A New Chapter in the Climate Debate?

By Keith Kloor | August 7, 2012 9:54 am

A war on drugs whose objective is to eradicate the drug market “” to stop drugs from arriving in the United States and stop Americans from swallowing, smoking, inhaling or injecting them “” is a war that cannot be won.

This is a statement that should surprise no one. It comes at the end of a recent NYT analysis by Eduardo Porter that should nevertheless be read.

Now let’s jump to the climate issue. Like the never-ending war on drugs, the conventional paradigm for addressing climate change has proven to be a colossal failure–yet it remains in place. In case anyone needs a reminder of where things stand:

The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

This quote summed up the situation well:

“The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” said John Reilly, the co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

There appears to be growing recognition that a different approach might be necessary. From a Reuters article this week:

Years of talks have failed to deliver a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions targets for industrial nations. And despite agreement last year to set up a fund to raise aid for poor nations to help them cope with the effects of climate change, it took until last week just to decide who would sit on its governing panel.

“It’s going to be very difficult to reach a deal by 2015,” said Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. He said new approaches were needed to permit economic growth that does not damage the environment.

Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. climate change secretariat in 2009 when a summit in Copenhagen tried and failed to reach a global deal, called for a re-think to allow greener economic growth, especially for poorer nations.

“The climate change negotiations have focused very heavily on targets, legally-binding regimes and consequences if you fail (to cut emissions),” he told Reuters.

“Not nearly enough focus has been on how we can create an architecture … which allows countries to engage on climate change while at the same time growing their economies and lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

Along these lines, do read a new essay by Roger Pielke Jr. posted at the Foreign Policy website. He writes:

For years — decades, even — science has shown convincingly that human activities have an impact on the planet. That impact includes but is not limited to carbon dioxide. We are indeed running risks with the future climate through the unmitigated release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and none of the schemes attempted so far has made even a dent in the problem. While the climate wars will go on, characterized by a poisonous mix of dodgy science, personal attacks, and partisan warfare, the good news is that progress can yet be made outside of this battle.

The key to securing action on climate change may be to break the problem into more manageable parts.

Can we have a constructive debate that explores this avenue? We’ll find out soon enough.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate politics
MORE ABOUT: climate change
  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Let’s try. My opening pitch would be to follow the successful examples of developing countries using solar power for rural electrification programs. This provides villages with enough power for critical tasks without the need to invest billions in full-scale transmission grids. 

    In many developing countries (e.g., India), solar power, pricey as it is, is cheaper than the kerosene they currently burn. Where it has been tried to date in Asia and in Africa, it has been a complete success. It reduces the amount of deforestation those villages previously caused and human health has been improved by the reduction in indoor fumes inhaled by burning dung.

    There are a dozen similar small-scale innovations that could supplement a plan of this sort. It would serve as the technology transfer some are demanding at a societal level and others are resisting due to fears over irrelevancies (from the villagers’ POV) about intellectual property and losing our competitive edge.

    Many of these programs are in fact already sponsored by faith-based organizations or NGOs, and some are already financed by multinational financial institutions such as the World Bank.

    We’ve tried them. They work. We know how to build them. We know how to finance them. They forestall future emissions and help the lives of millions (an estimated 3 million to date).

    That’s where the new emissions are coming from and that’s where the work needs to be done. We in the developed world can futz around arguing whether we should have an optimum mix of fracked gas, tar sands and nuclear power as long as we want, indulging the various advocates and opponents–because our emissions are already declining. 

    Let’s solve the problem that exists.

  • harrywr2

    The constructive debate occurred in the Cancun Declaration when they included ‘technology transfer’.

  • Menth

    Can we have a constructive debate that explores this avenue?

    No.

    One side is evil/mentally retarded and therefore a debate is impossible.

  • http://www.aei.org/scholar/kenneth-p-green Ken Green

    I have long argued that the reason for the gridlock over climate policy was because advocates of GHG emission reductions allowed (or encouraged) their agenda to be hijacked by the UN, with its focus on wealth- and technology- transfer of historically unprecedented levels. Allowing the process to be controlled by the UN gives equal votes to small emitters and large ones, and dangles money in front of developing countries that becomes all they care about. Had the people worried about climate change adopted market-based approaches from the outset, and limited negotiations to the major emitters, they could well have forged some kind of multi-lateral agreement many years ago.And of course, I’m all for promoting climate resilience through things like fixing insurance markets and fully-pricing infrastructure. Been saying that since 1996. Most recently…http://www.aei.org/article/energy-and-the-environment/climate-change-the-resilience-option/

  • BBD

    While I agree with much of what Tom says at # 1, he inserts a misleading statement that rather spoils the overall effect:

    That’s where the new emissions are coming from and that’s where the
    work needs to be done. We in the developed world can futz around arguing whether we should have an optimum mix of fracked gas, tar sands and nuclear power as long as we want, indulging the various advocates and opponents”“because our emissions are already declining. 

    Let’s solve the problem that exists.

    The problematic growth growth in emissions is from China, not Africa. A significant part of it comes from the offshoring of industrial production by developed economies, principally to China. It is not going to be addressed with solar panels in Africa. The first and last sentences quoted above are highly misleading.

    because our emissions are already declining.

    This too, is highly misleading.

    Consumption by developed economies remains a key driver of the rise in global emissions – and be sure, they are rising – soon to be followed by the emergence of an urban consumer class in China. India is expected to recapitulate China’s fast-track industrialisation and creation of an internal market of urban consumers over coming decades.

    Tom appears to be insinuating that the fall in *US* emissions (driven by offshoring them, by recession and to a lesser extent by shale gas) means that the *US* isn’t part of the problem. I have heard the same rhetoric applied to Europe and the UK, and it is equally mistaken and misleading in those cases, for exactly the same reasons.

    In the light of this, the take-away from RPJr’s article (for me, at least) was that we are stuffed. Half a degree C offset (maybe) from aerosol abatement etc is too little, and will be too late in the face of future industrialisation, urbanisation and domestic consumption by China, Indonesia, India, Brazil etc.

  • http://sallan.org Sallan Foundation

    “Opitate addiction” and “fossil fuel addiction” are terms that  share a common word, but are different in some crucial respects.  Opiate addiction is an on-off problem — you’re addicted or you’re not — where an individual is the crucial agent.  Fossil fuel addiction is a matter of degree of dependence or independence.  I would consider significant improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings or the fuel efficiency of cars & trucks as huge gains, even if some fossil fuel was still consumed.  As well, the crucial agent is almost never the individual, but a chain of institutional choices and constraints.This is more than being dainty about words; it’s about framing climate action agendas and implications for strategies and options that’s deeply different than the discredited “war on drugs”.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @BBD

    But you’ll never hear RPJr say that explicitly. At best he’ll refer you to an article wherein he says ‘there are no guarantees’. Cue the pixie dust…

  • John F. Pittman

    Over at JC’s Lang and Milesworthy are locking horns on much of the same discussion. Perhaps we can do better. First I don’t think Tom is trying to mislead, as much he has several nice blog articles on energy growth and potential energy growth in the future. He also included what I think is a good point. The old economic powerhouses invested a lot in old technology such as grid system power and telephones. Cell phones show the way to look at the model Tom is proposing. Cell phones made a bigger impact in areas away from the grid once we solved the technological problems. One of the problems or issues for the older powerhouses is that incremental costs of energy due to our investment in infrastructure means we are less likely to be able to afford or willing to change. Looking at the world’s population and those who could use electricity or an improved economy, we should be making sure that money is NOT invested in the old infrastructure if for no other reason that it will make it easier and have less entrenchement of the opposition. That it has a smaller footprint, and may end up encouraaging more effeicient power use is a good addon. As an energy professional, or you can go look it up, incremental costs of enhancing the grid for solar and especially wind are not a minor cost. Nor should the organizations’ political power that oppose changes because they would pay the costs be discounted. Another good reason to think about what Tom wrote. YES, the world shipped a lot to China and India, but we should be honest, Kyoto increased this trend; did not decrease it. The point of RPjr’s article is along the lines of what BBD is alluding to in the US and others have emssions. The point of using the model Roger uses is that it helps identify the nature of the problem. If we are stuffed it was something we started in the 1800′s. But incorrrectly backing solutions because it re-inforces our POV rather than solve what it is supposed to solve will not help. That is Roger’s point, IMO, in one brief sentence. If such can be done.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No, John, I wasn’t trying to mislead, no matter how much the trolls whine. I’m merely pointing out one activity we can undertake that will have an impact and can implement in the short term.

  • Steven Sullivan

    RPJr is not an honest broker.  Why do you give him so much credit, KK? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Yeah, Keith, why aren’t you limiting your sources to the official list?

  • Tom Scharf

    There has been progress, in spite of the climate battle  The fracking technology has been responsible for reducing US emissions, largely due to fundamental economic driver of the quest for low cost energy.  The irony that the biggest development in emissions reduction is a by product of “capitalism as usual” should not be lost on anyone.  A lesson to be learned here?

    There is also an editorial today in the WSJ by the president of the EDF that is worth reading.  Not your typical screed by either side, pretty balanced.

    Fred Krupp: A New Climate-Change Consensus

    The second proposition will be uncomfortable for supporters of climate action, but it is also true: Some proposed climate solutions, if not well designed or thoughtfully implemented, could damage the economy and stifle short-term growth. As much as environmentalists feel a justifiable urgency to solve this problem, we cannot ignore the economic impact of any proposed action, especially on those at the bottom of the pyramid. For any policy to succeed, it must work with the market, not against it.

     http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444320704577569231537988226.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

  • PDA

    I’m all for doing better, too, but this just seems like gross Breakthroughism to me. Is there any real evidence that focusing on efficiency and alternate fuels will lead to a substantive reduction in carbon emissions, or is it just wishful thinking? RPJr. seems to admit as much when he says “Natural gas is not a long-term solution to the challenge of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, because it is still carbon intensive.” KTHX.

    Also, I don’t know what “make process” is supposed to mean, but “focus on innovation — not on debates over climate science or a mythical high carbon price” is pretty much semantically equal to “do nothing” in the present political climate. So I guess I’m not seeing the benefit.

  • Tom Scharf

    I give RPJ credit for being one of the few people out there who actually runs the numbers.  He has called BS on infantile emission reduction goals in Europe, the UK, and Australia that have no prayer of ever meeting success.    The fact that he is the one calling this out instead of those in the climate concerned community is something I find quite curious.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Standard rapid response from the Climaterati:

    Trolls belittle those who advocate actual action.

    Second wave belittles intellectual underpinnings.Labeling used to reduce incentive to explore subjects further.

    So within 13 comments we have criticism, not of the idea of solar rural electrification, but of Fuller for not proposing strategies for the developed world, Pielke for not being ideologically pure and any activity at all for being Breakthroughism.

    So now we can go back to sitting here moping around and twiddling our thumbs. That’s a relief. For a minute there I though someone might actually do something.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, moving from coal to natural gas is pure energy efficiency. It looks slightly different because we’re looking at fuel instead of work, but as U.S. emissions show, that means it has a disproportionately beneficial effect.We do energy efficiency work on machines as a poor second-best effort. By far the greater gains come from improving the fuel portfolio.

  • PDA

    As I’ve said, I’m all for “doing better.” And there’s nothing at all wrong with doing “something,” obviously.

    What I’m questioning is whether the prescribed “something” = “better.” That’s the proposition here. And I share Keith’s question: can we have a constructive debate that explores this?

    I’m all ears.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Well, PDA, I’ve made a proposal to limit future emissions by transferring solar technology to the developing world for the purposes of rural electrification. So far, I have been criticized, Pielke has been criticized, Breakthroughism has been criticized.Funnily enough, the idea of transferring solar technology to the developing world for the purposes of rural electrification has only been discussed by those not allied with the climate consensus.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    As readers of C-a-S will probably recall, it was like pulling teeth to get Roger to give an elevator pitch summary of what his preferred policies did that was so radically different than current proposals. It turns out that his preference is a small and rising carbon price (non-starter amongst conservatives, not terribly different from other “climate concerned” plans), huge government push for clean energy innovation (non-starter amongst conservatives, not terribly different from other “climate concerned” plans), a focus on adaptation (non-starter amongst conservatives, not terribly different from other “climate concerned” plans), and a focus on non-CO2 radiative forcing reductions (limited evidence for conservative support, not terribly different from other “climate concerned” plans).It is essentially just a watered down version of several other mainstream “activist” plans, with the watering down being pushed as a selling point- though it’s clear in today’s political climate that there is virtually nothing, no matter how watered down, that can get agreement from US conservatives. And of course it provides zero way of enforcing that coal stays in the ground.I promised Roger I’d read his book, and I finally actually got a hold of a copy. If there is something in his book that makes my characterization here unfair, I will happily set the record straight. <b>tl;dr:</b> the “new” chapter isn’t new, has no mechanism of keeping coal in the ground absent an enormous technological change in clean energy, and isn’t really being opposed by anyone except the people it is supposed to get an endorsement from by being relatively toothless.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Also, the Krupp WSJ article is nothing new from him. He’s a big supporter (as implicitly all who support a cap and trade/carbon tax solution are) of market-based solutions, and has been openly for years:

    http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Sequel-Reinvent-Energy-Warming/dp/0393066908

  • harrywr2

    #5 BBD, India is expected to recapitulate China’s fast-track industrialisation
    and creation of an internal market of urban consumers over coming
    decades.
    India is barely capable of finding enough coal to power the industry it has, never mind the industry it wants to have.it’s domestic coal quality is also awful.http://gulfnews.com/news/world/india/fuel-source-powering-on-with-coal-in-india-1.1059199

    The natural fuel value of Indian coal is poor. On average, the Indian
    power plants using coal consume about 0.7 kg of coal to generate a kWh,
    whereas US thermal power plants consume about 0.45 kg of coal per kWh.

    Ohh look..news from China just inhttp://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-08/07/content_15648451.htm

    The benchmark price for China’s power-station coal snapped its longest streak of declines since at least 2008 as producers idled an estimated 300 million metric tons of capacity amid a slump in demand…..Spot coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram at the port of Qinhuangdao was unchanged at a range of 620 yuan ($97) to 635 yuan a ton

    Growing an economy on the back of ‘cheap coal’ is a tried and true method of economic development. There is nothing ‘cheap’ about $97/tonne steam coal. The ‘question’ is no longer ‘will developing countries’ continue to develop on the back of ‘cheap coal’. The question is how are developing countries going to develop now that all the ‘cheap coal’ has been burned up.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, I am interested in your assertion about the unwillingness of Republicans to pay a small and rising carbon tax. 

    When I conducted my survey for Examiner.com, those identifying themselves as Republicans indicated that they were willing to pay up to $250 per year in higher taxes to a federal government led by their bete noir Barack Obama for things like improvements to the electricity grid.

    If a carbon tax was revenue neutral with dollar for dollar reductions in the Social Security tax, do you really think conservatives would oppose it? Do you have any evidence to support your view?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom nearly half the comments so far have been from you and yet you have the temerity to accuse others of trolling? 

    Now Keith, I know often pay attention to what Michael Levi has to say, so consider some his comments  as they relate to Roger’s oft-repeated arguments. In particular:

    lowering the price of cleaner alternatives below the present price of coal and oil” isn’t a policy — it’s an aspiration. We would have a more productive debate if we focused on the policy tools, not the hopes of what they’ll produce. Among other things, that lets us have a serious debate over the costs and the political plausibility of the alternatives.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @18 Tom Fuller:

    Funnily enough, the idea of transferring solar technology to the developing world for the purposes of rural electrification has only been discussed by those not allied with the climate consensus.

    Surely you don’t actually believe that technological transfer/”leapfrogging” isn’t a part of virtually every mainstream mitigation discussion?

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg3/en/ch2s2-7-3.html

    >>Article 4.5 of the [UNFCCC] states that developed country Parties “˜shall take all practicable steps to promote, facilitate, and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other Parties, particularly developing country Parties, to enable them to implement the provisions of the Convention’, and to “˜support the development and enhancement of endogenous capacities and technologies of developing country Parties’.

    >>Similarly Article 10(c) of the Kyoto Protocol reiterated that all Parties shall: “˜cooperate in the promotion of effective modalities for the development, application, and diffusion of, and take all practicable steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies, know-how, practices and processes pertinent to climate change, in particular to developing countries, including the formulation of policies and programmes for the effective transfer of environmentally sound technologies that are publicly owned or in the public domain and the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector, to promote and enhance the transfer of, and access to, environmentally sound technologies’.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, I was referring to this comment thread, where trolls like Marlowe and BBD jump past the substance to their continued idiotic attacks. 

    I am not accusing you of being a troll, but frankly I don’t care about your (and others’) criticism of Pielke or the Breakthrough Institute. It is distracting from the topic.

    I am familiar with the UNFCC document and the Kyoto Protocol. I am proposing that we accelerate deployment of technology transfer following a successful series of pilot programs. And all I get in response is basically crap.

    I don’t think it’s coincidence.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    The question is how exactly do you propose to accelerate technology transfer Tom? Absent a specific policy, it’s just aspirational hot air. And more to the point, why is technology transfer mutually exclusive from the carbon pricing efforts that are commonly derided by RPJr/TBI/KK etc.?

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @Tom Fuller:

    If a carbon tax was revenue neutral with dollar for dollar reductions in the Social Security tax, do you really think conservatives would oppose it?

    Yes. Nothing about a carbon tax, irrespective of making it revenue neutral, would make it pass Republican Senate filibustering, let alone the House.

    Do you have any evidence to support your view?

    That depends on your definition of evidence.

    Aside from the general dynamics of Congress? The fact that cap and trade was a Republican idea supported as recently as 2008 by major Republicans? The fact that the individual mandate was a Republican idea created by the Heritage Foundation? The fact that this is the most obstructionist Senate on record? The fact that a non-trivial number of House Republicans think climate change is a liberal hoax?

    There are many things that are popular with a simple majority of Americans that are political non-starters. Something polling well is a far far cry of something being feasible.

    Grover Norquist will not endorse a carbon tax, even if it is revenue neutral. Why? Just because, that’s why:

    Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, says he doubts carbon-tax proposals would get broader support from conservatives, even if advocates such as Mr. Inglis say taxes overall wouldn’t go up. “Their intention is good, but they don’t read a lot of history. They don’t notice that all new taxes are permanent and they never displace other taxes,” says Mr. Norquist.

    Norquist’s refusal to endorse something is a de facto policy ruling as far as enough House Republicans are concerned.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No, Marlowe, the question is how do you manage to get dressed in the morning when you start drinking so early.If George Bush was able to push hard and effectively on the Millenium Goals and combatting AIDS, do you really think it’s beyond Barack Obama to craft and implement policy requiring absolutely nothing that doesn’t already exist in the field?Shorter Marlowe: We.Must.Do.Nothing.But.Die.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @Tom Fuller:

    frankly I don’t care about your (and others’) criticism of Pielke or the Breakthrough Institute.

    Uh, okay. So don’t comment on them I guess?

    It is distracting from the topic.

    Roger’s preferences and their feasibility are the basis of this topic, in case you failed to read Keith’s post.

    I am proposing that we accelerate deployment of technology transfer following a successful series of pilot programs.

    Great. It’s nice of you to join the mainstream climate concerned on that, I guess.

    And all I get in response is basically crap.

    I don’t think it’s coincidence.

    I don’t understand what you’re complaining about here. I imagine you receive “crap” in response to your comments at this site because you have a personal history with many people here, rather than because people are opposed to technology transfer (which is an old, well-supported idea).

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, as you apparently already guessed, I would not classify that as evidence. Things not only break. They change.

  • John F. Pittman

    As often in the climate blog wars it is what is left unsaid that brings nuance to the discussion. The reason for the nonstarter for the cap and trade is simply that was not what was proposed. What was proposed was that it would start small, but not end that way. Yes, it was a huge government push for clean energy innovation by way of government sudsidies. That this is in contradictory to cap and trade (C&T) being small. If C&T is small, then by definition the huge push could not be huge. Though persons claim, even the IPCC does this, that adaptation is part of the focus, the cost of adaptation becomes more expensive in C&T such that the benefit is much reduced. A focus on non-CO2 radiative forcings was part of C&T, and is part of EU and EPA, to name two. This does not change the problem, the costs, nor the solution in any preferred direction. It is what it is.The problem is that it was NOT watered down. The admission of the costs were watered down. The admission of much much it would effect the economy was watered down. The admission of how much of a taking from business was about a wash, except for the erroneous claims it would grow the economy. When energy costs 3 times as much, it costs 3 times as much. As Roger indicates with his model, and I like the original better, you can get more efficient and less carbon intense, you can have less economy, you can kill/nonprocreate people, you can get new technology. If C&T had teeth, you can have less economy or less people becasue effeciency is only stop gap and new technology is to quote “pixie dust”. “Pixie dust” is also apt description of growing jobs, or that wind and solar can replace fossil fuels.

  • Joshua

    Waiting for this to get posted at Roger’s, I’ll just go ahead and retype it here:

    Roger quotes the following from McKibben in his FP article:

    …growth may be the one big habit we finally must break.

    I think it is important to reflect on the full context of this argument, rather than to just extract that one talking point (which tends to exacerbate “vitriolic proxy battles” [Roger's "concerning" lament from his FP article]).

    I think it is reasonable to speculate that growth, as an undifferentiated goal, is problematic – and that pursing undifferentiated growth is a habit that should be broken.

    There are external variables that necessarily impact upon the goal of growth. This would happen, say, with a business that early in its evolution simply needed to get bigger in a rather undifferentiated fashion, but after a certain point in time needed to focus on growth that was carefully differentiated along considerations such as, say, competitive advantage or market segmentation.

    I would say that there is certainly a rhetorical over-reach with saying that growth is a habit that should be broken, but what is really important is digging down to the details of how different visions of growth differ. For example, where are the points of disagreement when McKibben advocates for “smart” growth or “green” growth?

    The flip side of McKibben’s rhetoric is that of someone like Larry Summers, who says:

    The idea that we should put limits on growth because of some natural limit is a profound error.

    Which, devoid of context could be construed to suggest that differentiated growth should not be a goal. Indeed, differentiating growth is, in a sense, a “limitation” on growth. Saying that some growth is more productive than other growth is essentially saying that there are “natural limits” to growth.

    Is there a fundamental disagreement with, as a general principle, saying:

    We lack the vocabulary and the metaphors we need for life on a different scale. We’re so used to growth that we can’t imagine alternatives; at best we embrace the squishy sustainable, with its implied claim that we can keep on as before. So here are my candidates for words that may help us think usefully about the future:

    Durable
    Sturdy
    Stable
    Hardy
    Robust

    These are squat, solid, stout words. They conjure a world where we no longer grow by leaps and bounds, but where w hunker down, we dig in. They are words that we associate with maturity, not youth; with steadiness, not flash.

    Now those adjectives are somewhat vague, and the difficulty lies in contextualizing them in the real world. but I would argue that to the extent that any of us, including you [Roger], abstract someone’s message in ways that don’t reflect full context, it limits the beneficial influence of their efforts.  

    It’s kind of like fractals: undifferentiated messaging about undifferentiated growth  [An unproductive pattern within an unproductive pattern.]

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No, Thingsbreak, Pielke’s preferences and policies are mentioned in the post–they then become a lightning rod for the Climaterati.

    As for technology transfer, it is praised by the Climaterati in the ideal and as we see here it is ignored when it comes time to implement.

    I expect to receive crap from these idiots and am rarely disappointed. What I am lamenting is the inability to comment substantively on the ideas in this post–both mine and others.

    Oh, wait–there’s a word for that…

  • PDA

    Again, I’m questioning whether the suggested solutions will make a difference in terms of carbon emissions. That’s the proposition here. 

    And I repeat Keith’s question: can we have a constructive debate that explores this?

  • Marlowe Johnson

     Tom you haven’t used any officially sanctioned words so no drinks yet, sorry. The point that I’d like Keith and other promoters of the ‘third way’ narrative is the idea that what they’re proposing hasn’t been described (and defended) in sufficient detail to move the discussion any further from where it currently sits, as TB describes quite well @19.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    This is why more people aren’t fawning over the TBI/Climate Fix argument:

    - I support aggressive funding of clean energy innovation.

    - I support aggressive reductions in non-CO2 radiative forcings.

    - I support aggressive pursuit of adaptation measures.

    - I support an “all of the above” energy policy that includes expanding nuclear power, aggressive R&D for carbon capture and sequestration, smart use of natural gas, etc.

    - I support pricing carbon in such a way as it is non-regressive, not immediately politically suicidal, and gradually rises.

    You know who else does all of the above? Virtually everyone that has any political power who recognizes that climate change is huge issue and wants to do something about it.

    You know who doesn’t support virtually any of the above? A meaningful number of House and Senate Republicans.

    But please, tell us more about how old hippies and teens in Greenpeace are the problem here and not half of Congress.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, the idea that there is no metaphor with which undifferentiated growth is compared to targeted and healthier growth pretty much fails at the entrance to any cancer clinic.

    Growth is presented often as an ideal. What it is in practice is better than the alternatives presented–stagnation or decline. Nobody objects to planned or targeted growth. What many object to (with historical support for their POV) is centrally directed limits to growth.

  • Joshua

    And btw – Keith.

    Look at the debate here in response to Roger’s post. Can you say “vitriolic proxy battles?”

    Now, of course the comment section on your blog is not the real world (thank god!), but at some point I do think it is worthwhile to look at the outcomes of ones actions. Roger’s post is interesting, but it repeats many of the same arguments we’ve read many times in the past, and in fact reads to some extent like him deliberately continuing past battles: It is clearly partisan, and I certainly seems reflective of the legacy of Roger’s past food-flinging exchanges in the climate debate lunchroom.

    And Roger is not, per se, responsible for how people react to his essay …

    But I do think that w/r/t the discussion of “messaging,” it is worthwhile to offer criticism of input into the debate which, I would argue, will predictably contribute to rather than diminish the same problematic interactions. Just like environmentalists’ messaging could be more effective, so could that of self-described honest brokers.

    How could Roger’s essay have been improved? I offered my suggestion. Somehow (just a wild guess), Roger won’t be particularly receptive to the input.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, nobody asked you to fawn over Pielke or the Breakthrough Institute. The question is why vilify them when they are at most tangential to the topic?

  • jim

    Joshua:Economic growth as a habit that has to be broken?  So, in other words, you’re implying that you think it’s best for economies to produce a decreasing value of goods and services each year?  If that’s the case, how will alternative energy projects, the economics of which rely heavily on high oil prices, which in turn rely on the prospect of a decreasing gap between supply and demand that’s driven by increasing consumption, ever prove valuable enough to be built?Would you then suggest that alternative energy should not be judged on it’s “economic” value – that it’s intrinsic value is sufficient?  If so, from whence will the funds come to build alternative energy projects?  Buyers of government bonds, the normal way of funding deficit expenditures, typically expect a positive return on their investment.  Would you then force them to buy bonds that have a negative return?  :) I suspect this idea of abandoning economic growth will need some very, very deep before it can be viewed as realistic.

  • Joshua

    TB – I agree with much of your assessment at #36, including the implications of your post to the counterproductive aspect of input from combatants like the TBI.

     Still, I think that in the real political context, it is more than just Republicans in Congress that have dropped the ball. I think that some “skeptics,”- including  the folks at TBI – do have a reasonable point about how the fault is more bi-lateral. It really is an important message.

    The problem is that they can’t get out of their own way long enough to see their own partisan identity.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, the potential number of people affected by my proposal are 1.5 billion. They currently burn firewood, dung and kerosene. Solar is better.More importantly, they will be moving quickly up the energy ladder in the next 20 years. They will be consuming energy from some source, and at levels quickly approaching Western standards. Is this not worthwhile?

  • Joshua

    #40- jim –

    Joshua:Economic growth as a habit that has to be broken?  So, in other
    words, you’re implying that you think it’s best for economies to produce a decreasing value of goods and services each year?

    Let’s play a little game. Read what you just wrote again, and read what I wrote that you were responding to again. Then we can play “spot the strawman.”  You go first.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @42

    who pays for your ‘proposal’?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #44, have another drink. 

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Roger’s essay is an example of rhetoric, not good policy advice. Here’s how you can tell:

    Look at his claim that non-CO2 radiative forcing reductions enjoy bi-partisan support. He cites Inhofe, who makes a great rhetorical impact. But he does not discuss whether or not non-CO2 radiative forcing reductions sufficient to make a meaningful impact on climate change enjoy broad enough bi-partisan support to actually become law. Why? It doesn’t mesh with the “the climate alarmed are the problem, and we could solve this if only they shut up” message he wants to sell.

    If it’s my job to give you a policy idea that can succeed, your first question should be “Inhofe aside, how much support does this actually have?”

    Roger mentions the boom in shale gas bringing down US emissions in the short term but makes no mention of the “crowding out” that natural gas could do in lieu of the real clean energy Roger admits we actually need, nor the fact that absent a price on coal it will probably end up being burned elsewhere anyway. Why? It doesn’t mesh with the “the climate alarmed are the problem, and we could solve this if only they shut up” message he wants to sell.

    This is not a policy piece. It’s a rhetoric exercise. It makes very strong rhetorical points, but is completely a mess in terms of real world policy implications.

    How do we judge a successful policy proposal? Is it simple popularity in polls? Is it the support of one otherwise political opponent? Is it a nearterm decrease in an unwanted metric that does nothing to change the bottom line and may be counter to the bottom line?

    For each of Roger’s examples, it’s trivial to point to counterexamples that show the problems with or the opposite of what he’s claiming.

    Does that mean that Roger’s proposals are all bad? Not necessarily- I support many of them. Rather it means that Roger’s piece is decidedly not about policy, but finger pointing.

    Why?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I see only you finger pointing, Thingsbreak. And the trolls, of course.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    The correct target for net carbon emissions is zero, or near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now. Any proposal that gets there is worth considering. Any proposal that does not, isn’t.It’s very difficult to imagine how to get there without international agreement. A single significant defection will undermine such an agreement. That in turn requires 1) a finite remaining emission budget and, given national sovereignty, 2) allocation of that budget among nations.Those countries with smaller historical emissions will at the very least demand a larger slice of the remaining pie. For them to argue for compensation for the share of the pie that should have been theirs but is already eaten is understandable, but it is unfortunately very easy for the Ken Greens of the world to spin this as an income transfer rather than a reimbursement. I’d love to come up with a more politically convenient formulation, but I can’t imagine one. Everybody’s enthusiasm for hopelessly weak gestures in the direction of reducing carbon emissions will not amount to eliminating them, or to sequestering enough to balance all ongoing emissions out. As McKibben noted in his recent article in Rolling Stone, exploiting known fossil fuel reserves is easily enough to represent a realistic threat to global civilization and a massive extinction event in the wild.A meaningful plan must either cause the existing reserves to remain unexploited or must implement sequestration on an enormous scale to balance emissions. Nothing else can work. These facts are very awkward but they are actually facts. A plan which doesn’t account for them amounts to a deck chair rearrangement.

  • Joshua

    John – #31

    What was proposed was that it would start small,
    but not end that way.

    For the sake of argument, assuming that, and everything else you say in that post is accurate, can you not see variables missed out in the following statement?:

    The reason for the nonstarter for the cap and trade is simply that was
    not what was proposed.

    You attribute the failure of cap and trade, including modified forms that would start gradually without built-in guarantees of size of expansion, as necessarily being attributable to one factor? You think that oppositional ideology was not a factor? Opposing business interests? Tribalism (on both sides)? Motivated reasoning (on both sides?). Do you not see some sort of symmetry between post #31 of yours and post #36 of TB’s?

  • PDA

    Tom, sounds great, though I am also curious about the price tag on solar electricity for a billion and a half. It seems relevant to ask, no?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    The correct target for net carbon emissions is zero, or near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now. Any proposal that gets there is worth considering. Any proposal that does not, isn’t.It’s very difficult to imagine how to get there without international agreement. A single significant defection will undermine such an agreement. That in turn requires 1) a finite remaining emission budget and, given national sovereignty, 2) allocation of that budget among nations.Those countries with smaller historical emissions will at the very least demand a larger slice of the remaining pie. For them to argue for compensation for the share of the pie that should have been theirs but is already eaten is understandable, but it is unfortunately very easy for the Ken Greens of the world to spin this as an income transfer rather than a reimbursement. I’d love to come up with a more politically convenient formulation, but I can’t imagine one. Everybody’s enthusiasm for hopelessly weak gestures in the direction of reducing carbon emissions will not amount to eliminating them, or to sequestering enough to balance all ongoing emissions out. As McKibben noted in his recent article in Rolling Stone, exploiting known fossil fuel reserves is easily enough to represent a realistic threat to global civilization and a massive extinction event in the wild.A meaningful plan must either cause the existing reserves to remain unexploited or must implement sequestration on an enormous scale to balance emissions. Nothing else can work. These facts are very awkward but they are actually facts. A plan which doesn’t account for them amounts to a deck chair rearrangement.(sigh, double returns aren’t giving me paragraph breaks anymore. Trying yet again.)

  • Marlowe Johnson

    the most frightening factoid to my mind about the McKibben piece in Rolling Stone is the $20 trillion worth of carbon reserves that we essentially need to write off via fiat or pixie dust….

  • PDA

    mt, it’s this strange HTML/rich text hybrid parser. you have to go to tags mode by clicking the <> button and insert double returns between </p> and <p>.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @Tom Fuller:

    why vilify them

    I don’t know, I don’t. I do disagree with them and find the uncritical acceptance that they’re speaking some sort of truth to power to be disappointing and worth disagreeing with.

    when they are at most tangential to the topic?

    Roger’s essay is explicitly the topic.

    @47:

    I see only you finger pointing

    Did you simply fail to read Roger’s article altogether? That might also explain why you continue to call it off-topic…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, it has not yet proven to be a budget buster. Ground mounted solar arrays are not very expensive, and continue to get cheaper. Maintenance is not horrendous. 

    Last time I had the back of an envelope handy it seemed as though the entire cost would be an order of magnitude less than bringing a full-scale grid to affected populations.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, I read his article at FP and his post this morning. I also read Keith’s post at the top here. I have yet to see attacks on Edoardo Porter for some reason.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And PDA, so far, the World Bank and the IMF have been liberal lenders/granters and NGOs and religious organizations nothing less than heroic about getting troops in the field to put them up.

  • PDA

    Is anyone in the West budgeting in the cost of bringing a full-scale grid to affected populations? If no, I’m not sure why highlighting it as cheaper is relevant?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    The correct target for net carbon emissions is zero, or near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now. Any proposal that gets there is worth considering. Any proposal that does not, isn’t.

    It’s very difficult to imagine how to get there without international agreement. A single significant defection will undermine such an agreement. That in turn requires 1) a finite remaining emission budget and, given national sovereignty, 2) allocation of that budget among nations.

    Those countries with smaller historical emissions will at the very least demand a larger slice of the remaining pie. For them to argue for compensation for the share of the pie that should have been theirs but is already eaten is understandable, but it is unfortunately very easy for the Ken Greens of the world to spin this as an income transfer rather than a reimbursement.

    I’d love to come up with a more politically convenient formulation, but I can’t imagine one. Everybody’s enthusiasm for hopelessly weak gestures in the direction of reducing carbon emissions will not amount to eliminating them, or to sequestering enough to balance all ongoing emissions out.

    As McKibben noted in his recent article in Rolling Stone, exploiting known fossil fuel reserves is easily enough to represent a realistic threat to global civilization and a massive extinction event in the wild.

    A meaningful plan must either cause the existing reserves to remain unexploited or must implement sequestration on an enormous scale to balance emissions. Nothing else can work.

    These facts are very awkward but they are actually facts. A plan which doesn’t account for them amounts to a deck chair rearrangement.

    (sigh, double returns aren’t giving me paragraph breaks anymore. Fourth attempt per PDA’s suggestion.)

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @54 Tom Fuller:

    Thingsbreak, I read his article at FP and his post this morning. I also read Keith’s post at the top here.

    Wonderful. Perhaps now you understand- the latter explicitly making the former the topic- why people are commenting on Roger’s/The Climate Fix’s/TBI’s argument about what we need to do and who is standing in the way.

    Glad to hear that’s been cleared up.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The British DFID did do a scoping of bringing infrastructure to Africa about 15 years ago and it pretty much squelched a lot of talk about providing it as direct aid. I think their totals were 150 billion pounds for sub-Saharan Africa .

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, seems to me you’re the one standing in the way of constructive discussion. Can you get through one comment without mentioning Pielke?

  • Joshua

    - #48 – Michael Tobis –

    Any proposal that gets there is worth considering.

    Given that zero emissions through international agreement is certainly a reach goal, if not completely infeasible in the near future (baring absolutely catastrophic climate change in the near future), do you reject, categorically,  developments that reduce emissions but wouldn’t project forward to reach a goal of zero emissions?

    What does “gets there” mean? Does it mean any proposal directed towards, specifically, zero emissions is acceptable, but not any proposal that would only reduce emissions?

  • jim

    Joshua,
     
    “I think it is reasonable to speculate that growth, as an undifferentiated goal, is problematic ““ and that pursing undifferentiated growth is a habit that should be broken.”
     
    Hmm”¦looks like mostly beef to me. 
     
    I like the term “undifferentiated growth” ““ it’s a great invention.  It seems to be a euphemism for something like “the growth that is consistent with my values.”

     

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Tom,

    My comments apply not just to him specifically but moreover to the “new chapter” mentality that is the subject of Keith’s post generally. If you like, feel free to skip over his name if me typing it upsets you this greatly.

    The substance of my comments is unchanged whether an individual’s name is included or not.

    Have a nice afternoon.

  • PDA

    the entire cost would be an order of magnitude less… I think their totals were 150 billion pounds for sub-Saharan Africa

    So… £15 billion?

    Who pays?

  • Joshua

    jim – one point for you. You recognized that originally, you left out the qualifier of undifferentiated. Yes, you found a straw man. Excellent move. The score is 1-0 in your favor.

    Now it’s my turn.

    Would you then force them to buy bonds that have a negative return?

    Ok – now the score is 1-1.

    And between the two of us, we’ve found two straw men in your post.

    Your turn again.

  • PDA

    “Roger argues that the way to convince someone to get off the tracks when there is an onrushing train is to not mention the train but rather to suggest a nice Italian dinner somewhere.”

    LOL-A-SCAPE

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, nobody has offered support for my idea as of yet. It’s a bit early to talk about who’s footing the bill. 

    But along those lines, who paid for the achievement of the last generation of Millenium Goals?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    My top 5 problems with the ‘new chapter’ framing:

    1. no analytical rigour (what can we expect for the money?)

    2.no mention of commonalities with existing proposals (e.g. slowly rising carbon pricing)

    3. use of disingenuous arguments (e.g. carbon pricing will hurt the poor)

    4. dishonest marketing (i.e. presents itself as a adequate alternative, no mention of likelihood of success)

    5. no discussion of political feasibility or reference to the elephant in the room (i.e. republican obstructionism)

  • Marlowe Johnson

    oh and one more. 

    6. implicitly suggests that policies are mutually exclusive (e.g. can’t have carbon pricing and publicly funded clean tech R&D), efficiency standards, technology transfer with LDCs etc.

  • PDA

    Well, I’m not asking where to send the invoice tomorrow. Does your idea have any scenario in terms of funding? If not, how does it differ from “wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

    I’m not trying to be dismissive, but if we’re talking about taking our focus off carbon reduction and putting it on something else, it seems like the “something else” should be more than a velleity.

  • harrywr2

    Marlowe Johnson Says:

     The question is how exactly do you propose to accelerate technology transfer ?

    Pay attention Marlowe…the US DOE has already transferred most of our R&D on molten salt and Thorium Reactors to the Chinese.Almost all ‘energy demonstration’ projects take place in ‘China’ first.http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-08/07/content_15649399.htm

    China’s first carbon capture and storage demonstration project sealed off more than 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the past 15 months in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, operators told Xinhua Monday.

    The reality is that in ‘Developed Countries’ we are spending ‘chump change’ on Energy Infrastructure. We already have a lot of infrasturcture and ‘energy conservation measures’ have pretty much destroyed the need for more.In the US we have 4 or 5 technologies competing for what is on the order of a 10GW/year construction pie.In the US if we build a 1 GW ‘demonstration project’ that doesn’t work out everyone will scream. In China they have an 80-100GW/year construction pie. If they build a 1 GW demonstration project that doesn’t work out no one will notice.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    i’m sorry Harry but you don’t appear to have answered my question. care to try again?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Joshua #63 “do you reject, categorically,  developments that reduce emissions but
    wouldn’t project forward to reach a goal of zero emissions?”

    Not at all. Indeed, I think we should be doing things like switching lightbulbs, reducing commutes, etc. as long as reasonable forward motion is politically impractical on the big question. This would be in the hope of finding technical strategies that may apply, and of getting people used to the idea of low-impact technologies.

    Such modest measures will remain essentially irrelevant, though, unless embedded in a larger framework that works toward an absolute cap on emissions over all time, which basically means an emission rate that goes to zero.

    It is of course very hard to predict how severe the outcome of any strategy will be, but we have probably passed the point of essentially benign outcomes. From here out, the longer we delay on accepting and implementing a hard constraint on total net emissions, the worse the outcome will be.

    But I like a well placed deck chair as much as the next bloke.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, this isn’t some wild experiment I’m talking about. Enersol was founded in 1984. There are many projects already built and functioning worldside. Steering development money to this would not be difficult. The World Bank and IMF are willing to lend on projects of this nature.And I’m really puzzled by your comment on shifting the focus from carbon reduction. Solar produces zero CO2. The fuels it will replace are the dirtiest in use by humankind. Are you really so blind as to ignore any project that doesn’t have ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE on the packing crate?

  • PDA

    No, Tom, I’m not “blind.” I asked you if you had any ideas how it would be funded. You indicated you didn’t. Now you’re saying “the World Bank and the IMF,” which is much more responsive. Thank you.

    May I suggest your elevator pitch might benefit from some more practice?

  • jeffn

    MT writes:
    “That in turn requires 1) a finite remaining emission budget and, given national sovereignty, 2) allocation of that budget among nations.”

    Followed by a rough outline to hand out the lion’s share of remaining emissions (plus a stack of cash) to developing nations.
    Anyone who thinks that only Republicans would oppose this in the US is just plain nuts. 100% of Senate Democrats voted against a watered down version of this (Kyoto) in 1997 – during an economic boom and before Climategate.
    By the way, the list of conservatives who support carbon taxes (mostly gas tax) includes George Will and Charles Krauthammer – both skeptics as well.
    Let’s look at Things Break’s list again with inline responses:
    - “I support aggressive funding of clean energy innovation.” – Nobody supports propping up stuff that doesn’t work in places where it will never work. Amend this to read that you’ll support renewables where they make sense and will be honest about the rest.

    - “I support aggressive reductions in non-CO2 radiative forcings.” Details are the only things that matter here.

    - “I support aggressive pursuit of adaptation measures.” Like what? I’m cool with GMO R&D for food, but not a UN slush-fund of “adaptation” grants for dictators.

    - “I support an “all of the above” energy policy that includes expanding nuclear power, aggressive R&D for carbon capture and sequestration, smart use of natural gas, etc.” Sorry, but I don’t believe you. Too often this is translated into “if you commit to building a 100% wind and solar powered energy grid right now, then in 10 or 20 years I might not fight too hard against one demonstration nuclear plant and maybe even one gas well.” Trust matters here and we can see what’s happening in Germany and Europe. This is the same dance the left does with taxes- “oooh, we’ll cut spending after you agree to raise taxes!” Ask George Bush the father if the spending cuts ever happen.
    -”I support pricing carbon in such a way as it is non-regressive, not immediately politically suicidal, and gradually rises.” No such thing as a non-regressive carbon tax that has any affect on emissions. No. Such. Thing.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, I mentioned both the IMF and World Bank before (see #56). Jeffn, I don’t trust McKibben’s numbers and I don’t agree with Tobis’ assertion that the only correct value for CO2 emissions is zero. Zero is how much science has gone into either claim.Panic smoke.

  • PDA

    The reference was not clear. I appreciate you taking the time to be specific.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    JeffN, agree that a global cap is a nonstarter in the US – this is indeed a big part of why we are proceeding with our lemminglike march. I can’t help thinking that this would change if people understood the necessity of it, which is why I keep trying to explain it.I also agree that a revenue neutral carbon tax would be regressive. Also it would transfer wealth to densely populated areas from sparsely populated ones. In other words, in the US a direct hit to rural red voters,  in favor of urban blue voters,. Which is really unfortunate. So despite its advantages, it’s hard to see the Hansen tax working out in the US.I didn’t say I had good news. I just don’t think that inventing a “new chapter” is possible. Those things that caused us to be stuck are still sticking. We all have to give up something, and we aren’t likely to until it’s really very late in the game.

  • Joshua

    #75 – Michael -

    A rambling response:

    The problems exist  along a continuum. If changing light bulbs is fine, is fracking? Does that answer depend on whether I live near a gas well? How can the larger continuum be framed or structured? 

    A legitimate question for me is how to advocate for zero emissions without setting ourselves up to be demagogued as wanting to kill millions in poor countries. I realize that to a certain degree, that demagoguing will happen no matter what we actually advocate – and more demagoging only reflects existing partisanship rather than any particular ineffectiveness in approach. I’ve seen that happen countless times. But the question is whether there is a proactive approach that could be more productive.

    It’s a tough nut to crack, because maybe the  choices are binary: at some level: Perhaps we will never know what is  politically viable to create maximum change if we simply concede maximum levels of change as politically nonviable.  .

    My own personal view is that any approach must be predicated on aligning like values, and differentiating positions from interests. Assuming a direct correlation between values/interests and positions seems largely counterproductive. In that sense, I think that Roger and the other “honest brokers” do have a point (although the question is whether they actually practice what they preach). 

    But in my view you are essentially also correct. At some level, completely benign optionsgoing forward are not likely (in fact, there never were completely benign options if you consider disparities in loss and gain as being inherently malignant). Attacks that stem from an unrealistic/binary perspective that any malignancy makes policy proposals a non-starter (a view rather typical of libertarians in my experience) are counterproductive. As Marlowe points out in his   #70 and #71 posts, accountability in that regard is sorely needed at many of the different tables in the junior high school cafeteria food fight.

  • jeffn

    MT at 81, I don’t think there is any reason to give up. I actually think you can go a long way by pushing gas as a bridge to a nuclear future. Get nuclear and solve the battery dilemma and you have a very large emissions reduction.
    Do it cost effectively and you have one the third world will use.
    Gas also makes renewables look better (without needing a carbon tax) in the places where they will work- and there are places where they will work. It means improvements to wind and solar just reduce the amount you need to spend on nukes.
    Tom Fuller, I think solar in remote villages is a neat, very short term idea. Put electricity in a remote village and someone will want to hook an AC, a fridge, a freezer to it (and TVs at night) and then the solar won’t cut it. Small self-contained nukes could do it.

  • grypo

    Is someone impeding the process of “actions like reducing soot and methane”? If so, who is it?

    This is weird conversation we are having this late in late in the game, especially considering that this has been on the table for like 20 years.

    And it’s really besides the point because it fixes entirely different problems than the ones challenging us over the long haul.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Jeffn,I guess I’m not being clear. There are hundreds–maybe thousands–of these projects already in existence. They are working. They are changing and saving peoples’ lives. The Indian government has spent $515 million on them since 2005. Yep, people do want more. And sometimes they get more–more solar panels are added to the installation. Sometimes they have to ration their use.But this isn’t my cockammammie idea cooked up in my garage to save the world. It is 25 years old and working.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    I have no particular objection to fracking over any other fossil fuel technology. It’s just that fracked gas IS a fossil fuel so (barring sequestration) it cannot be part of the mix in a sustainable world.

    Claims that it has lower net carbon emissions than coal neglect leakage at the well, but that is a quibble, relatively.

    The main point is that either we keep adding new carbon to the climate system or we don’t. Adding slightly less *per unit of energy* is not important at all. Adding slightly less *per year* is basically only important if we fix the number of years in which we do that sort of thing.

    The issue is and will always be total net cumulative emissions, not emission rates. All fossil fuel burning makes matters worse. It does not matter very much that gas makes it slightly less worse per watt-hour.

  • John F. Pittman

    Joshua, yes, I made as I did knowing that it could be viewed as tribalism
    but it was to make a point: No “pixie dust.” If one assumes that the
    low probability events are certainly going to happen, then I agree with MT at
    #51, and repeated. I don’t but at least MT is not throwing pixie dust. But
    unless you believe as pointed out by jeffn in #78, I think you are on pixie
    dust. But I disagree with #52, and would like to use that as a starting place
    for an alternative. We are not going to leave all carbon in the ground, but it
    does not have to be Thermaggedon. What we have to do is make the carbon more useful
    and worth more as feedstock for items more desirable than the BTU’s. This will
    not happen with the present scheme. One can talk all about starting slow and
    increasing carbon fees all you want. They did not buy, have not bought it, and
    as far as I can tell will not buy it. And they is us, especially the US. We
    cannot do with solar and wind since they are about 3 times more expensive than
    fossil carbon. We cannot do it by claiming that tax breaks are subsidies for
    these carbon sources, and pay out money directly to pay for that 3X cost, and
    giving them the same tax breaks as well. We have to change the relative worth.
    Though many don’t want to admit it, if take the methodology of extrapolating as
    the IPCC, and “green” NGO and groups, and apply it to fossil fuels as
    outlined by the Republicans, it works. It will reach the point it is too
    expensive, or will be worth more as a feedstock. So perhaps some honesty is in
    order. On my part, I see what many see who want to argue about peak oil. As
    cost goes up, more fields become available. As technology gets better, more
    becomes available. Not recognizing this is in pixie dust category. We have to
    change the circumstances, cheaper energy than carbon has to be the answer. Or
    as an oil person put it, the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of rocks.
    Keep in mind the problem with wind, water, agriculture, and solar; we have been
    working with these far longer than fossil carbon. What happened? At present,
    the only candidate I see available is nuclear. But it will not without
    technology improvements and commercialization. Look at what happened to natural
    gas.

  • Keith Kloor

    Grypo (84)

    It’s not besides the point, at all. See this NYT op-ed from two years ago, which I discussed here at the time.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Again, Dr. Tobis, you make a bald assertion–that all carbon dioxide emissions must cease. This is not what mainstream climate science says. It is not what the IPCC advocates. 

    What evidence do you provide for this assertion? If it involves assumptions, what are the assumptions?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis
  • kdk33

    More clap-trap.  Lookit:  today, carbon free energy costs more (much more) than carbon based energy.  Nobody is going to pay.  It doesn’t matter how cleverly you package it or what “new approach” you dream up. 

    If you want to rid the world of CO2, find an energy source that is CHEAPER than fossil fuel. 

    ps. please skip the externality = hidden cost clap trap as that is not helpful either.

  • Jeffn

    Tom, I’ve read about the solar in remote spots. It’s neat, a real success story for what it does. But I would plan for the aspirational. In some places this is the way to bring refrigeration to remote ares. In most places it will not and if you try, they will simply buy a diesel generator.
    Unless the plan is to keep them poor sothey can’t have refrigeration – which couldn’t be the case because that’s just a dishonest right wing strawman, right Joshua?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, your first link to Nature shows an abstract that says if we finish burning off all the fossil fuels and emit 3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2, temperatures may rise between 1.3C and 3.9C, with a ‘most likely’ peak of 2C. It neither states that all CO2 emissions must decrease nor advocates it as an outcome of their findings.Your second link is to the 1-minute news section of the BBC where Myles Allen, one of the authors to the paper at your first link, shows a picture of a ton of anthracite coal and says again that if we emit another 500 billion tonnes of CO2 the temperature will (enough of those error bars!) rise 2C. No plus or minus… But the game  changes midstream. They go from saying that burning 500 billion tonnes of carbon will emit 3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2 to saying that we can only safely emit 500 billion more tonnes of CO2 to keep temperatures from rising more than 2C. Something got lost in climate mathematics, there.Your third link is to trillionthton.org, a site with a calculator showing the projected date of emission of the trillionth tonne. They are kind enough to give their assumptions:The figure for current emissions is derived from carbon dioxide emissions data published on the CDIAC web-site for fossil fuels and land use change, assuming land-use emissions in 1750 were 75% of land-use emissions in 1850 and interpolating, and assuming 0.1 GtC per year of land-use change emissions were already in quasi-equilibrium with the natural carbon cycle.Average percent-per-year rate of increase over the last 20 years for which accurate data are available (1987-2006 in 2009) is computed using an exponential fit separately to both fossil and land-use-change emissions and applied to the most recent year’s emissions to give the current cumulative total and predicted date and time on which cumulative emissions exceed one trillion tonnes. The corresponding rate is computed for a 20 year period shifted one year earlier (1986-2005 in 2009) to estimate the current rate of change of the date at which the threshold is crossed. Note that this is purely an extrapolation of recent trends, not an explicit emissions scenario.But they nowhere describe the effects of a 2C rise in temperatures. Nor do they at any point say that carbon emissions must fall to zero.  I should point out that they do not say what happens if we emit 500 billion tonnes of CO2, as opposed to 510 billion tonnes.Your fourth link is to Ken Caldeira (whose name is being serially written by Joe Romm and others as Caldiera–somebody isn’t checking) and his famous quote linking carbon emissions to mugging old ladies. But there’s no science there. Just his bald assertion echoing your bald assertion.Your final link is to the Copenhagen Diagnosis. Its summary states “Just 25 more years of emissions would give a 25% probability that warming exceeds 2C.” And here I must quibble–25% does not describe a probability. It describes a possibility.But they do not call for a cessation of CO2 emissions at all. They call instead for them to be limited to one tonne per capita by 2050.To recap, Dr. Tobis: Four of your five links do not show any evidence either for or against your assertion. They do not describe what will happen if we emit more than 500 billion (miscalculated) tonnes of CO2. Your fifth link contradicts your assertion and Ken Caldeira’s association. They do not call for cessation. They call for curtailment.Thank you for wasting half an hour of my life by linking to stuff that does not support your fears.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Whoops! Formatted…

    Dr. Tobis, your first link to Nature shows an abstract that says if we finish burning off all the fossil fuels and emit 3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2, temperatures may rise between 1.3C and 3.9C, with a “˜most likely’ peak of 2C. It neither states that all CO2 emissions must decrease nor advocates it as an outcome of their findings.

    Your second link is to the 1-minute news section of the BBC where Myles Allen, one of the authors to the paper at your first link, shows a picture of a ton of anthracite coal and says again that if we emit another 500 billion tonnes of CO2 the temperature will (enough of those error bars!) rise 2C. No plus or minus”¦ 

    But the game  changes midstream. They go from saying that burning 500 billion tonnes of carbon will emit 3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2 to saying that we can only safely emit 500 billion more tonnes of CO2 to keep temperatures from rising more than 2C.

     Something got lost in climate mathematics, there.

    Your third link is to trillionthton.org, a site with a calculator showing the projected date of emission of the trillionth tonne. They are kind enough to give their assumptions:

    The figure for current emissions is derived from carbon dioxide emissions data published on the CDIAC web-site for fossil fuels and land use change, assuming land-use emissions in 1750 were 75% of land-use emissions in 1850 and interpolating, and assuming 0.1 GtC per year of land-use change emissions were already in quasi-equilibrium with the natural carbon cycle.

    Average percent-per-year rate of increase over the last 20 years for which accurate data are available (1987-2006 in 2009) is computed using an exponential fit separately to both fossil and land-use-change emissions and applied to the most recent year’s emissions to give the current cumulative total and predicted date and time on which cumulative emissions exceed one trillion tonnes.

    The corresponding rate is computed for a 20 year period shifted one year earlier (1986-2005 in 2009) to estimate the current rate of change of the date at which the threshold is crossed.

    Note that this is purely an extrapolation of recent trends, not an explicit emissions scenario.But they nowhere describe the effects of a 2C rise in temperatures. Nor do they at any point say that carbon emissions must fall to zero.  

    I should point out that they do not say what happens if we emit 500 billion tonnes of CO2, as opposed to 510 billion tonnes.Your fourth link is to Ken Caldeira (whose name is being serially written by Joe Romm and others as Caldiera”“somebody isn’t checking) and his famous quote linking carbon emissions to mugging old ladies.

    But there’s no science there. Just his bald assertion echoing your bald assertion.

    Your final link is to the Copenhagen Diagnosis. Its summary states “Just 25 more years of emissions would give a 25% probability that warming exceeds 2C.”

    And here I must quibble”“25% does not describe a probability. It describes a possibility.

    But they do not call for a cessation of CO2 emissions at all. They call instead for them to be limited to one tonne per capita by 2050.

    To recap, Dr. Tobis: Four of your five links do not show any evidence either for or against your assertion. They do not describe what will happen if we emit more than 500 billion (miscalculated) tonnes of CO2. 

    Your fifth link contradicts your assertion and Ken Caldeira’s association. They do not call for cessation. They call for curtailment.

    Thank you for wasting half an hour of my life by linking to stuff that does not support your fears. 

  • harrywr2

    #70 Marlowe,5. no discussion of political feasibility or reference to the elephant in the room (i.e. republican obstructionism)1997 US Senate Resolution #98 as expressing the ‘Sense of the Senate’ in regards to the Kyoto Protocol introduced by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virgina, Democrat.http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-105sres98ats/pdf/BILLS-105sres98ats.pdfThe vote was 95-0.The reality is that the US Senate will never cede any amount of Sovereignty to the UN and US Senators, regardless of party vote to protect the interests of their constituents as they see fit.The ‘elephant’ in the room isn’t ‘republican obstructionism…the ‘elephant’ is that no one knows how to reduce carbon emissions dramatically without reducing GDP dramatically.

  • Jeffn

    Michael tobis, do you have a preferred link to a plan to reduce emissions 100%? How do you get the US to zero emissions?
    I get the sense sometimes that there is a mindset out there that basically says its possible for everyone to be happy as long as there is a legislature willing to mandate happiness. With stiff penalties for scofflaws of course.

  • grypo

    Yes, I remember the argument. And it is “besides the point” if “the point” is fighting the “long haul” CO2 problem. They fix different issues, as I said:

    IPCC-style Global Warming Potentials attempt to trade off radiative forcing against lifetime in a Procrustean attempt to boil all climate forcings down to a single handy-dandy number that can be used in climate treaties and national legislation. In reality, aerosol-forming emissions, short-lived greenhouse gas emissions, and CO2 emissions are separate dials, controlling very different aspects of the Earth’s climate future. CO2 emissions play a distinguished role, because they ratchet up the Earth’s thermostat. It’s a dial you can turn up, but you can’t turn it back down. CO2 is a genie you can’t put back in the bottle. Climate forcings should not be aggregated. Each category should be treated in its own right. Otherwise, there are perverse incentives to do too much too soon on short-lived forcings and too little too late on CO2.

    If the point is avoiding the obvious problem, then yeah, I suppose you are correct.

    But again, I ask, who is standing in the way of fixing the soot and methane problem?

  • John F. Pittman

    As once said “you run out of money long before you run out of things to do with money.” Somehow costs somehow effect the solution or solutions. Why this is not obvious has always bothered me. I see few people clamor not to be paid. I see many clamor that someone else pay. I have seen studies that indicate that about $250/year is what is available from each person in the US. That’s it. Soot is being addressed in the US by EPA, SO2, and NOX as well. EPA has proposed a study for new regulations for methane that will include fracking as well.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jeffn, can anybody play? Can I do global as opposed to U.S.?In 2010, the world consumed about 523 quads. 52 of them were renewable. Of those 52 quads, 50 came from hydroelectricity, while 2 came from the nascent wind, solar and biofuels sectors.To supply 523 quads by 2035, all renewables would have to grow at a rate of 9.67% annually. Heck, we could even throw away our nukes. That isn’t as easy as it looks, as the lion’s share comes from hydroelectric, which cannot easily do more than double during that time frame, no matter how hard the Chinese try.Sadly even if renewables come up to the mark, 523 won’t be enough. The DOE estimates by 2035 we’ll consume 771 quads. The UN and IEA are not far from that estimate. (I’m the outlier. I think it will be almost 1,000). That would require growth in renewables of 11.39% annually. (Solar and wind are growing much more rapidly, but from such a small base…sigh.)However, if we include nuclear power in our estimates, the picture is much cheerier. It provided 47 quads in 2010. If we add them to the portfolio of acceptable fuels, to reach 771 quads of energy from 2010′s starting point, it would only need to grow 8.65% annually.That’s doable.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Whoops! formatted…Jeffn, can anybody play? Can I do global as opposed to U.S.?

    In 2010, the world consumed about 523 quads. 52 of them were renewable.

    Of those 52 quads, 50 came from hydroelectricity, while 2 came from the nascent wind, solar and biofuels sectors.

    To supply 523 quads by 2035, all renewables would have to grow at a rate of 9.67% annually. Heck, we could even throw away our nukes. That isn’t as easy as it looks, as the lion’s share comes from hydroelectric, which cannot easily do more than double during that time frame, no matter how hard the Chinese try.

    Sadly even if renewables come up to the mark, 523 won’t be enough. The DOE estimates by 2035 we’ll consume 771 quads. The UN and IEA are not far from that estimate. (I’m the outlier. I think it will be almost 1,000).

    That would require growth in renewables of 11.39% annually. (Solar and wind are growing much more rapidly, but from such a small base”¦sigh.)

    However, if we include nuclear power in our estimates, the picture is much cheerier. It provided 47 quads in 2010.

    If we add them to the portfolio of acceptable fuels, to reach 771 quads of energy from 2010″²s starting point, it would only need to grow 8.65% annually.

    That’s doable. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    harrywr2, we’ve had this discussion before, but I apparently haven’t convinced you.
    There are more signals in the marketplace than price. Solar power is more expensive than conventional sources at this time. Yet millions are adopting it worldwide.

    Hybrid and all-electric vehicles do not provide a good financial return. They’re more expensive than conventional cars. Yet millions are buying them.

    Price is an important signal. It is not the only one. 

    This is why Paul Kelly is right about all this stuff. You all should be paying more attention to him.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    a couple of thoughts.

    @harry,

    you appear to contradict yourself. on the one hand you say 

    the “˜elephant’ is that no one knows how to reduce carbon emissions dramatically without reducing GDP dramatically. 

    and then in the next breath you say (i’m paraphrasing here) that natural economic forces will render fossil fuels uneconomic – at least in the case of coal. which is it?

    @keith and tom and other ‘reflexive centrists’

    it occurs to me that you don’t want to deal with the other elephant in the room (it’s a big room and there is plenty of space); namely, that science suggests that our emissions budget is, for all intents and purposes, fixed if we want to avoid catastrophic interference with the climate system.When you look at the problem from that perspective, all the talk about Kaya identities, natural gas, non-co2 forcing agents etc, starts to look like a mild form of denial…

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Marlowe, step 1 was convincing everybody there really is a major problem. With the smallish exception of one of the major political parties in America, we are closing in on success on that.

    It appears that step 2 is convincing them that the problem is cumulative and therefore we eventually have to stop emissions (or, at least, net emissions) cold. It’s not just Tom Fuller who doesn’t get it. I think some fairly prominent people in the public eye miss this aspect.

    Tom has a point that few people besides Caldeira make the statement clearly enough for it to penetrate into the common perception. It’s not a mild form of denial, I think. It’s a clear and crucial and widespread misunderstanding. A “deficit” if you will.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @103 MT:

    There is a huge perceptional difference between zero and zero net, at least in terms of public understanding. You say “zero” and people think you’re talking about stopping all cars, factories, power plants, agriculture, etc. in mid-track. Tomorrow.

    I don’t think it’s surprising that people don’t understand the distinction, and knee-jerk disbelieve that we need to get to zero net.

  • Jeffn

    Tom, the continuation of the growth rates for renewables seems optimistic (and is that produced, useable energy or installed capacity- like the windmills in china that aren’t hooked to the grid?)
    But I agree with you that this is doable. I want to see the concerned show how they’d do it. Tobis wants a commitment, those are meaningless without a path and worse if I suspect the “path” is really just an excuse to adopt a partisan wish list.
    Marlowe, if you haven’t figured out by now that waiting for the UN to mandate you a “budget” is a form of denial, well then, there ain’t much help for you

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @Michael

    I think you hit upon a critical point that I can only hope gains traction sooner rather than later. the tendency is for ‘reflexive centrists’ to think that any improvement in emission intensity (e.g. replacing coal with natural gas for electricity) is a good thing because it represents improvement. But to the extent that such changes still ‘lock-in’ carbon emitting infrastructure they most definitely are not–precisely because we are dealing with a budget rather than an intensity problem. Our experience with other conventional air pollutants misleads us in sense. Less smog is a good thing right? So is less acid rain or lead in gasoline? 

    If I say to a politician that you can reduce sulphur in diesel to 5ppm (thereby enabling dramatically effective soot control technologies) by 2020 at a cost of $10 billion  to local refineries, you might be inclined, given the conversation upthread, to think that we’ve made an appreciable dent in the climate and local air quality problem. the problem of course is that while the latter is undoubtedly true, the former is not, because the climate change problem is cumulative whereas the local air quality problem is not.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, that is not the point I’m trying to make. The point I am trying to make is that, like Egyptian famines, false balance, Pakistani floods and la di da di da, you make an assertion and don’t back it up.Above you pretended to back it up by inserting 5 links to outside sources. But they do not back up your assertion. Indeed, the most authoritative source you link to contradicts your assertion.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jeffn, the figures I list are delivered, not capacity. 

    It really isn’t gargantuan or Herculean, or whatever mythological exaggeration is au courant.

    If we keep at it, do as you say and use gas as a bridge to nuclear, don’t give up on renewables, we’ll get there.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I’ll probably elaborate more on the above tomorrow, when i have more gas in the tank, but for now let me suggest that Green, Pielke, and Wigley were right in their Nature commentary when they criticized the practical effect of the SRES scenarios. They were right to say that the exercise underestimated the magnitude of the challenge.

    Be that as it may, however, I find their proposed solutions far more underwhelming. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Maybe your vision is blurred. Certainly your thinking is. Neither Pielke nor Wigley is on that paper.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    There are two approaches to the dilemma. Option A is subtractive–withdrawing sources from availability and taking resources off the table.

    Option B is additive–bringing more amounts of renewables to the table, more technology to the party.

    We have been trying to force everyone to use Option A. It has not worked. Nobody wants to do it. I suggest we try Option B.

  • hr

    The problem with this discussion is that the international climate negotiations are taken at face value and are assumed to be about climate policy when in fact they are an extension of the on going renegotiation of international relations post-cold war. Mitigation and adaption are a long distance behind power politics just like a UN General Assembly vote on Syria the future of the Syrian people is the last thing on the mind of the big players.With regard to having a meaningful debate on energy and development I couldn’t get past comment #1 paragraph #1. Tom Fuller expresses such low expectations from a solution that I think there needs to be a discussion about what the problem is before we can go onto discuss a solution. Meeting the critical needs of a small number of rural poor won’t do. A few piecemeal projects that give the impression something is being done won’t do. We need ro be discussing an excess of energy to meet all wants and needs and infrastructures that can support that. If you can’t supply that through local, green solution then they aren’t solutions.

  • Tom Scharf

    Generalized climate sin taxes are a non-starter.   

    I would support a carbon tax that directly, transparently, and unambiguously funded a long term nuclear technology conversion.

    No.strings.attached.

    No 2000 page omnibus bills.  

    Simple, clear, effective.

    No eco and academia rent seekers need apply.

    Direct infrastructure funding using existing technology.

    Zero revenue diversion.

    This concept of “tax them punitively first” and then figure out what to do with all the revenue later is laughable in the highest order.  You must have a plan that has clear return on investment to sell it.  Selling a new carbon tax (oops I forgot the euphemism is investment) that results in even higher energy bills to the consumer, not lower, is a double whammy of a bad plan.

    Anyone who thinks large carbon taxes without concrete measurable benefits to the taxpayer will happen is a FOOL.  Disagree with me if you want, but I’ll meet you back here in 10 years and I will be right, and you will be wrong.  Guaranteed.  Note that even a watered down cap and trade bill failed with large Democratic majorities and Obama, followed by a historic Democratic purge by voters in 2010.

    Secondly conservatives simply don’t trust the government to do the right thing.  Giving congress (the congress with a 10% public approval rate) a “little” carbon tax they can later increment at will is anathema.  We didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.  This tax will be raided in a nanosecond for general fund purposes and pet projects.  The social security trust fund example is case in point. 

    Thirdly giving up any form of sovereignty to the UN or global wealth redistribution in the name of climate is just liberals whacking off in some fantasy world that should never see the light of day in a serious conversation.  Keep this climate porn out of the conversation, any whiff of this will have moderates running away as fast as they can, much less conservatives.

    Fourthly, has anyone ever asked what conservatives want in return for this climate DEAL?  No.  Because this isn’t a serious conversation, and never has been.  The concept that anyone would need to slay a sacred cow in return for “just a couple percent of the GDP in taxes” doesn’t strike those in the conversation as a subject worth talking about.  It’s more fun talking about what we will do with all that money after we win the climate lottery.

    Wake me up when someone has a plan that isn’t a guaranteed loser to at least 50% of the electorate.  

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Mr. Fuller,

    The Nature paper is the source paper for advocacy of limiting emissions to a trillion tons over all time. Shortly after writing it, the first author wrote the linked BBC opinion piece which says:

    “If governments are seriously committed to limiting global warming to
    less than 2C above pre-industrial temperatures, then must preserve the
    “trillionth tonne”, not just until 2020 or 2050, but until the whole
    issue of climate change is ancient history

    In short, then, you are wrong. I stand by every link among the five as directly relevant to my point. I am sorry you do not see it. I am not interested in your generalizations about me; nor, I would venture, is anybody else.

  • Sashka

    @59

    I want to make sure that I got you straight, MT. Imagine that someone comes up with a way to cut down emissions in half. You won’t even discuss it. You’ll keep all 100%. Did I get it right?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    thank you Michael for including that quote. it’s a keeper :)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The town drunk is on your side, Dr. Tobis. The Copenhagen Diagnosis is not.

    Pity that when you call for complete cessation of all emissions, the site you link to says that emissions must be reduced to one tonne per capita by 2050.

    As for claiming an abstract is your source document, well, who knows?

    What are the consequences of a 2C rise? 

  • kdk33

    Natural gas, these days, is about $2.75/mmbtu.  Manufacturing is (believe it or not) shifting to the US because we once again have cheap carbon.  Petrochem projects are on the books to utilize associated liquids.  As these come on line, they will drive the cost of natural gas even lower…

    This matters because:  we are in a (very) slow recovery,  unemployment still above 8%.  record defecits and more on the way, more new taxes (errr penalties) in the pipeline.

    Did somebody say something about windmills? 

    It’s hard to hear over all the frakking noise. But please do carry on while the rest of get back to the business of creating jobs.

  • PDA

    If the question is how to keep the cumulative carbon in the atmosphere at or below a trillion tonnes “for all time,” then doesn’t the answer have to be net emissions = 0?

    I’m not asking anyone to accept the trillion-tonne premise, only suggesting that if one does, the math seems pretty straightforward. If x is time and y is atmospheric carbon, it seems that delta y has to be zero as x approaches infinity.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    We need ro be discussing an excess of energy to meet all wants and needs and infrastructures that can support that. If you can’t supply that through local, green solution then they aren’t solutions. 

    would you like a pony with that?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, CO2 doesn’t stay in the atmosphere ‘for all time.’

  • PDA

    CO2 doesn’t stay in the atmosphere “˜for all time.’Did you really think I was confused about that? What do you think I meant when I wrote “net emissions?”

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @121

    your ignorance (or is it mendacity?) is showing Tom. On human timescales, anthropogenic emissions of carbon are cumulative. I would tell you to be a good boy and google ‘carbon cycle’, but we both know you can’t be bothered, so here you go

    CO2 released from combustion of fossil fuels equilibrates among the various carbon reservoirs of the atmosphere, the ocean, and the terrestrial biosphere on timescales of a few centuries. However, a sizeable fraction of the CO2 remains in the atmosphere, awaiting a return to the solid earth by much slower weathering processes and deposition of CaCO3. Common measures of the atmospheric lifetime of CO2, including the e-folding time scale, disregard the long tail. Its neglect in the calculation of global warming potentials leads many to underestimate the longevity of anthropogenic global warming. Here, we review the past literature on the atmospheric lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 and its impact on climate, and we present initial results from a model intercomparison project on this topic. The models agree that 20″“35% of the CO2 remains in the atmosphere after equilibration with the ocean (2″“20 centuries). Neutralization by CaCO3 draws the airborne fraction down further on timescales of 3 to 7 kyr.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    sorry link for above quote is here.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, do you accept the trillion tonne premise?

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    I think Tom’s argument in #1 for small scale solar power for developing countries is a very good one. The issue of how to improve the living standards of people in those countries while at the same time reducing fossil fuel use on a global scale is absolutely crucial and actually identifying effective and practical solutions is a difficult enough task in itself – if anyone is able to do this then the question of how to pay for it is one we should all be willing to address. <br><br>Tom reasonably mentions the IMF and World Bank, I would also point out that if all countries met their obligations on foreign aid under the Millennium Development Goals then this would also help. But it’s worth pointing out that the IMF, WB and MDG have all come about as a result of international discussion and agreement and a recognition that there are some issues which are global in nature and have to be addressed globally, which is precisely the argument that we are making on the subject of climate change. It’s also fair to point out, as TB has done, that the need for technolgy transfer and other kinds of assistance (including financial) for the developing world is part of mainstream “consensus” view, as reflected in AR4 and also the agreements which have come out of Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. The claims made by skeptics that us “warmists” don’t care about the effect of emissions reductions on the developing world are nonsense, and Tom’s argument directly counters their claims that reducing our emissions must necessarily prevent people in developing countries from improving their lives. <br><br>I don’t think any of us are actually opposed to taking whatever smaller scale actions are possible in the absence of a new international agreement, it’s just that this piecemeal, “quick win” approach does not in itself constitute an alternative strategy for tackling AGW – it simply won’t have enough of an impact, and it certainly doesn’t allow us to put off trying to reach a meaningful international agreement.

  • PDA

    Tom, I had hoped it was clear that my point was a simple hypothetical: if one’s goal is A, then the math would seem to suggest B. I’d be very receptive to any correction of my mathematical assumptions and/or the logic.

    However, I’m not especially interested in arguing my opinions and beliefs versus yours. It’s boring to me, and I would imagine it’d be even more so to everyone else in the thread.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya AndrewThanks for the moral support–and you’re correct to point out that it is part of the consensus approach. I am actually more optimistic than you about its potential for a significant impact, but that’s just because I’m looking through the other end of the telescope.

    PDA, you’re not shy about sharing your opinions and beliefs on other issues. What do you consider boring about establishing what the consensus believes to be the dominant constraint to growth for global civilization? 

  • harrywr2

    #102 Marlowe

    Reducing carbon emissions dramatically and the economics of coal  eventually solving the coal problem are imply different rates of resolution.

    I.E. No one knows how to cut current emissions 20 or 30% in the next 10 years without destroying their GDP’s.The ‘long term’ prospects are more optimistic.

    Just a simple example.

    If I replace a 30 year old coal plant with a brand new coal plant with the exact same specification as the 30 year old coal plant I am adding 2-3 cents ‘capital cost’ to the cost of my electricity.

    So the ‘rate of transition’ to alternate forms of energy is constrained by the cost advantage of existing generating assets.

    The rapid transition from coal to gas in the US was facilitated by the fact that we have a massive amount of gas fired capacity that was being used for peaking. A significant portion of the existing coal and gas generating assets simply switched roles. No capital expenditure was necessary. No ‘wealth’ was destroyed.

    Eventually, every generating asset in the world will have to be replaced with something.

    The economics of ‘new coal’ compared to ‘new something else’ isn’t all that different.

    In the US relatively inexpensive conservation efforts have pretty much precluded the need for much ‘new’.

    In other news the Chinese have updated their 2015 renewable energy targets

    http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/7955459

    The NEA said the overall goal is for total renewable energy consumption
    to reach 478 million mt of coal equivalent, representing 9.5% or more of the overall energy consumption mix by end 2015. Total installed hydropower generation capacity is targeted to reach 290 million kilowatts, while wind power will total 100 million kW. Solar power
    capacity will total 21 million kW.

  • Paul Kelly

    Marlowe asks a good question: The question is how exactly do you propose to accelerate
    technology transfer
    alternative deployment? The broad answer is to make alternatives less expensive than burning carbon. Pricing schemes like a carbon tax or cap and penalty seek to accomplish by artificially raising he price of carbon. The correct approach is to lower the price of alternatives. To the dismay of some, this cannot be done by government fiat. If it can be done, it will be largely outside of government and politics. Tom’s example of technology transfer in Africa shows how it works. Those financing the tech transfer are, as individuals, taken ownership of the solution of climate issues. They are not waiting on a government imposed tax. They are, in a sense, self taxing. For the Africans who get the technology, the price has been reduced to zero. 

  • Paul Kelly

    Marlowe asks a good question:

    The question is how exactly do you propose to accelerate
    technology transfer
    alternative deployment? The broad answer is
    to make alternatives less expensive than burning carbon. Pricing
    schemes like a carbon tax or cap and penalty seek to accomplish by
    artificially raising he price of carbon.

    The correct approach is to lower the price of alternatives. To the
    dismay of some, this cannot be done by government fiat. If it can be
    done, it will be largely outside of government and politics. Tom’s
    example of technology transfer in Africa shows how it works. Those
    financing the tech transfer are, as individuals, taken ownership of the
    solution of climate issues. They are not waiting on a government imposed
    tax. They are, in a sense, self taxing. For the Africans who get the
    technology, the price has been reduced to zero.

  • PDA

    Tom, I’m curious if you have any comment on what I posted about net emissions. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @harry

     No one knows how to cut current emissions 20 or 30% in the next 10 years without destroying their GDP’s. 

    i didn’t realize that was the target for the next 10 years. Perhaps you can supply some evidence for that target and for the ‘GDP destroying’ impacts. Or are you just being mendacious?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No, PDA, not really. You really don’t have an opinion on hard limits to CO2 total emissions at 1 trillion tonnes?

  • PDA

    I didn’t say I didn’t have an opinion. Read my comment again.

    When I say I’m not interested in arguing with you, Tom, you should probably feel confident in interpreting it as meaning that I’m not interested in arguing with you.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And yet you feel free to ask me many questions… and then to disagree with my answers. Funny, that.

  • steven mosher

    “it’s just that this piecemeal, “quick win” approach does not in itself constitute an alternative strategy for tackling AGW ““ it simply won’t have enough of an impact.

    This is logically akin to the argument made by.. say Andrew Bolt, WRT cutting emissions in australia.

    just saying

  • harrywr2

    #133 Marlowe,Maybe you would be so kind as to define a numerical quantification as to what would constitute a ‘dramatic decrease’ in CO2 emissions?Personally…I don’t see any reason why the US won’t achieve a 10% to 15% decrease in emissions by 2020  or the 17% percent per unit of GDP promised by my current glorious leader at Copenhagen given existing policy.US CO2 emissions peaked in 2005. It would appear that ‘modest’ reductions have already occurred.Some of what the ‘obstructionist republican’ George Bush Jr proposed to ‘reduce emissions’ in the Energy Acts of 2005 and 2007 worked out better then planned, some didn’t work at all, some is too early to tell.Sorry…a lot of the ‘push back’ related ‘addressing climate change’ is the demand for a  ‘blank check’ approach.Some of us like to be able to look at ‘realistic’ cost vs benefits scenario’s. Realistic cost benefit scenario’s aren’t possible until after the various technologies have been demonstrated at scale.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The biggest gripe I have with the climate debate as it has taken place over the past decade is exactly what Steve Mosher and harrywr2 are talking around, if not to.What has happened and what is happening now is in my opinion not evidence of climate change. We are emitting large volumes of CO2 and a lot of it is remaining in the atmosphere. But to talk about what we see every day as being caused by climate change is a) incorrect and b) horrible, horrible strategy.It is what will happen between 2030 and 2080 that is important. It is those emissions that need to be avoided. It is the people arriving in the middle class and/or being born whose needs must be accommodated in new ways in order to avoid serious problems.If my (maverick, outlier) predictions of energy consumption circa 2030 are even close to correct, the world will be consuming twice as much energy in 2030 as it did in 2010. If that energy comes from coal, we’re cooked.I don’t give a fig about what’s happening now. It’s small beer. All this talk from Hansen and others is just crying wolf and it’s hugely damaging.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sigh. Formatted:The biggest gripe I have with the climate debate as it has taken place over the past decade is exactly what Steve Mosher and harrywr2 are talking around, if not to.

    What has happened and what is happening now is in my opinion not evidence of climate change. We are emitting large volumes of CO2 and a lot of it is remaining in the atmosphere. But to talk about what we see every day as being caused by climate change is a) incorrect and b) horrible, horrible strategy.

    It is what will happen between 2030 and 2080 that is important. It is those emissions that need to be avoided. It is the people arriving in the middle class and/or being born whose needs must be accommodated in new ways in order to avoid serious problems.

    If my (maverick, outlier) predictions of energy consumption circa 2030 are even close to correct, the world will be consuming twice as much energy in 2030 as it did in 2010. If that energy comes from coal, we’re cooked.I don’t give a fig about what’s happening now. It’s small beer.

    All this talk from Hansen and others is just crying wolf and it’s hugely damaging. 

  • BBD

    Tom

    What has happened and what is happening now is in my opinion not evidence of climate change.

    Checked the state of Arctic ice recently? Or high latidude NH temperature trends in general, with specific reference to permafrost melt? 

    All this talk from Hansen and others is just crying wolf and it’s hugely damaging.

    The usual thinly-veiled attack on the mainstream scientific position, coupled with an intellectually incoherent rejection of policy initiatives *now* aimed to prevent crisis post-2030. And you wonder why you get pushback.

  • BBD

    Ahem: ‘high latitude

  • andrew adams

    Steven Mosher,This is logically akin to the argument made by.. say Andrew Bolt, WRT cutting emissions in australia.No, the difference is that Bolt is using this as an excuse for inaction, I am saying we should still do these things but we need to do more.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    It is what will happen between 2030 and 2080 that is important. It is those emissions that need to be avoided. It is the people arriving in the middle class and/or being born whose needs must be accommodated in new ways in order to avoid serious problems.If my (maverick, outlier) predictions of energy consumption circa 2030 are even close to correct, the world will be consuming twice as much energy in 2030 as it did in 2010. If that energy comes from coal, we’re cooked.I don’t give a fig about what’s happening now. It’s small beer.

    As usual Tom, you are very, very wrong. from the IEA circa 2011:

    Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2  emissions permissible by 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already “locked-in” by our existing capital stock  (power plants, buildings, factories, etc.). If stringent new action is not forthcoming by 2017, the energy-related infrastructure then in place will generate all the CO2 emissions allowed in the 450 Scenario up to 2035, leaving no room for additional power plants, factories and other infrastructure unless they are zero-carbon, which would be extremely costly. Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment avoided in the power sector before 2020 an additional $4.3 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions

  • PDA

    I don’t see where I “disagreed” with you, Tom. I did ask questions, for which I was – eventually – provided answers. Scrolling up, I see not one but two comments thanking you for your response.

    My own experience has been that if I expect and look for antagonism, I’ll find it everywhere. I found that an unpleasant way to live.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Andrew Adams at 143, I agree with you. So does Steve.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, you were provided answers to your questions in comment #1, which you evidently didn’t read. And I’m happy to hear that you seek an antagonism-free existence. I wish you would extend your efforts to what you bring to the marketplace of ideas as well as what you wish to take from it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Johnson, I should have written small potatoes instead of small beer, so you would not have been stirred from your drunken lethargy. You can go back to sleep now.

  • PDA

    Have a great day, Tom.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    I agree that we need to do more. My point is that we need to do ENOUGH, and that “enough” appears to be widely misconstrued.

    Understand where the trillion ton argument comes from. Like 2 C, a trillion tons (which appears coincidentally to be close to 2 C) is admittedly an arbitrary and ambitious threshold.

    But, leaving aside time scales longer than human history to date, the peak environmental damage will be determined almost entirely by total emissions. The carbon reserves already in hand appear to be sufficient to cause unacceptable damage. Accordingly it is necessary to stop burning them before they run out. And so some total tolerable effective reserve much smaller than the actual reserve MUST be, explicitly or implicitly but reliably achieved. Past that point, effectively no carbon at all can be extracted from the ground without the same amount of carbon being injected back in.

    I do not believe that most people who are not experts in the field understand this at all. (Some people who call themselves experts don’t appear willing to grasp the idea and/or its consequences.) Public failure to understand it will tend to lead to inadequate measures.

    The graphs at the closing of the Copenhagen Diagnosis document do capture this, along with how quickly meeting a given peak threshold goes from plausible to achievable to daunting to impossible. 2 C is quickly vanishing out of reach without a massive sequestration effort.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    A trillion tonnes is apparently either misreported or miscalculated. If the sites you link to, Dr. Tobis, are accurate, the 1 trillion tonnes refers to burning carbon which would yield 3.69 trillion tonnes of CO2. So what are those people actually advocating? Do they even know?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And again, Dr. Tobis, the Copenhagen Diagnosis does not call for cessation of emissions. You are incorrect to characterize them as doing so. They call for reduction by 2050 to 1 tonne per capita.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    The atomic weight of carbon is about 12, and the molecular weight of CO2 is about 44. A ton of carbon thus yields about 3.67 tons of CO2. I fail to see any difficulty here.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    “The temperature at which global warming will finally stop depends primarily on the total amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere since industrialization. This is again due to the long life-time of atmospheric CO2, Therefore if global warming is to be stopped, global CO2 emissions must eventually decline to zero.”

    http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/Copenhagen/Copenhagen_Diagnosis_LOW.pdfp.50

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you are being ingenuous. ”If global warming is to be limited to a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial values, global emissions need to peak between 2015 and 2020 and then decline rapidly. To stabilize climate, a decarbonized global society ““ with near-zero emissions of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases ““ need to be reached well within this century. More specifically, the average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under 1 metric ton CO2 by 2050.”

  • harrywr2

    #144 Marlowe

    Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2  emissions permissible by
    2035 in the 450 Scenario are already “locked-in” by our existing capital
    stock

    Let me add a simple caveat…if that capital stock continues to be used in it’s current role.China is going to need about 2,000 GW of gross generating capacity by the early 2020′s. Currently almost all of China’s 700GW+ of coal fired capacity is operating as baseload with utilization rates around 70%. In 2005 US Coal Fired Plants operated at about 70% capacity. The most recent rolling 12 months they operated at about 54% of capacity. We also have about 70GW of petroleum fired generating capacity  in the US. The Utilization rates for oil fired generating capacity have dropped 87% in the last 7 years.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis at #153, you are being ingenuous here, too. CO2 concentrations are rising, but not in lock-step with emissions. Nor anything close to it. You seem to suggest that this is settled science. You ignore findings from well-respected scientists suggesting it is not settled, as well as caveats from Dr. David Archer and Ken Caldeira.” The first assessment report, in 1990, said that CO2′s lifetime is 50 to 200 years. The reports in 1995 and 2001 revised this down to 5 to 200 years. Because the oceans suck up huge amounts of the gas each year, the average CO2 molecule does spend about 5 years in the atmosphere. But the oceans also release much of that CO2back to the air, such that man-made emissions keep the atmosphere’s CO2 levels elevated for millennia. Even as CO2 levels drop, temperatures take longer to fall, according to recent studies.Earlier reports from the panel did include caveats such as “No single lifetime can be defined for CO2 because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes.” The IPCC’s latest assessment, however, avoids the problems of earlier reports by including similar caveats while simply refusing to give a numeric estimate of the lifetime for carbon dioxide. Contributing author Richard Betts of the UK Met Office Hadley Centre says the panel made this change in recognition of the fact that “the lifetime estimates cited in previous reports had been potentially misleading, or at least open to misinterpretation.” Instead of pinning an absolute value on the atmospheric lifetime of CO2, the 2007 report describes its gradual dissipation over time, saying, “About 50% of a CO2increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years.” The fact is that CO2 concentrations are increasing at a steady, measure pace with no regard to the much faster increase in emissions.This is a clear indication that we do not fully understand the operation of the 5 great carbon sinks, something that Freeman Dyson stated plainly in his NY Times interview a year or so ago.Your Trillion Ton limit has about as much relation to reality as the 350 ppm hard stop advocated by McKibben–none to speak of. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oof. Formatted…Dr. Tobis at #153, you are being ingenuous here, too.

    CO2 concentrations are rising, but not in lock-step with emissions. Nor anything close to it. You seem to suggest that this is settled science. You ignore findings from well-respected scientists suggesting it is not settled, as well as caveats from Dr. David Archer and Ken Caldeira.

    “ The first assessment report, in 1990, said that CO2″²s lifetime is 50 to 200 years. The reports in 1995 and 2001 revised this down to 5 to 200 years. Because the oceans suck up huge amounts of the gas each year, the average CO2 molecule does spend about 5 years in the atmosphere. But the oceans also release much of that CO2back to the air, such that man-made emissions keep the atmosphere’s CO2 levels elevated for millennia.

    Even as CO2 levels drop, temperatures take longer to fall, according to recent studies.Earlier reports from the panel did include caveats such as “No single lifetime can be defined for CO2 because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes.”

    The IPCC’s latest assessment, however, avoids the problems of earlier reports by including similar caveats while simply refusing to give a numeric estimate of the lifetime for carbon dioxide. Contributing author Richard Betts of the UK Met Office Hadley Centre says the panel made this change in recognition of the fact that “the lifetime estimates cited in previous reports had been potentially misleading, or at least open to misinterpretation.” 

    Instead of pinning an absolute value on the atmospheric lifetime of CO2, the 2007 report describes its gradual dissipation over time, saying, “About 50% of a CO2increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years.” 

    The fact is that CO2 concentrations are increasing at a steady, measure pace with no regard to the much faster increase in emissions.

    This is a clear indication that we do not fully understand the operation of the 5 great carbon sinks, something that Freeman Dyson stated plainly in his NY Times interview a year or so ago.

    Your Trillion Ton limit has about as much relation to reality as the 350 ppm hard stop advocated by McKibben”“none to speak of.  

  • BBD

    What makes my head hurt about this is that once the penny drops about the persistence of CO2, it is obvious that total emissions must be limited. Unless one argues against all evidence for a very low climate sensitivity to 2xCO2.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keep it coming Tom. You’re brilliant!

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @159

    au contraire. even with low sensitivity you still have that other little problem affectionately known as ocean acidification. 

  • BBD

    @ 161 That’s right, spoil the party. Just when it all looked so rosy…

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > I suggest we try Option B.

    Leprechauns, anyone?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > I suggest we try Option B.

    Leprechauns, anyone?

  • PDA
  • BBD
  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    #157 making my head spin.

    A burnt ton of C is 3 2/3 tons of CO2. Just two different ways of measuring the same thing. Just like a kilogram is 2.2 pounds.

    The atmospheric fraction has nothing to do with it.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    My original claim that Fuller objected to: ”The correct target for net carbon emissions is zero, or near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now.”As a refutation, Fuller quotes a document I referred to which says “global emissions need to peak between 2015 and 2020 and then decline rapidly. To stabilize climate, a decarbonized global society ““ with near-zero emissions of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases ““ need to be reached well within this century. More specifically, the average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under 1 metric ton CO2 by 2050.””Well under 1 by 2050 and near-zero within the century” needs to be compared with “near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now.” For comparison, US per capita emissions (in CO2 terms, not in C terms) have been holding steady at a bit under twenty tons for a couple of decades. I also provided another quote from the same document, which Tom Fuller claims was an “ingenuous” thing to do. I appreciate that vote of confidence, but he seems to think that is a bad thing. He is so confident of his own position, perhaps he will argue against the dictionary. A pity. I’ve found an occasional admission of error to be good for one’s cognitive abilities.Anyway, enough tedious nitpicking. Decarbonize means decarbonize. Not tomorrow, but deliberately and with goals and benchmarks over the next few decades. Total or almost total end to net emissions (or even net negative emissions, per Dyson). And the choice is decarbonization or ever-increasing deterioration of the world. The press has failed to understand and convey this and the world thinks it is an unsupported and weird idea. The energy sector has managed not to understand it at all. But that’s what the cards say.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    My original claim that Fuller objected to: ”The correct target for net carbon emissions is zero, or near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now.”

    As a refutation, Fuller quotes a document I referred to which says “global emissions need to peak between 2015 and 2020 and then decline rapidly. To stabilize climate, a decarbonized global society ““ with near-zero emissions of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases ““ need to be reached well within this century. More specifically, the average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under 1 metric ton CO2 by 2050.”

    Well under 1 by 2050 and near-zero within the century” needs to be compared with “near enough zero as to be pretty much indistinguishable from zero viewed from where we stand now.”

    For comparison, US per capita emissions (in CO2 terms, not in C terms) have been holding steady at a bit under twenty tons for a couple of decades. Oddly, I feel unrefuted.

    I also provided another quote from the same document, which Tom Fuller claims was an “ingenuous” thing to do. I appreciate that vote of confidence, but he seems to think that is a bad thing. He is so confident of his own position, perhaps he will argue against the dictionary. A pity. I’ve found an occasional admission of error to be good for one’s cognitive abilities.

    Anyway, enough tedious nitpicking.

    Decarbonize means decarbonize. Not tomorrow, but deliberately and with goals and benchmarks over the next few decades. Total or almost total end to net emissions (or even net negative emissions, per Dyson). And the choice is decarbonization or ever-increasing deterioration of the world.

    The press has failed to understand and convey this and the world thinks it is an unsupported and weird idea. The energy sector has managed not to understand it at all. But that’s what the cards say.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, it is good to know that you remain irony free.

    Also good to know that you remain fact free.The Copenhagen Diagnosis did not say what you attributed to it. Now you are, as always, backing and filling and singing and dancing.

    Define ever-increasing deterioration of the world from GAT 2C higher than 1850 (That’s when they started counting, right?) That’s 1.2C higher than now.

  • BBD

    Tom

    Reminds me of Bishop Hill.:

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    #154 is verbatim. I can’t imagine how to argue any further, or what the point would be.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Personally I don’t see any downside to encouraging Tom’s entertaining displays of buffoonery. But then I’ve always been a fan of low brow comedy. 

    Given what I said up-thread

    @keith and tom and other “˜reflexive centrists’it occurs to me that you don’t want to deal with the other elephant in the room (it’s a big room and there is plenty of space); namely, that science suggests that our emissions budget is, for all intents and purposes, fixed if we want to avoid catastrophic interference with the climate system.When you look at the problem from that perspective, all the talk about Kaya identities, natural gas, non-co2 forcing agents etc, starts to look like a mild form of denial”¦

    Fuller’s gas-baggery since then has been entirely predictable, as the notion of an emissions budget is directly at odds with his pollyanish ‘lukewarmer’ view of the world.

  • harrywr2

    #168,The press has failed to understand and convey this and the world thinks
    it is an unsupported and weird idea. The energy sector has managed not
    to understand it at all.
    One of my brother in laws is a senior executive in the ‘Energy Sector’. Whether he understands the problem or not is irrelevant…he can’t figure out how to produce the  energy ‘demanded by the public’ at anywhere near the emissions numbers you are advocating in the timeframes you propose.He has done some absolute ‘state of the art’ energy projects. But the time it takes to get from concept to project approval to design work completed to permitted to actual demonstration project constructed is quite long. Then once you have your demonstration project up and running the utility executives  will want a few years of ‘operating history’ before jumping on the bandwagon.So what the heck…instead of listening in professionals in the energy industry explain the ‘realities of life’ lets just adopt whatever energy plan Bill McKibben  can come up with.23,000 MW of coal fired plants are being built in Germany because they prefer to listen to whoever is selling the ‘solar panel magical solution’.If you want magical..demand tough reduction targets now with the technology we have.Or if you want ‘real solutions’ demand funding for every conceivable demonstration project that can be imagined then cool your heals for a decade while the ‘engineers do their jobs’.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Well, there is this from Tom Fuller: “Your Trillion Ton limit has about as much relation to reality as the 350 ppm hard stop advocated by McKibben”“none to speak of. “ 

    If left uncorrected this will leave a misimpression about both McKibben and about his intellectual grasp of the situation. So there’s a purpose in responding to that.

    In addition to the very elementary confusion about the factor of three and two thirds in the two different ways of measuring emissions (essentially supply side and sink side), another very common confusion appeared in this thread. I have to say that since most of the dramatis personae are familiar to me it’s surprising to see the persistence of elementary errors. You’d think a group this clever could have got beyond them, rather than entertaining their constant injection.

    In this thread, in a couple of guises, we have seen the very old-fashioned idea that once CO2 is in the ocean it has “gone away”. But it has not gone away. That is the wrong way to think about the carbon in the ocean. (Or the soil for that matter, but there are many factors at work there.)Even leaving aside the ocean pH mess (“ocean adification”), just for climate purposes, the dissolved CO2 has not gone away.

    Draw enough CO2 out of the air and the overburdened sea will start to replenish it. It is not only acidifying the ocean, it is contributing to the amount of carbon we have to get rid of before we get close to our baseline. Thought of just as sea level management, we can’t encourage so much melting!

    If we stop emitting as quickly as we can without actually risking lives at it, we would peak at perhaps 450 ppmv.And here we come to the other side of the coin. The ocean brings us a rare and valuable bit of good news.

    Now the ocean runs a bit behind the atmosphere. So while it is overburdened with CO2 compared to the background preindustrial conditions (“holocene”) (290 ppmv) it is not overburdened compared to 450 ppmv. In fact as it stands it would be in rough balance (on century time scales anyway) with 350 ppmv, so the ocean would pull that extra 100 ppmv back out. And then, if we’re lucky and possibly plug a couple of big glaciers, things will settle back down. This is Hansen’s estimate of what will happen, and the “350″ target is originally Hansen’s, not McKibben’s. 

    Despite what some fools will tell you, Hansen’s intuitive grasp of the climate system is up there with a couple of dozen peers around the world. Nobody is an unambiguously better climate scientist than Hansen.  This analysis makes qualitative sense and I’ll just trust him on the numbers. So while I’m unsure whether I support McKibben as a campaigner and his group, I do support “350″ as our goal.

    Of course we are now at 397 ppmv or so, so a “hard stop” at 350 is not even conceptually possible until we’re turned around and going the other way.

    But there’s no reason to malign McKibben’s “350″ regarding his understanding of the physical aspects of the problem. He is quite correct.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Harrywr2: Or if you want “˜real solutions’ demand funding for every conceivable demonstration project that can be imagined then cool your heals for a decade while the “˜engineers do their jobs’There’s no question that they’ve got another decade. I’m not suggesting pulling any plugs.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Blah, blah.Miles Allen in his abstract: “Total anthropogenic emissions of one trillion tonnes of carbon (3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2), about half of which has already been emitted since industrialization began, results in a most likely peak carbon-dioxide-induced warming of 2″‰°C above pre-industrial temperatures, with a 5″“95% confidence interval of 1.3″“3.9″‰°C.”Miles Allen at the BBC article: “So if we release another 500 billion tonnes, we commit the Earth to a most likely warming of about 2C.”So in fact we are ‘permitted’ 1.8 trillion tons of further emissions.Ken Caldeira says if we emit CO2 we are mugging old ladies. But the Copenhagen Diagnosis allows us to emit CO2 until 2050, reducing and reducing, but still able to emit CO2 at the rate of 1 tonne per person per year through the end of the century. So, is the Copenhagen Diagnosis permitting us to also mug old ladies?And all of this to support a thesis that says that 3.69 trillion tonnes of CO2 has a 25% possibility of a temperature rise of between 1.3C and 3.9C.You fools are blowing smoke up everyone’s a***s with SWAGs and mumbo jumbo. You’re just as nonsensical as McKibben–and just as arrogant about your nonsense.Oh, well. If Hansen can lose it, I guess you can, too.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Formatted: Blah, blah.

    Miles Allen in his abstract: “Total anthropogenic emissions of one trillion tonnes of carbon (3.67 trillion tonnes of CO2), about half of which has already been emitted since industrialization began, results in a most likely peak carbon-dioxide-induced warming of 2″‰°C above pre-industrial temperatures, with a 5″“95% confidence interval of 1.3″“3.9″‰°C.”Miles Allen at the BBC article: “So if we release another 500 billion tonnes, we commit the Earth to a most likely warming of about 2C.”

    So in fact we are “˜permitted’ 1.8 trillion tons of further emissions.

    Ken Caldeira says if we emit CO2 we are mugging old ladies. But the Copenhagen Diagnosis allows us to emit CO2 until 2050, reducing and reducing, but still able to emit CO2 at the rate of 1 tonne per person per year through the end of the century.

    So, is the Copenhagen Diagnosis permitting us to also mug old ladies?

    And all of this to support a thesis that says that 3.69 trillion tonnes of CO2 has a 25% possibility of a temperature rise of between 1.3C and 3.9C.

    You fools are blowing smoke up everyone’s a***s with SWAGs and mumbo jumbo. You’re just as nonsensical as McKibben”“and just as arrogant about your nonsense.

    Oh, well. If Hansen can lose it, I guess you can, too.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    sighIt says 90%, not 25%. You just quoted it. 5% chance below 1.3 and 95% chance below 3.9. And geez, you were supposed to put your mind in the framework of the top cops, not the muggers!Otherwise, yeah, basically. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And with our net emissions at about 10GT per year, that gets us to 1,800 trillion tons when? Or do you think you should use gross emissions of 32? (Oh, let me guess…)

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    You should use the same units on both sides of the equation, obviously. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    1.8 trillion divided by 10 billion seems like 180 years.

  • hr

    Michael Tobis you are obsessed with reducing carbon emissions to the exclusion of every other consideration that might interest your fellow humans such as standards of living. You are almost the dictionary definition of the problem Keith has outlined in the post.

  • hr

    Well that the message I get from re-reading your comments here.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    hr, no as I always say, we have to bat 1000 on existential problems. We have to get the ALL right. This one just happens to be the one I know most about.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    I will give you the 1.8 T in CO2 units but not the 10 B; by net emissions I mean fossil emissions minus deep reservoir sequestration so you have to stick with the 32. The boundary is between human processes and earth surface processes, not between the atmosphere and the ocean. (For these purposes it doesn’t matter very much what the exact proportions are between atmosphere and ocean. It’s already accounted for in the equivalence between 2 degrees and 1 T tons.)

    So it’s 1800/32 = 75 years at present rates. A bit less actually. Assuming no adverse carbon cycle feedbacks to make it worse.

    But you don’t want to go cold turkey in 75 years from 2012 levels. You want to tail off gradually. The required rate of decrease is high already. The economists tell us (Stern Review, e.g.):

    “emissions reductions of 3 to 4 percent a year are the maximum compatible with continued economic growth.”

    So we need to start clawing that number down soon. 

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-does-it-matter-when-we-cut-co2-emissions/2011/12/14/gIQAumxwtO_blog.html

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    But you are labeling climate change an existential problem without evidence.Which is why you have to resort to scare stories and artificial deadlines and phony lines in the sand.From 350 ppm to a trillion tonnes, from the invention of the Charney sensitivity to the magickal limit of 2C, all invented for the purpose of scaring us all as much as you are scared, but without the evidence needed to make your case.Stern charted a vision of what 2C looks like. It does not rise to the level of an existential threat.Temperatures stubbornly refuse to rise to the levels demanded by models. Sea level refuses to raise the level of its rise. Yes, the Arctic ice is diminishing–but we really don’t know what it means, any more than we know what the significance is of the rise in Antarctic ice.You are scared and you want us to be scared. I suggest that instead of playing around with stupid pet tricks like 350 ppm and a trillion tonnes, that you go out and find the evidence.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Formatted…But you are labeling climate change an existential problem without evidence.

    Which is why you have to resort to scare stories and artificial deadlines and phony lines in the sand.

    From 350 ppm to a trillion tonnes, from the invention of the Charney sensitivity to the magickal limit of 2C, all invented for the purpose of scaring us all as much as you are scared, but without the evidence needed to make your case.Stern charted a vision of what 2C looks like. It does not rise to the level of an existential threat.

    Temperatures stubbornly refuse to rise to the levels demanded by models. Sea level refuses to raise the level of its rise. Yes, the Arctic ice is diminishing”“but we really don’t know what it means, any more than we know what the significance is of the rise in Antarctic ice.

    You are scared and you want us to be scared. I suggest that instead of playing around with stupid pet tricks like 350 ppm and a trillion tonnes, that you go out and find the evidence. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    So you are the arbiter of whether it should be 10GT and 32GT? Who appointed you judge? Why is CO2 that is not in the atmosphere contributing to global warming? Should we not then count all the CO2 sequestered in the oceans and plant life on this world? It too can escape, as you noted (threatened) above.

  • hr

    MT I’m not allowing you that one. You cant push a single idea of zero emissions while giving us glimpses of the hell that will ensue if you are ignored and then tell us that you have a rounded view of how this fits in to the bigger picture. It seems like this is the only picture from where you stand.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    “So you are the arbiter of whether it should be 10GT and 32GT?” I thought I explained that already: “The boundary is between human processes and earth surface processes, not between the atmosphere and the ocean. (For these purposes it doesn’t matter very much what the exact proportions are between atmosphere and ocean.” Why is CO2 that is not in the atmosphere contributing to global warming?I thought I explained that already: “[the airborne fraction is] already accounted for in the equivalence between 2 degrees and 1 T tons.” Should we not then count all the CO2 sequestered in the oceans and plant life on this world?No; the ocean CO2 concentration equilibrates with the atmospheric concentration with a couple of time lags. The upper ocean concentration is equilibrated to an atmosphere bit under 350 ppmv. As I explained above, that is what makes 350 ppmv a reasonable target. That is where we would end up if emissions ceased quickly enough as the ocean equilibrates.The biosphere component is more complicated, but we tend to presume that it doesn’t all abruptly die. I hope you don’t consider that unwarranted. Most estimates assume we don’t let it get that far. But it’s a much smaller number than the ocean number.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry Dr. Tobis. Disallowed. 

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    hr, well I admit there was that dissertation thingy.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > You cant push a single idea of zero emissions while giving us glimpses of the hell that will ensue if you are ignored and then tell us that you have a rounded view of how this fits in to the bigger picture.

    The entailment between “having a rounded view” and “hell will not ensue” is missing.

    As far as I know, only Chuck Norris has the power to make sure that climatic hell will ensue if he’s being ignored, as dinosaurs and Martians could have attested, have they still existed after pissing him off once.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > So in fact we are “˜permitted’ 1.8 trillion tons of further emissions.

    And then the night after collecting enough pixie dust, Leprechauns can turn off the CO2 faucet and give everyone a Lomborg bike.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Okay willard, you’re back and rested and writing to me. This what you want?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    So, Dr. Tobis. It seems clear that we should be talking about a period of 180 years, not 70. What does that change?

  • John F. Pittman

    TomF and Dr. T, it is no wonder you are talking past each other, you have a different basis and different assumptions. It would be more informative to readers if you examined the differences of these rather than the difference of the results from such. An example is the idea that CO2 will NECESSARILY go back into the atmosphere. If one assumes as many have done, a biostatic response to CO2 on land and in the oceans this would be true. However, as we pour useable nitrogen and phosphates from our activities into the land , and oceans, such a claim is controversial, and one group maintains that the nitrogen problem is worse that the CO2 problem. In that sense, the biostatic response that appears to be used by Archer in his paper I read, has been challenged. The current one is behind the paywall. Where all this plays out is as TomF has been pointing out: the time we have to switch from mainly adaptation to mitigation is based on our assumptions to sinks, biosphere’s response, and climate sensitivity. All of these have scientific papers with large differences. Yet the manner that the IPCC resolved as the most likely used in an arithmetic manner means these differences detemine if it is 2050 or 2135. I chose the 2135 based on replacing climate sensitivity as determined at Lucia’s, and assuming that for a longer period, carbon sinks would not be filled. One can get a large range of years, simply by changing the ranges to match other possibilites as indicated in the literature. If one choses only the most horrible for man and the environment and least likely; and does not also compare this with the best for man and the environment and least likely, then I can understand why this tempest happens. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    John F. Pittman, you’re making entirely too much sense for this stage of a comment thread.

    It would be so easy to say something intelligent about the desirable limits of emissions and mounting consequences. I should quit being surprised at the failure of the consensus to do so, but I find it frustrating that they always adopt the same ham-handed, ‘you must accept our interpretation of statistics and our version of the error bars’ tactics.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    There’s nothing ham-handed about competence.The relation of the trillion tons to the 2 C already includes the estimate of airborne fraction. If you want to discuss that, fine. Pittman seems to think that the ocean is a one-way valve. Weird. Let him make a physical case for that.But you still don’t get to double count the airborne fraction and still claim to know what you are talking about.You are not making a case for a trillion tons going out 180 years. You are making a case for three trillion tons, apparently without knowing it. Why not double check your numbers?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Tobis, this is exactly the sort of topic where someone like you could have sped my way to a better understanding of the issue.

    Sadly, if you were yelling at me about a bus coming towards me, I would probably get creamed by the bus. Because I wouldn’t believe you. You have been as dishonest as you could be at every point our lives have intersected over the past three years.

    So, sorry. I will hold onto my naive conception of CO2 not in the atmosphere as CO2 that does not contribute to warming.

    If (a very big if) there were any validity to the concept of the trillion tonnes of carbon and the 3.69 trillion tonnes of CO2 that we can emit before increasing the possibility of a 1.3C to 3.9C temperature rise, I will have to learn about it from another source.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @Tom

     your display of utter cluelessness on this thread has been truly epic. You have my thanks.

  • PDA

    M:   Look, I came here for an argument.

    Q:   Oh. I’m sorry. This is Abuse.

    M:   I see, well, that explains it.

    Q:   Ah yes, you want room 12-A, just along the corridor….

  • John F. Pittman

    Dr. T that is not what I said. I pointed out some of the assumptions the IPCC made in coming up with that 2050 date that was in the comments, and that by changing the assumptions one could have the switchover date at 2135. Your one way valve is a strawman. The case was made by the IPCC, not me, another strawman. As pointed out, if one uses different assumptions then your claim of the physical and how to count it is also incorrect. In case I was not clear enough, if one does not use the biostatic model, not only is it not doublecounting, but the residence time is not centuries, but rather decades based on the asssumptions of biological growth/enhancement, deposition, and the fluxes.

  • steven mosher
  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Steve. He’s a funny guy. His style is well-suited to the Fringe. In a way he reminds me of Sam Kinnison, but Will’s a lot more diverse–Sam was a one-note player, Will covers all the bases.

  • steven mosher

    yes, more diverse. When you get time i’ll tell you how his appearance there came about. You’ll enjoy it.

  • harrywr2

    #186

    The economists tell us (Stern Review, e.g.):

    “emissions reductions of 3 to 4 percent a year are the maximum compatible with continued economic growth.”

    Yes, no, maybe. 3 to 4% is in the neighborhood of ‘normal replacement rate’…I would use 2-3% as normal replacement.

    We have no idea which of the projects in the Energy Research pipeline are going to pan out and what their costs will be.
    Discussions related to energy and innovation almost always end up
    suffering from the ‘Tyranny of the Averages’ on both sides of the
    debate and almost always ignore non-economic factors impacting deployment of various technologies.I.E. Whether or not the Japanese Nuclear Industry can manage to regain the trust of the Japanese people can’t be determined by an economic analysis.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Would you then force them to buy bonds that have a negative return?

    Why not? Inflation rated US treasuries ain’t even paying that.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > I chose the 2135 based on replacing climate sensitivity as determined at Lucia’s, and assuming that for a longer period, carbon sinks would not be filled.

    These assumptions might very well be defined as the upper limit of justified desingeniousness.

  • John F. Pittman

    #210 Willard please note that this is what catastrophists do when they take low probability events and express them as certainties. At 198, I point out that there are large differences in the assumptions and that is why the answers are so different. Your comment of justified dis-ingenious is incorrect. I simply took the methodology of the catastrophists to the other end. There is nothing dis-ingeniuos about it. I stated why I was doing it. You need not make up stuff. I will note for Willard that these are in the ranges of the IPCC and the literature, or based on assumptions that others made in the literature.

  • PDA
  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    John F. Pittman,

    Let’s look at your reply:

    > Please note that this is what catastrophists [...]

    The YesButCAGW labeling bundled into a tu quoque. Beyond the limits of justified disingeniousness.

    > I point out that there are large differences in the assumptions and that is why the answers are so different.

    Indeed, honest brokers rarely make arithmetical mistakes. They simply start with different assumptions. That relativist trick is on the border of justified disingeniousness.

    > I simply took the methodology of the catastrophists to the other end.

    Indeed, you picked the lower bound and argue that this lower bound justifies your policy tastes. But this is disingenious, since only this lower bound justifies this. It is the limits of justified disingeniousness, because taking something lower would push you beyond the limits of justified disingeniousness.

    > There is nothing dis-ingeniuos about it. I stated why I was doing it.

    Stating why you were doing it does not prevent the usual lukewarm gambit to be disingenious, however justified it might sound.

    > You need not make up stuff.

    You need not beat your wife.

    [T]hese are in the ranges of the IPCC and the literature, or based on assumptions that others made in the literature.

    A quote from the IPCC and the literature might be needed to justify cherrypicking and arguing from the lowest bound of the ranges, if it is to set the limits of justified disingeniousness.

    ***

    All in all, a disingenious defense of the lukewarm gambit, which itself sets up the limits of justified disingeniousness.

  • John F. Pittman

    “”The YesButCAGW labeling bundled into a tu quoque. Beyond the limits of justified disingeniousness.”" Nothing disingenous about it. I did it that way as part of the discussion. 
    “”Indeed, honest brokers rarely make arithmetical mistakes. They simply start with different assumptions. That relativist trick is on the border of justified disingeniousness.”"  Another mistake, assumptions as to magnitude effect the magnitude, and often are the sign of an honest attempt to explain the phenomena, just look at the ranges for sensitivity.      “”Indeed, you picked the lower bound and argue that this lower bound justifies your policy tastes.”" Wrong again, Magnitudes effect the magnitude of the response.  “”But this is disingenious, since only this lower bound justifies this.”" Wrong again, I need only assume that warmth is better than estimated limit, same result.   You are the one accusing someone of being disingeniuos for making a point, but I don’t assume you are beating your wife.     Looking at sensitivity of results is not some luke warmer gambit. In areas of risk management it is a requirement. It is not cherry picking, it is a conscious attempt to look at the range of possible outcomes. We are in a risk management situation, unless you think AGW cannot be real except at a negliable amount, or we are in a probelm area and the cure is instantaneous.. i.e. pixie dust. SO, yes you did make it up. 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Looking at the lowest point justified disingeniousness can’t be justified as looking at a range in any honest way.

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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, and an 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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