Social cost of carbon

by Judith Curry

The debate on the social cost of carbon is heating up.

White House

The White House has recently issued a Technical Support Document on the Social Cost of Carbon [link].   Excerpts from the Executive Summary:

The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global emissions. The SCC is an estimate of the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. It is intended to include (but is not limited to) changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services due to climate change. 

The SCC estimates using the updated versions of the models are higher than those reported in the 2010 TSD. By way of comparison, the four 2020 SCC estimates reported in the 2010 TSD were $7, $26, $42 and $81 (2007$). The corresponding four updated SCC estimates for 2020 are $12, $43, $65, and $129 (2007$). The model updates that are relevant to the SCC estimates include: an explicit representation of sea level rise damages in the DICE and PAGE models; updated adaptation assumptions, revisions to ensure damages are constrained by GDP, updated regional scaling of damages, and a revised treatment of potentially abrupt shifts in climate damages in the PAGE model; an updated carbon cycle in the DICE model; and updated damage functions for sea level rise impacts, the agricultural sector, and reduced space heating requirements, as well as changes to the transient response of temperature to the buildup of GHG concentrations and the inclusion of indirect effects of methane emissions in the FUND model. 

The Hill

The controversy surrounding this issue is reported today in a post by The Hill.  Excerpts:

The White House will seek new public comment on the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), a metric that helps regulators estimate the benefits of rules that cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) decision arrives amid criticism from industry groups and Republicans who say the Obama administration’s May 2013 upward revision of the SCC earlier lacked public input.

The “social cost of carbon” has lately been a flashpoint in wider political and lobbying battles over White House’s climate change policy, especially planned Environmental Protection Agency carbon standards for power plants.

Howard Shelanski, the top White House regulatory official, said in a blog post late Friday afternoon that the administration was making new changes to the estimate, and would launch a public comment period “in response to public and stakeholder interest.”

Business groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, have been challenging the revised estimate on various fronts.

In addition, the GOP-led House recently passed a bill that would prevent the EPA from using the metric in major energy rules.

Background info

The Yale Forum on Climate Change has a good post SCC – Social Costs of Carbon: Continuing a little told story.  This article provides a lot of good background information.

Another good background post is at CSIS.

Opposing view points

The SPPI takes a different approach to this issue, looking at The Positive Externalities of CO2.  Excerpt:

It is clear from the material presented in this report that the modern rise in the air’s CO2 content is providing a tremendous economic benefit to global crop production. 
.
The very real positive externality of inadvertent atmospheric CO2 enrichment must be considered in all studies examining the SCC; and its observationally-deduced effects must be given premier weighting over the speculative negative externalities presumed to occur in computer model projections of global warming. Until that time, little if any weight should be placed on current SCC calculations.
.
Another contrary view is provided by Media Matters WSJ Contradicts Experts on Social Cost of Carbon.  Punchline:
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WSJ Editorial Suggests There Should Be No Social Cost Of Carbon. In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal criticized the Obama administration for raising the social cost of carbon, or the estimate of the damages caused by emitting a ton of carbon dioxide in one year, which is used by regulatory agencies to calculate the benefit of reducing carbon emissions.The Journal suggested that the social cost of carbon should be $0, approvingly citing the previous lack of a social cost for carbon, adding that “Congress has never legislated that there are social costs to carbon emissions” and claiming that assigning such as cost is an “inventio[n]” to “ri[g] the rule-making”:
.

JC comment:  The bottom line seems to be that SCC is being established as a surrogate for a National Carbon Tax.  My reaction to all this is that it seems like the uncertainty in SCC is  colossal, I am not convinced that we should even have confidence in the sign of the SCC in light of the SPPI and WSJ analyses.  And the White House is presenting values of SCC with two significant figures?  Uncertain T. Monster is not pleased.  There has been no attempt to propagate uncertainty through the FUND, DICE and PAGE models, not to mention whatever front end assumptions about carbon and climate are being used as inputs.

And even if we did have confidence in the SCC numbers, the policies evolving around the SCC seem quite convoluted and who knows how they would even play out at achieving the larger policy objectives.

And finally, I return to the issues raised in the preceding post, 20 tips for interpreting scientific claims.  Some commenters seemed to think this was pretty much kindergarten stuff and of course policy makers (or their staffers) understand this stuff.  Well anyone taking seriously the White House’s SCC numbers  needs to go back to kindergarten and pay attention to the 20 tips.

In light of the importance of SCC to U.S. climate/energy policy, it seems that much more attention needs to be paid to this issue.

354 responses to “Social cost of carbon

  1. Judith,

    No matter the outcome or advice, the governments mind is made up…And they NEVER make a mistake.

    • “However, the real problem isn’t questionable or fake science, hysterical claims and worthless computer models that predict global warming disasters. It’s that they’re being used to justify telling Africans that we shouldn’t build coal or natural gas electrical power plants. It’s the almost total absence of electricity keeping us from creating jobs and becoming modern societies. It’s that these policies KILL… Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished.” (Fiona Kobusingye, Africa’s real climate crisis)

    • Walter Carlson

      Judith…the ‘social costs of carbon’ does somewhat confuse the AGW problem. However, it does inspire the fossil fuel segment of our economy to show themselves and who they are paying to represent them. And, why shouldn’t they, since miners, roughnecks, and the rich CEOs would lose their source of income as power generation and autos become more ‘green’.

      However, whether you agree with AGW , or not, the move to more ‘green’ fuels, just as the Clean Air Act reduced contaminants, will make our environment cleaner and the air we breathe healthier !!

      • Walter

        It surely comes down to the realistic time scale whereby we can move to the renewable alternatives at an affordable price.

        At present, as we are finding in Britain, they are hugely expensive and unreliable and unfortunately we, like many countries, are not choosing the right horse for our particular course.

        It is lunacy in a country that 2000 Years ago Tacitus recognised as being cloudy, to expand solar farms in Britain so aggressively. This is even more nonsensical when you consider we have the greatest potential energy source -the ocean-completely surrounding us which makes nowhere in Britain further than 70 miles from the sea.

        tonyb

      • Walter

        Your conclusion–
        “However, whether you agree with AGW , or not, the move to more ‘green’ fuels, just as the Clean Air Act reduced contaminants, will make our environment cleaner and the air we breathe healthier”

        Seems unsupportable. 1st who is the “we” you are referencing? Is it a nation or the overall population of the planet? Since you do not know what will happen to the climate at any particular location, or region you have no reliable means of says the situation will be better or worse

      • Walter Carlson

        Climatereason…so you are British. Has Britain passed laws to assure drinking water and air are contaminant-free?? The US did this in the 1970s, and those of us who spent our careers working for clean water and air surely want to see our efforts continue!! Removing coal contaminants is another step forward. And, taken as a whole, the sources of increasing CO2, are seen by most climatologists as a contamint directly causing AGW, whether you agree or not. I, personally, have seen nothing to dissuade me from believing that the continued emission, worldwide, will result in continued warming of our one and only home planet.

        Rob Starkey…what is unsustainable, IMHO, is continued mining and burning of coal by the dozens of cubic miles, as has happened over the past century, concurrent with production of billions of barrels of petroleum.

        While you contemplate this, consider the ‘tetraethyl lead’ that was mixed into gasoline for decades!! Until scientists found it in children’s blood. Then EPA required it be removed. So, the petroleum companies came up with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which we now know is carcinogenic AND in most surface waters.

        My point is that only by replacing CO2 sources with non-contaminating energy sources can we have a sustainable living environment!!

      • Please get over CO2 ‘contaminating’. Plants scowl.
        ==================

      • Walter Carlson

        kim….thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement. Scientists have determined that the atmosphere receives 8 petagrams of CO2 per year, but can only use 2.6 petagrams. What will use the remaining 54 petagrams ???

      • Maybe you can put it in a pentagram.

      • Scientists have determined that the atmosphere receives 8 petagrams of CO2 per year, but can only use 2.6 petagrams

        Quoting from a really bad RC post gives a disservice to the numbers,however they are only using the terrestrial sink,the ocean biosphere is around equal,with the remainder being the airborne fraction ( Which has exhibited step like changes in the last 20yrs)

        Here it is not only the FF emissions,but the reduction by land use changes of the sink potential.

    • The irreversible thermodynamics of OLR causes the planet to maximise atmospheric CO2 concentration.

      The purpose is to minimise the rate of radiation entropy production as the planet converts solar SW to IR radiation.

      The lifeforms that do this, including ourselves, evolve to fulfil that overarching thermodynamic requirement.

      There is no warming of the atmosphere from this extra CO2. If there was, we would have evolved differently. The CO2 minimises temperature variation thus allowing animals and plants to grow together in symbiosis with CO2 the mediator.

      So stop this blasted obsession with CO2. It poses no danger.

  2. Thanks Judith. Excellent subject to discuss.

    • My reaction to all this is that it seems like the uncertainty in SCC is colossal, I am not convinced that we should even have confidence in the sign of the SCC in light of the SPPI analysis.

      Robert S. Pindyck Climate change policy: what do the models tell us” seems to support that statement:

      http://www.globalwarming.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Pindyk-Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us.pdf

      [H/T to Howard for posting the link to this paper a few days ago.]

      • CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY:
        WHAT DO THE MODELS TELL US?

        IN THE CONCLUSION:

        My criticism of IAMs should not be taken to imply that because we know so little, nothing should be done about climate change right now, and instead we should wait until we learn more. Quite the contrary. One can think of a GHG abatement policy as a form of insurance: society would be paying for a guarantee that a low-probability catastrophe will not occur (or is less likely). Some have argued that on precautionary grounds, there is a case for taking the Interagency Working Group’s $21 (or updated $33) number as a rough and politically acceptable starting point and imposing a carbon tax (or equivalent policy) of that 16 amount.20 This would help to establish that there is a social cost of carbon, and that social cost must be internalized in the prices that consumers and firms pay. (Yes, most economists already understand this, but politicians and the public are a different matter.) Later, as we learn more about the true size of the SCC, the carbon tax could be increased or decreased accordingly.

        The $33 could be right, the $21 could be right, $0 could be right or minus $21 or $31 or $100 or $1000 could be right.

        Don’t do anything stupid before we know what is right.

        Precautionary actions that may have grave adverse results should never be taken without data that proves the benefits will be more than the possible losses.

        We do not know that the proposed actions are needed.
        We do not know that the proposed actions will have any positive results.

        We do know the proposed actions will have adverse results with energy production and the economy.

        Don’t do anything stupid before we know what is right.

        Don’t do anything stupid before we know what is right.

      • HAM,

        I agree with “dont do anything stupid”

        Australia already did something stupid and is now trying to unwind it. We imposed a carbon tax followed by an ETS. According to Treasury’s analyses it would incur a net cost of about 1 year of GDP in total to 2050. That is equivalent to every one giving up one year of average earnings. People who are earning have to pay they share of those who are not. So, if earners are make up half the population, they have to give up about two years of their earnings overt the period to 2050. That is the size of the “stupid” policy Australia;s last government imposed on us. And it seems to be what the Obama administration via the EPA is trying to get through the back door on the USA.

        Think of it this way, a $25.tonne CO2 price in Australia is equivalent to about two years total loss of earnings, for each worker, over 38 years.

    • Woops. I feeling a bit embarrassed by my comment @ November 22, 2013 at 12:09 since I see Richard Tol is posting on this thread. So I’d better explain it a bit better.

      Australian Treasury estimated the net cost of the ETS at $1,345 billion cumulative to 2050 in 2010 A$. That’s roughly equivalent to 1 year of GDP when the ETS began. Assume average population between 2011 and 2050 is 27 million. Therefore, the net cost is $50,000 per person in 2010 $. If we assume half the population are earners, then the cost is $100,000 per earner.

      Real net disposal income was $49,000 per capita in 2011. Therefore, based on the Treasury estimates, the ETS would cost roughly the equivalent of one year of lost income per person or two years of lost income per earner.

      To put this in perspective, consider continuing to work but giving away all you earn for two years. That is what the Australian ETS would cost if it is not repealed.

      However, it would be much worse than that because the analyses are based on assumptions that are optimistic and almost certainly will not be achieved. Inevitable, the costs to achieve the target emissions reductions would be much higher and the benefits would not be delivered (because it is highly unlikely the world will agree to a global carbon price). For more see here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/08/why-the-ets-will-not-succeed-peter-lang/

      [The above includes a quote from Richard Tol, which I hope I have not verballed or misrepresented in any way, but would like to correct it if I have made any serious error].

  3. And even if we did have confidence in the SCC numbers, the policies evolving around the SCC seem quite convoluted and who knows how they would even play out at achieving the larger policy objectives.

    Of course SCC is a very difficult calculation.

    A lot of smart people have spent a lot of serious time trying to determine SCC, as best they can.

    So what would you do differently? Your post doesn’t say — you just seem to want to dismiss the current number. That’s not an answer.

    • I want uncertainty estimates.

      • I have no opinion on the estimates, but in the document they have Figure 1 where the quoted numbers are average costs with a spread of values including those of a different sign. And there are other Tables describing the distributions further. So, could you clarify what you are looking for?

      • RB, I do not think you’re right. The only uncertainty I can see there is a range of discount rates. It does not take into account the fact that there is essentially no agreement how much damage there will be in the first place. Nordhaus made a model and these just plug into it. How uncertain are his estimates? Does even Nordhaus have a clue?

      • Hi miker613,
        I think you probably haven’t looked at the govt supplied document and the relevant Figure either.

      • RB, I did so look at it. Maybe you’re seeing something there I don’t see. Or you may be assuming that because they have a big complicated model written by a well-known economist, that that will give them a complete picture of the uncertainties. I think that most economists understand, even if laymen don’t, that economists are very far from being able to predict the full range of what might happen, or how likely it is. Climate modelers are in the same position.
        In truth, I don’t really agree with Judith Curry’s request: Uncertainty estimates are not available.

      • Miker613,

        I agree that “uncertainty estimates are not available.”

        I don’t think they can be available. I don’t think we have any idea of what would be the benefits or damages of global warming. Here are some reasons why:

        1. Life thrived when the climate was much warmer than now – so what persuasive evidence to we have that warming would be net bad for life on Earth.

        2. Richard Tol (2011) ‘THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CLIMATE
        CHANGE IN THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES
        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf Figure 3 suggests CO2 emissions and global warming may be net beneficial to beyond 4 C increase and for all this century if energy costs are less than assumed in the analysis. Although this is one of many impact analyses, it shows that there is enormous uncertainty about the net costs and benefits of global warming.

        3. Plentiful cheap energy can go a long way to overcoming the key problems of water and food/feed/fibre (See Figure WE-1 in AR5 WG2 Chapter 10 Final Draft http://www.bishop-hill.net/working-group-ii-final/WGIIAR5-Chap10_FGDall.pdf) We have virtually unlimited nuclear fuel available on Earth, so all we need to do now is to remove the human imposed regulatory constraints that are preventing it from being cheap.

        4. Richard Tol (2012) https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=wps37-2012-tol.pdf&site=24 said:

        Although Table 2 reveals a large estimated uncertainty about the social cost of carbon, there is reason to believe that the actual uncertainty is larger still. First of all, the social cost of carbon derives from the total economic impact estimates, of which there are few, incomplete estimates. Second, , the researchers who published impact estimates are from a small and close-knit community who may be subject to group-think, peer pressure and self-censoring.

        I suspect this is a fair statement. I suspect the uncertainty is enormous, and even the sign of net cops-benefit of global warming is uncertain.

      • Means and variances for the three models used to develop the SCC estimates are given in Table A5 in http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/social_cost_of_carbon_for_ria_2013_update.pdf

    • “So what would you do differently?”

      Speaking for myself, I don’t know.

      But I DO know, i would not be so deluded as to believe I could specify something so nebulous to 2 places of decimals, and I sure as Hell would incorporate error bars.

      Excessive, unjustified levels of precision are an absolute giveaway, of course. And not of anything complimentary, either.

      But hey, what would I know? I’m only an engineer, and if i get things wrong really bad stuff happens, like big smoking holes in the ground and prosecutions, a completely different world…

      • Maybe I missed it, but I don’t see 2 places of decimals in the stated average costs. Can you please point me to those numbers?

    • SCC is not a very difficult calculation.

      It is not a calculation at all.

      It is a number, pulled out of the thin air. They said, how bad do we want to scare all the alarmist who are on our side, and they just wrote that number down and then put some hocus pocus in front of it. Every time they get caught with no data to support their alarmism, they make up something even worse on a slightly different track.

    • I haven’t a clue how the uncertainties in the SCC estimates could be calculated, but here are a couple of thoughts:

      First thought, Nordhaus looked at the effect on the SCC of changing, one at a time, each of eight uncertain inputs, see Table 7-2 “Value of SCC for different uncertain parameters” here; http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf. I expect Nordhaus, Tol, and others have advanced the analysis of uncertainty a long way since 2007, but I haven’t seen the outputs.

      Second thought, SCC is an output from Integrated Assessment Models (AIMs). The IAM’s use inputs from other models. The important thing for policy is that IAM’s are at least one level of uncertainty greater than the models below.

      For simplicity picture six models are stacked with the one on top relying on the one below for its scenario inputs; e.g. (listed from bottom to to below, so bottom box is #1 is and top box is #6)
      1. economic scenarios;
      2. emissions;
      3. climate forcing;
      4. physical impacts;
      5. damage function;
      6. social welfare function
      with final output as change in GDP.

      If each of the six models has, say a 20% chance of being correct, then the output from each successive model becomes more and more uncertain, to the extent that the GCM output has 0.16% chance of being correct, and that from the IAM is 0.0064%.

      It seems to me the uncertainty in the output from the IAMs must be huge. And this is what Pindyck seems to be saying in this paper: http://www.globalwarming.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Pindyk-Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us.pdf

      He concludes that the AIMs are next to useless and there is a better way to decide policy:

      The same approach might be used to assess climate change catastrophes. First, consider a plausible range of catastrophic outcomes (under, for example, BAU), as measured by percentage declines in the stock of productive capital (thereby reducing future GDP). Next, what are plausible probabilities? Here, “plausible” would mean acceptable to a range of economists and climate scientists. Given these plausible outcomes and probabilities, one can calculate the present value of the benefits from averting those outcomes, or reducing the probabilities of their occurrence. The benefits will depend on preference parameters, but if they are sufficiently large and robust to reasonable ranges for those parameters, it would support a stringent abatement policy. Of course this approach does not carry the perceived precision that comes from an IAM-based analysis, but that perceived precision is illusory.

      This sounds a bit to close to the ‘concensus of experts’ approach adopted by the IPCC. I am not persuaded this is a good approach.

      I wonder if ‘Robust Decision Making’ might be a better approach (comments?):

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/02/rs-workshop-on-handling-uncertainty-in-weather-climate-prediction-part-i/

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/18/coping-with-deep-climate-uncertainty/

      http://www.rand.org/topics/robust-decision-making.html

      • This IPCC-type estimate certainly has drawbacks, but it has the advantage of dealing with reality. I don’t know what else you could do – ask a bunch of experts and see what they come up with. As you said, it’s a whole lot real-er than some model that we know is going to be wrong.

      • As a second comment, I have the same issue with these kinds of economic models as I do with climate models. Mosher is fond of pointing out that imperfect models can be very useful. But it is equally true that imperfect models can be worse than useless. At a minimum, one needs some evidence/validation that the model actually can reproduce the behavior you’re trying to model at some needed level of accuracy. Missing that, you get the kind of result that I’m seeing here from some commentators: “What do you mean that uncertainties aren’t given? Look right there in the model!”
        “What do you mean you’re not sure you believe that George Washington slept in this hotel? Why – there’s his bed!”

      • The problem is that SSC models are based on climate models. It’s like stupid raised to the stupid power.

      • Miker,

        Thank you. I share your concerns. However, I have learnt a lot by reading about the IAMs in Nordhaus “A Question of Balancehttp://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf and Richard Tol “Climate Economicshttps://sites.google.com/site/climateconomics/ and the calibration of them and following the debates. So I find them useful, but definitely concerned about what I expect is enormous and unstated uncertainty in the outputs. I suspect the damage function is very poorly understood and probably the estimates to date are probably biased towards greater damages. Richard Tol made this very honest statement:

        Although Table 2 reveals a large estimated uncertainty about the social cost of carbon, there is reason to believe that the actual uncertainty is larger still. First of all, the social cost of carbon derives from the total economic impact estimates, of which there are few, incomplete estimates. Second, , the researchers who published impact estimates are from a small and close-knit community who may be subject to group-think, peer pressure and self-censoring.

        https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=wps37-2012-tol.pdf&site=24

        I feel there is a risk of severe climate change. However, I feel the risk of damage from policies that will raise the cost of fossil fuels is far greater over coming decades, and there is no valid basis for implementing policies that will be economically damaging to try to deal with problems beyond decades.

        Therefore, if we want to reduce the risk we should focus only on that are economically rational, ‘no regrets’ and robust over periods of decades. I’ve suggested what I believe is a pragmatic achievable way in an earlier comment on this thread, here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/21/social-cost-of-carbon/#comment-416438

        I’d be interested in your comments on that alternative approach.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      Let me help translate your comment David:
      “A lot of smart people have spent a lot of serious time trying to determine SCC, as best they can.”
      This should be understood as roughly:
      “A lot of politically motivated people spent a huge amount of public money trying, as best they can, to raise the SCC estimate so as to justify very expensive ‘green’ energy policies.”

      The uncertainty, and potential for politically motivated bias, in all such SCC estimates is astronomical, no matter who does them. A million grains of salt would not be sufficient.

  4. How about estimating the social benefit of carbon (i.e. of the access to a reliable low-cost source of energy through fossil fuels).

    This benefit has been enormous, especially for the industrially developed world, whose inhabitants were able to lift themselves out of the poverty, cruel weather dependence, low quality of life and short life expectancy of the 18thC and earlier.

    If we attribute only half of the net increase in affluence over this period to “carbon”, this would far outweigh any postulated past plus future costs of carbon.

    The only analysis that makes any sense at all is one that includes both “cost” and benefit”, in order to arrive at a net social cost or benefit.

    Max

      • Judith Curry

        OK.

        Let’s start off by attributing 50% of the increase in total world GDP since 1750 (adjusted for inflation, of course) to “carbon” (i.e. the availability of a reliable source of energy).

        Wiki tells us that the gross world product GWP was $71.8 trillion in 2012 (in constant 1990 dollars) and $128 billion in 1750 (same 1990 dollars).

        So there has been an increase of 71.8 – 0.128 = $71.67 trillion.

        Let’s say that 50% of this can be attributed to “carbon”; let’s say $35 trillion.

        Of course, population also grew: from 791 million to 7 billion, so the per capita increase in GDP (standard of living, quality of life, etc.) was only 63 times (6300%).

        The estimated social benefit of carbon should include an estimated 20% increase in crop yields that can conservatively be attributed directly to the higher CO2 concentration, plus the net benefit to humanity of a world that is roughly 1ºC warmer (of which, say, half was a result of human CO2 emissions).

        CDIAC tells us that humans emitted around 380 GtC into the atmosphere since 1750.

        A recent Tol study tells us that the net economic impact of AGW to date has been positive, rather than negative, and that the net impact should continue being positive until there has been 2.2ºC to 2.5ºC warming above today’s global average.

        So the net social benefit of carbon to date has been $35 trillion divided by 380 GtC, or roughly $920 per ton of carbon emitted.

        This figure could be refined, but is probably a good starting point for a meaningful analysis of the “social cost/benefit of carbon”.

        Max

      • max –

        Let’s start off by attributing 50% of the increase in total world GDP since 1750 (adjusted for inflation, of course) to “carbon” (i.e. the availability of a reliable source of energy)….

        How about if instead, we start off by asking on what scientific basis you derive that estimate.

        How do you distinguish the contribution of carbon to total world GDP as opposed to, say, increases in civil liberties in those countries that have contributed the most to world GDP growth?

        I mean to derive your estimate you must have some numbers. Some kind of validated argument. I mean you didn’t just pull that number out of your….er….hat, right?

        Right?

      • The 50% number is very conservative in my opinion. I think that a much larger percent of the increase in GDP is due to the energy we got from carbon fuels. Joshua, are you suggesting a smaller percent? Think about moving this many people around with horses. How much CO2 would that many horses produce.

      • HAP –

        Joshua, are you suggesting a smaller percent?

        I am suggesting that the “estimate” is fallacious because economic growth over the past 250 years is inextricable from increases in freedom and civil liberties. Saying that CO2 was causal (growth is attributable to CO2) is meaningless, IMO.

      • Correlation of income and energy usage.

      • Ragnar,

        You can make the chart your linked to yourself and you can make it run over time. Go to GapMinder, select the axes and normal or log scale and select “play” to see the points move as time elapses: http://www.gapminder.org/world/

      • Manacker,

        Interesting back of an envelope calculation. The economists who do the analyses, like Nordhaus and Tol, believe they have included both the costs and the benefits of CO2 in their analyses. They are included in the economic inputs. But I wonder if they really are properly included. If so, how does the projected net damages over next century reconcile with the strong net benefit of warming and CO2 fertilistion during the last century as suggested by Figure 3 in Tol (2011)? http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      • Peter Lang – it isn’t fair to use data!

      • manacker, you need to use Gt CO2, and the more realistic emitted amount which is 1900 Gt CO2, and you gained another factor of ten somewhere, then your numbers only give $18 per Gt CO2. I don’t agree with the premise, but if we gained this much, it seems reasonable to charge this much for future damage. This is similar to the proposed carbon tax levels.

      • Joshua, You Wrote:
        I am suggesting that the “estimate” is fallacious because economic growth over the past 250 years is inextricable from increases in freedom and civil liberties. Saying that CO2 was causal (growth is attributable to CO2) is meaningless, IMO.

        Increased CO2 has improved crop growth and with less water. That is a tiny part of what I am talking about.

        Carbon based fuel has powered the trains, cars, trucks, tractors, boats, ships, airplanes and spacecraft that have made the economic growth possible.

        Freedom and civil liberties have come and gone and economic growth has taken place where people had freedom and civil liberties and where people did not have freedom and civil liberties.

      • Houston is the 4th largest US City and one of the best places in the world to live and work.

        Most of us would not be here without Air Conditioning.

        Most of the electricity for our Air Conditioning comes from Carbon Based Fuel.

        We are an Oil City. We are successful because of Carbon Based Fuel. We are a lot more, but most of it would not be without Based Carbon Fuel.

        Take Carbon Based Fuel out of our History and you destroy what we are before we could become what we are.

      • phatboy –

        Oh, sorry, it said clean fuel, not no fuel.

        Is it your impression that they’re powering washing machines by burning dung?

      • Joshua, stop being obtuse. People who use dung for fuel are very unlikely to have washing machines.

      • Jim D

        The total amount of carbon emitted by humans is based on published estimates by CDIAC.

        Adding in the years after the CDIAC data was published, this was around 380 billion tons of carbon or 1393 GtCO2.

        Max

      • People who use dung for fuel are very unlikely to have washing machines.

        But doesn’t some of that dung soil their clothes?

      • Not sure if I have the threading is right here… (t would be useful to have a reply tab on every post.. Usenet style threading would be luxury…)

        Joshua:

        You seem to think that civil liberties and a more just structure for society are the main drivers, but they are not, though I do sympathise. The main drivers for progress are scientific understanding and the engineering that comes from it. That started with the enlightenment, with the awareness that rational thought, not superstition, (ie: the truth) would build a better world. The knowledge gained over the centuries has enabled humanity to better insulate itself from nature’s raw environment, which makes life less arduous. It’s that simple.

        It’s difficult to think of the higher aims of mankind if you are fighting your nearest neighbor for resources, or the warmest cave to sleep in. The higher aims are only possible if the basic struggle for life doesn’t dominate.

        We should encourage developing nations to burn as much carbon as they like, since they have the most need and it’s hypocritical for us to wag the finger. That’s called natural justice, btw :-) If it’s found beyond reasonable doubt in the future that that there is a climate problem, then science will solve it. Seems to me that we are a long way from that at the moment…

        Chris

      • Joshua should have a look at Abraham (Captain Obvious) Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Might be very illuminating for him.

      • manacker, several sources have said we are already well past a half way to the trillion tonnes that some propose as a carbon limit. For example

        http://trillionthtonne.org/

        has a counter that currently stands at 575 Gt C, but is not just emissions. This is over 2000 Gt CO2.
        When evaluating costs/benefits tonnes of CO2 are more commonly used when looking at dollar values.

      • By the way, trillionthtonne.org, run from Oxford University, has an interesting calculator tying emissions to warming and when certain thresholds will be crossed at current emission rates. the calculator can be controlled to show sensitvity to the parameters, but the default is 2 C per trillion tonnes of carbon.

      • The trillion tonnes idea seems to have come from a 2009 Nature paper by Myles Allen et al. “Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne”.

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242/abs/nature08019.html

        Setting a long-term cumulative carbon limit is more robust and has a more predictable effect than trying to control emission rates. In this case, a trillion tonnes is the equivalent of a 2 C warming over pre-industrial times. We are half way towards this already.
        I think it is still possible to meet this, but it requires a linear reduction of 3 Gt CO2 per decade (10% of the current emission rate) for the next century to get finally to zero emission at the trillion tonne limit, and it would end up at about 500 ppm in the atmosphere.

      • Peter Lang

        Indur Goklany’s analysis is spot on.

        One cannot attempt to estimate the “social cost” of carbon without taking into account the enormous “social benefit” it has contributed to date.

        The hidden message here is clear: if we are silly enough to force a net reduction in energy supply by mandating carbon cuts, we will end up giving back some of the gains, which the availability of a reliable source of low cost energy based on fossil fuels, have given us to date.

        This is true even if we maximize solar and wind energy to their practical limit, because these will never be able to replace fossil fuels and they require (fossil fuel based) backup facilities for the 70 to 80% of the time they are idle because there is no wind or sun.

        It is also true if we maximize nuclear power in place of coal – while this would not involve any cost penalty over coal long term, the net impact on climate by 2100 would be minimal.

        So the net “social cost” of reducing carbon must be included in any analysis.

        Max

      • Manacker,

        So the net “social cost” of reducing carbon must be included in any analysis.

        A new post of about a week ago may have some useful analogies:
        Net subsidiy analysis is a better way to compare government energy policy

        http://www.masterresource.org/2013/11/net-subsidy-analysis-a-better-way-to-compare-government-energy-policy/

      • The social cost of carbon numbers are going to be about as reliable as sociology – which is to say, not reliable at all.

    • Only half?
      What about all the other reasons progress has been made in the last 200 years.

      It’s not all cheap power by a long shot

      • Another biggie was the global warming, yup, yup.
        ==================

      • The “other reasons” are not sufficient without cheap energy to effect progress to any great extent. Cheap energy is necessary for progress.

      • The “other reasons” are not sufficient without cheap energy to effect progress to any great extent. Cheap energy is necessary for progress.

        I think it might be time for Judith to put up another post on logical fallacies.

      • Books come out of an electric washing machine.
        My Mother loved the video.
        h/t Steven Mosher.

      • Joshua ???

      • Try running the washing machine without cheap energy. In fact, people once had those kinds of washing machines. What with cheap energy, they could buy a machine to do it for them. Without cheap energy … nada.

      • Jim –

        It is a fallacy that repeating a fallacious argument makes it less fallacious.

        Try counting washing machines in countries were people don’t have freedom and civil liberties.

      • Cheap power did not cause all progress.
        Cheap power did make all progress possible and affordable.

      • Joshua – I am having serious doubt that you can distinguish between s*** and shinola, much less a fallacy and Obamacare.

        “© Euromonitor International
        PASSPORT 1
        INGREDIENTS :TRENDS IN POWDER DETERGENTS – A BRIGHT CLEAN FUTURE

        China has seen the largest growth in
        the number of households with a wa
        shing machine over the last five
        years. Euromonitor International
        estimates that 73% of Chinese h
        ouseholds had a washing machine in
        2010, rising to 80% by 2015. This equa
        tes to an extra 41 million households with washing machines by
        2015 – all of which will be using automatic lau
        ndry products, such as powder detergents.”

        http://euromonitor.typepad.com/files/ingredients-trends-in-powder-detergents-a-bright-clean-future.pdf

      • Nice work, Jim.

        You refer to China to show how economic growth is not inextricably linked to increased freedom and civil liberties?

        Oh. My sides.

      • Against a backdrop of rapid socio-economic change and modernization, China continues to be an authoritarian one-party state that imposes sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion; openly rejects judicial independence and press freedom; and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often through extra-judicial measures.

        The government also censors the internet; maintains highly repressive policies in ethnic minority areas such as Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia; systematically condones—with rare exceptions—abuses of power in the name of “social stability” ; and rejects domestic and international scrutiny of its human rights record as attempts to destabilize and impose “Western values” on the country. The security apparatus—hostile to liberalization and legal reform—seems to have steadily increased its power since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. China’s “social stability maintenance” expenses are now larger than its defense budget.

        At the same time Chinese citizens are increasingly rights-conscious and challenging the authorities over livelihood issues, land seizures, forced evictions, abuses of power by corrupt cadres, discrimination, and economic inequalities. Official and scholarly statistics estimate that 250-500 protests occur per day; participants number from ten to tens of thousands. Internet users and reform-oriented media are aggressively pushing the boundaries of censorship, despite the risks of doing so, by advocating for the rule of law and transparency, exposing official wrong-doing, and calling for reforms.

        http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-china

      • Oh, yeah, Joshua. I forgot that the description of China in the World Report is what you desire for the US. It’s just that your version of freedom and liberty doesn’t comport with the historical use of those words in the US.

      • Jim –

        First,

        Perhaps you didn’t read the entire excerpt?:

        At the same time Chinese citizens are increasingly rights-conscious and challenging the authorities over livelihood issues, land seizures, forced evictions, abuses of power by corrupt cadres, discrimination, and economic inequalities. Official and scholarly statistics estimate that 250-500 protests occur per day; participants number from ten to tens of thousands. Internet users and reform-oriented media are aggressively pushing the boundaries of censorship, despite the risks of doing so, by advocating for the rule of law and transparency, exposing official wrong-doing, and calling for reforms.

        This is what you post to show that economic growth and civil liberties are not linked in China?

        Second,

        The growth in China is primarily among those who are at the higher end of the economic scale, and a large part of the reason for that is, precisely, because of the authoritarian nature of the government.

      • Oh, yeah, Joshua. I forgot that the description of China in the World Report is what you desire for the US

        Yes. Your logic is impeccable once again. My point of talking about the linkage about civil liberties and freedom, and economic growth, is to advocate for less civil rights and freedom.

        Next to starving old people and children, especially poor children, my next most desired goal is a complete lack of civil liberties.

        And don’t think that the irony of you excerpting from Human Rights Watch has escaped me, jim.

      • And jim –

        In China, 612.8 million people—nearly twice the population of the United States—lack clean fuel for cooking and heating.

        What do you suppose the reason for that might be?

      • In China, 612.8 million people—nearly twice the population of the United States—lack clean fuel for cooking and heating.

        Those would presumably be the ones without washing machines then – after all, if you lack fuel for cooking and heating then you’re hardly going to be able to run a washing machine now, are you?
        Oh, sorry, it said clean fuel, not no fuel.
        Cheap energy may not be responsible for lifting peoples out of poverty, but it sure made it possible.

      • bob droege

        That’s why I only used half. (Other estimates weigh the energy component much higher, so I was being conservative).

        Got it?

        Max

    • I was just about to say that, manacker. What about the benefit? I guess by benefit I mean that thing called Industrial Development.

      Industrial Development is the thing which makes the orgy of ingratitude called Earth Hour possible. It provides the transport, power, communications, electronics, decorations, publicity, food, drink, venues…even the sophisticated chemicals and cylinders for extinguishing fires started by candles. Hell, Industrial Development even provides the candles for Earth Hour…and aren’t the bees relieved!

      Industrial Development is the thing which Earth Hour participants rush back to after their orgy of ingratitude is over. Not that they’d ever really left it.

      • Industrial Development was possible because we had cheap Carbon Energy. We could not build the dams and water powered generators for hydro power if we did not have the Carbon Fuels to provide heat to manufacture the parts for everything required to accomplish the task.

        Without Carbon Based Fuel we are back in stone age days.
        Wood fires are Carbon Based Energy.

        A war against Carbon Based Energy is a war against all of us and most of what is important to all of us.

      • Facts don’t matter to socialists, HAP. Only the goal matters. If you have to lie, lie. If you have to obfuscate, obfuscate. If you have to make up numbers, make them up, or better yet, use “sophisticated’ statistics.

    • Agreed. I envision (humourously) two competing teams, trying to produce the largest plausible number. I think the SCC team would be at a severe disadvantage.

    • Jim D

      Whether one uses the “cost/benefit of carbon” expressed per ton of CO2 or ton of carbon makes a difference of 44/12 or a factor of 3.67. Either way is just as meaningful, but since we were talking about the social cost of carbon, that’s the way I expressed it.

      Your “factor of ten” is a figment of your imagination – forget about it.

      Max

      • Using your numbers, 35 trillion dollars divided by 380 Gt C is $92/tonne. 35000 gigadollars over 380 gigatonnes. 35000/380=92.

    • The 50% estimate is probably conservative but, hey, gimme a better number, Josh – I’m all ears.

      Max

    • David Springer

      Joshua | November 21, 2013 at 10:56 pm |

      I am suggesting that the “estimate” is fallacious because economic growth over the past 250 years is inextricable from increases in freedom and civil liberties critically including the freedom to burn fossil fuels. Saying that CO2 was causal (growth is attributable to CO2) is meaningless, IMO.

      Fixed that for ya. You’re an advocate of limiting that freedom, right?

      • You’re an advocate of limiting that freedom, right?

        Only in your fantasies.

        I’m an advocate for that right being manifest (or not) through democratic processes of energy policy implementation.

      • David Springer

        “I’m an advocate for that right being manifest (or not) through democratic processes of energy policy implementation.”

        The Holocaust was a result of democratic policy implementation.

        The democratic process is often called “tyranny of the majority”. Individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are God-given. Governments exist by and for the people to protect these rights not to grant them. I hold these truths to be self-evident.

  5. Heh, the social benefit of carbon is manifest.
    ========================

    • Oh, sorry Max, way ahead of me.

      What positively fascinates me is how this madness of the crowd has this whole mess completely backwards. Sure, fear, sure, guilt, but how did it get so massive?
      ==============

      • Positive feedbacks.

      • kim | November 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
        “What positively fascinates me is how this madness of the crowd has this whole mess completely backwards”

        i am appalled at the utter ignorance of the elite when they start talking about the “social costs of carbon”.
        First is the simple one.
        The carbon they refer to is Carbon dioxide, / CO2 a gaseous product of the burning of practically any combustible product of this planet and a gas which if the planet lacked or was not present at a sufficiently high atmospheric level and had remained so for countless millenniums past, no sentient life or plant life would exist today.

        Mankind needs four things to survive both individually and as a species.
        1 / He needs water
        2 / He needs food
        3 / He needs shelter.
        Clothing is one such “shelter” as is shelter as such for a highly vulnerable species that has adapted and occupied almost every habitable niche on the planet.
        4 / He needs energy.
        Due to the his control of the burning of combustible products mankind is the ONLY species that has learned to both use and control energy.

        Even the smoky cowpat fire of the poorest on earth, possibly the lowest form of energy that mankind uses defines mankind as a distinct and separate species that is above all other species due to his use and control of energy.
        With energy, unlimited energy we can do almost anything our species desires either now or into the future.

        I see the discussion on the industrial aspects of energy use above but there is another factor infinitely more important in energy use than just burning vast amounts of coal for steel production and cement production, the basic materials that underlay the existence of our entire modern civilisation.
        And that is food production..
        I am of the lucky generation who has lived my 75 years through the Golden years in a Golden country, Australia where internal peace has always been an accepted part of our existence as a nation and hunger is rare let alone starvation is unknown.
        So like so many here and out in that well blessed western world who are quite casual about the always available bounty of immense quantities of nutritious food and who have never experienced real hunger let alone starvation, the link between cheap adequate energy and the energy use in food production is beyond their imagination. The disconnection of which we are seeing in spades with this crazy oxymoron by political and activist morons to find the “social costs of carbon”

        In 1800 the global population was less than a billion people at around 900 millions
        In 1900 the industrial revolution was in full swing and the first applications of energy to food production had started most particularly in Australia where there were some 1000’s of grain strippers, horse drawn one man harvesting machines that harvested the standing crop and carried to a grain and chaff heap for separating later with winnowers was right across the Australian grain belt by 1860.
        John Ridley’s “stripper” was technologically way in advance of Cyrus McCormick’s Reaper and Australian grain harvester technology stayed well in advance of american harvesting technology until into the 1920’s

        By 1900 the global population had reached about 1.6 billion people.
        Food production was starting to climb rapidly as the scarcity of food on a regular basis was being nullified by the steady and increasing use of energy driven technologies to better health and both plant and harvest food production areas such as grain crop lands and transport ever larger volumes of food longer distances plus energy requiring refrigeration and food preservation with the introduction of the canned food items all of which enabled the population to grow without the debilitating effects of regular hunger periods and sometimes famine.

        The last of the great famines that originated because of real food shortages and were not political famines, either inadvertent or deliberate as so many 20th century famines have been was the Bengal Famine of 1948 where an estimated 1.5 to 7 million died of starvation . Even this Famine is blamed on the ineptness of the British administration as well as a cyclone which destroyed the food crops over immense areas.
        From Wiki; Between 108 BC and 1911 AD, there were no fewer than 1828 famines in China, or one nearly every year in one province or another.
        The Great Chinese Famine of 1958 to 1962 where an estimated 30 to 45 millions died during Mao’s Great Leap forward was a political famine.
        Today along with the rest of the world’ ability to fed it self both China and India with their 1.3 plus billions and 1.15 billions respectively can and are feeding their numbers adequately. and the reason famines where real food shortages are no longer a factor but political famine is, is that through the use of immense amounts of energy applied to both farming and the global transport system, the world can and does feed it’s now 7.2 billions of inhabitants and does so quite successfully.

        And that energy use is applied to the production of fertilizers.

        http://www.ipni.net/ppiweb/bcrops.nsf/$webindex/0022BBC19C02604A852575C50062FBB7/$file/BC09-2p12.pdf

        “The world will not be able to meet its food production goals without biotechnology and improved genetics, and without fertilizer. Commercial fertilizer is responsible for 40 to 60% of the world’s food production”

        To herbicides for weed control. The first herbicide 24D was invented in 1941 and was first used post WW2 in about 1946. It was used in it’s crystilline form in 1947 in our area and I knew the farmers who first used it
        . By 1950 24D was in extremely wide spread use and as it was the first in crop broad leaf weed control , there was a dramatic jump in grain yields by the early 1950s as the most serious competitive weeds could be sprayed out and therefore far more moisture and nutrients were available for the crop hence much higher yields.
        The energy requirements to produce these two major food crop inputs is very high.

        Then there was the massive energy intensive investment in the rural road systems following WW2. Then followed through the next 40 or more years with huge investments in transport infrastructure and the immense fleet of trucks and trains and ships now used to transport food all over the planet to wherever it is required.
        The grain transport pipe line from farm to consumer is now down to about 30 days wheat ever the origin of and and the final destination of the grain might be.
        then the quite immense energy intensive mechanisation of the global food production where energy driven ,machinery replaced animals and manpower to produce ever greater amounts of food for the rapidly growing global population.

        http://www.thegwpf.org/bret-stephens-environmentalism-amnesia/

        “In case you’re wondering what happened with that battle to feed humanity, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization has some useful figures on its website. In 1968, the year Mr. Ehrlich’s book first appeared, Asia produced 46,321,114 tons of maize and 439,579,934 of cereals. By 2011, the respective figures had risen to 270,316,205, up 484%, and 1,289,633,254, up 193%.

        It’s the same story nearly everywhere else one looks. In Africa, maize production was up 247% between 1968 and 2011, while production of so-called primary vegetables has risen 319%; in South America, it’s 308% and 199%. Meanwhile, the world’s population rose to just under seven billion from about 3.7 billion, an increase of about 90%. It is predicted to rise by another 33% by 2050.
        But what about the supposedly warming climate? According to the EPA, “average temperatures have risen more quickly since the late 1970s,” with the contiguous 48 states warming “faster than the global rate.” Yet U.S. food production over the same time has also risen by robust percentages even as the number of acres under cultivation has been steadily falling for decades.”

        http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-09-09/the-energy-return-of-energy-invested-of-US-food-production

        “Calculated against the energy value of labor inputs, the energy return of food produced and eaten in the United States is stunningly high, topping out around 90 within the last few years. What this means is that for every Calorie of labor energy that Americans invest in the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food, we get 90 Calories of food energy back. That’s a return on investment of nearly 9,000 percent! From a labor efficiency standpoint, modern industrial food systems annihilate those used by hunter-gatherers.”

        And so the Chinese, the Indians, Saudi’s, South Americans and etc and etc now rely totally on the reliability of the supply of immense amounts of energy, carbon dioxide/ CO2 creating energy used through out the global food supply system to ensure that famines and hopefully hunger will never be due to a real shortage of food anywhere in the future world.
        As a life long farmer who has seen, researched and done much in the world of farming I will say this;.
        A / If global temperatures and CO2 continues to increase the farmers of the world can feed the estimated 9 to 10 billions of humanity predicted to be living on this planet by 2050, which is a half a life time away only.

        B / If global temperatures decline, the world gets colder and not by much but CO2 continues to increase then the world’s farmers may JUST perhaps be able to feed those numbers, perhaps !

        C / If global temperatures decline and through stupidity after some way is found to limit and reduce CO2 , global CO2 levels are reduced through the efforts of activist climate science establishment then the world will go hungry as the world’s farmers will not be able to grow enough food as both yields and cropped area are reduced due to cooler or colder temperatures and reduced amounts of that essential plant food, CO2 other wise known as that planet destroying “carbon”
        .
        Hunger and famine have been the fount of many of the nastiest revolutions and uprisings and killing fields that have occurred so regularly throughout human history.

        Only morons would enact policies that will kill people through hunger and famine that are totally avoidable.
        But, sadly for humanity, morons as leaders and influence peddlers are sometimes what we get in this world,

      • For ROM: OUTSTANDING!

        The short answer as to the relative social benefit of anthropogenic CO2 vs its social costs:

        Empirically, the social benefits of anthropogenic CO2 have been asymptotically approaching infinity while its costs have asymptotically approached zero.

        Our masters seem determined to reverse the above and, with the new policies announced by the White House, it seems likely that they will succeed.

      • Lest we forget Norman Borlaug.
        ======

      • ROM,

        That’s an excellent comment. I’ve distributed to some contacts.

  6. Carbon: black, dirty, yucky, polluting, climate ruining.

    Co2: odorless, colorless, planet greening, blessing bestowing trace gas necessary for life.

  7. The SPPI takes a different approach to this issue, looking at The Positive Externalities of CO2.

    Nice to see that someone is taking a careful look CO2 w/r/t the full range of externali…. Oh. Wait.

    They’re looking only at the positive externalities?

    And on that basis, they are “Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on Global Food Production.”

    Um.

    That’s a joke, right? I mean really, they must be kidding.

    Right?

    I mean anyone serious about these issues, anyone who is not overtly biased, would not start out looking only for positive externalities. Anyone serious would, necessarily, be looking at the balance of costs and benefits, the relationship between positive and negative externalities, right?

    I mean no one serious would think that they could quantify “monetary benefits” without quantifying the costs..

    Right?

    I mean right?

    • Yeah, what has Monsanto done for me lately?

    • Let’s try to evaluate the “monetary benefits” of fascism by looking only at the economic growth that took place.

      Mussolini got the trains running on time, right?

      • Calling Subset ot Godwin’s Rule here.

      • Pete –

        I thought about that, but I don’t think it applies.

        Godwin’s law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one’s opponent) with Nazis

        I wasn’t comparing anyone (or other situations) to a Nazi (or fascist), but displaying the absurdity of divorcing positive externalities from the larger context (that would include negative externalities) .

        I will accept the ruling of a fair arbiter, however, as I think it could be close.

      • > I will accept the ruling of a fair arbiter [...]

        Here’s one:

        Just saying Godwin’s law doesn’t proscribe Nazi-related references, it just predicts those references will happen after some time in an argument on the internet. Learning the lessons of Nazi Germany are important and pointing out any parallels between Hitler and Obama are definitely necessary for the good of the US.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/01/cagw-memeplex/#comment-407199

      • Joshua

        Mussolini, Hitler

        What’s the difference?

        (Same goes for Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.)

        Max

        PS But I disagree with Godwin in any case – no historical personality or event should arbitrarily be excluded from the conversation as a comparison, just because it was unpleasant or grossly immoral – that’s denial, in my book.

      • David Springer

        There are no demonstrable negative externalities of CO2 anthropogenic CO2 emission. The globe hasn’t even warmed in the past 17 years despite accelerating CO2 emission. And even if the globe were warming there is no credible demonstration that anthropogenic CO2 warming, which is predominantly in the higher northern latitudes in the winter, isn’t beneficial. The demonstrable benefits of fossil fuels on the other hand are legion from fertilizing the atmosphere for agriculture to using heavy equipment to grow and harvest crops to distribution of food around the world and refrigerating it. Modern sanitation systems and potable water distribution are dependent on fossil fuels in everything from the manufacture of cement and steel for pipes and pumps to generating electricity to run water and sewage pumps. Hospitals need electricity. Homes and critical businesses need heating and lighting – all made possible by fossil fuels.

        Write that down.

    • Arrhenius and Callandar both believed CO2 would be beneficial. Arrhenius’ first estimate was even high because that is what he felt was needed to prevent an ice age. Most of the warming is in the 30N to 60N mainly land areas whatever warming that can be attributed to CO2 has proven agriculturally to be beneficial. So no one currently alive “started out” looking for benefits, they are just continuing an established trend. The Contrarians are the ones projecting doom and gloom.

      • Cap’n –

        Most of the warming is in the 30N to 60N mainly land areas whatever warming that can be attributed to CO2 has proven agriculturally to be beneficial.

        Basically, a non-sequitur. I used bold to help.

      • Joshua, I your opinion, I think it follows quite well. As far as CO2 “signatures” go, it is hard to verify that CO2 is having any warming, as in Global Warming” impact and the black carbon associated with “the Social Cost of Carbon” has a more easily verified impact which is to reduce snow fields which are the lead in to glaciation. Not having a severe NH temperature downturn would be a “monetary” benefit. You can’t determine the social cost of carbon if you can’t verify an impact by carbon.

      • CO2 is a trace gas. A trace of anything cannot cause or prevent an ice age. That is less than a trace of believable.

      • Joshua

        No non sequitur at all.

        – Most GH warming should theoretically occur at higher latitudes
        – Higher latitudes benefit from slightly elevated temperatures (longer growing seasons, increased agricultural land surface area)

        Ergo, Higher latitudes will benefit from GH warming.

        In addition, across all latitudes, plants (and crop yields) generally benefit from increased CO2 levels (higher growth rates, decreased water stress).

        So it’s clearly a win-win.

        Rejoice!

        Max

      • David Springer

        Herman Alexander Pope | November 22, 2013 at 1:25 am |

        “CO2 is a trace gas. A trace of anything cannot cause or prevent an ice age. That is less than a trace of believable.”

        Black pigment is a trace component in an automobile body. Yet a black car gets far hotter on a sunny day than a white car.

        Stop being stupid.

    • Joshua

      I rarely agree with you, but this time your premise is correct: one cannot simply isolate one part of an overall cost/benefit analysis without taking into consideration all the other components.

      The enormous benefit humanity has seen to date as a result of the ready availability of a reliable source of low cost energy based on fossil fuels must be included in the overall evaluation of the social cost/benefit of carbon.

      My back-of-the-envelope estimate puts the net social benefit to date at around $900 per ton of carbon (or $245 per ton of CO2, as Jim D would express it).

      Tol tells us that, to date, the effect of rising temperature since preindustrial time has been beneficial for humanity, and that it will continue being so until we have reached 2.2C to 2.5C above today’s temperature.

      If Tol’s figures are correct, this $900 net social BENEFIT should be offset against the net social COST of carbon beyond 2.2 to 2.5C above today’s temperature (if that should ever occur).

      It’s the TOTAL NET cost/benefit that counts, not just one piece, as you write.

      Max

      • David Springer

        It’s worse than that. The US government needs to demonstrate that limiting CO2 emission in the US doesn’t drive the emission overseas where there is less control for associated emissions like soot, sulfates, and nitrogen compounds which have immediate and well known hazards to health. This lack of controls for the other pollutants overseas combined with US actions that drive consumption of fossil fuels overseas turns what’s a useless policy gesture at best into a damaging policy position.

  8. Anti-carbon politicians should take cold showers.

  9. John Robertson

    The wisdom of committees, a carbon based life form, babbling on about the social cost of carbon.
    This is pure delusion, I would love to see them, decarbonize themselves,all who feel life is a problem that they can cure.
    The social cost of mass hysteria would be a more reasonable assessment.
    All this nonsense can be boiled down to systemic theft by persons in authority, extracting wealth from the many to reward the few, using the environment as cover.
    Funny how life was prolific in the periods, when atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were much higher than today.
    See any megafauna, lately?

  10. ABoC

    Anything but Obama Care

    Heh look over there it could be worse.

    • What does that post mean?

      • They (WH and Democrats) are trying to shift the national attention away from Obamacare rollout disaster. This is just beginning. They will use any narrative they can. They only have a year to avoid disaster in the next election cycle and many democratic congress people are already jumping ship (they read polls too).

      • ordvic –

        Hmmm. I thought that might be the answer, which is why I checked. – Usually I find your posts to be well-reasoned.

        Are you seriously arguing that this initiative is designed to “shift national attention away from” the ACA?

      • Carville, it begins.
        =====

      • Josh, No not really it was just a muse on my part; a little political mischief of an apolitical person. I do think the dems are scrambling though for good reason don’t you?

      • Breaking yolks to scramble yeggs.

        Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, blame for this catastrophic reign. Note Hillary is no longer a part of this administration; vipers begin to writhe.
        ==================================

      • Nevertheless, there is truly a socialistic President of the USA.

    • Many consumers, having only heard exaggerations and attacks on the ACA, feel trepidation about buying private coverage under the law. Others feel burned by the president’s “you can keep your plan” pledge. In such a sensitive environment, it’s especially important to present accurate information to readers, even if that information is complicated. Due to much of the reporting out there right now, some consumers may elect a Silver plan because they like the idea of it paying 70% of their benefits. But in all likelihood, the insurer won’t pay exactly 70% of their benefits. Depending on the circumstances, it may pay as little as 65 or 60%, meaning the consumers would be responsible for 35 or 40%. Such an outcome may make them angry. They would have a right to feel misled. The difference between 30 and 40% of covered benefits could easily be in the hundreds of dollars. We’re talking about real money.

      http://projectmillennial.org/2013/11/21/on-the-value-of-health-insurance-plans/

      • Only a fool will but an Individual plan if they are healthy. The only reason to buy a plan is if you are sick, than buy a Gold plan, with no deductibles, and drop it when you are healthy.

      • > The only major difference between the four tiers is that Platinum and Gold plans will require less cost-sharing in the form of co-pays and deductibles, though their premiums will be higher.

        http://www.healthbeatblog.com/2013/07/under-obamacare-will-you-receive-a-subsidy-to-help-you-buy-your-own-insurance-we-now-have-real-numbers-that-will-let-you-calculate-how-much-you-will-receive/

      • That wont be the main problem. The main problem will be young people who are low income, broke, or unemployed being forced to buy something they don’t see a use for. At this point a lot of them probably don’t even realize they’ll get fined if they don’t join up. In order to pay for Obama Care the idea is to have those young people defray the cost of old sick people. The old way was insurance companies accessing risk and trying to (successfully) get a positive balance in their favor of course. I guess if you believe the government can be a successful insurance company and that young people will somehow scrape together money they don’t have then that’s the plan for you. Knowing how fragile the economy is, I personally don’t know how it will work. They should’ve just gone for socialized medicine it will probably end up there eventually

      • Your doctor is from the government and she’s here to help you.
        ==========

      • > They should’ve just gone for socialized medicine it will probably end up there eventually.

        Welcome to the Modern world.

        We will still enjoy American exceptionalism in Hollywood movies.

      • The USA is still exceptional and it is good and right to be patriotic and nationalistic. We just have to run off the socialists.

      • Here are some words for you to live by, Willard.

        What kind of spirit is this that makes a foreigner selflessly adopt the cause of the Chinese people’s liberation as his own? It is the spirit of internationalism, the spirit of communism, from which every Chinese Communist must learn…. We must unite with the proletariat of all the capitalist countries, with the proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and all other capitalist countries, before it is possible to overthrow imperialism, to liberate our nation and people, and to liberate the other nations and peoples of the world. This is our internationalism, the internationalism with which we oppose both narrow nationalism and narrow patriotism.

        “In Memory of Norman Bethune” (December 21, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 337. *

      • America, land of the True Scot.

      • America, land of the true socialist President.

      • Sen. Ted Cruz pretends to be a tough guy, but mostly he spends his time trashing Democrats in front of adoring right-wing crowds and conservative journalists.

        http://www.salon.com/2013/11/20/ted_cruz_reveals_hes_a_thin_skinned_hypocrite/

      • Here you go, Willard.

        “We Communists must be able to integrate ourselves with the masses in all things. If our Party members spend their whole lives sitting indoors and never go out to face the world and brave the storm, what good will they be to the Chinese people? None at all, and we do not need such people as Party members. We Communists ought to face the world and brave the storm the great world of mass struggle and the mighty storm of mass struggle.

        “Get Organized!” (November 29, 1943), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 158.”

      • Good one Willard, made me laugh:

        “Welcome to the Modern world.

        We will still enjoy American exceptionalism in Hollywood movies.”

      • In case the reference was missed:

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/no-true-scotsman

        We should beware where populistic ultra-nationalism may lead, however hard we might trumpet liberalism.

      • David Springer

        DocMartyn | November 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

        “Only a fool will but an Individual plan if they are healthy. The only reason to buy a plan is if you are sick, than buy a Gold plan, with no deductibles, and drop it when you are healthy.”

        Yup. Way too easy to game it. Pay the tax penalty then buy a Cadillac plan if you get sick then cancel it after being treated.

        I can only conclude it was designed to run private health insurance irreparably into the ground with full blown nationalized single payer health care the only viable alternative left on the table.

      • The Republicans were against any mandate, but at least with the mandate it goes up by 2016 to a 2.5% extra income tax that they will have to pay, so it is not “gaming it” so well because they actually pay good money for nothing but subsidizing other people. Perhaps now Republicans would penalize them even more since they never have liked freeloaders, but I think they have twisted themselves into a logical pretzel with this one. No mandate or bigger penalty? It may just be dawning on them what is wrong with no mandate.

      • David Springer

        Jim D | November 23, 2013 at 10:45 am |

        “It may just be dawning on them what is wrong with no mandate.”

        It may be dawning on Democrats that they won the presidency and senate majority by appealing to younger lower income voters. If they penalize them further for not buying gov’t mandated health insurance they will lose their vote and with it the executive office and senate majority. A sticky wicket indeed.

        And by the way 2.6% of zero is still zero. Young people with entry level incomes have very little that’s taxable after taking standard deductions. The maximum per family is ~$2000. That’s a small fraction of the policy for even a small family. It’s also not an annual penalty it’s a monthly penalty and it doesn’t count for the first three months of missed coverage. The system can be easily gamed and the shame is that people gaming it will not be getting free preventative care that comes with most health insurance plans.

        We’ll see how it works out. Mark my words. The current train wreck with the unusable federal health care exchange website is just the tip of the iceberg – a harbinger of things to come. It’s going to be an unmitigated disaster. The only good thing to come out of it will be the euthanization of the tiny democratic majority in congress that passed the act through parliamentary shenanigans like thieves in the night.

      • David Springer, gaming the system for poorer people makes no sense because they get help with buying medical insurance. Richer people voluntarily paying 2.5% extra income tax for nothing in return would be idiots when they can get health insurance for a similar cost. The American system is a poor compromise between what conservatives and liberals want, with insurance middlemen inserted where they are not needed, especially with regulations providing more uniform coverage rules. I prefer Medicare for all. Put an extra couple of percent on the payroll tax, don’t have insurance companies except for private premium policy add-ons, and then there is none of the website signing up or getting asked for insurance details or paying big deductible checks. It is all covered. It is not working well as it is, comparing cost and life expectancy with other countries, and this is largely because insurance has not been affordable for everyone so far, so at least it is improving in that direction.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/american-health-care-terrible_n_4324967.html

      • David Springer

        You didn’t address the point. A limit of $2000 tax penalty per family is far too low. We pay $400 per person per month for our plan and we were notified it would be cancelled at the end of 2013 and that a comparable plan would cost 30% more. We don’t qualify for any subsidies. Tell me why we shouldn’t just pay cash for whatever medical care we need going forward and if something expensive happens to one family member then we buy health insurance for that one person for as long as the high expense lasts? In effect I’m looking at paying $2000 per year for the option of picking up a far more expensive full-coverage policy if and when needed.

  11. Floodlights on the Human Carbon Cornucopia, which in his myopia RGates mistakes for a volcano.
    ===============

    • I will never be as poetically concise as you, kim, but you need to remember (I know that you know) that the very real benefits of CO2 towards agricultural output (estimated at between 4% and 6% total) have largely been captured while the negative externalities have yet to arrive on our doorstep.

      The fact that alarmists say otherwise–that Xtreme Weather and extinctions are already upon us–just tells us they are alarmists. It doesn’t mean that the negative externalities do not exist. They do.

      As far as labeling it SCC instead of something else, I just thought they were angling for an invitation to play in a bowl game on New Year’s Day…

      • AnthroCO2 can, at best, delay the next ice age, and may make us wealthy enough to survive it. Cost out that.
        ===============

      • blueice2hotsea

        kim – AnthroCO2 can, at best, delay the next ice age…

        Maybe it already has. I am thinking that the current Milankovitch forcing matches that at the Last Glacial Maximum…

      • bi2hs, could be, but consider this. If AnthroCO2 has already delayed the next ice age, there would have to be a high climate sensitivity to CO2. Now look at this highly sensitive climate stalling out its temperature with increasing emission of CO2, presently.

        Far better for us that CO2 have only a minor effect.
        ==========================

      • blueice2hotsea

        True enough. But minor effect, minor delay…

      • Too true. All the more reason to bulk up now, there are tough times ahead. Cold will dreadfully impoverish this human culture.
        =========

      • Tom Fuller,

        the very real benefits of CO2 towards agricultural output (estimated at between 4% and 6% total) have largely been captured while the negative externalities have yet to arrive on our doorstep.

        It doesn’t mean that the negative externalities do not exist. They do.

        How do you know they do? What is the basis for such a confident assertion?

        It seems the damage function is nothing more than a guess. And Tol (2011) Figure 3 seems to suggest that, if we exclude the cost of energy, GW would be net beneficial to beyond 4 C above now: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

        Furthermore, life thrived when the planet was much warmer than now.

        And it seem sea level rise would be a negligible costs (excluding rapid large rises, which IPCC AR5 seems to have virtually ruled out for this century).

        So, all in all, I wonder what is the basis for such confident statements that CO2 emissions would be a significant negative externality.

        And if there is a solid basis for such an assertion, then why hasn’t it been built into the damage function?

        When it comes to the impact of climate change, we know
        even less. IAM damage functions are completely made up, with no theoretical or empirical foundation. They simply reflect common beliefs (which might be wrong) regarding the impact of 2◦C or 3◦C of warming, and can tell us nothing about what might happen if the temperature increases by 5◦C or more. And yet those damage functions are taken seriously when IAMs are used to analyze climate policy.

        http://www.globalwarming.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Pindyk-Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us.pdf

    • Progressives don’t really give a damn about CO2. What they revile, what they hate with all their being, is oil, coal and natural gas. They have been the engines that have lead to the growth, in free market, Judeo-Christian societies, to the richest, strongest, most just, most generous society in the history of the planet. If burning fossil fuels created manna to feed the poor as a byproduct, they would conduct epidemiological studies showing that feeding the poor causes cancer.

      How else can they sit in their government paid/subsidized offices, earning their government paid/subsidized livelihoods, and still feel superior to all those other lesser peoples out there actually creating wealth? Wealth, the taxation of which supports their very lifestyle and gives them freedom to spew their disdain for those stupid voters.

      • Gary –

        …and gives them freedom to spew their disdain for those stupid voters.

        Credit where credit is due. Your lack of self-reflection and insight is really quite remarkable.

      • How would a lawyer create wealth if there were not government workers at the courthouse?

        And a lawyer bragging about creating wealth is precious.

      • David Springer

        @garym

        +many

        @joshua and jch grow a pair you ignorant anonymous cowards.

  12. The policy change being publicly vetted has nothing to do climate change at this point in time. The policy has conveniently been expanded to include elemental carbon to simplify and broaden it’s tentacles. Basically we created through AGW theory another novel avenue for humans to exploit other humans. Using sophisticated terms such as “externalities” complicates a relatively simple concept. I think closer scrutiny of the SCC models will clearly expose this policy as an absolute farce. It’s time for the climate scientists to stand up for themselves rather than be co-opted into this nonsense. The negative externalities associated with drinking purple Kool-Aid as a group has been well documented.

  13. Is it not true that Australia, Japan, Canada and Poland have changed their CO2 reduction policies (lessened them) and China led a 132 nation walk out of COP 19. In CO2 reduction, more and more countries are signaling they will do much less
    So—–‘At this point, what difference does it make?’ —– except to hurt the economy of the US.

    • The aim isn’t to damage the US economy overall, its to redistribute your income to someone more privileged.

      • That’s ridiculous. Rigged the unemployment numbers? I mean I can kind of understand the whole anti-Christ thing, and the Muslim thing, and the not a citizen thing, but saying that the Obama administration rigged the UE numbers requires a very high bar of proo…

        Oh.

        Wait..

        The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

        Oh. “A reliable source.”

        I didn’t realize that you had such rock solid proof.

        Nevermind.

    • Obama is the first President in history who hates the US.

      • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid a “bully” who is breaking the rules of the Senate because he needs to do whatever he can to change the subject in the media, and protect Obamcare from the daily pounding it is getting.

        http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/rand-paul-goes-nuclear-on-big-bully-reid/

      • If I’m not mistaken, he’s also the first president in history who is the anti-Christ.

      • In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

        The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

        And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.

        Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.

        And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.

        http://nypost.com/2013/11/18/census-faked-2012-election-jobs-report/

      • Obama does not care one whit about the millions of people who are losing their medical insurance. Obungler(no)care.

      • Yep, just like all the other “mistakes” made by Obama and his minions have been “due to a reliable source.” Obama can’t do anything right, especially when it comes to telling the truth and playing an honest game. He is Alinsky 2.0.

      • Heh, more we need an evaluation of the SCO, the Social Cost of Obama.
        ================

      • While the security could not keep the four Americans from being killed, there were at least twice the number of guards and agents than Paul asserts providing security for the Benghazi consulate and annex on the night of the assault.

        http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/10/fact-check-rand-paul-links-monument-closures-to-benghazi/

      • Oh, c’mon willard, it was that filmmaker out in California who insulted the Prophet of Allah. Period.
        ============

      • jim2 said on November 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm
        “In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

        The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.”
        _______

        And then they manipulated the unemployment rate up to 7.1 percent for October to make Obama look bad on the eve of the election. But it didn’t work. HA HA !

        Jim, the nypost guy who wrote your cited article doesn’t seem to know much about the CPS and labor force statistics.

      • Correction: 7.9 percent unemployment in Oct. 2012, up from 7.8 percent in Sep.

      • Max_OK,

        “And then they manipulated the unemployment rate up to 7.1 percent for October to make Obama look bad on the eve of the election. But it didn’t work. HA HA !”

        “How often is the employment report published?

        We publish employment and unemployment data each month, based on a schedule set by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Statewide data and data for King-Snohomish counties are released in the second or third week of each month, and then data are published the following week for all other counties.”

        https://fortress.wa.gov/esd/employmentdata/reports-publications/economic-reports/monthly-employment-report

        But then, you knew the October 2012 unemployment figures were reported weeks after the election. You were just being funny, right?

      • Oops, that was Washington State, not Washington DC.

        The feds actually released on November 12. My bad.

        http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_11022012.htm

        But the point (of the election and the article) was to keep the unemployment figure under 8% for Obama’s re-election.

      • November 2, sheesh.

      • Yes, GaryM, the BLS says it released the October 2012 unemployment rate (7.9%) on Nov. 2, 2012, which of course was the last rate released before the election.

        http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_11022012.htm

        Obviously the manipulators were trying to hurt Obama by raising the unemployment rate from 7.8 % in Sep to 7.9% in Oct on the eve of the election. This was to make up for making him look good by reducing the rate from 8.1% in Sep. These manipulators are a mischievous bunch.

        According to John Crudele of the nypost, the manipulation of unemployment data started back in 2010.

        “Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.”

        http://nypost.com/2013/11/18/census-faked-2012-election-jobs-report/

        Actually, the manipulation of unemployment data started shortly after Obama was elected in Nov 2008. Within about a year the unemployment rate had been manipulated up from 6.8% (Nov 2008) to a whopping 10.0%(Oct 2009). Subsequently, the rate was steadily fudged down, and currently stands at 7.3% (Oct 2013), but thats still higher than the rate when Obama first took office,which means the manipulators have an anti-Obama bias.

        http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

      • David Springer

        Joshua | November 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm |

        “If I’m not mistaken, he’s also the first president in history who is the anti-Christ.”

        As usual you are mistaken. Ronald Wilson Reagan. Six letters in each of his three names – the mark of the beast.

  14. Deniers are really not qualified to discuss any of these topics relating to carbon. The ignorance is astounding. Look at what a site such as WUWT is discussing right now. They are still arguing against the fact that CO2 sequesters slowly:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/21/on-co2-residence-times-the-chicken-or-the-egg/

    The Bern model is a simple model of uncertainty-quantified diffusion or what is termed dispersive diffusion:

    OTOH, the deniers still think it is a model of exchange within the carbon cycle.

    This is all basic physics which essentially describes a random walk of CO2 into deep sequestering sites. The fact that they can’t figure this out speaks volumes with regard to the competence of Team Denier with leadership by Lord Plonkton.

    • You are aware that the Bern Model is complete nonsense that fails on every level don’t you?

      • Doc,
        I am aware that the diffusion process that we use to incorporate dopants into the semiconductor material that runs our computers follows the same physics equations that describe the sequestering of CO2.

        The issue is that idiots on WUWT equate this to a first-order rate equation … because that is all they know.

  15. WebHubTelescope,

    In advanced physical chemistry you actually can go one logical step further as those deep sequestering sites will eventually help convert the carbon dioxide into future crude oil and natural gas deposits.

  16. This is nothing more than yet another Obama bomb. At this point he has far exceeded Jimmy Carter as the worst President in history. I can only hope the damage done by Obama can be reversed.

  17. So far I am very disappointed with this website.

    Obviously a rational approach would be to list ALL the costs and benefits == both short term and long term of a proposal — and to list alternatives.

    I was hoping to see more science — I just see a bunch of Know Nothing Ideologues telling me they ONLY care about a tax cut or low regulations.

    Back to NewScientist for me.

  18. A man day of labor is about 10-12 cents (1kwH) from your local electric utility in the United States. It would be hard to over state the positive externalities of fossil fuel energy. Though nearly impossible to calculate to 2 significant figures IMO.

  19. The Social Cost of Catastrophism is high and rising. Ah, Canute, send me those advisers who thought the tide could be stopped.
    ==============================

  20. charging money CO2 not to produce global warming is same as charging money to prevent the moon not to slam into the earth = rip off, robbery, laundering taxpayer’s cash…

  21. Grant A. Brown

    A warming planet is beneficial to human life, up to a point, and then it turns negative. Even granting the IPCC’s average scenario, we will reap substantial benefits in the near term before the negative impacts hit late in the century. Basic economics requires you to discount the future, with a steeper discount the further out you go.

    • A warmer planet sustains more total life and more diversity of life. You set a point, and I’ll move the goalposts.
      ==============

      • Egypt- Sure I fondly remember breaking big rocks into little rocks to help build the pyramids. When we built the pyramids high enough we could sacrifice enough virgins to keep the global temperature gods from destroying the Nile Valley. We were really a good team back then.

      • That Moses dude, he asked one question too many for his own good.
        ==========

      • Always guilt and sacrifice some more maidens. Wonder is,
        there were any maidens left. Tsk!

    • Even a high discount rate only works if you have obtained some carbon-proportional revenue in the first place. It doesn’t help having a high interest rate if you don’t have any money to invest.

  22. [I posted a comment earlier in response to Judith’s comment about uncertainty in the SCC but it is held in moderation, so I’ll split it in two. Here’s the first bit.}

    I haven’t a clue how the uncertainties in the SCC estimates could be calculated, but here are a couple of thoughts:

    First thought, Nordhaus looked at the effect on the SCC of changing, one at a time, each of eight uncertain inputs, see Table 7-2 “Value of SCC for different uncertain parameters” here; http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf. I expect Nordhaus, Tol, and others have advanced the analysis of uncertainty a long way since 2007, but I haven’t seen the outputs.

    • Second thought, SCC is an output from Integrated Assessment Models (AIMs). The IAM’s use inputs from other models. The important thing for policy is that IAM’s are at least one level of uncertainty greater than the models below.

      For simplicity picture six models are stacked with the one on top relying on the one below for its scenario inputs; e.g. (listed from bottom to to below, so bottom box is #1 is and top box is #6)
      1. economic scenarios;
      2. emissions;
      3. climate forcing;
      4. physical impacts;
      5. damage function;
      6. social welfare function
      with final output as change in GDP.

      If each of the six models has, say a 20% chance of being correct, then the output from each successive model becomes more and more uncertain, to the extent that the GCM output has 0.16% chance of being correct, and that from the IAM is 0.0064%.

      It seems to me the uncertainty in the output from the IAMs must be huge. And this is what Pindyck seems to be saying in this paper: http://www.globalwarming.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Pindyk-Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us.pdf

      He concludes that the AIMs are next to useless and there is a better way to decide policy:

      The same approach might be used to assess climate change catastrophes. First, consider a plausible range of catastrophic outcomes (under, for example, BAU), as measured by percentage declines in the stock of productive capital (thereby reducing future GDP). Next, what are plausible probabilities? Here, “plausible” would mean acceptable to a range of economists and climate scientists. Given these plausible outcomes and probabilities, one can calculate the present value of the benefits from averting those outcomes, or reducing the probabilities of their occurrence. The benefits will depend on preference parameters, but if they are sufficiently large and robust to reasonable ranges for those parameters, it would support a stringent abatement policy. Of course this approach does not carry the perceived precision that comes from an IAM-based analysis, but that perceived precision is illusory.

      This sounds a bit to close to the ‘concensus of experts’ approach adopted by the IPCC. I am not persuaded this is a good approach.

      I wonder if ‘Robust Decision Making’ might be a better approach:

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/02/rs-workshop-on-handling-uncertainty-in-weather-climate-prediction-part-i/

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/18/coping-with-deep-climate-uncertainty/

      http://www.rand.org/topics/robust-decision-making.html

  23. This blog’s comments was very entertaining.
    Now to the blog:
    Social cost of Carbon = more government regulation and cost.

    This goes back to the greenpeace memeplex:
    George Marshall was trying to argue that their memeplex wasn’t working and was coming back to bite them in the @ss. His hypothesis went like this:

    1. enemy + intention → harms victims
    2. hero + intention → defeats enemy and restores status quo

    1. Enemy (Big Business) + intention (self enrichment) → harm (high energy costs) to victims (vulnerable)
    2. Hero (Labour party) + intention (social justice) → defeat (price freeze) and restores status quo (standard of living)

    But business fights back:

    1. Enemy (Environmental extremism) + intention (ideological zealotry) → harm (green taxes/suffering) to victims (vulnerable)
    2. Hero (Conservative party) + intention (defending freedom) → defeat (roll back taxes) and restores status quo (freedom/standard of living).

    He said this is what always happens:
    But then the energy companies responded. As predicted by the research they maintained the overall narrative structure and simply changed the dramatis personae. The enemy was now environmentalism and the green taxes which had, according to dubious but much quoted figures, added £112 to average fuel bulls. According to Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On, these were “smeared across everybody’s bill” and were tantamount to a “poll tax”. Right wing conservatives like Jacob Rees Mogg joined in saying that because of the obsession of “the doomsayers of the quasi religious Green movement” poor people “may die because they can’t afford fuel”

    Climate change will never win with enemy narratives. Once unleashed, they take on a life of their own and come back to bite us and we will find ourselves written in to replace our chosen enemies. As climate impacts intensify there will be a lot of confusion, blame and anger looking for a target and enemy narratives provide the frame for scapegoats.

    Now he would know better than anyone since he played that game for years and saw the results.

    Short of getting a carbon tax Obama is using executive power. More regulation and cost has business defraying the costs to customers thus hurting economic growth. It also hands the memeplex over to the Republicans who will be crying anti-business communist community organizer Obama and singing in chorus next fall.

  24. “Once the Affordable Care Act is working really well “I guarantee you they will not call it ‘Obamacare,” President Obama teased at a Maryland Community College in September. He referred to his signature legislation as ‘Obamacare’ 13 times in that speech — Thursday at the White House the President meekly addressed it as the Affordable Care Act. ”

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/sarahjeanseman/2013/11/14/obama-in-september-when-aca-is-working-youll-stop-calling-it-obamacare-n1746750

  25. If the subject were the social costs of flooding and rising sea levels, some here would be pointing out the importance of water for drinking, bathing, and irrigation, and how water is important for economic growth.

    • Max_OK,

      If you were proposing “de-waterizing” the planet, you bet yer a** that would be an argument.

      You guys really need to work on that whole analogy thing.

      • GaryM, there are sources of power other than coal, oil, and natural gas. Think renewables and nuclear. But there is no substitute for water.

  26. The “social cost of carbon” has nothing to do with expectations of real world damages. It is simply more model created data designed to give the progressive government of the US political PR to support its existing policy goals.

    You can trust this government to be objective and accurate on this just as you can trust them on their reports of the unemployment rate

    http://nypost.com/2013/11/18/census-faked-2012-election-jobs-report/

    and promises that if you like your policy, you can keep your policy. Period.

    (no link needed, except for the brain dead)

  27. I have a question. Strangely, I have trouble finding the answer quickly with google. So the question: When people say “social cost (benefit) of carbon,” do they really mean the external costs (benefits) of carbon? A lot of the benefits described above are not external benefits–they are private benefits and those enjoying them pay the private costs. If co2 is plant food, so that a fossil fuels burner or cement producer is fertilizing Farmer Bob’s crops, that is definitely an external benefit that needs to be subtracted from any external cost to figure the net external cost (benefit). But simply saying that fossil fuels are responsible for x% of gnp or growth doesn’t mean that ANY of that is an external benefit. If the vast majority of that was privately enjoyed and privately paid for, that vast majority is not external benefit.

    All that matters here should be the difference between external benefits and external costs, but I read a lot of comments above that are confusing the total social benefit (this is private+external benefit) with external benefit. Same for cost. Don’t do this, it leads to bizarre claims.

    • NW,
      I take it your talking about something like this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Positive_externality.svg

      That most of us (non-economists) wouldn’t know that without checking.

      Reading this first paragraph (linked by Curry above under background info):

      Speaking before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Shelanski offered historical background of the Administration’s use of social cost of carbon estimates. Shelanski began:

      When I refer to the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) I mean the values used to calculate the monetary costs and benefits of incremental changes in the volume of carbon emissions in a given year. The social cost of carbon includes, for example, changes in net agricultural productivity and human health, property damage from increased flood risk, energy system costs, and the value of ecosystem services lost because of climate change.

      Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to use the best available scientific, technical, economic, and other information to quantify the costs and benefits of rules. Rigorous evaluation of costs and benefits has been a core tenet of the rulemaking process for decades through Republican and Democratic Administrations. This fundamental principle of using the best available information underpins the Administration’s efforts to develop and update its estimates of the social cost of carbon. Indeed, cost benefit analysis better informs decision makers if it takes into account the current and future damages from carbon pollution.

      specifically: “…changes in net agricultural productivity and human health, property damage…”

      Wouldn’t that be mostly private?

      • Warning: Long, unbearably didactic post ahead.

        Traditional welfare economics is based on utilitarianism, which in turn is based on pleasures and pains experienced by individuals. In particular, there is nothing beyond individually felt pleasures and pains–no values above individual ones. I guess that, in that specific sense, all benefits and costs in traditional welfare economics are “private” ones–since they are enjoyed or suffered only by individuals.

        In the simplest case, the total social benefit from level x of good X is simply a sum across individuals of the individual benefits that result from a level x of good X. (I’m glossing over some very interesting issues here, especially interpersonal comparability of benefit, and whether additivity is the right aggregation rule, but that’s life in a vanilla utilitarian world.)

        What makes a benefit (or cost) private versus external is (1) who chose x, and (2) whose benefits depend on x. If the person in (1) and (2) are the same person–and only the same person–then we say that the benefits are wholly “internal,” and we usually refer to such benefits as (purely) private benefits. I am not a big fan of the “rational actor” terminology, I like “reasonable actor” better. Anyway, a reasonable actor will, when choosing x, balance her private benefits and costs and choose a level x that makes her own balance of benefits over costs nearly as large as possible. Because she is the only person who is affected by her choice of x, this will also contribute maximally to social benefits (which are just a sum of individual benefits, and no one else is affected by her choice of x by hypothesis).

        The other kind of case is where (say) person 1 chooses x, experiencing benefit B1(x) and cost C1(x) from that choice, but persons j = 2 to N also experience benefits Bj(x) and costs Cj(x) from person 1’s choice of x. Now, it’s possible that person 1 is a “utilitarian social altruist” (she cares as much about the benefits and costs experienced by the j = 2 to N other persons as she does about herself) and that person 1 knows what the functions Bj(x) and Cj(x) of the other N-1 persons are. But this seems far-fetched to most economists, at least most of the time, especially when the others are remote from person 1 in time, space, kinship and friendship. In this situation we expect person 1 to be a reasonable actor only about her own B1(x) – C1(x), and act only to make it big. The other part of social welfare is the E(x) = (sum over j ne 1)(Bj(x) – Cj(x)), and we would call E(x) the external net benefit (cost) of person 1’s choice of x, and say that 1’s choice of x generates an externality (which could be either a net benefit or a net cost to the others).

        Total social net benefit from my choice of x = my net benefits from my choice of x +
        external net benefits to others from my choice of x.

        In the case of a purely private good X, the second term is zero. For example, I buy 12 apples for $4.50. I enjoy the apples and I part with about $4.50 worth of other goods. The only way in which I might be said to impose harms on others is by consuming 12 apples which are no longer available to others, but I have released my command over $4.50 of other goods, and so these have been made available to others, and (under the assumptions of some market magic) this is a wash to the others.

        To my mind, that situation does not resemble “changes in net agricultural productivity and human health, property damage…” In these situations, one set of actors make (mainly but not exclusively) energy choices and those choices impose benefits and/or harms on other parties who had no say in those choices. These are situations where the second term, the E(x), is not zero.

        So what happens when people buy energy?…This is after all the private decision which we all make, and have made for hundreds of years, and buying BTUs or kWhs has generally been getting cheaper and cheaper, and yes that has meant prosperity and growth. But for the most part, the benefits and costs (the prosperity and growth on the one hand, and the payments for it on the other) have been internal… people paid for it and received the benefits, and by paying for it they gave up command over other goods, which others could then enjoy. Those are all private benefits and costs. It’s the extra stuff, the costs (or benefits) that MY consumption of kWhs impose on others, that are the external costs (or benefits). Those are the extra part of the total social benefits that are missing from private considerations.

        Someone (I know their names) is going to come along and tell some story about how apple agriculture imposes terrible, huge external costs on others. Doubtless. Please take the story in the spirit it was intended and spare me the lecture.

      • Yeah that makes sense. I was only thinking of the affect on individuals. I suppose it’s a little like putting chemicals in a river. Whether it is public or private polluting and whether it is public or private use of the river the river is external in it’s use. One set of actors impose harm (benefits) on another set of actors.

      • I misconstrued that didn’t I? Actually the River would be net zero until the first party affects it and causes (E(x) is not zero) due to with no participatory exchange with all parties affected? I’ll have to read it several more times. Muchos Gracias Senior!

      • NW’s comment is a very good description of “orthodox” neoclassical economic thinking about externalities. There are a few conceptual problems with this thinking that have long been recognized within the profession but swept under the rug.

        1. As Coase pointed out back in 1960, who is imposing an externality on whom? If I stop your production to keep your smoke out of my house, I am imposing a cost on you. If you produce, you are imposing a cost on me. Neither is inherently “internal” or “external.”

        2. It is well known that market prices under competition systematically underestimate the welfare benefits of market transactions because in equilibrium there is large unmeasured consumer surplus. (This is one reason price indices that ignore hedonic improvements overstate inflation.) I pay a lot less for my shoes than I would be willing to pay for them, and this gap generates utility to me for which no one is paid. Now if regulations on pollution reduce equilibrium output and sales, these losses of consumer surplus go unmeasured. Likewise for reductions in output quality occasioned by regulation (and I actually expect the quality margin to be the relevant one in many cases). Combine this with point 1 above, and you can see that there are indeed “external” but “private” benefits created by fossil fuels and industrial production.

        Producers making decisions about the quantity and quality of output do NOT take into account the consumer surplus accrued by their customers. They care about marginal revenue and marginal cost, not average welfare, but they provide vast amounts of uncompensated welfare to those with whom they transact. (Here the ability to price discriminate starts to look like an important social good.) This would probably be the main justification for all the social infrastructure publicly provided to sustain commerce in developed countries, including courts, enforcement of contract and property rights, collection of economic statistics, etc. If there were no positive external effects to private production it would be hard to justify paying for these out of general levies.

        3. There are many goods and services produced under conditions of increasing returns to production and/or consumption. In these cases, my private consumption raises the economic surplus attendant on your private consumption. The usual dodge in standard economic discourse is to classify these as mere “pecuniary” externalities, but it’s hard to justify the distinction here. We’ve already seen, for example, how reducing electricity consumption can sometimes cause fixed-cost burdens to become worse on the remaining consumers. Many of these effects go away in “long-run” equilibrium with all factors of production adjusted to the optimal level, but in the real world where sunk investments affect today’s cost structure over a long period of time getting more people on the bus reduces the cost of bus travel for each one.

        4. The existence of economies of agglomeration in urban areas pretty much only makes sense if there are positive spillovers from others’ consumption. The availability of retail stores and restaurants at different quality levels and degrees of specialization, for example, depends on the incomes of one’s neighbors.

        5. There are substantial direct spillovers, both positive and negative, from others’ wealth and consumption to one’s own. We’re all familiar with the negative ones (crowding of roads and other places subject to congestion, increased competition for positional goods such as status), but we often neglect the positive ones. Would you rather live in a place where others’ clothing was better or worse? Their housing? Their education? Their deodorant?

        6. There’s something called the theory of the second best that says that cleaning up one externality at a time can make matters worse because different externalities may be canceling one another out. I’m not a huge believer in pervasive market power on the part of firms in the U.S., but there clearly is some and countries with lower levels of competition may be worse. Firms with market power under-produce relative to the neoclassical optimum, so if a lack of pollution controls causes them to over-produce then the net outcome may be better than if you just impose a pollution tax.

        All these caveats imply that a policy that broadly reduces “private” economic productivity, like CO2-emission restrictions, is likely to have deleterious uncompensated knock-on effects. Unless the harms are very big and obvious and the costs very small, corrective policy is likely to be a mistake. And that’s ignoring the problems of the political process, corruption, rent-seeking behavior, etc. that such policies bring in their train.

      • thanks, good stuff!

      • Steve Postrel, excellent, fully agree.

      • John DeFayette

        Thank you, stevepostrel, for the thoughtful comment.

        Why does it seem to an economics outsider like me that the discovery of externalities is an event that took place only when progressives discovered the harms of CO2 emissions? I have never seen or heard the MSM question the basis for CO2 externalities calculations, nor present a counterpoint to any of the new industry’s talking points. Are the economists sleeping under the same rock as the serious earth scientists?

      • …as the serious earth scientists

        That’s being pretty generous I’d say :-)

    • The social cost of carbon is the external net marginal cost. That is, it is the sum of the positive and negative externalities at the margin. Because the positive externalities are commonly assumed to be smaller than the negative ones (and most evidence has that this is true at the margin), people typically refer to this as a “cost” even when “net cost” would be more accurate and appropriate.

      • Usually, the socialists want to say the positive externalies of energy can’t be counted because the beneficiary of the externality didn’t ASK for it. Right. This is just another socialist obfuscation of reality. If you receive a car for Christmas, do you not benefit because you didn’t ask for it?

      • Richard, when you and others do these calculations, is it always within the framework of vanilla time-discounted expected utility, or does anyone try to go beyond those, e.g. with Harvey’s slow discounting or a non-expected-utility accounting for risk? Don’t mean to suggest they should, I’m just curious what’s been tried or argued.

      • @NW
        People have tried all sorts of discount rates and discount schemes, although I am not aware of the specific ones you mention.

      • @NW (2)
        Harvey’s slow-discount has been renamed hyperbolic discounting and Gamma discounting. Has been applied. See recent paper by Arrow, Cropper and co in Science for a plea to make this standard practice for US government.

        Deviations from expected utility that have been tried include Kreps-Porteus-Epstein-Zin, Bentham-Rawls, inequity aversion, ambiguity aversion, sustainable discounting, sustainabilitarianism …

      • It would reduce controversy if someone would get around to demonstrating, rather than stating as an axiom, that the ‘social cost’ of introducing CO2 into the atmosphere as a byproduct of our energy infrastructure is other than zero.

        And as an aside, the current numbers being bandied about as to the Climate Sensitivity for a doubling of CO2, which we are nowhere near, is around 1.5-2 degrees. Does anyone seriously believe that they can estimate in any meaningful way the ‘damage’, in dollars, over decade to century spans, that would ensue by raising the TOE by 1-2 degrees amortized over the same spans, assuming for the moment that CO2 actually has a measurable influence on the TOE? And that we should set public energy policy based on those estimates? Or that the damage from the temperature rise would not pale into insignificance compared to the chaos and poverty that would ensue from reducing our fossil fuel consumption by 90+% as demanded by the Progressive_Politician/Climate_Scientist/Environmentalist complex?

      • David Springer

        Speaking as engineer the positive benefits of fossil fuels are so large as to make any discussion of negative externalities of CO2 laughable.

        A human being can produce about 1 kilowatt of power per day. Through the miracle of fossil fuel a kilowatt of power costs about $0.11 today. Put that in your economic pipe and smoke it, fool!

      • David Springer

        kilowatt-hour not kilowatt

      • Well done for correcting that. People, especially engineers, need to be sure to state units correctly. Power and energy are different, the units are different, and it is important to be careful to get them correct, so that others who are not familiar with units or measure, but are listening and learning, get to understand the importance of getting them correct. It is very easy to detect if someone ios out of his depth if he confuses power and energy and if he doesn’t know the correct symbol for units. For example, people who use kW when they mean kWh and those who write KWH instead of kWh, reveal they know little about the subject. [KWH is a kelvin watt Henry].

        So well done for correcting your mistaken confusion of power and energy. Your corrected sentence would say:

        A human being can produce about 1 kilowatt-hour of energy per day. Through the miracle of fossil fuel a kilowatt-hour of energy costs about $0.11 today.

      • @David, Peter
        The suggested social cost of carbon would raise the price of energy by something like $0.01/kWh.

      • Your corrected sentence would say: A human being can produce about 1 kilowatt-hour of energy per day.

        Pop quiz: does this imply that a human being can on average produce about 1/24 kW of power?

        (Just checking that the world’s self-proclaimed physics experts are all on the same page.)

      • “Speaking as engineer the positive benefits of fossil fuels are so large as to make any discussion of negative externalities of CO2 laughable.”

        Sigh.

      • Richard Tol,

        Thank you. But am I missing something? If I understand correctly, the SCC is not the price increase that would be required to deliver a given reduction in emissions, because the mechanisms (ETS or carbon tax) would not be 100% efficient. So it is not fair to talk about the SCC as the price increase that would be applied to energy. The price increase would be far higher, in the real world, to achieve a given reduction in emissions. Please correct me if my understanding is not correct?

        Regarding your comment that the SCC would add only 1 c/kWh to the price of energy, I guess that would depend on which energy, which grid, and which SCC (e.g. which discount rate is used). It would have a small effect on electricity from a grid that is mostly nuclear and renewables (like France) but have a large effect on electricity from a grid like Australia’s that is generated by 70% coal and 20% natural gas.

        The emissions intensity of eastern Australia’s electricity grid is about 0.93 t CO2/MWh. If we use the SCC of $33/t C (i.e. $9/t CO2) from IPCC AR5 WGII, Table 10-9, (for Post-AR4 3% PRTP), the cost would be $9/tonne CO2 x 0.93 t CO2/MWh = $8.4/MWh, or 0.84 c/kWh. That represents nearly a 20% increase to the average wholesale price of electricity. These figures would be over 5 times higher if we use SCC for 1% PRRT ($181/t C).

        But importantly, over time, there would be an accelerating increase in the real price (I think). That’s the concern. Once carbon pricing gets implemented, it will be under the control of bureaucrats and politicians like in the EU and US EPA and Australia’s Climate Change Authority http://climatechangeauthority.gov.au/ It will become a huge boondogle and extremely difficult to unwind, as we are finding in Australia.

        Implementing systems that have high cost and extremely costly to unwind is the opposite of good management. We should always try to implement systems that are easy to modify and easy to unwind if the evidence shows a change is needed. We are far from certain that carbon pricing is the right approach. I am sceptical that it is the right approach. Until I have seen the people in positions of influence have seriously considered the alternative – such as I suggested earlier on this thread: http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/21/social-cost-of-carbon/#comment-416438 – I am likely to remain opposed to high cost policies like carbon pricing and policies that subsidise and effectively mandate renewable energy.

        Uncertainty about the problem (man-made climate change) is a given; but uncertainty about the chosen solution is inexcusable. This is to say, we should be confident that our solutions are going to be effective, and the more expensive the solution the more confident we should be. In short, big responses require high levels of confidence that they will work. There seems to be a lack of credible evidence to demonstrate carbon pricing passes this test.

        http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/08/why-the-ets-will-not-succeed-peter-lang/

        I hope this long comment makes sense – We’ve just won the first test against the poms, so I am celebrating :)

      • Correction to the emissions intensity of electricity for Australia.

        The latest estimate of the average emissions intensity of Australia’s electricity, from the Department of Climate Change web site, is 1.01 t CO2/MWh )http://www.climatechange.gov.au/sites/climatechange/files/documents/07_2013/national-greenhouse-accounts-factors-july-2013.pdf , Table 41).

        So the costs I gave in my previous comments should be increased by about 8%.

      • After all that, I agree, the SCC of $33/t C ($9/t CO2) would add about $0.01/kWh for electricity to the wholesale cost of electricity in Australia (in 2010?).

      • David Springer

        Vaughan Pratt | November 24, 2013 at 3:06 am |

        “Pop quiz: does this imply that a human being can on average produce about 1/24 kW of power?”

        No it implies the rule of thumb that a human being can continuously produce about 1/10th of one horsepower in manual labor between dawn and dusk.

        Let me know if there’s some part of that you don’t understand.

      • David Springer

        NW | November 24, 2013 at 3:36 am |

        “Sigh.”

        When and if you’re done sighing you might think about fixing the broken link in your profile pointing to your faculty web page at Chapman. You’d think in your position you wouldn’t be quite so computer illiterate. Sigh.

      • @DS: No it implies the rule of thumb that a human being can continuously produce about 1/10th of one horsepower in manual labor between dawn and dusk.

        That’s not the standard meaning of “average power per day.” If it’s your meaning then apparently everyone else is out of step except you.

  28. !!!THE INCREASE IN CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE IS MOSTLY NATURAL!!!

    During El nino years, the release of CO2 from the oceans is a maximum, and during La Nina years it is a minimum as shown below:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/compress:12/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/compress:12/derivative/from:1979/normalise

    It is a fools errand to try to control the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, because it is exclusively determined by ocean temperature.

  29. @Judith
    The social cost of carbon, as used by the government in its cost-benefit analyses of new and revised regulations, is a carbon tax only if models used by the regulator accurately predict the induced change in behavior.

    @Wall Street Journal
    It would indeed be better if there were an explicit carbon tax rather than an regulatory shadow price of carbon. That does not imply, though, that the shadow price is zero. It implies that the cost-benefit analysis should include the marginal cost of imperfect regulation. In other words, the same social cost of carbon buys less emission reduction.

    @SPPI
    This is simply false. The models used by the government to estimate the social cost of carbon do include the benefits of carbon dioxide fertilization.

    • @Judith
      You write that you want an assessment of the uncertainties about the social cost of carbon. IPCC WG2 AR5 Ch10 (see leaked copy over at Bishop Hill) will show entire probability density functions, based on work first published by me in Energy Policy.

      • Hi Richard, I look forward to seeing this.

      • Professor Tol,

        Thank you. I’ve downloaded ‘IPCC WGII AR5 Chapter 10′ from the Bishop Hill web site: . Table 10-1 gives the average SCC, for 3% Pure Rate of Time Preference, as $33/ tonne C (which is $9/tonne CO2). Figure 10-2 shows the probability density functions.

        However, I struggle to reconcile these figures with your Figure 3 here: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf.

        It seems to me that, if we exclude the cost of ‘Energy’ for the moment, warming would be net beneficial to beyond 4 C temperature increase.

        Now, if the average cost of energy per unit for the whole world is reduced (which I expect is plausible over say 50 years), by say half, it seems to me that global warming would be net beneficial for all this century.

        I realise your paper is not meant to be interpreted this way, but it is influencing me to believe the uncertainties in the IAM’s are so great that we should not be advocating policies that increase the cost of energy, like carbon pricing and mandating renewable energy, because they will inevitably do economic damage but with low probability of delivering the projected benefits.

        I reckon there is a better way. I believe it is robust and ‘No Regrets’. And it requires no global agreements.

      • @Peter
        That paper shows total impacts from one model; while the IPCC chapter shows marginal impacts from many studies. Therefore, don’t try to reconcile the two.

        You are right that we should tread carefully when suggesting to raise the price of energy, particularly in poor countries.

      • Richard Tol,

        Thank you. I’ll be mulling the uncertainties in the SCC for a while.

      • @RichardTol
        Have you or anyone else seriously looked at tax breaks for carbon reduction rather than tax increases? It seems to make more sense to me because the money would be directly applied by individual businesses to capital investment and R&D rather than disappearing into the Federal Government Black Hole.

      • Tax breaks isn’t a term in the socialist vocabulary.

      • David Springer

        Raising the price of energy in wealthy countries trickles down to poor countries. The US for instance exports a tremendous amount of grain to poor countries. Raising the price of fuel in the US commensurately raises the cost of growing, harvesting, and transporting grain. The delivered cost of grain rises for rich and poor countries alike.

    • Chip Knappenberger

      If Idso’s (SPPI) CO2 fertilization numbers are correct, the benefit from CO2 emissions on global agriculture is grossly underplayed in the SCC models, even including Tol’s FUND model (which itself incorporates a much greater CO2 fertilization benefit than either DICE or PAGE).

      At least that is my understanding. Perhaps Richard could elaborate.

      -Chip

    • Richard Tol,

      @SPPI
      This is simply false. The models used by the government to estimate the social cost of carbon do include the benefits of carbon dioxide fertilization.

      I didn’t interpret the SPPI paper to be saying CO2 fertilisation is not included in the IAC models used in the government analyses. I interpreted the main message to be that one particular component of fertilsation benefit – i.e. crops – may have been underestimated to date. For me the take away message from the SPPI paper is:

      The present study addresses this deficiency by providing a quantitative estimate of the direct monetary benefits conferred by atmospheric CO2 enrichment on both historic and future global crop production. The results indicate that the annual total monetary value of this benefit grew from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011, amounting to a total sum of $3.2 trillion over the 50-year period 1961-2011. Projecting the monetary value of this positive externality forward in time reveals it will likely bestow an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050.

      As you are recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on impact studies, could you please expand on your brief comment that SPPI report “is simply false“; e.g.:

      – Does the SPPI study add anything new and significant to the knowledge base?

      – Is there anything of value in it that would change your estimates of the ‘Agriculture’ line in your Figure 3 here: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf ?

      – In particular, is the projection of a “an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050 about right, wrong, already known and fully incorporated in your Figure 3?

      – If it is wrong, why and by how much is it wrong (roughly)?

      – If it is roughly correct and not fully incorporated in Figure 3 ‘Agriculture’ then how much difference would it make if it was incorporated (roughly)?

  30. Why doesn’t Obama just come out and say it. If you like your climate, you can keep your climate. Period.

    :)

    • Hugh Whalen,

      I am not sure I’d believe the US President if he said “I guarantee to preserve the World’s climate as it is now. Trust me. I can deliver”.

      But if he said something like the following, I’d agree it is plausable.

      “If the US citizens pull together, we can lead the world to have almost unlimited, lower cost, low-GHG emissions, cleaner and safer energy.

      We need to get rid of our anti-nuclear phobia as a first step. Then we need to remove the impediments that are preventing nuclear energy from being developed so that it becomes cheaper than fossil fuel energy. Once we remove the impediments, the US’s demonstrated capability in innovation, engineering, manufacturing, production and entrepreneurship can lead the world to cleaner and cheaper sources of energy.

      As prices come down, nuclear energy will replace fossil fuels for electricity and cut global emissions without any need for centrally controlled, international, legally binding agreements to cut emissions. It will just happen as a result of freer markets and freer trade.

      Once we have cheaper electricity, it can be used to produce transport fuels.”

      To show why I am suggesting it is plausible I’ll provide some numbers:

      At a moderate cost reduction rate of 10% per doubling of capacity, the cost of electricity from small modular reactors (SMR) could be the same price as new coal plants in Australia when 3 GW are in service world wide and half the cost of new coal plants in Australia when 250 GW are in operation world wide. That could be by about 2045 assuming first units in service in 2022 and at the projected cost of electricity for SMRs in Australia (See AETA report: http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf, Table 3.10.1 and Table 4.38)

      When the wholesale price of electricity for SMR’s is below the cost of new coal plants in Australia, they’d be much cheaper just about everywhere else around the world. In that case no legally binding international agreements would be needed to cut global emisisons at an accelerating rate. Nuclear will replace fossil fuels.

      To get there we need leadership, and especially from the US President, ‘progressives’, greenies and environmental NGO’s. If these people and groups get behind it, the change to strong support to reduce the impediments for nuclear power could be relatively swift. It could happen within the term of one US president.

  31. Our hostess writers “In light of the importance of SCC to U.S. climate/energy policy, it seems that much more attention needs to be paid to this issue.”

    I have no idea how important SCC is, so I assume that Judith is correct; this is an important issue. It seems to me that it is just another sign that the warmists are getting desperate, and the scientific community is staying silent.

    It would appear that SCC is being promulgated as a scientific measure of how much damage CO2 is doing to the world as we pump more and more of it into the atmosphere. But there is no way that science can put any sort of valid number onto SCC.

    So this is just another example of pseudo science; the same as the pretence that we can give a value for the climate sensitivity of CO2. Yes, our hostess is highlighting this travesty, but the scientific community is staying silent, as we see, once again , the scientific method being thrown under the bus.

    Simon and Garfunkel got it right. “The Sounds of Silence”.

    • Hi Jim

      “I have no idea how important SCC is, so I assume that Judith is correct; this is an important issue.”

      I also agree: it is of critical importance. As soon as someone in authority admits, and acts on his admission, that the SCC is negative, or at worst zero, the sooner this nightmare will be over and we can, hopefully return to ‘government by the sane’.

      Frankly, the prospects appear bleak.

      • To Bob Ludwick, and all who have retained their sanity,

        “I have no idea how important SCC is, so I assume that Judith is correct; this is an important issue.”

        I also agree: it is of critical importance. As soon as someone in authority admits, and acts on his admission, that the SCC is negative, or at worst zero, the sooner this nightmare will be over and we can, hopefully return to ‘government by the sane’.

        I agree. I think we need to use Social Cost of Carbon and milk it for all we can until it becomes clear what is the real net cost-benefit of CO2 and of any global warming if it does happen, or reduced cooling if that is what happens.

  32. The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global emissions

    Using the usual sneaky tricking of quietly assuming the very thing they first need to prove, but clearly haven’t, and don’t even seem anywhere near proving – i.e. a high certainty that CAGW is true.

    Just more political agents acting to as to benefit politics.

  33. Your ‘ain’t’ ain’t authentic.
    ============

  34. The idea of establishing a SCC without reasonably reliable information regarding the net harms vs. the net benefits for a particular nation is deeply flawed.
    There is poor information of benefits of emitting CO2
    There is virtually no reliable information to describe to describle what harms will occur to a particular nation.
    How can a reasonably accurate determination be made of the net SCC or SBC (social cost vs, social benefit?) without reliable information???
    There may be dumber determinations but not many.

  35. I would love to see their calculations for the “social cost of carbon” when James Watt built his first steam-engine.

  36. Reblogged this on Cold Air and commented:
    I’ve been surprised at the White House’s use of the shady term “carbon pollution” (it’s like refering to drowing as “water pollution”).
    Now people are taking a look a policy set on the basis of a “social cost of carbon” calculation – and while I agree with setting policy by estimating future costs, I wouldn’t justify the policy based on a spreadsheet.
    This shot is probably deserved:
    “And finally, I return to the issues raised in the preceding post, 20 tips for interpreting scientific claims. Some commenters seemed to think this was pretty much kindergarten stuff and of course policy makers (or their staffers) understand this stuff. Well anyone taking seriously the White House’s SCC numbers needs to go back to kindergarten and pay attention to the 20 tips.”

  37. Regardless of the SCC being a valid metric, now that the Senate has gone nuclear, watch out for an even more agressive EPA looking to apply it in the war on, not just coal, but all fossil fuels. We are living in dangerous times with a current administration looking to rule and not serve.

    To those who think that there is a net cost to carbon and not a net benefit, I challenge you to name one thing you own, eat, or otherwise consume that has not either been improved by or in some way benefited from the use of fossil fuels. As was pointed out by Wegathon earlier, the real war is being waged to keep the poor impoverished by not allowing them access to abundant, affordable, and reliable energy sources.

  38. Chip Knappenberger

    Judith,

    I have written extensively on the shortcomings of the Administration’s determination of the SCC (for example, http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/obamas-social-cost-carbon-odds-science) and the folks at the Heritage Foundation just yesterday released a report looking at what would happen in DICE model if recent estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity were used in place of the (outdated) ones used by the Administration. It is worth a read (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/11/loaded-dice-an-epa-model-not-ready-for-the-big-game).

    -Chip

  39. The social cost of wind and solar power here in UK.
    Per the National grid just now demand is 48.39GW. Wind produces 2.1GW (or 4.34%) even although installed wind capacity is over 10GW. So we get a 20% contribution from the installed capacity. Solar does not even register. If wind falls to less than 1GW (as it does quite often) more standby is required. Wind is paid first so there is a lot of CO2 being emitted from by stand-by power required to fill falling wind input (often at very short notice). Additionally, the more wind turbines you install, the more stand-by power is required. Perhaps the Obama adminstration should retire to re-evaluate “the cost of carbon” caused by the vagaries of Wind.

    • If Obama had one jot of decency, he would step down and retire now.

    • As people have discovered, but can’t admit publicly, wind and solar are a ‘thorn in the butt of progress’ and will remain so until some relatively efficient method is devised to ‘low pass filter’ their output to slightly less than their average output, so that they can supply power 24/7, albeit at levels far below their nominal peak capacity. Until then, adding wind/solar capacity simply adds stress to the national grid, without replacing ANY fossil fuel base load supplies.

      • Make the turbines 1000 feet tall with 750 foot length blades? 3000 feet tall?

      • I think that you are on to something, jim2, but you didn’t think it through all the way: The REAL mother lode of wind is in the jet stream, and it is much more reliable than those fickle surface winds. Obvious solution: Build the towers so that the turbines are in the jet stream. Presto. Base load wind power. Demon CO2 thwarted.

        Completion of the exercise is left to the (engineering) student.

  40. Unless the social cost of carbon is imposed worldwide, pricing carbon in any given country is likely to have little effect and may be counterproductive. If carbon is priced in the US, carbon intensive industries will simply move to countries were it is not priced and where technology is less efficient. Th end result is more, not less, carbon emissions.

  41. Perhaps the biggest uncertainty is the extent to which increased agricultural productivity can be attributed to increased CO2 levels. Certainly CO2 is “plant food,” certainly it has increased production, but other things have also helped increase production. It would be really good to be able to put a dollar value on CO2’s value to increased agricultural production after parsing out benefits from other directions.

    Which in itself would be hard to value, because the benefit would be in lower prices to consumers, and greater food availability (especially in the third world), not so much in increased benefits to producers.

    There have been recent articles about how climate change going forward will decrease food production, because of increased droughts and heavy floods. That is where, as Judith says, you really need to know the uncertainty. Based on work by Roger Pielke Jr. and others, there are no such trends at present, just (apparently) fearmongering rhetoric.

    But it is my suspicion, not having read the cost of carbon analyses from EPA, that a good part of the cost of increasing is due to less agricultural production due to increased droughts and floods. This in turn creates a larger social cost of carbon, but it is likely illusory.

  42. It is amazing how with the extremists there are only costs but no benefits, or benefits and no costs. The CO2 obsessed see only costs…and do so at the expense of their ethics, their critical thinking skills, all at a huge cost to those upon whom they inflict their obsession.

  43. The White House document is based on three models that give so different results that using averages of them is a rather strange choice. How different views their authors have can be seen from a recent discussion at Chris Hope’s blog.

    Tables A2-A5 of the appendix of the document tell, how large the differences between the models are.

    The third author William Nordhaus has published a new book The Climate Casino about a month ago. I have so far read only the introductory chapter of this book. Nordhaus makes his stand clear already in that as can be seen from this paragraph, where he comments on difficulties in getting effective climate policies accepted, when the costs are separate for each country while the benefits are global:

    The double free-riding difficulties are aggravated by interest groups that muddy the water by providing misleading analyses of climate science and economic costs. Contrarians highlight anomalies and unresolved scientific questions while ignoring the strong evidence supporting the underlying science and current projections of climate change. The need to introduce effective policies has been particularly difficult in the United States, where ideological opposition has hardened even as the scientific concerns have become increasingly grave.

    Somewhat surprisingly he sees import tariffs on products from nonparticipant countries as a part of the most promising solution.

    • Pekka Pirila,

      I presume you quoted this passage because it supports your view that and international agreement is necessary to control the climate. But surely, 20 years of failed UN climate chats, should give you some cause for concern about such an approach. I am persuaded it is an futile approach. I wonder why you don’t seriously consider an approach along the lines of what I laid out here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/21/social-cost-of-carbon/#comment-416438

      • PS Pekka

        Is there the slightest shred of evidence that the actions demanded to ‘control the climate’ would, in fact, control the climate?

      • Bob,

        I wrote a comment on exactly that point a couple of days ago in some other thread. In my view that’s the most significant uncertainty for decision making. It’s of little value to conclude that smething should be done, when it’s not known what’s a wise enough choice for that. In integrated assessment models it’s usually assumed that something will come up based largely on historical experience of technology development, but again it’s “something” rather than presently known solutions.

      • Bob Ludwick said

        Is there the slightest shred of evidence that the actions demanded to ‘control the climate’ would, in fact, control the climate?

        This is the most important question that should be being asked at the UN climate conferences. Will the policies that UN climate delegates are advocating and agitating for change the climate? What are the probabilities that the policies being advocated – like an international legally binding agreement with penalties for breaches of commitments, a world carbon pricing agreement, etc. – would succeed?

        Richard Tol explained here http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-climate-talks-if-17th-you-don-t-succeed that there is low probability of such policies succeeding.

        So I keep asking why Pekka Pirila and others that frequently support such policies, don’t accept there is a low probability of any policy succeeding that will raise the cost of energy or that requires international, legally binding agreements?

        I keep asking, but Pekka and others who agree with him, keep dodging the question: why don’t you accept they wont succeed and then seriously consider the policies that have been shown over millennia they do succeed – virtually always. That is freer markets and freer trade. I explained how the world can move to low emissions low cost energy without any international agreement or regulations or carbon pricing. So why, do Pekka and others keep ducking the question?

        Pekka said in response to Bob Ludwick’s comment:

        In my view that’s the most significant uncertainty for decision making. It’s of little value to conclude that something should be done, when it’s not known what’s a wise enough choice for that. In integrated assessment models it’s usually assumed that something will come up based largely on historical experience of technology development, but again it’s “something” rather than presently known solutions.

        I agree. But, since you show you recognise the problem – i.e. very high uncertainty that the solutions being advocated for the past 20 years and still being advocated – like international, top-down, legally binding agreements, carbon pricing, etc. – will succeed, why don’t you seriously consider the alternative that conservatives support. I’ve laid it out frequently and again on this thread here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/21/social-cost-of-carbon/#comment-416438

      • Peter,

        I have written several times that I support nuclear power. I don’t, however, agree on all your views about, how nuclear power should be promoted. I have been working close to nuclear power activities since 1980. That has happened in Finland, which is the one of very few OECD countries where a power plant is under construction and two more in the process aiming to reach the construction phase in a couple of years.

        All the experience and information that I have received over the years tells, how difficult it is to proceed more widely on nuclear energy. Most certainly the solution is not a drastic reduction of safety related regulation. Accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima must be made even much more unlikely than they have been so far. Both were due to laxness in practices at a level that was not acceptable in some other countries. As long as stricter practices are not in use everywhere, nuclear power will have great difficulties in expanding or even maintaining its status.

        The “anti-nuclear phobia” may be largely irrational, but it’s a reality. Reversing that requires something different than what you are proposing.

      • @Peter Lang

        ” I explained how the world can move to low emissions low cost energy without any international agreement or regulations or carbon pricing. ”

        Silly you. The entire raison d’être for ‘Climate Science’ , writ large, is to provide scientific cover for the international agreements, regulations, carbon pricing, and, in a nutshell, since EVERY normal day-to-day activity has a ‘carbon signature’, to provide ‘scientific’ justification for the government to establish absolute control over everything in the name of ‘saving the planet’.

        The above also explains why EVERY hint that CO2 poses little or no threat to the ‘climate’ or have much to do with the (undefined) TOE is met by an all out attack on the individual and/or the institution who did the hinting. Putting it briefly, they are ‘Alinsky-ed’. And will continue to be ‘Alinsky-ed’, regardless of what the actual, instrumental data may imply.

  44. The social costs and benefits of CO2 concentration vary with time. For example, the incremental cost due to temperature has been zero since 1997. L[likewise it was negative during 1940 to 1970 when temperature actually fell. This is a consequence of the UN’s IPCC failing to recognise the on/off nature of climate change in the models they support.

    • Hello Alexander

      “The social costs and benefits of CO2 concentration vary with time. For example, the incremental cost due to temperature has been zero since 1997. L[likewise it was negative during 1940 to 1970 when temperature actually fell.”

      So you accept as axiomatic that anthropogenic CO2 controls the TOE, that a warmer earth imposes positive social costs (is bad), and that a cooler earth bestows negative social costs (is good)? The post that started this thread clearly assumes all three as beyond discussion and goes directly to how best to control the damage.

      Where is the evidence supporting either proposition?

      As for the ‘social costs’ of a warming planet, whatever the forces causing the warming, do you think that there is a reason why we refer to historical periods which were warmer than today as ‘The (some name) Optimum’?

      Don’t fall into the trap. Before shutting down modern civilization to control the ‘social costs’ of CO2, insist that someone demonstrate that they are other than zero or negative (CO2 beneficial).

      • It seems clear to me that AnthroCO2 is net beneficial, except in the very small chance that climate is exquisitely sensitive to it, which hardly seems the case.
        ==========

  45. When people start talking about the cost of carbon, I always think of this great Monty Python scene

    What have fossil fuels ever done for us?

  46. One other “social benefit” (hey, at least I didn’t say “externality”) of carbon. Synthetic fibres.

    I live in koala country, and my own property is designated koala habitat. Nowadays our wilderness is not managed for predators because of squeamishness about poisons and guns, and because of lack of funds (conservation money goes to some peculiar urban movement called “Environmentalism”). Consequently our koalas are slaughtered by wild dogs at a great rate. Haven’t seen a healthy one in years.

    In the 1920s, however, koalas had a different problem. Two million of their pelts were exported in just one year!

    When you read about the desperation for pelts in previous centuries – the phenomenal Hudson Bay story is surpassed by the rapid eastward thrust of Russia in search of fur – it becomes clear what a blessing synthetic fibres have been. Cotton and wool were never going to be enough, especially now that cotton production is high on the Naughty List compiled so exhaustively by our Green Betters.

    Seeing pictures of the world’s poor, you will note that most of them are clad in modern plasticky clothing. That might be a downer for some fans of authenticity and general quaintness. I think it is a triumph of Industrial Development. Billions of humans staying drier and warmer without chasing fewer and fewer animals for their skins: a real social benefit (ugh) of carbon, if you like such terms.

    • Plus one, moso, fer yr ‘modern plasticky clothing’ ‘n real
      social benefit of ‘chasin’ fewer animals fer their skins.’

      Ah … the hu-man-it-ari-an-ism of In-dust-ri-al-iz-ay-shun.

  47. William McClenney

    What if….

    “In this respect, the Holocene shows a stable SST trend similar to those in previous interstadial stages, tending toward progressively cooler climate conditions in accordance with the slow decrease in summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere and the minimal eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit. Within the framework of ODP-977A data, this orbital configuration suggests that the present warm period could be more prone to abrupt oscillations than MISs 5 and 7. In turn, the next bifurcation of the climate system may appear as an extremely intense cooling if the future natural climate is going to develop as an analog of some of the preceding warm periods.” http://home.sandiego.edu/~sgray/MARS350/pleist2.pdf

    If CO2 is not sufficient insulation against a possible/probable glacial inception, then what would you propose?

  48. The social cost of oxygen
    It’s well known that oxygen is dangerous. It is the necessary ingredient in fires, which cost the US about 2.2% of GDP ($324 billion) annually (http://www.nfpa.org/research/statistical-reports/economic-impacts/total-cost-of-fire). Before its toxic potential was fully understood, it was supplied at levels near 100% to premature infants in intensive care units in the US in the 1940s and early 1950s, during which time it was the leading cause of blindness in US infants. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop.asp. We all remember the terrible accident costing the lives of three astronauts due to a spark in the enriched oxygen environment. (After which oxygen was banned from the spacecraft interior in favor of helium.)
    The decisions to remove excess oxygen from the intensive care units and spacecraft can be considered early cases of regulation of this dangerous invisible and odor-free gas. However, these decisions have had virtually no effect on the 20.95% level of oxygen in air. People, this is 600 times the amount of carbon dioxide! http://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/publications/ralph/1_Correlations.pdf. And we all know the imminent and unavoidable catastrophic effects of this tiny concentration of another invisible, odorless (although nontoxic) gas. We are all taking in one of these dangerous pollutant with every breath! (and in fact contributing to the coming disaster with every exhalation of the other dangerous pollutant).
    For some reason, there is considerable effort now on estimating the social cost of carbon, while there is no visible focus on its “partner in crime” (and the periodic table), oxygen. Although I am not an economist, I call upon economists and regulators (where are you, EPA, when we need you?) to follow the pernicious effects of oxygen throughout all the ways it affects our economy and the lives of our people, and arrive at a defensible estimate of its true social cost. At that point, we will be able to institute an oxygen tax that will be supported by all, especially our government, which needs it the most.

  49. I think I’ve discovered why climate scientists insist cosmic rays have no influence on climate … it’s because cosmic rays have an influence on supercomputers!!

    “Several recent publications confirm that faults are common in high-performance computing systems. Therefore, further attention to the faults experienced by such computing systems is warranted. In this paper, we present a study of DRAM and SRAM faults in large high-performance computing systems. Our goal is to understand the factors that influence faults in production settings.

    We examine the impact of aging on DRAM, finding a marked shift from permanent to transient faults in the first two years of DRAM lifetime. We examine the impact of DRAM vendor, finding that fault rates vary by more than 4x among vendors. We examine the physical location of faults in a DRAM device and in a data center; contrary to prior studies, we find no correlations with either. Finally, we study the impact of altitude and rack placement on SRAM faults, finding that, as expected, altitude has a substantial impact on SRAM faults, and that top of rack placement correlates with 20% higher fault rate.

    http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2503210.2503257

  50. Social cost of carbon scare is very high. It will be an expensive lesson.

    • Exactly!

    • O fossil fuel
      once were the days
      when ol’ King Coal
      did rule and bless
      us so abundantly
      with low cost energy.
      But now, the blessing’s
      lost. Shunned and abused,
      too expensive ter be used,
      poor fossil fool,
      shipped overseas,
      fer other nations’ needs.

  51. What can I say? Another insanity called “social cost of carbon” from the global warming pseudo-scientists that have our government in thrall. Let me quickly explain it. There is no warming now and there has not been any for the last 15 years despite highest ever atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. This means that there has not been any greenhouse warming, the cause of the alleged “anthropogenic global warming,” for the last fifteen years. This is recorded in official temperature curves. What is not recorded is that there was another 18 year stretch of no-warming in the eighties and nineties, fraudulently hidden from the public by a fake warming shown by official temperature curves. The temperature curves involved were GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and NCDC. I exposed this in my book “What Warming in 2010 but it took them two years to withdraw that fraudulent warming. This means that there has actually been not 15 but 35 years without any greenhouse warming, hence no anthropogenic warming at all. This casts doubt on the sources of any possible prior warming. Anyone who still wants to talk about a “social cost of carbon” after the fake warming was exposed is either completely stupid or, more likely, criminal, with an agenda to bend our government to its irrational policies. I hold the latter view. This move is irrational and the document should be withdrawn with an apology. Furthermore, personnel who initiated this project should be reprimanded for being ignorant of the true state of our climate and an appropriate adjustment of their employment status should be considered.

  52. The social costs of reducing our co2 output is more poverty, hight fuel bills and stagnant development for poor countries. Most Warmists are not dirt poor.

  53. I agree completely with ROM 22/11/13. I lived through the carbon fuel revolution on farms. Prior to the first kerosene tractors, farm work was done using human and animal energy and most of the food produced on the farm went to feed the human and animal labourers – family labour, farm labour, draft horses, stock horses, cows, calves, pigs and chooks. Once tractors appeared, most of the hungry horses disappeared and the food they ate became surplus. For a bit of that history see: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/feast-or-famine.pdf
    Viv Forbes forbes@carbon-sense.com

  54. Must read post at Die Klimazweibel on the social cost of carbon

    http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-can-economics-contribute-to.html?spref=tw

    “MIT economics professor Robert S. Pindyck takes a different approach. Emphasizing a lack of knowledge, he poses the question what should be done in the face of uncertainty. He has recently published a paper with the title Climate Change Policy: What Do the Models Tell Us? For a short answer, the first sentence of the abstract puts it in your face:

    Very little. A plethora of integrated assessment models (IAMs) have been constructed and used to estimate the social cost of carbon (SCC) and evaluate alternative abatement policies. These models have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis: certain inputs (e.g., the discount rate) are arbitrary, but have huge effects on the SCC estimates the models produce; the models’ descriptions of the impact of climate change are completely ad hoc, with no theoretical or empirical foundation; and the models can tell us nothing about the most important driver of the SCC, the possibility of a catastrophic climate outcome. IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading.

    The paper is worth a read, despite being technical at times. There is a good write-up in the Washington Post by Robert J Samuelson. He says:

    Pindyck sounds like a “global warming denier.” He isn’t. True, he thinks climate change and its adverse economic consequences could be wildly overstated. He also thinks they could be wildly understated. The effects might ultimately be catastrophic. We simply don’t know. Ignorance reigns. The best course, he says, would be to adopt a modest carbon tax — because there are certainly some ill effects of global warming — and adjust it as we learn more. Meanwhile, we shouldn’t assume that computer models convey scientific truth. “The models create an illusion of knowledge,” he says. “For me, the issue is being honest.”

    • Well, since the social benefits of carbon outweigh the costs, if you tax carbon you’ll get relatively fewer of the benefits and more of the costs.

      Honestly, it’s simple.
      ====================

    • Samuelson is a mad scream. His argument for taxes fundamentally is that we don’t know the amount of warming but we do know the amount of the financial deficit. The invisible hand backslaps him into incoherence, even silliness.
      ============

  55. Social Cost of Carbon estimation is a pseudo-science designed to accomplish two objectives: (1) Repackage uneconomic renewables as a bargain at any price (http://www.globalwarming.org/2013/10/29/social-cost-of-carbon-how-to-repackage-uneconomic-renewables-as-a-bargain-at-any-price/); and (2) make fossil energy look unaffordable no matter how low the market price (http://www.globalwarming.org/2013/11/18/social-cost-of-carbon-how-to-make-low-cost-power-look-unaffordable/)

  56. What are the ‘social costs’ of restricting the supply of fossil fuel and making what IS available prohibitively expensive?

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