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Forced Responses: Jan 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2018

This is a new class of open thread for discussions of climate solutions, mitigation and adaptation. As always, please be respectful of other commentators and try to avoid using repetition to make your points. Discussions related to the physical Earth System should be on the Unforced Variations threads.

185 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jan 2018”

  1. 1
  2. 2

    Oh Goody! This is where we can discuss how to invent my two favorite, fully guaranteed solutions to global warming: The time machine and the beer-powered Flux Capacitor.

    [mild sarcasm off] Thanks RC for all that you do, this is a wonderful site, a valuable service.

  3. 3

    I’d like to learn whether or not spraying sulfate aerosols high in the atmosphere to mitigate global warming will significantly enhance the probability of acid rain.

    Thanks, C. W. Dingman

  4. 4
    -1=e^ipi says:

    I like the title.

    The optimal solution is to implement a global pigouvian tax on CO2 emissions (as well as other things like N20 and CH4 emissions) such that the level of tax is equal to the net negative externality associated with emissions. The level of tax and how it evolves over time should be determined using the best available integrated assessment models.

  5. 5
    MA Rodger says:

    Thomas @213 (Dec UV) asked with all the volume of comment from Killian in that December UV thread “Have I lost my title?”
    The answer turns out to be “No you have not!!”
    The commenting level of Killian (reported on the 20th at 22% of comments, 31% of wordage) declined after 20th December so he completed the month with figures of 70 comments (Record Holder:- Thomas 156 comments – Aug 2017) which comprised 18% of December’s comments (Record Holder:- Thomas 31% – Jan 2017), 19,822 words (Record Holder:- Thomas 34,006 words – Aug 2017) which comprised 26% of December’s commenting (Record Holder:- 34% – Jan 2017).

  6. 6
    John Atkeison says:

    The overall framework in the USA for 2018 is ELECTIONS. The solution to the “climate problem” is not mainly more research or mainly more public education, but is MAINLY electing political leaders who will apply every bit of political power – persuasive, regulatory & legislative – to reducing greenhouse gas pollution to zero as rapidly as is humanly possible while preparing for what is already on the way. To be sustainable this “revolution” should be based at the grassroots, especially since changes of this magnitude will need to have not just support but participation of a majority of the politically active population. We are not starting from nothing. For instance, Senator Sanders had huge success well beyond all expectations, and climate was a key issue in that campaign. Also many people such as me are stepping up- I’m running for Public Service Commission in Nebraska, the state where this same PSC just delayed the Keystone XL pipeline again.
    Get involved! Give us support!

  7. 7
    Dan Miller says:

    I’ll kick things off with a message I wrote to Chris Nelder, the host of The Energy Transition Show, an informative (and wonky) podcast on the details of energy systems. I’d be interested in RC reader’s thoughts on SCC.

    Hi Chris:

    Happy New Year!

    I enjoyed your podcast on Life Cycle Analysis. One of the key parameters of LCA is the social cost of carbon (SCC) which is needed to determine the tradeoffs between energy systems. In some sense, it is a parameter that tells us how fast we should drive the Energy Transition.

    Unless I missed it, I did not hear a discussion about SCC. I think it would be valuable to dedicate an entire show to the topic. Some of the issues you could discuss are:

    1. What is the range of SCC using standard analysis techniques? I believe current values range from $30/ton-CO2 to over $200/ton

    2. What costs are and should be included in SCC? For example, is the loss of most coastal cities included in current SCC calculations? How about the cost of mounting wars to protect oil supplies?

    3. The benefits of emitting CO2 are enjoyed now. The damage caused by the CO2 lasts essentially forever. How is that addressed? (discount rate)

    4. Is it morally acceptable to use a discount rate for SCC? While a discount rate is fine when determining if I should eat 1 pizza now vs. 2 in the future, is it OK to use a discount rate when one generation is taking from a future generation? What if the current benefit is saving a few dollars now but the future cost is the death of millions (or more) of people? If a discount rate is not appropriate, how should we analyze energy systems and the Energy Transition?

    I look forward to your 2018 shows.


  8. 8
    Susan Anderson says:

    My year-end best hope thing was discovering John Liu of ecosystem restoration. Great stuff (I have been a fan of “Greening the Desert” too (you may google videos if you wish), which unfortunately was terminated in favor of plastics and machinery, etc.

    (The home site is a fundraiser, so I’ve bypassed it to the blog link to give you the flavor of what is being done. I have a friend who participated in Spain, and it’s everything it says it is.)

  9. 9
    Mr. Know It All says:

    6 John Atkeison

    First thing you have to do to win elections based on AGW is to provide convincing evidence of AGW. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Show the math. Take a 1 m^2 piece of earth’s land, and a 1 m^2 piece of earth’s oceans and show the calcs for the column of atmosphere up to space. Don’t show cute cartoons with absorption, reflection, and heat numbers without calcs. Show how the numbers are calculated. Don’t show an experiment in a box or 2-liter drink bottle with heat lamps – not the same thing.

    If this can be modeled, then there have to be algorithms describing the physical processes. An incoming photon of Y wavelength hitting a CO2 molecule results in X BTU being released. How many of the incoming IR photons in the high atmosphere are prevented from warming the surface by CO2 or other chemicals in the high atmosphere. An outgoing photon of Y or Z wavelength hitting molecules in the lower atmosphere results in x BTU being released, etc. Show an accounting of all the processes in those 1 m^2 areas. Add ’em up. What is the result?

    If it’s presented properly, it should be understandable by people with a technical background other than climate science – and there are quite a few of those people – and many of them are on the conservative side of politics. Merely showing anecdotal evidence of AGW (melting glaciers, hot summers, warm winters, etc.) does not prove that warming is caused by human emitted CO2. There are equally as many anecdotes that can be made to refute those anecdotes.

    Can such a presentation be made?

  10. 10
    Mr. Know It All says:

    4 -1=e^ipi says:

    “The optimal solution is to implement a global pigouvian tax on CO2 emissions (as well as other things like N20 and CH4 emissions) such that the level of tax is equal to the net negative externality associated with emissions. The level of tax and how it evolves over time should be determined using the best available integrated assessment models.”

    Excellent idea. First, you must calculate the “net negative externality”. And to do that you must calculate the positive benefits such as warm homes, plentiful food via FF powered farm machinery, safer borders due to FF powered military, etc. After you make that arduous calculation, then you can start calculating the negative effects.

    May all liberal states in the USA ban use of FFs within their borders starting July 1, 2018.

  11. 11

    I’m interested in some practical aspects of placing sunshades to reduce the solar heat reaching our atmosphere.
    Parking a lot of parasols near the Earth-Sun Lagrange point seems the most elegant solution, but is non-trivial on execution.

  12. 12
    nigelj says:

    Killian @376
    Yes you are right obviously exponential growth is unsustainable. Population will peak in 50 years – 100 years, estimates do vary, but I can’t see it falling very fast after the peak. 2.1 children is zero population growth rate for western countries, so for population to fall people have to stop having children, or just one child families.

    I often argue with myself. Its how I sort out good information from bad. Its called self scepticism.

    I didn’t suggest you are promoting population as the one way to sustainability. You obviously aren’t. It has to be a combination of things.

    GDP growth has to stop and population has to fall (all at the very least). It’s just a question of how much and how fast to avoid problems, and this is where we probably differ. Ultimately it has to be mathematically modeled, not guessed at. Guesses could be seriously wrong.

  13. 13
    Killian says:

    #8 Susan Anderson said Ecosystem Restoration Camps and Greening the Desert.

    It is easy to forget not everything we post is read by others, for a variety of reasons. Greening was mentioned on this site seven years ago, and linked other times, iirc.

    It takes time for awareness to spread as it is, but when the most frequent and longest-posting participants constantly attack others, it takes even longer. Just wading through the personal crap takes more time than peoole have.

    Ecological Restoration Camps? Mentioned last September.

    These two things are real solutioneering, but to what extent discussed? We’ve seen far more on an economic system antithetical to survival, more on population and power distributiin and which will decline faster, much more on personal attacks

    Time to end the stupid, gentlemen. There are real issues to discuss.

    My year-end best hope thing was discovering John Liu of ecosystem restoration. Great stuff (I have been a fan of “Greening the Desert” too (you may google videos if you wish), which unfortunately was terminated in favor of plastics and machinery, etc.

    (The home site is a fundraiser, so I’ve bypassed it to the blog link to give you the flavor of what is being done. I have a friend who participated in Spain, and it’s everything it says it is.)

  14. 14
    Killian says:

    #8 Susan Anderson mentioned Ecology Restoration Camps.

    I was associated with that program in it’s beginning stages. I stepped away because it became the opposite of what it began as.

    It began as a Facebook plea by John, then became a group. 1,000 people were to pledge 150 euros each and take an egalitarian approach to getting ERCs set up around the globe.

    Unfortunately, a small group secretly set about creating a hierarchy within the group, got Dennis’ ear and took over.

    The group was to be self-funded, but quickly became involved in Big Green money chasing. Then a foundation was set up.

    There is nothing egalitarian about foundations nor Big Green money.

    Most here will likely not see the conflict, but I do not think top down systems can create egalitarian nor sustainable systems.

    As for the idea of restoration camps, there are some major flaws. I presented a similar idea to the world a few years prior to the beginning of ERCs that avoids the flaws of ERCs. I call my idea Regenerative community Incubators.

    The primary flaw is that they are camps, not communities. People come and go, with the carbon footprint that implies. In terms of training, how is consistency maintained? How do people survive and be part of the camps? Is this yet another rich White people feel-good activity in the making? If you commit to a camp, but the foundation interferes, then what?

    On the other hand, a RCI involves training people in situ in a community they live in. When a core group of people trained in creating a regenerative community is ready, they are sent out to be a new community. This self-propagation is vital. Learning to not just do regenerative design, but how to do community is vital. To be part of a global network is vital.

    There is more detail on this in the AGU thread… ignored, of course.

  15. 15
    wili says:

    john a @ #6: First, thank you for trying to motivate and inspire us. Second, ignore anything trollish looking in certain other’s responses…

    Finally, and sadly…it’s an uphill battle indeed. Have you seen this recent study?

    “The study found that while economic elites’ and business groups’ preferences often result in policy changes, public opinion has virtually no influence on policy outcomes. We see this all the time on issues from climate change to gun control, and in the recent examples of Obamacare (+12% approval but just one vote shy of Republican repeal) and the tax plan (-14% approval but passed by Republicans in Congress). This means it will be difficult to implement policies to shift us away from our current post-fact and post-truth world unless elites or interest groups or policymakers decide it’s in their best interest.”

    Here, mentioned recently in SkS:

    Link to the original study:

  16. 16
    Dan Miller says:

    #10 – Know-it-all (sic): The FF negative externalities are real and must be paid via higher taxes, food prices, insurance rates, uninsured losses, military expenditures, etc. This makes the real price of FF much higher than lower cost clean renewables. We hurt the economy (now and forever into the future) by using higher real cost (and dirty) FF.

    Putting a price on carbon (preferably using a Fee and Dividend policy) will improve the economy while reducing emissions. We will end up with lower cost food, a stronger (and less costly) military, and much safer boarders. The current influx of refugees in Europe are due mostly to climate-driven crises in Africa and Syria. What do you think will happen when drought and famine sweep across Central and South America?

    An analysis of the Fee and Dividend policy shows it will create 2.8 million jobs, grow GDP by $1.4 trillion, while reducing emissions more than 50%. We should do it even if climate change isn’t real!

  17. 17
    Thomas says:

    5 MA Rodger …. WOO HOO!

  18. 18
    Thomas says:

    370 nigelj says: “Hope the new years hangover wasn’t too big”.

    I don’t ‘drink’ – it’s too carbon intensive and is playing a role in destroying the planet and humanity’s ecosystem.

    I won;t prattle on about the ‘extinction’ issue mate. As I said when i did reply, it’s up to you seek out the knowledge you need. I merely presented a “Sign Post” to assist anyone interested. Which is pretty much the only thing I do here, besides swatting annoying ‘human flies’ away. LOL

  19. 19
    Thomas says:

    #378 Dec UV Barton Paul Levenson says:
    “BPL: Yes, Thomas, you’re utterly blameless”

    Very occasionally I am forced to agree with you BPL. It’s an integrity thing for me. This is such a time. I agree! :)

  20. 20
    Mr. Know It All says:

    11 – Adrian Midgley

    Would it help if we covered massive areas of the planet with a reflective white coating to reflect incoming solar – somewhat like the polar caps? Libs would likely be upset cause it reminded them of white power. :)

  21. 21

    @Mr. Know It All,

    Oh, I don’t know … Net Negative Externality oughtn’t be THAT difficult to bound.

    After all, should climate disruption become truly unacceptable, for economic, political, or simple reasons of convenience and survival, there is the cost of reversing it …

    At tenfold improvements to present costs, and, setting aside the need to conduct a two century long global project without interruption, deployment on a global scale, dropping 300 ppm in atmosphere (equivalent to 750 ppm overall) is by one calculation available at a cost of double the Gross World Product in 2014. It could be more. After all, these costs assume all emissions have been zeroed, and it’s hard to zero the 4 GtCO2e per annum from pure agriculture, even without incidental emissions of planting, harvesting, processing, production, and transport.

    I’d say that’s a suitable basis for the claimed pigouvian tax, and the positive benefits don’t stack up. After all, presumably, there’s excess capacity after provision for plentiful food, safer borders, warm homes, etc., and this presently contributes to Gross World Product.

  22. 22
    Killian says:

    When people say simplicity is too this or too that or that people won’t… but think how much carbon is being sequestered, think about science saying we *need* to be *in* nature…

    Think what living in Eden day in and day our would really be like, as opposed to the stupid caveman too often said even on this, supposedly scientific space. Science is not done with Straw Men and Red Herrings.

    Simplicity is not only possible, it’s necessary.

  23. 23
    Tony Rogers says:

    The only realistic way to solve the problems of human’s impact on the planet is to have fewer humans living on it. The average birthrate per couple needs to be two (or less in the short term).

  24. 24
    Christopher Hogan says:

    At 4, -1=e^ipi

    The problem with a Pigovian tax is that it does not actually fix the problem at all. Just consider the case where demand for fossil fuels is completely inelastic. Worse, consider the case where the first world has completely inelastic demand, but the damage occurs primarily in the third world. The net effect of the Pigovian tax is … nothing. A small redistribution of income within the first world, no change in the damage done globally.

    My point is, with a Pivogian tax, there is no necessary link between the tax policy and the environment. Period.

    By contrast, I propose an approach that I call “clean up you own mess”. We don’t allow you to dump garbage in the street or defecate on your lawn. In the modern world, you have to pay (the trash collector, the sewage fee) to clean that up.

    Let’s apply the same principal to C02 emissions. If the C02 creates a mess, well then, you have to pay somebody to clean up your mess.

    On a three year cycle, the Federal government calls for bids for any processes that can sequester C02 from the air on an industrial scale. The winning bids set the cost of cleaning up your mess. I.e., they set the price of C02 emissions (the tax rate on fossil fuels) for the coming three years. And, importantly, those tax revenues are escrowed to build and run those plants. Any excess beyond that required to operate the plants for their lifetime would be refunded to the population as a classical Pivouvian tax.

    Three years later, we bid fund and build the next tranche of plants. And so on.

    So, unlike the Pigouvian tax, we don’t value C02 based on (some estimate of) the damage it will do — and then do nothing to prevent the damage. Instead, we value it as the cost of preventing the damage — then we set about preventing it as fast as feasible.

    We (the U.S., I mean) would need to couple this with at least an import tax on other countries that did not follow suit, for reasons that I think should be obivous.

    This approach has the following benefits. First, if there really is no way to sequester C02 on a commercial scale, it would be good to know that. Second, you now have the full weight of the markets and the major players such as oil, gas, and coal companies all researching cheaper ways to sequester C02. Third, pricing is not subjective, but is entirely market-drive. Fourth … we actually clean up our own mess.

    I admit this is NOT what economists would judge to be an efficient solution. But as an economist, my considered opinion is that the entire concept of consumers’ (s-apostrophe) surplus behind the optimality of the Pivovian tax is … mostly nonsense. And when you can see that the outcome of such a tax need not have any material effect on the damage we are trying to avoid — well, I just don’t see any strong argument in its favor. I’d much rather see a solution that is directly linked to fixing the problem.

  25. 25
    Dan says:

    re: 9, ” Merely showing anecdotal evidence of AGW (melting glaciers, hot summers, warm winters, etc.) does not prove that warming is caused by human emitted CO2.”

    Oh for goodness sake, science is not about “proof”. Please familiarize yourself with the scientific method which is the way science has been conducted for centuries. Science is about hypotheses, data collection, data analyses, further hypotheses, and peer-review. Math is about “proof”. Learn the fundamental difference that should have been learned in junior high school.

  26. 26
    Larry Gilman says:

    Re. sunshades:

    The number of things that could go wrong with a “turn down the sun” approach, even assuming the necessary devices to be buildable (and sufficiently reliable in the real-world space environment of parts failures, solar storms, etc.), is unknown but assuredly very large. And by the very nature of the case, all possible fails would have global consequences. The risks are inherenty unquantifiable and at the largest possible scale. For beginners, one needn’t be a climatologist (I’m not; my training is in engineering) to guess that even slight non-uniformity in global dimming would likely shift the dynamics of the whole atmosphere. Nonuniformity could be intrinsic to the technology and/or result from unplanned events: E.g., a Lagrange point could keep reflectors in place, but not oriented; orientation would require active steering. So steering/orientation failure could suddenly turn up global insolation by X% until rectified, with God knows what results. Make the magnitude and distribution of global insolation dependent on continuous proper functioning of some deep-space gadgets, plus a space-travel culture to support them? What could go wrong?

    Risks at similar scale — impossible by their nature to pre-assess confidently, either for likelihood or severity — beset all geoengineering schemes. To promote any of these schemes seems to me to ignore the fact that _all_ very-large-scale, environment-altering technologies to date have spawned intractable secondary problems. Homo faber has a perfect record of failing to foresee, much less prevent or correct, such problems. Global warming itself is one of them.

    There is also the justice question: Who gets to be in charge of experiments with the global thermostat? The handful of real decision-makers in the handful of nations that have enough technical oomph to do the job? Oh, and are they going to choose the set point (assuming they can) to benefit all of humanity, or themselves?

    Could we ever become desperate enough to attempt geoengineering? Do-or-die scenarios can of course be concocted. But that game can always be played. I could describe a climate scenario in which we would be really forced to make Soylent Green out of people, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to divert skill and gold now into developing recipes.

  27. 27
    Adrian Midgley says:

    Inherently unquantifiable? Really?
    I’d imagine making rather a lot of parasols, so they are likely to fail one at a time.
    Given the approach of putting a stipple of dots over the solar disc as observed from Earth, it’ll be pretty uniform – this isn’t collimated light.
    The world turns, which helps even things out.
    (And L1 isn’t properly stable, so the close orbits around it the gadgets would be making would even things out as well)

    If one of them fails or even a lot of them or perhaps even all of them, the effect is unlikely to be sudden – there are no major disasters when there is an eclipse of the Sun by the Moon, we feel a cooling effect, then it goes away and business resumes.

    Can putting one umbrella at the Lagrange point catastrophically perturb the climate of the Earth (I mean a different catastrophic perturbation from the one it has at the moment of course)? I think anyone who said so would be invited to provide reasoning.

    Can putting up enough to completely block the solar disc, well, clearly yes.

    As a rough starting thought, would taking out 3% of the total insolation balance the anticipated CO2 level?

    If that is anything like plausible, then taking out 1% would substantially slow the disaster.

    Uniformity Desirable?
    Perhaps not. The equator is where people will start dying first, the poles – particularly the North pole – are where the change is most critical. To the extent a gradient is possible, cooling the Arctic a bit more than anywhere else might be worth modelling, no?

    Attempt Geoengineering?
    We are well into doing that, not very well.

    Who is going to do it? Those who can, and those who cannot easily be stopped by those who wish to stop them.

    Who is going to be in charge? I quite like the Internet Engineering Task Force, with their RFC system. I suspect they’d say the ‘Net is enough to occupy them, but perhaps a global climate correction task force might arise?

    So, how much diminution of solar input would be required to make an experimental test; and to make a difference; and to reverse our carelessness with Carbon?

    How much area is required out at L1? 10E2 square meters? ..ish?
    What are the minimum mass and material requirements to produce that, what is the sensible size of discrete devices? How hard is it to avoid collisions with flocking behaviour or other control, and what is the propellant budget for maintaining that?

    I have a greenhouse in my garden. If we have a hot summer I may well whitewash a panel of the roof of it.

  28. 28
    Adrian Midgley says:

    10E12 not 10E2

  29. 29
    Ray Ladbury says:

    And the ironically named Mr. Know-it-all once again reveals why he’s the triple-threat of ignorance. Dude, all of the measurements and calculations you are asking for have been around for over 20 years–hell, some have been around for over 100 years!

    First, we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know greenhouse gasses warm the atmosphere. We know that the mechanism responsible for the observed warming is a greenhouse mechanism (otherwise you’d see more warming in the daytime and summer rather than nighttime and winter). We also know that the mechanism is a greenhouse mechanism because it is simultaneously cooling the stratosphere as it warms the troposphere–only greenhouse mechanisms do this.

    Dude, please try to catch up before the election.

  30. 30
    mike says:

    re sunshades, yes, what LG said at 14, plus, the shades do nothing to reduce the ocean acidification that follows the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. I will go out on a limb and suggest that Earth is an ocean planet and that ocean acidification is very bad for lots of living things on the planet.

    In light of these matters, why would we want to expend the energy and resources to treat a symptom of planetary CO2 poisoning and take all the risks that LG describes when it pretty clear that the best approach is a wildly ambitious conversion to very low emission energy/transportation/agriculture systems followed by a wildly ambitious global program of CO2 sequestration/removal from the oceans and/or atmosphere to push the needle back down under 400 ppm in a decade or two at most?

    The sociopolitical ramifications of the geoengineering symptom fixes have to include the global conflict that would arise and whether our species can resolve conflicts and continue to avoid a nuclear exchange. Why do you wanna roll those dice?

  31. 31
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @9 wants calculation demonstrating effects of increasing CO2. These have been done many times starting with the early work of Arrhenius as below:

    As you can see even this early work dating to 1895 is very complex and few politicians would understand it. You really have to have a science or engineering degree or some of this, and most politicians are lawyers etc.

    The more important point is no scientist has been able to show the calculations on CO2 are basically wrong. The area of debate is just exact climate sensitivity, which depends mainly on the power of feedbacks, but the preponderance of evidence suggests medium to high.

    Politicians need to start listening to the mainstream science community, not the climate cranks, anti-vaxxers, intelligent designers, anti fluoride people and so on. The mainstream science community is far more likely to be right than the cranks. In the end all the public have is the probability of whos evidence and calculations is likely to be right. Decisions always come down to this.

    The evidence of climate change is not ‘anecdotal’ its well documented now and beyond all doubt.

    Its way past time when we should be thinking about mitigation, and reflecting the sun looks like desperate last resort approach that could go horribly wrong.

  32. 32
    Killian says:

    #30 mike said :Re sunshades, yes, what LG said at 14, plus, the shades do nothing to reduce the ocean acidification… why would we want to expend the energy and resources to treat a symptom of planetary CO2 poisoning and take all the risks that LG describes when it pretty clear that the best approach is a wildly ambitious conversion to very low emission energy/transportation/agriculture systems ****followed by*** a wildly ambitious global program of CO2 sequestration/removal… and… under ***400 ppm*** in ***a decade or*** two at most?

    Let me fix this for you, Mike.

    :Re sunshades, yes, what LG said at 14, plus, the shades do nothing to reduce the ocean acidification… why would we want to expend the energy and resources to treat a symptom of planetary CO2 poisoning and take all the risks that LG describes when it pretty clear that the best approach is a wildly ambitious conversion to very low emission energy/transportation/agriculture systems ****concurrent with, and achieved by the same means,*** a wildly ambitious global program of CO2 sequestration/removal… and… under ***300 ppm*** in 20 – 100 years, at most?


    Seriously, under 400 would achieve absolutely nothing in any real sense. The damage already underway is going to remake the world’s coastlines and affect many food baskets, both on land and in the ocean. It really behooves us to just do it right the first time, and our clearest line of demarcation is the melting of the poles, and that began no later than 1953, forced by between 300 and 315 ppm… which I keep repeating, but which keeps seeming to be ignored.

  33. 33
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @20

    “Would it help if we covered massive areas of the planet with a reflective white coating to reflect incoming solar – somewhat like the polar caps? Libs would likely be upset cause it reminded them of white power. :)”

    Yet again you are behind the times. The use of reflective road and pavement surfaces has been well researched as below, and tried out in various places:

    The reason you are always behind the times is you spend too much time reading dumb, denialist literature. The alternative right are odious, and all their extremism probably has the reverse effect of what they want, it just alienates everyone. Extremists are mostly always wrong.

  34. 34
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @20, please appreciate there’s a difference between reflecting sunlight with light coloured surfaces, and risky experiments injecting particles into the atmosphere at high level that could cause unusual negative effects that are hard to predict.

    Its hard to model injecting particles, or do it in a laboratory, so it would be using the planet as the final experiment. No- thank- you.

  35. 35
    Larry Gilman says:

    Adrian at 27: While I appreciate your point-by-point responsiveness, we seem to be talking at cross purposes. You suggest interesting design concerns for a sunlight diversion system: scale, granularity, command and control, etc. One could chew essentially forever on such interesting questions (interesting for engineers at least), and I have no doubt that many, many system variants could be proposed, all with various hypothetical virtues. One of my points is that the failure modes of these imagined systems would also be various. And if our uniform experience with Very Big, Complex Technologies is any guide, some of the most important would be unforeseen. Likewise side effects and spinoff problems. To me, techno-optimism on this scale seems daft on its face.

    Paper megatechnologies always work. They’re on-budget, failsafe, have (by definition) no unforeseen side effects or failure modes, and are all-round better than Jesus in a can. The only problem is that they aren’t real.

    Re. governance, you seem willing to hand over control of the Earth’s energy budget to, essentially, a committee of experts. Even apart from the hair-raising autocratism that this implies, I’m less sanguine about committees of experts. Much less.

    Mike at 30: Bingo on all points. You rightly emphasize that undemocratic geoengineering (and how could it be otherwise?) might well heighten dangerous conflict. To recycle your metaphor, those are not dice we would be wise to roll.

  36. 36
    Scott E Strough says:

    Jan @ 21
    The cost to fix it can be negative if done correctly. Many billions of tax dollars are spent on fossil fuels subsidies and subsidies for unsustainable agricultural methods.

    One ultra conservative option is simply stop subsidizing those things causing AGW. It yields a net profit instead of a cost. That’s not even counting the so called “hidden costs” associated with the status quo. If we count those costs currently in the system too, then making the change is ridiculously hugely profitable. (A number so ridiculously huge I can’t even think that big) But even straight up head to head and ignoring hidden cost benefits, making the change still is far more profitable at every level compared to the antiquated systems being subsidized with billions and billions every year just so they don’t fail. It is neoLuddites funding the campaign for denialism. And ones that are not very smart either, just in power due to inherited wealth made by others far smarter than themselves. Trump being the ultimate example. Be sure.

  37. 37
    Thomas says:

    9 & 10 Mr. Know It All trying, yet failing, to sound intelligent and mathematical says all kinds of mythical garbage.

    Let me explain it by way of a metaphor KIA — No matter how much you try you will never be able to teach a beche-de-mer how to dance!

    This is the situation that all posters here, and rc scientists have in regarding to trying to teach you anything about climate science, or life in general. You’re as thick and dumb as a sea cucumber KIA = UNTEACHABLE~!

  38. 38
    Toni Massari says:

    I wanted to ask whether anyone here has come across any attempts at mapping vulnerabilities in lowland areas vulnerable to early Sea Level Rise by correlating contour maps with SLR and maps of BURIED WASTES.

    My concern is that we are not preparing far ahead enough, by starting to schedule removal of the worst offenders… else SLR will be bubbling-up through:

    “Plague” Pits
    Animal carcass pits
    Toxic dumps
    Ammunition dumps
    Radioactive dumps
    Contaminated land


  39. 39
    Thomas says:

    12 nigelj, I have posted this link several times, including since you have been here.

    Here it is again:
    Hans Rosling – 200 years of global change 2013
    STOCKHOLM 28 September 2013 Professor Hans Rosling (Gapminder and Karolinska Institutet)

    Only 29,000 views when it needs to be 2.9 billion views to make any genuine progress on agw/cc ….. and destroy the predominant MYTHS about Population growth …. oh well.

    and here are a few others:

    How not to be ignorant about the world

    RIP Hans Rosling!

  40. 40
    Thomas says:

    Some practical helpful advice for Mr Know Nothing’s children.

  41. 41
    Thomas says:

    22 Killian – (smiling)

    as one comment said: “I really want to wake up everyday and play this video 1st thing in the morning.”

    Mind you, wouldn’t it be even better if she woke up everyday and DID what was shown in the video for 3+ years? (wink)

  42. 42
    Thomas says:

    23 Tony Rogers says: “The only ….”

    fwiw I always stop reading the rest as soon as I see someone saying “the only way” – it’s always guaranteed to be false what comes after. Exceptions prove this rule.

    24 Christopher Hogan says: “The problem with a Pigovian tax is that it does not actually fix the problem at all.”


    Re: “Third, pricing is not subjective, but is entirely market-driven.”


    28 etc. Adrian Midgley goes full throttle Neoliberal Lunacy. Facts and analysis already provided last year and the year before by your’s truly.

  43. 43
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @39, thanks for the video. You clearly read a lot.

    I will explain myself. There’s a thing called confirmation bias that we all talk about. Denialists go around looking for any research that tells them climate change is not going to be too serious, and they ignore anything else.

    I try to be careful I don’t go the other way, looking only at the most catastrophic research and immediately assuming it must be correct, getting a weird thrill out of possible doom like reading a horror novel.

    Don’t mistake it for closet denialism. I’m doing what we say we should be doing, applying healthy, rational scepticism.

    My instincts, fwiw, and I read plenty, are that even 2 degrees will cause more than enough trouble, without talking about the end of the world.

  44. 44
    nigelj says:

    Killian @32

    Regarding melting of the poles and melting ice in general. Yes the poles started melting in the 1950s, or about then, but its not too late to improve the situation. It doesnt mean terminal disaster is already locked in.

    Its a rate of change problem, so the more carbon we inject the faster temperatures increase so obviously the faster the melt process. Humanity can possibly withstand maybe 300 – 400 mm or so per century that is probably already locked in. Buildings get rebuilt about every 80 years anyway and so can be relocated or have higher foundations without problems. But even 300mm is insidious and still problematic.

    But coping with 500 – 1500 mm per century for several centuries is self evidently another matter, and harder to adapt to. It would mean substantial damage to existing infrastructure well before its “use by” date, and it will make entire drainage systems non functional even if building are still partly usable.

    Once we hit 2 degrees it becomes very hard to predict what the hell sea level rise will do, which will create a planning nightmare for new infrastructure. I have done design consultancy on infrastructure, and it will not be easy or cheap. So even although some warming and sea level rise is already locked in, there are many good reasons to reduce emissions.

  45. 45
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @39, I like the way Hans Rosling connects together climate change, renewable energy, demographics and incomes. Strip it back however, and converting to renewable energy costs about 1% of a countries income, so is achievable even in poor countries, maybe with a little help.

    The barriers are political, psychological, vested interests, campaigns of disinformation. Just so many frigging barriers.

  46. 46
    Night-Gaunt49 says:

    Why is it that there are still some who deny that population growth which follows consumption growth and need for food, water, place to live and other logistical aspects they ignore to think we need more people instead of less? That the world can be turned into one giant farm and that would be good? That human impact is behind Anthropogenic Global Warming? That humans as a group can and have altered our plent on a huge scale which hasn’t stopped. No other life form has our impact and such a mindless after thought impact at that.

    The fact that the USA at now 4% of global population still consumes 25% of the resources and produce 25% of the waste products from it is a good thing not to be spoken of? That such over use by the rich 3 billion is the cause of AGW not the remaining poor 4.5 billion? If everyone was such a huge consumer you would know it by how fast we collapse from lack of everything in a short time. And we would need 4 to 5 whole Earths to keep them happy in their rich wasteful lives of consumption.

    This is in fact an in born factor of our kind of intelligence and if we solve it well we will be on our way to a better future than where we are going now. A Hot House Earth as bad as the end of the Permian. Which if we discovered a planet in that sate we would certainly bypass it for colonization and just live a science team it its mile pole. No ice, green sky, acidic warm oceans full of jelly fish over real fish. We are seeing the latter now with blooms of jelly fish and rise of octopus an squid. The Chinese Navy are outfitting their atomic powered ships to keep them from having their intakes clogged shut by ships will be in front of them using steel bladed nets to chop the jelly fish up.

    This is a problem for the human race to solve. This is a test of a species to use their intelligence and cooperation to solves a massive problem they caused. So far we are tardy and falling behind in anything to mitigate it. Solving it will take much longer since we need to be taking CO2 out of the air by 2020.

  47. 47
    Night-Gaunt49 says:

    Forgive me for my poorly written comment. I should have reviewed it a few more times.

  48. 48
    zebra says:


    How’s that homework assignment coming?

  49. 49
    Dan Hughes says:

    WTF: “The current influx of refugees in Europe are due mostly to climate-driven crises in Africa and Syria.”

  50. 50
    Adrian Midgley says:

    @Mike at 30
    “why would we want to expend the energy and resources to treat a symptom of planetary CO2 poisoning and take all the risks that LG describes when it pretty clear that the best approach is a wildly ambitious conversion”

    Because the best approach turns out to be wildly ambitious and we have not done it.

    Pragmatically, although doing one large thing may solve a problem, we often do several smaller things each partly solving it, and together ameliorating, limiting, reversing or fixing it.

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