Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Climate Hustle

What's in the Green New Deal? Four key issues to understand

Posted on 27 February 2019 by dana1981

In the few weeks since it was introduced as a non-binding resolution before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Green New Deal (GND) Resolution has generated more discussion and coverage of climate change – positive and negative – among, by, and aimed at policymakers than we’ve seen in more than a decade.

The nonbinding initiative introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Edward Markey (D-MA) proposes embarking on a 10-year mobilization aimed at achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions from the United States. The mobilization would entail a massive overhaul of American electricity, transportation, and building infrastructure to replace fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency, leading some to call it unrealistic, idealistic, politically impossible, and “socialistic.”

Analysis

Proponents of GND portray it as an early focus for meaningful climate policy discussion if political winds lead to changes in 2020 for the presidency and the Senate majority. They say the GND is the first proposal to grasp the scale and magnitude of the risks posed by the warming climate. And while begrudgingly accepting the insurmountable odds against full enactment before 2021 at the earliest, they see it as a worthwhile and long-overdue discussion piece.

Many commentators and policy analysts argue that the changes it calls for would be too expensive, radical, and disruptive. Others have argued that anyone who doesn’t support this sort of emergency transition away from fossil fuels is in denial about the magnitude of the climate problem. Many are confused about the Resolution’s vague contents, in part because Ocasio-Cortez’s office also released an inaccurate fact sheet that subsequently had to be retracted. That document provided early and low-hanging targets for those disposed to wanting to dampen GND enthusiasm.

A nonbinding ‘sense of the Senate’ resolution

Critically, GND must be recognized as a non-binding “sense of the Senate/House” resolution. It is not intended as proposed legislation, and certainly not as a specific climate policy bill. Think of it as being more of a framework on which to build actual climate legislation. In effect, a “yes” vote in either the Senate or the House would signify acceptance of climate change as a sufficiently urgent threat to merit full consideration of an expansive 10-year mobilization to transition away from polluting fossil fuels. In addition, the resolution isn’t intended to be exclusionary: at least five House co-sponsors are also co-sponsoring a revenue-neutral carbon tax bill (the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act).

Whether and exactly when the GND resolution will come to a full vote remains unclear, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he will bring it to a vote in the Senate. It would likely pose an uncomfortable vote for those potentially vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in 2020 in “red” or coal-dependent states.

For Americans and their elected representatives, the decision whether to support this fundamentally transformative and sweeping resolution – provisions of which go well beyond those directly applying to climate change to include economic and social equity issues – hinges on four key factors. For politicians, the political considerations may weigh most heavily, but let’s deal with those last.

Science and physical considerations

The first consideration is the easiest from a scientific perspective: How much more global warming can occur before its net physical impacts become unacceptably negative?

The science community’s answer is that we’ve already passed that point; that it’s time to act now. Regions around the world are already experiencing more and more severe extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods.

A paper recently published in Nature Communications found that Atlantic hurricanes are undergoing more rapid intensification as a result of global warming. Sea-level rise poses a threat to coastal communities and island nations. The one-two punch of warming and acidifying oceans is killing coral reefs, which are home to 25 percent of marine life. The recent IPCC Special Report found that “Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 2.7°F (1.5°C), and more than 99 percent would be lost with 3.6° F (2°C).” Species are dying out at a rate similar to past mass extinction events, with a new study finding that 40 percent of insect species are threatened with extinction. (For a breakdown of climate impacts in each region of the country, the Fourth National Climate Assessment is a wonderful resource.)

In short, if physical impacts were the only consideration, we would want to halt (and even reverse) climate change as quickly as possible. Of course, that’s not the case, which brings us to the second category.

Economic considerations

In a capitalist society, economic considerations are of course important to Americans. The projects involved in the GND mobilization would cost trillions of dollars, but curbing climate change could also prevent trillions of dollars in damages globally.

The GND includes a proposed jobs guarantee, envisioning that huge employment opportunities would arise to bring about the needed infrastructure overhauls. The transition away from fossil fuels would also yield further economic benefits, in terms of costs avoided, by reducing other pollutants, leading to cleaner air and water and healthier Americans. A 2017 study headed by David Coady at the International Monetary Fund estimated that fossil fuel air pollution costs the United States $206 billion per year and that when adding all subsidies and costs, the country is spending $700 billion annually on fossil fuels – more than $2,000 per person every year.

GND opponents counter that the economic costs of a vast 10-year mobilization would exceed the resulting economic benefits, but Stanford University researcher Jonathan Koomey suggests that we can’t predict just how fast of a transition to a clean energy economy would be optimal. Given the difficulties predicting technological breakthroughs and given that pathways with very different energy mixes can end up with similar costs, it’s impossible to say if the U.S. would be wealthier – from a strictly financial perspective – in a world that’s 2 or 3 or 4 degrees hotter.

People, and perhaps in particular politicians, tend to focus most on these economic considerations (and often just on costs while ignoring resulting benefits) to the exclusion of the others. But it’s very difficult to quantify and involve numerous components – capital costs, avoided climate damages, increased employment, improved public health, etc.

In addition, some factors simply cannot be quantified in dollars. As Tufts economist Frank Ackerman has noted, “There are numerous problems with CBA [cost-benefit analyses], such as the need to (literally) make up monetary prices for priceless values of human life, health and the natural environment. In practice, CBA often trivializes the value of life and nature.”

Ethical and moral considerations

Consider a family that loses its home in a climate-amplified wildfire or hurricane. Quantifying the costs of replacing the home and belongings is do-able, but how to account for the psychological trauma of the event and for psychological damages, let alone for lives lost?

Moreover, rebuilding the home will create investments and jobs, which would dampen a disaster’s impact on the national economy. But as a society, we would consider these traumatizing losses quite harmful and well worth preventing for ethical reasons. For example, one study found that nearly half of low-income parents impacted by Hurricane Katrina experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.

Researchers have found that those traditionally underserved and having the fewest resources are the least able to adapt to climate change impacts. A team led by James Samson reported in a 2011 paper that internationally, those populations contributing the least to climate change tend to be the most vulnerable to its impacts. The higher temperatures resulting from global warming do the most harm in regions that are already hot, like developing countries in Africa and Central America that also have the fewest resources to adapt. While the United States is the country responsible for the most historical carbon pollution of any country on Earth, it’s geographically and economically insulated from the projected worst impacts of climate change that these poorer, less culpable countries will face.

This reality makes it more difficult for some to justify an expensive green mobilization based solely on accounting for just this country’s direct national economic interests, particularly when focusing on short time horizons. However, ignoring the harm done by our carbon pollution to the most vulnerable people – both within and beyond our borders – raises daunting ethical and moral questions.

Moreover, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “To leave the world a bit better … that is to have succeeded.” That we are leaving behind a less hospitable world for our children and grandchildren might be considered our generation’s worst moral failure of all.

Political considerations

Finally, given that climate policies must be implemented by policymakers, the question of what’s politically feasible is critical, and for some perhaps dispositive.

As of mid-February, the GND Resolution had been co-sponsored by 68 members of the House and 12 in the Senate, but all were Democrats. Those co-sponsors include many of the hopeful and high-profile 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, though there are some exceptions and some party leaders still wavering.

On the other side of the political aisle, such a large government-run mobilization is generally incompatible with traditional Republican Party orthodoxy, let alone with the President’s views as the titular head of the party. Unless the Democratic Party in 2020 retains its current House majority and gains control of the presidency and of a clear majority in the Senate, passing legislation will require bipartisanship. That’s particularly true in the Senate, where most legislation requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto.

The current Republican-controlled Senate (in session until January 2021) certainly won’t consider actual legislation involving a vast government climate mobilization, although smaller individual infrastructure components might be considered. There may be growing support for a bipartisan carbon tax bill – one potential component of a GND – but that and any other significant climate legislation also will likely depend on the winners of the White House and of House and Senate majorities in 2021.

Click here to read the rest

1 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

Comments 1 to 34:

  1. Nice concise analysis of the main issues. I think agonising and debating over a cost benefit analysis is not the right way to look at this climate problem, because the debating and agonising will never stop. Instead look at total costs and their feasibility and impacts on the economy. Studies like the Stern Report estimate changing to renewable energy would cost 2% of gdp per year, over 30 years. Do it in a compressed 15 year time frame and it would be 4% a year.

    This is almost identical to what America spends on the military each year. That is not going to bankrupt the economy, because the rest of the economy could be trimmed and it would barely be noticed provided everyone got behind the issue. It's well short of war spending during WW2.

    It's more a question of how the GND is all best funded. The GND proposes a big government spend, which in turn has options of deficit spending, tax increases, or federal reserve credit creation. Alternatively the process could be driven largely by carbon fee and dividend or cap and trade.

    I come down on the side of carbon fee and dividend, because it looks politically feasible, and less of a problem than governments taking on more debt, but time is running out. If people cant get it sorted out, the only realstic option of meeting Paris time frames could well be a massive government funded infrastructure programme!

    0 0
  2. I think Dana's commentaries are always good.  

    In the USA I think most people feel bad for other countries but in the end will not do anything to help out those countries.  Suggesting that "curbing climate change could also prevent trillions of dollars in damages globally", while true, does not appeal to many voters

    With the cost of sea level rise on the US East coast alone you could justify saying curbing climate change would save the USA alone trillions.  Add in the wildfires, floods and increased hurricanes affecting the USA already and people will listen. 

    The cost of the GND will be lower than the cost of currently occuring damage.  In addition the cost of the GND is less than current subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.  Emphasing that installing renewable energy saves money rather than discussing how much it costs appeals to more people.  Renewable energy will be cheaper to install until at least 50% of the electrical system is renewable.

    Emphasize that most of the electrical generating system (especially coal plants) is old and will have to be replaced in any case.  The choice is buiilding new fossil plants or new cheaper renewable plants.

    Emphasize the benifits of the GND, do not focus on hypothetical problems from the fossiil  fuel industry.

    0 0
  3. I think the following sentences from this article spell it out well and deserve to be repeated.

    "How much more global warming can occur before its net physical impacts become unacceptably negative?

    The science community’s answer is that we’ve already passed that point; that it’s time to act now."

    0 0
  4. Suggested supplemental reading:

    The Hard Lessons of Dianne Feinstein’s Encounter with the Young Green New Deal Activists, Opinion by Bill McKibben, New Yorker Magazine, Feb 23, 2019

    The Climate Science Behind The Green New Deal - A Layperson's Explanation by Marshall Shepherd, Science, Forbes, Feb 24, 2019

    This is an emergency, damn it by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Feb 23, 2019

    A Green New Deal Is Technologically Possible. Its Political Prospects Are Another Question. by Lisa Friedman & Trip Gabriel, Politics. New York Times, Feb 21, 2019

    Don't trust the adults in the room on climate change, Opinion by Kate Aronoff, Comment is Free, Guardian, Feb 25, 2019

    A Green New Deal is fiscally responsible. Climate inaction is not, Opinion by Justin Talbot Zorn, Ben Beachy & Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Comment is Free, Guardian, Feb 25, 2019

    0 0
  5. I'm confounded.  I've been tracking the literature on this site for six years.  Where is it that the Green New Deal is something special?  There is not a single new idea in any of it, unless we consider its ourageousness, "new". It targets fossil fuel use as the main problem, but animal agriculture is the main problem...fossil fuel is the lesser problem... by a fair margin.  On top of those two problems is the largest problem of all...overpopulation.  The greenhouse gas footprint of humans, 7.3 billion or so (last count), is the only problem that can't be solved by fiat, policy or acceptable pain.  So, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall not see the future.

    0 0
  6. Excellent program, much needed and likely to be very effective if followed.  Unfortunately a complete waste of time and effort.  https://mtkass.blogspot.com/2018/01/wasted-effort.html

    0 0
  7. Current world population is estimated to be 7.7 billion. (Google)

    0 0
  8. "It targets fossil fuel use as the main problem, but animal agriculture is the main problem...fossil fuel is the lesser problem...by a fair margin."

    Looks like you are wrong.

    "On top of those two problems is the largest problem of all...overpopulation. The greenhouse gas footprint of humans, 7.3 billion or so (last count), is the only problem that can't be solved by fiat, policy or acceptable pain."

    In fact population is already below replacement levels in countries like S Korea and Germany and we know what policies have driven this. Could be expanded globally if we wanted. The population problem is not unsolvable

    0 0
  9. Well as per my comment elsewhere, I am not a fan. While stated green goals are laudable, it has a social agenda likely to simply alienate the centre and further polarize the politics. It makes me angry to see politicians (of all colours) choose to further cultural wars on an issue as important climate change.

    0 0
  10. scaddenp: recommended supplemental reading:

    Our kids need us to act fast on climate change by Heather McGhee, Grist, Feb 27, 2019

    0 0
  11. I asked this fundemental question on another topic and got lots of avoidance and reinforcment of the causes of CC, but no actual answer/citation.  I'll tune it to this topic:  What demonstrated proof exists to show the GND will reverse climate change. 

    Please omit claims that use terms like "can", "may", 'appears', etc. and state "does", "confirmed",  "has" etc.  The former is 'faith' the latter is 'reality'.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The Green New Deal is a proposal for action by the US and the US only. The mitigation of man-made climate change will require a concerted and coordinated effort by all countries of the world because the Earth's climate system is global. Your question is therefore illogical and your post borders on sloganeering which is prohibited by this site's Comments Policy

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  12. "What demonstrated proof exists to show the GND will reverse climate change."

    None. We cannot test the Green New Deal on some artifical planet in a laboratory. We only have one shot at this thing, the real world.

    Neither could we be sure the very first experimental vaccines or the very first motor car would work. We had to build one and try it out.

    What we know for a fact is certain aspects of the green new deal would work. More renewable electricity generation would be built assuming political support continued for the plan. We also know for a fact this would at least slow down climate change. We can't guarantee exactly how much, but we can estimate approximately and sufficiently for practical purposes. We can also have good confidence in the other aspects of the GND.

    You got a better plan? Do you appreciate the considerable risks climate change has for humanity? 

    (I dont agree the Green new Deal is entirely the best approach but its certainly one possible way. The socio-economic provisions complicate the plan.)

    0 0
  13. Nowhearthis @11 ,

    you made a lengthy post earlier today on another thread.

    The essence of your post, was that the recent rise of atmospheric CO2 from 280ppm to the modern-day 400ppm . . . had only a small component due to human burning of fossil fuels.

    It follows, that you are asserting that the 280 up to 400ppm rise has a mostly natural causation.

    Please, Nowhearthis, inform the readers here at SkS about the natural mechanism you believe is predominantly causing that large atmospheric CO2 rise.   (And preferably show it in a "confirmed" way . . . and without using terms like "may be".)

    If you cannot demonstrate such natural mechanism, then your whole argument that the observed global warming is uncorrectable . . . does simply fall flat on its face.

    Or were you also trying to argue that CO2 has inherently negligible global warming effect anyway?   (An argument which would leave you with zero logical credibility.)

    0 0
  14. Recommended supplemental reading:

    The Green New Deal and the Strength of Ambiguity by Alan Neuhauser, US News & World Report, Mar 1, 2019

    Teaser: The proposal is forcing Democrats to pick a side and propelling the environment into a top 2020 campaign issue.

    0 0
  15. TO: Nigelj

    Yes, a "difficult to prove" set of numbers. Both the UN FAO and the World Bank have a separate set of numbers because they are including a different set of categories.  EPA ignores animal ag's contribution to GGE in the areas of deforestation, desertification, eutrophication of the oceans, acidification of ocean water from animal ag chemicals, etc, etc, fresh water depletion and native species extinctions.  Both of these studies ignore the GGE of slaughterhouses, on site refrigeration, refrigerated transport of market ready animal products and all of the people who's personal GGEs are emitted by being employed in animal ag.  It probably gets worse.  On the other hand, fossils fuels are easy to count because governments know how much we dig up, how much we sell, and how much money, per gallon or MCF, all governments get from producers.  And yes, my population numbers are a little low...seems like I just looked them up a few months ago and they set at 7.3 billion, but by adding more than 177,000 people per day to the planet...don't take very long for things to add up.

    Regards,  and thanks for your continued participation in the dialog.

    swampfoxh

    0 0
  16. One more thing:  The Permian extinction of 249 million years ago is a pretty good example of how bad things can go when GGEs exceed "Goldilocks" conditions. Some argument exists over how long it took for the Permian catastrophe to develop before 97% of all life on earth was marched off to extinction. But, rough estimates claim the climate went from "reasonableness" to "hell" in about 120,000 years.  If CO2 (in the Permian) went from, say, 170ppm to 5,000 ppm, as the seas turned purple, as the sky turned a pale green and noxious gases emerged from the dead oceans...what could we possibly do to fix a problem like the Permian when, today, we are moving CO2 from 260ppm to "whatever" at a rate possibly 43 times faster than the Permian?  Is it even possible to define what it means to "slow" climate change? 

    0 0
  17. swampfoxh @15,

    The way you worded your very first post @5 left me thinking you were in denial about the contribution of fossil fuels, and were distracting attention by bringing up animals.  Perhaps you are an animal rights activist, or just feel the contribution of animals is underestimated.

    "Both of these studies ignore the GGE of slaughterhouses, on site refrigeration, refrigerated transport of market ready animal products and all of the people who's personal GGEs are emitted by being employed in animal ag. It probably gets worse."

    Well maybe, I will take your word for it. They are not exactly going to be huge contributions.

    Having said that, cutting meat consumption seems like one of the easiest things we could do to reduce the climate problem, and it has a whole range of other benefits for the environment, such as reducing water use, reducing nitrate and effluent runoff, human health, and efficient use of resources. Meat eating is a habit not a necessity.

    Yes population is still growing, but rates are slowing down. Good comment on the Permian.

    0 0
  18. Eclectic

    You wrote: "The essence of your post, was that the recent rise of atmospheric CO2 from 280ppm to the modern-day 400ppm . . . had only a small component due to human burning of fossil fuels."  That wasn't the "essence" of my post, it was a tertiary point.  I said noting about the "rise" of CO2 - you did.  I wrote: "CO2 is a small part of the atmosphere and most generation is outside human control". The EPA, AMS, NASA and others, all distribute content making that claim. Are they wrong? 

    You wrote:"inform the readers here at SkS about the natural mechanism you believe is predominantly causing that large atmospheric CO2 rise. (And preferably show it in a "confirmed" way . . . and without using terms like "may be".)   I don't claim to know what attributes to ALL the rise, I believe there is a component resulting from VITAL human activity, most of which you cannot stop cold, without a war, or subjecting humanity to an authoritarian police state.

    You wrote: "were you also trying to argue that CO2 has inherently negligible global warming effect anyway? "   No, IMHO, it's an integral part of the planet's temperature system and a principal reason the planet is inhabitable.

    The "essence" of my posts:  "What demonstrated proof exists to show any of the proposed CC mitigation strategies, actually significantly reverse CC?"   Has not been answered.  Is there no proof and all the strategies are conjecture?  The sacrifices CC deciples are demanding, will be a hard sell without validation.  

    0 0
  19. Nowhearthis,

    If you continue to repost deleted comments the moderators will ban you.

    You have the argument completely backwards.  There is absolute proof that the current path (called business as usual or BAU) is a disaster and will result in a complete calamity if we continue on it.  Scientists predicted that adding CO2 to the atmosphere would increase temperature 180 years ago, in 1896 Arhennius estimated the amount of warming correctly and Hansen's 1989 projections have been right on target.  We have 180 years of correct projections that show CO2 is a disaster.

    The current changes that we see in climate have resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars damage per year for the past decade and killed millions.  Future damages are projected to be extraordinarily if we continue BAU.  Some serious projections include  the extinction of humans (that is unlikely).

    SInce it has been proven without doubt that the current path is a disaster the question is what we can do.  Reducing CO2 emissions is the only way to prevent more disaster.

    My doctor never offers proof that he will cure me.  If he says I have a disease that will kill me if I do nothing but he has a good chance of curing it with some medicine I take the medicine.  There is never proof for what will happen in the future.  Past experience proves that BAU is a disaster.  

    Please give me absolute 100% proof that BAU will not result in a disaster even worse than we have already experienced.  If you cannot offer absolute proof that BAU is a disaster than we must take action to prevent the projected disaster caused by CO2 emissions.

    0 0
  20. The moderator chose to scrub my comment TWICE! (he gets props for paying attention), which was in compliance with his rules.  If there is a reason for his actions I'd appreciate him pointing it out.  I'm reposting the comment below - again.   I expect it to be deleted and my login denied; actions that will provide powerful proof a diversity of opinion and SKEPTICAL questioning are not welcome here.

    Thank you to all who have replied.


    To the moderator: I have read your comments policy, fully appreciate its content and support your measures to maintain reasonable dialog. That said, I've not violated any of the rules, particularly "sloganeering", as you alledge. Your rule states: "Comments consisting of simple assertion of a myth already debunked". First, I have made no assertion and second (and most important) no one has "debunked" my question, or provided a valid answer. I've gotten two forms of response: 1) discussion trying to demonstrate the validity of anthropogenicclimate change and 2) those avoiding the question, and/or discrediting me as a "denier" or "troll" and/or mischaracterize my comment (like the one above declaring I "asserted ..... CO2 rise is mostly natural" when I wrote "most CO2 generation is outside human control").  I've commented on two threads, both of which, based on their content, are relevant to the question I raise.

    If you're going to have a website with the name "skeptical", you should welcome a skeptical point of view. Otherise, you have an absence of rational, thoughtful discussion and an echo chamber where like minds, simply reinforce their own belief system, right or wrong.

    Before we trash our economy, handicap our ability to heat our homes/offices in the winter, push society back 150 years and throw our world into chaos, shouldn't we demand proof those sacrifices do what's promised?  I stated America is a small percentage of the global population, most of which is accelerating it's use of fossil fuel and demanding escallating 1st world living standards. The CC issue exists on an evolving, dynamic playing field and today's "solutions" may be impotent. A "global consensus" is highly unlikely, the French can't even impose a carbon tax without major pushback and riots. Let's be real, the Paris accords were a "show pony" with little teeth or actual committment.


    If we expect people to fall in line and make dramatic sacrifice promised to be "solutions" without proof, good luck. It will take a capitulation of liberty/freedom and an oppressive, authoritarian police state to make that work.  We better have a good answer to my question:
    "What demonstrated proof exists to show any of the proposed CCmitigation strategies, actually significantly reverse CC?"
    Responses claiming it's impossible to know or determine are essentially saying "we don't have any" and don't cut it in changing hearts and minds. The question is NOT "illogical", it's fundamental and the "illogical" characterization is absurd. As somone routinely commenting in public media and involved in public policy debate, I'm sincerely looking for a valid answer.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB]  Moderation complaints snipped.  Suggestion: read the Comments Policy, adhere to it like everyone else does (with no troubles or complaining).

  21. Noehearthis,

    The problem is that you are arguing from a completely false premise.  Hundreds of studies has shown that renewable energy will be cheaper, cause the economy to expand, provide more jobs and result in much less pollution and bad health effects.  See Jacobson 2018, the Stern Report or the hundreds of papers cited by Jacobson.

    In contrast, all peer reviewed studies have found that BAu results in complete disaster and economic ruin.  Please provide a peer reviewed study that proves that BAU will not result in complete disaster.

    In any case, in a few decades fossil fuels will run out.  Anyone less than 30 will live in  a renewable energy economy or the economy will collapse from lack of fuel.  Why ruin the environment before making the switch?

    Since this is a scientific site you are required to cite peer reviewed studies that show that BAU will not result in complete calamity.  Please cite data to support your wild claim that BAU is economically sound.

    0 0
  22. "CO2 is a small part of the atmosphere and most generation is outside human control".

    I know this already. Scientists and the general public know this from school. It is significant of course, but is not the key issue to consider. The more useful thing to say is we know small quantities of CO2 can alter the climate, from scientific research and summarised in the  IPCC studies. Natural additions of CO2 are too slow to be a concern. We are changing things at a very fast rate that creates enormous problems.

    If you disagree, please provide evidence with citations and links.

    "I don't claim to know what attributes to ALL the rise, I believe there is a component resulting from VITAL human activity, most of which you cannot stop cold, without a war, or subjecting humanity to an authoritarian police state."

    Strawman. Nobody is saying stop fossil fuel use by tomorrow, we still have time to phase things down in a planned way. Major projects have obviously been undertaken in the past without the need for marshall law or curtailing freedoms. Even the war effort of WW2 didnt require significant curtailment of freedoms and some police state, and that was a much more immediate thing to deal with.

    The rest of what you say is arbitrary wild claims, with no foundation provided, so can be dismissed until you provide some evidence.

    "The "essence" of my posts: "What demonstrated proof exists to show any of the proposed CC mitigation strategies, actually significantly reverse CC?" Has not been answered."

    It doesn't need to be answered because we dont have to reverse climate change, only stop it or slow it down very substantially. We also don't need absolute proof of concept, before humans change things whether climate issues or anything else. For example many elements of human progress have been made without "proof" as such. Nobody could prove we would be able to get to the moon but we did.

    We have good information that mitigation strategies would work, and that should be good enough for any sensible person. The IPCC has covered mitigation in detail. If you disagree, provide some detailed reasoning why good information is not sufficient for you, and some evidence with citations if you think typical mitigation strategies would not work.

    "First, I have made no assertion "

    You have made several assertions, and with no backing evidence, starting with "I believe there is a component resulting from VITAL human activity, most of which you cannot stop cold, without a war, or subjecting humanity to an authoritarian police state." Here is another "Before we trash our economy, handicap our ability to heat our homes/offices in the winter, push society back 150 years and throw our world into chaos".

    "The CC issue exists on an evolving, dynamic playing field and today's "solutions" may be impotent."

    Sophistry. If we have reduced CO2 emissions we have reduced the probability of large problems. We understand tipping points, when they are likely to occur and their probabilities and we still have time.

    Claiming we should do nothing because we don't have perfect knowledge is stupidity.

    0 0
  23. Nowhearthis @20 ,

    my reply @13 was very careful to address the essence of your @11 post.

    The essence, the central part [even if you failed to appreciate its centrality] was an illogical piece of nonsense ~ and that is why your whole post was a failure (a failure both before and after the moderator pruned it).

    Sorry, Nowhearthis, but you are mostly making a lot of rhetorical posturing, and you are failing to achieve common sense logic.   You really do need to educate yourself about climate science & human history.

    #

    Michael Sweet, you forgot to mention that Nowhearthis had changed tack a bit (in his @18 post) to introduce the strawman argument that greenies (or someone) had been attempting to make human activity "stop cold" [unquote].   A strawman big enough for the Burning Man festival?   ;-)

    0 0
  24. Michael Sweet

    I can appreciate your post, except the part "Reducing CO2 emissions is the only way to prevent more disaster" I have seen no proof to support that.
    The main point is being missed. You cannot expect people to crater their economies, give up modern convienences and have massive unemployment without proof those sacrifices are effective. People in general don't grasp the nuance of CC and will have viceral reaction to the things in the GND.

    Proof exists for this: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/world/europe/france-fuel-carbon-tax.html That was just a simple tax, imagine the magnitude of reaction for GND policies. It can only come at the price of freedom/liberty and at the end of a gun.

    You better have proof if you want to sell it. I'm not the first to ask and millions more come behind me.

    0 0
  25. NigelJ

    I don't expect a "perfect solution", just proof any of the solutions actually  work (to stop or even slow change); others will demand this proof.

    You write: "Scientists and the general public know this [the specifics of planetary CO2) from school"  I dispute that.   Based on the Annenberg survey, only 36% of people can name the three branches of government and 35% can't even name one, much less grasp the nuances of climate composition.   "Even the war effort of WW2 didnt require significant curtailment of freedoms and some police state"   75-80 million deaths, concentration camps, POW camps and military occupation of entire countries was not a "significant curtailment of freedoms"?  Even in America, isolated from the war, there were interrment camps, forced rationing and other governmental mandates that curtailed freedom.  "Nobody could prove we would be able to get to the moon but we did"  There were several Soviet lunar missions that provided PROOF of the ability to reach the moon beginning in the 1950's.  Apollo 8, in a prelude to landing on the moon, provided PROOF we could achieve lunar orbit and return a vehicle containing several astronauts to earth.

    "Nobody is saying stop fossil fuel use by tomorrow"  True, but there are those who want it done ASAP and that's not going to happen.  People will demand proof and if unproven "solutions" don't show progress, greater sacrifice will be sought and meet greater resistance.

    "We have good information that mitigation strategies would work, and that should be good enough for any sensible person"  There's the meat of the matter: "would"   Tell that "sensible person" he cannot heat his home, own an automobile or use airline transportation you will learn "would work" is not "good enough" very quickly.  Even the imposition of a simple carbon tax in France, resulted in riots. 

    I'm completely on board with renewables but they are, at present, incapable of replacing existing power generation.  I believe solar is the future of energy and technologies like black nanotubes, thermophotovotaics and perovskite hold great promise.  The big problem is: The sun doesn't shine all the time and storage technology (like power wall) are insufficient.  It is my personal opinion that technology will get us out of the delemma we're in and Draconian unproven solutions like the GND are a waste of enerby.  Read 'Bottomless Well' by Peter Huber to see where I come from.

    Re. IPCC documentation, can you point me to those that provide proof that's not speculative?  That which I have read, don't meet that standard.  This is my quest.

    0 0
  26. nowhearthis @25

    "I don't expect a "perfect solution", just proof any of the solutions actually work (to stop or even slow change); others will demand this proof."

    Well ok its reasonable to want that, but you are repeating yourself. For the second time you will not get the sort of proof you want because we cannot do an experiment with the planet in a laboratory. All we have is good evidence that we can fix the problem in the same way we have good evidence penicillin will cure a problem. You are not saying why that is not enough for you. The IPCC has good evidence, and you are clearly not accepting this, but that does not make it untrue. You have failed to counter it with better evidence.

    "You write: "Scientists and the general public know this [the specifics of planetary CO2) from school" "I dispute that. "

    I did not say that. I said school children know CO2 doesn't make up a huge part of the atmosphere, and they know this much. Its common knowledge. Now the more pertinent point I made is science tells us small changes in quantities of CO2 have serious effects on the climate. Where is your counter evidence? You still haven't provided any. I'm sure you would know many examples of how small changes or quantities  can modulate large changes, like transistor amplifiers, low concentrations of certain drugs etc.

    We can play this game all day, but everyone can see you are just repeating yourself.

    "Even the war effort of WW2 didnt require significant curtailment of freedoms and some police state" 75-80 million deaths, concentration camps, POW camps and military occupation of entire countries was not a "significant curtailment of freedoms"?

    Strawman again! :) That was a consequence of prisoners of war. Nothing there is relevant to the climate issue. A more pertinent point is the massive economic transformation during the war time economy did not crash the economy or cause mass unemployment as you claim the GND would do. Now I'm not saying a rapid transformation over 20 years for exampe to renewable energy would be easy, just that you are not providing any real evidence it would be as destabilising as you claim. The war effort suggests it wouldn't be. In fact the standard of living actually improved in America during WW2, probably due to the stimulus effect of the war spending.

    And I'm on your side in several respects, eg I dont like totalitarian  and dictatorial government etc, but we absolutely don't need this to combat climate change. A carbon fee and dividend is a market mechanism and doesn't require these things. Infrastructure programmes don't require curtailing freedoms.

    "Nobody could prove we would be able to get to the moon but we did" "There were several Soviet lunar missions that provided PROOF of the ability to reach the moon beginning in the 1950's. Apollo 8, in a prelude to landing on the moon, provided PROOF we could achieve lunar orbit and return a vehicle containing several astronauts to earth."

    You totally missed the point here. Nobody knew we could even put a spacecraft outside of earths orbit until we did. Theres a first time for anything. In fact we have much better proof that renewable energy reduces CO2 emissions. While the totality of the GND is not 100% proven, we do not need 100% proof, and can have good confidence it is soundly based (in a technology sense, put aside the social ideas for another day), and you are not giving me reasons to doubt that.

    "Nobody is saying stop fossil fuel use by tomorrow" "True, but there are those who want it done ASAP and that's not going to happen. People will demand proof and if unproven "solutions" don't show progress, greater sacrifice will be sought and meet greater resistance."

    I think the time frames of 2050 are attainable, quicker perhaps. Economic reports like the Stern Report put mitigation costs in America at 500 billion a year approx. This is not unaffordable. Its what your opiod crisis is costing you each year. Yes I can sympathise people will demand proof things will work, but public polling by Pew research show the majority want more done to tackle climate change, and more renewable energy, so they appear satisfied solutions do exist. The problem is inertia with elected officials. The rest of your comments are hypothetical.

    "We have good information that mitigation strategies would work, and that should be good enough for any sensible person" There's the meat of the matter: "would" Tell that "sensible person" he cannot heat his home, own an automobile or use airline transportation you will learn "would work" is not "good enough" very quickly. Even the imposition of a simple carbon tax in France, resulted in riots. "

    Nothing about climate mitigation means people can't heat their homes.  The job is for generators to transform the electricty grid and costs are affordable as I suggested. Nobody has to go cold and nobody is expected to make huge cuts to electricity use. Your comments are just endless strawmen, and lifted form denialist blogs as I have seen them before word for word almost. 

    "I'm completely on board with renewables but they are, at present, incapable of replacing existing power generation. "

    Another unproven assertion. Research by Jacobsen has shown renewables and storage can replace fossil fuel generation. Published studies by Lazard, a leading expert, show wind power is now one of the cheapest forms of generation and solar power is close behind.

    "The big problem is: The sun doesn't shine all the time and storage technology (like power wall) are insufficient.

    Have a look at the huge Tesla battery storage system in southern Australia. This is the way of the future along with pumped hydro storage. They are building this and have billions of dollars commited to more. Read the related articles recently on this very website, rather than the material you are copying off outdated denialist blogs.

    "It is my personal opinion that technology will get us out of the delemma we're in and Draconian unproven solutions like the GND are a waste of enerby. "

    The GND is based on technology!

    "Re. IPCC documentation, can you point me to those that provide proof that's not speculative? "

    There is nothing speculative in this. Its based on empirical studies, historical data and studies, mathematics, experiments,  deatilked modelling, and the laws of physics. 

    "NThat which I have read, don't meet that standard. This is my quest."

    Nothing would appear to meet your standard because you have already decided what you want to believe for what I suspect and political, ideological and emotive reasons. I suggest try and put them aside and look at the science in the IPCC reports which is good science. Then we need to consider solutions and the economics. Not saying I dont have political views, but I try to put them aside.

    I think if you just go on repeating yourself and dont provide some hard evidence the moderator is going to get annoyed! But thanks for the civil discussion.

    0 0
  27. An important point should be added to the following well-made point:

    "... rebuilding the home will create investments and jobs, which would dampen a disaster’s impact on the national economy. But as a society, we would consider these traumatizing losses quite harmful and well worth preventing for ethical reasons."

    The rebuilding "Economic Plus" after a disaster is actually an "Economic-Social Negative". An potential exception would be if the original item was unsustainable and harmful and the rebuilding was done in a way that was more sustainable than the original developed item.

    The need to rebuild is most likely a distraction from, impediment to, improvements for the future, a complete negative effect that needs to be recovered from, a step back from improvement. Even a complete rebuilding only partially recovers the loss of improvement that had occurred (exception being sustainable correction).

    Also, the point does not include the environmental damage that negatively affect human improvements into the future.

    And an extension of that understanding is the awareness that no economic math can justify imposing negative consequences on Others. And the future generations of humanity are the largest group of Others. And that understanding points out the added flaw of any economic evaluation that pretends that current day perceptions of wealth based on unsustainable and harmful human activity will have "future value". And it leads to understanding that it is even more flawed to believe that such perceptions of wealth would inevitably increase in value (a related understanding is that it is incorrect to 'discount' the future costs of failure to reduce climate change impacts).

    Stock Market corrections and the 2008 global fiscal correction prove the fallacy of that kind of thinking.

    That understanding can also lead to the understanding that the current directions of development by Unite the Right political groups may be a bigger threat to the future of humanity than Climate Change.

    Rebuilding the USA with sustainable helpful corrections is unlikely to happen through compromises with the current developed United Right collective of sub-tribes that resist sustainable improvements or corrections of what has developed. The recent history of actions by that group indicate a significant amount of correction is required to have it not be harmful, to have it be helpful participants in the development of sustainable improvements/corrections for the future of humanity.

    The recent GOP in control of the House, Senate and Presidency easily reversed climate change improvements and corrective actions made by the Obama Administration. They failed to reverse the Heath Care improvements and corrective actions. And a major part of Trump's winning was successfully unjustifiably appealing to the easily impressed and easily angered less fortunate workers in 'key regions' of America (promising things like coal jobs that will never be delivered, and suggesting that blocking immigration and demonizing immigrants is helpful). Linking Climate Action to social corrections may be an effective way to help encourage moderate socially progressive conservatives to do the hard work of taking-over, breaking-apart, or breaking-up with their New United Right Tribe.

    0 0
  28. TO: nigelj

    Nope, not an animal rights person. I am an organic farmer (plants only and using no animal fertilizer).  I teach a 3 hour course called "Climate Change" Impact of an Outlaw Species" and am always perplexed at how animal agriculture can fly below the radar with respect to its ousized contribution to GGEs.  The deforestation of the Amazon and Indonesia, alone, is enough to raise the worry lines on my forehead, yet many "peer reviewed" studies try to tell us that animal ag is "only 14%-18% of emissions.  This area needs a lot more work.  I suggest we not look at animal ag, the global industry, ...we should proceed from the following:

    "What if there was no animal agriculture (animals owned as property) on planet earth?  What emissions (and other climate problems) would we not have?"  We would not have substantial emissions from deforestation, desertification, eutrophication, acidification of our oceans, outsized fresh water usage along with the environmental costs to move water around, we'd have more suitable and sustainable wild animal and native plant habitat...hugely reduced medical costs from healthier populations, no more raising, feeding, slaughtering, packaging, transporting, refrigerating, waste management (or even kitchen garbage disposers) vastly less pesticides, herbicides, endocrine disruptive artificial homones, antibiotic resistances...and the list of benefits could go on...and on.   

    0 0
  29. swampfoxh @28, you have an interesting background. And I agree with most of your comments.

    "The deforestation of the Amazon and Indonesia, alone, is enough to raise the worry lines on my forehead, yet many "peer reviewed" studies try to tell us that animal ag is "only 14%-18% of emissions. This area needs a lot more work. "

    You cant really put deforestation under animal contributions because deforestation has a range of causes (grazing land, crops, urban projects).  It needs a separate category.  It does however obscure the contribution of animals, but nothing to be done about that.

    Maybe animlas contribute more than the numbers show, but people are already getting pretty aware of the methane problem and dietary issues with high meat consumption problems of battery cage farming. I think things are going in your favour generally!

    0 0
  30. OPOF @ 27

    "Linking Climate Action to social corrections may be an effective way to help encourage moderate socially progressive conservatives to do the hard work of taking-over, breaking-apart, or breaking-up with their New United Right Tribe."

    It could work, but The Democrats have to have sound socio-economic ideas inserted into any GND. I would go with things like some form of universal healthcare and a decent social safety net, but also emphasise modern free trade, help for both workers 'and' business, deficits are bad, no walls but regulated immigration... so you are resonating with both liberals and moderate conservatives.

    Sorry if this is a political statement, but the GND has been made political. I don't want to see the environmental goals destroyed by a bad, one sided  list of other goals. Its too important to ignore.

    0 0
  31. Hmm, I see over at desmogblog, that there are some democrats with views that I think are more realistic.

    Mike Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor, criticized the GND in a statement announcing he would not run for president. "The idea of a Green New Deal — first suggested by the columnist Tom Friedman more than a decade ago — stands no chance of passage in the Senate over the next two years. But Mother Nature does not wait on our political calendar, and neither can we,” he wrote.

    Former congressman John Delaney (D-MD), meanwhile, has been vocally critical of the GND. In a pair of tweets from February 14, Delaney called the GND “a step backwards in fighting climate change because its unrealistic goals and linkage to other unrelated policies will make it harder to do anything.”

    “The Green New Deal as it has been proposed is about as realistic as Trump saying that Mexico is going to pay for the wall,” he tweeted.

    Delaney argued that his opposition to the GND revolves around the sweeping scope with which the resolution ties climate change policy to other big reforms. “I actually don’t think the Green New Deal is the way to go,” he said in an interview with The Hill. “The reason is that I want to do something about fixing climate change tomorrow. I don’t want to tie it to fixing health care.”

    All good points.

    0 0
  32. Recommended supplemental reading:

    The Green New Deal: One climate scientist’s view, from the other side of the Atlantic by Myles Allen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mar 8, 2019

    0 0
  33. Scaddenp - "stands no chance of passage in the Senate over the next two years. But Mother Nature does not wait on our political calendar, and neither can we" - that would seem to suggest that something else of value was likely to pass the Senate and become law in the next two years. What would that be? As far as I can see, it is the GND that has forced at least some Republicans to address the issue. My Republican rep chaired the House emergy committee till last Nov and held no hearings on climate change in the years he was chair, nor did anything regarding climate change pass. Now he says he has a better policy than GND, which mostly seems to be cutting down more forests so they won't burn. He ignored the issue till the GND showed up. Whatever one thinks of the policies in the GND, it appears to me to be forceing the discussion, and moving that discussion from whether there is warming caused by humans, to what we should do about it.

    0 0
  34. Putting forward a policy proposal that doesnt immediately violate entrenched ideological positions would be a start. Getting action means something that will win bipartisan support rather than increasing polarization. Something that make physical sense would be good too.

    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)


© Copyright 2019 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us