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Climate Hustle

2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 6 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 30 through Sat, July 6, 2019

Editor's Pick

German environment minister proposes carbon tax

Svenja Schulze has said such a plan is important for sinking carbon emissions, yet other measures are needed. She claims the plan would not unduly burden the poor, but reward those who use less fuel.

 Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) Environment Minister Svenja Schulze  

Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) Environment Minister Svenja Schulze presented three independent studies on possible carbon tax schemes in Berlin on Friday. Insisting such a tax would not unduly burden the poor, she said, "those who decide to live a more climate-friendly life could actually get money back."

The plans Schulze presented suggested an initial €35 ($39.50) tax on each metric ton of CO2, to be increased to €180 by 2030. The idea being that the more expensive petrol, natural gas, and heating oil become, the less people will use.

Schulze told reporters that those who consume less, including children, will be given a so-called climate bonus of up to €100 per person, per year, which she claims would offset a person's outlay for the tax, "The less you drive, the less oil you burn, the more you will get back."

The minister underscored the importance of not burdening low and middle-class families: "It's really important to me to avoid unfairly burdening those with low and medium incomes, and especially affected groups like commuters and tenants." 

German environment minister proposes carbon tax, Deutsche Welle (DW), July 5, 2019 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun June 30, 2019

Mon July 1, 2019

Tue July 2, 2019

Wed July 3, 2019

Thur July 4, 2019

Fri July 5, 2019

Sat July 6, 2019

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Comments 1 to 8:

  1. "Insisting such a (carbon) tax would not unduly burden the poor, she said, "those who decide to live a more climate-friendly life could actually get money back."

    Apparently this is to be through some sort of rewards scheme for the middle classes if they do the right thing, and  the poor are given rebates to compensate them. This sounds nice in 'theory', but would create considerable bureaucratic complexity. The more complicated the proposal, the longer it will take to actually pass legislation, and time is a luxury we no longer have, given the lack of progress thus far, the speed at which climate change is progressing and the rate at which emissions are still rising.

    Carbon fee and dividend would be a whole lot simpler.  Given that wind and solar power is becoming cost competitive, you don't need to use a carbon tax to subsidise this any more, so it could all be given back as a dividend. 

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  2. The link to the Jeff Masters (wunderground: "Protective Wind Shear Barrier Against Hurricanes... Likely to Weaken...") article is broken.  I found it here.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you for bringing this glitch to our attention. It has been fixed. 

  3. nigelj - some of the proposals are at least in the direction of carbon fee and dividend. Perhaps not yet fully fleshed-out, but we (as in CCL Germany and and a European Citizens Initiative) are working towards that.

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  4. I thought this was an interestig article about dealig with sea level rise in California.  Some want more sea walls and others say we need to move back.

    The artice is long.  My summary: people realize they are hosed and must move.  They do not want to give up in the face of slow distruction.  What will the final chpater look like?

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you for flagging the LA Times article — it's well worth reading. .

  5. Re: Carbon Tax

    I call your attention to the Citizens Climate Lobby ( This group recently held a 'lobby in' where they met with members of Congress to lobby for a carbon tax. They report Congress is becoming more receptive. (On a side note, they noted many in the GOP have gone to their think tanks on how to address Climate Change.)

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  6. Michael Sweet @4, a very interesting article thanks. Long but worth a scan.

    The final chapter looks a lot like managed retreat to me. Costs of sea walls to protect communities against 1 metre of sea level rise per century will be prohibitive . Its been difficult enough managing storm surges and 300 mm sea level rise last century, so the future looks bleak. Of course it will vary place to place based on land area, population size and geography, and incomes, but this would be the general rule.

    In NZ both central and local government at city scale are signalling they will warn homeowners about sea level rise risks in formal written documents, and it will be some form of managed retreat. This is all unresolved at this stage and one suspects people might demand sea walls as an instinctive response, once they wake up to what governmnet is proposing.

    With managed retreat coastal property owners will see the value of their properties destroyed by having to abandon or move properties. Even building sea walls could have the same outcome of reduced property values. Its a question of how we deal with these people as it becomes a very visible problem and plunges people into poverty. There are two  obvious options:

    1) A local government and community initiative to financially compensate people, but this looks like it will be messy and impractical and well outside normal functions of local city scale government. Local government finances will be hard pressed just relocating roads etc without bailing out home owners.

    2) It will all more likely fall back on central or state governments to help people with financial assistance, either by specifically targetted assistance for destrroyed properties, or through normal poverty alleviation and social welfare systems. Governments are normaly the provider of assistance of last resort when all else fails, and private sector insurance doesnt cover things. This will probbaly flow over into climate related issues. The increased pressure on governmnet spending  will be a significant burden,  right at the same time the population is aging and people who resent their taxes going towards poor people and people with problems will be very vocal.

    Either way I suspect the can will probably be kicked down the road.

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  7. The current level of atmospheric CO2 has one cubic foot of CO2 distributed over each 2400 cubic feet of atmosphere.  That faint presence is having no measureable effect on global air temperature.  

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] The radiative physics of greenhouse gases are well established.  Please read this post and the comments for edification on your point.  Place any related comments there, not here.

    As an FYI, changes in the sun's output falling on the Earth from 1750-2011 are about 0.05 Watts/meter squared.

    By comparison, human activities from 1750-2011 warm the Earth by about 2.83 Watts/meter squared (AR5, WG1, Chapter 8, section 8.3.2, p. 676).

    What this means is that the warming driven by the GHGs coming from the human burning of fossil fuels since 1750 is over 50 times greater than the slight extra warming coming from the Sun itself over that same time interval.

    Radiative Forcing

  8. billev... Think about it this way:

    Distribute one cubic foot of CO2 over 2400 cubic feet, stacked vertically. Then consider how high the troposphere is, which averages out to about 45,000 feet. You end up with stacks of 2400 cubes done 18.75 times to reach the tropopause. 

    Now, do a thought experiment, a la Einstein. Imagine you're riding on a single photon of IR energy emitted from the Earth's surface traveling up through those 45,000 cubic feet of atmosphere.

    What are the chances you will encounter a molecule of CO2? ...Close to 100%. 

    What happens when IR encounters CO2? The energy is absorbed and then re-emitted in all directions, where that IR again encounters CO2, is again absorbed and re-emitted. Some energy makes its way back to the surface, adding more heat to the surface, while some eventually makes its way out to space.

    It's kind of like a giant pinball machine where the pinball is IR and the bumpers are CO2. The more bumpers you have the longer the ball is going to stay in play.

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