A Conundrum Haunts Climate Debate

By Keith Kloor | November 28, 2014 9:05 am

This tweet caught my eye:

A greater elaboration on this statement by Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, can be read here. It starts out this way:

Two great challenges define the 21st century–the threat of catastrophic climate change and the maddening gap between global rich and poor. These biggest challenges to worldwide peace are closely interlinked.

No question that climate change looms large, but is economic inequality–“the maddening gap between the global rich and poor”–really entwined in the manner suggested here? Please understand: I’m not questioning the inequality gap. It is distressingly real. Rather, it’s the premise of the statement that I’m questioning. For I thought that the big challenge coupled with climate change is increasing access to energy for the world’s 1.3 billion people that don’t have it–without dangerously heating up the planet.

A few sentences later, Shellnhuber says:

Without enhancing global equity, climate change cannot be contained; and without reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, fairness cannot be realized. Stabilizing the climate and combating poverty is largely the same thing.

Really? The same thing? Maybe to well-fed, well-housed Westerners, who take indoor plumbing and three square meals a day for granted. But for the billions without electricity, being poor isn’t about how rich the rest of the world is; what’s unfair is not having the opportunity to live like you and me. So this is the challenge:

Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development. Access to modern energy is essential for the provision of clean water, sanitation and healthcare and for the provision of reliable and efficient lighting, heating, cooking, mechanical power, transport and telecommunications services.

The truth is that enhancing this kind of global equity means that climate change may not be contained. A smart explanation of this conundrum was recently laid out by Mark Lynas. He concludes:

We’re all in this together as a planet and as a species – but the need for fairness is one of our most universal and deeply-held values.

Go read his post to see what he means.

ADVERTISEMENT
  • mememine

    Exploiting climate change as an excuse to hate conservatives by needlessly goose stepping billions of children to your exaggerated greenhouse gas ovens can only be judged as a pure war crime of the highest order in the history books.
    Quote any climate scientist that ever said the “scientific method” won’t allow them ti say; “proven” but allow you eager “believers” to tell children it’s “proven” they are doomed.
    32 MORE years of science never saying proven and “believers” saying it is, defines why it’s called “belief” and a childish hissy fit hate for neocons.

    • CB

      MeMeMine is a fully-automated spam bot which randomly rearranges phrases that are “skeptical” of climate science and automatically posts them on any article even remotely mentioning the subject.

      Please vote down and flag for spam.

      Mod, please permanently terminate the account’s access.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    the need for fairness is one of our most universal and deeply-held values.” The productive must have their stolen gains confiscated by central authority, then awarded to the deserving (less postage and handling). Confiscate what I have earned and watch me work harder and longer to fill my leaking bucket, my central finger being the percent of capacity indicator.

    If you want to end poverty, stop subsidizing it. Allow (mandate!) the congenitally inconsequential be limited to the boons of their own productivity and earnings. Klimate Kaos, the global criminality vector of political climatism, is hornswoggle.

    http://donsnotes.com/reference/images/pop_growth.gif

    • Ralph Snyder

      You remind me of someone.

      Oh yeah, Ebenezer Scrooge. He too wanted to do away with the surplus population.

      • RogerSweeny

        It is a mathematical certainty that if you kill all the poor people, the average income will go up and inequality will decrease.

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

          Kill? No! Allow them to prosper strictly by their own hands. Central authority is the worst possible solution to anything. Allow all control to be local.

          • DavidAppell

            “Strictly by their own hands?” Is that your story for how *you* got to your station in life?

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

            September 1969: 1200+ bodies were enrolled in majors organic chemistry. The prof wrote it on the blackboard. June 1973: 15 BS/Chem were graduated. Nobody gave me anything.

            Nascent Marines must survive the Crucible. To err is human, to forgive, divine. Neither one was Marine Corps policy. When BAMs were required by law, graduation requirements relaxed, oh yes indeed. We haven’t won a war since.

            Mediocrity is a vice of the doomed. March or die.

          • DavidAppell

            Nobody gave you anything? Wow are you blind. What advantages did you get just by being born in the US, and not, say, Sierre Leone? Do you think you would have gotten a BS in organic chemistry if you’re been born there instead? Who paid for your schools? For the roads your buses crossed? For the scientific advances that have aided you the entire way — quantum mechanics for your computer, vaccines, basic research for pharmaceuticals? Whose health system did you rely on, and what might have been different had you been born in Liberia?

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

            If I were diverse I would be socially promoted to a PhD, full-paid scholarships plus spending money, and thereafter guaranteed a fat job with zero expectation of productivity. That was undone to Allan Bakke, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978). His minority replacement Patrick Chavis, MD lost his license for having killed patients, and was murdered some time thereafter. Perhaps he was Fergusoned by his own kind.

            http://www.adversity.net/FRAMES/Editorials/48_PatrickChavis.htm

            Asians are actively excluded from the UC system, still comprising some 37.3% of its student population in 2013. Matriculate, then look around. Diversity is guaranteed to graduate, Asians will earn it. Where you goin’ with your student loans, White boy?

            http://opa.berkeley.edu/uc-berkeley-fall-enrollment-data

            The conclusion to the article is puerile post-consumer waste. Google is Google because it only hires the Severely and Profoundly Gifted. Any other social advocacy guarantees either ruin or Federal subsidies.

            Spare me the “born in Liberia” crap. My grandparents were born in Lithuania, Rumania, Hungary, and the Pale of Settlement. Nobody gave them anything, either.

          • DavidAppell

            Uncle Al wrote:
            “If I were diverse I would be socially promoted to a PhD, full-paid scholarships plus spending money, and thereafter guaranteed a fat job with zero expectation of productivity.”

            White people can get this too (though nobody gets “socially promoted” to a PhD). And good jobs require you work hard at them. I know this with 100% certainty.

            Stop making excuses by blaming monorities.

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

            nobody gets “socially promoted” to a PhD” Bible colleges. Dr. Prof. Angela Y. Davis, History of Consciousness Department, Humanities Division, Feminist Studies Department. Dr. Prof. “Rabbi” Maulana Karenga ( Ronald McKinley Everett), Chair of the Africana Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach (fabricator of Kwanzaa).

            The article is Socialist Democrap propaganda. If you do not like your slum Inner City school,

            http://www.khanacademy.org/

            BTW, it is the minorities that whine excuses. I pulled 750,750 1500/1600 on the GRE. I did it stoned to make it fair to others. Has it occurred to you that only one of us is carrying ammo?

          • DavidAppell

            How long have you resented minorities, for ruining YOUR life?

          • DavidAppell

            How long have you resented minorities, for ruining YOUR life?

          • DavidAppell

            Doesn’t matter what your GRE scores were — it matters what you did with them….

          • DavidAppell

            “Spare me the “born in Liberia” crap. My grandparents were born in Lithuania, Rumania, Hungary, and the Pale of Settlement. Nobody gave them anything, either.”

            Why did they come to America, instead of go to Liberia? Obviously to take advantage of what was already here, built by people both outside and inside government. The US government won WW1 and WW2 — their lives might have been very different had they stayed in eastern Europe. How much was that worth? The US accepted them as immigrants — an enormous advantage given to them that wasn’t possible for many, many others around the world. I’m sure they worked hard. But they had the advantage of coming to the US.

      • Buddy199

        Actually, that was Margaret Sanger.

  • Robert Wilson

    The conundrum is best laid out by considering steel and concrete. These, of course, aren’t things that ever pop up in the climate debate. Why would they? Is the problem not solved with the erection of a few wind turbines and by driving luxury electric vehicles?

    Yet, one look at steel and concrete in China reveals the problem. Rapid development, as seen in China, requires vast amounts of both materials. China now burns over half a billion tonnes of coal each year to make steel. Roughly, this equates to 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2. Meanwhile, its cement making industries produce over 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 each year. Roughly a quarter of China’s emissions comes from producing these two materials. This ratio is not seen in western economies. For example, China’s per-capita cement production is now roughly ten times that in Britain and America.

    And here is the problem: we have no low-carbon alternatives to the current way we make either cement or steel. If China wanted to develop as rapidly as it did it more or less had to emit 2 or 3 billion tonnes of CO2 to make all the concrete and steel, for there are no particular alternatives to steel and concrete either.

    The understandable desire that many have that developing economies can “leapfrog” over developed economies to some true green path sadly runs into hard physical realities.

    • JH

      What about the people that have been launched out of poverty by this burst of CO2 production? Not a concern for you?

  • realheadline

    Mr. Carrington’s statement needs no further analysis to clarify its meaning, it is succinct and to the point. The real puzzle is why someone would mistake the obvious for a ‘conundrum’. The climate change movement has always been about the redistribution of wealth.

    • Ralph Snyder

      The right is guilty of gross hypocrisy. When solutions are proposed that take the rights of the poor into account, they are dismissed as merely schemes to redistribute wealth. When solutions that do not take the rights of the poor are proposed, they are castigated as being heartless.

      Meanwhile the right refuses to acknowledge the non-partisan science, and it refuses to propose solutions of its own (and it denies that both the carbon tax and cap and trade were originally Republican ideas).

      • realheadline

        The ‘rights of the poor’ would be better served by cheap and plentiful sources of energy. Not lining progressive coffers with get-rich-quick schemes and vanity energy projects.

        • DavidAppell

          So what has prevented the poor from having “cheap and plentiful sources of energy?” The West has ignored the poor for decades (and centuries), often exploiting them for its own benefit. Where has their concern, or that of conservatives, been all this time?

          The thought that the poor would have all the energy they need except for the satanic climate activists is just an excuse used by those who don’t like the science.

          • realheadline

            Anti-American Malthusian whack-jobs like yourself have never represented legitimate science, nor will they. Our job as American citizens is not to dictate to corrupt foreign governments and then form them into some sort of Green (read Socialist) collective, but to encourage free Democratic governments that enable its newly freed citizens the reap the benefits of abundant and cheap sources of energy. It’s better for the citizens and better for the environment.
            Hundreds of thousands of deaths occur each year from energy poverty, not in some mythical (modeled) future, but right now. The political policies Greens propose only make the problems worse. If your attempt was to take some moral high-ground, it might help if your policy proposals weren’t scraping the bottom of the barrel.
            If your irrational fear of CO2 is keeping you up at night, I would recommend consulting a mental health professional.

          • DavidAppell

            “Anti-American Malthusian whack-jobs like yourself have never represented legitimate science, nor will they.”

            Right away I can tell you’re not serious, except about name-calling. Bye.

      • Buddy199

        Basic research conducted by the government, implemented in the real world by the private sector in the free market. That is the combination that has worked the best since the 1940’s. When the government tries to ham-handedly pick winners and losers in the private sector – think Solyndra – nothing good comes of it.

        BTW, the fracking and shale revolution was accomplished with no government assistance whatsoever. That part of the economy has actually thrived in spite of the obstacles thrown in it’s way by a left-wing administration – who then hypocritically claim credit for increased oil and gas production, go figure.

        • DavidAppell

          Buddy199 wrote:

          “When the government tries to ham-handedly pick winners and losers in the private sector – think Solyndra – nothing good comes of it.”

          “U.S. Expects $5 Billion From Program That Funded Solyndra,” Bloomberg News, 11/12/14
          http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-11-12/u-dot-s-dot-expects-5-billion-from-program-that-funded-solyndra

        • DavidAppell

          “The history behind the shale gas boom remained relatively unknown until late 2011, when researchers at the Breakthrough Institute conducted an extensive investigation revealing the role that federal agencies like the Department of Energy and the National Laboratories played in supporting gas industry experimentation with shale fracking.

          “Featured in the Washington Post and the President’s 2012 State of the Union, this Breakthrough investigation enunciates again the crucial role that the federal government has always played in technological innovation.”

          http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/shale_gas_fracking_history_and

        • DavidAppell

          “His comment that “the DOE started it” refers to the Eastern Gas Shales Project, a research effort in the Appalachia Basin from 1979 that proved shale rock was rich in natural gas. The DOE-supported project tested the use of nitrogen foam to fracture shale formations, and its analysis led to a deeper understanding of natural shale fractures.”

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorensteffy/2013/10/31/how-much-did-the-feds-really-help-with-fracking/

        • DavidAppell

          “Congress passed a large tax break in 1980 specifically to encourage unconventional natural gas drilling, with the the federal tax credit for drillers amounting to $10 billion between 1980 and 2002, according to the AP. The US Department of Energy also invested about $137 million in gas research over three decades”

          http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fracking_subsidies#Federal_subsidies

  • Tom Scharf

    It is transparently obvious that far too many on the left are using this
    science as a vehicle for social causes. You could see this at the recent climate march in NYC. Far left ideology is welcome in this “science”.

    For those of you who wonder why some conservatives reject climate change out of hand, this mixing of climate change with other leftist ideology makes many on the right run away as fast as possible. A carbon tax that redistributes wealth and climate justice payouts to Africa are examples of mixing climate solutions with other causes that cripples support for solutions.

    The message is you can’t be on team climate change without also being on team blue. The fact that people on team climate change feel comfortable making these type of statements lets you know that this group has much more on their mind than climate change and there is little diverse thinking. There is no better example of this than the rigid exclusion of nuclear power (anathema to the environmental movement) in policy prescriptions.

    There’s a big difference between science denial and ideology denial. Almost everyone in the climate change movement has made the observation that it is the proposed policy solutions that people on the right really object to, but they will accuse the right of science denial in the very next breath anyway.

    • Ralph Snyder

      So climate science is wrong because you don’t like the proposed solutions? This is a new definition of truth indeed!

      You complain that the only solutions are “team blue” solutions, but you forget that a revenue neutral carbon tax was originally a Republican proposal.

      Rejection of nuclear power is hardly a rigidly held position.

      • Tom Scharf

        Almost every single major environmental NGO opposes nuclear power. Go figure.

      • Buddy199

        What proposed solutions?

        A modern world economy cannot be powered by windmills, solar cells and conservation. That’s just physics and economics. There’s a reason carbon is the dominant source of the world’s energy: it beats the pants off everything else.

        Even in Norway, the leader in renewable energy, carbon is still the major source of power and the major “renewable” sources are nuclear and hydro dams.

        What’s truly maddening about the climate debate is how leftists who constantly preen about being on the side of “Science” completely ignore the aforementioned facts because they don’t fit their pre-conceived ideological dogma, and offer so-called solutions that are utterly inadequate to the task at hand: finding a realistic balance between a clean environment while providing enough energy to improve the quality of life for billions living in subsistence poverty.

        And to top it off, their illogical and breezily fact-free solutions are supposed to be implemented by the same central planning types who made a train wreck of U.S. healthcare. Having proven their incompetence at commanding and controlling 1/7 of the U.S. economy it’s only natural that we entrust them with the vastly larger energy sector of the entire world’s economy.

        • DavidAppell
          • JH

            See Howler Myth #1 Debunked here:

            “That’s in part because improved transmission between climate zones”

            There’s only 5 hrs dif between St Johns and Prince Rupert. :)) It’s still dark 7 hours a day. What’s the trans loss between California and Anchorage?

            “combined with rapidly emerging electric storage systems”

            Are you counting those in the cost? :))

            As usual, David inhabits the mythical world of the Green Unicorn.

          • DavidAppell

            Are you counting fossil fuel pollution in the costs?

          • JH

            “fossil fuel pollution costs” are far outstripped by the technological gains they produce.

            Lynas’ post linked above shows that some people – finally – are starting to relearn that.

          • DavidAppell

            So you’re counting infrastructure and external costs for electric storage systems, but not for fossil fuels. Is that consistent?

            It’s *energy* that produces gain, not a certain type of energy. Some energy souces (FFs) do a lot of damage on the way to doing good; one study found that producing electricy with coal and oil now creates more damage than value:

            “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, and William Nordhaus, American Economic Review, 101(5): 1649–75 (2011).
            http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.5.1649

          • JH

            “It’s *energy* that produces gain, not a certain type of energy. ”

            Uh, david, it’s not “energy” that produces a gain. It’s the kind of energy that returns the most work per unit cost.

            Yes, I see you have an environmentalists model of cost accounting for externalities. Surprising.

          • DavidAppell

            “It’s the kind of energy that returns the most work per unit cost.”

            Then solar and win are already cheaper than fossil fuels, because of the large negative externalities of the latter.

            The National Academy of Sciences estimated that fossil fuel use causes damages of at least $120 B/yr to health and the environment:

            “Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use”
            National Research Council, 2010
            http://books.nap.edu/catalog/12794.html

            (Dollar figure for 2005, in 2007 dollars.)

    • DavidAppell

      Tom Scharf wrote:
      “It is transparently obvious that far too many on the left are using this science as a vehicle for social causes. You could see this at the recent climate march in NYC. Far left ideology is welcome in this “science”.”

      As if the right isn’t minimizing or denying climate change for the sake of their ideology. You just admitted it:

      “For those of you who wonder why some conservatives reject climate change out of hand, this mixing of climate change with other leftist ideology makes many on the right run away as fast as possible.”

      What you just said is that you don’t care what the science is, what the facts are — you only care about the threats to your ideology.

      Conservatives reject the science because, they think, it threatens their priorities — smaller governments, free markets (so-called; they aren’t “free”), established interests, corporate interests, monied interests, business interests, with little regard to how your actions affect the poor or the future.

      At least those liberals who do mix their concern about climate chante and about the poor are on the side of the little guy. Though actually, I’ve never EVER had a scientist conflate the two — for them it’s about the science.

      • JH

        “At least those liberals who do mix their concern about climate chante and about the poor are on the side of the little guy. ”

        Sure. Like those subsidies to Tesla buyers that Dem Jay Inslee is trying to pass here in WA. Definitely a boon for the min wage worker.

        Dem’s are pandering for money from wealthy environmentalists. They don’t give any more of a s*** about the little guy than republicans.

        • DavidAppell

          Wind energy now provides 75,000 jobs.
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/11/26/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-u-s-wind-industry-in-one-chart/

          140,000 US workers in solar
          http://www.ibtimes.com/us-solar-energy-employment-increases-20-percent-1550420

          “In 2011 an estimated 3.4 percent of all farms, roughly 74,000 farms, received lease or royalty payments from energy activities. In line with the magnitude of payments suggested by the previously mentioned studies, payments to farms were economically significant–totaling $2.3 billion. By comparison, 35 percent of farms received some type of farm program payments from
          the Federal government.”
          http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/reswkpap/pdf/rwp13-07.pdf

          In Germany, renewable energy has created 370,000 jobs so far.
          http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/11/17/opinion-the-seven-deadly-myths-of-renewable-energy-naysayers/

          • JH

            “In Germany, renewable energy has created 370,000 jobs so far.”

            That lasted a day each? David, when you put out numbers like that, don’t expect anyone to bother following the link.

          • DavidAppell

            I never expect anyone who has a closed mind that is impenetrable to facts to follow any of the links I post.

          • JH

            :)) Well, david, I’m one of those people that lives by old aphorisms like this:

            If it’s too good to be true, it ain’t true. :))

          • DavidAppell

            Just another way of keeping your mind closed.

          • DavidAppell

            “Germany counts 300,000 jobs directly linked to renewable energy, with solar photovoltaic energy projects alone expected to account for one percentage point of gross domestic product growth for 2010, says Prof. Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg.”

            http://online.wsj.com/ad/article/germany-environment.html (no date given; looks to be as of 2010)

          • iFred

            Appell; new jobs, but at what price? In Germany financial aid to solar industry has now reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per worker subsidies as high as $240.000US.

            Since 2000 Spain has committed €571,138 ($753.778) per each Green Job.

            To add insult to injury Spain’s annual emissions of CO2 have increased by nearly 50% since it began to push and subsidize/support Green Jobs.

            Spain have now slashed many subsidies and Merkel calls Germany’s subisidy program a “black hole”.

            Thanks to all the subsidies, Germany, Denmark and Spain pay the highest energy prices in Europe.

            Your arguments smells after a total socialist state which went bankrupt in 1990…

          • DavidAppell

            Spain is in a economic depression — that precludes them from being an example of anything.

            The German government subsidizes renewable energy by about 20 billion euros per year (about $26 billion). Their population is 1/4th of the US, so that’d be like the US subsidizing renewables by about $100 B/yr. That’s STILL less than the damage caused by fossil fuels, which the National Academy of sciences estimated was $120 B in 2005. (And that’s BEFORE the cost of climate change.)

            So Germany is saving money by subsidizing renewable energy.

          • iFred

            “Spain is in a economic depression — that precludes them from being an example of anything.” Germany is not (which you conveniently forget) so there goes your argument. Spain would have slashed the subs anyway because in a normal economy subsidizing €571K per job is unsustainable, only in the USSR it was possible, but maybe that’s the society you want?

            The €20 billion you mention is only the FIT (which surcharge jumped 43% and is 60% of the average US residently electricity rate), there’s a lot more subsidies being paid.

            I see you google a lot for links, you aware of this Spanish research http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2PHwqAs7BS0 which mention that for every green job 2.2 normal jobs are destroyed? Guess not because that’s nót what you are looking for.

            And Germany saving money by subsidizing renewable energy (hence driving up the price), please tell that to the 100.000’s families which are disconnected because they simply could not pay the tarifs anymore. But then again, it’s well known that green NIMBY’s do not care what happen to the poor.

            There’s much more completely wrong with your argumentation, but this is enough, for now.

          • DavidAppell

            “Thanks to all the subsidies, Germany, Denmark and Spain pay the highest energy prices in Europe.”

            What you pay for energy isn’t just what’s on your monthly bill. At $120 B/yr in damages in 2005, that comes to about $400 per American per year. $1600/yr for a family of four. Quite expensive.

    • William Sotak

      Most in the USA (most of the population) do not believe in Global Warming because it is simply not true. They merely educate themselves and the boogieman disappears. The Ideology only explains why people like discover magazine are trying to sell it. That and the profit it generates. In addition, deigning the boogieman is not science denial (nice try) it’s called education. This whole “No question” attitude is working less then you all think. I personally am very anti-pollution and I live it. All Global warming does is creates a boogieman so that people can just write a check or pull a voting lever and think they are saving the world, then they put the peddle to the metal 20MPH above the speed limit in their SUV back to their over sized house heated to 75F and chuck a case of beer cans in a land fill. My heros!

    • Celia

      James Hansen is a previous director of the NASA Space Goddard institute and was the first scientist to present arguments to the U.S. Congress urging action on global warming. He is THE climate change scientist. He is also a strong proponent of nuclear energy. It looks to me like you have a skewed media source that is telling you climate change science and liberal-leaning ideology have to go together when, in fact, that is not true at all. Join us over here on “team climate change”. The only people claiming it is a “liberal ideology” are the conservatives! Here is a video of James Hansen espousing his views on nuclear energy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZExWtXAZ7M

      • Jeffn

        You think “conservatives” are the politicians holding up nuclear power?
        It’s interesting, isn’t it, that you could get support for nuclear power (and development of natural gas to replace coal) in the Republican congress today, right now. If only there was someone on “team climate change” who cared about… climate.
        Nah, where’d the fun be in actual action! Social Justice it is!

  • Astrodwarf

    Just a word to Americans commenting here: most of you seem to be under the impression that the climate debate only concerns the USA (@Uncle Al, @Tom Scharf, @realheadline) and can be analysed using only USA political concepts & polemic.

    You should not be surprised to find that there’s another world out there, where different ideas abound…

    • Steve Crook

      Different, but not necessarily correct.

      All I can see is Shellnhuber letting his socialist tendencies hang out and thereby confirming the watermelon theory as fact for those who have long suspected…

    • JH

      If you come over here to the states and drive around out west, you’ll see billboards showing what happens to you if you do too much crack.

      We ought to have billboards about what happens to you if you do to much Green European Energy Policy.

  • iFred

    Prof.Schellnhuber is one of the supermen who will save the world (and has a direct phoneline with Obama for that reason) according this comic: http://www.bmbf.de/pubRD/Ausschnitt_Schellnhuber_neu2.pdf
    I kid you not, this not satire, it’s bloody serious!

    The 2 degrees mantra is soooo 2000…

  • Ralph Snyder

    “For I thought that the big challenge coupled with climate change is increasing access to energy for the world’s 1.3 billion people that don’t have it–without dangerously heating up the planet.”

    This is exactly the conundrum.

  • JH

    SHOCKER:

    ” I would go so far as to suggest that the best way for poorer countries to protect themselves against future climate change might not be to reduce their emissions, but to use as much energy as possible – including from coal – in order to develop richer and more resilient societies.”
    -Mark Lynas

    Unbelievable!!!!! Will the Climate Concerned finally recognize what’s been staring them in the face since their movement started? That growth is the answer?

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention Keith. I’m stunned.

    • DavidAppell

      Except it’s not at all clear that coal provides “growth.” Coal is an extremely dirty fuel; some studies say it does more economic harm than good, and it kills people.

      “Between 350,000 and 500,000 Chinese die prematurely each year because of the country’s disastrous air pollution, says China’s former health minister.”
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10555816/Chinas-airpocalypse-kills-350000-to-500000-each-year.html

      “Early this month the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences claimed in a report that Beijing’s pollution made the city almost “uninhabitable for human beings”.”
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/china-toxic-air-pollution-nuclear-winter-scientists

      • JH

        “Except it’s not at all clear that coal provides “growth.” Coal is an extremely dirty fuel”

        non sequitur

        “Beijing’s pollution made the city almost “uninhabitable for human beings”

        *sigh* Just like coal-powered Cleveland and London.

        • DavidAppell

          And how did Cleveland and London get cleaner air?

          • JH

            By cleaning up their coal emissions or going to gas, right? :)) Certainly not by wind and solar.

          • DavidAppell

            Note: BY CLEANING UP POLLUTION. The businesses of the time assured everyone it would ruin the economy. It didn’t.

            Wind and solar weren’t available technologies back them. So no one could have possibly used them. Now they are ready for use, cheaper than fossil fuels when you count all external costs, and almost cheaper on an absolute basis. (Abu Dhabi is producing solar energy for 6 cents/kWh).

          • JH

            “cheaper than fossil fuels when you count all external costs”
            No. Simply not true. Only true in Green Unicorn Economics.

          • DavidAppell

            Are you denying the health effects of burning coal?

          • DavidAppell

            Are you aware India has a carbon tax on coal consumption?

            India is using coal because it’s easy, and looks cheaper in the monthly bill, not because it’s cheaper overall. India already has air pollution problems, and like everywhere else Indians will suffer more as they burn more coal. Coal just doesn’t pan out when you consider all the costs, which will be externalized across India.

        • DavidAppell

          Oops, London’s not cleaner:

          “London’s Dirty Secret: Pollution Worse Than Beijing’s” Bloombert News, 5/27/14
          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-27/london-s-dirty-secret-pollutes-like-beijing-airpocalyse.html

  • JH

    Another thought about

  • J M

    “For I thought that the big challenge coupled with climate change is increasing access to energy for the world’s 1.3 billion people that don’t have it–without dangerously heating up the planet.”
    Actually, the link talks about electricity access that 1.3 billion people do not have and 3 billion people who cook over open fire.

  • DavidAppell

    I think what Schellenhuber means is that the developed world has gotten rich by burning fossil fuels and dumping their waste on the heads of the poor and the future. And it’s the poor who are most vulnerable to climate change and suffer the most from it. The two problems are linked.

    And it’s still the rich who refuse to clean up their act, with many actually needing to deny the problem so their heads won’t explode from all the cognitive dissonance stuffed in there.

    • JH

      We don’t know the future David.

      • DavidAppell

        You count those as medical aid. What’s your point?

        • JH

          My point is that benefits of research are a positive externality of low cost energy that is eternal – but not counted in Green Unicorn Economics.

          • DavidAppell

            So count them. Benefits per lb of coal is what? And damages?

          • DavidAppell

            What “benefits of research” are due not to energy, but specifically to energy derived from fossil fuels?

  • OWilson

    Of course the answer is to give the bureaucrats the ultimate power over our energy consumption and earnings, so that they can keep the earth’s temperature constant, and at the same time remove the gap between rich and poor.

    Ah, Eureka!, finally a perfect world.

    Haven’t we heard this somewhere before? :)

    Just that this time around it’s in “the name of the planet”.

    Hopefully this time it can all be done without all those horrid jackboots and mass killings.

  • cardigan

    “No question that climate change looms large” – After almost 30 years there is precious little evidence to support this statement, other than its political interpretation.

    Never fear, George Soros has been on the case for a while:

    Jan. 15 2010 Bloomberg news report:

    “A U.S. law to curb carbon emissions would spur billions of dollars of spending on green-energy projects in developing countries, billionaire George Soros said.

    “If you had the legislation in the United States you would have a market for carbon emissions and for offsetting credits provided to clean-energy projects in the developing world”, Soros said at a conference yesterday in New York. “Right now you don’t even have that. The United States is the laggard.”

    “Without a cap on carbon dioxide emissions that puts a penalty on pollution, low-carbon investments won’t be profitable”, Soros, founder of $25 billion hedge-fund firm Soros Fund Management LLC, said at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations.”

  • David Skurnick

    Many or most liberals reject a key part of climate science — the inadequacy of proposed remedial actions. Many libs accept the claim that anthropogenic climate change will be catastrophic. That’s a view that many climate scientists hold, but many others disagree with this view or consider it an open question. Where the liberals reject climate science is that they embrace “solutions” that won’t work, according to the catastrophic models that they claim to believe in.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    “Really? The same thing?”

    Yes, his preferred solution to global warming will necessarily eliminate income inequality because everyone who is still alive will be living a subsistence life style.

  • socalpa

    I enjoyed the article. There is absolutely NO reason India should have its’ energy choices determined by Westerners.

    The conundrum in my opinion and its seems to put the Lie to all the negative press about using FFs is the following.

    Life Expectancy Developed (FF using meat eating) countries is 75-85 years .
    Life Expectancy Undeveloped ( Low Energy, protein deficient ) countries is 45-55 years.

    The West has used coal extensively for over 200 years and achieved this Life Expectancy .

    Does anyone think India did not notice ?

  • Eli Rabett

    Good times. Every economic analysis from Tol to Stern, from the early 1990s to the AR5 plainly states that the people who are going to take it in the neck from uncontrolled human driven climate change are the global poor. It would be, perhaps a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with the literature, would it not.

    The latest IEA analysis for Africa shows that solar and wind are cheaper now for the villages because they

    A. require relatively little infrastructure
    B. have low fuel and maintenance costs

    And then useful idiots want to build coal generating plants to help this along. Of course some of the idiots are not idiots, they just have a bunch of coal to sell to the poor at high prices. How surprising.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+