Home > Boneheaded stupidity, Environment > 0.4 percent of a wrecking ball makes …

0.4 percent of a wrecking ball makes …

October 24th, 2012

… a ball bearing perhaps?

0.4 percentage points is the estimate of the CPI impact of the carbon price, published in the Herald Sun (hardly likely to understate it). In the attempt to stop this catastrophe, the Australian political right has trashed its intellectual credibility, embraced lurid conspiracy theories, reduced its leading publications to laughing stocks, and promulgated a string of easily falsified talking points, each one more absurd than the last. So, now that their predictions of doom have come to this, what will be their response? My guess is that they will double down – Catallaxy and Andrew Bolt are already on the job.

Of course, a price of $23/tonne is just the thin end of the wedge. Most estimates suggest that we need a price somewhere in the range $50-100/tonne to produce a long run shift to a low-carbon economy. That might amount to a price increase of 2 or 3 per cent – about the same as the GST.

Categories: Boneheaded stupidity, Environment Tags:
  1. Pete Moran
    October 24th, 2012 at 17:20 | #1

    The climate denier Princesses (Bolt, Abbott et al) can tell when their mattress has a pea under it however.

  2. October 24th, 2012 at 17:30 | #2

    The wrecking ball is not the cost added to everyones power bills just now, it’s the attempt to force the economy off a cheap and efficient power supply onto an expensive and inefficient power supply. If the “carbon tax”, as it’s ratcheted up, achieves what it’s suposed to, the elimination of CO2 emitting power supplies, its effects will be catastrophic; if it doesn’t it is a colosal waste.

  3. October 24th, 2012 at 17:33 | #3

    in that classic story about tragedy of the commons

    Labor is the guy who is making his family survive on just the one cow – insisting that the family has responsibility to save the commons

    others in the family is yelling and screaming because they can see that nobody else is going to limit themselves to one cow

    first they try and “prove” the commons is not at risk but as the evidence mounts they switch to focusing on the one thing that is true – that limiting a growing family to one cow is a recipe for family turmoil

    those in the family that know the commons are at risk are also completely ignorant of the absolute reality that none of the other families are going to limit themselves to one cow

    so they claim that limiting families to one cow does absolutely no harm to the family

    it’s a sorry state of affairs

    in the midst of all this the emergence of MMT is giving the vampire bureaucrats the opportunity to bleed as much as they can out of the dumb schmuck working and middle classes with yet another amazing new economics

    what a sorry world it is

    pop

  4. Robert Waldmann
    October 24th, 2012 at 17:45 | #4

    J S Mill said “sharpen my adversaries wits and never ever read the Herald Sun” and is turning over in his grave.

    I can make the case that a carbon tax is not in Australia’s interests (since I care equally about all of humanity please impose one). Carbon intensive industries are high wage industries. The wage differentials are rents not compensating differentials not returns on human capital or skill. A country which exports carbon intensive goods and imports non carbon intensive goods and services gets more than its share of those rents. So a carbon tax which is optimal for humanity as a whole is higher than optimal for the taxing country.

    Note also that this reasoning implies that a country can increase the welfare of its residents by imposing tariffs on imports of high wage industry products (provided other countries don’t retaliate).

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w2739

    (here note that Summers told Katz that “Strategic Trade Policy” was uh embargoed from the title until after the election (of Bush Sr it turned out) . This is not a new argument. There has not been the shred of a trace of a convincing counter argument. The paper is completely ignored by influential economists very much including Larry Summers.

    The general pattern of the general public believing things which economists generally agree are nonsense is generally explained by the fact that economists assume that labour markets clear, while the general public believes that high wage jobs are good jobs (in the sense of rents). As usual, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that economists are especially confused about the economy.

  5. Newtownian
    October 24th, 2012 at 18:19 | #5

    @John Dawson
    “The wrecking ball is not the cost added to everyones power bills just now, it’s the attempt to force the economy off a cheap and efficient power supply onto an expensive and inefficient power supply.”

    Just curious John if your meaning of ‘cheap’ means you dont believe there are such things as externalities like climate change and ocean acidification. If we were a few million cave men around a fire I wouldnt disagree that burning fossil fuels is efficient and cheap. But we are 7 billion souls well on the way to 10 billion with a long term projected demand of 13 kW per person (DELONG, J. P., BURGER, O. & HAMILTON, M. J. 2010. Current Demographics Suggest Future Energy Supplies Will Be Inadequate to Slow Human Population Growth. PLoS One, 5, e13206.) if the Australian dream is to be achieved by all – about 8 times higher than at present.

    This of course is not viable and such difficult truths are one of the reasons (your?) support for the exponential growth economy which underpins climate change denialism is so hilarious – its not credible outside of the stoned mind of a proponent of the General Equilibrium Theory and we will hit a brick wall one way or another in the next 10 to 20 years irrespective of what conventional economics says.

    As to whether the carbon tax will work now that is a more interesting question. If it doesnt it will indicate the market mechanisms are cobblers which I fear may be true once the financial speculators get into the act (I wonder what John thinks). That said to give the C tax its due I have yet to hear any alternative recently from the coalition which isnt vague and suggestive that they really deny there is a problem and their current comments are just a sop.

    So how do you suggest we respond if not through taxes and government legislation (which dont thrill me either but I cant see an alternative)?

  6. Newtownian
    October 24th, 2012 at 18:25 | #6

    Trivial titbit – did you all know this is officially National Carbon Capture and Storage Week? At least thats what my email from the chemical engineering school says. And please note this is not April 1st.

  7. October 24th, 2012 at 19:43 | #7

    That “tragedy of the commons” was solved by enclosures that gave individuals responsibility for their own land, which led to an agricultural revolution and a boom in population and prosperity followed by the industrial revolution.

    Yes Newtowniar, that industrial revolution used fossil fuels to increase the carrying capacity of the earth from 1 to 7 billion, doubled the life expectancy, and give most of us opportunities pre fossi-fuel generations never dreamt of. Those who think that was a bad thing need to nominate which 6 billion+ should be dead.

    No I don’t believe that the CO2 I breath out and plants breath in is an externality that must be eliminated at the risk of 6 billion+ lives.

  8. October 24th, 2012 at 19:51 | #8

    A 0.4% CPI increase as a result of the carbon price? That’s not very much, is it? I wonder how much of that is due to an increase dry cleaning costs as a result of people pooping their pants over the issue?

  9. October 24th, 2012 at 21:00 | #9

    Of course, modern Tort Law developed alongside the industrial revolution. That was good because those whose activities caused damage to others could be held to some degree of account. Not much, and usually only the wealthiest sued each other, but it was something and it lead to a general level of accessibility to claim for damages suffered by the actions of others.

    Government also stepped in to regulate and police damaging activities for the good of the general public.

    That’s why neo-cons and fascists more generally despise the rule of law and government regulation. They even have a catchy name for it: Tort Reform.

  10. October 24th, 2012 at 21:26 | #10

    No no Megan, not neo-con fascists, get with the program, its sexist misogynists these days!

  11. October 24th, 2012 at 21:55 | #11

    You choose your nomenclature and I’ll choose mine.

  12. MG42
    October 24th, 2012 at 22:47 | #12

    John Dawson :
    That “tragedy of the commons” was solved by enclosures that gave individuals responsibility for their own land, which led to an agricultural revolution and a boom in population and prosperity followed by the industrial revolution.
    Yes Newtowniar, that industrial revolution used fossil fuels to increase the carrying capacity of the earth from 1 to 7 billion, doubled the life expectancy, and give most of us opportunities pre fossi-fuel generations never dreamt of. Those who think that was a bad thing need to nominate which 6 billion+ should be dead.
    No I don’t believe that the CO2 I breath out and plants breath in is an externality that must be eliminated at the risk of 6 billion+ lives.

    OK, my BS and faulty logic meter just blew a fuse. The first paragraph was an overwhelmingly partisan analysis of a complex series of legislation and events. The remaining part was ridiculously hyperbolic strawman garbage. At no point was a coherent argument formulated and instead of arguing with hard numbers you used, among other techniques, emotion, an appeal to tradition and a false dichotomy (“either we severely pollute or everyone dies”). That’s an F, I’m afraid.

  13. Katz
    October 24th, 2012 at 22:56 | #13

    Is John Dawson proselytising for the proposition that private ownership should be extended to the atmosphere? After all, that is the most important surviving commons.

  14. October 25th, 2012 at 00:02 | #14

    I realise MG42 that my first paragraph wasn’t fashionably incoherent, for that fault I’ll accept your F grade, just put it down to my lack of a phd.

    Which hard numbers did you want? Give me an example of a coherent argument!

    About 90% of the world’s power emits CO2, so what’s false about this alternative? Either the carbon tax will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere or it won’t, if it doesn’t it’s a colosal waste, if it does its effects will be catastrophic.

  15. Ikonoclast
    October 25th, 2012 at 05:37 | #15

    Why is a tax necessarily inflationary? I don’t understand and I need an economist to explain it to me.

    While a new tax must add to the cost of the item(s) newly taxed, these consumer monies are now not available to buy other items. The net effect on the full basket of goods should be neutral if the tax is revenue neutral and the velocity of money does not change. If the government hoards the new tax as a surplus then the net effect should be deflationary. If the government spends the new tax and “fiats” even more money into existence by running a deficit then the net effect should be inflationary but not because of the tax in itself. Hence the tax alone is insufficient “cause” for inflation without some further factor like deficit spending. The credit accelerator (banks lending more money) or credit deccelerator (debtors paying down debt) will also affect the equation.

    Thus I reiterate my question in a slightly expanded form. Why assume a new tax is inflationary in the absence of a full assessment of all factors affecting money supply and goods supply in the economy? Isn’t it bad economics to makes such simplistic assumptions in a form abstracted and cut off from analysis of the full system?

  16. Ikonoclast
    October 25th, 2012 at 06:23 | #16

    @John Dawson

    Let me reply to some of your statements on a point by point basis.

    “No I don’t believe that the CO2 I breath out and plants breath in is an externality that must be eliminated at the risk of 6 billion+ lives.” – John Dawson.

    The operative phrase here is “don’t believe”. Your beliefs are irrelevant. Belief or disbelief in the mind of any observer is irrelevant to the existent empirical facts. Scientists use repeatable verifiable quantitative measurements to assess material facts.

    “Which hard numbers did you want? Give me an example of a coherent argument!” – John Dawson.

    Since you have given no hard numbers (6 + billion is soft when the current number is more like 6.973 billion) and no coherent argument yourself, this fails as a riposte to your opponent’s argument.

    “About 90% of the world’s power emits CO2, so what’s false about this alternative? Either the carbon tax will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere or it won’t, if it doesn’t it’s a colosal waste, if it does its effects will be catastrophic.” – John Dawson.

    In 2006, 86.64% of the world’s energy consumption emitted CO2. I suspect the percentage is slightly less now. Saying “about 90%” is reasonable but saying “about 85%” might be more resaonable now. You say a carbon tax will either reduce CO2 or not. This is a truism. It does nothing to advance your argument or make any point.

    You say, if the carbon tax does not reduce (or slow the increase one reasonably assumes) carbon tax in the atmosphere then it is a waste. Taxes are not wasted. They are either spent on goods and services by the government or held back as a surplus. A surplus is not “wasted” if it is used as a counter-cyclical measure to moderate inflation. Also, are you as vehemently opposed to fuel excise as you are to a carbon tax? The effect is the same no matter what the tax is called. Or is it just the words “carbon tax” that fire you up?

    You assume outright catastrophe from a carbon tax reducing fossil fuel use yet assume no dangerous effect on climate change from increased atmospheric CO2. The latter assumption puts you at odds with the IPCC and about 99% of reputable climate scientists around the world. I don’t know about you but if some medically unqualfied person was offering me a remedy that 99% of qualified medical opinion said was dangerous, I would not be taking it.

    You are assuming that no alternative to fossil fuel is possible. In fact, there are now demonstrable alternatives (solar and wind power mainly) that can do the job. Eventually, an electrical economy supplemented by methane IC (internal combustion) can run our world. The methane can be generated from waste and by solar nanotubes now being researched to produce methane. This methane cycle will be a loop essentially (excluding accidental out-gassings). Energy conservation, efficient energy design and scrapping the private car fleet for public transport will all have to play their part along with capping the world’s populations somehow.

    I am not saying it will be easy. It will be more like a controlled rough landing on to a sustainable popuolation and production plateau. What you propose (endless growth and use of fossil fuels until exhaustion of same) will be more like a climb, followed by a stall, followed by a vertical plunge into the deck at great speed.

    I used to strongly doubt that renewables could provide sufficient power. Upon researching it, I found they could do so provided we became energy efficient and frugal and stabilised population.

    (From my admittedly biased observation I must be one of the few bloggers to change a view upon finding out the facts. J.Q.’s arguments played a role in that.)

  17. JB Cairns
    October 25th, 2012 at 07:27 | #17

    Just for everyone this is what CBA economics

    ‘The ABS has noted that it is not able to quantify the impact of carbon pricing. But one back‑of‑the‑envelope calculation is to compare the contribution from higher utilities prices with the average or “normal” contribution. Over the past two years higher utilities prices contributed an average 0.27ppts to QIII CPI growth. The contribution in QIII 2012 was 0.48ppts. The gap of 0.2ppts should represent the bulk of the carbon tax impact on consumer prices. This outcome suggests that the price impact will fall short of earlier Treasury modelling work that put the CPI contribution in 2012/13 at 0.7ppts.’

    This makes a complete embarrassment f what Sinclair Davidson said at Catallaxy.

    This is undoubtedly due to the fact Davidson is quite unfamiliar with understnding CPI statistics.

    ( For a good understanding go read Ricardian Ambivalence, Why isn’t he on your sidebar John?)

    In more embarrassing news for Davidson he keeps on harping about Treasury’s forecast of 10%.

    This forecast is based on CONSTANT prices not current prices as Davidson asserts. He is either ignorant of this having never actually read the Treasury document or just lying as he makes things up.

    On this I just don’t know.

    Davidson’s decline , like the rest at Catallaxy is sad . He did at one stage write economically literate stuff.

  18. snuh
    October 25th, 2012 at 08:21 | #18

    i too am looking forward to hearing john dawson’s plan to enclose the atmosphere.

  19. rog
    October 25th, 2012 at 09:23 | #19

    @JB Cairns That is headline inflation only? Core inflation later on (CBA do say they expect indirect price effects to be quite small)

  20. rog
    October 25th, 2012 at 09:29 | #20

    @rog General chat seems to be that core inflation due to carbon tax to be minimal and within RBA expectations. Certainly the hype generated by Hockey et al does not seem to be supported by any facts.

  21. rog
    October 25th, 2012 at 09:32 | #21
  22. JB Cairns
    October 25th, 2012 at 10:02 | #22

    rog,

    The headlines rate was the one to be affected.

    Large increases and decreases are automatically taken out of the RBA core inflation series.

    I should have added above Davidson not only compared a constant price forecast to a current price outcome he also compared electricity prices in the CPI to a rise generated just by the ETS.

    Yikes

  23. Newtownian
    October 25th, 2012 at 10:26 | #23

    @Katz

    “Is John Dawson proselytising for the proposition that private ownership”

    Katz I just checked out his link. He is in fact clueless about these issues in that what he presents is vague rhetoric rather than considered objections based on some credible theory or other from the other side of politics. So engaging with him here is not only a waste of time but it clearly encourages him to recycle what appear to be bar conservation based assertions which he has already put on his web site like the 6 million bit above.

    Methinks perhaps he is revenging himself on the rest of us for the slights against his heroes who appear to include Andrew Bolt??!!! Need I say more.

  24. October 25th, 2012 at 11:02 | #24

    Thank you Ikonclast

    What “repeatable verifiable quantitative measurements to assess material facts” have you that the CO2 I breath out is pollution and that you have a right to penalise me for keeping warm, mobile and fed by emitting CO2?

    I don’t have to give “hard numbers” or prove anything because it’s not me claiming the right to restrict your ability to live and prosper. But by advocating measures such as a “carbon tax” you are doing that to me, so the onus of proof is on you.

    About 85% of the world’s energy supply emits CO2 – gotcha!

    The forced conversion from cheap and efficient power to expensive and inefficient power is such a colosal waste. The carbon tax is an instrument of that waste, not to mention bureaucratic administration, ineptitude, and corruption involved. And not to mention that when it is converted into an ETS much of the cost will be sent overseas for carbon credits to make green chatterers feel beter about continuing to “pollute” as they jet off to their next talkfest.

    99% of the world’s climate scientists do not agree that a carbon tax is a good idea, and if they did their opinion would be little better than yours or mine because science is only one of many factors involved in such a judgement. 99% of climate scientists probably agree that CO2 and temperatures rose during the 20th century and that humans have an effect on climate – but there is a long long way from there to a carbon tax or any government imposition.

    We have a lot of empirical evidence about the effectiveness of power supplies. Wind & water & firewood power, but mainly muscle power, kept less than a billion people (for most barely) alive. Fossil fuel power (with the help of about 15% of other types) keeps about 7 billion (for most abundantly) alive. You do the math.

  25. October 25th, 2012 at 11:12 | #25

    Thanks for your psychoanalyst Newtowniar. Let me know when you have some “considered objections” to what I’ve said, apart from it being “clueless” as far as the water mellon narrative goes.

  26. October 25th, 2012 at 11:27 | #26

    John Dawson, before I address any points you mention, I’d like to check if you agree with me on the following two points:

    1. Human activity has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by over a third.
    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

  27. October 25th, 2012 at 11:37 | #27

    Ronald

    1. CO2 has increased by over a third and human activity has contributed to that.

    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

  28. October 25th, 2012 at 12:54 | #28

    Thanks for the replay, John Dawson. I see you are wrong on the first point. Human activity alone is responsible for raising the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by over a third since the start of the industrial revolution. We know this because the amount of CO2 released from burning fossil fuels and land clearing is more than sufficient to account for the entire increase. It is the action of carbon sinks that has prevented CO2 levels from rising higher. We also know from the change in ratios of carbon isotopes in CO2 in the atmosphere. Carbon in fossil fuels lacks the C14 isotope and so its ratio to C12 and C13 has been reduced as CO2 from burning fossil fuels has been released into the atmosphere.

  29. October 25th, 2012 at 13:58 | #29

    Many scientists disagree Ronald, but FOR THE SAKE OF THE ARGUMENT, let’s assume all the increase in CO2 is man made, where do you go from there?

  30. October 25th, 2012 at 14:34 | #30

    John Dawson, do you think that not enough fossil fuel has been burned to release enough CO2 to more than equal a third of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere? If so, then you either disagree with the theory of combustion, that is, one atom of carbon burned in an excess of oxygen produces one molecule of CO2, or you believe there is some sort of vast conspirousy to make people think that much more fossil fuel has been burned than actually has been. Do you believe either of these things, John?

  31. Newtownian
    October 25th, 2012 at 14:53 | #31

    @John Dawson

    John your shot at ‘watermelons’ got me wondering where you are coming from so I checked your website (one tick for transparency) – From your web site:

    “my fresh fruit exporting company, for which I developed an on-line marketing project. My passions include Objectivism the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and writing.”

    I suspect this lies at the heart of your perceptions and until this changes there isnt much point me raising objections to your specifics.

    Some comments .

    # You appear to like philosophy but where you are coming from has me very worried – specifically Rand’s deceptively named ‘Objectivism’ “that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic” to quote Wiki (corrections welcome).

    Assuming this roughly describes your perspective I can see how you might conclude there isnt a climate problem. Marshall a collection of information and opinions from people and sources you respect because they align with your perceptions and philosophy – presumably neo-liberal let the market do what it pleases with no interference.

    But are you really being objective?

    This is exactly question that science, the most objective of our analysis systems, and itself based on induction or so it was thought, asked itself between 1940 and 1960. Or should I say some really smart people explored some crucial misapprehensions. The conclusion was induction is a useful tool but the pedestal of such anthropocentric reasoning of Rand’s kind was toppled.

    There are mountains of literature out there about the story but the following is a good introduction:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/19/thomas-kuhn-structure-scientific-revolutions?INTCMP=SRCH and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

    The fact is Randian thought has been obsolete for decades and only in the powerful culdesac of economics and managerialism is this approach still taken seriously – though maybe this now also is changing slowly following the economic disasters of 2007/2008, the oil crisis and that many businessmen and economics have been mulling over the puzzle posed. Turnbull is one useful example from the right.

    The critical point here is you dont reject inconvenient science (findings and model predictions) because it doesnt comply with your personal reasoning, ad hoc commentary from peers or ‘balancing’ the arguments you are aware of. Science is not as as Stephen Schneider put it ‘A Contact Sport’. But that is how you are treating climate science in your arguments.

    # How can you move forward as they say. My suggestion is this – forget about the now or the next ten or 20 years but have a look what the longer term holds given business as usual like:
    - Have a look at how much additional CO2 is going into the atmosphere now.
    - Estimate how much more will be added when you add the increases from those 7 or 10 billions say 50 to 100 years down the track given unconstrained business as unusual.
    - Have a look at the basic energy balance equations and the rising role of CO2.
    - This basic stuff is back of the envelope calculation stuff and was possible to do and was done by the great chemist Arrhenius 100 years ago.
    - Finally read a bit about Venus.

    Or if you feel inclined do a science course and go into the literature in detail with near first hand knowledge to refine you position rather than trying to reason it out.

    # Your business is probably being killed as much by the free market economics that Ayn Rand espoused as by any future carbon tax impacts – whether the latter will cripple Australian and NZ exports is another matter. While the cost of transport will go up climate change impacts + rising population seems likely to lead to food shortages so I wouldnt panic yet if you can hold out.

    # Finally your previous comments suggested you dont quite understand ‘externalities’ in the form that concerns social democrats (the nominal audience of this blog). I suggest if you are interested in remedying this, reading Fred Pearce’s ‘Where my Stuff comes from’ – it should give you pause for thought.

  32. BilB
    October 25th, 2012 at 14:58 | #32

    John Dawson,

    My electricity bill has gone up by 70%. Less than a third of that increase is due to the Carbon Price. And your electricty bill will have done much the same if you are connected to the town supply.

    What I want to know from you is………where is your outrage at the 70% rorting of the electricty consumer?

    You have not said boo about that!

    Does this mean that when McDonalds put up the price of the ice cream cone from 30 cents to 40 cents you are going to howl the house down,……. while happily paying an extra $2 for your Angus Burger???? Are you for real? or is your ire purely determined by the weather?

  33. October 25th, 2012 at 15:40 | #33

    Ronald – it’s not simply a matter of the amount of CO2 released by man, it’s far more complex than that, but if our fossil fuel were responsible for all of the CO2 rise, so what?

    BilB – If you want cheaper electricity: get rid of the “carbon tax”, and all the green energy schemes, then deregulate the industry. That’s the way you got cheap potatoes, hamburgers, iphones, air-flights, entertainment etc.

  34. October 25th, 2012 at 16:06 | #34

    Well, no John D. It’s not complex. Not on the simple question of whether or not enough CO2 has been released from burning fossil fuels to increase its concentration in the atmosphere by over a third. If you don’t know the answer to that then you aren’t in possession of very basic information about our atmosphere and I’ll have to teach you some basics before you’ll understand the points I want to make. So, I’ll ask you, have humans burned enough fossil fuel to release enough CO2 to increase its concentration in the atmosphere by over a third? If you don’t know, that’s okay. I can show you how to find out.

  35. Katz
    October 25th, 2012 at 16:10 | #35

    If you like cheap consumer goods and being able to buy cheap consumer goods is your only ambition, the John Dawson is absolutely correct.

    If you like driving very fast and all you want to do is to drive very fast, then you would reduce the weight of your car as much as possible. One way to do that is to remove the brake system, which is a heavy component.

    No sensible person would do this, course, because even the dumbest hoon knows that he must slow the car down occasionally.

  36. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2012 at 16:21 | #36

    @John Dawson

    Many scientists disagree Ronald,

    No. As far as I can tell, hardly anyone (perhaps nobody) with relevant qualifications in climate science and actively publishing in this field disagrees with the conclusion that human activity is responsible for all of the post-1750 increase in atmospheric CO2. Some who were leery of attribution of all climate change to CO2 increases have now embraced this conclusion — most recently in the BEST study. There is no serious dispute about this in science.

    The wrecking ball is not the cost added to everyone’s power bills just now, it’s the attempt to force the economy off a cheap and efficient power supply onto an expensive and inefficient power supply.

    The terms “cheap” and “efficient” in this context lack the specification needed to make this claim useful. Efficiency is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It merely describes the relationship between one input in a system (here it could be money, chemical energy) and outputs (work, useable power, dispatchable power or something else). Cost to end users is misleading if the externalities associated with harvest of the chemical energy go uncounted, or undercounted. A highly inefficient process of extracting energy that supplied abundant power on demand at low cost (including externalities) would still be very good.

    Forcing the internalisation of externalities is not “forcing everyone onto an expensive and inefficient” source of power. It’s simply an example of the principle of “not living in a fool’s paradise” or, following Hockey/Abbott “lving within our means” and avoiding the passing of debt onto our descendants. If the Liberals saw these phrases as more than hollow slogans for to beguile the gullible, they’d support cost internalisation too.

    99% of the world’s climate scientists do not agree that a carbon tax is a good idea,

    Making stuff up is a bad idea. It’s a recurrent problem with those favouring inaction on mitigation. There’s simply no clear evidence on what 99% of climate scientists would prefer public policy to look like in detail. One suspects though, that most of them would agree that some public policy aimed at decarbonising energy supply and minimising destruction of carbon sinks would be a good idea. Indirectly and/or directly, this would mean putting a price on CO2-derived energy harvest. Whether one regulates or direct invests or levies the usage or forces a cost on dumping of effluent from the carbon fuel cycle, it all amounts to the same thing. Some methods may be more effective and cost-efficient at decarbonising than others, or some mix of all of these may be required, but that is a quite separate argument.

    and if they did their opinion would be little better than yours or mine because science is only one of many factors involved in such a judgement.

  37. rog
    October 25th, 2012 at 16:27 | #37

    @BilB Those with shares in infrastructure, like Spark Infrastructure, get the price rises back in the form of dividends.

  38. Ikonoclast
    October 25th, 2012 at 16:35 | #38

    @Ikonoclast

    I still want my tax and inflation question answered. Any takers?

  39. October 25th, 2012 at 16:40 | #39

    Ikonoclast, the GST reduced tax on money we earn and stuck it on stuff we buy, so the price of stuff went up. The carbon price has a similar effect, just much, much smaller.

  40. BilB
    October 25th, 2012 at 17:11 | #40

    But, John Dawson,

    if we deregulate industry (if you deregulate one then you will have to deregulate them all) then the waste collection business up the road will dispose of their sludge down the gutters into the storm water drains, the coffee business in the next row will not replace their odour filters and the whole area will reak of burnt coffee all day, the tyre business around the corner will dump their tyres in the nearby bushland, some of the hardup businesses in the area will hookup to the power lines with with uncontrolled connections and we will start to get brown outs at various times in the day, The lead and tin foundry a block away won’t bother controlling the lead oxide spewing out of their chimney stack, nearby housing developments will all use open fires in winter to save on energy costs and start hacking trees out of the world heritage national park here. We will start to resemble US industry of the 19th century and large parts of China today. And all of that just to save a few desperate dollars? Desperate dollars as incomes would be considerably lower leading to the building of several shanty communities on the edge of the industrial area leading into the park land.

    I really don’t think that you have thought this through. I’ve looked at your blog. You’re just picking on silly things that seem to make some sort of point to support your lopsided arguments. Isn’t that right?

  41. rog
    October 25th, 2012 at 17:38 | #41

    @BilB John Dawson seems to have hit a nerve, he is an Ayn Rand nutter nuff said.

  42. October 25th, 2012 at 18:19 | #42

    To repeat, it’s not as simple as adding up the man made CO2 and assuming it accounts for all of the increased CO2 in the atmosphere (which has been fluctuating for millions of years). But while I’m happy to be educated Robert, let’s assume for the sake of this argument it were as simple as that so we can get to my question: so what?

    As I’m sure you know Fran, fossil fuels provide the cheapest power in most places in the world and in many places they’re many times as cheap as alternatives, why else would about 85 per cent of the world’s power be supplied in that way? In some places the difference between cheap and expensive power means the difference between overseas or stay-at-home holidays, in other places its the difference between life and death. Inefficient power supplies include those that stop when the wind stops blowing or when the sun goes down.

  43. October 25th, 2012 at 18:34 | #43

    You seem to confuse deregulation with anarchy Bilb If someone dumps his sewage on my front lawn etc etc he has violated my property rights and should be prosecuted.

  44. Newtownian
    October 25th, 2012 at 18:38 | #44

    @BilB

    Though BilB is perhaps a little harsh on our friend John Dawson the Ayn Rand connection does explain a lot about where his arguments come from. One item I found from a quick google of Ayn Rand and Air Pollution was:
    http://capitalism.aynrand.org/capitalist-secrets-capitalism-improves-our-environment/

    Here are some vignette’s

    “Undeveloped nature is a brutal, filthy, dangerous place for human beings. It’s filled with dirt, disease, uncooperative weather, unfriendly creatures, and occasional natural disasters…..What were the results? Population exploded, life-expectancy more than doubled, and for the first time in history each generation lived better than the generation that came before.”

    “Laissez-faire Capitalism is concerned with the constant improvement of the human environment. It is not, however, concerned with the non-human environment—it is not concerned with preserving untouched wilderness at the expense of human beings. If, under capitalism, someone wants to protect a given patch of land or a given animal, he is free to do so using his own property.”

    These seem pretty representative and other items seem to correspond to John’s comment and in turn seem to be mostly reworded versions of the various ‘Thoughts of Ayn’.

    Instructively like their precursors in history like the Vatican, they are also remarkably blind to inconvenient sciences (no John not just mad watermelons) that show we evolved from said brutish nature, are completely dependent on it for our survival, water food, timber, inert natural resources via biogeochemistry (coal iron ore phosphorus probably oil) and if we trash our environment like the Easter Islanders are believed to – we will pay dearly.

    Curiously in all this while they also say capitalism should be totally free, while also saying pollution noise etc. must be regulated by laws and litigation – they are also excellent at saying laws have no effect but that environmental improvements were inspired by a sort of capitalist altruism. This disconnect and the doublethink involved is nicely summed in Matt Taibbi’s book Griftopia.

    Its got me wondering how much of this strange anthropocentrism underpins other climate change deniers.

  45. Fred Struth
    October 25th, 2012 at 18:45 | #45

    Wholly cow!
    @The Peak Oil Poet

  46. October 25th, 2012 at 19:33 | #46

    John D, so are you saying that you don’t know if enough CO2 has been released from the burning of to raise its concentration in the atmosphere by over a third?

  47. Chris Warren
    October 25th, 2012 at 21:06 | #47

    @Ikonoclast

    Reducing tax on incomes and increasing it on prices is not inflationary. It does not result in more money chasing the same output.

    However, when these changes occur, people play games and there is a period of adjustment when individual profit maximisers hike prices to counter a new tax.

    Capitalism is such a bodgey economic system, that any change in either taxes or subsidies always tends to inflation – ie credit expansion. This has nothing to do with basic economic theory. It is political economy.

    Of course, by far the worse tax is capitalist profit. It is absolutely inflationary – exponentially so.

  48. Chris Warren
    October 25th, 2012 at 21:07 | #48

    Not the same output, as the particular goods and services may change – the same value (although a different basket).

  49. October 25th, 2012 at 22:02 | #49

    It’s not a matter of how much is released by humans Ronald but about how much CO2 stays in the atmosphere for how long. There’s about 780 Gt C in the atmosphere of which about 90 Gt is exchanged with oceans pa and 120 Gt is exchanged with plants, so about a quarter of the CO2 is circulated each year. As part of that circulation humans add about 7 Gt pa and about half of it stays long enough to raise the total. So a simple calculation leads to the conclusion that 3.5 Gt is added by humans to the 780 Gt, (i.e. 0.45%) pa which is more than enough to account for the total rise in CO2 observed in recent decades. But it is not that simple. The IPCC work on a long half life of CO2 in the atmosphere whereas many scientists theorise that it is less than ten years, which alters the calculations and lowers the significance of human emissions. Then there is conflicting empirical evidence, e.g. CO2 was rising before emissions were, the amount of CO2 released by subterraneous volcanoes is problematic, CO2 levels fluctuated long before human emissions were a factor, etcetera.

    Now, can we get to my question, IF humans are causing the entire rise in CO2, so what?

  50. Hal9000
    October 25th, 2012 at 22:33 | #50

    @John Dawson
    JD, you raise a smokescreen by citing a minor dispute at one end of the science spectrum. I suspect this is your intention, but assuming your bona fides, you would of course acknowledge that other related sciences give a much worse prognosis of the climate than is contemplated in the dispute you mention. For example, there is a germane debate in paleontological circles about the cause of the devastating Permian/Triassic extinction event. Some scientists believe it was caused by combustion of the Carboniferous peats, that is, an experiment in CO2 enhancement that we appear to be repeating.

    In reality, as opposed to what passes for debate in denier circles, the significant scientific debate is between the pessimists and the apocalyptic pessimists. That is, if we continue on the present emissions trajectory.

  51. Ootz
    October 25th, 2012 at 22:33 | #51

    Don’t know what it is with these neo luddites hanging on by the skin of their teeth to what essentially amounts to 19th century technology.

    “The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.”

    Not sure if Adam Smith consideres retrospective trouble to be valid, but there lies the fundamental argument for a substantial ‘upgrade’ to renewables.

    There is a simple solution to not pay the carbon tax, reduce your carbon foot print. And if renewable industries could have a access to a equitable proportion of those subsidies and incentives the fossile fuel industry enjoys, it would be game over.

    John Dawson, I say to you Pig poo!

  52. October 25th, 2012 at 22:41 | #52

    “We have a lot of empirical evidence about the effectiveness of power supplies. Wind & water & firewood power, but mainly muscle power, kept less than a billion people (for most barely) alive. Fossil fuel power (with the help of about 15% of other types) keeps about 7 billion (for most abundantly) alive. You do the math.”

    Clearly it is completely impossible for us to ever invent anything better than what we have. Solar, geothermal, fusion all cannot possibly exist.

  53. October 26th, 2012 at 00:02 | #53

    So many non sequiturs, so little time.

    I don’t want to debate minor scientific disputes Hal9000, but was told that my arguments lacked hard numbers and despite three tries at moving on Ronald insisted I addressing the science of CO2. I’m aware what passes for debate amongst warmists, there’s the apocalyptic alarmists to whip up unthinking hysteria and the pessimistic alarmists to try and cloak their AGW king in the robes of science.

    After the nuclear holocaust and you have achieved your utopia I’ll be glad for the pig poo power at barter town Ootz, but in the mean time you have no right to penalize me for using fossil fuel power.

    There is every possibility of inventing something new to replace coal and oil Stephen, provided the heavy hand of government is lifted off the economy and it is free to use the best available power to fuel it.

  54. BilB
    October 26th, 2012 at 00:03 | #54

    It is good, John Dawson, that you finally see unregulated CO2 polution as emissions anarchy which infringes on your property rights. There quite a few other odourless, colourless, trace gasses emitted into the atmosphere which over time put your personal health and welbeing at risk. Lead oxide from petrol was one that has been regulated away, CFC’s the ozone hole gas is another. Carbon monoxide, mercury, vinyl chloride, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and many other industrial gasses, all endanger your life while infringing your property rights.

    When you get into your 2 litre car and drive for two and a quarter hours your car uses more oxygen than you, or I, will consume in a year. So by owning and casually driving a medium sized car for a lifetime you will consume 200 times your natural share of oxygen, and emit 200 times your natural share of CO2. And that is before all of the other CO2 emitted to support your living standard is taken into account.

    Yes, you rightly point out that there is atmospheric emission anarchy, and it must be regulated. Hence the Carbon Price.

  55. Ootz
    October 26th, 2012 at 01:50 | #55

    “….. no right to penalize me for using fossil fuel power.”
    In case you have not noticed, you are actually compensated for the ‘penalty’ at the moment. Now if you reduce your carbon foot print you save even, you’ll be way ahead :)

    …. provided the heavy hand of government is lifted off the economy…”
    <a href="Agreed

    “….. the best available power to fuel it.”
    You are displaying a classic luddite argument as in

    “Climate sceptics are on the wrong side of this transition. Like the original Luddites and their countless descendants through history, they resist technological progress because it makes them feel scared and insecure, clinging to any theory, no matter how crackpot, that helps to justify their position.
    Ultimately, the green economy is about nothing so much as it is about modernity. Businesses understand this. That is why many of the world’s biggest firms want to invest in this low carbon transition, partly because they want to mitigate climate risks that could do them untold harm, but mostly because they want to do what progressive businesses have always tried to do: make the world a better place, by innovating and creating new markets, all the while making money in the process.” How to argue with “climate sceptics”

  56. October 26th, 2012 at 05:28 | #56

    So John Dawson, you are saying that you agree with me that more than enough CO2 has been released from the burning of fossil fuels to increase its concentration in the atmosphere by over a third. And do you also agree that there is a completely clear correlation between increases in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and CO2 released by humans burning fossil fuels and land clearning? In other words, that there is a clear relationship between the net amount of CO2 released by human activity and its concentration in the atmosphere?

  57. October 26th, 2012 at 05:30 | #57

    You [and many more] really think you’ve found the holy grail with this one don’t you BilB, the rational to tax and command every human for the original sin of living on the planet, especially all those neo fascist luddite racist sexist misogynist bodgy capitalists who do all those things and give you all that stuff only to expect payment for it when the government should take it and give them to you free; you can finally bring the commanding heights of the world’s industry and agriculture and lifestyle under the infallible control of an inter government body and everyone who is permitted will be in his permitted place doing his permitted thing and all will be as it should be and the planet will be safe for the polar bears and the spirogyra.

    Or maybe your just befuddled by postmodern professors and political propagandists, so let me state for the record: no matter how many people say how often that white is black and slavery is freedom and 4 is 5 and CO2 is pollution, it just aint so.

  58. Ootz
    October 26th, 2012 at 06:55 | #58

    “………. CO2 is pollution, it just aint so.” KAZOOOOOOOOMP
    What exactly makes you think you are entitled to have that particular opinion?

    Come back when you can state one academy of sciences or international reputable science organisation which is NOT seriously concerned about human induced CO2 and its effect.

    In the mean time read my second link in my comment just two above yours, which is presently moderated presumably for featuring two links.

  59. Ikonoclast
    October 26th, 2012 at 07:01 | #59

    @Chris Warren

    Thank you Chris. Yours is the only answer I got to my question. Your answer boils down to (1) people game the system and (2) general profiteering (in capitalism) can both be causes of inflation following a revenue neutral tax change. I tend to agree with you. I cannot think of any other causes. However, bourgeois economists are probably not going to admit this except in carefully coded statements.

  60. October 26th, 2012 at 09:24 | #60

    My god, where have you people been for the last 50 years, it’s like listening to Marxist students of the 1960s.

    No doubt climate science organisations are concerned about human induced CO2 Ootz, that doesn’t make CO2 pollution. If you fill your room with H2O you’ll drown, but H2O is not pollution either.

  61. Tom
    October 26th, 2012 at 09:38 | #61

    @Ikonoclast

    While not defending the criticism on “passing on the cost” behavior, this by itself have its merits on the objective the carbon pricing is trying to achieve. While the overall CPI increase is relatively low because electricity is only a portion of operating cost for businesses; the majority of this “passing on the cost” price rise is in the electricity industry. Thus for consumers and businesses, this rise in electricity cost may change their electricity usage or source, e.g. switching to energy efficient electricity appliances and/or installing solar etc.

    From this perspective, perhaps (I can’t speak on behalf of policy makers) one of carbon pricing’s main implication is to use the “passing on the cost” behavior of businesses to achieve the objective. Whether if the target reduction can be achieved or not is a different story.

  62. October 26th, 2012 at 10:08 | #62

    @John Dawson

    by your definition there is no such thing as pollution – or maybe it is synonymous with toxin

    all “pollutants” are combinations of one or more elements – and (almost) all elements are natural

    most compounds are natural though some are less likely to occur than others

    you play with the word pollution and redefine it

    but then according to your definition any substance that can grow as a proportion of your environment until it becomes dangerous (eg water) can kill you (though you will not curse “pollution” in your dying breath)

    playing with words and claiming thereby that everybody else is wrong is quite dishonest

    fact is that if CO2 grows to the point that it kills us all then along the way we might think we have a problem – wherever it came from

    arguing as we die whether or not the water filling the room we are in came from a river or a desalination plant or a sewerage recycling plant is of little use to us if there is only a few inches of air left in the room – you seem to think it’s important

    the facts are simple – the room is filling with water or it is not?

    if it is then can we do anything about it or not?

    if we can then what should that be and who should pay for it?

    according to your very flawed view of the world (a very childish version of a very demented Ayn Rand)

    the “superior” ones in the room should invent their way of the predicament and charge the rest of the people in the room for a way out

    now in almost everybody’s book but yours that makes you someone nobody could possibly like

    i’m not saying that laws to charge people for carbon use are the right or wrong way to go

    i’m just dealing with an aspect of your dishonesty – or maybe it’s your fear based self delusion (denial) – or maybe it’s that you are demented – or maybe a schill i do not know

    p

  63. David Irving (no relation)
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:13 | #63

    I’ve been following John Dawson’s contributions (if that’s the right word) with some bemusement.

    He’s just another cornucopian, it’s not worth the effort of engaging with him.

  64. latebowl
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:23 | #64

    @The Peak Oil Poet
    Except in this case the family that you claim is limiting themselves to one cow, is also the family who has the largest apetite for beef among the commons.

    To follow the analogy one step further; the head of this family is just trying to introduce some vegies into their childrens’ diet.
    Like most children, they kick and scream, throw a tantrum and make a global scene but never the less, the head of this family understands that children don’t always know what is best for themselves.

    One day when the children have grown up, they will thank their parents for having the foresight to do what was best for them so many years ago despite the fact it would have been much easier just to let the kids have their way.

  65. Ootz
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:38 | #65

    Thats right DI(nr), as he has history as a defender of what senior liberals call ”fruit loops” and “f…wits” from way back.

    Besides where is the handwringing by the free-marketeers and the so called opposition, about all the price gouging and gold-plating associated price hikes that went on in the power industries over recent times?

  66. Ootz
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:47 | #66

    Since my previous comment is still stuck in moderation, presumably because of two links, I’ll split it in two and repost. JQ please delete the moderation awaiting post.

    “….. no right to penalize me for using fossil fuel power.”
    In case you have not noticed, you are actually compensated for the ‘penalty’ at the moment.

    …. provided the heavy hand of government is lifted off the economy…”
    Agreed

  67. Fran Barlow
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:49 | #67

    @The Peak Oil Poet

    Pollution is a matter of perspective. If the anaerobic bacteria that inhabited the planet for all but the last 600million years or so had had a perspective, they would have called oxygen pollution. Life on Earth got an enormous kickalong from the appearance of oxygen, and we humans, who need it to live, think it marvellous stuff. Not only is it essential to life, but it makes it possible to light fires, which single ecosystem service gave us advantages over all other life on the planet.

    On the other hand, if oxygen were to be 35% of the atmosphere, wet peat moss would spontaneously combust, which wouldn’t suit us at all. Iron would rust far more quickly. If the free radical theory of cancer is right, we’d have a lot more cancer. We humans would age a lot faster and we’d have probably been far different beings, if we’d existed at all.

    If some process of ours threatened to raise atmospheric oxygen above 20%, we would see this too as a source of pollution. It turns out that you can have too much of a good thing.

    Pollution amounts to negative disruption to our taken for granted level of ecosystem service as a result of some agent consequent upon human activity.

  68. Ootz
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:50 | #68

    “….. the best available power to fuel it.”
    You are displaying a classic luddite argument as in

    “Climate sceptics are on the wrong side of this transition. Like the original Luddites and their countless descendants through history, they resist technological progress because it makes them feel scared and insecure, clinging to any theory, no matter how crackpot, that helps to justify their position.
    Ultimately, the green economy is about nothing so much as it is about modernity. Businesses understand this. That is why many of the world’s biggest firms want to invest in this low carbon transition, partly because they want to mitigate climate risks that could do them untold harm, but mostly because they want to do what progressive businesses have always tried to do: make the world a better place, by innovating and creating new markets, all the while making money in the process.
    via ”How to argue with “climate sceptics”

  69. Newtownian
    October 26th, 2012 at 10:56 | #69

    @John Dawson

    John, Ayn Rand was not a lexicographer or an environmental specialist and is not a valid source for a definition of what a pollutant is.

    So what is a pollutant? Here is the Oxford dictionary definition of pollutant “oxforddictionaries.com/ definition/english/pollution”

    “Definition of pollution: noun [mass noun] the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects”

    Please note the word ‘harmful’. In your interpretation of the concept so far you seem to discount this concept of ‘harmful’ and equate pollutants with what we generally think of as toxins. To be sure some toxins are seen as pollutants to like cyanide in gold mine holding pond when it leaches in large volumes into the groundwater.

    But pollution also covers hundreds of chemicals which are fine or even beneficial at low levels but which if released in large quantities or in problematic circumstances cause “harm” – like phosphorus (grows your veges but also leads to toxic cyanobacterial blooms which kill cattle), nitrogen (grows crops kills many native species of plants and promotes weed growth costing farmers), copper (used as an oxygen carrier by gastropods but in high concentrations kills the life in sediments which feed fish), hormones like oestrogen (essential for regulating bodies but in high concentrations confuse reproductive cycles especially with marine life) or maybe molasses from a sugar mill (good for rum but when dumped into east coast estuaries used to cause oxygen sag in estuaries leading to massive fish kills). These problems we controlled to a degree through legislation which forced companies to look for solutions via such means as paying for discharge license -essentially taxes – following which technical entrepreneurs came in with various solutions utilising research findings generally funded at government expense (studies of nutrient and contaminant cycles and impacts).

    This isnt marxist dogma – its environmental science 101. Science and technology have provided many benefits but to keep this going sustainably with requires developing a dynamic balance with the natural world that does not give absolute primacy to human values and lives. This contrasts with the traditional “we can do what we like with it as long as it doesnt harm a neighbour because god gave it to us (an outdated but still powerful idea embedded in property rights concepts).

    CO2 is just the same – in current concentrations it is critical to regulating atmospheric temperature and stopping us from freezing like on the Moon and Mars but when present in too high a concentration it will cook us (Venus).

    While we are probably some distance from inducing a Venus event (though there are some biogeochemists who think this is possible) the evidence is still that with the “let the market rule” approach, CO2 will continue to accumulate in the and eventually set off even worse positive feedback cycles than this years Arctic ice melt – methane and CO2 release from the tundra soils, destabilisation of methane hydrates, increased albedo in both the Arctic and Antarctic. You might argue that then the market will respond. But by then all the people who understand what’s happening know it will be too late. And that is why the scientific consensus on this matter from those in the know is near 100% and we are trying this carbon tax approach for all its limitations.

    The injustice in it all which I appeal to you to think about is that if we cant solve this mess we who are causing this change, or not changing our behaviour enough, will not suffer – it will be our descendants. And its this I would guess which is driving progressive coalition members like Turnbull to fly in the face of pressure to do otherwise.

  70. October 26th, 2012 at 11:22 | #70

    @latebowl

    ick – i work in government – if you think than i would trust ANY of the people i know to make decisions for me you are completely crazy – the senior decision makers are almost exclusively self serving slime who have become millionaires on the back of tax payers – by implementing (and very badly in most cases) think big projects they do not understand, do not take responsibility for but take any credit if things turn out well

    in fact my general view is this – if a bureaucrat or a politician wants to do it then whatever it is i don’t want it

    bottom line is that i detest government and pretty much everyone employed directly or indirectly by it

    but that does not mean i love idiots who are just as self serving or are sycophants for another variety of thieves

    i like that line from Black Adder “kill everybody”

    :-)

    p

  71. Tim Macknay
    October 26th, 2012 at 11:23 | #71

    @Ootz
    Exactly. The most bizarre aspect of the arguments of Climate Skeptics (as well as the more strident pro-nuclear advocates) is their constant insistence that renewable energy technology can never, ever, provide an economic source of large-scale power. This claim is essentially identical to Lord Kelvin’s statement that ‘heavier than air flying machines are impossible’ (eight years before the Wright Brothers), or Richard Woolley’s remark that ‘space travel is utter bilge’ (one year before Sputnik). These people think they believe in progress, but in fact they have no faith in it at all.

  72. October 26th, 2012 at 11:30 | #72

    @Fran Barlow

    being a scientist i hardly need the lecture – but thanks anyway

    :-)

    fact is that change is a natural thing for old mother earth

    so whatever the cause of change i believe we should accept it and live with it (or die with it)

    trying to fight change is exactly like the old adage of pushing excrement uphill

    i do not believe government should be involved in fighting carbon

    unless it does so totally honestly – which it can’t for various reasons including defence – ie by banning all exports of carbon products

    i don’t trust government – it is always a bad system – because you only need to corrupt a few to harm the many – and corruption comes in many flavours

    the best world is one were we all carry guns and can shoot anyone who upsets us – be they ideologues, idealists, idiots or just innocents in the way

    in the end that’s the world we are in but everyone wants to pretend otherwise and it’s in that delusion we allow ourselves to be made slaves

    p

  73. Ikonoclast
    October 26th, 2012 at 11:34 | #73

    @Newtownian

    An excellent answer Newtonian. You have completely dubunked the nonsense that CO2 cannot be a pollutant. Of course it can be. It can also be a toxin as well as an asphyixiant gas. From memory, chronic CO2 at 5% concentration in an otherwise nearly normal air mix will lead eventually to respiratory acidosis (blood acidosis) and death.

  74. Fran Barlow
    October 26th, 2012 at 11:56 | #74

    @The Peak Oil Poet

    being a scientist i hardly need the lecture – but thanks anyway

    It wasn’t specifically aimed at you — indeed, I had no idea what training you’ve had — but was intended as a more general observation.

  75. BilB
    October 26th, 2012 at 12:00 | #75

    John Dawson,

    CO2 is both a pollutant and a poison.

    CO2 buildup in the oceans is a pollutant to shelled sea life every bit as devastating as DDT is to land life.

    CO2 kills land life as well, although rarely.

    http://www.massey.ac.nz/~trauma/issues/2011-1/fomine.htm

  76. October 26th, 2012 at 12:44 | #76

    Thank you for mounting the AGW case civilly Newtowner, I think you precis it well.

    “As to whether the carbon tax will work now that is a more interesting question.” It won’t work at all well. The “free market” doesn’t work because it’s a market but because it’s free (of government manipulation.)

    The Oxford definition of pollution does not denote H2O or N etc or CO2 just because under certain circumstances they can be harmful. The categorisation of CO2 as pollution is nothing more than cynical Orwellian spin-doctoring.

    I agree that “this isn’t marxist dogma”. He expected everyone to sacrifice their interests to achieve a future utopia for people, he wasn’t depraved enough to expect everyone to sacrifice their interests to achieve a utopia “that does not give absolute primacy to human values and lives”.

    Us humans certainly do have the right to “do what we like with it as long as it doesnt harm a neighbour”, not because god gave it to us, but because, as living entities, we must selfishly activate our means of survival (as do all living entities).

    CO2 will not cook us. A doubling of the CO2 from pre industrial levels will increase global temperatures by about 1.2 C. The allarms about much higher rises assume feedback effects from that rise, but these feedbacks work both ways, some warming some cooling, and the net effect is speculative.

    The grossest injustice would be to deny present generations the benefits of fossil fuels and future generations the progress that flows from that prosperity.

  77. Newtownian
    October 26th, 2012 at 13:44 | #77

    @Ikonoclast

    Thanks for the support Ikonoclast. Unfortunately our friend John will not be convinced by anything other than a full blown melt down I think. His response just now is still selective e.g. a claim the rise will be only 1.2 C without explaining why it should stop there or accounting for feedback cycles and thermal inertia or the fact that all models have us on course for 3 C or more by 2100.

    Even then analysis approach would allow readjustment. Consider the remarkable Arctic Ocean melt this year which demonstrates how conservative the science has been to date on balance and should have closed down arguments such as the one we are having here. It hasnt and like the Greenland plateau melt it is just spawning another rash of cherry-picking chatter. Still I am hopeful that maybe our various efforts will set a seed in the minds of unpersuaded people and eventually flower into an existential epiphany.

    And I did elicit this beauty from him “Us humans certainly do have the right do what we like with (the natural world)……because, as living entities, we must selfishly activate our means of survival”.

  78. October 26th, 2012 at 14:24 | #78

    The models have not successfully projected temperatures decades ahead, to disempower the world’s economies on the assumption they’ve got it right centuries out is insane.

    As for cheery-picking and all the fuss about the Arctic’s record low, at the same time the Antarctic reached a record high.

  79. BilB
    October 26th, 2012 at 14:33 | #79

    The grossest injustice of all would be to deny future generations a time share of fossil fuels with which to undo the horrific mess that previous generations have dumped them with and progress their own development in their own way.

    Imagine how future generations are going to feel having been dumped with the responsibility to maintain the safety of mountains of toxic nuclear waste throughtout their time and onto other future generations, a toxic mess that does nothing for them economically while increasing their vulnerability to many forms of cancer. And do this with the most difficult to extract scant remnants of squandered fossil fuels.

    The present time is known as the Anthropozoic era. It could equally be thought of as the “Selfindulgentozoic” era.

  80. Dan
    October 26th, 2012 at 14:47 | #80

    John D:

    1) Why is it a given that human values and life take precedence over non-human values and life? (‘Because we can’ is not good enough.)

    2) Why the assumption that increased non-renewable/slow-cycle throughput now would increase rather than decrease the quality of life of our descendents? Note that Georgescu-Roegen and other thermoeconomists would argue that not only is this hopeful, it is physically impossible.

  81. BilB
    October 26th, 2012 at 15:13 | #81

    Dan 1) Quite so!

  82. October 26th, 2012 at 15:27 | #82

    Dan

    1. There are no intrinsic values, values pertain to valuers. As a human my values are pro-human-life. A spider values webs and flys because they keep it alive. I value reason and production because it keeps me alive. The spider has no intention of sacrificing its values. Neither do I.

    2. If fossil fuel power is to becomes physically impossible or will run out you don’t need a carbon tax to stop it, do you!

  83. Nathan
    October 26th, 2012 at 15:43 | #83

    @John Dawson
    Hi John,

    I’m wondering which of “the models” (should I assume from this you’re well versed in the field of climate modelling?) made all these wrong temperature predictions. It’s especially curious since several of the most prominent climate models (the IPCC 2001 report or Hansens effort all the way back in 1988 for example) have been shown to be in such good agreement with the observed temperature record.

    Perhaps you are referring to the fact that although the IPCC numbers are within expected variability the all UNDERestimate the temperature. Given even larger underestimations in sea level rise and Arctic ice disappearance I assume you’re point is that climate scientists have been overly cautious about the dangers of global warming.

  84. J-D
    October 26th, 2012 at 15:51 | #84

    John Dawson :
    CO2 will not cook us. A doubling of the CO2 from pre industrial levels will increase global temperatures by about 1.2 C. The allarms about much higher rises assume feedback effects from that rise, but these feedbacks work both ways, some warming some cooling, and the net effect is speculative.

    Is there no reason to be concerned about the effects of a 1.2 degree global temperature rise?
    And is there any reason to assume that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration won’t go beyond a doubling of pre-industrial levels?

  85. October 26th, 2012 at 16:35 | #85

    J-D. About half of the 1.2 warming has probably occurred already. If CO2 were to double a second time the warming effect would be much less than the first time. There is not a lot to be worried about with this direct warming effect of CO2, the worry is any net feedback warming; but it’s not sufficient to warent a precautionary disempowerment of the world. It’s much more sensible to deal with climate changes, be they natural or man made, as they arise, with our ever increasing knowledge, improving technology and increasing resources. Imagine what folly it would have been 100 years ago to try and project the problems of our time and act to solve them with the knowledge technology and resources available then.

  86. Katz
    October 26th, 2012 at 17:07 | #86

    An honest skeptic would outline the minimum conditions that would cause him to change his mind about the benign consequences of AGW.

    I’ve asked skeptics and denialists of different ilks several times to outline those conditions. Thus far, none have accepted the invitation.

    Is John Dawson more intellectually honest than his forerunners?

  87. October 26th, 2012 at 17:19 | #87

    @Katz

    i do not think you need to qualify which of his dishonesties he needs to address

    he’s a shill – sure as G-d made little green apples

    he thinks his honest just as (wait for it) Hitler, Stalin et al believed themselves to be honest

    :-)

    p

  88. Fran Barlow
    October 26th, 2012 at 17:23 | #88

    I find it telling that someone who accuses those who use the word “pollution” to describe excess atmospheric CO2 of being “Orwellian” can also describe proposals for what is a form of “user-pays” in fossil fuel usage as “like listening to Marxist students of the 1960s. ” It tells me that at least one of the following is true:

    Dawson never listened to Marxist students of the 1960s
    He did but he didn’t understand them
    He did understand them but is verballing them because he thinks nobody reading this blog listened to them and understood.
    He is clueless on the concept of “the tragedy of the commons” and “collective action problems”
    He is simply doing rhetoric as part of a general cultural preference for existing patterns of conusmption.

  89. October 26th, 2012 at 18:43 | #89

    Oh goodeee, we’re discussing meee. And hear I was thinking we were wasting our time discussing carbon taxes and global catastrophes.

    Re the models Nathan, see a couple of recent reports:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/10/man-made-global-warming-disproved/

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/10/05/german-meteorologist-on-temperature-models-so-far-they-are-wrong-for-all-atmospheric-layers/

  90. October 26th, 2012 at 18:45 | #90

    Oh goodeee, we’re discussing meee. And hear I was thinking we were wasting our time discussing carbon taxes and global catastrophes.

    Re the models Nathan, see a couple of recent reports:

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/10/05/german-meteorologist-on-temperature-models-so-far-they-are-wrong-for-all-atmospheric-layers/

  91. Fran Barlow
    October 26th, 2012 at 19:19 | #91

    @John Dawson

    Oh goodeee, we’re discussing meee.

    As you have brought no substance to the commentary, the closest thing to real data you have brough is … your own sentiment. I’d sooner discuss that, because that drives your utterances. I find culture interesting.

    Since you have no science or even, as far as can be told, any capacity to weigh public policy, why not explain why you make the claims that you do? That could be interesting.

  92. Chris O’Neill
    October 26th, 2012 at 19:45 | #92

    @John Dawson

    A doubling of the CO2 from pre industrial levels will increase global temperatures by about 1.2 C.

    The CO2 has not quite half-doubled and already the temperature is up 0.8 C. Inertia only works one way so you’re wrong already.

  93. Chris O’Neill
    October 26th, 2012 at 19:51 | #93

    @John Dawson

    About half of the 1.2 warming has probably occurred already. If CO2 were to double a second time the warming effect would be much less than the first time.

    I’d hate to burst your bubble but the warming force from the second doubling is the same as the warming force from the first doubling. That’s what “logarithmic dependence” means. But don’t let me spoil your delusions. You’re obviously enjoying them immensely.

  94. Chris Warren
    October 26th, 2012 at 20:08 | #94

    @Chris O’Neill

    Dawson is a Randite dogmatist – placing his instinctive private interests over the reasoned interests of society.

  95. October 26th, 2012 at 20:13 | #95

    Fran: knock yourself out.
    Chris: your wrong.
    John: thanks for hosting.
    Nice chatting.

  96. David C
    October 26th, 2012 at 20:55 | #96

    @John Dawson
    Can we really believe everything we read. Here is an example of a so-called journalist just making stuff up. And of course the usual suspects lap it up.

  97. October 26th, 2012 at 20:57 | #97

    @John Dawson

    here’s the problem with you

    you hold two positions – one of which is defensible and one is not

    the one that is not is that all the worlds scientists are wrong – only a complete idiot or a deluded fool or a liar or a shill would hold that position – to pretend that CO2 is not a problem and that it is not a human created one is just being dishonest in every possible way

    the position that is valid is that government should not be doing anything about it – (or it should – remember it is a political issue not a scientific one)

    the slimyness of your type is this – by holding both positions immutably – both the defensible and the indefensible you leave open a path to something that i detest above all things – gross government control of our lives

    see it will play out like this

    your lot will all of a sudden discover that your indefensible position must be abandoned and that oh my gosh things are so very very bad we have to impose martial law like control of the working and middle class

    you pretend to be fighting for the liberty of the “free man” but you are not – you are a George Bush and a Geoffrey Sachs just waiting for your big opportunity to use catastrophe to rip us all off – we have all seen you do it time and time again

    i suggest you go slime away somewhere and feed on your own flesh – you are worse than these commie lot that infest this place – i detest their high and mighty “we superior elite can save us all” view of things but your lot are far far worse – because you are out and out thieves and murderers just waiting for your chance to start your pogroms

    if it were in my power i’d gun you all down

    p

  98. rog
    October 26th, 2012 at 21:54 | #98

    @The Peak Oil Poet Wonder what John Dawson thinks about seatbelts and vaccination?

  99. Katz
    October 26th, 2012 at 22:26 | #99

    Looks like John Dawson has chosen to behave like all other denialists, as noted @ #32.

  100. J-D
    October 27th, 2012 at 04:10 | #100

    John Dawson :
    J-D. About half of the 1.2 warming has probably occurred already. If CO2 were to double a second time the warming effect would be much less than the first time. There is not a lot to be worried about with this direct warming effect of CO2, the worry is any net feedback warming; but it’s not sufficient to warent a precautionary disempowerment of the world. It’s much more sensible to deal with climate changes, be they natural or man made, as they arise, with our ever increasing knowledge, improving technology and increasing resources. Imagine what folly it would have been 100 years ago to try and project the problems of our time and act to solve them with the knowledge technology and resources available then.

    Even if it’s true that there’s already been a 0.6 degree increase in global temperature as a direct effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, how does that in any way affect whether it’s reasonable to be concerned about further increases in global temperature as a result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (or, for that matter, for any other reason)?

    If you consider that a total rise of 1.2 degrees is not a cause for concern, how are you deciding the level of rise which would legitimately be a cause for concern?

    If you don’t think it makes sense to plan one hundred years ahead, how far ahead do you think it does make sense to plan, and why?

Comment pages
1 2 11045
Comments are closed.