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Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

Posted on 28 September 2017 by John Abraham

As soon as Donald Trump won the presidential election, people in the US and around the world knew it was terrible news for the environment. Not wanting to believe that he would try to follow through on our worst fears, we held out hope

Those hopes for a sane US federal government were misplaced. But they are replaced by a new hope – an emerging climate leadership at the state level and a continuation of economic forces that favor clean/renewable energy over dirty fossil fuels. In fact, it appears that some states are relishing the national and international leadership roles that they have undertaken. Support for sensible climate and energy policies is now a topic to run on in elections.

This change has manifested itself in American politics. One such plan stems from my home state, but it exemplifies work in other regions. I live in the state of Minnesota where we are gearing up for a gubernatorial election, which is where this plan comes from.

My state is well known as somewhat progressive, both socially and economically. The progressive policies resulted in a very strong 2007 renewable energy standard, which helped to reduce carbon pollution and create 15,000 jobs. 

As an aside, it is really painful for me to have to describe sane energy policies as “progressive.” The fact that conservatives in the US have largely attacked clean energy and the science of climate change is deeply disappointing, but it is a reality nonetheless. 

Consequently, it is not surprising that one of the candidates for Governor, Rebecca Otto, has outlined what may become the trend among other states. She is not yet elected, but her clean energy proposal has many people talking. 

The proposal presents a two-part focus on clean energy-based economic development and climate-change mitigation. Basically, in my state (and in many other states), the clean energy economy is a major contributor to the creation of new, high-paying jobs. Here wind and solar power are king. If you drive through the farm fields of southern Minnesota, you will see wind farms that stretch as far as the eye can see. With solar, there are some large-scale solar farms but the real excitement is the small-scale commercial and residential solar generation that is complementing the large-scale wind turbines.

From an energy production standpoint, this makes sense. A diversified renewable energy portfolio is one that that includes large wind (which provides intermittent power) along with solar that also is intermittent but often generates power when the wind isn’t blowing (and vice versa). Also, the small-scale nature of solar makes it more reliable, less subject to local weather systems.

So the proposed clean energy plan would leverage the fast-growing and high-wage industries in energy. It also brings to bear perhaps the best financing mechanism to spur clean energy growth (the so-called “fee and dividend”). The way fee and dividend works is a fee is charged to companies that produce greenhouse gas emissions. No longer would society be subsidizing the costs from carbon pollution

The revenue from the fees would be returned to citizens so that it becomes a revenue-neutral tool. There is no net increase in cost or increase in income. What the fee and dividend method does, however, is reward people and companies for good choices. If you make choices that reduce your greenhouse gas contributions, you end up with extra money at the end of the year. On the other hand, if you make poor choices, you end up with less money. I think of this as a tax that advantages the smart over the, well, less smart.

What is also exciting about the plan is that a portion of the fees would go to fund clean-energy technology and tax credits. For instance, residents would get funds to offset the costs of energy purchases. So when residents insulate their house, buy solar panels, or install high-efficiency heat pumps, part of that cost is covered.

It will be interesting to see if similar plans emerge nationally. Most importantly, it will be interesting to see whether the climate change and energy topic becomes something that political candidates actively run on. In the past, this issue has been low on voter priorities lists. But, if proposing bold new plans can get votes, that may change – and quickly.

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Comments 101 to 150 out of 187:

  1. nigelj @97

    The references below do not reference specific facts and despite the reference to 29.46 trillion pounds, here is what they have to say as to how much this is going to cost:

    "This new infographic by QuidCorner shows that the global cost of switching to renewable energy is high at £29.46 trillion – but that’s still only 21% of global wealth."

    Could you point me to some peer reviewed studies on the cost of switching the continental US to wind and solar similar to my same  request to BaerbelW? 

    I have shown that I am prepared to read detailed papers having read on my recent holiday, all of Chapter 9 from the IPCC 2013 assessment on "Evaluation of Climate Models" and all of Chapter 10 of the IPCC 2014 Report on RE and its Costs entitled "Mitigation Potential and Costs".

    I have not yet read Jacobson's reply and will not comment further on the Slack June 2017 paper until I have done so.  But in the meantime, can you help me locate the Clack study I referenced in my reply to BaerbelW?

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  2. NorrisM:

    Cut with the histrionics of genuflecting. What I said in comment 79 was "...if you cannot appreciate the difference between what I said in comment #68 and your first paragraph in comment #70..."

    Although you apologized with a conditional "if" @75, your latest comment states " So I hardly understand how I have misrepresented your views."

    So I finally have a direct answer - no, you cannot appreciate the difference between what I said and how you characterized it. And your apology was not based on an honest realization that you had misrepresented my views. You would have saved us both a lot of time if you had given a direct answer to begin with, instead of avoiding the question.

    I will simply repeat what I said in #92: Can you understand how it is difficult to have a discussion with you when you are making incorrect assumptions? Suggestion: ask more questions, make fewer assumptions.

    Most of the rest of your comment is a continued repetition of misconceptions and refusal to either read or inability to understand materials that others have point you towards. You continue to use emotion-laden words like "bury our economy". You continue to imply that we have lots of time to decide what to do, when others point to studies that say we need to get going on actions as soon as possible (and that there are many actions that are both technologically feasible and economically favourable now). Complete solutions? No. BUt it is better to start with partial solutions now than to do little or nothing and gamble that a perfect solution will present itself later. Any project plan that includes a dependence on planning breakthroughs is at high risk.

    I find it very telling about your mindset when the first response to my falling window glass thought experiment was to deny the physics of falling glass and assume a different physics that allows you to wait before you react. Did you notice that I asked two questions in that experiment?

    1. When do I warn you to get out of the way?, and
    2. When are you justified in taking action?

    In terms of climate change, experts are warning you to get out of the way (or stop creating the problem). The action that you are taking is to deny that the problem is urgent, and therefore you are concluding that there is little justification in taking much action now. Your assimilation of information is being strongly biased by that mindset.

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  3. Norris M @101

    I just dont have time to find peer reviewed assessments of costs of switching to renewable energy right now. Some of this stuff is not easy to follow and full of jargon, and I don't have time to find the right study for you.

    What I suggest is the following, which will be more useful to you anyway:

    The IEA (International energy agency) says it costs 1% of a countries gdp approx. to convert to renewables, phased in over a reasonable period 20 - 30 years. 

    I strongly suggest you contact the IEA directly. I'm sure they would  be only too happy to provide information, help and answer questions or alternatively point you at whatever information you need. 

    Or just talk to one of the electricty organisations in your own country.

    Just some final notes. The study I gave you does indeed say " £29.46 trillion – but that’s still only 21% of global wealth." It also says further on 1% of gdp, because such a scheme is obviously phased in over time, not all done in one year. But you realise this.

    It's just actually not that complicated to calculate. We know Americas (for example) generating capacity in mw's,  and how much renewable energy costs in mw's, and that we need about 10% gas fired backup, and approx. 50% transmission lines upgrades over time. Multiple agencies do the maths and keep getting 1% of gdp. Obviously it will vary around this somewhat in individual countries depending on for example how much current supply is renewable or hydro etc. 1% is very easily affordable. 

    Of course plenty of Americas transmission lines will need to be replaced regardless of renewables, I have read the whole transmission grid is ancient and needs upgrading,  and much coal plant only has limited years left, and renewable energy will drop in price further its just a question of how much. And of course you will have inflation in some other things like perhaps copper cables.

    But my point is estimates of approx. 1% are if anything pessimistic. 

    You must realise these sorts of things, you are well educated. 

    Sea level rise doesn't have to immediately jump to 10mm. You would be aware of accelerating curves, parabolic curves, that sort of thing. Sea level rise has long been predicted to be an accelerating curve, particularly after 2050.

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  4. Norris, I also largely agree with what Bob Loblaw is saying, apart from the business of what you admitted to or didnt. I understand how lawyers are trained, I have used enough lawyers for various things. 

    But I want to reiterate his point "In terms of climate change, experts are warning you to get out of the way (or stop creating the problem)."

    This sums it up so poignantly for me . You cant expect the science community to do more. You have to do more to come to the party and be open minded about the issues and find information.

    Its natural to have a little healthy scepticism, but its easy for this to go wrong and turn into something  irrational, negative, defensive, and self justifying and dogmatic. 

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  5. Norrism:

    Here is another reference  (Connolly et al) that documents that the cost of a renewable energy system is low.  In this paper the cost of a renewable system for the entire EU is estimated at 10-15% higher than BAU using fossil fuels.  They point out that many fossil fuels are imported while renewable energy is generated inside the EU so there are additional financial advantages to renewable energy (about 10 million jobs).

    They do not quantitate the advantages of much lower pollution from renewable energy, although we should keep in mind that coal use alone kills 10-15,000 people each year in the USA alone and causes over $40 billion per year in health costs.  All those costs would be in addition to not having to import fuel from the Middle East.  One meter of sea level rise would flood over $1trillion of real estate in south Florida alone.  Many trillion more in the rest of the USA alone. 

    It is easy to find these types of studies.  I used Google Scholar and typed in Jacobson 2015 renewable energy.  It currently has about 115 references.  I clicked on the cited by papers to get a list of them.  Click on the paper to get a copy (usually they are not free, but sometimes they are).  Connolly et al was the first one on the list.  Most of the rest are additional studies that document that renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels.  Read several to get more up to date.

    Connolly et al does not use any nuclear energy

    "due to its economic, environmental, and security concerns. In addition, nuclear power does not fit in a renewable energy system with wind and solar, since it is not very flexible". 

    Your support of nuclear is opposite to the scientific tide.  Even Brave New Climate no longer posts new papers.

    You need to figure out how to research this information on your own if you want to be serious.  If you want a copy of Clack google his name.  Academic persons invariably have a web page and usually have free links to their papers.  Google Scholar can help find free papers if you cannot find their web page.  Clacks paper will be one of the references to his paper in Google Scholar (Clacks paper is on the list of cited by papers for Jacobson linked above).

    The Clack study has been discredited since most of the persons on the paper did no work (only 3 did any work). It is generally considered to be dishonest to list persons who did no work on the paper as authors.  You are welcome to refer to a discredited study if you wish, but Jacobson has a much stronger record of honesty.  Jacobson's work has stood the test of time over the past 10 years.  The huge number of papers citing his work tell you that scientists listen to what Jacobson says.  Discounting Jacobson in favor of Clack would be accepting an inferior paper just because it supports your preconceived notions.  Jacobson has many more supporting citations which generally tells the story.  Connolly et al is an example of a paper that supports Jacobson and contradicts Clack.

    Connolly's paper I linked above uses liquid electrofuels as primary energy storage instead of hydrogen.  There are existing facilities for these fuels so no storage has to be built.  I have never liked Jacobson's use of hydrogen as primary energy storage.  Jacobson does not like the pollution caused by electrofuels being burned (and they are less efficient than hydrogen).  This shows that the models of renewable energy systems are conservative since whichever method of energy storage ends up superior can be used.  Both Jacobson and Connolly use conservative assumptions for renewable energy so the final systems will be lower cost than they have estimated.  I note that their cost estimates are not very different even though their systems are very different.

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  6. I think this is the paper you wanted.

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  7. NorrisM has asked @ 98 "Could you simply define what you would expect to have included in a US carbon tax? It would be helpful for you to also come up with a price per tonne of CO2."

    I have not done so, for the simple reason that I do not think that this is a problem that can be summarized using a single number. I will try to explain why.

    First of all, my background is climatology, not economics or policy. I have experience developing, using, and applying microclimate models. A general principle used in such work, which I think has broader applicabilty, is "sensitivity analysis". A model requires inputs, and these affect outputs. Sensitivity analysis say "if I alter this input, how does that change the output?". We hopefully can obtain independent measurements of the required inputs - e.g., solar radiation, heat capacity of water, etc. - but all inputs have uncertainty. Two fundament results of this are:

    1. if the uncertainty in the input has negligible effect on the output, then it is not a concern. This obviously depends on the output that I am interested in. Different applications may use different outputs, and therefore have different concerns about the uncertainty associated with different inputs.
    2. if the uncertainty in the input has a large effect on the output I am interested in, then I have two choices: try to get a better measurement of the input (reduce uncertainty), or accept that the output also has a range of uncertainty and consider that range in subsequent analysis.

    Two examples from the CO2 problem WRT climate modelling:

    1. As input, future atmospheric CO2 expectations depend on many non-climate issues, with a range of possible values. The IPCC handles this by looking at several Representative Concentration Pathways (RPCs) - different scenarios used in running climate models.
    2. As output, different models show different amounts of warming from the same CO2 values (RPCs). The IPCC handles this by talking about a range of warming for 2xCO2 (the "Climate Sensitivity").

    Taking any single value from a known range of probabilities is a mistake. Any value within that range may or may not be what happens, and there is a probability that the eventual output will be within a certain range.

    Handling that uncertainty is a problem in Risk Management. I will expand on that in a follow-up comment.

    Now, to the rhealm of personal opinion, I think a carbon tax in the fee-and-dividence class is a better choice than Cap-and-Trade, as it is more predictable for business (less uncertain) WRT to future costs, and it is probably harder to game (either by a business sector or government).

    I think that any carbon tax needs to start low to avoid sudden shocks on the economy, but needs to rise fairly rapidly to a level that realistically represents most, if not all, externalized carbon costs.

    There is uncertainty in the "true" SSC. There is also uncertainty in how the economy (and society) will respond to any changes such as a carbon tax. This will require monitoring and probably adjustment as time goes on.

    But it needs to start now, not decades later after we have waited to reduce uncertainty. We have already lost decades of time since the science of climate became clear, and the longer we wait, the more it is going to hurt and the faster we will have to react. (cf. the window glass example.)

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  8. In my previous comment, I referred to Risk Management. Risk Management is generally defined as the process by which you incorporate uncertainty into planning.

    • Risks are things that might happen. When a risk happens, it becomes an event, and you should have a plan for how you will react to that event.
    • Risks can be positive or negative. The risk that your house burns down is clearly negative. The risk that an unknown relative dies and leaves you $1M in her estate is positive.

    We often only think in terms of negative risks. Once a risk is identified (and climate change is definitely a barrel full of risk issues), you want to assess it on two scales:

    1. What is the probability? Almost certain? Likely? Possible? Unlikely? This will affect the resources we wish to apply to the issue.
    2. What is the potential impact? Negligible? Small? Moderate? Severe? This will affect the resources that we will have to put into it if it happens.

    Usually, Risk Management will place risks into a matrix with these two scales. Usually, any moderate to severe impact risk needs active management, even if the likelihood is small.

    Risk Management can use several techniques:

    • Reduce the risk, by taking actions that make it less likely to happen. (Emit less CO2.)
    • Reduce the potential impact. (Build sea walls, move cities away from coasts, upgrade infrastructure to mitigate damage from severe weather, breed drought-resistant crops.)
    • Transfer the risk to someone else. (Let the undeveloped world suffer while we live the high life.) Not a moral option, IMHO, and not an option at all if we consider ourselves to be part of a global community (there is no "them", just "we").
    • Just let it all happen and hope we can fix the mess later on (our current path, for the most part). Often a reasonable option for low risk, low impact issues (of which climate change is not one).

    IMHO, it is not acceptable to decide that we will only deal with risks that are almost certain or just highly likely. At the extreme high end of the IPCC possible outcomes, we are looking at events that would carry very high costs, even if these risks are unlikely to occur. We need to make sure these don't happen, if we can.

    IMHO, many of the arguments against strong action fall into three, non-exclusive, areas:

    • The risks are very low. ("It's all a hoax".)
    • The impacts are very low. ("CO2 is plant food." "Warming is beneficial").
    • The costs of taking action are extremely high ("You will destroy the economy").

    Each of these arguments consist of looking at a range of possibilities and picking a single value from one end of the range that most suits the individual's preferred course of action - Business As Usual. It is Bad Risk Management.

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  9. Note: in comment 107, I should be abbreviating Representative Concentration Pathways  as RCPs, not RPCs.

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  10. A carbon tax seems the most transparent option, and should indeed start low but be ramped up quickly. But it can always be adjusted according to circumstances. I detect the conservative (Norris)  versus liberal mindset. This is caution versus get on and do something, and both viewpoints are understandable, and its just not that hard to reconcile the differences. Its always best to do something and get started, but no tax is frozen in time and can be adjusted either up or down according to circumstances, provided its principles based and not pandering to lobby groups.

    Some predictions (google Tony Seba) have uptake of electric cars being faster than predicted and he might be at least partly right. If that proved to be the case a carbon tax on petrol could be phased down or frozen, and dividends directed away from subsidies on electric cars to other things. Its got to be an ongoing process.

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  11. michael sweet @105 and 106

    Thanks very much.  I have now printed (and paid for) the MacDonald, Clack January 2016 paper.  I thought I had got onto that website but when I searched "Clack" I only came up with other "Clacks" (no pun intended).

    I am looking forward to digesting it when I have time.  Given the cost, I have gone with the Clack paper, if only because Clack has some credibility in my mind because he and his associates were prepared to criticize a fellow scientist.  I have yet to read the criticisms of the Clack criticism but I certainly plan to do so.

    If hear your comment regarding how many of the 21 scientists actually contributed to the paper and your criticism of these others adding their names but it does tell you that they must strongly agree with the contents of the paper.   But again, thanks very much.

    Based upon your other comments above, your references to liquid electrofuel as a storage method means that you do not agree with the statement made in that paper:

    "There are no electric storage systems available today that can affordably and dependably store the vast amounts of energy needed over weeks to reliably satisfy demand using expanded wind and solar power generation alone. These facts have led many US and global energy system analyses (1–10) to recognize the importance of a broad portfolio of electricity generation technologies, including sources that can be dispatched when needed."

    That certainly that was my "layman" understanding because battery technology had not progressed as hoped.  My "battery" information is from a Foreign Affairs article perhaps 2 years ago.  There was no reference at that time to other storage methods that could replace battery storage.  Notwithstanding its name "Foreign Affairs" publishes a great number of articles beyond foreign affairs.  It has become my "go to source" for keeping up on most things in the world (even has climate change articles) since a number of times I have just given up on The Economist simply because of information overload.

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  12. Bob Loblaw @ 107 and 108

    At least I now understand your position.  In many ways it is not dissimilar to mine leaving aside the question of how much time we have to respond to AGW.

    I suspect the biggest difference between us is that is that you are dealing with theoretical issues of what should be inputted into a carbon tax and whether the developed countries should  pay for the costs of rising sea levels in the rest of the world (I completely agree on your cap and trade comments).  You are talking about what should logically be included (and who should pay) and I am talking about what is and is not politically realistic in the United States today and the foreseeable future given the existing Republican administration.   Perhaps even on this we agree because you do propose a low number to start with. 

    I am just not confident that there is any realistic chance of increasing the "low number" carbon tax (even if I agreed with increasing it beyond pollution costs) without suffering a major backlash when the American public and business finds out what a large carbon tax would mean to them in costs let alone what the brave new world looks like visually.   On that note,  Michael Miersch, the Director of the German Wildlife Foundation is now delivering that message of what it looks like in Germany to the British public in a speaking engagement.   If the GWPF website summary of his position is correct it is something like this:

    "Germany's green energy transition is destroying vast swathes of nature, agricultural lands and forests. In the name of climate policy, rare birds and endangered species are being killed while much of the countryside is transformed into industrial parks."

    These are some of the "unintended consequences" that Karl Popper talks about.  Perhaps Germany will prove to be the testing ground while the rest of the world waits for a US Democratic President and Congress.

    I think a better way to approach the American public is with a carbon tax that is rationalized based on pollution costs and then present them with a cost effective method of switching to solar and wind power.  That is why my focus has shifted to costs of implementation of such a system.   Whether there are viable storage systems for VRE (see discussion above) is obviously a critical issue. 

    I still am very suspect of whether the US public would sign on to wind farms over even 6% of the continental US but that is for another day.  A quick look at Clack suggests the wind farms would be far away from populated areas.  I want to spend more time on why nuclear is so out of the question when both Sweden and France implemented nuclear power for 80% of their power generation over a very short time.  What went wrong?  I suspect we are talking about massive delays from political interference reflected in massive regulations and time delays.  Could we see Trump start to promote nuclear power?  Those regulatory delays might start to disappear.  But again, that is for another time. 

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  13. Norrism:

    Nuclear often introduces endless debate.  Supporters of nuclear and opponents can never agree on what data to use.

    This article by Derek Abbott, a widely respected engineer, gives 13 reasons why nuclear is completely impractical.  I am not aware of any attempt by nuclear supporters to counter these arguments in a peer reviewed study.  They generally make some vague statement about Sweden and Franace (which are both switching to renewable energy and decomissioning nuclear plants) and ignore the fact that Nuclear is dying.  Since Abbotts arguments have not been countered it stands to reason that they are accepted by most scientists.  

    Nuclear is a failed technology.  Its remaining proponents are desperate to generate interest in a dead horse.  It has nothing to do with regulations, nuclear is too expensive.  Abbott suggests many additional reasons why it is a waste of money to pursue  nuclear.  Current nuclear projects under construction in the West are bankrupting the builders and have been described as "unbuildable" by the engineers supervising the build.

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  14. NorrisM @112 , your assistance please!

    A link, please — I have not managed to find the source of journalist Michael Miersch's comments that [allegedly] "Germany's green energy transition is destroying vaste swathes of nature ... while much of the countryside is transformed into industrial parks."

    And is his comment a sober & factual assessment, or the raving hyperbole by what the Germans call ein Spinner [= a nutcase] ?

    ( The latter "case" seems much more likely, if he was someone called in to address a meeting of the GWPF. )

    All I have found about journalist Miersch, is that recently a German court has decided that he has been lying to his reading public (in his advocacy of false & misleading information about climate matters — in other words he has been lying about the science of Global Warming.  It sounds like the court felt his wish for journalistic freedom of expression did not outweigh his untruthfulness. ) .

    I must say that it is a great pity that the Anglophone courts do not similarly take action against the many liars in the Anglophone press, in connection with both the Holocaust deniers and the AGW deniers.

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  15. NorrisM:

    I think we disagree on a lot more than you are letting on.

    "Theoretical issues" is a very poor alternate phrasing for "uncertainties". I think our difference is that I want to include a larger range of SSC in planning, because I do not want to restrict our plans to hoping that costs will be on the low side. You appear to only want to deal with the "high probability, high impact" part of the risk management matrix, so please explain what you see as our differences a little more clearly.

    As for who pays for the costs of rising sea levels, which of the following do you disagree with?

    1. Global warming from fossil fuel burning causes increased sea levels - best estimate is about 1m by 2100 (might be less, might be a lot more) under the IPCC moderate CO2 emissions scenarios.
    2. Rising sea level of that quantity represents a major impact with high costs for a very large population around the world.
    3. Benefits of burning fossil fuels largely accumulate with those that produce or burn them, whether they live close to sea level or not.
    4. Impacts of sea level rise affect people/places close to sea level, whether they burn fossil fuels or not.
    5. Rich countries can mitigate some impacts through expensive construction or protection measures.
    6. Poor countries can't do much but run away.
    7. Costs borne by people at sea level that did not benefit from the consumption of fossil fuels elsewhere represents an economic externality in the use of fossil fuels.
    8. Saying "tough $#!^; I don't care about other people that live in poor counties near sea level. I just want cheap gas for my Hummer" is not playing nice in the global sandbox.

    The US is only part of the world. And people can avoid paying large amounts in carbon taxes by choosing alternatives - and alternatives are growing rapidly. You seem to want to appease the people that think like #8 on my list (well, they often actually start their denial with #1, but that is another story).

    The ideal situation with a carbon tax, is that eventually everyone mostly avoids it because they can choose to not use fossil fuels - because by removing the economic externalities we have properly included the Total Cost of Ownership, and people will make the lower-cost choice and industry will find a way to provide it.

    The taxes that go to relief efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico eventually have to be paid. The post that we are commenting on (well, the moderators haven't told us to go elsewhere yet) is pointing out that people in the US are slowing shifting to realizing that this shift in economic priorities is valuable.

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  16. Recommended supplemental reading:

    Renewables will give more people access to electricity than coal, says IEA by Simon Evans, Carbon Brief, Oct 19, 2017

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  17. Michael Sweet at 113,

    France certainly has expertise and experience among the highest in the World on nuclear power, and a long history of operatng without any large scale incident. And yet the Finnish Okiluoto EPR reactor is coming out at almost 3 times the original contracted price and will not be ready until May 2019, almost 14 years after construction started. It would not be surprising at all if it takes in fact 15 years to have the plant fully operational and delivering as intended. That is rather amusing (although perhaps not for the Finns), consdering that the projected useful life of the plant will be 60 years.

    However, the biggest problem with Nuclear plants in the US, as with all other utilities, is the fact that a private company uses public money to finance the construction of their production unit, then operates as a private company as if they owned the darn thing entirely. Utilities are local private monopolies. When it comes to Nuclear plants, we're talking some very big money. The only good way to do it for the consumer is the cooperative utility model.


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  18. michael sweet @ 105

    Have now read the MacDonald, Clack paper which I found interesting.  But this gets expensive downloading these papers.  I know you have suggested the Connolly paper.  Of the 115 you referenced, if you had to point to one more on the US could you suggest one?

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  19. Moderator

    Before I continue my dialogue with Bob Loblaw, could you provide the reference for the graph you provided to me earlier relating to sea level rises?  I did not see that graph in the paper you cited and the only graph in that paper seemed to show a lower level of sea level rise that the one you provided.   Was able to open up and read that paper without paying for it as long as I did not try to print it.

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  20. Eclectic

    I am under some time constraints so I will get back to you.  Are you sure this is the Director of the German Wildlife Federation that you are referring to? 

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  21. Norris @112

    You copied annd pasted this quote : "Germany's green energy transition is destroying vast swathes of nature, agricultural lands and forests. In the name of climate policy, rare birds and endangered species are being killed while much of the countryside is transformed into industrial parks."

    These are inflammatory, unproven claims, provided without a shred of evidence.

    The following article discusses space taken up by windfarms in Germany. To quote "it finds that Germany could install 125 gigawatts of wind turbines on only 1.7 percent of the country – on land, not including offshore wind farms. Likewise, 143 gigawatts of PV could be installed on 0.9 percent of the country." This is a staggering quantity of generation on a very small area.

    And "To put these numbers into perspective, a recent study by Fraunhofer IWES investigating a 100 percent renewable supply of electricity found the need for only 87 gigawatts of onshore wind along with 40 gigawatts offshore. For PV, IWES estimated that 134 gigawatts would be needed, slightly less than what the BBR found to be feasible."

    The following article shows how false and exaggerated the claims are regarding birds.

    You will firstly note that most people in Germany support wind farms and solar farms from a poll taken, and its small local groups protesting, so the "nimby affect" (not in my back yard) and a few bird enthusiasts.
    Regarding just the bird question. There is debate claim and counter claim, but no overall good evidence rare birds are killed,or even significant numbers of other birds. So the claims in the quote are complete nonsense and hyperbole.

    The following article from wikipedia looks at general impacts of windfarms on the environment globally in all respects, including birds, aesthetics etc. It provides evidence for and against, and links to many research papers and articles. Its balanced with a good look at all sides of the debate, as best as you will ever get.

    The bottom line is impacts on birds are not nearly as large as  special interest groups in the media claim. And it points out that many people fail to consider negative effects of fossil fuels on wildlife in their calculations

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  22. NorrisM:

    Here is a graph of sea level rise predictions from the 2013 IPCC report, chapter 13, on sea level rise (copy obtained from here).

    Under RCP 8.5, 1m by 2100 is the central estimate. RCP 8.5 is the highest of their RCPs. The graph also includes RCP 2.6, which IIRC is the lowest. Central estimate in that case is about 0.7m.

    Feel free to pick either number if responding to the questions I posed in comment 115.

    IPCC AR5 figure 13.27

    With respect to examiniation of past and current rates of sea level rise, and whether a linear exptrapolation is appropriate, you can refer to this post over at Tamino's.

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  23. NorrisM @119.
    You enquire about the graphic presented within the Moderator Response @70, a comment which also referenced Slangen et al (2016).
    You are correct that the graphic does not originate from the referenced paper. It appears to originate as Figure 1 in this web page which uses the graphic to illustrate the acceleration of twentieth century SLR in turn referencing Hay et al (2015) which provides its own graphics.
    It is not clear why you would wish to discuss the origin of this graphic. The point you were making @70 was that SLR had been on-going for 150 to 200 years and was in your view an acceptable price to pay for all the benefits that FF has brought humanity, suggesting also that the rise in global temperature resulting from FF use cannot sensibly precipitate a quick abandonment of FF, you suggesting no more than "one "small incremental" step (which) would be better than throwing the baby out with the bath water." The Moderator comment specifically addressed the SLR aspect of your comment and was pointing out that SLR was accelerating and was the result of AGW. In this I think you got off lightly.

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  24. NorrisM:

    As to where the image added @ comment 70 by the moderator came from, you can determine the web location by right-clicking on the image and copying the URL somewhere where you can look at it (or just opening it in another browser window). The image was loaded from here:

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  25. Here is a free copy of the McDonald Clack paper.  I found it using Google Scholar.

    The Connolly link I provided at 105 is for a free copy. Here is another paper, I only read the abstract.  An article by BudIschak et al looks at only electricity for about 1/4 of the USA.  It is a little old now.

    I do not have time to read the rest of the other 115 papers for you.  Read the titles to see which sound interesting.  Often the free copy is listed to the right in Google Scholar.  I frequently only read the abstract, which is usually free.

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  26. Philippe Chantreau,

    I wanted to reply to you but it is too off topic.  I think we agree.

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  27. eclectic

    Here is the url from the website of the World Council for Nature which is a website dedicated to the protection of nature.  I can see from this website that they are not a fan of windfarms.

    I also see from some research that Michael Miersch is more than the Director of Communications for the German Wildlife Foundation.  He clearly is what with website would describe as a "climate skeptic".  In other words, he is in the camp of those who do not question the "97% consensus" portion but rather the questions that follow. 

    I personally have decided to focus my attention on an assumption that AGW is the major factor causing our temperature to rise so I have decided to focus more on what is the best approach to deal with it given the political realities not only in the US but other parts of the world.


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  28. Bob Loblaw @ 115

    You have posed a number of questions for which you have asked my views.  Although I will give you my personal views, you seem to miss my main point that it is the American public which you have to convince to the rhetorical questions you have posed.  If you do not get the American public onside, then for sure you will not get Mr. Trump and the Republicans onside. 

    But I am happy to give you my personal views for whatever value that is:

    1.  Agree that AGW is causing increased sea levels.  I agree that the IPCC has predicted a best estimate of 1m by 2100.  Based upon the questions posed in the APS panel conducted by Koonin from information extracted from the IPCC 2013 assessment sea levels are rising at a rate of 3 mm/yr which translates to 9.8 inches on a "linear basis".  The IPCC report does not reconcile how they get to 1m if Koonin is asking the question.  If the answer were in IPCC 2013 assessment then Koonin would not have suggested that it would take a rise of 12 mm/yr from 2014 to 2100 to reach 1m.

    2. Completely agree with this statement IF the IPCC is right.  If the rise in the next 83 years is only at 3 mm/yr I do not agree with this statement.

    3. Completely agree with this statement.

    4.  Completely agree with this statement.

    5.  Completely agree with this statement.

    6.  In a previous reply to you I have said that SCC gets "complicated" once you step past actual health costs related to pollution.  This statement is an example of that.  Poor countries clearly need help.  And one question is who should help them (see below).  But another consideration is that this is going to occur gradually over a period of a few generations.  People will adjust by moving away from the rising waters.  This is not Noah's flood (metaphor only).  If there is less land and therefore there are less children born, that will be a natural effect.  By the way, the same goes for Florida and its $1 Trillion of real estate.   Too bad Florida.  You have had a great run but we do not have any obligation to build a massive wall for you.  If it makes sense for you to do so then fine but do not expect Federal money to do so.  Over the next 100 years the gradual value of that real estate will go down (is that a "cost" you would like to include in SCC - I doubt it).  Perhaps wealthy people will now retire to Florida will invest and spend their time in Mexico.  The Mexicans will welcome them with open arms.  They could use the development.  But back to the poor countries.  I actually think like Bjorn Lomborg that there are many other ways of improving the lives of the poor in many more efficient ways than building dikes or distorting our economy with a very large carbon tax.  These are just my views on this comment.  Whether you can get the American public onside to do so which is the real relevant issue is entirely another question.  I personally think there is not a chance in the world of doing so even with a Democratic government.  Many Americans are not even ready to agree that all of their fellow Americans should have a basic level of medical coverage guaranteed.  Are they going to spend billions of dollars on others when they will not even protect their own?  There is not a President past or future who will go where the American public do not want to go unless something like the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurs.

    7.  Completely agree. But again this is where it gets "complicated".  If you want to say that Americans in Chicago should pay for costs on each coast (leaving aside the wealthy Floridians) then fine.  But if you are saying that the US or Canada should pay for building dikes around some South Pacific island that would otherwise disappear, I am out.   These are very difficult philosophical issues dealing with suffering around the world.  Are you in favour of the right of the poor of the world to immigrate to whatever country they can make it to?  There is an "argument" that this should be so.  But as soon as you say there have to be limits to immigration, then you are recognizing that the boundaries of a nation state mean something.  Part of that is how much that nation state will pay to other nations based upon vague future costs based upon predictions of future temperature increases which are largely based upon models.

    Although since I have got "hooked" as a climate junkie I do not read as many books, I have recently read a book by Charles Kupchan entitled "No One's World".  Kupchan is a Professor at Georgetown University and is a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations (Foreign Affairs journal).  His premise is that our future world will be one where there is no one or two nations that have hegemony in the world. 

    On page 81 thereof (citations are at the back of the book) he comes up with some astounding figures on the comparisons of steel production (read "big" GWGs) of the US, China and India since 1980.  In 1980 the US produced about 100 MM tons of steel that after 2008 dropped to about 80 MM tons and has stayed stable at that rate.  Over the same period Chinese production rose from around 40 MM tons/yr to 600 MM tons/yr.  India went from 10 to 65 MM tons/yr.

    It is not a coincidence as to why CO2 emissions massively increased over this period.  Most of it came from the "developing countries" and the IPCC expects this to be the case in the future.

    So who pays for the "poor"?  Is China still part of the "poor".  On a per capital basis, probably it is.   Do we write a cheque to China?  Or should China be writing a cheque? 

    When it comes to calculating the SCC of carbon these are some of the "complicated" issues that I personally do not think will ever get resolved.

    So if you want to say that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, you may be right but I do NOT think that a large carbon tax beyond the costs of pollution is the way to go.       

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  29. NorrisM @127 , thanks for the link about Michael Miersch.

    Yes that is the Miersch, and he is quite the nutcase — so we needn't dwell on him, in this thread.

    I just wished to clear up [your] point on the quotation: "Germany's green energy transition is destroying vast swathes of nature ... [etc]"

    It is evident that the quote is not a factual statement whatsoever, but is the title of an upcoming talk [Oct 24th 2017] by Miersch.

    The talk is being organized by the GWPF — the title is inflammatory and erroneous (as usual with the GWPF!).

    Internal evidence, namely the un-Germanic word "swathes", indicates that the title was probably concocted by the GWPF rather than by Miersch.  Also, the GWPF likes to have something inflammatory, to attract its own nutcases to the talk.

    Still when you have time, NorrisM (and perhaps on another thread) it would be interesting to discuss why the Anglophone court system entirely fails to protect the public from the fake news and false information disseminated by the likes of journalist Miersch.

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  30. NorrisM @128

    This may be of value to you. It's the last IPCC report on the section on sea level rise.

    It describes evidence for historic rise over the last hundred years approx., and also future projections to 2100, and also the basis for these projections. Simply put, more warming is calculated to cause higher rates of ice melt in Greenland etc, and thus an accelerating curve leading to possibly 1 metre at the higher end of expectations.

    They say for example :"High confidence in projections of increasing Greenland surface mass loss."

    In my opinion any cost on carbon or carbon tax has to factor in an evaluation of problems of sea level rise along with all other impacts of climate change. It may not be building sea walls, but there has to be some sort of evaluation of costs, and it would be arbitrary to pick and choose which impacts of climate change to include. You simply have to consider all impacts but obviously acknowledging they are estimates plus or minus.

    Of course nobody would say impose that cost immediately tomorrow as it would cause too much disruption and problems, and as you say would be politically hard work, so you would phase it in. But given the limited carbon budget remaining it needs to be ramped up reasonably quickly.

    You say how do we convince the public? Then you follow up with skeptical climate  statements and make that job harder.

    I dont see why you are turning the issue into something about helping the poor. Im a believer we should help the poor but climate change is a cost on everyone, not just the poor. There is also nothing to suggest money that would have gone into climate change emissions reductions, would somehow go into helping the poor and pardon my cynicism but I doubt it would.

    Likewise talking about the politics of immigration gets away from, the issue and is verging on a straw man as well. The most likely pathway is countries will have limits on immigration. Such market's cant be completely open as the results are too jarring. However immigration is also healthy and should be as open as possible with reasonable numbers, provided it is regulated in regard so total numbers. dont get out of control too fast. Really the question of developed countries somehow compensating less developed countries over emissions and climate change issues has to be done more based on who is the biggest emitter and who is economically struggling just from a humanitarian and social conscience viewpoint. Neither should we pay for other countries foolishness or laziness, so it is always a balancing act.

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  31. NorrisM @128,

    In your replies to questioning set you up-thread, you appear to be presenting an interpretation of IPCC AR5 findings on SLR as set out by Steve Koonin at the "APS panel". Your actual comment was:-

    "Based upon the questions posed in the APS panel conducted by Koonin from information extracted from the IPCC 2013 assessment sea levels are rising at a rate of 3 mm/yr which translates to 9.8 inches on a "linear basis". The IPCC report does not reconcile how they get to 1m if Koonin is asking the question"

    I assume from this you are referring to something within the 2014 APS Climate Change Statement Workshop [transcript] but I see nothing in this workshop that provides a basis for your comment.

    Can you point to the source of this?

    I would add that the Executive Summary of IPCC AR5 Chapter 13 sets out quite clearly the size of the projected SLR by 2100 under RCP8.5, this being 30% already occurred (as illustrated in fig 13.27 already shown in-thread @122) thus a 1m rise would require an average SLR of 9mm/yr for the remainder of this century. Thus I don't see much chance of this Koonin character and his questioning providing any coherent assessment. (Note the 1m SLR excludes certain contributions which AR5 assesses would probably not exceed "several tenths of a meter of sea level rise during the 21st century" were they to occur.)

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  32. MA Rodger @ 131

    The question is posed in the APS Workshop Framing Document which is also posted on the website.  After showing the AR5 WG1 Figure 3.14 graph indicating sea level rises, the following question is posed:

    "The IPCC projected rise of up to 1m by the end of this century (depending upon the emissions scenario) would require an average rate of up to 12 mm/yr for the rest of this century, some four times the current rate,

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  33. MA Rodger @ 31

    Hit the wrong button, here is full quote:

    "The IPCC projected rise of up to 1m by the end of this century (depending upon the emissions scenario) would require an average rate of up to 12 mm/yr for the rest of this century, some four times the current rate, and an order of magnitude larger than implied by the 20th century acceleration of .01 mm/yr2 found in some studies (AR WG1 Report Section 3.7.4).  What drives the projected sea level rise?  To what extent is it dependent upon a continued rise in GMST?"

    These were the questions provided to the participants prior to the oral hearing.  Not all of the questions included in the Workshop Framing Document were dealt with in the oral hearing.

    Obviously my calculation of 3 mm/yr came from the reference to "four times the current rate".

    My point is that whatever you think of Koonin, you have to agree that this is probably factually correct as to what the AR5 WG1 report has to say about sea level rises.

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  34. nigelj @ 130

    My main point is that I do not think the politicians of the world, not just the United States, are really going to impose carbon taxes beyond what is politically acceptable so it is wasted time talking about imposing carbon taxes based upon theoretical calculations of SCC.  And they are theoretical when there is so much disagreement on what and what should not be put into the calculation.  If you want an IPCC statement which effectively acknowledges this I can point to the section of Chapter 10 of the IPCC 2014 Report which I have read in its entirety.

    Beyond the US, look what has been happening in the UK with Brexit and with the rise of ultra right wing parties throughout mainland Europe.  Suggesting that carbon taxes will be imposed on these nations to compensate for future SCC in other parts of the world is close to fantasy. The Paris Agreement is the perfect example of how politicians operate.  All the real cuts are after 2030 when these politicians are long gone.  Meanwhile they get reelected based upon grandiose statements that do not cost their electorate in the pocket book. 

    So my principal point is that you do what is politically feasible.  Impose a carbon tax on the cost of pollution.  Of course China is onboard for this.  If the Communist Party does not do something about pollution they will lose their grip on power.  They know this.   

    The other thing to do is convince the public that wind and solar power (for now I am leaving alone nuclear power) can viably compete with FF, using FF as a back up source of base load power.  Replace coal plants with natural gas which emits one-half the CO2 into the atmosphere.  I appreciate that this last point is somewhat problematic with Trump in power but I do not think the Republicans are all in favour of coal.

    One final point, ensure that the carbon tax is dividended back to the people.  If you keep it to distort the economy by investing it in RE then you lose half the electorate.  I reread section of the Lomborg book where he asks Richard Tol (I think he is an IPCC contributor) as to the "pollution cost" of carbon.  I thought the range was $14 to $20/t.  In fact, Tol uses the range $2/t to $14/t.  I appreciate the low range of the IPCC for (I assume) pollution costs only is$18/t so I may be high on my suggested $30/t.  My sense is that our economy can handle $30/t so I am not retracting that figure but I think that is the high end.   

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  35. NorrisM:

    Thank you for answering the questions I posed. They were not, however, rhetorical questions ("asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer."), buth rather genuine questions asked as a sequence in an attempt to focus the discussion. Think of them more as the Socratic Method, searching for areas of agreement and areas of disagreement.

    First point (minor) - I think you missed a question. There were 8, and you answered 7. I think that you missed one somewhere in 3-6, as your answers 6 and 7 look more like answers to my questions 7 and 8.

    Second point: Koonin's statements about sea level rise. I linked to the full IPCC report chapter 13 in comment 122, In the table of contents, it lists the following sections:

    13.4 Projected Contributions to Global Mean Sea Level

    13.4.1 Ocean Heat Uptake and Thermal Expansion

    13.4.2 Glaciers

    13.4.3 Greenland Ice Sheet

    13.4.4 Antarctic Ice Sheet

    13.4.5 Anthropogenic Intervention in Water Storage on Land

    13.5 Projections of Global Mean Sea Level Rise

    13.5.1 Process-Based Projections for the 21st Century.

    13.5.2 Semi-Empirical Projections for the 21st Century.

    13.5.3 Confidence in Likely Ranges and Bounds

    13.5.4 Long-Term Scenarios.

    Your statement that "The IPCC report does not reconcile how they get to 1m if Koonin is asking the question" is simply wrong. The IPCC does give an extensive discussion of the literature regarding where these estimates come from. That leaves two possibiities, in my mind:

    1. Koonin is ignorant on this subject.
    2. Koonin is intentionally selecting certain forms of evidence and avoiding others in order to present a particular case.

    Regardless of which of 1 or 2 is correct, Koonin has no credibility as an honest reviewer on this issue. #1 can be fixed by learning (on Koonin's part). #2 is much more difficult to change. You can, however, learn that some of the sources you are using are not trustworthy.

    On question 2: yes, the IPCC may be wrong. Sea level rise by 2100 may be less than stated by the IPCC. It also may be more. There are people studying sea level rise that think the IPCC summary is too conservative - that there is a real risk of large ice sheet destabilisation by 2100 that will lead to 2-3m or more of sea level rise.

    I will state again: a risk management plan that assumes all uncertainties will fall in my favour is a Bad Plan.

    On answers 6 and 7:

    • You say "another consideration is that this is going to occur gradually over a period of a few generations." . It is already happening now. It is going to get worse. Although it is impossible to say "this extreme weather event was caused by global warming", the number and frequency of such events is increasing according to many measures and attribution studies. What used to be rare events are now becoming common. Insurance costs are rising, and government emergency bailout funds are running deep in the red.
    • Yes, Florida's real estate values may go down. People may rebuild elsewhere. People also may convince politicians to provide federal dollars and rebuild. That is what the current US habit is: federally-funded flood "insurance", which takes money from all tax-payers and gives it to the rich along the coasts.That transfer is a subsidy to those on the coast. The current market is already distorted.
    • Now, what do we do about Bangladesh? Can they afford to move, and where to? You mention Lomborg: he might have an ounce of credibility if he actually was making an effort to improve lives through those other methods. He is not. He is a terrible role model, and he distorts many, many facts in presenting his arguments. He is not a credible source of information.
    • You admit that the problem is global. It needs global solutions, and agreements such as the Copenhagen Accord are a step in the right direction. The U.S. has backed out, and the U.S. is risking being left behind. If the rest of the world decarbonizes and the U.S. ends up isolated, it may become the "developing world".
    • On paying other countries to help them  adapt vs. letting them move wherever they want. Refusing to pay, and refusing to let them move is basically telling them "I don't care what I've done to you, and I won't help in any way". If things get bad enough, you simply won't be able to stop them moving,and refugee problems will become far worse. We'll be faced with mass migrations, mass deaths, etc. Look at how many people already die trying to get from Cuba to the U.S. or across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
    • You seem to focus on costs of dealing with the mess. Wouldn't it be nice if we could find a way to prevent the problem?

    Nigelj resonds to you with the statement "Then you follow up with skeptical climate statements ". Here are some specific examples (quotes in italics), with my comments in []:

    • "vague future costs."
      • [Failure on your part to accept uncertainty and properly Risk Manage]
    • "...based upon predictions of future temperature increases which are largely based upon models."
      • [Failure on your part to understand how science makes predictions. Usually the skeptical myth  "based on models" implies based on computer models, which is not our only source of information. If it means based on any sort of model, then unfortunately all of science uses models of one sort or another, so rejected models writ large means rejecting science.]
    • "distorting our economy with a very large carbon tax.",
      • [Failure on your part to understand that externailities are already a distortion. A carbon tax tries to remove that distortion.]
    • " I do NOT think that a large carbon tax beyond the costs of pollution"
      • [Failure on your part to understand that releasing CO2 and causing sea level rise, increased drought, increased heavy rainfall, etc. is a form of pollution.]

    Throw in a few "China is a problem and China should pay" arguments, and you are reading from the Climate Denier's Playbook - although I'm sure it doesn't seem that way to you. You have trusted a lot of very unreliable sources of information, and it is affecting your view.


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  36. Lomborg using Richard Tol as a source? Bad idea. Tol is an outlier in these sorts of studies, and he's had to issue multiple corrections to gremlin-filled papers he's written (and refused to acknowledge the impact of other errors in them).

    [Andrew Gelman Critque of Tol's work]

    [Retraction Watch comments on Tol paper]

    Using Tol's lowball estimate is another case of hoping all the uncertainties fall in your favour.

    You are continuing to rely on some very unreliable sources, NorrisM.

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  37. Note:

    In #135, where I refer to the Copenhagan Accord, I think I actually mean the Paris Agreement (most recent).

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  38. NorrisM: "...would require an average rate of up to 12 mm/yr for the rest of this century"

    Let's do some math. It is now 2017. There are 83 years left in this century.

    • 83 years x 12 mm/yr = 996mm.
    • The IPCC graph I posted earlier shows that current sea level rise was already  about 0.25m above pre-industrial values in the year 2000 (+/-).
    • 0.25, + 0.996m = almost 1.25m.

    If we account for the fact that this claim (and the IPCC projection) was made earlier than 2017, the error gets worse.

    Can you please, NorrisM,  look more closely at the credibility of some of these sources? Koonin is not "factually correct".

    ...and the IPCC projections are not linear. Because they look at the physics, and project the results based on our current understanding of the link between temperatures, preciptiation, and ice sheet dynamics.

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  39. More math:

    NorrisM: "...and an order of magnitude larger than implied by the 20th century acceleration of .01 mm/yr2 found in some studies (AR WG1 Report Section 3.7.4). "

    Are you cherry-picking the lowest rate the IPCC found? Or are you using a source that cherry-picked the lowest rate?

    Please look at the post over at Tamino's I referred to previously. The observed acceleration over the past 50 years is 4x the number you quote. (Was about 1.5, now 3.5; 2/50 = 0.04 mm/yr^2). The most recent IPCC report referenced earlier shows rates of acceleration closer to what you state when considering the entire 19th and 20th centuries, but Tamino's post looks more closely at recent changes. (And yes, under his real name, Tamino has published statistical climate data analysis in the scientific literature.)

    In the IPCC AR5 chapter referred to earlier, it states "...acceleration continues throughout the century in RCP8.5, reaching 11 [8 to 16] mm/yr in 2081-2100."

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  40. HorrisM @132/133.
    Thank you for clearing up your source. Do note that this question you quote is not "based upon the questions posed in the APS panel conducted by Koonin" or is it "Koonin is asking the question." The question was set by the APS Climate Change Statement Review Subcommittee (which was chaired by Koonin) as part of the Workshop Framing Document. The relevance of the question can perhaps be judged by it not featuring within the resulting workshop. Indeed, contrary to your insistence that it is, your implied interpretation of IPCC AR5 is not correct. Firstly, the question itself is not entirely factual. The required average SLR 2015-2100 would be 9mm/yr not the 12mm/yr presented in the question (a relatively small but worrying error) while the acceleration through the 20th century is reported in AR5 Sec 3.7.4 at roughly 1mm/century thus in agreement with the 0.01 mm/yr^2 described by the question (although a simple comparison between 20th century & 21st century accelerations is singularly naive, even tantamount to cherry-picking as explained by Bob Loblaw @139). But beyond these errors, the most egregious of all is your parroting of this somewhat misguided question as though it was not compatible with the AR5 projected 1m SLR by 2100. The question is first asking "What drives the projected sea level rise?" to which the answer is 'GMST' and then asks "To what extent is it dependent upon a continued rise in GMST?" to which the answer is 'pretty-much entirely but with the exception of the potential for the onset of large-scale grounding line instability in the marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet.' Your interpretation of the substance of the question as being incompatible with 1m SLR by 2100 is thus flat wrong.

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  41. eclectic @ 129

    "Still when you have time, NorrisM (and perhaps on another thread) it would be interesting to discuss why the Anglophone court system entirely fails to protect the public from the fake news and false information disseminated by the likes of journalist Miersch."

    I agree this is not the place to discuss Freedom of Speech but you might want to listen to a recent podcast of Sam Harris (just finished listening to it) interviewing Cass Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard and a former official of the Obama administration.  In that podcast he provides a detailed analysis of where the legal limits are on freedom of speech and the importance Madison ascribed to this in the drafting of the US Constitution.   He would strongly defend the right of Miersch so say what he wants as long as it does not promote physical harm to other persons.  Opinions on what should and should not be done should not be restricted by governments.  It is a slippery slope.

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  42. Bob Loblaw

    Could you respond to my principal point that anything beyond what I am proposing is simply not realistic in the political environment existing not only in the US but in Europe?

    To repeat, what I am proposing consists of two things:

    1.  Carbon Tax based upon actual pollution costs (not an extended definition) that does not exceed $30/t CO2; and

    2.  Measures within each country to change their energy mix from largely FF to a combination of wind and solar supported for base load power either by natural gas, hydro or nuclear power.

    Attempts at asking the US, Europe or China to compensate all of the other countries of the world who will be impacted by sea level changes by imposing some very large carbon tax and distributiing these funds to the undeveloped countries of the world is not in the cards.   Do you or do you not agree with this last comment?

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  43. NorrisM:

    I agree that current federal politics in the US represent a completely dysfunctional response to the risks of climate change, and getting Trump et al to change course is highly unlikely.

    • It's "The United States of America", not "The State of United America", and individual states can and will take action. California is implementing a cap-and-trade system, for example (and partnering with Ontario and Quebec, last I heard). The whole premise of the article we are commenting below (I intentionally avoid the phrase "commenting on", unfortunately) is that other politcal pressures and actions are happening in the US outside the federal level.
    • Europe is far more advanced that the US in implementing measures (although much more needs to be done), and although the US is still a major world economy it, does not need to remain one if it chooses not to.
    • Although China is a huge carbon emitter, they are also rapidly developing alternatives. They will own the future if countries follow the US lead and hop off the bus.
    • If the rest of the world decarbonzes, and the US does not, the US will become an increasingly unimportant player.
    • As damages increase, political pressures can and will change.

    I completely disgaree with your phrasing of "actual pollution costs (not an extended definition)". Your position represents a continuation of externalities that distort the economic costs related to fossil fuel use. Just because you want to label uncertainties in these costs as "vague", "theoretical", etc. does not mean that the best estimate of these additional costs is $0.

    Your item 2 is more likely if we remove fossil fuel subsidies, and correct the distortions caused by the externalities. Your argument against assertive action amounts to "it's too hard", and the implicit choice is that you would rather deal with the consequences of letting climate change happen.

    • That you keep repeating shop-worn denier talking points about uncertainty, models, etc. suggests that at some deep level you are still believing or hoping that the science is all wrong and no significant change is needed.
    • From a position of risk management, I ask "what if the science is correct, and things are as bad (or worse) than the predictions? Do you have a plan that amounts to anything more than "I really hoped this wouldn't happen"?

    As for your last point: monetary transfers to help developing countries is an active point of international discussion. It will be difficult, but I have not given up hope that the international community will find a solution.

    • Remember: the best way to minimize the need for these transfers to areas that have been impacted is to prevent the damage from happening in the first place. Arguing about who will pay for the damage to the car is wasting valuable time that could be used to apply the brakes and prevent or reduce the collision.

    Your position amounts to appeasement. Chamberlain did not achieve "peace for our time".

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  44. Recommended supplemental reading:

    The most effective clean energy policy gets the least love by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Oct 21, 2017

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  45. NorrisM @141 , you deserve to be rapped over the knuckles for your misstatement about German journalist/denialist Miersch [see posts #114 and #129].

    i.e. your quote: "He [jurist Sunstein] would strongly defend the right of Miersch to say what he wants as long as it does not promote physical harm to other persons." (unquote)

    But that is exactly what Miersch is guilty of (as are all climate Denialists).   He disseminates falsehood (and advocates inaction) which will promote physical harm to millions/billions of people during the course of this century & the next one.

    That point is plainly obvious.  Is it not, Norris?

    But let us not bother to discuss the sad case of Miersch, here.   (And I am not offended that you are espousing Miersch's position, for I realise you are in 75% trolling mode.)

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  46. Eclectic @ 145

    This has been said many times before but I am not defending what Miersch said but only his right to say it.

    As soon as you start putting limits on what people say based upon your views as to what is right and wrong, you are just on a continuum with dictatorial regimes whose arch enemy is freedom of speech.  One of the most important things necessary to protect our democracy is to allow people to have different views and to be able to express those different views.  I am sure you have read 1984 by George Orwell.   None of us want Big Brother watching. 

    You would do well to listen to the Sam Harris podcast I referenced and see if you do not agree after actually listening to Sunstein that Miersch should have the right to say what he says.   According to Harris, Sunstein is the most quoted law professor in the United States.  He is not a neo-con. 

    The attitude you express seems to be something that has invaded a number of university campuses in the US where students shout down anyone who disagrees with them and force university administrations to "disinvite" speakers from attending on campus.  It is very troubling.

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  47. NorrisM @146 ,

    you are (I am sure, deliberately) failing to distinguish the right to advocate genocide/mass-murder , from the right to express innocent opinion.

    I am reasonably certain that jurist Sunstein (whatever his provenance) would disagree with your view that "anything goes" for freedom of speech as Freedom trumps all considerations of common sense & morality.

    e.g. The stupidity of the anti-science ideas of the Flat-Earthers is one thing (since it harms no-one) -— but the criminality of a steward advising Titanic passengers to stay in their cabins & to avoid the lifeboats . . . is something completely different.  ~And it's not at all innocent.

    Your position is indefensible, NorrisM.   Please keep your trolling mode level to 75% or below !   Even though this thread is a broad umbrella  ;-)

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  48. NorrisM @134

    Thank's, but just on this sea level rise issue. You appeared to be quoting some panel discussion where Koonin asked some questions, and you were dubious of whether the IPCC had sufficient reasons for projections of one metre by 2100 etc. I'm mystified why you think the criticism or questions of one person is particularly significant, especially given Koonin has not put any real evidence on the table about sea level rise and why he might think IPCC have it wrong. I have provided you with IPCC explanations of why sea level rise is expected to accelerate, and I see others have done the same. Do you have any proper scientific evidence of why they might be wrong? You certainly havent provided any.

    "My main point is that I do not think the politicians of the world, not just the United States, are really going to impose carbon taxes beyond what is politically acceptable so it is wasted time talking about imposing carbon taxes based upon theoretical calculations of SCC"

    I agree it all has to be politically acceptable, and I have already said that Norris. You start with an appropriate lesser figure like California has and increase this over time. I think they had $30 but would have to check and it should possibly be a bit more. But this figure will have to be increased over time reasonably quickly.

    But you have to consider the theoretical maximum to get the wider picture and context otherwise its hard to identify any starting figure.

    "So my principal point is that you do what is politically feasible. Impose a carbon tax on the cost of pollution. "

    No this seems wrong to me and a pretence that climate change doesnt somehow exist. It should emphasise both pollution and climate change. But I understand where you are coming from. 

    "The other thing to do is convince the public that wind and solar power (for now I am leaving alone nuclear power) can viably compete with FF, using FF as a back up source of base load power. "

    Yes no question about that. I hear what you say about Trump and Republicans. I have no idea what will happen there the whole thing looks like a disaster area of epic proportions in every respect. I'm just personally interested in the science, and practical policy responses. Politics tends to be the art of the compromise. I can only advocate on what I think the scientific truth is, and the most sensible response to reducing emissions, and hope people see sense on the political side of things and try not to let partisan political emotion take control and instead think of the wider picture a bit more rationally.

    "One final point, ensure that the carbon tax is dividended back to the people. If you keep it to distort the economy by investing it in RE then you lose half the electorate. "

    I basically like tax and dividend. I think about half should be given back to the people and about half put into renewable energy and electic car subsidies. There are many reasons for this, and I dont have time to explain the rationale. But I dont see any reason to believe people would rebel, if some went into renewable energy. The Pew poll research you are so fond of quoting clearly found a majority were favourable towards renewable energy etc.

    I just dont think R Toll has much credibility for reasons others have stated and my own reading, but $30 is a useful figure to at least consider. Personally I think a bit more as a starting point, but look at the risk of repetition, nobody is going to seriously suggest a whopping really high tax at day one, the world doesn't work like that.

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  49. Eclectic at 147

    I have appreciated you comments in other respects.  I think we disagree on this point and perhaps we should just move on to other things.  By the way, I think the first one to use the expression I used was Voltaire. 

    I was going to resist this, but I am curious to know who do you think should be the arbiter on what should be allowed to be said and what should not be allowed to be said? 

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  50. Michael Miersch - For the record.

    The discussion of German denialist Michael Miersch was introduced into this thread by troll NorrisM @112 and in subesquent comments the trammels of Meirsch have been repeatedly highlighted by NorrisM as he considers denialists like Mersch have the right to set out their opinion without let or hinderence. This was not the view of the German Federal Environment Agency who in 2013 published a 120-page exposition titled 'Und Sie Erwärmt Sich Doch. Was steckt hinter der Debatte um den Klimawandel?'  ('And yet it heats up. What is behind the debate on climate change') criticising German climate denial and naming Miersch and a couple of his colleagues. This naming is described as "unusual for a government agency" by Miersch (although without naming, it would be difficult to debunk any specific climate denier or instance of climate denial) who sets out a turgid account of (to quote Kenneth Williams) "infamy, infamy, they've all got it in f' me!" and how he and fellow denialst Dirk Maxeiner were taking the Federal Environment Agency to court to enforce a withdrawal of the government brochure. Sadly for Miersch, the German courts concluded that he was after all legally a Klimawandelskeptiker. His turgid account of all this was duly publshed by the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy. I think it is fair to say that, unless a translation of the full 'Und Sie Erwärmt Sich Doch. Was steckt hinter der Debatte um den Klimawandel?' is forthcoming, the rights and wrongs of all this belong in a German-speaking forum and should not be trolled around at SkS.

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