Climate Change

How Conservatives (and Libertarians) Should Respond to Climate Change

Dismissing climate science, the IPCC, and the costs of climate change are neither prudent nor responsible.


Today in The Bulwark I offer my thoughts on how folks on the political right should (and should not) respond to the threat of climate change. In short, I argue that it's perfectly reasonable to reject the progressive climate agenda, but not reasonable at all to pretend that climate change is not a serious concern that merits a serious policy response.

Here's a taste:

Even if one believes the likelihood of catastrophic climate change is small, the consequences are sufficiently grave to justify prudent measures to reduce the likelihood and magnitude of adverse events. You don't install smoke alarms, acquire fire extinguishers, and buy home insurance because you expect a house fire. Rather, you recognize the value of insuring against low-probability/high-magnitude events. The costs and dislocation resulting from your house burning down are sufficiently grave that they justify prudent investments that will reduce the likelihood and the consequences of such an event.

A similar logic applies to many larger risks that require collective action, as conservatives have been willing to recognize in other contexts. During the Cold War, for example, conservatives supported significant defense spending not because Soviet aggression was certain, but because even a low-likelihood conflict could have disastrous consequences. Accordingly, national security policy combined measures that would make the likelihood of a confrontation with the USSR both less likely and less severe.

Thus even if one believes that cataclysmic climate change is unlikely, this does not justify a do-nothing response. The question is not whether climate policies are necessary. Rather the question is which policy responses can be justified as prudent, cost-effective ways to reduce the magnitude of potential warming, the likelihood of adverse consequences, or both. In other words, what sorts of prudent steps can be taken to reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere so as to reduce the amount of warming (mitigation) as well as to reduce the negative consequences such warming may bring (adaptation). . . .

Accepting the seriousness of climate change does not require accepting the progressive policy playbook. To the contrary, taking climate change seriously calls for alternative (and more conservative) approaches.

As they say, read the whole thing.

NEXT: D.C. Circuit Denies Motion to Block CDC Eviction Moratorium (Updated)

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  1. Silly Adler, the proper conservative and libertarian response to climate change is to point out that obviously all the thousands of experts in the many relevant fields working in many sectors in so many different countries are all engaged in a massive conspiracy to convince everyone climate change is happening/is due to humans/is problematic so that world socialism can be achieved.

    Now that that is settled we can discuss something interesting, like why academe and other professional groups are so anti-conservative/libertarian?

    1. Don’t forget that the billions of tons of pollutants we dump into the atmosphere every year, which are not part of a balanced ecological equation since we’re artificially creating that extra pollution, clearly can’t have any impact on our planet.

      1. When will you and your ilk address the billions of tons of pollutants spewed into the atmosphere, the waters, and the land by plants, animals, bacteria, and other non-human polluters?

        I don’t imagine the first oxygen generating critters were welcomed by those to whom oxygen is toxic.

        I imagine a lot of animals are displaced by beaver dams every day.

        Does a bear shit in the woods? Why yes it does, and so do a lot of other animals. They pee, they bleed, they exhale CO2, they use poison to hunt; do you think there are any animals who enjoy eau du skunk.

        You probably think CO2 is a pollutant, instead of the vital food which plants consume so herbivores, humans included, devour.

        1. You get there’s no reason to think you don’t know what you’re talking about, right?

          I mean, no doubt you want to say ‘well, there’s no reason to think you do either!’

          Unfortunately for you what I think is not ‘I know what’s going on here’ but ‘we should listen to the consensus of those for whom we do have reason to think know what they are talking about!’

          1. ‘we should listen to the consensus of those for whom we do have reason to think know what they are talking about!’

            Ah, back to two biological sexes. Sweet!

          2. Consensus of those whom we have reason to think know what they are talking about?

            Like how Fauci and the WHO at first told us not to wear masks to prevent Covid, then somehow changed their mind.

            Like how the WHO is telling us no booster shots but the CDC is saying yes?

            Like how, somehow, the US and EU must reach zero emissions by 2025, but China and India can continue to dump as much CO2 as they want into the atmosphere for another 30 years?

            Please wake me up when there is consensus and these people know what they are taking about

          3. “we should listen to the consensus”

            Science doesn’t work that way. It’s not majority rule. Especially when the majority has a financial incentive to reach the right conclusion if they want funding or to get published.

            Squashing dissent isn’t how science works either.

            1. I am just glad that Copernicus and Galileo told the consensus to get fucked.

              Where are the “science deniers” when we need them most?

              1. You’ve distorted history a wee bit, friend.

        2. You’ll be interested to know that CO2 emission account for only 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Rice growing releases a large amount methane which has a more powerful greenhouse effect. There are animals such as cows and 8 billion people.

        3. CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is animal food.

          1. Of course it is, CO2 is the feedstock for making C6H12O6 which releases 3 O2 molecules. It’s an endothermic reaction with CO2 and H20 providing the input, whereas O2 is used exothermic reaction burn glucose and produce energy.

            It’s obviously food because it creates stores of energy for future use. When we eat we store energy for future use, but we use it up when we beathe O2 and expell CO2.

            The fact that they are opposite reactions should give you a clue, that they are not the same thing.

            1. Kazinski,
              You don’t know what food is.
              Food is the source of energy
              CO2 does not supply energy to the chemical reactions in which it participates.
              Co2 is a raw material.

              1. Food is a source of energy and building materials for animals, which have no other source of energy.

                For plants, that get all their energy from sunlight, it’s just a source of building materials.

      2. So there are two camps. “Can’t have any effect ” and “the apocalypse is nigh”. If you don’t believe the Proclamation of Doom then you deny pollution has any impact on climate.

        1. It’s always exactly “nigh” enough so you have to accept deprivation and hardship in your life and simultaneously exactly far enough away so the rich true believers can go on just one more luxury vacation, take one more ride of a private jet, travel to one more professional conference in Geneva.

          1. Ben is just *dripping* with class envy…

      3. We’re both amazing in our technology and yet clearly unable to have any real impact on much.

      4. But solar cells, EV batteries, Windmills, all use large amount of toxic materials that are likely to be more polluting, both in mining, manufacturing, and disposal, after their relatively short service life is up, than current technology.

    2. Reinventing the world economy to fight Climate Change will lead to Humankind’s next Great Leap Forward.

      1. It’s almost as if leftists want the (predictable) misery and deaths. If they can’t get the people to follow their (predictably disastrous) schemes in the name of fighting “inequality,” maybe they can get them to do it in the name of fighting “climate change.”

    3. Aaaand this is why conservatives and libertarians should not accept the premises put forth by the authoritarian left. They have no intent of addressing your arguments, they only want to belittle and dehumanize you, and force their “solutions” in the world.

    4. Ah, yes, “listen to the experts!”

      After all, we saw how well that worked out in Afghanistan.

      Those of us who are not religious zealots, and therefore don’t worship at the church of scientists, understand taht real science is done by doing studies where all your tools and data are publicly released with your scientific papers.

      As opposed to “climate science”, where release is fought tooth and nail. See ClimateGate

      Hot Air has an article up titled “A landmark study about honesty was based on fabricated data”. It was only discovered when the authors were forced to release the data behind their research.

      So, how do I deal with “climate change”?
      I understand that anyone babbling about “climate change” is either dishonest, or a scientific ignoramus. Because teh climate is always changing

      How do I deal with claims of Anthropogenic Global Warming?
      I look at the global warming hiatus between 1998 and 2016, which was clearly outside all the IPCC predictions, and understand that the “climate scientists” who “lead the field” are all political hacks with no scientific integrity.

      When the IPCC crowd has made predictions about the next 20 year, that turn out to be correct, as can be proved by anyone with a computer and all the tools and data (which have all been publicly released), then I’ll listen to them.

      Until then, only religious fruitcakes listen to them

      1. “After all, we saw how well that worked out in Afghanistan.”
        Classic whataboutism

        1. Oh, please

          Person 1: “I think we should do X”
          Person 2: “X is a really stupid thing to do, here’s why”
          Person 1: “Classic whataboutism”
          Person 2: “You are a moron”

          Or, rather, i guess you understand that it’s entirely stupid to “trust the experts”, but you don’t care , because you have a political agenda to push. So you make up BS arguments, because you don’t have any worthwhile ones

        2. Isn’t “Classic whataboutism” what you say when you’re a hypocrit, and upset about being called on it?

  2. You lost me at Bulwark.

    1. Bingo. Home of the “Conservative case for .”

  3. Read the piece in Bulwark and thought it contained many good points. People need to move on from inaction to action that is compatible with their own political philosophy. Conservatives and libertarians need to move from denial to acceptance and then suggesting how to address the problem. Conservative and libertarian ideas will likely require more time to implement and so need to come faster. If they chose to wait there will not be time and more Progressive approach will be implemented out of necessity.

    I have noted that many conservative and libertarians already accept the idea of climate change and that the deniers are really the equivalent of the old “Know Nothing Party”.

    1. “If they chose to wait there will not be time and more Progressive approach will be implemented out of necessity.”

      That’s a bluff that can be called.

      1. It’s how extremists approach anything, life is a constant and total game of chicken.

        1. Hi Reverend! Nice sock puppet!

    2. You know nothing about climate change, or the politics around it, when you pretend that “skeptics” deny it; on the contrary, I and most of the “skeptics” I know recognize it has been happening for billions of years, and deny that humans have much to do with the current minor changes, and especially deny that human can prevent what nature has been doing for billions of years.

      1. Yeah, when Inhofe did his speech with the snowball he was clearly accepting the empirical reality of global warming but just recognizing it as part of an normal, eternal cycle.

      2. “You know nothing about climate change…”

        Almost no one does. Anyone who claims to know about it should be asked to explain how climate models work in detail.

        1. You know this is as easy as going to Google Scholar, calling up the papers and reading the papers on the climate models. I suggest you try it.

          Modeling has a long history and has been used for years and for a wide variety of uses.

          1. You should tell us how they work then. And tell us how you developed your confidence that the future they predict is right.

            1. Can you fully explain all the technology you use in your life every day? If the National Hurricane Center’s modeling says a class five hurricane is going to come over your town, will you take precautions or just scoff at modeling?

              1. Those things can be checked by experimentation.

                Does my computer work? Yes.
                Did the hurricane arrive? No.
                Did it get 3 degrees warmer in 100 years? We don’t know yet.

                1. We know that it got 1 °C warmer.

                  1. But not what would have happened without carbon emissions. It might have gotten 1.1 degree warmer with carbon emissions.

                    And it’s really more like 0.6 degrees plus or minus 0.7 degrees warmer.

                    1. Ben,
                      Try to understand the physics described by Arrhenius and come back later

                    2. Try to understand that a single simple physical relationship only determines the outcome when no other forces are present.

                    3. Ben,
                      Always has a comeback but never an answer.
                      Tell us Ben what are your credentials.
                      Are you a chemist?
                      Are you a physicist?
                      Are you an engineers (and if so what flavor).

                      Come on tell us.

            2. Why should he do your work for you?
              If you want to pontificate about the topic, do some real research

              1. He’s the one claiming to understand the topic. He says he knows the future.

        2. Anyone who claims to know about it should be asked to explain how climate models work in detail.

          Abysmally. What do I win??!???

          1. They’re just calculations. They work fine.

            Do they describe the world’s climate processes in enough detail with zero errors and omissions so their predictions can be treated as likely? How do you know?

            1. ” with zero errors and omissions ”
              Ben, that is a simple lie.
              How many of the model outputs have you studied?
              Why is it the the IPCC gives a most probable warming value ± an uncertainly derived from errors in the models and range of values predicted.
              There are methodological “tricks” that many object to.
              But your lie is not one of them. You lower any credibility you might have when you make trivially falsifiable statements

              1. Not a statement. Language is hard but you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

                1. Ben,
                  That is not even a reply. It is verbal vomit.

                  1. Not verbal either. Seriously, you don’t have to reply when you’ve got nothing

        3. “Almost no one does. ”
          Certainly you do not.
          Otherwise, your claim is completely without any merit.

          1. Nor do you. Almost no one does. But I make no claim that they tell us the future.

            1. Almost no one does is sheer nonsense.
              I do know about complicated computer simulations and the sources of errors and instabilities therein. That is enough to spot the obvious limitation in the computational models, but that’s all.

              I have never studied enough atmospheric physics, chemistry or hydrodynamics to know about how the climate works. I readily admit that.
              Many scientists have and use those discipline every day. Saing that they know nothing” is a lie.

              1. They know things. The climate doomsday congregation doesn’t.

                When you actually talk to scientists and model developers, they talk in terms of uncertainties and probabilities unless they’re dishonest. It gets filtered into a doomsday prophecy by those who don’t understand or are dishonest.

                If you look at long term climate trends, there’s no doomsday evident.

                Solar gets cheaper and better and there’s enough progress on fusion these days. We should have all the energy we need to transition away from carbon-based fuels for all major uses except aircraft and shipping. It will happen while climate-changers are still struggling to convince us it’s actually warmer outside.

                1. I should say that’s based on current trends. Trends can change. No one knows the future.

                2. ” they talk in terms of uncertainties and probabilities unless they’re dishonest.”

                  That is correct. It is how the scientists that I know personally speak.
                  That is why I objected to your statement that “no one does.”

                  But it is warmer outside. Actual measurements (and not just proxy data) tell us that

                  1. Of course I said “ALMOST no one does”. Did you miss that or omit it intentionally?

                    It’s not clear it’s warmer than natural trends or variability. Any warming is very, very slight. It will take a long time for any warning to be clearly attributable to man made sources at this very, very slow rate of change. (It will always be clear to those who see with their faith though.)

                    Technology advances at a much faster pace than the very slow warming, so it’s a good guess that any issue will be solved just as every human survival (and improvement) issue has always been solved until now. Not by looking backward and embracing sacrifice and universal deprivation and fear, sad as that may be for the truly zealous. Rather by advances that actually make life better.

                    1. “Any warming is very, very slight.”
                      Only if you consider 1°C very, very slight.

                      BTW, your almost is only correct if you divide the number of atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, and geologists by the population of the planet. I caught you in an exaggeration or a lie. Own up to it

                    2. “Almost” means what it always has meant. You can go look it up in a dictionary if you want.

                    3. Ben_
                      Just admit that you were caught in a lie and move on.

                    4. Wasn’t. Learn how language works.

                  2. “It is warmer outside”

                    I’m convinced

                    1. Yes, 1°C on average globally

      3. You hold that view, despite the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, from an overwhelming majority of countries on this planet – literally thousands of experts, telling you that you’re completely wrong.

        Conclusion: Nobody should listen to you on this topic.

        1. Says a guy who doesn’t know how climate models work

          1. It’s amazing how this comment also applies to Ben.

            The least self-aware man on the planet.

            If there’s no reason for anyone to think Ben and Jason know about how climate sciences work then the one who is advocating we defer to those for whom *there is reason* is obviously right.

            1. So no actual knowledge then. Just belief.

          2. Ben,
            There are 30 some odd models used by the IPCC. They all give somewhat different results. IPCC does the dubious procedure of averaging models that can have contradictory boundary conditions and approximations.
            Yet, people who do this work do understand the atmospheric phtscis and chemistry.
            What evidence can you show use that you actually understand at a functioning level any of the models used, even the most rudimentary model of Arrhenius

            1. I never claimed to understand them.

              But I’m not telling you I know the future either. The climate religion people are the ones with the doomsday prophecy that they want to force us all to suffer under. But almost none of them understand the computer models the prophecy comes from either.

              You like policies that force others to suffer for Covid, so it should be no surprise if and when you also want to use force against innocent people to stave off whichever climate doomsday you decided you believe in.

              1. “You like policies that force others to suffer for Covid”
                I’d avoid that discussion here except to say
                You like policies that force others to die from COVID-19.
                Be proud.

                Your calling bona fide scientists would apply the rigorous physcis and chemistry of atmospheric and earth science as practicing religion. That is a lie.
                You can be skeptical without being a liar.
                You are no Richard Lindzen or Steven Koonin; they are skeptics of IPCC claims.
                You are being blind out of willful ignorance. But be proud of that also

                1. – They have holidays like a religion.
                  – They have weekly rituals (recycling and composting) like a religion.
                  – They have sins and shame sinners like a religion.
                  – They have Greta the evangelist, like religions always have evangelists.
                  – They have a cloistered group that divines the future from arcane knowledge sources like a religion.
                  – There’s a yearly atonement ritual called Earth Hour. Where other religions celebrate light, the climate people embrace darkness for that.
                  – There’s a focus on telling individuals to be observant, like a religion. (Despite the fact that any individual is insignificant to the climate.)
                  – They like to demonize non-believers to keep the congregation from falling into apostasy.

                  How many traits of a religion does something have to have before we can call it a religion?

                  1. Come on, Ben
                    Okay, you list is amusing. ANd the adoration of Infanta Greta makes me puke.
                    But your list pertains to climate crazies not to serious scientists

                    1. That’s the religion, yeah.

                2. Also, if you want to protect yourself from Covid, you should. Stop making everyone suffer for your fear.

                  1. Ben,
                    COVID is real. There are more cases per day in the US than any day in the past. COVID is hardly an irrational fear like to Boogeyman.
                    It is a threat to the normal functioning of society. It is your idea of policy that will make people actually suffer and die. Admit that to yourself and then act as you choose; it is still a free country.

                    1. “There are more cases per day in the US than any day in the past.”

                      I’m going with January 9th. Oops, you’re wrong.

                      “It is a threat to the normal functioning of society.”

                      In fact, it is NOT a threat to the normal functioning of society. The death and morbidity rate from Covid is low enough that we could have simply ignored it, and life would have gone on normally for the survivors. The normal functioning of society has continued through pandemics worse than this.

                      Almost all of the economic and societal damage we’ve seen has been iatrogenic. It’s the effects of the response to Covid, not the effects of Covid itself. And largely the effect of policies that haven’t even proven themselves particularly effective!

                      That sounds kind of brutal to say, to anybody who doesn’t take cost benefit analysis seriously. But it’s the truth: We could have simply ignored Covid, and life would have gone on normally for most people.

                      As bad as it’s been, you don’t have to go back more than a couple decades to reach times when life expectancy numbers were worse than the middle of this pandemic.

                    2. As always, it’s “cases”. Talking about “cases” ignores illness. It’s like treating people who test positive for a small increase in risk as if they are already as good as dead.

                    3. And we’ve seen that places with the fewest and lightest anti-Covid measures have seen slightly more “cases” but much, much less disruption of everyone’s life.

                      The cure is literally worse for society than the disease and it’s been clear for more than a year now.

                    4. “Talking about “cases” ignores illness. ”

                      in other words, you’d rather ignore the ground truth. Then be prepared to be treated as on of the lepers. The sheep will live to fight another day.

                    5. Talking about “lepers” shows it’s just another us vs. them tribal identity issue for you.

                      Fortunately for everyone, herd immunity is imminent and “cases” will naturally go down and people will no longer have to suffer for your tribal identity status-seeking … until you decide your status quest requires a new reason to make things worse for everyone.

                    6. “Oops, you’re wrong.”
                      How about looking at 7-day rolling averages before you say that I am wrong. Daily reports are notoriously noisy due to lapses in reporting.

                    7. Brett,
                      “In fact, it is NOT a threat to the normal functioning of society. ”
                      How can you say that? It has been even before governments got involved wholesale. China imposed medical martial law, Italy and a few other countries had a covid death rate over 10% for a few months.
                      I suspect that if an honest cost-benefit analysis could have been done, we might decide that it would have been less expensive to the society to just ride it out with no action. Easy to say in retrospect. Right now in the US the death rate from Delta is over 2%.
                      Can you give all sorts of reasons why that is an over estimate? I expect so
                      Can you prove any of them? I expect not. delta certainly seems to be infecting a lot more kids. When parents see their kids are sick they often panic.
                      As for life expectancy numbers, you actually know that in the US they have gone up because of reduced numbers of childhood deaths. So that point is irrelevant.
                      But you do make a valid point that we should be trying to assess real, total costs. That won’t happen. It is political suicide

                    8. Ben_,
                      And your implication of vaccinated as sheep is an example of your tribalism.
                      Do you really doubt that Macron doesn’t treat anti-vaxxers as lepers?
                      Do you doubt that Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci don’t see you as a lepers.
                      Wake up!

                      I did not call you or any one else a leper.
                      You put that on yourself.
                      But Bill DeBlasio is also putting it on you and the LA City Council is putting that brand on you

                    9. Ben,
                      You want to talk about illness, study hospital statistics.
                      You let politics put scales on your eyes

                    10. “Fortunately for everyone, herd immunity is imminent ”
                      With the newer variants that statement is very far from the truth. In fact it may never be possible even it the virus evolves eventually into a benign strain as Brett likes to predict.
                      After all we don’t have herd resistance to the common cold.

                    11. “I’m going with January 9th. Oops, you’re wrong.”
                      August 19th & 20th was larger than Jan 8 or 9.

                    12. Don Nico imagines things I didn’t say. Over and over.

                      Is that a tactic you guys were taught somewhere? You can’t make a genuine argument so you just make up something imaginary and respond to that?

                      It’s very strange.

                    13. Ben,
                      You are a human moving goalpost

                    14. Ben,
                      Your reply to Stephen show how grossly distorted your politics has distorted your reasoning

                    15. More imagination. You imagine goalposts and then imagine they move when no one else knows what you’re talking about.

                  2. Stop making everyone suffer for your fear.

                    Ben, stop making some people die for your convenience. Doing that is horrific.

                    Your total costs approach to Covid does not work like you think it does. Those costs are not distributed alike, as you know, but want to ignore. For some people, letting Covid go unmanaged would lead to an accurately predictable mortality rate above 50%. Your advocacy would be peculiar indeed if that risk level applied to you. Undoubtedly, you think your own risk level is trivial. That leaves you in the morally monstrous position of advocating the predictable deaths of some, for the convenience of you.

                    1. They should be careful and protect themselves instead of trying to police everyone. For two reasons:

                      1. Hurting everyone else because you’re afraid is wrong.
                      2. Trying to police everyone doesn’t work. It hasn’t even come close to working. What happened to you that made you unable to learn from trial and error? Even dogs can learn from trying something and seeing it fail.

                      I guess leftists can’t learn because when something emotionally unsatisfying happens you just make up a story and decide to believe that instead of reality. No reality, no ability to learn from events.

                    2. Ben, giving you a vaccine which protects you is not, “hurting,” you. Even suggesting you should grow up and think otherwise is not, “hurting,” you. But advocacy to shun vaccination does grievous harm to others.

                    3. Yeah, vaccines are great. Who said they weren’t? Not me.

                      What conversation did you imagine took place?

        2. Says the guy who also knows only how to appeal to authority and level personal insults. he has yet to rebut a single factual claim, or present any arguments.

          1. As I explain below, you don’t understand what the appeal to authority implies or, to be honest, what ‘personal insults’ often seen here are about. You’re an ideologically motivated amateur at *best* on this topic. And yet you pontificate.

            I guess you stayed in a Holiday Inn last night…Or probably every night for years?

          2. I suggest that you read this recent paper by my friend and colleague, Richard Lindzen, probably the most well known critic of climate hysteria, for a descriptio of the very basics of the underlying science.
            “An oversimplified picture of the climate behavior based on a single process can lead to distorted conclusions”
            Eur. Phys. J. Plus (2020) 135:462

            Note that 1° C of warming has already occurred over the past 100 years

            1. “Note that 1° C of warming has already occurred over the past 100 years”

              And nothing much has happened.

              1. Yeah, Bob, that heat bubble over the Pacific Northwest was nothing. It’s like has ever been seen before, but who cares, ignore it. Same with rainfall on the Greenland ice cap. You have a big problem knowing what is something, apparently. But a much bigger problem understanding what is at stake if we get those judgments wrong.

                It’s pretty clear to me as a bystander that you don’t get those judgments wrong by happenstance. Your kind of wrong is motivated wrongness. I just wish you had insight enough to explain to me what your motivation is. Why do you suppose you can’t do that?

                1. “. . . never been seen before,”

      4. That is a cheap bit of sophistry.
        When serious people talk about climate change they mean anthropogenic climate change.

    3. So what is the progressive approach other than a giant game of chicken?

      The approach is to rapidly restrict the use of carbon based resources to produce energy, even to the point of restricting lower carbon fuels like natural gas which is CH4 + 5O2 = 1 CO2 + 4H2O, even though it replacing oil and coal.

      At the same time trying ramp up electrical use when they can’t come even close to replacing current energy needs with wind, solar or other carbon free sources.

      What happens when all new cars are EV in 2030 and you’re shutting down powerplants in the meantime? You’ve restricted supply and vastly expanded demand, which you won’t be able to meet. Not to mention that most EV charging will be done at home at night, and there is absolutely no feasible way to store enough power to run lights and refrigerators at night, let alone adding charging EV’s into the mix.

      The only feasible solution is nuclear power, and that has been taken off the table.

      1. “What happens when all new cars are EV in 2030”
        Interestingly the lowest carbon approach (actually can be carbon negative) is to use hybrid vehicles that burn biofuels. (The mix of battery & combustion is important in the overall carbon balance). But Joe Biden and Gavin Newsom want to take that option off the table

    4. Pro-abortionists need only accept the pro-life position and the controversy will magically disappear!

      Red Sox fans need only start rooting for the Yankees and the threat of a successful Yankees franchise will no longer be an issue!

      Slaves need only choose to hand over their freedom to their masters and the threat of forced slavery vanishes!

      Wow… I apparently just discovered the secret to universal peace!

      1. “Red Sox fans need only start rooting for the Yankees”
        Not happening.
        That is why they only get a B on their hats

        1. Bob,
          didn’t you mean “assuring 20 years of insanity”?

      2. Haha that is literally what he is saying. I love the way your phrased it.

    5. “Conservatives …. need to move from denial to acceptance”

      No we don’t. Our tactics have worked so far. 20 years of insanity blunted.

    6. I refuse to move from “denial” of something the science doesn’t support just because some things it might be politically better.

      No, I will continue to point out the science is not settled and that the science doesn’t support the predictions and continue to refuse to accept that “something must be done”, especially when that something is not conservative or libertarian.

  4. “Thus even if one believes that cataclysmic climate change is unlikely, this does not justify a do-nothing response.”

    I’m all in favor of a massive roll-out of carbon free nuclear power. Shortly I think solar power satellites will become economically feasible, and certainly be better for the planet’s energy balance than covering near white desert with black panels.

    In the long run I observe that CO2 is plant fertilizer, C-3 plants are starved for it, and the energy imbalance we’re talking about is on the order of a 10th of a percent of incoming sunlight. The obvious answer is to leave the CO2 be, and pull down the blinds: Put up orbital sunshades, or better, solar farms in orbit that shadow the Earth. I figure a ring about 20-50KM wide around the equator would bring the planet into energy balance, would mostly be over deep abiotic ocean, and if it turned out we’d made a terrible mistake, and the planet started to plunge into a glacial period, it would be easy to open the blind again.

    But, of course, I’m not a luddite secretly yearning for a dieoff of humanity.

    On the ‘precautionary principle’, I’d observe that it only works when the speculative danger lies in only one direction. When it could be in front OR behind you, it’s of no use. And this planet is covered with ice more of the time than it’s hot.

    1. I’m all for geoengineering, but the right resists even any climate-based R&D.

      1. Ah yes, the teeming hordes of right-wing anti-nuclear protestors.

        1. That’s not R&D, chief.

      2. but the right resists even any climate-based R&D.

        As usual, cite or shut up. There’s a big big difference between R&D on “shit we spray into the air that we can’t undo if/when we find out we overdid it” and reversible schemes as Brett mentioned.

        1. As usual, you ask for proof of the obvious so you can be a pedantic ass.
          The GOP has been resistant to *any* action on climate change, including research. They hated ARPA-E. They tried to defund the NSF’s earth-sciences branch.

          They were in power, and created no initiatives like what Brett highlighted.

      3. Actually, it has been mostly the Left that denounces geoengineering and its “moral hazard.”

        1. Don Nico, guilty as charged. To understand why I denounce climate engineering for moral hazard, try to notice that to do otherwise is to grant open-ended license to anyone to do anything. Control of that kind of recklessness requires at least some moral discernment, and that seems unattainable. For one thing, you will never persuade most technophiles that their own preferences among techniques are not the sum and substance of moral judgment.

          1. Stephen,
            Thank you for being honest. The concern is valid, as geoengineering usually promises short term fixes.
            Do you make the same objections to large scale Co2 capture and sequestration, even though the safety of that technology has never been showed at a facility of scale? I am just asking.

            1. Don Nico, I object to large scale CO2 capture on comedy grounds. To my admittedly superficial attention, it strikes me as a proposal to refill the world’s coal mines with their previous contents, by somehow re-expending again the energy liberated from the coal when it was burned. I am entirely open to any explanation that shows what foolishness I am spouting.

              1. My objection is that the safety issues of large releases or triggering of earthquakes have never been tested at sufficient scale.
                If the we went to zero carbon emissions globally the earth and oceans would absorb about 1 to 1.5 ppm of the carbon annually. In that sense carbon sequestration would work although it would make the oceans more acid (lower the pH)

    2. Brett,
      You don’t want the reflectors around the equation. They belong above 70° latitude. It is the temperature difference between equator and poles that drives the global circulation.

      1. Yeah, just try putting an orbiting ring at 70 degree latitude. Orbital dynamics don’t work like that. You *could* put a ring in an inclined orbit, though. Unless it were in LEO, most of it would be wasted.

        But if your equatorial ring is in a high orbit, it’s diffusely shading a large fraction of the Earth’s surface. And, again, it only has to block a tenth of a percent of the sunlight.

        1. Brett,
          1) You don’t need satellites to increase the albedo.
          2) The effects on global circulation by changing the albedo at the equator is much smaller than the same change near the poles (or even just near the north pole.
          Both of these are well known by atmospheric physicists.

        2. Brett,
          The energy from the sun that falls on earth is 340 W/sq.m.
          Already 100 W/sq.m. is reflected back to space.
          Are you really claiming that changing the incident power by 0.3W/sq.m. is really going to make any difference.
          If one changes the albedo by adding appropriate chemical in the upper atmosphere. one could reject 2.4 W/sq.m. with a far greater effect on the global circulation.
          The chemicals have to replaced every few years. Their falling to earth and affecting the PH of the oceans is the biggest negative

        3. Brett,
          One more important thing about your equatorial plan.
          To the extent 0.1% shielding does anything, it would warm the planet overall by lowering the temperature difference between the equation and poles, thereby decreasing global circulation and warming the low and mid-latitudes.

    3. Brett,
      An important thing about your equatorial plan.
      To the extent 0.1% shielding would do anything shielding the equator, it would warm the planet overall by lowering the temperature difference between the equation and poles, thereby decreasing global circulation and warming the low and mid-latitudes.
      The summer insolation at the poles is far greater than what your sunshades would do.

      You may know that power beaming from space was looked at in some depth during the Regan Star Wars era. Besides the actual difficulties in safe transmission, you have to gather sunlight that would normally just graze the poles. But then we encounter your already identified problems of orbital stability.

      But we don’t need the satellites to gather energy; you actually just want the sunscreen. But you put it in the wrong place

  5. People need to move on from inaction to action that is compatible with their own political philosophy.

    Conservatives and libertarians need to move from denial to acceptance and then suggesting how to address the problem.

    These two are incompatible; and yet you see fit to lecture others on how to be compatible.

    1. How is a move to action and to addressing the problem incompatible?

      1. Because it is predicated on a problem existing (to the degree the “consensus” says it does).

        But if we skip the question on the accuracy of the problem and move only to the degree of solutions then we are highly likely to be uneconomical in our actions which necessarily creates needless and potentially dangerous losses for people.

  6. No sale. If you want to practice your climate religion, go ahead. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    1. Ben,
      That is a know-nothing statement that denies the most fundamental thermodynamics explain by Arrhenius more than 100 years ago. The mathematical for of the feedback mechanism is also very well established. All the controversy concern the magnitude of the feedback term.

      1. The feedback could be just as likely negative as positive.

        We already know the earth has had periods of much greater CO2 without reaching tipping points throwing us into catastrophe.

        In fact the Pliocene 3-4 million years ago had CO2 levels about the same as today, temps 3-4 degrees higher, and that is when many modern species evolved, including some of the earliest human ancestors.

        Then we got thrown into an ice age, an ice age I might add, that we are still in, although in a relatively mild interglacial.

        It’s not science to say Ice ages now, and ice ages forever are the normal climate for earth. There is nothing wrong with allowing us to drift back to a normal climate, say the average climate for the last 100 million years which is warmer and has higher CO2 than today.

        1. Kazinski, the average distribution of the continents on the globe during the last 100 million years is far different than today. Climate-wise, that makes it a different planet. What is the point of comparing climates on two different planets, when there is no way to reproduce the other one on this planet?

      2. No it doesn’t.

        If there’s positive feedback, then the Earth’s climate would act like a system with positive feedback: it would swing between very hot sometimes and very cold sometimes with very short periods of accelerating transitions in between.

        It doesn’t do that. It stays is a narrow range for long periods. That indicates negative feedback.

        1. Ben,
          One should note that there are several feedback, some positive and some negative. You comment is that if positive feedback are too large, the system is driven unstable.
          You also cannot ignore that the forcing functions are time varying as with the Milankovitch cycles

          1. There’s a billion years of the past to examine. Timing of cycles isn’t significant in the big picture.

            If the system is unstable, with positive feedback being dominant, then it will act like an unstable system. Instead, it acts like a stable system.

            Maybe you’re right and it’s unstable and we just got lucky a million times in a row though.

            1. Ben,
              There you go again. I added a detail about feedbacks, But you cannot accept any corrections.
              Instead you distort completely what I wrote to satisfy your ego and because you actually know NOTHING about the several feedbacks in the climate system.
              Answering you is a waste of time.
              Yup. I am slow to learn

            2. Ben,
              You have a lot to pontificate about.
              How about you telling us your areas of expertise.
              Are you a chemist?
              a physicist?
              an engineer (and of which variety)?
              Or are you Ben Six-pack?

              1. Science doesn’t care who anyone is

                1. In other words, you are ignorant of actual science. Just ‘fess up Ben. It must be that you are afraid

                  “Science doesn’t care who anyone is”
                  Science does not care about anything. It is a collection of disciplines. And for your information, most scientists do care about the experience an level of knowledge of those who criticize.

                2. Let’s be more specific.
                  If you have never studied thermodynamics or radiative heat transfer, there is precious little that you can offer about the earth’s climate beyond slogans and repeating a few words that you have seen before

                  1. You can’t convince anyone with any argument so you go with I know it better than you.

                    The climate doesn’t get warmer or colder because jerks think they know things. The climate doesn’t respond to persuasion at all.

                    1. Again you refuse to answer a simple question.
                      That is the dodge of a fraudster.
                      I never said “I know better than you” There you go moving the goal posts and inventing what I said.
                      Now answer the question Ben.
                      Tell us just how much you have been trained in the underlying science, and we”l have an idea if we should consider seriously anything that you say.

  7. The real question is the relative risk, the relative potential damage, and the relative cost to prevent or reduce the damage of these things. And of course, who may benefit and who may lose from the risk.

    Let’s give a examples.
    1. A large asteroid striking the Earth is a real, albeit small risk. The relative potential damage of such an event is massive. The cost of a program to prevent such an event would be massive. In order to mitigate the risk, space companies will see a massive increase in their budget.

    Is it worth mitigating the risk? The space companies will of course think so, so they’ll push for it. But is it worth 10% of a nation’s budget for 10 years to promote such a defense? What about the nations that do not pay for it? They benefit.

    1. “The real question is the relative risk, the relative potential damage, and the relative cost to prevent or reduce the damage of these things. ”

      Holy shit, AL is speaking reason!

      1. Look! Another inane comment from Queenie!

        1. Lol, I was agreeing with you, moron.

          1. It doesn’t make your comment less inane.

            1. My comment…”Holy shit, AL is speaking reason!”…?

              1. I stand by my assertion. You make stupid comments. Even if they’re correct, they can still be dumb.

  8. This climate crisis is a hoax beyond compare. Mann’s hockey stick plot said we are warmer now than ever. Yet olive trees during Roman times grew higher in colder climes than they do now; Greenland is called that because Vikings raised cattle there and don’t now; trees and their stumps have been uncovered recently by retreating glaciers which show they grew for several hundred years in what was obviously a glacier-free warmer environment which Mann claims did not exist.

    There is no tipping coming soon from the “critically dangerous” 415 ppm CO2; it has been predicted many times in past IPCC reports, which have all passed without tipping. Tthe dinsoaurs lived in 4-6000 ppm, 10-15 times as high as now, and the Earth clearly did not turn into Venus.

    If nothing else, the fact that Obama bought a $14M mansion at sea level shows he doesn’t believe in rising sea levels any more than he believes im masking and social distancing at birthday mega-parties; and if I thought a tipping point was coming in 10 – 9 – 8 years, I’d move heaven and earth to get nuclear power plants installed, yet every eco-freak is more scared of them than CO2, when their death toll is so low that I bet more people die while installing solar panels on roofs.

    The so-called climate crisis is a fraud, a hoax, a pack of lies.

    1. You hold that view, despite the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, from an overwhelming majority of countries on this planet – literally thousands of experts, telling you that you’re completely wrong.

      Conclusion: Nobody should listen to you on this topic.

      1. You appeal to authority and insult me personally. Way to go.

        I double dog dare you to refute my actual message. You cannot, because they are all true. Go ahead, try to actually argue facts. Climate alarmunists like you cannot, because there are no facts on your side.

        1. If you cannot even understand the appeal to authority fallacy you invoke why should we listen to your pontifications on climate science? The appeal to authority is a fallacy of DEDUCTIVE logic fallacy, it only holds that a premise that an authority holds something to be true is not sufficient to support a conclusion. But as a matter of INDUCTIVE logic, the *fact* that more people with the relevant training, education and experience hold something is a perfectly good reason to defer to them.

          You literally don’t know what you’re talking about across the board.

          1. the *fact* that more people with the relevant training, education and experience hold something is a perfectly good reason to defer to them.

            That’s pretty much how it worked in medieval times, when the Pope was the authority over all information.

            These days, you bring data, or you don’t get respect.

            1. Uh, that’s actually the opposite. A centralized authority figure commanding a result versus a clear majority of thousands of experts in many different sectors in even more different countries coming to the same conclusion.

            2. “These days, you bring data, or you don’t get respect.”
              And if you are not educated in the science that the data purport to represent, you get fooled and/or manipulated.
              Get real.
              The common person has neither the time, inclination nor intellectual ability to learn the underlying science.
              So your anti-Catholic bigotry is meaningless.

              1. And once again the Armchair makes an irrelevant response.

          2. “One of the great commandments of science is, “Mistrust arguments from authority.” … Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else.”

            -Carl Sagan.

            1. JFC.

              You invoking an authority to disprove arguments from authority is just the cherry on top of this misunderstanding.

              1. The irony is lost on you.

            2. Everyone knows Carl Sagan was an anti-science crank.

          3. Queenie, the whole history of scientific consensus shows that scientific consensus has acted more to regard science than advance it. I’ll admit it has a function to vet ideas like cold fusion, and reactionless thrusters, but it also stands as a large roadblock smothering scientific advances like Wegeners theory of continental drift which he proposed in 1912 and became consensus in the late 50’s or early 60’s.

            It always takes a few brilliant scientists to set the agenda and advance science by bucking the consensus.

            I’d put the current state of climate science alongside that of string theory. They can’t prove anything, but they are going to keep insisting they are right. They’ve got an unprovable thesis that they are in love with. String theory has all of its beautiful math, and climate change has all of its models, neither of which have any relation to the real world. The theme of both is we don’t have any proof, but we can’t think of any other explanation.

            At one time climate scientists had postulated the scientific proof that CO2 causes out of control global warming, a tropospheric hotspot caused by the positive feedback of water vapor increasing its absolute humidity due to warming from CO2.

            But they can’t find it.

            CO2 doesn’t cause enough warming to be more than a rounding error by itself. The only place they can find their positive feedback is in their models, not in real science.

            1. “CO2 doesn’t cause enough warming to be more than a rounding error by itself.”
              Amazing claims require extraordinary proof.
              Prove it.

            2. “They can’t prove anything”
              That is not an exaggeration. It is a lie.

              1. It’s absolutely the truth, the planet has been warming since the lows of the little Ice age in the mid 1700’s.

                The Hadcrut temperature data shows .5 degree of warming between 1910 and 1040, and cooling between the 40’s and the 70’s, there is no science that adequately distinguishes natural variation from CO2 induced warming.

                1. kazinski,
                  The simplest models predict 1.5°C of warming as a result of doubling Co2 in the atmosphere from 200 ppm to 400 ppm. Of that 1°C has already occurred.
                  Your implication is that doubling the Co2 does not increase the global mean temperature. Even among the scientists who are reviled a “skeptics” no one thinks that.

                  1. I think 1.3 – 1.5 TCR is probably about right, leaving us with about half a degree of warming still in the pipeline.

                    Hardly a crises, since the degree of warming we’ve already had and the extra CO2 have been more beneficial than negative.

            3. Kazinski,
              “I’ll admit it has a function to vet ideas like cold fusion, and reactionless thrusters, but it also stands as a large roadblock smothering scientific advances”

              By adding a nugget for truth you do not render a false generality true.
              Most science does advance incrementally until, some one advances a breakthrough theory or does a breakthrough experiment. You make it sound like the progress comes only from divine revelation

              1. Divine revelation? Not hardly, I’m an atheist. No it comes from rare brilliance, rarely applied to a problem that is ripe for a solution. Like Newton and Einstein. And sometimes just dumb luck, like Planck just trying to make the black body equation fit the data, and realizing if he used only integer values, the equation matched the curve of the experimental data and avoided the ultraviolet catastrophe.

        2. It is not an appeal to authority to suggest that thousands of experts who disagree with someone like you are in fact correct when weighed against the compelling argument you put forth without any evidence whatsoever.

          I didn’t insult you at all. Nobody should listen to you regarding climate change. That’s a fact, not an insult.

          When you bother to cite sources, and then bother to argue why those data points are actually relevant, then I’ll bother refuting your ‘actual message.’

          Considering that you brought up Obama as an argument against climate change, I’d say the odds of you having anything remotely important to say on this topic are zero for all practical and theoretical purposes.

          1. Any competent googler could find those facts within seconds.

            Anyone who had spent any time researching and studying this climate crisis nonsense would already know all these facts.

            That you pretend they are figments of my imagination shows you know nothing of the field.

            That you use Obama as a political benchmark instead of a fraud benchmark shows where your political sensibilities lie — with appearances rather than facts.

            1. Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf — your claims about Obama’s home being at sea level, where did you get that from?

              Plenty of aerial photography available online shows a seaside site, on an island minimally subject to storm surge, in a location guarded by a barrier beach, with local relief for the foundation of probably 15 – 25 feet. The home absolutely is not at sea level, nor dangerously close to sea level. In that location, the land–sea interface shows either beach, or it features marsh-type vegetation, neither of which is visible except at notable distances from the home. Site lines clearly show vertical relief between the home and any sea level indicators visible.

              I usually don’t try to refute stuff from climate deniers, because I know you keep your goal posts on casters. But you ought to stop returning to your Obama claims, because they are a lot easier to refute than wild-ass stuff about dinosaurs. You know what else was different 250 million years ago? No Gulf Stream, nor any Atlantic Ocean to put it in. It takes self-inflicted idiocy to play climate model gotcha using examples from what amounts to a different planet.

            2. Then you have not done the requisite googling or tried to digest any paper that does not conform your politics. Otherwise you could not have the position that you claim.

              1. Try
                Relative Potency of Greenhouse Molecules PDF

                W. A. van Wijngaarden & W. Happer Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics arXiv: 2006.03098 (2021)

                1. Will’s work is well know by serious scientists and I alluded to the relative potency of CO2 and CH4 in a previous reply

          2. Well here is a great example.

            The real science using the NASA satelite record shows that sea level rise is a consistent 3.4mm per year, (it does vary, but the varies within the margin of error).

            That is 13 inches a century, but what do we hear:

            “New NOAA sea level rise projections dramatically increaseThe NOAA report gives a range of possible scenarios, from the low of 1 foot of sea level rise by 2100 to the 8.2 feet, which is 1.6 feet higher than the previous worst-case scenario reported in 2012 as part of the National Climate Assessment.”

            They have actual satellite data which is consistent since 1979 at 13 inches a century, but the headlines scream 8.2 feet, at least, when they aren’t claiming 50 or 100 feet.

            1. That is certainly true for SF bay. The water has seen a linear annual rise for the past 100 years. Yet the approach to the new Bay Bridge is too low and will need raising

        3. “there are no facts on your side.”
          Have you actually read the IPCC report or the summary document?
          Or even the previous report?
          You claim there are no facts, not that they are misinterpreted, but NO facts.
          How many pages did you read?

        4. Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf — Well, you are not offering facts with regard to Obama’s house.

        5. “You appeal to authority”
          That is not an answer; that’s an excuse.
          “double dog dare you”
          spoken like another person with no knowledge of the underlying fundamentals

          The remainder of your post were whataboutisms and irrelevancies

      2. Further, every single one of those reports, about olive trees, cattle, and trees buried under glaciers, were reported in peer-reviewed science journals. How does that prove me or them wrong?

        It doesn’t.

        Follow the science, bud, not the politicians.

        1. You’ve, notably, provided no science. You’re claiming facts, but speaking ideology.

          Luckily, your type are going the way of another extinct type – the ones who claimed nothing was happening, or actually an ice age was just as likely.

          Those idiots sure shut up in the past 10 years. Most of the probably smoothly transitioned to ‘not man made’ know-nothings like yourself.

          And that’s becoming increasingly untenable as well.

          1. “another extinct type – the ones who claimed nothing was happening”

            You keep saying that, its not true. Its still the most common conservative reaction to climate hysteria.

            Look at the comments here.

        2. “olive trees, cattle, and trees buried ” are not the science.
          Thermodynamics and heat transfer and hydrodynamics are the science.

      3. Conclusion: Nobody should listen to you on this topic.

        Conclusion: never listen to anyone who isn’t referencing data.

        1. There’s no reason to think you would know how to understand/evaluate relevant data in this area, so just stop that. It’s silly.

        2. Raw data without an understanding of the methods and instruments and their limitations are meaningless.
          You obviously thing that detailed physics and chemistry analaysis is meaningless. Centuries of scientific and technological progrees proves you wrong.

      4. Gosh, friend. The overwhelming majority, you say?
        I just find it so strange they keep getting caught lying and changing the numbers.
        Why do you suppose they lie? I mean, why would they, right?
        It’s not like there could even be a bias that covers a whole industry, right? I mean, take the news media or education or the rodeo circuit, it’s not like these areas of endeavor share a common angle or political viewpoint. It would be ridiculous to say a wad of Bill Gates money and a few hundred billion in socialist government funding could sway something as honorable and fact oriented as “climate science”. Believe all women? Totally. Believe all “scientists”? EVEN MORE, DUDE.

        1. They are not lying.

    2. Mann’s hockey stick is a fraud. But your denial of any effect is equally fraudulent. How do you account for nearly 40 Gigatonnes of CO2 being dumped into the atmosphere every year?
      Even the models by the most skeptical atmospheric scientists see the effect of being > 1.5°C. They also say the magnitude of the effect on global temperature is logarithmic, that means that we are in in the near catastrophe that alarmists claim.
      The future of global temperature to 2050 is almost ballistic, but it is very far from a hoax except in the eys of those who wnat to be blind.

      1. Please tell me what percentage of global warming gases going into the atmosphere is generated by mankind, vs. the natural inputs.

        I am of the opinion mankind theoretically could despoil our own world, it is a possibility. For example, above ground nuclear testing. So, I looked into climate change as they currently sell it. They’ve made this stuff up, it is end of the world religious nonsense, they lie about their facts and their numbers, they dismiss climate history, and they immediately claim they have all the solutions which entails, no surprise, socialism and control.

        The proper libertarian response to climate change is to argue for the abolition of government school (why do they need the climate indoctrination if they have such a compelling case?), increased federalism, and abolition of government funding for science.

        1. The present increase is 38 Gigatonnes (about 2 ppm) of CO2 per year almost all of which is anthropogenic because the ground and the ocean are net absorbers of CO2.

        2. “abolition of government funding for science.”
          spoken like a loyal agent of the Chinese Communist Party

        3. I should have added the amount of CH4 added by human activity which is about two-thirds of the CO2-equivalent (in terms of green house effect). R=The sources are rice fields, ruminant animals, people, and blow-off of natural gas from oil wells.

        4. You’ve mistaken this site for 4chan.

          Please GTFO.

    3. If nothing else, the fact that Obama bought a $14M mansion at sea level shows he doesn’t believe in rising sea levels any more than he believes im masking and social distancing at birthday mega-parties

      I hate to sully such a spot-on excellent point, but I’m sure he has no doubt whatsoever that if he needs to move, his cronies will fund a new one just like they funded that one.

  9. Even if one believes the likelihood of catastrophic climate change is small, the consequences are sufficiently grave to justify prudent measures to reduce the likelihood and magnitude of adverse events.

    Even if one believes the likelihood of eternal hell is small, the consequences are sufficiently grave to justify taking steps to avoid such damnation.

    1. Interesting analogy but what does one do to avoid damnation? Different religions suggest different approaches. Much like combating climate change you need to select an approach compatible with your philosophy and hope it works.

      1. “you need to select an approach compatible with your philosophy and hope it works.”

        My approach is to do nothing. It will certainly work.

  10. If there’s one thing we can learn from the ongoing covid stuff, it’s that so called experts are frequently motivated by desire to advance a political agenda.

    1. Yes, the conspiracies multiply, and, interestingly, all make so much sense to everyone who shares your strong ideological preferences!

    2. Certainly true, we see politician willing to open up their constituents to Covid19 or to let climate change continue to get elected one more cycle.

  11. Many conservatives I know, and almost all libertarians I know, advocate for increased investment in Gen 3 and 4 nuclear reactors, which could eliminate all coal and natural gas power plants in the US by 2050, and will also go a long way toward a power grid that can handle widespread use of electric cars

    So there is your solution that is compatible with our philosophy

    1. Nuclear should absolutely be part of a mixed solution to power. But it has it’s own issues, and completely relying on it would be foolhardy.

      1. France almost completely relies on nuclear power.

        Doesn’t seem to be foolhardy for them.

        1. We’re a lot bigger. That means a lot more waste. Nuclear waste is a nontrivial problem.

          1. That was a stupid remark. What the heck does “we’re a lot bigger” establish? “We’re bigger” helps exactly as much as it hurts.

            Sure, we’d need more plants. We have more space to site them. Sure, we’d need to deal with more waste. We have more places to put it. We’re probably beyond the point where economies of scale help, but I wouldn’t count on it.

            Did you actually think before you wrote that, or did you just blurt out the first thing that came into your head?

            Yes, nuclear waste is a non-trivial problem. Building solar panels is a non-trivial problem as is recycling them as they reach end of life. Non-trivial is hardly the same as insoluble.

            1. Brett,
              You point out a problem that is usually ignored by advocates of renewables, i.e., total lifecycle costs in both money and carbon and the associated problems of disposing of toxic materials.
              Playing the race card, I’d note that we generally rely on little brown children to handle the toxic waste.
              One advantage of the SMR’s is that they are designed to have a larger burn-up of the fuel and to form of the fuel is extremely hard to break for diversion into avenues of nuclear proliferation.

      2. But it has it’s own issues

        The 50-year-old tech, yes. Not the newer designs the activists refuse to allow to be built here.

        1. You’re always going to have waste. Did you forget about the waste?

          1. Everything has waste. Solar panels have waste.

            We haven’t forgotten about the waste. We’d reprocess it. Almost all of it isn’t waste, it’s fuel that anti-nuke activists prevent from being recycled. The actual waste once you reprocess is a tiny fraction of what we’re dealing with today.

            And more recent designs for reactors could even burn the waste in place, while the reactor was running.

            Of course we didn’t forget about the waste, we’re just not willing to pretend it’s a monster problem.

            1. Brett,
              Your statement is mostly false. There is plenty of waste with very high radiotoxicity. That waste is comprised of fission products and minor actinides.
              Whether it is reprocessed to capture the plutonium and unburned u-235 is an economic question. Almost certainly partitioning the “waste” would be useful. But that could be very expensive with new fuel forms.

      3. Right now nuclear power is too expensive for most of the world. Small modular reactors (50 to 300 MW thermal) could change that picture dramatically, it it can showed that they can be produced in ractor factories. There are at least 30 designs being pursued in a dozen countries. There are heavy industries such as Sumitomo in the game. But the jury is still out.
        The problem with the present generation reactors in a world heavy with renewables is that LWRs cannot be operated in a load-following manner. They are most suitable for roughly baseload power supply

        1. Don Nico, another problem—for which I have never seen much public comment—is that small modular reactors will necessarily become numerous and widespread. Provision of security for such facilities would be scarcely less challenging or less expensive, per reactor, than it would be for traditional nuke plants—which have never been secured adequately anyway.

          Is the new technology so inherently safe that even determined terrorists in control of a plant couldn’t find anything harmful to do with it? Not even just steal waste products and contaminate major cities?

          If that is not true, then how do you economically provide for every new-style reactor—no matter how remotely located—24/7 security against, for instance, a platoon-sized attack by well-armed and well-trained terrorists? Seems like for real security you would want some kind of numerical advantage over presumed attackers, and round-the-clock security needs would multiply four- or five-fold whatever number that requirement produced. Could you really economically guard small, dispersed reactor sites if each one required maintenance of something like a 250-person militarized security staff?

          Keep in mind that, “perfection,” of some kind of small dispersed nuclear technology would invite its introduction world-wide, including by regimes with politically unreliable and unstable governments. How much confidence should the world put in those to maintain adequately disciplined security?

          I suggest there may be practical problems which go beyond just scaling up production and finding places to plug them in.

          1. For the most part, these reactors are envisioned to be used by the 10 to 20 in large power plants just as LWRs are now. The security challenges will be similar but likely they are reduced.
            I think that you have the exaggerated ideas of a nay-sayer.
            A gigawatt scale power plant is a very large facility of which the “boiler” is a very small component. The SMR are meant to reduce the cost and increase the safety not to spread over the country side

            1. Don Nico, put the production facilities in place, and of course their products will be used as you say—and will also be used to spread small power plants over the countryside—to serve remoter locations wherever efficient local generation is less capital intensive than building and maintaining long transmission lines to serve spot markets.

              By the way, you left unaddressed the question about what happens world-wide.

              I am something of a nay-sayer. I followed nuclear power policy issues since before the Three Mile Island incident. I did journalism in Idaho, where one of the nation’s largest concentrations of experimental reactors is cited. I repeatedly interviewed politicians who were in charge of nuclear policy for the nation, such as Idaho Senator James McClure, who then served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

              I was startled to discover that McClure knew almost nothing about any technical aspect of nuclear power generation. He did not even know reactors required cooling, or that without it they could melt down. He was skeptical about it when I told him otherwise. His friends in the nuclear industry had explained to him that each reactor was equipped with a switch you could use to turn it off, which made it totally safe. He knew they were better informed about the issue than I was.

              I learned as well that the nuclear industry had lied systematically about almost every aspect of nuclear danger, from radiation injuries at Hiroshima, to the effects of above-ground testing in Nevada, to the extent of the nuclear mess at Hanford, to the out-of-control plutonium processing catastrophe in Colorado, to even a simple local story about an open pit mine in Idaho, which was sold to the public as a molybdenum mine, but which was in fact built to mine thorium.

              I of course have a backlog of potential stories concerning alleged lies about things which went on at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, which I will never get back to. One of them was confirmed by happenstance, when a lava tube collapse disclosed that workers there had indeed been discarding contaminated equipment by sticking it in the many miles of natural lava tubes which lace the site.

              On that basis, I learned to distrust nuclear yea-sayers. I am still in the market to hear cautiously presented good news reports about nuclear power techniques, but no longer much enthused by the prospective ones.

              1. SL,
                You obviously prefer to ignore the matter of little brown children handling toxic waste to dispose of solar PV and associate storage systems. Do you also call the silence of the industries and the Infanta Greta lies?
                Was there irresponsible behavior in the nuclear enterprise in the past? Of course there was. I could make a long list. Three Miles Island was a minor incident. Chernobyl was a major accident, orders of magnitude different. Yet coal burning has caused more deaths by far than nuclear power.
                I expect that for every one of your nuclear incidents, one can find a serious incident in another industrial sector. That all proves nothing.
                As I wrote, the big impediment to more nuclear power is economic. If that hurdle is not overcome, one never wreaches the other questions.

                1. I think most of the economic problem is regulatory uncertainty driving interest costs. A plant will get partway finished, a regulation changes, and it has to be redesigned and possibly work already done torn out and rebuilt. Over and over, with costs mounting and no revenue.

                  Let the design be approved, and the plant be built as approved, and nuclear power would be affordable.

                  1. That is a large cost. But even getting licensing times to that for gas-burners would still leave Gen-4 large reactors to expensive absent major government subsidies. You may know what the real inflationary cost pressures are on conventional construction

                    “Let the design be approved, and the plant be built as approved, and nuclear power would be affordable.”
                    That is the major promise of SMRs. We’ll have to wait 10 years to see.

                    1. Don Nico, another problem with SMRs rarely gets mention by their advocates. Compared to custom-designed large nuclear generating plants, SMRs would be simpler, less expensive, and more reliably built to specifications. But they would still be among the most complicated and demanding fabrications made anywhere.

                      Quality control for that kind of work is always daunting. More so when mistakes along the way impose a requirement for honest assessment of errors already made, especially if those cannot be corrected without imposing possibly ruinous losses on the company doing the work.

                      That hazard will not be reduced, but only increased by making nuclear fabrications smaller and modular. No extensive steel fabrication is ever error free. Making the same fabrication over and over will mean that some errors discovered later might trigger recalls. Those could be either fabrication errors, quality control errors, or engineering errors.

                      I know from first-hand experience that situations of that sort come with the territory whenever heavy steel fabrication is used, and that such mistakes are typically handled with cover-ups and work-arounds outside specifications, not with enforcement of standards. To give you one succinct anecdote, when I watched the movie, “The China Syndrome,” I knew before anyone else in the theater what the big reveal was going to be—about the faked weld X-rays—because previously I had been taught in a welding class to be on the lookout for exactly that method of cheating—duplicating and re-using a satisfactory weld X-ray over and over again as a substitute for other X-rays which showed flaws. The film producers did not make that up. It was a known practice in the fabrication industry.

                      There is a major nuclear plant in operation in the U.S. with cooling system pipe hangers installed upside down, probably cancelling the plant’s designed-in earthquake resistance. Problem was, the error was not discovered until so late in the construction process that fixing it would have required something like hundreds of millions of dollars of re-work to later-installed components. So regulators just shrugged, only to be embarrassed when the fiasco found its way into the newspapers.

                      Modularizing construction will predictably improve fabrication reliability and ease quality control, while, also predictably, raising the financial stakes for any errors which do escape early detection. That in turn will create pressures to be, “realistic,” about backpedaling on safety. During a controversy, the public would be treated to press releases describing the, “enormous margin of safety,” designed into the process.

                      The nature of nuclear reactions drives and increases financial vulnerabilities. No other technology risks creation of long-lasting exclusion zones large enough to swallow major metropolitan areas. Each additional module becomes a statistically independent addition to risk. They are each less likely to fail, but you get more of them. If any one of them becomes suspect, they are all suspect until proven otherwise. That is a financial vulnerability which demands attention it is not getting from the pro-nuclear community, at least not in public.

                      Of course, if you raise the stakes on something like that high enough, you will always get back compromise pressure. After any nuclear mishap, plentiful reasons would be discovered to lower the standards, and make acceptance of a dangerously impaired environment the new normal.

                      Maintenance of standards in the face of such pressure would be complicated. Pro-nuclear policy makers would deliberately withhold whatever information tended to embarrass the policy and technology involved. There would be established certainty that the history of public communication with regard to nuclear issues is fraught with lies.

                      At some point, realistic public policy advocates may be forced to factor that long sordid history into their judgments, and choose instead among less-encumbered technologies. Pure technological advocacy cannot realistically do much to address that problem, and should not be permitted to ignore it.

                    2. Stephen,
                      You did not answer my question. Do you call the Infanta Greta a liar?

                    3. Stephen,
                      “Quality control for that kind of work is always daunting.”
                      Indeed the aircraft industry faces that challenge every day.

                      As a retiree, you have time now. Try reading Engineering a Safer World bu my colleague Nancy Leveson. Nancy analyses exactly the challenges that you allude to.
                      It can be downloaded for free from the MIT Press

                    4. Don Nico, I have yet to pay any attention to Greta. I have no idea what she says, or whether it is truthful or not.

                    5. SL,
                      “That hazard will not be reduced, but only increased by making nuclear fabrications smaller and modular. ”
                      Clearly you don’t know much about production engineering or quality control. Maybe you know how a printing press works, but such blanket claims are completely unfounded.

                      “I of course have a backlog of potential stories concerning alleged lies about things”
                      I can say just the same about your treasured American press. Although that would be whataboutism, I will give you one example, I was told over lunch by two reknown journalists in the late 1970’s about their witnessing Viet Cong thrown out of US helicopters. The NYT sat on that matter for 30 years before revealing it How is that for dishonesty by the blessed press.

                    6. Don Nico, thank you for the link to Leveson. I took a look, and quickly got sucked in. But you overestimate my free time. I am not at leisure. I will have to take it in bits, when I can. Certainly looks worthwhile.

                      Chapter 2, discussed how theoretically separate risk factors actually turn out at times to share common dependencies. That describes something which was a commonplace observation on shop floors where I worked doing steel fabrication. Workers with hands-on needs to get the job done tended to be highly alert to those connections, usually more so than their managers seemed to be. Some of what Leveson had to say struck me as what might have resulted if someone had simply had the sense to listen to skilled workers from time to time.

                      One problem with that, of course, is that such conversations get interpreted by upper management as an open invitation to add expense, and a way to inconvenience or embarrass management prerogatives. The more formal management education gets into the picture, the stronger that response seems to be.

                      I would love to talk to Leveson about what I take to be a tendency among formally trained managers to treat reliance on skilled labor as a detriment to management. Perhaps I will find something about that as I work through the balance of Leveson’s book.

                    7. Stephen,
                      Nancy is a really cool person, She was a hippie in the Haight in the 60s and was even homeless for a while. Now she is acknowledged world wide as an expert in risk management especially in the high tech world. She general runs a week-long workshop (free) about the system theoretic approach to risk management.
                      Here is her website.
                      I am sure that you’d enjoy a chance to speak with her

                2. Do you also call the silence of the industries and the Infanta Greta lies?

                  When I mentioned lies from the nuclear industry, I did not mean mistaken predictions about the future. I did not mean silence about ill effects, when disclosure would have been more forthright. I meant false stories knowingly concocted and systematically distributed in support of lethally dangerous polices which would predictably kill people in some instances, and in other instances inflicted lasting, grievous harm on the environment, with largely unknowable consequences for people.

        2. No argument – serious studies of nuclear modernization to reduce the cost and increase the reliability/yeild would be lovely.

          1. That is exactly the motivation that Bill Gates has had for TeraPower.

    2. The problem is that conservatives and libertarians are advocating, but Republican are worried about socialism and CRT. You may not like Democratic ideas, but at least they are putting ideas on the table.

  12. If you say you’re in favor of “A”, but your actions mitigate in favor of “B”, then . . . you’re actually in favor of “B”.

    1. Ah, like Obama, rising seas, masking, and social distancing.

      Or every other politician in history, but his recent hypocrisies are much to blatant to pass up.

  13. I don’t buy it. The whole 70-year history of the environmental movement is of one declaration of a phony emergency after another.

    1. jdgalt1, if genetically engineered agriculture gives out because it gets overwhelmed by herbicide-resistant weeds, would that be a phony emergency?

      1. “If”. But not much of an emergency. I’d say the future probably involves use of hyperspectral cameras, image recognition, and lasers, to kill weeds in detail in fields without application of any chemicals. Weed killers are a transitional technology between hand weeding and automated weeding.

    2. Ad hominem, but at an amorphous group.

      Now THAT’s a fallacy!

  14. Fuck off, slaver.

  15. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the IPCC report’s assumptions and the flaws with modern climate change reporting:


    Anyway, the libertarian solution to climate change? Get government out of the energy sector. Less subsidies for fossil fuels (and everything, but the fossil fuel subsidies are hilarious. Actually, the ‘green energy’ subsidies are pretty hilarious too, considering how many companies receiving them barely produced any energy – see Solyndra for an example). The market is already naturally moving away from coal (even with all the perverse government incentives built into it) – let the market work. And that means consumer preferences also matter.

    Also, remove the legal roadblocks to new nuclear plants. They’re vastly safer and have a lower environmental impact than basically any other power source. (They beat fossil fuels on emissions, and they beat ‘green’ power on space use – which is pretty darn important for reducing damage to natural habitats).

    We’re already heading for a situation where mitigation measures will be sufficient. No mass deprivation of well-being necessary to avoid catastrophic warming. The world will be a lot wealthier in 100 years if we just let markets function, and that wealth can pay for the necessary mitigation dozens of times over.

    1. “remove the legal roadblocks to new nuclear plants.”
      Legal roadblocks certainly increase the costs of capital due to prolonged approval times, but even so nuclear power is basically hamstrung by high cost unless governments (read China) subsidize it.
      SMRs promise much lower costs and streamlined licensing but that is yet to be proved

    2. “Actually, the ‘green energy’ subsidies are pretty hilarious too”
      You missed the biggest subsidy to “green energy” at least in the EU.
      Distributors are required by law to sell that energy first, even when it drives the cot of baseline power suppliers negative.
      The “Greenies” are given a huge economic advantage almost to the point of can’t fail

    3. The mass deprivation of wellbeing is the whole point.

  16. Jonathan,

    In the linked article you write:

    Many policies to increase the development and deployment of carbon-reducing technologies can be justified as prudent measures to address the threats posed by climate change, including the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, the removal of regulatory and other barriers to the development and deployment of carbon-reducing technologies, and reforms to federal R&D programs to accelerate and further incentivize clean energy research (such as through prizes).

    I agree with much, maybe even all – I’m not familiar with the regulatory issues – of this. What is the chance that the Republican Party will advance such proposals, or that a significant number of Republicans in Congress would support them if put forth by Democrats?

    1. If one wants to level the economic playing field then level it.
      Why should biomass burning hybrids be ruled out when they can be designed to be carbon negative?
      Why don’t we balance expenditure on “green energy” with expenditures for adaptation.
      There are many “no-lose” activities that are kept off the top of the list while idea like direct air capture of a minor atmospheric gas gets research funds.

      1. My notion of leveling would include properly accounting for externalities – an idea conservatives and libertarians seem to have a hard time with. That would probably involve a carbon tax.

  17. Global warming is likely to be beneficial on balance.

  18. The proper response from conservatives, libertarians and everyone else is to challenge climate science because it’s slipshodd, sloppy, statistically indefensible “science”.

    You have argued in the past that most people are not qualified to evaluate and pass judgement on scientific studies. First, as someone who is qualified to evaluate the statistics used (and mostly misused) in those studies, your faith is misplaced. More importantly, it is your obligation as a citizen to become informed on issues of importance. If you don’t think you’re qualified, go get qualified.

  19. I am not a scientist. I don’t read the in depth Studies because I can’t follow all of the technical stuff of climate science. But I can understand their conclusions, summaries, and predictions. The “what” I get… even if I can’t always follow the “how” of them getting there.

    Yet… for decades… the “what” has been certain global doom. It didn’t pan out. Ever. Over a multitude of predictions. It is like End-Times preachers predicting the day of the apocalypse. Their whole reputation is predicated on being right. After being wrong… over and over and over… I start to doubt their “what” and eventually even their “how” despite me not understanding it. I do understand it defintionally is wrong… or else their predictions would have come to pass.

    Does that mean I reject the possibility of climate damage? No. It means I have developed a metric fuckton of skepticism of those who keep telling me I was going to freeze in the seventies, burn up in 2000, or drown by 2010. Keep predicting incorrectly and I keep rejecting you as a source of knowledge.

    1. sparkstable, permit me to suggest a problem with your approach. Demanding, “knowledge,” about the future is too high a bar to be useful. Nothing ever gets over it, so there is no discernment to be had by relying on it.

      What is useful is to note current tendencies, and speculate on how they might interfere with continuance of stuff upon which our society puts heavy reliance. For instance, a very large part of our nation has always (during the last 20 centuries or so) been, *this close* to going back to Sahara-style desert conditions.

      Take a look at a fine-grained topographic map of western Nebraska. You can still see the old sand dunes waiting just beneath the sod, to restart the downwind march which some slight increase in moisture arrested not that long ago.

      The Dust Bowl was a real thing, and still is—just better managed, but with diminishing water resources to keep doing it.

      Consider the scab lands of eastern Washington, made useful for irrigated agriculture, because of dams on the Columbia and the Snake rivers. With just a bit more drought upstream, to make forest fires even worse, there is going to be a hell of a lot of silt headed down to fill those reservoirs with mud instead of water.

      Very large parts of Washington, Oregon, Inland California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah are right now on their way to looking more like Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona do now. Expect those latter three to drift in the direction of the Atacama.

      In the 1970s, central Idaho was perhaps the best place in the nation to go to look at the night sky in summertime. A sharp-eyed observer could see two moons of Jupiter without even resorting to binoculars. Not now. Now star gazers have to wait until the annual regional fires are done with, and have burned off everything they can in a season. To create a pristine desert like the Sahara will take some time. Judged on the scale of a human lifetime, it will seem a painfully protracted process, but far too swift, nevertheless. It is happening now. You do not need a model to imagine it.

      Sea level rise is a different subject than desertification. But with even more difficult implications. You do not need any predictive climate model to understand that melting Greenland and Antarctica will deliver rapid increases in sea level, notably faster than those seen so far. Evidence that that is happening is irrefutable. Giant status-quo protective infrastructure costs will not be fun. The alternative of not paying them will not be fun. Consequent floods of refugees hammering at the borders will not be fun.

      None of that needs accurate climate models to predict, because it is all plainly happening right now. Given all that, a reasonable question a person might ask is, “Would it be worth it for its own sake to develop cleaner energy resources?” And if it would, might the prospect of maybe alleviating some of that other stuff adjust the balance toward giving it a try?

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