‘All-of-the-above’ approach to energy policy

The U.S. energy revolution is not confined to a single fuel or technology: oil and gas production, renewable energy, and fuel-efficient automobile technologies all show great promise. To best position the country for the future, U.S. leaders should capitalize on all these opportunities rather than pick a favorite; the answer lies in ‘most of the above.’ – Michael Levi

Michael Levi has a new article in Foreign Affairs entitled America’s Energy Opportunity, subtitle How to Harness the New Sources of U.S. Power.  This essay is adapted from Levi’s recent book The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America’s Future.

The whole article is well worth reading, below are some excerpts:

The energy revolution is splitting Americans into two rival camps: one that is enthusiastic about the resurgence of oil and gas and another that favors renewable sources and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. The first camp typically rejects government support for renewables and advanced automobile technologies, warning that it wastes taxpayer money and threatens the country’s economic health. The second camp often opposes efforts to enhance U.S. oil and gas production, arguing that these fuels pose grave risks to the environment and could kill progress on clean energy.

Both camps raise important concerns, but each regularly overstates its case — especially when it claims that the other’s gains are intolerable. The truth is that the best way to strengthen the American economy, bolster national security, and protect the environment is for the country to take advantage of all the new energy opportunities. No single fuel or technology can solve the country’s problems: increased oil production will not free the United States from involvement in global petroleum markets, natural gas alone will not solve climate change, renewables remain expensive, and vehicles that do not rely on oil are far from being broadly economically competitive. The central challenge, therefore, is figuring out how to capitalize on all the new opportunities, which will require enthusiasts of different energy sources to start cooperating, or at least to stop fighting so bitterly. Leaders around the country, and particularly in Washington, need to adopt a most-of-the-above approach: carefully increasing opportunities for energy production of all kinds, while penalizing dangerous energy consumption that would worsen climate change and sustain U.S. dependence on oil.

Fortunately, the United States does not need to make a stark choice; it can take advantage of all the major changes under way in the energy world by pursuing a two-pronged strategy. First, Washington should expand and sustain opportunities for energy production across the board by reforming regulations and making investments in innovation. Second, in order to blunt broad economic, security, and climate risks, it should pursue an ambitious policy, focused on how the United States uses energy, that reduces U.S. carbon emissions and oil consumption.

[see original article for details of Levi’s proposals]

Some people will enthusiastically embrace every element of this agenda. But many others will take issue with one part or another. There will be concerns about the ultimate ends — particularly among people who think that climate change is unimportant or that Washington does not need to protect Americans from turmoil in world oil markets. More frequently, the two major camps will disagree about means, with one side intensely opposing new regulations on industry and additional government spending and the other just as forcefully rejecting any expansion of fossil fuel production. It would best serve both sides, however, to accept a broad approach rather than digging in and fighting narrowly for their ideal outcomes.

Coming around to that conclusion will require both sides to accept two facts. The first is that each has considerably more power to hinder its opponent’s agenda than to promote its own. Historically, opponents of fossil fuels have been successful in preventing large expansions of the federal land available to oil and gas development. More recently, opponents of fracking have waged campaigns that have put expanded use of that technology at risk. The opponents of renewables and fuel-efficient automobiles have been even more successful: they have thwarted serious climate legislation and mounted effective resistance to new government investment in energy innovation. Consequently, the alternative to a path that embraces a diverse set of developments is likely to be not victory for the fossil fuel enthusiasts or for the renewables and fuel-efficiency advocates but rather unending disputes that damage core interests on both sides.

The second fact is that compromise need not be fatal for anyone. People who are worried about climate change are right that unfettered fossil fuel consumption is unacceptable. But that does not mean that accepting some fossil fuel development would destroy their cause — in fact, in the case of natural gas, it would help. Meanwhile, those who are worried about state intervention in the economy are right to criticize inflexible and indiscriminate government regulations. But not all schemes to curb emissions or to protect communities from the downsides of energy development fit that bill. A most-of-the-above agenda would eliminate the genuine deal killers for each side, leaving a package that could deliver the essentials of what both want, take advantage of gains across the board, and avoid the risk of an extended battle that would devastate everyone and satisfy no one.

It would be foolish to expect either side in this decades-old fight to lead the charge for a most-of-the-above approach. It would also be unreasonable to ask the two sides to stop skirmishing over individual decisions, such as opening new areas to oil and gas development or establishing a carbon-pricing scheme. The burden of advancing this agenda ultimately rests with U.S. leaders. President Barack Obama has advocated an energy policy that, as his first term evolved, became increasingly consistent with this sort of approach, but there is much more work to be done. Using legislation and executive action, Obama and a core group of lawmakers should push forward with a most-of-the-above energy strategy. The result would be a stronger economy, a more secure country, and a safer planet.

JC comments:  I find this to be a very good article, and I was particularly struck by the following insight:

Each has considerably more power to hinder its opponent’s agenda than to promote its own.  Consequently, the alternative to a path that embraces a diverse set of developments is likely to be not victory for the fossil fuel enthusiasts or for the renewables and fuel-efficiency advocates but rather unending disputes that damage core interests on both sides.

692 responses to “‘All-of-the-above’ approach to energy policy

  1. Why is it so many people frame the question exactly backwards and never get called on it?

    Let’s try some of these excerpts again, with a little tweaking:

    The failure of ‘cheap energy’ is splitting Americans into two rival camps: one that is enthusiastic about needless subsidy of oil and gas and another that sees without fossil subsidies renewable sources and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks come out ahead in the Market. The first camp typically demands government support except for renewables and advanced automobile technologies, scaremongering ironically that fair market Capitalism wastes taxpayer money and threatens the country’s economic health. The second camp often opposes efforts to subsidize U.S. oil and gas production, arguing that these fuels and their grave risks to the environment shouldn’t get a free ride on the back of the taxpayer.

    ..

    The truth is that the best way to strengthen the American economy, bolster national security, and protect the environment is for the country to take advantage of all energy opportunities in a fair and unsubsidized Market with no legislative favoritism shown to any one industry. No single fuel or technology can solve the country’s problems: increased oil production will not free the United States from involvement in global petroleum markets and will not be attractive to consumers without subsidies, natural gas is a fickle and unpredictable commodity, renewables drop so rapidly in price as technology advances that investing in these infant industries is dicey due obsolescence, and vehicles that do not rely on oil are at a disadvantage from being broadly economically competitive against the legislatively favored more expensive old guard. The central challenge, therefore, is figuring out how to desubsidize all the old failures, which will require enthusiasts of different energy sources to lose the power to lobby for tax money. Leaders around the country, and particularly in Washington, need to adopt a less fossil subsidy approach: don’t give tax money to established industries, and administer a fee on carbon emission with 100% of dividends to citizens through payroll and tax refunds, at a level set by the Law of Supply and Demand.

    Everything else is the same thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.

    See how much cleaner, more practical, smaller government, lower cost, and faster my version is?

    • The truth is that the best way to strengthen the American economy, bolster national security, and protect the environment is for the country to take advantage of all energy opportunities in a fair and unsubsidized Market with no legislative favoritism shown to any one industry.

      I do agree with this!

    • administer a fee on carbon emission with 100% of dividends to citizens through payroll and tax refunds, at a level set by the Law of Supply and Demand.

      I strongly disagree. This does show legislative favoritism. It totally does show legislative favoritism. You contradict yourself.

    • Gas and Oil companies were three of the top 10 federal income tax payers last year. Exxon alone paid $31 billion in federal income taxes last year, Chevron $20 billion and Conoco $8 billion. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/03/17/companies-paying-highest-income-taxes/1991313/
      There are subsidies and then “subsidies.” Renewables get cash, fossil fuels pay cash. This is because one of those energy sources works and the other not so much.
      But by all means, list the “subsidies” you wish to eliminate along with the affect on the price of energy as well as the impact on AGW and we’ll put it up for a vote.

      • I’ve read that more than half of the subsidies that go to oil companies goes into supporting biofuels. If so, I suspect the oil companies would not squeel too loudly in they should end.

      • That Exxon tax is on $78.73 billion in declared 2012 profit. Heaven only knows how much there is in the Cayman Islands, etc. They don’t need our help.

      • ExxonMobil income tax expense:

        31 billion: 3.6 USA plus 27.4 non-USA = 31 billion

      • JCH

        Exxon-Mobil contributes $3.6 billion in US taxes.

        Not bad. A sizeable chunk.

        Especially when compared with GE, who pays no federal taxes. (But then again, GE CEO,Jeffrey Immelt was President Obama’s economic advisor.)

        Max

      • They imply they pay about 35% on the US income. It looks like they do.

    • Bart, I’ll read the full article after breakfast, but at first sight I’ll go with your version.

    • There are some phrasing problems for me, but if the end result you seek is that of your final sentence, I’m on board.

    • Your version makes no f&#&*#*#’n sense.

    • Bart, which one of these does not belong:
      1. A new refinery in Texas lowers gasoline prices in the region.
      2. A flooded gold mine in Canada causes a spike in gold prices.
      3. The US places a tariff on Chinese solar panels causing the price of panels in the US to go up.
      4. John \D. Rockefeller shuts down his Pittsburgh refineries causing Tom Scott to lose half the value of his railroad.

    • jim2 | May 22, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

      Last week a Frenchman committed suicide at the altar of Notre Dame Cathedral, as holy a site in catholicism as a Frenchman’s beliefs can conceive, and as obscenely self-damning as you can get in the French version of the Bible, because he wanted to protest same-sex marriage laws by burial in unhallowed ground — which is not easy to get in France — and burning in French Hell for all eternity.

      Now, I’m sure, to him, it made perfect sense in some way.

      But the reasoning that got you from what I wrote to what you concluded? That escapes me entirely.

  2. what too few players in the usually zero-sum world of energy politics embrace — is that the best future lies in capitalizing on all the new developments.

    The future lies in capitalizing on all the new developments.

    But in the years since, coal use has dropped sharply, and even more significant, cheap natural gas has scuttled plans to build new coal-fired power plants, which are no longer economically competitive.

    Does this mean the EPA was simply shooting a dead horse?

    Congress and regulators should also consider requiring that new automobiles be capable of accepting biofuels and methanol (a fuel that can be synthesized from natural gas and plant material) in addition to gasoline or diesel.

    Typical left-wing ignorance. Methanol is a poison of a different breed than gasoline or ethanol.

    The second fact is that compromise need not be fatal for anyone. People who are worried about climate change are right that unfettered fossil fuel consumption is unacceptable. But that does not mean that accepting some fossil fuel development would destroy their cause — in fact, in the case of natural gas, it would help.

    It would be fatal for those whose agenda is not about carbon.

    • The idea that anyone would believe that methanol is a substitute for gasoline shows how far we have ventured into madness.
      A nasty, corrosive, hygroscopic, toxic liquid that can’t be used in existing water float storage facilities, that require the complete rebuilding of engine fuel supply components and, when burnt, generates formaldehyde and formamide.

      • And it’s just methane with a substantial amount of the energy already drained from it (by partial oxidation).

      • And it’s just methane with a substantial amount of the energy already drained from it (by partial oxidation).

        Well, that depends. If it’s gotten from direct bio-synthesis, it’s just CO2 that didn’t get reduced all the way. If it’s gotten from destructive distillation of wood (cellulose and lignin), it’s somewhere between the reduction level of cellulose and lignin. Only if it’s manufactured by 19th century chemical processes is it methane with part of its energy wasted.

      • So you’re going to run our vehicle fleet by pyrolizing our forests?
        Also, the important bioprocesses I know of generate ethanol not methanol. Either way we don’t have the land to fuel our fleets. 40% of our corn crop is already going to put just the 10% of ethanol into our gas tanks.

      • @Tom in LA…

        So you’re going to run our vehicle fleet by pyrolizing our forests?

        Actually I was thinking of agricultural waste. Corn cobs, etc.

        Also, the important bioprocesses I know of generate ethanol not methanol. Either way we don’t have the land to fuel our fleets.

        You see, your problem is you’re thinking in terms of today’s technology. Think cheap solar energy, somewhere in the desert a long way away. Use it to hydrolyze water, and feed the hydrogen into some bio-synthesis process. The one I’ve looked most closely at is methane.

        However, there are similar “bacteria” (actually archaea) that convert hydrogen and CO2 to acetate, formate, methanol (IIRC), and other things. With a little more gene-surgery, it should be possible to feed hydrogen directly into the Calvin cycle, producing glucose, or pyruvate, or even ethanol.

      • But, AK, its such a waste to go through methanol. Just generate the H2 and use it in jet engines, fuel cell vehicles, any place where you would use methanol or methane and you don’t even involve carbon!
        Build wind farms way over capacity to overcome intermittency then use any excess electricity to generate electrolytic H2 to run heat engines when the wind is low and to run transportation.
        You are really onto something with H2.

      • So all we need to solve global warming is a limitless supply of hydrogen. Who guessed it would be so simple.
        I will be in the stable for a couple of hours as I have to muck out the Unicorns.

      • DocMartyn,
        What do you not understand about electrolytic H2 from renewable electricity?

      • So all we need to solve global warming is a limitless supply of hydrogen. Who guessed it would be so simple.

        limitless. supply of hydrogen.

      • @Tom in LA…

        But, AK, its such a waste to go through methanol. Just generate the H2 and use it in jet engines, fuel cell vehicles, any place where you would use methanol or methane and you don’t even involve carbon!

        I doubt we’ll have the technology for using hydrogen down to maturity by 10 years from now. And I’ve never advocated using methanol. But methane technology is already mature, with the developments in recovery of sea-floor methane hydrates we can expect massive investments in methane technology over the next decade, and converting hydrogen to methane will allow the next decade’s technology to be put together out of stuff we already know how to do.

      • Peter Lang

        DocMartyn,

        Dead right. And there is an excellent article by Bjorn Lomborg on just that

        Harvesting forests to reduce fossil fuels the next big boondoggle

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au//opinion/columnists/harvesting-forests-to-reduce-fossil-fuels-the-next-big-boondoggle/story-fni1hfs5-1226646298253

      • AK, The references you supplied look interesting. Accepting your 10-year horizon, it’s not such a long time. Once technologies become entrenched (as we well know from fossil fuels) those structures fight for their own dominance. That’s why I worry about stop-gap technologies getting too much of a foothold. Why not just fight for the renewable electricity and carbon-free fuel?
        Fortunately “transitional” natural gas is not likely to have that problem because fracked wells probably won’t have very good lifetimes.

      • AK;
        Regarding clathrate methane, I know they’re trying some pilot scale production from ocean floor methane hydrate, but it’s hardly a mature technology. We’ll have to wait and see how they do.

      • @Tom in LA…

        Fortunately “transitional” natural gas is not likely to have that problem because fracked wells probably won’t have very good lifetimes.

        You haven’t been keeping up, Tom. Fracking is transitional to sea floor methane hydrate. (I’ve been waiting for our hostess to do the promised post on this subject, but it seems to have gotten stuck in moderation.)

        This means investment in methane using technology will be wild for 2-3 decades. However, the cost of getting methane hydrate off the ocean floor just isn’t (IMO) going to drop as fast as the cost of solar hydrogen. Thus, my investigation of what it would take to convert that hydrogen, along with CO2 dragged from the air, into methane. IMO the cost of “bio-methane” will probably drop below that of sea-floor mining in 1-2 decades, after which we can see a fairly rapid conversion to renewable energy.

        Of course, using CO2 dragged from the atmosphere will, in turn, drive R&D for carbon capture of various types, which will end, IMO, in drawing down atmospheric CO2 to pre-industrial levels. This comment is partly farce, but highlights the very real risk I see of an economic overshoot.

      • @Tom in LA…

        I think some of our comments crossed in the mail. My approach is to use (or rather to observe that people will use) the synergies of CO2 capture and cheap hydrogen to establish a methane-based distribution system. The approach has a lot to recommend it, including that it will eliminate the need for long-distance electrical distribution (without having to wait for maturity in hydrogen technology), it will drive a carbon-capture system that can also be turned to creating food, clothing, construction materials, and liquid fuels, which last, in turn, means that existing hydrocarbon-based technology can become “renewable” without any real conversion.

      • AK
        The implications of your last comments are too far reaching to discuss here, but I will make a comment or two.
        Your reference on seabed methane harvesting has no technical details, not have any of the other articles on the Japanese work that I have seen. What I have seen suggests that there are serious questions about scaling up to bulk production.

        I doubt that any technology to harvest atmospheric CO2 can possibly be of a scale that will actually have a measurable effect on CO2 levels.

        Why reduce CO2 to generate petroleum based feedstocks? All we have to do is stop burning petroleum and gas!

      • AK,
        From Tom in LA: “Why reduce CO2 to generate petroleum based feedstocks? All we have to do is stop burning petroleum and gas!”

        Let me beat you to it : Like THAT’S going to happen!!

        But seriously, If you are concerned about green house gases (if you are not, you can stop reading) methane is no better than coal because of the leakage of methane directly into the atmosphere from wells, pipelines, any where there is a joint or a transfer. Imagine the amount of methane that is likely to be spilled into the atmosphere by mobile harvesting of benthic methane. Over a twenty year period methane is 60-something times worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2. We need to get away from ALL fossil fuels.

      • @Tom in LA…

        Why reduce CO2 to generate petroleum based feedstocks? All we have to do is stop burning petroleum and gas!

        Several reasons. First, it leverages a major investment in methane transport and storage. Second, it takes advantage of synergies between energy storage and transport and the need to ultimately draw down CO2 to pre-industrial levels. By making a very large “cultural” investment in carbon capture and methane production, we encourage the ongoing development of such technology, so that ultimately it’s very cheap. Personally, I think there’s going to be overshoot, but stopping burning fossil fuels isn’t enough. Until the atmosphere is down to a level closer to where it was before the Industrial Revolution, there remains the risk of touching off some sort of eco-catastrophe. Not a really major risk, but why not focus on a technology path that will address it? It’s not as though it won’t happen anyway, but why not go ahead and use mature technology, rather than wait until hydrogen is “shovel ready”?

      • @Tom in LA…

        […] methane is no better than coal because of the leakage of methane directly into the atmosphere from wells, pipelines, any where there is a joint or a transfer.

        Well, that’s what I thought, but Mosher says it’s not an issue. I forget which thread he said it in, but he said he’d try to have somebody publish his numbers (I forget who). Till I see those numbers, I’m not going to (possibly) waste my time looking into bio-remediation possibilities. They do exist though, I posted some links a while back.

        You say methane is 60 times worse, using your numbers leakage would have to amount to 1/60 of the amount burned to be an equal problem. I could certainly see how it might be 2 orders of magnitude smaller than that, pending real numbers. And, as I said, the potential exists for wrapping some sort of low-diffusion bio-capture system around any joint that actually could leak. (AFAIK most connections are soldiered, which would essentially eliminate leaks.)

      • AK,
        I seem to recall numbers saying that leaked gas was several percent of that burned, but I need to go back a check. Numbers are available just for the differences between gas pumped into municipal distribution systems and that metered at the consumer. I have that number for Boston but can’t find it right now. My recollection is of being surprised at its size.

        It’s been enjoyable interacting with you.

      • @Tom in LA…

        It’s been enjoyable interacting with you.

        Same here. I suspect I haven’t convinced you I have any idea what I’m talking about, but I’m confident anybody familiar with biochemistry would. They might not agree with me, but they’d recognize I’m working from an understanding of how cells, and the chemical processes within them, work.

      • +10

      • Peter Lang

        Tom in LA said:
        @ May 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        That’s why I worry about stop-gap technologies getting too much of a foothold. Why not just fight for the renewable electricity and carbon-free fuel?

        And
        @ May 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

        Regarding clathrate methane, I know they’re trying some pilot scale production from ocean floor methane hydrate, but it’s hardly a mature technology. We’ll have to wait and see how they do.

        Why do you argue we need to “wait and see” for clathrates but advocate renewable energy.

        Non-hydro renewable energy is uneconomic and not likely to be economic in the foreseeable future, if ever.

        It also cannot make more than a very small contribution to meeting our energy needs.

      • Peter Lang;
        By saying we need to wait and see about benthic clathrate methane I only mean that research is ongoing and, as far as I can tell, it’s not clear that scale-up will work. I don’t mean we should delay research.

        Wind, photovoltaics, and concentrated solar are sufficiently mature to deploy so we don’t need to wait to begin scaling them up. They are not as expensive as you imply and their prices continue to come down, with wind in particular already being economically competitive.

        2009 Total system levelized cost $/MWh for electric plants entering service in 2016
        (source: EIA, Annual Energy Outlook 2011)

        Conventional coal 94.8
        Conventional combined cycle natural gas 66.1
        Advanced nuclear 113.9
        Wind 97.0
        Wind offshore 243.2
        Solar PV 210.7
        Solar thermal 311.8

        The above numbers include application of established capacity factors (34% for wind) and include estimated transmission investment.

        I haven’t included the figures for geothermal or hydro because their potential for expansion with existing technology and availability, respectively, is nil. Biomass is not mentioned because I don’t believe it is likely to play a major role. (These are my assessments, not the EIA’s.).

        The last three in the above list clearly need substantial further development, but wind is quite competitive. Significant levels of wind power can be used for base load when a number of geographically dispersed wind farms are connected on the grid. Further reduction in intermittency problems can very beneficially be obviated by installing significant wind overcapacity and then using the productive periods to generate electrolytic hydrogen gas. This gas can be used for transportation and/or to run turbines for electric generation during quiescent wind periods.

        I hope this gives you some idea of what I was thinking, Peter.

      • Peter Lang

        dcflood,

        Thank you for your response. Yes it does give me a better understanding of what you meant. However, I disagree with you that wind is economic. None would be built if it was not for the subsidies and the fact in many grids it is mandated as ‘must take’.

        I doubt wind and solar will be economic in the foreseeable future or ever. They certainly are not baseload and are not dispatchable.

        The reason they are not economic is that they need back up. That is not included in the IEA LCOE figures you quoted.

    • David L. Hagen

      AT
      Requiring any liquid fuel flex vehicles will break the petroleum monopoly and open the way for cheaper alternative transport fuels.

      DocMartyn
      Try addressing reality, not alarmist overstatements.
      Methanol was the fuel of choice for race cars before political correctness switched to ethanol. See Methanol Fuel

      A seven-car crash on the second lap of the 1964 Indianapolis 500 resulted in USAC’s decision to encourage, and later mandate, the use of methanol.

      Nobel prize winner George Olah wrote Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy

      China is rapidly transitioning to methanol as fuel for cost and strategic national interests. See: China’s Growing Methanol Economy

      In less than a decade, methanol use in China’s transportation sector grew from virtually zero to replacing nearly 8% of the country’s gasoline requirement.

      Sure drinking methanol will kill you. So will drinking gasoline.
      We need proper education and the death penalty for selling methanol to drink.
      Fuel shortages will equally cause the economy to drop causing unemployment and leading to starvation. See North Korea’s great famine precipitated by cutoff of cheap fuel and tractor parts from the USSR, compounded by bad weather.

      from 1994 to 1998. Estimates of the death toll vary widely. Out of a total population of approximately 22 million, somewhere between 240,000 and 3,500,000 people died from starvation or hunger-related illnesses, with the deaths peaking in 1997.

      • From the linked article on methanol:

        Very little data is available on how and why methanol policy and programs ended in the United States.

        Perhaps because it’s so poisonous? I know it’s used in race cars, but the economics of fueling a race car, like a jet plane, are different from those in regular passenger cars. For instance, the gas station where I usually buy my fuel recently removed the suction devices on their hoses, so leaking fuel goes straight into the air. Some of it into my lungs. IMO we’re just not ready for the sort of vapor control during fueling of passenger cars that would be necessary for methanol to be safe. China’s going to find that out the hard way.

        Of course, to be fair, it could have been the influence of the corn-to-ethanol lobby. Or partly.

      • Or perhaps the reason is something like this.

      • George Olah wants to generate methanol by reduction of CO2. Just how ridiculous this idea is thermodynamically is hard to overstate.

      • @Tom in LA…

        George Olah wants to generate methanol by reduction of CO2. Just how ridiculous this idea is thermodynamically is hard to overstate.

        AFAIK it’s not out of line with other processes. Especially starting with solar hydrogen. It may be wasteful of energy, but real economics involve a lot more than just energy. As witness so many current processes involving hydrocarbons.

        And it wouldn’t be bad at all in a bio-reactor. The reduction of CO2 with hydrogen is just downhill enough to drive extraction of the CO2 (bi-carbonate) from alkaline water. The real problem, IMO, is that methanol is poisonous. Why try to build a world economy around handling a poisonous material when methane technology is mature, methane is non-poisonous and not too bad in terms of combustion?

      • AK. Please see my comment above about H2. Screwing around with CO2 as an anthropogenic fuel source is fundamentally a loser.

      • Screwing around with CO2 as an anthropogenic fuel source is fundamentally a loser.

        Using atmospheric CO2 to produce methane or other fuels will almost certainly turn out to be a winner.

      • Peter Lang

        David L Hagen,

        “Try addressing reality”

        Biofuels cannot make a significant contribution to world demand for transport fuels, now or in the future. It is another boondoggle.

      • Peter Lang, “Biofuels cannot make a significant contribution to world demand for transport fuels, now or in the future. It is another boondoggle.”

        Sure they can, just not standard agriculture based biofuels. There are several algae varieties that can do the job, but it would be more of a metropolitan waste management project or desert wasteland type project. Just like solar though, new break through tend to reduce desire to jump in head first when your investment can literally turn into crap.

      • AK:
        “Using atmospheric CO2 to produce methane or other fuels will almost certainly turn out to be a winner.”

        Meet you here in 15 years and we’ll see who was right. :)

      • Capt Dallas,

        There are several algae varieties that can do the job, but it would be more of a metropolitan waste management project or desert wasteland type project.

        Just so I can get my head around what you are advocating, can you tell me what area would be required to produce the world’s transport fuels, both current and projected future demand? How do you know? What has been done and proved so far (regarding the area required)?

      • David L. Hagen

        AK
        Drinking methanol, gasoline, and ethanol would all be poisonous, just in different degrees.
        Methanol is the most efficient liquid fuel.
        It could be converted to DME or gasoline for additional expense.

        Just look at replacement fuels from an thermo and economic point of view, not political correctness of “mitigating” climate – when more CO2 is obviously beneficial for agriculture.

      • @David L. Hagen…

        Drinking methanol, gasoline, and ethanol would all be poisonous, just in different degrees.

        Who’s talking about drinking? I’m talking about absorbing vapor through your lungs while refueling. Gasoline isn’t poisonous enough for this to matter, methanol (AFAIK) is.

        Methanol is the most efficient liquid fuel.

        Actually, for its weight, it’s less energy efficient than ethanol or gasoline. Not that that really matters, the issue is economics. Large-scale handling of methanol or methanol-rich fuels is new technology, for which nobody is trained and equipment has to be installed, and mistakes carry a much larger risk of poisoning.

      • captD,

        RE: “There are several algae varieties that can do the job”

        A couple of months ago at my dept alumni dinner, the guest speaker was a grad who is now with the Energy Biosciences Institute. Her presentation was easily one of the most interesting I’ve seen at his annual event. Dr Youngs was obviously optimistic about biofuels. However one of the comments that stuck with was something to effect that algae based biofuels are a waste of time. (I believe biodiesel was another.)

        EBI is a joint venture run by University of California and Unversity of Illinois and funded by grants from the US Govt and BP. You can find out more at http://www.energybiosciencesinstitute.org

      • @timg56…

        Dr Youngs was obviously optimistic about biofuels. However one of the comments that stuck with was something to effect that algae based biofuels are a waste of time. (I believe biodiesel was another.)

        From their website:

        Pond Scum As Biofuel? Researchers Explore Algae As Green Energy

        Turning the Leaf into a Biodiesel Factory

        Algal biofuels a $50bn industry

        Perhaps the opinion wasn’t unanimous.

      • AK,

        Did you read the part about water requirements in the first article linked to?

      • David L. Hagen

        AK

        Ethanol causes substantial death rates, up to 25/100,000/year in El Salvador.

        It appears methanol is normally metabolized in small doses. Problems occur with high injestion.

        For methanol hazard details see the EPA’s IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol (Non-Cancer) (2011 External Review Draft)
        Compare CDC- ATSDR’s:
        Toxicological Profile for Automotive Gasoline, June 1995, CAS#: 8006-61-9

      • @timg56…

        Did you read the part about water requirements in the first article linked to?

        Yes, I did. But I didn’t really worry about it because my focus is farther out. What I thought about was floating algae ponds at the mouths of rivers, using water that otherwise would go into the sea. Although, for drier regions, you could use the waste heat from concentrating solar power plants to distill sea water and use it for algae ponds.

        Or develop types of algae that could grow in salt water.

    • DocMartyn:
      What do you not understand about electrolytic hydrogen from renewable electricity?

      • Tom in LA

        “Electrolytic hydrogen from renewable electricity?”

        Very costly as an energy source.

        Better bet: go after that shale gas.

        Max

      • Max, “Very costly as an energy source.” that depends on how much energy you are wasting. It is better to bet something than nothing and transportation fuels fetch a higher price. Of course, hydrogen is a bit of a PITA to store, some Urea and Ammonia are two of the forms of storage that may gain some ground. Fuel cells are the best way to use the hydrogen and their cost is coming down. Last I saw about $1000 per kw.

      • OK Tom, so all you need is water, sulfuric, DC current and electrodes with a huge surface area. These are typically platinum or a platinum alloy. However, the pixies develop us a carbon nanotube based system so you don’t need noble metals.
        Hurrar, you now a cheapest form of hydrogen gas, so now you need to store it, so compress it.
        Now that CO2. CO2 is at 400 ppm. How much air do you need to scrub to get a ton of carbon?
        The density of air at ordinary atmospheric pressure and 25°C is 1.19 g/L. and CO2 is 0.004% or 109 million liters of air contains one ton of carbon.

        The United States consumed about 134 billion gallons of gasoline per day in 2011.

        There are 2.43 Kg’s of carbon per gallon, so that is 326 million tons of carbon burned as gasoline, per day. So that would be the same amount of carbon found in 35,534 cubic kilometers of air, per day, for the USA

        You could site you big air sucking machines by bird sanctuaries as the environmentalists don’t seem to care about green energy solutions killing birds.

      • @DocMartyn…

        However, the pixies develop us a carbon nanotube based system so you don’t need noble metals.

        ‘Artificial leaf’ gains the ability to self-heal damage and produce energy from dirty water

        Earlier devices used rare, costly metals and other materials, involved complicated wiring and were expensive to manufacture. But Nocera’s artificial leaf uses less-expensive materials and incorporates a design — a so-called “buried junction” — that is simple and would be inexpensive to mass produce. And the leaf has advantages over solar panels, which are costly and produce energy only during daylight hours. The leaf’s hydrogen and oxygen, in contrast, can be stored and used at night.

        As for air capture:

        So that would be the same amount of carbon found in 35,534 cubic kilometers of air, per day, for the USA

        One cubic Km of air, moving a 25 m/sec (~50mph) would require 462.962962962963 square meters of intake space. (Call it 463). Assuming the intake is 3 meters (10 ft) high (a similar amount off the ground) it would be a little under 155 meters wide. (Call it 500 ft).

        Let’s say each capture station is a mile wide, you would need a total of under 3600 of them. Assuming you separate each capture station from the next by 3 miles (5 Km), you’re talking about a square only 100 miles on a side.

        Of course that’s only to balance fuel use in the US. Actually drawing down the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels would take much more. But your numbers don’t add up to much when we look at them.

      • DocMartyn,
        You are confusing me with “AK.” I don’t want harvest CO2 and reduce it. I just want to use H2 directly.
        Yes, noble metals are a concern. One reference where material needs for global energy production have been addressed is:
        Energy Policy, 39, 2011, 1154-1169, and 1170-1190

      • Ak, so you suck air into your station, then remove the CO2.
        What sort of efficency are you going to have on removal?
        Are you going to run it up a tower with saturated hydrxide sprayed on to it?
        How you going to get the CO2 to partition into an extraction medium and then get the CO2 out of the medium?
        How much energy and water are you going to use for carbon capture?
        Why do you think plants never went for the H2/O2 splitting route?

      • @Tom in LA…
        @DocMartyn…

        Hurrar, you now a cheapest form of hydrogen gas, so now you need to store it, so compress it.

        Now that CO2. CO2 is at 400 ppm. How much air do you need to scrub to get a ton of carbon?

        I actually created a picture of the process I envision, based on modifying existing technology from Carbon Engineering. See my comment to Steven Mosher.

      • I do hope that it works out this way AK. Not only will we be able to reverse the effects of all the excess CO2 we have added to the atmosphere, but AK’s Carbon Engineering approach will provide sufficient fuel, food, and shelter for everyone on the planet. As a result, this will also reverse the Pareto principle of wealth inequality and allow AK to reach his vision of the socialist ideal.

      • @DocMartyn…

        Why do you think plants never went for the H2/O2 splitting route?

        Actually they did. NAD (also NADP) is equivalent to H2, and there’s even a bunch of enzymes that catalyze the conversion. Both ways. Methanogens use it to convert hydrogen and NAD+ to NADH, at very low pressures compared to what comes out of the artificial leaves. The reaction energy of reducing CO2 is sufficient to drive the extraction of CO2. In wild creatures, it’s sufficient for them to live on, as well as drawing down the H2 pressure so far that symbiotes can live on what would normally be an uphill reaction that creates H2. See my comment to Steven Mosher, as well as the ref’s in my blog post.

        In regular photosynthesis, electrons are removed from water and shipped to NAD (changing NAD+ to NADH), which is then used for a variety of reactions. Feeding hydrogen in from the top eliminates the need for the photocenters, and the bottom end of the process can be used to reduce CO2. To methane, acetate, glucose, etc.

      • Peter Lang

        Tom in LA and AK,

        If you are interested in science, engineering, efficiency, energy requirements for getting CO2 out air, you might find this discussion interesting: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/

        Several comments including this provide rough cost estimates to sequester CO2 by sucking from air:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-233330

        A summary of the main points of the discussion is here:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-234612

      • @Peter Lang…

        Thanks, but I saw that when it came out. I’m not impressed by the assumptions made. Fact is, any study of the “costs” of removing CO2 from the air basically just enumerates the costs of whatever method(s) are involved. It says nothing about other methods.

        Such studies can prove it’ll be cheap (given whatever assumptions went into them), they can’t prove it’ll be expensive.

      • Peter Lang

        AK,

        Such studies can prove it’ll be cheap (given whatever assumptions went into them), they can’t prove it’ll be expensive.

        I don’t really get your point you are making – it is either obscure (to me) or a ridiculous statement.

        Are there any studies that prove CO2 sequestration will be cheap? If not, can you please link to them? Are there any studies that prove sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, or using hydrogen for our transport fuels will be cheap?

        We should go with the least cost option, and none of these options are anywhere near least cost.

        What is your background? Are you an engineer? Have you been involved in estimating or options analysis?

      • @Peter Lang…

        I don’t really get your point you are making – it is either obscure (to me) or a ridiculous statement.

        It’s actually pretty simple: take a study that puts a price tag on method “A” for removing CO2 from the air. It can prove (with caveats) that removing CO2 from the air by method “A” will cost a certain amount, that can be fed into a cost/benefit analysis. But it doesn’t say anything about method “B”.

        Or take a study that purports to analyze all the available methods: “A”, “B”, and “C”. It can put a minimum price tag on removing CO2 by any “known” method, but can’t say anything about method “D”. Or “E”. Or “A(2)”, a modified version of method “A” using something the original analysis didn’t think of.

        Now, if a study examines method “E” and determines that using it will be cheap, that “proves” it can be done cheaply, subject to the qualifications and assumptions of the study.

        Are there any studies that prove sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, or using hydrogen for our transport fuels will be cheap?

        Not that I know of. I’m not interested in digging up such studies, because I doubt I’ll accept their premises. What I can do is link you to a document provided by Carbon Engineering Ltd., that answers some questions about how they planned to extract CO2 from the air. Note especially, please, the picture at the top of page 6, detailing their extraction process that yields pure CO2 for shipment and sale. (The front page of their web site seems to be down at the moment, don’t know what that means.)

        The process I’m envisioning is somewhat more efficient, using tailored “bacteria” to perform the extraction, in a way similar to how they do it in the ocean. Instead of yielding CO2, this process takes hydrogen and yields methane, although it could also be used to produce acetate, glucose, and probably arbitrary hydrocarbons, although I’m not certain of the last.

        I can also link you to a CNN Money article discussing carbon capture, including Carbon Engineering. As this article discusses, carbon capture won’t need to depend on subsidies or captive markets, if it can get its costs under $100/ton.

        We should go with the least cost option, and none of these options are anywhere near least cost.

        What do you mean “we”? What we’re talking about here is “all of the above”. As for least cost, cost depends on technology, and with research new technology will appear. We may not be able to predict what shows up, but it’s virtually certain plenty of different options will arise.

        The fact is that carbon capture has a number of attractive features. With minimal start-up subsidies, it can (probably) develop into an exponentially growing business that can pay for itself, and will continually drive down the cost of capturing carbon from the air, until sequestering part of it will be the cheapest way to solve the problem with elevated pCO2.

  3. Rob Bradley

    Any “all of the above” energy strategy where coercion and involuntary (taxpayer) financing are involved will not make ‘winners out of marketplace losers. Wind power, ethanol, and on-grid solar (off-grid solar has a free-market niche) are failures economically and environmentally.

    There might be better analogies, but would anyone want an “all of the above” dating policy for their son or daughter–a forced diversity for its own sake? I hope not….

    I would invite those interested in energy policy, particularly wind power, to read the posts at http://www.masterresource.org to find out why government picks losers, and why all-of-the-above policy is code for planning conceit, cronyism, and failure.

    • Rob Bradley

      “All of the above” should by definition mean “all of the above that makes economic sense“.

      Taxes that achieve nothing positive or hare-brained schemes that are not economically viable should be excluded by definition.

      Max

      • Rob Bradley

        Right! All of the sensible as determined by consumers and not by special political favors.

    • Peter Lang

      +100

  4. Harm from targeted “Green Policies”
    Politically targeted funding is causing not just “damage core interests on both sides” but also the unintended consequence of serious harm and starvation to those living in extreme poverty all for no “beneficial” impact on climate.
    Could some biofuel policies increase death and disease in developing countries Indur Goklany

    Potential novel energy breakthroughs
    Critical to the public good is funding “ALL of the above” to see what innovation might bring, especially to replace strategically vital liquid fuels.
    See Robert Hirsch on The Impending World Energy Mess

    A rapidly developing novel energy source is Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). A 3rd party investigation of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat system was just published showing about 6:1 energy out over resistive heat in.

    News: Third-Party E-Cat Test Results Published
    Report: Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device.

    Defkalion Green Technologies has been reporting higher returns.
    Technical Characteristics & Performance of the Defkalion’s Hyperion Pre-Industrial Product.

    Let the real games begin!

    • David L. Hagen

      Roger A. Pielke Sr @RogerAPielkeSr

      Spending millions of dollar on no skill climate projections is poor policy compared with grants to communities for school tornado shelters.

      h/t WUWT
      Spending billions of dollars on “climate mitigation” for negligible impact is equally terrible stewardship compared to developing cheap fuel and energy for the poor.

      • David, The process of “developing cheap fuel and energy for the poor” will begin once the price of the conventional fuel that we use doubles or triples in price. As the research into alternate fuels requires fuel itself to support, this will be deemed a cost-effective approach as the more expensive fuel will be more easily dedicated to that task. We also currently believe that our current supply of fuel is much too valuable for its present value of accelerating economic growth — this will allow us to become rich quickly enough so that we have a financial savings reserve to use for when that time comes. That is the initial plan at least.

        signed, The Adjustment Bureau

        (sarcasm implied)

  5. I noticed coal was not given any favorable mention. Worldwide, it will soon replace crude as the #1 energy source. This is good because the poor will one day become the middle class and they will need reliable and affordable electricity. Ferenz Miskolczi has taught us long ago that CO2 has nothing to do with warming the planet and as Herman Pope has reminded us here on many occassions CO2 make green things greener and more productive with less need for water and commercial fertilizers. Germany has learned a hard lesson and is now returning to coal powered power plants for their base-line electricity.

    • Jack Mclaughlin | May 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm |

      So.. you propose coal is good for the poor?

      Which poor, exactly?

      How does that work, exactly?

      Where is it working, exactly?

      Crackpot, debunked pseudoscience references by appeal to authority of marginalized and unimportant proponents aside, rampaging Idsoism and handwaving foregone.. have you got anything?

      • Rob Starkey

        Bart

        Where a developing country can provide electricity less expensively by using coal aren’t they most likely going to select it as their option?

      • Bart,

        How about the poor in China, India and Brazil?

        It works by allowing those governments to increase access to electrification for large segments of their populations. Now if it is implemented poorly, it can also bring unwanted pollution problems. But they are problems which already have solutions and which the people being affected are starting to demand action on.

      • rogercaiazza

        Bart R – I believe that electricity, even if it is generated by fossil fuels including coal, is good for the poor in that it increases life expectancy and think that the following analysis supports that conclusion. Can you provide documentation that supports your contention that it does not.

        There is a wealth of data available at the World Bank “Indicators” website (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator?display=default). I believe that data can be used to address the externalities of fossil fueled electricity generation . In this analysis I use this data to argue that access to electricity and fossil fuel energy consumption improve life expectancy even with the negative impacts of particulate matter.

        I downloaded data for the following parameters in the attached spreadsheet (Tab reference lists descriptive data from the downloads):
        • Life 2009 – Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth (2009) were to stay the same throughout its life.
        • Electricity 2009 – Access to electricity is the percentage of population with access to electricity in 2009. Electrification data are collected from industry, national surveys and international sources. (This is kind of funky because it has no data for the US.)
        • Fossil 2009 – Fossil fuel energy consumption (% of total) in 2009 where fossil fuel comprises coal, oil, petroleum, and natural gas products .
        • PM-10 2009 – Particulate matter concentrations refer to fine suspended particulates less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) that are capable of penetrating deep into the respiratory tract and causing significant health damage. Data for countries and aggregates for regions and income groups are urban-population weighted PM10 levels in residential areas of cities with more than 100,000 residents. The estimates represent the average annual exposure level of the average urban resident to outdoor particulate matter. The state of a country’s technology and pollution controls is an important determinant of particulate matter concentrations.

        The argument against fossil fuel use is that it has negative externalities. If you believe the EPA, air particulate matter concentrations are the root of all evil and the cause of billions and billions of dollars of health impacts. Let’s assume that is true and use PM-10 concentration as a negative externality. If you do a simple regression analysis of life expectancy and PM-10 concentrations there is a statistically significant relationship at the 95.0% confidence level that indicates that there is indeed a negative relationship although it is relatively weak. (Note that I use a program called Statgraphics for my statistical analyses in no small part because it includes text descriptions of the results.)

        I believe that electricity has more positive benefits than negative benefits even if it is generated by fossil sources. I did a simple regression analysis of life expectancy against both fossil energy consumption and percentage of population with access to electricity. In both cases there is a statistically significant relationship at the 95.0% confidence level and the relationships are stronger than PM-10.

        In order to compare the effect of all three parameters against life expectancy I ran an ordinary least squares multiple regression. When you consider all three parameters Statgraphics notes: “In determining whether the model can be simplified, notice that the highest P-value on the independent variables is 0.7562, belonging to PM-10 2009. Since the P-value is greater or equal to 0.05, that term is not statistically significant at the 95.0% or higher confidence level. Consequently, you should consider removing PM-10 2009 from the model.”

        I will be the first to admit that I am not a competent statistician (put me in the category: knows enough to be dangerous but also is willing to admit inadequacies). However, that result suggests to me that the positive externality of electricity access outweighs this negative externality. Intuitively if I am not cooking over a biomass fire I am better off. Is this crackpot, debunkable psuedoscience?

      • Peter Lang

        +100

    • Rob Starkey | May 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

      Would that it were so.

      However, developing countries don’t work that way.

      The model of “coal->energy->relieving poverty” is oversimplified, and time and again has been proven not merely wrong, but perverse.

      Megaprojects (coal, oil, or renewable) seldom much benefit the poor, or even the middle class, in lesser developed nations. They are rife with corruption and not only well-documented to produce negative externalities but also to lead to nationalization of formerly private resources or regional commons that had been of benefit to the poor locally, with no compensation for such expropriation, but generally mere relocation and forced resettlement. There is no sunshine and butterflies coal utopia. Coal energy could be viable, with sequestration not because it eliminates CO2 but because it eliminates SOx and NOx, in some cases; just charge it the same carbon fee per CO2E as you charge any other energy generation option without favoritism. There might be cases where coal will still be the best choice economically. Let coal fight it out in the Market on equal footing, without free riding.

      And if LDCs can get there, to a point they make economic decisions that lead to economic results, despite the pressures and lobbying and corruption and manipulation of their politics that have been endemic in much of the world, that’s great. There’s a great deal of indication of will to make it so.. and no cause to believe it is helped by coal over solar or wind.

      • Rob Starkey

        Bart

        With all due respect, you took a lot of words to say nothing related to the point in question.

        1. Developing countries want electricity-

        2. Developing countries want that electricity as cost efficiently as possible

        3. In many markets supplying that electricity via coal will be their lowest cost choice so the decision makers in those countries will choose to provide said electricity via coal.

        Imo, the only way to avoid those three points would be for an external force to change the market conditions. That would mean either paying the cost differential of a different form of power generation, or a new technology becoming more cost efficient.

      • Bart,

        While your points are accurate, they do not apply in every instance. What you describe seems to apply to big projects in developing nations that rely on funding from the developed world. They appear to be far less applicable to the 3 biggest developing users of coal, China, India and Brazil. I’m not familiar with the energy markets of the last two, but as I understand it, the Chinese energy market does not operate in a free market environment.

        On your point about SOx and NOx: Isn’t that at work right now in the US? US energy generators are required to install pollution control equipment and that cost is reflected in the price of the electricity they generate. So I guess I do not understand what free ride coal is getting?

    • And as gas replaces coal as the fuel of choice for US electricity, we are exporting ever more coal to Europe and, especially, China. So our own switch to gas does nothing to diminish coal combustion overall.

      • Tom,

        That is faulty logic. It assumes that if the US does not export coal, coal will not be burned in Europe or China. Can you show how that will be the case?

        We have 3 project proposals here in the PNW for coal export terminals (down from 6). There are several valid concerns that argue against approval. One that is not valid, and in fact a sign of idiocy, is the argument that shipping coal to China will increase the threats from global warming. China will burn coal whether or not the US sends it to them.

      • Timg56,
        Thanks for straightening me out. Here I was thinking we would shut down China’s economy if we didn’t sell them coal!

    • Peter Lang

      +100

      If we can’t have cheap nuclear, then cheap fossil fuels it must be. There is no other viable alternative.

    • Rob Starkey | May 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |

      So.. coal is more expensive than natural gas in the USA?

      Is that by magic?

      What blesses coal elsewhere that America lacks?

      Or blesses natural gas in the USA that the rest of the world is missing?

      And if this relationship of coal and natural gas, this .. we might call it ‘comparative advantage’ is shared by coal and solar, or wind, or geothermal or hydro or whatnot, in one direction or another, what then?

      We don’t know coal is the magic bullet for everywhere in the LDCs. We don’t know it is the magic bullet for _anywhere_ in the LDCs. Or do you have access to secrets of the coal world the rest of us lack?

    • I wish to make my own contribution to social/political/cultural science – since any old tripe can be science – by pointing to the greatest liberator in history. No, it wasn’t Lincoln or Bolivar or Sun Yat-Sen or Gandhi. This is the great liberator, potential or actual, of more than half of humanity.

      With cheap, abundant power – from Aussie coal or the Congo River or nukes or whatever our Green Betters DON’T recommend – you can manufacture and run stacks of these suckers. No more peasant women slapping shirts on rocks down by the river – but what you lose in quaintness you gain in liberation.

      • Peter Lang

        Yep. Policy should be aimed first and foremost at getting cheap electricity to all those people who don’t have it, or don’t have enough to provide the basics – like a washing machine. Reliable, cheap electricity is the first priority. How it is generated is a second order issue.

  6. Perhaps I am showing my “wingnut” here but the article sounded a lot like; “we are losing the battle over climate change and renewables so now it’s time to feign a compromised position”. Here is a solution to who gets the government subsidies: no one. Yep, end of argument and finger pointing. If renewables are so great, let them stand. If big oil and gas are making so much money they really don’t need any of mine that the government has stolen. Keep regulation at the point of release. Don’t tax energy at the user. Don’t start green tax breaks or other subsidies. Carbon is not pollutant, don’t regulate or tax it until such time causation can be proven linking CO2 to CAGW. Let the market decide energy policy, the government isn’t very good at it.

    • Eric H. | May 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |

      We’re largely in agreement (except really when has the battle over climate change ever not been firmly dominated by the same hands that dominate it now?) other than causation can be proven linking CO2 to CAGW.

      Did the communications market need causation proving better management of mobile bandwidth would lead to better sexting? No. Bandwidth was scarce, rivalrous, excludable, administratively practical and valuable. So it was privatized and auctioned. And a multi-trillion dollar global industry was born, growing the economy of every nation it touches, while satisfying pent-up demand and spawning innovation worldwide.

      Did we need scientific proof that weights and measures must be standardized for efficient commerce? No. Yet we have government-enforced weights and measures on commodities of all sorts.

      Do we need a scientist to tell us how to treat people who take what isn’t theirs without paying for it? I don’t think so.

      Privatize the carbon cycle, that resource that recycles CO2E and maintains it at a stable level (which, for 99.9% of the Holocene had been 280 ppmv), and enforce fees on those who use it, delivering dividends to those who own it — all of us, per capita. Not like you can auction off air rights, as breathing is inalienable. But lucrative carbon burning? That’s a market activity that market regulators ought stop letting free riders exploit without developing.

      • You’ve talked about a transition plan, but I’ve never seen one. Here’s a possibility:

        Establish the “auction” you’re talking about, along with a carbon-trading scheme, but start by requiring that starting in 2015 all fossil carbon usage (burning fossil reduced carbon or lime) must include at least 1/10 of 1% carbon either covered by the auction, or recovered from the air/sea. Double it every 3 years. By 2045, all carbon usage would be covered, by either actual carbon recovered from the air, or by credits traded from carbon recovered from the air and sequestered.

        To start with, it would be a very light imposition, but it would establish the expectations and incentives for businesses pulling carbon from the air/sea, either through natural photosynthesis or some artificial form.

        What would you object to in such a program, and what alternatives are you suggesting?

      • Rob Starkey

        Bart

        Please be more specific about the carbon tax you advocate.

        How much of a tax do you advocate be added to a gallon of gas?

        How much do you believe this tax would lower CO2 emissions in the US?

        What specific harms would be avoided as a result and when?

      • Carbon has to have value before you can market, buy, or sell it. Today carbon has no value except when regulated. Bandwidth has value because there is a demand for it. Weights and measures laws are in place to ensure fair commerce (a valid use for government) and only need an accepted standard and are not subject to cause and effect.
        What you are wanting to do is only valid with an imposed tax on CO2 which will raise energy prices and put downward pressure on demand and supply of almost everything. Sure some people may get rich off of it but it doesn’t provide short or long term economic growth.

      • Bart,

        I am not in agreement with you on your issue of people taking something that isn’t theirs and not paying for it. And i’m not going to argue the point with you. One, because I have trouble understanding your point and two, because even if I did, I suspect I’d fail to move your opinion any.

        My opinion on taxing carbon, or as you put it, privatizing it, is open to movement. Working in the wireless communications field, I would point out that along with all of the benefits deriving from the auctioning of RF bandwidth and allowing private companies to develop it, there is also the fact that people are paying more for communications. They certainly are getting more, so the point could likely not matter. I do like your use of it as an analogy for doing the same with carbon.

    • Eric H. | May 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

      Carbon has to have value before you can ..

      Value is determined by the Market, but I do not speak of carbon per se.

      The carbon cycle is a common resource. It is the vast complex system of the biom and geology that captures, buffers and transforms CO2. You don’t sound like someone who objects to the cell phone industry, or the privatization of the bandwidth of the ‘in the air’ resource that carries signals; how is it you don’t see the value of the similar ‘in the air’ resource that keeps CO2 at the level it has maintained for the entire Holocene?

      Sure, some claim extra CO2 above the Holocene optimal range of 280 ppmv is a benefit. Well, if it’s a benefit to them, let them pay for the benefit they obtain. It’s not a benefit to everyone, because you don’t hear everyone equally calling for more of it. Until it’s such a universally voiced benefit, it’s mere communism to force it down everyone’s throat. Are you a communist? I personally think those who tout benefits of extra CO2 are technically wrong, and little different from steroid-pushers, but that’s not really the main issue.

      AK | May 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

      My position on transition plans: let local experts in such things propose and design and discuss and negotiate and implement their transition plans in each jurisdiction. No one needs my opinion on what way is best for them.

      I admit I don’t much like your proposal at first glance, as it seems a bit arbitrary and will lead to fairness issues, but I appreciate the effort you’re putting into it. As a suggestion, rather have so universally applicable treatment as possible that affects all at a low initial rate, than one that partitions the market, to avoid fairness challenges. (Certainly, there are marginal administrative challenges, fugitive emission issues, and difficulties with measurement, but LIDAR is rapidly making those obsolete objections.)

      Rob Starkey | May 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm |

      I advocate letting the law of supply and demand determine the level of carbon fees and dividends, on whatever pricing transition plan would maximize return of dividends to individual citizens equally per capita. As such, I couldn’t guess what impact on the price of a gallon of gasoline or volume of natural gas might be.

      • As a suggestion, rather have so universally applicable treatment as possible that affects all at a low initial rate, than one that partitions the market, to avoid fairness challenges.

        I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here, were there some typos? On first glance, “partitioning the market” seems the very epitome of unfairness. Perhaps you might add some exemplary detail?

      • Bart – the government is NOT the market. It is an entity outside the free market. Anything it does to shift markets is not in the realm of FREE markets.

      • Bart – I guess you believe that taxes in the US are paid voluntarily, and that the guns that IRS special agents carry just enforce the “voluntariness” of paying taxes.

      • Bart,

        For me your comparison between RF spectrum and CO2 is starting to break down. RF spectrum has value because we have developed technologies which are able to harness it and thus give it value. The technology came prior to the auctioning. Where does the value of atmospheric CO2 come from?

    • Rob Starkey | May 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm |

      And onto the interesting questions:

      How much do you believe this tax would lower CO2 emissions in the US?

      What specific harms would be avoided as a result and when?

      Taking ‘tax’ to mean fee and dividend, in the same way there is an apple tax paid in the grocery store by people who buy apples that gets paid to grocers and truckers and orchardists, how much do I believe the fees will lower CO2E in the USA?

      Well, by the right amount, as determined by the democracy of the fair Market under the principles of Capitalism by the Law of Supply and Demand. This mechanism, called the ‘genius of the Market’, to most efficiently allocate resources, cannot be outguessed by any one individual, so cannot be predicted. All I can say is it will bring the amount of CO2E emission down to the optimal level for the US economy; and, of course, that the US economy will grow as this new Market takes shape. Innovation and enterpreneurship might lead unexpected places.

      What specific harms would be avoided?

      Free ridership would end immediately as soon as the Law of Supply and Demand is in full effect. That is the principle vehicle of harm of the current nationalized carbon cycle system, and so waste would be squeezed out of the system, employment levels would increase, tax levels and tax churn drop, inflationary pressure reduce, obstacles to investment reduce, and a flood of pent up innovation would be unleashed.

      These are fairly rapid effects, and would likely be seen quarterly until equilibrium within half a decade, I expect.

      Oh. You’re talking about warming and climate sensitivity? No clue. Don’t care. Not my issue.

      • Well, by the right amount, as determined by the democracy of the fair Market under the principles of Capitalism by the Law of Supply and Demand. This mechanism, called the ‘genius of the Market’, to most efficiently allocate resources, cannot be outguessed by any one individual, so cannot be predicted.

        Like the way the free market allowed the growth of secondary and tertiary derivatives in the mortgage (credit) market to continue until it crashed the system? Sorry, arguments about how the “free market” might operate without regulation are by and large utopian. You’re not talking about a “free” market here, but a slightly less regulated one, with different regulations. Very analogous (IMO) to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act.

      • Rob Starkey

        Bart-

        You seem to be communicating from an incorrect set of assumptions.

        There is no “apple tax” that can be compared to a potential fuel tax.

        The 1st question is to define the goal(s) of the tax and to priortize those goals.

        If the primary goal is to reduce CO2 emissions then the question is how much of a tax needs to be applied in order to achieve the desired reduction. Given the relative inelastic nature of gas to changed in pricing, the tax would need to be quite high to have a significant impact on emissions. If you include the proposed rebates to poorer consumers, then the tax becomes even less effective in lowering consumption.

        I am trying to not treat you like a wing nut here, but you should be realistic

      • “How much?” has been answered by one study. It’s $7/gallon by 2020 to hit the emissions targets.

        http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/19973/reducing_the_us_transportation_sectors_oil_consumption_and_greenhouse_gas_emissions.html

        You won’t get to that price without defining what externality you’re mitigating. In other words, you have to have a reason for it and the reason on the table in this thread is CO2 emissions to control the temperature by X amount. You also have to describe the “dividend” as nobody believes a govt running trillion dollar annual deficits believes this new tax money will be refunded.

      • RE: “apple tax paid in the grocery store by people who buy apples that gets paid to grocers and truckers and orchardists, ”

        I don’t get this one at all. What apple tax? And how does it go to the entities you name? Are you referring to the price of the apple that people pay for it?

    • AK | May 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm |

      Yes.

      Partitioning the market arbitrarily would epitomize unfairness. Which is why I said “Rather.. than partitioning..”

      I read your plan to rely on arbitrary partition. If I err, apologies.

      Your plan appears to be classical demand cap and trade, with a focus on guaranteed level of effect rather than on trusting the Market mechanism to achieve optimal allocation.

      As such, I’m not a fan of this approach. No one is smarter than the Market.

      • @Bart R…

        Your plan appears to be classical demand cap and trade, with a focus on guaranteed level of effect rather than on trusting the Market mechanism to achieve optimal allocation.

        As is so usual around here, I left some of my thinking out in the interests of brevity. Let me go back and add detail:

        Everybody who uses fossil carbon in a way that adds it into the atmosphere is required to “draw down” a (rising, see below) percentage of it. The “draw down” may be achieved by using that percentage of carbon from an atmospheric source such as agricultural waste, deliberate agriculture (e.g. azollaculture), or artificial photosynthesis via, for instance, using solar energy to hydrolyze water, and combining the hydrogen with CO2 from the air to produce fuel.

        Alternatively, it may be achieved by buying the appropriate number of credits from somebody who acquired them by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Or credits bought from a market that issues a limited number based on an assumed carrying capacity from the atmosphere (cap).

        The key is the exponentially rising percentage, from 0.1% (1/1000), doubling every three years until it reaches 100% (actually 100.4%) after 30 years. This would apply to everybody dumping CO2 from fossil sources into the atmosphere. It would start out minimal, but enough to pay for limited production within current capacities, but rise fast enough to incentivize continued R&D in carbon capture, both for sequestration and recycling into fuel.

        If the exponential cost decrease for PV is actually 1/2 every 4 years, this would provide incentives for energy efficiency all through the chain, as well as for putting an end to cement and replacing concrete with something cleaner. Note that there’s no partitioning here, except based on the source of the carbon.

        I’m not proposing this as any sort of “magic bullet”, just throwing it out to see what comes back, criticism, counter-ideas, whatever. Including people giving away their true agenda by trying to shut down discussion of carbon capture because it frightens them.

      • Bart,

        You are presenting again your idea that the market itself may determine the price of “carbon cycle” whatever you mean by that. If that’s done by the market alone, why that has not happened?

        The only possible answer is that the market alone cannot do that but a government decree is needed, and that the details of that decree largely determine the price. That’s not market, that’s regulation.

    • AK | May 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm |

      See, I’m with you on this. “Free” Market is a deception.

      We know “free” and “fair” Markets are mutually exclusive.

      You leave the rabble to encroach the Market, to cheat and contort it, in the name of “free” Market principles, and you end up with no Market at all. The only free Market is one that is fair to a fault.

      I’m a minarchist.

      I believe the size of government ought be held to the smallest practical level.

      The lower limit on that practice is that the government remains large enough, with sharp enough teeth, to safeguard the Market from any such predation as would make it unfair.

      In good times, with a culture of integrity, government is a tiny kitten that keeps its tiny paws off. In current times, government ought be a voracious and rabid beast that tears culprits and cheats to bloody shreds in public spectacle, proactively and visibly.

    • Rob Starkey | May 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm |

      You seem stuck on this ‘tax’ frame.

      Let go of it. It’s not what’s being talked about.

      The objective of carbon fees is carbon cycle privatization: turning over control of the resource that belongs to all citizens to all citizens, individually and compensation to all citizens for the use of their resource through dividends, individually.

      Look up ‘capitalism'; that’s what’s being talked about.

      • Rob Starkey

        Bart

        If government applies a fee to a product or service it is a tax. Sorry, but you seem to be in some fantasyland where you make up terms or conditions that are not possible. My mistake- I thought you were suggesting something you considered viable

    • Rob Starkey | May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

      If you walk into your grocery store, fill your shopping cart, and walk out without paying, the grocer calls the cops, who work for the government, and in all likelihood a discussion ensues where payment for those goods in the shopping cart is demanded of you and payment is made to the grocer, effectively enforced by the government.

      Is that a tax?

      • Rob Starkey

        Bart

        Your example is obviously flawed and I doubt that you do not realize that fact so this is probably fruitless.

        In your example of the apple- when the price which the apple is being sold for has no government involvement it is the market alone that establishes the pricing. If you walk out of the store without paying it is simple theft.

        If government wants to add to the cost of an apple that potentially used CO2 in its development then government is adding a tax in order to either raise revenue or to influence market behavior.

      • Bart,

        Short answer is no. The cost of the cart full of groceries is not a tax. There could be a tax component to it. That component could be as part of the price to the end user. It also could be a component of the various transaction points between producer and the end user. But the entire cost? Nope.

    • JeffN | May 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm |

      I don’t believe $7/gallon would maximize return to shareholders, but I could be wrong.

      I’m all for letting the Market decide by the Law of Supply and Demand.

      And, as this is straight-up privatization of a resource that ought be privatized, there are no externalities on the table to discuss yet.

      After privatization, after the Market has exercised the genius of its democracy, and waste is squeezed out, and there is a knowable price level and we can see clearly how much people value the carbon cycle, then maybe there might be a reason for experts and partisans to quibble over how to change the world.

      Right now, my proposal is just to get us from communism to capitalism, so we will be able to cut through all the crap obscuring our vision.

      • So, you’d end all subsidies everywhere. Agricultural, schools, medical research etc etc.?
        By the way, your shopping cart example was very interesting. No it would not be a tax. The arrival of the police is part of a social compact we made as free people. It means grocers aren’t taking out shoplifters in the parking lot with 12 guage shotguns, and instead leave it to a neutral party. This is why “progressives” don’t understand why “soft on crime” is a politically debilitating position.

      • Bart – a carbon tax isn’t capitalism, it falls somewhere on the spectrum of socialism to communism.

    • JeffN | May 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm |

      Your government is like your hunting dog.

      If you can’t trust it not to bite you, you take it out and put it down.

    • Peter Lang

      Eric H.

      <Perhaps I am showing my “wingnut” here but the article sounded a lot like; “we are losing the battle over climate change and renewables so now it’s time to feign a compromised position”.

      Exactly. But it’s not new. That is the same argument they’ve been using for at least 30 years.

    • Eric H.

      +100

    • Pekka Pirilä | May 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

      You propose a classical question of Economics.

      If the Market requires an external administrator of such niceties as weights and measures, enforcement of payment, prevention of fraud or manipulation, even to the point of identifying what commodities are (such as by laws that require labels on goods to list what they contain or where they are from or how they are produced), then can it be said to be “free”?

      Rud Istvan makes a not dissimilar point about minimal regulation of nuclear power to prevent or blunt the effects of repetition of Chernobyls and Fukishimas and Three Mile Islands.

      However, we can frame this question with more clarity if we distinguish the mechanism from the object it performs its actions upon.

      A Market whose weights and measures, currency rules, standards for labels and truth in advertising are all reliable is “fair”, however these standards are achieved.

      The integrity of vendors, self-policing by industries, activism by consumers or the vicious teeth of a totalitarian state, it does not much matter at the point of the individual exchange how exactly the fairness was arrived at, so long as that exchange itself remains perceived as free of undue influence on taste preference or price negotiation, availability of near alternatives, barriers of producer entry or exit to the Market, or other factors that may be seen to affect the action within the mechanism by the reasonable buyer or seller.

      Sure, you don’t need to regard the Market as “not subject to interference by regulation”. If your culture doesn’t regard the distinction as important, if regulation is broadly acceptable as a component of every personal decision, if individual democracy isn’t a cultural norm, you can do it without this framework.

      But then, you wouldn’t be in America.

    • Jeffn | May 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

      Reductio ad absurdum works better if your own position isn’t absurd.

      You keep calling something that isn’t a tax a tax, then you might as well call everything a tax. And why stop there? Call everything anything, and nothing makes sense.

      How is the carbon cycle’s ability to satisfy the basic human need of security of air different from ranchland’s ability to satisfy the human need to eat beef? (Pretend there are no vegans, you know what I mean.)

      You’re creating an artificial division between one resource and another, between the treatment of one resource pool and another. This artificial separation is only done because it serves Free Riders. It is anti-capitalist, and anti-American.

      • Bart,

        I think I’m starting to get your argument. Where you lose me is the part relating to “the security of (the) air”. I can agree with the concept in so far as it referring to injecting substances which are dangerous to human health when breathed. There is a scale one can argue over as to how dangerous, but on the basic principle I agree 100%.

        I part ways with your position of CO2 being a substance dangerous to human health. At least at the concentrations we are discussing.

    • timg56 | May 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm |

      Ahhh. I see what I’ve left out. And thank you for your kind words.

      An innocent fellow walks over your farmland, doing no measureable harm. Or he’s on your ranchland. In your backyard. Not doing measurable harm, so far as you know. Pretending you’ve been prudent enough to look, and you don’t believe he looks so sophisticated as to be able to do harm you wouldn’t detect. Or you don’t care to look, but you have no particular feeling yet of being harmed.. other than that he’s trespassing on your land. No right of way.. your land. He’s trespassing on.

      Do you need any reason to expect there’s been harm, to feel trespassed against? Would you forbid all land owners everywhere from enforcing their property rights against trespass of this sort?

      Well, air is an innate right to every living, breathing being. If you lose your right to air, you lose your right to breath. Therefore, you have a right to consider whether there’s been a trespass on your air. Now, sure, some claims of trespass are too much to bear close scrutiny. They’re nuts, or they’re mischief or they cost too much to administer.. but there are valid claims of trespass possible.

      See, no part of my argument relies on harm by CO2E, at least not at the concentrations we’re talking about. It doesn’t even really rely on harm by the new Forcing introduced by humans into the climate system.

      There’s too big a disconnect between the Economy and the real world for us to get from one to the other, without first finding the real value of the carbon cycle to the economy.

      But there’s enough of a connect for it to be valid to consider the trespass claim real and worth compensation. And, once there is compensation, we can know the value of the carbon cycle to the economy. We have more of a basis for such things as cost benefit analyses and understanding whether or not to invest more in research.

      As it happens, the carbon cycle has all the attributes of a resource that ought be privatized, in any case. It’s scarce (that is, CO2 levels keep going up), it’s rivalrous (that is, if someone else raises the CO2 level from 394-399 to 395-400, you can’t), it’s economically excludable (you can impose a fee, and it’ll get paid), it’s administrably practical (if BC and Australia can do it, any numbskull can).

      See, at that point, everyone can decide how much harm they feel and how much compensation they want for the harm they feel. Capitalism.

      • Thanks for taking the time to explain further.

        I can appreciate the tresspass analogy, but for me it only carries so far. I was thinking that perhaps a better example might be with the stream that runs past (or through) your property. Wouldn’t upstream users be a better analog to people whose processes emit substances into the atmosphere?

        Wish I was more knowledgeable about water rights to discuss this further.

    • timg56 | May 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

      I’m a fan of voting, participanting, speaking up and taking part in productive action.

      As, you can’t exactly do it the same way in politics as with hunting dogs. Heck, in most places you can’t even do that with hunting dogs anymore.

      • Bart,

        I saw an opportunity to yank your chain a bit. It was meant in a playful way.

        I am certainly with you 100% on the first statement above. I wish my kids felt that way.

      • timg56 | May 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |

        You might have more luck with getting your kids involved in the democratic practice of responsible civics if you put in writing fewer things that might get ‘em sent to Gitmo. ;)

        Just sayin’.

      • Bart,

        As one is a Marine, it is possible he could get a free trip to Guantonimo.

        I missed out on my chance. When my boat did a 6 week southern run they had port calls in Porta Rico and Cuba. I stayed back in New London to attend a couple of schools. Seeing as this meant Roosevelt Roads and Gitmo, I didn’t feel as if I missed much.

    • timg56 | May 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

      You are right. It is not a perfect parallel.

      The reward to someone sexting on an iPhone is instant gratification. Ask any congressman.

      The reward of less Forcing on the climate? Intangible. You might not feel it at all. When you do, you might never rationally connect the reward to the behavior. It requires you to intellectually appreciate that you’ve done the right thing, the fair thing, the considerate thing, rather than having trespassed on your neighbor or your heirs.

      This is not to say the payoff isn’t real. Payoffs of this sort happen all over the economy, all the time. Else we’d have no inventions, no poetry longer than haiku, no blog posts longer than kim’s. Twitter would’ve been the ultimate end of technical advancement, and no one would sign up for an expedition to Mars (silly gits).

      Those payoffs are a huge potential Market. They grow the Economy. They have real positive impact on GDP. They make the nation stronger, healthier, wealthier and more secure.

    • timg56 | May 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |

      People are paying more for communications. That is to say, the size of the telecommunications sector of the economy has grown both in absolute and relative terms.

      However, people are also getting more efficient communication by practically every measure, and far more effective communication.

      Need to communicate when your car breaks down? Instead of waiting for a passing good samaritan or walking miles to the nearest help, you have your cell phone, and all that time and energy and danger is forgone. It’s a more than equitable exchange.

      The cost per byte of data? Not only has it dropped for mobile technology by a spectacular margin, but the former rate of drop of price per byte for landline plummets wherever mobile competition arrives. Competition is good for innovation.

      Profits? Communications companies are so much more profitable now, based on ROI, than before bandwidth auctions, no one wants to go back.

      These benefits are intrinsic to privatization. They are universal in type, where any privatization occurs in any field. An Economist wants to find a privatization opportunity and start it, as it is practically the only good Economists ever really do.

      Will it be _identical_ with carbon cycle privatization? No. Not likely. Will the economies grow, profits soar, inflationary pressures drop, efficiencies increase, entrepreneurship and innovation prosper? That’s inevitable, where you privatize.

      • I did note that the higher cost was most likely offset by the greater value and range of service being provided. I brought it up because I believe it is fair and accurate to point out that commoditizing (if that’s a word) CO2 will most likely bring with it higher costs. If also brings about corresponding benefits and value, then arguments over increased cost lose some of their force.

    • timg56 | May 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

      The point you raise is partly why, at least initially, I propose the dividends vest unauctioned with the owners of the carbon cycle (ie, all of the people in the country).

      In bandwidth, the auctions sold the rights to those with the means to best capitalize on the resource, through their technology and ability to put up towers and so on.

      There is a near parallel with the carbon cycle, but not as easy to commoditize directly as, well, who wants to trust the government to sell their right to air?

      Everyone whose technology makes current ventures less carbon intensive becomes more competitive.

      We know there are a wide array of economic inefficiencies (X-inefficiency, Pareto, Keynesian, allocative, resource-market) in the energy sector.

      I believe this has come from almost a century of the domination of the ‘cheap energy’ mythology that distorts fair markets through subsidy to old guard technologies, erecting barriers to entry and exit.

      (Would you leave a losing business if the government paid you to keep failing? I expect you would, but many lack the backbone.)

      Privatization squeezes that all out of the Market, and out of the Economy. That level of drag removed from a nation will drive strong resurgence without inflationary pressure.

      So the dividends in the hands of the most consumers possible drives the biggest wave of pressure to reform inefficient industries. It works better than government regulation could, and better than experts can, due the genius of the Market.

      Eventually, new technology will become its own reward. Dividends may shrink to quite low levels. Who can say?

      At that point? Let the climatologists and tax experts discuss Pigou and harm after we’ve got there. Before then? They can’t possibly have reliable information on which to base decisions.

  7. Why does government need to be involved at all?

  8. To Bart R….I wish I knew what your question was. Maybe you can try again in a more coherent way. If you don`t understand how the cost of energy hurts the poor just look at the demonstrations in Bulgaria last summer where the high cost of electricity brought down the government. High cost natural gas from Russia just isn`t working there. Maybe coal will make their lives more tolerable.

    • Jack Mclaughlin | May 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm |

      I see.

      You’re an advocate of the communist precept of naive ‘cheap energy’ through subsidy and legislative favoritism.

      Yeah. That doesn’t wash with me.

      What’s the tax rate in Bulgaria?

      http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Bulgaria/Local%20Assets/Tax%20mini%20brochure/Bulgarian%20Taxes%202012.pdf

      10% flat tax for people and corporations seems reasonable.. until you add in the 30+% mandatory ‘insurance’ and 20% VAT and various fees and duties.

      Think Bulgarians would be happier if they didn’t pay a 70% effective tax rate, much of which goes to subsidizing their inefficient state energy systems?

      Energy doesn’t get cheaper through subsidy. Everything else, except energy wasting, just gets more expensive.

      • Wow Bart…I think your boat has sprung a leak and is taking on water. Better get off before you get too wet. I didn`t advocate subsidies or what method of taxation the new government should enact. I just made the point that Bulgarians had demonstrations to protest the high cost of electricity.

    • Jack Mclaughlin | May 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

      By all means, perform in the privacy of your own thoughts this exercise:

      A) Take your total income for a month.

      B) Subtract 10%. (That’s the Bulgarian flat tax.)

      C) Take the result.

      D) Subtract 30%. (That’s Bulgarian mandatory social insurance.)

      E) Call that your personal monthly income.

      F) Write out the total budget you spend in a month before retail taxes.

      G) Add 20% to (F).

      You still have any money left when you subtract (E) minus (G)?

      Then you’re a very wealthy Bulgarian. Use that money to pay fees for government services and duties.

      What’s left, you can use to buy luxuries like electricity or coal.

      Bulgarians aren’t protesting the high price of electricity. They have ‘cheap electricity’, subsidized from their taxes. They’d have ‘cheap coal’, too, by the same token.

      Which would leave them less money.

  9. Nuclear. There I’ve said it and no one can say I didn’t.

    • Peter Lang

      Can you go a bit further and explain why rational peopled would hate it so much. I am asking specifically about rational people, not wingnuts!

      • Peter Lang

        Now you’ve donit; making my life difficult. You’ve asked me to identify rational people in the antinuclear movement. At first I thought of all those good people in Nevada who talked about not storaging in their Yucca yuck site. Strictly NIMBY. Then I thought of all those who oppose turning nuclear waste into nuclear energy, plutonium back into energy, kinda recycle which seemed like a good idea, recycle that is, but think of all those radical groups who can’t await to get their hands on a hunk of nuclear junk. Hmm, what about that Thorium non-sense which can turn radiation into electricity in prepackaged units which you link together like freight train engines, one to power a town, two to make a metropolis hum, three to power a small city, on and on. Naw. Nobody has thought of that before. Too much a new fangled idea. Think of all those bald eagles getting balder. No Peter, you’ve really put me in a pickle, trying to find rational people in an irrational movement. Can’t be done.

      • Peter Lang

        RiH008,

        Ah well. I’ll just have to keep searching :)

  10. “People who are worried about climate change are right that unfettered fossil fuel consumption is unacceptable. But that does not mean that accepting some fossil fuel development would destroy their cause — in fact, in the case of natural gas, it would help.”
    ___

    True, and a carbon tax would give natural gas an even greater competitive advantage over other fossil fuels. A shift to natural gas from coal (power generation) and oil (transportation) should be encouraged for the sake of our children’s health and the environment.
    ___________

    “Meanwhile, those who are worried about state intervention in the economy are right to criticize inflexible and indiscriminate government regulations. But not all schemes to curb emissions or to protect communities from the downsides of energy development fit that bill.”
    ____

    Government regulations in general are anathema to libertarians and other anti-government ideologues. I don’t expect them to be swayed by any argument, not matter how compelling, that a government regulation can protect communities. Rather than progressing, they want to regress to the 19th Century, or even earlier, when there were few regulations.

    • Interesting…I am a classic liberal (mostly) and I am more than capable of thinking practically and outside of my ideology of limited government. In order to convince me of the need for government intervention you have to convince me that communiites are in danger from CO2. It really has nothing to do with the 19th century, it’s about personal liberty, personal responsibilty, and the most efficient and fair distribution of goods and services. So if you can provide reasonable proof that CO2 is going to harm our communities I will be happy to support CO2 regulation.

      • So if you can provide reasonable proof that CO2 is going to harm our communities I will be happy to support CO2 regulation.

        So what about good evidence that it’s a risk? How good? There’s no certainty in this world, something too many posters here don’t seem to understand.

      • Obviously the danger isn’t from CO2 itself but from the effects of CO2 on the global heating. At what levels do CO2 have to get to before our communities are in danger? When will this happen? What is the certainty? How much of a reduction in man’s CO2 output will have to be inacted in order to keep our communities out of danger? What certainty that this will be effective? What will this do to RGDP? What will be the impact on the poor? How will the CO2 reductions be implemented? What will be the cost on lost personal liberty and property? Will this be a global effort? How do we get other countries to abide? What happens if other countries agree and then don’t regulate, how do we respond? You may want to start with quantifying the risk…

      • So Erik, what shall we do if we double the CO2 in the atmospheres and we don’t like the results? I don’t think we can call it back. Why gamble on it to begin with?

        Oh, I forgot, we will be dead before then. Never, mind.

      • @Eric H….

        Obviously the danger isn’t from CO2 itself but from the effects of CO2 on the global heating.

        And what about ocean acidification? And what about the risk of destabilizing ecosystems simply from increased pCO2? Remember, as so many proponents of inaction are wont to repeat: “CO2 is plant food“. Not just crop plants, but all plants, as well as algae, cyanobacteria, lichen, and even a bunch of anaerobic bacteria that use photosynthesis but don’t produce oxygen. AFAIK currently known weeds don’t respond to increased pCO2 as well as crop plants do, but who knows what “pre-adapted” wild populations might be waiting to invade fields all over when the pCO2 passes a certain point?

      • AK

        Sounds like you work in Hollywood writing scripts for sci-fi horror movies.

        Am I right?

        Max

      • Erik H.

        You raise precisely the questions that the proponents of a carbon tax are unable to answer (or don’t even want to think about, up there in their ivory towers).

        The challenge is for anyone to come up with a specific actionable proposal that will result in a perceptible change in our climate, and then run a simple cost benefit analysis.

        One could start with an estimate of how many $billion investment would be required in order to theoretically result in a hundredth of a degree reduction of global warming by 2100.

        The few specific proposals I have seen to date would all require
        around $2 trillion per tenth of a degree warming theoretically averted.

        This is based on the arguably exaggerated IPCC AR4 2xCO2 ECS estimate of 3.2C; if this is around half this value (as more recent studies seem to suggest) the cost per tenth of a degree theoretically averted would be $4 trillion.

        Not much “bang” for a lot of “bucks”.

        Max

        PS BTW if you want to get a picture of what $4 billion is in real life:

        A dollar bill has an average thickness of 0.11 mm
        So a stack of 4 trillion dollar bills would reach 440,000 km, or more than the distance to the moon.

      • @manacker…

        Sounds like you work in Hollywood writing scripts for sci-fi horror movies.

        Typical denialbot nonsense. “Oh no! There couldn’t be a problem! I’ve got my eyes closed and my fingers stuck in my ears and I refuse to hear about your ‘problem’!”

        It’s not as though I’m saying the world’s going to end. None of the risks I’ve mentioned seems very large to me, although they’re clearly not quantifiable. Even if one (or more) of them happens, it won’t really be bad unless it touches off a financial collapse. Which is why I always try to argue against anything that will raise the price of energy. Cheap energy fueled the Industrial Revolution, and has made and is making everybody’s life better. Raising the price of energy carries the much greater risk of touching off some sort of financial (or political/military) collapse. IMO.

        But I do think the risk justifies a strong emphasis on probably feasible non-fossil carbon technology.

      • AK,

        “what about ocean acidification? And what about the risk of destabilizing ecosystems simply from increased pCO2? ”

        What about it? What evidence do we have showing either of these represent a problem?

        Ocean acidification gets a lot of attention here in the Pacific NW. It gets top billing over deep welling ocean currents as the culprit which is impacting shell fish growers. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is the same reason CO2 gets all the attention, with barely a mention of CH4. Have you ever wondered why this is? I’m probably one of those conspiracy wing nuts for wondering if it because human production of CH4 is swamped by natural production.

        On that shell fish problem – producers here now ship their larvae to Hawaii, as the pH issue only impacts them at the earliest stage of development. Which begs the question – If human produced CO2 is primary driver of ocean pH change, why is Hawaii not seeing the same effect as Oregon and Washington? Maybe those pesky upwelling currents? We don’t know.

    • Max_OK

      Natural gas doesn’t NEED a carbon tax to be competitive.

      Figure it out.

      Max_CH

      • Max_CH, a carbon tax would hasten the switch from gasoline- and diesel-powered motor vehicles to those powered by natural gas. The faster America does this, the better. The free market would eventually do it, but the market is slow, so we need to give it some help. I’m all for helping the market.

  11. Matthew R Marler

    Coming around to that conclusion will require both sides to accept two facts. The first is that each has considerably more power to hinder its opponent’s agenda than to promote its own. Historically, opponents of fossil fuels have been successful in preventing large expansions of the federal land available to oil and gas development. More recently, opponents of fracking have waged campaigns that have put expanded use of that technology at risk. The opponents of renewables and fuel-efficient automobiles have been even more successful: they have thwarted serious climate legislation and mounted effective resistance to new government investment in energy innovation. Consequently, the alternative to a path that embraces a diverse set of developments is likely to be not victory for the fossil fuel enthusiasts or for the renewables and fuel-efficiency advocates but rather unending disputes that damage core interests on both sides.

    I would suggest that the alternative to a path that embraces a diverse set of developments is that the market will dominate developments. The market is how people “vote” with their dollars absent government control. It is a good idea not to enact new policies when none of the competing approaches can muster a clear majority for a long time.

    What the author views as bad here in point 1, I view as good.

    The second fact is that compromise need not be fatal for anyone. People who are worried about climate change are right that unfettered fossil fuel consumption is unacceptable.

    Or in other words, the author takes the stand that “unfettered” fossil fuel consumption is unacceptable. Fossil fuel consumption already has “fetters”: restrictions on air and water pollution, transportation costs, taxes. The author clearly is in favor of more control.

    Meanwhile, those who are worried about state intervention in the economy are right to criticize inflexible and indiscriminate government regulations. But not all schemes to curb emissions or to protect communities from the downsides of energy development fit that bill.

    A little detail there would be helpful. “Flexibility” in govt control usually gives authorities a way to reward their contributors, so rules have to be inflexible in order to appear to be and to be unbiased. When large communities can morally dominate small communities generally has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

    A most-of-the-above agenda would eliminate the genuine deal killers for each side, leaving a package that could deliver the essentials of what both want, take advantage of gains across the board, and avoid the risk of an extended battle that would devastate everyone and satisfy no one.

    Which are the “genuine” deal killers on the several sides of the debates does the author favor eliminating from discussion? Does the author propose a method for identifying the “genuine” deal killers?

    The debate right now is not between regulation and no regulation, it is between the regulation that we have now and more regulation motivated by a desire to reduce CO2 emissions. What the author advocates is a route toward more regulation. That is not a compromise.

  12. I learned yesterday on one of the blogs here that the nitrogen and oxygen molecule had the ability to trap more heat than the CO2 molecule. Since those two make up over 98% of the atmosphere why not impose a tax on those two guys coz after all “that`s where the real money is.”

    • Jack, I am pretty sure nitrogen and oxygen aren’t greenhouse gases, but CO2 is.

      If you want to suggest something silly, how about taxing the CO2 we exhale?

      You also might ask this question. If CO2 is as good as some people say, why do our lungs work constantly to get rid of it?

      • Max…Thanks…I want to learn…but if their molecules were capable of trapping more outgoing heat than the CO2 molecule why are they getting off so easy? Just a question, maybe Pekka could help me (us) with this one.

      • Max_OK

        No doubt Jack Mclaughlin was joking when he suggested taxing N2 and O2.

        You were also joking when you suggested taxing the CO2 we exhale.

        Same goes for CO2 in general. Taxing it is a silly idea that will only harm the most vulnerable and achieve absolutely nothing to change our climate – no tax ever did.

        Max_CH

      • Max_CH, I don’t why you think I want to change the climate. I want the climate to stay like it is, not change because of AGW, and a carbon tax would help by encouraging the more efficient use of our limited supply of fossil fuels.

        You may want to change the climate, but can’t you find a way to change it without wasting our precious natural resources and adding to pollution? Did you ever think about just moving to the other side of the Alps?

        Of course a carbon tax would be regressive., as are all sales taxes and flat taxes, affecting the poor more than the wealthy, but there are ways to protect the poor from the regressive nature of a carbon tax.

        You may be interested in the recent CBO Working Paper titled “Offsetting a Carbon Tax’s Costs on Low-Income Households.” A quote from the Paper and a link follow:

        “Imposing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions would reduce the damage from climate change but would
        also impose a larger burden, relative to income, on low-income households than on high-income
        households. This paper evaluates two broad groupings of options for reducing the regressive effects of a
        carbon tax; one group of options would affect large segments of the economy, for example by reducing
        payroll taxes, and the other group of options would be targeted at low-income households, for example by
        providing an additional payment to households currently receiving electronic transfer benefits.”

        http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/11-13LowIncomeOptions.pdf

      • Jack,

        N2 are the main ingredients of the atmosphere. Therefore most of energy (heat) stored in the atmosphere is kinetic energy of N2 and O2 molecules.

        The GHE is not about storing energy in the atmosphere, it’s about atmosphere stopping the free radiation of heat from the surface to space. Without GHG’s like water vapor and CO2 the surface of the Earth would cool so effectively by IR radiation that the surface would be tens of degrees colder than it’s now (how much depends on what the albedo of the cold earth would turn out to be).

        N2 and O2 don’t stop at all IR radiation, water vapor is the most important contributor to that, but CO2 is also very important. CO2 is so important that without CO2 the Earth would cool enough to reduce also water vapor so much that we would have almost no water vapor either without the help of CO2.

        H2O and CO2 stop the radiation and transfer the energy to N2 and O2 that store almost all of the energy. At the same time N2 and O2 release energy to other H2O and CO2 molecules that emit IR. The net effect of absorption and reradiation is to move the cold temperature levels to upper troposphere from Earth surface. As we have a strong lapse rate (temperature gradient) in the atmosphere, moving the low temperature up makes the surface warming, for enough for us. More GHG’s would make it even warmer, and at some point that’s not good anymore for human societies.

      • Max_OK

        A tax is a tax.

        No matter what the ivory tower pundits state (or the government promises) today, you can be sure it would change if such a tax were ever implemented on a global scale.

        It would increase the cost of energy and all products and services with an energy component, hitting the least affluent the hardest.

        The good news is that it will never be implemented on a global scale (people are not all that goofy).

        And, since it would not be global, it would simply make those nations that implement it less able to compete against those who don’t.

        In addition, it will have no impact on our climate. Figure it out for yourself.

        Our climate is going to do exactly what our climate wants to do – and we are unable to change that no matter how much money we throw at it.

        If you think otherwise, Okie, you are deluding yourself.

        But go ahead and have your pipe dream. It’s not going to hurt anyone.

        Max_CH

      • Max_CH, all of your objections to a revenue-neutral carbon tax have been rebutted before.

        I am flabbergasted you prefer an income tax to discourage people from working instead of a carbon tax to discourage waste and pollutions.

        I can only conclude you hate it when people work harder to make more money, but love it when they waste fuel and pollute more.

        You like waste and pollution

      • Max_OK

        Income tax is here to stay. It gets increased or decreased by the government from time to time.

        Carbon tax (direct or indirect) is not yet here. It has nothing to do with the income tax.

        It also has nothing to do with pollution, but would simply be a tax on fossil-fuel generated energy (if it ever got ratified).

        It would be a bureaucratic nightmare to implement.

        If it is simply a “token tax” (at first, like the US income tax was originally) it will not force anyone to change their lifestyles.

        It would have zero impact on our climate, even if it were implemented at a higher than “token” rate, globally, which it will not.

        Get used to it, Okie, it’s a pipe dream (actually a nightmare), which will never happen.

        So there is not much point in discussing it.

        Max_CH

  13. Manacker..Of course I don`t believe in any tax or carbon scheme. Many Americans are already stressed out with their energy budget consuming a good % of their disposable income. As Lennart Bengtsson pointed out in his excellent blog last week until we learn why there has been No discernable rise in the measured temperature in the tropical trosposphere for 32 years acting prematurely makes no sense.

    • Jack Maclaughlin

      Agree 100% (but don’t know if our friend from OK does).

      Max

    • Why are Jack Mclaughlin and Max_Ch in denial about a revenue neutral carbon tax?

      I suspect it’s because this tax is such a no-brainer, denial is the only way for them to deal with it.

      • Max_OK

        Why am I highly skeptical of a “revenue neutral carbon tax”?

        Because it is an oxymoron, dreamt up by ivory tower economists, which would then be implemented by money- and power-hungry politicians and administered by a horde of new expensive bureaucrats.

        That’s why, Max_OK

        Max_CH

      • Max_CH, thats’s stick-in-the-mud talk. Do you plan on being a fuddie-duddy for the rest of your life?

      • Max_OK

        Being against a carbon tax is being a “fuddy duddy”?

        How silly.

        Max_CH

      • Webster’s definition of fuddy duddy:

        “one that is old-fashioned, unimaginative, or conservative”

        That’s you, Max_CH.

    • Rob Starkey

      A carbon tax can be an efficient and effective means to raise revenue. A $4 per gallon additional tax would eliminate the US deficit. (based on the US using 135 billion gallons per year. Unfortunately, the proposals I have read include all sorts of measures to make such a tax less efficient.

      • Rob Starkey

        A $4 per gallon additional tax would eliminate the US deficit but would likely wreck the US economy and possibly start the next US civil war.

        Do the US citizens want to pay $4 more per gallon, so the government can continue to spend like a drunken sailor?

        I sort of doubt it.

        Max.

      • manaker,

        Adding $4 in the form of a tax would not start a civil war. If the tax revenue generated was restricted to paying down the debt, people might even support it. I will leave alone issues of such a tax being regressive.

        In all the talk of a carbon tax, if such a tax is proposed as a replacement for an income tax, well it may have merit. If it simply an additional tax, then many of your issues with it would apply.

      • The deficit in 2012 was over $1 trillion, in 2013 it will be $845 billion due to tax hikes and thanks to the sequester. In 2014 it’s projected to be $615 billion- if there are no spending increases.

        http://www.aei.org/files/2013/04/23/-austerity-undone_145300743157.pdf

        A $4/gallon tax on the 135 billion gallons of gas sold/year cited above would yield $540 billion- not enough to cover the annual deficit much less pay down the federal debt.
        And that’s assuming no change in gasoline usage. Do climate activists agree that we should assume a $4 gas tax increase would have no affect on the amount of gasoline used? They have argued the opposite.
        But, again, draw up the bill and let’s have a vote.

      • Rob Starkey

        Jeff
        You are correct that it would not quite balance the 2014 budget. My comment about a potential $4 per gallon tax on gas was meant to be a bit sarcastic since there is imo a zero probability of such a tax being adopted in the USA.

      • Rob Starkey

        Jeff

        I’d “guess” that such a tax would reduce demand for gas in the US by a bit less than 10%

      • Rob,
        I figured you were being sarcastic, but wanted to check myself to see if it would cover it.
        Harvard says 14%, so you’re probably right. I think it would be less. There isn’t actually an alternative fuel right now for a great number of people. People drive trucks in this country for a reason most of the time.
        Carbon Tax is fascinating because it has so many potential supporters from both sides of the political aisle and so many detractors from both sides. Climate wonks love it for it’s simplicity (and it’s authoritarian streak – thou must cease!). Progressive greens can’t bring themselves to support a regressive tax but want to punish suburban moms, so they split the baby and figure they’ll just redistribute the revenue. Conservatives like switching to consumption from income taxes, but don’t like the idea of handing the money over to Solyndra and the UN climate fund.

      • Rob Starkey

        Jeff

        You are right that a large fossil fuel tax is a very interesting concept. Factors to consider
        1. A more than doubling of the current cost of gas would certainly be a benefit to the current imbalance between revenues and expenses.
        2. Such a large increase would strongly influence individual’s behaviors to reduce gas consumption
        3. In the short term, 1-3 years; there would probably not be a huge drop in consumption (I’d guess under 10%) but it would probably take up to 3 years for people to change their behaviors to move to EV vehicles, natural gas vehicles, smaller vehicles, etc.
        4. Many poorer Americans would be greatly negatively impacted by the tax. If you give these poorer people tax rebates it would reduce the efficiency of the tax, would also decrease the amount of reduction in consumption, and would significantly reduce the hoped for increase in government revenue.

        I won’t slam those Harvard economics guys much for the 14% estimate since my masters in economics is from there. Sadly, the proposal will never be realistically considered.

        Max-
        You‘re correct that Americans are highly unlikely to implement such a tax. American’s, like those in the EU tend to prefer to pretend that their government can spend more than they generate indefinitely. The US WILL be forced to implement significant increases in revenue in the very near future. We all keep singing along—“Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the person behind the tree”
        Personally, I lean towards actual practical solutions vs fantasy- which is written about here frequently.

      • Rob Starkey,

        The US has just had massive tax increases. Yet the deficit mysteriously keeps rising.

        Take a look at this chart to figure out why:

        http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/library/chart-graph/1947-2012-federal-government-tax-revenues-vs-spending

        Oddly enough, some countries have tried tot ax their way out of the deficits caused by their profligate spending. We rational people refer top them as the PIGS. Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. France is happily following their path to bankruptcy as we speak.

        But don’t worry, everyone can live off the Germans for another decade or so. You’ll know when they get tired of it when they start suddenly investing in tanks and planes again.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary
        Gary

        The US has NOT had any large tax increase in recent years.

        I completely agree that step 1 should be to eliminate as much spending as possible. If you are practical, you know that to balance the US budget will require cuts to entitlement programs and a fundamental change in expectations regarding what healthcare costs will be paid for by the government for senior citizens.

        You have to look at the structural budget deficit and it will be much worse in about 12 years. At the end of the day people’s expectations of services from the government need to be aligned with the government ability to pay for those services. Unfortunately, many developed countries, (the EU, Japan, and the USA) have fallen into the trap of promising great things to their aged population during a time when the percentage of the population that was aged was smaller.

        The math shows that either services will need to be dramatically cut, taxes dramatically increased, or a combination of both. These facts are simply not going to change. Unfortunately, people from both political parties tend to avoid dealing with unpleasant issues until they become dire and we are on a path to that.

      • Rob Starkey,

        Are you kidding?

        http://blog.heritage.org/2013/02/26/chart-obama-2013-tax-increase-twice-as-large-as-looming-sequestration/

        Maybe taxing $149.7 billion more in 2013 than in 2012, with 14 percent real unemployment and a stagnating economy, isn’t a large tax increase to you, but those of us not so fond of massive government beg to differ.

        Look at the chart I linked to above. The problem is NOT that the US is not taxed enough. It is that progressives, of both parties, just can’t stop spending other people’s money faster than it comes in.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        With all due respect, I believe you sound like many of my unrealistic republican friends who think the budget can be balanced via cutting spending alone. Try to summerize the roughly 40% of government services that people would accept being eliminated to balance the budget today. Then look at where the budget will be in 2025 and see if those cuts would keep it balanced. I suggest you won’t get there without a combination of cuts and revenue increases. Overall, I don’t disagree that the emphasis should be on cutting spending, but it will take both.

      • Gary

        Surely the problem is not just that the us govt is ‘spending other people’s money’ I.e it’s own citizens, but that it is spending other countries money as well?

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jul/15/us-debt-how-big-who-owns

        This will have political ramifications, for example china has the ability to exert an uncomfortable amountreassures sure on america which might for instance prevent America from feeling it can roundly denounce Chinese human rights infringements.

        The us needs to severely cut its spending but whether it will or not means making unpopular cuts to entitlements people have become used to. Britain is supposed to be exerting severe austerity but in reality govt spending continues to increase overall. At some point it must all go ‘pop’

        The noise will likely be largest from the us and Britain but possibly the reduction you have made in your energy costs thereby improving your competitivess might just come to the rescue

        Tonyb

      • Rob STarkey,

        U.S. government revenue in 2007: $2.6 trillion
        U.S. government spending 2007: $2.7 trillion

        U.S. government revenue in 2013: $2.9 trillion
        U.S. government spending 2013: $3.8 trillion

        Increase in tax receipts over 6 years – 11%, almost 2% increase per year.

        Increase in spending over 6 years – 32%, over 5% per year.

        Tax receipts dropped temporarily during the economic collapse (in 2009 ans d 10), while spending jumped massively upward. After the worst of the recession was over, tax receipts recovered to the point where there has been a net increase of 11% overall. Spending, never reduced, but has continued to increase very year.

        Obama used “:stimulus” as an excuse to increase the budget by a trillion dollars a year, but ended up adding more than that to the baseline. It’s understandable that most here wouldn’t know that though, because they get filtered news from true believers like the NY Times and WaPo.

      • tonyb,

        No question the profligate spending by US progressives, of both parties, harms more than US citizens. The spending of western all governments, not to mention the Chinese and their ghost cities and nobody knows what other excesses, are putting the entire global economy at stake.

        The implosion of the Euro, and the EU with it, is in my opinion inevitable and will cause great damage. A collapse of the US economy could have even wider repercussions. The failure of Lehman Brothers alone almost tanked everybody.

        But I don’t worry about the Chinese because of the US debt they hold. There is a truism in financing. If you owe the bank $100,000, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $1,000,000, you own the bank. If the Chinese wee to try to dump US bonds, their value would fall so fast it would probably bankrupt China.

        Scarier is that I believe the Fed holds much more than the Chinese, and that scares me more than the inscrutable Asians. At some point, the whole world could begin to doubt the value not only of US currency, but currency in general. The Fed printing money like its just paper…makes it more likely others will come to the same opinion.

        The point being, if this idiocy continues too long, we won’t have to worry about global warming. We will be too busy trying to avoid being eaten by our neighbors.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        Tax rates did not go up tax revenues increased as the overall economy grew. the problem is that government spending grew faster. The only semi significant tax increase is effective this year.

      • Rob Starkey,

        “The US has NOT had any large tax increase in recent years. ”

        “The only semi significant tax increase is effective this year.”

        I think a one year $149.7 qualifies as a wee bit more than “semi significant.” One might almost call it…”large.”

        Frankly, I call it massive, given the economic circumstances of the time. Oh wait, I already did.

      • Rob,

        reading all the comments in this thread I have to say I am in agreement with you in large part. If someone wanted to characterize my political opinions, I’d likely be labeled conservative and somewhere between Republican and Libertarian. Yet it is plain as the nose on my face that if the US is to reach a sustainable budget environment it won’t be done solely through cutting spending or raising revenue. Both are needed.

        Part of the problem as I see it is that of trust. I could be persuaded to carry a higher tax burden, at least for awhile, if I believed the objective was worthy. Reversing the current trend of growth in the national debt is worthy. Yet before I agree to higher taxes I want evidence that all of the rest of the actions needed to reach that objective are also going to get enacted. Recent history indicates that any increase in revenue will be treated as more to spend.

        I see a similar scenario with gun control. I’ve never belonged to the NRA and could have reasonably accepted the proposal to expand applicability of background checks. But that little issue of trust got in the way. How can I be expected to act reasonably when the point people on the issue are folks like Sen Feinstein, Sen Schuemer, Bloomberg and the village idiot (Joe Biden). Bloomberg is wealthy beyond imagination and is surrounded by armed security. The two Senators would like to restrict nearly all firearm ownership. When the issue is gun violence and the proponents of gun control immediately jump to “assault” rifles and magazine capacity, there is no doubt about their dishonesty. (Unless you want to consider ignorance – enter Joe B.)

        Apparently I’m not the only one with trust issues. I think polls are showing the level of trust citizens have in government, at least in the federal government, is at all time lows.

      • Rob Starkey and timg56

        A “revenue neutral tax” is an oxymoron.

        Even if efforts are made to start it off that way, it will require added bureaucrats to implement, so will be a net revenue loss.

        If only one or two nations implement it (while others do not), these nations are simply making their industries less able to compete.

        Once implemented, there will be nothing to stop the governments (of all nations implementing it) from ending the “revenue neutral” part to “pay off debt”, “balance the budget”, “finance pet projects and investments”, etc. You can count on that happening with 100% certainty.

        You have to be naïve (like Max_OK) to think that a globally implemented “revenue neutral” carbon tax would be anything but a very costly bureaucratic nightmare, which would result in absolutely no change to our planet’s climate.

        It’s DOA.

        Max

      • manaker,

        I never mentioned “revenue neutral”.

    • Jack

      If you want to get stressed out about energy costs come to the uk where adherence to green policies is helping to ensure that fuel poverty is a real issue here when it comes to heating homes. By the way I bet you don’t
      Pay 10 us dollars a gallon for fuel for your car.
      Tonyb

  14. Good article.

    We do not live in a “black or white” world, even though, sadly. many people think that way.

    So, instead of choosing only one solution to the energy dilemma, why not use a “no regrets” “all of the above” approach:

    – expand drilling/fracking to extract as much domestic energy as possible,
    – use clean natural gas, where possible, to replace dirtier coal and for heavy transportation vehicles;
    – support basic research efforts aimed at finding economically viable green energy technologies;
    – at the same time, install new nuclear power generation capacity in place of new coal plants, wherever this makes economic sense.

    This sounds like a “win-win” to me.

    Things NOT to do:

    – tax carbon (simply a top-down government power grab, which achieves nothing regarding climate but hurts the most vulnerable plus the economy in general);
    – subsidize corn ethanol (not competitive, drives up the price of an essential food crop);
    – subsidize “green energy” development or manufacturing projects (too many Solyndras, too many political cronies getting taxpayer money to support basically uncompetitive projects).

    Max

    • Max

      Can I make a plea for a ‘horses for courses’ energy policy? this is one where each country plays to its strengths whether in conventional or renewable energy sources.

      As regards the latter we have a crazy situation whereby my country heavily subsidises solar power generation. This in a country where my area, with1800 hours annually, is one of the sunniest locations in the country. That is a fraction of the total available hourse making solar hopelessly inefficient here. Having travelled by train from Zurich to innsbruck I was astonished by the vast number of solar panels defacing pretty chalets that were plunged deep in shade by the mountains and wouldn’t get full sun until April.Spain or California might be a different matter altogether however for solar.

      In Britain not one hundred yards from my front door is the limitless power of the ocean as expressed in liquid wind-wave power–and the tides. This is a resource that the Swiss would find it very hard to harness but you can and do harvest hydro electric which is a very minor potential source in the uk.

      So’all of the above’ is all very well but it has to have a local flavour
      Tonyb

    • @manacker…

      I’d more or less agree with your proposed policy, except for this

      [Not] subsidize “green energy” development or manufacturing projects (too many Solyndras, too many political cronies getting taxpayer money to support basically uncompetitive projects).

      Manufacturing: I’d agree, but subsidizing research and development seems like a good idea to me. For that matter, what are patents but a form of subsidy granted by society (in the form of short-term pseudo-property).

      Alternatives might include subsidizing a significant R&D project all of whose “patents” would end up in the public domain, while the lab doing it would get paid at cost plus, as well as ending up with valuable expertise that could be sold on the consulting market. Or, allow some proportion of owed taxes to be invested in R&D while retaining limited rights to the result. (Less than a regular patent, more than nothing.) The key is to provide the lab or other R&D facility with the incentive to actually do valid research, while not requiring them to invest the entire amount in potentially unproductive R&D.

      Here’s another: when somebody’s to the point that they have working prototypes and proof-of-concepts, guarantee them a purchase contract at favorable terms, so that even if some other technology renders their investment non-competitive, they still recover something.

      And another: allocate a certain amount of annual funds for purchase of CO2 captured from the air (divide the allocation by the amount produced), then sell it on the open market. Whatever returns that sale yields, add that to the annual appropriation for next year’s purchase. This would tend to develop a growing capacity to produce air-captured CO2 as well as fostering demand technology to use it, without waiting for the market to bring the costs down to under the price. If a similar program were set up for capture from stacks, both technologies could be encouraged, as well as a variety of markets for their product.

      • AK

        We are discussing the whole R+D process:

        basic research => applied research => development incl. prototypes => design => detailed engineering => construction of manufacturing facilities => commissioning => start of manufacturing and sales operations

        The front end of this process might require some sort of government subsidy, but the further down the process line you go, the more the government should keep out of the process (otherwise you end up with Solyndras).

        Exceptions are projects that are specifically undertaken to serve the public or national interest (TVA, Manhattan Project, NASA space exploration, etc.).

        Encouraging families to better insulate their homes with a (tax-payer funded) subsidy might be a worthwhile government investment, since it reduces waste (and hence adds value).

        Carbon capture and sequestration adds no value (just cost), so should not be encouraged.

        These are just my thoughts on this, of course.

        Max

      • @manacker…

        Carbon capture and sequestration adds no value (just cost), so should not be encouraged.

        Well, that’s actually the whole debate at the center of this blog. However, you’re wrong.

        Increased pCO2 represents a risk, which is unquantifiable. Granted it’s probably temporary. Granted, people like you don’t agree that it has a more than trivial value. It remains a risk, and there is therefore value in reducing it. The question is how much? And how much investment at a “community” level is appropriate to deal with it.

        Now, plenty of people see the risk as being much larger than you do. Many of those people don’t understand the temporary nature of that risk, and thus favor “solutions” that involve raising the price/cost of energy by prohibitive amounts. In addition, there are plenty of people whose agenda will be served in other ways by raising the price/cost of energy. Such people will always be pushing for such solutions, partly by emphasizing the risk and discouraging discussion of its temporary nature.

        Substantial investment in “solutions” that don’t impact the price/cost of energy change the equation WRT those people. It shows that “something is being done” about the problem. It highlights the temporary nature of the risk, forcing it into discussion against the efforts of those whose agenda is not about carbon. It actually reduces the risk, since it will probably shorten the time frame until sequestration reduces the level to the desired point.

        It also reduces the risk of overshoot, since the fact that the increasing human draw-down of atmospheric CO2 is partly due to economic “intervention” will tend to justify early efforts to control and “privatize” draw-down rights.

        As long as the investment is at the front end of the process (research and pre-prototype development), it will also be effectively “no-regrets”, since research almost always produces “spin-off” of one sort or another that will also be of general benefit.

      • AK

        You state (in your defense of carbon capture and sequestration proposals):

        Increased pCO2 represents a risk, which is unquantifiable.

        It is not only “unquantifiable”, it is highly “uncertain” that there is any “risk” at all.

        Unintended consequences from carbon sequestration arguably present a greater “risk”.

        A study on this site by Rutt Bridges on various CCS alternates show that these are very costly and achieve very little in changing our climate: $17 trillion for a theoretical decrease in warming by 2100 of an imperceptible 0.4C (using the arguably exaggerated IPCC AR4 2xCO2 ECS estimate).

        So we have a proposed mitigation action, whose unintended negative consequences we are unable to estimate, which would result in an imperceptible change in our global climate at an exorbitant cost.

        Sounds like a “lose-lose-lose” proposition to me, AK.

        The truth of the matter is that we are unable to change our planet’s climate, no matter how much money we throw at it.

        It’s just that simple.

        Max

      • @manacker…

        It is not only “unquantifiable”, it is highly “uncertain” that there is any “risk” at all.

        No, it is certain that there is a risk. I’m not talking about higher temperatures per se, but a reorganization of the global weather system. Granted, it’s a small risk, but if it happened, much or most of the worlds agriculture would be “down for the count” for at least a year. And that’s just the climate related risk.

        There’s also ocean acidification, which certainly isn’t going to go very far before draw-down from carbon capture starts pulling it back, but could touch off one or more eco-catastrophe’s with unfortunate results before it’s reversed. And there’s also the possibility of eco-catastrophe being set off by simply the increased pCO2. None of these possible catastrophes would really be a problem for humanity unless they, in turn, produce an economic collapse. Granted, the risk is small, but the costs of reducing it are small, and the benefits are potentially large.

        A study on this site by Rutt Bridges on various CCS alternates show that these are very costly and achieve very little in changing our climate: $17 trillion for a theoretical decrease in warming by 2100 of an imperceptible 0.4C (using the arguably exaggerated IPCC AR4 2xCO2 ECS estimate).

        In the first place, as far as I know the study cherry-picked its sources of data. In the second place, as far as I know you cherry-picked your study. In the third place, I have no confidence in the sources used. From what I’ve seen, these “studies” manipulate the numbers however they like to get the results they want. The most important defect is their assumptions regarding the evolution of technology.

        Most technology improves according to some exponential “growth curve”. Sometimes the exponential part isn’t very large, and the parameter for the exponential part can change suddenly due to social/political(/military) factors. But sometimes it is large, with appropriate encouragement, and political factors can be tuned to make things faster. Moore’s “law” is the outstanding example, although PV seems to be following a similar curve.

        I’m proposing a strong effort to foster R&D towards air/sea carbon capture technology. I don’t see immediate sequestration, rather returning the carbon into the economy, either as purified CO2 for processes that use it, or methane or other fuels that will pay part, eventually all, of the costs of capturing it.

        Encouraging the exponential growth of carbon capture technology and industry would have a powerful political effect, in that it could be used to answer complaints about a “full steam ahead” policy on methane, oil, and perhaps even coal. This means energy prices/costs could be brought down a the low level needed to bring back strong growth, and a full economy.

        Relative to the advantages of returning to a “full steam growth” economy, the cost of subsidizing research into carbon capture would be tiny.

      • AK

        One can imagine all kinds of “risks”, but that does not make them real.

        Higher CO2 concentrations will be a boon for agriculture. This is a no-brainer.

        Whether or not they will represent any kind of a risk for humanity or our environment is unknown. And it is even more uncertain whether such a putative risk would be a significant one or not, if it existed.

        As a result, any scheme for reducing atmospheric CO2 that does not inherently “add value” is a waste of money, in my opinion. This goes for the normal CCS proposals that I have seen, such as those in the report I cited.

        Proposals that include generation of biomass that can be used as fuel would “add value”, so these would not be a wasted investment. That is the direction one should go, rather than CCS. If I understood your comment, that is also the direction, in which you think we should be going.

        So we agree on that.

        Max

    • Peter Lang

      Yes

      AND

      Remove the impediments distorting energy markets that have been imposed over many decades.

    • max,

      The U.S. already “invests” too much in energies that are not economical and will not be for a very long time. It also obstructs extraction and processing of fossil fuels.

      We don’t need an all of the above approach. We need an all things that are already proven to work approach.

      When you say “support basic research,” but no more Solyndras, that is the same as advocating that oxymoron, the revenue neutral carbon tax. You have to remember that “research” run by government bureaucrats is no different from tax redistribution by other government bureaucrats.

      • Gary M

        I’d agree with you that government operations are generally less financially accountable and efficient than privately funded ones.

        Maybe you see it differently, but in my mind there is a big difference between government support for basic research work and supporting manufacturing operations like Solyndra with taxpayer money.

        Max

      • Gary M

        Agree with your other points.

        Max

      • max,

        I have no objection to government providing some funding for basic research as a matter of general principle. But the problem is the culture of governance in the west has gotten to the point where if you give them an inch, they take the whole highway.

        So maybe if we got one of Gates’ philosopher kings to run the federal bureaucracy, I would be on board. Otherwise we get either Solyndra of Michael Mann, and you lose me.

  15. Australia is rich in coal and uranium. We use our massive coal exports to pay for trash such as wind and solar installations (from imported materials). That’s right. We fund our carbon mitigation by gouging and selling as much carbon as we can. Fortunately, when we need to cart the “renewable” trash away in a few years, we’ll have coal for the job of junking it all. By then, we may even have efficient new coal power stations, like the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Taiwanese. (Having bought our coal, they don’t tax it like we do, but neither do they waste it by burning it in old clunkers, like we do,)

    The billions are gone. Someone somewhere got rich from it all. As winter approaches, a great many Australians can no longer heat their homes. There will be deaths. The country is littered with the evidence of mad green schemes. Take your pick which one is silliest. When Choice Spirits and Public Intellectuals hold sway in a technocracy, the contest for supremacy in idiocy is keen.

    Conservation is the answer to so many things. Environmentalism, which is a distortion and mockery of conservation, represents the triumph of two-bob intellectuals over Australia’s greatest resources: our once legendary commonsense and make-do.

    • Peter Lang

      +1

    • Have you heard about the “coal bubble” ?

      • I believe the “coal bubble” is something postulated by gowned shamans called economists. It is comforting to know that there exists a still wilder and sillier species of intellectual than those who pretend to a mechanistic understanding of climate.

        Of course, such comfort must needs be very slight, as the green-clad March of Folly rumbles forward over the wreckage of Conservation, Scholarship and Commonsense. And Folly cries to her eagerly scribbling attendants; “Publish or perish, my pretties!”

  16. “The second fact is that compromise need not be fatal for anyone.”
    _______

    So we should expect the deniers and false skeptics to say:

    “OK, gore my free-market ox.”

    “OK, gore my anti-government ox.”

    Ha Ha ! I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen. Ideologues are idealistic rather than practical. If they compromise on their principles, how can they continue to be ideologues?

    • Max_OK

      Let’s keep “Gore” out of it.

      Max_CH

      • Max_Ch, I was waiting for someone to make a Gore comment. Thank you.

      • Max OK,

        Your comment above is akin to wearing your underwear on the outside and then saying “I’ve been waiting for someone to say skid mark.”

        It seems that whenever I start to take you seriously, as with your carbon tax arguments, you go and say something unbelievably silly. It kills your credibility.

  17. To make a policy requires analysis up front. Energy analysis is monitoring and projecting the change in energy use. So one monitors the decline in the conventional forms of fossil fuel and then predicts the trends in use of alternative forms of energy.

    Simple pedantic statement but somebody has to make it.

  18. Innovation is crucial to energy issues, so here is some good news – climate change is a major driver of innovation! Not really a surprise, it is our ingenuity and adaptability that has allowed our species to thrive.

    Nature Communications, 21 May 2013: Development of Middle Stone Age innovation linked to rapid climate change. Martin Zeigler et al. Abstract:

    The development of modernity in early human populations has been linked to pulsed phases of technological and behavioural innovation within the Middle Stone Age of South Africa. However, the trigger for these intermittent pulses of technological innovation is an enigma. Here we show that, contrary to some previous studies, the occurrence of innovation was tightly linked to abrupt climate change. Major innovational pulses occurred at times when South African climate changed rapidly towards more humid conditions, while northern sub-Saharan Africa experienced widespread droughts, as the Northern Hemisphere entered phases of extreme cooling. These millennial-scale teleconnections resulted from the bipolar seesaw behaviour of the Atlantic Ocean related to changes in the ocean circulation. These conditions led to humid pulses in South Africa and potentially to the creation of favourable environmental conditions. This strongly implies that innovational pulses of early modern human behaviour were climatically influenced and linked to the adoption of refugia.

    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n5/full/ncomms2897.html

    • Faustino,

      It may be more certain that the need to adapt leads to transitions where solutions differ from the earlier ones than that it speeds up the process of making genuinely new innovations. Looking at the more recent history, it’s more typical that the major innovations have changed their environment than that needs due to changes in the environment have driven new innovations.

      Adaptation is certainly essential, but there may be larger losses in the process than we would conclude when we trust that we are in the process helped by innovation comparable to the most important we have seen so far.

      When no limits are set on the nature of the innovation the potential is hugely larger that when the innovation is searched to solve a specific problem.

  19. We have spent a lot of money in developing engines that run on liquid hydrocarbons.
    We have a huge amount of infrastructure to get, alter, store, distribute liquid hydrocarbons.
    The energy density of compressed and liquified methane is lower than gasoline, and is a little too low for cars, where space taken up by a fuel tank means less usable space, making car buyer buy bigger cars.
    The big 18-Wheelers are not volume limited and it would be trivial to convert this fleet to LNG and set up the infrastructure to store it or liquify it, in the gas station interstate network.
    Other large trucks could then piggy-back off this infrastructure and we would see the gradual conversion of working vehicles
    Expanding nuclear base-load by stamping out Westinghouse AP-1000’s is the way to go. Using mass production techniques and aiming for 200 in 20 years would completely alter the US carbon emission.
    In the 20-30 year time scale there new generation of electrical storage devices should be appearing with the amount of energy density that makes liquid fuels redundant and solar/wind power worthwhile.

    • Rob Starkey

      A generally sound plan

    • In the 20-30 year time scale there new generation of electrical storage devices should be appearing with the amount of energy density that makes liquid fuels redundant and solar/wind power worthwhile.

      Why bother? Long before that high-efficiency conversion of hydrogen and CO2 from the air to fuel will have cut the ground out from under that market. And, IMO, replaced most of the electrical distribution grid. Why distribute both gas and electricity when gas can be brought to the home or local power station and be converted to electricity. Gas technology is mature, unlike hydrogen, and it will be easy to produce from solar energy. Thus serving as both a storage and distribution system.

      • David Springer

        The hydrogen doesn’t come from the air unless you count rainfall as air. It comes from liquid water split into hydrogen and oxygen by sunlight.

      • @David Springer…

        The hydrogen doesn’t come from the air unless you count rainfall as air.

        I was talking about CO2 from the air. However, if you’re going to be picky, the capture fluid I’m envisioning would probably be hygroscopic enough that it would absorb water directly from the air, which would have to be removed and could then be used for hydrolysis.

        The amount of water used would be so trivial that you could afford to truck it into deep desert solar stations. Leakage from the “artificial leaves” would probably be more.

      • David Springer

        I thought it might be unknown to some (not you) where the hydrogen comes from in biofuels and perhaps some might have even forgotten the photosynthesis equation even though it’s 6th-8th grade primary school science.

      • David Springer

        The best places to put biofuel plants are very dry as that’s the kind of climate that gets the most sun and is least valuable for any other purpose. Non-potable water is fine and sewer water is excellent as it’s chock full of nutrients. Pipe in waste water from big desert cities like Vegas, Tuscon, Phoenix, and El Paso maybe even Sandy Eggo and LA since they have deserts close by too. There’s a pilot plant for Joule Unlimited close to me that uses municipal wastewater and CO2 from electric generation. Current technology already cheaper than $100/bbl fossil oil and moving from pilot to scaleable production as we speak. Bottled CO2 is currently limiting factor but all we have to do is burn more natural gas and capture the really frickin’ clean exhaust of combined cycle natural gas plants which is nothing but CO2 and water vapor to truck into the desert. Greenies will love it. It’s a win-win situation for everyone except OPEC near as I can tell.

        Actually, now that I think about it, you should get precisely the amount of water you need as a byproduct of compressing combined cycle natural gas turbine exhaust. Happy happy joy joy. That’s pure H2O though and is likely more valuable elsewhere or even at point of origin than trucking it into the desert since you don’t need distilled water for biofuel and distilled water is used in many other industrial processes.

    • David Springer

      DocMartyn | May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply

      “We have spent a lot of money in developing engines that run on liquid hydrocarbons.”

      Yes. But modification for LNG is trivial since the primary job of carbuerators and fuel injectors is turning the liquid fuel into as close an approximation of gas as possible. The finer the atomization of the liquid fuel the more efficient the combustion. With LNG perfect atomization is effortless.

      “We have a huge amount of infrastructure to get, alter, store, distribute liquid hydrocarbons.”

      Correct. This is the primary problem IMO. Imagine digging up and replacing every underground fuel storage tank in every gas station from NYC to Possum Trot, KY and replacing every pump and ancillary dispensing/metering device along with them.

      “The energy density of compressed and liquified methane is lower than gasoline, and is a little too low for cars, where space taken up by a fuel tank means less usable space, making car buyer buy bigger cars.”

      Probably not too low. LNG has 70% the energy density of gasoline. Since it burns so much cleaner you’ll probably save more money on elimination of pollution control devices, fuel filters, fuel pumps, and fuel injectors than you lose in size/cost of fuel tank. Most people don’t run their gas tanks from full to empty so a larger tank is not necessary if a buyer is willing to sacrifice driving range between fillups. Most people I know don’t consider the driving range between fillups when comparison shopping for a new car.

      ” The big 18-Wheelers are not volume limited and it would be trivial to convert this fleet to LNG and set up the infrastructure to store it or liquify it, in the gas station interstate network.”

      Hardly trivial. See the first paragraph on digging up underground tanks and replacing dispensing devices.

      “Expanding nuclear base-load by stamping out Westinghouse AP-1000′s is the way to go. Using mass production techniques and aiming for 200 in 20 years would completely alter the US carbon emission.”

      Pie in the sky. Technical and political roadblocks out the ying yang.

      “In the 20-30 year time scale there new generation of electrical storage devices should be appearing with the amount of energy density that makes liquid fuels redundant and solar/wind power worthwhile.”

      More pie in the sky.

      • David, it would be rather better if you read the actual paragraphs and took in the information content before replying. Liquid Natural Gas, is as the name suggests, a liquid. Moreover, more tradition room temperature/ambient air pressure liquid hydrocarbon fuels are gasified prior to ignition in the cylinder.
        Thus, LNG, though it has a lower calorific value than gasoline or diesel, is a liquid hydrocarbon that could be slotted into current transport vehicles with little modification to their production lines.
        One could use existing gas stations for refueling LNG powered transport, WITHOUT, digging up the existing gas/diesel tanks. Moreover, tanking LNG on conventional 18-wheelers presents no difficulties using the same methodologies of station resupply as is presently used gasoline/diesel stations.
        These station will only make an investment in LNG storage and/or compressing natural gas from the existing natural gas pipe network, if they have some assurance of sales.
        A commitment from the government that all 18-weelers would undergo a transformation in a short, 5-10 year, time span would provide this incentive.
        After LNG becomes widely available, people thinking of buying a new vehicle would consider LNG as a fuel or some might consider a conversion kit. They would do so if there was a cost saving in fuel use AND they had the assurance that the existing service station network of LNG stations was dense enough that they could drive anywhere.
        Small cars, have very small space margins, and are more difficult to incorporate the larger, insulated, LNG tanks. Smart car sized vehicles would probably be better off with diesel engines.

        You ‘pie in the sky’ comments are unjustified.

      • David Springer

        Try quoting where you think I made a mistake instead of inferring things I didn’t actually imply.

        Yes LNG is a liquid. It stands for Liquified Natural Gas. Do you imagine I wasn’t aware of that? In order to remain liquified it must be contained at considerably high pressure and/or cryogenic temperature. The latter may be used for distribution but the former must be used for an automobile fuel tank. Atomization of the liquid fuel is somewhat easier than falling off a log as it turns into a gas by the simple expedient of reducing the containment pressure. Like duh. Maybe you should think a little harder about what people write and possibly even consider that there are people here at least as smart as you are and some far smarter.

      • David Springer

        You’re an idiot sometimes Martyn. Think through the implications of having huge LNG fuel tanks above ground at filling stations. There’s a reason why even the less hazardous gasoline and diesel storage tanks are underground. When you figure out what those reasons are get back to me.

      • We have met the idiots, and we are they.
        ==========

      • David Springer

        For lurkers the reason why cryogenic storage is impractical except for limited duration distribution is that cyrogenic tanks must be bled. They don’t have perfect insulation and they cannot contain the gas pressure as the fuel slowly but inevitably warms. Bleeding methane into the atmosphere from cryogenic tanks in parked vehicles is not an option. Thus pressurization is the only option. It’s not a particularly bad option with modern carbon composites and the comparatively low pressure of LNG but it IS the only option. Martyn’s notion of filling stations having gas delivered by pipeline and compressing it on demand is silly and thoughtless. The pipes would have to be gargantuan to have reasonable capacity. We aren’t talking about supplying the furnace and hot water heater of the gas station we’re talking about supplying a continuous stream of vehicles with several orders of magnitude more fuel than any normal size NG supply line. And those pipes leak and corrode unless they’re prohibitively expensive.

        And pie in the sky not justified? Hardly.

        Martyn imagines future electrical storage devices with energy densities approaching liquid fuels? An inordinate amount of effort has been devoted to that for many decades not the least of which is for electrically powered aircraft. Very little progress has been made despite the vast benefits of such a device. Imagining that this will somehow come to pass in the future is the very definition of pie in the sky as are the backyard nukes that Martyn mentions with an apparently straight face. Incredible.

    • David Springer

      DocMartyn | May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply

      Ethanol and bio-diesel are the only practical alternatives as they require very little modification of distribution and consumption infrastructure. Sunlight, CO2, non-potable water, and non-arable land are plentiful just about everywhere. No fundamental discovery is required just perseverance at reverse engineering and reorganizing what mother nature already discovered and utilizes in microscopic self-reproducing manufacturing plants. There’s no survival value in a metabolism optimized for producing fuel oil or ethanol so evolution didn’t produce any critters that do that but as we know the biological mechanisms to produce ethanol (an unavoidable metabolic byproduct) and fuel oils (useful for some secondary survival traits) are already done. Human need simply becomes the “evolutionary pressure” for metabolisms devoted to fuel production and human ingenuity replaces random mutation and natural selection for the means to realize the genetic modifications. It’s inevitable and the technology to git ‘er done is advancing so fast you couldn’t possibly get something like portable nukes designed, tested, and deployed before they were made obsolete by what is essentially free safe clean renewable biofuels that are drop-in replacements for extant distribution and consumption infrastructure.

      In the meantime so we don’t kills the goose that lays the golden eggs for research and development funding, drill baby drill. :-)

  20. Pekka..thanks for helping me understand the dynamics of these gasses a little better. That will be my homework when I leave for vacation tomorrow. I can`t say I will fully grasp what you have written because I have no science background. Maybe Myrrh and DS will also weigh in by then to help me with my confusion.

  21. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

    The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action will lead to accelerated decarbonization.’ http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

    There is an almost complete failure to persuade people that taxes, caps, fee and dividend or whatever version of resource limitation is currently fashionable with the hipster demographic. And the climate system is not helping the cause with ever more desperate post hoc rationalisations for the lack of warming. A lack that seems likely to persist for some time yet.

    There are ways forward. I was reading just yesterday about Australian shopping malls – in the American idiom – putting in solar panels with nil subsidies and a 7 year payback apparently. A little longer than typical – but if they want to spend their own money whatever.

    Here’s a project for you – http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/oc64ch07.pdf

    The picture is a conservation farming technique. Happy to put my dollars in that – as opposed to the quite pointless Australian ‘revenue neutral’ carbon tax. it is not revenue neutral at all for me being in the tax bracket that pays for all of it. With the collapse of the European market – I would get to pay more ‘compensation’ after 2015. I vote that we increase aid to 0.7% of GDP – as both sides of politics have promised to – and drop this silly tax.

    o/t – I see some geeks on either side of the Pacific are floating a merger of Australia and America. The US debt might be a bit of a poison pill, we would need to get naming rights – Ausmerica – and including Minnesota is a deal breaker. Come to think of it – we would prefer to just get Texas – we could call it TexAus. Other than that – the idea might have some merit.

    • Chief

      Minnesota could end up becoming a tropical oasis, so don’t write it off just yet.

      I’d go for a deal whereby Detroit and surroundings would be ceded to Canada instead.

      Max

      • That reminds me for the lyrics to Journey’s best track

        Just a small town girl / Livin’ in a lonely world / She took the midnight train / Goin’ anywhere / Just a city boy / Born and raised in South Detroit

        South Detroit is called Windsor and is in Ontario, Canada.

      • Doc, Windsor was north of Detroit when I crossed the border in 1962. Is that irrelevant to the nomenclature, or has the earth moved for you?

    • Merge America and Australia? HA HA ! The U.S. has enough homegrown losers as it is.

      What would such a silly merger be called?

      How about “US and Them”

      or

      The United States of America and Down Under

      or

      America and Butt Head

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We can count on max-ok for sparkling wit and maturity.

      • Chief,

        I’ll give Max points for wit on his US and Them and The United States of America and Down Under. Well, at least for the first one.

        The last suggest kills any maturity points.

    • dalyplanet

      Minnesota recently became the most liberal state in the nation ! Between the weather and the politics its enough to make every Minnesotan a little off kilter.

      • Minnesota is the nicest place I’ve ever lived. At least it was until I moved to Oregon.

    • David L. Hagen

      Pocketbook policy
      The ratio of EU/US electricity costs increased 50% since 2005, with warming mitigation policies, solar panels, and stopping nuclear being a major component of that increase.
      The EU is now pushing fracking for gas to reduce electricity costs.

      Newsbytes: EU Leaders Back Shale Revolution, Roll Back Climate Policy
      h/t wuwt

      • David L Hagen

        The situation for the hard pressed domestic consumer in Britain is even worse. Here is a graph of energy costs against declining temperatures

        Add in petrol for vehicles at 10$ per gallon and the powers that be need to look little further than energy costs for business and domestic consumers to find out why our economies over here are languishing.
        tonyb

    • David Springer

      Chief Hydrologist | May 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply

      “Come to think of it – we would prefer to just get Texas – we could call it TexAus.”

      I guess when said I’m charming you really meant it and now you’re suggesting we shack up together. Speaking for Texas, no thanks. Speaking for myself I threw up in my mouth a little at the thought of it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You don’t count as a Texan springer – all hat and no cow.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are a blow in as we say – and in fact we would probably have to invite you to leave. You just don’t make the grade.

      • David Springer

        Are you still dreaming of a union between Australia and Texas and now further imagining that you can determine which Texas citizens can remain in the state and which can leave? Your connection with reality is obviously more tenuous than I thought it was.

      • The state of the union is in our imagination.
        ========

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I am pretty sure it should be obvious that it is a joke – much as you are springer. Have a humour bypass like Max_oke? Think behaving like a churlish little boy is appealing? Imagine that lying, superficiality and bluster passes for intellect? Sad really.

  22. Peter Lang

    The energy revolution is splitting Americans into two rival camps: one that is enthusiastic about the resurgence of oil and gas and another that favors renewable sources and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

    We’ve been doing that for 30 years. Its a failed policy.

  23. Peter Lang

    Both camps raise important concerns, but each regularly overstates its case — especially when it claims that the other’s gains are intolerable. The truth is that the best way to strengthen the American economy, bolster national security, and protect the environment is for the country to take advantage of all the new energy opportunities.

    This is just a regurgitation of the same arguments that have been had over and over again for the past 30 years of more. What they mean is:

    – subsidies what the greenies want (like renewable energy and government mandated energy efficiency schemes)

    – continue to do do everything possible to block what the greenies don’t like, e.g. nuclear power.

    Nothing new. Same old same old rhetoric from the same old same old crowd.

  24. Peter Lang

    The whole approach being advocated here is for more government intervention. that is bureaucrats, NGO’s, politicians etc know best. how ridiculous. Will we never learn from the failed policies of the past?

    Why is there not one word about removing the interventions the governments of the past have imposed on our energy markets? – some of those impediments are the primary cause of the problems we have now.

    But no a word about unwinding the errors of the past.

  25. Peter Lang

    It would best serve both sides, however, to accept a broad approach rather than digging in and fighting narrowly for their ideal outcomes.

    You want a broad approach? I’ll give you a broad approach. Implement a policy such that every year the legislature repeals legislation and removes regulations costing $100 billion worth of damage to the economy every year.

    • Do you mean regulations about lead, asbestos, mercury, and other nasty stuff?

      • All poisons are a matter of dose, M, and please don’t let me go off on the policy errors surrounding asbestos.
        ==========

  26. Peter Lang

    The second fact is that compromise need not be fatal for anyone.

    What deception. That’s the argument the Greenies have been using for the past 30 years to promote useless renewable energy technologies and do all in their power to make nuclear power as costly as possible.

    If not for their success, global GHG emissions could be much lower now than they are. For example, if nuclear power had not been blocked by the greenies, Eco NGOs, ‘Progressives’ in 1993, Australia’s CO2 emissions from electricity generation could be half what they are now.

    What the quote sentence really means is more of the same failed policies we’ve been doing for the past 30 years.

  27. Peter Lang

    A most-of-the-above agenda would eliminate the genuine deal killers for each side, leaving a package that could deliver the essentials of what both want, take advantage of gains across the board, and avoid the risk of an extended battle that would devastate everyone and satisfy no one.

    What absolute tosh.

    The real world doesn’t work that way. Who do we trust to make the decisions? The loony Left?

    • Peter, have you thought this through. Isn’t the looney left better than the even loonier right? Isn’t a nanny state better than a ninny state.?

      • Short answer is again no.

        I can deal with incompetent ninnies. Overbearing nannies, who are likely to be only marginally more competent than the ninnies, are far harder to handle.

      • Minnesota – weird combination of socialism and eternal flirtations with conservatism.

        You liked it.

        Oregon… Oh well.

      • Rob Starkey

        Max

        Looney is looney whether it is from the right or the left. Try evaluating position based on the mertits of the position and not on your prejudical preconceived ideas.

      • JCH,

        There is more to life than politics.

        From a political standpoint I feel Oregon is a mess. The state used to be moderately Republican. Compromise was a way to get things done, not a dirty word. Somewhere along the way the extremes in both parties gained control. Guess what concept is now a sin?

        Fortunately, because there is more to life than politics, I am able to appreciate living in such a wonderful place.

  28. Peter Lang

    The burden of advancing this agenda ultimately rests with U.S. leaders. President Barack Obama has advocated an energy policy that, as his first term evolved, became increasingly consistent with this sort of approach,…

    Nonsense. We get to the end of this post and it confirms it is just a ‘Progressives’ propoganda piece for Barack Obama. Its the same rhetoric the Progressives have been pushing for 30 years and blocking genuine, economically viable progress for 30 years.

    He’s been dead wrong the whole way. How could he be anything but wrong when his chief energy adviiser, John Holdren, has been a strongly pro renewables and strongly anti-nuclear for 30 years.

    • David Springer

      Why don’t you run for president, pl. Your campaign slogan can be ”

      “An electric car in every garage and a portable nuke in every backyard.”

      Catchy, huh?

      I’d ask if you were a citizen of the United States before suggesting you run for president but that doesn’t seem to be a requirement anymore. ;-)

  29. Peter Lang

    The following posts provide some insight into why renewable energy will, not make a significant contribution to our energy supply and why it is highly unlikely it will be economically viable in the foreseeable future.

    81,000 truckers for solar’: http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/03/14/81000-truckers-for-solar/

    Energy demand equation for 2050’: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/10/11/tcase3/

    Energy system build rates and material units’: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/10/18/tcase4/

    A check list for renewable energy plans’: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/07/12/tcase12/

    Emission cuts realities for electricity generation – costs and CO2 emissions’: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/

    Renewable Electricity for Australia – the Cost’: http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

    Renewables or Nuclear Electricity for Australia – the Cost’: http://oznucforum.customer.netspace.net.au/TP4PLang.pdf

  30. Rud Istvan

    A few observations, since I have several years invested in such energy issues. The article Judith cites makes a useful observation about a policy situation worse than gridlock, because it tends to result in even worse outcomes. Sort of mutually assured destruction, which is indeed MAD.
    Most energy is derived from fossil fuels, which have certain future production peak problems. Much of the rest is nuclear electricity, which has both real and perceptual problems. Most of the viable remainder is hydro, and most hydro has already been done.
    The issues are so big and diverse that there is no one size fits all, as TonyB pointed out.
    But they are also not issues that the free market alone can sort out. Two examples suffice. First, no one seriously suggests that nuclear go completely unregulated. Chernobyl? North Korea? The minute safety standards, nuclear fuel recycling, and radioactive waste considerations are added, it is not in any meaningful sense a free market. The world is seldom black and white.
    Second, as discussed in previous posts and books, the lead time on implementation of significant energy policies is long. An Example is petroleum in sync with previous posts. Partial electrification ( hybrids) are a partial response to absolute scarcity that begins to arise in about a decade. Previous posts kindly hosted by Judith. Most vehicles aren’t partly electrified. Design cycle is 3-5 years, average vehicle is almost 8 years old (yup, even in the US), so the lead time on full fleet implementation is nearly 20 years. Free markets respond to changes (scarcity will lead to much higher fuel prices). They are not very good at anticipating such changes. To avoid some very painful and disruptive transitions (remeber 1973/4?) anticipatory policy is needed.
    And what the article occaisioning this thread does is point out some of the very large and concerning obstacles preventing even a rational discussion of such issues.
    Final observation. It is ironic that some of the changes that peaking fuels will force are equivalent to ‘carbon taxes’. But many possible responses to energy are very different than what the CAGW gang wants. Better nuclear, for example. No doctor would prescribe a treatment based on a knowingly wrong diagnosis. And that is what the IPCC has apparently done.

    • Peter Lang

      Rud,

      First, no one seriously suggests that nuclear go completely unregulated. Chernobyl? North Korea? The minute safety standards, nuclear fuel recycling, and radioactive waste considerations are added, it is not in any meaningful sense a free market.

      Since I am one of the most vocal proponents of removing the impediments to low cost nuclear power (which is the safest way to generate electricity), I just want to make it clear I have not been advocating nuclear power should be unregulated.

      What I am saying is the regulation is excessive, wrong and preventing it from being competitive. That is just stupid. We are regulating nuclear power to the point it is so expensive we can’t have a technology that would avoid over 1 million avoidable fatalities per year if it replaced coal in electricity generation. How dumb is that?

      • Rud Istvan

        PL, Just so you are clear, I understood and agree. But that does not solve the evident current nuclear problems in, for example, Germany and Japan. Let alone the decision by Jerry Ford in the US to prevent fuel recycling ( to prevent proliferation) by developing a waste repository (Yucca Mountain) that Obumer canceled. A bad old decision times a bad new decision does not a good current policy make.

        This topic IS relevant to any version of anthropogenic climate change one wishes to expound, yet is not part of the (acrimonious) dialog. Therein another symptom of the underlying disease.

      • Peter Lang

        Rud,

        Thank you. I agree with the political and public perception issues.

  31. Peter Lang

    Your proposal to build new nuclear plants in place of new coal-fired plants makes sense, except to those people who have been brainwashed by the earlier anti-nuclear fear mongering campaigns by environmental lobby groups like WWF and Greenpeace. In fortunately, this is a large number of very vociferous folks plus some fearful politicians in some countries.

    But let’s assume these people can be calmed down and convinced that nuclear fission as it exists today is totally safe. Adding in fast breeder technology with thorium could allay fears about spent fuel disposal. Getting rid of the political obstacles includes getting rid of oppressive regulations, as you write.

    Even if these political hurdles can be overcome, there will be geographical locations where a fossil-fuel based plant is more economical (near a gas field or coal mine, for example). There will also be locations (with unstable governments, for example) where proliferation concerns would make building a nuclear plant unwise.

    But even taking these into account, there is no doubt that “going nuclear” would result in a slower increase in CO2 concentrations, maybe by as much as 80 ppmv by 2100, which translates into averted warming of around 0.6C at the arguably exaggerated IPCC AR4 2xCO2 ECS of 3.2C (or half this amount at the more recent estimates for ECS).

    So this seems like a “no regrets” no-brainer to me, if one is really concerned about AGW.

    Although it will not make that much difference just by itself, it is the ONLY actionable proposal I have seen that makes any sense at all.

    The basic question is: are people more frightened of potential CAGW or of nuclear power?

    Max

    • Peter Lang

      Manacker,

      Thank you for your response. I agree, of course, with the thrust of you comment, but disagree with some of the points you make.

      … there is no doubt that “going nuclear” would result in a slower increase in CO2 concentrations, maybe by as much as 80 ppmv by 2100,

      I am not sure how you calculated the 80 ppmv figure? Is that consistent with cutting 50% of CO2 emissions from electricity globally by 2060 as well as 10% from transport plus 20% from gas used in heating? Because that is what I am suggesting is feasible as a ‘no regrets’ policy by 2060. I am suggesting electricity could be near emissions free world wide by 2100 and replace much of gas and oil also (as well as providing cheaper energy).

      That is what we are blocking.

      The basis of this, I have written before, is allowing competition to develop for small nuclear plants about the size of the gas turbines. A moderate cost reduction rate of 10% per doubling of capacity would see the cost of electricity from small nuclear at half that from new coal plants (in Australia, or new gas in USA) when 200 GW are in operation. The break-even point would occur once about 2.5 GW are in operation.

      That is with the technologies already going through licensing. Many other technologies are in the pipeline so, once let off the leash, the rate of cost reduction could be much faster.

      Note the Navy has been using these small modular plants for over 50 years with very few nuclear related incidents.

      Also remember that most coal plants that are in operation now will be replaced by 2060. So nuclear will not be just built to meet new demand but also will replace the existing plants when they become uneconomic. Existing plants will be replaced by the technology, available at the time, that is projected to give the lowest LCOE (i.e the least cost electricity for the life of the plant). I suggest, it is feasible that most fossil fuel electricity generation will be gone well before the end of this century.

      But let’s assume these people can be calmed down and convinced that nuclear fission as it exists today is totally safe.

      I have never said “totally safe”. I’ve said it is the safest way to generate electricity – certainly at large scale. It is about 150 times safer than coal in the USA and about 600 times safer than the world average.

      Even if these political hurdles can be overcome, there will be geographical locations where a fossil-fuel based plant is more economical (near a gas field or coal mine, for example). There will also be locations (with unstable governments, for example) where proliferation concerns would make building a nuclear plant unwise.

      I don’t agree with either of those two pints. At the costs I am suggesting by 2050, fossil fuels will not be cheaper than nu clear anywhere (except some minor niche locations that are irrelevant in the overall picture).

      The unstable government and weapons proliferation argument is a furphy and will be even more so in the future. It is almost impossible to make weapons material from the new nuclear power plants and it will be even more difficult in the future. Weapons material is made in dedicated facilities, not commercial electricity generation plants. And, anyway, fossil fuels are far more damaging in war. Why not prohibit them on the basis they deliver most of the weapons and are used to make conventional explosives.

      • David Springer

        Nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity.

        Sure it is. In the same way that a Saturn V is the safest way to fly.

        The problem is that had there been a single catastrophic failure of a Saturn V it would have become the most dangerous way to fly.

        It’s all fun and games until the most hazardous, long lived poisons known to man get spread around someone’s big city.

        So we should just like chillax about the saftety requirements, get competition going to see who can cut the most corners and build the smallest cheapest reactors, then if worse comes to worse and we make Oahu or San Francisco uninhabitable for 10,000 years we tighten the standards back up a smidge to make a repeat less likely.

        Got it. Read you loud and clear.

      • Nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity. That big nuclear reactor in the sky.

    • Max,
      You are spot on!
      Your conclusion seems so obvious but religiosity precludes discussion? You are expected to get into lock step or you are dismissed. Thank heavens there are serious people willing to take issue with CAGW.

  32. Why tax income when we can tax carbon? We aren’y hurting anyone by making money, but using fuels inefficiently puts more pollution in the atmosphere, including CO2 which causes global warming. Taxing carbon encourages efficiency.

    Efficiency is good.

    Income is good.

    Raising revenue through taxing carbon rather than taxing income is a no-brainer.

    • Rud Istvan

      Max OK, there are a couple of problems. One, not every country will agree. Classic Econ 101 problem of the commons. Europe has ‘green’ penalized itself while ‘Chindia’ has not. Last I checked, their annual GDP growth rates were high single digits while the EU was negative. In consequence the EU has under 25 unemployment above 25% most everywhere, and sits on a self-inflicted social powder keg plus a debt crisis.
      Two, taxes are a last refuge for politicians, and seldom an enabler of innovation, which is sorely needed (IMO) in energy. The US under Obumer provides an almost endless list of pertinent examples. Let’s see: Solyndra, A123, Fisker, ….. And to counterbalance the negatives, Tesla!!! Where an Internet billionaire took a half billion US loan and just paid it back by floating an IPO based on hype about how his $125k cars would sell to more people than the founders of Google….? P.T. Barnum described this side show very long ago.
      Perhaps you have additional facts that have not been brought to this logs attention? If so, please provide.

      • Rud Istvan, the GDP growth rate is not the most important measure for me, but if it’s the most important measure for you, move to Libya, Sierra Leone, or Niger, all of which have better GDP growth rates than China and India.

        B.C. has the kind of revenue-neutral carbon tax I’m talking about. It has economic growth and high per capita income. I would rather live there than any of those previously mentioned places.

        Tax carbon, not income.

    • Peter Lang

      Why tax income when we can tax carbon?

      One reason is that taxing carbon requires measurement of GHG emissions (all 23 Kyoto gasses from all sources in all countries) and that will lead to enormous compliance costs.

      • No, it doesn’t. British Columbia does it. Are you suggesting Americans aren’t as good as those Canadians?

        A carbon tax would encourage more nuclear power, and you are a proponent of nuclear power. So your objection to a carbon tax is puzzling. Have you ever shot yourself in the foot?

      • Max_OK,

        NO. BC does not tax GHG emissions. It is a fuel tax. We have that already for various reasons. To tax GHG emissions you have to tax all of them from everywhere in proportion to their effect (i.e. on the basis of CO2 equivalent). If you don’t you cause massive distortions to the economy.

        This explains: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

      • Peter Lang,

        You don’t understand. Max_OK is a member of the Bart R/Humpty Dumpty economic school (the Chicago School’s schizophrenic brother who keeps all his possessions in a shopping cart). “When they use an economic terms, it means precisely what they intend it to mean, neither more nor less.”

      • Peter Lang | May 23, 2013 at 12:01 am |

        NO. BC does not tax GHG emissions. It is a fuel tax.

        You are simply wrong on facts.

        While the revenues are collected on retail sale of fuels, they are collected based on independently emission factors determined from the same carbon inventory system 194 countries have agreed to. A fuel with zero carbon would pay zero fee.

        From http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/tbs/tp/climate/A6.htm :

        Myth: The carbon tax is just another gas tax. It does not actually tax carbon dioxide emissions.

        Fact: The carbon tax is a tax on carbon dioxide equivalent (CO 2e) emissions generated from the burning of fuels in B.C. including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, fuel oil, propane and coal. It is not just a “gas tax.”
        Environment Canada determines emission factors (EFs) that measure the CO2e emitted from combusting each type of fuel. The EFs are reported in Environment Canada’s “National Inventory Report, Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks.” The B.C. carbon tax rates for different fuels are determined by the amount of CO 2e emitted when the fuels are combusted.

      • That’s been explained to Peter Lang before. I don’t know why he can’t grasp it. Can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

    • Max_OK | May 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm |

      And people think you and I are in agreement?

      They really don’t follow.

      Yes, efficiency, income, double dividends are good.

      We split roughly where I was two years ago in thinking about these issues; forefront in my troubles was the issue of fairness, and we appear to have diverged in solutions.

      How to fix a fair price, that everyone could agree to, on a carbon tax?

      For one thing, it must avoid being a revenue grab. That’s solved by the simple mechanism of revenue neutrality, more or less.

      But if you have revenue neutrality, and its attendant benefits, why not go all the way to privatization using the retail sales tax system as a vector to collect fees and the payroll or income tax system to disburse dividends?

      This avoids the principle problems with cap-and-trade systems, in that it is less subject to manipulation and fraud. True, it doesn’t have the guaranteed level of CO2 reduction, but what is that guarantee worth, in a fraud-riddled mechanism?

      It still had the problem of how to fix a fair level, even though the full revenue reverts to citizens, and the worry that governments won’t be able to resist grabbing some of that revenue for their own pockets, until discussions here with Robert I. Ellison led me to think of applying the same price mechanism as any private good would use, the law of supply and demand.

      Maximize total dividends.

      It is a simple, elegant, and proven precept of Capitalism. The genius of the Market fixes the price. If more revenues would accrue by raising the level of the fee, raise it using so prudent a pricing path as the Market would absorb without undue disruption. If total revenues would drop by raising the level of the fee, don’t raise it further. Works for widgets and peanuts, why not for the carbon cycle — which, after all, is the service, the resource, being privatized.

      This doesn’t address the CO2 level of the atmosphere. Who can say if the price at maximum total dividend level will be too low or too high to meet the needs of the environment? Not me, certainly. However, it meets the need of fairness. It lets the Market decide what level of CO2E emission the democratic individual budget decisions of buyers and sellers will deliver. It’s obligate upon a fair Market capitalist system to privatize such a resource, where it is rivalrous, scarce, excludable and administratively feasible.

      And it would drive positive economic growth phenomenally, drawing innovation and entrepreneurship out of hiding and squeezing waste out of the system, to maximize ROI and kick inefficient and obsolete practices a out of business.

      Because we have the example of BC, we know about 70% (their statistics) of people would come out significantly ahead on net dividends after fees; about 20% would be nearly par until they can reduce the waste in their fossil emissions, and only 10% would be at a disadvantage — but that 10% is Free Riding now. What economy can withstand 10% Free Riding and not be hobbled?

      To you, it’s a tax treatment. Which, if that”s acceptable where you want to do it, more power to you.

      To me, the way to go is privatization.

      Looks much the same on paper, in a few cosmetic ways. But in principle, you’re practicing a form of government control, and my method puts the reins of the Market back into the hands of individuals, where it ought to be.

      I think your method is likely better than the corporate communism promoted by many, to go with their taste for subsidy of old guard industries, but of course I prefer my proposal over both.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Still no mechanics for how this ‘privatisation’ would be ecnomically engineered in this mad scheme of yours. What structures – what legislation? Just eccentric, babbling, wild eyed rants

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Not that I care. It is so impossibly politically improbable that it seems just a mad rant from some lone interweb wack job.

    • Chief Hydrologist | May 23, 2013 at 3:50 am |

      What part do you still not grasp?

      Since you’re Australian, it may help (you, at least, but no one unfamiliar with how the Australian carbon tax works.. which would be just about anyone who matters, I guess) if we start with a high level fix up of what Australia did wrong, and bridge to some other privatization model that you can grasp.

      Pretend instead of taking half the revenues of the Australian carbon tax and deciding how to spend it for Australians, the government took all the revenues of the carbon tax and handed it over to Australians, per capita, say through PAYG, payroll or income tax reversals (depending on state or territory). Pretend, further, that the Australian carbon tax applied at the retail level for every lucrative CO2E emitting source, be it fuel or solvent or asphalt or other volatile destined to join the atmosphere. I know you have that much imagination. After all, you watch the Simpsons.

      This is not so very different from the way things are in Australia now, except every dime of revenue goes into the pockets of every Australian citizen, or at least wage-earner. The details don’t much matter to me; I’m not very concerned with people who don’t contribute to an economy by holding down a paying job or running a viable business.

      Set the rate of the Australian carbon emission fee based on the precept of maximizing the total dividend. At some point, raising the fee will not increase the total dividend: at that point, stop raising it. See? Simple.

      Since Australia already has all the administration in place for PAYG payroll and income tax and VAT, and maintains a carbon inventory, there’s practically zero cost of implementation, which is easily offset by reduction of tax churn.

      What else don’t you follow?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I figured it was something insane like that. There is no point where increasing the fee doesn’t increase revenue unless there is some viable alternative at some price point. At that point there is no fee and permanently higher energy prices. We realize that you are congenitally unable to think this through because of some psychopathologic wing nut impediment – but to ordinary folk is a very simple idea.

        Let’s conceive instead of mitigating CO2 as a service that the public wants and do it in the least cost/biggest bang fashion that our unfortunately inadequate political leaders can manage. this means keeping it as simple as possible. The simpler course is to tender for services – and this applies to everything from pencils to ecological conservation. In this case contract for reductions in carbon in the atmosphere – as the indeed the opposition in Australia is proposing. Instead of the highest price – the lowest is selected in the traditional way of government contracts.

        There is one other way that governments might be useful – I providing prizes awarded by distinguished panels of judges for energy innovations. A billion dollars seem cheap and guaranteed to generate interest.

        In sum – we need visionaries and not eccentrics.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Externally such projects as this – http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/oc64ch07.pdf – has immense worth for a multitude of reasons.

        It is something that could be advanced tremendously be increasing aid to the 0.7% of GDP – that both Australia and the US have committed to but not achieved – and focusing those dollars on strategic goals.

        Again what is needed is a clear vision for a practical way forward – and not a mad rant about something quite probably insanely impossible.

      • David Springer

        Bart the Robin Hood tax scheme you describe won’t work. Most energy is used for productive purposes therefore the carbon tax will make production more expensive which in turns makes the goods more expensive and everyone’s cost of living more expensive. People like Al Gore won’t give a chit they have money to burn. It’s people who have to live on a budget who will be harmed and who will be enriched is the expanded bureaucracy required to manage the scheme along with countries such as China without the tax who gain a competitive edge in production cost and see their economies grow as manufacturing migrates to where the cost of production is lowest.

        There is no such thing as a free lunch.

        Write that down.

      • David Springer

        Ellison I have a shovel you can borrow if you ever give up round-the-clock commenting on blogs but I suspect that’s insanely impossible.

      • SpringyBoy, Looking forward to your Carbon Engineering approach, which should eliminate poverty. Everyone will have food, shelter, and clothing. That will show Bart R and his utopian fantasies of a market-driven nirvana where everyone that uses the commons has to pay for it.
        :)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        springer – charming as usual I see. You are tedious and repetitive – an ultratwit – try saying something of substance instead if that’s at all possible for you.

    • Chief Hydrologist | May 23, 2013 at 4:35 am |
      There is no point where increasing the fee doesn’t increase revenue unless there is some viable alternative at some price point. At that point there is no fee and permanently higher energy prices.

      Translating: individuals in the Market will seek the best alternative for each exchange at each point as the price level of the carbon cycle rises. As alternatives are exploited — bringing economies of scale into play, to make them less expensive per unit — demand for carbon-based fuels, solvents and components of processes that end up in the atmosphere drops, resulting in lower prices for carbon products and eventually resulting in a point of diminishing returns to further price level increases in the carbon cycle fee.. at which point you stop raising the price of the carbon cycle, and dividends per capita to all citizens are maximized.

      Which brings us to the 70% of recipients — that is citizens — who will be far ahead _net_ after all the price increases that travel through the system (the concern of David Springer | May 23, 2013 at 6:42 am | ) are figured in. Then the 20% who will have no significant economic impact once the waste in the system that remains due obsolescence and perverse incentive of the current practice will have the option of wasting less and getting better ROI for what they do spend, leaving the 10% of Free Riders to finally pay for the benefit they obtain. This correction will lead to opportunities for innovation and enterpreneurship that will only further reduce CO2E emissions and improve land use. See? Capitalism at work. Robin Hood, Robin Shmood.

      Let’s conceive instead of mitigating CO2 as a service that the public wants and do it in the least cost/biggest bang fashion that our unfortunately inadequate political leaders can manage. this means keeping it as simple as possible. The simpler course is to tender for services – and this applies to everything from pencils to ecological conservation. In this case contract for reductions in carbon in the atmosphere – as the indeed the opposition in Australia is proposing. Instead of the highest price – the lowest is selected in the traditional way of government contracts.
      There is one other way that governments might be useful – I providing prizes awarded by distinguished panels of judges for energy innovations. A billion dollars seem cheap and guaranteed to generate interest.
      In sum – we need visionaries and not eccentrics.

      See, the first part of your proposal happens anyway, by the laissez-faire forces of the Market. No need for some politburo to decide by public tender paid for by taxes extorted from the public which services or pencils or ‘ecological’ conservation measures to award Rent Seekers. (Why do you always come up backing more Rent Seeking?) Capitalism requires no expansion of bureaucracies. British Columbia _fired_ tax collectors after implementing its revenue neutral carbon tax. (That’s _fewer_ Rent Seekers, not more, for Springer. In case he needs help with the math.)

      And no matter how much prize money you dangle in front of people, you can’t buy them with their own tax dollars and get anywhere.. other than eventually lined up against a wall.

      When you say ‘visionary’, it appears you mean code for ‘tyrant’.

  33. If all of the above means any and all carbon can be used, I disagree. There are rules that can be applied like replacing less efficient fuels (in terms of energy per CO2 released) like coal with more efficient ones like natural gas, and never switching towards less efficient fuels like shale oil from more efficient ones like regular oil. This will naturally cause a lot of fossil fuels to be left in the ground which should be a goal of an energy policy. This, of course, has to be international because it is no good if Canada starts exporting its shale oil to China or Europe, or Australia keeps exporting coal to China.

    • Jim,

      Why do you think a goal of any energy policy should be to keep fossil fuels in the ground?

      I can think of a couple. I’m interested in what reasons you have.

    • If you add the potentially available fossil carbon sources up and put it in the air you get in excess of 1000 ppm. I am not saying that can happen by 2100, but that can happen over time because of what is available. Any sensible policy should try to limit this final number. It shouldn’t be controversial that we want to avoid 1000 ppm for future generations.

  34. ”Energy revolution”……… socialist revolutions supposed to start in October, and never stops…

    the truth: we are addicted to fuel – use it as soon as possible; then cold turkey

    without fuel; population would get down to 2 billion people on the planet – Warmist cannot rip-off for carbon tax – the parasites will be the first one to fall off the truck, because none of them produces ever anything – imagine parasites free planet…!!!

    • Far too pessimistic. Wrote an ebook on this. Most likely post 2050 ‘sustainable’ scenario is something around 6.3 to 7 billion. Problem is, world population has already exceeded that. And, with all UN optimistic assumptions, will slow to ‘only’ about 9.2 billion by 2050.
      An interesting question becomes, which over 2 billion will necessarily die around then? How is clear. Only where and when is not. Just facts. Read the books.

      Of course we still have nearly forty years to make course corrections so that none of the above comes to pass. But all that has little to do with AGW nonesense, which is the main reason to bother here.

      • Rud Istvan | May 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm | said: ”Far too pessimistic. Wrote an ebook on this. Most likely post 2050 ‘sustainable’ scenario is something around 6.3 to 7 billion”

        not pessimistic, but realistic. Can you imagine in 2050 tractor and harvester working on solar and wind power? b] subsidies have to come from somewhere. now the big fuel users are ripped-off for those subsidies.

        in 50y time, the sun / wind will be same strength; something for nothing doesn’t work for long. c] you are lucky, you believe in UN predictions; because THEY don’t believe themselves. Future will be: you produce -> you eat, you eat, you leave. ; or; you don’t

        now one tractor & harvester can produce food for 500 people ; that’s artificially high population, thanks to fossil fuel.

        why would the planet need people like Jim D, lolwot, Vaughn, web and his telescope and similar. parasite is not good for a tree, for a family, nation, or for the planet!!! This planet shouldn’t have more than 2 billion people

      • but who will be left to watch the arctic death spiral stefan?

        http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

      • lolwot,

        death spiral?

        Are you now claiming that when ice melts it is dying?

      • By 2045 the world will easily be able to support 20 billion. With all the power they need. With most of the land now given over to agriculture allowed to revert to “nature”.

    • Beth Cooper

      stefanthedenier , tsk!
      Malthus was WRONG
      Erlich was WRONG
      In open societies population grows
      in tandem with innovation and food
      production and …ahem …CO tew ?

      Take a look at Hans Rosling on population
      and take a look at this. )

      • Beth Cooper | May 23, 2013 at 4:10 am |

        You have excellent taste in youtube, and very clear insight into Malthus’ errors.

        By 2050, we could easily triple the planet’s ability to sustain human life by stunting children so they only grow up to weigh 40 lbs each as adults, using modern technology.

        Problem solved.

      • BartR

        I had been working on a clever minimisation ray to shrink people to the size of a dog. Unfortunately my models show that the insects then take over the world. Back to the drawing board
        tonyb

      • Beth Cooper

        Herewith a pre- dicshun tho’ I have read ‘The Black Swan’
        and know we hunans ain’t that good at predicshun tho’
        shamen haft oft used it ter their own ends tsk!
        But what the heck”! It will not happen, Bart dear.”
        Beth the semi omnipotent (…is that how yer spell it!)

      • Beth Cooper

        Tony
        Yer know that Serf Under_ground will support yer ground_
        breaking research. we serfs dig ‘ground breakin’ enter -prize.
        Beth

      • It’s been proven by studies conducted on Canadian rats that the poor do not need cheap, abundant energy. They need more intellectuals skilled in twiddling the climate console and who have a real mastery of the tax buttons on the climate console. Plans to connect the climate console to the economy console are particularly exciting. Lucky serfs!

      • Bart,

        Isn’t shrinking size in species one of the effects of increased CO2? If so, then by continuing to increase the amount of it will solve the over population problem.

  35. Beth Cooper

    Ford Industry has just announced it is pulling out of
    car manufacturing in Australia citing too high costs.
    More productivity loss and job losses fer Australia
    under our guv’mint’s ‘progressive’ policies. (
    A serf

    • That’s what happens when you have a “free” market controlled by the government. You Oz serfs already have what Bart loves so much, and as you have noted, it works really well.

    • Beth, yup. Reality eventually hits even politicians in the face.
      But please do not adopt serf attitudes. My own ancestors likely descended from Ghengis Khan’s hordes. (Really). Gives a whole other perspective.

    • Beth, nice try at spin, but both the Australian federal government and the Victorian government were trying to help Ford, not run the company off.

      The following is from The New Zealand Herald, May 23, 2013 (online edition).

      “In January last year, the federal government contributed $34 million to Ford’s $103 million production upgrade, and the Victorian government an unspecified amount.

      At the time the company said the upgrade would mean the Territory and Falcon models would continue to be made in Victoria until 2016.”
      _______

      Be angry at Ford for breaking its promise. Be angry at your government for allowing itself to be suckered by Ford. And above all, be angry at yourself, because the plant wouldn’t have closed if you and other Australians had been willing to work at Ford for 50 cents an hour.

      Now that you have lost your freedom to work in a Ford assembly plant, what are you going to do?

      • Max_OK | May 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

        I believe the phrase is ‘right to work’.

        And to defend Ford, since it was once a client of mine.. uh.. no. Got nothing.

        They totally pwned Australia.

      • At BBC News Ford reported it’s Australian manufacturing was more expensive because of the rising value of the Australian dollar. If I recall correctly, the company also claimed its costs in Australia were twice it’s costs in Europe and almost four times it’s costs in Asia.

      • Max_OK,

        I wondered why you didn’t link to the article showing the perfidy of Ford in defrauding the Australian government of $34 million. (Which they apparently did by wasting an additional $69 million of their own money, those devious rascals.) So I looked at the article myself.

        Yoour quote:

        “In January last year, the federal government put $34 million towards Ford’s $103 million production upgrade, while the Victorian government contributed an unspecified amount.

        Mr Graziano said Ford would maintain a presence in Australia beyond 2016.”

        But in between those two paragraphs was this:

        “Mr Graziano said the company had fulfilled its obligations to the government.

        ‘We announced a freshening in 2014 of both the Falcon and Territory … that was the last grant we received from the government,’ he said.

        ‘That is going forward. We will launch those vehicles and they will be the best Falcon and Territory to date.'”

        And immediately following your edited quote was this:

        “‘Ford will remain a significant employer in Australia, with more than 1500 team members, as will our network of more than 200 dealers around the country,’ he said.”

        Do you work for NBC?

      • GaryM, Ford broke it’s promise.

        “At the time the company said the upgrade would mean the Territory and Falcon models would continue to be made in Victoria until 2016.”

        If I make a promise I intend to keep it. That’s the way I’ve always conducted business. I have never said “I would like to keep my promise, but I’m losing money, so I’m not keeping it.” Keeping promises never broke me, and I doubt Ford keeping its promise would have broke Ford.

      • Max_OK,

        First rule of holes…when you find you’re in one, stop digging.

        Yes, the article says Ford promised to continue making those models until 2016. And what does the article you have repeatedly intentionally misrepresented say about Ford’s intentions now?

        “Ford plans on rolling out new models of the Territory and Falcon from next year, before manufacturing operations close in October 2016 and the Falcon model is retired.”

        So Ford promised to keep building them until 2016, and confirms that it is going to do so, and you yet again falsely say the article shows Ford “broke its promise.”

        You must work for NBC, or maybe MSNBC. You assume you can say anything false, and no one will bother to look at it. Did you really think that by omitting a link to the article, you would avoid anyone actually, you know, reading it?

      • Yes, GaryM, you are right. Thanks for pointing out my error. Ford is keeping it’s promise to Australia, and I owe the car maker an apology.

        Ford is in business to make money, so I don’t blame the company for planning to close money losing plants. Because of Australia’s high labor cost and rising dollar , Fords made in the country were not competitive.

        The following quotes are from a Bloomberg article on Ford closing it’s Australian plants.

        “Australian manufacturing can’t keep its head above water,” said Katrina Ell, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in Sydney. “High labor costs mean we can’t compete long-term against lower cost countries, especially in Asia. The strong exchange rate is exacerbating Australia’s lack of competitiveness.”

        “Australia’s three car makers have struggled as a 27 percent rise in the local dollar against the yen over the past year stoked sales of cheaper imported vehicles and cut exports.”

        “Australia’s hourly compensation cost in manufacturing was $46.29 in 2011, compared with $47.38 in Germany, $35.71 in Japan, $35.53 in the U.S. and $11.65 in Brazil, according to asurvey of 33 countries by the U.S. Department of Labor.”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-22/ford-to-close-australia-car-manufacturing-plants-afr-reports.html

        I was surprised to learn Australia’s hourly compensation cost in manufacturing was almost $11 more than the cost in the U.S.

      • Max –

        I was surprised to learn Australia’s hourly compensation cost in manufacturing was almost $11 more than the cost in the U.S.

        I find that surprising also. Does that include the “legacy costs” of American auto manufacturing (such as private healthcare for retired employees)?

      • I don’t know, but there was a link to the survey in the linked article. The survey may say.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We have lost about 100,000 jobs in manufacturing in recent years – and gained a 1,000,000 elsewhere. Manufacturing volume has increased at the same time as a result of increases in productivity.

        If Ford can’t manufacture in Australia with or without subsidies they should go. It is the nature of capitalism. I note that product engineering, research and development and testing will continue in Australia.

      • On the general subject of manufacturing costs:

        1) The US worker is still the most productive in the world.

        2) Many of the early implementors of exporting manufacturing overseas to cheaper labor markets found out that the accounting and finance guys missed several “costs”. They factored in the obvious stuff such as transportation and initial capital to build plant. They didn’t think about impacts to productivity due to things like communications issues.

        3) Many manufacturers have recognized that their best option is produce in the US. Granted things like content laws played a role. But so has the quality of the American labor force.

    • Beth, good news, I missed it. It was clear 30-odd years or more ago that the Australian market could support at most two efficient-scale car manufacturers. At that time we had 13, often with several dispersed plants (Ford built cars in Brisbane 30 years ago), and quite recently still had five. If the bullet had been bitten in the ’80s, with rapid rationalisation rather than the protection and massive subsidies which continue to this day, we might have two competitive firms rather than three (from today, two) non-competitive ones.

      For overseas readers, the car firms are so uncompetitive here that not only are they tariff-protected and subsidised, almost all of their sales are to governments and fleet-owners – they barely serve the competitive private market at all, they make cars people don’t want to buy..

      I’m sure there are lessons here re Levi’s highly centralised and government-directed proposals.

    • It was the carbon tax plus 20,000 new regulations on business in 5 years plus 5 years of grossly incompetent government what done it!

      • Ha Ha, anti-government ideologues predictably blame the government for everything bad. Why don’t they just blame the people, since the people elect the government.

        Wouldn’t it be more accurate and more to the point to say Australians you suck because you can’t compete with low-wage Asian labor?

      • Peter Lang,

        The article Maxie selectively quoted also had this little nugget that he somehow managed to omit:

        “Mr Graziano said the company made a loss of $141 million after tax in the last financial year and had accrued losses of $600 million over the last five years.”

        Hmmmm..I wonder why a $34 million investment in two lines of vehicles wasn’t enough to convince Ford to add to its $500 million in losses on all the rest? Now that’s a puzzler. To a purblind progressive.

      • I do blame the people who vote for ‘Progressive’ governments: i.e. the wingnuts and dingbats that vote Labor and Greens.

      • Thanks GaryM. I’ll get to that article when I finish straightening out a few people who have bent ideas :)

      • Peter, I hope you don’t hate Australians as much as GaryM hates Americans. I think GaryM hates more Americans than he likes.

      • Max –

        I think GaryM hates more Americans than he likes.

        My guess, from his hatred of centralized planning, he is Somalian and that explains his one-sided perspective on “centralized planning.”

        ‘Cause, you know, a lack of centralized planning works just fine in Somalia. Who needs all those Western and East Asian countries with all that centralized planning? All that has led to is a higher standard of living and greater freedoms. Who needs that stuff? Somalia is the way to go, baby!

      • GaryM, a Somalian? Well, he does seem like one. If not, he would be happier there because Somalia has little or no government, and GaryM hates government.

        On the other hand, in Somalia GaryM would have no government to complain about, which is his favorite activity. Maybe he could whine about the food or the plumbing.

      • Gee, I haven’t seen Dumb and Dumber is ages. This must be Turner Classic Movies.

      • Max & Josh,

        Any plans to take this particular idiot show on the road?

        Max, you may not be a one trick pony, but too often you act like a pony in a horse race.

        And Josh, what juvenile impulse got you to join up with Max for name calling?

    • Beth Cooper

      I meself am a free the market serf .

      ‘Something there is
      that doesn’t love a wall’
      in naychur and in
      serfi – tude.

      H/t Robert Frost.

      S U-g Journal coming soon ter an out -let near U.

  36. The last thing the world needs is “moderates” setting economic policy. Let’s have a little bit of central planning in “alternative energies” and a little bit of a free market in carbon based fuels.

    It’s like splitting the difference between chemo therapy and surgery in treating cancer. Let’s cut out half the tumor and use half the dose of chemo necessary to treat the patient.

    If central planning worked, the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Cuba, Viet Nam and Communist China would have buried us in the cold war, rather than the other way around. If it doesn’t work, and it demonstrably doesn’t, it is flat out ridiculous to keep trying it again and again in hopes that this time, someone will get the five year plan right, and the Stalins in the crowd won’t be drawn to all that accumulated power.

    • GaryM, I never thought of it this way before but apparently central planning leads to us being loaned money.

      With more central planning perhaps we could become a lender too, rather than a borrower.

      One thing for sure, I don’t want a bunch of libertarians making policies designed to take us back to the 19th Century. However, I do hope that Rand “can’t flush” Paul gets the GOP nomination for president. Whoever the Dems nominate would have easy going.

      • Central planning leads to borrowing money (with ya so far), so more central planning will lead to the opposite – lending money?

        Exactly the kind of cognitive dissonance and economic illiteracy I would expect from a conservative.

      • sorry, last word should be progressive – of course.

      • Rob Starkey

        Joshua

        I tend to not be interested in discussions of hypotheticals that someone believes should be considered to be included in an economic analysis. Still to much engineer i me I suppose

      • Rob –

        I tend to not be interested in discussions of hypotheticals that someone believes should be considered to be included in an economic analysis. Still to much engineer i me I suppose

        Sorry to say – but that seems like a duck to me.

        Any engineering project would require the evaluation of hypoetheticals. Why should economic analysis be any different? Can you point to any economic analysis you think “interesting” that does not involve the evaluation of “hypotheticals” such as opportunity cost?

        If you can prove irrelevancy, then do it. It seems highly irresponsible to just dismiss the importance of factors like opportunity cost simply because you find them “uninteresting.”

        And surely, a quick scan of your very own comments on this thread and other threads would return an inconsistency with the statement I excerpted above.

        For example, the very first hit I got from searching on this thread by your name:

        Where a developing country can provide electricity less expensively by using coal aren’t they most likely going to select it as their option?

      • Second hit:

        It would be an interesting debate. A $4 per gallon tax on gas would probably spur a rapid conversion to natural gas vehicles which would decrease use of gas more than the 10% I estimated. The main reason it will never be passed in such a simple manner is that it would be considered to regressive. Economically, it is not a bad idea.

    • Gary, I empathize, but….
      It may be possible to set free market friendly policies (letting innovation sort things out) while still setting ‘top down’ “dirigiste” policy parameters. To be explicit, US gasoline and diesel taxes raising those fuels to costs like in Europe, which are patently not the Euro growth problem today. Solves part of the federal deficit, is ‘winner neutral’, and advisable.
      But, that recommendation is like telling an overweight middle aged slob to shape up. Much more likely the middle aged overweight slob just expires, and blames his/her demise on the rest of us not gifting to them enough (oxygen canisters, pills, empathy…). Like now.

      • Rud Istvan,

        I am not sure whether you are serious here? If this is intended as a parody of muddle headed progressive economic thought, then read no further.

        The price of a gallon of gas in the US is somewhere around $4.00 per gallon. In Europe it is about $9.00 per gallon. Do you mean that an additional tax of $5.00 per gallon in the US would be “winner neutral?”

        If some of the tax is “solve[] part of the federal deficit,” which means the3 government swallows those billions extracted from the private economy, how precisely is that “winner neutral?” I guess if by winner you include the government leviathan and all the bureaucrats who will be hire to deal with the new economic carbon anchor.

        More to the point, while the massive energy taxes in Europe may not be the SOLE cause of the EURO growth problem, they are certainly a part of it. It is the heavy hand of central economic control, including the implementation of CAGW half measures (don’t decarbonize, just make fuel costs so high you force people and companies not to engage in activities they otherwise would), that have caused permanently high unemployment and slowed if not stopped economic growth.

        I read the other day in the Wall Street Journal that the ration of private to government spending in the Euro economy is 3:2; while in the US the ration is 4:1. A massive additional gas tax in the US would help Europe by slowing the US economy, and making our products and services more expensive. But I am unclear on how that will help American citizens.

        By the way, if you think the progressive government in the US would use the hundreds of billions from such a tax to reduce the deficit, rather than simply hire more permanent Democrat Party campaign workers, sorry, I mean government employees, you must have been doing a Rip van Winkle the last 40 years.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        It would be an interesting debate. A $4 per gallon tax on gas would probably spur a rapid conversion to natural gas vehicles which would decrease use of gas more than the 10% I estimated. The main reason it will never be passed in such a simple manner is that it would be considered to regressive. Economically, it is not a bad idea

      • Gary,

        I haven’t noticed that anyone here in Europe would think that the competitiveness of US is a problem for Europe. Europeans see US more as a market than as a competitor.

        Many Europeans may think that US has not always made best policy choices, but that’s for other reasons. Peoples general attitudes and priorities are typically quite different on the two sides of the Atlantic. They vary very much also between different European countries, perhaps a little more than between different parts of US (although I may err on this).

        The fuel taxes have been very high in Europe for long. In some countries they were increased after the oil crisis of 1970’s, in some others they were high already before that. I agree with Rud, that they are not a significant reason of Europe’s economic problems. The attitudes that have led to the acceptance of such taxes may have more to do with the state of economy.

      • Pekka –

        Independently of projections of cost from climate change, do you think that the current cost of fuel in the U.S. is sustainable – particularly considering the question of negative external variables, including the spending that goes into geopolitics to keep the oil flowing (and balancing against positive external variables, of course)?

        I still fail to understand how anyone weighs in to these discussions without a comprehensive (full) cost and benefits accounting of the price for fuel (in particular gas for their autos) paid by U.S. consumers.

      • Rud and Pekaa,

        Europeans have been living under the burdens of massive taxes, used to fund massive government, for decades. But that is not evidence that the “third way” socialism of Europe works. It is just proof that it can take a long time before the full effects of central planning destroy an economy. Particularly where it is implemented slowly, like turning up the heat on the pot with the proverbial frog in it.

        It took the Soviet Union,. a pure socialist economy built on the dying carcass of Czarist Russia, almost 80 years to collapse. And it might well have lasted longer if not for Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa and John Paul I.

      • Or maybe instead of “sustainable” I should say “sustainable without de facto subsidization.”

        Clearly, it might be sustainable if any de facto subsidization is not accounted for and instead paid for indirectly in myriad ways.

      • Europeans have been living under the burdens of massive taxes, used to fund massive government, for decades.

        “Under the burden of massive taxes,”even as standards of living and civil liberties have steadily increased.

        As opposed to those lucky countries that have sustained increases in standards of living and civil liberties without such an onerous burden. You know, like… um….er…..uh…

        Nevermind.

      • Gary

        Way up thread I posted a reply to David regarding the costs of energy. It seems highly relevant to repost it here

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/22/all-of-the-above-approach-to-energy-policy/#comment-324868

        Energy costs and fuel for cars is a very large part of peoples budgets over here in the UK and both have a big effect on competitiveness and inflation. There are millions of people here in fuel poverty and as the chart in the link shows, the eye watering increase in energy prices is coinciding with a serious downturn in temperatures.
        tonyb

      • tonyb,

        Good point. Think of it this way, every dollar the government takes from its citizens to pay for more government, the less those people can spend on things that can improve their lives, not to mention create jobs that actually create wealth.

      • Rob Starkey

        Joshua

        How is gas “subsidized” in the US with the exception of the roughly $5B per year that goes to drillers for accelerated depreciation?

      • Europe is just finally catching up to Japan in the permanent unemployment derby.

        I love the wilful blindness that leads people to see China as an example of the superiority of central planning. It’s like praising fat in the diet by pointing to someone who has lost weight by cutting their dietary fat in half. “See, he has lost so much weight. That proves that a fat laced diet is best.”

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary
        I do not think most Americans understand how China’s overall economy is operating today. It is difficult to critize how there are managing their development. They are going to have issues ahead but they are clearly on the right path to improve their citizens lives.

      • Rob Starkey,

        I think that ANYONE who thinks they know how the Chinese communist government is operating their economy is delusional.

        And as for them improving the lives of their citizens, tell that to the Chinese rioting throughout the country, and all those living in the ghost cities.

        No one knows what will happen in China over the next 10-20 years. But the Russians couldn’t make “state run capitalism” (ie. fascism) work, and it is almost certain the more autocratic Chinese government won’t either.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary
        I most certainly will not tell you that I know how the Chinese government operates all the time. I will tell you that I have done a very large amount of business with both public sector enterprises and private businesses in China. They have a very large and rapidly growing private sector that is highly motivated by long term profit. It is unwise to underestimate the Chinese government. They recognize that the companies that operate in the private sector are much more efficient and are the area of growth in their economy. They seem to believe that the current role of the public sector is to help provide the infrastructure and conditions that will allow these private businesses to grow. In private, some government officials have made jokes about how bad their public sector businesses are vs. those privately run.

      • Rob Starkey,

        “It is unwise to underestimate the Chinese government.”

        Oh, I very much agree. Many underestimated the very similar German government in the 1930s. To the ever lasting regret of millions.

        Next time you have a nice conversation over a glass or two of chardonnay with one of your Chinese counterparts, ask them about one of these guys.

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

        I know…omelet…eggs..that sorta thing.

        We should be more like those enlightened Chinese. Definitely. Definitely. (Said in my best Rainman voice)

      • Poor GaryM is in denial about China’s economic success. No wonder, it makes a mockery of his quaint 19th Century notion of an economy with no central planning.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        The topic is the Chinese economy and not how they treat their people. That is none of my business when doing business there. It would not be unlike a foreign businessperson asking an American if they should do business in the US when we put such a large percentage of our population in jail. It is not relevant to business. Chinese leadership seems to take fairly relaistic long term view of things. I am not claiming they don’t make errors but they are doing a pretty good job of doing what needs to be done to rapidly improve their economy. It will come about with many harms along the way, but that does not mean that it is not a psoitive trend of improvement.

      • […] quaint 19th Century notion of an economy with no central planning.

        Where would that be? The US, where railroads got huge land (and sometimes cash) subsidies for their Western expansions?

      • Rob –

        I’m not entirely sure that it is worth it for me to elaborate on the details here, Rob – as I suspect that you know what I’m referring to. Briefly, I’m referring to private services that are paid for with public funds such as the costs of operating a vehicle or building roads, and social costs such as those related to the health impact of pollution, the economic impact of congestion, the geopolitical costs of keeping oil flowing, etc.

        I am not stating one way or the other whether or not various kinds of trade-offs are better or worse, but that an evaluation of the price of gas in this country should account for those various factors.

        I consider those factors as “de facto subsidization.” If you have an analysis that controls for those factors, and their impact on U.S. gas prices, I’d love to read it. If you dismiss out of hand that they are “de facto subsidization,” so be it; we’d probably be best off agreeing to disagree.

      • Rob Starkey

        Joshua
        No, I did not understand your point but I do now. I suspect the math behind your numbers is highly subject to debate especially the supposed increase in health care costs.
        Construction of infrastructure in order to promote or support business expansion is not considered a subsidy. The localities that actually fund the construction of said infrastructure go through an economic analysis to determine whether the additional tax revenues generated by the business will be adequate to fund the investment in the infrastructure over the long term. That really is not a subsidy, but a long term investment by the city or State. All of these “investments” do not turn out well, but the analysis is pretty simple.

      • Rob –

        I suspect the math behind your numbers is highly subject to debate especially the supposed increase in health care costs.

        Of course. These are very complex matters.

        Construction of infrastructure in order to promote or support business expansion is not considered a subsidy.

        The question is whether they are “de-facto subsidies,” in particular with respect to the cost of gasoline. Would gasoline costs be higher if the construction of roads were not socialized? Now there are user fees for operating vehicles that help pay for the infrastructural costs, but every analysis I’ve seen finds them to be insufficient to cover the entire cost.

        The localities that actually fund the construction of said infrastructure go through an economic analysis to determine whether the additional tax revenues generated by the business will be adequate to fund the investment in the infrastructure over the long term. That really is not a subsidy, but a long term investment by the city or State. All of these “investments” do not turn out well, but the analysis is pretty simple.

        Perhaps not so simple. I would say that even if we take all those that “turn out well,” there are choices made that are relevant to gasoline costs. Investment in public transportation can have a very significant stimulative effect on businesses and subsequent tax revenues. When federal or state or local funds are spent on maintaining automobile infrastructure, there are opportunity costs (related to the question of spending on public transportation) that may or may not then be reflected back into the cost of gasoline. In other words, if we had spent more federal/state/local dollars in this country on public transportation, relative to the amount spent on automobile infrastructure, we might get the same stimulative effects with a lower cost of public transportation and a higher cost of gasoline, along with a better ratio of positive to negative externalities.

        One man’s “investment” is another man’s “boondoggle.”

        At any rate – I don’t see how people can seriously discuss the cost of gasoline in the U.S. without attempting to address these issues comprehensively.

      • AK said on May 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm
        […] quaint 19th Century notion of an economy with no central planning.

        Where would that be? The US, where railroads got huge land (and sometimes cash) subsidies for their Western expansions?
        _____

        Yes, I forgot about that. I could go back more.

        How about a quaint stone age notion of an economy with no central planning?

      • How about a quaint stone age notion of an economy with no central planning?

        Indeed. Living in caves and allocating resources at the end of a club. How quaint.

        Still, doesn’t compare to Somalia.

      • Rob Starkey,

        “The topic is the Chinese economy and not how they treat their people.”

        What you fail to realize is that economics, and how a state treats its people, are not separate subjects at all. Economics when governed by the state is just another aspect of the exercise of power.

        People thought the USSR was strong and would last forever. Right up to the point where it collapsed. Then people did business with Putin and the his fellow thugs, while they were busy stealing Soviet infrastructure and suborning the rights of their people. China will likely either follow Russia into fascist oligarchy, or return to pure communist governed socialism.

        But I wish you luck. Is that you behind those rose colored Foster Grants?

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        A government’s stability is a risk that is evaluated when considering doing large amounts of business in that country or even with a country.

        On a macro level, when you are not being political; I think you realize that it will be necessary to have a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the US economy. The cuts in services to the elderly will be unpleasant but necessary. If you care about the fundamental financial health of the nation we need to get our structural budget under control.

      • Rob Starkey,

        When I am talking about how to run the government, I am always political. Because that is a political issue.

        Who runs the government, how the government is run, what the government should do, what the government should not do, how government should do what it does, are all political issues.

        politics plural of pol·i·tics (Noun): The activities associated with the governance of a country or area.

        It’s not a dirty word. People shouldn’t try so hard to hide their politics behind euphemisms like “science,” or “pragmatism,” or…well, anything but politics.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        I’ll agree with your point about being political. Would you agree that many people adhere to a political philosophy when solving a problem requires bending on their philosophy in order to achieve pragmatic overall benefits.

        Balancing the US budget will require republicans to accept that higher taxes in some form will have to be implemented. Democrats will have to accept that painful cuts will have to be made to entitlement programs that provide for the elderly.

        My personal estimate is that it will have to end up around 80% cuts and 20% tax increases. That would seem to some to be overly harsh on the cuts, but it is fully achievable.

      • Rob Starkey,

        What should happen is different from what will happen.

        The reality is that every time there has been a “compromise,” Republicans have agreed to huge tax increases, and all “cuts” are either fake or in the future. Until there is another election, I see no prospect of that changing.

        The GOP has repeatedly agreed to the type of bargain you suggest, and they have never, not once, been adhered to.

        Here’s a test, look over the US budget the last 40 years. And show me a year in which spending ever actually went down.

        A war ends? We spend the “peace dividend.”
        The economy booms? gee, we can enlarge entitlements.

        If you know the cartoon Peanuts, you know how often Charlie Brown has trusted Lucy to hold the football for him. You also know he has fallen on his butt every time for his naivete.

        So no. If conservatives do not make major gains in the next election, there will be no 80-20 split, spending cuts for tax increases. It will be 0-100.

        What should it be? 100-0. The country does not need to spend the extra trillion dollars a year that Obama added to the baseline of the US budget.

      • Pekka, you say that “Europeans see US more as a market than as a competitor.” Of course, it is both, although EU sales to the US are a third higher than imports. In 2012, US exports to the EU were $265bn, imports $381bn, deficit $116bn. First quarter 2013, $63bn, $91bn, -$27bn. Of course, the US and EU also compete in third markets – I don’t have figures to hand. The gas-driven revival in US manufacturing is making the US more competitive.

  37. GaryM, I was referring to China lending the U.S. money. China is more of a central planner than the U.S.

    • Max_OK,

      The US has per capita income of $49,922.
      China has per capita income of $6,076.

      The U.S. economy has been in decline as the result of ever increasing statism. Thus, the more central planning, the more we end up borrowing because our economy does not grow.

      The Chinese economy, as horribly weak as it is, has grown as they have adopted some pseudo-free market policies.

      Only in your blind progressive partisanship is this evidence that more central planning is better than less.

      Again, your comment was that central planning in the US led to more government borrowing, so we should increase central planning so we would end up lending more. It is hard to overstate just how dumb that is. The fact you cannot see that speaks volumes.

  38. To All,

    If you are interested in how the EPA greenhouse gas emissions regulations are faring in the US Federal courts, the excellent scotusblog.com has a post today on the background to the judicial impetus for those regulations, the current state of play in the courts for the numerous challenges to those regulations, and the prospects for US Supreme Court review of the various appellate decisions confirming the validity of those EPA regulations – see http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/05/greenhouse-gas-case-explained/.

    The Supreme Court is awaiting the views of the EPA and the relevant office of the US Justice Department (the Office of the Solicitor General) before deciding whether or not to exercise its discretion to review the appellate decisions. The EPA and Solicitor General’s views are not expected until towards the end of June, which means that the US Supreme Court will make its decision to grant or deny review at the beginning of its next session in October.

    I hope this is useful.

    MK

  39. I’m actually a big fan of both solar and wind energy and I think they are the future of energy production. But I don’t like them as they are. I don’t like the fact that I pay for energy more because of wind and solar but it’s not critical yet. What I see as a problem is that wind and solar are destroying energy market. Their subsidies (at least here in EU) are so large that the final market price for energy produced is irrelevant for them – they are able to “sell” their energy for free or even for negative price (pay to deliver) without getting into any troubles. Other energy sources cannot compete with that.

  40. No, GaryM, that wasn’t my comment, that was your misinterpretation of my comment, and after I pointed out your misinterpretation you continued to misinterpret it. Oh well, misinterpret what I said if it makes you feel better. but don’t expect me to elaborate on what I never said.

    But to get to the point, we need more central planning, not less, if we are to compete with the Chinese. It’s hard to beat government directed capitalism in a world free-market, as China is demonstrating. Why you anti-giovernment ideologues want to put America at a competitive disadvantage is a mystery to me, but I suspect since you hate the government Americans elected, you also might hate Americans.

    It may not have occurred to you that central planning gives anti-government ideologues an additional excuse to complain about the government. Many of these poor souls have failed at fulfilling their ambitions, and they find it easier to blame the government than themselves for their lack of success. For them, central planning should be a welcome scapegoat.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      We need more like you max. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

    • I lived in centrally planned economy for over 20 years. It was called socialism by then and it was a disaster. The most remarkable period was when there was no toilet paper available for several months because someone planned 5-year production of toilet paper without considering increase of population. Parliament had to pass a new law to deal with the situation.
      Central planning may seem like a good idea at first but Parkinson’s laws slowly but certainly change it to disaster. You haven’t lived in socialism so you have no idea how it is. Believe me, it’s not worth it.

      To compete with Chinese, you need Chinese to catch up to your living standards. It will take a while but it will come.
      Or you may give up on your own living standards, reduce social benefits such as health care, and live cheaper. But I don’t think you’d be willing to do that.
      Apart of, of course, if you decide to use centralized planning. Because in that case, economical collapse will reduce your living standards without anyone asking you whether you want or not.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ’40 years of communism and still no toilet paper!’ I was just talking about it yesterday. Venezuela is the latest toilet paper calamity.

        Max-ok has no idea of fundamental economic theory. He makes a virtue of ignorance. I really truly think he is 15 with a vivid fantasy world and is blogging in his bedroom.

        Demand is best determined by consumers and supply is best met by competition for consumers dollars.

      • Peter Lang

        Kasuha,

        Thank you for that comment. It is great to hear from someone with real experience. Was that experience in UK, Germany or one of the other socialist states that make up the EU?

      • Re Chief Hydrologist’s post May 23, 2013 at 4:10 am

        Chief, I was referring to state planning in STATE CAPITALISM, not state planning in communism or socialism. If you would like to find out more so you can make relevant comments, I would recommend the recent Economists debates:

        http://www.economist.com/node/21543160

        http://www.economist.com/debate/debates/overview/221

        http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/802

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘For emerging countries wanting to make their mark on the world, state capitalism has an obvious appeal. It gives them the clout that private-sector companies would take years to build. But its dangers outweigh its advantages. Both for their own sake, and in the interests of world trade, the practitioners of state capitalism need to start unwinding their huge holdings in favoured companies and handing them over to private investors. If these companies are as good as they boast they are, then they no longer need the crutch of state support.’

        It was called a mixed economy in my high school economics textbook. Do you think this is something new? Just goes to show that those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it.

        The current American malaise is something of your own making – failures of government coming together in a perfect storm. And your solution is nationalisation? Seriously?

    • “It’s hard to beat government directed capitalism in a world free-market, as China is demonstrating.”

      It is hard to parody the nonsense that the default progressives around here spew as economic thought.

      China was a purely socialist, ie. centrally planned economy, until about the mid-70s. It was the grudging reforms that introduced some aspects of a free market that raised China from a dirt poor, albeit massive, third world country, to the mostly dirt poor developing country it is today. Only a historical and economic illiterate would think that introducing modest capitalist reforms proves the efficacy of central planning.

      The goal of the communist Chinese, then as now, was not improving their people’s standard of living. It was the preservation of the power of the communist party. You may have heard of the same thing in the Soviet Union, only there it was called perestroika. (There is no Chinese equivalent to glasnost, because they saw what happened to the Soviet communist party.)

      Here is a good article on the issue from Cato:

      http://www.cato.org/policy-report/januaryfebruary-2013/how-china-became-capitalist

      Yes, the standard of living of the Chinese has, in some places at least, been raised to the level of the Philippines. And you may hope the US can someday aspire to reach such heights. But please forgive the rest of us, sentient human beings, who do not share your fondness for poverty.

      Oh, and “government directed capitalism” has been tried before on a massive scale. They just had different names for it. One of which was National Socialism. Another was Fascism. Somehow I am not at all surprised that a drone progressive like you is drawn to such a system. But again, don’t be surprised if the rest of us decline to follow you over the cliff.

      • GaryM, I’m a capitalist, not a libertarian, so my priorities are different than yours. It’s hard for practical person like me to discuss anything with an idealist like you. Because I am pragmatic I don’t care what color the cat is as long as it catches the mouse. Because you are idealistic, you care more about the color of the cat than its mouse catching ability.

        Fortunately, libertarians are fringe group with too little political strength to be taken seriously. Given their absurd notion returning to a 19th Century economic system would be a good idea, libertarians will remain on the fringe of American politics. Libertarianism is for losers.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Max – you are a teenager living a vivid fantasy life. The economic precepts of classic liberalism are the basis for economic management and are utterly mainstream. Your fantasy of a government technocracy running economies is a fringe progressive insanity. Especially in America.

      • Max_OK,

        You’re a progressive, period. No “capitalist” has any problem understanding that “state run capitalism” has nothing to do with capitalism, and everything to do with maintaining the power of government. Those who have tried it, the Germans, Italians and Japanese in the 30s and 402, the Argentines in the 60s, the Soviets in the 90s, and the Chinese now, were ALL more concerned with power than economics.

        The Europeans are driving ever deeper into the fascist swamp, all the while being told it is really nothing like what was tried before. Yet power is centralized ever more in Brussels, the ability of the stupid voters to have a say in government policy diminishes every year. And the geniuses are again trying to beggar the Germans to pay for their stupidity.

        Not surprisingly, the Eurocrats pushing for ever more centralized government, work for…wait for it…the government.

        And don’t call me a libertarian. I am not in the least attracted to progressive social principles.

      • But, GaryM, I like calling you a libertarian. What do you call yourself?

        Regardless of what you call yourself, your hate of government elected by more than one-half of Americans is the same as hating more than one-half of Americans.
        I pity a person being so blinded by hate he can’t see his ideology is obsolete. When are you going to wake up to the fact you live in the 21st Century, not the the 18th Century?

      • Rob Starkey

        Max Ok

        You foolishly misunderstand yet again. It is not that people hate government. Government is generally less efficient in performing a specific service that is the private sector. More government means more waste and a need for more taxes for the same outcome.

      • Max_OK,

        I call myself a conservative. Libertarians generally favor progressive positions on social policy, though they hate it when I say that. Especially when I call them liberaltarians because of it.

        So I am a political conservative, an economic conservative, and a social conservative.

        Oh, and to make it worse, I am a conservative (in the theological sense) Catholic.

      • My GOD ! GaryM is actually Ken Cuccinelli’s evil twin.

        The Kook is now investigating the Gov of VA because he wants to be the next Gov.

    • Max_OK

      As a “neutral” Swiss who has lived in both China and the USA I can comment.

      China’s political and economic system works for the Chinese, who are still satisfied with the low (but increasing) per capita GDP of the masses, because it is so much better today than it was just 20 years ago.

      China uses lots of imported energy because domestic resources are limited.

      Garment factory workers from rural provinces in the north want to work as many hours as possible in their Pearl River delta factories so they can send money home. They don’t mind spending over half of their two week Chinese New Year holiday vacation travelling back and forth to their home villages to see their families, because this life is so much better than staying at home.

      Workers in the many industrial cities don’t mind breathing the polluted air there, because life is still much better than it was in the villages they came from. Officially, the gap between urban and rural per capita income is 3.3 (but in actual fact, it is much higher).

      As a result of the industrialization that is taking place, the quality of life is getting better there today than it once was, and people feel this.

      The USA was built on the concept of individual freedom and liberty. Americans enjoy one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world (around six times that of China). It has always been the land of “unlimited opportunity”, entrepreneurialism, venture capitalism, “can do” attitude, with a high work ethic and employee productivity.

      The current “malaise” there is, IMHO, a result of a general lack of confidence that life is getting better than it once was.

      Like in most of Europe, government is expanding rapidly (and with it taxation and regulation), but the private sector has stagnated. Manufacturing has largely been outsourced to low labor-cost regions like China, India and Latin America, as unionized shops became too expensive to be competitive. The USA uses lots of energy to run; much of this is imported at high cost even though local resources would exist if they were extracted.

      So you cannot apply Chinese solutions to the US problem or vice versa.

      Max

      PS There are more people emigrating from China to the USA than the other way around.

      • Rob Starkey

        agreed. China is doing what makes sense for them now. It is not an example of how the US should be run

      • Max_CH, I disagree. I believe it would be good to apply Chinese solutions to the US problem and vice versa. For example, the personal savings rate in China is 50%, according to the IMF. In contrast, too many Americans spend almost all their incomes on consumption, and hardly save at all. It would be a huge improvement if the rate in America was one-half of the Chinese rate (25%). Conversely, the Chinese could loosen up a bit and spend more on consumption.

        On another topic you say: “The current “malaise” there is, IMHO, a result of a general lack of confidence that life is getting better than it once was.’ I presume you mean the U.S. I don’t know about the “malaise,” but I think it’s unrealistic to expect life to endlessly get better and better. Americans are spoiled if that’s what they expect.

      • max,

        “China’s political and economic system works for the Chinese….”

        History sometimes takes what sound like reasonable statements, and shows them to be less so.

        From my comment below re: JFK pre-WW II:

        “‘Fascism?’ wrote the youthful president-to-be in one. ‘The right thing for Germany.’”

      • Max,

        There is this huge disconnect between you calling yourself a capitalist and stating that the US needs to implement a Chinese economic model.

        Japan also has a high rate of personal savings. They don’t use the Chinese model. Have you considered the possibility that multiple factors go into the rate of savings of a particular group of people? It is entirely possible that people who generate excess capital to what they spend might choose to save it due to cultural values. Another possibility is they lack consumer goods on which to spend their excess.

        Whenever you get started on economics, you quickly end up at the deep end of the pool, with it obvious that you don’t know how to swim.

      • timg56, Webster defines capitalist as “ a person who has capital especially invested in business.”

        I am by definition a capitalist. I would only add that the purpose of my investing is to make a return, and the rate of return is a measure my performance as an investor.

        I am not a manufacturer of goods, but if I were , and the government offered to subsidize my exports in some way(tax incentives, loans, etc) so I and other American manufacturers could capture more of the export market, I would see the offer as an opportunity to increase my rate of return. Because I am a capitalist I would favor state directed capitalism which benefited me.

        This simple hypothetical example , however, does tell you much about State capitalism in it’s various forms. If you would like to find out more, I recommend starting with the debate about the subject in the Economist.

        http://www.economist.com/debate/debates/overview/221

        http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/802

        I am sorry if I gave the impression I was recommending the U.S, copy China’s model of state capitalism in its entirety. Some features of the Chinese model would be good, but I favor
        favor a hybrid form of capitalism described by Harvard Professor Aldo Musacchio in the Economist debate.

        “This hybrid form of capitalism—state support disciplined by the market—gives state capitalism three huge advantages, according to Mr Musacchio. It produces global champions that have quickly risen up the ranks of the world’s top companies. It gives companies the freedom to invest for the long-term rather than obsessing about short-term profits. And it smooths the economic cycle: state-capitalist countries such as China were much faster to cope with the consequences of the financial crisis than liberal-capitalist countries.”
        He describes the hybrid form more fully in the Economist.

      • Correction: In the fourth paragraph of my previous post, the “does” in the first sentence should be “doesn’t.”

        Also, if timg56 reads about the debate in the Economist, I would be interested in what he thinks of it.

      • Max,

        I printed it out and will read it over the weekend.

  41. Peter Lang

    An interesting comment was just posted on ‘The Conversation‘ in response to an article “Universal and useless? The 2015 global climate agreement https://theconversation.com/universal-and-useless-the-2015-global-climate-agreement-14292#comment_161700

    Hi Luke

    I have attended and followed the UNFCCC negotiations for nearly 20 years on behalf of Australian industry (so that is my bias declared).

    From the tone of your article, I am guessing that much of your interpretation is influenced by other biases. For example, the proposition that the Umbrella Group is “renowned for being the ‘spoiler'” is at the very least highly contentious – at no time has the Umbrella Group been a homogenious negotiating block. From another perspective, I would argue that some of its members (including Australia) are the key drivers for finding whatever pathway is possible for a global agreement.

    At the end of the day the only agreement worth having is one that everyone is prepared to abide by – on these grounds the Kyoto Protocol has proved that it is not the model, notwithstanding that (or more likely because) it has very draconian penalties for failure to comply. Another model is needed and I don’t think anyone yet knows what it will look like, other than that, if governments cannot sell it to their domestic audience, it will not happen.

    As a point of fact, the Gillard Government has already abolished the Climate Change Department.

    This supports the point I’ve been arguing on previous thread.

  42. Peter are you sure it wasn’t just merged with another department?

    Heres’s some bad news for Australia’s pollution advocates. Gillard pulls even with what’s his name in poll.

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/17246340/poll-boost-for-julia-gillard-amid-push-to-get-states-to-sign-on-to-gonski-education-reforms/

    I sure hope Gillard wins. She seems like such a nice lady.

  43. “All of the above” is a dumb approach, the approach of a feel-good ignoramus who can’t distinguish between what works and what doesn’t. We don’t need more of this mindless idiocy.

    For example: burning our food as ethanol is a terribly dumb and harmfull policy, to the environment too. So, we don’t need more of it, we need to repeal the ethanol mandates.

    Wasting tons of $$$ for subsidies to tens of thousands of useless windmills is also not a good move.

    We need a practical, engineering approach, that promotes things that work. We don’t need a mindless, feel-good “all of the above” approach, promoted by social-science types who have no understanding of engineering reality.

    • Peter Lang

      +100

    • In rural France, a couple of years back, I made the acquaintance of a just-retired geothermal electrician. He was a very active and ingenious type, who was spending his free time teaching unemployed young men to build planes (no, not models!). He was hardly backward looking, but when I asked him about the potential of geothermal as proclaimed by Gore and Flannery, he was quite sharp in his answer. He explained geothermal was an old and limited tech which was great for a limited number of purposes in a limited number of places. His frustration reminded me of a Queensland coal tech who once told me that green and “educated” ignorance of real and peak electricity demands left him astounded.

      The scandal of alternatives – aside from the stunt of linking truly effective hydro with wind and solar on the flimsy grounds that they have their “renewability” in common – is not that the alternatives have been shown to be laughably inadequate. The scandal lies in the fact that everybody already knew, long before the billions were spent – and before the fossil fuel for their manufacture was burnt!

  44. Beth Cooper

    Yes Peter,
    Wot Jacob says makes sense but yer can’ t give him
    a ‘plus100′ yer hafta deduct points fer spelling
    ‘harmful’ incorrectly. I’d say, +95.
    Beth

    • Beth

      I would like to make a comment at the manner in which your franchise for plus ones was passed over without any training whatsoever for the new franchisee apparently. A plus 5 is a high honour so these plus 100’s are in my view unnecessary and possibly illegal. Can you check the terms of your sale contract and see if there is a limit to the plus ones? Is legal action in order? A heavy fine? Or some other punishment such as listening to Julia for 5 minutes ?
      tonyb

      • Peter Lang

        TonyB,

        The +100 includes compensation for the true cost of the carbon tax.

      • PeterLang

        I am bemused as to how the Aussie Govt can impost a carbon tax on its citizens-who emit trivial amounts of Co2-yet export vast amounts of coal to China who merrily burn it without any tax being imposed on the consequences and are the worlds biggest co2 emitters.

        As regards training for awarding excessive plus amounts-can you confirm the days you will be available?
        tonyb

      • Peter Lang

        Tonyb,

        I am bemused as to how the Aussie Govt can impost a carbon tax on its citizens-who emit trivial amounts of Co2-yet export vast amounts of coal to China who merrily burn it without any tax being imposed on the consequences and are the worlds biggest co2 emitters.

        This question gives me an opportunity to make a serious point about carbon pricing schemes ETS or tax). The pricing schemes that have been implemented price CO2 at the input to production. This is not fair. if we wanted to price carbon it should be on consumption of embodied CO2 in the goods and services we buy. If you did that, Europe would be emitting about twice as much CO2 as claimed and the manufacturing nations like China and India much less.

        However, it would be totally impracticable to set up a system to price embodied emissions.

        This is just one more reason as to why the idea of pricing carbon is a dud.

      • Beth Cooper

        Say, Tony,
        We highand Scots are too busy loping across
        the scented heather …mmm… ter check the terms of
        sales’ contracts … Easier ter go and steal some high
        land cattle, But … play the stiring notes of the bagpipes
        and we’ll go out there and die fer yer …

        Scotland’s strange blend of ardent celt romanticism and
        lowland canny – hard – headed -ness is what created the
        Scottish “character.” but as Kenneth Clark said, t’was
        probably the hard headed-ness that was the bit that
        counted most. I am sure that Steve Mosher would
        con – cur.
        BC

      • Peter

        I agree with your comment about allocation of ‘blame. The US is another country who has exported their industry wholesale and as a result emit less co2 officially than is really the case. Ironically of course in the process ,many jobs have been lost and then much carbon emitted in order to import the goods back they formerly made at home.

        It is hypocritical of Western nations to claim carbon reduction and blame China etc but we (the western nations) are probably overall the losers in terms of loss of industry/jobs and taxation

        tonyb

      • We need a new bureau to provide federal oversight for +s, to ensure the public safety and prevent the dilution of the people’s right to share in the benefits of their proper allocation We should also tax them to provide revenue for basic research into alternative icons.

        I nominate Bart R as “+ czar.”

      • Gary,

        You are thinking too small.

        Think emoticons.

        Think fan.

    • Peter Lang

      Ahhhh. A deduction for spelling mistakes, eh? Hmmmm! Let me think about that one, boss. … :)

  45. Tallbloke’s blog highlighted this video: wind turbines & health of nearby residents.

    • vukcevic | May 23, 2013 at 6:24 am |

      I’ve seen this before.

      I’ve seen it with power lines.

      I’ve seen it with Fracking (which actually does have some relatively minor provable bases for complaint in a small number of cases).

      I’ve seen it for mining and cell phones and VDTs and hauntings and demonic possessions and witchcraft and a hundred other nutty mass nonsense stories.

      http://barnardonwind.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/wind-farms-dont-make-people-sick-so-why-the-complaints/

      •17 major independent health studies all clear wind turbines of negative health impacts
      •Ailments are likely psychogenic in nature, not organic.
      •Studies finding negative health impacts are flawed and performed by biased researchers.
      •People are more annoyed by wind noise if they can see a wind turbine and aren’t getting any money from its operation.
      •People with negative attitudes to wind and negative personalities in general report many more symptoms than people with positive attitudes and personalities.
      •If there is a noise problem, interventions such as white-noise generators and ear plugs are extremely cheap and practical, yet anti-wind campaigners suggest radical changes to policy and wind-turbine siting instead.

      Shame on you for propagating a lie.

      • Bart,

        I’m with you on this one. They may be annoying to some people and if some of those people are of the very sensitive type, the onset of health issues might be a possibility. However to say the source of the annoyance is a health risk is rediculous.

        Of course I could be biased here. Having worked in nuclear and for electric utility companies that are still dealing with complaints about ELF from transmission lines and now managing wireless facilities on utility infrastructure, I’ve seen a fair share of complaints I’d call baseless.

        Anyone else besides me amazed at the number of “ghost hunting” shows on TV? How can anybody believe in this stuff? Now zombies, they are a different story.

      • Bart
        I have no experience or any particular knowledge or opinion of the effect and I have not expressed any, but that doesn’t mean that it should not be brought to the attention of readers.
        Judging by your comments one could conclude that you are not in position to offer an expert opinion either.
        If that is the case, the last sentence of your comment is unexpected and out of place. You may consider to offer an apology, on the other hand you may not since climate blogs and what is more concerning whole of climate science is permeated by a widespread ad hominem, and I have no intention of joining in.

      • BartR

        I am not against wind turbines per se, but we should play to our strengths on energy and unfortunately in Britain turbines tend to be erected on some of our finest scenery-the uplands. Because these areas have never been industrialised before they also require transmission lines. Now Britain is a small country and these giant industrial installations are highly noticeable. Now surely you don’t save the environment by trashing the countryside?

        Degradation of our environment is the net effect over here for the privilege of a expensive power source that doesn’t work when most needed. That is to say that during winter we frequently have high pressure for weeks on end and the resultant still conditions mean that the turbines don’t turn.

        As for suggesting people should wear ear plugs to mitigate the noise…Inside their houses? are you serious?

        tonyb

      • TonyB
        That sorts you out.

    • vukcevic | May 24, 2013 at 4:58 am |

      Ad hominem is a type of fallacy of the category claiming, “Because X says a thing, and X is the type of person who does Y, the thing X says has property Y.”

      There are other uses of the term ad hominem that are more or less correct. Attacking a person or their unrelated qualities rather than their claims or reasoning, the veracity of their sources, for example, would be ad hominem. Like where you attacked my expertise just now.

      Pointing out that the behavior (Y) is true, and saying shame on the person (X) for doing shameful Y isn’t ad hominem in either sense.

      It’s saying Tallbloke ought be ashamed for not taking the time to Google “wind farm health study scholarly” before posting crap that exploits the psychogenic illness of the vulnerable as if it were true, and you ought be ashamed for repeating and spreading it around without so much skepticism as to check your facts first.

      That’s not a matter of ‘expertise’, and there’s no reasonable excuse for the behavior by anyone who purports to skepticism.

      • Bart
        Lets leave ‘ad hominem’ to linguists
        You appear to be unusually irritated by even a possibility that may be a grain of truth, in the contrast to your usual calm reasoning.
        Let’s be blunt:
        do you have any interest in design, manufacture, installation, maintenance, land rental/ownership used, or any other associated activity related to wind farm electricity generation?
        If answer is yes, I fully understand your attitude.
        If answer is no, I am very surprised your vociferous attacks.
        I have no interest in wind generation and even much less in your reply, just unavoidable rhetorical question considering the content of your post.

    • climatereason | May 24, 2013 at 5:07 am |

      See, that changes from a health argument to an aesthetic argument parading as an environmental argument.

      Personally, I find windmills picturesque and dress up a dull landscape. And let’s face it, the UK is rife with dull landscape. So from an environmental perspective, windmills would help the environment. As would, from my perspective, planting more maple trees. Lovely trees, maples. But not to everyone’s tastes, and who am I to tell someone what to put up on their own land?

      Noise issues and earplugs?

      There’s much more highway noise than windmill noise in most of the UK, even near windmills. I don’t propose people wear earplugs when driving, walking or bicycling either. Do you propose getting rid of cars and roads because of the ‘infrasonic’ health effects of internal combustion?

      But really, the UK is a socialist country whose laws and mores are entirely alien and incomprehensible to most Americans, so I don’t count my comments about your bizarre local practices as especially pertinent.

      If you want to continue the traditions of King James and go out witch hunting for satanistic windmill spirits, don’t let me stop you.

      • TonyB
        That sorts you out.

      • BartR

        What a bizarre reply. I had not been debating health issues with you. I merely commented that in our situation they potentially despoil our finest landscapes, that it is unreasonable to expect people to wear ear plugs inside their houses and that the things often don’t work when they are most needed-in the winter when its especially cold under a high pressure.

        Unfortunately our ‘dullest’ landscapes are often those least suited to wind turbines as they are not near the more constant winds available on uplands or near the coast.
        tonyb

    • “Degradation of our environment is the net effect over here for the privilege of a expensive power source that doesn’t work when most needed. ”

      When you finally take the trash away, you might be able to do it at 15% of installation cost. Of course, to get rid of bases, wiring etc is extra. Still, it’ll be worth it!

      Being a total coal-freak, I want me one of these gorgeous things:

    • vukcevic | May 24, 2013 at 5:41 am |

      Yes.

      Let’s leave the meaning of words to other people, because we don’t want to be held back by saying anything that actually means something, when our goal is to just sound like someone’s done something they didn’t do?

      Now, since willard is a linguist, I’m perfectly happy to let him go after the abuse of Latin, if that’s what you’re saying.

      Rather than “.. any interest in design, manufacture, installation, maintenance, land rental/ownership used, or any other associated activity related to wind farm electricity generation?” what I have is interest in public health issues, and a small amount of expertise and knowledge in that topic, and I take offense at people exploiting the mental fragility of the psychogenically ill for ulterior motives.

      The people who get sick — really sick — because of this sort of exploitation suffer needlessly. Stirring up this type of sickness is to my thinking criminal assault. That’s the root of my vehemence.

  46. Beth Cooper

    Say …listen ter that thrummmmmmm

  47. And we’re subsidizing the noisy bird choppers!

  48. Peter Lang

    The portion of Wednesday’s EU summit that will be devoted to energy policy could be boiled down to a single, eye-popping chart that has been making the rounds in Brussels over the last week. It tracks electricity prices – excluding taxes – for industry in the EU, US and Japan. From a common point in 2005, three lines diverge widely to reflect the fact that prices in Europe are now 37 per cent higher than those in the US, and almost 20 per cent higher than those in Japan. That chart captures a growing fear in Europe that rising energy prices now pose a threat to the industrial competitiveness of a region mired in recession. It has been driven home by a steady stream of announcements from European manufacturers about plans to build new production facilities in the US. –Joshua Chaffin, Financial Times, 22 May 2013

    Europe’s plan to decarbonise its economy by 2050 could be turned on its head at a summit today if EU heads of state and government sign off on measures prioritising industrial competitiveness over climate change in draft conclusions seen by EurActiv. One high-profile German MEP Holger Krahmer (ALDE), hailed the end of “climate hysteria” in a jubilant press statement. –EurActiv, 22 May 2013

  49. Reblogged this on evilincandescentbulb and commented:
    Not permitting the market to dictate is just another way of saying that something is illegal and freedom of choice shall be denied.

  50. Carbon tax? Just how the hell will we ever know it works?
    So we tax ourselves into high energy prices as to reduce the GLOBAL AND TOTAL CO2 from 400ppm to 280ppm (per Bart) which is approx. a 25% percent reduction? But man made CO2 is only about 7% of the total global CO2? I think we could all die tomorrow and not see crap for change in CO2, could I get just a teensy bit more proof somewhere before you take my money? And not from Barbara Boxer?

  51. DayHay | May 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

    Carbon tax? Just how the hell will we ever know it works?

    Simple. As you’ve invoked my estimates (incorrectly), let’s use my criterion for “does the dividend and fee system work?”

    Is the carbon cycle a resource that satisfies a need? Check.
    Is the carbon cycle scarce? Check.
    Is the carbon cycle rivalrous? Check.
    Is the carbon cycle economically excludable? Check.
    Is the carbon cycle administrably privatizable? Check.
    Does it put an end to Free Riding? Check.
    Is it fairer to all Market participants than what we have now? Check.
    Do I get my money?

    Then it works.

    So we tax ourselves into high energy prices as to reduce the GLOBAL AND TOTAL CO2 from 400ppm to 280ppm (per Bart) which is approx. a 25% percent reduction?

    ‘We’? ‘Tax?’ ‘Ourselves’? ‘High energy prices’?

    If ‘we’ ‘tax’ ‘ourselves’, then that money has to go somewhere. For over twenty years, as documented by the survey of economists done by Dr. Ross McKitrick in his PhD dissertation and well-developed since then both in studies and in practical application we’ve known the current tax system is extremely inefficient compared to the double dividend (or better) of a carbon tax for revenue. Even with full recycling of those revenues to every taxpayer per capita, the tax system works better. About 70% of people — the non-free-riders — right now pay taxes to support the consumption of 30% of people — two thirds of whom gain nothing from their excess consumption, but purely waste it and wouldn’t notice the difference in satisfaction if they switched to non-wasteful economic behaviors. That’s seven of ‘we’ being involuntarily ‘taxed’ by three of ‘ourselves’ for no good reason, all so one in ten of ‘ourselves’ can ride for free.

    And believe it or not, that means it’s mathematically impossible for a carbon tax to result in higher energy prices. Either the prices (in total) will remain the same, or they will drop. You’re fooling yourself if you think subsidized energy (like we have now) is cheaper than unsubsidized energy.

    Also, I really don’t care what the level of CO2 is in the atmosphere. Within reason. There are impossible-to-reach levels that’d be alarming, but they’re impossible to reach. My concern is the level of the Forcing of man-caused CO2 level change by its rate as indicated by its effect.

    The QBO is weakening and becoming erratic, and will soon fail. The jet stream is weakening and slowing and leading to new blocking patterns such as the one that converted feeble and unimportant hurricane Sandy into the largest single storm system ever seen or measured on Earth.. the first Frankenstorm, and not the last. ENSO has significantly changed behaviors and while it was never really reliably predictable in most ways in the past is likely to have assumed a succession of new states. The dominant ice-determining factors of the Arctic have shifted several ways, from the dominance of winds around 2000, to new patterns of cracking, to 70% drop in volume in a quarter century, to new circulations. We haven’t seen the formerly reliable correlation of global temperature and the Hale cycle in SIXTY years.

    These, and myriad other state changes — most of which are impossible to know because we’ve done such a piss poor job as a species of climate data collection for so long — are the inevitable and mathematically provable outcome of the level of Forcing. Not the level of CO2, not the level of warming, but the Forcing rate itself.

    If you want to measure success in climate, then when the Hale cycle begins to correlate with GMT, you’re there. Drop the level of Forcing by human activities below 1955 level, and you’re done. I have no clue what level CO2 will be in the atmosphere at that point, but the state changes in the complex systems will begin at that point to go through a protracted series of recoveries or stabilizations to restore the sort of homeostasis (so far as we ever had) of the Holocene.

    After that, we’ve got 30,000 years before the next glacial era to figure out what we want to do.

    But man made CO2 is only about 7% of the total global CO2? I think we could all die tomorrow and not see crap for change in CO2, could I get just a teensy bit more proof somewhere before you take my money? And not from Barbara Boxer?

    So you see, we don’t need more proof. Whether it’s proof that a 7% interest rate can lead to 280 units of capital rising over time with compounding to 400 units of capital, (which your banker can explain to you), or proof that the Hale cycle was reflected in the GMT until 1955 and isn’t any more — which any competent graphologist could show you at WoodforTrees by the method of isolates — or that double-dividend tax methods are more efficient, or that capitalism beats communism, we have all the evidence a reasonable person needs. Or even Barbara Boxer or Lamar Smith.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The magnetic polarity of the sun switches at about the bottom of the nominal 11 year Schwabe cycle – the Hale cycle is the complete cycle of polarity switch over on average 22 years or thereabouts. What we have had is a peak of activity over the 50’s to the 90’s – this is a solar grand maxima not likely to be seen for another 1000 years or so.

      For a long time this has seemed to me to be the most obvious source of global hydrological variability on about a 25 year interval – and these hydrological variabilities are associated with the most significant surface temperature variations in recent times – and seemingly with the MWP and LIA.

      See for instance Vance et al 2012 – http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1?journalCode=clim

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg.html?sort=3&o=55

      The causal link between this aspect of solar activity and climate seems as nebulous as solar UV/ozone interactions in the stratosphere driving sea level pressure at the poles. This influences flows in the Peruvian and Californian Currents affecting upwelling in the eastern Pacific and thereby initiating further changes across the planet. What shouldn’t be anticipated is a one to one correspondence with temperature as the energy budget is modulated through the complexities of the Earth system.

      • David Springer

        I’m glad to see you linking to Skeptical Science. Blog science where others like you make crap up as they go along is more your speed than the proverbial scientific literature. A notch or three below wikipedia and wikipedia isn’t considered literature either. I’m encouraged that you’re congregating more with your own kind especially since the lying little beeatches at SkS are Aussies.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Try the University of New Hampshire EOS instead.

        http://ulysses.sr.unh.edu/NeutronMonitor/Misc/neutron2.html

        Same picture you monumental twit.

      • David Springer

        New Hampshire is a tiny dairy farming and tourist state. Who knew they even had a university?

        But hey, that’s a huge improvement simply because it doesn’t drive traffic to the lying little beeatches who own or otherwise infest SkS. Every time you link to the site it raises its all important google rank so don’t do it. Making you look like a wanker is beside the point since you’re going to do that regardless.

      • David Springer

        In any case the neutron monitor graph shows the 11-year sunspot cycle and how cosmic ray intensity waxes and wanes in perfect opposition to it. This relationship is common knowledge and along with hypothetical GCR generation of cloud droplet nucleation sites forms the basis of Svensmark’s Cosmic Ray/Cloud hypothesis. Sunspot count is a proxy for solar magnetic field strength. The magnetic field strength deflects more or less galactic cosmic rays which are really very high energy charged particles and the interaction between charge and magnetic field strength deflects them just like the magnets on the yoke of a cathode ray tube deflects an electron beam. Neutron count is a proxy for GCRs hitting the upper atmosphere as neutrons are one of the resultant particles of the collisions.

        So what’s the point you were struggling to make from it?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        So you struggle to reiterate simplistic notions about neutron counts, geomagnetic activity and clouds? And expect anyone to be impressed.

        http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034008/fulltext/

        http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001/

        The causal link between this aspect of solar activity and climate seems as nebulous as solar UV/ozone interactions in the stratosphere driving sea level pressure at the poles. This influences flows in the Peruvian and Californian Currents affecting upwelling in the eastern Pacific and thereby initiating further changes across the planet. What shouldn’t be anticipated is a one to one correspondence with temperature as the energy budget is modulated through the complexities of the Earth system.

        You are a stupendous twit.

      • David Springer

        re; stupendous twit

        If you were a stupendous twit that would be a new personal best for you.

      • It, erl, Happens I’m inclined to ozone, but cosmic rays are so seductive.
        ==============

  52. rogercaiazza

    There are problems with the all of the above approach espoused by this author. This on-demand webinar brings up some of the issues that the power industry is dealing with what is pretty much that policy now: Clearing the Air on Air Emission Regulations Part II: The Three R’s: Rules, Regulations and Reactions. Click here to access it (http://www.powermag.com/whitepapers/ep_environmental_webinar_registration/?hq_e=el&hq_m=2676878&hq_l=1&hq_v=47232edc0a). You have to register but it is free.

    Three speakers offered varied opinions on the future of electric generation: a wind energy proponent, someone from a company that has wind and nuclear, and a consultant who looks at the big picture trends. Note that they all pretty much assume that carbon limits are just a matter of time. This discussion reinforced my concern that the current push for renewals is going to have unintended consequences.

    At the top of my list of concerns is that renewable facilities are making traditional fossil plants uneconomic and as they shut down we edge closer to a crisis on a high-energy demand day. One of the speakers points out that the on the day Chicago recently set a high temperature record, that the wind resource in Illinois was essentially zero. At some point we will have too little dispatchable generation available for those peak days.

  53. Ahhh..state run capitalism at its finest.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/349111/enviro-fix

  54. State run capitalism is the third way is fascism.

    Just as global warming is climate change is climate disruption.

    Both are just the same failed progressive arguments for central planning that have failed, at great human cost, over and over again in history. Re-framing them doesn’t improve them

    The historical illiteracy of some around here is matched only by their economic \illiteracy.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      GaryM,

      The flip side of State run Capitalism is Capitalism that runs the State. Dick Cheney and friends from Haliburton made lots of money off their little war on Iraq, didn’t they… War is good fer bidniss, eh?

      Lesson: We don’t want our Kings of Capitalism too cozy with our Politicians, no matter which one is driving and which one is riding shot-gun, it’s called Fascism when they ride together…

      • I think people would be surprised at how many people in the oil business did not want the war in Iraq. Saddam wanted to sell every drop he could produce. People were lined up around the coroner to help him do it. He knew how to control the elements in his country. Now it’s looking like a mess extraordinaire.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gates– that was a silly political jab and unrelated to the economics

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Actually Rob it is very much related to economics, for the gridlock we face in D.C. is all about economics and fighting for economic power, and this then, trickles down into the world of “issues”, but these issues are an pretext, for they only matter in D.C. in terms of who gets hurt financially or who may benefit.

        Real world stuff. Spend some time in D.C. and see it for yourself…

      • Rob Starkey

        Gates

        I have to spend quite a bit of time in DC. Your argument seemed to be that the motive of the war in Iraq was to help Haliburton. Sorry, but that is a political perspective imo.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        No worries Rob, if you spend time in D.C., you know more than most.

        The topic of this tread is about energy, and course, energy, money, and politics all come together in a nice little cluster in D.C. Everyone wants a share of the pie, or for the government to keep it’s hands off their pie, or for the government to protect their piece of the pie, or support their piece of the pie, or subsidize their piece of the pie, and on and on.

        What energy will win in the end? The cheapest, greenest, leanest, and most sustainable wins– eventually. Most likely artificial photosynthesis will be the energy our great grandchildren will take for granted, and be amazed that oil vs solar vs fission vs fusion vs wind was even an issue. It will be a mix during the transition years, but future artificial photosynthesis will provide energy that will be plentiful, green, decentralized, and as nearly as cheap as breathing air. It’s a form of energy made for the nanotechnology revolution, and the two are converging very rapidly:

        http://phys.org/news/2013-05-fully-artificial-photosynthesis-nanosystem.html

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Under simulated sunlight, this integrated nanowire-based artificial photosynthesis system achieved a 0.12-percent solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency. Although comparable to some natural photosynthetic conversion efficiencies, this rate will have to be substantially improved for commercial use.’

        I suspect that we will be using something else for some time yet.

      • David Springer

        I tend to agree on artificial leaves. Manufacturing has to take a giant leap forward. Could happen I guess but can’t plan on it. Manufacturing for the natural leaves they have this really cool feature where they manufacture themselves.

    • TSW,

      I actually agree that crony capitalism is just another expression of “state run capitalism.” There is nothing free market about it. It is a form of fascism. Which has been my point all along. Your calling it capitalism in one paragraph and fascism in the next is to be expected from someone like you. I do enjoy it when you drop all pretense of not being a full blown progressive.

      And as for your paranoid fantasies about Cheney, that’s a pleasant walk down memory lane. Thanks for the laugh. Hey, how’s your Che Guevara poster?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        GaryM,

        You love to twist things to suit your own very small view of the world, don’t you? I 100% believe in the spirit of free enterprise, and that each of us should be allowed to work hard and then enjoy the fruits of our labors. That a government that becomes the baby-sitter of either the public or the corporate world (through handouts, entitlements, corporate welfare, etc) creates a weak public and weak business sector. On the same vein, I don’t want very wealthy individuals getting “their boy” in office or “their girl” so they can write laws that protect those same wealthy individuals.

        In other words GaryM, you know nothing about me or what I believe, so you oughta just shut your self-righteous pie-hole.

      • Why all of a sudden do all the progressives around here, Bart R, Max_OK, and now The Unskeptical Warmist. want so bad to claim they are not?

        “I believe in the spirit of free enterprise.” But I still want the governments of the world to unite to decarbonize the world economy.

        Be still my conservative heart.

      • I’m decarbonizing as I write.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Non-developing countries, or states with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita above $15,000, no longer benefit from improved social well-being from economic growth. From the end of the Second World War, increasing levels of real economic activity measured by economic growth created the conditions to raise material living standards. Living standards were raised because when economic growth increased, income levels also increased, improving access to basic material entitlements, thus enshrining economic growth at the core of government policy.’ http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/348457

        It is the politics of limitations – an agenda that can’t be named except in hidden corners of the internet or obscure social science academic publications.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        GaryM,

        You just need your little labels in order to even conceptualize the world, don’t you? Where would you be or how could you even think clearly without placing people into neat and tidy little categories? In your tiny world, one must be a “Progressive” if they believe that humans are warming the planet? Right? And then, in Gary’s little world of easy labels and neat boxes, one must certainly not believe in free enterprise, thrift, hard work, and innovation if they are a “Liberal” or “Progressive”.

        What a small, extremely myopic little reality you inhabit GaryM.

        Seriously, I mean S E R I O U S L Y Gary, you would do your mind a huge expansive and enlightening favor by pulling yourself away from Faux News now and then (if its not already way too late for your mind). Though Rupert Murdock is glad he owns your psyche.

      • Dear Faux Skeptical Warmist,

        Thanls for the advice.

        “You just need your little labels in order to even conceptualize the world, don’t you?”

        I confess to an addiction to labels. I call them nouns. I find it extremely difficult to write coherent sentences without them.

        Oh, I do watch Fox News once in a while. I also read at the NY Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post. I visit Real Climate regularly, and skeptical science and even MSNBC when I want a laugh. That is why I have seen every argument you can make already. I do not live in fear of “the other” like you and your tribe. I do not feel any need to silence them.

        In fact, I suspect I can make any argument in favor of the progressive policies you favor as well as you can. While you have difficulty even reading competing arguments without losing your temper.

        The only people who get exorcised about the use of “labels,” are those trying to disguise who they are. Yet for some reason, they have no trouble whatsoever with labels like “denier,” “evangelical Christian,” “Faux News conservative.”

      • Beautiful –

        The only people who get exorcised about the use of “labels,” are those trying to disguise who they are.

        Which must explain why we see so little objection to the term “denier,” among our much beloved “skeptics” eh?

        Gary – don’t ever change you are. You come up with the best stuff!

      • GaryM | May 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

        Two questions:

        1. Where the heck do you find me saying I want the governments of the world to unite?

        2. Are you Peter Lang?

      • Max_OK

        I’m decarbonizing as I write.

        Holding it in your other hand?

        (Or just relying on exhalation?)

        Max_CH

      • BArt R,

        I assumed there must be some rational thought behind your pseudo-pigovian tax nightmare.

        Do you only want a few governments to enact redistributive carbon taxes, so as to have absolutely no impact whatsoever on global warming?

        Or do you only want your government to enact confiscatory taxes, and redistribute them to you?

        Because as ridiculous as I find your various iterations of a redistributive tax on the energy economy, (sorry, the carbon cycle, or is it rent of the carbon budget, I get confused), if you do not want the governments to combine to do it effectively, then you are not advocating energy policy, but theft.

        I just gave you the benefit of the doubt. My bad.

      • Gary,

        The labeling drops you down to the level of Max argument technique. Sure R Gates’ Cheney Haliburton comment is wacky. Counter it with a more sound point and move on.

        I don’t see any value in people here trying to place others somewhere on the political spectrum. If a person wants to voulunteer that information, fine. Attempting to do it for them is almost always going to be wrong and only gets in the way of dialoge.

      • timg56,

        I’m sorry, but I disagree totally.

        There is along history of stealth advocacy by progressives. They call themselves “consensus scientists” or “pragmatists” or in general decry labels. They believe it makes them more persuasive in arguments about the political policies they advocate.

        Gavin Schmidt is a prime example. You would expect given his ferocious support of the CAGW consensus that he is a progressive. But he almost never comes out and states overt political positions. He characterizes everything he says as about teh science.

        But he once was answering pretty much all questions on a different blog, so I asked him what policies he would favor. And he answered. Basically he said pretty much what James Hansen advocates. Which is of course the whole panoply of progressive economic policy dressed up as energy policy.

        It is simply not an insult to call someone a progressive, if they favor progressive policies. I have never been bothered by being called a denier. I simply explain that I do indeed deny CAGW, the accuracy of of climate models, the accuracy of reported global average temperature records, and paleo proxies….

        Bart R in particular calls those who oppose his redistributive energy tax communists. Never bothers me, because it isn’t true. At least in my case. But I have no qualms about calling out those who push progressivism for what they are.

        There is a genuine political war over what the fundamental nature of the US, and the west in general, will be in the future. The climate debate is just one front. The world will be vastly different depending on whether the west follows the path toward ever more centralized power in the governments, or pulls back and renews the free market and conservative social policies that made the US the richest, most powerful, most generous, freest country in the history of the world.

      • GaryM | May 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm |

        Okay, so tacit admission by circumventing the question. Fair enough.

        I don’t need governments to unite to achieve good sense economics at home.

        Why should I care what some other government does, other than to learn from it, or detect cheating or aggression?

        If my government has the most efficient economic system, if my government ensures domestic fairness, then I am purely benefitted by this happy state. If other governments, having seen the benefits of their neighbors, as Washington State and Alberta have seen and begun to copy British Columbia, what skin is it off my nose?

        How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they seen Paris?

        Also, point of order, I only address people as communists when they practice or openly promote communism. I note you freely dilute the power of the term ‘progressive’ by spraying it around like an incontinent polecat might, on anything that moves. Unless that movement is Peter Lang’s.

      • Bart R,

        This is how I know you are a progressive.

        “I only address people as communists when they practice or openly promote communism.”

        What you mean by openly promote communism is objecting to your lust for a massive redistributive tax that you call “privatizing the carbon cycle.” Except when you call it “renting the carbon budget.”

        For a while, I just assumed you were terminally confused. You garble the most simple economic concepts so confusion seemed the most likely explanation.

        No conservative or libertarian would be so mad for a government take over of the energy economy by way of a massive redistributive tax. You “tax plan” is incoherent in all its details, except that it should take from those who use energy, and give to….well…you,and anybody who is like you.

        But your obsession with redistributive taxes, and your labeling those who oppose them communist, is classic progressive double talk. So you are a progressive in my view, and will remain so.

      • GaryM | May 23, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

        Yeah, magical reasoning plus polemics is simple trollism. “How you know” things?

        How you know things appears to be you start with irrational hatred and fear, and throw in a twist of open fallacy and bile, to get to foregone conclusion convenient to your preconceived notion.

        Lust? Really? You’re confused. Typically, people prompted by the pure motive, “I want my money,” are accused of avarice, or in the case of getting it back from free riding thieves, wrath. One would expect a conservative to be on average religious enough to be more familiar with these distinctions, by which I know you to be putting up a sham front.

        Massively redistributive? Why massive? If the Law of Supply and Demand regulates the distribution, it might be massive, or it might be marginal, but whatever else, it’s pure, simple, capitalism. It’s trust in the Market to determine the best allocation of resources. It’s what America is built on. Your implicit assumption that capitalism will seek a massive correction when the Market acts without some politburo to blunt the democracy of individual sellers and buyers tells us you fear democracy, and despise individualism.

        You don’t like plain identification of what really is going on, and so seek to stir up confusion about straightforward terms. You call privatization of a resource a left wing policy. You rehash and misquote and spin blatantly and openly, repeating Big Lie after Big Lie with neither shame nor decency. Your atheistic resort to the tactics of the enemies of capitalism and America’s moral center tells us all we need know about your real political heart.

        Every conservative or libertarian is exactly as mad for getting government out of the individual choice of whether to use or not use a private resource, and how, and when, and where, as I propose. Because the approach I propose gets the government and committees and command and control regulation out of the system, diminishes cronyism and favoritism and subsidy, and lets the engines of prosperity run full throttle to their natural level.

        I don’t have a ‘tax plan’. I have private ownership restored to private owners. You can’t build fences around air; you can’t simply auction air rights; you can, however, ensure those who make lucrative use of a share of the air compensate those who own it. That’s not a tax. That’s the opposite of redistribition, since redistribution happens every time someone takes what isn’t theirs and uses it up or abuses it practically forever.

        See, that apologizing for theft that you do, that soft-on-crime thing you do, that’s not really a great basis for you to go around name-calling from. And you keep redefining as ‘energy’ coal and oil. Why is that? You don’t know the difference between coal or oil and energy? The energy remains untouched. All that happens is that the unpaid-for portion of the fuel-air reaction gets a standard treatment in the Market and joins the economy.

        And this, “give to….well…you,and anybody who is like you,” thing of yours is so cutely misdirectional as to be absurd. No one gets anything that belongs to them taken, and no one gets anything that isn’t their fair dividend, in this privatization.

        And really, as we see you’re opposed to capitalism, against democracy, hate the individual and object to lawful, fair and just private property, we care about your definitions and views not at all.

      • Bart R,

        Your obsession with your Orwellian description of your bizarre, contradictory, confiscatory tax scheme is getting to be like Captain Queeg’s obsession with his strawberries.

        Captain Bart: Ahh, but the pigovian tax that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that a redistributive, revenue neutral tax DID exist, and I’d have produced that evidence if they hadn’t of pulled my brain out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow captialists…

      • Somebody get Bart some marbles….

    • Gary, an article at http://www.spiked-online.com/site/reviewofbooks_article/13491/ will interest you. The article, “Climate change – an elite affectation” shows that the roots of CAGW are political, and why many people are sceptical of CAGW whatever the scientists might say.

      I e-mailed a copy to Judith earlier for her consideration.

      • Heh, a ‘precious conceit of a Western elite’.
        ==================

      • Faustino

        Interesting article by Rob Lyons. Thanks for posting it.

        No question that the CAGW hysteria is “an elite affectation”.

        It is a rich white man’s, guilt driven, obsession.

        As such there is little wonder that China and India, etc., are not jumping on the bandwagon.

        And, since it is precisely the “non-white” world, which will be generating most of the CO2 of the 21st century as their economies develop to a level approaching that of the “rich white man’s” countries, we can forget about any meaningful efforts to radically curtail global CO2 emissions.

        Max

  55. And let me just say, all the comments above about state run capitalism are not off topic at all. They are a precise expression of the “moderate” approach to problem solving represented by the initial post. Don’t actually analyze a problem and come up with the best solution. Just form some kind of compromise, an “all of the above” “middle ground,” oblivious to history and the actual effects, let alone unintended consequences, of that choice.

    Sometimes there is a right answer, and a wrong answer. Sometimes the question has been asked and answered, at great cost, before.

  56. The Left has become expert in demonizing those who actually do the work of dealing with the challenges of life.

    • Waggy, I congratulate you on meeting the challenge of whining incessantly. I know you work hard at it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You on the other hand are a paragon of informed, considered and balanced opinion rising above the personal to make a valued contribution.

      • The Left’s Code Pink of climate science targets deniers.

      • Chief,

        Cut Max some slack. He has a pony. Hopefully he will figure out that it doesn’t make him a cowboy. Or the next winner of the Preakness.

  57. An observation from reading this thread:

    Regularly, in these threads we see folks like Chief, Wags, and Gary, (and many others I can think of) who regularly denigrate hundreds of millions of people (including tens of millions of Americans), simply on the basis of political orientation.

    In comment after comment, in thread after thread, day after day.

    Now we do have folks like Max_OK, who make similar uniformly denigrating generalizations about folks like libertarians, but libertarians are miniscule in number compared to those routinely insulted by Chief, Wags, Gary, etc.

    But even if we consider Max’s commenting behavior as being similar in kind if perhaps different in the details, I think it is fair to say that we see far more labeling and extreme denigrating of groups from the “skeptics” at this site relative to from the “realists.”

    Even if we discount the absolute numbers there to account for the relatively higher prevalence of “skeptics” at this site, I think it is fair to say that the denigrating, guilt-by-association, and insulting of groups based on political beliefs as seen on this site is primarily concentrated among “skeptics.” Now certainly not all “skeptics” here (or elsewhere) resort to such commenting behaviors, and certainly we could go to any number of “realist” dominated websites and see a similar imbalance that runs in the other direction.

    Now personally, I think that what we know about the processes of human reasoning, these types of behaviors are not likely to be more characteristics of one side in these contentious debates relative to the other. But Judith has recently told us, with complete certainty, that the term wingnuts – as a reference to highly politicized people who regularly insult those that disagree with them – is much less characteristic of “skeptics” than their climate war counterparts.

    And apparently such a viewpoint doesn’t set off her “bullsh– meter.”

    Curious, that.

    • If global warming was about science it wouldn’t be a Left vs right would it? If unsure ask All Gore.

      • Politics and science are inextricable in our world.

        They always have been, and likely always will be. The linkages are stronger on some issues and weaker on some issues, but I’m sure we could both think of many issues other than climate change where we see science inextricably linked to politics. They are all around us.

        Certainly, the politics and the science are inextricable in the questions about climate change. That doesn’t mean that the science doesn’t exist any more that it means that the politics don’t exist.

      • Science and politics do not mix.

      • Science and politics do not mix.

        In the real world, science and politics are inevitably mixed. Same as it ever was.

        What is the point in stating fantasies as if they are realities?

        Just by wishing for reality to take a certain shape, you cannot shape reality.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Traditonally Joshua, science and politics only come together to do battle when vastly different world views collide on the same issue. The notion of that the sun was the center of the solar system and not the Earth was the first real good example. Back then, the Church was the political and religious authority. A sun-centered solar system blew apart the entire neat and tidy view the Church had of the universe. Such blasphemy couldn’t be tolerated so they put shut poor old Galileo up. Evolution was the next real good issue when science and politics collided and once more, the religious view of the universe was the real reason.

        Along comes AGW and CAGW, and this time, with the general waning of the authority of the church, the battle this time is along mainly political lines which divide somewhat along the old religious line, but now also along the new religion of the world, which is actually not so new for it was the religion that Christianity did battle with many thousands of years ago, but now former enemies make strange allies today, eh? The Golden Calf and the Good Shepherd as buddies. Who would have thunk?

      • R.

        Traditonally Joshua, science and politics only come together to do battle when vastly different world views collide on the same issue.

        There is a continuum and a proportional relationship, not a binary configuration as you suggest with that statement.

        I would say that the more a scientific issue overlaps with world views, the more politics interferes, but I would say that there are relatively few scientific issues that have no political ramifications (even the very act of studying science is politically linked), and many, many scientific issues that have overlap with political issues.

        I’d say that science and politics do not exist in isolation from each other in any meaningful sense, as much as we might want for that to be so. So I disagree with you when they say that they “only come together” under a binary set of conditions that in reality, rarely exist.

        I could easily rattle off a long list, off the top of my head, that show a very similar nexus between science and politics as we see with climate change. IMO, the mistake is to see this issue as somehow distinct in character from any number of other controversies that overlap with social, political, ideological, cultural, or even personal/psychological identifications.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I prefer to call it classic liberalism – and these are indeed the principles on which American and Australian democracies are founded. The principles are clear but they evolve as a form of social contract. There is little that is not allowed to government as part of this social contract – it emerges from the ongoing and messy processes of democracy to which there is a fundamental commitment . There are a few practical rules for free markets that are neglected at peril. Balances of expenditure and taxation, relatively low taxation at some 25% to 30% of GDP, management of interest rates to prevent asset bubbles, effective market and prudential regulation. All of this is entirely mainstream and not controversial at any fundamental level at all.

      Joshua complains about being called a ‘pissant progressive’, a ‘wing nut’, a ‘space cadet’. These are short hand for a largely urban hipster demographic with a specific world view -who are about 5% of the popualtion. They tend to understand little of climate science but have an overweening confidence in shared memes. The dominant idea is of resource limitations of one sort or another and this tends to reinforce ideas of government dominated planning and resource allocation and reductions and even reversals of economic growth.

      These ideas are perversions of the liberal zeitgeist. There is no equivalence between the ideas of pissant progressives and the aspirations of the world for economic development and political freedom. If Joshua want’s to insist that this is a mere divergence of opinion with each side of equal value and utility – allow me to disagree.

      • Chief –

        Joshua complains about being called a ‘pissant progressive’, a ‘wing nut’, a ‘space cadet’.

        You have said this many times, but you have been wrong each time. I have never “complained” about being referred to by any of your regularly used denigrating labels.

        I have, however, pointed out your obsessive tendency to denigrate large groups of people, often on a personal level (even though you have undoubtedly never met them), on the basis of your perception (and quite often proven mis-perception) of their political beliefs – and the fact that you disagree with their political beliefs.

        As I explained in a thread just a few says ago, contrary to complaining, I thank you for your contributions – because maybe one day they will accumulate enough in volume to sink in for Judith, so she can see the selectivity in her reasoning when she analyzes the non-scientific components of the blog wars.

        BTW – I also appreciate the contributions that you make that are scientific in nature, as I find them nearly as interesting as your helpful useful amusing laughable contributions on non-scientific matters.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Joshua,

        Your entire presence is an extended whine – just quibbling as usual doesn’t change that.

        The urban hipster demographic is a matter of record – as I have show you before. Their economic and political beliefs are a matter of a presence on the web.

        Your intention seems to be defending the hipster demographic while denying it exists. You are predictably insanely inconsistent.

    • Josh,

      You started off great. Until you got to the apparently inevitable part where you pin blame on one side. It is sooo obvious that one side carries so much more guilt. At lest to you.

      Why not try to dissuage the political name calling – period.

  58. Once you give government power to choose what you shall have, what you will do and how you shall live, those in government will want and take more power.

    • Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      That didn’t used to be considered controversial.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Parents have absolute power over their young children. Are parents corrupt, absolutely Gary? Or perhaps, this and other such sayings get so ingrained in the mush-brained, that they prattled them off like the A-B-C’s they learned as tiny tots, eh Gary?

        Power, even absolute power, like a sword or a gun, depends on a the mind behind it. Use of it for good, or for evil, to kill, protect, or hunt depends on the morals and values of the person behind it.

        Destroy the meme’s in your mind Gary.

      • How is “absolute power” relevant to a discussion of our government, anyway?

      • TSW,

        What a wonderful look into the weird world of the progressive mind. Thank you for this. The obligation of a parent to control and safeguard his/her children in your fevered imagination is akin to government’s relationship to its citizens. Did you help produce the Julia video for Obama.

        If I had made this up as an example of the way you think, no one would have believed me.

        Good grief.

      • Say, Gary.

        Just curious. I still haven’t seen your explanation for how you could have been so completely wrong about the polls being skewed to favor Obama (in a media/leftist conspiracy to rig the election for Obama).

        Remember when you said that the polls were being manipulated to make it appear that Obama was doing better than he was in reality?

        Remember how once the election happened, it became apparent that in fact, the majority of the polls were underestimating Obama’s standing relative to Romney’s?

        Why were you so wrong, Gary, and why were you so absolutely positive about something where you were so completely wrong?

        Perhaps I missed your explanation in some previous thread?

      • TSW,

        “Power, even absolute power, like a sword or a gun, depends on a the mind behind it.”

        But stuff like this stops being funny and becomes scary. Absolute power, no matter who is behind it, is always a bad thing. A parent answers to the police, a prison warden to the governor, even a president to the legislature that can impeach him.

        The US Constitution was written by men who had learned the importance of the truism you denigrate. Too bad progressives have never bothered to learn that history.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Gary, I guess you don’t like it when you trite little well-worn meme’s get blown apart by the logic of why they are wrong?

        Power, in and of itself, does not corrupt, just like a seed, in and of itself is not a tree. It all depends on the ground it falls on.

      • Absolute power, no matter who is behind it, is always a bad thing.

        Good thing that Gary is an atheist.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        GaryM said:

        “Absolute power, no matter who is behind it, is always a bad thing.”

        ____
        Seems you have had some bad life experiences Gary. Fortunately I’ve met people I would unconditionally trust if need be. But in general, getting back to the issue of politics, a form of government that has checks and balances is a good thing, and our founders, many of them being scoundrels themselves, knew not to trust a fragile new government to men such as themselves. (And of course women and blacks had no voice at all back then and certainly could be trusted even less in our founders minds).

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        GaryM said:

        “The US Constitution was written by men who had learned the importance of the truism you denigrate.”

        _______
        Written by men who many were scoundrels themselves, and knew not to trust a fresh new “experiment” in government to men such as themselves. Most of all, never trust a King– especially King George. Yet, in history there have been Kings (and Queens) who had absolute power and were not corrupted, but rather, ruled with wisdom, compassion, and sought the guidance of advisors. What of them Gary, and your tired old meme?

      • TSW,

        There have been good kings and bad ones in history, though “good” and “bad” here are relative terms. But I am unaware of any who did not abuse their power. Charlemagne engaged in wars of conquest. Richard the Lion Heart killed prisoners by the thousands. Even the archetype “good” king, Solomon, arranged the death of Uriah Heap so he could have his wife. And don’t get me started on the Prophet Mohammed.

        Maybe you could give us an example of a king or queen who had absolute power, and was not corrupted?.

        All of which of course ignores the issue of what history teaches us happens once the relatively “good” king passes.

      • Gates,

        First para is weak. Trying to relate parents to government.

        The second para however is great.

        The third is not needed.

      • Uriah Heap is dead?

        Damn, I loved them. One of the better concerts I saw. Well, at least I still have their albums to listen to.

        At least Blue Oyster Cult is still alive.

      • July Morning. A classic.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        GaryM,

        King James I of England comes close. Mostly very loved by the people, no foolish wars, no heavy tax burdens, and he wisely wrote the first treatise against the use of Tobacco. Perfect? No. Corrupt? No.

      • Historical illiteracy is a wonderful thing.

        King James I :

        “James personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches.” Not to mention being famous for persecuting Catholics. Oh, and he was a firm believer in the divine right of kings.

        Nope, power had no influence on him.

  59. Rob Starkey,

    It seems in your admiration for the Chinese communist government you were just channeling John F. Kennedy.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2329556/How-JFK-secretly-ADMIRED-Hitler-Explosive-book-reveals-Presidents-praise-Nazis-travelled-Germany-Second-World-War.html

    “President Kennedy’s travelogues and letters chronicling his wanderings through Germany before WWII, when Adolf Hitler was in power, have been unearthed and show him generally in favour of the movement that was to plunge the world into the greatest war in history.”

    “‘Fascism?’ wrote the youthful president-to-be in one. ‘The right thing for Germany.'”

    and this:

    “Other musings concern how great the autobahns were – ‘the best roads in the world’ – and how, having visited Hitler’s Bavarian holiday home in Berchtesgaden and the tea house built on top of the mountain for him.

    He declared; ‘Who has visited these two places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.'”

    Any of this sound familiar?

    Now I am sure Kennedy, like you, separated the economic and political aspects of state controlled capitalism from the way the German government treated its own people. But as history showed, that was a naivete that had a great human cost.

    Vicious thugs with absolute power do not mix well with a “free market.”

    • Peter Lang

      GaryM,

      Your excellent posts must be making some impression on all bu the most closed minded of ‘Progressives’.

      • “although nature’s efficiencies say biofuels are at best a partial solution even in far out decades” A three-year industry/uni study into aviation biofuels has calculated the crude oil price at which they would be competitive: sugar can $301, pongamia tree seeds $374 and microalgae $1343. Brent crude is currently $105.

        The study says that possible technological developments (no time-scale given) could cut those prices to $168, $255 and $385. Meanwhile, technological developments in cars have led to much lower fuel consumption, the latest VW Golf uses about half as much fuel as my comparable 2002 Toyota Corolla.

        Biofuels may never be more than “a partila solution.”

  60. Rud Istvan

    Now that much of the political orientation inspired ‘fire’ on this thread has apparently cooled, a few hopefully apolitical policy comments.

    Nuclear electricity is not a question of if, but when. Hubbert himself foresaw that in 1956. The policy debate should be, how much to invest in what we can now do best practices (e.g. AP1000 designs and Rokkasho fuel recycling) as opposed to wait, build CCGT generating capacity ( the most thermally efficient, and since natural gas fired producing only about a third of the CO2 of equivalent supercritical coal), and invest in research into even better future nuclear designs (e.g. TerraPower). Important debate, isn’t happening at all.

    Peak transportation fuel production hits first, roughly a decade. After getting the best geophysics assessments (Not the politicized IEA) to assess not only timing but shape of subsequent downslope ( how hard and fast the show will pinch), then we should adopt no regrets policies to minimize world economic disruption. My own research (published elsewhere) says raising taxes ( stepped, not instantaneous) on liquid transportation fuels (not all carbons) to roughly European levels creates economic incentives to change before there is pain. China already has stronger CAFE standards than the US will in 2020, and has also taken this fuel pricing approach in order not to becomeas OPEC dependent as the US.
    Anticipating price does not dictate economic outcomes. Buy a smaller car, buy a hybrid, get a job closer to home, move closer to work, take public transportation, take the pain–markets can sort that out. Non- corn based biofuels become more attractive (speculative) investments, although nature’s efficiencies say biofuels are at best a partial solution even in far out decades ( many details published elsewhere).
    And so on.

    What is frustrating is that both the “denier/sceptic” side of the AGW debate AND the “CAGW” side accept the false scientific premise that fossil fuels, stored sunlight energy, are essentially unlimited. By definition, that cannot be true. And very solid scientific disciplines like geology and geophysics have already shed much light on what that means with respect to timing and quantity. There is only a small uncertainty monster to wrestle with. Yet still not part of the AGW debate.

    Thankfully Judith recognizes this issue and has allowed previous posts on same. She even invited Caltech’s Rutledge (coal) to lecture at GT. Shows the broad scope of serious scientific debate she has proclaimed as the goal for this site, a standard to which we should all aspire.

    • Rud Istvan,

      Sorry, but “apolitical policy” is an oxymoron. Like unmathematical physics.

      • Gary, I’m trying to replace “oxymoron” in this context with something like “CO2moron,” some work still needed.

        But yes, as a former government economic policy adviser, I can’t think of any policy-making which was devoid of political aspects. I’ve seen many policies which were diametrically opposed to demonstrated public benefit. People who succeed in politics are rarely characterised by altruism and lack of self- or sectional interest.

    • Peter Lang

      Rud Ivistan,

      Excellent comment.

      Now that much of the political orientation inspired ‘fire’ on this thread has apparently cooled, a few hopefully apolitical policy comments.

      Hopefully!

      Nuclear electricity is not a question of if, but when. Hubbert himself foresaw that in 1956. The policy debate should be, how much to invest in what we can now do best practices (e.g. AP1000 designs …

      I am more in favour of the small modular nuclear power plants than the massive >1 GW size plants. The small modular plants are built in fasctorioes, shipped to site on the back of a truck, installed, and some are returned to factory for refuelling. Some will run for their full life on a single fuel load like the Virginia Class submarines do).

      The advantages of small are many:

      • Suitable for small grids in small economies, like Australia (1GW and larger generating units are too large for the Australian grid and for all smaller economies)

      • Build time is much shorter

      • There is a smaller fuel inventory, so any accidents will have less consequence

      • Small modular can be ordered just in time when demand growth is better known

      • This means less financial risk for the utility and the investors

      • Small are much more flexible (in many ways) than large units

      • Learning curve will be much faster with small plants. More are built and the lessons learned are more quickly implemented in the next model

      • Suitable for many more grids so capacity can increase much faster.

      • High capacity growth rate means unit costs will come down faster

      • More competition between countries and manufacturers/vendors means the breed will improve faster and costs will come down faster.

      This is an example of what I am suggesting (currently going through the NRC licensing process and due to have two to four in production and commercialised by 2022):

      http://www.babcock.com/products/modular_nuclear/

      Once we get cheap nuclear power we can start making transport fuels. There are many options. Here is just one. The US Navy research has calculated the cost of making jet fuel from seawater on board their nuclear powered aircraft carriers. They have calculated the costs for producing 100,000 gallons per day on board their aircraft carriers. John Morgan has considered the costs of doing it on shore (he is strongly warmist and has another objective, but you can ignore that bit. I am simply pointing out we have options for transport fuels once we get past the hurdle of getting to cheap nuclear power. See John Morgan’s article here and follow to the link to the US Navy research:
      John Morgan (2013) “Zero emission synfuel from sea water

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/

    • Peter Lang

      [Re post – correct formatting error (sorry)]

      Rud Ivistan,

      Excellent comment.

      Now that much of the political orientation inspired ‘fire’ on this thread has apparently cooled, a few hopefully apolitical policy comments.

      Hopefully!

      Nuclear electricity is not a question of if, but when. Hubbert himself foresaw that in 1956. The policy debate should be, how much to invest in what we can now do best practices (e.g. AP1000 designs …

      I am more in favour of the small modular nuclear power plants than the massive >1 GW size plants. The small modular plants are built in fasctorioes, shipped to site on the back of a truck, installed, and some are returned to factory for refuelling. Some will run for their full life on a single fuel load like the Virginia Class submarines do).

      The advantages of small are many:

      • Suitable for small grids in small economies, like Australia (1GW and larger generating units are too large for the Australian grid and for all smaller economies)

      • Build time is much shorter

      • There is a smaller fuel inventory, so any accidents will have less consequence

      • Small modular can be ordered just in time when demand growth is better known

      • This means less financial risk for the utility and the investors

      • Small are much more flexible (in many ways) than large units

      • Learning curve will be much faster with small plants. More are built and the lessons learned are more quickly implemented in the next model

      • Suitable for many more grids so capacity can increase much faster.

      • High capacity growth rate means unit costs will come down faster

      • More competition between countries and manufacturers/vendors means the breed will improve faster and costs will come down faster.

      This is an example of what I am suggesting (currently going through the NRC licensing process and due to have two to four in production and commercialised by 2022):

      http://www.babcock.com/products/modular_nuclear/

      Once we get cheap nuclear power we can start making transport fuels. There are many options. Here is just one. The US Navy research has calculated the cost of making jet fuel from seawater on board their nuclear powered aircraft carriers. They have calculated the costs for producing 100,000 gallons per day on board their aircraft carriers. John Morgan has considered the costs of doing it on shore (he is strongly warmist and has another objective, but you can ignore that bit. I am simply pointing out we have options for transport fuels once we get past the hurdle of getting to cheap nuclear power. See John Morgan’s article here and follow to the link to the US Navy research:
      John Morgan (2013) “Zero emission synfuel from sea water

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/

    • Rub, there is a lot of butane/propane in the north sea oil fields, and LPG is not only viable, but used my many UK motorists. There is a lot of LGP in natural gas fields and in oil wells. You can even crack bitumen’s with natural gas to make LPG.

      • Peter Lang

        Doc Martyn,

        What is “a lot”. If it was all extracted, how long would it supply the world’s transport fuel demand?

      • An analysis by Tad Patzek, Chairman of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Dept. at the U of Texas:

        “From the data it follows that U.K. embarked on an aggressive field development and exported oil between 1980 and 2005. The first peak in exports followed oil price of the day, but the second one occurred when oil price was very depressed.

        Now imagine this: What would happen, if U.K. slowed down its production and did not export oil between 1990 and 2005? I understand that this type of thinking is absolutely foreign to most everyone in the U.S. and would be dismissed as “socialistic talk.” Why think about future, when one can make a quick buck today?”

        http://patzek-lifeitself.blogspot.com/2013/05/energy-exports-may-not-be-good.html

        Yea, butane and propane will solve the problem. Sure.

    • Oops, misplaced my reply to Rud. Repeating:

      “although nature’s efficiencies say biofuels are at best a partial solution even in far out decades” A three-year industry/uni study into aviation biofuels has calculated the crude oil price at which they would be competitive: sugar can $301, pongamia tree seeds $374 and microalgae $1343. Brent crude is currently $105.

      The study says that possible technological developments (no time-scale given) could cut those prices to $168, $255 and $385. Meanwhile, technological developments in cars have led to much lower fuel consumption, the latest VW Golf uses about half as much fuel as my comparable 2002 Toyota Corolla.

      Biofuels may never be more than “a partial solution.”

      Source: The Australian, 24/5/12. Study participants: Queensland & James Cook unis, Boeing, Virgin Australia, Mackay Sugar and IOR Energy.

      • Faustino | May 24, 2013 at 12:47 am |

        They’re not really technological developments; at least not late ones.

        Fuel efficiency plunged in available vehicles between 1992 and 2002. You could have bought a comparable vehicle new in 1992 with 40% better mileage than you got in your 2002 Corolla.

        Biofuels are a scam, and always will be except for very marginal situations like recycled fryer grease. Why do we have to keep talking them up? What they really throw into sharp focus is how petrochemicals that aren’t burned, like plastics, fertilizer, industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals, are driven up in price by burning them, to the point bioproducts seem attractive in comparison.

        If you got more of your energy from non-petro sources, you’d have much lower prices for many other goods.

  61. Peter Lang

    Here is a challenge. Vaughan Pratt is playing games in his usual pompous, arrogant, devious way. It began when I pointed out to Pekka Pirila that rooftop solar PV in Melbourne (and about the same in Sydney and Brisbane) costs about $600 per tonne CO2 abated. That’s over 100 times the EU carbon price.

    So, if you believe in roof top solar PV have a go and find an error. Read the subthread starting here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/19/mainstreaming-ecs-2-c/#comment-323910 Be sure to read the Graham Palmer paper, you’ll learn a hell of a lot. Then find an error in the $600/tonne CO2 abatement cost figure.

  62. Science plus politics results only propaganda.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      Really Waggy? So the education of the public about the dangers of smoking (pushed by the political side through laws) is only propaganda? Mandated (by law) education of the public on the dangers of smoking was nothing but propaganda?

      How narrow and how sad this view of yours Waggy. Sometimes the government needs to step in for the sake of public health. Lord knows the tobacco companies would not have done it willingly. Rather, they’d enlist the help of organization like the Heartland Institute to put out the real propaganda.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      Nice deflection from the topic and the facts there Waggy. You said:

      “Science plus politics results only (in) propaganda.”

      Are the messages on cigarette packs warning against cancer propaganda in your view? Or are they solid science based policy, formed from a hard-won merger between science and politics, fought every inch of the way by big tobacco interests with that battle supported by big tobacco’s paid mouth-pieces such as the Heartland Institute?

      • The perturbations caused by the Left’s disruption of the free market system and their bridges to nowhere are far more destructive of society than a cigarette smoker. Leftists hate the automobile. Now, the government owns GM. Comparing Tesla to free-market principles is like comparing Chicago politics to the Ten Commandments. There is $45,000 in government credits for every “S” class Tesla that is sold.

  63. The Founders were much smarter and farsighted to make this mistake:

    “Who has visited these two places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.” –JFK

    • Waggy, George Washington was too old to know Hitler, so you don’t really know what George thought of him.

      • Adolf thought the world of socialists.

      • Which is why he had them put in camps.

      • Hitler is easily the most interesting and most studied individual in the history of the human race. So much so people call the history channel the Hitler Channel.

        So a kid in his 20s noticed earlier than most. BFD.

        In the Solomons my father served in a seaplane scouting that flew support missions for the PT boats out of Tulagi, which is where JFK was stationed.

      • It is one of the biggest jokes on a sleepy society that they allow the liberal fascists to pretend they do not at least share the willful ignorance that is emblematic National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Adolf. For the most part, the pretense is outright an outright attempt by the Left to disguise blatant anti-Semitism.

        And when they’re not hating the Jews there’s always someone else to hate, Rather than climate change there is a far greater causal connection between the global warming alarmism of the Left and a moribund economy, staggeringly high real unemployment, and the Left’s war on everyone and everything from William Gray, George Bush, Gov. Palin to oil companies, hamburgers, big Cokes and the Tea Party.

      • Waggy has gone meshuga.

      • Jews shouldn’t be allowed to live in the ME?

  64. “News Limited Network reported the country’s carbon tax was contributing to a record number of firms facing insolvency. Data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission showed that a record 10,632 businesses faced insolvency for the 12 months to December 31 2012 — up from 10,481 for 2011.

    Australia’s largest manufacturing firms asked the central government to scrap the nation’s carbon tax as it disadvantages local companies that are attempting to compete on a global market.

    Critics argue that the carbon tax is putting Australian businesses at a disadvantage and will lead to job losses.

    “In the absence of similar schemes by major trading partners, Australia’s carbon tax places tremendous pressure on Australian manufacturers and inevitably leads to job losses and business closures,” said the group Manufacturing Australia.”

    http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/19/report-australian-carbon-tax-contributes-to-record-number-of-businesses-insolvencies/

  65. Favored by Government
    Tesla exemplifies the financial benefits of green policies to direct taxpayers resources:

    California’s zero-emission credits provided $67.9 million to the company in the first quarter, and the combination of that state’s credits and federal and local incentives can add up to $45,000 per Tesla sold, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times.

    One irony is that rival car makers—even those making electric hybrids or gasoline subcompacts—don’t get the same benefit from zero-emissions mandates.

  66. Even when other cost increased are taken into account, the carbon tax in Australia has made doing business there much more expensive.

    “A follow up survey found that businesses said the carbon tax had increased their energy costs by an average of 14.5 per cent, but the Bureau of Statistics Producer Price Index found a much lower 6.7 per cent rise in energy prices during the September quarter which followed the introduction of the tax.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-29/businesses-count-carbon-tax-costs/4488490

  67. “For example, Penrice Soda, a soda ash company that makes glass and detergents. It has been operating for 70 years, but it will be closing its factory and will begin importing soda ash. Penrice Soda originally faced an $8 million (Australian dollars) annual carbon-tax bill, which they petitioned to decrease to $1 million.

    Or again, Tourism Accommodation Australia expects that price increases in energy bills, food, transport, and other goods and services due to the carbon tax will cost the Australian hotel industry $155 million a year.

    Over the past 12 months Australia has seen 10,632 companies collapse, a record high total for a single year, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Nearly one-fifth of these companies were manufacturing and construction.

    Australia’s new carbon tax is not solely to blame for businesses’ struggles, but the Australian government has been crediting the difficulties to the high exchange rate and global competition.”

    http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/21/carbon-tax-australias-experience-is-a-chance-for-the-u-s-to-get-it-right/

  68. “THE carbon tax has begun hitting Queensland small businesses, including a Brisbane private school which faces a $70,000-a-year hike in its electricity bill.

    Six weeks into the carbon tax regime, price hikes are starting to hit hip pockets as power bills drop into letterboxes.

    Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Goodwin said the “weird distortions” were becoming apparent.

    “We are finding that ordinary supermarkets like the local IGA may be up for up to $15,000 on the carbon tax alone if they have to re-gas their giant refrigeration system,” Mr Goodwin said. “Somehow these guys are going to have find ways to cover these extra costs.””

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/carbon-tax-price-hike-jolts-business-electricity-bills/story-e6freon6-1226447094532

    • jim2 | May 23, 2013 at 10:25 pm said: ”“THE carbon tax has begun hitting Queensland small businesses, including a Brisbane private school which faces a $70,000-a-year hike in its electricity bill. Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Goodwin said the “weird distortions” were becoming apparent”

      jim2, keep that data for the time for ”truth and reconciliation” arrives!!! People like Jim D, the chief and similar will be taken to the Vet, for sastration

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Stefan – you go to the pub for sarstration. Many’s the time I sat outside on the steps as a child with a frosty sarsaparilla or two. In between we would free range to the Dawn Fraser pool or to the football field on the banks of the Sydney Harbour or to the Rozelle slot cars. Good times.

        You are the proverbial headless chook, as crazy as a cut snake, a carpetbagger with roo’s loose in the top pocket, a bandicoot with the pox, six shillings short of a quid, a pub with no beer,…

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm said: ”Stefan – you go to the pub for sarstration”

        Hi, Chief, I’m glad to find you in a good mood. If you wan’t a ”snip – snip” in the pub; so be it; as long is public castration; as example for future generations in vermin extermination.

        Selling everything normal for 30 Pisces of silver / carbon loot. = conspirators shouldn’t reproduce more vermin / parasites + your screaming will be entertaining… blunt scisors

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I think you are an idiot but a colourful one – a ratbag in the Australian idim. But you had better watch out for the comment snip yourself Stefan – you passed the point of bad taste comprehensively in this latest comment with far too much malice aforethought.

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 24, 2013 at 12:54 am said: ”I think you are an idiot but a colourful one – a ratbag in the Australian idim. But you had better watch out for the comment snip yourself Stefan”

        chief, you are already panicking; justice, not just has to be done, but must be seen to be done. in the pub, or in the city center, snip-snip; preferably in front of TV cameras…!!! PLUS, all the CO2 spoils must be returned, with modest interest

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Wrong place.

        You are another maniac demanding their money? Take your nonsense, STICK IT WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE AND REVOLVE.

    • Jim2,

      I expect the progressives probably think it’s excellent policy to disadvantage industry.

      • Peter Lang | May 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm said: ”I expect the progressives probably think it’s excellent policy”

        Peter, what’s so ”progressive” about your ”progressives”?!

        They are making electricity un-affordable = back to kerosene lamp

        They are destroying the industries, because they use fossil fuel -> back primitive production by hand. Tractor and harvester wouldn’t ”progress” very far ploughing on solar & wind power… what’s so progressive about them. If their ”progression” is ”progressive” does that mean: modernizing and prospering is backward?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Another maniac demanding their money? Take your nonsense, STICK IT WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE AND REVOLVE.

  69. “The AIG survey found the carbon tax impact was slightly lower for service provider firms – 13.6 per cent – compared with construction firms, which face an average 14.8 per cent increase.

    AIG chief executive Innes Willox said the impact of the carbon tax on “niche groups” such as food manufacturers was “probably greater than anticipated”.

    But with Tony Abbott promising to axe the tax if he wins office, other companies say the carbon tax is not as bad as they first feared.

    Small business owner Greg Northrop estimates his company power bill had increased by $120,000 a year to almost $700,000.

    “We put out a letter to our customers and told them about the carbon tax effect and we were told quite clearly they were not going to accept price increases,” said Mr Northrop, who runs electrical cabling manufacturer Tycab Australia in Dandenong.

    NSW service station operator Craig Glasby expected it would add 15 per cent to his energy costs, but now estimates it will add 11 per cent.”

    http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2013/01/29/358171_business.html

    • Jim, one real nasty of the carbon tax is impact on refrigerant gases. Many small food businesses are opting to work with sub-par refrigeration, others are giving up. The big guys can hold on – maybe.

      This refrigeration squeeze on a nation that should be radically expanding as a global food processor is just typical of so many green initiatives. We even have new multi-million dollars homes with luke-warm water systems and without adequate water pressure or sanitary flushing. Our experts remembered the “green” side and forgot the “brown” side.

      Nobody totals the real downside of green fetishism, because, as I’ve said before, the intellectuals who are great at calculating are pretty terrible at thinking. In Australia, their follies are protected: if those small businesses open their yaps to complain about the carbon tax and the quadrupling of refrigerant gas costs…there’s a law to fine them!

  70. Looks like Oz is having to walk back some of the carbon tax as reality (finally) sets in. Notice it is never a problem with the carbon tax, it’s a problem with other countries.

    ” The Labor Government has also abandoned its plan to increase the tax-free threshold to ease the burden of the carbon tax.

    Australia’s carbon price will link to European carbon prices in 2015 through the emissions trading scheme.

    But due to what the Gillard Government attributed to a “profound weakness in Europe”, it has been forced to delay a plan to increase the tax free threshold until the carbon price reaches $25.40 in 2018-2019.

    The tax free threshold had already been tripled to help counter the carbon tax impacts.

    Also losing out as a result of the dramatic fall in the carbon price, is the government’s climate change initiatives. ”

    http://www.echonews.com.au/news/what-2013-federal-budget-promises-you/1867923/

  71. David L. Hagen

    Green Blinders: Consequences of ignoring natural cold

    Britain came within six hours of running out of natural gas in March, according to a senior energy official, highlighting the risk of supply shortages amid declining domestic production and a growing reliance on imports. . . .
    British wholesale gas prices surged to a record in late March, after a technical fault temporarily shut down one of the main import pipelines.

    UK gas supply six hours from running out in March

    • David L. Hagen | May 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

      I could understand a simpleton falling for — and rehashing — this bit of ignorant insanity uncritically and innumerately.

      But someone in the energy industry, and with engineering qualifications?

  72. “ast week Virgin Australia reported its profit fell by about $35m – of which KPMG says $24m was due to the carbon tax. And let’s not forget, Australia’s (thanks to no-carbon-tax-liar Gillard) working families must find an extra 20 percent every year to meet increasing electricity (and other) costs.

    When Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet heard of Virgin’s $24m loss, he said the airline could have eliminated the cost by raising airfares by $1.50 a ticket. Yeah right: which bucket did he pull that number from. Minister of an imaginary department with an off-the-cuff imaginary solution. Wipeout for you, laddie. VERY SOON! Mairi”

    http://pokiepleasures.com.au/gillards-carbon-tax-seriously-injures-virgin-australias-profits-by-24m/

  73. So, one way a carbon tax reduces CO2 emissions is to put companies out of business. Non-existent companies use zero electricity – problem solved.

    • No, Jim2, you got part of that wrong.

      Putting businesses out of business in Australia, USA Canada, UK and EU doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions. It doesn’t change the demand for the goods and services. It just moves the production, and the emissions, from the Australia, USA, Canada, UK, EU to China, India, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia and next step Eritrea, Mogadishu, Somalia, etc. No emission saved, but business and jobs moved out of the countries with ‘Progressive’ policies to those without.

      (Jim2, I know you know this, I am writing it for the benefit of the ‘Progressives)

      • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, 1959: Progressive: characterised by moving onward; moving forward; proceeding step by step; characterised by progress or advance; advocating progress or reform, esp. in political, municipal or social matters. In policy terms, I’ve always thought that “progress” involved improvement. In Australia, “progressive” policies in recent years have given us back-to-the-’50s industrial relations laws, class warfare, rising illiteracy and innumeracy in school- leavers and uni graduates, deterioration in the conditions of non-urban Aborigines, high-cost water and energy, uncontrolled illegal immigration and academics like Lewandowski, and have attempted to overturn freedom of speech.

        I fear that the term has been sadly misappropriated.

      • Peter Lang

        Faustino,

        +100.

        I had meant to write ‘Progressive’ in thingys to show I meant “so called Progressives”

      • Peter Lang

        Faustino,

        I’ve circulated you comment widely to my many so called ‘Progressive’ friends. I told them this so they might read it:

        A senior economist who used to advise Bob Hawke, the UK Labor Government and the Wayne Goss government wrote this a few minutes ago:

      • Faustino | May 24, 2013 at 1:09 am |

        Well no wonder. It’s all about priorities: http://visual.ly/water-consumption-cost-australia-world-water-day

        An Australian places watering their lawn, laundering their gitch and flushing above the value of an education. Far above.

        But how expensive is water, really?

        http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/5787/the-cost-of-water-and-sewerage-compared-england-vs-australia/

        If only we had an Australian hydrologist around to help interpret and explain http://www.oecd.org/australia/45014987.pdf for us and put it in context with http://www.waterbank.com/Newsletters/nws14.html – which claims Australians are better off than two thirds of comparable countries in absolute terms, and face rates rising more slowly than a third of such nations.

        I’m always amused by slam-the-door-after-themselves immigrants. You wanted to escape bedlam and poverty in the old country, but you don’t think anyone else is good enough for the same self-improvement.

        rising illiteracy and innumeracy

        http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~The%20National%20Year%20of%20Reading:%20libraries%20helping%20to%20make%20Australia%20a%20nation%20of%20readers~206

        Huh. It appears Australia’s biggest illiteracy and innumeracy problems are among its older adults and immigrants, not its newest ones, and as such would be overall falling.

        Here, to help you out: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=rising+definition&l=1

        You’re simply being an alarmist, on paper, when demographics and statistics are looked at.

        Australia’s never been less ‘progressive’ than it is today, statistically, too. And while it’s a bit of an illiterate backwater of innumeracy, there’s no shame so long as it keeps trying to better itself. Like you did when you moved there.

      • Peter

        surely if China, Vietnam etc make stuff for us in the West using less carbon efficient methods of production the emissions are increased, especially when taking into account shipping which is a very ‘dirty’ way of moving stuff.
        tonyb

      • TonyB, the argument that forcing up costs of production through carbon taxes in developed countries and driving production offshore to less developed countries where growth is the imperative, therefore increasing CO2 and other emissions in the name of reducing them, has been made for many years. Unfortunately, rational thought has not prevailed, and it is true that we are exporting “pollution” (at great expense to the Australian and other economies) so that the Chief’s pissant progressives can feel virtuous; or alternatively, to advance their anti-Western, socialist, agendas. Or both.

      • Bart, you say that I “wanted to escape bedlam and poverty in the old country, but you don’t think anyone else is good enough for the same self-improvement.” I’m amazed how often posters at CE make assumptions about me then make strong statements for which they have no basis.

        I left work as an economist in Whitehall in 1972 to travel to India on what was in effect a spiritual search, although I didn’t think of it in those terms at the time. I practised Vipassana meditation with S N Goenka, a life-changing experience. For seven years, I was a “Dhamma bum,” doing meditation courses and organising and managing them. I spent about two years in and around India and travelled elsewhere, including several months in the US working with Vipassana teacher Ruth Denison. I did virtually no paid work in this time, I lived off my 1972 savings, had a much more frugal lifestyle. I put out a great deal of altruistic energy in doing voluntary Vipassana work, and found energy flowed back as food, places to stay, plane tickets …

        Vipassana was my focus, not UK “bedlam and poverty.” In mid-79, my Aussie girlfriend and I decided to travel: to Thailand to see Achaan Cha, to Australia to see her family, some of whom she (correctly) thought would not live long, then to India to sit with Goenka. I worked on a building site for a short time to raise money for the trip. I was 37, and, in the event, and to my and everyone’s surprise, we decided to buy some land from some Vipassana friends in Queensland and get married. Three months later I was thrown out of the country (I was on a tourist visa), I took the opportunity to spend two months with Achaan Cha, a month with Goenka and a month in Burma. Back in Australia, I continued my voluntary work alongside building labouring, before joining the government. For the record, I’ve been Chairman of Trustees of the first two purpose-built Vipassana centres outside India, one near Sydney and one north of Brisbane; I’ve been doing voluntray work for 40 years.

        So the motives you attribute to me are totally baseless.

        As it happens, my boss for five years in Canberra, Fred Argy, an Egyptian immigrant, a scholar and a gentleman and a department head, expressed concern to me about the economic impact of immigration. I said, “What’s this, Fred, pull up the gangplank, I’m on board?” He blushed deeply.

        I’m all for everyone’s self-improvement, I contribute to it through Vipassana work, in daily life and in the policies which I espouse.

      • Faustino | May 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm |

        .. I see no difference between my version of you, and your version. ;)

        I myself live in deep gratitude for multiple generations of my own family being welcome anew where we set our feet.

        All who travel are susceptible to the ‘pulled up the gangplank’ jibe, and most have very valid concerns about illegal immigration, disorderly immigration, the plight of the trafficked or the exploited, from deep concern not unkind petty jealousy to protect their foot of adopted ground so hard scrabbled for.

        However, it never hurts to check. My issue is with the facts of your claims, regarding the trends in Australia, which are not reflected in the statistics I was able to skim at first glance.

      • “back-to-the-’50s industrial relations laws, class warfare, rising illiteracy and innumeracy in school- leavers and uni graduates, deterioration in the conditions of non-urban Aborigines, high-cost water and energy, uncontrolled illegal immigration and academics like Lewandowski, and have attempted to overturn freedom of speech.” – faustino

        Delusional.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        http://www.socialist-alliance.org/page.php?page=182

        Just one of the headline items. Cannot be bothered with the rest but they are equally obvious. You are a total dickhead Michael.

    • Yes.
      The way to reduce emissions is to make us poor. Poor people emit less. This proces of promoting poverty isn’t a by product, or an unintended consequence. It is a deliberate policy. As anybody knows, there is immense ‘over-consumption’ in the west. We need to undergo a ‘drastic change in the way of life’. We need to revert to poverty, so the planet can be saved. Only poor people are virtuous.

      • A carbon tax isn’t unique in promoting poverty. Other taxes do it at least as well. So there is nothing especially wrong with a carbon tax.
        I would gladly accept a carbon tax, offset by a reduction in other taxes, eg. income tax.

        Most countries, especially in Europe, already have a very high gasoline (all fuels) tax. It produces a minuscule reduction in emissions.
        A tax cannot not produce significant reductions in emissions. Only radical technological innovation can acheive that goal. The much debated carbon tax is no ‘solution” to anything, but if alarmists want so badly, they can have it (provided it’s offset by reducing other taxes).

      • Correction:
        “A tax cannot produce significant reductions in emissions.

  74. New Theory on Cause of Tornadoes

    “Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones explained to his audience today how the government could have been behind the devastating May 20 tornado in Oklahoma.”

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/conspiracy-theorist-alex-jones-claims-govt-can-cause-and-guide-tornadoes-96529/

  75. Global warming? “Si, si, signor!”

    Stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia cycle race, to be held on Friday, has been cancelled because of heavy snow. The 139km stage from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello in the Dolomite mountains had already been re-routed on Thursday, given that the stage would take in the highest point of the race at 2,783m. And with windchill expected to drop to -20C, organisers have put safety first.

    The Giro, which ends on Sunday, has been hampered throughout by unseasonal bad weather. Stage 14’s route missed out the climb to Sestriere because it was considered too dangerous to descend in the ice, and an avalanche risk curtailed Stage 15’s climb up the Col du Galaibier. Several other stages have been hampered by torrential rain.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/22652522

    • Faustino doesn’t know about the atmospheric lapse rate, 6.5 degrees per 1000 meters in altitude cooling, often up to 10 degrees per 1000 meters, with many geographic peculiariities. They call it Mt Blanc for a reason.

      • David Springer

        Lapse rate varies generally decreasing with increasing latitude. It averages about 7C/km in the tropics and drops to 3C/km at the poles.

        Note the curve is almost frickin’ perfect sinusoidal with very little difference between NH and SH which says it’s all about solar power distribution and little else.

        Your point?

      • Webby, I do know that, and in the early to mid ’70s was quite often at altitudes of over 5,000 feet, up to about 13-14,000, including in Nepal. The Giro route would have been determined on the basis of past and expected weather at the the time of the race, the weather has in fact been far worse than could reasonably have been anticipated.

        Of course, I don’t think that one example of unusual weather tells us anything about climate trends, I merely throw this in as a counter to those who think that modest warming would be catastrophic. I was in the UK March-August 2007, and whenever global warming was mentioned, everyone responded “Yes, please!” TonyB will empathise. So, for Italy, I offer a jocular “Si, si, signor!”

  76. If businesses fold in Australia, jobs are lost. People without jobs don’t buy very much stuff. So even if that product is produced overseas, there is still a net loss in electricity consumption. So, there IS a net loss due to the carbon tax. Also, I’m betting some of the rate increase for electricity is due to building new conventional grid to connect solar and wind farms. That amount should be added to the carbon tax as the cost of the “green initiative.” Just wait until Australia starts building the dumb idea called the smart grid. Businesses will be falling faster than bats and eagles at a wind farm.

    • jim2, tax doesn’t make money disappear, although to the untrained eye or simple minded it may appear to disappear.
      For example, when I send money to IRS to pay my income tax, IRS does something else with it. Eventually, what was my money may go to creating a job in an industry such as defense or health care or for paying someone interest on his Treasury bond.

      So rather than disappearing, the money I pay in taxes just goes around and around and never stops. But suppose instead of spending my taxes, IRS just held on to the money. What would that do? By holding money out of circulation it would have a deflationary effect, which would be good in times of inflation, but not so good in times of deflation.

      • Max – you are in denial if you believe a carbon tax won’t make some businesses fail. Jobs will be lost. You don’t know the difference between money and value. The economy produces value – that comes from the private sector. Money is just the mode of exchange of value. Printing money does not create value, working people and companies in the private sector do that. I’m am aghast at the economic ignorance displayed by some on this blog.

      • jim2, of course a tax can cause a marginal business to fail, but you can’t deny money spent on taxes stays in circulation and creates a need for workers elsewhere.
        If you believe there’s a net loss, you haven’t explained it.

      • Haven’t explained it? Read my post above!

        I’m not advocating for no regulation or taxes whatsoever. What I am advocating is a mostly free market with something like a negative income tax. Something that does not require a lawyer to interpret which will prevent the criminalization of people who don’t understand thousands of pages of laws. Look up the Rule of Law and think about the implications. Read The Road to Serfdom.

      • jim2, are you referring to your following statement:

        “If businesses fold in Australia, jobs are lost. People without jobs don’t buy very much stuff. So even if that product is produced overseas, there is still a net loss in electricity consumption. So, there IS a net loss due to the carbon tax.”

        jim2, in that statement you say there is a net loss, but you don’t explain why. You ignore what happened to the tax that was collected and what it was used for. You seem to get half way through an analysis and stop.

      • Max – the fact that the government gives the tax to some special businesses and people does not prevent the loss of jobs. Those people without jobs may get some government money, but they will be much worse off. I am aware that the plan in Australia is to distribute the carbon tax to some specially selected businesses and individuals, but again, that does not replace lost jobs. And all the extra people needed by the government are just sucking up more tax payer money to shuffle the money around – a non-productive activity, but one that puts an even greater tax burden on the producers of value. There is nothing about this socialist scheme that is good for the serfs.

      • jim2, the Australian carbon tax receipts are supposed to be distributed as follows:

        50% to homeowners
        40% to businesses
        10% to investment in clean energy technology

        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/australia-taxed-carbon-and-the-sky-didnt-fall/article8354440/

        Spending creates a demand for workers, regardless of whether the spending is by the taxed or the recipients of the tax. A loss of demand for workers among the employers paying the carbon tax is offset by an increase in the demand for workers that results from the recipients of the carbon tax spending what they receive.

        It’s as simple as 1 – 1 + 1 = 1

      • Australia’s Unemployment Rate Jumps to Three-Year High: Economy
        By Michael Heath – Apr 10, 2013 10:31 PM CT

        Australia’s unemployment rate climbed in March to the highest level in more than three years, sending the local dollar and bond yields lower as traders added to bets the central bank will resume interest rate cuts.

        The jobless rate rose to 5.6 percent from 5.4 percent, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today, the highest since November 2009. That compares with the median estimate for unemployment to hold steady in a Bloomberg survey of 24 economists. The number of people employed fell by 36,100, almost five times more than economists forecast.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-11/australia-s-unemployment-rate-unexpectedly-rises-to-3-year-high.html

      • Jim, Max, Bart. Australian Treasury has tended in developing policy to estimate and target the NAIRU (Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment), which tends to be about 4.5%. Under the Howard government, employment was down to about 4.3%, from memory. That should be sustainable here, and could be lowered with flexible IR policies. For example, the minimum wage here is very high both compared to OECD averages and as a percentage of average wages. The critical step for an unemployed person is to get work – once you are in the workforce, and have even a short work record, it is much easier to get a better job. The high minimum wage deters employers from taking on marginal would-be employees, if they were free to offer to the unemployed the wage at which their employment might be viable, they’d be more likely to take them on. But they are also discouraged by laws protecting useless employees, they are so onerous that employers who legitimately fire someone but then face a wrongful dismissal claim tend to pay go-away money rather than fight the case – another big disincentive for small employers to take on marginal workers. Shopping, eating-out and entertainment are mainly weekend activities in Australia, the government has mandated that those required to work on Sundays get 250% of the standard wage, plus a 25% loading for casuals. Many businesses now close on Sundays, their best trading day, or have minimal staff. Etc, etc, with sensible policy the NAIRU could be under 4%.

        That said, monthly employment figures are very volatile, Jim, you can’t read much into monthly movements or consensus forecasts of them, you need to look at trends. You also need to look at participation rates, which have been falling, the unemployment figures understate the loss of jobs.

        Re the impact of taxes such as the so-called Carbon Tax, the impact tends to be highest on trade-exposed industries. Our wealth in general depends on our major trading industries such as mining, which now face construction and operating costs and taxation levels which make them non-competitive – about $A150 bn of new resource projects have been stalled or scrapped in recent months. Government jobs don’t create wealth, but growth in government jobs and wages has for years been far higher than in the wealth-creating sectors, imposing further costs on them. Average public sector wages and conditions are now significantly better than those on average in the private sector. The Rudd-Gillard governments have run massive deficits and forecast several further large deficits: yet they continue to introduce massive new social spending programs. All tax-funded programs have deadweight losses, many studies have shown that for every dollar taken in tax to fund a government program, there are about 80 cents in net benefits. Such deadweight losses have been accelerated by high-taxing, high spending policies. Ultimately, as the EU show, such policies are unsustainable and lead to lower growth in jobs and incomes.

      • Peter Lang

        Faustino @ May 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm,

        Excellent comment. Very informative. Puts all the most important issues together in one short comment.

        I’ve circulated it widely to my ‘Progressive’ mates, along with the bio of you I wrote for your comment I circulated yesterday.

      • Peter, thanks, perhaps Jim, Max and Bart missed my post.

      • Faustino | May 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

        I don’t live in, nor really pay much attention to, Australia.

        You do, so I can’t dispute your analyses, nor add much to it.

        It’s generally my approach to stick my nose out of other people’s business, where they have to live with the consequences of their decisions and I don’t.

        That said, on bare facts the statistics do not well match many of your claims. That ought be reconciled to make those comments that would require more than simple statistics to come to a full understanding of Australian economics worth taking the time to consider.

    • Beth Cooper

      Someone give Jim 2 plus i.

      • Beth Cooper

        with a dot on it (

      • I would give jim2 a 1/2 . He hasn’t completed his analysis. Maybe he tires easily or gets a mental block one-half way through the task.

      • Plus i?

        Plus the square root of -1?

        Jim2’s always made only imaginary sense.

        5.6% unemployment is only 40% above frictional unemployment. It’s a phenomenally low rate, in relative terms.

        The US rate has gone from 4.5% to 9.9% to 7.5% currently in under a decade. When you get up to 10%, come crying to America.

      • Complex numbers were a huge advance in mathematics. Mathematicians of old thought they held no “physicality” and they considered any equation or proof that resulted in one as “unphysical.” So, I’m good with being compared to imaginary numbers – it was quit an advance over the then-current thinking.

      • jim2, the most recent data show a decline in the Australian unemployment rate from 5.6 % in March to 5.5% in April, according to the linked WSJ report.

        In Western Australia, however, the report says the unemployment rate continued to rise “adding to evidence that the nation’s mining boom is fizzling and validating the central bank’s decision to cut interest rates to a record low.

        “Australian miners shed thousands of workers last year as projects were completed and others scrapped due to a plunge in commodity prices, an economic slowdown in China, and a persistently high Australian dollar that continues to hurt manufacturers and other exporters, according to the WSJ.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324744104578471793630202494.html

      • Max, you left out the government intervention:

        “The central bank has been trying to move the economy away from its heavy reliance on mining as companies like BHP Billiton Ltd. BHP.AU -1.49% wind down spending on exploration and construction to focus on the less labor-intensive work of producing and exporting raw materials to Asia.

        There is evidence the central bank’s strategy of cutting interest rates to a record low is beginning to aid that transition in the economy, with retail sales showing some improvement this year and house prices on the rise.

        “This rebalancing appears to be beginning, but inevitably there remains considerable uncertainty about how it will unfold,” the Reserve Bank said, adding: “The unemployment rate is expected to edge higher over the next year or so.””

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323744604578474140558550164.html

      • And speaking of the government in Australia, it is why the unemployment rate is so low. The public sector has grown like gang busters while the private sector barely moves a whit.

        http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/4/24/economy/cost-labor%E2%80%99s-contractor-carnage

      • Peter Lang

        Jim 2

        +100 ^100 for all your contributions

        Pity the wingnuts who criticise your contributions never contribute anything constructive or rational themselves.

    • When you lose businesses, you not only lose jobs, you lose the other taxes you love so much. Taxes are OK only to a certain point, after which they become a net destructive force.

  77. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    Speaking of energy, some of you have no doubt been following the saga of E-Cat. LENR is very controversial, but some recent independent tests are worth looking at:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.3913v2.pdf

    And a recent Forbes article on this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/markgibbs/2013/05/20/finally-independent-testing-of-rossis-e-cat-cold-fusion-device-maybe-the-world-will-change-after-all/

    These amazing claims require amazing proof and amazing skepticism, but what if…

    • This skeptic is amazed, but I doubt that man will ever use all of the energy in the universe, the hypothetical limit.
      =================

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        We’d have to fight other intelligent species for it if we wanted to try. ;)

      • Hey, we’re human, we fight.
        =========

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Yeah, who’s tougher than humans! We one bad group of mofo’s…

        We come, we see, we consume.

    • Gates,

      The lowest energy fusion process, tritium-deuterium, requires 50 million Kelvin to initiate. At 10,000 K you are already turning any chemical into plasma. In other words, NO chemical process can cause fusion. Period. So if you hold your breath for E-Cat, you will suffocate.

      • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist, etc.

        Tom,

        Did you read the new independent research? They are not talking here about a cold fusion reaction, but something different, what is being now called Low Energy Nuclear Reaction– which is not fusing atoms, but actually providing some sort of novel process of stripping away electrons.
        Don’t get me wrong– I am high skeptical this is all real– but I am not discounting the remote chance it might be real, and this latest independent research keeps me with one eye looking over the fence at what Rossi may have stumbled on to.

      • R. Gates,
        The article quoted says that hydrogen, nickel power, “plus some additives” were heated in a tube. I didn’t immediately see what the additives were in scanning the article. I have worked with metal hydrides all my professional life and there is no way this system is going to generate large amounts of energy from unknown sources. Perhaps they have added some “catalytic” metal and the excess heat is that of solution of one metal hydride in another? I can’t even speculate without knowing what the additives are. In any event, there is no process that will affect the nucleus at these temperatures. Sorry.

        It was fun to watch the Pons and Fleischmann fiasco unfold years ago. Anyone who knew the basics of transition metal chemistry and nuclear chemistry knew it was wrong, but then, as now, it had to play out experimentally.

      • R. Gates,
        I just read the Forbes site. They call it cold fusion. It’s interesting to note there is 1) no mention of the additives, 2) no mention of identity of the materials remaining at the end of the test, and 3) no mention of the state of the steel tube in which the reaction was run after the reaction (was it a reactant?).

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        The “additive” or catalyst seems to be the core trade secret that Rossi is protecting. Everything else is pretty straight forward. But Rossi himself is shying away from calling this “cold fusion”. A “low energy nuclear reaction” is the phrase of choice. No atoms are being fused, but they are being altered or transmuted. Nickel to copper, hydrogen to deuterium… at least, that’s what is being suggested. The catalyst to do this would be the new magical alchemists potion, and only Rossi and a few of his staff know what it is, but he was not in the room when the independent tests were run. Hence, my extreme interest and equally extreme skepticism. Here’s a great site that discusses this from a skeptical viewpoint:

        http://nickelpower.org/page-2/

        Even if this turns out to be a hoax, it will be one of the biggest hoax’s of history, and a great chance to study how hoaxes can be perpetuated this long.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        And for those intrigued by the nickel to copper “transmutation”, here’s an interesting paper worth a glance:

        http://www.fondazionefrisone.it/eventi/catania07/DufourJsynthesisofac.pdf

      • R. Gates,
        Maybe the “additive” is a neutron source? I’m not familiar with the activation physics of Ni.

        In any event, as with Pons and Fleischmann, time will tell.

    • David Springer

      In addition to fighting other intelligent species you forgot to mention unicorns. They’re not intelligent but one imagines the horn is pretty darn sharp and as far as I know they cannot be killed or even disabled so it’s really a hopeless situation.

    • David Springer

      The hoax doesn’t seem very elaborate. Power consumed 150kWh power produced 190kWh. So we have about a 20% anomaly. Power density is bogus. They don’t weigh the device under test itself (how convenient) but rather a device which Rossi asserts is identical. Moreover they don’t use the significant weight of the device but rather just the tiny fraction of its total ostensibly taken up by the reaction powder. This is stagecraft pure and simple. The tell is not allowing anyone to inspect the gadget close up just as a magician that saws a woman in half won’t let anyone inspect the enclosure and the saw.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        You might be right, but Rossi is now “fooling” more and more trained PhD physicists, which makes him a magician of incredible talents if this is a hoax. Either way, this is a more interesting episode in the history of science.

      • There’s always the possibility that he’s got something that’s outside the current paradigm but not nuclear power. Whether or not he knows about it.

      • David Springer

        I suspect those trained physicists are not so much fooled as they are purchased.

        Archive dot org is pretty frickin’ far from a peer reviewed journal by the way. It’s more a haven for fringe science. A place where you can run something up the flagpole and see who salutes it, so to speak. It’s a step up from Principia Scientific but not a very big step.

      • David Springer

        http://news.newenergytimes.net/2013/05/21/rossi-manipulates-academics-to-create-illusion-of-independent-test/

        Rossi Manipulates Academics to Create Illusion of Independent Test

        May 21, 2013 – By Steven B. Krivit –

        On May 16, Hanno Essén, a theoretical physicist and lecturer at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, submitted a paper to arXiv, the physics pre-print server, and claimed that he and several co-authors performed an independent test of an E-Cat device that was built by Andrea Rossi. Essén submitted a revised version of the paper on May 20.

        The authors of the paper did not perform an independent test; instead, they were participants in another Rossi demonstration and performed measurements on one of Rossi’s devices in his facility.

        New Energy Times stopped counting the Rossi demonstrations after the 13th one on Feb. 12, 2012. (See Andrea Rossi Energy Catalyzer Master Timeline.)

        The authors of the paper lack full knowledge of the type and preparation of the materials used in the reactor and the modulation of input power, which, according to the paper, were industrial trade secrets.

        The authors didn’t perform any calorimetry and used a method to measure temperature to extrapolate output power that neither they nor anyone in the field of low-energy nuclear reaction research has ever used to analyze for heat power or energy.

        In response to a question from New Energy Times about whether he had full knowledge of how to perform and operate the experiment, Essén effectively confirmed that he had not replicated the experiment.

        “No, but I am sure that I could repeat it with some effort,” Essén wrote.

        Essén is the former chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Association, and his co-authors are Giuseppe Levi (University of Bologna), Evelyn Foschi (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics-Bologna), and Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson and Lars Tegnér (Uppsala University).

        Andrea Rossi is a convicted white-collar criminal with a string of failed energy ventures. (Report #5: Rossi’s Profitable Career in Science) His most notorious endeavor was his effort between 1970 and 1990 to turn industrial waste into fuel. Rossi’s company produced only toxic waste and environmental damage to the land and groundwater in the Milan, Italy, area. (Rossi’s Italian Financial and Environmental Criminal History)

        New Energy Times questioned Essén about the March 18-23, 2013, experiment that was, according to the paper, carried out by Essén and his co-authors.

        SBK: In whose building/premises was the experiment performed?
        HE: In Rossi’s facilities in Ferrara.

        SBK: Who built or constructed the reactor?
        HE: Rossi.

        SBK: Who set up the experiment?
        HE: Giuseppe Levi and Evelyn Foschi – within the constraints set by Rossi.

        SBK: Who purchased or acquired the materials used in the reactor?
        HE: Rossi.

        SBK: Do you have full knowledge of the type and preparation of the materials used in the reactor?
        HE: No.

        SBK: Do you have full knowledge of how to perform and operate the experiment?
        HE: No, but I am sure that I could repeat it with some effort.

        SBK: Who acquired or supplied the instrumentation?
        HE: Giuseppe Levi mainly, with some input from the Uppsala group.

        SBK: Who tested and/or calibrated the instrumentation?
        HE: Levi and Foschi did the main work, but several cross-checks were done by the rest of the participants. The temperature measurement cameras were checked on boiling water. The electric measurements were checked with standard resistors.

        SBK: At any time during the 116 hours of the experiment was Rossi at any of the controls?
        HE: Not that I recall. He showed us his ongoing projects in general but did not participate in the measurements.

        SBK: Do you know of any other experiment performed in this field in which infrared measurements were made not just to acquire temperature readings but also to analyze for total heat enthalpy?
        HE: No.

        SBK: Do you know of any other experiment performed outside this field in which infrared measurements were made not just to obtain temperature readings but also to analyze for total heat enthalpy?
        HE: No.

        SBK: Is there any reason you did not use either mass-flow calorimetry or envelope calorimetry to analyze for total heat enthalpy?
        HE: Yes, practical reasons. The current setup made it difficult. (Practical reasons determined by the reactor, its placement, and the available equipment.)

        SBK: Who paid for the travel expenses of the Swedish participants in the test?
        HE: All travel and living expenses were paid by Swedish and Bologna university sources.

    • Matthew R Marler

      R. Gates: Speaking of energy, some of you have no doubt been following the saga of E-Cat.

      Yeh, I have been following the story for a couple years now. Every 6 months there is another announcement that 6 months hence there will be a really, really, really convincing new demo. There are a lot of misrepresentations of what the demos to date have shown, and a lot of misquotations of what prominent scientists have actually said and written.

      It’s probably worth a few minutes of reading time every half year to find out how they have yet again not done the few simple things that would unambiguously show that the devices work.

    • Just one last comment. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of updating the “E-Cat” fiasco under the title “Energy Catalyzer.” There is no doubt in my mind that it is a fraud, so I won’t waste any more time with it.

  78. Just for the one not already aware… bigger than climategate leaks… (a very very slow leak… slower than climategate leak in France).
    the match will be 0-0…

    not really a news and not yet finished paper…

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913

    but given the news I have since 2011, it is only a question of time and engineering…
    the third company with a 3rd party report, yet other are less formal..

    oil,gas, renewable, nuke, geothermal are dead on mid-term… as expected since 2012 events… climate fear too.

    Judith, you should go to Uni missouri July 21-27, 2013
    for laymen, I imagine that NIWeek in Austin (Tx) August 5th through the 8th. with defkalion demo should be more funny.

    You will be able to take vacation in few years…
    Thanks for your articles on black swan, no regret measures. you got it. too bad nobody followed you.
    Forecast are always wrong. procrastination is an instinctive rational attitude to avoid wasting time and resources trying to avoid whiteswan.

    best regards.

  79. On Ford Australia’s closure, I have this letter in today’s Australian:

    “It has been clear for more than 30 years that the Australian market could support no more than two viable car-makers. Government policies of border protection and subsidies prevented rationalisation of the industry, which continued to use resources which could have been put to better use elsewhere, and to pay unrealistic wages which other industries had to match. Without intervention, we might now have two thriving, competitive car firms.

    “The best policies are those which acknowledge change is inevitable rather than seeking to deny it – let’s hope that this lesson might finally be learned.”

    The last sentence is, of course, also applicable to global warming/climate change policy.

  80. The pros and cons of nuclear power are often canvassed on CE. Reliability of baseload supply is often claimed. This Daily Telegraph story shows a downside – plants closed by seaweed and jellyfish! Half of the UK capacity offline:

    Britain currently has nine reactors offline with a combined capacity of more than 5,000 MW, or around half of the country’s total nuclear capacity. “Around 11.30 on Thursday May 23, Unit 2 at Torness power station came offline due to increased seaweed levels as a result of the severe weather and sea conditions in the area,” EDF said. “This was followed by a decision to take Unit 1 offline just after 3 am today …when it was clear that the seaweed levels weren’t reducing.”

    According to a regulatory update on EDF’s website, the 640-MW reactor 1 will be off line until June 7 while 640-MW reactor 2 is not expected to supply the grid until May 28. EDF said staff are trained to deal with high seaweed levels resulting from weather conditions in the Forth Estuary. The Torness plant was forced to shut down in 2011 after large numbers of jellyfish were found in the sea water entering the plant.

    Data from power company Exelon showed that nuclear generation was just 10pc of Britain’s total power output on Friday. Day-ahead British baseload electricity was up £1.25 to £52.67 per megawatt-hour.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10079449/EDF-blames-seaweed-after-halting-nuclear-reactors.html

    • Peter Lang

      [Previously posted wrong place (sorry again)]

      Faustino,

      The pros and cons of nuclear power are often canvassed on CE. Reliability of baseload supply is often claimed. This Daily Telegraph story shows a downside – plants closed by seaweed and jellyfish! Half of the UK capacity offline:

      Anti-nukes love this sort of out-of-context-stories. The context that should have been provided is that all technologies have planned and unplanned outages for one reason or another. The outage time is measured in terms of plant availability and capacity factor. The fact is that nuclear has the highest capacity factor of any technology. The entire US nuclear fleet, with some plants over 40 years old, has been running at an average capacity factor of over 90% for decades.

      To try to attribute the 50% outages in UK to seaweed and jelly fish is a bit rich, I’d suspect. This is the time of year when demand is low and plants are taken off line for regular maintenance and refuelling.

      Designs of all parts of a system are based on cost-benefit analysis. They could have designed seaweed and jelly fish proof cooling water intakes, or air cooled, or ponded the water for cooling water intakes but it would have cost more. They would have assessed the outage time to be small over the 40 year design life of the plant. So would have decided the additional cost (and therefore increase in cost of electricity for the full life of the plant) was not worth it for the few times it would happen.

      This is a typical anti-nuke story you have picked up here, Faustino. Not up to your usual standard of care and diligence and objectivity.

      • David Springer

        One wonders what the cost-benefit analysis was for Fukushima having diesel generator backup power for coolant pumps located in underground basements subject to flooding in an area notorious for major earthquakes and tsunamis.

        The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

        Write that down.

      • Every time I try, David, it comes out ‘gang aft CAGWly’.
        ================

  81. Peter Lang

    Faustino,

    The pros and cons of nuclear power are often canvassed on CE. Reliability of baseload supply is often claimed. This Daily Telegraph story shows a downside – plants closed by seaweed and jellyfish! Half of the UK capacity offline:

    Anti-nukes love this sort of out-of-context-stories. The context that should have been provided is that all technologies have planned and unplanned outages for one reason or another. The outage time is measured in terms of plant availability and capacity factor. The fact is that nuclear has the highest capacity factor of any technology. The entire US nuclear fleet, with some plants over 40 years old, has been running at an average capacity factor of over 90% for decades.

    To try to attribute the 50% outages in UK to seaweed and jelly fish is a bit rich, I’d suspect. This is the time of year when demand is low and plants are taken off line for regular maintenance and refuelling.

    Designs of all parts of a system are based on cost-benefit analysis. They could have designed seaweed and jelly fish proof cooling water intakes, or air cooled, or ponded the water for cooling water intakes but it would have cost more. They would have assessed the outage time to be small over the 40 year design life of the plant. So would have decided the additional cost (and therefore increase in cost of electricity for the full life of the plant) was not worth it for the few times it would happen.

    This is a typical anti-nuke story you have picked up here, Faustino. Not up to your usual standard of care and diligence and objectivity.

    • Peter, I bow my head in shame. As someone who thinks that Australia should long ago have introduced a regulatory and planning regime which facilitated the introduction of commercial nuclear power, I thought it fair to flag a story showing problems which would never have occurred to me (and might not be widespread).

      • Don’t feel bad, Faustino. Your comments have excelled lately. You’ve just had a Kevin Pietersen moment.

      • Harsh, so harsh, mosoharsh even!

      • Peter Lang

        Mosomo,

        I agree 100% with your comment. Faustino’s comments are fantastic. I didn’t mean to be rude to Faustino. I was really writing for the benefit of others, not to attack Faustino, whose contributions to CE are the most valuable contributions to policy discussion on CE, IMO, (along with others, including Latimer Alder and Manacker, Jim2 and more …,)

      • Peter Lang

        Faustino,

        Harsh, so harsh, mosoharsh even!

        You didn’t really take offence did you? I certainly hope not. If you did, I sincerely appologise.

      • Peter, that referred to the Kevin Pietersen comment – mosomoso and I have a private thread running here.

      • Yes, Peter, don’t feel too much compassion for Faustino. He’s torn between the playing fields of Eaton and the Road to Mandaly – while exiled in Botany Bay. But he has his hired Voortrekker to send against us Irish lags.

      • moso, I do hope to return to Mandalay one day, I met some wonderful people there. Missed Crosby & Hope though. As for Eton, I started school in a church hall then moved to an old army barracks. I’m not one of Cameron’s chums.

      • I see. Thank you. I’ve got all that now.

    • From your link, Bart:

      “Climate change resulting from an increase in average temperatures is a long-term problem with global causes and consequences, including effects on humans and ecosystems. Significantly limiting the extent of future warming would require a concerted effort by countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases. Nonetheless, U.S. efforts to decrease emissions would produce incremental benefits, in the form of incremental reductions in the expected damage from climate change. ”

      The bottom line is that a US carbon tax will inflict pain on the US economy, but have no effect climate-wise. China and India would still be building more coal plants every week. A US carbon tax is a dumb idea, Bart.

      • jim2 | May 25, 2013 at 9:21 am |

        You have surprisingly little faith in the USA, and in Capitalism.

        A revenue neutral carbon tax reduces government. It reduces government interference in Market decisions. It reduces tax.

        I get that you’re not very good at following the hard math, but maybe if you get Ross McKitrick to explain it to you, you’ll understand it better. Since he based his PhD thesis on a version of this tax.

      • Bart R;
        I understand “faith in the USA” as patriotic concept, but I don’t get “faith in capitalism.” Capitalism is the best system we have, but it goes off the rails very easily (e.g, tendency toward monopoly, tendency for corporations to merge with the government toward corporatocracy, etc.). I have no more faith in capitalism than I do in the basic goodness of human nature.

  82. Max_OK – the public sector in Australia is currently growing faster and that is adding more to employment than the private sector. I feel sorry for the Australians that they have to go through the pain of a carbon tax, but it does give the US a real case study of a draconian form of the tax. IMO, we in the US should wait a couple of more years before we implement any kind of carbon tax or other carbon penalty to see how it plays out in Australia. As noted above in this link, the pain has been palpable.

    http://www.echonews.com.au/news/what-2013-federal-budget-promises-you/1867923/

    It will take time for the Oz carbon tax to inflict maximum pain to the economy. So the US should wait and watch.

  83. The carbon tax is so unpopular in Australia, it might unseat Gillard. She sprung the carbon tax on Australia without a mandate from the public and US pols should take note. The carbon tax is no longer theoretical there and the people are now feeling the direct effects. Interesting times in Australia.

    “Fourth was the scare campaign that Abbott himself has conducted against Gillard’s carbon tax. It was fierce and full of falsehoods, and it was highly effective against Gillard. Now she is on the verge of being out of a job.

    And who could forget that Abbott plans to repeal the carbon tax? If he is able to win outright control of the Senate – and the polls are suggesting that this is a distinct possibility – he should be able to do so according to plan.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/taming-the-naked-ambition-20130524-2k6ns.html#ixzz2UJLIxDiD

  84. Businesses in Australia won’t be making up stories about the effect of the carbon tax on them.

    “If you make unfounded or misleading claims that your business is increasing prices because of the carbon tax, you may be subject to investigation, fines, legal action or court-imposed penalties of up to $1.1 million for serious breaches.”

    http://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/running/environment/carbon-price-small-business/making-claims-about-carbon-tax-price-increases

  85. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  86. Peter Lang

    Below are a series of quotes in today’s GWPF newsletter titled:
    Green Energy Clawback: Green Subsidy Farmers Face Tax On Solar Panels

    Australia’s one million rooftop solar households could be forced to pay new fixed charges to help recover billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies and make electricity prices fairer for all consumers. A series of electricity industry reports has highlighted the inequity in existing power pricing where customers without solar panels are unfairly subsidising those with them. –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 25 May 2013

    Belgian companies managing the country’s electricity and natural gas distribution grids (GRD), including Ores and Tecteo, are asking for a tax on solar panels from October 1, to ensure that owners contribute to using the network. GRD firms intend to submit a request for the introduction of a levy to CREG, the federal regulator of the gas and electricity market, by the end of May. –Ulrika Lomas, Tax News, 17 May 2013

    The Greek Environment and Energy Ministry is planning to impose an extraordinary levy on photovoltaic systems on rooftops used for the production of electricity as a result of pressure from the country’s international creditors to bring the electricity market’s deficit down to zero by 2014. –Chryssa Liaggou, Ekathimerini, 18 April 2013

    Mariano Rajoy’s pledge to tax utilities and power consumers signals Spain is planning to raise cash from renewable energy for the first time, a blow to an industry already struggling with subsidy cuts. The prime minister told Parliament yesterday he’d impose a levy to spread the expense of closing a gap between costs and revenue in the country’s electricity business, which has racked up debts of 25 billion euros ($31 billion). –Marc Roca, Bloomberg 12 July 2012

    Europe’s stratospheric energy prices and economic doldrums are forcing a basic rethink of energy policies. We hear so much about how green energy is good for the economy. It’s interesting that Europe, the citadel of global greenery, is thinking of throwing in the towel. –Walter Russell Mead, Via Meadia, 23 May 2013

    As the U.S. economy lumbers through a slow recovery, Americans can take comfort that they are not Europeans. EU leaders from 27 countries met in Brussels this week to discuss energy policy, and the chart that had everyone buzzing had three simple jagged lines. It showed EU electricity prices since 2005 had skyrocketed, while Japan’s climbed moderately, and prices in the U.S. plunged sharply. “Stuck in the doldrums, the European economy has lost nearly all momentum, with growth hard to come by and rising energy costs a real concern,” Agence France Presse reported this week. –Eric Schulzke, Deseret News, 24 May 2013

    The European Union is quietly taking steps to shred the ‘green agenda’ responsible for rocketing energy bills across the continent. It is now urging members to restore Europe’s competitiveness by ‘fracking’ for cheap natural gas from shale, instead of pushing ‘renewable’ energy subsidies which cost consumers billions of pounds. The policy shift was unveiled last week at a Brussels summit attended by David Cameron. It comes as MPs prepare to debate the final stages of the Energy Bill when Parliament returns after its Whitsun recess. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 26 May 2013

    Almost wholly unnoticed by the British media, there were signs last week of a mighty earthquake beginning to take place in the EU’s energy policy. For 20 years, as we know, this has been hijacked by the EU’s fixation with climate change. But at Wednesday’s meeting of the European Council, there were, at last, indications that many countries now recognise that the EU’s bid to lead the world in “de-carbonising” is leading the European economy towards meltdown. What happened last week could prove to be a unique example in the EU’s history of it recognising that it has made such a catastrophic blunder that its policy must change. But so boring do we consider pretty well anything the EU does that almost nobody in Britain – apart from the admirable Global Warming Policy Foundation – seems to have noticed. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 26 May 2013