Kyoto Protocol: unintended consequences

by Judith Curry

Gail Tverberg writes:

In a recent post, I discovered something rather alarming–the fact that in the last decade (2000 to 2010) both world energy consumption and the CO2 emissions from this energy consumption were rising as fast as GDP for the world as a whole. This relationship is especially strange, because prior to 2000, it appeared as though decoupling was taking place: GDP was growing more rapidly than energy use and CO2 emissions. And even after 2000, many countries continued to report decoupling.

 

Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World has a post entitled “Thoughts on why energy use and CO2 emissions are rising as fast as GDP.”  Some excerpts:

I decided to sift through individual country results, to see if I could see a pattern emerging behind these changing results. When I did this, I found three major groupings of countries:

1. Southeast Asia, excluding Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. This group has been rapidly industrializing. In total, the group’s energy consumption has grown as rapidly as GDP in the last decade, and CO2 emissions have grown faster than GDP.

2. Middle Eastern Countries. This group showed energy use growing more rapidly than GDP,  suggesting that it was taking more energy to extract oil and to pacify its population, over time.

3. Rest of the World. This group is the only group showing a favorable trend in energy growth relative to GDP growth, even in the last decade, although the pace of improvement has slowed. Two reasons for this favorable trend seem to be (a) continued growth of services, such as financial service, healthcare, and education, which use relatively little energy and (b) outsourcing of a major portion of heavy industry to Southeast Asia.

The vast majority of the CO2 increase since 1980 has taken place in the Southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern areas!

Based on data in this post, I come to the following tentative conclusions:

1. The industrialization of Southeast Asia has allowed importers from around the world to reduce their energy intensity of GDP, but much of the savings has been offset by greater energy use (largely coal) in Southeast Asia. On a CO2 basis, we are likely  worse off, because of this transfer.

2. There is no evidence that the Kyoto Protocol reduced worldwide CO2 emissions. In fact, to the extent that it encouraged outsourcing of industrial production to the Far East and made goods from the Far East more competitive, it may have contributed to rising world CO2 emissions. It would appear that a different approach is needed that recognizes the fact that fuels are part of a world market. Fuel savings in one part of the world are not necessarily helpful for the world as a whole.

3. In my view, world industrial production has self-organized in a way that assigns different roles to companies operating in the three country groups I described above, as a way to minimize manufacturing costs. Over the long term, this particular version of self-organization cannot continue. The Middle East will reach a point where its oil exports drop rapidly. Southeast Asia will reach maximums on coal production/imports and on pollution levels. The “Remainder” is already reaching limits in competing with Southeast Asia. Unemployment rates are high, manufacturing wages are low, and many workers lack the  income needed to purchase additional services which might “grow” GDP.

The Southeast Asia group has chosen to try to produce economic growth through the export of manufactured goods, making use of its inexpensive labor force and the availability of cheap coal. Southeast Asia’s cost advantage is especially great in energy-intensive manufacturing, because coal is relatively cheap, and new factories often use the latest technology, limiting fuel use.

When other countries buy exports from Southeast Asia, it starts a whole chain of other economic activity as well–new roads, more concrete buildings, and more workers with a high enough salary to afford cars. So the impact of outsourcing is much greater than the energy directly used in producing the goods for export.

The Kyoto Protocol may have aided Southeast Asia in developing its export-oriented economy. Once CO2 goals were announced, it was clear that signatory countries would want to limit energy intensive manufacturing in their own countries. An easy way of doing this was to substitute the purchase of goods made in countries such as in Southeast Asia. The limits on carbon emissions also made it clear that Southeast Asia would experience relatively little competition for coal in the world marketplace, because countries that signed the Protocol would be limiting coal imports.

Furthermore, if Kyoto Protocol signators enacted carbon taxes, the taxes would tend to make Southeast Asian products (and services such as oil refining), even more cost-competitive than they otherwise would be, since similar manufacturing and services would face no taxes in Southeast Asia. And any oil that was saved by the Kyoto Protocol would be available on the world market at a slightly lower price, further helping Southeast Asia.

JC comment:  read the entire article, which has many graphs and additional analyses.

350 responses to “Kyoto Protocol: unintended consequences

  1. The flaw in this theory is that it assumes that Asia would otherwise stay poor. History doesn’t work like that.

    • Whoever thought that Great Britain, would stoop to this:

      http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3980024/School-turns-heating-off-to-save-planet.html

      sure, smart eco-kids…

      • AGW is unscientific propaganda produced by political control and manipulation of the flow of tax funds to agencies promoting AGW.

        In a special report for 21st Century Science & Technology in 2007 – two years before emails confirmed that AGW was based on manipulated temperature data – Marjorie Mazel Hecht concluded AGW was a “Hoax” born in a 1975 ‘Endangered Atmosphere’ Conference.

        http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202007/GWHoaxBorn.pdf

        Four months ago, I concluded independently that AGW came from secret 1971 agreements to save the world from the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation by ending the space and arms races and uniting nations against a common enemy – “Global Climate Change.”

        http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

        Climategate emails simply confirmed that scientists were manipulating temperature data to please the politicians.

    • “The flaw in this theory is that it assumes that Asia would otherwise stay poor.”

      Correct. Now all we have to do is wait a decade or two while this simple fact becomes apparent to world leaders In point of fact, future increases in CO2 are almost certainly going to come from the developing world, not the developed world. Why anyone expected it to be otherwise eludes me.

      BTW, Tverberg’s rest of the world includes two very different groups. About 15% of the World’s population lives in developed countries whose population is stable and whose per capita energy usage is stable or dropping. But many of the countries in the “rest of the world” are undeveloped or developing countries whose CO2 usage in many cases hasn’t even started to ramp up.

  2. One unintended consequence was reaffirming the wisdom of last century’s US Senate.
    ==========

  3. The initial observation is of course the same as this:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/05/continued-ddeceleration-of.html

  4. That’s a clear analysis that underscores the underlying economic problems of trying to get compliance to a fragmented protocol in a globalized world. There have been several formal analyses that concluded that reductions in carbon intensity or outright emissions in European countries, including UK, had been purchased at the cost of rising emissions in less efficient factories elsewhere.

    However, that does not mean that a carbon tax – agreed by most economists as the most efficient way to bring emissions down – would be ineffective. A carbon tax would be levied against domestic transport and heating, which are a high percentage of total emissions. As such a tax would may go some way to encourage further gains in fuel efficiency.

    I kind of disagree with your last point though. The race to offshore manufacturing jobs began long before the Kyoto Protocol. With labour costing 1/10 to 1/40 of the costs in North America, globalization of manufacturing has always been a race to the bottom where wages were concerned. Witness the fact that as Chinese wages have risen in recent years, even Chinese entrepreneurs are offshoring their operations to even cheaper countries.

    • Absolutely right about the globalization of manufacturing. The Kyoto protocol had next to nothing to do with it. It was all about market economics.

      Also I don’t agree with this:

      “Middle Eastern Countries. This group showed energy use growing more rapidly than GDP, suggesting that it was taking more energy to extract oil and to pacify its population, over time.”

      In my view, the growth of energy consumption in the middle east had little to do with oil extraction and more to do with improvements to quality of life and things like air conditioning! Their oil wealth gave them the cash to buy the baubles of wealth. Look at those sky scrapers going up.

      • “Absolutely right about the globalization of manufacturing. The Kyoto protocol had next to nothing to do with it. It was all about market economics.”

        In scale this is true, Kyoto and central planning arrogance certainly is symbolic of the pinhead times both then and now. It certainly lowered Western competitiveness, divided the West and was targeted as an anti- American action by the EU morons at many levels. It also strengthend domestically the eco-left monster that needs to get crushed if America is to be restored.

      • Joshua – insert appropriate response here…

      • It wasn’t simply lower wages that sent energy intensive manuacturing to Southeast Asia from advanced indurtrialized nations like the U.S. The expensive emission controls required here–in tandem with higher labor costs and the second highest corporate tax rate in the world–expidited the exodus over time. Those industries went to nations with much lower emission control requirements. We lost the jobs and capital investments and the world got higher levels of emissions…

      • Air conditioning is a “bauble” ?

      • I guess it depends on where you are starting from.

    • Andrew,

      Is the carbon tax in your scenario applied only to direct carbon emission domestically?

    • Andrew
      The effectiveness of a carbon tax is completely dependent upon the specifics of who the tax is being imposed upon. In some areas the tax is effective because people have the ability to reduce their consumption, but in others they have already reduced their consumption to the maximum reasonably possible. In that situation the tax is only a means of producing revenue.

      There is also the very nasty global issue of the competitive advantage gained by those nations that do not impose such a tax as compared to those that impose the tax. The tax makes that nation’s goods more expensive to export as compared to those without the tax.

    • See Ross McKitrick’s T3 Tax for a truly balanced approach. His “Temperatures in the Tropical Troposphere” tax efficiently cuts both ways. A tax if the troposphere warms – a grant back if it cools!

      • If someone wishes to implement a highly inefficient process for collecting revenue, it is a great idea. The scheme would require a high degree of governmental oversight to administer, and would thereby be inefficient.

      • McKitrick’s purpose is to provide a fair economically “efficient” method instead of “cap and trade”.
        I am not saying that either method would not involve major governmental inefficiencies.

  5. It is nice to see this concise statement of energy following manufacturing along with manufacturing’s CO2 emissions, ground water and air contamination. Is this new? It is common Rust Belt fodder in the newspapers and TV that good paying manufacturing jobs were outsourced to cheaper labor; first to Taiwan, then Japan, now China, India, Viet Nam, Thailand, etc. The Kyoto Protocol has always been a feel-good venue without a semblance of market historical reality, at least for the last 5 decades.

  6. Is anybody surprised? Seriously?

    It feels a bit cheap to repeat this, but I’ve been saying exactly the same thing since the beginning of time (ish..)

    Protocols and agreements and targets to ‘reduce’ Co2 emissions have no hope of doing any such thing – they never have, and they never will. The global nature of the fossil fuel market and individual countries desire to seek the benefit of their own citizens means that believing in the helpfulness of ‘emissions reductions’ is like believing in the tooth fairy.

    Hasn’t the 50% rise in emissions since the IPCC first report shown us anything? Looking at carbon emissions is to look in the wrong place – what needs to happen (for Co2 worriers) is for fossil fuels to remain unused – forever. Is there the slightest evidence that this is happening? Can we point to the hundreds of billions of barrels [at least 200 billion barrels per tenth of a degree...] of oil equivalent that was economically recoverable and yet remained in the ground?

    Is there the slightest evidence that we are heading towards leaving economically recoverable fossil fuels in the ground – forever? Please – if you have some evidence, show me!

    On a brighter note [ :) ] I’m also yet to see any evidence that a slightly milder climate will be anything other than particularly wondrous for life, such that it will continue to abide and thrive.

    As Kim might say – ‘In warmness, life teems’

  7. What they need to do is start locking oil and coal fields. Just put an international ban on mining them. Work through one at a time.

  8. I cannot be help think it a little arrogant for people to state that either to the developing world restrict its energy production, and so stay in poverty, or to inform the Industrialized world it should transfer a large fraction of its wealth to the developing world so they can ‘equilibrate’ the world wealth.
    All we need is a method of energy production than is cheaper to extract than burning the bottled sunshine that the chemical energy of fossil fuel is.
    Should be easy.
    Note the amount of money spent on molten salt reactors and guess how seriously everyone a government levels takes all this.

    • So true. Not much more to say than that.

      If the world really got serious about things like fusion, we’d figure it out.

  9. The CO2 talk is cheap, but it’s consequences are very expensive. If the well-meaning “warmists” only knew what they’re supporting! Enormous waste of money, resources and time. Environmental pollution. Profiteering. And at the end, all the activity does not reduce CO2 emissions at all, it probably increases them. A travesty.

  10. Norm Kalmanovitch

    The only unintended consequence of concern from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change is the biofuel initiatives which have removed 6.5% of the world’s grain from the global food supply to be used as feedstock for the world’s annual 85 billion litre ethanol production which has resulted in hundreds of millions of the worlds poor facing starvation with untold thousands dying because of this idiocy.
    The other consequences of crippled economies and doubled power costs resulting from windpower installations are trivial in comparison to the deaths of so many people.

    • Consequences of Kyoto and farm subsidies (aka buying votes):
      Ethanol Now Takes More Than Half US Corn, Says NCC

      The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) from USDA predict that five billion bushels of corn will be used for feed and related purposes in the 2010/2011 crop year, which runs through September, while 5.05 billion bushels will be used for ethanol and byproducts.

      Consequently we have Ethanol Blamed for Record Food Prices

      Federal ethanol mandates in the United States have played an important role in the increase in corn prices, which are approaching $7 a bushel, up from historical norms of $2 to $3.

    • Norm, that’s nothing. The rise in food prices is going to screw up water resources throughout the Middle East. One kilogram of wheat about 1000 liters of water. In 2010 Egypt imported 10,600,000 metric tons of wheat. So the US and Australia actually exported 10,600,000,000,000 liters of water, or 1*10^13 or 10.6 Km3. Lake Nasser contains 130 km3.
      Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen, is going to be the first major city to be abandoned in the modern era from water shortages.

      http://pippap.hubpages.com/hub/Sanaa-Yemen-The-First-Capital-City-to-Die-of-Thirst

      They are going to pump water out of the ground to grow crops in places that aren’t suited to them, because they can’t afford to import food.

      • Doc Martyn, Yemen has problems but lack of water isn’t one of them. they have a long coastline and sufficient sunlight to desalinate more than enough water. They just are not doing it.

        the water in wheat has been counted over and over; the plants soak up water from the roots; the leaves release water to the atmosphere; the rainfall delivers it back to the ground for the roots, etc.

      • This story says:
        Global warming has already created the first “environmental refugees”, now with the water crisis in Yemen; the world may have to deal with the first “water refugees”.
        That is not true. History is full of stories of environmental refugees and water refugees, which, by the way, are the same in many cases.
        As earth warmed, people moved north, as earth cooled, people moved south, as one area became more arid and another became wetter, people moved. there is nothing new about this and Global warming has come and retreated many times. There is no first in this.

      • Desalination is very energy intensive. The Yemen city in the article is also at a high elevation. I think 1 kilometer in elevation is like transporting water almost 1000 kilometers along a pipe on level ground.

        I thought it was a pretty interesting article for what looked like a travel web site. Reading the comments on that article, lots of people wanted to go visit there. The Yemen people appear addicted to kat which uses up a lot of water. It should remind us of another addiction, which makes the story allegorical.

      • WTF, how is transportIng water 1km in elevation like transporting it 1000 km in a level pipe?

      • If it was downhill the ratio would be better still :)

        Read the article, as they explain the geography of the area. As I recall, some of the wells are already going a couple of thousand feet down. If they lifted water from desalination plants, they would pay for the desalination energy and also the gravity head.

        There is also a break even point where it costs less to transport water via a long pipeline than to do desalination. This is a paper by Richard SJ Tol :

        https://www.fnu.zmaw.de/fileadmin/fnu-files/publication/working-papers/DesalinationFNU41_revised.pdf

        He says that you would have to “lift the water by 2000 m, or transport it over more than 1600 km to get transport costs equal to the desalination costs”. Lifting does sound expensive in that context.

        Debbie Cook did a couple of posts on desalination at The Oil Drum in the past year:

        http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7485

        http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5155

      • WebHubTelescope: Desalination is very energy intensive.

        That is why I referred to the amount of sunlight. Compared to the end of civilization, desalination via reverse osmosis powered by sunlight is not expensive.

  11. It has zilch to do with Kyoto either way. It has everything to do with the decline and weakness of the “Paper Driven” Keynesian economic system that peaked around 2000. Real production is increasing even if prices and finance remain weak.

    Wait until academic “research” (ie pork) is defunded along with the Western welfare states, the age of printing credit to maintain various marginally productive and more to the point paid vote sectors is coming to a correction. So the historic liberal alliance will ironically and justifiably find out what real co2 reduction means on a personal level.

    The stupidity of Kyoto arrogance is far better understood.

  12. randomengineer

    I like the implied assertion that countries have been relocating manufacturing elsewhere as if there’s some sort of conspiratorial plan. The reality is that this is merely phase I of chickens coming home to roost.

    The way it works is a la Dilbert — the state of CA green faction sneaks into the legislative process via back doors e.g. CARB and the like and effectively lobbies the lawmaking process thus killing manufacturing. The manufacturers then go overseas. What the greens accomplished is merely moving the source of emissions, and as a side benefit they crippled the CA economy and accelerated the process of the state going broke; there isn’t any manufacturing to replace that which they ran off. If the real goal was emissions, they failed; if the real goal was ruining the economy for a couple of generations until common sense once again prevailed, they succeeded beyond all hope. In so doing they exacerbated any perceived problem since the asian regs aren’t what they are in CA — they made things WORSE everywhere.

    The proper approach to Kyoto etc was always a more “republican” implementation where companies are rewarded free market style for innovations via tax reductions or other positive incentives; the use of incentives would allow for a slow upward spiral in the sought-after emission reductions. But the green faction in pure communist style went after the *evil* corporations in 5 year plan style and broke the state in the process. This wasn’t a surprise to anyone but them.

    It may not be illegal to be stupid, but it ought to be illegal to let stupid greens influence and/or usurp legislative processes. Personally I’m thinking heads on pikes on the capital building lawn here.

    • It’s worse than that. Then the feds subsidize “green” tech companies that can’t compete for all of the above reasons plus more, and then they’re shocked … shocked! when these favored manufacturers go bankrupt. It doesn’t matter how much fertilizer you give plants if they’re planted in soil soaked with Roundup.

      • Roundup doesn’t work in soil, but we get your drift. Paraquat?

      • The intend was to give the plants the fertilizer and then they would sell the fertilizer. IMO there never was an expectation that these plants would/could be viable. Just a way to help your friends

      • Bad example. How about salt?

        In any event, part of the irony of the green tech bust is that the factors leading to the bust include the same burdens on business that everyone else faces.

        Except that even then, they get special treatment. How in the world did Solyndra get that plant built in a year? Most companies can’t even get the permits in a year. There had to have been some wink-nod to start construction without the permits. Either that, or the agencies were ordered by higher-ups to issue the permits before the applications were filled out.

    • randomengineer: the state of CA green faction sneaks into the legislative process via back doors e.g. CARB and the like and effectively lobbies the lawmaking process thus killing manufacturing. The manufacturers then go overseas.

      I would assert that it is mostly through the front door. As illustrated by the defeat of the repeal of AB32, these job-destroyng green policies have majority support among the electorate.

  13. There’s a current of “fossil fuel depletion caused the market downturn” running through the post at ourfiniteworld. There are themes of “overregulation and climate scare tactics are making energy unaffordable” here at climate etc. Which is true and to what extent?

    • randomengineer

      It ain’t depletion. There’s enough oil in the US west to fuel ridiculous barrels per day numbers for a few hundred years. There’s enough natural gas for a few hundred more. There’s enough easily obtained clathrates off of the coast of north carolina for a thousand years. And this is just for starters.

      Bear in mind — the “depletion” crowd likes to couch their chicken little crap in terms of “easily attained” as if technology is in stasis and as if what’s expensive to extract now will always be thus. What we extract cheaply now was impossible to extract 75 years ago, so there’s reason to think that what could be expensive now will be cheaper later. Technology has a way of doing this sort of thing, However the luddites who yammer about “depletion” seem immune to learning anything useful regarding technology and the history thereof.

      Meanwhile as technology improves it won’t be that long before massive solar from space efforts are politically viable, as will be other newer (and greener) technologies that are scalable and work.

      • You gotta be kidding. Everybody loves a technology that isn’t quite here yet, but mark my words: if space solar energy technology every became economical, the same crowd swinging the pompoms for it now will turn against it. The radiation!

      • I seriously want to know if anyone here thinks fossil fuel depletion caused the downturn. I guess you guys don’t. Thread still open…

        I listen to enough liberal media to think if it was a reputable idea i’d have heard it by now…;) being as we liberals are anti-fossil.

        Then, I want to know if environmental regulations caused the downturn. With respect to that question we have to differentiate between regulations targeting CO2 and those targeting more “conventional” pollutants.

        I usually think of myself as pro-environment and even in the past “environmentalist” though I shun the “alist” label now because it seems to imply “above all else” which is not what I intend.

        But I can support for instance the postponement of the new ozone NAAQS in this economy, when at least some serious science questions the additional harm caused by ozone at current NAAQS levels.

      • randomengineer

        Then, I want to know if environmental regulations caused the downturn.

        YES YES a thousand times YES. Factor in the NIMBY nonsense where it concerns oil pipelines and construction of nuke plants and don’t forget regs all but forbidding the creation of refineries.

        The silicon valley of the early 1980’s no longer exists, today its all web type companies. The brain trust science stuff went overseas thanks to anti-business taxes, enviro regs, etc.

        The CEO of Intel was interviewed and he was saying it cost $4B in CA to put in a fab. $1B for the land and construction and equipment and salaries for employees for a year. $3B for idiot red tape. Intel will not put a fab in CA despite CA really really really needing the jobs.

        Bottom line is that draconian enviro regs and anti-business tax and red tape are all brought to you by the same crowd, so the overall answer to your question is YES.

      • This isn’t rocket science. The downturn was caused by a number of factors, expensive fuel among them. It didn’t “cause” the downturn. The more interesting question is why are fuel prices rising in real terms. There are a number of factors, most notably the increasing demand from the developing world. Other factors include the “easy” oil disappearing from the middle east, and political interference to developing less easy oil in the developed world, particularly in North America.

        So depletion of the really easy oil in Arabia is one of many factors. It’s by no means the largest, and it certainly didn’t “cause” the downturn.

      • BillC, “Then, I want to know if environmental regulations caused the downturn. With respect to that question we have to differentiate between regulations targeting CO2 and those targeting more “conventional” pollutants.”

        That’s interesting. General air and water quality standards were needed and beneficial, China should figure that out in a few generations. Radiation was overdone because of the fear factor which seems to have carried over into ozone and CO2.

        The bad thing about regulators and legislators is they do whether it is needed or not :)

      • Dallas,

        I wonder (open question, not looking for answers to be shouted at me) whether and if so at what point, we have reached the point of diminishing returns on “basic air and water quality standards” in the US?

      • BillC,

        Another interesting question. I would think all standards should be reviewed and honestly adjusted as needed. Some of the water quality limits are ridiculously tight. The Japanese found this out with Fukushima when they had to raise limits to more international standards because their own standards where too optimistic. Moving health and safety targets don’t instill confidence in the community. In a lot of areas, treated sewage water is better quality than the normal water supply, if you consider traces of naturally occurring radiation and heavy metals a sign of low quality.

      • Dallas, except the artificial estrogens that will turn your fish all into girly-fish.

      • Random,

        Which is why we have them up in Oregon now – i.e. Intel fabs.

      • BillC,

        RE diminishing returns from Clean Air regulations:

        I would say a good example in support of the Yes point of view is the latest EPA regs concerning mercury. They are going to regulate to a level that is swamped by natural background releases on mercury in the environment. When the increase in exposure is a couple of percentage points at worst case, you have to be a contortionist to get the epidemeology to support such regulation. The EPA is world class in that category.

      • BillC, LOL, the bigger fish are the females. Where do I get the artificial estrogen?

      • at the sewage plant, I thought you knew that. Lots of “the pill” and other byproducts of synthetic chemicals that apparently act like hormones.

      • BillC –

        Then, I want to know if environmental regulations caused the downturn.

        Bro, seriously?

      • Bill C “at the sewage plant, I thought you knew that. Lots of “the pill” and other byproducts of synthetic chemicals that apparently act like hormones.” That wasn’t mentioned in the Key West Treatment report. I wonder if that is because of new technology in the plant or limited testing? The report was supposed to have been very comprehensive because of the coral reef. With our local culture, I would imagine there would be plenty of drugs available if the treatment wasn’t state of the art.

      • Joshua,

        Well you can see I got one “yea” response.

        My own answer is no, I don’t think so. I do think that more stringent environmental regulations are a compounding factor when it comes to location of industry, on top of labor standards and overall general cost of labor, capital etc. I don’t think this means we need to jettison environmental regulation in the developed world, but need to move carefully and the cost/benefit relationship has been skewed in favor of regulations that can be excessive at times. See my statement above about the ozone NAAQS.

        Generally, the environmental arguments against nuclear power plants, fracking, GM foods etc. don’t sway me. Sure these technologies have real hazards that need to be understood and “managed”. Regarding fracking as an example, about the only thing I am sure of is that the EROI is somewhat less than conventional natural gas extraction. And, ceteris paribus, it will have at least somewhat increased environmental consequences due to this intensiveness.

        I don’t think that peak oil caused the downturn, except that oil price issues, being one of the underpinnings of the economy as noted here, certainly can provide a nice pinprick in a financial sector bubble, being that someday all the derivative financial stuff rests on real production. If high oil prices helped bring on the downturn in 2008, well, I recall a much greater run-up in steel prices, and blame that mostly on market mechanisms unrelated to “depletion”, but more related to dynamics(influenced no doubt by unsavory governmental policies in different places too.) Yes fossil hydrocarbons are limited, “easy oil” will eventually be replaced by more “expensive” alternatives, where expense can be interpreted as the reciprocal of EROI, or something like it.

        I don’t like how the discussions at The Oil Drum and the linked post here eventually devolve into a sort of “we’re all gonna die” mantra that is eerily reminiscent of advanced CAGW-itis. Then again, I will bet Random $20 that neither fusion nor space-based solar is going to be ready in 20 years, or anything like it.

        Bottom line opinion: We’re not ready to regulate carbon. I think the precautionary principle cuts deeply both ways here (harm to people today vs. next century). I’m all for energy research though, yes including some level of public (government) investment. For that matter, let’s take all the money that’s been spent on Kyoto etc. and just put it into making the science better. And that includes outsider “peer” review a la McIntyre, “Red Team”, whatever.

        Whew, long post.

      • Capt. Dallas –

        Seems to me you linked to an article in Environmental Science and Technology somewhere, so maybe you have access?

        “Diurnal Variability of Pharmaceutical, Personal Care Product, Estrogen and Alkylphenol Concentrations in Effluent from a Tertiary Wastewater Treatment Facility”

        http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es102452f

        From the intro:

        “The 1999−2000 United States Geological Survey reconnaissance of rivers and streams throughout the United States highlighted the prevalence of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment.(1) Increasingly, researchers are focusing attention on such organic chemical contaminants that enter surface waters via their discharge from wastewater treatment facilities or agricultural runoff. Concern over three particular groups of compounds (human and artificial hormones, PPCPs, and metabolites of surfactants) stems both from their ability to impact fish reproduction at trace concentrations(2) and the increasing reliance on using treated wastewater for groundwater recharge or indirect production of potable water.(3, 4) Several researchers have shown that wastewater effluent has the potential to disrupt the endocrine function of aquatic life in receiving waters.(5-8) Natural and artificial human hormones may be a factor in faunal endocrine problems,(9) but some metabolites of industrial/household chemicals may also be responsible, for example, 4-nonyl and 4-octylphenols.(8, 10) Additionally, the presence of PPCPs has been confirmed in many surface waters,(1, 11-14) though it is still not clear what impact these concentrations have on aquatic fauna. The increasing high usage of both over-the-counter and prescription drugs along with reports of bacterial antibiotic resistance(15) amplify the need for evaluating PPCP’s environmental loads coming from treatment systems.”

      • Dallas,

        I pasted a link. Maybe awaiting moderation? Let’s wait and see.

      • Dallas,

        I dunno how to tell if something is awaiting moderation. Let’s see:

        Diurnal Variability of Pharmaceutical, Personal Care Product, Estrogen and Alkylphenol Concentrations in Effluent from a Tertiary Wastewater Treatment Facility

        http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es102452f

        from the introduction:

        “The 1999−2000 United States Geological Survey reconnaissance of rivers and streams throughout the United States highlighted the prevalence of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment.(1) Increasingly, researchers are focusing attention on such organic chemical contaminants that enter surface waters via their discharge from wastewater treatment facilities or agricultural runoff. Concern over three particular groups of compounds (human and artificial hormones, PPCPs, and metabolites of surfactants) stems both from their ability to impact fish reproduction at trace concentrations(2) and the increasing reliance on using treated wastewater for groundwater recharge or indirect production of potable water.(3, 4) Several researchers have shown that wastewater effluent has the potential to disrupt the endocrine function of aquatic life in receiving waters.(5-8) Natural and artificial human hormones may be a factor in faunal endocrine problems,(9) but some metabolites of industrial/household chemicals may also be responsible, for example, 4-nonyl and 4-octylphenols.(8, 10) Additionally, the presence of PPCPs has been confirmed in many surface waters,(1, 11-14) though it is still not clear what impact these concentrations have on aquatic fauna. The increasing high usage of both over-the-counter and prescription drugs along with reports of bacterial antibiotic resistance(15) amplify the need for evaluating PPCP’s environmental loads coming from treatment systems.”

      • BillC –

        I do think that more stringent environmental regulations are a compounding factor when it comes to location of industry, on top of labor standards and overall general cost of labor, capital etc.

        Sure. It is a compounding factor, and one that is not easily quantified. This is the problem when folks single it out as a factor and make it causal for deleterious impact on our economy, the global economy, etc.(as we see Cap’n does below).

        … the cost/benefit relationship has been skewed in favor of regulations that can be excessive at times.

        “Skewed” is in the eye of the beholder, but yes, it’s a balancing act. If you have lived or traveled in countries without strong regulatory structures, you’ve certainly seen the kinds of problems people face when the balance leans in the other direction.

        Generally, the environmental arguments against nuclear power plants, fracking, GM foods etc. don’t sway me.

        I put GM foods in a very different category from nuclear power plants and fracking.

        Regarding fracking as an example, about the only thing I am sure of is that the EROI is somewhat less than conventional natural gas extraction.

        I’ve been watching the fracking debate pretty closely, as I have been considering buying a property somewhere in the area NY/PA along the Delaware From what I’ve seen, the debate is very, very complicated at multiple levels – and I agree that there is very little that people can be absolutely certain about. For that reason, I agree in balance with the moratoria that have been put into place to ensure more study. But I have seen first-hand how (what I consider to be fraudulent) running around EPA requirements has negatively impacted state forests, and the way that government officials have worked hand-in-hand with industry in those run-arounds. I’ve also seen my current governor (and to a lessor degree, my previous governor) “skew” the regulatory environment to favor the gas extraction industry – which contributed close a million dollars to his campaign. The belief that eco-zealots have some imbalanced impact on our regulatory environment seems only sustainable, IMO, by someone who has an overriding ideology that any regulation is, by definition, bad.

        I don’t think that peak oil caused the downturn, except that oil price issues, being one of the underpinnings of the economy as noted here, certainly can provide a nice pinprick in a financial sector bubble, being that someday all the derivative financial stuff rests on real production. If high oil prices helped bring on the downturn in 2008, well, I recall a much greater run-up in steel prices, and blame that mostly on market mechanisms unrelated to “depletion”, but more related to dynamics(influenced no doubt by unsavory governmental policies in different places too.) Yes fossil hydrocarbons are limited, “easy oil” will eventually be replaced by more “expensive” alternatives, where expense can be interpreted as the reciprocal of EROI, or something like it.

        I don’t like how the discussions at The Oil Drum and the linked post here eventually devolve into a sort of “we’re all gonna die” mantra that is eerily reminiscent of advanced CAGW-itis. Then again, I will bet Random $20 that neither fusion nor space-based solar is going to be ready in 20 years, or anything like it.

        Again, the downturn was caused by a complex network of factors. IMO, when someone tries to single out any one factor (deregulation, the CRA, oil prices, “socialism,” The Bilderberg Group, etc.), they’re doing so out of their biases.

        Bottom line opinion: We’re not ready to regulate carbon. I think the precautionary principle cuts deeply both ways here (harm to people today vs. next century). I’m all for energy research though, yes including some level of public (government) investment. For that matter, let’s take all the money that’s been spent on Kyoto etc. and just put it into making the science better. And that includes outsider “peer” review a la McIntyre, “Red Team”, whatever.

        Not much to disagree with there. I’m personally in favor of moderate taxes for the specific purpose of funding research on alternative energy technologies – research that will address multiple problems and not simply the threat of AGW. I also think that a simple reality is that the climate debate integrates many problems related to long-term global stability and issues of sustainability that will require some degree of greater sacrifice among the “haves,” who can more easily absorb sacrifice, than among the “have-nots.”

        One-sided use of the precautionary principle is a sure sign of a zealot.

      • Politics, circa two days ago?:o)

        “One-sided use of the precautionary principle is a sure sign of a zealot.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zealotry

        Joshua, it looks like here we are again. The first terrorists & Romans too…

        Who knew, you?

      • randomengineer

        We already know how to do spaceborne solar. A company was negotiating with PG&E in 2009 for a 1 MW pilot project that got killed by the downturn just before papers were signed. Larger devices are possible and NASA has proven the ability to be able to build big stuff in space. All that we lack here is cheap access to space (helpful but not absolutely required) and the requisite political intestinal fortitude.

      • Random,

        since you’re done answering my other question,

        1)how is space solar power transmitted
        2) why is it better than on the ground (aside from the obvious that the atmosphere/clouds reflect sunlight)
        3) do the transmission/conversion losses approach offsetting the answers to #2

        ?

      • randomengineer

        Bill

        power is transmitted via microwave to antenna farms, you can read about this stuff at length via google search.

        Forget the technical aspects for a moment, the real bonus is political. Take your smaller african or asian country, do you want them to have a nuclear plant? Possible (probable?) government instability there can be lethal. Much easier for the US or europe to construct and position an SPS overhead and have them rent/purchase/lease the bird. All the power they need, no emissions, no nuclear proliferation.

      • randomengineer: All limited resource arguments are nonsense on stilts.

        Some are better than others. The only supportable general claim is that replacements require investment of capital and money. A related, but probably more general, claim is that we can not predict long in advance what replacements will actually be more costly. We can not tell right now what will be the cheapest replacement, 20 years from now, for the oil that is most readily and cheaply available now. The only robust strategy is to invest in many technologies, not just fossil fuels.

        Methane in clathrates is plentiful. It does not look like it will be cheap. It may be the case that fuel and electricity from solar power will be cheaper than fuel and electricity from the methane in clathrates 20 years from now. It’s hard to tell, but human societies right now harvest gigawatts of power from pv cells, and hardly any from clathrates. To bet more on clathrates than solar now looks like a bad bet. Harvesting methane from clathrates would probably enable the simultaneous harvesting of substantial quantities of water; near the California coast that would be desirable, but I doubt that this generation of Californians would approve.

    • The thinking is that 5 out of the last 6 global recessions have a spike in oil price associated with their initiation. This is a good chart to study.

      1974 – obvious
      1980 – obvious
      1991 – a sharp rise in price that settled back down
      1998 – no obvious connection, followed Asian financial crisis of 1997
      2001 – a doubling of price since we got out of the last recession
      2008 – obvious global peak crude oil

      • randomengineer

        None of which has sod all to do with depletion but rather allocation and price speculation fueled by technological illiterates. WWII in the pacific was precipitated by japanese needing resources most specifically oil and exacerbated by allied/US blockades. This was a freaking WAR for gods sake not just a recession and certainly not based on any sort of notion of depletion. Depletion caused recessions etc exist only in the heads of the peak oil tinfoil hat brigade.

      • What an odd response to economic reality. The world’s growing productivity levels depends on cheap energy supplies. When that gets interrupted, stuff happens.
        Spin all you want and you can go back to the Crusades if you need to support your flimsy arguments.

      • randomengineer

        Mankind has cheap energy in the form of nuclear, cheap energy in the form of thorium (extractable from seawater), cheap energy in the form of SPS if it would be allowed, and like I already pointed out the USA alone has enough oil and gas and clathrates etc to run for hundreds of years assuming technology never advances (which doesn’t happen.) It’s also likely that man will solve for a commercial form of fusion within the next 20 years (probably the bussard design.)

        All limited resource arguments are nonsense on stilts. The tinfoil brigade would have you believe that you burn light sweet surface crude or starve. It’s just not true. Never was. Mankind *is* his technology and this has been true since the discovery of how to make fire on purpose and how to make arrowheads.

        “Peak anything” logic followed to any conclusion says that man should have topped out and had “peak arrowheads” by now as he was running out of easily flaked stones. A funny thing happened though as man exited the paleolithic.

      • randomengineer
        The difficulty with your “cheap energy” mantra is that 99% of cars do NOT run on electricity, or on hydrogen from cheap electricity.
        Get back to reality where transport fuel rules the economy – and doubling the cost of transport fuel causes similar increases in unemployment.

      • randomengineer

        David

        The difficulty with your “cheap energy” mantra is that 99% of cars do NOT run on electricity, or on hydrogen from cheap electricity.

        Most of the energy used in the US isn’t for cars. There’s more energy lost from houses and transmission lines than what passenger cars use. The problem with energy in the US is twofold — first, we have plenty of technology and knowhow to supply all electricity via nuclear but this is disallowed. Second, passenger cars can just as easily run on LNG as petrol, and there’s plenty of LNG as well as oil available, but this too is disallowed.

      • “clathrates”
        Ha Ha. That’s a good one. You have no idea do you?

      • “Second, passenger cars can just as easily run on LNG as petrol, and there’s plenty of LNG as well as oil available, but this too is disallowed.”

        And so once again, the truth comes out, and you finally reveal yourself to be a peak oil zealot as well. All you have to do is admit to an increasingly scarce resource and you have been converted.
        The fact that you started to talk about frozen methane (!) and liquefied natural gas indicates that you are thinking about alternatives. You wouldn’t have to rationalize this way if you were 100% certain that oil would last for a couple hundred years as you said earlier.

        That is all peak oil is: the admission of a scarce resource.

      • randomengineer
        Re: “Most of the energy used in the US isn’t for cars. . . Second, passenger cars can just as easily run on LNG as petrol, and there’s plenty of LNG as well as oil available, but this too is disallowed.”

        Having plenty of coal fired power is irrelevant if you shut down transportion 50% from shortages of gasoline and diesel caused by cutoff or drying up of all oil imports – likely within the next 20 years.

        Cars COULD run on LNG IF you convert them and add LNG or CNG fuel tanks etc. 99% of US cars currently CANNOT run for lack of ignition and lack of fuel tanks.

        Why is Iran’s president Ahmadinejad subsidizing conversion of Iran’s cars to natural gas – when they are exporting oil?
        Because they IMPORT gasoline/diesel and fear a shutoff. They are also building refineries for their own consumption.

        Wake up and look at reality.
        See Turning Oil into Salt
        See the Perkins Plan
        Push for requiring ALL vehicles beflex fuel capable to run on any combination from methanol, ethanol, and gasoline /or compressed natural gas.

      • you sort of emphasize the random of your name in this response. It is true that US restrictions on exploration and drilling slowed down US development, especially the dramatic reduction in approval rates under Obama. However, demand rose more than supply even in places like Brazil and Indonesia and where there were no such restrictions. As the oil had gotten harder to recover due to depth (in the Gulf of Mexico) or other geology (tar sands) the costs of recovery (including the direct energy cost itself) have truly increased.

        I would agree that government restrictions (including court injunctions) are the major reason why supply increases have been slow to develop, but they are not the only reason.

      • Matt

        No it is certainly not the only reason- the other reason is economics. Investors do not want to develop a new energy source unless they are fairly certain that it can be done more profitability than alternate investments. That is a reason why it sometimes makes sense for a government to fund the development of a site. It may be that the government thinks it is smart to have the resource available for use, but not actually producing revenue

      • everybody agrees the answers to my questions are obvious and they’re all different.

      • And that may be the last word on the human condition. :)

      • 1980 – obvious? And Volker’s cranking up the discount rate to double digits didn’t have anything to do with that, nosiree Bob. :roll:

      • The 1974 and 1980 recessions were middle-east oil driven. The US had just hit country-wide peak oil in 1970 and was thus susceptible to shocks in international supply, and OPEC obliged. Similar thing happened in 1980 and then it was partially caused by the Iranian oil embargo, which also reduced US oil supplies and thus driving up prices.
        As a backdrop, lots of adjustments in energy efficiencies were being institutionalized so that the shocks became less severe after 1980, until this last one.
        The 1970’s until the mid 1980’s was obviously a reset in terms of how the world treated oil. The world oil production profile shows that noisy leveling off that lasted for about 10 years starting in the early 1970’s.

      • Carter went looking for a Fed chairman who had a solution for inflation. He found Paul Volcker. Volcker’s plan was to aggressively raise interest rates to throw the country into a recession. It worked. At the time I was building hot-air balloons. Nobody stopped buyin’ and flyin’ because of the price propane, but when banks started charging ~18% on a hot-air balloon loan, the order book dried up in a couple of weeks.

      • And 14+% mortgages. Those were good times. NOT.

        That was the one thing Carter did right, and it probably cost him the election.

      • WHT, can you say “just-so story?” Seriously, supply shocks can be temporarily offset by unanticipated jack-ups in the growth rate of money; but the music has to stop sometime. Volcker stopped the music, and the inevitable recession occurred. I agree that those 70s recessions were caused by the oil price, but it was a contrived scarcity (not a real one). This doesn’t mean that a steady, uncontrived increase in the relative price of a commodity like oil is the death knell of an economy. Remember that Julian Simon easily took Paul Erlich’s money, just like the Jack of Spades jumps out of a deck and squirts cider in Sky Masterson’s ear. When physical scientists bet against the long-run behavior of market economies they usually get cider in their ear. Fair warning.

      • Julian Simon lost that storyline badly. We hit crude oil peak probably in 2005. I don’t care that it was off by a few years.

        I quote Uncle Miltie twice in my book and the stuff he said concerning oil has been proven incorrect.

        Ravaioli: Because we know it’s a limited resource.
        Nobel Laureate Friedman: Excuse me, it’s not limited from an economic point of view.

        This is Miltie just making up magic beans. To economists at this level, energy is an abstract concept, which exists only to fill in a variable in an equation. If the finite sense of a resource is included, their equations stop working. Therefore they need interchangeable energy forms and will speak only in those terms.

        The global economy is completely debt-based. Fossil fuels play into this because whenever a corporation builds a project they depend on borrowing money which can then leverage a cheap source of oil and other fossil fuels. They then exploit the productivity benefit that the fuel gives them and then can pay off their lenders when the project completes … as long as the price of fuel falls, or at least stays close to level. However, once that price increases, the margins disappear and they can easily get behind in payments. The cheap oil was the compensating balance to the interest on the debt, and once that disappeared the idea of a debt-based economy now hinges on inflation and other creative forms of debt, such as derivatives. I have been reading Gale Tverberg for a few years now at The Oil Drum and that is the basic mantra that gets hammered home all the time.

        Look at her figures of GDP and oil production, especially in the USA. They both stagnated at the same time. Other areas of the world are gong full bore still. The middle east based on oil and southeast Asia based on a mix of coal and oil.

        According to Uncle Miltie, we were supposed to handle this transition seamlessly. Apologists for him will say that we did not allow him to do his infamous “clean room” experiments (as he was able to execute in Chile and Argentina), and that’s why his theory still holds. Unfortunately, I can’t see where the mystery bean energy would have come from.

        Milton and Julian are both dead, time to move on.

      • WHT, there were the physiocrats. They believed value and wealth derived from an objective thing, land. Then there were the marxists. They believed value and wealth derived from another objective thing, labor. Today there seem to be energocrats, and you know the rest. The mathematics of this are now well understood: You can google “peanut theory of value” and follow the debate by working backwards through issues of the Journal of Radical Political Economy. And then there is the kind of economics that allowed someone to take physical scientist money in a bet on prices AT DATES. The standard joke is that economists can tell you what but not when. But yet YOU say that you don’t care if someone is off by a few years.

        Oh and your rhetoric about “Uncle Miltie” and Chile is deceptive irrelevant rhetoric. Show me some more intellectual dishonesty, I just luvs me that stuff.

      • To be more precise, insert “energy” for “labor” throughout the quote below, and then reflect on the way you reason about the source of profits. The proof is in the appendix of the paper. Gintis and Bowles are hardly Uncle Miltie.

        “Did not corn in Ricardo’s theory, when purchased as seed and wage goods, generate a corn surplus? Why not a corn theory of value? Why not a peanut theory of value, in which all commodities are denominated in direct and indirect peanut units? This would surely present no technical problems as long as peanuts were a direct or indirect element in the workers’ consumption bundle. And the peanut would also possess the special quality, that its use-value would also be a source of value. In fact, this peculiar property of labor is not an attribute of labor per se but in capitalist society, and even then only under quite specific circumstances.”

        “Indeed, if we define a basic good as any which enters directly or indirectly into the production of any element in the wage bundle, then we can show that any basic commodity can be treated as a measure of value. Further, this commodity can be shown to be exploited in the sense that profits represent a transformation of surplus-value extracted from this commodity. Surplus-value is here defined analogously to the labor case as the excess of the commodity’s input into production (its use-value to the capitalist defined in its own units be they hours, kilos or cubic centimeters over its cost of production (its exchange-value, also defined in its own units).”

        “The conclusion seems inescapable. If wage labor is treated as a commodity, and labor as its use-value, it has no special character in terms of which the labor theory of value can be justified….”

        Gintis, H. and S. Bowles. 1981. Structure and Practice in the Labor Theory of Value. Review of Radical Political Economics, 12(4), pp. 1-26.

      • You asked me to Google “peanut theory of value”, and I did that with the quotes attached to narrow down the search. I get 8 results, with your comment one of the hits, and most of the rest referring to Marx.
        You could at least show some dedication and write up a blog post or paper and then point to that as an explanation instead of going the run-around route and sending us off on a wild goose chase.

        The top level poster is reflective of much of the current thinking in the area of energy economics and environmental economics. Gale usually posts at The Oil Drum which, along with other sites such as The Automatic Earth, takes an energy-centric view of economics. The discussions have been going on for quite some time. I suggest you go over to one of those sites and try to make your points.

        The Automatic Earth had a recent overview post

        http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/12/december-5-2011-look-back-look-forward.html

        and this was the energy connection

        http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2008/12/debt-rattle-december-7-2008-energy.html

        That is the perspective that you will want to criticize.

      • “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”

        Dr Milton Friedman

        We are no more running out of oil than we are running out of gold, silver, wheat, corn, soybeans, or any of the other myriad of hard assets that have gone up in price over the last decade or so. We are in a secular bull market in commodities………..thank the world’s central banks.

    • BillC
      Re: “I seriously want to know if anyone here thinks fossil fuel depletion caused the downturn.”

      If you look at the data, the answer is YES!

      The problem is that new production and alternative fuels less depletion are NOT keeping up with historic growth.

      See data graphs by Westexas aka Jeffrey Brown. See especially
      Available Net Exports (after China + India’s imports) DECLINED 13% from 40.3 million bbls/day in 2005 to 35.2 million bbls/day in 2010. That caused a 15 million bbl/day gap compared to the previous 5%/year growth.

      Prices have increased 1000% since 1998 ($9.8 to $98).
      Yet the rate of growth in petroleum production has not kept up – rather total production has been about flat since 2005.

      Brown projects Available Net Exports to go to zero in 19 years at present rates! See the figure at the bottom of Brown’s article. The US is consuming ~250% of oil production.

      For more graphs see: “Peak Everything: Running Out of Commodities in a Crowded World” Gary McMurtry

      • David

        I think you are mistaken due to the word depletion being used. Up to now there have only been short term periods of a lack of supply and none of those were due to the depletion of oil resources overall. There were most certainly shortages, but those were due to humans impacting the supply by either taking specific actions or by not taking actions and not because there was not adequate fossil fuel resources in the ground.

      • randomengineer

        And lets not forget the OPEC effect where what’s shipped is limited artificially to produce the largest possible net return. All of what we see re price shocks etc are the result of production being held hostage, not running out.

      • randomengineer
        “not running out.”
        Finally you recognize the problem – that global oil production is not keep up with expectations – and has been flat for the last 7 years.
        Despite trillions of barrels of alternative “hydrocarbons” in the ground – you can’t run your car on coal – and it takes about $100,000/bbl/day to convert bitumen or coal etc to synthetic oil that can then be refined into gasoline.
        If there was no “depletion”, we would have a “perpetual fountain” of oil with no problem. That is first cousin to “perpetual motion”.

        See Robert Rapier’s Five Myths about Peak Oil
        Misconception 1: Peak Oil = Running Out of Oil
        Misconception 2: Peak Oil Beliefs are Homogeneous
        Misconception 3: Peak Oil is a Theory
        Misconception 4: Peak Oil was Dreamed Up By Big Oil to Inflate Prices
        Misconception 5: Peak Oil is Denied by Oil Companies Worried about Alternatives.

      • randomengineer

        Finally you recognize the problem – that global oil production is not keep up with expectations – and has been flat for the last 7 years.

        In the USA the 200 years of supply located in the USA isn’t being allowed to be utilised. Not because the oil ran out.

      • “In the USA the 200 years of supply located in the USA isn’t being allowed to be utilised. Not because the oil ran out.”

        That explains why the USA has to go to deep water in the Gulf, they start looking in the northern reaches of Alaska where pickings are not that great, yet everyone is allowed to frac for natural gas wherever they like, including backyards. It sounds like they can use however much they like, wherever they want.

        Face it, people have always been allowed to drill wherever they wanted. The fact is that we have exploited the best places for oil already, and there is really nothing much left. Rigs using fracturing techniques will have 1/10 the lifetime of the classic crude oil rigs, because what is left is bottom of the barrel. You have no argument because the facts and data do not support your position.

      • randomengineer

        WHT — You have no argument because the facts and data do not support your position.

        Of course they do. Unless… the USGS is lying? You tinfoil hat guys seem to think so.

      • The USGS doesn’t care about explaining the fossil fuel situation the way that NCAR, UCAR, and NOAA do about climate.

        The MMS now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in some sense did a better job than the USGS.

        I know this stuff because I actually dug into the data. I don’t know what your experience is.

      • Rob

        The original quote was: “fossil fuel depletion caused the market downturn”.
        I understand depletion to be the reduction in the rate of production due to production. e.g. See the International Energy Agency’s projections. The decline in the “currently producing fields” (dark blue) is depletion. “Reserve growth” (more wells in the known oil field), new production, and alternatives have to be brought on line to compensate for depletion plus desired growth.

        A better explanation would be:
        “Available Net Exports” declined.
        Or “Global exports” declined.
        Or “Total crude oil plateaued”
        All of which caused prices for oil to rapidly increase ~ 10x over 1998 – which send spending money overseas – which reduced the economy – which reduced employment – which precipitated the housing crisis – which precipitated the economic crisis.
        Rising depletion and falling new/alternative production resulted in the major change from 20 years of steady growth to plateau after 2005.
        However you describe it – lack of growing oil initiated the economic crisis and is the ongoing cause of the unemployment having doubled.

        Crude oil production grew about 1 million bbl/day each year from 1985 to about 2005 – then flatlined.
        Brown shows global oil exports are now 16 million bbl/day lower than the historic growth.
        I don’t expect US unemployment to drop anywhere near to 4.5% until the price of oil is brought back down to $50/bbl by major increases in alternative fuels.

      • And somebody from Big Oil just made up the housing and education bubbles to hide peak oil, yeah? There was no housing bubble? There is no education bubble? Really?

      • The housing that was the first to go were those huge units built out in the outer suburbs and exurbs, miles away from where the owners worked. The housing was cheap because land out in the country was cheaper. But once the gasoline prices started to rise, people started to walk away from these places because they couldn’t afford the mortgage payments while at the same time paying way more for fuel used for commuting and just getting around anywhere.

        It’s not like no one knew that this was happening. There were articles about it the summer of 2008. Everyone was starting to bail.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121366811790479767.html

      • That statement showed you are clueless about the truth of the economics

      • randomengineer

        Rob — WHT has stated s/he is a follower of the school of thought that says energy is the root of all…economics, anyway. Apparently this school seems to think that foreclosures are a direct consequence of the price of gas and the distance to work.

        e.g. WHT claims “But once the gasoline prices started to rise, people started to walk away from these places because they couldn’t afford the mortgage payments while at the same time paying way more for fuel used for commuting and just getting around anywhere.

        WTF? Foreclosures were happening because people were losing their jobs right around the same time dubious (rapacious) financial instruments were tripling house payments for some, and as the bubble burst and values dropped, this cascaded because people were being asked to pay e.g. a $500k note on property revalued at $150k. I wouldn’t pay it either. Unless you are at poverty level what you pay for fuel (both directly and in the form of price increases of shipped goods like avocadoes) isn’t that significant. IIRC the foreclosure cascade started with overpriced 4500 sq ft mcmansion homes, yet if the energy argument was correct at all you would have expected the very low end to fail accordingly (i.e. $45k houses) which is not what happened. Rather, the pattern seems to fit better with the rapacious financial instrument arguments.

        It seems to me that despite energy being an important factor the argument put forth by the peak oil brigade is simply wrong. Energy was certainly a factor, but not the primary.

  14. John DeFayette

    Why does this read as if the author has just fallen from a tree or arisen from a deep intellectual slumber?
    The intro is great, too: “If there weren’t a world market in fossil fuels, and in goods made from fossil fuels (with no tariffs on them), the principles of the Kyoto Protocol would work very nicely.” Imagine no possessions, etc. and thank you to John Lennon.

  15. Of course you are looking at oil consumption and GDP, and anyone who has been to Asia understands that these folks want a better life and are getting it. I say good for them, infant mortality rates way down, people are healthier and much higher GDP and earnings per person. Progress and a better life for most.

  16. So in summary the idiots did nothing but waste public time and money.

  17. An interesting take on this subject was recent published by Davis et al in PNAS. It proposes that “if a consistent and unavoidable price were imposed on CO2 emissions somewhere along the supply chain, then all of the parties along the supply chain would seek to impose that price to generate revenue from taxes collected or permits sold.”

    I’m not qualified to judge either the soundness of the rationale or the practicality of the strategy – in fact, getting an agreement on this would seem very daunting – but it’s an interesting possibility to consider.

    Steven J. Davis and Glen P. Peters have research interests and credentials in this area. Ken Caldeira is a climatologist.

    • I think you got the wrong Steven J. Davis;). Try this one

      http://www.stanford.edu/~sjdavis/

      And a better link to me is:

      http://www.cicero.uio.no/employees/homepage.aspx?person_id=1067&lang=EN

      An earlier article looks at the import issue in more detail is

      http://www.pnas.org/content/108/21/8903.abstract

      It basically shows that the stabilisation of emission in rich nations is more than offset by an increase in imports from poor countries.

    • Fred
      “if a consistent and unavoidable price were imposed on CO2 emissions”
      What if the benefits from CO2 emissions are greater than the “costs”?
      e.g. increasing precipitation and plant food will increase agriculture to help feed the increasing number of people.

    • Paul in Sweden

      “if a consistent and unavoidable price were imposed on CO2 emissions somewhere along the supply chain, then all of the parties along the supply chain would seek to impose that price to generate revenue from taxes collected or permits sold.” – Fred Moolten | December 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      This will of course by design require a central planning organization,The UNFCC has been demanding this position for years. The numbers for production will of course go up, the numbers for GDP will go down initially and those at the bottom of the food chain are hurt the most will cease to exist.

      There is only so much food that can be taken in a limited time from the mouth’s of the starving in the world to be burned as bio-fuel in the wealthy’s taxpayer subsidized hybrid vehicles. By imposing a universal enforceable CO2 price, the Malthusian dream can rapidly come to fruition so that we can all say farewell to the less fortunate of the world’s population and bow down to the unelected academic elite who wish to govern us.

  18. Naive in hte extreme. Kyoto was never intended to bring about lower CO2 output. Kyoto was designed to be painless, in order to put in place the international legal system that would later put the screws to national economies. This has been stated expressly by Kyoto insiders after it was pointed out that the program was having no real effects. This is the same reason that all practical attempts at carbon taxes and cap and trade systems start small. The intention is to get legally binding systems, and then ratchet up to the necessary pain later.

    • Kyoto is not a legally binding system, because there are no penalties for failing to meet targets. And like Canada, signatories can just leave!

      Secondly, and more importantly, the world and the countries that make it up will look so different 20 years after Kyoto that everyone will want to negotiate from scratch. How many countries are currently ready to sign up for ‘painful’ commitments today? How many will be willing to do so in ten years time?

      Attempts to reduce carbon emissions do not appear to me to have the slightest hope of achieving their aims.

  19. The reduction in economic disparities between the developed and emerging world should come from growth rates. China, India, even parts of sub-saharan Africa are growing 5-10%. The developed world was only c. 3% (and is now vitually 0%).

    The main reason for the higher growth rates in poorer countries is that subsistence-farming peasants can be transferred to gleaming new factories. These factories have the latest 21st Century technologies, whereas the West often has legacy tech. So the poorer countries can ‘leapfrog’ the richer ones.

    Some questions:

    (1) Why does the emerging world need $100B p.a. of handouts to change energy sources?
    (2) Since they have leapfrogged in manufacturing tech, why haven’t they done the same in energy? Is it possibly because the ‘clean’ tech beloved by the Western Malthusians (wind, solar, etc) don’t work? Note: China producing solar panels for installation in fluffy liberal California doesn’t count unless China uses them too.

    Wealth, not feelgood guilt, is the aim of 80% of the population of the world. They will take whatever opportunities the West gives them, through Kyoto or other policies of economic self-immolation the West invents.

    • Are “Western Malthusians” those people that would rather not live in Beijing smog conditions? Who exactly is practicing self-immolation?

      • The question here that you failed to answer in your chippy reply was:

        (1) Why does the emerging world need $100B p.a. of handouts to change energy sources?

      • randomengineer

        Because windmills are spendy?

      • And the backup generators that are going to be needed in everybody’s garages are even spendier. And then there’s the gas to run the generators…

      • Until the 1950s London had pea-soupers. You need money to mitigate pollution. You need a good economy to improve the environment.

        You think pre-industrial towns were clean? Read “The Medieval Machine” by Jean Gimpel, chapter 4.

        Alternatively try Monty Python & the Holy Grail –
        Q “How do you know he’s a king?”
        A “He hasn’t got sh*t all over him”

  20. Hank Zentgraf

    The outcomes described in the article were predictable by those who understood human nature and how the world economy works. To include Kyoto into the mix is laughable. Lets focus on preparation planning for .adaption Mitigation policies have no future.

  21. It’d be helpful if you actually posted the data you are referring to. Because from 2008-2010 world energy intensity fell based on World Bank data.

  22. This is along the lines of a comment I posted over at RealClimate.

    When the issue of deniers was raised I asked for answers to a couple of basic questions and pointed out that in the name calling game one should be careful about who is denying what. Namely how a significant segment of people who support measures to deal with a warming climate seem more interested in conducting what amounts to a holy war against fossil fuels and completely deny real financial and technological limits to achieving the objectives they say they are after. And this all ignores the fact that the even if the US did achieve the most recent reductions being called for at Durban – down to 50% of 1990 totals for the US – the impact of such reductions would be zero, as at least two of the top three emittors are increasing their emissions.

    There is also the tiny little issue of what would happen to US coal, gas and oil reserves if we stopped burning all of them as of tomorrow. You know, the one about how they would end up being exported to China, India & Europe.
    [Note: Montana is already planning on building a coal terminal in Bellingham, WA to ship coal to China and there is talk about rerouting the Keystone pipeline to BC – again for export.

    I can’t wait for the rants over there.

  23. Say, Juidth:

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/12/heads-sand/45707/

    If you have a chance, you might find that article interesting. If you do read it, please let me know. We’ll talk about that “vast asymmetry” in the influence of politics in the climate debate.

    • Your head is so far in the sand it is amazing you can breath at all Joshua.

      What useless leftist screed you put up as a link; “OVERWHELMING SCIENCE”. Gee, that tactic never been tried before. Is there anything else in the areinal aside from pompous, self-reassuring, know-it-all drivel as an AGW argument?

    • randomengineer

      The rapacious corporatist con-men at BigOilCo seem so busy buying politicians that it makes me wonder how they find the time to set all of those Chevy Volts on fire.

      The problem with leftist op-eds that presume republicans by and large are dumber than dirt is the inconvenient fact that they seem to wield a lot of power. The standard run of the mill lazy excuse for reasoning is that they are lead by evil corporatist con-men via buying politicians.

      Oh, wait.

    • Progressives who claim that politics are the real basis for conservative challenges to CAGW orthodoxy, while conflating it with “climate change” for maximum propagandistic effect.

      Well that settles it. Joshua wins. Close the blog, pass the bills….

      • The green fringe is all over the board most of the time; Joshua, Robert, Martha, Webhub, the lowly lolwot etc.

        Then again the lead article is eco-left rubbish with all the false presumptions and AGW co2 talking points built in. Dr. Curry denounces the radical Kyoto mitigators and the core consensus but encourages the idiotic premises that are urban legends inside the green culture and support that core consensus in their contrived theory.

        It’s a disservice to reason.

      • The lead article by Tverberg is hardly eco-left. She’s an accountant by occupation and got interested in the subject because she has a flair for the numbers. I have given her a hard time in the past because she is not quite as hardcore about the math as I am.

      • If you accept the basic premise that co2 is the warming driver, it becomes an eco-left narrative very quickly.

        That you personally are in a deeper land of delusions matters little to an objective conversation. It’s all of the basic talking inside the eco-left media narrative that must be dismissed.

      • cwon14, I am afraid you will have to take it up with the top-level post. Don’t blame me. Gale’s presentation was excellent and it shows a point-of-view that is quite pervasive and not eco-left, notwithstanding your delusions.

  24. Judith Curry

    Thanks for kicking off an interesting discussion.

    In the posted article, Gail Tverberg points out very clearly that the affluence of nations or economies (as measured by GDP) is directly related to fossil fuel use of that economy.

    This has been true since the Industrial Revolution when the use of fossil fuels in the industrially developing world began to grow significantly, along with the standard of living of those economies. With it came the increased life expectancy and higher quality of life, which we in the industrially developed world take for granted today.

    To be sure, GDP grew at a greater rate than fossil fuel use (and hence CO2 emissions).

    From 1960 to 2010 GDP grew by 4.4%/year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), i.e. from $7.2 trillion to $62.9 trillion (in constant $).

    Over the same period, CO2 emissions grew from 9.45 to 31.2 GtCO2/year, or at a CAGR of 2.4%/year

    Tverberg indicates that this relation has now changed: CO2 emissions grew at the same rate as GDP over the past decade.

    One does not have to look too far for the reasons for this.

    First there has been the recent economic slowdown in GDP growth.

    Even more important has been the rapid growth of the developing economies in China, India, Brazil, etc.

    To understand why this has had an impact on the GDP/CO2 ratio, one has to look at the “carbon efficiencies” of various economies. http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5011/5500972088_54742f12be_b.jpg

    “Carbon efficiency” is defined as the real GDP in $ which an economy generates annually divided by the metric tons of CO2 it generates per year. (I have been told that a better word would be “carbon effectiveness”, since this is not an efficiency in the classical sense, but let’s leave it at that for now)

    As can be seen from the chart, the industrially developed economies (EU, Japan, USA, etc.) have a carbon efficiency of between $2,000 and $3,500 per ton of CO2. The major developing nations (China, Brazil, India) are at a level of only $600 to $850, or roughly one-fourth to one-third as high.

    This ratio has risen for all nations over the past decades, and it is logical to expect that it will continue to do so, as the developing nations industrialize.

    Working against such a continued gradual improvement is the probability that new developing nations will start off at a lower efficiency as their industries start to grow (as we did, as well).

    The statistics cited by Tverberg make sense to me. They appear to be well documented and presented in a manner that is easy to follow.

    Where I have a problem is with his “what to do” conclusions.

    Tverberg states “that we need a new system [of creating and trading goods], but it is not easy to co-ordinate all of the changes in rules that would be needed around the world to create such a system.

    I’m not sure that it is correct ”that we need a new system of creating and trading goods”, as there are no indications that the current system is not working.

    Tverberg goes on to say:

    The system we have now takes many things for granted, such as the long-term availability of fossil fuels, and that we will always be able to have enough jobs for workers. These assumptions are proving not to be true. Furthermore, it wasn’t until fairly recently that we recognized CO2 emissions might be a problem.

    What we need now is a new model, with a complex set of new rules, but it is hard to see how we can get to that point. We can’t rely on any single rule–even the Kyoto Protocol–to get us to where we need to be.

    Leaving the “CO2 emissions problem” aside for a moment, we all know that fossil fuels are a limited resource. The World Energy Council has recently estimated the amount of “proven fossil fuel reserves” as well as the much larger “inferred possible total fossil fuel resources in place”.

    Based on the latter estimate, we have consumed around 15% of all the fossil fuels that ever were on our planet to date. The remaining 85% would last us 300+ years at current usage rates, and 150+ years at anticipated future rates. So the problem is not an urgent one that needs “new rules” to create a new “system” today.

    It is clear that the rate of fossil fuel consumption will eventually start to decrease as they become scarcer and more difficult to extract and hence costlier, and as cost-effective alternates are developed.

    This will happen all by itself without “new rules”.

    “Jobs for workers” is a red herring in my opinion. In the developed world, there are always periods of unemployment followed by periods of full employment and there are many nations that have suffered chronic underemployment essentially forever. China and India, for example, are handling this problem by creating more jobs through industrialization. This is no different today than it has been, so we do not need “a complex set of new rules” to address this.

    As far as the “CO2 problem” is concerned, it is still extremely unlikely that this will be an existential problem for our society over the next century, even in its worst incarnation (as our host has stated). In addition, the “cures” that have been suggested so far appear to be far more painful than the “problem” itself.

    Tverberg states that finding and enforcing “new rules” will not be an easy, overnight exercise (and I would agree).

    I just don’t agree that they are even needed or desired.

    Max

  25. Max
    Re: “Where I have a problem is with his “what to do” conclusions.”

    Gail the Actuary’s real name is Gail Tverberg. She has an M. S. from the University of Illinois, Chicago in Mathematics, and is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

  26. So, how many of these consequences would have happened without Kyoto anyway?

    Moving factors of production to the lowest-cost zones capable of sustaining production led many places — China and India for example — to expand their infrastructure in the cheapest way possible.

    Didn’t take Kyoto for that to happen.

    The end of easy petro led to tarsands and shale gas, expensive and inefficient, but capable of being piped to market (at huge hidden cost). That’d have happened without Kyoto.

    Indeed, Canada signed on to Kyoto, and then schizophrenically dove into tarsands and shale gas over its head despite their international obligation.

    We’re getting sloppier, stupider, and slower, without needing Kyoto to blame for it.

    • Robert in Calgary

      Oh gee, “international obligation”…sniff!

      Then Prime Minister Chretien signed onto Kyoto with -zero- intention of any follow through. At least one member of his inner circle has confirmed this.

      He wanted the immediate cheap applause of the gullible AGW cult. Kyoto, like its supporters, is a sorry joke.

      • Robert in Calgary | December 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm |

        What part of “signed a treaty” don’t you get?

        The intentions of cynical politicians don’t relieve the obligation, or remove the stink.

        The sorry joke today is Canada, not Kyoto.

      • Robert in Calgary

        Bart, what part of “the guy who signed it had no intention of following it” do you not get?

        We didn’t destroy our economy so now we must suffer Bart’s disapproval. No, No , Not that….Ha!

      • Robert in Calgary | December 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm |

        Wow.

        Your strongest argument is Rex (deranged and yet still boring) Murphy?

        From the propaganda arm of the Harper Government?

        Canada’s economy in the past few years hasn’t been bouyed up by shale gas and tarsands; Canada’s sunk so many billions into tarsands and shale gas subsidies and research and promotion that it’ll be some time before the country’s out of the red. (Heh. Imagine. Canada, out of the red.)

        Canada’s economy stayed head above water because of Paul Martin’s hand on the helm as Minister of Finance under that crook Chretien.

        And you still don’t seem to understand the notion of integrity. Of living up to the deals you seal. Of keeping your word.

        You seem to think that because you meant to lie and skulk, that somehow makes it alright, and no one thinks any less of you for it.

        Wake up, Bob in Alberta.

        The number one image coming out of Durban right now, seen by the entire world, is Steven Harper’s oil-company bridled face ridden around as a stooge to the fossil industries.

        I get that you don’t travel much, Bobby, sitting home Sunday afternoons listening to Rex Murphy for two hours (you know, you can get that on the internet, if you happen to leave the country, if that’s really what’s holding you back) so you don’t appreciate that there used to be people who thought highly of Canadian honesty and integrity.

        But now, it’s a name not worth spit.

        You can thank your ex-Prime Minister Chretien for that, or your current fossil-reined PM Harper (who’s had, what, a decade since Chretien got the boot?).

        Take your pick.

      • Robert in Calgary: We didn’t destroy our economy

        You don’t live in Ontario, do you.

      • John Carpenter

        Just signing a treaty means little when the base of it falls out.

        Take for example the current fate of the euro zone and the euro. Member countries of the EU signed up for life. They gave up their national currencies and signed on to a common currency that was never to be replaced. Member countries were supposed to never be expelled once in. Enter the debt crisis and the crash of several EU economies, Greece, Spain, Ireland and possibly Italy. Now all bets are off and everything is on the table to keep the zone together including expelling or placing debt ridden members on a leave of absence. Will Greece get bounced? Can the euro survive? The Germans and French will make the new rules. S&P is down grading 15 of the 17 member nations. The possibility of national budgets being approved is on the table. How likely will it be all 27 euro nations will agree to losing more sovereignty at the expense of saving the euro? I’m pretty sure this was not the intentions when the euro zone was created. Nobody thought about this scenario or felt it was even a remote possibility because they saw only upside to the idea of a euro zone. So what will be the unintended consequences for those nations who are members now?

        I am watching how this plays out very carefully. This saga illustrates how such treaties function when things don’t go as planned…. it’s a harbinger of how a binding Kyoto type treaty would work. When things go wrong, the rules get changed by the powerful and the remaining members have to deal with the unintended consequences or else the whole thing collapses.

        Canada is smart to sit this idea out until a better idea comes along.

      • John Carpenter | December 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm |

        Greece entered the EU on bad faith, lied in its accounting to get in, and abused the priviledges it obtained once in.. much like the ‘smart’ Canada (the technical term in business, btw, is ‘sharp’) in Kyoto.

        Now the reputation of Greece is mud.

        The EU is failing due the bad faith of parties to the deal. It’s because bad faith causes these harms that bad reputations follow the sharp practices.

        This coddling of criminal attitudes you do, is it out of pity, or is it just the way you think about all crime?

      • John Carpenter

        Bart, tell me how I’m coddling criminal attitudes… b/c I think it is ok Canada withdraw from an equally flawed treaty that had no teeth to it. Because Canada wants to exploit a domestic natural resource for their benefit? Do you think that resource is going to just sit in the ground untapped forever? Come on Bart, that’s common sense.

        Do you think Germany is looking for a way out of the EU? Is it a criminal act for them to withdraw?… remember, once in, in forever, except now everything is on the table, so do you think they should be able to look out for thier own best interests or should they remain steadfast to the interests of the EU?

        Governments make rules, sign treaties etc… until they don’t work out the way they want them to and then if they change the rules… why should this be any different with Kyoto? Has any country met the committed targets? Why remain a part of something that is not working as intended and doesn’t look fixable? Not a criminal act Bart.

      • John Carpenter

        Countries, of course, can’t be criminals.

        However lowlife, untrustworthy, and dishonest a nation’s conduct, it’s not like a state can be sent to jail, or even convicted and found guilty.

        The same attitudes as soft-on-crime panderers to the worst in human nature still seem to apply, however, in this praise of deceit by Canada.

        I’ve been dealing with Canadians all my life, and I in my experience, if you don’t want to be a victim, you have to stand up, look them in the eye, and tell them straight when they’re dishonest.

        Patting Canada on the head and looking the other way will only encourage them.

        And look at the bad influence Canada’s having on Russia and Japan, now.

    • Bart R

      Tar sands (almost exclusively Canadian) are part of the global fossil fuel resource listed by the latest World Energy Council Report.

      Shale oil and gas (mostly US, some Canadian) are also a part.

      These are very important additional fossil fuel resources (especially the shale, which is estimated to equal Saudi oil and gas equivalent).

      There is no question in my mind that both of these resources will be developed and extracted. If not under this US political administration, then under the following administrations.

      This will help the USA get away from its stranglehold dependence on oil, which is imported from politically unstable or unfriendly regions.

      The strategic importance of these deposits would become critical in case of a war in the Middle East.

      The companies doing this will make a profit (especially at $100/bbl equivalent price).

      One can thank the price-fixing oil cartel (OPEC) for having driven the price up to the point that these resources are profitably recoverable.

      The environment will not be adversely affected, despite all the fear mongering now going on by some environmental lobby groups.

      That’s how I see this developing.

      How do you see it?

      Max

      • manacker

        I see myself getting ripped off, as the Carbon Cycle is a scarce resource, and few countries in the world have yet begun to wake up to their duty to ensure a fair Market for this scarce resource.

        I see tarsands and shale gas as more than twice the rip-off, as they consume so much more energy to extract than easy oil once did, and accompanied by so much more fugitive emission.

        I want my money. I have a stake in the Carbon Cycle. It’s potency to return the atmosphere to its prior level of CO2 is being depleted by Free Riders. They owe me, and each of us, fair compensation.

        When you say “the environment will not be adversely affected,” by the way, which environment do you mean?

        Have you ever seen a fracking operation?

        Tasted well water within the same watershed after fracking?

        Seen tar sands mining?

        Even seen a pipeline in person? The difference between what was there before and what it looks like after construction?

        Seen an oil spill up close in person?

        Who will pay for the clean ups involved, really?

        Historically, who’s paid?

        These ‘profits’ of Free Ridership you foresee only happen if we let them, if we don’t demand to be paid for their use of our resource, if we allow this corporate welfare to continue to grow, the pigs will continue to get greedier at our expense.

        That’s what I see has developed. If you think they’ll be satisfied by you rolling over and letting them have their way with your shares, you don’t know how Free Riders think.

        They’ll just want more, when they’re done.

      • Bart R

        Your comments on the “fair Market” for the fossil fuel resources of our planet are a bit too “hairy-fairy” for me.

        I have simply concluded based on all the data at hand, that the availability of low-cost energy has been a key factor contributing to the improvement of the living standard and quality of life of billions of people over the past 150 years or so (and is continuing to be so for billions more today).

        As far as ecological issues are concerned (your rhetorical questions), I agree with you that all oil and gas exploration, development and production operations (as well as refineries) should be environmentally clean, and the EPA (in the USA) should make sure that all precautions are taken by the operators to ensure this is the case.

        Where there are screw-ups by the owners, the service companies as well as the authorities (such as the BP Gulf spill) the responsible parties should be fined to cover the damages (as I believe they were).

        Max

      • manacker

        I have simply concluded based on all the data at hand..

        Really?

        You’ve concluded, using manacker-logic?

        And you not only used all the available data, but also all the data at hand?

        Every bit of it?

        I’ve seen the data for the availability of cheap energy, and for the standard of living, in geographical regions, and the correlations.. and the correlations are remarkably low, and often more negative than positive.

        Cheap energy doesn’t improve one’s lot in life.

        Where governments subsidize energy on the argument that cheap energy improves anything, the tax drag on the economy typically drives the net prices of everything up on average.

        Cheap energy raising standard of living is simply a pipedream, and a dangerous myth.

        Why would you spread such a vicious myth?

        The subsidized ‘cheap’ energy (produced by tricks that even a small child could identify as a shell game — pardon the pun) lie simply drains the democratic power of the Market to allow individuals to choose the means of energy production they want by paying a fair price for it, and to choose the way they spend their own money.

        And you _believe_ the fines cover the costs of spills? How do you determine the authorities’ responsibility? By fining the political party that put the elected officials on the ballot? Because otherwise, that’s just more taxpayer dollars that benefit only the Free Riders.

        You believe an awful lot that the account books reveal to not be true.

        Whatever happened to the principle of fines that are so punitive that they actually punish wrongdoing, and are a disincentive to continue to carry on irresponsible practices? This coddling of corporate crime does nothing to prevent recidivism.

        Also, those were only rhetorical questions in that they had foregone conclusions.

        No one who has first hand experience would write as you do of these matters.

      • Bart, I haven’t seen the tar sands project and I certainly don’t know about the specifics involved in the extraction. Nevertheless, I accept that it is energy intensive and assume that the energy used for extraction is derived from the petroleum products on site. That’s the lazy way of meeting the energy bill.

        I agree that it is stupid to waste petroleum to extract petroleum where the oil sand deposits are located. If a nuclear power station couldn’t be operated there, where else could one be safely sited.

        My assumption is that the oil sands are a long term project. The source of the energy used today does not need to be the same source 5 to 10 years down the road. It’s a needless assumption to view oil sands extraction as a timeless ‘oil consuming’ activity.

        When attitudes change, then so too will the method powering the extraction.

      • Nevertheless, I accept that it is energy intensive and assume that the energy used for extraction is derived from the petroleum products on site. That’s the lazy way of meeting the energy bill.

        Since you brought it up, we need to remember that the worst possible case is that we end up emitting twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as we would for a low energy intensive resource such as crude oil. So for every barrel of high quality synthetic crude we get out, we may have used a barrel of low quality stuff to crack and process the stuff.

        The end result is that we generate twice as much carbon to maintain the same supply levels. Half of the energy never gets passed to the real end consumer.

        If I read you correctly, we could potentially deploy nuclear or some other source to cut back on the wasted energy. Ideally, we would prefer to use renewables to do the processing — since renewables such as wind or solar are prone to intermittency, industrial processing applications are often a good fit. Process the tar sands when the energy is available, otherwise store it in the big piles.

      • WHT, yes you understand….

        Sure there is the worst case scenario. Only the ‘wcs’ has never been carbon emissions. It involves inefficient recovery, mobilization of mined material and discard tailings and such. Efficiency of extraction seems to be the biggest factor. Considerable improvements have been made in recent decades. That improvement in efficiency also changes the amount of the proven reserve.

        GHG emission from oil sands extraction ought to be a non-issue. Ultimately it will come down to the managers realizing that it is far more profitable to build a nuclear/solar/wind generation source and sell the oil that is saved by using such alternative source.

    • Its reputation is not “tarnished” because a government signed onto a bone headed treaty and a later government corrects that mistake.

      If anything, Canada’s reputation has improved because unlike the majority of posturing fools Canada has the guts to admit that Kyoto was a failure.

      • TimG | December 8, 2011 at 5:15 am |

        Sure. Canada’s reputation as a sharp double-dealer, that’s gone up with the crime-admiring crowd.

        It’s reputation in international negotiations among partners?

        It’s the reputation of a tinpot fly-by-night opportunistic pirate state.

        Have you seen how Obama screwed over Canada in the lately announced border deal?

        All the stops were pulled out, and Canada was dealt with more harshly than it has in any international treaty it ever signed before, a sure indication of the Harper government’s weakness and lack of spine.

        Contrast the deal Harper was forced into signing with, say, the somewhat balanced Mulroney deal of a generation ago. And Mulroney’s the most hated man in Canada for signing that.

        No, TimG. Kyoto was largely succeeding in its goals among its signatories, even if you count Canada’s atrocious record into the mix. If Canada had acted with good faith, Kyoto would be one of the few international treaties to work as designed, which would have been remarkable.

        As an example of how such deals can work, it may have then shamed China and other carbon-emitting Free Riders, like the USA and Turkey, to sign on themselves.

        As it is, Canada’s oil-money-supported government has thrown the spanner in the works.

        All the spin you put on events doesn’t hide the stink.

  27. Max wrote: “As far as the “CO2 problem” is concerned, it is still extremely unlikely that this will be an existential problem for our society over the next century, even in its worst incarnation (as our host has stated). In addition, the “cures” that have been suggested so far appear to be far more painful than the “problem” itself.”

    Precisely. I see no “denial” on the part of the skeptics generally speaking. Most will concede that Co2 does warm the climate to some extent. The real denial is on the part of the alarmists who continue to ignore the extremely high economic and social cost of mitigation. If I were a Republican presidential candidate, that’s how I would frame my position: “The tremendous uncertainty regarding any danger due to global warming in combination with the prohibitive costs of Co2 reduction argues for a wait and see approach. Let’s see what the science tells us over the next 5 years.” It’s a position that all but the rabid left will see as reasonable it seems to me.

    • randomengineer

      It’s a position that all but the rabid left will see as reasonable it seems to me.

      As far as I can tell what you describe is the position of all but the warmistas. Certainly the discussion here is always between the (rabid left) warmist conspiracy theorists and (the proxy for) the 95% majority opinion. That the discussion includes the warmista approach as “equal weight” (two sides to a dicussion after all) lends the illusion that the warmistas are more prevalent than in reality.

      Similarly you could go to a far right web site and see discussion that would lend the illusion that right wingers are inherently reactionary despite that site being home to a fringe opinion.

      One wonders in this day and age whether or not it’s possible to have a neutral discussion that doesn’t become dominated by fringe elements braying about their bogeymen e.g. “fossil fuel interests” and “peak oil” and “it’s a leftist hoax” and so on.

      • As an independent that is liberal on many points but economically realistic, I dislike being type cast as a “conservative” because of how I see the facts on this issue.

  28. This is off topic, but Bishop Hill has a new post on a TED video by Mann which is almost beyond belief in its bias and propagandistic content. I would just ask those who attack Pat Michaels whether Mann isn’t the one who deserves censure by the community. You must see it even though its hard to do so without shouting at the computer.

    • David,

      I watched this “Mann in mellow motion mode” – and it almost ruined my day. Just a couple of points, though …

      First, in the interest of truth-in-posting, this Nov. 13/11 “performance” was not a real TED production, but rather a a TEDxPSU* production, which should not be confused with (or allowed to taint) the real TED.

      * “TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.” Although it is licensed by TED (so perhaps, in light this of travesty, they’ll consider revoking said license from PSU for next year)

      Second, as an antidote – which, coincidentally, happens to be very appropos to the topic of this thread – may I recommend the following real TED presentation by Dr. Hans Rosling:

      [link in case my embedding attempt fails]

  29. All the above is predicated on the observed fact that atmospheric CO2 is driving the temperature of the earth upward. Catastrophically. If not, why should we be worried about controlling it?

    That said, it may be worth while to establish a few boundary conditions that will let us determine what is achievable with our CO2 thermostat. Since I have no idea how to do so, not being a scientist of any type, never mind the climate variety, I thought it would be worth asking my questions here:

    There are a couple of practical limits to regulating global temperature via tweaking the atmospheric CO2.

    The first is the lower limit of CO2 that will support robust plant life. What is that limit in PPM and what would the global temperature be if we could achieve it?

    The second is the upper limit of CO2, beyond which the atmosphere becomes poisonous to mammals. Us, in other words. What is that limit, what would the temperature be if we allow CO2 to rise to that limit, what are the chances that we will reach that limit if we do nothing, and how long would it take?

    The third is the level of CO2 absent human contribution. If humans completely ceased production of CO2, neglecting respiration (which several prominent climate experts also recommend limiting by reducing the human population by over 90%), what would the natural level of CO2 be and what would the global temperature stabilize at?

    Empirically, it would appear that we are currently much closer to the lower CO2 limit than to the high limit, as greenhouse operators routinely jack up the CO2 inside the greenhouses to three times or more ambient to stimulate plant growth, implying that plants are already mildly starved for CO2 at the present level, while the human greenhouse workers continue to thrive at the elevated CO2 levels without noticeable inconvenience.

    And finally, what is the current temperature of the earth, what is the IDEAL temperature of the earth, what cost/benefit analysis was done to determine it, by whom or what body, what factors were considered in determining it, what level of CO2 in PPM would ‘set the thermostat’ to the ideal temperature, and what algorithm was used to determine that level?

    It would seem that before we embark on heroic measures to control CO2 we should at least have some idea where we are, where we want to go, whether our goal is within our range of control, and whether, given what is required to reach our goal, it would be worth the effort.

    • You can’t control CO2 once it is in the wild so nothing we can do to tweak what is already out there. (there is pipe dream talk about genetically-engineered sequestering plants)

      I am afraid that by asking those questions here, you will get a lot of nonsense answers.

      • >I am afraid that by asking those questions here, you will get a lot of nonsense answers.<

        That applies to almost this entire thread :)

      • “I am afraid that by asking those questions here, you will get a lot of nonsense answers.”

        He proves his own point.

      • Two activities:

        1) Growing plants
        2) “Green” energy

        Which one do we actually know how to do?

    • Bob Ludwick –

      I think WHT and ianl8888 are being a little bit cynical by saying –

      “I am afraid that by asking those questions here, you will get a lot of nonsense answers”

      Especially because they could have given you some eminently sensible answers. I will endeavour to make up for their laziness!

      Your first question – what is the lower limit of Co2 which still leads to robust plant life – has a reasonably uncontentious answer of about 150ppm. Below that level, some species show markedly less growth. However it is worth pointing out that in the real world, with present technology, there is no prospect of reaching such levels for millennia (or ever..) So it is not a concern.

      Levels at which Co2 becomes poisonous for mammals are also not much of a concern [which doesn't mean the question isn't worth asking]. At around 10,000ppm many people experience headaches and nausea. However, there is also no prospect of anywhere near this level being reached – not from known sources of fossil fuel. So, I won’t answer the second part of your second question, but if the temperature rises about 3 degrees Celsius with each doubling of Co2, then 3000ppm would increase temperatures by at least 10 degrees C, and yet more towards the Poles. Even I might start talking about catastrophe…

      Your third question – what would Co2 levels stabilise at if human contributions ceased – needs a bit of clarifying. How long do you allow for stabilisation? To give a ballpark estimate, concentrations would begin to decline (and would continue to do so less quickly over time) heading towards 300ppm. There might be quite a lot of disagreement about how soon, for instance, the levels would reach 350ppm, but there would essentially be no problem any more [or even no 'alleged' problem]. Worriers will contend that because of various feedback processes, beyond some [unknown] levels, temperature rises will be essentially ‘irreversible’. If we indeed had control of Co2 levels, I think that contention would just be fear-mongering, but the higher the level of Co2 reached, the longer it would take to return to today’s levels (and below)

      At 350ppm (and the slightly lesser amounts we would eventually stabilise at) temperatures would be pretty much as they are now. Not noticeably different.

      Your last question is tricky to answer, or at least there may not be a sensible answer. The average temperature of the earth’s (lower) atmosphere is about 15 degrees C. However, that isn’t as useful as it might seem. Everywhere on earth could have it’s temperature raised or lowered by 10 degrees and the average could stay the same..

      There definitely isn’t an ideal temperature because you would have to ask ‘for what?’ or ‘for who?’. I will give away my place in the climate debate by pointing out that in our recent geological history temperatures have gone up and down by 6-8 degrees C and sea levels have risen and fallen by 400 feet – and life has continued happily on regardless. Some human settlements might find a change to warmer climates (or higher sea levels) problematic. Of course there will be those that benefit too..

      As a summation I would make one single point – that we have much less control of Co2 levels than many people would like to suppose. More than 20 years after the first IPCC reports and hundreds of billions of dollars spent/wasted it is fair to say that the level of Co2 in the atmosphere is the same as it would have been without all the expense and hand-wringing. So far, Man’s efforts to reduce the Co2 concentrations in the air have been totally useless.

      P.S I just noticed your last two questions. I think I have given a personal answer to the first – whether our goal is within our control – in the negative. If our goal is to keep Co2 below 450ppm, we’re doomed. Doomed I say! Luckily, I think humanity will absolutely thrive at 450ppm – and 500, and 550…

      Your final question – whether it would be worth it should we have the capability to achieve it – will divide everybody here. All the sensible people will say “Of course not – it would destroy civilisation for no purpose” and the alarmists will say “Anything is worth sacrificing to stop temperatures rising by 2 degrees”. But this is an academic question [ie an irrelevant one] because we don’t have any control over Co2 levels. A World government with ruthless powers might achieve it, but I wouldn’t start investing your life savings in such a thing happening in the next thousand years.

      Hope I’ve helped rather than hindered :)

      • Anteros

        Excellent summary.

        Conclusion appears to be:

        we cannot change our planet’s climate, no matter how much money we throw at it

        Max

      • Yeah, and when you do the numbers with a climate sensitivity of 1, Omigod, the sky is falling. Thank Gaia it’s warming despite Ol’ Sol.
        =================

      • Max –

        And also:

        the one thing that makes people vulnerable to any climate is poverty

        I think in Britain we could thrive with a climate 5 degrees (or more) warmer than it is now. Although [Kim], if got much colder, even the Scots wouldn’t want to live in Scotland ;)

    • Bob Ludwick – You’ve asked thoughtful questions. The answers you get will depend on whom you ask, and for that matter, which blog you ask them on. I believe the long comment from Anteros is fairly representative of the perspective of many participants in this blog, although not necessarily elsewhere
      .
      I agree almost entirely with Anteros on the physics and biology. I disagree considerably with his last paragraph. In my view, a CO2 rise to 450 ppm would threaten the welfare of millions of people, and a rise beyond 500 would be potentially devastating to tens and probably hundreds of millions. Equally to the point is the question as to whether we can avert the rises and/or their consequences. Unlike Anteros, I believe the answer is that we can avert both – but only partially. For CO2, the obstacle isn’t technology, and in my view, it isn’t economics either, which could be managed in a way that favors human welfare, but rather political opposition from powerful factions who don’t want to see it happen. I don’t think this opposition can be completely overcome, but neither do I believe that it will completely prevail. We will reduce carbon emissions below the level of a business as usual scenario, CO2 levels will stabilize at lower levels than otherwise, and some fossil fuel carbon that would eventually be burned will remain underground forever. We won’t do it as fully as many might wish, but that’s typical for the clash of conflicting forces on issues of fundamental practical and philosophical importance for our civilization.

      I know Anteros disagrees on the point about consigning fossil fuels to permanent underground status, and many disagree on all of the above points. To discuss each in adequate detail would require hundreds of pages here, and with little prospect for a resolution – a conclusion you might have already reached from reading the arguments that rage in this blog. You’ll find some of the discussion in recent threads, however. Rather that revisit every item, I simply want to leave you with the understanding that nothing said here by me or others represents a universally accepted understanding of reality. You should not hold your breath waiting for that to arrive.

      • Bob Ludwick –

        Without wishing to have a proxy argument in your presence….

        Actually, I think Fred sums up concisely our areas of disagreement, which concerns both what we think should happen as well as what will happen. The first disagreement, I think, comes down to our belief about what the consequences of a Co2 concentration of, say 500ppm. would be,

        I think our positions are also reasonably representative of, on one side, the orthodox IPCC consensus view – that more than 500ppm [as Fred says] would be potentially devastating to tens and probably hundreds of millions, and the moderate sceptic view – that we will be better off as a result of using the fossil fuels to reach 500ppm than we would leaving them in the ground and that there is little prospect of significant quantities of the fossil fuels being left unusedanyway.

        As Fred points out, we aren’t finding much disagreement in physics, which should remind you that there are positions much more extreme than either of ours….

        Perhaps we should make predictions – What concentration of Co2 will represent the peak?, How much fossil fuel will we ever be able to identify as ‘unused, through policy or choice’?, ‘What will the average temperature of the earth’s lower atmosphere be in 150 years?

        I’m happy to say ‘I don’t know’ to all three questions.

        I would also suggest that asserting whether ‘devastating’ consequences accompany any specific answers to the questions is considerably even more problematic. About waiting for a universally agreed understanding, I agree with Fred entirely.

        As a last sales pitch, I would bring up the known past. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the wealth created by the burning of fossil fuels has been responsible for a significant portion of the doubling of human life expectancy. The 0.7 degree temperature rise that has accompanied it has been effectively unnoticeable and not provably negative.

        That is the reason for many skeptics to think that any negative consequences of a further rise of 2 degrees [should it occur] would not be remotely comparable to the billions of lives lived, saved, extended and supported by the utilisation of the energy beneath the ground. Fred believes the reverse, as do many others.

        My beliefs about what is actually going to happen are based on the evidence of the last 25 years, which are not encouraging if you wish to see movement towards leaving fossil fuels [in vast amounts] unused.

        As advocates we will continue to advocate, and as ever, time will tell!!

      • I’ll respond, Anteros, only to the extent of stating my complete agreement with your conclusion that fossil fuel consumption has contributed enormously to human welfare since the start of the Industrial Revolution. If we disagree, it’s on the issue of when a positive influence starts to turn negative, and whether in fact, that may have already begun to happen.

      • Fred –

        It is rare in this polarised debate to find agreement. And I do agree that at some point the positive influence may turn negative. And I don’t 100% know whether that may have already begun to happen….

        Or perhaps, I’d put it that we don’t know ‘whether negative influences may have been added into the equation to set against the positives, and if so, by how much’, because I see the positive influences continuing.

        Thus we have a balancing act – and are beset with unknowns. We have roughly the same information, but see things quite differently. I have a suspicion that this is, and always will be true when we discuss what may or may not be the case in [many] years to come. And that is true even if we avoid all the obvious biases that could influence our views.

      • randomengineer

        For CO2, the obstacle isn’t technology, and in my view, it isn’t economics either, which could be managed in a way that favors human welfare, but rather political opposition from powerful factions who don’t want to see it happen.

        Easy accusation bordering on the same unintentional hiliarity as the infamous and absurd “vast right wing conspiracy.” In this case it’s likely to be the vast right wing corporate political machine, probably the one lubricated by evil corporate energy interests. One can easily envision Snidely Whiplash tweaking his moustache.

        As a rule *all* arguments attempting to explain the reluctance of the populace to vote for taxing themselves into oblivion rely on a) those reluctant to do so are far too stupid to do otherwise, which usually fails because the numbers of reluctant types are massive and include a lot of clever people after all… and b) those reluctant to do so are being hoodwinked by [1. evil 2. lying 3. corporate henchmen 4. corporate interests 5. etc.] or are simply selfish prats.

        You see where this is going. The **standard** argument is that the right wingers are stupid or are being lead by evil, and you’re doing nothing more than regurgitating variation # 2983 of the standard trope. I hope you realise that your argument appeals ONLY to those who already regard corporations suspiciously in the first place (i.e. the left fringe.) You should also by now figure out that every third explanation for reluctance of the population to submit is this very argument and we all get to see this on display every single day.

        Can you guys think of nothing more compelling?

      • Bob Ludwick – see what I mean?

      • randomengineer

        We’ll mark that as a “No.”

      • randomengineer

        I think it’s a given that there are important interests among some nations and some segments of the corporate world that want to see us continue to consume fossil fuels for their own self interest.

        Sure is a lot of tinfoil hattery on this thread.

        The sort of interest given the amount of effort you suppose is being expended is then being done stupidly. They’d be a lot better off being quiet and whacking the inventors of 100 mpg carbuerators or auto fuel cells that work. Keep the victim dependent.

        If you want to conjure evil corporations, at least make them clever.

      • Sure is a lot of tinfoil hattery on this thread.

        It will be the first tin-foil conspiracy that involves the Chinese, the Russians, OPEC, Canada, United States, Europe, developing world along with the developed world, all sorts of free market economies along with some politically throttled economies.

        Welcome to the free-for-all, to the richest go the spoils. Doesn’t sound like tin-foil to me, just a disordered, entropic mess. That’s what makes it fun to analyze.

      • I missed that. Confirmed: Fred is a conspiracy theorist.

      • I’m unaware of a conspiracy. I think it’s a given that there are important interests among some nations and some segments of the corporate world that want to see us continue to consume fossil fuels for their own self interest. Whether this is good or bad is obviously an important question, but it’s separate from the existence of these interest groups.

      • The point is that these interests have little to do with public opinion or political will. Moreover, the influence they do have is legitimate because all businesses have an obligation to defend themselves from attacks, in all branches of government.

      • these interests have little to do with public opinion or political will.

        You should let them know. That way, they can avoid wasting the huge amounts of money they pour into political campaigns as well as public relations advertising.

      • What makes it a conspiracy theory is the implication that they are somehow, secretly, preventing better and more economical technology from emerging. That’s absurd on its face. Even if “Big Oil” was somehow able to keep a lid on such technology in the west, the Chinese or even the Israelis would be more than happy to commercialize it. The Chinese aren’t particularly happy about the billions they have to pay for their oil, and the Israelis would be delighted to poke the eyes of the Arabs by obsoleting oil, and they have the brainpower to do it, if it can be done. Obvious conclusion: it’s not that easy.

      • P.E. – There may be some who believe in the “conspiracy” you invoke, but I’m not aware of them. Promoting fossil fuel interests can be expressed in other ways, and has been. It’s too big a topic for an exchange of comments here, but might be worth a post of its own if Dr. Curry is interested in bringing it up.

      • And here’s an example of the flip side of that argument, where Bill Gates had to go to China to find interest in developing Gen IV nuclear technology, because there is a real, genuine conspiracy in the west to suppress nuclear technology:

        http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2011/12/07/bill-gates-talking-with-china-to-develop-nuclear-reactor/

      • randomengineer

        Fred — I think it’s a given that there are important interests among some nations and some segments of the corporate world that want to see us continue to consume fossil fuels for their own self interest.

        Sure is a lot of tinfoil hattery on this thread.

        The sort of interest given the amount of effort you suppose is being expended is then being done stupidly. They’d be a lot better off being quiet and whacking the inventors of 100 mpg carbuerators or auto fuel cells that work. Keep the victim dependent.

        If you want to conjure evil corporations, at least make them clever.

      • Those Big Oil companies don’t want you to know about this…

        http://www.asseenontvvideo.com/512357/Fuel-Shark.html

        :roll:

      • The truth is there is an open and tacit conspiracy among the energy producers. They want to promote and create scarcity to drive the price of their product up. They also want regulations to create barriers to entry for competitors. AGW does both for the energy producers.

        Often reality is the opposite easy conclusions.

    • Bob Ludwick, These are good questions and I see others have attempted answers. Hope I’m not duplicating their data. I think its clear that we were near the lower limit of CO2 for robust land plant growth. Grasses in fact are evolved to deal with lower levels of CO2 than trees for example. Grasses are much less biologically productive than trees. CO2 generally has been pretty much decreasing throughout earth’s history except for periods of extensive volcanism. In any case, plants evolved in an environment with a lot more CO2, I seem to recall more than 1000 ppm. The existence of fossil fuels is due to the greater plant productivity in a warm world with lots more CO2.

      I think there is no ideal temperature of the earth. I do believe that warmer temperatures will be better for life than colder temperatures.

      • The existence of fossil fuels is due to the greater plant productivity in a warm world with lots more CO2.

        That is what is so bizarre and surreal about these discussions. They tend to devolve into either elliptical contradictions or else reveal self-consistent and circular truths.
        1. We have low-levels of CO2 now
        2. Levels of CO2 seem to be rising.
        3. This will lead to a warmer climate due to the GHG effect
        4. Wait a second ! — heat and extra CO2 may be good after all.
        5. That will promote more plant growth
        6. It also might explain why we have lots of fossil fuels.
        7. Millions of years for plants to get buried by sedimentation and tectonic activity
        8. That’s how much of the CO2 was sequestered, lowering atmospheric concentration
        9. But now we are digging it all up
        10. And burning it, releasing CO2 back into the air
        11. Go to step #2

        Now we have to believe in the theory of CO2 assisted climate change. The algorithmic (or is that AlGoreRythmic?) steps have already been laid out.

        The problem is that you can’t argue yourself out of a trickbox.

      • WebHubTelescope: 4. Wait a second ! — heat and extra CO2 may be good after all.

        “Maybe” is the most important word in the CO2/Climate debate. Extra heat and CO2, of the magnitudes forecast by AGW, may be good after all!

    • One other thing I would add is that human beings have been around for several hundred thousand years. Civilization only came about during the last 10,000 years, an unusually long interglacial period of warmth. CO2 may be a long term blessing since it will almost certainly delay for a long time the next ice age which would be an unmitigated disaster for mankind. Warming will have no such disasterous consequences. In fact warming will open up a lot more land to agriculture and human development. Sea level rise will have impacts, but a lot less so if its very gradual as it is likely will be.

      I disagree with Fred’s theory concerning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels don’t need special interests to sell them. They are just cheaper and more efficient than the alternatives. That’s why public utilities and governments have so far been unsuccessful in “leading the market” away from them to such expensive options as solar and wind. in a world where everyone wants a higher standard of living, abundant and cheap energy needs no conspiracy to sell.

      • Do we need to burn fossil fuels today to avert an ice age? We have at our disposal chemical moieties with orders of magnitude more warming potential than CO2, so keeping the planet warm enough wouldn’t require CO2 – if it did, that would be another reason to leave fossil fuels untouched, and so it’s not an argument to continue burning them. However, orbital parameters that have been a guide to glacial/interglacial transitions in the past indicate that the next ice age is probably at least 30,000 years away, and so there are earlier concerns to worry about. (That’s based on substantial evidence. However, if someone wants to argue about Milankovitch cycles, that might be a good topic for a new post and thread, but it’s not something that can be well addressed by the exchange of a few comments here in my opinion)..

        It’s also incorrect to claim that fossil fuel interests don’t need to sell their product via the political process and advertising. Those interests spend large sums to resist efforts to curtail fossil fuel use, which was my original point. I don’t think this is a “theory” but rather a demonstrable reality, and reflects their belief that without that spending, less fossil fuel would be burned. One can argue whether curtailment is a good idea (I think the case for it is quite compelling), but regardless, the spending is real and it doesn’t involve conspiracies. It seems to me that other arguments aren’t directed to any point I was making.

      • randomengineer

        It seems to me that other arguments aren’t directed to any point I was making.

        You’re arguing that people choose to drive cars to work as if they have been marketed to and have plenty of alternate options. Unless you want to live like sardines in a big city, there aren’t any alternatives. Fossil fuel interests (whatever that’s supposed to imply) don’t need to lobby. It’s the only game. Your argument is simply incomprehensible.

      • Since you misrepresented it, I surmise that you didn’t comprehend it.

      • randomengineer

        Fred, you said this — Those interests spend large sums to resist efforts to curtail fossil fuel use, which was my original point.

        i.e. the highest IQ business minds on the planet who trained at harvard etc were hired to figure out ways to encourage people to drive more than they need to so that (if WHT is correct) fuel becomes more expensive to produce and sells for more, making the consumers hate them and drive governments to overtax and ultimately nationalise them so as to appeal to populist demands. I’d like to have been at that board meeting. Sounds like a great plan: “hey, let’s find the best way to go out of business as fast as possible.”

        How about you spell out what you mean because being stupid I can’t seem to imagine a scenario where what you have said makes the slightest sense.

      • Randomengineer – What you quoted from me and what you attributed to me are completely different. What I said (as quoted) is correct. I made no claims regarding what you misattributed to me.

      • randomengineer

        Fred I have asked multiple times what you mean and thus far your only reponse is that I’m not clairvoyant. How about you spell out what these powerful fossil fuel interests are and what they’re doing and how. Use a crayon if you prefer.

      • I’m not saying we need to burn fossil fuels to avoid an ice age. You missed the point of my post to which you seem to be over reacting. It is a secondary benefit of doing so. Geo-engineering can keep us out of an ice age, just as it can cancel the warming from CO2. I still don’t understand why there is so much panic over CO2 given that its warming will probably be beneficial and that we can in fact cancel it rather easily if we determine that our current climate is ideal (something that is clearly not very likely).

        If you think advertising is behind fossil fuel’s popularity, you are in John Kenneth Galbraith land here. You would find support for this view in The New Industrial State, a book that I think no serious economist currently believes. But really, people like freedom, they like cars, they like travel, they like warm houses in winter and air conditioning in the summer. Perhaps Fred, you should just sell your car and show us by example how the new culture of energy scarcity will work. And you can pay increased taxes too to help the poor pay higher fuel costs. And by the way, you must abandon flying too. Or better yet, perhaps you can get Gore and the other hypocrits to give up their jetting around the world to save the planet. People in the developing world want what we have and that requires cheap energy. It’s as simple as that.

      • that we can in fact cancel it rather easily if we determine that our current climate is ideal (something that is clearly not very likely).

        You are the same guy that said that the fluid and aerodynamics of the earth’s climate system require numerical simulation savvy that goes beyond the skills of mere climate scientists.

        So what you are saying is as long as we can hire the right people, then they can figure out how to stem the tide of global warming by manipulating the earth’s atmospheric dynamics?

        Then why don’t we also hire those same people to once and for all tell us exactly how much we will warm up?

        This is part of the Good Regulator theorem stating that “every Good Regulator of a System Must be a Model of that System”. Without a model of the system you can’t control it. If you have a model of the system, that means you understand it.

        You have just entered the Trickbox.Zone.

      • Web, I take your point. I don’t think its possible to control the climate in any detail. All we could is adjust the gross forcing. It would be like medicine where we can affect gross effects only and then only with a certain probability. However, if high warming was happening, we could probably at least kick the planet into a lower temperature regime.

        Generally, geo-engineering will never be an exact science, just as medicine will never be an exact science. The systems are just too complex.

      • However, if high warming was happening, we could probably at least kick the planet into a lower temperature regime.

        But this then points to the first-order effects of climate change . All that matters is the overall net energy balance, first to get to the +33 C increase, and then to see perturbations. The chaos and complexity in the atmosphere’s short-term dynamics don’t really matter, just the GHG and albedo do. So the last bit of the puzzle is the role of cloud water droplets and ice crystals acting as an aerosol.

        The simplistic analogy I would use is the difference between AC and DC power. It doesn’t matter that one fluctuates and one doesn’t when it comes to heating a resistive element. One can see that the AC fluctuations have no impact. If the AC was chaotic, this wouldn’t matter either as long as the RMS average value was the same.

        That is why all the analysis by people like Postma are bogus, they mistake second-order effects for the primary.

      • However, orbital parameters that have been a guide to glacial/interglacial transitions in the past indicate that the next ice age is probably at least 30,000 years away, and so there are earlier concerns to worry about. (That’s based on substantial evidence.

        Actually its an assumption that is misleading at best and cited here before.The argument from Crucifix is a nice example of how science can evolve from a well posed problem eg Ghil 2001,

        First Crucifix 2008 argues that there is both a contradiction in the “literature” and a constraint. eg

        Both Ruddiman and Berger judge that it is possible to predict climate thousands of years ahead but is it a realistic expectation
        after all? Michael Ghil wondered what can we predict beyond one week, for how long and by what methods?” in a paper entitled “Hilbert’s
        problem of the geosciences in the XXIst century” . This is the fundamental motiviation behind the present article.

        The conclusion was there was a temporal horizon of 50ky.The arguments in the model were however both naive and primitive (read consenus based) and fundamentally constrained by dynamical theory (read geometry eg Arnold 1967 Ghil 2008)

        http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0809/0809.0632v1.pdf

        When a number of observers suggested that another approach was needed there was a subsequent paper Crucifix 2010 eg

        Throughout this study appeared a tension between the theory—concepts and theorems are valid at the asymptotic limit and the practical needs of palaeoclimate theory. Indeed, it does not make
        much sense to consider prediction horizons much beyond 1,000 ka in this context because the system can no longer be assumed to be stationary. For this reason, we encourage to continue the development of
        more time-local concepts, for example ’episodic’ synchronisation.

        This approach is a better example of unfolding the physics (albeit the arguments are still limiting eg birucation parameters) within a well bounded temporal limit,

      • It’s not an assumption but a correct statement of how orbital parameters derived from the past are used to estimate the approximate timing of a new glaciation – about 30,000 or more years hence. It would be correct to state that the principles attributed to Milankovitch still have some kinks in them, but these mainly relate to the puzzle as to why the ellipticity, obligquity, and precession characteristics interact in the quantitative fashion that has changed over time, while the main points remain rather strong. It’s also true that an exact time horizon is problematic, but it’s not true that there are realistic grounds for expecting an ice age in the next few thousand years.

        In any case, this is a vast topic that would require a post of its own, preferably launched by an expert in the area. It’s not germane to what I see as the illogic stated above by David Young – a very logical person some of the time – that if an ice age might be starting a few centuries or millennia from now instead of further off, we should be burning a lot of fossil fuels. It would be a good reason to start hoarding them.

        I have to say that I think David is also wrong in thinking that geoengineering in any sense currently envisioned could head off an ice age, but that’s another huge topic.

        I’m additionally puzzled that a small point I made as part of a larger comment has been contested by several individuals. The point is that a variety of corporate and national interests spend large sums of money for political and advertising purposes designed to resist efforts to curtail fossil fuel use. That is pretty much self evident to me. To me, the larger issue, but one we’re not going to resolve here, is whether they should or shouldn’t succeed. I think it’s obvious that there is no unanimity here on that point.

      • Fred, I believe we could use a number of things to avert warming, such as aerosols, albedo changes, even space sun screens. For an ice age, greenhouse gases are the most effective countermeasure as I believe you pointed out in a previous post.

      • We could probably keep the Earth’s temperate zones warm enough, but I’m not sure we wouldn’t melt a huge chunk of Antarctic ice because of the reduced obliquity of the Earth’s axis. It’s an interesting thought.

      • This is actually an interesting point from a philosophical point of view. It’s similar to the issue surrounding stem cells and cloning and genetic engineering. At some point, mankind will be able to create designer organisms and even people. This stretches our notions of personhood and morality. I am conservative on this and think we need to be very cautious. Geo-engineering is a similar thing. It has all kinds of potential uses for both good and evil and will strain our notions of government and self determination. To me, this is a much bigger challenge for mankind than climate. The issue is the morality of the limits of power and the potential for abuse of increasing human power to change the very nature of man.

      • A random walk can easily spoof the long term cycles that Milankovitch attributed to orbital and celestial mechanics. Not saying that it isn’t true but if you run Monte Carlo simulations with a bounded Ornstein-Uhlenbeck walk and you can see these large excursions every 100,000 years just by random chance.

        All it takes is for a coincidental alignment and you can go off on a goose chase. The ice core data also shows lots of excursions that are abortive, large but mot maximal, and this seems to support the extreme sensitivity to likely all sorts of factors. This is essentially the driving force for a metastable random walk. Milankovitch could certainly be one of the factors, but just about anything could set off the CO2 positive feedback movements … including our anthropogenic contribution.

        I have several multiscale correlations here:

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/11/multiscale-variance-analysis-and.html

      • Fred

        You wrote: “Those interests (oil companies) spend large sums to resist efforts to curtail fossil fuel use”.

        I know of no evidence to support that claim. Do you have any or is it only you fantasy?

      • Rob – I thought my point was so self-evident that it hardly needed defending, particularly since it was only peripheral to the theme of my earlier comment. However, if you want an example, here is just one of many. I expect I could easily come up with dozens if I wanted to waste an hour of my time on it.

        It’s hardly surprising that industries whose profits would be threatened by a reduction in fossil fuel use (e.g., via cap and trade or carbon taxes) would support political candidates who oppose the legislation. It’s also possible to find advertisements and public service messages from these industries supporting their product. Again, that’s unsurprising, and it would be surprising not to find these examples.

        Whether their views are in the best interests of our civilization is entirely beside the point, and would require us to rehash the entire AGW debate, which I don’t want to do. I do think, though, that the presence of this money influx runs counter to the notion that there would be no need to exert political and public pressure to preserve a business as usual approach to fossil fuel consumption. The people spending the money certainly don’t think that’s the case, and I don’t think they invest large sums of money for no reason. (Note also that this money isn’t being spent to get the public to use more fossil fuel energy, but rather to resist efforts that would incline the public to use less. This relates to a misinterpetation of my comment above by Randomengineer).

      • Fred

        My error in not considering coal companies. I see no evidence that oil companies are worried about a reduction in demand due to cAGW fears. Imo their advertising is no different that that done by a company like Boeing, who advertises to improve the public perception and not to improve sales.

        Regarding coal companies contributing to a politician to try to avoid the implementation of regulations that would make their product less marketable–I guess that makes sense. I would agrue it is not againest fossil fuel use in total, but actually anti coal use. The advertising is not to try to get the public to use more or less fossil fuel, it is to try to influence policy makers on the topic

      • randomengineer

        (Note also that this money isn’t being spent to get the public to use more fossil fuel energy, but rather to resist efforts that would incline the public to use less. This relates to a misinterpetation of my comment above by Randomengineer).

        Again this is utterly incomprehensible. If the public has no choice but to use fossil fuels to drive to work, what **possible** “efforts that would incline the public to use less” are we speaking of?

        Good grief, you’re talking as if any of us could power our cars with water but we’re choosing not to. WHAT IS THE OTHER CHOICE? For any “effort inclining the public to use less” there has to be an alternative.

        Furthermore it makes ZERO sense whatsoever that any company anywhere would need to invest one thin dime to “resist an effort” that simply doesn’t exist. What any company anywhere should be doing is what all companies that are successful do, which is pay attention to idiot politicians wanting to impose unfair tax or otherwise infringe on the right to do business. This applies to cell phone makers and ice cream shops as well, which again says your “fossil fuel interests” line is little more than run of the mill anti-corporate nonsense.

      • Rob and Fred, I think that even though coal companies spend money on lobbying, perhaps less than the ethanol lobby, that coal is still so cheap that it needs little marketing. The issue you raise is surrounding secondary issues like sulphur emissions, etc. I think Muller makes this point too and even Hansen now says that the problem is that coal is too cheap, not that marketing is getting people to ignore its problems. Hansen of course now favors nuclear power. Muller I guess is more realistic. I just think its not being very realistic to just think that people will willingly accept a doubling or quadrupling of their electric bills. That would be enough to swing any election in the US anyway and I think in the UK people may get a rude awakening this winter. And then, there are the 2 billion people whose only source of energy is wood or dung.

      • David – I’m not sure whether Randomengineer is unintelligent or simply so entrenched in his mindset he can’t see the obvious.

        I understand your point about coal, but I haven’t been referring to marketing coal – i.e., trying to get people to buy more, but rather to the money spent to avert policies that would reduce coal consumption. That seems clearly what the money and lobbying were about in the example I linked to.

        Doubling electric bills may be a red herring, but even if I were qualified to analyze those economics, I wouldn’t want to do it in a few comments.

        Wood and dung should be reasonably carbon neutral in most circumstances.

      • Fred Moolten

        I think you miss the key point.

        We are not “burning fossil fuels” because we enjoy doing so or because we want to generate CO2.

        We have been doing so since the Industrial Revolution started, in order to improve our standard of living and enhance our quality of life.

        And it has worked quite well.

        China, India and the other developing nations are doing precisely what we did 100 years ago, and it is working for their economies and populations, as it did for ours.

        The poorest nations of the world will be the next to benefit from affordable energy (if they don’t get derailed by “green development” fantasies imposed on them by their more affluent neighbors).

        Those who think this development can be reversed by government edict are fooling themselves.

        Those who think that such actions would have a perceptible impact on our climate are delusional.

        That is the point here.

        Max

      • You’ve made these claims many times before, Max, but many of us disagree. I don’t disagree that the poor nations want to benefit from affordable energy, but with the implication that their development requires us to avoid curtailing fossil fuel use – in fact, some of those nations disagree with you on that point (while others do not). However, as you probably know, these arguments have been pursued almost innumerable times here and elsewhere without agreement, and repeating the claims I don’t think will change that. That’s why I’ll probably resist the inclination to continue the argument in this thread.

      • Max: China, India and the other developing nations are doing precisely what we did 100 years ago, and it is working for their economies and populations, as it did for ours.

        That’s difficult to defend. What they are actually doing is building a more diverse energy industry than we did: coal, oil, nuclear, biofuels development (all we did was chop down trees), wind and solar. There are villages in India where the chief sources of electricity are solar; as solar becomes cheaper and the grid becomes more expensive, solar will continue to dominate. People power their sewing machines by solar, for one example, and tvs, cell phones, and cell phone towers.

      • Fred Moolten: It’s also incorrect to claim that fossil fuel interests don’t need to sell their product via the political process and advertising. Those interests spend large sums to resist efforts to curtail fossil fuel use, which was my original point. I don’t think this is a “theory” but rather a demonstrable reality, and reflects their belief that without that spending, less fossil fuel would be burned.

        Companies lobby for their interests, but natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel and coal pretty much sell themselves. Most of the money that is spent on advertising is so you will buy from a particular company, but (almost) everybody wants more fuel or electricity: that’s how the large corporations get the money to bid up the international cost of oil and fund their explorations.

        The segment of the population that is most resistant to curtailing fossil fuel use are energy consumers, including those who consume products and transportation that depend on the fossil fuel. One small example is all those fossil fuel users who are assembled in Durban to deplore fossil fuel use.; they may have the highest per capita fossil fuel use in the world, considering all the travel they engage in, and all their electronic gadgets.

    • The first is the lower limit of CO2 that will support robust plant life. What is that limit in PPM and what would the global temperature be if we could achieve it?

      CO2 has, per measurements from Antarctic ice cores, varied as low as 180 ppmv pretty much every 100,000 years for 800,000 years, and probably for more than 15 million years, and stayed there for a few 10’s of thousands of years. The usual extrapolation of very adventurous researchers suggests that 20+/-5 million years is the likeliest date for the start of this modern recurring CO2-low epoch.

      Coincidentally, greenhouse growers know if CO2 falls below 180 ppmv, then an effect known as CO2 starvation occurs in plants. This is the principle reason growers add CO2 during the day to their greenhouses, to avoid death by CO2 starvation, which can’t happen in open air. But I see you know that, or ought to.

      And yes, 180 ppmv is associated with ice ages. But then, we were in no danger of falling to 180 ppmv within the next few dozen millennia.

      The second is the upper limit of CO2, beyond which the atmosphere becomes poisonous to mammals. Us, in other words. What is that limit, what would the temperature be if we allow CO2 to rise to that limit, what are the chances that we will reach that limit if we do nothing, and how long would it take?

      I’m no expert, but I can repeat what I’ve picked up here and there.

      Keeping in mind from the outset, that these speculations are just to humor some very, very silly questions that entirely miss the point. I hope.

      CO2 becomes ‘poisonous’ at different rates in different ways. Wet, hot CO2 is much deadlier than dry cold CO2, for instance, and CO2 in enclosed spaces grows toxic more rapidly, too. Generally, the smaller the mammal, the more rapidly CO2 death occurs. Concentrations in the true immediately toxic range of CO2 are likely impossible for us to attain in open air. Because we’d be dead of the slow lingering CO2 range long before then, if for no other reason.

      Immediate hypercapnia in humans, if you really want the figure, is generally inevitable above 5% CO2, or 0.05, vs the approximately 0.0004 level of CO2 in the air now at baseline.

      Immediate health effects are noted above 1% CO2 in healthy human adults, and experiments have shown it very difficult even for adults in peak health in ideal conditions of rest and care to endure above 3% for extended periods.

      There’s some chance of CO2 denaturing into carbon monoxide in the atmosphere at such wildly high levels in odd but not rare conditions, so really it’s pure fiction to speak of this all happening, as it takes freakishly tiny amounts of carbon monoxide to kill a person.

      There are ‘dead air zones’ in low-lying areas of boggy ground, they’re rare, but people have been known to wander into a basement or pipe or mine and just drop dead, due CO2 levels. We expect these zones to become more commonplace as baseline CO2 rises, but no one’s venturing to predict by how much.

      And every animal smaller than a housecat would long since be dead at anywhere close to permanent CO2 levels above 1% in the atmosphere, with a very, very limited range of special exceptions.

      That’d include humans smaller than a housecat. How big were you when you were born? So let’s call that lethal, as no one’s really ever experimented with slow CO2 poisoning of newborn humans. I’m told it’s an exceptionally horrific way to die.

      There’s likely not enough carbon accessible to burn to hit 5% CO2 concentrations; 1% is barely possible, however, in a pure science fiction sense. At least, under current conditions. Runaway CO2 emission of some sort could get us there. Not really a credible scenario. Why are you asking about this far-fetched thing again?

      For instance, if we underestimate the methane frozen in clathrates by an order of magnitude, and they ran away spontaneously warming in some unlikely scenario.

      How hot would we be at the 1% CO2 level? Hard to guess.

      That’s 5 doublings of CO2 concentration, give or take, and we expect the with-feedback sensitivity level is dynamical, so it might be 3.4 times 5, or 17 degrees warmer than today. (Which would count as a hot, wet CO2 condition.) Or as little as 5 degrees warmer, or even 30+ degrees warmer. No one can really say, I expect. (Although, as the effect is logarithmic, and may tend to saturate, it’s possible it’d be a bit cooler than +5 to +30.)

      What are the chances we will hit this level if we do nothing?

      If by do nothing, you mean continue to do the same things at the trends we currently are tracking, and there is no runaway tipping point? My best guess is half a millennium at the soonest, if it’s even possible.

      If there’s a runaway tipping point, then sooner. Given that most people I’ve heard discuss it, myself included, don’t think it’s possible to hit that level of lethality absent a megavolcano.

      The third is the level of CO2 absent human contribution. If humans completely ceased production of CO2, neglecting respiration (which several prominent climate experts also recommend limiting by reducing the human population by over 90%), what would the natural level of CO2 be and what would the global temperature stabilize at?

      Oh, yeah. The Malthusians. Odd cult that. You know, there’s a really funny story about their founder.. But I digress. So few take them seriously, I’m surprised a rational fellow even mentions them in a serious blog like this.

      I model human contribution to CO2 like the contribution of compounded interest to a debt. If you pay exactly the amount of interest on a loan, the debt never changes. If you pay a little less than the interest, then the debt quickly increases (about doubling in 24 years if the difference between what’s paid and the interest rate is 3% of the initial amount of the debt). If you pay a little more than the interest, then the debt decreases, halving or so in the same 24 years for the same 3% extra paid. (Grossly simplifying, and not a little wrong on my figures.)

      If we drop our CO2 emissions entirely (effectively doable, with some technical innovation, arguably with a net increase in global standard of living and at no increase in costs) other than breathing, then we can expect hundreds or thousands of years of CO2 levels remaining high, before they eventually return to 280 ppmv. Temperatures would remain.. variable and not dissimilar to the human experience of the past few millennia, perhaps 2 degrees warmer than they otherwise might have been. Maybe. Who can guess?

      Empirically, it would appear that we are currently much closer to the lower CO2 limit than to the high limit,

      Well, no.

      See, there’s whole series of other ‘upper limits’ than the immediate death of all humans.

      There’s the limits of other deaths, of othe cataclysms, of other risks and other costs.

      We’ve past many ‘upper limits’ already. We know this, and have seen proofs of it beyond 95% confidence, and 99% confidence in some cases.

      .. as greenhouse operators routinely jack up the CO2 inside the greenhouses to three times or more ambient to stimulate plant growth,

      Actually, there are two issues with this.
      1. It’s primarily to prevent CO2 starvation as plants demand more CO2 than the enclosed space in the greenhouse can provide;
      2. What is actually simulated isn’t plant growth directly. By suppression of various plant hormone responses, the normal mechanisms that divert nutrients from growing mass to growing quality are turned off. Plants grow faster, but age more rapidly; their reproductive organs deform; they store fewer nutrients; their roots condition the soil less.

      .. implying that plants are already mildly starved for CO2 at the present level, while the human greenhouse workers continue to thrive at the elevated CO2 levels without noticeable inconvenience.

      Liebig’s Law of the Minimum explains why it’s just plain nuts to claim plants are “mildly starved for CO2 at the present level”.

      Until they reach pretty good excesses of all nutrients and conditions, plants don’t benefit from extra CO2 very much. You get into a greenhouse, with plenty of Nitrogen and phosphate and excess water and high, even temperatures, and no bugs or fungi or diseases, then you do alright as a plant sucking up CO2.. but you wouldn’t have been ‘starved’ mildly or otherwise at 280 ppmv.

      Indeed, none of the C4 species of plants ever experienced CO2 above 300 ppmv, before greenhouses.

      Generally, greenhouse growers limit exposure to 800 ppmv for their workers for extended periods, and the workers can get fresh outside air frequently. It’s hardly ideal for their health to be at 800 ppmv, however.

      And finally, what is the current temperature of the earth,

      Opinions vary. I commend reading the work of the BEST team for considerations that go into the answer to such a question.

      what is the IDEAL temperature of the earth,

      Yeah, that’s more of a political stance than a question, then, isn’t it?

      Who’s to judge what such an ideal would be?

      Me, I think the Market ought decide, now that humans can influence the temperature. It ought be priced, and people who want to change it ought pay the ones happy to have it as it was before we began changing it.

      What’s your non-Capitalist rationale for deciding the “IDEAL” for me without consulting me or compensating me? Is it some communist politburo-determined figure, or do you just figure whatever you can get away with is fine?

      what cost/benefit analysis was done to determine it, by whom or what body, what factors were considered in determining it, what level of CO2 in PPM would ‘set the thermostat’ to the ideal temperature, and what algorithm was used to determine that level?

      I imagine you’d need to do the same the other way around, Bob Ludwick.

      What cost/benefit was done by your committee on forcing CO2 levels up?

      Did they meet in secret? When? Where? I’d like to know, because I think they owe me some money for depriving me of a say in the use of my share of scarce resources.

      Where’s my money, Bob Ludwick?

      It would seem that before we embark on heroic measures to control CO2 we should at least have some idea where we are, where we want to go, whether our goal is within our range of control, and whether, given what is required to reach our goal, it would be worth the effort.

      Yeah, so it is communistic committee planning you want, at least while the Free Riders are profiting at my expense.

      I want my money.

      • I want my money.

        You could have spared us the rest of the verbiage and gotten right to the point.

      • Bart is a talented writer. He does circles around the rest of us.

      • Bart R

        There’s likely not enough carbon accessible to burn to hit 5% CO2 concentrations; 1% is barely possible, however, in a pure science fiction sense.

        With heavy emphasis on “fiction”, Bart.

        All the optimistically inferred fossil fuels on our planet(WEC 2010) would bring us to around 1,060 ppmv or 0.1% when they are all consumed.

        That’s the “reality”, instead of “fiction”.

        Max

      • Bart R, that’s a good post except for this: Yeah, so it is communistic committee planning you want, at least while the Free Riders are profiting at my expense.

        I think that’s the opposite of what he intended in the text that you quoted.

        And I am glad that you subsequently posted the links.

        Me, I think the Market ought decide, now that humans can influence the temperature. It ought be priced, and people who want to change it ought pay the ones happy to have it as it was before we began changing it.

        For that, you need a strong central government to decide how much of the atmosphere each person has title to, and to enforce all the resultant contracts. Your anti-central planning comment seems to rule that out.

      • MattStat | December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

        For that, you need a strong central government to decide how much of the atmosphere each person has title to, and to enforce all the resultant contracts.

        Indeed, what you need are strong people to demand their government turn over 100% of the Marketable value of the atmosphere to each, per capita. It’s simple enough.

        Australia’s doing a version of it, flawed though it may be.

        British Columbia’s been doing it for a few years now.

        They just have to go from a paternalistic government-set price to a price fixed by the Law of Supply and Demand, and no committee, no politburo, no individual sets the price.

        The same as works for cell phones and fried chicken.

    • Bob L,
      Since your primary assumption, that CO2 is driving cliamte catastrophically, is one that is not based in reality, perhaps you would like to take a deep breath, count to ten, and try another post on this?

  30. IPCC was a huge part of Kyoto at the time to push the global warming scare to new heights. Bad technology to produce power was heavily subsidized as the future.
    Now economic ruin is on the horizon for many countries that jumped heavily into this trap. The economy predictors were blindsided by heavy profit taking and greed with very little new research and development as they were too expensive to profit taking.

    • You are largely correct

      • You are largely without any of the knowledge or expertise in the relevant fields that would make your opinion on the matter worth one tin nickel.

      • Latimer Alder

        @robert

        Thanks for the detailed and substantive rebuttal of Joe’s points. And for the extensive bibliography so we can all find exactly why he’s wrong.

        But just remind us of your own knowledge or expertise that allows you to make such a judgement? TIA

      • Robert,
        You may not have noticed, but world economies are not doing so well.
        But the AGW industry is doing great.

    • randomengineer

      Bad technology to produce power was heavily subsidized as the future.

      Moreover, the same stuff that had already been proven to not work in the 70’s. “Oh. But this time it’s different.” Umm… no.

      • In the 1980s large amounts of fossil fuel was placed in the pipeline, which sent prices cascading for the basement.

        You see that sort of event repeating itself in the next decades?

      • No, because demand has risen faster than available supply. In part that is due to restrictive policy actions that discouraged energy development. These include the cost to build new modern nuclear facilities and the reluctance to develop new domestic resources due to environmental concerns

      • Natural gas prices are in the US basement. Due to fracking I presume, but in any case we are slowly shifting electricity generation from coal to nat gas.

      • We’re slowly shifting baseload from coal to gas. Gas has been the peaking fuel of choice for decades. And if we did have to go down the CO2 reduction road, sequestration using gas is a lot cheaper than with coal. You can reform gas into hydrogen, sequester the CO2, and burn the hydrogen for a lot less money than “clean coal”. Gas may be the ideal fuel for the next 100 years. No wonder the greens hate it.

      • P.E –

        Can I ask you a question which might seem elementary?

        I’d like to know the reason why it is always Co2 sequestration that is talked about. It seems to me that we have a billion year old highly efficient device for separating the carbon and the oxygen (er, photosynthesis), so instead of trying to inject Co2 into places where it hopefully won’t escape, why don’t we just leave a proportion of the ‘split’ Co2 ie the carbon, and take the Co2 out of the atmosphere that way?

        Surely it isn’t beyond our capability to prevent the carbon (ie the wood, or biomass) from returning to its original chemical form by re-combining with oxygen? Why doesn’t every lumber business store permanently 10% of its products and just treat it as a green tax?

        Is there a problem with preventing the decay of wood? Is there not enough turnover of forest to make a dent in the Co2 concentrations?
        What about if we just develop the fastest growing heavier-than-water trees and lob billions of tons of them into the Pacific? One coal tanker in, one lumber tanker out?

        Of course, it could get surreal because somebody might work out there is more carbon in the coal than in the wood and for years people would be digging up the coal only to dump it in the Pacific…

        Seriously – cannot the natural process of taking carbon out of the atmosphere be enhanced, rather than squirt a gas into underground rocks?

        What am I missing?

        P.S I am envisaging absolutely gigantic ‘wood mountains’ where carbon is kept ‘on hold’ for a millennia or two. Instead of Co2 targets, we could let everyone emit as much Co2 as they liked, but have wood-pile targets. Devote national service [oo-er, I'm getting a world-wide socialist vibe here..] to six months for tree planting/harvesting/storing. Seeing as Siberia is going to get warmer, every country could buy a proportion of it just to fill in their quota of carbon-sequestration. The Russians could rent out the land and make a happy profit. Log-piling could become an Olympic sport..

        OK, I haven’t circumvented the decay problem, but what else am I [obviously] not understanding?

      • Anteros – Interesting idea, but with many practical problems in addition to the difficulty of securing international arrangements. They include decay prevention (under anaerobic conditions, decay generates methane), the energy costs of transporting the wood, the need for huge storage sites or the difficulties of permanent burial, etc. The concept has already been proposed, but apparently hasn’t been developed..

        However, instead of going to all that trouble plus the trouble and expense of mining coal, why not just burn the wood and forget about the coal? It would still involve logistical problems, but proposals to burn biomass and selectively harvested timber already exist, and could be useful.

      • Burning raw wood is inefficient, but wood and other biomass can be processed to efficiently combustible material. Timber harvesting must be selective because clear cutting is very counterproductive to carbon sequestration due to the long delay in replacing the carbon storing capacity of large trees by new growth..

      • Anteros – when they logged Wisconsin’s forests in the 19th Century a large number of old-growth logs (large) sank to the bottom of one of the Great Lakes – either Superior or Michigan. They reclaim them now. It’s apparently cold enough to prevent decay, so the logs are in excellent condition.

        There are obviously some serious environmental issues on the table.

      • Fred & JCH –

        Thank you.

        The article you linked to is very interesting Fred – and exactly what I was thinking about [including the things I was 'missing'].
        More to ponder..

      • Rob, to me the imbalance of restrictive policies is the issue. It is easier for the US to outsource pollution than to deal with it because unrealistic regulation limits stifle creativity.

        Too many visionaries are near sighted.

      • P.E. Gas has been the peaking fuel of choice for decades.

        That is ending in the southern US, as more and more peaking power is coming from the pv panels. Price reductions in pv panels have changed the economics in places that are far from the natural gas sources.

      • Actually wood is a bad choice for large scale fuel use: It requires huge amounts of land and it burns dirty and it is common for wood burning to be inefficient, resulting in toxins and fire hazards.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_fuel

    • Now economic ruin is on the horizon for many countries that jumped heavily into this trap.

      Well there are a number of countries currently facing severe economic problems. I’d like to see your evidence that this is in some way due to investing in such “bad technology”.

      • Look at the example of Spain’s economy.

      • Spain indeed has huge problems. It’s absolutely nothing to do with investing in “bad technologies”.

      • Andrew

        I suggest that you are mistaken. Try doing a simple google search on “Spain investment in green energy”. http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2011/03/spain-credit-rating-down-graded-green.html#!/2011/03/spain-credit-rating-down-graded-green.html

      • Rob,

        That is hardly an authoritative source. It insinuates that the decision by Moody’s to downgrade Spanish debt is connected to its investments in green energy, but provides no actual figures to prove this. Moody’s certainly didn’t cite it as a factor.
        Spain’s two biggest problems are the weakness of its savings banks, which will require major recapitalisation, and a large structural budget deficit. Your article does not give any indication of how much green energy investments contributed to the latter, or any evidence that it contributed to the former at all. Certainly these problems are hardly unique to Spain.

      • andrew, that’s really inane. Spain like many of the EU are not rich countries anymore. For many reasons they both bought and sold the AGW anti-carbon party line that has so many central planning and socialist ties. Plenty of spitting at the U.S. involved as with much of the Kyoto subtext that never gets a proper discussion from Dr. Curry.

        AGW and “green tech” are hand in hand malinvestment and crony cultures. Many minions here wanted it and now THEY OWN IT (responsibility)! Subprime science leads to subprime investments. We should forget the big shots greens in Germany either, plenty of the whining about about the low EU countries and their debt excess it shouldn’t forgotten that the rich countries in the EU shoved much of this bogus “green investment” on countries like Spain. Not that isn’t plenty of self-directed stupidity in Spain all by itself.

        Again, it’s beyond just simple Euro’s. It’s the culture of central planning, every aspect of life that has dragged Europe into a negative birth rate. AGW cultish behavior and arrogance is a symptom of social rot and so was Kyoto. The damages go far beyond bad debts, over priced rubbish windmill and solar panels that are to become toxic waste.

        AGW, Kyoto, global socialism, central planning and cultural arrogance that are all over this board and reflected in your thinking are all linked. So are many of the parties of the great phony “science” debate. These are dots that aren’t that hard to connect. It’s offensive Dr. Curry continues to offer obfuscation of these relationships. It’s offensive warmers can’t connect the obvious failures (yes, it places guilt correctly on their shoulders) of Kyoto think to their inane goals. Of course Spain had no business buying overpriced crap sold from German and others including “green investments”.

        Talk about denial!

      • aa,
        denying that part of Spain’s problems are due to wasteful AGW policy demands is cowardly on your part.

      • randomengineer

        Well there are a number of countries currently facing severe economic problems. I’d like to see your evidence that this is in some way due to investing in such “bad technology”.

        Pournelle argues that had the US not gotten itself into 2 middle eastern wars and instead spent the exact same cash on building nuclear power plants, it would be energy independent. While investment into bad (better: “wrong”) tech isn’t the whole story, it’s certainly a major contributor. War or no war, windmills are a poor answer.

        And as much as I slam windmills these are not “bad” tech so much as used incorrectly. At present they present a problem in load balance and so on. If these were used in conjunction with reservoirs such that windmills were used to supply electrical to pump water uphill, final consumer electrical generation would be consistent (hydro) and the water functions as the energy storage mechanism windmills don’t currently have. Windmills are certainly a valid answer to the right question.

        As such the evidence isn’t so much as “bad tech” as it is poorly considered implementation.

    • Joe’s World: . Bad technology to produce power was heavily subsidized as the future.
      Now economic ruin is on the horizon for many countries that jumped heavily into this trap.

      Poor investment in technology has been a minor contributor to the problems of those countries. China is committing significant resources to alternative energy sources, more than either the US or the EU (which have larger economies overall) without the economic ruin of Greece or Spain — or the US if we have economic ruin.

      China has problems of its own — empty cities, empty bullet trains, awful pollution, increasing cancer rates from increasing cigarette smoking. I don’t want to take China as an example for the rest of us. But they illustrate the fact that investment in alternative energy technologies is not the biggest problem of the ruined economies.

      • China is committing significant resources to alternative energy sources, more than either the US or the EU (which have larger economies overall) without the economic ruin of Greece or Spain — or the US if we have economic ruin.

        Note that you said nothing about actually getting any benefit from it.

        A statement like that is useless without all the numerical detail. How much spent, how that positions them for export, what percent of the GDP is involved, etc. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but I’m certain that their investment, as a percent of GDP is nowhere near many of the EU countries. Penny stocks.

      • What I wrote was a denial that investment in alternative energy is necessarily entwined with economic decline, as was asserted in the comment that I quoted.

        As to economic benefits, the investments will produce cheaper and more plentiful energy supplies in the future. The only thing we don’t know is how far in the future.

        I’ll repeat an item that I put down below: the Boeing Dreamliner assembly plant in South Carolina will be powered by pv panels.

  31. I think Dr. Crusher Curry should do a post asking opinion about the best ways to dismantle the Global Warming Machine and junking the pieces.

    Andrew

    • Vit. T, for the Madness of the Crowd. Mebbe Vit. C, for the chill.
      ==================

    • Andrew,

      Exactly, she seem to enjoy being an enigma by hopping between camps. She needs the status quo divide to remain relevant. By throwing bones to the cult it also mitigates their ability to attack her and give them incentives to hope she might return to the “cause”. It’s hard to leave the greater leftist culture, friends, peers and family will often just abandon you. She might have many reasons for her fence sit, waffle act. She does get attention from both groups and in real terms it increases her impact. Dr. Muller and other try to play the same game but are even less convincing.

      Dr. Curry is a double agent until she recants the abusive political nature of what AGW was and is. The make-believe science details (abstractions)debate holds almost no interest as is greatly reflected on the many topics that are offered. All the threads end up on the same divides with the same distrust, AGW was and is always contrived to support a political culture Dr. Curry is sympathetic with at some level. How else do you give money to Obama?

      I know there is a class of leftist that are humiliated that the skeptics have science reason on their side and know, even if greatly surpressed, they have to concede at some point. People like Lomborg and Curry are trying to give them a way to save face and protect the co2 green fantasy but move from the front burner. Limiting damages and preserving their “expert’ authority and status. Saving the greens (left-wing) from themselves.

      The MSM and academic community will of course redact and memory hole the entire sorted AGW power grab affair longer term. The reference article is a perfect example of co2 disinformation, it reduces the credibility of Dr. Curry herself. No one has proved any impact of co2 on climate but their are a billion implied codes that assume that in our culture. So the whole business of co2 counting and footprints is propaganda at a fundemental level. If we review articles about what a filthy cabal orchestrated Kyoto; Greens, Anti-Americans on a global scale, Wealth redistributionists (communists) that might make a better informed discussion.

    • …best way to dismantle the Global Warming Machine…

      Shine a light on it.

      Max

      • PS I believe our host here is helping “shine the light” on the Catastrophic AGW Machine, but do not expect her to start bashing it (that will be someone else’s job, once the light has exposed it…)

        Max

      • manacker,

        That’s only step one.

        An Insider like Dr. Curry could probably tell us the best place to focus step two.

        But that would require some fortitude that Dr. Curry probably doesn’t have.

        Andrew

      • I kinda like Tibetan Tree Rings, you know, wisdom from the land of the lamas. Now, there’s a unifying theme.
        ================

      • That’s Dolly Llamas. The real llamas are in the Andes.

      • We have some real ones in England, but I don’t know why – they’re not very tasty :)

  32. It seems the collectivist AGW cult, as reflected in the acticle is clinging (bitterly as they say) to Kyoto fantasies of relevance. I know many held Confederate War Bonds in the same way until their death.

  33. For all of the rationing, central planning, doom mongering of Gail Tverberg you can try the links below. Paul Ehrlich meet Web hub, pure drivel results. Plenty of “peak oil” voodoo or is that doodoo?

    http://energybulletin.dev.postcarbon.org/authors/Gail+Tverberg

    http://energybulletin.dev.postcarbon.org/publishers/The%2BOil%2BDrum

    • randomengineer

      Translation: re being shrill, it’s worse than you thought.

      Does anyone *outside* the peak tinfoil brigade take their arguments seriously? If so I have yet to see it.

      • You have to wonder why Dr. Curry would link such a dubious source. Then again Dr. Curry never connects all the various Tin-foil hat groups associated to AGW belief systems.

        Perhaps we’ll get a Village Voice link next.

      • I will start to worry when the real skeptics start taking the oil depletion issue on. If Shermer’s site skeptics.com, or Randi’s site randi.org starts claiming it is pseudoscience, I will listen. Face it, this has nothing to do with crackpots or goblins or aliens, but just common sense when dealing with a finite resource. Too bad you find the ground truth like so much conspiracy.

        As it is, you guys are really amateur at skepticism.

      • randomengineer

        I will start to worry when the real skeptics start taking the oil depletion issue on.

        I’m sure that in your universe, one follows Eddie Izzard fashion wherein “real” sceptics have cards: “I’m a sceptic.” “Oh? Do you have a card?”

      • What I want to know is who died and made you mullah of energy? Do you also sit around and worry about when crackpot conspiracy theorists are going to run out of crackpot ideas? OMGPOINES, what are we going to do when the earth runs out of crackpot conspiracy theories? What are people like Web going to do when Area 51 runs out of aliens? OMGOMG, we’re running out!!!

      • If we address every related cousin fraud of AGW like peak oil, which many have already refuted here, even more electrons will be wasted. Go to your local Sierra Club and sit with other emaciated looking old men in matching plaid and stripe shirts with two inch thick glasses passing the time complaining about “BIG OIL” and “CORPORATIONS”. Most of whom have been on a government pension half of their lives and live in houses passed through five generations.

        I’m sorry Web Hub you are a social sterotype as so many on the board are. I can see now why you’re so attracted to sort of 70’s misery index redux, wage and price control, Jimmy Carter “age of limits” thinking of Gail Tverberg. Accept this thread topic as an early “Holiday” (as not to offend anyone) Gift of has-been thinking to your satisfaction.

      • Where Web is a nitwit is in his belief that the depleton of fossil fuel resources ties directly to AGW. It does not tie that closely.

      • Yes indeed, I own this space. I would love to have an intelligent conversation about stochastic models of oil reservoir sizing distributions, on dispersion of discovery rates, and on the comparative worth of heuristic models. I would also like to discuss the potentials of reserve growth, and hyperbolic versus exponential decline profiles and how they might relate to fracing well lifetimes.

        This is all stuff have picked up in researching the subject matter over the last several years. I have blogged and then written about this subject matter, premised on the quite revealing fact that no else does this kind of stuff apart from Gale and a couple other people that reside over at TOD (Foucher in Canada and Rutledge at Cal Tech are a couple of other characters that do this as a hobby). I assume this is so because all the petroleum engineers and geologists are too preoccupied with trying to make a living, apparently.

        Alas, you clueless gits figured that I am just some eco-left stooge that is trying to pawn off some socialist agenda. No, I find this subject area fascinating and am convinced that only by learning as much about our environment and our natural resources, will we be able to make headway in a future of guaranteed scarcity … And by scarcity, I mean scarcity of certain natural resources, not all.

        This is all very practical stuff. I don';t use any fancy physics. Mostly I just use first-order models and apply uncertainty in the form of random disorder and maximum entropy. Surprisingly this can explain a lot and I have been able to make some breakthroughs in applying these ideas to many different environmental models.

        It must fill you with uncontrollable rage that somebody is working this stuff out, and doing the equivalent of squatting on what you consider your personal private property. Boo hoo, I wrote my piece and it is in the can, and hopefully people can make use of it, even if it doesn’t happen to be you.

      • WebHubTelescope

        While your wording is rather strong I agree that there are too few true sceptics around the place.

        Of course there is no conspiracy; just poor science and a lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of those who remain unconvinced and who do not provide reasons for their position.

        I don’t think that I am any better either; just that I am prepared to admit my shortcomings and that I am committing to work harder in future.

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        The problem here is that you are the only guy who gives a monkeys about oil depletion. It may be your ever so favourite topic (like the iron sun and rotation are for others), and you may be ever so ever so clever at researching it, but you have never yet established any reason why the rest of us should care.

        You may get a great deal of satisfaction effectively writing

        ‘I know an awful lot about oil depletion and you don’t. What a clever boy am I’.

        But the rest of us just put you on scroll-by.

        Clue: There are many many questions to which the answer is NOT ‘Oil depletion and WHT is the absolute top whizz’, and only a few for which it is. You can usually identify them by having the words ‘oil’ or ‘depletion’ in them. Simples!

      • Web said, “I will start to worry when the real skeptics start taking the oil depletion issue on. ” Well, I guess you can start worrying once you change “oil” to “convenient energy source” which is a function of efficiency and cost. Global recessions tend to change political views and energy is political.

      • Latimer Alder cares more about the care and feeding of his sockpuppet than projections of energy supply.

    • cwon14,
      Tinfoil hat/Malthusian/Apocalyptic tipping points/peak anything are all just facets of the same lump of idiocratic mud. I wonder when Web will someday link 911 to peak oil and the VRWC of the Koch brothers?

  34. 1. The whole world is becoming richer, causing increasing energy consumption for industry and consumers.
    2. Growth of energy supply increases before efficiency increases — China’s new coal power plants will be dirtier than those when they can afford to make cleaner plants.
    3. Nuclear plant shutdowns, and lack of new ones, have increased CO2 emissions in otherwise cleaner regions.

    • AnonyMoose,
      Look at Germany parading around as if they are a green country, while they are shutting down nuclear power, increasing coal and wasting billions on solar in a country that suffers from a problem of geographic fate and has long dark winters.
      But Germans feel good about claiming they are green, and AGW is nothing if not feeling good about one’s relationship with things green.

  35. GED said the following at 4:12 PM on 6 Dec, 2011:

    “I invite you to move to a third world country, and see how you feel about cheap energy after that.

    The reality is, the environment is an extremely harsh place for human life. It is energy alone that mitigates that for us.”

    Dr. Jerry Pournelle is fond of saying, accurately, that “Cheap, plentiful energy is the key to freedom and prosperity.”.

    Invariably, the policies recommended by green organizations worldwide in general and by the Obama administration specifically act to inflate the price of energy and restrict its availability.

    Coincidentally.

  36. To Fred and Anteros:

    Thank you.

    I have asked similar questions on a variety of climate/science blogs the you are the FIRST TWO who have actually answered ANY of my questions with any substance.

    I am sure that you have noticed that I am probably even further toward the ‘It’s all a commie plot.” side of the argument (with what I consider to be perfectly adequate circumstantial evidence) than Anteros, but no matter my PERSONAL opinion, I think it is important that my questions, and a host of others, be answered BEFORE embarking on a massive disruption of the world’s economy with no idea as to whether our action will have any noticeable effect or, as suggested by the subject of this thread, will have undesirable ‘unintended consequences’.

    Thank you both again for taking the time to address them.

  37. Soewhat O/T, but the zero draft of the Paleo Chapter of AR5 is currently available from

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=IJ40UFBT

    • Paul in Sweden

      Budgeting 82 feet of toilet paper per student rear-end per month does not seem to me a particularly restrictive policy.

      • It could be said to be anally restrictive ;-)

      • Paul in Sweden

        Peter, I don’t want to go all two-sheet Sheryl Crow on you but 82 feet of toilet paper per student rear-end per month at school? How many times a day does a kid in Spain need to take a dump during the school day? What the heck are they feeding the kids to move them so much? :)

      • Paul, if they’re feeding those kids the same sort of diarrhoea-inducing nonsense they’re trying to feed to the rest of us, I would venture that 4 ft of loo paper per day isn’t nearly enough :-)

      • Paul in Sweden

        LOL :)

  38. “both world energy consumption and the CO2 emissions from this energy consumption were rising as fast as GDP for the world as a whole. This relationship is especially strange,”

    That should not be strange at all. For all practical purposes, a unit of GDP requires a unit of energy. To increase GDP by some percentage requires an increase in energy by the same percentage. There can be some “decoupling” temporarily as some efficiency is gained someplace. Say the conversion to CFL from incandescent bulbs drops the consumption back a bit, but then it continues to rise from there.

    If I grow apples and I wish to double my production I must cultivate twice a much land, pick and wash twice as many apples and make twice as many trips to market. Now the rest of the economy must store and ship twice as many apples and there is energy consumed in the preparation of twice as many.

    You can not increase your production of very much of anything without a corresponding increase in energy consumption. I first learned this back in the 1970′. A unit of GDP is equal to some unit of energy. If you hamstring a country for energy, you automatically hamstring their GDP growth. This is why China is quite happy to see CO2 limits on everyone but themselves until they get their nuclear infrastructure built up. They know that the West will not build nuclear so will hamstring themselves with wind and solar while China goes big with nuclear.

    These regulations limit the economic growth of Western economies while allowing what amounts to unlimited economic growth in China, India, Brazil, etc. It is global redistribution of wealth by creating the conditions where industry moves to where it can find the energy it needs to grow.

    • Bingo. I wonder if the claws will come out.

    • crosspatch and WHT

      Energy consumption and GDP are linked, but they do not move in lockstep.

      While both go up together and our current high standard of living is inexorably tied to our consumption of low-cost energy, GDP has increased at a greater rate than fossil fuel consumption (and CO2 emissions).

      This is because energy efficiency has increased, so we get more economic “bang” for our energy “bucks”.

      The industrially developed economies of this world achieve higher GDP per ton of CO2 emitted ($2,000 to 3,500) than the developing economies, such as China, India, Brazil ($500 to 800).

      You write that “industry moves to where it can find the [low cost] energy it needs to grow”, and this is certainly correct in part. It also moves to where it can find low cost labor or to where its markets are located.

      But there is no question that a supply of low-cost energy is essential for the developed nations/economies to continue their affluence/high standard of living and for the developing ones to achieve theirs.

      Governments that do not recognize this will eventually be voted out of office.

      Max

      • Energy consumption and GDP are linked, but they do not move in lockstep.

        While both go up together and our current high standard of living is inexorably tied to our consumption of low-cost energy, GDP has increased at a greater rate than fossil fuel consumption (and CO2 emissions).

        Didn’t you even read Gail’s article that was linked to this post? She includes a figure that shows how total energy is now lockstep with GDP in the USA.

        Look at the way the two track each other, right down to the glitch. At least graphically the two are in lockstep.

      • Web

        GDP is tied to energy consumption and not energy production in the US.

      • The funny thing is I actually agree with Web on many of his points about energy and economics. Where I disagree is Web’s apparent conclusion that ties the issue of cAGW to the ultimate decline in the availability of fossil fuels. I see no legitimate case that would indicate the world is at the point of “peak oil” now or will be for several decades.

        I agree with Web that a great case exists for the development of practical alternate forms of energy production. Imo many governments have moved to quickly to implement new forms of energy production before understanding the longer term problems associated with these new forms of energy. This has lead to a waste of taxpayer resources and a loss in the confidence of government to make wise decisions.

        There are means that the US government could handle this better by contracting with companies differently, but that is off the topic of this site and potentially boring for people here. The bottom line is that people frequently let their emotions get ahead of their logic on the topic and thereby make poor decisions.

      • I see no legitimate case that would indicate the world is at the point of “peak oil” now or will be for several decades.

        The world has been at a peak crude oil since about 2005. The official statisticians from the energy reporting agencies have done a deviously good job of HIDING THE DECLINE in crude oil production levels by maintaining a new category called All Liquids which includes biofuels, coal-to-liquids, assorted natural gas liquids, among other things. This HIDE THE DECLINE strategy is very easy to detect as all one one has to do is go to a reporting website, such as EIA, and select Crude Oil production instead of All Liquids production. Then you can see the decrease. The clever part is that All Liquids is left as the default.

        This is really all you need to know to understand the scramble for finding alternative energy paths and for exploiting lower grades of fossil fuel. The decline in crude oil is real and it is the main driver in risk reduction and mitigation strategies.

      • Web

        You are not at the point of peak oil when alternative sources of fossil fuel can still continue to be exploited to meet overall demand.

      • A better way of putting that is that there is an array of sources for any given need at any given time, and as the price of energy in general rises, the optimum mix shifts. I think where web is conceptually wrong is that he sees catastrophes (in the mathematical sense) in this dynamic, when there is both enough diversity of sources and uses that only a political act can cause a catastrophic outcome. Left to market mechanisms, the system will find an equilibrium at any time and place and use.

        Depletion doesn’t happen suddenly; the material gets harder and more expensive to extract. The market gets enough heads up to react. And the fact that “green” energy keeps stepping on its own willy every time its tried now says it’s not time yet. And in all likelihood never will be.

        Now if all the self-appointed smart people in the room will just shut up and go away, things will evolve. Just like Darwin said.

      • Web

        You are not at the point of peak oil when alternative sources of fossil fuel can still continue to be exploited to meet overall demand.

        Again, worldwide CONVENTIONAL CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION is past peak and will never return to the levels seen in 2005. This is now a foregone conclusion and isn’t like a global temperature that can reach a peak, drop down, and then reach a peak higher than before. It is the nature of a finite non-renewable resource that this happens, thanks to the fortuitous circumstances surrounding the formation of oil reservoirs, and our skill at finding and then exploiting them. Once produced, that’s it.

      • Depletion doesn’t happen suddenly; the material gets harder and more expensive to extract. The market gets enough heads up to react. And the fact that “green” energy keeps stepping on its own willy every time its tried now says it’s not time yet. And in all likelihood never will be.

        Of course, not many are going to lift a finger and read it, but I go though that diminishing return analysis in the book on my handle link above.

        This is actually a first because no one has actually gone through a non-heuristic mathematical analysis of how dispersive depletion happens. The sad fact is that you criticize me for attempting to do this, as if no one should do this like it was some fight club rule.

      • P.E. Left to market mechanisms, the system will find an equilibrium at any time and place and use.

        No market equilibrium has ever been observed in fact. If the theory of John Nash is to be believed (and everyone loves it), such an equilibrium can only exist in special circumstances, and those circumstances have never been observed in any economy.

      • No market equilibrium has ever been observed in fact.

        There is ample evidence that PE is at least partly correct — scarcity increases price which makes research/new capital investment/more marginal sources available, which mitigate scarcity.

        What he fails to appreciate is that this powerful adaptive characteristic of the market, beautiful in its own way, does nothing to address the problem of a negative externality, like greenhouse gas emissions. Economists have known that since Adam Smith all the way through to Hayek.

  39. It’s just amazing to me that anyone would be surprised at this outcome. How we ever convinced ourselves that wealth would not flow in the direction of cheapest energy is beyond me. Look around yourselves folks. You may earn your money performing “intellectual pursuits”, but what you buy with that money requires copious amounts of energy to produce.

  40. Welcome to Real World!

    GDP and energy consumption, i.e. CO2 emissions have always been closely correlated!

    Actually this is exactly why our flickering western economies cannot afford those nice and costly “mitigation policies” such as cap and trade etc. aiming at reducing CO2 emissions and thus limit energy consumption. They will very surely rush our world into a deadly spiral of economic decline, whose human and social impact will be much more dramatic than 1 or 2 additional °C

    Indeed the next question is “how Kyoto protocol may have interfered with and even generated the ongoing economic crisis?”

  41. Tverberg obviously isn’t an economist. As an economist, having read only the summary, I find nothing surprising or alarming about the facts that surprise and alarm her. Might add more if I read the full article and posts, but I suspect my broad response will be unchanged.

    • It takes some digging to find any biographical information on her, but she’s an actuary by trade with a math degree. That somehow seems like a pretty weak background for commentary on technology and economics. Then again, there are lots of dilettante technology whizzes out there, and they rarely have an engineering background.

  42. I have posted the following response at Our Finite World:

    As an economist, I find nothing alarming or surprising about your findings. I also think you fail to understand the nature of market economies and trade, with remarks such as “world industrial production has self-organized in a way that assigns different roles to companies operating in the three country groups I described above, as a way to minimize manufacturing costs. Over the long term, this particular version of self-organization cannot continue;” “The Remainder group has sought to …”; “The Southeast Asia group has chosen to …”; and “it was clear that signatory countries would want to limit energy-intensive manufacturing in their own countries.”

    Like climate, the world economy is a complex system which no country or group can control. Competition in many goods and services is global. To survive and grow, each firm must try to offer its customers a better deal than its competitors, while achieving profits which give a return on funds used at least equal (on a risk-adjusted basis) to alternative uses of those funds. The basis by which firms are competitive change constantly, as relative wages and prices change constantly in response to a great array of forces, forces which are almost always outside of the control of a particular firm or country.

    What you have observed is the outcome of many factors, some of which – like the 2008 US-Europe financial crisis – were difficult to predict, others which were more predictable, e.g. the shift of manufacturing to SE and NE Asia and the flow of mineral resources to those regions. It is not the outcome of conscious strategy by particular groups such as “Southeast Asia,” nor, by and large, is it the outcome of conscious strategy of any country, although to some extent the changes in China reflect government policy decisions.

    So to say that “none of the three groupings can continue its current strategy indefinitely” is nonsense. First, because there never has been any “group strategy.” Second, because no strategy can continue indefinitely in a rapidly changing world. Economists can understand some of the drivers of growth, they can make a good estimate of the impact of alternative policies, but they are very poor at forecasting – in part because forecasts must be based ion the continuation of existing relationships, and can not account for the unexpected changes or crises which inevitably occur. (In passing, the system is not as chaotic as climate, and no economist would dream of making the kind of long-range projections which some climate scientists do, nor, with rare exceptions, attempt to base policy on them.)

    We do not have an economic “system” such as you posit in your closing remarks, and never will. All attempts at central planning and direction have failed disastrously, while the undirected market system has produced unparalleled growth in incomes and living standards over the last 200 years. There is no “system” “taking things for granted,” the beauty of markets is that they respond to what is: if a good, resource or service is in short supply, its price will rise, firms will find ways to use less of it, will develop alternatives, will shift to producing something not using it, etc; if it is in excess supply, prices will fall, and firms will respond accordingly. While we do have some economic co-ordination through the WTO, IMF etc, there is no authority or group of countries – cf the EU’s eurozone crisis – which can develop and implement an over-arching system to address your concerns.
    ____
    Back at CE, I note that I never mentioned “Kyoto.” I think that this has been a minor element in the story. The main impact is that signatory countries have undermined the competitiveness of many of their own firms, thus accelerating changes which were likely to occur in any event.

    • I broadly agree with this. But there are a few facts to keep in mind:

      1. The utility of “central planning” depends upon how aggressively you want to identify even minor economic activity or regulation by governments as “central planning.” If you are using “central planning” in the traditional sense, in which the countries of the Soviet bloc tried to replace the price mechanism and the profit motive with central allocations of resources, that was a disaster. NAFTA, the WTO, free public education and universal healthcare — are of which could be considered “central planning” by the strict paleolibertarian use of the term — are by no means proven to be unsuccessful.

      2. Markets can work amazingly well, but no one who has ever seriously studied markets from Adam Smith to Hayek argues that they are perfect. They are constructs. They are subject to the mismanagement of unowned resources — the tragedy of the commons. So to say markets have generated great wealth is very true, but it does not mean that they don’t need to be regulated.

      3. You argue that “signatory countries have undermined the competitiveness of many of their own firms.” I don’t think that’s been shown, but even if you could demonstrate it, it may be worthwhile and necessary for the developed world to demonstrate a commitment to cutting emissions before they pressure other actors to do so. The developed world is responsible for most of the increase in CO2 to date, and has far larger resources with which to manage the transition to low-carbon energy. It is natural that they would “go first.” It’s time now to get the developing world on board in a serious way. That doesn’t mean Kyoto was a bad deal for the signatories. Many international agreements start small and grow, and the benefits of a global agreement dwarf the modest cost of some unilateral reductions in emissions.

  43. Paul in Sweden

    JC,

    Where are you?

    While this is entertaining, I would much prefer our commentary and moderation.

  44. Smurfitis…cause, over exposure to smurf’s.
    Man, my wife has a bad case of this for Christmas!

  45. Tomas Milanovic

    I am surprised that this person Gail Tverberg is suprised because all this trivia had been old news already some 2 000 years ago.
    Of course this obvious observation that production increases when energy input increases has been the engine of human evolution since the day when somebody realised that getting an animal to transport something is faster and more efficient than to transport it on one’s back.
    And if this somebody had had an idea what CO2 is, he would have also observed that he increased CO2 emissions as well :)

    All this has of course nothing to do with Kyoto – 99 % of the 7 billions of humans have no idea what Kyoto is and among the 1% the majority are Japanese who know that Kyoto is a town.

    There are no “regional strategies” and no “Southeast asian groups”.
    The segmentation is simply the one of growth – there are countries that are around 0 (Europe, USA &Co) and countries far above 5 (China,Brazil&Co).
    The former produce less and use less energy while the latter do the opposite.
    CO2 emissions are just a clumsy proxy for this reality that is known to every economist.

    If somebody would be interested in CO2, I can make a surprising prediction : Vietnam, Indonesia, Algeria and Argentina will significantly increase their CO2 emissions in the next years.
    I have chosen this example only to have a representant for every continent and because I know well all of these 4 countries – – it would not be difficult to complete this list with more examples.

    And even at the risk to shock and confuse Gail Tverberg still more, this will happen regardless or despite anything that some UN bureaucrats might say in Kyoto or Durban.
    Guess why?

    • Tomas –

      What you say is much too like common sense (ie uncommon) for many people to understand. They think that ‘treaties’ and ‘protocols’ and ‘targets’ can somehow change the fundamental realities of industry and economics. More than 20 years have passed since the first IPCC report and no fossil fuel is now left in the ground that would otherwise have been used.

      i predict that this situation will continue.

      However, it is true that money has been spent.

      But to criticise my own position here, the spending of quite a lot of money unwisely probably isn’t the end of the world, any more than a 0.7 degrees Celsius rise in temperature has been.

      • A, the effects of ‘spending a lot of money unwisely’ can be measured in the catastrophically disastrous present much more easily than the effects of a o.7 degree C rise in temperature, past or future.
        =======================

      • of course Kim, I agree with you. The comparison is apt.

        Howeverly, I don’t want the doomism and apocalyptics to infest my thinking. If the recession in Britain continues, there is a chance that everyone might get to be so poor they’re only three times as rich as their grandparents.

      • That isn’t the problem with permacession. The problem with permacession is that it creates insiders and outsiders. The ones with jobs have it fat, and the ones without are locked out. Living on the dole today may be more comfortable than being a professional 100 years ago, but you’re still untermenschen. And when it becomes a lifestyle, all kinds of other bad things happen.

      • Heh, here I am hassling Martha about the use of hyperbole on another thread and I cast ‘catastrophically disastrous present’ so lightly over the keyboard. True, it’s only ‘catastrophically disastrous’ for a few, or a few billion. We’ll get the numbers soon enough.
        =====================

    • Again, we had this piece of has-been co2 propaganda dropped here and even the moderator quickly left the room. Gail Tverberg talking about Kyoto as if it’s relevant is a sorry site. It isn’t even fun squishing the warm trolls with drivel like this as backdrop.

    • Your prediction looks good for this year. However, China, India, US. EU and maybe Brazil are expanding their non-fossil fuel power supplies faster (as percent of installed base) than they are expanding their fossil fuel power supplies. If this continues (which no one knows now, but there are no reasons why not) in 20 years they will all be getting more power from non-fossil fuel sources than fossil fuel sources.

      As a possible harbinger of things to come, South Carolina Electric and Gas has installed 2.6MW of pv cells on the roof of the Boeing assembly building in South Carolina. All or almost all of the power for assembling the Dreamliners there (assuming NLRB does not interfere) will come from solar power. Already in the US there are pv fabrication facilities that are partially powered by pv cells. An interesting milestone will be achieved when a pv fabrication plant is powered entirely by pv power.

      The energy return on energy invested is quite high for pv panels now, better than for energy from tar sands. I believe I read that it is about 17 to 1. Every cost associated with every stage of fabrication has been reducing, and will continue as laboratory improvements are worked into the mass-production process.

      Also, Indonesia has planted millions of salt-tolerant mangrove trees, and has planted oil palms on deforested area (some newly deforested, but most deforested in past years.) Along with their CO2 emissions increases they have substantial CO2 sequestration increases.

      We are in a position analogous to someone in the early 1930s ago trying to forecast a rosy future for trans-oceanic passenger and freight air transportation. It’s hard to tell what is realistic and what isn’t. But the argument that “they have a small share of the market now” is clearly misleading.

      • I appreciate your optimism which is sincere.

        Yes, the technology will improve in reliability efficiency and fall in cost. Not only does that make things easier but the progress in development is crucially important.

        The huge problem is in getting from here and now, to the future where an improved and more practical product is available. All those windmills and pv arrays will need to be replaced in 10 – 30 years with much improved devices. That means trashing all the items that are expensive to install now. That means expending and wasting the considerable energy required to install the current technology.

        The waste involved in ramping up incorporation of the current generation of devices wouldn’t be so bad, if such items were locally sourced and manufactured. Regrettably, demand for the technology would seem to strongly stimulate industrial development of the emerging economies. This has the unfortunate consequence of sharply increasing GHG emissions for the sake of slightly reduced emissions.

        This years holdouts are only China India and Brazil. How many years will it be until Bangladesh, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and other underdeveloped economies feel threatened by having their dream of a consumer economy made illegal?

        The emitters in the developed economies are not the problem. The real catastrophe is about what is to come when 500% more of humanity rushes impatiently ahead to industrialize.

      • One update: NLRB has dropped its action against Boeing in South Carolina (the plant was in operation, with the shutdown threatened for the future), following a salary negotiation in Washington that the union found satisfactory.

        My optimism is based entirely on recent industrial progress, and on recent laboratory reports. In the southern third of the US, new electricity generation for use in the daytime is cheaper from solar than from gas, in the areas that are not close to natural gas. I expect to see more companies following the example of Boeing.

        This has the unfortunate consequence of sharply increasing GHG emissions for the sake of slightly reduced emissions.

        The energy return on energy invested, for PV panels, is now such that a short-term emission of CO2 in manufacture is more than made up for by reduced CO2 emission for decades thereafter. As the PV manufacturers come to rely more on PV panels to power their manufacture, the problem you mention will be further reduced.

        The huge problem is in getting from here and now, to the future where an improved and more practical product is available. All those windmills and pv arrays will need to be replaced in 10 – 30 years with much improved devices. That means trashing all the items that are expensive to install now. That means expending and wasting the considerable energy required to install the current technology.

        That is not unprecedented: ocean liners (some of them new) were replaced by aircraft with piston engines which were in turn replaced by jet aircraft. (Miraculously, some DC-3s and DC-6s are still in service.)

        You can’t tell what future costs will be — that is one of my main points. The other main point is: recent experience is that costs of solar, wind and biofuels have been reduced whereas costs of fossil fuels have not been — natural gas prices have oscillated, but the recent reduction does not match previous lows because the extraction process is more expensive.

      • All those windmills and pv arrays will need to be replaced in 10 – 30 years with much improved devices. That means trashing all the items that are expensive to install now. That means expending and wasting the considerable energy required to install the current technology.

        One of the great advantages of a carbon tax is that it defers complex cost/benefit analysis — like exactly when to upgrade your infrastructure and how extensively — to the market.

        Levy a carbon tax and let individual investors and businesses decide when to turn evolving technologies into hardware.

      • @MattStat and @Robert

        I’m a sucker for people’s viewpoints and accept them as given.

        If you are correct about the developments being practical in their own right then their desirability will speak for itself and the GHG angle is moot. The situation couldn’t be better.

        Thanks for the follow up comments.

  46. Kyoto failed, as has every AGW initiative because the AGW movement is framing the issues and demanding solutions in ways that only work politically, and not in reality.

  47. As far as I can tell from diverse readings, the Kyoto Protocol had only a slight effect on the development of China, India and elsewhere, by providing a funding mechanism that in turn provided a tiny amount of the total financing of their growth. Ironically, some global companies received monetary credits for closing down factories in the EU and building less efficient (more highly polluting) factories in India and China. The “unintended consequences” of Kyoto, such as these, were not a large part.

    • Amazing how only slight stimulus encourages growth in developing economies. It used to be that the local bigwigs kept all the profits for themselves.

      Green energy seems to consume large quantities of “rare earth” elements. The recovery and refining of these elements is messy. It provides stimulus to lucrative 3rd world industry.

  48. News flash

    Canada, who represents less than 2% of global CO2 emissions today, has opted out of the Kyoto agreement.

    http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Canada+opts+Kyoto+pact+favour+voluntary+cuts/5817158/story.html

    Japan and Russia, which together represent a more meaningful 8%, have also indicated that they will not renew their commitment.

    China, which represents a fast-growing 21% today, never was part of the agreement, nor were Brazil and India, which represent 4% and 5% respectively and are also growing rapidly.

    The USA, with 17%, which is growing slowly, was also never part of the deal.

    Most of the other developing nations plus the largely industrially underdeveloped rest of the world never were part of the agreement, either. These represent 10% and 19% of the total emission today.

    That leaves the EU plus other European countries and Australia plus New Zealand, who represent 13% and 1%, respectively, who are still in, for a total of 14%.

    The Cancun session last year ended with a loose commitment to “keep global warming below 2°C by 2100”.

    This looks like a “slam dunk”, if one looks at the past warming since 1850 of 0.7°C (of which only a part in due to AGW) and the past increase from ~290 to 390 ppmv CO2 over the same time period.

    Using these data, and the IPCC model “scenario and storyline” B1, A1T, B2 or A1B, of CO2 increase to 584 to 706 ppmv by 2100 based on moderate economic growth, population growth leveling off at end of century (A1, B1) or continuously increasing global population (B2), respectively at between 9 and 10 billion and no “climate initiatives”, we arrive at between 0.9°C and 1.3°C warming to 2100.

    Even the IPCC worst-case “scenarios and storylines” A2 and A1F1, with CO2 increasing at close to twice the current exponential rate to 790 or 860 ppmv, respectively, would only get us to a warming of between 1.6°C and 1.7°C.

    IPCC has higher warming projections for these “scenarios and storylines”, of course (1.8°C to 4.0°C), but, the again, IPCC has based its projections NOT on the past actual observations, but on doubtful model-derived 2xCO2 climate sensitivity estimates.

    In summary:

    - It looks like we will be unable to cause 2°C or more warming from human CO2 emissions, no matter how hard we try (i.e. the “Cancun commitment” is a slam dunk).

    – It looks like the likely temperature increase from human CO2 by 2100 will lie in the range of 0.9°C to 1.3°C, all other things being equal

    – The past decade has shown us clearly that “all other things are NOT equal” (slight cooling due to natural factors despite CO2 levels reaching record heights).

    – Even the worst case scenarios of IPCC would only get us to 1.6°C to 1.7°C by 2100.

    – If the nations that are still signed up to Kyoto (14% of total CO2 emissions) were to shut down their carbon-based economies entirely, they would only theoretically be able to avert around 0.1°C to 0.2°C warming by 2100.

    So much for man’s inability (in real life) to control our plane’s climate and the delusional attempts to do so at Cancun and Durban.

    Max