Climate Crackup

A breakdown in Copenhagen saves a divided world from carbon rationing.

On December 18, the Copenhagen climate change conference collapsed. Heads of state from about 120 countries had flocked to the Danish capital, anticipating a historic photo op that would lead future generations to lionize them as visionary saviors who rescued the planet from the menace of man-made global warming. Instead the world’s leaders participated in an embarrassing diplomatic flop. 

Officially, a Copenhagen Accord was reached, but the three-page document largely consists of vague promises expressing the “political will” to combat global warming. Many leaders were already fleeing to the airport before the conference officially closed. This fiasco could spell the end of the United Nations’ attempts to use a costly and flawed carbon rationing scheme as a way to handle man-made climate change.

The conference came to this humiliating conclusion because the world’s two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, remain at loggerheads. The U.S. needed China to accept legally binding carbon targets with some kind of monitoring arrangement to make sure the Chinese don’t cheat. Without these provisions, U.S. manufacturers (and the unions representing their workers) would be at a clear disadvantage, because their competitors in China could continue to use cheaper fossil-fuel energy. “From our point of view,” declared Todd Stern, the American special envoy for climate change, “you can’t even begin to have an environmentally sound agreement without the adequate, significant participation of China.” 

Stern is right. Unless China is seen as participating in the global effort to limit carbon emissions, the Obama administration will have a very hard time convincing Congress to pass carbon rationing legislation during a time of high unemployment at home.

Not surprisingly, the most ideological wing of the environmental movement was livid at the outcome. Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth U.S., denounced the Copenhagen Accord as “a sham agreement,” adding, “This is not a strong deal or a just one—it isn’t even a real one.” John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace U.K., agreed: “The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport.” The American environmentalist Bill McKibben—founder of 350.org, which advocates keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide below 350 parts per million (compared to 387 parts per million today)—declared, “The president has wrecked the U.N., and he’s wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming.”

The good news for the rest of us is that the Copenhagen collapse provides the world with an opportunity to step back, reassess the political and scientific situations, and find a better way than the deeply flawed Kyoto Protocol process to address the problems associated with a warming planet. Preferably the new approach will neither clobber the global economy by dramatically boosting energy prices nor impose a Kyoto-style carbon rationing system that clearly doesn’t work. As President Obama pointed out in Copenhagen, “Kyoto was legally binding and everybody still fell short anyway.”

What Happened?

First a bit of background. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1992 after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Under the convention, signatory countries were committed to reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels, to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth’s climate system.” Every year since the treaty came into effect, a Conference of the Parties (COP) has been convened to assess what progress has been made. The Copenhagen meeting was the 15th such meeting and is thus known as COP-15.

Under the 1992 convention, which has now been signed by 193 countries, emissions goals were voluntary. But they became mandatory for 37 industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol, which was negotiated in 1997 at COP-3 and fully ratified in 2005.

The Kyoto Protocol, which President Bill Clinton never even forwarded to the U.S. Senate (President George W. Bush withdrew from it completely), set up a cap-and-trade emissions reduction scheme for participating countries. Under a cap-and-trade program, a business that wants to emit greenhouse gases—say, an electric utility or an oil company—needs to acquire permits equal to the number of tons of carbon dioxide it wants to emit. Governments then set a declining cap on emissions by issuing fewer and fewer permits each year. The permits, however, can be bought and sold on an open market. Producers that cheaply abate their emissions can sell their extra permits to other emitters that find the process more expensive. In this way, the theory goes, the market will find the cheapest way to cut emissions. As it happens, only the European Union ever established a carbon market under the Kyoto Protocol, and it has been riddled with problems. So far the scheme has not induced emitters to make significant investments in low-carbon energy technologies. 

The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, after which a second commitment period is supposed to replace it, with more extensive mandatory emissions reductions. At the Bali climate conference in 2007 (COP-13), it was agreed that a binding global treaty setting the new standards would be finalized at Copenhagen. But two years of preliminary negotiations proved difficult, so that goal was dropped a month before the conference was even convened. Instead, the Copenhagen meeting was supposed to produce a “politically binding” framework agreement that would set specific commitments to emission reductions and climate aid to developing countries as a basis for future action. The weak Copenhagen Accord does not even achieve that much, putting off those decisions indefinitely.

Chiefly negotiated by the U.S., China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord sets a goal of preventing global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The Accord reaffirms the importance of the two degree goal and “recognizes the scientific view” that the temperature increase should be held below this number. (As Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of the global anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam International, put it to the Times of London, the accord “recognizes the need to keep warming below 2C but does not commit to do so.”) Many environmentalists and scientists had argued for a more ambitious 1.5 degree Celsius limit. Initial drafts of the accord set a global goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent over the next 40 years, with the developed countries reducing their emissions by 80 percent. That goal was dropped at China’s insistence, according to Ed Miliband, Britain’s climate and energy secretary. 

The initial aim of adopting a binding treaty by the next international climate conference, to convene this coming November in Mexico City, was also dropped. Now the implementation of the Copenhagen Accord will be reviewed by 2016. 

The accord promises that the industrialized countries will supply $30 billion worth of climate change aid to developing countries by 2012 and will “mobilize” $100 billion annually in aid by 2020, using both public and private sources of funding. With regard to monitoring each country’s emission reduction pledges—the big sticking point between China and the U.S.— countries are supposed to provide information on their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but the guidelines for auditing those activities are to be negotiated later. In any case, it’s unlikely that the politicians who are in office in 2020 will feel constrained to honor the Copenhagen Accord’s vague promises about emissions and financing.

Back in the USA

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  • Death Panelist||

    For a magazine called Reason, you sure do hate Gaia.

  • ||

    Gaia is a bitch.

  • Old Mexican||

    They actually hate the Volcano God, who (the experts say) needs virgins to appease it.

  • ||

    Nonsense. Gaia is the original MILF, after all. We should drill her at every opportunity.

  • duh||

    more like a GILF, she's 4.5 billion years old!

  • ||

    MILF, GILF who cares? Last night, after an excess of weed and whiskey, I taught that Gaia a lesson. I burned a couple of tires and asked her "do you like that, bitch?" Then I shot a full engine of motor oil in Gaia's face and drew pictures in it and stuff.

  • monkeyfan||

    She's even more of a PILF than Pandora.

  • Old Mexican||

    Here come the trolls, under the tune of Fucik's "Entry of the Gladiators".

  • ||

    Yes, as we speak, Chad is firing up his false-dichotomy generator, which he will present in this thread, concluding with a statement similar to "either way I win."

  • Mr. J||

    He will say it's solar powered, but all the hot air coming out suggests otherwise.

  • Old Mexican||

    Stern is right. Unless China is seen as participating in the global effort to limit carbon emissions the Chinese cut open their heads, throw their brains into the sea and then embrace "climate change", the Obama administration will have a very hard time convincing Congress to pass carbon rationing legislation during a time of high unemployment at home.

    There. Fixed. It's on the house.

  • J||

    Stupid scientists!!! Y don't they listen 2 old of mexican??? Instead they're fancy pants computer models n charts!!!!

  • ||

    Which have been shown to be built on inaccurate and unverifiable data using flawed assumptions, possibly with deliberate deception thrown in. I'll frankly take Old Mexican's word before theirs.

  • ||

    Well said!!

  • HammeredHead||

    I for one am glad this thing is over with. I used to beleive that the earth was warming and that this was a good thing. Now I don't even believe that the earth is warming at all. Thanks in part to climategate and the tail of completely made up numbers.

  • Old Mexican||

    The U.S. needed China to accept legally binding carbon targets with some kind of monitoring arrangement to make sure the Chinese don’t cheat.

    What's a legally binding document in between us friends when there is no uber-government to twist arms?

    Yes, only us individuals, the stupid ones, get to "enjoy" the advantages of living under the tutelage of a thievering bully we call (with morbid euphemism) "legitimate government."

    Please.

  • Soonerliberty||

    But they steal from us for our own good, Old Mex. Why can't you see that? You see, governments must destroy the private market in order to stimulate the private market. Are you getting it yet?

  • Old Mexican||

    I know they mean well . . . it's just that I have this crazy notion that I own what I worked for. I know Chad will not agree because that fruitcake thinks we all "owe" society [which invariably means "government bureaucrats and freeloaders"] at least 33% of what we each produce.

  • monkeyfan||

    Hell not even God asks for that much.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +2

  • ||

    An October 2009 study by RWI, a nonprofit German economic think tank, however, concluded that policies pushing renewable energy end up producing “job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers’ overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.” The report called Germany’s experience “a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.”

    Heinlein said it more economically.
    TANSTAAFL.

    I wish the greens would stop talking to the public like we're retarded.* Carbon free energy (even nuclear) is more expensive than burning coal.** Artificially raising the price of things results in reduced, not increased economic growth and jobs. If we want to reduce CO2 emissions it is going to cost us in both.

    * If the PCers prefer I can go retro and use morons, imbeciles or idiots.

    ** Damming up more rivers for hydroelectricity seems to be out of the question in the US.

  • Steve Chaos||

    Carbon free energy (even nuclear) is more expensive than burning coal.

    This assumes an externality cost of zero (and not just from CO2). Is this assumption truly merited?

  • TXLimey||

    No, it assumes that even with the externality costs coal and other fossil fuels are still cheaper. Or that there are cheaper ways of dealing with these costs than overhauling our energy infrastructure. Or that there are also externality costs associated with the alternate fuels being proposed (such as the massive land use required by current solar and wind technology). Or that, given the shakiness of the science, the externality costs associated with continues use of fossil fuel are essentially unable to be calculated, and numbers are more or less invented to justify sweeping policy options that would be considered unworthy of a second look otherwise.

  • Old Mexican||

    Notwithstanding the fact that nobody can actually calculate costs sans a market. It's like being the toilet paper commissar and trying to guess the cost of cardboard tubes - you cannot do it without prices.

  • Steve Chaos||

    Who said anything about not having a market? An externality is a specific cost that is imposed upon another outside individual - this implies a market which assigns value in the first place. If we were to take a concrete example, we can surely use the market to assign a cost to the lost value.

    The question is whether the price reflects the fact that certain external costs are dumped upon third-parties by an inadequate property rights regime, and thus, who do we call: Pigou or Coase (and how)?

    It's valid to question how calculable this cost is, but that doesn't mean it's valid to "assume zero."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Steve Chaos,

    Who said anything about not having a market? An externality is a specific cost that is imposed upon another outside individual

    How do you know it is "specific"?

    If we were to take a concrete example, we can surely use the market to assign a cost to the lost value.

    Nothing "loses" value - value is entirely on the eye of the beholder, so it is not predicated by some supposed "externality". The problem with the concept of "externality" is that it cannot be objectively described - it always ends up being "that which I don't find agreeable" or "that which I find agreeable."

    The question is whether the price reflects the fact that certain external costs are dumped upon third-parties by an inadequate property rights regime

    But that's totally different and has NOTHING to do with externality. If a person's property is damaged or unduly modified in its physical form by the actions of a person that is NOT the owner, then the owner has cause to seek compensation. But that is NOT what people that use "extrenality" mean.

    Let me give you a good example:

    Let's say you paint your house a color you just love. It makes it your dream come true. Let's say now that your neighbors hate it. They hate it so much, they believe their property values actually go down because of your actions.

    Now, how do they calculate this? Well, they assume a certain bid price for their houses, and then when they cannot achieve this, they blame it on the color you chose to paint your house with. That's a negative externality. Right?

    Problem is, YOU CANNOT KNOW the market price of something until you actually SELL IT. Assuming a price and then not obtaining it is NOT a COST. The cost, in economics, is the best next choice you had, forgone.

    Now, what would happen if the reverse were true? That you paint your house so lovely a color in the eyes of the potential home buyers, that property values rise up. Can you seek compensation? Share in the added value of the transactions? Again, you cannot know the market price of something untill you actually SELL IT. You can approximate it by looking at similar items, see how they sold, but it is but an approximation only.

    If you notice, the concept of "externality" (and again, I am using the concept in its totally proper way) depends entirely on PERCEPTION, not on anything done physically on other people's property. And this is true everywhere the concept is used. This is why, with my knowledge of sound economics, I cannot accept the concept of "externality" as a proper economic term. It carries the same objective weight as "beauty".

    It's valid to question how calculable this cost is, but that doesn't mean it's valid to "assume zero."

    No, it is not valid to ask the question when the concept itself is nonsense.

    If one can prove damages due to undue physical modifications or damage to one's property due to the actions of another person, then the owner can seek reparations. But that is not called "externality", it is called "vandalism", "property damage", that is, something more CONCRETE than "externality."

    The term "externality" was invented to describe certain things the market did not seem to accrue or take into account. It grew later to become a justification for government interventionism, just to show you that even reputable economists can become whores.

  • Old Mexican||

    As an addendum to what I mention above:

    Even when you cannot determine something to be a cost sans a market (as in the case of the so called externality), that does not mean people do not place value in how ithers perceive certain things and find ways to profit from them. For instance, in the case of the painting of your house: If the neighbors wanted your house to be painted a specific color that they BELIEVED would keep their property values on the up and up, and they offered you to pay for the paint as long as they chose the color, then you would have a case where a perceived "cost" (their perception of how property values could be affected by nice or ugly house colors) is dealt with in the market. However, an OUTSIDE party cannot glance at the situation and say with authoritativeness: "Yes, there is a clear externality that the market canot acount for", for he or she cannot know the particulars nor what each party is thinking.

    For instance, what would happen if the neighbors could not care LESS about what color paint you choose for your house? Would there be an "externality" if you chose to paint your house a pretty color? Or an ugly color? What if the potential buyers for those homes are also not interested in what color you decided to paint your house?

    (Obviously, rational expectations would compel a person to paint their homes the best and brightest color possible, just to keep the competition up)

    Same issue with coal and other fossil fuel usage. What if people have weighted usage of these cheap fuels against problems like pollution? What if people ALREADY FIGURED OUT the benefits outweigh the problems, compared to the opportunity cost it would represent to NOT use the fossil fuels compared to OTHER sources of energy? We may be discussing something that in the eyes of the market is indeed valueLESS.

  • Old Mexican||

    And, one last thing:

    Don't confuse economic cost with accouning cost. The former is in function of the best next choice forgone, the other is based on purchases already incurred. For instance, you know your production cost because you already made contracts to buy your raw amterials, energy and labor at a certain price, and you know your fixed costs right after you pay for spare parts, contractor labor, office supplies, staff wages, you name it. You use these already known costs (which are really expenditures) to budget and forecast. But again, they do NOT represent economic cost, nor can they be known WITHOUT a market.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The term "externality" was invented to describe certain things the market did not seem to accrue or take into account. It grew later to become a justification for government interventionism, just to show you that even reputable economists can become whores.


    Sammy "the Bull" Gravano murdered people in exchange for cash.

    Would you not be able to see an externality in the work that he did for his employers?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Michael Ejercito,

    Would you not be able to see an externality in the work that he did for his employers?

    That's not an externality, MJ. That's a clear act of aggression.

  • Steve Chaos||

    1) It's trivial to come up with a "specific" case of a value attached to a good: a commoditized good (i.e., wheat, oil, steel, etc.) The fact that some goods are not easily commoditized (and thus their value is difficult to establish) does not refute the existence of ALL commodity goods.

    2) The process you describe - with the house - seems to me to be a textbook example of Coasian bargaining. It's pretty much what you've walked through. We start with the individual homeowner owning the property right to paint their house whatever color they choose (no matter how obnoxious), and the neighbor paying to avoid the perceived loss in value, thus reaching an economically efficient outcome. This is the definition of a Coasian process. In this case, it's fair to assume transaction costs are small. That doesn't mean however that the value gained or lost is now "imaginary." The neighbor next door will likely only agree to pay up until the point where they see the "lost value" being counter-balanced by the cost of paying the neighbor.

    Cutting to the meat of the matter - take a case with very specific, but distributed harms. Let's say I own a factory, and as a result, I produce a large amount of sulfur dioxide. (Neglect the fact that we have a permit trading regime in place for the moment). The result is acid rain. This does a measurable degree of economic damage to my neighbors in that it costs a very specific amount of money to remediate the effects. However, A) the harms are diffuse - it's a case of many property owners, and B) It's likely the source is diffuse - i.e., many factories put out SO2.

    Yet, in this specific case, we clearly know SO2 creates acid rain. So, how do we handle this? A Coasian solution might involve paying my neighbors, or my neighbors paying to put in scrubbers, depending on how property rights are allocated. A Pigouvian solution would involve an SO2 tax.

    But the fact is that my economic activity has an inherent, negative spillover effect, which in many cases can cost very real amounts of money to remediate, and not simply a subjective question of "value."

    So again, how do we deal with these? We can regulate (which still assigns zero cost, but simply limits the scope of the negative activity), we can tax to bring the price into equilibrium (Pigou), we can assign clear-cut property rights and proceed with negotiation (Coase). Typically, we do the first - which I think you will agree tends to be sloppy and inefficient (and, in fact, frequently works to the benefit of the polluter, or a politically favored competitor).

  • Colonel_Angus||

    This is one of those situations where I might just prefer a simple regulation (whatever "theory" that is called) to limit since it is obvious it has corrosive properties. How the producers deal with the limit should be up to them. However, you won't convince me CO2 needs the same kind of regulation.

  • ||

    Sheryl Crow?

  • Chad||

    Old Mexican|2.17.10 @ 5:37PM|#
    Notwithstanding the fact that nobody can actually calculate costs sans a market. It's like being the toilet paper commissar and trying to guess the cost of cardboard tubes - you cannot do it without prices.

    And since there IS no market and CANNOT be a market, we will simply have to deal with the commissar.

    Why do you insist on using a tool which will obviously fail?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    And since there IS no market and CANNOT be a market, we will simply have to deal with the commissar.

    Jeez, the other guys were right! You DO have a false-dichotomy machine!

  • Horde4Lyfe||

    Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus.

  • ||

    Why do you insist on using a tool which will obviously fail?

    Ironic.

  • Steve Chaos||

    I think you're reading more into my comment than is there. I am simply pointing out that the energy price of coal reflects many uncaptured externalities - which go well beyond CO2 emissions. Hence, it is reasonable to ask - what is the cost of those uncaptured costs assigned to third parties? How you wish to handle this - through Coasian bargaining or Pigouvian taxes is another story. It is simply a process of first identifying that the market price does not reflect these uncaptured costs. Right now, the cost to pollute is simply "free" (within limits).

    I'm all in favor of letting the market sort this one out. And perhaps the cost of the externality still leaves coal cheaper. That doesn't mean the externality cost is zero, however.

    And again, I'm all in favor of folding in the massive externality of land use for solar and wind too - but this is how I think a market-based environmental strategy has to work: by folding in the externality costs of every energy source and letting the chips fall where they may.

  • Chad||

    How would you use Coasian bargaining. Should every environmentalist start the effort by suing every energy company CEO and every senior Republican? How quickly would it become obvious that Coasian bargaining would be infinitely more damaging to the economy than a carbon tax?

    Actually, I just got an urge to find a lawyer...

    I'd love to start by suing the crackpots around here...I mean, it is their utter bedrock belief that I have the right to defend my property from them.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    How quickly would it become obvious that Coasian bargaining would be infinitely more damaging to the economy than a carbon tax?

    You just don't want the environmentalists to get the money via class action suits! No! You want the government to keep it all!

    Why, you . . . you . . . anti-environmentalist monster!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Should every environmentalist start the effort by suing every energy company CEO and every senior Republican?


    Why would senior Republicans be liable?

  • ||

    Is there a point in asking this? I mean, it IS Chad, after all.

  • Chad||

    Everyone is liable.

    I would just start with those that deserve it.

    Coase would require 6500000000^2/2 lawsuits to solve this mess. Fun fun.

  • ||

    Did someone fart?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Which means YOU are liable, Chad - or as you put yourself, Mr. Negative Carbon Footprint.

    What utter bullshit you do spew.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He is quite the hypocrite.

  • ||

    Actually Chad, I don't think any of us would have legal standing to sue, as we all produce CO2 as a result of breathing and so contribute to whatever global climate change you'd postulate in your suit. Likewise if you drive a car, consume food products, etc. Now you may argue that you purchase carbon offsets but the reality is that those have not been shown to in any way change anything regarding the climate. Therefore you'd have to sue yourself in addition to everyone else. In fact, I'll find for you right now and order you to pay yourself damages in the amount of 10 million dollars. Check is ok. Case dismissed!

  • J||

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/ear.....-2009.html

    Stupid NASA!!! Those tree-hugging hippies @ NASA should listen to TXLimey and realize they're science is shaky!!! TXLimey is 2 smart for science!!!

  • ||

    I'm more partial to a giant space station that sucks power from the Sun and beams it down to earth. I'll bet it would have pretty lights at night, too.

  • Sadistic Eristic||

    And every once in a while an airliner would fly through the beam and it would be like a giant bug zapper.

  • Old Mexican||

    Under the 1992 convention, which has now been signed by 193 countries, emissions goals were voluntary. But they became mandatory for 37 industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol, which was negotiated in 1997 at COP-3 and fully ratified in 2005.

    That is, until these countries decide it is NOT mandatory. What are the rest going to do? Huff and Puff? Invade? Yeah, right.

  • ||

    "Chiefly negotiated by the U.S., China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord sets a goal of preventing global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels."

    What, no non-binding resolutions to adjust the pull of gravity? That would have been way cooler and just as realistic.

  • Old Mexican||

    Way cooler would have been a binding resolution to ban the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Imagine - free energy! By the stroke of a [stolen] pen!

  • The Man||

    I don't think you go far enough. I say ban the 1st Law of Thermodynamics too, then, not only is energy free but we can make as much as we want and never run out.

  • ||

    Libertarianism is not about dollar bills, it's about the state and future of humanity. Which is more important, all life on earth or the global economy?

    I don't like the right-turn that Reason has taken in the past years. I thought we were above right and left.

  • The Man||

    Duh, the global economy.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Libertarianism is not about dollar bills, it's about the state and future of humanity. Which is more important, all life on earth or the global economy?


    The global economy is more important than some life on Earth.

  • The Man||

    Yeah, that's true enough. But if you try putting "Duh" in front of that sentence, it doesn't scan. Try it, see for yourself.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: jcalton,

    Libertarianism is not about dollar bills, it's about the state and future of humanity.

    No, that would be specualtive fiction. You can find that in Barnes and Noble.

    LIbertarianism is about Liberty being the ultimate political ethic. That's it. No more.

  • The Man||

    Are you absolutely certain of your facts? I thought there was some mention of beer and women when I signed up. Wait, I think I'm a small-i Libertarian. Yeah that's it. Never mind.

  • Old Mexican||

    Women and Beer come as a consequence of LIberty being the ultimate political ethic... it's the added bonus.

  • Sadistic Eristic||

    I don't think you have factored in the depletion of women as an externality.

  • ||

    Warmer temperatures will, of course, result in more life on earth, not less. Duh.

  • ||

    But not necessarily more liberty for mankind. Nor necessarily include human civilization nor necessarily humanity...

    We cannot adapt to an Anoxic Oceanic Event.

  • RichN||

    "Warmer temperatures will, of course, result in more life on earth, not less. Duh."

    Indubitable!

    Litmus test for climate scientist:
    Do you believe the world is over populated?

    Don't ya just love the smell of DDT in the morning?

  • ||

    Remember, every time you emotionally masturbate over the fate of the planet, god kills a kitten.

  • ||

    I'm going with 'global economy,' although the question makes very little sense. Have you been using Chad's false-dichotomy generator?

  • ||

    OMG! If the temperature goes up 2 degrees in a hundred years, ALL LIFE ON EARTH WILL PERISH!!!

  • ||

    Not me. I'm going to live under one of those domes that science fiction promised us with such great frequency.

  • ||

    Don't forget your shiny silver one piece with the giant V on the front.

  • ||

    I'm still struck by the irony that it was the Chinese who saved the world from a gobal communist regime.

    -jcr

  • ||

    It's like Massachusetts all over again!

  • Brett L||

    They're Communists, not idiots. They know what a billion pissed off Chinese can do.

  • Richard||

    The Chinese aren't very fond of Blacks or watermelons.

  • Fred Dawes||

    down the road i think many will be doing time in prison for this massive hoax and the reason why it is a crime to do theft and that is what is at the heath of this crime.

  • Sadistic Eristic||

    A crime on the heath. Call Sherlock immediately!

  • Old Mexican||

    This is too good to pass:

    Re: Chad,

    OK, everyone, take note. OM has *conceded* the science of AGW.

    Yes, I did. I concede there is a science of AGW. Whether I conceded TO it is another matter!

    Yawk, yawk, yawk!


    It is only about cost-benefit now, right? Great. Let's make a list.

    Pro's of global warming:

    1: Increased land values in Siberia and northern Canada.

    2: Less nasty winters in some northern areas like the midwest, northern Europe, etc.

    3: Crop and plant biomass yields will probably improve if warming is mild

    4: Hmmm...this is getting hard...I'll let you guys add some.

    5. Growing seasons of greater length.
    6. More beachfront property possible in the Aleutians.
    7. Less cold water in front of Santa Cruz, CA (my personal favorite)
    8. A greater construction season in the northern states - good for the cement business (yay!)
    9. More gnarly waves (Kowabunga!)
    10. More rainy seasons
    11. More CO2 - more plant food!
    12. Longer tourist season in Old Europe
    13. LESS desert areas (thanks to more precipitation)


    Cons:

    1: Coastal flooding, displacing millions of people and costing vast sums of money to mitigate or relocate.

    What? That would "stimulate" the economy! Are you against that?


    2: Reduced crop and plant biomass yields if warming is strong

    Like . . . How strong? Lou Ferrigno strong? Or Twiggy strong?


    3: Increased drought

    4: Increased extreme precipitation.

    Don't these two contradict each other?

    Anyway, I will worry about that one when some crazy old man starts gathering animals in pairs . . . in the meantime, don't bother me.


    5: More intense heat waves

    Like the ones we have been having!

    No, wait . . .


    6: Desertification of much of the equatorial areas

    You mean those with no deserts? Have you ever visited Equatorial areas?


    7: Loss of glaciers and their summer water flows

    Just like those the IPCC reported on!

    No, wait . . .


    8: A vast number of extinctions (we are already committing the sixth great extinction!).

    Oh, my god! Mass extinctions! We will run out of cows, and goats, and chickens and . . .

    . . . and, what? You mean species are NOT supposed to go extinct?


    9: The spread of tropical diseases to the highly-populated mid-latitudes

    Now, you are making that one up.


    10: A reduction in the levels of most lakes, including the Great Lakes.

    Yeah, because all that snow would not then melt and . . . wait, what?


    11: The potential for it to be a LOT worse than what we expect

    What's with this "we" business, kimosabi? You mean what YOU expect.


    It is patently obvious that the cons are much larger than the pros. That implies that it is worth spending money to avert.

    Nah, it just shows your lack of imagination. That is in very short supply, but I would not put any money to improve that.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat ||

    a list of things blamed on AGW

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

  • Brian Trust||

    Increased drought and increased precipitation do not contradict each other when it's raining steam!

  • Chad||

    OM, you fail, like usual. For the pros, you just renamed the pros I had already listed. Yes, the weather will be nicer overall in some high-latitude areas (and worse in low-latitude areas). I mentioned crop yields, which includes longer growing seasons and CO2 effects. Water stress will largely offset this, depending on how bad the warming is. Everything else you listed is just a minor variant of these two.

    You apparently do not understand a whit about how precipitation and drought are inter-related. A few occasional big storms surrounded by long stretches of hot, dry weather = drought. This is why summers seem "dry" even though they are the wettest months in most places. You fall for the broken windows fallacy, seem unaware of the literature on climate change with respect to disease, have no idea why lakes might evaporate if you heat them up (duh), are unaware of the correct information on glaciers, etc.

    My only question at this point is are you lying, or really that stupid.

  • prolefeed||

    My only question at this point is are you lying, or really that stupid.

    Why don't you answer that about yourself first, Chad, then we'll get back to you about yet another fucking false dichotomy in your question?

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat ||

  • ||

    Bastards!

    We don't even need an iPhone app for that.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    I'm too drunk to contribute. Where the hell is MNG?

  • ||

    "address the problems associated with a warming planet"

    Yeah, about that -- not actually warming. Which, your boy from East Anglia recently admitted.

  • J||

    Really?

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/ear.....-2009.html

    Hey BrendaK, did you know that if you look real hard behind Glenn Beck's fat cheeks, you'll see "Gullible" sketched into the background? Remember, science consistently saves the lives of idiots who know nothing about science.

  • Contrarian P||

    J, I read your article, which doesn't do what I believe you think it does. We've had monitoring equipment since 1880, meaning that there have been decent thermometers around. We certainly haven't had satellite based temperature data nor deep sea data (both of which are incorporated in Goddard's climate data) anywhere close to that long.

    Likewise, it's been shown that the reliability of temperature data from weather stations has been affected greatly by those stations being moved, surrounding urbanization, and in some cases having sources of heat in close proximity to the stations. What that means is that the validity of any conclusions drawn based on that data is in considerable question. In real science (which doesn't state that things are "facts") you need to have controls on your experiments to increase the confidence in their validity.

    Even if you accept the data at face value that the Earth is warming, concluding that man made CO2 emissions are the responsible party is akin to the ancients attributing floods and storms to doing something to anger the gods. They burnt a goat, the flood receded, therefore the theory was proven correct. Likewise, "climate scientists" according to your article have decided that they don't believe in the possibility of any other mechanism that could cause the planet to warm, therefore it must be us.

    Sorry, J, but that's just too many things I'm being asked to accept on blind faith, especially when I'm going to be required to substantially alter my life and financial position in order to satisfy the demands of the politicians involved.

  • J||

    Wow. How you ever taken a college Chem class? Do you know anything about the properties of CO2? Again, it's not surprising that people who don't spend any time reading science publications make ignorant assertions about science.

  • ||

    I've taken a lot of them and physics classes to boot. I also learned in those classes that H20 makes up about 95% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and it is a much more powerful agent than CO2. When these models incorporate the real contributions of H2O I'll give them another look.

  • Contrarian P||

    "Remember, science consistently saves the lives of idiots who know nothing about science."

    And it consistently kills them too.

  • ||

    Think "Death Ray from Outer Space"

  • ||

    As for how to "address the problems associated with a warming planet," we'll just have to turn down the sun.

    Oops! I guess someone already did. That's why global temps are lower than they were ten years ago.

  • Ziggy||

    "John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace U.K., agreed: “The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport.”

    overreacting a bit?

  • ||

    The world is clearly getting cooler as the following link CLEARLY shows.

    http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/pages/glaciers.html

  • ||

    More global cooling pictures:

    http://tinyurl.com/yafr9ue
    http://tinyurl.com/y8vs95o

  • ||

    Lots more here:

    http://nsidc.org/cgi-bin/glaci.....ion=repeat

    And just LOOK at how much Kilimanjaro's glaciers have grown!

    http://tinyurl.com/ybrzjtw

  • ||

    Other visible signs of global cooling:

    Thawing Tundra
    http://tinyurl.com/yapno4j

    Another representation of Arctic thaw
    http://tinyurl.com/ybjz3h5

  • ||

    Permafrost loss graph
    http://tinyurl.com/4dqg8y

    Birds and Climate Change: On the Move
    http://tinyurl.com/at48v2

  • ||

    Coral Bleaching Observations
    http://tinyurl.com/ybfulo4

    Migratory Species and Climate Change
    http://tinyurl.com/ycsfby6 (PDF)

  • ||

    Boreal Forests Shift North
    http://tinyurl.com/yd496oh

    Change in Number of Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes by Ocean Basin for the 15-Year Periods 1975-1989 and 1990-2004
    http://tinyurl.com/ybcpnfj

  • ||

    Polar Bear sending folks to a site that is a church for GW is bogus.

  • ||

    And the COLDEST Janurary on record!

    http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/59043

    Yep, no doubt about it, The earth is certainly getting cooler.

    Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  • Greg||

    You mean global cooling, right? It's a hoax, man...WAKE UP!

  • ||

    Flailing your arms around and yelling "it's all a hoax!" is not a real convincing argument dude.

  • ||

    Global Warming? I live in one of the mildest parts of the country and I've sat through 3 blizzards this winter. The orange crop in Florida is cut in half due to frost, and yet all I hear is that the world is mere degrees away from bursting into flames. I agree that the world WAS warming, but I'm not sure we should conclude that we are the sole cause of the warming, or even that our actions have long term effects. We should wait for further, non biased, research and development on theories before we attempt to enact economically disastrous rules and regulations.

  • ||

    Global Warming? I live in one of the mildest parts of the country and I've sat through 3 blizzards this winter. The orange crop in Florida is cut in half due to frost, and yet all I hear is that the world is mere degrees away from bursting into flames. I agree that the world WAS warming, but I'm not sure we should conclude that we are the sole cause of the warming, or even that our actions have long term effects. We should wait for further, non biased, research and development on theories before we attempt to enact economically disastrous rules and regulations.

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets...in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it's literally a labyrinth, that's no joke.

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  • Stem Cell Research||

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