What can we do about climate change?

by Judith Curry

Do we have the resources (from, say, economics or ethics) to answer these sorts of questions?

The NYTimes Opinionator has published a very interesting interview What can we do about climate change?

The interviewer is Gary Gutting, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and an editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. He is the author of“Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy since 1960.”

The interviewee is Dale Jamieson, a professor of environmental studies and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future.”

Excerpts from the interview:

G.G.: So it seems that climate science can tell us that we should expect big problems but can’t say much about just what they will be or how best to respond to them. So how can we formulate a sensible plan of action?

D.J.: Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies — those that are likely to make sense whatever the future holds. For example, it makes sense to move people and critical infrastructure away from vulnerable areas.

G.G.: Mightn’t the costs of giving up coal and of using alternative fuels (maybe nuclear) be greater than the costs of continuing to use coal? Is it possible to be reasonably certain about the effects of such a major change?

D.J. The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination. The problem is distributional. Some people, including many poor people, gain short-term advantages from using coal. But distributional concerns are involved in all social policy decisions. The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.

G.G.: Apart from scientific questions about future climate change and the effectiveness of various ways of dealing with them, there remain questions about whether the sacrifices required would be greater than the evils they prevented. Here we need judgments not only about the scientific facts but also about what we should value (and how much). Do we have the resources (from, say, economics or ethics) to answer these sorts of questions?

D.J.: We have the resources for answering some of these questions but not others. Some decisions are more complicated and outrun our usual systems of decision making. For example, should we hold people responsible for climate change because of their ordinary but preventable emissions, such as those entailed by driving the kids to school in an S.U.V.? I think common-sense morality is at a loss when faced by questions like that, even when you supply a lot of detail about climate change.

How should we currently value damages to people who will live 500 years in the future? How should we value anthropogenic changes to the biosphere over that period of time? These questions outrun the resources of economics to make sensible evaluations.

G.G.: Do you have suggestions for coming to terms with such questions?

D.J.: I think we need to think ambitiously about what a morality would be like that was adequate to the problems we face in a high-population, densely interconnected world undergoing radical climate change. At the same time philosophers don’t invent moralities that people then go out and adopt. We need to figure out how people can act from within their existing moral psychologies in a way that is both more environmentally friendly and will help to give them meaning in a world that is so different from the one in which most of our values were created. I’ve tried to develop an account of the “green virtues” as a first effort in this direction.

G.G.: What are some of these “green virtues”?

D.J.: The ones I discuss in my book, “Reason in a Dark Time,” are cooperativeness, mindfulness, simplicity, temperance and respect for nature. They will not solve the problem of climate change on their own but they will help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating.

G.G.: What’s your view of the new movement toward international agreements aimed at CO2 reduction?

D.J.: International agreements matter but their importance is exaggerated. At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 most northern environmentalists thought the solution to climate change would be an international agreement that would bind countries and force them to behave. But we don’t live in a world in which such authority exists either external to nations or in their superegos. Most action on climate change will take place within regions, within countries, within communities, and in the hearts and minds of individuals. Once there has been enough change at these levels then effective agreements can be made. In a way the point is simple. When it comes to fundamental change law tends to follow politics and morality rather than leading them.

JC reflections

Both Gutting and Jamieson accept the IPCC conclusions, and even seem to think that ‘dangerous’ climate change is already happening.  So starting from that particular premise (with which I know many people here will disagree), Gutting and Jamieson bring some refreshing realism to debate on how we should think about climate change and what we should do about it.

Michael Oppenheimer tweets: Some grim common sense #ClimateChange from philosopher Dale Jamieson.  ‘Grim common sense’ is a good description – unfortunately, common sense seems very much absent in most aspects of this debate.

Some things that Jameson said that I like or find insightful:

  • Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies
  • The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.
  • I think common-sense morality is at a loss when faced by questions like that, even when you supply a lot of detail about climate change.
  • These questions outrun the resources of economics to make sensible evaluations.
  • We need to figure out how people can act from within their existing moral psychologies in a way that is both more environmentally friendly and will help to give them meaning.
  •  help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating.

I think this interview raises some fundamental issues, and reinforces my sense that philosophers (well some of them anyways) have important contributions to make to the climate change debate.

431 responses to “What can we do about climate change?

  1. Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies

    Here’s an idea: go ahead with no/low-regrets policies even while looking further at the science (of CO2 and its effects) and the potentials for more costly options.

    • What should we do about climate change?

      The first step is to recognize that there has never been any warming due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

      All of the “background” warming that has ocurred has been due to the removal of dimming anthropogenic SO2 aerosols from the troposphere, due to Clean Air efforts, here and abroad.

      Superimposed on the background are temperature increases and decreases due to El Ninos, La Ninas, and volcanic SO2 emissions.

      The background temperature rise is approx. 0.20 deg. C. per Megatonne of reduction in SO2 emissions. Check it out.

      Anthropogenic SO2 emissions peaked around 1972 at approx. 131 Megatonnes. By 2010, the net amount of global SO2 emission had been reduced by 29 Megatonnes, which was suficient to raise average global temperatures by appprox. 0.60 deg. C., and is the primary cause of the California drought.

      It is unfortunate, but any attempts to further reduce SO2 emissions can be expected to increase average global temperatures.

      The magnitude of the temperature rise due to the removal of SO2 emissions is such that there can never have been any warmin;g due to greenhouse gasses, and further efforts to reduce them will be a waste of resources.

      Comments, please.

    • Curious George

      There are no ‘no-regrets’ policies. Actually, there is one: drop dead.

      • Spending 350 B$ a year without achieving substantial emissions reduction is a “no regret” policy? Is it a “moral” policy? Is it a policy at all or just stupidity?
        This is what the world is doing for the last several years.
        It is applauded by most people, but it is claimed that “it is not enough”. So, maybe spending 500B$ without any positive or discernible effect would be “more moral” ?
        I wonder what philosophers think about this…

  2. Mike Jonas

    Dale Jamieson – If you are reading this, or if someone brings it to your attention : Your logic is sound, and I like your way of thinking, but your basic premise is unsound. Before you go any further, please talk to Judith Curry about uncertainty.

    • “D.J.: The cycle of coal production and consumption is destructive at every stage. It involves ripping down mountaintops, polluting waterways and killing workers. When coal is burned to produce electricity it produces pollution that kills more than 10,000 Americans each year, and more than a quarter million Chinese. In addition it does severe damage to fish, birds and waterways. And we haven’t even gotten to its contribution to climate change.”

      Well, the basic premise of any global warmer is “FOSSIL FUEL BAD, MUST STOP FOSSIL FUEL”.

      And since global warming is a way to bash fossil fuel they immediately jump on the bandwagon. The fact global warmers don’t openly and enthusiastically support the cleanest and cheapest alternative, nuclear, indicates they are not serious but have another agenda.

      DJ deliberately sidestepped addressing nuclear power.

      • “D.J.: The cycle of coal production and consumption is destructive at every stage.”
        Sure, but a lack of energy is MUCH more destructive.

      • There are other fossil fuels than coal. Natural gas, for example. Kills fewer during extraction, harms fewer during usage, emits half as much as coal.

        I am in favor of ceasing to use coal in the developed world and converting to natural gas until we wake up and start using nuclear power.

        I am in favor of working very hard to provide the developing world with alternatives to coal, without demanding they cease developing.

    • Steven Mosher

      if you dont know enough about uncertainty to talk to Jamieson yoursefl, then you dont know enough to recommend someone he should talk to.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Say what? That makes no sense. Here’s an example.

        I know nothing about eye surgery, but I know a really good ophthalmologist. In other words, I don’t know enough about opthalmology to talk to someone about it … but I sure do know enough to recommend someone they might talk to.

        w.

      • Steven Mosher

        how do you know he is a good eye doctor?

      • Mosh

        We have a funny series of ads for a national opticians in the UK

        tonyb

      • Steven Mosher

        It’s pretty simple willis.

        If you dont know about eye surgery you cant recommend an eye doctor to talk to. You might say

        “my friend used him and had no trouble”. Then you are recommending your friend as the expert on choosing.

        you might say “he is the highest rated by his peers”. Then you are recommending to trust his peers.

        you might say “he told me he is the best”. Then you are saying trust me.

        In none of these cases are you really fundamentally recommending that they trust the doctor. You are recommending that they trust your method of selecting an expert.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Steven Mosher | May 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm

        how do you know he is a good eye doctor?

        Thanks, Mosh. I know in couple of ways. He’s done operations on friends of mine which have been difficult, but were successful. In addition, he came recommended by my own doctor, whom I’ve known for 30 years. He’s gotten a variety of awards. He’s written papers in the journals. He has a string of very successful operations to his credit. He’s invented some of the instruments used. Finally, he’s Board Certified.

        What, do you think that outsiders can’t judge specialists? There’s lots of ways to judge them.

        Under your paradigm, there is no way to know a good specialist without being a specialists yourself. That makes no sense. You don’t have to be a physicist to know that Einstein and Dyson were good ones …

        You go on to say:

        Steven Mosher | May 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm |

        It’s pretty simple willis.

        If you dont know about eye surgery you cant recommend an eye doctor to talk to. You might say

        “my friend used him and had no trouble”. Then you are recommending your friend as the expert on choosing.

        No, my friend is not the “expert on choosing”. I’m deciding whether the doc is any good based on the OUTCOME, not based on my friend’s opinion. It’s like judging a good darts thrower. You don’t judge them with your friend as the expert, you don’t need to. You judge based on outcomes.

        My friend now sees quite well. That is not an opinion. It is a visible, measurable outcome which we can use to judge how good a practitioner is.

        It’s like if you wanted an artificial heart put in. You have two possibilities. A doc with a terrible success rate recommended by a friend, and a doc with a great success rate. Which would you choose?

        What you care about is the doctor’s SUCCESS RATE, not what your friend thinks of him/her … and that success rate is an objective measurable fact which doesn’t require that I be a heart surgeon to interpret.

        Next you’ll be telling us that we can’t recognize a fast runner unless we can run fast ourselves …

        w.

      • Don Monfort

        Mosher is talking about the philosophy of choosing an eye specialist, not actually choosing one. How long have you known Mosher, Willis?

      • “…philosophy of choosing an eye doctor”

        I took that. 2 credit course.

        Ophthalmologistics

        You get 1 credit just for spelling it properly..

        (aka pokerguy).

      • Don

        Willis is simply pointing out an example of where Steve’s logic is deeply flawed

      • catweazle666

        Steven Mosher: “If you dont know about eye surgery you cant recommend an eye doctor to talk to.”

        You’re taking the pish, aren’t you?

        Mind you, that’s pretty much all you ever do anyway, so no surprise there.

      • Don Monfort

        Is a philosophical argument the same as a logical argument, Rob? Careful, Mosher will drag you off into the tall philosophical weeds, where only Mosher knows which way is up.

        Pokerguy is back! And he took the course. He knows what I am talking about.

  3. “So starting from that particular premise (with which I know many people here will disagree)”

    Indeed. This is what’s been wrong with climate science for 20 years. Asserting your conclusions without having to demonstrate they are valid.

    Just start with the premise that you are right. And after 20 years, keep assuming your conclusions. Yeah.

    Andrew

    • Hubris makes us stupid. Global warming wackos are hubris on steroids.

      Diogenes searched forever for an honest man. If he were searching for an alarmist with humility, he couldn’t even find one who knows what it is.

  4. “‘No Regrets’ Climate Policy: Doing Much by Doing Little” https://www.masterresource.org/climate-policy/no-regrets-climate-policy-i/ makes the point: “… policy activism (carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, command-and-control) is actually bad climate policy because it allows weather/climate to impose its greatest costs on the human condition.”

    Posts tomorrow and Thursday will conclude a three-part series on adaptation, not mitigation, as an optimal social strategy against weather/climate, natural or anthropogenic.

    • Good article Rob. The big international goal for arresting climate change is the 2C warming limit agreement reached in Cancun.

      The question I have always had about this (and any climate policy for that matter) is how do you know if you have met the goal or not? What do you measure?

    • It would be smart policy (dare I say wise?) to avoid imposing additional regulatory costs on top of any climate costs/impacts.

      However, you go on to say in your footnote:

      “… removing non-market barriers to potentially increase the amount of electricity generated by nuclear power, would be more than offset by eliminating subsidies such as the Price-Anderson Act, which caps insurance liabilities in case of a nuclear accident.

      I don’t think any investor, lender or utility would finance a nuclear plant in the absence of something like Price-Anderson — which was one of their conditions for building plants in the first place. What did you have in mind?

  5. “He is the author of “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future.”

    What, the end of history already?

  6. “Michael Oppenheimer tweets: Some grim common sense #ClimateChange from philosopher Dale Jamieson. ‘Grim common sense’ is a good description – unfortunately, common sense seems very much absent in most aspects of this debate.”

    A wonderful concept that ‘common sense’ thing is.

    And what serendipity that we tend to find it in the expression of that which with we agree.

    • Steven Mosher

      if you disagree with Jamieson, write your own damn philosophy. That’s how its done in philosophy. same as science. write your own stuff and get it published.

  7. khal spencer

    The point about coal is a good one. There are enough reasons to use something besides coal (such as natural gas, nuclear) because its benefits (cheap energy) have a significant cost, such as elevated levels of mercury in ocean fish, particulates in major cities, darkening of snowpack leading to early melting, etc, and what, exactly, to do with all that fly ash. One can get about twice as much bang for the buck with natural gas, per BTU (or your choice of energy unit). Nuclear has risks as well, but there is no free lunch. Use the low impact stuff first and maybe someone will eventually invent a way to burn coal cleanly (rather than using that phrase as a marketing gimmick) and manage emissions.

    As far as asserting severe climate change, we can’t rule it out or rule it in. The job of philosophers and politicians, not to mention the public, is to discuss alternatives and various scenarios. Job of scientists is to study the problem and shed light rather than heat. I agree with Judy on several things, one of which is that this is a difficult problem not likely to go away soon. We need to address potential political scenarios even as we grapple with the chemistry and physics.

    • Thermal efficiency in a Ultra Super Critical coal plant is a bit over 40%. In a state of the art combined cycle gas turbine it’s a little less then 60%.

      Those numbers are based on running as ‘baseload’.

      Of course one of the problems with state of the art/high efficiency plants is that have lousy load following capabilities. (I.E. Since they run hotter..the thermal stress of varying heat rates/ouput are greater).

      A portion of our generating fleet has to be for peaking/load following and the thermal efficiency on that portion is lousy.

      Maybe someday someone we will figure out utility scale energy storage that doesn’t involve pumping water uphill but as of today no practical solution has been demonstrated.(There has been no shortage of dreamers claiming a solution that was later found wanting).

      As far as fly ash…the last I checked it was good for making concrete. Also the amount and quality of ash is based on the impurities found in various grades of coal.

  8. “we should follow “no regrets” policies” – DJ

    That’s one that can go in the same basket as ‘common sense’.

    No regrets for who?, over what time-scale?

    My ‘no regret’ today might be very deeply regretted by a coastal dweller in Bangladesh in 2050.

    • My ‘no regret’ today might be very deeply regretted by a coastal dweller in Bangladesh in 2050.

      Amphibious houses float out of trouble in Bangladesh

      Bangladesh climate changes: Are floating homes the future of housing?

      In Bangladesh, ‘Floating Farms’ Overcome Monsoon Rains

      Personally, I suspect as modern technology rolls out to places like Bangladesh, improvements in the use of floating support structures will make floating houses, buildings, greenhouses, and even farms more cost-competitive with land-based, regardless of “sea-level-rise”.

    • Steven Mosher

      you are right. we should only do things where we have regrets.

    • “we should follow “no regrets” policies” – DJ

      Well… I completely agree with the statement. Now what does he mean by it:
      D.J.: Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies — those that are likely to make sense whatever the future holds. For example, it makes sense to move people and critical infrastructure away from vulnerable areas.

      Surprise, surprise, we are still in lockstep. The pumping of miscellaneous fluids and poor location choices have created some subsidence problems. The subsistence problems vary from equal to, to vastly greater, than the sea level problem. T he easiest solution is to ban building in areas that are sinking out of sight or requiring solutions such as elevated construction on pilings driven into bedrock.

      • ““we should follow “no regrets” policies” – DJ”

        Sure, this was the easy part.
        Now, what exactly are those “no regret” policies?
        It is easy to throw about empty catchwords. That’s what philosophers are good at.
        The hard part is to enumerate what those “no regrets” policies are.
        The most common and by far most adequate “no regret” policy is to do nothing.

      • OK – time to forcefully evacuate New Orleans.

        Get the black helicopters in.

      • The answer for guys like Michael is always the same – force people to do what you think they should.

        Shouldn’t the people of New Orleans decide where they want to live? Shouldn’t Bangladeshes determine how they generate electricity or where they want to live (which according to the demographics is in coastal areas)?

      • I would not regret any of the following policies (from 2011)

        1. Tax CO2 at a starting rate of $12/ton and revisit the rate every 10 years, adjusting the rate to reflect changes in CO2 concentrations and a pre-agreed metric for observed climate change that has occurred in the interim. Where possible (especially in the U.S., to offer some hope that conservatives may eventually support the concept) the carbon tax should be arranged so as to be revenue neutral. In the U.S. that might involve reductions in Social Security taxes for both employers and employees.
        2. Spend a global total of $100 billion for the transfer of technology to the developing world for the purpose of reducing the impact of development technologies, in hopes that they can leapfrog one or two generations of energy development. If nothing else, donating scrubbers for Asian coal-fired power plants will reduce conventional pollution and black soot that degrades the Arctic snows.
        3. Commit to spending over the course of this century on moving roads inland, removing permission for construction on threatened coasts and flood plains. The EPA found that this would cost about $400 billion for the United States about 20 years ago–adjust for inflation. But that’s a one-time cost.
        4. Continue Steven Chu’s investment strategy for reducing costs in renewable energy, storage and transmission. Continue with ARPA-E at full funding. Institute high value X Prizes to reward innovation in these areas.
        5. Encourage the U.S. EPA to continue to regulate CO2 emissions from large emitters.
        6. Accelerate permitting for new nuclear power plants to restore nuclear power’s percentage of electricity to 20% in the U.S.
        7. Uprate existing hydroelectric plants to take advantage of advances in turbine technology.
        8. Mandate uptake of GPS within the air traffic control infrastructure and controlled and one-step descent on landing.
        9. Homogenize permitting and regulation for installation of solar and wind power to make it easier to gain approval. Maintain current levels of subsidies and RPS.
        10. Increase utilization of Combined Heat and Power facilities in the U.S. from its current 7% of primary energy production to the world average of 9% and then by steps in northern regions to benchmark levels found in Denmark, Holland and other northern European countries.
        11. Support introduction of charging stations for electric vehicles.
        12. Force existing coal power plants to meet best available technology standards or close.

      • “Shouldn’t the people of New Orleans decide where they want to live? Shouldn’t Bangladeshes determine how they generate electricity or where they want to live (which according to the demographics is in coastal areas)?”- tim

        Tim,

        You seem not to have noticed that you are, in fact, agreeing with me.

      • Michael | May 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm |
        “Shouldn’t the people of New Orleans decide where they want to live? Shouldn’t Bangladeshes determine how they generate electricity or where they want to live (which according to the demographics is in coastal areas)?”- tim

        Tim,

        You seem not to have noticed that you are, in fact, agreeing with me.

        This sounds like the “if someone wants to willfully hit his hand with a hammer I should have to pick up his healthcare costs” theory.

        You know New Orleans is going to flood. It is on the flood plain and the spring floods hundreds of years ago deposited the sediment it is built on.

        It is built on a big pile of wet sand and the sand is settling. The floods no longer cover it with new sediment annually, courtesy of the Corps of Engineers. They are messing with mother nature and you know what they say about mother nature.

        http://thelensnola.org/2013/02/21/new-research-louisiana-coast-faces-highest-rate-of-sea-level-rise-on-the-planet/
        “we have rates of 11.2 millimeters along the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain—the metro New Orleans area. “

        The annual sea level rise in New Orleans is 11.2 mm/year. The real sea level rise is something less than 2.9 mm/y (opinions vary down to about 1.4 mm/y with 1.7-1.8 mm/y being the sweet spot, but it is below 2.9 mm/y). So New Orleans is sinking as least 2.86 times as fast as the sea is rising. If we stopped sea level rise completely it would still be sinking at 8.2 to 9.5 mm/y.

        Blaming global warming for New Orleans is like declaring a man who amputated his hand and had a paper cut died from the paper cut. The paper cut didn’t help. But it probably wasn’t his biggest problem.

        The claim that New Orleans problems are due to globull warming does not seem accurate.

      • PA,

        If anyone had suggested that, you’d have a point.

      • Michael | May 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm |
        OK – time to forcefully evacuate New Orleans.

        Get the black helicopters in.

        Michael | May 20, 2015 at 5:09 am |
        PA,

        If anyone had suggested that, you’d have a point.

        I may have misinterpreted. I assume the black helicopters was factitious then?

        My understanding of how this works (some flatlander can correct me if I’m wrong) is the government sets building codes for these areas and if you violate the codes you can’t get flood insurance (which is backed by the federal government). but I’m not a lowlander so I’m not sure that is still the way it works.

      • Thomas Fuller:
        Your enumerated wish list of “no regrets” actions includes “all of the above”, and then some from “below”. There is absolutely nothing that can ever cause you regrets, not even spending horrendous amounts of money on useless things.

        For example: letting EPA regulate carbon emissions means bye, bye to coal power plants, and with it – bye, bye to steady, reliable electricity supply.
        Destroying our electricity supply mechanism is considered by you a “no regrets” option.

        You lived some time in China. Did you experience the joy of having an intermittent electricity supply? I experienced this in several place, like India.

      • PA,

        Just because I think people in New Orleans should have the freedom of choice to live where they want, doesn’t mean I believe everyone else has to share in the cost of doing so.
        If not for the level of corruption that takes place down there, New Orleans would have taken Katrina in stride. It was the failure of the levees, not their being swamped, that led to the flooding and most of the destruction. That failure was avoidable.

      • “we should follow ‘no regrets’ policies”…

        Isn’t this the same as saying we should always take the steps necessary to avoid high impact, low probability events?

        I seem to remember that logic similar to this was used (I think by Dick Cheney) to justify deposing Saddam Hussein — specifically, to avoid the possibility Saddam might put WMD in the hands of terrorists. A WMD attack on Manhattan was a high impact, low probability event and we followed a “no regrets” policy in eliminating the possibility it could occur. Problem was (is) that even “no regrets” policies tend to have unintended consequences.

    • So Michael, just how would you have a clue what a coastal dweller in Bangladesh in 2050 might think? I doubt you have a clue what one in 2015 thinks. Here is a hint, ask one if he would prefer low cost, coal fired electrification today, or go without electricity on the possibility that his children might benefit from a reduced rise in SL in 2050. The expected answer is a no-brainer, which means even you should get it right.

      • tim,

        I apologise for speculating on what someone in Bangladesh might think in 2050……and note that you have no qualms about deciding now what they should expect in 2050.

        Of further interest is the idea of ” low cost, coal fired electrification today”. Where is this? What does it look like? Why wasn’t it there yesterday?

        Seems like a heady mixture of simplistic dichotomies and magical thinking.

      • I didn’t decide anything Michael. Typical of you to throw up a false claim after being called out.

        Here is what I wrote: “ask one if he would prefer low cost, coal fired electrification today, or go without electricity on the possibility that his children might benefit from a reduced rise in SL in 2050. ”

        That is known as a question donkey. One that doesn’t even speculate on what 2050 might hold. Unlike many of the folks who voice worry over what sort of future a warming climate will bring, I’m not so stupid as to predict what the world will look like 35 years from now.

      • tim,

        your ‘question’ is an obvious false dichotomy.

        But i really wanted to hear all about this wonderful ” low cost, coal fired electrification today”.

        And unicorns….

      • “your ‘question’ is an obvious false dichotomy.”

        Sure it is. Because you say so.

        And fine, delete the words “low cost” if you like.

        Re; unicorns – so that’s what talking donkeys fantasize about.

    • Michael | May 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm |
      OK – time to forcefully evacuate New Orleans.

      Get the black helicopters in.

      The color of the helicopters has no correlation with evacuation efficiency.

      I would recommend pink or that awful lemon/lime color they use on firetrucks, to make the evacuation helicopters easier to locate and identify.

      AK | May 19, 2015 at 11:27 am | Reply
      My ‘no regret’ today might be very deeply regretted by a coastal dweller in Bangladesh in 2050.

      Amphibious houses float out of trouble in Bangladesh

      Another brilliant idea – a moving target is harder to hit.

    • typical Michael nonsense. Your “typical” Bangladeshi doesn’t build huge cities on deltas with puny dikes they imagine will hold up. They literally go with the flow since delta does imply change. They could do just about anything Michael “thinks” is appropriate and lose 10 times a much as with they way they currently do things. In regions with cheaper labor it is easier to rebuild than it is to fortify.

      Now while Michael ponders what he would do to “climate change proof” Bangladesh he should consider he would also have to tsunami proof, typhoon proof, earthquake proof, regime change proof, thermonuclear war proof, extra terrestrial impact proof and Michael proof since he would be creating a more expensive target in a region with just a touch of political instability.

  9. Philosophers ,social scientists and psychologists have nothing useful to say about climate change unless their views are based on a science which is in accord with what is actually going on in the real world so that their view of future trends on which their opinions are based is correct. This is a scientific. not a philosophical, social or psychological question .How can they say anything useful if, for example, the earth is actually cooling rather than warming as they generally suppose.
    How can you decide what a real world “no regret” policy actually is if you are wrong or even very uncertain about what future climate is going to be.
    For forecasts of the probable coming cooling based on the natural solar activity based 60 year and quasi-millennial cycles so obvious in the temperature data see
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-forecasting-methods-and-cooling.html
    For the 2003 peak of the latest millennial temperature cycle and the cooling trend since then see
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1980.1/plot/rss/from:1980.1/to:2003.6/trend/plot/rss/from:2003.6/trend

    • “… How can they say anything useful …” Indeed, see my long post below.

      Faustino

    • Norman Page wrote, “Philosophers, social scientists and psychologists have nothing useful to say about climate change unless their views are based on a science which is in accord with what is actually going on in the real world so that their view of future trends on which their opinions are based is correct.” If the philosophers, social scientists, and psychologists clearly lay out the conditions under which their “opinions” apply, this is, of course, poppycock. It is the laying out the conditions that makes the statement poppycock. From the viewpoint of a non-climate scientist, climate science appears to be a very immature science when compared to the problem at hand. Nonetheless, some practitioners in the profession have, based on their understanding of this immature science, raised the possibility of significant adverse impacts in the future. You seem to have an alternative theory that predicts cooling rather than warming. While this does not appear to be a theory that even most skeptical climate scientists entertain, it does not suggest that there isn’t a place for “no regrets” policies. For example, reducing local air pollutants is an example of a “no regrets” policy in that it is generally accompanied by reduced carbon emissions. Local pollutants are responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. There appears to be little room for regret if steps are taken to reduce these premature deaths by cutting emissions of local pollutants. I would still classify this a no regrets policy even if you are correct about climate cooling. Of course, I am assuming that the local pollutants are reduced in a fashion that doesn’t otherwise endanger the impacted population’s economic wellbeing. Reducing indoor pollution in developing countries by introducing efficient cook stoves is a specific case in point.

      Regarding your theory, I am not a climate scientist, and have no expertise that allows me to pass judgment. If you can convince Professor Curry and her peers, then you may be onto something.

  10. Let us guard against allowing carpetbaggers to usurp the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the productive on the altar of political correctness.

  11. For example, should we hold people responsible for climate change because of their ordinary but preventable emissions, such as those entailed by driving the kids to school in an S.U.V.? I think common-sense morality is at a loss when faced by questions like that, even when you supply a lot of detail about climate change.

    Hot World Syndrome is a phenomenon where the global warming apocalyptic content of mass media imbues viewers with the notion that the world is a hotter and more intimidating place to live than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. Hot World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of the anti-humanism movement of the United Nations. Additionally, murderous examples of failed socialism — as witnessed by large segments of Leftist-lib society from the safety and comfort of Western civilization — has created a global psychosis, causing people to turn on the morals, principals and ethics that otherwise would sustain their spirits and prevent them from succumbing to moral decline and mental helplessness. Individuals who do not rely on the mainstream media and who understand the floccinaucinihilipilification of the cabinets and cabinets full of worthless global warming research, have a far more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to present and future weather conditions, and all the myriad vagaries of life over which they have no control. The global warming realists do not fear the hand of man and tend to be nicer people with a life and have a wider and healthier variety of beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles. Towing a boat to the river with the family in the back of a SUV is not evil, no matter what the liberal fascists may wish to believe today.

  12. “Both Gutting and Jamieson accept the IPCC conclusions”

    I’m not sure that they do. The IPCC AR5 chapter 2 says
    “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century”

    “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”

  13. It is impossible to do anything about climate change especially when preparing for warming when the opposite is very likely to happen.

    • It would seem to follow that if we start experiencing global cooling that global warming is less of a concern.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/27/ipcc-climate-report-digested-read
      “The scientists concluded it is 99% certain that the frequency of warm days and warm nights increases in the next decades, while that of cold days and cold nights to decrease. The frequency and intensity of extreme downpours is very likely to increase in many populous regions.”

      The IPCC concluded it was 99% certain that it would get warmer. If it cools that is almost three sigma evidence the IPCC doesn’t know what they are talking about (they have no credibility).

    • “preparing for warming”

      How do you do that? What do you do when you get up in the morning? Check the GAT?

      Andrew

  14. “No regrets” assumes that the disease will be worse than the cure. And what if the cost of “the cure” will, in 50 years, be one tenth today’s cost?

    “The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.” Can we can cure the problems of the poor by writing checks? If we’re spending our money and shrinking our economy to do away with carbon-based energy, where will we get the money to back those checks?

  15. “How should we currently value damages to people who will live 500 years in the future? ”

    Quick, name an energy mandate or energy investment made on or about the year 1515 by any government that has any impact on your life today. Any at all.

    How you use the energy, yes. That date is pretty close to 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue using old technology in the service of government mandate and scientific discovery. How’d that turn out for the Caribes and Mayans?

    Most important question unanswered in the interview- in the 20-year period from when the first atomic power-plant went online until the last one was built in the US in 1977, nuclear went from providing none of our energy to 20% without an international treaty or a carbon tax. Why do climate campaigners insist on treaties and taxes and how will future generations view the ethics of a so-called environmental movement that demonized nuclear while hyping the problems with coal?
    In other words, RE “regrets” is the green movement capable of having a few?

    • jeffnsails850 | May 19, 2015 at 10:40 am | Reply
      “How should we currently value damages to people who will live 500 years in the future? ”

      Unless the global warmers blow it we will pass on at least a 55% bounty of food, fish, and forest, to our descendants 500 years from now.

      Damages my *ss.

      The global warmers want to obstruct thousands of square miles with wind mills and dark glass. This will force us to destroy or alter a lot more animal habitat (aside from the flying animals the windmills kill outright) This will also make the whole planet less productive. Our descendants 500 years from now are just going to hate global warmers and should be allowed to sue their descendants for damages.

  16. We need lower hanging fruits
    Let’s cut down all the trees
    A few inches more
    In their middle.

    Never listen to alarmists
    Otherwise we’re doomed
    Tepid is the new true

    • Steven Mosher

      its called, crawl walk run

      • Right. We’re running right now, and the Enviro-Socialist want us to go back to crawling. But they’ll settle for us walking for now.

    • In what way is mitigating against 4C different from mitigating against 2C during the first 20 years?

      • > In what way is mitigating against 4C different from mitigating against 2C during the first 20 years?

        There only answer the rhetorical question allows shows yet again the vacuousness of the lukewarm brand.

        Tepid branding.

      • In what way is mitigating against 4C different from mitigating against 2C during the first 20 years?

        Assuming that you mean that we assume low climate sensitivity (i.e., that we think 2 degree C is more likely than 4 degree C along a given emission pathway), then the issue is irreversibility or, at least, the possibility that it is essentially irreversible. Total emissions matter. Hence, if you assume that we’re simply heading for a 2degree C warmer world in 2100 and mitigate accordingly and you’re wrong, you can’t easily do anything about the emissions that have already taken place. Furthermore, since total emissions are what really matters, constraining our total emissions becomes increasingly difficult and would require ever more drastic actions.

        Therefore, I don’t think that what we would need to do to mitigate against 4C would be the same, initially, as mitigating against 2C. Well, not if we want to reduce the possibility of drastic – and potentially risky – action in future.

      • Of course willard will avoid any substantive response, but ATTP, my question is not rhetorical. What would we do to mitigate 2C that we would not do if it were 4C. Given that we’re talking expenditures of many billions of dollars, we have to start somewhere.

        https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/climate-questions-that-never-get-answered/

      • Oh, you’ve slightly changed the question. I was answering “in what way would it be different”, which I think I have at least attempted to do. What we would specifically do, I don’t know? I’m just a stupid physicist, so my understanding relates to the physical consequences of different emission pathways. Which pathway we should be aiming to follow and how we actually do so, is not my forte. That doesn’t really change the point, though. Total emissions are relevant and if there is a level of total emissions above which the damages will become high enough that it is worth mitigating against that, then how much we emit initially is relevant.

      • Well, the different question is at my website. And while total emissions are relevant, sensitivity is more so for this exercise. If we would by fiat convert all coal powered stations to natural gas to face 2C, would we not do that at the same time to meet the demands of 4C?

        If we federalized nuclear power plant construction to face 2C, would we not do the same at the same time for 4C?

      • Here’s Groundskeeper’s very substantive answer, or at least his hypothesis:

        It is my working hypothesis that if we ordered a list of adaptation and mitigation processes, the first 10 things we would do would be absolutely the same for each level of rise.

        https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/climate-questions-that-never-get-answered/

        In the first 20 years, that is, and oblivious to the realization that his hypothesis deprecates his own tepid branding.

        You just can’t make this up.

      • I don’t need to make things up, willard. You’ll do that for me.

      • Well, the different question is at my website.

        Yes, I realise you have a different question on your website, but I’ve answered the question to which I think I have an answer. I don’t feel that means I now have to answer a different question to which I don’t really have an answer.

        And while total emissions are relevant, sensitivity is more so for this exercise.

        What do you mean by this? There is only one actual climate sensitivity. That there is a range presented simply reflects our uncertainty about this quantity. We have some control over total emissions. We have no control over what climate sensitivity actually turns out to be.

      • > I don’t need to make things up

        Matt King Coal does, if we accept that 2C or 4C don’t matter much for 25-years policies. The Lomborg Collective too. Anyone who plays the lukewarm gambit does, if it carries any policy implication whatsoever for 25-years policies. The most expedient way to show that the lukewarm gambit is pretty useless for 25-years policies is to show that sensitive matters have no bearing on them.

        Now, we know that the lukewarm gambit should be safely ignored for the very hypothesis one of his founding fathers holds.

        It’s quite simple, really. This simple case reinforces Dr. Doom’s hypothesis. Groundskeeper’s computing powers are just crawlingly slow.

      • Yes, you couldn’t get through one comment without making things up.

        It’s not the computing velocity or power. It’s having to deal with the error messages your comments prompt.

      • ATTP, you don’t have an answer for a very important question, but when you accuse Lukewarmers of being mitigation skeptics, aren’t you then accusing them of not having an answer to the question you…. don’t have an answer to?

      • you don’t have an answer for a very important question, but when you accuse Lukewarmers of being mitigation skeptics, aren’t you then accusing them of not having an answer to the question you…. don’t have an answer to?

        I haven’t accussed Lukewarmers of being mitigation skeptics. Others might have, I certainly haven’t used that terminology. I think you may be reading way too much into what I’m saying.

        Broadly speaking, all I’ve actually said about Lukewarmers is that they appear to regard the lower climate sensitivities as being more likely than the IPCC suggest, and the higher ones as being less likely. This viewpoint appears to influence their policy preferences and appears to be used to justify arguments that there is less need for action and that other things may take priority over climate change. My issue is more with their apparent selection of evidence, than with their specific policy preferences.

        Again, you still haven’t really explained the reasoning behind your question. There is only one actual value for climate sensitivity. One can certainly discuss what we should do if it is low, versus what we should do if it is high. That might be quite easy. What’s much harder to establish is what we should do given the range that we currently have. We don’t know what it is. If we knew what it was, this would all be much easier.

      • Obviously the point I’m leading to is this: If the mitigation efforts at the beginning of the road are the same for 2C and 4C why don’t we just agree to get started?

        Some years ago I proposed the League of 2.5 over at Bart Verheggen’s–and then at Watts Up With That. Willard laughed at it, as did most skeptics.

        But I still like it.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tom !!!!!!

        “In what way is mitigating against 4C different from mitigating against 2C”

        That’s a good way to frame it. Here is the key. In the past when I’ve done scenario analysis we would start with the lists.
        scenario A : a,b,c,d
        scenario B: a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h

        Now we had no canonical way of deciding between scenarios. What was clear was this. REGARDLESS of the scenario we are always recommending a,b,c,d. So, we had some clarity on what was scenario independent. In our context we refer to these things as “no regrets”
        which is unfortunate wording. I prefer David Brins.. “things we would do anyway!”

        Instead of focusing on abcd.. One Wing of the voices out here
        ( hows that for a label) One Wing demands that we do ” efgh”
        worst they argue that those us us who agree on “abcd” are delayers,
        or deniers at heart, or against all action.

        The only way they can engage us is by Lumping us with what they already know. They know the skeptics, so they just toss us in that pile,
        apply a simple label and go on not thinking.

        MEANWHILE abcd remain undone. I think the blame rests squarely on the “efgh” Wing of voices who demand their way or no way.

      • > why don’t we just agree to get started?

        We already did, and we will continue, notwithstanding the concerns raised by energy think tanks and kings of coal.

        Even if admit that we have yet to start, the auditing sciences need to write neverending prolegomenons before we ever get started.

        Overselling such and such new study showing tepid sensitivity, Mr. T’s invisible fists, or a stadium wave of uncertainty is so much more interesting anyway.

      • I would regard what Steven as saying as slightly different to what Tom is saying. Maybe not, though. If you’re suggesting that there are a series of things that we should do and that we should just get started, then I obviously agree. I’m certainly not trying to stop people from actually proposing that we start doing something. I was simply pointing out that I don’t think that what we would do if we knew that the ECS was high, would be the same as if we knew it was low. We don’t know, though, so I was trying to understand why Tom was framing things as he was.

        There is an alternative way to frame this, though, which should be consistent. Let’s see if you agree. If the initial mitigation stages are the same for 2C as they are for 4C, then shouldn’t we start as if we’re mitigating for 4C? If they’re the same, it shouldn’t matter. If it turns out to be 4C, then we’re on the right track. If it turns out to be 2C, then it should be easier to make suitable changes later, than if it turns out to be 4C. Replace 4C and 2C, with high sensitivity and low sensitivity if you wish. Does that sound reasonable?

      • Steven Mosher

        Tom.

        don’t expect any meaningful response from willard. I mean from the person willard. You come to this with a different agenda. One of actually doing something. I can probably hook you up with some folks.

        I always remember the days when people told me to “do my own damn science” for a long time I thought it was enough to criticize. I’d just tell your critics to do their own damn policy positions and get on with writing what you are working on.

        Who would have thunk that the Lukewarmer word would have come this far? making some history buddy!!!…hhmm note the paucity of coverage for the climateball brand. Nothing follows from that, but its fun to note.
        Willard could make a difference, but he wont even try. Shows you how seriously he takes the problem. maybe he will discuss sugary drinks.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tom everyone forgets that both You and I STIPULATED that we should pick a ECS to develop plans for. You picked 2.5, I picked 3C.

        That no one cared to engage is telling. And they call us delayers.

      • Tom everyone forgets that both You and I STIPULATED that we should pick a ECS to develop plans for. You picked 2.5, I picked 3C.

        Then I don’t see why you chose to call yourselves Lukewarmers? As I understand it, it’s your label, and yet you now seem to be positioning yourselves in the scientific mainstream. My main criticism of Lukewarmers has been that they appear to select an ECS range, or a best estimate for the ECS, that is not consistent with what one might infer from the IPCC/mainstream science. If that isn’t your position, then the problem might be that you’ve selected a poor label, or – indeed – that you chose to select a label in the first place.

      • I think I gotta list somewhere on this thread. Forgot to add mandatory telecommuting percentages, though. Almost Iowa brought that up at my blog.

        I think I figured out willard’s motto: “Why save the planet when you can call people names?” Let me rip my shirt a little more…

      • > One of actually doing something.

        Like writing policy positions in accord to the dominant view. Sure. That’s how we recognize men of action like our dynamic duo.

        Black hat marketers seldom have more than a tepid roles in history books. The alternative is nothing to rejoice. This kind of bankcrupcy takes more time to foreclose than what Nic and others had to go through.

      • Umm, ATTP, both 2.5C and 3C were always in the scientific mainstream. It was people like willard that kept calling us deniers. Since we were censored on consensus blogs like yours and RC, people believed the willards of the world.

      • Umm, ATTP, both 2.5C and 3C were always in the scientific mainstream.

        Yes, I know, but this is the first time I’ve been aware of self-professed Lukewarmers claim that those were their best estimates. Ben Pile thinks you’re a warmist, but I wouldn’t take what he thinks all that seriously – I don’t.

      • Steven Mosher: scenario A : a,b,c,d
        scenario B: a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h

        Agreement breaks down as soon as someone specifies a, b, c, and d.

        In California, there is a majority for a renewable fuel standard, but opposition to increased flood control and irrigation, even opposition to increased desalination of seawater. Some people put increased natural gas extraction in that list, but others oppose it and put a tax on the carbon content of fuel in the list. And so on.

      • In all honesty, I should say two things. First, my personal pick in the sensitivity lottery is 2.1C. I advocate preparing for 2.5C to have a margin.

        Seond, willard has been very careful not to use the word denier. It’s the only pejorative term he has avoided, but avoid it he has.

      • Actually, Ben Pile is pretty sharp. I imagine warmist is as warmist does. I think I’ll go burn some coal to get the stink off.

      • “I think I figured out willard’s motto: ‘Why save the planet when you can call people names?’ Let me rip my shirt a little more…”

        Funny, I thought being a lukewarmer meant you did not believe the planet was in need of saving from thermageddon.

        If you do believe the planet needs saving, then ‘no regrets’ policies won’t get the job done. So it is no shock that a true believing warmist like willard is not impressed by lukewarmerism.

        Warmists believe that if we don’t decarbonize the planet, we are all doomed. (Never mind that no warmist anywhere has proposed any global plan that has any chance of actually decarbonizing the planet, let’s not get sidetracked by mere details.) So it is understandable that they debate strongly against the half-assed, sorry half measured, ‘solutions’ offered by lukewarmers.

        Skeptics believe that there is nowhere near sufficient evidence to justify the enormous costs and damage of decarbonization. So we see no reason to push any policies based on CAGW. To the extent ‘no regrets’ policies are ‘stuff we should do anyway’, the climate debate is irrelevant to those issues. (The reason that most lukewarmers are progressives, no matter what they say, is that their ‘stuff we should do anyway’ are virtually all progressive policies involving government planning of the economy.)

        The only thing self described lukewarmers add to the debate, is the extent to which they support one side or the other. Mosher for instance, spends enormous amounts of time and energy defending two of the main arguments used to push decarbonization – climate models and temp record reports.

        Lukewarmers have no political power, except in extremely close elections in which their small percentage of the electorate can make a difference where ‘climate change’ is the primary issue in the campaigns. Other than that, the real climate debate, to decarbonize or not to decarbonize, goes on its merry way without them.

      • Steven Mosher

        Funny Willard forgets the party line?
        “Black hat marketers seldom have more than a tepid roles in history books”

        The party line is that history will record us as evil doers. But let’s agree with Willard. What we say or do doesn’t matter. Since he cares about the planet why is he wasting one second on us.
        If I had his brain power I’d focus on things that count

        Several things follow from his trifling with the trivial

      • Total emissions matter. Hence, if you assume that we’re simply heading for a 2degree C warmer world in 2100 and mitigate accordingly and you’re wrong, you can’t easily do anything about the emissions that have already taken place. Furthermore, since total emissions are what really matters, constraining our total emissions becomes increasingly difficult and would require ever more drastic actions.

        This is an unwarranted assumption. There are many ways in which remediation (pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere/sea surface) could be set up to happen later in the century, when the technology is mature.

        This issue (risk) would seem to place a premium on nurturing technology that uses such extraction. Even if, during the next few decades, such extraction only happens in support of power→fuel/gas options, the more mature it becomes, the cheaper it would be to turn it to direct sequestration after the fact.

      • […] even opposition to increased desalination of seawater.

        I suspect that’s mostly based on implications of obsolete technology. The latest, greatest doesn’t dump saline back into the ocean, it produces salt that can be shipped to an appropriate dumping ground

      • > The party line is that history will record us as evil doers.

        Food fights, personal attacks, shirt ripping. Bar flies should read our dynamic duo. Social engineering at its best.

        There is still hope for the posterity of the lukewarm brand. After all, Ayn Rand is still a thing:

        When will our dynamic duo go correct Matt King Coal about the improper conclusion he reaches regarding their own brand?

      • Willard,

        You forgot to use the magic word in your last comment above. Just sayin.

      • “Objectivism…which is a nice way of saying ‘being a selfish a**hole….”

        Finally, something on which I can agree with willard.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tom My personal pick is 2.7. I am a Fan of gavin’s ModelE

        It’s hilarious. ModelE is a Lukewarmer, so anti science.

      • Steven Mosher: Steven Mosher: scenario A : a,b,c,d
        scenario B: a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h

        Let me try again. What are a, b, c, and d that have majority support.

  17. This point ” help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating. ” are, of course, the realm of religion. The wide loss of religious belief and values, of acknowledgement of the spiritual aspects of human life itself, leaves such a huge hole on society that we have suggestions of philosophical approaches to put in their places. “cooperativeness, mindfulness, simplicity, temperance and respect for nature [all life]” are integral and inseparable components of all major religious systems today. And, yes, I agree, a resurgence in deeply held religious belief in individuals is the real solution to the problems of the world — and, yes, it may not stop climate change [if such a thing is necessary] but it would sure make the world a better place.

  18. Some decisions are more complicated and outrun our usual systems of decision making.

    This, I think, is a very profound statement. I think it forces one to reflect on the fact that whatever decision making systems we have, one thing is probably common among them: they typically produce a decision that is operable on a time scale that is wholly incompatible with the time scales necessary when thinking about climate change.

    This is not a criticism in the usual sense, since altering decision making processes so that they produce results operable on century or longer timescales has its own set of problems, not the least being vulnerable to those “unknown unknowns”.

    But that doesn’t mean that by recognizing this particular limitation in our decision making systems, that we can’t attempt to incorporate longer term thinking into the process.

    The biggest hurdle to this, it seems to me, is that, at least in America, the general drift has been to shorten our sight. We live in an On Demand society. This doesn’t mean we can’t think in the long term – we certainly still do. But in a society where we are constantly told people aren’t saving enough for retirement, well it becomes apparent how seriously the future – their own future is taken by a lot of folks.

  19. About this interview: “Gutting and Jamieson bring some refreshing realism to debate on how we should think about climate change and what we should do about it.”

    I have a hard time arguing on a basis of forgone conclusions or the realism of the premise relative to societal cost implications because it’s more or less happening in the vacuum of a bias; when questioning the morality of whether a soccer mom should drive her kids to and from games in an SUV. I don’t think the discussion is rounded. I’d like to see the media begin referencing the same sorts of concerns but directed at other wordily views; juxtaposing ideas from real world industrialists; near term visionaries; inventors etc., relative to a 5o years time window (pick a period), what might we expect? I believe much good.

    Everything seems to be framed in a government response. I’d argue that industry today is working towards and following a “no regrets” policy. Processes are being planned and put into place as we speak. What are they and how do they play out based on near-term visionaries views?

    These questions are arguably on the minds of every CEO that must hedge their business with actionable rational business plans, and who must make decisions and have considerations in lieu of uncertain legislative outcomes that could be years away, yet mean the difference between continuing as on ongoing concern for some of them. These are decisions being made not out of belief necessarily, but simply no regret policy as practical business protocol.

    Where are these questions being asked and elaborated on in the media? Where they exist they’re not expressed very loud, at least enough that they can rise above the din of fear and loathing.

    There’s a lot of green eyeshade discussions about alternatives, although much of it is more pundit driven than reality based relative to where these solutions are cost effective and scaleable real world solutions. I’d like to see more discussions beyond alternatives, the boring stuff will likely make a profound difference near term, the technology curve of equipment and processes that are the basis for pollution metrics. I think changes are happening quicker here then anyone wants to give credit for.

  20. 1. In truth there are very few “no regrets” policies. There are policies that have lower probabilities of being deemed inefficient when reviewed after the fact.

    2. What do we know? We know that the climate changes over time. We also know that human’s needs from the environment also change over time as population changes occur.

    3. We do not know whether additional atmospheric CO2 will lead to an overall improvement in conditions or an overall worsening of conditions for humans. Probably more importantly, we lack reliable information regarding what areas of the planet will benefit vs. being harmed and to what amount over what timeframe.

    4. We know that many “developed countries” have aging populations and are under severe economic stress trying to care for their aged. This situation is likely to continue for the next 25 years.

    Given what we know and do not know, what action(s) makes sense in regards to the climate? The 1st priority would seem to be the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure to serve the local populace for the next 25- 50 years. That would seem to be the most pragmatic approach to seek “no regrets” approaches.
    Water problems in California? Plan for the water needs of the population and build the infrastructure to supply it. Is it getting drier do to AGW or not? Who cares-deal with it!

    Look around the world and what “concerns” related to AGW can not be efficiently managed via building and maintaining good robust infrastructure. It also has the added benefit of supplying employment for the population of the country building said infrastructure.

  21. The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.

    I am not sure this point is morally correct.

    What is better – spending a dollar to compensate a 3rd world person for not having electricity and clean water.

    Or spending the dollar on research to provide non-carbon power which is cheaper than coal, oil and natural gas?

    Remember that every dollar spent paying people not to raise their standard of living is money not spent on actually solving the problem of non-carbon energy.

    To me – it would be better to actually provide a solution so that energy could be provided, which allows raising the standard of living, but in a way which doesn’t make CO2 emissions worse (on a per capita basis).

    I am no philosopher – but I would argue that compensation is actually a worse option than research. Or course research is action and not inaction – so maybe the author would agree (if I were to raise my point with him?).

  22. What should we do about climate change????

    Perhaps we should recognize the world as it actually is vs. how we believe it should be

    In reality the planet is governed by roughly 200 independent nations with different and frequently conflicting goals. Individual nations (such as the USA) should (imo) primarily worry about their own citizens and let other nations do the same.

  23. What can we do about climate change?

    The same as we do about weather – live with it.

    You might as well ask “what can we do about Mondays – sure Mondays are a problem, but the best way to deal with Mondays is to just get on with it”.

  24. Cost benefit analysis should inform any action we contemplate taking regarding climate change.

    What are the solutions? I have actually not seen any comprehensive solution provided by the consensus side – other than saying we need to hold to 2C or reduce CO2 emissions. Yes – fine – but how?

    Lets see a list of solutions and their costs and benefits – compared to various scenarios of no action.

    For example – what would the costs be to switch over to all nuclear (in the United States – because Rob Starkey is correct – lets worry about taking action within our own country first – lead by example).

    We could build 300 reactors in the United States over the next 30 or 40 years – and I imagine the cost would get cheaper as we ramp up. We know this provides baseload energy and would lower CO2 emissions. Lets look at the costs and the benefits – lets actually do the analysis. Then compare it to a few scenarios of no action (one of which should be assuming CS is 1.5C or so – but we can look at 3C and 4.5C also).

    Lets look at the cost of moving our coastal cities higher over the next (what 70 years?)? What are the costs and benefits.

  25. “The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.”

    Wrong on so many levels that I worry about contact with reality — e.g. bribe people not to use coal which you claim is harmful (do we pay to not use other harmful substances like CFCs or mercury). The real point of the coal bribe is that the case against coal is economically unsound and scientifically weak.

  26. I made a decision to stop following climate news because (a) you can’t argue reason against blind faith and therefore (b) it was stressing me out too much. But Climate Etc is one page I can’t stay away from. This is an excellent article and helps me to understand why not everyone takes the same position as I do on climate, or indeed on any issues at all.

    • oldfossil

      I saw this extract in the Sunday papers which, whilst referencing the recent UK general election, could be equally aimed at those whose passionate beliefs on green matters can cause them to believe that everyone thinks like they do.

      “Did they really not appreciate that other people felt differently from them and there was a chance the vote might not go their way? its an example of what psychologists call collective narcissism or the narcissistic mirror. . people surround themselves with others who reflect their own beliefs and world view. In doing so they come to believe their own little group speaks for all sensible reasonable people. Social media such as twitter are particularly adept at fostering collective narcissism. as its so easy to shut out the views of those you don’t agree with. when reality eventually intrudes, it can hurt.”

      tonyb

      • Yes, I’ve referenced your “collective” observations as monolithic group think before.

        Most of the discussion relative to climate change is coming from academics, the linear flow of information and ideas seems to bypass certain groups, i.e., there’s little cross pollination of ideas with industrialists or others that have a meaningful impact towards outcomes. Instead the debate seems to make a beeline from academics straight to the media for packaging, along the way one sided politics are formulated to create desired outcomes, the bridge between science and actions. It’s extremely unfortunate that there’s not more mingling of ideas and dialogue with a more robust cross section of society and disciplines, this is largely the cause of the political escalation in the debate and sharp divides. Many academics have good ideas, but they’re completely ignorant about the real world economy.

      • H G Wells on Winston Churchill in 1920:

        “([Churchill] believes quite naively that he belongs to a peculiarly gifted and privileged class of beings to whom the lives and affairs of common men are given over, the raw material for brilliant careers …”

        Plus ca change; though Churchill had a better basis for delusions of superiority than those promoting CAGW or leftist government in the UK.

  27. “…it makes sense to move people and critical infrastructure away from vulnerable areas…”

    Trouble is, for your average ethicist and deep thinker that means moving flyover people out of Tornado Alley or farmers out of dodgy deltas. The ethicists and deep thinkers of New York, for example, will go on living at or near sea level in a notorious hurricane belt. Because membership has privileges.

    “The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination.”

    Of course, coal will still have to be kept out the back like an underpaid and ill-fed servant who’s needed for heavy lifting. But it will be despised in those green salons where high thoughts get thunk…which is a kind of elimination.

    Go away, klimatariat. Just go away.

    • “”The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination.”

      The human benefits of coal (providing the energy on which our civilization is built) are so overwhelming, that you need to be a philosopher not to understand this.

      • Agreed. Just shut down the power plants using coal and see what the social cost of that would be. Its an idea born out of the insanity of the climate debate that obama and the liberal left is determined to make happen. If they are succesful, the effects of their actions will make the effects of obamacare appear benign in comparison.

      • “Just shut down the power plants using coal and see what the social cost of that would be.”

        We will have to live through this gigantic experiment. The coal plants (at leas in the West) are doomed, and so is, probably, our civilization, that goes down with them.
        Living in la-la land has consequences.

  28. I find that nearly all of the people I speak with about climate change, including ones who are quite sensible as these two are, have little knowledge of or interest in the scientific issues. They generally regard them as too hard, too esoteric, or too complex for them to understand, and so they rely on what they are told is the consensus. They are generally unreceptive to the idea that while specific scientific issues may be quite complex or mathematically abstruse, parsing the conclusions that scientists or policy makers draw from them is a matter of logic, attention to detail, and basic intellectual integrity, with a dollop of curiosity about statistics.

  29. He mentions respect for nature, which I agree with. I also would say that “no regrets” means not poking nature with a sharp stick, as we are when we add a forcing that would approach 6 W/m2 by around 2100. Nature can make you regret not being respectful of it. Sea level is only part of it.

    • “not poking nature with a sharp stick…”

      You should write that and submit it to poetry contests, Jimmy D.

      Maybe Big Al will notice you, then, and you can have dinner with him. lol

      Andrew

    • jimd

      Hubert Lamb-probably the worlds greatest climatologist said this;

      “The idea of climate change has at last taken on with the public after generations which assumed that climate could be taken as constant. But it is easy to notice the common assumption that mans science and modern industry and technology are now so powerful that any change of climate or the environment must be due to us. It is good for us to be more alert and responsible in our treatment of the environment, but not to have a distorted view of our own importance. Above all, we need more knowledge, education and understanding in these matters.”
      Hubert Lamb DEC 1994

      We need a little humility as to our global impacts on climate whilst also learning to respect nature more in our locality. How we do that with 7 billion people and counting is not so easy to resolve.
      tonyb

      • To me it was very clear that one thing Judith did not quote was “respect nature”. This actually says a lot by its absence, but it is understandable because to quote it would go against a lot of what she has argued for so far. I think it is critical when thinking of “no regrets” to minimize deliberate changes to the climate forcing otherwise there will be irreversible regrets.

      • “Hubert Lamb-probably the worlds greatest climatologist”

        You have a “climate science” rating system? Please let us review your scoring system.

      • Rob

        My pleasure to take The opportunity of justifying the ‘probably’

        http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/about-cru/hubert-lamb

        As an interesting aside, his son is a liberal democrat MP in the Uk , one of the few who retained his seat and is a possible contender for becoming party leader(amongst an admittedly small field after their decimation at the recent general election.

        Tonyb

    • catweazle666

      “when we add a forcing that would approach 6 W/m2 by around 2100.”

      Twaddle.

  30. How should we currently value damages to people who will live 500 years in the future? How should we value anthropogenic changes to the biosphere over that period of time? These questions outrun the resources of economics to make sensible evaluations.

    500 years? Those questions outrun the scope of all reliable knowledge.

    • Hubris, colossal hubris.
      We usually fail in all our predictions, about the economy, for example, about war and peace.
      It’s only climate scientists that have this capacity of predicting the climate 100 years into the future. Now philosophers have joined in, they can predict 500 years ahead.

  31. Pingback: What can we do about climate change? | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  32. The prediction is difficult, especially about the future. this is so misguided. 100 years ago we were developing cars and airplanes in the midst of WWI.
    Now they predict technical developments out to 200 years and sea level adjustments show it’s worse than we thought. China and India and the rest are waiting for the reparations from US and EU. We need to continue science to reduce costs of alternate energy sources such as nuclear, solar, wind and clean coal in the west while the poorer countries strive for light in the huts, clean distributed energy and water, sewage treatment and food.
    Scott

  33. The ones I discuss in my book, “Reason in a Dark Time,” are cooperativeness, mindfulness, simplicity, temperance and respect for nature. They will not solve the problem of climate change on their own but they will help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating.

    How is that “refreshing realiam”? It sounds like avoidance of all practical questions. Should we or shouldn’t we find meaning and grace in liquid metal cooled hybrid nuclear reactors? Or are fusion reactors in some sense simpler, hence preferable?

  34. As I and many other real scientist have said there is no credible experiment that proves that the Hypotheses of the greenhouse gas effect(GHGE) exists. I have a peer reviewed experiment that proves that the GHGE does not exist.
    I have just received a PDF of a book “Vapor Tiger ” by Dr. Adrian Vance (adrianvance.blogspot.co.uk) a PH.D in physics that give some little known history of how this great scam got started and a very good explanation of why the GHGE just does not exist.
    Judy I’m sorry you continue to be a Luke warm skeptic but maybe someday you will realize that CO2 just does not cause any atmospheric warming, in fact there are experiments by very reliable scientist that shows that CO2 in a water(liquid/vapor/ solid ) containing atmosphere causes cooling.

  35. Willis Eschenbach

    Both Gutting and Jamieson accept the IPCC conclusions, and even seem to think that ‘dangerous’ climate change is already happening. So starting from that particular premise (with which I know many people here will disagree), Gutting and Jamieson bring some refreshing realism to debate on how we should think about climate change and what we should do about it.

    So this is how far science has fallen? Here’s the new scientific paradigm.

    Someone “thinks” that something dangerous is happening. He doesn’t know how it’s happening. He can’t say why it’s happening. He doesn’t have any data to show that anything dangerous is going on. But by gosh, he’s convinced it’s happening … or to be more accurate, that it will happen in a decade or two. Of course he’s been saying this for three decades now, but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..

    So what scientists should do, according to this paradigm, is to assume that Chicken Little is right and the sky actually is falling, and start looking for solutions to a problem when:

    • we don’t know if the “problem” is actually happening, and

    • all predictions of calamities which this “problem” is claimed to cause have proven wrong to date, and not just wrong but calamitously wrong … and

    • if the “problem” is happening, we don’t know why, and

    • the models of the “problem” have all diverged from reality,

    • we don’t know if we can establish climate causality or predict the future evolution of the climate even in theory, so in response,

    • alarmists all sit in a circle and jerk about how to deal with this as-yet-unverified “problem” and talk about poor scientific communication and how “deniers” are psychologically damaged, and meanwhile

    • we piss huge unspecified amounts of money into various rose-colored holes in the ground and

    • we plan to reorganize the entire energy system of the planet, using untried, unreliable, and uneconomic renewable sources, and

    • we give billions to line the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt third world dictators and apparatchiks, which under the new scientific paradigm is described by words like “compensation, not inaction” and “helping the poor” and “carbon-capture” and “making things revenue-neutral”.

    Pathetic. Farkin’ pathetic.

    Judith, you tried this “new paradigm” hogwash before, most notably with Captain Ravetz and his Post-Normal Science Avengers explaining why this problem needs new science …

    Climate, while it is a wickedly tough problem, does not require some new kind of scientific paradigm. It just requires equally tough, honest science, science of the plain old-fashioned variety that doesn’t start with the assumption that there is a problem and go haring off after an imaginary solution. You know … real science with things like the “null hypothesis” and transparency, the good old-fashioned science which far too many modern climate scientists do their best to ignore.

    Regards,

    w.

    • Willis, would it be possible for me to post this reply on my little Blawg? It echos my thinking almost perfectly.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        I toss my words on the electronic winds, and I’m always happy to see them copied around.

        w.

    • You took the words out of my mouth.
      Nothing is more counterproductive than to fight imaginary problems.
      They talk about “climate change” but never realise that they mean climate change caused by warming, and it could start cooling, which would also cause some climate change.

    • Thanks Willis. You’ve nailed it once again.

    • +100

    • Steven Mosher

      Willis also missed the debate. It would have been good to have him join it.
      Alas, he missed it.

      PNS does not replace good old fashioned “science” because there never was such a thing to replace. You will find examples here and there, exemplars, anecedotes really, about how “science is done”. In fact, its done a bunch of different ways. many times without a “null” for centuries without a “null”. The null is just a tool. A particular tool for particular kinds of situations.

      In any case, the debate has moved on to “what we will do?”

      just ignore the fact that you guys were no shows for the last debate, and join this one.

      • Willis speaks commonsense that resonates around a world gone stark raving bonkers on this issue.

        If we go the max with mitigation to cover not just a 2C but a 4C scenario-‘just in case’- then since money doesn’t grow on trees, there would surely be less money available for long-term and maybe much more useful research.

        The period of the trend warmists obsess about was so short in the scheme of things before the advent of the hiatus —so little research done on clouds oceans etc before they proclaimed a set-in-concrete ‘consensus’ that must not be questioned.

    • Going out on a limb from the other commentators, I am going to have to respectfully disagree.

      In general, I can’t see much to disagree with in any point of fact, but unfortunately I think that ‘facts’ with something like climate change are somewhat negotiable (sadly), in the eye of the beholder, and largely don’t matter. It really grates to write that, but I think it’s probably true.

      Those who have looked at the issue deeply enough to be convinced that there is no good evidence for impending catastrophe also need to bear in mind that there are a lot of people who do. Sincerely, and vehemently. There are those who look at the same evidence as skeptics and rationalise a completely different narrative. Given that they would accuse skeptics of ignoring the same evidence in the same way skeptics say they are ignoring it, we have a situation where each side thinks it is right.

      In the same way over confidence has created the situation we find ourselves in, being guilty of the same confidence in the other direction will not likely change anyone’s mind. So I propose that it is sensible to channel that energy toward achieving realistic and worthwhile ‘no-regrets’ goals. That’s why this interview reads as a refreshingly realistic way to approach the problem.

      Meanwhile, in the background, climate science should continue to be challenged to do a better job, to be audited, examined and scrutinised. If we are lucky, and more people look at the problem in the manner of Gutting and Jamieson, we will be left with outcomes that are more useful regardless of how the science sorts itself out.

  36. Entrepreneur: I’m going to make a new beer, I can make it for $.20 a bottle, sell it for $1.00 a bottle. I’ll get rich!
    Do Gooder: But someone may get kidney disease from drinking your beer in 30 years so I’m going to impose a $4.00 tax per bottle going to a fund to fight the insidious kidney disease your drinkers might get!
    Entrepeneur: Well, the price will be too high so I’m not going to open the business and the estimated 40 people I would have employed lose.
    Do Gooder: Well, we need jobs so I’ll only tax you .$25 a bottle.
    Entrepreneur: I think that’s unfair, but I can still make a profit selling at $1.25.
    Do Gooder: Don’t forget that the $3.75 We aren’t taxing you is a SUBSIDY.

    green logic.

  37. sailor1031

    I learned many times over in forty years of practice in various aspects of IT that it is unequivocally true that if you can’t define a problem you can’t begin to solve that problem, We are not at the state of knowledge where we can define the problems (if any) of climate change. Ergo….

    • Mike Flynn

      Yup. Unfortunately, common sense is not necessarily common practice. I assume you have experienced the phenomenon of the complete IT disaster, due to a string of incorrect assumptions and general dim wittedness, followed by a coverup, while inordinate amounts of money were wasted trying to pretend the disaster occurred as planned.

      Sorry about the long sentence. Maybe due to a recurrence of boiling blood.

      • sailor1031

        Your assumption is correct. Many a disaster caused by, among other things, hubris coupled with lack of knowledge together with artificially derived schedules driven by political agendas fuelled by ignorance and ego. Similar to what we often see today in “climate change”.

  38. ulriclyons

    “Most action on climate change will take place within regions, within countries, within communities, and in the hearts and minds of individuals.”

    That is what troubles me most, as the grass root folk tend to become dogmatic about the certainty of global warming projections, defensive even. That can only be bad for their hearts and minds, but far worse for their intuition, which loyally follows instructions to point their minds the wrong way.

  39. A philosopher who wants to stop climate change? What’s next, seasons?

  40. – “The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.” Didn’t
    understand this.

    – I don’t be believe we need philosophers to exhibit some common sense. I believe it’s a questionable idea to believe one can delegate certain problems to experts. Nice if that worked. According to my experience you have to take the longer road to acquire broader competencies and figure a lot of things out yourself. Some sort of experts have developed into quasi parasitic industries and are in the most part misrepresenting reality in pursuit of their professional interests.
    Actually most of media reporting is reporting about interest groups whose profession it is to misrepresent reality.
    Of course this won’t work either because the world is much too complex.

    – An honest discussion of what might actually be possible would be a good idea. Just considering that it might be possible that it might not be possible to break through to utopia. Just in case. If only to prevent people becoming traumatized by such an unexpected disappointment (and need expert advice to recover).

  41. Hmmm…From JC’s bulleted highlights:

    “Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies”
    Is there sufficient understanding of either human/climate interaction or long term economic effect, or for that matter morality applied to either or other not named, to formulate a “no regrets” policy?

    “The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.”
    The original statement was in the context of displacing coal. The scope of that statement isn’t at all clear to me. Who is being compensated and for what? Does this mean the coal miners get checks? Am I to get free candles because I can’t turn on my lights? (facetious – writ large for purpose of example) In the absence of specifics, this seems a bit mom and apple pie.

    “I think common-sense morality is at a loss when faced by questions like that, even when you supply a lot of detail about climate change.”
    This is correct in that common-sense morality is at a loss. It usually is. (See Bertrand Russel’s critique of common-sense as being “Cocksure, vague and self-contradictory.”) The idea that detail about climate change would help hits me at least, as mostly silly. It is only not silly on the edges of the spectrum defining the degree of certainty of cause and effect. That is, we can argue endlessly as to whether it is better to drive on the left hand or right hand side of the road, based on number of accidents per mile. The difference is slight and in the absence of definition of causal relationship, meaningless. This is the realm in which most all drivers will live. However, we can all agree that head on accidents are bad. Climate science would have to produce a degree of certainty such “If A, then B,” (i.e. the certain side of the spectrum) for it to be helpful.

    “These questions outrun the resources of economics to make sensible evaluations.”
    I don’t think this adds value to the “common-sense” argument above and it seems to suffer from the same weakess. As above, we first have to all agree on what “sensible” is before we can agree on the value of the respective evaluations. For example, Michael Mann’s definition of what “sensible” represents differs from Judith Curry’s.

    “We need to figure out how people can act from within their existing moral psychologies in a way that is both more environmentally friendly and will help to give them meaning.”
    Please, please, please refrain from all attempts to impart to individuals through the mechanisms of society, government or academia anything that even vaguely resembles assigning “meaning.” It has been opined by people far smarter than I am that there is no more dangerous tyranny than the good intentions of a well meaning, self-righteous few. Of course, the deliberately malevolent have their own special place in this domain as well.

    Human experience has always been a messy business. It will always remain such. No organized authority either malevolent or benevolent has or ever will disconnect the individual from himself in a manner that considers the value of the individual to be paramount. There’s a name for the sort of construct aimed at herding groups of individuals into a way of thinking. It’s called propaganda.

    “help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating.”
    Well clearly, if my “meaning and grace” involves, coal mining, logging or laying asphalt in the pursuit of happiness, probably I’m going to be “encouraged” to reshape my “moral psychology.” Underneath this mom & apple pie statement is the well meaning if wildly undefined projection of the author. Sadly (presumably mostly for the author) there are a few billion other people on the planet with differing views of what “meaning” and “grace” represent.

  42. ulriclyons

    “What can we do about climate change?”

    We should first understand that natural variability dominates regional climate, and that teleconnection phases of the opposite sign of what increased forcing of the climate produces, are a much larger problem than the fewer number of regions that suffer adversely with an increased forcing of the climate. There’s no point in trying to fix what isn’t broken.

  43. Willis Eschenbach

    D.J.

    The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination.

    Sure … as long as you don’t care if poor people in India and China get denied inexpensive electricity, and as long as you use dirty 19th century technology. Modern coal plants are not surrounded by sick and dying people, that’s an outmoded stereotype. If that’s his “case for its elimination”, he has no case.

    The problem is distributional. Some people, including many poor people, gain short-term advantages from using coal.

    “Short-term advantage”? I hate this mealy-mouthing. Cheap electricity, which in much of the world means coal and nothing else, is the savior of the poor housewife and the poor farmer. It is what allows students to study. It keeps the vaccines cold in the local clinics. It powers the machinery to make the things that protect us from the vagaries of the climate. Coal in many places is the only hope of the people from escaping from short, brutal lives of grinding poverty …

    Here’s the short version. COAL PREVENTS POVERTY, SICKNESS, AND DEATH … and calling that a “short-term advantage” is alarmist spin of the worst kind.

    But distributional concerns are involved in all social policy decisions. The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.

    Another plea for more money. Once again, we have someone who wants to deny poor people cheap electricity, and then they want me and you to pay to “compensate” the poor … D.J. seems oblivious to the fact that far from being a “short-term advantage”, coal can be the difference between a vibrant economy with healthy populace on the one hand, and a dystopian nightmare on the other hand.

    That is not a “short-term advantage”, and it is not something that can be solved by “compensation, not inaction”. How do you compensate for the loss of inexpensive electricity to an entire country like India? That’s just an ivory-tower fantasy.

    w.

    • Yes, I completely agree with you. Jamieson’s moral judgment is preposterous “The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming…” Please. Germany is adding coal back into their grid, someone better tell them. It’s beyond belief that such statements are taken seriously much less published as nuggets of wisdom in the NYTimes

    • Willis Eschenbach: D.J. seems oblivious to the fact that far from being a “short-term advantage”, coal can be the difference between a vibrant economy with healthy populace on the one hand, and a dystopian nightmare on the other hand.

      I think a lot of writers simply do not appreciate how poor and unhealthy the lives without electricity are. Just moving the air pollution outdoors from indoors would benefit hundreds of millions of people.

      • Matthew, agreed. Years of living cheaply in non-Western countries, on top of growing up in a poor family in impoverished post-war Britain, help to provide a clearer perspective.

    • What we should be researching is cheap, low resource (in manufactured material), rugged, reliable power sources for the third world.

      Small footprint is another desirable feature of power sources.

      • “What we should be researching is cheap, low resource (in manufactured material), rugged, reliable power sources for the third world.”

        I disagree.

        “We” (in this case the USA) should be researching this for our own use as it will be needed over the long term. If 3rd world countries can also use the tech for their benefit……that is a side benefit

      • If the UN were worth one red cent of the money given it by the US, which it isn’t, it would be facilitating wind and solar in the third world. It doesn’t need a grid, that’s a plus for that application. What about the governments of the third world countries? Why does it have to be the West that does all this? Let them do it.

      • @PA:

        The key thing is high density modular energy. Small scale nuclear able to fit into existing infrastructure. There is a lot going on that might bring this to us in the not too distant future.

    • Thank you willis for your comments. The goobeldygook nonsense coming from these philosophers is just another example of the insanity, and inanity, coming from the warmunistas.

    • ” coal can be the difference between a vibrant economy with healthy populace on the one hand, and a dystopian nightmare on the other hand.” – Willis

      Magical pixie dust works too.

      • The sad thing is most Greens clearly think like michael’s attempt at snark. An endless stream of ‘solutions’ that don’t come close to replacing the fossil fuels they hate. Pixie Dust indeed.

  44. Steven Mosher

    “What can we do about climate change?”

    Note this question is not addressed to people who don’t buy the premise.

    Sorry about that. There was a debate, you didnt show up

    • Who doesn’t buy into the idea of climate change?

      Tonyb

      • Steven Mosher

        The premise is that climate change or warming will have bad impacts. Glad to see you agree

      • catweazle666

        Steven Mosher: “The premise is that climate change or warming will have bad impacts. Glad to see you agree”

        Disingenuous to the point of outright mendacity.

      • Climate change will have impacts, some good some bad.

        Britain could certainly stand being a degree or two warmer. We also have to stop taking the climate for granted. We have been very lax in putting infrastructure in vulnerable places, for example railway switching gear close to a river that periodically overflows or, as in the case of some power stations, equipment that was again vulnerable to flooding. We have had a benign climate on the whole for the last century and have got too lax in assuming that is the norm.

        We need to prepare for the effects on our infrastructure of future weather by looking at what has gone before.

        Tonyb

      • Steve writes–“The premise is that climate change or warming will have bad impacts.”

        I must have missed where this premise was defined or you were appointed to determine the groundrules.

        In rationale decision making wouldn’t nations (leadership) determine the course of action that makes sense for that nation in regards to more CO2 based upon what will happen to that nation as the primary driver?

      • Siberia a couple degrees warmer may not be bad for the Russians. The Arctic going from average – 60 F to -50 F may not be too bad.

        Some winners some losers. Plus African Humid Period may shift monsoon to recreate lakes and marshes in Sahara and Rub Al Kali.

        Plus it will take a while so adaptable humans will adapt. Except for poverty stricken parts of the globe without electricity, clean water and sewage treatment.
        Scott

      • It would be interesting to look at an analysis of the “bad” impacts of the .8C of warming since 1850. Then compare the “bad” impacts to the “good” impacts of warming .8C.

        Bad impacts would be 8 inches of sea level rise (as an example).
        Good impacts would be lower total cost to heat due to the .8C higher average temperature.
        Bad impact higher air conditioning cost – due to .8C heat.

        I think you get the picture.

        What is the net of the good versus the bad.

        I don’t know – but it would be interesting to see an analysis (if one has been done let me know).

        My sense is that worldwide, no one has noticed the .8C. Technology and efficiency masked the increased electricity for air conditioning and no one noticed the 8 inches of sea level rise.

        It is always the future warming which is a problem – never the warming we have already experienced. We get used to it and adapt.

        I am from Minnesota and we don’t really mind global warming in our region.

      • Steven Mosher

        Sorry Tony you don’t buy the given.

      • Richard writes “Bad impacts would be 8 inches of sea level rise (as an example).”

        Is 8″ of sea level rise necessarily bad? Doesn’t it depend on the specific location? Might some areas benefit as a result. Changes in local land height impacts what people think more than the actual change in sea level.

      • False premise mosh.

      • Steven Mosher

        “I must have missed where this premise was defined or you were appointed to determine the groundrules.”

        You missed the premise and the debate. i dont make the rules, I just note people who can read and follow them and show up for the debate.
        You missed it. game over.

        now the question is what can we do?

        You can Miss your opportunity AGAIN by trying to fight the last battle.
        I’ll suggest its wiser, IF ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, to assume that climate change is bad and make your best case for what we should do, GIVEN that assumption.

        or, you can just wait for the pen and phone to take stuff from you.

      • Higher sea levels were handy during the Claudian invasion of Britain. Romans didn’t have so far to walk. (Not that erosion in the NE hasn’t sent things in the other direction since medieval times.)

        But these days we don’t talk about actual climate change and actual sea levels. Nowadays we are very strict about expounding such concepts in a purely consciousness-raising way. You know, to develop mindfulness and and green virtue and green stuff generally.

        A hundred years ago geographers and educationists thought nothing of exposing children to actual sea level change. If their pupils wanted to know why Burgh Castle was no longer on the estuary…those schoolteachers just blurted it all out!

      • Mosh

        You said;

        “I’ll suggest its wiser, IF ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, to assume that climate change is bad and make your best case for what we should do, GIVEN that assumption.”

        Trouble is that taking your premise makes for a one sided and false debate doesn’t it? Are you seriously saying that all climate change is bad? When would you rather have lived in Britain? During the periods of severe cold during the LIA which caused such suffering, famine and death? Or those warmer years when agriculture flourished. The 1690’s or the 1730’s?

        The changing climate has sometimes benefited us and sometimes penalised us. To say it was uniformly bad is a strange argument to attempt to make. We should plan for the future climates by looking to the past ones.

        tonyb

      • Moshers arguments are that deniers must produce models and publish papers demonstrating that there is no case for agw when all we need are simple observations of reality that clearly invalidates the entire premise. It reminds me of a statement from barry bonds after he was walked 4 times when the opposing team chided him for not taking a swing – he simply said “against you guys, I don’t have to”. My point being, for those who cannot discern, is that skeptics need not publish anything when real-world observations invalidate the agw case.

    • “There was a debate, you didnt show up”

      Date and time of said debate?
      Who participated?
      Why am I even asking?

      Andrew

      • It wasn’t so much a debate as a sermon. Heretics and unbelievers were not invited, and any that showed up anyway were shouted down and told to leave. Then the high priests held a vote where only the most faithful could be counted and declared themselves unanimous. Finally the highmost of the prophets of profits, the Goracle himself, came forth to make predictions both terrible and dire, all of which eventually proved false.

        Sorry you missed it, twas a hell of a show.

      • Steven Mosher

        It started in the 1800’s, lasted over 100 years with too many names to mention. Nic Lewis joined it. Ask him how.
        next time read the invitation.

      • No one here showed up for a debate in 1800? I’ve heard of moving the goal posts, but by two centuries? Dang.

        Yer a funny guy.

      • “It started in the 1800’s, lasted over 100 years”

        So it ended in the 1900’s?

        Andrew

    • Well…

      What is the probability distribution for 2100 temperature?

      We know the IPCC prediction is worthless, their models prove it..

      Until someone can produce a defensible probability distribution for 2100 temperature there isn’t much you can do except generic measures that are inexpensive but would help mitigate against a significant rise or fall in temperature.

      About the only thing we are sure of is there will be coastal subsidence.

      • Steven Mosher

        no the predictions are useful. they get used all the time.
        you might not like that, but you dont get to decide.
        you were a no show for the debate.
        maybe next time.

      • Well gee.

        In the real world only educated estimates that are likely to be true are useful.

        Someone who is consistently wrong is fired.

        We should have fired either the modelers or their managers or both about 5 years into the pause. It isn’t too late to make reproducing the pause a condition for any future modeling funding.

        Paying people to draw squiggly lines that don’t match the real world is stupid & wasteful, and if the failure to match the real world is willful – may be actionable.

      • “The debate is over”… Al Gore

        Occasionally the winners forget and engage anyway:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/19/nasas-dr-gavin-schmidt-goes-into-hiding-from-seven-inconvenient-questions/

        Big mistake, he probably got a call from Al.

        After 150 years of scientific proof, seemingly the debate about evolution was surely over. Then Bill Nye the stupid guy debated another neophyte and lost. Oh my!

      • Fer some of us the debate started over at Climate Audit
        with the the Hockey Stick debate. Whether the Earth’s
        climate could be characterized to show unprecedented
        warming and whether the enormous political trust placed
        in the IPCC 3rd Assessment Report was warranted?
        http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf

    • Steve Mosher
      In your opinion, why does it not make sense for politicians in the USA to communicate clearly that there is no reliable science that leads one to conclude that global warming is bad for humanity overall or for the US in particular for the foreseeable future?

      Isn’t claiming otherwise science denial? There is certainly a risk that AGW will result in net negative conditions, but only a risk.

      • Steven Mosher

        because there is reliable science.
        clue: You dont decide what is reliable.

      • Hang on Mosher, you don’t decide what’s reliable either.

        There is precious little reliable climate science. It’s all a great big mass of hypothesis and conjecture.

        From the idiotic bristlecone proxies of Hedy La Mann and his absurd hockey stick, to the lunatic rantings of Gavin Schmidt and his 2014 ‘hottest year ever’ guff, to whichever nutter came up with the ‘CO2 is like a blanket’ malarkey, to the pearl-clutching imbeciles who think the slightest mockery of their flawed research is a d—th thr–t, to the irrational hatred of the year 1998, to the wilful ignorance of recorded history since the Roman era, the only reliable thing about climate science is that it is an academic pursuit practiced by mostly c-grade thinkers with thin skins and unearned egos peddling d-grade software and stats methodology and trying to pass themselves off as somehow equal to or better than modern engineers and doctors.

      • Mosher: “clue: You dont decide what is reliable.”

        And you do?

        As for reliable science, how is it almost all of the research pointing risk or negative consequences appears to start with model output?

        I have never used the terms “pause”, “halt”, “plateau”, etc. Instead I prefer divergence. When observed data starts diverging from model output, the model(s) start losing their credibility for providing reliable information.

      • hide

        Outstanding summary.

      • Reliable science eh?

        Mann, Lewandowski, Cook, etc.?

        IPCC: ECS has to be greater than 2.0°C?

        {Snicker }

        Scientific opinion and about $4.00 will get you a Grande coffee at Starbucks.

    • The problem is precisely the assumption that climate change is the primary problem for which action should be taken.
      I personally have no disagreement whatsoever that true or near true cost parity alternative energy is worth researching and once created, promoted – and I’d hope that even you would agree that this is a worthy goal.
      However, the divergence between the above statement and the Act Now climate change alternative energy program is the present state of alt-e: expensive and doesn’t save much if any CO2 emissions.
      In the absence of such technologies – why would a 3rd world nation not build CO2 belching coal plants?

      • Steven Mosher

        No, the problem is that you missed the debate.

      • You seem to think you didn’t – yet for all your snarky comments, I have yet to see anything convincing for the alarmist side of the equation.
        They all boil down to the same thing: trust me, I’m an expert.
        Sadly, I’ve poked at a couple edges of your supposed expertise – and the results aren’t encouraging.

      • To quote a wise spaniard at Mosher: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’

    • “Note this question is not addressed to people who don’t buy the premise.”

      Those who failed to understand the question would buy the premise. Daily AO/NAO through 2009-2013 has been down to extreme negative values not seen since previous solar minima, and will be doing so again frequently from late this year through to 2024. It would be nice to think that all that GHG forcing would inhibit that like it is supposed to.
      http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-3-5-6.html

      • Steven Mosher

        The question isnt directed to you. There was a debate. You were a no show

      • ulriclyons

        I did show up for the debate, but those whose minds were already fixed had no intentions of listening. I truly don’t believe that you understand the question.

      • Mosher believes his wit affords him a cloaking device. But his efforts are transparent.

    • “There was a debate, you didnt show up”

      Unmitigated bull feces. There was never a debate. The CAGW political movement was born fully grown. Once progressive climate scientists like Hansen joined forces with progressive Democrats (OK, that’s redundant), there was never any debate.

      The ‘consensus’ was bequeathed to man the same way we got the Ten Commandments. The prophet Hansen descended into a Senate hearing room with the holy writ burned into the stone of his mind by his (hilariously wrong) climate model.

      The god of globalclimatewarmingchange has brooked no heresy since he passed his green commandments.

      Quick, post links to a half dozen papers from ‘climate scientists’ in the 80s and 90s that disputed the claims of the climate gods of the coming thermageddon. And the predictions of the next ice age from the 60s and 70s don’t count..

      There was a debate.

      Yer a funny guy.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes, there was a debate. Niic lewis joined it. You didnt.
        you were a no show.

      • Lewis’s first paper on globalclimatewarmingchange was in 2011, according to his denizen profile here. That’s 4 years after the AR4 was published and 23 years after the Hansen charade in that Senate hearing room.

        That’s what you call a debate among the ‘consensus’?

        Oh wait, it depends on what the meaning of ‘debate’ is, right?

        Or maybe the meaning of ‘was’?

        How about ‘a’?

        When I say yer a funny guy, trust me, I don’t mean you are witty.

      • By the way, I showed up for the last debate. It was on November 4, 2014.

        I plan to attend the next one on November 18, 2016.

        Unless you and your fellow progressives finally find a way to do away with those annoying elections, those are the only debates that really matter.

        See, in a democracy, policy debates are never ‘over’.

      • +1 GaryM.

        Mosher’s ‘there was a debate’ is alt history. Sadly, for him, the internet exists. Sad for lots of ‘climate scientists’ i.e warmies. Fun for us skeptics, though.

      • Well, if there’s one thing the leftists like it’s rewriting history to suit their needs. “He who controls the present. ..” and all that.

    • Seriously? There WAS a debate and now the science is settled?

    • More BS from Mosher. Thanks for your contribution.

  45. The idea that better regional forecasting of putative AGW impacts would improve incentives to mitigate is probably wrong. In fact, uncertainty about the winners and losers gives what little political motivation there is for global mitigation policy–we can insure one another by all cutting back on emissions. If it were revealed with certainty who would win and who would lose under an AGW scenario such insurance would be impossible–the winners would simply refuse to play.

  46. “Some people, including many poor people, gain short-term advantages from using coal”. Advantages? Don’t think there’s a better choice of words if you want to downplay the consequences of using coal such as longer life expectancy and higher living standard.
    “Short term advantages…”? We’ve been using coal for 200 years and done pretty well with it in the mix.

  47. “Most action on climate change will take place within regions, within countries, within communities, and in the hearts and minds of individuals.”
    It’s a question Federal/Global laws from above or action from lower down the food chain, that is us. Action is the sum of all the individual contributions. What may be perceived as just more government once again, might less so be seen that way with local action. Consider soil run off into the Minnesota River (joins with the Mississippi River). My grandfather used to call one answer, a soil bank and he was paid for that. The prairie turf is restored to an extent by for instance growing unharvested and unplowed grass, though there are and were many types of programs. One could say all of Minnesota’s successes are a drop in the global bucket. But it is a bit of movement in the right direction. Indirectly trying to better the Mississippi River water quality.

  48. Survey questions:

    What in your opinion is humanity good at?
    A) Altruistic cooperation and sacrifice for the common good.
    B) Adherence to authorities dictates for our own good such as prohibition.
    C) Exploiting resources for our benefit, adapting to our environment, adapting our environment, and technological advancement.
    D) Peaceful coexistence and living low environmental impact lifestyles.

    Which strategy for combating climate change best matches humanity’s strengths?
    A) Voluntary global agreements limiting the use of the cheapest energy source available.
    B) Mandatory global limitations on the use of the cheapest energy source available.
    C) Global education on peaceful coexistence and low environmental impact living.
    D) Improving infrastructural and environmental circumstances at the local and regional level while researching and developing next generation energy sources.

    What ended the Stone Age?
    A) Stone shortage.
    B) Development of bronze for tool making, obsoleting stone tools.
    C) Global moratorium on stone mutilation.
    D) Stones uprising.

    What in your opinion will end the fossil fuel age?
    A) Thermonuclear war.
    B) Fossil fuel shortage.
    C) Development of next generation energy sources, obsoleting fossil fuels.
    D) Edicts from alien overlords our wise leaders based on guidance from infallible experts.
    E) Unprecedented global cooperation to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

  49. The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.

    Excellent idea. I appoint myself to run the international compensation program. I assure you my fees are reasonable and my results are guaranteed. If you are not fully satisfied, check back with me in 2097.

    When my nephew wanted to major in philosophy in college, I told him that “philosophy” was Greek for “unemployed.” Obviously, this does not apply if your “philosophy” is translated from Bureaucratese.

  50. “G.G.: What are some of these “green virtues”?

    D.J.: The ones I discuss in my book, “Reason in a Dark Time,” are cooperativeness, mindfulness, simplicity, temperance and respect for nature. They will not solve the problem of climate change on their own but they will help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating.”

    Are you kidding me? “Live with meaning and grace.” While the poor in undeveloped parts of the world are forced to live without adequate energy and food to live the same way? Poor and hungry people have little time for living with meaning or grace. Day to day survival what they have. Allowing greenies to feel good “with meaning and grace” about themselves is the central problem of the day.

  51. Another philosopher wrote a book relevant to these issues:

    Epstein, Alex, 2014,The moral case for fossil fuels: New York, Portfolio/Penguin

    He makes the case the choosing the cheapest available energy source (oil, gas, coal) provides more capital that allow new technologies to develop that automatically will solve any of the problems discussed above. In short, regional, national and international treaties won’t solve it.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

  52. “For example, should we hold people responsible for climate change because of their ordinary but preventable emissions, such as those entailed by driving the kids to school in an S.U.V.? I think common-sense morality is at a loss when faced by questions like that, even when you supply a lot of detail about climate change.”

    Dale makes clear to his fairy-clapping interviewer what he really means by “Reason in a Dark Time”: the struggle of the disdainful urban sophisticate against suburban aspirationals who dare to breed and prosper.

    I hope the aspirationals win. Trouble is, they will then send their kids to universities, then those kids will end up studying “Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy since 1960”. (Not content with inventing bad coffee, the French are successfully exporting the bilious conversation that goes with it.) How do we stop this vicious circle?

  53. Ask yourself — What’s better, some top/down approach to AGW (e.g., international treaties to reduce GHGs) or a bottom/up incentive based comprehensive plan using International Trade?

    (1) Develop Internationally accepted Carbon Standards and Verification documentation for products.

    (2) Give products from Developing Countries special perks into U.S. markets for meeting these standards — increasing their product markets.

    (3) Have U.S. Financial Institutions and U.S. Companies work to provide financial resources to Industry in Developing Countries to purchase U.S. energy efficient goods and services. Shoot, even have the U.S. Government secure or partially secure these loans (to purchase U.S. equipment).

    (4) Start small. Create some “Enterprise Zones” (say in Vietnam, Philippines) to test this concept including the lifting of U.S. natural gas export bans — selling U.S. LNG into these Enterprise Zones.

    This would be a no regrets win/win/win for the U.S., Developing Countries, and Global Warming.

    • “(1) Develop Internationally accepted Carbon Standards and Verification documentation for products.”

      You call this “bottom up” ?

    • Besides the aforementioned note that the entire concept of “US Financial institutions and U.S. Companies work to provide financial resources” is precisely top down, this framework is already out there. It is called the various free trade agreements with the World Bank and IMF thrown in on top of it.
      And they don’t work. A 3rd world nation needs cheap energy – including cheap electricity – so productivity can be raised such that women can work outside the home and children can take time for schooling. Productivity is increased via machinery – fossil fueled as well as electric. Productivity is also increased via affordable, cheap lighting and information/communication systems.
      The only win/win/win is true fossil fuel cost parity alternative energy – and we’re nowhere near that. 3rd world nations are NOT going to be able to research this on their own – and even if they did, they don’t have the manufacturing capability or technology to build it.

      • ticketstopper — In 2012, Jon Huntsman was talking about addressing Global Warming through International Trade. Certainly with him spending a good part of his life in Asia directly addressing trade, he’d have credibility. I don’t remember any “specifics” he talked about (just the phrase win/wins).

        What do you think he had in mind in proposing addressing AGW through International Trade? How do you think it would work?

        Or do you believe Jon Huntsman was proposing something that could never work?

      • Jon Huntsman Jr. is a politician, with the only other accomplishments in between apparently being a Mormon missionary and being the son of a rich person.
        I am unclear as to why he would be able to provide any form of expert advice regarding global trade.
        His credentials as a *salesman* for trade, however, are quite clear, as is the fact that the Huntsman fortune came from fossil fuel processing into polystyrene.

    • The problem here is that it depends on trade barriers for non-approved products. But we’ve already lowered our average tariff level, painfully over the years, to the point that it’s not that big a deal. So the only way this has any impact would be if we raised tariffs on foreign imported goods then selectively lowered them on the one approved by the Carbon Conclave. That’s called an increase in protectionism and a carbon tax paid only by foreign producers–a gigantic backslide on generational efforts to lower trade barriers.

      • stevepostrel — Are you aware of anything the U.S. could do to give preference to say Vietnam over China?

      • The US does this all the time. It is called country specific tariffs, or the WTO equivalent which is country specific tariff break against a generalized tariff scheme.
        Another way is economic sanctions to address human rights abuses.
        A third way is to use the US’ World Bank dominance to lend to Vietnam but not to China.
        A fourth way is to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam only.
        A fifth way is to institute absolute number per country quotas on imports.
        There are many more, but I think this illustrates the drift quite nicely.

      • Country-specific tariff break against a generalized tariff scheme DOESN’T work if the generalized tariff scheme already has low tariffs. The break just isn’t worth that much.
        Economic sanctions to address human rights abuses is a non sequiter. You can’t just claim that India is abusing human rights if it burns coal or something.
        The World Bank isn’t exactly a powerful inducement, especially with the new Chinese-run development bank specifically targeting projects that Western governments don’t like for environmental reasons.
        An FTA with just Vietnam would a) backslide on the benefits of general tariff reduction and b) again not do much because our existing tariffs are pretty low.
        Import quotas violate the WTO and are exactly what I was warning about–letting the protectionists reverse decades of progress on free trade.

        The broad point is you CAN find ways to favor some countries over others, but the more you do that for economic or environmental reasons, the more you undermine the free trade regime that has been a major U.S. policy objective for decades.

  54. Steven Mosher | May 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    “…if you disagree with Jamieson, write your own damn philosophy. That’s how its done in philosophy. same as science. write your own stuff and get it published.”

    The interviewer is Gary Gutting, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and an editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

    The interviewee is Dale Jamieson, a professor of environmental studies and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future.”

    There has been discourse up thread regarding basic assumptions of Gutting and Jamieson regarding accepting the premise and perspective of IPCC AR#5.

    There are other assumptions regarding the philosophy of interviewer/interviewee, namely the Catholic world view of divine intervention and the righteousness of God as well as “…in Dark Time:” Hell is our destiny.

    In heeding Steven Mosher’s admonition to Mike Jonas, I will write my own philosophy and publish it here.

    I highly value uncertainty, as in the state of being uncertain: not knowing nor being definite. I am not referring to the uncertainty, being paralyzed as in “Do I dare to eat a peach?” I also am not referring to some Monster, either under my bed or lurking over me, intimidating me. Rather, the uncertainty to which I refer embodies the willingness to pause and listen or observe or feel if only briefly before moving on.

    This hesitancy, this embracing uncertainty facilitates my learning, at times by asking questions and considering the answers.

    GG asks: ” What are some of these “green virtues”?

    DJ enumerates those green values that are personal and unique to himself within his own world view: “cooperativeness, mindfulness, simplicity, temperance and respect for nature.” Hard to quibble with these. Where the leap of faith comes in, that these “green virtues” should be shared by all, every one of the creatures on God’s green earth even though DJ acknowledges: “…They will not solve the problem of climate change on their own…”

    This view of course dismisses man’s ability to choose for himself while reaping the benefits of such choices or its consequences. The dilemma I see in JD’s philosophy, either these “green virtues” are given by some oracle from Delphi and are truths, or man has free will and discovers his own values as he follows his destiny.

    If I understand DJ’s philosophy, virtuous behavior will not solve the problem of climate change.

    I can agree with that.

    • I like yer philosophy, RiHo08. I’d add values of curiosity,
      questioning of naychur’s and authorities’ behavior, a joy
      in making, courage.
      Herewith: the wise move, the good stand still.
      https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/20th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/

      • “When Greeks took to the sea and began to trade and build colonies around the Aegean Sea, coming into contact with other cultures, the old tribal certainties began to weaken.”

        It is only when we move is when we adapt and remain alive. Climate change rhetoric is stationary, stagnant and compels us to halt or even regress, and, ultimately, die in our tracks.

      • LET us go then, you and I,
        When the evening is spread out against the sky
        Like a patient etherized upon a table;
        Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
        The muttering retreats
        Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
        And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
        Streets that follow like a tedious argument
        Of insidious intent
        To lead you to an overwhelming question….
        Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
        Let us go and make our visit…

        And would it have been worth it, after all,
        After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
        Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
        Would it have been worth while,
        To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
        To have squeezed the universe into a ball
        To roll it toward some overwhelming question…

        Would it have been worth while
        If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
        And turning toward the window, should say:
        “That is not it at all,
        That is not what I meant, at all.”
        . . . . . . . .
        I grow old … I grow old …
        I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

        Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?’

        excerpts – T.S. Eliot (1888–1965) – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

        Old Prufock’s lament on the perils of daring to answer big question – but well done for the literary allusion.

  55. “Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies”

    Anyone have any examples of what is truly a no regrets policy? Seems to me that this has become one of those throw away statements meant to diffuse disagreement without really saying anything.

    The more I dig into this stuff, the more I am convinced that Scottish Skeptic has it right:

    “What can we do about climate change?

    The same as we do about weather – live with it.

    You might as well ask “what can we do about Mondays – sure Mondays are a problem, but the best way to deal with Mondays is to just get on with it”.

    • With weather it helps to listen to the forecasters and in some cases it saves lives to listen to them. This analogy argues for listening and taking precautions based on what the experts say.

      • Weather forecasts have skill and heeding them is common sense. Climate is not forecastable so taking action on projections of climate models that are basically research tools does not make sense.

    • John Carpenter

      “Anyone have any examples of what is truly a no regrets policy? Seems to me that this has become one of those throw away statements meant to diffuse disagreement without really saying anything.”

      Plant more trees
      Don’t rebuild in coastal flood zones
      Continue to strive for better energy efficiencies in products
      Promote lean manufacturing techniques
      Promote continuous improvement
      Promote waste reduction
      Plan better for extreme weather that has already occurred

      Certainly not a complete list, but you can get the idea.

      • Plant more trees — ok, I’ll give you this one
        Don’t rebuild in coastal flood zones —- talk to the Bangladeshi subsistence farmers and the millions who want a beachfront oasis
        Continue to strive for better energy efficiencies in products — platitude
        Promote lean manufacturing techniques —- what does this mean?
        Promote continuous improvement —- yeah, been there done that, blah blah
        Promote waste reduction —- god and motherhood
        Plan better for extreme weather that has already occurred —- no duh

  56. The things I found the most insightful are the crickets on this one:

    The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination.

    The reactions to it are also quite insightful.

    • Coal is a poor fuel choice and that is pretty obvious I think. A little commented on problem is radioactivity in its ash and/or airborne pollution. You will be exposed to more radiation from a coal power plant than a nuclear one.

      Nuclear and natural gas are far preferable in many ways. In the 3rd world, some may feel they don’t have the luxury of using nuclear or natural gas.

      • Coal is an excellent fuel choice for many applications. You want to worry about radioactivity from coal ash? Give me a break!

      • As was stated upthread, our use of coal on an industrial scale with continuous improvements in technology over the last 200 or so years has lead directly to longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives in those countries blessed with this resource and the intelligence to use it. Only blind idealogues refuse to see this truth.

      • That may be. but it is still indisputable I think that other options are better than coal. Greens have a lot to answer for in their sabotaging the nuclear option for 30 years.

      • David – the point is that the negative impacts of coal have been grossly, and dishonestly exaggerated while the possitve impacts have been completely ignored. The statements re: coal causing thousands of deaths is the most egregious example. While I agree with you re: greens and nuclear, but thinl it is a mistake to remove it from the energy mix. It is abundant (possibly the most abundant of all fossil fuels), reliable, and most affordable. Using it will extend the time we have to develop viable alternatives while building infrastructure that helps us adapt to an ever changing climate. Mitigation efforts are a waste of time and resources.

      • Coal emits a lot of CO2, true, but it does have several positive points:
        1) It is cheap
        2) It is easy to store
        The value of the latter becomes obvious when you look at natural gas spot price history during the Polar Vortex.

  57. More beard scratching professors offer solutions that have no soloutions.

  58. Climate change is abrupt – changing state dynamically in response to an internal realignment every 20 to 30 years – and as much as 16 degrees C locally in a decade. This is a paradigm – like it or not – understand it or not – that will inevitably dominate thinking about climate.

    Greenhouse gases, land use changes and aerosols add to instability in an inherently unstable system. Of course extreme changes may happen anyway – and there are interrelated problems of population and development and biodiversity. It is a complex problem and – as Elinor Ostrom said – simple solutions to complex problems of the global commons are rarely a good idea.

    As a student of environmental science it was evident that only rich economies can afford environments. Aid has some part to part to play in development, as in the Copenhagen Consensus Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals analysis. The critical element however is in optimal economic growth this century, the conditions for which were defined by classic liberalism over the past two centuries.

    Economies – like climate – are dynamically complex systems, they shift abruptly according to internal dynamics. The most stable economies manage interest rates to restrain inflation to a target range, have fair, transparent and accessible laws, have optimal tax takes and evolve a social contract through robust democratic processes. Health and education outcomes can be best improved through economic development and this results in reduced population pressure, as well as providing resources for agricultural soil conservation and increased organic content, for conservation and restoration of ecosystems and for ‘water sensitive urban design’. The central problem of climate and the environment – perhaps paradoxically – is how to grow economies.

    Some 26% of greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation and 13% from transportation. Mitigation of these sources can come from a range of technologies – good solutions come from low cost energy technologies. Mitigation of other sources of greenhouse gases and aerosols – as well as management of wild stocks and commons – require a far wider ranging approach than merely taxes and caps. It requires a whole new approach in the intersection of business, government and community that Elinor Ostrom described as polycentric governance. Ideally this leads to a harmony with nature and conservation – rather than a tragedy – of the commons. It requires nothing less than a global Iriai – a Japanese word meaning to enter the joint use of resources.

    The idea of a global Iriai is deeply poetic. It conjures the biblical idea of a stewardship of nature – but using the most modern ideas, methods and technologies. It requires practical ways of institutional organisation using multi-disciplinary environmental science teams to inform local and regional decision making.

    The essay here provides more discussion and links.

    http://watertechbyrie.com/2015/05/20/a-global-iriai-in-place-of-the-ecomodernist-neologism

    The potential for extreme climate change – whatever we do – is not a reason to not mitigate greenhouse gases across a number of sectors, to not reduce aerosol emissions or to not conserve and restore agricultural soils and ecosystems. It is a reason to pursue maximum economic development this century and use the resources thus accumulated to built resilient and eco-friendly systems in a global – and diverse – civilisation.

    • You make a number of assertions – such as climate change being abrupt.
      Is there some data behind this?
      Temperature changes – even if they are primarily due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions – are far from abrupt.
      Equally, there is *no* evidence whatsoever that floods, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, glacier melt, etc are increasing or decreasing in occurrence in any abrupt fashion.
      So what do you mean by abrupt climate change?

    • Curious George

      A paradigm – like it or not – understand it or not – is just a catchy new word with a poorly defined meaning.

    • Chief writes:
      1. ” that will inevitably dominate thinking about climate.”

      My question–if it is a problem, why has it not dominated thinking about the climate historically?

      2. “Greenhouse gases, land use changes and aerosols add to instability in an inherently unstable system.”

      My question- I agree that those impact the system, but what evidence do you have that they make they system less stable or more sensitive to other changes? That seems to be your belief and not a factual statement.

      3. “The most stable economies manage interest rates to restrain inflation to a target range, have fair, transparent and accessible laws, have optimal tax takes and evolve a social contract through robust democratic processes.”

      That statement is factually incorrect. Stable is not necessarily a growing economy. An economy could have low GNP and no growth for decades and be stable.

  59. Mike Flynn

    Climate change?

    From the interview –

    “The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination.”

    On the other hand, coal is organic. Compressed plants, if you like.

    Environmentally friendly, surely. Living plants thrive with the extra CO2 liberated from the dead ones in the coal. More plants, more food, more biodiversity.

    People may complain about all the pollutants which the plants stored before being coalified. Use technology. How hard can it be?

    Environmentally – net benefit.

    On to health. Give up the benefits of coal, and be prepared to return to a bygone paradise of short, brutish, miserable, disease ridden lives, for the majority.

    Want an operation? Yep, I can offer fine bronze scalpels, but no lighting, air conditioning, X Rays, antibiotics, anaesthetics, ambulances, or post op call buttons.

    I can’t see terribly well – no spectacles – but I’m sure you don’t mind. You’ll probably die from post operative complications.

    Just as well, because you won’t have any fertilisers, lubricants, drugs, chemicals, or plastics derived from coal.

    So it appears that coal might provide net benefits to health.

    It looks like the anti coal forces are still using climate change as an excuse to ban coal, hoping that we are all too stupid to realise that not using coal won’t make the climate “better”, or stop it changing.

    I’m just surprised that the anti coal professor wrote a book decrying the failure of the struggle to stop climate change. Eh? Does this guy realise what he’s saying? He really wants to stop the climate changing? Of course he can’t actually tell you what this means.

    Stop the climate changing. Ban coal. Right.

  60. Having a No Regrets Policy, is assuming two things. Firstly that the decision is the correct one and secondly that you have the wherewithal to make a decision in the first place.
    What happens if you make a decision and its wrong. Is that a “whoops” moment? Is it potentially worse than doing nothing?
    What if you’re a central African tribesman? How can you have any regrets about something you have absolutely no control of, have no appreciation of the consequences? So is the ability of making a “No Regrets” decision a task restricted to the elete among us. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and they’re trying to tell you its a horse, then it usually just some fool, crapping on.

  61. In an earlier post I turned the phrase “no regrets” around on Jamieson from his intent of a top down definition. I emphasized that an inverse form of this no regret policy is occurring today in the form of proactive measures in private enterprise happening in a big way; a bottom up approach. Few seem to be paying attention, and especially the media who are giving it little credence. Why? Why is virtually the entire discussion in the media today focused on government solutions?

    This blogs headline: “what can we do about climate change”, references academia as its source of inspiration. I don’t blame Judith for this default mindset, we’re all mostly programmed with what comes from years of academia telling us what the problems are and the solutions and then the media leveraging this and piling on to everything wrong with humans.

    There’s a void, the media does to not engage private enterprise in any engaged deliberative way as it does academia to get word out as to what’s going on and what they’re doing. The following provides some examples to what’s happening in private industry:

    “A number of leading U.S. corporations are going it alone, squeezing big reductions of climate-changing emissions from their operations and supply chains. With stakeholder criticism and other pressures building, more and more are also releasing rigorous climate data in their financial reports and enlisting third-party firms to make sure it is accurate.”

    “We do it because it makes good business sense—whether it’s top of the fold [politically] or not,” said Wayne Balta, vice president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety at IBM.”

    “The world’s biggest computer services provider is on track to slash its electricity use by 20 percent by the end of this year from 2008 levels. It will also cut its energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent from 2005 levels—four percent above its original goal.”

    FedEx, the world’s largest overnight delivery company, is on a similar path. This month, it announced tougher emissions reduction targets for its fleet of nearly 700 aircraft. The firm is now targeting a 30 percent cut in aircraft emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels, up from its previous goal of 20 percent.
    89% More Taking Action—but Why?

    IBM and FedEx are hardly alone in recognizing the business potential of climate action—even as efforts in Congress stall.

    Last year, 214 of the biggest public firms in the United States told the CDP they had set emissions targets, a nearly 30 percent rise from the previous year. Zoe Tcholak-Antitch, director of CDP’s North America office, said that’s a significant jump considering the number hasn’t really changed in the past few years.

    “That’s a very positive indicator … that the U.S. corporate community is taking emissions reductions seriously,” she said.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120906/major-corporations-quietly-reducing-emissions—and-saving-money

    • I agree. “No regrets” is too timid. It really is an opportunity to build new industries up, and is ripe for risk-takers to try something that might just succeed in the new markets that are opening up.

    • jungletrunks (@jungletrunks) | May 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Reply
      In an earlier post I turned the phrase “no regrets” around on Jamieson from his intent of a top down definition. I emphasized that an inverse form of this no regret policy is occurring today in the form of proactive measures in private enterprise happening in a big way; a bottom up approach. Few seem to be paying attention, and especially the media who are giving it little credence. Why? Why is virtually the entire discussion in the media today focused on government solutions?

      This blogs headline: “what can we do about climate change”, references academia as its source of inspiration. I don’t blame Judith for this default mindset, we’re all mostly programmed with what comes from years of academia telling us what the problems are and the solutions and then the media leveraging this and piling on to everything wrong with humans.

      You obviously don’t live near DC.

      Global warming is about politics. There are a lot of people out there mostly on the left that just dampen their drawers when they see an activity that isn’t under government control.

      We have had a full century plus to observe command economies at work.

      Command economies are a miserable failure. The government is too slow, inflexible, and stupid to really control anything well and almost all government actions look like positive feedback and make the problem they were trying to address worse in some way. But some people (statists) are simply too stupid to learn form the experience of others and want the opportunity to make the same mistakes themselves.

      Government doesn’t do bad as a cheerleader. It does bloody awful as a slavemaster.

      The statists view that the average American will walk off the cliff if the government doesn’t stop him is just deranged. The statists must be thinking of their friends. The average American and American companies plan for and adapt to, problems they are aware of. They don’t need a government collar and shackles to keep them safe.

      The only reason the average American goes to the edge of the cliff is to enjoy the view.

      • PA, I don’t disagree with you at all. I’m sorry I wasn’t more eloquent in my communication. I’m emphasizing bottom up corporate solutions as a hedge to something I don’t believe will transpire quite frankly, at least in the way the media is portraying it.

      • jungletrunks (@jungletrunks) | May 19, 2015 at 10:34 pm |
        PA, I don’t disagree with you at all. I’m sorry I wasn’t more eloquent in my communication. I’m emphasizing bottom up corporate solutions as a hedge to something I don’t believe will transpire quite frankly, at least in the way the media is portraying it.

        I basically agree.

    • jungletrunks — How do we take your above point, develop a template, and apply it to the Developing World (e.g., Asia, Africa)?

      • Stephen, about developing a template.

        I don’t apply it as a template other than as a demonstration of corporate stewardship, micro ingenuity within a corporate framework, and working on a local level in bottom up approaches, it’s not our responsibility to raise the worlds living standards, it is an impossibility to do so because most third world problems aren’t technological problems. It doesn’t mean we can’t share best practice processes. But giving money to third world countries is a big mistake. They would be analogs to our inner cities relative to funneling money into them, a bottomless pit, almost certainly corruption waiting to happen. This does not mean we can’t help in much the same ways we do now, relative to healthcare etc.; but also help and guidance towards helping them manage their own resources.

        I don’t believe the alarmist forecasts. Our technological curve is such that I have high confidence within 50 years we’ll have very cost effective alternatives that scale up, and also massive conservation, also from technological advancements. I use what the corporation is doing now as the template, how private enterprise and ingenuity will solve the problems posed. As the next generation equipment and processes come on line you can be sure they’re being developed with on eye on carbon footprint, this is irrelevant whether the company believes the climate prognosis or not. That’s why I call it a bottoms up no regrets policy, because it’s a hedge.

        You have to read between the PR lines somewhat on corporate testimonials, the primary driver behind these companies is getting ahead on the curve to lowering emissions to hedge against potential punitive measures going forward. It’s risk management, although too there’s very real benefits to what they’re doing, therefore it’s a win/win. Some processes they would have done anyway as simple measures to improve bottom line. The above solutions are individual companies looking at their own carbon footprints and managing their own assets, and planning for the future, each based on unique problems that they are working through. These processes should only get better ongoing.

  62. There’s a downward tilt in CO2 emissions in first world countries today. In the U.S., it’s private enterprise mostly leading the charge. I have to believe, and would like more verification, that this proactive no regret approach is going to have exponential benefit going forward. What the corporate world is doing is not punitive requiring huge sacrifice, it’s natural process. I’m certain next generation replacement technologies will incorporate substantial cuts in CO2, and much of this will happen in timely fashion. If this plays out as I suspect then we can only hope the Chinese are as adept at stealing our carbon reduction technology as much as they are adept at stealing F-35 secrets.

    • ‘Transportation provides a dramatic, ongoing example of creative destruction at work. With the arrival of steam power in the nineteenth century, railroads swept across the United States, enlarging markets, reducing shipping costs, building new industries, and providing millions of new productive jobs. The internal combustion engine paved the way for the automobile early in the next century. The rush to put America on wheels spawned new enterprises; at one point in the 1920s, the industry had swelled to more than 260 car makers. The automobile’s ripples spilled into oil, tourism, entertainment, retailing, and other industries. On the heels of the automobile, the airplane flew into our world, setting off its own burst of new businesses and jobs.’ http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/CreativeDestruction.html

      Creative destruction is the pathway to technological innovation. The obvious way forward for electricity generation in the US is a gas to advanced nuclear strategy. Advanced nuclear has numerous major advantages and the technology is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

      http://media.ga.com/video-library/em2-changing-the-game-in-energy/

      This addresses some 26% of greenhouse gas emissions.

      The central problem of climate and the environment is to how to best grow economies. So the solutions involve macroeconomics to grow economies – and informed ‘polycentric’ managment at local and regional scales.

      • I agree chief, well said. I’m not sure the nuclear approach is needed, but I’m not against it either. The rest of your post is spot on IMO.

      • The only question is can they meet their cost projections?

      • Well, the only comment on nuclear is while PWR is fine and all that…

        Molten salt reactors have the potential to be much cheaper and safer. Designs such as WAMSR have the potential to use the 71862 short tons of used nuclear fuel the US has literally cooling its heels in the tub. The estimated amount of the residual energy that can be recovered go as high as 98 percent. Whether the reactor is that efficient or not – there is no doubt you can run a reactor on used fuel.

        The opponents of nuclear power tend to describe that fuel as high level waste. It is not waste. It is partially used fuel. You don’t use 5-10% of a can of gasoline and throw the rest away as waste. Throwing away used fuel is equally stupid.

        I am a strong advocate of WAMSR style of molten salt reactors, if for no other reason than to burn that fuel. It is worth tens of billions of dollars in development costs to field a used-fuel-burning molten salt reactor, just to shut up the whining and sniveling of the anti-nukers.

      • Molten salt is one way to go – but high temp gas cooled does the same thing with conventional waste in a much better package.

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 20, 2015 at 12:37 am |
        Molten salt is one way to go – but high temp gas cooled does the same thing with conventional waste in a much better package.

        Well… let me look at gas cooled for a second…

        Ah, I understand.

        It’s like this. HTGC is a very pretty reactor and the boccie balls inside are cute and can be used for boccie after the end of the fuel cycle. If you load the reactor properly in theory it is passive safe.

        However, the primary source of the Fukushima radiation was through high temperature solid state diffusion of volatile elements from the ceramic fuel pellets (silicon wafer processing in reverse).

        So yeah, your helium coolant is all inert and so forth, but I am suspicious that the helium in the core won’t be lonely for long and will acquire some friends that are not as inert.

        A 1000°C helium leak (basically a radioactive blow torch) would make it rather unpleasant to work at the facility.

        I am not as familiar with HTGC as you seem to be so these issues may have been resolved or mitigated.

        The reason I usually express a preference for molten salt is that the reactor operates at ambient pressure and a reactor leak is something you scrap up with a shovel. Plus the high pressure loops never come in contact with the core so the diffusion issue goes away (but you do have to manage the chemistry of the soup in the reactor).

        Both reactor types lend themselves to a modular implementation. This allows minimization/simplification of on-site fabrication.

      • The Chinese are building a pebble bed reactor – these are far from that. There are meant to drop into sealed concrete bunker and operate without refuelling for 20 to 30 years. The market rules – but it is an elegant design.

        http://www.wmsym.org/archives/2013/papers/13579.pdf

      • Chief Hydrologist:

        Well, I don’t have a serious problem with HTGC. There are ways to double seal the primary loop to keep it from venting during a piping break and it might not be that hot (radioactive). The coolant is a lot safer than water.

        Just have a native aversion to pressurizing a vessel that has something I want to contain.

      • My dad was involved in the early design work for gas cooled reactor control systems. He never lost the view that it offered a lot of advantages.

        Unfortunately the one commencial gas cooled plant – Fort St. Vrain – included the design flaw of putting a lot of the major components inside containment where they became irradiated. The result was higher operating and maintenance costs and increased outages in order to access the equipment.

      • ‘EM2 is a compact helium-cooled fast reactor that augments its fuel load with either DU or UNF, which contain the additional 238U to allow the reactor to
        both convert and burn fuel in situ. The basic construct of a 250 MWe module is presented in Fig. 1, showing a below-grade core flanked on one side by a closed cycle gas turbine power conversion unit (PCU) and on the other side by a direct reactor auxiliary cooling system (DRACS). The primary coolant system is enclosed by the containment, which is divided into three connected chambers with structural ligaments around the reactor chamber that
        also serve as shielding.’

        I don’t get it – whatever system you use there are heat exchangers and pressurised fluids or gases. The high temperature helium allows efficient conversion of heat – the gases that evolve in the core are scrubbed – the helium gas is completely contained in the worst case. The core is contained within the shielded reactor vessel within the containment structure.

      • Well, the whole point is the reactor is a hot area, the residual heat removal system has to be treated as a hot area, the turbine room is normally cold but could be hot in an accident.

        The turbine room should be in what in internet firewall terms is called a DMZ . It has limited access to the outside and it isn’t normal exposed to the reactor radioactivity although it does interact with the reactor..

        The EM2 looks like a nice effort. The direct primary Brayton cycle is about 50% more efficient than the lower temperature Rankine cycle. There would have to be a secondary loop to cool the primary. The important point is the modularity. Ship modules – drop them in concrete lined holes – leave.

        The molten salt reactor was originally designed to power aircraft so it is going to be hard to beat for compactness.

    • jungle trunks,

      Why do you think the world needs less CO2, rather than more?

      Is more CO2 in the air we breathe harmful in some way? I thought people wanted to reduce CO2 levels to prevent the climate changing. Have you another reason?

      Thanks.

      • I don’t mike, in the sense that we must have lower CO2. I just can’t hit every possible touch point. My approach is that corporations are approaching what is described as the problem by the left in win/win fashion, that’s the direction we’re being driven. However, if you believe more CO2 is better it’s sacrificial in the context of today’s political landscape I believe. At some point in the future we’ll advance where we control climate either direction with a knob frankly, not any time soon of course.

      • More CO2 is beneficial so this is a fight that really has to be waged. It is going to improve the quality and quantity of life on this planet if we have more CO2.

        The pin-headed anti-co2ers should be forced to provide really world evidence, not goofy rigged test plots or failed models, that prove conclusively that more CO2 causes harm at some level to out weigh its benefits. The null hypothesis given the 55% bounty we are currently receiving from the post 1900 CO2 rise, and the fact that it used to be 7000 PPM, .is that CO2 is great and we need more of it

        Since it doesn’t appear we can drive the CO2 level to 500 PPM without an asteroid impact, volcanic cataclysm, or incinerating most of the earths surface, I would say the anti-CO2ers have their work cut out for them.

        Remember the anti-CO2ers don’t really care about CO2. Their fat-cat rich billionaire masters want them to oppose fossil fuel use in the US for {insert rationalization here} and limiting CO2 is a means to an end.

        However if they can come up with solid evidence of some proven harm that costs trillions of dollars per year, CO2 might need some attention.

      • PA writes— “More CO2 is beneficial”

        You have no reliable information to make such a conclusion. There are benefits and harms and the jury is out on the net result

      • Mike Flynn

        Rob Starkey,

        He does, actually. You might care to name one harm, that the jury is currently considering.

        I’d suggest the CO2 is innocent until proven guilty. What’s the charge?

      • Mike

        It would be accurate to state that it appears thus far that the additional CO2 has probably been beneficial, but we do not know the longer term result. Grand claims on either side of the discussion are pointless without good supporting data that can be reviewed.

      • CO2 increases are beneficial to 1300 PPM.

    • US corporations will only implement no regrets policies if they have a positive effect on the bottom line. Improving energy efficiency in operations has such an effect while helping to conserve natural resources. Building and using renewable energy “resources” does just the opposite – it adds cost while wasting natural resources, and worse, places an insidious opportunity cost on developing alternatives that may actually be able to replace fossil fuels sometime in the future. Corporations will only use renewable resources if they are forced by government mandate, or, compensated by government to use them.

      • Corporations don’t really care about whether a plan is no regrets or not. Their bottom line is whether there is a possible profit, and how to lead the charge. Even fossil fuel companies need to consider a long-term plan that looks elsewhere for energy. Maybe you could interpret that as their “no regrets” plan, but it is more like a survival plan.

      • I agree Barnes. I’m not talking about alternative energy here. My discussion has been strictly business process. Next generation equipment and processes that are being designed to lower emissions. You’re right about bottom line, but that’s the point. If it’s a wash relative to cost to implement a next generation tech that will lower their footprint, they’ll do it as a hedge to punitive legislation. You can bet blueprints are being drawn around the country to design systems just as I describe, for those reasons

      • Understood jungle and I did not intend to dispute your comment.

        Jimd – one of the few times I agree with you, although our reasoning differs. We need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels, not because of climate change or increased levels if co2, but because there is the real possibility that they will run out. What we need is an energy source that can survive on its own without depending on fossil fuels in any way. Wind and solar fail on that criteria alone along with many other factors. Ay this point, some form of nuclear, or maybe multiple forms of nuclear appear to offer the best alternative.

      • There are ways of converting intermittent energy to more useful energy by either storage (batteries, pumped hydro) or using the electrical energy to create other fuels (perhaps hydrogen separation from water). These can be developed over the next couple of decades, and it is an area of need for industry to expand into.

      • There are ways of converting intermittent energy to more useful energy […]. These can be developed over the next couple of decades, and it is an area of need for industry to expand into.

        Well, there are ways the process could be strongly subsidized without significant (short-term) expense to the taxpayers. But I’ve found few on either “side” of the fossil carbon debate who really want to think about that.

  63. If you knew,
    How the pause did screw,
    You know what happened to alarmists’ world view
    Oh pause,
    A pause did screw…
    I love the truth,
    Love that pause did screw.

  64. Looks like the Fed wants to combat climate change with ever larger windmills. These larger machines will kill Eagles and other birds with more efficiency than ever before!
    From the article:


    Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

    Unlocking Our Nation’s Wind Potential

    An Energy Department report released today shows how the next generation of wind turbines could make reliable, cost-effective wind power a reality in all 50 states. The report, Enabling Wind Power Nationwide, explains that advanced wind turbines with taller towers and longer blades will allow us to reach stronger, more consistent winds found high above the ground, unlocking wind energy’s potential across an additional 700,000 square miles ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­– roughly one-fifth of the land area of the United States.

    These new taller wind towers are marvels of human ingenuity and engineering savvy. Developed by the Energy Department and industry partners, these technological wonders stand 110 to 140 meters tall in “hub height” (calculated at the center of the rotor), up to 1 ½ times the height of the Statue of Liberty. Their immense scale lets them take advantage of better wind resources, unobstructed by things like trees and buildings — and with blades longer than 60 meters, they can generate electricity more efficiently than ever before.

    http://energy.gov/eere/articles/unlocking-our-nation-s-wind-potential

  65. Based on the best geophysical evidence we have of Earth’s history, changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are about the only thing we know are irrelevant to climate change.

  66. There are dozens of reasons to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols. It includes reducing climate forcing – as John Tyndall demonstrated long ago. This is a small matter of reducing changes to evapotranspiration and thus terrestrial ecology and hydrology. We can reduce the impact on health of black carbon, tropospheric ozone and sulphides. There are the positive benefits – absolutely essential – of building soil fertility and productivity on agricultural lands and restoring ecosystems.

    Diversifying away from a resource that will get scarcer and more expensive as time goes by – and not much of that in the scheme of things – makes economic sense. Small, cheap, modular and with a high capacity factor is the way to go.

    There is little sillier than the inanities of we love carbon dioxide.
    .

    • Mike Flynn

      Sorry Chief.

      John Tyndall demonstrated no such thing. In fact he demonstrated the complete opposite.

      I’ve suggested a possibly good place to start in Tyndall’s sixth edition of his book, Heat as Motion. Somebody provided a link, if you don’t have a copy.

      Various scientists have experimentally confirmed Tyndall’s work about energy absorption by various gases. I don’t know of any experimental rebuttals, but you may have links to some. Modelling doesn’t count against experiment with me.

      I don’t mean to stir you up. If you want to quote Tyndall, please either copy and paste, or provide page, line, edition details etc. Some people misunderstand Tyndall’s experimental setups, and wrongly assume, in some cases that a positive galvanometer movement represents an increase in heat on the thermopile from the gas tube side. The increase is actually an increase in the differential between the reference heat source, and the reduced heat on the gas side, as the gas lets less energy through the tube.

      Anyway, Tyndall explained what he did, in great detail. Don’t believe me, just read Tyndall’s writings.

      • Mike Flynn

        Chief,

        I’ll stop.You obviously have better things to do than read Tyndall’s later work and his conclusions.

        You originally said –

        “It includes reducing climate forcing – as John Tyndall demonstrated long ago.”

        As is common with people misunderstanding the difference between a thought and a demonstration, you imply a fact demonstrated, when none actually occurred.

        He demonstrated no such thing, and his later experimental results showed that his original thinking was wrong. In the book that you choose not to read, and in earlier editions of the same work, Tyndall on occasion leaves the manuscript uncorrected in the body, and indicates his revised thinking by means of a footnote, when later knowledge brings a change of mind.

        I don’t know why – but that’s what he did. He changed his mind on a few things, over a period of decades.

    • ‘The bearing of this experiment upon the action of planetary atmospheres is obvious … the atmosphere admits of the entrance of the solar heat, but checks its exit; and the result is a tendency to accumulate heat at the surface of the planet.’ Tyndall J. 1859. On the transmission of heat of different qualities through gases of different kinds – Proceedings of the Royal Institution 3: 155–158.

      This is certainly Tyndall in his own words. No surprise there – it is how the greenhouse effect works. Science has moved on since.

      https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/15/week-in-review-science-edition-5/#comments

      • Mike Flynn

        Chief Hydrologist,

        Tyndall also wrote about the existence of the universal ether, the indivisibility of the atom, and the meteoric origin of the heat of the Sun.

        If you care to read Tyndall’s later work, and his change of mind after extensive experimentation, you may change yours.

        Feynman mentioned that it doesn’t really how wonderful or seductive your theory is, if experiment contradicts it, it’s wrong.

        If you prefer to avoid reading Tyndall’s experiments, and results, fine.

        Sorry, no GHE. No global warming due to GHE. Certainly a strong chance of global warming due to the existence of continuous vast amounts of global heat, necessary to produce the increased level of CO2.

        Poor old Nature is working furiously to take advantage. Increased plant growth, new species appearing, and all the rest.

      • By all means quote the bit about the atmosphere not allowing of light and not hindering the passage of IR – and the surface not warming as a result.

        I may just move on to more up to date science.

  67. Western science is to AGW theory as Stephanopoulos is to Clinton’s reputation for honesty and openness.

  68. Judith:

    Could you comment on my post at the beginning of this thread? With one exception, no one seems to have the desire to address what is demonstrably the real cause of climate change, and its truly worrisome implications–potentiallly much hotter and much more rapid than any current projections.

    As the climatologist Beate Liepert once remarked “We thought we were in a global warming world, but this is actually not so. We live in a global warming plus a global dimming world, and now we are taking out the global dimming. So we end up with a global warming world, which will be much worse than we thought, much hotter”

    • Anthropogenic SO2 emissions peaked around 1972 at approx. 131 Megatonnes. By 2010, the net amount of global SO2 emission had been reduced by 29 Megatonnes, which was suficient to raise average global temperatures by appprox. 0.60 deg. C., and is the primary cause of the California drought.

      Sheesh!

      • Sheesh!-?? Meaning you overlooked the obvious, or you are unable to accept the fact that removing millions of tonnes of dimming anthropogenic SO2 aerosols from the atmosphere will naturally cause global warming?

        This fact was demonstrated by the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991, where 20 Megatonnes of SO2 were injected into the atmosphere, causing 0.45 deg. C. of global cooling–and 0.45 deg. C. of global warming after they settled out.

        Removal of anthropogenic SO2 emissions has the identical warming effect.

      • Sheesh, you believe a lack of SO2 is the, “primary cause of the California drought,” so then, as the largest emitter of SO2, China is now the primary cause in helping end the drought in California… That’s your logic?

      • blueice2hotsea

        Burl Henry-

        About 20 years ago, I shared similar thoughts as yours. I asked the owner of a company that designed coal plant SO2 scrubbers if the Clean Air Act may have largely contributed to post-70s warming. He said yes, perhaps all of the warming.

        But remember this was right after Pinatubo. Aerosol cooling has been reconsidered. It’s now thought to be not so strong.

  69. “Some people, including many poor people, gain short-term advantages from using coal.”

    We owe our entire modern society to coal, and it’s still advantageous, even today, and is simply one technological stepping stone on a path to even greater technologies to come. To deny an emerging country use of coal is simply wrong without also giving them access to something comparable. It’s like telling my child, well, I got to go to my senior prom, so you don’t get to go. Emerging countries need to be invited to the dance. They need this opportunity just as we needed it.

  70. “The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.”

    My view is this is redistribution couched in other words. With perhaps the exception of education, which seems to have passed its zenith, I have yet to see these kinds of policies work, anywhere, at anytime.

    The problem with “Free stuff” is that it is abused. Some abuse is OK, but eventually the abuse of all forms outweighs the original benefit.

  71. O/T Prof Curry but I found this sentence in The Economist at http://www.economist.com/news/international/21650552-scientists-are-getting-more-confident-about-attributing-heatwaves-and-droughts-human

    “By running the climate models with and without climate change, they found that 0.85°C of warming (the rise since the industrial era began) has made such heat extremes four or five times more likely…”

    Models run with and without climate change. In an article about attribution of climate change! The writer doesn’t know his global warming from his drought, flood etc or his weather or his climate change. It’s all just rolled up into a blancmangey thought-pie in his head and out it blathers onto the page.

    It seems to me ‘what we can do about climate change’ might include very publicly defining the term ‘climate change’ and then, once defined, persistently reiterating that definition til it sinks in to the popular consciousness. Once that’s defined then we can move on to ‘man-made climate change’ i.e the attribution issue.

  72. Philosophy as intellectual stunt:

    “How should we currently value damages to people who will live 500 years in the future? How should we value anthropogenic changes to the biosphere over that period of time? These questions outrun the resources of economics to make sensible evaluations.”

    It’s all bad and it’s all your fault…but so bad that one could not possibly total it all up or point a definite finger. He’s a philosopher and he’s just sayin’…

    In just how many wrappings and flavours are we to have our alarmist message presented? Just how much Fair Trade organic sugar-coating till we swallow that sharp little pill of self-loathing?

    “Meaning and grace” versus SUVs. Thanks, but I’ll be on the side of the SUVs. (When the soccer mums trade up we ’em we get a good price for them out here in the scrub.)

    Good try again, warmies.

  73. I link climate change to fossil fuels depletion. They are connected in a complex dynamic system, and I’m very familiar with the oil and gas industry. I keep repeating the message that we are running out of oil and gas, hoping somebody will eventually catch on.

    You see, because we are running out of fossil fuels, the high level of emissions projections used by the IPCC don’t make sense. On the other hand, efforts made to avoid CO2 emissions serve to stretch our dwindling fossil fuel resources. Therefore, a no regrets policy which helps us save does bring future economic and strategic energy security benefits.

    The need to stretch fossil fuel resources is evident to those of us who know what’s going on (and whose year end bonuses don’t depend on distorting the truth to keep the share price at the target level). Thus putting a bit of fear into people to make them use energy saving lightbulbs and drive more fuel efficient vehicles may be just what we need to get results.

    Based on the absolute lack of response I get in these forums I realize most readers think I’m nuts. I can suggest you learn to discern reality from the flood of disinformation coming out about the fossil fuel resource theme.

    For example, when you read about resources, reserves, and rates, focus on the units and what they refer to. In recent years we have seen the emergence of the “barrels of oil equivalents” units as the main reporting mechanism by oil companies. These boe units mix oil, natural gas liquids, and gas. The use of boe masks their gradual loss of crude oil production and reserves.

    We also see the word “liquids” to mask the problem. In some cases liquids includes biofuels, natural gas liquids such as ethane, which is used as a chemical feedstock, and gas to liquids synfuels.

    There’s also a lot of propaganda which mentions the oil recovery factor, how “low” it is and how we can use “technology” to improve it. Most of the people who talk about this subject lack the proper training to know what they are talking about. Most of them simply parrot the party line. And what most of them fail to understand is that nature has a nature. We can defeat some of this by putting more muscle into our efforts, but this requires money. And I don’t think the world will be able to afford what we would want to charge to deliver the oil we produce using these wonderful technologies.

    Think about this: what we can deliver depends on price. Right now, a lot of the undrilled acreage in North Dakota’s Bakken fields is non commercial. Most of the undeveloped reservoir just can’t be developed at today’s price. The same applies to Canadian and Venezuelan extra heavy crude, deep water fields, and other “new” resources. To put those on the table we need $100 per barrel. And what we put on the table barely does the job. Thus, in short order (within the next 20 years) we will see oil prices the likes of which you can’t imagine.

    Natural gas is in a similar shape, it’s running out but we have more running room. However, the supply isn’t endless, and prices will have to go way up to satisfy world demand. This means the use of natural gas to replace coal is nonsense. The best option is to burn coal in high efficiency supercritical steam boilers and use the mother of all scrubbers to clean soot, sulfur, and ash.

    If you want to start getting a sense for what is going on start by reading the OPEC reports, but remember they mix their units and disguise trends. The Energy Information Agency is a political machine producing very low quality figures, and each individual oil company producing an outlook report has its own ax to grind. In other words, If you want to study this subject, keep your heads on a swivel.

    • Fernando Leanme (@FernandoLeanme) | May 20, 2015 at 3:57 am | Reply
      I link climate change to fossil fuels depletion. They are connected in a complex dynamic system, and I’m very familiar with the oil and gas industry. I keep repeating the message that we are running out of oil and gas, hoping somebody will eventually catch on.
      *****
      This isn’t really new Fernando. But if you can give us a solid date on when oil and nat gas are so expensive we won’t be able to use them anymore, that would be news.

      • Jim, it may not be new to you, but the IPCC, the USA government and other parties behave as if resources were endless. Regarding the price when “we” won’t be able to afford it, it will be around the time when oil production has declined for a few years, and refuses to bounce back no matter what price is offered.

        This effect is seen in individual countries. For example, the UK, Norway, Azerbaijan, Gabon….their production didn’t react to the high price environment we saw in the last 10 years.

      • Fernando. I think pretty much everyone with an internet connection knows that oil is a finite resource. People have been calling the end of the oil era for decades now, but yet the industry is still viable and very necessary to our survival and for us to thrive. It enables our great standard of living!

        So, the question is, again, when will oil be to expensive to use? The fact that the government is allowing, to a limited extent, the free market to handle oil production isn’t the bad thing you seem to believe it is.

    • Rapid technology advancement will overtake the diminishing natural resource curve long before diminishing resources are, um, diminished.

    • Beta Blocker

      Fernando, if you want the energy marketplace to respond to ever-dwindling supplies of carbon fuels earlier than it otherwise would, government intervention is necessary to artificially raise the price of all carbon fuels and to directly constrain their supply, doing so in ways which encourage near-term energy conservation measures and a faster transition into non carbon energy resources. .

      It can’t be done any other way. However, the reality here is that while Europe and the United States might be convinced to get on board with this policy, convincing most other governments to adopt near-term policies which artificially raise the price of all carbon fuels and which directly constrain their supply will be a tough sell in Asia, in Russia, and in Africa.

      Long experience in the energy marketplace demonstrates that being too proactive in responding to emerging technical and economic trends can have serious adverse consequences for the bottom line.

      For one prominent example, witness how the Nuclear Renaissance here in the United States has stalled as a consequence of rising construction costs for nuclear plants and increasing competition from natural gas and from government subsidized renewables. The only way the Nuclear Renaissance can be re-invigorated here in America is for the US Government to put a stiff price on carbon fuels and to take actions which directly constrain their supply.

      • Beta Blocker, I didnt express a specific desire to have governments make fossil fuels more expensive. There are two points I often make: 1) IPCC projections such as RCP8.5 are nonsense. And 2) Efforts being made to fight global warming do help extend resources, but some, like Obama’s war on coal by emphasizing natural gas are stupid, simply because we will be running out of gas.

      • […] we will be running out of gas.

        We will?

  74. Put kettle on, keep calm and carry on. Traditional and effective British response to crises or alleged crises.

    Faustino

    • BAU, also known as head-in-the-sand.

      • I don’t believe you understand the concept of business as usual.

      • Well, gee.

        1. Hasn’t been proven that CO2 is bad.
        2. Hasn’t been proven that warming is bad.
        3. The only measurement of the warming effect is 1/3 of the IPCC value. 4. The IPCC models are off by about a factor of 3
        5. The indicated forcing value outside the IPCC confidence interval (they claim it can’t be less than 2 but it is less than 2).
        6. The CO2 level postulated by the IPCC are unattainable with existing fossil fuel reserves.

        The global warmers are wrong or haven’t proven any of their points.

        Smart people ignore someone who keeps crying wolf.

        BAU is smart policy on global warming.

      • +1 PA.

        It’s pretty clear for folks like Michael that they believe climate science is professional and rigorous, like medicine and engineering. The test is the courts. Engineers get sued when their bridges fall down. Doctors get sued when they misdiagnose or leave a suture inside some patient. Litigation has a way of concentrating the professional mind to deliver a quality service or suffer a costly court consequence when damages can be claimed. There’s a reason no tort lawyer has bothered to litigate, despite the hysterical claims of damage asserted by warmies. That’s because there is no damage. Climate science of the cAGW variety is the only damages game in town and right now it’s pure conjecture. You wouldn’t sue a numerologist or an astrologist – everyone knows that’s nonsense. Climate science of the cAGW variety is in that camp.

      • ” Hasn’t been proven that CO2 is bad.” – PA

        Golly gosh.

        We just understand the radiative forcing properties of GHGs, which has come about through a century of scientific discovery.

        But who needs physics when we can just play dumb.

      • Michael ” We just understand the radiative forcing properties of GHGs, IN A GLASS JAR, which has come about through a century of scientific discovery”

        #fify

        The earth is not a glass jar. It’s not a glass shed either. There is no CO2 blanket. The established science you have identified does not support your alarmism. We’re pumping out CO2 like mad and the temps, they just aren’t rising the way the climate science consensus swore black and blue that they would.

      • Dumb it is then.

      • Michael | May 20, 2015 at 7:03 am |
        ” Hasn’t been proven that CO2 is bad.” – PA

        Golly gosh.

        We just understand the radiative forcing properties of GHGs, which has come about through a century of scientific discovery.

        But who needs physics when we can just play dumb.

        Well, gee. A quick recap of my points.

        1. Hasn’t been proven that CO2 is bad.
        Over $ 1 trillion per year in benefits from more CO2. You have to demonstrate $1 trillion per year in harm before we hit the “bad” point.
        2. Hasn’t been proven that warming is bad.
        3. The only measurement of the warming effect is 1/3 of the IPCC value. 4. The IPCC models are off by about a factor of 3
        5. The indicated forcing value outside the IPCC confidence interval (they claim it can’t be less than 2 but it is less than 2).
        6. The CO2 level postulated by the IPCC are unattainable with existing fossil fuel reserves.

        And as to your forcing thing.

        They measured the low level IR. Study came out in February.
        0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM.or F = 3.49 * ln (C/C0).

        That is 1/3 the IPCC formulation for TSR. The IPCC formulation for TSR is
        F = 2 * 5.35 * ln (C/C0).

        The 1.5°C-4.5°C ECS was the result of combining two bad models (one by Hansen that predicted 4°C) at Charney lead conference in 1979. They combined a 2°C model with Hansen’s model and a 0.5°C guess at the error and voila. That is a lot of guessing.

        You have no evidence to support your TCR and ECS claims. I have actual measurements and the models abysmal failure during the hiatus to support mine.

        The ocean carbon uptake in GT (using the CDIAC Co2 levels in PPM for C) is more or less following curve of:
        Oc = (C-285) *0.02712

        Since 1998 it has been pretty much following the curve.

        You have problems. The rapidly increasing environmental absorption and the pitiful amount of measured CO2 forcing makes any CAGW scenario basically a pipe dream at this point.

        “We just understand the radiative forcing properties of GHG” and your guess and your models are off by a factor of 3?

        Buddy you don’t know jack.

        And you still haven’t proven that more CO2 is bad.

      • “CO2 is bad.”

        Stay dumb.

  75. Judith, you list “Some things that Jamieson said that I like or find insightful.” My comments on them:

    “Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies:” in a market economy, resources flow to their highest-value use, as determined by myriads of suppliers and users. Therefore (optimally), there are no more valuable projects available, therefore, there are no “no-regrets” options available. I agree that the best response is “those that are likely to make sense whatever the future holds,” but I disagree with the particular examples suggested by Jamieson – moving people, rather than letting people decide for themselves, and “liberating” ourselves from the coal which has liberated so many from lives of abject poverty. The main source of non-optimal choices is government interventions which distort the markets: better to undo the distortions. Jamieson wants to pursue his ideas rather than those freely chosen buy others.

    “… distributional concerns are involved in all social policy decisions. The right response to these concerns is compensation, not inaction.” Not necessarily, see my recent comments drawing on Coase. Also, all social decisions will have winners and losers, the many decisions can mean that things even out, it should not be assumed that any particular loss warrants compensation. My paper dealing with the compensation issue is at: http://competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/files/2014/12/Cunningham_M.pdf (The paper looks at a particular deregulatory issue, but has a broad application.)

    “I think common-sense morality is at a loss when faced by questions like that, even when you supply a lot of detail about climate change.” I’m not sure what Jamieson means by “commonsense morality,” but I discussed morality in the climate context at Bill Hooke’s site recently: http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=1269 Some specific points: “How should we currently value damages to people who will live 500 years in the future?” Well, it’s absurd to even think in those terms, imagine arguing about that in 1515.

    “These questions outrun the resources of economics to make sensible evaluations.” Decisions are never made purely on economic grounds, such evaluations are only part of the policy mix, and as I’ve often argued, our capacity to foresee the future is so poor that attempting to do so from highly speculative scenarios, including the scientific ones, is inferior to adopting policies which increase our capacity to deal with whatever emerges from the always uncertain future.

    “We need to figure out how people can act from within their existing moral psychologies in a way that is both more environmentally friendly and will help to give them meaning.” Let people figure it out for themselves, I strongly support people developing the wisdom and understanding necessary for a moral life, one which is good for oneself and good for others, support this and all issues will be better dealt with.

    “help us to live with meaning and grace in the world that we are creating.” What Jamieson refers to as “green virtues” are by no means confined to environmentalists. Development of a soundly-based morality will naturally lead us to care for others and our world, but we might come up with different ideas than Jamieson on what that entails.

    JC comment: “I think this interview raises some fundamental issues, and reinforces my sense that philosophers (well some of them anyways) have important contributions to make to the climate change debate.” Judith, philosophy is derived from thinking processes. Wisdom and understanding arise from the deepest parts of the mind, not from the thinking, surface part of the mind. The mass of people engaged with the world on a daily basis will often find better solutions than philosophers.

    • My sentiments exactly.Let the markets work (Including the market for ideas).The chief function of governments in this area is simply to ensure real competition by limiting the power of monopolies and of corporations by their buying of politicians through the various worldwide military ,industrial .politician complexes.

    • Very well said and thoughtful.

  76. From the post:
    D.J.: Prudence implies that we should follow “no regrets” policies — those that are likely to make sense whatever the future holds. For example, it makes sense to move people and critical infrastructure away from vulnerable areas.
    *****
    How is this suggestion that we expend massive amounts of money to move people and infrastructure in any way, shape, or form a “no regrets” policy. The cost is huge. The opportunity cost, even hugher :)

  77. Meanwhile, from the free enterprise space.
    *****
    Buh-Bye, Corn Ethanol: Joule Makes The Same Thing From Recycled CO2
    May 12th, 2015 by Tina Casey

    The biotech company Joule Unlimited has just announced that its unique brand of recycled CO2 ethanol has successfully passed a round of third party testing, bringing it another step closer to commercializing the product in Europe and the U.S. Somewhat coincidentally Joule has just closed a $40 million round of financing, which will enable it to expand its flagship plant in Hobbs, New Mexico to commercial scale. The ultimate goal is to convert 150,000 tons of waste CO2 into 25 million gallons of ethanol per year at that facility. If you’re starting to hear a loud hammering noise, that would be another nail in the coffin of corn ethanol.

    Along with our sister site Gas2.org we started following Joule’s solar powered, microbe-assisted recycled CO2 technology in 2009 when the company emerged from “stealth” mode, but we haven’t really checked into it since 2010. Our bad, since a lot’s been happening since then!

    http://cleantechnica.com/2015/05/12/buh-bye-corn-ethanol-joule-makes-thing-recycled-co2/

    • Are greens cool with genetically engineered cyanobacteria?

      • Not once they hear about them.

      • Greens won’t be happy until 90% of us are dead and the other 10% living in caves.

      • well the Fundis of course never, but the Realos might go along as long as they don’t have to eat the stuff.

      • jim2,

        I disagree. They expect to be the 10% and have no intention of living in caves. Instead, with human population reduced the the planet’s “carrying capacity”, they expect there will be plenty of available resources, and will split their time between their downtown townhome, their beach house or their ski villa, whenever they are not travelling the globe, enjoying the beauty of our earth.

    • Using brackish water is good. Got plenty of that, nobody wants it. I’m all for making use of stuff that nobody wants. But to collect enough sun you still need a plant the size of Iowa.

  78. Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog and commented:
    “Grim common sense” about “dangerous climage change”

  79. Every new kind of prediction will bring on new predictions of crisis in the future. Climate is no different.

    It’s a profit opportunity. Pun intended.

    • I predicted the California’s drought. And now, the rain. I predict that summer will bring a lot of heat; and, the chaparral will burn like a torch. Then, rains will come. There will be mudslides. This winter there will be yards of snow. No charge for this glimpse of the future. However, if you want to know what the average global temperature will be 100 years from now, that will cost you; and, if you want me to change what’s coming 100 years from now, that will cost much more.

    • And guess why there was such a swift retraction in this case. Integrity? Protecting the pristine nature of ‘science’?

      Nope.

      “…the study’s findings had huge implications for people who were trying to advance the cause of equality and have changed how advocates do their work. Every minute we knew the truth and did not disclose it really was a lie by omission to the advocates out there.”

      This advocacy driven false science had to be corrected…because it might have led to inefficient work by other advocates.

      Post-modern science at its worst.

      (And what is it about grad students named Michael?)

  80. If you can understand the science (math) that temperature change occurs as a transient in response to the time-integral of net forcing (not directly with the instantaneous value of the net forcing itself), you can discover that CO2 has no effect on climate and perhaps even discover what actually does cause climate change.

    Proof that CO2 has no significant effect on climate and identification of the two factors that do cause climate change (95% correlation since before 1900) are at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

  81. Received via email from Tom Graham:

    Judy, few people realize this, but EPA has in its public regulatory documents admitted that removing 90% of mercury emissions from US power plants causes almost no benefit, or better put, benefits so small as to be unmeasurable.

    Two links for this:

    1. http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21647344-who-rules-air-coal-states-v-uncle-sam

    Key paragraph:

    The case of Michigan v EPA, which was argued [before the Supreme Court] on March 25th, concerns the agency’s plan to regulate mercury, arsenic and other toxins emitted by power plants. Both sides agree that the new rule would cost about $9.6 billion a year to implement. The EPA estimates that reduced mercury emissions would bring health benefits of up to $6m a year—a tiny sum it reached only after assuming that lots of pregnant “women in subsistence fishing populations” will eat vast amounts of mercury-tainted fish and thereby reduce their children’s IQs by an undetectable 0.002 points each.

    2. EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis of the mercury rule, which shows that what the Economist writes above is correct:

    http://www.epa.gov/ttn/ecas/regdata/RIAs/ToxicsRuleRIA.pdf

    Comparing a no-control scenario with a 90% reduction in utility mercury emissions scenario, EPA states that the total nationwide benefit from such a large reduction in mercury would be 511 IQ points (Table 1-2), among 240,000 children borne of mothers who eat fresh water fish which would have lower mercury levels. This is an unmeasureable (and perhaps statistically non-significant) 2/1000 IQ points per child.

    Based upon reduced lifetime income, the benefit of this 90% reduction in mercury is between $1/2 M and $6.1 M per year, from the 511 added IQ points across the nation. From page 5-2:

    “The first analysis (Section 5.2.1) estimates benefits from avoided IQ loss under various regulatory scenarios for all recreational freshwater anglers in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. The average effect on individual avoided IQ loss in 2016 is 0.00209 IQ points, with total nationwide benefits estimated between $0.5 and $6.1 million.“

    As an aside, it is likely that EPA has actually harmed children, because for over a decade they have scared pregnant women from eating fish. Several studies have shown that women who do not eat fish bear children with lower IQ and greater behavioral problems; the omega-3s in fish oil seem to be the reason for development of a healthier brain in the fetuses of women who eat more fish. Studies and articles available upon request.

    The agency that told us for years that mercury was harming fetuses now admits that there is virtually no harm to fetuses from mercury. But the environmental press doesn’t say a word.

    • David Wojick

      You might put this in the EPA Over reaching thread as well. This worthless mercury rule will shutter a lot of coal fired power plants even without CO2 regulation. What we really need is legislation mandating regulatory impact analyses (RIAs), along the lines of NEPA environmental impact analyses, which can be litigated. As it is now RIAs are only done under an Executive Order so there is no way to force the agencies like EPA to be honest.

    • Dr. Curry — Since you posted this on mercury, one assumes you believe this has relevance and importance that you recommend we read.

      Question though — Who is Tom Graham?

    • Beta Blocker

      The EPA’s action in bundling reductions in GHG emissions with reductions in mercury emissions and particulate emissions is intended to use the coal industry as the most convenient target for pushing the regulatory agendas of several large and politically-influential environmental NGO’s.

      Given that the coal industry is being unfairly singled out as the primary regulatory target for reducing emissions which are ubiquitous in other sectors of the economy, this approach is guaranteed to produce a series lawsuits in the courts; lawsuits which are quite likely to be successful.

      The EPA’s legal staff cannot help but understand that the Clean Power Plan as currently formulated is likely to be rejected in the courts. The whole effort is nothing more than a public relations gimmick on the part of the Obama Administration designed to keep the environmental activist community in Obama’s camp while at the same time focusing blame on the coal industry for the Administration’s lack of a truly realistic and effective plan for reducing America’s GHG emissions.

      • Beta Blocker — Certainly there are Constitutional lawyers, that strongly disagree about the Constitutionality of the Clean Power Plan. We will just have to wait to see how this ultimately plays out, probably before the SCOTUS.

        The Constitutionality issue isn’t my question though — it’s about something else you raised.

        Should we combine issues of AGW and Clean Air together in some cases in developing Regs? What comes to mind is the current regulatory format/model of Smog. EPA is requesting input on appropriate levels of smog ppb.

        Currently of course, smog regs would be viewed on a stand-alone basis in determining the cost/benefit of different ppb proposals (75,70, 65, 63 (e.g. Canada), 60 (EU).

        Question: What would be pro/cons to include the AGW benefit of reducing smog as a so called “short-lived carbon pollutant” in determining which smog ppb level that is chosen?

        Since each issue of smog involves “deep uncertainties” of science, would we be reducing this regulatory challenge by combining AGW with the traditional approach to regulation on smog?

        Thanks.

      • “…this approach is guaranteed to produce a series lawsuits in the courts; lawsuits which are quite likely to be successful.”

        If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the EPA, that it was not required to consider costs in promulgating the contested regulation, future law suits are highly unlikely. ‘The courts’ have had no trouble rubber stamping EPA’s finding that CO2 is a pollutant, with all the massive costs and regulations that will follow. The suggestion that those same courts would now look with disfavor on regulations treating coal plants differently because that is “unfair” is, well, wishful thinking.

      • Beta Blocker

        Stephen Segrest, my own view is that if the EPA is to be successful in reducing America’s GHG emissions to the extent President Obama is now calling for — 28% by 2025, and 80% by 2050 — then the EPA’s approach to GHG reduction must be its own regulatory program expressly designed for dealing with the complexities of controlling and reducing carbon emissions to the extent the President is now calling for.

        This means taking an approach which tackles GHG emissions head on and which avoids the regulatory implementation issues engendered by bundling GHG’s with other types of pollutants. So no, I would not directly combine GHG reduction efforts with smog reduction efforts using a shared regulatory plan and framework.

        GaryM, you have a point in saying that the courts might not necessarily view regulations which treat coal plants differently as being necessarily ‘unfair.’ Time will tell as to how the courts eventually rule on that issue. It could go one way or the other.

        But if the courts do rule in favor of the EPA on its Clean Power Plan, there remains the issue that President Obama is calling for a 28% reduction in GHG emissions by 2025, and an 80% reduction by 2050. The Clean Power Plan achieves possibly half of the 2025 reduction goal, but what will it do for the remainder of the 2025 goal; and later on, for the 2050 goal?

        In my view, putting a stiff price on carbon is the only practical way to achieve the President’s announced goals for 2025 and for 2050. However, that said, even a Congress controlled by liberal Democrats will never put a price on carbon. The political blowback from the voting public would be too strong, and many liberal Democrats understand this.

        If the President is serious about achieving his GHG reduction goals here in America, all roads pass through the EPA and the existing provisions of the Clean Air Act — provisions which must be creatively interpreted, certainly, but interpreted in ways that are likely to hold up against lawsuits in the courts. Creative interpretation of the Clean Air Act is not necessarily a bad thing if the final outcome is eventually judged legal and constitutional in the courts and if the regulatory framework succeeds in greatly reducing America’s GHG emissions.

        The EPA and the Obama Administration should publish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard for GHG’s and create a comprehensive GHG reduction plan which gives the individual states authority to impose carbon pollution ‘fines’ (a.k.a ‘penalties’) on all classes of carbon emitters located within their borders. These carbon pollution fines (aka penalties) are in fact the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon and are collected through each state’s existing revenue collection mechanisms. All revenues so collected stay with the states, thus encouraging each state to get on board with the EPA’s national GHG reduction plan.

        It is not inconceivable that under this approach, the bulk of the revenues each state collects from its citizens in the years 2025 – 2050 would come from carbon pollution fines which are the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon imposed at the state government level.

        Taking this kind of approach to achieving President Obama’s 2025 and 2050 GHG reduction goals would be highly controversial to say the least. Adopting this approach would force the EPA, the Obama Administration, and also each state which bought into the EPA’s plan to strongly defend the science of climate change in the Court of Public Opinion, doing so to an extent which goes far, far beyond what we have seen them do so far.

  82. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | May 20, 2015 at 1:11 am | Reply

    Willis also missed the debate. It would have been good to have him join it.
    Alas, he missed it.

    PNS does not replace good old fashioned “science” because there never was such a thing to replace. You will find examples here and there, exemplars, anecedotes really, about how “science is done”. In fact, its done a bunch of different ways. many times without a “null” for centuries without a “null”. The null is just a tool. A particular tool for particular kinds of situations.

    In any case, the debate has moved on to “what we will do?”

    just ignore the fact that you guys were no shows for the last debate, and join this one.

    Mosh, your fact-free rants are quite amusing. If you ever want to start getting some traction, you might try including some actual information. Your failed attempts at mud-slinging against me merely prove that you are out of real ammunition. Baldly stating that I “missed the debate” is just another of your fact-averse bits of mud to throw at the wall in the hopes that it might stick.

    As to the “null hypothesis”, you do recall <a href="http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/15/unequivocal-equivocation/ bit of fun? You might be personally in denial about the value of the null hypothesis, but there are folks out there who think that the null hypothesis is so central to the climate discussion that they wanted to reverse it entirely.

    Why?

    Because if they had been successful, the discussion would have been short-circuited, and they could have declared victory … yes, the null hypothesis is just a tool, but it’s a very important tool, as Trenberth realized but you don’t seem to have noticed. It’s one of the tools of real science, which you claim is some kind of mirage, but which is responsible for many, perhaps most of the improvements in our lives since caveman days.

    So yes, Mosh, there is good old fashioned science that PNS tries to replace, and you know that as well as anyone. You’re one of the folks who lead the fight for people to archive their code and data, and what is that but a fight for what I’m calling good old fashioned science? Because fighting to free the data and code is certainly not a fight for PNS, you won’t see Jerry Ravetz on the barricades of that fight.

    Look, Mosh, I know you are a brilliant guy. And about one out of four of your comments is insightful and full of facts and links and good stuff, often a treasure trove of valuable things.

    But the other three out of four comments? Mud-slinging and cryptic asides and paternalism and condescension and drive-by sniping. It’s a “Dr. Mosher and Mr. Hyde” situation, and all that I can do is hope that Dr. Mosher shows up next time, because while Mr. Hyde is useless and disruptive, Dr. Mosher is a man who is well worth listening to …

    Regards,

    w.

    • Steven Mosher

      Its pretty simple Willis. PNS can’t replace an ideal of science that never was.
      It’s just another tool. Like all tools, to be judged by the outcomes.
      As for the Null. I’ve yet to see a proper Null for anything you or anyone else does in climate science. Null is a tool. More or less useful depending on the circumstances. In climate science.. not so useful, at least I’ve never seen a proper null defined or used.

    • Most entities in climate science aren’t well defined. The models are all over the map and on the high side. The data isn’t something I would bet my life on. Climate hypotheses are all over the map. Why shouldn’t an ill defined null hypothesis work for climate science? Seems such a beast would feel right at home.

    • “In climate science.. not so useful”

      I’m thinkin’ it’s climate science itself that’s no so useful.

      Andrew

  83. Willis Eschenbach

    thomaswfuller2 | May 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm |

    I would not regret any of the following policies (from 2011)
    1. Tax CO2 at a starting rate of $12/ton and revisit the rate every 10 years,

    Dear heavens, what is it with starry-eyed fantasists whose number one solution to any problem that you might name is “INCREASE THE TAXES” …

    But that’s not bad enough, this charming fellow wants to tax energy. Energy! Taxing energy is horrible economic policy, because it weakens production. More importantly, taxing energy impoverishes, weakens, and in some cases kills the poor, because is the most regressive tax imaginable with no relief at the bottom end of the economic scale … Thomas, your claim that impoverishing the poor and weakening the economy is a “no-regrets” policy is something that even Pollyanna might have trouble with. I discuss the lethal effects of any kind of increase in energy costs in a post called Firing Up The Economy Literally.

    w.

    • They don’t care and they feel entitled to rule due to their obvious, to them, brilliance. The rest of us are tools and fools.

    • Willis:

      I save a lot of time by just assuming anyone who wants to raise taxes is a liar and a con artist.

      This allows me to immediate investigate why they are trying to cheat me and who is getting greased, and skip what could be a multi-year mud fight about the details of the tax.

    • Many people love taxes (that is love to impose them on others), because that’s what they are able to do. Imposing taxes is easy. Producing renewable energy is hard. So, since it’s imperative do “do something” to save mankind, right now! – they do what they can – impose taxes – and hope that other, more able people – engineers and scientists (but not climate scientists), will solve all problems.

    • They have imposed a tax or rather a cap&trade scheme in Europe (ETS) about a decade ago. Wouldn’t it be nice to check on their results? Who has achieved the biggest reduction in emissions since then? The “taxless” US.

    • Hiya Willis! How are you?

      What part of revenue neutral is difficult to comprehend. Raise taxes on A. Lower taxes on B by the same amount. You get less of A and more of B.

      • That would be a great post for you Tom. Since A is carbon fuels and B is alternatives that either naturally cost more or don’t exist, I believe there will be a cost increase for most.

        Rud has already explained how corn ethanol cannot possibly cause an increase in food and fuel prices.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        thomaswfuller2 | May 21, 2015 at 6:36 am

        Hiya Willis! How are you?

        Thanks, Thomas, doing fine, good to hear from you.

        What part of revenue neutral is difficult to comprehend. Raise taxes on A. Lower taxes on B by the same amount. You get less of A and more of B.

        Generally, that’s not the only thing that “revenue neutral” means. It also means that we raise money in the form of a “sin tax” of some kind, and then we return that money in some other form to the folks that have been taxed. Here’s the definition from the folks in B.C. who claim they have a “revenue neutral” carbon tax:

        The carbon tax is revenue neutral, meaning every dollar generated by the tax is returned to British Columbians through reductions in other taxes.

        The part of “revenue neutral” that I find hard to comprehend is how anyone can call such plans “neutral” with a straight face. In general when you raise taxes on A, you raise taxes on Group A, the folks who use whatever “A” is. And when you lower taxes on B, you lower taxes for Group B.

        And since in general Group A is not the same as Group B, there is not any “revenue neutrality”. Some people gain revenue and some lose it.

        But wait, your proposal is worse than that. The people who depend the most on “A”, which we’ll call “fossil fuels”, are the poor. The people who can afford to depend on “B”, which we’ll call “renewables”, are wealthier. So you are taking money from the poor, handing it to the wealthy, and calling that “revenue neutral” … is that your final answer? Taxing the poor and giving the money to the rich is OK because it’s “revenue neutral”?

        Here’s a perfect example of “revenue neutrality”, Tom—the Chevy Volt. We take taxpayers money from people all over the economic spectrum, and we give it as a subsidy to the very rich folks who can afford the Chevy Volt … now Tom, that is 100% “revenue neutral”, but dear heavens, is subsidizing rich men’s toys “fair” in any sense of the word?

        So we can take it as self-evident that THE FACT THAT A TAX IS “REVENUE NEUTRAL” DOES NOT MEAN IT IS EITHER FAIR, VALUABLE, OR NECESSARY. In fact, it generally means that someone wants to slip in their favorite tax under the rubric that it won’t cost anything … as though the extra work for the hordes of bureaucrats needed for such plans comes for free, and their pensions are paid by unicorns …

        Tom, I have a few simple words for you:

        Take your grabby hands off of my wallet. If you have a brilliant plan, fund it your own damn self.

        Finally, what part of “taxing energy is destructive to the economy” is difficult to comprehend? Taxing energy slows the very activity we want to encourage, economic production. It’s much wiser to tax the results of the production.

        w.

        PS—Hey, I just had a brilliant thought. How about we start reducing my taxes, and at the same time we increase your taxes dollar for dollar until I pay no tax at all?

        After all, it would be perfectly 100% guaranteed revenue neutral … I mean, as a friend of mine once remarked, what part of revenue neutral is difficult to comprehend? Raise taxes on T. Lower taxes on W by the same exact amount. Mission accomplished.

      • Thomas

        A “revenue neutral” tax process is also an inefficient means of taxing. It incurs a high administrative cost (added government employees) to keep the on going system.

        The USA most definitely needs to increases taxes in some form since there is is no public desire to significantly cut spending for our aging population.
        Republicans seem to like to pretend that the budget can be balanced without raising taxes and Democrats like to pretend that they can spend more than is generated in revenue without consequence forever.

  84. patmcguinness

    How to address CO2 Emissions and Global Warming
    Answer: Use principles of progress, avoid harmful regulations, incentivize emissions-free energy technology development, adopt nuclear and solar energy technologies

    The most important question in the climate and man-made global warming is “How much warming will CO2 cause?” That determines what actually happens as a result of fossil fuel use and other practices.

    Yet when it comes to addressing the issue, this question is less important. No matter the impact of CO2, any real solution must adhere to principles of progress. The argument is made that AGW is causing drastic impacts, and because of those drastic impacts, that justifies a drastic change to economic principles or to development models. That is a fundamentally invalid argument. The answer to the question of magnitude of impact will not and cannot dictate a response that overrides basic principles of how we would need to solve any such challenge. Principles of progress tell us that any solution to this challenge will come in the form of adoption of technologies that can be developed as part of our market-based economy.

    It’s a mistake to believe that simply because man can impact the environment, we need fundamental changes to economic systems. The economic systems and models that bring us wealth and a higher standard of living enable us to expend some of that wealth surplus to address such challenges.

    Most climate mitigation proposals have significant negative benefits in the first decades of implementation, indeed for the most of this century. The reason is simple: The cost of regulatory schemes and structures is very high relative to the impact. Even to cut all US emissions in half between now and 2050 would impact the temperatures of the earth less than a tenth of a degree. Despite the hype surrounding the claimed urgency of ‘we must act now’, the reality is that CO2 has not done significant harm yet, and is unlikely to cause significant harm in the near-term future. Thus, we should think LONG-TERM not short-term in terms of changes and impact.

    If man’s emissions are indeed a problem, the greatest AGW impact is from CO2 emissions from energy-using sources, ie, fossil fuels, it is self-evident that the greatest leverage for a solution is GHG-emissions-free power generation. We already have such technology available: Nuclear power generation; solar power generation; wind power generation; geothermal. If we stick with the principle that we need a market-based economy, the main challenge to adoption of nuclear and renewables is cost. The main reason utilities pick one particular form of electric generation is cost; secondary issues are the adaptibility to the grid and the utility of the power source for baseline, peak usage, etc.
    We need to pursue technology improvements that lowers the cost of nuclear power, solar power and other renewables. The good news is that lower-cost nuclear and solar is more than possible. Moreover, nuclear power as a source of baseload power, solar as an additional variable source of power, and natural gas and hydro power as a source of peak power all complement eachother.

    Renewables such as solar PV generation and wind are still not cost-competitive with fossil fuels for general grid utility generation, but are on a track of cost reduction that could make them cost competitive within a few decades.
    Intermittent power sources like solar and wind create grid challenges that require complementary power sources. Nuclear power generation provides emissions-free baseload power and can complement other renewables, alongside gas turbines for peak power. As with solar, the challenge to further adoption of nuclear power is cost. Nuclear power plant construction and capital costs are the main impediment to further adoption.

    The path to lower-cost nuclear power is through new technology. Because of a tightly regulated nuclear power industry and lack of government support for development of new nuclear technologies, most power plants in the US were built between 1970 and 1990 and are based on technology that is just as old. Worse for nuclear technology development, the last research reactor was closed down in 1994. We have had, at a time when nuclear technology holds the promise of solving a perplexing problem, a shocking lack of commitment to developing improved nuclear power generation.

    There is great promise to be had with a new form of reactor that is flouride-salt-cooled. These reactors were studied in the 1960s; at Oak Ridge, researchers built the Molten Salt Reactor, which had a liquid reactor core. Nuclear power research has continued at the level of paper studies and reviews of such research, and there are a number of promising designs on the drawing board. These are based on some principles that make for safer and less costly reactors. Flouride salts hold heat almost as well as water, so make for good coolant, but remain liquid up to 1300C, so unlike water-cooled reactors can operate at higher temperatures, for better efficiency, and without pressurized vessels, making them both safer and
    less costly. One design, by MIT professor Charles Forsberg, called the AHTR, combines a flouride-salt-cooled reactor with a gas turbine; one variation on it incorporates injecting gas to the turbine for high temperature turbine generation, so that the power plant can operate for both baseload and peak power.

    This new nuclear technology, because it operates at higher temperatures, can increase thermal efficiency from the 34% or so of current nuclear technology to closer to 50%; it can have more inherent safety features from not being pressurized and have a core that cannot melt down; it can use more efficient combined cycle turbine technologies that require less capital for the same amount of power generated. This combination would be safer and also cheaper – the cost long-term would be half of current nuclear power generation.

    The path forward would therefore prioritize government research and development, with a focus on reducing the cost of desireable energy technologies. In short, find a way to make nuclear power and renewable power (solar, wind, etc) less expensive. Achieving that in the next few decades would enable the next generation of electric power to be mostly emissions-free by 2050: 50% nuclear, 10-20% gas turbine and 30% renewables (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal).

    At that time, introducing such power sources on a global basis would cut emissions in half. Since Co2 uptake is already approaching 5 pgC/yr, even a reduction of 50% would end the rise of CO2 on any significant level.

    Problem solved!

    A technology-based rather than a regulatory-based solution is the path forward for a better climate, better economy and better world.

    • Thumbs up! Good argument.

    • Three quarks for master Mcguinness!

    • Solar energy is available only 10-19% of the time (depending on local climate). That is the average capacity factor of the millions of solar panels installed already. This is a fact that will not change with time or progress.
      Therefore solar energy is not suited for electricity supply, which is needed continuously, 24/7. This is not a matter of cost or economics. This is a physical fact.

      It is conceivable that, in the future, technological progress will enable us to use solar energy to produce some kind of fuel, maybe syngas, that can be stored. In that case solar energy will be useful.

      The many millions of solar panels installed already today are a total waste of money, they are totally useless. In the few hours that they do produce some energy, we need to have other power plants in hot stand-by, burning fuel, to be able to supply electricity when the sun sets or a cloud obscures it.

      Will we be able to use solar energy in the future? Maybe. We still don’t posses the technology to do that now.

      • Mike Flynn

        jacobpress,

        I’ve got an idea. We use trees to gather and concentrate solar energy. Then we release the concentrated solar energy by burning the trees, and use the resultant heat to produce electricity, and the CO2 to feed more trees.

        After we run out of trees, we might be able to tap the solar energy trapped by Nature in the form of coal, oil, and gas.

        Or maybe just use the coal, oil, and gas, and save a great deal of effort. I like trees. Why burn them if we don’t have to? Turning coal, oil, and gas into more trees sounds good to me. And electrical power as a side benefit!

  85. patmcguinness

    One more point: The ‘no regrets’ policy claims, ie that stopping coal is ‘no regrets’, are bunk. There is only ONE true, no regrets policy – knowledge. learning and understanding more makes for a better decision.

    Taking ANY action has unintended consequences in the face of incomplete knowledge. We may find out later that we need 500ppm co2 to stop an ice age or feed the world. We cannot pretend than any policies are ‘no regrets’ based on suppositions.

  86. The arrogance of these two ivory tower eggheads is astounding, especially the guy from NYU. He wants to “…hold people accountable…move them away…compensate.” He doesn’t seem to understand that people want to be free to choose their own path. It would be foolish to expect docility in the populace, even if most of the people in states like California have bought the dogma. Not everyone is going to be a willing participant in this game.

    • catweazle666

      justinwonder: “He doesn’t seem to understand that people want to be free to choose their own path.”

      What? Freedom of choice?

      Sacrilege!

      Report to the reprogramming centre immediately!

  87. Well-said patmcguinness!

    Early adapters are willing to pay steep premiums for immature and unproven technologies. The reasons why the cost is acceptable to them are many and varied.

    The masses cannot afford to pay steep premiums for a staple such as electrical energy, however. For instance, in the US the production of electricity using coal is perhaps 100+ times more efficient than PV, on a manpower basis.

    The open-minded study of climate, climate change, and impacts due to climate change is a no-regrets policy. The continued development of promising energy technologies is a no-regrets policy. But the widespread degradation of natural environments and the commitment of huge sums of wealth and resources required for vast installations of diffuse and immature methods such as PV and wind is not a no-regrets policy.

    • Scienceguy writes- “The open-minded study of climate, climate change, and impacts due to climate change is a no-regrets policy. The continued development of promising energy technologies is a no-regrets policy.”

      Neither of those are no regrets policies. Both require resources and as a byproduct pull resources from being used elsewhere. The amount of satisification or regret will be determined in hindsight based on the outcome. If you studies the climate and found out nothing useful, those paying the bills for the expense would likely think it wasteful. (as an example)

      • Mike Flynn

        Yes.

        You might regret wasting, say, 30 billion dollars, in the pursuit of the impossible.

        Who knows?

  88. Test

  89. We can do precious little. The global surface climate will continue to change independent of any human effors, as it has throughout Earth’s existence. All the agonizing rationalizations are for naught.

  90. Brian G Valentine

    “What can we do about climate change?”

    First of all, you can decide on a method to measure it. It is thus far embedded in the noise of statistical balance of radiant flux of entropy on the Earth’s surface, and if you can point to a better quantitative method of measurement, we would be interested in hearing about it.

  91. Nothing. There is no evidence that climate is changing in a detrimental way, to start with. Warming, should it occur, is historically demonstrated to be highly favourable.

  92. “Mikerestin”
    You asked the question: “What caused the warming in the 1930’s”:

    For precisely the same reason. Due to reduced industrial activity, anthropogenic SO2 levels dropped by 29 Megatonnes between 1930 and 1938 (Google: “Global Anthropogenic SO2 emissions, 1850-2005 ” The graph of the same title in the paper shows the dip in SO2 emissions.

    Using the .020 deg. C.temp rise/Megatonne of SO2 removed factor , an expected temp. rise of 0.58 deg. C. would be expected for the hottest year, 1938.

    This occurred locally, but NASA and GISS shows only 0.30 deg. C. avg. global temperature. This was because of the 1938 La Nina (8th strongest in 115 years) that lowered average global temperatures and masked the rise.

  93. Wagathon:

    You wrote “China is now the primray cause in helping end the drought in California..that’s your logic?

    No. They can help end the drought only by INCREASING their emissions of SO2.

    What they are beginning to do is to reduce their SO2 emissions–which will result in intensification of the California drought.

  94. Reduce our eco-footprint? And become more optionally mobile? Live almost anywhere on Earth in futuristic Ecocapsule

    The capsule measures 14.6 feet (about 4.5 meters) long by 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) wide by 8.2 feet (about 2.5 meters) tall. Into that space the designers have managed to pack a folding bed, a table and two chairs, a small kitchen and a toilet and shower. There are also a few storage spaces and working windows.


    images.gizmag.com/gallery_lrg/eco-capsule-5.jpg

  95. D.J. The environmental and health costs of coal are so overwhelming that it’s not difficult to make the case for its elimination

    Yes, the politics of environmental and climate issues have indeed long been settled. And impressively well in advance of any robust and credible science on the matter too.
    An accomplishment owing much to politically-funded scientivists like Jamieson acting as science enforcers of the politically-settled conclusions.

  96. As Judy pointed out, both participants are locked into the belief that global warming is real and are thinking hard what to do about it. What they said is the best they could do about it. Since catastrophic warming they both fear is demonstrably not real my opinion is that such people should not be listened to. That imaginary danger they fear is lurking somewhere, they know not where, when the real danger is activists who have stirred up politicians to spend unimaginably huge fortunes on totally worthless projects that have no chance of saving the world. Not only that but they also want to change our lives, destroy civilized life, and feel good about having done so. The information is all there but these two have blinkers on and are debating the equivalent of how many angels can pass through the eye of a needle.

    • Arno Arrack,

      Indeed.

      But don’t we have fun modelling how many angels can pass through the eye of a needle, or even camels, for that matter! No wonder the arguments go on, and on, and on, and . . .