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Climate Hustle

Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

Posted on 8 January 2019 by dana1981

Limiting global warming to less than the Paris Climate Agreement target of 2°C (3.6°F) hotter than pre-industrial temperatures will require a rapid global transition away from fossil fuels. That’s a point on which the scientific community strongly agrees.

If we start now, we need to cut global carbon pollution by about 5 percent per year to avoid burning through our remaining “carbon budget”. Since 2012, emissions have gone up about 1 percent per year on average. That was an improvement on the 3 percent rise per year from 2000 to 2011, but global carbon emissions rose by about 2.7 percent in 2018.

In the USA, emissions had been falling by about 0.5 percent per year since 2000 and 1 percent per year since 2010, but they rose by about 2.5 percent in 2018. Basically, the U.S. is making some progress in decarbonizing, thanks primarily to wind, solar, and natural gas replacing more expensive coal power plants, but it’s not happening nearly fast enough to stay within our carbon budget.

That point was made especially clear when the IPCC published its special report on the difference between 1.5 and 2°C (2.7 and 3.6°F) and the Fourth National Climate Assessment report was published soon thereafter. Journalists asked numerous policymakers what they propose to do to address the problem, and surprisingly, many Senate Republicans accepted the scientists’ findings and the need for solutions. Their answers tended to share a common thread:

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE): “You can’t legislate or regulate your way into the past. We have to innovate our way into the future”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): “No [carbon tax] … I think if we’re going to move away from fossil fuels, it’s got to be done through innovation”

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC): “Both parties need to work together to deploy an innovative, market-driven strategy to combat the impacts of climate change”

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX): “The thing that people miss when they talk about the government imposing let’s say a carbon tax … they’re missing the fact that we have largely learned to innovate our way out of problems in the past … rather than more government regulation, what we need is more innovation”

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO): “Innovation has a critical role”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL): “I’ve never been supportive of carbon taxes in the past. I actually think to the extent that we want to truly limit carbon emissions, technology can get us there.”

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY): “Innovation, not new taxes or punishing global agreements, is the ultimate solution.”

In short, the Republican policymaker consensus includes opposition to climate regulations and carbon taxes, but support for “innovation”. But what exactly does “innovation” mean in this context? In an op-ed for the New York Times, Senator Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, wrote about capturing carbon and using it to extract additional oil from an otherwise unproductive well. Of course, if our goal is to slow global warming, using captured carbon to extract more carbon-intensive fuels is rather counterproductive.

The flaws of tech breakthroughs without incentivization

Generally speaking, climate “innovation” refers to efforts to develop cleaner, cheaper energy technologies. In that context, innovation is great. It’s brought the average cost of onshore wind and utility-scale solar panel energy down 23 percent and 73 percent since 2010, respectively, and there are lots of cool new electric cars on the market. But there are two major flaws in the innovation argument.

The first flaw is that we need to capitalize on all the technologies we currently have to solve the climate problem. We have cheap wind and solar energy, cool electric cars, bicycles, subways, light rail, energy efficient appliances, smart electric grids, and so on. While innovation to make these technologies cheaper and more efficient and invent new ones would help, what we need most is deployment of clean technologies. For example, as cool as electric cars are, they still make up less than 2 percent of new auto sales in the U.S. Instead, more and more Americans are buying gas-guzzling SUVs.

And that brings us to the second flaw in the innovation argument: Innovation requires incentive. As Ellen Williams, former director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy program, has said, “You have to have pull to get an innovative technology developed and adopted.”

For example, authors of a new study in the journal Energy Policy found that government policies like Renewable Portfolio Standards have played a critical role in the more than 99 percent reduction in solar panel costs over the past 40 years. Their concluding point: “Market-stimulating policies have played a central role in driving down the costs of [solar photovoltaic] modules.” Innovators needed incentives to continue improving solar panel technologies. There had to be market demand, and policies like renewable energy mandates generated it.

The same principle holds true for cars. At the end of 2018, U.S. gasoline prices averaged $2.27 per gallon – among the lowest in the world. As long as gasoline is incredibly cheap, Americans have little incentive to buy efficient innovative cars. In fact, that was the conclusion of a recent Congressional Budget Office report on ways to reduce the federal deficit, which noted:

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Comments

Comments 1 to 23:

  1. Is it safe to say GW is not a Chinese conspiracy anymore?

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] It never was.

  2. It is time that we all collectively, as individuals, start to ramp down our emissions.

    We cannot wait for governments to tell us what we already know we need to do.

    The time for individual as well as government action is here.

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  3. Suggesting its either innovation or regulation is an obvious false dichotomy. We not only need technically inventive solutions (and we already have some) we need some pressure from regulation, subsidies or carbon taxes to force the scaling up of the solutions.

    The tragedy of the commons is empirical and historical fact and means market forces alone wont fix the problem, or will be painfully slow.

    The Ozone hole problem wasn't fixed by market forces alone. It used a cap and trade scheme to force the phase down of the flourocarbons. Without this we would without doubt still have an ozone hole.

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  4. Its also a false dichotomy to say its either government action, or individual action.

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  5. nigelj@4 I agree completely. Individuals must start to act now on their own. Personal action should incentivize action because politicians will, to some degree, follow the lead of their constituents. But even if they don't, we must act. To solve the problem requires all individuals, organizations, and governments pulling as hard as we all can. Anything less than an all-out effort by everyone will likely fall short. We know this from the science, but nobody says it because of how unlikely it is to happen.

    Keep pushing the button for personal action and keep talking to your friends, neighbors, and family.

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  6. 2019 must be the year of attention. Name the crisis for what it is, a climate crisis. => https://tinyurl.com/CallTheCrisis

    The oncoming decade is DECISIVE whether our planet will remain below 2°C warming or not.

    Safe Climate Zone

    => Global warming will happen faster than we think

    => That’s how fast the carbon clock is ticking

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  7. The new claims by the correction resistant likes of the Republicans are no surprise.

    People who passionately believe the fairy tale that 'decent results will only develop if everyone is freer to believe what they wish and do as they please in competitions for popularity and profitability' can be expected to:

    • claim that 'innovation in an unrestricted and unregulated marketplace is the only solution to the climate change problem'.
    • fail to acknowledge that, in spite of restricted freedoms for people in their socioeconomic-political systems, people who chose to try to get away with unsustainable and undeniably harmful activities in pursuit of popularity and profit have been rewarded. And the unjust rewarding would have been even more severe with less regulation.
    • fail to see that the poorly governed socioeconomic political system that developed the problem also enables undeserving winners to very effectively resist being corrected and resist suffering penalties for understandably incorrect pursuits of popularity and profit.
    • resist understanding that the inability to get away with harmful unsustainable activity will be the most powerful way to motivate helpful sustainable innovative developments.

    The economic reality is that the currently incorrectly developed massive climate change problem will not be solved by figuring out what price to put on the externalities of fossil fuels. The incorrect development of burning of fossil fuels needs to corrected by ending the burning of fossil fuels.

    If a socioeconomic system was starting from scratch, it could develop helpful sustainable activity if:

    • there was rigorous monitoring of the potential for harm from any activity in the competitions for popularity and profit (competitions for perceptions of superiority relative to others).
    • and any activity discovered to be potential harmful was effectively limited until an investigation is completed to determine if there indeed is harm being done (the activity potentially fully shut down if the risk of harm was severe enough). And if the investigation concludes that no harm is done then the activity can be returned to a status of full freedom in the rigorously monitored competitions for popularity and profit.

    Harmful unsustainable externalities would not be allowed in the system. The impacts would need to be completely neutralized at the time of their production. They could be neutralized by the producer as part of their cost of production. Or they could be neutralized communally, with the required funding obtained through fees from all parties associated with the production of the harm. And the communal action would neutralize the impact as it was produced (no imposition of the problem on future generations, not even on next year's population).

    And that understanding exposes that trying to calculate a 'cost for carbon' is incorrect. Production of additional CO2 needs to be terminated, not just be reduced to the degree that a 'calculated price' would reduce it. And the recent impacts also need to be corrected for, meaning getting today's people to pay to remove some of the previously created CO2 (and pay to help the already negatively impacted people).
    The developed socioeconomic-political systems clearly developed significant incorrect activities because it was not correctly operating or governed. The needed 'cost on carbon' today would include the cost to effectively fully neutralize 'new production of CO2 today'. That means the cost of actually doing something today that really counter-acts a production of new CO2, like fully capturing the new CO2 as it is produced, or an equal amount, and processing it in a way that is harmless and sustainable.

    Even that corrective action misses a very important required corrective cost, the cost of removing the excess CO2 that people incorrectly profited from producing. It is arguable that all fossil fuel created CO2 since the mid 1800s would need to be paid to be removed by the descendants of those who benefited from that activity. However, I would accept that it is only practical to collect the costs of removing new CO2 that was created during a period like the past 30 years. Even that correction would require some complex forensic accounting to back-tax the undeserved wealth obtained through those 30 years. So that effort should be limited to the biggest recipients of undeserved wealth during that period (meaning accepting that some of the incorrect actions through the past 30 years will not be paid to be corrected by the ones who incorrectly benefited - the middle and lower income portions of the population would not be made to pay).

    That understanding of the required correction appears to be understood by the Republicans when they mention that going back into the past is not part of their 'desired solution'. They likely know they deliberately pushed to maximize their benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, including efforts to promote (propagandize) misunderstandings that were 'helpful to their harmful pursuits'.

    The likes of the Republicans appear to understand exactly what the problem is and its correct solution. They appear to really dislike the idea of being correctly corrected. And they are not interested in seeing the socioeconomic-political system corrected to end the potential development of other new 'innovative incorrect attempts to obtain popularity or personal benefit' they may come up with in their efforts to resist being effectively corrected.

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  8. It is amazing, how much progress we have made in replacing fossil fuel from renewable sources despite the barriers put in our way.  Look at the rate of increase in the uptake of wind power, solar and electric vehicles, but it could be so much faster.  Two measures would facilitate all others.  One - get vested interest money out of politics and two, put in place Hansen's Tax and Dividend.  Work through the cause and effect of these two measures and you see it would activate the most powerful force in our socient.  Economics.  With the transfer of fossil fuel subsidies, dollar for dollar, from Fossil Fuels to renewables (possible when the politicians no longer kow tow to vested interests) it would not be worthwhile ever again to build a coal fired power station.  Look at the stumulus to the economy as the poor, receiving the dividend spend every cent to keep their heads above water.  Look at the effect on egalitarianism as the population benefits instead of the rich (as their cushy deals disappear under independent politicians). We really do need to all get behind these measures.

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  9. @8 William,

    Hansen's tax and diviend has flaws. The dividend is used to redistribute wealth instead of financing AGW mitigation. 

    So while it has good intentions, it really is more like rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking titanic.

    If you want to do a carbon tax right, in my honest opinion, you must use those funds to finance alternate energy plants like those huge wind farms, and/or pay people for the carbon sequestered long term in the soil.

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  10. RedBaron @9,

    I agree that measures other than a Carbon Fee and Rebate could help more rapidly develop the required corrections.

    And I would add that the amount of the carbon fee should not be calculated. Such 'Costs of Carbon' calculations are likely to be flawed (especially if future costs get discounted, because making problems others have to suffer from or try to solve is simply unacceptable).

    The Carbon Fee simply needs to be increased until the creation of new CO2 from fossil fuel burning is terminated.

    A Carbon Fee and Dividend system does indeed 'redistribute wealth':

    • from harmful unsustainable fossil fuel related activity to helpful development of renewable energy related activity.
    • from the larger than average producers of the problem to the lower than average contributors (a shift from the more harmful to the more helpful).

    Those are actually 'corrections' of wealth distribution, not 'unjust' redistribution.

    And the wealthiest should all be leading the correction (being helpful should not be 'an option for the wealthier').

    So those additional measures could be funded by taking the Carbon Fee Rebate that would have gone to wealthier people for those other actions. Alberta has done that with their Carbon Fee and Rebate program. The rebate is not given to the higher income portion of the population.

    In addition, there could be more money to fund special actions collected by a Carbon surtax on the wealthiest (with some ability for the wealthiest to claim tax credits if they did something substantially helpful - something along the lines of what the surtax money would be targeted to achieve).

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  11. Red Baron @9, I personally agree a carbon tax should 'ideally' fund various climate initiatives, but its just not politically saleable.This is why the proposals in America have been  for carbon  tax and 100% dividend.

    Personally I think carbon tax and dividend is quite good. Its not intended to be a socialist mechanism to redistrubte wealth, it was developed to keep the Republicans happy by not increasing government spending.

    I hasten to add I dont oppose wealth distrubution, within reason, and the carbon tax and dividend falls well within reason. 

    We could of course have a carbon tax and dividend that returns something to the public, and puts something into cimate change mitigation, and  development of soil sequestration of carbon. I have always actually favoured this approach, because it makes it attractive to the public and helps solve the issues you raise. But I dont know if it has any chance in America.

    Its important to understand carbon tax and 100% dividend cannot solve negative emissions technologies, soil carbon etc. Only government subsidies can do this, and they have to come from somewhere.

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  12. There is a potential solution in the USA that addresses nigelj's@11 observation about their 'tax problem' while providing specific funding for climate action, especially the agriculture related actions mentioned by RedBaron@9.

    The USA tax problem is partly due to 'horse-trading to get votes for bills'. The horse-trading produces add-ons to a Bill that have nothing to do with the Bill, but get the extra votes needed to pass it. The add-ons are often subsidies on things. And those commitments may each be small, but they all add up.

    Many of the add-ons have been agriculture related subsidies, with some of them having been on the books for decades, well past their original time of need (needed to get a vote). And there have been other agriculture subsidy programs created that also remain on the books decades after they were created. An example is presented in this 2006 Washington Post article "Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don't Farm". And another discussion of the problem is presented in the 2011 Reason.com item "Ending Farm Welfare As We Know It".

    One way to get money for agriculture related climate action activities, like the ones RedBaron mentions, without increasing taxes would be to turn a portion of the existing farm subsidies into subsidies for farmers to do things that help address the climate change challenge. This would be in addition to shifting fossil fuel subsidies to renewable programs, as william @8 mentions.

    WIth the above actions, taxes do not increase and farm subsidies remain farm subsidies and energy subsidies remain energy subsidies. And those would be in addition to the correction of wealth distribution that a Carbon Fee and Rebate program would accomplish, without increasing taxes.

    However, this has probably already been investigated. The real problem is that Politics can get in the way of effective solutions to real problems, especially when benficiaries of incorrectly popular and profitable activities get to incorrectly influence political actions and voters - the need to get that type of money influence out of politics.

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  13. Innovation has been the obvious solution to the climate threat, since that threat was first identified 120 years ago.  This is simply because 'innovation' is the solution to any threat, climate or otherwise.  Ask yourself why Dr Porsche's second car he ever developed was a hybrid vehicle, with a battery capable of driving the car for 30 miles after the internal combustion engine had died (this is in 1898).  The answer has always been innovation... to any problem.

    The GOP crime has been, on behalf of Big Fossils, to deny there was a problem... for 120 years.

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  14. OPOF @7:>>And that understanding exposes that trying to calculate a 'cost for carbon' is incorrect.<<

    Correct. An analogy is the problem of the obese fellow passenger in economy (coach).

    You often hear that fatties should be charged more for their seats - but that does nothing for the person alongside them: it's exactly the same person taking up their space as before. All that's happened is that the airline takes in more revenue. In effect, it's an externality.

    The nub of the problem is that even millions of individuals making a small contribution will not have anything but a small effect: governments have to impose restrictions on carbon, and I don't see that happening in the US, where the constitutional rights to freedom are so rigidly entrenched that civil unrest would probably follow.

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  15. Wol, @14 yes true the cleanest solution would be government restrictions on carbon, but like you say it's politically untenable. This is why we resort to something like carbon tax and dividend.

    I don't think your seating analogy is great, because consumption taxes do reduce rates of use (eg tobacco taxes). A price on carbon can also be a constantly ramped up quantity. So carbon taxes are not so bad.

    Whatever we do has to be phased up. If the fossil fuel tap was turned off completely tomorrow you would have chaos. But because of all the denialist delay from certain political quarters, time is running out to phase things up gradually. 

    I think OPOF has an economically sound plan, but again farming lobbies are rather powerful in America and wont give up their subsidies without a fight. But if it could be switched from a monetary handout to just encourage regenerative types of farming there might be buy in.

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  16. nigelj@15,

    Wol's airline seat analogy is not far off.

    A Carbon Fee is helpful, but is inadequate because richer people should 'all' be notivated to lead the correction of the incorrect activities that have developed.

    A Carbon Fee does not really do that. Richer people can choose to pay it rather than be leaders in behaving better. And the investors in the industry still get to profit from creating more harm.

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  17. The Top-Line in my mind is the understanding that 'innovation' to 'correct' the incorrect things that have been developed has to include 'innovations correcting the developed socioeconomic-political systems so that future developed innovations are more helpful, not harmful, to the future of humanity'.

    In fact, the correction of the socioeconomic-political systems in ways like the Green New Deal may be required to achieve the economic corrections that climate science has identified (objective of 1.5 C total impact, with a hard upper limit of 2.0 C impact).

    Another way to say what is required, without detailed explanations, is:

    'Motivating innovation of sustainable improvements for humanity is best done by making it harder and more expensive for people to benefit from a harmful unsustainable activity.'

    Without making it harder and more expensive for unsustainable and harmful activity to be gotten away with, the system can be expected to 'innovate' new harmful and unsustainable activity.

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  18. OPOF @16, true, however a carbon fee could in theory be set quite high, so targeting rich people, but with a higher rebate for poor people. Of course its political, the challenge of getting this sort of thing passed.

    I actually think there is much to be said for cap and trade if done correctly and strongly, but I believe the Democrats tried this and it was defeated.

    The net result of all this  is unfortunate compromises because of politics and we end up with something like a very simple version of carbon fee and dividend. But its not a bad scheme. I think its usually better to do something than nothing, and the carbon fee idea allows space for subsidies and other mechanisms to operate alongside.

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  19. Evan@2 absolutely it is time for individuals as well as governments to take action, but I’m glad you said “as well as governments” because individual action is not enough. I don’t own a car and live in a small apartment downtown; but if I needed a car, I couldn’t afford an electric one. That’s an example of a government policy we need to “pull” (as Dana said) the market so that ordinary folks who must drive can afford to do so cleanly. In this case, it’s the capital cost not the fuelling cost that is a barrier, so it is the prime example, often quoted by Marc Jaccard, where we need a policy in addition to carbon pricing, e.g. to incent, nudge, coax, coerce or whatever is needed to get the auto makers to put more affordable EV’s on the market (including for non-personal transportation, i.e. buses, trucks, trains, ships and mobile equipment for mining, construction, forestry and agriculture). Some might also say subsidize them; but that becomes a reverse Robin Hood, which the previous government in Ontario learned to regret.

    At the same time, still give carbon pricing some credit for providing part of that incentive if it is designed well, by which I mean increasing every year transparently, predictably and significantly until the problem is solved. This gives all planners firm, forward numbers for business plans. (Yes, the social cost of carbon is a straw-man, often quoted by those opposed to carbon pricing. It’s an academic red herring – what we really want to get to is the price that nobody will pay – we don’t know what it is, but know we’ll reach it if we keep increasing sufficiently every year). And, yes, the price will (should) get quite high, which is another reason all the revenue must be distributed to citizens, otherwise politics will prevent the price rising sufficiently high.

    nigelj@3 quite right the issue is not innovation or regulation; the issue is how to incent both deployment of existing alternatives (as Dana said) and innovative development and deployment of new. There are 3 basic methods: regulations, subsidies and carbon pricing. I prefer the latter and could doubtless annoy the moderator with the number of words by which I could describe the inevitable pitfalls of the other two, which is not to say some may never be needed and I gave what I believe is the prime example of one we need above, i.e. some type of mandated quota for producing and selling zero-emission EV’s.

    OPOF@7 paragraph 4, an example of the social cost of carbon straw-man fallacy to criticize carbon pricing in the first sentence, then the rationale of what is actually the carbon fee and dividend strategy in the second. As James Hansen said ”As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will continue to be burned”.

    RedBaron@9 distribution of dividend is not a flaw but essential to secure political future proofing. It’s also ethically sound (check out “Who owns the sky – our common asset” by Peter Barnes (2001), which is where the idea came from).

    Even supposing that siphoning off revenue to fund the green illusions of the government of the day would prove to be politically secure (which it wouldn’t so I am over-arguing here) the effective, efficient use of such “apparently free money” is highly questionable. As the old saying goes “governments can’t pick winners, but losers can pick government’s pockets”.

    OPOF@10 paragraph 1, in agreeing with RedBaron@9 you are (both) totally missing the point that rising costs of fossil fuels (due to carbon pricing) puts a bull’s eye, so to speak, on every product and service that relies on fossil fuels (and not just in the energy sector) for entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs to target with better and cleaner alternatives and the rising carbon pricing schedule gives them invaluable competitive information to develop and deploy those alternatives.

    But then the balance of your comments seems to agree with the ideas I expressed above with the additional twist that you seem to suggest diverting dividends that would go to the wealthy to other actions. And I don’t have a big problem with that; in fact, I’d suggest the “just transition”, e.g. re-training if necessary, those fossil workers not ready to retire. I’d leave the development and deployment of products and services, especially products, to those who know what they are doing and are honestly incented by the higher prices available, driven by carbon pricing.

    nigelj@11 I generally find myself in agreement with most of your (very frequent) comments but here’s one I’d challenge (partly); that carbon pricing can do nothing about draw-down. Sure, it may be a government subsidy, but the prevailing carbon pricing schedule provides a good bench-mark e.g. alerting potential proponents to the value of certain possibilities. There may also be a role for off-sets.

    OPOF@17 paragraph 3, “rich people can pay … investors still profit”; I’d like to, again, stress the impact of carbon pricing is not only on consumers but also, and more importantly, in my view, on the producers or providers of goods and services; e.g. rich people may still be willing to pay top $ to fly around, but the airlines will have invented clean ways to enable them to do that; e.g. non-fossil derived jet fuel from biomass via methanol.

    nigelj@18, notwithstanding how I introduced my comment on nigelj11, here is another one – the big failing of cap and trade is that it does not provide a clear, transparent, long-term forward price, which is invaluable for planners and investors in all types of alternatives to fossil fuels.

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  20. John S, I agree a price on carbon is parmount, otherwise we would need literally thousands of complicated regulations (not that I oppose regulation as such). And this fits in nicely with carbon fee and dividend. I would say this scheme is the most practical of all the possible general approaches.

    However I don't think we are going to escape subsidies relating to negative emissions. Government doesn't have to pick winners. Either subsidise all negative emissions technologies equally, or leave it to an independent panel of technocrats to pick and choose. And put time limits on all subsidies.

    Cap and trade lacks transparency not just on a carbon price. but in other ways. Could be its "archilles heel" I suppose. Shame because in theory its a good concept.

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  21. John S @20,

    Thank you for your comment that included feedback regarding my comments. Feedback helps me improve my awareness and understanding, and improve my presentation of my constantly improving understanding.

    I will limit this comment to the points about my comments you made in your comment.

    1. Please clarify your comment “OPOF@7 paragraph 4, an example of the social cost of carbon straw-man fallacy to criticize carbon pricing in the first sentence, then the rationale of what is actually the carbon fee and dividend strategy in the second. As James Hansen said ”As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will continue to be burned”.” I am not able to connect that comment to a specific paragraph in my comment @7. It would help me if you quoted the paragraph rather than indicating a number.
    2. “OPOF@10 paragraph 1, in agreeing with RedBaron@9 you are (both) totally missing the point that rising costs of fossil fuels ...”. The point I am agreeing with RedBaron about is that it is important to encourage corrections of farming practices that sequester carbon. Carbon pricing will not do that. Carbon pricing will only lead to the reduction of fossil fuel burning in farming practices. A high enough carbon price to terminate the activity in farming is what is required (as I state in my comment @7). However, a higher carbon price (even with a rebate program), will not motivate the development of important corrections of farming practices like corrections that sequester carbon.
    3. “OPOF@17 paragraph 3, “rich people can pay … investors still profit”. This is regarding my comment @16. I am pretty certian that my full comment does not say what your comment seems to claim it says. My concern is that what may develop instead of the rapid correction of fuels for air transport is a significant reduction of air travel by middle class people while richer people continue to support and prolong the use of the already developed fossil fuel burning system. Eventually, a greater correction may occur. But my point is the need to get the richest to lead the correction in order to get the most rapid correction to occur. And that will likely require significant corrections of the incorrectly developed socioeconomic-political systems, systems that resulted in the massive resistance and reluctance to correction of the understood problem. Without effectively motivating all of the richest to lead the corrections harmful things liked by the richest, like the Concorde was, can be expected to continue to be developed (and be difficult to correct) instead of the development of sustainable improvements for the future of humanity.
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  22. I was not paying close attention.

    My comment is regarding John S @19.

    With the total indicated number of comments being 22 and John S being second last I mistook the numbering. Prossibly why the John S comment reference number to my comment @16 was indicated as @17.

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  23. I think I recall that the current rate of rise in GGE is about 43 times faster than the rise that caused the Permian extinction.  And I think I remember that the Permian took out about 97% of the plant and animal organisms on the Earth and, further, that it took about 10 million years before the planet was returned to its Permian-prior plant/animal diversity ('though a different bunch of organisms, of course).  Does it help us to debate what should happen to mitigate the climate problem or is our debate a total waste of time?  What would Jared Diamond say?

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