tired arguments (jello-mold) that they’ve flung out in the past. If Keith posts 1/2 of an argument, he’s only going to get people noting the obvious flaws on one side and repeating the flawed argument on the other side.

    Sure, there are those who seem completely uninterested in honest discussion. I offered jeffn the opportunity to pony up to his straw men the other day, and he fell flat on his face by not only failing to recognize his straw man, but by even doubling-down by repeating it.  It’s likely that nothing would alter the behavior of some participants, but some folks here really are interested in the debate and they need to be shaken out of their complacency.

    Couldn’t quite parse this:

    In fact, I also wonder why this food fight would not show more honesty the usual auditor shuffle.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “Cole et al. (1997) and Holtz-Eakin and Selden (1995) used Hausman tests for regressor exogeneity to directly address the simultaneity issue. The overall pattern that emerges is that causality runs from income to emissions or that there is no significant relationship in developing countries, while in developed countries causality runs from emissions to income. However, in each case the relationship is positive so that there is no EKC type effect.

    “Stern and Common (2001) estimate a sulfur emissions EKC for 74 countries over the period 1960-90. They use three lines of evidence to suggest that the EKC is an incomplete model and that estimates of the EKC in levels can suffer from significant omitted variables bias: a. Differences between the parameters of the random effects and fixed effects models, tested using the Hausman test; b. Differences between the estimated coefficients in different subsamples, and c. Tests for serial correlation.

    “Perman and Stern (2003) test the data and models for unit roots and cointegration respectively. Panel unit root tests indicate that all three series ““ log sulfur emissions per capita, log GDP capita, and its square ““ have stochastic trends. Results for cointegration are less clear cut. Around half the individual country EKC regressions cointegrate but many of these have parameters with ”incorrect signs”. Some panel cointegration tests indicate cointegration in all countries and some accept the non-cointegration hypothesis. But even when cointegration is found, the form of the EKC relationship varies radically across countries with many countries having U-shaped EKCs. A common cointegrating vector in all countries is strongly rejected.

    But wait–there’s more!

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “Dasgupta et al. (2002) present evidence that environmental improvements are possible in developing countries and that peak levels of environmental degradation will be lower than in countries that developed earlier. They present data that shows declines in various pollutants in developing countries over time.”

    “They show that though regulation of pollution increases with income the greatest increases happen from low to middle income levels and there would be expected to be diminishing returns to increased regulation, though also better enforcement at higher income levels.”

    “The evidence presented in this paper shows that the statistical analysis on which the environmental Kuznets curve is based is not robust. There is little evidence for a common inverted U-shaped pathway which countries follow as their income rises. There may be an inverted U-shaped relation between urban ambient concentrations of some pollutants and income though this should be tested with more rigorous time series or panel data methods. It seems unlikely that the EKC is a complete model of emissions or concentrations.”

    Now, Marlowe can plead inebriation. Joshua, what’s your excuse?

  • Joshua

    Tom:Statement one:

    Mechanism: Generation of adequate surplus wealth to enable spending on environment.

    Statement two:

    It seems that most indicators of environmental degradation are
    monotonically rising in income though the ”income elasticity” is less
    than one and is not a simple function of income alone.

    Now the second statement is not a direct contradiction of the fist, but it undermines the simplicity suggested by the first statement. As an example (that refers back to your earlier post): has environmental degradation in China increased or decreased along with the generation of  surplus wealth?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dasgupta’s paper on the ability of developing countries to address environmental degradation was based entirely on studies of China, Joshua. You might read it.

    Of course China is polluting more. They are, umm, what’s the word, industrializing. But they are spending staggering sums of money (for a developing country) in trying to address environmental issues now. Before they are developed. There is neither a curve nor a power law that governs these issues.

    What China is importing is not the West’s environmental debt, and they know it even if you and Dave H do not. They are importing coal and oil which increase environmental degradation. They are also importing technology to address it.You’re better off going meta with your buddies–at least then you don’t have to pretend to understand what’s going on in the real world.

  • Joshua

    Tom – This also undermines the simplistic relationship you described in your earlier post:

    But even when cointegration is found, the form of the EKC relationship
    varies radically across countries with many countries having U-shaped
    EKCs. A common cointegrating vector in all countries is strongly
    rejected.

    So. Let’s get past the back-and-forth. What is the point that you’re making with your excerpts? That there isn’t necessarily a decrease in the environmental gains as economies grow? If that’s your point then we are in agreement. However, I would also say that there isn’t necessarily an increase in environmental gains as economies grow. Would you agree with that? If so, then the point is to argue what operative variables might be controllable, and how they could be controlled.

  • Menth

    @Tom C….it is difficult for me to overstate how much I love your last comment. 

  • Joshua

    Tom -

    There is neither a curve nor a power law that governs these issues.

    I would agree. You seem to have misunderstood my viewpoint.

    You’re better off going meta with your buddies”“at least then you don’t
    have to pretend to understand what’s going on in the real world.

    Well, that didn’t take long, now did it? Congratulations. You have reached a very nice closed loop form of argumentation. You must be right, because (unlike you) I don’t understand what’s going on in the real world. You’ve proven that there’s nothing for us to discuss.

    Have a nice night.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You too, Joshua.

  • Menth

    *Hits Joshua in face with peach cobbler*

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Didn’t really mean to drive him off. Wish the trolls were as sensitive…

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom what you fail to admit is that the literature (which you cite) proves that your *simplistic* faith concerning the relationship between economic growth and positive environmental outcomes is *untenable* in the face of *empirical* evidence.

    I’d suggest that you consider the first rule of holes, but frankly watching your inept flailing is far more entertaning.

    or perhaps you wish to add ‘economist’ to your illustrious list of qualifications. Cryptologist, journalist and economist?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Have a drink, Marlowe. It’s what you’re good at.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    careful Tom. keep up these kinds of *content free* replies and you might be seen as a troll :)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    In case anybody missed it (or the trolls need it to be translated into Trollanto) the case I’m making is that rates of economic growth are not the key factor to consider when discussing ways of reducing environmental degradation. 

    They are certainly *a* factor. Fast growth has helped some countries in the past reach a point where they could focus on reducing harm. But other developing countries make major moves in that direction before they achieve developed country status.

    Crucially, moves to limit growth in developing countries or steering it towards politically determined green goals is not likely to help either economic growth or environmental improvement.

    It is far better to let growth determine its own course, with comparative and competitive advantage acting as natural signposts.

    Environmental issues can certainly be helped by technology transfer, which I think is such a no-brainer that I cannot believe it is opposed.

    But coupling the two–economic growth and environmental purity–will kill the goose and break the golden egg.

  • Menth

    So Marlowe, in regards to that picture of Toronto, presumably you agree that things are cleaner now? If so why? Regulation?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Have another drink. And look up the difference between cryptologist and cryptographer before you pass out.

  • Menth

    Silly Fuller, talking sense.  

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom,you continue with your *content free* *opinions* without any reference to *empirical* *evidence*. What is a *skeptic* supposed to take from gas-bag rant?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    In case it wasn’t clear to readers. I consider *Tom Fuller* to be a classic example of a gas-bag/concern troll

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I dunno. Ask a skeptic. And your opinions on content are, shall I say, suspect… Looking through the world through JD colored glasses will do that.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Why only now, at comment 83, do you begin to show concern for readers? Do you think your other mutterings were any clearer?

  • BBD

    Tom C @ 59

    First, I said:

    it is undeniable that growth to date has had increasingly negative consequences for the environment.

    You responded:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see a shred of eveidence for this statement.

    Since you couldn’t be bothered to carry out even a cursory search, I provided an up-to-date and comprehensive reference demonstrating the increasingly negative consequences of growth on the environment (# 28).

    You respond by calling the lead author a ‘political hack’ for stating that human impacts are causing environmental crises (something clearly demonstrated in the study). You then *criticised* the study for demonstrating *exactly* what you claim not to have ‘seen a shred of evidence’ for: clear evidence of human impacts on the environment.

    What you do not do is actually dispute the study’s findings or methodology.

    You then make a nonsensical claim:

    Isn’t it the very definition of a crisis that it affects human health and economics?

    Which is both incorrect and ignores the explicit statement by Bradshaw:

    There is considerable and mounting evidence that elevated degradation and loss of habitats and species are compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide.

    You ask:

    Please tell me O BBD, for I am merely a simpleton

    No, you have earned an upgrade: you are a buffoon.

  • BBD

    @ 60

    If so, then the point is to argue what operative variables might be controllable, and how they could be controlled.

    Thank you Joshua.

    Deforestation/re-forestation/afforestation. Fishery species quotas/marine reserves. Agricultural footprint/habitat conservation (needs plant science! to improve yields and reduce nitrogen run-off and pesticide collateral effects). And so on…

    Unless I mistake your meaning?

  • Joshua

    *Ducks as cobbler goes flying by. Nails Menth directly in the face with first a bowl full of mashed potatoes, and then a cupful of gravy*

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller (39)That’s a non-response. You cite figures for US industrial production growth without also contrasting that with rising consumption, offshore production etc. Those numbers tell you nothing about the relationship between US wealth and resource usage.

  • Joshua

    Tom -

    For the record. You didn’t “drive me away.” I was pointing out that based on what you wrote, it was pointless for me to exchange views with you. In your view, you understand the real world whereas I don’t. What purpose could there be for me to exchange views with someone who brings that attitude to the discussion? I’m getting tired of shouting past people in these discussions.

    If you’re ready to admit that it was an stupid thing to say, and that you don’t believe it but were pathetically hyperbloziing because you were having difficulty making your point w/o doing so, and you vow to stop using inane debate tactics, I’d be happy to reengage politely and with good faith, (and in doing so, point out further inconsistencies in your subsequent posts). Up to you, my friend.

  • Joshua

    #87 – BBD

    Along those lines, yes.

    I’d think that each of those variables merits a discussion unto itself, including a related discussion logistics, the costs/benefits of government involvement, how local involvement gets coordinated internationally, level of prioritization, etc. I was also thinking of how the shape of the “EKC” is influenced by the variable of what amounts to, essentially, exploitation of the environment in some countries at the expense of (at least disproportionate) economic growth in others. I would imagine there are some significant problems in with long-term sustainability there, let alone problems with equity and ethics.

  • Joshua

    well, I meant hyperbolozing – but I kind of like hyperblozing, actually. 

  • Joshua

    arrgh. Hyperobolizing.

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller

    I *really* don’t understand the links you’re posting. Your first comment seems to be arguing *for* an EKC (rising wealth leads to lower environmental impact), and yet you’re hell bent on posting references that contradict this notion, and say that there is no real evidence that wealth reduces environmental impact, especially not in a simple curve, and especially not for all pollutants.

    Am I missing something?

  • BBD

    You had me worried there :-)

  • BBD

    Joshua, that is, hyperbolically speaking.

  • Joshua

    I can’t believe that even in my third attempt (#93), I misspelled that word (not going to try typing it again).

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, I’m glad you didn’t take offence. However, it wasn’t a stupid thing to write.Dave H, show me any figures that indicate that the West is offshoring its ‘environmental debt’. Dave H, the Environmental Kuznets Curve is not the correct way to describe the relationship between environmental and economic advances. I did my best to explain why. If you don’t understand, read the papers I cited for a more thorough explanation.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua,

    I’m traveling so I don’t have time to answer the question you posed early in the thread. Will return to it later on. Meanwhile, regarding your mistyping, here’s one of my favorite scenes from my all-time favorite show, The Odd Couple. To win everything back that he lost to Bobby Riggs all Oscar has to do is type his name in ten seconds. It’s classic.

  • Matt B

    Nice Odd Couple reference, KK! What a great show that was………..

  • Tom C

    BBD – I don’t want to put words in Keith’s mouth, but I believe one of the themes he has been pusuing is that environmentalists hurt their own cause by issuing wild claims about “collapse” and “crises” without factoring in human health and economic well-being.

    So, in accordance with the “boy-who-cried wolf” principle, people tune out. I know I tuned out years ago. Apparently Professor Bradshaw, and you, think the response is to yell louder, make more wild claims, call more nasty names, etc. But, I have to tell you, it is not working.

    I said Isn’t it the very definition of a crisis that it affects human health and economics?You called that nonsensical. I call it commonsensical.

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller
    This suggested a third of China’s CO2 emissions over a 5-year period were from manufacturing for exports to the West:

    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/423/west_cuts_pollution__by_exporting_it_to_china

    That’s just China, and just CO2, never mind other pollutants.

    One of the reasons it is cheaper to manufacture overseas is the significantly reduced regulatory overhead. Without a blanket application of regulations to handle externalities, all that’s happened in a lot of cases is that the production of those externalities has moved to where the cost can continue to be hidden.

    Now, I would agree that an EKC is not an accurate depiction of reality, but I wonder why you do, given that you originally claimed that increasing wealth would decrease environmental pollution, which is essentially driving down the back slope of the EKC. I argue that, even if an EKC *is* an accurate description, the US is still following the upward trajectory and any gains in environmental quality are illusory, based as they are on sweeping problems under other nations’ rugs.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dave H, there is no data there. It is a press release. It doesn’t say much, but what it does say is:”The team’s findings, published in Energy Policy and other leading journals, showed that while improvements in energy efficiency will partly offset projected increases in consumption, CO2 emissions will still continue to rise as China’s consumption patterns converge to US levels.”China’s energy consumption doubled between 2000 and 2010. It is their stated goal for it to double again by 2020.The top 10 U.S. exports to China in 2011 were: Power generation equipmentOil seeds and oleaginous fruitsElectrical machinery and equipmentVehicles, excluding railAircraft and spacecraftOptics and medical equipmentPlastics and articles thereofPulp and paperboardCopper and articles thereofOrganic chemicalsMaybe you see in that list the means by which we exported our environmental debt. What I see is what a developing country imports to continue to develop.U.S. reductions in pollution, including CO2 emissions, have come despite steady increases in U.S. manufacturing and population. They have come about because of a large shift from the use of coal for electricity generation to natural gas, small changes in driving patterns by the general public, and most recently because of the economic downturn.The U.S. by far remains the world’s leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 — nearly double the $811 billion in 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China’s factories, America generates $2.50.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry. Previous comment formatted here:

    Dave H, there is no data there. It is a press release. It doesn’t say much, but what it does say is:

    “The team’s findings, published in Energy Policy and other leading journals, showed that while improvements in energy efficiency will partly offset projected increases in consumption, CO2 emissions will still continue to rise as China’s consumption patterns converge to US levels.

    “China’s energy consumption doubled between 2000 and 2010. It is their stated goal for it to double again by 2020.

    The top 10 U.S. exports to China in 2011 were

     Power generation equipment

    Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

    Electrical machinery and equipment

    Vehicles, excluding rail

    Aircraft and spacecraft

    Optics and medical equipment

    Plastics and articles thereof

    Pulp and paperboard

    Copper and articles thereof

    Organic chemicals

    Maybe you see in that list the means by which we exported our environmental debt. What I see is what a developing country imports to continue to develop.

    U.S. reductions in pollution, including CO2 emissions, have come despite steady increases in U.S. manufacturing and population. They have come about because of a large shift from the use of coal for electricity generation to natural gas, small changes in driving patterns by the general public, and most recently because of the economic downturn.

    The U.S. by far remains the world’s leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 “” nearly double the $811 billion in 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China’s factories, America generates $2.50. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dave H, the EKC is not only wrong, it encourages lazy thinking. China is not alone among developing countries trying to address environmental issues. 

    Some use the EKC to wash their hands of responsibility,saying we need do nothing–let them get rich and take care of it. 

    Others use the EKC to justify central planning for growth–as if the EKC is a force that can be opposed.

    In both cases the EKC is a barrier, not an aid, to analysis.I certainly believe that when the Chinese are as rich as the Americans they will devote time, attention and money to cleaning up their environment.

    I also certainly believe that doesn’t get the rich world off the hook now.

  • BBD

    @ 98

    Dave H, show me any figures that indicate that the West is offshoring its “˜environmental debt’.

    I still can’t quite believe my eyes.

    Shall we begin with exported emissions and work down? See the Global Flows – International Carbon Flows pdf at the bottom of the page for more detail.

    I tell you what, rather than Dave H or me doing all the work, have a google around deforestation and global fishery depletion driven by demand from developed economies. 

    On a more general point, what is interesting here is the same reflexive denial that characterises discussions of CC extends to environmental impacts in general.

    It seems that for some, the inconvenient truths will not be acknowledged under any circumstances.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The Carbon Trust? Are you kidding?

  • BBD

    @ 101

    I know I tuned out years ago. Apparently Professor Bradshaw, and you, think the response is to yell louder, make more wild claims

    You have not pointed to any flaws in the methodology used in the study (here’s the full paper). Claiming that it is making wild claims is a wild claim. :-)

    I think you are just saying stuff.

  • BBD

    No Tom. Now RTFR, there’s a good chap.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom are you really so stupid — and I do mean stupid — that you can’t see the obvious contradiction between your statements here:

    Course of action to save the environment: Make Group B as rich as Group A. 

    and here:

    Some use the EKC to wash their hands of responsibility,saying we need do nothing”“let them get rich and take care of it. 

     

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller

    > Maybe you see in that list the means by which we exported our environmental debt.

    Are you being deliberately facetious? Do you expect something like “raw sewage” to appear in US exports to China?

    You see the footprint of environmental debt in the US *imports* – and for all your trumpeting the manufacturing base, the US has been running a trade deficit since the sixties, ultimately rising to record levels in the last few years.

    If you got your table from a page like this:

    https://www.uschina.org/statistics/tradetable.html

    You would be hard pressed not to scroll down and see how the imports from China absolutely dwarf exports to China. And it is largely manufactured items (toys, clothes, electronics) rather than raw materials – because the US has outsourced the production of the luxuries it consumes. For example, the iPad – all of the ecological and social manufacturing footprint is borne by countries overseas with far less stringent emissions and labour regulations, while all the wealth of the sale of the finished article is concentrated in the US.

    RE: the EKC stuff, as far as I can tell, you’re only arguing with yourself.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh, Dave H, give me a break. Developing countries fight to manufacture toys for the West. China is number one importer to the U.S. Number two is Canada. Number 3 is Mexico. Number 4 is Japan, Number 5 is Germany. Are we responsible for Germany’s environmental debt too?Load of crap.Marlowe, getting started on the vodka a bit early? Bottomless mimosas in some bar with wireless?

  • steven mosher

    Hi Tom.

    Dave H has a small points. One of the greatest enviromental disasters in China is directly related to exports. The export of super magnets used exclusively in wind energy generation. So yes, to the extent that enviromentalists are pushing for sustainable energy on our shores they are destroying the environment in China.
    So yes, the greens have encouraged folks in the US england ect to export their environmental debt.

    I’m all for keeping poor people poor. Except they breed more, and of all factors that lead to global warming increasing population tops the list. but thats just IPCC nonsense. You want to fight global warming? educate poor women.
    You want to get China to use less coal. Teach them to frak.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Steve! IMO the countries we have damaged most with our gargantuan appetites are Canada (gimme dat oil), Germany (stay trapped with the Mittelstand forever!) and Japan (Okay, you had your day in the sun, now give us cheap Bravias or go back to the rice fields.) All of them developed, all of them with full agency, all of them with plenty of options.

    The countries that have benefited most from Western appetites are obviously developing ones. Their environment has suffered because of internal growth of income and consumption and resulting expectations. 

    But as I said above, the EKC is invalid–they are turning their attention to environmental quality far earlier in the development cycle than we did–and good for them. Getting wealthier will certainly make it easier for them and good for them on that score, too.

  • BBD

    @ 113

    So yes, the greens have encouraged folks in the US england ect to export their environmental debt.

    Of course. It’s all the fault of ‘the greens’. All that other stuff China exports is a bit beside the point. You know, the vast majority of the stuff we are talking about. 

    A very instructive attribution though, and thank you for making it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Yeah, making those toys sure degrades that environment…

  • BBD

    By the way, can anyone point to evidence that the manufacture, for export, of ‘super magnets’ for wind turbines is ‘one of the greatest environmental disasters in China’?

    Dave H has a small points. One of the greatest enviromental disasters in China is directly related to exports. The export of super magnets used exclusively in wind energy generation.

  • Jeffn

    Poor BBD, the UK windmills can’t run google for him.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec09/china_12-14.html
    The magnets that destroy the environment in order for toffs to feel good about themselves ( whilst collecting subsidy checks from the windmills on their estates of course).

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    Point taken. Instead of arguing against your hypothesis, we should wait for a test. My own guess is that as long as we get the same commenters commenting, we’ll get more or less the same comments, whatever Keith will post.

    In my opinion, we’re having a political debate, usually hidden under “auditing” concerns. The auditing game is first and foremost a pea and thimble game. (Hint: http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/922087397)

    This is why I claim that food fights we can have here and elsewhere at least show more honesty than the usual auditor shuffle.

  • BBD

    Jeffn

    This rather incomprehensible ‘interview’ confirms what everyone knows: refinement of rare earth metals is a messy and polluting process. What it does not even come close to doing is supporting SM’s ludicrous but deliberate exaggeration:

    Dave H has a small points. One of the greatest enviromental disasters in China is directly related to exports. The export of super magnets used exclusively in wind energy generation.

    Here, again, is what I asked:

    By the way, can anyone point to evidence that the manufacture, for export, of “˜super magnets’ for wind turbines is “˜one of the greatest environmental disasters in China’?

    A couple of snippets:

    High on the frozen steppe of Inner Mongolia, a huge wind farm. China is aiming to be the world leader in wind energy.

    [...]

    We are supplying too much rare earth, and it’s not sustainable, so we must restrict export.

    Thank you for confirming that SM was spouting nonsense and that you would rather join him in pushing the ‘evil green’ meme than investigate the facts.

    Now, bearing those snippets in mind, let’s consider some facts about the *internal* Chinese wind industry:

    China’s wind market doubled every year between 2006 and 2009 in terms of total installed capacity, and it has been the largest annual market since 2009. In 2010, China overtook the United States as the country with the most installed wind energy capacity by adding 16,500 MW* over the course of the year, a 64% increase on 2009 in terms of cumulative capacity, reaching 42.3 GW in total.

    According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the growth in installed capacity was driven by a record level of investment in wind power in China, which exceeded USD 20 billion in 2009. In the third quarter of 2010, China’s investment in new wind power projects accounted for half of the global total. In addition, the Chinese
    government report “Development Planning of New Energy Industry” calculated that the cumulative installed capacity of China’s wind power
    will reach 200 GW by 2020 and generate 440 TWh of electricity annually, creating more than RMB 250 billion (EUR 28 bn / USD 38 bn) in revenue.

    And even then, the nasty side-effects of rare earth metal refining will still be a tiny footnote to the list of China’s greatest environmental disasters.

    But don’t let the facts get in the way. Just keep saying stuff.

  • BBD

    willard

    As recently as a year ago I would have argued that I wasn’t having a political debate. I would have said that I was simply fact-checking and trying to contain the eruption of nonsense (quixotic delusion, of course).

    However, since it is abundantly obvious that most of the ‘other side’ are at the very least unwittingly acting in the furtherance of a market ideology (essentially a political stance), I must agree with you. 

    It still feels like fact-checking though.

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller (116)

    > Yeah, making those toys sure degrades that environment”¦

    <p

    Because toy manufacture is a 100% efficient enterprise that utilises no energy and releases no waste byproducts?

    Similarly battery and circuit-board manufacture – common components in toys these days. Or textiles, or paint, or plastics. China has apparently perfected the manufacturing pipeline of all of these processes to the point that they are self-sustaining activities with no raw material or energy inputs, and 100% desirable outputs. Amazing.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    The interested reader might want to take a look here to get a sense of what all those rare earth metals are used for besides magnets for wind turbines.

    This is why I claim that food fights we can have here and elsewhere at least show more honesty

    This latest claim by Mosher and Fuller shows pretty clearly how intellectually dishonest they are wouldn’t you say?

  • BBD

    Fans of EVs can now buy them with induction motors too! (Look mum, no magnets).

    As for your observation, it’s possible that it is compatible with willard’s remark. If what he was driving at was showing true colours.

    BTW, can you tell me how you get your quotes in a box like that? Can’t see any obvious button to press on the toolbar and I hate feeling left out.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    use the third button from the right. tooltip says ‘indent’

  • BBD

    Thank you.Let’s try some lines from the ‘Sceptic’s Prayer’:

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy tovesDid gyre and gimble in the wabe;All mimsy were the borogoves,And the mome raths outgrabe.”It seems very pretty,” she said when shehad finished it, “but it’s rather hard to understand!” (You see she didn’t like to confess, evento herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.)”Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas– only I don’t exactly know what they are!

  • BBD

    Ah. So the line breaks still have to go in by hand. Silly of me. But I see now. Thanks.

  • BBD

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
    “It seems very pretty,” she said when she
    had finished it, “but it’s rather hard to under
    stand!” (You see she didn’t like to confess, even
    to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.)
    “Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas
    – only I don’t exactly know what they are!

  • jeffn

    BBD “fact checks” by sourcing the GWEC- the wind industry lobbying group. That’s not my description of them, it’s their own description:
    “We are the global wind industry trade association, representative forum for the entire wind energy sector at the international level.” http://gwec.net/index.php?id=17
    Funny how unquestionable a lobbying group becomes when it fits your preconceived opinion.
    How is that “installed capacity” of wind v actual useable production working out in the UK?
    Well, it ain’t any better in China- “Although representing a large increase in installed capacity, China’s wind power generators failed to meet last year’s target due to infrastructure issues that prevent most of the electricity generated via wind turbines from reaching the country’s power grid, according to Shi Lishan, deputy director of the NEB’s new and renewable energy department.”
    http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-01/11/content_14423462.htm
    Oh well, at least they’re going to solve it- “The NEB is considering expanding its power grid network to provide greater access to wind power, as well as developing large-scale energy storage facilities, Shi said.”
    So miles and miles of new high voltage transmission lines, construction of new “large-scale energy storage” and windmills in pristine areas is now “sustainable” growth with little to no ecological impact? Good to know.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dave H, my point is not that China does not manufacture goods for export or that manufacturing doesn’t cause pollution.

    My point is that if China quit manufacturing goods for export today it wouldn’t amount to an asterisk in terms of their environmental degradation issues.

  • BBD

    Then why didn’t you call Mosher out for his rubbish?

  • BBD

    And anyway, let’s not let Tom push the discussion too far off track.

    The elephant in the room is global environmental impacts. Not *just* exported impacts and *only* with the focus on China.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    cuz he didn’t want to risk his bromance with Mosh ;)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You don’t understand Mosher. Or many other things, besides. 

    If you want to say that a modern lifestyle has a larger impact on the environment than rural farming, go ahead. There are intelligent and well-studied people who will differ from you (rural farming can have very intensive effects), but I’m not sufficiently well-versed to dispute the point.

    What I will note is that most of the people talking about this issue fail to consider the second half of the argument. The activities you seek to eliminate will necessarily be replaced by something. If the developing world stopped manufacturing for export to we rich and pampered people in the developed world, they would then have to do something else. 

    Whatever that else is, it too will have some impact on the environment, even if it is rural farming. Hence your net savings will be far lower than the headline numbers of goods manufactured for export.

    Unless you have more draconian measures in mind.

  • Joshua

    willard -I think that two things might happen. The first is that some lurkers might come out of the woodwork. There are probably people who could contribute something of value to the discussion, but who don’t want to get smacked with hamburger patties. So the ratio of spittle-fleckers to honest debaters might change. Second, I think we all have a natural tendency towards responding in reflexive and patterned ways. Doing so is a product of the basic pattern-finding nature of how we reason. But we are capable of consciously controlling for those tendencies (if not 100%, at least to some degree). With a context that encourages people to exercise that control, it’s possible that people might respond accordingly. I appreciate Keith’s main focus (as I interpret it) on being non-partisan as much as possible. As such, he’s likely to attract people who are more like-minded (even if they can’t always pull it off). There are resources here (well-reasoned analyses) to be mined, and I suspect it can be done with less environmental damage than what we see at the typical climate debate centered blog.I’m not sure what you mean by “the usual auditing shuffle.” Based on a rough guess – I will respond by saying that there are certainly sites that are openly political but where there is very little honest debate. So there is no causal relationship. There are different kinds of dishonesty. One is arguing politics under the guise of scientific debate, and another is arguing politics under the guise of political debate – the operative word there being debate. Underlying facile, “motivated,” partisan, binary mentality analysis posing as debate is the common thread. I guess it’s an interesting philosophical question to ask whether jello-mold flinging done in the context of hidden political debate conducted under the cover of scientific debate is less dishonest than jell-mold flinging done in the context of more openly political debate less uniformly hidden under the cover of scientific debate. Difference without distinction?

  • Joshua

    One more time, with feeling:

    willard -

    I think that two things might happen. The first is that some lurkers might come out of the woodwork. There are probably people who could contribute something of value to the discussion, but who don’t want to get smacked with hamburger patties. So the ratio of spittle-fleckers to honest debaters might change.

    Second, I think we all have a natural tendency towards responding in reflexive and patterned ways. Doing so is a product of the basic pattern-finding nature of how we reason. But we are capable of consciously controlling for those tendencies (if not 100%, at least to some degree). With a context that
    encourages people to exercise that control, it’s possible that people might respond accordingly.

    I appreciate Keith’s main focus (as I interpret it) on being non-partisan as much as possible. As such, he’s likely to attract people who are more like-minded (even if they can’t always pull it off). There are resources here (well-reasoned analyses)
    to be mined, and I suspect it can be done with less environmental damage than what we see at the typical climate debate centered blog.I’m not sure what you mean by “the usual auditing shuffle.”

    Based on a rough guess ““ I will respond by saying that there are certainly sites that are openly political but where there is very little honest debate. So there is no causal relationship. There are different kinds of dishonesty. One is arguing politics under the guise of scientific debate, and another is arguing politics under the guise of political debate ““ the operative word there being debate. Underlying facile, “motivated,” partisan,
    binary mentality analysis posing as debate is the common thread.

    I guess it’s an interesting philosophical question to ask whether jello-mold flinging done in the context of hidden political debate conducted under the cover of scientific debate is less dishonest than jell-mold flinging done in the context of more openly political debate less uniformly hidden under the cover of scientific debate. Difference without distinction?

  • Joshua

    Marlowe – is there any way to see the ASCII control characters (or whatever you kids call them these days) for line breaks after you’ve toggled on the HTML source code formatting?

  • BBD

    @ 133

    The activities you seek to eliminate will necessarily be replaced by something.

    The activities I ‘seek to eliminate’? What a transparently obvious Tom you are being today. BAU.

    Do you mean the activities that the majority of knowledgeable observers agree are damaging to the environment? And that are generally agreed to be a ‘bad thing’ and that should be modified accordingly? For the benefit of all mankind and all that hippie drivel?

    Your endless attempts to portray others in this exchange as acting in bad faith are getting tiresome. 

  • BBD

    Joshua

    It’s an *html* editor…

  • Joshua

    BBD – not sure how that helps. After realizing that I forgot to format before posting, I tried cutting and pasting what already got posted into a new comment text box and post-post formatting. Unfortunately, there were some soft line breaks still in there somehow that I didn’t see when I pressed the “view source code” toggle. I’m quite sure that I will again, in the future, remember to format about one nanosecond after hitting the “submit comment’ button – so I’m wondering if in the future I can avoid those unwanted line breaks.

  • BBD

    A smiley is missing from # 138.

    But you remind me of something with your # 135. The only way to cultivate the garden of debate on hot topics is *moderation* which KK chooses as a point of policy not to do. But – and this will engender howls (and I don’t give a stuff) – if you want to have a constructive debate the loons need to be excluded. They bring nothing except noisy, disruptive nonsense and at worst, dubious agendas.

    Being patronised for trying to fend of the worst of the drivel is likely to annoy those commenters who find it intolerable and cannot sit in silence.

  • BBD

    The soft line breaks are a nuisance and there is no way I know of that eliminates them.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Are you self-selecting, BBD? You’re the Abu bin Adam of loons…

  • Joshua

    BBD – the definition of “loon” is inherently problematic.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #137, your ego is showing. I was replying to Dave H. I don’t really pay you that much attention. You’re a troll.

  • Matt B

    @ 140 BBD, isn’t the Tobis planet3.0 blog specifically designed to exclude loons?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Matt B, yes, it is. Apparently their definition of loon includes 99.9% of the human race, hence their lack of traffic.

  • BBD

    @ 143No, Joshua, it really isn’t. Not in the real world, where I come from.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #147, I think we’d all like to know how long ago you left the real world, where you come from. And if you ever have any intention of returning…

  • BBD

    Keep it up Tom. You make my point for me more eloquently than I could ever do myself.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @144

    Pot kettle?

    @Joshua

    I would agree with BBD that achieving a productive discussion among a large group of people — whether on blogs or in person — benefits from the intervention of an active moderator. Now some may accuse me of being too snarky in my posts and that I would be better off (i.e more persuasive) adopting the Joshua/Bart Verhaggen/Tobis style of civility. Perhaps that’s true. But frankly that’s not my style and it is, well, boring. I would hope that lurkers, and genuine ’skeptics’ will be persuaded by the logical content of my arguments and the references (see for example, the links I provide upthread on EKC research, rare earth element end-markets etc) I provide rather than by how nice I am. 

  • BBD

    +1

  • Dean

    Which countries have the cleaner environments?Group A: Western Europe, U.S. Group B: China, India, IndonesiaAnswer: Group A. Which group has had the highest growth rate in recent years?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #150, why then do you attend this blog instead of P3? There are numerous moderated climate weblogs: Real Climate, P3, etc.

    There are also numerous weblogs such as Rabett Run, Things Break, Stoat and Deltoid where the majority of commenters and the bloggers themselves share your P.O.V.

    It seems a bit silly that you would choose to come to an unmoderated or lightly moderated weblog and start calling for moderation when you can achieve what you seek with a quick click.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #152, China, followed by India. Interesting that they have started outsourcing their environmental debt to Burma, Sub-Saharan Africa and Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam…

  • BBD

    I thought that was obvious Tom. I come to see you. And one or two other never-silent contrarians. Because somebody’s got to, haven’t they? Or the bollocks triumphs by default.

  • Joshua

    Marlowe -

    It isn’t the level of civility, or tone, that matters to me. It’s the quality of engagement. Mr. Fuller’s participation in this thread is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. It isn’t his lack of civility that makes his input worthless, it’s his inability to engage in a less “motivated” analysis. If he could get out of his own way, I think he might have something of value to offer to the debate from a perspective different than my own.

    I’ve been thinking of which sites I’ve encountered in the blogosphere that have the best level of engagement from contributors on both sides of the debate. One interesting example is LGF that might fit the bill is LGF – which is a moderated blog – but it has a very unique historical arc that makes it fairly idiosyncratic, and on some issues, climate change being primary among them, there isn’t much quality bilateral give and take. I think that is because w/r/t that particular issue, and a few others, the blog owner considers there to be, speaking broadly, only one valid perspective.

    At any rate, I think that to some extent, the type and quality of engagement in the comments derives from the leadership of a blogger. In that sense, I think that a less partisan blogger can stimulate a better quality discussion and attract less spittle. But the bloggers themselves need to always be careful of taking on their own agenda, and sometimes a focus on non-partisanship can wonder over to a false balance stance that in the end only stimulates response that takes the well-worn paths of partisan memes.

  • BBD

    And Tom, you are (as ever) misrepresenting me. I didn’t call for moderation here. I pointed out to Joshua moderation is necessary for productive debate on contentious issues.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Thanks for the reply Joshua. Apologies but I don’t know what blog ‘LGF’ refers to. 

    In the context of this particular blog, I’d like to add that I take exception to the use of the term ‘partisan’ and the manner in which it is deployed to de-legitimize an argument. It’s a tactic that our host, in particular, uses to avoid confronting critical arguments that undercut the position/narrative/story that he is try to advance. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, you, as with BBD, Marlowe and Willard, are always free to try the restaurant down the street. The fact that you don’t means you’re just kvetching. Your name is mentioned 42 times in this thread. You have yet to make one comment on topic. How very troll-like. Come here and complain about the discussion when your entire activity here has been getting in the way of discussion. Willard would be proud, unless he gets concerned that you’re stealing his schtick.

  • BBD

    Comment counting. Last refuge of a scoundrel ;-)

  • Joshua

    Marlowe -LGF is Little Green Footballs. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a really interesting blog with a fascinating history. I get what you’re saying about the potential of focusing on partisanship to de-legitimize an argument. It’s all tricky stuff. But a tendency towards partisanship is a natural outgrowth of fundamental aspects of how we all reason. I think that everyone needs to recognize those fundamental characteristics and actively control for them.  Yes, it is theoretically possible for someone to construct a valid argument without assessing the potential for partisanship to negatively bias their own viewpoint – but I think to do so effectively is relatively rare. That also doesn’t mean that “partisan” views are necessarily irrelevant or without value, or illegitimate. They are sometimes useful for plotting the full outline of the debate. But more often than not, they are fairly useless – as so well demonstrated by our friend Mr. Fuller.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    That’s several more mentions of Joshua including one comment without anything relevant to the topic.

    Troll.

  • BBD

    Ahem.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Imagine that. One troll says ‘ahem’ in defense of another.Any time you want to post on topic, just let us know.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    What I have in mind would not be a debate, but something like a conversation.

    In a conversation, one can throw any kind of jello, as long as willingness to engage is there.

    Collegiality always beats civility.

    There might be editorials that help set up a more collegial atmosphere. But as long as what we have are editorials, I doubt we can expect anything else than reactions to an editorial. And reactions about reactions. And editorials about reactions about reactions. And from time to time, some more shirt rippin’ from our own Groundskeeper Willie.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You trolls ever hear of email? You are not strictly required to inflict this on the rest of us.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Earlier, on the same Bat-channel:

    Willard, we have come to a parting of the ways, and none too soon. I will not be responding to any more of your comments.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2012/05/04/climate-wars-reach-new-low/#comment-108386

  • http://jaycurrie.wordpress.com Jay Currie

    Fun as it is to see the same people having the same food fight, Keith brings up an interesting point: the zero or negative growth message of the climate concerned community is not selling.In fact, the more the activists demand the less likely they are to be listened to. Which translates into the general collapse of political support for green issues – carbon dioxide reduction in particular. This is happening world wide as politicians begin to count the real costs of alternative energy and the subsidies it requires. Those of us on the skeptical side of the aisle tend to see investment in CO2 reduction as mal investment simply because the technology is not very good and these investments do not actually do much to reduce CO2 (assuming that such reduction might be a good thing.)There is very little question that in China and India and the rest of the developing world demand for things like cars, refrigerators and televisions is expanding. And will keep expanding. At the margins it may be possible to make “car” and “fridge” mean something a bit different in those markets; but I would not count on it. More over, why should they listen to us?So the green anti-growth message is not working and is alienating voters and with them, politicians. It is becoming tactically very smart to want real jobs and to punch any hippie standing in the way of those jobs.

  • BBD

    Rio waffle:

    We recognize that the planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home and that Mother Earth is a common expression in a number of countries and regions and we note that some countries recognize the rights of nature in the context of the promotion of sustainable development. We are convinced that in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environment needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature.

    Monbiot: that’s arschpapier.

    KK:

    This narrow, earth-centric mindset, combined with a hostility to economic growth, is marginalizing environmentalism.

    [...]

    In the aftermath of Rio +20 , angry environmental groups and NGOs signed a petition called, “The Future We Don’t Want.” What they have failed to come to grips with is that there is a future that won’t be denied.

    Various commenters here:

    ‘Environmentalism’ is pointing out uncomfortable facts. And getting told to STFU for doing so. This helps obscure the fact that the ‘environmental’ position is essentially correct. There is an environmental price tag to growth and it is being ignored (still) despite the wall of evidence that this is unwise. That, unfortunately, is the future that can’t be denied.

  • steven mosher

    Tom, Joshua has a particular style of commenting that he came close to perfecting on Judith’s. Rule number 1. Never engage the topic. 2. Turn the discussion into a discussion of the blog owners performance. 3. Raise the noise floor.

    Don’t expect to ever get him to disclose his position on a subject or to “reason together.”
    That is not on the agenda. His choice I suppose.

  • steven mosher
  • steven mosher

    ya Marlowe I fogot to mention hybrid cars..
    nice resource you provided, read it

    World mine production of rare earth oxides (REOs) grew rapidly (about 7 percent per year) from 1990 through 2006 before decreasing in 2007 owing to worldwide economic conditions, with growth increasing but at a slower pace after 2007 (fig. 1). The growth in REO production directly correlates to the growth in REO consumption, which, in turn, has been tied to the general economic growth for the historic uses of REOs (catalysts for fluid cracking and catalytic converters for automobiles, glass and metallurgical industries, and phosphors) and the increase of high-technology uses tied mainly to alternative energy systems (such as batteries for hybrid cars) and permanent magnet applications for electric motors, stereo speakers, and wind turbine generators.”

    here is another

    http://www.raremetalinvestor.com/whyraremetals.html

    “A single three-megawatt wind generator (modest, as utility-scale wind turbines go) contains more than a ton of super magnets, more than 700 pounds of which is neodymium. A typical hybrid car, such as a Toyota Prius, contains around 25 pounds of rare earth metals — mostly lanthanum in its rechargeable battery and neodymium in its drive motor. “The global annual production of neodymium, essentially all of which is mined in China, is today at an all-time high,” Lifton says. “There is no surplus — the existing demand uses up all that’s produced each year. So to build more wind turbines and hybrid cars, you’ll need more neodymium. ”

    are there other uses for these magnets. Of course.
    Did the green demand allow people to export their enviromental debt to China, Of course.

    Was it bad? yup.

    For pete’s sake I’m taking sides against Tom. You guys.

  • Joshua

    Jay -

    .In fact, the more the activists demand the less likely they are to be listened to. Which translates into the general collapse of political support for green issues ““ carbon dioxide reduction in particular.

    I’ll ask you the same question that I asked Keith w/r/t your and his point. What evidence do you have upon which you base your determination that there is some kind of inverse relationship, on some meaningful scale, between extreme environmental rhetoric and public support for the cases for which they advocate?

    I’m open to the concept – as there seems to me to be a basic valid logic behind the theory (sure, many people are turned off by extremism) – but I don’t see evidence to support the contention in reality in the relevant context. It is a very difficult topic to examine, but I think that many people see some grand effect because that’s what they want to see. Similar claims are made about the impact of climategate – yet actual evidence is lacking.Keep in mind, that at many of the “skeptic” sites where people voice similar opinions to the one you just posted, you will also find “skeptics” who are equally sure that extremist environmentalists have build a powerful structure that largely dominates, or at least heavily influences, many international, national, and local policies.

    Yes – carbon emission reduction has not gone as extreme environmentalists wanted – but there are many reasons for that, and even if there weren’t it’s hard to say that no progress has been made as the result of their efforts (even if progress hasn’t been to the degree they had wanted). What solid evidence do you have that absent their extremism, more advances would have been made? Or, if you prefer, what evidence do you have that absent their extremism, the same amount of advances would have been made?

  • Joshua

    And Keith -

    With regard to the opinions of my old friend Mr. Mosher and my new friend Mr. Fuller (both of whom interestingly seem to not like people responding to me or about me, yet also seem interested in responding to me or about me)…

    Based on our previous interactions, I presume that you don’t see me as “trolling” or distracting from the discussions that you want to have taking place (or at least you don’t consider me responsible for people who choose to be interested in what I have to say and then claim that I’m distracting them)…

    But if I’m wrong about that, do let me know.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Steve–once again we’re on the other side… We’re only exporting that portion of our environmental debt because we shuttered all the REO mines in the West–because China was doing it on the cheap and we couldn’t compete. China bid low for the privilege of having tailings in ponds and metallic dust in the air. We had all the mines we needed. China just made them unprofitable.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Steve,

    this may surprise you, but while your’re busy jerking everyone’s chain over at Curry’s and stroking your ego, there are plenty of smart people around the world working on improving lifecycle assessment models to compare the impacts of EVs, hybrids, and hummers, among other things. In the U.S. there’s even a free model that you can play with. it’s called ‘GREET’. Care to hazard a guess on what the total contribution of vehicle manufacture is to an EV’s lifetime GHG emissions? Time to man up bub.

    you seem to be under the impression that ‘greens’ are so gullible that they actually believe that wind turbines and electric vehicles have zero environmental impact. Makes for a useful imaginary punching bag, but reality it aint.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Well, in Steve’s defense, if you’re the prototype, no wonder…

  • steven mosher

    Marlowe.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnhZt73_d-I&feature=player_embedded#!

    1. I never said that greens were gullible.
    2. Thank you for agreeing that they knew they were exporting their environmental debt.
    3. If you want me to evaluate a model, just point me at the source code and the IV&V
    otherwise, #Si

  • steven mosher

    Joshua,
    I have no problem with people responding to you here. Did I say that? Your pattern of behavior is pretty consistent. Pointing that out shouldnt upset you. If it does, I’m sorry.

  • steven mosher

    Of course tom. unravelling responsibilities is tough business. I will note that everyone agreed that the best way to fight global warming was to educate poor women..

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Which is not only true but has been pretty much common knowledge for 30 years… Did you see Melinda Gates on Colbert? They’re going to put a few hundred mil into reproductive solutions for the developing world. Maybe they’ll solve global warming before Marlowe puts you and me up against a wall…

  • Marlowe Johnson

    mosh don’t be a putz. google is your friend. 

    ‘emancipating’ women is certainly a win-win strategy, but that is largely a motherhood statement no? can i have a pony too? 

    one of the lowest hanging fruits is white roofs but let’s save that for later…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Marlowe–you’re signing up for Lomborg solutions? Have you been… smoking something? What a rare simulation of sanity. 

  • Dave H

    @Steven Mosher

    > The greens have forced people to export their environmental debt to China.

    Yes, that’s right, it’s all about the hybrids and windmills. That’s the very best and most obvious example of the increase in wealth in developed coountries being based on exporting environmental debt to developing nations, and its all the greens’ fault.

    (Rolls eyes)

  • harrywr2

    #170“˜Environmentalism’ is pointing out uncomfortable facts. And getting told
    to STFU for doing so. This helps obscure the fact that the
    “˜environmental’ position is essentially correct.
    What uncomfortable facts…that ‘real life’ involves  tradeoffs. That utopia doesn’t exist? That people who advocate for one set of trade offs will lie and manipulate statistics to make their desired set of tradeoffs seem more desirable?

    I had a ‘front row’ seat for the Iran-Iraq War and Afghan-Soviet conflicts. My son has had a front row seat for the US-Iraq War and the Afghan-US conflict.

    How about an uncomfortable fact like Humanity can barely restrain itself from killing each other…the idea that humanity will ‘come together’ to save Polar Bears or  some endangered cockroach requires one to be completely detached from reality.

    Humanity will only act in it’s self interest even if that self interest involves killing off large numbers of members of humanity that belong to different sub tribes.

    How is that for an ‘uncomfortable’ fact.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @ 185

    the code for the rolls-eyes emoticon is (:roll:) without the brackets of course so you get :roll:

    @186

    you’re a half-empty kind of guy aren’t you ;)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #185, feel free to provide more concrete examples.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua (175)

    I don’t view you as a troll. On the contrary, I find the majority of your comments–in tone and substance–to be constructive. You help raise the signal to noise ratio.

    I also view the majority of Tom Fuller’s contributions in the same manner–when he isn’t baited into spitball fights with Marlowe et al.

    On that note, I would prefer that people stop yelling “troll!” in response to those who disagree with them.

    Sorry, I haven’t been able to participate in this thread. Am at a conference in CA (more on that on Monday) and traveling with my family. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    People who disagree are not trolls. Dave H, Thingsbreak, PDA, all commenters on this blog, are people I disagree with vehemently. They are not trolls at all.

  • BBD

    @ 172

    The Daily Mail? Are you having laugh steven? You do realise  (perhaps you don’t ) that the DM is plugged directly into the GWPF disinformation machine? And that as a direct consequence, it has an *abysmal* record on all climate and energy policy topics? For which it is frequently criticised, not that it makes any difference. The DM is a laughing stock over here for it’s misleading and blatantly biased reportage. Please do not bother referencing it again. It’s rare for me to refuse to read a reference, but I’m not going to waste time reading crap in the DM.

  • BBD

    SM

    This is a factually incorrect attack on ‘the greens’. It is deliberately misleading nonsense:

    One of the greatest enviromental disasters in China is directly related to exports. The export of super magnets used exclusively in wind energy generation.

    Overview of China’s greatest environmental problems. 

    Please see # 120 for my original response, which includes information about the vast and rapidly growing internal market for wind power in China. You seem to have missed that bit.

  • BBD

    @ 186

    Humanity will only act in it’s self interest

    The problem here is that CC and environmental damage are *not* in humanity’s interest. Curtailing both *is* in humanity’s interest.

    Those, such as yourself, who apparently refuse to understand this are… unhelpful in terms of the wider picture.

  • Joshua

    Thanks for the acknowledgement, Keith. Enjoy the conference. I’ m headed out to Cali in the middle of next week. Please make sure the place doesn’t fall apart before I get there.

  • BBD

    Should anyone be sceptical of my somewhat trenchant remarks about the Daily Mail…

  • Jeffn

    Yes Mosher, by all means go look at BBDs comment 120. It’s the one where he sources the wind industry’s lobbying group as the great presenter of fact. Keep this in mind as he explains which newspapers are biased – in his opinion of course.
    BBD, how’s that wind power working for the UK now? Is it yet?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    harrywr2,

    I believe you might appreciate this piece:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2012/06/how_to_kill_a_rational_peasant.html

    Oh, and the polar bears are only a symbol.

    Or an icon.

    Or a logo, if you will.

    Auditors have some semiotical leeway.

  • Matt B

    @ 195 BBD – Definitions of “trenchant” -  incisive or keen, vigorous; effective; energetic

    Using “trenchant” to describe a Jume 30th comment that cites a blog post from over two months previous doesn’t seem very trenchant………

  • Louise

    Jeffn – a recent (28th June) government report says “Onshore wind showed the highest absolute increase in generation in the first quarter of 2012, increasing by 51 per cent, from 2.4 TWh in the first quarter of 2011 to 3.6 TWh, as a result of much increased capacity. Large increases in generation were also seen in hydro (up 43 per cent – due to high winter rainfall), offshore wind (up 50 per cent) and bioenergy (up 21 per cent due in part to the conversion of Tilbury B to dedicated biomass). ”
    http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn12_076/pn12_076.aspx

  • Louise

    BBD, as one who shares your opinion on the Daily Mail, I thought you might like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI

  • BBD

    That’s right Matt B – let’s all talk about whether BBD should have said trenchant *instead* of contemplating the fuming, roiling river of lying shite pouring from the DM…

    Louise – thanks. I chortled (has to be the right word, no?). Mosher should take note:

    It’s absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail

    Oh yes.

    Reference the DM on *any topic whatsoever* = instant credibility implosion…
    :-)

  • BBD

    jeffn

    Yes Mosher, by all means go look at BBDs comment 120. It’s the one where he sources the wind industry’s lobbying group as the great presenter of
    fact.

    Instead of lazy and dishonest sniping, why not get off your backside and do some fact-checking?

    What you need to do is to find a reliable source that contradicts the facts quoted at # 120 about the indigenous Chinese wind power sector.

  • PDA

    I disagree that Tom is only a troll when he’s “baited” into it… sometimes he’s the one doing the baiting.And I disagree that I’m not a troll: sometimes I am. As this comment makes clear.Troll is properly understood as a verb, not a noun. Sometimes we argue to achieve greater understanding and sometimes we argue just for the pleasure of it. And sometimes – not always or even often, but sometimes – that kind of arguing is amusing.

  • PDA

    Good lord, this editor sucks.

  • BBD

    Good lord, this editor sucks.

    Nope PDA, it doesn’t even do that… :-)

    To force breaks, switch to HTML mode (the blue < > button on the toolbar) and hit Enter twice after each </p> tag. The spacing you see will carry through into the published comment.

    It passes the time and it’s healthy and fun too!

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA is correct in 203, both in his characterization and definition.

  • Jeffn

    BBD, I did contradict your numbers. See #129. I noticed you evaded the question, again. The answer, of course is that production isn’t close to installed capacity, which is why lobbying groups use the installed capacity number. It looks good to fools.
    What’s most impressive though is that BBD, man who has been pedantic in his insistence that funding sources disqualify ” fossil fuel- funded” scientists is now willing to a) use an industry lobbyist for “facts”(especially those that are misleading) and b) conceding that it’s more important to address the argument than attack the messenger.
    One of those two may mean you’ll grow up to be worth listening to one day. Hint, it’s not A.

  • BBD

    jeffn

    You contradicted nothing. The only fool here is you. Mosher fooled you with the nonsense that one of the ‘greatest environmental disasters’ blighting China is pollution from refining rare earth metals *specifically and only* for ‘super magnets’ for *export* wind turbines. It was ‘greenie-bashing’ rubbish.

    Let’s stick to the facts:

    - The refining process is polluting, but set against the backdrop of China’s *real* greatest environmental disasters it is a nasty little footnote.

    - The Chinese make vast numbers of turbines for their own internal market. The ‘for export because of evil Western greenie policy’ smear in Mosher’s claim is *wrong*. It was just a cheap shot. The only reason it’s still being discussed is you and your furtherance of nonsense.

    - Your # 129 *does not* dispute the facts provided at # 120. We’re not talking about grid infrastructure issues here, or capacity factor vs nameplate capacity. We are talking about the actual numbers of turbines manufactured and pollution from the refining of the REMs used to dope the magnets. You were wittering on at right-angles to the discussion even then. Even the bloody quote you supplied drops a very large hint (note the emphasis):

    Although representing a large increase in installed capacity, China’s wind power generators failed to meet last year’s target due to infrastructure issues

    Finally, and for the nth time, a word about your incessant and insistent projection of some strawman craziness of yours onto me. I am not a great fan of wind power, as I have told you many times. I think that the money would be better spent on displacing coal from baseload using nuclear. But facts are facts, and both you and Mosher are making a partisan mockery of the facts. Which is what I object to.

  • TanGeng

    @Jeffn

    Don’t use chinadaily as a source for China. It’s the English voice box of the Party. That’s like asking students to publish a report on their own performance. You get pure central panning propaganda. If you need to use it, double check its values and angle for correctness and omissions.

  • Jeffn

    TanGeng, I’ve learned to read between the lines. China daily admits, as confirmed by several other sources, that this massive installation of wind isn’t connected to the grid. Now, I understand why our friend BBD likes to pretend China is adopting renewable energy at a dizzying pace, but why would they be erecting windmills they don’t use (even if they worked in the first place)?
    Ah, perhaps it because they built eight windmill factories right before Europe and the US cut wind subsidies. And windmills gotta go somewhere.
    But then the question that started all this was whether or not green policy was offshoring pollution debt to China. And here we learn that China got the filthy rare earth mining and is now stuck with noisy bird choppers that wont produce useable electricity without billions spent on new high voltage lines and backup power. All of which requires more environmental degredation. Despite the wind industry’s hurculean efforts to slap a happy face on the situation, this is just wishful thinking for a return of bad subsidy policy in the financially strapped (and now wind-experienced) west.

  • BBD

    Now, I understand why our friend BBD likes to pretend China is adopting renewable energy at a dizzying pace,

    Oh dear. This is what I said at #208:

    Finally, and for the nth time, a word about your incessant and insistent projection of some strawman craziness of yours onto me. I am not a great fan of wind power, as I have told you many times. I think that the money would be better spent on displacing coal from baseload using nuclear. But facts are facts, and both you and Mosher are making a partisan mockery of the facts. Which is what I object to.

    What’s your problem jeff? Are you stupid or dishonest or both in equal measure?

  • kdk33

    Windmills = Momuments to Man’s stupidity

  • kdk33

    and China is all for green energy.  Provided they manufacture and export the parts.  And provided they recieve reparations, climate justice for undeveloped an all.  And provided they can take a pass on onerus CO2 limitations.  And provided the west hamstrings their own economies with carbon taxes and other carbon whatnots.

    What’s not to like, if you’re Chinese.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @211

     Are you stupid or dishonest or both in equal measure? 

    An interesting proposition. the former seems like the lesser of two weevils so I’ll put my money there as I’m not quite the cynic as Harry-Coal-Bot. OTOH, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

  • jeffn

    Sigh. BBD, your willingness to miss the point seems to know no bounds.
    Since it must be spelled out for you in Kindergarten terms, here ya go:
    Claim 1 from your opponents- actually green policy is also offshoring our environmental debt- look at rare earth mining for windmills.
    BBD response- no, no, stupid liars, the Chinese aren’t doing this for export they’re building windmills for themselves because they love the environment! It’s a fact because the wind industry lobbying group says so!
    Claim 2 from me- no, they aren’t installing windmills for their own use, they aren’t even hooking them up to the grid. They expected to export them and since they didn’t have a market, they got stuck with them, which caused lobbyists to pretend that it was the plan all along to set them up in China- a bit a spin you bought hook, line and sinker. And what’s with the sudden acceptance of lobbyists’ word on everything when you’ve been pounding the whole “look at their funding sources” meme for months?
    BBD response- I don’t like windmills so, you’re a stupid liar.
    Marlowe- yeah, he’s a stupid liar!
    Me- Whatever guys. Love the strategy, works great for me. Keep it going!

  • BBD

    Thank you for confirming that you are rather more stupid than dishonest. This is slightly encouraging.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    JeffN, I disagree with your analysis in part.China really does want renewable energy to work domestically. They also want success in exporting parts and components for renewable energy.

    They’re just having better luck with the second than the first at the moment. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    On the other hand JeffN, I agree with your assessment of the ‘strategy’ (also known as obsessive compulsive behavior manifested by attacking anyone who disagrees with them) exhibited by those you mentioned.

  • BBD

    Anyone remotely interested in the facts about the faltering growth in the internal Chinese wind sector can read some background here. Those of us who are somewhat ‘wind sceptical’ will find some evidence in support of that scepticism. What you will not find is evidence supporting the notion that China set out to dominate the world market and then, reactively, dumped unexported inventory onto its own internal market. 

  • BBD

    Tom

    I see you’ve added to the already long list of insults aimed at me. Now, objecting on grounds of accuracy to your unending stream of nonsense means I’m suffering from OCD…

    I shall have to start up a tally with a rating system. As Marlowe was forced to do before me.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    219, actually China did intend to dominate the wind turbine market. They formed JV partnerships with western manufacturers, took their intellectual property and set up shop deliberately to undercut the western companies on price. 

    Very similar to what Japan did after the war. Even more similar to what America did to England 175 years ago.

  • BBD

    Oh FFS stop talking and read the f***ing link Tom.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh “FFS” stop pretending you’re bringing anything new to the party. I read it when it came out.

  • Dave H

    @jeffn, claim 1 is actually that the West has not benefited from exporting environmental debt to developing nations, or even that no such exporting occurred. The shift to Chinese windmills is a diversion.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    DaveH, the claim is actually that developing nations all but grabbed the West’s environmental debt out of our hands in pursuit of the economic benefits that accompanied it.

    The costs in terms of environmental degradation are real. So are the benefits.

  • Jeffn

    Dave H, BBD @117: ” By the way, can anyone point to evidence that the manufacture, for export, of “˜super magnets’ for wind turbines is “˜one of the greatest environmental disasters in China’?”
    We did, he went off and “proved” the wind turbines were for the domestic market, not export, by parroting the wind industry spin.
    But, let’s pretend I’m stupid for noting that China is erecting windmills where they can’t be connected to the grid. BBD apparently thinks this is a brilliant strategy on the part of China that will reduce emissions forthwith. I think its a stopgap measure to deal with excess production intended for a foreign market that suddenly dried up when subsidy dollars did. By all means, chime in. Unlike BBD, I don’t claim infallibility.
    Tom, agree that all nations would be happy to use renewable energy where and when it works. It seems odd to overbuild windmill factories and before having the grid if the goal is really to use the stuff. I think the goal was export and the installation was to allow the gullible to shout: “if China can install that much wind, surely we can!” The message worked on some, clearly.

  • Jeffn

    By the way I don’t hate wind at all times and in all places. There are places where it can work. One appears to be in my neighborhhod of Virgina Beach. Have at it. The Republican governor is even pushing it.
    What I object to is the fantasizing about totally replacing coal with renewable power that is often coupled with mumblings that we just have abandon economic growth. This has been tried and failed for over 20 years and the spin machine behind it is appalling in its willingness to exaggerate if not outright lie about the wonders of wind and solar.
    Believe it or not there are other options.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi JeffN,I’ve been covering renewables as an industry analyst for several years now, and I don’t recall ever seeing industry experts claim or hope for renewables replacing other energy sources. I’d say everyone always talks about getting renewables up to about 30% of the total–at least until the grid gets upgraded.

    I have seen ‘GreenTalk’ about it, but that comes from some who seem incapable of quantitative thinking.

  • TanGeng

    @Jeffn

    The Chinese are placing some emphasis on appearing environmentally friendly. In my experience in China, they are trying to do this from a centrally planned angle since there is no market demand or feasibility. This tact doesn’t always translate to effective policy and translates even less often to economically or environmentally sound practices.

    In an effort to appear environmentally sound, they’ve built huge wind farms out in the Inner Mongolia province and other places along that sparsely populated band of land. It’s a logistical nightmare to bring electricity from those areas to the areas of need at the coastal cities. The angle lacking in the chinadaily article is that central planning resulted in awful execution. More emphasis was placed on appearances by installing the capacity than in creating useful electricity. Now a bunch of wind turbines accumulating wear and tear without supplying power.

    I’m not really sure what ecological disasters we’re talking about. In general, China suffers from four major kinds of environmental pollution, chemical dumping, sewage dumping, heavy metal contaminant dumping, and aerosol pollution. Of the four, sewage dumping and aerosol pollution are ubiquitous and difficult to control. Chemical dumping, and heavy metal contaminant dumping are the most dangerous and the result of industrial processes. In this area, the most potential to pollute are salvaging and mining/refining involving metallurgy, with salvage processes far more pollutive per unit of production.

    The mining/refining of rare earth is one of these highly pollutive industries. Is it part of an ecological disaster? Yes. But so is PCB recycling.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @228

    As an expert industry analyst, could you provide us with some links to your work? As a sycophant of the supreme auditor it seems only fair right?

    Speaking of sycophants, how’s that conference going Keith?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Speaking of the 30%-cap-on-renewables-meme, I would be remiss if i didn’t point out that several smart people – Dan Kamen in particular – have laid out very detailed scenarios describing a %100 renewables world.

     BBD, as I recall you scoffed in a knee-jerk fashion when last I mentioned this. Care to substantiate your criticism? I’m genuinely curious, as I find Kamen a guy worth paying attention to — as does the World Bank apparently ;)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Gee 230, you think I’d give you the time of day, let alone links to my work? What difference would it make to a drunk? You managed to trash my book without ever reading it. Maybe that’s because trolls hang out where there isn’t much light–easier for planning your little nasties.

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    We need science fiction batteries. Unless and until they exist, you can’t have a 100% renewables world.

  • BBD

    Kammen’s advocacy is dangerous. The 30% renewables figure is optimistic.

    This is the realist take:

    The Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy

    The insightful cynic will note: “Now I understand all the fossil fuel ads with windmills and solar panels ““ fossil fuel moguls know that renewables are no threat to the fossil fuel business.” The tragedy is that many environmentalists line up on the side of the fossil fuel industry, advocating renewables as if they, plus energy efficiency, would solve the global climate change matter.

    Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

    This Easter Bunny fable is the basis of “˜policy’ thinking of many liberal politicians. Yet when such people are elected to the executive branch and must make real world decisions, they end up approving expanded off-shore drilling and allowing continued mountaintop removal, long-wall coal mining, hydro-fracking, etc. ““ maybe even a tar sands pipeline. Why the inconsistency?

    Because they realize that renewable energies are grossly inadequate for our energy needs now and in the foreseeable future and they have no real plan. They pay homage to the Easter Bunny fantasy, because it is the easy thing to do in politics. They are reluctant to explain what is actually needed to phase out our need for fossil fuels. Reluctance to be honest might seem strange, given that what is needed to solve the problem actually makes sense and is not harmful to most people.

    [...]

    Many well-meaning people proceed under the illusion that “˜soft’ renewable energies [3] will replace fossil fuels if the government tries harder and provides more subsidies. Meanwhile, governments speak greenwash while allowing pursuit of fossil fuels with increasingly destructive technologies (hydrofracking, mountaintop removal, longwall mining, drilling in the deepest ocean, the Arctic and other pristine environments) and development of unconventional fossil fuels [4].

    It will be a tragedy if environmentalists allow the illusion of “˜soft’ energies to postpone demand for real solution of the energy, climate and national security problems. Solar power is just a small part of the solution. Subsidies yielding even its present tiny contribution may be unsustainable.

    Victor and Yanosek discuss ineffectual U.S. policies to promote green energies and green jobs in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. They conclude that the policies do not promote technologies that can compete with fossil fuels without subsidies. Victor and Yanosek suggest incentives for innovative technologies, including advanced nuclear power. Bill Gates is so distressed by the irrational pusillanimous U.S. energy policy that he is investing a piece of his personal fortune to help develop a specific 4th generation nuclear technology.

  • Jarmo

    I’ve been following the way Danish windmills effect electricity prices and how the electricity prices vary within Nordpool (Scandinavia electricity market). The Danes would be in deep **** without Norwegian and Swedish hydro. Recently winds have been light and the Danes have been paying double rates for electricity and running their CHP coal plants….. in July.

     Here’s a real time Nordpool energy flow and price map if you’re interested:

    http://www.fingrid.fi/portal/suomeksi/sahkomarkkinat/voimajarjestelman_tila/pohjoismainen_voimajarjestelman_tilakuva/

    Just make sure that you have flow and price boxes ticked.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller
  • Marlowe Johnson

    I’d love to audit your work Tom, but I’d rather not spend $5k to do it. Nice try to drum up some sales though! what’s your commission?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Ooops, Marlowe! Did you ask the wrong question? Have another drink.

  • harrywr2

    BBD,Bill Gates is so distressed by the irrational pusillanimous U.S.
    energy policy that he is investing a piece of his personal fortune to
    help develop a specific 4th generation nuclear technology.

    There is nothing irrational about US electric generating policy. DOE talks with ‘interested groups’ about what they might be interested in buying if something was available and what the long term replacement plans are.

    The bulk of the US coal fired fleet is in the 100MW to 200MW class and is due to retire beginning at about 2020. The US DOE is currently undergoing a final evaluation to choose two Small Modular Reactor designs that can be licensed and deployed by 2020. DOE will ‘cost split’ the licensing costs with the US Electric Utility Industry.

    Bill Gates’s ‘traveling wave’ reactor  is no where near the ‘licensing phase’ which means it won’t be deploy-able until after 2020.

    As far as various comments about ‘green wash’ the reality in democractic societies is that we frequently have to attempt things that ‘semi-knowledgeable’ people are certain will fail in order to make the case that ‘we tried that and it didn’t work’.

    I.E. If nuclear power in Germany is going to have a future someone is going to have to put solar panels on every roof in Germany and then point out the fact that they are only generating a fraction of the energy needed. Sometimes ‘political consensus’ on a way forward is achieved by vigorous discussion but more commonly it is achieved by ‘trying and failing’.

    Chruchill had it ‘close to right’ when he said…The Americans always get it right in the end, once they’ve tried everything else. Churchill’s statement can be more broadly applied to democracies in general.

  • Jeffn

    Harry: “As far as various comments about “˜green wash’ the reality in democractic societies is that we frequently have to attempt things that “˜semi-knowledgeable’ people are certain will fail in order to make the case that “˜we tried that and it didn’t work’.”
    Bingo!
    But for that to work, you need an environmental movement that is willing to say it was wrong and a media that is willing to challenge it. Which is why the DDT thread was was so… Frustrating.
    More likely the greens in Germany will simply assert that their brilliant strategy was poorly implemented by govt officials corrupted by big nuke- nothing that can’t be fixed by replacing them all with green sycophants. And blackouts, price spikes? Greedy corporations are the cause of course. The cure? Just mandate that the power stay on and institute price controls. Simple.

  • Jeffn

    The is interesting.
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/a-greenhouse-gift-if-china-follows-u-s-shift-from-coal-to-gas/#more-45027
    Andy Revkin interviews David Victor, energy researcher at U Cal and certified warmest. He tells us that the switch to gas from coal has been rapid in the US and has reduced emissions 475 Million tons.
    “To put that number into perspective, it’s about double the size of the effort that the EU has made to comply with the Kyoto protocol” Victor writes.
    And the environmental movement wants to stop gas.
    If you’re keeping score at home that’s a comparison of the “do nothing” United States over five years to 20 years of preening waste in Europe.
    Game
    Set
    Match

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    There will be a rematch and the results will be contested.

    It’s funny how the big leaps in reducing CO2 have all been sort of out of left field. The decommissioning of Easter European industry, fracked gas, the Prius.

    Even the great dams of China were planned without CO2 in mind–they just needed the electricity.

  • Jeffn

    Tom, I wonder if that little statistic will ever find its way into an environmental reporters’ dispatch on the debate about fracking. Maybe between the uninformed assertions of the movie star activist and the college freshman activist?
    Nah. Where’s the fun in that?
    Note that the headwaters of this and Andy’s previous post on gas was Cuomo’s move to permit fracking- ie this is in part “protect the Democrat.” Good thing the gov isn’t a Republican or the Times would be encouraging the activists to make up any story they want.

  • Keith Kloor

    Sorry for the radio silence. On vacation with family for first two weeks of July. I took a no blogging vow. Check back on July 16.

  • BBD

    Well I hope you have a very pleasant and relaxing break. And thank you for your efforts so far this year.

    BBD

  • http://hro001.wordpress.com Hilary Ostrov

    Oh well, yet another thread with the zealot registering 21% on the noise-a-mometer. Not quite up to his ~1/3 of 523 on the “No Denying the Implied Context for Climate Denier” thread.  

    But very much par for the zealot’s course

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    It’s not the number, Hilary–it’s the lack of content.

  • BBD

    Sour grapes.
    ;-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Things I’d rather be working on, Ch. 1:UNICEF: Sanitation coverage is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where 70% and 59% of people do not have access to improved sanitation respectively

  • BBD

    Tom

    I get the impression you have Lomborg in mind:

    So, for each person who might die from global warming, about 210 people die from health problems that result from a lack of clean water and sanitation, from breathing smoke generated by burning dirty fuels (such as dried animal dung) indoors, and from breathing polluted air outdoors.

    By focusing on measures to prevent global warming, the advanced countries might help to prevent many people from dying. That sounds good until you realize that it means that 210 times as many people in poorer countries might die needlessly as a result””because the resources that could have saved them were spent on windmills, solar panels, biofuels, and other rich-world fixations.

    Have a look at this.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, I saw that long ago. I’m not surprised you have it in your link list. Same twisted crap–Lomborg was right about 95% of what he said, but hey–he’s another heretic. Must be burned…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    At some point you’re going to twig to the fact that these things you paste into your comments are neither new nor interesting. But as a substitute for thinking, I guess it’s convenient.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Your hero the Idiot trackerjacker is the guy who called me Steve Fuller when he did as good a job trashing my book as he did with Lomborg’s. Well, at least he opened the pages of Lomborg’s book…

  • BBD

    Tom

    but hey”“he’s another heretic. Must be burned”¦

    The reason I’m pushing back against Lomborg, and you, is simple:

    The anti-renewables crowd needs to acknowledge that renewables could provide ~30% of global electricity generation by 2050.

    The anti-nuclear crowd needs to acknowledge that nuclear could provide ~ 25% of global electricity generation by 2050.

    Assuming both estimates to be generous, let’s say that nuclear and renewables could displace about 50% of fossil fuels (mainly coal) from global electricity generation by 2050. That’s what we need to be doing.

    But as a substitute for thinking, I guess it’s convenient.

    Sticks and stones :-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Evidently you’re just like the Idiot you cite. Lomborg doesn’t disagree with any of that. Even Marlowe Johnson is stealing ideas from Lomborg about painting roofs white. You’re boring.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    On the other hand, to get all Lomborgian, the FAO says that the rate of deforestation globally dropped by 63% between 2000 2010, compared to the previous decade, dropping from 8.32 million hectares to 5.21 mha. Not bad, considering population grew by almost a billion people… That’s 0.1% of all forest area… Hooray for us! We’re getting better!

  • BBD

    There’s the big picture

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Maybe that’s why the trees are growing!

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Lomborg was right about 95% of what he said 

    In addition to the Fuller Drinking Game, I’m thinking it might be fun to compile a top ten list of credibility killing statements. I propose that the above fit somewhere between ‘it’s the sun’ and ‘climate scientists are mean to septics’

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And your qualifications to pronounce on any of these topics (other than a closet full of empty vodka bottles) is…?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Let’s turn to what The Economist said of Bjorn’s work following the cherry-picked and scurrilous attacks by Lovejoy, Rennie, Schneider and Wilson. Remember that The Economist is one of the magazines most committed to fighting climate change and raising awareness of global warming. Their recent issue had a 14-page report on climate change and its effects on the Arctic. They are not skeptics. They are not lukewarmers. ”The January issue of Scientific American devoted many pages to a series of articles trashing “The Skeptical Environmentalist”. The authors, all supporters of the green movement, were strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance. The arresting thing about Scientific American‘s coverage, however, was not this barrage of ineffective rejoinders but the editor’s notion of what was going on: “Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist,” he announced.That is amazing. Mr Lomborg’s targets are green scare-mongers and their credulous servants in the media. He uses the findings of scientists to press his case. How can using science to criticise the Kyoto agreement, to show that the world’s forests are not disappearing, to demonstrate that the planet’s supplies of energy and food will suffice indefinitely, and the rest, constitute an attack on science? If that is so, the scholars whose work supports those positions are presumably attacking science too.Science needs no defending from Mr Lomborg. It may very well need defending from champions like Mr Schneider.”

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Whoops! Reformatted:Let’s turn to what The Economist said of Bjorn’s work following the cherry-picked and scurrilous attacks by Lovejoy, Rennie, Schneider and Wilson. 

    Remember that The Economist is one of the magazines most committed to fighting climate change and raising awareness of global warming. Their recent issue had a 14-page report on climate change and its effects on the Arctic. They are not skeptics. They are not lukewarmers. 

    “The January issue of Scientific American devoted many pages to a series of articles trashing “The Skeptical Environmentalist”. The authors, all supporters of the green movement, were strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance.

    The arresting thing about Scientific American“˜s coverage, however, was not this barrage of ineffective rejoinders but the editor’s notion of what was going on: “Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist,” he announced.That is amazing. Mr Lomborg’s targets are green scare-mongers and their credulous servants in the media. He uses the findings of scientists to press his case.

    How can using science to criticise the Kyoto agreement, to show that the world’s forests are not disappearing, to demonstrate that the planet’s supplies of energy and food will suffice indefinitely, and the rest, constitute an attack on science?

    If that is so, the scholars whose work supports those positions are presumably attacking science too.

    Science needs no defending from Mr Lomborg. It may very well need defending from champions like Mr Schneider.” 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    vodka is for shady Russians and poor Finns. I’m Canadian!  

    I may not be an uber-cryptologist or a ‘journalist’ but I did have the opportunity to study many of the things that Lomborg prognosticates upon in ‘school’ Tom. It’s patently obvious that  >50% of what he says in his writings is either flat out wrong or skillful misdirection and/or misrepsentation. Surely you know this being the uber-sleuth that you are?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Examples?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Bueller?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I note there are several websites that catalogue what they feel are Lomborg’s errors. Here’s one, compiled by a certain Mr. Fog:

    http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/

    For Chapter 1 of The Skeptical Environmentalist, the brilliantly named Mr. Fog charts a very long list of things to which he takes exceptions.

    However, he segments that list into things on which he comments (Comments), statements he considers flawed (Flaws), statements he considers derogatory (Groundless Derogation), inconsistencies (Inconsistency) and mistakes (Error). He also has two individual categories.

    His totals are:

    Comments: 9

    Flaws: 13

    Groundless Derogation: 7

    Inconsistencies: 1

    Error: 2

    Here’s one of his notations about Ch. 1 of The Skeptical Environmentalist:

    “However, the background for this stunning prediction stems from a single, unpublished study from 1989 . . . ” Comment: The study is not unpublished, but rather has the following reference: D. M. Scotney & F. J. Dijkhuis (1989): South African journal of science 89 (7-10): 395-402. It has a rather short section on soil erosion, with about 4 references relating to South Africa; these do not seem to refer to single study plots. However, the paper says nothing about possible declines in crop yeilds and thus does not document what the Geo2000 report purports it to document. This must be due to a sloppy writing style in the Geo2000 report.”

    And another:

    “ . . the original researcher points out that Atlantic violent hurricane days `show a substantial decrease in activity with time.´” Flaw: This paragraph is a part of a chapter dealing with the risks of interpretating trends from short sections of time series. It is ironic, therefore, that Lomborg does just the same.

    The fact is that there is no long-term trend in Atlantic hurricane days. Lomborg cites a paper by Landsea. Here (table 3 in that paper), Landsea states that from 1944 to 1996, hurricane days have declined by 1.63 days per decade, which is stated to be a significant trend (r = -0.18). However, this trend was not uniform, because there was a marked shift between decades with few hurricanes and decades with many.

    A new period with many hurricane days started in 1995, and lasted for some years. A few years later, Landsea has written (C. Landsea & S. Goldenberg (2002): F.A.Q. on hurricanes at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/G4.html): “ . . for the Atlantic basin we have seen an increase in the number of strong hurricanes since 1995. . . we have had a record 33 hurricanes in the four years of 1995 to 1999 . . .

    The extreme impacts from Hurricanes Marilyn (1995), Opal (1995), Fran (1996) Georges (1998) and Mitch (1998) in the United States and throughout the Caribbean attest to the high amounts of Atlantic hurricane activity lately.”

    Although these hurricanes occurred well before Lomborg finished his book, he may have been too busy writing his book to notice newspaper reports on these hurricanes. We count this as a flaw, because Lomborg does just that which he criticizes others for doing: concluding on the direction of a trend just before the trend turns.”

    We’ll look at the errors shortly.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I note there are several websites that catalogue what they feel are Lomborg’s errors. These are from a website maintained by a certain Mr. Fog:For Chapter 1 of The Skeptical Environmentalist, the brilliantly named Mr. Fog charts a very long list of things to which he takes exceptions.However, he segments that list into things on which he comments (Comments), statements he considers flawed (Flaws), statements he considers derogatory (Groundless Derogation), inconsistencies (Inconsistency) and mistakes (Error). He also has two individual categories.His totals are:Comments: 9Flaws: 13Groundless Derogation: 7Inconsistencies: 1Error: 2Here’s one of his notations about Ch. 1 of The Skeptical Environmentalist:”However, the background for this stunning prediction stems from a single, unpublished study from 1989 . . . ” Comment: The study is not unpublished, but rather has the following reference: D. M. Scotney & F. J. Dijkhuis (1989): South African journal of science 89 (7-10): 395-402. It has a rather short section on soil erosion, with about 4 references relating to South Africa; these do not seem to refer to single study plots. However, the paper says nothing about possible declines in crop yeilds and thus does not document what the Geo2000 report purports it to document. This must be due to a sloppy writing style in the Geo2000 report.”And another:” . . the original researcher points out that Atlantic violent hurricane days `show a substantial decrease in activity with time.´” Flaw: This paragraph is a part of a chapter dealing with the risks of interpretating trends from short sections of time series. It is ironic, therefore, that Lomborg does just the same.The fact is that there is no long-term trend in Atlantic hurricane days. Lomborg cites a paper by Landsea. Here (table 3 in that paper), Landsea states that from 1944 to 1996, hurricane days have declined by 1.63 days per decade, which is stated to be a significant trend (r = -0.18). However, this trend was not uniform, because there was a marked shift between decades with few hurricanes and decades with many.A new period with many hurricane days started in 1995, and lasted for some years. A few years later, Landsea has written (C. Landsea & S. Goldenberg (2002): F.A.Q. on hurricanes): “ . . for the Atlantic basin we have seen an increase in the number of strong hurricanes since 1995. . . we have had a record 33 hurricanes in the four years of 1995 to 1999 . . .The extreme impacts from Hurricanes Marilyn (1995), Opal (1995), Fran (1996) Georges (1998) and Mitch (1998) in the United States and throughout the Caribbean attest to the high amounts of Atlantic hurricane activity lately.”Although these hurricanes occurred well before Lomborg finished his book, he may have been too busy writing his book to notice newspaper reports on these hurricanes. We count this as a flaw, because Lomborg does just that which he criticizes others for doing: concluding on the direction of a trend just before the trend turns.”We’ll look at the errors shortly.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Reformatted.

    I note there are several websites that catalogue what they feel are Lomborg’s errors.

    These are from a website maintained by a certain Mr. Fog:For Chapter 1 of The Skeptical Environmentalist, the brilliantly named Mr. Fog charts a very long list of things to which he takes exceptions.However, he segments that list into things on which he comments (Comments), statements he considers flawed (Flaws), statements he considers derogatory (Groundless Derogation), inconsistencies (Inconsistency) and mistakes (Error). He also has two individual categories.His totals are:

    Comments: 9

    Flaws: 13

    Groundless Derogation: 7

    Inconsistencies: 1

    Error: 2

    Here’s one of his notations about Ch. 1 of The Skeptical Environmentalist:

    “However, the background for this stunning prediction stems from a single, unpublished study from 1989 . . . ” Comment: The study is not unpublished, but rather has the following reference: D. M. Scotney & F. J. Dijkhuis (1989): South African journal of science 89 (7-10): 395-402.

    It has a rather short section on soil erosion, with about 4 references relating to South Africa; these do not seem to refer to single study plots. However, the paper says nothing about possible declines in crop yeilds and thus does not document what the Geo2000 report purports it to document.

    This must be due to a sloppy writing style in the Geo2000 report.”

    And another:” . . the original researcher points out that Atlantic violent hurricane days `show a substantial decrease in activity with time.´” Flaw: This paragraph is a part of a chapter dealing with the risks of interpretating trends from short sections of time series. It is ironic, therefore, that Lomborg does just the same.The fact is that there is no long-term trend in Atlantic hurricane days. Lomborg cites a paper by Landsea.

    Here (table 3 in that paper), Landsea states that from 1944 to 1996, hurricane days have declined by 1.63 days per decade, which is stated to be a significant trend (r = -0.18). However, this trend was not uniform, because there was a marked shift between decades with few hurricanes and decades with many.

    A new period with many hurricane days started in 1995, and lasted for some years. A few years later, Landsea has written (C. Landsea & S. Goldenberg (2002): F.A.Q. on hurricanes): “ . . for the Atlantic basin we have seen an increase in the number of strong hurricanes since 1995. . . we have had a record 33 hurricanes in the four years of 1995 to 1999 . . .

    The extreme impacts from Hurricanes Marilyn (1995), Opal (1995), Fran (1996) Georges (1998) and Mitch (1998) in the United States and throughout the Caribbean attest to the high amounts of Atlantic hurricane activity lately.”

    Although these hurricanes occurred well before Lomborg finished his book, he may have been too busy writing his book to notice newspaper reports on these hurricanes. We count this as a flaw, because Lomborg does just that which he criticizes others for doing: concluding on the direction of a trend just before the trend turns.”

    We’ll look at the errors shortly. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Mr. Fog claims an error in the first chapter of The Skeptical Environmentalist here: 

    “Figure 7 is relevant in the context where the subject is to criticize Pimentel. The left part of the figure aptly illustrates the errors that might be made because of different criteria for malnutrition in different periods. Overall, the figure gives the impression that the total number of starving people in the world is steadily falling.

     Error: The right part of the figure may be criticized. It is not good practice to depict future trends as if they were real data, unless one could be so certain about future trends that they may be considered as actual data. This is clearly not the case here. The uncertainty of expected values should be marked e.g. by stippling the curve from 2000 onwards, and likewise, it should be clearly stated in the text that the figures are not actual figures.

    Lomborg does the opposite. On p. 25, he writes: “the percentage of starving people has dropped . . and further down to 12 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2030.” Here, he speaks like a fortune teller who knows the future. However, one should not talk with certainty about what the future brings, because one might be wrong.

    And indeed, Lomborg was already proven wrong after a few years. In the FAO report: “The state of the food insecurity in the world 2003″, the total number of starving people in the developing world is indicated to have gone from 817 mio. around 1991 down to 780 mio. around 1996, but again up to 798 mio. aorund 2000.

    A main explanation for the apparent recent turn of the global trend is that most of the improvement up to 1996 was due to the situation in China, where the scope for further improvement is not so large anymore.”

    Of course, Mr. Fog doesn’t mention that The Skeptical Environmentalist was published in 1998…

    So, is Lomborg correct about his central point? The 2011 Hunger Report says, “The latest available statistics indicate that some progress has been made towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 1 (cutting hunger and extreme poverty in half by 2015). The prevalence of hunger declined from 20 percent of the world population undernourished in 1990″“92 to 16 percent in 2010.”

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Mr. Fog’s second ‘Error’ in Chapter 1 of Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist concerns the Indonesian fires of 1997. Here’s Mr. Fog:

     ”In all, Indonesia`s forest fires affected approximately 1 percent of the nation´s forests.” Error: According to an authoritative report by Goldammer & Hoffmann (see comments to chapter 10, p. 116), the affected forest area made out 4-5 % of the nation´s forests. In the region that was hardest hit, 25 % of the forest area burned.”Lomborg wrote that “WWF proclaimed 1997 as ‘the year the world caught fire,’ because ‘in 1997 fire burned more forests than at any other time in history.’ …But on closer inspection, as can be seen in the forests section later in the book, the figures do not substantiate this claim: 1997 was well below the record and the only reason that 1997 was the year that Indonesia’s forest fires were noticed was that it was the first time they really irritated city dwellers. In all, Indonesia’s forest fires affected approximately 1 percent of the nation’s forests.”

    So, Mr. Fog lasers in on the trivia and leaves Lomborg’s central point untouched. Was he right?

    The IFFN published ‘Assessment of 1997 Land and Forest Fires in Indonesia: National Coordination’ in January of 1998. In it, the IFFN write: ”A key finding is that virtually all of the fires burning in forests and lands in Indonesia are caused by man and as such are manageable and preventable.Indonesia ranks third, after Brazil and Zaire, in its area of tropical forest. Of Indonesia’s total land area of 1.9 million km2, current forest cover estimates range from 0.9 to 1.2 million km2, or 48 to 69% of the total.

     Large areas of land and forest in Indonesia burned in 1982 and 1983. In Kalimantan alone, the fires burned from 2.4 to 3.6 million ha of forest. Land and forest fires also burned in Indonesia during extended dry periods in 1987 (49,323 ha), 1991 (118,881 ha) and 1994 (161,798 ha).

    The fire areas in 1987, 1991 and 1994 were larger than during years with normal rainfall, but not nearly as large as the area burned during the extended drought from June of 1982 to April 1983 in East Kalimantan.  The area of land and forest burned in Indonesia from year to year is related to both land development policies and dry season length. The dry season in 1997 extended past the normal limit of September, leading to larger fires and fires migrating from cleared land into forests.

    According to preliminary field observations in October by the Ministry of Forestry, approximately 1,654 km2 of forest burned in Indonesia during 1997. A far higher “guesstimate” of up to 20,000 km2 has been commonly stated for areas including both land and forest. An accurate determination of the extent of fire damage can only be derived from detailed analysis of aerial images combined with field checks. This type of analysis was completed in South Sumatra in December 1997 by the European Union-sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project and the Ministry of Forestry. Their analysis suggests that up to 25% (27,980 km2) of the Province was affected by fire in 1997.

    The burned area includes 7,010 km2 of forest which is 86 times greater than the preliminary estimate for the Province from the October field observations. The large burned area in South Sumatra is consistent with the 1997 hot spot pattern for western Indonesia.

    South Sumatra contained five of the 15 Districts in which the greatest number of hot spots were recorded.”

    That’s .06%. 

    Have another drink, Marlowe.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry–0.6%. Have two drinks, Marlowe.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom

    I just finished watching Silva lay an ol’fashion can-o-wup-ass on the ‘all-american chael sonnen’. As much as I’d like to repeat the feat, it’s past my bedtime ;)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Got no game.

  • BBD

    Yawn.

    Misrepresent this.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Gee, BBD, what rhymes with Yank? You can play, too–cite examples of Lomborgian error. Show us you’re good for something besides Ctrl-V.

  • BBD

    You can reference Lomborg’s unidirectional misrepresentations of environmental data and climate science all you like. What you cannot do is get around the facts as neatly expressed by the Keeling curve.

    And nor can Lomborg, which is why his trajectory from here on will be one of increasing marginalisation.

    His bollocks about sea level rise by the end of the C21st is a great example of selective misrepresentation. 

    And he has proven to be wrong about deforestation too. Recent studies use direct observations from satellites. For example, Hansen et al. (2010) (not that Hansen):

    Quantification of global gross forest cover loss

    A globally consistent methodology using satellite imagery was implemented to quantify gross forest cover loss (GFCL) from 2000 to 2005 and to compare GFCL among biomes, continents, and countries. GFCL is defined as the area of forest cover removed because of any disturbance, including both natural and human-induced causes. GFCL was estimated to be 1,011,000 km2 from 2000 to 2005, representing 3.1% (0.6% per year) of the year 2000 estimated total forest area of 32,688,000 km2. The boreal biome experienced the largest area of GFCL, followed by the humid tropical, dry tropical, and temperate biomes. GFCL expressed as the proportion of year 2000 forest cover was highest in the boreal biome and lowest in the humid tropics. Among continents, North America had the largest total area and largest proportion of year 2000 GFCL. At national scales, Brazil experienced the largest area of GFCL over the study period, 165,000 km2, followed by Canada at 160,000 km2. Of the countries with >1,000,000 km2 of forest cover, the United States exhibited the greatest proportional GFCL and the Democratic Republic of Congo the least. Our results illustrate a pervasive global GFCL dynamic. However, GFCL represents only one component of net change, and the processes driving GFCL and rates of recovery from GFCL differ regionally. For example, the majority of estimated GFCL for the boreal biome is due to a naturally induced fire dynamic. To fully characterize global forest change dynamics, remote sensing efforts must extend beyond estimating GFCL to identify proximate causes of forest cover loss and to estimate recovery rates from GFCL. 

  • BBD

    Try misrepresenting this Tom. I want to see you have a crack at it.

  • BBD

    Actually, Kaare Fog’s Lomborgian errors site is pretty good.

    Here’s the section on Lomborg’s misrepresentation of the global forest area data.

  • harrywr2

    #248,Here’s the section on Lomborg’s misrepresentation of the global forest area data.

    The WWF and other environmental groups regularly interchange ‘forest habitat’ and ‘forest’. If I cut an 8 foot wide path thru a forest then the ‘habitat’ people will count 1/4 mile on each side of the road as ‘lost habitat’. I have more critters then I can identify living in my tiny 1/8″ acre back garden so I’m not sure how it can count as ‘lost habitat’….there are also Peregrine Falcon’s, Bald Eagles etc living on Microsoft’s Issaquah Campus. I’m pretty sure no one lists a giant office complex as an ‘endangered species’ habitat but endangered species have found a way to co-habitat with high density human populations.

    Yes…it’s sad that advocates for various political policies endlessly manipulate statistics to make their cases.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    C’mon BBD. You want to play? Play right. Show us what Lomborg wrote. Work and page. (Your ilk have been known to exaggerate.) Then explain why it’s wrong. 

    Here. Not some other place. Here’s a hint. If you use Fog, you’re going to look foolish very quickly.

  • BBD

    That’s right Tom. Ignore # 276, #277 and #278. Ignore the exposure of Lomborg’s misrepresentation of the forest area data. Ignore the fact that he misrepresents C21st sea level change. Ignore the fact that the man is notorious for misrepresenting environmental data and climate science. Ignore everything and insist that I jump through hoops to distract myself from the fact that you and Lomborg are basically deniers.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Wimp. Blusterer. Ya got nuthin.

  • BBD

    Kaare Fog on intentionality in Lomborg’s errors:

    It is my assertion that in general, the errors presented on this web site do hold up under scrutiny. There have been a few attempts to  question the error claims (most notably by A. Rörsch et al., see Journal of Information Ethics 14(1): 16-28 (2005)), but these attempts have been repudiated by me (see K. Fog in Journal of Information Ethics 14(2): 66-76 (2005)), and the situation at present is that all claims of errors on this web site have been maintained. A few claims have been modified slightly in response to comments, but none has been modified in any essential way. Some issues may always be debatable, but most issues are about matters of fact, and here it seems possible to reach a final conclusion about what is true and untrue. If  Lomborg quotes a text, and the original says something different from Lomborg´s quote, then this for instance is an unequivocal error.

    Many errors are deliberate

    Nearly all errors go in the same direction ““ they give a bias in disfavor of the environmental cause.  This overall bias suggests that the errors are probably not just accidental, but deliberate attempts to distort the evidence in this particular direction. Furthermore, in some cases there is  more direct evidence that errors are deliberate. In the error catalogues on this web site, these cases (about one hundred cases) are emphasized with color markings. The reader may scroll through the pages where the markings help him to find these cases, and he may then for himself judge if the evidence for deliberate misleading is convincing.

  • BBD

    No Tom, I’ve got a *wall of evidence* that Lomborg is dishonest. You seem to be getting confused.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Who taught who how to play the slime game? Did you track Tobis and Rabett or did they follow you? 

    Defame

    Libel

    Retreat when asked for evidence

    Repeat

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Wall of evidence? Bring it on.

  • BBD

    You aren’t ever going to mention # 276, #277 and #278, are you? I’ve noticed that you always ignore anything a bit tricky and just keep galloping the Gish.

    Lomborg misrepresented the FAO forest area data. He misrepresented the current understanding of C21st
    sea level change.

    The man’s a liar, Tom.

  • BBD

    You linked to the Lomborg Errors site. I can link us back to it all night long. But as you simply *deny* that Lomborg has been exposed as dishonest, despite the directory of evidence that you linked to in the first place, what ever would be the point?

    This exercise is just to watch you make a tool out of yourself trying to defend the indefensible. Others will follow the links back to the Lomborg Errors site and see for themselves.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    What did Lomborg write? Where did he write it? What is the evidence that he misrepresented it?

    Pathetic whiner.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    That’s how we can all tell when the fire alarmist brigade has no argument and no game. They want all the material under discussion to stay somewhere else.

    ‘Go look over there! The magikal answers await you!’

    Then, those new to the game go ‘over there’ and there’s nothing. Just like Fog’s site. Just like your weak, weak whines.

  • BBD

    Tom, read your own link. I’ve been looking at it and there’s absolutely masses of evidence that Lomborg is a serial, unilateral and deliberate misrepresenter. Only someone deep in denial could refuse to acknowledge the plain and obvious facts.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You’re perfectly content to defame and libel people from behind the cloak of your pseudonym. But you are unwilling to provide any evidence.

    What a wanker.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You should have followed Marlowe’s example and stayed away from this. Useless git.

  • BBD

    Tom

    You are denying the facts, which are set out, page by page, with references, in the Lomborg Errors site that you yourself linked to. In its totality, it is a wholly sufficient debunking of Lomborg’s misrepresentations.

    There is no need at all to be calling me a wanker and a useless git. In fact I think you should stop the childish name-calling as it is toxic to credibility.

    Although, on reflection, perhaps it doesn’t really make that much difference in your case. Still, manners maketh man and all that.

  • BBD

    Here are the errors, flaws and biased statements (misrepresentations) in TSE ch. 10 Forests – are we losing them?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    What did Lomborg write and where did he write it? What evidence did he misrepresent?

    Bring it here.

  • BBD

    Tom, the link is at # 295. Please stop the utter silliness. It’s a pain in the arse.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Bring it here. I’m not following your magickal links to nowhere. You want to accuse Lomborg of misrepresenting the literature? Bring your evidence here or I’ll assume that just like your running mates, you’re making it up. 

  • BBD

    Tom, what on earth is wrong with you? That link is to a clearly indicated section of the Lomborg Errors site that *you yourself* introduced into the ‘discussion’ (# 226 ff). There you will find exact references to very specific errors, page by page, just as you requested. I know that you won’t go there because the minute we get down to specifics it will be clear that Fog has got Lomborg’s number, and that you are talking crap.

    In fact the more I think about it, the more I suspect that Marlowe, Tobis & co. don’t engage with you because they can’t be bothered.

    The last two dozen comments are an ample demonstration of your abusive and diversionary style of non-debate. I find it extremely tiresome and I don’t doubt others do too. So its very likely that they just stop talking to you.

    Perhaps that is your intention. You misperceive exasperated dismissal for stubborn idiocy as a ‘win’ on your part. I’ve come across plenty of ‘sceptics’ who rely on an unholy combination of stupidity, stubbornness and stamina for effect.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Bring it here. Or shut up and quit libeling people, whoever you are.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    C’mon, you pathetic old fraud. I showed you how easy it was upthread. I copied and pasted the ‘accusations’ from Fog into a comment. Took about 10 seconds.Of course, I then showed why the accusations were baseless. That took about 30 seconds…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Let’s see if you can do better than John Rennie in Scientific American: “The discussion is not about whether his statements are correct; it is about whether his arguments are correct and the plans of thought he develops from those statements.”

  • BBD

    Oh FFS. The bloody spam trap. Here, again, with links killed:

    Fine Tom, insist on following the loon path. I’m not bloody well formatting it for you though. You want formatting, follow the link as I have repeatedly suggested.

    MAIN ISSUE:

    The chapter on forests is one of
    the most biased chapters in Lomborg´s book. The whole text aims
    at making forest losses appear as small as possible, and Lomborg
    tries to make the reader believe that the total forest area in
    the world is constant or slightly rising, when in fact it is
    clearly declining. FAO recently published an authoritative
    overview of what is known on this subject. Although Lomborg has
    read this report, he repeatedly advances postulates that are
    directly contrary to what the report says.

    Recommended references:

    FAO´s report from 2001: The
    global forest resources assessment 2000 (updated version relative
    to what was available in 2001). To be downloaded
    here.

    The book “Sceptical
    questions and sustainable answers” has chapters on
    deforestation by KÃ¥re Fog and Thorkil Casse. It may be
    downloaded
    here.

     

    P. 110 right and p. 111
    left:
    ERROR

    “Globally, the overall area covered by
    forest has not changed much since 1950, as can be seen in Figure
    60″ . . . “Globally, forest cover has remained
    remarkably stable over the second half of the twentieth century.
    With the longest data series, global forest cover increased from
    30.04 percent of the global land area in 1950 to 30.89 percent in
    1994 . .” Error: “The longest data series” is the data series
    from the FAO Production yearbook. This series cannot be used as
    evidence for an increase in forest cover. Firstly, FAO states in
    the introduction of each yearbook: ” It should be borne in
    mind that definitions used by reporting countries vary
    considerably and items classified under the same category often
    relate to greatly differing kinds of land . . . Thus, the area
    specified is not intended to refer to or delineate `forest
    coverage´ “. When Lomborg uses the data, he clearly
    violates this reservation. Secondly, Lomborg does not adjust for
    inclusion of more and more countries and for revisions in
    particular countries. Thus, the “increase” from 1958 to
    1959 is mainly due to a changed conception of what is designated
    as forest in Canada plus the inclusion of Mongolia which had not
    been included before, and the “increase” from 1960 to
    1961 is due to the inclusion of the eastern part of New Guinea
    which had not been included before. With the data from 1971
    onwards, the FAO yearbooks bring revised data where such
    irrelevant spurious changes are compensated for. With this
    revision, all its data from 1971 onwards show consistenly a
    yearly decline in global forest cover, in most periods a decline
    of c. 0.2 % per year, which agrees remarkably well with later
    estimates. It is evident from Lomborg´s text that he is aware
    that these revisions have been made. This is evident from note
    770, p. 375 right, where he cites two different estimates of the
    1976 forest area. Thus, Lomborg has indeed studied the later
    revisions which show that the forest area is actually declining.
    In spite of this, he does not use them. Instead, he uses the
    unrevised figures, even though FAO itself states that the figures
    cannot be used for Lomborg´s purpose. When Lomborg neglects
    that, it must be a case of deliberate
    misleading.

    P. 111, legend to
    figure 60:
    FLAW

    The figure shows “forest and
    woodland” 1948-94 and more restrictive definitions of forest
    from 1980 onwards. In note 767 , the newer definitions of forest
    are explained very briefly, but there is no explanation what is
    understood by “woodland”. In note 770 he writes that
    “forest and woodland” counts everything with regular
    tree trunks. Flaw: Actually, however, FAO´s definition of “other
    wooded land” comprises not only areas with regular tree
    trunks down to where only 5 % of the area is covered by canopies,
    but also areas with small trees, bushes or scrub, as long as this
    vegetation covers at least 10 % of the area. However, nowhere in
    Lomborg´s text can the reader see that even bush steppe, maquis
    or savanna is included in the “forest area”, and
    nowhere can he read that if forest is degraded and turned into
    scrub or bush steppe, this will not show up in the statistics.
    Right from the beginning in January 1998, this flaw was pointed
    out to Lomborg, but he has consistently refused to change his
    presentation. He continues to hide from the reader what the upper
    curves in fig. 60 actually show. If he had explained this
    to his reader, it would have destroyed his whole claim that
    forest area is increasing. Considering that it has
    been pointed out to him that his presentation is misleading on
    this point, it is remarkable that his text is still identical to
    what it was in 1998. The conclusion from this is that the
    presentation is deliberately
    misleading.

    P. 111 right: ERROR OF BIAS

    “Thus, with these considerable short-term
    uncertainties it seems necessary to focus on the longest possible
    time periods.” Also in note 770: “It has therefore been
    important to employ the longest time-span series available, and
    FAO´s long series from 1950 is the only one available. ” Error: This
    argumentation is wrong. The long data series does not just
    eliminate short-term fluctuations. As time goes by, it includes
    more and more countries and areas, and therefore there will be a
    systematic bias in direction of greater forest areas in later
    years. Remarkably, however, at the end of note 767 Lomborg writes
    that the data for forest area in 1994 in Russia is clearly too
    low, and he has himself made an upwards correction. Thus, when
    spurious variation causes the data to go in the direction that
    Lomborg wants, he uses un-revised data. But when spurious
    variation causes the data to go in the opposite direction, he
    does revise them. This is an unacceptable bias.

    P. 112 left: FLAW

    Lomborg has read the FAO report from March
    2001: “The global forest resources assessment 2000. Summary
    report.” This report clearly states, on the basis of more
    thorough investigations than before, that the global forest area
    has been declining at a rate of 0.2 % per year as far back as the
    data go (Table 1 in the report). On p. 112, Lomborg just briefly
    mentions this report, stating that here FAO has once again
    changed its forest definition, and made a new estimate showing a
    small decline. Flaw: The 2001 FAO report is the most recent, thorough,
    reliable and authoritative source to date on deforestation. When
    this new evidence appears and contradicts what Lomborg has said
    until then, he should change his conclusions. He does not. He
    still sticks to older yearbooks with data that are notoriously
    unreliable, and only briefly states that the new evidence points
    to “a small decline”. This presentation of the evidence
    is so distorted that it is deliberately
    misleading.

    P. 112 right:
    ERROR

    On regional forest loss: “Southeast Asia . . has only
    lost 7 percent . . ” Lomborg has this information from
    chapter 10 in the book by B.L.Turner et al. (1990): The earth as
    transformed by human action. Error:
    Although chapter 10 of this book does have this information in
    its table 1 on global land use, the figure can impossibly be
    true. Chapter 10 is not on forests; it would have been more
    reasonable to take the information from chapter 11 in the same
    book (Williams 1990), which is specifically on forests. It is
    evident from table 11-5 in this book that forest loss in Burma
    and Malaysia alone from 1880 to 1980 is greater than Lomborg´s
    alleged total forest loss in southeast Asia during the last 300
    years. Where Lomborg indicates a loss of 7 %, several other lines
    of evidence actually point to a loss of somewhere around 50 %.
    However, this error seems to have been involuntary; many other
    figures in the table that Lomborg has cited are clearly wrong,
    and Lomborg has not systematically used those data that err to
    the low side.

    P. 112 right and p. 117 right:
    FLAW

    “Globally it is estimated that we have lost a total of
    about 20 percent of the original forest cover since the dawn of
    agriculture.” (p. 112). “In a historical perspective,
    about 20 percent of all forest has been lost.” (p. 117). Flaw: The estimate of 20 percent is very
    uncertain, and relies mostly on the estimate of how large was the
    original forest cover. Lomborg gives the impression that 20 % is
    the best estimate of the experts, and downplays the uncertainty
    associated with this figure. For instance, Goudie (1993) does not
    indicate a precise figure; he writes: “since preagricultural
    times world forests have declined approximately one fifth”.
    And the references cited by Lomborg are not especially reliable,
    e.g. the data from table 10-1 in Turner et al (1990), referred to
    above. – Furthermore, it is unlikely that the figure should be as
    low as 20 %. For instance, Goudie´s figure of one fifth is taken
    from the WRI (1991), whereas WRI in later reports has increased
    this figure. A report by the WRI, “World resources 1994-95″,
    gives much higher figures: about 49 % for the tropics, and a
    figure at least as high as that for the temperate regions. To
    this must be added the effect of continued deforestation since
    1994. A newer report from WRI, which Lomborg has also seen (World
    Resources 2000-2001), has the following text: “Using this
    approach, Matthews (1983 . . ) estimated that as of the early
    1980s, humans had reduced global forest cover about 16 percent.
    Updating . . brings the total loss . . to roughly 20 percent.
    Historical forest loss could be much higher, however. A 1997
    study by WRI, which used a higher resolution map of potential
    forest than the Matthews study, estimates that original forest
    cover has been reduced by nearly 50 percent.” As Lomborg has
    seen these reports, it would have been fair of him to indicate a
    range of estimates from a low of 20 percent up to about 50 %,
    with 50 % being the newest estimate. He has chosen not to do
    this, and his text is therefore deliberately
    misleading.

    P. 112 right and note 789:
    FLAW

    “Globally it is estimated that we have lost a total of
    about 20 percent of the original forest cover since the dawn of
    agriculture.” Flaw: Several of
    the figures cited by Lomborg in note 789 do not refer to the time
    since the dawn of agriculture. Richards gives an estimate for the
    last 300 years, and IPCC gives an estimate just for one hundred
    years, from 1850 to 1950. However, as Lomborg knows well from his
    reading of the chapter on forests in Goudie (1993), forest
    clearance starter much earlier, not only in Europe and the
    Mediterranean region, but also in Africa (3000 BP), South and
    Central America (7000 BP), and India and New Guinea (9000 BP).
    So, when postulating a loss of only 20 %, he neglects all losses
    that happened more than a few hundred years ago.

    P. 112 right:
    FLAW

    Lomborg writes: “The WWF, for example, claims that we
    have lost two-thirds of all forests since agriculture was
    introduced . . . , although there is no evidence to support this
    claim.” Flaw: The reader gets a
    false impression of the vast difference between WWF´s two thirds
    and the “true” 20 %. If the high estimate of 50 % had
    been mentioned, WWF´s exaggeration would not appear grave. The
    main text of the WWF press release that Lomborg refers to gives
    figures that amount to a 62 % loss, which is not very far from 50
    %. To this may be added that FAO and WRI may very well have
    underestimated recent forest loss in some regions. Considering
    the very large uncertainty about the size of the original forest
    cover, considering that the loss is likely to be around 50 %, and
    considering that WWF themselves claim to have made an original,
    new evaluation which increases the percentage relative to earlier
    estimates, it is not fair to say that there is no evidence
    for what WWF claims. And WWF´s bias to the high side is probably
    smaller than Lomborg´s bias to the low side.

    P. 113 left: ERROR OF BIAS

    “In the late 1970s it was feared . . . ” In this
    paragraph, Lomborg gives the impression that estimates of the
    tropical deforestation rate have decreased steadily. For
    instance, Norman Myers´ estimate of 2 % annual deforestation is
    contrasted with later, much lower estimates. Error: Myers´ estimate concerns
    transformation of primary closed forest to any other formation,
    whereas the lower estimates cited refer to total clearance of
    forest. Thus, the figures are not comparable. The rate of
    disappearance of primary, i.e. undisturbed forest, could be
    expected to be larger than the rate of total disappearance of
    forest. In addition, many sources in the early and mid 1980´es
    gave estimates for total deforestation of about 0.6 % annually,
    which is lower than comparable later estimates of 0.7-0.8 %
    annually. Thus, there has not been a clear trend for lowering the
    estimates. Lomborg knows this, because it is explained in
    Williams (1990), which Lomborg has read and cites extensively. It
    is only by omitting those estimates that do not fit into his
    pattern that he can claim that estimates have become ever lower.
    This bias is therefore deliberate.

    P. 113 left:
    FLAW

    In the same paragraph as above he cites FAO as having
    estimated annual deforestation at 0.8 % in the 1980s, falling to
    0.7 % in the 1990s, and in the 2001 report the estimate declined
    even further to 0.46 %. Flaw: The
    text is ambiguous. It may either be understood in the way that estimates
    of deforestation have recently fallen, or that the actual rate
    of deforestation has recently fallen. In note 801 he writes:
    “The loss of tropical forests is . . “,
    implying that he talks of actual rates. If the reader understands
    the text in this way, he will imagine that the actual rates have
    changed along the lines of 0.8 – 0.7 – 0.46. Lomborg could have
    prevented this misunderstanding if he had said that the most
    recent estimates for the 1980s and the 1990s, are 0.8 and 0.7
    respectively when we use ordinary methods, and 0.47 and 0.46
    respectively when we use satellite imagery. By omitting the
    figure of 0.47 from the main text, he makes it possible to
    believe that deforestation is much less now than before. Also,
    the calculations in the footnote are confusing and
    incomprehensible when 0.47 is omitted from the main text.

    P. 114 right:
    ERROR

    Concerning how much tropical forest has actually disappeared
    “IUCN estimates that 80 percent of the original forest cover
    is still in place”, i.e. just 20 % has disappeared. Error: When the average forest coverage
    today in countries that lie wholly within the rain forest climate
    zone is about 50 %, and when probably about 15 % of all tropical
    forest has disappeared from 1980 to 2000, it seems impossible
    that only 20 % should have disappeared since early civilisation.
    Lomborg has just a single source for this claim, and this is not
    an official IUCN estimate. It is a rough calculation in a
    symposium article dealing with a different subject. It is clear
    from the original source that the calculation is extremely rough
    in that the remaining amount of all tropical forest, wet as well
    as dry, is calculated as a percentage of the original amount of
    wet forest only. This reservation in the original source has been
    left out by Lomborg. This error must, at best, be due to gross negligence.

    P. 114 right, note 812:
    FLAW

    Although it is hardly possible to estimate the original amount
    of all tropical forest, it is possible from climatological data
    to estimate the original amount of rainforest, and hence the loss
    of rainforest, up to now. Note 812 has: “Several sources
    state that we should have lost more than 50 percent of the
    rainforest . . Unfortunately, there are no references.” Flaw: The sources mentioned are popular
    texts where you would not expect references. References for the
    claim of c. 50 % loss do in fact exist, e.g. the WRI report for
    1994-1995. Lomborg knows this, because these references were
    pointed out to him in 1999. By omitting these authoritative
    sources, and citing only popular texts, he casts undue suspicion
    on the 50 % estimate. As Lomborg has seen the relevant
    information, but omits it, his text is deliberately
    misleading.

    P. 115 right: ERROR

    “But as we have pointed out, there has not been a fall in
    global forest area during this period.”, i.e. during the
    last 50 years. Error: As already
    explained in relation to Fig. 60, Lomborg´s “long data
    series” is not reliable, especially not if one uses the
    unrevised data, as Lomborg does. If, however, in spite of this,
    we for a moment were to accept this unrevised data series up to
    1980, then it would indicate an increase in global forest area of
    75 m hectares up to then. From 1980 onwards, we have more
    reliable data indicating a loss of c. 150 m hectares from 1980 to
    2000. Thus, the net trend over the last 50 years is a decrease.
    Furthermore, Lomborg knows very well from the FAO 2001 report
    that during the last 20 years net deforestation has been
    approximately 2/3 of gross deforestation – in other words that
    increases in forest area, for example due to new forests in
    Siberia, in no way compensate for losses elsewhere. The
    expression “No fall during this period” does not seem
    warranted when there has been a fall at least during the last 40
    % of the period.

    P. 115 right, 116 top left and
    117 right:
    ERROR

    On the net effect of plantations on the amount of natural
    forest, Lomborg writes p. 115: “Similarly, many allege that
    although forest cover has remained constant, this is because we
    have less natural forest and more plantations.”, p. 116:
    ” . . they reduce the economic pressure on other natural
    forests. As a result, these forests are better shielded . .
    “, and p. 117: “Plantations . . . actually help relieve
    pressure on natural forest.” Error: The
    text gives no quantitative indication of the postulated
    “relief” of pressure on natural forest. Plantations are
    to a great extent eucalyptus and poplar. Many of the products
    from natural forests cannot be replaced by such wood, and there
    is no documentation that the establishment of plantations is
    correlated with less clearing of natural forest. In addition much
    forest is cleared to make way for agricultural land, and that
    pressure is not relieved by plantations. Lomborg´s text on p.
    115 is very unclear: he presents somebody else´s point of view
    that a constant total forest area is obtained by plantations
    replacing natural forests; he does not take exception to this
    concept, only to the concept that this replacement will reduce
    biodiversity. When he postulates a constant forest area, and when
    he later concludes that plantations actually help relieve
    pressure on natural forest, the reader needs to understand that
    Lomborg agrees with this concept. One could always postulate that
    if there had been no plantations, deforestation would have been
    even greater, but as this is pure speculation, Lomborg cannot
    claim this to be true. Lomborg´s purported aim is to just
    present the facts and official figures, and leave it to others to
    draw subjective conclusions. Now, what are the facts here?
    According to the FAO 2001 report on the world´s forests, which
    Lomborg has read, succesful new plantations amount to
    approximately 3 m hectares/year. Half of these plantations are
    replanted on recently cleared forest areas, and the other half
    are plantations on former agricultural land. Thus, the growth in
    total forest area due to plantations established on open land is
    1.5 m hectares annually, which is little compared to the c. 15 m
    hectares of forest cleared annually. Furthermore, 1.5 m hectares
    of socalled natural forest is also cleared annually to
    give place to plantations. So the “relief” given by
    plantations in open country is eaten up by plantations in former
    forest. There is no net relief. The point is that Lomborg has
    read the FAO report where these data are presented, but still he
    fails to utilize these data to adjust his unwarranted claim. At
    best, this is due to gross negligence.

    P. 116 left and note 828: (COMMENT)

    “. . plantations make up just 3 percent of the world´s
    forest area.” Comment: Notice
    that according to newer data cited in the note, the figure is
    actually around 5 percent.

    P. 116: ERROR

    Lomborg claims that forest fires in the El Niño year 1997 in
    Indonesia were not especially large. Thus he says: “The
    independent fire expert Johann Goldammer said that `there is no
    indication at all that 1997 was an extraordinary fire year for
    Indonesia og the world at large´ ” and “In conclusion,
    1997 was in no way the year in which fire burned more forests
    than at any other time in history.” Error:
    As stated by T. Lovejoy (Scientific American, Jan. 2002), Lomborg
    fails to mention that the first official Indonesian estimates of
    burned area were not in the least credible and later turned out
    to be far too low. In 1999 the Indonesian government and donor
    agencies, including the World bank, signed off on a report that
    the real number was 4.6 m hectares. A paper in Nature (F. Siegert
    et al. (2001): Nature 414 (6862): 437-440) refers to the same
    report and says that the fires in 1997 were “the largest
    fire disaster ever observed” and that “the 1997-98
    fires by far surpassed the 1982-83 disaster.” In note 835,
    Lomborg says that he had a personal communication with Goldammer
    in 1998. How strange then, that the same Goldammer contributed
    data to the official report from 1999, and later was co-editor of
    a report which confirms the extent of the fires (J. G. Goldammer
    & R. W. Mutch (2001): Global forest fire assessment
    1990-2000. Working paper 55. FAO, Rome, 200a. Available at [link removed]. In this report,
    the chapter on Indonesia was written by Goldammer himself. Here
    he states that from medio 1997 to medio 1998, the area burnt was
    9.7 m hectares, of which 4.6 m hectares were forests and a
    further 0.2 m hectares were plantations. He also writes: “In
    1997-1998 Indonesia experienced a fire episode that exceeded the
    size and impact of the 1982-83 fires (Goldammer et al. 1999 . . .
    ).” So what Goldammer published in 1999 was exactly
    the opposite of what he allegedly said to Lomborg just
    one year before, in 1998. How strange.

    Should Lomborg have known that he was wrong ? Yes. Firstly,
    before making his 2001 edition of his book, it would have been
    natural for him to check on the internet if there were any new
    data from Goldammer; in that case, he would have found his
    report. Second, we know that Lomborg had read the 2001 FAO report
    on the world´s forests: this report states that the fires in
    1997-98 were unusually extensive, and that “Fires were
    widespread in Indonesia in 1999 and 2000, but not on a scale
    comparable to 1997-98.” Knowing this, it was inadmissible
    for Lomborg to write that 1997 was in no way the year in which
    fire burned more forests than usual, without checking this. And
    even if Lomborg were to dispute – for whatever reason – the most
    reliable estimates of 4.6 m hectares, his postulate that WWF has
    exaggerated the extent of the fires cannot possibly be retained.
    The misleading text on Indonesian forest firests is at least due
    to gross negligence, and most likely, considering the role of
    Goldammer, deliberate.

    P. 116 right:
    ERROR

    Lomborg postulates that the fires in 1997 in Brazil were not
    especially severe, or were mostly on already burnt land. And he
    concludes that the global area of tropical forest fires in 1997
    is nowhere near the area burnt on Borneo in 1983-84, and well
    below the 13 million hectares that burnt in China and the former
    USSR in 1987. Error: Lomborg has
    read the 2001 FAO report on the world´s forests: this report
    states that “Comprehensive global statistics on wildland
    fires required to make a reliable comparison of global fire
    occurrence in the 1980s and the 1990s do not exist.” Thus,
    Lomborg should have been aware that his postulates could not be
    verified. Furthermore, Lomborg has read the WRI report from 2001:
    “World resources 2000-2001″. Here he could read:
    “Tropical forest fires were unusually severe in 1997-98,
    following less-than-average rainfalls due to El Nino. The number
    of forest fires in Brazil increased dramatically between 1995 and
    1998 . . . “. Thus, Lomborg must have
    known that what he wrote about Brazil, was not correct. His
    misleading is deliberate.
    Concerning China and USSR, it has – at least later – turned out
    that Lomborg was wrong. In the report by Goldammer et al. (2001),
    referred to in the previous section, it is stated that the area
    burnt in China in 1987 was “only” 1.3 m hectares.
    Concerning USSR, we may read that “official statistical data
    on forest fires before 1988 were deliberately falsified for
    political reasons”, and that two different estimates on the
    fires in the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia in 1987 were 14
    m ha. and 6 m ha., respectively; the latter was based on
    satellite data. We also read that this was much higher than in
    most years. Later, we read: “The strong negative impact of
    forest fires is particularly evident during the years when
    catastrophic forest fires are driven by extremely unfavourable
    weather conditions during the fire season. During the last 15
    years [i.e. the period 1985-2000], Russia faced such years in
    1987 and 1998.” The area burnt in 1998 was 9.4 mio. ha.,
    based on satellite data, which is more than the 6 m ha based on
    satellite data in 1987. Thus, when this is combined with data
    from Indonesia and Brazil, the claim that worldwide, 1997-1998
    saw the burning of greater forest areas than ever reported
    before, seems warranted. Lomborg´s claim that 1997 was “in
    no way” different, is completely wrong.

    P. 117 left: ERROR

    Lomborg writes that protection of forests is facilitated by
    economic growth: “Exploitation is due both to individual
    poverty and to poor government finances. Both problems are really
    rooted in poor economic conditions, and solutions therefore need
    to include solid, economic growth, in order to ensure that, in
    future, developing countries will be able to afford the resources
    to establish a broader perspective on forest development”. Error: Lomborg does not provide any
    evidence for a positive correlation between economic growth and
    forest protection, and he neglects at least three investigations
    that contradict him. One is Koop & Toole (1999): Is there an
    environmental Kuznets curve for deforestation ? J. Development
    Economics 58: 231-244. Another is the investigation initiated by
    the World Bank that Lomborg refers to on p. 176-177 (Shafik
    1994). Here, among the 6 indicators of the environment that were
    studied, one was forest preservation, and this indicator was not
    positively correlated with income. A third is the investigation
    presented in the FAO 2001 report on the world´s forests, which
    Lomborg has read. In table 4 of this report the correlation
    between the rate of deforestation and several parameters is
    presented, among them the gross national product per capita. The
    correlation between GNP/capita and deforestation is +0.21, which
    is not significant. In correspondance on this item, Lomborg has
    claimed that the correlation is positive, so he is right in
    claiming that better economy reduces deforestation. However, in
    saying so, Lomborg dismisses the central theorem of statistics,
    viz. that a correlation which is not significant, could be due to
    mere chance, i.e. there is no proof that a positive correlation
    exists. Thus, what Lomborg writes is not only contrary to
    evidence which Lomborg has seen, but is also contrary to
    fundamental principles of statistics.
    Thus, Lomborg´s text is deliberately wrong.

  • BBD

    ‘Fraud’. More name-calling. Please make an effort and exercise some adult self-restraint Tom.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    If that’s the best you’ve got then you are a fraud and you owe Lomborg a written apology.I will take these one by one.

  • BBD

    Er Tom, you haven’t shown that any of the above is other than fair and accurate. I think you owe *me* a written apology. But doubtless I won’t be getting one.

  • BBD

    ‘Fraud’ – again. Can you show exactly where and how I have perpetrated ‘fraud’ on this thread? Just out of interest.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Welcome to the rebuttal to the Mashey-ite attempted smackdown of Bjorn Lomborg.

    Item 1: MAIN ISSUE:

    The chapter on forests is one of the most biased chapters in Lomborg´s book. The whole text aims at making forest losses appear as small as possible, and Lomborg tries to make the reader believe that the total forest area in the world is constant or slightly rising, when in fact it is clearly declining. FAO recently published an authoritativeoverview of what is known on this subject. Although Lomborg has read this report, he repeatedly advances postulates that are directly contrary to what the report says.

    Recommended references:FAO´s report from 2001: The global forest resources assessment 2000 (updated version relative to what was available in 2001). To be downloaded here.

    The book “Sceptical questions and sustainable answers” has chapters on deforestation by KÃ¥re Fog and Thorkil Casse. It may be downloaded here.

    Response: 

    1. The criticism of a book written in 1998 with material published in 2001 is essentially accusing Lomborg of not being prescient.

    2. The primary accusation–that Lomborg is aiming to make forest losses look as small as possible–is completely irrelevant. Lomborg may be presumed to have a motive and Fog may be correct about it. But what does Lomborg write?

    Page 110-111, The Skeptical Environmentalist: “Globally, the overall area covered by forest has not changed much since 1950, as can be sen in Figure 60.” (Figure 60 shows four estimates of forest cover from UN and FAO databases. They show very little change.) …Of course, it is difficult to determine what actually constitutes forest, becaue there is a gradual transition from dense rainforest to savanna to bush steppe, in the same way as trees become less tall and stand further apart as one approaches the tree line. It is also extremely difficult to compare Brazilian rainforest with Danish beech woodland or an American plantation. If we nevertheless want to attempt such a comparison, Figure 60 contains the best information on the global forest area. It is, however, important to stress that it only provides a general impression of the situation.”

    Is Lomborg generally correct? The FAO’s report, 2011 State of the World’s Forests, says that for the past decade forest area has declined at 0.13% annually. Lomborg’s Figure 60 shows forest area at 32% in 1995. It is now estimated at 31%.

    Sadly, you old fraud, your tardy response means I’ll have to get to the next point later.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Round 2: Error: “The longest data series” is the data series from the FAO Production yearbook. This series cannot be used as evidence for an increase in forest cover. Firstly, FAO states in the introduction of each yearbook: “ It should be borne in mind that definitions used by reporting countries vary considerably and items classified under the same category often relate to greatly differing kinds of land . . . Thus, the area specified is not intended to refer to or delineate `forest coverage´”Lomborg (ibid) “Of course, it is difficult to determine what actually constitutes forest, because there is a gradual transition from dense rainforest to savanna to bush steppe, in the same way as trees become less tall and stand further apart as one approaches the tree line. It is also extremely difficult to compare Brazilian rainforest with Danish beech woodland or an American plantation.”

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Round 3: Fog/BBD “Secondly, Lomborg does not adjust for inclusion of more and more countries and for revisions in particular countries.

    Thus, the “increase” from 1958 to 1959 is mainly due to a changed conception of what is designated as forest in Canada plus the inclusion of Mongolia which had not been included before, and the “increase” from 1960 to 1961 is due to the inclusion of the eastern part of New Guinea which had not been included before. With the data from 1971 onwards, the FAO yearbooks bring revised data where such irrelevant spurious changes are compensated for. With this revision, all its data from 1971 onwards show consistenly a yearly decline in global forest cover, in most periods a decline of c. 0.2 % per year, which agrees remarkably well with later estimates.”

    FAO datasets on land use, land use change, agriculture and forestry and their applicability for national greenhouse gas reporting, May, 2008:

    “The global data set on land use maintained by FAO is published through the corporate statistics Website FAOSTAT. It is updated annually, and contains a chronological time series since 1961. This dataset is a product of several independent reporting processes which use partially overlapping land use categories, and therefore the dataset is not totally consistent.

    Data on forest area are available since 1990, and was originally reported for 1990, 2000 and 2005. FAO has been collecting data about forest area and forest resources at 5 to 10 year intervals since 1946. The Global Forest Resources Assessments (FRA) are based on data that countries provide to FAO in response to a common questionnaire. FAO then compiles and analyses the information and presents the current status of the world’s forest resources and their changes over time.

    Area of forest is available for three points in time for all but one small country. Based on these figures, net changes in forest area have been calculated, as well as annual change rates. Note that net change of forest area is not the same as deforestation, as the net change is the combined result of deforestation, afforestation and natural expansion of forest to land that was previously under other land use.

    The definition of forest as used by FAO is not necessary exactly the same as used by a country when reporting to UNFCCC. Threshold values may vary (FAO uses 10% crown cover, 5 m tree height and a minimum size 0.5 hectares) and furthermore the FAO definition also contains a criterion on land use, thereby excluding all agricultural land and urban land that fulfill the requirements for forest in terms of crown cover, tree height and size. These areas are instead included in the category “other land with tree cover”; unfortunately the data for this category are weak, as many countries do not have this information.

    In many countries, forestry information is outdated, partial or subjective, and in most cases the precision and accuracy of the data are unknown. Upon request, FAO supports countries in their efforts to close this knowledge gap by implementing systematic field inventories and establishing comprehensive datasets on forests and trees outside forest. The national forest monitoring and assessment (NFMA) programme of FAO has been active since 2000 in a growing number of countries (see table below).

    …Discussion”FAO through several of its technical departments (Agriculture, Forestry, Natural Resources) has several publicly available datasets with data at global regional and country level that can be of use for the compilation of national GHG inventory reports. Some data are available in on-line databases, others in printed and/or digital reports.

    Some of the datasets form part of a continuous process where data are regularly updated, while others are the result of one-time data collections or at least the data are not regularly updated.”

    This makes it clear that Lomborg cannot be faulted for choosing a convenience sample from a wide variety of databases in varying states of currency. There is no gold standard which should obviously have been used and some of the additions Fog calls for were again subsequent to the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist. 

    Again, Fog Fails.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I have now examined 6 claims by Fog against Lomborg. None of them hold water. In not one instance can Lomborg be said to have misrepresented the data or the state of the world.

    Fog’s central complaints seem to be that Lomborg should have included data from 2000 on in a book that was published in 1998 and that Lomborg should not have spliced disparate data sources to give a chronological picture except where he should have spliced disparate data sources to give a chronological picture.

    It is strikingly similar to the batsh**t crazy style of John Mashey.

    BBD, if you want me to go on with this I will. But I want you to pick your best case. The data dump isn’t working because Fog is clearly just on a rant, furious that Lomborg exists on the planet. Just like the rest of the climate fundies.

    Pick your best shot. I know Lomborg makes mistakes–he’s got a correction page on his website. Find your best candidate for him misrepresenting the data.

  • BBD

    [Fuller:]1. The criticism of a book written in 1998 with material published in 2001 is essentially accusing Lomborg of not being prescient.

    Oh FFS.

    [KF, from the link, emphasis added:] Error: “The longest data series” is the data series from the FAO Production yearbook. This series cannot be used as evidence for an increase in forest cover. Firstly, FAO states in the introduction of each yearbook: ” It should be borne in mind that definitions used by reporting countries vary considerably and items classified under the same category often relate to greatly differing kinds of land . . . Thus, the area specified is not intended to refer to or delineate `forest coverage´ “. When Lomborg uses the data, he clearly violates this reservation. Secondly, Lomborg does not adjust for inclusion of more and more countries and for revisions in particular countries. Thus, the “increase” from 1958 to 1959 is mainly due to a changed conception of what is designated as forest in Canada plus the inclusion of Mongolia which had not been included before, and the “increase” from 1960 to 1961 is due to the inclusion of the eastern part of New Guinea which had not been included before. With the data from 1971 onwards, the FAO yearbooks bring revised data where such irrelevant spurious changes are compensated for. With this revision, all its data from 1971 onwards show consistenly a yearly decline in global forest cover, in most periods a decline of c. 0.2 % per year, which agrees remarkably well with later estimates. It is evident from Lomborg´s text that he is aware that these revisions have been made. This is evident from note 770, p. 375 right, where he cites two different estimates of the 1976 forest area. Thus, Lomborg has indeed studied the later revisions which show that the forest area is actually declining. In spite of this, he does not use them. Instead, he uses the unrevised figures, even though FAO itself states that the figures cannot be used for Lomborg´s purpose. When Lomborg neglects that, it must be a case of deliberate misleading.

    [Fuller:] 2. The primary accusation”“that Lomborg is aiming to make forest losses look as small as possible”“is completely irrelevant.

    How can you keep a straight face? This is the *central misrepresentation* around which the whole chapter is constructed. ‘Completely irrelevant’? Oh come on.

    I’m not wasting an evening on this sort of nonsense, Tom.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You’re perfectly happy to waste my time debunking Fog’s claims–and then you ignore it.

    Lomborg cited the FAO’s caveats when he used it and showed the other datasets alongside. The FAO’s inclusion of other countries was sporadic and incomplete.As for Fog’s stated ‘central misrepresentation’, here is what Lomborg writes: 

    “Globally it is estimated that we have lost about 20% of the original forest cover since the dawn of agriculture.” [Lomborg cites Goudie (20%), Richards (19%) Williams (7.5%) and the IPCC (20%).]

    “This figure is far smaller than the one so often bandied about by the various organizations. The WWF, for example, claims that we have lost two-thirds of all forests since agriculture was introduced, although there is no evidence to support this claim.” (Lomborg cites WWF 1997e, adding that the WWF later reduced their claim to 50%.)

    …”The temperate forests, most of which are in North America, Europe and Russia, have expanded over the last 40 years. On the other hand, quite a lot of tropical forest is disappearing. Tropical forests are home to by far the majority of animal and plant species and by far the largest biomass on the planet. In the tropical rainforest, which is the wet part of the tropical forest, one will often find several hundred species of tree within just a few hundred square kilometers. This is in stark contrast to the boreal forests–in Canada’s more than 1,000 square kilometers of boreal forest there are only about 20 different tree species.

    …Today we know these estimates (of deforestation) went way over the mark. …These figures are still high though, and there are three main reasons for this. For one thing, the tropical forests often have either no or poorly administered property rights. ..For another thing, the tropical forests are extremely valuable in terms of the timber they provide. …Finally, collecting fuelwood is a major reason for deforestation in the developing world. …it accounts for 25 percent of the energy consumption in the developing world.

    …”However, in order to evaluate the entire extent of this problem, it is necessary to look at how much tropical forest has actually disappeared. Although precise figures are not available, the Conservation Union World, the IUCN, estimates that 80 percent of the original forest cover is still in place. Within historical times, then, just about 20% of all tropical forests has disappeared.” (Lomborg cites Reid, 1992, p. 60)

    Lomborg concludes by saying that the West should compensate developing countries if we ask them to preserve their tropical forests and mentions several ways and says that our forests are not under threat, something confirmed by FAO studies published after his book.

    Lomborg did not misrepresent the data. He did not gloss over the problems facing tropical forests. He did properly call to account overly pessimistic figures published by the WWF. Fog was wrong. Lomborg was right.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And by the way–I still think Lomborg’s motivation is irrelevant. If his facts are correct, it justifies his motivation. If his facts are wrong, then show it. Which you have singularly failed to do.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    So if that was your best shot, you missed the mark and are guilty of libeling Bjorn Lomborg. I eagerly await your apology to him.

  • hunter

    Ehrlich is such a great example of a wicked person who has profited off of deception and flat-out wrongness his entire career. Ehrlich, and the NGO’s who rent seek off of his fundamental fallacies, are the disease.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Actually, Hunter, I think people like BBD and Marlowe are worse. They parrot the responses of the Ehrlichs and Fogs of this world without thought or investigation and try to demonize those who actually consider what those fools are putting forth.

  • BBD

    Tom

    You haven’t debunked anything.

    What you did do at # 314 is:

    - Deny that Lomborg’s use of the FAO data was misleading (set out at # 313)

    - Introduce the irrelevant WWF discussion

    - Extend the timescale to ‘the dawn of agriculture’ instead of *modern* deforestation, which is what Lomborg carefully misrepresents

    It’s distraction and verbiage. Lomborg’s use of the FAO data is misleading (see # 313). And you are defending him. I thought you were against this sort of thing.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’m very much against what you are doing. You are ignoring the data and insisting that Fog’s presentation, which I led you to and which you pasted into a comment without even apparently reading, is biblical writ. Lomborg’s use of FAO data is not misleading. He accurately portrays the state of the forest area and offers as well other data that shows slightly different figures, but the same trends. Do you have Lomborg’s book? I invite you to examine Fig. 60.You mischaracterize the WWF discussion as irrelevant and misrepresent both Fog and Lomborg as a result. Lomborg’s point was that organizations like the WWF had exaggerated deforestation. Unless you think that his point is irrelevant. Either way, you’re a fool.Lomborg gives figures for both modern forest cover and loss and for ‘dawn of agriculture’. You’re a pathetic git and you’ll go on like this forever. I’ve seen  you do it in countless boring threads. You’re wrong. You’re a fool. Now go for it, dude.

  • BBD

    You’re getting shouty Tom.

    And nothing above deals with what Lomborg actually did with the FAO data:

    [KF, from the link, emphasis added:] Error: “The longest data series” is the data series from the FAO Production yearbook. This series cannot be used as evidence for an increase in forest cover. Firstly, FAO states in the introduction of each yearbook: “ It should be borne in mind that
    definitions used by reporting countries vary considerably and items classified under the same category often relate to greatly differing
    kinds of land . . . Thus, the area specified is not intended to refer to or delineate `forest coverage´ “. When Lomborg uses the data, he clearly violates this reservation. Secondly, Lomborg does not adjust for inclusion of more and more countries and for revisions in particular countries. Thus, the “increase” from 1958 to 1959 is mainly due to a changed conception of what is designated as forest in Canada plus the inclusion of Mongolia which had not been included before, and the “increase” from 1960 to 1961 is due to the inclusion of the eastern part of New Guinea which had not been included before. With the data from 1971 onwards, the FAO yearbooks bring revised data where such irrelevant spurious changes are compensated for. With this revision, all its data from 1971 onwards show consistenly a yearly decline in global forest cover, in most periods a decline of c. 0.2 % per year, which agrees remarkably well with later estimates. It is evident from Lomborg´s text that he is aware that these revisions have been made. This is evident from note 770, p. 375 right, where he cites two different estimates of the 1976 forest area. Thus, Lomborg has indeed studied the later revisions which show that the forest area is actually declining. In spite of this, he does not use them. Instead, he uses the unrevised figures, even though FAO itself states that the figures cannot be used for Lomborg´s purpose. When Lomborg neglects that, it must be a case of deliberate misleading.

  • BBD

    And why can’t you even mention this?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Simpler BBD:

    Tis

    Yes, tis

    Tis

    Because I said so, Tis.

    Tis

    Tis.

    In response to your final question (oh, I wish…) We are discussing a different subject. You could have linked to a picture of Kate Middleton to just as great effect.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The painful and obvious truth is that you have never read Lomborg. You have only read with worshipful gaze those who criticize him. You have no idea what he wrote. You only can quote those passages selected by those who attack him.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Actually, BBD, after looking at  your link, I have this to say.

    Global warming is one of the chief concerns facing the planet today. I think we should invest $100 billion annually and that that would essentially solve the problem by the end of this century. I think we should finance this by a tax on carbon emissions and invest the money in wind, wave, solar and nuclear power.

    Okay?

  • BBD

    So why all the contrarianism? I’m confused :-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    That’s a quote from Lomborg, BBD.

  • BBD

    Can we say ‘contrarianism’?
    ;-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Neither Lomborg nor myself are ‘contrarians’. We just get classed as deniers by people like you who don’t read what we write.

  • BBD

    Yes Tom, I know. And I also know that L is a contrarian who misrepresents things. Like sea level rise by the end of the century.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Where? What did he write?

  • BBD

    We just get classed as deniers by people like you who don’t read what we write.

    Error ;-) . I bought and read your book.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Then why do you continually accuse me of being a denier? You misrepresent what I’ve written everywhere and mischaracterize what I believe.

    Something you then joyously do to Lomborg and then accuse him of doing.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’m waiting, you old git. Where did Lomborg misrepresent sea level rise by the end of the century?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Come on, BBD. It’s something you’ve written four times in this thread. You certainly must have it to hand.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    So, you lie about me. You lie about Lomborg. Anything you tell the truth about? Or is that a casualty of post normal science?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Pathetic.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Bjorn Lomborg’s claims that environmental scientists mislead society into wasting money on non-problems is based on hundreds of out of context citations, dozens of straw men, selective inattention to inconvenient science, and the illusion of careful scholarship 

    Care to hazard a guess on where this quote comes from Tom? If Lomborg is as accurate as you claim then how could someone possibly fill an entire book’s worth of lies/mistakes/misrepresentations/deceptions?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Finally out of your stupor? Okay drunkard. Steal whatever you want from Friel. Tell me what Lomborg wrote that was wrong. Tell me what citations he abused.

  • harrywr2

    #320 BBD,What difference does forest area make…isn’t the correct measurement…used by the USFS…how many ‘board feet’ or more appropriately…as used by the US EPA how much carbon is being absorbed by forests?I.E. In the US the forests are carbon sinks and have been since the 1950′s.http://cfpub.epa.gov/eroe/index.cfm?fuseaction=detail.viewInd&lv=list.listbyalpha&r=219653&subtop=246

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Thanks for not answering the question Tom. The interested reader will note that the quote @337 comes from the late Stephen Schneider, someone who the Great Fuller had the opportunity to interview once upon a time — as he fondly reminds us on a regular basis. Now Tom, who are we supposed to believe? You or Schneider?

  • BBD

    Pathetic.

    Tom, don’t be such a colossal prat. I went to bed. As you know perfectly well. You know I’m in the UK and you understand time zones. So you know it was after midnight on a Sunday night. You are scraping the bottom of the barrel in your efforts to score points. Do you think people don’t notice what you are doing? What do you think they make of you when they see you behaving like this?

    So, you lie about me. You lie about Lomborg. Anything you tell the truth about? Or is that a casualty of post normal science?

    I *never* lie about you or anyone else. I have pointed out that you frequently deny the validity of important aspects of the mainstream scientific position, which is true. Likewise Lomborg. Accusations of dishonesty emanating from you are ironic to a fault, but this really is nakedly self-serving guff. You should be ashamed of yourself. 

    Everything you want to know about Lomborg’s deceptive presentation of SLR is here, including links to examples from four years’ worth of misrepresentations. 

    Do read the whole piece, but for specifics, scroll down to Lomborg and sea levels – a case study. Then continue with Lomborg and the media – covering a strategic communicator. Also extremely relevant.

    He kicked off the sea level thing with Cool It, claiming that AR4 estimated ‘about a foot’ of SLR by the end of the century. Sometimes he says ’12-to-20 inches’. But these are *not* upper bounds and AR4 *explicitly states* that they are not. It emphasises that the estimates *do not* include future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow. Which, applied to the WAIS and GIS, is the main source of concern and the main reason why many experts argue that there will be about 1m SLR by the end of the century. Nor will SLR magically halt in 2100. It will continue at at least 1m/century and SLR will continue to rise. In the Eemian, 1 – 2C warmer than the Holocene, MSL was ~5m higher.

    It’s very similar to what he did with the FAO global forestry data in TSE. The same kind of self-serving misdirection. It’s very obvious to an objective observer, but you are in denial about Lomborg’s misrepresentations because they comfort you. As perhaps they do him. Who knows. 

  • BBD

    Here’s oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf’s very illuminating response to Lomborg’s attempt to delegitimise the Copehagen Climate Congress in 2009 (Source: UK Guardian newspaper; see bottom of page for link to original Lomborg article). Rahmstorf dissects various Lomborgian misrepresentations about sea level rise past, present and future.

    Rahmstorf, unlike Lomborg, is a credentialled expert.

  • BBD

    I took particular note of this extract from Michael Svoboda’s excellent review of Cool It (original link at # 342). Tellingly, the piece is entitled: A Critical Review of Bjorn Lomborg’s Cool It “¦ and of Media “˜Complicity’ in Climate Contrarianism

    The following is from the section Lomborg and the Media “” Covering a Strategic Communicator (emphasis added)

    This record [Lomborg's] of persistent and consistent misrepresentation points to a challenge the media face in covering a strategic communicator, of reporting on someone who systematically spins a complex topic that is rife with uncertainty “” in part by accusing everyone else of “alarmism.” (And not entirely without reason: another recent “documentary,” The Age of Stupid (2009), depicts a climate-caused collapse of civilization “” by 2055.)

    To recognize and then explain Lomborg’s strategic moves “” how he minimizes a problem, maximizes the costs of proposed national and international responses, and then oversells his alternative solution “” requires a diverse set of journalistic skills and analytical abilities

    I couldn’t have summed it up better myself. A strategic communicator indeed. And our resident Lomborg fan is rather weak in the analytical ability department. None being so blind etc.

  • Steve Mennie

    Well…this thread certainly did prove to ‘have legs’. BBD should maybe lie down and have a nap now after that epic evisceration of Lomberg. I don’t know where you get your stamina BBD, but its inspiring.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The cruel bigotry of low expectations…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    …and you spelled so many words correctly!

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh… that’s right… they were all pasted in. Well, never mind. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Have you no shame Tom? I notice that you have done little to defend your claim 

    Lomborg was right about 95% of what he said  

    Auditors are interested in how you would propose to substantiate such a claim in the face of evidence to the contrary — from multiple sources I might add. If I didn’t know better, I might think that you were in DENIAL Tom.

    But being in an uber-cryptographer you must know something the rest of us plebes do not right?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    When drunkards belch it looks like 349.

  • harrywr2

    @BBDof reporting on someone who systematically spins a complex topic that is rife with uncertainty

    Yes…dealing with someone who endlessly drops the IPCC’s ‘likely’ qualifier from their pronouncements on climate sensitivity and implies absolute certainty gets tiresome.

    But that what propagandists do…they endlessly drop qualifiers that convey the level of uncertainty in order to imply a fact when no qualified scientists has implied a fact…merely a probability.

    Pot meet kettle.

    It always amazes me that those most guilty of ‘spinning’ whine the most about someone else spinning

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    If you weren’t either lazy or in denial, you would by now have read Hansen & Sato (2012) and Annan & Hardgreaves (2006) and you would understand why the most likely  value really is something close to 3C.

    You would comprehend the reasoning behind the consensus statement in AR4. You would realise that in reality, there is less uncertainty than the ‘sceptic’ misleaders-in-chief want to you believe. In short, you would know what you were talking about. But you are either lazy or in denial, so on and on you go.

    Incidentally, I notice that you dropped the ‘most’  from the factual ‘most likely value’ in your clumsy misrepresentation of me above. Here, again, is the clearly worded statement of scientific consensus from AR4:

    we conclude that the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or “˜equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C, with a most likely value of about 3°C. 

    Surely only someone very stupid or profoundly in denial could misinterpret this?

    By the way, you are starting to sound like Tom. That’s definitely a retrograde step.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I have had it brought to my attention that trading insults with idiots is not the most effective use of my time. Have fun, all.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @349

    Why are you insulting yourself? Or are you too drunk to keep track of numbered posts ;)

  • BBD

    There you go again Tom. Calling people names.

  • Sashka

    Troll-fest never ends.

  • kdk33

    BBD,Do you happen to know where I could find the most likely value for climate sensitivity.  I’m having a hard time finding it on the internet.braaa ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  • BBD

    Are you two on the same IP by any chance?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    wouldn’t be the first time deniers have used sock puppets. maybe we should get mosher to run a linguistics scan like he did on the gleick affair…

  • jeffn

    KdK- they’ll do anything to avoid having to discuss solutions.
    Now that they’ve chased off Tom, perhaps this is a good moment for BBD and Marlowe to have that discussion about renewable, nuclear and natural gas as replacements for coal.
    Or is the “solution” du jour still environmental social justice? I forget which is the highest priority for the highest priority issue of our time.

  • BBD

    jeffn

    See my response to TF at # 254. So was your snipe above lazy or dishonest or both?

  • Jeffn

    Oh, I saw it. Indeed I did. I also saw Marlowe’s comment that a100% renewable portfolio is quite reasonable and, by implication, it’s fine to wait around for it.
    I’d like to see you discuss that with him. if you aren’t too lazy or dishonest this evening.
    Why? Quite simply because folks like me are happy to replace coal with gas and nukes whether CS is 3 or point three, which is why it’s so instructive you only attack us and babble on about CS. I’m not the one preventing #254.
    I would ask why the precision in insisting that renewable be 30%? Does the climate care if nuke is 80%, gas 15% and the rest 5%? Or is the 30 number just a way to quiet activists? Why should I care about quieting activists?

  • BBD

    jeffn

    I see you haven’t modified your house style yet. Here’s what really happened, by way of illustrating your characteristic use of self-serving distortions.

    Marlowe comments on a 100% renewables future at # 231. I respond at # 233:

    We need science fiction batteries. Unless and until they exist, you can’t have a 100% renewables world.

    I continue, at #254:

    The anti-renewables crowd needs to acknowledge that renewables could provide ~30% of global electricity generation by 2050.

    You are rabidly anti-renewables. You are part of the problem with constructive discussion about energy policy.

    The anti-nuclear crowd needs to acknowledge that nuclear could provide ~ 25% of global electricity generation by 2050.

    Same applies to Marlowe and his anti-nuclear stance.

    Now you start lying about what I actually said (as usual) to create a strawman with which you can continue your argument:

    I would ask why the precision in insisting that renewable be 30%? Does the climate care if nuke is 80%, gas 15% and the rest 5%? Or is the 30 number just a way to quiet activists? Why should I care about quieting activists?

    What ‘precision’? I started of with an *approximate* and widely-accepted figure of ~30% (you do understand what the ~ means, don’t you?) then said (emphasis added):

    Assuming both estimates to be generous, let’s say that nuclear and renewables could displace about 50% of fossil fuels (mainly coal) from global electricity generation by 2050. That’s what we need to be doing.

    The ~25% figure for nuclear by 2050 comes from the IEA Nuclear Roadmap which you clearly haven’t bothered to read. Misrepresenting other commenters is so much easier than actually doing the homework and developing a coherent position, isn’t it?

    Why should I care about quieting activists?

    What you should care about is cooperative and rational energy policy that displaces coal as efficiently as possible. That means a combination of nuclear and renewables. The problem here is the divisive talk of ‘activists’. All that shit has to stop, and stop soon.

    And yes, I have said much the same to Marlowe in the past. 

    Goodness me. We’re almost back on topic.

  • jeffn

    BBD, I didn’t think you were capable of having a conversation with Marlowe or the other folks preventing a rational energy policy.
    I would note, however, that by your own standard you have now “lied” about me. I wrote quite clearly (see comment 227) that I’m happy to see renewable energy where it makes sense, including in my own back yard. I don’t care what proportion of the mix it is.
    Is the energy mix rational in the UK? Discuss. And, once again, I suggest you have that conversation with the folks preventing rational energy choices. I am not one those folks, no matter how desperately you try to pretend otherwise.
    The reason I pound this topic is not out of hatred of renewable energy. It’s because any problem has to have a rational solution if it is to move forward. The last 20 years have been spent screeching 3C at anyone who rejects an irrational set of fake solutions- Easter Bunny energy sources, the bizarre claim that you can’t reduce emissions without a UN-brokered treaty (that exempts emitters, of course), calls for the end of capitalism, depopulation, and now income redistribution. None of those ideas have any traction outside of the fevered imagination of a few activists and there is no evidence that they ever will become acceptable if you simply yell “liar” and “3C” often enough.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    ‘The problem here is the divisive talk of “˜activists’. ’
    :roll:

    Now I’m not saying that anti-nuclear activists haven’t had any impact on the deployment of nuclear power, but l think it’s far less significant than you and others generally claim BBD. 

    In the interest of moving towards more productive areas, consider the following from the IEA’s 2012 Energy Technology Perspectives:

    In the ETP 2012 2°C Scenario (2DS), global CO2 emissions from the power sector in 2050 have to be cut by almost 80% from today’s level of 12 GtCO2. More than 90% of the global electricity demand in 2050 is supplied by low-carbon technologies: renewable technologies reach a share of 57% in the world’s electricity mix, nuclear power provides around 20%, and power plants equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) contribute 14%.

    Oh and it’s not all about about batteries when it comes to energy storage:

    Hydrogen may become an attractive storage option for surplus electricity from variable renewables. In the 2DS, 14% of global electricity production from variable renewables is used to produce hydrogen. Improvements in electrolysis technology, in terms of costs and effi ciency, as well as the development of the necessary transport and storage infrastructure, are prerequisites for using hydrogen as an energy storage as well as a fuel or feedstock in other sectors.

  • jeffn

    FWIW, Using wind to produce hydrogen seems a rational approach.
    I recall however that there were issues related to storage and transport. There was much talk about “hydrogen economy” in the US 2001 to 2008 with much derision. Some was political, some not. It might be good to revisit without those filters.
    The stuff I’ve read suggests that 20-30% is about the best you could do for renewable and there’s no reason to believe that’s the most cost effective approach. Cost is relevant in developing countries especially. This is why I don’t care what % it really turns out to be. If 80% reduction in emissions is the goal, look for the best way to get there and don’t get hung up on choosing your sources at political conferences.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jeff, just as a reference case, in 2010 the world consumed 

    522 quads

    Of those, 50 came from nuclear and 52 from renewables. (20% with business as usual!)

    Of those 52 quads from renewables, 50 were from hyrdroelectric power. Two came from all other renewables.

    Room to grow.

  • jeffn

    Hydro is great, to my mind. How much new hydro will be built in the US?
    Fact is that the environmental movement opposes most new hydro and often advocates destroying what we have. There are good reasons for that opposition in many cases. So, almost all discussion of “renewable” is about solar/wind, and therefore it’s reasonable to note you can only use 20-30% of it on a modern grid due to intermittent etc. Because of cost and efficiency, I kinda doubt we’ll climb much above today’s 20% even including hydro, but no reason to care what I or anyone else thinks. The performance of the other renewable sources will tell that tale. It will or it won’t be cost effective and reliable and today it isn’t.
    Did you notice that Europe is importing the coal we’re burning less and less of in the US? Sad.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Jeff,WRT hydro you’re probably right about it being limited here in the U.S. But part of that is because all the good locations are already being used. What there is plenty of scope for is uprating the generating capacity of existing hydro–when they did that to Hoover’s Dam, it was equivalent to creating–a new Hoover’s Dam.But, global energy production is… global. Hydropower is likely to double this century, mostly because China will dam anything but a creek to get electricity from it. They’re not only building 22 very large dams on their 3 principal rivers–they’re contracted out to help build huge dams in their neighbors’ countries as well.However, even if new construction doubles and they uprate existing dams, you are correct about the percentage not moving much, as demand for energy is increasing so rapidly.

  • BBD

    Handwaving, Marlowe. There is *no* credible plan that gets us to 57% of global electricity generation from renewables by 2050. Just lots of assumptive and wishful thinking in reports. This is why people like me – as opposed to jeffn – get annoyed with the renewables crowd. They make stuff up. The best we are going to get is ~30% renewables by 2050. Which is a damn sight better than nothing.

    Hydrogen is an engineering nightmare – widespread deployment is firmly in fantasy land. Nobody takes it seriously as a major energy sink. Doubtless it will play a minor role.

    Interestingly though, one of the more promising demo  storage technologies is being developed locally. Have a look. They just got a development grant too. One to watch, IMO. 

  • jeffn

    That’s a disturbing statistic, the number of dams going up in China. The only way to stop it is with comparable alternatives.
    When does the quest for unanimity on CS become a quest for alternatives?

  • BBD

    jeffn

    A tactical pretence of reasonableness is the new house style for contrarians isn’t it?

    I have noticed, and no, I’m not convinced by the act at all. It’s part and parcel of the self-serving dishonesty characteristic of most contrarian discourse (see entire thread and all the rest of them). Your problem is that I’m not stupid. 

  • BBD

    That wouldn’t be thinly disguised denial of the mainstream scientific position peeking through there would it?

    Would it, jeff? I’t be a shame to let the mask slip before the paint was even dry…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    JeffN, pay no attention to the troll. Actually, because renewables (including hydro and nuclear) provide about 20% of primary energy and almost all of that energy is used to generate electricity, it would be relatively easy for renewables to provide half of the world’s electricity. 

    All you have to do is correctly define renewables and we’re almost there.

  • jeffn

    Your problem is that you’re emotionally 4 years old. But I’m sure there’s a long list of folks happy you’re having your tantrums here rather than elsewhere and they don’t bother me.
    How’s your analysis coming on whether the UK’s energy policy is rational?

  • jeffn

    my last was for BBD, not Tom.
    Denial of “the mainstream scientific opinion”? I don’t know what CS is. Neither do you. Yelling about that hasn’t accomplished much. But have at it, based on what you and your buddy’s like, I don’t want you to accomplish anything.
    The hot gravel is nifty, hope it works.
    Tom- I think gas as a bridge to nuclear is the way to go. If it’s helpful policy wise to classify them as renewable, I have no objection. I worry about a bait and switch- someone telling the folks “renewable” works great because we count nukes and hydro and then give them windmills and solar panels instead.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya JeffN, Who was it who said eternal vigilance is the price of freedom? That vigilance needs to be trained on those who putatively serve the public…

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @BBD

    You’re beef then is with the folks at the IEA not the renewables crowd!

    It seems to me that it would also be helpful if you would define your terms a little more precisely. What is a ‘credible’ ‘plan’ in this context? And how can you not have assumptions when you’re talking about a scenario that takes 35+ years to develop?

    @Tom,

    Last time I checked nuclear power wasn’t considered ‘renewable’. Low carbon maybe, but definitely not renewable, unless you’ve got a perpetual super novae vending machine on hand that the rest of us don’t know about.

  • BBD

    @ 374

    Redefining nuclear as ‘renewable’ to have a go at my # 370 is just desperate Tom.

    jeffn

    Ah. I thought so. You *don’t* accept the scientific consensus on climate sensitivity. Which explains everything. With a little pushing you might even admit that it’s all over-hyped and there’s no real problem anyway. The thing to understand here jeff is that nowadays, the ‘we don’t know’ meme is fully understood to be thinly disguised denial.

    Seeing through your clumsy evasions and pretences hardly makes *me* the mentally immature party in this exchange.

  • BBD

    Marlowe @ 378

    You’re beef then is with the folks at the IEA not the renewables crowd!

    Nope, the crowd as a whole is unfortunately prone to Mexican Waves.

    And how can you not have assumptions when you’re talking about a scenario that takes 35+ years to develop?

    For goodness’ sake don’t you see that this cuts both ways? And the more implausible and optimistic and untested the proposal, the less willing you should be to accept it?

  • Jeffn

    Tom, agreed. The quality of the vigilance is neatly summed up in Keiths last few posts. But this is a discussion that has to take place among the “concerned”. Good on you to encourage it.
    I’ll step out now and let that happen. Have fun.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    BBD,

    By definition the future is, well, untested. Of course BAU is more ‘plausible’ than some alternative scenario. The question then is where are the boundary lines for determining the difference between ‘plausible’ and ‘implausible’ and what criteria do you use?

    This is not an easy task. Consider the difference in electricity rates between and within countries and you’ll see that what people are willing to accept (i.e. what is deemed plausible) varies widely. Plausible energy policy is not simply a function of engineering and economics. It’s intimately tied to conceptions power (the other kind), public attitudes and trust, cooperation between public and private institutions, etc.

  • harrywr2

    #377Last time I checked nuclear power wasn’t considered “˜renewable’. Low
    carbon maybe, but definitely not renewable, unless you’ve got a perpetual super novae vending machine on hand that the rest of us don’t
    know about.

    You might want to look at the spec’s for GE’s Prism reactor. We’ve had reactor designs sitting on the shelf for decades that produce more fuel then they consume.  Fortunately/Unfortunately they require reprocessed waste from light water reactors as a ‘starter fuel’.

    IMHO Cancelling Yucca Mountain was ‘step one’ in a political two step. At some point some politico will ‘regrettably announce’ that the only way to solve the nuclear waste problem is to divert the money that had been set aside for Yucca Mountain to building a waste reprocessing facility and a fleet of fast neutron reactors. So sad, but we will have no other choice.

    It’ll have to be a Republican Glorious leader in the US that will deliver the news because no Democrat Glorious Leader can afford to alienate the Greens in a country where the difference between winning and losing in a national election is 1 or 2%.

    I would note that GE’s Prism reactor is being cautiously touted by politico’s in the UK purely on ‘waste disposal’ grounds. If it manages to actually generate any electricity that will be an ‘unintended bonus’ which will justify building an entire fleet.

  • harrywr2

    ‘Plausible emissions scenarios’.

    Prior to 2005 anyone who predicted that coal mine productivity was in a permanent decline and that coal transports costs would double would probably have been locked up in an insane asylum.There was nothing more then short term anecdotal evidence that coal transport rates and mine productivity were experiencing anything more then ‘temporary setbacks’. Coal mining costs had been declining for more then two decades at a fairly constant rate.

    Hence, a ‘reasonable person’ in 2005 would conclude that the point of economic substitution of  other forms of energy would be never. They had 20 years of solid evidence that coal would just endlessly get cheaper and cheaper to burn.It’s not 2005. It’s 2012. 

    Coal can’t be dug out of the ground in Europe or the US Central Appalacian region at a profit for less then $80/ton. The capital cost alone of opening a new coal mine in Australia is north of $40/ton. China and India are net importers. The latest GDP numbers out of China show a decoupling between energy and GDP which is a normal occurrence when an economy transitions to ‘services’ from ‘heavy industry’.

    If coal peaks at 8 billion tons not only are the IPCC emissions scenario’s not plausible, they will have been completely falsified.

    The only ‘wildcard’ left to be considered is whether or not Green Peace will be successful with their anti-nuclear campaign in India.

    If Green Peace is successful then India will need 3 billion tons of coal per year to grow their economy and they will have to pay whatever the extraction and transports costs are.

    I’m always amused how various ‘greens’ point at the fossil fuel industry as the problem.

    My mama in her infinite wisdom taught me that if you point a finger at someone else you end up with four fingers pointing at your self.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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