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  1. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

    “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN “

  2. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    Art Vandelay - 'Nanny state' wrt healthcare is a poor assertion. You have the choice of either (a) a government run program where you have the power of a vote and elected representation to correct excesses, or (b) being subject to the commercial whims of assorted insurance companies.  Not a single nanny, but rather a raft of them, all rather viciously focused on their profits rather than your wellbeing. 

    I've been in companies where we lost insurance (had to go to far more expensive vendors) due to one or two employees with 'preexisting conditions', otherwise known as health histories. I see people who for various reasons suffering interruptions in insurance going bankrupt or dying because they cannot afford uninsured medications for heart problems or insulin. 

    We pay for roads, streetlights, sewage and water services, and (for quite a while now in the US) Social Security as a baseline retirement investment. Health care is entirely reasonable as a social common good. And it would be far cheaper to do that as a single-payer system than the current structure. 

    [On the point of costs: it's estimated that the proposed US "Medicare-for-all" would cost ~$32T over ten years. Sounds expensive. Until you realize that under the current system we're on track for spending ~$50T over ten years, meaning that a single-payer system would save almost 40%]

  3. A Duplicitous Minister?

    Art Vandelay, I agree the world needs to stop relying on population growth to boost economies and I have said myself we need to get population growth rates down to zero, but immigration is a different thing because it doesn't change global population. Australia seems to be under populated (quick google search), even when you take in to account much of it is not habitable, so the resource pressure isn't there.

    I'm not suggesting you open the flood gates to huge numbers of immigrants or refugees, because it's always a balancing act and I feel should be based on people with useful skills. And it's Australias business of course. Imho it just wouldn't be right to manipulate immigration to make climate accounting look good. 

  4. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

    "The lion’s share of the blame must be assigned not to the passengers, however, but rather to the ship’s owners, managers, and captain—along with the shipping industry’s government regulators. In their wanton disregard for risk, the responsible parties are not unlike today’s climate deniers.'

    Yes especially as the passengers would have expected sufficient numbers of lifeboats at the very least.

    The climate issue could be slightly different because politicans take their lead from opinion polls. Americans are not particularly concerned about climate change. This might partly explain the weak climate policies.

    Europeans are much more concerned. And their climate policies are stronger.

    Latin Americans are very concerned, but their governments do not have strong policies, but this could be partly explained by their governments being authoritarian and generally ignoring public sentiment.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_opinion_by_country

    None of this absolves governments and corporate interests, who are not responding strongly enough even in europe where public concern is generally high. I'm still left with a strong sense politicians are not listening to voters enough in most countries even europe, and its probably due to pressure on politicans from lobby groups, wealthy libertarians and similar people who resent government regulations, and campaign funders. 

  5. One Planet Only Forever at 02:20 AM on 17 February 2019
    2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    Art Vandelay,

    The Nanny State claim is negative trigger-wording made-up by people who are not interested in improving awareness and understanding and applying that knowledge to hep develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity.

    Any limit on freedom to believe whatever you want and do as you please can be Framed as "Nanny-Statism" or "Socialism" (which has also been made into a negative trigger-term by the same people who made-up the term Nanny-State).

    The improved safety of vehicles only happened through Nanny-State imposition of improved Standards and Specification. And the improved safety of bike helmets also only happened that way.

    So the Nanny-State/Socialism can actually be a Very Good Thing. It is just that having "Reduction of harm to Others" and "Helping Others" imposed is contrary to the developed preferences of some people. The Cultures/Systems that develop those type of people (resistant to improving their awarness and understanding, and resisting reduction of harm to Others, and resisting helping Others), require correction.

  6. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    Philippe Chantreau, I'm not suggesting that the negatives with universal (government) healthcare outweigh the positives, just pointing out that there's the inevitably of a nanny state.

    Medicare in Austrlia, where I live, is very successful overall, and for many older retired folk unable to afford private health care it's a godsend of course.

  7. A Duplicitous Minister?

    nijelj@10, If we're going to be serious about reducing emissions to zero we'll need to embrace a new economic paradigm that doesn't rely on on a population ponzi scheme. Japan really is the template for an economy that doesn't rely on increasing consumption by virtue of an increasing population.  No country on the planet should have a population that cannot be supported by its own natural resources, and there needs to be policies that limit the percentage of human footprint including land allocated for primary and agriculture.   

  8. Philippe Chantreau at 15:45 PM on 16 February 2019
    2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    The Nanny state argument holds for health care until people need it. No advocate of personal freedom I know can muster the personal responsibility to not use the health care available when they need it badly. Ideology doesn't weigh much in the face of acute appendicitis with rupture and septic shock. I find this argument to be total nonsense. One doesn't get to opt out of life's risks. Everyone can break a leg and need an ORIF. Who has the balls to say no because they decided to opt out of coverage on the basis of personal conviction? 

    Any kind of insurance model works like this: you pay for it so you can benefit from it if you need it, which happens unexpectedly. During all that time when you don't need it, you payments help those who do. When you happen to need it, it's there for you. For health care, which is quite expensive, it only works if everybody pitches in. If you drive a car, you're exposed to accident risk, no matter how good you think you are. If you're living life, you're exposed to illness risks, no matter how healthy you think you are.

  9. A Duplicitous Minister?

    I don't think it makes much sense to reduce immigration to make the emissions reductions numbers look good. It's not reducing global emissions. It means you miss out on any benefits of immigration.

    I wonder if we have to judge countries with high immigration by also considering per capita emissions as well as total numbers.

    Of course immigration can get too high and put pressure on infrastructure. New Zealand has had high immigration recently but double the Australian numbers after accounting for difference in population size. So does Australia really have a problem? Careful that big reductions in immigration don't crash your property market.

  10. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Michael Sweet,

    Perhaps you should actually read my answers and this thread before you go telling other people they haven't read it. 

    Post #15 has a compareson between a cap and trade and a tax and dividend, and sauerj came on advocating a Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Whereas I personally don't find any of the above compelling, and proposed something similar to all of the above but with the key difference being a conservative capitalist free market solution supporting  verified carbon offsets.

    My objection to the socialist dogma attached to the green new deal is very different than my objection to the bipartisan EICDA.

    The GND was dead on arrival and many of its talking points have already been discarded as unworkable. However, its big advantage is that of all the other carbon markets out there, it is the only one that even acknowledges the other side of the carbon cycle. So that's its good part. The bad part is in being unrealistic and fiscal and political suicide.

    The EICDA is fiscally responcible and realistic. Unfortunately it won't actually reverse AGW even if passed.

    So we have different plans that are unworkable. I suggested taking the best parts of each and adding a bit of conservative responcibility to them and making capitalism a driver for reversing AGW instead of a driver for causing AGW as it is now.

    We are paying people to dig and drill for fossil fuels and they are doing it. If we paid people to sequester that carbon back into the soil, they would do that too. If the people being paid to drill for fossil fuels were also the ones paying for it being sequestered back in the soil, the the markets would naturally balance themselves while balancing the carbon cycle!

  11. A Duplicitous Minister?

    Art Vandelay – Good point.

    Australia has no immigration policy but one is in the process of being formulated. Pending its evolution, immigration is being reduced from around 190,000 per annum to 160,000 and may be further reduced once government produces a bipatisan policy.

    Although population growth results in higher demand for electricity it is likely that this will be met in full by renewables. Not so in the case of  transport sector emissions – at least not until EV’s achieve price parity with fossil fuelled vehicles, likely to occur over the next 5 years.

  12. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    One side effect of universal healthcare is the loss of some degree of personal liberty, and in many cases the imposition of taxes and levies. 

    Examples include having to wear a helmet when riding a bike or wearing a seat belt in a motor vehicle, with non-compliance resulting in fines or a loss of license etc. 

    Where I live in Australia we've just been informed that our motor vehicle registration will be cancelled if we have faulty airbags.

    It may sound trivial but there's no doubt that universal health care does create something of a "nanny state".

  13. A Duplicitous Minister?

    It raises the question of whether countries such as Australia should maintain high population growth policies when it's clear that population growth is more than offsetting reductions in per-capita emissions, making it very difficult to maintain absolute emissions targets.    

  14. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    Daniel Mocsny @7, I agree with a lot of that. You appear to be arguing greed and materialism is deep in our genes, but our intelligence gives us an awareness of the destructive side of this, but is thus far failing us in terms of the climate issue.

    However humanity has made short term financial sacrifices to fix quite a few environmental (and social) problems successfully. Insurance policies are another example. So intelligence does sometimes triumph over our baser instincts. And we have made some progress with the climate problem. The climate problem has to be mother of all environmental problems in terms of scale and complexity and I suspect this is slowing down our response, and of course theres been a concerted denialist campaign on a massive scale.

    There are other factors. We are psychologically hardwired to respond most acutely to short term threats rather than slowly unfolding more distant dangers. But intelligence gives us a mechanism to transcend this, and we have to start rationally thinking about such future risks.

    Daniel Mocsny @8

    You are sceptical of things like carbon taxes. Granted they are not the ideal solution, and people will try to find ways around them or might not spend all the dividend wisely, but Britain has a carbon tax and is doing well with renewable energy, and Australia had a carbon tax at one point, and when it did use of renewable energy increased sharply. So while some people subvert the system many don't.

    We don't want to make the perfect the enemy of the good. And your better idea is what exactly?

    Regarding morality. A few genuinely amoral people (sociopaths) are irelevant to the climate issue unless they get to be President...or leaders of corporations. But the moral majority outweigh the amoral minority.

    I agree climate change has an obvious personal moral dimension. For example one can conclude it's wrong to pollute and cause others harm, however people internalise morals and dont always live up to them, even if they genuinely believe in the morals. Most people probably believe its morally wrong to speed in a car but they still do on ocassion. Moral codes have to be enforced in some way. A carbon tax is a gentle way of enforcing the morality.

    Half the problem is the need for a 21st century energy grid. Only governments and corporations can really provide this, not joe bloggs in the street. But as interested individuals we have to put pressure on government, and this means we have to first accept an individual understanding of the moral dimension of the climate issue.

  15. One Planet Only Forever at 05:35 AM on 16 February 2019
    Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    The following is a fundamental observation regarding the economic modelling and evaluations used to determine a 'Carbon Price'. I believe it is aligned with the comments by Nigel and Daniel.

    The economic evaluations are incorrect because they do not accurately incorporate the complex reality of the behaviour of people, particularly the way many people can be tempted to allow Helpfulness to Others to be overpowered by basic drives related to things mistakenly considered to be moral objectives that can be allowed to compromise the Helpfulness (do not harm) Moral driver:

    • Perceptions that Their Tribe is Superior to or Purer than Others
    • Tribal Loyalty
    • Unquestioned Subservience to, or Respect for, Hierarchy in Their Tribe
    • Perceptions that being corrected is Unfair to their Tribe
    • And desires for the Liberty to believe whatever they want as justification for whatever they want to do.

    It appears that economic models are based on the belief that competition in the games will internally promote and reward helpful sustainable developments and naturally effectively identify and correct harmful unsustainable developments.

    The reality is that human behaviour that is not governed by the Universal Principle Objective of "Helping to develop sustainable improvements for humanity - As a minimum, Doing No Harm to Others" has a history of developing very damaging results that also develop powerful resistance to correction.

    That reality is ignored by many economists because requiring external governing of all economic activity for Helpfulness (and preventing harm to Others) is 'contrary to their preferred beliefs'.

    The Religious Adherents of that type of flawed economic thinking and its harmful compromising of Helpful social and political actions are in serious need of correction, and serious limits of their ability to impact what is going on until they are corrected.

  16. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    OPOF @6, you are right in that a referendum in america would come up against a lot of marketing spin, especially from the side opposed to renewable energy, but I think have a bit more faith in the the public. Polling does show a desire for more action on climate change despite years of denialist spin. Whats the worst the denialists can do? They have already fired all their ammunition. 

    And could it do worse than the current approach?

  17. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron,

    ThinkProgress, a progressive news site, disagrees with your claim that the Green New Deal will not reward farmers who sequester carbon on their farms.

    A Green New Deal opportunity for America’s farmers.  Perhaps you should read more carefully before you criticize it.

  18. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    Putting a price on carbon sounds like a good idea, but it suffers from a serious flaw: it works by trying to harness selfishness, which is the root cause of man-made climate change in the first place. The only solution to a problem whose root cause is selfishness is to somehow make people less selfish. Trying to appeal to selfishness to fix a problem caused by selfishness is rife with potential for backfire effects. It's like trying to solve the drug problem by harnessing the urge to take drugs.

    For example, consider a person who only cares about money, which is to say a person who only cares about benefit to self. If you impose a Pigovian tax on that person, s/he can respond in one of two ways:

    1. Behave differently so as to consume less of the taxed commodity (the policymaker's intended outcome), or:
    2. Try to subvert or abolish the tax.

    If the players in the game are purely selfish, then they will consider all the costs to themselves and choose option 2 whenever the cost of subverting or abolishing the tax is less than the cost of complying with it.

    The election of Donald Trump in the USA, and the similar electoral catastrophe unfolding in Brazil, assures us that option 2 is viable.

    Even if we somehow get James Hansen's fully refunded fee-and-dividend scheme, for the carbon tax to be effective at fighting climate change, it has to inconvenience somebody. The inconvenience must be severe enough to re-wire the entire global economy - that is, to redirect all the massive effort we currently direct toward coal mining, oil drilling, airport building, road building, and all the other things we do with fossil fuels. All those inconvenienced will then, if they are selfish (and we know they are because they're raping the planet right now with fossil fuels), look at how much the carbon tax is costing them, and see if they can get more for their money by using it to buy politicians and fund anti-science propaganda.

    It's easy to understand the problem by comparing hardened criminal inmates of a maximum security prison to the general population of law-abiding people. In the maximum security prison, inmates must be powerfully incentivized to behave somewhat like law-abiding people behave mostly without the need for external enforcement. No conceivable structure of external nudges and incentives can get the prison population to behave as civilly as law-abiding people behave. The moral compass is cheaper and more effective than any system of coercion. The moral compass is actually a kind of very powerful distributed computing system, constantly weighing up vast numbers of individual actions and their consequences. Trying to coerce amoral people requires a vast rubric of laws, expanding endlessly to plug loopholes that keep opening up.

    Unfortunately, our moral compass is generally blind to the harm caused by burning fossil fuels. Most people literally care more about the welfare of a single cat than they care about the harm they are doing to the entire biosphere by driving their cat to the veterinarian. Until the vast majority of people come to view contributing to climate change as morally wrong for them, humanity will remain on its path to not become the first intelligent species that doesn't destroy itself.

    Instead, of the tiny minority of people who bother to engage with climate change at all, most try to frame the problem in purely impersonal terms, as if their own contributions to climate change are irrelevant.

  19. It's El Niño

    Max or not @202,

    I have to conclude that you have nothing to link the 18.6 year cycle of the lunar orbital plane to ENSO intensity other than the coincidence of 2015 seeing both a major El Niño and the 'minor lunar standstill' in that 18.6 year cycle and this coupled with the one previous major El Niño occurring 18 years earlier.

    Of course, the major cycle regarding tides is the metonic cycle which is 19.0 years in length. Yet if such tidal effects triggered El Niños, they would presumably be premature El Niño and thus minor El Niño.

    As for what drives the intensity of an El Niño, it is the warm pool accumulated in the western Pacific alone that provides the heat. It is a lessening of trade winds (roughly measured by SOI) coupled with the instability of the warm pool that triggers an El Niño and both of those are greatly influenced by the PDO. In a warming climate, it is surely the frequency  of major El Niño that is expected to increase, not the intensity of individual El Niños per se, although there is much still to learn on this mechanism. (See for instance Cai et al (2015) 'ENSO and greenhouse warming'.)

  20. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    His “Dismal Theorem” article argues that the marginal value of reducing emissions – the SCC – is literally infinite, since catastrophes that would cause human extinction remain too plausible to ignore (although they are not the most likely outcomes).

    The word "likely" seems to refer to the prior probability in the Bayesian sense: the likelihood of an extinction outcome based on a purely terrestrial perspective: what we know so far of planet Earth and humanity's interaction with it. However, a cosmological perspective suggests things might be much worse. One plausible resolution of the Fermi paradox raises the extinction probability of nascent technological civilizations to nearly 1.0. Namely, we can account for our failure to observe any extraterrestrial intelligence by hypothesizing that whenever technological intelligence evolves in the universe, it destroys itself before escaping its home planet on a large scale and reaching Kardashev Type II or Type III civilizations that would be visible across interstellar and intergalactic distances, respectively. If true, this would mean the so-called Great Filter lies just ahead of us, rather than behind us.

    A mechanism for intelligent self-destruction seems obvious enough, just from observing our own behavior. Intelligence initially evolves to increase individual reproductive fitness, by enabling the individual (and later groups of individuals) to extract more energy and resources from their environment. This frees the newly intelligent species from the constraints of natural selection which limit all other species from wrecking their home planet. (Before humans, no other species on Earth had by itself caused a mass extinction of other species.) Since no species ever had to worry about over-consuming its entire planet, there was no selective pressure for self-restraint. Thus the newly intelligent species must develop an ethic of self-restraint quickly enough to take up the slack for having thrown off natural selection. But the entire evolutionary history of the newly intelligent species was driven by self-interest, and evolution has no foresight. Evolution cannot foresee that getting smarter and smarter and better and better at consuming more resources will ever cause a problem. Our evolutionary psychology therefore becomes a serious obstacle to our sustainability. We've been selected for our ability to grab as many resources as possible from a world in which resources were essentially infinite, but our ability for obtaining them was scarce.

    Given the rapid compounding effects of exponential growth, the newly intelligent species must evolve a culture of restraint at a pace thousands of times faster than its instincts of greed and selfishness were shaped by natural selection. Humans show virtually no sign of evolving this culture of restraint. Nearly everyone wants more money, and individual wealth is the main predictor of individual carbon footprint. Were humans psychologically equipped to become a spacefaring species (as far as we can tell, we'd be the very first in our light cone), we would see an inverse correlation between individual wealth and environmental destructiveness, instead of the current positive one.

    Even worse, an unfolding climate disaster would only tend to increase selfishness, since having more money enables a person to avoid being the first to die. We've seen this on a small scale with weather disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, in which the wealthy were better able to escape by burning fossil fuels.

  21. A Duplicitous Minister?

    The minister is indeed very duplicitous. I was interested to find out if any coal and gas fired power is planned for australia. The wikipedia article below could be out of date by now, but it suggests almost no coal power is planned and little in the way of gas. I just wonder if the minister knows this full well and has little intention of changing it, but was  playing to the pro coal power lobby and his conservative leaning supporters mainly  to look tough and say things they want to hear. I hope so. But anyway the list of renewable energy projects is impressive.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_proposed_power_stations_in_Australia

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 16:04 PM on 15 February 2019
    Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    Public Referendums can produce Good Results in nations where the leadership generally and significantly try to improve the awareness and understanding of the total population, evaluating different perspectives about how to achieve a common understood helpful objective based on that constantly improving common sense understanding.

    Switzerland also has a very active public gun culture that works because in their culture it would be unacceptable to try to carry a loaded gun in public or have a loaded gun handy at home for persoanl protection.

    A Referendum on Climate Action in the current USA would be a divisive misleading marketed nightmare capable of producing very Bad Results, like their Free-for-all claim making, gerrymandered, vote suppression politics has repeatedly done.

  23. One Planet Only Forever at 15:54 PM on 15 February 2019
    2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    Tonight's (Feb 14, 2019) Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC included an interview with Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee Chair.

    His comments included stating that the Democrat debates would be about how to improve action on Climate Change and Health Care, two major components of the Green New Deal.

    The Democrats appear to see the pairing of Climate Action with Health Care Action as a robust combined basis for exposing the harm of the United Right opposition to such actions.

    And the addition of the other points that the United Right are also harmfully Wrong about could actually result in some 'long-time Republican supporters' changing their minds about what Party they are currently interested in supporting. Tribal Loyalty and beliefs about Tribal superiority can be limited if the harmful nature of the top of the Tribal hierarchy is undeniably exposed.

  24. It's El Niño

    If intensity of el niño is only directly proportional of the heat content store in the ocean near the equator pacific, then we should have bigger and bigger el niño until GHG is growing stopped. I'm already swelling ! 

  25. A Duplicitous Minister?

    scaddenp

    Sorry I did not manage to insert a table showing details of all storage projects which shows URL's for half of them do not appear in the Clean Energy Council schedules.  Details are as follows:


    Kidston Stage 2 - Storage.  Capacity 250 MW
    Kaban Battery.  Capacity 100
    Harlin Battery Storage. Capacity 500
    Riverland Storage Batttery.  Capacity 100
    Solar River Project - Stage 1 Battery.  Capacity 100
    Solar River Project - Stage 2 Battery.  Capacity 150
    Lake Bonney Battery Storage 1 and 2.  Capacity 50
    Kingfisher Solar Farm - Stage 2.  Capacity 120
    Kingfisher Storage Battery,  Capacity 100
    Goat Hill Pumped Hydro Storage. Capacity 230
    Ganawarra Storage System.  Capacity 25

    Nowingi Storage Battery.  Capacity 80

    TOTAL 1805

  26. A Duplicitous Minister?

    scaddenp

    Storage relates to 3 projects in Queensland, 7 in South Australia and 2 in Victoria, 12 in all as shown in Fig 2.  Details are (I hope) available at:

    2019 STORAGE

  27. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    I just think that they could translate into degres for the 99% but that will have deserve their views. People will instantly compare to the global temperature and if you say them that 90% of the heat are in the oceans, you are done ! 

    Is it possible to explode mega bomb in the oceans to mixing all that fucking heat with the deep cold water ? USA and Russia together to explode all their bombs in the oceans ! What a dreams !

    The is some cool graph here : climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/ocean-temperature-analysis-and-heat-content-estimate-institute-atmospheric-physics .When I see uncertaintees reduce over time like that, I say to myself that the science is on the right track...

    It should be 0.35-0.4 ℃ for the first 300 meters.

     

  28. A Duplicitous Minister?

    Thanks Riduna - that is a considerable help though the storage information is very thin even on that site and nowhere near 1800 unless Snowy 2.0 is included, which I understand will not be ready to start in 2019 (at least in terms of actual construction).

  29. A Duplicitous Minister?

    The Clean Energy Council lists 83 projects which are either underway or about to commence. The information regarding capacity, investment and jobs is not always complete and where this is the case I have endeavoured to complete the information by undertaking internet searches of individual projects or seeking advice from their proponents.

    In addition, through internet searches, I have identified a further 43 projects which are either underway or about to commence in 2019. These include projects being built specifically to supply the National or W.A. Grids or are being built to supply end users with electricity directly – not through a Grid.

    Several proponents who provided data did so on the understanding that it would not be published. I gave that undertaking and have therefore limited the published material to summaries only.

  30. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    It seems that one impediment to a proper price on carbon and good climate mitigation in general is politicians. They mostly  no doubt enter parliament with good intentions, then meet the corporate lobby groups, campaign funders and other politicians unfriendly towards mitigation on ideological grounds.

    Switzerland has bypassed this a little. It some interesting and quite comprehensive climate policies here, and recently they had a public referendum on subsidies for renewable energy and nuclear power here,  which went in favour of the subsidies and no new nuclear power plants. It had broad bipartisan support.  The point is not so much the policies (which seem ok) but the fact they had a referendum on a big climate issue, as the Swiss typically do on big issues. Cuts out the politicians to some extent. If only more countries did this.

  31. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    RedBaron, you have provided some very interesting material over the years and I do sense your frustration at repeating the links. However, it is also not easy for users to search back through past posts on many threads looking for your references.

    Since you are clearly a keen advocate for soil sequestration via improved farming practices, why not make a small web page with links to the relevant papers and articles? This would potentially reach a large audience and the only link to need to keep repeating would be the link to that page. Organising links around topics helps too.

    Moderators (I am one) jump on people endlessly repeating the same point in a single thread while not addressing counter-arguments. The comments policy is:

    "Discussions which circle back on themselves and involve endless repetition of points already discussed do not help clarify relevant points. They are merely tiresome to participants and a barrier to readers. If moderators believe you are being excessively repetitive, they will advise you as such, and any further repetition will be treated as being off topic."

    The key phrase here is "excessive repetition".

  32. It's El Niño

    "Could we experience an almost flat line in the air temperature to 2034 while the sea surface will continue to rise gently ?"

    ENSO is primary cause of the "wriggle" about a positive trend in surface temperatures. Whatever ENSO does, that trend (driven primarily by increasing GHG) will continue. Climate models have emergent ENSO-like feature but cannot predict what ENSO will do. They are good at picking the underlying trend however.

  33. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    I am not sure exactly what point you are trying to make here but if you are implying that OHC isnt a problem and scientists are trying to scare us with large numbers into their nefarious schemes for ..  I dunno... then consider:

    1/ Temperature change is not vertically uniform. The surface temperature change especially in top 100m is much larger and that is important for biosphere.

    2/ The major value in measuring OHC is that is a diagnostic of earth energy imbalance. As such it makes sense to measure it in energy units. Dont take my word for it, see what Roger Piekle has to say.

  34. It's El Niño

    Max or not @199,

    And what basis do you see for such "pushing"? The ENSO activity that we have record-of during previous 'minor lunar standstill' appear to be stiffled rather than pushed anywhere.

  35. One Planet Only Forever at 05:19 AM on 15 February 2019
    Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    Evaluations of the 'cost of carbon' that identify a higher cost, like the 'insurance approach' are helpful. But pricing the creation of new excess carbon is only part of the required corrective actions. What is required is implementing 'price/fee/penalty' mechanisms that will most rapidly curtail the pursuit of benefit from the burning of fossil fuels by the most fortunate, and assist the less fortunate so that they do not suffer additional harm. And other actions that deter the harmful behaviour and reward helpful behaviour are also required, because the most rapid correction will be the best result for the future of humanity.

    The required corrective actions do not depend upon a calculated cost for carbon. But an identification of a higher cost should improve awareness a understanding of the need to terminate the activity that a 'higher calculated cost' would develop (and also developed increased resistance to correction by the Usual Suspects who have a history of preferring to do less to help the future of humanity, who would actually prefer to be able to do more harm to the future of humanity).

    The following is another way to express my earlier comment:

    • The developed socioeconomic-political systems/cultures have produced streams of harmful unsustainable results, because harmful unsustainable actions have a competitive advantage if they can be gotten away with.
    • Those systems/cultures have also developed powerful resistance to the correction of harmful unsustainable activity that was allowed to become profitable and popular. The developed perceptions of status from getting away with harmful unsustainable activity often get 'popularly' declared to 'need to be protected'.
    • One aspect of the developed resistance to correction is arguing/debating about how to calculate how expensive the harmful unsustainable activity should be.
    • The reality is that the harmful unsustainable activity needs to be rapidly curtailed. Immediate curtailment of the harmful activity is the ideal (immediately ending the harm done to Others). A quicker ending of harm to future generations is better, no matter how unpopular the measures may be with those who have developed undeserved perceptions of status due to getting away with benefiting from the harmful unsustainable activity (particularly through the past 30 years).
    • The rapid curtailing needs to be done in a way that 'costs people who have developed perceptions of status due to benefiting from the harmful unsustainable activity', without negatively affecting the efforts to improve the living conditions of the least fortunate. The Sustainable Development Goals establish a comprehensive set of objectives that all need to be achieved (none of the SDGs can be compromised or sacrificed in attempts to achieve any other goals). The New Green Deal is well aligned with that holistic understanding.
    • The major culture/system change required is growth of the understanding of the Primacy of the Universal Moral principle of helping to develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity, and doing no harm to others in those pursuits. Tribal leaders who abuse tendencies for people to like Loyalty, Liberty, Subservience to Hierarchy, Perceptions of Tribal Purity, or Fairness as levers to overpower the Universal Understanding to not harm Others, Are The Problem that needs to be corrected. Ideally global leaders - every more fortunate person needs to be expected to be a helpful global leader - would act to help achieve the SDGs globally. As an example, USA First is only acceptable when the actions do not negatively affect achieving and improving on the SDGs.
  36. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    You can't put a per ton price on carbon emissions if the likely result of such emissions is to trash our economy and ecology (which seems more than likely).  We simply need to adopt Hansen's suggestion and put a small tax on carbon coming out of the ground or accross our boarders and send every cent of the collected money to every registered tax payer by cheap electronic transfer.  But that is not the whole story.  The important part is that the per ton tax must rise each year by a pre-determined amount.  The inevitability of such a rise is the critical factor.  Think of the effect on our investments long before the actual amount of the tax is an economic factor.

  37. Temp record is unreliable

    It ks not : https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201813

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Link fixed. Please learn how to create links yourself by using the link button in the comments editor.

    And to go straight to the chase, the link reports global land/sea surface temperature anomaly is estimated to +/- 0.15C not 0.01.

  38. It's El Niño

    I don't think it is the cause of el niño but that it is pushing ONI value higher whatever the value are negative, neutral or positive.

  39. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    So it is 0.15°C-0.2°C from 1955. I better understand why Terajoules are used !

  40. Temp record is unreliable

    How is it possible to measure the current temperature of Earth i.e. the biosphere with the precision and accuracy of 0.01 C over a time period of 1 year? 

  41. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    @ Michael Sweet,

    Actually, I did provide references that farmers successfully sequestered 5-20 tonnes CO2e/ha/yr on average in multiple 10 year case studies. I am sorry you couldn't find it, but this website doesn't allow me to keep repeating over and over and over citations you missed or don't like because of the format they are written. That's an average. I know of higher, but did not use those higher numbers because I am trying to stay conservative in my claims.
    But I believe you are missing the most important point. I take full responsibility for this, because I failed to emphasize and communicate it.

    A carbon market with verified carbon offsets  specifically takes advantage of the best known economic motivator known to mankind, the capitalist free markets.

    If you want somebody to do something, pay them to do it, and they will!

    Right now the farm bill pays farmers to produce a glut of corn and soy in a way that causes AGW, being somewhere in the range of 10-20 % of emissions.

    Sadly we are paying farmers to be a significant source of AGW and they are doing it! Society is getting what we paid for.

    So right off the bat as soon as we stop paying farmers to over produce corn and soy by means of unsustainable methods causing AGW, they will stop doing it. That reduces emissions at least by 10% alone, using the conservative low end.

    Then of course they still need to make a living. So this carbon market with verified carbon offsets will instead pay them to do their farming in a way that sequesters carbon in the soil.

    That means restoring the tallgrass prairie ecosystems would now be more profitable than raising corn and soy! And what would any farmer with a lick of sense do? He would stop raising a glut of corn and soy, and instead replant degraded crop fields with prairie grasses. Instead of raising corn and soy to feed animals and gasoline tanks, we can raise animals on the prairie and restore the most productive terrestrial biome on the planet. One that indeed does sequester carbon in the soil at least the average rates listed above in my previous posts.

    However, since you are still skeptical, here is a new citation more in the format you are used to analyzing:

    Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie

     

    If you convert that study's C figures to CO2e, you will find that we here in the US have confirmed what the Aussies were saying decades ago, but no one listened.

    Again, pay US farmers to do it and watch out. They have exceeded expectations in every case imaginable. Pay them to sequester carbon and just watch the carbon disappear into the soil!

  42. It's El Niño

    Max or not @@197,

    It is difficult to understand much of what you actually ask.

    But regarding the 18;6 year cycle of the lunar orbital plane and ENSO. The 2015/16 El Niño did coincide with the 'minor lunar standstill'  which occurs every 18.6 years. And the 2015/16 El Niño was 18 years behind the 1997/98 El Niño. If the 18.6 year lunar cycle were triggering major El Niños perhaps there should have been a major El Niño in 1978/79 (2 x 18.6 yrs before 2015) and perhaps another in 1960/61 (3 x 18.6 yrs before 2015). Yet there wasn't. (See ONI data here.) That there were no such El Niños in those years surely suggests your proposed linkage between ENSO and the lunar orbit is solely based on a single conicidence that has not been repeated in the past, and so probably will not repeat in the future.

  43. On Buying Insurance, and Ignoring Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Wol,

    I am glad that we agree that all the costs of each technology need to be considered.  For fossil fuels that would include the 500,000 people killed each year in the EU by pollution from internal combustion engines (uprated for the entire world), costs to rebuild every port city in the world due to sea level rise and replace the 10% of world farmland at risk from sea level rise, all extreme storm damage like the 500,000 cattle killed in recent Australia rains, firestorm damage like recent California damage and other damage caused by burning fossil fuels.

    Calculations counting health damages but ignoring the rest of my list indicate that renewable energ ywit hstorage is cheaper than fossil fuels.  

    From an economic viewpoint the only choice is to convert to renewable energy as soon as possible.  The Stern review was the first of many reports I am aware of that costed out the damage from fossil fuels and concluded that we must switch to renewable energy.  Since then the costs of renewable energy have dropped over 50%.  Please cite a serious economic review that supports your suggestion that renewable energy is not the most economic choice.  

    Spinning reserve is a problem for fossil fules and the nuclear industry (especially the nuclear industry).  It is generally not an issue for renewable energy except for the possibility of transmission line failure, which can be covered by a smart grid.  Night-time lack of solar power can be anticipated in advance by suppliers so spinning reserve is unnecessary.  Likewise, in practice, operators have found wind and solar can be forecast in advance so spinning reserve is not needed.  Nuclear plants require 100% spinning reserve at all times since any fault causes an immediate emergency shutdown of all generation.  Recent hot and cold waves have caused critical shutdowns of fossil fuel plants in Australia and the USA while wind and solar continued uninterupted.

  44. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    Are you sceptical about 95% confidence interval ?

    How much degrees celsius all this terajoules are ?

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Error estimates for OHC have been studied in detail. See here for methodology and detailed results.

  45. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    0.79 plus or minus 0.15 degre celcius for land-ocean, so we are between the second and ninght year for the record with 100 %. We could even be the first  if the the 2016, 2015 and 2017 temperature are in their bottom uncertainties range and this year at the top !

  46. It's El Niño

    Hi

    Climate models predicts higher air than sea temperature; is it el-niño effect no ?

    The last two big el niño were in phase with the 18.6 lunar tidal effect, it' s seems to have construct an hiher amplitude...it's seems to impeach la niña in the las two before that.

    The next is in 2034; sea surface temperature is actually far below the air temperature. Could we experience an almost flat line in the air temperature to 2034 while the sea surface will continue to rise gently ?

  47. A Duplicitous Minister?

    Wol - not clear as source is not transparent. The only two I could find were 2018 units with 25MW/50MWh and 30MW/30MWh respectively in Vic and 2 (30MW and 50MWh) in SA joining the initial Tesla 100MW/129MWh already operating.

    So whatever? (Power and energy broadly same).

    12 new plants would need to average 150MW or MWh to scale for that much storage.

    A clearer source for the pipeline would help.

  48. A Duplicitous Minister?

    >>....with capacity to store 1,800 MW.....<<

    ??? Power or energy?

  49. Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    Great article. The economic models are based around a few things such as climate change damages. I'm not an economist, but it does not take much to see that the damages outweigh the benefits as below.

    skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives-intermediate.htm

    And this list does not even include the distinct possibility of some abrupt and severe form of change to global atmospheric or ocean circulation patterns. Regardless of whether an abrupt change is towards abrupt warming or some peverse form of cooling, such a change would indisputably be hard to adapt to due to its abrupt nature.

    And this needs repeating. The article says estimates of net damages keep increasing while mitigation costs are falling. Very important idea.

    And the modelling is based around discount rates and rates of future wealth creation. Discount rates assume an investment today will grow in value in the future, and nobody disputes this has been the pattern thus far historically, but we are always in a situation of "assuming" such a pattern would continue. It is never a "given" and is always based on assumptions. So are the typical assumptions made sensible? One assumption is the economy will improve its quality of output, and this seems  reasonable but is a different thing to quantity and this is what is most relevant to a discount rate. Another assumption is efficiency would improve. Its reasonable to assume we would waste less and be smarter about things, but reducing waste comes up against an obvious limit fairly quickly.

    It's assumed that population will grow giving economies of scale, but many trends are already towards lower population growth (and this is ultimately no bad thing anyway). Its assumed that technology will perpetually improve at past rates, but some evidence suggests rates of technological innovation have actually already slowed (even although this appears counter intuitive). Its reasonable to assume innovation will continue in renewable energy for some decades, and prices will drop but even that will have limits.

    It is assumed that there will be perpetual economic growth at rather high rates of 3% per annum. This is implausible, because resource scarcity, the need for sustainablity, combined with market saturation and climate impacts all suggest economic growth will relentlessly slow in coming decades and centuries, and probably fall, so those who optimistically count on high economic growth offsetting the climate problem are delusional.

    This is not to say economic growth will stop tomorrow. It's likely it will continue and greatly help lift people out of poverty, but there are limits on the timescales relevant to the climate problem. 

    Therefore those counting on future wealth creation bailing us out of the problem are delusional. Those assuming a high discount rate are delusional. They just aren't very smart. They are pollyanahs.

  50. One Planet Only Forever at 06:38 AM on 14 February 2019
    Climate Damages: Uncertain but Ominous, or $51 per Ton?

    A fundamental and critical point by-passed or ignored by a 'calculated cost per unit of new excess CO2 created' is that it is understandably undeniable that it is unacceptable for anyone or group/tribe to do something that creates negative consequences for another person or group/tribe. It is even unacceptable when the harmed person is desperate enough that they supposedly agree to the harmful actions (like workers unnecessarily at risk in lower cost operations that do not implement the best known and constantly improving safety and protection measures).

    What has developed clearly contradicts that understanding. But that does not mean that the moral/ethical understanding is incorrect. It means that the undeniable moral/ethical understanding that it is unacceptable to harm others is being allowed to be over-powered by other interests.

    This is a case of a portion of current day humanity wanting to benefit by doing harm to future generations (and others in the current generation). They want to operate the global economy in ways that are not sustainable and are understood to be harmful to the future of humanity.

    No math can make that acceptable. And any discounting of the future costs pretending that wealth always grows is ridiculous (in the intended definition of being deserving of ridicule). Every 'marketplace correction' that has ever occurred is proof of that understanding. And there is irreversible harm done by every one of those 'corrections' (which includes the unnecessary death of many among the proorest). The climate challenge is a matter of correction. How big and harmful it is is a matter of how the correction occurs. Who is harmed is the issue. And right now all discussion is still about how OK it is to harm the future generations as long as the 'Price is Right for the people wanting to benefit in the current generation'

    What is needed is the most rapid correction of what has developed that is possible. And that has to start by always admitting that what has developed, including the socioeconomic-political systems that developed, are incorrect. It is especially incorrect that resistance to correction of understandably harmful activity remains 'acceptable'.

    That understanding should be the preface/basis for any discussion like this one about 'pragmatic actions that are hoped to create sustainable adequate corrections in the current systems'. I personally doubt any significant correction will occur without corrections to the systems. I consider such efforts to be like the classic definition of insanity. But I admit I could be mistaken (but I highly doubt it based on what has happened so far).

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