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Kyoto comes into effect

February 16th, 2005

This is a good day for the planet, which has had mostly bad days lately. Still, even with US (and FWIW, Australian) participation, Kyoto would only have been a first step towards tackling global warming. As it is, we have a first step towards a first step.

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  1. February 16th, 2005 at 09:37 | #1

    Hi – I’ve never really been convinced by what the Kyoto Protocol is actually meant to deliver.

    Apart from the Carbon Emissions Trading system (which by the way already exists on the Chicago based derivatives trading exchanges), and the huge financial compliance costs imposed on industry, the benefits will ultimately flow back to first world countries in that our mass polluting smoke-stack industries will migrate on mass to third world countries which need the foreign investment, need the capital, need the mass factories to employ the population (children and adult alike), with the trade off that the ‘smoke-stackers’ can polute at will as the lack of stern environmental controls and compliance will be strategically missing.

  2. Paul Norton
    February 16th, 2005 at 09:56 | #2

    The thesis of a capital flight to pollution havens because of environmental regulation has been investigated and empirically debunked – at least in relation to US industry – by US environmental economist Eban Goodstein in his 1999 book The Trade-Off Myth. Here is how I summarised Goodstein’s findings in my Doctoral thesis:

    “Goodstein found that there were few examples of relocation of US plants to pollution havens. In general an environmentally induced capital flight had not occurred. This was because: the cost of environmental regulation was small compared to overall business costs (especially wages); costs were only one factor in relocation decisions; modern production technology obviates environmental compliance costs by incorporating pollution control devices to begin with; and environmental compliance could yield benefits outweighing the costs (Goodstein, 1999: 55-67, 171).”

    The prospect of such a capital flight is often raised in relation to Australia’s energy-intensive industries such as aluminium, iron and steel. All of Goodstein’s arguments would seem to apply here, especially as existing large smelting plants involve huge sunk costs which the operators will be seeking a return on before making further large capital investments in possible new plants overseas. And if such new plants are established overseas, it is reasonably probable that they will be operating in the context of developing countries being brought into a regime of binding greenhouse emissions control targets under a post-Kyoto agreement pursuant to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the very least, investors in these sectors will be factoring such a prospect into their decision-making horizons.

    Finally, the deposits of bauxite and iron ore under the surface of the Australian land mass have shown no tendency to move from country to country in response to energy price signals

  3. February 16th, 2005 at 09:57 | #3

    Of course, our fearless leader is not bold enough to take even a first step towards a first step. This is probably at least partly due to the fact that Chief Monkey Bush has also refused to ratify the protocol, and everyone knows what happens if you don’t do what Chief Monkey Bush does. Big trouble!

    We’d be in danger of gaining international credibility!

  4. February 16th, 2005 at 10:17 | #4

    But didn’t Goodstein base his figures and assumptions on pre-1998 data and international trade frameworks? not on a post Kyoto Protocol world?

    Regardless of costs, third world government incentives (tax holidays etc) will be a strong inducement.

  5. Steve Edney
    February 16th, 2005 at 10:22 | #5

    Reading the article in the Australian by Alan Wood: Kyoto a pointless exercise

    I was struck by the final paragraph:
    “Rather than let them alarm you, ask yourself this: do you think people who can’t tell you whether it will rain next Wednesday are really capable of building models that tell you what the climate will be like 100 years from now? I wouldn’t trust any economic modelling that forecast what the world economy would look like a century hence, and climate models are at least as flawed as economists’ ones. ”

    The thing is that economists would (and do) predict what the economy will do a long time hence if we drive one factor externally to some relative extreme. Eg. If we were to say steadily keep raising taxes (and say spending on defence)then I’m pretty sure most economists would hazard a guess at what the state of the economy would be after 100 years of this policy.

  6. Tom Davies
    February 16th, 2005 at 10:25 | #6

    Some silly comments in Alan Wood’s article in the Oz today: “do you think people who can’t tell you whether it will rain next Wednesday are really capable of building models that tell you what the climate will be like 100 years from now?” Confusing something chaotic such as weather with climate is incredible. Especially as in the previous paragraph he pointed out that unusual weather events don’t confirm forecasts of climate change.

    In the SMH, Anthony Albanese is paraphrased as saying “there was no downside to Australia ratifying the protocol given Australia was on track to meeting its pollution reduction targets”. Have we taken any legislative or other steps to achieve this? Would we have to take any over the next 8 years to meet our Kyoto targets?

  7. Paul Norton
    February 16th, 2005 at 11:08 | #7

    “But didn’t Goodstein base his figures and assumptions on pre-1998 data and international trade frameworks? not on a post Kyoto Protocol world?”

    Yes. However the task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not different in principle from that of reducing emissions of other pollutants covered by the US environmental protection laws which, according to Goodstein, did not produce a capital flight. Further, whereas those laws were purely national in scope, Kyoto seeks to regulate emissions on a global scale, and the post-Kyoto phase of negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change will aim to produce agreements which include a system of binding emissions targets for developing countries. In other words, the logic of the FCCC, Kyoto and post-Kyoto is about coordinated global action which reduces the scope for individual countries to act as pollution havens.

  8. February 16th, 2005 at 11:39 | #8

    Paul – regardless, only 35 countries are signatories to Kyoto (I know, I know the US and Australia are not), but it still leaves about 140 plus countries that are not, and many are run by dictatorial, fianncially self-seeking fat cats!!!

  9. February 16th, 2005 at 12:07 | #9

    Roberto,

    there are 141 countries that have either accepted or ratified.

    http://www.mct.gov.br/clima/ingles/quioto/signata.htm

  10. February 16th, 2005 at 13:05 | #10

    Swade – apologies – typo on my part.

    Yes, there are 141 countries who have or are to ratify, but they account for only about 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, and then have only PLEDGED to cut these emissions by 5.2% by 2012.

  11. February 16th, 2005 at 13:18 | #11

    When does the rest of world start applying trade sanctions?

  12. cg
    February 16th, 2005 at 13:20 | #12

    Roberto,

    Your initial point was that Kyoto would promote (polluting) capital flight to 3rd World countries (of which there is little evidence in relation to the implentation of pollution abatement policy). However in 10 you seem to have shifted ground to Kyoto’s problem being a lack of coverage and too low a emission reduction??
    And BTW comparing points 8 and 10 – that’s one hell of a typo.

  13. February 16th, 2005 at 14:19 | #13

    CG

    1. I made my apologies,
    2. My argument still holds
    3. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2005/02/15/1108230006497.html – See this article about community objections to wind farming. If this is the case in general, then Kyoto – no matter well meaning – is well….you know!

  14. Jack
    February 16th, 2005 at 14:58 | #14

    Pablo Caslas famously once said, "The situation is hopeless. We must take the next step." which kind of sums up neatly what I just read on this over on Andrew Bartlett’s Blog. It is possible it is too little to late. It is possible the commitment isn’t broad enough. But a first step taken makes it possible for the next one and the next one. And that’s cause for optimism – even if it’s only a little bit.

  15. February 16th, 2005 at 15:27 | #15

    John,

    There is a lot of uninformed discussion on your blog about Kyoto by others from both sides. It would be good if people read a little more widely before passing definitive comment on this issue.

    My new report on Kyoto can be found at the Lowy Institute.

    http://www.lowyinstitute.org

    Best Wishes

    Warwick McKibbin

  16. Simon
    February 16th, 2005 at 15:45 | #16

    Roberto is the classic Climate Change-Kyoto ‘sceptic’. Say something that appears to be logical and commonsense, but without any backup, then hope that no one will actually check up on the facts. When someone does pull you up on it, simply state some other un-related half-truth. When some-one says ‘that’s not right either’, simply pull out another half-truth. Roberto doesn’t even try to argue that what he says is correct, he just keeps on making statements.

    Oh yeah and occasionally saying ‘My argument still holds’ means nothing when no one can work out which argument you are talking about and you haven’t provided any supporting arguments.

  17. Andrew Reynolds
    February 16th, 2005 at 15:52 | #17

    Simon,
    I may fall into that bucket as well, but I also do not understand the imporance of the protocol. If we accept for argument’s sake that climate change is a fact and is also caused by human activity then all the protocol is going to do is to slightly reduce the rate of increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The net effect of this on global temperatures is likely to be so close to zero as to disappear into the statistical noise, particularly given the very wide range of error in the models used.
    The current warming trend, while it

  18. Andrew Reynolds
    February 16th, 2005 at 15:59 | #18

    Oops, bad paste. To finish:
    The current warming trend, while is is co-incidental with industrialisation, may not be caused by it. Co-incidence does not prove causation.
    So, on the basis of models that are as imperfect as they are and with little to no direct evidence, we are being told to reduce everyone’s output potential for an immaterial reduction in something that may not be a problem when there are several other more pressing needs in the world that have better, and more provable benefits. Just seems silly to me.

  19. Simon
    February 16th, 2005 at 17:04 | #19

    Andrew, the principles of the greenhouse effect and the contribution of various gases is well known and is part of any first year chemistry. Without greenhouse gases the earth would be very cold (similar to Mars). Increasing the amount of greenhouse gases increases the greenhouse effect and therefore we get warmer (ie Venus, avg temp 457C, due to the huge amount of greenhouse gases in it’s atmosphere). There isn’t any ‘co-incidence’ about it. Increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to an increase in the average temperature.

  20. doctor k
    February 16th, 2005 at 18:20 | #20

    There isn’t any ‘co-incidence’ about it. Increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to an increase in the average temperature.
    By how much? Is it a linear or non-linear relationship? If the latter, of what kind? What are the standard errors of the predictions of the model(s)? Again, association does not prove causality and even if there is causality what would be the net effect?

    Large up front costs do not guarantee any sizable reduction of warming. I would rather prefer to see the cost of the Kyoto exercise to more worthwhile causes. For example, John’s post-tsunami appeal.

  21. Alex
    February 16th, 2005 at 19:24 | #21

    Very little of the commentary on global warming, Kyoto etc seems to have the problem in perspective. This article – http://www.austhink.org/monk/Abrupt%20Climate.htm -
    does that, by taking a whole of Earth’s history perspective, then gradually focusing more and more closely on more recent time frames.

    It also points out that, as far as the immediate concern of man-induced climate change is concerned, it may already be too late. The warming already in place may be enough to trigger a Dansgaard-Oeschger event, probably leading to the next ice age (in the Northern Hemisphere).) Nevertheless,taking the long term view, this is simply a matter of timing. The D-O Cycle would lead to the next ice age, probably in the relatively near future, without any human intervention. IMHO we would be better off planning how to deal with the next ice age when it does come than fussing about changes that have only a minuscule impact on anthropogenic global warming.

  22. February 16th, 2005 at 19:36 | #22

    Simon

    Yes I am sceptical. And remain so. And your contribution doesn’t enlighten the issue. As to your comments about my contribution, well!

    You say in 19 that “…principles of the greenhouse effect and the contribution of various gases is well known “. I thought that the fact that people are arguing about this is proof that the ‘effects’ are not well known or more importantly ‘agreed’! Check out Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s article at http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=3034

    Also please note Doctor K’s contribution in 20.

  23. Simon JM
    February 16th, 2005 at 20:05 | #23

    Hmm another opportunity for my favorite topic of confirmation bias : )
    Roberto Interesting that you refer to Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s basically she contradicts all the local environmental scientists, CSIRO etc that say that the Murray river is pretty sick and defends Lomborg when he says that the global environment is Ok.
    Again is this a case like in the 1920’s with eugenics that she is right and whole scientific disciplines have a bad case of institutional bias or is she -given she contradicts a whole swath of mainstream respected science and scientists- the one with a bad case of confirmation bias?

    I tend to give skeptics like her little credence because they tend to dismiss any claim that humans have adversely affected the environment. If they had any credibility that would at least acknowledge some of the problems like dry land salinity in Australia or other problems worldwide. But no, they are all denied or brushed under the carpet

    You have to laugh though that within the same week Michael Duffy has her on Counterpoint while Phillip Adams has those self same Murray River scientists on Lateline. Would have been far more interesting to have them all on the same show for a debate.

  24. February 16th, 2005 at 20:22 | #24






    The comment by B.S. Fairman (When does the rest of world start applying trade sanctions) deserves consideration. I am normally a free trader (as a credential i guess i am on the most wanted list of the french ministry of agriculture), but in the case of Kyoto it is different. True, the pollution haven thing has been largely debunked, but Kyoto takes it into another dimension. Serious work by the oecd shows that the ciment and steel industry in Kyoto countries will suffer from competition with non Kyoto countries. It seems to me that if you have an environmental agreement that ends up with an expansion of the market share of the polluting industry (non kyoto cement and steel), world pollution increases, and the agreement loses interest. In that case there is a clear contradiction between GATT/WTO rules and environment. My point of view (shared by much better economists than me such as R. Guesnerie) is that Kyoto countries need to implement a border tax based on some sort of carbon content. This may be GATT incompatible (although i am curious to see what the Appelate body of the WTO would say about Article XX of GATT on commercial measures for the protection of global resources), but the EU needs to think seriously about it. I hate departing from the usual motto that free trade is good. Most of the environmentalists criticisms of freer trade are rubbish, but in the case of Kyoto, this is totally different.

    J Christophe Bureau (French, working in Ireland. By the way, congratulation for the most interesting blog on the web).

  25. J.Christophe Bureau
    February 16th, 2005 at 21:29 | #25

    The comment by B.S. Fairman (When does the rest of world start applying trade sanctions ?) deserves consideration. I am normally a free trader (as a credential i guess i am on the most wanted list of the french ministry of agriculture), but in the case of Kyoto it is different. True, the pollution haven thing has been largely debunked, but Kyoto takes it into another dimension. Serious work by the oecd shows that the ciment and steel industry in Kyoto countries will suffer from competition with non Kyoto countries. It seems to me that if you have an environmental agreement that ends up with an expansion of the market share of the polluting industry (non kyoto cement and steel), world pollution increases, and the agreement loses interest. In that case there is a clear contradiction between GATT/WTO rules and environment. My point of view is that Kyoto countries need to implement a border tax based on some sort of carbon content. This may be GATT incompatible (although i am curious to see what the Appelate body of the WTO would say about Article XX of GATT on commercial measures for the protection of global resources), but the EU needs to think seriously about it. Most of the environmentalists’ criticisms of freer trade are rubbish, but in the case of Kyoto, this is totally different.

  26. February 16th, 2005 at 22:08 | #26

    The kyoto agreement-a good start.
    Those who argue against climate change as an issue
    will be seen by the next generation as criminal scumbags who let the dollar pervert their humanity.
    Your children’s children will judge you.

  27. February 17th, 2005 at 08:34 | #27

    “Those who argue against climate change as an issue will be seen by the next generation as criminal scumbags who let the dollar pervert their humanity. Your children’s children will judge you.”

    Your children’s children will view your concern about global warming about like you would view your grandfather leaving you his precious set of 78 rpm records. Your concern will be touching, but absolutely irrelevant to their lives.

    The world per-capita GDP in 2100 will probably exceed $1 million (in 1990 dollars):

    Third Thoughts on World Economic Growth in the 21st century

    If you think the people in 2100 are going to care about the earth being about 1 degree Celsius warmer than it is now, you’re crazy:

    Implications of 21st century economic growth

    Temperature projections for the 21st century

  28. February 17th, 2005 at 09:43 | #28

    Just to end my contribution to this thread, have a look at the following:
    http://www.globalwarming.org/article.php?uid=379

    It reads in part:
    “A petition circulated to scientists urging lawmakers to reject the Kyoto Protocol has been signed by over 17,000 individuals including over 2,000 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers and environmental scientists. An additional 4,400, according to the petition’s sponsors, are qualified to assess the effects of carbon dioxide upon the Earth’s plant and animal life and most of the remaining signers have technical training suitable to understanding climate change issues.”

  29. John Quiggin
    February 17th, 2005 at 09:52 | #29

    Not hte Oregon petition, Roberto!

    If you’re not aware that this effort (nearly a decade old now) was thoroughly bogus, you really need to get up to speed on the issues.

  30. Ros
    February 17th, 2005 at 10:40 | #30

    keep trying Roberto, Dr K and Andrew. We have just had Greenpeace here in SA apparently giving a weather report in 40 years. media didn’t seem to feel that this was a bullshit exercise run to scare.
    I enjoyed this comment re the super model of Australian Institute etc (TCS) and the IPCC
    The conclusion was that the likelihood that the computer models were correct, with all those adjustable parameters, was zero. Regarding the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) claim that models can fit the observed global mean temperatures, Fred Singer referred to a nice quotation from the famous mathematician John von Neumann: ‘With four parameters I can fit an elephant and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.’

  31. Simon
    February 17th, 2005 at 10:56 | #31

    Roberto -there is no argument over the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases – without greenhouse gases the earth would be a frozen wasteland. From CSIRO:

    “Sunlight passes through the atmosphere, warming the earth’s surface. In turn, the land and oceans release heat, or infrared radiation, into the atmosphere, thus balancing the incoming energy. Water vapour, carbon dioxide and some of the other trace gases absorb part of this radiation, allowing it to warm the lower atmosphere, while the remainder is emitted to space. This absorption of heat, which keeps the surface of our planet warm enough to sustain us, is called the greenhouse effect. Without heat-trapping greenhouse gases the surface would have an average temperature of –18°C rather than our current average of 15°C.”

    Fact is if molecules didn’t absorb radiation then you’d never get warm when you sat in front of a heater.

    Jennifer Marohasy – who the hell is she? Why don’t you reference to some real science rags and find out what the scientific community really thinks? Like say Chemical and Engineering News, the industry mag published by the American Chemical Society.

    January 24, 2005
    Volume 83, Number 4
    p. 3

    Global Climate Change
    RUDY M. BAUM
    Editor-in-chief
    Regular readers of this page know that I firmly believe that overwhelming evidence supports the idea that human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, is affecting Earth’s climate. Data and sophisticated models convincingly show that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere have already begun a process of global warming that, if unchecked, will lead to a 2–10 °F increase in the average global temperature by the end of the century. If the increase is toward the upper end of this range, the impact will be catastrophic.

    … and on the Global Warming/Climate Change name debate…

    C&EN will continue to use the phrase “climate change,� because, although the phenomenon is driven by an increase in the average global temperature, the phenomenon manifests differently in different parts of the Earth.

    I’m sorry Doctor K but I can’t answer your questions but I’m sure if you really are interested you can find the various published papers on the subject. Roberto since you refer to Doctor K’s questions, I’m assuming then that you agree that increasing greenhouse gases will led to an increase in average world temperature, and your question is now about by how much?

  32. Ros
    February 17th, 2005 at 10:59 | #32

    can any one here explain to me why the argument is only about CO2 and industrialisation/capitalism. We have had massive increases in the amount of methane. Then there is ozone in the troposphere, black carbon soot, aerosols, nitrous oxide, and several types of halocarbons. And isn’t water vapour no one greenhouse gas followed by methane?
    Then there is this report and its suggestions. I do not come across this in the media.
    The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (2002) highlights data indicating that greenhouse gas emissions have dropped due to concerted efforts by governments around the world. According to this new study, an “alternate scenario” to understanding climate change might provide guidance for successfully curtailing climate altering factors without requiring unreasonable demands of both industrialized and developing countries.
    Some material I read suggests that methane, if the climate change is man made may well be the big culprit.Is it because its about cows rice and garbage?
    How can this be a debate to trust when we get Greenpeace pulling stunts and our politicians running with them because it is populist. The overkill bit strikes me as a problem too. Many are starting to hear Peter crying wolf.

  33. Ros
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:03 | #33

    sorry alternate scenario was methane. But then we would have to talk about population.

  34. Andrew Reynolds
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:05 | #34

    The one other statistic I have not heard mentioned here is that the total human contribution (i.e. that portion we can do anything about) to carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere is about 3% of the natural output. So, as a guess, the difference under Kyoto is that the human contribution will go not from 3 to 3.1%, but to 3.05%. It would have to be an incredibly volatile system for this to have an effect. Kyoto is great politics (the pollies can look like they are doing something, get all worked up etc.) but bad science.

  35. John Quiggin
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:23 | #35

    Andrew, this number is way off. Human contributions are expected to double the atmospheric concentration of CO2 sometime this century.

  36. Paul Norton
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:31 | #36

    “Jennifer Marohasy – who the hell is she?”

    She’s Australia’s answer to Trofim Lysenko.

  37. Fyodor
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:37 | #37

    JQ,

    That’s an interesting stat – could you provide the source?

  38. Paul Norton
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:50 | #38

    Andrew’s number is not so much “way off” as misunderstood by Andrew.

    The important point to understand about the human contribution to the global carbon cycle is that it is creating an imbalance in the cycle, i.e. the additional amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted due to human activity is more than the carbon “sinks” in the biosphere can assimilate. Whilst the excess of emissions over assimilative capacity may only be a small fraction of the throughput of the carbon cycle in a given year, its cumulative effect over 150-200 years has been major and will continue to be so until anthropogenic emissions are reduced to a level consistent with balance in the carbon cycle.

  39. Simon
    February 17th, 2005 at 13:02 | #39

    Ros you mustn’t read too carefully – though methane is a ‘better’ greenhouse gas – it’s only produced in small amounts when compared to CO2. In Australia CO2 contributes to around 70% of the total greenhouse warming caused by greenhouse gas releases, while in the UK it’s around 80%.

  40. Simon
    February 17th, 2005 at 13:32 | #40

    Ros, I just found the methane piece at Goddards – it’s a nice read. Thanks. Where’s the piece on the drop on greenhouse emissions? Thanks.

  41. February 17th, 2005 at 14:02 | #41

    “can any one here explain to me why the argument is only about CO2 and industrialisation/capitalism. We have had massive increases in the amount of methane. Then there is ozone in the troposphere, black carbon soot, aerosols, nitrous oxide, and several types of halocarbons.”

    Only CO2 is mentioned, because most of the others (e.g., methane, CFCs) aren’t increasing, and some (e.g., nitrous oxide) could never be justified as contributing significantly to global warming.

    Percentage contributions to global warming, and concentration trends

    Climate forcing rates of greenhouse gases

    Basically, CO2 is the only greenhouse gas left that’s significant and clearly rising (the rest aren’t rising, or are insignificant).

    In the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR), the IPCC ludicrously has methane concentrations **increasing dramatically** in the 21st century, even though it was clear when the report was written that methane concentrations were plateauing. It’s one of the reasons that the methane atmospheric concentrations, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases in the IPCC TAR constitute, in my opinion, the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.

    Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

  42. simon jm
    February 17th, 2005 at 16:16 | #42

    Mark they are probably talking about natural methane hydrate deposits on the sea floor and in places like Siberia that when things warm up will be released. I don’t remember which programme had this but on Radio National recently some guy was talking about absolutely enormous carbon sinks in Indonesian peat bogs(which hold a large % of the worlds carbon ) that if they dried out and caught on fire would produce such a gigantic release of carbon it would dwarf all the other sources scientists have been concerned about. I think he said no one has even attempted to factor in this release in current models.
    I also happen to recall some scientists taking about past sudden releases of methane hydrates causing mass extinction events, factor in the burning peat bogs and you can forget about human induced CO2 the horse has bolted.

  43. Andrew Reynolds
    February 18th, 2005 at 13:51 | #43

    John,
    Your question forced me to revisit my sources and I understand (from a quick Google) that there is some question about them, so I withdraw for the moment until or unless I can back it up further.
    Nevertheless, I maintain that Kyoto is not going to make a blind bit of difference. I still believe that climate change will not be as bad as projected, but read this. From my reading of this analysis, if this is correct, the only way to start even plateauing the GHG levels would be to cut GHG production by about half, not merely control the growth in some (but by no means all) countries. The reduction of carbon emissions by over half (given current technology, the only real way to do this would be by cutting output by about half as well) would cause nearly incalculable economic and social damage.
    So, if we accept this, Kyoto is like standing in front of a tank at full speed and taking comfort that we have a peashooter. The work that is going into controlling emissions would be much better spent either working out coping strategies and/or better ways to trap carbon, not wasting time on trying to reduce the rate of growth, because it is simply not going to help enough to be measurable.

  44. John Quiggin
    February 18th, 2005 at 14:33 | #44

    Andrew, that’s what I say in the post. The point of Kyoto is/was
    (1) set up necessary mechanisms
    (2) Have the developed countries ante up so the rest of the world can be persuaded to join in the next round

    The claim about “incalculable economic damage” is as spurious as the worst of environmentalism. The damage is calculable and is of the order of a few per cent of GDP.

  45. Paul Norton
    February 18th, 2005 at 14:48 | #45

    The exchange between John and Andrew is another example of the ironic phenomenon observed by Goodstein. This is that in debates on the economic consequences of greenhouse emission reductions, the Right is pessimistic about the capacity of capitalism to adapt and believes that capitalism will be thrown into crisis by restricting the use of a particular resource, whereas the Left is optimistic about the dynamism, flexibility and ingenuity of capitalism and its ability to respond to the resource constraint through technical and organisational innovations and efficiency gains. Needless to say, I’m an optimistic leftie.

  46. Simon
    February 18th, 2005 at 15:32 | #46

    Andrew, I don’t think your analogy is correct – Kyoto will help us in slowing the rate of warming – think of it as we are stuck on an train that’s accelerating towards a broken bridge – Kyoto’s going to stop it from accelerating so quickly, giving us more time to work out how to use the brake. The other alternative is to do nothing and for the train to accelerate faster and faster.

    Without reducing the rate of growth of emmissions, the rate of climate change will accelerate, the magnitude of change will be greater and the coping strategies and carbon trapping will just become more and more expensive.

  47. Andrew Reynolds
    February 18th, 2005 at 16:16 | #47

    I think this one may require a missive.
    On the train analogy to start with. Perhaps another way to look at the train is to say that, if you accept the GHG predictions in the linked article the slowing in acceleration that results from Kyoto is the equivalent of one of the passengers sticking their foot out onto the track and slowing the acceleration of the train that way. It may have an effect, but is the damage to the person’s foot worth the change?
    John,
    You are correct on the damage to the economy from Kyoto, but please re-read. I have not said that the damage from Kyoto would be incalculable – I said the damage that would result from anything likely to have a real effect on the effect would be incalculable – or at least close to it. Anything less, again presuming the analysis is correct, merely gives us all a nice feeling while reducing our wealth. That is a decision for politicians – is the nice feeling worth the few points of GDP? Europe has chosen one way and the USA the other.
    On your points one and two. As I have said above, given current technology and accepting the science in the article, I would maintain that the only way to stop or reverse the greenhouse effect would be to halve or more than halve the output of GHGs. So it does not matter how many antes are upped – the effect will continue until carbon emissions decline to less than half of where they are today. The cost of that would be very high. On that basis it would be better to develop coping strategies than to waste time and a few points of GDP imagining that Kyoto is useful. Spend the additional few points of GDP on dealing with the effects.
    Paul,
    On your philosophical point. Capitalism is excellent at dealing with things that make sense. Government action, and Kyoto is an example, very rarely does so. Where the restriction is the result of a change in demand or supply capitalism adjusts well – most of these changes are slow and pricing signals the changes well in advance. Government action is very rarely sensible and is routinely dramatic. Capitalism does deal with that, but the suddenness of the change induces dislocation, frequently a black market and therefore corruption. All this reduces economic growth potential. The left needs to understand opportunity cost a bit better – almost always the dislocation and disruption causes more damage than the supposed ill that the government action was supposed to correct.

  48. John Quiggin
    February 18th, 2005 at 16:41 | #48

    Andrew, I wasn’t referring to the costs of Kyoto, which are an order of magnitude smaller than the estimate I gave, but to the costs of reducing emissions by 50 per cent.

  49. Andrew Reynolds
    February 18th, 2005 at 16:45 | #49

    John,
    What technology is available to do that? How can, given current technology, we reduce GHG emissions by half?

  50. Alex
    February 18th, 2005 at 17:16 | #50

    JQ, you say that the cost of halving greenhouse gas emissions is calculable, and is of the order of a few percent of GDP. I would be interested to know (1) what your source is; (2) has anyone actually done the calculations and (3) if so, what their assumptions were and how sensitive the answer is to these assumptions.

  51. Alex
    February 18th, 2005 at 17:25 | #51

    Further to my first comment (no. 21) – what none of this debate seems to have recognised is that climate change is the norm, with our without human intervention. Will Kyoto (or any other conceivable action by humans) prevent climate change happening? No. Is substantial climate change likely within the next few hundred years? Yes. Will Kyoto (or any other conceivable human action) substantially alter the timing of major climate change? Unlikely. So why are we focusing on something largely irrelevant to the main game?

  52. Fyodor
    February 21st, 2005 at 07:58 | #52

    JQ,

    You may have missed my post at #37, requesting the source for your statistic at #35. Alex has also asked some very good questions at #50 and #51.

    Paul,

    You state at #45 that,

    “…the Right is pessimistic about the capacity of capitalism to adapt and believes that capitalism will be thrown into crisis by restricting the use of a particular resource, whereas the Left is optimistic about the dynamism, flexibility and ingenuity of capitalism and its ability to respond to the resource constraint through technical and organisational innovations and efficiency gains.”

    It seems to me that the polar opposite of this statement is true: it is the economic left/Greens who are pessimistic about the adaptability of the capitalist system, not the “Right”. It is precisely because of the pessimism of the “Left” that large sections of the global economy are now shackled with an additional regulatory cost, going by the name of the Kyoto Protocol. If the market were able to adapt, why would we need government intervention?

  53. John Quiggin
    February 21st, 2005 at 08:21 | #53

    Fyodor, here’s a source

    On Alex’s point, estimates of this magnitude were first made by Schelling and have been repeated many times since, recently by ABARE, IIRC.

    Continuing on the same theme, I think you have missed Paul N’s point. Suppose that we want to halve CO2 emissions. A natural market based way to do this is to tax them. Free-market economists generally expect the economy to adjust flexibly to price changes in the long run. So a moderate optimist might expect that doubling the price of carbon content in fuels would halve the use (unit elasticity) and estimate the welfare cost as being about equal in magnitude to the carbon share of GDP which is a few percentage points.

    A pessimist or energy fundamentalist would assume a fixed proportions technology and would therefore predict catastrophic consequences, as Lomborg does.

  54. Fyodor
    February 21st, 2005 at 09:38 | #54

    JQ,

    Your link didn’t work. I think you meant this one:

    http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/carbon_cycle/carbon_cycle_new.html

    Which provides a chart showing projected doubling of atmospheric C02 concentration after 100 years if global population (I think) grows at 1% p.a. There’s no given source for this projection, so I’m a little sceptical. There’s a reference to Lovins (which I’m assuming is Amory Lovins), but it doesn’t cite the work it’s based on.

    You misunderstand my point re: Paul’s comment. My point is that a truly adaptable market would respond to the challenge of global warming. That may be an heroic assumption, but the supposed necessity of regulatory intervention (i.e. imposition of some form of carbon tax or impost) shows a pessimistic view of the market’s adaptability, not optimism.

  55. John Quiggin
    February 21st, 2005 at 09:44 | #55

    Fyodor any projection is subject to doubt, the point is that Andrew at #34 wasn’t in the right ballpark for the reasons explained by Paul at #38.

    On market adaption without intervention, how do you see this happening? There’s no private incentive to do anything.

  56. Fyodor
    February 21st, 2005 at 10:32 | #56

    JQ,

    My doubt on the projection is due to the lack of substantiation – what was it based on? I’d like to have a look at the assumptions etc.

    You’re right in respect of #34 vs. #38, but the difference with the projection you’ve mentioned is that Andrew and Paul were dicussing historic anthropogenic forcing, not future projections. And data for the last 200-odd years strongly suggests that there has been anthropogenic forcing of CO2, i.e. CO2 concentrations have increased significantly because of human activity. While we can then project that concentrations will continue to increase into the near future, we do not know by how much. 100 years is a long time for any projection, particularly when we don’t know if assumptions we make now will hold even 20 years into the future.

    The $60K question, which remains unanswered, is what CO2 concentrations will be in 100 years, and what effect that will have on temperature. You state that CO2 concentrations will be roughly double. I’d like to know on what basis.

    On your second point, I agree that if global warming is a problem, the market has failed to address it so far, indicating some form of regulatory intervention may be required. However, I’m not sure global warming is a problem. I’m sceptical that:

    a) recent (i.e. last 100 years) global warming of 0.6 degrees C is anthropogenic in nature; and
    b) IPCC projections of future temperature increases are credible.

    I have a genuinely open mind about this, which is why I keep asking for more information. I guess that’s an invitation to educate me!

  57. February 21st, 2005 at 11:41 | #57

    Fyodor — 21/2/2005 @ 7:58 am, as usual, gets it back to front on economics and ecologics :

    it is the economic left/Greens who are pessimistic about the adaptability of the capitalist system, not the “Right�. It is precisely because of the pessimism of the “Left� that large sections of the global economy are now shackled with an additional regulatory cost, going by the name of the Kyoto Protocol. If the market were able to adapt, why would we need government intervention?

    test]
    We can always rely on Fyodor to be the first one to make it to “the polar opposite of the truth”. His comments about the invariable statism of “Greenies”, and implied capitalism of the “Brownies”, reflect a superficial and out-dated world model. Many of the so-called statist Left support emmissions trading, which itself was a proposal that came from the free-market economists. Most of the so-called capitalist Right devote their energy to anti-scientific denial of global warming or acting as spear carriers for carbon energy-intensive businesses rather than any idealistic form of capitalism.
    There is no doubt that Laissez-Faire capitalists can adapt to any old ecology – perhaps even the Moon if that Harsh Mistress can be tamed. But this does not tell us much since L-F capitalists can adapt to anything if the price is right. As Tom Wolfe’s Masters of the Universe observed: “Insulation is the key” to avoiding a riotous environment. They can afford it.
    Whats at issue is whether capitalism can rationally utilise ecologcial goods, so that current non-owners, and all those in the future, get a fair and reaonable shake.
    It is a failure of “government intervention” to define, and assign, property rights, and a proper trading regime that causes the problem. Without the institutions of proprietarian calculation the capitalists have precious little ability to account for, and rational allocate, supposedly
    “free”, resource usage and abusage. A laissez-faire attitude towards ecological usage and abusage just lets the biggest, or most mobbed up, firms get away with murderous “neighbourhood effects”.
    There are many pro-market Greenies. The tradition of “free-market environmentalism” goes way back, perhaps to Ronald Coase. I believe that the wide currency of the phrase “There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” is due to a book by free-market environmentalist Edwin Dolan. Both Coase & Dolan opposed legally unconstrained industrial capitalism, since this would squander ecologic wealth.
    Dolan proposed the creation of a market in public resource sources and refuse sinks. This proposal led to the creation of open market trading in the right to pollute (eg carbon emissions).
    Fyodor has also got the political-economy of “govt intervention” in the ecology ass-backwards. In many areas of ecological concern it is govt. subsidies, rather than “shackles”, that cause the economic and ecologic problem. THe case of water-intensive & land-extensive agriculture, where the marginal productive land is almost invariably subsidised by the state, is the most glaring example. This has been the special contribution of the National Country Party & Red State Republicans, to ecological political economy.
    Poor Fyodor. Now, as both Economic Wets and Cultural Dries playfully hammer him, he is copping it from both sides of the ideological spectrum. It cant be long before he begins to oscillate on his fundament, like one of those Bozo the Clown Bop Bags.

  58. Andrew Reynolds
    February 21st, 2005 at 13:09 | #58

    John,
    I did not see any justification of the “few points of GDP” figure to drop GHG emissions by half in the quoted article. I would be very interested to see the justification. I withdrew my point when I could not immediately justify my figures (comment 43) using peer-reviewed data. Will you do the same?
    On the unit elasticity of carbon emissions. In the short to medium term unit elasticity is a dubious assumption. For example, when the price of petrol doubles we do not drop our car use by half; we simply pay the higher price and make any required sacrifices elsewhere, while perhaps restricting our car use a bit. In the long term (if you accept the global warming argument) the effect has already taken hold and it is too late – further and even more drastic action would be needed.
    A carbon tax would be likely to switch electricity production from coal to the more efficient gas but this will not result in a halving of GHG output – a switch to nuclear would do more but the building and eventual dismantling of these probably counterbalances a lot of the advantage. Solar and wind suffer from similar problems.

  59. Fyodor
    February 21st, 2005 at 13:26 | #59

    Widows Mite,

    Go on, admit it: you’re really Jack Strocchi aren’t you? Ladies and gentlemen I contend that we now have definitive proof that Jack Strocchi 1.2 is a spam AI programme designed to sell skin ointment.

  60. John Quiggin
    February 21st, 2005 at 13:42 | #60

    Andrew

    You can get the ABARe report I quoted here (registration required). Key conclusion:

    “The loss in global real GDP resulting from the imposition of a carbon dioxide penalty tomeet the assumed abatement task is just over 1 per cent in 2050 when CCS [carbon capture and storage] technologies are available. ”

    The abatement task is to limit concentrations to 485ppm at 2050 and stabilise at 550ppm, which is a fairly standard example used in modelling, and goes a long way beyond Kyoto.

  61. February 21st, 2005 at 14:04 | #61

    Fyodor — 21/2/2005 @ 1:26 pm provides more evidence, if any were needed, that he is suffers from an acute case of paranoia combined with referred schizophrenia:

    Go on, admit it: [Widows Mite] is really Jack Strocchi aren’t you?

    [hmmm...hmmm...hmm...sound of tut-tutting in the background]
    I am disappointed in Fyodor for saying such dreadful things about me, especially after I graciously extended the olive branch to him in my historic comment # 50 “The Garbage Gene” peace offer.
    I have no knowledge of this strange “Jack Strocchi 1.2 is a spam AI programme” that he believes is now tormenting him. Perhaps Fyodor is projecting onto others the very voices that now clammer inside his head.
    Has Fyodor thought of seeking help to relieve his mind of this phantom assailant? Perhaps a long rest in a quiet place will do the trick.
    Whilst Fyodor retreats to the Sanitorium he might, for once, consider the substance of “Widows Mite”‘s arguments, which seem remarkably cogent – whether they are the product of some malovolent machine or not. This might prove useful for Fyodor’s intellectual education. It sure beats flailing away at imaginary enemies, a task that a Bozo the Clown Bop Bag-type debater is ill-suited for.

  62. Fyodor
    February 21st, 2005 at 14:35 | #62

    I knew it. You really are pathetic.

    You didn’t even bother to change your writing “style”. Bah!

    Next time you attempt a little subterfuge, try to avoid:

    a) bold font, particularly in idiosyncratic locations, like the end of words;
    b) starting your response with the following structure “Fyodor — 21/2/2005 @ 7:58 am, makes an exceedingly insightful point…”
    c) pompous, overblown phrasing, e.g. “perhaps even the Moon if that Harsh Mistress can be tamed” or “Without the institutions of proprietarian calculation the capitalists have precious little ability to account for, and rational allocate, supposedly “freeâ€?, resource usage and abusage.”
    d) capitalising nouns that aren’t proper names [say, your programmer isn't German, is s/he?], e.g. “Red State Republicans” or “Cultural Dries”.
    e) over-using childish gags and puns, e.g. Bozo the Clown Bop Bag, because you have so little originality you recycle what comic material you can scrape together.

    Now that we’re chums again, can I get a discount on that skin ointment? I have this weird fungal parasite that won’t disappear.

  63. Tom Davies
    February 21st, 2005 at 14:41 | #63

    Presumably a CO2 penalty would need to be imposed now, to meet the 485ppm in 2050 target?

    Given that it costs 1% of GDP after 45 years of adjustment, how much would it cost in 2006?

  64. February 21st, 2005 at 16:57 | #64

    Fyodor “discovers” that “Widows Mite” is Jack Strocchi. Congratulations. Next he will amaze us by revealing his unexpected ability to tell the difference between a certain flatulent orifice of his and a hole in the ground.

  65. February 21st, 2005 at 17:03 | #65

    Now that the kiddies have been taken care of we can return to adult education: Do any commenter/lurkers think that “market transactions” are a better way to solve environmental problems? And that “statist regulation” may actually cause some environmental problems?
    Greenspan notes an inherent tendency for capitalist economies to virtualise, rather than materialise, their production ie reduce the carbon-qty of each dollar produced:

    The movement over the decades toward production of services requiring little physical input has also been a major contributor to the dramatic rise in the ratio of constant dollars of GDP per ton of input.

    against this, the constant increase in the use of electronic appliances is making huge demands on energy. Can anyone link to a graph that shows resource use/gdp value trends?
    I get the feeling that Lomborg et al are more interested in being spear carriers for certain business interests rather than the institutions of capitalism.

  66. Andrew Reynolds
    February 21st, 2005 at 17:03 | #66

    John,

    I thought that you would have to be talking about a presumed future technology – I was not aware of anything that could do that today. To me, that leaves my central point intact. Kyoto does not achieve anything worthwhile today and that the solution (if we accept that there is a problem) is something that cannot be found today without ruinous economic consequences. The only solution to the ‘problem’ is a long-term one, relying on a future technological innovation.
    I hope I read you post correctly.

  67. John Quiggin
    February 21st, 2005 at 17:13 | #67

    Andrew, the “without CCS” estimate is 5 per cent of GDP, which is still of the same order of magnitude – the loss of 1 or 2 year’s growth out of the next 50. I think ABARE tends to be too pessimistic, but any sensible cost estimate is a few per cent of GDP, as I’ve said.

    As I pointed out at #53, back-of-the-envelope economics gives the same order of magnitude. Claims about ruinous economic consequences imply that mainstream economics is wrong, just as denial of the reality of climate change implies that mainstream science is wrong.

    Tom, assuming the price of carbon is raised gradually, starting with Kyoto, the cost will do the same, ultimately reaching a few per cent of GDP.

  68. February 21st, 2005 at 17:21 | #68

    There is not much doubt now that increased CO2 will affect the Global Climate in some way. Most if not all peer reviewed scientific work agrees with this. Because the atmosphere is complex and non-linear the eventual result is uncertain. The best estimate is that a rise of 1.2 to 5.6 degrees in the global average temperature will result. Kyoto will not do that much to stop this however it is the only game in town.
    The question is really what will be the economic cost of the possible results of Global Warming? How about Malaria moving into North Queensland? How about 50 degree days in Perth. How about increased storms in Eastern Australia.
    Why is the cost of implementing emission reduction an issue anyway? Something has to be done sometime – all we are doing is making someone else pay the price. Action now will be a lot cheaper and easier than action later.

  69. Andrew Reynolds
    February 21st, 2005 at 17:49 | #69

    John,
    As I said in post 58, I would strongly doubt your unit elasticity contention – I do not see that a doubling in the price of energy would, in the short to medium term, result in a halving of its use – which seems to be the basis of that argument. Sure, a doubling of the price would not lead to economic catastrophe but that is only because it would also not result in a halving of use.
    Energy use (and therefore carbon emissions assuming current technology – a fair assumption in the short to medium term) would be fairly inelastic, also for the reasons in post 58.
    To me common sense dictates that if you force the halving of energy use you would have to close to force the halving of economic output as, for example, if you halved the amount of time I could use my computer you would close to halve my output – I would certainly not be posting to blogs much. For a factory to halve its energy use does not mean that they could make up production some other way – they would simply have to halve output even if the energy component was only 1 to 2 percent of the total amount of inputs.

  70. Ian Gould
    February 21st, 2005 at 17:56 | #70

    Andrew: drastic reductions in GHG emissiosn coudl be achieved in the short-term using existing cost-effective technologies – in particular integrated gasification combined cycle coal-fired power-plants which produce around 75% less CO2 per unit of power produced than conventional power-plants and biodeisel-fueled hybrid cars.

  71. Andrew Reynolds
    February 21st, 2005 at 18:28 | #71

    Ian,
    I think it depends on what you call short term – it takes several years (and a lot of CO2 output) to build a complete set of new power plants and even more years and CO2 output to replace all the cars on our roads. In addition, the bio-fueled hybrid cars take a substantial amount more energy to produce than a convetional car.
    You cannot and should not just look at the actual running costs (economic or environmental) of these items – this is the mistake often made with nuclear plants – you have to take an entire life cycle view. Fuel cell cars make great sense as they only output water into the atmosphere until you realise that the hydrogen they use has to come from somewhere (anyone ever found a hydrogen mine?) and the exotic materials they use have a high cost (also economic and environmental). Often, the increased efficiencies in running costs are dwarfed when the production costs are taken into consideration.

  72. John Quiggin
    February 21st, 2005 at 18:40 | #72

    Use an elasticity of -0.5 if you like; it doesn’t change the order of magnitude. This is the standard estimate for long-run elasticity of demand for energy, but doesn’t take account of substitution possibilities and induced innovation when you are taxing emissions rather than energy.

    Obviously, on a 50 year time frame short-term and medium-term elasticities are irrelevant.

  73. February 21st, 2005 at 20:10 | #73

    A carbon tax is a very blunt edged weapon. It hits renewable biofuels and misses ecologically harmful things that are non-carbon (it could make a switch to high sulphur petroleum products, for instance).

  74. Ian Gould
    February 22nd, 2005 at 00:22 | #74

    Andrew,

    “Short term” in this context is 10-20 years.

    I am aware of the problems with fuel cell vehicles which is which I mentioned hybrids.

    While I don’t have the information immediately to hand, there has already been a rather large experiment regarding the price elasticity of petrol and the capacity of economies to adjust to a large increase in the price of fuel, it was called the 1973 oil crisis.

  75. February 22nd, 2005 at 08:15 | #75

    Stephen Gloor writes, “The best estimate is that a rise of 1.2 to 5.6 degrees in the global average temperature will result.”

    No, that’s not anywhere near the “best estimate.” The best estimate is 0 to 2.5 degrees Celsius.

    Best estimate is 0 to 2.5 degrees Celsius from 1990 to 2100

    “Why is the cost of implementing emission reduction an issue anyway? Something has to be done sometime – all we are doing is making someone else pay the price.”

    Given the fact that the “someones” in 2100 are likely to be over 100 times richer than we are, I don’t see any big deal about them paying for the “problem” (if it is indeed a problem).

  76. February 22nd, 2005 at 08:25 | #76

    Oops. My previous post contained the wrong link. That link just showed the “50% probability” values for temperatures.

    This link has both the low (5% probability that warming will be less than the value stated) and high (95% probability that the warming will be less than the value stated) values from the IPCC (as explained by Wigley and Raper in Science magazine, in 1999) and from me.

    IPCC vs Mark Bahner Temperature projections, including low and high values

    Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

    P.S. BTW, I’m still waiting for a member of the IPCC who is willing to bet that the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) projections are better than mine:

    Challenge to Bet: IPCC vs Mark Bahner

  77. February 22nd, 2005 at 08:27 | #77

    Sorry, very sloppy!

    Here’s that link:

    Temperature projections, including low and high values

  78. February 22nd, 2005 at 11:10 | #78

    Mark

    Sorry I did get it wrong it is 1.4 to 5.8 degrees. This is the figure that is considered most likely by the IPCC (Q3.6-7 & Q3.11 Synthesis Report IPCC 2001).

    Funny when your TV works or you are typing on your computer the scientists that came up the principles that TVs use or computer chips are made with, the science behind them is spot on. However when 1200 of them get together and produce a report it is suddenly junk. Also when all the scientific community, except those on the payroll of large fossil fuel companies, agree that pumping CO2 into the air will do something this is suddenly wrong as well.

    Also it really does not matter. We will find out in a few years who is right and who is wrong. Thanks to people like you running a FUD campaign it is very unlikely that anything really meaningful will be done. So for better or for worse the climate will possibly change in the near future. You are probably banking on being dead before this happens as are most climate change skeptics. There is a chance that you might see the consequences (if any) of your actions within your lifetime.

    One of the more extreme, but not impossible, results is that Global warming heating up the permafrost will accelerate the release of CO2 to extreme levels. As well the this warming could lead to the methane hydrates, presently safely locked away, being released triggering a runaway event. There is increasing evidence that the Permian extinction was just such an event as this.

    Basically in our pursuit of small green pieces of paper we are endangering our spaceship. What will you say if you are wrong – Sorry ???????

  79. Ian Gould
    February 22nd, 2005 at 11:50 | #79

    http://www.externe.info/externpr.pdf

    We should remember that there are costs – such as health costs and acid deposition – associated with all forms of energy production.

    The estimates in the EU publication linked above show that these external cost for coal can be as high as 10 euro-cents – say ca. A$0.15 – per kilowatt hour. Estimates for the extenral costs of wind power using the same methodology are less than one euro-cent.

    While these theoretical models are always suspect we need only look at the Chinese coal industry for evidence of the human and economic costs of continuing with fossil fuels.

  80. February 24th, 2005 at 03:45 | #80

    Ender writes, “Sorry I did get it wrong it is 1.4 to 5.8 degrees.”

    Yeah, I know. You quoted your Bible wrong. I could have corrected you, but I know that both sets of numbers are essentially equally ludicrous. (In fact, your “wrong” first set of numbers were slightly LESS ludicrous!)

    “However when 1200 of them get together and produce a report it is suddenly junk.”

    It isn’t junk. It’s a deliberate lie. That’s much worse. In fact, as I point out on my weblog, the IPCC TAR projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.

    “Also when all the scientific community, except those on the payroll of large fossil fuel companies, agree that pumping CO2 into the air will do something…”

    Please point out the scientists who say that CO2 does nothing.

    “Thanks to people like you running a FUD campaign…”

    I’m not running a “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, delay) campaign. I don’t have much uncertainty. I’m very certain that global warming is not a significant problem. So I have no fear, and am counseling others not to have fear either. And I don’t counsel delay. The entire scientific/technical community should expose the IPCC’s fraud, and repudiate it.

    That’s in direct contrast to the IPCC, which deliberately made fraudulent projections, with the specific purpose of scaring people. Plus, they produced a huge range of possible temperature increases (i.e., a large amount of uncertainty) so that if the actual temperature rise was only 1.4 degrees Celsius, they could claim that they were right.

    Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

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