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The good news

March 14th, 2013

Discussions about reducing CO2 emissions often have a dismal tone, saying that we can’t reduce emissions without a drastic reduction in living standards. Sometimes the inference is that we should do nothing, other times that we should embrace drastically lower living standards (but probably won’t). Most people share this intuition to some extent, particularly as regards activities like driving, that seem central to a modern lifestyle. So, it’s striking to see what’s been happening to per capita gasoline consumption in the US

gasoline-volume-sales-per-capita-vs-price

There’s a lot going on here: prices, fuel economy regulations, ethanol and general cultural shifts which have reduced distances driven. But the big point is that this drastic decline has happened with only modest policy measures, and without any obvious impact on living standards (US living standards haven’t done well in the 2000s, but for entirely different reasons). Looking ahead, Obama’s fuel economy regulations and sustained high prices should drive US gasoline consumption much lower.

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  1. Hermit
    March 14th, 2013 at 14:42 | #1

    Nothing like being hanged to focus the mind and nothing like fear of recession to make people drive less. The combination of fewer vehicle miles and a five year boost from ‘fracked’ shale oil will give the US some breathing space. Alas Australia will just have to pay through the nose for steadily increasing oil imports. I see Shell has a plan to fuel interstate trucks with LNG.

    The default assumption of -1 price elasticity often seems plausible. When prices change +10% volume changes -10%. In the case of Australia’s stationary emissions that would seem to account for the recent declines. However some of that is the manufacturing exodus (eg Kurri Kurri smelter) and ill advised energy cuts such as pensioners not using air con in 45C heat. Some stationary energy cuts can be attributed to PV but that won’t help much the day snow falls on Brisbane.

  2. John Dawson
    March 14th, 2013 at 15:02 | #2

    I’ve got to hand it to you John, your rationalisations are truly a treat to behold.

    Petrol prices went up while per capita use of petrol and living standards went down. But the higher petrol price was neither the partial cause or partial effect of the lower living standards – because living standards had dropped for “entirely different reasons”.

    Let me guess: Bush, Tea Party, Republican Congress, Wicked Capitalists, not taxing the rich enough, not spending enough, not raising the debt ceiling high enough. Right?

    But you can do better than this. While per capita petrol use went down the world’s temperatures stopped going up – I’m sure you can make hay out of that correlation. Of course you’d have to get rid of the CO2 levels that kept going up but I’m sure you’d find some “entirely different” cause and effect there.

    But hang on a minute, is this really such good news? If “modest measures” can save us from global warming, you’ll have to come up with some new way to cut the bastards “down to size”. Never mind, with your rationalising capacity, it won’t take you long to think of something.

  3. Greg vP
    March 14th, 2013 at 19:12 | #3

    Obama’s fuel economy regulations and sustained high prices should drive US gasoline consumption much lower.

    Regulations have a big effect? No. There are bigger forces at work.

    The chart shows that the decline has so far mirrored the price, with a slight lag. Price sensitive people are being driven out of the market. But demographics is the main driver (hah!) of the changes: retired and near-retired people drive fewer miles than do younger households, as Bill McBride keeps reminding us.

    The “cultural changes” explanation is overblown too. Young people can’t afford to buy and operate cars as easily as their elders of 15 years ago, so they are indulging in sour grapes–or if you prefer, maximising their utility from the choices available to them.

    Obama’s fuel economy measures will have an effect on company fleets, and they are a solid achievement. But ageing and impoverishment are affecting households more.

  4. Ikonoclast
    March 14th, 2013 at 19:14 | #4

    “The chances of the world holding temperature rises to 2C – the level of global warming considered “safe” by scientists – appear to be fading fast with US scientists reporting the second-greatest annual rise in CO2 emissions in 2012.” – The Guardian.

    Rises or falls in PER CAPITA use of any individual fossil fuel or even of all fossil fuels are meaningless in terms of global and atmospheric physics. The only quantity that matters in this context is the total atmospheric CO2 concentration (which keeps going up). Using a bit less gasoline, even globally in total, is meaningless if we are using even more coal.

    John’s point is that economic productivity is not tied 1:1 to petroleum use. This point is fine in itself. Yet, whilst economic productivity is not tied 1:1 to energy use, it is tied to in some proportional fashion. No energy for useful work equals no economy.

    The only way to have energy for useful work and not use fossil fuels and nuclear fuels (which are both too dangerous) is to make the switch to 100% renewables. What economy and what population will this support? It’s hard to say but the alternative is an overheated and fried world which will support nothing.

    Gee, it’s such a hard decision. Weigh up the choices; something…nothing… something… nothing.

  5. Will
    March 14th, 2013 at 20:10 | #5

    John Dawson :
    Blah blah blah. Talking point 1. Talking point 2.
    PS: Commies suck.

    The US government can borrow at 0.25% nominal (a negative real rate). Why the hell do the economic illiterate terrorist fringe think that the US government shouldn’t borrow to it’s capacity in the middle of Great Depression II and utilise that money for almost literally any other regular government function, eg. education or infrastructure? They are willing to inflict poverty and suffering on people because of their moronic uncompromising ideology.

  6. Ikonoclast
    March 14th, 2013 at 20:47 | #6

    @Will

    In fact, the US does not have to borrow at all. It can create fiat currency. In what way does it make sense for a government to borrow in its own fiat currency? It’s an absurdity, so what is the rationale? It gives (mainly) big bank capitalists risk-free income and indeed free income from govt bonds and the government.

    Where do these domestic dollars come from that the government borrows? They are the dollars they “printed” (as paper money or electronic deposits) in previous years. So they are borrowing what they made in the first place. How does this make sense?

    I know there are some rationales for this arrangement but it seems passing strange to borrow in what you can create yourself and to give capitalists free income in the process. It almost makes one think the system is rigged. LOL! We know the system is rigged.

  7. TerjeP
    March 14th, 2013 at 23:12 | #7

    ClimateGate 3 has just occurred and the “hacker” send his love. ;-)

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/13/climategate-3-0-has-occurred-the-password-has-been-released/

  8. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 01:20 | #8

    @TerjeP Your choice of material reflects poor judgement by yourself.

  9. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 01:33 | #9

    Despite the excuses others like to ponder on the fact of the matter is that emissions reduction by way of regulation is doable and the sky will not fall in.

    A little while ago a guy from Kentucky was telling me that 25 years ago he bought a Datsun, for which he was almost run out of town. Switch to now, where Asian or EU cars dominate US roads and the good folk of Kentucky rejoice at the success of “their” Toyota plant.

  10. TerjeP
    March 15th, 2013 at 07:47 | #10

    Rog – you shooting the messenger reflects poorly on yourself.

  11. March 15th, 2013 at 08:14 | #11

    The fact that we are most likely past peak oil and everybody in the US is unemplyed as a result of that and the collapsing ponzi economic/financial system probably helped reduce fuel consumption in the US.

    But the too big to fail car makers there are churning out new models (eg F-150) of gas guzzlers and flogging them like crazy. The US has more oil than Saudi Arabia (it’s just uneconomical and inefficient to actually produce at any volume). An interesting oil figure is NET imports.

    much deeper analysis of these issues is to be found at “theoildrum”, highly recommended.

  12. pablo
    March 15th, 2013 at 08:25 | #12

    I would still like to see Obama apply a modest Federal fuel tax or excise as we know it. This is essential if Obama is likely to approve the Keystone pipeline, bringing ‘dirty’ tar sands in from Canada for Gulf Coast refining.

  13. Scott
    March 15th, 2013 at 08:49 | #13

    Climategate 3? People still follow emails taken out of the context they were written with? Looking at them probably only two things to date from all their hacking have come out (more to come later) which are as usual with this sensationalist drivel opinions of climate scientists: “1)2) No justification for regional reconstructions rather than what Mann et al did (I don’t think we can say we didn’t do Mann et al because we think it is crap!)” – Attributed to Simon Tett. OK, so lets look up what Tett does and surprise – on his public web page at the university of Edinburgh he works on adjusting model parameters and using the population models for computing uncertainties in future climate change. Uncertainties. That is the context this should be taken in and if you have studied statistics you would understand the context. Crap in that sense may not mean invalid but not useful from his viewpoint of looking for uncertainty but if looking from a viewpoint of shadowy conspiracies means something different. Ok, second in bold comment “and Analyses like these by people who don’t know the field are useless. A good example is Naomi Oreskes work.” – Attributed to Tom Wigley. That can mean anything, it can mean that Oreskes does not deal with the particular issue he’s looking for or the complexity or anything. Though I’m sure they will think up something.

  14. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 08:53 | #14

    @Megan To many variables to support these conclusions; the economy is picking up yet consumption is down.

  15. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 08:54 | #15

    @TerjeP Not at all, merely alerting you to the fact that there is a hole in your foot and a gun in your hand.

  16. Peter T
    March 15th, 2013 at 09:46 | #16

    Hmm. From 1988 to 2003 price was pretty flat, and consumption stayed flat rather than resuming its previous pattern of steady rise. then consumption fell sharply as prices rose. There’s a story here about flat real wages and increasing inequality, coupled with supply constraints and competition from China for a limited resource. I am not at all sure this supports JQ’s take about no major impact on standard of living. If porridge is the only thing on the menu, people eat porridge. Doesn’t mean they like it, or that it’s as good as sushi.

  17. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 10:15 | #17

    @Peter T Put simply for the US gasoline consumption is no longer a reliable indicator of economic growth (GDP).

  18. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 10:18 | #18

    EIA have this graph showing energy consumption per $ GDP

  19. March 15th, 2013 at 10:28 | #19

    I suggest looking at this site, and particularly the third graph, if anyone is looking for a cure for optimism:

    http://www.paulchefurka.ca/TF.html

  20. Jim
    March 15th, 2013 at 10:58 | #20

    I’m sure there are multiple reasons for the decline in the per capita consumption of gas.

    I travel to the US about every 5 years. On my last trip in December last year I noticed a much higher % of smaller vehicles on the road and there seems to be more of a focus on fuel efficiency in the motor vehicle industry (from manufacturers to retail marketing).

    I haven’t looked for any data, but I bet per capital consumption of gas is falling faster than any reduction on per capital motor vehicle kms travelled indicating the tradeoff between reducing emissions and the American love of driving is not so great.

    Good news on the back of multiple shifts in policy, prices, modal shift, technology and consumer preferences I should think.

  21. John Dawson
    March 15th, 2013 at 11:25 | #21

    Yeah, abandon optimism all who enter here @Megan
    Instead of working the fields from sunup to sundown and watching our kids die, until famine or plague ends our miserable lives too, we watch our kids survive to increase the population while we sit on tractors or in air conditioned offices or jet around the world having a ball. Those greedy carbon polluting capitalist bastards sure have a lot to answer for!

  22. Will
    March 15th, 2013 at 11:34 | #22

    John Dawson :
    Yeah, abandon optimism all who enter here @Megan
    Instead of working the fields from sunup to sundown and watching our kids die, until famine or plague ends our miserable lives too, we watch our kids survive to increase the population while we sit on tractors or in air conditioned offices or jet around the world having a ball. Those greedy carbon polluting capitalist bastards sure have a lot to answer for!

    Ahahaha, that’s precious. Many thanks to the noble right wing for allowing all of that to happen!

    End sarcasm.

  23. wilful
    March 15th, 2013 at 11:38 | #23

    TerjeP :
    ClimateGate 3 has just occurred and the “hacker” send his love.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/13/climategate-3-0-has-occurred-the-password-has-been-released/

    Terje, you’ve previously skated a fine line in climate science denial, probably because you like to consider yourself rational and evidence driven (don’t we all) but clearly you’ve spent too much time with the loons at catalepsy and have been infected with their bizarro-world conspiracy theories. If you wanted to retain any dignity, you’d reflect on the fact that “Climategate” has been thoroughly and deeply investigated, and there is absolutely nothing to it, never has been.

  24. March 15th, 2013 at 12:25 | #24

    Very droll.

    It might even pass muster as some kind of argument if that 80 Billion people equivalent translated into those nice things for the 7 Billion real people rather than just “us”.

    Yes, “those greedy bastards” do have a lot to answer for.

  25. John Dawson
    March 15th, 2013 at 13:37 | #25

    6 of that 7 billion people wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those carbon “polluters” @Megan So you tell me, is their survival a good thing or a bad thing? Our life expectancy has doubled – good or bad? We no longer have to rely on (animal, peasant, slave) muscle power – good or bad?

  26. Jim Birch
    March 15th, 2013 at 13:47 | #26

    Terje, where do you actually stand? You seem to want to put one foot on either side of a chasm. AFAIKS, either there really is some enormous conspiracy of scientist and bureaucrats managed by some as yet unexplained mechanism, or the deniers are a bunch scientific incompetents who are engaged in wishful thinking. I don’t see a lot of middle ground, do you?

    If you accept the mainstream science view, I don’t see how you can regard the views of deniers as authoritative on anything beyond what they had for breakfast. To put it simply, they are obviously not thinking too well. Why would you want to align yourself with them?

  27. Ootz
    March 15th, 2013 at 15:25 | #27

    John Dawson, your questions speak volumes about your idiosyncratic values. Don’t you know the proof is in eating the pudding.

    Jim Birch, there is room for healthy skepticism when doing Science. However, that is not what we are seeing paraded on the denier freak show. What these freaks have in common is that they place their idiosyncratic existence before any confirmed principles of risk management and sustainability.

  28. Tim Macknay
    March 15th, 2013 at 15:29 | #28

    @Jim Birch
    Jim, the thing you need to understand is that although Terje is obviously intelligent, he is a Libertarian. Therefore, his beliefs on these things are determined by whatever lines up with Libertarian ideology, i.e. global warming might be be real, but it can’t be too serious, or he’d have to admit that regulation of greenhouse gas emissions might be necessary; it has to be the case that nuclear energy would be inherently cheap and safe if it weren’t for those damn draconian regulations, ‘cos if it wasn’t he’d have to admit that those regulations might be necessary; etc. You get the picture.

    Mind you, it doesn’t necessarily help that sometimes the people who are advocating for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, proper regulation of nuclear energy, and so forth actually are self-proclaimed communists, or patently don’t give a fig for the idea of individual liberty. This makes it easier for Terje to dismiss concerns about global warming, nuclear safety etc as watermelon posturing.

  29. Fran Barlow
    March 15th, 2013 at 15:38 | #29

    @Tim Macknay

    Mind you, it doesn’t necessarily help that sometimes the people who are advocating for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, proper regulation of nuclear energy, and so forth actually are self-proclaimed communists, or patently don’t give a fig for the idea of individual liberty.

    I realise that you conjuction was “or” rather than “and” but let me state for the record that actual c*mmun|sts do care about individual liberty. We just don’t make a fetish out of it, because we know that the concept is often a vehicle for the defence of all manner of imposition on the commons.

    It’s true that some who claim to be c*mmun|sts (or are so defined by the enemies of humanity) may not in practice care about individual liberty. I’d say this raises profound doubts about whether they are c*mmun|sts or simply demagogues.

  30. John Dawson
    March 15th, 2013 at 15:52 | #30

    Actual communists do care about individual liberty do they @Fran Barlow ? Like in the Soviet Union? North Korea?

  31. Fran Barlow
    March 15th, 2013 at 15:56 | #31

    @John Dawson

    Actual communists do care about individual liberty do they @Fran Barlow ? Like in the Soviet Union? North Korea?

    Reread the last paragraph …

  32. Tim Macknay
    March 15th, 2013 at 16:02 | #32

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran, my comment wasn’t intended to offend you or anyone else who identifies as a communist.

    I was just making what I see as the fairly uncontroversial observation that, because communism has acquired a bad reputation due to the practices of some 20th century regimes (whether or not those regimes were really communist is, I think, a side issue), Libertarians and many others find it relatively easy to dismiss arguments made by self-declared communists as inherently unreliable.

    I’m not saying this is necessarily fair or logical, just that it is the case.

  33. Fran Barlow
    March 15th, 2013 at 16:11 | #33

    @Tim Macknay

    Fair enough … I gathered that this was your point, but just so there should be no ambiguity …

  34. rog
    March 15th, 2013 at 17:42 | #34

    @Tim Macknay I would dispute any assertion that Terje is intelligent, simply because there is no evidence of his intelligence.

    To be fair I include myself in the same category.

  35. John Quiggin
    March 15th, 2013 at 18:29 | #35

    I must say I’ve been disappointed by Terje’s continual slippery evasions on this subject. He regularly touts “Climategate” stories that, as noted above, make no sense except if you believe in a gigantic global conspiracy. When pressed, he invariably ducks and dodges.

    What it comes down to is that he wants to remain a member in good standing of a tribalist group which holds a bunch of utterly lunatic beliefs, even though he recognises this fact. So, on libertarian sites, he dissents mildly from the craziest stuff, to keep his intellectual self-respect as best he can, while behaving here as I’ve described.

  36. Chris Warren
    March 15th, 2013 at 19:19 | #36

    @John Dawson

    Yea just like the liberty dealt out to colonial regimes by western capitalists. Your living standard today is based on the liberty of sweatshops, on the liberty of monopolists and the liberty of corrupt bankers. Remember it was the British who invented and perfected concentration camps in South Africa and Indian sub-continent.

    Liberty without equity is slavery. Liberty for the rich is slavery for the poor. This is the new status quo for capitalist economists as the bleat for cuts to minimum wages:

    see: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/hidden-costs-of-the-minimum-wage/

    How much liberty did capitalism deal out to Australian natives? How much liberty was allowed to Vietnam, Cuba, or even early Soviet Union?

    Those who prattle on about liberty from the pulpit of their own ill-gotten wealth and out of context with the facts of life are actually celebrating economic world subjugation and camouflaging the slaughtering ways of their forebears.

  37. Chris Warren
    March 15th, 2013 at 19:21 | #37

    @John Dawson

    Yea just like the liberty dealt out to colonial regimes by western capitalists. Your living standard today is based on the liberty of sweatshops, on the liberty of monopolists and the liberty of corrupt bankers. Remember it was the British who invented and perfected concentration camps in South Africa and Indian sub-continent.

    Liberty without equity is slavery. Liberty for the rich is slavery for the poor. This is the new status quo for capitalist economists as the bleat for cuts to minimum wages:

    see: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/hidden-costs-of-the-minimum-wage/

    How much liberty did capitalism deal out to Australian natives? How much liberty was allowed to Vietnam, Cuba, or even early Soviet Union?

    Those who prattle on about liberty from the pulpit of their own ill-gotten wealth and out of context with the facts of life are actually celebrating economic world subjugation and camouflaging the slaughtering ways of their forebears whether against Zulus, Boxers, Irish, Cherokees, Maori, or Australian.

  38. John Dawson
    March 15th, 2013 at 19:37 | #38

    Your professor must be so proud of you @Chris Warren I guess yours is the most logical argument I’m going to get on this blog. Go to the top of Symptomatic Logic 101.

  39. John Dawson
    March 15th, 2013 at 19:44 | #39

    So if the Soviets and Koreans aren’t real communists despite what they said they were/are @Fran Barlow Where (apart from in Western universities) were/are the real ones?

  40. Chris Warren
    March 15th, 2013 at 20:05 | #40

    @John Dawson

    That’s a good spiel to sprout to your Bishop at your next meet.

    You can go to the bottom of Politics and Ethics 101.

  41. John Dawson
    March 15th, 2013 at 20:25 | #41

    I certainly hope I would be at the bottom of your Politics and Ethics class @Chris Warren and any Bishop’s class too.

  42. Chris Warren
    March 15th, 2013 at 20:42 | #42

    Hope granted.

  43. John Quiggin
    March 15th, 2013 at 20:45 | #43

    John & Chris – lots of fun, but please take anything further on these lines to the sandpit.

  44. TerjeP
    March 16th, 2013 at 07:47 | #44

    He regularly touts “Climategate” stories that, as noted above, make no sense except if you believe in a gigantic global conspiracy.

    They make sense if you believe in a small group of academics moving with a herd mentality and a strong tendency to only publicly report findings that support their worldview. The exposure of which has been pretty entertaining.

    Anyway I merely posted to report that the saga continues. The hacker has written a lengthy letter outlining their motives. Speculation regarding the letter suggests the hacker was an insider not an outsider. And there is another load of email that has been released into the public domain.

  45. TerjeP
    March 16th, 2013 at 07:49 | #45

    p.s. Actually the letter isn’t really lengthy. But it’s more than a paragraph.

  46. Socrates
    March 16th, 2013 at 09:50 | #46

    Regarding the original topic of this post, there is very little correlation between fuel consumption and quality of life/standard of living. Places at the very top of most indices, like Denmark and Holland, have very low consumption. Even within the US, cities with very high liveability, like Portland, have lower average consumption. It is all about transport policy and industry policy.

    Nor is the low consumption due to banishing production to SE Asia. German cities with high manufacturing output also have low consumption. The sooner oil companies and real estate developers cease to dominate the debate, the sooner we will make progress.

  47. Socrates
    March 16th, 2013 at 09:51 | #47

    Further to 46, see research by Kenworthy and Newman that proves the point across a large sample of cities.

  48. Donald Oats
    March 16th, 2013 at 12:39 | #48

    In Adelaide, there has been something of a resurgence in bike riding. Interestingly, the phenomenon of the retro bicycle (think 50′s 28″ wheels, Reynold’s steel tubing) has become a presence, too. Of course, these bikes aren’t truly retro—thankfully—but they adhere to the look of the old style bikes.

    A separate trend is that of residential consolidation in the CBD, combined with free bus transport; this kind of makes owning a car in the city an unjustifiable financial liability.

    Our Tour Down Under probably helps in encouraging people to think of cycling as a means of transport, and it is no bad thing. The Adelaide City Council has put in bike lanes on many of the wider streets around the CBD, which also helps. All of this goes towards reducing overall miles driven.

    The only long term downside I see here is that the building developers are getting away with some ridiculously small offerings as appartments: I saw one a couple of days ago, brand spanking new, and the combined kitchen/lounge/dining area was tiny, and yet the rent was $395pw. No developer should be allowed to build units that tiny, in my opinion—people will go mad trying to live in such a small space. And spare me the free-marketerrism about why developers should be able to build anything they want…

  49. Hermit
    March 16th, 2013 at 13:47 | #49

    Tiny apartments and yards don’t readily lend themselves to backyard vegies, heavily laden fruit trees, chooks, solar panels and rainwater tanks. I suspect proponents of Big Australia tend not to live that themselves but they know what’s best.

    I don’t mind a bit of Adelaide bashing. I like to point out they depend entirely on the grace and favour of Canberra to send water down the river, subsidise cars, let out defence contracts and I expect soon to help out with the high gas price. Oh yes commuting I know people who routinely drive from Christies Beach to Gawler. That’s going to be challenging with petrol at $2.50 a litre by 2015 I would think.

  50. Scott
    March 16th, 2013 at 18:06 | #50

    Wonder if there is a movement away from Just In Time Inventory too. While it allows precise delivery right at the time a product is needed it tends to waste fuel and cause gridlock. Generally there is a tradeoff of security of price and supply for increased storage costs.
    Most forget that technique was introduced when Toyota facilities were close together.
    Have always thought that some companies could do co-op trucking and warehousing to minimise that waste.

  51. Scott
    March 16th, 2013 at 18:21 | #51

    Typo, I meant tradeoff of security of price and supply for decreased storage costs.

  52. Peter T
    March 16th, 2013 at 20:46 | #52

    Terje

    There are satellites out there which measure the energy entering the earth’s atmosphere and the energy leaving it. There is more energy going in than coming out. And the gap in outgoing corresponds to the absorption frequency of CO2. Now go find a scientist (or anyone who understood their high school science teacher) who will argue that something absorbing more energy than it is emitting is not going to get hotter. When you have found one, you can sell them shares in a company manufacturing perpetual motion machines.

    And, BTW, your scientists indulging in groupthink include the heads of all the major scientific bodies – not climate scientists, just scientifically literate. Sheesh. You must have a very finely tuned search engine.

  53. tgs
    March 17th, 2013 at 09:52 | #53

    Fran Barlow :@Tim Macknay

    Mind you, it doesn’t necessarily help that sometimes the people who are advocating for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, proper regulation of nuclear energy, and so forth actually are self-proclaimed communists, or patently don’t give a fig for the idea of individual liberty.

    I realise that you conjuction was “or” rather than “and” but let me state for the record that actual c*mmun|sts do care about individual liberty.

    Quite so. Not true Scotsman communist would behave in such a way!

  54. tgs
    March 17th, 2013 at 09:53 | #54

    No*

  55. wilful
    March 18th, 2013 at 10:32 | #55

    Terje, you haven’t really gotten away from the fact that all of the Climategate claims were scrutinised in exhaustive detail by completely independent groups (eight times as I understand it) and absolutely nothing turned up of substance. I mean, the CRU people were pissed off at vexatious FOI applicants. And this is news? You can’t blithely say “oh it’s just for noting” that Climategate is a continuing saga, when it is only of importance to the denialosphere echo chamber of Watts and Bolt etc. It’s not of any importance to anyone who hasn’t drunk the grand conspiracy kool-aid. So I ask again, have you?

  56. Fran Barlow
    March 18th, 2013 at 10:58 | #56

    @tgs

    I’m minded to offer a substantive analysis of the “no true Scotsman” (NTS) fallacy but until that moment I would say that assertions that an argument meets the criteria for NTS may turn out upon examination to be a different well known fallacy — strawman.

    The proposer of NTS alleges that the person guilty of advancing this formof argument is being arbitrary in his/her criteria, picking boundaries to suit his/her own claims, but this assertion needs to be proved rather than merely advanced as if this settled matters.

    If the parameters of the claims made by the person alleged to be guilty are non-arbitrary, open to falsification, and are indeed foundational — if for example, the concept of “true Scotsman” was well-established and measurable and had sufficient coherence to be a single thing differentiated from the rest of the world, then we’d have to call NTS something else.

  57. Paul Norton
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:18 | #57

    tgs @53, the phrase “actually are self-proclaimed communists, or patently don’t give a fig for the idea of individual liberty” leaves open the possibility that the “self-proclaimed communists” and the people who “patently don’t give a fig for the idea of individual liberty” are different people.

  58. aidan
    March 18th, 2013 at 11:30 | #58

    I’m not qualified to investigate the details, but recent modelling seems to suggest efficiency standards are unhelpful and result in higher costs of abatement compared to a carbon price. Even a carbon price and efficiency standards result in higher costs:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/02/25/cafe-standards-are-extremely-inefficient/

    It is worth reading the comments, as there are some links to the source material.

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