Love your monsters

by Judith Curry

The Case for Modernization as the Road to Salvation

Nordhaus and Shellenberger have published  a new e-book, Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene (Breakthrough Institute, 2011)

From look inside, some text from the Introduction:

The last few years have been demoralizing for anyone who cares about the environment. Emissions continue to rise. Ancient forests continue to disappear. And the world appears unwilling or unable to do anything about it.

The ecological thinkers assembled in Love Your Monsters argue that environmentalism, in its failure to evolve, has become an obstacle to addressing these challenges. A political movement founded on shrinking the human footprint is doomed to fail in a world of seven going on ten billion souls seeking to live energy-rich modern lives.

But if this collection of essays delivers tough love to greens, it also offers hope. By 2100, nearly all of us will be prosperous enough to live healthy, free, and creative lives. Despite the claims of Malthusian pessimists, that world is both economically and ecologically possible. But to realize it, and to save what remains of the Earth’s ecological heritage, we must once and for all embrace human power, technology, and the larger process of modernization.

But if greens rejected technology and modernization in the 1960s, there is no reason they can’t embrace them today. One of the founders of science and technology studies, Bruno Latour, points the way. Through a novel reading of Frankenstein, Latour argues that we must learn to love our technologies as we do our children — not reject them at the first sign of trouble. And given the critical role played by tool use in human evolution, the two of us conclude, we must understand technology as natural and sacred, not alien and profane. A new, postenvironmental liberalism should thus, Sarewitz argues, understand technology as a public good — a way to achieve broadly agreed upon societal goals, whether for improved health or cleaner air.

Meanwhile, Kareiva and colleagues argue, for conservation to be relevant in this new world it must move beyond the old parks and wilderness model and find ways to shape development. We will not wall off the entirety of the Amazon or the rainforests of Indonesia from all development as if we were protecting Yosemite and Yellowstone.

Ultimately, if we are to be responsible planetary stewards, we need a new view of both human agency and the planet. We must abandon the faith that humankind’s powers can be abdicated in deference to higher ones, whether Nature or the Market. And we must see through the illusion that these supposedly higher powers exist in a delicate state of harmony constantly at risk of collapse from too much human interference.

All of this will require a new posture and a new paradigm. We must open our eyes to the joy and excitement experienced by the newly prosperous and increasingly free. We must create a world where every human can not only realize her material needs but also her higher needs for creativity, choice, beauty — and wilderness. In the words of the father of the modern Indian Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar, “The slogan of a democratic society must be machinery, and more machinery, civilization and more civilization” — the same tools needed, we might add, for planetary gardening.

Scientific American

The Scientific American has an article on Nordhaus and Shellenberger’s new book, entitled “Killing environmentalism to save it:  Two greens call for postenvironmentalism.”  Excerpts:

Now, I’m happy to report, Nordhaus and Shellenberger are back with an e-book, Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene (Breakthrough Institute, 2011), in which they and other thinkers–including the French philosopher Bruno LaTour, whose riff on Frankenstein gives the book its name–re-envision environmentalism in upbeat terms. What I like best about the book is its optimism, which I’m coming to believe is a prerequisite for progress. What follows is my email interview with Michael and Ted about their new book (JC excerpts below):

John: But isn’t there much to fear about the Anthropocene?

Michael: There is, but what’s at stake isn’t the survival of the human race but rather the quality of the global environment, our ecological inheritance and the costs—moral and financial—of environmental degradation. In many ways, Monsters is an effort to reconstruct a non-apocalyptic grounds for taking environmental action.

John: Do you see environmentalism changing?

Michael: Absolutely. There is a new generation of environmentalists, and even some of the old guard has embraced this vision. We call them post-environmentalists in Monsters, folks like [Whole Earth Catalogue founder] Stewart Brand, [The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans author] Mark Lynas, and [The Guardian newspaper columnist] George Monbiot, who recognize that because human development is inevitable, we’re going to need lots of advanced technology, including nuclear, to reduce the risks of the Anthropocene.

John: How did you select contributors for Monsters?

Ted: After Break Through we discovered a much larger group of thinkers, mostly academics, some of whom knew each other and some of whom didn’t, who were working on similar problems. A big part of the reason we started Breakthrough Journal is because we thought their ideas deserved a larger audience, and because we wanted to be in a situation where we could work with these thinkers to fully develop our arguments. Monsters was an opportunity for us to take some of the best thinking we’ve come across on the new ecological challenges we face and put it all together in one place.

John: How does Love Your Monsters build upon the themes of Break Through?

Michael: One of the ways is Break Through‘s critique of the concept of nature as a closed, fragile system in a state of delicate balance, and constantly at risk of tipping into chaos. In Break Through, we observed that there is a difference between a false choice and a hard choice. In Monsters, the authors all in one way or another further elaborate what those hard choices look like.

John: When you think about the future of the planet, what is your biggest fear?

Ted: My biggest fear is that outmoded, irrational and self-defeating ideologies about nature and the market will get in the way of humans making the shared investments in technological innovation required to be responsible earth stewards. I worry that slow rates of innovation among renewables and popular fears of nuclear energy will mean continuing high uses of fossil fuels for decades to come.

John: What is your biggest source of optimism?

Michael: I think my biggest source of optimism is the progress made by the human species. We are a far more intelligent and humane species than we were 100 years ago—not to mention 200,000 years ago! When I hear people worry that because humans evolved on the veldt we don’t have it in us to manage large complicated systems, I think that’s ridiculous. We never stopped evolving—physically, culturally and intellectually. At bottom, I think humans are more than up for the task of being responsible Earth stewards.


Michael Lind has an article on the book at Salon entitled “Is it time to embrace environmental change?”  Subtitle:  “Some scientists believe we’ve already created a new geologic epoch — and it may not be a bad thing.”  Some excerpts:

The best thinking about the implications of the Anthropocene idea that I have seen is found in a new e-book, “Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene,” published by the Breakthrough Institute. The book’s editors, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, are no strangers to controversy.  Their 2005 essay in Grist magazine, “The Death of Environmentalism,” later published as a book, stirred up passionate debate.  

A similar spirit of iconoclasm animates the environmentalists, social scientists and philosophers who contribute essays to “Love Your Monsters” (the title comes from a revisionist reading of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” contributed to the book by the French philosopher Bruno Latour). In his contribution, “The Planet of No Return,” Erle Ellis challenges the spirit of Malthusian pessimism that has permeated the environmental movement in recent decades: “A good, or at least a better, Anthropocene is within our grasp. Creating that future will mean going beyond fears of transgressing natural limits and nostalgic hopes of returning to some pastoral or pristine era.” The idea of unspoiled wilderness is questioned in “Conservation in the Anthropocene” by Peter Kareiva, Robert Lalasz and Michelle Marvier.  They point out that national parks and wilderness preserves have often been created by the expulsion of indigenous peoples who farmed and hunted in the regions. In “The Rise and Fall of Ecological Economics,” Mark Sagoff compares the idea of a self-equilibrating natural ecosystem to the market fundamentalist idea of a self-equilibrating free market.

While Sagoff’s contribution is likely to upset market fundamentalist conservatives, contemporary progressivism is challenged by other essays in the anthology. In “Liberalism’s Modest Proposals, or, The Tyranny of Scientific Rationality,” Daniel Sarewitz points out how the conventional green movement combines excessive faith that science can define the problem of harmful climate change with arguably excessive skepticism about the usefulness of technology in mitigating it or adapting to its effects. In “The New India Versus the Global Green Brahmins,” Siddhartha Shome points out that it was the affluent Gandhi who was drawn to idealized images of village life, while the leader of the low-caste Untouchables, Babasaheb Ambedkar, saw the salvation of the Indian poor in technological modernization.

JC comment:   Climate Etc discussed previously the death of environmentalism by NS.  Seems to me that this approach should make sense to all but hard-core greens?

Gotta love the “love your monsters” title.

214 responses to “Love your monsters

  1. Still skeert of CO2, and for what?

    • Today a message of Hope is written in every atom, leaf and rock:

      While Big Brother is trapped in the collapsing ego cage He designed out of fear to protect Himself from the Great Reality that surrounds and sustains us.

      Today all is well,
      if we trust reality

      • Thanks, Professor Curry, Michael Shellenberger, Ted Nordhaus, and all those associated with The Breakthrough Institute for releasing another message of Hope to counter Big Brother’s monotonous, depressing and false message of fear!

    • Overpopulation is the biggest evil. People will strip the vegetation like locust, > worse climate. Warmist avoid the question of overpopulation; because getting the climate from bad to worse – hopefully will get them out of trouble for lying about the phony GLOBAL warming.

      Environmentalism cannot get any sanity; if the top protagonist are not identified; restricted never to get a government job, or as educators in university. Crime shouldn’t pay, Then only then will be some hope.

      • The biggest problem now is world leaders are not candid with the citizens that they supposedly represent.

        If overpopulation were the problem, why were the results of government-funded research manipulated for four decades to promote the illusion that world leaders, the UN, and mankind caused and can control global climate change? – The AGW fable!

        Gravity measurements being tested on the Moon today:

        Could reveal if the core of the Sun is:

        a.) A stable H-fusion reactor “in equilibrium,” as consensus scientists and politicians, like Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC claim, or

        b.) A pulsar – the unstable remains of the supernova that gave birth to the Solar System – as experimental observations have indicated since 1971!

        Although impatient, I also know that the SSM model of the Sun was too entrenched in the scientific community to be dislodged by observations until selected as the cornerstone of the AGW model of Earth’s climate.

        So the universe seems to be unfolding as it should and today, all is well. Best wishes for the New Year!

      • Correct link:

        Gravity measurements being tested on the Moon today:

      • Oliver, I rely much more on Russians, they are more honest, than NASA.
        There will never be any live on the moon. Reason Russians bypassed it. NASA need to con the taxpayer for cash – they don’t say, what will not bring the $$$. 1] Radiation on the moon is intolerable for prolong period. 2] without air pressure, small scratch on the uniform, human will explode as when you step on a tomato. 2] on the moon, the night is almost 14 days long; temperature gets to – minus -145C degrees. Russians realized long time ago that the moon is a lemon / useless; same as the Greens

        NASA manipulates the taxpayer for cash – telling that they will build underground. They will be surprised, when they realize that my theory is correct:.the moon doesn’t have geothermal heat – underground is even colder than at night on the surface. Probably cold enough to liquefy nitrogen. It’s in my book.

        Regarding sunspots / sun-flares affecting climate on the earth is another ”Roadrunner’s Technic”. When the moon is between the earth and the sun, lots of radiation is reflected, not to come here; but earth is not colder NOT EVEN FOR ONE DAY. Because oxygen + nitrogen control the temperature in the atmosphere, not CO2. Because the localized warmings in the past they were presenting by the shonky scientist as GLOBAL – needed to look for reason = must be sunspots. Same as the roadrunner stretches his arm out of the screen – ACME, for anything he needs. Both camps are using that tactic, Skeptics more than the Warmist. Oliver, join me, we should make it to be 3 cornered contest. Sunspots don’t produce any warming, Skeptics are barking up the same wrong tree. I have proven everything; my limited English vocabulary is slowing me, but you don’t have that problem. Lets make it more interesting; with proofs that all can be proven now. Merry Christmas!!!

      • False. See
        The always-correct lowest bound of the lowest band of the UN Population Survey sez population will peak at <8bn by about 2035. Mainly because of industrialization and improved living standards.

  2. I guess we need to differentiate those who are “environmentalists” as a meaning to achieve some political goals, and those who care for the environment. And the later need to get rid of the former to have any success. It was obvious a long time ago, and it is more so since the climate madness.

    • plazaeme, You can recognise the typical Greene; they don’t care about overpopulation. Overpopulation will strip the vegetation, but: overpopulation = more hungry people = easy to start anarchy. 2] If they talk about overpopulation… they are still hoping for China’s Indian signatures. For the typical Greene is not important the amount of CO2, but how many country they can bully to sign on the doted line.

  3. Through a novel reading of Frankenstein, Latour argues that we must learn to love our technologies as we do our children — not reject them at the first sign of trouble.

    Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein, Dr. Frankenstein! You don’t love them and you don’t hate them. You use them until something better comes along. Is this such a difficult concept?

  4. We are a far more intelligent and humane species than we were 100 years ago

    Darwin would be impressed. In 100 years, we evolved all the dumb and mean genes out. There are no more dumb or mean people.


    • Humans have killed more other humans in war and authoritarian political regimes in the last hundred years than in all of previous human history. Can we stand much more intelligence and ‘humaneness’?

      • Maybe the author needs to be reminded that it was within the past 100 years that between Communism and Fascism we managed to kill over 100 million people. Meanwhile we have a major southwest Asian country rather explicitly threatening to liquidate another 6 million Jews in the name of another “ism”. No, I think the proposition that we’re a kinder and gentler species fails miserably upon inspection of the facts.

      • More people were killed because there were more people to kill.
        If you consider percent of people, modern killings are not more significant than killings more than a hundred years ago. Whole civilizations have been wiped out.

      • Not to mention that we now have the means to easily kill large numbers of people

      • Don’t forget that we in the USA since 1973 there have been over 50 million intelligent and humane murders of preborn babies. Hooray for the Evolution of Mankind.


    • P.E, wait another few years; when demand for oil outstrips the supply – you will see the other side of human; not many other animals performed cannibalism in the past – human did; stick around. Those ”big city Wilderness Societies” are for a big shock. Engineers and working people produce gadgets for people to use. Let an ecologist / climatologist in the environment of 300y ago, to survive on his own ”intelligence” would have turned into a bucketful of organic compost, before next Christmas. People are more useless now, than 500y ago. Going to the shop to buy what one needs, doesn’t need much intelligence. People lost capability for survival.

      Dumb genes are bigger than ever; otherwise, nobody would have being talking about the phony GLOBAL warming. Only 30y ago, people did know that water improves the climate – not now…

      • Stefanthedenier has now become stefanthedoomer. Big surprise as your Malthusian roots are showing.

      • Horse pucky. The world is awash in “unconventional” (fracked) natural gas. And there are a couple of energy breakthroughs that will fulfill Ehrlich’s nightmare of permanent cheap, abundant energy.

  5. The environmental movement (where I define the “movement” as the large group of organizations that have morphed into corporations plugged into and encapsulated around and within the various NGO’s, bureaucracies and political institutions of all shapes and sizes) painted themselves into the small ideological corner that they now find themselves in. And I find it striking how difficult it is for them to escape from the corner. Books like these show how much collective memory has been completely lost to the enviro’s; books of this kind would have perhaps had some more worth if they had been written some hundreds of years ago when the original leaps toward “reason” were originally argued and adopted. What is reasonable to the environmentalists now needs to be written up as something new? But most of the world around them never dropped the connection of science, technology, ethics and using such to make a better world. The concept of humankind as animal and natural “husbands” is as valid as it ever has been and today even more so. But those that inhabit cities and rarely interface with the natural world other than for counting polar bears from helicopters are not necessarily going to know how the rest of us lives.

  6. “We are a far more intelligent and humane species than we were 100 years ago—not to mention 200,000 years ago! ”
    Do you consider Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Hitler and Pol Pot and all their followers as humane? Well, they are hard-core leftists so they probably do.
    More intelligent? More knowledge certainly, but more intelligent in the last 100, or even 1000 years? I don’t think so.

    Still, this is a interesting idea.

    • With the exception of Pol Pot, who was a son of Mao, all those killers were adults a hundred years ago. It is not too far-fetched that the current crop of political leaders, with some minor exceptions, are not as bloodthirsty as the Stalin-Mao-Hitler generation. Not saying that competence has improved.

      • I should add that the major factor confounding the bloodthirsty tyrants that were common in the first half of the 20th century, was the presence in the world of a benign superpower that has indeed been the arsenal of democracy. Take the United States of America out of the world power equation and the body count would have been much higher.

    • “More intelligent? More knowledge certainly, but more intelligent in the last 100, or even 1000 years? I don’t think so.”

      IQ has been has constantly rising- the average IQ of 100 years ago was lower than today. Why this is so is debated. That this has occurred is not debated.
      One could argue that IQ doesn’t equal intelligence, but I think any means one had of measuring intelligence would indicate an increase.

      Obviously this isn’t due to genetic change, as this change is occurring on very brief evolutionary time scale.

      • randomengineer

        Why this is so is debated.

        No really. Google Dr Greg Cochran and read his book. Evolution in intelligence of ahekenazi jews is ongoing.

        Meanwhile read up on “the Flynn effect.”

      • No, gbaikie’s right. IQ’s are going up, but we’re getting stupider. It’s related to the education bubble. A bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma. A master’s is the new BS, and a PhD is the new master’s. And a lot of PhDs these days are delivering pizza.

      • Meanwhile read up on “the Flynn effect.”


        It lead to this gem:

        Arthur … Jensen points out that larger and more complex brains are very metabolically expensive, so they evolve only when they provide a strong selective advantage. According to Jensen, as early humans migrated out of Africa, the need to adapt to colder climates created a stronger selective pressure for intelligence in Europe and Asia than existed in Africa.[120]

        Well, well. Fascinating. So climate change will lead to greater intelligence because the need to adapt to a new environment creates a selective advantage. Yet another brilliant argument for the “skeptical” arsenal.

        Oh. Wait..

        Since “skeptics” claim that a warmer climate will make life easier, then the logical extension of “skeptical” arguments is that a warmer world will reduce intelligence.

        So this really is a perfect theory in support of climate “skepticism.” It can be presented in a way that ignores internal inconsistency so as to argue in favor of a partisan agenda.


      • randomengineer

        Joshua the Flynn effect is real and probably related (IIRC) more to nutrition especially in early development. Following your (constant and unrepentant) meme-flipping silliness, one could then argue that a warmer climate with more food growing ought to yield a crapload of big bang theory geeks thus driving sales of star wars collector’s edition blu rays.

      • gbaikie, people in East Anglia and IPCC know that the phony GLOBAL warming is all lies; because they are creating the lies. But the Greens of the lower genera and IQ are their foot solders. That’s why there is no secular Greene, but only big and bigger fanatics They are the biggest losers. Darwin should have added: ”and survival of the smartest”. . The Greens of the lower genera and IQ will be paying ”flat rate carbon tax” = self inflicted wounds

    • +1 I second your opinion

    • What IS intelligence anyway? IQ tests only measure ones ability to answer lots of little logic questions faster and more accurately than the “average” person given that all have the same ethnic background, educational and language skills, which is a doubtful assumption.

      I find that in some ways our youth are more digitally skilled than previous generations but their capacity for original thought, versatility with their hands and other life skills appear to be generally diminished.

      I even sometimes wonder if some of our presumedly adult contributors to blogs such as Climate Etc have really matured if the tone of many of their posts are taken into account.

  7. Big Green reinvents itself by citing post-environmentalism………..

    • When China’s economy goes up – European / USA economy goes down; the ”Greens” you are referring; they will not need the green topcoat – they will remove the green slime camouflage end expose their original blood-red colour. Future will be less boring…

  8. The obvious question is, why are environmentalists trying to renegotiate their covenant with the people of the earth? Trial balloons like this are usually an indication that not all is well in Greenland. Is it my imagination, are are there a lot of trial balloons lately?

  9. Maybe I was too hard on the “climate reductionist” essay . . . because the “Love your monsters” essay would certainly seem to be a prime example of climate reductionism.

    Dealing with climate change doesn’t require either the victory of environmentalism, or its defeat. Environmentalism will suggest certain ways of dealing with the problem, which may or may not be adopted. This is true for all reasonably reality-based ideological perspectives.

    Nordhaus et al are exactly wrong when they assert that progress can only be made in a post-environmentalist world embracing greater dependance on technology. Monibot is wrong when he asserts global warming will only be dealt with as part of a larger triumph of progressivism. Deniers are wrong when they assert that dealing with global warming is and always will be a political impossibility.

    The reality is that none of this is determined. And ideologies rarely die, or even suffer decline, on the basis of losing or partially losing one policy argument. I predict all the political perspectives existing today will exist a hundred years from now; despite our lack of unity we will by that point awoken to the harm we are doing ourselves, and ideologies will be bickering about how to mitigate climate change, not whether or not it is real and dangerous.

    • Robert
      Re-read your last para. That’s already happening. The UN/IPCC/COP climate catastrophy meme was put six feet down in Durban, and the various “progessive” enviro “thinkers” are moving on -and fast. Lost the battle? Join the skeptics..
      You are running well behind the new herd, and getting all tangled up in your own shoe laces trying to catch up.

      • Robert cannot join the Skeptics. He must be a hi-ranking manipulator in some ”big city wilderness mob”; He sponges from the ignorant; to be seen with sceptical people, is to lose privileges. I have an acquaintance; he signed his will to those green hordes. thousands of people are leaving their houses, bank accounts and other belongings to the green parasites. Robert and Joshua have a job to keep the ignorant Skeptics busy. Teasing them as Spanish bulls are teased by a red rag.

    • “The reality is that none of this is determined. ”

      so you finally get Hulme’s message.

      • The predetermined factors are that fossil fuels are finite, aquifers can go dry, certain minerals and elements can’t be recycled, and once extinct, a species can’t go unextinct. These have nothing to do with environmentalism and are simply constraints on how we can solve problems.

        And the arc continues. Climate science is not the issue. The Etc in the title of this blog is energy and natural resources. Look at the theme of this month’s blog posts and the emphasis is becoming clear.

        I am OK with Nordhaus, Monbiot, Brand and his nuclear kick, and the overall forward-looking challenges we face.

      • Oy. Try not to be a one-note Webby, ok?

      • And the administration is going one-note, with their replacement of the policy word climate with energy. Try not to get left in the dust with the policy change. From the looks of it, we may get 4 more years of this viewpoint.

      • WebHubTelescope | December 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm Says:

        “The predetermined factors are that fossil fuels are finite, aquifers can go dry, certain minerals and elements can’t be recycled, and once extinct, a species can’t go unextinct. These have nothing to do with environmentalism and are simply constraints on how we can solve problems.”

        That paragraph comes across as a bit Malthusian doesn’t it? The truth is that while ideologists spend all their time fighting ideological battles, trapped in their own “universes” with their perceived realities, the doers in the REAL world quietly just keep on doing. One result of such doing is that for the first time in decades, North America is poised to become energy independent and the U.S. is now a a net exporter of finished fuel products.

        And, what if the people that came up with the idea of “fossil fuels” got it really wrong and that oil and other “fossil” fuels are in fact abiotic?



      • “That paragraph comes across as a bit Malthusian doesn’t it?”

        No. “Doers” recognize that we have to pay attention to the effects our actions have in the real world. It is only ideologues and dreamers who pretend that our society can magically transcend the physical realities of the world we live in.

        Some people just don’t have the practical common sense to realize that actions have consequences and prudent preparation for the future is a moral imperative. It is a richly humorous irony for Grasshopper Suro to be denouncing the “perceived realities” of the ants who are preparing for winter.

      • Again the arc of these top level posts is easy to follow. The latest post brings in decision theory and decision making under uncertainty. Any decision making involves constraints that bound the solution space. As I am neither a Malthusian or a Luddite, I can use decision logic with the known constraints of fossil fuel reserves and other natural resources to guide the direction in which to proceed.

        Anybody that brings up abiotic oil needs their head examined. That’s equivalent to sky-dragon talk. But since you implied that your perspective is one of “doing”, I suggest that you go ahead and convince some venture capitalists of your abiotic oil ideas and then use the money to drill some boreholes where you think the abiotic oil is hiding.

        This USA being a net exporter is easily explainable as the transnationals can make more money on the open market with Brent higher than WTI. Bring in oil from overseas, refine it and then sell it back, and that counts as an export. So here is another case for a doer like yourself, build more refineries like all the “drill, baby, drill” have been suggesting!

      • This is probably hopeless, but let’s try another stab.

        You have an apple tree. It’s big. Maybe 30 feet high.

        First, you pick the apples that you can reach from the ground. Those are the cheap apples, because you can get lots of them in a short time.

        When those are gone, you’re not out of apples. Next, you climb the tree. You shimmy out on the branches, where you can get some more apples. Those ones are more expensive, because they’re more work.

        When those are gone, you still have apples. Somebody builds a ladder. Now you can climb the ladder and get more apples. Those are not only more work, but you have to pay for the ladder.

        When those are all gone, you’re still not out of apples. Somebody has a manlift. You get the apples with the manlift. Those are more expensive, because the manlift costs more than the ladder.

        Then somebody invents glasses. You realize that you’re not out of apples, because there’s another tree 25 feet away. You get more apples, not just because of better reaching technology, but because of better seeing technology.

        Some person comes along and declares himself very intelligent. He sees that even though there are three or four generations of apples in the orchard, that some day we’re going to run out of apples, so we need to learn how to eat something that’s plentiful and easily accessed. He says that we’ll be good forever if we can figure out how to eat rocks.

        Brilliant plan, except for one detail. But “big picture” people don’t worry about details, do they?

    • ROBERT!!! After the war, the SS didn’t make many decisions. CO2 is increasing more than anybody expected – if GLOBAL warming doesn’t eventuate; must be on the Nuremberg model court of justice for the active Warmist as Joshua and you… Already has being proposed for ”truth and justice commission” Google keeps lots of records.

    • …a hundred years from now … we will by that point awoken to the harm we are doing ourselves …

      Robert again mindlessly regurgitating official government disinformation, ie that CAGW is an established fact.

    • Robert, environmentalist’ ideology is offensive to the nose. If you can stop climate from changing; prevent it of going from winter into summer climate, for demonstration. Actually summer climate is better, do it. Climate never stopped changing for one day in the last 4 billion years, and never will. Can you explain what would have being the climate, if it wasn’t any industrial revolution (with 7 billion people)?! Explain first to yourself; if you believe it, then dish your green doo-doo to others. I’m still waiting for apology from you camarad. You have to surrender your hammer and seacle…

  10. Ah, I see more are coming to the view that humanity and what we do is just as natural (within nature) as any bug, mammal, germ or planet.

    About time!

  11. Environmentalism will only succeed when neo-Malthusiasm has been defeated. In the 21st Century, the vast majority of people can either
    (1) embrace technology, get rich and cleanup their act, or
    (2) abjure technology, get poor and probably go to war.
    Neo-Malthuiasm preaches the latter, and will pave a road to hell with pious talk and bad science.
    If the Greens are going to be sensible and ‘go with the flow’ of human needs and wants, then that’s great. Except that in the last 40 years they have shown little inclination to do any such thing, and still many of their leaders say that the way for them to get their way is to be even more hysterical and unreasonable.
    And let no-one say this is a ‘false dichotomy’, etc,etc. It is *the* question of the century.

    • IOW, a return to Teddy Roosevelt conservationism. Which is what we had before environmentalism sprung on the scene in the 1960s. So now some greens want to rebrand themselves conservationists. Don’t know what to make of that.

  12. The answer for the greens etc is “The Road to Serfdom”.

    Peter317 | December 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Not to mention that we now have the means to easily kill large numbers of people

    Peter, Stalin starved some 25 million. Means to kill millions is not something we invented recently it has been around a very long time and used by many.

  13. As the current environmentalism paradigm is now stumbling, its footfalls less certain and slower paced, we have an opportunity to speculate upon a future that needs to accommodate 3 billion more people. We could have a Middle Eastern miscalculation whereby nuclear weapons rain down upon the cradle of civilization, drawing progressively larger states responses, reducing world populations. Could be; I think not. The fruit of life will be energy, in all its manifestations, compact and personal. Electrons won’t have to travel from coast to coast, or latitude to latitude. Electrons will power our communication with one another. We will feel more connected to one another: auditory, visual, olfactory, touch, employing many more of our senses at each encounter. Differences amongst ourselves become less palpable with such intimacy. Barriers will continue to be erected and torn down, as environmentalism is succumbing today, yet our ability to hold ignorant views of one another become less and less possible confronted as it were, by a new reality of communication. The most vulnerable human quality I see for the future, is that of individualism. There will be much pressure not to stand alone.The educational system will have to become the bastion of self expression instead of its present focus upon conformity. The arts, sciences, mathematics are suitable avenues for such individuality. Once energy is readily available to all, our spirit no longer needs to seek sustenance alone. A pretty cool place we are going.

  14. Environmentalism has forced Japan and Germany to give up on nuclear power – which means more coal will be burnt.

    Environmentalism has cheered on the huge cost increases for energy in Europe and the USA leading to an exodus of jobs to China along with massive increases in the amount of coal burnt.

    Environmentalism is the great evil of our time.

    • Giving up on nuclear power is not environmentalism.
      Giving up on nuclear power is stupidity.

    • Environmentalism has forced the world to waste 250 billion a year (and growing) on useless “green energy” schemes, that produce little energy and no emission reductions.

    • “Environnmentalism” and “AGW” are largely a subset of the larger collectivist and statist movements. All are born of social decline, fear, appeal and greed for authority.

      While Dr. Curry can see the excess she only ever speaks to the general ideology indirectly. She seems very conflicted and somewhat embarressed by her associations. She uses (misuses) words like “activism” and “ideologue” without clearly identifying how the AGW interests are linked by political culture or what the culture is. It’s the difference between being “honest” and “totally honest”. The general leftist links are an unspoken elephant in her domain.

      The AGW conversation Dr. Curry is engaged in is largely for insiders of the same political establishment and social cultures. If the only roll-back is to “moderate” the eco-left as she suggests (reform IPCC instead of abolish, local vs. international actionsi.e. “no regret” policy etc. ) no real progress will have been made. It will simply transform into other objectives that lead to greater central planning and authority. For this she is more dangerous than the fanatics at the heart of the current AGW movement (Gore, Mann, Jones, Green establishment etc.).

      The power of progressivism is the excuse of a noble cause which largely disinterested people of often a lower social class are willing to accept at face value. Often and sadly if they share many other common political cultures and views. What’s sad about Dr. Curry is she is leader who does know better and still can’t cross the cultural line and only can hint at the political essentials of the AGW culture and movement. What’s a Obama supporter suppose to do Bruce?

      The Green movements and AGW are subsets of something larger. Hence the endless game of insiders insisting on “talking only about the science” which can never reach a logical conclusion or a decisive moment. It’s simply too vague and the anti-science argument of “you can’t prove we’re wrong” is now the order of the day in science logic. Talking about the larger context of the green cultures leads to the false label of “polititics over science” propaganda when in fact the science establishment in question was corrupted generations ago by politics. Now you can see why Dr. Curry is hated for even hinting at the truth by that establishment. The question is should the public and this forum accept this very low bar of debate where the most important aspects of AGW advocacy are given only the most minimal and obfuscated treatments?

      I expect a reference to Italian flags and confirmation bias shortly.

      • Environmentalist are born with a gene for manipulation, lies / always to trick somebody / fear of the truth. They are born on the wrong hole; the midwives can verify that; that’s why, anything environmentalist stand for and say, is offensive to the nose.

  15. NPR: Talk of the Nation:


    Christopher Joyce, science correspondent, NPR
    Michael Shellenberger, president, The Breakthrough Institute

    December 27, 2011

    Nuclear power generates 20 percent of electricity in the U.S., but the nation’s reactors are aging — and new plants are expensive and take years to build. Gas, coal, wind and solar are potential alternatives, but all have environmental or logistical drawbacks.

    • Joshua, looks like we are in a pickle! What ever would have caused such a thing?

      • BANANA

      • It never ceases to amaze me that the same people swinging their pom-poms for “infrastructure” can always be counted on to get in the way when somebody wants to build infrastructure. Not only did no “stimulus” money end up going to “shovel ready projects”, but they’re also standing in the way of private funds building the Keystone pipeline infrastructure project.

        And then they get in a huff when people drop the “M” and “L” words.

      • It never ceases to amaze me that the same people who fetishize the free market and whine incessantly about governments propping up industries through subsidization: (1) advocate for nuclear energy even though it won’t exist without massive subsidization and other governmental support, (2) promote coal, oil, and fracking even though those sources are massively subsidize in many different ways (pricing that doesn’t account for externalities, massive spending to keep oil lanes open, massive government spending on health outcomes from particulates, government funding of foundational research and technological development, etc.), (3) seem unable to recognize the pro-market potentials of renewable resources, abhor spending on public transportation despite numerous examples of free market benefits from such spending, etc.

      • Show me the massive subsidize. I want to see the the massive subsidize.

      • randomengineer

        Joshua, astonishingly, pegs the topic irony meter immediately — advocate for nuclear energy even though it won’t exist without massive subsidization…

        Nuclear isn’t expensive in and of itself, it’s expensive because of the nanny-state environmental regulations and red tape nonsense that is addressed by the main post. Get rid of the 900 miles of chicken little inspired red tape and nuclear gets cheap quick.

        Moreover, disposal of waste is not and has not been a problem either, at least not to anybody who knows anything about the subject. The “waste is a problem” meme is yet another enviro-green talking point of scaremongering nonsense. Anyone bringing up waste as an “issue” needs to be disqualified from an opinion since whatever opinion they hold certainly isn’t anywhere within shouting distance of an informed one. As Pournelle notes you can take waste and encase it in glass bricks and drop these into a subduction zone. Nothing scary there.

      • Never mind the fact that Josh’s rant was completely unrelated to the comment it was purportedly in response to.

      • In fact, it’s even worse than that. Josh’s response to a comment where the single example presented was the Keystone pipeline between Canada and the US was to go on about the “subsidy” of “keeping the oil shipping lanes open”.

        Here’s an IQ test for Josh: what ocean does the Keystone pipeline propose to cross?

        I’ll give you three guesses.

      • There you go again, joshy. The ole subsidies for Big Oil myth. Oil and other energy companies get tax deductions, just like any other business. But you can call them subsidies, joshy. And the sea lanes have to be kept open for all shipping. How are we going to get our highly subsidized windmills and solar panels from Red freaking China, if the sea lanes aren’t protected? And that other stuff is just more of the standard lefty anti-business blah…blah…blah. Maybe we should nationalize all those evil profiteers and have everybody work for the government, with long paid vacations and retirement at 55, like they do in Greece, you little lefty clown.

        Look at the gas pump the next time you fill up, joshy. You do have a car, right. They tax the crap out of gas and diesel. Look at your utility bills. They get you there too. The energy companies pay taxes, contrary to leftist lies, and then investors pay more taxes, on dividends and capital gains. If you think those companies are making obscene profits, buy the freaking stocks. You are an inveterate whiner.

      • Where’s the shovels?

      • They ended up in Chicago with all the loot.

      • Each US nuclear licensee pays a fee for the privilege of being regulated. Fee schedules are available from this website:

        The feds do spend some money on nuclear power but it is almost all for R&D. Meanwhile renewable subsidies are almost all production subsidies paid to the owners/operators of the assets. Do the math sometime on an 18 dollar per MwH subsidy if we actually did produce 20-30% of our power from wind/solar. Ain’t gonna happen…………and without the subsidies no one would build wind or solar. Economic rent seeking at its finest.

      • Send shysters, gats, and loot.

      • The Keystone is intended to go to the gulf. There are plenty of routes in place to the Midwest, but they want to get some of the low EROEI Canadian oil to places overseas. The fact that USA oil prices, the WTI index, is lower than Brent is because of the glut in Midwest supply. Good for the USA but the transnationals want some of that potential Brent pricing. It’s all explained in profit terms.

      • PE –

        I’d like to suggest that you might try reading your own posts:

        You say this:

        Josh’s response to a comment where the single example presented …..

        After saying this:

        It never ceases to amaze me that the same people swinging their pom-poms for “infrastructure” can always be counted on to get in the way when somebody wants to build infrastructure.

        Please explain.

      • Cap’n –

        What ever would have caused such a thing?

        Why, it was the eco-Nazi/socialist/capitalism-hating cabal, of course.

        Everyone knows that they control the levers of power.

        Of course, they claim that spending nuclear power plants is extremely expensive, that investors are more interested in vehicles that have a quicker ROI, that disposing of nuclear waste is problematic, that the required public funding is not particularly popular, and that the public generally is concerned about the safety issues.

        But we all know that’s a bunch o’ hooey. The truth is that our leftist one-world-government overloards just want to watch millions of people die as they create their neo-Luddite Shangri-La.

      • No! You are wrong. It’s the right wing nut jobs that are the problem wanting to rape and pillage our environment by building smoke belching coal plants and glow in the dark nuclear monstrosities that cave at the least little 9 plus tremor. :)

      • sarcasm when you’re asked a good question is telling.
        It’s also weak

    • ” but all have environmental or logistical drawbacks”

      Lefties/Greenies are against all progress because perfection is unobtainable.

  16. Three cheers for some sanity:

    “What I like best about the book is its optimism, which I’m coming to believe is a prerequisite for progress . . . to save what remains of the Earth’s ecological heritage, we must once and for all embrace human power, technology, and the larger process of modernization.”

    It is also important to put “environmental impacts” in context of coming events (whether interpreted as physical or symbolic) and to recognize and address their causes.

    The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. Revelation 8:8-9

    And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. Revelation 9:15 NIV

    The land is full of adulterers;
    because of the curse[a] the land lies parched
    and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
    The prophets follow an evil course
    and use their power unjustly. Jeremiah 23:10

    • The problem is, that’s about as specific as “hope and change”. In fact, you can boil that entire paragraph down to “hope and change”. Unfortunately, when the rubber meets the pavement, don’t be surprised if all that hopey-changey rhetoric ends up meaning more of the same: solar and wind and digital rationing.

      • P.E.
        You may wish check out Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy: The Complete Guide to Scriptural Predictions and Their Fulfillment J. Barton Payne ISBN 978-0801070518 Payne quantifies 1817 predictions.

        I challenge you to seriously evaluate the probability of a significant portion of those predictions and compare the cumulative probability with a 50:50 chance probability. I think you may be surprised.

        Re “hopey-changey . . .solar”
        At $3/million btu, solar thermal steam is already cheaper than natural gas based heat.

        With serious development solar thermal fuels and power will cost substantially less than current petroleum and fossil power and be able to provide all the fuel and power required for a growing population over the next generation.

        What do you mean by “digital rationing” ? (I still have all 10 of my digits.)

      • randomengineer

        With serious development solar thermal fuels and power will cost substantially less than current petroleum

        Does this work in Minnesota, and how does it work at night? I call BS.

      • randomengineer
        Please engage brain before opening mouth as wasting bandwidth.

        The area required for solar power is very small relative to earth’s deserts. See Energy from the desert

        Having lived in Minnesota, most buildings are very poorly insulated. In a well insulated building, the people and energy use within the building provide most of the heat required, even in a Minnesota winter. See “Zero energy buildings”;
        Built Environment at the Rocky Mountain Institute etc.

        Long term thermal storage is another option.

        Though Paul Bunyan logged off the Dakotas, there is still a lot of biomass in Minnesota to adequately heat most homes if they were well insulated.

        Try some systematic engineering and due diligence for a change.

      • >(I still have all 10 of my digits.)<

        I still have 20 … and mine hair is not escaped either :)

        Where are your feet ?

        And your post further down, with the Wiki reference to solar renewabubbles. How does that work for a city like, say, Shanghai, exactly ?

      • randomengineer

        David Hagen — Please engage brain before opening mouth as wasting bandwidth.

        I’ll try harder next time. I hadn’t realised that all of this is possible merely by replacing every building in the state, which is eminently practical.

      • randomengineer re “merely by replacing every building”
        Since you consider that “eminently practical”, consider how much more practical and cheaper it would be to very highly insulate existing buildings. You could even add more layers of clothes or use warmer clothes!

      • randomengineer

        David — …consider how much more practical and cheaper it would be to very highly insulate existing buildings.

        In all seriousness one of the things I created at my job is software that lets you design buildings with minimal energy footprint. One of the tricks is orientation and roof pitch vs location; (e.g.) roofing steel mfg’s offer standing seam product with special IR reflectivity paint colouring which allows you design for minimal (or maximal) heat buildup in the roofing system which translates directly to air-conditioning or heating energy use. Passive design works. The problem of course is getting builders to do this in an industry where the average familiarity with electronic devices is limited to locating the ON button. (They have the office staff send invoices, which is their perception of computers.) When I snark about practicality, it’s not an ideological or theoretical argument.

      • randomengineer
        Re: “design buildings with minimal energy footprint.”
        Thanks. For optimal design, make sure that you include the reduction in “balance temperature” and thus in the effective “degree days” that apply as you increase insulation. That is due to the increasing portion of internal energy (people and lights etc) to total heating energy needed.
        Hagen, D.L. “Optimum Insulation with Internal and Solar Heat Gains.” The Sun: Mankind’s Future Source of Energy. Proceedings 7th International Solar Energy congress, Paper No. 1072, Session 42-2, New Delhi, India, Pergamon Press, January 16-20, 1978.

      • ian8888
        Re “I still have 20 … and mine hair is not escaped either”
        Looks like I will have to practice counting beyond my fingertips!
        Reminds me of the shepherd who counted hooves and divided by four to figure out how many sheep he had!

    • ian (not the ash)

      It is also important to put “environmental impacts” in context of coming events (whether interpreted as physical or symbolic) and to recognize and address their causes. The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, …

      Your quote confuses me somewhat. How is humankind suppose to address the causes of the events as outlined in Revelation? If, as most evangelical Christians believe, the Bible is the inerrant word of God, they would surely concur that whatever is written will come to pass, would they not?

  17. The Climate-gate of Fear is Vanishing Tonight !

  18. “John: But isn’t there much to fear about the Anthropocene?”
    There seems to be scientific doubt about Michael and Ted’s (too willing?)acceptantance of a new geologicla epoch:
    “So is this science or is it a sham? Finney questions how relevant the geological time scale is to the Anthropocene. In 100,000 years from now, people will not be digging the strata to find out about the world as it was in 2011, he argues. People in the future will use recorded human history to look back to this time. The Anthropocene may be a useful general term, Finney says, but it has no place on the official stratigraphic time scale.
    It seems that The Anthropocene may be yet another life-ring eagerly snatched at by radical environmentalism trying to avoid the “killing” ;-)

    • Also, lets not forget Lystrosaurus, whose dominance was almost complete but did not lead to a Lystrosaurocene Epoch:
      “Lystrosaurus is notable for dominating southern Pangea during the Early Triassic for millions of years. At least one unidentified species of this genus survived the end-Permian mass extinction and, in the absence of predators and of herbivorous competitors, went on to thrive and re-radiate into a number of species within the genus, becoming the most common group of terrestrial vertebrates during the Early Triassic; for a while 95% of land vertebrates were Lystrosaurus.This is the only time that a single species or genus of land animal dominated the Earth to such a degree” – BBC: Life Before Dinosaurs

      • Finally, the Anthropocene was hardly like the Lystrosaurocene (here at 17:00 mins)

        One can play the Anthropocene game too with: earthworms, beetles (Huxley’s favourite), sheep (20 billion today), prokayotes making up 90% of our current Earth’s biomass. And lets not forget cyanobacteria in our ancient seas pumping out huge amount of deadly oxygen 3.0 to 1.8 billion years ago. The resulting Banded Iron Formations are now found all around the world. Oxygen’s corrosive effect doomed many shallow sea prokaryotes at that time.

        One wonders if the currently popular environmentalist Anthropocene Epoch is a modern throwback to pre-Copernican days: Earth at the centre of our solar system now replaced with humans controlling life on earth. Hubris again?

  19. Modernization (i.e. the development of new technologies) to “reduce the risks of the Anthropocene” ?

    How about simply to improve the quality of life of the billions of people who have not yet had access to a low cost energy infrastructure based on (oops!) fossil fuels, as we have enjoyed in the industrially developed nations?

    Fossil fuel resources are not unlimited; yet we are not about to run out of them for some time either, according to the WEC.

    They will be undoubtedly continue to be instrumental in helping billions in the industrially developing nations, like China and India, achieve a quality of life such as we enjoy today, as well as helping those who live in nations that have not yet started this development process.

    But we all know that they will be replaced by something else some day within the next 200 years or so, and that “something else” will not be solar or wind power, as we know them today.

    Nor is it likely that it will be conventional nuclear fission, due to the spent fuel disposal problem plus the many political hurdles this technology faces today.

    The development of new technologies of the future will come, as it always has, through human innovation and market factors, not to “reduce the risks of the Anthropocene”.




    • That depends on what you mean by “conventional nuclear fission”. The technical problems are solvable economically. I’m not going to be so vain as to say which gen IV technology will be the winner. The political hurdles will be much more formidable.

      • Our Friend, Atomkraft.

      • Atom Ant will save us from the Asteroid of Death.

      • P.E.

        Point well taken. IMO the latest generation of operating nuclear power plants (such as those employed by EdF in France) are “conventional nuclear fission”.

        I would not classify fast breeder reactors using thorium (for example) as “conventional nuclear fission” technology.

        But, living in Switzerland, I see that the nuclear scare tactics of the past and the post-Fukushima hysteria provoked by green lobby groups and a disaster-hungry mainstream media have worked well on the populations (and politicians) of most Western European nations (except France), and that it is extremely unlikely that “conventional nuclear fission” technology will play a major role in these countries for decades to come, despite the fact that this technology is completely competitive economically with coal (with no carbon tax).

        As it currently stands I believe that even the new fast-breeder technology would have major political resistance, despite the fact that this technology would essentially eliminate the spent fuel problem..

        France will most likely to continue to go its own way and remain a leader in nuclear technology, possibly becoming the major electrical power generator for all of Europe.

        Other nations, like Germany (and the UK?) will give lip service to (and squander millions for) “alternative” solutions (like wind and solar) wiithout a clear energy plan for the future. But then there will always be France as a supplier, across the Rhine (or Channel).


      • Max,

        You being in denial of the reality of climate change doesn’t make that reality disappear — your ignorance is not a superpower.

        Whether you use wind, solar, nuclear, or some other solution or combination of solutions, burning fossil fuels without constraint for the next century is not an option. The death and impoverishment that would bring is staggering.

        You can try and sell your crusade against reality as concern for the poor . . . but you’re not very persuasive.

      • Robert

        You write:

        burning fossil fuels without constraint for the next century is not an option. The death and impoverishment that would bring is staggering.

        Skip the hyperbole and come with some evidence to support such a silly notion.


        PS The “constraint” will not come from taxing carbon, Robert. It will come from the development of new, truly competitive technologies as the authors suggest.

      • “Skip the hyperbole and come with some evidence to support such a silly notion.”

        Educate yourself and don’t come crying to me for free tutoring.

        I recommend William Nordhaus’ estimates as a good starting point.

      • Robert: Educate yourself and don’t come crying to me for free tutoring.

        This laughable attempt at a put-down is a sure sign Robert has no answer himself, but nevetheless refuses to change his mind.

      • Punk,

        I do not waste my time with weaponized ignorance.

        If you want to invest your time educating manacker on the subject, be my guest.

        Of course, if you also chose to be ignorant, that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t change the facts.

      • Robert: I do not waste my time with weaponized ignorance.

        You do little else. Your refusal to debate is de facto proof you have no answer, but won’t admit it.

      • Ignorance, real or pretended, of the basic scientific facts, is a dishonest debating tactic.

        Max demanded evidence of harm from BAU emissions. Projections of that harm are everywhere. If he is truly unaware of them, he’s staggeringly ignorant. If he’s merely pretending to be as a way of wasting time, he’s dishonest.

        If he had said “I think the estimates of a large net harm from BAU are wrong; here are some arguments why” I’d be happy to debate that. But simply ignoring all of the existing evidence and asking people to educate you as to the basic facts (which you will then predictably reject on some pretense or another) is a slimy, shady, transparently dishonest tactic.

      • The only devious and dishonest person here is you Robert – your laughable air of superiority and masturbatory self-importance, your refusal to debate, your assumed possesion of facts and understanding you decline to provide references to – all make this very clear indeed.

      • Oh, I’d say I debate rather effectively, given your sputtering semi-hysteria.

        I just debate honestly; I don’t get sidetracked by the dishonest games of deniers.

        Make an argument and I may debate it. Profess ignorance and I will acknowledge your ignorance as such — nothing else is required.

      • That’s the ticket Robert, keep preening yourself. And if noone else asserts your great worth, just keep doing it yourself.
        But if you ever do tire of endlessly admiring yourself, try actually engaging with somebody sometime.

      • I hope that the Swiss are not opposing nuclear power for fear of tsunamis.

      • Robert

        You speak of “projections of harm” to be expected from AGW.

        That is not what I have requested you to provide. These are meaningless.

        I have asked for “evidence” of harm from AGW to support your statement:

        burning fossil fuels without constraint for the next century is not an option. The death and impoverishment that would bring is staggering.

        You have so far not brought any such evidence, so I have to assume that you were simply bloviating. Right?


      • Robert,

        You cited a study by William Nordhaus to support your statement:

        burning fossil fuels without constraint for the next century is not an option. The death and impoverishment that would bring is staggering.

        Presumably this is the study, to which you have referred:

        Let’s go through this study. First, some bases and caveats:

        On the side of climate damages, our knowledge is very meager. For most of the time span of human civilizations, global climatic patterns have stayed within a very narrow range, varying at most a few tenths of a degree Centigrade (°C) from century to century. Human settlements, along with their ecosystems and pests, have generally adapted to the climates and geophysical features they have grown up with. Economic studies suggest that those parts of the economy that are insulated from climate, such as air-conditioned houses or most manufacturing operations, will be little affected directly by climatic change over the next century or so.

        OK. So those who live in the developed world will not be affected by the projected future climate changes. Presumably this includes you, Robert, so you can breathe easy.

        However, those human and natural systems that are “unmanaged,” such as rain-fed agriculture, seasonal snow packs and river runoffs, and most natural ecosystems, may be significantly affected. While economic studies in this area are subject to large uncertainties, the best guess in this study is that economic damages from climate change with no interventions will be in the order of 2½ percent of world output per year by the end of the 21st century. The damages are likely to be most heavily concentrated in low-income and tropical regions such as tropical Africa and India. While some countries may benefit from climate change, there is likely to be significant disruption in any area that is closely tied to climate-sensitive physical systems, whether through rivers, ports, hurricanes, monsoons, permafrost, pests, diseases, frosts, or droughts.

        But those in the underdeveloped world will be more heavily impacted, according to Nordhaus.

        Nordhaus is, in effect, making a strong statement in favor of the economic and industrial development of the currently underdeveloped nations (such as China, India, etc.) and their billions of inhabitants.

        It is precisely this development, based on the increased use of fossil fuels, which will account for most of the future growth in human CO2 emissions, at the same time providing these populations the immunity from harm resulting from the projected future climate changes!

        Nordhaus then describes some of the model approaches used:

        For most of the sub-models of the DICE model, such as those concerning climate or emissions, there are multiple approaches and sometimes heated controversies. In all cases, we have taken what we believe to be the best guess or the scientific consensus for the appropriate models, parameters, or growth rates. In some cases, such as the long-run response of global mean temperature to doubling of atmospheric CO2, there is a long history of estimates and analyses of the uncertainties. In other areas, such as the impact of climate change on the economy, the central tendency and uncertainties are much less well understood, and we have less confidence in the assumptions. The quantitative and policy implications of uncertainties are addressed at the end of this Summary.

        And, discusses the discount rate used in the DICE model studies:

        The approach in the DICE model is to use the estimated market return on capital as the discount rate. The estimated discount rate in the model averages 4 percent per year over the next century.

        This is a rather low discount rate, but would seem reasonable if a similar rate of GDP increase is assumed. Nordhaus then introduces the “social cost of carbon”:

        One of the key concepts in the economics of climate change is the “carbon price,” or more precisely, the price that is attached to emissions of carbon dioxide. One version of a carbon price is the “social cost of carbon.” This measures the present value of additional economic damages now and in the future caused by an additional ton of carbon emissions. We estimate that the social cost of carbon with no emissions limitations is approximately $30 per ton of carbon for our standard set of assumptions.

        The ”additional economic damages caused by an additional ton of carbon emissions” is estimated at $30 per ton, but no calculation is shown as to how this was estimated. What are these damages? How were they caused by CO2 emissions? Who suffered them? [All unanswered questions.]

        The social cost per capita of all CO2 emissions for the United States would be about $150 per person (5 tons of carbon x $30 per ton). From an economic point of view, this is an “externality,” meaning that the driver or household is imposing these costs on the rest of the world today and in the future without paying the costs of those emissions.

        Since the basic assumption for the “$30 per ton of carbon” is not founded on any hard data, the arithmetic projection is also meaningless.

        Furthermore, why should the American car driver or household be any different from a Chinese factory town? The “ton of CO2” generated by one is no different from the ton generated by the other, especially since the economic development of countries like China and India is expected to account for most of the future growth in CO2 emissions.

        Then we get to the assumptions made on CO2 emissions growth and resulting temperature increase. This is where Nordhaus’ estimates start to become hairy-fairy.

        The present study begins with an analysis of the likely future trajectory if no significant emissions reductions are imposed, which we call the “baseline case.” Our modeling projections indicate a rapid continued increase in CO2emissions, with the emissions rate increasing from 7.4 billion tons of carbon per year in 2005 to 19 billion tons per year in 2100. The model’s projected carbon emissions imply rapid growth in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 – concentrations are estimated to increase from 280 parts per million (ppm) in pre-industrial times, to 380 ppm in 2005, and reach 685 ppm in 2100. Measured mean global surface temperature in 2005 increased 0.7 °C relative to 1900 and is projected in the DICE model to increase by 3.1 °C in 2100 relative to 1900. While the longer run future is subject to very great uncertainties, the DICE model’s projected baseline increase in temperature for 2200 relative to 1900 is very large at 5.3 °C. The climate changes associated with these temperature changes are estimated to increase damages by almost 3 percent of global output in 2100 and close to 8 percent of global output in 2200.

        OK. Let’s forget about projections that go to “2200”. These have about as much of a chance of having any validity as a projection of human carbon emissions made for today 190 years ago, or in 1820.

        Even projections for as far out as 2100 are fraught with extreme uncertainty, especially if they are based on IPCC model simulations, as are those of Nordhaus. The IPCC models are not even able to project the CO2 temperature response for one single decade. [A warming of 0.2°C per decade was projected by the models; the actual record showed a cooling of around 0.04°C for the first decade of the new millennium.] IOW the models not only got the magnitude of the change wrong, they even got the sign wrong!

        [Nordhaus wrote this study in 2005, before it became clear that the IPCC model projections had failed, so he can be excused for this lack of knowledge. But it points out why his model-based projections are not supported by the physical observations.]

        But let’s take a look at Nordhaus’ bases:

        CO2 was at 380 ppmv in 2005.

        Nordhaus uses an IPCC projection of 685 ppmv by 2100.

        This is roughly equivalent to IPCC model-based “scenario and storyline A1B (~700 ppmv CO2 by 2100), for which IPCC has estimated 2.8°C warming (over the 1980-1999 average) and which is based on “very rapid economic growth”, population peaking at 9-10 billion and no “climate initiatives”.

        To reach this CO2 level the exponential rate of increase (CAGR) has to increase 150% from the past 0.42% to 0.63% per year (a very doubtful prediction).

        The more realistic IPCC “scenario and storyline” B1 is based on “moderate economic growth” (other assumptions same as A1B) and an exponential increase in atmospheric CO2 of 0.45% per year CAGR to 580 ppmv by 2100. On this basis the IPCC models assume a temperature increase of 1.8°C by 2100.

        Since both temperature increases are based on a baseline of 1980-1999 and the 2005 avearage (when Nordhaus made his study) was around 0.2°C higher than the baseline value, one should reduce the warming estimates by this amount.

        So IPCC would tell us the increase from 2005 to 2100 would be 1.6° to 2.6°C (or 2.1±0.5°C).

        But, wait a minute! Nordhaus is comparing temperatures “relative to 1900”. Let’s get serious. Nordhaus wasn’t even around in 1900 – and there is certainly no evidence whatsoever that the average global temperature in 1900 was more beneficial for mankind than that of 2005, so why use this as a baseline?

        If ”measured mean global surface temperature in 2005 increased 0.7 °C relative to 1900” and Nordhaus estimates that it ”is projected to increase by 3.1°C in 2100 relative to 1900”, we have a Nordhaus projection for 2100 of 2.4°C (compared to an IPCC projection of 2.1±0.5°C).

        Now comes the totally unsubstantiated arm-waving part: ”The climate changes associated with these temperature changes are estimated to increase damages by almost 3 percent of global output in 2100”



        What damages?

        To whom?

        This report is an arm-waving doomsday prediction dressed up as an economic study, Robert.

        The reports warns of an almost 3% reduction in GDP by 2100 but nowhere does even this since outdated study warn us of ”the staggering death and impoverishment” that “burning fossil fuels without constraint for the next century” would bring, as you conjure up.

        It’s only a hobgoblin in your mind, Robert – so don’t be frightened.


  20. “The ecological thinkers assembled in Love Your Monsters argue that environmentalism, in its failure to evolve, has become an obstacle to addressing these challenges.”

    Since when do progressive programs of any type “evolve?” They grow, certainly, but actually change? That is one of the main problems with central planning. When the government runs the industry (including the research industry), it is virtually incapable of changing. Bureaucrats make the decisions. Failure is irrelevant, because their position is not tied to their productivity. It is instead a function of their political position.

    If a capitalist enterprise fails, it goes bankrupt (as long as the government central planners stay out of the way). If a government enterprise fails, it just keeps on growing and failing. The East German government didn’t care that Trabant’s were useless. There was no competition. Similarly, the IPCC and US EPA don’t care how poorly their climate models perform, or how thoroughly debunked their wildest claims are. They too face no competition. Their budgets are a function of their politics, not their results.

    Evolution is harsh. In the real world of evolving species, it is accomplished by millennia of deaths. In an economy, by creative destruction. If you stop either process, evolution (change) stops. That is why progressive economies, over time, never work.

    That is also why “environmentalism” will go through an unending series of re-framings, but will never really change. Progressives just can’t help themselves.

    • randomengineer

      You can shorten your post here just by referencing The Iron Law of Bureaucracy (from Pournelle) as this is what you are describing.

      • randomengineer,
        Thanks for introducing me to Pournelle’s iron law of bureaucracy. I looked it up online, and I have to agree completelyIt describes most government agencies to a tee, as well as quite a few NGO’s.
        Leave it to an SF writer to bring truth to the masses!

      • I looked at the Iron Law, and can’t say I agree. I don’t believe there are just two kinds of bureaucrats. There are certainly those who are altruistic, and some who are “dedicated to the organization itself.” But the most dangerous kind are those who are dedicated not to the public, nor the organization, but to themselves.

        The most dangerous kind understands the nature of bureaucracy, and uses it to accumulate power. This type craves power, and supports the growth of the agency only so long as it contributes to his own continued rise. These are the ones who ultimately take control of bureaucracies, not the drones who populate the DMV.

        Stalin, Lenin, Mao, didn’t give a damn about their governments or parties, except as instruments of their own lust for power.

        It was fear of centralization of power, and what those with the lust for power would do with it, that lead the founders of the US to divide government in so many ways to diffuse it: separation of powers; federalism; two legislative houses; the electoral college. The left’s mad rush to centralize power, and tear down those constitutional impediments in their way, is a path to despotism, whether the current crop of progressives intend it or not.

        To quote from one of my favorite movies, A Man For All Seasons: “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?”

        The laws being referred to were those that restrained government, by the way, not economics.

      • No. The most dangerous are the ones dedicated to “the cause”. You can bribe the venal. You can’t bribe the fanatical.

      • P.E.,

        The only cause that Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao cared about was themselves. Yet they all were willing to subordinate their country, their party and their people to their own lust for power. Marxism for such men is a means to an end, nothing more. Ignore what they say, look at what they do. It is these wolves lurking among the bureaucratic sheep who pose the real threat.

      • And without the fanatics in their midst, they wouldn’t be able to get any traction, would they? What would Al Gore’s net worth be without his faithful?

      • GaryM, your views mesh with my long experience in government bureaucracies. I have a pro-market post further down. In competitive markets, where success and survival depend on providing a superior offer than your competitors, you can not get the degree of corrupt, self-serving bureaucracy that permeates modern governments.

  21. “We are a far more intelligent and humane species than we were 100 years ago—not to mention 200,000 years ago! ”

    For those who are skeptical about the accuracy of this statement as a generalization of trend lines, I encourage you to read Goldstein, Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide (Dutton 2011) and/or Pinker, the Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking 2011). The empirical support for their conclusions is an eye-opener. As summarized by the AP report on their books, “Statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder and all sorts of mayhem.” Goldstein and Pinker recently collaborated on this joint article explaining their separate results –

    Best wishes for 2012.


  22. Technology is definitely a large part of the answer, but there always needs to be a little caution in the hope that whatever screw-up we cause, there will be some techno-fix just down the road that will make evereything OK.

    The last post might have something to say about this one. There is a context here too, even for the most gloriously high-tech solution. One only has to look at the regular commenters here to see it – hysterical opposition to even naming the problem, let alone doing some thing about it. The usual coalition of libertarians and free-market ideologues will be foaming at the mouth about their taxes and ‘big government’.

    • randomengineer

      Technology is the *only* answer because this is the baseline of humanity and has been so since the discovery that fire could be made purposefully. Without technology (from fire to mars rockets) man would be throwing excrement and foraging. Man is nothing without his technology.

      • I’ll take that a step further. Man is defined by technology. All that art and science and philosophy stuff came later, and and only exists because technology frees humans to do it. The alternative model is to have slaves free intellectuals to do their things.

        The relationship between science and technology is also a rather recent thing. Edison had a 6th grade education. Most technology up until about 100 years ago didn’t come from universities, but from workshops. Much invention is still more ingenuity than science. Or as Edison said, 2% inspiration, and 98% perspiration.

        So the epiphany here is that maybe it’s a good idea for intellectuals to cease and deist biting the hand that feeds them.

      • Edison had a 6th grade education.

        Yes, but Edison was home-schooled. I know of a several home-schoolers who mastered university level calculus in ‘elementary’ school. A lot of ground can be covered by students learning as quickly as they wish.


      • Oops. Those ‘home-schoolers’ were actually self-schoolers.

      • Given that we would all be pretty hungry by this time without the Green Revolution, perhaps the anti-intellectuals might want to reflect on who is feeding them.

      • The problem is the technology we need is not sexy technology. It is the ho hum fire, water and waste disposal technologies. So the EPA drops the big shoe and 28 gigaWatts of Coal powered ho hum electric bites the dust.

        “So if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them…”
        – Barack Obama speaking to San Francisco Chronicle, January 2008

        With existing technology, the plant closing near Jacksonville, FL could be upgraded to burn 30% sustainable fuel, garbage, provide process hot water for paper manufacturing so Sheryl Crow has two sheet wipe privileges and meet the EPA standards. But who would invest in responsible use of natural resources with Obama’s threat hanging over their head?

        With a guaranteed 50 year exemption from Obamacide. The plant would be further upgraded to produce cellulose ethanol from forestry byproducts. But it still needs at least 50% coal or petroleum coke to maintain a consistent burn with biomass supplemental fuel.

        Of course, political ideology has nothing to do stopping affordable, responsible interim solutions now until the energies of the future arrive :(
        Unless the technology isn’t sexy enough.

      • The context problem is exemplified in the light bulb debacle in the US – the introduction of new energy efficicent technology is stymied by conservative troglodytes with a political axe to grind.

      • randomengineer

        Interesting. As far as I know these alleged troglodytes have yet to close a “new energy efficient technology” factory, retail outlet, or otherwise impede in the sale or implementation thereof. As far as I know what the troglodytes have been on about, on the contrary, are panty wetting wannabe dictators (who refer to them as troglodytes, amazingly) who want to stop them from buying plain incandescent bulbs.

      • So we haven’t been introduced to CFLs? That’s odd. What’s that curly thing over there lighting up the room?

      • “conservative troglodytes”

        “Michael”, don’t make us go “Robert” on your “Joshua” arse.


      • I WANT MY LIGHTBULBS BACK!!!111!!!!1!!!!!!1

        Not to mention my exploding Pintos. lead paint, asbestos insulation, and leaded gasoline.

        And what’s up with those energy efficient appliances?


      • Heh.

        Should have researched the exploding Pintos first:

      • random,

        doesn’t your comment here just go to show that your earlier remark that ‘technology is the only answer’ is missing something rather important?

        Some people choose to not only ignore but attack a technology where they perviece some kind incompatability with their word view.

      • randomengineer

        Some people choose to not only ignore but attack a technology where they perviece some kind incompatability with their word view.

        Indeed. One can only but conclude that you were once savaged by an incandescent light bulb.

      • That’s probably random’s way of conceding the point.

        Getting back to the post; this is the weakness in the N&S proposition.
        While they claim to breaking from some naive enviromentalism typified by a focus on conservation of wilderness, in reality they aren’t moving past this, just swapping it for a naive technologism – not only will high tech solutions come into being they will be accepted and fully utilised. The humble light bulb begs to differ.

      • randomengineer

        That’s probably random’s way of conceding the point.

        Umm, no, that’s random’s pwnage of you. The point is that energy efficient devices and technologies will be adopted when they are cheaper and more effective for the buyers. It always happens. It’s called a free market. I guarantee that if it cost $100 to convert a pickup to run on tap water and the driver would get 100 mpg using it, there would be no troglodytes protesting for the good old days of gasoline. Benighted troglodytes cause commotion only when their enlightened betters impose “solutions” to “problems” as opposed to simply letting the troglodytes figure out what’s less expensive for themselves. Capiche?

      • random,

        high efficiency bulbs are already cheaper – hence the very sensible move to adopt their usage.

        In the efficient market fantasy, incandescents have gone the way of the dodo. But human psychology plays a part, and the higher purchase price of the high-tech bulb overshadows the much lower life-time cost.

        The lesson – technology is not a sure thing in the battle over ideology and pig-headedness.

      • The problem is AGW believers on one hand shutting down power plants for background levels of mercury while forcing us to pit much more mercury in our homes. And the net effect on our home power use is minimal. But the impact on our power grid will be large. This thread of ignorance runs through the AGW in every policy push they make.

      • Incandescent light bulbs should be phased out automatically by consumer demand if and when other technologies prove to be more economical or provide more agreeable light.

        Government bureaucrats should keep out of the equation as they have nothing to contribute.

        It’s just that simple.


      • Take Econ 101 and learn what a “negative externality” is.

      • “Negative externality”=Robert “the Idiot” Tracker.

      • Robert instead of Econ 101 you should think basic math, the significant digit thing :)

      • randomengineer

        michael — In the efficient market fantasy, incandescents have gone the way of the dodo.

        Not when there are people sensitive to CFL flicker. Not when CFL’s aren’t suitable or demonstrably more efficient for a given job, e.g. instant on in closets, outdoor entry lighting in MN winter weather, premature burnout in fixtures with crap ventilation, not fitting into fixtures you already own, especially antique ones. Soon enough LED’s will probably address these things, and as they become cheaper people will replace old incandescents with them. But there are still plenty of legit uses of plain old light bulbs. “The market” isn’t currently restricted to moderate climates, agreeable lamp fixtures, and humans that aren’t sensitive to lamp colouring and flicker. When better alternatives are clearly extant people will stop buying incandescents, not until.

        robert — negative externality

        This is the Lewis Carroll phrase, which means precisely what the user wants it to mean. A “negative externality” of CFL bulbs is tens of thousands of humans developing instant headaches due to the perception of flicker. Another is calculating end to end cost when proper disposal is factored in, e.g. users can’t toss them in the garbage, and have to drive these to a special location. There’s gas being used that wouldn’t be otherwise, oh my. Outside academia “negative externality” is covered by the troglodyte approved concept of “reality,” and despite your disbelief, troglodytes can do arithmetic and also have a primitive notion of what they’re willing to put up with.

      • “This is the Lewis Carroll phrase, which means precisely what the user wants it to mean.”

        Tell it to Hayek:

        In reality this is a basic concept in economic theory. Your not knowing what it means doesn’t make it meaningless.

        “A “negative externality” of CFL bulbs is tens of thousands of humans developing instant headaches due to the perception of flicker.”

        That’s incorrect. Would you like to try again?

      • randomengineer

        Robert, everyone knows (even trogs) negative externality = social cost, and Hayek’s use of the concept is to show cases where social costs outweigh any good. Screeching nanny wanabes use the concept so as to highlight any possible negative of anything and make this appear as an educated and scientific analysis, hence it means what they want it to mean. Meanwhile there isn’t anything that doesn’t have a downside somewhere or at some point. Look up TANSTAAFL.

      • Michael, lots of new technology has been introduced over the years, but congress does pass laws in favor of one. No laws were passed barring the use of an abacas when the slide rule came along nor were slide rules out lawed when the hand held calculator was invented. Should congress pass a law getting rid of CFL’s when LED is perfected? Congress should stay out things like this. Whether we are troglodytes or not is irrelavant we are a free people not wanting to be ruled like serfs, but allowed to make these decisions on our own. Or does freedom scare you? Afraid you might make a wrong choice.

      • There is supposed to be a NOT in “does pass laws in favor” of my last post. RTFQBA does apply in posting.

      • @RE

        Your 1st guess — negative externality is “tens of thousands of humans developing instant headaches due to the perception of flicker.” Incorrect.

        2nd guess — The negative externality is the same as the social cost — you’re getting warmer, but definitely wrong.

        3rd guess — negative externality is “a downside somewhere or at some point” — getting cooler now.

        Do you want another guess?

    • I posted this also in the comments on week in review, excellent article

      • Antnee Watts gives Andy Revkin kudos on this one. Hang in there, Slugger.

      • kim

        It’s a revolutionary new concept in climate science, so far essentially unknown in IPCC reports, known as “physical observations”.

        These are more “ornery” than model simulations because (unlike the models) they are unpredictable.


    • Josh, that methane on the Arctic was produced by Rudolf; send the methane tax bill to Santa

  23. This looks to me little more than an intentionally deceptive new coat of paint on the old, familiar eco-fascism – more taxes and state controls, a further expansion of the totalitarian welfare state; an unholy alliance of greens with die-hard communists.

    This much is clear from slippery comments about not “abdicating responsibility” to “Nature or the Market”. No mention of of the state there of course, since advancing the totalitarian political agenda by abdicating responsibility to the state is the secret agenda here.

    Also clear from the comment that this veiled lurch into further totalitarian extremes is “likely to upset market fundamentalist conservatives”, ie people who espouse a free and consensual society.

    • Punksta,

      We are not doing to good with our current society of free market.
      Many new technologies depend on funding to be created and viably working.

      If the technology is too good, then the major players ignore it for the sake of what they have for the market that they encompass.

      Not a single power generation company is harness power by the individual molecular method. All are currently wasting vast amounts of energy by the current bulk harvesting. Profitability of keeping the prices high and subsidizing bad technology is not exactly a free market.

    • Joe’s World,
      (1) The state can only boost a given politically favoured sector of the economy by harming all others; subsidy for some can only come from taxes and other burdens on others. It cannot bring about a general improvement.

      (2) There is anyway no need for state funding of industry, including new technology. If a technology shows promise, there is an incentive to invest in it.

      (3) If existing major players ignore a new technology that challanges their hold on a market, they will soon cease being major players, losing out to companies that do embrace the new technology.

      (4) Having government ‘pick winners’ is a recipe for disaster, since it’s not their own money they are investing. They will inevitably be rash, and let other factors such as political ideology colour their judgement.

      • randomengineer

        (2) There is anyway no need for state funding of industry, including new technology. If a technology shows promise, there is an incentive to invest in it.

        Not necessarily true. I know from experience that builders can design buildings with minimal energy footprint for the same cost as buildings that are energy stupid, but they can’t be bothered to do this because it causes them more work depending on what they do for design.

        Many builders are so backwards that they can’t even calculate labour correctly; they estimate this as a factor of building length vs square footage and so on. Rarely is this close. And it doesn’t need to be; the builder typically over-estimates and pockets the difference.

        Basically, I’m saying that inexpensive and simple technology exists that can improve energy efficiency tremendously but **most** builders are still designing on paper and using PC’s solely for CAD to create the drawings that get stamped. There is no reason for them to use design software to get energy efficiency. They make their money whether or not a building is efficient (or even constructed correctly at all.)

        You would probably be shocked at the reality of how primitive that industry is.

      • randomengineer,

        Much of our technology is by trial and error.
        If it works, then it is created and mass produced with very little thought in how it actually works.
        New materials and new technology are introduced, yet many old areas still use very old technology.
        I took a completely unique approach by understanding the science of motion, angles of deflections, stored energy, centrifugal force, etc.
        I applied this to the current turbines of bulk harvesting and found many design errors of wear, friction points, stress points and motion changes compared with inertia. Our current turbines battle centrifugal force as they are rotating as the energy being introduced is from being applied to the circumference.

        I found how to split the energy field and twist it at the same time to follow the hemispheres velocity differences. Harvesting all the individual energy in ribbons inverted to the current designs.
        This uses 20 times less energy is more fragile to the current designs but with the current materials, it can hold up to the same timeframe as the current models of turbines.
        I created angles of deflections and tables showing how centrifugal force shifts density.
        This has been before many engineers that can only say that it will work but cannot say anymore about it except it being more fragile.
        This has been before the board of a hydro company that would be interested if industry would produce it.
        Industry says it is perfectly happy with their current growing client base and see no advantage in changing.

      • Joe’s World and RandomEngineer,

        You both continue to miss that companies that ignore technological progress will sooner or later get overtaken by companies that embrace it.

        And there no hope of govenments systematically picking viable new technogies that private institutions overlook, since governments are not risking their own money. To them it is just a game; if it fails they lose little or nothing. Or, worse, they just prop up failures with more tax money. (Like the supersonic Concorde aircraft – a technical delight, but an economic catastrophe. Rather like wind and solar power systems).

  24. Judith,

    My monsters are being too advanced in the current enclosed system that protects bad theories and bad policies. Pretending to advance…only to be slapped down by actual evidence that contradicts them.

  25. Judith Curry

    Personally, I have a bit of a problem with the term “Anthropocene”. It is a bit too arrogant in an anthropocentric way. We are only very slightly more “in charge” of our environment than we were 100 years ago, and probably much less so than we will be in 100 or 200 years.

    But back to the premise. You referred us back to an earlier thread.

    Most of Shellenberger and Nordhaus’ “Twelve Theses for a Post-Environmental Movement” still make sense today, as they did when they were formulated.

    Premises #1 through #9 are not too controversial, but in #10 S+N write:

    There is no credible path to reducing global carbon emissions without an enormous expansion of nuclear power. It is the only low carbon technology we have today with the demonstrated capability to generate large quantities of centrally generated electrtic power.

    This is undoubtedly true, but the authors add that Germany had reversed plans to phase out nuclear power, and suggest that many nations are now politically able to consider nuclear power as a low carbon alternate. This was written before the Fukushima hysteria, which has unfortunately (IMO) changed the prospects for nuclear power over the next decades dramatically.

    Nuclear power will not be the “silver bullet”. In fact, there is no economically viable non-fossil fuel “silver bullet” yet – although it is virtually certain that such an alternate will be developed over the next several decades, as the remaining fossil fuels become more difficult and expensive to extract.

    It is highly likely that this alternate will be developed by the same companies that are supplying the world with fossil fuels today.

    As Shellenberger puts it in the more recent interview:

    I worry that slow rates of innovation among renewables and popular fears of nuclear energy will mean continuing high uses of fossil fuels for decades to come.

    I personally believe that this is a fact of life, which we just have to accept today. The past fear-mongering against nuclear energy has taken its toll, and still out-trumps the more recent fear-mongering regarding AGW. The effect of the latter appears to have waned since Climategate, the past decade of “no warming” and growing skepticism regarding the science supporting the notion of potentially catastrophic AGW.

    In #11 this premise does not make sense to me:

    we will need to embrace again the role of the state as a direct provider of public goods.

    The contradicting statement that follows does, however:

    In the modern environmental imagination, government promotion of technology – whether nuclear power, the green revolution, synfuels, or ethanol – almost always ends badly.

    This is not only true ”in the modern environmental imagination”, it is inherently true that any government programs other than selected subsidies for basic research (examples mentioned by the authors) have turned out poorly.

    Other than performing its governmental responsibility of defending its citizens against inside and outside threats, the state should not become ”a direct provider of public goods” IMO unless it can do so more efficiently and economically than private industries (such as with public transportation, roads, etc.).

    Here is where the authors’ ”bigger is better” premise definitely does NOT apply.


    • Agreed, anyone who, like me, has advised Prime Ministers et al appreciates the necessity of cutting back the size and reach of government.

  26. This is not only true ”in the modern environmental imagination”, it is inherently true that any government programs other than selected subsidies for basic research (examples mentioned by the authors) have turned out poorly.

    Citation needed. This is an article of faith for libertarians, but rarely does one see it supported by anything other than anecdotal complaints about this or that government program, or slippery slope arguments (the Soviet system failed, therefore we must abandon the Interstate Highway system.)

    What is your evidence for the supposed “inherent[] tru[th]” that “any government programs other than selected subsidies for basic research . . . have turned out poorly”?

  27. The Greens are going after fracking. So much for modernization.

    One of my Yahoo group members reports this:
    “Here in New Brunswick we are seeing this very sort of battle in
    progress. Some people want to at least investigate whether fracking would
    yield worthwhile quantities of natural gas. At the same time a large bloc is
    opposing even seismic surveys that would at least indicate if there is the
    possibility that worthwhile quantities of gas exist under our feet. The
    latter group is dead set against permitting any sort of fracking operation
    in the province. The usual reason given is the drinking water supply, though
    I suspect that there is also a general fear of progress.”


    • Extracting and burning more fossil fuels is not progress.

      “Modernization” does not meaning doing whatever we have the technology to do, regardless of the risk.

      • Plentiful cheap energy is the heart of human progress, your Green nonsense notwithstanding. Our civilization is still built on fire. Going after fire was your downfall, but the “love your monsters” message is lost on you.

      • As long as we had fire, we had fear of fire. Improperly used, it can be destructive. Use properly, it is a boon. Some people can’t see the difference.

        Ditto for chemicals, electricity, nuclear fission, and the law.

      • “Plentiful cheap energy is the heart of human progress”

        Citation needed.

        “your Green nonsense”

        Most of the people who support action to fight climate change, including myself, would not be considered “Greens” by any objective definition. I am a big cheerleader for nuclear power, GMOs, and market incentives, for example.

        “Our civilization is still built on fire.”

        I could say something snarky here, but let me refrain.

      • Robert, feel free to cite me if you need a citation. Actually I love the fact that you greens took on fire. I feel like General Lee at Fredericksburg, saying “I can’t believe they are going to attack us here.”

        I watched your power grow relentlessly for years, but it was inevitable that you would go too far. Having a wonderful time, wish you were here.

      • I did not say I was Lee, just at Fredericksburg. I am savoring your “victories” at Copenhagen, Cancuun and Durban. If this is your idea of winning then please continue. Your cause is dying.

    • David –

      The Greens are going after fracking.

      Have you visited regions (e.g., along the PA/NY border) that are experiencing and/or targeted for growth in fracking?

      I do hope you realize that the group of people concerned about fracking comprises many members of those communities who aren’t “greens.”

      Sure, Greens are concerned about the safety of fracking, but “reductionist” rhetoric that equates opposition/concerns w/r/t fracking to extreme environmentalism reminds me of those who blame concerns about nuclear safety – even increased concern about nuclear energy post-Fukushima – on “greens.”

      Do you think that everyone with concerns about fracking has a “general fear of progress?”

      If not, why do you see fit to post that kind of perspective?

      • Joshua, the point of the story is that the professional greens are organizing against franking. With the collapse of CAGW they need a new target. Perhaps you should study them, instead of me, not that I mind.

      • David –

        1) The Greens don’t think that “CAGW” has collapsed – so why would they be in search of a “new target?” In fact, you often caution other “skeptics” that the battle isn’t over. Why are you now posting a comment with a contradictory implication?

        2) Once again, you quoted someone who claimed that opposition to fracking generally reflects a “fear of progress.” Why would you quote such an extremist position?

        3) It isn’t only “professional greens” that are organizing against fracking. It is also residents of communities where fracking is on the upswing who have no particular connection to Greens. Why is your focus so selective?

    • David,
      AGW beleivers and other losers would rather waste (other people’s money) on energy efforts that will never work, than to allow people to develop energy resources that do work.
      The extremist’s lie, that frakking is bad or dangerous, is easy to sell, just as is the lie that solar or wind will work in a practical way, except for a few more public dollars. People who are opposed to frakking are by definition extremists, because they are ignoring over 45 years of experience in frakking. sort of like the AGW true believers who have to ignore history to support their apocalyptic clap trap.

      • frakking is all about emitting even more carbon. I don’t think you understand what AGW is!

      • Actually, thanks to fracking we are shifting from coal to gas for juice making. This will reduce emissions growth, maybe even emissions. The greens should like this, but this sort of compromise is beyond them.

      • Simple stoichiometry tells you that methane has more BTU’s per ton of CO2 than coal. Think of methane as coal with hydrogen added. Lots of hydrogen. Switching from coal to natural gas for the same MW generated will have a very measurable reduction in CO2.

        And that’s not even looking at the other cats and dogs that may actually matter.

      • Of course you are right.

        There are a couple of things to bear in mind with that, PE.

        The first is that methane is, you know, methane. Meaning that if even a relatively small fraction of the gas is lost to the atmosphere in the process of bringing it to market (say 2-3%) the damage that methane does outweighs the savings in CO2. So it’s important to look at that carefully.

        Secondly, the lack of aerosols produced when burning methane (which is a good thing, for sure, in terms of human health) means that in the short-term (decades), you may not see any benefit in terms of warming, as falling aerosol emissions contribute to short-term warming.

        Those are the two main reasons why the enthusiasm for natural gas as a low-carbon alternative to coal have waned in recent years.

      • Robert,

        There is no one perfect solution. I happen to agree with you that methane is not fracked up to what it is supposed to be :)

        The biggest question is what will be the transportation fuel of the future. Both natural gas and coal can be interim feed stocks for synfuels until some alternate energy rises above the rest.

        As nasty as it is, coal is decades ahead of natural gas, modern coal use in the developed countries is acceptably clean, and the ROW is going to use coal. Developing cleaner coal technology that can be sold or stolen by the ROW has a bigger bang for the buck and the environment than natural gas produced by any means.

        But, since natural gas was one of the darlings, it is a major part of our near future because natgas plants are cheap and quick to build.

        So since every thing is bad, what is the least bad for the next 30 years and may be a useful investment for the next 60 years?

        Wind and solar the ROW can’t afford? Nuclear we don’t want the ROW to have? Cleaner something else that be blended with biomass or trash to reduce overall impact?

      • Captain is a Peak Oiler but notice how he does not get viciously slammed because he is part of The Team (of AGW skeptics). Now you see how this all works.

  28. French Philosopher is an oxymoron.

    Intellectual life in France is like the peacocks plumes. Its a dysfunctional characteristic, whose possession shows that the bearer must be unusually fit to have survived despite having to carry it around. And which is triumphantly displayed on every possible occasion, largely to gain sexual prestige.

    The French should bring back duelling, it would be far cheaper for the rest of the world than to have to take post-modernism seriously, which is what they now seem to be demanding.

  29. The intro has a couple of comments on markets:

    1. Ted Nordhaus: My biggest fear is that outmoded, irrational and self-defeating ideologies about nature and the market will get in the way of humans making the shared investments in technological innovation required to be responsible earth stewards. I worry that slow rates of innovation among renewables and popular fears of nuclear energy will mean continuing high uses of fossil fuels for decades to come. …

    2. While Sagoff’s contribution is likely to upset market fundamentalist conservatives …

    Markets are very efficient devices for providing and processing information, for organising production and distribution of goods and services so as to allocate resources to their highest valued use and thus maximise community income. Their superiority to central planning and government direction is well attested. Whatever your aims for the future (unleess your aim is to destroy market mechanisms), they will be realised most effectively and efficiently by market mechanisms. This is not ideology, it has been proven over thousands of years all over the world. I don’t know who the “market fundamentalist conservatives” are, but markets have almost always been constrained by rules and regulations (often to the community’s detriment). To set them up as an extreme which hinders the solutions sought by Nordhaus is to fundamentally misunderstand market processes.

    • He got that exactly backward; people who assume that markets don’t self-correct are ideological, people who recognize that they do are empirical. When someone talks like that, what’s really going on is that they simply don’t like the truth that the market is signaling.

  30. “SpaceX CEO Elon Musk addressed the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. yesterday. The rocket company founder laid out his vision for humans becoming a multi-planet species…”

    Musk wants thousands of people living on Mars within a few decades.
    And he building rockets to do this.
    It’s about a crazy as Steven Jobs and wanting everyone to have a computer.
    I think the focus should be the Moon and the Moon would enable
    people going to Mars.
    The Moon has billions of tons of water, all which needed in near term-
    say before 2100 is about 1 million tons of lunar water to be mined.
    A couple thousand tonnes of mined lunar- would “change everything”.
    What you do with the water is split it into rocket fuel.
    If you have a thousand tons, or hundred tons of rocket fuel on the Moon, it means you have more than halved the cost of sending humans to the Moon.
    In other words, if it currently costs 100 million to send one crew to the Moon, at the present, than if there was rocket fuel on the Moon it would cost less than 50 million to send one crew to the Moon. And simply this is because one needs to currently bring rocket fuel to the Moon, in order to leave the Moon.
    Or one way tickets to Mars or the moon is half the cost.
    In Apollo program we were more landing rocket fuel truck on the Moon- and humans came along also.
    But that is just looking at very simply. It lower costs in other ways. You can use a smaller rocket to get crew to the Moon and you can reuse spacecraft- costing tens of millions. The US current has two families of rockets which could land humans on the Moon, Russian have one rocket, has does the European space agency. Without rocket fuel on the moon no nation has single rocket that get humans to the Moon. Currently without fuel on the moon, you use a number of larger rocket- dock them in space, and then go to the Moon. But to get crew to the Moon with one rocket, you need a Saturn V class rocket- which no one has at the moment.
    So with rocket fuel on the Moon, lots of parties using variety rockets can send humans to the Moon- more people can go.

    To review, if you use one rocket to send crew to the Moon, it has to be a Saturn V class rocket. The Saturn V lifted 5 times the payload of any existing rocket. A Saturn gross weight at lift off from earth was 6.6 million lbs- with about 90% of that mass being rocket fuel. Leaving around 10% of mass being the structure, fuel tanks, engines, and tiny mass of the crew. All rockets are this way- 90% of mass being rocket fuel. And all rockets use stages, the stage allow you to discard the structural mass [the 10% or less] used for certain amount of rocket fuel.
    For example:
    Saturn V first stage had gross mass of 5 million lbs- with 288,000 lb structural mass which it drops after using up the 5 million minus 288,000 lb of rocket fuel. This is so it doesn’t need to lift that 288,000 lb to orbit, which btw is a mass greater than the Saturn V can lift to orbit as payload. Or said differently if rocket had no payload it still could not reach orbit carrying that 288,000 lb of structural mass. [Or a single single to orbit [SSTO] has very small payload in comparison to total mass of any rocket. And SSTO is dream that spacenuts like to pursue. The Shuttle “was suppose to be that” as was the VentureStar [a planned shuttle repacement that got nowhere] obviously no one as been successful, but it doesn’t stop some people from wanting it. Mainly cause to don’t like wasting huge chunks of spacecraft. But I digress. ]
    Continuing, so Saturn V drops first stage, lights the rockets on stage stage and attains orbit. And has payload at LEO of around 100 tons [200,000 lb]. That payload is mostly rockets [rocket fuel] and of course the crew. And evenually gets it to lunar surface with vehicle call the LEM- 32,399 lb [mostly rocket fuel] :
    With rocket fuel on lunar surface, instead of 32,399 lb LEM, you have a vehicle which was about 10,000 lb and more than half of the total mass being rocket fuel. Btw SSTO from the Moon is dead simple.

    Now, we get to the interesting part. If you have lots of rocket fuel on the moon [mined swimming pools of water- and split it- or hundreds of tons],
    then you can export lunar rocket fuel to lunar orbit [or Earth/Moon L-1].
    This increases the market size for lunar water/lunar rocket fuel, and allows even a smaller rocket to be used to get to the Moon. Or carry a lot more payload to lunar surface. And allows more reuse of spacecraft.
    But this doesn’t just apply to getting to the Lunar surface. It also allows one to use a smaller rocket to get crew to Mars. Or more payload to Mars, Or more importantly I think, to get to Mars quicker.

    The market size determine whether lunar water and the making of rocket fuel can be done profitable. Far more important the price charged for the rocket fuel. If you sell enough rocket fuel [if there is enough demand for rocket fuel] than there is trillion dollars worth water on the Moon, and a trillion dollar market for electrical power [probably more important].

    And that is how one get by steps, to situation where all electrical power the earth needs can be gotten from space. And with low cost of electrical power in space- one gets industry in space using that power and making products first mostly fro use in space, and later exporting a lot to earth.
    And greens, worlds terraformed, and million of square miles of wild and we can dinosaurs and all kinds of stuff.

    • Or, alternatively, we could try a little harder not to f-up the planet we have.

      • My alternate, allows Earth to be a giant park or tourist destination, millions of years of all the power humans could use, for a population exceeding trillions.

      • Too easy Robert.

        Best to wiat till everything is undeniablely screwed and then look for some massively complicated solution.

    • But what about lunar warming?

    • Some details in terms of public costs [tax dollars] and private costs [investments- consumer costs- that they choose to spend to get some product].
      First what is currently spent per year. NASA latest budget is:
      “NASA announced Monday an $18.7 billion budget request for fiscal year 2012 ”
      So NASA budget has been roughly flat- despite talk of drastic cuts, but this happens every year.
      Military space spending involved “black programs”- they don’t want to mention how is spent- but roughly it’s about twice NASA’s yearly budget.
      And private sector the “space related business” is around 100 billion per year.
      So, to mine lunar water, what is needed in further exploration of the Moon, which mostly requires human presence.
      To get this in timely and sure manner, NASA should funded an additional 2 billion dollars per year, and directed to use this increased funding to increase timetable of lunar exploration AND to use fuel depots as part of the space exploration architect. And land crew on the Moon 2020 and complete this lunar exploration by 2025 and at latest crew landing on Mars by 2030.
      So costs is adding 2 billion per year for next 20 years: +40 billion.
      And total lunar program cost being less than 5 billion per year- say 3-4 billion for 2013 to 2025. And for Manned Mars adding another 1 billion per year that starting 2024 running probably beyond 2040.
      Without adding the 2 billion, the result will probably be NASA doing little or the next decade and continuing spent 18 billion per year. Basically wasting 180 billion and doing little, because NASA main cost is fixed- and currently spending 3 billion per year building rocket that few regard as necessary- the excuse offered is “maintaining private sector infrastructure” and is poor excuse and is actually pork barrel spending.
      NASA needs direction and needs enough funding to carry out whatever that direction requires. NASA would probably say it needs more than 2 billion, but that isn’t surprise. Nor should NASA be given 2 billion at the start, but needs re-organization and ramp up and needs to provide a map or plan it can provide to Congress indicating how it would be implemented if given additional 2 billion per year. Part of that plan should also indicate long term plans regarding ISS.
      In other words tax payer costs is minor.
      Once NASA has explored the Moon and found specific areas which are minable and providing details some of challenges that would need to be overcome.
      The private sector would have to potential of investing monies needed
      to conduct these types of operation. And before this point there will already exist a market for rocket fuel in space. NASA would “built it” by offering to buy rocket fuel in order to do it’s exploration of the Moon, and NASA will need same market to go to Mars.
      The cost of investment of private sector for making lunar rocket fuel would on the order of less than 10 billion dollars But there could other related lunar enterprises which could equal or exceed making rocket rocket.
      Any private interest which starts lunar mining, should bring other potential customer and/or vendors before spending billions investing- they need more customers than merely NASA. The details of this isn’t possible- you have Bigelow who no doubt in some manner would involved :
      You could have companies like Caterpillar or oil companies and mining companies involved. Probably new start up companies. You have companies which specialze in leasing/selling research space. You could company that assembles components of solar panels- ship just solar cell from earth, and make other components from lunar material. You have tourism. You probably will lunar sample return [lunar samples are worth more than price per oz of gold]. Doing all this lining up business, working contracts- this the work or anyone planning doing this kind of thing.
      But point is the private sector cost of investment could equal or exceed just to lunar mining and rocket rocket fuel investment. So somewhere
      around 20 billion for years 2024 to say 2030.
      One could have slow progress and slow production of rocket fuel.
      You could failure and bankruptcies- but that is normal. The potential
      upside could be rocket fuel is sold for less than 2000 per lb at lunar surface and 4000 per lb at lunar orbit [Earth/Moon L-1 and GEO].
      Pure silicon and Solar cells could made of the Moon,
      Simple fabricated Iron/steel can less than 100 per lb.
      Glass, aluminum, pure calcium [isn’t reactive on the Moon]
      There could large quantity of methane, and obviously hydrogen
      and oxygen can used for things other than rocket fuel.
      And one could have PGM [platinum group metals] mining and export to the Earth. And exploration for such minable metal could fair size business on the moon.
      At some point one could mega projects on the Moon- say beginning to develop by 2030. By mega projects I mean large telescopes [probably radio] and mass driver type means delivering bulk material like rocket fuel or ore off the Moon- which lower shipping cost to orbit to somewhere around $100 per lb or less range. Large finds of PGM could be a driver for this. And 2030 and later one have asteroid being directed into the Earth-Moon space [Cislunar]. If solar panel aren’t made on the Moon [or if nuclear energy isn’t used much] shipping water from the Moon using some kind mass driver [or cannon] might be done, as cost of electricity could cheaper in space as compared to lunar surface.

      Anyway a large telescope could be billions of dollars and may be something America tax payers may spend money- though it some other country. There could public buildings on the Moon- some sort of research related, library/shortage/backup record, or State dept/security type. One could have public exploration regarding large underground lunar caves. Related to this caves a mile underground would provide extremely secure storage.

      Anyways generally that the direction I mean.

  31. So let me see if I understand this : in lunar caves a mile underground, we’re to generate electicity from water mined there, which we then ship down to earth?

  32. “So let me see if I understand this : in lunar caves a mile underground, we’re to generate electicity from water mined there, which we then ship down to earth?”
    No, lunar water in lunar polar regions- permanent darkness at temperature at as low as 30 K. Near these dark craters there mountain peaks which are in near constant sunlight. One could generate solar energy at these higher areas.

    There some evidence that large caves could found on the Moon, there is lots of evidence of many lava tubes nearer the surface. No one has found lave tubes or or “geology” which suggest possibility of deep caves which near polar region. One doesn’t need lava tubes or caves for lunar settlements, though for long duration stays [years] one would need radiation shielding.
    Much of work on the Moon could done from teleoperation by tele-operators living on earth. But managing all operations on the Moon via teleoperation
    could be difficult and is not at all how teleoperation on Earth are conducted.

    So on the moon one would probably have much fewer people in the field as compared how these operations are conducted on earth.
    And crew members on the moon might rotate out every 6 months to year.

    After few years of operations, and after moon is “built up” people may stay longer on the Moon.

    And building structures on the Moon could out live the pyramids, but the ultimate in secure storage would mile under the surface- secure for billions of years- though millions or thousands of years would a very high probability and be enough for most purposes.
    Though who knows what could be in such such caves- it’s conceivable that there is water- but not likely. They could also given an atmosphere and thereby have “flying domes”- a lunar sport.

  33. Robert,

    Further up this thread, you cited a study by William Nordhaus to support your statement:

    burning fossil fuels without constraint for the next century is not an option. The death and impoverishment that would bring is staggering

    And I have pointed out to you that the Nordhaus study does not lend any credence to your fear.

    But let’s examine the logic used by Nordhaus.

    The study tells us:

    The climate changes associated with these [AGW-induced] temperature changes are estimated to increase damages by almost 3 percent of global input.

    The projected temperature increase is based on IPCC model-based “scenario and storyline” A1B, which (according to IPCC) is based on “a very rapid economic growth”, population peaking at about 9-10 billion and no climate initiatives.

    The assumed cumulative added carbon emission from 1990 to 2100 is 1,500 Gt. Global GDP is assumed to grow at a CAGR of 3% per year, from today’s $62.9 trillion to around $900 trillion by 2100.

    This is an increase of 1330%.

    On a per capita basis we would have an increase from today’s global annual average of around $9,000 today to an average of $95,000 by 2100.

    The very basis for the temperature projection assumes a “very rapid economic growth”, i.e. a dramatic increase in affluence of the world’s population, with most of this increase occurring in the economically underdeveloped nations of today.

    And AGW is going to cause a cumulated decrease in GDP of “almost 3%”?


    This projected impact is imperceptible and certainly not going to “bring staggering death and impoverishment” as you imagine.

    Fuggitaboudit Robert.


  34. Correction: should be “3% of global output (not “input”)…

  35. Max, I’ve made the point in CAGW debate many times that CO2 will only rise as projected if there is a huge rise in average incomes – and therefore the world’s capacity to deal with any eventualities. Not much doom and gloom there. Though I think that the IPCC scenario which showed South Africa’s GDP in 2100 as equal to world GDP in 1991 was not soundly based.

    Matthew Kahn has a comment on markets at He reports that the NYT recently reviewed two books that go on at length that the US SW is an unsustainable hell-hole that will soon suffer greatly because of climate change and doubt. “What is striking about the article is that it never mentions the price of water in Phoenix, Las Vegas or other Southwest cities. The Econ 101 solution to this real challenge is ignored.”

    Kahn reports official figures that the average Phoenix household consumes 136,000 gallons of water a year and pays $58 for it. Fifty-eight dollars! Less than half-a-cent a gallon! Kahn suggest that if the price is raised to 2 c/gal, drought will disappear.

    The cost of water would still be a very small part of household budgets, they can cut back or, if they don’t the city would have more than four times as much to spend on enhancing its water supply.

    You can’t rule out market-based solutions when you seek to deal with environmental problems, whether real or imagined.

    • Long before there is the actual capacity to impact the globe’s CO2 levels, it will be acknowledged that it’s a valuable and beneficent resource. Carbon credits will be replaced by carbon debits.

  36. It’s pathetic to read that in these dangerous years of Overshoot and Overheat we are now supposed to love such monsters and give up our even more pathetic efforts to reduce our enormous human footprint. My hunch is that Mother Nature will do the rebalancing for us, in a rather unpleasant way – floods, droughts, disease and famines being the usual way to cull the herd.

    • Extreme weather and the deaths therefrom have been going steeply down for about a century, with no end in sight. So sorry!

  37. Just so long as no “planners” get involved, or empowered. That’s the real menace of environmentalism. The ones now in place like the EPA need to be disembowelled and buried with wooden stakes in their hearts.