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Trump carbon and the Paris agreement

Filed under: — david @ 17 November 2016

The recent US election has prompted cries that the decision on Earth’s climate has now been irrevocably made, that the US has unilaterally decided to scrap the peak warming target from the Paris agreement of 1.5 oC. What do the numbers say? Is Earth’s climate now irrevocably fracked?

The short answer is that, strictly speaking, the future of global climate would have been fracked even had the election gone the other way, unless stronger action to cut CO2 emissions is taken, very soon.

U.S. Emissions under 2020 and 2025 targets, from Columbia University Earth Institute, 2015

Here are some numbers. Carbon emissions from the United States have been dropping since the year 2000, more than on-track to meet a target for the year 2020. Perhaps with continued effort and improving technology, emissions might have dropped to below the 2020 target by 2020, let’s say to 5 gigatons of CO2 per year (5000 megatons in the plot). In actuality, now, let’s say that removing restrictions on energy inefficiency and air pollution could potentially lead to US emissions by 2020 of about 7 gigatons of CO2. This assumes that future growth in emissions followed the faster growth rates from the 1990’s.

Maybe neither of these things will happen exactly, but these scenarios give us a high-end estimate for the difference between the two, which comes to about 4 gigatons of CO2 over four years. There will also probably be extra emissions beyond 2020 due to the lost opportunity to decarbonize and streamline the energy system between now and then. Call it 4-6 gigatons of Trump CO2.

This large quantity of gas can be put into the context of what it will take to avoid the peak warming threshold agreed to in Paris. In order to avoid exceeding a very disruptive warming of 1.5 oC with 66% probability, humanity can release approximately 220 gigatons of CO2 after January, 2017 (IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis report, Table 2.2, corrected for emissions since 2011). The 4-6 Gtons of Trump CO2 will not by itself put the world over this threshold. But global CO2 emission rates are now about 36 gigatons of CO2 per year, giving a time horizon of only about six years of business-as-usual (!) before we cross the line, leaving basically no time for screwing around. To reach the catastrophic 2 oC, about 1000 gigatons of CO2 remain (about 20 years of business as usual). Note that these estimates were done before global temperatures spiked since 2014 — we are currently at 1.2 oC! So these temperature boundaries may be closer than was recently thought.

An optimistic hope is that humanity may soon feel the need to clean up the atmosphere by direct CO2 removal. The American Physical Society estimates a cost for this at about $600 per ton of CO2. Based on this the cost of carbon emitted by the US in the next four years would come in at $8-10 trillion, which amounts to about 14% of US GDP over that time. Even under the scenario that lost in the election, $6 trillion of clean-up costs would have been incurred (8% of GDP).

If you are in a new-found panic about the future of Earth’s climate, know that what you’re feeling now would still have been almost as appropriate had the election gone the other way. The fight to defend Earth’s climate would still be just beginning.

194 Responses to “Trump carbon and the Paris agreement”

  1. 101
    Adam Lea says:

    65: “Pete, the most cost-effective way to reduce GHG emissions is to make emitting them more costly than the alternatives.”

    The problem with this is that whilst trying to internalize the costs of CO2 emission is an admirable goal, in the UK at least, you end up with the right wing tabloids in uproar about increases in taxation and/or that we are all paying xxx to subsidize renewables. This has the effect of sowing the idea that renewables = more cost to you = bad, thus turning a significant portion of the population against renewable energy and those who advocate it. How do you get around this? It comes down to playing on people’s emotions – again – just like immigrants and Brexit. When it comes down to it, emotions beat cold hard logic, no matter how undesirable this may be. We are dealing with human beings, not Mr Spock. I don’t know what the answer is to this.

  2. 102
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted #92,

    First, I don’t understand how you can claim that CO2 would count as an externalized cost in some past era. If world population had remained fixed at, say, 1900 levels, with similar distribution of wealth and technology, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we are in. The “cost” might never manifest itself. So, how would you propose to make a comparison between externalization v market failure resulting from oligarchical oligopoly as factors favoring the dominance of one technology over another in the recent past? Who knew, as they say?

    And you seem to ignore the obvious fact that governments favor the development of resource that they control– meaning resources that can be controlled. The US, whatever its other sterling qualities, was for a time similar to a petro-state like Venezuela or Saudi Arabia. Before that, it was the Brits and coal.

    As for your “price-sensitive consumer demand”, it is easily manipulated by those with the disproportionate market power provided by state subsidies and favorable regulation. Would you like to bet on what the price of petrol or electricity will be if the current low prices succeed in crushing electrification of transport and renewables? If you “own” the leases, you can turn off the spigot any time you like.

    You are obviously smart enough to understand this. But mostly my critique is a tactical/strategic one. You aren’t going to convince anyone by making up numbers to quantify future costs of CO2. The other guys control the discount rate.

  3. 103

    “By making a *global* agreement un-workable…”

    It doesn’t. The rest of the world can mitigate, still, and for that matter California and probably other large states will be involved.

    US defection, though, is politically risky for the Accord, in that one could certainly imagine a potentially fatal ‘contagion’ among less-committed members. And there is the logic of ‘if America doesn’t act, us doing our part is futile.’ I’ve already seen that one from Canadian denialati.

    So far, the signals are that if anything, Trump has focused minds. Keep hoping and working towards it staying that way.

  4. 104
    Thomas says:

    90 Russell; Yes. That little summary is correct about the Proletariat Polarization.

    But when one isolates GOP Democrat US Politicians and their “corporate banker funders” and their “media cheerleaders” as a defined group from the everyday Population you’ll find they are on the same Team – and it isn’t the “Public Interest Integrity Team” – it’s the “Narcissistic Psychopaths Team.”

    There’s only one thing as bad or worse than a GOP Government – that’s a Democrat Government.

    There is no nation on earth that is as ideologically polarized and irrational as the USA. No nation’s people fights, disagrees, shoots to kill, and argues with themselves as much as Americans have for 400 years non-stop!

    The best solution for the American people, and the world as a whole, is doing a Yugoslavia and splitting the USA into 3 separate nations.

    Pacific US – South Central US – Greater New England US eg maps
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-M0yAR0UPhPYVhEZHAzNUZlSUE
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-M0yAR0UPhPaDAza05aWjRubkE

    Because only millions of Insane Psychopaths would choose a Donald Trump and a Hillary Clinton as the two main contenders for US President.

    These are the REAL Problems the American people need to confront fair and square.

    There is no reasoning with ISIS Psychopaths and there is none to be had with insane fools like of “roger murphy” either –
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-bore-hole/comment-page-35/#comment-663278

    Meanwhile .. How American Politics Went Insane
    “It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/how-american-politics-went-insane/485570/

    “On a hundred different social, political and economic lines we have collectively regressed into our own small group of people who think like us, talk like us, look like us and believe like us because America is scared. When America is scared we do things like demonize whatever bogeyman pops into our head and eagerly seek out and ally with those who all agree that the bogeyman must be slain for the good of all of us. In that frantic emotional state, no one ever contemplates that they are the bogeyman to someone else and that venom and hatred being spewed is a two way street.”
    https://virginiafreemen.com/2016/08/28/full-retard-bowens-theory-and-americas-collective-insanity/

    “If my hypothesis about societal anxiety is reasonably accurate, the crises of society will recur and recur, with increasing intensity for decades to come. Man created the environmental crisis by being the kind of creature he is. The environment is part of man, change will require a change in the basic nature of man, and man’s track record for that kind of thing has not been good. …I believe man is moving into crises of unparalleled proportions, that the crises will be different than those he has faced before, that they will come with increasing frequency for several decades… The type of man who survives that will be one who can live in better harmony with nature.”
    https://www.thebowencenter.org/theory/eight-concepts/

    You’re doomed America and so are the rest of us.

  5. 105
    patrick says:

    #99 Gregg Iverson > My reading is…he has no need of science.

    And he ta-a-alks just like a Luddite, is mine. But he said,
    “Clean air is very important.”

  6. 106
    Rootman says:

    An important minority of Trump supporters/ voters don´really approve of Trump´s intended policies, but see him as the least worse candidate. Hillary with her very close ties to Wall Street and support from the most hawkish elements, with a lot of infamous names from the Iraq war.

    Would there be any way to quantify CO2 emissions from wars? 3 scenarios:

    1 Escalation in Syria and Ukraine

    2 + war in Iran

    3 wider scale wars, involving the Baltics, South China sea and several other conflicts involving direct confrontation between the US and Russia or China

    As proponent of ´golden standard´ TPP, TTIP, CETA, TISA free trade agreements: how much extra CO2 would be emitted through transportation and loosening of environmental regulations.

    How would this extra CO2 Clinton emission compare with 4 or 8 years of Trump, understanding he is a kind of wildcart?

  7. 107
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Victor: I dismissed you in the past as a self opinionated ignorant and/or delusional troll. However you seem to be waking up to the stark facts all around you. “there is none so blind…..”. I am also of the same mind re: nuclear. It’s a very efficient and long time source of copious amounts of base load power. Whilst I will always support the quick rollout of renewables, we must have a global network of nuclear power stations and that the generated power should be shared amongst all countries. If thorium proves cost effective and comparable to uranium then that should be the desired fuel source. I have also heard the rhetoric that we only have a few precious years left for mitigation for now over 20 years. Even if these stations are up and running by 2035 that, with renewables will still render obsolete our fossil fuel age. It’s amazing how much negativity I have received here over my support for nuclear. To me it’s a no brainer.

  8. 108
    RodB says:

    David, thanks for answer to 28. WOW!

  9. 109
    Dan Miller says:

    #70 – John: It does indeed take energy to capture CO2 from the atmosphere (and BTW, 400 ppm = 0.04%). But there is no reason you need to use fossil fuels. Since CO2 is everywhere, you could place your Direct Air Capture machines where you have abundant renewable energy, like Iceland. Also, some DAC schemes, like from Klaus Lackner (the father of DAC) uses filters that trap CO2 when they are dry and release it when they are wet. If you locate the systems in an arid region that has a water supply, you can use the Earth’s energy to capture CO2.

  10. 110

    These pages often go into a mode where one can leave a comment, but cannot see any comments past #50. This bears some looking into.

    [Response: It’s something to do with WordPress updates breaking the “comments_popup_link” function. I’ve looked around, but not found anything that works to fix it. Any suggestions welcome. – gavin]

  11. 111
    Thomas says:

    (101 Adam Lea) and 102 zebra says: re the obvious fact that governments favor the development of resource that they control– meaning resources that can be controlled

    Quite true – and it’s quite extensive the areas of control and the income derived by that – eg govts earn royalty income from mining leases on top of the company profits from that mining drilling etc. Govts globally earn huge income from Petrol/gasoline Excise – this is why they have the $ to provide fuel subsidies to miners, some transportation and farmers. iow Govts are addicted to Excise income from fossil fuels. At present hey get zero income from renewable energy supply – that will and must change or Govts (state and federal) will go bankrupt really fast.

    Remembering that Energy is typically 10% of total GDP everywhere. (check with Richard Alley)

    I saw a claim that Alaska gets 95% of it’s state revenue from the Oil industry activities. What happens to Alaskans when that Oil runs dry or is regulated out of existence due to severe climate change effects in 10-30 years from now? Do they all emigrate to the US mainland, jump a fence into Canada, or catch a leaky people smuggler boat to the EU or Russia just across the strait? (and notice the pattern already exists in 2016!)

    How much does the Saudi Govt and others like them make from their Oil revenue and export profits – these Govts do far more damage to the UNFCCC goal setting than any climate science denial rhetoric does.

    How do the People’s Government survive and fund everything in a world with no coal mines, and no oil and gas wells operating anymore? Now or in the future? These matters are and have been continually ignored in a world that is obsessed with refuting climate science denial rather than facing the bottom line reality of what is in fact the greatest barrier to action on AGW/CC.

    Then add in land use abuse, fires in Indonesia for Palm Oil plantations, western farming and fertilizer practices, and the more obvious clear felling of rain forests and bushland for timber, paper, and new broadacre farms and pastures for cow farts etc. and all the Revenue that fills Govt coffers as a result.

    No one is yet to truly face the reality as it is – bitching about someone’s attitude to women sells advertising on TV, newspapers and online but it ignores what Democrats (liberals) actually vote for in the Congress and State houses – and what they do and don’t do as a President or a Prime Minister.

    The “renewable loving” EU is still importing oil and gas from Russia – anyone believe that is going to stop anytime soon? Meanwhile Indonesia is cranking up it’s Coal exports.

    Venezuala tried to get an international deal up that would enable it to NOT drill for more oil and instead to create a huge national rainforest park partly funded by the UNFCCC international community.

    But of course the ideologically insane USA can’t possibly do anything that might support a central American nation whose VALUES and Politics directly challenge the predominant NEOCON NEOLIBERAL CORRUPT ANTI-NATURE ANTI-SCIENCE WARMONGERING Belief System of Aggressive Americans!

    Consider the federal Labor Govt in Australia did get an ETS up with associated Climate change actions only to be repealed by the neoliberal right wing climate science denying Govt — up in QLD the Labor Govt there is rushing to open multiple new Coal Mines – one to be the biggest in the world and operating for 90 years – with a Govt CONTRACT to do just that.
    http://statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/carmichael-coal-mine-and-rail-project.html

    Here’s Reality: The Rule is that Money Rules

    No one anywhere in power really gives a toss about nature or the climate or the survival of humanity let alone EQUITY or EGALITARIANISM let alone telling the truth during an Election Campaign.

    What “democracy”? There is none anywhere.

  12. 112
    Thomas says:

    106 Rootman Would there be any way to quantify CO2 emissions from wars?

    Yes, but no one bothers to do the work. It seems sensible not to. Whilst GCMs have improved greatly it is still impossible to unscramble the egg – especially after it’s been cooked and served on toast. :-)

    Anecdotally observe this temp graph
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/11/17/article-doc-i69oc-2TfLGHxtBBe86b82e4649e2b4a15-803_634x541.jpg

    Economic driven CO2e spikes push up temps temporarily – El Nino is an example of being able to SEE short term temperature spikes in action. iow it happens and it does effect yearly global temp avgs.

    Economic downturns instead drive a short term CO2e/temperature decrease. Look at the WWI and WW2 temperature spike then decline. But it’s more than War – financial and economic drivers/manipulation count for more:

    “the 1990s was the longest economic expansion in the history of the United States” and
    “The Federal Reserve had a hand in propping up the US economy by lowering interest rates to 4.75% by November 1998 to flood the world financial markets with dollars and prevent a global economic crisis as well as to restore confidence within the American economy which panicked during the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1997.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990s_United_States_boom

    (we wouldn’t want to see overly sensitive Americans panicking now would we – oh no!)

    Note the late 1990s temp and co2 spike at the same time; along with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in the early 2000s.

    So what? Well none of the specifics really matter that much – because everything is connected in some way back to the natural world and the climate.

    The crux of the matter is the scientific facts and that explains it really well – economic growth and activity, no matter what drives it produces more land clearing and more fossil fuel emissions – leading to higher CO2ePPM and global temperatures to rise accordingly. It’s Math.

    (Whether that’s driven by War, Population, or cheap finance or speculative stock bond markets or FAKE Real Estate bubbles that crashed in 2007/08 the Math remains the same)

    eg see the two Hockey sticks in this graph
    Figure 2 : Economic Growth over the Very Long Run Page 5
    “Western” Per capita GDP and Population
    http://web.stanford.edu/~chadj/facts.pdf

    Does that look familiar to this Hockey Stick per chance?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:T_comp_61-90.pdf

    The last time I looked (I rarely bother anymore) non-Hydro Renewable Energy supply was still only 1.2% of the Total Global Energy consumed.

    One scientist who isn’t deluded nor insane and speaks the truth as it is:
    http://kevinanderson.info

    James Hansen is another – put your money where your mouth is folks – do something that might actually make a long term permanent difference – help Fund this Legal Case – use the DONATE Button now.
    https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit/

    What Path is the Real World Following?
    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/

    American Presidential Choices: An Opinion Based On Climate Science
    14 April 2016 James Hansen
    “I am a political Independent, fed up with both of our major parties.”
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2016/20160414_Electioneering.pdf

    The World is Deaf. Even those who agree with the science of AGW/CC are deaf and fail to think or act rationally. C’est la vie! ;-)

  13. 113
    Thomas says:

    107 Lawrence Coleman “It’s amazing how much negativity I have received here over my support for nuclear. To me it’s a no brainer.”

    Not so amazing – it should be expected. Intelligent informed dialogue and quality information is as rare as hens teeth on social media sites. Please remain informed and intelligent anyway Lawrence. ;-)

  14. 114
    Jon Kirwan says:

    #81 Gordon (24 Nov 2016 at 1:06 AM)

    “The assault on NASA earth sciences should be met by a general strike by
    the science community.”

    I’m not sure how a strike would really work. If they stop work, it won’t be long before they are out of date and out of circulation. The rest of the world goes on and there would be plenty of work elsewhere, with those other scientists continuing to do useful work and keeping themselves current in their fields. That will continue, regardless of a US strike by scientists (which I can’t imagine happening, anyway.)

    I wrote in #13 here that I’d be laying serious plans to leave the US to continue an active career… with just as much seriousness as the upcoming administration seems to be giving to their own plans to impact research funding. (Well, unless I wasn’t averse to the idea of being retired.)

    I think that’s a more likely gradual direction. That, or just holding the fort and hoping for positive change later. But if the funding dries up (and words so far suggest that as a general direction, anyway), then people leave and compete for good work with good departments elsewhere or else they stay and do little or nothing much and impair their own future relative impact, probably permanently.

    They could always become engineers. :) But that’s not as much fun.

  15. 115
    Thomas says:

    109 Dan Miller;

    Hi, I had look at your website and video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k2-SzlDGko and also checked the Paper you referenced here https://www.dropbox.com/s/22lrokkdaf4a8fh/The-Economic-Climate-Fiscal-Power-and-Demographic-Impact-of-a-National-Fee-and-Dividend-Carbon-Tax-6.9.14.pdf?dl=0

    You’re a nice and intelligent guy with a pleasant style. I respect that. I have little respect and zero faith for the ‘economics’ of this F&D theory and especially the assumptions as a rational practical solution to AGW/CC.

    The holes in this F&D idea are manifold – too many to list let alone discuss. It ignores so many things about real life and basic business and finance and embraces so many myths that it belongs in the realm of Voodoo.

    Seriously, the holes in this F&D theory are larger than those in the Climate Denial Rhetoric. Not only isn’t F&D a silver bullet to change behaviour over AGW/CC it isn’t even a bullet. More like a disaster waiting to happen.

    KISS Principle – Regulation of Fossil Fuels out of the Energy Industry by the imposition of increasing CAPS on Fossil Fuel Sales and Use at a Company level to achieve National Goals – with Penalties that include the Govt seizure of Corporations in Breach and Prison time for CEOs/Execs/Board members.
    eg in the Electricity Market
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-M0yAR0UPhPdlpES3NpVTVZS1E

    Backed up by much stricter Regulatory (Criminal) control of Land Use and Farming Practices – and extreme fuel economy regulations on all forms of transport backed up by a decent public transport system that works not just locally but interstate.

    Implemented globally of course, but how on earth that will ever happen is a Mystery. I await the proverbial to really hit the fan first.

    Whatever the American people or the USA Govt “wants” to do really is irrelevant at the end of the day. The USA will be forced to do what the rest of world demands it does – or suffer the consequences – this idea that it’s only ever the US who is the “great global leader” who makes great things happen really is a MYTH that needs to die a sudden death.

    When it comes to Climate Science Denial and Irrational Insane Govt Policy the USA is the #1 problem at present NOT the Solution.

    Floating the mythical dream of a F&D will make no difference to this reality.

    You’re a nice guy Dan, and F&D sounds “so nice” too; everyone is a winner!

    But WWII wasn’t won by being nice Dan! ;-)

  16. 116
    zebra says:

    Lawrence Coleman #107,

    Dude, you’ve been around long enough to know better.

    1. Victor is engaging in classic poison pill, AlGoreIsFat trolling. “If you libruls really believed in climate change, you would push for nuclear and stop driving cars and eating.” Since this is a common ploy, you shouldn’t be surprised that people are wary of nuclear advocacy.

    2. I for one, and I know many others who actually understand the technical and economic issues, are not objecting to “nuclear” so much as the complete failure to present a non-fantasy proposal for actually getting it done. Your solution is a “one world kumbaya government network sharing the output across borders”? Do you really think that is what Victor and his ilk are talking about, and would support?

    3. Relating to my other comments to Mal Adapted: I have proposed multiple times that the proper “engineering” solution for electricity is to mandate that grid operators be excluded from generating or buying and selling electricity. Along with disincentives for FF and incentives for non-FF sources, this would allow the market to operate, and if there is a “good fit” between a nuclear source and customers’ requirements, it will be built.

    4. And every time you use the term “baseload”, your credibility suffers. There’s no such thing. If there were, someone would be able to tell me what the “baseload” of my house is.

  17. 117

    A short commentary on carbon capture with some interesting tidbits, from the “Great White North” business commentator Don Pittis:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/climate-change-carbon-sequestration-1.3863890

  18. 118
    patrick says:

    #109 Dan Miller: There’s something else in Iceland. It’s called the Carbfix project.

    Here’s advancing research on the same concept (Carbfix) from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a branch of the Department of Energy (18 Nov Washington Post, Chris Mooney) [links Carbfix]:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/18/they-may-save-us-yet-scientists-found-a-way-to-turn-our-carbon-emissions-into-rock/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.f2d412e30572

    What’s new about this research is this: “Carbon isotope analysis showed the nodules are chemically distinct compared with natural carbonates present in the basalt and in clear correlation with the isotopic signature of the injected CO2. These findings provide field validation of rapid mineralization rates observed from years of laboratory testing with basalts.” [Abstract, & graphic figure:]

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00387

    It seems fortuitous how the idea occurred to scientists in Iceland accustomed to drill for energy. Geothermal energy, that is. Perhaps it’s a variation on the learning by doing effect. One-good-decarbonization-principle-leads-to-another, so to speak.

    Nevertheless, the big capture that is needed now is energy capture itself. Energy capture means energy beyond the primitive paradigm of burning or consuming commodity fuels. Geo-thermal is one example of the new paradigm. Deep geo-thermal remains to be explored. Solar and wind are examples. There are many–it depends on the nature of the resource and how to apply it.

  19. 119
    nigelj says:

    BPL @110 “These pages often go into a mode where one can leave a comment, but cannot see any comments past #50. This bears some looking into.”

    This sometimes happens to me. The website sometimes opens in a mobile browser sometimes even on a laptop, and you cant see past 50 comments. If you click on the popup comments in the normal webpage format the same thing happens.

    This fixed it for me: Go to the bottom of the mobile browser page and click on the button that says normal website format,(something like that I have forgotten exact wording) and then click on the page of comments you want and they all display.

  20. 120
    Mal Adapted says:

    zebra:

    First, I don’t understand how you can claim that CO2 would count as an externalized cost in some past era. If world population had remained fixed at, say, 1900 levels, with similar distribution of wealth and technology, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we are in. The “cost” might never manifest itself…Who knew, as they say?

    Svante Arrhenius understood the relationship between fossil carbon emissions and climate by the 1890s. He didn’t anticipate the manifold expansion of fossil fuel use, but in hindsight we can see that the availability of “cheap” energy from fossil carbon would unlock enormous pent-up demand for such things as extra productive time provided by electric light; easier communications and travel, over greater distances; and all the comfort and convenience even the working class (at least, the ones that are actually working) now enjoys. Nor are rising CO2 levels solely driven by population growth: while the population of the US, for example, roughly quadrupled after 1900, our FF use increased by more than an order of magnitude. Remember the equation I = PAT: Human Impact on the environment equals the product of Population, Affluence, and Technology.

    z:

    As for your “price-sensitive consumer demand”, it is easily manipulated by those with the disproportionate market power provided by state subsidies and favorable regulation.

    Look, we’re pretty much in vehement agreement. In my previous comment I merely wished to correct your mistaken claim that I overlooked the culpability (even when inadvertent) of the wealthy and powerful in creating AGW. It is fallacious, however, to attribute economic or political agency to persons of wealth and power while denying it to yourself and your friends and neighbors.

    AGW is occurring now because we who enjoy the benefit of economic development have historically avoided paying the full cost of the fossil energy that powered it. In the present, the sum of our individual daily choices to eat steak or beans for supper, drive or take the bus to work, fly across the country to see our families for the holiday or stay home, maintains the profit stream that funds the propaganda campaign to deflect awareness of it. We’re all going to pay the cost one way or another, though. If you and I, knowing what we know, can accept responsibility for our own choices, then we must hold our fellow consumers and voters responsible for theirs.

    AGW has many characteristics of a Tragedy of the Commons, and TOTCs require collective action by the exploiters of the common-property resource (in this case, the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb fossil carbon without causing climate change) to avert. The agreement to act collectively need not be unanimous, but it does need to discourage free riding; an agreement to pay increased incremental exploitation costs, by imposing a user fee or tax, can meet the requirement in many cases. Under our system of government, American voters could put a stop to our CO2 emissions, if (yes, a big if) enough of us recognized the need for it and insisted that our legislators pass an efficient and fair carbon tax. Of course I realize that’s highly unlikely to happen, but it’s what I want. OTOH, the fact that some of us recognize the need, in spite of the AGW-denier disinformation campaign, suggests the possibility of tipping the political balance. And the country is beginning to see how the costs of climate change are socialized, as when rainfall far exceeding previous records results in a flood where none has occurred before, destroying the home of a family member who had no flood insurance. My expectation is that as those costs mount, more and more Americans will make the connection. At least I’m clinging to that faint glimmer of hope.

  21. 121
    Thomas says:

    PS 115 Thomas

    A global perspective of $100/ton on CO2 in 2026 under F&D.

    For a start (from memory) CO2 accounts for only ~50% of all AGW drivers of Climate Change. Therefore a F&D only deals with half the accumulative historical causes of AGW. However, doing something about each driver one at a time using multiple approaches is still a logical step forward.

    There’s an easy ‘trick’ to work out whether a theory is logical and practical. If it works on a Micro level then it should also work equally well on the Macro level – and vice versa.

    What happens if a F&D was instituted across the whole world?

    Key data:
    2015 World GDP $73.5 Trilion
    2026 Est. World GDP $84.2 Trillion
    Estimated CO2 emissions ~36 billion tonnes in 2016.
    Estimated CO2 emissions ~40 billion tonnes in 2026.
    $100/ton CO2 on 40 billion tonnes in 2026 = $4 Trillion Globally
    Equals 4.75% of Global GDP in 2026

    This has the effect of increasing Global Energy costs from ~10% of GDP on average to ~15% of GDP at a retail end user level.

    The Dividend payments to the world’s population would then be about 53 cents per person per year.

    The F&D theory is seriously flawed. This is not going to fund better choices for the 300 million poor in India who still do not have electricity and who use cow dung to cook their daily meals.

    AGW is a global problem, but it has not been caused equally by all people and all nations on the planet.

    Those who have contributed the most possess a higher moral responsibility to get to Net Zero CO2e emission before 2050. America alone is historically responsible for ~25% of ALL historical drivers of AGW. This is the #1 reason the US is a wealthy nation and people today.

    Ref: we present a new analysis of national contributions to observed global warming incorporating the most important greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulfate aerosols—that have driven global warming over the past two centuries.
    http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/9/1/014010/meta

    Therefore the American people (only 4.35% of the world population) are jointly responsible for addressing/solving 25% of the accumulated Global problem and not merely driving their own CO2 emissions down to 50% of what they are today by 2035, which the F&D economic theory says they can achieve IF their assumptions are valid (and they are not).

    The paper cited by Dan still has US CO2 emissions @3.5 Billion Tonnes in 2025 – or 10% of global CO2 emissions from only 4.75% of the world population – this is on top of the 25% of historical emissions already produced in the last 200 years by America.

    This is an unethical, immoral and unconscionable response by America (and it applies to all the other first world nations, especially those that were Colonial Powers in the past.)

    The above is the #1 Denial issue for the American people as a whole.

    Your current collective wealth and power is predicated on the fact that you are responsible for 25% of all current AGW on this planet. And the American people point blank REFUSE to acknowledge or accept this fact of reality and what it means.

    Some perspective on this is that even the ~60 million Americans deemed to be “living in poverty” on recent US reports are wealthier and have a much higher income and Govt services than 70% of the world’s population – by the mere fact that they live in the US.

    According to the F&D theory those 60 million poor will be receiving a Govt check of ~$300 per month in 2025 per Family!!! $70 per week will be totally swallowed up with them still struggling to meet the higher cost of living.

    Meanwhile the Thermal Coal price @ $40/ton today (and been as high as $150/ton) would then be $326/ton – assuming no change to global market conditions – and staying there forever. It’s possible their $70/week will be all but eaten up with higher electricity, gas and auto fuel prices.

    Rents will also rise due to higher building and maintenance costs across the board. These things are INDEFINABLE in a F&D economic theory world – the assumptions in the paper are just that Assumptions and not facts nor hard evidence.

    These ‘economic’ assumptions also defy human nature and modern psychology and cognitive science knowledge.

    The assumption that the America poor will be able to make rational decisions in the use of this MINIMAL rise in income so that they can help drive down CO2 emissions long term OR make it possible for them to switch to non-carbon energy sources is illogical and defies reality and human psychology again.

    The already Middle class with savings will be much better placed. The upper middle class and the very rich will barely care what it costs for electricity and fuel prices let alone the $300/month check from Uncle Sam.

    Ref:
    The current leveling out still means that slightly more than 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide are expected to have been emitted in 2016 from fossil fuel use and industrial activity. And after the oceans and the land take away their part, the rest of that carbon will stay there for a very long time, steadily warming the planet.

    (That 36 billion tons does not include emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, or the releases of additional carbon dioxide from deforestation and other nonindustrial causes. Including these gases and sources only increases our impact on the planet further.)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/13/stunningly-good-news-for-the-planet-carbon-emissions-were-flat-for-the-third-straight-year/?utm_term=.a8c55efdfee4

    The RC article Ref: “In order to avoid exceeding a very disruptive warming of 1.5 oC with 66% probability, humanity can release approximately 220 gigatons of CO2 after January, 2017 (IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis report, Table 2.2, corrected for emissions since 2011)”

    btw a gigaton is one billion metric tons.

    However @ 36 billion tonnes/year globally the 220 Gigatons of CO2 is already gone by 2025 at the latest.

    This isn’t a genuine strategy for America or the World as a whole either
    Obama’s Democrat – Mid-Century Strategy Nov. 2016
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/mid_century_strategy_report-final.pdf

    And the UNFCCC Treaty is a joke on all humanity. Almost every nations’ political leadership are lying through their teeth to the world.

  22. 122
    Thomas says:

    116 zebra asks:
    4. And every time you use the term “baseload”, your credibility suffers. There’s no such thing. If there were, someone would be able to tell me what the “baseload” of my house is.

    Sure try this for size. :-)

    A voltage of (nominally) 230 V and a frequency of 50 Hz is used in Europe, most of Africa, most of Asia, most of South America and Australia. In North America, the most common combination is 120 V and a frequency of 60 Hz.

    That is your hypothetical household baseload power requirement whenever you have at least one electrical item switched on. Go below that and you’re in a brown out phase.

    If it’s a light bulb no biggy there. But if you have your air conditioner, refrigerator, TV or computer running you could have some costly damage as result. From where that electrical power comes from is irrelevant.

    Sure ‘baseload’ is a misnomer here, but what the hell. :-)

    Call it minimum power/energy requirement or a squigglebot if you wish.

    The more electricity your appliances draw on over 24/hours the higher is the power load placed upon your supply source/s. Whether that’s from a battery, a nuclear power plant or you peddling hard on a bicycle all day makes no difference. The technical term for that is Watts.

    Grid connected Power plants usual say it in Giga Watts. It’s a measurement of power aka energy.

    To work out your own minimum to maximum “baseload” requirement grab a paper and pen then go add up all the Watts you can consume at one time.

    That’s your answer. Tada :-)

    PS that grid providers have used the term “baseload” for GW/hour demand for decades is not a major conspiracy to undermine renewable energy progress. It merely a habit. We’re all creatures of habit us humans. Which is why AGW/CC is such an entrenched hard problem to solve.
    Cheers

  23. 123
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    Last week, Mr Trump’s science adviser Bob Walker said he was likely to axe Nasa’s $1.9 billion (about £1.4 billion) climate research budget.

  24. 124
    Dan DaSilva says:

    The real cost of CO2 is negative. The fertilizing of plants and the very slight amount of warming are both a benefit. The tax rebate for emission of CO2 should be about $73.57 per ton in warm areas while in colder areas the rate should be $87.44 per ton. If anyone who would like to see the raw data and details for this calculation, please send me a freedom of information request and I will consider it. Please take into account that I had to use several tricks to arrive these figures. I am sure that Mike will understand the need for tricks. Cheers

  25. 125
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted #120,

    “vehement agreement”:

    In some ways, yes, but that makes for a nice nuanced academic-style debate, which might give readers a break from Trolling Thomas The Spam King; they can scroll past his dross to pick out our little bits of shiny metal.

    First, I really disagree with this business of “holding responsible”. It smacks of the US Puritanical subtext which poisons the Left as much as the Right (…perhaps more so). This is one of those cases where winning is way more important than being right. If you frame it as punitive, moralizing, and absolute, you provide an easy emotional political argument to the other side.

    In addition, that market power they have is not an abstract concept. Say we apply a tax that raises the price of a gallon of petrol by $2. Exxon and friends can add another $2 to the price, and the pitchforks will be pointed at the gubmint, not them.

    On the other hand, if you look at my point #3 in my response to Lawrence Coleman (#116?), you can see a model for a positive framing. I’m willing to wager that right now, there are a whole bunch of Trump voters in California who have rooftop solar, a house full of LED bulbs, and perhaps a Tesla or a PIH vehicle in the driveway.

    My best strategic/tactical sense is that the Camel’s Nose approach is all there is at this point. You have to get people comfortable with technological alternatives, and appeal to their desire to feel that they are making rational choices, rather than being told to eat their spinach. “It’s the marketing, stupid”– I mean, we live in a country where people buy “gluten-free water”, right?

    (BTW, I also think the externality thing is not well thought out but perhaps another comment will follow if I have time.)

  26. 126
  27. 127
    patrick says:

    The Paris Agreement has been signed by 193 Parties and has been ratified or otherwise joined by 114 Parties, representing 79% of global emissions. [Update:]

    http://cait.wri.org/indc/#/ratification

    The Paris Agreement entered into force 4 November 2016 [update, more]…

    http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9444.php

    The Paris Agreement–like most other international agreements–goes through three stages before coming into effect: adoption, signing and joining. …

    The Paris Agreement was adopted on December 12, 2015 at COP21 in Paris, France by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). …
    The next step is for Parties to sign the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement will be open for signature at the UN in New York from April 22, 2016 to April 21, 2017. Signing is important because it indicates a commitment by that country to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Agreement. …

    After signing, Parties then formally join the Paris Agreement. This can be done by depositing one of several types of instruments with the Secretary-General to the UN–instruments of “ratification, acceptance or approval.” There is no time limit for when countries submit these instruments.

    http://www.wri.org/faqs-about-how-paris-agreement-enters-force

    COP21…was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference

  28. 128

    Thomas, #–well, I don’t actually know what number, as I’m seeing who knows what version of this page, but it does say it’s comment #663529:

    “This has the effect of increasing Global Energy costs from ~10% of GDP on average to ~15% of GDP at a retail end user level.”

    No, it doesn’t, since the hidden assumption is that, stupidly, no-one changes their purchasing behavior.

    “The Dividend payments to the world’s population would then be about 53 cents per person per year.”

    Did I mention that a global CF&D is a total straw man?

    “The F&D theory is seriously flawed. This is not going to fund better choices for the 300 million poor in India who still do not have electricity and who use cow dung to cook their daily meals.”
    Fee & dividend isn’t about ‘funding’ anything. It’s about correcting distortions in the system that result in hidden subsidies to fossil fuels.

  29. 129
    Thomas says:

    Seriously? Donald Trump is the least of America’s problems going forward, for there are many. Had Clinton won instead then those problems would still be same and just as bad.

    The far more important fact than Trump being elected is that the American people en-mass re-elected every single Congressman and Senator up for reelection in 2016 DESPITE ~60% plus always saying that Congress is not serving The People and doing a crap job for decades!

    Like seriously, how delusional is that simple fact born out on Nov 8th?

    Lifting an excellent [edited] Quote from an American:
    “[Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton &] Trump is the final divide.

    Fear and ignorance have landed us back in 1916 if not far earlier thinking.

    Now the unity which has always been our backbone has been turned on itself. We are now against each other and the truth itself.

    If we make this hard right turn, mark my words, this country will devour itself.

    We must be very diligent moving forward or we will lose our moral fiber, compassion, standing for truth, and we will find ourselves indeed without a country any of us can recognize.”

    Comment:

    Please do not take anything I say personally! Rise above it.

    The US has been run by the Anti-Humanist Hard Right since the 1980s. It’s only become progressively worse due to the useless MSM manipulation, their abdication of responsibility (remember that WMD?) and the last decade of social media lunacy.

    Anyone who still believes the ‘Democrat collective’ are liberals or progressives with a working social conscience and ethics are delusional, imo.

    Seriously? Anyone who believes these ongoing lies and crap is equally delusional http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-30/syria-botched-air-strikes-australian-hornets/8077588 – even if you are intelligent enough to accept AGW/CC science, that in itself is not enough. Sorry.

    And fake crocodile tears over Aleppo will never bring back the thousands of civilians killed by US Forces in Fallujah (twice) nor MSF staff and patients in Afghanistan and Yemen. I have a good memory – it appears quite rare a thing these days. “Nothing to see here” is the typical attitude.

    14 April 2016 Dr. James Hansen
    “I am a political Independent, fed up with both of our major parties.”

    As a global citizen is it too early (and am I allowed) to Nominate James Hansen for President, and Michael Mann for Vice-President in 2020?

    It would be a new life experience to see someone who is intelligent, possesses a working moral compass, is a sane functional human being and honest as well in the Oval Office one day.

    One can only dream…

    “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms.” said Winston Churchill

    The key constraint on that quote is that it only applies to nations that actually have a functional Democracy in place.

    Follow that thought down the rabbit hole and see what home truths you may find lurking there. :-)

    As a child in the 60s I would rush home from school to watch the old black and white Superman TV series “Fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way” began every episode.

    Now a distant memory in more ways than one.

    Collectively US citizens need to change how they are referred to by the international community – from American to American’t

    For I’ll tell you this: the UNFCCC, climate scientists and the rest of the world cannot and will not save you from yourselves.

  30. 130
    zebra says:

    “It’s a measurement of power aka energy.”

    And people wonder why I almost always scroll past Thomas’ comments without reading them….

    And yes, I admit to some guilty amusement when people who have never taken a physics course try to educate me about electricity. Baseload, baseload, baseload, over and over, with no comprehension of even the base-ics.

  31. 131
    Hank Roberts says:

    Say, Thomas, do you have a blog or a website or a Facebook account?

    I’m looking for some place to discuss climatology, since RC is kind of full.

  32. 132
    Thomas says:

    125 zebra, great see one comment that is in total alignment and agreement with my commentary of the key issues based on the provided evidence/refs, scientific knowledge and the real world. :-)

    Not all readers on RC have a rational evidence based worldview like yours zebra. Keep up the good work.

  33. 133
    Thomas says:

    128 Kevin McKinney, have another go seeing what was being said. You’ve missed the mark and are misapplying the ‘strawman’ complaint.

    It also looks like you are assuming that purchasing behavior is the problem (a false frame) and then assuming that F&D will or can shift purchasing behavior to a point that it becomes the solution (another false frame.)

    The cause of AGW/CC is not “purchasing behavior” Kevin. The cause is systemic. iow purchasing behavior is one of the symptoms not the disease. Cure the disease and the symptoms disappear.

    (That is using a metaphor/analogy to convey meaning. It’s not a strawman argument)

    btw there are no “hidden subsidies to fossil fuels.” They are all as plain as day and very well known. I merely encourage you to keep thinking about these matters and do the best you can to rise above the predominant false frames and the accepted societal beliefs that are not in fact true. Cheers

  34. 134
    Mal Adapted says:

    zebra:

    First, I really disagree with this business of “holding responsible”. It smacks of the US Puritanical subtext which poisons the Left as much as the Right (…perhaps more so). This is one of those cases where winning is way more important than being right. If you frame it as punitive, moralizing, and absolute, you provide an easy emotional political argument to the other side.

    Yeah, I realized my phrasing might be interpreted as moralistic after I posted it. It wasn’t my intention to use “responsibility” to mean “blame”. I absolutely agree that winning is way more important than being right.
    z:

    Say we apply a tax that raises the price of a gallon of petrol by $2. Exxon and friends can add another $2 to the price, and the pitchforks will be pointed at the gubmint, not them.

    Uhmm, yes, it’s assumed a carbon tax on producers would be passed on to consumers. Producers charge consumers as much per Kg of fossil carbon as the traffic will bear, and no more. Consumers, by and large, consume as many Kg of fossil carbon as they can pay for, and no more. AGW is a tragedy of the commons because the price consumers currently pay for a Kg of fossil carbon per Kg externalizes the incremental climate change cost. The consumer does end up paying a portion of that cost in ways that he may not associate with his FF purchases, while the rest is paid by others who don’t get any incremental benefit. Morality aside, as a consequentialist libertarian (and isn’t everyone?), it makes sense to me that the more I have to pay of the full cost of each Kg I emit, the more incentive I have to emit less. Of course, if more of the incremental climate change costs are paid by the buyers of FFs, it will increase the cost of all goods and services in proportion to their “embodied” fossil carbon. Once again, both producers and consumers would have incentive to reduce the embodied proportion.

    Should Exxon and friends be required to pay the incremental costs of my direct and embodied emissions instead? I can see several problems with that, but it plausibly would result in emissions reduction as well: producers would rush to get out of the business, leading to severely restricted supplies, and prices to consumers would undoubtedly rise. Mission accomplished? Maybe… OTOH, the prospect would motivate producers to increase their investment in political obstructionism.

    z:

    My best strategic/tactical sense is that the Camel’s Nose approach is all there is at this point. You have to get people comfortable with technological alternatives, and appeal to their desire to feel that they are making rational choices, rather than being told to eat their spinach. “It’s the marketing, stupid”– I mean, we live in a country where people buy “gluten-free water”, right?

    You may be right about the Camel’s Nose, but it’s not really rational for even a civic-minded consumer to pay more for alternatives if his pitchfork-holding neighbor won’t (the “free rider” problem). It’s true that alternative energy prices are declining, but for now the artificial price advantage FFs still enjoy over alternatives limits the incentive for consumers to choose alternatives, and for producers to invest in alternative supplies and infrastructure, in turn easing the downward pressure on the price of alternatives. Subsidies may address that, but they’re politically unpopular too, in part because they’re notoriously inefficient. A carbon tax could at least help pay for subsidies, however.

    It’s assuredly harder to design a good carbon tax, one that’s effective without being too regressive, than a bad one, but it’s not impossible. I understand perfectly well, though, that any carbon tax can only be enacted if there is sufficient political support. That is, enough American fossil fuel consumers would need to accept their personal responsibility for AGW, and acknowledge that a carbon tax is the most efficient and fair solution to the Tragedy of the Climate Commons, to out-vote the pitchfork-pointers. My own efforts in the public sphere, however quixotic, are directed toward reaching that political tipping point. If alternative-energy prices come down enough to completely replace FFs without a carbon tax, I’ll quit arguing for one and rejoice!

  35. 135
    Mike Roddy says:

    It’s good to hear emotion and despair from RC commenters. What appears to be missing is a willingness to fight. We have just observed a scientifically illiterate monster taking control of our government. EPA transition director and oil company propagandist Myron Ebell pretty much says it all.

    In today’s world, refining scientific truths is showing diminishing returns. We are about to be led by a crooked businessman, oil company employed Republican henchmen, and violent racists. These people never listened to scientific evidence, and never will.

    Clearly, the fossil fuel companies have succeeded in a coup d’etat of the American government for a minimum of four years, so all rational requests will be ignored at best, laughed at at worst.

    The response should be to fight them, not emote among ourselves. There are several avenues available, including taking control of a single major media company that will remind Americans what the truth looks like. I saw this myself, as a child watching the Bell Telephone Hour. Any scientific show on television these days is about outer space, remnant wild populations in Africa, or putative magical technological breakthroughs. Meanwhile, the earth is approaching the boiling point.

    Inspiration should come from classical historians like Spengler or Tonybee, who discovered that spiritual decline precedes rapid economic collapse. These effects are now exponential. The evidence, in the form of clearly fraudulent political leadership, is all around us. Today, economic disaster is synonymous with simultaneous system crashes.

    We can no longer count on better education, as American public schools rank below numerous countries in Central Europe. Our best hope is for someone like Soros or Steyer to finance a new and entertaining media company, committed to the truth, and cognizant of the possible extinction of all sentient life.

    The agents of this impending nightmare are the oil, coal, gas, mining, and timber industries. They will not be defeated unless we oppose them. Already they have managed to fill Trump’s potential Cabinet with a group of people who could not win a City Council election in Latvia. An avenue to victory is to deal these people the lowly humiliation they deserve, via a fearless media company that accepts advertising only from well behaved companies. We would then have a chance.

  36. 136
    Zishan says:

    An October survey from Pew Research found that only 15 percent of conservative Republicans think climate change is a function of human activity, compared with 79 percent of liberal Democrats. In my opinion, it is unacceptable.
    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/12/republican-donors-climate-change

  37. 137

    DdS 124: The fertilizing of plants and the very slight amount of warming are both a benefit.

    BPL: CO2 helps plant growth if and only if it is the nutrient available in least supply–Liebig’s “Law of the Minimum.” In nature, the actual nutrient available in least supply is more likely to be water. Since global warming spreads droughts, we can expect it to hurt agriculture, not help it.

    DdS: I am sure that Mike will understand the need for tricks.

    BPL: Anyone who still takes Climategate seriously this late is either a committed, self-hypnotizing ideologue, or a bloody fool. Here’s what really happened:

    http://bartonlevenson.com/Climategate.html

  38. 138

    Thomas, #133–I think you miss the point. People do make rational economic devisions, mostly, particularly when they have realistic information–by which I mean they pretty consistently choose to pay the lower of two prices for the same good. Hence, if FF costs more, they will use less, particularly when there are viable alternatives–which, increasingly, there are. That’s not a ‘false frame,’ it’s an empirical reality.

    Hence your analysis fails at the outset.

  39. 139
    SteveP says:

    Note to Mike Roddy at 136. One of Trump’s worst ills is his disparagement and dehumanization of minorities. And there you go picking the little nation of Latvia as an example of a place where Trump’s cabinet could not win a City Council election. Perhaps you meant that the Latvians would be too intelligent to elect someone whom Trump would be likely to select. Or not. At any rate, your choice of Latvia as some kind of stereotypical something or other is just a litttle suspect. You probably didn’t mean to commit a violation of somebody’s human dignity, but I am pretty sure you did. So I am wondering. Is that a real poncho you are wearing? Or a Sears poncho? i.e, Are you sure you are not a Trump supporter? Are you Russian? Because that Latvia line sure sounds like something one of them might say. Just sayin… and have a nice day.

  40. 140
    Diana Arce Reyna says:

    The concerns of having a US president that do not believe that climate change is real harms the credibility of the Paris Agreement, however, 195 parties agreed on 2015 that there is a need to act on climate now and on 2016 it was reaffirmed through the Marrakech Action Proclamation. Science is pretty clear about why the climate is changing and there is abundant research stating that we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions if we want to preserve our world biodiversity and avoid human displacement. This is not a moment for panic, it a movement for action. People need to acknowledge that climate change is threating us all, and for that reason, we have to act together a move towards a sustainable pathway. As numbers are important we need to have more clarity about the real price of carbon including the cost of the long-term impacts of continuing using fossil fuels.

  41. 141
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    We simply cannot allow Bob Walker to axe Nasa’s climate research budget. This has got to be seen on a global scale as environmental desecration. Not just America but every country’s future will be seriously jeapordised. The world authorities and governing bodies have got to stand united and block this move.
    This is the very time in the earth’s history that we need to know what is going to happen to us and the time frame involved. We cannot permit a few delusional men to dictate the future inhabitability of this planet.
    Anyone with dependants must feel the way that I do.
    THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN!

  42. 142
    Thomas says:

    138 Kevin McKinney “Hence, if FF costs more, they will use less, particularly when there are viable alternatives–which, increasingly, there are. That’s not a ‘false frame,’ it’s an empirical reality.
    Hence your analysis fails at the outset.

    Look, Kevin it doesn’t. You’re still missing the real world aspects. Have another look:

    “IF it costs more” … more than what Kevin? Last week, last month, or last year or a decade ago? You seriously think the bottom 10 percentile of Americans in Income are going to afford to buy an expensive brand new refrigerator cost $1000+ because their power bill goes up $50 or 100/mth? Seriously? Go and actually speak to one of them and ask what their real world of POSSIBILITIES actually is.

    Do you seriously believe those in the top 20 percentile in wealth and going to CUT their consumption of electricity because their monthly bill goes up $100 to $200 or even more due to a carbon tax?

    Kevin or prices going up “More than” alternative renewable electricity? That are ASSUMED to be cheaper in post F&D/Carbon tax world?

    Hardly anyone has an ounce of power to control WHO supplies their Grid electricity – the bottom 10 percentile folks cannot move to where there is a windfarm supplier …. where the ASSUMPTION is the reason why Wind becomes affordable is becasue the price of Carbon energy goes UP.

    Do you see the people in the bottom 40 percentile being able to afford to install their own solar/wind supply at home when they already live in poverty or have no job? Where do they get the money from? a $50 mthly check rising to maybe $300 in a decade after introduction of a F&D system?

    NO Kevin these people cannot cut their already minimal usage nor switch to renewable electricity (or heating oil) supply — most of the bottom 40 percentile RENT their accommodation and they have zero power to expect their landlords to install a low carbon energy supply to their living quarters – some of which is already falling down around their ears and not maintained.

    Add in gasoline price rises and the same thing applies – either the lower percentiles are already stuck in public transports or taxis in emergencies, or they are driving a 20 year old car already — it’s all they can afford — A Prius is something their kids see in a TV advertisement not in the driveway — lucky if they live in a home big enough to have a driveway. Cant’ you and others already see this?

    I thought it would be obvious this is the real world in which people live and that this was self-evident in what I was saying above.

    But whatever, believe whatever you want, because I don’t care.

  43. 143
    Thomas says:

    ie: to buy an expensive brand new refrigerator cost $1000+ which is an Energy Saving Fridge that might use 30% of what their existing crappy fridge uses. Fact the working poor cannot do this – they’ll go buy a second hand 10 year old fridge if the existing one breaks down — electricity prices going up are irrelevant Kevin — they pay what they have to pay and they can’t afford to pay that now as it is. Got it?

    Does every millionaire already own and drive a Prius / electric fancy car? No. They have several cars including the Lincoln Town Car for fancy occasions.

    Will they rush out and buy a high fuel economy car or an electric car when gasoline goes up to $4 or $5 a gallon? Nope … and they will still use helicopters and Lear Jets for the convenience too — at least until hell freezes over.

    Kevin, you and many others need to realise that the way you think, the values you adhere to are your own — the rest of the 330 million Americans have their own ideas about what makes “sense” to them in their lives.

    F&D assumes a Market Driven demand and changes in consumer behavior that does NOT fit the real world of the population. It’s is all “economic theory” with zero evidence to support their wild claims of Nirvana.

    Do vehicles today have seat belts installed from new becasue of Consumer DEmand and Market Forces? Yes or No Kevin?

    The answer is NO. All your cars have seats installed becasue Manufacturers were FORCED and COMPELLED TO DO SO – That’s caled Regulation.

    The LAW is the FORCE that moves Consumer Behavior.

    That’s is why there is no longer Slavery in the USA – because if it wasn’t illegal I’ll tell you this Kevin — Slavery would still be every where around you – I guarantee you that.

    Think man, think. :-)

  44. 144
    Thomas says:

    131 Hank Roberts says:
    30 Nov 2016 at 12:53 PM
    Say, Thomas, do you have a blog or a website or a Facebook account?
    I’m looking for some place to discuss climatology, since RC is kind of full.

    Yeah, sure Hank. Have you tried REAL CLIMATE? It’s a great Blog. You can make a comment about CLIMATOLOGY any time you want to – there is no limit either – so go right ahead – contribute something intelligent about Climatology yourself OR you can even ask the climate scientists here a question.

    Sometimes they even answer, sometimes others more expert than you in a particular field will respond and help you out. Like me now. It’s a great site – check it out.

    eg this article by the climate scientists on this url
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/11/trump-carbon-and-the-paris-agreement

    Title: Trump carbon and the Paris agreement
    If you are in a new-found panic about the future of Earth’s climate, know that what you’re feeling now would still have been almost as appropriate had the election gone the other way. The fight to defend Earth’s climate would still be just beginning.

    Go there Hank.

  45. 145
    Thomas says:

    130 zebra … you asked the question.

    WATTS is “a measurement of power aka energy.” It applies to electricity as well as the power from the Sun on the earth’s surface per m2. Watts/hour is a measurement of USAGE and/or Supply used for electricity. Didn’t you know that already?

    I got a question – what’s the meaning of the word “baseload” when it is used in the context of electricity generation Zebra?

    If you don’t understand the question, let me know. I’ll explain it to you again. Physics is great. It works. But it’s useless if human communication skills are wanting or flawed. It takes two for communication to be successful. Maybe this is the reason why you don’t understand a word I’m saying or that being said in the many ref links provided?

    I don’t know. For I am not a mind reader nor a seer.

  46. 146
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted #134,

    “political obstructionism”

    I think you misunderstood my $2 scenario. I suggest that if petrol is $2 now, and we add a CT that raises it to $4, they can add an additional $2, making it $6/gal, which for the US will create an enormous backlash against the CT. Again, it’s about market power. Perhaps you have heard that suddenly, with the election of Trump, OPEC has come to an agreement about curtailing production? Do you think that is coincidence?

    Now, as to your externality stuff, which is still loaded with the “responsibility” language. My point about Trump voters in California who are acting Green is that they are making rational market decisions. Even if, as the Denialists claim, the only effect of CO2 were to increase plant growth, abandoning FF and adopting new technology would still make economic sense.

    1. Electric cars (and electric drivetrains with onboard generators) are simply better than ICE. Not a little better, but at least an order of magnitude better in multiple ways, e.g. maintenance and lifespan/resale value. You want to motivate people to buy electric by raising petrol prices, but if there were an actual free market where EV could compete with ICE and achieve economy of scale, EV would win hands down. There isn’t. There is an enormous Auto-Industrial Complex, from the manufacturers and suppliers to the dealers to independent service providers (e.g. Jiffylube, transmission shops, and so on) that would be put out of business or suffer profit reductions. That’s the roadblock, not just the FF companies.

    2. Well, I could go on about Greener houses being more comfortable, and more capable of getting through power outages, and how LED bulbs give better light, and so on, but the point again is that there are positive and immediate motivators that are politically better than trying to quantify the (entire) externality. Those require addressing the current anti-competitive climate. Deal with that, and FF subsidies, and add a small, slowly increasing CT, and you could make real progress.

  47. 147
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: Thomas, 30 Nov 2016 at 5:16 PM , ~# 133

    You said: “btw there are no “hidden subsidies to fossil fuels.” They are all as plain as day and very well known.”

    Could you list these very well-known subsidies? A short paragraph will do.

    Steve

  48. 148
    Phil L says:

    Mike Roddy at #31 makes the claim that house construction using wood has a higher carbon footprint than steel or concrete. Meanwhile here are some quotes from IPCC WG3’s 5th Assessment report:

    “Recent research indicates that wood-based wall systems entail 10 – 20 % less embodied energy than traditional concrete systems (Upton et al., 2008; Sathre and Gustavsson, 2009) and that concrete-framed buildings entail less embodied energy than steel-framed buildings (Xing et al., 2008).” (Chapter 9 – Buildings)

    “Substitution of wood for non-renewable resources can reduce GHG emissions, e. g., when wood is substituted for emission-intensive materials such as aluminium, steel, or concrete in buildings. Integrated optimization of C stocks in forests and in long-lived products, as well as the use of by-products and wastes for energy, can deliver the highest GHG benefits.” (Chapter 11 – Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use)


    http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/

  49. 149
    Mal Adapted says:

    zebra:

    Now, as to your externality stuff, which is still loaded with the “responsibility” language.

    Wait a minute, you’re starting to sound like an economics-denier. I don’t know why you have a problem with “responsibility”. The current rapid climate change is anthropogenic, which means human-caused. It’s a consequence of our economic behavior, which is to say we’re responsible for it. What’s so hard about that? And it’s not my “externality stuff”, it’s a key concept underlying the discipline of Environmental Economics. I’ve taken a couple of graduate-level courses, but I don’t claim to be an expert, so I think you need to educate yourself. I’ve tried my best, and I’m done with this topic for now.

  50. 150
    Thomas says:

    147 Steve Fish, it’s along list, so a short paragraph may not be possible.

    DO you seek them for the US, Australia, Russia, China, or the whole world Steve?

    I’d ask you to list the “hidden subsidies” but given they are hidden that would be impossible, right? How convenient that is. LOL

    I’ll merrily await you response – I’d hate to write too much and no one read it. :-)