Global Warming

Do the Rich Owe the Poor Climate Change Reparations?

First dispatch from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali

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Nusa Dua, Bali — The second week of the U.N.'s annual Climate Change conference, also known as the 13th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-13), took off on Monday. I have covered four previous meetings—Milan, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Nairobi—and I must say that the 10,000 or so U.N. bureaucrats, diplomats, and environmental lobbyists have outdone themselves this time. The conference center facilities at the Nusa Dua beach resort on Bali are spectacular. If it were up to me, I would make Bali the permanent climate meeting site. (I, on the other hand, am ensconced in a perfectly serviceable business hotel about 7 miles from the resort area. In the spirit of multiculturalism, the lobby features a large artificial Christmas tree and an elaborate Santa figure on the reception desk.)

At COP-13 the 192 countries that are signatories to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are supposed to hammer out a "roadmap" for negotiations leading up to a new agreement by 2009 to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Under the Kyoto Protocol, 36 industrialized nations pledged to lower their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to 5 percent below the level they emitted in 1990. That treaty expires in 2012. Negotiators are now aiming to mandate a further cut of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by industrialized countries by 2020. Of course, most countries have yet to make the cuts they agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol. But why wait until 2009 to cut a deal? Because that's when George W. Bush—an opponent of the Kyoto Protocol—will no longer be president of the United States. Among other things, the new roadmap aims for an agreement that will corral the United States into making steep cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions after 2012.

Last year at the Nairobi conference, I detected a bit of frustration and anger among the self-styled civil society climate campaigners. Here in Indonesia, the atmosphere is almost triumphal. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) issued earlier this has further confirmed the "climate crisis" and, of course, everyone's spirits are buoyed by Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. Gore is scheduled to visit the COP-13 for an adulatory victory lap on Thursday. Another notable, and welcome, shift in activist rhetoric is the increased expression of concern for the economic development of the world's poor.

The week started off with a cornucopia of "side events." These are sessions in which various climate lobbying organizations tout their proposals for solving the "climate crisis." As my first foray into the climate change meeting, I attended a session sponsored by the World Council of Churches on "The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework," a report supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation and Christian Aid.

The report outlines an "emergency climate program" that aims to keep the earth's average temperate from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Keep in mind that average temperatures have already risen by as much as 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past century. In addition, some scientists believe that the amount of GHG already in the atmosphere will lead to an average temperature increased of 1.5 degrees Celsius even if there were no more emissions. So what allegedly must be done?

According to the study, global GHG emissions must peak by 2015 (seven years from now) and then begin to drop by 6 percent per year until 2050 to reach a level that is 80 percent below 1990 levels. The rich developed countries must cut their emissions by 90 percent by 2050. Even poor countries must cut their emission by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. Note that these cuts are dramatically deeper than what is actually on the table here at the COP. Martin Khor, head of the international left-wing activist group the Third World Network said during the panel discussion that the latter cuts would come as a "shock" to developing nations such as India, China, and Brazil.

The study's authors argued that there is not only a climate crisis, but also a "development crisis." As evidence, they pointed out that 2 billion people lack clean cooking fuels, 1.5 billion are without electricity, 1 billion have no access to fresh water, and 2 million children die each year of diarrhea. Clearly, the first priority of people living in these conditions must be development. Interestingly, while environmental lobbyists tend to avoid saying words like "wealth" and "growth," "development" means that the world's poor need more wealth generated by economic growth.

Without going into the details, the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework (GDR) proposal foresees levying the equivalent of a climate "consumption luxury tax" on every person who earns over a "development threshold" of $9,000 per year. The idea is that rich people got rich in part by dumping carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels into the atmosphere, leaving less space for poor people to dump their emissions. In one scenario, Americans would pay the equivalent of a $780 per person luxury tax annually, which amounts to sending $212 billion per year in climate reparations to poor countries to aid their development and help them adapt to climate change. In this scenario, the total climate reparations that the rich must transfer annually is over $600 billion. This contrasts with a new report commissioned by the U.N. Development Program that only demands $86 billion per year to avoid "adaptation apartheid."

The authors do not go into any specifics about what kinds of institutions—private, public or partnerships—would annually transfer $212 billion to poor countries from the U.S. Considering that the $2.3 trillion spent on foreign aid in the past 50 years has largely failed to generate economic growth or permanent improvements in living standards for most people living in poor countries, the institutional question is not trivial. By some estimates lifting trade barriers could produce benefits of $600 billion annually, reducing the number of people living on $2 per day by 144 million. A woman from Papua New Guinea in the audience warned that such climate aid was likely to disappear into the corrupt pockets of poor country politicians rather than lift poor people out of poverty. But the touching faith of climate campaigners in the efficacy of international and national bureaucracies is immune to such realities.

It is not also clear whether the authors think that rich countries must cut their emissions by lowering their living standards, or by adopting not-yet-invented low-carbon energy technologies, or both. One person in the audience was overheard to ask why we don't just divide up all the wealth equally anyway? Of course, the entire "climate crisis" could have been avoided if today's rich countries had eschewed the industrial revolution in the first place. In any case, while a $780 per person climate luxury tax would be painful, it would not bankrupt the U.S., even if bundles of dollar bills were shipped abroad and burned in bonfires.

To get a somewhat different perspective, I attended the International Energy Agency's (IEA) side event, "Energy Policy in a Greenhouse World." The IEA was created in 1974 by the world's rich countries to advise them on energy supply and demand problems. The IEA issues an annual World Energy Outlook (WEO), which looks at various scenarios for energy supply and demand until 2030. This year's report was quite sobering.

IEA analyst Laura Cozzi noted that the world currently emits 27 gigatons of CO2 to produce energy. In a business-as-usual scenario, in which energy demand increases by 50 percent by 2030, CO2 emissions are projected to rise to 42 gigatons. To achieve CO2 atmospheric stabilization at 450 parts per million by 2050, emissions would have to be cut by 19 gigatons to only 23 gigatons by 2030. Such cuts, according to Cozzi, would mean that every electric power plant built after 2012 would have to emit no CO2. That would require the development of a robust carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology to bury CO2 in the ground, building vastly more nuclear power plants, the invention of second-generation biofuels, and improvements in energy efficiency at twice the rate that we've seen in the past 25 years.

Just to lift everybody's spirits, Cozzi told the audience that the IEA is "quite worried" about the oil supply/demand balance for the next 7 years. New oil fields to supply an additional 12 million barrels per day must come online by 2016. "We can't rule out a supply crunch in the oil market," said Cozzi.

Cozzi's IEA colleague, Debra Justus, was even more cheery. Justus is working on an energy technology perspective report for 2008. She began with a baseline case in which CO2 emissions would increase to 62 gigatons, or 137 percent by 2050. She outlined two alternative scenarios, one in which the goal is to keep average temperatures from rising more than three degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (ACT scenario) and another which aims to stabilize CO2 in the atmosphere at 450 ppm by 2050 (Blue scenario). Achieving the ACT scenario would require an additional $20 trillion over an above projected energy infrastructure costs for the next 50 years and the Blue scenario would cost $50 trillion more. Justus calculates that first scenario implies a price of $50 per ton of CO2 and in the second, CO2 costs $200 per ton.

At the end of the World Council of Churches' discussion, one panel member, Mohamed Adow from drought-stricken northern Kenya, asked the audience to please "remember the suffering and poverty caused by greenhouse gas emissions." But is climate change really the biggest challenge facing the world's poor? When droughts hit rich countries, people do not starve, and few farmers lose their livelihoods. I do not doubt the suffering that recent weather disasters have inflicted on Adow's people, but even Kenya's share of $600 billion in climate reparations is unlikely to make up for that country's rank of 150th out of 179 countries on Transparency International's global corruption index.

Finally, I mentioned at the beginning that the mood of the climate activists here in Bali was triumphal. I suspect that's because many now really believe that an impending climate crisis will at last endow them with the power to completely remold the world's economy in a more egalitarian direction. And that's what they've always wanted, anyway.

Disclosure: I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for providing a grant to pay for my travel expenses to cover the COP-13 meeting.

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

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83 responses to “Do the Rich Owe the Poor Climate Change Reparations?

  1. Yeah, I’ll take the U.N.’s climate change conference seriously when they hold it in Calgary in January.

  2. These ideas spring from a primative or childish understanding of how material wealth comes into being. Somehow, to many people seem to think that that somebody or something just GAVE the developed world its wealth. It’s bizarre.

    Most amusing is the idea that somehow the developing world would be better off if the economies of the developed world took a nose dive. A resident of the developed world is far more likely to trade with a person in the developed world when they have more disposable income (to say nothing of charitable giving).

    If we’re going to pay reparations I think we should first subtract the benefits provided by the developed world like, say, vaccinations. Developed nations can calculate the value of not being ravished by small pox, polio etc. and then whoever owes the other the most can pay up.

  3. Sorry, the last line in my previous post should have read:

    Developing nations can calculate the value of not being ravished by small pox, polio etc. and then whoever owes the other the most can pay up.

  4. Do the Rich Owe the Poor

    You can stop right there, Bailey. Of course we do. Where you been the last 125 years?

  5. If Bali is such a pretty place, maybe we could move the whole U.N. there?

    As my first foray into the climate change meeting, I attended a session sponsored by the World Council of Churches on “The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework,” a report supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation and Christian Aid.

    Bbbut…Bbbut…I thought it was the Right-wing Christian Fundamentalists who wanted to run the world.

    But the touching faith of climate campaigners in the efficacy of international and national bureaucracies is immune to such realities.

    Yup. It’s a religion.

    Yeah, I’ll take the U.N.’s climate change conference seriously when they hold it in Calgary in January.

    Or Death Valley in July.

  6. I suspect that’s because many now really believe that an impending climate crisis will at last endow them with the power to completely remold the world’s economy in a more egalitarian direction. And that’s what they’ve always wanted, anyway.

    Follow the money…to the lavish sites for the club meetings.

    Dr Vincent Gray, a member of the UN IPCC Expert Reviewers Panel since its inception… writes:

    I began with a belief in scientific ethics, that scientists would answer queries honestly, that scientific argument would take place purely on the basis of facts, logic and established scientific and mathematical principles.

    Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.

    Over the years, as I have learned more about the data and procedures of the IPCC I have found increasing opposition by them to providing explanations, until I have been forced to the conclusion that for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound. Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organisation from the very beginning. I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only “reform” I could envisage, would be its abolition. (…lots more…)

  7. “In one scenario, Americans would pay the equivalent of a $780 per person luxury tax annually, which amounts to sending $212 billion per year in climate reparations to poor countries to aid their development and help them adapt to climate change. In this scenario, the total climate reparations that the rich must transfer annually is over $600 billion. This contrasts with a new report commissioned by the U.N. Development Program that only demands $86 billion per year to avoid “adaptation apartheid.”

    Hundreds of billions of dollars a year going to the UN, NGOs, academics and corrupt thrid world governments. With that kind of money at stake, no one would ever fudge their results or engage in group think? Never. They are scientists afterall.

  8. I have a feeling that everyone who has posted thus far already knows this but, for anyone here who doesn’t, the politics behind global warming is nothing more than the redistribution of wealth.

    Hey Bailey, you didn’t happen to interview Karl Marx while you were in Bali did you?

  9. Whether or not global warming is bullshit, I want to know how anyone, global warming proponent or skeptic, can allow these assholes to get away with this shit.

    Anyone who can’t see that these jokers are having a party on the world’s dime with no oversight is insane.

    If you are skeptical about global warming, this should outrage you as a waste. If you believe in warming, this should outrage you as a sham and as adding to warming.

    I have to say, the scumbags who have gotten themselves these UN gigs are pretty sharp conmen. They are living it up off of other people’s money and they’re doing it right in all of our faces.

  10. You don’t need to know the flaws in the science or the possibility of corruption to see where this is going. All you need to do is replace “climate” with “economic” in “emergency climate program” and it all starts making sense. It’s the same old “redistribution” song nations played in the mid-to-late 20th century. Too bad nobody seems to realize this.

  11. The anthropogenic global warming nonsense is the biggest threat to capitalism and the American way of life since the cold war…bigger than Islamist terrorism because so many powerful morons take AGW seriously.

  12. the politics behind global warming is nothing more than the redistribution of wealth.

    Well, that, but also the destroying of wealth by those who want a world with fewer people and more bugs and whatnot.

    And those who think government works better than capitalism, and thus want government controls on industry.

    And …

    Lotta bad ideologies pushing this dreck.

  13. I have to say, the scumbags who have gotten themselves these UN gigs are pretty sharp conmen. They are living it up off of other people’s money and they’re doing it right in all of our faces.

    So, episiarch, could this be taken as also referring to Ron Bailey’s disclosure on how his trip to this conference was funded? Or is is OK because he works for Reason and not that scumbag U.N.?

  14. “Finally, I mentioned at the beginning that the mood of the climate activists here in Bali was triumphal. I suspect that’s because many now really believe that an impending climate crisis will at last endow them with the power to completely remold the world’s economy in a more egalitarian direction. And that’s what they’ve always wanted, anyway.”

    I’m glad someone said it. I have long felt that global warming is like the Reichstag Fire for these fellows. A means to an end. Most telling is the fact that one goal is the stabilization of the temperature. Regardless of the existence of man made global warming, if a completely natural temperature increase were to continue for decades to come, the policies would still continue under the premise of their seeming efficacy to solve the problem.

  15. I smell another 95-0 Senate vote in the future against this crap. There’s no way in hell the United States will allow any international organization to enact a global carbon tax on itself.

    Look, I believe global warming is real, but I also believe attempting to reduce emissions is impossible without basically banning power plants, cars, and factories. IMHO, the solution is to somehow artifically create global cooling.

  16. To put it another way: It’s impossible to get emissions to a level low enough to stop global warming, even with these treaties. The best that can be done is to slow the growth of the problem, or, weaker still, slow the RATE of the growth of the problem. This is why artifically creating global cooling somehow is the only solution.

  17. So, episiarch, could this be taken as also referring to Ron Bailey’s disclosure on how his trip to this conference was funded? Or is is OK because he works for Reason and not that scumbag U.N.?

    Seems like Ron works for a private organization and got funding from a private organization (I only glanced briefly at their website so I might be wrong). Unlike UN scumbags.

    If I call Ron a dork, will that meet you half way?

  18. First off, whether or not you subscribe to Global Warming(tm) in toto or not, there is no realistic way that any one weather or climate effect can be directly attributed to Global Warming(tm).

    But yes, I know, get enough lawyers on the problem and somehow, they’ll figure out what science can’t.

  19. Shannon:

    Haven’t you heard?

    The world’s wealth is a fixed pie. You can’t create wealth! Only “capture” from others.

  20. In one scenario, Americans would pay the equivalent of a $780 per person luxury tax annually

    The only way “rich” countries… forgive me, the only way I am going to be able to pay (over) $780 per year in additional “carbon” taxes, is for the economy to grow and expand.

    *head in hands*

    What in god’s name are these retards at the U.N. talking about? If society does collapse, it won’t be Global Warming(tm) that will cause it, it will be the fight to “stop” Global Warming(tm) that will be the culprit.

  21. Oh, by the way I propose a new kind of “Godwin’s Law”. I’ll call it “Paul’s Law”.

    The longer any discussion of the effects of unequal wealth distribution between rich and poor nations goes, someone will compare the situation to Apartheid.

    This contrasts with a new report commissioned by the U.N. Development Program that only demands $86 billion per year to avoid “adaptation apartheid.”

  22. from TFA,

    “Achieving the ACT scenario would require an additional $20 trillion over an above projected energy infrastructure costs for the next 50 years and the Blue scenario would cost $50 trillion more.”

    The ACT scenario is less aggressive and attempts to limit temperature increases to 3 degrees over 50 years. The Blue scenario limits CO2 to 450 ppm, yielding a lower temperature increase.

    These numbers sound big (trillion !?!) and RB is throwing them out as scare figures but the $80 per barrel increase in the price of oil over the last 5 years has increased the amount the world pays for oil by $2.6 trillion per year. Any CO2 reduction plan that manages to significantly reduce oil consumption will have the side effect of slashing oil demand, leading to plummeting oil prices. So the real cost to the global economy will be low, unless you’re an oil producer of course. Who’s a big funder of AGW skepticism again?? Money well spent it seems.

  23. There’s no way in hell the United States will allow any international organization to enact a global carbon tax on itself.

    I wish I had complete faith in this statement. Sadly, I no longer do.

  24. What a shocking conclusion: The rich owe the poor nothing…I could have never predicted such a conclusion from Reason. Maybe the next article will be called “How the poor oppress the rich through the minimum wage”…

  25. I trust that if global cooling occurs we in the north can count on our freinds on the equator?

    Global warming may be a problem but global cooling will end civilization as we know it.

  26. Any CO2 reduction plan that manages to significantly reduce oil consumption will have the side effect of slashing oil demand, leading to plummeting oil prices. So the real cost to the global economy will be low, unless you’re an oil producer of course.

    Wow, is this misguided.

    “Significantly reducing oil consumption” is “the real cost to the global economy.”

    If the consumption of fossil fuels is halved, which half of people’s homes do you not want heated? Which half of the population do you want not to drive? Which half of the factories do you want to shut down?

    I realize that these effects will happen on the margin rather than in bulk and that there are various and modest carbon neutral responses. But it is a huge margin. And the blunt point should be made clear: An economy that emits half the carbon dioxide, ceteris paribus, halves the activities that depend on that energy.

    That is the real cost to the global economy. Transferring half the money from the owners of the resources to the government and only injecting half the product into the economy is most definitely not a cost-neutral proposition.

  27. I take issue with the almost blind acceptance that global warming can somehow be laid at the feet of mankind. The science of climate change is not about consensus as to its causes for skepticism underlies all good scientific debate. But when the outcomes from a field of scientific research are deemed by its supporters to be of such certainty that further debate or research is pointless, then it ceases to be science and enters the realm of propaganda.

    Is our climate warming? As Professor Carter at James Cook University, in Queensland Australia so ably points out; it depends. If the measure is the trend from the beginning of the last Ice Age to the present day, based on ice cores taken from Greenland, then yes, the climate is warming. If the measure is the temperature trend from the beginning of the Holocene period (10,000 years ago) until the present day, then the climate is cooling. If the measure is the temperature trend from say, 2000 years ago until the present day the cooling is even more dramatic. If the measure is the earth’s temperature over the last 700 years from the beginning of the “Little Ice Age” the temperature trend is stable. Over the last 100 years the climate shows a warming trend and over the last 10 years the temperature has been demonstrated to be stable.

    However, that being said, basing any climate theory on the last 10 years or last 100 years is not long enough to be statistically valid. The last 700 to 1000 years is probably the minimum required to demonstrate a scientifically valid trend and it demonstrates that the earth’s temperature is essentially static or even cooling slightly. So before we go charging off tilting at windmills, spending billions on something we have no control over, let’s pause and focus on the things that do matter, like bringing clean water to the billions of people who don’t have it.

  28. Rattybag:

    it ceases to be science and enters the realm of propaganda religion.

    Better.

    Also, rattybag, I agree with you in general about the poor approach to Global Warming(tm). However, the rebuttal is always not if it’s warming, how much etc., but the speed of the change. This is a reasonable argument, but not wholly convincing because the very methods of calculating the speed of the change have been shown to be highly flawed and error-prone.

    One of the reasons many people remain highly skeptical of Global Warming(tm) and its effects is because the science has been so politicized by Gore et. al. It’s a phenomenon which is tailor made for bureaucratic tinkering and top-down governmental controls.

    Finally, the egalitarians of the world were…”right” (or so they say), and now we can get down to the long overdue business of regulating everything from reproductive rights (who’da thunk the left would be the ones?) to what you eat, where it comes from, even the daily choices you make, right down to the decor in your home. It’s no longer about freedom, it’s about survival.

    Welcome to the New World Order. Please present your ration card to the man at the desk…

  29. What a shocking conclusion: The rich owe the poor nothing…I could have never predicted such a conclusion from Reason.

    I’m tired of all of the excuses that are made for these countries failures.

    Colonization caused it? Nah, see South Korea.
    Lack of natural resources caused it? Nah, see South Korea.
    War caused it? Nah, see South Korea.
    Incompetent, kleptocratic leadership caused it? Yeah, see the third world.

    Now, whose fault is this third world poverty? This sounds like eco-dressed “White Mans Burden”.

  30. John and fishmonger get it. Redistribution of wealth. I’d call the “climate consumption luxury tax” little more than extortion.

    prolefeed tries to muddy the waters by accusing Bailey of being an accomplice, but the fact remains, he went as an observer, not a perpetrator.

    Paul is right on track with “If society does collapse, it won’t be Global Warming(tm) that will cause it, it will be the fight to “stop” Global Warming(tm) that will be the culprit.”

    And more and more I believe that that is their main goal.

    I think, though, that as news of this fiasco (the Bali conference) gets out, they will be shown as the clowns they really are. (But Halloween-movie-type clowns, stupid but dangerous.)

  31. MikeP,

    An economy that emits half the carbon dioxide, ceteris paribus, halves the activities that depend on that energy.

    You are usually more on point with this stuff.
    This comment is pure nonsense. With current technologies, we could increase efficiency and halve the carbon output without any reductions in economic output. With newer technologies coming on line rapidly, we could more than maintain current economic levels->grow economically while still reducing our carbon footprint.

  32. MikeP,

    Of course, the problem is in the “ceteris paribus”…all things are never equal…and people advocating a change are advocating a change along more than a single parameter.

  33. Clearly, the first priority of people living in these conditions must be development. Interestingly, while environmental lobbyists tend to avoid saying words like “wealth” and “growth,” “development” means that the world’s poor need more wealth generated by economic growth.

    WTF? Do you think that “environmental lobbyists” don’t know what they mean when they say “development?”

  34. This comment is pure nonsense.

    Along with the “ceteris paribus”, you appear to have missed the word “blunt”.

    The comment I was responding to made the blanket statement that lowering carbon consumption has little cost — without qualifications such as those you introduce. Such a misunderstanding of economics begs a blunt if simple response.

    With current technologies, we could increase efficiency and halve the carbon output without any reductions in economic output. With newer technologies coming on line rapidly, we could more than maintain current economic levels->grow economically while still reducing our carbon footprint.

    In that case, we need neither encouragement nor mandate from Bali or elsewhere then, do we.

  35. Vincent Gray das sprachen:
    “Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.

    A sample of these:

    [Gray] No climate model ever been tested successfully against its prediction.
    [IPCC] Disagree. Here are some examples (polar warming, Pinatubo).
    [Gray] Yeah, but no model has ever predicted an actual climate change.
    [IPCC] Reject. See the chapter.
    [Gray] Hey — the models have never been validated against events.
    [IPCC] See the response to 8-76.
    [Gray] Did I mention that no model’s predictions have ever been compared to actual events?
    [IPCC] [heavy sigh] See the response to 8-76.

    dunno ’bout that ‘penetrating’ bit.
    AR4 Comments here:
    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Comments/wg1-commentFrameset.html

  36. MikeP,

    Blunt point, ok.

    In that case, we need neither encouragement nor mandate from Bali or elsewhere then, do we.

    Apparently people do need encouragement.
    We have known how to do things more efficiently for a long time, only some have adopted those techniques. It will take active engagement to educate people/industries on the methods and benefits of doing things differently than the status quo…companies have a bottom line incentive, but they don’t always know where to look for the savings.

    So encouragement is needed.

  37. With current technologies, we could increase efficiency and halve the carbon output without any reductions in economic output.

    I disagree profoundly. With future technologies we might increase effeciency and halve the carbon output with no reduction in economic output. Your statement hovers dangerously around the conspiracy-theorist notion that “it would all be possible if it weren’t for those meddling oil companies”.

    The problem, NM, is that it’s not a straight-forward equation. Some technologies are coming on line now which will reduce carbon output, some won’t reduce carbon at all, but may be net increasers in carbon, but are politically popular. Other technologies will start to reduce carbon and increase economic output only after some years of working out the bugs.

    Sorting out the good from the bad is task at hand. I am interested in some of the new fusion technologies being researched, but my guess is it won’t be for a couple of generations before we can even tell if these are viable.

    Bottom line, a rapid mandated switch will reduce economic output dramatically– even if these technologies existed in a complete package now. And, as long as there are factions which believe that economic output is the problem, this debate will long be in front of us.

  38. Paul,

    No conspiracies here.

    Most energy efficiency savings come from improving efficiency in heating/cooling/ and lighting buildings. Current technology allows buildings to be more than 50% more efficient than the current standard design quite easily. The cost is modest up front, and pays for itself over time.

    Sorting out the good from the bad is task at hand.

    of course, you are correct here. These folks have been working on that for a couple of decades now

    http://www.rmi.org/

    New clean technologies currently on the market:
    check out for a nice example or two

    http://www.motorwavegroup.com/new/motorwind/

    http://www.wavegen.co.uk/

    Since improving efficieny requires that new things be built and old things be retrofitted, the switch over is economic activity and contributes to the economy. This is an economic opportunity, not a drag on the economy.

  39. Sam-hec,

    I like this penetrating comment by V. Gray:

    “It is a pretty hopeless task to persuade us that the models make sense when so many of
    them include absurd assumptions, such as the belief that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
    is increasing by 1% a year.
    [Vincent Gray]”

    Response: Rejected. No model makes such an
    assumption.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Comments/wg1-commentFrameset.html

  40. How about this for a modest US proposal that libertarians could get behind: All federal buildings should be LEED platinum certified.

    Since the Feds are such a huge market factor, this should have an impact on the industry practices in general, and it saves tax payer money at the same time.

  41. Since improving efficieny requires that new things be built and old things be retrofitted, the switch over is economic activity and contributes to the economy. This is an economic opportunity, not a drag on the economy.

    NM–You make it sound as if the costs are theoretical. This is the old “broken window” fallacy. If more windows were broken, more glass repairmen and glass makers would benefit and this would grow the economy.

    This conversion you speak of will only be a net benefit if there is a reasonable and timely return on investment from the new technology to the companies paying to do this.

    I work for a .org and there are many things that we would like to do that will be good for us in the long run, but we can’t afford the up front costs to begin with. Similarly, asking everyone to junk their non-hybrid cars and purchase hybrids is only a net gain for automakers. The car owner might as well dig a hole and bury the cash.

  42. Regarding the need for encouragement

    From the EnergyEndUse link above

    Physical scientists find that despite energy efficiency’s leading role in providing new energy services today, it has barely begun to tap its profitable potential. In contrast, many engineers tend to be limited by adherence to past practice, and most economists by their assumption that any profitable savings must already have occurred. The potential of energy efficiency is also increasing faster through innovative designs, technologies, policies, and marketing methods than it is being used up through gradual implementation. The uncaptured “efficiency resource” is becoming bigger and cheaper even faster than oil reserves have lately done through stunning advances in exploration and production. The expansion of the “efficiency resource” is also accelerating, as designers realize that whole-system design integration (Part 4) can often make very large (one- or two-order-of-magnitude) energy savings cost less than small or no savings, and as energy-saving technologies evolve discontinuously rather than incrementally.

  43. JW,

    When did I advocate everyone junking their non-hybrid cars?

    What I am advocating is, that when your .org is spending money, that it spend it wisely.

    If, for instance, you are in a position to build a building, you can build a standard building or a LEED platinum building for close to the same cost. Why build the less energy efficient one? If you are remodeling, why not include some day-lighting and a more efficient H-VAC?

    When you buy a new car, why not buy the energy efficient one?

    Encouragement is needed because people think they way they have done things in the past is the best way to do things. That standard practice must be the cheapest, etc… these assumptions are fallacies.

  44. JW,

    This conversion you speak of will only be a net benefit if there is a reasonable and timely return on investment from the new technology to the companies paying to do this.

    Of course. More efficient, by definition, includes a reasonable and timely return on investment.

  45. JW,

    You make it sound as if the costs are theoretical.

    No. There are too many real-world examples of how this is done for me to be talking about theoretical costs.

  46. Oops missed the /i

  47. When did I advocate everyone junking their non-hybrid cars?

    You didn’t. I was providing a (very broad admittedly) example of investment in efficient technology where it is not a net gain to the economy. That was my point: investing in energy efficient technology is not a net economic gain in and of itself. So far, all I see is cost shifting from one party to another.

    When you buy a new car, why not buy the energy efficient one?

    Because they generally cost many thousands of dollars more for the similarly sized vehicle. There are many more inputs than energy efficiency when buying a car. Safety and practicality to name 2.

    Encouragement is needed because people think they way they have done things in the past is the best way to do things.

    Yes, but your idea of “encouragement” is very different than that of the UN. The UN likes carrots alright, but only when you can use them as sticks.

    No. There are too many real-world examples of how this is done for me to be talking about theoretical costs.

    But, you make it sound as if it’s an easy decision; it’s not, otherwise, businesses would already be doing it. You may gain energy efficiency at the cost of productivity or employee satisfaction. Have you ever walked into someone’s office where they turn off the less energy consuming overhead florescent lights and have a halogen light on?

    Like the bicycle guys who can’t understand why more people don’t ride their bike to work, you come off as over-simplifying the equation and wondering why more people don’t do as you think they should.

    This is not to say these things you mention can’t be done, but as already noted: all things are not equal.

  48. JW,

    That was my point: investing in energy efficient technology is not a net economic gain in and of itself.

    If it improves profits by lowering costs, it is an economic gain.

    You may gain energy efficiency at the cost of productivity or employee satisfaction.

    That does not seem to be the experience of companies doing these things…I haven’t seen a systematic study of the issue.

    Look at the productivity and profitability of interface carpets for an example.

    But, you make it sound as if it’s an easy decision; it’s not, otherwise, businesses would already be doing it.

    They are, at an increasing rate. Wal-Mart is the highest profile recent example.

    Like the bicycle guys who can’t understand why more people don’t ride their bike to work, you come off as over-simplifying the equation and wondering why more people don’t do as you think they should.

    Rather than those who over-complicate the issue to avoid change. The worst excuse for rejecting an idea that has been tried and found successful by others is to say “Well, I haven’t tried it myself, but you are over-simplifying things, my situation is more complicated than yours was.”

    That is why encouragement is needed.
    People don’t want to change the way the do things…change is scary.

  49. JW,

    Because they generally cost many thousands of dollars more for the similarly sized vehicle. There are many more inputs than energy efficiency when buying a car. Safety and practicality to name 2.

    These seem like red-herrings to me.

    Sage advice on this front from greenercars.org

    The most environmentally friendly step you can take is simple: first evaluate your needs and your budget; then look for the models with the greenest scores among the cars and trucks that meet your needs and fit your budget. Even though some of our top ratings go to natural gas-powered vehicles or gasoline vehicles sold in limited areas, every class has nationally available gasoline vehicles that score significantly better than average.

  50. Since improving efficieny requires that new things be built and old things be retrofitted, the switch over is economic activity and contributes to the economy.

    Kind of like breaking the neighbors window results in economic activity. Not exactly, I admit, but kind of.

    My house is not particularly energy efficient. And in some ways, it’s downright bad. I need new windows in my entire house. Unfortunately, the upfront cost is considerable, and the savings will be a long time coming, so I don’t do it. This is “increased” economic activity I simply can’t afford, even though it will benefit me in the long run. Sure, a government subsidy (making my neighbor pay for my windows) would help, but then my economic activity becomes a drag on someone else.

    You won’t get much argument that I do believe we’ll adapt fine in the long run, but it must be done organically and naturally. Otherwise we’d just dump money into third-world economies and *poof* they’d become first-world economies. If we consider our current energy technology to be say, second-generation, throwing money at it won’t make it third-generation technology.

  51. These seem like red-herrings to me.

    That’s your moral code talking, not mine.

    Like I said, you are over-simplifying and then can’t understand why more people don’t think like you do.

    “Green-ness” of a car is way down on my list. Having a car that is safe, affordable, large and flexible enough to put my family into take the top 4.

    If you really want to encourage people, you’ll try to understand why they aren’t doing things the way you do, not wave away bonifide reasons for making decisions that you don’t agree with.

  52. The worst excuse for rejecting an idea that has been tried and found successful by others is to say “Well, I haven’t tried it myself, but you are over-simplifying things, my situation is more complicated than yours was.”

    Or gosh NM, maybe you’re talking out your ass when it comes to other people’s situations and why they do things differently than you. Maybe, just maybe, they know something about their lives that you don’t.

    I don’t have the $6,000 that new windows will cost in a house that I’m not planning to stay in long enough to get a postive ROI. I’d rather take some of that money and put it towards my retirement, or my kid’s college, or anything else that will benefit my family today or some time down the road.

    Condescending to people you are trying to convince otherwise isn’t encouraging.

  53. NM: I am not persuaded by the respones the come from IPCC. ALl they’re saying is, “You’re wrong, we’re right”.

    There are many thingvs wrong with the IPCC report (I forget which one), not the eleast of which is that they released the Summary long before the supporting documents.

    The space here is far too small to contain all the rebuttals to the IPCC document (and the rebuttals to Gore’s slide show take even more space).

    For starters, thoug, just Search for ‘vincent gray tuvalu’ (Also cited as ‘vincent grey’.) According to Recieved Doctrine, Tuvalu is supposed to be sinking into the rising ocean.

    It is not.

    The snarky Guardian article (which will come up in the search) sneers “who is this Grey person?”. Obviously, anybody with a dissenting viewpoint is not to be trusted. Unfortunately for the Guardian, Grey is part of the IPCC.

    Here’s a direct link:

  54. JW,

    Maybe, just maybe, they know something about their lives that you don’t….Condescending to people you are trying to convince otherwise isn’t encouraging.

    Not sure how you get out of my comments that I think I know something about your life that you don’t.

    I am making very general comments that come with very general advice…

    First evaluate your needs and your budget; then look for the greenest solution that meets your needs and fits your budget. In the end this solution will also make the most economic sense.

    But, I am sure your situation is unique, difficult in ways that no one else has faced. I am sure that just because this basic approach has been shown to work for others, your choice is superior…(This was typed with a condescending tone of voice, I admit it).

  55. ZZMike,

    ALl they’re saying is, “You’re wrong, we’re right”.

    Actually, in the quote I pulled…Gray says you are wrong because you “include absurd assumptions, such as the belief that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing by 1% a year.”

    And the IPCC response is: NONE OF THE MODELS WE USED MAKE THIS ASSUMPTION.

  56. JW,

    Some more condescending words:

    “Green-ness” of a car is way down on my list. Having a car that is safe, affordable, large and flexible enough to put my family into take the top 4.

    You will have a choice of cars that meet these criteria. You will make a choice also based on things like how good the stereo sounds, what color the paint is, how soft the seats are, how cool you look driving it…all I asked was why you wouldn’t also include fuel efficiency in the list of important factors.

    I guess the condescending part was where I suggested that fuel efficiency might be MORE important than color of the paint, or the stereo. That fuel efficiency would, in the long run, benefit you more economically than the color of the paint or the stereo system.

  57. JW,

    wondering why more people don’t do as you think they should.

    I never wonder about his.

  58. There is a reason why engineers are conservative.

    If a design fails they (or the people they work for) get sued.

    Changing energy sources is a long proposition. Fifty to 100 years. You can’t change that by fiat.

    BTW the drug market is a direct refutation that a profitable business needs encouragement. Despite all the discouragement government provides in that market, business still goes on at ever declining prices. Why? Because it is profitable.

    As to fusion:

    Bussard Fusion Reactor
    Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion

    It has been funded:

    Bussard Reactor Funded

    The above reactor can burn Deuterium which is very abundant and produces lots of neutrons or it can burn a mixture of Hydrogen and abundant Boron 11 which does not.

    The implication of it is that we will know in 6 to 9 months if the small reactors of that design are feasible.

    If they are we could have fusion plants generating electricity in 10 years or less depending on how much we want to spend to compress the time frame. A much better investment than the CO2 sequestration.

  59. Yeah,

    I suppose “I can’t afford it” is a red herring.

    I currently live in a small apartment. I suppose I should take my meager income and buy a $100,000 energy efficient house.

    Know any one who will co-sign the loan?

    Perhaps NM is up to the task? I’m an engineer. I’m sure we could come up with a really good design. All solar with a big battery bank, a really big wind turbine, solar cells and an backup generator that burns bio-diesel or ethanol.

    Maybe the cost will go up to $250K.

    Any way I’d like to trade in my beater Escort for a new (or used) Prius. Perhaps NM would like to co-sign that? I could afford about $10 or $15 a month in car payments. I’m sure NM would like to see my polluting beater off the road. So NM. How about putting your money (which appears to be quite a lot) where your mouth is?

    I know how it is. Telling other people what to do is easy. Coming up with cash to back your demands is probably not what you had in mind.

  60. I guess the condescending part was where I suggested that fuel efficiency might be MORE important than color of the paint, or the stereo. That fuel efficiency would, in the long run, benefit you more economically than the color of the paint or the stereo system.

    No, it was the part where you stated that safety and practicality were red herrings.

    I left out the part where asked increduously, “Are you fucking kidding me? Owning a safe and practical, but less fuel-efficient, car is living in a state of denial? I should be more concerned about saving a few miles per gallon than the lives of my family, the utility of the car and my bank account? You couldn’t be making that implication, since that would take the balls and temerity the size of Alpha Centauri to do that.” I thought that might have been rude.

    Not sure how you get out of my comments that I think I know something about your life that you don’t.

    I am making very general comments that come with very general advice…

    No, you are making assumptions that everyone should have the same decision-making criteria as you and then telling us how simple and easy it is to make these high-dollar investments, since, well, Wal-Mart is doing it.

    And go back and read what I wrote. Not once did I state that we shouldn’t be investing in energy efficient designs. I merely suggested that there might be very good reasons that you haven’t considered as to why it isn’t happening at the non-encouragement rate that you believe we should be at.

  61. change is scary.

    No, change is expensive. Very, very expensive.

    Hint, hint.

  62. I am merely hoping that climate change will force us to be resource efficient and economical. In other words – maybe climate change has the potential to end a lot of the statists, socialist policies in place all over the world.

    No more plan economics when it comes to water, land, food but actual markets and market prizes. Cut the $200 billion in saturated fats subsidies and the $80 billion in sugar subsidies. No more infrastructure subsidies of polluting or scare resources. That includes no more nation building of oil states unless one can guarantee that costs will be less than 0.5 trillion per year…

    Let us make the world richer by getting rid of trade and immigration restrictions, no more duties and needless subsidies of the rich. No more welfare to the rich and middle-class but for the first time directly to the poor.

    No more prohibition. How much are we paying for domestic law enforcement each year and how much of it involves putting marijuana consumer behind bars while missing out on revenue and treatment? Privatize social security and especially education…

    Give us a flat income tax or even better – cut the income tax completely in favor of a VAT only!

    No… rather than discussing THESE points regarding the challenges to growth… it is mainly: climate change and especially ethanol will cripple the economy for good!

    Please – either pass on those drugs to everybody – or stop getting high when pretending to have a serious discussion…

    Pseudo-thinking-consensus right now:

    Oh my god those ecologists are children. They have no clue about science. They don’t even know that there have been ice ages before and that the climate has been changing for thousands of years. The best prove that they are utterly wrong was that one news article about potential cooling in the 80s.

    And anyway – these environmentalists cannot be taken seriously when it comes to policy. They would want to approach the whole thing like Kleiner Perkins, etc. Non of us who is criticizing environmentalists knows how much saving our children may cost BUT one thing we know: Nothing will cripple the economy more than taking ANY action against climate change.

    We free-thinkers believe in markets – we do not care that they are not transparent right now. The environmentalists suck. We believe that we can leave the current subsidies of CO2 polluters IN PLACE and do not have to balance this.. tralalalala… it is all about the bad bad, childish, stupid environmentalists…

    They WANT to cripple the economy – the are economy HATERS.. they are probably all communists – who cares that the food, land and water markets are not free in the US.. they are the communists they are the communists.. they want the poor to stop growing – they want to see the rich poor too and anyway what environmentalism is really about and why I have some beef with it is because it’s main main core objective is to restrict personal freedoms. Yes – most environmentalists just DONT believe and understand freedom the way we do – they think from the gut that less freedom is better than more freedom.. As you can see environmentalism and Americanism are NOT compatible.. I do not care that the government is acting like Marx when it comes to my food and water and oil – as long as these environmental communists do not restrict my freedom to not pay for environmental costs..

    I demand the freedom to free lunches!!! I demand the freedom to consume without producing… wait – does that not sound like a proponent of a government welfare state?

    Yes – those freedom lovers who demand the freedom to consume without producing – are indeed the black stain on the libertarian sheets?

    I am not saying that the rich should pay back the poor based on ecological free lunches.. but everybody must know the real price of goods and also pay it! At least in the future for the future!

  63. A per-head carbon tax of $780 is not insignificant. This is proposed to be levied against every “rich” individual in the industrialized world. Take those who live in the U.S. as a test case and realize that this taxation equates to an annual tax bill (that means every year) above and beyond all current tax bills, of $3900 for a family of 5. This is absolutely INSANE! For a family that has an income of exactly $45,000 annual, they therefore qualify for paying this tax and that is a huge bite out of their disposable income. If such a tax were to be applied, it would suck the life out of nearly every citizen of this country and rebellion of some form would result. And all this from some U.N. sponsored judgement. Just remember that the UN is not a government, just a debating society.

  64. The freaking $780 are an old number from a little proposal by the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework (GDR). It is typical that people take these numbers and run with it.

    The reason.com article however continues:

    This contrasts with a new report commissioned by the U.N. Development Program that only demands $86 billion per year to avoid “adaptation apartheid.”

    That would come down to less than $100 per American per year in environmental insurance until we have green alternatives.

    Again – compared to what???? Compared to the price of import duties, social security, farm, land, food, water subsidies, corrupted labor markets, insanely expensive nation building and foreign oil guarding? Come on please!!!!

    If we introduced more free-market economics AND included the ecological costs so that we know the overall real costs – chances are that we will get richer and not poorer. Today – we live in a mixed economy which is too mixed up. Maybe climate change can force us to become MORE libertarian and MORE capitalists…

    Either you free the economy AND ecology or none.

  65. Kyoto cattle…

    Now where is that Bolt Gun…

  66. JW,

    No, it was the part where you stated that safety and practicality were red herrings.

    They are red-herrings because considering them is orthogonal to the question of making the fuel efficient choice…as is price, btw.

    Again, if you look at what I suggest, determine your needs and your budget, then make the most fuel efficient choice. It is a red-herring to claim that you can’t make that choice because of other factors, because those other factors are included in the advice.

    So this: “Are you fucking kidding me? Owning a safe and practical, but less fuel-efficient, car is living in a state of denial? I should be more concerned about saving a few miles per gallon than the lives of my family, the utility of the car and my bank account?

    is aimed at some gnome living in your head screaming at you. It has nothing to do with what I wrote.

    No, you are making assumptions that everyone should have the same decision-making criteria as you and then telling us how simple and easy it is to make these high-dollar investments, since, well, Wal-Mart is doing it.

    I made no such assumption. I do assume, and you are providing some nice evidence to demonstrate my point, that many people have misconceptions about the cost of making the greener choices. Many are less expensive or equivalent in cost to the less efficient choice. People need to be encouraged to look into the possibilities. The assumption that they are more expensive in all cases, that change will be too hard, stops them from considering the full range of options.

    I merely suggested that there might be very good reasons that you haven’t considered as to why it isn’t happening at the non-encouragement rate that you believe we should be at.

    You suggested there might be very good reasons, but you did not present any of them.

    M. Simon,

    I currently live in a small apartment. I suppose I should take my meager income and buy a $100,000 energy efficient house.

    That would go against my advice. Evaluate your needs and your budget and make the more efficient choice of the ones that meet your budget and your needs.

    Any way I’d like to trade in my beater Escort for a new (or used) Prius.

    We can’t all afford everything we want. It might be cool if your local community had a loan program to help you with the initial cost of the transition, as long as you are good for the payments that is.

    I know how it is. Telling other people what to do is easy. Coming up with cash to back your demands is probably not what you had in mind.

    Here is me, “telling people what to do…” (up thread)…

    It will take active engagement to educate people/industries on the methods and benefits of doing things differently than the status quo…companies have a bottom line incentive, but they don’t always know where to look for the savings.

    So encouragement is needed.

    First evaluate your needs and your budget; then look for the greenest solution that meets your needs and fits your budget. In the end this solution will also make the most economic sense.

  67. Hugo Pottisch,

    I agree. I believe many libertarians are missing the opportunity that this presents. Environmentalists are pragmatic. They are interested in an outcome,not a method for reaching that outcome. If libertarians can demonstrate that libertarian solutions are the most effective, they will have the support of the environmentalists. This may be a wrench to use in leveraging major reforms to the way governments work.

    One of the mainstream environmental policy suggestions (supported even by the likes of Al Gore) involves getting rid of the income tax (something I believe most libertarians support), and removing regulations that get in the way of innovations in technology (something I think most libertarians support). The fact that it is tied to a carbon tax (or more properly a tax on material throughput) may be a sticking point, but if it results in an overall lower burden, and a freer economy, then it seems a step in the direction that libertarians advocate.

  68. JW,

    No, change is expensive. Very, very expensive.

    This is a misconception.

    By evaluating my transportation needs and my budget, I changed the way I was doing things and save over 5000 a year on transportation costs…the choice I made* would not work for everyone, but by considering the green solutions available, I saved myself a butt-load of money.

    *I live in a city with Flexcar, and sold my car. For me this works out nicely, but it required me to consider other factors, like proximity to my work when choosing housing. I pay a little more in rent than I would living farther from work, but make up for that extra cost in rent with transportation savings (many times over).

    http://www.flexcar.com
    http://www.flexcar.com/default.aspx?tabid=73
    http://www.flexcar.com/IsItforYou/tabid/54/Default.aspx

  69. Hugo: “Let us make the world richer by getting rid of trade and immigration restrictions, no more duties and needless subsidies of the rich. No more welfare to the rich and middle-class but for the first time directly to the poor.”

    Without immigration restrictions, all of Mexico and the Third World would come here, with the result that everybody would be poor. The immigrants, because they came here poor, and everybody else, because government would cave in to their demands and tax everybody else.

    I submit that it an economic truth that no nation’s economy can survive uncontrolled immigration.

    Not only the economic hit, but just look at Europe, particularly Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, which are losing their national identities to the influx of Mulsim immigrants whose only aim is to replace Western ideals by Islamic ones.

    Now if you argue that “national identity” is a thing of the past, that’s another topic.

    As for “welfare to the rich”, that’s quite a laugh. The top 10% of the income-earners pay about 40% of all the tax in this country (the numbers are not precise, but not far off).

    We already have direct welfare to the poor. The result has not been pretty: 3 and 4 generations of people living on welfare, families divided because singles can bring in more than families living together, single mothers having more and more children (because each child is a meal-ticket), huge increases in crime rates partly because of the family breakdown caused by the welfare state. The list goes on.

    Keep in mind also that “welfare to the poor” can come from only one place: government, and government gets its income from only one place: people (and corporations) who earn it.

    Not too long ago, there was a second place: charities. But the liberal agenda says that only goverment can be trusted to do the difficult job of doling out your and my dollars to those who, in their estimation, need it. And their idea is that those who vote for us are the ones who need it.

    I could go for a flat income tax. Figure out how much the government needs – really needs – and divide by the total income earned, then work that out into $/taxpayer. I have a feeling it would work out to 15% or 20%. The downside is that it would throw thousands of people out of work (IRS workers, H&R Block workers, high-paid tax accountants and attorneys, …).

    You’re certainly right about the staggering costs to combat the illusion of climate change. To fully implement the Kyoto levels (from which China and other countries are exempt) would almost bankrupt this country. And I believe you’re right when you say “They WANT to cripple the economy …”.

    From the article you cited:

    “… only demands $86 billion per year to avoid “adaptation apartheid.” ”

    That “AA” is only the latest in their sinister twisted vocabulary. It’s insane. They also seem to be using a different definition of the word “only” than most people are used to.

  70. I submit that it an economic truth that no nation’s economy can survive uncontrolled immigration.

    Submission rejected.

    Sincerely,
    The United States of America, 1776-1924

  71. Nice try, MikeP, but that immigration was not uncontrolled.

    Sincerely,
    Ellis Island, 1890 – 1954.

    I see, though, why you picked 1924.

  72. that immigration was not uncontrolled.

    The rejection rate at Ellis Island was 2%! Of every 50 people who got to Ellis Island prior to the immigration acts of 1917, 1921, and 1924, 49 were let in. No quotas. No visa expirations. They were simply let in after a few hours of processing.

    If that is your definition of controlled immigration, then I am sorry I responded so glibly. It just looked from your comment like you were against free immigration.

  73. But back to the topic at hand, ZZMike…

    Is it your assertion that it is an economic truth that the US did not survive between 1776 and 1890, when Ellis Island opened?

  74. Well the redistribution of my “wealth” is not going to happen if I have anything to say about it.

    I understand “global warming” and yea we all need to look ahead to help prevent future problems. But just because I live in the “rich” USA I get to fund 30 to 50% of the “plan”….no, no friggin way folks, the U.N can go pound sand. I am not paying a dollar to the “plan”.

    If we have to cut our CO2 then everyone else cuts exactly the same %. End of subject.

    Can we please boot the U.N. out of our country and out of our back pockets!

    MY statement to the U.N. and the rest of the world…”I earned my money GO earn your own”

    Good bye and go away thank you!

  75. db

    But just because I live in the “rich” USA I get to fund 30 to 50% of the “plan”….

    You already do that. You actually pay 30 to 50% of the world’s tax money. Do you know why?

    You should be more concerned if markets are free or not in your country and if resource allocation is practiced transparently and efficiently and not compare yourself to freaking African? Who will have more to lose climatically speaking? Who will miss his two cars, his two refrigerators and his TVs and his daily variety of foods more.. if we do at least not mitigate risks.. if we cannot price it as an investment?

    Good bye and go away thank you!

    ZZ

    I would come back to your issues in detail but they are really not related to the environmental discussion per se.

    Reason and CATO have done more than enough to explain why free labor movement has pros and cons but overall more pros. I also recommend Greg Mankiw’s blog and The Economist’s FreeExchange, etc. Economics is not a machine that you tune but an ecosystem that works with unstable equilibria.

    Regarding welfare to the poor – I do not find education being linked to property taxes a swell idea for both the rich and the poor.

    In fact there seems to be good thinking in place that includes behavioral economics of poor households and that points to a promising direction in my opinion. We can help the sick without punishing the healthy! But that also is why we should stop helping the healthy.

    The environment is like home land security. We should find a way to protect the only earth-country we have and our way of life. It is more than an insurance – it is an investment. Without a healthy economy and ecology – we will face worse problems than poor neighborhoods, bad education or health care..

  76. I think we’d both agree that America(1776-1890) – or even America(1620-1776) is not the same as the US today (perhaps, more accurately, the US(1900-present).

    I also suggest that today’s immigrants (more accurately, illegal immigrants) are not the same as those who helped build this country.

    The main difference is between the true immigrant, who leaves the old country because it cannot offer him a decent life, and comes here to become a part of a new country that can; and the opportunist immigrant, who sees a better life here, but has no intention of becoming a part of this country.

    We see that in Europe, where Muslim immigrants come in to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and not only insist that those countries provide them with welfare benefits, but that they also become Muslim and adopt Sharia law.

    We see that here, where illegal immigrants from Mexico and South American countries come here, not to become part of our country, but to use the opportunities here to make money to send back to their families back home – the place they really consider home.

    This has a double advantage for the Mexican government. First, everyone that leaves saves the Mexican government the $27.50 a year they spend on social services (and that may be a generous estimate). Second it brings a few thousand dollars per person a year (and that may be an underestimate) into the Mexican economy.

    I think the real thing is that we need to distinguish between immigration into a growing country – one that extended its frontier from the Mississippi to the Pacific – and immigration into a country that today even has problems supporting its own population.

    And I am still against free immigration now. When the house gets full, you have to close the doors.

  77. As Hugo notes, this immigration discussion is off topic for the thread.

    So I will simply suggest that you be more careful when submitting “economic truths”.

    The economic truth is actually that free migration is wealth producing for all involved. While immigrants’ excess consumption of government provided services is conceivably of concern, even illegal immigrants in the US today are nowhere near consuming more than they provide to the economy.

  78. Hugo said

    “You already do that. You actually pay 30 to 50% of the world’s tax money. Do you know why?”

    I have a few thoughts on this, 1. Our nanny do gooder dumb ass leaders dont know any better. 2. Some people that are leading the way in this area are getting rich doing it. Kick backs…..gifts….and direct hand outs. Or special “contracts” by companies that they are stock holders in get the “job” of helping or “fixing” things.

    They use the excuse that “we must help”…or “It’s in our best interest to…”…Its all bullshit! And it all costs me money, nothing more ever comes of it, but cost.

    Hugo said

    “You should be more concerned if markets are free or not in your country and if resource allocation is practiced transparently and efficiently and not compare yourself to freaking African? Who will have more to lose climatically speaking? Who will miss his two cars, his two refrigerators and his TVs and his daily variety of foods more.. if we do at least not mitigate risks.. if we cannot price it as an investment?”

    Markets are not free in this country, haven’t been for a long time. There is way too much in the way. License fees, taxes, and regulation from every level of Government across the board. Does nothing but squash what little progress can ever be made. But what better way to control who has the money?

    Resource allocation transparency?.yea that’s a good one.

    Will I have anything to loose?…..And will I care?

    Lets see I have one car, it’s a $300 junker that gets 30 MPG. It is a total rat trap but it runs?its cheep, and no one dares steel it.

    I have no refrigerator and haven’t for two years. The old one broke and I had no money to replace it right away. I learned how to do with out it. The only time I miss it is when I want a cold beer, but the bar is a ? mile away and the package store is closer. Every night on the way home from my regular job I buy what ever I want to cook for diner and I make it, no left overs and the electric bill is about 15$ less each month because of it.
    As far as “choices of food each day”?If the store does not have it I can hunt for it and I can grow it if I need to. I am a country boy through and through.

    I have a TV but it has not been turned on in 3 ? years, got sick of paying $80 a month for cable and not being home to watch the damn thing any way. So out went the cable?and even less electric bill each month.

    Now the one thing I do have is a race car, I own it and built it with the help of a few friends. So for the cost of what normal people throw out each month while sitting on their asses, I have my one passion each and every day. It replaces the TV time and I am better off for it. Would I miss racing id “climate change” forced me to stop, maybe some. But I adapt to what ever comes my way. Always have and expect always will.

    I hear the “mitigate risks” thing all the time?.It’s just an excuse to try to get me to pay for something else. While I see “climate change” is a problem that is in out future science is still out on exactly when. Plus we are having the coldest December I can remember im my 38 years on this rock.

    I will for one not carry the ball alone just because I am an “rich American”. Id rather, live day to day first and let the chips fall were ever they may, before I pay for the rest of the world to “catch up”. They are the ones behind, its their job to do the catching up not mine to bend over and take the hit for them.

    They all have something to sell, be it natural resources like minerals, ores?.maybe oil?hell we will buy what ever they have at market value?no more, no less. This should never be welfare, we have done way too much of that for the whole world already.

    I never compared my self to anyone, but if I have duty to do the “right thing” then so does every one else on the planet. Africa or else were.

    You say “if we cannot price it as an investment” what am I investing in exactly?

    The world’s future? I have no kids and at 38 don’t see any coming?.also I will be 78 years old if I live to the 2050 date the “studies” claim as the end of the world. So will I care then?.nope I lived my life by then and will have no regrets. Call me selfish or worse I don’t really care what people say. I just know I make my own life and the rest of the world does too. If they want things to change, then change them for them selves. But I for one am sick of paying for everyone else.

    Once again Its just ” wealth redistribution’ it has nothing to do with the “climate change” at all. I will keep my money were I choose it to be thank you.

    To the rest of the world “Go get your own”

  79. A recent note on climate models:

    Climate models

    “ROCHESTER, NY (Dec. 11, 2007) – A new study comparing the composite output of 22 leading global climate models with actual climate data finds that the models do an unsatisfactory job of mimicking climate change in key portions of the atmosphere.

    This research, published … in the Royal Meteorological Society’s International Journal of Climatology, raises new concerns about the reliability of models used to forecast global warming.

    “The usual discussion is whether the climate model forecasts of Earth’s climate 100 years or so into the future are realistic,” said the lead author, Dr. David H. Douglass from the University of Rochester. “Here we have something more fundamental: Can the models accurately explain the climate from the recent past? “It seems that the answer is no.”

    So much for models.

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