The futility of carbon reduction?

by Tony Brown (tonyb)

This article assesses the impact of UK’s proposed climate change legislation.

“To achieve the target of an 80% reduction in (UK) carbon emissions by 2050 virtually all our electricity will need to come from clean sources.” – Gordon Brown, 2007

 “(UK) Families will have to get used to only using power when it is available”-Steve Holliday, Chief Executive of National Grid- Sunday Times of 22 May 2011

Some months ago my colleague Ed Hoskins sent me an interesting paper he was writing, which at the time I was sceptical about. It concerned the virtually non- existent temperature reductions that would be achieved by following and exceeding the UK Governments climate change legislation that involves the rapid and progressive shutting down of most of our carbon economy. His study had added credibility, however, as he had run it past the eminent Prof Mackay who essentially appeared to agree with it. I had previously written about Professor Mackay, now Chief Scientist at the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change, so this reference intrigued me.

Ed’s paper has been re-written and refined over the past few months, but has particular relevance now as the UK Government wants to go out on a limb and enshrine in law further cuts beyond the current time horizon of 2020: this would be a unique commitment. A link to Ed’s entire paper can be found [here].

This policy has resulted in an explosion of anger from the UK business community over what the resultant policies and taxes would mean to them. TATA Steel  is mothballing a steel mill, citing carbon taxes as one reason.  This is occurring at the same time taxes are being progressively raised to pay for a raft of renewables, mostly based on wind farms, which the general public has to pay for. Add in other green taxes–fuel duty and air passenger duty amongst others– and the costs and restrictions of going green are being revealed to the British public, who seem to be the guinea pigs for much of the rest of the West.

That’s all well and good if you believe the world is heading for catastrophic warming through AGW. As a climate historian I don’t happen to agree, but even the most hardened green advocate must surely take pause and wonder if all our sacrifices–additional costs and restrictions on our lifestyle–are actually completely pointless IF Ed’s hypothesis is correct.  An excerpt from Ed’s article:

“It seems that the UK government is expecting to spend about £32 billion, (~2.2% of UK GDP), according to the Stern Review [1], every year for the foreseeable future in order to achieve by the year 2100 at the absolute maximum global temperature reduction of ~0.0019°C, (less than 2 thousandths of a degree Centigrade).  This temperature reduction would have to involve the total elimination of all future UK CO2 emissions.  Any lesser goal for reduction as proposed could only be even less effective temperature wise.  The Stern review was released in 2006, so as ever with government budgets the sum will have escalated since.  If the UK is proposing to spend £32 billion ($50 billion) per annum to partially influence ~1.7% of world CO2 emissions, it means that the equivalent global spend could be as much as ~$3,000 billion per annum for the foreseeable future.  At present this would amount to about ~4.5% of the global GDP, ($69,000 billion) to achieve a reduction in temperature for the whole World of 0.11 °C about 1/10 degree Centigrade, on the basis that all future CO2 emissions were eliminated.” 

Before asking readers to deconstruct Ed’s paper [link here] it is useful to put in context the reality of changing from fossil fuel to renewables and the costs involved. Both myself and Ed are pro renewables. Eventually they will prove a worthwhile adjunct to other forms of power generation. However we are both against highly expensive and inefficient renewables that can’t begin to replace fossil fuel and will put a brake on the economic prosperity we have enjoyed –largely due to cheap plentiful power– since the Industrial revolution.


In essence, we are being exhorted to change our lifestyle and switch to renewables in order to reduce emissions and keep temperatures below the 3 degree Centigrade increase projected from the doubling of C02 concentrations. This is calculated from the pre-industrial 280 ppm to the estimated 500 ppm or so that will likely be attained by the end of the Century. In order to provide aggressive carbon mitigation there is a body of opinion that believes there is an overriding aim to initially stabilise the concentrations and then subsequently reduce them to 350 ppm–generally considered a ‘safe’ level by whose luminaries include Dr. James Hansen and Al Gore.

These aims are expressed in this talk by Professor Bill McGuire who (to paraphrase) believes that if we are going to save the planet, we need to be free of carbon emissions within 50 years but will still see a 0 .6 degree C rise that is in the pipeline and can’t be avoided. 2-3 degrees Centigrade is certain unless emissions are cut to zero immediately. The expected equilibrium warming for 550 ppm is 2 to 4.5 C according to the IPCC.  1% of the world’s GDP could stabilise emissions at 500 ppm according to Lord Stern (subsequently increased to 2%.)

Anyone considering aggressive carbon mitigation policies–such as National Governments acting on the advice received from the UNFCCC/IPCC –that will have a huge and fundamental impact on their citizens lives would reasonably be expected to read the evidence and ask themselves a number of questions before embarking on a course of action- such as the following;

1.  How much will implementing the carbon policies cost?

2. Do the UNFCCC /National Governments have the means to carry out its objectives-in this case to quickly implement viable alternatives to fossil fuels and thereby stabilise, then reduce, C02 concentrations?

3. How much temperature reduction (from that expected anyway) can be achieved by changing to renewables and dramatically changing our lifestyles, and does this merit the costs and actions resulting from enacting 1 and 2?

How much will implementing the carbon policies cost?

This is a basic question and one that surely should have received a great deal of attention from those eager to implement the actions needed. However, a basic cost benefit analysis seems to either not have been conducted, or those representing the views of the scientific ‘consensus’ seem reluctant to divulge the contents.

The following is from an interview between Andrew Bolt and Jill Duggan. Jill Duggan is from the European Commission’s Directorate General of Climate Action. She is the EC’s National Expert on Carbon Markets and Climate Change. She was head of Britain’s International Emissions Trading. (Additional nonpartisan profile here)  As Bolt notes (March 2011):

She is in Australia to tell us how good Europe’s emission trading system is and why we should do something similar.

AB:  Can I just ask; your target is to cut Europe’s emissions by 20% by 2020?

JD:  Yes.

AB:  Can you tell me how much – to the nearest billions – is that going to cost Europe do you think?

JD:  No, I can’t tell you but I do know that the modelling shows that it’s cheaper to start earlier rather than later, so it’s cheaper to do it now rather than put off action.

AB:  Right.  You wouldn’t quarrel with Professor Richard Tol – who’s not a climate sceptic – but is professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin?  He values it at about $250 billion.  You wouldn’t quarrel with that?

JD:  I probably would actually.  I mean, I don’t know.  It’s very, very difficult to quantify.  You get different changes, don’t you?  And one of the things that’s happening in Europe now is that many governments – such as the UK government and the German government – would like the targets to be tougher because they see it as a real stimulus to the economy.

AB:  Right.  Well you don’t know but you think it isn’t $250 billion.

JD: I think you could get lots of different academics coming up with lots of different figures “

The interview is well worth reading in full, but apparently no one in the UK Government, the EU or the UNFCCC/IPCC appears to have a clear idea of the full costs and implications of their policies–or have spelt it out to those who will have to pay for it, although we do have access to a few studies concerning the cost of carbon reduction, the most famous being that by the UK’s Lord Stern, who was responding to a brief from the UK’s treasury.

To achieve the aim of initial stabilization followed by an actual fall in emissions by the year 2020 by 20% the cost was estimated at some 2 to 5% of GDP in the initial period and an average of 1% over a 50 year period. (Higher mitigation targets involved dramatically higher costs) As it is the initial upfront costs that will concern people 2.5% of GDP each year for the next 10 years has been used as a bench mark of costs in the following table. This methodology also enables a reasonable like for like comparison with a Japanese study (referenced below). The Stern document was a nuanced report that claims cost savings would be greater than initial costs. Its aim was to eventually reduce emissions in the UK to half of the 1990 figures.

This study correlated with a much quoted UK government mitigation cost of £18 billion per annum over 40 years, which in hindsight appear substantially understated. Stern is referring to an eventual target of a global figure of one tonne emissions average per person per year, a reduction of 80% by developed countries by 2050, and assumes all countries will join in with varying degrees of carbon mitigation (this was before the Copenhagen summit).

This governmental report from Japan in 2009 estimates a US$515 billion cost for Japan over a 10 year period (i.e. $51 Billion per year with ongoing costs after that) this includes the cost of the infrastructure needed–such as the building of solar power and insulation–which would continue to provide benefit after the ten year period. The report estimated that this equated to an ongoing extra cost for each householder of some US$800 per year, a rise in unemployment and an effect on the competitiveness of industry.

Note: Japan subsequently withdrew from the Kyoto protocol following the publication of this report (but remain committed to a 25% reduction in emissions) Canada and Russia also withdrew at the Cancun summit.

Other cost estimates include those from Lomborg at a global cost of $150 billion per annum.

The estimates from government are taken at face value, although such costs do have a habit of being far larger than originally expected, and we are into unknown territory with a social, technological and environmental experiment to be undertaken that dwarfs any other joint human venture in history. Increasing human population and greater need for energy as countries develop will also all impact on emission levels and costs.

A table has been compiled [link] showing world population, gross carbon emissions by country and per head for the main emitters, the likely cost of a carbon reduction programme by head and per country, assuming a 20% overall reduction (effectively a 10% reduction as half goes into a carbon sink)

Notes: IPCC say 1 billion equals 1000 million. World GDP $62 trillion. Total cost to world at 1% of GDP is $ 620 billion at 2.5% $ 1550 billion.  ($1.55 trillion)

So we now know the likely costs for achieving a 20% overall reduction, which as mentioned by many parties is considered nowhere near enough. The UK’s  Climate Change Act 2008 set legally binding emission reduction targets for 2020 (reduction of 34 percent in greenhouse gas emissions) and for 2050 (reduction of at least 80 percent in greenhouse gas emissions), and introduced five-yearly carbon budgets to help ensure those targets are met.

Is the enterprise feasible — can we change to renewables?

I am something of a fan of the idea of renewables, indeed I wrote a piece on Wave Energy that was published in ‘Energy and Environment’ journal last year. Frankly, it depressed me to realise how inefficient, costly and expensive renewables currently are. Wave energy is currently at a very low level of development compared to wind power-which explains why the UK’s energy policy is so heavily dependent on the latter-they really are the only game in town if legally enshrined emission limits are to be achieved.

In order to make renewables competitive, the price of all other forms of energy are being ratcheted drastically upwards to enable them to compete on a level playing field. This will be alarming news for Britons who seem to be at the sharp end of environmental tax increases. Ask any Briton about the eye watering cost of fuel for their cars (around US$10.40 for a gallon of petrol (gas) and the expense of heating their homes. My heating bill has gone up 40% in three years (ironically partly caused by a longer heating season as temperatures have plummeted in the UK over the last five years-I am not claiming this to be a trend.)  Costs are expected to at least double over the next five in order to provide a subsidy for renewables and create this level playing field the Government seeks.

I mentioned at the outset that my initial interest was sparked by my renewal with the work of Professor Mackay who presumably secured his position as Chief Scientist at DECC not only on his academic qualifications, but through his understanding of the UK’s energy requirements.

In an article I wrote two years ago on the politics of climate change I referenced the following comment;

“Setting fire to chemicals like gas should be made a thermodynamic crime,” he said. “If people want heat they should be forced to get it from heat pumps. That would be a sensible piece of legislation.”

Now let it be mentioned immediately that Professor Mackay seems an eminently sensible person not given to outrageous statements, but presumably says things that chime with the climate establishment, which is why he is where he is now. His comment here reeks of common sense:

“Take, for example, the idea that one of the top 10 things you should do to make a difference to your energy consumption is to unplug your cell-phone charger when you are not using it. The truth is that leaving a phone charger plugged in uses about 0.01 kWh per day, 1/100th of the power consumed by a light bulb.”

And this:

This means that switching the phone charger off for a whole day saves the same energy as is used in driving an average car for one second. Switching off phone chargers is like bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon. I’m not saying you shouldn’t unplug it, but please realize, when you do so, what a tiny fraction it is of your total energy footprint.”

“In total, the European lifestyle uses 125 kWh per day per person for transport, heating, manufacturing, and electricity. That’s equivalent to every person having 125 light bulbs switched on all the time. The average American uses 250 kWh per day: 250 light bulbs.”

It is clear that what he thinks and says matters, as the Department of Energy and Climate Change is an important department of the British Government, responsible for all aspects of UK energy policy, and is tasked with tackling global climate change on behalf of the UK (hence the mission to Australia as exemplified by Jill Duggan’s interview above). The UK has assumed leadership of the climate community in the absence of any direction from the US over many years, so by implication what the UK says and does matters.

As Prof Mackay said on his appointment:

Climate change and secure energy are two of the most urgent issues facing the UK and the global community. The solutions must be rooted firmly in the science and I look forward to advising the government on how it can help deliver these important goals.”

Speaking on his first day as Chief scientist at DECC, Mackay set out a vision of how Britain could generate the threefold increase in electricity it needs, with nuclear power at its heart and expanded on his ideas on energy here.

Probably one of the elements that helped secure his current position is that he wrote a very good book on renewable energy options from which the quotes above-and those below- were originally taken . Available here online for free:

“Among all the energy-supply technologies, the three with the biggest potential today are solar power, wind power and nuclear power.

As a thought-experiment, let’s imagine that technology switches and lifestyle changes manage to halve American energy consumption to 125 kWh per day per person. How big would the solar, wind and nuclear facilities need to be to supply this halved consumption? For simplicity, let’s imagine getting one-third of the energy supply from each.

To supply 42 kWh per day per person from solar power requires roughly 80 square meters per person of solar panels.

To deliver 42 kWh per day per person from wind for everyone in the United States would require wind farms with a total area roughly equal to the area of California, a 200-fold increase in United States wind power.

To get 42 kWh per day per person from nuclear power would require 525 one-gigawatt nuclear power stations, a roughly five-fold increase over today’s levels.

I hope these numbers convey the scale of action required to put in place a sustainable energy solution. What about tidal power? What about wave power? What about geothermal energy, biofuels or hydroelectricity? In a short article, I can’t discuss all the technology options.

But the sober message about wind and solar applies to all renewables: All renewables, much as I love them, deliver only a small power per unit area, so if we want renewable facilities to supply power on a scale at all comparable to our consumption, those facilities must be big.

If you don’t want to build 1 million wind turbines, you can drill 1 million geothermal boreholes instead.”

Recently the subject of renewables was debated on this Climate Etc. thread;

“It turns out, to get on a trajectory to hit 450 ppm, we’re going to need to turn off most of our fossil fuel energy, end deforestation, and build about 11.5 new terawatts of clean energy capacity by 2033 (30 years out from the 2003 baseline).”

Judith Curry’s interest had been sparked by the study that was referenced here.  The full slide show is here.

To fully understand the costs and scale of replacing fossil fuel with renewables it is desirable to read Professor Mackay’s energy article and those highlighted in Climate Etc. and Grist, all referenced above.

Grist’s inelegant title says it all “gobsmackingly gargantuan challenge of shifting to clean energy.’ So in examining the financial element and the challenges of the cost benefit analysis we are able to determine that the costs are vast and the challenge of moving to renewables appears beyond our present capabilities. Which leads us to perhaps the most interesting part of the three questions I posed at the start of this article.

3 What temperature reduction can be achieved?

Professor Mackay takes centre stage again as he has agreed to the publishing of the original reply he gave to an email by my colleague Ed Hoskins, who had posed a question to him.

Dear Ed Hoskins,

In response to your correspondence.

Where is the flaw in this logic?

Greenhouse Effect = +33.00⁰C Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35⁰C Other Greenhouse gasses cause 5% of the Effect = 1.65⁰C CO2 is about 75% of the Effect of all GHGs = 1.24⁰C Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086⁰C So closure of the world carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse Effect by 86 thousandths ⁰C. The UK contribution to Man-made CO2 is ~2% = 0.00174⁰C .So closure of the total UK carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse effect by 1740 millionths ⁰C.

The following response has been made: flaws are marked (*)

Greenhouse Effect = +33.00⁰C Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35⁰C Other Greenhouse gases cause 5% of the Effect = 1.65⁰C CO2 is about 75% of the Effect of all GHGs = 1.24⁰C

Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086⁰C

* Nope, steady emissions lead to CO2 concentration rising.

So closure of the world carbon economy could only result in reducing the Greenhouse Effect by 86 thousandths ⁰C. The UK contribution to Man-made CO2 is ~2% = 0.00174⁰C. So closure of the total UK carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse effect by 1740 millionths ⁰C.

* Well, that’s “the tragedy of the commons”. You can always argue that it is fine for you to be antisocial because you are just one person. But there are other views of ethics, leadership, pollution. London doesn’t have smog any more, and that’s thanks to all 7 million people all following the lead of whoever went first.

Yours sincerely,

David MacKay, Cavendish Laboratory

In other words Professor Mackay appeared to give tacit agreement to the generality of the figures, but that we must all make sacrifices for the common good, even though on the surface it appears that we can make no practical difference to temperature.

At our suggestion Ed carried out some more work on his initial calculations and sourced figures from CDIAC which gave a somewhat higher figure than the ones he originally used in the communication above and which consequently altered the temperature reductions that could be achieved through aggressive mitigation and which are detailed in Ed’s article below.

Before reproducing the article it appears on the surface that the uncomfortable answers from an examination of the cost benefit analysis would lead us to conclude:

  • Either the full practicalities of aggressive carbon mitigation hasn’t been properly thought through or the detailed cost benefit analysis  has been deliberately obscured.
  • The costs are startling at around $1000 per head per year and likely to escalate under real world conditions.
  • The actual temperature reduction-if the figures are correct- is vanishingly small even if the global carbon economy was completely eliminated. This is impossible to achieve, so by any reasonable measure the reductions that will be achieved, with considerable pain and cost, by those participating Governments -mostly in the West- are so tiny as to be virtually impossible to comprehend.
  • The technology does not appear to exist that would enable us to move to renewables.

So it appears we are being asked to consider the tragedy of the commons’ as the basis for our carbon reduction plans, based on an incomplete understanding of the component parts of this complex jigsaw.

Several things came into my mind whilst writing this article.

  • Are we being driven by over zealous environmentalists who want to ‘save’ the earth at any cost?
  • Is this vast enterprise being promoted largely by politicians who see this as an excuse to raise taxes and exert more control?
  • Is it being driven by sincere people who have not been apprised of all the facts of the enterprise they are promoting?
  • Are Ed’s figures totally incorrect and we can actually have a much greater impact on temperature mitigation than appears to be the case?

This is where readers of this blog can help, as the intention is to have a version two of this article that takes into account expert opinion. So I am asking this question of those able to make the calculations;

Question: Temperatures are expected to rise by 3 degree Centigrade because of actions we have already taken. If the world collectively closed down their carbon economies what temperature reduction could be achieved?

a)    By 2100

b)    By 2200

(Please describe your calculations together with caveats or provide a reference/link.)

Note: This is NOT a discussion on whether this 3 degree figure has any merit in the first place. For those without the background that would enable them to make the calculations, I would pose two rather more philosophical questions;

  • In future, precisely how and where do we get the cheap and plentiful energy that has been the cornerstone of our growing prosperity since the industrial revolution? The events in Japan have thrown up the whole subject of energy contribution from nuclear back into the melting point, a key part of Mackay’s energy mix. Similarly, the events in the Middle East demonstrate the volatility of supply and the costs of oil. Whatever your feelings about the reality or not of global warming, should we be investing this sort of money anyway in order to develop alternative sources of energy needed to keep the lights on and ensure security of supply against disruption?
  • Should we reintroduce fossil fuels-coal/shale gas etc- back into the energy mix, perhaps as an interim measure for the next thirty years whilst renewables are developed into a viable energy solution?

Footnote: In his Budget of  March 23 2011 the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne confirmed that the UK would become the first country in the world to impose a carbon floor price.  It is designed to ensure the price on carbon imposed through the EU emissions trading scheme does not fall below a set level. He said the floor price would start at £16 per tonne in 2013 and rise to £30 a tonne by 2020. However, experts were divided on the effectiveness of the new floor price. Many warn it will not be high enough to drive significant increases in low-carbon investment, while others predict it will deliver a major windfall in excess of £1bn a year to existing nuclear power plants.

Reminder:  in case you missed it the first time through, here is the linkfor Ed Hoskins’ paper.

646 responses to “The futility of carbon reduction?

  1. Since there is no direct link of warming to man-made co2, no linear equations or understanding of the key inputs why should we conclude that all the talking points to the opposite are politically driven nonsense??

    Show me any large system exposed to sunlight with a difference in co2 and what the temps might be. The only reason co2 is the focus is the eco-green narrative and the ability to tax and regulate.

    It’s socially sad but it isn’t real science.

    • CWON 1 – but if the objective is to reduce CO2 it can’t be about tax, because you actually end up collecting less tax by that method. The use of ETS is also about getting rid of regulation – if the market enables a reduction in CO2, you don’t need to prescribe technologies or issue guidelines and it enables opportunities for additional profits and rewards. The easiest way to develop a tax narrative is via income tax increases for the very wealthy – you can easily sell this to the 51% of voters you need more easily than the technical details about energy security, environmental discourse, science and uncertainty, precautionary principles, climate policy stabalisation assessment, green legacies, global trading schemes, UN COP frameworks ALL of which have to be defended for the policy framework to be politically feasible.
      It is hardly “sneaking a tax in by the back door” even assuming that the green left are that subtle.

      • Ah, but it’s so hard to fight the wealth. So much easier to tax everyone and take control of the lower classes and their property.

      • ferd berple

        The problem with an ETS is that it is not a CO2 reduction system, it is a trading system. It works fine when there is a low cost alternative such as the switch to low sulphur fuels. However there is no low cost alternative to fossil fuels.

        Thus, as we have seen with Kyoto, the end result is simply a shift in manufacturing from countries with high cost power to countries with low cost power. Since the countries with low cost power are burning coal while the countries with high cost power are using less CO2 intensive energy supplies, the net result is a gobal increase in CO2.

        In other words, the UK can cut CO2 by raising the cost of power production. This will drive manufacturing from the UK to countries like China, where the manufacturing will be done with coal as the low cost power source. Then when the UK imports the manufactured good back, they have effectively imported the CO2 as well. The only thing that won’t come back are the manufacturing jobs lost and the loss of tax revenue.

  2. The science isn’t there, but the plan will go forward anyway.

    Conclusion: We live in interesting times!

    Oliver K. Manuel

  3. Bjorn Lomberg argues in favor of greener energy research as the most efficient way to spend money to fix the problem.

    • The notion of “revenge” as a business principle is juvenile. It’s a sign of people who don’t understand how business decisions are made and why. Another timely example is the controversy over Boeing building a 787 line in South Carolina. The NRLB complaint alleges that, in effect, Boeing is doing it out of revenge.

      Sorry, revenge is a Chicago political thing. It’s a luxury that real business can’t afford.

      • This comment ended up out of order, and was supposed to be one down.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        In Chicago, it is more subtle than revenge. If your ward voted in opposition to the city’s rulers, your streets did not get the curbs fixed.

        The key is political allocation. It comes in three forms: 1) Direct grants of a scarce resource (waivers to SF, ownership to selected unions ala GM, etc.), 2) Subsidies and rebates to favored groups (ethanol, disaster assistance, etc.), and 3) Restriction / punishment of unfavored entities (ANWR, offshore oil exploration, CAFE standards, employers, etc.)

    • David L. Hagen

      The Copenhagen Consensus 2008 ranking shows on a benefit/cost ratio that research into “low carbon energy technologies” comes in 14th out of the 30 largest humanitarian projects. Mitigating global warming comes in dead last.

      Lomborg then set up a Copenhagen Consensus on Climate to research these economics in more detail. See
      They recommend research into better ways to provide renewable energy and to control climate as most cost effective. As before, a carbon tax comes in dead last.

      So why are we letting fear mongers push us into mandating the worst options with the greatest costs and least benefits, in the name of “saving” the planet?
      This proposed “cure” appears far worse then all realistic climate projections – especially when both natural cooling and warming trends are accounted for.

      Our greatest challenge is liquid transport fuels. Globally we need about 2 trillion barrels of liquid fuel over the next 40 years. We have already used 1 trillion in light crude and have 1 trillion left. The next trillion barrels must come from new fuels. We are in serious danger of rapidly shutting down our economies for lack of developing new transport fuels fast enough. Existing oil production will be depleting at about 6.5%/year – while population continues to grow at 1.5%/year. So we will need about 8%/year in further light oil and in new fuels just to maintain global supply.
      This is particularly critical for oil importing countries that will be cut off from oil exports at about twice the rate of the global decline in available transport fuels.

      We have already seen the beginnings of this financial shaking in the 2008/9 economic crisis that was directly caused by the “plateauing” of crude oil production in 2005 after rising by 1 million barrels/day for twenty years in a row (from Non-OPEC peaking and OPEC cutting back production). This has far greater economic impact than some small trend in sea level which we can accommodate over time.

      Now I am all for cost effective renewable energy. I believe there are ways to make it far more cost effective etc. Research into making renewable fuels cheaper than petroleum, and transitioning to new fuels should be our highest focus – not some doom and gloom cap and trade or carbon tax.

      “Cap and trade” or a “carbon tax” to mitigate catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) (aka “climate change”) is the biggest hole in the ground ever conceived in which to bury our wealth and starve the poor. OPEC will continue laughing all the way to the bank over our misdirected policies.

      Everyone burying their resources instead of stewardship with good returns on investment while caring for the poor will be called to account.

    • This buys into the fallacy that co2 is a “problem” instead of a trace and harmless gas.

      The side topics of say so2 etc. that are placed on the eco-fringe backburner are telling, total carbon regulation and controls expose the Soviet inclination of the green agw culture. It isn’t really about green eco fantasy but social domination of statism over individuals.

      • David L. Hagen

        But that is too politically incorrect. Thus advocate what is most cost effective.

      • Exactly the sort of pandering and lack of confidence that has brought the fraud to this point.

  4. green economic thinking…

    When TATA announced 1500 job losses at least partly due to the Carbon Tax one environmentally minded indvidual thought it was ‘revenge’ for Carbon Budgets and Climate Change Act. Then again Bryony is also a board member of the 10:10 campaign, whose excellent judgement gave us the ‘No Pressure’ video.

    bryworthington Bryony Worthington
    @sandbagorguk RT @BBCBreaking Steel giant Tata believed to be planning to cut around 1,500 jobs at three sites <<revenge for the c budgets?
    20 May!/bryworthington/status/71503936401580032

    Not 'revenge' Baroness Worthington, it is called economics, the carbon taxes introduced will make it uneconomic to produce here, it will relocate abroad… this is an inevitable consequence of a unilateral tax in a global economy, pity no MP or lobbyist seems to realise it.

    But what does Baroness Bryony know about the consequences economically, she is only good friends with Ed Milliband (Labour party leader, former Minister for Energy and Climate Change) Ed made Bryony a Baroness for her work on the Climate Change Act

    "Bryony Worthington’s appointment as a peer at such a young age was something of a surprise to her — even though she knows Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, well and played a key role helping him, as energy secretary, write the 2008 Climate Change Act.

    She was director of the carbon trading think-tank and campaign group Sandbag, which she founded. She has also been a policy adviser to Scottish and Southern Electricity.

    "I think Ed Miliband wanted to do something different and I was glad to accept [the working peerage] but it’s not something I was expecting," she said. "Most things you really strive for in life but this just sort of landed on my plate and it’s great privilege."

    This is the type of thinking that cause me great concern for the UK's energy Policy and Businesses. – revenge!?

    Also, a note to David Mckay. The UK public will not accept having electricity when it is available. If only because our next door neighbours, the French will be using electricity when ever they want to (~80% Nuclear), might the public ask, Are we not a 1st world economy, can we not have the same reliable electricity as the French?

    • Not ‘revenge’ Baroness Worthington, it is called economics, the carbon taxes introduced will make it uneconomic to produce here, it will relocate abroad… this is an inevitable consequence of a unilateral tax in a global economy, pity no MP or lobbyist seems to realise it.

      Indeed. It’s often referred to as “squeezing the balloon” and it’s a phenomenon politicians worldwide seem to have problems understanding.

    • David L. Hagen

      A dose of political and physical energy realities will help to obtain perspective:
      International Energy Agency:

      Decarbonizing the world’s electricity supply, . . .would deliver a little less than half the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions necessary by 2035 to limit the eventual increase in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius, . . .The carbon intensity of electricity has increased by 6% since 1990, largely due to growing use of coal for power generation in emerging economies, it said./blockquote>

      China Daily May 26, 2011 reports:

      China produced 1.12 billion tons of coal by the end of April, an increase of 11.1 percent year-on-year, according to a report Wednesday by the China National Coal Association (CNCA)


      . . . . thermal coal prices in main harbors around the Bohai Sea have been increasing for 10 weeks, reaching 832 yuan ($128) a ton on Wednesday, five yuan higher than last week.

      (About triple US coal prices ).

      Tad Patzek shows that improving power plant efficiency makes economic sense, “carbon sequestration” does not. See: Subsurface Sequestration of CO2 in the U.S: Is it Money Best Spent? Natural Resources Research, Vol. 19, No. 1, March 2010 (2010) DOI: 10.1007/s11053-010-9111-3

  5. Mike Keller

    As the mathematics of the mass balance does not lie, there is simply no question that the dimwitted efforts of the Western world will have no impact on worldwide CO2 emissions. Might as well spit in the ocean to raise the levels of the seas.

    So what-in-the-sam-hill is the motivation of the “green” community? Socialists and leftists attempting to take more control. Yes, it really is that simple.

    • I totally agree.

      The fact that we live in a society intimidated and frankly under-educated on general science and finance topics brought the evil this far. There are just large sections of people who will differ to self-proclaimed experts on a variety of technical or science opinions. The wild claims of progressive intellectual superiority on almost all policy topics is glaring on the agw offensive of the past 30 years. Leftist culture has with some success purged the educational community and university life as well as the traditional enclaves of media of all types to extend the canard of agw to this degree. It’s somewhat surprising that a tiny science fringed (IPCC) linked to none other the U.N. achieved the levels of credit during the peak Gore run (circa 2006-09). There is a certain cultural weakness in conservative circles that left this blind spot open. Conservatives seem unwilling to counter legislate or mandate based on their basic principals of individual rights. More often then not they choose to leave the room rather than argue. Hense conservatives are missing in many professions and fields that become tools for the leftist agenda. Main stream media, attorney’s, government workers, union based teachers etc. and of course the radical left cult that dominates the IPCC and flys under the radar too often. Government based and compensated rent seekers and agenda setters are a core issue of agw fraud and manipulation.

      Brutal as it may be exposing the cummulative email and research records will be the best way cure the true problem which isn’t co2. Climategate was but a small sample of what many understand as common place.

  6. Britain has no choice given the current and increasing reliance on North Sea gas for electricity production. They will need to transition to a greater use of nuclear energy relatively quickly and one may as well make a virtue of necessity.

    ‘In the frigid opening days of 2009, Britain’s electricity demand peaked at 59 gigawatts (GW). Just over 45% of that came from power plants fuelled by gas from the North Sea. A further 35% or so came from coal, less than 15% from nuclear power and the rest from a hotch-potch of other sources. By 2015, assuming that modest economic growth resumes, a reasonable guess is that Britain will need around 64GW to cope with similar conditions. Where will that come from?’

    As far as surface temperature is concerned – the Royal Society said that climate change is the result of ordered forcing and internal climate variability as a result of climate being an example of a chaotic system. I think we might need to calculate internal climate variability to predict surface temperature that far out.

    The focus on surface temperature is nonsense at any rate. The surface temperature responds to energy transfer between the oceans and atmosphere which varies dynamically as a result of changes in sea surface temperature. The heat in the total system remains the same regardless of rises and dips in surface temperature record. For example – unless there is a fundamentally different mechanism involved – the PDO and ENSO merely redistributes heat between oceans and atmosphere and there is no net effect on global warming or cooling at all. Looking at the surface temperature record alone is very misguided.

    Likwise – using simple linear equations to calculate surface temperature changes is a fundamentally misguided approach to understanding climate dynamics. It is much the same as the economic principle of caeteris paribus. It relies on all other things remaining the same – which is guaranteed not to be the case.

  7. I’m slightly familiar with the Tata steel mothballing case mentioned.

    Wasn’t the decision to mothball made some time ago due the economic downturn, inability to generate new orders, loss of contracts with German industry due mainly to the recession, and far lower cost of labor offshore where TATA is based, with a lucrative and generous cap & trade allowance foregone because even with the wide open loopholes that amount to government subsidy of coal they couldn’t make a case to stay open?

    Wouldn’t this in point of fact make, “TATA Steel is mothballing a steel mill, citing carbon taxes as one..” farfetched and insignificant “..reason”?

  8. There are still ways of moving forward on carbon reduction – and I don’t really want to go through the no harm is proved argument yet again. The no proof of harm is proof of no harm argument is the logical fallacy of argumentum in ignorantum. Running this argument is a nonsense.

    The immediate solutions are to continue to increase carbon intensity of production and efficiency in energy use, decrease black carbon and tropospheric ozone, increase global access to safe water and sanitation, education and health services, economic growth and good corporate governance, restore and conserve ecosystems and agricultural soils, fund more basic research in energy sources.

    To say that there is one solution is as misguided as saying that the solution won’t

    • work and therefore nothing should be attempted. It is a false dichotomy when there are multiple solutions to multiple problems.

      • Chief

        You have described a very logical set of “solutions”.

        Let’s reword all this and say that we want to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste and real pollution wherever we can, we want to move away from ever scarcer and costlier fossil fuels, particularly those that have to be imported from a price-fixing cartel of nations that are generally hostile to us and we want to develop new domestic sources of energy, be that shale oil and gas, new biofuels (not silly corn-to-ethanol schemes) and other renewable energy sources, etc.

        These are all solutions to a potential energy crunch “problem”.

        But let’s don’t come up with silly, non-productive schemes like direct or indirect carbon taxes or carbon capture and storage in the hopes of thereby solving a “non-problem”.


      • Chief

        Sorry, in this post Fukushima period of fear, I forgot to mention nuclear power as one of the alternate solutions, including fast breeder technology with thorium to reduce the nuclear waste problem and (longer term) nuclear fusion.


      • Where have you misunderstood me? The British have no choice – expensive gas or nuclear for much of their future energy requirements – which they need to pay for through putting a price floor under energy costs. I would not recommend it for anyone else.

      • Cheap gas is coming no matter how many lies you tell.

      • Chief

        Believe we agree on technical solutions that the UK faces, now that its N. Sea oil/gas is playing out (even if the current government there does not, according to Tony Brown).

        But I do not believe a “carbon tax” (direct or indirect) will accomplish anything, if that is what you mean by “putting a price floor under energy costs”. The “price floor” will happen soon enough all by itself as fossil fuels become scarcer.


    • No harm? Warmer is BETTER. Less winter mortality. Longer growing season. And on an on.

      Besides, haven’t environmentalists killed enough people with the DDT ban?

      Now you want to make energy so expensive millions will die in winter?

      You want to cause HARM! You and your ilk are evil.

      • Bruce

        Winter mortality?

        But isn’t winter mortality higher in warmer countries? EG Portugal vs. Iceland?

        So wouldn’t warming probably lead to higher winter mortality?

        Longer growing seasons may be beneficial.. but wait.

        Longer growing seasons with only small changes in last and first frosts, higher irrigation demand due heat and higher chance of excess rain.. doesn’t that make for more crop failures, more expensive food, a shift to higher value cash crops (which may have lower food value or feed fewer but wealthier people), and a shift of agricultural areas away from the equator, resulting in costly changes in farm viability and land use?

        And DDT bans killed who, exactly?

        Can you name them?

        Where they lived, how they were killed?

        What date?

        Which specific ban directly led to their death?

        I’d be glad if you could supply some direct, specific, true facts on this claim, because I keep hearing this DDT ban claim, and looking into it, and every time the light of skeptical inquiry shines on it it shrivels up and vanishes.

      • “In the winter period (December to March) of 2009/10 there were an estimated 25,400 more deaths in England and Wales, compared with the average for the non-winter period (see definition below). This was a decrease of 30 per cent compared with the number in the previous winter, but is slightly higher than the level seen in 2007/08.”

        “There are some 300 to 500 million reported cases of malaria each year, 90% occurring in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about two and a half million people die of the disease each year, again, mostly in Africa, the majority of them poor children. Indeed, malaria is the second leading cause of death in Africa (after AIDS) and the number one killer of children there (with about one child being lost to malaria every thirty seconds). ”

        “n India, malaria deaths went from nearly a million in 1945 to only a few thousand in 1960. In what is now Sri Lanka, malaria cases went from 2,800,000 in 1948, before the introduction of DDT, down to 17 in 1964 — then, tragically, back up to 2,500,000 by 1969, five years after DDT use was discontinued there.”

        The DDT ban was mass murder. DDT, Communism and Naziism in that order.

      • Bruce,
        Chief is many things, but ‘liar’ and ‘evil’ he is not.
        In the current age,the first person to toss out references to ‘nazi’ loses the discussion. So you basically scored a goal against yourself.
        You had no need to use that reference. It detracted, along with your over-the-top characterization to Chief, from some otherwise good points.
        Banning DDT, even if it has been as detrimental as its harshest critics claim, is not the equivalent of genocidal ideologies.
        You would have been better off simply referencing some of the credible critiques of the DDT ban than to personalize this so so much. Particularly against someone who is so rigorous, like Chief.

      • I’ll cut Bruce some slack on this one. Bart R asked him to identify the deaths caused by the DDT ban. After compiling a brief list that could only scratch the surface, it is understandable for one’s BP to rise and to rank the DDT ban with other documented cases of mass murder. I’ll grant him a point.

        You say it was not equivalent of genocidal ideologies. Can we agree that mass murder and genocides have always started off with actions that claimed a greater good?

      • Stephen,
        Yes, to do great evil, one must convince one’s self they are doing a great good.
        And yes, incompetence and stupidity can easily be as deadly deliberate choice.
        But there is a difference.
        Irt BP, I am certainly one whose bp can be variable.

      • David L. Hagen

        As Jesus predicted:

        the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.

        John 16:2

      • If your policy kills more people than Naziism you can point it out as a valid comparison point.

        “Banning DDT, even if it has been as detrimental as its harshest critics claim, is not the equivalent of genocidal ideologies.”

        Yes it is.

        If the DDT ban was reversed within a year or 2 of malaria rates climbing again, of course they would not be the same. Leaving the ban in place was genocide.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Bruce, you comment ran afoul of an incomplete understanding of Godwin’s Law. Actually, it is pertinent and therefore applicable. If folks object, try “National Socialist”. Mass murder is a characteristic of tyrannies enforcing the “common good”.

        Various. Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Primary Megadeaths of the Twentieth (Century).

        References to:
        30 Worst Atrocities of the 20th Century: The Hemoclysm
        Question: Who was the Bloodiest Tyrant of the 20th Century?
        Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for Man-made Multicides throughout History
        And more.

      • There are a couple of problems with your argument Bart. Bruce’s contention about warming is hopelessly simple minded. Warming is not necessary at all – changes in cloud, ice, thermohaline circulation, vegetation etc could in fact cool Britain substantially.

        ‘The research suggests that once temperature rises above some threshold, adverse weather conditions could develop relatively abruptly, with persistent changes in the atmospheric circulation causing drops in some regions of 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit in a single decade. Paleoclimatic evidence suggests that altered climatic patterns could last for as much as a century, as they did when the ocean conveyor collapsed 8,200 years ago, or, at the extreme, could last as long as 1,000 years as they did during the Younger Dryas, which began about 12,700 years ago.’

        Now there are a few people around who feel it can’t happen – but this is based on gut feeling and I am suitably contemptuous.

        But even if the planet warms – surely this should lead to more summer mortalities than winter. But indeed, the winter mortalities tend to weed out the weakest individuals with a corresponding decrease in summer mortality – you have to die of something.

        But really, Bruce’s solution for Britain is underwater frakking in off-shore shale deposits. An expensive and untried technology? This emerged from my comment above that Britain had no choice but to tax and move more into nuclear energy. They need to do it and one may as well make a virtue of necessity. Mind you some of their other options include improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock – as is happening on a large scale. This will save on energy costs for the most vulnerable and the rest can look after themselves. They have limited options and need to make the best of it.

        As far as I know, I don’t have an ilk, evil or otherwise. I am an equal opportunity insulter of fools on both sides. I quoted this before from ‘The Wrong Trousers’.

        ‘Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’ Ah – the foolish tin soldiers of the climate wars.

        For Bruce’s benefit I will bring up the 2010 Hartwell Paper again – We need to move beyond the simple arguments expressed in utterly simple minded idioms of science, beyond the tax or no tax – an unwinnable argument at best – to creative solutions.

        The DDT problem is an interesting case in the problem of technology policy. Increasingly, humans are creating more powerful and problematical technologies. Humans being such technological creatures – I am looking forward to the first DIY gene splicing article in Popular Science. The question arises about the rational progress of very powerful technologies from the laboratory to the real world – what are the things that need to be known about the risks involved and how long is needed for an adequate knowledge base to be developed.

        It is apparent that not enough was known about the risks of DDT at the time – which are now apparently fairly minor except for raptors. We now know that indoor use is mostly innocuous – although there is still some argument on auto immune problems. It was approved for residual effect interior surface dusting by the WHO in 2007. There is equally little doubt that there was a campaign of fear and loathing by hippies in the west. My wife was worried for decades about health risks of DDT spraying in her village – which stopped at some time in the 1970’s. The only risk was to her clan totem the sea eagle – but I am fairly confident that the lack of cheap alternatives to DDT resulted in deaths from malaria. If you like – I will ask for some names?

        It parallels the progress of nuclear energy – it was absolutely insane to pursue nuclear power in any significant sense while there were so many open questions about the technology and when it was so outrageously expensive. There are now good solutions to safety and waste.

      • Chief

        Well done.

        Bruce flat out calls you evil and your entire ilk, and you, despite that unwarranted provocation maintain your composure, and rise above the gross personal insult to address the argument, not the man. Truly, you have turned a corner here, sir.

        Now, back to Bruce’s hopelessly simpleminded arguments.

        Nah, you dismantled them handily enough, even though I can tell your heart wasn’t really in it.

        I’d have mentioned the supposed increasing DDT-resistance of mosquito larvae, the funding diversion, flat out corruption and political interference, administrative issues of trying to maintain programs — good or bad — in countries where land owners have significant power and prefer privacy at any cost over public eyes on their land and the people who live and work on or near their land plus programs — good or bad, the fact that the ‘ban’ discussed was only a quarter as long as is claimed.

        And you did it in a Godwined thread, so you automatically win anyway, Chief.

      • Evil people sentence old people to death. And 100 million Africans. And don’t care.

        Policies to grossly and unnecessarily inflate the cost of food and energy are evil.

        Evil people like you don’t care.

      • Green fanatics don’t care if you kill million of old people with you cold heartless plans to make energy way more expensive.

        “Almost 37,000 people died during the last cold spell in 2008, up almost 50% on the previous year. The rise in “excess winter mortality” for England and Wales was the biggest for years and the highest total in a decade. Last winter more than 90% of deaths were pensioners, who are among the least able to afford heat but the most vulnerable to cold-related diseases, such as seasonal flu, hypothermia, bronchitis and emphysema.

        As fuel bills have soared the number of households in “fuel poverty” (defined as having to spend 10% or more of your income on power and heat) has risen five-fold to 6.6 million this year. Age Concern, the charity for the elderly, has warned that unless heating is made more affordable, further large-scale deaths will occur this winter.

      • Bruce

        What fraction had their vaccinations up to date?

        What caused these deaths directly?

        Was it something that could have been prevented by turning up a thermostat?

        No. This ‘fuel poverty’ lie of yours is the real evil here.

        Get your vaccinations next winter, and stop gabbling after government subsidies for fossil fuels.

      • In the USA, Hawaiians enjoy the longest life expectancy. Up next, Minnesota. In the top 10, 8 cold states, including North Dakota. Just being there should kill them, but it doesn’t.

        Among the states with the lowest life expectancy, the entire Confederacy: the South.

      • W F Lenihan

        Perhaps the cuisine in the southern states has something to do with the death rate. It tastes wonderful but is guaranteed to shorten your life expectancy.

      • “In a study of both “hot” and “cold” cities in the United States — where Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and Houston, Texas comprised the “hot” group, and where Canton, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; New Haven, Connecticut; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Seattle and Spokane, Washington comprised the “cold” group — Braga et al. (2002) determined both the acute effects and lagged influence of temperature on cardiovascular-related deaths, finding that in the hot cities neither hot nor cold temperatures had much impact on mortality related to cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the cold cities, on the other hand, they report that both high and low temperatures were associated with increased CVD deaths, with the effect of cold temperatures persisting for days, but with the effect of high temperatures restricted to the day of the death or the day before. Of particular interest was the finding that for all CVD deaths the hot-day effect was five times smaller than the cold-day effect.”

      • JCH –
        So you’re arguing that there are benefits to warming?

      • That’s why I moved to Florida, to live that extra 1.7 years. Since they seem to have a little longevity problem in DC, maybe politicians are carcinogenic?

      • Dallas –
        DC may or may not be carcinogenic, but It IS conducive to mental illness of various sorts, most of which lead to delusional thought processes.

      • No, I’m suggesting that warming is unlikely to extend lifespans in any significant way. In 1910 the life expectancy in Hawaii was 40. My hunch would be that Hawaiians, great climate, and Minnesotans, freakin’ nasty climate, live longest because they’re generally liberal states with excellent access to healthcare, and they drink booze like fish in Minnesota which medicates them against the reason cold kills old people. Don’t know about Hawaii’s drinking habits.

        Go to a nursing home. Ask to look at an Alzheimer patient who has congestive heart failure. Ask yourself whether it matters much whether they die in January or the following July. If you think it does, then warming has a benefit.

      • JCH –
        they drink booze like fish in Minnesota which medicates them against the reason cold kills old people.

        Fastest way I know to die of cold is to lie down and go to sleep in the snow. Second fastest way is to drink like a fish. Alcohol isn’t antifreeze if it’s inside you. You don’t do much cold weather/snow backpacking, do you?

        This conversation has overlooked one point – that cold kills those who live in normally warmer or moderate locations in greater numbers when those locations get cold. Or when they’re forced into situations (as has happened in the UK) where they can’t afford to keep the heat on.

        Hawaii rarely, if ever, gets cold. Minnesota rarely gets hot. Both are outside the envelope. The UK is, for the most part, mostly moderate. For the last several winters it’s gotten extremely cold. And their energy prices have increased. Therefore, greater deaths due to cold.

      • Conclusion

        In conclusion, we have provided rare individual level evidence on risk factors for excess winter death in elderly people in the United Kingdom. We found little evidence for vulnerability to winter death associated with factors previously thought to predict such vulnerability. The lack of socioeconomic gradient in particular has implications for public heath policies aimed at reducing the burden of winter death, as fuel poverty relief alone may be only partially successful. The fact that the risk of excess winter death seems to be widely distributed in elderly people suggests that additional measures are needed to reach all those at risk.

      • “Was it something that could have been prevented by turning up a thermostat?”

        They are a poor. That wasn’t an option.

        And it is is renewables that are subsidized by poor people disproportionately. The price of heat is artificially inflated by subsidies to wind farms.

      • David L. Hagen

        For further evidence on the higher correlation of cold with sickness and death see the NIPCC 2009 report Chapter 9 Human Health Effects PDF (0.5 MB)

        Bull and
        Morton (1978) concluded “there is a close association
        between temperature and death rates from most
        diseases at all temperatures,” and it is “very likely
        that changes in external temperature cause changes in
        death rates.”

        Bull, G.M. and Morton, J. 1978. Environment, temperature and death rates. Age and Ageing 7: 210-224.

      • Can we get the percentage of pensioners dying each year up to say 99%?

        I am in favor of that.

      • David Cameron is with you.

        Extra payments to the elderly for fuel are being cut by 100 pounds this year.

      • ferd berple

        I can’t see how increasing taxes will fix an energy supply problem. If people don’t have the money to pay for energy because of high taxes, who is going to build the facilities? Surely we aren’t suggesting that governments can build power supplies more efficiently than private industry?

        It isn’t like its their money they stand to lose. Thus we get the Spanish example, go green, bankrupt the economy and get the EU to bail you out.

        The net effect of high price energy in the UK will be to drive industry to countries with low energy costs, along with jobs and tax revenues. This will cut CO2 production in the UK and raise in in the countries with low cost power. There wil be no net benefit globally but it will do great harm in the UK.

      • Chief
        Nicely written but I question the statement:
        “It is apparent that not enough was known about the risks of DDT at the time – which are now apparently fairly minor except for raptors. ”
        An excellent discussion of the impact of DDT and other insecticides on wildlife, in particular the peregrine falcon, is given by Derek Ratcliffe in his book: The Peregrine Falcon. I commend this book to anyone who admires these birds.
        Ratcliffe associated bird kills and the raptor population decline to the cyclodiene insecticides and not DDT. He showed the pattern of bird recovery to closely match cyclodiene withdrawal. DDT was withdrawn later on.

      • Baxter 75 – what I’m reading is DDT was banned in 1972, and dieldrin was banned for Ag uses in 1974.

      • “Fracking” is the 60-year plus old technology for extracting oil and gas from rock formations. It’s neither new nor expensive. “Frakking” is sexual intercourse.

      • Bart R

        Do not have statistics on winter mortality in warm versus cold countries, but it would be quite logical that this would be higher in warm countries, where domestic heating systems are poor or non-existent and people generally don’t know how to protect themselves from the cold.

        But there are many statistics, which show that winter mortality (in all temperate regions) far exceeds summer mortality, some presented by Dr. Howard Maccabee at a recent climate conference in New York. If you want, I can try to dig up the reference for you.

        To your other point, the DDT statistics appear to be correct:

        One report from 2002 states:

        There are some 300 to 500 million reported cases of malaria each year, 90% occurring in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about two and a half million people die of the disease each year, again, mostly in Africa, the majority of them poor children. Indeed, malaria is the second leading cause of death in Africa (after AIDS) and the number one killer of children there (with about one child being lost to malaria every thirty seconds). Many medical historians believe malaria has killed more people than any other disease in history, including the Black Plague, and may have contributed to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Malaria was common in places as far north as Boston and England until the twentieth century. Two thirds of the world lived in malaria-ridden areas prior to the 1940s.

        That devastation all but stopped during the time that DDT use was widespread, around 1950-1970. Indeed, the discovery that DDT could kill malarial mosquitoes earned Dr. Paul Müller the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1948. DDT, a chemical pesticide synthesized by Müller in the late 1930s, was initially used against houseflies, beetles, various farm pests, and typhus-carrying lice on the bodies of World War II soldiers and civilians. America and England soon became the major producers of the chemical, using it to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes, especially in tropical regions.

        In all, DDT has been conservatively credited with saving some 100 million lives.

        As far as the rumors that WHO had recently lifted its ban on DDT, these appear to be incorrect. The WHO apparently never banned the use of DDT:

        We, however, cannot see a real change in WHO policy. DDT was the main component of the WHO Global Malaria Eradication Program during the 1950-60s. The programme ended in 1969 following evidence of DDT resistance in mosquitoes and increased public concern about adverse health and environmental effects. From 1970 onwards, many countries banned the agricultural use of DDT. However, in 1971, an executive WHO board maintained that indoor spraying of DDT was still WHO policy.[2] During the following decades, the WHO Expert Committee on Malaria continued to order indoor spraying of DDT for malaria vector control, provided that the targeted mosquito species were vulnerable to the insecticide. In the 1990s, several reports linked DDT to human cancers[3] and [4] and the insecticide was found in breast milk;[5] however, WHO continued to promote DDT use.


      • Manacker, my understanding is that the proxymorons bullied the Third World into forgoing DDT not by getting the WHO to ban it, but by getting the World Bank to make funding conditional on its discontinuance.

      • TomFP

        the proxymorons bullied the Third World into forgoing DDT…by getting the World Bank to make funding conditional on its discontinuance

        The good old “Golden Rule” at work…

        (Too bad several millions, mainly children died as a result.)


      • Max

        Having seen your excellent intuitive grasp of the statistics surrounding lifespan and CO2 emission, one hesitates to take on questions of statistics in other areas. ;)

        Winter mortality is generally due factors that, while correlated to temperature (as winter correlates temperature), don’t give much support to either side of the +/-AGW case.

        Lowering fuel costs artificially for example won’t prevent, cure, or reduce the impact of a single case of influenza. Measures that will actually relieve disease will only suffer from diversion of funds to wasteful temperature-based considerations. Surely you don’t believe the common cold is caused by cold?

        A warming or cooling globe too won’t bring joy to those seeking to control and reduce the vectors of winter infections or the other deadly elements of the dark of the year.

        Why should they?

        These accidental impacts coming out of whatever changes are happening are not designed to make life better. They’re not designed to do anything. Hence, accidental.

        Arguing benefit from accident argues putting on a blindfold and juggling chainsaws in traffic in a crowded street, drinking random mixtures of fluids found in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, or climbing the walls of the local zoo while covered in ketchup to pet the kitties.

        There’s no sense to introducing winter mortality statistics, however true, to climate discussions; it’s an obfuscatory and irrelevant issue that at best reflects yet another area of increased risk by entering unknown global conditions without a plan or understanding.

        Speaking of the DDT ban.

        Thank you for your exposition.

        Yes, the ‘environmentalists caused millions of deaths’ trope is a falsehood by simplifying a bitter and difficult world history, complicated by war, religion, politics, crime and incompetence irrespective of one’s environmental credentials.

        DDT programs in regions of endemic war?

        Health programs that decrease the power of local religious authority by diminishing dependence on the faith?

        Straightforward application of technical solutions in the face of reactionary political agendas?

        International aid efficiently channeled when every local crime boss or dishonest bureaucrat has his hand out, gun drawn, to every possible source of funds by extortion or graft?

        Confusing area DDT spraying for agricultural purposes, meant to affect pests that feed on crops, for anti-malaria programs?

        The resultant DDT-resistance of insect vectors of disease, and indeed the resultant growth of insect vectors no longer competing with other insects nor preyed upon by diminished hunting species, truly incompetent health management.

        DDT ought have been reserved for bednets and indoor use in carefully-managed health programs, and wasn’t.

        It’s idiotic believe those who lay out the narrative any other way, as at best it would lay blame at the wrong feet and at worst cause to be repeated the same incompetence while rewarding the same criminals.

      • The utter heartlessness of the ecoloon on display.

        “In 1997, the World Bank extended $165 million in credit to India. The bank funds could be used for expensive pyrethroid insecticides, but none could be used for DDT. Similar pressures were tried in efforts to get the government of Madagascar to stop a successful program to control highland malaria by spraying house walls with DDT.

        Perhaps the most egregious example of external pressures is with loans to Eritrea. Overall, 50 percent of mortality and 60 to 80 percent of morbidity in Eritrea is the result of malaria. Within the country there are 145 physicians and 391 nurses. In other words, there is a critical shortage of health professionals. The World Bank, jointly with UNICEF and U.S. Aid for International Development (USAID), provided assistance loans. The UNICEF funds were only for insecticide-treated nets. USAID funds were for environmental assessment. The World Bank funds require Eritrea to “present by the end of the second year, a program and schedule for substituting DDT residual house-spraying by chemicals or techniques that are safer to the environment and human health.”

        “it is important to understand that DDT became an overnight success in the mid-1940s because it was cheap and relatively safe. There were many chemicals much more toxic to insects than DDT (for example, nicotine); but they were also toxic to humans. Even for insects, DDT exhibited only a slow toxic action. The real secret of its marvelous benefit was powerful action as a non-contact repellent and a contact irritant.”

      • Bruce

        Sorry, my skepticism about DDT claims was set into high gear by repetition of flat out lies told about WHO and DDT bans, so you’ll have to do better than a citation containing “..His views do not represent the official position of the University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government..” in its byline to convince me of what you say.

        Maybe something based in fact?

        Because your source has been repeatedly debunked.

        Here’s just one of many counters to it you could find in under a minute using Google:

      • World Health Organization

        “In 2008, there were 247 million cases of malaria and nearly one million deaths – mostly among children living in Africa. In Africa a child dies every 45 seconds of Malaria, the disease accounts for 20% of all childhood deaths.”

        “Growing resistance to antimalarial medicines has spread very rapidly, undermining malaria control efforts.”

        “indoor spraying with residual insecticides: Indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides is the most powerful way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission. Its full potential is realized when at least 80% of houses in targeted areas are sprayed. Indoor spraying is effective for 3–6 months, depending on the insecticide used and the type of surface on which it is sprayed. DDT can be effective for 9–12 months in some cases. Longer-lasting forms of IRS insecticides are under development.”

        Tim Lambert is not someone to be believed about anything.

      • Bart R

        Your opining on (human) hot/cold weather and DDT deaths does not change the facts.

        1. Significantly more humans die as a result of cold weather than warm weather.
        Keatinge et al. Heat related mortality in warm and cold regions of Europe: observational study
        (This is the study referred to by Dr. Maccabee per my earlier post.)

        We analysed age specific heat related mortality in the regions of west Europe covered in the Eurowinter survey of cold related mortalities,1 omitting Palermo for which matching population data were not available. We have used only the older age group included in the Eurowinter study because the younger (50 to 59 year) age group in that study showed too little heat related mortality to analyse. We report for each region the temperature above which mortality increased, the annual increase in mortality above that temperature, and the steepness of this increase. These values were compared with cold related mortalities calculated on the same basis.

        Populations in Europe have adjusted successfully to mean summer temperatures ranging from 13.5°C to 24.1°C, and can be expected to adjust to global warming predicted for the next half century with little sustained increase in heat related mortality. Active measures to accelerate adjustment to hot weather could minimise temporary rises in heat related mortality, and measures to maintain protection against cold in winter could permit substantial reductions in overall mortality as temperatures rise.

        Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that cold weather in winter causes many more deaths than heat in summer, even in most subtropical regions, and measures to control cold-related deaths need to continue.

        Our data suggest that any increases in mortality due to increased temperatures would be outweighed by much larger short term declines in cold related mortalities, although this offers little reassurance for those affected by the heat.

        2. Millions have died as a direct result of the pressure put on poor nations to ban the use of DDT by misguided “environmentalists” (from rich nations).
        (quotations and links already provided)


      • W F Lenihan

        Indur Goklaney authored several studies dealing with mortality from extreme weather events. This link leads to much of his work:

      • W F Lenihan

        And what skeptical research did you do to check any of these claims?

      • WHO promotes indoor spraying with insecticides as one of three main interventions to fight malaria

        15 SEPTEMBER 2006 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly thirty years after phasing out the widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that this intervention will once again play a major role in its efforts to fight the disease. WHO is now recommending the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.

        “The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment,” said Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. “Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.” WHO promotes indoor spraying with insecticides as one of three main interventions to fight malaria

        15 SEPTEMBER 2006 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly thirty years after phasing out the widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that this intervention will once again play a major role in its efforts to fight the disease. WHO is now recommending the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.

        “The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment,” said Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. “Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.”WHO promotes indoor spraying with insecticides as one of three main interventions to fight malaria

        15 SEPTEMBER 2006 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly thirty years after phasing out the widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that this intervention will once again play a major role in its efforts to fight the disease. WHO is now recommending the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.

        “The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment,” said Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. “Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.”

        Proper source control Max – not the unfiltered blogosphere

      • DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud

        J Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., was Professor Emeritus of Entomology at San Jose State University.

        The ban on DDT, founded on erroneous or fraudulent reports and imposed by one powerful bureaucrat, has caused millions of deaths, while sapping the strength and productivity of countless human beings in underdeveloped countries. It is time for an honest appraisal and for immediate deployment of the best currently available means to control insect-borne diseases. This means DDT.

      • Wow … talk about deja vu.

        “The procedure for banning DDT reflected the method described by Stanford biology professor Stephen Schneider, who appeared on the scene during fraudulent anti-pesticide debates, predicting grave environmental harm. In a widely quoted statement to Jonathan Schell in a 1989 article in , he explained: “We need to get loads of media coverage, so we have to offer up scary scenarios and make dramatic statements. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” Schneider has objected to the omission of the last line, “I hope that means being both.””

  9. TonyB

    Thanks for a very informative article. Indeed, it does look like you in Britain are scheduled to become the world’s “guinea pigs” in the fight against human-induced global warming.

    You asked for a check on Ed Hoskin’s estimate, namely the expenditure (by UK residents) of

    £32 billion every year for the foreseeable future in order to achieve by the year 2100 at the absolute maximum global temperature reduction of ~0.0019°C

    I can’t verify the cost numbers, because this depends largely on what actionable proposals are included. There have been very few of these to date, just a lot of political arm waving.

    One specific actionable proposal was made by James E. Hansen et al. for the USA to shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2030. I calculated that this would result in a reduction of global warming by 2100 of 0.08°C at a cost (replacement by nuclear plants) of $1.5 trillion.

    Similar “cost/benefit” figures have been generated for a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) scheme across the USA (presented here on an earlier thread). Here the cost was even higher for a smaller reduction in warming.

    But to the UK picture.

    Let’s take an extreme case: total shutdown of the UK (lights out, no more cooked food or polluting automobiles, no more pesky industry, etc.).

    The UK emits around 570 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

    If the entire nation were shut down in 2012, this would result in a reduction of global CO2 emissions by year 2100 of 50.2 GtCO2. A bit less than half of the total emitted CO2 “remains” in the atmosphere, so this equals 25.1 GtCO2 added to the atmosphere by UK emissions to year 2100.

    With an atmospheric mass of 5,140,000 Gt this equals 4.9 ppm(mass) or 3.2 ppmv. This is the global CO2 reduction by year 2100.

    IPCC (Scenario B1) assumes an increase of CO2 by year 2100 to 580 ppmv.

    With this increase we should see an increase of temperature of:

    C1 = 390 ppmv
    C2 = 580 ppmv
    C2/C1 = 1.487
    ln(C2/C1) = 0.397
    ln2 = 0.693
    dT(2xCO2) per IPCC = 3.2C
    dT (2011-2100) = 3.2 * 0.397 / 0.693 = 1.832C

    If the UK is shut down completely in 2012 we should see:

    C1 = 390 ppmv
    C2 = 580 – 3.2 = 576.8 ppmv
    C2/C1 = 1.479
    ln(C2/C1) = 0.391
    ln2 = 0.693
    dT(2xCO2) per IPCC = 3.2C
    dT (2011-2100) = 3.2 * 0.391 / 0.693 = 1.807C

    So the net reduction in warming by 2100 = 1.832 – 1.807 = 0.025C

    That’s the absolute maximum the UK can contribute to the fight against global warming, Tony.

    Sorry ‘bout that.


    • Max

      Thanks for your detailed calculations as to the temperature reduction the UK can contribute. I look forward to reading the calculations from others as well.


  10. Are we being driven by over zealous environmentalists who want to ‘save’ the earth at any cost?

    Is the pope German?

  11. Kent Draper

    It’s my opinion that the spigots supplying money to ANYTHING green or associated with CAGW should be immediately turned off and not a nickel more spent until it starts to warm again. Use ALL of those funds, including anything set aside for the UN for a Manhattan style project for nuclear energy R&D and implementation of plants NOW. When we have enough and then some of energy from this source, and if it starts to warm dramatically, then and only then look at reducing CO2. It’s a win/win. Nukes by their nature reduce the dreaded (sarc) CO2, we put LOTS of folks to work in REAL jobs and who knows, we may build a better mouse trap in the process. My 2 cents.

  12. Within the first 2 pages of E. Hoskins’ paper, he made a number of egregious mistakes:
    “…a warmer world is probably a better, more productive world, as in the past..”

    Way to oversimplify, Ed, with no supporting citations. As far as we know, warmer conditions have made some areas more productive, and other areas less so, in the past – this was probably the case in teh Medieval warm period.

    ” Additional atmospheric CO2 significantly improves all plant growth and thus food production.”

    WRONG – Photosynthesis saturates while respiration tends to increase more than linearly or even exponentially with temperature. Even without changing temperature, there are wide differences between plant species in their response to elevated CO2

    “And extra CO2 also enhances the drought tolerance of all plant life.”
    WRONG – Again, differetn species display different responses. Only in the event of both respiration and photosynthesis acclimating – which implies that stomatal conductance woudl be reduced, or stomatal density reduced for no net reduction of photosynthesis.

    So, that is three very big mistakes in the first two pages – and that’s just the stuff I noticed. I did not look too closely at his Math, but he does not seem to have heard of feedbacks.

    So, who is this Ed Hoskins, and given the mistakes and lack of citations to back up his “facts” why shoudl any of us bother reading beyond page 2?

    • Hoskins paper is of some political significance in the UK, given the response of Mackay. Note, the tag on this post is “policy”. People are of course free to discuss the scientific merits or lack thereof of Hoskin’s paper.

    • There are multiple resource limitations for plant growth and carbon dioxide is probably not a major one. There is evidence plant stomata decrease in number and size with increased CO2. This limits water losses as well.

      ‘More stomata are made on plant surfaces under higher light, lower atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and moist environments.’

      Most terrestrial plants have this adaptation to limit water loss.

      In general warmer conditions increase biological activity. It is a basic biological law. Grow faster but not more?

    • Andy, could you give some examples of food crops that do not respond well to CO2 or extra warmth.

      Sensible people are quite worried about the PDO switch that will make it colder and the effect that will have on crops that were grown in warmer times int he last 30 years and may not do as well.

      “a FACE study conducted at Maricopa, Arizona, USA – spring wheat was grown for two seasons at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of ambient and ambient + 200 ppm, with half of each plot receiving high amounts of nitrogen and half receiving low amounts. Over the course of the two growing seasons, Brooks et al. (2000) found that the plants grown in the CO2-enriched plots accumulated 8 and 16% more carbon than the plants exposed to ambient air under the low and high soil nitrogen regimes, respectively.

      Throughout the same experiment, Hunsaker et al. (2000) determined that the extra 200 ppm of CO2 reduced seasonal evapotranspiration by about 1 and 4% under conditions of low and high soil nitrogen, respectively. As a result, the extra CO2 increased the water use efficiency of the wheat plants by approximately 10 and 20% in the low and high nitrogen treatments, respectively.”

      Maybe they aren’t big mistakes Andy … maybe you are the mistaken person.

    • Andy,

      Global crop production are way up from 50 or 100 years ago so your arguments are irrelevant since it’s supposed to be warmer and have more co2 now.

      • Since 1960, anhydrous ammonia, seed technology, herbicides, pesticides, irrigation, etc. versus additional warmth and additional CO2. I think I see a clear winner.

      • so if extra CO2 and extra warmth are not destroying us, then …

      • Maybe I misunderstood. It appeared to me there has been an attempt to credit additional warmth and additional CO2 for the significant increase in crop yields since ~1960. I think it was the green revolution: anhydrous ammonia, seed technology, irrigation, herbicides, pesticides, etc.

        Also, during the initial phase of the green revolution, I would not be surprised if many significant agricultural areas, like the American midwest, were experiencing temperature drops.

      • Attribution in this case is obviously very difficult, not to mention not being studied. FAO statistics show many of these technologies not increasing or even decreasing after the seventies. Anyone who claims to know the answer at this time is mistaken.

      • David Wojick said “Attribution in this case is obviously very difficult, not to mention not being studied. FAO statistics show many of these technologies not increasing or even decreasing after the seventies. Anyone who claims to know the answer at this time is mistaken.” Yet I have published a peer-reviewed paper on climate change and food production (available at my website’s url) using regression analysis to show the roles of temperature, CO2, and fertilisers on the FAO Index of world food production

        Yt = −507.99 + 0.365Tt + 5.756Ct − 0.047Ft (2)
        Std errors: (42.55) (0.475) (0.159) (0.069)

        Clearly atmospheric CO2 plays a much more significant role than temperature and fertiliser usage, as its coefficient is much more than double its standard error, while theirs are less than double. Evidently this result shows how rising CO2 has reduced the need for fertilisers.

        Similar regressions show CO2 plays NO significant role in temperature change, as my latest paper shows, available also at and at the Roger Pielke snr. Blog

        Heathrow sunshine data has been discussed here; the data set also shows monthly mean maximum temperature and rainfall as well as sunshine. Regressing changes in Tmax on monthly changes in these variables as well as atmospheric
        CO2 shows significant positive roles for sun and rain in explaining temperature chnage since 1958, but negative for atmospheric CO2. That is because the latter is ALWAYS lower in the summer months than in the previous winter, by as much as 6 ppm, an amount more than 3 times larger than the trivial average annual increase of less than 2 ppm.

        It is true if beyond belief that not a single one of the contributors to AR4 WG1 2007 has any statistical capability, which is why you will not find a single equation like mine above in any of the 996 pages of WG1, nor regressions results like mine for Heathrow:

        Coefficients Standard Error
        Intercept 0.051023757 0.103554705
        dRain 0.010876453 0.002629726
        dSun 0.048554614 0.002129684
        dCO2 -0.435829682 0.086662484
        (R2=0.45, rising to 0.67 if the constant is set at 0; confidence 99%).

        All the coefficients have t-statistics (ie. coefficient/standard error) that are well above the critical level of 2.

        Thus CO2 is important for agriculture but irrelevant for temperature.

    • Andy

      This is precisely the reasons for this article-to obtain peer review on a complex subject that affects us all , whatever side of the debate you find yourself on.

      Could you please note the mathematical mistakes you believe there to be in Ed’s paper and present us with your estimates. Thanks for your time


      • Andy is objecting to contentious claims not specific calculates. Calling these claims mistakes, much less egregious, is incorrect. They are merely contentious.

  13. A cost benefit analysis is irrelevant to progressives seeking to gain, and exercise, control over an economy. Look at how healthcare legislation was passed in the U.S. without a single congressman or senator having a clue what was in the actual legislation. The cost isn’t the point, nor is the benefit. What matters is having control.

    The decarbonization of the British economy is proceeding with the same (in)attention to detail. In other words, the details simply don’t matter, passing the legislation is all that counts. Trying to convince a progressive politician that his central plan doesn’t work is like trying to convince Michael Mann that his hockey stick is statistical junk.

    The best hope England has of surviving progressive rule, is progressive rule itself. The bad news is, our British cousins are bearing the cost of having elected so many progressives for so long, while we wait for their disasterous policies to implode their economy. The good news is that the U.S. electorate is seeing what is happening there, and seeing what our own progressives have wrought here, and may avoid more of the same.

    If the next election continues the shift to genuine conservatism in the U.S., we will see the results of the two economic polices in stark relief. At which point the British electorate can then jettison their own progressive baggage and begin their own recovery.

    • Kent Draper

      To me, the progressives simply want everybody to be “equal”. That is, thru legislation, the courts, by any means necessary, force folks to be “good”, or equal. Unfortunately, at the cost of your agency, or free will. So ultimately, everyone will have the same. No poor. This would be great if it was by choice.

      • The only place everyone is equal is in the graveyard.
        Many people go there early under extreme progressive policies, as we see from history.

      • Kent –
        So ultimately, everyone will have the same. No poor.

        That’s the theory, but it’s never worked in any society through at least 5,000 years of human history. But they don’t care about history – it’s much too “inconvenient”.

        This would be great if it was by choice.

        They don’t care about “choice” except wrt abortion, and even then there are exceptions.

      • Kent Draper

        What I meant when I said it would be great if everybody choose to do the right thing, I meant then there would be no poor. If folks chose to be good, then their hearts would dictate that they help the poor. It wouldn’t be because they were forced to. If this were to become the case, then we would all prosper. There would still be those that had more than others, but simply because they worked harder. IMO

      • “Pity the poor for they will always be among us.”
        Lots of people “do the right thing” by way of who spoke the above line.

      • Kent,

        Progressives only claim they want everybody to be equal. Just like they claim that every statist policy they propose is “for the children.” But that is not their genuine goal.

        Think of public education. The public school systems of virtually every major city in the U.S. have been run by progressives for decades. In that time, teachers unions have gained tremendous political power, Democrats have laundered millions of public money through union dues to the Democrat’s campaigns, and public school teachers have gotten massive unfunded pensions that are bankrupting states, but guarantee their efforts on election day in getting more progressives elected.

        Who benefits? The kids who are kept ignorant, cannot graduate, and cannot pass basic proficiency tests, who are made dependent on government for their very survival, even as they become adults, because no one bothered to teach them to read, write, add and subtract? Or the progressives who collect salaries, and union dues, and campaign contributions and pension benefits? Most people think inner city schools are a total failure, progressives know they have been a resounding success, once you understand their real purpose.

        Environmental policy is no different. Stopping “global warming” is just an excuse, for the progressive political advocates. They get their campaign contributions from scaring BP, GE and other companies hoping to survive the progressive decarbonization of the economy. They fund their NGOs, get hired by the ever more bloated government bureaucracies, and get their research funded, all in the name of saving the planet. Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, Tom Freidman, and other green lights of the left live lives of splendor, while advocating the impoverishment of the entire globe.

        I learned decades ago to ignore what people say, and watch what they do. It is not just about hypocrisy, but about discerning people’s real intentions. Progressives, the real, hard core activist types, use “fairness,” “the children”, “save the whales,” and “stop global warming” to achieve the one end they all share, the accumulation of power. The vast majority of those who vote progressive – Democrat, moderate and independent alike – just buy the slogans, blissfully unaware of what their sainted leaders are really up to. But that will not last forever.

        I was married to an East German woman who grew up and lived under communism for over 35 years. When I met her not long after the Berlin Wall fell, she told me, “we knew we were poor, but at least we were all in it together.” I then showed her news stories about the dachas and special stores enjoyed by the leaders of her former country, the cars they drove, the trips to foreign countries where they could purchase foreign goods, etc. First, she wept, literally. But then she got mad….

        As long as progressives don’t succeed in gaining control over the internet and in stifling dissent on alternative media, exposing the real costs of their policies, and their true intentions, will keep us from following them off the cliff. The demise of Copenhagen and the defeat of cap and trade and carbon taxes in the U.S. show what can be done if you shine a light under the rocks where they hide.

      • Public schools are run by school boards, and they tend to be conservative.

        I have had 26 child years of experience with inner-city public schools, and I don’t agree with a word of what you say. My children are products of inner-city public schools. Their academic achievements are rock solid.

      • Kent Draper

        JCH, you obviously are NOT from California. There may be school boards, but the teachers union run things. My wife just retired as a Superintendents Secretary after 20+ years. I know exactly how schools are run. I’m not asking for anything specific, but what state are you talking about?

      • More Canberra parents are choosing to send their children to private high schools rather than public. (ABC News)

        Most canberra parents work for the government!

    • Or move to the US.

  14. Roger T Dodd

    You may want to look at this World bank report
    which uses for each part of the world and given the predicted climate change a comparable current region. The finding is that the costs of adapting to climate change will generally be really quite low. So while not exactly what E Hoskins was saying, it does in a careful way find that things will not be so bad.

  15. I don’t have time to check through now but something smacks of oversimplification in this article to me.

    That the UK’s contribution on a global scale is tiny is just obvious. Why is this a revalation? That’s not the point at all, were not doing it because we think we can do it alone. What ever happened to morality and justice as a factor in decision making?

    1) The UK’s economy is horrifically skewed towards finance and we need new industries – AKA Green economy. The UK is trying to benefit by being a first mover in this area so that we can commercialise the technology, services and systems. It seems that the UK, Germany, Denmark and Japan are all moving in this direction. The governments see change as innevitable and being the first to change could provide competative advantage. The governments certainly take the IPCC consensus and the results of economic analyses such as Stern review much more on face value here than on the other side of the pond and then base policy upon it.

    2) The UK’s energy security is a big deal. With the end of North Sea resources we will be increasingly dependant on the oil/gas markets and on Russia. China has cornered the world coal market and to be over exposed to it in future would be stupid. This is highly undesirable for the UK both economically and politically. The idea of indigenous energy is a very attractive one here in the UK. Also there is a feeling that we have the resources both academically and in terms of resources to take advantage of our domestic potential and build new industries.

    3) I would argue that Americans are utterly obsessed with power. It comes from rampant libertarianism. Every government action is always a conceited ploy to steal from the individual either monitarily of in terms of rights. That is not how many Europeans see the role of government (although many do on the right). The role of governement is widely thought to act in the common good and show leadership, rather than just promote the freedom of the individual. Europe as a whole has the sense that what with the US’s failure to provide leadership, it is the responsibility of the EU to show leadership and be the first movers.

    • Kent Draper

      “Europe as a whole has the sense that what with the US’s failure to provide leadership, it is the responsibility of the EU to show leadership and be the first movers”.
      Exactly what is it you are going to “fix”? Please, no generalitys, be specific. You can mention how much aid you have taken from us. How many times the US has saved you from slavery. How a nation, up until a few decades ago, was the most prosperous, giving folks on the face of the earth. I think you may be a little jealous of our freedom. Which is to be expected. The US also was blessed with a great wealth of natural resources. This also is coveted. I don’t see you showing leadership. I see you giving away your country to government. They will take care of you as long as the money lasts. Then you will be fully enslaved. Dependent on the government for everything. You will all be “equal”. Abiet poor, you will be equal.

      • Kent mate,

        You have a point about what should or shouldn’t be fixed. Such a value judgement is not common between all people. In this sense, I mean the failure of world governments to act on the science of climate change, act on the uncertainty of climate change rather than perpetually stall international negotiations for the last 20 years. Aside from climate change there are many other things in the world that need ‘fixing’ for we live in a very unjust world that is of both Europe’s and the USA’s making.

        Also I think it’s a bit rich bringing up the Second World War in this one. Just because you did a good thing once doesn’t mean you’re good forever. If you help an old women cross the road then subsequently push her over, the earlier good doesn’t cancel out the later bad. Morality isn’t additative. Also, who is giving 0.7% of their GDP in aid at the moment? Um…. Not the USA.

        Jealous of your freedom? Jealous of your freedom to stomp all over whoever you want. What is freedom anyway when the narrow pursuit of your freedom restricts the freedom enjoyed by others? That’s freedom for the few privileged individuals and it’s hypercritical of the whole libertarian philosophy. That’s not freedom, that’s totalitarianism.
        The USA is blessed with great power and great resources (although you forget that most of your wealth comes from exploiting other countries resources), no one can deny that. But with it comes great moral responsibility, in a globalised world, your actions have huge impacts on the welfare of others. The USA as does Europe has a historical and current responsibility. That is what I mean that is not being met at the moment.

        Finally, what you are essentially saying is that you would prefer to live in a society where there a massive difference in the wealth, health and quality of life between a rich subsection of society and a larger very poor, desperate majority – as long as you are part of the upper section. Well, that’s your value choice. I for one would always choose the more equal society.


      • Kent Draper

        “Well, that’s your value choice. I for one would always choose the more equal society”.

        There it is Sam, you are choosing the “more equal society” by forcing folks do things. Thru taxes, propaganda, ect. You are trying to force equality. Won’t happen. Not without guns. You see, as quoted above, “there will always be poor amongst us” and why do you think that is?

        Back to the first question. What exactly are you going to fix :) It shouldn’t be that tough to answer. Why should anybody act when not only is there no problem, you are not try to fix the supposed problem you say we have. You are trying to get more money from folks, period. Money brings power.

      • So it appears your arguement says that we cannot have a more equal society rather than we should not? In which case there are numerous counterfactual examples to this arguement (e.g. Scandic countries)

        You also make some big moral assumptions a simple example: Is it right for people to be starving, living in terrible housing and dying of easily treatable diseases in your own country and for the government and tax payers to not help? This leads to a more utilitarian arguement that, at what point is it better (economically for the state) for the state to enable people to live more prosperous, productive lives rather than leave them to rely on the state for subsistence?

        From what I gather your thinking goes like this:
        p1) That to have a more equal society, redistribution must occur
        p2) That for redistribution to occur, this must enforced
        p3) Enforcement will not work short of the threat or use of violence
        p4) This type of enforcement would never happen in a democracy
        C) Therefore we cannot have a more equal society and shouldn’t try for it

        Fairer distribution doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. Equality of opportunity in a growing world (big assumption of future growth here) means that people can create their own proserity given opportunity and the means. A more productive state is in everyone’s collective interest as there will be more revenue available for public goods and less needed (and in this I mean that many people do NEED it) for welfare.

        Enforcement clearly does already work, taxes do work. You just don’t like them and are of the opinion that no one will vote for them. Also people don’t need money given to them, they need education and small business loans to be available to them. Then they can make their own money. It isn’t Robin hood.

        I think that enought of your premises are wrong that the conclusion is defunct in this case. You just see a fairer society as a zero sum game. I don’t.

      • Kent Draper

        “From what I gather your thinking goes like this:
        p1) That to have a more equal society, redistribution must occur”
        You couldn’t of misunderstood more :) I don’t believe in redistribution. If some one needs help and can’t help themselves, then the first place they go is their family. If they absolutly can’t get help there then go to your church or place of worship. If you can’t get help there then and only then go to the government.
        Have you never lived where the government doesen’t take care of you? If that’s the case I feel you may have really missed something in your life. :(

      • In terms of the fix, I did say what the aim of the fix is. Clearly to limit the extent of future climate change through emissions reductions.

        Just because the UK acting alone will not solve the problem, that is not an arguement for inaction. Just because many countries took part in the slave trade, it did not make it a morally proper thing to be doing? That is a weak rationalisation.

        The premise of the action is that:
        1) Gases such as CO2 etc trap short wave radiation and cause a net increase in energy within the earth system.
        2) That the observed increase in CO2 is anthropogenic
        3) That the observed warming can be attributed to 2
        4) That increased emissions will lead to increased net energy in the earth system
        5) That the future impacts of such emissions is not desirable economically and -> crucially, morally. Economic cost benefit analysis does not tell you if something is right or wrong. Just what it may or may not cost.
        6) That we are historically, and currently responsible.
        7) That we have the ability to address this problem at home and through political influence, collectively.
        C) Therefore we should attempt to do something about it

        A further strong driver I think is that such a change in the economy is inevitable at some point soon through simple resource constraints. Inaction is just delaying the decision, and being a first mover in terms of technology and govenance can be hugely advantageous. look at what the railway did for the UK, look at how property rights led to America’s strong political economy. Look at places that have the web, verses those that don’t.

        Now I’m sure you take umbridge at many of these. But the point is not necessarily to ‘fix’, because we cannot do it alone. But what is the right thing to do, and will our actions have a wider influence. I think the answer is yes to both.

      • * correction, long wave radiation

      • * correction, thermal (IR) radiation

      • Latimer Alder

        You keep om mentioning governance. What do you propose that is different from the existing arrangements ..and why?

      • Kent Draper

        To fix it, it needs to be proven broken. The earth has been cooling with a 25% increase in CO2. Some more bad news, Russia, Japan, Canada and the US won’t be redoing Koyoto :) You in the UK, New Zealand and the Aussies will be stuck holding the bag so to speak. My condolences.

    • Spain is a good example of a green economy. Bankrupt.

      • The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 [$791,597] to create each ‘green job’, including subsidies of more than €1-million [$1.38-million] per wind industry job.

      • The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every ‘green job’ created.

      • Principally, the high cost of electricity affects costs of production and
      employment levels in metallurgy, nonmetallic mining and food processing,
      beverage and tobacco industries.

      • Each ‘green’ megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

      • These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain’s approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.

    • Latimer Alder


      Please explain in detail how the measures proposed will lead us to be leaders in the green economy.

      We might end up having a lot of windmills, but I;m struggling to follow how that achieves the aim. You cannot employ a million people just on windmills.

      What else is there? Pouring concrete for everybody else’s windmills? Hardly the highest of high tech. And you have to transport the personnel long distances.

      Solar panels? H’mm…Latitude 55N on a cloudy island isn’t the obvious geography to become world leader.

      Waves/tides? We certainly have a long coastline and good tidal ranges. But in 1000 years of history we’ve only exploited these a little (tidal water mills). France (with similar waters in Brittany) built the Rance barrage about fifty years ago and didn’t continue.

      Has the basic technology changed since then? Water goes up, gets caught, is released, water gushes out. Sames as the tide mill from the 1400s.

      Electricity storage: We built the hydro ‘paternoster’ at Dinorwic abut thirty years ago and none since.

      So wind, wave, solar, tidal, storage are none of them going to provide a ‘green economy’ let alone a technological or national lead for us in UK.

      What else is left? You are confident that it can be done and is worthwhile.
      Please let us know the masterplan. And without requiring us to use rose-tinted spectacles please.

      • Latimer Alder

        On further reflection, we employ a politician called Chris Huhne as Minister for Energy and Climate Change.

        Leaving aside his little local difficulties with ex-wives and the cops for the moment, shouldn’t he be setting out his vision of the masterplan for us all to see? If he has, I’ve missed it. Especially the bit about ‘leadership in the green economy’

      • Have you actually been on the DECC website at all?

      • Right, well as I am not a solar engineer then I cannot, clearly. That is the thing, you’re attacking the wrong guy her.

        A green economy is not all about consuming renewables, it’s about developing industries and technical proficiency. The creation of a domestic market for wind power in Denmark is what enabled Vestas to develop and become a big company.

      • Latimer Alder

        Is that the domestic market for wind power that was such a success that they eventually gave up completely on building onshore windmills?

        And if Vestas has already got the windmill market sewn up, what is left for us.

        Yes – I have looked at the DECC website. Here’s the link

        Some nice pikkies of Chris Huhne on front of a pylon. And a nice pikkie of just Chris Huhne. Followed by a nice pikkie of Chris Huhne and David Cameron.

        But no discussion that I can find of how your long list of aspirational warm fuzzies that ‘its all about’ is going to be turned into any sort of practical reality.

        Liek most football fans, I apsire to my club making some far-sighted signings in teh summer, attrcating bigger crowds, winning their league by a mile and having a great cup run as well. That’s my list of aspirations.

        But to actually do it requries more than hopeful thoughts. There is hard work needed to turn aspirations into reality. Where is it?

      • We don’t need central planning, Latimer. Charge a carbon tax that reflects the negative externalities of emissions accurately, and the free market will do the hard work for you.

      • exactly

      • Latimer Alder

        What ‘negative externalities’ do you have in mind?

      • How do you build a nuclear power plant if everything that goes into it costs 50% more because of a carbon tax?

        Concrete is a huge producer of CO2. Fossil fuels are needed to make all the components and transport all of the components.

        Admittedly the vast unemployment caused by a sadistic carbon tax may make labor cheaper.

      • Robert –
        Charge a carbon tax that reflects the negative externalities of emissions accurately, and the free market will do the hard work for you.

        Don’t charge a carbon tax and the free market will do it far more efficiently. And faster. That’s what the “free market” does. What you’re talking about isn’t a “free market” – it’s a regulated market.

      • Yes the very same. Funny how my point is that it enabled Vestas to grow from a government funded research group into a huge multinational company. That it cannot put much more on land is no surprise – see the BBC’s windfarm wars series. Also Denmark is a tiny country. Thirdly this is the Torygraph – not known for their impartial reporting. The article snipes that wind energy must be exported to scandinavia and Germany – that’s the point of a grid! To spread power where it is needed or can be stored. The point is that government policy RE-renewables research, energy policy and business built a stong industry, and whilst the domestic onshore market maybe saturated that doesn’t negate my point.

        So essentially what you are admitting to is having been on the front page of their website, looked at the pictures on the homepage and not had the presence of mind to actually explore the website or read any document. Well done you….

      • Latimer Alder

        What I ‘admit to’ is very slightly taking the p**s out of the adulation of Mr Huhne on the DECC website. Three lovely pictures on the front, all including the grinning minister are more reminiscent of Romania prior to the fall of Ceaucescu than a serious government ministry doing serious work.

        But having also searched through it, (using the helpful ‘search’ facility ) for keywords like ‘strategy’, I found no help in understanding the plan that was going to help us do the grandiose things that you claim are just around the corner.

        If it is truly there – as you imply – please guide me to it webiste address

        As to Vestas as an example, it has grown to a medium size business only. In last year’s accounts it had a turnover of abt 7 billion euros (£6 billion) and a profit of 150 million euros (£130 million). Good enough, but not something that would make much of a dent in the UK economy either way. These figures are about what IBM, for example, generates in three weeks. And as Vestas is considered to be the world leaders in wind technology, and windmills are just commodity acquisitions needing few customisations or specialistlservices, I really do not see how emulating this example has much future.

        You might also be interested that one commentary the Danish think tank CEOP which concluded that ‘investment’ in wind power has actually casued a net reduction in the GDP of Denmark. In other words, they would have been better off not doing anything at all.

        You are clearly not a regular reader of the Telegraph, whose line is generally in favour of the warmist cause and whose two regular contirbutors as ‘envorinmental correspondents’ Geoffrey Lean and Lousie Gray are both very firmly committed to the alarmist/catastrophist cause.

        Overall, Sam, your argument sounds great at the level of warm fuzzy soundbites, but is fatally lacking in any actual substance.

        Unless you can provide soem, I have to conclude that there is little or nothing behind the brave words.

      • Latimer Alder

        Just found a better way to put the size of Vetsas into perspective.

        If all of Vestas’ profits last year were spent solely on the UK’s NHS they would keep it going for about 10.5 hours. We would need about 850 Vestas to pay just for the NHS.

        Though a worthy company, UK’s economic salvation cannot lie in building windmills.. a technology largely unchanged since the 14th Century. It is wishful thinking in the extreme to think it does.

      • Hey Latimer,

        I personally think the primary driver for UK energy policy in this respect is energy security before the idea that green energy will provide economic growth.

        I think this because the UK government, industry and academia are all becoming very worried about resource depletion and the UK’s exposure to future price volatility in energy markets. Particularly oil but also coal too. It’s also worth noting that many big banks as well as the IEA now admit that peak conventional crude oil in now, and current spot prices for oil are above $100 like before the crash. Declining EROEI of oil will mean that prices won’t drop without further recession.

        The UK government therefore recognises that a shift away from such energy sources is a desirable long term objective in and of itself, especially as North Sea oil is rapidly declining. On the subject of North Sea Oil, the UK government actually see’s great opportunity in the vacant reservoirs for storing CO2 from CCS which would preserve some of the 30,000 jobs currently supported by North Sea Oil and which will go down the pan soon as resources deplete . Given that we have to change, we must exploit what opportunity we can from making this change.

        A green economy isn’t just about windmills it’s about a new economic model. So, that’s wind power, combined heat and power, solar, geothermal, hydro, wave power, nuclear (if your into it), energy efficiency technology, CCS technology, smart grids, smart electronic devices, sustainable architecture, renewable waste streams (see, smart transport links and services (rail, boats, cars, busses etc), new governance structures, advances in services management and technology (i.e. climate resilient water resources management – in which we are already world leaders). And so on at may levels of the economy.

        If the economy is incentivised in this way, domestic markets are built up, and if the resources made available for researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs then there is ample opportunity for innovation and the commercialisation of products and services that will be desirable on a world market. Knowledge is also a precious export commodity. This change wouldn’t necessarily compromise other aspects of our economy.
        Also, but I don’t know if you noticed this but solar will soon be cost competitive with other forms of energy

        The whole point of committing to a strong policy is that it sends a signal to the economy of long term trends. There are always winner and loosers in policy change, that’s what lobbying is all about but once policy is in place business is innovative. Al the UK government is doing is fixing the direction in which it wants such innovation to proceed. It should also be noteworthy that it’s not just the UK doing this. It is also Germany, Denmark, Japan, and other countries such as Norway have ambitious targets to. If enough countries commit to change then there already exists a new market for low carbon technology, services and innovation to fill.

      • Um, 18c /kWH in AZ using 12 pct efficiency solar cells probably equates to 3 times that at 48 degrees North. Tell me about cap cost, battery replacement, cell degradaton and replacement and other factors in the cost equation.

      • Latimer Alder

        Hi Sam

        Thanks for your reply.

        Interesting to see your analysis of where we are today. But your detailed plan is no more than a set of fuzzy aspirations which could have been written by any green activist.

        I;m always deeply suspicious of any statement that starts ‘its all about….’ followed by a list of things. Such a statement is much favoured by lobbyists, but shows that no detailed thinking has been done.

        And what, exactly, do you mean by ‘new governance structures’? The recent referendum in the UK on the voting system showed that we have no appetite at all to change our democratic governance. And this is likley to stay the same for at least a generation

        So thanks for your reply. But as a taxpaying UK citizen I was hoping for something quite a lot more concrete and less woolly. And without the wishful thinking.

        If this is the best we can do, we are all doomed!

      • Hey Latimer,

        I thanks for the reply.

        Yes, that answer was a little woolly I admit, but mostly because I cannot be bothered to spend hours trying to make the case backing up every reference and point with a source, then trying to incorporate it into some holistic framework of how the future will look. The whole point about the future is it is uncertain and you have to make choices. What do you expect; a complex argument requires complex answers not suitable to a blog post comment. I simply don’t have the time to spend on doing that – few people do. I also don’t think doing so would be any more effective in changing your mind than what I have already said. I don’t think I could do a more thorough analysis than many of the reports that exist mapping out a 2050 road map. Also if you went on the DECC website, all the information about their plans are there to read.
        I could make the counter claim that your sniping criticisms of future possibilities are parochial and simplistic such that they could have been made by anyone sceptical of change. Your argument works both ways, for me and for you.
        Also I note that your writing is deconstructive rather than constructive. Why is the default position that I am to prove myself unto you? Fair enough, I made some generalist claims which do need support to be considered as an evidence base for action, but where are yours? Those claims as they stand are my opinion not my thesis. Where are yours for preserving the status quo? Perhaps facts aren’t the place to start, maybe values are.
        I may aspire to different things, believe different things, and probably have differing values than you do. I don’t mean to say mine are better or worse, just different. We will have different attitudes to expert opinion (who is an expert, what counts as evidence, attitudes towards uncertainty and ambiguity, etc), and trust different people’s expert opinion based upon our values. I don’t really believe that there is anything I could write on here to change your mind – us both being internet avatars after all. Face to face conversation might be different though as this facilitates a better exchange of values and opinions.
        I am also a tax paying UK citizen it should be noted, and the conclusion if this is the best we can do then we are all doomed is preposterous? In fact it just shows that your inclination is nihilism as opposed to optimism about the future. If we’re not optimistic then nihilism is a self fulfilling prophesy. We are lay people projecting our thoughts onto a virtual discussion space, we are not in a crisis room pushing the buttons. Neither do we have the resources of those that do. That is why we have governments and scientists and economists etc. They as part of a system are there to do a better job than we could do on our own. It’s a ridiculous to expect to see a comprehensive solution in a blog comments section.

      • Hampton Hill

        Thanks for your lengthy reply.

        I wasn’t expecting you alone to lay out the whole strategy off the top of your head in this blog. But I was rather hoping to see that somebody somewhere had actually done the work required to show that it was feasible and doable. Possibly even to have compared and contrasted it with other possibilities and come up with the conclusion that it was the best choice among a spectrum of choices.

        But it seems I am to be disappointed. We are asked to accept these ideas on faith alone, and on the very feeble example of Denmark and Vestas.

        You falsely claim that my inclination is to nihilsm rather than optimism. Au contraire mon brave. I have spent long enough dealing with half-baked ideas and sorting out their difficult consequences to have a healthy degree of cycnism about any proposal that cannot even stand up to first level simple questions like ‘show me the figures’.

        Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army (UK TV show) used to rush around like a whirling dervish shouting ‘Don’t Panic’. You may consider that as optimism..I don’t. Rushing around Doing Something is not the right way to react to any challenge..real or imaginary. The hard bit is doing the Right Thing.

        You have shown no evidence at all that what is being done is the Right Thing.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sorry that was from me. I used ‘Hampton Hill’ on another thread so that nobody could use any prior knowledge of my views in answering. a question.


  16. In reply to Andy Park | May 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm | who claims Hoskins within the first 2 pages of his paper made a number of egregious mistakes:
    eg (1): Hoskins: “…a warmer world is probably a better, more productive world, as in the past..” Andy, check the data at FAOstat: crop yields are higher in warmer countries than in cold, cane sugar and rice cannot even be grown in Scotland, and despite alleged global warming crop yields have increased hugely everywhere since the FAO data sets begin in 1960.

    (2) Hoskins: “Additional atmospheric CO2 significantly improves all plant growth and thus food production.” Andy: “WRONG – Photosynthesis saturates while respiration tends to increase more than linearly or even exponentially with temperature”. Respiration cannot exceed what was absorbed from photosynthesis. Andy: “Even without changing temperature, there are wide differences between plant species in their response to elevated CO2”, yes, mainly as between C3 (eg rice) (90% of all crop species) and C4 (maize) (less than 10%), and the gains for C3 are huge, go check out Dutch greenhouses with CO2 at >1000 ppm, and even maize shows some benefit (check out the 200+ FACE studies of wheat, rice, and maize grown with free air carbon enrichment).

    (3) Hoskins: “And extra CO2 also enhances the drought tolerance of all plant life.” Andy: “WRONG – Again, different species display different responses”. Me: RIGHT, see Farquhar et al (1980 and passim).

    So, who is this Andy Park, given the mistakes and lack of citations to back up his “corrections,” why should any of us bother with anything he says?

    • TRC C,
      Andy is just another true believer hoping he can chant away those wicked inconvenient facts.

      • “Andy is just another true believer hoping he can chant away those wicked inconvenient facts.”

        Really? I thought he was arguing against the pseudoskeptic side. But you’d know one of your own, I suppose.

  17. John Carpenter

    “In future, precisely how and where do we get the cheap and plentiful energy that has been the cornerstone of our growing prosperity since the industrial revolution?”

    We continue to make the energy as we always have, with carbon based fuels. There will be no abrupt, quantum shift in the way we produce energy anytime soon. Renewables are nice to talk about, but not too realistic in the coming decades. Here in Connecticut, there is a tremendous uproar in the little scenic town of Prospect about the potential construction of two windmills.

    This is exactly the type of controversy we will witness time and again for local renewables of the windmill type. Cape cod and Nantucket are fighting their own battles as illustrated here,

    Ironically, GE headquarters is located here in Fairfield CT and they are of course pushing it to the max as illustrated here,

    Yet they won’t be able to construct a single one locally due to the NIMBY effect…. this will be a huge problem for many communities. Unless democracy is suspended, we can look forward to decades of legal battles on where wind farms will be built here in New England.

    Fuel cell power is another non-starter for local communities, again here in CT the NIMBY rule prevails

    Nuclear energy certainly has the potential to make a dent in our energy needs, but… everyone is too afraid now… so we have to put that one back into the box for a decade or so until we aren’t so scared anymore.

    Solar will suffer from NIMBYism in the appropriate locations where it is practical as well. Ironically environmentalists are the leaders in defeating their own local renewable energy projects as described here,

    So it increasingly it seems more and more likely we will continue to use carbon based fuels until all these hurdles can be overcome. These battles need to be fought and renewables should become a part of our energy landscape, I just don’t think it’s going to happen too quickly and we will continue to need more and more cheap energy to drive our economy. I seriously doubt our country will commit economic suicide as the UK appears to be doing by legislating themselves into a corner.

    “Should we reintroduce fossil fuels-coal/shale gas etc- back into the energy mix, perhaps as an interim measure for the next thirty years whilst renewables are developed into a viable energy solution?”

    Yes… see above.

  18. “I would argue that Americans are utterly obsessed with power. It comes from rampant libertarianism.”

    This is a distorted perspective that comes from reading comment threads and blogs. Libertarians are a tiny, discredited group whose representatives poll about 0.4% of the vote in national elections.

    For whatever reason, libertarians love comment threads, and are heavily overrepresented there. IRL, they’re a bit of a joke.

    • Robert

      Being Swiss I can vouch for the fact that many people here have a libertarian mindset, even if they have not officially been classed as “libertarians”. I believe the same is true for the USA, where personal liberty is written with a capital “L”.

      But to the statement that “Americans are obsessed with power” (more so than other nationalities), I would think that they are probably more obsessed with “image” (especially “self-image” ) rather than “power”.

      But, of course, that is just my impression. Maybe an American can comment.


      • Image. We have our share of power seekers, but definitely image.

      • I’d never heard that before. It’s an odd observation, but I think it ties in with the fact that Europeans are more defined by inherited social class than Americans are, and because of that Americans have to place more importance on image, because that’s the only way you establish yourself in the social order.

        Of course, Swiss aren’t typical Europeans, either, and can often say extremely insightful things about other Europeans. Karl Jung’s quote about the Nazis being drunk on wild god, for example.

        The American federal system was modeled after a number of things, including the Swiss Confederation. I find that the Swiss often understand Americans better than most Europeans do, because of that.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        A bit more widespread than just “American”.

        For instance, Mr. James Mill takes the principle that all men desire Power; his son, John Stuart Mill, assumes that all men desire Wealth mainly or solely. …

        “Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end.” – Lord Acton

        As for Carbon Taxes:
        Webster, in arguing the case, said: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy,” 17 U.S. 327 (1819).
        “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton (1887)

  19. In thinking of the total cost of “decarbonization” to the British economy, I think it would be wrong to forget about the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow Airport.

  20. Decarbonization starkly shows the anti-rational outcomes of AGW policy.

  21. Dear Curtin,

    It is perfectly possible for respiration to meet or exceed photosynthesis. if it happens for a short period of a day, not a great problem, except in limited water supply. if a plant is carbon netral – that is P = R, no growth occurs,a nd for many trees this means they eventually die. If R > P over longer periods, the plant will die.

    Curtin may well be right about maize responses and the C3 / C4 dichotomy. And he is certainly right about sugar cane not growing in Scotland – geez, how could I have missed that one. Such a simplistic argument ignores the fact that plants have evolved into the environments in which they live – I dare say Scottish broom would perform rather poorly in Atlantic Brazil – but that does not prove anything.

    Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that plants in general, and trees in particular, differ widely in their responses to elvated CO2 and temperature under both lab and field conditions. Here are some citations that illustrate both this point and just how complex the responses are – they occur at the level of whole plant physiology and the interactions of the plant with nutrients, water and temperature. Some responses will be beneficial, some deleterious, but they will not be all in the same direction.

    Atkin, O. K., D. Bruhn, V. M. Hurry, and M. G. Tjoelker. 2005. The hot and the cold: unravelling the variable response of plant respiration to temperature. Functional Plant Biology 32: 87-105.
    Franklin, O. 2007. Optimal nitrogen allocation controls tree responses to elevated CO2. New Phytologist 174: 811-822.
    Loehle, C. 1995. Anomalous Responses of Plants to CO2 Enrichment. Oikos 73: 181-187. >
    Mohan, J. E., J. S. Clark, and W. H. Schlesinger. 2007. Long-term CO2 enrichment of a forest ecosystem: implications for forest regeneration and succession. Ecological Applications 17: 1198-1212.

    • None of those references show a deleterious response.

      Reference #3

      “A number of unexplained responses of plants to CO2 enrichment have been observed. These anomalies can be explained on the basis of growth analysis of whole plants. Some plants may fail to respond to enrichment because they are long-lived and have conservative growth responses or come from impoverished habitats. Apparent (but not real) acclimation to CO2 enrichment might be observed if only part of the growth curve over the life of a perennial is studied.”

      Reference #4. They planted trees under low light conditions.

      “shade-intolerant trees did not survive better with CO₂ enrichment”

      Wow. Not much of a reference. Trees that like sun do not respond well to shade even if you give them Co2.

      Ok … Co2 isn’t magic and Andy should have got an RA to check the references.

    • Andy

      As my reply to you higher up the thread appweared out of sequece can I repeat that the purpose of this article is to seek peer review and therefore your calculations of temperature reductions that refute Ed’s will be useful to us in moving this paper to a second edition.


  22. Jack Hughes

    Environmentalism is a right-brain activity – no point in confusing them with facts and figures.

    Poley bears are their mascot: they see a fluffy cuddly teddy-bear from their own childhood where a more rational analysis would see a dangerous killer best avoided and controlled.

    • Latimer Alder

      And when they dropped poleyteddy in the bath, he couldn’t swim! Mummy had to come to get him out.

      Hence Al Gore’s movie and the faked iceberg picture and every cuddlywuddly appeal to ‘save the planet’. Usually by giving somebody richer than you lots of money to spend……

  23. …we need to be free of carbon emissions within 50 years but will still see a 0 .6 degree C rise that is in the pipeline and can’t be avoided. 2-3 degrees Centigrade is certain unless emissions are cut to zero immediately.

    It is true that the global warming for the last century was 0.6 deg C.

    However, there is no evidence it will be more than 0.6 deg C in this century.

    Actually, if the trend for the first decade of this century continues, there will be little warming at the end of this century

    Where is the evidence for 2-3 degrees centigrade warming for this century?

  24. Any government asking their citizens to live “less well off” than their parents did, to mitigate any supposed rise in temperature, should be summarily dismissed. If our best and brightest cannot cope with a mere rise of 3 degrees, without lowering living standards, they are neither our best nor our brightest. They doom the poorest of the world’s poor to a life of poverty in a mildly warmer world.

  25. Judith Curry

    There is no easy solution to this problem; the challenge is how best to develop options that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable. It is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.

    Note from JC: this post was NOT made by me. The words in this post were pulled from a 2007 op-ed I wrote for the WaPost
    This was at the peak of my “warmist” phase, this is probably the strongest statement re policy that I made.

    • Judith Curry

      The most recent warming is identical to the one before wide use of fossil fuels.

      The current decadal global warming trend is flat.

      Where is the evidence for the risk?

    • Jack Hughes

      What’s wrong with wait and see and then tackle problems as when they crop up?

      And if the problems never happen we spend those future efforts on something worthwhile.

      • Stirling English

        The cynic would observe that such a policy would shut off a lot of lucrative career opportunities for politicians, businessmen, climatologists, lobbyists and others.

        And they (even our hostess here) already have vast vested interest in their being a Big Problem that needs Big Solutions with Big Money spent upon it.
        Waiting and seeing does not need lots of money spent. And what else would a redundant climatologist be good for?

      • You mean that panicking isn’t smart policy? No! Must panic! Must panic!

    • Judith

      You have stated:

      But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.

      “Ignoring the risk” may be foolhardy, but I think the first step should be “identifying and quantifying the risk” (see Jack Hughes comment). BTW this is not “doing nothing”, as I am sure you agree, it is simply “doing the smart thing”.

      We have not yet reached the point for developing or implementing action plans, as I believe you have already stated in the past.

      We may, after more study, find out (as Girma suggests) that there “is no risk from global warming” or that “the risk is so small that it is insignificant”, in which case Jack Hughes is right: let’s save our money for more worthwhile endeavors rather than charging off to fight what turns out to be a paper tiger.

      We have not reached the point where we are intelligent or knowledgeable enough to decide what options we should develop “that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable”. That may become “step 6” of the decision process, but we have just completed “step 1”.


      PS I believe Tony Brown’s article points out with a specific example the folly of implementing carbon reduction plans before we even know a) if they will work or b) if they are even required or beneficial if they did work.

      • Max, I wholeheartedly agree with “identifying and quantifying the risk”, and developing a range of policy options to assess (including their unintended consequences)

      • Latimer Alder

        But that’s always the problem. The downside consequences aren’t intended..and often aren’t/can’t be foreseen.

        Another reason to be cautious in making bold dramatic gestures…..

    • I disagree strongly with the idea that people are ” ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.” Millions of Americans have spent untold millions of hours thinking about and debating this issue. That we are over 70,000 comments here is a good example. Thinking is not ignoring. However, many have come to the conclusion that the risk is simply not actionable at this time. Mere possibility is not the same as actionable risk. Thus “doing nothing” as you call it is actually a deliberative choice, a reasoned conclusion. Making a choice is doing something.

      What you call action is simply the activists view and the activists happen to be losing the debate. This is after all a political movement being questioned. The IPCC and Al Gore got the Nobel prize for activism, not for science. No action is in fact the best option, in my considered view.

      • Dr. Curry: Thanks for the clarification regarding the out-of-date quote from the peak of your “warmist” phase, to which I was replying. Being able to reconsider one’s opinion is a remarkable trait, too little found. I do think the all important distinction between risk per se and actionable risk is worth consideration.

        And of course we are taking a great many small actions, but we are not deliberately “decarbonizing” our economy. For example, because of the latest wave of US EPA regulations having nothing to do with climate change it is estimated that 50,000 MW of old coal fired power plants will be shut down. Moreover, in the last wave of new plant construction almost all of it was gas fired, not coal fired, about 200,000 MW. So we are clearly switching from coal to gas, just not overnight and not because of climate change. Coal is being regulated to death just as nuclear was.

    • There I was applauding your clear thinking on this subject:

      So are you or are you not distancing yourself from this statement? I go from at time vehemently disagreeing with you to strongly agreeing with you. But it seems I mainly agree with the 2007 Curry and not so much with the 2011 version.

      I thought you were critical of labelling people, and yet you label your 2007 self as “warmist”?

      • Bart, yes i spotted this on your blog. Here is what i wrote in a message somewhere on this thread:
        Jim, that statement was written in 2007. Would I have written those exact words today? No. At the same time, I do not retract or regret any of these words. in terms of “action”, there are a number of now/low regret actions that make a lot of sense and would reduce vulnerability to extreme events that we are already seeing. Stay tuned for my next post on “uncertainty, risk, and (in)action.”

        In terms of labelling, self labeling is allowed, and in 2007 I was hewing to the “party line”

      • Judith,

        Thanks for clarifying.

    • Judith Curry

      Thanks for clearing up that the post with the statement on policy did not come from you.

      As a result, my response is not directed at you either.

      “nuff said.


  26. …we must all make sacrifices for the common good, even though on the surface it appears that we can make no practical difference to temperature

    The tribal notion of “the common good” has served as the moral justification of most social systems—and of all tyrannies—in history. The degree of a society’s enslavement or freedom corresponded to the degree to which that tribal slogan was invoked or ignored.

    “The common good” (or “the public interest”) is an undefined and undefinable concept: there is no such entity as “the tribe” or “the public”; the tribe (or the public or society) is only a number of individual men. Nothing can be good for the tribe as such; “good” and “value” pertain only to a living organism—to an individual living organism—not to a disembodied aggregate of relationships.

    “The common good” is a meaningless concept, unless taken literally, in which case its only possible meaning is: the sum of the good of all the individual men involved. But in that case, the concept is meaningless as a moral criterion: it leaves open the question of what is the good of individual men and how does one determine it?

    It is not, however, in its literal meaning that that concept is generally used. It is accepted precisely for its elastic, undefinable, mystical character which serves, not as a moral guide, but as an escape from morality. Since the good is not applicable to the disembodied, it becomes a moral blank check for those who attempt to embody it.

    When “the common good” of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals. It is tacitly assumed, in such cases, that “the common good” means “the good of the majority” as against the minority or the individual. Observe the significant fact that that assumption is tacit: even the most collectivized mentalities seem to sense the impossibility of justifying it morally. But “the good of the majority,” too, is only a pretense and a delusion: since, in fact, the violation of an individual’s rights means the abrogation of all rights, it delivers the helpless majority into the power of any gang that proclaims itself to be “the voice of society” and proceeds to rule by means of physical force, until deposed by another gang employing the same means.

    If one begins by defining the good of individual men, one will accept as proper only a society in which that good is achieved and achievable. But if one begins by accepting “the common good” as an axiom and regarding individual good as its possible but not necessary consequence (not necessary in any particular case), one ends up with such a gruesome absurdity as Soviet Russia, a country professedly dedicated to “the common good,” where, with the exception of a minuscule clique of rulers, the entire population has existed in subhuman misery for over two generations.

  27. Tony’s arguements and Ed’s figures are very persuasive, and the “peak oil/running out of stuff” scare doesn’t really wash in the short to medium term when market forces drive discovery and production to meet demand.

    Looking at the appeal of renewables in the short term for the UK apart from carbon reduction, I came across the balance of payments issue (import vs export).

    “One thing is simple and this is something many people don’t think about – we used to export energy – now we import it. That costs – a lot now, and even more as prices rise…
    That net import in 2008 cost us £14 billion and is only set to increase. We are in ‘fuel deficit’ to add to the budget deficit. This is the difference between owning and controlling an energy source, and buying it and seeing the money leave the country. This, my friends, is the argument for developing renewables as part of our energy supply.” from

    This seems to be why the UK is prepared to invest £16 billion per year into development of renewables. Why not nuclear? I don’t know, but we would have to import nuclear fuel, technology and know how for construction; this may have to happen anyway. As I understand it the argument goes, that even if you are paying over the odds for (renewable) energy, the money is (mostly) staying at home and is therefore a form of stimulus.

    My knowledge of economics is zilch. Can anyone comment on the validity of this arguement?

    • Jack Hughes

      Hi Verity – the idea of ‘keeping the money in the country’ sounds very appealing at first.

      You could apply the same argument to anything. Ban car imports and keep the money in the country. Ban computer imports and we could all use some home-spun gadgets. This approach has been tried in the old East Germany and North Korea.

      The key point is that we are wealthier when we specialise and trade. Do what we do well and buy what we don’t do well.

      • Stirling English

        I’m going to keep a pig at the bottom of my garden.

        That’ll save my money being exported from my house to Tesco.

        Not much good for the milk on the cornflakes though….maybe a cow as well. And a cornfield……and some sugar cane for the topping.

      • On the other hand, you can price your industries out of the home market by making energy so expensive that you end up buying goods and services from China and India that were made in factories powered by coal.

        So you end up feeling good about your “sacrifice”, but more Co2 and carbon soot is produced than if you have burned shale gas and built nuclear power plants locally. And all the jobs are gone and the less people are employed.

      • Jack,
        Good point. Although it could be argued that energy is all pervasive and is required for whatever specialism a country has. UK has plenty of expertise in fossil energy production, it just no longer has the reserves of North Sea oil and gas; coal mining is mothballed and confirmed shale gas is low at present.
        What if countries don’t want to trade (energy)?
        You make an excellent point about East Germany and North Korea, and in many ways there are strong parallels in the way the UK has been going – much of the ‘control’ of society that has developed in the last 10 years.

      • In addition, imbalances in trade when a country has a flexible exchange rate lead to changes in the rate, altering the competitiveness of trading inustries. So long as countries specialise in areas of “comparative advantage” (providing those goods and services whicjh they generate most efficiently), incomes will be maximized, once you restrict trade to protect inefficient industries/services, your rate of economic growth declines.

    • Verity Jones

      France has recently stated quite clearly that it intends to remain the global leader in nuclear power technology and production, despite the post-Fukushima anxieties of its neighbors. Yet France has no source of uranium.

      Most of the cost related to nuclear power generation is capital-related, rather than fuel-related, as it is with less capital-intensive fossil fuel plants.

      The UK could embark on exactly the same path as France, rather than chasing ineffective and costly windmills. The obstacles are political, not economic.


  28. The best way to reduce carbon is to burn it and make CO2. It’s exothermic, so we also get usable energy.

  29. Lord Beaverbrook

    As a British taxpayer I have a few quarms about some of the above comments.
    There are studies evidenced that provide benefits from a world with increased levels of CO2 and temperature but I don’t yet see them being discussed in relation to policy. Maybe a flaw in the reporting of the IPCC which maybe fixed by the likes of Ed Hoskins but surely if the UK government is contributing financially to to the production of reports indicating the current level of scientific knowledge then any benefits should also be included.

    There are various referrences to the government asking the British taxpayer to contribute to renewable technology in order to lead the world in cutting carbon fuel usage. I’m sorry but this indicates that we have a choice in the matter, we do not. The only option that we have to show that we do not agree with a particular policy is to vote for a different political party. If all three of the major political parties have the same agenda then the option is falls out of the democratic process.

    If it is the will of the majority within this country to follow the renewable path then so be it, but in order to formulate that will there has to be a means of expressing opposition.
    The descision by our government(s) to pursue this pollicy which has the risk of inhibiting the Uk economy in relation to the worlds economy is a descision of such magnitude that IMHO should require a refferendum of the people where equal time, and funds, should be allocated to the for and against lobies in National debates ending in a vote to retain or revoke the Climate Change Act 2008.

    • Lord Beaverbrook

      I agree with your comment that the apparent benefits of warming should be included in any Govt report, which can then be debated together with the much better known concerns.

      The greater number of deaths in winter (in the UK) compared to the summer, better crops due to a longer season and increased ‘plant’ food are two obvious areas of debate, as are the economic benefits by having lower priced energy than will be the case with renewables.

      Other countries might counter these of course, but the information needs to be out there and debated, as presently we are being forcibly enrolled in a giant social enterprise into which we currently have no input because, as you say, all three major political parties in the UK are all on board with the IPCC policy.

      Who knows, when it is all totted up we may indeed be doing ‘the right thing’ in the interests of everyone, but when one side of the debate is being ignored the overall picture is clouded.


  30. Morley Sutter

    Who is “Judith Curry”, as opposed to “CurryJA”?

  31. Jack Hughes

    Anyone else ever studied the industrial revolution?

    Textile mills really started to take off with water power. Not wind power. There were never any wind-powered factories.

    Then steam came along and guess what ? They dropped the water mills.

    In spite of having to pay for coal, pay for the steam engines, pay skilled men to operate them. Steam all the way.

    • Stirling English

      Yes, but now we use wind turbines. Which are very different from windmills. In all sorts of ways. Like being turbines. And being high up.

      Only they’re not turbines. They’re still just the same old windmills that they always used to be and given a newer name to fool the public.

      I can only believe that the renewables industry is populated exclusively by charlatans and spivs. They lie about the name of their product, they lie about the power generation capability. They get huge bribes from taxpayers (by government fiat) to build their monuments to Mother Gaia. And when we really really need the power (unusually cold winter time) the f….g wind doesn’t blow at all. Nett power is consumed to drive the windmills so they don’t seize up.

      And still some greenist numptys believe in ‘wind power’.

      • Kent Draper

        Stirling, what is a “numpty” :) Do you mind if I use the term? :)

  32. It is amazing to me that people would be taken in by a report claiming to discover that acting alone against climate change would be costly and not work if nobody else acted, as if that weren’t the definition of the “tragedy of the commons.”

    It is surprising to me that people who vent their hatred of “modelling” would grasp at any old economic model and repeat its conclusions as gospel truth as long as they are understood to support inaction.

    It is amusing to me that some people think human creativity and adaptability will solve any and all problems associated with the Anthropocene, but that a simple carbon tax will bring civilization crashing down.

    • Latimer Alder

      1. Amazement

      Not sure what you are arguing here. Is it that you are amazed anybody didn’t know this already? Or that the whole idea is wrong? It is not clear which you are amazed about.

      2. Surprise

      You seem to be arguing about different types of ‘models’. And I’m not even sure which economic model you are referring to.

      Aand btw I don;t think anybody here has a hatred of ‘modelling’ per se. Just that many do not accept that models are a good susbtitute for actual observations. Nor that if the model and reality diverge it is reality that must be changed. Feynman put it better:

      “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong”

      3. Amusement

      Nobody has said that a carbon tax will bring civilisation crashing down. But shooting oneself in the foot is rarely fatal either. Just a pretty dumb thing to do, especially if it has no beneficial consequences. Quite a lot of pain and no gain.


  33. Tomas Milanovic

    * Well, that’s “the tragedy of the commons”. You can always argue that it is fine for you to be antisocial because you are just one person. But there are other views of ethics, leadership, pollution. London doesn’t have smog any more, and that’s thanks to all 7 million people all following the lead of whoever went first.

    I liked much this answer of Mackay.
    It is particularly telling because it is written by somebody who is supposed to be a (chief) scientist.
    Somebody whose added value to be at the position where he is consists in his (supposed) scientific knowledge.
    Interestingly there is not a hint of a scientific argument – it is an answer that anybody who is scientifically totally illiterate could have made.
    It is politics pure.

    I find it interesting because it explicitely shows what the REAL debate is all about.
    It is not about science, climate sensitivity or non linear dynamics.
    It is just about a messianic calling of some who have “other” views of ethics, leadership and pollution (let’s only stress one more time that CO2 is not a pollutant! ).
    Then there are those OTHERS for whom it is fine to be antisocial because they are … just one person.

    Of course this argument is ridiculous and dramatically wrong.
    It is wrong because those others are not more “just one person” than Mr Mackay is.
    But it has been the principle of politics since man appeared on this planet that those one-persons who happened not to agree with the visions of ethics , leadership and pollution of other one-persons , tended to group together.

    In the old times this grouping together generally involved using blunt weapons to show to others the wrongness of their ways.
    The right vision of ethics , leadership and pollution was then invariably with those with stronger muscles and more cunning plans.

    The modern era didn’t change anything on this principle.
    We only call the groups political parties instead of tribes and tend to use votes more than maces.
    So what I would like to say to Mr Mackay is:

    “It is fine for you to have visions of leadership and ethics which has for target to lead our country to hell. But you just belong to a group of one-persons who happen to share your insane ambitions.
    Suffer then dear Sir that myself and all who abhor your visions give ourselves for target to send you back to the hole which you should have never crept out of.
    We will express our displeasure with you through our next votes and please be aware that this means that we absolutely wish your visions of leadership, ethics and pollution politically dead. For ever.
    It is fine if you whine about the injustice, how great a Genius and Benevolent Leader you are and all that but it is also about time that you realize that it is YOU, the one-person Mackay who is there to serve US and not the other way round.”

    • Apologies, this got caught in spam

    • And, as I mentioned elswhere, London’s smog was knocked out by the draconian Clean Air Act 1964, not by public-spirited indivudals following another’s lead. It is astonishing, given his position, that Mackay thinks otherwise.

      • Billy Liar

        Faustino, the UK Clean Air Act was passed in 1956. The US Clean Air Act was passed in 1963.

        You’re right, how come Mackay does not know this? It doesn’t require much research to find out that London had several prior ‘clean air acts’ too, in 1853, 1856 and 1891.

      • My recollection is that a 1964 Act brought change, I remember a smog in 62-63 in which visibility was a few feet. I went out one day to find a (very slow-moving bus) which had crossed to the wrong side of the road, mounted the payment, and was about to drive into my basement area. And finding myself back at Finsbury Park tube station after an hour spent trying to get home. It got better thereafter.

  34. To TonyB’s article and my estimate of global impact of shutting down the UK completely, there have been a few comments such as “well, of course the UK is only a small part of the total, but if everyone joined together globally…”

    Let’s look at an extreme case.

    Let’s say we shut down the global carbon-based economy completely by 2030. What will that bring us “climatewise”?

    Carrying the same calculation I made for the UK out to cover all nations:

    30 GtCO2/year emitted * 70 years (2100-2030) = 2,100 GtCO2
    50% “remains” in atmosphere = 1,050 GtCO2
    Mass of atmosphere = 5,140,000 Gt
    So this equals 204 ppm(mass) or 134 ppmv

    IPCC (scenario B1) without a global carbon shutdown tells us we should reach 580 ppmv CO2 by 2100

    With the shutdown, this will only be 590 – 134 = 446 ppmv (just below Hansen’s magic “dangerous” “tipping point” level of 450 ppmv – whew!)

    Using the IPCC model-based estimate for climate sensitivity and the same logarithmic calculation as for the UK alone, we will have averted 1.2°C of warming by 2100 by shutting down the world carbon-based economy.

    This tells me quite plainly that

    We are unable to change our climate, no matter how much money we throw at it.

    I would appreciate if anyone who disagrees would show specifically a) why this calculation and conclusion are basically wrong and b) how we can change our planet’s climate by how much by cutting carbon emissions.


  35. 2011 – “Psyence! Psyence! Psyence!”, they said in great fear.

    The times they are a’changing! Again… Looks like the World (and Civilization) has stopped and we’re regressing back through time. Gee! How did that happen I wonder? Soon, no doubt, we’ll be sacrificing virgins to the great angry gods in hope of forgiveness of our collective transgressions.

    • Latimer Alder

      We already build useless monuments to Mother Gaia in the hope of expiating our sins. And tax the population heavily to pay for them..

      In UK we call them windmills.

      • In Australia, a Gaia believer, Tim Flannery, who is not a climate scientist, heads the Government’s climate change body.

  36. Political Junkie

    Max, useful math!

    Is there a “typo” in your sentence: “With the shutdown, this will only be 590 – 134 = 446 ppmv (just below Hansen’s magic “dangerous” “tipping point” level of 450 ppmv – whew!)”

    Should that be 580 – 134?

    • Political Junkie

      Thanks for catching typo. It should read “580 – 134 = 446 ppmv”.

      Otherwise arithmetic is OK.


  37. The may be truth in the argumentation, but it’s worthless, if it is based on

    Greenhouse Effect = +33.00⁰C Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35⁰C Other Greenhouse gasses cause 5% of the Effect = 1.65⁰C CO2 is about 75% of the Effect of all GHGs = 1.24⁰C Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086⁰C So closure of the world carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse Effect by 86 thousandths ⁰C.

    This is such contradiction with common knowledge that nothing dependent on that will be taken seriously by most.

    There is no real doubt that the influence of CO2 is larger.

    • The last sentence is erroneous. My purpose was to say that there is no doubt concerning the fact that the real influence of CO2 is larger. That has been discussed sufficiently also on this site.

      • Pekka Pirila

        With our papers we are trying to establish the real world impact we can have on temperature reductions through an aggressive policy of carbon reduction.

        It would be most helpful if you could provide your own caluclations as to what the answers would be to the questions I posed.


      • Joe Lalonde


        Carbon has a very minor role on this planet.
        Heat is a different story but there are a vast amount of complex interaction that have to be understood first.

      • Giving specific numbers requires more than observing than some other numbers are totally wrong.

        I’m sympathetic on the observation that benefits and costs are not taken properly into account in policies of most or all European countries, but I do believe that this can be demonstrated without the use of erroneous inputs.

        There is of course the problem that many people take the results of Stern Review seriously, or accept at the maximum some minor corrections to them. This is a demonstration on the difficulty of pinpointing what is the real best estimate and what are the limits of plausibility. I can say safely that both the numbers on the influence of CO2 that I criticized and the Stern Review are in my opinion far off-the-mark, but that leaves still too much open. Some inputs are so difficult to quantify that I’m not willing to tell any specific numbers.

      • David L. Hagen

        The real influence of CO2 may well be much SMALLER than conventional projections. See Roy Spencer 2011 etc.
        Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate

        The results suggest that the total (direct + indirect) solar forcing is at least 3.5 times stronger than that due to changing solar irradiance alone. . . .
        the greater the role of Nature in causing past climate change, the smaller the role humans must have had, which could then have a profound impact on future projections of human-caused global warming.

        In evaluating the global optical depth from 1948-2008, Ferenc Miskolczi finds NO correlation to CO2, but only to H2O. See
        Poster presentation at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, 7 April 2011

      • It’s useless to argue more on that as there are hundreds or more messages on that already on this site alone. Miskolczi has previously published so much explicitly erroneous that I’m not going to spend any time on his papers any more. There are always also others that perpetuate things that are generally accepted to be wrong.

        We have just had a thread on “What we agree upon?” and seen that even a large part of skeptics agree on many issues and the approximate of the direct radiative forcing of CO2 belongs to those issues (while the feedbacks certainly do not).

        Even with some doubts on the generally accepted values, an analysis of economics of carbon reduction should use those values as starting point, because not doing that results in an immediate dismissal of the whole analysis by most. They’ll not check it’s possible merits, if they find that they disagree at the starting assumptions. A throughout strongly skeptical analysis may get applauds from equally minded, but it has no change of influencing anybody.

    • Pekka Pirilä

      You wrote:

      The may be truth in the argumentation, but it’s worthless, if it is based on

      Greenhouse Effect = +33.00⁰C Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35⁰C Other Greenhouse gasses cause 5% of the Effect = 1.65⁰C CO2 is about 75% of the Effect of all GHGs = 1.24⁰C Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086⁰C So closure of the world carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse Effect by 86 thousandths ⁰C.

      It was NOT based on the premise you cite, ergo it is NOT “worthless” (as you state), unless you can find an error in the arithmetic. In fact, it was based on the IPCC model-based 2xCO2 climate sensitivity (with all feedbacks) of 3.2C on average per AR4 WG1 report.

      This is very likely to be an exaggerated figure, as pointed out earlier on this site, which would mean that shutting down the world’s global carbon-based economy in 2030 would have a temperature effect by 2100 of significantly less than the 1.2C I calculated.

      My conclusion from this is quote simply:

      We are unable to change our climate, no matter how much money we throw at it.

      But, hey, if you can find an error in my calculation (and, hence, this conclusion) please let me know.


  38. Joe Lalonde


    There is a great deal of science in motion with the planet that has never been looked into as the theories of physics came up with many LAWS that science has suppressed itself into these corners.
    Many of science does not include the difference in the circumference of the equator to the poles, circular motion and the deflection of solar energy off a moving object, the energy difference of compression which has a huge impact to the atmosphere and under the planet’s surface(centrifugal force),
    the possibility of two magnetic fields, the force of the sun’s magnetic field in the sequence to the planets circular motion(bugs on the windshield effect), etc. etc. etc.

  39. Insane gulibles. Time for the Brits to take refuge in China and India for a comfortable life.

  40. Our hostess writes “There is no easy solution to this problem; the challenge is how best to develop options that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable. It is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.”

    I have thought long and hard as to how to express what I think of this statement. I dont want to be rude, as I have the utmost respect for our hostess, and all the wonderful things that this blog represents. But it seems to me that what Judith is saying is

    My mind is made up. Dont confuse me with the facts.

    • Jim, that statement was written in 2007. Would I have written those exact words today? No. At the same time, I do not retract or regret any of these words. in terms of “action”, there are a number of now/low regret actions that make a lot of sense and would reduce vulnerability to extreme events that we are already seeing. Stay tuned for my next post on “uncertainty, risk, and (in)action.”

      • Judith writes “Stay tuned for my next post on “uncertainty, risk, and (in)action.””

        Fair enough.

      • “reduce vulnerablility to extreme events that we are already seeing.”

        Does that mean you believe this year’s surge in tornadoes is due to global warming? I inferred from your More Tornado Madness post you did not believe that.

      • No, this does not follow from my reduce vulnerability statement. Does New Orleans need better levies? Does Atlanta need better storm sewers? Does property on the Texas coast need better building codes? Etc.

      • Jack Hughes


        Would you agree that wait and see has worked well for the 4 years since your statement ?

        [In fact wait and see has worked well for mankind for several thousand years]

  41. Morley Sutter

    To Jim Cripwell:
    The comment to which you refer was posted under the name “Judith Curry”. The host of this site ordinarily posts as “CurryJA”. One wonders who really posted under the name “Judith Curry”?

  42. Bad Andrew

    “My mind is made up.”

    Sadly, I suspect Dr. Curry isn’t free to express a change of mind, were it to occur. She has a job to do and there are a lot of people out there left to propagandize.

    This is probably a good moment to remember to be thankful for our freedom to think and act independently, and remember it’s a freedom worth the effort to maintain.


  43. Pooh, Dixie

    Not futile, catastrophic. Not just convenience and economic costs, but also the establishment of diktat, the sacrifice of liberty. As a reminder, the following is the Regulatory Czar’s take on schemes like this. Sunstein’s main points:

    “Yet the precautionary principle, for all its rhetorical appeal, is deeply incoherent. It is of course true that we should take precautions against some speculative dangers. But there are always risks on both sides of a decision; inaction can bring danger, but so can action. Precautions, in other words, themselves create risks – and hence the principle bans what it simultaneously requires.”

    “In the context of climate change, precautions are certainly a good idea. But what kinds of precautions? A high tax on carbon emissions would impose real risks – including increased hardship for people who can least afford it and very possibly increases in unemployment and hence poverty. A sensible climate change policy balances the costs and benefits of emissions reductions. If the policy includes costly (and hence risk-creating) precautions, it is because those precautions are justified by their benefits.

    “The nations of the world should take precautions, certainly. But they should not adopt the precautionary principle.

    Sunstein, Cass R. 2008. Throwing precaution to the wind: Why the “safe” choice can be dangerous. Opinion. – The Boston Globe. July 13.

    The above is drawn from several of his academic papers, among which are:

    Sunstein, Cass R. 2003. Beyond The Precautionary Principle. Working Paper #38. Public Law and Legal Theory. University of Chicago, January.

    ———. 2005. Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Sunstein, Cass R., and Eric A. Posner. 2008. “Global Warming and Social Justice.” Regulation.

    Sunstein, Cass R., and David Weisbach. 2008. Climate Change and Discounting the Future: A Guide for the Perplexed. Working Paper. Reg-Markets Center, AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies, August.

  44. Instead of the weight of scientific opinion, you really scrape the bottom of the science denial barrel in this article.

    As a side bar, Andrew Dolt doesn’t help your case of you wish to be taken seriously as a critic or offer analysis relevant to both immediate and longterm policy goals or legislation relating to either adaptation/ effects of climate change or mitigation. Jill Duggan’s apparent inability to properly deal with combative interviews and discuss the facts and nuances of the first phase of the EU carbon trading scheme with Andrew Dolt is not an argument against anything relating to climate science or opportunities for emissions reductions for industry and business.

    To be clear, Europe – not Jill Duggan – has stuck with cap and trade because it is cost effective.

    Denier meme #129475600000: it’s all a European socialist tax scheme.

    Your questions are not new to anyone who has been paying attention, and you seem unable to find the ongoing science research and discussions of policy and economic issues related to climate change that engage your questions. I encourage you to try again.

    • Martha

      Perhaps you would like to provide a link to an objective and accurate estimate of how much temperature reduction can be expected for a specific amount of carbon reduction?

      We can then relate that to what is actually achievable in the real world, what that will cost, the end results and what can actually be achieved with our current level of technology.

      The challenges of changing to the degree of renewables required ( to focus on one part of the equation) in order to phase out a significant proportion of our carbon at an achievable cost and to any practical purpose, seems beyond us at present.

      If you would like to present a coherent rebuttal of that, and perhaps directly answer some of the questions posed, that is the purpose of asking for comments. Thank you.


      • TonyB

        I can tell from your posts here that you are a very polite and thorough individual who does his homework diligently and chooses his words well.

        With most posters here this approach will ensure a rational and unemotional dialog.

        Since you are relatively new to this site, you are most likely unaware that Martha does not engage well in rational, non-emotional debates, so your polite response to her attack on your article will most likely not get you a rational, non-emotional response from her.

        But, then again, maybe she will surprise us all.


  45. Latimer Alder

    ‘Instead of the weight of scientific opinion, you really scrape the bottom of the science denial barrel in this article’

    Thanks for that considered and well-argued point.

    But are there any particular points from the article (apart from Ms Duggan’s failure to have done some basic estimates), that you’d like to discuss? It was written to solicit further input. Have you any?

  46. Political Junkie

    As a frequent lurker on this site, and some others, I have been puzzled by the lack of quantitative data of the potental impact on temperature of greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts. Numerical values of tonnes of CO2 equivalent or enough to power X homes are commonly used to “justifiy” government action, with no mention of the potential impact on averting a rise in global temperatures in quantitative terms.

    This is the reason Max’ calculations above caught my interest.

    Pekka Pirila’s comments puzzle me. If I read him correctly, he disagrees with the the math but appears to feel that it’s either not possible or worth our while to seek a numerical answer. (For the purposes of this discussion, I’m willing to accept an answer that contains the caveat: “If IPCC projections are valid ………..” ) Pekka, am I reading you correctly?

    Is it not reasonable for ratepayers to demand an answer to the question:

    “We are being forced to change our behaviour significantly through regulations and taxation to avert global warming. What quantitative impact on global temperatures will the goverments’ policies have?”

    From here, it seems that the avoidance of the topic suggests one of two possible distasteful alternatives: Either – We don’t have a clue, but its good politics and a great opportunity to do social engineering. OR – The number is so vanishingly small that we dare not reveal it to the blissfully ignorant public who would revolt if they knew the actual “value for money” of our policies.

    • Latimer Alder

      Or perhaps that if faced with the choices of

      a) the world being on average 2C warmer and not paying a lot of taxes or
      b) it staying the same and paying lots of extra taxes,

      many people would see the warmer and lower tax option a) as a win-win deal. In UK excessive heat is rarely a problem..excessive cold is far worse.

      And – from my personal perspective, I just don’t believe that the temperature between say 1600 and 1900 was absolutely idea and that any small deviation (eg moving from 285K to 287K) is going to produce global catastrophe.

      There have been lots and lots of blood-curdling predictions, but none have come to pass. The longer time passes as nothing extraordinary occurs, the less weight such remarks have and the more foolish the predictors come to look.

      • Latimer Alder

        Challenge to believers

        Please cite your top 10 actual real observed bad consequences of global warming that are new since, say, 1960. Not predictions…observations.

        Should be easy. Be prepared to justfiy why they are bad, not just different from what you have been used to.

      • andrew adams


        There have been no “blood curdling” predictions based on a temperature rise of 0.8C, which is what we have seen so far, so the premise of your argument is incorrect.
        One we get towards 2C and above things start to get more scary. I would recommend that you read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees” – it gives a reasonable outline of the expected impacts of increasing temperature rises, with references to te relevant literature if you want to check them out. No doubt you will consider it unduly “alarmist” but at least you will know what the pro-AGW side are actually arguing.

      • Latimer Alder


        +0.8C and there have been no nasties at all.

        But the next +1.2.C is going to be really really scary?

        Will I live long enough (55 now) to see any actual evidence of the supposed bad effects of global warming? Or are they like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

        PS – you forgot sealevel rise. Up at least an inch or two. Not many drownded yet though…..

      • Latimer Alder

        Lets do a little thought experiment here. (Good enough for Einstein, good enough for us).

        Let’s assume that it was only in the last ten or twenty years that we had thought to measure global temperatures.

        And so we hadn’t really noticed the +0.8C warming that we are told has occurred in the last century. After all, so far there are no nasty observable effects. And if people weren’t looking at every last thing for signs of climate change, they wouldn’t be obvious.

        And lets also assume that somebody only now started making their predictions about the terrible effects of ‘global warming’.

        Would they take as their baseline the existing un-nastied climate at whatever it is today and start making predictions about the terrible effects of warming after another +2.0C? Like they did in the 1990s?

        Or would they be saying that the nasties would all kick in in just another +1.2C? So that the difference between happiness and disaster is between 285.2K and 286.4K (or whatever the numbers might be)? Rather than between 284.4K and 286.4K?

        Just wondered. Perhaps those telling us of all the bad things that are just around the corner would go back to your methods and see if you can give an answer. Thanks.

    • Hank Zentgraf

      I eagerly await Pekka,s reply. Perhaps with the math to support his position.

      • Hank,
        The problem is, that no reliable answer can be given.

        It’s not possible to calculate the benefits of any specific action made to mitigate climate change. For most actions it’s also impossible to give reasonable estimates for the costs. From our lacking capability of providing reasonably accurate numbers, we cannot conclude, what the ratio of benefits and costs would be.

        There have been attempts to show that we know enough to decide even without good cost estimates. One attempt was by Stern Review, but its chosen methods are such that the numbers are meaningless. The analysis weights far future so strongly that the result is dominated by that part, we know least about and are least able to interpret, and not mildly dominated, but totally dominated. I have discussed this more on my own blog.

        The opening message is an example of the other extreme. In this case the external input about the influence of CO2 is selected so low that there is no interest in looking at the results.

        A non-biased calculation requires quantitative estimates for many factors that cannot really be estimated. Furthermore the results are highly dependent on choices of ethical nature. All this is just too difficult for anybody to present well justified numbers, and any numbers given would almost certainly be misinterpreted by others.

        My view is that the risks are serious enough to be taken seriously. No-regret and low cost mitigating measures should be adopted promptly. Major efforts should be directed to improve our knowledge and develop technologies that have plausible potential for offering cost-effective solutions in future. How much further we should go rapidly, is something that should in my mind be discussed much more openly and widely than it’s presently. Right now those favoring rapid action don’t want to admit, how serious gaps remain in their arguments, but the opposing side is no more interested in open discussion. They prefer objecting to everything being skeptic also on pretty well known facts.

        Perhaps I succeeded at least in justifying, why I don’t give my own numbers. Some more of these themes can be found from my blog.

      • For most actions it’s also impossible to give reasonable estimates for the costs.

        Not so for those that push up fuel prices. That article, from 2008, contained the following:

        The biggest concern is the potential impact on consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity…Economists estimate that every additional penny at the pump takes roughly $1 billion out of overall spending.

      • Pekka –
        It’s not possible to calculate the benefits of any specific action made to mitigate climate change. For most actions it’s also impossible to give reasonable estimates for the costs. From our lacking capability of providing reasonably accurate numbers, we cannot conclude, what the ratio of benefits and costs would be.

        Then conversely, it’s not possible to calculate the damages of any specific action NOT made to mitigate climate change. If you can’t define one, then you can’t define the other.

        Therefore mitigation is nothing more than an act of faith. But in this case, there’s no basis for faith other than “Believe the science”. But the science isn’t believable except by faith. Somehow, to me, that resembles a circle.

      • I see also a circle, but doesn’t prove to me that I can forget the whole issue.

        The precautionary principle is fundamentally correct, but even so it requires some data. The second but is that it gives with a good reason a different weight for uncertainties about very serious outcomes. Therefore seeing a circle, doesn’t imply knowing, what to do. (It doesn’t imply that nothing should be done.)

      • Pekka –
        I’m not proposing that “nothing” should be done. But without, at the very least, a cost/benefit ratio to work with there is no basis for doing any mitigation. So the FIRST thing to do is to determine the benefits of what’s being proposed and THEN determine the cost. ONLY then is there any basis for decision making. Until then, it’s only handwaving and —- unsupported and insupportable FAITH.

        I won’t comment here on the precautionary principle except to note that you need to read Aaron Wildavsky’s take on it in his book “But Is It True?”

      • My bad –
        Until then, it’s only handwaving and —- unsupported and insupportable FAITH.

        Or a political power grab.

      • Jim,

        It’s a dilemma, when there is a feeling that something should be done, but little knowledge on what it should be.

        I agree that without reasonably reliable cost/benefit analysis, the decisions are political without firm support from science. The political decision makers must decide, how they use the incomplete and in many ways qualitative knowledge that science can provide. The political decisions are not bound by any rules on the required reliability of data, but free to make the choice on that. The lack of reliable cost/benefit analysis is a common situation for much of political decision making, there is nothing exceptional in that respect in climate policy. The climate issues are perhaps more difficult to judge intuitively based on earlier experience than many others, but not unique in that respect either.

        There might be some intermediaries between scientists and politicians, i.e. people with good scientific literacy, but also an understanding of the political process and the trust of a significant group of politicians. The same people would certainly not have the trust of all politicians, but the same idea might be used separately by most political factions. I know that this is not a perfect solution, but it might be a step to the right direction.

      • Jack Hughes


        Have I correctly summarised your viewpoint as being based solely on a feeling that something must be done ?

        Is there any other basis for your viewpoint ?

      • The easy answer is 1/2 of the developed world believes in CAGW and 1/2 are sleptical. Therefore, those who are warmist should show us the way and reduce their CO2 output to 0 except of course for their breath. If 1/2 of the develped worlds CO2 output was eliminated that would definately show us what the benefit was. The world would then understand if it was worth it or not. The believers could live life happy knowing they did what was right for Gaia and their fellow man.

        That way the UK would not have to sacrifice and go first to show the rest of the world, but only those who believe and they should be the most willing to sacrifice. Also we will have a much larger impact than just the UK’s effort.

        Is there any downside to this proposal?

      • Similarly, those who believe that over-population is a great problem might alleviate it by removing themselves from the population rather than seeking to remove others, whether born or as yet unborn.

      • Sometimes I get dizzy reading some of the comments here.

        “It’s not possible to calculate the benefits of any specific action made to mitigate climate change. For most actions it’s also impossible to give reasonable estimates for the costs. From our lacking capability of providing reasonably accurate numbers, we cannot conclude, what the ratio of benefits and costs would be.”


        “Right now those favoring rapid action don’t want to admit, how serious gaps remain in their arguments, but the opposing side is no more interested in open discussion. They prefer objecting to everything being skeptic also on pretty well known facts.”

        First, who are these skeptics and what are the well known facts of which they are skeptical? And where are skeptics fighting against open discussion?

        But more importantly, the only “fact” that matters in implementing policy rationally is the outcome of a genuine cost benefit analysis (except for progressives, as I have argued elsewhere on this thread). Pekka asserts that the AGW/CAGW movement can’t produce facts/numbers to support any cost benefit analysis, and then accuses skeptics of wanting to avoid open discussion, because they are “skeptic also on pretty known facts.”


        This is just another iteration of Chief Hydrologist/Steven Mosher style posing as one of the few people on the planet who aren’t stoopid. I will say that at least Pekka doesn’t take explicit pride in expressing contempt of everyone else in the debate as some others do. He is much more polite about it.

        But what is this obsession with being in some weirdly defined middle? There is no middle in the real climate debate that matters. There is decarbonization, and no decarbonization. Until that argument is settled, all the rest is navel gazing.

      • ‘Climate change can therefore be initiated by changes in the energy received from the Sun, changes in the amounts or characteristics of greenhouse gases, particles and clouds, or changes in the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface. The imbalance between the
        absorbed and emitted radiation that results from these changes will be referred to here as “climate forcing” (sometimes known as “radiative forcing”) and given in units of Wm-2. A positive climate forcing will tend to cause a warming, and a negative forcing a
        cooling. Climate changes act to restore the balance between the energy absorbed from the Sun and the infrared energy emitted into space.

        In principle, changes in climate on a wide range of timescales can also arise from variations within the climate system due to, for example, interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere; in this document, this is referred to as “internal climate variability”. Such internal variability can occur because the climate is an example of a chaotic system: one that can exhibit complex unpredictable internal variations even in the absence of the climate forcings discussed in the previous paragraph.’

        There are considerable uncertainties even in nature and quantification of the so called ordered forcing, in predicting economic, social or technological trajectories and in costing future impacts. The use by Stern, for instance, of a zero discount rate is clearly not SOP for determining the current value of future costs.

        The second problem is clearly much more difficult by orders of magnitude. It is this problem that most of the world has failed to understand even in that it exists. I know how this arises but it makes communication most difficult. Words such as chaos, nonlinearity, chaotic bifurcation, dynamical complexity, dragon-kings are just words signifying nothing in any depth.

        Indeed, I think even half or more of the esteemed Royal Society committee is wrong. Ordered forcing should be seen as control variables in an essentially chaotic system. Small changes in initial conditions drive abrupt and nonlinear change evident in many of the global ocean and atmospheric indices – and indeed in the surface temperature trajectory.

        The calculations by Max and others involving simple equations and simplifying assumptions I find most unconvincing. But in a chaotic system – there are appreciable but unknown risks. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at levels not seen for 10 to 15 million years and going higher – I would say that there are little understood ecological risks here as well.

        The proposition that there is no proven risk of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere carries with it no risk to Earth systems is an argument from extreme ignorance. Decarbonisation of the economy as quickly as possible seems the prudent course and there are many paths to achieve this without reducing human welfare or economic growth. The Hartwell 2010 paper for instance proposes multiple paths and multiple objectives – an approach I heartily endorse.

      • Pekka Pirilä

        It’s not possible to calculate the benefits of any specific action made to mitigate climate change. For most actions it’s also impossible to give reasonable estimates for the costs. From our lacking capability of providing reasonably accurate numbers, we cannot conclude, what the ratio of benefits and costs would be.


        First you erroneously opine that my calculation of the impact of halting all human CO2 emissions by 2030 on the temperature in 2100 is based on a false premise.

        I have since shown that your assumption here was wrong, and that the premise was IPCC’s own climate sensitivity assumption of 3.2C (and scenario B1 for CO2 increase without this global carbon shutdown).

        You now say that “it’s not possible to calculate the benefits of any specific action made to mitigate climate change.

        You are on thin ice here, Pekka.

        IPCC makes all sorts of calculations on the deleterious effects of NOT halting CO2 emissions, based on the same climate sensitivity estimate and a bunch of model “scenarios” on CO2 increase.

        I am simply showing, using the same calculation method and assumptions, that halting the CO2 emissions completely in 2030 will have a negligible influence on global temperature by 2100.

        You can’t have it both ways, Pekka.

        Either find an error in my calculation or admit that you cannot and it, therefore, stands.


    • Political Junkie

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. We have Max’s interesting calculations and those from my colleague Ed Hoskins referenced at the start of the arricle and repeated here.

      I make no comment as to which-if any-are likely to be correct so would encourage others to submit their own calculations or provide links to studies.

      At present it would appear that whatever end of the spectrum is chosen, that Ed and Max represent, the end result remains the same. IF the globes entire carbon economy were to be shut down the impact on temperatures would appear to be very small. As that isn’t going to happen and the most likely scenario is that 20% of western countries will shut down 20% of their carbon emissions the end result seems all the more pointless.

      The UK seems willing to make more sacrifices than most other countries so the results of the actions the UK Govt takes to avoid what they see as a global concern will fall disproportionately on its citizens.


  47. Politics is alive and well.

    IMHO A 20% reduction target will result in much excess cost if the eventual target is going to be higher then 20%.

    I.E. Any moron can get a 20% reduction with a combination of natural gas and windmills. Getting beyond 20% may involve tossing out the windmills and natural gas plants in which case one has wasted their money on windmills and natural gas plants.

  48. Tonyb – This post and commentary strike me as less than a reliable means of acquiring accurate information about the benefits and costs of CO2 mitigation in the UK. Some of the figures quoted in the original post are off by orders of magnitude, and even better estimates in some of the commentary are probably erroneous. The larger problem, though, is that a climate blog populated by individuals who differ enormously in level of knowledge and abilities to remain objective is almost certain to yield a wealth of misinformation along with accurate information – typically more of the former than the latter – and for that reason is rather useless as a main resource for drawing conclusions. With the exception of Dr. Curry, and possilby Paul Haynes, none of the individuals who has responded so far appears to do climate science for a living, and few are knowledgeable enough to state more than very tentative judgments.

    I have my own views as to what an accurate calculation would be for a UK contribution to temperature mitigation. I won’t share them in this thread, because that would vitiate the point I want to make that no-one’s calculations here deserve to be taken too seriously – certainly not seriously enough to serve as the basis for policy decisions. For accurate calculations, I believe you must at least consult several scientists with expertise in the geophysics of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as others familiar with carbon mitigation strategies. Professor MacKay, from his biography, may not be among them, but I believe that if he were asked specifically to scrutinize some of the earlier quoted calculations, he would identify the errors.

    The one point that I see as unassailable is that a UK contribution, by itself, cannot make much difference to global climate change mitigation, and must be considered in the context of a global strategy shared among all energy-consuming nations. This raises thorny political, social, economic and ideological issues revolving around the concept of the “tragedy of the commons”, and while this thread can be an interesting forum for discussing that concept, it is unlikely to resolve those issues to the satisfaction of disparate parties.

    • Fred, I don’t think we are here to resolve issues so much as elucidate them. It is a debate, not a decision process. There cannot be any accurate calculations regarding what the temperature impact of UK decarbonization might be, simply because we do not know what role CO2 plays, if any, in global change. So there is no need for climate scientists in this discussion, except to tell us how small it is according to AGW orthodoxy. Here I imagine a simple ratio of UK to projected global emissions will suffice. The number is small, as you note.

      One thing that is certain, however, is that neither the US nor China is about to take any big steps toward decarb. China just posted a new 5 year plan with over 200,000 MW of new coal fired generating capacity. The US House is controlled by skeptics. So when you say this decision “must be considered in the context of a global strategy shared among all energy-consuming nations” you must also note that there is no such strategy.

  49. Fred Moolten said

    “This post and commentary strike me as less than a reliable means of acquiring accurate information about the benefits and costs of CO2 mitigation in the UK. Some of the figures quoted in the original post are off by orders of magnitude, and even better estimates in some of the commentary are probably erroneous.”

    Please clarify which figures quoted in the original post are incorrect so we can change them in a future edition. Thanks


    • Tony – I’ll be glad to. Please send me an email (you can find the address via my bio in the denizens page), and I will respond. However, for reasons I’ve stated, I don’t think my contribution will obviate your need to consult scientists who do this for a living.

      • Jack Hughes


        Are you saying that the professional scientists have done similar calcs but with better numbers / formulae ?

        Have they published these ? Maybe on, er, w-w-w-websites ?

  50. Fred Moolten | May 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    I believe you must at least consult several scientists with expertise in the geophysics of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as others familiar with carbon mitigation strategies.
    Those people have vested interests in the outcome.
    Perhaps they should all present their data and let some decent Mathematicians and Economists work with the details to provide some accurate cost assessments based on their “Predictions”.
    Let’s face it they won’t be based on Emperical data that is for sure.

    • Do you consult a dentist to check the condition of your teeth on a regular basis? Do you trust him to overcome his vested interest and to not tell you that you need more fillings everytime you visit him?

      How often do you ask your doctor, mechanic, plumber, solicitor, etc for a second opinion? What makes scientists who are dependant on research funding more likely to be dishonest than anyone else?

      • Louise writes “Do you consult a dentist to check the condition of your teeth on a regular basis?”

        There are some professions that are bound, by law, to provide the service they promise to. If they dont, they can be sued. This includes doctors, dentists, lawyers and professional engineers. Scientists are not so bound. So your observations are not really pertinent.

      • So you think that the only reason your dentist (mechanic, doctor, solicitor, etc) don’t fleece you is the threat of legal action?

        I pity you for your lack of trust in your fellow man.

        Not everyone behaves in a morally correct way because of the threat of legal action if they don’t. Many (including me) have morals that guide us. What makes you think scientists are a breed apart?

      • I just got back from the dentist today, and I know that he lied to me about antibiotics, because he changed his story after deciding to change the treatment plan. When he didn’t want to treat me with antibiotics, he told me that they wouldn’t do any good, and then when he changed his mind, he told me how much they’d help.

        Yes, as a matter of fact, dentists do lie, and so do other professionals. In my experience, of all the professionals, lawyers are the least likely to lie, because people don’t trust them. The more you trust a group, the more they will lie.

      • Louise writes “So you think that the only reason your dentist (mechanic, doctor, solicitor, etc) don’t fleece you is the threat of legal action?”

        First, I am a Canadian. My doctor CANNOT fleece me, personally. And I dont think anything of the sort. Doctors, lawyers, etc. are members of a self-policing professions. These professions look very badly on members who do not behave ethically. So such professionals have a real incentive the behave professionally.

        I dont think scientists are a breed apart. They behave the same as all normal human beings. They are quite happy to give their opinion, when there is no danger that, in giving an opinion, they put themselves at risk.

      • Precisely. Perhaps scientists who offer professional opinions for pay should be required to be licensed like engineers. If you want to testify in court or to congress? First question: are you a licensed professional scientist?

        Just like with engineering, the unlicensed ones can still practice, they just can’t advise public policy, or offer letters in a legal context. Published peer-reviewed papers not stamped and signed by a licensed professional scientist aren’t generally considered admissible for legal purposes.

        This seems to me like a no-brainer. Note that this, just like with engineering, is less about establishing competence than it is about giving them something to lose. You can’t revoke a PhD, but you can suspend or revoke a license.

      • Latimer Alder


        In UK when I was grwoing up, the NHS paid dentists on a ‘per filling’ basis. It was rare to make a visit and come away without ‘needing’ at least one filling. The pay regime is different now and childhood fillings, once very common are now pretty rare. Simple confirmation that if you pay somebody to do something, more than likely they will do it. That’s why rewards are offered to catch criminals……often they work.

        I don’t imagine that climatologists in general start put a any more honest/dishonest than any other bunch of individuals. But neither do I believe that the gravy train, and – for some at least – a near religious belief that they are saving the world from the sinners/deniers, has no effect on their behaviour. Their public actions certainly lead me to believe that many have let the ends justify the means.

      • The gravy train of oil/gas/coal millions is available to “skeptics,” and certainly one can see its influence on them, but there is no comparable “gravy train” for scientists who are not willing to lie.

      • Latimer Alder


        Please explain how I can join the oil/gas/coal gravy train. Beihng semi-retired I can do with some extra cash to pay for my ever increasing energy and ‘green’ taxes.

        Do I just apply to ‘Big Oil’, Wall Street, enclose a selection of my sceptical writings and expect a big fat cheque by return? Or is there an interview/aptitude test? If I have to travel to the US for it, will they pay expenses?

        Or do I just pop into my local Total service station and say to the pump jockey ‘I’m a sceptic, give me all the cash from the till?’

        A quick answer would be appreciated since its gone midnight here now and I think they close at 01:00. Cheers

      • Nonsense

        “According to the report, conservative think-tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations raised some US$907 million during 2009, and spent a total of $787 million on their activities, with $259 million of that devoted specifically to climate and energy policy issues.

        Over the same period, national environmental groups had revenues of $1.7 billion and spent $1.4 billion on their programmes, which included $394 million devoted to climate and energy issues.”

      • Heard from a dentist in a social setting: ” What I do is drill ’em, fill ’em and bill ’em”. Probably said in jest, but not too encouraging.

      • Sorry to lower the level of argument here but since Louise has already dragged it down I must correct her about her naiveté re the ethical standards of professionals and scientists.

        Since Louise has such faith in dentists of all people, she should look at this article from the Guardian/Observer

        “How the cowboy dentists are allowed to ruin our teeth”
        The rip-off dentists .The appalling dental work being inflicted on most of the British population is exposed today by an Observer investigation which has uncovered evidence that up to 90 per cent of work falls below international standards. Critics argue that the appalling level of most dental work in Britain is due to a system that rewards poor work; an almost complete lack of quality checking and the near impossibility of having dentists disciplined or struck off.


        It was in the Guardian so it must correct, eh, Louise?

        Sod’s Law – if corruption and incompetence is permitted to happen it WILL happen. You cannot rely on some airy-fairy fantasy of personal ethics to police either an industry, a profession or individuals. Who is policing. i.e quality controlling, the climate scientists of the IPCC? Where is the equally well-funded “B-Team” ensuring rigorous testing of the A-Teams claims?

        “Trust me, I’m an IPCC lead author” won’t wash.

      • “Sorry to lower the level of argument here but since Louise has already dragged it down ”

        I think you will find that I was replying to a post by AC Osborn who said “Those people have vested interests in the outcome”

        I fail to see how this is dragging down any argument, however, accusations that assume everyone is corrupt unless they are policed could be seen to be dragging down the argument.

      • David Bailey


        I think you mean well, but are a bit naive. A great deal of published research ends up being discarded one way or another. In most disciplines, the work is ultimately somehow self checking, but this can take a long time. Think back to the idea of polywater – the idea that there was another, more stable phase of water, that was viscous. Yes, there were serious articles written about the possibility that the stuff could nucleate the oceans, and wreck the earth! The whole phenomenon was ultimately traced to contaminants in the microscopic samples of supposed polywater.

        Besides, the essence of this thread is that the UK can completely wreck it economy and way of life, and it will make a negligible difference to total CO2 levels!

      • Hello David Bailey

        Thank you for your reply but I don’t see how that fits in to the discussion as to whether the scientists cannot be trusted because they have a vested interest in getting more research grants (which is the point I was responding to above ).

      • David Bailey

        Well part of that trust is not just in their honesty but their correctness! Informed scientists clearly have a range of opinions about climate change – compare Judith Curry with Phil Jones for example. They can’t all be correct!

        The problem at the moment, is that people (and politicians) are really only hearing one side of the story – even when clear discrepancies exist in the science. This is based on the fiction that big business is funding skeptics of climate change, and that therefore their views are not worth reading.

        Let me pursue my analogy. Suppose the polywater scare had happened now, perhaps we would have had an IPPC set up to make recommendations as to how to avoid a possible catastrophe involving a small quantity of polywater entering the sea and nucleating the rest of it to convert to polywater – like a wet windscreen on a cold winter’s day. This was considered to be a real threat for a while. I have no doubt that the IPPC would have come up with an ever more onerous series of suggestions, and its mere existence would have helped suppress the truth – that polywater was just contaminated water.

        I used to support Greenpeace and WWF – I wish they would return to the real issues that affect our planet – nuclear weapons, rainforest destruction, depletion of resources, and over population. It see the CO2 issue as a massive distraction.

    • “Those people have vested interests in the outcome.”

      How so? Do they hold stock in oil/coal/gas companies?

  51. Political Junkie

    Fred Moolten, thanks for your observations.

    The points that your comments fail to address are these:

    The UK, for example, has made HUGE policy decisions in the climate change arena. Did the policy makers have a numerical temperature “reduction” target in mind and did they aim at a specific outcome? Did they do a cost benefit analysis based on this figure and decide that the impact of the policies was worth the cost?

    If the target exists, why don’t we know about it?

    If it doesn’t, then how did the decision makers arrive at specific targets?

    • Political Junkie

      Once again thanks for your highly pertinent comment

      ‘Did the policy makers have a numerical temperature “reduction” target in mind and did they aim at a specific outcome? Did they do a cost benefit analysis based on this figure and decide that the impact of the policies was worth the cost? If the target exists, why don’t we know about it?”

      My answer is that SURELY they must have done, but I can see no evidence to support that assumption as I’m certainly not aware of any target. That’s why I wrote this article- tgether with Ed,-in order to try to put forward some preliminary numbers for a debate that seems to notably lack any cost benefit analysis at present.

      I am astonished by several commenters who appear to suggest thats its all too difficult to work out, but to just take their word for it that there is a BIG problem.

      I think its reasonable to ask for the calculations on which this assertion is being made by scientists and Govts. Lets have access to the FACTS and FIGURES not platitudes.


      • “SURELY they must have done.” Touching faith, Tony, not borne out by my experience as a government economic policy adviser. While political expedience is not universal, it is increasingly predominant.

      • John Carpenter

        “I am astonished by several commenters who appear to suggest thats its all too difficult to work out, but to just take their word for it that there is a BIG problem.”

        The irony of that statement is pretty funny when you think about it…

        Theoretician-climatologist on climate calculation: We can model our biosphere’s chaotic climate systems with enough confidence to know we are heading for a ‘big problem’ if we don’t mitigate CO2 emissions.

        Theoretician-climatologist on estimating cost of CO2 mitigation calculation: We can’t make a very accurate estimate of the cost of mitigating CO2 and the resulting related temperature reduction because it’s too hard. (If we did, then everyone would see the futility and that would be a ‘big problem’.)

    • @Political Junkie

      It seems like what you are asking for is central planning. That tends not to work well.

      A much better approach is to approximate the negative externality of greenhouse gases via a tax. This allows the market to find the optimal cost/benefit tradeoff for greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the path of optimum economic efficiency in reducing emissions to that point. No central planning required.

      • Political Junkie

        Asking for central planning? – Hardly!

        What simply amazes me (TonyB seems to agree) is that U.K. and other jurisdictions have enacted laws to mandate greenhouse gas reductions with HUGE impact on the taxpayers’ lives without any evidence that they have even thought about the effectiveness of their programs in actually reducing global warming.

        It’s easy to find out U.K. targets for emissions reduction in tonnes or percentages, but who can tell me by how many degrees Centigrade is the government expecting to mitigate global warming by year 2050 or 2100?

  52. Political Junkie


    “I think its reasonable to ask for the calculations on which this assertion is being made by scientists and Govts. Lets have access to the FACTS and FIGURES not platitudes.”

    You’ll need to fire off some Freedom of Information requests!!!

  53. “London doesn’t have smog any more, and that’s thanks to all 7 million people all following the lead of whoever went first.” No, Professor, it is due to the Clean Air Act 1964, which banned most of the sources of smog.

    • Heathrow’s Sunshine Hours which they started collecting in 1957:

      Decade Sunshine Hours Total
      1960s – 14555.7
      1970s – 15118.6
      1980s – 15264.4
      1990s – 16801.9
      2000s – 16776.8

      Not a small change. 2300 hours or so per decade change from the 1960s to the 1990s/2000s.

      • Latimer Alder

        Heathrow is to the west of London, (away from the prevailing winds). You cannot draw conclusions about sunshine in Central London from observations 15 miles west. For that you need the observatiosn from the Met Office site in Holborn.

      • Rigghhtttt.

        “In December 1952, London suffered its worst case of “pea soup” fog.

        Over a four-day period, the combination of fog and coal pollution created a smog so thick, travel became virtually impossible.

        Visibilities at London’s Heathrow airport were below 30 feet. Many residents couldn’t see across the street, and some pedestrians claimed the smog was so thick they couldn’t even see their feet.”

      • Latimer Alder

        The article may well be right. Perhaps the wind was from the east on that occasion and the grime of London blown out towards the airport.

        But my general point stands. The prevailing (i.e most common) winds in SE England are from west to east. Measurements taken at Heathrow are not in general representative of Central London.

        Here’s a map to help you orient your geography.,+Hillingdon+&searchp=ids.srf&mapp=map.srf

        FWIW I live about five miles from Heathrow, so this is familiar territory to me.

      • Heathrow is just one of many weather stations in the UK showing more sunshine hours – especially over the last 20 years.

        The Clean Air Act did not just apply to London.

      • “smoke control areas have been introduced in many of our large towns and cities in the UK and in large parts of the Midlands, North West, South Yorkshire, North East of England, Central and Southern Scotland. The implementation of smoke control areas, the increased popularity of natural gas and the changes in the industrial and economic structure of the UK lead to a substantial reduction in concentrations of smoke and associated levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2) between the 1950s and the present day.”


        Pick England (or UK) / Sunshine / Annual

        Quite a big difference over the last 20 years.

      • Does Bruce post this “sunshine hours” nonsense in every thread regardless of the topic?

        Is it worthwhile to explain why that line of argument is nonsense? Or has that been tried?

      • Go ahead explain. Maybe you could post the difference in W/sqm on a sunny day versus a cloudy one. Then compare it to the piddling 1W/sqm claimed for current CO2 values.

        A “scientist” would be genuinely curious about the effect of so much extra sunshine. An AGW cult member would react like you did.

      • Average solar radiation for a location on the northern hemisphere with a latitude angle of 47° – 55°.

        sunny, clear sky
        summer: 600 – 1000 W/m²
        winter: 300 – 500 W/m²

        sunny, skattered clouds or partly cloudy
        summer: 300 – 600 W/m²
        winter: 150 – 300 W/m²

        cloudy, fog
        summer: 100 – 300 W/m²
        winter: 50 – 150 W/m²

  54. Often the focus is only on the middle range of projections, dismissing the risk from the higher end of the range. But if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small. Think of risk as the product of consequences and likelihood: what can happen and the odds of it happening. A 10-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 is not likely; the panel gives it a 3 percent probability. Such low-probability, high-impact risks are routinely factored into any analysis and management strategy, whether on Wall Street or at the Pentagon.

    The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security — providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced.

    NOTE FROM JC: I did not write this message

    • Political Junkie

      Judith, from what you know of the public record, do you think that generally politicians who mandate green house gas reduction targets and programs (as in the U.K., for example) use the best available risk management and science based analytical decision making methodologies?

      Or, alternatively, do you have the opinion (fear?) that politics is trumping science?

      • Political Junkie


        Is the above question really about where the rubber meets the road:

        Is “applied climate science” saving the world or doing positive harm?

      • Judith writes “The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes.”

        This is the nub of the difficulty of having a scientific discussion. There is no science, no physics, to show that there is ANY possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Physics cannot tell us what happens when we add more CO2 to the atmosphere. Such little data as we have indicates that the effect is somewhere between very small and negligible.

  55. “The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security — providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced.”

    I agree with the rationale if the transition is rational.

    • The problem with that statement is that it’s completely devoid of numbers. How in the world can we put any value on “clean” when it’s undefined?

      • If it is a means to a favorable end, no numbers required. Remember you are dealing with the ban di-hydrogen monoxide crowd. Arguing fine points is generally futile.

        It is hilarious watching them though. Ralph Nadar for example has published his list of the 12 cancer-causing products found in your home. Talc and silica are two of the dangerous ingredients. Jane Fonda happens to be a spokes person for L’Oreal cosmetics.

        “L’Oreal HiP Lip Color, Brave

        Lanolin Oil , Sesame Seed Oil , Oleyl Erucate , Microcrystalline Wax , PPG-5 Lanolin Wax , Acetylated Lanolin , Beeswax , Disteardimonium Hectorite , Fragrance , Tocopheryl Acetate , Rosa Canina Fruit Oil , Arginine PCA , Jojoba Seed Oil , Benzyl Alcohol , Silica , BHT , BHA , Calcium Sodium Borosilicate , Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate , Synthetic Fluorphlogopite , Polyethylene Terephthalate , Polymethyl Methacrylate , Iron Oxides CI 77492-CI 77499-CI 77491 , Mica , Titanium Dioxide CI 77891 , Red 7 CI 15850 , Red 28 Lake CI 45410 , Yellow 6 Lake CI 15985 , Carmine CI 75470 , Red 22 Lake CI 45380 , Yellow 5 Lake CI 19140 , Blue 1 Lake CI 42090 ”

        My significant other happens to be warm and fuzzy. Instead of explaining why I am not worried about getting cancer from my cleanser, it is easier to just point out that another trusted liberal icon happens to endorse silica. She will be pondering the situation for some time.

        So numbers are optional. Really, we are missing a fantastic opportunity to effect positive energy policy change by trying to be logical and showing the numbers.

  56. “There is no science, no physics, to show that there is ANY possibility of catastrophic outcomes.” ??

    That there is a 33% probability that that actual sensitivity could be higher or lower than 1-6degC. To bound at a 90% level, I would say the bounds need to be 0-10C.

    Note from JC: someone is playing games, I did not write this

    • Dr. Curry

      ALL of your assessments of risk are dependent upon estimates (guesses) of experts to guide the mathmatics of the applied statistical output. Depending upon who is choosing the experts, one obtains the results one is looking for. The IPCC is no less vulnerable to such guessing games than those on Wall Street, insurance actuarials, etc. Insurance companies go broke with bad guesses just as IPCC stated presumptions of the future have gone belly up. Visionaries who would like to guide where society should go next allow people/citizens to make choices. Only evangalists chastise our behavior and beseach us to all get onboard before its too late. Making statements that there is a 33% probability for the global temperature in 90 years to be between 1 and 10 degrees warmer than today, ignores the possiblity of global cooling. So the probability again is based upon experts whom you choose to endores. As the earth has warmed and cooled in the past, a prudent forecast would include the possiblity of global cooling. My guess is that in the next 100 years, global temperatures will be betweeen negative 10 and plus 10 degrees Celcius from today’s.

    • Judiith

      Political Junkie makes another interesting point about politics trumping Science. Without getting into the discussions of how much difference we are making to any increase in temperature, presumably you-or your faculty- must have made some calculations as to what effect an aggressive carbon mitigation policy will have in actually REDUCING temperatures? Can you tell us?

      There are several commenters here who appear perfectly capable of coming up with their own figures (but haven’t) and several others who are so sure we are having a calamitous effect on our climate that I can only conclude they also have access to coherent estimates.

      Can I ask both groups to post their figures so we can actually put some tighter bounds on the current estimates so far of between 1 tenth and one degree Centigrade reduction if the worlds carbon economy were to be shut down completely.


  57. Jack Hughes

    I can’t believe I’m reading this…

    33% probability that the density-of-water / resistivity-of-copper / value-of-g / value-of-pi could be higher or lower than [some number]

    Whatever happened to saying those 3 little words:

    I don’t know

  58. beware, someone is posting messages under Judith Curry and curryja that are not mine. I will try to keep on top if this, i will start deleting them as I see them

    • Judith, well said. You should delete the messages from someone impersonating you. It’s a smart-arse trick which lowers the tone of the of the board as well as demonstrating bad faith. You are under no obligation to tolerate it. I admire your forebearance so far.

  59. @curryja It looks like some mischievous person is using quotations from a previous period when you perhaps felt somewhat differently than you do now.

    • I’ve done some forensics for ISPs. It’s pretty easy to find the location of mischievous people if someone is inclined to look for them.

  60. I dare say it is. The location of these mischevious quotes is even easier to locate!

    • tonto, messages like this are fine, but using my name to post messages is not. note your IP address shows up on my screen when you make a post.

  61. ferd berple

    “Sacrifice for the common good” universaly means a benefit transfered from the poor to the rich. In this case, the common good wishes to deny the poorest people of the planet the right to use coal to develop their economies. The rich countries of the earth, having used coal to industralize their own countries, now wish to deny this right to others.

    Should CO2 and GHG theory be shown wrong by less warming than projected over the next decade, the poorest nations of the earth could quite conceivably expect significant reparations for the harm done by western science and governments.

    The UN IPCC could quite rightly claim they were misled as they do not sicnce themselves, simply compile the results. It would be western governments that were at fault, by disproportionate funding to advocates of the CO2 GHG theory.

  62. Cstles-Henderson critique: here is a 2003 paper which reiterates the original critique and responds to IPCC counter-arguments:

    The site also has C-H correspondence with the IPCC and notes on meetings with IPPC luminaries and staff.

    C-H say that their main objective is to review and strengthen the economic dimension of the IPCC in a timely way. As this thread indicates, there is still a great deal of work to be done in this area.

  63. “[W]hether atmospheric gases such as CO2 (and H20, CH4, and others) warm the planet is not an issue where skepticism is plausible.”

  64. I have also been surprised by some of the recent purported comments by “curryja”. Further to my last post on the climate at Heathrow a couple of hours ago, I have now analysed the weather there and at Oxford since 1958 using annual rather than monthly data on sun, rain, CO2, and mean maximum temperature.

    What climate change? There has certainly been none at Oxford, with mean annual Tmax on a down trend of -0.07 oC p.a. since 1958, while Heathrow, only about 40 miles away does show a rising trend of 0.034 oC p.a. which obviously could not possibly have anything to do with the explosive growth of air traffic there since 1958.

    Even more amazing is that at Oxford, changes in its mean annual Tmax are heavily dependent on sunshine hours (t=2.7) – or lack of them – and barely at all on CO2 (t=1.6 and so not statistically significant).

    Luckily for our friend posting here who lives near Heathrow, his government’s plans for zero emissions by 2050 mean closure of Heathrow, so he too can enjoy temperatures like those in Oxford that by 2110 will be a full 7 oC colder than now.

    • Re re-posting of comments made by Judith about four years ago: my recollection is that when Judith first posted on CA in late(-ish) 2009 (pre-Climategate), she largely accepted the conventional AGW case because she assumed that the proponents maintained the same professional standards as she did. As I recall, she had decided to touch base with, and initiate dialogue with, Steve McIntyre et al to try to undertsand where they were coming from. It seems to me that as a result of contacts with CA etc and of Climategate, she began to realise that there were flaws in the “Team’s” work, that not everything was as kosher as she had thought, and began to revise her position. Given the conformist pressures in climate science, this was a brave and welcome move. Judith now understands more of, and focusses more on, the uncertainties in this field; I believe she started CE in order to broaden the debate and increase her and our understanding in this forum rather than depending on the AGW proponents, whose material is of course still available to her. Of course, Judith’sviews have shifted since 2009 as she has more and often very different data and arguments available. I think she’s doing a great job, and has a great blog, subject to the flaws which all blogs have.

      Judith, I hope that’s a reasonable representation, there seems to be some confusion arising from the doppelganger’s posts.

  65. Latimer Alder

    Less hot air coming from Oxford over the years? It was certainly a good emitter when I was there in the 1970s

    Perhaps the City of Expiring Dreams is running out of dreams…………

  66. If you a trillion dollars spend could you build a space solar panels?
    “For a space elevator, the cost varies according to the design. Bradley C. Edwards received funding from NIAC from 2001 to 2003 to write a paper…
    whereas the fixed costs would be US$6 to 12 billion, for construction”

    I think space elevator is dumb idea, but rather than transport payloads to space, I would use it to transmit electrical power. Rather than beam the electrical power using microwave or lasers.
    So don’t believe 6 to 12 billion number, let’s say it costs 40 billion for something which should be cheaper than building space elevator that lifts payloads to space.

    Next, could do it two different ways- bring solar panels from earth to GEO, or build solar manufacturing plant on Moon, make solar panels on the Moon and ship to GEO.

    Shipping solar panels from Earth to GEO:
    Since one spending such a large amount money, it probably cheaper to build a launch system designed from ground up to build large capacity rocket production.
    SpaceX designed, and developed a rocket for 300 million in total cost- if you wanted something like SpaceX, you simply buy rockets from SpaceX.
    But SpaceX and other launch companies didn’t design there rocket manufacturing to produce hundreds of rockets per year- more like as much as a dozen rockets per year.
    Let’s simplify it, by looking at the cheapest that a rocket could cost, based on the costs of rocket fuel. Rockets are going to be around 90% of their mass being rocket fuel.
    SpaceX Falcon 9 : Mass (GTO, 5.2m fairing): 332,800 kg (733,800 lb)
    Rocket fuel is about $2 per kg so fuel cost per launch is about $660,000
    SpaceX price per launch is about 60 million if they sell 5 launches per year
    they would gross about 300 million per year.
    If they launched 50 rocket per year and charged 20 million per launch they would gross 1 billion per year, and could net a higher profit per year as compared to 5 launches at 60 million.
    A 100 rockets per year at 20 million per launch should be possible- whether one uses SpaceX, a different launch company or start build a new company that builds rockets.
    So assuming one buys 100 or more launches per year, we will assume a cost of $5000 per kg to GEO and $8000 per kg to lunar surface.
    “a solar panel mass of 20 kg per kilowatt….Very lightweight designs could likely achieve 1 kg/kW”
    We will conservatively assume it’s 10 kg per kW.
    Or 400 kW per rocket launch.
    And per 50 launches of solar panel, one launch for spacecraft tug and other gear to build maintain SPS.

    So, suppose need 40 GW or 40,000,000 kW, needs 100,000 launches for solar panels and 2000 launches for building and maintenance.
    So 2 trillion to launch the solar panel and 40 billion to maintain it.
    And UK: “Maximum demand (2005/6): 63 GW (approx.) (81.39% of capacity)”

    If you assume you want this built in 10 years, instead 100 rocket launches, you actually need 10,000 launches
    per year. And seems to indicate that you need a larger rocket than Falcon 9.
    One could make a rocket with 10 times this payload or a larger than this.
    And probaby get a significant cost reduction perhaps as much as 25% to 50% less per kg. Though unlikely to get to
    the 1 trillion dollar target unless one was willing to use extreme types of launch such as Orion Nuclear rocket.
    A less extreme rocket than Orion and still keeping chemical rocket would something like the Sea Dragon-
    that put hundreds of thousand of kilogram into GEO. But these mentioned rockets have only got to paper design
    and some testing. Instead you pick the largest rocket that flew- it would need to re-design, but at least you know
    such a thing is possible. I am referring to the Apollo Saturn V, which had about a 45,000 kg to lunar trajectory
    or GEO- so Saturn V would be about 10 times the payload- requiring 10,000 plus 200 launches. Which to make in 10 years,
    would require over 1000 launches per year. As compared Sea dragon class rocket requires 200 launches per year,
    and orion about 40 per year.

    So for comparison to getting the solar panel made on the Moon, we will assume Saturn V type rocket.
    Calculating this costs is more difficult.
    First what is needed for this is minable water on the Moon which can then be made into rocket fuel.
    To establish a “baseline” we will first determine how much rocket fuel would be needed on the Moon.
    So, previously we needed 100,000 launches that delivered 4000 kg to GEO, or 400 million kgs [400,000 Mt].
    So, this also means we will need 400 million kgs of rocket fuel on the Moon
    Since we want this done in 10 years, this means we need 40 million kgs of rocket made each year.
    Which also means we need 40 million kgs of lunar water mined per year [the moon could have billions of tons
    of minable water, btw- not a shortage in this regard].


  67. David Bailey

    I wish Tony Brown’s paper could be reprinted in a national newspaper here in Britain. This is a frightening example of the way in which our politicians are divorced from reality, and without effective public debate about the problem, the UK could be heading for serious problems.

  68. A C Osborn

    David Bailey | May 28, 2011 at 6:55 am | “the UK could be heading for serious problems.”

    I think it already is, apart from a few UKIP MPs and some ex MPs there doesn’t seem to be anyone man enough to challenge the current Group Think, which is already costing us considerably more in Taxes.

    Louise’s apparent complete naiveté explains why she is prepared to defend even the indefensible. Robert is obviuosly just an AGW TROLL.

    • David Bailey

      I wouldn’t mind some extra taxes (within reason!) if they gave us something – such as total self-sufficiency in energy. My real concern is that we could get power outages in this country that could be catastophic:

      1) Food distribution is dependent on electric refrigeration.
      2) Much crime prevention depends on electricity – street lights, alarms, etc.
      3) Water and sewage probably depends on electricity, but there may be backup generators, I am not sure.
      4) We have developed a vast computer infrastructure for all sorts of tasks. Much of this computerisation has been gratuitous, but it has happened, and if it breaks down there will be great confusion.
      5) Such industry as we still have in this country, would obviously be badly hit.

      Everyone could add to this list, I am sure.

      • Billy Liar

        Don’t worry. The UK has a 2GW connection to the French nuclear system (which is, as I type passing 998MW to the UK) and a 1GW connector to the Netherlands (which is, as I type supplying 286MW to the UK).

        Sentiment about the UK’s continuing energy insecurity is obviously running high since Eurotunnel plans to invest €250M in a 500MW connection to the French system available to the highest bidder for a juicy rent.

        Such confidence in renewables!

      • David Bailey

        That was an interesting answer – where do you get you figures, and are they publicly available?

        I live in the North of England, so I wonder what losses are encountered by the time electricity gets ‘up here’.

        There are also the costs of buying electricity from the continent to consider.

      • Thanks for the info. 5% of UK electricity.

  69. Bah. Arrant idiocy. Renewables are inherently unworkable, due to physics and economics. They are diffuse, every one of them, and the collection and transmission and storage requirements are ineluctable.

    Reaching waaayy back, there is a cost benefit analysis, by a warmer than lukewarmista, no less: Nordhaus.

    Summary: even assuming AGW and its costs and mitigation’s benefits, mitigation is a major loser.

    • BrianH

      That was a truly excellent link which I would urge all on this blog to read. The author in your link took a solely economic perspective on the matter which we have amplified in this article with an attempt at a scientific study.

      His economic conclusion was that mitigation was not worth the cost. To that we can add the scientific observation;
      ‘….and will not achieve any temperature reduction.’

      Perhaps some one can provide the answer as to exactly what is the point in this frantic attempt to (partially) decarbonise the advanced economies.?


    • Brian H

      Thanks for posting link to review of Nordhaus book. Sounds interesting.


  70. Now, we have to calculate the possible price of lunar water on the Moon.
    If water was say $100 per kg, 40 million kg of it would be a gross yearly dollar amount of 4 billion dollars.
    Which means around capital investment of around 20 billion in order to mine this scale. This seems plausible
    if not perhaps a bit cheaper for the water.
    To split 40 million kg of water per year, you need about 200 million kW/h per year, which means if the price of
    electrical power on the Moon was $5 per KW/h it would be a gross of 1 billion dollars per year. Which is somewhere
    close. So 200 million kW/h per year is assuming 80% of time is sunlit, is about 7000 hrs per year. And so need to
    generate 28,571 KW- or 28.5 MW. Since one can get 1.3 kW per sq meter, it’s total area of 21,978 sq meters. Or
    about 1/45th of a sq kilometer or 100 meters by 219.78 meters [about 4 football fields].
    So with Saturn V to GEO we would get 4000 Kw, so roughly we need 10 Saturn V launches to deliver these solar
    panels to the moon.

    So first need to find minable water. Will pay 5 billion to explore moon to find minable water, then will paid 4
    billion [to company that finds minable lunar water] per 40 million kg of water mined.
    So 9 billion for first year of mined water. Plus the cost of delivering solar panels to the Moon.
    And this gives 40 million kg of rocket fuel on the lunar surface- far more then is need for
    any operational needs. The cost of this rocket fuel is extremely cheap. And will sell rocket fuel to any
    company which deliver rocket fuel to lunar orbit and which we then will buy for 3 times the cost we sold
    it for at lunar surface. So sell for 150 per kg, and buy the rocket fuel back for 450 kg in lunar orbit.
    This will result is lower cost to ship anything to the Moon.
    The cost instead 5000 per kg to GEO and $8000 per kg to lunar surface, will instead $5000 plus rocket fuel
    cost at lunar orbit [450 per kg] plus the use of a reusable spacecraft. So instead 8000, it’s about $6000 per
    Next will sell solar panel shipped from earth to a company for 1/2 the cost of putting them there, and will buy
    electrical power at $2 per kw/h, and offer contract to sell solar panels to same company at price somewhere around
    1/100 of cost to ship them to the Moon- once these solar panels are made.
    So all doing after 1 year is buying water, and spun off/sold everything else.

    Now, ship in from earth everything need to mine silicon and make solar panels.
    So somewhere in the range of 1000 tons of equipment, so 1 million kgs at $6000 per kg. 6 billion dollars.
    So somewhere around 10 to 20 billion to build factory that will make solar panel. Then spin off mining silicone,
    so as to focus on making solar panels.
    So start making the needed solar panels which eventually will be sent to GEO- probably starting at about 10% of yearly
    average needed, and sell them first to anyone on the Moon that wants them. Buy anything which made on the Moon
    by other companies so as to lower costs of shipping this stuff from Earth.
    So two year later, haven’t yet shipped a solar panel to GEO, yet. Suppose by year three and making 20% of yearly
    average needed, start shipping solar panels to GEO.
    To ship solar panel to GEO from the Moon, requires half the vehicle mass to be rocket fuel- big improvement over
    90% from Earth, also without a atmosphere there no need to make an aerodynamic rocket design.
    This allows lifting from the Moon very large one piece solar panel- such a single solar panel being 100 meter
    square [10,000 sq meters].
    So need a vehicle that lifts this size and a large mass [could deliver lots of these large pieces]. And need for
    backing material [such as aluminum sheeting] to be manufactured on moon in such wide sheets.

    On the Moon surface paying about $150 per kg of rocket fuel- 75 times higher price than one pays on Earth [$2 per kg].
    But on moon one using same mass of rocket fuel as payload- 0ne ton payload require one ton fuel. On earth One ton payload
    requires Falcon 9 gross mass: 332,800 kg divide by 90% which is about 300,000 kg to lift 4000 kg. Per tonne lifted
    it’s 300,000 divide by 4 which is about 74,000 kg per ton of payload- 74 tonnes rocket fuel per one ton payload.
    So cost rocket fuel from earth is 74 times $2 as compared to $150 per kg and needing 1. Meaning the price paid per
    kg or tonne solar panel delivered to GEO in rocket fuel is about the same cost. And the cost of the rocket fuel
    from earth costs $660,000 of rocket cost of 20 million. So rocket fuel cost on earth are rather small part of the
    cost of the rocket, and even though one is paying 75 times more for rocket fuel on the Moon it’s equally a rather
    insignificant cost of the rocket launch per tonne or kg delivered to GEO.
    Also on from the Moon, one could easily re-use your rocket. Something remotely possible from earth launch, but
    would add to cost [I didn’t allow for this].

    So being easily able to reuse rocket from the moon the cost to deliver might equal about 3 to 4 times the rocket
    fuel used- so cost of $600 per kg delivered. Or about 1/10th the costs.
    And since the cost of delivering the solar panel are the major costs, roughly instead 2 trillion dollars it’s about
    200 billion dollars for 40 GW. Or for one trillion dollar one make about 200 GW.
    And making 4 times more solar panels, will lower the costs. Instead lunar water costing 100 per kg, it easily be $75
    per kg and cost of electrical cost to make rocket fuel less $25 per kg of rocket fuel made. So roughly for one trill
    get about 250 GW. And this same lower costs would apply if buy 2 trillion instead one trillion dollar worth.
    2 trillion wouldn’t give 500 GW, it could instead give you about 1000 GW.
    So for the UK one get better way to reduce CO2 then they planning, but if you consider the world need, it’s far more
    cost efficent. And far more cheaper if not in rush to do it within 10 years. You spend in the order of a few billion
    per year and within 4 or 5 decades get enough electrical from space to provide 50% or more of all the electrical power
    of the planet.

  71. “Since one can get 1.3 kW per sq meter, it’s total area of 21,978 sq meters.
    Oops. that amount solar energy, but panel have about 25% efficient- so the area is larger. Not important in terms costs- just wanted clue of scale- so instead 4 football fields it’s 16 football fields.
    The reason I wanted to know scale, was because there is a limited amount area which has 80% sunlight- which is in the order of sq kms- so it doesn’t matter- in this regard, there are lots of lunar real estate for this.

    • according to a recent GE release, new technology will get efficiency up to 12.5 percent. How did you get double that?

      • Mark F

        Believe gbaikie is talking about the % of time that a solar panel generates power on average in a typical European location.

        Optimistically, this is around 25% for norther Europe and stated (by panel manufacturers) to be almost 30% for Spain, California, etc.

        This means that (gas-fired?) standby plants are required to supply the load when there is no sun. These are quite flexible and can produce power when it is needed. But it adds an even greater financial disadvantage to solar and cancels out a part of the reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from the solar plant.

        This is just as bad for wind farms (which points to the folly of the UK plan, as Tony B’s article points out).

        The only technically (and economically) viable alternate to fossil fuel fired plants today is nuclear fusion, which appears (post-Fukushima) not to be politically viable right now.

        Have the “greens” painted themselves into a corner?


      • It’s actually a little more complicated than that. As long as solar is a relatively small part of the mix, it actually helps level the load curve, because demand is so much higher during the day than at night, and particularly if you have a lot of nuclear in the mix, solar will reduce the need for peaking generation.

        There is, however, a point of penetration where you have too much power during the day, and not enough at night. We’re a long ways from that point currently anywhere in the world, but the extremists who want to go with all “renewables” and no nuclear will be creating a time-of-day generating problem even if the basic economics of solar can be made more favorable.

      • Wind is much worse btw, for reasons too involved to go into here. It’s not only unpredictable on a daily timescale, it’s unpredictable on a minute timescale.

      • ChE and Max –
        It’s even more complicated because for wind, there are upper and lower limits to wind speed that can be tolerated or are usable. I’ve been on a ridge when the wind exceeded the tolerable speed and watched an entire wind farm shut down in a matter of a couple minutes. I’ve also seen entire wind farms with the blades feathered because the wind speed was too low to be useful.

        I’ve also seen solar farms that were useless because they were snow covered – or alternatively – blocked by a massive dust storm or covered with the dust laid down by that storm.

        I’m not anti-solar or anti-wind, but I’ve seen, first hand, some of the problems with them. And I’m not interested in entrusting the entire future energy supply for this country to them. That would be ignorant and frankly, stupid.

      • Jim Owen

        I agree that neither solar nor wind power are the “solution” to the “carbon problem ” (whazzat?).

        The “on-line” factors quoted by windmill suppliers are usually exaggerated and the same goes for photovoltaic suppliers.

        That’s why I have to chuckle at what is going on in Germany today. Green movements are capitalizing on the Fukushima disaster to stage mass rallies in the attempt to get the government to accelerate the moratorium on nuclear power generation there. At the same time these very same groups are howling about the need to reduce GHG emissions (meaning CO2, of course) to “save our planet” and to switch to “renewable energy”. But they have no earthly notion what this really means or how to get there.

        Some of this post-Fukushima angst has slopped over the border to Switzerland, as well, but there have been no massive rallies and the nuclear phase-out will take at least 20 years (if it happens at all). Meanwhile, a few new hydroelectric plants have come on stream (despite objection from Green groups). Other Green groups oppose “ungainly” new wind farms.

        Meanwhile, France is gearing up to become Europe’s electrical power supplier with new nuclear capacity.

        Fortunately, when people are too stupid to help themselves there will always be someone willing to do so – for a price.


      • “Believe gbaikie is talking about the % of time that a solar panel generates power on average in a typical European location.”

        Actually no I didn’t mention that- but solar power in UK is plain silly, you get about 1/4 of the solar energy as compared to other places in the world. Same applies to Germany- horrible amount of solar energy. Yet govt spends billions to encourage this idiocy.
        I didn’t mention this because UK policy also includes wind generation, which also abysmal.

        So UK and Germany get about 2 kw/h per average day [minus solar panels efficiency from that]. Whereas there many areas in world which one can get 8 kW/h on average per day [or more].
        In GEO you get per day, 1300 watts times 24 which is about 31 kW/h
        per average day. Which also mean a solar panel in GEO is worth about 15 times more than in UK. Or takes up 15 times less area to get same amount of power. Or said different has 15 times more energy density.
        Of course taking up “land area” in Space isn’t a problem- unlike on earth.

      • That’s why a carbon tax is a much better tactic than subsidizing particular technologies.

        Increase the price of fossil fuel energy, and market will find the most efficient alternatives.

      • As usual, you’re either not listening or not understanding.

      • Robert

        That’s why a carbon tax is a much better tactic than subsidizing particular technologies

        How many degerees C of global warming will be averted by a “carbon tax” (please show calculation).


      • A negative amount.

        If the west burned more natural gas instead of coal, less CO2 would be produced than if a carbon tax drove industry to China where they burn more coal and produce more CO2.

      • You mean solar panel efficiency:
        “The first generation technologies are the most commonly used ones in commercial production and account for nearly 90% of all cells produced.[citation needed] They are often described as high-cost and high-efficiency. They involve high energy and labor inputs, which has prevented major progress in reducing production costs.

        These solar cells are manufactured from silicon semiconductors and use a single junction for extracting energy from photons. They are approaching the theoretical limiting efficiency of 33% and achieve cost parity with fossil fuel energy generation after a payback period of 5-7 years.[citation needed] Nevertheless, due to very capital intensive production, it is generally not thought that first generation cells will be able to provide energy more cost effective than fossil fuel sources.”

        There are higher efficiencies if one uses reflectors of various kinds, btw. Unlike on earth the cost of solar panels are not a significant factor as compared to launch cost. Therefore such panels which produce a $1 per watt for earth application can not be used.
        As such:
        “The second generation of solar cells has been under intense development for the 1990’s and 2000’s. They are often described as low-cost and low-efficiency cells. Second generation materials have been specifically developed to address energy requirements and production costs of first generation cells”
        “A commonly cited example of second generation cells are printed cells that can be produced at an extremely fast rate. Though these cells have only 10-15% conversion efficiency,”

        “Third generation solar cells are currently just being researched. No actual products exist yet. Third generation technologies aim to combine the high electrical performance of the first generation with the low production costs of the second generation. The goal is thin-film cells that obtain efficiencies in the range of 30-60% by using new technologies. Some say that third generation cells could start to be commercialized sometime around 2020, but it is too early to say for sure”

        I am not counting on 3rd generation solar cells.

        But in any case as I said, it doesn’t matter- I was comparing earth launched to GEO compared to Lunar launched to GEO and using the same mass to KW/h. And I added the addition costs of shipping them to the moon as compared to shipping GEO, and minus the less solar energy they would receive- counted on only eighty percent compared to 100% in GEO.
        I was merely trying to figure how area such solar panel array would take up and this had nothing to do with costs but checking to see if it took up more area or somewhere close to areas of “peaks of eternal light”:
        “NASA and Europe revealed a small number of illuminated ridges within 15 km from the pole, each of them much like an island of no more than a few hundred meters across in an ocean of eternal darkness, where a lander could receive near-permanent lighting (~70–90% of time in lunar winter, likely 100% in lunar summer). ”
        Anyways it doesn’t say it there but there is around several sq km “worth” of area. And so even if solar panel were significant less than 25%- there would plenty of area available.

        I am not giving a detailed plan- that impossible for anyone to do at this point in time- just feasibility type look at it. My point isn’t that UK govt should spend trillion dollar on this idea, but rather don’t spend that kind money to reduce co2 using foolish methods, as there are better ways of doing it, if you want waste a trillions of dollars- and actually have increased GDP- your citizens becoming more wealthy rather than more poorer.

        [re-posted sorry if repeated]

  72. If Judith Curry has changed her mind she needs to clear things up. Contrary to what Faustino as suggested, and JC has allowed to go uncorrected, even to the extent of denying authorship, this quote was from February of this year:

    “That there is a 33% probability that that actual [climate] sensitivity could be higher or lower than my bounds. To bound at a 90% level, I would say the bounds need to be 0-10C.”

    So if the probability distribution function is symmetrical, JC is saying that there is a 50% chance of 2 x CO2 causing a 5 degree warming. Even if it isn’t symmetrical, there is according to none other than Ms Curry herself, a 5% chance of it being higher than 10 degC.

    Again, to quote JC, and as she explained confidently in an article in the Washington Post in 2007 these level of risks cannot be allowed to be ignored and “if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small.”

    Nothing in any leaked emails, or from any “dialogue with Steve McIntyre” changes the fact that she was just as correct in Feb 2011 as she was in October 2007. If she is now denying authorship then she needs to explain why.

    Ms Curry allows her blog to be filled with unchallenged denialist nonsense which she knows herself to be wrong. Of course, most deniers can be excused, to some extent, because, they don’t possess enough knowledge to know they are wrong. But, how is it possible to go from knowing something, and being able to explain it all very well, to not knowing and not understanding?

    It is no wonder the climate science community are wondering just what on earth has happened to Ms Curry

    • Lone Ranger

      Of course, most deniers can be excused, to some extent, because, they don’t possess enough knowledge to know they are wrong.

      tonto52 speak with forked tongue.

    • Tonto ol’ boy,

      That’s Dr. Curry to you, zit-hole.

    • tonto52

      You’re starting to get tedious with your statements such as:

      If Judith Curry has changed her mind she needs to clear things up.

      I have followed Judith’s blog site here for several months, and she has been pretty clear on her views.

      (These may not agree completely with yours or with mine, but she has certainly expressed them quite clearly.)

      She has also recently given testimony to US congressional committees which are quite clear.

      Of course, we all reserve the right to change our opinions on some facets as we gain new knowledge; anyone who does not do this no longer has a rational open mind, but instead is stuck with a dogmatic belief.

      I’d suggest you get caught up on all this rather than hauling out old “but you said back in…” remarks .

      Just my advice.


    • Money quote:

      “Even if it isn’t symmetrical, there is according to none other than Ms Curry herself, a 5% chance of it being higher than 10 degC.

      “Again, to quote JC, and as she explained confidently in an article in the Washington Post in 2007 these level of risks cannot be allowed to be ignored and ‘if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small.’. . . how is it possible to go from knowing something, and being able to explain it all very well, to not knowing and not understanding? ”

      Ouch. Pwnd.

      • Do you know the real meaning of the expression “Kemo Sabe”?

      • Jim Owen

        Do you know the real meaning of the expression “Kemo Sabe”?

        Tonto greets the Lone Ranger with the expression “kemosabe”, which has also been written “Kemo Sabe” or “Kemo Sabhay”. The origin of this expression is somewhat unclear, but James Jewell, an early director of the radio series, said the name comes from a boy’s camp located on Mullett Lake, Michigan that his father-in-law had run from 1911 to 1941. The translation was said to mean “trusty scout.” Fran Striker, the writer of the Lone Ranger scripts, said the actual expression was Ta-i ke-mo sah-bee, which he said meant “greetings trusty scout”. In the pilot of the Clayton Moore TV series, “Enter the Lone Ranger”, Tonto explicitly states that “Kemosabe” means “trusty scout”.

        However, the phrase “faithful friend” has also been associated with the term Kemo Sabe.


      • Robert

        You ask the question:

        how is it possible to go from knowing something, and being able to explain it all very well, to not knowing and not understanding?

        Rational knowledge is a moving target. As one learns new things, the overall rational conclusion may shift slightly. In the case of a paradigm shift, it may even shift drastically. In some cases the newly acquired knowledge is precisely the fact that one realizes that one does not know the answer to a question one previously thought one did know.

        Dogmatic belief is static. Like fundamental religious belief, it does not change because it cannot change by definition.

        That is why the “science” is NEVER “settled” (while “religion” is).


      • The whole point of giving bounds is that we don’t know anything about the distribution, so my statement about 0-10C says nothing about what is going on outside this range.

  73. TonyB

    Your article was a very interesting eye-opener on the UK’s proposed climate change legislation.

    Your attempt to gather ideas from the various posters here on potential temperature impact of specific proposals is valiant.

    I am beginning to sense, however, that those who most strongly believe that AGW is a serious potential threat requiring mitigating action are unable to come up with any specific actionable mitigation proposals that can be subjected to a cost/benefit analysis.

    A closer look at those few specific actionable proposals, which have been made to date (Hansen et al. shutdown of US coal-fired plants, US plan for carbon capture and storage outlined on an earlier thread here by Rutt Bridges) reveal that they would achieve essentially no change in our climate at an exorbitant cost.

    I then presented a rough estimate of the reduction in warming that would theoretically occur if the carbon-based economy of the UK were totally shut down. I later extended this to the carbon-based economy of the whole world. The result: no significant change in global temperature by 2100. The conclusion: We are unable to change our climate, no matter how much money we throw at it.

    No one has at yet shown me where these estimates are incorrect.

    As a rational skeptic, my alarm goes off when I hear rationalizations attempting to convince me why it is much too complicated to estimate the potential cooling impact of a specific action to reduce human CO2, yet, at the same time, I read in IPCC reports quite specific estimates of what the warming impact will be of NOT taking such actions.

    I truly hope you will be able to get some of the supporters of the “dangerous AGW” premise (and especially those who have criticized your article) to get more specific on actionable proposals to reduce global warming, which can be subjected to a cost/benefit analysis.

    So far, however, this group has avoided getting specific.


    • “I later extended this to the carbon-based economy of the whole world. The result: no significant change in global temperature by 2100. The conclusion: We are unable to change our climate, no matter how much money we throw at it… No one has at yet shown me where these estimates are incorrect.”

      That’s quite incorrect, Max. On more than one occasion, I’ve shown the calculations indicating a substantial temperature effect. On one of those occasions, I believe it was in response to a previous comment you made along the same lines, or that it was immediately followed by a comment from you (I don’t remember which), and I expect you saw it. If you search back through these threads, I expect you’ll find it. The fact that you disregarded it once disinclines me to take the trouble to search myself or do a recalculation, particularly since the evidence is already well known.

      • Fred Moolten

        No, Fred.

        You have not shown specific estimates of warming averted by specific mitigating actions.

        Please do so now (both for my benefit and for that of TonyB).


      • Fred Moolten

        To the general request by TonyB and myself for specific actionable mitigation proposals with an estimate of how much global warming these will avert you replied that you had already posted this information here, adding:

        If you search back through these threads, I expect you’ll find it. The fact that you disregarded it once disinclines me to take the trouble to search myself or do a recalculation, particularly since the evidence is already well known.

        This is a cop-out, Fred. You have NOT posted this in the past and appear to be weaseling out of doing so now.

        It is time to put up or shut up, Fred (if you’ll pardon the expression).


      • Fred –
        You’ve done this several times in the last few weeks and I’ve said nothing because I’m both busy and lazy. This being a statement that you’ve said something before and see no reason to repeat it.

        But there IS a reason. At least if you want to stay involved and maintain credibility. Allow me to illustrate from personal experience –

        Long ago and far away in a different galaxy, I did something that was remarkable at the time. And then I found an Internet forum which, as such things tend to, was populated by those who were ignorant of the subject but (some, at least) wished to learn about it.. So I answered questions, argued, debated, advised, demonstrated – until I got very, very tired of answering the same questions over and over and over and…..

        You get the idea? I know you do because you’re there right now. It took me about a year to get to that point. But I continued to give those same answers (or better ones as they developed) for over 15 years. And I still do when it’s appropriate. Why?

        Because a friend that I’d never met at that point same to my rescue – he pointed out that the Internet forums are cyclic. IOW, the same questions, the same subjects, even the same idiocies, are repeated (in my case) EVERY YEAR – year in, year out, because every year brings a new crop of listeners, arguers, debaters, learners — and skeptics. Yes, I also have those who hate me on those forums.

        The cycle time here is shorter, the subjects are more technical, if less immediately life threatening, and generally far more politicized. But the same principle is involved – if you want to be credible, involved and influential, you have to be engaged – and you have to care enough to keep on answering – even when you’re so sick of answering the same questions over and over and over that you want to strangle the next one to ask for that answer.

        You and I disagree fairly often. That doesn’t mean I think your POV has no value – even when I KNOW you’re wrong (as I have on occasion). So I don’t really want to see you disappear – which is one of the several reactions I’ve seen in the last 16 or 17 years to the symptoms you’re showing. Therefore, I can only hope you understand what I’m trying to say here and the lesson it carries. I cannot , and would not if I could, force you to see it or act on it. That has to be your choice.

        But I can tell you that the choice you made here is the wrong one if you want to stay credible, involved and influential. Good luck. :-)

      • Jim – Thanks for your considered (and considerate) comment. I agree with most of what you say, and like you, I’ve been content to repeat answers to the same questions and challenges on multiple occasions – for the reasons you indicate. On the other hand, I also recognize when the same question or challenge that has been addressed before is raised again by the same person as essentially a campaign tactic. In those cases, I have reserved the right to point out what I see happening rather than to treat the question as a legitimate search for understanding or answers. I don’t always refrain from repeating an answer, but I’ve done it here in concordance with a statement I made earlier in this thread that none of the calculations done by anyone here (including any I might provide) should be offered as a basis for policy decisions. I don’t wish to undermine that point by doing something that contradicts it.

        What I’ve read subsequent to that earlier comment reinforces my conviction that my statement is justified, and Max Manacker’s oft-repeated and oft-refuted claim that we can’t affect climate further confirms my belief. You may have noticed, however, that I offered tonyb an answer via email rather than publicly in this thread. That will continue to be part of my policy to patiently address issues raised from a sincere desire to engage in meaningful dialog, but to resist being baited into repetitive arguments with individuals whose views are too entrenched to be reached by any exchange of comments.

        Again, thanks, Jim. I take your admonition seriously, and I expect I will act in accordance on most occasions. I won’t on this occasion for the reasons I stated. Will my credibility suffer as a result? I hope not, but I’ll take my chances.

      • Rob Starkey


        You do seem to have difficulty in modifying your position when you have ben shown to be incorrect beyond a reasonable doubt.

  74. “This is a cop-out, Fred. You have NOT posted this in the past and appear to be weaseling out of doing so now.”

    That’s rather personal, Max. I have two questions.

    1. Are you a betting man?
    2. How much can you afford to lose?

    • Fred Moolten

      Stop the side steps and waffles, Fred.

      Just show me your calculation of the anthropogenic warming that can be averted by specific actionable proposals (if you have any).

      Otherwise I will have to assume that you do not have any.


  75. @ JC
    Your stated reason for setting up this blog is to engage with the denier community. Many think that to be a waste of time but at least the argument is valid.
    Well for goodness sake, at least with the articles themselves, if not all the comments, why not do just that? Engage with the authors via the points they have raised. This particular one is just a typical piece of denier drivel, for reasons you well know, or at least used to well know.
    If you can’t bring yourself to say so any more, maybe you can take a look at the piece of punctuation in the title and answer the bloody question!

    • I have to admit that deniers who believe only one variable in climate has changed over the last 100 years (CO2) are annoying … but they get the big bucks from government.

      • sunshine –
        deniers who believe only one variable in climate has changed over the last 100 years (CO2)

        Can you find me one of those? I haven’t found one yet – but I know a gaggle of “believers” who fit the description.

      • Jim, I think sunshinehours is calling warmists deniers, which they are.

    • Tonto –
      maybe you can take a look at the piece of punctuation in the title and answer the bloody question!

      Why don’t you answer the question? AFAIK, you’ve said nothing of substance on any subject. If you have nothing to offer to the conversation then you’re a waste of time and bandwidth and truly deserve to be called Kemo Sabe. But then you’ve probably never talked to a Navajo about what that actually means, have you?

    • tonto52, I’m not aware of being a member of “the denier community.” I’ve been following this topic since the 1980s, my initial approach that if there is a potential catastrophe from AGW, we need to understand it and the associated costs and benefits of dealing or not dealing with it. [In 1989 or 1990 I was briefed by the IPCC’s chief scientist, a source you might regard as adequate.] I;ve continued to maintain that approach. I’m not a scientist, I’m an economist who has advised the UK, Australian and Queensland governments on a wide variety of topics, which required the skill to understand many issues outside of my immediate competence and to be able to provide advice on them. This includes, e.g., Cabinet submissions on greenhouse isues; around 1996 the Queensland government accepted my advice to support the Kyoto protocol on the grounds that there might be significant risks, restraining emissions would have significant costs but (on the Kyoto basis), modelling suggested that they would slow growth but would not devastate the economy other than light metals processing, and that if we took “no-regrets” measures, we could revise policy in the light of further research and information prior to the Kyoto period of 2008-2010. Among the material I looked at in 1996 was an assessment of 800 pieces of CC research done in the previous two years, which gave me a glimpse into the great complexity and very limited knowledge of global warming.

      Over the years, the more I learned, the more sceptical I became, I don’t believe at this stage that the massive economic costs incurred by proposed anti-AGW policies can be justified, and that if it is proven to be a serious issue, then dealing with it is better deferred until economic growth and potential technological breakthroughs would make the cost more feasible, if and only if it had been demonstrated that (a) AGW were real; (b) the costs of inaction were enormous; and (c) the costs of action would bring commensurate benefits, e.g. would stop or long defer dangerous warming.

      The more I’ve learned of the AGW community and their woeful standards of data collection and archiving and statistical work, and the more I’ve learned of the actual patterns of warming/stable/coolling temperatures and of alternative explanations for such movements, the more sceptical I’ve become that points (a) – (c) above will ever be satisfactorily demonstrated.

      I think that makes me a rational human being rather than a “denier.”

  76. @Fred Molten,

    I doubt if there is anyway you, or any other single individual, can adequately address the issues of the economic costs and benefits of CO2 reduction short of devoting the rest of your life to the project.

    Fortunately, there have been several studies worldwide to show carbon emission reduction not to be a futile exercise. The costs of not acting are much greater than the costs of acting. See for example the Garnaut and Stern reports.

    But maybe there are other reports, of which I am unaware, from other governments, which come to the opposite conclusion? IF so, I’d be interested to hear about them.

  77. Alexander Harvey

    Hi All,

    Regarding the claim:

    “Greenhouse Effect = +33.00ºC Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35ºC ”

    or as stated in “CO2 Greenhouse effect calculations”

    “By far the greatest bulk of the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapour, approximately 95%. Of the remaining 5% Greenhouse effect caused by other Greenhouse Gases only ¾ is attributable to CO2, both Man-­‐made and Naturally occurring [8].”

    Reference 8 takes us to:

    which states:

    “Water vapor constitutes Earth’s most significant greenhouse gas, accounting for about 95% of Earth’s greenhouse effect (5). ”

    That reference 5 takes us to:

    “5) References to 95% contribution of water vapor:

    a. S.M. Freidenreich and V. Ramaswamy, “Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264”

    Which in turn has its abstract here:

    Title: “Solar Radiation Absorption by CO2, Overlap With H2O, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models”

    Note “Solar Radiation”, the paper deals with absorption of inbound SW radation NOT outbound LW radiation.

    The Abstract commences:

    “Line-by-line (LBL) solar radiative transfer solutions are obtained for CO2-only, H2O-only, and CO2 + H2O atmospheres, and the contributions by the major CO2 and H2O absorption bands to the heating rates in the stratosphere and troposphere are analyzed.”

    This deals with absorption of solar radiation by H2O and CO2. This is quiet a different thing from the Greenshouse Effect as understood to be a LW absorption effect.

    I dare say that if a direct link to the Freidenreich / Ramaswamy paper had been given with its title this might have been a lot more readily apparent and certainly a lot easier to track down.

    As I see it the 95% claim as stated is not supported.

    I troubled to check this as I thought it to be highly unlikely.

    If someone can find a published reference to support this 95% claim for the H2O contribution to the Greenhouse Effect, I may go on to the next claim:

    “Of the remaining 5% Greenhouse effect caused by other Greenhouse Gases only ¾ is attributable to CO2, both Man-­‐made and Naturally occurring ”

    Which I suspect has its own problems.


    • Since the Freidenreich and Ramaswamy paper is behind a paywall, there’s no way to check this one way or the other, but it seems like a very odd paper if it did deal exclusively with incoming radiation. That’s not a significant source of heating in the atmosphere, and thus not an interesting question. I’d bet that it was a poorly worded title, and not a paper on incoming radiation.

      • I’ve read the paper, ChE, and it does deal with incoming solar radiation rather than outgoing longwave radiation, which is the main component of the greenhouse effect. Contrary to your impression, incoming radiation contributes significantly to atmospheric heating , but less on a proportional basis than outgoing radiation.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Hi Fred,

        I am pleased that you have read this paper. I can only find one paper citing it and that too relates to a similar claim made by Jasper Kirkby (CLOUD) at CERN.

        Here (on page 5):

        I know not the status of arxiv material, but the Kirkby paper does not seem to have been published in the traditional sense.

        On the general topic, I am puzzled as to why anyone feels the need to state a novel, and poorly supported, method of calculation. Given that the UK makes up ~0.1% of world population, albeit one that consumes a greater then average propotion of world energy, I would have thought it to be blindingly obvious that its scope for a direct impact on future temperature rises will be necessary small.

        Yet the need is felt for novel numbers and contestable calculations.

        The merit of the UK position seems to be that of a proof of principle. Answering a question about what progress can and cannot be made given the will to try. Also it is significant precisely because it is a unilateral approach to a post-carbon economy.

        I feel that there may be a hositlilty based on the prospect that it might succeed, and that many may see even the notion that such an experiment should be attempted, as posing a threat. Which is bizarre if it comes from people who believe that such a project is doomed to failure.

        There is an interesting question.

        If not the UK, where else should such an attempt be made?

        I doubt that it is coincidental that this more than somewhat unique stance has occurred in the UK. Cultural, historical, moral and practical imperatives all may be playing a part. Some measure of success is almost guaranteed, for instance that Scotland shall become a post-carbon country, in terms of consumption, is low hanging fruit. And a state of affairs needing to be achieved by the date that its fossil fuel reserves finally deplete. This possibilities for Wales and Northern Ireland are improved by their small populations and geography. There can be no doubt that England is the country that faces the greater challenge. Perhaps old rivalries will play a part, there is pride at stake, considerations of future nationhood, and glorious opportunities for being smug and superior.

        I detect fear that the UK stance could become a model for unilateral mitigation, and that this is perceived as posing some sort of existential threat. Also the hostile reaction, that the best way to avoid missing a boat is to torpedo it.

        There is a lot of banter on How and Should but little on Why the UK. What is it about that post-imperial, post-industrial nation that seeks to be post-carbon? I suspect that the answers are complex and felt more than thought about. I doubt it is the science, or the economics, I suspect that the origins of the feeling may be ancient and that it is in that part their sense of history and what it may mean to be a citizen of the world. Perhaps it is just their burden of destiny, or simply a last hurrah. I do suspect that to do otherwise, to not make the attempt, would be in some sense a betrayal of something essential.

        I think more attention could be paid to the Why. Not the rationale, but the cultural makeup that permits one nation to act so differently to another.


      • “Given that the UK makes up ~0.1% of world population”

        I live in Finland and that would be correct for Finland, but UK population is close to 1% of the world population.

      • Alexander Harvey


        Mea Culpa!


      • Latimer Alder

        ‘What is it about that post-imperial, post-industrial nation that seeks to be post-carbon?’

        Absolutely nothing at all. It is electorally unpopular, costly and stoutly resisted by half of the Cabinet. It is one of those issues where politicians think they will gain kudos with the populace but who do not understand the issues.

        In the case of our Prime Minister, he made some unfortunate greenist remarks prior to Climategate/Copenhagen and hasn’t yet got the confidence to back away completely.

        But rest assured, any steps UK takes down the decarbonisation road will be very tentative and (IMO) the whole daft idea will be quietly dropped before the review in 2013.

        LA UK

      • Latimer Alder


        I just saw that Russia, Japan, France and Canada have made it clear that they will not take part in any further Kyoto style reductions. And the US never joined anyway.

        UK is increasingly out on a limb and will find this position unsustainable, even if some nutters still think it is desirable.

      • Stay tuned for my post tomorrow, addresses the status of UN negotiations from U.S perspective.

      • I think that France was not part of that news. You may have picked it from the fact that the G8 meeting took place in France.

      • Alexander Harvey

        It may be dropped, but it might be difficult to do so quietly.

        It is a matter of not policy but of statute. I cannot see how it can be dropped without fresh legislation.

        There is a statutory duty and I cannot see that being changed without a lot of fuss being made and a lot of fun being had.

        The Act is a can of worms and I suspect deliberately so. Politicians may seek to subvert it but I do wonder if they be brave enough to debate its repeal in Parliament. Without repeal the poor ministers responsible will have to keep coming back to Parliament to excuse their failure of duty. I think that they would be riddiculed without remorse. The opportunity for calling for a resignation is unlikely to be resisted. It would be interesting to watch a Prime Minster defend someone who had failed in their duty. The government of the day as a whole would risk being characterised as failing in its duty. I think this would be a nightmare.

        So I suspect that someone would have to propose that the Act be repealed. Can you not hear the cries of “Canute!”.

        “Does the right honourable member also propose to repeal the laws of nature, and perhaps turn back the tide?”

        It would be an Oppositions wet dream.

        As far as I have read there are no simple get outs. It is a unilateral act imposing a duty and the government will not be able to blame the usual suspects for letting the side down. Europe as a whole, the French in particular.

        Also its repeal would might expose the real issue, that except for the Act, the UK government lacks a coherent energy policy, and without the Act there is no sound long term basis for private investment in the UK energy sector.

        Past dithering also seems to have run the UK government dangerously near to the wire on the prickly subject of the lights going out unless fresh souces of power generation and distribution are put into the pipeline in the very near term.

        So they may well try to escape the consequences of the Act and I do expect some wriggling, but I truly doubt that it could be done quietly. I think it would simply to rich a vein of political capital for any Opposition party to pass on.


      • Fred Moolten

        You wrote:

        incoming radiation contributes significantly to atmospheric heating , but less on a proportional basis than outgoing radiation

        This appears to be the case, at least according to the K+T energy balance diagram cited by IPCC.

        But the more important statement is:

        incoming radiation minus the amount reflected by clouds and the surface, is essentially balanced out by net outgoing radiation

        Spencer + Braswell have shown that over the tropics on a shorter-term basis, the net overall feedback from clouds with warming is negative; this is largely due to an increase in reflection of incoming radiation by increased clouds with a smaller effect from the reduction of energy trapping high altitude clouds, which slow down outgoing radiation by absorbing and re-radiating energy.

        Palle et al have shown on a longer-term basis, that decreased reflection from clouds over the period 1985 to 2000 led to increased solar radiation entering our system and net warming, while an increase of clouds after 2000 has led to higher albedo and reflection of incoming radiation and hence to cooling.

        Both of these studies demonstrate that the overall net effect of clouds is complicated but that changes in the the reflection of incoming energy may play a more important role than changes in outgoing radiation caused by the greenhouse effect.


      • Alexander Harvey


        “That’s not a significant source of heating in the atmosphere, and thus not an interesting question. ”

        I am not sure why you should think this. My understanding is that of the incoming solar flux absorbed by the Earth System (which is ~70% of the TSI) about one third is absorbed in the atmosphere (mostly by water vapour) and two thirds by the surface. In terms of magnitude of atmospheric heating effect, aborbed solar seems to rank a close second behind latent heating, in terms of net heating. Or a close third behind latent heating in terms of gross heating. Considered either way it is a major player in atmospheric heating rates.

        You may bet as you please, but I am not sure I should like the odds that the authors incorrectly titled the paper and failed to mention the import of their paper in its abstract.


    • Attributing the greenhouse effect to various gases was discussed in a resent paperSchmidt, G. A., R. A. Ruedy, R. L. Miller, and A. A. Lacis (2010), Attribution of the present-day total greenhouse effect, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D20106, doi:10.1029/2010JD014287.

      Due to the overlapping effects the answer is not unique, but their abstract states:

      With a straightforward scheme for allocating overlaps, we find that water vapor is the dominant contributor (∼50% of the effect), followed by clouds (∼25%) and then CO2 with ∼20%. All other absorbers play only minor roles.

      Others may prefer somewhat different attributions, but this tells the order of magnitudes.

  78. @ Fred,
    PS Didn’t mean to challenge you to produce a credible report which may come to the opposite conclusion to the UK’s Stern report.
    I don’t usually talk to deniers but I would think that may be a challenge to them!

    • Ahh, the state subsidized “open minded” Stern Report is touted by someone who won’t even talk to a person who thinks other inputs into climate exist other than Co2.

      If it quacks like a cult …

    • So you cherry pick the people you talk to too? It’s probably a good strategy for you.

  79. “other inputs into climate exist other than Co2.” ?

    Yes of course. Methane and other GH gases, solar variability, particulates,….

    All dealt with in various IPCC reports. Am I breaking my own rule of talking to a denier here?

    • Latimer Alder

      Doubt it. No ‘deniers’ here.

      But few ‘True Believers’ either. And amost none who believe in the unlikely circumstance that having ‘been dealt with in AR4’ is the final and last word on a topic Forever and Ever Amen.

  80. They didn’t mention changes in bright sunshine recorded at weather stations around the world.

    Up 10% in Japan. Up in the UK. Up in the Greater Alpine Region. In fact, according to severals papers by Martin Wild, sunshine hours fluctuated up and down int he 20th century in surprising synchronicity with temprature … or most like, temperature was in synch with sunshine.

  81. Well Judith Curry is the climate scientist. The reason for Climate Etc is , supposedly, so she can engage with you guys.

    I’ve criticised her for neglecting to do this on nearly all the threads. All she’s done is create another talking shop for deniers to promote wacky theories and who wish to gain some specious scientific approval for them.

    But let’s see if she can do any better on this one.

    What do you think Judith?

    • “All she’s done is create another talking shop for deniers…”

      Translation: Censor them all!!!!! Aaarrggghhh! I hate skepticism. This a cult, not a science. Evict the heretics!

  82. tonto52

    If I have propounded a ‘wacky theory it should be very easy to disprove it.

    If you are so sure of the scientific case and all those who question it are deniers, you must have evidence to back up your position. Can you specifically provide some actual figures- without pointing to say the Entire Ar4- that will answer my question about temperature reduction? Thanks


  83. tonto52

    Back in the thread you spoke glowingly of the Stern report. Perhaps you havent read David Hollands reconstruction of it?

    It was evident from the research I needed to do that Stern produced perhaps the first example of a post modern economic report which is perhaps appropriate for a post modern science.

    BrianH provided the following link. Perhaps after reading it (but after providing me with your estimates of temperature reduction) you would like to make comment on the study?


  84. tonto52

    Sorry, link didn’t come out-here is the comment again from BrianH

    “Reaching waaayy back, there is a cost benefit analysis, by a warmer than lukewarmista, no less: Nordhaus.

    Summary: even assuming AGW and its costs and mitigation’s benefits, mitigation is a major loser.”


  85. Well maybe Judith Curry would like to answer your question on the Stern report too. Tell me, TonyB, has she ever any answered any of your questions in any “engaging” or meaningful way? Her comments, whenever they do appear, are bland and non-committal.
    Yet, she’s claimed the true purpose of Climate etc is to “build a bridge” between the climate science community and climate change deniers like yourself. Do you envisage making that trip any time soon?

    • Latimer Alder

      I think you are used to blogs where The Great One gives their opinion and devoted acolytes queue up to say how much they agree with TGO and how anyone who disagrees must be cast into The Fiery Flames.

      This isn’t like that. It seems you need there to be a Great Leader whose words you can follow (saves original thought) and Judith is not attempting to do that here. You are obviously having great difficulty in reconciling this idea with your preconceptions.

      Judith is not obliged to act in a way that suits you…only to suit herself. That she attracts a good readership and a lively commnetary suggests that she is doing soemthign right. If you feel that there shoudl be another blog run in a different way, you are perfectly at liberty to start one and try to attract some readers. Judging on your comments here, I fear you would be rather disappointed if you did.

      Get over it.

    • Tonto52

      Instead of answering a question with a question why don’t you supply your own calculations to the question I posed-or provide a link to someone whose figures you trust. Thank you.


  86. I linked to two papers in a reply to tonto52, I’m flagging one here as it may important and anyone who tuned out of the tonto et al debate might have missed it.

    IN his abstract, Tim Curtin notes that “… In particular none of the leading texts such as the IPCC‟s Solomon et al. (2007), Stern (2006) and Garnaut (2008, 2011) performs or reports any econometric analysis of their core hypothesis. This chapter seeks to begin filling that gap, and finds that the core hypothesis is falsified at a wide variety of locations with lengthy time series data on various climatic variables, including atmospheric water vapour (i.e. [H2O]), opacity of the sky (OPQ), and solar radiation (SR) received at the earth‟s surface (as opposed to the top of the atmosphere). Multi-variate econometric analysis shows that at none of these locations is the role of [CO2] statistically significant, and even that it is can be negatively correlated with changes in temperature, whereas these other variables play highly significant roles. If the core hypothesis of climate science cannot be confirmed at any specific location, then by Popper‟s Black Swan paradigm, it cannot be confirmed for the globe, as that is the average of the local.”

    Tim is a highly experienced economist, with an LSE masters and now at the Australian National University.

  87. @ Latimer Adler,
    I suggest you take Judith Curry at her word when she says “Taking the politics out of the science would help clarify both the scientific disagreements and the political disagreements. Neither the scientific or political disagreements are going to go away. But by separating them we stand to make much more progress on each. Am I being naive and optimistic about how this might work?”

    She’s been running this blog now for at least a couple of years. How much “progress” has she made ? I’d suggest none at all. Not because she was initially being naive and over optimistic, but because she makes little or no attempt to help separate the science from the politics. I would suggest that you examine this particular posting from TonyB as a case in point.

    • “She’s been running this blog now for at least a couple of years. ”

      She started this particular blog in September 2010 but I agree that not much progress seems to have been made. The comments here vary only slightly from WUWT and in fact the author of the post at the top of this thread actually solicited posters from WUWT to come here.


        For balance, did he ask them same at sites with a different bias?

      • Lousie

        Forgive me, but I fail to understand your point. I have continually asked here for posters to supply factual information to get to the bottom of the question I asked. There was an open thread on WUWT and someone posted some calculations there that seemed to be of relevance here. This seemed to be a good intro, especially as someone else then turned up-a warmist but whose opinion I respect-and I asked them for their comments.

        In due course, once I have sorted out those who have made a calculation-as opposed to those who appear capable of making the calculation but steadfastly refuse to-I will then approach others with whom I have had email correspndance in the past.

        That includes our excellent host, plus Scott Mandia, Trenberth Mueller and Slingo..

        Why won’t various people here make the calculation or provide a link to someone they respect who has? Don’t they like the answer? I truly don’t know, but my suspicions are growing. What about you Louise, have you got a practical contribution to make which I can include in version two of any article? Thank you.


      • My point was that you asked for reinforcements from a noted skeptic site yet I don’t see where you did this on a warmist site.

        My point was that this site has lost any balance it once claimed to have.

        My point was in reply to tonto52’s post

        I hope that is clear enough?

      • Latimer Alder


        ‘My point was that this site has lost any balance it once claimed to have.’

        You seem to have drawn a very big concluiosn from misunderstanding one very small piece of ‘evidence’.

        Congratulations! I see a very successful career ahead of you as a climatologist. But get in quick before the gravy train shudders to a halt. You’ve only about five years left.

      • Louise, you have a career ahead of you inventing conspiracy theories for right wing newspapers. :)

        There appear to be few people here common to both sites-you seem to be one of them so what an I to make of that?

        I have asked you nicely to provide your own calculations or to post a link to someone who has. Surely an aggressive carbon mitgation policy must have vast numbers of studies to back up the claim for urgent and tough action? Please provide me with some.

        If you can’t what am I to conclude-that they haven’t been done? That they didn’t like the answers? That they don’t know because there are so many variables?

        You tell me

      • sorry above was duplicate, this is ‘again’

    • Latimer Alder


      I am struggling to find your point. Unless you have appointed yourself to provide JC’s annual appraisal?

      Her success is judged by the volume and depth of the debate. And for that I think she has done extremely well. If you don’t agree, you are quite at liberty to find somewhere else to post..or start your own blog.

      Or you could contribute something of relevance to the debates here, rather than just vacuously sniping at our hostess.

    • On the contrary I think a lot of progress has been made, primarily because there are very technical posts and very political/policy posts. For example, if you compare the first 50 comments on the scientific “zero feedback sensitivity” post to the first 50 on this policy post you will see a huge difference. By and large the discussions are quite good. There is a lot of technical competence here.

      It is true that as the number of comments on any given topic increases the discussion diffuses, often wandering away from the original topic, but the focussed purpose has been served. This diffusion happens because the issues form a seamless network, and indeed science and policy are inextricable linked. (The diffusion would make an interesting study on its own.) But within that network there are many clearly distinct issues of science and of policy, several thousand at least.

      In fact the 70,000+ comments to date would make an excellent resource for a systematic issue analysis. What they demonstrate quite clearly is the incredible complexity of the debate. This complexity is not surprising, given that many thousands, if not millions, of people are discussing and questioning two topics as complex as climate science and climate policy. Both are bottomless.

      The climate debate is an historic event. Many billions of dollars have been spent and many millions of words have been written. This blog does a good job of sorting out the issues.

    • No progress for AGW project. Much progress for science.

    • tonto, tonyb’s post was tagged as “policy” not science

  88. TonyB

    In response to your request, here is another specific suggestion for slowing down global warming.

    Further up the thread a poster named Hum made an excellent suggestion

    The easy answer is 1/2 of the developed world believes in CAGW and 1/2 are skeptical. Therefore, those who are warmist should show us the way and reduce their CO2 output to 0 except of course for their breath. If 1/2 of the develped worlds CO2 output was eliminated that would definitely show us what the benefit was. The world would then understand if it was worth it or not. The believers could live life happy knowing they did what was right for Gaia and their fellow man.

    This voluntary CO2 reduction plan would get you and others in the UK, who are rationally skeptical of the premise that AGW represents a serious potential threat, off the hook, while allowing Royal Society president, Sir Paul Nurse, UK environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, and other supporters of the “dangerous AGW” premise to “do their thing to save the planet”.

    Let’s assume that rolling out this voluntary reduction plan world-wide would get at least 25% of the global population on board. A high percentage of these would be residents of high energy consuming developed nations, so the %-age of global CO2 emissions should be even higher. Some, like Al Gore, are mega-consumers today, so their sacrifice would bring about major CO2 reduction. A few of the posters here would certainly be volunteers to “do the right thing for our planet”. Populous nations like China/India would most likely have a very low %-age of volunteers, but the average per capita CO2 emission there is still quite low.

    Let’s say we could get a reduction of today’s 30 GtCO2/year down to 20 Gt/year CO2 by year 2030 with this voluntary plan. This would be a major step, since it would get us back to the global level of year 1985, when global population was only 4.8 billion.

    Assuming the descendants of “volunteers” would continue the good work, we would have a cumulative reduction of human CO2 by year 2100 of 700 GtCO2.

    Half of the emitted CO2 “remains” in the atmosphere so this would be a reduction of global CO2 of 350 GtCO2.

    Over the mass of the atmosphere of 5,140,000 Gt this equals 68 ppm(mass) or 45 ppmv.

    IPCC AR4 WG1 “Scenario B1” projects that we will reach 580 ppmv CO2 by 2100 (without this voluntary reduction plan).

    IPCC AR4 WG1 reports a model-based average 2xCO2 climate sensitivity with all feedbacks of 3.2C.

    So, using the IPCC assumptions we have for scenario B1:
    390 ppmv C1 (2011)
    580 ppmv C2 (2100)
    C2/C1 = 1.487
    ln(C2/C1) = 0.3969
    ln2 = 0.6931
    dT (2011-2100) = 3.2 * 0.3969 / 0.6931 = 1.83C

    With the voluntary reduction plan, we would have:
    390 ppmv C1 (2011)
    580 – 45 = 535 ppmv C2 (2100)
    C2/C1 = 1.372
    ln(C2/C1) = 0.3165
    ln2 = 0.6931
    dT (2011-2100) = 3.2 * 0.3165 / 0.6931 = 1.46C

    So the overall reduction of global warming we would see by year 2100 from this major voluntary reduction plan would be:

    1.83 – 1.46 = 0.37C

    My wife (who always wants to know everything better than me, despite the fact that she has no technical or scientific training at all) has proposed an even simpler solution: simply move all the thermometers inside urban areas or near airport runways out to the countryside – this should result in about the same reduction of global warming. But you can see how unscientific (and therefore, unworthy) this proposal is.


  89. Max: Brilliant as always!
    Faustino: Many thanks for the ads. There is one error in your account (and a minor Typo), where I refer to TOA when I meant TSI (Total Solar Irradiance, which is indeed 24/7). In the main text I think I have that right.

    Who are you? Do drop me a line – tcurtin at – confidentiality assured.

  90. TonyB

    Getting serious, you pointed out in your article the major political obstacles, which an all-out expansion of nuclear power would have in the UK following the Fukushima disaster.

    From my vantage point, I see the same highly charged angst in Germany and (a bit less) in Switzerland, while France seems to be continuing on a nuclear path, based on recent government statements. I have seen no references to the situation in the USA (other than California, which has started a “nuclear-free future” dialog) – maybe some bloggers here can comment on the chances of major nuclear expansion in the US today.

    Unless the situation changes drastically, I would see this avenue as essentially closed to us (with some exceptions, like France).

    This raises your question:

    Should we reintroduce fossil fuels-coal/shale gas etc- back into the energy mix, perhaps as an interim measure for the next thirty years whilst renewables are developed into a viable energy solution?

    My initial reaction to this proposal is that it makes a lot of sense. It may not please those who fear that every ton of human-emitted CO2 puts us closer to climate disaster, but I have seen no convincing arguments to support this fear nor have I seen any workable and actionable alternate from these individuals to avert the postulated global warming problem.

    Improving energy efficiency, reducing waste and real pollution (at all levels) are no-brainers – but they will not get us there alone.

    Hand-wringing will not solve the posited future global warming.

    Nor will the imposition of a direct or indirect carbon tax (no tax ever impacted our planet’s climate and it is foolhardy to think that this one would be any different).

    So it appears to me that we are left with the choice between two “imperfect” solutions: one that faces immense political opposition today and the other that “buys us the time” to develop a “more perfect” solution: i.e. a technically and economically viable alternate energy source, which does not depend on fossil fuels.

    This new non-carbon energy source could be improved solar or geothermal technology, GM biofuels, nuclear fusion, something totally new (or a combination of all these).

    But until we have this (probably more quickly than your 30-year estimate), I would agree to your suggestion of re-introducing fossil fuels into the mix as an interim solution.

    It would be interesting to see how others here see this.


    • Max said

      “So it appears to me that we are left with the choice between two “imperfect” solutions: one that faces immense political opposition today and the other that “buys us the time” to develop a “more perfect” solution: i.e. a technically and economically viable alternate energy source, which does not depend on fossil fuels.”

      The ‘buy more time’ is essentially one option I outline in my article so I must agree with you, although politically that is blasphemous talk. However it does appear the only sensible course of action.

      To your list of power sources (and an article on the current state of fusion would be an interesting topic here) I would add Wave/tidal although adding the caveat that it is horses for courses as that is a solution not too viable for land locked countries.


      • TonyB

        Thanks for your response.

        Living in Switzerland, we’ve got lots of experience of getting power out of rain (and snow) that falls on mountains on its way down to the flatlands, but tidal power is indeed “not too viable” here (as you point out).

        And I agree with Latimer Alder that Fukushima was not a disaster as far as human loss of life or injuries was concerned. But it certainly was a political disaster for the nuclear power industry in many countries of the world. German politicians are now debating whether the total moratorium on nuclear power should be in 10 or 20 years. This despite the fact that Germany does not lie on any seismic fault lines and a tsunami is impossible. It also has no fossil fuel reserves other than coal.

        I cannot speak for the political situation in the UK, which also has no history of earthquakes.

        Nor can I speak for the USA, except that I have heard that there is a movement in California to move out of nuclear power generation there.

        But, unless there is a shift of public opinion back in favor of adding new nuclear power capacity to cover growing power demand, I believe this option is not politically feasible in many industrialized nations at this point.

        So we are back to your “plan B” of “buying more time” by adding new fossil fuel fired power plants when new capacity is required (regardless of what James E. Hansen thinks of this option).


    • Latimer Alder

      What Fukushima disaster?

      How many people were killed or injured? As many as die on the roads of UK in what timescale (hint average fatalities = 9 per day)? The reactors stood up to one of the biggest conceivable earthquakes without disastrous consequences.

      Green activists can no longer frighten us with ‘what happens if there is an earthquake?’. Now we know. Not much.

      And our understanding of earthquakes is such that we can be pretty certain that the UK’s geology does not lend itself to quakes. The San Andreas fault does not run through Sizewell….

  91. manaker writes “It would be interesting to see how others here see this.”

    I agree with you completely.

  92. I have a suspicion that climate science is going to change towards calling for less drastic cuts. The 80% cut will be thrown out and replaced with a smaller 20-30% cut. The reason for this is that because of China and the rest of the world. Their emissions are rising, so an 80% cut is simply inachievable, and makes any reductions by other countries futile. With a 20% cut, it is still possible to place the burden on the countries that can be convinced t cut emissions, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the science be fixed around the policy.

    • Latimer Alder

      20% wouldn’t make much difference. At least so the alarmists would have us believe. So why not none at all?

  93. Louise,

    Yes you’re right. Climate Etc hasn’t been running as long as I perviously stated, so I guess 8 months of no progress is better than 2 years of no progress.

    Of course, climate deniers thinks Judith is doing a great job. She allows them to post the most obvious nonsense without any risk of a correction or rebuke from her. They can then link to their comments and articles, on other denialist websites, and claim credibility due to their association with a suitably well qualified climate scientist.

    So, yes, I did decide to post up comments, almost exact quotes, under the name of Judith Curry, to demonstrate what she ought to be doing, and I’m sure she thinks I’m reprehensible for doing that. Just consider it a protest at what you are allowing to go unchallenged on this blog, Judith !

    If I’m reprehensible you really are a disgrace!

    • tonto52

      C’mon, Tonto, get a life…


    • Ms. tonto,

      The sort of model you’re recommending for this blog has been tried and is a proven failure–just check out that control-freak greenfyre’s loser blog, if you don’t believe me.

      “Deniers” may be able to post “their obvious nonsense without fear of corrections or rebuke” from Dr. Curry (actually, she does challenge comments from time to time) , but you, ol’ side-kick , are certainly free to provide those corrections and rebukes. But then, perversely, you don’t “usually talk to deniers”–apparently, even to point out their “obvious nonsense. ” You’re a joke, my fine feathered tag-along friend.

      You know, tonto, between that goof-ball trick of yours where you used Dr. Curry’s name on some posts and the tediousness of your nagging comments, you’ve pretty much made an obnoxious pest of yourself. You couldn’t be that zit-hole creep, greenfyre, by chance? If not, you might want to check out his blog, ‘cuz he’s your kind of guy.

      JC moderation note: this is over the top, pls read blog rules ifyou are unfamiliar with them.

      • So, tonto, you still want to maintain that Dr. Curry does not “correct and rebuke” comments by “deniers?”

      • mike –
        If you want to be insulting just call tonto by his/her chosen name. It’s a Native American word that translates as stupid.

        Kemo sabe is even more insulting but the translation would be over the top for this blog.

        Bottom line – if one wants an anonymous name (trailname in the places that I play) they should REALLY know what they’re calling themselves. Cool sounding words are not always so cool.

      • Hollywood has always been full of progressives, with the dismissive view of minorities that is common to that tribe. But it is a bit of a stretch to try to accuse the directors and actors of that old series of being racists.

        Here is a looooong list of possible definitions for the term kemo sabe:

        The name apparently came from a camp the director’s uncle owned.

        And tonto means stupid in Spanish; but I’m not sure why anyone thinks either character was Spanish or hispanic though, or would use a Spanish nickname. The show was produced, written and directed (both on radio and later TV) by white folk who wanted to sound authentic. My bet is someone thought it spounded like an Indian name.

        Tonto was in fact one of the few sober, often heroic Indian characters of the day. This was television after all. I know it became fashionable after the fact to claim that Tonto was an “Indian Uncle Tom,” but I have never been attracted much to fashionable thought. For the time, and given how progressive racists treated most minority characters in Hollywood then (like how progressives treat minority voters today, as useful props), Tonto was a rare exception. (Next people will say Bruce Lee was an “Uncle Chin” for portraying Kato on the Green Hornet.)

        Let’s save our cultural disdain for the many, many, many other examples that truly deserve it.

        And now we return to our regularly scheduled climate programming.

      • Gary –
        Go talk to the Navajo. I talked to a retired Navajo school teacher.

        Keep in mind that some of the Navajo words also come from Spanish roots.

        Also keep in mind that the same word can have different meanings to different people. Anasazi, for example, means one thing to the Hopi and something entirely different to the Navajo.

      • Jim,

        That was the whole point of my comment, “the same word can have different meanings to different people.” The cite I posted included numerous definitions, only one of them derogatory, a number consistent with the character as he was portrayed. Given the tenor of the whole production, I just don’t see the point is picking the worst definition and using it as an implicit accusation of racism.

        The guy who directed the series originally apparently named it after a camp in Wisconsin. He wasn’t Navajo, he was lily white. So, I don’t know what the Navajo think of the name, never asked one, nor have I asked a Chreokee, an Ottowan or a Potowatami. Nor does it seem terribly relevant to me what a particular translation is in determining what the guy who coined the name meant by it.

        On television, Jay Silverheels played Tonto as cool as can be, a tough character, one most kids respected. Lots of lily white kids in Chicago played Tonto while shooting each other with cap pistols, because they respected him. Silverheels was no Uncle Tom, nor was the character he portrayed. So I will give the producers, directors, writers and cast the benefit of the doubt.

      • Jimmy . . .

        Your scientific ignorance aside, your posts all full of childish insults (“Didn’t your Mommy teach you . . . etc.) Given your own inability to control yourself and stick to the topic, do you really think you’re in a position to judge others?

      • “Hollywood has always been full of progressives, with the dismissive view of minorities that is common to that tribe. ”


        This is the “hidden history” of climate change denial: right-wingers who were practiced in the art of lying outrageously and continually (see above) imported the Bushian approach to facts (“we make our own reality”) to a scientific discussion.

        Among scientists, this goes over like a lead balloon, but practiced self-deluders, raised on Faux News, eat it up.

      • “After the war, the Democratic Party held a lock on the South for more than 100 years. All of the “Jim Crow” laws that prevented blacks from voting and kept them down were enacted by Democratic governors and Democratic legislatures. The Ku Klux Klan was virtually an auxiliary arm of the Democratic Party, and any black (or white) who threatened the party’s domination was liable to be beaten or lynched. Democrats enacted the first gun-control laws in order to prevent blacks from defending themselves against Ku Klux Klan violence. Chain gangs were developed by Democrats to bring back de facto slave labor.

        President Woodrow Wilson, the second Democrat to serve since the Civil War, reintroduced segregation throughout the federal government immediately upon taking office in 1913. Avowed racists such as Josephus Daniels and Albert Burleson were named Cabinet secretaries. Black leaders like W.E.B. DuBois, who had strongly supported Wilson, were bitterly disappointed, but shouldn’t have been surprised. As president of Princeton University, Wilson refused to admit blacks and as governor of New Jersey ignored blacks’ requests for state jobs, even though their votes had provided his margin of victory.

        When Franklin D. Roosevelt had his first opportunity to name a member of the Supreme Court, he appointed a life member of the Ku Klux Klan, Sen. Hugo Black, Democrat of Alabama. In 1944, FDR chose as his vice president Harry Truman, who had joined the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas City in 1922. Throughout his presidency, Roosevelt resisted Republican efforts to pass a federal law against lynching, and he opposed integration of the armed forces.

        Another Ku Klux Klan member, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, personally filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 14 straight hours to keep it from passage. He is still a member of the U.S. Senate today. As recently as the 1980s, Sen. Ernest Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, publicly referred to blacks as “darkies” and Hispanics as “wetbacks” without suffering any punishment from his party.

        In short, the historical record clearly shows that Democrats, not Republicans, have been the party of racism in this country.”

      • Well, sunny, your unsourced, historically inaccurate right-wing screed is enough for me. [rolleyes]

      • Robert –
        Sunshine has got a really good grip on reality there. As I said – you’re ignorant – of history as well as science. Keep talking and we’ll find out what else you’re ignorant about.

        BTW – you’re not capable of “hurting my feelings.”

      • “A century of right-wing bigotry and hate…”

        Sounds like somebody learned his history in public school. That’s OK, I like posting the true history of organized racism in the U.S. every once in a while.

        The Republican Party was formed for the express purpose of fighting slavery.

        The Democrat Party fought against abolition; fought reconstruction; enacted poll taxes and reading tests to prevent Blacks from voting.

        The Ku Klux Klan was formed as a terrorist organization by the Democrats to fight reconstruction. Democrats Orville Faubus, Bull Connor, George Wallace Robert Byrd fought desegregation with fires hoses, dogs, and worse. And contrary to urban legend, almost every major racist of the Democrat Party remained racist their entire lives.

        Dwight Eisenhower first attempted to pass civil rights acts and voting rights protections for Blacks, and was stopped by the Democrats. When the Democrat president Lyndon Johnson finally decided to give in and pass the acts (so the Dems could take credit) Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Acts. That filibuster was overridden with Republican votes.

        Republican members of Congress voted in a higher percentage for the Civil Rights Acts than did Democrats. The myth of the movement of racists from the Democrat Party to the Republican was started when a progressive campaigner for the progressive Richard Nixon (wage and price controls, creation of the EPA) claimed he used a “Southern Strategy” to get Nixon elected.

        The Democrat Party has run public education in almost every major city in the US for decades, and progressives have run the educational colleges and history departments of universities for just as long. Not surprisingly, the actual history of institutional racism is not taught in many schools in the U.S., at any level

        If you think the progressive propaganda machine has been busy on climate change, it is nothing compared to their attempts to rewrite American history to erase their own history of institutional racism.

      • “Sounds like somebody learned his history in public school.”

        The conspiracy theorist at work; if we don’t share his delusion, there must be a vast conspiracy by government history teachers to hide the truth!

        The operative word here is “learned.” I learned history. You absorbed propaganda. It’s sad.

      • The Republican Party was formed explicitly to fight slavery.

        The Republican Party under Eisenhower first proposed civil rights legislation to congress.

        The Democrat Party was in the majority and first blocked, then watered down that legislation to the point it was largely ineffective.

        Democrats filibustered the civil rights acts that were ultimately passed in the 60s.

        The Republican Party voted in a higher percentage for the civil rights acts that were finally passed in the 60s than did the Democrats.

        The most prominent racists who fought the civil rights movement (just like they fought reconstruction) were all lifelong Democrats: Bull Connor, Orville Faubus, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Richard Russell (leader of the civil rights filibusters).

        Oh,and that famous racist “Southern Strategy?” In 1968 George Wallace won in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Humphrey won in Texas.,_1968

        And in 1972 Nixon won in every state but Massachusetts (and D.C.). Nixon won in 49 states not because of racism, but because McGovern was a disaster.,_1972

    • John Carpenter


      Perhaps you would do better over at Climate Progress… what’s left of it. You can look forward to a big makeover too! Joe Romm could use a few ‘side kick’, cheerleader comments as well since his traffic seems to be… well just take a look at the number of comments he illicits from his blog…. I guess it’s that darned communication problem that keeps cropping up. Bye now.

      • “OMG,” Rob, at least I write posts with actual words.

        Don’t like it? Don’t read it.

  94. Latimer Alder

    I’m sure that if Judith ever feels she needs advice on how to host this blog, she’ll know who to ask.

    Suggest that you don’t hold your breath waiting for her call.

  95. tonto52 and Louise


  96. CO2 mitigation on Europe leads to more CO2.

    “For example, the commitment made by China to reduce its CO2 emissions intensity by 40% compared with business as usual effectively allows it to increase emissions by 75% to 90% by 2020. This is an increase of five billion to six billion tonnes of CO2 in just 10 years, an increase that alone will be more than today’s total European CO2 emissions.

    Experts predict global annual steel production will grow from 1.3 billion tonnes in 2010 to 2.3 billion tonnes in 2020. This growth will be generated outside Europe, mostly in emerging economies, with an increase in CO2 emissions in the range of 2.5 billion tonnes in the global steel sector.”

  97. In response to Pekka Pirilä who said on
    May 29, 2011 at 11:54 am
    “Attributing the greenhouse effect to various gases was discussed in a recent paper Schmidt, G. A., R. A. Ruedy, R. L. Miller, and A. A. Lacis (2010), Attribution of the present-day total greenhouse effect, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D20106, doi:10.1029/2010JD014287.”

    However Schmidt & co are as always totally muddled in treating water vapor as only a feedback from rising temperature rather than as the prime mover (which they briefly admit in their Abstract), which both Tyndall and Arrhenius knew well. The feedback effect is non-existent as the annual average rise in temperature of 0.007 oC p.a. since 1900 can have done little or nothing to increase evaporation, as compared with the huge variations in sunshine at the evaporative surface of the oceans due to changing cloud cover. The authors of that paper need to undergo remedial courses in basic scientific understanding and statistics.

    • The results given in the paper have nothing to do with your comment. They specifically look at the radiative forcings of H2O, CO2 and other gases. For these numbers they consider H2O on same footing.

      The feedback effect is mentioned only in a comment on the expected change in the atmospheric constitution assuming that the CO2 concentration is increased, but the numbers are given for the present atmosphere, not for the hypothetical modified one.

      It was easy to guess that someone will attack the paper based on the name of the first author, but who is going to point out actual errors in the paper.

  98. In response to Robert on May 29, 2011 at 11:16 am who said “We don’t need central planning, Latimer. Charge a carbon tax that reflects the negative externalities of emissions accurately, and the free market will do the hard work for you”.

    Dear Robert: what are those negative externalities?
    Here is a typical formula for combustion of what you no doubt call a fossil fuel but which non-climate scientists refer to as hydrocarbons.
    2C8H18 +25O2 → Energy + 16CO2 +18H2O …(1)
    In addition to the energy (is that a negative internality?), the combustion yields both CO2 and H2O, and neither of these is a negative externality, as both are necessary preconditions for all life on this planet.
    That is because the formula for all plant life, which is the basis for all animal life, is
    2CO2 + 2 H2O + photons → 2CH2O + 2O2 …(2)
    Or, in words, carbon dioxide + water + light energy → carbohydrate (=food) + oxygen.
    But then like Greenpeace perhaps you consider all life forms to be negative externalities that should be got rid of by eliminating CO2 and H2O and thereby CH2O.

    Wind solar and nuclear energy do not have positive externalities, which is perhaps why Greenpeace loves them.

    BTW, why is there no mention of those formulae in the 996 pages of AR4 WG1 2007? Is it because they clearly are not very convenient?

  99. Mike,

    Feel free to call me any names you like. It doesn’t bother me – I’d rather Judith Curry didn’t have to waste her efforts editing those out.

    I’d much rather she spent her time on this sort of thing which appeared in the original article. “Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086 degC ”

    Judith knows it is just plain wrong. So why not say so?

    Atmospheric Co2 has increased from around 280 ppmv in pre-industrial times to around 390ppmv now. That’s an increase of 39% due to human emissions.

    Surely, even the hardest denier can’t disagree with that? Even you Tony B?
    Yes or No ?

  100. Louise,

    Just realised that Manacker or Max took my “If I’m reprehensible you really are a disgrace!” comment as being directed at yourself. I agree that I should have made it clearer that this remark was directed at Judith for allowing climate deniers to to have carte blanche on a blog bearing her name.
    Sorry if you read it that way too.

    • Latimer Alder

      You really really cannot get used to the idea that a forum for debate can cover a variety of viewpoints, can you?

      And that it is possible for a sceptic like me to discuss things with avowed alarmists without me getting a nasty green rash all over. Or vice versa.

      There are plenty of other blogs where you can speak unto the Chosen Few without risk of moral pollution. Please utilise their facilities. They need a bit of propping up nowadays as the pool of believers diminishes. And the winds of change turn to blow against them

  101. tonto52
    Good morning-hope you are well.

    Answering of continually answering my question with a question why don’t you merely back up your assertions by pointing me to some studies that could tell all of us on this forum what temperature reduction could be expected by the aggressive mitigation measures proposed. Thank you


  102. TonyB,
    Again that is another question that Judith Curry might like to answer if she really is serious about engaging deniers in climate science discussions.
    But, as I’m an obliging sort of a person I’ll help her out and if I do get anything wrong then maybe she’d like to tell me. Let’s see if we can agree on where we are now and take a look at a couple of likely scenarios for the future.

    I’m not a climate scientist, but as I understand the situation, the level of CO2 has risen by the above mentioned 39% due to human activities. Also risen have other warming gases like methane. On the converse, side particulates (smoke) have also risen and have to some extent offset the warming effect from greenhouse gases. Temperatures have risen by around 0.8 deg C since the start of the 20th century.

    Are we in agreement so far?

    • Come on tonto 52 you’re starting to sound like a time share salesman who tries to elecit a constant stream of ‘yes’ responses before hitting the punter with a closing question such as;
      “Can you afford just rice of a pint of milk each day in order to secure wonderful holidays for life for you and your family.”
      To which the only answer is also a ‘yes’

      Why don’t you finish your essay and then we can see your argument in total. But thanks for engaging at last.


    • John Carpenter

      In the absence of Judith not engaging with the deniers here, perhaps you can break your golden rule and speak with one of the proletariat… I’ll take you up on your question game…

      Let’s first agree that [(390 – 280)/390] x 100 = 28% increase and not 39%… and the increase is a combination of both manmade and natural causes. A temperature rise of 0.8 deg C has been observed over that time.

      Ok, now what?

      • John,

        It’s actually: [(390 – 280)/280] x 100 = 39%

      • John Carpenter

        oh my, that is a bit of a gaffe

      • John Carpenter

        However, 28% is the figure Hoskins reports in his paper… but not as the % increase rather the % of the current CO2 atmospheric concentration added since 1850,

  103. Tonto 52

    Should have read;

    “Just the price of a pint of milk…”


  104. Alexander Harvey

    This article starts:

    “This article assesses the impact of UK’s proposed climate change legislation.”

    I am not aware of any proposed legislation, and I did not see where any is described in the article. Can someone please tell me what it is and what stage it is at and its name?


  105. Hi Alex

    I give a substantuial reference within my article here;

    “…So we now know the likely costs for achieving a 20% overall reduction, which as mentioned by many parties is considered nowhere near enough. The UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 set legally binding emission reduction targets for 2020 (reduction of 34 percent in greenhouse gas emissions) and for 2050 (reduction of at least 80 percent in greenhouse gas emissions), and introduced five-yearly carbon budgets to help ensure those targets are met.”

    Don’t know if they come out on this copy but in the original article there is a link toi the climate change act 2008 and the green budget which seeks to expand the provisions of the Act.

    It was passed by Parliament with one dissenting voice and obligates all Govt depts and, increasingly, businesses to reduce carbon emissions by law.


    • Alexander Harvey

      Hi Tony,

      Re Your: TonyB | May 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks, it was the “proposed” bit that puzzled me. So you are dealing with the mandated requirement (under the 2008 Act) to set a carbon budget for the period that 2022-2026 inclusive, that comes due tomorrow (I think it is June 1st that it happens). You are not referring to any new or prosposed legislation.

      I am not sure that many people visiting here, or all that many in the UK will know what this is all about in any detail.

      As I understand it, setting of the budget is not optional. It is not something that can be simply ignored and how it is decided is also constrained under the exsiting Act. I say this as I suspect that some may have a very different understanding. If it is thought that the UK government could somehow not set a budget for that period, or set one that was in obviously against the recommendations of the statutory climate commitee. I think that is not the case.

      The consequences of 2008 Act do not seem to be fully recognised,(almost universally). My reading is that it sets tight constraints on governement in a quasi-constitutional manner. In that it is statute that deals with governmental duties, and UK constitutional rights and duties are set by statute. In that case, the UK governement has to either set an appropriate carbon budget every five years or reapeal the Act. This goes someway towards explaining why the UK government does not (cannot) put all this on the back burner at this point in time, and why it pursues a track that lacks multilateral support. The UK situation differs, perhaps uniquely, in that fresh legislation would be required before any of these budgets, mandatory requirements to meet them, or the whole project to cut carbon emssions 80% by 2050, could be could be abandoned or ignored.


      • It will indeed be fascinating to see how far or fast the UK and its government can run, or even walk, with one ankle thus firmly tied behind its neck. Cynical hilarity will abound!

  106. John Carpenter,

    You might accept that the increase, due to human emissions, in CO2 emissions is 39% , or if you want to downplay it slightly you would say that they make up just over a quarter of total CO2 concentrations. You might also accept that the world has warmed by 0.8 degC in the last century.
    But what do deniers say?
    1) Correlation doesn’t prove causation. It could be solar variability.
    2) 0.8deg C is much too high a figure. The temperature record isn’t reliable. What about the UHI?
    3) If you are a really macho denier, which, judging by his quotation of a 7% figure for human CO2 contribution, I suspect TonyB may well be, even the rise from 280ppmv to 390ppmv for CO2 levels is disputed.

    I really do question the sense of setting up just another denier website to peddle these sort of myths. What is Judith Curry thinking about?

    • tonto52

      Please don’t get all excited.

      Your arithmetic (390 / 280 = 1.39) is correct.

      Your 0.8C dT is a bit on the high side, though, using the temperature record favored by IPCC (HadCRUT). You can check this out on woodfortrees or download the HadCRUT record directly.

      The HadCRUT record 1850-2011 shows a linear rate of warming of 0.041°C (y = 0.0041x – 0.496). This equals a linear warming of 0.67°C over the 161-year period. [UHI effect? Fuggidaboudit.]

      So let’s do a quickie check on observed “anthropogenic greenhouse warming”

      Atmospheric CO2 level based on Mauna Loa measurement was 390 ppmv in 2011. Mauna Loa has only been in operation since 1959, but Vostok ice core estimates (cited by IPCC) put the CO2 level at around 280 ppmv in 1850.

      IPCC AR4 WG1SPM (Figure SPM.2.) tells us that all anthropogenic forcing factors other than CO2 essentially cancelled one another out 1750 to 2005. [IPCC is the “expert” on anthropogenic greenhouse warming, so let’s accept this statement as correct.]

      Radiative forcing of CO2 alone was 1.66 W/m^2, while the total net anthropogenic forcing (including aerosols, black carbon, other GHGs, land use changes) was 1.6 W/m^2.

      Under “natural forcing components” IPCC lists only direct “solar irradiance” and estimates this to be quite low compared to anthropogenic forcing components: 0.12 W/m^2 compared to 1.6 W/m^2. However, IPCC also concedes that its “level of scientific understanding” of “natural radiative forcing components” (including “solar”) is “low”. [IOW, natural climate forcing is not the IPCC’s primary area of concern or expertise.]

      But let’s first assume that IPCC is correct in its assumption that natural forcing components were essentially insignificant, and that all the warming was caused by anthropogenic forcing (~ CO2 forcing, according to IPCC).

      C1 = 280 ppmv (1850)
      C2 = 390 ppmv (2011)
      C2/C1 = 1.393
      ln(C2/C1) = 0.3314
      ln2 = 0.6931
      dT(observed) = 0.67°C
      2xCO2 climate sensitivity (all warming anthropogenic)
      dT(2xCO2) = 0.67 * 0.6931 / 0.3314 = 1.4°C

      But wait! IPCC told us it’s “level of scientific understanding” of “solar forcing” was “low”.

      So let’s look elsewhere to see if we can find a source of data with a higher “level of scientific understanding” than IPCC.

      Voila! There have been several studies by solar scientists on temperature impact of changes in solar activity, going back to pre-industrial periods of very low solar activity and colder than normal temperatures (Dalton and Maunder minima). (Shapiro 2011, Scafetta + West 2006, Solanki et al. 2004, Shaviv + Veizer 2003, Lockwood + Stamper 1999, Dietze 1999, Geerts + Linacre 1997 among others).

      These studies conclude on average that the around half of the 20th century warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity (highest in several thousand years) with most of this occurring in the first half of the century. Let’s ignore any other factors (ENSO, PDO, etc.) for now.

      We then have:

      dT(natural = solar) = 0.335°C
      dT(anthropogenic = CO2) = 0.335°C

      Using the same calculation as above we arrive at:

      dT(2xCO2) = 0.335* 0.6931 / 0.3314 = 0.7°C

      So the observed change in CO2 and temperature since 1850 tell us that doubling atmospheric CO2 should cause an increase in global temperature of somewhere between 0.7°C and 1.4°C

      In addition, since IPCC tells us that the total net anthropogenic radiative forcing is essentially equal to the radiative forcing from CO2 alone, we can essentially ignore other anthropogenic forcing factors (positive and negative).

      Please let me know whether or not you agree with the above simplified calculation and, if not, why not.



      • Max,

        I realise I’m breaking my own rule talking to you guys but I’m just wondering , if you knew Tony Brown figure of 7% was way off the mark, why you, or someone else with similar views, didn’t make that correction? For someone like Judith Curry to let this go without comment, on any blog bearing her name, is totally inexcusable.

        Deniers like to be known as skeptics. I would suggest that anyone ignoring or failing to correct an obvious scientific falsehood, has absolutely no right to claim the title of skeptic. Scientists, both professional and amateur, should not feel they are batting for any particular team. The goal for everyone should be to establish the facts as far as is humanly possible. That CO2 levels have risen by 39%, since the 19th century, is as close to established fact as it is possible to be. There are only a few cranks on the extreme who would dispute this, and it just isn’t possible to reason with cranks, or deniers!

        That’s why I shouldn’t really be talking to you!

      • tonto52

        Am not really sure what you are talking about:

        I’m just wondering , if you knew Tony Brown figure of 7% was way off the mark, why you, or someone else with similar views, didn’t make that correction?

        If you are referring to the statement in the TonyB article:

        Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2

        this is not from Tony, but appears to be a remark by Prof. David Mackay as written to Ed Hoskins.

        If Mackay means by this that only a small amount of the ~39% increase in atmospheric CO2 since “pre-industrial” times is directly attributable to human CO2 emissions, I’d say this sounds much too low (but I have not asked Mackay whether or not that is what he had in mind and, if so, what his basis is).

        What do you think? Have you asked Mackay?


      • What I think, is that any figure used in an article whether in the form of a quote, or stated in the text, needs to be correct. It looks like the 7% figure originated with TonyB’s “colleague” Ed Hoskins , and for whatever reason, the ‘mistake’ wasn’t picked up by Prof Mackay in his emailed reply.

        TonyB has obviously looked into the the CO2 figures and would have known it was way too low, and that’s why he used it.

        That’s what deniers do. We all know that, don’t we?

      • That’s what deniers do. We all know that, don’t we?

        We also know that believers do it. And in that case, many times there’s no question that it might be inadvertent.

    • “I really do question the sense of setting up just another denier website to peddle these sort of myths. What is Judith Curry thinking about?”

      I’m not sure that was really her intention, any more than it was the intended outcome on the NYTimes DotEarth blog.

      Anywhere on the internet where deniers’ aren’t closely moderated they tend to drown out pro-science folks. An illustration of the truism “A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is putting its boots on.”

      • Edit: deniers (no apostrophe)

      • Robert is a typical global warming support fantasizing about fascistic solutions to make people believe their propaganda. They seem to be all over the internet … but maybe they are just Soros employees.

      • Now that I think about, I think Robert works for Exxon. His job is to make AGW supporters look really, really stupid. No one could be as dumb as he is and still use a computer.

      • Thank you for illustrating my point, sunny: once confronted and rhetorically pwnd, you shift to this weird third-person talking-around thing.

        Way to come through with an example of the phenomenon.

        Enjoy your holiday.

      • “maybe they are just Soros employees.”

        Well, of course Soros is behind the vast conspiracy to make you look foolish by stocking the Internet with people who make your arguments sound ridiculous, but who is behind Soros?

        That’s right. It’s the Freemasons.

      • Are you here to discuss science, or to simply denigrate people who wish to?

      • Peter –
        Playing with trolls can be bad for ones blood pressure. Although I’m not subject to that particular effect. I tend more toward laughing jags.

      • Yes, I can picture the laugh very well.

        You’ve now repeated three times your unconvincing claim that getting schooled in these discussions doesn’t bother you (your clumsy but vehement replies suggest otherwise.) One more punch in that card, and it’s officially protesting too much.

      • I don’t think I’ve denigrated people who wish to discuss science. The appropriate and proportional response to malignant absurdity is to laugh at it. Don’t say ridiculous things, and I won’t make fun of you.

        This thread is about the practicality, or not, of reducing carbon emissions to slow greenhouse gas warming. Is there something about that you would like to discuss, from a scientific perspective?

      • Nobody who just read your posts would ever have guessed what this thread is really about.

      • So I extended to you a polite invitation to talk about the topic.

        You replied with another attack, not willing to move the focus from people to ideas.

        That amply proves who is here to talk science, and who is here denigrate other people.

        Sorry. You lose.

      • If you wish to discuss the science, discuss the science. Don’t come here accusing others of your own failings.

      • Have you already forgotten who made the accusation? Above: “Are you here to discuss science, or to simply denigrate people who wish to?” Asked and answered. You had an opportunity to discuss science with me, but you chose to continue the personal attacks. At that point your hypocrisy cost you any credibility you might have had.
        Hypocrite loses argument, end of story.

      • Prior to this exchange, none of your posts on this thread discussed anything about the science – they were all either polemics or back-slapping with tonto – who has incidentally at least attempted to discuss the science on this thread.
        That’s all I set out to point out – I wasn’t pretending to want to post anything about the science at the time, so you can’t accuse me of hypocrisy on that score.
        If your posting of 5:57 pm was a genuine attempt at holding out an olive branch then I apologise, but at the time I saw it as a case of you simply making excuses.

      • “I wasn’t pretending to want to post anything about the science . . .”

        Hence the hypocrisy. I’m glad we clarified that.

      • Let’s allow others to make up their minds on that, shall we?
        I’m through discussing it.

      • In fact, can you point me to just one of your postings on this thread which discusses the topic from a scientific perspective?

      • His silence speaks volumes

      • It speaks to the fact that I have a life. I’m not hovering over this site at all times to provide instant counterpoint. Be patient. Remember, you will always be able to lie faster than I can tell the truth. ;)

      • Robert

        Bring facts – not empty polemic.


      • The facts of the case are as I laid them out above. We have a hypocrite claiming to want to discuss the science while refusing to discuss the science. Case closed.

        If you, or anyone, would like to have a serious discussion about the topic, I am right here. But you seem more interested in polemically attacking others for being polemical than in following your own advice.

      • Robert

        You seem to believe that this is a “denier website” where deniers “tend to drown out pro-science folks”.

        I am assuming that you consider yourself a part of the “pro-science folks” group (whatever that is supposed to be).

        If that is the case, why do you feel obliged to participate here?

        Just curious.


      • Oh, I wouldn’t put a label on it. Any one can post here. I haven’t seen any censorship of viewpoints. Deniers just tend to be the more prolific and animated commentators. This happens anywhere there’s not pretty stiff moderation.

        Having people of different viewpoints is a strength, isn’t it? You wouldn’t want to be stuck with a legion of other people thinking just the same as you.

      • Robert,

        Yes that is true. Also it is interesting to observe how Judith Curry’s profile has soared in the last couple of years, and her voice is much amplified now she’s changed her line – saying what much of the corporate world wishes to hear. It must a tempting option for other ignored mainstream climate scientists to follow

      • Yes, the notion that scientists tow the global warming line in exchange for fame and money seems to ignore the many benefits of being a published climate scientist who tows the “skeptic” line, or even seems to sympathize with some of their talking points — who are valuable, as market theory would predict, because they are very scarce.

    • John Carpenter


      Sorry for the simple arithmetic error above… my bad. Now, on with the questions. I agree with your initial set of conditions… 39% CO2 increase and 0.8 deg C increase since preindustrial times.

      How much of a temperature reduction would be expected by mitigating (world wide) 50% of today’s CO2 emission by 2050… and what would be the resulting decrease in temperature we could expect by 2100?

      See if we can keep to the calculation and leave what deniers might say out of the equation for the time being, if you stick with me…I’m sure it will come up at some point.

      • Let me give it a shot — strictly back of the envelope:

        CO2 growth is running at about 2ppm/yr.

        Half of that is 1ppm/year. We are doing total emissions, not per capita emissions. Assume a smooth linear decline to half over the next 40 years (40 * 1.5ppm = 60, 60 + 390 = 450ppm.) Fifty years at 1ppm/year gives us 500ppm.

        That’s a little better than the B1 scenario (550ppm peak), but once you factor in permafrost melting and such, it’s probably pretty close. Warming expected: 1.8C.

        BAU (A1F): 4.0C.

        Difference: ~2.2C

      • The 280 ppm is the pre-industrial level. I presume it fluctuates, but for the purposes of this calculation it should remain static. So growth calculations that grow the 280 ppm are flawed.

        In 1750 mankind is considered to have begun adding significant fossil-sourced CO2 to the atmosphere. Financial calculators are inappropriate. They assume a level of compounding. Again, CO2 does not grow itself. It ain’t money. So the only way to approximate it with a financial calculator, I think, is to do the 260 years since 1750 as one period. How do you estimate mankind’s initial contribution to anthropogenic atmospheric CO2. I’m going to guess at .000000001 ppm. After mankind’s initial contribution, atmospheric CO2 was 280.000000001 ppm. Day one of the Anthrocene. Stick .000000001 in a calculator as the beginning balance and 110 as the ending for one period. That is the net growth in the anthropogenic component from 1750 to 2010: 260 years of ever increasingly flicking our Bics on a chunk of coal, etc.

        CO2 does not grow itself. To get more up there, some lazy member of mankind has to get off his duff and take his Bic to some fossil fuel. No matter what the period, we’re starting with ZERO ppm and adding what we produce during that period. So the march from zero in 1750 to 36 in 1958 was quite slow. It took us lazy bums 209 years to accumulate 36 ppm. The march from ZERO in 1959 to 74 in 2010 was significantly faster: 51 years and it doubled plus 2 ppm. When you add the pre-dustrial to the two periods, you get 390 (280+36+74 = 390, the 2010 level.)

        If population and GDP growth continue as usual, a lot people will be taking their Bics to chunks of coal, etc. in the next few decades. Where it ends up is dependent upon human behavior and earth’s responses, which could change.

        Currently it’s doubling in ~31 years. So 110 in 2010 could be 220 in 2041. 220 plus 280 = 500 ppm: 60 ppm short of doubling atmospheric CO2.

      • HADCET

        1750 June/July/August – 15.5
        1958 June/July/August – 15.3

        2008 – June/July/August – 15.4
        2009 – June/July/August – 15.8
        2010 – June/July/August – 15.9