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Climate Hustle

Google It - Clean Energy is Good for the Economy

Posted on 2 July 2011 by dana1981

Google recently released a report detailing the results of their study modeling the impact of breakthroughs in key energy sectors: clean power, energy storage, electric vehicles, and natural gas, along with combinations of clean energy policies. 

In order to perform these economic assessments, Google used a carbon economics tool created by McKinsey:

"This analysis was prepared by using McKinsey & Company's US Low Carbon Economics Tool, which is a neutral, analytic set of interlinked models that estimates potential economic implications of various policies using assumptions defined by"

In true Google fashion, they also put together a very useful and easy to navigate website detailing the key results of the study, and highlighting some of the key figures in the report.  For example:

Google GDP Figure

In this figure, "BT" is a breakthrough, which Google defines as green technologies meeting a certain cost/performance level.  You can read about the various "BTs" here.  "BAU" is business as usual.  The green line depicts a scenario in which we price carbon emissions from the power sector at $30 per ton (which is used to fund a cut in corporate and individual income tax rates), and in which we invest strongly in green technology.  The blue line depicts green tech investment without a carbon price.  The purple line depicts a scenario in which we delay strong investment in green tech for 5 years.  The orange and red area shows the difference in US gross domestic product (GDP) between the green and purple scenarios: we lose a total of $2.3 to 3.2 trillion in benefits over the next 40 years.

Some other key findings in the report:

"Our modeling indicates that, when compared to BAU in 2030, aggressive energy innovation alone could have enormous potential to simultaneously:

  • Grow the US economy by over $155 billion in GDP/year ($244 billion with Clean Policy)
  • Create over 1.1 million new net jobs (1.9 million with Clean Policy)
  • Save US consumers over $942/household/year ($995 with Clean Policy)
  • Reduce US oil consumption by over 1.1 billion barrels/year
  • Reduce US total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 13% (21% with Clean Policy)

By 2050, innovation in the modeled technologies alone reduced GHG emissions 55% and 63% when combined with policy, while continuing positive economic and job growth. This analysis indicates that aggressive clean energy innovation could simultaneously help address the US’ major long-term economic, environmental, and security goals."

In short, investing in green tech alone is highly beneficial for the economy and employment, and even moreso if 'Clean Policy' and/or a price on carbon emissions are implemented.  Google defines what they mean by 'Clean Policy':

"a collection of existing or proposed federal policies including a Clean Energy Standard (25% [carbon capture and storage], renewables, and new nuclear by 2030), Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), increased Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), increased EPA regulations on coal, extended Investment and Production Tax Credits, and a Loan Guarantee credit facility capped at $15 billion per year."

Interestingly, contrary to popular opinion, the Google study finds increased EPA regulations economically beneficial.  Also contrary to certain public opinion, in addition to increasing GDP, and reducing oil consumption and CO2 emissions, investing in green tech and implementing Clean Policy and/or carbon pricing will lead to a decrease in household energy bills:

Fig 4

The results are even better when a price on carbon emissions is implemented, which supports our arguments that CO2 limits are good for the economy:

Fig 10

The bulk of the reduction in energy bills (74%, or $699 per year on average) is attributed to the transition to electric vehicles (electricity bills go up, but fuel costs decrease by substantially more).  The transition to electric vehicles also accounts for half of the projected job creation.  As noted in the first figure above, Google emphasizes that "speed matters":

"In our model, a mere five year delay in starting aggressive cost reduction curves could cost the economy an aggregate $2.3–3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP gains, 1.2–1.4 million net jobs and 8-28 gigatons of potential avoided CO2 emissions by 2050"

The lesson to be learned here is that investment in green tech, clean policy, and carbon pricing are beneficial to the economy.  Delaying implementation of these mechanism could potentially cost us a lot of money.  The funds for investment in green technology have to come from somewhere, and a carbon emissions price can provide those funds, as has happened in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

As Google puts it:

"The benefits are clear, so let’s go!"

For further details on this report click the links above.  Or Google it!

NOTE: the results of this study have been added to the rebuttal to "CO2 limits will harm the economy"

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 53:

  1. Good article, Dana. I've long argued that by delaying action on addressing climate change our economy could miss the bus on new green technologies. Better to be at the forefront of the energy revolution than playing catchup.
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  2. I firmly believe in pollution reduction - prosecuting polluters was my job.

    I think every vehicle manufactured should run on LPG gas not petrol - the reductions in emissions is immediate.

    Similarly gas fired electricity emits way less CO2.

    These short term solutions are readily available today, and they will help.

    China and India are not going to stop burning coal until they can see an alternative.

    Even the IPCC do not have much faith in solar or wind with their energy report advocating burning biomass as the most likely means of meeting the world's energy demand.

    Using gas in the short term can help "keep the fires burning" until better technology is developed.

    My brother said to me in the 70s that anyone who thinks they are going to presuade people to voluntarily give up their cars is nuts. Forty years on and I challenge anyone to dispute his belief so lets reduce emissions immediately while planning for the future - there is enough gas reserves to keep going for ages.

    Of course this will be seen as heretical and rejected and the status quo remain unchanged - I repeat - I see little evidence of people changing their behaviour no matter what they say and I see little future for dictatorships trying to force behaviour on educated populaces.
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  3. Rosco:
    I will disagree with you about a car. I would give ours up in a heartbeat if there was any way it could be done.
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  4. Rosco "...anyone who thinks they are going to persuade people to voluntarily give up their cars is nuts."

    Should we rephrase that as "give up using their internal combustion, 15mpg cars"?

    A well-designed well-run city or suburb can provide good public transport for much workaday travel. Electric cars, hybrid cars, efficient cars can fill any needs not met by public transport.

    Nobody has to give up anything (or anything much). We just need to be better at providing the most effective, efficient means of meeting travel needs.
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  5. adelady:
    You must be driving a tank. Over here average fuel economy is in excess of 24mpg. That still costs a lot of money per mile to drive. Over here is the USA.
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  6. The economics of a $30.00 per ton co2 tax in the USA do not work. To tax co2, and then give the tax generated back to whom you collected it from is not cost efficient.
    But then, most government programs are not cost effiecient.

    When it comes to energy, economics will drive it as it has done in the past. I use invertors on motors to cut consumption by over 55% in some cases. Other folks in the same business do the same. We have all insulated our structures that require heat in the winter to reduce the heating bill. Up north where I live, a high heating bill will drive you out of business.

    A carbon tax will never pass in the USA because of the ineffienciency of returning taxed monies.

    The USA will continue to advance in carbon reduction because of economic pressures.
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  7. Camburn - the carbon tax wouldn't just be returned exactly as collected. That would make no sense. It would be returned equally to everyone such that those who emit less and are taxed less would actually come out ahead.

    As for inefficiency, British Columbia actually returned more tax money than collected, so they've disproven your claim.
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  8. Camburn - your options for replacing your car are (among many others):
    bus or public transport
    ride a bike
    move closer to work
    Nissan Leaf

    I don't understand the claim that "nothing can be done" - many of us are, including using solar to heat our homes or power our devices (this, apparently in daring direct opposition to the all-powerful IPCC)
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  9. actually thoughtful:
    I own my business.....can't get any closer to work. I walk out the door and it is there.
    There is no bus transport. Sparse population......a bus would produce wayyyyyyy more co2 than present transportation infrastructure.
    I have a friend that has a hybrid. Seems the cold weather reallllllly plays havoc with it. It runs on engine after approx 7 miles when it is cold here. For each drop in temp under 32 the thing really goes south. So, not practical with current teck.

    The Nissan Leaf would suffer the same fate. The nearest town with population densisity is 80 miles one way.
    Might get by in summer, wouldn't make it one way in winter. And we do have to go in the winter at times.

    That is a redistribution tax and essentially wouldn't work because. I use a lot of energy....a lot. I would pay a lot more for that energy. I would have to pass the cost to the consumer.....just no way around it.

    Even a 10 cent rise in fuel costs results in higher end prices. A higher elec cost would result in higher end prices. The basic consumer would pay much more than the paltry refund he/she would get in higher costs.

    I can tell you that with the escalating costs of energy at present, which I do not see going down, people will continue to seek ways to reduce the consumption of energy.

    Remember also, those of us that live further north have limitied options. Solar won't work here, it has been tried. Not even close to being cost effective. Micro scale wind has been tried, doesn't pan out. Even tho I live in an area 5 wind production, when it is cold the wind dies, and when it is hot the wind dies.

    We call this the summer time blues:

    Summer time blues
    Same thing happens in the winter time.

    So BC subsidized the carbon tax. Why am I not surprised?
    Must be a negative administration cost up there. I do hear the British Columbians do work cheap tho.
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  10. Dana:
    Why tax at all? Have you not noticed that co2 emmissions have dropped in the US. Yes, the economy is slow, but the biggest reason is that people are responding to higher energ costs.

    Do you forsee energy costs dropping in the near future?
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  11. No Camburn, you're a year behind the times. And please take the time to learn about the BC carbon tax before commenting on it.
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  12. sorry camburn, shortened the quote too much, left out the 1970s car reference.

    I might add that the car I drove during the 70s was a very cute 40mpg mini - but I caught the bus to work. As for tech progress, my current car weighs the same as several minis, is 6 rather than 4 cylinders - and I get the same consumption on country driving. Not so wonderful in the city or pulling a trailer.
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  13. Camburn you seem to be short on the concept here. Let's take it bit by bit.

    You sell 100 thingies (made of pure energy) that cost $100 to make. But a cap and dividend program means your costs go up by 10% (and, even though many Canadians make use of solar and wind, you are in the "Camburn vortex", so are not able to).

    So know you sell for $110. If your pure energy product is perceived by your customers to be essential, with no substitutions, then your customers will fork over the $110. If they can trade to a cheaper product, they will.

    So now the gov'ment has $1,000 that they distribute to 100 people (but not identical to your customers). So some people, who don't use Camburn's 100% energy thingy, get a windfall of $10. Those who use a lot of your energy product pay a premium for their desire/need of the 100% energy thingy.

    Now - under BAU (business as usual) they are paying $100. Under the 10% carbon tax on scenario they are paying $110. Under which scenario do you think your company is more likely to innovate a non-carbon energy source for the pure energy product?

    Under which scenario is your customer more likely to find a way to rely on your pure energy product less?

    Which scenario is better for man's continued survival on earth with a very large population?
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  14. Off topic, but I thought you might want to know that when I try to share this article on Facebook, instead of a line or two from the article, it shows the summary of the book "Climate Change Denial: Head in the Sand".
    This has happened twice.
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  15. cap and trade was used to reduce CFCs and sulpher oxides that cause acid rain. Didn't hurt the economy.

    Not having some kind of charge on carbon perpetuates the externalized costs of fossil fuels not being accounted for.
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  16. Camburn,
    There you go with your wild, unsubstainted claims again. It is well known from Social Security that the government can collect a tax and redistribute it for less than 3% of the total revenues. Please provide data to support your gibberish that revenue cannot be redistributed.

    It is tiresome to have these deniers come in again and again with their gibberish and have to discuss it with them as if it were facts.
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  17. actually thoughtful@13:
    How about this scenerio:
    Looking at costs, I see my cost per unit of production has risen because of the price of energy.
    1. I do an energy audit on my building and find several areas of leakage. I do a cost/benifit analysis and the payback of insulating, adding new doors etc is 5 years.
    I do the improvements and have now lowered my costs to less than my compitition and reduced my energy consumption per unit produced.
    2. I do an energy audit on my machinery that runs in said building. By installing invertors on my larger motors I have an energy and cost of maintainence payback of 3 years. I quickly invest in invertors.
    3. I look at my fuel costs and identify ways to cut gallon/acre useage. I incorporate those improvements.

    I have not paid an energy tax. I have lowered my unit energy costs. I have been able to maintain a profitable business and enhanced my long term viability.

    This is what is happening all around.

    The idea of a carbon tax is to provide incentive. The reality of it is that increasing energy costs are doing this effectively because there is already an incentive.

    Why add another 3% cost to anything? Why redistibute revenue at all? I present you with facts from a real world economic model. That is not gibberish, that is facts.
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  18. Camburn @17, the problem with that scenario is that the rise in the price of energy is general. Consequently, while it does provide incentive to become more energy efficient, it does not provide significant incentive to switch energy sources. Indeed, such incentives that it does provide for switching encourages energy producers to switch away from the more expensive (externalities excluded) renewable sources to the less expensive (externalities excluded) carbon intensive fuels such as coal.

    In contrast, a price on carbon not only encourages consumers of energy to reduce their consumption; it also encourages producers to seek a competitive advantage by switching to low carbon and zero carbon energy sources.
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  19. Tom@18:
    Yes, the cost of energy is general. But because of that cost, business people are looking, evaluating, and implimenting to reduce the consumption of energy.
    So, on a per GDP basis, the amount of energy used declines.

    You indicate that renewables are more expensive(externalities excluded). At this point you are correct.

    The economic incentive is then to bring down the cost of renewables so that they can compete. That will happen for a host of reasons, but the most prevelant one is that the cost of fossil fuels is doing what ecnomics dictates and is going up.

    I have the luxury of living in a state that has abundant energy. Veryyyyyy abundant fossil fuel energy. Yet, even with that large reserve, there are exciting things happening on the renewable/alternative energy front, researched here.

    An ecnomical hydrogen fuel cell is not very far from reality. How do I know this? I know a person working on it.

    We have Bison Elec working on hydrogen production via wind energy. We have, as I have posted a link to, large elec wind farms with more going up.

    There are a lot of things happening that it seems few know about.

    As a business owner, I see every day the effect of rising energy costs. You talk about a carbon tax being good. I know from 1st hand experience with costs that a carbon tax will immediately stiffle production, and certainly drive up costs. Redistribute wealth....yep....take from a large energy user.....give to someone who uses less. Yet, my energy consumption produces a product. So in order to stay in business the price of said product has to rise. What this incorporates is another tax on production......not consumption as my consumption has already declined on a per unit basis because of the improvements I have incorporated.

    To decide what person "A"s energy consumption is would have to incorporate what my energy consumption is as person "A" buys my product. That is already happening when they buy the product as the price is included.

    To add another layer is pound foolish, and economically destructive.
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  20. Camburn,
    If you read the article we are commenting on, they say that if we put in a carbon tax that the economy will expand to more than cover the cost of the tax. Why don't you read the lead post? Please present data that suggests the tax will not be cost efective or stop making wild, outrageous claims.

    You post on this site a lot and very rarely link to data. Claims without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
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  21. Michael:
    Yes, that is what they say.

    I am giving you the luxury of 1st hand business experience.

    I will take observed reactions to economically modeled reactions any day of the week and year.

    The wild, outrageous claims? Interesting perspective as my banker would completely disagree with you.
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  22. Camburn (9 end) 20+ years ago my central New Hampshire (USA) home had a ~1 kWh/day photovoltaic system with marine battery storage and a propane generator back-up. We heated with wood and were frugal (e.g.: used outside cold for winter refrigeration; I walked a km to get to my employer's home and carpooled to work; kids walked 2 km to get to bus stop). The alternative would have been to pay 50% more up front to have electricity mains brought to the house AND pay rent on two utility poles in addition to paying for electricity used.

    The cost of photovoltaics is way down now; the cost of mains electricity isn't. I'm not saying your business could make this particular transition; of course the infrastructure is already in place.

    We all make choices and then rationalize them. I recall a high school classroom discussion on conservation when a fellow student considered the suggestion she walk (instead of drive) the full block from her home to school a ridiculous idea.

    Go Google! (at least as it relates to this blog's focus)
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  23. Camburn, the main thrust of the article is that strong investment in renewables and/or a carbon price (which can help fund that investment) accelerates the process of transitioning to renewables, thus benefitting the economy. The fact that the transition is happening doesn't mean it can't happen faster, and help the economy in the process.
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  24. Camburn,
    Your point that the economy is becoming more fuel efficient (GDP/unit of fuel is going down) is true.

    However, the GDP is going up at a rate higher than the fuel intensity is going down.

    So your positions (Business As Usual) will lead to a catastrophic failure of human civilization through lack of food due to climate change (this is not a guaranteed outcome, however, it is likely enough that prudent people will take action). If we somehow avoid that, your position does GUARANTEE a trillion dollars plus is in new taxes to relocate most of the population centers on the East and West coast of the United States. Your avoidance of a minor bother now (a rational carbon tax) is forcing HUGE costs on the next generation. This is inter-generational theft at its finest.

    So please tell us why we should risk collective doom so your business enterprise can flourish (until we fall off the cliff)?

    Given that the carbon tax is fairly applied to everyone, it shouldn't have any direct impact on your business (unless, of course you are not as efficient as another producer, or the market decides your product is not worth having at the all-in fuel price. If that is the case, that is going to happen anyways, as you admit (fuel prices are already rising).

    If you product is important, it will not be price sensitive, and all your competition will be raising prices as well. The worst case under a carbon tax is a short term round of inflation.

    The worst case under BAU is the end of the earth's capacity to carry 7-9 billion humans.

    You are a businessman, you understand minimizing risk, which would you choose? Why?

    As for your changes so far - good for you. I assure you there is much, much more you can do. One example is to move your business to a state with more easily accessible renewable resources (I realize that is not a preferred option, but I don't want to hear your knee-jerk rejection of easier ones, like hosting a wind farm on your property (as you say, wind is big in your area) or putting up solar (which works in Canada, so it is hard to see why it doesn't work in your corner of the universe)).

    You do have options, and most of us support limiting your options to foul the nest, which seems to be your number one goal.

    I am against.
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  25. Camburn,
    You claim "I know from 1st hand experience with costs that a carbon tax". What carbon tax do you currently pay to give you first hand experience? If you do not pay a carbon tax you do not have first hand experience and you are making false claims. The lead post gives DATA that supports their claim that a carbon tax is cost effective. You are merely saying what you think (but you claim what you think is fact). You have produced no evidence or data to support your wild claims, as usual. I dismiss your claim made with no supporting evidence.
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  26. actuallythoughtful@24:
    1. No matter what happens, sea level will continue to rise. It has been doing that climatically for 100's of years. The question is, how much additional rise has AGW added to the rate of rise. A cost of mitigation is going to be dealt with because people are still foolish enough to built houses etc near the ocean when they KNOW that sea level is rising.
    2. It takes wealth to embrace new teck. With the current world economics, and the role the US economy plays in this economic situation, the current distress is plainly evident. The level of debt worldwide as a percentage of GDP of the world, is on an unsubstainable trend.
    3. We can see that the trend of energy per unit of GDP has taken a turn for the better. Efficiency of production is the leading reason for this. Economics works.
    4. Looking at this without predujice, my concern is the economic distress will cause enormous human distress that will result in wars, famine, etc. That is the near term threat of greatest magnitude. Until this is resolved, everything else is on the back burner. Examples of this are Greece, Egypt at present. I would think that people read the news and I don't have to post examples of the unrest.
    5. Where there is wealth, that wealth is being used to reduce energy consumption. It is also being used to invest in renewable energy if the economic return is there.
    6. From a business standpoint, and one of the reasons you are seeing per unit energy reduction per unit of GDP, is that all information currently available indicates a steady to steep increase in energy costs for the forseable future. Business is reacting to that stimuli, homeowners are reacting to that stimuli and will continue to do so.
    7. That reaction will continue as long as there is wealth to do so. Add another tax, that will add another layer of uncertainty to the economy, and reduce the rate of switch as the wealth dries up.

    In conclusion:
    The continued rise of energy costs will speed up the transition with the least economic disruption. My lifetime experiences have shown me that government intervention in economic decissions results in poor execution and increased costs. The US medical system is a perfect example when viewed on a long term basis.
    I think the economic cost per unit of reduction is much better played out without government involvement as the value of dollar spent will be greater, IMHO.

    A bit off topic, but yes, black carbon plays a significant roll in Arctic Ice melt.
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  27. Camburn: "The economic incentive is then to bring down the cost of renewables so that they can compete."

    Probably not hugely necessary. Demand for the old fossil fuels is pushing prices up across the board. Including food prices.
    In the case of some food stuffs organic seems to be comparable to 'conventional' fossil fuel supported food lines.

    Growth in energy demand and resources in general will make a lot of alternatives economically equitable over the years. Solar energy in particular is due to tumble in cost.
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  28. Camburn said: "1. I do an energy audit on my building and find several areas of leakage. I do a cost/benifit analysis and the payback of insulating, adding new doors etc is 5 years.
    I do the improvements and have now lowered my costs to less than my compitition and reduced my energy consumption per unit produced."

    All valid stuff. But there are other issues that affect your income that are not taken into account by the old economics.
    A very simple example maybe reduced biodiversity.
    Over say a period of 2 decades, a loss of biodiversity may have an indirect impact on your business.

    Recently, the environmental costs have been assessed for various types of land and habitat. Although you may consider yourself to be independent of these factors, ultimately the cost is accounted for across the state and nation that you live in.

    Another example is that green spaces improves health, which in turn reduces health costs. This is now a policy issue in the UK and many local councils are developing policies to cut health bills by encouraging cycling and improving green spaces.
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  29. "1/ No matter what happens, sea level will continue to rise. It has been doing that climatically for 100's of years. "

    0.3mm/yr over last 2-3 millennia.

    "The question is, how much additional rise has AGW added to the rate of rise."
    See the appropriate threads. Evidence says quite a lot.

    I think a better focus would help. Unless we want to spend all our income on transport fuel, I think the difficulties in maintaining oil production will mean we will be finding alternatives without the need for further carbon pricing. Where you live, it sounds like heating might be a big cost - here it was economic to switch from gas to pellet burners. If it was colder, GSHP might have been better option. Finland and Sweden are into this big time.
    However, real focus is getting off coal. What does it take to get electricity production from other (clean) sources? Kill the subsidies on for starters.
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  30. scaddenp@29:
    Yes, we heat from Sept to May, and this year most of June as well.
    I looked at installing a corn burning stove. When corn was less expensive, it was viable. At current prices it is questionable.
    Your last sentence is the crux tho, and the hardest to address. At some point, elec cars etc will provide more short term transportation alternatives. Even tho I live far from an urban center, I recognize that population density indicates a very good market for such a vehicle.

    But with that increased load, there will have to be more sources of baseload energy. Long stretches of HVDC lines have a substantial loss so are not feasable. As the price per kwh rises, they become even less feasable.

    I firmly believe that solar can provide electricity for the sw 1/4 of the US. Hydro should be providing power for the majority of the rest of the country. One of the forcasts of warming, (whether it be AGW or cyclical is not important in this discussion) is more precipitation. Some of these events are suppose to be extreme. There are ample basins to capture the result of this extreme, as it is really only a shift in energy on a pure raw physics sense, and use it for benificial purposes.

    I am familiar with the topography of the US. I am not sure if this is practical in the rest of the world, but it certainly is in the USA. I look at the bird deaths at the windfarm near me and am troubled by those. They have a great value in the scheme of life. A dam would not be as environmentally degrading and also provide mitigation responses as well as elec generation. A two fold win.

    If substantial battery storage improvements are not on the horizon, which at this time they aren't, the benifit of hydro/solar is that one can produce hydrogen. From all indications, my source I can't link to, a viable hydrogen fuel cell is not far off the horizon. I am hoping that project is fruitfull. One has seen items close to fruition before only to never quit achieve what had been hoped.

    These are solutions that can be done, the teck is here for those. By doing so, one could slowly take offline coal powered plants in the USA and have viable baseload energy.

    These solutions solve mitigation, environmental concerns, and are viable. Any leader worth his/her salt should be able to sell these to the general public. A non political item.....which from what I can a requirement for any advancement on this issue.
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  31. Camburn @26

    Your points # 1 is easily disproved by looking around this site. Please do so. Hansen says BAU could produce over 2 meters of sea level rise this century.

    Point # 2 is mostly useless in this debate because the debt is a Republican issue, not a real issue. If we wanted to eliminate the national deficit in the USA - we just have to do nothing. The law calls for the end of the Bush era tax cuts, and the end of all the Medicare "Doc fixes" - these two things alone would end the deficit by 2014 (according to the CBO). Also, this post talks about the economic increase that accelerating the switch to renewables will bring. Economic growth will reduce the deficit, assuming spending is limited or reduced (which certainly appears to be the case)

    Your point # 3 is exactly the point - adding a carbon tax will harness the free market to mitigate climate change risk. You are presenting arguments for my perspective. Thank you.

    # 4 is, AGAIN, exactly the point! If we don't handle climate change and soon, "the economic distress will cause enormous human distress that will result in wars, famine, etc." We don't need to fix health care right now, we don't need to fix the deficit right now - we do need to fix our relationship with the environment, from where all wealth comes from. Thus the push for a carbon tax.

    Points 5&6 indicate a willingness to set the bar too low. Sure, we are seeing a small, slow growth in renewables. But compared to the overall energy puzzle, renewables are too small, and the current trend (BAU) leads to the planet shifting into a mode that is hostile to happy humans.

    Point # 7 is counter to the evidence presented in this post. It is counter to our experience with the ozone layer and with acid rain. What is your evidence (not ideology) to support this claim? Everything we know tells us the opposite is true - that a carbon tax will spur an economic boom by setting the conditions for economic expansion as we switch from carbon based to renewable based energy.

    It is interesting to me, given how well you understand things at point # 3 & 4, how your conclusions don't follow. You point out that government involvement in Medicare causes increased costs and poor execution. Where are the millions of seniors rising up demanding changes to Medicare?

    Oh, wait. Those millions of seniors are demanding NO changes to Medicare.

    OK - well what about the worldwide consensus that the US military is a paper tiger, and easily defeated?

    Oh, wait - the US military is the most respected fighting force in the world.

    So two of the largest programs the US government undertakes are incredibly effective, and whether they would be cheaper in the private sector is somewhat debatable, but I notice the private sector is not doing very well in these two area (Blackwater as one example in the military space -we know how effective they are, and health insurance - the most beloved industry in America... NOT).

    So, as near as I can tell, your conclusions don't follow from the evidence you presented, and are demonstrably false to boot.

    Care to try again?
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  32. actually thoughtful@31:
    Mr. Hansen has made predictions concering sea levels in the past that have not born out.
    2. This is not a Republican "deficit". This is a mutual one. The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were idiotic, but that is not the crux of what you said. I understand that you limited your comment to the constraints of a budget. SS is not included in the budget. When you add the increased funding required for SS and Medicare, even allowing the physician increase to lapse, the financial health will not correct itself by 2014. The rate of rise in the debt will slightly slow from present levels, but it will certainly not lessen. This is also from CBO.
    3. The free market is already harnessed to decrease energy consumption, and it has started. As energy prices rise, you will see an excalation in this trend.
    4. Co2 is a greenhouse gas, the physics show approx 1.0 for a doubling of co2. I am in no way convinced that the temp rise will be 3.0-6.0C.; hence I am not concerned about long term effects. I am concerned about current economic distress which is becoming more apparant all the time.
    Point #7. In order for the US to service just the interest on its current debt, with spending projections from CBO used, will require a tax increase of 6-8%.
    Add another tax on top of this debt service will stiffle economic growth. The free economy is much better at inovation/invention than the government is.

    Concerning medicare. When I was inocculated it cost my parents $5.50. When I broke my arm, two days in hospital, xrays cost was 114.76. My father still has the bill.

    Older folks who are now recieving medicare at current tax rates are exceeding the revenue stream. To substain that care, taxes are going to have to go up.

    Health insurance is a pool and off topic. We can debate that one at another time.
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  33. The rate of rise will slightly slow, but the debt will not lessen.
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  34. Camburn @36, if you accept that "economics works", you would also accept that large, uncosted negative externalities distort the market and reduce overall wealth. Such uncosted negative externalities would therefore be anathema to you, and you would be looking for the most efficient means to either place a price on the externalities, regulate it out of existence, or ensure a payment from the producer of the externalities to those suffering its effects.

    In the case of GHG emissions, the most effective way to do that may be to introduce a carbon tax either with a dividend to end users on some basis (and there are different ways of paying the dividend), or subsidy to low carbon energy producers. It may be a cap and trade scheme. It may be a legal requirement for carbon emitters to fund expected payouts for damages arising from loss of habitat, and health effects from global warming going forward. But not doing it is not assuming that economics works, but that it doesn't.
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  35. Camburn: Why are you on this thread? This thread is about the economic benefit of mitigating climate change - not at the level of catastrophe avoided, but at the level of ingenuity rewarded.

    In post 32, point 4 you express deep confusion about the physics of climate change. Please go to the myriad of threads on this very site that explain this and understand the basic issue.

    Once you understand why the CO2 doubling will lead to 2C or more temperature increase, we can start with you on equal footing with the rest of us. It isn't fair to the rest of us that you bring your confusion to this thread. You could start by understanding how, if it is 1C MAX, and we haven't even doubled yet, that we are at .8C increase. Something doesn't square in your physics and/or logic.

    Your points have very little merit given that you don't understand the basis of the discussion.

    PS - your points regarding the Republican debt are consistent with your understanding of climate change - muddled and mostly wrong. But I don't find any thread on Skeptical Science appropriate for discussing them. Suffice it to say you are wrong on that issue as well.
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  36. actually thoughtful:
    This thread is about the implimentation of a carbon tax and what some percieve to be the results of said implimentation.
    I disagree with the projected results. I have demonstrated changes that are occuring without a carbon tax.

    I will continue to disagree with the premise that a doubling of co2 will result in a min of 2.0C temp rise.

    As far as spending, all on and off budget items, being balanced in 2 fiscal years by eliminating the Bush Tax Cuts and the increase in medicare payments, are totally wrong.
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  37. I will continue to disagree with the premise that a doubling of co2 will result in a min of 2.0C temp rise.

    I'm sure you will, come hell or high water. As the old gag says, "you can't reason a man out of a belief he didn't reason himself into."

    In other not-very-surprising news, the rest of us will continue to get our information from experts who know what they're talking about, instead of non-experts who are proudly spinning their wheels in an ideological rut.
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  38. Well Camburn, the point of carbon tax is to change the economics of things like oil-central heating versus non-carbon alternatives. That is the crux of its effectiveness. Biofuel is the other alternative for long range transport. Beside small-scale stuff like sewage-farm "cogen", capturing CO2 from steel-making and pushing that into algal diesel is an interesting idea. 2nd gen crude oil from wood might be interesting too. While these arent economic against current oil price with carbon tax, I doubt carbon tax will be necessary within 10 years.

    Hydro is major component of our electricity industry (75% renewable and growing) but sadly I am not so sure about its viability in much of US. The crucial element of being able to create a high fall with high water flow seems missing for much of US topography but it would be great if I was wrong.
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  39. scaddenp:
    I can think of one area close that has no dams on it right now. Yellowstone River.
    In my travels, I know the Missouri could have more dams.
    The wet cycle has been present for 20 years, and is projected to last another 60-100 years. Might as well take advantage of that.
    The dams would not have to be huge. A 100 MegWatt dam here, another there, and pretty soon we are talking major energy production.

    No one up here puts a fuel oil furnace in anymore. Most have gone to high eff LP or natural gas if available. Depending on location, (high ground water), a lot of geothermal have also been installed. North Dakota has been promoting this for a number of years.
    North Dakota Eduction
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  40. Actually thoughtful:
    I will point you to the differences in the IPCC WG1 report.

    My position is well within that range. The 3.0 is an AVERAGE of the ranges, and is no more credible than any number used within the report.

    I am not here to try and convince you that that magic 3.0C is the right number, as it is within the range of presented numbers. Each and every number "could" be correct. I have my reasons to understand a lower number, you have yours to understand a higher number.

    If you want to present a number that is not presented there, then we have the need for a mutual discussion. But, as I have observed from your comments on this forum, I feel there is no need.

    I understand the physics veryyyyy well as I have been studying this issue for over 30 years. Even a lemming cleans something in that period of time.

    You seem to be here to present the status quo as you understand it. I am here to present solutions that I know are viable and very doable, and without any uncertainty.

    I live in a state that has abundant, to say the least, fossil fuel energy. Yet, we are a leader in renewables as well. Doesn't that strike you, from your view, as being in a leadership position? We are a conservative state that watches the dollars, live the land, breath the air. The nature of placement provides us with extreme weather on an annual basis. It also provides us with weather cycles. Example is Devils Lake. If you don't think we understand this issue, I can only say you are sadly mistaken. We are also a state that is very well educated and at the forfront of practical research.
    Energy & Environment Research

    Our coal gasification plant has, and is, investing more in carbon capture.
    IF the rest of the world took as much interest, care, and preservation of the environment as ND does, there would not even be a need for this discussion.
    I do think you attitude towards someone who presents an alternative view needs a bit of refinement.
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  41. Camburn in your post #32 you claim sensitivity is 1.0C - this is not within the currently accepted range and demonstrates you don't understand the physics. Will you kindly get of this thread (about the advantages of switching to clean energy NOW via a carbon tax) and get your confusion dealt with on the correct thread? It makes no sense for people to clog up EVERY single thread with the same tired, oft debunked claims.

    Frankly, Lindzen's claim that "what we've seen so far" suggests sensitivity is no higher than 1°C for doubled CO2 could not be further from the truth. Why don't you go to that thread, post all your credible facts and published papers that justify 1C - and if your ideas survive there, THEN bring them into general discussion, otherwise, you are just polluting the threads with debunked claims.

    You state some malarky about the status quo - YOU are the defender of BAU - which tanks the economy, and life as we know it. You are projecting to claim that that is somehow my position. It is a false claim. You would do better to not assume you understand (or question) my motives.

    Camburn if you only HAD an alternative view! All you do, on thread after thread, is post the same debunked claims about sea level, about 1C sensitivity - things we KNOW are false. PLEASE start presenting an alternative to BAU.

    As for your Chamber of Commerce level rah rah for North Dakota - Here is an article pointing out that EACH fracking well uses over one million gallons of water
    North Dakota Fracking

    Here we see North Dakota is not even in the top 10 for renewable energy production.

    Camburn do you have anything credible to add to the discussion?
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  42. Camburn " area close that has no dams on it right now. Yellowstone River.
    In my travels, I know the Missouri could have more dams."

    Why do we need power generation to always trash the environment it's taking total advantage of? Surely run-of-river would be a more sensible, multi-use option than dams sacrificing farmland, forest or wilderness.

    (Should point out I'm presuming that these rivers actually flow at a reasonable pace rather than wander leisurely across a flat landscape the way our River Murray does.)
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  43. I am assuming Camburn is proposing a lake in national park. I suspect Camburn thinks all "alarmists" are greenies and so is trying a wind up. I dont know the US at all so happy to take his word for it, though from experience here, run-of-river generates less power and so usually more expensive per GJ than high dam.
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  44. "... usually more expensive per GJ than high dam."

    Externalised costs?

    If we insist on accounting for externalised costs for carbon, we should do the same for renewables. Surely one of the great advantages of wind and solar (esp PV) is that it allows multiple uses of the power producing area.

    And dams not only disallow other uses, they destroy other valuable things. Like forests and farmland and communities.

    Or does the accounting include all of these things - I don't know.
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  45. Good point adelady. I was not externalising costs and I agree that should be on same basis as carbon. This is a debate that goes on quite a bit here as we look for more hydro power. Except in a maybe 8 more sites, wind and geothermal are cheaper (ignore externalised costs) than hydro and in those 8 sites, there are significant external costs to building a dam. Just remember that not only is run-of-river more expensive per GJ, but there is considerably less total GJ available in practical terms.
    0 0
  46. adelady:
    I was indicating dams on the river. They would serve a two fold purpose. Flood mitigation as well as a source to generate power.
    The externalized costs of a damn must be balanced against the cost of flooding.
    In the case of the upper Missouri Basin, we know that we are in a wet cycle and it previous cycles are an indication, flooding will be common for the next 60+ years.
    An example of the area flooded just this could build a sizeable dam and the flood control provided could allow dam external to be flat for 50 years. There were millions of acres flooded this year alone.

    In the USA this would be easy to fund. Just take 100Billion out of defense, (which is severaly bloated) use 50 billion to reduce the deficit and use the other 50 billion to build dams.
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  47. The costs depend on the dam. Some dams would create value by steadying the water level and creating a better fishery. Most of the land on the flood plain around me is used for grazing or sometimes pasture or most often it is just mowed for aesthetic or recreational reasons. Some is wooded and that would be lost (harvested). A run-of-the-river hydro in my case would capture a tiny fraction of a dam (perhaps 10X less head and hundreds or thousands of times less flow). Also a run-of-the-river installation below my house would have to be completely submersible to withstand 30 foot floods.

    Incidentally I can anchor a floating generator with no approval whatsoever since it is "removable". Anything else would be a regulatory nightmare.
    0 0
  48. The pluses and minuses of high dams here get a lot of debate.

    Plus - new fisheries (introduced species - salmon), recreational lakes, flood control, MAYBE irrigation potential, and of course power.

    Minus - earthquake hazard, loss of habitat and/or farming potential, unsolved problem with native fisheries (which is more complex problem than just dams in case of the very valuable whitebait), competition with downstream irrigators for water, loss of whitewater recreation/tourism.

    In my opinion, you prioritize sites, sacrifice some rivers with a lot of dams, leave others free. An unavoidably complex process of evaluating conflicting values.
    0 0
  49. #46: "... we know that we are in a wet cycle ..." Any peer-reviewed evidence for that? I would equally say that the risk of large floods has increased due to a warmer atmosphere (as predicted), and so the risk will last as long as the atmosphere is warmer, ie much more than 60 years.

    Frankly in this whole thread you've posted opinions without any supporting evidence, leaning heavily on your own 'experience' to dismiss the benefits of a carbon tax for encouraging a switch to cleaner energy sources. So I'll dismiss your claims with my 'experience'... if a product is cheaper than a competitor's as a result of one being carbon-taxed and the other not, I'll buy that product and the competitor will eventually go out of business. Meanwhile the manufacturer using clean energy will grow at the expense of the dirty manufacturer. Cleaner energy use preference will increase significantly, regardless of overall energy efficiency, for which there is always a uniform motivation. This will also bring clean energy costs down, benefitting everyone, quite apart from the natural process of lowering costs that happens as a technology reaches maturity. Definitely seems a positive process to me, both economically and environmentally.
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  50. skywatcher:
    I have posted the link on this site concerning Devils Lake and the upper mid-west of the USA. There is most deffinetely a wet and dry cycle.
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