Worried About the Climate? End Subsidies

Reason’s science correspondent sends a fourth dispatch from the U.N. Climate Change Conference

WARSAW—It's crazy to pay people to burn more fossil fuels if one is concerned about man-made global warming. 

At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP-19) of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), one of the better ideas for lowering the emissions of greenhouse gases is to eliminate consumer and producer fossil fuel consumption subsidies. The International Energy Agency estimates that consumption subsidies amounted to $544 billion in 2012. Ending subsidies would encourage consumers and producers to cut back fossil fuel use, which in turn would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And would save taxpayers a great deal of money.

On Thursday, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) held a session on reducing nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is a long-lived gas that has a global warming potential of 310, meaning one molecule traps over 310 times more heat than a molecule of carbon dioxide. The amount of nitrous oxide put into the atmosphere is equivalent to about 3 gigatons of carbon dioxide, which approximates the emissions of half of the world’s entire vehicle fleet. In addition, nitrous oxide depletes the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the earth’s surface from damaging ultraviolet light. So preventing nitrous oxide emissions is a twofer—cutting it lowers the temperature and protects the ozone layer.

Nitrous oxide exists naturally in the atmosphere, but, as a result of human activities, its concentration has increased by 20 percent over pre-industrial levels, making it the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane. The new UNEP report, Drawing Down N2O, outlines several ways to cut emissions. 

Two-thirds of human emissions come from agricultural activities, e.g., using nitrogen fertilizer or livestock waste management. It is not an exaggeration to say that the invention of a process to synthesize nitrogen fertilizer made the modern world possible, as fertilizers boost crop yields as much as 50 percent. Nitrogen fertilizer that isn’t taken up by plants boosts input costs to farmers. However, farmers have to make tradeoffs between a number of different costs for fuel, equipment, seed, labor, fertilizer, and so forth in order to make a profit, and managing nitrogen fertilizer is usually not at the top of the list for improving the bottom line. 

That being said, if it’s economic and ecological madness to subsidize the burning of fossil fuels, it’s just as barmy to subsidize agriculture in the amount of $300 billion annually. The World Bank reported in 2012 that fertilizer subsidies in India amounted to 2 percent of that country’s GDP. Agricultural subsidies clearly encourage farmers to overuse fertilizer, which in turn produces nitrous oxide emissions that harm the ozone layer and raise global temperature. The UNEP report notes that research and development can help improve nitrogen use efficiency. As it happens, private seed growers have already developed crop plants that use half of the nitrogen of conventional plants.

Another UNEP report reckons that, in order to remain on a path that keeps the average increase in global temperatures below 2 degrees centigrade of the pre-industrial level, the world must close a “gap” in what countries have pledged to cut under the UNFCCC by an additional 8 to 12 gigatons of greenhouse gases by 2020. The UNEP nitrous oxide report estimates that by 2020 it should be possible to cut those emissions corresponding to about 0.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Such a reduction would represent about 8 percent of the cuts needed to close the emissions gap and it would also help protect the ozone layer.

Finally, cutting back on the emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as refrigerants would help lower projected future increases in the mean global temperature. HFCs were introduced in the 1990s to replace chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants whose emissions were damaging the ozone layer. Under the Montreal Protocol in 1987 countries began a phase-out of CFCs, a project I agreed with, as explained in my book Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse. CFCs were also powerful greenhouse gases and eliminating them avoided emissions equivalent to 8 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year between 1990 and 2010. With respect to keeping the mean global temperature down, the effects of cuts in CFC emissions are calculated to have been four times greater than the carbon dioxide reductions achieved under the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol.

While the HFCs that replaced CFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they do have very high global warming potentials. For example, a molecule of HFC 134a, which is often used in home refrigerators and car air conditioners, has a global warming potential that is 3400 times greater than a molecule of carbon dioxide. HFCs already represent about one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, Canada, and Mexico have been pushing to phase-out HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, which would lead to a 2.2 gigaton reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, with cuts eventually amounting to the equivalent of 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

Ironically, carbon dioxide is a cost-effective replacement for HFCs in large-scale refrigeration in grocery stores and warehouses. Amusingly, environmentalist proponents of using carbon dioxide as a coolant coyly refer to it as “natural” refrigerant. In other applications, Dupont and Honeywell have developed a new refrigerant, hydrofluoroolefin (HFO-1234yf), which is a near drop-in replacement for HFC refrigerants in automobile air conditioners. The new HFO refrigerant has a global warming potential of less than one. Of course, transitioning away from HFCs will not be costless, but if man-made global warming turns out to be a problem, reducing their emissions would likely be less costly than cutting the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions.

Next: The Warsaw climate change conference wraps up. The diplomatic teams are negotiating face-saving texts in the back rooms while various environment ministers take their turns at the podium in the half empty plenary hall to deliver five minutes of platitudes on the importance of what they are doing. Meanwhile, poor country envoys have walked out of the negotiations over charging rich countries climate change loss and damage and activist groups self-styled as “civil society” staged a “massive” walk out of the conference yesterday. My final dispatch will detail what has been agreed to by the remaining diplomats.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Will libertarians sink so low as to use the ruse of Climate Change to push their anti-subsidy agenda?

  • SForza||

    It doesn't have to be a ruse. We could say: "If you believe in global warming, this is the best way to fight it. It reduces emissions and saves money, which leaves is in a better position to fight any future environmental problems.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Start pushing thorium reactors, too.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Or newer uranium reactors, according to Joe Fission.

  • Will4Freedom||

    I've read a little bit about Helium 3 reactors in the past. Did that prove to be a dead end?

    It sure sounded nice... virtually no radiation.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Helium 3 is fusion. It's been promised for the last 50 years and in another 50 years we might have it.

  • MSimon||

    And you get Helium3 from?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I'm a big fan of LFTR's but get the government out of the energy decision loop.

  • Joao||

    Hell Yeah!

  • alexisaudrey||

    my classmate's step-sister makes $83/hr on the computer. She has been fired for nine months but last month her payment was $14664 just working on the computer for a few hours. go.....W­W­W.D­U­B­3­0.C­O­M

  • plusafdotcom||

  • alexisaudrey||

    my classmate's step-sister makes $83/hr on the computer. She has been fired for nine months but last month her payment was $14664 just working on the computer for a few hours. go.....W­W­W.D­U­B­3­0.C­O­M

  • plusafdotcom||

  • Mike M.||

    Zzzzzzz.

  • Jordan||

    Ronald Bailey Argues It Is Crazy to Subsidize Activities that Might Harm the Climate

    Fixed.

  • sarcasmic||

    aye

  • Ron Bailey||

    J: Be assured that I have written many times against all subsidies; I just focused on these in the context of the climate change policy debate.

  • Jordan||

    No worries, Ron. I understood that to be the case.

  • ||

    I didn't. Ron Bailey, why do you want the Earth to die in a fiery inferno?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "One of the best ideas for lowering the emissions of greenhouse gases is to eliminate billions in consumer and producer fossil fuel subsidies."

    Oh no, Mr. Bailey!

    There are no libertarian solutions to global warming or climate change--except denialism and mocking people for caring about the environment at all.

    And using environmental concerns to push for libertarian reforms is morally wrong--because that's what the left uses to push their anti-capitalist agenda. And we don't want to use their tactics--even if they're successful--because...becasue...

    Well, just because!!!

    Dirty hipster!

  • Jordan||

    Denialism? Would that be the same thing as insisting that the science is settled even after it's been shown that the models on which it rests are fundamentally flawed?

    In order for there to be a libertarian solution to climate change, it has to be proven to be a problem in the first place. And it hasn't.

    Furthermore, I've seen plenty of articles (and comments) on this site in favor of things like using property rights to solve overfishing and poaching, replacing coal power with nuclear power, etc.

    I think you're just mad because people called you out for being in favor of plastic bag bans.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "In order for there to be a libertarian solution to climate change, it has to be proven to be a problem in the first place."

    Maybe you need to know what the problem is before you know that the anti-capitalist solution is inferior, but I don't.

    The anti-capitalist solutions on offer are harmful for all sorts of reasons that don't have anything to do with the environment, too.

    Freedom is the stuff that lets ingenuity happen, no matter what the problem is, and if we can use environmental problems as a justification for more freedom, then we'll be able to use all that ingenuity to solve all sorts of problems.

    Meanwhile, our libertarian solutions are more effective than others at solving environmental problems anyway.

    Yeah, I'm one of the people who happen to think the environment is too important to leave for the government to protect, and if we libertarians don't even bother to make the case for our solutions--because environmentalists are dirty hipsters? ...because people shouldn't care about the environment since we say so?--then environmentally minded voters will never even know we have better solutions.

    Why shoot ourselves in the foot?

    Thank God for people like Ronald Bailey and Bjorn Lomborg.

  • mtrueman||

    "Meanwhile, our libertarian solutions are more effective than others at solving environmental problems anyway."

    This is possibly true. I like the idea of ending subsidies, at least. I don't like the idea of promoting nuclear, the idea of a libertarian touting nuclear, a technology that relies on a command economy, makes my head spin.

    The problem you approach is that libertarians don't believe a climate solution is necessary. That's overwhelmingly evident from reading the comments here. And those who do believe a climate solution is necessary lack the conviction to challenge the unbelievers.

    My feeling is that these unbelieving libertarians are on to something. They realize that climate solutions, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, overwhelmingly lead to some degree of impoverishment. Frankly, those like you who are holding up some future technology to fix the climate and make us all richer is doubtful.

  • setTHEline||

    "Solutions" come down from the top. If it comes from market demand and consumer preference, we don't call it a solution. It just IS. That's why we're so wary of everyone's attempt to try and "fix this". Eliminate subsidies? Absolutely. But the truth is, most of the energy demand in the future is coming out of the developing world. Any attempt to meaningfully reduce greenhouse emissions MUST include ALL of the developing world. That means a global treaty of some kind - something I'm not into.

  • mtrueman||

    I agree with you here, and a global treaty of some kind with limits on emissions and transfers of money to the poorer nations seems the way things will likely go. I'm not really into it myself, but aside from the elimination of subsidies, I don't think I'll ever see a market where I can demand and receive an atmosphere with lower greenhouse gas content. I don't see how we are going to buy and sell our way to lower emissions, and all get richer in the process.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "A global treaty of some kind with limits on emissions and transfers of money to the poorer nations seems the way things will likely go."

    My understanding is that we're way ahead of where we would have been on our Kyoto goals if we had signed the treaty.

    By our government doing absolutely nothing to live up to what our Kyoto obligations would have been, my understanding is that we have completely blown past the greenhouse gas emissions goals in the Kyoto treaty.

    It's mostly due to consumer behavior and our exploitation of natural gas, which burns much cleaner than coal. I just don't see how signing any treaty is going to help.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I should also add that there are other environmental problems that aren't about climate change either, and libertarian solutions are the best solutions to those problems, too.

    You know why I think environmental protection is such a problem in China?

    I think the primary reason is because the ability to go to court and sue the hell out of a polluter that hurts you or destroys your property is practically impossible for average Chinese people.

    It's impossible for a number of reasons. It's partially because politically connected people dominate the ownership of corporations, and they don't want to get sued for treating people like garbage. It's also partly because the Chinese government doesn't want people standing up for their own rights.

    Once people start thinking about their rights, in spite of what the government wants, they might start thinking that their rights come from somewhere other than government.

    Anyway, until individuals are able to sue in court to protect their rights against people more powerful than they are, there isn't much reason for polluters to worry about the people they harm.

    And writing more environmental regulations, in that situation, only serves to give corrupt officials more leverage by which to extract bribes.

    Until Chinese individuals can stand up for their rights, China's environmental problems aren't going away. In other words, the libertarian solution wins again!

  • mtrueman||

    "Until Chinese individuals can stand up for their rights"

    I disagree. I think Chinese have in large part gone along with their government and its poluting ways because they believed they would benefit from the industrial development. This is changing and Chinese are asserting themselves in the courts and in the streets.

    If you have a chance to see the documentary "Petition" I'm sure you would appreciate it. You'll never see such righteous, brave and humble people as those who are standing up to authorities.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I disagree. I think Chinese have in large part gone along with their government and its poluting ways because they believed they would benefit from the industrial development."

    You don't think Chinese people would stand up for their own rights in court if they could?

    "You'll never see such righteous, brave and humble people as those who are standing up to authorities."

    You shouldn't have to be righteous, brave, or humble to stand up for your rights after you've been harmed by pollution. You should just be able to go to court, and sue the hell out of whomever wrong you.

  • mtrueman||

    You may have a point about the courts. I think the first step, the recognition that pollution is undesirable, is the first and most important step, and one that is now being taken. Whether they need courts or not is another matter. Chinese are capable of other methods of confronting authorities and other wrong doers. Traditionally it's been millenarian movements, riots and insurrections. These are going on today all over China.

  • mtrueman||

    "I just don't see how signing any treaty is going to help."

    A treaty would be one way to attempt to get the entire world on the same page. As well as the US has done, it remains only one emitting nation, and not even the most egregious one.

  • Ken Shultz||

    We don't need the world on the same page.

    We need places like India to get on parity with us from a living standards standpoint.

    The lower the infant mortality rate, the fewer children people have. The more economic growth gives women a chance to contribute to the living standards of the family by working outside of the home, the lower the birth rate. That's cross cultural. It works that way in Nigeria and Chile. It works that way in Italy and France.

    Because of our low infant mortality rate and the opportunities women are presented with here in the U.S., if it weren't for immigration, the population of the U.S. would be shrinking--we need India to be like that...and the sooner the better from an environmental standpoint.

    Ever notice that the wealthier people are here in the U.S., the more likely they are to be concerned about the environment. It's that way globally, too. It's hard to care about the environment in any meaningful way when you're so worried about putting food on the table...

    So why should India be tied to the same treaty as the U.S.? If we want a more environmentally sound world, then the people of India need massive economic growth.

  • mtrueman||

    "then the people of India need massive economic growth"

    If the rest of the world can find a way to reach parity with the US without emitting carbon, then you might be on to something. The case I'm familiar with, the massive growth of the US over the past century or so has been accompanied by major carbon emissions. Indeed until very recently, US was the world's biggest emitter.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They realize that climate solutions, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, overwhelmingly lead to some degree of impoverishment."

    Some policies are economically destructive and have nothing to do with greenhouse gasses.

    One is the income tax. It isn't just the morally depraved idea that I owe money--because I earned it. Among other problems, income taxes make it more expensive to hire unemployed people and pay them their take home pay.

    I'd rather have a sales tax. A sales tax is probably the most voluntary form of taxation--you more or less choose to pay it when you choose to buy the item. Also, it subjects the level of taxation to market forces. Raise the sales tax too high, and people won't buy those items anymore.

    If the environmentalists will support getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with a sales tax--only if the sales tax is on carbon intensive activity--then I'm fine with that. Certainly, if we had sales taxes on carbon activity high enough to cover losing the income tax, there wouldn't be much greenhouse gases emitted.

    The libertarian solution wins!

    So, if that's the way to abolish the income tax--then you can call me an environmentalist instead of a capitalist. Someone who wants to keep using incomes taxes to redistribute wealth by way of government spending, on the other hand, that seems like a pretty good definition of a modern American socialist to me.

  • mtrueman||

    Nicely argued, but I feel that 100s of millions of people going about their business earning an income, whether it's driving around a fork lift at a warehouse or sitting in an office tapping away at a computer in an Italian suit, are just as carbon intensive as those you want to charge with the sales tax.

    It seems we work too much and the answer lies in everyone kicking back and taking things a little easier. It's only with the recent recession that US has seen its carbon emissions decline. Not an attractive prospect to libertarians and other Calvinistically inclined folk, but there you have it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Our carbon emissions are declining in part because of consumer choice.

    People pay extra--extra--for a hybrid. Some of it's to be fashionable. ...but what's wrong with that?

    A lot of the decline in emissions is because we're burning more natural gas.

    It wasn't just because of the recession.

  • OldMexican||

    There are no libertarian solutions to global warming or climate change--except denialism and mocking people for caring about the environment at all.


    What's the libertarian solution to the sun turning nova? Huh? HUH?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not sure, but if we're subsidizing activity on the sun, we should definitely cut off that funding.

  • Gary T||

    The Sun is our local god.
    Gods can do no wrong.

  • KPres||

    "And we don't want to use their tactics--even if they're successful--because...becasue..."

    Because when their wildly overstated alarmist predictions don't bear out it's going to be devastating to their credibility and we don't want to take the fall with them?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I wasn't advocating wildly overstated alarmist predictions.

    I was advocating libertarian solutions to environmental problems.

  • Jackand Ace||

    "Nitrous oxide exists naturally in the atmosphere, but, as a result of human activities, its concentration has increased by 20 percent over pre-industrial levels, making it the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane."

    Caused by man? A problem? Science? Won't be received too well here, Ronald.

  • wareagle||

    what application of science has supported the hypothesis of a causal link between man and the apocalyptic scares shown on graphics depicting future temps?

  • Jackand Ace||

    Kind of long, but should help you out as to the science behind it.

    http://www.scientificamerican......ate-change

  • OldMexican||

    The science behing climate change:

    a) I need grants.
    b) Government needs politically-convenient crisis.
    c) Govenrment provides grants.
    d) I ask for a grant for science that purports to supports the notion of "man-made climate change", a politically-convenient crisis.
    e) I get grants.
    f) I'm happy.

    That's how it works.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Great. Explain to me then, if government provides the grants, why every single science organization was saying the same thing about AGW when Bush was President, and Republicans controlled both houses?

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|11.22.13 @ 11:17AM|#
    "Great. Explain to me then, if government provides the grants, why every single science organization was saying the same thing about AGW when Bush was President, and Republicans controlled both houses?"

    Because government provides grants.
    Your non-sequitur is showing, idjit.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Jackand Ace,

    Great. Explain to me then, if government provides the grants, why every single science organization was saying the same thing about AGW when Bush was President, and Republicans controlled both houses?


    What makes you think that Bush et. al. were against giving away money just as giddily as their Democratic brehren?

    Besides, you're begging the question. What makes you think that only the AMERICAN government gives away grants? Don't you remember the East Anglia debacle regarding scientific fraud? Where did you think those guys get their money? It ain't from 'Merica.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Then they certainly would be giving away the money and buying off scientists (your suggestion) to come to conclusions they support, not ones they don't believe in. And last I looked, Republicans stand nearly united on disbelief of AGW. So you either believe that science gets bought off or it doesn't.

    And what did East Anglia have to do with buying off American scientists? Please provide that link that demonstrates all American science organizations were bought off. American Geophysical Union is bought off by European interests?

    The conspiracy only grows and grows...with some mysterious funding source. Al Gore?

  • Sevo||

    "The conspiracy only grows and grows...with some mysterious funding source. Al Gore?"

    The lie only grows and grows...with some mysterious stupidty source. JackandAce?

  • mtrueman||

    "b) Government needs politically-convenient crisis."

    Assume you mean to divert public attention and lull them into a stupor while they are fleeced or cheated. A little paranoia is a nice way to start...

    How is climate change a politically convenient crisis? Generally, convenient crises require something visceral, like a fear of the other, to be effective.

    This climate business is vague, uncertain, far off in the future, and involves harmless, invisible gases. It's hardly the stuff of convenient crises.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: mtrueman,

    How is climate change a politically convenient crisis? Generally, convenient crises require something visceral, like a fear of the other, to be effective.


    First clue: "Hurricane Sandy was worse because of climate changey."

    This climate business is vague, uncertain, far off in the future, and involves harmless, invisible gases. It's hardly the stuff of convenient crises.


    Second hint: Carbon credits market.

  • mtrueman||

    First clue: "Hurricane Sandy was worse because of climate changey."

    Who is saying this? Not governments or scientists. It was governments you claimed needed a convenient crisis, and scientists who, playing the willing stooge, gave it to them in exchange for funding. Yet governments and scientists are playing down the connections between any particular storm and climate change.

    I don't know much about the carbon credits market. Instinctively, I share your reservations. Are you saying that government conned the scientists into ginning up a climate scare so that they could institute these markets? Honestly, I am not persuaded.

    Why not? Occam's razor. Emit dozens of gigatonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year, and there will be consequences. Or perhaps, lucky you, all your lunches are free lunches.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Yet governments and scientists are playing down the connections between any particular storm and climate change.

    What a crock of shit. Governments actively intervened in the SPM from the IPCC. They directly advocated for obfuscating the utter failure of the climate models to predict the 12-17 year warming pause. And are you seriously claiming that Mann and Hansen are downplaying the (mythical) connection between CAGW and storms? Are you truly that ignorant, that mendacious, or that stupid?

  • wareagle||

    that does nothing to show a causal link. At best, there is some correlation. And it says zero about 15 years worth of non-warming.

  • Sevo||

    "And it says zero about 15 years worth of non-warming."
    And counting...

  • Jackand Ace||

    15 years of non-warming is only showing an event that has occurred a number of times during the past 100 years. But the warming trend for that period of 100 years still exists. And by the way, the stall is a stall at the highest temperatures we have seen in the past 100 years.

    Science has always used observations and data to draw conclusions. And that is what they are doing now. You just don't like this particular conclusion.

    So describe to me what an actual causal link would like to you? Show me the same causal link between smoking and lung cancer, which science tells us only exists through observations and data.

  • Sevo||

    "15 years of non-warming is only showing an event that has occurred a number of times during the past 100 years. But the warming trend for that period of 100 years still exists. And by the way, the stall is a stall at the highest temperatures we have seen in the past 100 years."
    Arm-waving; irrelevant.

    "Science has always used observations and data to draw conclusions. And that is what they are doing now. You just don't like this particular conclusion."
    Non-sequitur.

    "

  • Redmanfms||

    And by the way, the stall is a stall at the highest temperatures we have seen in the past 100 years.

    But notably not in the last 1000 years. The rate of increase was similar throughout the 19th Century, prior to mass industrialization.

    Show me the same causal link between smoking and lung cancer, which science tells us only exists through observations and data.

    Uh, did this make sense in your head, because it doesn't make sense here. Cancer researchers know the method by which carcinogens present in tobacco smoke damage DNA. It has been pretty thoroughly researched.

    AGW advocates still haven't explained the plateau, nor have they explained the warming prior to industrialization, or the prior existence of warmer periods in fairly recent history. Their models have never been predictive, even in the short-term.

  • Jackand Ace||

    The rate of increase is similar to the 19th century? Surely you do not mean that. The rate of increase has been the largest and fastest going back thousands of years, and therein lies the warning signal.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Scien.....study-says

    And similar to cancer researchers, climate scientists are able to measure man-made CO2 in the atmosphere, separating it out from natural because each has different isotopes.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Marcott? Seriously? First "Scientific" American and now Marcott. OK, time to learn something:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot......ience.html

    We're not screwed.

    Worse, the article did not disclose this step. In their online supplementary information the authors said they had assumed the core tops were dated to the present “unless otherwise noted in the original publication.” In other words, they claimed to be relying on the original dating, even while they had redated the cores in a way that strongly influenced their results.

    . . . contains a remarkable admission: “[The] 20th-century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.

    Oops.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Oops indeed. Interesting to me that you disparage Scientific American and then post a response from a PhD. in Political Science about climate. But OK.

    You should realize that the Marcott paper was published in the journal "Science," but maybe that just is too much science for you.

    But yes, time to get educated. You should read Marcott's response to the Pielke challenges...Roger evidently needs some remedial help in reading skills.

    http://www.realclimate.org/ind.....ott-et-al/

    Oops.

  • Sevo||

    Oops:
    "So describe to me what an actual causal link would like to you? Show me the same causal link between smoking and lung cancer, which science tells us only exists through observations and data."
    False equivalence; in the first case, you're requiring control over X% of the economy to 'solve' a problem you haven't shown to exist. The second is (or should be) a personal choice.
    But just for the heck of it:
    "DIRECT LINK FOUND BETWEEN SMOKING AND LUNG CANCER"
    1996
    http://www.nytimes.com/1996/10.....ancer.html

  • Jackand Ace||

    In the article you cite it says this:

    "While many scientists have long been convinced by statistical studies and animal experiments that tobacco causes cancer, a statistical association was not in itself absolute proof."

    Science using statistical observations to draw a conclusion, just like it always has done, and has done with climate change.

    And then the say this:

    "The scientists say a chemical found in cigarette smoke has been found to cause genetic damage in lung cells that is identical to the damage OBSERVATION in many malignant tumors of the lung."
    Still an observation, yes?

    Science knows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and greenhouse gas causes warming. It also knows that the level of CO2 has increased rapidly in the last 100 years. And it also knows through isotopes that the increase is coming primarily from man.

    Its still science.

  • Sevo||

    ""The scientists say a chemical found in cigarette smoke has been found to cause genetic damage in lung cells that is identical to the damage OBSERVATION in many malignant tumors of the lung."
    Still an observation, yes?"
    Uh, yes, observation is the way you observe a cause.

    "Science knows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and greenhouse gas causes warming. It also knows that the level of CO2 has increased rapidly in the last 100 years. And it also knows through isotopes that the increase is coming primarily from man."
    How much warming is another question, isn't it?

  • KPres||

    The amount of CO2 humans put in the atmosphere is nowhere near enough to account for the warming. The magic is done though extrapolating feedback loops that aren't well understood. That's why one study comes up with a 2 degree warming trend and another with a 6 degree trend.

  • Sevo||

    One more, JaA,
    Please show us a cost/benefit calc on the warming.
    IOWs, what is going to go bad and what is going to go better. Please do this so we can make informed choices on whether we should do anything at all, even the current efforts.
    We may find warmer = better, for all you know.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Jackland Ace,

    15 years of non-warming is only showing an event that has occurred a number of times during the past 100 years.


    It's funny that climate scientists who were touting their marvelous models did not take that itsy bitsy fact into consideration.

    Am I smelling a case of ad hoc reasoning?

    Science has always used observations and data to draw conclusions. And that is what they are doing now.


    Not in this case, J. What some (not all) climate scientists did was to draw a conclusion from comparative temperature data to then set themselves on a search for a culprit, which (oh, miracle of miracles!) happened to be us, the scourge of the earth! Aren't coincidences grand?

  • Jackand Ace||

    The models never predicted a straight line increase in temperatures...because temperatures have never trended in straight lines. They predict over time an increase, with shorter periods of very strong increase, and some with actual decline.

    In the past 100 years we have had longer periods of actual temperature decline...not even stability...and then temperatures went right back up again.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|11.22.13 @ 2:54PM|#
    "The models never predicted a straight line increase in temperatures.."

    You're right; they predicted an alarming RISE ABOVE a straight line, and instead got a flat-line.
    Now, tell us about the costs and the benefits.

  • Almanian!||

    I have a couple Kawasakis and a Mustang that LOVE nitrous.

    Just trying to help the environment.

  • Sevo||

    "Caused by man? A problem? Science? Won't be received too well here, Ronald."

    Strawman damage. You're good at that.

  • Square||

    Wouldn't more nitrous oxide in the atmosphere mostly just improve everybody's mood?

  • Jackand Ace||

    "...in order to remain on a path that keeps the average increase in global temperatures below 2 degrees centigrade of the pre-industrial level, the world must close a “gap” in what countries have pledged to cut under the UNFCCC by an additional 8 to 12 gigatons of greenhouse gases by 2020."

    Of course, the gap is getting wider now, from recent reduction in pledges from Japan, Australia, etc. And we need to achieve a level of decarbonization worldwide which we have never achieved before.

    But its all OK.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Jackand Ace,

    And we need to achieve a level of decarbonization worldwide which we have never achieved before.


    What's with this "we" business, Kimosabe?

  • Sevo||

    ..."we need to achieve a level of decarbonization worldwide which we have never achieved before."
    Assertion absent evidence. You're good at.

  • Libertarius||

    Dude, haven't you realized that the whole climate change lexicon is a giant farce? That latest IPCC *should* have been the end of it, they are openly admitting that their junk science is bunk and their transparently rationalistic models are bullshit!

    "Climate change" is the new angry volcano god, get a fuckin' clue.

  • Sevo||

    He's been pitching dead causes for several years at best. Mostly shows up re 'global warming'. Tends to thing his premise = an argument.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Its November 22....conspiracy day!

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|11.22.13 @ 11:10AM|#
    "Its November 22....conspiracy day!"

    You showed up for the first time in a while yesterday. So November 21 is brain-dead arrival day!

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    What the hell is a gigaton?!

    /Marty McFly

  • Sevo||

    About 2,000 time bigger than a gigapound?

  • MSimon||

    "And we need to achieve a level of decarbonization worldwide which we have never achieved before."

    I propose we bomb China back into the stone age. Yes it will cause a spike in CO2. But it will be a TEMPORARY spike.

    If we don't stop the Chinese their CO2 output will be 2X the US output in about 6 or 7 years.

    After China we will need to DO India.

  • OldMexican||

    Nitrous oxide exists naturally in the atmosphere, but, as a result of human activities, its concentration has increased by 20 percent over pre-industrial levels,


    Man-made Global Laughing Attacks!

  • Almanian!||

    How can these people celebrate at a time like this?!

  • AlmightyJB||

    cause they high

  • Almanian!||

    damned hippies

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I prefer CO2 to ammonia but in my massive 3mins of searching I haven't actually come up with any hard facts or data to support some of these efficiency claims over modern refrigerants. The bottom line in a heat pump is phase change. Latent heat is where it's at. That means that CO2 has to cycle between its liquid phase and its gaseous phase (unless someone has figured out an efficient way of pumping around solids) which are not at particularly appropriate temperatures at near atmospheric pressures. Maybe the high pressure systems are just fine, but it's certainly a more complicated cooling system with CO2.

  • Ron Bailey||

    N: Yes, CO2 systems are high pressure, but they apparently use less energy, so cost less to operate.

  • Sevo||

    "No subsidies, no campaign/corruption funds" (every government, everywhere)

  • sarcasmic||

    I keep hoping these "climate scientists" will drink the Flavor Aid when their predictions don't pan out, like doomsday cultists of the past, but it never happens.

    =-(

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "one of the better ideas for lowering the emissions of greenhouse gases is to eliminate consumer and producer fossil fuel consumption subsidies. "

    Well now that all depends on what you're calling a "subsidy"

    Leftists try to claim that tax deductions are "subsidies" but all they do is allow companies to keep more of their own money that they generated themselve via their own activities.

    That's not a subsidy.

    It's only a subsidy when government explicity takes wealth away from a party who created it and gives it to another who did not.

  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but Tony says that not giving is taking and not taking is giving! So if you don't take from some rich corporation, you're actually giving! And if you don't give to some poor person, you're actually taking! Why do you want to rob the poor and give to the rich?

  • Almanian!||

    Cause he's Dennis Moore?

  • Ron Bailey||

    GM: I am aware of the "tax inclusive" subsidy ploy and carefully avoided citing those studies. For example, the IMF has a "tax inclusive" study that finds that fossil fuel subsidies amount to $1.9 trillion annually.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The real fossil fuel subsidies aren't to the companies and aren't in the West but instead are direct to the consumer. Lots of ME states and China directly subsidize the cost of fuel to keep it affordable.

  • GILMORE||

    I suspect someone may already have said this, but...

    "Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey points out that cutting these enormous subsidies would not only help reduce any future global warming, it would definitely cut tax bills."

    The problem here is the false assumption that "reducing future global warming" is in fact any sort of desired "end", and that the subsidies and taxes, etc, are simply a "reasonable means" to achieving that.

    The reality is that the taxes and subsidies ARE the "desired end", and 'climate change' is simply a convenient means to go about getting them. For now at least.

    No discussion about these issues should continue without this being the starting point. because pretending that there is some realistic goal to achieve (e.g. "SUSTAINABLE SOMETHING GRUMBLE DERP")

  • GILMORE||

    ...Sorry, that got cut off =

    "pretending there is some realistic and desirable end goal to achieve (or is even potentially achievable at all) is the Red Herring in the debate:

    the real goal is for a narrow band of progressive totalitarians to gain immediate and tangible control over a vast array of economic resources so they can handcuff the economy and impose behavioral controls on the population. whatever they can even-loosely justify as being somehow 'environmental', they will, insofar as it provides them access to more of your money and allows them more control of the Federal Rule Making process, whatever those rules may be about.

  • GILMORE||

    by the way, after now reading some of bailey's article (sorry!), I realize that he's more or less making the same point = i.e. the tax/subsidy system being the first thing to 'cut'.

    I derp, I derp.

  • Ken Shultz||

    R.E.M. had a song about how everybody derps...sometimes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijZRCIrTgQc

  • Free Society||

    Worried About the Climate anything? End Subsidies

  • Ken Shultz||

    "One of the better ideas for lowering the emissions of greenhouse gases is to eliminate consumer and producer fossil fuel consumption subsidies."

    It makes more sense from a national security perspective. The more domestic drilling we do, the less necessary it becomes to involve ourselves in the Middle East and elsewhere, the less sensitive our economy is to political events over there...

    But given the fracking revolution and the discovery of our vast natural gas deposits, that argument for subsidies makes a lot less sense than it used to.

    Incidentally, I'm against stimulus spending on principle, but if they're going to do stuff like that over my objections anyway, I'd rather they spent that money in the most productive way possible.

    One of the things Obama could have done with all that stimulus money was build natural gas distribution infrastructure down our major interstates so that truckers (for starters) could have transitioned to natural gas. Local fuel stations could have built onto that... It would have helped from a national security perspective, a greenhouse gas perspective, etc.

    But in Obama's mind, what's the point of spending $831 billion in stimulus money if you can't squander it on your cronies? That's certainly more important to him than anything else he could have done.

  • sarcasmic||

    the less sensitive our economy is to political events over there...

    Oil is a globally traded commodity...

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, and the more of it that's produced in politically stable countries (like the United States), the less sensitive the price of that globally traded commodity will be to political instability in places like the Middle East.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's better. I thought you were promoting the "oil independence" idea touted by economically ignorant conservatards.

  • Square||

    I actually wonder whether political stability in the ME a la having one stable power rule the entire Persian Gulf might drive up oil prices?

  • Root Boy||

    Kind of like OPEC, which tried to run it up (started by Venezuela btw).

    We should be less concerned with ME instability (always has been, always will be) and more concerned with not giving them our money that they use to support their oligarchies, extremist allies, jew hating, and misogyny.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Please note that I'm not saying that's the correct justification for oil subsidies; I'm saying that's the justification they use.

    They say we can spend more money on subsidies for domestic oil production, or we can send troops to places like Iraq.

    Take your pick.

    I'm saying that given fracking and our domestic natural gas discoveries, that dichotomy they set up *should* hold a lot less water with voters and policy makers than it did even ten years ago.

  • Root Boy||

    I'd just be happy if Obama allowed more oil leases in the Gulf (incl off FL) and in the Atlantic. Good for everybody except Greenpeace.

    Also, aren't these subsidies production credits which are just a standard tax rule like depreciation?

  • Square||

    I often find myself suspecting that using up foreign fuel reserves and preserving our own is a feature, not a bug. China does something similar - they buy up oil and store it planning on still having a stock when other countries run out.

    In terms of long-term international strategy, I can see encouraging ME countries to pump and sell all of their oil as fast as they possibly can - once Saudi runs dry, they go back to being one of the more irrelevant countries on the planet . . .

  • GILMORE||

    WE DRANK YOUR MILKSHAKE?

  • Sam Grove||

    "...the less necessary it becomes to involve ourselves in the Middle East and elsewhere."

    It was never necessary to involve ourselves in the Middle East because of oil. In fact, our involvement worsened matters by making the US the common enemy.

  • mtrueman||

    " In fact, our involvement worsened matters by making the US the common enemy."

    US military involvement in the Middle East seems to have been responsible for wildly increasing prices of oil. Look what happened to the price of oil around the time of the invasion of Iraq.

  • Redmanfms||

    US military involvement in the Middle East seems to have been responsible for wildly increasing prices of oil. Look what happened to the price of oil around the time of the invasion of Iraq.

    But just a couple weeks ago you were telling me that the US military presence in the Gulf represented a "subsidy" to American automobile owners.....

    Can't keep your bullshit straight troll?

  • Ken Shultz||

    You must be joking.

    We overthrew a democratically elected leader in 1953 to keep the communists from nationalizing a British oil concern.

    We initially filled the Saudi desert with American bases to keep the Iranians from invading the Saudi oil fields--it wasn't until later that we deployed troops to chase the Iraqis out of Kuwait and keep them them out of Saudi Arabia.

    Common enemy? That goes back to the Cold War. When the United States started sending money and arms to the Egyptians, we dislodged the USSR as Egypt's important donor nation. Even our support for Israel was about having an ally in the region during the Cold War.

    Insofar as the Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians, Libyans, et. al. were allied with our enemy during the Cold War, we were already their common enemy.

  • Root Boy||

    I think both SG and MG are saying even if we never got involved whoever controlled the oil (except maybe the Soviets since they are so incompetent)would have sold at market since they need the money.

    Of course VZ is totally ruining their oil business so they are loosing money they need for toilet paper and LCD TVs, so maybe not.

  • JRS1001||

    Global Warming is a lie - pure and simple. It is a blatant plot by some people to control the economic activities of the world especially the United States.
    The most obvious evidence of this is the fact that the world wide temperatures have dropped over the last 15 years. If global warming was real this could not occur because all other factors have remained constant - the human population has put out the same or more "greenhouse gases" as before
    the past fifteen year period.
    The fact is that the earth has warmed and cooled repeatedly over the course of its existence with and without humans activity.
    The leaders of the Global Warming scare are using this to gain power and money for themselves by wrecking the economy of countries.

  • Root Boy||

    Latest twist on the saga is that the Montreal protocol caused the warmening to stop by getting rid of all that stuff. They have models to prove it you see and International Treaties are just boss.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Its a worldwide conspiracy? Today must be November 22.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|11.22.13 @ 3:18PM|#
    "Its a worldwide conspiracy? Today must be November 22."

    See anything about a conspiracy other than your post? Nope.
    How often do you repeat a lie in the hopes someone buys it?

  • ReasonableS||

    Amonia, NH3, is also used as an industrial refrigerant.

  • HenryC||

    For those in the know, nitrous oxide is a laughing matter.

  • MSimon||

    What is the optimum global temperature?

    =====

    Why no talk of wind and solar subsidies? Or corn ethanol?

  • Aurgelmir||

    I'll throw out a conspiracy I read a long time ago. Never really believed it, but never really forgot it either. The ozone hole and its effects on skyrocketing skin cancer rates was all hype. Dupont's patents on CFC's were set to expire. Fortunately for Dupont, they had HFC's ready to roll out. So they had CFC's outlawed, giving them all these refrigerators that needed filling. Now, the Prophets have read the messages in the sky again, and the sky tells them HFC's aren't just ozone eaters, they're a superduper greenhouse gas too. Gotta go. Again, Dupont is ready with a replacement. Lucky them

    they really should be called Prophets. calling them scientists cheapens the work of actual useful people (like the researchers at Dupont). tree rings and ice cores are about as accurate as tea leaves and chicken innards. you can make them say whatever you want

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  • xsnake||

    "Global Warming" is a political movement that has bastardised science.

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