Wedges reaffirmed(?)

by Judith Curry

Robert Socolow of Princeton University has written and essay “Wedges Reaffirme,” that examines the impact of  his 2004 paper with Stephen Pacala, entitled  “Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies”.

Its core messages are as valid today as seven years ago, but they have not led to action.

Some excerpts:

Let’s review the messages in our 2004 paper. The paper assumes that the world wishes to act decisively and coherently to deal with climate change. It makes the case that “humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half-century.” 

The paper is probably best known for having introduced the “stabilization wedges,” a quantitative way to measure the level of effort associated with a mitigation strategy: a wedge of vehicle fuel efficiency, a wedge of wind power, and a wedge of avoided deforestation have the same effect on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Filling the stabilization triangle required seven wedges.

Today, nine wedges are required to fill the stabilization triangle, instead of seven.

Given that delay brings the potential for much additional damage, what is standing in the way of action?

Familiar answers include the recent recession, the political influence of the fossil fuel industries, and economic development imperatives in countries undergoing industrialization. But, I submit, advocates for prompt action, of whom I am one, also bear responsibility for the poor quality of the discussion and the lack of momentum. Over the past seven years, I wish we had been more forthcoming with three messages: We should have conceded, prominently, that the news about climate change is unwelcome, that today’s climate science is incomplete, and that every “solution” carries risk. I don’t know for sure that such candor would have produced a less polarized public discourse. But I bet it would have. Our audiences would have been reassured that we and they are on the same team – that we are not holding anything back and have the same hopes and fears.

It is not too late to bring these messages forward.

From the section on “Incomplete climate science:”

It would be productive for advocates of prompt action also to concede that the message from climate science is not only unwelcome but also incomplete. Feedbacks from clouds, ice, and vegetation are only partially understood – thwarting precise prediction of future climate. The best and worst future climate outcomes consistent with today’s science are very different.

Why, at the intersection of climate science and climate policy, is there more discussion of average outcomes than nasty ones? As I have speculated in a recent paper, one reason is that average outcomes are safer to talk about, because the science is more solid; there is less risk of being accused of alarmism. Also, acknowledging terrible outcomes of low probability requires acknowledging the other tail – a world with rising emissions but little change for quite a while. I often hear that any concession to benign outcomes (or, more accurately, outcomes that remain benign for a relatively long time) will foster complacency. I don’t understand that fear. In my experience, when I tell someone “we could be lucky,” and then I pause, the listener completes the sentence for me: “or we could be unlucky.” The listener does not hear a lullaby.

Arguments for action based on what we don’t know reinforce those based on what we do know. To build a case on what we don’t know, however, takes courage, because it requires revealing how much experts disagree. There are many contending views about sea-level rise, for example. Advocates resist calling attention to the coexistence of contending expert views – far more certain than I am that lay audiences translate such conflicts into justifications for procrastination. I think it should be possible to convey that earth systems science is an evolving human enterprise where discordant views are the norm, and then to explain why certain issues have proved hard to resolve. My working assumption is that candor creates trust.

[JC bold]

Blogospheric reactions

Andy Revkin has two very interesting posts on Socolow’s essay [here and here], where he posts lengthy reactions from various experts.  I’m extracting comments that relate to “Incomplete climate science.”

From Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Relations:

Rob’s assessment of the climate community’s missteps is excellent. I’ve long encouraged people to be more forthright about uncertainties – indeed it is the ugly uncertainties, not the likely outcomes, that should concern people most. (Likely outcomes are fine for explaining why 1000 ppm is unwise; they are less persuasive when it comes to deciding whether, say, 550 is too high or not.) I suspect that he is also correct to assert that the “win-win-win-win-win” formulation of recent years is counterproductive: if you insist that climate policy would be a wonderful thing even if climate change weren’t real, people are going to suspect your motives for claiming to believe climate science. (It’s interesting that Nick Stern at once claims to accept this critique and promotes the “innovation will propel the economy forward” meme. Nothing in economics says that innovation for its own sake is an economic boon.) It may be that embracing uncertainty and acknowledging the challenges involved in climate policy don’t tip public support the way Rob would like. But there’s a good case to be made that it would, and I have a hard time seeing the harm in trying.

From  David Victor, author of “Global Warming Gridlock” and a professor at the University of California, San Diego:

The bulk of Rob’s new paper is actually about why the “community” of activist scientists has failed to push governments to do much on climate change. That’s the right question (if oddly buried under the headline “wedges reaffirmed” since the simplicity of policy claims such as “wedges” is actually part of the problem). Before we do a lot of self-flagellation let’s remember that this is a really hard problem to solve. When you look at real economics (as opposed to fantasy visions that deep cuts are possible just with a few mouse clicks) and real geopolitics you have a problem that is structured to fail—it requires near-term policy efforts that are costly with uncertain future benefits, it depends on sustained action when the reality is that governments waver as issues come and go, and it requires international collective action. My view is that better policy strategies can help a bit, but the fundamentals [predispose] a policy outcome that is a lot less aggressive and much slower than most people would like. 

Rob’s diagnosis is that the community has failed on three fronts: a) we are doing badly in conveying the dangers of climate change; b) the science is incomplete; and c) every solution carries risk. I don’t understand where these diagnoses come from; they might be right, but they wouldn’t be at the top of my list of priorities. But I commend Rob for putting the diagnosis out there starkly because perhaps a debate leads to some practical actions.

I think the community of policy advocates is generally doing better than Rob claims with his list of three action points. For example, the community is doing a decent job of talking about the dangers from climate change. In fact, there has been a big shift away from talking about “most likely” outcomes (which are, as Rob says, easier to discuss yet duller) and a lot more attention to possible extreme outcomes—dragons in the closet, catastrophes, etc. Nor do I think the scientific community is doing a bad job of talking about uncertainty and the incompleteness of the science. In fact, the polling data suggest that the public has over-reacted to that message. The new Stanford/Reuters poll shows that the public is more convinced than ever that climate warming is happening and LESS convinced that humans are to blame. And the new Yale/George Mason poll, which is the first I have seen to prove the views of Tea Partiers, shows that Tea Party members (12% of the public) feel they are very well informed about climate science and more than half think global warming will never hurt anyone. Just 1% of Tea Partiers think that there is a more than 80% chance that humans are primarily to blame for climate change (ie, an IPCC-like statement of attribution).

I have a different diagnosis about things we have done badly. 1) we have failed to talk about coincidence of interests; 2) we have failed to keep costs in perspective. And 3) we haven’t talked enough about international strategy. A few words on each.

JC comments: Most of the reactions to Socolow’s essay has been about the wedges.  I think that in principle the wedges are a useful concept, provided that the whole thing is not over simplified.  The more interesting discussion to me has been the discussion on incomplete climate science and uncertainty.  The bolded statements made by Socolow are music to my ears.

254 responses to “Wedges reaffirmed(?)

  1. “In my experience, when I tell someone “we could be lucky,” and then I pause, the listener completes the sentence for me: “or we could be unlucky.” The listener does not hear a lullaby.”

    This is exactly right.

    The basics behind climate change itself are solid – greenhouse effect, ocean acidification, rising CO2, the lack of past parallels. But the effects and magnitudes of these changes are not.

    Conveying the sinister nature of this uncertainty to the public is a good idea. Notice that the public are so scared of geo-engineering (even skeptics). It’s not because bad effects of geo-engineering are certain but because people recognize the uncertainty and scale of danger is very troubling.

    • lolwot you write ” But the effects and magnitudes of these changes are not.”

      Precisely. The fact is that the amount that global temperatures might rise for a doubling of CO2 from current values, is negligible. It is impossible to detect any CO2 “signal” of rising global temperatures against the background nosie of natural variations. As to ocean acidification, that is just another hoax.

      • The fact is that the amount that global temperatures might rise for a doubling of CO2 from current values is 10 degrees C

        At which point it would be impossible to NOT detect the CO2 signal.

        As to ocean acidification – it’s happening. In denial much?

      • The fact is that the amount that global temperature might rise for a doubling of CO2 from current values is zero degrees C
        At which point it would be possible to NOT detect the CO2 Signal.
        As to ocean acidification, Earth has dealt with much higher levels of CO2 and the oceans did very well. In fact, during most of Earth history before the most recent million years, CO2 was much higher.

      • The public has reason to be scared of geo-engineering and to doubt ocean acidification as another hoax after WikiLeaks [1] and SPACE.com exposed the Trojan Horse and the truth about Earth’s variable heat source:

        http://www.space.com/13128-photo-huge-solar-flare-giant-sunspot-skywatching.html

        Environmentalism was a Trojan Horse we welcomed, until we found that science [2,3] was sacrificed for:

        Redistribution of wealth [1] with a one-world government [4] in control of Reality [5].

        Conclusions:

        A. Reality is greater than world leaders and pseudo-scientists.
        B. Communion is greater than dogmatic communism.
        C. God is much greater than any dogmatic religion.
        D. Cowards hide under these dogmatic cloaks.

        Regretfully it took me forty years (1971-2011) to decipher this.

        1. “Clean-energy credits tarnished,” Nature 477, 517-518 (2011)
        http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110928/full/477517a.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20110929

        2. “Is the Sun a pulsar?” Nature 270, 159-160 (1977)
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v270/n5633/abs/270159a0.html

        3. “Solar abundances of the elements,” Meteoritics 18, 209-222 (1983)
        http://www.omatumr.com/archive/SolarAbundances.pdf

        4. “Deep roots of Climategate” (2011)
        http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

        5. Carl Gustav Boberg, “The Great Reality” (1885)
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf0vJiyeLIo

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former Greenpeace Supporter
        http://myprofile.cos.com/manuelo09

      • lolwot you write “The fact” The only fact there is, is that there is no physics that allows anyone to estimate what the climate sensivitity is for a doubling of CO2.

      • Peter Wilson

        lolwot | October 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm
        “The fact is that the amount that global temperatures might rise for a doubling of CO2 from current values is 10 degrees C”

        Your use of “fact” and “might” in the same sentence is sloppy thinking. There are no facts in the future, what might happen is never a fact.

        And how can you possibly assert that a 10 degree rise for doubling CO2 is likely, or even possible, when almost half a doubling has led to, at most, a 0.8 degree rise?

        “As to ocean acidification – it’s happening. In denial much?”

        If you want to call a reduction in the alkalinity of seawater by about 0.1pH “acidification”, I don’t know of anyone who would deny that has happened – although I would definitely deny that the term acidification is appropriate to describe this very benign process, or that it is any kind of major problem.

      • You are accusing Jim Cripwell of sloppy thinking, not me. He used the two words first as a serious argument. I copied his words to parody them.

        “And how can you possibly assert that a 10 degree rise for doubling CO2 is likely, or even possible, when almost half a doubling has led to, at most, a 0.8 degree rise?”

        For the same reason people can assert that a negligible amount of warming for doubling CO2 is likely or even possible.

        Ie I am appealing to uncertainty. For example your argument assumes climate sensitivity is roughly linear with temperature and it also assumes climate response time isn’t very slow. So it doesn’t actually rule out 10C warming per doubling of CO2.

      • “As to ocean acidification, Earth has dealt with much higher levels of CO2 and the oceans did very well. In fact, during most of Earth history before the most recent million years, CO2 was much higher.”

        It’s quite maddening that you and others dismiss such an important issue in such a blaze way. You obviously haven’t researched the subject to any sufficient level or you would know the flaw in your argument.

        Yet you are obviously convinced your argument is solid.

        Did you not sense any warning signs? Such as the argument is ridiculously simple for example? Scientists are going to know CO2 was much higher in the past. If it was such a clinching argument why are they not convinced ocean acidification is a non-issue?

        The fact is that skeptic blogs are terrible at educating. All sorts of misconceptions fester and survive. Skeptics are conditioned in the end to throw out wild claims such as “ocean acidification is a hoax” without ever reading an actual scientific report about ocean acidification, or to read a site like skepticalscience.com. No, they are well trained to only get their “news” from places like wattsupit where they can reassuringly never encounter the right answer.

      • lolwot,
        It is boring that you alarmists delude yourselves into thinking that they public should be scared no matter how lacking the basis of your fear.
        The fact is OA is a bogus scare, like the scare about more hurricanes for CO2.
        OA is not happening as you believers wish it were happening. The ocean has much more capacity for CO2, and the action of CO2 in the oceans is much less direct than the AGW community seems to comprehend.
        But if it makes you feel good beat the OA drum. It is entertaining, and like the other drums the AGW beats, only drives more people to do the one thing you cannot handle: ask tough questions about your claims.

      • The pH of the ocean varies considerably from location to location. If acidification was going to have detrimetal effects on life certainly we must already be witnessing this happening in some locations. Where?

      • @lolwot

        It’s quite maddening that you and others dismiss such an important issue in such a blaze way. You obviously haven’t researched the subject to any sufficient level or you would know the flaw in your argument.

        Well, why don’t you point that flaw out, rather than a trite argument from authority that most people don’t trust. (The authority, not just your argument from it.) Any sensible person would want to know why scientists aren’t pacified by the comment that “Earth has dealt with much higher levels of CO2 and the oceans did very well“. The fact is that the current low levels of CO2 allow calcium carbonate to be supersaturated in many (most) ocean surface waters, which is essential for the deposition of shells of species adapted for the current environment. If such species stop being able to survive, other species will presumably take over their ecological niches, but the results of such a catastrophic ecological replacement cannot be modeled or predicted. One highly cited paper, Orr et al. (2005), states:

        By 2100 as atmospheric CO2 reaches 788 ppmv, undersaturation extends throughout the entire Southern Ocean (< 60°S) and into the subarctic Pacific. These changes will threaten high-latitude aragonite secreting organisms including cold-water corals, which provide essential fish habitat, and shelled pteropods, an abundant food source for marine predators.

        Implications have been widely studied.

        The reason the Earth was able to survive much higher CO2 levels was that many ecological niches occupied by species with CaCo3 shells today were instead occupied (or rather roughly equivalent niches were occupied) by species with shells of silica (SiO2).

        As for the claim that the Earth’s CO2 levels were much higher a million or so years ago, you might have offered this news story based on an article in Science, or referred him to page 698 of Pearson & Palmer (2000) which contains a graph showing little change in atmospheric CO2 levels since the early Miocene, perhaps 20MYA.

        Ref’s

        Orr, J.C., Fabry, V.J., Aumont, O., Bopp, L., Doney, S.C., et al. 2005. Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the
        twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms.
        Nature 437:681–86

        Pearson, P.N., Palmer, M.R. (2000) Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years Nature VOL 406 17 AUGUST 2000

      • Oh, yeah, I forgot the best link: CO2, ocean acidification, and Calcium Carbonate formation and deposition by John Shepherd (NOC, Southampton). It’s not peer-reviewed, and I don’t offer it as an “authority”, but I’ve reviewed it and as far as I can tell it matches my own understanding of the acidification issue. And it’s not really that hard to understand.

      • “Any sensible person would want to know why scientists aren’t pacified by the comment that “Earth has dealt with much higher levels of CO2 and the oceans did very well“.”

        Clearly not. Deniers are happy to dwell in their ignorance.

        It’s funny how you try and turn it back on me – how dare I don’t give you the answer! The answer is all over the internet. In various reports on the matter and on blog posts. How difficult would it be to find that if you really cared?

        It’s clear that deniers simply don’t care what the actual scientific issue is about, they prefer to just make up their own strawman to knock down.

      • Hunter writes:

        “OA is not happening as you believers wish it were happening. The ocean has much more capacity for CO2, and the action of CO2 in the oceans is much less direct than the AGW community seems to comprehend.”

        This is another denier just making stuff up. Not bothering to actually understand the issue by reading primary reports because that would just get in the way of what you want to believe.

      • lolwot,

        “It’s clear that deniers simply don’t care what the actual scientific issue is about, they prefer to just make up their own strawman to knock down.”

        From a denier, is that argument from authority, a raw assertion, or are you just making stuff up today??

      • 10.0 C from a doubling?
        Oh…..”might rise”.
        What a maroon you are.
        As to OA, you believers are the ones denying reality.

      • lolwot

        The fact is that the amount that global temperatures might rise for a doubling of CO2 from current values is 10 degrees C

        This is not a fact at all.

        It is an erroneous extrapolation of questionable model simulations based on highly doubtful assumptions.

        But let’s look at facts

        Temperature rose by 0.7C from 1850 to today (HadCRUT3 record with all its warts and blemishes)

        CO2 rose from 290 ppmv (IPCC assumption, based on Vostok ice core data) to 390 ppmv (Mauna Loa)

        IPCC (AR4) assumes that 93% of total forcing was anthropogenic (only 7% attributed to natural factors) and that all other anthropogenic factors other than CO2 cancelled one another out.

        So we can calculate the 2xCO2 climate response easily with these data points.

        290 ppmv = CO2 concentration in 1850 = C0
        390 ppmv = CO2 concentration in 2011 = C1
        C1/C0 = 1.3448
        ln(C1/C0) = 0.2963
        dT(1850-2011) = 0.7°C
        Attributed to CO2 = 97%
        dT(290-390 ppmv CO2) = 0.97 * 0.7 = 0.65°C
        ln 2 = 0.6931
        dT(2xCO2) = 0.65 * 0.6931 / 0.2963 = 1.5°C

        This estimate is based on the rather arbitrary IPCC assumption that only 7% of the warming was caused by natural forcing components (which IPCC itself concedes is based on a “low level of scientific understanding” of “solar” forcing).

        So maybe we should look elsewhere to check these assumptions.
        Several solar studies have suggested that around 50% of the temperature increase can be attributed to the extremely high level of 20th century solar activity (highest in several thousand years).

        If these studies are correct, then the 2xCO2 CS would be reduced to around 0.8°C.

        So it looks like the observed range is 0.8 to 1.5°C and NOT 10°C (as you have stated).

        Max

      • Max,

        You forgot that the CO2 warming is waiting in the pipe and will appear in the future. It’s tricky. The heat is slowly sinking into the deep ocean.

      • you are assuming climate sensitivity is linear with temperature and also making assumptions about the thermal inertia of the climate.

        My point about the 10C per doubling is that if you want to abandon “consensus” science so you can believe very low amounts of warming for a doubling of CO2 that means abandoning all the stuff that makes 10C very unlikely too.

      • lolwot,

        “My point about the 10C per doubling…”

        Your point is total BS. The possible temp increase from a doubling of CO2 is known to be under 2c. The imaginary warming you are talking about is not science, it is video games. When you can come up with actual observations that support the video games you may have a point. Until then it is BS.

      • lolwot

        Regarding what you describe as ocean acidification. The evidence that human released atmospheric CO2 has lead to any significant harms is imo extremely weak. I would agree that humans are damaging the oceans- just not that the primary concern should be atmospheric CO2 release.

      • It is impossible to detect any CO2 “signal” of rising global temperatures against the background nosie of natural variations.

        In terms of a Proportional-Derivative model, the d[CO2] and temperature anomaly cross-correlate very well.
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/sensitivity-of-global-temperature-to.html
        It is extremely easy to pick out a CO2 influence, the causality is the issue.
        The Derivative part gets picked out because weather system temperature changes will influence CO2 concentration; and taking the derivative is a sensitive way of showing this correlation. The Proportional part is thought to be the temperature sensitivity to CO2. That is the basic data analysis to start from.

      • Temperature drives d[CO2], not vice versa! I have yet to see any credible evidence of either atmospheric CO2 driving temperature or human emissions driving atmospheric CO2.

      • “Temperature drives d[CO2], not vice versa!”

        Why do you think the one precludes the other? Do you believe them to be mutually exclusive?

        “I have yet to see any credible evidence of either atmospheric CO2 driving temperature or human emissions driving atmospheric CO2.”

        Then it would appear you have missed a lot. What journals do you read regularly?

      • Temperature drives d[CO2], not vice versa! I have yet to see any credible evidence of either atmospheric CO2 driving temperature or human emissions driving atmospheric CO2.

        Listen up. I actually lift a finger and try to make sense of the data that is available. In the comment, I said that temperature can influence CO2 concentration: “The Derivative part gets picked out because weather system temperature changes will influence CO2 concentration“. Or do you have problems with reading comprehension?

        The long range temperature correlation could be due to increasing CO2 and this has been speculated on since the days of Arrhenius.

        Your other part is laughable when you assert that human emissions don’t drive atmospheric CO2 levels. The theory is solid and it is incredibly straightforward to take fossil fuel emissions and convolve this with an impulse response function to match the Mauna Loa data. But yes, I understand that you can’t lift a finger and do the data analysis yourself, preferring to sit on the sidelines and just make assertions.

      • Robert and WHT,

        This is IMO one of the best explanations of the CO2/warming “problem”:
        http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

        Conclusions:

        > We are in a long term period of declining temperatures that started at a peak about 10,000 years ago.

        > Thousands of natural temperature cycles with swings of around two degrees deviate from this declining trend. A statistically significant twenty year cycle tends to dominate SST change rates of about 0.14 degrees/year. We are presently on an
        upswing and can expect a downswing within a couple of years.

        >The observed rise in background levels of carbon dioxide is globally uniform and is primarily the result of rising temperatures of the arctic ocean sink and not from increases in anthropogenic emissions.

        >The condensation, evaporation, freezing, and thawing of water is the thermostat that moderates our atmospheric temperature and allows life to exist. The effect on temperature by carbon dioxide’s absorption of long wave radiation is not detectable compared to the effects of water. It takes a whole lot more energy to evaporate a mole of water at a constant temperature than it does to raise a mole of carbon dioxide by a degree or two. There is a lot more water vapor in the air than carbon dioxide.

        >Carbon dioxide tends to equilibrate with condensed moisture in clouds and fog and thus moderating the effects of SST rises that cause it’s emission from equatorial sources. Also, clouds transport dissolved CO2 toward the poles where it is sequestered by frigid ocean sinks.

        >Carbon dioxide extracted from ice cores is an indicator but not an accurate measure of prehistoric atmospheric concentrations. Long term averaging filters out peaks and valleys of natural cyclic swings. Stable clathrate hydrates retain significant amounts of carbon dioxide in the extraction process. Atmospheric concentrations were significantly higher than indicated by the extracted measurements.

        >Changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide follow changes in SST and the rates of change are slower producing a moderating effect. This is a natural process that has occurred for over 400,000 years. There have been no tipping points caused by
        high carbon dioxide concentrations.

        I agree almost 100%.

        Mainstream conclusions, on the other hand, are just attempts at CO2GW confirmation and that’s pseudoscience.

      • Robert and WHT,

        This is IMO one of the best explanations of the CO2/warming “problem”:
        http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

        Whoopee. We all know that CO2 shows seasonal variations. Whoever made that report made an egregious error in not understanding that the overall rise in CO2 is entirely due to fossil fuel emissions.

      • WHT,

        Entirely?

        “The Derivative part gets picked out because weather system temperature changes will influence CO2 concentration“.

        How does that work? You have to admit that at least a part of CO2 rise is caused by the warming. How much?

        Salby says more than 95% (I think?) of the rise is temperature caused and I tend to agree. What is your understanding?

      • How does that work? You have to admit that at least a part of CO2 rise is caused by the warming. How much?

        Derivatives can sensitively pick up changes in an observable (at the risk of also exaggerating noise), so when a large-scale effect like an El Nino influences the global temperature then the slight changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration can be picked up. However, these changes are minimal, like 1 PPM per degree change, in comparison to the 100 PPM change in atmospheric CO2 that has occurred in the last century. Those two changes are obviously caused by completely different mechanisms.

        Derivatives are like edge detection used in image analysis, in that they exaggerate the effects to show correlation but once the correlation is discovered you still have to integrate to quantify what is being observed.

        Salby says more than 95% (I think?) of the rise is temperature caused and I tend to agree. What is your understanding?

        Salby doesn’t understand the difference between residence time and adjustment time of CO2. Of course the CO2 is being cycled back and forth quickly due to the carbon cycle, and so the isotope argument is weak. But the amount of time it takes for excess CO2 to diffuse to deep sequestering stores is what is actually important. This is the adjustment time.

        The material scientists know this behavior very well when they are doing absorption and incorporation studies, the difference between surface residence time and deep diffusion time is orders of magnitude apart.

    • lolwot: the lack of past parallels.

      It’s not solid.

  2. ‘fact’ and ‘might’ are peculiarly juxtaposed.
    =============

  3. I thought Pielke Jr pretty much demonstrated in his Climate Fix book, using Socolow’s own words, that the “wedges” papers were first and foremost (if not only) for political purposes? (note that IIRC Socolow has published nothing about wedges during the first years of the Obama Administration).

    If that is the case, Socolow’s opinions about the wedges are as interesting as any politician’s. Not at all, that is, apart from within political circles.

  4. The paper illustrated then, and illustrates now, many of the problems with “central planning” thought.

    A list of 15 wedges, as might be implemented by a central authority, for the simplistic goals of the central authority, is pretty antithetical to the principles of freewill and good economy, regardless of one’s stance on climate change.

    However, as a baseline against which to measure actions a democracy ought take anyway, the achievements of the seven, nine or fifteen wedges seems a pretty decent metric.

    Charge a fair price for using up a fraction of the carbon cycle by CO2 emission, and an equivalent fair price for other GHG emission, return that revenue to the owners of the carbon cycle per capita (or, if you’re a rampant socialist, to government revenues, whatever, I have no political bias), and see which of the fifteen wedges are taken up willingly and happily by the Market using their newfound carbon cycle wealth.

    These fifteen competitors for emitting CO2 will increase the democracy of the Market by making more nearly ideal conditions of perfect competition (ie so many alternatives as to be practically infinite choice of supplier), thereby the efficiency of the energy Market.

    Innovation will drive additional wedges to appear, allowing the seven (or nine) necessary wedges to be answered from a field larger than fifteen.

    And we won’t have someone telling us how to live our lives, or making us pay taxes to subsidize free riders who can’t get along without our money making their laziness and gluttony possible.

    • A list of 15 wedges, as might be implemented by a central authority, for the simplistic goals of the central authority, is pretty antithetical to the principles of freewill and good economy,

      Let alone goodwill and free economy.

    • The paper illustrated then, and illustrates now, many of the problems with “central planning” thought.

      A list of 15 wedges, as might be implemented by a central authority, for the simplistic goals of the central authority, is pretty antithetical to the principles of freewill and good economy, regardless of one’s stance on climate change.

      I think you are reading things into the analysis that aren’t there (people who like wedge analysis sometimes do this as well.) Nothing says we need to achieve wedges via central planning: a carbon tax would produce a natural series of “wedges,” as all economic actors sought to maximize their returns by minimizing CO2 emissions.

      The wedge analysis as I read it merely says:
      * Effective mitigation is more achievable when examined as the outcome of multiple types of action, rather than looking for a single “silver bullet.”
      * When the problem is broken down in this way, it becomes apparent that a lot of the heavy lifting can be done with current technology; technological breakthroughs will be helpful, but are not required (this is what Pielke Jr doesn’t like about wedges: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2011/09/pielke-jr-greens-hate-innovation.html).

      How you get the wedge, as it were, under the doorframe, is not specified by wedge analysis.

      • Robert,

        we have seen this week in two news reports how those wedges can be created ad hoc. Villagers and farmers were killed by their governments to force them off land to be used to make money for Carbon Trade. No one in the Climate Movement foresaw this type of extremist activity and I do not directly blame anyone for those governments homicidal activity.

        I would remind you that whenever structures are created that can move large amounts of money from one area to another, there WILL be those who make use of it any way they can. In other words, the Climate Community can’t project Climate and they can’t project human behaviour. They need to stop trying before they accidentally precipitate a major disaster and demonize themselves.

    • Charge a fair price for using up a fraction of the carbon cycle by CO2 emission,

      And you’ll bring the world’s economy screeching to a halt. Just keeping our current (US and Western Europe) economy going still requires subsidies on energy without such a carbon tax (and that’s what it is, no matter what you call it).

      We may not like it, and many most free-market proponents seem to close their eyes and plug their ears to the fact, but there it is, and there it’s been since a century ago.

      I agree we need market forces to drive solutions, central planning is clearly a bust (as the Soviet Union proved), but it needs to be accomplished without driving energy costs through the ceiling.

      • AK,

        ” Just keeping our current (US and Western Europe) economy going still requires subsidies on energy without such a carbon tax (and that’s what it is, no matter what you call it)”

        REQUIRES SUBSIDIES ON ENERGY???? IF there is a REQUIREMENT for subsidies it is to offset the regulation and losses from insane environmental interests.

      • AK

        I’d love to see some source for your claim that actually does the math.

        Classic Capitalism illustrates the truth that subsidy is a distortion to the Market, and always less efficient than operating a fair market free of subsidy.

        Though I’m not proposing a carbon tax (which would be less distortionate, if fairly imposed, but still a drag on the efficiency of the economy).

        I’m proposing not driving energy costs through the ceiling, but recovering from those who benefit from their exploitation of a scarce resource — the carbon cycle — a fair price.

        This is the very basis of all Capitalism.

        So despite kuhnkat’s only slightly warped view of the world — one in many ways he shares with me — a higher net price for carbon fuel use will not result in a higher net price for energy in the long run, due the increased efficiency in the Market inherent in the Capitalist mechanism.

        Innovation, shifting tastes, reduced waste, use of near alternatives, and employment of present underutilized technologies will more than outpace the small inconvenience to that minority who are after all Free Riders (the polite term for parasites) on the economy.

        You can’t have it two ways. Either you’re a Capitalist and support a fair market price for carbon emission, or you oppose pricing carbon emissions at the level the market will bear and are not a Capitalist.

      • @Bart R…

        I’d love to see some source for your claim that actually does the math.

        Most of my knowledge of subsidies comes from research into other subjects, such as the history of the US intervention (CIA working out of the embassy) in Iran to overthrow a democratically elected government and replace it with a tyrant/”king” who would give oil companies great price breaks.

        I’ll grant the intervention was necessary given the realities of the Cold War, but, along with subsequent military and economic aid to Iran and many other “countries” in the Middle East, they added up to a major subsidy for free world oil production. Delucchi & Murphy (2008) seem to have enough of a discussion of the subject to prove it exists.

        As for direct subsidies or tax breaks (which are a form of subsidy), Andrews (2006) and Koplow (2004) seem to be sufficient proof that such exist.

        I haven’t actually done more than scan these references, but they seem to prove my point.

        Classic Capitalism illustrates the truth that subsidy is a distortion to the Market, and always less efficient than operating a fair market free of subsidy.

        Classic Capitalism” is a myth. Capitalism per se is the system of spending wealth by investing it in new productive capacity rather than buying product. The “free market”, as described by people like Adam Smith, was perceived as an instrument of government policy operating within the boundaries of tarrifs and taxes. “Free market capitalism” has always operated within the boundaries of national or other political policy.

        Granted, the use of subsidies on energy may well have “distorted” the development of the US (and other national) economy, but this was because of a political interest in increased productivity in the interest of national security.

        I’m proposing not driving energy costs through the ceiling, but recovering from those who benefit from their exploitation of a scarce resource — the carbon cycle — a fair price.

        “Fair” determined by whom? The only way to really be “fair” would be to require anybody who burns fossil carbon to recover the CO2 from the atmosphere or fund such recovery. Anything less than that would be a subsidy. And what I’m saying is that imposing that “fair” price on fossil fuel use would bring our economy to a grinding halt.

        You can’t have it two ways. Either you’re a Capitalist and support a fair market price for carbon emission, or you oppose pricing carbon emissions at the level the market will bear and are not a Capitalist.

        I’m a pragmatist. LIke Adam Smith, I regard the free market as an instrument of policy. Even the free market in capital (which is what capitalism is all about).

        You actually sound more like a Leninist accusing Trotsky of not being a Marxist, or a Roman Catholic accusing Martin Luther of not being a Christian. “Capitalism” is simply an approach to analyzing economic systems. There are several economic systems that deserve the name “capitalism”, including the cartel capitalism (which is not “mercantilism”) of e.g. 19th century Prussia, crony capitalism of e.g. both Bushes and (to some extent) Obama, and “free market” capitalism, which is what most of us think of as “capitalism”. However, such a thing hasn’t really existed in the world since early Classical Greece (if then). Perhaps the closest was the US and to some extent Great Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

        If you want to make a religion of Capitalism, go ahead. But I suspect you’ll end up finding more “heretics” than people who agree with your religious fanaticism.

        Ref’s

        Andrews, A. (2006) Oil Shale: History, Incentives, and Policy CRS Report for Congress

        Delucchi, M., Murphy, J. (2008) US military expenditures to protect the use of Persian Gulf oil for motor vehicles Energy Policy 36 (2008) 2253– 2264

        Koplow, D. (2004) Subsidies to Energy Industries Encyclopedia of Energy, Volume 5

      • AK,

        I agree with you on a couple of points. There is no Free Market or Free Market Capitalism in the US and hasn’t been for over 100 years. It is why we have such wonderful boom and bust cycles. Central authority types working in the banking, corporate, and government arenas thinking they know how to run things when they are primarily only lining their and their friends pockets.

        Trying to implement any “reasonable” carbon policy through this imminently corrupt process is worse than useless. It will be actively damaging as we have already seen. The money gathered is NOT used reasonably and the “market” moves to minimize its effect hurting our energy supply and damaging the economy in general.

      • AK

        Like you, I’m a pragmatist.

        I tune my message to my audience.

        If you speak the language of policy, then you must understand the law of unintended consequences.

        The myth of Capitalism is the resort of the precise mind when seeking the error that leads to bad results from good intentions. The measure, “what would Capitalism do?” is the baseline to compare actual policy to the presumptive optimal policy.

        Sure, there are times when Capitalism’s pure form is not the correct decision, if you’re asking the question, “who decides what is fair?” or even, “what is fairest for the most?”

        However, these times are fewer and farther between than policy deems, as hindsight proves.

        We know by many signals in the economy and in ecology, in patterns of investment and patterns of development, that the fossil subsidies equate with waste, inefficiency, stagnation and imbalance of incentives.

        The solution is plain, and policy must face this mathematical reality or it will continue to bait sensitive systems into upheaval and disarray.

  5. I wonder how much could be accomplished with $100 billion invested in each wedge over the next 10 years? Or some other specific figure: $1B, $2B, $4B, etc. . Assuming it would actually be invested as advertised, and not just transferred from some rich people to other rich and powerful people. Has Socolow or anyone addressed the question that way? We already have substantial amounts invested each year in reforestation, biofuels R&D, solar R&D, etc.

  6. A modest carbon tax of $10 per tonne CO2 (which is $36 per tonne C) will provide $1.8 trillion dollars per wedge, which is defined as 1 GtC, over 50 years. Assuming half of this can be used to eliminate that wedge over that period, that still leaves nearly a trillion dollars to fund it. Obviously this is not the way it would operate, but it gives an idea of the numbers involved.

    • JimD

      A modest carbon tax of $10 per tonne CO2 (which is $36 per tonne C) will provide $1.8 trillion dollars per wedge

      “Modest”?

      Let’ check out how ”modest” this sum really is:

      Ramses II, Paraoh of ancient Egypt, lived from 1304 to 1213 BC.
      So he died: 3,221 years ago = 1,176,631 days ago

      If you spent $1.5 million per day since Ramses died, you would have spent to date: 1,176,631 * 1,500,000 = $1.76 trillion

      And you would not quite have spent $1.8 trillion.

      So it’s not “modest”.

      Next question: Who is going to pay this?

      China and India have opted out, as have other “developing” or “underdeveloped” economies. So let’s say that leaves developed economies of Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

      These nations have a combined population of 980 million.

      So that calculates out to $1,836/year additional tax per man, woman and child in these countries.

      I would not call this “modest” at all.

      Max

  7. Socolow wants a second go at prosecuting mankind for our evil ways.

    But there is a principle of double jeopardy in public opinion just like a court room.

    The first effort included gross errors and exaggerations in the evidence. The alarmists could have stuck to the plain truth but they did not.

    Case dismissed. They’ve blown it.

    They have blown it themselves with their own errors and their own exaggerations.

    • I think you’re right about that. It’s the boy who cried wolf writ large. It’s too late now. One more reason why any self-respecting scientist should stay out of bed with the activists. They have credibility cooties.

  8. The part I don’t get about this discussion is why they always assume that the climate conditions we experienced in the last 100 years are optimal. Even more distasterous than a modest warming is an ice age. That is the ultimate calamity for mankind. A warmer world would be beneficial in many ways. The fundamental assumption among advocates is that change must have bad consequences, a strangely reactionary idea.

    I actually think that Socolow is wrong about talking about the disasterous but unlikely scenarios. If you emphasize these things, you get people running around claiming that these things are going to happen and then people dismiss the whole matter as alarmist.

    The problem here is really that even if we had concensus in the industrialized world to do something, it wouldn’t make much difference. Muller is excellent on this. China, India, and the other developing world will produce a very large share of the co2 over the next 40 years. So I would focus on mitigation and better estimation of risks.

    • David,
      “I actually think that Socolow is wrong about talking about the disasterous but unlikely scenarios. If you emphasize these things, you get people running around claiming that these things are going to happen and then people dismiss the whole matter as alarmist.”
      I think it was David Victor in response, and in contradiction, to Socolow who suggested this. I think in large part, the exaggerated claims of the past have already caught up with AGW activists. See this Von Storch article written back in 2005.
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,342376,00.html

  9. It is worth mentioning Roger Pielke Jnr regarding climate wedges. He is highly critical.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/09/zombie-climate-wedges.html

  10. I believe that the opinions excerpted in this post are evidence of progress — with solid potential that for debate about climate change will prove more well-reasoned and more productive than much of the previous debate.

    It will be interesting to read the reactions of “skeptics” to this post. Will they reactive positively to efforts to build a better basis for the exchange of opinions?

    • The opinions all seem to assume that there is a serious problem, requiring serious action. They seem to be using uncertainty only in the sense of how bad will it be, not in the sense that there is no threat. Since I think these assumptions are false there is nothing to discuss. Fortunately a lot of people agree with me. This is why little is happening, wedge wise.

      • True, the way it has been communicated sucked! Properly delivering the message and emphasizing the uncertainties could have had a much better impact on black carbon, land use etc. which are doable in a weak economy, could stimulate it actually. The switch to more natgas could have been handled with more reasonable advice instead of more scary stories. They are much too biased on their preferred solution scenarios.

      • Yes, yes, and yes. The mark of a fanatic is one who lets the perfect be the enemy of the good. They usually end up with nothing, and then spend their time crying about it.

      • Dallas,

        there is nothing to communicate except that a bunch of environmentalists almost stampeded the world into handing over what personal freedoms we had to some vague elitist authority that would be accountable to no one and would keep us subservient “for the good of the world.”

      • Here’s the tip-off:

        The bulk of Rob’s new paper is actually about why the “community” of activist scientists has failed to push governments to do much on climate change.
        [...]
        Rob’s diagnosis is that the community has failed on three fronts: a) we are doing badly in conveying the dangers of climate change; …

        If you’re an activist, you can’t be an objective scientist. And these people are proudly mixing activism with science. Science will lose that deal every time.

      • The opinions all seem to assume that there is a serious problem,

        That’s true.

        They seem to be using uncertainty only in the sense of how bad will it be,

        That’s true also – but If they work more towards trying to quantify the uncertainty, and assuming that they aren’t working together in a corrupt conspiracy to advance their socialist agenda (a viewpoint I find implausible), then the uncertainty will be what it is.

        People are still going to bring their biases to these issues no matter how they are analyzed or sliced up. But at least the process, in and of itself, will be improved. For me, the main reason why I question the “consensus” opinion – as someone that doesn’t have the skills (or intelligence) to understand the technical issues – is the problems I see with the process of the “consensus” formation. The impact for me, of the kind of approach discussed in this post, is that it would increase my confidence in the analysis – no matter matter which direction the quantification of uncertainty moves.

  11. Here’s one more reason for why the messaging has failed, Rob – we hear what activists say and we see what activists do. When the two don’t match we shake our heads and walk on.

  12. I like Professor Socolow’s analysis of the credibility gap, but suspect that he is working uphill. David Victor’s response is comical: – We keep telling them there’s a wolf, and they don’t believe us. Let’s tell them there’s a BIGGER wolf.

    • We keep telling them there’s a wolf, and they don’t believe us. Let’s tell them it’s probably a wolf, but it might be a tyrannosaurus, or it might be nothing.

      AFAIK, studies of cultures faced with such threats on a much smaller scale suggest that they almost always have elected to blow the whole thing off. Most of the denialist arguments in this thread are basically BS excuses to blow the whole thing off.

      The real argument against many (but not all) of the suggested solutions is the much more likely tyrannosaurus waiting behind ham-handed manipulations of the world’s economy. Of course, almost any effort to manipulate any economy by politicians will turn out to be ham-handed, not to mention pork-barreled.

      The rational solution (stepping back by a level of abstraction) is to identify solutions with a good chance of solving the fossil carbon problem without much (preferably any) chance of crashing the world economy. Unfortunately, expecting politicians to act rationally is probably irrational.

      • AK,

        Hey alarmist, exactly how are you going to implemet any mitigation schemes if you have destroyed the world economy and there is nothing left to build the technology needed??

        Oh yeah, that is the real goal. Humans back to the caves, but, we aren’t allowed to use it if some animal wants it!!

      • Well, kuhnkat, that was pretty much my point (“much more likely tyrannosaurus waiting behind ham-handed manipulations of the world’s economy“). As for whether it’s the real goal, most of them would deny it I suppose, but not all.

      • AK,

        I am not the smartest guy here, but, that is NOT what you said. What you said is that the message needs to change so you can continue to manipulate the people.The same thing a lot of the warmists slightly smarter than the others are saying. You still don’t get you have NOTHING advantageous to offer to the world, only pain and back to the stone age.

      • @kuhnkat…

        The message I proposed is the best analogy to what the research actually tells us. That is, the truth. It doesn’t matter what your political position is, or mine. It doesn’t matter that people are probably going to take the fact that “it might be nothing” as an excuse to hear “there’s no problem”. It’s what the research actually says.

        What people like you are doing is demanding that science tell something other than the truth because the solutions a few radicals the IPCC and a lot of alarmists are pushing look like cures that are worse than the disease. Well, I agree with that, but I don’t support distorting the science in response.

        You appear to be assuming that because the solutions pushed by the IPCC would probably send us back to the caves, there aren’t any solutions that could actually work. I don’t agree. I think that we should recognize that we actually have a problem, and it ought to be solved as quickly as is consistent with getting the economy back on a growth track and keeping there.

        The two goals aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

        You still don’t get you have NOTHING advantageous to offer to the world, only pain and back to the stone age.

        How would you know? You’re too busy insisting that science tell you what you want to hear.

      • AK,

        tell me the TRUTH about the hotspot and the other missing fingerprints of your Goreball Warming BS again??

      • kuhnkat,
        AK seems to see his role as that of Bill O’Reilly, pretending to be objective and omniscient.
        He ignores that the Dutch, Americans, Japanese, and many others have dealt quite well with major enviro challenges by way of adaptation.

      • No hunter, I try to be objective, but I don’t think I’m all that good at it. As for omniscient, Bill O’Reilly just blows the issue off with his “battle of the experts” trope. I don’t claim to be omniscient, but I can read a scientific paper in most subjects, with the help of Google, Wiki, and some learning curve. And when it comes to climate science, I went though quite a bit of learning curve years ago.

      • Latimer Alder

        From everything I have read and heard – if the wolf is there at all she is very benign. No sharp teeth, no claws, hardly enough breath to blow down a house of cards.

        And it is said that she can only be coaxed to come out of hiding at all in computer models. Too afeard to manifest herself in concrete observabe form, some claim to have seen her passing shadow deep within Intel’s latest creations. While others conclude that such visionaries are naturally drawn to credulity and to belief in ghosties and ghoulies and long-leggedy beasties.

        Not even One Little Pig would be frightened by such a lamb in wolf’s clothing.

      • AK: The rational solution (stepping back by a level of abstraction) is to identify solutions with a good chance of solving the fossil carbon problem without much (preferably any) chance of crashing the world economy.

        Hence my questions above: how much can actually be accomplished for every $100B sacrifice of the world’s economy to a wedge? Numbers in the trillions of dollars are spoken and written of: but would you really want to sacrifice the money that could instead be spent on building/upgrading flood control and irrigation systems in the Indus Valley, head waters of the Ganges, Bhraputra, Mekong and Irriwaddy rivers, upper Mississippi Valley and others? Floods and droughts will alternate whether global climate wierding/warming/disruption/change occurs or does not occur.

      • @MattStat…

        I’m not really a big fan of “wedges”. In fact, I’m not that big a fan of mitigation at all. IMO the best approach would be original research aimed at remediation.

        Numbers in the trillions of dollars are spoken and written of: but would you really want to sacrifice the money that could instead be spent on building/upgrading flood control and irrigation systems in the Indus Valley, head waters of the Ganges, Bhraputra, Mekong and Irriwaddy rivers, upper Mississippi Valley and others?

        If somebody (such as those affected) wants to spend money on such systems I don’t have a problem with it. But if we’re talking about what I think would be the best way to spend “public” money WRT the carbon problem, I would choose original research into remediation/sequestration and prediction technologies. Such original research always ends up paying for itself in societal terms. I would suggest concentrating on: developmental and kinetic biochemistry of photosynthesis quantum computing use of very large neural networks for modeling complex non-linear systems ocean ecology and the modeling of complex ecological systems use of small redundant computer systems in dynamic structures Those are just subjects that occur to me because of what I happen to know. I’m sure others here could add a variety of other productive subjects.

        As for where the money’s going to come from: print it. They’re going to print it anyway because of the current economic situation. Well, print it and spend it on research rather than giving it away to people to do nothing.

      • Let’s try that one paragraph again:

        I would choose original research into remediation/sequestration and prediction technologies. Such original research always ends up paying for itself in societal terms. I would suggest concentrating on:

        – developmental and kinetic biochemistry of photosynthesis

        – quantum computing

        – use of very large neural networks for modeling complex non-linear systems

        – ocean ecology and the modeling of complex ecological systems

        – use of small redundant computer systems in dynamic structures.

        Those are just subjects that occur to me because of what I happen to know. I’m sure others here could add a variety of other productive subjects.

  13. The paper is probably best known for having introduced the “stabilization wedges,” a quantitative way to measure the level of effort associated with a mitigation strategy: a wedge of vehicle fuel efficiency, a wedge of wind power, and a wedge of avoided deforestation have the same effect on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Filling the stabilization triangle required seven wedges.

    Today, nine wedges are required to fill the stabilization triangle, instead of seven.

    This sounds like something that would be presented to third-graders. Wedges? Really?

  14. Dr. Curry has helped people’s understanding of the radiative transfer model and the role that CO2 likely plays in the so called greenhouse effect. What other discipline experts point out, are the errors of omission and commission which challenge the process of coming to catastrophic outcomes conclusions. As we learn more, the uncertainties increase with the unknown unknowns. (Thank you Mr. Rumsfeld). With the telling and retelling of a scary story, the dragons in the closet become less scary and people become more “use” to such, labeling them as “fairy tales.” The allegorical symbolism becomes more manageable intellectually and helps us screw up our courage to “open the closet door to see for ourselves.” No dragon, at least so far. Then we can go to sleep this night, only to revisit the closet night after night to see for ourselves, and reassure ourselves. The “fairy tale” does not end there as we proceed through life opening other closet doors with potential dragons. Communicating that there is a dragon, when we know from experience that it is an unlikely occurrence, does not mean that there will never be dragons, but that we always have to open each closet door to see for ourselves. Give us the opportunity to open the closet door ourselves. Don’t tell us the dragon is so horrible that we should never venture to open that door.

  15. “…the community is doing a decent job of talking about the dangers from climate change. In fact, there has been a big shift away from talking about “most likely” outcomes (which are, as Rob says, easier to discuss yet duller) and a lot more attention to possible extreme outcomes—dragons in the closet, catastrophes, etc.”

    Oops, somebody used the “c” word. After all the hard work Gavin Schmidt and others have done to hide the C in CAGW, some UCSD prof screws up and admits it is central to their movement.

    But the “community” is drawing “more attention” to possible catastrophic outcomes? Didn’t he read the AR4, watch an Inconvenient Truth, hear about the disappearing Himalayan glaciers and Amazon rain forests, or the flooding of Manhattan?

    If there are new and improved horror stories to come, I can’t wait.

  16. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, in a post over at WUWT I discussed the “dismal theory”, which is a very important idea directly applicable to your post. You put the following statement of Sokolow’s in bold:

    Also, acknowledging terrible outcomes of low probability requires acknowledging the other tail – a world with rising emissions but little change for quite a while.

    Both you and Socolow are caught in the “effectively infinite” corner of the cost-benefit analysis. At my WUWT post I quoted the following:

    An interesting challenge to the methodology of IAMs comes from a series of papers from Weitzman (2009a, 2009b, 2009c). In these papers, he puts forward a number of critiques of the current cost-benefit analysis of climate change, especially the approach embodied in IAMs.

    Weitzman’s observations go even further with the elaboration of what is referred to as the ‘dismal theorem’. The idea is basically that under certain conditions, the expected loss from high-consequence, low-probability events can be infinite. In such a situation, standard cost-benefit analysis is therefore no longer an appropriate tool. Weitzman argues that, given the extent of our current understanding, these conditions apply to climate change.

    Taking this idea to its limit would suggest thatIAMs have little relevance for policy, as the response ought always to be to choose policies that do everything possible to avoid an infinite loss, even if there is only a small probability of such an outcome.

    I agree completely. When the stakes are claimed to be, well, losing almost everything, “terrible outcomes”, when things look too dismal, you can no longer use standard cost-benefit analysis as Sokolow advocates. It gives meaningless results.

    Judith, I would be very interested in your views on the “dismal theorem”. I think it is a very important addition to our understanding.

    w.

    • Willis: Weitzman argues that, given the extent of our current understanding, these conditions apply to climate change.

      For climate warming, or for climate cooling? Paraphrasing David Young above, attention focuses for some reason on warming, but warming and cooling have both occurred in the past, and both have been “forecast” for the future, but by different forecasters. Based on past records, each is dismal.

    • Hi Willis, I discussed this issue and Weitzman’s work in the original version (before revision and shortening) of the uncertainty monster paper. So I do have stuff written on this, I need to pull it together

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Judith, I look forward to it. Any chance of a quick elevator speech on the subject as a preview?

        All the best,

        w.

  17. The Sokolow-Pacala program may be a very reasonable one for reasons that have nothing to do with climate-change mitigation. But by tying it to AGW alarmism it might very well be the baby tossed out with the bathwater, and that is a shame. This alarmism has overshadowed many clear and convincing reasons to move in a less carbon-intensive direction, which is a good thing if done in an economically rational as opposed to a hysterical way. The alarmist never fail to seize on any heatwave or hurricane to “prove” to the public that global warming is real, but the other side of the coin might fall should the U.S. experience another series of severe winters like it had in the late 1970s. Let’s see Chicagoans exclaim “Damn that global warming!” when they’re shivering through a week of -10 Fahrenheit days. And let’s see the Solokow- Pacala program survive when it was sold as an AGW mitigation plan.

  18. what is standing in the way of action?

    IPCC:
    For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.

    http://bit.ly/9pwVyH

    OBSERVATION: A cooling of 0.1 deg C per decade
    http://bit.ly/pMHO76

    So what is standing in the way of action?

    The disagreement between predictions and observations!

  19. What I can’t understand is that if the climate scientists are so sure in their ability to model atmospheric physics, then why don’t they all just go off and make huge sums of money by modeling something simpler, like the stock market or horse races?
    How come they don’t apply their highly honed skills in other systems, like oil prospecting or pharmaceutical research?
    If you are that damned good, why not throw the rest of some crumbs? We just do steady state models and use classical control theory. We are sill using elasticity and flux control constants for heavens sake. We have no SKILL. Now of us have ever used skill at all. No one damned bioenergeticist has even tried to apply skill to any metabolic function.

    • andrew adams

      Maybe because atmospheric physics is what they find interesting and what they are knowlegable about.

  20. Trying to re-sell the Wedge is just another rear guard defense of the AGW myth system.

  21. What I can’t understand is that if the climate scientists are so sure in their ability to model atmospheric physics, then why don’t they all just go off and make huge sums of money by modeling something simpler, like the stock market or horse races?

    If you want a serious, non-flippant answer please look up game theory. Game theory models human decision making and some scientists consider it intractable because any effort made to model it will be taken advantage by the system.

    • Webby,

      game theory is predicated on having a reasonable idea of outcomes. Under Climate Science the primary outcomes are made up. You get no ice cream tonight.

      • Webby,

        game theory is predicated on having a reasonable idea of outcomes. Under Climate Science the primary outcomes are made up. You get no ice cream tonight.

        You gave a flippant answer. I was just trying to explain why it is hard to make money where the reverse psychology of your opponents plays an important role. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/game-theory.html

        The environment does not have a creative, intelligent side, unless you believe in Gaia :)

        There is also the related Goodhart’s Law and the Lucas Critique
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodhart%27s_law
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_critique

        Sorry to even get involved in this discussion. Mistake on my part.

      • Yes Webby, PSYCHOLOGY plays a large role also. Exactly what does PSYCHOLOGY say about the climate sensitivity, the odds that the GCM’s are even somewhat useful…

        You are conflating two separate issues. If you cannot compute reasonable likelihoods of the physical part of the game making guesses about the psychology is pointless. This is the basic disagreement of the sceptics and the warmers. Whether we know enough to actually make any of these decisions based on reasonably reliable odds.

        The interminable droning on about communication and responses is pointless without a much better agreement on the PHYSICAL aspects.

        Without a GAIA there is no point in using game theory.

    • I have forgotten more about game theory than you have ever learned.
      However, the very serious point is why has Climate Science not produced anything anyone wants in terms of model development, control theory, statistical analysis or technology? Why is not the vast majority of science not using the analytical suites, statistical methods or even modeling systems developed my the climate modelers?
      Why are the models not actually tested on reality and thrown away if proven wrong?

      • I have forgotten more about game theory than you have ever learned.

        Good. I hope you aren’t offended if I bow out of this discussion because arguing about this is a zero-sum game. No one will get ahead.

      • WHT,
        Excellent strategic withdrawal

      • Perhaps the models are not “thrown away if proven wrong” because:-

        -The Models are effective means of attracting grants, or
        -The Models serve a psychological need – moral gratification?

      • DocMartyn wrote: However, the very serious point is why has Climate Science not produced anything anyone wants in terms of model development, control theory, statistical analysis or technology?

        Is the premise of your question correct? I think that the Padilla et al “production” posted here a few weeks ago is highly desirable, and I sensed the same from others.

  22. “Its (the concept of wedges) core messages are as valid today as seven years ago, but they have not led to action.”

    I happen to live in CA and I don’t agree with the “have not led to action.”

    1) We passed legislation (AB32) to reduce greenhouse gas emission 80% by 2050 and we are getting ready to implement our version of cap and trade.
    2) We also passed legislation this year to require 33% of our electrical generation to come from renewable energy sources- our municipal generators are going to be required to meet this requirement as well- by 2020. We are not allowed to count are large hydro as renewable; nor are we allowed to count our nuclear generation as carbon neutral.
    3) etc.

    A fair number of the recent DOE loan guarantees for utility sized RE electrical generation are a reasonable bet for the DOE (the citizens of the USA) because the residents of CA will be picking up the costs of the projects through long term (20 to 25 year) purchase agreements. The cost effectiness of our efforts was discussed last year by a former chief of staff of our public utilities commission- (http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/13/2955810/state-should-look-before-it-leaps.html#none)

  23. I largely agree with David. Robert has misdiagnosed this stage.

    The climate community continues to beat itself up but the reality is that the public in the U.S. is not responding to the crisis that has been set before it.

    No one is obligated to continue to take climate change deniers seriously, anymore. They have had more than enough attention. There have always been, and will always be, people who deny alot of different things, even when that defies logic, the facts, and reality. They should be nobody’s audience.

    The focus for everyone else is not how to lead a horse to water but how to get it to drink. People have the information to better meet their needs, and more importantly, the needs of other people and future generations. For some reason, your people need alot of hand holding, especially the rich white people.

    To extend David Victor’s arguments, the American government together with the most affluent sector of the American public and its associates have been presented with the relevant information but are so unused to the sort of long-term economic considerations and analyses needed, they have such a superficial political participation, and frankly such little understanding of how the economy works or the cost of its most major economic choices, that they cannot understand the necessary decision-making. The recent economic ‘downturn’ doesn’t help, but it is part of longterm, broad changes in the labour market and will not be changing any time soon. While it is understandably stretching things to ask such such a public to take it a step further and consider their foreign policy options and relations and support international, multi-lateral or bi-lateral agreements in a global world, many other countries are doing it and doing it relatively well. Your choice — at least until you have no choice.

    For some perspective on the absence of the most basic financial understanding relevant to the economy, ask the average professional American (the kind of person who is comfortably socially positioned) what the government’s military expenditures are and what portion of the total public expenditure this is, and guess what? No clue.

    Instead of supporting the needs of the public, an exceptionally myopic American blogosphere e.g. ClimateEtc, has been playing the same broken Bush-era populist message over, and over, and over again. It is the most reactionary nationalism that people have seen in a long time, and it is the swansong of such ideology. It’s pathetic, and scary.

    Stop blaming the climate community because it is not the main problem. You are. :-(

    • For some reason, your people need alot of hand holding, especially the rich white people.

      We rich white people are a tender lot who require a lot of validation.

    • Martha,
      The world has asked “where is the crisis?”, and the AGW promoters cannot answer the question honestly.
      Americans are still free enough to not fall all over themselves when someone in a lab coat says something all sciencey.
      Your detour into military budgeting is just something you do when you run out (rather quickly most of the time) anything relevant to say.
      You foolish believers are the problem.
      But keep on blaming others. Looking in a mirror, is something you probably avoid for good reason.

      • “Your detour into military budgeting”

        It’s not my detour. On the contrary, it’s a key fiscal problem, as most people with a clue are aware, because increases in this spending are seriously interfering with the availability of economic resources; and it is not sustainable. What’s particularly sad, is that threat-based analyses generally demonstrate very clearly that this type of spending is not necessary.

        On the other hand, there is much science and analyses (including military analyses) that suggests that the country must divert a lot more economic resources to deal with climate change. Hmm. What to do, what to do. Well… you consider money in, and money out.

        I take it that you prefer to avoid basic math and do not know where 40 percent of the budget goes or how this contributes to the current regime’s (in)ability to support the country’s basic employment, healthcare and education infrastructure (quite apart from energy changes). O.K. Your choice. I’m not here to tell you what matters to you.

        But as I said, no one is obligated to give climate change denial the time of day, and I really don’t understand why you think demonstrating zero understanding of economic issues (and zero interest in learning about economic issues) improves your appeal. Very strange.

        Anyway, let’s end on a cordial note. If you want, I will agree that it is not clear whether such a dysfunctional level of military spending has been as bad for peace as it has been for economic prosperity and the ability to respond to the environmental problem at hand; however, if global peace indexes are any indication, the answer is ‘yes’.

        I am satisfied to end the conversation with you, here.

      • Martha,
        No we can of course end on a more cordial note if you would stop your misanthropic racism and actually stay on topic.
        Another nice step in cordiality would be to abandon your leftist hack rewrite of history, but that would probably be too much to ask.

      • By the way, Martha,
        Before you start bloviating about the American military budget, check your reality levels.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States
        In the world where math is done the old fashion way, this means that the US military budget is a bit over 20% of the over all budget.
        Medicare runs more than the US military budget by a lot.
        But I am certain that for an academic genius like yourself there is a new math available where numbers mean what you want them to mean, and things like addition and subtraction are subject to the proletariat dictatorship.
        Your misanthropic racist delusional approach is so fascinating. It is up there with your cyber fantasies regarding Dr. Curry. I look forward to reading much more from you.

      • Hunter,

        we have to consider that a lot of military overhead is caused by the politicians requiring particular programs and activities by the military that have little or no relation to actual preparedness or fighting wars. The military budget is at least 5% higher than necessary and probably much more if we could get an accounting for all the environmental and social leftard policies it is now supporting. Then there is the usual corruption by both sides that requires bases and weapons systems just to bring money to the politicians districts!! Oh, and let us not forget the UN mandated Peace Missions that get charged to the military! I believe we also do Cancer and other research in the military instead of through more reasonable venues. That big chunk of cash that is always blamed on the DOD covers more pork than most congress critters dream of pocketing!!! Now adays the military is part of the green energy projects dropping billions into biofuels and other wastes of Defense moneys. All extremely inefficient and designed to pad friends of politicians pockets.

    • Martha, a lot, not alot.

    • John Carpenter

      “The focus for everyone else is not how to lead a horse to water but how to get it to drink”

      This sentence pretty much sums up why you don’t get it. Climate skeptics are not the primary reason why many many people across this country have no mind to drink the CAGW water. Your argument is the same as people here blaming immigrants for the economic problems in our country…. it’s lazy and wrong. Those who are very worried about dangerous climate change appear to me to do nothing but wring their hands over how bad things are and offer no real solutions on how to actually tackle the problem they perceive. The only solutions they have are fantastical ideas of the world uniting together as one to mitigate CO2…. an idea so improbable yet enticingly tantalizing to them they can’t divert from it. When will you learn it ain’t never going to happen.

      Socolow says “The paper assumes that the world wishes to act decisively and coherently to deal with climate change.”

      Bad assumption. For this idea to work, a powerful centralized governing system would have to be created to enforce its policies over all other sovereign governments, do you disagree with this? How many wars have been fought between countries/people seeking or taking sovereignty from others? Do you think there will be no major conflicts enforcing such global policies? Who is going to do that? Who will be responsible? Stop thinking about the world uniting like a coca-cola commercial to mitigate CO2 and start thinking local adaptive strategies.

      You should be looking at the USA as the example of how adaptive strategies could be accomplished. One of the great ideas born out of this country is the understanding that ‘the people’ own local control and governance of themselves, not a king in a far away land. A primary concern the founders contemplated was how to make sure individual states could remain autonomous from a centralized government while remaining united as one. What you don’t seem to understand, Martha, is this is how we Americans think. We don’t like the idea of having no control of our own destiny. We fought and won a war for that freedom… you might know something about that. Mitigation strategies that inhibit the freedom of economic growth will be a non-starter here.

      The ideas put forth by alarmists are generally anti-freedom in nature… that is what your up against… not climate skepticism.

      • John,

        Like you, I recognize that negotiations of interests are very challenging; but there are frameworks that evolve to effectively deal with the ins and outs of difficult negotiation, mediation and agreements. While the challenges are substantial, some of the tools and motivation are there and evidenced in several (voluntary) bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements already in place. The new capacity of regions to directly engage with foreign policy is also very interesting, as is the ongoing development of new international frameworks for shared issues.

        I think you are mostly speaking about legally binding agreements? Fair enough. However, I would like to suggest an alternate perspective: like a lot of law, the reason for making key agreements legally binding is fundamentally to protect the most vulnerable people. In other words, maybe you can consider it a justice issue (since you raise the question of justice issues, above) rather than seeing it as just forcing someone to do something, against their will e.g. generally, laws that protect people from being beaten are designed to protect a right to safety, and we don’t see it as an unfair limit on a right to beat people.

        “You should be looking at the USA as the example of how adaptive strategies could be accomplished”

        I am. ;-)

        “The ideas put forth by alarmists are generally anti-freedom in nature”

        I find the understanding put forward by those informed by the science and issues around climate change more often reflects concern for how a whole range of policy decisions on climate change will affect the worst-off — in your country and also in many other countries around the world, perhaps especially those that have contributed the least to the problem and have the fewest resources to cope.

        I can see that you care about people, too, so I appreciate your perception of the situation and concern for threats to individual freedom.

      • John,
        The pesky fact that believers avoid is that not one mitigation strategy is working, has worked, or is likely to ever work, and they all cost huge amounts of money.
        In the reality-based world, that means that mitigation is an expensive waste of time and money.
        In the AGW community, as Martha demonstrates so well, that means that evil rich white men are criminals awaiting indictment and trial.

    • Sorry, but climategate is one cause of the rise of scepticism (don’t call it denial). Another is the scandals surrounding the IPCC. Climate science needs to change and its not hard for them to do so.

      Richard Muller has the right take. Effective action is impossible without China, India and the developing world. They seem unconcerned about AGW. No matter what we do, it will make little difference.

      Thus, we should focus on mitigation and reducing uncertainty so climate science becomes more believable. A somewhat warmer world has a lot of benefits. If CO2 keeps us out of the next ice age, it will be a blessing.

    • Martha: Not that it seems to do any good to reply to you — but for a lot of us older, perhaps richer, conservative white guys — this is “The Sky Is Falling!!! Part 7: This Time It’s the Climate, Baby.”

      We’ve seen these eco-horror films before. Billions will starve! The oceans will die! The Ice Age is returning! The forests are dying! Everything is poisoned! Monster plagues are coming!

      So far none of those nightmares have come true. Maybe the climate scientists are going to be right this time. But once again, reality does not seem to be playing along. The most potent factor against the climate change is not us “deniers” but a decade of sideways temperatures.

      But whatever the climate is doing for now and the future, you are simply delusional about current political reality if you believe that we are seeing the “swansong” of the “pathetic,” “scary” ideology you hate. If you thought 2010 was bad, wait for 2012.

      • “you believe”

        Despite the fact that your characterizations, like Judith Curry’s, so rarely resemble what anyone actually said, I am able to understand what you want to argue.

        And here is why you are wrong.

        In the past couple of decades, the U.S. has abandoned its ability to make good foreign policy and has relied pretty much solely on its military to enforce its market interests. Almost universally, American economists say that is not working in an inter-dependent world.

        A defense of Bush-era free market ideology through outrageous levels of global military spending – instead of, say, co-operation – is not working. That is the observation of a lot (that’s for Leo) of American economists.

        Do you read anything about this, by economists? You should, because it might shine a light on foreign trade matters, and help you understand how badly the U.S. is lagging on international economic ties and multi-lateral institutions.

        Can you name one American economist? Shame. :-(

        I’d like to leave it at that.

      • Martha,
        If you think we invaded Iraq or Afghanistan to impose American financial interests, you are much dumber than even I thought.
        And believe me, I was not holding out much hope for signs of cleverness from you.
        Joshua constantly drones on about how wicked right wingers’ world view makes us deny the glorious truth of AGW.
        I would suggest that your denial of reality leads you to glom on to any non-reality based system available, and sine AGW is the way to take the most money, your heart of darkness clings to this in a Pavlovian spasm.

      • Joshua constantly drones on about how wicked right wingers’ world view makes us deny the glorious truth of AGW.

        Really?

        I don’t think that rightwingers are wicked. I don’t think that all “skeptics” are deniers. I don’t believe in some “glorious truth of AGW.” Straw man arguments, one and all, hunter. What’s amazing is that as many times as I’ve explained that those arguments are straw men, you persist in making them. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the objectivity in how you use evidence to draw conclusions.

        Would you mind providing an example a post where I’ve said anything remotely resembling that?

        In the meantime, allow me to clarify my point. I think that there may be valid reasons for some skepticism. I also think that it is plainly obvious that some “skeptics” overtly express extremist political ideology – and as such, given the phenomena of motivated reasoning and confirmation bias,I think it is very likely that political ideology is just as much a significant influence among skeptics, as a group, as it is among those who think that it is 90% likely that there more than 50% of recent anomalous warming has been caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

      • Omigod, seizing Iraqi oil from the corrupt Oil for Food pipeline. Who’s laughing now?
        ==========

      • Hunter,

        “I would suggest that your denial of reality leads you to glom on to any non-reality based system available, and sine AGW is the way to take the most money, your heart of darkness clings to this in a Pavlovian spasm”

        You sure know how to sweet talk a “lady!” 8>)

      • kuhnkat,
        lol.
        Could you imagine a date with a Martha?
        It could easily be turned into a Stephen King novella:
        From “‘Salem’s Lot” to ‘Salem’s Night on the Town”.

      • Martha: You and I disagree about many things. Yes, I have read quite a lot across a broad range of subjects and from multiple sides. I’ll bet I’ve read far more Chomsky, for instance, than you have, as well as conservatives — of whom I suspect that you have read very little.

        So put up or shut up, when you post here. Start supporting your arguments with facts,cites and logic and knock off the ad homs. Take that chip off your shoulder and consider the possibility that well-informed people often disagree.

      • Martha: The political point of my original comment was not “My side is right and your side is wrong” but that you have entirely misread the current political landscape if you believe that my side is dying out.

        Your leftist academics, economists, and foreign policy authorities may believe that they have triumphed — and with Obama’s presidency and capturing both sides of Congresses it did look that way for a year — but the pendulum has swung hard against them and quickly.

        From my viewpoint, academia is just a hotbed of leftist groupthink and hardly the repository of truth. Your belief that they are arbiters of truth is just your belief.

      • @huxley…

        Your leftist academics, economists, and foreign policy authorities may believe that they have triumphed — and with Obama’s presidency and capturing both sides of Congresses it did look that way for a year — but the pendulum has swung hard against them and quickly.

        But does that matter if the elections are suspended? The governor of North Carolina has already sent up a
        trial balloon on the subject. Maybe Martha knows something the rest of us don’t.

      • AK: I know people who worry about the elections being suspended.

        However, I think such talk from liberals only betrays the great liberal conceit that they occupy the moral and intellectual high ground by default, and therefore it’s only natural and right that they should be running things, and that we conservatives are only gumming things up, or worse, by not acquiescing to our betters.

      • AK,
        That governor is on the way out in 2012.
        She is despised in NC.
        The delusional thinking of that governor and those who support her is laying a ground work for a massive repudiation by the voters.

      • I’ll be a lot more comfortable once the 2012 elections have actually been held.

      • Martha,

        “A defense of Bush-era free market ideology through outrageous levels of global military spending.. ”

        I may not be able to prove that you and the rest are delusional on the Climate Scam, but, y’all definitely jumped the shark when you call the governmental control and regulation of the markets FREE MARKET. Bush was barely a moderate and continued the regulation of markets that are less damaging than that pressed by the Dimocrats, but still problematic.

        In case it hasn’t sunk in, THERE ARE NO FREE MARKETS and it shows.
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • steven mosher

      “The focus for everyone else is not how to lead a horse to water but how to get it to drink. ”

      And we get to watch Martha talk to the horse.
      First, understand this. If you are a denier, then you are not even the horse. You should be no one’s audience according to her. If the horse is rich people, why then Martha’s message to them is to insult them. They need a lot of hand holding. If youre in the american government, then Martha’s message to you is that you are stupid. You have the information, but you are not very good at decision making. Martha’s real message is some sort of threat. We have a choice now, we may not in the future. That is the kind of rhetoric you get when you think that people are not rational. When you think you have led them to water, but actually haven’t. At some point you think about beating the horse. That is what each and every one of you hears unconsciously when Martha writes. Dialogue is over. Beat the horse. There is no point in talking to the horse. The people who do get the message can’t act. Drink now you ignorant American government while you can. Drink now you ignorant rich people, while you can. While Martha doesn’t advocate violence, we all have heard people like her speak before.
      We know exactly where this language leads. She knows best. She’s given you everything you need to know. You won’t act because your stupid; act now or else. The ‘or else’ always goes unstated. In their fantasies, of course, they imagine a world where they have red button and they can blow the stupid people up. Most won’t admit to these fanatasies. They imagine other punishment for people who won’t agree with them. Lost in all this is any notion that the horse might not drink, because the horse knows when it’s thirsty. But it’s interesting that Martha picked that metaphor. You are just dumb animals. Last post you were Nazi’s and that rhetoric backfired, so here comes the same thought process wrapped in a different rhetoric. Remember, when a speaker tries to convince you by insulting your intelligence, your rationality, your ability to understand your own interests, in their heart of hearts they will resort to violence to have their way, because they are the humans and you are dumb animal.

  24. Robert Hirsch used such “wedges” in his historic 2005 DOE report
    PEAKING OF WORLD OIL PRODUCTION:
    IMPACTS, MITIGATION, & RISK MANAGEMENT

    See page 56, and Appendix IV page 76.

    3. Oil peaking will create a severe liquid fuels problem for the transportation sector, not an “energy crisis” in the usual sense that term has been used.

    6. Mitigation will require a minimum of a decade of intense, expensive effort,
    because the scale of liquid fuels mitigation is inherently extremely large.

    Prudent risk management requires the planning and implementation of mitigation well before peaking.

    Lack of transport fuel is the real economic challenge before us an it is much sooner and more immediate than Sowell’s distant future concerns.

    • David,
      Believing that we are facing some great drying up of transport fuel would be a ‘fail’.

      • Hunter
        Suggest checking your facts. See:
        Peak Oil – Now or Later? A Response to Daniel Yergin
        See also seven Yergin predictions that failed spectacularly.

        Distinguish between “Peak LIGHT oil” aka “crude” oil, and heavy oil, very heavy oil, bitumen aka “oil sands”, oil shale, coal to liquids and gas to liquids. Peaking of light oil by region and globally does not translate into immediate cheap access to other hydrocarbons.

        Yes we have “trillions” of other hydrocarbons and there will be an eventual “peak hydrocarbons”. However the immediate concern is the plateauing of light oil production since 2004, and the likelihood of a global decline in light oil production.

        Note particularly that <a href=http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8391#comment-838199Available net oil exports (after China & India) declined 12% after peaking in 2005. despite Yergin’s prognostications.

        While Yergin may get the headlines, Lloyds of London is warning of global shortages in the 2012 to 2015 time frame. See: Lloyd’s and Chatham House report “Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business”.

        Any CEO or board chairman concerned for the survival of his company would do quantitatively better listening to Lloyds of London that to Yergin and his serially failed predictions.

        Then see:
        Is Peak Oil Real? A List of Countries Past Peak The Oil Drum July 18, 2009 by Praveen Ghanta.

        Only 14 of the 54 oil producing nations in the world are still increasing their oil production. The era of cheap oil is definitively over, as shown below.

        Check out the hard reality of country by country oil production: Net Oil Production
        Your ignore the facts at your own peril.

        See further reports at Oil Supply Crunch: 2011-2015

      • David,
        Those crap reports are no better than the crap reports Malthusians produce about any of the altest things they decide we are running out of:
        Not at all credible.
        Why do people who claim they are so smart consistently buy into stuff that has been disproven every single time it has been promoted?

      • Denigration without substance just exposes your character.
        Lloyds of London is “not at all credible”?
        See its Interim report 2011

        Capital, reserves and subordinated loan notes stand at £17,357m (June 2010: £18,539m)
        >>Lloyd’s financial strength ratings were reaffirmed by A.M. Best
        ‘A’ (Excellent), Standard & Poor’s ‘A+’ (Strong) and Fitch Ratings
        ‘A+’ (Strong) . . .
        Gross Written Premium £13,534m (June 2010)

        When you underwrite some $20 billion, you have to seriously examine future risks!
        Be serous and stop wasting our time.

        Correction:
        Note particularly that Available net oil exports (after China & India) declined 12% after peaking in 2005. despite Yergin’s prognostications.

      • David,
        Calling crap “crap” is not a character defect.

      • No evidence. No references. No theory. No. logic. No credentials. No. class. No character. Yes, you are “not at all credible.”

      • David,

        “Lloyds of London is “not at all credible”?”

        Lloyds is one of those too big to fail groups that got bailed out. Try using facts and reason for your pronouncements some day.

      • Calling crap “crap” is not a character defect.

        Is that so? Then neither is calling an a-hole like you an a-hole.

        Feel free to improve on my logic, which I agree sucks.

      • @kuhnkat Try using facts and reason for your pronouncements some day.

        Kuhnkat, which would you call your insinuation here, factual or reasonable? ;)

      • David,

        since most of those countries have NOT been investing in upgrading their infrastructure or new drilling, what else would one expect?? The result may be the same, but, the resource is still there waiting. Part of the reason is the expectation that Goreball Warming will move everyone off Carbon and they can get by with reduced supply and charge more for it without the need for additional investment. (uses like lubrication, drugs, fertilizers, plastics… will probably still be allowed) This is the PROPAGANDA being instilled by our Universities of Indoctrination.

        Peak Oil has always been wrong due to poor facts. It continues.

      • kuhnkat
        Please show countering evidence against the US 48 States crude oil production peaking 1970 and dropping off.
        (See also EIA’s ALL US
        Similarly that the North Sea Oil peaked in 1999 and has dropped ~ 18% since then.

      • David L. Hagen,

        please research the regulatory environment and how much impact the constant law suits brought by environmentalists and sustained by activist Judges had on the development of oil in this country.

        We currently have more confirmed oil and gas reserves than previously. It is only a POLITICAL issue that pumping has dropped.

      • Hagen has it pegged on peak oil.
        I find it interesting that I can make predictions for the UK North Sea oil depletion from five years ago, and the data is following the curve right down.
        http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2005/10/uk-north-sea-simulation.html

        Significant in that it finally fell below 1 million barrels of day this last month.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/8797719/North-Sea-oil-slump-will-cost-UK-Treasury-millions-in-lost-taxes.html

        My Norway prediction is just as accurate:
        http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2006/01/norway-offshore-depletion.html
        Yes they find new discoveries but they are in the dispersive noise.

      • It is fun watching the latest peak oil debacle run through its course.

      • kuhnkat
        You are confusing SEC rules for individual wells with date of discovery of an entire field. See the backdating 2P reserves issue versus current 1P reserves is shown in Backdating is Key Jean Laherrere

        Investors love SEC 1P rules. Reality rules by 2P reserves.
        Dig into the difference. Don’t equivocate.

        The reality is that the peak oil statistics give strong predictive ability for a given type of resource in a given region with a given technology.
        Your 1P “investor” comfort models have very little predictive power on this criteria. Most importantly, they cannot predict the downturns and the consequential production.

        See WebHubTelescope’s models for strong predictive capability.

      • David,

        Of course oil production has been decling in the lower 48. When the gubmint will not allow drilling and the enviros sue and stop what the gubmint won’t allow what do you expect? Try an apples/apples comparison.

        Intellectually I agree that even if oil is abiotic, unless it is created at a rather large rate a continued growth in the use of oil would eventually deplete the accumulated reserves. In reality we still have to be able to pump it a price that is useful to the users.

        Another area you ignore is that we apparently have used most of the light sweet available to us, or, at least what is allowed to be exploited. This then becomes an issue of end user price based on refining. In the US we have also not built any new refineries since the 70’s primarily because every project is sued until it is abandoned. The refiners of course make the reasonable decision that it is more profitable for them to import better grades of oil rather than attempt to go through a possibly fruitless permitting process to convert their plants to use lower grades. In the end the consumer pays most of this while the gubmint continues to raise the taxes at the pump. Think about why we would export ANY oil while importing about 40% of our requirements?

        Now for the evil Big Oil. Why would they do anything to disturb this scenario when they can sit back and collect more for each gallon pumped or sold while the gubmint makes oil rare and expensive??? Their leases actually appreciate in value while they are depleting!!! They do less and make more! SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTT!!

      • Webby,

        “I find it interesting that I can make predictions for the UK North Sea oil depletion from five years ago, and the data is following the curve right down.”

        It must be wonderful to live in a static unchanging world.

      • It must be wonderful to live in a static unchanging world.

        Relying on 1P reserves is why many people underestimate future potential. As Prof.Hagen said, 2P is even better, and then if you have someone like me that comes up with an extrapolated dynamic model to extend 2P, you end up with the ability to make long-term predictions.

      • Webby,

        “As Prof.Hagen said, 2P is even better, and then if you have someone like me that comes up with an extrapolated dynamic model to extend 2P, you end up with the ability to make long-term predictions.”

        Uh no. You end up with ever more complex ways to make yourself too sure of your imagined result.

      • WebHubTelescope
        Thanks for the promotion to Prof. Hagen. Unfortunately, no endowed chair or tenure. I dream in detail, otherwise know as a private start up energy research engineer filing patents and seeking venture partners to commercialize them. Long term dream – renewable fuels cheaper than petroleum! Its doable.

      • Uh no. You end up with ever more complex ways to make yourself too sure of your imagined result.

        Try it. Works like a charm. I just have to smile.

      • Webby,

        why would I try it?? I couldn’t possibly do it any better than most of you who are at least somewhat experienced with it. I only need to see the data you use, the results that you show, and how sure y’all are of yourselves.

      • Webby,

        why would I try it?? I couldn’t possibly do it any better than most of you who are at least somewhat experienced with it. I only need to see the data you use, the results that you show, and how sure y’all are of yourselves.

        Glad you asked. Click on the link on my handle. I have an opus called “The Oil Conundrum” where I walk through all the results. Its hosted on Google Docs as a PDF. Enjoy.

      • Webby,

        hope your opus included this:

        http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/8733/UK-Shale-Gas-Could-Shake-Government-Coalition

        and the other discoveries coming down the line.

      • hope your opus included this:
        http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/8733/UK-Shale-Gas-Could-Shake-Government-Coalition
        and the other discoveries coming down the line.

        That is natural gas. My book is about oil. The article says right there that oil is a “fading memory”. Somebody else can write about natural gas, maybe you would like to volunteer? You can reuse some of my models once they are calibrated.

      • hunter
        Compare Robert Hirsch’s blunt talk:
        Oil decline vs Climate Change Robert L. Hirsch Pt 01

        See further clips by Robert Hirsch on Oil

        Robert L. Hirsch has a lot better grasp of management issues and the data than Yergin’s equivocation.
        Your income and future is on the line based on how you respond.

      • David,

        the first clip starts by saying that Oil decline will be a worse problem than Climate Change. Well, since the only real problem with climate change has been how activists and insane politicians have acted, I don’t see what you are trying to say. Are you suggesting that people’s reactions to oil decline will be even more insane than their reactions to Climate Change?

      • Are you suggesting that people’s reactions to oil decline will be even more insane than their reactions to Climate Change?

        That’s pretty obvious. Talk all you want about climate change, oil depletion is the topic that cannot be mentioned.

        Rioting in Pakistan because they run electrical power plants off of fuel oil, having hit resource constraints on local natural gas, and then they don’t pay the oil companies:
        http://tribune.com.pk/story/267057/analysis-power-sector-woes-living-from-tanker-to-tanker
        Lots of countries are living on the edge.

      • Webby,

        possibly intentionally, you miss my humor. Climate Change is only a problem because humans have MADE it a problem so comparingany other problem to the Climate Change PROBLEM is silly. Of course, I am not a prognosticator so I do not know if humans will actually do NOTHING to prepare for oil running out, so have no idea whether it will be a whimper or wars. Of course, a certain Italian will soon be doing some more tests on his LEN technology and we will see if there is a game changer at hand.

      • Of course, a certain Italian will soon be doing some more tests on his LEN technology and we will see if there is a game changer at hand.

        http://lenr-canr.org/ — what a joke, meant for the suckas and a religious crutch for the feeble-minded.

      • @kuhnkat possibly intentionally, you miss my humor. Climate Change is only a problem because humans have MADE it a problem.

        Probably unintentionally, that’s not so much humor as irony.

      • Webby,

        you obviously haven’t bothered reading any of the published opapers in that area either. Why do people like you ASSume they know things when they really only have rumors to base their knowledge and conclusions??

      • you obviously haven’t bothered reading any of the published opapers in that area either. Why do people like you ASSume they know things when they really only have rumors to base their knowledge and conclusions??

        On what? cold fusion? When I was a student I had a run-in with the infamous charlatan himself, Martin Fleischmann. I do follow the stuff because it make for fine humor.

        Again why are you so concerned about far-out alternate energy strategies? I am getting mixed signals; on the one hand it is “drill, baby, drill” and then it is “pray, baby, pray” for some technology miracle. A closet doomer, perhaps?

    • There are at least 500 years of conventional and unconventional oil reserves at current production rates.

      Dream on David

      • Some skeptics don’t believe 1000 ppm is possible, but this would make it a certainty. You need to emphasize your own evidence more, otherwise they will continue to deny it could happen.

      • A “certainty”? The only thing proven to increase CO2 levels is warming of the oceans.

        1000ppm would be great. Plants and diatoms have sequestered way too much CO2 in coal and limestone. We need to do whatever we can to get back to normal.

      • A “certainty”? The only thing proven to increase CO2 levels is warming of the oceans.

        Do a convolution of fossil fuel carbon emissions with the impulse response function of CO2 sequestration, and you will see that the entire rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration over that last 100 years is due to fossil fuels.
        If you can’t or don’t know how to do the math, too bad.

      • Webby,

        y’all just don’t get it do you. 2000 ppm would take back a lot of the major deserts providing much more land for animals and humans and a more stable climate. 1000ppm would do some of that. We NEED the CO2 in the ATMOSPHERE where it can do some good!!

        By the way, if you bothered to read warmist heretics like Pielke Sr. you migh start getting a clue as to how the land use changes that the higher CO2 would cause would help defeat any hypothesized warming from the greater CO2 concentration, if any.

      • y’all just don’t get it do you. 2000 ppm would take back a lot of the major deserts providing much more land for animals and humans and a more stable climate. 1000ppm would do some of that. We NEED the CO2 in the ATMOSPHERE where it can do some good!!

        OK, so you admit to all the CO2 rise is due to fossil fuel emissions. You just like to argue.

      • Do a convolution of fossil fuel carbon emissions with the impulse response function of CO2 sequestration, and you will see that the entire rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration over that last 100 years is due to fossil fuels.

        Since the latter is easily proved to be false (consider the increases in human breathing, domestic livestock, agriculture, slash-and-burn, etc.), it follows that your methodology must be unsound at least to that extent.

        Where are you getting the sequestration response function from, btw? (The CDIAC has the fuel records.)

      • Ahhh Webby,

        now I think I am beginning to understand. You don’t believe in physical reality, only in literature and math etc.!! Must be a common issue among Climate and other modern scientists as they have so much they seem to implicitly believe that cannot be reilably exhibited in experiment or observation. You know, kinda like the early Cold Fusion experiments.

      • Don’t change the subject, Jim D. Unless the real purpose of the peak oil idea was to trick people.
        1000 ppm is a separate topic.
        Web Hub Telescope and those who believe his incorrect claims are wrong.
        Let us deal with that first.
        If you who claim CO2 is a big problem can come up with an honest alternative fossil fuels, do it.
        Selling a lie that we are out of oil is not an acceptable way to sell your belief.

      • Web Hub Telescope and those who believe his incorrect claims are wrong.
        Let us deal with that first.
        If you who claim CO2 is a big problem can come up with an honest alternative fossil fuels, do it.
        Selling a lie that we are out of oil is not an acceptable way to sell your belief.

        I assume you are saying that I believe Daniel Yergin’s claims regarding oil are wrong. Correct, Yergin is wrong.
        Here is a long critique:
        http://energybulletin.net/stories/2011-09-26/%E2%80%9C-quest%E2%80%9D-questioned-series

        Yergin is chairman of CERA which is part of IHS which is the consulting company that provides data to oil giants such as Total S.A.. Total has a no-disclosure agreement with CERA but they will occasionally let out revealing information. Such as this:
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/total-discovery-data.html
        You see, Yergin is in a weird position. He likes to claim in public that fears of oil depletion are unfounded, yet the data he sells to his clients say the exact opposite. It’s a very strange behavior, one that can only be explained by the fact that Yergin is beholden to corporate interests.

        So that is the oil part of the equation. As with most resources, the grades of the resource follow a pyramid shape. The lower the grade, the more abundant that material. So if you think about the amount of low grade coal and locked-in kerogen that exists, we still have a lot of resources to process. The problem is that those low-grade resources need an energy multiplier to exploit. So when we use energy to process energy, like using natural gas to process the tar sands, we end up being less efficient and the emissions are actually higher than we first thought.

        I don’t pretend to have the skills yet to predict climate change, but this other stuff concerning fossil fuels is the equivalent of bean counting.

      • Web,
        Stay away from the beans.

      • Web,
        Stay away from the beans.

        Yeah, go ahead and follow Yergin and his own magic beans up the beanstalk. ha ha.

        Talking about real wedge issues (not the wedge that the top-level post refers to), oil depletion and peak oil is the definition of a wedge issue when put into the climate change controversy.

        It is a wedge because some people think that peak oil is being fabricated by oil companies as a means to jack up the price of oil. The people that think this could be on the liberal side of the fence.
        Other people think that peak oil is being fabricated by environmental groups to wean us off of oil. Those that think this happen to be conservatives, by and large.
        If you stand back and look at it objectively, you realize that it is just a fact of life, the reserves of non-renewable energy starts to decline the moment the extraction begins. After that it is all a matter of flow rates and how to maximize flow in the face of diminishing returns.

        Manacker is the one guy that has some reasonable concerns on the rate and asymptotic supply of what reserves we have. He is doing basic bean counting of the sort of thing you scoff at. It is actually pretty amusing the way you lash out at me and not him.

        On the surface, oil reserve limitations should actually help the climate change skeptic side. The wild card is in how much lower-grades of fossil fuel we can exploit, and how much emissions that this will cause. The EROEI of oil shale in the Rockies is so low that it is probably like ripping up an asphalt playground for its energy content.

      • No, peak oil v 4.0 is not a big oil conspiracy anymore than Malthus was a conspirator.
        Crap like that is just something people like to believe in.
        Then self-absorbed people write books and get endowed chairs to push the crap.
        You are in great company, so don’t feel bad.

      • No, peak oil v 4.0 is not a big oil conspiracy anymore than Malthus was a conspirator.

        What’s the deal with versioning peak oil? Each area in the world has it’s own peak oil history. USA hit it in the early 1970’s. The UK and Norway are both on the downslope. You should take a look at my projections that I made about 5 years ago for both UK and Norway. My math-fu has been firing on all cylinders recently.

        Crap like that is just something people like to believe in.
        Then self-absorbed people write books and get endowed chairs to push the crap.
        You are in great company, so don’t feel bad.

        You are quite right in regards to Yergin. To get a Pulitzer Prize for misleading the public is indeed an achievement worthy of a chairmanship of a consulting company.

        As for me, I do enjoy my hobby. :)

      • WHT,
        You should understand the history a bit more, and then you would not have to ask about why you are simply promoting a new version of an old failed clalim.

      • And, WHT,
        Deliberately misinterpretting what I say and trying (poorly and childishly) to direct it away from the topic at hand is a sure sign you are unable to engage on the topic.

      • And, WHT,
        Deliberately misinterpretting what I say and trying (poorly and childishly) to direct it away from the topic at hand is a sure sign you are unable to engage on the topic.

        I am not sure who these “self-absorbed people write books and get endowed chairs to push the crap” actually are. None of the oil depletion analysts have chairs in anything, other than to sit on. Deffeyes? He’s an old coot at Princeton that does what he wants. Hubbert is dead. Laherrere is a Frenchman. David Goodman from CalTech teaches physics. Richard Smalley died of cancer too early. Colin Campbell from England is really retiring. Hirsch is/was on the National Research Council because of his work on fusion, but oil depletion is not his main field.

        Hunter,
        Name me one person who has an endowed chair to objectively study oil depletion and write books on the topic. I think that person does not exist outside of your imagination. Yergin fits the bill, but you can’t accept the fact that he is your guy. Care to guess what Penguin paid him for a publishing advance?
        Pulitzer prize winners aren’t cheap.

      • WebHubTelescope
        The most important one that comes to mind is Tad Patzek

        Professor and Chair, Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
        The Cockrell Family Chair #11 in Engineering and
        The Lois K. and Richard D. Folger Leadership Chair
        Ph.D., Chemical Engineering . . .
        Dr. Patzek’s research involves mathematical modeling of earth systems with emphasis on multiphase fluid flow physics and rock mechanics. He is also working on smart, process-based control of very large waterfloods in unconventional, low-permeability formations, and on the mechanics of hydrate-bearing sediments. In a broader context, he works on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival and energy supply schemes for humanity.
        Reservoir characterization
        Enhanced oil recovery
        Alternative energies

        You don’t become Chairman Dept. Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at Univ. Texas without very high credentials.
        See publications buy/about Patzek.

        See especially:
        Physical Limitations on Mining Natural Earth Systems
        Where Patzek shows a very large disconnect between IPCC projections/scenarios and the hard reality of real world fossil fuel resources.

      • PS I did not mean that Patzek has a cushy job. Being chairman of one of the most important departments in a Texas University is pretty demanding!

      • I forgot about Patzek, I wonder if he has a book in his pub list?
        Listen to what he says about Daniel Yergin:

        What do Mr. Yergin and these seven pillars of the East Coast establishment have in common? The answer is simple: These otherwise wonderful people would not recognize crude oil or condensate raining on their heads, and have no idea how to find hydrocarbons, and recover and process them. Most would be gravely challenged when asked to solve a quadratic equation.

      • David L. Hagen

        WebHubTellescope

        Yes Patzek has co-authored a book to be released in October 2011:

        “Drilling Down”: Tainter and Patzek tell the energy-complexity story ISBN-13: 978-1441976765

        . . . firstly to explain the Gulf disaster, the energy-­complexity spiral, and how they are necessarily connected; and secondly to encourage all consumers of energy to consider whether this spiral is sustainable, and what it will mean for us if it is not.

        Blunt and pragmatic about realities.

      • The Rossi device apparently passed a more stringent test. Of course Webby KNOWS it is only for us weak minded deniers.

        http://peswiki.com/index.php/News:Real-Time_Updates_on_the_October_6%2C_2011_E-Cat_Test

      • The Rossi device apparently passed a more stringent test. Of course Webby KNOWS it is only for us weak minded deniers.

        http://peswiki.com/index.php/News:Real-Time_Updates_on_the_October_6%2C_2011_E-Cat_Test

        yawn.

        I am looking forward to see what’s in the Patzek book that Hagen pointed out. It’s a reality-based thing for me.

      • Jim D

        The World Energy Council has recently published an updated estimate of the “proven fossil fuel reserves” as well as the “inferred possible fossil fuel resources in place” on our planet.

        The latter estimate figures out to about 300 years at current consumption rates, containing enough carbon to increase atmospheric CO2 from today’s 390 ppmv to a future “maximum ever possible” level of 1,065 ppmv.

        That’s it folks.

        There is no more out there.

        Will we use up ALL our fossil fuels within the next 300 years (or even less time)?

        It is reasonable to assume that we will not do so, but rather that the extraction of the last resources of fossil fuels will become so difficult and expensive that these will only be used for non-combustion end uses.

        And it is also reasonable to assume that by then there will be plenty of new energy technologies (competitive renewables, safe and waste-free nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, etc.).

        This will not require any silly self-destructive and futile top-down actions today.

        Max

      • Bill & hunter

        Show what evidence you have for conventional “light crude oil”.
        There was about 2.1 to 2.2 trillion barrels total, of which we have consumed about 1 trillion.

        Yes there are > 6 trillion bbl more of heavy oil, very heavy oil, bitumen, oil shale, and coal. Yet all that costs more to extract and process to a syncrude before it can be processed to gasoline/diesel etc.

        All that takes time and $. In the mean time, we are likely to continue our headlong down hill ride of declining net oil exports that began in 2005.
        Available Net Oil Exports (After China + India imports) declined 12% after peaking in 2005.

        What are we to believe? Your unreferenced pie in the sky? or the hard facts of $80/bbl – $100/bbl oil ~three times the $27/bbl of a decade ago.

        Ever since Adam Smith, prices have not been known to rise over the increasing abundance of a commodity!

        Global discoveries peaked in the mid ’60s. Total backdated 2P reserves have been declining since 1980. Global discoveries of light crude oil have been less than 50% of production for the last decade.

        You don’t drill in the Arctic when there is an abundance of cheap oil in Texas!

      • David,
        The oil being produced more and more from frakking for natural gas is mostly light.
        And parsing down to light vs. heavy oil is simply your Malthusians spinning and redefining your claims, now that they have failed.

      • The oil being produced more and more from frakking for natural gas is mostly light.

        Huh? Bakken is fractured for the oil. Any oil that comes from fracturing for natural gas is incidental.

        And parsing down to light vs. heavy oil is simply your Malthusians spinning and redefining your claims, now that they have failed.

        Heavy oil also has a cost associated with it called Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI). For crude oil it used to be about 100:1 during the good old days and it dropped to 30:1 by the 1970’s. Tar Sands is somewhere between 1.5:1 and 2:1. Most of the energy choices revolves around first picking a source with a high enough EROEI, and then later the ones with a low EROEI that won’t also have some other impact, such as ethanol has on available agricultural land for food purposes.

      • The backdating 2P reserves vs current 1P reserves is shown in Backdating is Key Jean Laherrere
        You have to understand this foundational difference between SEC rules and geological reality to appreciate the situation we are in rather than Yergin’s pie in the sky.

      • How much reserves are left is fairly irrelevant.

        The only question for a ‘peak anything’ discussion is at what price differential will the ‘current product’ be replaced by a ‘substitute’ product.

        I.E. The world has plenty of capability to produce Black and White CRT televisions, but you won’t find them being produced.

        In energy all anyone really cares about is how much energy at what price.

        In the US $4/Mbtu of energy at the wholesale level for stationary sources is considered is about as much as the market will bear. At $4/Mbtu competitive sources currently available are nuclear,coal,natural gas and depending on geographic area, wind. (Coal is less then $2/MBtu is some areas)

        The going rate for transportation energy at the given moment is about $16/MBtu dominated by oil. The sole justification for a $12/MBtu premium for oil is ‘energy density’ and the resulting vehicle range.

        The technology already exists to replace oil powered vehicles with battery(charged with inexpensive stationary energy) or natural gas energy at competitive prices with a range penalty.

        For a similarly priced vehicle the range penalty for a battery powered vehicles at the moment is substantial. For natural gas it’s about 1/3rd.

        So the ‘peak oil’ discussion comes down to what value ‘consumers’ place on range. It’s not a question a geologist can answer.

      • Harry,

        “The technology already exists to replace oil powered vehicles with battery(charged with inexpensive stationary energy) or natural gas energy at competitive prices with a range penalty.”

        It isn’t just range, it is the cost of replacing a large amount of expensive toxic materials. The cost to the environment is being shifted to China. How long will they be able to continue producing these batteries and electric motor magnets with the environmental destruction they are causing? As with every other mediation, we are stuck waiting for newer, better technology sometime in the future that MAY actually be an overall improvement.

      • It isn’t just range, it is the cost of replacing a large amount of expensive toxic materials. The cost to the environment is being shifted to China. How long will they be able to continue producing these batteries and electric motor magnets with the environmental destruction they are causing?

        OK, so you admit to oil depletion being a significant issue. You just like to argue.

      • OK Webby,

        haven’t the vaguest idea why you and Hagen are talking on about Lloyds of London.

      • haven’t the vaguest idea why you and Hagen are talking on about Lloyds of London

        You were talking about central authority types doing unwise contingency planning for oil depletion. I repeated David’s mention because it now seemed to fit to what you are complaining about.

      • Webby,

        “OK, so you admit to oil depletion being a significant issue. You just like to argue.”

        No. The mitigation efforts currently being pursued are even WORSE than what doing nothing would cause even IF CO2 could cause a 3c/C raise with feedbacks.

        It is only when central authority types get together and try to plan for the future that oil depletion becomes a problem due to the VERY low probability that they will plan reasonably. We have NO IDEA what will be happening or what technology will be available in 20 years. We have difficulties planning 10 years ahead.

      • It is only when central authority types get together and try to plan for the future that oil depletion becomes a problem due to the VERY low probability that they will plan reasonably.

        Isn’t that why Hagen mentioned Lloyd’s of London above? I suppose the big commercial insurance companies shouldn’t have to plan because they can rely on the “privatize the gain, socialize the loss” strategy that worked so well for them (AIG) last time.

      • So the ‘peak oil’ discussion comes down to what value ‘consumers’ place on range. It’s not a question a geologist can answer.

        That’s not how “peak oil” is standardly defined. Peak oil is based only production volume, costs do not enter. Peak oil is when production peaks. This is hard to estimate, which is why there’s disagreement as to exactly where in the period from 2005 to 2020 peak oil has or will occur.

        There is also the further problem of multiple peaks, whatever their cause. Any of improved extraction efficiency, discoveries of new oil fields, and rising energy costs can lead to multiple peaks.

        Or production may plateau. Where do you locate the peak of a plateau?

      • Dr. Pratt,
        Good view on this topic.

      • Or production may plateau. Where do you locate the peak of a plateau?

        One rule of thumb. The longer the plateau, the steeper the fall.
        That’s partly where the phrase “The Long Emergency” comes from. The thinking is that it is almost better to let a slow decline begin then to propagate a plateau.

        Of course, that is all for planning purposes, as there is no way to micromanage that behavior in a global marketplace.

    • WebHubTelescope
      Compliments on your breakthrough Oil Shock Models.

      Thanks for taking on the objections to Hubbert’s models and producing a much more accurate predictive tool.

      Have you explored the “Export Land Model” and considered how to improve predictions of net exports after domestic consumption?

      Have you considered the evidence of James D. Hamilton (2011) Historical Oil Shocks where he shows that 10 of the last 11 recessions were lead by oil shocks?

      That may be an interesting test on the sensitivity of your shock model or a way to refine it.

    • Speaking of Wedges, natural gas is commonly touted as a wonderful cure-all. However, see Tad Patzek in
      Unconventional Resources in US: Potential & Lessons Learned Summary of Conclusions

      Gas production from the Barnett shale follows closely
      a multi-Hubbert curve model (Patzek, 2007, 2008, 2009), (Patzek & Croft, 2010)
      The post-2008 (right-most) Hubbert curve is very steep and its area (cumulative gas produced) is small; not a good sign
      With over 14 thousand Barnett wells and up 6 years of production in some wells, there seems to be enough data to draw quantitative conclusions about current and future production of shale gas
      There is a problem, however, almost no one knows how to draw the conclusions; only rough sketching comes to mind

      WebHubTelescope
      How does his shale gas data fit your shock model?
      The rapid declines seem pretty severe and hard on the economics.

    • All available fuel wedges are needed to keep our economy afloat.

      Willis provides an excellent pragmatic perspective on fuel from oil sands in:
      The Only Choice Is Where It Gets Burned

      So the choice is not whether the extra 1.5% of CO2 from the Canadian oil sands is going to enter the atmosphere—that ship has sailed. Their whole “dirty oil” CO2 argument is meaningless, because whether the Keystone XL pipeline is built or not, the oil will be burnt.

      The only choice is whether it is burnt in the US or in China … and anyone who thinks that the latter course will cause less real pollution, not CO2 but real unburnt hydrocarbon and black carbon pollution, anyone who thinks there will be less of those nasty things if the oil is burnt in China is definitely not paying attention.

      If successful, James Hansen’s efforts to stop importing syncrude from “oil sands” would cause the greatest harm to his grandchildren by seriously harming our economy, increasing unemployment and increasing “national” debt.

      The wonderful “hope and change” has already cost us more debt that ALL previous governments put together: See: Obama Has Now Increased Debt More than All Presidents from George Washington Through George H.W. Bush Combined

      This $4.212-trillion increase in the national debt means that during Obama’s term the federal government has already borrowed about an additional $35,835 for every American household–or $44,980 for every full-time private-sector worker. . . .
      During that time, the debt increased at an average pace of $4.27 billion per day. Were that rate to continue until Obama’s term ends on Jan. 20, 2013, the debt would then stand at about $16.86534 trillion—an increase of more than $6.2 trillion for Obama’s four years.

      Hansen’s proposals would multiply that increase and rapidly accelerate the rate of growth of US debt , increasing from it’s current 100% of GDP to Greece’s level of 162%.

  25. I’m glad we are revisiting the wedges. As I recall, Fred Moolten brought them up on the blog several months ago. I googled for the wedges then and discovered that after their initial splash in the world they were largely ignored and forgotten, even by environmentalists.

    I still think that if we truly wished to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining a serious technological civilization for our growing population, nuclear power would have to be a far more prominent wedge and the rest would be slivers.

    Since the climate change movement mostly refuses to acknowledge this, it’s yet another reason I believe they are pushing a particular leftist-green agenda rather than trying to solve the problem of carbon emissions in order to protect the climate.

    • “Since the climate change movement mostly refuses to acknowledge [a significant role for nuclear) it’s yet another reason I believe they are pushing a particular leftist-green agenda rather than trying to solve the problem of carbon emissions in order to protect the climate”

      I don’t know that there is a ‘climate change movement’, but let’s say there is; and that I’m in it.

      The split is more like 50/50. Maybe half are saying we can do it with a focus on energy diversification and increases in efficiencies; the other half are saying we need nuclear at least initially.

      The facts are that the ‘movement’ is more diverse than you seem to think, and divided over nuclear. You should correct your understanding through awareness that it is a divisive issue not only between the movement and ‘others’, but within it.

      There are leading environmentalists in many countries publicly arguing not only against, but for. So, it’s open. And what makes the best sense should be viewed in the context of individual countries/regions.

      Maybe this knowledge will help reduce your suspicions and see things more objectively, which is probably what you actually want to do.

      • Peter Davies

        Well put Martha. There certainly seems to be much more common ground than folks on the more extreme sides of the AGW shouting match would allow any open-minded reader to believe.

        I have joined this blog with a view to learning from those who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise and to engaging with others who are also seeking the truth about climate change.

      • Peter

        The truth about climate change is we are witnessing a global cooling trend of 0.1 deg C per decade as shown by the following data.

        http://bit.ly/pMHO76

        In the mean time human emission of CO2 has increased by about 200 G-ton.

      • Peter Davies

        Girma, I had a look at your graph and while it is true that the graph from 2002 shows a clear cooling trend in the HadCrut data, I wonder if we can make any conclusions about the validity of AGW predictions up to 2050, especially in view of the limited length of the data series being used and what is known about natural shorter term climate oscillations?

        I am inclined to agree that CO2 AGW has not been scientifically proven but your implied assertion that increasing CO2 output by humans is having zero effect on climate is not scientifically proven either. I believe that his is due to the many natural factors at work which serve to confine temperatures within relatively narrow bands over many decades, until the next major shift occurs.

      • I had a look at your graph and while it is true that the graph from 2002 shows a clear cooling trend in the HadCrut data, I wonder if we can make any conclusions about the validity of AGW predictions up to 2050, especially in view of the limited length of the data series being used and what is known about natural shorter term climate oscillations?

        Indeed. First, if one simply increases the 8-year window of data to ten years then the trend is upwards, and likewise for all even larger windows.

        Second, it is easy to show that small windows are no predictor of future behavior, even in the middle of a rapid rise. Girma believes that although this decade is cooling, the previous few decades were warming. But this is easily refuted by this graph for 1987 to 1997 which shows slight cooling when averaged over the whole decade. Had Girma been using his argument in 1997 he would have been embarrassed a year later by the truly extraordinary heat of 1998.

        Given that the temperature rose so dramatically between 1970 and now, one might assume that the decades before and after 1987-1997 must surely have both risen. It is therefore perhaps surprising that the immediately preceding eight years 1979-1987 showed about as steep a decline as Girma’s 2002-2010 example, decreasing at more than a degree per century!

        Along with Arfur Bryant, Max Manacker, and Norm Kalmanovitch on this blog, and Don Easterbrook, Harry Huffman, etc. elsewhere, Girma is a designer of creative refutations of the seriousness of AGW.

        It is testimony to the robustness of the AGW hypothesis that these clearly mathematically competent people, on this and other blogs, cannot come up with even one single argument against AGW that does not have a logical hole in it big enough to drive a truck through.

      • Peter D: Actually I used to defend climate change to my skeptic friends. Then I went about reading books, articles and websites and participating in blog discussions. I found myself attacked and censored regularly by the orthodox. Now I am a skeptic.

        Aside from this blog, I haven’t found much common ground in the climate debates. I doubt you will either, but I wish you luck on your quest.

        Martha, however, is not a moderate, common-ground-seeking person. She is a shouter who regularly castigates Dr. Curry for this blog. Her comments are mostly assertions, appeals to authority and ad homs.

      • Martha, however, is not a moderate, common-ground-seeking person. She is a shouter who regularly castigates Dr. Curry for this blog. Her comments are mostly assertions, appeals to authority and ad homs.

        Regarding Martha, I felt Steven Mosher’s analysis was spot on.

        Regarding huxley, god forbid that he would ever shout. As a labor-saving device I’ve gathered some representative Sayings of Chairman Huxley in one place. These are from just two threads, there’s far more out there.

        =======Start of huxley not shouting========
        [To Martha:]
        I’ll bet I’ve read far more Chomsky, for instance, than you have, as well as conservatives — of whom I suspect that you have read very little. So put up or shut up, when you post here. Start supporting your arguments with facts,cites and logic and knock off the ad homs. Take that chip off your shoulder and consider the possibility that well-informed people often disagree.

        You have entirely misread the current political landscape if you believe that my side is dying out.

        Your leftist academics, economists, and foreign policy authorities may believe that they have triumphed — and with Obama’s presidency and capturing both sides of Congresses it did look that way for a year — but the pendulum has swung hard against them and quickly.

        From my viewpoint, academia is just a hotbed of leftist groupthink and hardly the repository of truth. Your belief that they are arbiters of truth is just your belief.

        [To AK:]
        However, I think such talk from liberals only betrays the great liberal conceit that they occupy the moral and intellectual high ground by default, and therefore it’s only natural and right that they should be running things, and that we conservatives are only gumming things up, or worse, by not acquiescing to our betters.

        [To WebHubTelescope:]
        My point is simply that the liberal academic world is bigoted towards conservatives while academic careers have become exceedingly competitive.

        It’s a well-known truism that people hire people like themselves, so being a known conservative is a great way to rule yourself out of competition in academia and even many hi-tech companies as well. Of course, if it’s not your ox being gored, Web, why should you care?

        If that’s the way game is played, that’s the way it’s played. I don’t admire liberal bigotry but I live with it. However, I don’t have to be silent for the self-serving pretension of someone like Dr. Pratt that liberal bigotry doesn’t exist and conservatives on liberal campuses have no reason to be afraid.

        [To me:]
        My bet is that you are quite comfortable with a status quo where conservative computer science students have their political convictions ridiculed in class and almost all other students share that ridicule with the professor.

        I’ll also bet that you would be upset if the shoe was on the other foot, and liberal students found a conservative professor regularly ridiculing Obama, the Democratic party and the climate change orthodoxy in a Stanford class.

        Tell me different. I dare you.

        I don’t think you know what you are talking about. You are ideologically blinded as to how difficult life can be for conservatives in a liberal worlds.

        When you are a lowly student and one of the top academic minds in the US — by virtue of being an ivy league Stanford professor as well as one of the wealthiest people on the planet by virtue of his Google connection — is openly conflating your politics with stupidity, then you are behind a genuine serious eight-ball if you have any ambition to succeed at Stanford and elsewhere after graduation while being true to your convictions.

        “Those who can’t [articulate their position clearly and convincingly] have everything to fear,” is not going to cut it.

        By your reasoning, under Jim Crow the real problem faced by African-Americans was that they could not articulate their positions “clearly and convincingly.”

        I’m sorry. You are either disingenuous or incompetent in your understanding of the lay of the land at Stanford and most American universities.

        And by the way — why in the world is a computer science professor bringing politics into a discussion of object-oriented software development?

        Perhaps I’m missing something. Perhaps you can explain, since you are also a Stanford computer science professor.

        But my bet is that you can’t. My bet is that you are quite comfortable with a status quo where conservative computer science students have their political convictions ridiculed in class and almost all other students share that ridicule with the professor.

        I’ll also bet that you would be upset if the shoe was on the other foot, and liberal students found a conservative professor regularly ridiculing Obama, the Democratic party and the climate change orthodoxy in a Stanford class.

        Tell me different. I dare you.
        =======End of huxley not shouting========

        I can easily picture huxley getting better grades in English than math in his secondary and tertiary education.

      • Martha,
        You geniuses in the climate change movement have whined your way to getting crazy subsidies for things that don’t work, like wind and solar, and to not do any work on things that do, like cleaner coal natural gas and nuclear. Now that natural as is looking really good, climate change movement members are busy fabricating claims that frakking is dangerous.
        You all have done such great work- I just wish you all would stfu for a decade or two. Then think of the wealth you could parasite and profiteer off of.

      • Martha: I’ve been a leftist-green Whole Earth type for most of my adult life. I know the lay of that land pretty well. In fact I’d bet that I know it better than you do, since you come across poorly informed in these discussions and rarely provide cites other than your own assertions.

        The first place I noticed the Wedges was SciAm. Click the link and search on “nuclear”. Nada. Zip. And this is Scientific American, not the Whole Earth Catalog.

        Speaking of the Whole Earth Catalog, however, (and I worked on the WEC once upon a time) here’s Stewart Brand, the WEC founder, on Environmental Heresies:

        So everything must be done to increase energy efficiency and decarbonize energy production. Kyoto accords, radical conservation in energy transmission and use, wind energy, solar energy, passive solar, hydroelectric energy, biomass, the whole gamut. But add them all up and it’s still only a fraction of enough. Massive carbon “sequestration” (extraction) from the atmosphere, perhaps via biotech, is a widely held hope, but it’s just a hope. The only technology ready to fill the gap and stop the carbon dioxide loading of the atmosphere is nuclear power.

        Brand is onboard with nukes, but note that he terms his position a “heresy.” Ask Dr. Curry if heresy is a 50/50 position. If you check Brand’s later book, Whole Earth Discipline, he says that some environmentalists, such as Hansen and Lovelock, have come aboard reluctantly, but I still see no indication that support approaches 50/50, especially if one were to test whether it was more than lip service.

        Note also that my position is that nuclear power is not one wedge out of 7, 10 or 15, but half the pie or more.

        If you reply, provide some cites. And stop patronizing me and others here.

      • Martha

        The split is more like 50/50. Maybe half are saying we can do it with a focus on energy diversification and increases in efficiencies; the other half are saying we need nuclear at least initially.

        I’d question the accuracy of your 50/50 split to start off with, but then I’d add that if it is correct, the 50% who say it can be done without nuclear have their collective heads stuck in the sand.

        Max

  26. Since the wedges they’re really interested in are the economically ruinous solar and wind ones, the whole “push” is just more shell games. “Where’s the pea now, rube?”

  27. Funny how people can ridicule the AGW green conspiracy and believe the Big Oil conspiracy, often within the same brain.

    • The projectionist just runs the film through the machine.
      =============

    • Funny how people can ridicule the AGW green conspiracy and believe the Big Oil conspiracy, often within the same brain.

      lol!

      Such a belief system makes much less sense than believing in an AGW green conspiracy while rejecting a Big Oil conspiracy, right?

      Classic post, omnologos.

      • Big Oil jumped the AGW bandwagon big time. Other Bigs did the same (goverments, corporations…).

      • Edim:

        Big Oil jumped the AGW bandwagon big time.

        It is this kind of inaccurate generalization that leads me to question the logic of so “skeptical” thinking.

        “Big Oil,” is a very complex concept, that comprises many diverging and discrete lines of action. To characterize “big oil” as jumping on the “AGW bandwagon” flies in the face of massive amounts of activity in the oil industry – including political activity, PR activity, and industrial activity.

        You take a massive entity, boil it down to a grossly distorting generalization, seemingly reflective of a need to simplify matters to fit into a neat little partisan package.

        Oh, and the same applies to the “other bigs” also.

      • sorry – that should have been “some skeptical thinking.

      • I partly agree that it’s kind of generalization, but for the most part it’s true. It was simply politically correct to believe in AGW. PR activity was overwhelmingly on the AGW side.

        I work in the industry now and I am not allowed to be sceptical about AGW if I want to keep my job. Establishment (of any kind) is still strongly pro AGW.

        By the way, I am very liberal and anti-capitalist.

      • Edim –

        PR activity was overwhelmingly on the AGW side.

        PR touting the wonders of fracking is not being on the “AGW side.” PR about the cleanliness of coal is not being on the “AGW side.”

        In fact, I would argue that such PR is the exact opposite – co-opting a “clean” message for the purpose of propagandizing about .fossil fuel energy that is decidedly on the “anti-AGW side.”

        And the spending on industrial activity that is on the “anti-AGW side” dwarfs spending on green tinged PR.

        Libz and anti-capitalists can inaccurately over-generalize just like rightwingers and “skeptics.”

      • “PR about the cleanliness of coal is not being on the “AGW side.””

        CO2 is not dirty. Only pollutants determine cleanliness of coal. CO2 is no pollutant, but CO2 hype is a big polluter.

        The money was on AGW, I don’t know how you can be in such a denial. All the feedbacks were strongly positive.

      • CO2 is not dirty. Only pollutants determine cleanliness of coal. CO2 is no pollutant, but CO2 hype is a big polluter.

        The point is that PR that promotes the “greenness” of coil, or gas, or other fossil fuels does not = being on the “AGW bandwagon,” as being on the “AGW bandwagon” would not include spending billions to continue burning fossil fuels.

      • “as being on the “AGW bandwagon” would not include spending billions to continue burning fossil fuels.”

        Being on the AGW bandwagon is exactly spending billions to continue burning fossil fuels. When you understand that you will wake up.

      • There’s a madness of the crowd, Joshua. Sure, some have breathed together, but it will be very difficult to separate the handwaving from the sticky fingers under the velvet glove on the clenched fist.
        ==========

      • “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

      • Always remember, it’s a good thing we’re herd animals.
        =============

  28. Joshua – there’s always plenty more of the former kind…

  29. omnologos

    Joshua – there’s always plenty more of the former kind…

    I wouldn’t know how to estimate the numbers on some undetermined scale. American voting patterns would suggest that you’re wrong, but you’re certainly entitled to speculate.

    I do know what I read in these pages of Climate Etc., however… much more of the later than the former. At any rate, I found your post to be very ironic.

  30. The truth is that our earth is suffering, whether or not you made the exact computation. We all need to do something to prevent more damage and repair what has been done, as much as we could.

    • Laney,
      The truth is the Earth does not suffer.
      How do you define damage, and how do you define repair?

  31. I can’t believe it! Another easy solution to the “climate problem”.

    Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical, and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half-century.

    Let’s check this one out.

    Very roughly, stabilization at 500 ppm [by 2060] requires that emissions be held near the present level of 7 billion tons of carbon per year (GtC/year) for the next 50 years, even though they are currently on course to more than double (Fig. 1A).

    This is supposed to occur by the implementation of ”seven wedges”, many of which will occur in any case for economic reasons in a “business as usual” scenario.

    OK. But how much warming will be directly averted by the suggested reductions, i.e. implementation of all of the ”seven wedges” combined?

    Let’s say the “emissions…more than double” by 2060, from today’s 30 GtCO2/year and that this increase is exponential at the assumed rate of ”1.5% per year”.

    We then have CO2 emissions growing from today’s 30 GtCO2/year to 62 GtCO2/year by 2060.

    On this basis we would have a cumulated CO2 emission of 2,210 GtCO2 over the period 2011 to 2100.

    50% “remain” in the atmosphere = 1,105 GtCO2
    mass of atmosphere = 5,140,000 Gt
    So this equals 1,105 * 1,000,000 / 5,140,000 = 215 ppm(mass)
    Which equals 215 * 29 / 44 = 142 ppmv
    Added to today’s 390 ppmv, this equals 532 ppmv (if no action taken)
    C0 = 390 ppmv (today)
    C1 = 532 ppmv (2060)
    C1/C0 = 1.3641
    ln(C1/C0) = 0.3105
    ln2 = 0.6931
    dT(2xCO2) = 3.2°C (at equilibrium) per IPCC
    dT(2011-2100 theo) = 0.3105 * 3.2 / 0.6930 = 1.4°C

    If we implement the ”seven wedges” to hold CO2 concentration at 500 ppmv we have:
    C0 = 390 ppmv (today)
    C1 = 500 ppmv (2060)
    C1/C0 = 1.2821
    ln(C1/C0) = 0.2485
    ln2 = 0.6931
    dT(2xCO2) = 3.2°C (at equilibrium) per IPCC
    dT(2011-2100 theo) = 0.2485 * 3.2 / 0.6930 = 1.2°C

    So, even at the arguably inflated CS estimate of IPCC, the net global warming averted by implementing all of the ”seven wedges” is 1.4 – 1.2 = 0.2°C

    This does not sound like a “big deal” at all.

    In fact, it sounds totally insignificant.

    Why have the authors not told us how much warming the ”seven wedges” will theoretically avert?

    (I think I know the answer to that.)

    Max

    PS They have also not told us what it would cost to implement the ”seven wedges”, so it is impossible to calculate a cost/benefit analysis. Some of the “wedges” will happen automatically for economic reasons but others, such as carbon capture sequestration are very expensive, quite risky and have hardly any impact on global temperature.

    • Let’s say the “emissions…more than double” by 2060, from today’s 30 GtCO2/year and that this increase is exponential at the assumed rate of ”1.5% per year”.

      That’s rather low. According to this CDIAC page, carbon emissions from fossil fuel doubled between 1972 (4.376 GtC) and 2008 (8.749 GtC). That’s 36 years to double, which makes the CAGR 70/36 = 1.94%.

      In 50 years time that’s an increase of 1.0194^50 = 2.61, bringing the current 30 GtCO2 to 78 GtCO2. By 2100 it’s 1.0194^90 = 5.637 for a total of 169 GtCO2 in 2100.

      On this basis we would have a cumulated CO2 emission of 2,210 GtCO2 over the period 2011 to 2100.

      Well, that’s interesting. I get 7,256 GtCO2 over that period. Here’s my math.

      If we start from 30 GtCO2 today and CO2 emission doubles every 36 years as calculated above, then in t years time the emission is 30*exp(t*ln(2)/36) GtCO2. Integrating that for t from 0 to 90, we get 30*36/ln(2)*exp(t*ln(2)/36) as the indefinite integral, so the integral from 0 to 90 is 30*36/ln(2)*(exp(90*ln(2)/36) − 1) = 7,256 GtCO2.

      See anything wrong with that, Max?

      Here’s your math verbatim, corrected as above.

      50% “remain” in the atmosphere = 3,628 GtCO2
      mass of atmosphere = 5,140,000 Gt
      So this equals 3,628 * 1,000,000 / 5,140,000 = 706 ppm(mass)
      Which equals 706 * 29 / 44 = 465 ppmv
      Added to today’s 390 ppmv, this equals 855 ppmv (if no action taken)
      C0 = 390 ppmv (today)
      C1 = 855 ppmv (2060) (2100) (why 2060, Max?)
      C1/C0 = 2.192
      ln(C1/C0) = 0.7849
      ln2 = 0.6931
      dT(2xCO2) = 3.2°C (at equilibrium) per IPCC
      dT(2011-2100 theo) = 0.7849 * 3.2 / 0.6931 = 3.624 °C

      If we implement the ”seven wedges” to hold CO2 concentration at 500 ppmv we have:
      C0 = 390 ppmv (today)
      C1 = 500 ppmv (2060)
      C1/C0 = 1.2821
      ln(C1/C0) = 0.2485
      ln2 = 0.6931
      dT(2xCO2) = 3.2°C (at equilibrium) per IPCC
      dT(2011-2100 theo) = 0.2485 * 3.2 / 0.6930 = 1.147°C

      So, even at the arguably inflated CS estimate of IPCC, the net global warming averted by implementing all of the ”seven wedges” is 3.624 – 1.147 = 2.48 °C

      This [0.2 °C] does not sound like a “big deal” at all.

      I would say 2.48 °C sounds like quite a big deal.

      It’s impressive that the right answer is more than12 times what you obtained.

      Incidentally, a faster way to arrive at 2.48 °C is simply to take 3.2 times the log base 2 of the quotient 855/500. Math in a flash.

  32. Judith,

    With all the billions spent, what does science show for itself?

  33. Back to cost/benefit analyses for “wedges”:

    The few specific actionable proposals for reducing global warming by curtailing human CO2 emissions to the atmosphere have been analyzed.
    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6112/6208819043_0931707315_b.jpg

    The proposals made to date involve investment of around $2 trillion per tenth of a degree of warming theoretically averted.

    So far, there have been no specific proposals made to date, which show any sort of reasonable benefit (in global warming averted by 2100) for an affordable cost.

    If anyone here has heard of any that meet this prerequisite, I would be glad to see them.

    Max

    • Max,

      I’m a little more primitive in my wording but we very much think alike.

      The day science looks into salt and motion will be when science will understand the evolution of this planet. Not by faith understanding but by evidence.

    • manacker,
      Mitigation is an unmitigated waste of time to date, and will be an unmitigated disaster if ever actually implemented.
      In fact, here is a proposal for another iron law: No mitigation effort will ever be implemented by a free people, and if one is imposed, it will be a disastrous waste of resources that will end in the voting out or overthrow of the governing body that imposed it.

      • Possibly because the logic of the whole CO2 control project entails the inevitable mitigation=heavy culling of human population to succeed.

        People are not generally much up with being culled.

  34. Doug Badgero

    “The best and worst future climate outcomes consistent with today’s science are very different.”

    The best and worst future climate outcomes consistent with today’s science are, as a practical matter, unbounded.

  35. We should have conceded, prominently, that the news about climate change is unwelcome, that today’s climate science is incomplete, and that every “solution” carries risk. I don’t know for sure that such candor would have produced a less polarized public discourse. But I bet it would have. … My working assumption is that candor creates trust.

    These lines are from Socolow’s essay boldfaced by Dr. Curry. It’s an interesting thought experiment to consider how the climate debate would have unfolded had climate scientists taken such an approach. I know I wouldn’t have become so much of an opponent.

    However, I wonder how much of difference it would have made bottom-line. The climate change orthodoxy would still want the expensive measures they want in order to mitigate climate change. Some citizens would still dig in their heels at the measures and the enforcement of the measures.

    Candor would likely make for a less polarized discussion, and some of us would trust climate scientists somewhat more in the light of such candor, but I doubt candor would win the day. To the extent that the orthodoxy is focused on the ends (climate mitigation) and less interested in the means, it’s not surprising that candor has not been a priority.

    • @huxley…

      Candor would likely make for a less polarized discussion, and some of us would trust climate scientists somewhat more in the light of such candor, but I doubt candor would win the day. To the extent that the orthodoxy is focused on the ends (climate mitigation) and less interested in the means, it’s not surprising that candor has not been a priority.

      I don’t completely agree. If there hadn’t been such blatant dishonesty involved in pushing AGW as the reason for mitigation schemes, opponents of raising the price of (fossil) energy might have gone looking for alternative approaches rather than challenging the “science”.

      My first introduction to the IPCC was in 1998 when the heat was on to ratify Kyoto. Thousands of Marxbots were infesting the Internet, breaking into any on-line discussions they could, yelling about how “thousands of IPCC scientists agree” about global warming and the need to ratify Kyoto. A brief look at the list of signatories was enough to show that most of these “IPCC scientists” were administrators and other bureaucrats, and most of the scientists were out-of-specialty, biologists and agronomists, etc. In effect, a bunch of amateurs who were trusting the conclusions of the handful or so of actual climate scientsts. Not to mention the difference between the uncertainty assessments in the body of the IPCC report (SAR, IIRC), the Summary for Policymakers, and the statement all these “IPCC scientists” had signed.

      With a start like that, I certainly wasn’t surprised that AR4 claimed a level of certainty not justified by the underlying science. Ever since then (1998) I’ve suspected that the whole thing was a scam to impose Marxist-style internationalism. And nothing I’ve seen since has changed my mind. That seems (IMO) the most parsimonious explanation for the constant rejection of ideas like Space Solar Power, Dyson’s carbon-eating trees, and other remediation/sequestration approaches that would allow humanity to continue with cheap energy.

      • Ever since then (1998) I’ve suspected that the whole thing was a scam to impose Marxist-style internationalism.

        AK: I suspect some here will jump to the conclusion that you are claiming a huge leftist conspiracy…

        Speaking as a former leftist, I would explain that in the leftist worldview there is a three-part, largely unconscious, mission statement: (1) Capitalism is destroying society and the world, (2) smart leftists must take power and stop that destruction, and (3) afterward smart leftists will transform the world into something much better.

        The leftist worldview is like a computer program that transforms all input data into a few outputs: more government, more taxes, more smart leftists to govern and spend, less money for ordinary citizens, less power for those who resist the program.

        Those are the only answers that can come out of the leftist program. So those are the only answers that can come up for global warming. It’s pretty much the blueprint for climate change movement. It was the blueprint for the Obama campaign and presidency.

        Those on the left believe they are doing the commonsense, necessary things to make the world a better place. Those on the right notice that the net result is suspiciously always the same: more government, more taxes, more leftists running things. Once in place the more-more-more are hard to dislodge and leftist parties become more powerful.

        So I believe we agree for the most part.

      • @huxley…

        AK: I suspect some here will jump to the conclusion that you are claiming a huge leftist conspiracy…

        Well, not so huge. Quoting from an earlier comment

        As for the political agenda, it doesn’t necessarily mean conspiracy, although IMO there is one, probably much smaller and less effective than the Glenn Becks of this world think. Of course, the word “conspiracy” itself means “with (shared or the same) spirit”, and doesn’t necessarily include secret meetings, transfers of cash, or illegal activity.

        It makes sense that people with left-leaning world views would look for solutions to “problems” like AGW in the standard toolbox of the political left: Massive government intervention and bureaucracy, scapegoating of “companies” or big business, mobs and mass demonstrations, and the like. Also, small-scale “what you can do about…” type activities that actually do more to make supporters feel good than solve the problem. I would class solar panels on your roof and windmills in your back yard with this, since AFAIK they don’t really accomplish any carbon reduction overall. (They do make a few crooks rich, though.)

        OTOH, in the late ’80′s and early ’90′s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Marxists and fellow travelers were left “orphaned”, and many of them ended up in the environmental movement. How to tell the difference between somebody who cares about AGW and looks to leftist solutions, and somebody who cares about Marxist revolution and looks to AGW as a stalking horse? I dunno.

        So I think you’re right, we pretty much agree, although I have to express my great concern at the use of binary choices in the whole question of “conspiracies”.

      • Huxley

        Never have I seen is summarized so succinctly how those on the left think as you have just done..

        Quite apart from any discussion of the merits of the science supporting the AGW hysteria, it would be interesting to get a reaction from one of the bloggers here who identifies with this mindset.

        Max

      • Max: Praise of the praiseworthy… Thanks. I admire your posts.

      • Quite apart from any discussion of the merits of the science supporting the AGW hysteria, it would be interesting to get a reaction from one of the bloggers here who identifies with this mindset.

        If you’re referring to huxley’s “in the leftist worldview there is a three-part, largely unconscious, mission statement: (1) Capitalism is destroying society and the world, (2) smart leftists must take power and stop that destruction, and (3) afterward smart leftists will transform the world into something much better” then I’d say huxley (1) was out of touch with “leftists” back in the days when he thought he was one, (2) is even more out of touch with them now that he’s decided he isn’t one after all, and (3) appears to be suffering from some form of delusional disorder.

        When it comes to huxley and reality, mind the gap.

      • Get a bit more specific, Vaughan.

        Huxley writes:

        that in the leftist worldview there is a three-part, largely unconscious, mission statement: (1) Capitalism is destroying society and the world, (2) smart leftists must take power and stop that destruction, and (3) afterward smart leftists will transform the world into something much better.

        As a “leftist” would you not agree with premise (1) and hence follow-up premise (2)?

        If not, what would be your viewpoint on the struggle of capitalism versus socialism and the role of “leftists” in this struggle?

        As far as premise (3) is concerned, do you not believe that leftists want to will transform the world into something better? If not, what do they want to do?

        Rather than simply telling us that Huxley “appears to be suffering from some form of delusional disorder”, come with some specifics, man.

        Max

      • As the sole holdout in a family of fringe to moderate leftists, I heartily agree. Some have stellar IQs, but that just produces embellishments on the basic program as you have laid it out.

        Another possible line in the program: If it doesn’t directly advance the transfer of wealth from the thieving wealthy (= all of them except leftist philanthropists) to the poor, it is evil.