the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Developing Technology

Posted by Jeff Id 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.

44 Responses to “Developing Technology”

  1. Chuckles said

    Jeff, you are correct in all of this, for apart from security of person and of property, for mankind to prosper, cheap and/or affordable energy is required. The whole thrust of all the armwaving is to eliminate that cheap affordable energy.

    However a possible path to follow is to say, ‘Fine. We accept that CO2 levels are rising and are a problem. the science is clear and unambiguous.
    Therefore all monies for climate science, climate science research, the IPCC, anything to do with AGW/CC, ALL of it will in future be used for energy research.
    Not one further penny will be spent on climate science, as this is much too important to waste money on anything else but e.g. nuclear fusion.

  2. HotRod said

    Marvellous vent. One of your finest.

  3. timetochooseagain said

    There is one other problem with fission, and it’s not the “waste” claptrap. We simply couldn’t muster the effort necessary to build enough plants to meet demand any time soon. Which means that even if we had super batteries, nuclear couldn’t replace oil in the short term.

    I don’t see why it’s so hard for some people to deal with the hard reality. Fossil fuels are going to be with us for the forseeable future as our main source of energy.

  4. Greg said

    Hey Jeff, Don’t beat around the bush, tell us what you really think. 😉

    I think you’re right on here. Power and money is the true goal for many. There are a few who believe it’s to save the Earth, but they’re not the ones flitting about in private jets, throwing lavish parties, and building huge mansions with equally huge energy use.

    Actually, these would be saviors are like any other totalitarians from history, they just use better propaganda and would, generally, rather conquer the world through economic control than war. Some of the radical greens seem to have far less palatable ideas (eg: population reduction, humans are a disease, etc.)

    Either way the little guy is still screwed.

    As far as CO2 goes… well, I’m in the camp that says more CO2 in the atmosphere is quite clearly a good thing (and observations support that view.) Based on historical records it looks like a couple of degrees of warming is also a good thing. For people, plants, and critters, anyway.

    Of course, if global warming/climate change didn’t require massive government control and the necessity of making Al Gore (and Co.) and companies like Goldman-Sachs much richer then they are now, not to mention vast amounts of grant money, then it wouldn’t be a problem, would it? No one would give it a second thought, except in the back pages of some enviro-blog.

    Keep up the good work. 🙂

  5. j ferguson said

    The problem with the cheap energy approach is it appears to support population growth and development which Green Peace and the like are opposed to. Since they think humans are in the business of assaulting nature, more humans means more assault. bad bad bad.

    It looks as though the reality is that as development occurs, peoples’ lots improve and as they find themselves with a few extra dollars and time at the end of the day in which they are not too exhausted to do anything else, they do other things than increase the population. And the rate and later the amount of population expansion in developed countries goes down.

    I think current understanding of population change in India and China (in China, maybe largely from policy impositions) supports this.

    And this current evidence is what disproves the ravings of the likes of Ehrlich.

    But the greeners still think he was correct.

    So although the effect of carbon taxing is to suppress the most effective economies, and thereby reduce development I think the unwritten goal is to throttle population growth.

    And they are dead wrong about this being the way to do it.

    Development leads to reduction in population expansion and the world the greeners claim to want. Too bad they are still stuck with Ehrlich. And this nonsensical scheme for taxing cheap energy emissions that accompany the progress that we should all want.

  6. BDAABAT said

    It’s about power and money. It’s about control of others for those in power. For many, it’s actually about racism… people in the developed world are worried that the developing world will want what the developed world already has… cars, consumer goods, and the little things like food, clean water, and improved health and opportunity. And, those in the developed world fear that if this happens, the developed world will be negatively impacted in some way. So, if those folks in the developed world can keep other people (who happen to look a bit different) from attaining wealth, if they can keep populations of people low, then they (those enlightened folks in the developed world) can continue to enjoy their status as “haves” rather than “have nots”.


  7. DeWitt Payne said


    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.

    The long time scale seems to me to be based on sound science. The GEOCARB model seems to do a fairly good job of fitting the paleo data on CO2 concentration. The PETM spike, for example, lasted on the order of 100,000 years. On the short time scale, I don’t think the atmospheric CO2 concentration model are highly accurate, but I don’t think they’re completely useless either. Weathering and sedimentation are inherently slow processes.

    I did like the point made on the WUWT thread on oceanic dead zones that the first step of oil formation, the creation of shale containing high levels of organic material, requires an anaerobic bottom layer of water. It’s possible that these dead zones are actually part of the missing carbon sink.

  8. Chuckles said


    A well timed post here, since this weekend is Human Achievement Hour where we salute those who produce our energy, keep the lights on and make human achievement possible.

    8.30-9.30 on saturday.

  9. Tom Fuller said

    Hiya Jeff,

    You’ve certainly identified the right question (and you might want to look at my most recent post on the problems with green technologies).

    Let’s turn the question around–if we do not put a price on carbon, how do we show that ‘our society’ (or autocratic masters, depending on your POV) wishes to indicate a preference for low or zero carbon energy solutions?

  10. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Tom Fuller (Mar 26 11:51),

    I don’t think there’s going to be a need for a tax on carbon. This post at Pielke, Jr.’s blog is yet more evidence that demand is going to increase much faster than supply, with the expected result on price, for the next few decades whether Peak Oil is true or not. The proposed tax levels are insignificant compared to what’s likely to happen.

  11. Andrew said

    9-I for one think that “society” has no business pushing it’s preference for low carbon energy on anyone that does not want it.

    Society as a whole can’t just decide that it will say “we would prefer if you did this in our way”. That’s totalitarian.

  12. Funny,

    When I first got exposed to AGW I googled the cost of mitigating and adapting to a 1 meter rise in sea level in the US.
    interesting, I’ll go look that up again.

  13. Borepatch said

    There was an excellent post at The Devil’s Kitchen back in November, where they flow-charted the Science -> Engineering -> Economics -> Politics -> Copenhagen sequence, and where (and why) it’s gone wrong.

    The Economist is clearly coming in at Step 3, but probably not dealing with the economics issues.

    Your mileage may vary, and I haven’t read the article and so may be unfair to the gentleman. However, the D-K post is outstanding, and really nails so much of the poor quality thinking that I suspect that I’m not being unfair.

  14. JAE said


    I especially liked this:

    “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.”

  15. JAE,

    It’s easy. I suppose it depends upon what you call mitigation or adaptatation, but lets just consider simple things such as building ordinances.
    For example, should houston change its building codes

    The thought would go something like this. If you choose to live in an area that is prone to disaster then the best way to deal with that
    is by putting the cost where the problem is. Let’s suppose that you have a reasonable expectation that hurricanes will increase
    in some way ( frequency or duration ) under an AGW hypothesis.

    How do you manage that increased risk? Say the risk is only 5% increase. Do you apply a global hammer to C02? Increase cost to people who live away from hurricane areas? or do you manage the risk locally and say, change building codes, limit development in danger areas> for me that seems an easy answer. If you want to build in danger zones or potential dangers zones, then you have to pay. If you already live in one, then get ready to pay more over time.

  16. JAE said

    Mosh: I thought the theory says hurricanes should get LESS severe with AGW… If so, no need to complicate the Hustonian lifestyle any more.

    Regardless, I would view this as adaptation, not mitigation. I thought mitigation had to do with decreasing evil CO2 and other horrible byproducts of human civilization (this even includes people in some circles).

    Maybe I don’t fully understand the difference!

  17. timetochooseagain said

    15-And additional point is that we can do things to reduce our vulnerability to climate, not just change in climate. The current climate is plenty hazardous (though I believe that it will not get more so) so there is plenty of room for improvement.

  18. Scoobydoobydoo said

    According to this article, Europol now has the power to tackle “preparatory” crimes which could include denial of climate change. If you’re interested have a look here:

  19. kdk33 said

    “As far as CO2 goes… well, I’m in the camp that says more CO2 in the atmosphere is quite clearly a good thing”.

    Greg, I like your thinking!

    Plot temperature or CO2 versus human prosperity (yea, I’ve posted this rant before, so I’ll stop here).

  20. harrywr2 said

    “These conclusions MUST be true, or elimination of CO2 output would not be required.”

    There is absolutely nothing in the IPCC calling for elimination of CO2 output.
    Every scientific conclusion in the IPCC report is based on increased CO2 emissions.

    The discussion then moves to the need to cap CO2 emissions at some level.
    If we cap every country in the world at current CO2 emissions then that will permanently insure the poor will remain poor.

    Hence, the proposal on the table is that Industrialized nations must reduce their emissions by whatever amount the non-industrialized countries increase emissions.

    China under this system now consumes 42% of the entire worlds coal production. In order to make up the difference, the industrialized world needs to stop using coal.

  21. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: harrywr2 (Mar 26 19:03),

    There is absolutely nothing in the IPCC calling for elimination of CO2 output.

    That’s not entirely true. The various stabilization scenarios in IPCC WGI chapter 10 require fairly massive reductions in global CO2 emissions to below 1950 levels as early as 2100 for SP450 and close to zero by 2300 for all the rest. See the graphs here.

  22. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: DeWitt Payne (Mar 26 19:43),

    China alone already exceeds the emission level for SP450 so the rest of the world could stop using carbon completely and stop slash and burn agriculture and atmospheric CO2 would still increase, according to the IPCC.

  23. actually thoughtful said

    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.

    I think this is first broken chain in your logic. A carbon tax is pretty simple. You want less of something? Tax it. Tax it and watch Americans go to GREAT lengths to avoid that tax. This is where innovation will come from. If you want new/different energy then we have to have expensive fossil fuel. As long as it is cheap that is where we will go.

    And it will get expensive. I am not a peak oiler – but I am a peak cheap oiler. We already saw it in 2008. $4 gas and rising. Have you forgotten?

    So that we have to get rid of fossil fuel is obviously true. We can do it now, and reduce the CO2 issue, stop fighting endless wars in the middle east, create some jobs and save some money.

    Or we can do it in 10-15 years, after more wars, more terrorism, a continued decline in American manufacturing and at higher unit costs (costs will not fall much below the cost of fossil fuel due to greed). So you can do it now and have the govment and fellow rate payers subsidize your efforts, or you can do it later, at a net even trade to fossil fuel. Your choice.

    You are correct that transportation is slightly harder than the other problems, but given that building energy use (very easy to solve with solar, wind, water and conservation) is a HUGE load (over 60% of the total) – start there. Let Exxon finish figuring out liquid fuel from algae (they have invested millions and millions in this effort). Or let two generations of battery technology roll by. Get your home to net zero, then lobby your business to get to net zero, then finish up with transportation.

    There is huge power in controlling your energy (pun intended).


  24. Jeff Id said

    #23, Your assumption is that if we produce less today, we will output less long term. I say that is wrong on several points. First, we may not acutally need less. More CO2 is assumed to have a certain cost, when in fact it may be net-beneficial. If we assume it has a cost and further assume cost is our driving motive, then we have to consider the amount of cost to live with it vs the amount of cost to limit it. Limiting CO2 is about the most expensive thing I can imagine. When energy prices go sky high again people aren’t smart enough to realize we should have been drilling and building refineries, they will assume other things were the cause. This will place a huge burden on industry in general, prices will rise and our children will have even further reduced legacies to work with.

    My belief is that costs of increased CO2 are VASTLY overstated and possibly inverted. My additional belief is that expense of limiting CO2 is even more VASTLY understated. It’s really not very close. So when you say ‘get your home to net zero’ I say, no use, no point and no method to truly do it on large scale.

    BTW, the most efficient photosynthesis cannot capture even 3 percent of the energy into the oil. If you extrapolate, liquid algae is a LIE. It’s a flat LIE. We will NEVER power ANYTHING substantial from algae. The numbers don’t add up.

    You say easy to solve with solar? Do the calculations. I have. Figure out how much sun is captured and what it takes to store the solar, what the batteries cost and how long they last. None of these things are even a close call. Solar has a future when batteries improve, until then — nope.

    Mitigation with no solution is mental masturbation, nothing more.

  25. BDAABAT said

    AT: One question: Why???

    What is the motivation to change energy sources? Because of a perceived potential problem? Because gas prices MIGHT go up? Yes, gas prices rose in 2008. Then what happened??? They went down again. Why? Well a lot of reasons… primarily because of supply and demand coupled with other political developments (such as requiring low sulfur supplies at a time when low sulfur fuel wasn’t readily available). New supplies were discovered. New methods of extraction were developed. Gas prices fell (corrected)… just as they always have.

    And, no, there is no practical alternative to fossil fuels. Solar, wind, bio have failed miserably commercially despite billions in investment in research and subsidies and 30+ years of effort. I’m not suggesting they won’t work in the future, but to suggest that switching from fossil fuels to alternative energy will be easy or even possible is pure fantasy. Your proposal WILL throw millions into poverty and WILL result in many, many, many deaths. Talk about a break in the logic chain.


  26. RB said

    Banking crises in 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1896, 1907, and 1914 and none from 1934 to 2007. The connection is drawn to being slapped by the invisible hand due to the rise of the shadow banking system outside of the regulatory purview. The more obvious conclusion is that these thinker types are stupid .. unlike us. For the good old days of Andrew Mellon and liquidate everything ..

  27. Ausie Dan said

    Jeff – I agree with your economic analysis.
    Namely the cost of stopping CO2 emissions is much higher than the likely benefit.

    I’m not so sure about your physics.
    I acept the theory about how CO2 acts to raise atmospheric temperature.
    I acept that this has also been demonstrated in the laboratory.

    I have not yet seen a clear explanation of how heat moves in the atmosphere
    (again I know the theory and have seen the diagram)
    but there are so many factors left out of the model
    (clouds, atmospheric currents, ocean currents, air / water interchange etc).

    What I would really like to see is evidence of the impact of rising levels of CO2
    on global temperature (even as measured by NCDC and the like).
    This should include the impact on isolated temperature stations in rural USA
    and, from my point of view, on those few really, REALLY, isolated venues in Australia.
    I’m dammed if I can see it in the figures.

    That’s why I am NOT a luke warmer.
    I’m not a skeptic or a denier.
    I’m an observer waiting in the shadows,
    Just waiting to actually see the evidence.

  28. Ausie Dan said

    Jeff, I am reluctant to be arguing with you and with other luke warmers such as Stephen Mosher. I respect you all greatly.

    However, when you say “First, there has to be warming, we do expect some warming from basic Physics”,
    I can’t help wondering if the “basic physics” you are relying on, is perhaps just the truth, but not the whole truth and contains something that is not the truth. Or rather distorts the whole truth because it misses out certain vital factors.

    Can you comment please?
    How confident are you that the “basis physics” contains ALL the various elements and interactions needed to explain how CO2 behaves and affects temperature in the atmosphere?

    If you do understand this, then please explain why I cannot see the effect in the long term temperature records of very isolated recording stations in Australia?

    I would accept “just look harder, DUMMY” (or preferably “dear reader”, perhaps).

  29. EJ said

    Another great post.

    I wish to put a bullet through the heart of the lazy ‘big oil’ talking point.

    Whenever some idiot spews anything about big oil, simply ask what they consider big oil. If they say nationalistic owned big oil, then give them a cigar. If they say privately owned oil reserves, like Exxon/Mobile, then you can smile, and say… you guessed it, … you are an idiot!!!

    94% of all known oil reserves are under the control of governments, 6% are privately owned.

    Let’s talk big oil….

  30. Pat Frank said

    Jeff, “First, there has to be warming, we do expect some warming from basic Physics.”

    Basic electronic physics (Maxwell’s equations) says that atoms can’t exist because the electrons will spiral into the nucleus. It takes a full atomic theory, Quantum Mechanics, to get the right prediction.

    Radiation physics just says that adding CO2 will increase the energy content of the atmosphere. It can’t say whether there will be any detectable warming at all, because RP is not a full theory of climate.

    If tropical cloudiness increased by a few percent or if tropical rainfall increased a bit, due to increased atmospheric moisture flux, say, there needn’t be any detectable warming at all from increased CO2.

    There may well be nothing to ‘mitigate,’ and there certainly is no present evidence of any unusual warming at all.

  31. Jeff Id said

    #28, Here is all it’s based on.

    I don’t consider myself a lukewarmer, although I wouldn’t mind accepting the definition. I really don’t know how much warming to expect. It could be well below our ability to measure or it could be even greater than stated by the IPCC. I don’t know. What I do know is, climate science is not an unbiased source.

    Maybe our physics agree more than you thought.

  32. EJ said


    Do you agree that, really, climate science is still a soft science, on the order of sociology and psychology?

  33. Paul Kelly said

    Whatever the merits of climatology as a science, it is a poor basis for or measurement of policy. The irony is that climate is only one of several equally valid arguments for replacing fossil fuel.

  34. […] Developing Technology « the Air Vent […]

  35. Chuckles said



    Paraphrasing Stan Kelly-Bootle,

    ‘It manages to combine aspects of Astrology and Numerology, without the success of the former, or the precision of the latter.’

  36. BlueIce2HotSea said

    The economist (Richard Tol) co-authored Climategate: The CRUtape Letters with Steve Mosher.

    This is hugely disappointing. Why would he accept the phony definition of the “problem”, namely too much CO2. It comes from the very people he should be cautious about trusting.

    And it predefines his solution: an economical government imposed CO2 reduction.

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  42. Ausie Dan said

    Thanks Jeff, re your 31 reply to my 28.

    Yes I agree with your “it is what it is …” post.
    I could not have written it but it is exactly my understanding (in the sense that I have read it all in bits and pieces and have accepted it as logical).

    What I do not understand is your concluding statement:
    “It could be well below our ability to measure or it could be even greater than stated by the IPCC” where “it” is the effect of human CO2 emissions on global temperature.

    To be more exact, “well below our ability to measure” is my current understanding, having gone to considerable efforts to examine both global and regional temperature.

    I do not deny that these records SHOW warming (that’ a different battle for another day).
    What I claim is that I have not been able to find any upward deviation in those records with the passage of time, that could be attributed to CO2.
    (I can expand on that in great length if required).

    So I am left with but few possibilities:
    1) the impact of rising CO2 levels is EXACTLY offset by some other force or forces.
    Possible but unlikely.
    2) that impact is delayed considerably, bearing in mind that industralisation started long ago, well before the start of the global temperature indices.
    That delay would have to be complete and cumulatively expanding, at least up to the present time.
    Perhaps unlikely.
    3) The effect is in the data that I look at but I have not been able to detect it.
    This I naturally cannot judge, but remember we are told that the impact is large and catastrophic.

    It still seems much more likely that the impact is “well below our ability to measure”, which is my current working hypothesis.

    I can, with difficulty, be persuaded by strong, well reasoned arguement.
    I react much quicker to evidence.

  43. gallopingcamel said

    Personally, I am for sequestration as long as it takes the form of a “Food Mountain”. Remember the “Butter Mountain” and “Wine Lake” produced by the over productive Common Market agriculture?

    Governments around the world should provide incentives for farmers to over produce non-perishable food so that the excess can be stored indefinitely. When there is a repeat of 1816 (the year without a summer) we will be in much better shape to cope with the horrific famines that will follow.

    There is plenty of precedent for this sort of thing going back to biblical times. All you need is good leadership but where do you find a Hammurabi in the modern world?

  44. Richard Tol said

    “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.” You may want to re-read Pigou (1920). If there are externalities, government intervention is justified by free-market, conservative arguments.

    “Minimizing the sum total of CO2 output by humanity is the problem” As indeed written into national and international law. Note that the time is unspecified. The only way to stop perpetual warming, is to stabilise the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (unless you assume that the climate sensitivity is exactly zero). The only way to stabilise atmospheric CO2 is to have zero emissions. Perpetual warming cannot be good as one day the ocean will evaporate. So, we have to drive CO2 emissions to zero, some say be 2050 and some say by 2500, but to zero they must go.

    “But the technology doesn’t exist.” That is just nonsense. The blueprints certainly exist. There is debate whether the demonstrated technology is adequate, but there is zero-emission transport, electricity and heating available at small scale.

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