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Monckton Misleads California Lawmakers - Now It's Personal (Part 1)

Posted on 29 March 2012 by dana1981

As Peter Hadfield noted, Monckton has used his current "very busy tour" as an excuse to avoid debating him.  I attended one of the stops on Monckton's current tour at the California State Capitol on 21 March 2012 to see just what Monckton deemed more important than facing up to Hadfield's uncovering of Monckton's most recent misrepresentations of his sources.  The answer: misinforming my fellow Californians, including some lawmakers, with similar climate-related misrepresentations.

Monckton Myths (200 x 70 pixels)I'm a proud lifelong Californian, in large part because of the leadership in environmental and public health and safety our state has shown throughout its history.  Mark Hertsgaard has a good summary here.  Seatbelts, unleaded gasoline, and hybrid vehicles were first introduced in California before expanding to the rest of the country.  In the 1960s, California addressed its smog problem by implementing its own clean air standards, ultimately requiring catalytic converters and other cleaner technology on cars sold in the state.  Due to energy efficiency measures, residential electricity consumption in California increased just 14% from 1973 to 2008, as opposed to a 60% increase in US consumption over the same period.  Currently the average California resident uses 42% less electricity than the average American.  Some people complain about the slightly above-national average electricity rates in California, but because of our energy efficiency, our annual per capita electric bills are actually $165 below the national average (Figure 1).

CA vs USA energy

Figure 1: USA vs. California per capita electricity consumption (Source)

California also has the most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the country, requiring that 33% of the state’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2020.  Automakers are required to increase the amount of Zero Emission Vehicles (electric cars, hybrids, and hydrogen-fueled vehicles) sold in California by 15% by 2025.  

And perhaps most importantly, in 2006 the California State Assembly passed The Global Warming Solutions Act (a.k.a. Assembly Bill [AB] 32), which required that California reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels to 1990 levels by 2020.  In June 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger had also signed Executive Order S-3-05 ordering that California reduce GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

In 2010, a proposition (Proposition 23) which would have suspended AB 32 was placed on the ballot and was heavily financed by fossil fuel industry (primarily Valero, Tesoro, and Koch Industries), but California voters rejected it soundly by a 22% margin (61% to 39%).

In short, in keeping with our long history of environmental protection, Californians strongly support GHG emissions reductions.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) authorized a carbon cap and trade program as the main policy to meet these emissions reductions requirements.  Although cap and trade systems were originally a Republican, free market concept, today's Republicans tend to oppose them, and most measures aimed to reduce GHG emissions in general.

Thus I was very concerned when I saw that California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (who perhaps not surprisingly represents one of the regions of California with the most fossil fuel production) invited Christopher Monckton to speak before the state legislature.  As Skeptical Science readers are well aware, aside from having no climate expertise whatsoever (being a political and business consultant) Monckton is a serial misinformer who constantly distorts the scientific sources he cites, as recently devastatingly demonstrated by Peter Hadfield.  However, the good news is that while 120 California state legislators were invited to Monckton's talk, only 5 chose to attend.  

I decided to attend the talk as well to observe what he would tell my policymakers.  Monckton's presentation can be downloaded here.  During the talk, he repeated many of the same climate science myths and misrepresentations that we have previously detailed on Skeptical Science.  In fact it included most of the same myths we rebutted in our Monckton Misrepresents Reality series.  We will discuss the scientific myths in Part 2; however, given that the purpose of the talk was to undermine California's efforts to reduce our GHG emissions, we will focus on the Monckton's California-specific comments in Part 1 - one very alarmist comment in particular.

The Costs of Cap and Trade

As noted above, California will implement a carbon cap and trade system as a result of AB 32.  This bill was in fact the reason Monckton was invited to speak to California state legislators, and thus he devoted a significant part of his talk to its supposed economic impacts.

As we have previously detailed many times on Skeptical Science, economic analyses consistently show that the benefits of CO2 limits such as carbon cap and trade systems will outweigh the costs, which is why there is a consensus among economists with climate expertise that we should put a price on carbon emissions.

What about the costs of a California-specific cap and trade system?  CARB was required to perform an economic analysis of their proposal, and found that AB 32 will result in less than a 0.2% change between 2007 and 2020 (either positive or negative) in Gross State Product, personal and per capita income, and labor demand compared to a business-as-usual scenario.  While energy costs are expected to rise slightly, they are also predicted to be more than offset by decreased demand due to increased energy efficiency as a result of the legislation.  CARB notes that their results are very similar to the low-gross domestic product (GDP) impact estimates of similar proposed federal cap and trade legislation (Figure 2).

Fig ES-1

Figure 2: Model comparisons of proposed carbon cap and trade legislation impacts on gross state and federal domestic products (gray) as compared to business as usual (BAU) (blue)

The CARB analysis was based on standard economic modeling and was peer-reviewed by several California economists.  The peer-review comments did have some criticisms of the analysis, as economics is not an exact science, but generally agreed with its conclusions.

Monckton Relies on The Varshney and Tootelian Report

Monckton did not mention the CARB economic analysis in his presentation.  Instead he simply asserted that according to a certain report, AB 32 would cost California $450 billion by 2020.  Monckton did not cite any other economic studies or AB 32 cost estimates, essentially presenting this $450 billion figure as factual reality.

I emailed Monckton the following day to inquire as to the source of this figure, and he replied that a study by a California university (he did not recall which offhand) had put the cost of AB32 at $182 billion by 2020, which Monckton multiplied by 2.5 to include other unspecified measures to reduce GHG emissions.  After much searching, I was able to identify the document in question as a report written in 2009 by Sanjay Varshney and Dennis Tootelian (V&T) - California State University at Sacramento business school dean and marketing professor, respectively.  

The V&T report did indeed conclude that AB 32 would result in more than $182.6 billion loss in gross state output with a cost to California households of $3,857 per year.  However, the report multiplied their estimated cost by a factor of 2.8 to account for indirect costs, and thus Monckton's further multiplication by a factor of 2.5 is duplicative and erroneous.

Additionally, Monckton may not have been aware that the V&T report has been rebutted by:

  • James L. Sweeney, Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Director of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University
  • Matthew E. Kahn, Economics and Public Policy professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

Frank Ackerman summarizes his findings here:

"V&T assumed that all benefits of AB 32 were too speculative to include; in effect, they estimated benefits at exactly zero. The costs caused by AB 32, on the other hand, are treated with expansive generosity. Housing costs surge upward, based on the cost of converting homes to zero net energy consumption (but with no resulting savings on utility bills). The projected fuel savings from new, high-mpg cars are treated as a cost imposed on owners of older cars (but not a savings to new car owners). Food cost increases are estimated in an entirely data-free manner. V&T then multiply everything by 2.8 to account for indirect costs."

As Ackerman notes, in one rather glaring example, V&T assumed every new home in California would include an extra $50,000 cost to become 'zero net energy consumption' homes, including a $31,500 cost for a solar panel system; however, V&T also assumed that these homeowners' energy bills would increase by $159 per year.  In fact if the new homes were indeed zero net energy, their energy bills should decrease by $1565 per year (based on V&T assumptions).  This glaring error alone accounts for more than half of the V&T assumed cost increase to average California families.

Sweeney and Kahn summarized their results in the Los Angeles Times and note the same glaring error:

"Over half of their stated consumer costs are based on the assumption that AB 32 will require new homes to generate as much energy as they use -- which it doesn't -- and that that would add $50,000 to the construction of each house. But once they figure that into AB 32's costs, they assume that those net-zero-energy houses provide no energy savings."

[...]

"It is no surprise that no-benefits, costs-only, exaggerated-cost methodology guarantees high-cost results. We conservatively estimate that the Varshney/Tootelian analysis overestimates costs by at least a factor of 10. We say "conservatively" because there are additional market drivers that add to the benefits in a fair cost/benefit analysis that Varshney and Tootelian fail to acknowledge."

In short, the V&T report contains an extremely shoddy analysis, exaggerating the costs of AB 32 by at least a factor of 10, and ignoring its economic benefits.  How much will the cost actually be?  As noted above, the CARB analysis estimated almost no impact on Gross State Product and household costs, and analyses of similar proposed federal cap and trade systems consistently put the costs at less than 1% of Gross Domestic Product and around $100 per average family per year, even ignoring the benefits from reduced GHG emissions.

Note: I responded to Monckton's email notifying him of the Kahn paper - he did not reply, but Monckton can no longer claim to be unaware of the fundamental errors in  the V&T Report.

Jobs

V&T also estimated that AB 32 would result in more than 1 million jobs lost, and Monckton argued that it would result in jobs "leakage" (companies leaving the state).  However, the CARB analysis concluded that AB 32 would result in no significant impacts to net California employment (in fact possibly a slight increase in net employment).  An analysis by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education similarly concluded:

"In the final analysis, AB 32 will, over time, significantly impact jobs in California. It will create opportunities for job growth in the construction trades, including in retrofitting and building new buildings, in building the infrastructure for renewable energy, and in efficiency improvements in manufacturing. Job loss is predicted to be small or may not occur, and dislocations can be managed with targeted assistance programs."

Monckton listed a few companies who have recently left or California or stated that they will not expand in the state, implying that these decisions were a direct result of AB 32, but provided no evidence whatsoever to support this implication.  In fact, at least two of the companies listed (Intel and Apple) opposed Proposition 23 (thus supporting AB 32).

There are many more errors identified by these various reports in the V&T analysis - I encourage anyone who is interested in the actual economic impacts of the proposed system to read the reports themselves.  However, as The San Francisco Chronicle summarized, the V&T analysis and associated claims by Monckton are pure fiction.

"The losses they [V&T] project would be serious economic impacts – if they were real. They are, however, entirely unreal; they should be viewed merely as daydreams of disaster."

Monckton also extrapolated the trumped-up AB 32 costs to estimate that climate mitigation will cost $454 trillion per degree Fahrenheit of warming averted - a claim which can only be described as utterly absurd alarmism.

Tragedy or Leadership?

Much concern was expressed both by Monckton and the audience that California will be "going it alone" in terms of reducing our GHG emissions, that our emissions reductions will be too small to matter, and that we will be at an economic disadvantage if we take steps to reduce them.  This argument is the standard Tragedy of the Commons, and in fact was considered by CARB in its economic analysis:

"While California acting alone cannot reduce emissions sufficiently to change the course of climate change worldwide, our leadership has played and continues to play a critical role in moving federal and international climate policy forward.  Successful implementation of the AB 32 Scoping Plan, in particular, has the potential to help move. federal climate policy in a positive direction during the coming years."

As discussed above, California has a long history of leading the way on public and environmental health issues, and the rest of the United States usually follows our lead.  Thus, as our voters made clear by rejecting Proposition 23, we are willing to take on the minimal costs of reducing our GHG emissions in order to once again set a crucial example and lead the way in preserving public and environmental health, and Californians do not need faux experts flying in from abroad to misinform us by misrepresenting facts and reality to try and convince us otherwise.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 32:

  1. Ah, the hubris is truly extraordinary! Visiting foreign parts and lecturing the natives on how they don't understand their own economies; how very colonial!

    I look forward to part 2 - I'm curious as to whether he also repeated some of the very same myths that he's currently running away from Peter Hadfield's debunking of.
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  2. Monckton's further multiplication by a factor of 2.5 is duplicative and erroneous
    claims by Monckton are pure fiction
    utterly absurd alarmism
    Surely, this cannot be the same Lord Monckton who has discovered the one-size-fits-all cure for AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and assorted other ills afflicting humanity? He must be right: he's a Lord of the Realm and a non-voting member of the House of Lords, or something, isn't he? Posts like this are clearly designed to undermine the Monarchy, so must be a conspiracy by ... by ... by somebody. Next thing we know, they'll be hacking the Fragrant One's mail and calling it Moncktongate. What a shocking way to run a country.
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  3. ...while 120 California state legislators were invited to Monckton's talk, only 5 chose to attend

    That's very low, given 50+ Reps at Federal level are climate contrarians, AFAIK. Most of them in CA at least ignore Monckton, even if they deny AGW.

    I don't follow US political scene closely and CA state may differ from federal. So to have a better perspective, can you give the partisanship percentage in CA congress and how many of them deny AGW?
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  4. Doug @2,

    I can add than Monckton considerss himself a "Nobel Laureate" apparently for reviewing IPCC AR4. The story is described here. The link to the source of that claim is therein but does not work for me, but sufficiently many people have pointed this story out to be credible.

    Now, try to ask Monckton who this "Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York" who gave him the golden pin, is. If he decide to give the name, ask this professor for confirmation and the details of Monckton's contribution to AR4. That's true Moncktongate of climate science!
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] HTML tags fixed (hopefully)
  5. I have spent quite a few years working in automotive industries, applying IT to cars and their testing and manufacture. One thing that is striking is the impart the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has had on vehicle technologies.

    CARB only has a remit covering California. They set standards for emmissions. But also the underlying technologies to achieve this and how we check that it has been achieved. What data must be available to check a cars emissions. Even what the standard multi-pin plug and the protocols to communicate with the car are are significantly or totally defined by CARB - in consultation obviously with other parties and organisations.

    But since California is around 20% of the US car market and population, what CARB has to say carries a lot of weight. So defacto, California's standards become US standards since Detroit can't build different cars for California. Then California's standards become de-facto Global standards because without them Volkswagon or Cherry or Tata can't sell into the US.

    So a few well placed regulatory organisations in the right States, Regions or Countries can have a disproportionate impact.
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  6. Believe it or not, we hardly ever hear about Monckton in the UK. There was an unflattering documentary about him a year or two ago about his exploits abroad. That's all. The UK government do not take him seriously.

    I believe the biggest emission problem in California has been the use of road vehicles, which have a bigger impact on the states emissions than vehicles do in New York. I did have a look into US emissions a while ago, because California was mentioned.
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  7. Did Monckton claim to have won the Nobel Prize?

    Yes. (Page 2)

    In an 'open letter' to John McCain. That's from the SPPI. Wriggle out of that, Your Lordship.

    (Students of overheated rhetoric should enjoy that particular piece of correspondence. McCain has always struck me as an eminently sane man - Sarah Palin notwithstanding; I wonder how he reacted to this fervent, unsolicited missive regarding 'the climate bugaboo' and 'the contemptible, fumbling, sclerotic, atheistic-humanist bureaucracy of the emerging European oligarchy that has stealthily stolen away the once paradigmatic democracy of our Mother of Parliaments from elected hands here to unelected hands elsewhere'?)

    See also the Press Complaints Commission's response to Monckton's complaint about this article by George Monbiot.

    The question of whether the IPCC had taken account of the complainant's ‘contribution' to its 2007 report was irrelevant - the blog was simply, and within the bounds of fair comment, taking a swipe at Viscount Monckton's claim that he could be reasonably termed a Nobel Prize winner because certain statistics in the report had been amended as a result of his intervention.
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  8. California is a good example to be mentioned to those who say that US mitigation policies would lead Americans to some kind of caveman way of life.
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  9. Here is another Christopher Monckton porkie. Remarking on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, at the 5:50 mark, he says: "The point is, these accidents will happen. As we scientists say, s--t happens."
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  10. The "Nobel Prize claim" of Monckton is, to say the least, a stunning irony--kind of like a (hypothetical) Charles Taylor defender claiming a share of the Nobel Peace Prize that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf shared in 2011.
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  11. chriskoz @3 - the California state legislature is predominantly Democrats, and I think even contains a fair number of moderate Republicans. Thus the percentage of AGW denialists in the state legislature is relatively low. AB 32 was passed by a combined vote of 70 to 46, but a 'no' vote doesn't necessarily signify global warming denialism.
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  12. How anyone can take this individual seriously is beyond comprehension. He is showing some cardinal signs of mental illness, not the least of them being the claims to belong to the House of Lords and to be a Nobel laureate. Isn't there a name for that kind of condition?

    On top of that, the egregious distortions, misrepresentations or inventions on which he builds his talks are edgeing toward the grotesque. I can not understand how anybody who can think rationally would give even the slightest credence to this ridiculous nonsense. Ideology does weird things to people.
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  13. I should also note that since WUWT posted Monckton's presentation (Watts was there in person as well), I offered him a version of this post for potential publication on WUWT (a version which wasn't so harsh towards Monckton - more WUWT friendly), since skeptics should want to get the correct information, and this is a real whopper. Watts said he would take it under consideration, but he hasn't posted it, so I assume he decided against it.
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  14. I think there's a good case for 'Lord Mitty', but perhaps I'm showing my age and my fondness for Thurber!

    Stephen M, I found a similar example, from an interview of his on the dreadful Infowars.com the other day, where he refers to himself as an economist -

    what is happening is that Economists the world over, from President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republic to Bjorn Lomborg to me in the United Kingdom, to Nigel Lawson…


    (These 'economists' all know, of course, that any attempt at pricing Carbon will bring about Calamity, Anarchy, Penury, Usury, and Tears Before Bedtime. You have to wait 'til 2 hours 16 mins for this gem, and there were many others - those curious about what His Lordship said to Prince Charles at his birthday soirée can find further material here.)

    Wow, Dana, if you publish at Watts that means you get to be in the in-crowd, and can even call the delightful James Delingpole 'Dellers' as the rest of them do!

    I believe this makes His Lordship 'Monckers', and with the change of only one letter...
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  15. Chriskoz @4

    The link to Adam Spencer's interview is interesting. Mockton identifies the professor at Rochester as David Douglas, of Douglas & Knox fame I presume, who gave Monckton a Nobel pin because he had supposedly edited a table in the report and was entitled to a prize just like all the other scientists involved. Whether those scientists are actually Nobel Laureates is dubious since they aren't on the Panel, they are advisers to it. Thats like saying that Al Gore's press secretary is a Nobel Laureate because Al is.

    Interesting comment further on. Monckton refers to himself as "...we on the Centre Right..."

    Centre. Or Far Right?
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  16. Chriskoz@4 - the link you can't follow goes to the SSPI personnel page.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/personnel.html

    Monckton's bio there no longer includes the bit about being a Nobel Lureate, but you can see the original version in the PDF bill linked @7.
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  17. Monckton now embodies a tactical change in strategic denialism - the science arguments are being abandoned - to more acts of distraction and diversion. Ideologue to demagogue.
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  18. Here's the old Monckton bio with the Nobel Laureate information: archived Monckton bio
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  19. Let's put a great big digital clock counting the days we have waited in pregnant expectation for Monckton to issue a rebuttal to Peter Hadfields debunking of great swathes of his presentation material. If we put it somewhere prominent on the home page, no one visiting this site is going to let it slip their memory.

    If it were to contain links to Professor Abraham's excellent work as well as all of Peter Hadfield's extensive Monckton catelog, then it would ensure that old and new alike were properly informed as to the veracity of the English nobleman's presentation material. Build up a head of steam on the issue and Monckton will face a growing voice of well informed critism during his Q & A sessions and who knows what that might bring, all things considered.
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  20. funglestrumpet:

    Given the sparse turnout for Monckton's presentations, there's no need for SkS to make him the center of our attention. He's just a babbling brook in a very large forest.
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  21. Since Lord Monckton hassled me to retract a carelessly-worded comment I made about him in my Lindzen complaint to MIT, it seemed only fair to reciprocate with an email to him today...

    Dear Lord Monckton,

    That's another fine mess you've got yourself in to

    With reference to your recent presentation to 5 members of the California State legislature, can you please advise me as to where and when you shall be publishing your apology for so grievously misrepresenting the supposed costs (and ignoring all the benefits) of sensible GHG emission reductions policies?

    [hypertext link to this page]

    I can't wait to read Part 2 of Dana Nuccitelli's report; and am tempted to consider that it may be time for me to write a Part 2 of my own report.

    Regards,

    Martin Lack
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  22. I note that, although Monckton could argue that he was not aware of the glaring faults of the V&T piece at the time he spoke, he should have known that there was already a correction factor in the paper multiplying costs, if he had actually read it attentively.

    Considering how egregious the whole thing was, I wonder if it is possible to introduce a formal complaint to the legislative body/committe that was involved in this pathetic display. You probably could not establish outright intention to deceive without a doubt but could easily demonstrate negligence. I mean it is as if he did not completely read the paper, and the said paper has been rather thoroughly demolished since it first appeared.
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  23. The foregoing discussion of Monckton's Olympian career as documented at the Science And Public Policy Institute led me to do a bit of research. Now, I am not a scientist, so I have made no scientific claims, but I have tried - probably unsuccessfully - to evaluate SPPI's biographical notes, both versions, regarding Christopher Monckton. Anyone with a minute to spare is invited to cast a glance at my blog post on the subject. WARNING: you may need a head-vise, to stop your brain from exploding.
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  24. Unbelievable - Monckton has doubled-down on this nonsense (on WUWT, naturally), claiming his $450 billion figure is an underestimate. His arguments, as usual, make no sense whatsoever. He basically argues that since he multiplied the trumped-up V&T figure by an arbitrary factor of 2.5 instead of an arbitrary factor of 10, he's being conservative!

    And WUWT slips another step further into lunacy.
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  25. To be clear here - I discussed why Monckton's economic analysis was wrong with Anthony Watts via email and offered him a version of the above post for WUWT. Not only did Watts decline to publish "the other side" (i.e. reality), but now he goes as far as to give Monckton a platform to further advertise his trumped-up nonsense economic alarmism, which Watts knows very well is wrong.

    In short, Watts publishes Monckton's nonsense, I inform Watts exactly why it's nonsense, and then Watts proceeds to publish a second Monckton post saying his nonsense was actually too conservative.

    So much for skepticism on WUWT.
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  26. dana1981 @24, being fair to Monckton he now claims that the figure he gives is for the losses over a decade, and that he obtained the figure by multiplying the annual losses a estimated by Varshney & Tootelian, 2012 by 2.5, which would indeed by a conservative assumption based on a flawed study. There is a reasonable question as to whether he made it clear that he was discussing decadal costs at the state legislature.

    More disturbing to my mind is his estimate of the benefits of the carbon tax. He claims to use a cost of 1.5% of GDP in 2100 for the harm from global warming. Purportedly this is a generous assumption, based on the Stern Report. In fact, however, the Stern Report estimates a cost of 5% of GDP, "each and every year, now and forever" which is reducible to 1% per annum by mitigation. So Monckton understates the costs of unmitigated climate change over the coming century by a factor of 240.

    A simple calculation shows that, on the simplifying assumption that California's carbon intensity equals the world average, and using the Stern Report figures, California's mitigation efforts will save it 800 billion in costs over 10 years. (I have also assumed that growth in GDP will be the inverse of the discount rate, ie, a discount rate equal to the pure rate of investment in California.)

    Finally, Monckton refers to California's "frankly Marxist legislature". Anybody who can refer to any legislature as Marxist shows that their words are so divorced from reality, whether by intent or insanity, as to be worthless.
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  27. Oh geez, I didn't notice the V&T estimate is $182 billion annually. What a freaking joke. I just can't believe anyone takes this nonsense seriously.

    But yes, as I recall Monckton did say $450 billion by 2020 (which is 8 years, not 10).
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  28. Hi Dana,

    Much as it sticks in my craw to offer anything resembling support for Monckton, I do think that if you have confused an annual figure for a total cost, this should be corrected in the article above.
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  29. idunno @28, an update would seem in order. However, in calculating his cost/benefit analysis Monckton assumes the benefits ( = avoided costs) of mitigation apply in just one year only, 2100. As his source documents for his benefits indicates that cost exists for each and every year, his benefits need to by multiplied by the same factor as his costs. If in doing so he retains the 2.5 times multiplier, than Dana's critique remains valid as is. If he eliminates the 2.5 times multiplier, he will have overstated costs relative to benefits by a factor of four.

    The upshot is that while the post does need to be revised, any such revision will strengthen the argument that Monckton has made arbitrary assumptions fundamental to favouring his case. Dana's error is in assuming that it was multiplying the costs by 2.5, whereas in fact it was dividing the benefits (for a single decade of analysis) by 10.

    Finally, I note that many of the costs in V&T are one of costs rather than ongoing costs. That means that even if we were to accept V&T, while the benefits of AB32 would be sustained over the following century, the costs would decline.
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  30. Actually the post is accurate. It says V&T estimated $182 billion annually and Monckton estimated $450 billion by 2020. Monckton responded to my email saying he had multiplied the V&T figure by 2.5 to include other GHG mitigation measures, as the post says.

    I suppose the post could be updated to reflect Monckton's new explanation on WUWT, but it's not really any better than his email explanation.

    Frankly I think Monckton didn't read V&T until after this post was published (which would explain why he thought they estimated $182 billion by 2020, rather than annually - my confusion came from this claim in his email, though I did get the information right in the post). When Monckton finally was made aware of the V&T flaws, rather than admit the estimate has no basis, he came up with a new bogus justification for his trumped-up $450 billion figure.

    In the end I think the OP is still accurate.
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  31. dana @30, did Monckton say the cost would be 25% of the state domestic product in 2020 during the talk, or did he just mention a dollar value, from which you then calculated the proportion of state domestic product? If the former he was definitely using the $450 billion as an annual figure, whereas in the later case you may have misunderstood him.

    Further, did he say the cost would be $450 billion "by 2020" or "in 2020"? If he said "by 2020" that is certainly consistent with his only claiming a cost of 56.25 billion annually, whereas if he said "in 2020" he is claiming an annual cost.

    Finally, if his email explanation is different from his WUWT explanation, perhaps you could quote the relevant sections of the email you received to demonstrate that.
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  32. Tom - good point, I'll take out the 25% figure. V&T represents 10% of GSP, and Monckton told me he multiplied that by 2.5; however, since he messed up the calculation (the slide says $450 billion is the 'cost to 2020'), the 25% figure isn't actually right.

    I don't want to quote his email because I haven't been given permission to do so. The content of the email is described accurately in the post, however.

    Ultimately I think the problem is that Monckton didn't realize the V&T estimate was annual (I suspect he didn't even read the report itself - there were various news stories about it, including on WUWT prior to his talk, which mentioned the $182 billion figure), so then when he did realize it was annual, he came up with a lame excuse for his 2.5 multiplication factor, pretending he realized it all along. Because his WUWT post is not consistent with the explanation he gave me via email.
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