Are Green Jobs an Economic Black Hole?

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green jobs

President Obama in a speech at the Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center last month favorably cited Spain as an example of how to boost an economy by creating green jobs. "Around the world, nations are racing to lead in these industries of the future…. Spain generates almost 30 percent of its power by harnessing the wind, while we manage less than one percent," said Obama. 

A new study by researchers at Spain's King Juan Carlos University suggests that the president may want to rethink Spain as a model for stimulating the economy with green jobs. Among the report's findings are:

[W]e find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain's experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created…

while it is not possible to directly translate Spain's experience with exactitude to claim that the U.S. would lose at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs, as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million "green jobs" as promised (in addition to the jobs lost due to the opportunity cost of private capital employed in renewable energy), the study clearly reveals the tendency that the U.S. should expect such an outcome…

The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 to create each "green job", including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job…

Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain's approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.

Of course, one study does not prove that federal green job creation is an economic black hole, but a still small voice in your head should be asking, if governments are so good at creating jobs and picking winning technologies, why doesn't the Soviet Union still exist? 

Whole Spanish green jobs study is available here. Read it and weep. See also my colleague Jacob Sullum's excellent column on the dangers of green job fetishism here.

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  1. Are Green Jobs an Economic Black Hole?

    Is the Pope Catholic?

  2. if governments are so good at creating jobs and picking winning technologies, why doesn’t the Soviet Union still exist?

    Because they were not creating “green” jobs, silly!

    Gosh!

  3. You can’t get around the hard realities of the market. If “green technology” were the most efficient thing to do, people would be doing it. You wouldn’t need government subsidies. The reason why you need to subisidize it is because it is not the most efficient. If you use a less efficient way to do something, you are poorer for it. There is no way around that.

    Now the nitwit leftists vaguely remembers the term “externality” that he heard somewhere in that marxist, homosexual aboriginal prospectives on economic theory class he took freshman year. He uses it like a tailsman to justify any and all enviro fantasies.

    The reality is of course that the externality has to be greater than the ineffiency used to eliminate it for it to be relevent. In this case it is very doubtful that reducing the externality of a few tons of CO2 outweighs the cost in inefficiency.

  4. Are Green Jobs an Economic Black Hole?

    Yes. Next issue?

  5. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent ?571,138 to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than ?1 million per wind industry job…

    A government spending money on “creating” a job is the same as wasting money. Jobs are not created for the sake of putting someone to work, which is the objective of the government’s largess – those “green” jobs are the economic equivalent of opening and filling trenches. Jobs are created because of investment in productive activities; jobs are a RESULT of economic activity, not the raison d’?tre.

  6. The political math of government mandated transfer payments is that the plus side is counted and touted but the minus side is ignored.

    The Obama butt-boy media can be reliably counted on to follow that political calculation in any and all reporting they do.

  7. Now the nitwit leftists vaguely remembers the term “externality” that he heard somewhere in that marxist, homosexual aboriginal prospectives on economic theory class he took freshman year.

    Way to hug the stereotype so tightly you kill it.

  8. John,
    If “green technology” were the most efficient thing to do, people would be doing it.

    Oh, the lefties and enviro-crazies will retort with the canard that things should not be left to economic efficiency, because, well, we’re destroying the planet! We have to act!

  9. Way to hug the stereotype so tightly you kill it.

    LMNOP – no reason to accuse John of hugging gay communist native austrailians.

  10. Your spelling has improved, John, but the word you’re looking for is “talisman”. Try counting to 20 instead of only 10 before hitting the submit comment button.

  11. FTG… destroying the planet is not efficient…

  12. Also, “perspectives”, not “prospectives”; those are two different words.

  13. kudos to the guys at IJM and Mr. Calzada, they’ve just exposed themselves to a lot of enviro-hate…

  14. domo,

    Is a tailsman like the gay equivelant of a wingman or wing girl?

  15. watch out for the storm of “Oil Money funded” ad hominems….

  16. Nooo
    FTG… destroying the planet is not efficient…

    Let me know how is the planet being “destroyed”, first, before you make such assertion.

  17. “Way to hug the stereotype so tightly you kill it.”

    You have no sense of humor.

    Point taken on talisman.

  18. It’s not easy being green. Or faking it.

  19. Nooo,
    FTG… destroying the planet is not efficient…

    Actually, what you say is correct: Destroying the planet is not being economically efficient. By the way, wasting money in unproductive endeavors is NOT being economically efficient, ergo, wasting money (like the Government does) IS the same as destroying the planet.

    Agree?

  20. Good lord, the argument that “if it were efficient it would have been done already” is so fucking tired. Granted, government largesse is an empty-headed, dick-tugging excercise that produces toxins such as dependence and wasted resources.

    The answer is that private capital efforts can and will find models for localized energy generation. The “will” is there. The technology, expertise, and experience are not. It needs time, it needs failures to build upon. Propping up this “green” industry smacks of self-indulgence of self-important politicians.

  21. domo,

    Is a tailsman like the gay equivelant of a wingman or wing girl?

    Dude – I think it’s the female equivilent of “cocksman”

  22. As near as I can tell the proper term for “boost[ing] economy by creating green jobs” is patronage.

    It’s just patronage for a different group of folks from a different administration.

    And it’s still a reward for delivering political support.

    No change here.

  23. Good lord, the argument that “if it were efficient it would have been done already” is so fucking tired […] The answer is that private capital efforts can and will find models for localized energy generation.

    Economic efficiency means simply that the investment is more productive (profitable) than it is costly. You are basically agreeing with this concept here, yet you chastise people for bringing this concept up in an argument. Why the contradiction?

  24. Command economy — nyet

  25. I’m a smart man, smarter than most of you. So sit down, shut up, and do as your told.

  26. One problem is that anything environmentally friendly that happens in the private sector is attributed to government action, not to prosaic things like, say, demand. We’re cleaner than China because we want to be, not because of any stupid government mandate. If people would understand the difference between cause and correlation, we might not see so much nonsense.

  27. “Good lord, the argument that “if it were efficient it would have been done already” is so fucking tired. Granted, government largesse is an empty-headed, dick-tugging excercise that produces toxins such as dependence and wasted resources.”

    If I invented some fabulous form of energy that was cheaper, renewable and polluted less than current forms, would I need big daddy government’s help or would I get rich on my own? Absent the government trying to stop me in order to protect entrenched interests, a pretty likly possibility granted, I wouldn’t need the government’s help for anything. you may think it is a “tired argument”, but sometimes life is like that. Telling someone that the power of gravity is going to keep them from flying by flapping their arms is a pretty tired argument to. But that doesn’t make it any more likly for you to get off the ground.

  28. “We’re cleaner than China because we want to be, not because of any stupid government mandate.”

    No. We are cleaner than China because we are rich enough to afford it. Because we are rich, we can afford to pay higher electrical bills and get cleaner air in return. If we were poor, we might want to spend our money elsewhere and put up with the bad air. Environmentalism is a luxury.

  29. Well, if we weren’t wealthy enough, we might be willing to live a little dirtier. It still comes down to demand.

  30. We are cleaner than China because we are rich enough to afford it.

    more specifically, while wealth has a declining marginal utility, a clean environments value remains constant.

  31. I meant what I typed, but I don’t think I was understood ‘xactly right. The argument is tired, but not wrong. At this point, large networks of renewable energy generation haven’t been attempted at the scale that big daddy gov’ment wants to shove down our collective throats. It’s a fucking setup for a collossal failure.

    Time is the cure. There are small and large businesses developing the necessary business plans as we speak. Once gov’ment throws a bunch of money at their chosen industry leaders to build some overpriced and inefficient “state-of-the-practice” facility the whole industry stagnates. Another words*, the game is rigged and we all lose when the government writes and rewrites the rules.

    *the use of “another words” is purposeful abuse of my chosen tongue

  32. [W]e find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created…

    Doesn’t anybody proof-read this shit? It took me ten minutes just to figure out what this sentence is saying. I mean, talk about inefficiency…

  33. Actually, what you say is correct: Destroying the planet is not being economically efficient. By the way, wasting money in unproductive endeavors is NOT being economically efficient, ergo, wasting money (like the Government does) IS the same as destroying the planet.

    Technically, I believe that this suffers from the fallacy of the excluded middle.

    Not that its wrong, necessarily.

    We are cleaner than China because we are rich enough to afford it.

    more specifically, while wealth has a declining marginal utility, a clean environments value remains constant.

    I prefer to say that a clean environment is a luxury good. It won’t win a competition for resources until your society has surplus resources to devote to it.

    This came home to me during the fighting in Sarajevo years ago. When Sarajevo was a prosperous city, it had lots of trees. When it was ground zero of a civil war and people were freezing, those trees got cut down for firewood. Given a choice between not freezing and having lots of trees, people will choose to not freeze.

  34. Oh, and I can only assume by the ellipsis at the end that that sentence kept going on!

  35. The unemployment rate in Spain is now about 14%, has been rising for a year, and is expected to continue to rise.

  36. “Black Hole”

    Racists!!!

  37. “If you use a less efficient way to do something, you are poorer for it. There is no way around that.”

    I said the wrong way,
    Ain’t the right way,
    But it’s, one way.

  38. So, I create 3 million green jobs, and those 3 million people vote for Democrats to thank me. And 6 million jobs are destroyed, and those 6 million people vote for Democrats so that welfare benefits will be increased.

    I’m not seeing the downside yet.

  39. So if i build a windmill on top of my house to sell clean energy to my neighbors, the gummint will subsidize me? Wait, what do you mean i can’t do that? In that case, black hole it is.

  40. “This came home to me during the fighting in Sarajevo years ago. When Sarajevo was a prosperous city, it had lots of trees. When it was ground zero of a civil war and people were freezing, those trees got cut down for firewood. Given a choice between not freezing and having lots of trees, people will choose to not freeze.”

    Poverty is the greatest threat to the environment. Another good example is agriculture. If you are rich enough to have big, efficiant corporate agriculture, you use a lot less of your land to feed your people and can afford to take land out of production and have things like nature preserves and national parks. If you are poor and have to rely on subsistance farming, you use every bit of land you can to keep from starving.

  41. Wait, what do you mean i can’t do that?

    I think you can actually sell electricity back. the meters move both ways, and I saw a news story here recently where a guy showed the reporter a check he got from the untility company.

  42. Did I miss the Don Quixote ref? Someone had to think of this before me.

  43. if governments are so good at creating jobs and picking winning technologies, why doesn’t the Soviet Union still exist?

    RED BAITER!!

  44. domo,

    He didnt say “sell to util co”, he said “sell to neighbors”. The first you can do, the 2nd, not so much.

  45. it’s more or less the same thing if they spot you the delivery costs, right? I mean, the juice is fungible…

  46. I think you can actually sell electricity back.

    Probably. On the other hand, though, i’m not sure the city of Norfolk will be cool if i put a 200-foot windmill on my 1/8 acre lot.

  47. re: Norfolk. Probably easier to get forgiveness than permission…

  48. “The unemployment rate in Spain is now about 14%, has been rising for a year, and is expected to continue to rise.”

    A point Obama fails to mention.

  49. Not only is it an economic black hole now, when the market won’t have anything to do with it, it’ll be an even bigger black hole once the government starts running it.

    The state’s primary motivation is going to be to “create jobs”. Which means they’ll deliberately be trying to employ as many people as possible, not by creating a profitable industry, but by shoveling as much subsidy money as possible at it. The result will be similar to that which has occured in the space industry: Expensive, inefficient, technology that can’t compete in the private sector, and industries run by a bureaucracy that is more interested how to maximize their political influence than in making profitable technologies.

    Sure, we might develop some new windmill designs, but they’ll be expensive, unreliable, and unable to compete with the cheap, reliable, windmills produced in India, if anyone actually bothers to buy windmills at all. The reason they will be expensive and unreliable? Because expensive and unreliable technology requires MORE PEOPLE to build and maintain. Ergo, more “green jobs”.

  50. it’s more or less the same thing if they spot you the delivery costs, right? I mean, the juice is fungible…

    Wholesale vs retail. A lot more profit if you get a cut both ways by selling directly.

  51. PapayaSF-

    Off topic. After reading a link supplied by Paul and reconsidering the thrust of your posts and one from TAO, I changed my mind on Ward Churchill. He is a fraud and should be fired.

  52. Sure, we might develop some new windmill designs, but they’ll be expensive, unreliable, and unable to compete with the cheap, reliable, windmills produced in India, if anyone actually bothers to buy windmills at all.

    Outsourcing our new windmill jobs to India already are you?

  53. What RC Dean said.

    If I’m dying of thirst, the potability of water becomes a secondary concern.

  54. “Around the world, nations are racing to lead in these industries of the future…. Spain generates almost 30 percent of its power by harnessing the wind, while we manage less than one percent,” said Obama.

    That’s 30% (actually a little less ) of the Spain’s electrical power, not all their power. Perhaps that was understood, since the speech was at SoCalEd, but it seems that I see this “mistake” (conflating electrical power with all power) often.

  55. You may be right, domo. Well, i’ve got a big ol’ tax refund coming — know any good windmill contractors?

  56. Actually, what you say is correct: Destroying the planet is not being economically efficient.

    Well it could be. You could envision some sort of “Independence Day”-type Aliens, carving up the Earth for all its minerals.

    They really should buy the mineral rights from us, and if it’s not worth the cost then they won’t bother destroying the planet.

    But they might not bother with property rights, since we already decided that they can’t have title to their own planet (See the UN Outer Space Treaty). In fact they could claim self-defense.

  57. robc, the thing I wonder is if they actually do sell at retail, and pay whole sale to those few people who net negetive electricity juice? What is the bid offer spread? inquiring minds…

  58. xeones, I can’t help you. My windmill design experience stops short of balsa wood and duct tape.

  59. I shall prepare my trusty steed in anticipation of your windmill.

  60. If enemies were preparing to invade and wreak havoc on American cities, none of you would object to massive government mobilization to counter the threat. Because that’s a legitimate province of government, after all.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is, you guys would still argue for letting the market work its magic? Of course you take the easy way out and deny the science.

    The efficiency of greenhouse gas emitting energy production comes at the cost of environmental harm, which isn’t priced into the equation. If it were, we would rapidly find these sources quite inefficient.

  61. Check it out

    Apparently, you can get paid for “clean energy credits” in some areas, as opposed to the commodity value of the bulk electricity you generate.

  62. The efficiency of greenhouse gas emitting energy production comes at the cost of environmental harm, which isn’t priced into the equation. If it were, we would rapidly find these sources quite inefficient.

    Cite please, Tony. I am sympathetic to your logic, but need factual data on the marginal cost of environmental harm. Once we have that, we can estimate how much more “clean energy” would cost and do a quick comparison.

  63. “Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is, you guys would still argue for letting the market work its magic? Of course you take the easy way out and deny the science.”

    It has not been established by science just how much effect man’s output of CO2 has on the climate. There is some effect, but is it as serious as some would have us believe?

  64. Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is, you guys would still argue for letting the market work its magic?

    Yes. Because the market is demonstrably better at allocating resources than the government will ever be.

    Next!

  65. factual data on the marginal cost of environmental harm

    I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.

  66. The efficiency of greenhouse gas emitting energy production comes at the cost of environmental harm, which isn’t priced into the equation. If it were, we would rapidly find these sources quite inefficient.

    This is not an argument for funneling money to a bunch of people to build windmills and solar panels. The carbon externalities of those technologies (especially solar) may in fact be higher than coal, due to the costs of production.

    For instance, the batteries in electric cars are manufactured through a global supply chain that involves extraction of rare minerals, material production, and transportation around the globe for manufacturing and assembly.

    Unsurprisingly, things that are more expensive to produce tend to have a larger carbon footprint.

    Similarly for solar panels – producing an efficient solar panel involves a complex supply chain that has significant energy inputs at every stage.

  67. “Now the nitwit leftists vaguely remembers the term “externality” that he heard somewhere in that marxist, homosexual aboriginal prospectives on economic theory class he took freshman year. He uses it like a talisman to justify any and all enviro fantasies. ”

    And right on que we get Tony

    “Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is, you guys would still argue for letting the market work its magic? Of course you take the easy way out and deny the science.

    The efficiency of greenhouse gas emitting energy production comes at the cost of environmental harm, which isn’t priced into the equation. If it were, we would rapidly find these sources quite inefficient.”

    So Tony, how was that Marxist, homosexual aboriginal perspectives on economic thought class?

    In order for your arguement to work, you have to no only assume that global warming is in fact valid science, you also have to have some solid idea of what the costs associated with man made global warming will be. Otherwise you are just guessing and are very likely to get the wrong answer.

  68. Yes. Because the market is demonstrably better at allocating resources than the government will ever be.

    Demonstrably? Really? If this were true vis a vis global warming, the market ought to have started moving toward green energy 30 or more years ago. But the market comes with entrenched interests and infrastructures and just plainly doesn’t factor in global environmental harm.

    Alas, the bogeyman you guys make government out to be is the only entity powerful enough to allocate resources correctly in such instances, since the market hasn’t done a damn thing about global warming and I don’t see how it ever will on its own.

    How I wish all the world’s problems could be solved by intoning ideological platitudes…

  69. Really, Tony, trying to analogize between a foreign invasion and climate change is weak. Too weak to build any kind of argument on.

  70. I’m surprized they were able to get Donovan McNabb to pose for that Green Jobs Now poster.

  71. “I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.”

    Never Gonna. Happen.

  72. Tony,

    You assume that action is always preferable to inaction. What if the cost of preventing man-made global warming are greater than the costs of mitigating it? No way is the science good enough to give a definitive answer to that question. Given that fact, we are better off doing nothing.

  73. you also have to have some solid idea of what the costs associated with man made global warming will be.

    How much does human civilization cost? Let’s just say one gazillion dollars.

    If green energy implementation costs less than a gazillion dollars, I’d say it’s a good investment.

  74. “Demonstrably? Really? If this were true vis a vis global warming, the market ought to have started moving toward green energy 30 or more years ago.”

    It. Did.

  75. What a crock! What’s the government going to do, pray away the warming trend? The hysteria to throw out the free market in favor of “doing something” about global warming is such an obvious ploy to generate a crisis to justify certain political ends that it doesn’t bear discussion.

    If the warming is a real problem, we’ll deal with it as it comes. The catastrophism is bunk, so we’ll have time to figure out the best response. That’s true for the private sector and for any government action.

  76. Yes. Because the market is demonstrably better at allocating resources than the government will ever be.

    Demonstrably? Really?

    Yes. The correlation between functioning markets and economic growth and efficiency is very well demonstrated by the historical record. You should give it a look.

    If this were true vis a vis global warming, the market ought to have started moving toward green energy 30 or more years ago.

    Tony, you are assuming your conclusion here, namely that global warming is a problem. You are further assuming that the onset of catastrophic global warming will be so immediate that the markets can’t address it. These are articles of faith, not empirical premises with which to refute anyone’s economic or policy prescriptions.

    How I wish all the world’s problems could be solved by intoning ideological platitudes…

    Trust me, Tony, we know you wish all the world’s problems could be solved by intoning ideological platitudes.

  77. Never Gonna. Happen.

    Not true. Eventually the sun will expand to engulf all the inner planets. And your all-mighty market god isn’t doing anything to stop it.

  78. Really, Tony, trying to analogize between a foreign invasion and climate change is weak. Too weak to build any kind of argument on.

    Why? Both are grave threats to the homeland. But you guys give your blessing to massive government mobilization for one but not the other.

  79. the bogeyman you guys make government out to be is the only entity powerful enough to allocate resources correctly

    And what, pray tell, is the “correct” allocation of resources?
    Shall it be determined by popular vote? What makes you think that the majority has any idea what an efficient allocation of resources look like?
    What makes you think the optimal allocation is even knowable according to any formula?
    What if it is a constantly moving variable dependent on rapidly evolving technology and localized information?

  80. It. Did.

    No. It. Didn’t.

    There see I can put periods in the middle of sentences too. But I have 3 so that makes me more right.

  81. Tofu,

    Read Tony and learn.

    That is all.

  82. Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is, you guys would still argue for letting the market work its magic? Of course you take the easy way out and deny the science.

    Cite? This claim certainly isn’t anything like the scientific consensus found in the IPCC AR4.

    The efficiency of greenhouse gas emitting energy production comes at the cost of environmental harm, which isn’t priced into the equation. If it were, we would rapidly find these sources quite inefficient.

    The costs of CO2 emission in the survey done by the IPCC found estimates lying between -$3 per ton of CO2 and $95 dollars per ton of CO2, with an average of $12 per ton. Since that amounts to about 12 cents per gallon of gasoline, I am curious where you get your idea of what the costs are.

  83. If the warming is a real problem, we’ll deal with it as it comes.

    You can’t deal with it as it comes. By the time there are sufficient abnormal environmental effects to convince even you guys that the threat is real, it will be too late to do anything about it.

    I know you don’t believe this because to be scientifically literate on this subject would call too many of your economic assumptions into question, but I don’t get why we can’t even have a debate assuming that the science on global warming is correct, for the sake of argument. Just one person want to tackle it, or are you all gonna continue to downplay the threat so that you can wedge free market fundamentalism into the issue?

  84. “I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.”

    That’s some of that exaggerated hype. Gore claims that the sea level could rise 20 feet by the end of this century. IPCC doesn’t come anywhere near that claim. I believe their expectation is more in the range of around a foot. What scientist is claiming that our planet will become inhabitable because of man’s output of CO2? There was much more CO2 in the atmosphere during the Cretaceous and the dinosaurs had no problem surviving, at least until the asteroid.

  85. “If green energy implementation costs less than a gazillion dollars, I’d say it’s a good investment.”

    But what if green energy implementation costs only three dollars less?

  86. Tony,
    Demonstrably? Really? If this were true vis a vis global warming, the market ought to have started moving toward green energy 30 or more years ago. But the market comes with entrenched interests and infrastructures and just plainly doesn’t factor in global environmental harm.

    Maybe the reason is that there IS no environmental hard from Global Warming that is discernible. You’re, unfortunately, begging the question, by assuming the market has “failed” just because it has not taken into account an issue that has no demonstrable harmful effects yet.

    Alas, the bogeyman you guys make government out to be is the only entity powerful enough to allocate resources correctly in such instances,

    There is NO reason to think that, considering the government has failed MISERABLY in other resource allocation activities, that combating “global warming” is the one the government can achieve correctly. You’re just guessing.

    How I wish all the world’s problems could be solved by intoning ideological platitudes…

    How ironic of you.

  87. “Maybe the reason is that there is NO environmental harm from Global Warming that is discernible.”

    There. Fixed it.

  88. “I don’t get why we can’t even have a debate assuming that the science on global warming is correct”

    You keep saying “science on global warming” as if all scientists are in agreement on this. They’re not. What if Gore and Hansen are wrong? Should we destroy our economy for nothing? More data is needed before we destroy our economy for nothing.

  89. Demonstrably? Really? If this were true vis a vis global warming, the market ought to have started moving toward green energy 30 or more years ago. But the market comes with entrenched interests and infrastructures and just plainly doesn’t factor in global environmental harm.

    Plainly either your assumptions about potential harm or the market for reduction thereof are wrong. My money is on you.

    I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.

    I’d agree. When you come up with a believable worst case scenario (not one based on Al Gores computer animations that he ripped off from “the day after tomorrow”) Let me know, and we’ll start the tally.

  90. I don’t get why we can’t even have a debate assuming that the science on global warming is correct, for the sake of argument.

    Okay, Tony, I’ll repeat what I wrote last time you asked for actual policy suggestions…

    Here’s my policy proposal: Do nothing except research the issue more.

    The US should stop all talk of carbon taxes or markets. California and its ilk should suspend all such measures.

    At Copenhagen this year, do nothing to extend Kyoto or build a new one. Use the global recession to save face if necessary.

    Reconvene in ten years and see where the science is.

    The bottom line is this:

    Wealth grows exponentially. CO2 emission grows linearly with wealth. Temperature grows sublinearly with CO2.

    It is unwise to bet against an exponential.

    And that is why environmental economic models of the future that employ any reasonable discount rate find that only the most modest measures to curb GHG emissions are economical in the long run. The policies they suggest are essentially fine-tuning the policy of doing nothing.

    I support the second best policy of doing nothing because I don’t trust government enough to give it the power to fine-tune anything.

    Furthermore, future developments can only reduce the relationship between wealth and CO2 to a sublinear one. New energy technologies as they become economical will be less carbon intensive than current ones, and fossil fuel depletion will make carbon intensive technologies less economical as time goes by.

    And what of the scenario of the low probability catastrophe due to excess warming? That’s when you cash in the insurance policy of high-gain geoengineering in response to the catastrophe, if and when it becomes necessary.

  91. “No. It. Didn’t.”

    Are you saying that automobiles ane no more fuel efficient than they were in 1979? What about home heating?

    Look, Tony, virtually everything (washers, dryers, power plants, trains, factories, etc.) is more energy efficent that in 1979. And for the most part, those efficiencies were market-driven.

    Market. Driven.

  92. I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.

    Tony almost made me choke on a peanut M&M there! You were prompted for “factual data” and this is what you came back with. Furthermore, you admit to the costs being subjective. Stop it! You’re killing me!

    Personally, I agree with you. There are a few coastal cities I could do without and I view the eventual BIBLICAL FLOODING as a net positive. The planet won’t become inhabitable, for you and your ilk, possibly, for humans as a whole, unlikely.

    If you perform simple mass balance of different events and processes on Earth you will see humans aren’t such a big deal. You may think we are, hell I do, but then again, I’m human. Try to think of humans as a natural phenomena that too will pass from this hunk of rock.

    It seems like we are responding to wanton environmental destruction with wanton economic and freedom destruction. We need to stop these lose-lose scenarios before we lose sight of the big picture.

  93. “By the time there are sufficient abnormal environmental effects to convince even you guys that the threat is real, it will be too late to do anything about it.”

    [Citation Needed]

  94. Tony, as I’ve commented before, I’m content to believe that man-made global warming is a real phenomenon, and that it can be mitigated by pricing the externalities of greenhouse-gas emissions into the market. (Not by shovelling money at rent-seeking corporations).

    I think it would be more interesting if you could supply some sort of credible basis for pricing the marginal costs of carbon emissions. That would provide at least SOME credible basis for setting a carbon tax rate, instead of just letting governments pull a number out their ass. if governments can just make shit up, the latter is likely to be abused.

  95. Yes, my scientific credibility is threatened because I don’t follow the lead of Mr. Gore and several apocalyptic filmmakers. Where’s the science on catastrophism or on the appropriate response to global warming? Oh, wait, there isn’t any good science on that. Yet you claim otherwise? Why?

    Politics is a poor substitute for thinking or for science.

  96. More data is needed before we destroy our economy for nothing.

    Now who’s assuming a catastrophe without evidence? Plus, the economy has been pretty much raped for no reason already.

    Why is an economy dependent on suckling Saudi Arabia’s spigot considered a healthy one anyway?

  97. “Try to think of humans as a natural phenomena that too will pass from this hunk of rock.”

    Once again, for Tony’s benefit:

    “We’re so self-important. So self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

    I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

    Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

    We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

    You wanna know how the planet’s doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet’s doing. You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

    The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

    So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that’s begun. Don’t you think that’s already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

    Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.”

  98. If enemies were preparing to invade and wreak havoc on American cities, none of you would object to massive government mobilization to counter the threat.

    I would.

    Because that’s a legitimate province of government, after all.

    That’s not the case. What the government can do is call the militia and that is it. It is up to the militia to defend the territories.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is,

    Wait, assuming for the sake of argument is not the same as accepting the premise to be true. “Science” has not said anything – some scientists argue that a) Global Warming is real (which is not controversial) and that b) it may be driven by human activity (which is VERY controversial).

    So, assuming for the sake of argument that AGW is happening . . .

    […] you guys would still argue for letting the market work its magic?

    Yes. Of course we would. Because for a simple reason: The *Market* is the network of millions of MINDS making decisions, which is a more powerful system than whatever government bureaucrats who mostly cannot be more clueless than Barney Frank or Il Duce’s pet bitch, Pelosi, can even conceive.

    Of course you take the easy way out and deny the science.

    No, YOU deny the process that science takes to learn things and jump into the AGW bandwagon, put your fingers on the ears and chant “The science is settled! The science is settled!”.

    The efficiency of greenhouse gas emitting energy production comes at the cost of environmental harm, which isn’t priced into the equation.

    That’s false – first, because you cannot PRICE something that is not exchanged, so saying that one does not price “environmental harm” is a red herring. Second, because CO2 is NOT a pollutant, it has NOT been proven to harm the environment and most likely the future data will show it has little effect on Global Warming, considering CO2 has an infrared energy absorption limit which the current concentration already reached.

    If it were, we would rapidly find these sources quite inefficient.

    I beg to differ – efficiency is a function of value obtained, and the value can only be known in exchange; and the ONLY way to know that more value is obtained for the cost is through the profit-loss test. You are talking about something that generates emotional responses in your being, but that does not make the particular issue one of economic efficiency. You will have to deal with your fears YOURSELF.

  99. Stop trying to kill me Tony…stop it now. You remind me of one of my liberal friends who when faced with an opinion which he disagreed with always got louder and became more prone to pointing out scary bogeymen. He once made me shoot beer out my nostrils (last time was chocolate milk in 3rd grade).

    The point is, Tony, you are hazardous to my computer and all other objects occupying my desk. Stay safe.

  100. How much oil do you think we get from the Middle East? From the entire region, not just Saudi Arabia?

    Allowing leftwing talking points to be your facts will get you into trouble. Think, man, think!

  101. I love to smile and nod at my hard corp garola eating buddies. They are certin we will destroy the planet. I laugh shake my head and say….” She will destroy us, before we come close to really hurting the Earth.”

    we need a good plague, or natural disaster!

    Bring on the Locust, the zombies and the fog of doom.

  102. Why is an economy dependent on suckling Saudi Arabia’s spigot considered a healthy one anyway?

    Because it has allowed the massive economic expansion since the 50’s, and there is plenty more there. Plus, they are foolishly willing to trade their precious resources for a few measly inflating fiat dollars that we won’t even let them repatriate freely. By the time they get the joke, we will have nuclear, or be buying tar sands from the Molson Drinkers.

    Plus, the economy has been pretty much raped for no reason already.
    I’m still eating well, you?

  103. Not true. Eventually the sun will expand to engulf all the inner planets. And your all-mighty market god isn’t doing anything to stop it.

    Bah, the market will find a way to move the Earth (or our Dyson sphere, or whatever) to a safe location by then.

  104. I am trying to frame the argument in a way that doesn’t require us tediously poring over charts and graphs and citing the data. This is a blog, not a dissertation. Because you’ll just come back with some fringe data that backs up your requirement for global warming not being a catastrophic threat.

    Forget global warming. It can be anything you like. Massive foreign invasion. Alien invasion. Solar flare. Assuming catastrophic environmental effects, do we just let the market do its thing, or is government intervention ever justified?

  105. I have a friend who is in the alternative energy business.

    He’s a libertarian leaning Republican who thinks global warming’s a crock and that Al Gore is a scoundrel and a liar.

    He doesn’t sell his wares to be “good for the planet” but because he knows that at certain levels of implementation they can be good for his customers wallets.

    Mind you, living in Florida helps.

    This, Tony, is “the market taking care of things.” If your expecting something more dramatic, you clearly don’t understand how the market works.

    I’m not sure why you think you would know what “the market” is doing about anything. There are thousands, if not millions, of people working on energy solutions all over the world, right now. For any number of reasons none of them feel any obligation to tell you a thing about what they’re doing.

    Just because you aren’t aware of it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. In fact, your attitude reveals an astounding level of arrogance.

    After all, how many people in 1977 or so were aware that in less than ten years virtually every household in the country would be within reach of owning a computer. And within less than twenty would have access to huge amounts of information from anywhere in the world.

    And while the computer revolution and the internet have roots in government programs they were by no means “NATIONAL INITITIATIVES”.

    In fact if anything they were accidental byproducts.

  106. I adore George Carlin. Nihilism is good for comedy, not so good for policy.

  107. But you guys give your blessing to massive government mobilization for one but not the other.

    Not true. I favor the minuteman approach to a foreign invasion. When (not if) Canada invades, I will happily grab a rifle and defend against the Canuckistanians. No need for government action.

  108. “Il Duce’s pet bitch, Pelosi”

    Pelosi’s pet bitch, Il Duce

    Fixed it for ya.

  109. “I am trying to frame the argument in a way that doesn’t require us tediously poring over charts and graphs and citing the data. This is a blog, not a dissertation. Because you’ll just come back with some fringe data that backs up your requirement for global warming not being a catastrophic threat.”

    Well fringe or not, at least it’s data.

  110. “Forget global warming. It can be anything you like. Massive foreign invasion. Alien invasion. Solar flare. Assuming catastrophic environmental effects, do we just let the market do its thing, or is government intervention ever justified?”

    So how do you propose the government protect us from solar flares?

  111. “For any number of reasons none of them feel any obligation to tell you a thing about what they’re doing.”

    But some of them do:

    http://www.awea.com

    http://www.nrel.gov

  112. letting the market work its magic

    I can only respond to this phrase with a quote:

    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    Apparently Tony isnt sufficiently advanced enough to understand free markets.

  113. “I adore George Carlin. Nihilism is good for comedy, not so good for policy.”

    Thanks for the compliment, Tony.

    You on the other hand, are full of shit.

  114. So how do you propose the government protect us from solar flares?

    Will the net magnetic flux that results from the coordinated hand-wringing of 4 billion true believers suffice?

  115. “Nihilism is good for comedy, not so good for policy.”

    Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Congratulations on beginning your journey to self-discovery.

  116. do we just let the market do its thing, or is government intervention ever justified?

    In my less anarchistic moments I have stated that if global warming ever reaches its “Pearl Harbor” moment, then I would favor a “Manhattan Project” to solve the problem.

    It hasnt and I dont.

    Like with foreign wars, I need a Pearl Harbor first.

    The Manhattan Project was inefficient, but probably necessary.

  117. Off topic. After reading a link supplied by Paul and reconsidering the thrust of your posts and one from TAO, I changed my mind on Ward Churchill. He is a fraud and should be fired.

    Yeah, that site link was an excellent point-by-point breakdown of the whole Ward Churchill affair. I tried to avoid the ‘freeper’ posts about him and find something clearly objective.

  118. This is a blog, not a dissertation. Because you’ll just come back with some fringe data that backs up your requirement for global warming not being a catastrophic threat

    Am I the only one who finds this a little rich coming from the guy who said:

    I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.

    I mean, there is data, right? I know there has GOT to be some actual data that shows rising seas will displace half of humanity, right? Science magazine? Peer reviewed? It couldn’t possibly be that the movies you watch are made up non-sense, because Al Gore vouched for it, for gods sake! He invented the goddamn INTERNET!

  119. “Because you’ll just come back with some fringe data that backs up your requirement for global warming not being a catastrophic threat.”

    Which is consensus and which is fringe? Is science determined by whichever greatest number of scientists take whichever position? Most scientists were once skeptical about continental drift. Did that make it wrong?

  120. “It couldn’t possibly be that the movies you watch are made up non-sense, because Al Gore vouched for it”

    Al Gore is on record as saying he would exaggerate if it wins people over to his point of view.

  121. What’s irksome to me is the degree to which this discussion has been co-opted and politicized by the left. I think most people and most scientists agree that we’re in a warming trend, with X% possibly due to human contributions. But what that all means is really unclear. For instance, I’ve been hearing most of my adult life perfectly legitimate claims that we’re on the verge of plunging into another ice age. What if that’s true? A little sanity around this issue would be nice.

    Also, one thing we do know about climatology is that minor events can have major effects, but not always expected effects. What happens if we make the problem worse by trying to tamper with a complex and chaotic system that we don’t understand very well? Until AGW became a political football, the general consensus on climatology was that we were profoundly ignorant. Now certain people want to treat it as a precise and complete science. What changed in twenty years? It ain’t computer modeling, because we still don’t track adequate data to make those models anywhere near accurate.

    As for the proposed “solutions”, every one of them ignores the fact that countries like China, India, Russia, Indonesia, etc. are not going to go along. The U.S. and Europe committing economic suicide won’t save the world, even if Goretology is precisely and exactly correct.

  122. Well fringe or not, at least it’s data.

    And it’s useless unless placed in the context of all the other data.

  123. “And it’s useless unless placed in the context of all the other data.”

    Got any to share with the class?

  124. Lemme sum up the responses:

    1) The threat isn’t real, so the discussion is moot.

    2) The threat is real, but we don’t know how big a threat, so the discussion is moot.

    3) The threat is real and catastrophic, but we’re all just here for a season. Light up a fat one and watch history unfold.

    Anything to avoid addressing the fact that the market can’t do everything, and sometimes won’t do something necessary.

  125. Tony, your last sentence there sums it up.

    You really don’t have a clue, and it’s a waste of fucking time trying to give you one.

    And as someone above said your a fucking arrogant fuck, to boot.

  126. Got any to share with the class?

    No because if you were interested in having an objective opinion on the matter you’d have done the research yourself. It’s like arguing with creationists. They require everything in the universe to be proved 100% (and for me to provide all that evidence) before they feel justified in dropping their superstitions. Similarly market fundamentalists willfully ignore science if it poses irreconcilable problems for their first principles. The burden of proof isn’t on me. Most climate scientists agree that global warming is real, manmade, and potentially catastrophic. I am not interested in arguing data as if you guys were seriously motivated by a disinterested pursuit of truth.

  127. I hear a sound at my window. I think it might be someone breaking into my house, because the sound is consistent with a break-in. I set off twenty pounds of dynamite to forestall the home invasion.

    Have I behaved rationally?

  128. Anything to avoid addressing the fact that the market can’t do everything, and sometimes won’t do something necessary.

    I would’ve thought having multiple legitimate rebuttals helps our case, not the opposite. Does the converse mean that since you have not supported you argument at all, you must be right?! Awesome, I’ll have to try that trick sometime.

  129. Has anyone actually visited the greenjobsnow.com site and spied the creepy scrolling pictoral?

    A kid in Prince George’s county installs mercury laden CFL’s, people in Portland Or are “ready for green jobs” when they look more ready for a stairmaster. A lone guy in Pittsburgh, PA manually “harvests” sunflowers for Biodiesel. At the rate he’s working, he’ll have 1 U.S. gallon made by fall 2011. Politicians are signing an “i’m ready” petition. Woo, progress! Lots more people stand, flat footed with “I’m Ready” signs.

    Sort of reminds of the Onion article where fat people sit around in front of the tv, waiting for a cure to obesity.

  130. I’ve been hearing most of my adult life perfectly legitimate claims that we’re on the verge of plunging into another ice age. What if that’s true?

    Ice ages come and go. Its periodic, we are in between. Another is coming. This sames pretty safe to assume. Maybe, just maybe, the Earth has somehow just now happened to exit from the periodic ice age phase, but it seems unlikely.

    So, Im assuming it is true. Im also assuming I wont live to see it or, if I do, I wont even notice it. It will just be slightly colder.

  131. “Anything to avoid addressing the fact that the market can’t do everything, and sometimes won’t do something necessary.”

    Still, it has not been proven that dramatic actions are necessary.

  132. Have I behaved rationally?

    But ProLib, once the robbers are in your house, it’s TOO LATE – you have already been robbed! We have no way of knowing what they will do once allowed in. If you blow up your house now, at least you will still be alive, albeit cold, wet, and poor. Silly shortsighted man, you will do anything to avoid the obvious necessity of dynamiting your residence.

  133. Yes, it’s just like arguing with Creationists. Because AGW has exactly the level of overwhelming proof associated with evolution. The problem here, dude, is that you’re arguing from faith. You don’t even understand the science you’re claiming to spout. Jesus. Skepticism is part of science; blind acceptance is not.

    I’m not skeptical about every single aspect of the AGW debate, but I’m very skeptical about the “solutions” that some want to impose on the rest of us. Extraordinary claims–like we’re all going to die from AGW–require extraordinary evidence.

  134. “A kid in Prince George’s county installs mercury laden CFL’s, people in Portland Or are “ready for green jobs” when they look more ready for a stairmaster. A lone guy in Pittsburgh, PA manually “harvests” sunflowers for Biodiesel. At the rate he’s working, he’ll have 1 U.S. gallon made by fall 2011. Politicians are signing an “i’m ready” petition. Woo, progress! Lots more people stand, flat footed with “I’m Ready” signs.”

    It reminds me of Gerald Ford’s “Win against Inflation Now” buttons.

  135. You don’t even understand the science you’re claiming to spout.

    I’m not spouting any science. The only empirical claim I’ve made is that global warming is real, manmade, and potentially catastrophic. This is the consensus of the world’s climate scientists. If you want to argue something different, don’t bother with me; I don’t trust you over the global scientific consensus.

  136. Presto Magico Mystical Marketo, what have we done to anger you O Lord? Caress us with your Insivible Hand, help us to value efficiency through exchange, deflect meteors and smite the thousands of scientists from around the world who know what the hell they are talking about, unlike us.

  137. The burden of proof isn’t on me. Most climate scientists agree that global warming is real, manmade, and potentially catastrophic.

    Well, it is actually, since your ilk are the ones who want to impose economically disasterous solutions to the problems you allege. We are sitting here saying “huh? Why?” and you come up with nothing better than “Obama won, it’s settled”

    Everyone intones affirmatives in rapt agreement when the proposals are all fuzzy and theoretical. Just wait until Obama starts picking losers in the marketplace. See how smart he and government intervention seem then. “We should have clean energy” sounds great. “You will drive an 800 lb GM shitcoup, leave the thermistat at 63 this winter, pay four times as much for the privilege, STFU and smile about it – so we can have clean energy” won’t go down as well, I suspect.

  138. “The problem here, dude, is that you’re arguing from faith.”

    Yeah, the side that thinks what most scientists say on the subject are indeed arguing in faith.

    Faith in scientific experts. Nutty that.

    What’s your faith based in? Ideological passion?

  139. “Most climate scientists agree that global warming is real, manmade, and potentially catastrophic.”

    There we go with “most” again. If “most” believe it’s the case, well then, by damn it must be true.

  140. Extraordinary claims . . . require extraordinary evidence.

    Certainly. So any claim that the vast majority of climate scientists on earth have the basic premise of global warming theory completely wrong requires extraordinary evidence.

  141. What do you guys think is up with the thousands of PhD experts who say you’re wrong on this? Collective insanity? Alien mind control world domination plot? George Soros bought them off? Demonic mass possession?

    WTF?

    Isn’t it interesting that the only scientific consensus you guys, amateurs at science all, happened to have the genuis and skill is seeing through, is one you have a passionate ideological reason to oppose?

  142. The only empirical claim I’ve made is that global warming is real, manmade, and potentially catastrophic. This is the consensus of the world’s climate scientists.

    True, if by “potentially catastrophic” you mean that there is a low probability that in many centuries there will be some high cost to humanity.

    But how does that jibe with…

    Assuming for the sake of argument that global warming is as big of a threat to American cities (and everything else) as science says it is

    …or…

    I’d say the loss of coastal cities and an eventually uninhabitable planet have rather subjective costs.

    …or…

    How much does human civilization cost? Let’s just say one gazillion dollars.

    HTML offers the very convenient unempirical tag. I suggest you use it. Often.

  143. Consensus on what? You realize that the only consensus at all is that things are warming up right now? That’s a far cry from what you’re claiming here. That goes for you, too, MNG, with your passionate ideology to support AGW. You’re projecting.

    The extraordinary claim is that we have to take on some sort of desperate measures to stop a catastrophic event. Without the catastrophe–which has almost no consensus–the rest of it falls apart.

    I could just as easily talk about an asteroid colliding with the Earth, which would be far worse than anything we are likely to do to the climate. Why aren’t we sending all of our money to the government to stop that threat? In fact, why aren’t we doing anything significant about it? It’s a 100% probability that we’ll eventually get hit by a comet or asteroid.

  144. economically disasterous solutions

    For ExxonMobil maybe. This is your article of faith, that doing something as reasonable as correcting the market for it to account for environmental harm will destroy the economy. And the economy (in all its pristine holiness) is more important to maintain than our ecosystem.

  145. Nice big research grants 😉

    $$$chee-chiiiing$$$

  146. For ExxonMobil maybe.

    There we go. Now we get the real anti-corporation, anti-profit, political motivation that underlies your supposed passion for “science.” And you wonder why we suspect the veracity of your claims…

  147. MNG

    Where is this consensus among scientists that we have to embark on a massive command and control tax and spend regime to counter this cliamte change?

    It’s only been in the last two or three years that there was even a consensus on the science among members of the IPCC and that’s a lot less shaky than the executive summaries of their reports would have anyone believe. So I can’t imagine that there’s any where near a consensus, or even any firmly held opinions at all, on a rememdy.

    And yes, most people only know what’s in the executive summaries, not what’s in the reports themselves, because most people, you included, don’t have anywhere near the grounding to understand them.

    In fact most people really only know what some media outlet has told them about what the executive summaries say.

    Sorry, MNG, but you’re not on any firm er ground than anyone else is here.

    Between your arrogant and selfrighteous attitude posting here and the fact that for the most part you spout very little else but Al Gore alarmism, I will now go to ignoring you.

  148. “the economy (in all its pristine holiness) is more important to maintain than our ecosystem.”

    If every African, Asian and South American has the kind of energy consuming lifestyle that developed countries do
    then there arn’t enough fossil fuels to go round
    therefore alternative energy gets cost effective

    more economic growth!

    more green!

  149. Note to Phalkor: Your observations are correct, your obscenities are not.

  150. “your supposed passion for “science.””

    take a look at the other thread for science

    confused the shit out of me and I’m supposed to be a scientist

    there more new ice but

    less ice overall

    so Old ice is melting
    and we’re getting more new ice

    so is the amount of new ice each year staying the same and the amount of old ice decreasing

    then why would old ice melt if new ice is forming?

    Somebody give a climatologist more

    Nice big research grants

    $$$chee-chiiiing$$$

    before we’re all doomed

  151. It’s a 100% probability that we’ll eventually get hit by a comet or asteroid.

    I disagree, it’s 100% possibility of Earth getting hit…sometime. But I have rather good chances of not ever getting hit by anything from space other than cosmic radiation.

    From my perspective (young, more or less educated, professional in a technical discipline) this issue is really juicy. Like ripe peach juicy. I just wish people would adopt a more meta-, or rational point of view. Unfortunately, this issue transcends reason and has been turned into (as mentioned above) a political football.

    It’s almost always a BAD BAD thing to jump to the extremes of the debate. Catastrophic predictions and total denial are not sound positions.

    My job is to predict earthquakes and their effects on safety-critical structures. Some of my projects involve sites that have little to no known seismic history. You neither design for “the big one” or ignore seismic activity altogether. You instead perform a probabalistic analysis and depending on input factors arrive at a suitable design for a set level of risk.

    With seismology, much like climatology, the models are nowhere near complete enough to “know” that something will happen. However, as computers get faster, and more empirical (that is by observation) data is added the models improve. Truthfully “we just don’t know” is an acceptable answer.

    We need to prepare for risks as they become palpable. Creating an economic black hole with Cap’N’Trade and Green Jobs will mostly serve to line the pockets of investors and force more people to be completely dependent on the government for their living.

    I, being the young, sometimes intelligent little whipper-snapper that I am, had intents of taking advantage of these complex threats through starting a small enterprise to help businesses adapt and thrive. Big governmental intervention with big corporate interest fucks that up for me.

  152. if governments are so good at creating jobs and picking winning technologies, why doesn’t the Soviet Union do Japan/South Korea/Taiwan/the PRC still exist?

    Of course – as a general rule – markets do a far better job allocating resources than governments. But you’re heading towards religious fundamentalism when you assert that must always be the case. Sometimes it’s just dumb luck, sometimes governments create the infrastructure conditions that make their investment picks look good in retrospect and the world just heads off in that track. The Soviet Communist model is simply not comparable to the statist Obama/Japan/PRC model. The Soviets were focused overwhelmingly on building military superiority not on creating or meeting consumer demand.

  153. Re: global warming

    You know that Greenland at one time really
    Was Green, and mankind, polarbears, etc. adapted very well, up to a cooling period that we are barely perceptibly coming out of.

  154. even in the worst case global warming scenario, it’s extremely unlikely the world will become completely uninhabitable for humans, especially given that technology will continue to function.

    coastal cities might have problems. maybe.

    tony, stop confirming John’s strawman fantasies about environmentalists.

    And right on que we get Tony

    que: is Spanish for “what”
    queue: a line, to form a line or to wait in line
    cue: this is the word you wanted to use, mr. meletary loier.

  155. There we go. Now we get the real anti-corporation, anti-profit, political motivation that underlies your supposed passion for “science.” And you wonder why we suspect the veracity of your claims…

    Yes I just have it out for corporations and want to see them suffer for no reason.

    I doubt the veracity of a lot of people here because more often than not their positions seem to originate not from any coherent defense of liberty but from protecting extant corporate interests.

  156. “No because if you were interested in having an objective opinion on the matter you’d have done the research yourself.”

    I have (tip of the iceberg):

    If you’re wondering why North America is starting to resemble nuclear winter, then you missed the news.

    At December’s U.N. Global Warming conference in Poznan, Poland, 650 of the world’s top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis. Said climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?”

    I asked myself, why would such obviously smart guy say such a ridiculous thing? But it turns out he’s right.

    The earth’s temperature peaked in 1998. It’s been falling ever since; it dropped dramatically in 2007 and got worse in 2008, when temperatures touched 1980 levels.

    Meanwhile, the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center released conclusive satellite photos showing that Arctic ice is back to 1979 levels. What’s more, measurements of Antarctic ice now show that its accumulation is up 5 percent since 1980.

    In other words, during what was supposed to be massive global warming, the biggest chunks of ice on earth grew larger. Just as an aside, do you remember when the hole in the ozone layer was going to melt Antarctica? But don’t worry, we’re safe now, that was the nineties.

    http://www.mlive.com/opinion/flint/index.ssf/2009/01/its_time_to_pray_for_global_wa.html

  157. Another words, you got your science in my sensationalism!

  158. phalkor,

    I said “eventually.” It may be very eventually, like three million years from now, but it will happen if we do nothing at all. I understand that there’s a growing belief that North America got clobbered by a comet a mere 13,000 years ago.

  159. Global warming my ass, it only got up to 60F here today.

    In Florida, in April.

    What’s Obama gonna do about that, I ask?

  160. Isaac,

    No kidding. And it’s very windy, too!

  161. And besides, why the panic about globa;l warming anyway?

    Have any of you given any though to what’ll happen if the Yellowstone Caldera blows its top?

    Or the New Madrid Fault breaks loose.

    I kid, of course.

    Although I understand that the New Madrid Fault is active and has been known historicaly for catastrophic seismic events.

    I also understand that very little of the construction in the St Louis area is built to a level of earthquake resistance.

    It strikes me that there’s a lot of panic over something about which little is known while a very real threat is being ignored.

    Sort of like it never occurred to anyone in New Orleans to do anything about hurricane preparedness until the levies broke and the city was under twenty feet of water.

  162. “Where is this consensus among scientists that we have to embark on a massive command and control tax and spend regime to counter this cliamte change?”

    I think every relevant professional scientific organization (like the American GeoPhysical Union, etc) has issued a statement that
    1. Global warming is occuring
    2. Humans contribute to it
    3. Bad things could happen from this

    Now as to the command and control, well I actually agree. My position is that libertarians re fools to deny the science of AGW, they don’t have the tools to do so. But of course they should argue for the strategy for dealing with it that best comports with liberty and capitalist production.

    However, I think libertarians need to be reasonable: if some restrictions on liberty and capitalist production are called for to avert possible harms then you have to be man enough to say “OK” while of course advocating for the least restrictive way possible of doing this.

    I mean, recognizing facts about human aggression forces us to conclude that a government program (the police) might be needed to protect ourselves from it. The way some of you guys are arguing it’s like the libertarian should stomp his feet and say “No, the science on human aggression is bullshit, accepting that will just lead to a government program to deal with it, so we must not accept it.”

  163. Damn right, Pro Lib. And what’s anyone gonna do about it?

    I tell you we’re getting mighty upset here in Altamonte Springs, which as you may know is one of the more pleasing outer suburbs of Taintsville.

  164. Yes, I’m familiar with the Greater Taintsville Metropolitan Area. I live in Tampa, which should be underwater in a year or two. Hopefully under warm water.

    MNG,

    Present me with compelling evidence of actual dire consequences if I don’t act now to buy the ShamWow, and I might discuss options that don’t coincide with my political and economic preferences. Possible consequences are too speculative to justify the kinds of radical tactics being proposed.

  165. Why is an economy dependent on suckling Saudi Arabia’s spigot considered a healthy one anyway?

    By the way, just to get yet another refutation of Tony’s baseless assertions out of the way, the US consumes 20.7 million barrels of petroleum every day. Saudi Arabia accounts for 1.3 million of them.

    The largest producer of petroleum for US consumption? The US, of course, at well over 3 times the contribution of the second place producer, Canada.

  166. European Academy of Sciences and Arts
    InterAcademy Council
    International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences
    the national science academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Ghana, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    European Science Foundation
    National Research Council (US)
    American Geophysical Union
    European Federation of Geologists
    Geological Society of America
    American Meteorological Society
    Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
    International Union for Quaternary Research
    American Institute of Physics
    American Statistical Association

    All of the members of those organizations have released statements or reports supporting (with varying levels of agreement of course), that global warming is occuring, is in part human caused, and should be addressed.

    All of those guys are mistaken or part of some mad cabal to rule the world through cap and trade systems, or all under mass alien mind control, and you small brave group of amateur scientists with an aversion to anything calling forth a collective response are the ones seeing this clearly, interpreting the right data in the right way, and ultimately are correct in your denials of such things.

    What sane man would think that?

  167. “Possible consequences are too speculative to justify the kinds of radical tactics being proposed.”

    Depending on what you mean by “possible consequences” I doubt you believe this in any meaningful way.

    “Hmmm, smoking greatly increases my chances of cancer, but it’s only a POSSIBLE consequence no matter how likely, so I shall puff away with confidence!”

    Just about everything in life is a “possible consequence.” What can we do but have the best experts tell us how possible or not and act thereupon?

  168. One typo, of course “all of the members” of all of those organiztions didn’t release the statements/reports, they were released by the organizations, which usually decide them by polling the members, votes at meetings, or by the votes of representative governing bodies. My point is that they usually become the statement by reflecting the majority opinion of the membership. But of course, not all of the members.

  169. Cliff Notes:

    “…federal green job creation is an economic black hole…”

  170. “European Academy of Sciences and Arts
    InterAcademy Council
    International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences
    the national science academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Ghana, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    European Science Foundation
    National Research Council (US)
    American Geophysical Union
    European Federation of Geologists
    Geological Society of America
    American Meteorological Society
    Royal Meteorological Society (UK)
    International Union for Quaternary Research
    American Institute of Physics
    American Statistical Association”

    heheheh

    we’re all getting

    quite a lot of cheese too 🙂

    It is imperative that this technology is investigated as it could provide a sustainable cost effective means of enhancing energy efficiency, by reducing materials consumption and energy usage whilst simultaneously reducing operating costs and enhancing product lifetime. The deliverables will not only act to engender the EU’s goals under the framework for sustainable energy but stimulate economic growth by developing new high tech jobs and start up enterprises

    ah cheese

    tasty tasty cheese

    🙂

  171. Here’s another thing….

    The fact that environmentalists wont even *consider* nuclear power tells me they aren’t serious about global warming anyway.

    If we really had a global warming apocalypse breathing down our necks, then the remote possibility of a marginal increase in cancer rates at some unknown point in the distant future wouldn’t be a considered a serious objection to building more plants. But for some wacky reason, they’d rather fantasize about windmills and low-tech anarcho-primitivist lifestyles. Nuclear is verboten.

    Ergo. They aren’t serious. And if they aren’t serious, why should we be serious? Global warming’s biggest promoters obviously don’t think it’s a big enough problem to justify building more nuclear plants, so why should we consider it a big enough problem to justify intervention in the market?

    It seems to me they are far more interested in using it as a political weapon to enact all sorts of socialist policies then they are in actually solving the problem.

  172. of course these jobs are uneconomical, otherwise people would be doing them now

  173. It strikes me that there’s a lot of panic over something about which little is known while a very real threat is being ignored.

    Not as little is known as you assume. But if current science is correct, global warming effects become a short-term certainty, not just a statistical probability over a million years. It’s just a more dire and immediate problem. Like an armed invasion, or a mass pandemic, or a hurricane, only multiplied planet-wide.

    Sort of like it never occurred to anyone in New Orleans to do anything about hurricane preparedness until the levies broke and the city was under twenty feet of water.

    This is almost offensive to a liberal who advocates for a strong public sector to ensure that such things are kept functioning and modern. Katrina was the moment the country decided to reject the ideology of functionless government. Market interests just don’t provide everything a society needs, and I can think of no more stark an example as dealing with catastrophic environmental damage.

  174. Market interests just don’t provide everything a society needs, and I can think of no more stark an example as dealing with catastrophic environmental damage.

    Do you have any evidence whatsoever that anyone is dealing with catastrophic environmental damage, that the US has to deal with catastrophic environmental damage, or that there is any scientific consensus that there will be planet-wide catastrophic environmental damage anytime in any of our lifetimes?

    No?

    Then please stop acting like planet-wide catastrophic environmental damage is a scientific consensus that demands immediate government policy action. It isn’t and it doesn’t.

  175. Katrina was the moment the country decided to reject the ideology of functionless government. Market interests just don’t provide everything a society needs, and I can think of no more stark an example as dealing with catastrophic environmental damage.

    I never got that impression from Katrina. It was more about competence in the aftermath than about “functionless” government or markets.

    As a matter of fact, it was NOT the market that built New Orleans into the swamps below sea level. The swampland was drained by a PROGRESSIVE government program. It was only with the exlicit assitance of government that the area was even opened up for human habitation in the first place.

  176. Tony seems to think that if he simply repeats the same mantra that he learned from Al Gore over and over again it will somehow become true.

    Tell you what, Tony, forget “the consensus”, cite one single, that’s right, ONE, member of the IPCC who believes the apocalyptic vision and supports the extreme command and control political solution you’re proclaiming. That’s all you need to do.

    Till then I will consider your fullofshitness to be firmly established..

  177. Tony,

    Let’s put it this way. A couple years ago the party line of global warming activists was that we had to do something within a decade or it would be too late.

    Then I saw that James Hansen — likely the most proselytizing of the activist scientists, but at least actually a scientist — also cited the next decade as crucial for action. In disbelief I hunted down what it was he really said and his reasoning.

    His reasoning? Well, in the next ten years humanity will build lots of coal fired power plants that won’t be depreciated for fifty years. If they are still running in fifty years, that will be a problem.

    In other words, it’s an outright lie to claim that the next decade is crucial. The middle of the century is what is crucial. Considering that people in the middle of the century will be far richer than we are, it will be cheaper for them to write off the coal plants in the event they find that emitted CO2 costs more than it benefits than it is for us not to build the coal plants today in lieu of much more expensive energy sources or decreased power production.

  178. cite one single, that’s right, ONE, member of the IPCC who believes the apocalyptic vision and supports the extreme command and control political solution you’re proclaiming.

    The IPCC (whose estimates some consider too conservative) claims that if we were to do nothing, average global temperature would increase from 9 to 11 degrees, “bringing severe impacts.” They estimate that an increase of more than 3 to 5 degrees will cause the potential extinction of 30% of the species on earth.

    The IPCC recommends comprehensive public policies that rapidly bring clean energy to the market.

  179. A couple years ago the party line of global warming activists was that we had to do something within a decade or it would be too late.

    The consensus now is that some effects are unavoidable, and we will see an increase in the average global temperature regardless of what we do to mitigate global warming.

    The middle of the century is what is crucial. Considering that people in the middle of the century will be far richer than we are, it will be cheaper for them to write off the coal plants in the event they find that emitted CO2 costs more than it benefits than it is for us not to build the coal plants today in lieu of much more expensive energy sources or decreased power production.

    So your strategy is to hope that people 50 years from now are richer? Look, reducing fossil fuel use is way, way overdue. Pushing it down the road is the coward’s way out and only increases the damage that will be done.

    Green energy is more expensive because fossil fuel energy is subsidized by being allowed to cause massive environmental disruption for free.

  180. So your strategy is to hope that people 50 years from now are richer?

    If people 50 years from now are not richer, then the IPCC predictions of how much CO2 will be emitted — and how much warming there will be — are way overblown. The IPCC assumes that people in the future will be richer, will demand more energy, and will burn more carbon. If that is not true, then neither are the IPCC concerns about warming.

    Green energy is more expensive because fossil fuel energy is subsidized by being allowed to cause massive environmental disruption for free.

    I have asked you at least twice for your estimate of that environmental subsidy. What do you think it is, and why do you think it is so large it makes green energy competitive?

  181. “The IPCC recommends comprehensive public policies that rapidly bring clean energy to the market.”

    Citation, please.

  182. Tony, what I find funniest in your coming back and back is that it really seems to matter to you what anyone at Hit and Run thinks about this.

    Last I checked there was absolutely no danger of any of us ever having any influence on this or any other issue of public policy.

    It finally occurs to me that it’s not enough for you to belong to the faction (even as an insignificant blot) that’s in control, what’s really important to you is blind obediance and conformity with absolutely no dissension.

  183. Unemployment in Spain is currently at 16% party due to the high cost of running any business here, caused byt the high cost of energy here, which is the direct result of the Socialist -and also former Conservative- Government’s reluctance to increase nuclear power and subsidize so-called “green” alternatives instead.

  184. I have reviewed this study and take few exceptions. The logic is clear: Renewable energy (and other) subsidies either raise taxes, the deficit or prices of energy. Renewables cost more than other energy. Higher taxes and energy prices drive industry to other places. Jobs are lost as result. It makes intuitive sense and we have seen it with other well meaning schemes. Spain has a decade of experience with this.

    Past environmental legislation benefited local communities in terms of air and water quality. Thus if jobs and factories were lost, there was still some local benefit. This is not the case with CO2. When jobs are lost because the factory moved to a place powered by fossil fuels to avoid the price of wind and solar, greenhouse gases still increase and we will be unemployed. China understands this very well.

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