Posted by Jeff Condon on March 26, 2010
Tom Fuller’s blog has me on a roll this morning. Tom has an economist which he interviewed who calculated that the best way to save the world is to tax CO2, and Copenhagen is a good thing. Naturally, that get’s me all wound up but I can’t finish my thoughts there without running into the character limits of the examiner.
There is so much wrongthink in this world, it cannot be fought. Too many who believe the best solution for everything is government and there is nowhere left on earth for us free-market conservatives to hide.
My point, made here so many times is the same. The IPCC foolishly determined that CO2 has a huge life span in the atmosphere. I say foolish because it’s not based in sound science and it creates a big logic problem. According to the IPCC the CO2 is cycling in and out of short term sinks for thousands of years before being absorbed into a long term sink of some kind. Critter shells are popular long term sinks now. If we accept this, then the total summed output of mankind today will affect temperatures for thousands of years. These long residence conclusions appear to go against the raw data, but data doesn’t stop climate science these days as evidenced by ‘hide the decline’ and Mick Kelly’s far less famous, apparent trimming of more recent declines in temperature graphs.
The problem is that there is no technology in existence which can extract enough energy to eliminate fossil fuel usage. Biofuel is a complete joke, solar isn’t ready, nuclear fission works but we can’t store the energy for cars. Geothermal works but is too limited in many areas and again none of this can be stored for use in cars. The technology doesn’t exist yet. Let’s assume I’m right on this for the purpose of this post.
The second part of the question has to do with ‘negative impacts’ of CO2. First, there has to be warming, we do expect some warming from basic Physics. But for mitigation to be required that warming has to create negative physical and for economists negative economic impacts. It’s not enough to say ‘drought’, we need to know how much and where. This has to be quantified. Of all areas of climate science, the impacts sections are the most polluted with what can only be termed garbage, lies and propaganda. This does not preclude scientists from using the garbage in their calculations of economic impact though. So we have very seriously biased any economic study at this point but again, let’s take the ‘scientists’ at their word that we’ll have some negative impact from a few C of warming.
Unfortunately for elimination of CO2 output to be required, the impact has to be severe but beyond that, the IPCC had to determine that simply putting in an air conditioner or sea wall had to be more expensive and destructive than stopping the use of fossil fuel. Otherwise the solution would be to live with a bit of warming. Such solutions go against the grain of every environmentalist. Therefore they had a direct need of massive storms, floods and droughts to make their case that elimination of CO2 is the answer. These conclusions MUST be true, or elimination of CO2 output would not be required.
Now you have the situation the IPCC has put us in. Severe, negative impact from warming. The warming is caused by a dubious imagined positive moisture feedback which has only been demonstrated to exist in climate models. (If you don’t get that, you have basic reading to do.) And a need to not just reduce CO2 output but flatly eliminate it — as soon as is humanly possible. Minimizing the sum total of CO2 output by humanity is the problem not reduction of 20%.
But the technology doesn’t exist.
Never in mankind’s history has the predicted invention of a technology been required to save humanity. Every year we emit more and more CO2 from our powerstations and cars. Every year, more plants are built to improve our lives. Yet the total output must not just be reduced, it MUST be stopped!!! Doing a little to help sounds good but IT MAKES NO SENSE! — booming voice.
How do they manage to translate that kind of problem into a carbon tax?
Beyond the obvious transfer of personal power, a tax is intended to drive up prices and limit usage, it is intended to slow the economy of the world such that everyone has less of whatever they have. It seems obvious to me that this will throw millions on the brink of poverty into complete collapse. Wealth redistribution from countries with extra to poor nations was and is Copenhagen’s plan. They want to reduce the annual output of CO2 through taking our money and directing it to some kind of imagined but false adaptation. Again though, there is no technology for mitigation in existence. Will a windmill help the Africans plant food in the desert? Maybe, but it won’t move their cars very far and it won’t make much heat or cold from the AC when the wind isn’t blowing they need fossil fuels for that. A solar panel won’t keep them warm at night either. Also, as with all wealth redistribution plans, the recipients of the wealth quickly become enslaved to the situation created by the benefactors. A few hours with welfare recipients in downtown St. Louis should convince most of that. The biggest true benefactor is GE who has an excellent line of windmills ready for distribution.
If we recognize the need to replace every energy generating technology with something better, we must then recognize the absolute necessity to invent the technology and then pay for its installation world wide. Since our daily/annual CO2 output is so great, our IPCC based assumptions mandate that the cutoff time for this amazing new technology determines the actual magnitude of the problem we’ve created for the next 40 generations.
In the past 100 years, it’s pretty clear to me what style of economy produces technology but in blogland, everything get’s argued right down to the color of a clear sky at noon. The ‘experts’, who happen to come from a standard political view, like to think that the tax and redistribute models actually work. Like little gods, they say we’ll make this rule and this one, and the people will be happy. We’ll use the tax to mitigate and invest in new technology. They work these mental levers, never properly considering that the rulemakers always have different pressures than the peoples need, never considering that people with power always have different motivations. They consider themselves enlightened in their small offices and worlds, surrounded by like minded people, they are able to better think than those conservatives who prefer a natural system of controls and feedbacks on government policy outcome. They think that by pulling the right levers, all will be wonderful, ignoring and even rewriting all historic evidence to support their world views.
In the midst of their loved mental machinations, the question that is so often missed is actually the main one that needs to be answered according to the assumptions they have mandated.
– How do we minimize the amount of CO2 emitted before the next technology can completely take over for fossil fuel, without doing more damage than the original problem?
From my perspective, the proposed cure is obviously worse than the disease and the key’s to what is really going on are hidden in the fact that the IPCC group has concluded the only things it could conclude and expect long term survival. It’s ironic that the ‘experts’ didn’t even notice the IPCC runs by their own personal motivations from pressures outside of the alleged problem but it shows the lengths this sort of thinking can go to. It’s not that the IPCC is a bad organization, they rationalize, it’s really just a need for a better review process. The pressures created on individuals in power by the need for the organizations long term survival are ignored. This is a hundred billion dollar plus industry who’s survival depends on this small front group – yet some better review process will help?!! Bull. The IPCC must conclude as they have for the survival of the industry.
They needed CO2 to warm the earth – a lot. They needed the warming to be dangerous. Not just a little dangerous but a lot. Enough so, that the economic damage of CO2 vastly exceeded simple adaptation. Funding was directed toward those goals, the longevity of CO2 residence was increased right along with the exaggerated impacts, including shrinking fish, butterfly death, droughts, melting the -30C Antarctic ice, Sea Ice albedo, every single aspect was exaggerated to its worst extreme. All to cross the ‘calculated’ line of the cost of living with the warming vs elimination of fossil fuel. Dissenters were eliminated and peer review was corrupted such that real science, moderated science, could not pass through the funding gates. It’s so bad that people are forced to write papers for free, on their own time, which refute claims of model accuracy, which refute warming in the Antarctic, which point out the unreasonable math of hockey sticks.
The mush of garbage is so thick that even those who consider themselves lukewarmers, prefer some mitigation. Just how people get from these not believing in these massive disaster scenario’s to a need for mitigation rather than simple adaptation is way beyond my understanding.
Finally, because I’ve got to stop writing, our assumptions require that the best path to minimizing the total CO2 output is a balance between technological development and implementation vs the cost of the damage created by actual CO2 output. It very well may be that the best path to minimize output would be to invest heavily in ultra cheap low cost fossil fuel energy. Reduction in this economic load, increases consumption and spurs the ability to develop the required technologies. Only when the technologies are actually developed should we consider alternative implementation strategies.
Implementing CO2 reduction plans without having a working technology, makes as much sense as pulling on your ankles to fly.
From the IPCC assumptions, our best path to saving the environment may actually be, drill now, build cheap coal plants and invest in technology. But in my opinion, that is not the true goal.