Climate opinion surveys – a cautionary tale

University of Michigan psychologist Jonathon Schuldt led a study which asked this question:

“You may have heard about the idea that the world’s temperature may have been going up over the past 100 years, a phenomenon sometimes called ‘global warming.’ What is your personal opinion regarding whether or not this has been happening?”

People were asked to respond on a seven-point scale, from “Definitely has not been happening” to “Definitely has been happening.” They were also asked to identify their political allegiance.

Turns out 86.9% of Democrats endorsed global warming, whereas only 44% of Republicans did.

People were then asked the following question:

“You may have heard about the idea that the world’s temperature may have been changing over the past 100 years, a phenomenon sometimes called ‘climate change.’ What is your personal opinion regarding whether or not this has been happening?”

I’ve highlighted the words that were changed.

The Democrat response was virtually the same at 86.4%, whereas 60.2% of Republicans endorsed climate change.

Please note that the questions avoided any mention of human agency. Republican support for AGW is presumably lower than 44%.

Please note also that there was no record of what the temperature of the room was at the time the survey was taken.

In another study Jane Risen of the University of Chicago and Clayton Critcher of the University of California, Berkeley, provide evidence that belief in global warming increases along with the temperature one is currently experiencing.

In the first of seven studies

67 American university students “were taken outside under the pretense of judging the height of several campus landmarks,” they write. The exercise occurred on several days in September and October, when the temperature ranged from 49 to 89 degrees.

The students filled out questionnaires in which they voiced their views on several political topics, including their degree of skepticism regarding climate change. They also reported their ideological leanings.

The result?

“We found that ambient temperature significantly predicted the belief in the validity of global warming, with participants reporting greater belief on warmer days,” Risen and Critcher report. “In fact, the effect of temperature was as strong as ideology, and was not qualified by it. Thus, outside temperature influenced liberals and conservatives similarly.”

Then in a second study

84 students completed the same survey while sitting in a small heated cubicle. For half of them, the cubicle was heated with a space heater for 15 minutes before their arrival, raising the air temperature from a comfortable 73 degrees to a toasty 81 degrees.

Sure enough, the temperature of the room had a significant effect. It seems that experiencing a visceral state significantly affects intellectual judgement. They describe this phenomenon as ‘visceral fit’.

To convert to Celsius, 49F is just under 10C, while 89F is about 32C. Which to me means the range of temperatures varies from the average daily minimum in July to above average maximum in January in terms of Brisbane weather. Sounds like Melbourne weather.

In the second study 73F equates to 23C and 81F is about 27.5C.

My observation based on actual experience in the 1980s where we had about 100 people working in an old building is that when the temperature moves outside a band of 18-26C people start to complain quite a lot and their efficiency is impaired. So both studies involved temperatures outside what I would consider comfortable for humans with low activity and with their clothes on. I’d be surprised if the results varied much in the 20-24C zone.

There’s a further factor which I wonder whether Risen and Critcher considered in their remaining studies. University students are usually quite young, presumably below the age of 24. This age is significant because we are told that the connection between the emotional and intellectual centres of the brain does not mature until age 24, plus or minus five, lower for females than males.

Back to the Schuld study, if you’d just read what this clown had to say, which was where I started, you may have been seriously misled. Apart from linking to James Taylor of the Heartland Institute for apparently serious comment, he says

That means 56% of Republicans turned out to be right and 86% of Democrats were wrong throughout the entire decade that global warming was big news.

And that “Republicans were actually smarter about science all this time.”

Come again! 56% of republicans are smart because they don’t sign on to global warming and 86% of Democrats are dumb because they do. Am I missing something?

67 thoughts on “Climate opinion surveys – a cautionary tale”

  1. Sure, a frog only realises he’s boiling too late to jump.

    I believe this study finds that 44% of Republicans are smarter than the frog, rising to 89% for Democrats.

  2. ‘Climate Change’ was a term invented by Republican pollster Frank Luntz specifically to defuse the urgency implied by ‘global warming’. It has always irritated me to see it taken up as a general term even by environmentalists, but I supposed the horse has bolted given that we now have a Department of Climate Change in Australia. However I think this poll demonstrates that Luntz understood his public. Could there be an upside to this poll in that there is room to persuade conservatives given that they presumably agree climate is changing?

  3. Lefty, sounds good to me!

    Tim, good point about Luntz.

    Australia’s peak farm bodies tend to say, climate is changing always has, always will. We have adapted, always have, always will. And close their eyes to the train coming down the tunnel.

  4. I always thought that the failure of the Copenhagen Summit was partly down to its location and timing. Denmark in winter? What on earth were they thinking?

  5. I’m not so sure that the term “climate change” was invented by Luntz. It was used by the World Meteorological Organisation in 1977 when it decided to convene the First World Climate Conference in 1979 with the aims of:

    1. Review knowledge of climatic change [my emphasis] and variability, due both to natural and anthropogenic causes
    2. Assess possible future changes and variability and implications for human activities.

  6. Paul in 1979 I wrote a comment in an article where I said that human activity changing the climate might prove more important for the future of civilisation than the invention of the silicon chip.

    I think I’d just read an article in the New Scientist.

    But there was a concerted effort to establish the more benign term in common usage during the 90s, was there not? I assume this is what Tim is referring to.

  7. Brian, the term “climate change” was used in the international system in 1988 when the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change was established, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (agreed in 1992) was always going to use the term, so it’s hardly surprising that it passed into common parlance in this period. Luntz apparently advised George W. Bush to use the term “climate change” during Bush’s incumbency in the past decade.

    That said, I would agree that “global warming” (and, better still, “anthropogenic global warming”) should be the preferred term as it points to the kind of climate change trend we’re seeing cutting through the natural climatic variability, and the term AGW points to what’s causing it.

  8. These days I’m increasingly using the term post-industrial climate anomaly. While climate change goes back to the late 1970s (and to people like Gilbert plass in the 1950s if you allow climatic change to count) the use of the word “warming” is almost certain to provide scope for disingenuous (or simply ignorant) trolling and in any event, while measurable warming is the most overt feature of the climate anomaly it is by no means the only troubling aspect of it.

    Situating it as post-industrial offers suitable context, relating it to a specific subset of human practices rather than humans in a more general sense.

  9. Oops didn’t see the post above from Paul Norton before I posted.

    In fact, the earliest offical use of the term climate change may well have been in 1979 at the time of what was called the Charney Report. Researchers, speaking of the anomaly spoke also of inadvertent climate modification. cf: MIT, Inadvertent Climate Modification: Report of the Study of Man’s Impact on Climate (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1971

    In 1975, Wallace Broecker had written a short piece in Science {v189, August 1975} referring to Climatic Change producing “pronounced global warming”.

    And of course as noted above, Plass had used the term much earlier.

    I can recall as late as 1999 teaching HSIE in the SW suburbs of Sydney and noting that the textbook, Geoactive described the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. We don’t hear that so often today.

  10. Fran,

    I’m not sure that the world is “post-industrial” just yet, although perhaps it will be once major climate change kicks in.

    Would “ex-industrial” perhaps be more suitable?

  11. Slightly OT, but listening to ex ALP minister John Brown on readiio this morning, it became crystal clear (as if confirmation was needed)that the current ALP mob are the most incompetent salespeople ever.
    He made the point that instead of talking about tax all the time (allowing the opposition framing to take hold) they should be explaining assertively that this is all about saving the planet, maybe using the slogan ‘What Planet Are You On?’

    Really, I don’t know what is wrong with the ALP at the moment. Most beople believe in climate change, and if it was explained forcefully, concisely and consistently the message would get across.

    It’s almost as though they don’t really believe it themselves.

  12. I don’t like the phrase ‘climate change’ because it gives too much room for people to argue that “summer was really cold” etc, as I’m in hearing in Melbourne. It also isn’t simply about warming. I’d like a phrase that encapsulates change and the growth of extreme weather events. Warming can sound too nice as well.

  13. Adrian – do you really think the ALP can save the planet by implementing a carbon tax in Australia?

    I’d like to see that theory put to test using the IPCC climate models. They could tell us all how much cooler the world will be in the future due to Gillards proposed tax. I’m anticipating no notable benefit.

    The assumption behind the carbon tax is that in time other nations will also make fossil fuels more expensive. This is very optimistic. It would seem a safer bet that if we can make alternatives such as nuclear power cheaper than fossil fuels then the world will copy such an achievement with no hesitation.

  14. If we can make alternatives such as solar thermal power cheaper than fossil fuels then hopefully the world will copy such an achievement with little hesitation.

  15. Terje asked

    I agree. So why the focus on making fossil fuels more expensive?

    Two reasons:

    1. The level playing field reason. Relieving those that resort to the combustion of fossil hydrocarbons of the costs of dumoping their waste creates perverse incentives to structure productive activity around usages that harm humanity now and, for all practical purposes, “eternity” (more precisely, the rest of any timeline humans care about.)

    2. The opponents of mitigation like this focus because they think it suits their case better than one based on the value of thexternality to polluters and the harm down to those upon whom the pollution is being imposed.

    Adrian – do you really think the ALP can save the planet by implementing a carbon tax in Australia?

    I assume you copied and pasted this question from one of the no carbon tax websites. It’s in their standard script.

    It has several layers of question-begging:

    1. The ALP wants to save the planet on its own
    2. This is a carbon tax
    3. The planet, (as distinct from humans occupying it and using its non-excludable ecosystem services) needs saving
    4. A carbon price mechanism in Australia will necessarily be unique and thus ought to be evaluated in isolation from all activity by every other jurisdiction

    Each of these would have to be argued, but one suspects the crowd of baying, hectoring hyenas attempting to subvert public policy in the interests of protecting the scope of hydrocarbon traders to sell their product into a setting where the biosphere can be treated as an industrial sewer won’t bother with scripts for that. They simply couldn’t cope.

  16. @TerjeP: Because just cutting emissions is not the only reason to have a carbon price. The PM and her team have been quite consistent on this – it’s about pollution in its entirety and promoting cleaner technologies, and it’s also about becoming more efficient in our use of fossil fuels and thus being better positioned for looming global shortages.

  17. Because, TerjeP, bloody fossils fuels create p.o.l.l.u.t.i.o.n. and aren’t you busy organising a trip to Canberra for the great big demonstration/revolution or something?

  18. Brian

    I’d have liked the Schuld study to ahve identified who the guilty parties were in global warming … 😉

    Sorry … couldn’t resist.

  19. “I agree. So why the focus on making fossil fuels more expensive?”

    The idea is to make producers pay closer to the true price of production – rather than simply passing cleanup costs onto future taxpayer.

    Its a philosophy called “pay your own way”. I dont know if libertarians are familiar with that idea – I gave up Ayn Rand when I gave up other cartoons.

  20. “Adrian – do you really think the ALP can save the planet by implementing a carbon tax in Australia?”

    Terje – do you think global capitalism would grind to a halt if we stopped enforcing WTO agreements on any country responsible for 2% or less of trade volume?

    Hell, lets stop enforcing international contracts in any such countries too. Global capitalism will kick on.

    Or would that just encourage other players to ignore the trade rules?

    Stop playing dumb, guys.

  21. Fran – you said there are two reasons why the ALP is focused on making fossil fuel more expensive. But your second reason seems to be why opponents of mitigation would like this policy which does seem like a meaningful response.

    As such I can see only one sensical reason on offer from you which is the level playing field reason. That the cost of the pollution ought to be paid for. This is fair enough. However I still return to my earlier point regarding what is the benefit of the ALP policy. In other words what cost does it help us avoid? This is where the ALP policy should be fed through the IPCC models and compared to business as usual and a cost of doing nothing produced. What are we prepared to pay for a global temperature that is 0.01 degrees lower in 2100 (or whatever the predicted number is)?

    It is fair enough to say that this is a part of a global strategy that will see other parties act also. However if this is the case how will our policy improve their incentives? Will a carbon tax in Australia lead China to rein in it’s emissions or will it do this regardless? Or not at all?

    Having said all that I do think Gillard could reduce the economic cost of her reform by abandoning any plans to convert it into an ETS and also by using the funds attained to cut other taxes. However she currently seems determined to do neither. At the moment it seems like just another tax and spend initiative with some very dubious environmental benefit. I can’t see any way in which it is currently good public policy in the national interest.

    As for the opposition it’s alternate policy it is pretty poor. However it does have the merit of taking funds from other government expenditure rather than taking more funds from taxpayers. If Gillard can offer matching tax cuts (instead of handouts) and ditch the ETS transition plans then her policy would be clearly superior.

    Leaving aside the macro efficiency arguments both policy approaches (Liberal and ALP) will create winners and losers and some interesting politics. In political terms I think the Liberals are on much, much safer ground. They can hide any cuts to other areas of the budget using revenue growth.

  22. Terje – do you think global capitalism would grind to a halt if we stopped enforcing WTO agreements on any country responsible for 2% or less of trade volume?

    Is that part of Gillards strategy? Because I have not heard her suggest that this is a risk to us or that we should be part of a move to apply it to others. If this is the plan she should be telling us rather than keeping it under wraps. However I suspect this strategy would introduce other unintended costs.

  23. TerjeP @16,

    “If we can make alternatives such as nuclear power cheaper than fossil fuels…”

    Australia has absolutely zero experience and expertise in nuclear power. That hope is not just optimistic, it is deluded.

    Is that the best you have to offer?

  24. We have a small nuclear reactor in Sydney. So zero is a bit out. And nobody is suggesting that it happen before the end of next month. All emissions reduction schemes have transition issues but nuclear isn’t too bad. In the first instance we would import skills.

  25. While on the topics of surveys – how’s the latest Essential Research Polling released today working for you?

    Terje – good luck mate. The deluded souls on this site truely believe that they have the answers and that anyone who disagrees is obviously either stupid, evil, bought and pad for, immoral, or amoral, and could not possibly have any constructive observations to provide to the discussion.

    I told them Hopenchangen wasn’t going to achieve any sort of global agreement well before the event and was told in no uncertain terms that I was completely wrong.

    I come here for the entertainment value.

  26. OPAL was designed by Argentine reactor designers, INVAP, who also manufactured the “nuclear” components.

    (From the ANSTO press release on the opening of the new “OPAL” Lucas Heights reactor.)

    No, I think “zero” is about right.

  27. Australia’s lack of experience with nuclear reactors is very relevant and it is quite clear that we will need to gain that experience now rather than later. We really need to go nuclear and if the push for nuclear power is coming from the left it will have the effect of proving just how serious we take Global warming to be.

  28. I&U:

    Australia has absolutely zero experience and expertise in nuclear power.

    TerjeP:

    We have a small nuclear reactor in Sydney.

    The ANSTO-CSIRO reactor is not used for power generation, so I&U is absolutely correct about our zero experience/expertise in nuclear power. It is a research reactor used to produce medical radioisotopes and to conduct tests and experiments on various materials. The reactor is approx. the size of a washing machine.

  29. TerjeP – We know that any action Australia takes on climate change is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. It is also irrelevant the actions of one province in China or one state in the US. Similarly, my tax contributions on the federal budget aren’t going to make a lick of difference to the economy. My contribution to Coles’ bottom line is negligible, so what does it matter if I decide to steal my groceries?

    It is utterly mind boggling that I continually hear this most severely immoral attitude expressed as a legitimate view. Haven’t conservatives ever heard of the golden rule?

  30. Similarly, my tax contributions on the federal budget aren’t going to make a lick of difference to the economy.

    I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment somewhat although if I’m serious I do regard most taxes as damaging our economy. But paying it might keep you out of prison so you could argue from a self interest perspective that you should pay.

    I agree with the notion that a domestic carbon tax could be part of a global strategy. Is it? Is the strategy likely to work? Is it currently working? Or are the Chinese ratf@cking us as Rudd so eloquently stated?

    In any case I’ve outlined my view on how this tax could be made palatable. I’ve had the same view for several years. Ditch the ETS plan and make it revenue neutral (as opposed to budget neutral).

  31. China has their single child policy, it could be argued that they are doing quite a bit for the environment, not to mention that most of its population is still living in poverty. Obviously they will still need to do more, but can you imagine them doing so when very wealthy nations like Australia have the audacity refuse to do even the bare minimum?

  32. “Now, now James – TerjeP is a libertarian, not a conservative.”

    They all hang out together at Menzies House, oppose everything the government suggests, regardless of value, and will be soon seen holding hands with Alan Jones up in Canberra for a great big demonstration/revolution. Can’t see much difference myself.

  33. Brian: Interesting post. It may explain part of the reason that Rudd did so well pushing climate action in 2007 while the long drought was at the front of our minds.
    Unfortunately, the variation in polls with temperature is an indicator of how uncertain most people are about AGW and how the experts are really struggling to get the message across.
    When people are confused they are more likely to convinced by what they feel they are seeing.

  34. I knew TerjeP was a libertarian, that was an accident that my comment implied he was conservative. However, economic libertarians kind of want to bring back a system much like feudalism: The propertied classes or corporations have the liberty to do as they please, pass their wealth on to generation after generation while the serfs have the liberty to enter in to life long contracts if they so desire (or starve if they don’t). So in some sense they can be thought of as conservatives. Being oppressed by unelected private business operators and having to pay rent is somehow different to being oppressed by government and having to pay tax.

  35. Razor- essential v. Promising actually. 35-48 for a new tax that hasn’t begun to be sold ain’t bad at all. And the fact that a mere 19% think action is unnecessary shows certain punters in this thread are in a fringe minority

  36. We are beginning the phase now, LeftyE, where the Tony Direct Action Plan is starting to be exposed for the great big tax con job, it is. All is unfolding organically and well, I would say.

  37. These days I’m increasingly using the term post-industrial climate anomaly.

    Fran, if you are taking a short term view there are two problems with the term you choose to use.

    First the world is not in a post-industrial phase. Most of it; China, India, SE Asia and much of Latin America, is in the process of industrialisation and that process has a long way to go. In the Western economies while industrial activity may be declining as a proportion of the the total economy there is still plenty of it happening. Consider the US’s military-industrial production, Germany’s production and export of industrial goods, especially capital equipment, and Japan’s still considerable car industry.

    Secondly anomaly suggests a temporary deviation from the norm. If climate change is happening because of greenhouse gases (and basic physics suggests that it is) then that’s not a deviation from the norm but the new norm.

    Unless, of course, the environment crashes under the burden of human activity, in which case industrial activity, along with human population, crashes and the atmosphere then slowly corrects itself in the absence of most human beings.

    In that case your term will be literally correct.

  38. Brian
    At a glance, the studies look to have been done in DEM states.(wall to wall DEM senators)
    Maybe this had an effect.
    Would the results be replicated in studies from Idaho, Alabama and Texas?

  39. Terje, the tax doesn’t need to be made palatable to most of us. You seem to be one of the few people who has a problem with it.

    Have you seen the polls?

  40. I&U @33
    Fair crack of the whip, we have Ziggy!

    Interestingly back in the 60s Australia trained most of the nuclear scientists from India under the Colombo plan.
    Most of our knowledge slipped away after the “power” reactor at Jervis bay was cancelled and any plans we had to develop a nuclear capability were also shelved about the same time.

  41. Hey, TerjeP, I guess we can assume you are are also against the use of tax, by Tony, for his Direct Action Plan to be introduced after the great big revolution you are helping organise?

  42. Glibertarians don’t have to be consistent, joe2. It’s one of the rules.

    Terje, take some notice of Lefty E’s comment @ 45. I don’t think the Great Big New Tax is nearly as unpopular as you’d like it to be.

  43. “I agree with the notion that a domestic carbon tax could be part of a global strategy. Is it? Is the strategy likely to work? Is it currently working? ”

    I think so, Terje. Take the rebate scheme on solar panels, which cost something like $1.5 billion over 10 years(?). Emissions reductions vs. dollars spent it looks terrible…what a useless, wasteful scheme!

    Except, of course, it put $1.5 billion into the solar industry (a lot of that straight to China) which helped to drive innovation and efficiency in solar panel manufacturing and bring its costs down dramatically. As a result of ourselves, and many other countries who invested in similar rebate schemes, we’re all a lot further along the research and production path than we were ten years ago.

    Many of those other countries had domestic carbon taxes in place to fund solar rebates which have had globally beneficial results.

    So, maybe we should continue/begin to do that? Continue to help subsidise industry and innovation, and with any luck, 30 years from now, China won’t have to build more coal-fired power plants, and can more quickly decommission those new ones that Razor complains so much about?

    This came out a few days ago btw:

    Establishing the eligibility of emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities

    I found the emission figures per million dollars startling. How can you anyone (who doesn’t accept the reality of AGW?) argue those industries don’t need to be given price signals?

  44. Tigtog @20: Fascinated when you said

    Because just cutting emissions is not the only reason to have a carbon price. The PM and her team have been quite consistent on this – it’s about pollution in its entirety and promoting cleaner technologies, and it’s also about becoming more efficient in our use of fossil fuels and thus being better positioned for looming global shortages.

    No wonder people are suspicious.
    Interesting thing of course is that our expe3rience is that both power and transport fuel consumption varies little with price changes. For example, meta studies in the US and the UK both found that a 10% increase in the price of fuel would reduce fuel consumption by 2.5% initially rising to 6% after a number of years. For a base fuel price of $1.30/litre a 10% price increase is the equivalent to a a $53/tonne CO2 tax on tailpipe emissions. Tax per tonne CO2 abatement would be a massive $887/tonne.
    Is anyone really serious about using a carbon price to drive down transport fuel consumption?

  45. Nothing to do with the survey, just saw some predictable econo-political positions getting played out on Aunty.

    There’s a meme that keeps getting trotted out that we need to counter, but the elephant in the room isn’t in the frame by the mainstream media.
    Trade exposed industries need to not pay carbon tax, presumeably this shortfall needs to be made up by the rest of industry and by consumers.
    So agriculture and forestry are exempt and now ‘trade exposed industries’….
    What we need to challenge these assumptions is the simple question:
    “Why should efficient Australian industry and Australian consumers subsidise industries that can not pay their way?”

  46. Lefty E @45:

    The result of the Essential Media survey was 53 – 47% against the government policy. Is it any wonder after the question posed:

    “Do you support or oppose the Government’s recent announcement to introduce a carbon tax from 1 July 2012, which will require you to pay more for electricity?”

    Indeed that result is very promising for the government as Lefty E points out.

  47. Because just cutting emissions is not the only reason to have a carbon price. The PM and her team have been quite consistent on this – it’s about pollution in its entirety and promoting cleaner technologies, and it’s also about becoming more efficient in our use of fossil fuels and thus being better positioned for looming global shortages.

    Exactly.

  48. Exactly Nick. Exactly what you get when the goal is to put a price on carbon rather that reduce emissions and transport fuel consumption by the most effective way. A tax burden of $887/tonne CO2 abatement makes “cash for clunkers” look smart.

  49. Amortiser, are we looking at the same polling?

    This is the question and results up on the Essential site:

    “Q. Do you support or oppose the Government’s recent announcement to introduce a carbon pricing scheme from 1 July 2012, which will require industries to pay a tax based on the amount of carbon pollution they emit?”

    And the results were 35% in favour and 48% opposed with 18% responding “don’t know”.

    The question looks perfectly reasonable to me, especially as there has so far been no detail released on the policy so far.

    I’m not sure I’m quite as confident as others that support for the policy will go up much. It is true that Labor hasn’t really started to sell the policy yet, but the party’s recent track record with selling major reforms hasn’t been great. And as more detail is released (with the inevitable compromises over compensation for polluters, etc) interest groups on both sides of the AGW debate will again pick over the entrails. So it is hard to see where boosters for the government’s policy will come from, other than within the government itself. Then there is the issue of credibility – this is the third different policy Labor has had in this area in less than 2 years and I doubt the average voter has much idea about what is going on and why.

  50. Labor Outsider @61
    Oops, I got that wrong somehow, didn’t I? Was the question I posted a leading question?

    Was the question posted by Essential Media designed to evoke a particular response? Would both questions in fact encourage opposite responses?

    Would not the right question to be posed be:

    “Do you support or oppose the Government’s recent announcement to introduce a carbon pricing scheme from 1 July 2012?”

    The fact that the question posed was as you said the result is particularly bad for the government.

  51. @45 – Lefty E – following on from that, what then is your positive spin on the Newspoll results tonight? Are you on what KK is on?

  52. For future reference, this thread got derailed I think with Adrian @ 13 and then TerjeP picking up on that comment @ 16. Climate clippings is supposed to double as an open thread. In the last 40 comments one from John D and one from CRAIGY have been on topic. There may have been one or two I missed.

  53. TerjeP @ 38:

    I agree with the notion that a domestic carbon tax could be part of a global strategy. Is it?

    A few years ago the phrase “common but differentiated responsibility” entered the lexicon of climate change negotiations, I think introduced by the Bushites. Since Copenhagen we have no agreed 2020 targets and countries have been making up their own.

    So, yes, it is part of a global strategy, except that “it” is not a carbon tax. What is being proposed is a cap and trade ETS with an escalating carbon tax as a lead in. The reason for this seems to be an attempt to make the thing bite in terms of the local economy, so the transition to a carbon-lite economy begins.

    The cap and trade bit is deferred to a time after the re-orientation of the economy has been initiated and when the international carbon markets, with 32 countries now having an ETS, are deeper.

    That’s the way it looks to me.

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