The Search for a Winning Climate Change Frame

By Keith Kloor | September 21, 2012 2:16 pm

When much of the United States was being hammered by drought and brutal heat waves this past summer, there were many media stories that made a climate change connection. The ugly weather and drought-related misery prompted a sarcastic headline from Time:

Now Do You Believe in Global Warming?

The sense in climate concerned circles was that finally–finally!–climate change was hitting home. People could grasp the problem in a tangible way. It was no longer a distant and imperceptible threat. Then in August NASA climate scientist James Hansen published his op-ed and paper, cementing the perception in many minds that global warming was responsible for the extreme heat and freakish weather of recent years. (Not everyone was on board.) Whether this perception will hold once the drought ends and winter arrives is an open question.

Regardless, in varied corners of the climate/communication sphere, there’s been a notable emphasis on localizing global warming. It’s taken different forms. For example, at Climate Central, you’ll see a new report that links the increasing occurrence and severity of Western wildfires to climate change. (For a more nuanced take, this by Brad Plumer is the best I’ve read.) A different path has been advanced by media scholar Matthew Nisbet, who recommends reframing climate change as a public health threat.

In a back-and-forth exchange with Matt this week, via an informal email group we both belong to, I’ve expressed my general doubts about the efficacy of local climate messaging. To be sure, I see much value in the kind of public engagement that Matt has previously suggested. Public forums that bring together multiple stakeholders (and diverse views) are a good thing. They foster dialogue, greater understanding of the topic, and respect for different perspectives.

But I’m not convinced that complex causal connections between global global warming and say, West Nile Nile disease or a higher incidence of allergies, is going to make the case for climate change impacts at a local level.

But Matt is not alone in seeing the value of this tack. In a NYT op-ed, historian Christopher Sellers says that today’s environmental movement “should reframe climate change as a local issue” for suburban America. Sellers writes:

It’s not as far-fetched as it might sound. Already, one can find suburban households, churches and homeowner associations interested in how to do things “greener,” whether it’s recycling or landscaping. The trick will be finding concerns that spark imaginations and mobilize group energies at this local level, and working from there.

The op-ed spurred continuing exchanges within the email group, including this response from me:

The trick is to make climate change visceral–perceived to be an immediate threat, like the polluted rivers and air that catalyzed the green movement 40 years ago. That is no easy trick, despite the best efforts of climate activists.

Andy Revkin also chimed in:

It would, in the end, have to be a trick (not Phil Jones’ usage), because there’s no way to honestly make greenhouse-driven climate change visceral for those who matter (climate-insulated prosperous folks and energy-impoverished developing folks with other far more visceral priorities).

Whether you agree or not, the struggle to communicate the perils of climate change goes on.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I think a local strategy can be effective–harnessing the efforts of neighbors can highlight results and create a sense of community as well as purpose.

    I believe a certain Paul Kelly has been laboring mightily in this regard and I certainly wish him success–and many imitators.

  • http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com Andy Revkin

    Just to be clear, I do think that there’s great merit in going local to build momentum on boosting resilience to the risks attending climate extremes (aka adaptation), whatever the cause. In the Hudson Valley (my home), repeated washouts are finally prompting highway managers to weigh rebuilding to more flood-resilient designs rather than simply rebuilding roads to the existing code (which — sadly! — is what FEMA still wants). That can eventually lead to concern and interest in mitigation of greenhouse gases, but hardly in the way that’s been described by Matt or Christopher Sellers. (I first reported on this approach in 2006.)

    The same would hold for the health argument. West Nile here, or malaria in the tropics, fundamentally remain public-health issues, to be addressed through improved prevention and health care. They are not climate issues.

  • David Palmer

    The problem for a local focus and strategy is that the experience can vary so much in different parts of the world.

    I live in SE Australia where we had 12 years of drought, severe water rationing culminating in Black Saturday in 2009 when 173 persons lost their lives in huge bushfires, yet the past 2 years it has rained and rained with very expensive desalination plants lying idle and dams approaching being full: we were told recently by the Bureau of Meteorology that Melbourne had had the coldest winter in 15 years, certainly verified by my electricity usage over the winter.

    To claim this is all down to AGW is a hard story to maintain over say a 10 year time frame, (whether longer, who really knows for sure?) not helped by some of the ridiculous forecasts by the the AGW alarmists who have because of their influence over politicians saddled us with these mothballed desalination plants.

  • Joshua

    …there’s been a notable emphasis on localizing global warming.

    Of course, that is a bit of an oxymoron – particularly if it is manifest as a focus on adaptation on the local level – as opposed to mitigation (which for the most part requires a global focus).  While I understand the logic of focusing on local and on adaptation,  it can’t be denied that if global warming exists, a local focus and a focus on adaptation will do nothing to solve the problem, and won’t help vast #’s of the Earth’s population who lack the resources to effectively adapt.

    Tribal battles  between those who tribally advocate local/adaptation focus and those who tribally advocate a global/mitigation focus will be no more productive than are battles between “skeptics” and “realists.”

    IMO, the problem remains primarily one of tribalism. The problem remains one of primarily motivated reasoning. Until people admit those fundamental problems (which are well established in studies of how we reason, and which blog progress on many, many issues in addition to the question of AGW) and show accountability for controlling for the influence of those factors across the board (in other words, not just saying that “those people” need to stop being tribal), significant progress won’t be made before the impact of climate change become unambiguously devastating on a massive scale. 

    But yeah – if there is a potential to overcome that fundamental problem, it comes with structured stakeholder dialog.

  • BBD

    But yeah ““ if there is a potential to overcome that fundamental problem, it comes with structured stakeholder dialog.

    The global population being the ultimate stakeholders.

  • Joshua

    The global population being the ultimate 

    Which certainly makes it tough to structure that dialog.

    All that much more so when there are so many people out there who do everything they can to undermine the possibility of that kind of dialog.

    And even so when many of those so inclined are powerful and who are highly incentivized by their vested interest. Effective, structured stakeholder dialog requires dismantling those kinds of existing power hierarchies.

    When attempts to create such a level structure  for dialog is denounced as an attempt to destroy capitalism, or to condemn millions to death due to a lack of access to cheap energy, or to roll over and let the United Nations dictate to us what we should do, then all we’ll have is a perpetuation of the status quo: Those who already have power will adapt on a local level.

    That is the problem I see with scare-mongering about scare-,mongering. It blurs lines, creates guilt by association, and leaves no space for standing up without getting slammed by flying Jell-0 mold.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    From my point of view the principal obstacle in this discussion has been the insistence that action must be global in scope or nothing will be achieved.

    Other major social issues have not had that problem. Slavery was addressed at a sub-national and national level before becoming an international consensus. The same is true for the right to vote for women. It started at a local level and moved outwards.

    California would snicker at claims that sub-national units cannot have an effect on national and global environmental policies.The boycott of South Africa started small. Protests against nuclear proliferation did, too.

    Perhaps instead of listing examples of committed efforts that started at less than global levels, proponents of global commitment (first!) might show us case studies where that worked well.

  • Joshua

    From my point of view the principal obstacle in this discussion has been
    the insistence that action must be global in scope or nothing will be
    achieved.

    Yes. You have made that obvious. Many times. Many, many times (in between the inordinate amount of time you spend calling people trolls).

    I find it interesting that you fail to similarly see the obstacle created by a systematic attack on the notion of global mitigation, on international organizations that might be able to advance global mitigation, or indeed, those who think that global mitigation is required. 

    Just more of the same old, really, now isn’t it?

    Neither the phenomenon you describe nor its counterpart exist in a vacuum.

    Maybe, instead, you might consider something different. For example, you might considering whether scare-mongering about scare-mongering is likely to be productive.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, do you want to address my points or talk about your opinion of my behavior? (Feel free to provide examples, for example.)Name an issue that started with global consensus and trickled downwards. 

  • Joshua

    Tom –

    I like discussing issues in good faith with people who are interested in good faith dialog with me. You have made it quite clear from past exchanges that you have no such interest. 

    And I guess you missed it, but I did discuss your points. I addressed, specifically, what I see as tribalistic/selective logic you used in identifying “the principle obstacle.”

  • Nullius in Verba

    #7,

    There’s also an assumption that efforts have to be bipartisan.

    I suggest everyone who is concerned about climate change should reduce their own carbon footprint by 80%, or whatever the current number is. No more air travel. No more cars. No more electricity. No more home heating, hot water, …

    Of course, slavery, apartheid, and nuclear proliferation were all things that people believed in strongly, or could easily be persuaded, they just needed organising. There’s much more to social change than just setting an example. Lot’s of things start small, and stay that way.

    I think the biggest barrier to change (besides the science being unconvincing) is that the campaigners campaign for other people to do it, instead of just doing it. I don’t remember what the latest percentage is, but there’s something like half the population concerned about climate change. So that’s half the population not flying, not driving, not buying energy-intensive goods. That’s half the population lending their wealth and intelligence to the effort, funding and running their own energy companies, transport companies, manufacturers, and competing the socks off the old fossils, because they can sell to the whole population, while the fossil-fueled can only sell to half of it.

    Don’t campaign for it to be done. Go out and do it. With your own money, and your own lives. And when you’ve shown the rest of us how easy it is, and got everything set up ready, maybe more will follow. At the least, your own conscience will be clear.

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

    Montreal ProtocolsIt can too be global.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    I thought that the “systematic attack on the notion of global mitigation” was one of Groundskeeper Willie’s modus operandi.

    There is also the contrapositive: the systematic endorsement on (almost) any kind of local adaptation.

    The decoy effect of this latter technique seems less important than the first one.

    So I guess we should systematically endorse this latter technique.

    Maybe it’s just a vocabulary thing.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua,It’d be a shame if you allowed your personal feelings to sidetrack the thread. Play the argument, not the man.

  • Keith Kloor

    Willard,You have something of substance to say or do you want play silly nickname games?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Nullius in Verba, it doesn’t even have to be limited to the ‘converted.’ Watts went solar, Jeff Id is in the green energy business, I worked in solar–the tent can get pretty big.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Keith,

    #1 adds nothing except cheerleading for Paul Kelly and local adaptation, which is one aspect of my comment in #12. I would say this is substantive.

    #3 adds almost nothing except insinutating an attack on any notion of global mitigation, by way of handwaving to some “AGW alarmists”, which is the other aspect of my comment in #12. I would say this is substantive.

    #7 provides a perfect example of the “systematic attack on global mitigation” trick I was deploring in #12. I would say this is substantive.

    The points of #9 have all been addressed in #4 and #6.

    Are any other things I can do for you to speed up your reading of the thread?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    keith’s targets of ire are interesting aren’t they? the question of what frame ‘works’ is always relative. what works in present day india is different that works in sweden which is different that what works in alabama. Even then,  there are rural/urban, rich/poor, young/old distinctions within these groups too that make such simplistic framing questions of dubious strategic value. what ‘works’ is a political question not a journalistic question. 

  • Tom Scharf

    Perception….that is the key word here.  It is almost like they have given up on the science, it is all about “framing”, “perception”, “cognitive blah blah blah motivated blah blah blah snore” now.

    The constant dial-a-different-daily-global-warming-meme only serves to further lower the credibility of climate science.  This smells like the US election, activists saying almost anything to see what sticks and expecting everyone to forget all the failed previous messages that didn’t hold up to scrutiny.  They.just.don’t.care.  They.must.assume.we.are.all.idiots.

    There is only the loosest sense that anyone cares whether these memes are actually factually accurate now, and have even a vaguely legitimate connection to global warming.  

    Does anyone really expect the droughts and wildfires to hold up over even the next ten years?  Not likely.  Everyone knows a decade from now the new meme will be massive mosquito outbreak in New Orleans, or the “successfully predicted” flooding in the American SW that is “consistent” with global warming models.  Droughts, floods, what’s the difference?

    6 years ago it was more frequent and more powerful hurricanes.  Sorry! That’s an old meme that us cultured climate elite don’t discuss in polite company, it is so rude!

    The entire “weather isn’t climate unless we say so” parade tanked when they decided global warming was responsible for more snow and record cold snaps.  It hasn’t recovered.

    They are clearly desperate.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Tom Scharf, I agree. I think the evidence is in the production of pseudo scientific papers such as Anderegg, Prall et al and Lewandowsky’s more recent extravaganza. Pumping these hot air balloons is a sure sign of panic. Can you imagine what the climate discussion would be like today if Mann had noted the nature trick, Jones had reminded people not to delete emails, Briffa had written publicly what he instead wrote privately, and Stephen Schneider hadn’t allowed his name to be put on Prall’s piece of crap?Expect the usual suspects to moan that their opponents would have reached for another weapon. And for some of their opponents that would be true. But for example, Monckton would look even more foolish than he does now. And McIntyre would be an ally, not an opponent.And he would be a good guy to have on their side.

  • Joshua

    Keith –

    Fair enough about playing the argument and not the man. That said, one more comment on that issue and then I’m done: As tired as the whole “he did it first” bickering gets, do you think there is any credibility in him asking me to address the points he made – particularly since I did address one of the points he made just not the one he wanted me to address? Have you not seen the number of times people address the points he makes only to have him respond with “troll,” or “have another drink,” or something similar? I would say that it is impossible (for me at least) to engage Tom in a meaningful discussion – because he won’t allow it. Do you disagree?)

    You asked willard to stick to the substance. So let me ask you this:  In your opinion, are comments #7 or #19 of any meaningful substance? Is there a point at which you find that locating “the problem” at the extreme end of only one side of the spectrum lacks substance?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #21,

    Nobody here has any obligation to respond to any points. You can respond if you feel like it, or ignore it if you choose. People will interpret that as they will, and again you don’t have to let it bother you if you don’t want to.

    You spend so long on the meta-discussion that it obscures your contribution to the discussion. If someone wanted to reduce your effectiveness, they might even provoke it deliberately! You might like to think about that.

    #7 identifies an alternative approach to finding solutions. #19 identifies a significant problem with the ‘psychological framing’ approach. Both are attempts to be useful if you choose to see them that way. Another problem with the way the climate concerned have been approaching the problem is to fixate on certain sorts of solution, and to reject anything that criticises or fails to support those as outright opposition.

    If anything is going to progress, it is only going to happen with a radically new approach; one which is likely to involve moving out of your comfort zones. That means listening and paying close attention to people telling you why it isn’t working. But it doesn’t bother me at all if you don’t.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Keith,

    Suppose you had to respond to #22.

    How would you respond?

  • Joshua

    NiV –

    Why would I assume that anyone has to respond to anyone else? Seems like an absurd notion.

    Why would someone want to reduce my “effectiveness?” We’re having a discussion.

    #7 starts by locating “the problem” at an extreme end on one side of the debate. We have both read such attribution of “the problem” probably thousands of times. Do you think that is of substance?

    #7 also asks what is basically an irrelevant question – whether or not a select subset of problems were solved by a global approach (or whether anyone could come up with examples of such). There is no reason to assume that such a question is relevant to whether or not the potential problem of global warming can be solved w/o a global focus on mitigation. I think questioning whether or not the problem can be solved in any other way, and questioning whether focusing on global mitigation is a realistic or practical goal, are entirely reasonable. But we won’t find those answers by drawing useless parallels as rhetorical device, and we won’t get there by scare-mongering about scare-mongering (locating the problem at the extreme end of one side of the debate).

    #19 absolutely does not identify a legitimate problem with the “psychological framing” approach. It focuses on a mischaracterization of attempts to understand and address the evidence we have about underlying psychological dynamics of not only how the climate debate plays out, but also how debate plays out in other controversial issues that overlap with social, cultural, political, and personal identifications. I suspect that the root of what I consider to be your misconception lies, again, in your conflating Mooney’s arguments with the work of someone like Kahan. 

    Both are attempts to be useful if you choose to see them that way.

    No doubt. That is, actually, precisely what I have been talking about. I have no doubt that both Toms think that their contributions in those posts were useful. I see neither as being useful. Not the least because I have read similar points over and over in thread after thread, day after day. Do you really think that their posts were of substance? 

    Another problem with the way the climate concerned have been approaching the problem is to fixate on certain sorts of solution, and to reject anything that criticises or fails to support those as outright opposition.

    Looking beyond your problematic and counterproductive generalization (who are “the climate concerned?”), yes, I think that is true. Just as it is true that there are some on the other side of the debate who reject anything that criticizes of fails to support as outright opposition. Is there possibly anything more banal that we can say about the debate at this point? Is it possible that anything else has been said more often in the climate debate?

    That means listening and paying close attention to people telling you
    why it isn’t working.

    So listening carefully to another blog post explaining that it “isn’t working” because of scare-mongering – w/o any attempt to valid that opinion beyond merely argument by assertion, is what I should  be doing? I have read that argument countless times. I have asked many times for validated evidence to support that claim, to quantify that claim, to qualify that claim, many, many times. I’ve even asked for in-depth speculation that deals with obvious counterarguments. It still hasn’t happened that I can recall.

    But it doesn’t bother me at all if you don’t.

    That seems like a rather bizarre statement. First, who asked you whether it would bother you? I certainly didn’t. Second, what is the point of telling me whether or not it would bother you? If you want to say that you think I am closed to opposing viewpoints, just come out and say it. No need to play games. 

    And NiV, one more point. I have asked you a number of times to clarify general terms that you use – in particular, when you use “we” when referring to “skeptics.” You haven’t responded in the past – but I’m hoping that will change now. When you say “the climate concerned” – who are you referring to?

  • http://climateshiftproject.org Matthew Nisbet

    Andy,
    Not sure where you see disagreement in our two positions.

    Investing in resilience is a central route to building networks of trust that can lead to further engagement on mitigation, just as investing in measures to protect people during heat waves, severe storms, or from infectious disease does the same.

    The common feature is that you are moving people along by having them collaborate on making their communities stronger and more resilient, in the process recognizing the personal relevance of climate change and how it relates to their community.

  • Joshua

    I should correct that comment above. #7 does not ask whether those select set of problems were solved by a global approach, but points out that they weren’t. As if that would be a new insight to anyone.

  • Tom C

    Joshua – You wrote: “Effective, structured stakeholder dialog requires dismantling those kinds of existing power hierarchies.”

    What exactly does that mean?

  • Joshua

    I mean that stakeholders (to the extend possible) have to feel that they have more or less equal stake, and power, in the outcome. So “experts” can provide input but aren’t the ones who make decisions. Likewise, powerful entities have have disproportionate influence on the outcomes.

    To the extent that you don’t level the playing field, people lose a sense of ownership over the outcomes.

    Specific to the climate debate, it is going to mean that there must be some degree of power-sharing between countries with different amounts of economic and/or political and/or military capital. Obviously, that is a very difficult goal to achieve, and a total leveling of power would be a ridiculously unrealistic goal. But agencies like the UN do try to set up structures to move towards those goals. They are far from perfect, but such structures are, IMO, are a necessary part of stakeholder dialog if it is going to work. People who systematically attack such structures (as I see it often based on a binary mindset that if there are problems therefore the very concept is worthless) are counterproductive, IMO. Just as would be anyone who says that the “experts” should decide, or who says that an international approach towards mitigation should necessary stamp out any local focus or any focus on adaptation. Completely disproportionate power is incompatible with stakeholder dialog – whether that be an concentration of power in “experts” or oil companies or the governments of developed nations.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    On that other thread he seemed to have enjoyed reading, PDA had this unanswered proposition:

    “[A]dding energy to the coupled atmosphere-ocean system is changing the climate in unpredictable ways, a process which will accelerate unless we make fundamental and wide-ranging changes to how we generate and use energy” [might be] inherently a harder sell than “everything’s fine.”

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2012/09/03/pushing-back-on-climate-hype/#comment-119879

    This point has yet to be answered.

    This point might be a better explanation to “Whether you agree or not, the struggle to communicate the perils of climate change goes on” than anything said so far in this thread.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    NiV @22, I don’t think a radical new approach is necessary. Indeed, I think the radical new approaches (Xtreme Weather, etc.), are being tried now and are not working.

    I think the debate needs to go back to the future. The example I have in mind will offend some because they will think I’m comparing the Klimate Kommitted to religious zealots, but I actually think some of the manners used in the instances of peaceful spread of religion could be of use. And yes, I do remember Torquemada etc. But a core group that lived the way they believed, that showed instead of preached–that would have to have more effect than whining on blogs.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    To continue my thought a bit, I find it strange that Masdar isn’t happening here.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #29,

    I’d have said Xtreme Weather was a slight variant on a very old approach. People have been doing the hot-weather-is-climate-change meme since early on. It got dropped for a bit after a few cold snowy winters made it look ridiculous, and the scientists admitted it was invalid, but it’s such a powerful meme that some of the crazier activists are now trying to revive it.

    There are a few small schemes where people do make the attempt, like Masdar. We’ve got ‘zero-carbon homes’ over here, which supposedly become enforced for all new build in 2016. But there are only a handful at the moment. But it’s not really a case of a handful of believers spreading the message; according to one recent poll over 70% of Americans believed in climate change. What I was thinking was that we’ve got most of the population who say they believe already – rather than trying to convert the rest of us, they could all be working to live the life instead.

    Here’s BBD’s new house! I’m not ridiculing the idea, either – I think it looks kinda neat. Watch the video of the tour. Think, if Al Gore gets his way, this is how we’ll all live in 50 years time. Even sooner in Montecito, I’m sure.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua, Willard,

    What I don’t understand is why you engage with a comment or commenter if you feel it/he is not saying anything of substance.

    I mean, it’s not like you can’t address what’s in the actual post, or other people who have commented in this thread, such as Revkin. 

     I put up a post, I quote various people, link to some other articles, etc, and yet you constantly choose to joust with other commenters, usually the ones that you insist are merely saying the same things over and over again. Why bother?

    Just make your own points and engage with those who you feel you can have a dialogue with.  

  • Jarmo

    I think AGW (or climate change or whatever) has become a source of conflict that increasingly resembles the Israeli-Palestinian one in attitudes of their respective supporters abroad.

    Ironically, the actions which have had most impact on emissions and GHG’s have had nothing to do with AGW. Montreal Protocol, nuclear power building in the 70’s and 80’s, energy saving measures due to oil crises.

    These actions were carried out because they were without a question economically sound regardless of political. For example, Ronald Reagan supported Montreal Protocol because it did not take a great genius to calculate the cost of increased skin cancer cases versus CFC mitigation. Just plain good sense in action.

    Similarly, today wind power has been built due to generous subsidies to wind companies, homeowners have installed gigawatts worth of solar panels in Germany because they get paid. Money, money, money….

    My point is, it is very hard to change people ideologically or fabricate a consensus on political issues. However, if there is a financial benefit, most people will sign up.

  • chris y

    Try that again.

    re: #32, #11- Nullius in verba-

    You make an excellent point. With a third of Americans extremely
    alarmed about CACC, and more than half concerned about CACC, there is already a
    critical mass of congregation that simply need to follow the
    conservation/renewable
    energy/locavorism/veganism/nochildren/novehicle/attachedhousing/nofossilfuels
    catechism that promises carbon-credit-free zero carbon footprints at almost no
    extra cost. Schools are already super-saturated with ‘educational material’
    like AIT. No government programs, legislation, regulations or carbon credits
    are needed for the faithful to live according to their beliefs.

     

    IPCC railroad engineer Rajendra Pachauri had a classic UN
    bureaucrat comment on personal responsibility. When asked about his terrible
    carbon footprint, he said that since he was born a Hindu “I can believe in
    my next reincarnation, I’ll try to do something about my carbon
    footprint”.

    July 26, 2012.

     

    re: #30, Tom Fuller-

    “… the instances of peaceful spread of religion could
    be of use.”

    Are you suggesting that CACC should now be marketed as a
    religion of peace, rather than the 10:10 cult of hypocrisy it is now? I don’t
    think this is possible.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Keith,

    Thanks for your input.

    You’re quite right.

    This should be posted on all the pages in climate blogland setting up the ground rules:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/32047837751

  • Joshua

    My guess is that among those highly interested in the topic of climate change, for every one person you have saying that no local adaptation is worthy of investment or effort, you have ten people saying that no international approach towards mitigation is justified, realistic, or anything short of a socialistic plot to kill capitalism and install a one-world government.

    My guess is that among those somewhat concerned, you have many who make some measure of lifestyle changes even though they are aware of the question of scale that renders their individual efforts to be of highly questionable value. We can clearly see that despite those who would argue that the messaging of those highly concerned about climate change has been completely ineffective, on a wider scale we have rather had large societal changes that have taken place, even though we are aware that the question of scale renders those types of broader societal changes to be of highly questionable value.So we have people and societies making changes that, for the most part, haven’t required substantial sacrifice – even though there are some “skeptics” who quite often: (1) argue that those changes are from corporations jumping onto the green gravy chain to milk the public of money that could be better spent, (2) argue that those changes are the product of a librul/green/progressive/anti-capitalist conspiracy that has a one-world government ultimate goal, (3) argue that those changes are destroying our economy by interfering in the market to prop up unsustainable businesses/products even as it drives us further into debt and punishes the “producers.” (can’t help but think of that Mel Brooks film), (4) complain that someone who is concerned about climate change is a hypocrite if they don’t sell there car and only go places that they can walk or ride their bike to, and (5) are only happening because the leftwing elitist academics are pushing out bogus scientific analysis so they can line their pockets with research funding paid for by an over-reaching government.

  • steven mosher

    keith, joshua has made it clear that he wants to discuss one thing only. It doesnt matter what you say or write, you could bring jesus back to life to do a guest post and Joshua would still go off like a chatty cathy doll. pulling his own string and willard of course would cheer him on.

    I’ll suggest the book ive suggested before.
    somewhere around here I have a PDF of it (hehe)
    if you want a copy keith

    http://www.amazon.com/Adaptive-Governance-Climate-Change-Brunner/dp/1878220977

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    We actually are performing the laboratory experiments to test the effectiveness of international, national and sub-national attempts to address climate change.

    We can measure fossil fuel expenditures and estimate CO2 emissions from the EU countries–they are conducting an international effort to control both.

    Japan and the U.S.are going their own way at very different rates.

    The quality of statistical measures in the U.S. is adequate to measure the differing levels of success of state and local efforts–people could in theory create a house-hold level of success against which to measure their own efforts.

    I’m not sure the results would confirm the expectations of those who prefer global action–but it would be an interesting exercise nonetheless.

  • stan

    “It ain’t what we don’t know that gets us in trouble.  It’s what we know that ain’t so.”Experts are no better at predicting the future than dart-throwing chimps.The only sensible prediction to be made about the future is that anyone claiming to know the future will turn out to be wrong, especially those predicting doom and gloom.A hundred years from now, will history link Paul Ehrlich and James Hansen as the biggest fools in science?The search for a winning climate change frame should start by changing direction and adopting a commitment to science and integrity.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    There is even another tack that hasn’t been examined in any depth, as far as I know.

    In written exchanges about the importance of addressing climate change, a strong secondary argument frequently emerges–that it’s not only the extent of climate change that should alarm us, it’s the rate at which it happens. The speed of AGW is held out to be a threat, at least to biodiversity, but also to humanity and/or the civilization we have constructed.

    Has anybody looked at what it would take to slow it down, rather than halt it? If a 2C rise occurred over two centuries rather than one, is that a secondary line of defense to be evaluated? 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Here’s how Keith’s post ends:

    Whether you agree or not, the struggle to communicate the perils of climate change goes on.

    Here’s the first sentence of the first comment:

    I think a local strategy can be effective”“harnessing the efforts of neighbors can highlight results and create a sense of community as well as purpose.

    The wedge introduced in the framing is quite transparent in #7.

    Whatever the merits of the proposition to go local, it must not preclude from going global.

    A multi-level approach includes all levels, including the ones that are harder to sell, and not the ones we’d prefer to sell. Unless, of course, we value the quantity of easy sells we make.

    In philosophy of science, the usual metaphor for this predicament is Neurath’s boat:

    There is no way to establish fully secured, neat protocol statements as starting points of the sciences. There is no tabula rasa. We are like sailors who have to rebuild their ship on the open sea, without ever being able to dismantle it in dry-dock and reconstructed from its best components. Only metaphysics can disappear without a trace. Imprecise “˜verbal clusters’ [Ballungen] are somehow always part of the ship. If imprecision is diminished at one place, it may well re-appear at another place to a stronger degree'(Neurath 1932/1983, 92).

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/neurath/

    We’re on the only boat we can expect to have, we have limited planks, and everything must do everything at once and at the same time.

    And yet we’re all waiting for Godot, whining about some previous plank placements, promoting this planking method over this other one, mocking caricatural ones, etc.

    A saddening madness.

  • harrywr2

    #6

    All that much more so when there are so many people out there who do
    everything they can to undermine the possibility of that kind of dialog.

    Sorry, but the dialog that matters goes on, unhindered by those that would undermine that dialog. We can point to an ‘unhelpful’ voice on Climate Change like Burt Rutan. Burt Rutan built the body for GM’s 100 MPG Ultralite concept car in 1992. Unfortunately, no one knows how to make carbon fibers for the $7/pound that would make such a car affordable, but Ford and GM in collaboration with the US DOE are spending good money trying to find a way. Even Exxon-Mobil has a $600 million algae based biofuels R&D program. The 1992 US Advanced Battery Consortium had a target goal of $150/kwh within 10 years. They never came even close. They still haven’t come close. If they had come close there would be an electric car in every US driveway. You can encourage innovation, but you can’t command innovation. It’s always a safe bet when the sales rep for an engineering firm starts arm waving that the engineering department has said to ‘buy more time’.  Finding a way to address CO2 emissions in a manner that does not negatively impact the current economic well being of the current inhabitants of the planet is an engineering challenge. The engineers are ‘working on it’.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    In the main article: “tact” ?

    I do not think this word means what you think it means.

    This is a weird back-formation from “tactic” and “tack”. 

    “Tack” refers to direction in sailing, sometimes metaphorically. 

    Spelling it “tact” in that metaphorical sense is increasingly common, but I prefer to take a prescriptivist position on word meanings when they shift around like this. Here it confuses the previously distinct concepts of tact and of tactics. It’s sort of an implicit slide into a cynical point of view, as if the only purpose of tact were tactical. So I hope it doesn’t stick.

    peevishly, 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Perhaps a framing along these lines could help industrialists pay attention:

    In this paper we estimate the impacts of climate change on the allocation of time using econometric models that exploit plausibly exogenous variation in daily temperature over time within counties. We find large reductions in U.S. labor supply in industries with high exposure to climate and similarly large decreases in time allocated to outdoor leisure. We also find suggestive evidence of short-run adaptation through temporal substitutions and acclimatization. Given the industrial composition of the US, the net impacts on total employment are likely to be small, but significant changes in leisure time as well as large scale redistributions of income may be consequential. In developing countries, where the industrial base is more typically concentrated in climate-exposed industries and baseline temperatures are already warmer, employment impacts may be considerably larger.

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w15717

    From time to time, we should remind ourselves which type of “person” burns the most CO2.

  • Joshua

    Harry –  (43)

    Finding a way to address CO2 emissions in a manner that does not negatively impact the current economic well being of the current inhabitants of the planet is an engineering challenge. The engineers are “˜working on it’.

    I am not as inclined as some might be to rule that out. I will say, however, that I find undermining a global approach to mitigation to be no less counterproductive than dismissing a more localized focus or focusing on adaptation.

    Along those lines, I see little reason to assume the level of confidence that you express in that statement. I think that overconfidence and a lack of acknowledging uncertainty are a huge problem. Since such habits are well-understood as a by-product of how we reason, why does that problem seem to be so intractable?

    It is unfortunate the serious people that are very concerned with these issues continuously fail to control for the known variables that create overconfidence and an unscientific (and unskeptical) dismissal diminishment of uncertainty.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @ Michael,

    irregardless of your peevishsness, surely you would agree that it is more better that we focus our efforts on finding the uber-awesome frame that wins over the hearts and minds of everyone. why are you so nonplussed? ;)

    on a more serious note, one of the best books i’ve read on the ‘framing’ issue and environmental issues is Karen Litfen’s Ozone Discourses

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    A little reminder of the stakes we’re playing for, courtesy of BP’s Statistical Review of Energy 2012…

    Growth in world energy consumption fell to 2.5% in 2011, compared to 5.1% in 2010. Not surprisingly, 71% of the growth in energy consumption was in China.Worldwide use of coal increased by 5.4% in 2011. China’s use of coal grew by 9.7%. China dug out half (49.5%) of all the coal used last year. They also imported a lot. 185 million tons last year. That’s projected to rise to 1 billion tons by 2030. That’s a lot of coal.

    But it’s not all dark news”“”China consumed 615.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity generated by clean energy sources in the first eight months of the year, Shanghai Daily reported, citing the State Electricity Regulatory Commission. The figure took up 19.3 percent of domestic total on-grid power during the period.

  • Fred

    <p>After years of hearing climate change believers proclaim the next summer, fall, winter, or spring will be “the hottest ever” and it turns out nowhere near that we finally have a warm summer season and all the true believers think their global warming case is proven. Please do keep proclaiming your faith that the earth is heating up due to CO2. I can’t wait to see your disappointment over the next colder than average season. </p>

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Playing the Xtreme Weather card is just about the stupidest move imaginable. I am unsurprised that it was seized upon with such alacrity. Oh, well–they can always blame Anthony.

  • Fred

    There is one relationship that is indisputable. Unlike the relationship between CO2 levels and “global warming”, it is real. It is the relationship between downturns in the economy and suicide. And it is showing itself now big time:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2207089/56-million-suicide-prevention-programme-launched-study-reveals-Americans-lives-die-car-crashes.htmlMany global warming advocates have been pushing for decreases in economic activity for some time both directly and indirectly.  (Keith, to his credit, has a friendly attitude towards reconciling environmentalism with economic growth.) Multiple policies global warming supporters advocate which have hurt economic growth have been put into place (i.e. scrapping the Keystone pipeline, cutting back on offshore drilling, skyrocketing energy prices in Germany etc.) have had deleterious effects on the economy. Thus, I propose one effect of the global warming crusade has been the uptick in suicide here and in Europe. And all for nothing!   

  • andrew adams

    Yeah, because the world economy would be booming if not for the effect of global warming policies.

  • David in Cal

    IMHO the problem with a local focus is that it’s scientifically wrong.  If a skeptic claimed that the recent record low temperatures in Alaska proved that the earth wasn’t warming, that skeptic would be rightfully corrected, and told that weather isn’t climate..  The same applies when warmists point to local weather as proof of heating.

  • BBD

    @ 51

    Daily Mail reference alert!

    <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI”>Credibility implosion imminent!</a>

    Duck and cover!

  • BBD

    Oh silly me.

    Clicky linky.

  • MarkB

    A green ‘journolist?’ Yeah, that’s a great idea. Regarding the particular topic at hand – it never ceases to amaze me that you people will actually go public with this stuff. You are 1. concerned about global warming, but have failed to move the public, so you 2. change the propaganda to a new justification for the identical policy proposals. I’m not amazed that you’d do it – I’m as cynical as they come. I’m just amazed when you come out from your secret email list and do it in plain sight. Pielke Jr’s group he’s associated with has done the same thing – explicitly stated that they couldn’t sell their policy proposals with global warming scare stories, so it’s time to make up new justifications – ‘energy sufficiency/independence’ green jobs, etc. And it doesn’t occur to them that anyone will read what they say? It’s like the Great Oz standing at his levers and wheels with the curtain pulled, expecting not to be noticed.

  • BBD

    @ 49

    Please do keep proclaiming your faith that the earth is heating up due to CO2. I can’t wait to see your disappointment over the next colder than average season.

    I agree that one should be careful not to over-emphasise a single season. You should take care with your argument as it works both ways. Cold seasons don’t ‘falsify’ AGW.

    Much better to look at a long time series. Fit a 3rd order polynomial to get a sense of what’s going on. Then think.

  • Tom Scharf

    #57 – Incredible.  What’s even more alarming is I measured temperature at 8am yesterday, then again at 4pm and fitted a 1st order polynomial to it, and by my calculations we will all be dead within two weeks!!!!!!!!!  Pretty scary stuff.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    At some point in the not-too-distant future a professor will turn to her class and say, “What were they thinking? Remember, class, this is a problem they believed to be the most important facing the world. More important than war, more important than the development of countries that had been poor forever–more important than preparing for the technological wave they all knew was coming. And they shifted the centerpiece of their messaging to weather. They  made themselves willing hostages to the one element in the debate that was the most variable. What were they thinking?”

  • Tom Scharf

    I think I would argue that any local cause should be quite wary of attaching itself to something as partisan and potentially toxic as global warming.  There is quite enough real life data to convince people that issues such as poverty, protection of economic resources from extreme weather, etc should be solved ***on their own merits***.  They don’t need any “help” from global warming activists.

    If your single pet issue is getting funding for protecting the local park from localized flooding, do you really believe you will get increased support by claiming it is global warming you are battling?  You can bet any conservatives on the local planning council are going to roll their eyes and have a knee jerk reaction to want to dismiss you as a crackpot.  Whether this reaction is appropriate is another discussion, the fact is it is real.  You might as well tie your pet issue to abortion or evolution.

    It’s just not wise.

    And I would suggest it is the global warming activists who are the ones needing the help here, and by co-opting local issues it will help drum up more support.  I don’t see the local issues being helped here.

  • BBD

    @ 58

    I measured temperature at 8am yesterday, then again at 4pm and fitted a
    1st order polynomial to it, and by my calculations we will all be dead within two weeks!!!!!!!!!  Pretty scary stuff. 

    That’s why it’s better to use a long time series. Do have another look at the graph linked at # 57. As I said in that comment:

    Much better to look at a long time series.

    You mustn’t alarm yourself :-)

  • Jeffn

    Meanwhile, the United States ‘ Senate voted to shield US airlines from European carbon taxes. A global response to climate change didn’t get a single vote. Not one.
    The vote was unanimous.
    So end endeth Joshua’s imaginative version of “realism.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/22/us-usa-carbon-airlines-idUSBRE88L06C20120922

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Given that air travel constitutes 5% of CO2 emissions, and given that dramatic improvements in aerodynamics, engine and turbine efficiencies are transforming the airline sector, surely focusing on this is nothing more than aiming at high profile, deep pockets (albeit barely profitable) companies.

    The EU was idiotic to introduce the tax. The Chinese laughed in their faces. The U.S. was never going to let an outside agency impose a tax on them.

    Useless distraction over an issue of no importance.

  • Jeffn

    Hi Tom,
    What global warming policy isn’t a naked effort to let the rest of Earth tax Americans?
    Given that many of the EU’s “solutions” to global warming are ineffective gestures and given that the EU seemed to think this was a “global” policy worth pursuing and, given that if it were true that imminent airframe and turbine improvements would make this carbon tax relatively harmless, then….
    Surely at least one of our deeply “concerned realist” politicians would be cool with this “good first start.” Just one? Instead it got the same level of support in the Senate that the Kyoto protocol got. Or was that a distraction too?
    I think it was, actually, but that seems to be the point of this post- too much of what the Klimate Koncerned Kids want is bad environmental policy, worse political strategy and brain dead economic policy. But they do have bills to pay over there in Europe. Lots of bills.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya JeffN, I kinda think the idea of taxation without representation might have been what rubbed the Senate the wrong way, but…

    Whatever we’re doing now seems to be working in the U.S., for some strange reason or another. I’d say let it roll until it stops working. 

    I also gotta say that I think what the EPA is doing right now is part of what is working–doubt if you’d agree with me on that, Jeff, but congruency is over-rated, right?

  • Tom Scharf

    #61 Possibly even longer than a hundred years?  If you trend that same scary line in reverse it sure must have been darn cold when Moses was parting the Red Sea.  

    Seriously though, forecasting complex multi-dimensional non-linear dynamic systems with a simple polynomial is a fool’s errand.  But go ahead if you want.  Don’t be surprised if it isn’t taken seriously or someone wants to validate your model before they have any faith in it.

  • Tom Scharf

    I think the airline industry is pretty darned concerned with fuel efficiency without any helpful beatdowns from the greens on their way to their latest save the world from itself conference.

    This is a fine example of a problem that doesn’t need any extra pushes or legislation or taxes to foster innovation.  The existing financial incentives are enough.  Boeing isn’t using carbon fiber and titanium in their planes because it looks cool.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    But it does…

  • jim

    Keith,
     
    The “trick” is to find an alternative energy source that’s cheap (excluding subsidies) relative to fossil fuels.
     
    People in “climate concerned circles” don’t seem to have a grasp on the economic impact of costly (that is, both consumer cost and subsidy cost).  Even if a “trick” works for a few minutes ““ that is, well enough to convince people that costly energy is worthwhile ““ when the impacts of costly energy bite back, the trick will fail. 
     
    I confess that I’m completely baffled by the way people in “climate concerned circles” view economics.   They seem to think it’s some kind of man-made jigsaw puzzle ““ if you don’t like the puzzle with the picture of the pumpjack, you can just chuck that one and get the one with the picture of the solar panel.  All you have to do is convince your friends that are puzzling with you that the solar panel is more fun than the pumpjack and badabing, it’s all good!  You’re off to happy puzzling land!
     
    I wish it were true. 

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  • BBD

    @ 66

    A river in Egypt ;-)

  • BillC

    Well, I clearly came late to this party. Had to skip the last 30 comments or so.Joshua, I definitely think there is merit to #7, and yes I realize that to some extent I am in Tom Fuller’s “tribe” based on general agreement with a lot of what he says. “From my point of view the principal obstacle in this discussion has been the insistence that action must be global in scope or nothing will be achieved.”I don’t know that it is the principal obstacle, but it is a major one.
    “California would snicker at claims that sub-national units cannot have an effect on national and global environmental policies.”I agree, and if you look instead at U.S. cities as a group, I think that is another example of ‘sub-national units’ moving an issue ahead effectively.That said, so much of the “voluntary green” movement seems to be focused on things that are relatively easy and apparently less important than climate change. Recycling, for example – a good thing in its own right – but not of itself much of a mitigation strategy. I have thought for a while, if you could see, feel or smell CO2, it would be a different story.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    given that dramatic improvements in aerodynamics, engine and turbine efficiencies are transforming the airline sector 

    evidence?

  • Joshua

    Hey Bill –

    Tom: From my point of view the principal obstacle in this discussion has
    been the insistence that action must be global in scope or nothing will be achieved.”
    You: I don’t know that it is the principal obstacle, but it is a major one.

    As I’ve told you before, I use your perspective as a benchmark for controlling for my own biases, but my point of focus is, specifically, the difference between saying that it is an obstacle and saying that it is the principle obstacle.

    I don’t disagree that it is an obstacle. Just as the counterpart is an obstacle: i.e., arguing that it is the “principle” obstacle.

    It’s like arguing that tribalism, or overstating certainty, or “cherry-picking,” etc.  among “realists” (or “skeptics”) is “the principle” obstacle as opposed to acknowledging that the principle obstacle lies in the human cognitive and psychological characteristics that lead us all to fall victim to motivated reasoning.

    In my view, reasoning that locates the problem with extreme views on either side of the debate (such as a minority that rejects any local approach to adaptation – I mean seriously, how many people fit that description?) is not only facile, and counterproductive, but a dime a dozen.

    Arguments based on that reasoning are ubiquitous. They have been offered, I’d guess, hundreds of thousand of times in blog comments. IMV, such an approach will not advance progress, but only add to the current entrenchment and Jello-flinging. 

    We might debate about whose influence is more counterproductive:  The local/adaptation-rejecting, “denier”-hating extremists or the global/mitigation rejecting, “one-world-government, climate scientists are frauds”-hating extremists, but even there, I think it’s a waste of time. What is important to note is that they are both counterproductive, IMO.

    So let’s have the discussion of the where the balance lies between the importance of local and adaptation, and global and mitigation. That is what Keith intended this post to address. But to do that we have to clear away the extremists and the polemicists who, for whatever reason, exploit the extremists to advance the value of their own particular views of where that balance should be struck.

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

    BillC,

    I agree that the lack of a global agreement does not prevent action being taken at local level and that such actions are desirable and should be applauded. That does not in itself mean that a global agreement will not ultimately be needed.

    The fact is that this is a global problem and the only way that actions will be taken which in aggregate are sufficient to reduce emissions by anything approaching the required amount is if all countries take steps to limit their emissions. And although some countries are willing to take a lead others are understandably reluctant to make a commitment without a guarantee that others will follow suit. Whatever policies are ultimately adopted there will be costs involved and it is natural that people are wary of paying that cost but being denied the ultimate benefits because of the (non) actions of others, or of others gaining an unfair competitive advantage in the short term. It’s a kind of tragedy of the commons.

    There are also important questions such as enforcement, where the balance of responsibility lies between established industrial economies, more recently developed ones and the still-developing world, and crucially, how to ensure that the poorest are still able to improve their living standards, which can only be agreed at global level.

    That is the reality which I believe needs to be addressed. It doesn’t have to prevent discussions about the practical, on-the-ground solutions and I don’t believe it is doing so – as has been pointed out action is being taken at local level, and I see plenty of discussions going on about alternatives to fossil fuels, the right and wrongs of carbon trading or taxes etc. I have certainly never seen anyone argue that policies to reduce emissions should not be enacted because we don’t have a global agreement or that bottom-up solutions are a bad thing per se. We need to look both at the big picture and the smaller one.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Andrew, if I can step in front of BillC for just a second, lest I (and perhaps others) be misunderstood, neither I nor anybody I have read is claiming that climate change is anything other than a global issue. And all parts of the globe will have to respond to it as best they can.

    That does not lead to the conclusion that there is one and one only response, that that response is best directed from a multinational perspective or that responses below the global level can or should be coordinated or simultaneous.

    In fact, someone standing outside the arena could reasonably wonder why Iceland, with very high energy consumption, should pattern their response to conform with Germany’s with a very average level or Denmark with a very low level.

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

    Tom,The fact that there is a global commitment to reducing emissions doesn’t mean that individual countries can’t respond in a way which suits their particular circumstances.  

  • Joshua

    That does not lead to the conclusion that there is one and one only
    response, that that response is best directed from a multinational perspective or that responses below the global level can or should be coordinated or simultaneous.

    Yes. All those people arguing that there is one and only one response are wrong, in my opinion, along with those arguing the other points in that statement.

    Also wrong, IMO, are those who, with a binary perspective, think that arguing that the global/mitigation aspect is important is tantamount to saying that local/adaptation is unimportant.

    Also wrong, IMO, are those who argue that any global/mitigation approach is necessarily an attempt by the AGW research-fund pocket-lining cabal to dismantle the free-market – indifferently to the starving of tens of millions worldwide –  to install a one-world government

    Also wrong are those, IMO, who think that the primary obstacle to progress can be located at either of those extreme ends of the debate, respectively.

  • Jeffn

    Hi Tom,
    Would it nit make more sense for western nations to look for energy solutions for themselves that would also work for developing nations? By this, I mean solutions that are cost effective and reliably produce lots of energy. It seems to me that the idea of making energy expensive and unreliable in the west is the exact opposite of anything that’s designed to affect global warming. China isn’t much interested in stuff that is cost prohibitive and doesn’t work.
    And yes, actually, I think what the EPA is doing is having a major impact on the reduction in US emissions. Fear of future regs is real. Some here may want to note, however, that the fear of regs created a lot of the pressure for fracking. Power companies switched to what worked, gas works, and now Bill McKibben’s temper tantrums are ignored as any politician who has to make the actual call falls on board the gas train- Obama, Cuomo…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Andrew @77, can you then explain some of the bile that is directed at people like Paul Kelly? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Jeffn, yes, of course it would make sense for western nations to develop higher tech solutions using their greater resources to fund the R&D. That’s sort of what happened with wind, which isn’t working, and solar, which is. My big hope is that China will learn, not so much the nuclear technology, but the regulatory pitfalls that have stopped nuclear power in most of the Western world, so as to avoid them.But people then have to get on board with the idea of technology transfer to the developing world. And domestic conservatives in the U.S. not only are upset about the government acting like a VC, they are downright annoyed when a couple of the investments go south. And they are miffed, to say the least, when we teach developing countries how to fish in the world of solar as opposed to giving them our own precious panels.I agree with your remarks about EPA, gas and the mindless McKibben.

  • BillC

    Never having heard of Paul Kelly, I probably shouldn’t step in for Andrew, but after noting that I agree with almost all of what is said in #73 and #75, I will note that almost anyone who promotes a certain aspect of an issue is almost immediately slammed by (jello from?) those who don’t think it’s the most important aspect. Such is the communication culture.As far as international cooperation, there are interesting themes that have already been explored beyond what I am willing to do now, such as “was Kyoto a failure?” and “will it happen without a binding agreement”?”

  • BillC

    Heh heh, the fact that China is not a democracy YET is a key parameter to get right in future energy modeling. To wit: recent China report detailing the high toll of future AGW to China’s economy and population:1) Truth, unfettered by political propaganda necessary in a democracy.2) Propaganda, stretching the truth implement a central plan to let China’s light shine as a future clean energy superpower.Either way, it implies brakes on the Orient Express of Coal. But sometimes funny things happen when you hit the brakes and the gas at the same time.

  • Tom Scharf

    I think I can safely predict this:

    If an international binding agreement ever takes place, then as soon as it becomes economically inconvenient for country X, they will immediately bail out completely, or cheat.

    Handing out climate exemptions from the UN will become political corruption of the highest order. 

    I find it laughable that any treaty handing over US sovereignty to the UN will ever make it through the US congress.  A 2/3 majority?  Doubly laughable.  Has anyone been paying attention to what the UN has been doing for the last 20 years?   They really aren’t our friends.

    Cheap low carbon energy.  it’s the best answer for everyone.  95% of the focus should be on this.  

  • harrywr2

    #74 Andrew Adams

    Whatever policies are ultimately adopted there will be costs involved

    Why is it assumed that low carbon energy will ultimately be more expensive then coal mining or oil and gas extraction? The current capital cost per GW for a coal fired plant with all the pollution controls if about $3 billion, a GenIII+ nuclear plant about $5 billion and a Combined Cycle Gas plant a little over $1 billion. With seaborne steam coal running at $100/ton the annual fuel cost difference between a nuclear plant and a coal fired plant used for base load is $300+ million.There are very few countries in the world that don’t have to import coal. The same is true for natural gas and oil.Taken in the context of US or Australian domestic coal prices ‘action on global warming’ seems like a problem that will take an enormous amount of money to fix.Technology advancement almost always follows the same pattern. Those who have the ‘greatest financial incentive’ adopt new technology first and those with the least incentive eventually follow as prices drop.China and India are both big net coal importers with huge demand for additional generating capacity. It is only logical that they will lead on new technology deployment.In the US we don’t have much of a need for new generating capacity, hence we will trail on deployment.

  • andrew adams

    Tom,My personal disagreement with Paul Kelly and others with similar views is that what he is proposing will not even come close to addressing the problem we face.Bottom up solutions are great, win-win policies which can be justified for reasons other than fighting climate change are great (although I found MarkB’s comments @56 rather amusing, if slightly bonkers). But thinking we can tackle a problem on the scale of climate change without actually talking about it is, IMHO hopelesly naive. What we need to do is politically very difficult. There will be (and are) people putting up strong opposition. it would be nice if we could just wish those facts away and find nice politically comfortable answers, but we can’t.

  • andrew adams

    harrywr2,That’s an interesting comment and I am certainly keen to be proved wrong in my assertion. I do think that in the long term low carbon energy will prove to be economical, the problem is that if we are serious about cutting emissions then that is likely to mean moving away from fossil fuels sooner than would be dictated by economics alone. Policies such as carbon taxes and/or trading schemes will impose costs on some businesses. It will also be necessary to provide assistance to developing countries who need to increase their energy consumption, so they can do so in the “cleanest” possible way.I don’t think any of these costs are insurmountable and I think the ultimate benefits make them worthwhile but I think we have to be realistic and say that drastically reducing emissions will come at a price. 

  • andrew adams

    harrywr2,
    That’s an interesting comment and I am certainly keen to be proved wrong in my assertion. I do think that in the long term low carbon energy will prove to be economical, the problem is that if we are serious about cutting emissions then that is likely to mean moving away from fossil fuels sooner than would be dictated by economics alone.

    Policies such as carbon taxes and/or trading schemes will impose costs on some businesses. It will also be necessary to provide assistance to developing countries who need to increase their energy consumption, so they can do so in the “cleanest” possible way.

    I don’t think any of these costs are insurmountable and I think the ultimate benefits make them worthwhile but I think we have to be realistic and say that drastically reducing emissions will come at a price.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew, I recall that you (and others) have said pretty much the same thing when I’ve brought this up in the past.

    I’m curious about a lot of things–do you think you know enough about what he’s proposing to say that it ‘will not even come close to addressing the problem’? I don’t, myself.

    And I believe Paul, myself and others have consistently said that talking about bottom up solutions as a partial attempt at addressing climate change would be, not only a good thing, but something that would be encouraged.

    Rather than naive, I’d like to point out that Paul’s approach is very much grounded in the successful experience of bottom-up solutions to other problems that eluded the best minds and concerted efforts of governments. I would almost go so far as to characterize the idea that a multinational approach as naive. I’m still waiting for the case study that shows evidence that your approach is superior. (I will probably have difficulty in accepting the Montreal accords as such an example, for reasons that have been discussed frequently and in detail.) Is there another one?

  • harrywr2

    #87 Andrew Adams

    the problem is that if we are serious about cutting emissions then that
    is likely to mean moving away from fossil fuels sooner than would be
    dictated by economics alone

    In ‘most of the world’…the US is a tiny fraction…the challenges to a ‘low carbon future’ are not necessarily economic.

    For example, something like 30% of already built Chinese wind turbines are waiting for grid connections.  It only takes a few months to throw up a wind turbine…it takes a few years for the necessary grid planning and grid construction to take place.

    Or the(Chinese) National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) has only 1000 staff – a figure that must more than quadruple by 2020.(According to their own State Council).

    Try quadrupling staff in a safety organization in less then 10 years while trying to improve safety standards. Not easily done. In the US we have a US NRC staff of 2800 and how many reactors do we have under construction? The Chinese have 25 under construction.

    Wind, nuclear and hydro are all cheaper then burning coal in China…so exactly what ‘economic incentive’ will get them to stop building coal? I know…none…because the impediments have nothing to do with economics…they have to do with time. Money can’t buy time.

    My brother-in-law built one of the last oil fired generating plants  in the US. It was originally supposed to be a base/intermediate load plant…but after the Arab Oil Embargo is was quickly relegated to ‘seasonal peaker’. It still runs…about 10 afternoons a year.

    The whole 40 year technology lock-in argument being bandied about by some of the climate alarmed is nonsense. 

    We have coal fired plants in the US running as ‘seasonal peakers’ that were ‘baseload’ plants not more then 3 years ago. Something cheaper came along and it didn’t take any time at all to make the switch.

    What happens after 2020 is more important then what happens before….that probably means avoiding cooking off another nuclear reactor which means the Chinese need to take their time and pay attention to safety and ignore those who demand immediate results.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Harrywr2 at #90, I have seldom seen so much common sense expressed so succinctly.

  • Tom C

    Joshua – Re your #77.  You are very persistent with the theme of free-market extemists who are paranoid about one-world government types being behind the global warming alarm.  And as a result, you say, we are forced into binary thinking, nothing gets done, etc.  But much earlier in this thread you wrote:  “Effective, structured stakeholder dialog requires dismantling those kinds of existing power hierarchies.”  I’m not sure how old you are, but your sentence sets off alarm bells for those of us of a certain age who are not free-market extremists, but are very leery of far-left nostrums from the 60s.  It’s not an isolated instance of this one sentence, we read the same from the Real Climate gang, Tamino, Eli, etc.  Please excuse us who are suspicious of far left designs, but we are certainly not discouraged from making these associations by the rhetoric that flies around.

  • hr

    What could be more visceral to the 800,000 “energy-impoverished developing folks” in India than the 455 new power plants? 

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

    Hi Tom,I’m curious about a lot of things”“do you think you know enough about what he’s proposing to say that it “˜will not even come close to addressing the problem’? I don’t, myself.Well that’s the thing, I’ve always found what Paul is proposing a bit vague and woolly. If someone can point me to a more concrete description of what he is proposing with numbers that add up to the required savings then I might be more convinced by his arguments. After all, the onus is surely on him and people who agree with him to demonstrate his approach can potentially work in this case, not for me to disprove it – “it worked with other problems” is not really much of an argument if those other problems are not comparable in scale, do you have some actual examples? As I’ve said, I’m not against bottom-up action per se – governments cannot (and of course should not) dictate all aspects of our lives so I’m sure there is scope for concerned people to drive certain changes. But governments can make strategic decisions, particularly on power generation and also related matters such as transport, planning and building regulations etc. I would also refer to certain points I made in #74 above regarding the ToC and the need to provide assistance to the developing world.As for case studies for problems solved by global action, I don’t think we should dismiss the Montral Protocols simply because the problem wasn’t directly comparable; after all I can’t think of any problem which actually was directly comparable. I can see parallels with the WTO – countries have agreed not to carry out certain actions which might be in their narrow economic self-interest and there are enforcement mechanisms for countries which do not comply. But ultimately my case is not based on the argument that international co-operation has always been a success story, it’s based on my belief that without it I don’t see how we can resolve the problem we face. Maybe that’s just a failure of imagination on my part but I’d need a bit of persuading. 

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

    Hi Tom,
    I’m curious about a lot of things”“do you think you know enough about what he’s proposing to say that it “˜will not even come close to addressing the problem’? I don’t, myself.
    Well that’s the thing, I’ve always found what Paul is proposing a bit vague and woolly. If someone can point me to a more concrete description of what he is proposing with numbers that add up to the required savings then I might be more convinced by his arguments. After all, the onus is surely on him and people who agree with him to demonstrate his approach can potentially work in this case, not for me to disprove it – “it worked with other problems” is not really much of an argument if those other problems are not comparable in scale, do you have some actual examples?
    As I’ve said, I’m not against bottom-up action per se – governments cannot (and of course should not) dictate all aspects of our lives so I’m sure there is scope for concerned people to drive certain changes. But governments can make strategic decisions, particularly on power generation and also related matters such as transport, planning and building regulations etc. I would also refer to certain points I made in #74 above regarding the ToC and the need to provide assistance to the developing world.
    As for case studies for problems solved by global action, I don’t think we should dismiss the Montral Protocols simply because the problem wasn’t directly comparable; after all I can’t think of any problem which actually was directly comparable. I can see parallels with the WTO – countries have agreed not to carry out certain actions which might be in their narrow economic self-interest and there are enforcement mechanisms for countries which do not comply.
    But ultimately my case is not based on the argument that international co-operation has always been a success story, it’s based on my belief that without it I don’t see how we can resolve the problem we face. Maybe that’s just a failure of imagination on my part but I’d need a bit of persuading.

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

    harrywr2,You make some interesting points which deserve some consideration. I would be interested in a source though for your claim that “wind, nuclear and hydro are all cheaper then burning coal in China”.

  • Joshua

    Rom C. (92)

    You are very persistent with the theme of free-market extemists who are paranoid about one-world government types being behind the global warming alarm.  And as a result, you say, we are forced into binary thinking, nothing gets done, etc. 

    You are drawing a cause-and-effect relationship there that I have never drawn. I am noting that there are a notable number of “skeptics” who have extremist libertarian ideologies that are often based on binary thinking. I am not saying that “nothing gets done” because of those extremists. There are many factors of which they are only. one.

    But much earlier
    in this thread you wrote:  “Effective, structured stakeholder dialog requires dismantling those kinds of existing power hierarchies.”  I’m not sure how old you are, but your sentence sets off alarm bells for those of us of a certain age who are not free-market extremists, but are
    very leery of far-left nostrums from the 60s.  It’s not an isolated instance of this one sentence, we read the same from the Real Climate
    gang, Tamino, Eli, etc. 

    It would be entirely unskeptical for you to look at the political alignment, say, between Tamino and Mike Mann, and not question if there is some relationship to their views on climate change. It would be similarly unskeptical for me to look at the overt rightwing political themes at WUWT or Climate Etc. and not question whether there is a relationship between climate “skepticism” and rightwing political ideology. Indeed, there is much evidence that shows, more generally, a strong alignment between public views on climate change and political orientation.

    However, the comment you are referring to is a simple statement w/r/t the process of stakeholder dialog. Keith referenced stakeholder dialog as a positive approach to addressing climate change. The effectiveness of that process is highly proportional to the extent that the participants have equal power in affecting the outcome. Of course, there are political ramifications to the concept of leveling the playing field when discussing global mitigation policies for addressing climate change. Of course, those political ramifications cannot be avoided – they must be dealt with openly.

    Please excuse us who are suspicious of far left designs, but we are certainly not discouraged from making these associations by the rhetoric that flies around.

    This suggests another misunderstanding on your part. I would never expect that “left wing designs” be “excused.” And linking “left wing designs” to the rhetoric  can be, entirely, relevant IMO for someone who is looking through a lens of skepticism. The point, IMO, is to determine the degree of relevance through balanced analysis, and not to make assumptions based on biased reasoning. In that regard, it should be noted that there is no necessary linkage between “left wing designs” and leveling the playing field in stakeholder dialog. If you don’t believe in leveling the playing field, then you are crippling any process of stakeholder dialog. And I don’t see why leveling the playing field is necessarily a “left wing design.” It may be so related to a particular orientation towards a particular context – and that’s a valid discussion to have, IMO.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew,I don’t think Paul Kelly is proposing anything that is different from the concept of Energy Star or CAFE standards, in the sense that individuals take an action that reduces their impact on the environment. 

    And what Paul advocates is definitely not replacing Energy Star or CAFE standards–it is additive to them. In essence he calls for harnessing the community spirit and sense of volunteerism that has characterized Americans for more than 300 years and channeling it into the adoption of low impact energy sources. 

    I don’t think he has numerical totals as a goal. I don’t think he believes that this would be enough to solve the problem. And I don’t either.

    However, I look at his initiative from the outside and see that it has the potential to show politicians what their voters care about, show manufacturers what their customers care about and show their neighbors what in fact can be done.

    And as I have said more than once, politicians need to see where the parade is going so they can jump in front of it and pretend they are leaders. 

    And as I have said more than once, there are more signals in a market than just price–utility is measured not with dollars and cents.

  • Tom Scharf

    Joshua,

    “..dismantling those kinds of existing power hierarchies.” sets off all kinds of hippie stick it to the man alarms we older folks have all heard a 1000 times.  You might be interested to know that when the hippies grew up and got the political control they so desperately wanted, they became indistinguishable from the man they so hated.  

    It is an infantile and isolated view of the world to think that the only necessary step to success is getting you and your tribe in control of the power hierarchy.  Obama’s change sure looks and smells like Bush’s governance to me.  Reasonable people tend to make similar decisions under similar circumstances.  

    Governing is hard.  Many think it is all about deciding what are the worthy causes and funding the solutions.  Wrong.  It is about optimal allocation of scarce resources.  Fully fund the teacher’s pension this year or hire more teachers?  Give the new auto plant a huge tax break or watch them open it the next state over that did give them a huge tax break?

    Even today’s hippies find out governing is hard:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/oakland-occupy-movement.html?pagewanted=all 

    You are obsessed with “why” people think instead of “what” people think.  People think you have ulterior motives because you are consistently off point and in the weeds with your psycho-babble.  

  • harrywr2

    #96 Andrew AdamsHow do I come to the conclusion that wind,hydro and nuclear are cheaper then coal in China?

    US Average thermal coal costs are $2.39/MMBtu. China’s ‘benchmark’ price for thermal coal is double that even with the current slump and have been as much as 2 1/2 times the US average as recently as last year.

    So simply add $23/MW to the variable O&M costs in US EIA levelized costs for new coal  generating capacity then compare.

    http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html

    If you really want to get fancy you could reduce EIA’s overnight capital costs by 40% to reflect the differential between US and Chinese construction costs. If I reduce overnight capital costs by 40% solar PV ends up coming within $20/MW(2 cents/kw) of coal in China..to the extent that Solar PV coincides with ‘peak load’ even Solar PV makes economic sense.

    In 2002 China was exporting thermal coal for about $1/MMBtu. Today they are importing it for between $4 and $5/MMBtu and within the last year as high as $6/MMBtu.

    While everyone was busy screaming at each other about the need for a ‘price on carbon’ the price of thermal coal in most Asian countries quadrupled, domestic Australian coal prices being a notable exception.  

  • Joshua

    Tom S –

    It is an infantile and isolated view of the world to think that the only
    necessary step to success is getting you and your tribe in control of the power hierarchy.

    It’s hard to imagine a more confused interpretation of what I said. First, I never said word one about an “only necessary step.” Second, what I spoke of is a fundamental principle of stakeholder dialog. If you don’t like the ramifications of what it would take to engage stakeholder dialog, fine. Knock yourself out. Seek out solutions that don’t involve stakeholder dialog. But it would be illogical to see stakeholder dialog as a useful tool (among others) for enacting policy and yet not understand the importance of leveling the playing field on which such dialog takes place.

    …sets off all kinds of hippie stick it to the man alarms we older folks
    have all heard a 1000 times.  You might be interested to know that when the hippies grew up and got the political control they so desperately
    wanted, they became indistinguishable from the man they so hated.  

    What? Hippies? What? Huh? 

    Obama’s change sure looks and smells like Bush’s governance to me.

    What? Obama? What? Huh?

     Reasonable people tend to make similar decisions under similar circumstances.   Governing is hard.

    What? Reasonable people? Governing? What? Huh? Not to diminish the deep profundity of those words of wisdom, but: (1) I have no idea why you seem to think I disagree and, (2) I have no idea why you think those deeply profound insights are anything other than a non-sequitur.

    You are obsessed with “why” people think instead of “what” people think.  People think you have ulterior motives because you are consistently off point and in the weeds with your psycho-babble. 

    I’m interested in what they think and their reasoning processes. If you aren’t interested in both, you are certainly entitled. It really doesn’t bother me that people interpret “ulterior motives” on my part. I have come to expect it.

    But thank you for your “on-topic” discussion of hippies, Obama, the difficulties of governing, “infantile and isolated views” of the world that I don’t hold and never mentioned, teachers’ pensions, tax breaks for auto plants, allocation of resources, your profound insight into the complexities of decision-making and governing, my “ulterior motives,” etc.

    I always appreciate it when  a poster steps up to get the discussion back on track. In particular when it is as hilarious as your latest post!

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Since nobody’s really discussing current affairs on any of the climate blogs right now, I hope people won’t object vehemently if I make an off-topic observation here.

    In the week following the record-setting decline of Arctic ice, the consensus team has chosen to engage those concerned with climate issues by having Professor Stephan Lewandowsky pick a fight with Steve McIntyre… about statistics, and Michael Mann pick a fight with Nate Silver… about numbers.

    I’m not sure anybody could make this up.

  • Joshua

    Over the past few decades, a new form of governance has emerged to replace adversarial and managerial modes of policy making and implementation. Collaborative governance, as it has come to be known, brings public and private stakeholders together in collective forums with public agencies to engage in consensus-oriented decision making. In this article, we conduct a meta-analytical study of the existing literature on collaborative governance with the goal of elaborating a contingency model of collaborative governance. After reviewing 137 cases of collaborative governance across a range of policy sectors, we identify critical variables that will influence whether or not this mode of governance will produce successful collaboration. These variables include the prior history of conflict or cooperation, the incentives for stakeholders to participate, power and resources imbalances, leadership, and institutional design. We also identify a series of factors that are crucial within the collaborative process itself. These factors include face-to-face dialogue, trust building, and the development of commitment and shared understanding. We found that a virtuous cycle of collaboration tends to develop when collaborative forums focus on “˜”˜small wins” that deepen trust, commitment, and shared understanding.

    […]

    Power imbalances between stakeholders are a commonly noted problem in collaborative governance (Gray 1989; Short and Winter 1999; Susskind and Cruikshank 1987; Tett, Crowther, and O’Hara 2003; Warner 2006). If some stakeholders do not have the capacity, organization, status, or resources to participate, or to participate on an equal footing with other stakeholders, the collaborative governance process will be prone to manipulation by stronger actors.

    [the link got stuck in the filter: Google Ansell and Gash collaborate governance]

    Damn Hippies!!!!!1!!11!!!!!!!!!!

    (Please note, collaborative governance and “one-world government” are pretty much in diametric opposition.)

  • Joshua

    For discussion of top-down governance versus public-input governance,  and decision-making power as a mediator in public policies related to environmental issues, Google “Leong Emmerson new governance era”

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

    As usual, Mr. Fuller got it wrong on who picked the fight re NigelSteve and Prof. L.

  • Tom Scharf

    Joshua you’d fit right in at an OWS meeting.  If you don’t think this type of spittle hasn’t made the rounds before, you are mistaken.  I’m sure you’ll be talking about communes pretty soon.

  • Tom Scharf

    The latest end of the world from CNN:

    Opinion: Arctic thaw threatens Earthhttp://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/opinion/boelman-arctic-tundra/index.html?hpt=hp_c3 

    Interestingly nothing in the article supports the linking title of it “threatening earth”.  I guess they just threw that in to jazz it up.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Well, Tom Scharf, at least they’re talking about the right story.

  • BBD

    @ 102

    And what did Anthony Watts do, Tom?

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

    Tom,I don’t disagree with anything in your #98. I think people should take initiatives themselves and sending messages to politicians is important – even when they are already inclined to take action they need “political space” in which to act.  

  • Joshua

    Tom S (106)

    Are you deliberately trying to prove my point, or was it just unintentional?

    Keith mentions the role of stakeholder dialog. Others bemoan categorical rejection of local or adaptation as “the” main obstacle.

    I point out that another obstacle (probably much more prevalent) is opposition to the process of stakeholder dialog – a tool that not only can be used for developing local/adaptation policies, but which is vital to approaching development of global/mitigation policies.

    I describe that opposition in some more detail – opposition because people are ideologically/politically opposed to the very principles that enable stakeholder dialog to be successful: balance of power among stakeholders to affect outcomes of the process. I point how part of the problem is that that opposition to the notion of balancing stakeholder power lead to attacks on the mechanisms of approaching global/mitigation stakeholder dialog.

    I point out that there is nothing inherently political about fact that   balance of power is important in stakeholder dialog – although politics can obviously be an issue when the theory is applied to a particular context.

    And you, basically, call me a commie.

    Same ol same ol. Eh?

  • Tom Scharf

    For the record, I’m calling you a new age hippie.  You’ve got yourself twisted into such a pretzel that you believe people oppose things for everything else other than what they say.  

    But just for fun, give me a couple concrete real world examples of what you imagine would “balance the power of stakeholders” and how one would “dismantle the power hierarchies”.  Would giving skeptics real input to the the IPCC process be an example of this?

  • Joshua

    Tom S (112)

    You’ve got yourself twisted into such a pretzel that you believe people
    oppose things for everything else other than what they say.  

    ???? I said that people oppose the process of stakeholder dialog because they project onto it a political frame. And  then you went and provided a perfect example of exactly what I described.

    Would giving skeptics real input to the the IPCC process be an example of this?

    Creating a level playing field, and giving stakeholders equal power in affecting outcomes (to the extent realistically possible) is creating a level playing filed, and giving stakeholders equal power in affecting outcomes.Interesting how often that needs to be explained, isn’t it?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m delighted you are willing to offer support for the type of initiative Paul Kelly espouses. My question to you was why does he get vilified by others on your ‘side’?

  • harrywr2

    #97 Joshua

    I am noting that there are a notable number of “skeptics” who have
    extremist libertarian ideologies that are often based on binary
    thinking.

    And there a a number of notable extremist communists that suffer from binary thinking as well who find  ‘climate alarmism’ to be useful.

    So what?

    <p?All politics is effectively an insurgency. The only way to win an insurgency is the 'salami approach'. I.E. Slowly slicing the center and moderates on the other side away from the other sides extremists.  You label the majority of people that don't agree with you as 'undecided'.

  • Joshua

    And there a a number of notable extremist communists that suffer from
    binary thinking as well who find  “˜climate alarmism’ to be useful.

    Perhaps.

    The “so what” is that I was asked about why I talk about  that constituency in the debate, and I said that they are one of the factors that influence outcome – and FWIW, I would guess a more significant factor than what I would suppose is a relatively small constituency – those who categorically reject any efforts on a local level or focused on adaptation because of foundational ideological orientation. 

    My point, again, was that such folks attack the very core of successful stakeholder dialog – as a matter of ideological principle. Keith spoke about stakeholder dialog and some folks want to reflexively, as has probably happened hundreds of thousands of times in the past, focus on the extreme end of one side of the debate (those who categorically reject any local/adaptation focus) as “the” primary obstacle.

    Anyone interested in progress in the debate, IMO, is not well-served by ignoring or minimizing the constituency that ideologically rejects foundational components of stakeholder dialog (of the sort that would lead to policies addressed at the local/adaptation level as well as at the global/mitigation level).

    It is no more beneficial to ignore or diminish the influence of those ideologically opposed to the principles of effective stakeholder dialog than it would be to ignore or diminish the influence of those who categorically reject any local/adaptation focus. Each constituency should be viewed in the appropriate context and looking at the entire debate should not be reduced to looking at the counter-productivity of either of those constituencies in isolation.

  • Tom Scharf

    Joshua,

    Give me a couple concrete real world examples of what you imagine would “balance the power of stakeholders” and how one would “dismantle the power hierarchies”.

  • Joshua

    Tom S –

    Climate change conferences are an imperfect attempt. There are obviously problems with those efforts outside of the fact that the very concept of such an approach is opposed, categorically, by many. But ideological opposition has certainly made them less effective than they might be otherwise. Of course, if one were inclined to a binary mentality, one might say that since they haven’t produced the sorts of results they desired, therefore any such attempts are worthless. 

    If one were inclined towards a binary mentality, that is. Good thing we don’t know anyone like that, eh?

    Of course, more generally there are many on-going efforts at promoting stakeholder engagement for more local (particularly environment) problems. I’m sure that if you’re interested, you could Google a bit and find some interesting reads.

    And while you’re at it, Google:  “Framework for stakeholder engagement on climate adaptation.”  Maybe you’ll find the PDF interesting. It seems a bit thin to me, but read if you’re so inclined,  and we can discuss its merits and drawbacks if you’d like.

  • andrew adams

    Hi Tom,I think we are slightly going round in circles. I support the kind of initiatives Paul is proposing (although I am still pretty vague about what they are) as something which could make a contribution to mitigating climate change. But they are a complement to, not a replacement for, co-ordinated international action, although as I said above it’s possible that it could make it easier politically for politicians to sign up for such action,But Paul’s position as I understand it is that such co-ordinated international action is in fact unachievable and we should forget about arguing for it and instead concentrate just on what he is proposing and what is politically easy to achieve.I, and others, believe that this will not be anywhere near sufficient to deal with the problem we face, and that is why he has got a bit of a hard time. I also think it’s a bit of a cop out – if people trying to bring about change always took the easy route when they ran into political obstacles we would not have the kind of society we have today.

  • andrew adams

    #115

    And there a a number of notable extremist communists that suffer from binary thinking as well who find “˜climate alarmism’ to be useful.

    Like whom? 

  • andrew adams

    #100OK, it seems reasonable to say that nuclear and onshore wind could at least competitive with coal in China. I’m certainly not convinced about solar PV, although this could change as technology improves. So the point that there are other constraints on non-carbon electricty generation in China apart from cost would appear to be a perfectly fair one. But cost is still an issue in the US and elsewhere, and it’s wrong to dismiss the US as a “tiny fraction” of the world. The US accounts for 18% of CO2 emissions, add the EU and other advanced industrialised nations and you get over 40%And there is also the issue of other developing countries who have further to go than China and will need assistance if they are to develop their economies using “clean” energy.

  • andrew adams

    #100

    OK, it seems reasonable to say that nuclear and onshore wind could at least competitive with coal in China. I’m certainly not convinced about solar PV, although this could change as technology improves. So the point that there are other constraints on non-carbon electricty generation in China apart from cost would appear to be a perfectly fair one.

    But cost is still an issue in the US and elsewhere, and it’s wrong to dismiss the US as a “tiny fraction” of the world. The US accounts for 18% of CO2 emissions, add the EU and other advanced industrialised nations and you get over 40%

    And there is also the issue of other developing countries who have further to go than China and will need assistance if they are to develop their economies using “clean” energy.

  • Jeffn

    Tom S,
    Since Joshua has suddenly gone shy, let me help him out. The most sustainable place on the planet- and most committed to fighting global warming because it is, clearly, more “democratic” than everyone else is because it is a government of the people. The winner is, of course….

    Cuba

    http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/41091

    At least according to the left. Joshua, it is easy to forget that that people are better read on the subject of the left’s philosophical roots than you. But by all means tell us which nation you think has equality of stakeholders.

  • Tom Scharf

    #118 The biggest problem with climate change conferences and the abundance of papers on climate communication is that they rarely, if ever, invite the opinions of the skeptics / conservatives / rationalists, or have them present their side of the case.  These tend to be entirely intra-tribe events where “communication strategies” are hashed out only between the believers.  

    I can’t think of any examples of a climate communications document that accurately portrayed what the skeptic issues are.  They tend to start on the assumption that all the tenets of climate science (and particularly the projections) are not to be questioned and move quickly to how to convert the convertible.  This is not communication in the sense that there is an honest attempt to share knowledge, this is propaganda.  

    The way this is playing out, is that the green movement has been so slow to realize their message has failed, that they have also missed out on any real opportunity to achieve compromise.  The other side now smells blood in the water and has no incentive any longer to compromise and will likely push a very hard line against anything at this point.  People who have been irrationally vilified tend to not be cooperative. 

  • harrywr2

    #122 Andrew Adams

    And there is also the issue of other developing countries who have
    further to go than China and will need assistance if they are to develop their economies using “clean” energy.

    Bangladesh is going nuclear…http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2011/bangladeshprog.html

    If Bangladesh can figure out ‘clean energy at a price they can afford to pay’ then the list of countries that can’t figure it out much be quite short and I suspect there are a lot of things those countries can’t figure out like basic governance.

    I’m certainly not convinced about solar PV, although this could change as technology improves.

    Levelized Capital Costs for coal are based on an 85% Utilization rate. Pretty much everywhere between 30 degrees south and 30 degrees north is a ‘summer peaking’ place. So for those places some portion of their generating resource will only need to run during the summer when the sun is shining. This creates a rather small utilization rate for traditional fossil plants which greatly increases the ‘per KWh’ capital investment. If I reduce US installed costs by 40% for solar then solar PV is competitive for that portion of the ‘generating mix’. The  solar panels themselves only represent about 20% of the installed cost. In countries where labor costs are substantially less then US labor costs solar PV looks a lot better then it does in the US.

    The US accounts for 18% of CO2 emissions

    Post Copenhagen the US leads the world in emissions reductions. That could change and we may need to re-evaluate down the road. I would note that even the State of Wyoming, where coal is  cheaper then dirt has a Nuclear Power Working Group investigating potential ‘future’ nuclear power options. We don’t know the final costs and build timelines for our two nuclear power demonstration builds. Vogtle #3 and #4 have suffered some regulatory delay and cost overruns as a result but VC Summer #2 and #3 are fairly close to ‘on time, on budget’.  We don’t know how much natural gas will cost in 2016/2017 when utilities will be making decisions based on those two ‘demonstration’ projects. We also have Small Modular Reactor demonstration projects that should come online somewhere around 2020 and the nextGen nuclear initiative which should yield results in the early 2020’s when the majority of our coal fired fleet begins to reach the end of ‘useful life’.

    add the EU

    I can’t reasonably explain what the EU is up to in regards to energy policy. Coal costs in the EU are similar to coal costs in Asia as the EU is a net coal importer(coal is expensive to transport). At some point subsidized wind makes nuclear un-economic to pursue as nuclear needs to be able to sell 24/7 in order to keep the ‘per KWh’ capital costs reasonable. In addition many EU countries are ‘winter peak’ so the prevalence of subsidized solar panels makes for a relatively small summer ‘energy pie’. 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard
  • kdk33

    We don’t know how much natural gas will cost in 2016/2017.

    $3.80

    Just sayin’

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    In 2002 China was exporting thermal coal for about $1/MMBtu. Today they are importing it for between $4 and $5/MMBtu and within the last year as
    high as $6/MMBtu.

    You always give the impression that China is now importing huge amounts of its coal at high prices. My understanding is that China is *almost* self-sufficient and that only a small percentage of coal is imported, thus reducing the significance of its price *hugely* in the big picture.

    Can you quantify the percentage of Chinese coal imports vs Chinese national production?

    Thanks!

  • harrywr2

    #128 BBD

    My understanding is that China is *almost* self-sufficient and that only a small percentage of coal is imported

    Chinese domestic coal prices

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/china-coal-loans-idINL4E8K62OT20120925

    resulting in a 20 percent drop in domestic prices from 787 yuan ($120) a tonne in late-April to a near three-year low of 626 yuan in early August.
    Prices have since ticked up slightly to 630 yuan.

    I used August prices in my most recent pontifications on the ‘economics of coal’ in China.
    So far in 2012 domestic coal production  exceeded consumption by about 100 million tons. Even with the recent oversupply problem Chinese domestic coal prices are double average US domestic coal prices.

    There is some regional variation but the general rule that the coal nearest where the bulk of the people live is the most expensive holds which brings in overland transport costs. Inner Mongolia is now the #1 coal producing region.

    China coal resource is quite deep, average mine depth is over 500 meters and increases at a rate of 8-10m/year. Chinese mine productivity suffers as a result. It’s also why they have ‘safety challenges’ that other major coal producers such as the US don’t have. 

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    The link is a tale of woe about tumbling coal prices which would seem to undermine your argument. Can you provide like-for-like comparison (with specific references) for the cost of coal per ton in the US and in China?

  • Eric Adler

    Getting back to the theme of the original post, I believe that the focus on localism can easily backfire. Because of the reduction in Arctic Sea Ice, and the switch to El Nino conditions, it is likely this winter on the east coast will see a lot of snowfall. If the public is persuaded that current local experience is a guide to what is going on, this argument cannot be sustained, despite the record warm weather we have had.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Eric Adler, this is why the strategic change to a focus on Xtreme Weather was Xtremely mistaken.

    In the U.S., elections are generally held in… November… and if it’s snowing outside, global warming messages are not going to resonate.

  • Eric Adler

    Tom,Global warming is not an issue in the US elections now, and it is not going to be by this November.

  • Paul Kelly

    Andrew Adams has never spewed bile and shouldn’t be expected to understand those that do….#1…………..I don’t think the op-ed recommends “a local strategy (that) can be effective”“harnessing the efforts of neighbors can
    highlight results and create a sense of community as well as purpose”.  It seems more about local impacts rather than local solutions. It is good the author has rediscovered the 60’s motto: Think globally. Act locally. Too bad he changes it from act locally to speak locally….How many more attempts will there be to reframe the message within the information deficit communication model? It is not applicable. It needs to be replaced. There is a replacement. I call it the focus model. Others call it cooperative effort  or shared goals.The framing within this model is simple and elegant.It was hashed out pretty well a while ago at Bart’s…. It was mostly Tom Fuller, Andrew, Bart and I going round about on the variety of reasons framing. In the end, Andrew came up with the best expression of it.                                                                             

  • harrywr2

    #130

    Can you provide like-for-like comparison (with specific references) for the cost of coal per ton in the US and in China?

    In the US Powder River Basin Coal(wyoming) is currently selling for $9.40/ton(that is nine dollars and 40 cents and comprises 40% of US coal production). Unita Basin(Colorado/Utah) is currently selling for $35.60/ton, Illinois Basin Coal(high sulfur content) is selling for $47.75, Central Appalachian is selling for $63.10 and Northern Appalachian is selling for $65.10. It’s all available on the US EIA website.

    As far as the current ‘pricing drops’ continuing. Mine Expo was just last week in Las Vegas. The reports of mining equipment orders from the mining equipment manufacturer’s were ‘less then supportive’ of the idea that there was going to be an increase in production at current prices.

  • BBD

    Sorry harry, I wasn’t very clear at #130. Can you link to a definitive source for <i>the national average</i> coal prices per ton in August for the US and China?

  • BBD

    Eh, nix ‘August’. 2010, 2011 would be great; 2012 to date even better if you can.

  • harrywr2

    #137 BBDFrom July 2012 – Chinahttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-07/26/c_131738892.htm

    Coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per
    kilogram slid by 1.96 percent to 641 yuan (about 100 U.S. dollars) per
    metric ton after 10 weeks of decline, data from the China Coal Transport
    and Distribution Association (CCTDA) showed.

    Minemouth US prices going back to 1949

    http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/sec7_21.pdf

    Costs at power stations 1999 to 2010

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/table3.5.cfm

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    Thanks for the information. The xinhua link is very explicit on the point that Chinese internal demand for coal is weak and that falling prices and over-supply (and doubtless a cessation of imports) are the results. Prices will inevitably fall further still unless economic growth resumes. The relative cost of solar and nuclear will rise.

    Obviously economic growth drives coal consumption and in China enabled sustained power plant gate prices substantially higher than in the US. It’s likely that Chinese industrial expansion will resume, this time driven and funded by the emergent Chinese consumer class rather than primarily by exports to Western consumer markets.

    Once again, consumption will pay for high coal prices that the Chinese economy demonstrably sustains without difficulty when it is expanding.

    I see no reason to assume that Chinese coal will simply fade away, or that it will be significantly displaced by nuclear and solar over the coming decades unless policy is specifically directed at this outcome.

    I think the slope of the Keeling curve isn’t going to flatten all by itself. I don’t think the market is going to solve its own biggest problem. I think that’s a self-serving libertarian fiction.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    BBD,

    i’d like to point out once again how often pollyannas on the emission side of the equation (e.g. harry’s forecasts of coal consumption) go hand in hand with a belief in low ECS. why is that do you think?

  • harrywr2

    #129 BBD,

    Prices will inevitably fall further still unless economic growth resumes.

    Prices can never fall below the cost of production for long.From China Dailyhttp://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-10/01/content_15794824.htm

    “Weakened demand, falling prices and rising costs have squeezed profit margins in the coal sector and increased enterprises’ financial pressures,” according to a statement issued by the National Development and Reform Commission.

  • Paul Kelly

    Is the issue in dispute whether coal will fall of its own economic weight? It is clear that coal will remain available well beyond the 2075.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Paul

    Coal will be available and it will be used. It will get cleaner around 2050 in Asia, so the major impact following that date will be CO2 emissions. Of which there will be a lot.

  • BBD

    @ # 141

    Cost is not going to stop the Chinese burning coal unless the entire project of Chinese industrialisation fails. This is a nation about the business of creating its own huge internal consumer class and feeding it what it wants. The profits will pay for the coal and the Keeling curve will not flatten out.

  • BBD

    @ 140 Marlowe

    It’s striking, isn’t it? But we must remember what our ‘sceptic’ friends are always telling us: correlation does not imply causation ;-)

    Although in this case…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    From the department of correlation not guaranteeing causation:

    “I posted over at Politico just recently. Hey, we can tag team it a bit if you like, use time zone differences.” ““ Glenn Tamblyn [Skeptical Science], February 10, 2011

    I think this is a highly effective method of dealing with various blogs and online articles where these discussions pop up. Flag them, discuss them and then send in the troops to hammer down what are usually just a couple of very vocal people. It seems like lots of us are doing similar work, cruising comments sections online looking for disinformation to crush. I spend hours every day doing exactly this. If we can coordinate better and grow the “team of crushers” then we could address all the anti-science much more effectively.“ ““ Rob Honeycutt [Skeptical Science], February 11, 2011

    “Rob, Your post is music to my ears. I’ve been advocating the need to create a “crusher crew” for quite some time. I was not however able to get much traction on it with fellow environmental activists here in South Carolina or nationally. Like you, I spend (much to my wife’s chagrin) many hours each day posting comments on articles. One of haunts was the USA Today website […] The bottom line, would you be willing to patrol articles posted on the USA Today website?” ““ John Hartz [Skeptical Science], February 11, 2011

    This started a new forum discussion entitled, “Crusher Crew“.

    “Badgersouth and I were just discussing the potential of setting up a coordinated “Crusher Crew” where we could pull our collective time and knowledge together in order to pounce on overly vocal deniers on various comments sections of blogs and news articles.“ ““ Rob Honeycutt [Skeptical Science], February 11, 2011

    May I suggest first on our list as being the *#1 Science Blog* “Watts up with that”? They get a few people come there to engage from time to time but rarely a coordinated effort.” ““ Robert W. [Skeptical Science], February 11, 2011

    “I think it might be better to start out with smaller fish. Build a community and a team. Find some methods and strategies that work. Then start moving up the denier food chain with our targets set on WUWT. I could see this expanding into a broad team of 100 or more people (outside the scope of this SkS forum of course). […] We just need to raise our collective voices to drown them out. I would venture to guess that most people here know of 4 or 5 regulars on comments sections that would be interested in coordinating their efforts. I know probably 10 or 20 people who would like to help with this.” ““ Rob Honeycutt [Skeptical Science], February 11, 2011

    This eco-strike squad was highly endorsed by John Cook,

    The Rapid Response Network would be a good way to coordinate this kind of activity, identifying new articles, logging responses, supporting each other. Can i suggest if a group engage in this, that they use the RRN as beta testers to he’ll me develop and refine the system?” ““ John Cook [Skeptical Science], February 11, 2011

  • BBD

    They’re all bloody talk. Could have done with some extra pairs of hands six months ago but where were our ‘crusher crew’ then eh? Nowhere to be seen. So muggins got to do most of the work on his tod.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard
  • Dave H

    #146 may be making some sort of point, but I’m not sure what it is. Some sort of Argumentum Ex Emphasis.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Dave H,

    The argument could be this one:

    http://planet3.org/2012/09/19/how-we-lost-the-internet/

    but in reverse, and notwithstanding the content of what’s conveyed.

  • harrywr2

    #144 BBD

    Cost is not going to stop the Chinese burning coal

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-09/20/content_15771487.htm

    BEIJING – China consumed 615.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity generated by clean energy sources in the first eight months of the year, according to statistics from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission. As of the end of August, China’s hydropower generation capacity rose 6.7 percent year on year to 203.83 million kilowatts, while wind and nuclear power generation capacity added 37.2 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, to 54.37 million kilowatts and 12.57 million kilowatts.

    It takes time for electricity generation markets to adjust. There is always a lag between price signal and realization. China’s ‘clean energy industry’ is booming. Growing fast enough to catch 10% year on year increases in consumption is unrealistic. But the 10% year on year increases seem to be on pause.

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    You are living inside a self-serving fiction where the ‘free market’ will somehow make the problem of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, US, European coal just… go away.

    If there was even a ghost of a hint of a fraction of a chance of this happening, the world would already know about it. Yet you are a lone voice, crying in the wilderness.

    This should tell you something far more persuasively than I ever could.

  • Dave H

    #150 – Willard, that is a profoundly depressing video, especially the “victim” justification about “giving our ideas a fighting chance” at the end.

  • harrywr2

    #152

    harrywr2.You are living inside a self-serving fiction where the “˜free market’
    will somehow make the problem of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, US,
    European coal just”¦ go away.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-03/foxconn-gcl-poly-to-build-operate-china-solar-power-plant-1-.html

    Foxconn Technology Group and GCL-Poly
    Energy Holdings Ltd. (3800)
    will build and jointly operate a solar-
    power plant in China’s Shanxi province…..Total budget for the plant, in Shanxi’s Datong region, was
    initially based on a cost of 10 yuan ($1.58) per watt, which has
    since dropped to about 9 yuan, Shu said.

    If I could get solar panels for anywhere near $1.58/watt my roof would be covered with them. The Chinese can.I live in a world where I can suggest reasons for China’s slow uptake of nuclear in a comment on Brave New Climate and then read in a press release a few weeks later that Exelon, the largest US nuclear operator  has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s largest nuclear operator for a training program. Then a year later or so…I see Exelon and China’s Nuclear Construction industry in a joint bid to build a Nuclear Plant in the UK. Then there is stuff like thishttp://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-CAP1400_test_facility_under_construction-0404124.html

    Construction of the first CAP1400(ed 1400 Chinese-Westinghouse designed nuclear reactor), at a site near Weihei in Shandong Province, is officially scheduled to begin in April 2013…The partners hope their first CAP1400 will begin operation in December 2017.

    Sorry, the developing world doesn’t need British Bankers to tell them how to achieve energy innovation. They need a little engineering help from people who remember how to build and operate things. Then they will act in their own selfish interest.

  • BBD

    The CDIAC fossil fuel emission data are also instructive. Look at the effect of solids (coal) on the total over the last decade. Compare with trends for liquids and gas.

    The King is not dead ;-)

  • BBD

    NOTE ;-) That graph got chewed up – I think the link was too long for the commenting end got lopped off software.

    The original CDIAC graph is here.

  • BBD

    And that was supposed to be:

    NOTE That graph got chewed up ““ I think the link was too long for the commenting software and the end got lopped off.

  • BBD

    The failed graph above should work if you cut and paste the link:

    http://moyhu.blogspot.co.uk/p/climate-plotter.html#HxB1?HxG=1900,2011,”,[134,92],0,[]],[[[-2350.2,11107],9,0,[1979,2000]],[[286.78,420.7],5,1,[1979,2000]]],[[[7,11],16,0,0,0],[[7,8],13,0,0,0],[[7,10],18,0,0,0],[[7,9],20,0,0,0]]]

    I think it’s a little clearer than the CDIAC graph which is why I didn’t link to the original straight off.

  • BBD

    I give up. Sorry. The commenting SW automatically converted the text into a link – which does indeed have its end lopped off.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    i had no idea you were a banker bbd. can you spare a billion?

  • BBD

    Keith – would you mind fishing my #155 out of the spam trap? I forgot meself and included two links…  Thanks.

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    I didn’t know I was a banker either. Must keep up. Or perhaps it’s more of a meme placement: Evil British Bankers… Colonialism…. Kill The Poor…. BBD…

    Just a thought.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    harry, if you examine all of China’s energy options you can be optimistic over the longer term. They’re taking all this seriously, unlike the EU and sadly, the U.S. They’re building dams, nuclear power plants and deploying renewable energy as fast as they can. They are already planning how to get to the shale gas under their feet. They’re working hard to make their coal power plants cleaner.

    And they’ll get there–around the turn of the century. It’s just going to be a tough century in terms of fuel sources and emissions.

  • BBD

    (original response to # 154:)

    harrywr2

    Look at the big picture:

    Total world coal production reached a record level of 7,678Mt in 2011, increasing by 6.6% over 2010. The average annual growth rate of coal since 1999 was 4.4%.

    […]

    Worldwide, lignite production rose by 5.9% to 1041Mt in 2011, reaching a level not seen since 1990. OECD lignite production rose by 3.5% to 604Mt after three years of decline, led by increases in Germany, Poland and Turkey. Non-OECD lignite production rose even more strongly, increasing by 37.5Mt to a record level of 437Mt in 2011.

  • BBD

    Wow. Look at those records tumble. This is the <i>reality</i>. Not all the self-serving rhetoric coming out of Beijing and certain commenters here. I repeat: the slope of the Keeling curve
    isn’t going to flatten <i>all by itself</i>. That’s magical thinking.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    bbd the banker….a friendly word of advice. you can bold your text without having to resort to those pesky html tags. just click on the big “B” on the top left of the comment toolbar ;)

    on a completely unrelated note, for those of you that are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, here is hands down the best stuffing recipe i’ve ever found. 

    you can thank me later.

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    I know, I know. But sometimes I forget I’m not in html view anymore ;-)

    The charmingly idiosyncratic comment system here remains a challenge for all but the finest of minds ;-)

  • harrywr2

    #164 BBD

    Look at the big picture:

    I am looking at the big picture. Deceleration of coal fire construction in China, acceleration of wind,hydro and solar construction in China. In December China will announce it’s 2020 nuclear plan.

    I suspect they will abandon plans to build any more Gen II nuclear plants and insert the Chinese AP1400.I see things like a nuclear grade zirconium cladding manufacturing facility going up in China. There is no need for it if they are only going to build a couple of dozen nukes or things like the number of 12,000 tons presses.

    You look at a curve going up, and like the Chairman of Peabody Coal declare the curve is a permanent fixture. In March of 2012 the Chairman of Peabody Coal was blathering about the coal supercycle, in September they sent out some layoff notices.

    The stock price of Peabody coal is currently trading at 1/3 of it’s 1Q 2011 value. Investors don’t have the same level of confidence in the ‘future of coal’ as they did 18 months ago.

    The chairman of Peabody Coal and Climate Alarmists need for the coal ‘supercycle’ to continue. Unfortunately, there are a lot of indicators that ‘clean energy’ is set for a supercycle of it’s own…not out of any desire to save the world…but as a desire to save our wallets.

    If a nuclear plant can be built at a price competitive wil coal in the Southeastern US then it can be built almost anywhere in the world there is a market for baseload electricity.

    Unfortunately in the UK you have no market for baseload electricity. Off peak demand is about 20GW and you have a 2020 projected installed wind base of at least that. That is why it is impossible to finance nuclear in the UK with out some sort of scheme to insure profitability. Your wind capacity will force everything else to operate as peakers. Given current costs nuclear is not competitive when operated as a peaker.

  • BBD

    harry, read the words:

    Total world coal production reached a record level of 7,678Mt in 2011, increasing by 6.6% over 2010. The average annual growth
    rate of coal since 1999 was 4.4%.

    […]

    Worldwide, lignite production rose by 5.9% to 1041Mt in 2011, reaching a level not seen since 1990. OECD lignite production rose by 3.5% to 604Mt after three years of decline, led by increases in Germany, Poland and Turkey. Non-OECD lignite production rose even more strongly, increasing by 37.5Mt to a record level of 437Mt in 2011.

    These are the facts. The Keeling curve is a fact. You are a river in Egypt.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    harry i think you make some good points that suggest the worst of the SRES scenarios are unlikely. I’m curious which one(s) you think are most likely at this point.

  • harrywr2

    #170 Marlowe,As far as emissions I think emissions will peak sometime in the 2020’s which was the World Energy Organization estimate. Stationary source emissions will probably peak by 2014 and any increase after that will be due to transportation.#169 BBD,From 1980 to 2002 the coal cost trend line was definitely downward. As with all trends, many believed the trend would continue indefinitely and people made economic decisions based on an expectation that the trend would continue. Others made long term emissions projections based on that trend.Fortunately/unfortunately as is the case with many trends the cost trend reversed. The days of plentifull $22/ton Chinese coal or $30/ton Central Appalacian coal are over.A report on investment in the Chinese Power Sectorhttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-01/16/c_131363540.htm

    Investment in the coal-fired power sector stood at
    105.4 billion yuan in 2011, compared with 94 billion yuan in hydropower,
    74 billion yuan in nuclear power, and 82.9 billion yuan in wind power. The figures show a clear trend that money has been gradually shifting to the non-fossil power generation sector, said Xue Jing.

    Follow the money.

  • BBD

    emissions will peak sometime in the 2020″²s which was the World Energy Organization estimate. Stationary source emissions will probably peak by 2014 and any increase after that will be due to transportation.

    Is there anyone else in the world who believes this?

  • BBD

    marlowe

    Do please try and get harry to understand why another decade-plus of increasing emissions from 2012 levels will be a very bad thing. I don’t ever get the sense that harry grasps the essence of the problem.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    we’d better hope the chinese and the indians don’t put SCRs on their coal plants….

  • harrywr2

    #173 BBD

    Regardless of what another decade of increasing emissions will cause, we are going to have them.

    NO ONE is going to sacrifice economic growth at the alter of ‘climate change’.

    The first thing people like to do when they get two nickels to rub together is travel.

    The poor Maldives…destined to be the first nation to be swallowed up by rising oceans as a result of climate change is expanding their airport so they can accommodate more tourists.

    There wasn’t enough parking space at Copenhagen Airport to accommodate all the people that flew to Copenhagen to bemoan what a big problem CO2 emissions are.

    Low CO2 impact transportation fuels generally require a source of high temperature heat to be efficient in the conversion process.

    Earliest possible date for full scale demonstration of VHTR reactors is 2020.

    The last I checked(today) sales of battery powered vehicles in Western Europe and the US remain below 2 per thousand vehicles sold despite very generous government subsidy. 

    I don’t see a solution to the transportation fuels problem until the mid 2020’s regardless of what the climate concerned believe.

  • BBD

    Yes harry, which is why what Marlowe aptly describes as a pollyannaish attitude towards CC and clean energy transition is so f*cking dangerous.

    If the world sits complacently on its arse telling itself that it’s all going to be okay and nothing can be done anyway then we are *certainly* headed for trouble. Whether ECS is closer to 2.4C or 2.9C makes exactly no difference.

    The hard work needs to start now, and it won’t unless there’s a determination to get stuck in. But vested interests and the unwitting armies of useful idiots are doing a good job of making sure it’s business as usual.

    Do, please, think about this. Think about your own part in all this.

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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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