Kerry-Lieberman Bill Would Have Minimal Effect on Climate Even If It Works as Promised

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Over at the MasterResource blog, climate scientist Chip Knappenberger, who is skeptical of predictions of impending catastrophic man-made global warming, does some calculating to find out just how much climate would be "saved" by the Kerry-Lieberman carbon rationing scheme:

"The global temperature "savings" of the Kerry-Lieberman bill is astoundingly small—0.043°C (0.077°F) by 2050 and 0.111°C (0.200°F) by 2100. In other words, by century's end, reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83% will only result in global temperatures being one-fifth of one degree Fahrenheit less than they would otherwise be. That is a scientifically meaningless reduction."

One crucial assumption in Knappenberger's calculations is that other countries in the world will not impose carbon rationing on their citizens.

Go here for the whole Knappenberger analysis.

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  1. This is right along the lines as the many comparisons made by Bjorn (sp). And that guy believes in AGW. But he feels that the trillions we’d be spending would be better off going to something like buying air conditioners for old people.

    1. So many things to be established before anyone considers capping carbon emissions:

      1. Is global warming happening?
      2. Is oil & coal burning to blame?
      3. Is that a problem?
      4. Will capping carbon stop it?
      5. Even if it works, is it worth it, or are we creating even bigger problems by raising the cost of energy in the short term?
      6. Even if it works and is worth it, are there any cheaper and/or more effective ways?
      7. Even if it works and it’s worth it and it’s the very best way, are there other things we could be using our resources for that would be even MORE worthwhile than stopping global warming?

      We haven’t even reached a clear consensus on #3, and a not-insignificant faction is raising doubts about questions #1 and #2 and Democrats are talking like all seven have been answered and we need to thunder ahead.

  2. One crucial assumption in Knappenberger’s calculations is that other countries in the world will not impose carbon rationing on their citizens.

    Which is the only assumption he could make, if he was analyzing the climate impact of this bill, rather than some projected hypothetical global energy control scheme.

    1. I disagree it would be rational to assume that if the cost of producing fertilizer in america goes up that we will just import more fertilizer from other countries. We already import fertilizer and the amount we import is corellated to US energy prices versus world energy prices. When gas prices spike we import more fertilizer and fertilizer plants in Louisiana temporarily shut down.

      Same shit would happen in other industries and any assumption to the contrary is Bullshit.

  3. “One crucial assumption in Knappenberger’s calculations is that other countries in the world will not impose carbon rationing on their citizens.”

    Another crucial assumption is that increasing the energy cost in America will not simply push energy intensive industries to other countries that resist the carbon tax scams. Thus, simply moving the CO2 production to different countries.

    1. Indeed. Surely there would be an effect in that direction– for example, it’s entirely plausible that high European gasoline taxes means more and cheaper gas for us, hence more usage.

  4. If something truly matters to you (like climate “crisis”) this is just more evidence that the government is the last institution you should want to “solve” or “manage” it.

  5. Ron,

    Since U.S. laws usually don’t compel foreign actions, I think my first pass of the climate impacts of Kerry-Lieberman is reasonable. However, just in case other countries do want to join in the effort, I run the numbers for their participation as well.

    My bottom line:

    “[c]limatologically, the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act, in and of itself, is a meaningless bill. To make it effective, it must involve the world’s developing counties.”

    Fair enough?

    -Chip

    1. the more the other countries jumped on board the “tax the peasants” bandwagon…the more potential benefits would accrue to any country that didn’t jump onboard and instead sought to develop their industrial base. This practically gauarantees that military force will be needed if one wishes to bring about world wide carbon taxes that actually reduce carbon output.

    2. Hi Chip: I was just noting the assumption largely because I doubt that most countries will go along with carbon rationing. Thus your calculations are quite plausible.

      1. You a betting man, Ron?

        China and India will go wherever the US, Europe, Japan, etc lead on this matter.

        Hell, at the moment, China is AHEAD of us.

        1. China and India will go wherever the US, Europe, Japan, etc lead on this matter.

          Why?

          1. The same reason most intelligent people are eventually able to work their way through prisoner’s dilemmas.

            Of course, cons and libertarians can’t quite seem to get their heads around game theory.

            1. Do you honestly think that China and India, two nations that have only recently begun to seriously climb out of third-world status, are going to enact a stupid plan that would undermine their economy? Really? You’re that idiotic?

              1. Yes, Chad is that idiotic.

            2. The same reason most intelligent people are eventually able to work their way through prisoner’s dilemmas.

              There is no motivation for them to do so.

  6. Actually, any legislation that would get through Congress would

    1) Cost even more than whatever it is this bill is supposed to cost, and

    2) Reduce emissions by, say, 8.3% instead of 83%

    However, at least 83% of environmentalists would be happy, because they had “won,” i.e., forced the U.S. to spend a great deal of money on their pet project.

    1. And when it wrecks the economy, the antidote will be even more of the poison that caused the disease. For the polar bears.

  7. I can’t think of anything more depressing than the thought that there is nothing, short of the end of industrial society, that can avert global warming.

    1. Think of it as entertainment. The proponents of carbon tax, don’t even say they want industrial society to end…they say we will have more jobs than ever…don’t you want to see what they say after a couple years? I do and I genuinely hope we get a carbon tax put in place pronto.

      1. I, on the other hand, have no desire to see an expansion of poverty just to win an argument.

        People will die as a direct result of carbon caps. Probably a lot more than the net death total that could be caused by a couple centigrade degrees of global warming. Some people have postulated that a slightly warmer globe will actually SAVE lives on balance, since cold-related deaths are more common than heat-related ones.

      2. It won’t be that entertaining. They’ll just say that this is the price we’re finally paying after raping mother earth for so long for our own selfish gains.

    2. Sure there is. Technological global climate management.

    3. I can’t think of anything more depressing than the thought that there is nothing, short of the end of industrial society, that can avert global warming.

      There is always atomic bomb detonations.

      Carl Sagan and four others proved that to be effective against global warming back in 1983.

  8. Gabe: There were plenty of “jobs” when all almost everyone could do was try to pry some sustenance out of the ground. In some cases, surpluses were used to feed the people building pyramids and the like for the rulers and the priestly castes. But it was “full employment” of a sort.

    1. You don’t understand ron. I want to see the collapse occur. I don’t want top live my whole life on the downward slide of civilization. CO2 tax= a scam that you treated as legit.

  9. high European gasoline taxes means more and cheaper gas for us, hence more usage.

    When consumer gas prices suddenly almost doubled a couple years ago, U.S. consumption dropped 3%. That’s about how much of American usage is optional.

    We’re just not as herded-together and company-town-bound as the rest of the world is. There was no Great Leap Forward here. Coming soon, though.

    Look productive!

    1. Yes, because our car-based infrastructure can immediately adapt to all swings in fuel prices.

      *facepalm*

      1. Yes, because our car-based infrastructure can immediately adapt to all swings in fuel prices.

        And the reason our infrastructure is car-based is because most Americans do not live in big cities like New York City.

        1. Chicken, meet egg.

          1. Yes. The invention of the automobile freed people from tyrannical city planners. The American Left have never quite forgiven Henry Ford for doing so.

            1. And enslaved us into spending an eighth of our income on cars, and growing fat as all hell because we can’t walk anywhere even if we wanted to. All for less “freedom” and higher cost than one experiences in places with good public transit.

              1. Hahahaha. I’ve been to places with “good public transit”. The trains were expensive, the buses were always late, and the stops often weren’t very close to the places I needed to go. I’ll take my car any day. Eight of an income well spent, I’d say.

                Oh yeah, and fuck you.

              2. And enslaved us into spending an eighth of our income on cars, and growing fat as all hell because we can’t walk anywhere even if we wanted to. All for less “freedom” and higher cost than one experiences in places with good public transit.

                So what the fuck is stopping you from moving your ass to midtown Manhattan?

                While you are at it, tell us the price for a one bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village or SoHo- let alone Park Row.

  10. One crucial assumption in

    Knappenberger’s calculations is that other countries in the world will not impose carbon rationing on their citizens.

    China, India, Indonesia and the rest of the 3 billion energy poor are not going to jump at the chance to double the price of energy.

    That’s a pretty damned big elephant in the tax and regulate carbon living room.

  11. What a moronic sentiment.

    Perhaps Ron should refuse to get out of bed tomorrow and just lie their until he pisses himself, because each individual step towards the toilet will be “scientifically meaningless”.

    You are right in a sense, though, Ron. This bill is not enough. Not only does everyone else have to do something similar, but in addition, we all have to do more.

    I am surprised that Ron failed to note that the 1-2% of GDP that is expected to cost implies that we would lose a whopping 5-10 months of economic growth over the rest of the century, which is, of course, meaningless. I am sure the people of the year 2100 would be willing to wait until October rather than January for their IPod-6000 Deluxe edition in return for, you know, having a livable planet that still had a reasonable approximation of its former biodiversity.

    1. I am sure the people of the year 2100 would be willing to wait until October rather than January for their IPod-6000 Deluxe edition in return for, you know, having a livable planet that still had a reasonable approximation of its former biodiversity.

      People in 2100 will have access to a technological quick-fix.

      1. That’s a lot of moral complicity to bet on something you have absolutely no way of knowing.

        1. No more than holding the possibility back based on a bet that the costs of doing so don’t outweigh the dubious benefits which we have no way of evaluating.

          1. First, virtually every cost benefit ever done on this matter passes. Even hacks like Lomborg are only arguing that there are things with even higher c-b ratios that we could be investing in.

            Second, c-b is pretty much bunk for long-term issues anyway, as your assumptions about the discount rate absolutely swamp the actual data you are imputting.

        2. That’s a lot of moral complicity to bet on something you have absolutely no way of knowing.

          Technology marches on, Chony.

          Would people living on a Martian colony in 2100 even care about Earth’s climate?

    2. “Only 1 to 2% of GDP growth”

      Sure just like how my Medicare program only costs the federal government $100 billion a year.

      1. A better model would be the SOx cap-and-trade system, which cost far less than predicted (and even more far less than conservatives and industry claimed).

        1. SOX is much more easily dealt with than CO2. The sulfur in the fuel can be minimized or removed and the SOx in the effluent can be neutralized or scrubbed out. Trying to prevent the formation of CO2 in a process that involves the oxidation of carbon based fuels is a vastly different and more complicated task.

          Your arguments that China and India will follow the US’s lead is laughable. The US has had environmental laws in place for close to 40 years. China has few and they are ignored. Much of the pollution measured in California originates in China. If they won’t implement even basic pollution control technology now why do you think they’ll do it if we pass some ridiculous cap and trade law? There are almost as many cars sold in China as the US every year and they use emission controls that are a generation behind ours. Is this an example of them “following our lead”?

    3. Okay, Chad, so let’s be intellectually honest and propose a solution which actually DOES go “far enough.”

      See how that goes over when people run the numbers and discover how their lives would be impacted.

      1. It’s been calculated many times. 1-2% of GDP is reasonable. A stronger bill would be closer to 2%. Since we currently spend 6% of GDP on energy, that would represent a one third increase, which is consistent with the actual current costs.

        From my current power company, you can buy 100% renewable energy (mostly wind) for a 14% premium, for example. Several wind farms were constructed directly because of the money coming in from this program.

        In other words, the cost differential is a blip. Yes, you might have to give up a couple of cups of Starbucks each month. Boo Freakin hoo.

  12. A major fallacy in the reasoning behind much of the cap & trade nonsense is that there are a bunch of easy and cheap measures that consumers and industry can take to reduce energy use. The morons who drafted these horrible bills seem to think that the average consumer drives around on nearly flat tires and leaves his windows open while he runs his AC at home. I work in an industry that uses large amounts of energy and when prices for electricity and natural gas spiked in 2008, my company and many others examined our energy use very closely and found there were very few “low hanging fruit” that could be picked. Consumers aren’t going to all buy hybrids or higher efficiency AC units overnight if the cap & trade bill causes prices to quickly spike for things like electricity and gasoline. There will be a reduction in CO2 generation but it will be due to decreased production and employment in the US. And the money spent on carbon credits will only go into the hands of the carbon credit traders (like Al Gore) and the federal gov’t where it will be redistributed to those parties who are in favor with the Obama administration. I don’t want to see my electric bill go up $40 or $50 a month so Obama can start another federal program to employ a bunch of workers who belong to AFSME or SEIU.

    1. That is truly a tour de force of Beckian conspiracy theories.

      1. It’s only a conspiracy if it’s a secret.

        What Realist described is what’s known as a PLAN.

  13. Thankfully, scientists have a track record of correctly predicting future temperatures; so I know to take this study, and any like it, seriously.

  14. no scientist or algorithm can predict the weather 15 days out any better on average than the farmers almanac.

    1. Good thing weather isn’t the issue.

      1. Also a good thing that a brain isn’t needed in order to say “Polly want a cracker.”

      2. Neither is climate the issue.

        If it was the BFD which cap-n-trade advocates claim it to be, we should freak the fuck out now, ban ALL world-wide use of fossil fuels immediately (with the force of the military, if need be) and convert all of civilization to nuclear power until such time that renewables become feasible.

        Since nobody is suggesting that we do that, it’s pretty obvious that even the most strident alarmists are not even remotely serious about the urgency of the matter, so why should any of us be?

      3. Local weather is actually easier to predict since it is a smaller localized area to deal with and there are usually more observation points for a given area…. now tell me why global climate modeling should be anymore accurate?

  15. “The Sky is Falling” Or is it the price of gas? Wed (5.12.2010) $2.959/gal. Th (5.13.2010) $2.819/gal. Sat (5.15.2010) $2.799/gal.

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