Climate clippings 23

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Melting glaciers

A new study has looked at the contribution of glaciers to sea level rise based on observations of the Patagonian icefields between Chile and Argentina.

They found that the glaciers have lost volume on average “10 to 100 times faster” in the last 30 years, faster than at any time in the last 350 years.

Sea level rise acceleration/deceleration

On other threads we’ve had a look at the Houston & Dean paper which analysed sea level trends from tide gauge data in the US. Tamino has now put their analysis through the wringer.

He asks a series of pertinent questions, including why they bother with such a small data set. Tamino looked at global tide gauge and satellite data and came up with this:

Global sea level rise

You can inspect a larger image of the graph here.

Tamino says they “restrict consideration to the quadratic term of a quadratic polynomial fit from 1930 onward” which he sees as “pretty ignorant” and “maybe misleading”. He then re-analyses their own data and actually finds a recent acceleration.

Finally he says we need to look to physics rather than statistics if we want a view of the future. He comes up with this:

Not only will there likely be nonlinear response to thermal expansion of the oceans, when the ice sheets become major contributors to sea level rise, they will dominate the equation. Their impact could be tremendous, it could be sudden, and it could be horrible.

Northern hemisphere ozone alert

Ozone depletion is often viewed as an environmental problem that has been solved but the Antarctic ozone hole is not expected to recover fully until 2045-60. Meanwhile annual variations will depend mainly on weather conditions in the stratosphere. This year in the Arctic they have had a shocker with 40% depletion. That’s 10% more than the previous record.

This is a real issue if you happen to live in Scandinavia, Greenland and parts of Canada and Russia. The UK and northern Europe too if you look at the image provided.

From BEST to worst

A certain Berkeley astrophysicist, Richard Muller, has been critical of temperature records, both the reconstructed records of Hockey Stick fame and the modern instrumental record. He set up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) to create a new definitive record working from the same data, which everyone knows is adjusted for various reasons.

There was much hope invested in this project by the sceptics, including Anthony Watts. This is what he found, according to preliminary advice to Congress:

BEST temperature record

Follow the links at Tamino to see how the BEST has become the worst.

For a fuller account see The Economist (thanks for the heads-up, wilful), where we find that the so-called ‘bad temperature station’ complaint is also a load of cobblers.

Ocean acidification: past, present and yet to come

Skeptical Science reports on a study which grew two species of shellfish in seawater at various levels of pH representing the global average for specific points in time, pre-industrial (250ppm atmospheric CO2), modern day (390ppm), and CO2 levels expected by the year 2100 (750ppm) and 2200 (1500ppm).

Those sceptical of the deleterious effects of climate change should have a good look at what has already happened, ie the differences between 250ppm and 390ppm.

Soot (black carbon)

Skeptical Science also has a post on soot and global warming.

It’s not just about global warming. Soot causes the premature death of 2.4 million people each year.

Four from John D

John D supplies me with links from time to time, for which I am enormously grateful. Here are four from the last week worthy of your attention.

Biochar added to soil growing pastures grazed by livestock has the potential to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

Green roofs can insulate city buildings, clean the air, make use of rainfall, grow food or beautify the surroundings.

Also by 2015, less than five years away, more than one in 20 cars sold in the United States will be hybrid, plug-in or full electric vehicles.

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped a record-setting 5.8 percent in 2009, the largest percentage decline since recordkeeping began in 1990, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

All the more meritorious because GDP only fell by 2.2%

Goodies galore from Roger Jones

Roger Jones has been filing daily reports from the Greenhouse 2011 conference in Cairns. So far he’s done three reports here, here and here.

Holiday, deserved or not

Since I revived Climate clippings, I believe I haven’t missed a week. Now I’m going to miss two. The lame excuse is that we’ll be visiting my daughter and granddaughter in Adelaide and spending a bit of time on Kangaroo Island.

53 thoughts on “Climate clippings 23”

  1. Small point of humour around the BEST study, it was partially funded by the Koch brothers.

  2. Yesterday I watched the second Climate Commission Conference live from Ipswich on ABCNews24. I missed the video presentation, but I watched the panel of four – Flannery, Steffen, Hueston and Hughes – tackle questions from the mixed audience. The questions were split half-and-half between warmists and skeptics. Most of the questions were intelligent, but a few from the skeptic side displayed the gross level of scientific ignorance we’ve come to expect, e.g., why is CO2 called a pollutant when it’s necessary for life? Another of the questions was about the Medieval warming period. The panel handled all the questions very well. A few of the “questions” from the skeptics were rambling or didactic. One of the more alarming questions came from an ex-CSIRO scientist, a so-called expert on the paleo-climate record, who came across as a crank. His long rambling question had to be cut short by the moderator. His ignorance of the Milankovitch cycle and how it worked was exposed and corrected by Flannery in a polite manner. I wish I could remember this crank’s name, because he needs to be exposed.

    If we’re lucky, ABCNews24 might repeat the conference some time soon.

  3. OT, Brian, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy your visit to our fair city. We’ll try to make sure your visit isn’t disrupted by too many barrels full of bodies, and the like.

    Slightly less OT, there’s a bloke on KI doing interesting things with bees.

  4. DI(nr), I lived in Adelaide for 4 and a half years nearly 50 years ago now (OMG!), so I follow stories about bodies in barrels etc with interest.

    I heard a story about the Ligurian bees on Radio National recently. He claims to have the purest strain in the world and is exporting queens to the US. Here is an earlier story.

    wilful, yes, the Koch Bros did their dough.

    silkworm, I missed the Ipswich thing. Is there a schedule of their conferences somewhere?

  5. Keeping the OT thread derail alive for just a sec, I’m planning on getting a hive this season.

    Meanwhile, climate change is going to have major impacts on flowering cycles and the apiary industry has got a lot of adjustment to do.

  6. Brian, here is their events page.

    They held a conference in Geelong two weeks ago, and there is a short summary of it elsewhere on their web page, with some short videos; but there is no summary as yet of yesterday’s conference, and no news of any forthcoming conferences.

  7. Yeh, the crank got answered with “…the feedback mechanism!”

    This will take ages to communicate to the public at large, and this is what Al Gore knew would take the longest for people to wrap their heads around because it’s a chicken or the egg type thing.

    It’s a valid question that got answered well, but it still allows plenty of room for doubt to be entertained!


  8. Lot’s of “goodies” in Brian’s latest post and not much of good cheer in the “goodies”.
    I look forward to the “Australian” running some correctives, for recent nonsenses.

  9. paul W @ 11, the four from John D were all more or less positive, but you remind me that I should look for some good stories. There is never a shortage of the other sort.

    Speaking of which, there is much at stake in the final budget shoot-out between Obama and the GOP. Apart from a trillion bucks on ‘Obamacare’ the ghouls are gunning for the EPA and other green programs.

    With the current budget showdown, Obama isn’t just being asked to back the EPA climate regulations. Riders dealing with toxic air pollution, mountaintop mining, endangered species protections, global warming program funding and the Chesapeake Bay area also in the mix.

    Under “global warming program funding” you can bet the GOP are gunning for James Hansen and NASA GISS, amongst others.

  10. The Arctic could be ice free by 2016 plus or minus three years. It’s not a dead cert, according to Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, but that is what the detailed coupled model they have done of the Arctic region is telling them.

  11. Brian, I heartily agree, the US right are delinquent thugs worse even than the Brit Cameronites, arrogant in their ignorance and ignorant in their arrogance.
    Did you catch Uhlmann slavering at the thought of a welfare bashing budget in his interview this week with Gillard?

  12. pw @ 15, I did. I wasn’t altogether a fan of Kerry O’Brien’s, but Uhlmannn is something else. Totally pernicious, majorly up himself and a natural bully. But we’d better get back on topic, since I’m supposed to be moderating here.

  13. No, Flannery is not mad, just misrepresented by the likes of you. If you are capable of paying attention, the global superorganism of which he speaks is us, not the planet as such.

  14. The UN climate talks kicked off for the year in Bangkok this week. A couple of groups (declaration of interest – I was doing some comms support for them) released the following assessment:

    There’s a list of the press statements put out by the groups here for those interested:

    I think the most incredible bit of news was that from this Stockholm Environment Institute report that Bolivia really played up: – It shows that it’s developing countriws where the majority (in terms of tonnage) of the emission reduction effort is going to happen. The truth seems miles away from the ‘political reality’ in Australia that nothing can happen until China and India act.

  15. Two recent articles worth a look: Wind and wave energies are not renewable after all

    – “Build enough wind farms to replace fossil fuels and we could seriously deplete the energy available in the atmosphere, with consequences as dire as severe climate change.”
    and A Less Mighty Wind – “Surface winds appear to be weakening across the Northern Hemisphere, including in the United States, Western Europe, and China?the world’s top three markets for wind power.”

  16. So Silkworm, if the global superorganism is all of us, then we all think the same thing, have the same values, have the same taste in clothes, worship the same religion, have the same opinion? In Tim Flannery’s words: “There will be no ‘outside’, there is no ‘other’. We will form a global community with a common set of shared beliefs.

    My view is that our very nature prohibits such an organism. Human beings are by nature, problem solvers. To solve a problem, one must use rational thinking. Rational thinking demands that one draws one’s own conclusions about things. In fact, genetic diversity is what keeps our species alive, by the simple fact that we exist because of sexual reproduction which guarantees life by differentiating the genetic pool; by ensuring some different DNA is installed. “Sameness” only springs from consanginuity, which has massive negative impacts on the health and viability of any offspring.

    If Tim Flannery is now saying we are a superorganism with shared beliefs, that appears to leave no room for independent thought and hence no time for rational thinking or problem solving.

    In my view, Tim Flannery’s position is well outside any mainstream ordinary Australian’s view of life.

    Maybe Tim just wants to clone people who think like him, no?

  17. In this One World Religion, we wouldn’t be worshipping Gaia, because we are Gaia, and then we’d be worshipping ourselves, and what would be the point of that?

  18. To solve a problem, one must use rational thinking

    Much and all as I’m a fan of rational thinking, sometimes to solve a problem we much use irrational thinking (e.g. outside the box/empathetic thinking). It’s part of what makes us human. Compassion and altruistic behaviour are not usually driven by rational thinking but by emotional connections.

    I think that Tim Flannery is trying to reach people in a different, emotional, manner to the usual dry scientific language. Whether this is working is another issue (I don’t think it is) but to represent him literally is doing a disservice to what he is trying to achieve.

  19. Also on Tamino and statistics, has anyone else noticed the skeptics’ method of having huge amounts of working when they want to present something, even for things as simple as calculating a percentage? They refuse to lay out their working clearly and hope that most people will just skim over it.

    Here’s an example from ol’ googly eyes ( I don’t want to feed Bolta with links):

    Australia accounts for (at most) 1.5% of global carbon emissions. A stepwise 5% cut by 2020 is an average 2.5% cut from now till then. CO2 concentration by 2020, taking the IPCC’s A2 scenario, will be 412 parts per million by volume, compared with 390 ppmv now. So Man will have added 22 ppmv by 2020, without any cuts in emissions. The CO2 concentration increase forestalled by almost a decade of cap-and-tax in Australia would thus be 2.5% of 1.5% of 22 ppmv, or 0.00825 ppmv. So in 2020 CO2 concentration would be 411.99175 ppmv instead of 412 ppmv…

    So the proportionate change in CO2 concentration if the Commission and Ms. Gillard got their way would be 411.99175/412, or 0.99997998…

    It’s like a statistical Gish Gallop. Amazing.

  20. A stepwise 5% cut by 2020 is an average 2.5% cut from now till then.

    What? He manages to halve the 5% cut simply by calling it “average”? That makes no sense at all.

    He could get away with saying there would be an average 2.5% cut by 2016, but saying 5% by 2020 is the same as 2.5% by 2020 is just mathematical FRAUD.

  21. Jess @ 27, I’ve always assumed those huge calculations were bullshit. Life’s too short (especially at my age) to bother with understanding some tedious calculation which will almost certainly turn out to be either wrong or deliberately deceptive.

  22. Sorry about the formatting @ 28.

    Just let me illustrate the sheer nonsense of what Bolt has argued with an analogy. It’s like saying you went on a diet and you lost 4kg in one month, but on average you only lost 2kg.

    [Fixed, I think – Ed]

  23. DI(nr): Yep, I usually stick them in the tl;dr basket.

    Silky: yep, it’s all bullshit – even before you get to the 2.5% = 5% bit. I was just catching up on the reasons behind Bolta’s current fav trick question.

    And before anyone accuses me of being the formatting Stasi, let me say that if you don’t have the courtesy to lay out your argument clearly so that other people can follow it, other people will make the assumption that it’s not worth following. If your argument is valid, then laying it out nicely so that people can follow it just makes it stronger.

    Unfortunately I don’t think Monckton has come up with a valid argument yet.

  24. Jess, ah, I see. When you said “ol’ googly eyes,” you were referring to the one who pretends to belong to the House of Lords.

  25. Gobsmacked @ 19: No, Flannery is not mad, just visionary and wildly over-optimistic.

    silkworm @ 20: Indeed. TF’s “superorganism” is a Human Hive, not Gaia as most Gaians would understand it.

    Gobsmacked @23: Which is where the overoptimism comes in. TF holds out the prospect of a Human Hive, functioning as the conscious brain of Gaia. In such a “brain”, most of us are support cells, as he mentions via the ant nest analogy. This does not mean that everyone is totally identical; just that each performs those functions that apply their individual strengths most beneficially for the Hive as a whole, as per the old commie ethic of “to each according to their needs, from each according to their ability”. Such a state is very unlikely to be achieved by 99.99% of humanity spontaneously joining in altruistic and perfectly-informed enlightenment, but is more likely, when it becomes essential for sustainability, to be approximated by totalitarian enforcement from the top down. Individual quirks, malcontentment and irrationality will continue to exist, but without sanction of the World State except in so far as they are useful.

    NB: we may have evolved capacity for rational thinking as a survival aid, but underneath it, most of what goes on in brains still seems to be a random sloshing of neurotransmitters and hormones against slightly out-of-date hard-wiring that is as far from rationality as you can get. There has been a lot of research over the last 30 years that paints a discomfiting picture of how much processing and filtering goes on in that unconscious part of our brain before awareness of it emerges at the conscious level a fraction of a second later. Combine that with the empirical observation that most people find rational, critical thought tiring most of the time and would prefer to avoid it, and the problem solving is only ever going to get done by a minority who are naturally good at it or have been well trained to do so.

    silkworm @24: why worship anything, let alone ourselves? Although attempting to grovel in front of our own faces might just constitute a perpetual motion machine a la cat-on-toast. The greater Gaia, including ever microbe, ocean current and weather system, is rather more awe-inspiring, but probably big enough to neither notice nor care about any self-humiliatory tendencies in its human component.

  26. alexincancun @ 21 has given us some links, which I followed, and which led to more interesting links, such as this.

    This concerns the role that the World Bank might play in financing climate mitigation projects.

    The Climate Fund was set up in Copenhagen as a financial mechanism to support mitigation projects in developing countries. However, the World Bank is elbowing its way to the front of the line to help design the new fund, almost guaranteeing itself a permanent role in its management.

    The World Bank does not have any credibility to be involved in climate financing given its long track record in promoting and funding fossil fuel projects that exacerbate climate change.

    The World Bank supported fossil fuel projects to the tune of $6.6 billion in 2010, a 116% increase from 2009. That included $4.4 billion for coal power projects, more than it spent on all new renewable energy and energy efficiency projects combined for the year ($3.4 billion). So while the World Bank is undeniably increasing it renewable energy financing, the volume is still dwarfed by its fossil fuel lending.

  27. Well the 2011 Climate Summit has just concluded. Overall it was a very positive weekend with lots of opportunity for activists to hear of the positive things each “CAG” and individual was doing.

    Last night we had a very nice dinner (the Japanese dumplings were superb and it was all vegan which worked for me) and we saw various climate activists presented with awards for various kinds of activity. Down the “red carpet” they went to the accompaniment of ironic songs and great warmth and hilarity.

    There were some really useful workshops — of particular interest was one on dealing with media at which an Age editor — Melissa Minchin — gave some astonishingly practical advice about framing stories for mass media release. I also very much enjoyed listening to a quite impressive young from Environment Victoria who looked not only to be committed to the cause of better environmental outcomes but also practical and organised.

    The Summit was not without its contentious moments however. BZE had a strong presence there and the final communique today was set to endorse there 2020 proposal but earlier in the day Mark Diesendorf — who has very strong standing amongst the supporters of renewables — panned the the BZE proposal as nonsensical. By the time the communique came around, BZE was seen as contentious.

    Equally contentious was the vexed issue of an explicit carbon price. Some strongly wanted to excise references to a carbon price, and in particular an ETS — certainly the Socialist Alliance faction did and one or two others — but in the end they were unsuccessful. There were motions and counter-motions concerning the way the Summit would speak about pricing carbon, and in particular an ETS (During the squabble I did have a vision of that scene: what have the romans ever done for us? from The Life of Brian)– and the Summit went quite close to striking down “any carbon tax that was “hardwired to become an ETS” i.e the one we have on the table now. A Sydney activist got up and turned the meeting pointing out that on this basis, the Get Up rally in Sydney should have moved to Hyde Park and joined those demanding “no carbon tax” — that this would be grist to the Abbott mill. His contribution was applauded and that sharply shifted the numbers, isolating the carbon price naysayers. It seems one person can make a difference. Nevertheless, wording on an ETS spoke perversely on opposing an ETS “that created rights to pollute”. Sometimes you have to laugh. That was maked as contentious.

    In the end, the summit ran way over time and a much trimmed media release was agreed, even then not without some rancour.

  28. the Japanese dumplings were superb and it was all vegan which worked for me

    In all honesty, Fran, can you tell me why you are vegan? Are you a Buddhist, or do you hold similar spiritual beliefs to Buddhism?

  29. @Fran: a couple of questions:

    Who/what is the BZE?

    Secondly the point about not wanting an emissions trading scheme seems bizarre.

    …the Summit went quite close to striking down “any carbon tax that was ‘hardwired’ to become an ETS”.

    Can this just be brushed off as idealism on the part of the anti-ETS crowd, or is their argument much more substantial than I think it is?

    The whole point of an ETS is that it allows you to pollute, but that you should pay to ‘perform’ (for want of a better word) that pollution. This seems to me to be a good way of reducing that pollution in a way that the direct policing of some blanket ban (correct me if I’m wrong but I assume that is what the anti-ETS crew would want instead) could never achieve. Or is the problem just that people might make money off it, or rather from making the switch to cleaner technology, which again seems to be the point of the thing.

    The workshops do sound interesting – especially the one on writing for the media. Getting the wording of articles for mass-media release right is really hard. I was invited last week to write an article on the renewed volcanic activity at Mt Ruapehu for The Conversation (actually there’s some really great articles on climate change there too), and it was amazing how much my original wording was changed once it went through the editors. Certainly an experience I would recommend for many academics looking to expand their writing style. It might be OT but do you have any points from that workshop that you’d like to share?

  30. Silky asked:

    In all honesty, Fran, can you tell me why you are vegan? Are you a Buddhist, or do you hold similar spiritual beliefs to Buddhism?

    I’m not a vegan. I eat eggs and dairy. I do object on several grounds (high ecosystem footprint, animal cruelty, health) to eating the flesh of animals. Strictly speaking, I should exclude dairy, but then I’d have to exclude tea as well, and also deny it to my 17-year-old.


    BZE = Beyond Zero Emissions

    The whole point of an ETS is that it allows you to pollute, but that you should pay to ‘perform’ (for want of a better word) that pollution.

    Precisely. That was what I found bizarre. We didn’t have time to get to that.

    I think it became a kind of bidding war over who was more righteous over opposing the evil machinations of polluters. During one of the workshops on this there was a lot of breast thumping about “neoliberalism” and how WW2 proved how you could get the state to just do it, complete with happy snaps of happy little female stakhanovite munitions workers knuckling down to the job at hand. It was an appeal to a simpler age by the usual suspects. Nobody mentioned socialism, but you knew they just wanted to, which was a shame because the US government was locking up Japanese and socialists at the time. Suzuki was interned in Canada … but I digress.

    The Socialist Alliance crowd wanted to spend whatever it took to build whatever was needed even though they didn’t know what it was and when it would come on line or where the engineers or manufacturing to build components woiuld come from though they liked BZE’s proposal for 60/40 wind/solar and wanted to make sure that it all came out of general taxation except for the part about gross feed in tariffs. I had to laugh at that because the guy who said GFiT was essential had just finished condemning neoliberals. It was perverse that even though they were allegedly hardcore socialists they felt the need to argue for taxes to be raised rather than borrowing. Sounds kind neoliberal to me.

    It also slipped by them that even if they did build all this stuff unless they compelled energy retailers to buy it coal would stiull be cheaper, unless the state flogged off the stuff cheap — which would be a subsidy to the wholesale buyers. If they didn’t do that then the costs would indeed be passed onto consumers — unless of course they were compensated, but of course, the government was untrustworthy in their eyes in this respect.

    I found it amusing that they felt they couldn’t trust the government to administer carbon pricing or prevent themn from rorting it in favour of polluters, but thought they could force the government to devise and administer a huge but equitable and fairly efficient package of energy restrcutring that wouldn’t get rorted and which would escape regulatory capture.

  31. PS

    I’m staying with a guy from the Summit in Melbourne and using his laptop so I will report more fully when I get back. This machine is horrible to use.

  32. It sounds like a Cancun replay, Fran. I got my primer on management by committee when I was pressed into the committee for a daycare centre in NZ. What an incredible waste of time, on the one hand, but that is what is necessary for community management, on the other. I suspect that the “Summit” problem is that an annual event is a failure if it is not the annual culmination of monthly micro regional summits. Too much to resolve in too short a time.

  33. Thanks Roger … now that you mention it, I had her given name confused with another participant.

  34. Thanks for the reporting, Roger J. There are some good quotes there, particularly of Tony Haymet, for whom I am a huge fan.

  35. Fran,

    “A Sydney activist got up and turned the meeting pointing out that on this basis, the Get Up rally in Sydney should have moved to Hyde Park and joined those demanding ‘no carbon tax’ — that this would be grist to the Abbott mill”

    Sounds like your little band is stupid enough to be dangerous. God forbid that it should have issued a press release panning the carbon tax and ETS. Abbott would have had a field day!

    “Life of Brian” sounds about right.

  36. Sounds like your little band is stupid enough to be dangerous.

    Despite being avowed socialists they were not “{my} little band”. As people know here, I am very much in support of an explicit carbon price — amongst the features of which would be a robust, ubiquitous cap and trade scheme.

  37. Hey Brian… I attended a fascinating seminar today run by the Australian Meteorologial and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) on what’s known and speculated about the climate for SEQ over coming years and decades. I learnt about the variously described Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which sits underneath ENSO and variously increases or decreases the ENSO effects. I also learnt that the alignment of PDO and La Nina events in the 1500s created the current coastline of Australia from the NSW mid-north coast to Fraser Island. The worrying part of the story is that we’re seemingly entering a La Nina-like PDO, which will increase the frequency of cyclones reaching SEQ and also change the direction (and height of extreme) waves so as to erode sand coasts and prevent replenishment. This means beaches will retreat, possilby by hundreds of metres. At any event, AMOS will be mounting the presentations on its site, so I’m recommending you check it out.

  38. Silkworm @29: What really counts is how much we emit over a given period rather than our rate of emissions at the end of the period. If we look at the next 10 years, emission reduction would be the same if we ramped down to a 5% reduction over the 10 yrs OR dropped emissions by 2.5% right now and did nothing else for 10 yrs.
    Jess @28: The “aus produces only 1.5%” is a bit of a furphy. Over 30% of world emissions come from countries that emit less than Australia. (And 96% comes from countries with a lower per capita.) Australia has to be part of the action.

  39. Fran: Garnaut No. 8 commented in box 13 that domestic electricity consumption was very price inelastic. A 10 % increase in domestic price resulted in a 3% reduction in consumption short term rising to 6% over time. At a domestic price of $0.20/kWh the 10% price increase corresponds approx. to a $20/tonne CO2 tax.
    For the above, the tax per tonne CO2 abatement works out at $667/tonne at 3% reduction dropping to $333/tonne at the 6% mark.
    As a comparison, Malcolm Turbull’s light bulb regulations have no tax charge and actually SAVE consumers $200 per tonne CO2 abatement.
    Claims that standby power consumption is responsible for 10% of domestic consumption suggests that there is scope for more regulation even if economists don’t like it because errh?

  40. John D

    I’ve never opposed the idea that non-market measures need to accompany explicit carbon pricing. In the time I’ve been posting here, I’ve advocated various forms of direct investment/loan guarantees, not just in energy supply but in housing and urban design, the packaging of compensation targeted at low-middle income earners to include compensation in kind, measures for road transport aimed at forcing down ad hoc and heavy vehicle road transport, support for public transport and much else. I’m also of the view that beyond AFTWE there should be a sharp tail off of compensation for price effects of explicit carbon pricing so that by about 120% of AFTWE, none should flow. As I understand it, this is where the least demand inelasticity appears to exist. Particularly in this section of the demographic, rising real incomes subvert price pressure.

    Certainly, subject to the existence of technologically neutral standards for assessing the life-cycle environmental efficacy and cost-efficiency over time of abatement measures, including in energy, I’ve no problem at all with one form or another of state regulation or direct investment in abatement in these areas. Nevertheless, I see an explicit, ubiquitous, substantial and robustly enforceable CO2 price as being the sine qua non of policy development.

  41. @John D – I agree!

    I wasn’t trying to post some valid argument, but rather point out how hard it is to pinpoint what’s wrong or right with an argument when a denier throws around random numbers (and Monckton’s are all bullshit anyway).

    Also I’m not sure that Monckton is really saying what you suggest in your reply to Silkworm. You are right if it’s an overall reduction of volume of carbon emitted that you’re interested in. The trouble is that the 5% cut is a cut in a rate of emissions (i.e. 5% less CO2 per year than 1990 for example), not a total volume. So it’s really an invalid comparison – he’s comparing apples with oranges.

    I think that was his little sleight of hand to claim that 5% is really 2.5% so all his numbers are smaller. Not that that’s really necessary – we know that reductions in global temperature even for drastic cuts at this stage would be tiny.

    Anyway, I’m not really fussed about any of Monckton’s numbers. A safer (and saner) bet is just to ignore them.

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