Week in review: energy and policy edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

This is a really good essay:  Global warming and climate change: Separating truth from fiction [link]

Solar power sharing programs may be poised to take off [link]

E&E legal on the capture of the EPA by green advocacy groups [link]

The dubious environmental justice of 100% renewable energy – [link]

Africa has dual problems that just might be the solution for each other [link] …

Fabius Maximus: A new response to climate change that can help the GOP win in 2016: [link] …

9 or 11 billion of us by 2100? Hugely important environmental question depends on industrialization/modernization  [link]

A theoretical basis for energy efficiency measurement [link] …

How inefficient climate policies can build support for efficient ones [link]

@RichardTol: Economic impacts of climate change: New evidence [link]

Australia ousts climate-denying prime minister, gets new one who has argued for climate action | Grist [link]

Obama, White House need to reset thinking on energy issues [link]

Read: Innovative ways for Energy Efficiency Financing [link]

New study to try to find out why solar panels degrade so quickly, increasing costs of green $ energy [link]…

“Paris climate summit: Don’t mention Copenhagen” [link] …

Quite the manifesto by @MLiebreich, who believes clean energy will bring social and political change: [link] …

Naomi Klein: Now is the time for a climate leap [link]  Counterpoint [link]


Obama just announced $120 million in new solar & clean energy funding. Here’s what that means [link]

US & Australian taxpayers pay billions a year in #coal production #subsidies  [link]

China revises its past coal consumption up — 14%. [link]

@GinaEPA seen to be safe from House impeachment tries. [link]

More consumers are saying yes to electric cars—and not because of environmental concerns [link]

‘Predictioneers’ forecast Paris climate talks outcome with game theory: NEWS: What will countries agree to [link]

Bonn co-chairs have been given a mandate to prepare a draft agreement for Paris by the first week of October #Bonn #COP21 | [link]

How Vermont became a clean-power powerhouse and how others can follow:  [link]

100 responses to “Week in review: energy and policy edition

  1. Pingback: Week in review: energy and policy edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. A major business story: NRG retreats from its big solar bet (as Obama, above, increases subsidies) http://www.wsj.com/articles/nrg-energy-unveils-moves-to-reduce-debt-cut-costs-1442587204

  3. The Guardian article on the CarbonTracker report of US and Australian coal subsidies does reflect the PR and the executive summary. Unfortunately it does not dissect the actual CarbonTracker analysis. I examined the US Powder River Basin portion. Pure ideological garbage. Two biggest PRB ‘subsidies’ are depreciation and depletion allowances, and the rates at which BLM leased the land for open pit mining. The tax provisions are bog standard, available to all mining endeavors of all sorts (imcluding oil and gas, irom, copper, gold, salt…), and are in no way subsidies. The BLM land leases are awarded to thenhighest bidder at an open auction, and are therefore at ‘market’. No subsidy. Ridiculous to assert otherwise.
    The analysis is just more ‘war on coal’ nonsense from people who obviously have no idea how the economy or business works. Echoed by the Guardian, who evidently does not either.

    • This is the standard subsidy nonsense. Meanwhile the production tax credits that wind and solar get are real subsidies. In fact depreciation is a penalty of sorts, not a tax break. If I buy a building for my business I cannot deduct the money I pay as a business expense. I am forced to spread the deductions out over 30 years. Same for my mining equipment but the period is shorter.

  4. From the Fabius Maximus advice to the GOP: These reforms, plus adequate funding, can create research that Americans can rely upon — and act upon. If we had done this in 1990 we’d have reliable answers now.

    Given what we have learned since 1990, how likely is that? We have more knowledge of CO2-independent climate oscillations; more about the energy lows on the surface; more about energy flows, water flows, and temperature oscillations in the oceans; more and more models making diverse predictions of the future; and lots more. I think the only thing on which there is wide agreement is that the problem appears more intractable and in need of research than ever.

    • oops: energy “flows” on the surface.

    • what problem?

      This is the massive failure of logic by alarmists that pollutes every discussion of climate.

      There is no evidence of a problem because there is no evidence that our climate is doing anything that isn’t natural. Until there is evidence that the climate is behaving: a) in a way that it hasn’t before, and b) that the change is due to humans, we don’t have a problem.

      There are theories. And the theories and assumptions are used to proclaim a problem. But there is no evidence that supports the logical conclusion that there is an actual problem.

      Logic is hard and facts are inconvenient. Which is why so few climate alarmists have much interest in either.

      • Stanton Brown: what problem?

        Persuading the catastrophists and their followers that the evidence supporting alarm is slim to none. How we got to where we are has been well-recounted, but now we are stuck, so to speak, with a bunch of respected people who say that “alarmism” ought to be the null hypothesis (that’s a slight paraphrase), and we have to give all attention to laboratory studies of CO2 and ignore all evidence of climate variation independent of CO2. The problem is a group of people who jumped to a conclusion with little evidence and are resistant to absorbing a lot of subsequent information.

  5. There will be some sort of agreement in Paris, because these folks are pros. I have been tracking these negotiations since 1992, when the UNFCCC was agreed to, which means negotiations probably began in 1988 or earlier. Thus many of these diplomats have probably been doing this for their entire professional careers. As things stand I do not see an important, serious agreement coming, just enough to keep going, to keep their jobs.

  6. Re: “Paris climate summit: Don’t mention Copenhagen”
    “even now there is a meeting going on deciding your future, and you are not invited.” – Chuck Swindoll

  7. More on electricity in Vermont. Turns out they have to import expensive electricity from Canada – something I didn’t see in the posted piece.
    From the article:

    To help fill the gap, regional utilities have renewed supply contracts with Hydro-Quebec to import up to 225 MW of hydroelectric energy from Canada through 2038.


  8. “This is a really good essay…” No, it isn’t. It is typical stuff from the school of “we don’t know anything, but we know the scientists who study this are most probably wrong”.

  9. The Tol idea is simply great. If climate change impacts hardest on the poor then rather than tackle climate change lets focus on reducing proverty. Win- win

    • Applause all around! Step one: Overthrow all the third world governments that keep their people poor!! (Stone silence).

      • I was thinking of more of whats been going on already, the industrialization and urbanisation of rural poor. And maybe backed up with an unapologetic political belief in progress.

        But we could try your way!

      • It’s been tried, but does not work so well. There’s an endless supply of corrupt people who will do anything to get and keep power, it seems.

  10. More on world coal consumption. Don’t sell those coal companies just yet! From the article:

    Resource investors, take note: By 2025, just 10 years from now, energy consumption in Asia will increase a whopping 31 percent. A whole two-thirds of that demand, driven largely by China and India, will be for fossil fuels, most notably coal.

    That’s according to a new research piece by financial services group Macquarie, which writes that the estimated rise in fossil fuel demand is equivalent of “three times Saudi Arabia’s current (all-time-high) oil production.”


  11. Giving away electricity … thanks to out tax money subsidies, that is. From the article:

    In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, the mighty state of Texas was asleep. The honky-tonks in Austin were shuttered, the air-conditioned office towers of Houston were powered down, and the wind whistled through the dogwood trees and live oaks on the gracious lawns of Preston Hollow. Out in the desolate flats of West Texas, the same wind was turning hundreds of wind turbines, producing tons of electricity at a time when comparatively little supply was needed.

    And then a very strange thing happened: The so-called spot price of electricity in Texas fell toward zero, hit zero, and then went negative for several hours. As the Lone Star State slumbered, power producers were paying the state’s electricity system to take electricity off their hands. At one point, the negative price was $8.52 per megawatt hour.


    • That’s both good and bad.

      Good lots of electricity cheap.

      Bad – lots of electricity ( more than anyone could use, especially at night ) cheap.

      But the converse is when the wind doesn’t blow, the inefficiency of requiring coal backup kicks in – twice the infrastructure for half the demand – bad.

      • Yep. In order to know the impact of turbines, one would have to know all the costs and benefits: extra transmission lines, load balancing problems, higher variability of electricity supply, turbine failures, turbine maintenance, etc.

      • Offshore wind farms are good – when the wind blow, they produce energy absolutely free for no money. When the wind stops, the blades can be kept spinning by burning lots of coal and the turbines will produce free wind to power sailboats. As you know, sailboats have a teeny tiny eenie weeny itty bitty carbon footprint. There, the issue, and the science, is settled.

  12. I notice the Naomi Klein piece has 0 comments
    seems the Age of Aquarius is late in arriving
    and people are getting bored

  13. Most of what we read within the mainstream media today, and hear from politicians, has the above assumptions embedded within the various narratives.

    True, true, Patrick Moore discussed this when shining a light on the real motives of environmentalists; and, I believe it also underlies the move of global warming alarmists to the safety and security provided by the concepts of conservationism, as if modern society is driven by love of waste (all the while being told to ignore the hypocrisy of the anti-CO2 greens like the Al Gore’s of the world as if they are not actually representative of the goals of environmentalists and conservationists and that these concepts are not merely ways to disguise a war of political ideology between the Left and the right).

  14. Judith,
    As a retired EE with an interest in both science and the climate controversies, I submit Letters to local newspapers with the objective of providing factual information and correcting the record (e.g. a local associate professor in marine biology claimed that the climate models have been tested and verified to be accurate). I will be surprised if I am the only reader who uses Climate Etc. and the weekly reviews for that purpose. I would ask that some of your more knowledgeable commenters keep that in mind when answering question (or as is often the case ignoring questions) from those of us who are not experts in the field. Thank you for the time, effort, and patience you bring to the subject.

  15. “E&E legal on the capture of the EPA by green advocacy groups [link]”

    There is no real news in this. The only thing that surprises me is just how shabby a job the fossil fuel companies have done in defending their corner.
    Time to start paying for some schills?

  16. Go read the top link.

    A  “really good” article that:

    – claims some scientists believe we are heading into an ice age right now

    – claims  the question as to whether the earth is warming or not is “interesting”, with a diverse range of opinion

    – claims that something “sinister” is going on

    – claims that solar changes may be more important than CO2

    Conspiracy and disinformation, as endorsed by JC.

    • Plenty of solar scientists have been saying that we’re in for a Dalton or Maunder minimum, with temperatures dropping until around 2040.

      is the Earth warming right now? statistically it’s not, and hasn’t been for the past 18 or so years. They call it ‘the pause’.

      Locking the third world into perpetually poverty so the rich can feel good about themselves does seem somewhat sinister.

      And solar changes do seem to be more important than CO2, unless you think the mile-thick glaciers that periodically cover Canada, the northern US, and northern Europe were caused by a lack of cow farts.

      • The climate fwaidycats called it a paws in GW, but now they are trying to claw it back.

      • And solar changes do seem to be more important than CO2, unless you think the mile-thick glaciers that periodically cover Canada, the northern US, and northern Europe were caused by a lack of cow farts.

        Solar changes that make earth cold cannot provide the snow that is required for the mile-thick glaciers. Only warm, thawed, oceans that are deeper than now, can provide moisture for that much snowfall. Major ice ages only occurred after major warm periods with much higher oceans. You must have the warm water in the ocean to provide moisture for major ice sheets. Snow falls in warm times and then ice advances.

    • Not hard to find peer reviewed papers for all the points listed but one, however the “something sinister” is something everyone on both sides throw out constantly.

  17. In the Asian Correspondent article there is a picture of the statue of Christ the Redeemer with its lights turned off for Earth Hour.

    What a world of self-loathing and ingratitude is contained in that image. Truly spewful symbol of the war which intellectuals never stop waging against humanity and human nature.

    Out with the new cathars and puritans! Turn on the bloody lights!

    • Some of the neighborhoods around “Cristo O Redentor” are very dangerous after dark. That aside, that is one of the great tourist locations on the planet – it is even better than the hype. It’s good to keep the lights on.

    • Lights switched off for Earth Hour. How symbolic.
      Return to the Dark Ages.

      ‘O we are creatures of the light, of enlightenment.
      Drawn to the light flickering on the river,
      the silver threads disturbing its opacity,
      drawn to the glitter of stars that spark
      in the dark abyss of night, to the harvest moon
      palpable as globed fruit, forgetting
      its light’s reflected from the sun.
      Shine on, o shine, harvest moon.
      Seeking through science and poetry to probe
      the secrets of the heavens and deep abyss,
      we yearn for honey from the golden hive,
      Enlightenment – o.

  18. From the article:

    A new survey from NBC, taken in the wake of the second Republican debate, finds Donald Trump extending his lead for the nomination and support surging for businesswoman Carly Fiorina. Trump has 29 percent support, up from 22 percent last month.

    Fiorina, who didn’t register any support before summer, has surged into third place with 11 percent support. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson edged higher and is now in second place, with 14 percent support.


  19. This is a really good essay: Global warming and climate change: Separating truth from fiction [link]

    “This belief that we as humans can control the environment is arrogance in the extreme.”

    The voice of reason; i.e., we are not knowledgeable enough to view the future with clarity; nor are mankind’s fingerprints on the control knob of the climate This suggests there is just so much we can do. We are not fully in control of our destiny, nor have we ever been in such control. And, I might add, will we ever have much control over our destiny although some like to think they control not only their destiny, but the destiny of others.

    One of life’s truisms is that the only constants are death and taxes and it is really the former, death, that prevents us from carrying out our will. We just run out of time. Fortunes are made and lost. Riveting ideas, the ones that catch the imagination of whole groups of people, eventually go belly up. The really really important ideas like: love oneself, hangs on by a thread The idea seems to be reiterated again and again in different world cultures and different human epics, so I guess it must be true.

    It is very comfortable for me to know that I don’t know. I can say I don’t know about most everything. And, after all the harangue by busybodies who claim they know but really don’t, I don’t feel I have missed anything either.

  20. An article that was automatically linked right next to Richard’s post-gremlins corrigendum:

    The cost of delaying climate action has been studied extensively. This column discusses new findings based on a meta-analysis of published model runs. A one-decade delay in addressing climate change would lead to about a 40% increase in the net present value cost of addressing climate change. If anything, the methodology used in this analysis could understate the cost of delay. Uncertainty and the possibility of tipping points provide a motivation for more action as a form of insurance against worse outcomes.


    But Mr. T, but.

    Mr. T.

  21. Solar power sharing programs may be poised to take off [link]

    She paid the developer $16,100 for her share and received a $4,500 rebate from her utility; she also expects a $4,800 federal tax refund after the array starts generating power this month. She expects her average monthly power bill to drop by 75%, and—assuming electricity rates don’t change—she expects the investment to pay for itself in about 14 years.

    For her, it might pay off in 14 years. Some of her taxes pay for the rebate and the tax refund and everyone else pays higher rates for their power to help the grid work with this junk. This is a ripoff for everyone who does not directly benefit from this program.

    • Community Solar a ripoff? Maybe Yes and Maybe No. The cost shifts are not so different than what happens with many rooftop solar programs. (Your description of ripoff may be meant to encompass them all.) The economics are probably better then individual home rooftop solar for the vast majority of participants. Community solar can be better oriented to capture the sun than most residential applications You don’t have problems like what do you do when your shingles need replacing. The numbers are more transparent and we can better track them over time so that we can evaluate who is paying for what. Also it lets you see some benefits from economy of scale.

      From my perspective it’s the best “local” program approach for “residential” solar. Now how good it is and how the costs get divided may have serious equity concerns an because of those such programs may deserve the ripoff label.

      • It is likely better than rooftop. It does not solve the problem that you must build power plants that run irregularly for when the sun don’t shine. Power plants that run irregularly cost more to build and operate for the power they provide. It is likely that the total cost per KWH is much higher. Without the tax credits and subsidies, it may never pay back what it cost. Consider the land that could have more value for other purposes, forever. Consider the land and transmission required to replace a nuclear power plant. You know this stuff better than I.

      • I think it is important to emphasize that it is generally better than rooftop. I’d preface any criticisms of it with that observation. I’d hate for well intentioned people (or anyone really) to be saddled with rooftop solar and risks/costs/hassles associated with itas opposed to having the community solar option. Beyond that, I am on the same page with you.

  22. Crude oil has been more volatile of late, but still ended the week around $45.

    OIL 44.83
    BRENT 47.57
    NAT GAS 2.583
    RBOB GAS 1.3622


  23. Brian G Valentine

    “How Vermont became a clean-power powerhouse ”

    My dear Sister is an elementary school teacher in Vermont, and she sees nothing but poverty and all that comes with it like drug abuse, dysfunctional families, and crime.

    “Clean Power” nonsense is sold with no truth in advertising. If it was some food or drug, it would be outlawed.

    • I agree. I think the cynical promotion of clean power constitutes fraud and justifies investigation under the RICO act. They know they are lying and are laughing all the way to the bank.

  24. From the article:

    State Governor Mary Fallin, a pro-business Republican, was slow to accept the link between fracking and earthquakes.

    She took action earlier this year after the science became clear, spokesman Alex Weintz said.

    It appears that an area known as the Arbuckle rock formation is most vulnerable because of its “unique geological features,” he noted.

    State regulators are now scrutinizing the operations of disposal wells in that area to ensure they don’t go too deep or inject too much water.

    Some operators have been told to cut the amount of water they inject into their wells and the state has also stepped up its monitoring.

    Three wells were shut down on Friday after two quakes – a 3.5 and a 4.1 – struck near Cushing, which has one of the largest crude oil storage facilities in the world.

    “We are hopeful that the actions taken by the Corporation Commission will have a significant impact on seismicity, but the process is ongoing and we’ll continue to evaluate the results that we’re getting now and potential future actions,” Weintz told AFP.

    The Sierra Club insists that much more needs to be done and has called for a moratorium on wastewater injection wells in the 21 Oklahoma counties identified to be most at risk.


    • Brian G Valentine

      Sierra “club” would be just as happy to eliminate everyone on Earth excepting dues-paying members (at a certain level).

      Why can’t people eliminate themselves to please the Sierra Club. What is wrong with them. Are people all that greedy not to please the Sierra Club.

  25. More consumers are saying yes to electric cars—and not because of environmental concerns

    I think electric vehicles are the future of transportation. It is just a matter how long it will take to get to full adoption. We certainly don’t want to power our vehicles with coal, so I don’t think the rate of adoption should grow rapidly until we have a much larger share of low carbon power sources in place.

    • It won’t happen until the battery problem is solved. IMO a hybrid with detachable motor (e.g. electric with range extender) is probably going to get big.

      But within 15-20 years, light oil (e.g. gasoline, diesel) created from solar power will be cost-competitive with fossil, IMO. The technology is there, although immature, and the cost of solar PV is decreasing exponentially. So the real issue will be how dirty internal combustion is compared to pure electric.

      • Around 35 years ago on the BBC TV program “Tomorrow’s World” there was a piece on a device called “SYD the symbiotic diesel” that ran on dried chlorella (a type of algae), developed (as I recollect) by a scientist from the University of Bristol.

        I was peripherally involved inasmuch as my company created much of the publicity material for this project (some of which I still have somewhere), and I had a few beers with the scientist whose brainchild it was.

        Now, thereby hangs a tale…

      • That reminds me. And I don’t believe I’ve posted this, but anyways … a battery. From the article:

        Energy Storage,
        Clean and Simple.
        Our technology is based on a simple idea: In order to meet the challenges of the world’s growing energy needs and increase the use of renewable power, we need large-scale energy storage systems that are high performance, safe, sustainable and cost-effective. Our founder, Professor Jay Whitacre, set out to solve this problem and discovered a simple and elegant solution that is a twist on a 200 year-old technology: saltwater batteries. Aquion developed this solution into our patented Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI™) chemistry, a unique saltwater electrolyte battery technology. Using abundant, nontoxic materials and modern low cost manufacturing techniques, our AHI batteries are now ready to take on the global energy storage challenge.


      • And, from another company …
        Over the last few years, interest in high energy density sodium ion (Na-ion) batteries has increased.
        However, relatively little research has been conducted in this area and, as a result, these next generation materials have not yet been brought to market. Na-ion batteries are a direct replacement for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, allowing current Li-ion battery manufacturers to use existing equipment to construct batteries using Faradion’s next-generation materials.
        Benefits of Faradion sodium-ion technology
        Faradion’s sodium-ion technology has already shown specific energy densities in full cells far exceeding those of other known sodium-ion materials. In addition, the Faradion team have already developed materials with energy densities exceeding that of the popular Li-ion material lithium iron phosphate, dispelling the misconception held by some that sodium-ion materials will be unable to achieve high energy densities. The graph below shows a comparison of the cathode specific energy densities of some sodium ion materials achieved in full cells, with LiFePO4 included as a well-known comparison.


      • And, to top off the tank …
        43 Battery Storage Companies To Watch
        January 15th, 2015 by Zachary Shahan

        As I wrote in my piece on cleantech trends from 2014 and expected cleantech trends in 2015, the battery storage market is really blossoming. There are now quite a number of battery startups and battery departments within big corporations that seem to have promising products arriving on the market or soon to arrive on the market. There are also some that have been on the market for years but are now getting a lot more competitive.

        I’m going to run down my list of companies to watch right here, but this page will also be updated as new battery companies pop onto the radar or fall off of it. I’m probably missing a few too, so feel free to drop them in the comments below the article for me to add them.


  26. “so I don’t think the rate of adoption should grow rapidly until we have a much larger share of low carbon power sources in place.”

    So not in the foreseeable future then…

  27. Did anyone see the bit where VW has programmed its cars to cheat on emissions tests? Anywhere there’s a law, someone will break it …

    Volkswagen’s CEO said he is “deeply sorry” for violating U.S. emissions standards and ordered an external investigation Sunday, two days after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the automaker of purposefully manipulating emissions tests for almost 500,000 vehicles.

    The German automaker ordered its U.S. dealerships to stop selling cars impacted by the probe until its engineers can deliver a fix.


    • And VW sold these diesel vehicles as being “green” despite it being obvious to any engineer directly involved that they were not. And the US EPA bought it hook line and sinker for six years.

      “Volkswagen has now admitted that it intentionally installed software programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode during official emissions testing. The software then switches off again, enabling cars to drive more powerfully on the road while emitting as much as 40 times the legal pollution limit.”


      This was not caught by the Fed, but by California regulators.

      The moral of this story? Just because a solution is offered under the guise of being “green” does not make it so. The devil is in the details. Federal officials can be duped, or worse yet intentionally obscure realities or even actively set out to do the duping. That goes for autos, solar cells, wind turbines, or any other technology.

      • For me, the message is that it is a constant competition between industries trying to make profits at the expense of the environment, and regulations imposed by the governments. Some industries will do anything to bypass what the science has deemed healthier for everyone.

      • There are many ways that people may profit from their misdeeds. Corporate monetary profit is but one of many.

        Take a moment, be honest with yourself and consider how the concentration of power over others can lead to abuse. If one corporation can abuse its power, is an agency with power over hundreds of corporations or millions of individuals even more likely to abuse its power? Throw in self-righteous conviction, and abuse is almost inevitable in any organization with the power over others and agents who are not subject to constitutional limits and the review of voters.

  28. From the article:

    #3. Joule

    Joule is advancing a production platform for Liquid Fuel from the Sun, expected to eclipse the scale, productivity and cost efficiency of any known alternative to fossil fuel today. Its transformative Helioculture platform directly and continuously converts sunlight and waste CO2 to infrastructure-ready diesel, ethanol or commodity chemicals with no dependence on biomass feedstocks, downstream processing or precious natural resources.

    This process can yield renewable fuels and chemicals in unprecedented volumes with a fraction of the land required by current methods, leapfrogging biomass-dependent approaches and eliminating the economic and environmental disadvantages of fossil fuels.

    Start your “countdown to commercial-scale” clocks, Digesterati, we are in the last 31 months and no more until the build-out of a 1,000-acre plant is set to begin in 2017, where as Joule observes “in an optimal location, a plant of this size has the potential to convert 150,000 tonnes of waste CO2 into 25 million gallons of ethanol or 15 million gallons of diesel per year – with no reliance on arable land, crops or fresh water.”


  29. Richard Tol,

    Could you please compare the results plotted in Figure 1 in your new paper with Figure 2 in your earlier paper, and explain the reasons for changes.

    Richard Tol, 2015, Economic impacts of climate change: New evidence, Figure 1,

    Richard Tol, 2013, The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries, Figure 2,

    Free access to prepublication version: Richard Tol, 2011, The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries, Figure 2, http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

    If you’ve explained the differences elsewhere, could you please provide a link.

    • International negotiators moving away from their ‘keep-
      warming-below-two-degrees target.’ Hey, thank goodness
      fer that! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      • Extract from Lomberg’s article.

        ‘In July, leaders of the world’s major industrialized nations
        —the Group of Eight—agreed that they would strive to
        make carbon emission cuts to limit global warming to
        no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This would
        be the most costly public policy ever enacted. Climate
        economist Professor Richard Tol — a contributing, lead,
        principal, and convening author for the Intergovernmental
        Panel on Climate Change — showed that a high global
        CO2 tax starting at $68 a ton (designed to limit
        temperature rises to less than 2°C) could reduce world
        gross domestic product by a staggering 12.9 percent in
        2100 — the equivalent of $40 trillion a year — costing
        50 times the expected damage of global warming. (Tol,

        Tol’s figures are based on projections using models from
        the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum. About half the
        models found it impossible to keep temperature rises
        lower than 2°C ‘

  30. Industries increasingly seem to have given up on waiting for skeptics to make their case properly and are implementing their own carbon policies.
    I guess the science is settled enough for them now to do something.

    • 14 companies in the entire world using more then a negligible($20/tonne) carbon cost for long term planning.

      $20/tone of carbon is the equivalent of $1/MMBtu. Natural gas prices fluctuate by more then that in the space of a few weeks.

      Then two of the top 5 are Japanese companies…Japanese companies have always used a large inflation number for planning purposes when it comes to imported fossil fuels.

      Then we have European companies who are already being charged a carbon tax.

      Then a very long list of companies using less then $10/tonne for planing purposes.

    • Haven’t read the whole article yet, but I like the general idea.

      I am generally not for a “carbon price” or “carbon tax” as popularly defined. I think CO2 emissions are a positive externality. I think sequestration of CO2 for its own sake is a very bad outcome. But with a goal of cycling carbon, efficiency, and conservation in mind, rather than simple prevention of GHG concentration increases, companies can create good policies and programs. If a company pays itself, particularly if the payment is paid out to investors as dividends, I can see this being generally good so long as the policy is modest with goals of marginal improvement.

      I like the ideas AK often puts forward and Jim2 does a little up thread. Capturing CO2 and using it could be good, eventually. I even see it becoming a problem. I think Fernando Leanme is ‘kinda right’ about are ability to extract fossil fuels fast enough becoming a serious problem.

      Sometime AK is, as Fernando has put it, a little too “cornucopian”. I don’t think these techs are likely to be quite as scalable or proliferating as fast AK seems to think, but I think we’ll get there. In fact, I see these techs as being a potential serious problem as we’ll find that many are only efficient with high availability of CO2 in the air, particularly traditional, open-air agriculture.

      I see keeping GHG high enough as a far more likely problem than our slight change of the weather.

      And, it probably makes more sense for companies to do this themselves rather than do it on an industrial or national level.

  31. Judith,

    The evolving “scandal” re. VW, diesels and potential green and regulator complicity in scamming the public on the supposed environmental benefits of diesel autos might be a good future post. Seems like a natural for Rud if he has the time and inclination.


  32. richardswarthout


  33. How about this one.


    Isn’t it amazing what you can get when you start extending trends into the future? In particular I like the prediction for renewables. As the second largest utility operator of wind generation in the country, I know that we currently have no future wind gen in the 20 year plan. We even sold our remaining options at our Snake River facility (after developing ~ 25% of them) to another utility.

    The projection on a continuing drop in solar is another one to be sceptical of.