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Forced Responses: Dec 2018

Filed under: — group @ 2 December 2018

A bimonthly thread for discussions on solutions and responses to climate change. For climate science topics, please comment on the Unforced Variations thread.

145 Responses to “Forced Responses: Dec 2018”

  1. 51
    CCHolley says:

    Mr KIA @48

    The fee and dividend US House bill mentioned in comment 43 is not, contrary to it’s wording, a free market solution. Fee and dividend is a government forced tax; it is the exact opposite of free markets.

    Maybe not a *free market* solution in its idealized form; however, the fee puts a price on the costs of CO2 emissions that a true free market does not impose. A tragedy of the commons issue. So it is the next best thing to an idealized *free market* which can never solve the issue. By artificially imposing the cost, the *free market* can then determine how the issue is best addressed rather than imposing exactly what activities/solutions should be implemented; therefore, it is a free market solution.

    Calling this plan the exact opposite of a free market is frankly absurd.

    Second, right wing and libertarians have not distorted science. They’ve watched as scientists have been caught fudging data, making errors, etc, and providing all the ammo against CC that is needed – all the right wing does is point out this stuff.

    Right wing and libertarians have absolutely distorted science.

    They have distorted the truth of how data must be handled in order for it to be useful and calling it fudged is a blatant lie, errors are part of science; however, they have distorted the significance of these errors to our understanding, etc. etc. The response to the latest National Climate Assessment is a clear example of right wing/libertarian distortion.

    They lie and distort the truth just like you do. That is really all they do.

  2. 52

    KIA 48: Fee and dividend is a government forced tax; it is the exact opposite of free markets.

    BPL: The most coercive way of dealing with AGW would be microregulation enforced with penalties. Fee and dividend is more of a market solution, but you apparently don’t want any solution at all, just a “free market” that lets the problem get worse and worse and worse.

    KIA: Second, right wing and libertarians have not distorted science. They’ve watched as scientists have been caught fudging data, making errors, etc, and providing all the ammo against CC that is needed

    BPL: That is a filthy lie, and I for one am tired of hearing it. No scientist has “fudged data.” If they have, provide proof. If you can’t provide proof, shut up.

  3. 53
    Hank Roberts says:

    right wing and libertarians have not distorted science.

    Funny!

  4. 54
    Victor says:

    Today in the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/opinion/france-yellow-vests-climate-change.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    Some choice passages:

    “Emmanuel Macron’s government was forced this week to suspend a planned 6.5-cent-per-liter tax increase on diesel and 2.9 cents on gasoline — collected for the purpose of speeding France’s transition to renewables — after weeks of protests and violent rioting throughout the country.”

    Refreshing honesty. Most media outlets mention only “tax hikes,” not the connection with climate change rectitude.

    “So much then for the belief that a cabal of know-nothing pundits and greedy oil barons are the main political obstacle to climate action. . .

    So much, also, for the fantasy that our main climate challenge is that nobody in power has the spine to do something about it. The real problem is that so far most of those somethings haven’t worked, or won’t work, or won’t work anytime soon, or come at too exorbitant a price.

    Before accusing the so-called do-nothings of being good-for-nothings, shouldn’t the self-declared do-somethings first propose something serious to do?”

    Can’t believe these words are coming from the NY Times. They’ll probably fire him over this.

    “But a long history of climate policy failures might also cause climate activists and the politicians they support to be more humble about their convictions, more sensitive to the human effects of their policy, and more willing to listen to criticism.

    To have a diagnosis is not to have a cure, and bad cures can be worse than the disease. Those who think otherwise are also living in denial.”

    Amen.

  5. 55

    #50, zebra–

    1. Are you suggesting that the difference between the projected population number BAU and what you get even with a .1 or .2 reduction in FR is trivial?

    No.

    2. Changing the slope from up to down changes the paradigm on multiple fronts. Like, should I invest in FF? Or, wind and solar, in locations where I know there will be a population to buy the energy?

    To me, that’s not highly relevant, though it may be true in principle. In practice, investors’ time windows are way shorter than the time scale on which we can affect a change in actual growth rate. (Birth rates can change faster, though.)

    I’m all about ‘hitting the brakes hard,’ which requires action *now*.

    I’m not criticizing you for looking at a longer perspective; you are less sanguine about mitigation than I am, and that’s certainly fair. And if we do mitigate sufficiently to avoid the worst levels of catastrophe, we certainly need a plan for longer-term sustainability, and population certainly deserves to be part of it. So I think what you are saying may well be useful. But it doesn’t follow that it’s the only useful focus.

    Mr. KIA, #48–

    …most don’t want an EV due to high cost, limited usefulness (low range), etc.

    Not true. First, the range problem is considerably reduced today; if you want an EV that can do 200-250+ miles per charge, you have multiple choices, and more are coming. Second, while there is still a cost penalty in terms of up-front price that is acting as a barrier to some buyers, that doesn’t mean that they “don’t want” an EV; it just means they are deferring their purchase of one til they can do a bit better! (That would be me too, by the way.) And part of the reason for that pent-up demand is reduced operating cost, in terms of both avoided fuel cost and reduced maintenance.

    Finally, let’s note that you are correct to say “most”, rather than “few”, because there are a *lot* of people buying EVs, and particularly the Tesla 3. Specifically, it’s estimated to have sold ~18,000 units last month, which puts it at #6 in the US market behind only the Camry (at 24.5k units), the Accord, the Civic, the Corolla, and the Elantra (which edged the 3 by just 148). And it’s much more expensive than any of them, which means that by revenue brought in, it’s by far the #1 car in the market.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/12/05/tesla-model-3-6-top-selling-car-in-usa-in-november-cleantechnica-report/

    How’s that for the market in operation?

    …right wing and libertarians have not distorted science.

    That may be your perception, but I assure I could spend the rest of our lives citing past examples of just that.

    Almost everything government touches is a failure.

    No, almost everything *humans* touch is a failure–especially on first attempt. I can cite government successes–public education is a massive one, on balance, as is public health, as is the road system, as is the telecom system, as is the postal system (don’t laugh until you google the reliability ratings, and don’t fail to consider the problem parameters)–and I can cite numerous non-governmental failures, starting with Enron and continuing indefinitely.

    And in passing, I’d like to ask how it is that you blame the opioid crisis on government, anyway? Perhaps government was slow to respond, but as far as I know the crisis was precipitated mostly by non-governmental actors: drug companies pushing medications based on the profits they could make, and individual doctors ditto. How is that a governmental failure–especially from the perspective of someone who claims that government should mostly stay out of the way of the private sector?

    Ron R, #45–

    However, forgive me for not celebrating if replacement rate or a little above still nets us a population near 12,000,000,000 at the turn of the century (for all the reasons I’ve been stressing).

    Replacement rate doesn’t do anything of the kind. As the calculator shows, replacement rate would have us at about 7 billion in 2100, just about where we are now:

    http://ilkkah.com/population-calculator/#human_age=69&title=&birth_rate=2&birth_age=21&immigration=0&start_pop=7000000000&timespan=200&start_year=2013&pyramid=youth

    What gets us to 12 billion is primarily the remaining high birth rate countries, from Nigeria on down. And I’d agree that (continued) serious action of the sorts you recommend is rational and desirable.

    But, that said, it won’t solve our immediate emissions problem.

    nigel, #41–

    …not as harsh as Macrons tax…

    Funny thing about that… that’s certainly been the perception, but I was looking at the numbers this morning. The NYT reported the actual tax rise as “up to” $0.25 US/gallon. But gas–or should I say ‘petrol’?–prices in France over the last few months have averaged Euro 1.53/liter–which, plugging in the values of Euro/USD and the liter/US gallon conversion (3.8-something liters/gallon), I made out to be the equivalent $6.59 US/gallon. (My last fill-up was at $1.97/gallon, I think, though to be clear gas has been unusually cheap lately.)

    Which means that the increase due to the tax was “up to” ~3.8%.

    Harsh? I think not. I have to see the protest as a ‘straw breaks back’ situation. Macron created his movement, and was elected, in order first of all to bring more economic growth to France. But so far, all most Frenchfolk have felt is the short-term pain of liberalizing labor markets and such–and, rubbing salt in the wound, Macron has apparently been perceived as way too out of touch with everyday concerns, too. So the rise from $6.59 to $6.84 may only be 4%, but when you’re already struggling to pay your bills, and you’re already fed up with the government… well, you may well put on a yellow vest.

    All of which is a good argument for having the rebate mechanism of any carbon tax well out front, as you suggest.

  6. 56
    mike says:

    regarding any optimism about falling emissions:
    https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2018
    recent report says we are not doing too well. This will be ok if we can conjure up Kevin Anderson’s carbon dioxide-sucking fairy godmother. Otherwise, maybe not so much. Any thoughts?

    Last Week

    Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2018 408.38 ppm

    1 Year Ago

    Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2017 406.27 ppm

    10 Years Ago

    Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2008 384.48 ppm

    No worries.

    Mike

  7. 57
    TW2018 says:

    Interesting doings concerning climate going on in Europe right now.

    Of course, COP24 in Katowice, Poland, is much in the news:
    https://www.wired.com/story/a-global-climate-summit-is-surrounded-by-all-things-coal/

    And rioting in France also has a climate connection as the French sure don’t seem to like higher fuel taxes:
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-gilets-jaunes-and-a-surprise-crisis-in-france

  8. 58
    nigelj says:

    Ron R @45

    Thank’s for the comments. To summarise my position so there’s no misunderstanding: population growth rates have to fall and ultimately global population has to fall in absolute terms. Its obvious, and ultimately it has to happen one way or the other by design, or circumstances may force it on humanity, and it is clearly the most pain free way of reducing environmental pressures.

    I have previously taken a stab at 2-3 billion people being a good ultimate long term balance between enough diversity of human society and skills, and economies of scale. I have thought for decades that population must fall, but Zebra has articulated it and added things I had not considered so much.

    But lets be realistic. It won’t be a magic answer to climate change of 2 degrees, assuming realistic policies, or even 1 child families, but it will certainly help temperatures escalating above 2 degrees. The IPCC worst case is 12 degrees by 2300 (basically assumes we burn through all fossil fuels) and falling population in absolute terms could do a lot to stop this possible nightmare scenario.

    It’s about finding suitable government policies, and how we convince politicians as I previously noted, what is desirable versus what is realistic, and about the downsides of reducing population and how we deal with those.

    However I didn’t say we should settle for replacement fertility rate, which is about 2.2 in developed countries and 3 in poor countries, and 11 billion people by 2100, and staying that way. I said that something around 1.9 globally on average looks useful and achievable. This makes a significant difference and leads to lower numbers by 2100, and population falling after 2100 in absolute terms.

    If you aim to get down to rates of 1.0 or even 1.5 the elderly burden will be significant, at least for a period until things reach some sort of equilibrium. I don’t think you can wish this away and its hard to see a simple solution. I suppose robotics could help look after the elderly but I doubt the planet has enough resources for such a huge level of robotics.

    I also doubt you would get democratic societies to aim as low as 1.0. People feel insecure with just one child and socially its good to have 2. However I’m raising the counter arguments to your position, and I’m certainly not rubbishing the idea of aiming for 1 child.

    Because of the challenges in getting population down fast enough, and even if your policies were successful, renewable energy remains the main priority along with some level of absolute reduction in per capita energy use. Perhaps there are three things that make sense to me: realistic, achievable policies on renewable energy combined with realistic policies on population and realistic expectations on reductions in energy use.

    But I agree with you completely in general principle.

  9. 59
    dhogaza says:

    KIA:

    “Those on the right talk about this type of uncertainty with respect to CC effects”

    No, what we hear is the uncertainly on the low end, in an effort to convince people that no action is required.

    What we never hear from you is that there’s also uncertainty on the high end, nor the danger to society that this uncertainty represents.

  10. 60
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @48

    “Second, right wing and libertarians have not distorted science. They’ve watched as scientists have been caught fudging data, making errors, etc, and providing all the ammo against CC that is needed – all the right wing does is point out this stuff.”

    You provide no evidence anything has been fudged. Every official investigation of things like M Mann and climategate found nothing was fudged or fraudulent as below:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

    One IPCC report had one single mistake on Himilayan glaciers in 900 pages, a non critical sort of mistake. There is some disagreement in the research about climate sensitivity, but only of the range, and not the basic greenhouse effect. If you people use this sort of thing to claim scientific findings should be ignored you are being idiotic, which proves the point that many on the right are scientifically illiterate.

    “You mentioned a deep suspicion of government. It’s earned. Almost everything government touches is a failure. ACA Healthcare: abject failure. Prohibition: failure. War on drugs: failure.”

    Government should never have tried prohibition and the war on drugs in the first place! This is different from “failure”.

    War on illegal immigration: failure. Legal immigration policy: failure. War on crime: failure. Smokey Bear fire prevention: failure. ”

    Maybe in America. Our governments deal with these things quite well. And what is your alternative to governments dealing with them?

    “Maintaining the value of a dollar: failure. ”

    Not governments job. Its determined by the market, except in exceptional circumstances requiring government intervention.

    “Funding Social Security: failure soon unless fixed. Medicare: failure soon.”

    Only because the GOP doesn’t like social security in principle and is ridiculously obstructive. My country makes these things work and has some consensus between political parties on the basics.

    “Opioid crisis: failure.”

    Simple to fix. Don’t make it so easy for doctors to prescribe this stuff and companies to reward them for doing this. And whats stopping this? Your precious “free market” ideology that governments should not control such things. You are your own worst enemy Mr KIA :)

  11. 61
    TW2018 says:

    Macron, French President, has just decided to scrap the carbon tax on fuel:

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/latest-leading-protest-activist-macron-speak-59624047

  12. 62
  13. 63
    Mr. Know It All says:

    55 – Kevin

    Agree that if the Tesla is outselling other cars, that’s a good market solution. Limited 250 mile range would not work for me when I want to go on long trips of 3,000 miles in remote areas though. Most folks don’t need such capability, but here in the western US, it’s not uncommon. Eventually EVs will get there. AND in the near future, young folks who start out driving EVs, will not know what they are missing – therefore they will not desire a FF car. THEN, demand will explode; unless price of oil causes it first, which could happen.

    The opioid “crisis” was caused by government encouraging docs to prescribe fewer opioids. Pain patients, denied legal relief and essentially tortured by their docs, resorted to getting opioids on the street. Street drugs are dangerous and resulted in a huge increase in addiction and overdoses. Totally predictable.

    My guess is the whole CC problem will eventually have some kind of “free market” solution; it may not be a pleasant one, but it will get “fixed” one way or another, right?

    52 – BPL and 60 – nigelj
    You wanted evidence? Here’s some – I have not verified it, but it IS evidence, right?
    I picked a trusted source for you:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/10916086/The-scandal-of-fiddled-global-warming-data.html
    :)

  14. 64
    patrick says:

    Bret Stephens–as shown by his stuff in the New York Times–is a practitioner of making noise but not saying anything. But he does wag his amygdala in speak–which provokes other amygdalas to wag accordingly, as if by resonance. The resulting hysteria–he reflexively projects it outward and discovers elsewhere.

    https://www.desmogblog.com/bret-stephens

  15. 65
    Ron R. says:

    Kevin McKinney, #55. Replacement rate doesn’t do anything of the kind. As the calculator shows, replacement rate would have us at about 7 billion in 2100, just about where we are now:.

    Sorry. I meant rates as they are currently projected between now and the year 2100 have us between a little under 10,000,000,000 to (or possibly even above) 13,000,000,000 by that year https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4230924/ (16,600,000,000 UN high variant https://www.prb.org/un-world-projections/ ). Your man Rosling puts that number at around 11,500,000,000. All devastating numbers.

    I strongly suspect that as the numbers continue to rise and the pressure to build increases, it’s probable that people will began to look toward protected lands like national parks and wilderness areas for growth. Some are already calling for auctioning them off https://www.perc.org/1999/11/01/how-and-why-to-privatize-public-lands/ . It’s a bit alarming that a former director of the UN United Nations Population Division is calling for the US to accept a population of 1.6 billion by 2100. https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/us-could-be-worlds-most-populous-country

    People may think that a global push for population control, protection of biodiversity (and the biosphere at large) is naive and unrealistic, but that’s what they thought about getting the world to address climate change. Yet now the great majority of nations have signed their intentions to lower greenhouse gases. It took a determined and sustained push from everybody, top to bottom to accomplish it. I believe that we can accomplish the same thing here, but it would take a lot of work. A great awakening is due.

  16. 66
    Ron R. says:

    Nigel, #58.

    Wow, 12 degrees by 2300. Worst case indeed!

    If you get a chance, please read the articles I listed in #45. I read most of them today and recommend them.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/12/forced-responses-dec-2018/#comment-714406.

  17. 67
    Ron R. says:

    Saw this video by some specialists on extinction. I feel so much better now!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VTK81eXi-AE

  18. 68
    Timo says:

    #36 Zebra
    Agree.

    #41 nigelj

    There are tentative (yet tangible) signs that some on the political right could warm to fee and dividend. Let’s just say out of the all the policy options out there, this would be the one that’s closest to being compatible with their political ideology..providing they can accept that in a truly free market the external costs to society and the natural world should be eventually reflected in the price of whatever energy source we’re considering.

    That’s a big step for some, but as the evidence of anthropogenic climate change begins to hit home to everyone..it shouldn’t be an insurmountable hurdle.

    #43 CCHolley

    Thanks for that link. I really hope it gets through. All it’ll take is someone to start…I think it should (hypothetically) become a very popular measure.

    #48 Mr Know it all

    It may be a ‘government forced’ tax, but it’s government neutral in it’s application and transparency. That is a massive difference to straight fuel duty or some such measure.

    Brushing over your views on climate science..that I happen to think are offensive and unwarranted, and I won’t be engaging with at all.

    Your next point is essentially hypocrisy of environmental activism? Well, again, I think in the context of this policy proposal, that’s irrelvant. This IS a market solution. I think there’d obviously have to be other policy tools used to transition more effectively, but the ‘fee and dividend’ element would be the main teeth of the initiative.

    Again on your remaining points…this policy is a government free zone. The market is the driver of change. The main government influence would be the set price of carbon. I’m not qualified to assess a realistic start point and I’m sure that’s where the main opposition would be, but it needs to be effective and it needs to rise over time.

    On your last point, seeing as you inhabit one of very best resources anywhere on the internet when it comes to the science of climate change and the assessment of the attendant risks, I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone better qualified than me to try and explain it to you.

  19. 69
    Killian says:

    Re #47 Carrie

    Thanks for the plug. Where did you post it, exactly? I’d like to see the context.

  20. 70
    zebra says:

    #55 Kevin McKinney,

    “I’m all about hitting the brakes hard…”

    Funny. Many many decades ago, I had my brakes fail. I suffered a concussion and retrograde amnesia, but one memory was accessible– no doubt burned into my circuits because of its intensity; it had the “slowing down of time” and “seeing everything” characteristic that is sometimes reported in such cases.

    The nature of the curve and the edge of the road had me inevitably impacting a large tree head-on, which in the VW Beetle of those days likely meant a burst gas tank; no airbags of course… well, I’m here to comment because I stopped pumping the brake pedal and took the chance of spinning the car to, yes, possibly minimize the harm. It worked; while I couldn’t quite “walk away”, and there was pain, my injuries were minor.

    So perhaps I’m conditioned to see all the options and not rely on simple fixes.

    Since my suggestions do nothing to interfere with your (unrealistic) goal of less than 2C exclusively through energy transition, it isn’t clear why you object to increasing resources on the population front.

    Your statement about “not affecting growth rate” while reducing birth rate doesn’t make sense at all, by the way.

  21. 71
    CCHolley says:

    Macron’s tax

    I see that the climate action obstructionists here and elsewhere are reveling with glee in the failure of Macron’s fossil fuel taxes.

    Hallelujah! Carbon Taxes can’t work! People just will not accept them! Yippie!

    Of course, this totally ignores that the failure can be attributed to multiple reasons i.e. poorly structured, poor implementation, poor timing, etc. etc. Nor does it recognize that solutions to difficult problems often initially result in failure. It can take multiple tries to get it right and to gain wide acceptance.

    Can a carbon tax work in a form that is acceptable to the general public? Of course they can. British Columbia has had a successful carbon tax in place since 2008. Do we see these western Canadians rioting in the streets? Of course not. The key to the success of the British Columbia plan is that it is revenue neutral. It does not burden businesses or people with addition tax expense. As such, the rest of Canada will be implementing a revenue neutral carbon fee starting in 2019.

    So for The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 7173) the lesson from France and British Columbia is that for a carbon tax to be successful it must be fair, revenue neutral, and implemented over time, which in this case, it most certainly is.

    It should be noted that market driven fee and dividend plans originated by conservatives. They are not a liberal invention or plot. George Shultz and James Baker have touted such plans for many years. In the USA the first carbon fee and dividend bill was introduced in congress by Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC) in 2009. More recently, The Climate Leadership Council’s The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends was authored by James Baker III, Henry M. Paulson Jr., Martin Feldstein, George P. Shultz, Ted Halstad, Thomas Stephenson, N. Gregory Mankiw, and Rob Walton. There is growing support for such plans across the political landscape.

  22. 72

    Mr. KIA–

    The opioid “crisis” was caused by government encouraging docs to prescribe fewer opioids.

    That’s not what I hear; what I’ve seen reported is that the crisis arose from impeccably private-sector drug companies pushing doctors to prescribe opioids in a manner that can only be described as reckless.

    For example:

    https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-caused-the-opioid-crisis-4167615

    To avoid cherry-picking my sources, and proactively investigate the other side of the question, I Googled “government’s role in the opioid crisis.” I was rewarded with a top hit that sounded like a ringing endorsement of your POV:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-governments-shameful-role-in-the-opioid-crisis/2017/10/16/44f0d210-b297-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.457a1519b9f2

    But in fact what it said was that the “shameful” role played was actually cutting back law enforcement actions *at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry.* (And at that, long after the opioid crisis was well and truly underway.)

    Well, we all know the Post is a Liberal rag, right? So how about the National Review?

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/11/opioid-crisis-medicare-incentives/

    Well, it blames government all right, but it also endorses the criticisms of industry above:

    Put simply, the opioid epidemic is the result of a massive shift in public policy surrounding pain management, introduced by an array of special-interest groups, including the American Pain Society and the influential Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and pushed forward by physicians who were inattentive to the risks. Throughout the late 1990s, these groups aggressively lobbied for mandated pain assessment and treatment in all health-care settings and stressed the safety of opioids to health-care providers.

    Unfortunately for the KIA version of events, when the Review article criticizes government, it does so not for *withholding* meds, but for paying doctors for the service of prescribing them–the author cites the fact that in a particular case he was “paid 5% less” because he didn’t prescribe unnecessary pain relief. That’s the exact opposite mechanism.

    I’d also point out that the opioid crisis is, as noted in the first linked article, a “particularly American phenomenon.” They note the American readiness to report pain as a significant correlate, which it may be–but I’d note that America is also unique in its failure to implement a universal healthcare system, and in the resulting mismatch between private incentives to profit and actual patient outcomes.

  23. 73
    Hank Roberts says:

    KIA: “I picked a trusted source for you”

    Christopher Booker.

    You are a funny guy.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/oct/13/christopher-booker

  24. 74
    Ron R. says:

    Kevin McKinney #55. To be even clearer, What I stumblingly meant to say in 45 is, forgive me for not celebrating if replacement rate or a little above at the turn of the century still nets us a population near 12,000,000,000.

  25. 75
    CCHolley says:

    Mr. KIA @63

    You wanted evidence? Here’s some – I have not verified it, but it IS evidence, right?

    No, the Telegraph article provides zero evidence of fraud. It is total BS. It is an example of that which you claim does not happen as it is a clear distortion of the science. And since you have not verified it why would you even claim it as evidence? Why would you expect others to do your work for you?

    Intellectual dishonesty for sure.

    FYI, since you would rather throw out accusations of fraud without evidence or without verification, the temperature adjustments discussed were to resolve differences in the methods for measuring sea surface temperatures over time. Hardly nefarious and clearly justifiable. Regardless, these adjustments mostly were applied to temperatures prior to 1950 and since we generally use the average temperature between 1951 thru 1980 as a baseline, they have basically zero effect on most of the reporting of how much warming we’ve experienced.

  26. 76

    Ron R., #65–

    Yes, that’s pretty much what I said about current rates, and I already said that I agree that we should keep working to lower those birthrates. My point, however, is that we need to be precise in diagnosing just where the problem lies if we are to be successful–and that is predominantly in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

    Also, just for clarity, Rosling isn’t “my man”–I didn’t post the link in which he popped up, and don’t necessarily endorse everything he says. (If that sounds vague, it’s because I haven’t read his ideas in depth, and therefore don’t have a comprehensive picture of his views.)

    For what it’s worth, I read the ‘America-most-populous-country’ article you linked with some interest, and I don’t find it in the least “alarming.” First, I don’t think it’s really accurate to characterized it as a ‘call’–I think it’s pretty clearly meant to stimulate thought about what immigration really means for a America, not advocate for the specific scenario he envisioned, even though he admittedly argues for its potential advantages.

    Be that as it may, I don’t find it ‘alarming’ because:

    1) It doesn’t affect *global* population, at least as a first-order effect, since the hypothetical 10 million yearly immigrants to the US would be lowering populations elsewhere. (And just possible they’d be lowering global population slightly via a second-order effect, as they and their descendants conform to low-birthrate American norms–as they pretty surely would.)

    2) There’s not a shortage of lebensraum in the US; it’s insignificantly smaller than China, which already has a population of over 1 billion, and considerably larger than India. The article puts it well:

    A population of 1.6 billion would increase the nation’s density from today’s 33 persons per square kilometers to 165 persons in 2100, about half the level in Massachusetts today. This future density is well below current densities in Germany at 231 per square kilometer; Japan, 335; and the United Kingdom, 255. Even if the world’s entire population of 7.1 billion were to reside in America, the nation’s resulting density of 732 persons per square kilometer would still be less than current densities of Bahrain, at 1,818; Bangladesh, 1,033; and Singapore, 7,447.

    Nor would I expect much impact on America’s wildlands and parks; very predictably the huge majority of immigrants would choose urban and suburban settings, because that is where the economic opportunity is. (The main impact would probably be increased tourism in some places.)

    3) I agree with the author that over time immigrants invariably prove to be an asset, on average, to the host economy. Therefore I expect he is right in projecting that this open immigration policy would increase American economic and political power in conventional terms. I see that as a good thing on balance–presuming that we do not descend into institutionalized oligarchy, from our current status as *functional* oligarchy.

    If we do that, then I would expect everything that’s bad about our country to be accentuated, and everything good to be minimized or eliminated, much to the detriment of the globe as a whole.

  27. 77
    James says:

    Mr. KIA, #48. Honestly, your angry generalized statements against the left e.g. ”Yet, they all get in their gas hogs to go to work. They could drive fuel efficient cars, or bicycles. Nope, they don’t do that so it LOOKS like they don’t believe their own words. That doesn’t help the CC case” sounds like you’ve been listening to hard-right radio or watching Fox News. No doubt there are those on the left who some call Dinos, or Democrat In Name Only (though thankfully the left is not constrictedto the Dems), and yes some radicals are repulsive in behavior. Yet I believe the great majority are decent and caring people of values who go about their lives quietly, not making a ruckus. Not trying to be noticed. Not screaming in mass “Lock Him Up”. And I suspect that a lot more on the left ride bicycles than on the right,

    Perhaps you’ll appreciate this monologue. https://professorplum2.blogspot.com/2003/10/new-feudalism.html .

    Victor, #54. There are two reasons those people are protesting, imo. One, of course, because of the increase in the price of gas, and two because they are refusing to do anything about AGW if it might possibly entail any personal cost to them. But I agree. Put the bill at the feet of Dirty Energy and their pocket pals in political office which have been trying so hard to stymie renewables. I’ll throw in a suspected third reason too – they are being egged on by dirty energy. Here’s what they are doing in the US: https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/345450-dirty-energys-quiet-war-on-solar-panels https://www.desmogblog.com/war-solar-and-renewable-energy Not really free and fair markets.

  28. 78

    zebra, #70–

    …it isn’t clear why you object to increasing resources on the population front.

    Well, that’s because I don’t. I only insist that the resources to do that shouldn’t come out of resources devoted to mitigation–from whence, you essentially stated in the first part of the sentence, you wouldn’t draw them, either.

    So, let’s have a round of “Kumbayah,” shall we? ;-)

    Your statement about “not affecting growth rate” while reducing birth rate doesn’t make sense at all, by the way.

    Well, “FV” didn’t make much sense, either!

    But actually, the distinction I made, and hence my remark, make total sense. You’ve slightly, but significantly, misunderstood what I said–my statement wasn’t that growth rate ‘wasn’t affected’, it was that the characteristic time scale for affecting growth rate is longer than for birth rate. And that is true.

    *Birth* rates can in principle change on a dime. For imagined instance, theoretically a bioterrorist of sufficient ingenuity could bring the birthrate of an entire city to zero within nine months or so by deploying a 100% effective sterilizing toxin in a city’s water system.

    More realistically, just observe the change in China’s birthrate between 1970-85. Remarkably, in 1975 the TFR there was ~4.75, dropping to ~2.85 in just 5 years.

    Now compare China’s population, and population growth rate, during the same time:

    http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/china-population/

    The population just keeps on growing as though nothing had changed, until the early 1990s! True, the growth rate drops a bit, but not commensurately with TFR. (1.92% growth in 1975 and 1.43% in 1980.)

    Why? Because while birthrates were dropping, the population of childbearing-age women was rapidly increasing. Growth rate is certainly affected by birth rates, but only in conjunction with population structure and also (of course) mortality rate. (Which, FWIW, I expect was also dropping concurrently, as China continued to recover from the Cultural Revolution.)

    For that matter, the Chinese population is still growing to this day, even though they’ve been below replacement fertility levels since about 1995–and TFR may not have stabilized yet, even as it nears 1.5. (Well, it doesn’t help–if that’s the right verb–that there are something like 40 million Chinese men of childbearing age who can’t find a wife because of persistent sex selection bias skewing the gender ratio.) The growth rate is declining to be sure, in an apparent convergence to zero, or more likely a transition to negative numbers. But it isn’t there yet, after ~23 years.

    So, yes, it usually takes longer to achieve a comparable effect on population growth rates–let alone total population–than it does birth rates.

    PS–(At least when the change in birth rate is opposite in sign to the population growth rate, as in the presently relevant cases. I may need to play with that calculator of yours a bit to make sure my formulation is precise enough in general.)

    PPS–(I will also grant you that that quasi-independence is not true for the extreme case I imagined above: barring the net effects of in- and out-migration, the ‘terrorized’ city would instantly have achieved a negative growth rate as well as birth rate; since mathematically anything multiplied by zero is also zero, it doesn’t matter a flip what the population structure is in the zero TFR case.)

  29. 79
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @63

    “You wanted evidence? Here’s some – I have not verified it, but it IS evidence, right? (of allegedly fudged climate data)”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/10916086/The-scandal-of-fiddled-global-warming-data.html

    This article is complete nonsense, and obviously written by a climate change sceptic. For example it claims “Goddard shows how, in recent years, NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been “adjusting” its record by replacing real temperatures with data “fabricated” by computer models. ”

    In fact no computer model data has been used and adjustments have been made using standard procedures to account for weather stations being moved and urban heat island problems as below:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/feb/08/no-climate-conspiracy-noaa-temperature-adjustments-bring-data-closer-to-pristine

    The example is of course only applicable to America, where land based temperatures have been adjusted up slightly. If this complete fool had any sense, he would look at global temperature adjustments, as this is the more instructive data, as opposed to just one country and he would see that temperatures have been adjusted DOWN on the whole as below. Hardly a conspiracy to inflate the numbers. Refer following:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-data-adjustments-affect-global-temperature-records

    You obviously believe any sceptical article you read, and take it at face value without checking anything, or considering the wider picture outside of America.

    “The opioid “crisis” was caused by government encouraging docs to prescribe fewer opioids. Pain patients, denied legal relief and essentially tortured by their docs, resorted to getting opioids on the street.”

    No it wasn’t. The crisis started with doctors over prescribing opioids and thus getting people hooked on them and over dosing as in these articles. It goes back years.

    http://www.georgetownbehavioral.com/node/2013

    https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

    The problem is drug companies incentivising doctors to prescribe drugs. We don’t have an opioid crisis in my country. As people became addicted, they have of course started using illegally produced opiates as well so now you have two problems.

    You claim people are resorting to illegal opiods due to restrictions on prescription drugs, but you provide no evidence of your claim. I think this would only be a small factor. Most of the deaths from illegal fentenyl relate to it being used to adulterate heroin and cocaine as below:

    https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2018/05/true-deadly-scope-americas-fentanyl-problem

    You clearly ignore any information that you don’t like, and that conflicts with your ideological leanings!

  30. 80
    Mr. Know It All says:

    75 – CCH
    I picked the Telegraph CC article because nigelj is likely a fan of Brit sources – there are plenty of others with the same info. True or not, right or wrong, in the CC debate, it’s perspective that matters to many people, right?

    77 – James
    I’d agree more on the left probably on bikes to fight AGW. My point is there are not enough of them. I think we can agree on that?
    Me, hard right radio? Kilmeade 6-9 AM, Rush 9a-12p, Ingraham/Hannity – 12p-3pm, Levin/Berry – 3-7 PM, Lars 7-9pm, Pags/Starnes – 9pm-12am :)

    72 – Kevin

    Another perspective for you:
    https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/11/05/who-telling-truth-about-prescription-opioid-deaths-dea-cdc-neither-13569

    12 graphs, click for larger view. Eye opening stuff:
    https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

    As you can see, the number of OD deaths is increasing as you’d expect for a growing population, particularly for a rapidly aging demographic (baby boomers). As you can see, the number of deaths from street opioids including fentanyl, heroin, has exploded. Why is that? It’s because of a crackdown on legal, doctor-prescribed opioids. Irrefutable.

    Put another way, page 2 of this AMA brochure shows rapidly decreasing Rx for opioids, at least since 2013. At the same time, OD deaths have exploded. Why? See previous post.

    https://www.end-opioid-epidemic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/AMA2018-OpioidReport-FINAL-updated.pdf

    There are also other underlying, politically explosive reasons for increases in OD deaths, suicides, etc, but I will not hijack the thread with those. Suffice it to say MAGA was supposed to be part of the fix but has been shut down by #resist for the most part; expect more of the same to continue. ;)

  31. 81
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS, in case any new readers are still inclined to credit KIA’s “trusted source” — remember you can look this stuff up. You’ll find, for example:

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/desperate-denial/

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/climate-deniers-embarrass-themselves-about-arctic-sea-ice/

  32. 82
    Ron R. says:

    Kevin McKinney, #76. My point, however, is that we need to be precise in diagnosing just where the problem lies if we are to be successful–and that is predominantly in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

    Hmm. The projections I’ve seen bandied about the most has the United States approaching 600,000,000 by 2100 (though some use a lower number). The PRB has a medium projection of about that. https://assets.prb.org/pdf/proj_wkst2.pdf . If that doesn’t strike you as too high for all the reasons I’ve been listing, then ok, I guess.

    Sorry about the Rosling / “your man”. Was my impression.

    For what it’s worth, I read the ‘America-most-populous-country’ article you linked with some interest, and I don’t find it in the least “alarming.” First, I don’t think it’s really accurate to characterized it as a ‘call.

    Again if you don’t think that that scenario, a US population of 1,600,000,000 by 2100, is in the least alarming, then ok. To me it reads as fairly strongly advocating that number.

    It doesn’t affect *global* population, at least as a first-order effect, since the hypothetical 10 million yearly immigrants to the US would be lowering populations elsewhere.

    Lowering the home countries populations by that many people would create a vacuum and could send an unconscious signal to those left behind that there’s now more room to expand in. Hopfenberg & Pimentel.

    By “lebensraum” I assume you mean land and resources. I’m confused. If you believe that we have plenty of that left for use by people, and that would be fine by you, why do you also say that we should lower population – I already said that I agree that we should keep working to lower those birthrates.. Maybe I’m misunderstanding.

    Even if the world’s entire population of 7.1 billion were to reside in America, the nation’s resulting density of 732 persons per square kilometer would still be less….

    Sure, we could cram people in. Plenty of space. Maybe stuff em all in a a giant room somewhere. But look at the resources and infrastructure we need just for today’s population and it’s many consequences on the environment. You’re talking a major increase, and that would be at the expense of other species and the biosphere. C’mon, you’re going full cornucopian on me here.

    Nor would I expect much impact on America’s wildlands and parks; very predictably the huge majority of immigrants would choose urban and suburban settings…

    I disagree. Anyway, please read the articles I have in #45 http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/12/forced-responses-dec-2018/#comment-714406.

    I agree with the author that over time immigrants invariably prove to be an asset, on average, to the host economy. Therefore I expect he is right in projecting that this open immigration policy would increase American economic and political power in conventional terms.

    Please look up the effects of the Mariel Boatlift immigrants on the economy of Miami. Though it is controversial. The third paper I post in #45 discusses it. None of this should imply that I am anti-immigrant, btw. I’m not. But I am a realist.

  33. 83
    Ron R. says:

    Rather than go on endlessly arguing the fine points of the obvious, I going to wind up my part in this debate (for now) with a quote from Peter Raven, past President of the American Association For The Advancement Of Science in the forward to their 1999 book, AAAS Atlas of Population and the Environment:

    Where do we stand in our efforts to achieve a sustainable world? Clearly, the past half century has been a traumatic one, as the collective impact of human numbers, affluence (consumption per individual) and our choices of technology continue to exploit rapidly an increasing proportion of the world’s resources at an unsustainable rate….At any event, during a remarkably short period of time, we have lost a quarter of the world’s topsoil and a fifth of its agricultural land, altered the composition of the atmosphere profoundly, and destroyed a major proportion of our forests and other natural habitats without replacing them. Worst of all, we have driven the rate of biological extinction, the permanent loss of species, up several hundred times beyond its historical levels, and are threatened with the loss of a majority of all species by the end of the 21st century. As George Schaller, the noted conservationist, has put it, ‘We cannot afford another century like this one’ (i.e., the 20th century)”.

    http://atlas.aaas.org/index.php?sub=foreword

    And for you techno-utopians out there, an article.

    https://midmiocene.wordpress.com/space-or-bust/

  34. 84
    CCHolley says:

    Mr. KIA @80

    75 – CCH
    I picked the Telegraph CC article because nigelj is likely a fan of Brit sources – there are plenty of others with the same info. True or not, right or wrong, in the CC debate, it’s perspective that matters to many people, right?

    Perhaps you were just being facetious.

    However, it is YOU that made the following claim:
    “Second, right wing and libertarians have not distorted science. They’ve watched as scientists have been caught fudging data, making errors, etc, and providing all the ammo against CC that is needed – all the right wing does is point out this stuff.”

    Then all you’ve done is provide supporting evidence that libertarians have actually distorted the science and now your talk of perspective is just your way of deflecting the fact that your original statement was pure baloney. Nice.

  35. 85
    nigelj says:

    Regarding musings on population. A realistic and immediate goal for a global fertility rate would be around 1.7. It would be significantly below replacement rate, would require proactive policies on several fronts but obviously achievable ones, and doesn’t create too significant a shortage of young people.

    It’s public policy. It costs nothing but some lobbying time and passing laws and education.

    I plugged this 1.7 number into the population calculator someone posted and got a population of about 6.7 billion by 2050, we end up with about 4 billion by 2100, and 2 billion people by 2200. This assumes we see an immediate drop to 1.7, which wont happen because there will be a time lag while the policy gains traction, so nothing much would change by 2050 and it would gain traction after that period I think.

    There’s a lot of maths involved and I don’t really have the time, just want to get an approximate sense of it. It would not be of huge help to the Paris goals of keeping warming under 2 degrees, but clearly helps stop further escalation, which could turn out to be critically important.

    Such a population policy setting would also do a lot to reduce immigration pressures later this century and mineral and other resource scarcity issues. It should be an immediate policy priority.

  36. 86
    S.B. Ripman says:

    Mike #56:
    The most alarming headline so far this year:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/05/brutal-news-global-carbon-emissions-jump-to-all-time-high-in-2018
    It is baffling that this story is not treated with due regard; that it is not featured at the top of every network news show. The chance to have a livable world for future generations is vanishing and … “ho hum”?
    Thanks for keeping our focus where it needs to be.

  37. 87
    Killian says:

    I’m struck today, don’t know why today in particular, how wasted a resource Forced Responses is.

    Can we focus, people?

  38. 88

    #80, KIA–Interesting, if off-topic.

    However, none of what you’re saying goes to the *origin* of the crisis, which is what we were talking about. What the data you present say is that the latest iteration of the *response* to the crisis by the Trump Administration is making matters worse, not better.

    Which was pretty predictable; attempting to ‘criminalize’ our way out of drug abuse in America has been a pretty well-explored dead end since 1980. But Jeff Sessions is a real ‘optimist’ in that regard.

  39. 89

    KIA cites the Daily Telegraph as proof that scientists lied about global warming. Why not try Stormfront.org, KIA? That’s an equally unbiased source.

  40. 90
    zebra says:

    #78 Kevin McKinney,

    I offer a very simple quantitative proposition. Before you start quoting numbers that may or may not be relevant (and then also having to include caveats and post-scripts), let’s see if you or anyone disagrees with the underlying principle.

    We use the temperature T as a proxy for all the undesirable changes in climate, with numbers like 1.5, 1.6, 1.7,…and so on.

    We use P for population. For the moment let’s use billions– 12, 11, 10, 9, …usw.

    And then we have H, which stands for Harm– human suffering.

    I say with great confidence that we have an initial first-order relationship of the form H = f(T,P). Meaning, both variables have significant impact.

    Obviously, an actual formula may be complicated. But what we can (and should) do before getting into the weeds is to consider some first approximations to better understand the dynamics.

    I would argue that you are excessively focused on the 2C number, because, 100 years from now, a few tenths of a degree one way or the other is not going to have a greater impact on H than a few billion humans, one way or the other.

    If you are willing to agree to that as a starting point, and agree that minimizing H is the actual goal, then we can try to work out the effects of FR and so on.

  41. 91
    nigelj says:

    Ron R @83, thanks for the links on population and the space or bust article. I have already read some. Here’s something really interesting on why the GOP has embraced anti environmentalism:

    https://www.vox.com/2017/4/22/15377964/republicans-environmentalism

  42. 92
    Mr. Know It All says:

    90 – zebra and others discussing population, resource management and limits, etc

    In the 70s we played a computer game called “Sumer” where your decisions decided how many people lived or died of starvation, etc. Does it still exist, or is there something similar today?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamurabi_(video_game)

    Has an AGW/CC version been created? Bidness idea! Gimme $1 per copy – VIVA LA PROFIT!

    :)

  43. 93
    MA Rodger says:

    S.B. Ripman @86,
    Alarming? Not the adjective I would use. Perhaps the GCP 2018 report covered by that Guardian article is the ‘saddest’ news of the year. As for it not being “treated with due regard,” last year’s GCP report got a lot more coverage than this year’s Presumably recent reports on the future effects of AGW having been trailed more strongly in the media.
    The Global Carbon Project published its Carbon Budget 2018 report last Wednesday with a headline projected increase in carbon emissions from fossil fuels & cement production of 2.7% or 0.27Gt(C)(+/-0.10Gt(C)). The 2017 version also reported a significant projected increase which has since been resolved into a 1.3% increase and a 2.0% increase when Land-Use-Change emissions are included. That puts 2017 total carbon emissions at 11.26Gt(C) which, despite the increase is still a shade below the 2014 total of 11.29Gt(C). So with the projected 2018 FF+Cement emissions increase larger than 2017, it is likely that 2018 will see a new peak for annual man-made CO2 emissions.
    For the record, the rough proportion of contribution to the increase was a half from China, a sixth from India, an eighth fro USA & a quarter from the rest of the world.
    One cheerier reflection from the report is that the carbon intensity of the world economies is declining. If you think a linear projection is worth considering on this decline in carbon intensity, it would show the zero-mark being reached by 2050.
    A final value presented by the GCP 2018 report is a forecast MLO CO2 average of 408.9ppm (+/-0.3ppm). Mind, the graphic also plots the forecast and actual CO2 MLO monthly averages and through to November, all but two actuals have come in below the forecasts. The annual value so far is running at a 2ppm increase which would give an average of 408.6ppm and would require a dramatic December value (or the last 23 days of it) to make a significant difference to that.

  44. 94
    James says:

    @76. “A population of 1.6 billion would increase the nation’s density from today’s 33 persons per square kilometers to 165 persons in 2100, about half the level in Massachusetts today. “ Sounds rosy. That would take the world to just over the population density of New York State @421 people per square mile if spread out evenly. Everyone thinks that, by the way, that Massachusetts is rural, which is probably why they chose that comparison, but it’s actually the third most populated US state in terms of density.

    Sure, New York has it’s areas of forest cover, but a lot of that is within populated areas. Total wilderness area though is less than 1%. It is next to last of the states according to https://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/chartResults?chartType=AcreageByStateMost

    So we’d continue to subdivide the planet and its nature preserves, into tinier and tinier pieces, with more roads and cities, further cutting off migration routes, destroying habitat … a lot of those animals require vast open spaces … and fragmenting biomes. Yeah, a great idea! Or maybe we can keep putting people into cities, turning everywhere into Los Angeles. Yea!

    How about this instead – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2016/jun/15/could-we-set-aside-half-the-earth-for-nature

    Let’s not forget – https://qz.com/1290434/human-comprise-0-01-of-the-total-weight-of-life-on-earth-but-are-responsible-for-killing-nearly-all-wild-mammals/

  45. 95
    James says:

    Did I say miles? I meant kilometers. Even less space. Almost by half.

  46. 96
    Omega Centauri says:

    My take of fee and dividend, or revenue neutral Cap and Trade. I think they are both useful, and places where the word “tax” is highly radioactive, a carbon tax has zero chance of passing, whereas on of the first set can be made popular. A key is that the dividends be well publicized, and that the less well off are on average benefitting.

    The problem in France is that the poorer “half” of society see’s itself as being forced to do all the sacrificing whilst the elites get all the benefits. Its also an indication that its not just a lack of willingness of leaders to tackle climate change, they have to be able to package such efforts to be palatable to the body politic of their own countries. So there
    are real constraints on their freedom of action, and clumsily ignoring those constraints can lead to series domestic issues. Now of course it wasn’t just the fuel tax -which had been in the books for a while, but was about to go through a periodic increase. Its really the general feeling that the deck is stacked against LesMiserables, and the elites don’t care, but are more than willing to keep stacking. So a problem thats been building for decades has how reached the boiling point.

  47. 97
    Ron R. says:

    Nigel, #91.

    Ah, I remember James Watt of ”If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used” infamy.

    By the way, I uttered a quiet “Hear! Here!” When you said earlier, It should be an immediate policy priority. : )

  48. 98

    #90, zebra–

    Hey, you were the guy who wanted to talk specific numbers, and even posted a calculator to facilitate same–but your model is fine with me.

    I’m not focused on 2 C per se; I’m focused on the need to reduce emissions as much as possible, and as fast as possible, hence minimizing ‘H’. And that is why I leave population concerns mostly to you and other folks who are passionate about them: while the question of population is indeed germane, the mathematics reveals that it ain’t gonna strongly affect the mitigation piece of the pie over the next few decades (barring an unexpected population crash in which we start losing tens of millions in net population each year).

    But let me repeat: yes, for the longer term population is a significant variable, and yes, we should support policy choices that lead to a more sustainable population level, and research and education relevant thereunto.

    But at bottom, I think this is a case of “You do you, and I’ll do me.”

    James, #94-5, Ron, #82-3–

    Please don’t think I’m going all cornucopian here, and *advocating* a US population of 1.6 billion. I was responding to Ron’s comment that this was an “alarming” prospect, and explaining why I don’t find it so “alarming”–starting with my perception that the original author was making a point about immigration, not population, and that it was more a jeu d’esprit that a proposal (‘modest’ or not).

    And first and foremost, note that the article didn’t say anything at all about global population: it was about the effects of a possible immigration rate of 10 million a year (IIRC, and I’m not going back to recheck!) In the article’s scenario, global population would remain unchanged (although Ron suggests a possible second-order effect, which I personally find implausible but don’t want to fuss about, as I agree with Ron that we’re already exploring a bit of a rabbit hole.)

    Everyone thinks that, by the way, that Massachusetts is rural, which is probably why they chose that comparison, but it’s actually the third most populated US state in terms of density.

    Because “Boston?” This writer at least does not think that Massachusetts is rural. Just sayin’… But since I’ve gotten to personal experience, I’m originally from a smallish industrial city in Canada; the district population density there is *currently* 2.3/km2–or, if you prefer, 6/square mile.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algoma_District

    I lived for ~25 years Gwinnett county in the Atlanta, GA area, which during most of that time was growing explosively (by which I mean one of the fastest growth rates in the nation):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwinnett_County,_Georgia#Demographics

    Population density? 2140/square mile.

    And currently, I’m in a rural county in South Carolina which has a population density of 85/square mile. (Though unlike many rural counties in the southeast, it’s growing at a relatively ‘healthy’ rate–note the scare quotes, please! Many counties in the region having been losing population for years.) Coincidentally, that figure–85 people/square mile–is also that for the US as a whole.

    Funny thing–in Gwinnett, where we lived about a 5-minute *walk* from one of the biggest shopping districts in the entire multi-county Metro Atlanta area, I saw wildlife at roughly the same rate–including deer, copperheads, red-shouldered hawks, owls, bats, coyotes, toads, and a wide variety of songbirds–as I do here.

    None of which is to say that I think the growth wasn’t problematic in various ways, or that “everything’s fine”. (If that link seems inscrutable, it’s meant basically as an elaborate emoji.)

    But it is to say that:

    1) My observation is that population growth rates are *strongly* biased toward urban centers and their fringes (an observation consistent with just about everything I’ve ever read on the topic, and contrary to Ron’s bare “I disagree.” People overwhelmingly go where jobs are, which is not wilderness.

    2) The effects of population growth even on the *wildlife* urban and suburban areas can be a lot more nuanced than you might think. And in North American wilderness and periwilderness areas today, what is the threat? Resource exploitation, from what I read (and see–where I live, logging, which appears to be mostly in order to make paper products, the great majority of which (I’d bet) end up in landfills after one use even though they are mostly perfectly compostable.) And what drives the demand for resources (apart from distorted economic structures)? Global population growth. Which brings us to point 3, which is not so directly following from personal experience, but more from plain logic.

    3) It’s really, really important to be clear about population issues *in the US* versus *globally.* For example, Ron asks:

    By “lebensraum” I assume you mean land and resources. I’m confused. If you believe that we have plenty of that left for use by people, and that would be fine by you, why do you also say that we should lower population – “I already said that I agree that we should keep working to lower those birthrates.”

    To the extent that it’s a question of available land, the US has more of it than most other countries do–it’s ranked 179th in population density in the world, among 241 nations and territories listed here:

    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_density

    US population density–as noted above, 85/square mile–is about 30 times that of India, or the Netherlands–both of which still have significant rural areas, as does South Korea, which has a population density higher still.

    And as for resources, the US far from impoverished, despite its overweening appetite for consumption.

    So, *if the world population trajectory were not materially affected by the proposed immigration to the US*–the assumption I made, and which underlay my remarks–then I would not expect to see an increased net harm to the world’s ecosystems, either. (Now, you may not accept that assumption, which is fine–but please recognize the assumption made. If you do, you won’t conclude that I think population is not an important factor.)

    At the same time, I would expect that *a decline in global population–possible over the longer term–would result in decreased harm to said ecosystems.*

    I hope that’s clear, even if it’s far wordier than I would like. (Sorry about that; I’m out of time to make it shorter.)

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    nigelj says:

    Cap and trade sounds great in principle, but it seems to be a nightmare to make it work in the real world, for example Ontario’s attempt below. Not revenue neutral, which didn’t help.

    https://www.fraserinstitute.org/article/ontario-cap-and-trade-high-cost-little-environmental-benefit

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