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Filed under: — group @ 30 November 2015

Apparently there is a climate conference of some sort going on. Happy to answer any science questions as they arise…

270 Responses to “#COP21”

  1. 151
    Mal Adapted says:


    A transcript of James Hansen’s COP21 address, “Climate Justice and Governmental Honesty”, is here. Very clear and forceful presentation of his carbon fee and dividend proposal.

    Thanks for that. I saved the three slides outlining fee-and-dividend. I’ll show them to everyone I can persuade to look at them. It sure makes sense to me, why not everyone 8^(?

  2. 152
    Michael Sweet says:

    Patrick @132:
    I am not so concerned about Matt Ridley. Your link counters his blather well. The issue is that Scientific American gave him a voice after the letter you linked was published. The editors at Scientific American should have seen your link and not published Ridleys’ Op Ed. Why is Scientific American publishing Op-Ed pieces that are anti-science? Will they publish an anti-vaccine screed next?

    I read the articles at Real Climate because they are backed by sound science. I do not have to fact check them. Will I have to fact check everything at Scientific American now since the editors have stopped fact checking for me?

  3. 153
    Jeremy Gilchrist says:

    128 Chuck Hughes. re commentary:
    I’m getting some joy on Facebook

  4. 154
    Edward Greisch says:

    John Kerry’s do-gooder plan is sabotaging our effort to stop GW. John Kerry is proving the denialists’ case. I saw him today on TV on France24. He sees GW as an opportunity to end world poverty. Ending world poverty is a pipe dream. They have been trying to end world poverty my entire life, and poverty is unchanged.

    As I said before, there are 2 other existential problems beside GW. They are a population more than twice carrying capacity and resource depletion. Clearly, the human population is going to crash. Not only is poverty not going to end, but civilization in general is going to end. If we can hold onto remnants of civilization, that would be great. We will be lucky enough to not go extinct.

  5. 155
    patrick says:

    @133 Robert: > James Hansen’s COP21 address: Very clear and forceful presentation of his carbon fee and dividend proposal.

    That’s a good transcript of Hansen’s talk you’ve linked because it has all the slides he used.

    Also, it links the REMI (Regional Economic Models Inc.) study–which Hansen used–which was originally released by the Citizens Climate Lobby.

    The site explains the study, comprising nine regions, and the big takeaways. The Citizens Climate Lobby itself is a non-partisan way for individuals to make a difference. There are many local chapters around the U.S.

  6. 156
    James McDonald says:

    A quick technical question: Is there a concise compilation anywhere of the temperature precision possible with various paleothermometers and proxies?
    For example, using O16/O18 ratios, can you get 2-sigma 0.5C precision on decadal timescales?
    I did a Google Scholar search, but the information seems scattered and is often presented as precisions for the raw ratios, leaving it up to the reader to translate to temperature inferences.
    Any pointers welcome. (And yes, I understand this is a tricky area for interpretation — that’s why I would prefer insights from an expert rather than making my own inferences.)

  7. 157
    Chris Colose says:

    James McDonald (139):

    It’s rare that you can interpret d18 as just temperature, that needs to be established first.

  8. 158
    patrick says:

    Access to the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting–live-streamed and on-demand viewing–is free:

    “Register today, and begin viewing on Sunday, 13 December, at 12:00 P.M. PST, when Richard Alley delivers the AGU Public Lecture: Ice Cores to Smart Phones: The Good News on Energy, the Environment, and Our Future.”

    Thank you, AGU.

  9. 159

    MR @144: They haven’t experience catastrophe likely because they haven’t curtailed emissions enough to make a difference.

    BPL: That dragging noise is the sound of goalposts being moved.

  10. 160
    Victor says:

    Regarding Hansen’s tax proposal. I’m assuming the point is to tax the fossil fuel industry to the point that alternative energy will be competitive. So, first of all, pace Naomi Klein, this is a free market, capitalist proposal, no? I’m a socialist, so that doesn’t sit well, but if it would actually promote alternative energy I won’t complain. Despite my “denialist” stance, I’m all for developing renewable sources because the fossils will sooner or later run and we’ll need them.

    So, OK, we tax the oil, coal, gas industries to the hilt. Then each of us gets a check to compensate for the increased cost of these fuels. So I get my check and I do some comparison shopping, and suppose the cost of renewables remains too high to be competitive compared to the increased cost of ff. What do I do? I use my check to compensate for the increased cost and I continue heating my home with gas and driving my internal combustion auto, just as before. In order for renewables to be competitive, the cost has to be less than that of fossil fuels, right?

    OK, congress gets the message and increases the tax to the point that no one wants anymore to purchase fossil fuels and turns to renewables because they are cheaper. That way everyone can get to keep the difference from the govt. check they get. Nice. However, any tax large enough to make renewables competitive (I hate that word) with ff, will drive the ff industry out of business. That’s the whole idea, you say? Well, yes, I suppose. But if these companies vanish, so does the income derived from taxing them. So what we end up with are greatly increased heating, electricity and fuel costs, with no tax any more to compensate the public for the increase.

    So what would be the point of this exercise other than some clever conjuring with smoke and mirrors? Why not just nationalize the ff companies and shut them down altogether without all the bureaucracy needed to implement a complicate tax scheme?

  11. 161
    patrick says:

    “The other point much like the one that crops up with geo-engineering the planet by sulfate aerosols, is that the length of a few solar cycles are much shorter than the timescale over which CO2 remains perturbed in Earth’s atmosphere. The CO2 remains elevated until the very slow weathering processes described previously take out the long tail of elevated CO2 that the oceans are unable to, due to the exhaustion of the carbonate ion that (like a Tums tablet to treat your stomach acid) acts as an anti-CO2 agent when carbon invades the ocean. This disparate timescale problem of CO2 drawdown is fascinating, but it follows that if one thinks that short-term mitigation strategies or hoping for a small reduction in solar activity will buy time for tackling the CO2 problem, you’re only ensuring much larger peak warming in the future.” –Chris Colose

    Chris Colose: Thanks for your blog.

  12. 162
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I’m getting some joy on Facebook

    Comment by Jeremy Gilchrist — 9 Dec 2015

    I was hoping to find out some information that might address Kevin Anderson’s concerns about meaningful action toward Climate Change. Or, if any deals were made that might change the trajectory of where we are headed. I trust Realclimate will provide us with a summary of events soon.

  13. 163
    Edward Greisch says:

    136 MartinJB: A Do-gooder plan involving giving $100 Billion/year to the third world has the following result: Denialists will use it as proof that GW is a political movement to take over the world [world government] and take sovereignty away from the US. The US senate will not approve the treaty because of the do-gooder poison pill. Congress will not appropriate the money. The US supreme court will declare the treaty unconstitutional. To put it simply: MartinJB’s do-gooder plan is a poison pill that will prevent any action on Global Warming.

    140 Kevin McKinney: Thank you. I wish I could get MartinJB to realize that we are desperate.

  14. 164
    Edward Greisch says:

    136 MartinJB: As I have said many times and you have ignored: There is going to be a population crash. That means billions of people are going to die in one year. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Nor are you going to be among the survivors, if any.

    Repeat: The carrying capacity of this planet is 3 Billion, not 7.5 Billion. We are living on mined water. When the water runs out, MartinJB is going to die of starvation. Ed Greisch may be fortunate enough to die of old age first.

    By mitigating GW, we may be able to increase the number of survivors from zero to a sufficient number for the species Homo Sapiens to avoid extinction. Again: We do not know who or where the survivors will be, but MartinJB has a 1 in 7.5 billion chance of being among them.

  15. 165
    Jeremy Gilchrist says:

    I’m interested in the role of the wind in the atmosphere. I think that we should be paying more attention to the potential increase in wind velocity overall, and its impact. Perhaps patterns are forming to help disperse heat to the poles. I’m thinking Gaia. I’m thinking of a planet maintaining its thermal equilibrium. Is there anyone measuring wind on a global scale, with some idea of its energy content? I’m concerned for trees.

  16. 166
    Killian says:

    #143 Tony Weddle said Could it happen? I don’t know.

    Exactly. What are you willing to lose on that bet? Doesn’t matter if we *know* it *can* happen, what matters is that we don’t know it *can’t* happen. That’s risk assessment.

  17. 167
    Silk says:

    #138 – Ah Victor. THANK YOU. This is very helpful to me. It helps me to understand you, which is of course essential to any science communicator. One can’t communicate if one doesn’t understand the audience.

    You see Victor, I thought (wrongly as it seems) you were interested in knowledge (I come to Real Climate to learn stuff). So when you posted (#55) “Why aren’t efforts being made to tap ocean wave/current dynamics as a power source” I thought you were genuinely interested in an answer to this (rather foolish) question. So I provided one (#68), as did BPL (#76) and Kevin (#78)

    You didn’t read either of these, but you did pick up on #71 where Ray suggested you were ‘clueless’.

    Ergo, you demonstrate why you are really here. You are seeking affirmation to your view that you are part of a unique outsider group than know the truth, and that we are part of a nefarious cabal interested only in shutting you down.

    You are totally blind to your own ignorance of science (because you DO NOT READ any information that highlights your ignorance) but you can spot an ad hom that ‘proves’ your theory from a mile away. You are, indeed, the archetypal conspiracy theorist.

    If we follow the rest of you contributions to this thread, Richard (#7) asks some questions that can be answered with science, and you respond with a totally bizarre riff about earthquakes. Then we have the spat with Ray which proves (in your mind) that we are “a group of like-minded people already convinced ahead of time that they are right and everyone else is wrong” (which was your point all along) then (#120) you raise the strawman of stopping all fossil fuel production tomorrow (NO ONE is suggesting that. Not the IEA, not the IPCC, not the negotiators, not any climate scientist or activist I’ve ever met).

    Then, finally, we get to #138 where you try to claim you are the righteous septic. But, of course, you aren’t, because you don’t actually read stuff.

    There is NO DEBATE that the basic science of climate change is correct, because there are literally thousands of scientific papers demonstrating that it is correct, there are lab based and physical experiment based experiments that demonstrate the physics of forcing and the impact of forcing on global temperatures, there was a prediction by scientists (many predictions, in fact, but the big on was when the IPCC was established back in 1988) that global mean temperatures would increase WHICH WAS THEN OBSERVED and there are NO (ZERO, NONE, NOT ONE) alternative theories that explain the build up of energy in the oceans, atmosphere and land surface that are in any way consistent with available data (sun isn’t warming, there’s no trend in ‘rays’ either, evidence does not support any theory that suggests changes in CO2 are natural etc.).

    If you would actually like to DEBATE about this stuff (and this is a thoroughly pointless use of your time) you need to do the hard stuff. Look at the data. Based on the data arrive at a theory that is consistent WITH THE FULL DATA SET and not merely a snippet of it (I’m sure you can find some ocean temperature data, somewhere, that proves it’s all down to the seal population) and, while you are at it, explain why the forcing from GHGs isn’t actually leading to significant energy imbalance. Then, of course, you have to get it peer reviewed (though you could, as a starter, put it down in a webpage like BPL does and get it critiqued). Oh. You’re producing a book. Seems like overkill to me. But good luck with that.

    NO ONE on Real Climate is suggesting that the science is ‘closed’. Merely that no branch of science has been subject to such scrutiny as Climate Science and the basics have been known for years and aren’t going to change.

    There is, of course, a debate about what one should do in response, and clearly the exact value (if such a thing is meaningful) of climate sensitivity, and the rate at which the climate will change, and the damage to humans this will lead to, are all relevant in making this judgement call.

    However, even real skeptics like Lawson and Lomborg think 6 degrees of warming would be harmful for humans and should be avoided. And NO ONE knows where the tipping points are. Not you and not I. But we know they exist, as the world has been in different states in the past. So the majority of us (and I know think I speak for adult human beings as a whole) think it reasonable to take serious steps to reduce emissions globally now.

    Thankfully there are a body of experts (not climate scientists) who are of the opinion that there are MANY things we can do to SIGNIFICANTLY reduce global GHG emissions at affordable costs. These are detailed, in particular, by the International Energy Agency (economists and energy market experts, rather than climate scientists or climate activists) and in numerous papers from across the world cited in IPCC Working Group 3 Assessment Reports.

    Anyway, I’m wasting my time here. This stuff is wasted on you. You won’t read it, and you certainly won’t follow up by reading the IEA reports.

    Please don’t respond. I’m not going to respond to you, on this or any other Real Climate blog.

    The debate is closed. Not because the science is settled (of course it isn’t, there is a lot more science to do) but because you genuinely don’t have anything to bring to the debate. And I don’t have time to engage with conspiracy theorists.

  18. 168
    Silk says:

    #144 Mike Roberts

    If you’re theory is that de-carbonising the economy is going to lead to catastrophe, then you are wrong. Thankfully.

    See, for example, IEA work on this subject. (The IEA are not, by any stretch of the imagination, tree-huggers or climate activists)

    There are enormous challenges associated with decarbonisation of the global energy system, just as there were enormous challenges associated with establishing then decommissioning the British Empire, the Apollo Programme, winning WWI and WWII, defeating communism and securing peace in the middle east. And you’ll not we haven’t totally finished those last two, yet. Climate mitigation is very similar. It will never be ‘done’ (or at least not this century) but there is AMPLE evidence to suggest that we can do a hell of a lot.

    3.0 degrees is a lot better than 4.5 degrees and we can do 3.0 degrees with barely breaking sweat. Indeed, much of what we could do to achieve 3.0 degrees is cheaper than free.

    2.0 degrees much harder, of course. 1.5 is impossible.

  19. 169
    Hank Roberts says:

    Chancel / Piketty explicitly seek a globally progressive tax on individuals rather than countries. They do this for a number of reasons, but first among them is the judgement that inequality between people has (since 2013) become a greater source of emissions inequity than inequality between countries:

    “Our estimates also show that within-country inequality in CO2e emissions matters more and more to explain the global dispersion of CO2e emissions. In 1998, one third of global CO2e emissions inequality was accounted for by inequality within countries. Today, within-country inequality makes up 50% of the global dispersion of CO2e emissions. It is then crucial to focus on high individual emitters rather than high emitting countries.”

    Here’s the key graphic:

  20. 170
    TPP85 says:

    This conference proves that politicians are clearly “twisted-minded”, and it does not help the science community to be audible.
    So, they want to “go” for a +1.5C threshold, because it is more acceptable for threatened countries… and more ambitious. Please let me know about a psychiatrist who could find out the logics in regards of the actual situation.
    It is too late to keep unchanged the environment and to secure on long term these very low islands, and it is too late to think of a 1.5 threshold. But let us try to do as we did know the former statement? What is the name for this mental illness, please?

  21. 171
    Tom Adams says:


    The 2 degree target or goal has been mentioned numerous times on Real Climate. Guess what? Apparently the target in the UN Convention is the non-numeric “dangerous climate change”. The question dangerous to whom? The (operational) answer is dangerous to parties, because, after all, COP stands for Conference of Parties. Turns out that 2 degrees is dangerous (even suicidal) to some parties.

    There has apparently never been a discussion of a 1.5 degree target or goal on Real Climate (according to my searches). Has the scientific community been blind sided by this one?

  22. 172
    Tom Adams says:

    I guess one solution is adaptation where we shell out funds to move the threatened parties to higher ground. But that does not seem to be the direction that COP21 is taking. The parties tend to identify with their current location.

    But I am not sure if sea-level is the only problem with the 2.0 degree target. Seems that climate scientist need to figure this one out.

  23. 173
    Tom Adams says:

    I think we have known for quite a while a 2 degree C goal translates to an eventual 15 foot sea level rise goal. That 15 feet is way out in the future so I guess we thought we could ignore this translation. But sea level rise is a short-term existential threat to some parties to COP.

  24. 174
    Mitch says:

    I know of no good compilation of different paleothermometry techniques. They range from changes in structure of organic biomarkers, to thermodynamic inclusions of minor elements in biominerals, to changes in relative abundance of different plant macrofossils.

    Each method has its issues and strengths. And, most work only in either terrestrial or marine environments.

  25. 175
    wili says:

    Joseph O’Sullivan at #106 asked: “As a thought experiment, what if someone at the the COP 21 waved a magic wand and instantly stopped all anthropogenic greenhouse gas pollution, how much warming could we still expect and what would be the consequences of it?”

    That’s a good question and I haven’t kept up with the latest on this. My meager understanding is that the oceans are still absorbing CO2 fast enough that the immediate draw down from this ‘sink’ will be (almost?) enough to counteract the increasing carbon sources such as permafrost melt. So there will be some further warming because of lag to get to full Earth System Sensitivity and loss of aerosol umbrela…, but CO2 levels may not continue to rise too much (depending on sensitivity and rate of carbon feedbacks).

    But perhaps others have recent studies on the issue that they can bring to bear on this important question, however hypothetical it may be?

  26. 176
  27. 177
    Victor says:

    #166 I’m sorry to have gotten you so worked up, Silk. Of course you must realize that your passion is directed not only at me, but literally thousands of very well informed people, many of them scientists, who see things more or less as I do. So no, I don’t take it personally.

    As for the post on ocean heating to which you referred, yes of course I read it. I just didn’t have time to double check and assumed you were referring to some older post dealing with ocean warming. I have no problem with that post and am grateful for the clarification. Man, you do have a tendency to jump to conclusions, I must say.

    As for the rest, it’s just a bunch of scatter shot assumptions about the degree to which I’ve bothered to inform myself on climate change, all of which are wrong. I’m boxing with hands tied behind my back here, because all the references and analyses you demanded can be found in my book, but I’m not permitted to link to the book on this blog, or even name it, so can’t do much to enlighten you. If you send me an email, at, I’ll be happy to order a copy for you, free of charge. And we can continue our discussion via email, if you like.

    “There is, of course, a debate about what one should do in response, and clearly the exact value (if such a thing is meaningful) of climate sensitivity, and the rate at which the climate will change, and the damage to humans this will lead to, are all relevant in making this judgement call.”

    Well surprise surprise. You’ve just named precisely the issues that concern me as well: climate sensitivity, rate of change, and degree of damage. And yes, I agree all these vital issues are up for debate. So what are we arguing about?

  28. 178
    James McDonald says:

    Mitch (174) — Thanks.
    That’s what I suspected, but I was hoping it was in a textbook somewhere.
    Offhand, given the significance of the topic, it seems bizarre to me that someone hasn’t done such a compilation.
    Maybe there’s a useful paper to be published there? I’m guessing it would get a ton of citations.

  29. 179
    Hank Roberts says:

    It’s NOT a TARGET.

    It’s like the white line at the edge of the pavement.
    Marking where the asphalt turns to loose gravel and weeds and maybe a ditch.
    What happens? depends on WHEN you cross the line and WHAT is beyond it. And whether you just get the outside wheel or two over it briefly, or you really screw up.

    NOT a TARGET. OPPOSITE of a target.

    Don’t go there. That’s what it means.
    And if you do go there know how to carefully correct, go no further.

    Good grief.

  30. 180
    David Smith says:

    Do you feel the impact of reforestation is being overstated as a carbon sequestration tool? As I understand it, sequestration into forests is a relatively minor fraction of the the amount of carbon being released from fossil resources, and could never match those fossil emissions. I think the proposition also confuses the layperson, who doesn’t seem to understand the mass balance issue of removing carbon out of the lithosphere, and incorrectly thinks we can balance the equation by planting more trees.

  31. 181
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Okay, so I’m not as smart as the rest of you so can you distill the message coming out of COP21?

    I don’t think 1.5C is possible at all. I think 2C is out of the question as well. So i would think the best we can hope for is something between 2-3C IF we can power down dramatically from where we are now and somehow pull CO2 out of the atmosphere… and no dramatic feedbacks kick in to speed the process up. Do I have that about right or is it worse than that? Thanks

  32. 182
    Hank Roberts says:

    > doctorgosh
    ‘oogled, finds Victor’s book at

  33. 183
    patrick says:

    Michael Sweet @152 > Why is Scientific American publishing Op-Ed pieces that are anti-science? … Will I have to fact check everything at Scientific American now since the editors have stopped fact checking for me?

    –Got it.

  34. 184
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Well surprise surprise. You’ve just named precisely the issues that concern me as well: climate sensitivity, rate of change, and degree of damage. And yes, I agree all these vital issues are up for debate. So what are we arguing about?

    Comment by Victor — 11 Dec 2015 @

    Shorter Victor: “I don’t always argue with myself but when I do, I set up a false dichotomy and keep it going as long as possible so I can pimp my book to people who have absolutely no interest in reading it.”

  35. 185
    Edward Greisch says:

    Policy Responses to Climate Change by the World Nuclear Association
    talks about the COP history

  36. 186

    And we have a Paris Accord!

    Many questions to be asked, and much work still to be done. But I’m so relieved that at least, as Laurent Fabius put it, we don’t have a “Copenhagen with more police.”

  37. 187
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Just been watching the sat12th cop21 conference. So far I like what I heard from Pres. Hollande. We must not get paralysed on technicalities and a few sticky points. We have to forge an aggressive and legally binding global agreement. The meeting reconvenes at 3.45pm paris time. I anticipate that there will be a unanimous and historic agreement by then on a 1.5C target. I was talking with my son, saying that this agreement gives the world a glimmer of hope, not much more. By every country doing their respective best to slash emissions could mean the difference between uncontrollable climate change leading quite rapidly to one of the most comprehensive mass extinction events in the planet’s 4.5 billion year history…or slowly bringing the temp back from 2.7+C in say the next 40-100 years. That of course all depends on the sensitivity of arctic methane hydrates. What will be the rate of CH4 emissions from the arctic and CO2/CH4 release from the permafrost in then next 40-50 years?? At that time will it still be a contributing factor or will it be the prime mover of a climatic paradigm shift??. I have only watched about a dozen plenaries and press conferences and haven’t caught anyone mentioning our unsustainable 7.3bill pop. or rampant forest/land clearing (the elephants in the closet). Still a historic agreement is just a few hours away. Better late then never.

  38. 188
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Wili … instantly stopped all greenhouse gas ….?

    The first search I tried found one answer; I’m sure you can improve on this by reading past the first page of results, or modifying the search. Look particularly for “image” results as the charts are found many places.


    That finds many answers to that hypothetical, including for example the orange line in the chart on this page:

  39. 189
    MartinJB says:

    EdG: Ignoring your bizarre statements about our relative chances of survival (especially odd since you have no idea about how old I am, where I live or anything else about me), I just have to say that I think you are not being realistic about a climate deal.

    First, I doubt the US congress is going to ratify any deal in the near future, assistance to the developing world or not. Second, that assistance is not purely “do-goodery”. It is the price we will pay to get the developing world to develop using a less carbon-intensive route than the developed world did. And the developed world will be using more and more energy in a BAU scenario. Third, there will be no deal without assistance. I posit that the developing world will not (and IMHO should not) agree to a deal without it. Without the buy-in from countries like India, there is no deal. You think assistance is a non-starter for congress. Well, so is the non-participation of emerging emitters.

    Finally, I know you like the doom scenarios. That’s your right, and there is certainly a lot of risk. But I think you overstate our certainty about carrying capacity (an uncertainty that is not to our benefit, of course) and future population crashes. Given the fact that we are a widely distributed species that can plan, experiment and use tools, I suspect that extinction is all but off the table and that substantial populations would continue to exist in even the most dire scenarios.

  40. 190
    Chuck Hughes says:

    What about China and India? Binding agreements or Voluntary pledges?

  41. 191
    Mike says:

    Chuck at 180: I think the message from COP21 is “empty suits, empty promises.”

    I think that asking about amount of temperature rise we have created is the wrong question. I think the right question is “when are we going to move forward with a global (or even local) price on carbon emissions?” Once we make that commitment we can move that bar up and use the proceeds of the carbon fees to build sustainable infrastructure and for mitigation. Unless we are asking that question and getting a firm answer, we will only be looking at promises about holding the line on temperature rise that are as hollow as VW vehicle stats. The deciders are cooking the books and the planet. The solution (solution means lessening impact, slowing the sixth great extinction) is in hard costs for emitting greenhouse gases.

    If we are unwilling to put a contemporary price on carbon emissions, we will continue to see the price of carbon emissions delivered to our doors as disastrous changes in weather patterns and diminished carrying capacity of the ecosystem to support the beings who have evolved to exist in that ecosystem.

    I live in Western WA and I see that the local rainfall patterns have changed. We now get less snow/ice buildup at high elevations in the winter and we get less of the steady drizzle rain that the NW is famous for and more high wind, heavy rain storms. We are in the wind and heavy rain pattern right now, lowlands are flooded, US Hwy 12 is closed for washouts and slides. Nothing really catastrophic, but the writing is on the wall. Let them who have ears, hear.

    Oh, btw – Victor = troll. Don’t feed the trolls. Waste of time. These folks are only useful to help us remember the level of political inertia that exists to thwart essential change. Might as well try talking sense with Cruz or Trump. It’s all rhetoric and no reason.

  42. 192
    Russell says:

    I now see I was mistaken to write in 1990 about the world being ” offered insurance against C02 bracket creep-at a trillion-dollar premium.

    Forget a trillion dollar policy–the word from Paris is that they want a trillion five in commision alone

  43. 193
    Chris Korda says:

    COP21 was adopted today, and it’s an interesting document. Each paragraph begins with an italicized verb, and they are: acknowledges, affirms, agrees, calls upon, decides, emphasizes, encourages, invites, notes, recognizes, recommends, reiterates, requests, resolves, takes note, urges, welcomes. Maybe next time we’ll see beseeches, implores, and pleads.

    Notably absent are the following verbs: authorizes, decrees, directs, imposes, mandates, obliges, orders, ratifies, requires, stipulates. This list is by no means exhaustive. Neither damages nor sanctions are mentioned, and the only mention of punishment is a renouncement of it, in Article 13: “The transparency framework shall … be implemented in a facilitative, non-intrusive, non-punitive manner, respectful of national sovereignty, and avoid placing undue burden on Parties.” This bright green(wash) bubble bath of deference applies as much to the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia as it does to Kiribati.

    It does appear that James Hansen has a point: “It’s a fraud really, a fake,” [Hansen] says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

  44. 194
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Well that was a better outcome than I thought would happen. Still now the world has got to walk the walk. Realistically a 1.5c target would be unachievable I think we would all agree, but at least an overshoot of one degree will be better than a similar percent overshoot based on a 2C target. It gives us a fighting chance, and fight is exactly what we all need to do to prevent runaway GW. Still delighted with the outcome.

  45. 195
    Edward Greisch says:

    180 Chuck Hughes: COP21 agreed to the Kyoto protocol again + taxing the US to bribe the dictators of small countries.

    Human rights are mentioned in the draft agreement for COP21, but not spelled out. It is fortunate that the mention is minor because human rights are very unlikely while civilization is collapsing. Past collapses of civilization have been brutal. “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

    Freedom happens when there is a huge amount of empty farmable land that is not under the control of a nobility. If there is empty land, the peasants can simply walk away if the political class is harsh. Democracy has persisted for some time after the frontier closed, but don’t expect democracy to persist into the collapse.

    The empty land was used up in the 1880s. We now have less land than is required to support the present population permanently. The permanent carrying capacity has been used up and exceeded.

  46. 196
    Edward Greisch says:

    “Policy Responses to Climate Change

    (Updated November 2015)
    The human enhancement of global warming leading to climate change is seen as a worldwide problem.
    Policy responses have been led by international negotiation, but have been qualified or indecisive at the national level, and so far largely ineffective. 
    The principal focus has been on reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
    Nuclear power is seldom acknowledged as the single most significant means of limiting the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations while enabling access to abundant electricity.”


  47. 197
    Edward Greisch says:

    The Guardian says: “James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud'”
    ““It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.””

    I agree 100% with James Hansen. We are back to square 1 with half a century lost.

    The agreement can be downloaded from

  48. 198

    I think that commenter angst over the lack of top-down enforcement mechanisms in the Paris Accord rather misses the point.

    The assumed paradigm is usually that we ‘good guys’ need enforcement to make ‘them’ behave. But just who, precisely, is ‘them’, and who is ‘us’?

    As I see it, the point is that 196 nations cared enough about the issue to fund sizable delegations, who in turn cared enough to wrangle over every ‘square bracket’ and every ‘shall/should’, including what sounds like a pretty brutal three-day ultra to finish up, a day late. And they cared enough to give up wish-list items to get an agreement. That’s not the behavior of posers and takers.

    That’s not to say that all is sweetness and light, of course. In fact, the hard work really begins now–cf. Churchill’s “end of the beginning” speech. But it is to say that this treaty is a resounding victory for cooperation and for multilateralism.

    Let’s continue to organize and to work to make meaningful mitigation happen. It ain’t ‘them’–it’s us.

  49. 199
    Frank Hartzell says:

    Climate change cannot happen under free trade. Any deal to change over to renewables will be cheated on by the market. Consumption and carbon will continue to skyrocket, right? I believe that by empowering local economies, replacing industrial agriculture with smaller scale and taxing per mile, we could make real change. ID LOVE comments on my blog about this

  50. 200
    Victor says:

    Chucky the clown: Shorter Victor: “I don’t always argue with myself but when I do, I set up a false dichotomy and keep it going as long as possible so I can pimp my book to people who have absolutely no interest in reading it.”

    I care not whether you read it or not. But please don’t accuse me of neglecting the science on the basis of your own ignorance.