What To Do About Global Warming/Cooling

I see a problem with this approach, I think, unless I’m missing something:

1. Are global temperatures warming?
2. Do the negative consequences of the change outweigh the positive consequences?
3. Can we do anything that will reverse the change?
4. Do the positive consequences of the action outweigh the negative consequences of doing nothing?

Notice, the steps have nothing at all whatsoever to do with whether or not global warming is anthropogenic. The climate’s “naturalness” is actually irrelevant. If a 10 kilometer-wide asteroid were hurling toward earth at 100,000 km per hour, it would be a completely natural event. However, just because the meteor wasn’t anthropogenic doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t take actions to deflect it.

Notice also, that we could change question 1 from “warming” to “cooling” and the four-step approach still works. And quite frankly, cooling is probably a more historically problematic situation.

If the answer to any one of the above four questions is “No,” then we should do absolutely nothing about a changing climate. If the answer to all of the questions are “Yes,” then, and only then, should we take any actions.

The first problem is in step 3. It doesn’t seem to account for cost. Suppose there is something that we can do (at least in theory) to reverse the change, but it would result in the loss of (say) a quadrillion dollars in global economic growth over the next century. And that points out the problem with Step 4. Rather than comparing the positive aspects of the action to the negative consequences of doing nothing, we need to compare the positive consequences of the action to their cost. For example, Wikipedia (FWIW) says that the gross world product is about seventy trillion dollars. If we were to get a growth rate of 4 percent over a century, that would mean that in 2113, the GWP would be (1.04)**(100), or about fifty times that amount, or about 3.5 quadrillion dollars. If by arbitrarily making energy more expensive with carbon taxes or caps, we were to reduce that growth rate by a mere half a percent (which is probably a conservative estimate — many of the proposals would do much more economic damage), that would reduce the factor of growth after a hundred years to about thirty, instead of fifty. That is, the world would be 20 times seventy, or 1.4 quadrillion dollars poorer over that period of time. You can buy a lot of mitigation against climate issues with that kind of money.

This is the kind of rational analysis that Bjørn Lomberg has been doing, and it’s why we need a real regret analysis.

48 thoughts on “What To Do About Global Warming/Cooling

  1. Larry J

    3. Can we do anything that will reverse the change?
    4. Do the positive consequences of the action outweigh the negative consequences of doing nothing?

    In addition to the failure to consider the opportunity costs of trying to slow or stop the changes to the climate, there’s also the fact that they didn’t address other alternative actions. For example, instead of trying to stop the climate from changing (and what could possibly go wrong with that?), the author didn’t consider what accommodations we could make to live with whatever changes may come. For example, instead of spending potentially $1.4 quadrillion to stop climate change, what would it take to relocate people from the areas more negatively impacted by the changes? The options are more than just a) do something to stop changes to the climate and b) do nothing at all.

    1. Al

      Add “c) hedge your bets”.

      A trillion dollars on nuclear power plants has the benefit of not being completely wasted if we’re wrong. And … actually even more useful if we’re in a global cooling period. :D

      But we still don’t have a competent grasp on point #1 going back prior to 1978.

  2. Gregg

    “The first problem is in step 3. It doesn’t seem to account for cost. ”

    Don’t know if the author meant it this way but #4 can be considered accounting for the cost.

    Cost is a consequence, which leads to other consequences.

  3. George Turner

    Here’s a quick sea level abatement calculation I just did, which you could all pop into a spreadsheet in a heartbeat.

    Earth’s ocean area is 139.4 million sq km, or 139.4e14 square meters.

    The yearly sea level rise has been constant at 1.5 mm/year, but suppose it rises to 4 mm/year (13.7 inches by 2100).

    The volume increase per year is just Ocean area * rise (in mm) / 1000, but the mass increase (in kg) is just Ocean area (sq m) * rise (in mm).

    For example, 4 mm/year translates to 5.576e14 kg/year, or 17.67e6 kg/sec.

    So we pump the water from the ocean way into Antarctica (which is a big bowl) where we won’t see it again for 10,000 years, if not a million. The energy required is given by PE=mgh, which for a hundred meters (328 feet) with the 85% efficiency of a properly sized centrifugal pump, is 20,384 MW.

    At $0.02 cents per kilowatt hour (cheap coal), that comes to $407,000 per hour, or $3.5 billion per year. That’s just $310 billion dollars to get us to 2100 while averting a 13.7 inch sea level rise. If you need to pump the water up 300 meters (984 feet) and avert a 9 mm/year rise (30.8 inches by 2100), then the cost goes up to $2 trillion in total, at a rate of $24 billion a year. Last time I checked, a trillion was a thousand times less than a quadrillion.

    The cost calculation is of course linear with pump head requirement and volume pumped, and the heat to keep the water from freezing in the long insulated pipe line into a continent is just the massive amount of waste heat from the power plant.

    The reason I ran this calculation with coal instead of nuclear is that nuclear plants cost a lot up front whereas coal plants are cheap (and you pay for the coal as you buy it). With a coal plant, people could ask themselves “Should I spend $3.5 billion dollars to drop the beach line by four millimeters, or spend that money on something that isn’t a bunch of hooey?”

    And if you’re paranoid about pumping water just to have it eventually flow back into the ocean, then dredge some sea bed and toss the rocks back onto land, or rather just start digging out some big bays and haul the dirt up on shore, which is actually a lower potential energy requirement than pumping water because you don’t have to pack rocks high and far away to keep them from going back in the water.

    Within the ranges they’re talking about, sea level is just a simple, low-cost civil engineering problem. Instead of restructuring our entire society, why not just pay the dudes with the pumps to build them and turn them on?

    1. Al

      You did leave out the discussion of the freezing-it-solid at the pole part. The Antarctic is able to dump a mind-boggling amount of heat to space via radiative cooling because the atmosphere has such a low humidity. A warm steel plate (“Warm” meaning “4C”) will dump heat even faster than the current -40C-ish ice. Spray the inside of a metal box (meaning no loose humidity) -> icicles. Have the bottom open. Lift as needed.

      A “permanent snow machine” is basically trivial as long as someone is paying the costs associated with pumping the water. (Which you did.)

    2. Andrew W

      Earth’s ocean area is 139.4 million sq km, or 139.4e14 square meters.

      Actually about 360 million sq km.

      So we pump the water from the ocean way into Antarctica(which is a big bowl)

      No it isn’t.

      If you need to pump the water up 300 meters (984 feet) and avert a 9 mm/year rise (30.8 inches by 2100), then the cost goes up to $2 trillion in total, at a rate of $24 billion a year.

      The average thickness of the Antarctic ice cap is 2000m

      And if you’re paranoid about pumping water just to have it eventually flow back into the ocean, then dredge some sea bed and toss the rocks back onto land, or rather just start digging out some big bays and haul the dirt up on shore, which is actually a lower potential energy requirement than pumping water because you don’t have to pack rocks high and far away to keep them from going back in the water.

      You obviously have no idea of the scale of the engineering you’re talking about.

    3. George Turner

      Actually about 360 million sq km

      Oops. I started out in square miles. The correction doubles the insignificant cost of the project (500 times less than the warmists want to suck out of the world economy instead of a thousand times less).

      The average thickness of the Antarctic ice cap is 2000m

      And only an idiot would try to site a project based on a continental average. Engineering minds don’t work that way. We cleverly build dams across gorges and river valleys instead of sticking them on ridges in the middle of the desert. We pick sites for civil engineering projects.

      The ice thickness is not uniform, and that 2000m figure is based on thickness, not height above sea level. Antarctica is a sunken continent, pushed down a third of a mile, and without the ice it would look more like a large island chain until it sprung back up over hundreds of thousands of years. There are plenty of places that aren’t very high and aren’t that distant from some of the floating ice shelves where an inlet pipe could be submerged. And of course there’s Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Siberia, etc. Since the goal is oceanic volume reduction, and it doesn’t matter where the reduction comes from, the sites would be utilized in order of cost per volume retained.

      The problem with most of the warmists is that they’re thinking with the religious side of their brain. Even though they thick such huge changes can be caused by everyone drinking fizzy soda pop and driving to work, they can’t conceive that punishment from the gods could be trivially averted by guys in hard hats with slide rules, some hoses, and a bulldozer, and they fall back on incantations and portents of unavoidable doom for mankind’s sins, throwing a thousand years of hard fought gains against ignorance and superstition right out the window, even as they claim to be the torchbearers of science and enlightenment. Their version of science and enlightenment looks suspiciously like primitive tribal religious nuttery to the rest of us.

      In the Cybershaming thread I posted a link to The Year the Stardust Fell, written in 1958, which was a warming about that very thing.

      In total, to avoid the middle range of the IPCC predictions for the year 2100, about 10 inches (with the calculations revised by your first comment), we need to pile ice up 500 feet deep across a 500 mile by 500 mile area. That means a small section of Antarctica will get 150 meters added to the 2,000 meter average. To the primitives (who never do anything anyway), it surely seems like an impossible task. But it’s spread out over 87 years. The power required isn’t troubling, and we wouldn’t even notice the energy it took to do it. Between the Tea Parties’ victories in 2010 and now, China has added more than the total project’s requirements just in coal fired power plant capacity. And we don’t have to do it all in one spot. Hundreds of different sites would be no different than one big one.

      Put another way, looking at all the things humans have built in the past hundreds years, from highways to giant dams to mega cities, seems like an impossible task. But we had a hundred years to do it, and so do it we did – by ignoring people who said we can’t. If there’s a project to be done, find the guys in hard hats and calculators in their pocket, not the people in tie-dyed shirts and flowers in their hair. The latter are backwards nut cases who couldn’t pave a driveway.

      1. Andrew W

        “The average thickness of the Antarctic ice cap is 2000m”

        That’ll still be a fairer representation of the task than your 300m.

        And the cost of pumping sea water hundreds or thousands of km inland will be the bigger cost.

        Better to start off with easier projects like filling up Death Valley.

      2. George Turner

        Well, if we’re going for the cheapest approach, it’s pouring pavement in seaboard cities at a rate of 3 mm a year, best done by added two inches of pavement every 20 years. We have to do half that anyway just to keep up with the current 1.5 mm a year of sea level rise, a rise which has been going on at that rate since the end of the last glaciation. Amazingly, over the past two centuries, coastal cities massively expanded into the ocean as a result of the all inevitable sea-side development projects, despite a enormous rise in sea levels.

        As nonsense goes, worrying about rising sea levels is second only to living in fear of the inevitable time when Australia violently slams into Asia due to continental drift.

        But back to the point about letting smart, creative engineering types handle such things instead of standing around preaching doom and destruction from mankind’s sin, there was a town in Iceland threatened with destruction from a lava flow. They didn’t weep and blame the volcano gods, they went and got some diesel water pumps, stuck hoses in the ocean, and sprayed the lava, cleverly cooling it so as to form a natural dam to redirect the rest of the flow toward places they wanted new land developed.

        Most of humanity always acts like panicked monkeys, helpless before the awesome forces of the gods. But among them are a few who stare at the oncoming lava and think “Hey, I wonder if I can make that stuff flow into molds and wholesale it?” Those are the people who advance human society.

  4. gbaikie

    Global warming has been a huge waste of money.

    For a trillion or 4 dollars one could launch solar panels from Earth and make vast solar array which beams down say 1/2 of electrical power used on Earth. And as an after thought, warm or cool earth- whichever you thought you needed.
    This would not be a good plan as it wouldn’t be a cheap source energy- if take into account the trillion or dollars spent to launch all these solar panels from Earth.
    But we have already wasted more than 1 trillion dollar on global warming “problem solving”. And they have have zero benefit. The only benefit is, what has been done makes us poorer- and a recession results in lower CO2 emission- so it’s been helpful in adding to the global recession.
    The only real way to reduce CO2 [assuming this is needed] is to reduce the use of Coal, and fracking and the increase supply of natural gas, and it’s lower costs, has made burning coal more expensive than burning natural gas. The other way to make near zero CO2 emissions is to use nuclear energy.

    But controlling CO2 emission is pointless in many ways. First, from satellite we know industrial areas which one would expect higher CO2, does not have higher CO2 emission- instead hot spots of CO2 emission are middle of South America and Africa. Second, we don’t know exactly the global carbon budget, other than we know natural sources dwarf human emission. The whole issue is based on we can easily know how CO2 is emitted by humans, because we keep records of this production [for financial reasons]. And the “climate scientists” have not put any significant effort into measuring to anything amounting to precision- within plus or minus of entire estimated human emission of CO2- of the natural carbon cycle. We being the drunk, looking under the street lamp for the car keys, not because we imagine the keys or there, but rather it’s the area, which is has light.

    So unlike the entire effort to control CO2 Emission [which full of government corruption/fraud] which has done nothing to limit CO2 [other than cause economic hardship]- wind mills and solar energy has made no measurable effect. Nor has ethanol. Nor has carbon trading, or carbon taxing. Nor green cars. Nor research in green technology.
    If you looking for one of worse places in the world to put solar panel and you found Germany- it’s close enough to the worse place to put solar panels. It’s “competitive” with raining Washington state or Alaska. And Germany [because they have idiots for politicians] is the country which has the most solar panel used in the world. And they increasing their CO2 emission because they shutting down there nuclear power plants.
    And generally electrical grids work by adding more power supply when electrical power is needed. And solar and wind only provide power at limited times- it’s cloudy it’s not windy [or it's too windy]. Therefore without the wind or solar, there is generally twice as much potential power available than is used- with solar and wind one gets even a higher percentage potential [or possible- if sun is shining and/or enough wind] which is not used. Basically solar and wind energy is useless, you can’t run power grid off them, unless users only use power when they can provide it [which fine for totalitarian states, but people don't want to live their lives this way]. So assuming people have some say [and they don't want suffer {or die}] those types of energy source are only parasitical to a real power grid. And if count the CO2 emitted get and maintain such power system [despite not being reliable power source, the power they create doesn’t reduce overall CO2 emission.

    1. Larry J

      It isn’t exactly accurate to say that there has been zero benefit from all the money spent on climate change. Many bureaucrats, NGOs and some people like Al Gore have become stinky rich, which was the whole point of the exercise.

  5. Trent Waddington

    Ummm.. actually, the question that needs to be asked in question 3 is: does the solution necessarily involve the use of coercion? If your answer is yes, then you’ve asked the wrong question.

  6. Thomas Matula

    Of course the real problem is getting accurate numbers for each step. And then estimating cost and impacts. The recent research showing that reducing air pollution increases the number and strength of hurricanes is a good example. Who would have taught that cleaning the air would result in New Orleans and NYC taking major hits?

    The real problem with this analysis is that it gives short shift to the innovative nature of individuals in a market economy. In terms of Step 4 consider this case from history.

    In the 1700’s as a result of the lost of forests on the island the King of England put major restrictions on the use of wood, especially for commoners. An economic advisor at the time would argue against such a ban because on the grounds it would cause a major hit to the economy and decline in the quality of life. Really, was the Royal Navy so important that it justified destroying the national economy?

    Except that it didn’t destroy the economy. What it did was forced folks to start using coal as a substitute, triggering a cascade of technology advances that sent the quality of life and wealth soaring towards the stars. And made England a world power.

    Now the properties of coal for heating were known since the time of the Romans, but the economics of using it to heat homes and cook just didn’t compare to the economics of burning wood. And it smelled so bad when you burned it… But if you were forbidden to use coal and had a choice between freezing in the little Ice Age or burning coal…

    One wonders if any of the alternatives to carbon fuels hold a similar potential? For example say the world, in its irrational fear of global warming, does a crash program to create SBSP and as a result creates a massive industrial infrastructure in cislunar space, an infrastructure that brings the wealth of the Solar System to Earth. Crazy? Perhaps, but so would be predicting the rise of railroads, steamships, factories and massive wealth from the banning of wood as fuel in the 1700’s :-)

    You did a good job in setting up the problem, just as Dr. Drake did with his famous equation. The problem of course is finding the numbers to plug in :-)

  7. Joe Triscari

    Here is the Mauna Loa record. I know of no reason not to believe it.

    In the past decade or so, there have been immense efforts to reduce the carbon output. The questions I have are, “Are any of those efforts visible as a bending of the curve? Has that question ever been examined?”

    If these CO2 reduction efforts are effective then there should be a measurable change in the trend. I think I recall reading that the lifetime of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is 12 or so years which means that efforts that started in 2000 should be visible by now.

    Just looking at the curve, I see no change in trend. That could only happen if all the decreases were compensated by increases. A surprising coincidence.

    The question that needs to be evaluated before spending a single dollar more is, “Are the measures we’re taking even effective at their stated goal.” Forget warming are we even turning the knob we’re trying to turn: CO2 concentration. We should measure what we’ve purchased so far before insisting we spend more.

    1. Karl Hallowell

      China has greatly increased its emissions and as of 2012 emits a quarter of all carbon dioxide – about half again as much as the US does.

      My take is that in hindsight we will view the current efforts to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions as merely a diplomatic and economic win for China.

      1. Joe Triscari

        That’s fair enough but unless China’s increase exactly compensates for everyone else’s decrease, the CO2 concentration measurement should show it. If we understand what we’re cutting and what China’s producing, someone should be able to produce a measurement. That no one is seems to be another type of evidence.

        I think you’re diplomatic take is correct.

      1. Joe Triscari

        I didn’t want to watch the whole hour but it looks like he’s saying CO2 and temperature are correlated and temperature drives CO2 not the other way around. That’s believable but my point is, if our mitigation efforts are meant to affect CO2 concentration, why not compare CO2 concentration to expected mitigation?

        I often hear about the cuts we’ve made and how much every country produces/year. If the world wide production is identical to 13 years ago and has been identical for the past 13 years, well OK but that’s surprising. If not why is the Mauna Loa record not showing it? Or is it?

        1. Bart

          Check the link. Worldwide production is soaring, even as the rate of actual measured concentration has settled out. This divergence will increase in the years ahead, which will finally establish that we are not driving it.

          But, I get your point. Yes, even using currently assumed sensitivities, we could not mitigate it substantially. That is the surreal aspect of the whole charade. It fails on just about every level, no matter your point of view.

      1. George Turner

        BTW, it would behoove everyone to take an hour out of their day and watch his presentation. If CO2 lags temperature by a 90 degree phase angle, then it’s not mathematically possible for CO2 to drive warming and still have this planet’s temperature and CO2 history.

  8. Casey

    Jerry Pournelle has been saying for years that we need a proper Bayesian analysis to determine the cost of information on this question. Looks like at least some folks are agreeing with him.

  9. Jim

    This is the kind of rational analysis that Bjørn Lomberg has been doing

    Lomberg thinks that carbon emissions are causing global warming, and that the solution is to make big investments in energy R&D until clean energy sources can outcompete fossil fuels in the marketplace. That approach doesn’t make economic sense — it treats greenhouse gasses as an unpriced negative externality — and is a non-starter with a Republican party that sees investment in clean energy as scandalous.

    1. wodun

      People have less a problem with R&D than funneling tens of billions to Obama cronies whose businesses fail while they get richer.

      1. Jim

        The problem is that the GOP thinks that energy R&D is the same thing as “funneling tens of billions to Obama cronies whose businesses fail while they get richer” — something that, as far as I can tell, has never happened. The DOE has given or loaned money to companies, but they aren’t run by Obama cronies in particular, the ones that failed didn’t receive tens of billions, and when they failed they left the other investors poorer.

        To put it another way: how could you implement the sort of massive clean energy R&D spending that Lomberg advocates in a way that wouldn’t cause the GOP to howl about imaginary scandals?

    2. Gregg

      “That approach doesn’t make economic sense…”

      You’re the last person who can judge what makes economic sense, as well as the last person on how the Republican Party sees investment in clean energy.

      Drops a glowing red charcoal on yet another strawman by Jim.

      1. Gregg

        “I wrote it, so it must not be true?”

        Since:

        1) you provided NO evidence, proof or argument for your assertion, and

        2) in the past your writings have clearly shown you to be an economic illiterate

        then yes if you wrote it, it must not be true.

        1. Jim

          you provided NO evidence, proof or argument for your assertion

          Do you need the arguments spelled out in greater detail?

          That approach doesn’t make economic sense — it treats greenhouse gasses as an unpriced negative externality

          Lomberg’s approach considers CO2 emissions to be a negative externality, but puts no price on it. That’s economically inefficient. Imagine having two products with the same price, where one also imposes an unpriced negative externality. The market is equally likely to choose either source, and will therefore needlessly suffer that externality. This isn’t a liberal or conservative argument, it’s economics 101.

          is a non-starter with a Republican party that sees investment in clean energy as scandalous

          The closest thing the U.S. has come to Lomberg’s preferred policy is the clean energy spending in the Recovery Act (aka stimulus). The GOP position is that those programs were scandalous handouts to political cronies. It is very hard to imagine the GOP being able to pivot from that public stance to supporting the sort of clean energy R&D that Lomberg prescribes.

          1. Gregg

            “Do you need the [economic] arguments spelled out in greater detail?”

            As you have proven yourself to be an economic illiterate with months (years?) of posts here, I would say, yes you would need to spell out your argument in order for it to be considered. As I said, you are the *last* person to go to for an economic argument.

            Just the other day you were screaming for subsidies for a capability that is either not ready for the market, not wanted for the market, or both.

            You’ve learned nothing from ruinous Spanish wind farm subsidies nor opportunities for cronyism which has been used by Obama and which have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. You prove you neither understand the economic impact nor the political.

            So yeah – any economic argument from you needs to be laid out.

            “It is very hard to imagine the GOP being able to pivot from that public stance to supporting the sort of clean energy R&D that Lomberg prescribes.”

            1) You are the last person I would listen to to describe the GOP position accurately and fairly and

            2) Using the GOP position is a strawman since the real issue is to get the government out of the situation entirely, because,

            3) GOP != constitutional nor economically rational nor politically honorable a lot of the time.

          2. Jim

            You are the last person I would listen to to describe the GOP position accurately and fairly

            So you disagree with my statement that “The GOP position is that those [clean energy stimulus] programs were scandalous handouts to political cronies”? Then what is the GOP position on those programs?

            the real issue is to get the government out of the situation entirely

            The question is whether the GOP would support Lomberg’s proposed policies. His recommendation isn’t to “get the government out of the situation entirely” — it’s to make massive government investments in clean energy R&D. It seems you have a problem with Lomberg, not my take on the likelihood of the GOP implementing Lomberg’s vision.

            GOP != constitutional nor economically rational nor politically honorable a lot of the time

            Again, that has nothing to do with the statement you were responding to. This is a problem with your “if Jim wrote it, I believe the opposite” approach. I make a completely banal statement about the low odds of the GOP doing what Lomberg recommends, and you feel obligated to disagree.

          3. Gregg

            “So you disagree with my statement that “The GOP position is that those [clean energy stimulus] programs were scandalous handouts to political cronies”? ”

            No fool – I never addressed that.

            I responded to THIS – your statement which was copied in my response:

            Jim: “It is very hard to imagine the GOP being able to pivot from that public stance to supporting the sort of clean energy R&D that Lomberg prescribes.”

            …I quoted it and responded to that. NOT to the distraction you just tried to introduce.

            Nice try at an alinsky-distraction.

            “The question is whether the GOP would support Lomberg’s proposed policies. ”

            Only in your head…..I for one never address that. I simply said you are the last person I would expect to represent the GOP position accurately, fairly and I would add, knowledgeably.

            Jim: “Again, that has nothing to do with the statement you were responding to. ”

            As I’ve just shown you are entirely incapable of following a conversation even when you are a participant.

            You even are responding to yourself (it’s your quotes in the second set of italics not mine – June 25, 2013, 5:44 pm).

            If you need to further convince yourself of your position be my guest. ;)

            Jim: “This is a problem with your “if Jim wrote it, I believe the opposite” approach. I make a completely banal statement about the low odds of the GOP doing what Lomberg recommends, and you feel obligated to disagree.”

            Why don’t you try to read and comprehend a post before you respond to it? You might make a more relevant response. And do try to respond to what people actually wrote.

            First off, I never said I’d “….take the opposite approach…” No – that’s a nice delusional invention in your mind. What I said was that you are the last person I’d listen to on economics and to represent the GOP position.

            Secondly I never mentioned Lomberg.

            Here let me help you out: the origin is: you made a totally unsupported statement about economics which you gave zero support for and which is a subject you have proven yourself to be singularly unable, or unwilling, to understand. Hence you are the last person to be listened to regarding economics.

            You are also the last person I would listen to regarding the GOP position, nor predict what the GOP would do.

            THOSE are my comments.

            Not your attempted distractions and re-directions.

    3. Gregg

      as for your:

      “…………. it treats greenhouse gasses as an unpriced negative externality ….”

      If you’re going to crib off of a WSJ article to find cool words so that you sound knowledgeable…..

      “A growing atmospheric inventory of carbon dioxide is one of the negative externalities from fossil fuel consumption that is not factored into the prices we pay for those fuels.”

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324685104578386980438168800.html

      ……….the very least you could do is learn how to spell “gases”

      1. Bart

        Gasses, gases…, they are both acceptable. Let’s not detract from the debate by focusing on minutiae.

        The simple fact is, there is no evident “negative externality” from CO2 at all. It apparently has no significant effect on global temperatures, and we could not do anything about it even if it did. And, even if we could, it would be a net benefit, leading to greater plant growth and overall greening of the planet. We should then be subsidized for every additional mile we drive, not penalized.

        The whole debate is decidedly surreal.

        1. Bart

          It’s like watching primitive tribes argue about how to appease the Gods. Apparently, we are still savages underneath, frightened of our own shadows, fearful of having angered the personified rulers of natural vagaries, and eager to abase and flail ourselves to soothe them and bestow their mercy upon us.

        2. Jim

          there is no evident “negative externality” from CO2 at all

          Lomberg and the overwhelming majority of climate scientists disagree with you.

          There are people who think the world is 6,000 years old, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or that autism is caused by vaccines. They’re free to think so, but their views shouldn’t be the basis for public policy.

          1. Rand Simberg Post author

            Lomborg doesn’t think that the externalities are all that high, and most scientists aren’t economically literate enough to judge how high they are.

          2. Bart

            “Lomberg and the overwhelming majority of climate scientists disagree with you.”

            Salby does. I’m comfortable in that company. Are you so insecure in your own abilities that you must follow the herd?

          3. Bart

            ” They’re free to think so, but their views shouldn’t be the basis for public policy.”

            It’s getting pretty clear that the current state of politically charged “science” does not provide a solid basis for public policy, either.

            Actually, we need this fiasco, so that people who call themselves “scientists” will be chastened from allowing their personal opinions to override the scientific method, and the public will be properly reticent about implementing draconian policies based on poorly established and politically motivated research.

          4. Jim

            Lomborg doesn’t think that the [negative] externalities are all that high

            That’s a far cry from thinking they’re positive!

            Are you so insecure in your own abilities that you must follow the herd?

            Yes. I will happily admit that professional climate scientists have a better take on their field of study than I do. Laypeople in general should consider the Dunning–Kruger effect, and be very skeptical of their ability to outthink the experts.

          5. Bart

            “Laypeople in general should consider the Dunning–Kruger effect, and be very skeptical of their ability to outthink the experts.”

            In feedback systems in general, I am an expert. If there is any DK going on in that relationship, it is on their side, not mine.

            Are really you accusing Dr. Salby of Dunning-Kruger? That’s a laugh.

            Ad verecundiam argumentation has been recognized as a major logical fallacy since antiquity. Somehow, the “experts” keep popping up wrong. Eugenics, continental drift… the list is long. It is symptomatic of a weak argument to rely wholly on the supposed authority of proclaimed “experts”.

  10. wodun

    Anyone see Obama’s speech today?

    He wants to take “executive action” to reshape our entire society out of fear of what he thinks the climate will be 100 years from now but he stumbled and bumbled through his entire speech. He could not even read a coherent sentence. Not being able to read a prepared speech that he surely practiced is a sign that Obama doesn’t have much if any knowledge on the subject.

    But he did a good job blaming all weather events on AGW.

    1. Gregg

      Obama said:

      “We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society.”

      Mocking people is an especially fine way to get them to unite and cooperate. Too bad his own side rejected science decades ago.

    2. George Turner

      I’m sure he took at least a few science classes when he was attending the madrassas in Indonesia.

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