Some realism about technological fixes

by Judith Curry

Not all problems will yield to technology. Deciding which will and which won’t should be central to setting innovation policy, say Daniel Sarewitz and Richard Nelson.

I came across very interesting Commentary that was published in Nature in 2008:  Three rules for technical fixes, by Daniel Sarewitz and Richard Nelson.  Excerpts:

For some social problems, scientific research and technological innovation deliver significant progress, whereas for others, such activities lead to little if any improvement.

In a world of limited resources, the trick is distinguishing problems amenable to technological fixes from those that are not. Our rules provide guidance in making this distinction, be it for education, disease prevention or even climate change.

Three rules for technical fixes:

I. The technology must largely embody the cause–effect relationship connecting problem to solution.

A key point, well-illustrated by vaccines, is that a technological fix needs to be successful within the context of a complex socio-technical system that is difficult to understand, let alone manage. Such clarity allows policy and operational coordination to emerge among diverse actors and institutions.

II. The effects of the technological fix must be assessable using relatively unambiguous or uncontroversial criteria.

From their earliest use, vaccines provoked opposition on moral and practical grounds, a trend that continues today. But opposition has not stemmed the long-term advance of vaccines. This is in part because their effectiveness is hard to argue against and because continual improvement has tended to answer objections about efficacy and risk. The situation stands in stark contrast to the teaching of reading, for which no particular method or theory has been able to achieve long-term or widespread dominance and for which compelling evidence of improved efficacy even over timescales of a century is lacking.

III. Research and development is most likely to contribute decisively to solving a social problem when it focuses on improving a standardized technical core that already exists.

Scientific understanding related to a standardized core is much easier to apply than science aimed at elucidating the theoretical foundations, causes or dynamics of a problem. When knowledge is not largely embodied in an effective technology, but must instead be applied to practice through, say, training, institutional incentives, organizational structures or public policies, the difficulty of improving outcomes is greatly amplified. Interpreting the results of management or policy innovations is difficult because of the many variables involved, few of which are directly related to the actual technology deployment. When the results of applying knowledge to practice are uncertain, the value of the new knowledge itself becomes subject to controversy.

The limits of technology

In the absence of an existing standardized core, therefore, R&D programmes aimed at solving particular social problems should neither be expected to succeed, nor be advertised as having much promise of succeeding, at least in the short and medium term. They should be understood and described as aiming at the creation of fundamental knowledge and the exploration of new approaches, with success possible only over the long term, and with a significant chance of failure.

Application to climate change

Despite enormous scientific, political and diplomatic efforts over the past two decades, no progress on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions has been made. In the absence of technological fixes, progress towards significant reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions will remain frustratingly slow, uneven and inconclusive.

In principle, stabilizing atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations at levels deemed acceptable by climate experts can be achieved through radically reduced emissions or through direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. The suite of promising possibilities for reducing emissions — from nuclear fission, to photovoltaics, to on-site carbon capture and storage — offers attractive targets for R&D investments consistent with Rule III: existing technological capacities can leverage continued improvement. Nevertheless, successful transition to a low-emissions energy system requires effective management across all sectors of society and all uses of CO2-emitting technologies. Within this system, no particular technology fully encompasses the goal of the process — eliminating CO2 in the atmosphere. Rule I is violated.  Moreover, because emissions-reducing technologies will compete with existing energy technologies supported by entrenched interests, and because there will be competition between the emerging technologies, we can expect ongoing technical and political debates about efficacy of specific technologies, as seen for biofuels today — a violation of Rule II. System-wide progress is therefore likely to be buffered by political processes similar to the ones that frustrate progress now.

In contrast, direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere — air capture — satisfies the rules for technological fixes. Most importantly, air capture embodies the essential cause–effect relations — the basic go — of the climate-change problem, by acting directly to reduce CO2 concentrations, independent of the complexities of the global energy system (Rule I). There is a criterion of effectiveness that can be directly and unambiguously assessed: the amount of CO2 removed (Rule II). And although air-capture technologies have been remarkably neglected in both R&D and policy discussions, they nevertheless seem technically feasible (Rule III).

Our rules do not allow us to predict if air-capture technologies will in fact help stabilize greenhouse-gas concentrations. Certainly these technologies face technical, political and economic obstacles. Our rules do, however, allow us to strongly predict that stabilization is unlikely to be achieved, except in the very long term, without something like air capture. Such technologies should therefore receive much greater attention in energy innovation portfolios.

The climate-change example illustrates an important final point: technological fixes do not offer a path to moral absolution, but to technical resolution. Indeed, one of the key elements of a successful technological fix is that it helps to solve the problem while allowing people to maintain the diversity of values and interests that impede other paths to effective action. Recognizing when such opportunities for rapid progress are available should be a central part of innovation policy, and should guide investment choices.

JC reflections

This article was written in 2008; some refinements in analyzing CO2 stabilization policies (either emissions reductions or air capture) can be made more effectively in 2016.

Re I, the causal chain between atmospheric CO2 concentration and decadal to century fluctuations in climate hasn’t been nailed down very well.  There are unexplained decadal and multidecadal fluctuations in climate (including global average temperature anomalies) that are not explained by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The quantitative relative importance of human caused versus natural climate change in 21st century climate variability remains an unresolved issue (JC message to Gavin: no I don’t buy your statements of 100% or 80-120% anthropogenic that you have tweeted and blogged because I am not accepting that your climate models are up to the task of attributing and projecting climate variability on decadal to century time scales.)

Re II, the metric of choice seems to be global average surface temperature anomalies.  As per I, we don’t know how to tell if future temperature increase is being slowed by CO2 emissions or natural variability.  Further, the global temperature data continues to be debated – arguably the uncertainty in these estimates is greater than is portrayed.

Re III, conceivable technologies are not up to the task of limiting global warming to 2C (as per the climate sensitivities of global climate models).  Recall, even if we manage to figure out zero emissions for the  global power supply (an extremely tough challenge on the timescale of a few decades), that is only ~40% of the job — we still need to figure out transportation, agriculture, cement production, etc.

So, what is the point of policies targeted at reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, in context of our concerns about avoiding dangerous human caused climate change?

It doesn’t seem that the problem of limiting the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere below certain targets designed at limiting warming to 1.5 or 2.0C in context of the amount of warming expected from climate models is amenable to technological fixes on the timescales of 2030 or 2050, which is what the UNFCCC is expecting.

So, why pursue this path, beyond investing in long-term R&D?  Wouldn’t the resources be better spent on reducing regional vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events?  The answer seems to be in seeking some sort of moral absolution and promoting an agenda that goes far beyond the avoidance of dangers from climate change.

technological fixes do not offer a path to moral absolution.

320 responses to “Some realism about technological fixes

  1. Realism: AGW is the latest front in the 70-year advancement of STALIN’S SCIENCE

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/STALINS_SCIENCE.pdf

  2. Warmies! They must have got their start as Britannica salesmen. Kick ’em out the front door they barged through, and they just change clothes and come softly knocking at the back door.

    You open the back door.

    “Er, can I interest sir or madam in a technology which will largely embody the cause–effect relationship connecting problem to solution?”

    And who wouldn’t want one of those?

  3. Why pursue this path?

    Some believe based on their evaluation of the evidence there is a good technological fix (some to the extent that it’s an overall gain whether needed or not for environmental reasons). Others believe that based on their evaluation of the evidence there is not a good technological fix, but rather we are seeing wasteful “feel-good” distractions promoted.

    There are others who support one perspective over the other mainly because of selfish interests, cognitive dissonance, socialization and all that.

    While I suppose everyone is impacted somewhat by tribalism and socialization, the biggest group probably has little more than that and associated appeals to authority. These are people who feel holding a particular position makes them a “good” person, who gain an enhanced sense of self and people who fit in better with their friends for going along.

    • Lets list the problems with CAGW.
      1. CO2 forcing as measured is low.
      2. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00656.1
      Aerosol forcing appears to be low. Low aerosol forcing does not support high CO2 forcing.
      3. The RCP CO2 levels (atmospheric) are unrealistic.and are trending away from reality.
      4. The combination of new technologies, better efficiency, and nuclear makes emissions projections that are significantly higher than today unrealistic.
      5. Emissions will decline after 2050 – action or no action. Industry estimates and any sensible projection gives a peak CO2 level in the 460s.
      6. The various harms (sea level, crop failure) require massively higher temperatures that just aren’t going to happen.
      7. Reasonable projections of warming are only beneficial.
      8. There isn’t any evidence of a negative effect on crop yields. Quite the contrary.
      9. The Antarctic ice sheet appears to be growing not shrinking.
      10. The Chinese only have 30 reactors operating in country and are currently building over 10 oversea.
      http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00656.1
      When their gen IV prototypes come out exports by the three Chinese nuclear manufacturers are going to explode. The third world will not be generating a big emissions increase.

      All said, it is hard to imagine temperature or sea level rise continuing beyond mid century.

      This argues for continuing to stoke those fires – essentially “banking” the CO2 since the last half of the century could get pretty cold. There is no reason not to since the warming and CO2 will be beneficial.

      When cornered global warmers claim that we won’t lose anything if they are wrong and we will have all this renewable energy. No thanks. You can keep your expensive ugly animal-killing resource-wasting windmill forests and miles of black glass. I would rather have cheap power and more food (greater plant growth).

    • aplanningengineer said:

      Some believe based on their evaluation of the evidence there is a good technological fix….

      Others believe that based on their evaluation of the evidence there is not a good technological fix…

      The notion that “there is not a good technological fix,” or that there exist “limits of technology,” runs counter to one of the tenets of our national faith.

      This tenet, a product of the Progressivism and Positivism which grew out of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, was perhaps best articulated by Thomas Jefferson’s life-long friend and correspondent, Joseph Priestly:

      Nature, including both its materials and its laws, will be more at our command; men will make their situation in this world abundantly more easy and comfortable, they will prolong their existence in it and grow daily more happy… Thus whatever the beginning of the world the end will be glorious and paradisiacal beyond that our imaginations can now conceive.

      • Perhaps you misunderstand.

        At the north pole it is dark 6 months out of the year. Technology will never save solar at the north pole.

        The Nazca Desert will not \support wind turbines, not now, not ever, never!

        The fact that massive subsides were needed to this point, and an almost 1/2 trillion dollar investment had to be made to upgrade the grid to make it more tolerant of renewables speaks to the fact they were a poor fit.

        The shutdown of several nuclear reactors because renewables were given priority will increase emissions. 1000 MW produced cleanly all the time is better than 1000 MW produced cleanly 1/4 or 1/3 of the time.

        There are niches where renewables are starting to make sense. But to this point, much of the green movement advocacy of renewables has consisted of using a sledgehammer to pound a square peg into a round hole and claiming victory.

        The subsidies and grid upgrade cost are exhibit A that to this point renewables have been ‘wasteful “feel-good” distractions”.

      • PA,

        What I understand is that without an abundant and cheap energy supply, there is nothing,

        Everything from the food we eat, to the water we drink and bathe ourselves in, to our various modes of transportation, to the digital revolution and the information age, requires energy. And lots of it.

        The professor warned that it also takes a huge amount of electricity to transfer data.

        “The internet uses the same energy as the airline industry – about two per cent of a developed country’s entire energy consumption,” he said.

        “That is just for the data transfer. If you then add the computers, the phones, the television, then it is up to eight per cent of the country’s energy consumption.”

        Every time internet speed increases, the electricity it takes to transfer the power also rises.

        Professor Ellis said: “That is quite a huge problem. If we have multiple fibres to keep up, we are going to run out of energy in about 15 years.”

        The public needs to decide whether they want to use their precious wind turbine electricity on electric cars, or on more internet.

        ‘We need to start this discussion now.’

        Britain is already consuming up to 16 per cent of all its power through internet use and this rate is doubling every four years.

        Prof Ellis said the major telecom operators account for one to three per cent of national energy consumption – the equivalent of three nuclear power stations – and rising internet demand could consume the nation’s entire power supply by approximately 2035.

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3064915/The-Internet-reach-limit-just-eight-years-warn-engineers.html#ixzz40Qm3orby
        <

      • Glenn Stehle | February 17, 2016 at 8:27 am |
        PA,

        What I understand is that without an abundant and cheap energy supply, there is nothing,

        I don’t really despise renewable energy… Well that isn’t quite true I do despise renewable energy and would tax it out of existence. But that isn’t the point.

        Renewable energy is an almost useless on again off again power source. The way renewable energy should have been marketed is as a discount power source for users that can tolerate intermittency.. The power would have to be marketed at half or less of the current market rate but renewable energy is only worth half as much as a real power source. Real power sources that produce power when you want them to should command a high premium over power sources that only produce when they want to. Service, convenience and reliability has value. The reason Fedex commands a premium over parcel post is they deliver overnight and parcel post delivers in a week or two when they get around to it.

        If you have lost power at your house and tried to connect to the internet you realize that the internet requires constant power and is a 24/7 operation. I’m fine with any contribution a small percentage of renewables can provide to absorb internet consumption.

        However, the public utility guidelines need to give nuclear power priority over renewables. Nuclear is a fixed asset that is assumed to be used at 100% for base band power production. Cutting nuclear output when renewables overproduce is making nuclear look expensive just to make renewables falsely look competitive.

        If renewables replace nuclear, the more expensive renewables and some less efficient fossil generation replaces clean and low cost nuclear. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      • If you have lost power at your house and tried to connect to the internet you realize that the internet requires constant power and is a 24/7 operation.

      • Glenn Stehle,

        I agree with you and Joseph Priestley, and strongly agree with this in your reply to PA:

        What I understand is that without an abundant and cheap energy supply, there is nothing,

        Everything from the food we eat, to the water we drink and bathe ourselves in, to our various modes of transportation, to the digital revolution and the information age, requires energy. And lots of it.

        One day humans will go through black holes to other universes “and return safely to Earth” :)

        That will require a lot of energy – a bigger black hole full. :)

        The sensible point is that humans energy consumption per person has been increasing geometrically since humans first began to control fire and domesticate animals to do work. The geometric progression will continue indefinitely.

      • There is a lot of energy in the universe and I’ve long predicted that man will not ultimately use all of it.
        ===================

      • Peter Lang,

        I’m not saying I agree with Joseph Priestly’s prediction. I’m agnostice, and don’t know what the future holds.

        But what Priestly articulated is the national faith. It’s what most Americans believe.

        For instance, when I asked my 78 year-old sister about peak oil, she responded quickly without a second thought, “Well, if the oil runs out, they’ll find something else.”

      • Peter Lang,

        When I say “It’s what most Americans believe,” maybe I should back that claim up.

        In Polling America, here’s what Samuel J. Best and Benjamin Radcliff conclude:

        Implicit in many assessments of public opinion about energy is the assumpition that there is a problem [e.g., a shortage or a crisis]; not everyone, of course, would subscribe to this position…

        Past research that addresses issues of this nature suggests, however, that a minority of approximately one in five of survey respondents appears to believe that there are actual, persistent problems, that oil and natural gas will eventually be exhausted, and that higher costs for oil, natural gas, and electricity should be expected….

        On the whole, available survey data suggest that the public is not particularly satisfied with energy policies; yet energy is not a highly salient political issue, at least until supply disruptions, price spikes, or environmental catastrophes occur….

        Energy self-sufficiency and sustainability seem to be perceived as a more critical issue for the future.

      • Peter Lang,

        Another reference is Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture. In it, Matthew Schneider-Mayer writes:

        While most Americans have an implicit faith in the development of new technologies to provide energy for future generations, peakists were pessimistic about the potential of other fossil fuels and nonrenewable energy sources to replace petroleum….

        There would be no orderly, peaceful transition away from the current energy regime dominated by petroleum since awareness of impending scarcity will cause panic and “resource wars” over the remaining oil that would siphon precious funds from the development of alternative energy sources….

        Using Barbara Ehrenreich’s and Karen Cerulo’s analyses of American optimism, I highlight the ways that peakism deviated from the American “dominant social paradigm” of implicit faith in technology and the inexhaustibility of crucial resources….

        I explore the political implications of the apocalyptic predictions of many peak oil believers, connecting the excitement that many believers felt about the post-peak world to their anticapitalist, anti-imperialist aspirations. At a moment when solutions to ecological crises through electoral politics seem unlikely to many Americans, the prophecy of peak oil provided one means of imagining a significantly different world.

        Adherents saw peak oil as an imminent, transformaive event that might put an end to American imperialism, capitalism, and environmental destruction and deliver a superior, more sustainable future.

    • O/T

      Planning Engineer and Rud,

      I have a friend who’s in grad school for physical therapy and is interested in issues with alternative energy but she doesn’t have time/energy for reading, she’s looking for things she can listen to in the car. Do you know of any good podcasts/videos/talks/lectures online?

      For others, she’s also interested in el Nino dynamics, climate variability, and greenhouse effect.

  4. Recall, even if we manage to figure out zero emissions for the global power supply (an extremely tough challenge on the timescale of a few decades), that is only ~40% of the job — we still need to figure out transportation, agriculture, cement production, etc.

    The power→fuel (gas and liquid hydrocarbon) option can accomplish “transportation, agriculture” with CO2 drawn from ambient (air, sea-surface) sources.

    IMO cement is bound for obsolescence: polymers (which can be made from ambient-sourced carbon) offer the potential for superior shock resistance, even with rocks as the main filler. And as our construction transfers to carbon fibers, or high-strength ceramic bulk fillers, polymer binders will become mandatory rather than just superior.

    IMO the key is to recognize, and make use of, the tendency for technology to grow exponentially. Policy options can foster the growth of new technology without immediate threat to existing major industries.

    • AK said:

      IMO the key is to recognize, and make use of, the tendency for technology to grow exponentially.

      That is a genuine expression of our national faith.

      What is not recognized, however, is that it is believed just as fervently on one end of the political spectrum as it is the other.

      On the right, the technological transformation takes the form of the hallowed “shale revolution.” It’s technological silver bullets are advanced horizontal drilling and fracking technology.

      On the left, the technological transformation takes the form of the hallowed “renewables revolution.” Its technological silver bullets are ever-improving solar and wind technology.

      Both the right’s and left’s silver bullets, however, have to date proven to be very costly. Neither offers abundant cheap energy.

      • Anybody who thinks the political/ideological layout of the modern world can be described with a single dimension is a total simpleton.

      • AK,

        I’m not talking about “the political/ideological layout of the modern world.”

        I’m talking about the cost to produce energy with existing technologies that have a proven, demonstrated track record.

        Anything more than that is nothing but speculation.

    • There is no evidence whatsoever that technology grows exponentially.
      Not in farming, not in energy generation, not in health care, nothing.
      Even Moore’s law is a geometric progression, not an exponential one – and as I’ve noted there, the reason that progression was able to continue for so long is that it is fundamentally the evolution of an information processing capability, not anything related to physical capabilities.
      A digital 1 or 0 remains a digital 1 or 0 whether accomplished via a light switch, a vacuum tube, or a deep UV formed transistor.
      However, a megawatt hour of electricity remains a megawatt hour of electricity no matter how it is created: coal, horses, nuclear, solar or whatever.
      Lay down your Kurzweil and re-enter reality.

      • Well said, I once attempted to explain this to someone I work with. You explained it much better.

      • There is no evidence whatsoever that technology grows exponentially.

        Plenty of evidence.

      • David Springer

        Of course it grows exponentially. The time between technological revolutions each characterized by major inventions that changed the civilized world. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution the pace has become so rapid it’s difficult to establish the timelines but each seems to be about one generation now. In my 60 years we’ve progressed in rapid succession from the Jet Age when I was born to the Space age to the Digital Revolution (a.k.a. third industrial revolution) to the Information Age.

        Stone age – 3.4 million years
        Bronze age – 3000 years
        Iron age – 1000 years
        Medieval age – 500 years
        Renaissance age – 200 years
        Industrial Revolution – 100 years
        Atomic Age – 50 years
        Jet Age – 25 years
        Space Age – 20 years
        Digital Revolution – 20 years
        Information Age – 20 years

      • Next is the Clean Energy Age.

      • Springer, is mouthing off and once again he is wrong. His list has no dimensional units so you can’t say if it is exponential or geometric. However, we do know that energy consumption per capita had been increasing geometrically, not exponentially, for some 200,000 years.

      • @David Springer
        How amusing – who gets to define each “revolution”?
        I’m also highly entertained by your use of the Medieval and Renaissance periods as “Revolutions” – the Renaissance was a bounceback in no small part due to the Black Death, and the Medieval is nothing but late stage feudalism. Feudalism in turn is nothing more than a codified version of your standard tribal obligations.
        But most telling, and damaging, is that none of these have anything to do with the other.
        Your “exponential progression” is a collection of highly disparate fruit which you collectively term technology, incorrectly.

      • I’m also highly entertained by your use of the Medieval and Renaissance periods as “Revolutions” – the Renaissance was a bounceback in no small part due to the Black Death, and the Medieval is nothing but late stage feudalism. Feudalism in turn is nothing more than a codified version of your standard tribal obligations.

        What garbage.

      • Feudalism in turn is nothing more than a codified version of your standard tribal obligations.

        Actually, AFAIK, “feudalism” in recent history was pretty much restricted to Western “Christendom”. A good discussion (not that I 100% agree with everything therein) is:

        The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE by Lisa Blaydes and Eric Chaney American Political Science Review Volume 107 / Issue 01 / February 2013, pp 16-34:

        The result was the emergence of a set of political institutions and norms in Christian Europe which have been associated in the contemporary literature with forms of executive constraint. Constraint on the sovereign did not emerge without considerable local pressure and contestation. Nor did fully developed parliamentary institutions materialize immediately following the introduction of feudal reforms. Rather, medieval assemblies increased in importance over time and came to serve as a “logical extension of the traditional presentation of auxilium et consilium—aid and advice—by the vassal to his overlord” (Anderson 1979, 411). A sovereign’s ability to tax without consent diminished under the relative strength and influence of local notables. The ability of European elites to guard against abuses of the executive increased during the medieval period while comparable developments were absent in Muslim polities. Figure 3 is a schematic of our argument.

        Etc.

      • From the compressor vs peltier article:
        “Compressor systems use flammable chemical materials that are not environmentally friendly or economical to run.”

        This is nonsense. Freon is non-flammable and pretty inert. It was once used in asthma inhalers. BS like this makes me suspicious of the truth and reliability of the article and author, respectively.

      • Peltier coolers, more generally called thermo-electric coolers, are in use today, e.g. wine coolers, dehumidifiers, etc. They are much less efficient than carnot cycle refrigeration. Could that change with advances in materials…….maybe, but it’s not true now.

      • It may well be a while (if ever) before Peltier devices can match compression for large temperature gradients. But it’s fairly efficient for smaller gaps (10-15°C).

        My point was about Moore’s “Law”: which as properly expressed is that the amount of computing power you can buy for a dollar doubles every 18-24 months. This is an exponential drop.

        One of the biggest challenges is heat control.

        Peltier devices and static heat pipes between them offer the potential to produce highly concentrated computing power with cheap, long-lasting (no moving parts), and easily manufactured cooling. Cell phones and mobile tablets don’t need the power of a Cray, but Moore’s “Law” could easily apply to continuing drops in cost for the power they do need.

      • If Moore’s law worked for Peltier devices, it would have already. Cooling is a much sought-after need.

      • If Moore’s law worked for Peltier devices, it would have already.

        It is working.

        What you don’t seem to understand is that such exponential processes take time. Not that much of it, but it isn’t instantaneous.

      • @AK
        You said: “My point was about Moore’s “Law”: which as properly expressed is that the amount of computing power you can buy for a dollar doubles every 18-24 months. This is an exponential drop.”
        I suggest you read up again on what exponential means. Increasing by a fixed amount or increment is *not* exponential.
        Equally, the historical increases in performance you quote is wrong.
        Processors’ annual increase in performance about 25% up to the 1980s. From that point to about 2000, the increase was 50%. From 2000 to now, 20%.
        Equally, your glib use of the term “dollar” is also highly misleading. Are we talking 1970 dollars? 2015 dollars?
        Lastly, you totally misquote and misunderstand Moore’s law. Moore’s law states that the *number of transistors* in a dense IC doubles every 2 years. The literal embodiment of this is smaller transistor sizes – which is what the actual semiconductor industry was attempting to do (and now failing).
        Processor power is *not* a direct function of transistor numbers. If the architectures are identical, then the transistor numbers have the single largest impact. Double the transistors does not equal double the computing power though. However, there are plenty of other limiting factors in processor power: RAM and HD speeds, for example. Caching. Power dissipation.
        The pre 1980s increases were largely transistor size. The 1980s to 2000s acceleration was due to the adoption of RISC architectures. The 2000s to present deceleration is the depletion of RISC architecture based improvements coupled with memory access speed limitation and process/power induced limitations offsetting physical size reductions.
        Once again, try to avoid poorly informed technotopian ideology in favor of actual understanding.

      • The whole point of the exponential function is that late stage exponential increases DON’T take time, and exponential functions get to late stage *very* quickly.
        Your ignorance is quite astounding.

      • I suggest you read up again on what exponential means. Increasing by a fixed amount or increment is *not* exponential.

        If it makes a straight line on a semi-log graph, it’s exponential.

      • Your ignorance is quite astounding.

        Pot:Kettle:black.

        From Wiki

        Processing power of computers. See also Moore’s law and technological singularity. (Under exponential growth, there are no singularities. The singularity here is a metaphor, meant to convey an unimaginable future. The link of this hypothetical concept with exponential growth is most vocally made by transhumanist Ray Kurzweil.)

  5. stevefitzpatrick

    Judith,
    I completely agree that the fundamental issue is a difference of opinion about morality; specifically, the moral balance between increasing global wealth today versus possible future negative consequences from increasing CO2. It is this moral disagreement which makes CO2 emissions reduction a difficult political problem. This is also why we see so much resistance to obvious technological fixes (eg nuclear power, development of air capture, adjusting solar intensity): many who push for fossil fuel reductions find the technological fixes just as ‘immoral’ as combustion of fossil fuels. It is the pursuit of material wealth (and especially material wealth that is not uniformly distributed!) that is being rejected, and on purely moral grounds. Any ‘solution’ to reduce global warming which allows continued growth in material wealth will be rejected by those concerned about global warming. Technology and technological fixes are orthogonal to the political disagreement about the morality of growing material wealth, and technological solutions will never gain the support of environmental organizations.

    • Well, for those of us that observe the failure to demonstrate harm from global warming, non-solutions to non-problems are a joke ( like virgin sacrifices to the volcano gods ).

      But assuming global warming were actually a problem, one might step back and consider the source. If human population was only one hundred, with current per capita CO2 emissions, there would be very little talk of CO2. The same would apply to a thousand/million/billion.

      But not only would CO2 not be a problem, neither would any of a myriad of other issues of sustainability. To the extent that sustainability pertains, human population is the most important variable and focusing on the derivatives is a distraction from the main aspect which controls all others.

      Politicians/Governments/People don’t like talking about these things because they involve issues like birth control, abortion, family values, artificial intelligence, and perhaps most significantly ( to politicians that might actually understand economics) GDP growth.

      I went Libertarian a while back ( because unlike other political parties, I understand somewhat the meaning of the concept ). It seems to me that Global Warming should really be a Libertarian issue because free markets lead to two of the actual factors which have been reducing CO2 emissions for a decades now:

      Free markets lead to economic development. That means:

      1. Energy efficiency improves as business wrings costs out of production and offers consumers more energy efficient products.

      2. Population growth rates fall in association with rising economic growth.

      These factors don’t require regulation, government programs or the like, and fortunately, they appear to occur in the developed nations all around earth.

  6. stephenmurgatroyd

    You may be interested in the X Prize for CO2 http://carbon.xprize.org/

    On Tuesday, 16 February 2016, Climate Etc. wrote:

    > curryja posted: “by Judith Curry Not all problems will yield to > technology. Deciding which will and which won’t should be central to > setting innovation policy, say Daniel Sarewitz and Richard Nelson. I came > across very interesting Commentary that was published i” >

  7. What most do not realize is that people do what they have to do to deal with social problems only when there are no other options, technological innovations that we think of as progress are spinoff activities resulting from the employment of limited resources and a great deal of waste that occurs during times of significant social upheaval — such as during times of war — and, scientific research primarily comes after the fact to explain where we been and where we’re already headed.

  8. “Re II, the metric of choice seems to be global average surface temperature anomalies. As per I, we don’t know how to tell if future temperature increase is being slowed by CO2 emissions or natural variability.”

    We don’t yet know how much of the recent warming was due to CO2 emissions. There’s a big chunk of global surface warming 1995-2005 that is AMO driven, which is not just North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean warming, but also drying of continental interior regions, and declines in upper troposphere and lower stratosphere water vapour. This is being conflated with forced warming from increased atmospheric CO2. But there’s a logic problem with that, the warming of the AMO is dependent on increased negative North Atlantic Oscillation, while increased GHG’s are modeled to increase positive NAO. If GHG forcing was larger than natural variability, it should have inhibited the AMO warming since 1995.

    • The global warmers have an almost malicious determination not to do a clean measurement of actual global warming.

      Deploying buried land sensors in pristine areas would end the question once and for all.

      We would be measuring actual surface temperature all over the planet.

      Not measuring measuring the temperature of 7/10ths and the temperature of the working fluid of a heat engine in the other 3/10ths, mostly in places that are artificially warm, as is presently done.

      • I suggest that the global mean surface temperature moves inversely to solar forcings at multidecadal (AMO) scales, and that a large proportion of the observed mean surface warming 1995-2005 is due to negative feedbacks to declines in solar forcing. By warmer high latitude SST’s, drying of continental interiors, and global changes in the altitude of atmospheric water vapour.

  9. Really? More social “science” meta a la Popper. More drivel for the tech-ignorant to wrap their emotions around a simple problem.
    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-ways-technology-is-fighting-climate-change/
    1. Big data
    2. Mobile apps
    3. Hackathons
    4. Clean energy
    5. IoT
    6. Meat replacements
    7. Open source movement
    8. Mapping
    9. Geoengineering
    10. Data centers
    11. Unicorns

  10. I do not see how ‘air capture’ of CO2 (including compression, transportation and storage of billions of tons per year) meets Rule III. There is no standardized established core technology, assuming that vague concept is interpreted realistically.

    • Perhaps not standardized nor established, but the technology has been demonstrated.

      But it seems as if nature wants to consume CO2 for free and at an increasing rate as it is increasingly abundant:

      Perhaps this is good?

      • Demonstration does not satisfy Rule II. Many demonstrated technologies are not suited for the kind of massive deployment these folks are talking about. (Fortunately it is also unnecessary but that is a different issue.)

        Regarding your graph, the annual CO2 increase is not composed of human emissions so it is rather mislabeled. “Appearing” and “disappearing” are incorrect.

      • Correction: Rule III not II.

      • No technological advances are needed to increase the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Plants are cheap, self-reproducing, and abundant. All we need to do is plant more trees, grasses, shrubs, seaweed, etc, or perhaps plant the more rapidly growing varieties.

        Next question.

  11. More Realism: The term “settled science” is an oxymoron used by real morons to manipulate their fellow morons at the expense of everyone, moron or not.

  12. Larry Marshall (CSIRO Head in Australia) agrees that it’s better to spend resources on reducing regional vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events. He recently announced CSIRO’s change in emphasis to cries of derision from vested interests.

  13. More goofy technology proposed: http://www.thegwpf.com/30072/.

    • “More goofy technology proposed:”

      Ah, courtesy of Sir David King, eh?

      That’ll be THIS Sir David King, presumably?

      Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/why-antarctica-will-soon-be-the-only-place-to-live-literally-58574.html

      I see…

      • “Government’s chief scientist” eh?

        Obviously the selection process failed.

        This has been discredited. 400 PPM was supposed to be the danger point… Antarctica is apparently still adding ice. Plants are growing great.

        The earth is more habitable than it was at 300 PPM.

        How do scientists expect to have credibility when the leaders of the pack make absurd statements like this?

  14. Judith Curry said:

    The answer seems to be in seeking some sort of moral absolution and promoting an agenda that goes far beyond the avoidance of dangers from climate change.

    I think that pretty well sums it up.

    Threatened self-esteem accounts for a large portion of violence at the individual level, but to really get a mass atrocity going you need idealism — the belief that your violence is a means to a moral end.

    The major atrocities of the twentieth century were carried out largely by men who thought they were creating a utopia or else by men who believed they were defending their homeland from attack. Idealism becomes dangerous because it brings with it, almost inevitably, the belief that the ends justify the means….

    [T]he most important lesson I have learned in my twenty years of research on morality is that almost all people are morally motivated. Selfishness is a powerful force, particularly in the decisions of individuals, but whenever groups of people come together to make a sustained effort to change the world, you can bet they are pursuing a vision of virtue, justice, or sacredness. Material self-interest does little to explain the passions of partisans on issues such as abortion, the environment, or the role of religion in public life.

    — JONATHAN HAIDT, The Happiness Hypothesis

  15. See also our papers on vulnerability – e.g.

    Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairaku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective Geophysical Monograph Series 196 © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. 10.1029/2011GM001086. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/r-3651.pdf

    The abstract reads

    “We discuss the adoption of a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to societally critical resources. This vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including those from climate but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies. This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change, than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A contextual vulnerability assessment using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policy makers to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental extreme events that will occur in the coming decades as the range of threats are assessed, beyond just the focus on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases as emphasized in the IPCC assessments.”

    Here is an earlier summary of the approach.

    Pielke, R.A. Sr., and L. Bravo de Guenni, 2004: Conclusions. Chapter E.7 In: Vegetation, Water, Humans and the Climate: A New Perspective on an Interactive System. Global Change – The IGBP Series, P. Kabat et al., Eds., Springer, 537-538. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/cb-42.pdf

  16. Ex global warming, this kind of analysis generically pertains to 4 other areas seeking public policy proscriptions. Traditional pollution, poverty, education and economic growth share common challenges to effect acceptable solutions. There are no agreed upon metrics for the exact nature of the respective problems. The variables involved in cause and effect are almost infinite. The proposed solutions are ephemeral without agreement on the desired ultimate outcomes. And the entrenched interests are working at cross purposes altering the range of solution choices.

    The end game of pollution abatement vary based on the societal values which may change between generations and are influenced by the trade off of choices. Even with the best technology, tensions in deciding how clean is clean will still dominate the conversation. There will always be a lower decile of income earners regardless of the percent of GDP spent on income redistribution. The views on the standard of living for that socio-economic group are as diverse as the number of voters and the means of increasing income for that group has no consensus. The education issue involves not just identifying the depth of the problem but sorting out the root causes, with endless possibilities, and no agreed upon criteria to apportion cause, The world economic growth doldrums are confounding the greatest minds in economics and are testing the well accepted theories of fiscal and monetary policy. Everyone has answers and none of them seem to be working.

    Global warming encompasses all the difficulties listed above while burdened by other challenges as well. A complete understanding of the issues above does not exist. But, at least there is some sense of the parameters of the problems and some knowledge of the range of solutions. With global warming, there are still major holes in the most basic factors influencing our climate. To address the issues above you don’t need a working knowledge of the last 10,000 years in order to create workable solutions. And you are not tasked with forecasting the future knowing that major pieces of the puzzle are not available.

  17. Just half an hour ago on BBC Radio 4 there was a program about coal and CCS, incuding a proponent and a critic (Dieter Helm)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b070dkt9

    • The CC part is technically but not economically feasible. The S part is possible in a few places (you just need a depleted natural gas or oil field nearby) but not in most. CCS is a chimera. You want zero emissions electricity? Go nuclear.

  18. There is a lot at stake in this debate. The rush to inject a political solution by totalling reorganizing human society is a knee-jerk response that belies both the knowledge base of the scientific side of the issue, and the pace of development of the feared physical changes. The prudent approach clearly is to step back, monitor and reassess information, open the debate to alternative solutions, and promote new technologies. Clearly, measured changes do not warrant panic. In fact the slow changes detected suggest that time is not of the essence. All the “tipping points” suggested years ago have not occurred – and likely never will. Climate change is a physical issue, and it appears that humans play only a minor role in change. The panic to move quickly comes from the political/social side of the debate. There is much more danger of significant impact from the politics than from the science. A ten year hiatus on the socio-political side would be the best option.

    • Richard Rounds said:

      The rush to inject a political solution by totalling reorganizing human society is a knee-jerk response….

      It seems to me like totally reorganizing human society is the end, and global warming is nothing more than a convenient means of achieving that end.

      • Glenn Stehle,

        Yes, that seems to sum up the motives of the alarmist pretty well.

      • The panic to move quickly comes from the political/social side of the debate. There is much more danger of significant impact from the politics than from the science.

        Personally, I’ve thought for a while that the real reason for “panic to move quickly” is that the socialists using “climate” as a stalking horse are frantic to get their agenda implemented before it becomes obvious that exponentially falling PV prices, combined with BAU “free-market” capitalism, have already solved the problem.

        You gotta be realistic about these things. The actual cost, to anybody so far of the incentives for solar have been tiny. (Granted, if rooftop solar continues its growth, rate-payers without it will suffer. But the rules are already changing for that.)

        And with proper policy management, costs of nurturing solar PV exponential growth will continue small, while solar PV continues its exponential growth in deployment and exponential cost declines.

        The “problem” of fossil carbon is essentially solved. “totalling reorganizing human society” not needed.

      • AK,

        The problem with your agument is the old saw about “build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.”

        If wind, solar or third generation biofuels were the best things since sliced bread, as Team Green tells us they are ad nauseaum, then why isn’t the world beating a path to their door? Why isn’t the renewables revolution happening?

        Hum?

        This is where Team Green’s morality play comes in handy.

        In a Good vs. Evil vaudeville act as pedestrian and hackneyed as they come, the plot goes something like this: The reason that the green transformation isn’t happening is because of that evil, dastardly fossil fuel industry. The blame for the revolution’s burnout can be laid at the feet of those vile, craven, underhanded Koch brothers and other like-minded evildoers.

        Consumed by some strange, atavistic curse, they have flexed their policical muscle, called in their chips, and secured government intervention to smash the green transformation.

        The failure of the green revolution to sweep the world thus has nothing to do with its own inherent inadequacies, but is blamed on the machinations of those villainous Koch brothers. After all, they are the ones behind taking the subsidies away, wihtout which the revolution evaporates like a drop of wáter on scorching pavement on a hot summers day.

        There was a great example of this a couple of days in an article in OIl Price:

        Now that solar power is reaching prime time, the fossil fuel industry is doing all that it can to stop its growth.

        For many years solar was on the periphery, installed by early adopters and helped along by government subsidy. But over the last several years, solar has emphatically become mainstream. It is still growing from a low base, but it is now one of the most preferred sources of new electricity generation. The cost of residential solar have been cut in half since 2010, and utility-scale solar has achieved even greater cost declines….

        But the backlash from incumbent industries has also sprung to life. With solar and wind suddenly eclipsing fossil fuels as a preferred option for new power plant capacity, utilities and other fossil fuel interests are moving quickly to disrupt the progress of clean energy.

        The industry argues that homeowners with solar must pay fees to cover their costs of using the grid. Solar proponents dismiss that argument, pointing to the costs saved by not needing to build new power plants….

        Building new power plants and other large infrastructure is at the core of utility industry’s business model. Since those costs can be passed onto the ratepayer in the form of regulated rates, building expensive infrastructure is actually a source of profit….

        That is why utilities have become much more aggressive in beating back solar. One of the most high-profile cases is in Nevada, where a NV Energy, subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, convinced the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to abruptly and harshly alter the rules of the game for solar power in the state…. (The villain in this morality play is Buffet. Never mind that he iis by far and away the biggest single investor in wind and utility-scale solar projects in the United States.)

        The anti-solar initiatives are spreading around the country. Oklahoma’s utility industry is proposing new fees, which sparked protest in December. Renewable portfolio standards are being rolled back in Ohio, Kansas, and other states.

        The fight will only escalate moving forward as solar makes further inroads. Worldwide, the clean energy sector enjoyed a record year in 2015, attracting $329 billion in investment, a staggering figure that is set to rise.

        Utilities may be able to buy themselves some time, but as solar continues to see costs decline, more and more people will want to defect from the grid.

        “Utilities Just Declared War On Solar”
        http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Solar-Energy/Utilities-Just-Declared-War-On-Solar.html

        However, one can glean the internal inconsistencies in Team Green’s argument from information conveyed in the same article. The minute the cross-subidies to solar disappeared, the air immediately went out of the hallowed renewables revolution:

        By the stroke of a pen, Nevada just became a much more difficult place to do business for solar companies. SolarCity’s share price has plummeted by more than 60 percent since the December ruling.

        The problem with a business plan based on government intervention, in the SolarCity case the continuation government subsidies, is that politicians tend to be fickled.

        If you live by subsidies, you die by the absence of subsidies.

      • If wind, solar or third generation biofuels were the best things since sliced bread, as Team Green tells us they are ad nauseaum, then why isn’t the world beating a path to their door? Why isn’t the renewables revolution happening?

        It is happening. As for “the best things since sliced bread,” when the cost is dropping exponentially, its use becomes cost-competitive in more places as time passes. And with fewer subsidies.

      • AK,

        But your graphs miss the most important factor, and that is that in the past, the minute the government intervention ceases, the renewables revolution ceases. Can you point to any exceptions to this?

        Let’s take away the government subsidies and mandates and see what happens to your curves.

        Are you up for that?

      • Let’s take away the government subsidies and mandates and see what happens to your curves.

        Are you up for that?

        Not as long as people are pushing carbon taxes (or other price supports).

        Fostering/nurturing the early phase of an exponential growth curve is much less expensive for everybody than pushing the price of dumping fossil carbon into the atmosphere up to the point that this early technology is cost-competitive.

        IMO.

    • Nice, Richard. There is also much more evidence of significant impact from the politics than from the science.

      Lost opportunity costs compound. We’ve already significantly impacted our descendants ability to adapt to climate change by the unholy focus on meaningless mitigation.
      =============

  19. So, why pursue this path, beyond investing in long-term R&D?

    1) Because the consequences are so severe and irreversible.
    2) Because the impacts rise non-linearly (three degrees is much worse than two, four much worse again), even impacting marginal emissions is worthwhile.
    3) Because emissions must reduce eventually anyway as fossil fuels run out, and an earlier, more planned transition is almost certainly less chaotic than a forced later transition.
    4) Because it improves energy security, making us less dependent on unstable and unpleasant regimes

    Wouldn’t the resources be better spent on reducing regional vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events?

    1) It becomes much harder to predict what extreme weather is in the future, as regional modelling is not good enough. Your uncertainty monster is against you.
    2) The impacts rapidly become so great (SLR, rainfall changes) that adaptation is not feasible.
    3) Many impacts (eg natural ecosystems, ocean acidification) are simply not able to be adapted to.
    4) It is possible to do more than one thing at once.

    • “1) Because the consequences are so severe and irreversible”

      What is you evidence that the consequences WILL be severe or even result in net harms?

      “2. The impacts rapidly become so great (SLR, rainfall changes) that adaptation is not feasible.”

      Sea level has been rising for hundreds of years at very close to the same rate as we have been seeing since the satellite era. are you claiming that humanity can’t adjust? What is your evidence that rainfall patterns are changing in a net negative manner???

      “3) Many impacts (eg natural ecosystems, ocean acidification) are simply not able to be adapted to”

      More empty claims. Life adapts as conditions change or dies. Humans are doing substantial harm to the oceans but adding CO2 to the atmosphere is very low on the list.

      • 1. Ipcc ar5 wgII
        2. The evidence is very strongly against you, see Ipcc ar5 wgI on SLR
        3. Again, wgII summarises which impacts can be adapted to and which are not amenable.

      • VTG–So you admit you have no reliable evidence that slight warming will result in a net worse climate for humans. Ipcc ar5 wgII is unsupported speculation.

      • Rob,

        I don’t think there’s really much point debating anything with someone who views a review of the most recent sceintific literature as “unsupported speculation.”

        Go read the references therein.

      • VTG writes- “don’t see really much point debating anything with someone who views a review of the most recent sceintific literature as “unsupported speculation.”

        My response- I am very familiar with the IPCC ar5 wgII. It summarizes “potential impacts” and makes it appear that those outcomes are probable when they are not. The positive or negative changes in the “climate” are largely not determined by slight changes in temperature, but by other changes in conditions.

        Pick specific locations around the planet and tell me how the climate will change there in 50 years and upon what information you base your conclusion. Will it rain more or less there? Will there be a greater number of severe storms impacting those areas you choose or fewer? The truth is you have no reliable information to base conclusions upon beyond historical trends. Which GCM do you consider reliable to determine changes in rainfall patterns?

        Mitigating CO2 emissions (or spending a vast amount of resources on mitigation) means fewer resources available to build and maintain robust infrastructure. Robust infrastructure is the only reliable means, to lessen damage from adverse weather-regardless of the cause.

    • VTG: CAGW is a denier meme according to all your “best people” please adhere to the provided talking points or face a scold from Dana.

    • verytallguy said:

      3) Because emissions must reduce eventually anyway as fossil fuels run out, and an earlier, more planned transition is almost certainly less chaotic than a forced later transition.

      Peak oil is another argument frequently invoked by those who seek to transform the world.

      Peak oil is not so much a theory as it is a geologic fact. Much more speculative, however, are the timing of this wolf’s arrival and the size of its bite.

      Peak oil theorists have been predicting the wolf’s arrival for a long time. But to this date, the wolf still isn’t howling at the door.

      So waiting around for peak oil has been kind of like waiting for Godot, or for the second coming of Christ. The massive speculative edifice the peak oil theorists erected on a tiny empirical foundation has failed to meet the test of time.

      One of the crusaders out to transform the world by “reorganizing our society and economy” argues that the left should remove the peak oil argument from its rhetorical arsenal:

      The cyclical nature of the fossil-fuel industry disapproves a concept that’s gained wide support, especially on the left, even though it’s flawed in every way: “peak oil.”….

      Despite this dismal track record many leftists embraced peak oil during the Bush era. It was a secular version of end times in the post-9/11 world. If movement building seems insurmountable, then it’s tempting to find solace in building post-carbon, do-it-yourself communities and wait for the wells to run dry at which point everything from the “war on terror” to climate change is resolved….

      Oil consumption needs to drop dramatically because of the dangerous planetary effects. But that has nothing to do with peak oil. It’s a matter of how we reorganize our society and economy on the surface of the earth so we stop using the stuff that’s under it.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/02/why-the-crash-in-oil-prices-should-bury-peak-oil-once-and-for-all/

      • Glenn

        Peak oil is not so much a theory as it is a geologic fact…

        …The massive speculative edifice the peak oil theorists erected on a tiny empirical foundation has failed to meet the test of time.

        Seems a tad on the oxymoronic side. I’m not sure if you agree with me or not.

      • It has always amazed me how many of the Climate Faithful are Peek Oilers as well. The argument always seemed to run ‘We’re almost out of Oil, and if we don’t stop using it now we’ll burn up the Earth because there’s way too much of it for the environment to absorb.’

        <¿<

      • schiztree, there’s good reason to believe Europe in particular adopted many of it’s policies because it bought into imminent peak oil theory and needed some broader excuse to pick (the wrong) way to energy independence. Ooops. A cautionary tale if ever there was one.
        The similarities with AGW are significant- “experts” – scientists even – demonstrate with carefully crafted, unfalsifiable mathematical models that prove a catastrophe is certain unless radical measures are taken urgently.
        I think there’s another similarity. Like peak oil, a consensus is forming around AGW that there is something to the idea, but we’re safe and a long, long way away from needing mitigation. In other words, the IPCC “projections” are looking a lot like Ehrlich’s in the 1960s and 70s.

      • schitzree | February 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm
        “It has always amazed me how many of the Climate Faithful are Peek Oilers as well. The argument always seemed to run ‘We’re almost out of Oil, and if we don’t stop using it now we’ll burn up the Earth because there’s way too much of it for the environment to absorb.’

        And that is why it occurs to me that the death knell of ‘Peak Oil’ has precipitated ‘Peak CAGW’, and from now on the Warmie cult is going to go downhill – exponentially.

        However, I’m sure the bedwetters will find another reason to sleep on their rubber sheets soon enough.

      • I will bite. Am at best a lukewarmer. See no reason to curtail ‘clean coal’ in the original sense (particulate and SO2 pollution). But having spent several years directly researching peak total oil production (not gas or coal except by proxy, papers from others), you should be worried about peak oil production. That is very different than running out of oil. But has massive implications. The conventional oil production peak actually happened in ~ 2008 per IEA. Previous guest post here. The all oil peak production will be ~ 2025 if China conrinues to slow. Never confuse a Saudi instigated price war against American shale oil with global production data. In 2010, Saudi Ghawar field by itself had about 65Bbbl of remaining TRR. So, dunno, maybe 55Bbbl now. The TRR of all five of the US main shale oil basins in 2013 was 15-18Bbbl per USGS and EIA. (Oil, not gas). US educated Saudis know this. You should, also.

      • ristvan,

        The peak oil theorists have the same MO as the CAGW theorists. Essentially, it’s an apocalyptic religion dressed up in scientific drag.

        Geology is enormously complicated in and of itself. But on top of this, peak oil is as dependent on social, political and economic factors as anything else. So all told, peak oil is probably as complicated a subject as global warming.

        Nevertheless, the peak oil theorists plot up a few decline curves, take a look at the offical reserve figures, and from these think they’ve got it all figured out. They make numerous highly speculative predictions, and then cling to them as a drowning man would to a life raft in turbulent waters. They are violently certain in their assertions, and ruthlessly shout down anyone who suggests they mght be overreaching, even though their predictions have proved wrong time after time.

        Take the statement, for instance, that “The TRR of all five of the US main shale oil basins in 2013 was 15-18Bbbl per USGS and EIA.”

        Only a year later, in 2014, development of the Permian Basin shales had gotten underway.

        The shale column in the Midland Basin is a whopping 4,000’ thick, compared to at most a few hundred feet in the Eagle Ford and Bakken. It’s like having 10 or 12 Eagle Fords or Bakkens stacked on top of each other, and as of May 2014 various operators had already completed wells in 9 of these pay intervals. The field covers an enormous geographical área, and plans are to develop the field on 140 acre spacing, with down-spacing to 100 acres in the sweet spots.

        So just in the Midland Basin there could be 100 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil reserves, more than five times the EIA’s 2013 estimate.

        And then there’s the Delaware Basin, located in southeast New Mexico and far west Texas, which is also in the very early stages of development.

        Of course none of this development is cheap. In order for all these reserves to materialize, an oil price of $120+ will probably be required. This is why I say peak oil is as dependent on social, political and economic factors as anything else.

        All told, peak oil is enormously complex, and can’t be figured out by plotting a few decline curves and perusing current reserve estimates.

      • Here are the nine shale intervals that had wells completed in them as of May, 2014.

      • Glen: Thanks, you explain it better then I ever could.

        ristvan: For me, the position is far more visceral then Glens well thought out and researched one. When I was just a ‘tween back in the mid 80’s I fell hard for the ‘end of oil’ meme. I read Popular Science, played Car Wars, and dreamed of a solar and wind powered Hydrogen Economy.

        But then I grew up, and Peek oil… Didn’t. It never has. It’s stayed exactly the same for 30 years, with just the dates of the apocalypse slowly being pushed back. And that post you made about how many barrels of oil are left in such and such a play? It could have been written by any peek oiler at any time since then, just change the names of the current plays.

        It’s the Boy who cried Wolf problem. And sure, that wolf is definitely out there somewhere. Maybe he’ll show up tomorrow. Maybe (to mix a few fairy tales) he’s here already, lying in bed wearing grandma’s nightgown. But maybe he isn’t going to get here for years, or even decades. I don’t think we really CAN predict it any more.

        And Frankly, I’ve got more pressing problems these days. I’ll worry about the peek oil wolf when I see him. He probably won’t be half as big as everyone worries about anyway. Most problems aren’t. ^¿^

      • Glenn you say the most recent EIA TRR estimate is wrong. What you have forgotten is that those shales are the source rock for the Permian basins enormous combentional oil TRR, in production for nearly a century. You have to subtract that from whatever the OIP estimates from shale cores are. And remember the recovery factors for shale OIP are less than a tenthnof the average for conventional reservoirs. Eagle Ford is 0.03. Bakken is 0.015. Essay Matryoshka Reserves about the Bahzenov in Russia goes into more details. You have to factor what % ofmthe basin has minimum sufficient TOC, what proportion of thatmis within the oil rather than gas catgenisis window, what proportion of that has migrated into overlying conventional reservoirs (your error noted above), and what might be the recovery factor of that which remains, which depends on details of the shale strata themselves. Your handwaving about how thick some of these shales might be some places within the Permian basin simply isn’t clear enough geological thinking.
        Put in the work to learn this stuff. Like the Bakken within the Williston Basin is less than half the Basin Area. Only half the Bakken area has high enough TOC and OIP to be viable at $100/bbl. There, it averages 160 feet thick, but the drilling target substratum is only 85 feet thick thanks to geophysics of that shale. And in that target the recovery factor is 0.015 including many years at stripper status. In the Bakken, well output declines ~85% in three years. Those 3 years produce ~2/3 of what will ever get recovered by that well.

      • ristvan,

        If we can cut through all the insider jargon and alphabet soup, the purpose of which is to create the appearance that one has far greater knowledge than what one actually has, and get down to the nut cuttin’, what matters at the end of the day is how much oil gets put in the tanks and at what cost. That’s a concept that everybody can understand.

        And if that is the criteria, it becomes pretty obvious that you are off base.

        I can drill down to as much detail as is needed in the Permian Basin, but if we want to look at the big picture, the PIRA Energy Group recently did an analysis of US oil shale production.

        And what it concluded is that, If the price of oil rebounds to a price north of $110 per barrel, the United States will be producing over 11 million barrels of oil per day from its various shale plays by 2024. That’s up from a little bit more than 4 million barrels per day in 2015.

        There are vast quantities of oil out there that can be produced if the price is right.

      • Glenn, hope this threads properly. You will have to try harder than asparaging ‘jargon’ which is just conventional geophysics. For example, did you know (1 30 second Google query) that the NYC based PITA consultancy you reference is predicting $85/bbl by yearend, for the ‘jargon’ reasons I cited.
        Two lessons here. 1. Cite specifics, be accused of slinging jargon. 2. Misquote an appeal to supposed expertise.
        Double fail. Please up your game.

      • Correction to post. Yearend 2017 prediction by your chosen experts.

      • ristvan,

        The difference between you and me is that I spent my life in the oil and gas business, and actually know a little bit about that which I speak. You picked the wrong person to try to blow smoke up their rear.

        From your 1:50 p.m comment it is quite clear that you have precious little knowledge about petroleum geology or engineering, and suffer from a great deal of confusion about technical matters regarding oil and gas reservoirs.

        But instead of getting into an argument over a bunch of technical miutiae, which nobody outside the oil business would care about, and which you would summarily dismiss anyway since it’s quite apparent that no reality and no common sense can penetrate your mind, I will instead point out that operators in the Permian Basin are completing some real barn burners in the numerous shale zones. As I said before, oil in the tanks is something that everybody can understand, regardless of their level of technical expertise.

        For instance, below is a graph showing well performance for Pioneer Resourcs’ wells completed in the Wolfcamp A and B zones during Q3 and Q4 of 2015.

        As can be seen, in Q3 Pioneer completed 28 wells in the Wolfcamp B. In the first six months of production these wells have already produced an average of 150,000 barrels each, and are on track to ultimately produce well over a million barrels of oil equivalent each.

        In Q4 Pioneer completed 22 wells in the Wolfcamp B, and these wells have performed even better than those completed in Q3, having produced an average of almost 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent in the first three months of production.

        How many Bakken wells could come anywhere near that performance?

        Anybody who isn’t an avowed peak oiler can look at these production figures, the vast geographical area this play covers, and the fact that there are as many as 15 of these zones stacked on top of each other, and see that there’s a great deal of potential here.

        But of course peak oilers are so blinded by their dogmatic adherance to their ideology that they can’t see it.

      • We have been in the oil and gas business since 1982, but not the geology side. Did Texas, then Bakersfield, then back to Texas, then Algeria, then back to Houston, and now in the last stop, Fort Worth. When there’s enough money, there’s always more.

      • So, Glenn, one of us three will be ‘righter’ YE 2017. Me plus the oil consultancy you originally cited in opposition to me, or you. Lets wait 18 months and see who is more correct. You have been specific enough, claiming enough specific geophysical knowledge, for that to be a more than fair challenge. BTW, you do realize your last response was an appeal to authority (you) rather than a response to the specific albeit generalized geophysical facts cited?
        So lets wait til YE 2017 (your cited consultancy time frame) and revisit, as my cited facts you dismissed as jargon, and you also claimed expertise I never did. You are on.

      • ristvan,

        Attempting to switch the argument to PIRA’s prediction of the price of oil for the end of 2017 is a nice try at an ad hoc rescue.

        But we are still talking peak oil here, aren’t we? In the PIRA graph I posted, the issue is scenarios, and predicting future oil production from US shales under various oil price sceanrios.

        But just to set the record straight, I never made a prediction about what I believe the oil price will be at year-end 2017, and have no intentions of doing so.

        You keep using the term “geophysical knowledge,” without seeming to be aware that in the oil industry the terms geophysics, geology and engineering refer to three separtate and quite distinct fields. Most of the technical points you mention fall more under the category of petroleum geology and engineering than they do geophysics, which has a different focus than the other two.

        You also seem to be confused about what the objective of geological and engineering studies are. The objective is to get oil and gas out of the ground. You say, for instance,

        What you have forgotten is that those shales are the source rock for the Permian basins enormous combentional oil TRR, in production for nearly a century. You have to subtract that from whatever the OIP estimates from shale cores are.

        Before we go any furhter, let’s decipher the alphabet soup:

        OIP = oil in place, which can original oil in place or oil in place at any particular time of reservoir depletion
        TRR = technically recoverable resources
        TRR = OIP x recovery factor

        The objective of the oil business is to get at those TRR. But nobody is going to invest a great deal of money into estimating OIP unless they believe the recovery factor might be high enough to make those TRR economically feasible.

        Recovery factor, in turn, is a function of reservoir qualities, technology and oil and gas price.

        The first error you make is to infer that the oil in place (OIP) in conventional reservoirs, speaking in human time and not geologic time, has something to do with OIP in the source rocks (shale formations).

        The source rocks (shale formations) are extremely nonporous and impermeable. The migration from the source rock to the conventional reservoir rock in nature occurs very slowly — over a period of millions of years.

        Thus to say that “those shales are the source rock for the Permian basins enormous combentional oil TRR, in production for nearly a century,” and “You have to subtract that from whatever the OIP estimates from shale cores are,” reveals a collossal ignorance of the way oil and gas migration occurs in the real world.

        Until improved technologies made it possible to bust up the source rock (shale formations) and release the oil in it on a human time scale, geological and engnieering studies concerned themselves with OIP in conventional reservoirs, and these studies were specific to each individual reservoir.

        Only when changes in technology and oil price made the recovery factor sufficently great were large monetary resources allocated to estimating OIP in the source rock (shale formations), and the OIP in these formations has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of oil which has been extracted from conventional oil reservoirs over the past 100 years.

        The second error you make is that you use a lot of industry jargon and lingo, sometimes without even knowing what the words mean. For instance, you say, “You have to subtract that from whatever the OIP estimates from shale cores are.”

        Below I have included a photograph which shows what a “core” is.

        The way in which you used the word “core” reveals that you don’t even know what the word means, at least the way the word is used by those in the oil and gas business.

        I could go on, responding to the rest of “the specific albeit generalized geophysical facts [sic]” you cited.

        But from the above I think one gets the picture.

      • ristvan,

        I would add that these shale oil and gas plays follow a three-stage process. The three stages, along with approximate dates and descriptions, for the Midland Basin are as follows:

        1. Research and Development (2005 to 2010): This is where a lot of the technical stuff entailing evaluation of the reservoirs — the stuff you focus on — gets done.

        2. Testing (2010 to 2011): This is where some test wells get poked in the ground to see how much oil and gas comes out.

        This phase still isn’t entirelyy complete in the Midland Basin, however. As Scott Sheffield said in an interview in the fall of 2013, Pioneer Resources “will test 13 zones in the Midland Basin within the next 3 years.”

        However, testing in six of the potential zones, over broad epanses of the play (it’s 150 miles long and 75 miles wide), has been completed. The results of this testing have been quite positive.

        3. Well manufacture (2012 to ?; This is the development stage of the play, which began in serious in 2012 but has now largely been put on hold because of the low oil prices.

        Most of the techncal stuff you speak of gets done in stage 1. Here’s how it is explained by an oil and gas professional, writing in the Oil and Gas Journal:

        “What sets the Wolfcamp apart from similar plays is its inherent rock properties,” Craft said.

        Typical total organic carbon (TOC) runs between 2.24-7.24%. “We’ve looked at core samples from 30-40 miles away, and they all fall within this range.” Some fall lower or higher, but a uniform average in TOC across a wide span provides a solid base from which to work. “With the variety of shale plays out there, anything between 2-10% is considered excellent,” he added.

        Thermal maturity also is an important factor. “What’s unique about the Wolfcamp is that it’s normal pressured,” Craft said. “It’s probably one of the few shale plays out there that has normal pressure.” While temperature is not an issue for drilling and completion activities, normal pressured reservoirs can present their own unique challenges as production begins.

        Wolfcamp generally displays vitrinite reflectance (Ro) values ranging from 0.95-0.97%. “Likewise, these are on the same band in core samples from 30-40 miles away,” Craft said. Ro indicates the level of organic maturity. Ro values greater than 0.78% usually indicate gas-prone rocks. High values can suggest “sweet spots” for completing gas shale wells.

        “The Wolfcamp’s Ro values places it right into the deep oil and wet gas generation window, and this is beneficial because it takes the gas to help move the oil out of zone in this normal pressured reservoir,” Craft explained.

        Normal porosity for the Wolfcamp ranges from 4-10%, with an average of about 7% throughout much of the play. According to Craft, “This provides plenty of porosity for the process to work.”

        Organic material for Wolfcamp is about 72 scf/ton. “If the Wolfcamp was a pure gas play that would be on the borderline and probably wouldn’t work, but for an oil play it gives us plenty of upside potential.”

        According to Craft, the rock composition is favorable. “Wolfcamp is sitting right where it needs to be,” he said. Typical cores show the composition to consist of carbonate (26%), quartz (36%), and clays (25%). This creates a brittle environment conducive to natural fracturing from thrust during the drilling process. Approach Resources uses logging-while-drilling technology to avert risks associated with stuck tools, Craft said. “Our laterals are 7,000 ft on average with a natural frac density ranging from 1,500-4,000 fractures per lateral (2,000 on average),” he said. The formation responds further to hydraulic fracturing.

        “The most important attribute to the Wolfcamp is its uniformity,” Craft said. As the play tracks east to west, the Wolfcamp A, B, and C shelves are uniform and consistent.

        http://www.ogj.com/articles/uogr/print/volume-1/issue-3/urtec-wolfcamp/wolfcamp-shale-graduates-to-world-class-play.html

        The hurdles and doubts you raise have already been addressed long ago.

      • Curious George

        Glenn, I have survived two “planned transitions” (in Czechoslovakia.) I got lucky, but I don’t recommend it.

    • Your reflections are very sensible, Judith. We can tell just from the hissy-fit that verytrollguy is pitching.

      • Don, “hissy fit”? C’mon, you can do better. It’s not even a great throwaway insult.

        Horst, I have not the faintest idea what you’re on about

      • VTG, It just means you’re irrelevant. It’s akin to calling someone a liar, as soon as someone says that it is no longer a conversation about what was said it is now just a conversation about whether or not someone is a liar.

      • OK, it wasn’t that obvious. It was a thinly disguised hissy-fit. Sorry for not giving you a little credit for style points.

    • VTG,

      Your four points are a statements of your beliefs, not facts. They are nonsense. Make a convincing case supporting your four assertions?

      • Well, some of them are facts, and some are beliefs. That you think they are all nonsense is unsurprising.

      • Since you have not responded by making a convincing case supporting your assertions, demonstrates they are your beliefs, not facts.

        The first is wrong, so all the rest are a mix of irrelevant and/or wrong. Start by making a convincing case for your point 1.

        1) Because the consequences are so severe ….

    • Because the consequences are so severe and irreversible.

      No.

      A slow rate of global warming is not severe and other aspects of ‘climate change’ appear to be fabricated because they lack testable coherent theories of causation ( ‘more extreme storms’ or ‘droughts’ for example ).

      And as for irreversible, there have been very many ice ages and intervening warmer inter-glacials. These events were more than just global warming, but everyone reversed.

      • TE

        other aspects of ‘climate change’ appear to be fabricated

        Sorry, I don’t do consipiracy ideation. YMMV.

      • verytallguy | February 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm
        “Sorry, I don’t do consipiracy [sic] ideation. YMMV.”

        I’m afraid that is precisely what you do – or would, if you could actually spell it.

        Along with just plain making stuff up, of course.

      • I saw this one today. Evidently in 1861, probably an El Nino year, Central California had enormous continuous rains which created an inland sea, modeled thusly:

        Sacremento was recorded like:

        This had nothing to do with ‘global warming’ of course and such a series of storms is part of natural variability. This variance is much greater than any variance imposed by doubling CO2. You’re afraid of the wrong things. If you want to worry, worry about nature.

      • “This variance is much greater than any variance imposed by doubling CO2. ”

        Settled speculation.

        Stipulated: Storms as big as the one in 1861 happen every 100 years or so.

        Question: will a warmer planet.

        A) leave this return period totally unchanged
        B) make these floods less frequent
        C) make them more frequent.

        Answer:

        1. history isnt going to tell you squat. other than every 100 years
        2. Best guess if its B or C? Use a model
        problem? regional skill.

        Question: if a model showed the probabilty decreased… what would
        folks say?

        we were not prepared for 1861. It would be sane to do so.
        So, prepare for something as bad as 1861

      • Re: CA 1861 flooding

        The pre-development wetlands pretty much covered the same (wet) ground as the flood zones. Wetlands shown in grey. I sure hope nobody was foolish enough to build houses in those areas…

      • verytallguy | February 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm |
        TE

        other aspects of ‘climate change’ appear to be fabricated

        Sorry, I don’t do consipiracy ideation. YMMV.

        Global warming is about as dangerous as dihydrogen monoxide. And the claims are made in the same tone and same vein.

        http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html
        Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.

      • “This variance is much greater than any variance imposed by doubling CO2. ”

        Settled speculation.

        ‘The speculation is settled!’

        The reason I write that is that the 1861 floods had everything to do with dynamics and next to nothing to do with global average temperature. The models can’t help you with the dynamics too much, but if they could, the general principle is that weather happens because the pole to equator span incurs a meridional radiative imbalance. CO2 doesn’t change this much ( certainly much less than the seasonal variation ).

        Radiative forcing provides a good reason that global average temperatures should increase.

        But radiative forcing does not provide a good reason that circulation should change in a particular way or that one has any basis for predicting changes which derive from the circulation. That may be why satellite data don’t indicate any significant trend in drought, and why ACE doesn’t indicate any significant trend in tropical cyclone energy, etc. etc.

        Even with a doubling of CO2, earth is still a rotating oblate spheroid and will have a large radiative deficit at the poles and a large radiative surplus near the equator and that’s what drives the circulation. And when that circulation persists in a particular pattern ( as it did in 1861 ) for no reason at all, flooding will happen.

        The change from a ‘normal’ year to 1861 was MUCH larger than the change from a ‘normal year’ to a ‘doubled CO2 normal year’

      • Mosh: what does “prepare for something like 1861” even mean? There are many degrees of preparedness, with orders of magnitude differences in cost. Are you recommending the billion, ten billion, hundred billion, trillion, or ten trillion dollar preparation? Oh and how do you propose we pay for it?

        “Prepare” per se is a meaningless prescription. And so it is with pretty much all of the talk here about adaptation, preparation, resiliency, etc. It is meaninglessly vague, hence worse than worthless. A feel good distraction.

      • SM
        The impact of a precipitation event most likely will be greater today than in the 1860s. Not because of warming but due to alterations in the landscape. Dynamics in land use can change watershed hydrology and alter the effects of a 100 year flood. Thus, it is still debatable if warming and possible increased probability of 100 year flooding will be a greater threat than what man has done on the ground already. Conversely making wise choices and reverting to environments of the 1800s could offset the effects of these 100 year precipitation events.

        These kinds of tradeoffs are seldom considered.

      • A warmer earth will have more thawed ocean more water exposed to the atmosphere. A warmer earth will have more rain and much more snow because the warm exposed water extents to colder latitudes. Warmer times promote the more snow that is required to cause colder times. Colder times promote the less snow that is required to allow the earth to warm again. Temperature is bounded because of this. The actual data supports this almost 100% of the time. Other things push temperature around and correlates with temperature, sometimes, until temperature tries to get out of bounds, then this bounding process kicks in big time.

    • Twaddle.

    • 1) Because the consequences are so severe and irreversible.
      Says you and a bunch of models. Still waiting on real evidence.

      2) Because the impacts rise non-linearly (three degrees is much worse than two, four much worse again), even impacting marginal emissions is worthwhile.
      Since we already know you pretty much create the impacts out of mostly thin air, this statement has zero meaning. Other than to indicate basic arithmetic is beyond your skill level. Impacting margin emissions in the developed world will have no effect. Europe and the US could go to zero emissions tomorrow and there would be no impact.

      3) Because emissions must reduce eventually anyway as fossil fuels run out, and an earlier, more planned transition is almost certainly less chaotic than a forced later transition.
      Try to recognize the difference between “planned” and “forced” transition. Setting artificial targets and forcing people to meet them is not guaranteed to reduce chaos and pain. This effectively has the same impact as fossil fuels running out immediately, rather than over a period of decades or longer.

      4) Because it improves energy security, making us less dependent on unstable and unpleasant regimes
      Ok, this one has some value. However our friend arithmetic once again rides to the rescue. Exactly how much renewables are needed to replace all fossil fueled energy and transportation infrastructure?

      VTG should move to the Pacific NW where pot is legal.

      • VTG should move to the Pacific NW where pot is legal.

        Well, at least one of your sentences has merit :-)

        The others’ not so much. Although

        This effectively has the same impact as fossil fuels running out immediately, rather than over a period of decades or longer.

        is at least potentially interesting rather than boilerplate. The point is that we are still on an upward trajectory. The longer we continue to invest in high carbon predicated infrastructure, the more painful an eventual, inevitable transition becomes.

        And the transition is inevitable; our existence on this planet, by definition, will become sustainable. Our only influence is on how we get there, not what our destination is.

      • Absent persuasive evidence of CAGW , or a multinational surge in totalitarianism with a common green purpose in the countries that count, the market will take care of how we get there, verytrollguy. Try to be realistic around here. We don’t like the phony stuff.

      • timg56

        There isn’t really a need for a planned transition. As long as energy research is funded the transition will take care of itself.

        Fossil fuels won’t “run out” per se. We could probably go for decades beyond “run out” if we subsidized fossil fuel.

        They will simply get more and more expensive and other energy sources out compete them.

        China – which currently burns almost half the coal – looks to be heading hard nuclear (and a mix of other technologies) and plans on installing gen iV heavily in the third world.

        I believe we are pretty close to peak fossil.

      • PA,

        the planned transition concept is VTG’s, not mine.

        VTG,

        Well one having merit still places me one ahead of you. As for the idea that extending our dependence on fossil fuels will result in greater pain – refer back to your point #1. Until you provide evidence that there is any pain, you are doing nothing more than telling scary stories in the hope someone acts in a manner you think they should.

      • Slouched toward Bethlehem and was born afraid.
        ====================

    • “2) Because the impacts rise non-linearly (three degrees is much worse than two, four much worse again), even impacting marginal emissions is worthwhile.”

      Your assertion is wrong according to the analysis I’ve seen. 2C is better than 0 or 1C due to the benefits of a warmer environment, 3C is reduces the benefits of any warming and 4C which is unlikely gets us back to 0C. I agree that 0C is worse. We are better off now than we were 1C ago.

      What exactly is the ideal global temperature? You and your ilk have no idea, none at all and yet you have the time and energy to spew your faith based assertions wherever then can be squeezed onto the Internet, time and energy brought to you by our industrial, capitalist, free market economy powered by fossil fuels.

      Utterly clueless. You are dismissed.

      • Jeff,

        cheers, I’m much enlightened by your erudite and witty response.

        I’m just one step from converting away from my warmunist eco-fascism and joining you on the “sceptic ” side.

        That step would be a citation for

        the analysis I’ve seen.

        That analysis, proving

        2C is better than 0 or 1C due to the benefits of a warmer environment, 3C is reduces the benefits of any warming and 4C which is unlikely gets us back to 0C.

        would be quite remarkable, overturning every single piece of scientific research in the area.

        Obviously you’ll have a long list-relying on a single study to overturn an entire field would be unwise- but just a summary of your literature would more than suffice.

        Thanks in advance

        VTG

      • VTG

        You are untruthful when you write-

        “would be quite remarkable, overturning every single piece of scientific research in the area.”

      • Rob,

        In which case, you can trivially prove it by pre-empting Jeff’s list of citations by providing your own, and I will gladly eat humble pie for your entertainment.

      • I will help you, verytrollguy. There is pretty good evidence that fossil fuels have been very good to humanity:

        http://ourworldindata.org/data/growth-and-distribution-of-prosperity/world-poverty/

        “In 1820, the vast majority of people lived in extreme poverty and only a tiny elite enjoyed higher standards of living. Economic growth over the last 200 years completely transformed our world, and poverty fell continuously over the last two centuries. This is even more remarkable when we consider that the population increased 7-fold over the same time (which in itself is a consequence of increasing living standards and decreasing mortality – especially of infants and children – around the world). In a world without economic growth, an increase in the population would result in less and less income for everyone, and a 7-fold increase would have surely resulted in a world in which everyone is extremely poor. Yet, the exact opposite happened. In a time of unprecedented population growth we managed to lift more and more people out of poverty! Even in 1981 more than 50% of the world population lived in absolute poverty – this is now down to about 14%. This is still a large number of people, but the change is happening incredibly fast. For our present world, the data tells us that poverty is now falling more quickly than ever before in world history. The first of the Millenium Development Goals set by the UN was to halve the population living in absolute poverty between 1990 and 2015. Rapid economic growth meant that this goal – arguably the most important – was achieved (5 years ahead of time) in 2010.”

        Just since 1950 the world’s population has grown from 2.5B to 7.2B. It got warmer, the earth supports a lot more people, most are living better than ever. It was fossil fuels what done it.

        And it seems that about 7 billion of the existing folks are not worried enough about ACO2 allegedly threatening CAGW to significantly curtail their use of coal, gas, oil, wood, dung etc. Try to get in touch with reality, verytrollguy. You are just enertainment around here.

      • Don,

        There is pretty good evidence that fossil fuels have been very good to humanity:

        As Basil Fawlty observed, “Specialised subject – the bleeding obvious”

        A reasonable attempt at diversion Don. Not the subject under discussion of course, I understand why you’d want to avoid that.

      • Haven’t we been talking about the impacts of burning fossil fuels, verytrollgnat? We have burned a lot of it and it has been a boon to mankind. We are a little warmer, and a lot more numerous and prosperous.

        You inept alarmist clowns mired in the double-ethical bind can’t stop it with your Schneiderized settled science and your insignificant non-binding BS mitigation schemes. We don’t have to prove anything. We just keep on truckin’.

        Man the Escalades? Fill ’em up with high test! Gentlemen start your engines! Burn baby burn! Climategate! The pause has killed the cause! Say high to kenny wottsup for us.

      • Don, it’s painful to see you thrashing around incontinently like this. Maybe yoga or meditation could help calm yourself a little?

      • The benefits of warming have been ignored, the detriments of warming have been exaggerated. This, too, shall pass.
        ==================

      • would be quite remarkable, overturning every single piece of scientific research in the area.

        It is not necessary to overturn any real science, on the consensus side, there is very little science. There is mostly alarmist politics and flawed model output. Actual science is based on real data and it does not support the alarmism. If we just use real, honest, science, we will determine what causes natural climate cycles that are not regulated by manmade CO2.

      • Pope,

        I love the definition of “honest science” as that which supports your notion of natural cycles. How convenient!

        Who, pray tell, decides what is “honest” science?

        It’s not the Pontiff himself is it perchance? Have you thought of applying?

  20. Unfortunately people have completely delusional ideas about what drives CO2 production and so generally entertain completely incompatible policy ideas.

    You cannot want to reduce poverty and improve the material lives of everyone and at the same time reduce CO2 production.

    The developed world is overproducing since at least 30 years financed by illusory debt spending and social promises.
    Avoiding this kind of folly would have gone a long way in producing less CO2. But there would also be more poverty in absolute terms. But also most probably less inequality. You simply cannot have it all.

    All this debt fueled growth has led to the marvelous global reduction in poverty but at the same time of cause increased inequality in wealth since someone has to hold all those financial assets that had to be created.
    The same persons who deplore inequality regularly want to go ever more into debt to create ever more CO2 and at the same time deplore global warming.

    Yes, there’s a cultural problem. Questions of technology are a minor issue in comparison.

  21. Today’s blog is an perceived example of the “mixed messages” that Dr. Curry sometimes sends out.

    From Dr. Molina (Nobel Prize) and Dr. Ramanathan on Fast Mitigation:

    “If we reduce our emissions of methane 50%, black carbon 90% and fully replace HFCs by 2030, then we’ll cut in half projected global warming over the next 35 years.”

    But we know that Dr. Curry thinks these efforts are a good idea because she’s said so. What’s going on here? Does Dr. Curry believe its a good idea in theory, but is not realistic (to the point of rarely mentioning it)? Does Dr. Curry believe a Nobel Prize winning scientist has done the above math wrong? What?

    Major Study released Friday and its not even mentioned on CE —– Air Pollution in China & India: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/13/new-study-finds-persistent-peril-from-urban-coal-soot-in-china-and-indoor-smoke-in-india/?smid=fb-share

    • Mitigation commonly focuses on CO2, and my comments in this piece focus on CO2. I still think fast mitigation is a better focus than CO2, but I have not seen a comparable technical/economic analysis

      • Political analysis is also important. I think that most of the black carbon emissions and a lot of the methane emissions come from developing countries, who have no interest in this game unless we pay them to play it.

      • Why do any mitigation while actual data does not show any need for mitigation for data that has not gone out of the bounds of the past ten thousand years.

    • The math is not wrong, just completely speculative and unfounded. Or maybe that does make it wrong. It certainly does not make it right. (Also, isn’t Molina a chemist?)

      • The math is not wrong. They correctly modeled flawed theory and they get flawed numbers that do not match real data. Real data is based on Mother Nature’s natural climate cycles and not on Consensus Climate Model Hockey stick theory and model output.

    • Well, the per year increase of CO2 is still the largest contributor to RF,
      but the rate of change of CO2 has decreased since 2007 while the rate of change of N2O and of CH4 have increased:

      • Interesting chart.

        Are they measured values or computed from the concentration change?

        The methane “flatlining” in the 21st century is pretty clear.

  22. Judith writes- “Wouldn’t the resources be better spent on reducing regional vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events? ”

    That point is obviously true but completely ignored by those who believe that more CO2 not only will result in warming, but that said warming must result in a worse climate for humanity.

    What is the reliable scientific evidence to conclude that warming at the rates we have been witnessing will result in a worse climate for humans? Check the evidence supporting these claims- it seems the weakest link in the claims for CO2 mitigation.

    • It is neither obviously true nor ignored by those who believe the AGW threat is catastrophic, as many do. In their considered judgement it is obviously false.

  23. On 1, the issue is the A in AGW (attribution). 20 years of rising CO2 but no rising temperatures except by karlization. This entire century so far.
    On 2, the issue is the C in CAGW. It is the temperature damage function, not the temperature. Re attempted warmunist metrics, no damage yet. Planet is greening, SLR is not accelerating, polar bears are thriving…
    On 3, for electricity we have had a technical solution for decades, nuclear fission, that could be improved with gen 4. Warmunists dont like it. They push wind and solar when there is no glimmer of a storage solution for intermittency. For transport fuels we have some partial solutions in some circumstances (hybrid cars) but not others (ag, forestry, mining, aviation).

    The internal contradictions inside the warmunist belief system are providing the fault lines along which the whole edifice is now cracking apart at an accelerating rate. Hence the increasing shrillness, increasing resort to dubious means to plaster over the cracks, and increasing resort to extralegal means like CPP.

  24. Despite enormous scientific, political and diplomatic efforts over the past two decades, no progress on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions has been made.

    This is flatly untrue. There is no way the current renewables penetration could have been achieved without the cover story of global warming. They don’t make economic sense.

    Further, the global warming scare is driving nuclear development. And it is clear China intends to power the third world with Gen IV (passive safe) systems.

    That solves the global warming problem, emissions are going to be capped at more or less the current level. And there is no reason to reduce emissions further.. Let’s move on to other issues.

    Reducing greenhouse gases is a goal without a justification. Bringing the CO2 level to a soft landing at 460 PPM is just fine as a goal and it appears we have done that. Keeping CO2 at 460 PPM will help prolong the interglacial. Return of the ice age is the real threat to civilization.

    • If emissions are capped at current levels won’t the CO2 concentration keep rising forever? Or do you have a model that says otherwise?

      • Well, the absorption trend (sea+land) is roughly following 0.05 (CO2-280).or 6 GT carbon for 400 PPM. At 460 PPM the absorption will average around 9 GT carbon or more. The reduction in rainforest destruction (Indonesia is almost tapped out) will likely to make this a significant underestimate.

        http://www.counselheal.com/articles/16485/20151130/rise-planktons-oceans-co2-levels.htm
        http://oceanlink.island.net/ONews/ONews7/plankton.html
        That 10x coccolithophore plankton increase has to be eating something. Plus the plankton are spreading out.

        The “Deserts are blooming” CSIRO study reported a 11% (vs modeled 5%) increase in plant growth between 1982 and 2010.

        Further, CO2 diffuses into porous rock and other natural reservoirs.

        Let alone the absorption capacity of the ocean which already has 38,000 GT of carbon.

        The absorption in 2014 was 7.01 GT according to CDIAC.

      • If emissions are capped at current levels won’t the CO2 concentration keep rising forever?

        If population growth rates are capped at current levels, won’t population keep rising forever?

        And since population is the precursor not just for CO2, but for numerous other factors regarding the environment, doesn’t it make sense to alter the precursor, not just one of the after effects?

        Fortunately, CO2 emissions are already falling in most of the developed nations and population is falling in many of those countries as well, largely a function of economic development.

      • That CO2 is noncondensing is a crucial assumption for CAGW. For me, it is the weakest part of the AGW hypothesis. The atmosphere is a tiny resevoir for available carbon. Co2 is heavy and is scrubbed from the atmosphere by multiple paths. The data indicates the volitility of atmospheric Co2 and demonstrates that some quantities/fraction condense rapidly.

        Act of faith that Co2 released to the atmosphere by anthrogenic means will assuredly stay there. There are big processes at work here. We dont seem to have a satisfactory grasp of them yet

      • Meh, CO2 may not condense but it coccoliths and silts.

        That lost energy hiding at the bottom of the sea? Why yes it is.
        ==================

      • A huge error was saturated CO2 sinks. Why on earth should they saturate? What could they have been thinking?
        ==============

      • Just as the sinking shrank as CO2 level dropped, so will it increase as CO2 rises.

        The sun and the biome conspire to almost irreversibly sequester CO2 in the form of hydrocarbons and carbonates. We are a miraculous species bringing life back to a dying planet.

        Postscript, the religious can worship Gaia for her creation of man. It’s a win, win, win, win, win.
        ================

      • KIm:

        About 180 GT of carbon has been released and 40 GT/Y of carbon sinking destroyed by (mostly) rainforest destruction.

        If the 40 GT/Y figure is accurate (and farmland or waste land doesn’t store appreciable carbon so it is at least defensible) then the CO2 level should be rising about 23.9 PPM per year.

        The topsoil in America was a foot thicker before the current inhabitants discovered that virtually none of the land was covered by legal deed and could be bought or homesteaded. So a lot of carbon has been injected into the system in the last couple of centuries and a lot of sinking destroyed.

        Lets take the current 123 GT/Y of sinking, remove the 60% plant growth increase which leaves us with 79 GT/Y and add in the 40 GT/Y = 119 GT/Y. The CO2 level has risen to the level needed to drive plant growth to replace lost sinking.

        So there you go. Little of the CO2 increase was due carbon emissions. To discount all the current emissions (9.8 GT in 2014) by the original 119 GT/Y plant base, the plant growth would have to increase a little over 8%. This represents about a 16 PPM increase in CO2..

        So only 16 PPM of the rise in CO2 from 280 PPM is emissions related and the rest is ocean outgassing (due to warming) or burning down forest (which released 180 GT of carbon into the environment).

    • This is flatly untrue. There is no way the current renewables penetration could have been achieved without the cover story of global warming. They don’t make economic sense.

      I think this misses the point. Yes, lots of solar panels and wind turbines have been built, but how much actual CO2 production has been reduced by them. We all know that the true Power generation of Renewables is usually under 1/3 of nameplate, but recent studies I’ve seen have claimed that because of the need for backup generation the true reduction in traditional power generation is down bellow 4%. And judging by recent plant closings around the world I’d be willing to bet that if any energy production has been reduced in real terms it has probably been Nuclear.

      • The point of renewable energy is to create synthetic demand for a useless product, increase power costs, absorb surplus US income, advance the green cause, and enrich its backers..

        You actually thought renewable energy had something to with power generation?

      • HA! Exactly! We’ve been building these things for decades now. Time and again we’ve seen they make no real difference in CO2 production.

        Somebody remind me, what do we call doing the same thing over and over, expecting to get a different result?

    • Harry Twinotter

      PA.

      ” Keeping CO2 at 460 PPM will help prolong the interglacial. Return of the ice age is the real threat to civilization.”

      What time frames are you talking about there?

  25. In order for technology to work there has to be a demand. If there is no real demand for some type of new technology moneyed interest will dry up and the product will be quickly whisked away. Having rules is a ridiculous, laughable method that totally doesn’t apply here. The only method required is to find out if there is any real demand.

  26. It is a horror that the idea of completely removing CO 2 from the atmosphere is not confronted directly with the threat to life on earth which that action would cause. Runaway air capture? The appropriate level of CO 2 ideally suited to the planet remains totally unknown!

    • Mayor of Venus

      I agree. Removing all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is a really stupid idea.

    • Harry Twinotter

      Jim Eagle.

      “It is a horror that the idea of completely removing CO 2 from the atmosphere is not confronted directly with the threat to life on earth which that action would cause.”

      That sounds like a straw man – who is proposing to remove all the CO2 from the atmosphere?

      Removing all the CO2 would kill all plant life, and freeze most of the seas all the way to the bottom.

  27. Within this system, no particular technology fully encompasses the goal of the process — eliminating CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Let’s hope that was just a misstatement. Although I have heard some of the worst ranting Climate Faithful scream that we need to eliminate all CO2 ‘pollution’ from the environment. >¿<

  28. The Tom Hartsfield link is pretty good –e.g., “building models using the smartest simplifications we have thought of and running them on the most powerful computers ever built [equals]… . a major failure,” when it comes to the science of predicting long-term climate patterns.

    • From Tom Hartsfield:
      “Climate science acts like it is fighting a holy war. There are only those who are just and those who must be silenced and stopped at all costs. Anyone who mounts reasonable logical, empirical, or skeptical challenges to the orthodoxy must be ruined, not by counterfactual evidence, but by vicious attack.”

      To quote from another field endeavor:

      “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”

      Since 2000 the modelers and the consensus climateers (homage to Micky Mouse) have been pounding the table with a sledgehammer..

      The noise is getting a little annoying and tells us all we need to know.

      • Harry Twinotter

        PA.

        “Climate science acts like it is fighting a holy war.”

        No, all science is doing is combating the hoax of climate change denialism. Religion does not come into it.

      • science is doing is combating the hoax of climate change denialism

        That’s nice. The climate is always changing. I am surprised some people would deny that. Some global warmers seem to claim climate doesn’t change naturally.

  29. Realism and the limits of technology

    Rising CO2 levels are mainly about industrialization and productivity in the developing world. That is the reality and limitation of technology. The frightening aspect is the inflating productivity bubble. When it burts, people will be unemployed on a global scale

    • We have all of the necessary employed persons that provide the goods and services that others voluntarily pay for with their discretionary income, there’s the unemployed, then the underemployed, also the unemployable and then the uselessly employed, a vast army known as the government bureaucracy that live off the productive like ticks.

    • I’m sorry, but NO! This ‘productivity bubble’ nonsense is just Luddism with a fresh coat of paint. It makes the ludicrous assumption that their are a fixed number of jobs in the world, and a fixed amount of money to pay for them. And it assumes that producers will keep increasing production even after supplies have surpassed demand.

      Did the entire oil industry go belly up when oil dropped to $30 a barrel? Did the auto industry collapse because there were more cars being made then people who needed them? And where are the millions of unemployed factory workers that the roboticized assembly lines put out of work?

      And the real question: how can people keep making the same failed predictions year after year, and never realize that they are simply wrong?

      • Two routes for sustaining the productivity bubble …

        1) Population growth – immigration. .. This has happened in Canada and the UK. Growing families and a young workforce have material needs

        2) Economic development – industrialization and industrial growth sustains the bubble. China and India are examples

        In Canada, the failed oil sands development and Canadian auto industry were savaged by the downturns.

      • More paths for sustaining productivity bubble …

        3) War – deliberate obsolescence – tearing down vacant houses
        4) Innovation – new, improved products

        As for failed predictions year after year? .. Subprime mortgages and the US housing bubble

      • Shall conceed an even moderate linkage between jobs and productivity.

        1) There are too many ways of sustaining the productivity … Better products at a lower cost is another important path .. Deflation in the cost of production per unit value. Example – cars are much better, last longer and cost less than in the past

        2) jobs .. Interns work for free. How much a person is paid is variable. Ultimatly people need to earn enough to subsist. The level of poverty is kinda arbitrary

        Nevertheless, Co2 emission are tied to industrialization and consumption in the developing world

    • Karl had already smashed it.

      • Remove Karl, still smashed. Karl just made it a more accurate smashing. Enjoy it while it lasts. February is poised to smash January. Maybe September will bring some relief.

      • Telling to see JCH always triumphantly mentioning warm weather stuff as implicit proof of AGW but NEVER (at least not that I have seen) mentioning any cold weather stuff when it occurs (which is frequently). Very telling…

      • El Ninos cool the ocean. All that heat, lost forever to space, alas.
        ================

      • Um, wijnand2015 ,

        I hate to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

        However, I did just check up on yours.

        According to GISS LOTI, http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ the last time an all time annual global minimum record was set was… 1909

        The last time a monthly low record was set was… August 1912.

        Very telling indeed.

  30. ‘The answer seems to be in seeking some sort of moral absolution and promoting an agenda that goes far beyond the avoidance of dangers from climate change.’

    Indeed. Guilt and salvation are important memes in the CAGW memeplex. Same as they are in some religions. Whatever is going on with the climate and whether it proves one day to be good, bad, or indifferent, what’s going on with humans is a social phenomenon that has left science and objective assessment very far behind.

    • AW, I used to to think think this not true, because of an innate belief that humans were somehow fact seeking rational… And if not, simply uneducated.
      You have been proven right, and I have done what John Meynard Keynes advocated: when presented with new facts, change your mind…and to end the quote, ‘what do you do?’
      Many thanks for the memeplex idea. Totally changed my mind.

      • Thanks, Rud. Good to know that some folks get the concept. We probably just need about a billion more, and we’re done ;)

      • It is pretty clear that the minimal warming and megalogreening from AnthroCO2 are tremendously net beneficial.

        And there go the guilt and fear.

        Easy, peasy; a slam dunk.
        ===========

      • New study from Indiana University. Enhanced levels
        of atmospheric carbon dioxide a likely driver of global
        dry-land greening. – Of course the mandatory value
        added input, ‘We don’t know if this is a good thing
        or not.’

      • beththeserf | February 17, 2016 at 10:01 am |
        ‘We don’t know if this is a good thing or not.’

        Some people don’t have any common sense. The CO2 level has been higher for virtually the entire history of the planet. Starvation levels of CO2 aren’t good and aren’t normal.

        The science establishment has redefined “starvation” as normal, and normal as bad.

      • Heh, PA, wait’ll plants get the vote, and write dictionaries and narratives. Or ’til their friends do.
        ==================

    • Too true Andy. This memeplex is the grand daddy of them all. It feeds the eschatology of the puritan, and can be seen as a major coalescing force in all religions, both formal and ad hoc.

    • Andy and Rud,

      You both have it right. Most of the people I have the opportunity to engage with have virtually no interest in facts or data. In fact their eyes glaze over as soon as I try to introduce a fact, data based discussion. Most believe it to be the “right” thing to do because we humans have, in many cases, been thoughtless in the past in how we treat our environment. Now to a large extent this is true, but the convolution with CO2 and CAGW is where they go off the rails in my opinion.

      Since we can’t see or smell CO2 and CAGW can be read into every weather event or trend, whether it is cause and effect or not, those that feel guilty about humankind’s past disregard for the environment need to believe it’s true and and be punished for past sins. The CAGW aparatchniks and rent seekers exploit this mercilessly.

      • “..right thing to do..” and “..those that feel guilty..”.

        Which end of the ideological spectrum does that sound like? They arrive at their conclusions not from intense analysis of the data for their social policy guidance or climate or a variety of traditional environmental issues, but rather through an emotional journey of how they will find absolution. Intuitively they know they are right and then set out gathering all reaffirming arguments to bulk up their feelings.

        You know, places like National Geographic and The Gray Lady.

  31. Re rule fixes 1, 2, ‘n 3 … or 4 …or maybe more, ye
    visionary climate fixers who envy the gods and would
    emulate them, a mental state commonly known as
    hubris, my reposte from the last post of Montaigne’s
    take on salvationists, utopianists ‘n the like…

    Montaigne in his essay on experience says of human
    idealizing humours:’They want to get out of themselves
    and escape from the man. That is madness: instead of
    changing into angels, they change into beasts; instead
    of raising themselves, they lower themselves.’

  32. quote “Not all problems will yield to technology. Deciding which will and which won’t should be central to setting innovation policy, say Daniel Sarewitz and Richard Nelson.”

    I disagree with this statement in every way possible, most strongly.
    Policy should allow innovation in any direction. Let the market decide what it will buy, use, value, pay for, get value from ect.

    Resources, limited or not, are not part of the consideration at all. If a resource is needed, someone will supply it. If it’s rare and expensive, and alternative will be invented. Resources are the least of concerns.

  33. It doesn’t seem that the problem of limiting the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere below certain targets designed at limiting warming to 1.5 or 2.0C in context of the amount of warming expected from climate models is amenable to technological fixes on the timescales of 2030 or 2050, which is what the UNFCCC is expecting.

    Well, maybe not over those timescales, but over longer ones I think the scheme by this Pharyngula commenter is interesting:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/12/14/but-waitsolar-energy-isnt-consequence-free/#more-26402

    http://www.cquestrate.com/the-idea/detailed-description-of-the-idea

    I even have my own version:

    https://canmane.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/how-much-dry-ice-is-100-ppm-of-atmospheric-co2/

  34. David Springer

    Actually carbon capture from the atmosphere is a critical technology. Our next “age” after the information age will be the biotechnology age. If we had a cheap supply of concentrated CO2 then third generation biofuels become very inexpensive. We can already produce 3G biofuels at a price competitive with $70/bbl oil and we know we can learn to live with that price. Of course with oil at $30/bbl now the pressure is off. It’s no coincidence how the price of oil drops before it’s been at parity long with alternatives like coal liquifaction ($80/bbl) and renewable biofuels ($70/bbl).

    Anyhow, the limiting factor on 3G biofuel production (which requires no arable land or potable water) is it needs concentrated CO2 that can only be obtained economically in limited quantity by placing biofuel plants next to coal or gas electrical generation plants, cement plants, and other large scale CO2 emitters. If we could economically get concentrated CO2 from the atmosphere in the middle of the Mojave desert it would be the beginning of the end for fossil fuels.

    • I agree 100% that we are entering the biotech age. These climate science tools think that GCMs are complex haven’t a clue about the depths of biochemistry. Fortunately, biochem lends itself to empirical science, so you end up attracting shade-tree mechanic thinking rather than self-important eggheads who blow gaskets over every burp and phart. This is why I say we should agree that climate science is settled, therefore, funding is no longer a priority.

    • If you don’t insist on bio-photosynthesis it could be done by the bio-fuel producers themselves: capture the CO2 with a high-pH air contact solution, transfer it to one suitable for alkalinophiles while excluding the oxygen, and pump them with hydrogen from PV electrolysis. The energy from the 4H2+CO2→CH4+2H2O reaction is, AFAIK, sufficient to drive this extraction from ambient CO2 concentrations.

      As a bonus, the air contact solution could easily be hygroscopic enough to capture additional water from the air, eliminating any concerns about evaporation. As well as supplying the water for hydrolysis.

      And even with current PV efficiencies, it would probably yield more/hectare than bio-photosynthesis.

    • David Springer said:

      If we had a cheap supply of concentrated CO2 then third generation biofuels become very inexpensive. We can already produce 3G biofuels at a price competitive with $70/bbl oil and we know we can learn to live with that price.

      Nah.

      As with everything, algae have a down side.

      In this case, the downside is large and if it cannot be solved, is a deal breaker.

      Algae, even when grown in waste water, require large amounts of water, nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. So much in fact that the production of fertilizer to meet the needs of algae used to produce biofuel would produce more greenhouse gas emissions than were saved by using algae based biofuel to begin with.

      It also means the cost of algae-base biofuel is much higher than fuel from other sources.

      This single disadvantage means that the large-scale implementation of algae to produce biofuel will not occur for a long time, if at all.

      In fact, after investing more than $600 million USD into research and development of algae, Exxon Mobil came to the conclusion in 2013 that algae-based biofuels will not be viable for at least 25 years. What is more, that calculation is strictly economical and does not consider the environmental impacts that have yet to be solved.

      http://biofuel.org.uk/third-generation-biofuels.html

      • Algae, even when grown in waste water, require large amounts of water, nitrogen and phosphorus to grow.

        Plenty of nitrogen in the air (lots more than CO2). Phosphorus can be recycled. As for water, grow the algae in a closed environment and and evaporation losses can be minimized.

        Exxon-Mobile is a very large company. Like a dinosaur. Obsolete. Smaller, more agile, operations will perfect the process much sooner than the stick-in-the-muds at Exxon-Mobile realize.

      • Solazyme (SZYM) is growing algae in tanks using a feedstock of water and sugarcane, in Moema, Brazil. (It’s not making biofuels, though–those are too expensive.)

  35. From the article:

    But I have a secret for you. The Silicon Valley hype machine has created this myth of visionaries who effortlessly build the future. Don’t believe the hype. The moonshot factory is a messy place. But rather than avoid the mess or pretend it’s not there, we’ve tried to make it our strength. We spend most of our time breaking things and working to discover that we’re wrong. That’s it. That’s the secret. Run at all the hardest parts of a problem first. Ask cheerfully, “How are we going to try to kill our project today!” We’ve found a balance that’s working for us — allowing our unchecked optimism to fuel our visions and then harnessing enthusiastic skepticism and critical thinking as a way to breathe life, breathe reality, into those visions.
    I want to show you some of the projects we’ve had to leave behind on the cutting room floor and some gems that have, at least so far, not only survived this process but have been accelerated by it.

    Here’s our moonshot blueprint. ­
    We look for a huge problem in the world that affects many millions of people. ­
    Then we try to propose a radical solution for solving that huge problem ­
    And third, there needs to be some reason to believe that the technology for such a radical solution could actually be built. Some glimmer of hope to get us going and some clear first few steps we could take along that journey.

    https://backchannel.com/the-secret-to-moonshots-killing-our-projects-49b18dc7f2d6#.kj67cq43i

  36. It is not really just technological fixes, but technological advancement, and this does not occur in a vacuum, but under certain pressures, the main one being efficiency. In terms of energy, efficiency has been redefined somewhat due to the background of how fossil fuels affect climate (though I think some still deny this), and that becomes a motivating factor for profit as well an evaluation factor for success. Whether the skeptics like it or not, the market has this as its background now. No one looks at coal and thinks that is the future. Batteries, solar, renewables, nuclear fission and fusion, have more potential for investment now.

    • Investment in efficiency is related to cost and ROI, not environmental impact. What evidence do you have for your “investment” advise? When you say batteries, do you mean capacitors? Investment in fusion… the flying car of energy? Is solar not part of renewable?

      It is apparent you have no experience in building machines that work or being on a team as a cog in machines that make money, therefore, your opinions on mitigation are obviously not even wrong. Stick to mixing it up with the WUWT sceptics to hold onto your dignity.

      • Exactly! Efficiency is one factor, but also whether people will want it, which is where the environment comes into it. Clean is a major selling point these days.

      • Pfft. CLEAN is a buzzword. Just like GREEN, ORGANIC, or STAKEHOLDER. Throw it on a box of detergent and a certain percentage of the population will be impressed by the big fancy letters and buy it. And they’ll abandoned it just as fast when the next buzzword comes out.

        The rest of use will ignore it once we figure out it not any better (or worse) then whatever it was supposed to replace.

      • Should have gone with SUSTAINABLE instead of STAKEHOLDER. it would have fit the pattern better. Oh well, time to call it a night. ^¿^

    • “No one looks at coal and thinks that is the future. ”
      People can’t heat their apartments or power their lights and appliances with slogans about “this is the future”.
      They will use coal until better alternative come along.
      They will use coal for a long time…
      The “future” alternatives are topics of research, not feasible energy suppliers.

      • Actually, cola is being forcibly phased out in the US and Canada. Happily we have cheap gas to replace it, for now anyway, but that too is under attack.

      • Gordon Alderson

        David amusing typo “Phasing out COLA ..” If only it were so!!

    • I look at coal and think it’s the present. Pity it’s not being upgraded and modernised in Australia, which has depended utterly on coal and is depending utterly on coal. This neglect and waste of our primary resource is due to the odd notion that it’s somehow not “the future”.

      But if I understood these things I’d be a warmie, right?

  37. Out of place but funny.
    “Embarrassed’ man, 26, found shivering on a building ledge after being abandoned there by his mates in a late-night prank Man, 26, was left stranded on the fifth story of the Bureau of Meteorology Building, Melbourne Australia. He was trapped on an eight-meter high ledge overnight.
    Official story “He was climbing with friends when they removed ladder as part of a prank”

    The real reason was that he was outside the window to confirm the Melbourne weather for the BOM whose computers had been playing up.
    Unfortunately a cleaner closed the window leaving him stranded until the morning.
    Those doubting this fact should check the extreme weather events predicted for Australia by BOM later last night due to the communication mix up.

  38. Those look too abstract to be useful — what are the criteria for deciding when criteria are “relatively unambiguous”, or “uncontroversial”? Nuclear power has a track record of working well and causing fewer deaths and disabilities than any alternative source of electricity, yet is subjected to increasingly strict and costly regulations. Does it satisfy those criteria?

    But I’ll add one more: Any technology that actually works can be expected to be partially successful and to have some unintended consequences.

    And another: technologies to enhance social life in unanticipated ways are at least as important as technologies that solve social problems. The only principles for those are trite: inventiveness, persistence, and trial and error; examples include light bulbs and fiber optic cable..

  39. CO2 is good for plant life, continued: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep20716

    Sadly, everything good for crops and grazing animals works for weeds as well. You might not want weeds greening the Sahel and the Colorado River delta.

    • Matthew,

      Trying to recall the term for it – precessional I believe – for the role “weeds” often play in an ecosystem. Give it enough time and shrubs then trees gain a foothold.

      • A. ‘Weed’ is a plant that Man hasn’t found a profitable use for. YET. Most quick growth plants are Nitrogen fixers. And Bunnies love Dandelions. ^¿^

      • timg56, it might be “successional”. I am in favor of weeds, but my comment referred to a comment in the linked article.

      • John Vonderlin

        The most accurate definition of a “weed” is any plant growing in a place it is not wanted at a specific time. An unrecognized volunteer sprout in your Arugula patch might be considered a weed at first. But later if you recognize it as marijuana you might not then consider it a weed. But, if later the police notice it growing there, it might become a weed again.

      • An unrecognized volunteer sprout in your Arugula patch might be considered a weed at first. But later if you recognize it as marijuana you might not then consider it a weed.

        It’s weed. It was weed all along. You just didn’t notice.

      • Thanks Matthew.

    • You might not want weeds greening the Sahel and the Colorado River delta.

      Well, as to the Sahel, there’s few weeds goats can’t eat. But competing for cropland: that’s a risk.

    • You might not want weeds greening the Sahel and the Colorado River delta.

      I was unaware the Sahel and the Colorado River delta were weed free and only grew beneficial plants.

    • Happily, everything good for weeds is good for crops and everything that depends on green growing crops. You may want crops greening the Sahel and the Colorado River delta and in places that were marginal for crop growth before the wonderful CO2 increased because of human activity.
      I grew up on a farm and I have hoed the weeds in a corn field. We have better corn and it grows better with less water because of the more CO2 and less weeds because we have proper treatment for weeds. Life is better because of more CO2. Alarmist theory and media support for their garbage does not change actual facts.

  40. Julian Simon showed that human ingenuity always outpaces scarcity. so, over long periods of time, such as 30 years, there is nearly always a technological fix to most problems. In the short run, for instance, over 10 years, the analysis made by the authors in this post has some validity. However, over the very long run, in particular, the timeframes discussed in terms of dealing with carbon dioxide, the analysis made in this post is not on the mark.

    JD

  41. Not that I’m a fan of it, but geo-engineering is conspicuously absent in the paper.

    If your bicycle goes too fast, pulling on the brake levers slows you down better than just slowing your pedalling rate. Even stopping pedalling altogether won’t have much effect if you’re on a steep descent. Similarly, whatever the cause of warming, playing with CO2 is a very indirect (and possibly ineffective) control.

    There are serious doubts about both the problem and the solution. Climate science should busy itself testing the case for/against catastrophic change. I see no role for it in the solution. Independently, research into geo-engineering to address warming AND cooling might well be a good thing.

    • A just-out paper claims that iron fertilization of the oceans won’t cause the CO2 absorbed by microorganisms there to sink to the bottom and get sequestered. I doubt that this has been adequately tested.
      .

  42. James Delingpole engages in Realism, noting that, “the alarmists’ preference for the land and sea-based temperature datasets which do show a warming trend, especially after the raw data has been adjusted in the right direction… Climate realists, however, counter that these records have all the integrity of Enron’s accounting system or of Hillary’s word on what really happened in Benghazi.”

  43. Despite enormous scientific, political and diplomatic efforts over the past two decades, no progress on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions has been made.

    Despite enormous scientific, political and diplomatic efforts over the past two decades, no progress on understanding if reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions is necessary has been made.

    Despite enormous scientific, political and diplomatic efforts over the past two decades, no progress on understanding if reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions will help anything has been made.

    The fact that no progress has been made on reducing the gas most important for the growth of green things is a really good thing.

    Reducing CO2 will kill green things that grow and everything that depends on green things that grow, that especially includes people.

    The green movement is a genocide movement. It will kill people.

  44. “The fact that no progress has been made on reducing the gas most important for the growth of green things is a really good thing.

    Reducing CO2 will kill green things that grow and everything that depends on green things that grow, that especially includes people.

    The green movement is a genocide movement. It will kill people.”

    Complete nonsense. And an ideologically motivated comment.
    Human civilisation flourished in a time when atmospheric CO2 was at 280ppm or less.
    Humans/the Earth did/does not need anymore – it was doing just fine.
    It is now 40% higher at ~400ppm.

  45. Geoff Sherrington

    It has to be recognised that there are multiple streams in the progression from an idea to a device that has large social value. Even in broad terms, we recognise private enterprise as different to government as different to academia, even foreign country systems as different to our own
    Unless alternate paths are described with mutually understood properties like success criteria, the present discussion cannot be accurate or of much future use.
    In part, this is because the various streams react to different incentives be they internal like personal promotion or external like bragging rights granted under various circumstances such as publication numbers or granted patents.
    In most cases where an idea becomes an important reality the course is complicated so much that it is hard to compare one with another to derive a best way to pick winners.
    In many cases, picking winners is perverse and leads to silly ideas becoming bad reality. In my own time in private enterprise, we feared the intervention of bureaucracy, we enjoyed paying for invited academic input and we detested seeing silly ideas make good.
    In examples, we found ourselves in the early 1970s on a steep learning curve after discovery of what was then one of the largest urnium ore deposits the world had seen. Part of the learning curve was reliable estimation of the global need for future nuclear energy production. We picked the best brains we could and ended up with what was obvious then as it is now. Sun and wind had minor future roles in isolated niche markets. Nuclear was needed on grounds of safety and low cost, plus resource diplomacy, with no argument hitching it to CO2. Coal and gas were well proven and needed for quick demands above base load and because they yielded other products like plastics and some fertilisers. (This is a short summary with known deficiencies from brevity and no need to be discussed).
    With alleged ‘climate change’ from GHG, we have an unproven hypothesis dictating future energy mixes that are out of touch with physics, commerce, reality. The only important future action is to rid ourselves of it. The main lesson is how to learn to avoid these recurrent pimples on the bum of good science with their bleating about saving the world for our future generations. We can see the stupidity, but we are amazed that so many leading people are taken in. In my part of the world we say they are as scared as a paralytic chook staring at a snake. Unfortunately, with these bum pimples, the snake has a poisonous advantage.
    There is no need for the navel gazing expressed in this thread. There is too much finessing about very unclear matters to allow it to succeed. Clever people need to direct their thoughts to good management, getting the jobs done and discarding the frothy frills of current, trendy academic discourse.

  46. blueice2hotsea

    Technological fixes do not offer a path to moral absolution…

    This smells bad.

    A successful technological fix [ is one which ] helps to … impede other paths to effective action.

    Ahh. Now I get it.

  47. Yet another questionable damage claim, carefully couched as a warning, from the NYT “Science” dept:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/19/science/zika-outbreak-could-be-an-omen-of-the-global-warming-threat.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

  48. Regarding technology and adaptation, which many claim to want. Above Mosher says “prepare for something as bad as 1861” in the case of a specific form of California flooding. Unfortunately this is a fine example of the meaningless vagueness of most adaptation, preparation and resiliency prescriptions.

    The problem is that the possible cost of preparation ranges over many orders of magnitude, depending on the degree of protection being purchased. Is this calling for the one billion, 10 billion, 100 billion, one trillion or 10 trillion dollar preparation? Each is technologically feasible and each provides a different degree of protection. How it might be paid for is a different matter.

    The point is that all these feel good prescriptions are hopelessly vague, making them worse than worthless, a distraction from reality. There is not enough money in the world to protect everybody from every natural event, in every way, and there never will be. Absent specifics we are talking in a useless policy vacuum.

  49. Curious George

    “stabilizing atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations at levels deemed acceptable by climate experts.” That says it all. Objective criteria? Give me ten leading climate experts, and their “skill”, or how they call the success of their predictions. I don’t take projections here.

  50. Geoff Sherrington

    CG,
    Yes, in many ways the problems boil down to the removal of impediments preventing capable people from exercising their skills for the benefit of many.
    This entails mechanisms to identify capable people. There are too many C.C. expert poseurs for now, as I suspect JC would concur.

  51. Harry Twinotter

    “So, what is the point of policies targeted at reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, in context of our concerns about avoiding dangerous human caused climate change?”

    Because that is the simplest “technological fix” to implement.

    I do agree with you on uncertainty, with the reminder that uncertainty cuts both way.

    Even if the emission targets are delayed or missed, they are still a step towards avoiding an exponential increase in the global mean temperature. Slowing down the pace of climatic shift and sea level rise is a worthy goal, even if it cannot be completely prevented.

    • Except there is no good reason to believe that our emissions will cause any increase in GMT, much less an exponential increase (whatever that might mean). Uncertainty does not “cut both ways” in this case. The big uncertainty is whether our emissions have had any discernible effect on GMT. Probably not in my view.

      • Harry Twinotter

        David Wojick.

        “Except there is no good reason to believe that our emissions will cause any increase in GMT, ”

        No good reason, except for the scientific evidence that has been accumulated for decades.

        It is OK to be skeptical about the evidence if that is your thing (and you are justified). But pretending the evidence does not exist is a bit rich – that is denialism.

      • But pretending the evidence does not exist is a bit rich – that is denialism.

        Welcome to Climate Etc Harry!

        Plenty more where that came from if you stick around.

      • Really, all they’ve got is results from a laboratory flask. Out of the laboratory, more than physics applies, and that has made all of the difference.
        ==================

      • Harry, I did not say anything about evidence. The evidence for AGW is slim to none. Warming per se is not evidence, because it may well be natural. Moreover, according to the questionable surface temperature statistical models, it only warmed during about 25 of the last 75 years. And according to the UAH satellite record that 25 year warming all took place in coincidence with the giant 1998 ENSO. No warming 1978-1997 and none 2000-2016, but the latter flat line is slightly warmer than the former.

        So there is literally no evidence whatsoever of emission induced warming for the last 70 years. Or do you have some hidden evidence we do not know about?

      • Oh, this is just too perfect.

        David Wojick

        So there is literally no evidence whatsoever of emission induced warming for the last 70 years.

        Definition of denial,  per wiki:

        a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

        And that hidden evidence: IPCC AR5 WGI

        If it looks like a duck… specially for David:

        http://drboli.com/2009/12/15/the-duck/

      • Warming per se is not evidence, because it may well be natural.

        Circumstantial evidence is still evidence. You just choose to give it a different weight (from zero to infinity) than some others do.

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circumstantial%20evidence

      • David,

        You are so far beyond all reason that the correct word for it gets moderated. Anyway, especially for you.

        If it looks like a duck…

        http://drboli.com/2009/12/15/the-duck/

      • David, you can’t use evidence and logic with these people. They already know all the answers from their catechism.

      • Harry Twinotter

        verytallguy.

        “Welcome to Climate Etc Harry!”

        Don’t worry, I am under no illusions about this blog. It is a zombie blog; and most of the comments are not even related to the article. This blog has a poor reputation in skeptics circles (I mean true skeptics) I asked around a couple of years ago. It is considered on par with JoNova and WUWT.

        I was asked to check and comment on the article so I did. Vanity I guess.

    • Because that is the simplest “technological fix” to implement.

      Simplest doesn’t mean best. In fact, most “simple” solutions are actually simplistic with all sorts of complex consequences.

      That’s one reason that fostering the exponential growth of industries based on extracting ambient CO2 for profitable purposes is, IMO, the optimum approach: it’ll still be decades before it grows to a point that part of such extraction can be turned to sequestering CO2, which gives time for more science.

      Meanwhile, if it follows Wright’s “Law”, which it probably will with appropriate policy, the cost will come down to the point that, if/when it’s decided to sequester CO2, it’ll be a much cheaper proposition. Meanwhile, we don’t have to make that decision right away.

    • By the way, Harry, regarding your exponential growth. Did you know that according to GH theory the warming effect of CO2 DECREASES exponentially with concentration?

      • I don’t think he knows what “exponential growth” means. Lots of people around here don’t.

      • Harry Twinotter

        AK.

        “I don’t think he knows what “exponential growth” means. Lots of people around here don’t.”

        And that is the problem with climate deniers right there – they jump to conclusions based on no evidence. And have poor manners.

        Now, on a normal blog if a commenter thought I misunderstood what “exponential” means, they would ask me what I meant – and I would have responded.

      • Harry Twinotter

        David Wojick.

        “DECREASES exponentially with concentration?”

        No, I did not know that because it is wrong.

      • Review this with your tutors, Harry, if they understand.
        =================

      • OK, OK, since you’ve been so sweet, polite, and humble, I’ll give you a hint.

        Each increment of CO2 rise has less warming effect than the previous such increment. I suspect your confusion stems from the belief that exponents can only have positive signs.
        =====================

    • “Circumstantial evidence is still evidence.”

      In that case, I direct your attention to Exhibit A…

      Man is making it cooler because it sometimes gets cooler.

      Andrew

    • Because that is the simplest “technological fix” to implement.

      This is wrong. We have destroyed some high percentage of carbon sinking and released at least 180 GT of carbon in the process. We are destroying at least 0.25 GT/Y of carbon sinking and releasing 1 GT of carbon per year.

      Shooting the guy with the match or the guy bulldozing fill into the mangrove swamp etc. is a low tech very effective way to stop the CO2 rise. History tells us that since 1900 absorption has increased from basically negative (because of the sink issue) to plus 60% assuming absorption is a fixed percentage of growth. This implies we destroyed in the range of 40% of carbon sinking since 1900.

      The two problems are synergistic. If we stop destroying rainforest and filling in the swamps the CO2 rise grinds to a halt. The emissions (given the current trends) are basically capped, I’m starting to think we won’t see 460 PPM. And be under the 411.1 PPM RCP4.5 CO2 level in 2020 even though we will have had significantly higher emissions.

      Simple problem to fix. Just say no to biofuel. Ban shipping it and treat it like trading in endangered species (which it is – since that is why the rainforest is getting sacrificed).

  52. Slowing down the pace of climatic shift and sea level rise is a worthy goal, even if it cannot be completely prevented.

    You don’t know that and not does anyone else. We don’t know if GHG emissions are doing more harm than good. The alarmists never talk about the fact that increasing GHG concentrations are reducing the risk of the next abrupt climate change being a cooling event rather than an abrupt warming. In case you don’t know it, the climate changes abruptly, always has, always will. And we are past the peak of the current interglacial, so if not for our emissions the next abrupt climate change would be more likely to be an abrupt cooling than an abrupt warming. Our emissions are tending to delay the next abrupt cooling and reduce its magnitude. Warming is not dangerous, but cooling is.

    • Harry Twinotter

      Peter Lang.

      You say no-one knows for sure, then you go on to say that you do know. You cannot have it both ways.

      Saying the climate always changes is a non-sequitur in this context. It does, but the climate also changes in response to extra greenhouse gases.

      “Warming is not dangerous, but cooling is.”

      Warming IS dangerous. Sea levels will rise, that is certain. Sea level rise is happening now, and is accelerating.

      The only abrupt cooling event I am aware of is the Younger Dryas. But considering the earth was coming out of a glacial period, it is not surprising that extreme events were happening.

      • We need to worry when the sea level stops rising. We also need to worry when extreme events start happening, ‘cuz they do mark the transition from interglacial to glacial.

        The evidence of accelerating sea level rise is suspect. Ocean acidification is another made-up danger. Warming, to the extent man can do it with fossil fuels is net beneficial. The greening, were it not so predictable, would be miraculous.

        You can depend, my fine furry friend, on the fact that any study which purports to show net detriment to the biome and the human race from man’s use of fossil fuel is false and propagandistic. Given the power of false narrative, it may be a long while before this fact is fully recognized, but you can also depend on its eventual recognition by our survivors, future generations.

        They will wonder at the delusions of the alarmists, and rue them.
        ===================

      • Harry Twinotter

        Kim.

        Well you have fallen for the climate change denial hoax propaganda, that is clear.

        Me, I would be embarrassed to know I was the plaything of fossil fuel company PR.

      • Harry

        There was a millions of year long abrupt cooling during the Jurassic.

        http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Volcanic-event-cause-Ice-age-Jurassic-period/story-28347541-detail/story.html

        Volcanoes and a change in the oceanic patters of flow are some of the possible reasons. As you know co2 was up to five times higher than today. The position of the continents was also different.

        It is difficult to point to higher periods of co2 in the past and extrapolate that to today as conditions are different, but that is frequently done

        tonyb

      • “It does, but the climate also changes in response to extra greenhouse gases.”

        Yes. It sometimes gets warmer and sometimes cooler and sometimes changes in the sense that it kind of stays the same.

        Andrew

      • And you’ve fallen for the fear and guilt of a false narrative.

        You learn, and be much relieved. Well, maybe not you, but your issue sure will. It’s virtually inevitable, given the manifold benefits of fossil fuel use and rising CO2
        =================

      • “Well you have fallen for the climate change denial hoax propaganda, that is clear.”

        And you are on the Global Warming Propaganda side, it looks like.

        Andrew

      • BA, it’s gradually becoming apparent that the exaggerated dangers of the alarmists will never come to pass. There will be a reckoning, maybe far in the future and after much damage from the panic, but it’ll come.

        It’s kinda like gravity, easily resistable briefly, but likely to prevail long term.

        The alarmists are lying about the exaggerated dangers. Science does not lie that AnthroCO2 warms the Earth, but science abhors the exaggeration. We may abhor the damage from the panic, and will.
        ==================================

      • Kim,

        I’m with ya but…

        “Science does not lie that AnthroCO2 warms the Earth” is going to remain problematic because it only applies when it does, and doesn’t apply when it doesn’t.

        Andrew

      • BA, I, too, believe that sensitivity is at the low end of the range. I also strongly suspect that net feedbacks diminish that low figure even more toward zero.

        Please, Gaia, let not net feedbacks place the sensitivity in the negative range.

        I remember years ago on Climate Audit I was derided for stating that not only do we not know the magnitude of the climate’s sensitivity to CO2, but that we are not even sure of the sign of it.

        Well?
        =====================

      • Harry Twinotter

        tonyb.

        The Jurassic? So these abrupt cooling events do not happen very often then. Continents in different places, different mountain chains, different oceans – not very relevant to current times.

        “It is difficult to point to higher periods of co2 in the past and extrapolate that to today as conditions are different, but that is frequently done.”

        Not really, the Eemian spring to mind, the last interglacial. Temps not that much more than today, but a sea level 10 metres higher. They still see fossil coral reefs poking up into the air on some beaches.

        The sea level rise math is compelling. Around 3.3mm a year, 3.3cm per decade, around a foot by the end of the century. And that is without taking feedback effects on the ice caps into account.

      • “The sea level rise math is compelling”

        So is a drawing of The Hulk, apparently.

        Andrew

      • Your acceleration is an artifact, and your ten meter rise was after much prolonged warming. We’ll not get that.
        ==============================

      • Harry Twinotter

        Kim.

        “Please, Gaia, let not net feedbacks place the sensitivity in the negative range.”

        I would not worry about a negative climate sensitivity. None of the scientific evidence shows that.

      • “I would not worry about a negative climate sensitivity. None of the scientific evidence shows that.”

        But it already does show it to be a possibility, Harry. Have you looked at a Climate Science squiggly line recently?

        Andrew

      • Ah, Harry, what a relief. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
        =================

      • You are very reassuring, Harry, but paleontology shows CO2 rising after temperature rises. And then, after CO2 rises, paleontology shows temperature falling.

        Every time. So now I’m skeert again. Whisper those sweet reassuring words about warming into my ears again, please.
        ===================

      • Harry Twinotter

        Kim.

        “You are very reassuring, Harry, but paleontology shows CO2 rising after temperature rises”

        Sure, the ice core data sometimes shows a rise in CO2 after a rise in temperature – which then causes the temperature to rise more. All this shows is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Something kicked off the initial warming, and that something is likely to be the Milankovitch Cycles. It explains why warming in one hemisphere can trigger warming in the other hemisphere with NO lag.

        I am familiar with most of the AGW denier memes and talking points.

        Check out Potholer, he will straighten out the mystery for you. He is not a climate scientist, but he is a qualified science reporter.

      • @ half precession we are, and in an interglacial now longer than the more recent ones.

        Sure, I believe a higher CO2, all other things being equal, means warmer.

        I have two points.

        1. Warmer is always better than colder.
        2. All other things are not equal.
        ========================

      • Heh, Harry, if you are familiar enough with skeptical memes you will note how much of the consensus literature lately has been an effort to combat those memes, and you may also note how easily and quickly those skeptical debunking articles are themselves blown-up.

        Skepticism is driving climate science now. You may not have noticed yet.
        ===================

      • “He is not a climate scientist”

        heh

        Andrew

      • We are all climate scientists now, and it’s about time.
        =================

      • Harry let me give you a hint, there is nothing compelling about anything you have said. And I feel confident the same will hold true for anything you might say anytime in the future. Do you really think that we have not heard all this CAGW meme before? Come up with something that shows some knowledge and imagination. The imagination part for entertainment value. You are pretty boring.

      • Reliably, ck, these true believers have been taught strawman skeptical memes. They are so confident that they understand the debate.

        They don’t. It isn’t really even about AGW, it’s about the false catastrophism.

        Heh, I half suspect Gore doesn’t even dare show ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to his Gorebots in training. It’s becoming absurd.
        =======================

      • Harry Twinotter

        Kim.

        “Heh, Harry, if you are familiar enough with skeptical memes you will note how much of the consensus literature lately..”

        Consensus literature? Now you are just making stuff up. Can’t have climate scientists agreeing on what the scientific evidence suggests, can we? Of all the stupid things.

        People who think their political ideology somehow trumps science are mistaken. And are foolish.

        So Kim, stay happy with your denialist and conspiracy theory blogs while the rest of the world moves on. Paris was signed.

      • Paris, where there was unanimous agreement to say anything and do nothing. Carry on, Harry; you’ll learn.
        =============

    • Peter, I’ve speculated whether or not, once we do know the climate sensitivity to CO2, we’ll be able to navigate Starship Gaia through the onset of the next glaciation to a safe landing.

      I’ve finally decided that if we do it, it will be inadvertently. We, as a race, are too subject to false narratives and the belief that we understand better than we do to be able to keep a wise hand on the tiller.

      Advertently or inadvertently, we’ll survive. Cheaper energy means more will survive. These alarmists don’t just threaten our species’ society, but its survival.

      I’m quite confident that they’ll fail to harm us irreparably, but it might be a close run thing.
      ====================

      • I’m sorry Admiral Kim, but any sailor of the good ship earth who actually believes energy buried in the abyssal ocean in going to be of benefit – as in, saving Western Civilization from the ravages of the next ice age – to the human race needs to be tossed overboard.

      • It can’t help but be beneficial, but it may not suffice. Ameliorating is the best I realistically hope for, and ameliorating is fated by thermodynamics.
        =======================

      • ==> These alarmists don’t just threaten our species’ society, but its survival.

        Perhaps, just perhaps, a deserving recipient of the Supreme All Time Unintentional Irony Award.

      • JCH, dirt don’t float. No idea at all, you once said. I still agree with your statement. Now how do you save the Eastern Civilizations? Or do you just throw the Westerners overboard?

      • A Western Elite, with their Precious Conceit, have already rushed to fill the lifeboats, and there is no iceberg in sight.

        Oh, well, they’ll soon be adrift in an icy sea, still SOSing to the wind.
        ======================

      • Harry Twinotter

        Joshua.

        “Perhaps, just perhaps, a deserving recipient of the Supreme All Time Unintentional Irony Award.”

        I was thinking the same thing. Ice Age Alarmists?

      • It will come out at a temperature that will make the surface colder. Real fast.

      • It will be warmer than it would have been sans man. Thermodynamically inevitable.
        ===========

      • JCH is good but he misses this point. If we are allowing the earth to store more heat than otherwise, and we may well be so doing, it will come out during glaciation and its onset.
        ===============

      • In Kim’s bleakatastrophe future, energy will be cheap only if billions of customers are already dead. With billions and billions still alive, Glenn’s $120.00 won’t buy a half-used book of nonrenewable matches.

      • I like you. You understand filial duty.
        ========

      • “billions of customers are already dead”

        JCH,

        Do you ever get tired of regurgitating extreme poetry?

        I would have found something useful to do already. Like a job.

        Andrew

      • JCH,

        Maybe you can meet Joshua at the job fair.

        Andrew

      • Kim,

        Insightful and wise, as usual.

        Where have you been? I missed your frequent short, sharp comments that hit the nail on the head every time and with humour.

      • Bad Andrew | February 19, 2016 at 11:05 am |
        “billions of customers are already dead”

        From what I can tell more people are killed in China by renewable energy products than are saved in the US by renewable energy.

        Renewable energy is running a death surplus.

  53. The higher the sensitivity the colder we would now be without man’s efforts. You’d better hope that the recovery from the coldest depths of the Holocene has been predominantly natural, ‘cuz if man’s done the heavy lifting of warming, we can’t keep it up much longer.
    ======================

    • blueice2hotsea

      Yes, and good news. We may have missed the Big Chill and better still, Milankovitch has joined forces.

      P.S. Captain Nemo’s abysmal focus is misdirected. If augmentation needs be, Carbonaceous Rocks!