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The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

Posted on 4 June 2021 by BaerbelW, timo, jg

Since its publication in January 2021, several members from our team have read Michael E. Mann's latest book "The New Climate War". This blog post contains our reviews as well as the recording of a book reading from a side event at the Leipzig Book Fair.


Forewarned is forearmed - Bärbel Winkler

Michael Mann‘s book is essential reading for anybody who doesn‘t accidentally want to fall for the latest tricks utilized by the fossil fuel industry and other groups heavily invested in the status quo. He shines the spotlight on the various underhanded tactics with which these vested interests and inactivists try to drive a wedge into the climate movement or try to shift the blame for the climate crisis from them to us as consumers. Once you know what to be on the lookout for, you‘ll no longer fall prey to these methods and can also call them out when you see others falling for them, who haven‘t been made aware of the tactics yet. Forewarned is forearmed as the saying goes!

Michael Mann also offers hope as he sees outright climate science denial on the way out, basically fighting rearguard skirmishes as the evidence for human-caused global warming is more and more in front of everybodys eyes, making it ever harder to deny. Even though there‘s obviously urgency needed to tackle the climate crisis he‘s nonetheless hopeful that we can do it because we also have the agency to act, meaning that we already have most of the needed options in our toolbox with which we can set ourselves on a path to wean ourselves from fossil fuels.

What we have to make sure to not lose sight of that task however, is to all be aware of the tactics applied by the various breeds of inactivists like the downplayers, deflectors, delayers, dividers, and doomers. Michael Mann‘s book is a great help with that!

Review published on on May 22, 2021.

The book that is desperately needed in our times - Timo Lubitz

Mike Mann has done it again.

After having published splendid “The Madhouse Effect” in 2016, the renowned climate scientist again takes on the most pressing issue of our times: Climate Change!

“The New Climate War” draws a brutally honest picture of the state our planet is in. Wildfires, melting ice caps, heat waves, floods. This has been long foreseen by climate scientists, but politicians did rarely act on it in order to prevent the worsening situation.

Furthermore, the fossil fuel industry is fighting for its survival by leading attacks on climate science and scientists. They invest lots of money into think tanks, from where they spew misinformation on the topic. Leading politicians in turn try themselves in diversion: “What about the other countries? They should go first, before we have to act! And what about the consumers, they should consume less energy or emission producing goods. And what – in God's name - about the economy?”

These distraction tactics are versatile and effective. But if one knows how to spot and how to identify them, it becomes much easier to refute the attacks. Mike Mann's new book gives the reader a handy set of tools to identify misinformation and counter these attacks on climate science. And this is much needed... Because it’s not the time to give up. We are not doomed yet, as some people like to put it in order to not be required to act. There is still time to act against climate change, but we need to act now.

And reading this book can be a first step.

Review published on on January 12.

Recognize the new tactics from the old agenda - John Garrett

In the past few years, I fell under the impression that opposition to the message from climate science had waned. I was wrong. This book's greatest benefit to me was teaching me that climate inactivists had migrated rather than disappeared. As a result of reading the book, I now recognize in my own conversations the delay and distraction tactics Mann describes in The New Climate War. Here's an exercise I recommend: Read the book, and then make a thoughtful and respectful public comment on the merits of restraining our greenhouse gas emissions. Next, examine the backlash for tactics described in this book.

I made such a comment on my state senator's social media and got the gamut of accusations from wind-turbined bird killer to energy hypocrite. All of these hostile replies were textbook examples anticipated in Mann's book.

While The New Climate War is about organized tactics to delay action on regulating fossil fuel emissions, its lessons apply to other events. For example, I hadn't thought about deflection much till I read about it in The New Climate War. This tactic has been in use in public advertising for 60 years and is still in use today, especially after the incident at the US Capital on Jan. 6, 2021.

Much of this book's engaging quality comes from Mann's writing style, such as ending paragraphs with ironic one-liners. Admittedly, the irony appeals more to people who do follow main stream science on matters like climate change. Since I follow the science, I'm familiar with at least 2/3rds of the persons cited in the book. I wondered if others could benefit from a who's who glossary, to sort out all the names and affiliations, but as I kept reading, I realized the ideal target audience is someone like me who has followed climate science, is familiar with anti-science propaganda, and is willing to use the book's footnotes.

I read an online copy, and quickly bought the print version because I find print easier for examining the footnotes, which are excellent.

I had expected the book to return to one idea posed in the beginning, that the Russian support for Trump was all about protecting oil's value, but since this is speculative, I'm happy with that being left as an activity for the reader.

Review published on on May 29.

Book reading and discussion at "Leipzig liest extra"

On May 27, 2021 Michael Mann read from his book during a side event focused on climate topics of the Leipzig Book Fair which could only take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the reading the host Heike Wex from Scientists for Future discussed the book's contents with Michael Mann and then opened it up to the participants of the Zoom call. Here is the recording of the event:

Bottom line: we wholeheartedly recommend reading this book!

Have you read "The New Climate War"? Leave your review in the comments!

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Comments 51 to 91 out of 91:

  1. Nick Palmer @47,

    Youe "Meanwhile..."  rather misses the point that Emily Atkin's May 26 blog is making. (And that even with all the words employed.) What explanation does Atkins give for good-news climate stories being framed as bad-news big-oil stories?

    Describing May 26 as “A good day for life on Earth” means admitting to that fact [that "stabilizing the climate requires an end to oil and gas extraction"], and becoming vulnerable to cries of bias from the oil industry and its allies. News outlets don’t want to deal with that, so they simply call it “a bad day for Big Oil,” and let the industry attack those pesky oil-hating climate activists instead.

    Your objection to that fact [that "stabilizing the climate requires an end to oil and gas extraction"] is that it ignores is that it " turns a blind eye to the use of carbon ca[pture and sequestration technologies which are far more advanced than types like her will admit."

    If that is the idea you want to establish, make it and see if it floats. All this 'He said, she said, they said, type like her said' stuff remains boring nonsense and quite irrelevant if you cannot make the case for the survival of Big Oil as a big extractor of FF from the geology - this assuming your "Meanwhile..." is not just more wordy frippery.

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  2. Just to reassure the audience that I was only criticising a part of Michael Mann's new book, the bit where he dismisses alternative solutions and rather over-eggs the 'Big Fossil Fuel is evil' meme, let me post this recent interview of him which very well encapsulates what I believe is true and I support almost every word he says in it

    Interview of Michael Mann

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  3. I think you lot are trying to hard to prop up a very long standing meme, originated by Greenpeace and subsequently promoted by, IMHO, political forces not related to pure climate science. I've never said that Big Oil should have done what they did, just that their motivation to do it may not have been that which was attributed to them by that meme. FWIW, I think the true culpability of Big Fossil Fuel is not for resembling the activist meme of them being shadowy psychopaths intent on destroying the world for profit but rather for being like the punk in Dirty Harry who, when neither of them knew for certain whether there were any bullets left in the Magnum, recklessly took a chance and paid the price.

    If you've ever seen that analogy used in the climate wars, I originated it. My argument to denialists back then was that, by analogy, 'denier punks' had a right to risk their own lives by believing that there were no climate change bullets left, or that possible low climate sensitivity meant that any bullet would be nearly a blank, but that they had a much greater responsibility to not take any view which would put everyobdy else in the world at risk if they were wrong. I had long discussions about this general concept with Greg 'What's the worst that could happen' Craven whose approach of risk analysis I still think is far superior at getting through to the majority of the public rather than the 'This is what the science says', 'Oh no it isn't', 'Yes it is', shouting match that the public arena is.

    I came to my ideas from a lot of experience over several decades debunking 'ordinary' denialism, but I also found it quite often necessary to debunk alarmists too, who went much further than the peer reviewed science actually said. Alarmism gives deniers a lot of amunition to smear the actual science, in the minds of the public, by proxy. A lot of current denialism consists of holding up the silliest statements of extremists to ridicule, rather than attacking the science directly, but unfortunately that rebounds badly on the actual science in the public's view who have little way of knowing which of the very confident sounding sides are accurate or legit.

    Long before John Cook started off the whole Denial 101 F.L.I.C.C initiative, I had been made well aware of the multiple deceptive rhetorical 'tricks' used by ordinary denialists to deny the peer reviewed science. I also became aware that the vast majority actually completely believed their position, whether it was the 'almost mainstream' luke-warmer position or the weirder 'against the second law of thermodynamics' pseudoscience types. What I did notice was that, say, in the comments of WUWT, virtually none of the former ever criticised the latter. It was only a very, very few, such as Mosher, who took on the real loonies. I also came to see that the reverse was also the case in environmentalist literature. Apart from a few such as myself, who has always tried to root out any mistakes, delusion or deceptions wherever they may be found, activist alarmism in publicly available media seemed to get a 'free pass' from those who normally argued the science, such as skepsci types. For what it's worth, I find it much harder to deal with activists, rather than with the more moderate 'denialists' as activist ideology isn't really based on a rational bullet-proof knowledge of the science, but rather on persuasive memes and Hans Eysenck's 'hobgoblins' to scare the public. I couldn't help noticing that BOTH sides used the same techniques of misdirection, cherry picking etc although, back then, it tended to be the more extreme - the incorrigibles of the denialist side - who did the lion's share of it. In the last few years, as the political aspects of the climate arena have suddenly popped out of the closet far more than ever before, and the sides have become ever more partisan, I'd say 'what lies beneath' the surface of people on all sides debating climate policy is surfacing.

    I used to sit on my former Government's Energy panel, which was set up to deal with energy policy relating to climate science and the energy transitions required and I became pretty well connected with some significant movers and shakers in the climate science arena, both scientists, civil servants and media folk. For what it's worth, the panel also had representatives on it from gas and oil 'fossil fuel' corporations, plus the area electricity supplier.  That's another reason why I'm virtually certain that the Greenpeace/Oreskes meme, that even some smart people seem to have swallowed hook, line and sinker, is a fair distance from the truth. The meme has a lot of the smell of simplified 'hobgoblins to sway the public' about it, rather than it being a completely accurate piece of historical reportage...

    Anyway, it's been interesting to see the, in my view somewhat biased, kick-back from long term Skepsci followers. I think what I might do in due course is approach John Cook to see if we can arrange a Zoom meeting. He and Stephan Lewandowsky are right at the forefront of the 'psychological' approach to deconstructing denialist attitudes and methods. Maybe they'll be more welcoming of a new hypothesis than others...

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  4. In spite of Nick’s comments, Mann’s interview does not support the position Nick takes regarding things like CCS. At the end of the interview Mann states that every tonne of emissions generated makes the future worse. Building CCS could excuse continuing to add tonnes making the future worse. It may be beneficial if it is imposed on already built fossil fuel operations. But it could be used to excuse building new fossil fuel operations or running existing operations longer.

    I share the understanding that CCS is questionable. CCS does not, and will not, capture close to 100% of the produced emissions. And the captured stuff has not been “locked away with certainty”. The understood need to limit harm done to future generations leads to understanding the need to rapidly end the addition of carbon to the already massive problem. Given the already existing alternatives, especially the alternative of reduction of energy consumption, CCS does not justify building any new fossil fuel energy generation operation. CCS application would be limited to reducing the harm done by already built operations. And even that has questionable economics compared to rapidly building renewable generation and shutting down the fossil fuel burner. Being “already built” does not justify its continued operation, no matter what the people wanting to benefit that way claim. People benefiting from harmful unsustainable over-development do not deserve accommodation and compensation for their reduced potential for “Personal Happiness from harmful activity”.

    Nick may pursue being “science correct”. But he does not appear to apply that science in an engineering sense to limit harm done. He appears to have a business-political biased perspective excusing harm done which is exposed by his statement in the comment @31.

    “BTW, when I refer to left wing I am not referring to centre'ish politics like that of the US Democrats but more towards the sort of Utopian student revolutionary type beliefs.”

    A brief political comment is required to begin the response to that:

    A political perspective like Social Democracy pursuing increased awareness and improve understanding of what is harmful and applying that knowledge to keep harmful activity from being able to compete for popularity and profit is “Centrist” in the Left-Right or Socialist-Capitalist spectrum. The average of the diversity of views currently in the Democratic Party is pretty far Right of Center. The Democrats of the USA are only centre'ish in the significantly skewed realm of USA politics.

    It is not Utopian to be aware of the need to correct the harmful over-development that has been produced by selfish people being able to get away with harmful actions and related beliefs that excuse those actions, especially the extremes that have over-developed in places like the USA. Harmfully unsustainable pursuers of maximum personal benefit “pursuing Their maximum Happiness in understandably harmful ways” have no sustainable future. But they are OK with that as long as things are good for them in their lifetime. And many of them will make-up beliefs that Their future generations will be just fine because things only ever get better for their type of people.

    Awareness of that extreme bias towards making up excuses for understandably harmful beliefs and actions provides a robust explanation for the attempted arguments presented by the likes of Nick.

    The following may not change minds like Nick’s, but it is likely a more Common Sense understanding of the situation.

    Exxon appeared to be pursuing a science (increased awareness and improved understanding) and engineering (application of knowledge) pursuit of understanding applied to limit harm done. Then they appeared to shift to a business and political approach with misleading marketing, perhaps to protect their vested interests. And now they may be shifting to legal efforts to delay and minimize penalty consequences to allow current beneficiaries to keep each additional month of increased benefits before effective restrictions and penalties, if there are any, get imposed.

    The tobacco case is similar. But so is the history regarding Ozone damaging compounds, sulphur emissions, and the recent “VW diesel deception” (harmful engineering for business motives) which discovered that parts of the VW organization did something harmful and deceptive that could not have been an oversight. And among the many claims made were claims that VW executives were unaware it had been done, that it was the actions of rogue technologists, not something that corporate leadership was aware had been done.

    Nick does not present a “new” perspective. Making up excuses for harmful actions has a long harmful history. It is true that unless there is physical documentation as proof the motives of people are unknowable, even if they declare their motives. And even if there appears to be irrefutable evidence of motive it can still be denied or refuted.

    So we are left with interpreting all of the available information, even information that contradicts beliefs about the glory of things like Freedom, Democracy or Capitalism. All those things are potentially good. But history is full of evidence showing that if the potential for harm is not effectively Governed and Limited harm will develop in any of those potentially helpful systems. And history is full of misleading marketing efforts to defend the systems and the resulting Winners, including misleading claims that those systems are better than any alternatives, and are better with less Governing or Limiting of what is allowed. That is misleading because a diversity of systems are helpful as long as harmful attitudes and actions are effectively and constantly limited from being popular or profitable.

    Review my comment @29, in addition to revisiting my earlier comments.
    I agree with others who have made it clear that it is incorrect to claim that misleading marketing is being equally applied by both extremes of this faux debate.

    The understood need to protect the future of humanity from harmful consequences leads to understanding that extreme potential harmful results are the appropriate considerations to be presented. Attempting to compromise that awareness by claiming that a "most likely" or average degree of harm is the “proper centrist or moderate” consideration is fatally flawed.

    A failure to care about protecting the future of humanity leads to many Popular beliefs and claims, including claims motivated by the belief that already developed popular and profitable activity must not be demonized and penalized.

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  5. Nick Palmer @54 says "I think you lot are trying to hard to prop up a very long standing meme,....I think the true culpability of Big Fossil Fuel is not for resembling the activist meme of them being shadowy psychopaths intent on destroying the world for profit but rather for being like the punk in Dirty Harry who, when neither of them knew for certain whether there were any bullets left in the Magnum, recklessly took a chance and paid the price."

    I don't see where I've supported that activist meme that "corporations are shadowy psychopaths intent on destroying the world for profit". Their motives are more complex than that. They seek profit because thats how the system works and the law requires they build shareholder value and I don't see that as evil, although it would be useful to see if the law could expand corporate goals to also include environmental objectives.

    Corporations  pollute because of the tragedy of the commons problem. There is not mush point blaming them for that too much, rather that the answer is government  environmental laws or we change the entire economic system.

    However corporations do misbehave and break laws at times and Exonn Mobils behaviour was underhanded. And I dont buy into this crazy notion that the oil companies behaviour was because of Greenpeace. The oil companies could see the writing on the wall that governments would put pressure on them one way or the other, and perhaps the general public will so they got worried about impacts on their incomes and job security etc,etc, and defensive and it lead to a campaign to spread doubt. I've seen polling studies of oil companies where almost their entire staff are climate change sceptics, liberals and conservatives alike.

    But I agree with your Dirty Harry analogy.

    "I came to my ideas from a lot of experience over several decades debunking 'ordinary' denialism, but I also found it quite often necessary to debunk alarmists too, who went much further than the peer reviewed science actually said."

    Same with me. It's tough going because you get labelled a luke warmer and traitor. There's exaggeration, group think , bias and tribalism on both sides of the debate, but I think our side is far more objective overall and correct  environmentally and thats the bottom line.

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  6. Nick Palmer:

    So no examples of successful carbon sequestration at an industrial scale.

    Perhaps you need to reconsider your criticism of environmentalists who are skeptical of an unproven technology.

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  7. michael sweet @56,

    Just as there are a number of examples of fictional "punks" who gamble on how many bullets remain in Dirty Harry's 44 magnum handgun that they are told would "blow your head clean off" (this evidently a bare-faced lie), there are a number of examples of operating CCS pants. According to this Dec 2020 webpage there were 26 globally that are actually operating, sequestering 40Mt(CO2)/yr. Mind, this 2014 CarbonBrief survey of global CCS reckoned there were 13 in operation in 2014 so that is doubling the number operating in six years. And it appears most of the 22 projects described by CarbonBrief aren't/won't-be capturing all the emitted CO2 and the portion that is captured is-being/will-be used to extract oil. And you do get the impression from the likes of this webpage that the many of the "punks" in Big Oil are betting the farm on CCS.

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  8. @ 56 Michael Sweet,

    I have not had the free time to read/listen to the book yet, so I have not commented as of yet. I want to make an informed post. However, your comment about "no examples of successful carbon sequestration at an industrial scale." needs a qualifier. There are plenty of examples of biological carbon sequestion at scale. Both in natural systems and agriculture. What is fossil fuels themseves but proof of concept that nature has in the past sequestered large quantities of carbon repeatedly in the past when conditions were right for it? If it couldn't, we would not have the abundant fossil fuels to begin with!

    It's an important caveat to make.

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  9. I know of one of the early "demonstration at commercial scale" CSS projects in Canada: the Boundary Dam installation (retrofit of parts of an existing coal-fired plant) in Saskatchewan:

    Numerous problems, numerous economic issues. The Wikipedia article covers it.

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  10. I haven't read Michael Manns new book, but the following links give a decent review by New Scientist, and one persons very useful summary of the key points in the book and an analysis of its themes.

    I can see where Manns coming from overall in his book, and I think hes largely right, maybe 90% right.

    These links all seem to support Nick Palmers contention @1 that "Dr Mann ...dismisses CCS, afforestation, nuclear, soil regeneration etc as unworkable or as a Machiavellian poker play of the 'delayers, dismissives, inactivists' etc"

    I get the impression Mann sees all these things as a distraction from a new energy grid and he's condemned some of them in a way thats not terribly nuanced, and its annoyed some people.

    CCS seems like a borderline useful technology. Its just not cost effective but its probably not completely dead yet. But I can totally understand why Mann was so critical of it.

    I tend to have doubts about tree planting myself. 

    Its not clear whether he totally dismisses nuclear power or sees it as a bit player.

    It's disturbing that he is so dismissive of the usefulness of regnerative agriculture to act as a carbon sink. This technology is not coming from end of the world doomer activists and it clearly has significant potential to play some part in mitigation (despite my criticisms of some of the more wildly optimistic claims. But you get wild optimism with any new ideas). And its a benign sort of mitigation. He could have been more nuanced.

    From the links its clear that Mann sees the urgent need for a new energy grid is undermined by a lot of de-growth activists out there promoting massive and unrealistic lifestyle changes , and who categorise wind and solar power as evil tools of profit hungry corporations. And that oil companies have leaped onto this to deflect attention from system change to personal responsibility. I think he's largely right about all of this. I'm on Nicks side over this aspect of things. The priority has to be a new energy grid. There is an obvious problem about finite resources and the viability of high levels of consumption but changing this looks really difficult for obvious reasons and is not something that is likely to change anytime soon so I think renewable energy has to be the priority even if its resource intensive.

    It's clear Mann doesn't dismiss individuals reducing carbon footprints. He says  this is useful but not adequate in itself. I dont see how anyone can argue with that.

    Wikipedia also has a useful article on his book.

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  11. MARodger:

    Your link was a good place to start.  I think they got most of their information from the Global CCS institute here.  Both locations have lists of CCS facilities in the USA and worldwide.  Apparently the USA has the strongest government support for CCS.  There are only 65 facilities built ior in planing, some very small, and I did not have time to read them all.  I note that the largest, most expensive unit at Kemper in the USA was canned after several billion dollars was spent.  

    In general, most of the carbon is being injected back into the Earth to enhance oil recovery.  It increases the cost of the process (usually making electricity but also cement and other chemicals).  While they have demonstrated that they can catch the carbon dioxide, it is very expensive.  The scale of capture to meet temperature goals is very large.  When they stop recovering oil with the carbon dioxide it will be even more expensive.  Many plants get the carbon dioxide from natural gas, a source which will be eliminated in the future.

    I am skeptical that CCS can reach the very high goals asked for it.  They are talking about even more expansion of CCS than is needed for renewable energy.  The renewable energy goals are high also, but at least you make money investing in it. 

    I agree with Dr. Mann that a lot of CCS is a cover for the fossil fuel industries and not a reasistic proposal.

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  12. Red Baron:

    I think that carbon sequestration as you describe has a good chance to contribute a lot to future mitigation efforts.  That is a different process than carbon capture and storage which the fossil fuel industry is pushing in the USA.  I do not see data to support the claims that CCS can put enormous amounts of carbon back into the earth in a practical, economic manner.

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  13. Bob @59:

    I am also not very impressed with the Boundary Dam installation.  They only catch a small fraction of the carbon dioxide from the power plant and it is costly.  They have demonstrated that they can catch carbon dioxide but it does not look economic to me.  They use the carbon dioxide to get more oil out of the ground.

    It may be that they can use carbon capture on plants burning biological materials to support electrofuel manufacture if that path is taken.  It will not be a cheap way to go.  I do not see carbon capture as a way to allow the continued use of large amounts of fossil fuels.

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  14. Michael:

    We used to live in Saskatchewan (and my wife worked briefly in SaskPower's environment section), so we were well aware of a lot of the plans for the Boundary Dam's CSS project. (It was built after we left.)

    In addition to being costly, it also causes a significant reduction in efficiency, which doesn't help the economics. (Although burning more coal is probably a relatively low cost compared to invested capital in CSS).

    I think it was useful in testing new technologies at an operational scale, but it demonstrates the difficulty of creating a functional, inexpensive CSS facility.

    In part, I see CSS as a way to get people to invest more in coal-fueled power production and tie them into long-term captial investment that creates a continued market for coal. The more you invest in new coal-based systems now, the more expensive it will be to get out of them before the normal end of their useful life.

    When I think about CSS, nuclear, etc. as technologies to reduce GHG emissions, my main concerns are "at what cost, and in how many years?".

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  15. In the context of the ongoing discussion of CCS, the following caught my eye:

    Mufson: One popular device here in Washington is the Section 45Q tax provision, which provides a tax credit of as much as $50 a ton for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide. Many lawmakers want to expand this.

    Nordhaus: Section 45Q is a subsidy similar to what was given to ethanol in an earlier era. It is a carbon sequestration subsidy. It’s messy. In part, it is subsidizing people already doing that activity. It is helpful rather than harmful. But it is way down the list of priorities. It is going after one of the most expensive ways to reduce emissions, There are so many other things to do before that that are much more efficient than capturing carbon dioxide and pumping it into the ground.

    The above exchange is excerpted from the Q&A article, Nobel winner’s evolution from ‘dark realist’ to just plain realist on climate change by Steven Mufson, Climate Solutions, Washington Post, June 14, 2021

    FWIW, I wholeheartedly concur with William Nordhaus on this particular issue.

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  16. Bob at 64:

    I agree with your assessment.  We should spend our money on things that give us a better return.  Essentially what Nordhaus says in John Hartz's comment.

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  17. One of the weird things about a $50/t subsidy to the coal industry (the primary place where CSS is promoted, as in "clean coal") often is proposed by the same people that are dead set against a $50/t carbon fee/tax in general.

    The same people that argue "the government shouldn't try to pick winners" prefer an approach that picks coal as a winner instead of a general fee/tax that let's the market pick winners.

    It makes you wonder just what they are trying to accomplish.

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  18. Bob Loblaw @67,

    It seems to me that a good explanation for what you have observed is that people who develop a liking for benefiting from being governed by harmful selfishness, especially liking to self-govern that way, have to develop a high level of cognitive dissonance and a high level of tolerance for their "mind being full of harmful nonsense". They are the type who like "Freedom to believe whatever they want to excuse doing whatever they please" unencumbered by the pesky responsibility to be diligent about not being harmful.

    Increased awareness and improved understanding of what is harmful makes it hard for the harmfully selfish to explain and justify want they want to believe and do. They have to make up and believe unique excuses for each harmful unjustified thing they like. When all their thoughts and actions are taken as a whole they make little sense, but they can't admit it.

    The harmfully selfish have to give up things they developed a liking for in order to develop the common sense understanding of how to limit harm done. They end up believing that "Harm they do can be justified by Benefits they personally obtain - and they claim that when they benefit everyone (who matters) benefits". And they often resort to being dismissive of, or attempt to discredit, anyone who points out the harmful reality of what is going on.

    And in the worst cases the harmfully selfish will try to harm those people who point out the harmful unworthiness of the harmfully selfish, especially the unworthy people among the "Higher Status of current day humanity". Those harmful efforts include high status people who are unworthy of their status trying to get easily impressed people in the general population riled up and angry about "the wrong people to be angry about", getting people to be angry about "scientists and other experts or reporters and students who have figured out who and what is harmful".

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  19. OPOF:

    I was trying to avoid saying that out loud... :-)

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  20. I don't wish to add more fuel to the fire I started with my alternative hypothesis explaining Big Oil's actions and motivations, in particular because some really useful comments have been made above just recently, but I want to clarify a coupel of points.

    I never meant to suggest that Big Oil were that scared of Greenpeace's 'reds' and the anti-industry policies they favoured. Big as Greenpeace is, it is still not a huge influence on governments and their policies. However, I assure you that giant industries of all types are concerned about draconian restrictions being placed on their activities by closet globalists/socialists/communists etc and that is why they employ these Institutes and lobbyists - as a counter-force to protect their interests. The industries do not necessarily 'believe' the propaganda that the Institutes push out but choose to use them to enable more industry friendly policies to be planned for that achieve the same ends (reduced pollution, greenhouse gases etc) without gutting their financial bottom lines.

    Here's a number of links showing pretty clearly that the major focus of the Heartland's, C.E.I's etc is on countering the 'Marxist threat' and they absolutely do believe that environmentalism was 'infiltrated' by globalists using the threats that environmentalism identified as an Eysencks' 'hobgoblin' as a proxy way to undermine capitalism and get the public, who would otherwise reject the ideology, to vote for so doing.

    In the links given, Jay Lehr, Senior Policy Advisor with the International Climate Science Coalition and Senior Science Analyst at CFACT was science director at Heartland for more than two decades. Tom Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition and is a policy adviser to Heartland and closely associated with Jay Lehr.

    In climate circles, when such as Heartland and Competive Enterprise Institute are being discussed, they are referred to as denialist organisations. Exposés of their funding usually let the reader assume that any funds from Big Oil etc were for the specific purpose of speading climate science denialism. These organisations only spread climate science denialism as a pragmatic technique that works to influence public perceptions. As Marc Morano (Climate Depot) suggested in the video I linked to, they don't even care much whether what they say is true as long as it achieves their end which is to fight what they see as an insidious assault on US Capitalism in the name of environmentalism and global warming etc.

    I'm saying is that it should be acknowledged that the 'Heartland ideology' is, as least partially, based on truth. Many prominent environmental voices do indeed have significant left leaning politics and there are plenty of those who believe openly or secretly that the gobal warming 'mega threat' can be used to engineer the 'great reset' that they want for human civilisation.

    Obviously, this does not exclude that the environmental threats can be real, which, of course, they are but it does explain why some activists so incorrigibly and grossly exagerrate both the risks and the time scales that the actual science delineates.

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  21. Based on this, it would only be fair to say that activist organizations use the rethoric they use because "it works" and because they are "a pragmatic technique to influence public perception." I'm sure that they "absolutely do believe that" the unrestrained pursuit of profit by fossil fuel interest groups pose an existential threat to the future of humanity and of its natural support systems.

    Although I have no more interest in reading their stuff that the tripe from right wing think tanks, one could probably find links showing legitimate concerns and well articulated, reasonable discourse justifying their activity, supported by evidence, because all their stuff is most likely "at least partially based in truth."

    One could also do a review of the power and reach of international interest groups linking  together transnational corporations, banking, tax heavens, all very capitalist elements and compare that to the means, reach and power of groups that oppose them, so as to assess precisely how much risk the uber-capitalists are facing. My guess is that it's quite limited. Draconian restrictions are anything except real. 

    It is rather ironic that the biggest globalisation push ever happened so that giant international corporations (environmentalist anathema, right?) could have their products made where workers were underpaid, had no protection and where environmental laws were non-existent, or unenforced. Draconian restrictions anyone? Now globalisation has become the bogeyman of ardent capitalist advocates. Funny.

    Sorry Nick, I'm still not buying it.

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  22. Nick Palmer @70.

    So now your telling us that Big Oil is not threatened by all those nasty folk in GreenPeace but is just doing what any industry would do when threatened by draconian restrictions to its operations (threatened by who exactly?). And so Big Oil legitimately assists the likes of Heartland & Competive Enterprise Institute to spread a pack of lies and disinformation about AGW, this required not to prevent timely action to address AGW but to defeat some communist conspiracy that has infiltrated the environmental movement. And as such reds-under-the-beds infiltration is apparently to be seen in the left-leaning folk within the environmental movement, the likes of Heartland & Competive Enterprise Institute are not at all a pack of bare-faced liars but a band of gallant freedom fighters.

    It is good to know where you are coming from, Nick.

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  23. What MARodger said times two.

    Still no references to successful carbon storage plans, only expensive methods to extract more oil.

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  24. Nick Palmer @70,

    "I'm saying is that it should be acknowledged that the 'Heartland ideology' is, as least partially, based on truth. Many prominent environmental voices do indeed have significant left leaning politics and there are plenty of those who believe openly or secretly that the gobal warming 'mega threat' can be used to engineer the 'great reset' that they want for human civilisation."

    So what? This doesn't make the ordinary left leaning environmentalists necessarily wrong as a whole, and it doesn't prove the oil companies engaged in spreading a missinformation campaign "just because" of the fanatical fringe, and it doesn't excuse the oil companies launching or colluding in a campaign to spread doubt and misleading rhetoric, just because they didnt like it all. All you have done is demonstrate there are a few annoying extremists out there. I agree broadly with MAR.

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  25. Nick's posts are reminding me of the cartoon about the Hollywood movie plot:

    97% of the world's scientists conspire to create an imaginary environmental crisis, only to be exposed by a plucky band of billionaires, senators, and oil companies!

    I know NIck does not think the climate problem is imaginary, but he sure seems to have a different way of judging the behaviour of environmental groups than he does of the fossil fuel industry (as espoused through the organizations they fund).

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  26. @ 62

    Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System

    Notice this:

    “Our 20-year MSPR chronosequence of soil C and other soil health indicators shows dramatic improvement since establishment, sequestering an average of 2.29 Mg C ha−1 yr−1”

    Convert that to standard units agreed by the Kyoto accord:

    roughly 8 Tonnes CO2e/ha/yr sequestered on average over 20 years.

    4 billion ha of grazing land in the world x 8 tonnes CO2e/ha/yr = 32 billion tonnes CO2e sequestered in the soil yearly if we change agriculture to the above. This does not include cropland. That could boost it even more.

    (I have posted many more studies prior to this as you know. This is just the latest and as all of them agree, an average of ~5-20 tonnes CO2e/ha/yr is repeatable again and again if the land manager/farmer knows what he/she is doing)

    Total fossil fuel/industry emissions worldwide in 2020 was about 34 billion tonnes CO2.

    But wait there is more. Land use change was an emissions source of about 6 billion tonnes, and changing that to a sink instead with ecosystem restoration gives us ~38 Billion tonnes CO2e potential sequestration rate against ~34 billion tonnes CO2 emissions.

    So which is more important? And which must be done first?

    I would claim both are equally important and both should be done as quickly as possible. Then we really would have drawdown. 

    Reducing emissions alone can not produce drawdown. At best it would reduce emissions to near zero but likely still not reduce legacy CO2 and even with current levels of CO2 the Earth will continue to warm.

    Even if every acre of agriculture in the world was converted to regenerative agriculture, and wild biomes with restored ecosystem services, it probably still would not drawdown CO2. Offset most current emissions probably (we need more data, but this is currently what the data supports), but not actually reduce atmospheric CO2.

    But both together has a real chance. Together its possible to dramatically reduce CO2 with renewable energy; and ALSO convert to regenerative ag and reforestion where applicable to remove legacy CO2, then this steep ski slope hill Mann refers to could be made manageable. 

    I still have not read Manns book, but I did watch his hour long talk and read several reviews. I don't think he is hostile to regenerative ag per se, but he also doesn't seem very convinced of the need to do both immediately.

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  27. Increased awareness and improved understanding applied to limit harm done and repair harm that has already been done (the objective of the Sustainable Development Goals) leads to common sense acceptance of the need to rapidly end fossil fuel use, implement changes that reduce the magnitude of the massive mess that has been made, and help improve the lives lived by the less fortunate - all at the same time.

    Red Baron's position that emissions reduction and agriculture changes to sequester carbon should be done concurrently is aligned with that understanding. And so is the Green New Deal understanding that the efforts to fix the harm done by harmfully selfish people needs to include improving the living circumstances of the least fortunate.

    Defending concepts like Capitalism, Democracy, Freedom, and Nationalism requires helpful corrective action to rapidly end the harmful results created by harmfully selfish people and repair the damage the harmfully selfish have caused. Defending those things requires a significant reduction of status of harmfully selfish people.

    The real problem always has been, and continues to be, the harmfully selfish being able to get away with harmfully personally benefiting. The harmfully selfish, including the potentially unwitting pawns in the misleading marketing efforts of the harmfully selfish like Nick, claim that people pursuing increased awareness and improved understanding of the required corrections to harmful unsustainable socioeconomic-political developments are anti-Capitalist, anti-Democracy, anti-Freedom or anti-Nationalists (what the helpful people are accused of being in regions with harmful authoritarian leadership). Those people are actually understandably anti-"harmfully selfish". It is the harmfully selfish, not those who expose the need to correct the harm done by the harmfully selfish, who threaten potentially helpful concepts like Capitalism, Democracy, Freedom, or National Pride because their harmful selfish actions get tied to and harm those potentially helpful concepts.

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  28. Red Baron at 76:

    It is interesting to see how much carbon was able to be fixed in the example you linked.  However, there are tradeoffs.  From the abstract of your study:

    "However, when comparing required land between the two systems for food production, MSPR required 2.5 times more land when compared to COM. Thus, while our model indicates that MSPR can simultaneously produce protein while regenerating land, a considerably greater land area is needed when compared to COM. Our results present an important yet paradoxical conclusion on land and food production balance. Should society prioritize an input-intensive, COM system that produces more food from a smaller yet degrading land base? Or, alternatively, should systems such as MSPR that produce less food on a larger, but more ecologically functional landscape be more highly prioritized? These complexities must be considered in the global debate of agricultural practice and land. Our results indicate MSPRs are a useful model for alternative livestock production systems with improved environmental outcomes, but in this study may present considerable land-use tradeoffs." my emphasis.

    They obtained good results for fixing carbon but there were severe land use issues.  More land use often means less short term profit for farmers.  The answer is complicated.

    In addition, the land they studied was degraded cropland (much land is farmed until it is degraded).  It was located in an area that used to have good soil and gets a good amount of rain.  You cannot extrapolate the results from that area to all worldwide rangeland.  Much rangeland is used to graze animals because it is poor quality land and/or gets little rain.  I recently drove across New Mexico and Arizona through rangeland.  It would be impossible to fix as large amounts of carbon as your study measured because they do not get sufficient rain.  You need to make more realistic estimates of carbon fixation if you want widespread support.

    Changing farming practices can produce major benefits for climate action.  Actually achieving possible benefits worldwide is a difficult problem.

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  29. @77 One Planet Only Forever,

     Thanks for the kind words and yes a socioeconomic "Square deal" (to borrow a phrase from Teddy Roosevelt) does indeed need addressed, simply to make sure bad actors don't ruin all the hard work we do. Holistic management considers systems with complex social, ecological and economic factors; management considers and plans in the whole, rather than each as separate. This applies at every level of management from the land manager himself to every level of government from local, regional, national, and even international. 100% with you there. We probably use different terminology, but the principles are overlapping for sure.

    @ 78 michael sweet,

    Great post. I would like to discuss a few things about it though.

    1)It is important to know the study results claim they were measuring sequestered carbon, not fixed carbon. The fixed carbon numbers are much larger, but not stable. Decay of fixed carbon (biomass) will release CO2 as it is cycled in the labile carbon cycle. Stable carbon is sequestered into geological timeframes, even if eroded that carbon will generally turn up in sedimentary deposits rather than being released back into the atmosphere. It's an important destinction for climate scientists to understand. Only a fraction of fixed carbon gets sequestered long enough be considered sequestered in the soil, and that % has everything to do with the methodology and biology. Did you use the term "fixed" purposely? Do you think there is a flaw in their methods? Or was this an oversite on your part?

    2) You mentioned hydrology, a subject obviously very important to agriculture. However, there is a nuance you might not know about. I don't believe I have ever posted this study here because the focus here is primarily CO2e. (I have posted it many other places as water is obviously critical to the land manager) 

    Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho

    Notice please that comparing different methods of grazing and even total rest (no grazing at all besides the odd insect or rodent), regenerative grazing has the highest soil water content! This is a function of water infiltration and holding capacity against the evaporation and transpiration rate. Soil biology and various types of carbon content have everything to do with this result. It explains the biophysical reason for the counter-intuitive results of even arid and semiarid grasslands still being capable of sequestering significant rates of CO2e. The biological community in the soil is in fact purposely using carbon compounds retrieved from symbiotic relationships with plants and animals to more effectively use the little water that does come annually. This results in the very counter-intuitive high rate that healthy semiarid grasslands actually sequester . Healthy arid and semiarid grasslands have far more soil carbon sequestration than even tropical rainforests! (although tropical rainforsts fix far more carbon into biomass) It is in fact their evolutionary fitness strategy that gave them the advantage over other vegetation and soil microbiology community types in dryer areas. There are limits to this of course, but surprisingly low amounts of rainfall are needed, once full ecosystem function is achieved. 

    On the other hand I do agree with your final statement. I actually do need to make more realistic estimates of carbon sequestration for widespread support. I am in fact trying to get some more good data on that as part of my Red Baron Project. I actually don't post everything about the project plans here, but be sure I am very aware of the need for better data and am working on finding creative ways to get that data.

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  30. Yet again there are too many, in my view flawed, responses to give answers to all. I still think none of you are fully getting what I am saying. Nigel J is closest to 'getting it', MAR is (waaay) furthest away (his comment #72 in particular is a mirror inage of the sort of toxic denialist misrepresentation of someone's position that we see too often when fighting said denialists).

    I'll try and restate things later, if I get time, and will try to clarify the bits where peoples' defences are causing then to bounce off. In the meantime, remember that all this sponsoring of think tanks, who used denialist rhetoric as part of their lobbying for corporate clients, took place quite a long time ago when carbon capture and sequestration seemed a lot more promising than it has proved to be (until recently) a couple of decades later. Back then it was an entirely reasonable position for a corporation to take to assume technological progress would  be delivering the CCS magic machines in time to do the job of nullifying emissions to atmosphere. The coal industry, for obvious reasons, were most hoping for this get-out-of-jail-free card. I think it was BP or Shell Oil that first had their accountants put a notional 'carbon price' into their financial reports, thus hedging their bets. Should CCS prove economic, any carbon sequestered would not be taxed; should it not, then their financial planning would already be taking a carbon price into account.

    As it happens, just about the only thing preventing the uptake of existing CCS tech is money - the lack of a suitable global carbon price. The actual technology/chemistry, which is pretty simple, works just fine, and has done for some considerable time, it's only the economics of running it which have been dodgy. However, that's likely to change rapidly as Carbon Engineering's system of direct air capture is expected to come in at around $100 a tonne, which is waay better than other systems. This is tech is also about direct capture of CO2 from the ambient atmosphere. Obviously, point of generation 'smoke stack' capture would be even easier. Even doubling that figure means that just a moderate carbon price would be sufficient to justify sequestering carbon just on financial grounds.

    Excerpt from their latest news:

    "Project Dreamcatcher is a key step towards Storegga and CE’s ambitions to build a large-scale DAC plant in the UK within the next five years. The proposed large-scale DAC facility will capture between 500,000 and one million tonnes of atmospheric CO2 each year and then safely and permanently store it deep below the seabed in an offshore geological storage site. One of the locations being considered by the partnership for this facility is in North East Scotland, with access to the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen Project (Acorn).

    Acorn is one of the most mature UK CCS and hydrogen projects and is positioned to be the most cost-effective and scalable CCS project in the UK. The Acorn project is currently in the detailed engineering and design phase of development and is planned to be operational by the mid 2020’s. DAC, CCS and hydrogen technologies are complementary solutions that provide key tools for the UK to meet its net zero targets."

    However, this doesn't mean that I think that Big Fossil Fuel's original hope that CCS would enable them to indefinitely continue to run their industry at the scale it was will come to pass. I think the business risk they took twenty years ago will not pan out for them. I'm fairly sure that the fossil fuel industry will shrink in future as the price of new renewables continues to fall to below the price of new fossil fuel and the much improved 'failsafe' and modular designs of new generations of nucelar power stations are authorised. It may be that there will always be some remaining niche applications for them to fulfil in future which still need fossil fuels and so CCS can take care of that, whilst sucking out existing excess atmospheric CO2.

    I think Scott's (Red Baron) system of carbon capture by sequestration of carbon into managed agricultural field systems has far more (read 'huge'...) potential than most realise. The arguments against it sound very close to the type of rhetoric that extreme environmentalists and left'ish anti-Big Industry types use to argue (fallaciously, in my opinion) against technological CCS inasmuch as I think it clear that they're antithetical to any solutions which promise to let our current technological civilisation continue as it is and so they jump through mental hoops to undermine them leaving, they hope, their favoured solutions as the only option.

    Whilst I'm throwing cats amongst the pigeons, how about this? Assuming widespread adoption of CCS techniques enables us to start lowering atmospheric levels in future, I don't think we should try to get back to pre-industrial levels of 280ppm. I think 350 ppm would be a great place to stop as it keeps us just about in the 'goldilocks zone' where the long term benefits of moderate global warming are, on balance, neutral or positive and would have the very long term benefit of heading off the next glaciation...

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  31. Here's a paper on Carbon Engineering's proposed 1 Mtonne/year plant

    A Process for Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere


    Detailed engineering and cost analysis for a 1 Mt-CO2/year direct air capture plant

    Levelized costs of $94 to $232 per ton CO2 from the atmosphere

    First DAC paper with commercial engineering cost breakdown

    Full mass and energy balance with pilot plant data for each unit operation

    BTW, as some of you are using exactly the same insinuative style as hardline denialists do, let me state that just as I've had to frequently 'deny' to them that I'm a watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside), I am hereby stating that I'm not a shill for 'Big CCS', I'm just someone who wants to solve excessive global warming using any safe methods which work unhandicapped by outdated and manipulative dogma dictating the solutions that political and activist forces favour, even though those methods might not enable the optimum suite of solutions to be assembled and deployed.

    In fact, so far, CCS has cost me money! I've sponsored Scott's (Red Baron's) controlled scientific experiment to get some hard figures which are sorely needed in a field (sorry about pun...) that has many 'gee whiz!' anecdotes and tales of incredible success, but precious little peer reviewed science

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  32. Using their figures of $100-232/tonne CO2 that equates to about between  28c - 65c per US gallon.

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  33. Nick Palmer @80,

    Would I also be "waaay" off if I were to suggest that your habit of throwing your dead cats at us pidgeons (rather than explaining yourself properly) is entirely incompatible with somebody who is "one of the very few climate science denier fighters who can actually beat them," an ability you tell us (amid the self-trumpeting @31 upthread) that you possess. I see no sign of any such ability within your comment down ths thread, none whatever.

    Due to the high wordage, I havdn't properly read your input up-thread until now. Having now done so, I must say it does not make for pretty reading. Thus you kick off @1 by blaming Joe Public for AGW. Big Oil are just doing what the public want, so don't blame them for AGW. "Whatever concerns the great mass of the ordinary public may have had and now have is clearly outranked by their desire to continue using the products and services more or less as usual."

    And your contributions continue from there peppered with similar denialist nonsense all the way to the latest serving #80 where we are boldly informed that "back then [20 years ago] it was an entirely reasonable position for a corporation to take to assume technological progress would be delivering the CCS magic machines in time to do the job of nullifying emissions to atmosphere" although you "think the business risk they took twenty years ago will not pan out for them." A business risk? Do explain the risks those nice Big Oil companies took which they hoped would ensure their lucrative FF extraction were compatable with a stable cimate!! (Persumably this would not be an anachronistic risk given, as you argue @18 the scientific findings "at the time were just not solid enough to mandate massive corporation change without a lot more scientific work.")

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  34. @Nick Palmer,

    There is one important potential unintended emergent property of complex systems effected by industrial CCS that I don't think you or anyone else has fully taken into account, and it is actually beyond my capabilities to fully understand as well.

    Currently there is more carbon missing from our agricultural land and degraded ecosystems than extra CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Lets just suppose that full scale CCS and BCCS are implemented worldwide at the same time as dramatic reductions in fossil fuel emissions happen. This would be in effect the "best case scenario". I don't see the best case scenario happening any time soon, but that does seem to be the goal in the short to mid term to at least stop AGW for now.

    There might be a time when the monetary value of CO2 is so high that instead of a fight to reduce CO2 from the atmosphere, there could be a fight to extract CO2 beyond what is beneficial. There might also be some outgassing from the oceans or other sources that I cant begin to calculate.

    As it turns out complex living biological systems are self regulating. So the risk of problems with BCCS are pretty small I think. However, it would seem to me that we could slip right past that so called "goldilocks zone" you mentioned. If CCS is profitable, and it must be made to be profitable or it will never happen, then we could potentially find ourselves with a new climate war in the future, with those benefiting from CCS fighting to extract every dime they can, including denialist think tanks obfuscating the issue in much the similar way fossil fuel companies hired the merchants of doubt to obfuscate AGW.

    I personally don't trust the right decisions to be made from any  centralized player, government or industry, where such huge temptation is fostered by the huge amounts of money floating around. It is one of many reasons my Red Baron Plan focuses so strongly on local, and profitability with or without a carbon price at all. The economics of abundance that support regenerative agriculture are in direct conflict with the economics of scarcity used by almost all economic systems used in the world today, left or right.

    In either case though, this is a long term factor that needs addressed.

    Can you imagine the disaster of a potential future where the Worldwide soils and ecosystems that support all life on Earth (including us) were not restored yet, but where the atmospheric CO2 was already dropping past 300 ppm down to 200 ppm and lower? It's a very serious part of the system that must be at least considered along with contingency plans.

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  35. Regarding Nick Palmers comments @80.

    I'm glad to hear I'm close to fully getting it, whatever 'it' is. Im still a bit hazy on things. His basic idea appears to be that oil companies launched a campaign to spread climate disinformation because of left leaning environmentalist policies including potentially shutting off fossil fuels, carbon taxes,  and regulations and if only they had focused on CCS and regenerative farming the oil companies would have desisted from their odious campaign.

    Well maybe the oil companies would have desisted. Its all rather speculative.  The trouble is CCS was never looking like a sufficient option, and is still not cost competitive. Its cheaper just to build renewables. And things like carbon taxes are actually neoliberal market mechanisms, so are they really left leaning ideas? But I suppose it depends on how you define "left leaning policies" and they could arguably include carbon taxes, subsidies for renewables, regulations etc,etc. Maybe Nick has a point that the oil companies were reacting against left leaning policies, but my reaction is so what? Those are still the only realistic options we have! CCS and direct air capture are still in their infancy and are expensive technologies.

    But for the sake of argument, lets say we used CCS and direct air capture and kept burning fossil fuels. We whould have to be doing this for many centuries until we run out of fossil fuels! Imagine the number of CCS and / or direct air capture facilities, and the horrendous costs of processing and sequestering all that C02! It looks like we need renewables and to phase out fossil fuels and things like CCS and direct air capture (which does have some appeal) would be used to help mop up some limited quantity emissions, if building renewables is going too slowly. So they are a "bit player.'

    Using regenerative agriculture as a carbon sink  is something else and does look useful. But obviously its not sufficient so that you could just go on burning fossil fuels. The numbers I've seen suggest it can sequester about 30% of our typical yearly emissions if fully scaled up globally. This is a very useful number and it doesn't have the costs of vast rows of direct air capture machines and their manufacturing processes which do have some environmental impacts. But it suggests regenerative agriculture is a serious mopping up exercise that compliments renewables. I'm pretty sure RB has said much the same.

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  36. "...getting it, whatever it is" does not seem like a particularly ringing endorsement of whatever Nick is promoting.

    I'm more in agreement with MAR: NIck's writing "does not make for pretty reading".

    Nick has again started off with a diatribe about how "none of us are fully getting what I am saying", but he's not going to tell us why our responses are "flawed" and accuses MAR of  writing something that "is a mirror inage [sic]of the sort of toxic denialist misrepresentation of someone's position".

    Maybe your arguments are not well expressed, and not that convincing, Nick?

    I get that you dislike Greenpeace. I get that you don't like Oreske's work. I get that you have personal anecdotes that convince you that the oil industry really hasn't been behaving all that badly.

    I have personal anecdotes, too. I studied the physics of freezing soils and construction of arctic pipelines from some of the expert witnesses involved in the Berger Inquiry, and then worked in the oil patch and research comunity for three years before going back to grad school. I saw personally how the industry struggled to figure out how to deal with thaw settlement of warm pipelines in permafrost, and frost heave of refrigerated pipelines in unfrozen soils. Building pipelines in the arctic was not like building them in Texas.

    ...and I saw the public position the companies took, blaming delays on "environmentalists", all while working internally to understand engineering problems they had no solutions to. I saw this 40 years ago.

    So, Nick, your argument that you are presenting some new idea that goes against common viewpoints seems odd to me - I've seen the "the environmentalists made us do it" charade a long time ago, and it is a dog that will not hunt - unless you can come up with something more than personal anecdotes. So, when you say "...I realise I've got an uphill struggle with you lot because you are unlikely to have heard anyone arguing this position before...", you are definitely wrong.

    As for your arguments presented here, and your accusations of "denialist misrepresentation", etc., have you really looked at how you have characterized the people you are arguing with here, and the positions (either comments here, or from the larger debate) you are arguing against?

    • "..the appearance of some of the more extreme campaigning activists by, in my view, misattributing dark motivations to and unfairly demonising the actions..."
    • "Greenpeace's highly misleading report"
    • "This is a seriously warped thing to assert."
    • "When activists try to bad mouth Exxon et al they speak from a 'post facto' appreciation of the science,"
    • "it was the far left who more or less started denialism off "
    • "I believe it was the environmental organisations excessive and unwarranted views..."
    • "... Big Oil continued to support the "B.S. factories" because they were effective at trying to protect those corporations against unwarranted attack. "
    • "...chock full of cherry picking and insinuation ..."
    • "...most seem to have been happy to accept Greenpeace et al's interpretation of events as gospel ..."
    • " alternative explanation to the insinuative narrative that just about everyone seems to have accepted. I think that narrative is fundamentally flawed and was constructed by people with a strong ideological bias as a way to socially engineer the public ..."
    • "Perhaps it might help if you and the other two knew three things which might help you..."
    • "Just watch the 'usual suspects' jump on the word 'unabated' ..."
    • "You sound like a denialist! "
    • "You lot are STILL not understanding my main point and are jumping to fundamentally fallacious conclusions about my position."
    • "I think you lot are trying to hard to prop up a very long standing meme, originated by Greenpeace and subsequently promoted by, IMHO, political forces not related to pure climate science"
    • "it's been interesting to see the, in my view somewhat biased, kick-back from long term Skepsci followers. I think what I might do in due course is approach John Cook to see if we can arrange a Zoom meeting. He and Stephan Lewandowsky are right at the forefront of the 'psychological' approach to deconstructing denialist attitudes and methods. Maybe they'll be more welcoming of a new hypothesis than others..."
    • "However, I assure you that..."
    • BTW, as some of you are using exactly the same insinuative style as hardline denialists do,

    Do you realize how your choice of words makes you appear?

    I know nothing about you other than what you post here (and possibly a bit more posted elsewhere - I don't recognize the name)). I also know for sure that you don't know anything about me, other than what I post here or on other climate-related blogs you might have seen me comment on. (You can read about me on the SkS Team page to know how I know this.)

    What's the point? Your self-agrandizement is pretty tiresome, and you really are not doing yourself any favours with your claims of knowing everything better than everyone else. You are not adderssing other people's criticisms - you are just dismissing them based on your fixed ideas about their motivation and (usually incorrect) assumptions about their sources of information.

    By the way, in this thread my count says you've mentioned Greenpeace about 25 times. Did I mention that we already know you don't like Greenpeace?

    You have said "I'll try and restate things later, if I get time,"

    Please don't unless you actually have something new to say.


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  37. I'm starting to lean the same way as Bob. 

    I have read Nick's efforts in various forums before and I respect his efforts to combat misrepresentation then.

    I am growing tired of his arrogant tone and endless repetition now. Yes Nick, your writing is so subtle and complex, the ideas expressed so profound that no matter how many times you repeat the same thing, everyone still understands it a certain way, which displeases you. I wonder why that is. 

    In post 40 I asked you several very simple yes/no questions. I'm not a lawyer so I don't use dirty tricks to make people say things in an oversimplified way that does not reflect reality. In other words, you don't have to answer any of them with just yes or no. However, you made no effort at all at answering any of them, instead hammering away with the same rethoric over and over. Did you just not have any good answer?

    And stop bragging about supporting Red Baron project, many contributors here have done the same thing, but do not throw it in anyone's face.

    You are not showing that much more intellectual honesty in that immense succession of words here than those whom you criticize so bitterly.

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  38. Just in case you lot are still resisting the idea that the politics relating to climate science have become extremely polarised - in my view to the point where ideologues of both the left and right think it justified to exaggerate/minimise the scientific truths/uncertainties to sway the democratically voting public one way or the other - here's a video blog by alt-right hero and part of the original Climategate team who publicised the emails, James Delingpole basically saying that 'the left' have infiltrated and corrupted the science for the purpose of using political deception to seize power for themselves.

    Deconstruct or follow up Delingpoles' rhetoric elsewhere and you will find a helluva lot of intelligent articulate people who believe that the public's environmental consciences are being exploited by closet socialist forces to deceive them, using 'fear porn', into voting for policies which they otherwise wouldn't consider voting for, in a dark strategy to bring in some form of latter day Marxism. They insinuate this has got its tentacles into climate science which they assert has led to the reality of the science, as presented to the public, being twisted by them for political ends. It's absolutely not just Greenpeace, as I already said, who've 'gone red' to the point where it has 'noble cause' corrupted their presentations of environmental matters and, crucially, the narrow choice of solutions they favour - those which would enable and bring on that 'great reset' of civilisation that they want to see. It's much, much bigger than that.

    I think we are seeing a resurgence and a recrystallisation of those who got convinced by Utopianist politics of the left and free market thinkers of the right taught at University - Marxist-Leninism, Ayn Rand, Adam Smith etc. Most of those students eventually 'grew up' and mellowed in time, leaving only a small cadre of incorrigible extremists but who are now, as the situation is becoming increasingly polarised politically, revisiting their former ideologies. In essence 'woking' up. I submit that the real battle we are seeing played out in the arena of climate matters is not between science and denialism of science - those are only the proxies used to manipulate the public. The true battle is between the increasingly polarised and increasingly extreme and deceitful proponents of the various far left and right ideologies and their re-energised followers.

    It is now almost an article of faith, so accepted has it become, amongst many top climate scientists and commentators, that 'denialism' is really NOT motivated by stupidity or a greedy desire to keep on making as much money as possible but is rather a strong resistance to the solutions that they fear are just 'chess moves' to bring about the great Red 'reset' they think the 'opposition' are secretly motivated by.

    Here's an excellent article by famous climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe identifying those who are 'solutions averse' as being a major factor in denialism. It touches on the 'watermelon' aspect. You can turn a blind eye to what I am saying if you want, but in that case you should also attack Hayhoe too - but don't expect many to applaud you...

    Also try this:

    I think some people who fight climate science denialism still have the naive idea that just enlessly quoting the science to them, and Skepticalscience's F.L.I.C.C logical fallacies, will make denialists fall apart. I too used to think that if one would just keep hammering away, eventually they would give up. Anyone who tries this will find that it actually does not work well at all. Take on some of the smarter ones and you will rapidly find that you are, at least in the eyes of the watching/reading/listening public, who are the only audience it's worthwhile spending any time trying to correct, outgunned scientifically and rhetorically. That's why I don't these days much use the actual nitty-gritty science as a club with which to demolish them because the smarter ones will always have a superficially plausible, to the audience at least, comeback which looks convincing TO THE AUDIENCE. Arguing the science accurately can often lose the argument, as many scientists found when they attempted to debate such notorious, yet rhetorically brilliant sceptic/deniers such as Lord Monckton.

    I haven't finished trying to clarify things for you all but right back at the beginning, in post#18, I fairly covered what I was trying to suggest is a more realistic interpretation of the truth than the activist's simplistic 'Evil Exxon Knew' propaganda one. In short, most of you seem to believe, and are arguing as if, the science was rock solid back then and that it said any global warming would certainly lead to bad things. This is utterly wrong, and to argue as if it was true is just deceitful. As I have said, and many significant figures in the field will confirm, I've been fighting denialism for a very long time so when denialists present some paper or piece of text extracted from a longer document as 'proof' of something, I always try and read the original, usually finding out that they have twisted the meaning, cherry picked inappropriate sentences or failed to understand it and thereby jumped to fallacious conclusions - similarly I read the letters and extracts that Greenpeace used and, frankly, either they were trying deliberately to mislead or they didn't understand the language properly and jumped to their prejudiced conclusions and then made all the insinuations that we are familiar with and that nobody else seems be questioning much, if at all. The idea that Exxon always knew that anthropogenic climate change was real (which they, of course, did) AND that they always knew that the results of that would be really bad and so they conspired to cover that bad future up is false and is the basis of the wilful misreading and deceitful interpretation of the cherry picked phrases, excerpts and documents that has created a vastly worse than deserved public perception of how the fossil fuel corporations acted. Always remember that, at least ideally, people (and corporations) should be presumed innocent until proven beyond reasonable doubt to be guilty. Greenpeace/Oreskes polemics are not such proof. Their insinuations of the guilt of Big Oil is just a mirror image of how the Climategate hackers insinuated guilt into the words of the top climate scientists.

    Here's a clip from my post#18

    NAP: "When activists try to bad mouth Exxon et al they speak from a 'post facto' appreciation of the science, as if today's relatively strong climate science existed back when the documents highlighted in 'Exxon knew' were created. Let me explain what I think is another interpretation other than Greenpeace/Oreskes'/Supran's narratives suggesting 'Exxon knew' that climate change was going to be bad because their scientists told them so as far back as the 70s and 80s. Let me first present Stephen Schneider's famous quote from 1988 (the whole quote, not the edited one used by denialists).

    S.S. "On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.""

    Stephen Schneider, as a climate scientist, was about 'as good as it gets' and he said that in 1988. Bear in mind that a lot of the initial framing to prejudice readers that 'Exxon knew' used was based on documents from considerably longer ago, so what are the activists who eagerly allowed themselves to be swept up in it until no-one questioned it turning a blind eye to? It's that the computer models of the time were extremely crude because computer technology back then was just not powerful enough to divide Earth up into enough finite element 'blocks' of small enough size to make model projections of much validity, in particular projections of how much, how fast and how bad or how good... Our ideas of the feedback effects of clouds and aerosols back then was extremely rudimentary and there were widely differing scientific opinions as to the magnitude or even the direction of the feedback. The scientific voices we see in Exxon Knew tend to be those who were suggesting there was lot more certainty of outcome than there actually was. That their version has been eventually shown to be mostly correct by a further 40 years of science in no way means they were right to espouse such certainty back then - just lucky. As I pointed out before, even as late as the very recent CMIP6 models, we are still refining this aspect - and still finding surprises. To insinuate that the science has always been as fairly rock solid as it today is just a wilful rewriting of history. Try reading Spencer Weart's comprehensive history of the development of climate science for a more objective view of the way things developed...

    ExxonMobil spokesperson Allan Jeffers told Scientific American in 2015. “The thing that shocks me the most is that we’ve been saying this for years, that we have been involved in climate research. These guys (Inside Climate News) go down and pull some documents that we made available publicly in the archives and portray them as some kind of bombshell whistle-blower exposé because of the loaded language and the selective use of materials.”

    Look at the phrases and excerpts that were used in both Greenpeace's 'Exxon Knew' and 'Inside Climate News's' exposés. You will find they actually are very cherry picked and relatively few in number considering the huge volumes of company documents that were analysed. Does that remind you of anything else? Because it should. The Climategate hackers trawled through mountains of emails - over ten years worth - to cherry pick apparently juicy phrases and ended up with just a few headline phrases, a sample of which follow. Now, like most of us now know, there are almost certainly innocent and valid explanations of each of these phrases, and independent investigations in due course vindicated the scientists. Reading them, and some of the other somewhat less apparently salacious extracts that got less publicity, and comparing them with the 'presented as a smoking gun' extracts from Greenpeace/Oreskes/Supran etc I have to say, on the face of it, the Climategate cherry picks look more evidential of serious misdeeds than the 'Exxon Knew' excerpts. Except we are confident that the Climategate hackers badly misrepresented the emails by insinuating shady motives where none were. Why should we not consider that those nominally on the side of the science did not do the same? Surely readers here are not so naive aas to believe that everyone on 'our side' is pure as the driven snow and all those on the 'other side' are evil black hats?

    Here's a 'top eight'

    1) Phil Jones "“I’ve just completed Mike’s [Mann] Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s [Briffa] to hide the decline.”

    2) “Well, I have my own article on where the heck is global warming…. The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” [Kevin Trenberth, 2009]

    3) “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple." Keth Briffa

    4) Mike [Mann], can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith [Trenberth] re AR4? Keith will do likewise…. Can you also e-mail Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his e-mail address…. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.” [Phil Jones, May 29, 2008]

    5) “Also we have applied a completely artificial adjustment to the data after 1960, so they look closer to observed temperatures than the tree-ring data actually were….” [Tim Osborn, Climatic Research Unit, December 20, 2006]

    6) “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow, even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” [Phil Jones, July 8, 2004]

    7) “You might want to check with the IPCC Bureau. I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 [the upcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report] would be to delete all e-mails at the end of the process. Hard to do, as not everybody will remember it.” [Phil Jones, May 12, 2009]

    8) “If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s warming blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say 0.15 deg C, then this would be significant for the global mean—but we’d still have to explain the land blip….” [Tom Wigley, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, to Phil Jones, September 28, 2008]

    Please at least consider the possibility that Greenpeace, who have been deceiving the public about the toxicity and carcinogenicity of this, that and the other for decades (ask me how if you want to see how blatant their deceit or delusion is... showing this is actually very quick and easy to do) were, in a very similar way, and motivated by their underlying ideology, deliberately (or delusionally) misrepresenting innocent phrases to blacken names excessively too.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] This line of reasoning has exhausted itself and now violates several injunctions from this site's Comments Policy (Excessive Repetition, Sloganeering and Accusations of Deception, to name but a few).  The topic of this post is Michael Mann's "New Climate War" book, the SkS reviews of it and the audio recording.  Comments should constrain themselves to that and refrain from baiting other contributors.  Please construct any subsequent comments to comport with this site's Comments Policy.

  39. Nick Palmer @88, could you firstly please clarify whether you broadly agree or disagree with my comments @85, particularly the following:

    "His (Nicks) basic idea appears to be that oil companies launched a campaign to spread climate disinformation because of left leaning environmentalist policies including potentially shutting off fossil fuels, carbon taxes, and regulations and if only they had focused on CCS and regenerative farming the oil companies would have desisted from their odious campaign. Maybe Nick has a point that the oil companies were reacting against left leaning policies, but my reaction is so what? Those are still the only realistic options we have! CCS and direct air capture are still in their infancy and are expensive technologies."

    If you disagree could you state your position please, and preferably briefly.

    Your comments about the polarisation between far left and far right sound fair enough, but its not clear what your real point or solution is.

    You express a concern that facts won't convince the denialists. This would be true. We only ever debate with denialists to educate more sensible people lurking, or for entertainment to mock the denialists. There are some denialists you should not debate.

    You argue Exxon didn't know in the early days how bad the climate problem was, yet @18 you appear to suggest Exxon's scientists exaggerated the climate problem to get the attention of the Exxon executives. If so, then the executives thought there was a big problem but hid this from the public by telling another story, so your attempts to make excuses for Exxon fall rather flat.

    You mention that Greenpeace exaggerate and cherry pick. I would suggest 99.9% of people, including politicians neither know nor care what Greenpeace say about things, so why do you keep suggesting they are somehow pivotal to the climate issue?

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  40. Nick Palmer @88,
    Delingpole? I don't see Delingpole as somebody who has any grip on anything that is worth my consideration. He is an absurd right-wing commentator, a wind-up merchant.

    You are wrong to say the 2019 Katharine Hayhoe coverage"touches on the 'watermelon' aspect." It does not. It is saying some explain their denilaism by saying they see reds-under-the-AGW-bed, not that there are any there. All Hayhoe is saying is that the solutions to AGW have not been made as toxic as the science within the minds of  those captured by denialism. That perhaps brings us back on-topic as the Mann book is saying that denialists are now laying claim to solutions such as CCS & nuclear to undermine the development of renewables. (I noted just yesterday on the BBC's Politics Live programme Steve Baker MP, one of the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy, happily arguing for CCS & nuclear and bad-mouthing solar.)
    Your other two links both discuss the same paper - Campbell & Kay (2014) 'Solution aversion: On the relation between ideology and motivated disbelief'. 
    I would suggest these citations simply makes the case against your assertion that Mann is pushing some deep-green agenda insinuated into the world by the evil GreenPeace. Rather, it suggests Mann has spotted this denialist shift in tactic.


    You then turn to addressing us pidgeons which doesn't last long before we get another dead cat lobbed at us. "I haven't finished trying to clarify things for you all but...."
    You expend 1,700 words trying to convince us that Exxon are being unfairly stitched up by Greenpeace/Oreskes. (I would suggest this is now appearing as something you care rather too much about for you not to have a dog in the race.)

    You insist GreenPeace cherrypick from ancient Exxon documents to create their case against Exxon. I would suggest that an accusation of fundamental cherrypicking by GreenPeace could be (indeed should be) backed up by some evidence (maybe show us some false allegstions of Rochefeller funding work to undermine Arrhenius). You tell us these cherrypicks are "relatively few in number" but it seem presenting them is too complicated for you even though you later tell us it "is actually very quick and easy to do"!!.

    What we do see is within you ability is to present some of the cherrypicks from Climategate (something that tick Delingpole tries to lay claim to exposing). Perhaps you feel this has more need of exposure than the case you are trying to make against GreenPeace.


    All in all, Nick Palmer, you do not present your argument or yourself well here. Rather than the cocktail of argument you attempt to present, we pidgeons get a pile of dead cats. Perhaps your arguments need presenting for you.

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  41. As one of the authors of the OP, I'd like to point out that this comment thread seems to have run its course (not to mention that it wandered off-topic quite a bit as well). Thoughts and standpoints have been exchanged and we'll just have to politely agree to disagree.

    Can we please leave it at that? Thanks!

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