Partisan Plans for Energy and Climate Change

Cap and trade, drilling, no nukes, and tax credits for all

At their conventions this past month, the Democrats and Republicans each laid out their differing solutions to our nation's energy and climate troubles. Energy and climate change are intertwined because burning fossil fuels that power the modern world produces carbon dioxide emissions that are warming the planet. In addition, higher oil prices have raised concerns about the nation's energy security.

Combing through both platforms, it appears that the Republicans endorse a far more sweeping set of energy and climate change policies than do their Democratic counterparts. The GOP platform declares, "In the long run, American [energy] production should move to zero-emission sources, and our nation's fossil fuel resources are the bridge to that emissions-free future." Zero-emission energy obviously means energy sources that don't produce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. The Democratic platform only pledges to "implement a market-based cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic change."

But let's put aside the proposed climate change policies of the two major parties for the moment and look at their energy security concerns. The Democrats promise "we will break our addiction to foreign oil." The Republicans also vow to reduce "our excessive reliance on foreign oil." So just how do our politicos plan to attain this elusive goal? "We know we can't drill our way to energy independence," declares the Democratic Party platform. Instead, the Democrats want to dramatically increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles and crack down on speculators who are driving up oil prices beyond the natural market rate.

The Republicans, however, think that drilling can help. "We simply must draw more American oil from American soil," insists the GOP. The alleged party of business wants companies to produce crude and natural gas from the outer continental shelves and from shale formations in the West. It even opposes "any efforts that would permanently block access to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." The Democratic platform doesn't come right out against opening these areas to energy exploration, though perhaps that's because its presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), now supports at least some additional offshore drilling.

So what do the Republicans say about climate change? "The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere," notes the party's platform. "While the scope and long-term consequences of this are the subject of ongoing scientific research, common sense dictates that the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today to reduce any impact on the environment." The Republicans acknowledge that man-made climate change is a potential problem, but they "caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by the aficionados of centralized command-and-control government."

The tone of Democratic platform is far more ominous. "Global climate change is the planet's greatest threat, and our response will determine the very future of life on this earth," it warns. The party of Al Gore predicts that climate change "will lead to devastating weather patterns, terrible storms, drought, conflict, and famine."

So what to do? "Because the issue of climate change is global, it must become a truly global concern as well," say the Republicans. "All developed and developing economies, particularly India and China, can make significant contributions in dealing with the matter." How a Republican administration (and Congress) would deal with climate change policy at the international level is passed over with decorous silence. The Democrats, on the other hand, argue, "We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia." One wonders, would these commitments make Democrats into aficionados of centralized command-and-control government?

Oddly, the Democratic platform seems to be taking a page from the detested Bush administration's playbook on how to handle climate change. For example, the platform calls for reaching "out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols...Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries in Europe and Asia." The Global Energy Forum proposal is more than a little reminiscent of President Bush's Major Economies Summit on Energy Security and Climate Change which met in September 2007. And the focus on "clean energy development" sounds a lot like the goals of President Bush's Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate initiative.

What do the two major parties think should be done at home to address the problem of man-made climate change? The GOP platform claims that Republicans will deal with it by supporting "technology-driven, market-based solutions." Sounds good, but what does that mean? Apparently, it means that "alternate power sources must enter the mainstream." Must? The Republicans happily acknowledge, "The technology behind solar energy has improved significantly in recent years, and the commercial development of wind power promises major benefits both in costs and in environmental protection." This is clearly true, but the Republicans forgot to mention that these improvements have been driven by billions in tax credits and government mandates generally favored by Democrats, not the free market. Or maybe it's not an oversight at all. Perhaps the Republican platform is implying that new energy technology markets do need a little help. After all, the GOP platform does advocate "a long-term energy tax credit equally applicable to all renewable power sources." Extending current solar and wind tax credits is being held up in Congress as part of a legislative stalemate over authorizing offshore drilling.

Unlike the Republican platform, the Democrats clearly state how they plan to encourage Americans to switch to low-carbon energy—by imposing "an economy-wide cap and trade program." The idea is that the cap on greenhouse emissions will be lowered over time, meaning that emitters will trade ever fewer greenhouse gas permits among themselves. Naturally, the Democratic platform discreetly fails to mention that the cap and trade proposal is actually equivalent to an energy tax that will boost the prices Americans pay for their electricity and gasoline. (To be fair, the GOP's presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), unlike the Republican platform, also favors a cap and trade scheme.)

So if fossil fuels are a no-no, from what sources will Americans get their energy? "We Democrats commit to fast-track investment of billions of dollars over the next ten years to establish a green energy sector that will create up to five million jobs," declares the progressive party's platform. Green energy means solar, wind, and geothermal. Of course, the billions "invested" in green energy will come from the pockets of taxpayers who will be shelling out more for energy under the new cap and trade scheme.

The Republicans aim to "usher in a renaissance in the American auto industry" and declare that America "must...produce more vehicles that operate on electricity and natural gas." Again, the platform remains silent on just how Republican policies will conjure up this auto industry renaissance. Perhaps Republican fat cats will all go out and buy a Ford Escape hybrid or a GM Volt? The Democratic platform makes it clear that corporate handouts are just fine so long as your company doesn't produce oil or pharmaceuticals. In order to get plug-in hybrids to start rolling off the assembly lines in Michigan, the Democrats promise to "help auto manufacturers and parts suppliers convert to build the cars and trucks of the future." And what "help" can be more sincere than a nice fat subsidy?

The major parties really do differ on the future of climate-friendly nuclear power. The Republicans promise to "pursue dramatic increases in the use of all forms of safe, affordable, reliable—and clean—nuclear power." In fact, Sen. McCain has set the goal of building 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030. In contrast, the Democratic platform mentions "nuclear power" once and then only in the context of countries that use it as a sneaky ruse to develop nuclear weapons. The platform also promises to "protect Nevada and its communities from the high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, which has not been proven to be safe by sound science." Obama may not be completely on board with his party's platform, however, since he has said, "We should explore nuclear as part of the mix."

What about biofuels? The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates that the country use 36 billion gallons of biofuels per year by 2022. Most of the ethanol produced in the United States is currently made from corn. In other words, food and feed are being turned into fuel. A lot of experts believe that the biofuel mandates have contributed substantially to the recent steep run up in global food prices. Rather than turn food into fuel, both parties favor a fast ramp up to cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol is produced using feedstocks such as wood, agricultural waste, and switch grass instead of corn. To the party's credit, the Republican platform declares, "The U.S. government should end mandates for ethanol and let the free market work." The Democratic platform is mum on the biofuels mandate.

Will the party platforms actually influence the policies eventually adopted by the victors in the presidential contest? There are reasons to doubt that. For example, last time around both major parties strongly promoted the "hydrogen economy" as the solution to our energy woes. The 2004 Republican platform declared, "The Republican Party supports research and investment designed to realize the enormous benefits of a hydrogen economy and put the United States on the cutting edge of energy technology." The 2004 Democratic platform asserted, "We are also committed to developing hydrogen as a clean, reliable domestic source of energy." In 2008, the hydrogen economy fad is completely passé, with neither party platform so much as mentioning it. Finally, while the two major parties may have big differences in their proposed energy and climate change policies, they are completely bipartisan when it comes to touting the benefits of their proposals while ignoring the costs.

Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  • ||

    That movie was so frickin' awesome.

  • Warty||

    No, Daniel Day-Lewis was awesome. The rest of hte movie was just an acceptable vehicle for him to be awesome in.

  • The Extispicator||

    2012 Party Platforms: "We [insert party name] support the development of magial unicorns that are able to emit glittering rainbows of clean energy from their anuses; energy so clean it acually absorbs airborne pollutants."

  • DannyK||


    The Republicans acknowledge that man-made climate change is a potential problem, but they "caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by the aficionados of centralized command-and-control government."


    Sadly, No! Reading the platform, I don't see where the platform acknowledges the reality of man-made climate change at all. It says atmospheric CO2 is the subject of research, and it talks about climate change, but it never connects the two in any way. There was a recent post in the Corner blog recently about how the McCain campaign and the conservatives "compromised" on this.

    I eagerly look forward to your correction and further commentary.

  • ||

    I am gravely disappointed. Again you have made me unleash my dogs of war.

  • ||

    A pox on both their houses.

    The big 2.5 have retooled dozens of times each without one dime of taxpayer subsidy.

    If you are going to to use tax policy to encourage a switch to wind, solar, geothermal, fission etc. just tax the CO2 as it comes out of the tailpipe or smokestack. The carbon tax should be posted at the gas pump and included prominently as a seperate line on the utility bills of consumers.

    Since global warming is global problem, thus a global responsibility, this carbon tax shoud be global as well. Good luck getting India, China and the other billion people who are energy starved to sign on.

    Other than that, hands off the electricity production micro management. You don't know WTF you are doing, congress. Admit it and get out of the way. If wind is cheapest for coastal area A, wind will kick competitors ass in area A. Ditto for solar in desert B.

    Yucca mountains is good enough. This incessant squabbling is allowing politics and the perfect that doesn't exist be the enemy of the good and possible.

    Cellulose sounds so ducky until you consider the implications to forests. I'm not saying prohibit it, but recognize one friggin' hell of a lot of carbon is sequestered in cellulose.

    There's more but I really summed it all up in the opening line - A pox on both their houses.

  • ||

    One more thought, any energy production will have adverse environmental effects. Reality sucks and trade offs are required. Admit it. Get over it.

  • Chad||

    Here is what we need to do:

    1: Drill, drill, drill. There are ~20 billion barrels of oil under ANWR and OCS, and around ~10 billion barrels equivalent of natural gas. Do the math. What is $100 times thirty billion? Yeah, three trillion. The government keeps ~15% in royalties (but we should charge more), 35% corporate tax on any profits, and a tidy bit of income tax on the workers and dividend tax on the investors. So not only would numerous private individuals make a nice bit of money, the government itself will take in a trillion dollars or more in revenue over the years we drill.

    2: Put EVERY LAST DROP of this oil windfall into renewable energy and mass transit.

    3: Institute a carbon tax, preferably in some sort of international form.

    4: Tax every other pollutant that comes out the tailpipe, smokestack, etc. Watch Big Coal go bankrupt as it has to pay for not only SOx and NOx but particulates, mercury, radioactives, and CO2.

    5: Tear down the barriers to nuclear power. Stomp all nimbys into the dirt.

    6: Shift our current ~10:1 ratio of road to mass transit spending to a more even split.

    7: Reduce the federal government's energy use dramatically, and as quickly as possible replace all electricity and fuels with renewables. Lead by example and drive the market.

    Well, that's a start. We should do much more.

  • Kolohe||

    crack down on speculators who are driving up oil prices beyond the natural market rate.

    What annoys the snot out of me about the democrats is that high prices - for whatever reason - are the absolute best way to "break our oil addiction"

  • Kolohe||

    One wonders, would these commitments make Democrats into aficionados of centralized command-and-control government?

    Um, they're not?

  • ||

    Chad,

    I think you're a bit off on No. 6, but I suppose it depends on how you frame it. Subsidies for highways are less than 1 cent per passenger mile, making up about 16% of total road expenditures (the rest comes from user fees = taxes); while subsidies for mass transit are more like 60 cents per passenger mile, making up about 73% of expenditures. [from the Antiplanner]

  • ||

    if oil is causign global warming and high prices will reduce our consumption then why not stop subsidizing Exxon, Shell and BP by offering hem international military protection on the backs of taxpayers....let them pay for their own defense...this would save the world from cliamte change and reduce our taxes....I guess that answers my own question.

    How about it Exxon supported Reason? nevermind, we know Exxon/Reason supports cap and trade...ok lets all make some money at the expense of the gullible classes.

  • Neu Mejican||

    1: Drill, drill, drill.

    Great tune and all...(Wire kicks ass)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6eAOmz-Aag

    and it should make it onto the list, but I don't see it as #1 on the list by any means.

    Certainly don't see a reason to go to ANWR yet.

  • ||

    Does anyone here know what the new McCain ad is referring to when it says Obama wants to raise taxes on electricity? Is it a critique of cap and trade or what?

  • Not Nigel||

    Perhaps "reason" should change its name to "flibbertigibbet" -- and turn in any tattered shreds of association it ever had with any libertarian ideals.

    Read, for a devil's advocate (by which I mean an alarmist, left-wing, statist screed), the IPCC's AR4 (2007 report).

    Done thet? OK, by their *worst-case* scenarios, the disastrous effects of global warming are predicted to be that "our great grand-children in the developed world would, in a hundred years' time, be 2.6 times as well off as today, instead of 2.7 times, and their contemporaries in the developing world would be only 8.5 times as well off as people in the developing world are today, instead of 9.5 times as well off."

    (Quote and analysis from An Appeal to Reason by Nigel Lawson)

  • Neu Mejican||

    Atabrat | September 9, 2008, 5:12pm | #

    Re-read #6
    ratio of road to mass transit spending

    Rather that per passenger mile subsidy...apples to oranges.

  • ||

    crack down on speculators who are driving up oil prices beyond the natural market rate.

    The economic ignorance encapsulated in this statement should disqualify anyone who says it from holding any public office in a free country.

  • DannyK||

    Here's the article I mentioned, by Stephen Spruiell:

    [talking about re-writing the GOP environmental platform]

    ...The don'ts had other problems with the working draft. None of them was happy with the first paragraph of the global-warming climate-change section, particularly the line, "Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth." Nor did they think the paragraph was specific enough when it called for "measured and reasonable steps today" to mitigate the consequences of climate change.

    The chair and co-chair of the subcommittee told the delegates with the biggest concerns to work together on alternative language rather than file a bunch of separate amendments. "Essentially, we re-wrote the first paragraph," says the delegate I talked to. "We decided to strike the whole thing and come up with something better."

    The new version dropped the sentence that attributed warming to human activity. It also added a line after "measured and reasonable steps" that stated, "Any policies should be global in nature, based on sound science and technology, and should not harm the economy."


    It's very clear that McCain's guys agreed to strip out any meaningful language about manmade climate change to avoid a fight. The current language is vague, and supports those who belive that climate change is caused by sunspots and isn't a big deal anyway.

    Here's a link to the article (sorry about the long ugly URL):
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGMyOTY5MmVkZDYwZjE4ZjZjM2I2MzcxYzMyOGZlODM=

  • Chad||

    "Atabrat | September 9, 2008, 5:12pm | #

    Chad,

    I think you're a bit off on No. 6, but I suppose it depends on how you frame it. Subsidies for highways are less than 1 cent per passenger mile, making up about 16% of total road expenditures (the rest comes from user fees = taxes); while subsidies for mass transit are more like 60 cents per passenger mile, making up about 73% of expenditures. [from the Antiplanner]"

    Antiplanner doesn't include many subsidies for automobile driving. Do drivers pay to pollute? Nope. Do they pay to park? Often no. Do they pay for causing heat-island effects? Nope. Noise? Nope. Congestion? Nope. Making it difficult to walk or bike and thereby turning us all into lard butts? Nope. Killing 30,000 people each year and maiming several times that many? Not if they are uninsured. Foreign wars to protect the oil supply? Nope.

    The long and short of it: driving has MANY significant subsidies that were not counted.

    So why does mass transit need such "high" subsidies if it works so effectively? Well, the answer is that it doesn't - when it is sufficiently large. Japan's system, almost certainly the world's best, is almost entirely subsidy free. How did this happen? Because it is big. It goes everywhere. Therefore ridership is high, leading to nice profits, and more lines being built. The value of a transit system is related to the number of possible trips one can make on it - ie, the number of possible "point A" and "point B" that you can travel to and from. Critically, the number of possible trips SCALES WITH THE SQUARE of the number of stations, stops, and crossings. If you have one train line connecting 5 stations, you can only make 20 possible trips (5^2-5 for you math geeks). Now if you have 20 lines with five unique stations each, you now have 100^2-100 = 9900 possible trips. Note that a 20-fold increase in the size of your network just increased the usefulness of the network by a factor 495!

    The reason that our road network beats our transit network in all but a few places is that our road network is big, thanks to government spending. Our transit network is small, because of low funding, which results in low ridership and poor profitability. However, this changes as size increases, because it is a non-linear function. Build it big, and ridership and profitability soar, due to the underlying math. Unfortunately, to get to a scale that produces good profits is beyond the scope of private companies. Like Japan, the government has to push on the network until it is self-sustaining. Then private nets will piggy-back on the existing network and the orginal state system can be split and privatized as well.

  • b||

    MOAR!!

  • Jordan||

    Japan's system, almost certainly the world's best, is almost entirely subsidy free. How did this happen? Because it is big.



    No, it happened because Japan's population density is ten times higher than ours.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican-

    Apples to oranges, hence the reason I said "depends on how you frame it". It seems to me that if less than 5% of people use public transit, then a 10:1 roads to mass transit spending ratio is appropriate. I'm not saying that's best for the environment or the economy.

    Chad-
    The only viable mass transit system in the US is New York's subway system because New York is so densely populated and the subway goes everywhere (much like Japan I would guess). The problem is that other cities, when they start from scratch, are more driven by real estate and urban planning than getting people where they want to go. It's much easier for a city to take long-term loans on development than to come up with operating costs. Hence the reason in Portland that even as they are building a light-rail in the 205 corridor, they are cutting downtown bus routes. I just don't think the government should be in the planning business, just as they shouldn't be in any other business.

    I must say that I reflexively thought mass transit=light rail when I read your comment, but I'm all for more buses and bus routes. They are more flexible, more solvent, and we won't be paying off their debts for the next 30 years.

  • mr simple||

    Reading the platform, I don't see where the platform acknowledges the reality of man-made climate change at all. It says atmospheric CO2 is the subject of research, and it talks about climate change, but it never connects the two in any way.

    That's funny. Science doesn't connect the two either. Show me one piece of evidence that CO2 has anything to do with "climate change" (since the earth is no longer heating up I guess we can't call it global warming anymore). I don't mean some experiment that shows CO2 can sequester heat, a lot of gases do that, but something that shows any correlation between CO2 levels and average global temp. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure the levels of CO2 humanity has been spewing out have risen in the last 10 yrs, funny how the temp has been dropping. I'd bet the levels of CO2 have been rising the last hundred yrs, but last year was the coldest in the last 107 yrs, and this year has been colder. Let me sum up the climate change problem we face: We don't affect climate change! It's pretty much all dependant on the sun in one way or another, e.g. the radiation it puts off, the strength of it's magnetic field, etc. Here is one recent of the many articles being published on the topic:
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/3425/OPINION-Manmade-global-warming-Worry.4467252.jp?articlepage=1

  • LarryA||

    One wonders, would these commitments make Democrats into aficionados of centralized command-and-control government?

    Well, no; given that they already are "aficionados of centralized command-and-control government."

    One more thought, any energy production will have adverse environmental effects.

    Amen. I remember when the Nautilus, the first nuclear ship, was launched. Nuclear power was the clean, safe alternative of the future. Everyone would have nuclear power, and it would be so cheap it wouldn't even be metered. Just pay the hookup fee and use all you want.

    We won't know what environmental effects solar, wind, etc. will have until we try them large-scale. For instance, what effect will a large array of solar panels collecting energy and creating a cool spot have on local weather? Maybe a permanent low-pressure area, and a perpetual storm over the panels?

    Japan's (mass transit) system, almost certainly the world's best, is almost entirely subsidy free. How did this happen? Because it is big. It goes everywhere. Therefore ridership is high, leading to nice profits, and more lines being built.

    Japan, at 146,000 square miles, would rattle around in Montana, and 70-80% of it is too mountainous to live in. The rest of it has one of the highest population densities in the world. The transit system isn't anywhere near "big," it's concentrated. That's what makes mass transit work, not physical size.

    Japan has 127,000,000 people to pay for a mass transit system that serves 20-30% of the area in Montana, where the bill would have to be split among 958,000.

    Note that a 20-fold increase in the size of your network just increased the usefulness of the network by a factor 495!

    You didn't increase the size of your network, you increased the number of stops. If you have a state like Texas, you can build a 550 mile run between San Antonio and El Paso, and only find a dozen places worth stopping. Ninety-nine percent of the U.S. simply doesn't have anywhere near the population density to make mass transit work.

    I must say that I reflexively thought mass transit=light rail when I read your comment, but I'm all for more buses and bus routes. They are more flexible, more solvent, and we won't be paying off their debts for the next 30 years.

    Agreed. Also rail can't detour. A bus route doesn't completely shut down because of a repair or accident.

    Down here in Texas, however, mass transit is Southwest Airlines.

  • DannyK||

    Mr. Simple, all that's beside the point. Ron Bailey made an factually incorrect statement about the Republican Party platform which makes it sound closer to both mainstream scientific opinion and the Democratic platform.

    I'm just looking for a correction of Bailey's mistaken statement. Doesn't look like I'll get it, more's the pity.

  • Chad||

    LarryA | September 10, 2008, 1:36pm | #

    We won't know what environmental effects solar, wind, etc. will have until we try them large-scale. For instance, what effect will a large array of solar panels collecting energy and creating a cool spot have on local weather? Maybe a permanent low-pressure area, and a perpetual storm over the panels?


    Actually, this has all been studied before. The effects are measurable but essentially neglible. Sorry, but this argument is just a red-herring.


    Japan, at 146,000 square miles, would rattle around in Montana, and 70-80% of it is too mountainous to live in. The rest of it has one of the highest population densities in the world. The transit system isn't anywhere near "big," it's concentrated. That's what makes mass transit work, not physical size.

    Montana is a poor analogy for Japan. The east coast is a much more accurate one. The stretch from Maine to the keys is similar in size, population, and climate to Japan. There is no reason we cannot have an incredibly robust transit network from the Carolinas north beyond Boston, and an equivalent on the west coast. The Chicago-NYC corridor is also sufficiently populated, as is the Dallas/Houston/San Antonio triangle. Build big in places like these, build connections between them, and the whole thing takes off.

    One thing you don't seem to be realizing about population density is that mass transit CAUSES density. People WANT to live near stations, both here and in Japan. Houses near transit centers are one of the few areas in our housing market that have not fallen like a rock. Unlike expressways, stations cause nearby real-estate values to rise rather than fall. Build a line out to El Paso, and you can be sure all nine of those stops will grow nicely.

  • mr simple||

    Got it. Ok then.

  • Chad||

    mr simple | September 10, 2008, 12:59pm |

    That's funny. Science doesn't connect the two either. Show me one piece of evidence that CO2 has anything to do with "climate change" (since the earth is no longer heating up I guess we can't call it global warming anymore). I don't mean some experiment that shows CO2 can sequester heat, a lot of gases do that, but something that shows any correlation between CO2 levels and average global temp.


    www.sciencemag.org
    www.nature.com

    Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies in the world's most prestigious journals.

    In case you are incapable of understanding technical articles, you may find summaries of this work at either of these sites, the IPCC report, or the position statement of every major scientific organization on earth.

    Game, set, match. You lose. Get over it.

    Honestly, I don't think you would have any idea what would constitute proper "evidence" anyway.

    Does CO2 trap heat? Check.
    Is there more CO2 in the atmosphere? Check
    Caused by humans? Check
    Have temperatures risen along with CO2? Check
    Have they in the past, due to natural events? Check

    I am sure you are going to try to fall back onto a few oft-refuted wing-nut talking show points.

    1: It's not hotter than it was a few year ago

    2: CO2 lags temperature in the historical record

    Both are wrong.

    1: First, you are confusing weather and climate. Anything less than ten year averages is weather. That being said, there are four natural cycles that are all trending to cool phases right now....the Atlantic and Pacific ocillations, the sunspot cycle, and for the early part of this year, a strong La Nina. It is actually scary that we are even close to the hottest year ever when all the "natural" cycles say it should have been a cold year.

    2: This argument is simply irrelevant. In a feedback loop, it does not matter whether which happens first. The record does not show "temperature first, then CO2". Rather it shows, "temperature first, then CO2, then temperature, then CO2, then temperature, then CO2..." Feedbacks work perfectly if either element happens first.

  • ||


    1: First, you are confusing weather and climate. Anything less than ten year averages is weather.


    That is a spurious definition. Why ten years? Why not 5, or 11? As a matter of fact, the words weather and climate come from different roots that mean exactly the same thing.

    That being said, there are four natural cycles that are all trending to cool phases right now....the Atlantic and Pacific ocillations, the sunspot cycle, and for the early part of this year, a strong La Nina.

    Yikes... Actually, what drives the weather is the energy source, i.e. the Sun. The other effects are just effects, not sources.


    2: This argument [that CO2 lags Temperature] is simply irrelevant. In a feedback loop, it does not matter whether which happens first. The record does not show "temperature first, then CO2". Rather it shows, "temperature first, then CO2, then temperature, then CO2, then temperature, then CO2..." Feedbacks work perfectly if either element happens first.


    If there was a feedback loop involving these two variables, the world would be a cinder by now. There is no "feedback" - what happens is that an increase in temperature from the usual source (sun activity) increases the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere as a hotter sea releases the gas.

  • ||

    ... and that is it. CO2 does not have the heat trapping capability of other gases like water vapor or methane. There is not enough CO2 to have a feedback system, that is not what is going on. There is simply more CO2 (a bit more) after the global average temperature rises. More CO2 is an effect of more temperature, but not its subsequent cause.

  • Chad||

    Francisco, there is no point debating people like you. You do not even know enough to know when you have been proven wrong.

    Go ahead, keep believing crackpot websites rather than the peer-reviewed science put out by the world's leading scientific organizations. You only make yourself look like an idiot by doing so.

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