Flight free talk

I gave my first ever public climate science talk at a Flight Free event in Edinburgh. If you’re interested in seeing my talk slides, you can download them here. The idea behind Flight Free is to encourage people to pledge to not fly in 2020.

In my talk, I mainly presented some of the basics (greenhouse effect, indicators of warming, consequences, and some of the possible impacts) and then some things that I’ve felt are quite useful to understand, but aren’t always appreciated (there is essentially no warming commitment, stopping climate change requires getting net emissions to zero, it’s going to be challenging, delaying emission reductions is likely to make it increasingly difficult). I tried to be partly hopeful (what we do now can make a difference) and partly somewhat more direct (the changes are probably irreversible and achieving some of our stated targets is going to be extremely challenging).

The other speakers were a Green party candidate, someone who runs a charity that tries to connect the arts and sustainability, and Anna Hughes, the UK Director of Flight Free. It was all quite measured and pleasant, and the audience were – as far as I could tell – quite engaged with the topic, and noone was adamantly demanding that everyone should stop flying (it was more about recognising some of the issues associated with flying and about considering limiting how much we fly). I enjoyed giving my talk and I thought it went okay; people were nicely complementary, but maybe they were just being polite 🙂

I also got to meet some people I’ve only ever interacted with on Twitter, which was very nice, and I’m also going to meet someone from extinction rebellion next week, which should also be interesting. So, I enjoyed my first venture out of social media. Apart from meeting with someone from extinction rebellion, I have no immediate plans to do more, but I quite enjoyed stepping outside my comfort zone, so I may well try and do more, if the opportunities arise.

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207 Responses to Flight free talk

  1. I also gave my first public talk on climate change last week; to our local gardening club—perhaps not on the same scale as yours. Like you, Ken, I didn’t come up against any significant resistance. A few of the usual denial tropes appeared—such as, “in the 60’s they told us an ice age was coming”—but these were dealt with very easily. At the end, perhaps because of the age profile of the audience—all pensioners—there was a general feeling that the problem was too many people on the planet. There’s no argument against that (does anyone think the global population isn’t big enough?) but I did say we were stuck with that fact. There followed a discussion about what we could do about it and I encouraged them to think about what things they did which consumed fossil fuels and to try to reduce them, but ultimately only governments could make the sort of changes necessary, so use their vote wisely. A couple of people told me afterwards that I’d ‘converted’ them. I guess from such little steps comes change.

    The other point I’d suggest is that those in hard core denial are a really tiny section of society.

  2. john,

    I also gave my first public talk on climate change last week; to our local gardening club

    Nice. A friend/colleague and I have been talking about developing some talk that we can to local groups. Haven’t gone very far with it yet, but it’s early days.

    The other point I’d suggest is that those in hard core denial are a really tiny section of society.

    Yes, maybe somewhat more vocal than average, but still a really small section of society.

  3. David B. Benson says:

    Except possibly in Africa, over population is solving itself with Japan leading the way. Don’t ask me to explain it.

  4. Greg Robie says:

    First, congratulations on trying on ‘discomfort’. It sounds like the most of that discomfort was in the anticipation phase of doing it. Except for parroting the assertion from the IPCC repost that there is no committed warming, a clear and concise set of presentation slides. But I do have a question about another.

    In my previous comments to the “2025” post, and regarding the IPCC hypothetical included in these slide, should I assume you discount both the decreasing transient heat storage role of the cryosphere, and the refracting lens function of the (highly likely?) rising seasonal lift of the tropopause in the Arctic within the context of the Arctic’s twilight dynamics?

    The slide I have a question about is the 10 year impact one. My understanding is that 10 years is the probable sweet spot for the 90% certainty range of 6 – 30 years regarding emissions and surface air temperatures. Whatever the actual may be, doesn’t other aspects of the forcings of the climate system – cryosphere, oceans, biome shifts and these impacts on insolation retention and CO2 capture dynamics – subsequently play out? If the accepted thinking is that they are all resolved within the the 90% range, that seems ‘silly’/motivated reasoning.

    FYI, I went to a “town hall” type event my district’s congressman hosted yesterday. He channeled the economic growth and expanding prosperity gaslighting of continued emissions and carbon capture within some non-specific Green New Deal framing. What was explicitly off the table was what Kevin Anderson articulates well; which the relevant slide also visualizes: short-term significant reduction in carbon within us high-emitters’ lifestyles. Or, what you’ve noted to be “extremely challenging” is, in his experience/belief, a political impossibility.

    “Adieu” redux! =|

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  5. I’d encourage it, Ken. And I’m sure other regulars to this website would be good at giving talks too.
    Round here, local Gardening Clubs pay from £50-£150 for talks and they need one every month. I guess there are other clubs and societies who would be equally as interested. In cities or suburbs they probably have more to spend. Not that you’re doing it for the money, of course; but you’ll find that they expect to pay more for good talks and will think it’s going to be poor if you offer to talk for free.

    And they’re always looking for something different. Keep the talk very visual—I used 43 slides in as many minutes—and keep it simple. I started by explaining the difference between weather and climate. Making it face-to-face is a very good way to spread understanding about climate change, and you’re getting to an audience whose only exposure is often via the Daily Mail and Express.

    One other issues is credibility. Although I have no qualifications in any subject allied to climate, I got over it by repeatedly stressing where each slide came from: Met Office, NASA; Berkley Earth or Scripps, for example and I was just putting it there in front of them. Overall they seemed to enjoy the talk, and declared it to have been an interesting talk. My wife is the Chair, so the feedback, I’m sure, was genuine.

  6. Greg,
    I don’t quite follow what you’re asking. There are certainly factors that are missing, or uncertain, that could influence what actually happens. Also, you’re right that the 10 years till peak warming is the median (IIRC) so it could take longer. However, if we do actually act soon to limit our emissions, these other issues are probably less important than if we fail to act soon.

  7. Not-in-my-name says:

    If you think the earth’s surface is warmer by 33C because of the atmosphere how do you account for the high daytime temperatures on the moon? If the atmosphere does anything it keeps us cooler during the daytime. The entire basis of climate science is wrong because it is not based on actual physics. There is an equivalent temperature of all stars which we can observe and they radiate almost like a black body and that is how we calculate their effective temperature. The effective temperature of the earth is -18C. This is the temperature somewhere in the troposphere. It is not the temperature of the earth’s surface without an atmosphere. Gravity compressing the atmosphere increases the temperature at the surface by about 33C. The so called climate scientist reverse all this and assume that the sun can only heat the surface to -18C and they have invented a greenhouse effect to create the additional warming. It is utter nonsense and it is now creating the bigger nonsense of a human caused climate crisis.

  8. MarkR says:

    Hey not in my name,
    How did you calculate the heat flux, in Watts per square metre from your proposed “compressing” heating effect?
    Including equations and numbers please.

  9. Not in my name,

    If you think the earth’s surface is warmer by 33C because of the atmosphere how do you account for the high daytime temperatures on the moon?

    That’s because, without an atmosphere, there is no latitudonal and longitudonal energy transport and so you calculate the energy on each patch of the surface using pure energy balance (i.e., the temperature of each square metre is set by the blackbody temperature that would lead to that square metre radiating as much energy as it gets from the Sun). If you do this, you find that the temperature of the subsolar point (the patch on the equator that points directly at the Sun) is actually very high (just below 400 K). However, the temperature drops dramtically with longitude and latitude away from this point and becomes very low on the nightside (< 100 K).

    So, it is true that the atmosphere keeps the temperature at the subsolar point on the Earth lower than it would be without an atmosphere, but it also keeps the other regions warmer than they would otherwise be, so that the effective temperature of the surface ends up being 33K warmer than it would be in its absence.

    Gravity compressing the atmosphere increases the temperature at the surface by about 33C.

    Maybe you can answer MarkR’s question, highlighting – in particular – how you can sustain this increase in the absence of a greenhouse effect.

  10. verytallguy says:

    Good summary slide deck.

  11. Joshua says:

    Nimn –

    > The entire basis of climate science is wrong because it is not based on actual physics.
    I have a kind of human-thinking physics question for you.

    If the entire basis of climate science is wrong, then what is the mechanism by which you think that so many scientists who study this subject, even some who are hardcore right-wingers, wind up to be so mistaken on this subject?

    The putative flaw you point out seems like it should be a rather obvious fact for climate scientists to reconcile in their theoretical understanding.

    Surely, for you to believe as you do, you must have some idea of what leads so many other people who study this subject to have such an obvious and fatal flaw in their understanding. I’d be curious to read your thinking about how that happens. It seems to me that the “leftwing hoax” theory wouldn’t apply in your case. Maybe it’s the “feeding from the trough of government funding” theory that you subscribe to?

  12. I think we do have too many human beings on the planet now and I don’t see a reasonable and humane way to reduce the population quickly, but we should be willing to review that possibility and possibly accept that it is true, then get serious about open discussion of ways to reduce our numbers over time without resorting to war, genocide, large-scale mortality events like famines etc.

    But, if the topic is climate change, then we have to recognize that the bulk of CO2 and CO2e emissions are created by the wealthiest human beings. At some point, that practice begins to look like genocide and a crime against humanity and nature. Furthermore, I think the wealthiest human beings, who are responsible for outlandish emissions, are not attending speaking events that address climate change and are not amenable to significant changes in their lifestyles.

    Are we willing to discuss and address that problem?

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916517710685

    “Regression analyses revealed people’s environmental self-identity to be the main predictor of pro-environmental behavior; however, environmental self-identity played an ambiguous role in predicting actual environmental impacts. Instead, environmental impacts were best predicted by people’s income level. Our results show that individuals with high pro-environmental self-identity intend to behave in an ecologically responsible way, but they typically emphasize actions that have relatively small ecological benefits.”

    I have made, and continue to make, choices that allow me to remain a low income person in the US because I have had a sense that wealth/income and environmental degradation are closely connected.

    Air flight? Last flight was in 1999 I think when my father collapsed and I had to travel and bring him back to live near me so that I could help him maximize his quality of life in the last couple years he was alive.

    Cheers

    Mike

  13. If everyone on the planet stopped flying tomorrow and never flew again, the IPCC climate models say that the earth would be cooler by 0.054°C by 2050.

    Anyone who refuses to fly in order to achieve that ludicrously small change (which may not even happen) is a deluded individual who has drunk the koolaid and is merely virtue-signaling at a rate of knots.

    Perhaps that impresses their friends, I don’t know … but it certainly doesn’t impress any realists.

    w.

  14. Willis,
    Quoting Bjorn? A few things to bear in mind. Aviation is projected to grow, so clearly it could contribute much more than that. Also, it’s only a small fraction of the world’s population who fly, so it makes up quite a large fraction of their carbon footprint. Hence, if they’re interested in trying to reduce their personal carbon footprint, flying is one area they could look at. This is especially true if we consider trips that could use some alternative (rail instead of aviation, for example). It’s also a very difficult sector to decarbonise, so if we are to try and achieve the Paris goals, then its growth could make up a big fraction of the remaining budget making it increasing diffult to achieve these goals. Also, if you consider all emitting activities in isolation, you could probably make a similar argument. Ultimately, addressing climate change is going to require getting (net) emissions to zero, which will require considering how to deal with emissions from all sectors.

  15. If we are trying to avoid an additional 1.0C of warming, then 0.054C is about 1/18th, 5.4% of our remaining “budget”, expressed that way. Compared to all other sources/sectors – or even the overall goal – not so small at all.

  16. Joshua says:

    Willis –

    > Anyone who refuses to fly in order to achieve that ludicrously small change (which may not even happen) is a deluded individual who has drunk the koolaid and is merely virtue-signaling at a rate of knots.

    By this logic, when you read comments in the “skept-o-sphere” that are critical of people concerned about climate change for flying to conferences about climate change (or other behaviors deems inconsistent with their concern), do you call the “skeptics” writing those comments deluded (or use some other epithet)?

    Right?

  17. Willis said:

    “If everyone on the planet stopped flying tomorrow”

    If Willis stopped commenting tomorrow about climate science topics he is unqualified to discuss, then perhaps we could be spared propaganda such as this from Willis:

    Initial WUWT post during the horrible Paradise/Camp fire of 2018, where Willis claimed little warming for California

    Then some non-WUWT’s such as Nick Stokes caught him on it and he replaced it with this, but the damage was already done

  18. Joshua says:

    Willis –

    Let’s consider an analogy. Say that in the 60’s, someone in Alabama had said that they wouldn’t vote for a segregationist – would you have called them delusional for thinking that their single vote would make any difference?

    What is your technique for getting into someone else’s head to assess their motivation – in other words, to determine whether they change their behavior as a true attempt to make a contribution no matter how small, and when it’s simply “virtue signaling?”

    I’d like to learn your technique. That way the next time you write one of your posts championing that we should think of the children who will be harmed by pricing fossil fuels to account for externalities (under the mistaken assumption that ding so will necessarily reduce their access to energy), I can figure out whether you’re doing so to virtue signal, or because you’re really concerned about children.

  19. David Appell says:

    What happened to the warming commitment? It was about 0.5 C in the aughts, wasn’t it?

  20. If I may use a mixed social media technique for a poll.

  21. David,
    That’s roughly the commitment if atmospheric CO2 remains constant. If we actually manage to halt all emissions (or get net emissions to zero) then atmospheric CO2 will actually drop so that there is potentially no warming commitment. e.g.,

  22. octal says:

    Not-in-my-name,

    Why don’t you just tell everybody that what you’re saying actually relies on Ned Nikolov that is basically saying that every atmospheric physicist is wrong and that GHE simply does not exist ?

  23. johnrussell40: there was a general feeling that the problem was too many people on the planet.

    We have to get emission to zero in 2050. If we would currently have less people that would make it easier, but future population growth does not do much over such a short period. Once we are at zero emissions, it is X times zero is zero; population size no longer matters.

    Plus, as already mentioned wealth matters much more than simply existing. For other environmental problems the argument fits better.

    David B. Benson: “Except possibly in Africa, over population is solving itself with Japan leading the way. Don’t ask me to explain it.

    Could you explain that? As far as I know also in Africa the number of children per woman is at reproduction level for young people. The population is still quite young and will grow because of that.

    The only thing that worries me about these population transitions is that we do not understand the reason. So it is possible that it will change again; extrapolation is dangerous without understanding the problem.

  24. Mal Adapted says:

    Giving up flying (or limiting it to emergencies) isn’t a sacrifice for me. I used to love flying, but soon got real tired of the deteriorating comfort, escalating security requirements and general user-unfriendliness of the experience. Now I avoid it if I have the slightest excuse.

    not in my name:

    The entire basis of climate science is wrong because it is not based on actual physics.

    Climate science is based on actual physics if anything is, including actual physics. Otherwise no one, certainly not random cracked pots on the Internet, has any justified knowledge of observable phenomena at all. How do you know you’re not wrong? The regulars on this blog, myself included, are pretty sure you are. I’m inclined to assign our collective judgment more credibility than yours. Sorry, but you can’t call yourself a climate scientist until you get past peer review. Deal.

  25. ecoquant says:

    I fly rarely, but it is going to be more difficult to avoid it because both my sons have moved to London and, moreover, my younger son and wife (married in a civil) are having a big wedding bash hosted by her family in Talinn, Estonia next Summer. I’m in Massachusetts.

    I know it’s not the same as avoiding the flights, but I do offset in a sensible way: Buying WRECs from New England Wind.

    When I used to travel for business to D.C., I insisted that most of the time I take the Acela Express. But there’s only so much you can do.

  26. some things that I’ve felt are quite useful to understand, but aren’t always appreciated (there is essentially no warming commitment, stopping climate change requires getting net emissions to zero, it’s going to be challenging, delaying emission reductions is likely to make it increasingly difficult)

    It’s always interesting seeing the points – and slides, plots! – presenters choose to make/use. I appreciate seeing yours.

    I know we don’t get to hear what you said around these slides, but whereas the slides themselves for your “underappreciated” points make your case plainly to me, you seem to just leave the “difficult/challenging” points just floating out there (possibly just slide 11 for those two points?).

    I often feel you hesitate/hedge on these points, so maybe it’s just confirmation bias, but I think it remains perhaps the biggest “information deficit” out there – this is going to be incredibly difficult and expensive. Instead, we still keep drilling into people the need for action, and then shift into some sort of reassurance narrative that this is not going to be too difficult.

    It’s like telling a middle-aged couch potato that they need to run a sub-3:00 marathon in 90-days, and then tell them that it will be “challenging”, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Wrong. And I don’t think it helps to frame it like this.

    I am conflating other presentations here, and I don’t know what you specifically emphasized here, but I see this movie over and over. Kevin Anderson being one of the few who seems to have tossed the “don’t frighten the horses/don’t let them really know what’s needed” playbook in the bin.

    Again, thanks for sharing the slides.

  27. Mal Adapted says:

    smallbluemike:

    I think we do have too many human beings on the planet now and I don’t see a reasonable and humane way to reduce the population quickly, but we should be willing to review that possibility and possibly accept that it is true, then get serious about open discussion of ways to reduce our numbers over time without resorting to war, genocide, large-scale mortality events like famines etc.

    Soon after puberty, I made the decision not to father offspring. My motives weren’t exactly selfless, as I mainly just never wanted to be bothered. Regardless, there was a time when I thought runaway population growth was the overarching threat to global human society and the biosphere.

    I’ve since learned that the global total fertility rate declined from over 5 in the mid-1960s to about 2.5 today. The estimated replacement rate is about 2.3 children per woman. Brazil and China are both now at a TFR of 1.7; The US is at 1.8; India, 2.2; and Indonesia, 2.3. That is, five of the world’s six most populous countries are presently at or below replacement TFR. Although some countries, many in sub-Saharan Africa, still have TFRs as high as 7.0, all the world’s nations show declines since the ’60s. Globally, population is expected to rise while the current demographic bulge of child-bearing women and their offspring ages out, then stabilize between 10 and 12 billion in the next century. That’s still a large number, but not open-ended.
    Proposed explanations for the broad decline in TFR are interesting. Private decisions by women appearing to be the primary proximate drivers. Direct investment of public and NGO money in family planning, along with greater female education and empowerment overall, are credited more ultimately. With the private benefit of smaller families driving behavioral changes in modern economies, the upshot is that population growth itself isn’t the inexorable tragedy of the Commons Garrett Hardin and Paul Erlich thought it was. All good, but remember I=PAT. If P isn’t increasing, attention shifts to AT. Justice requires that average A (affluence) not decrease, so our hopes for stabilizing climate are pinned on T (technology): namely, replacing fossil-carbon energy technology with carbon-neutral alternatives, by targeted collective intervention in the ‘free’ (of targeted collective intervention) global energy market.

    30 years after publishing The Tragedy of the Commons, Hardin remarked that he erred by not titling it “The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons”. Anthropogenic climate change is a drama of the global Commons, but it need not be an ultimate global tragedy.

  28. Intermediate results.

    Willis Eschenbach bloging 25% ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Flying 75%

  29. ecoquant says:

    On the impact of flying …

    Water vapor emitted at stratospheric altitudes apparently has a worse effect than if it is emitted at sea level, in addition to contributing to the formation of contrails.

    While there are plenty of moral and personal ethical reason not to fly, in order to actually have a dent on emissions, enough people need to boycott so the number of flights diminishes. There is some limited evidence this is actually happening in Sweden.

  30. Joshua says:

    So it looks like maybe Willis just came by to drop off a drive by insult and then disappear.

    Shocker. So uncharacteristic.

  31. Greg Robie says:

    ATTP, my IIRC of a tweet by Ken Caldeira about this peak warming, is that the range related to the warming of the surface air temperature metric. I don’t know the constraints that yield the graph you’ve used from his and Ricke’s work, but it strikes me as rather presumptuous, given the dynamic role of the latent heat of ice in the planet’s crysophere, the long cycling time of ocean heat transfer mechanisms, the terrestrial biome shifts and their time lines and those impacts on CO2 sequestering relative to the climate system, and all these impacts on surface air temperatures, to conclude what is asserted about the IPCC’s hypothetical. Perhaps this ‘follow’ thing dynamic relates to the linguistic challenges the modeling convention contributes and confuses communication: its the-world-ends-in-2100 framing? There are good reasons for that framing, so perhaps it is only somewhat ‘silly’/motivated reasoning to talk about peak [anthropogenic] warming … and hypotheticals?

    FYI, my first flight-not-taken (a ‘free’ trip to Maui) was, like Mike’s last-one-taken, in 1999. But a daughter’s friend took “my” seat. I missed my father-in-law’s memorial service (which the rest of my family flew to). Given what my choices have meant to me, I assumed this conference was finally one that had explicitly effected an international participation without flying. I think that giving up flying for a year is the height of hubris; silliness-as-piety regarding motivated reasoning. But Homo narcissus-R-US?

    & “US”, especially! =|

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  32. jacksmith4tx says:

    smallbluemike,
    You are my brother by another mother. Respect.
    Almost 10 years now since I went solar, 4 years with a EV, 77MWh total gen, 45MWh carbon free exported to grid. Sadly, I live embedded in a dense urban region that is wholly dependent on massive energy consumption and rampant over consumerism. Still I take every opportunity of avoid waste and minimize my footprint. I ran the numbers through a few of the online carbon footprint calculators and my CO2 emissions are just about the same as a rural Asian.

    We humans are now so dependent on technology. I hope we can use genetic engineering to reduce global human population humanely. Perhaps shorten puberty down to the first 6-8 years of age before we can sexually reproduce then shift the fertility window out to 40-50 age range. It’s possible there could even be positive feed-backs from either altering hormone levels or the effect hormones have on our most undesirable personality traits. Brave New World.

  33. ecoquant says:

    Very well analyzed, Greg! At least IMO, but I’m not a scholar of this biz.

  34. ATTP said:

    Willis,
    Quoting Bjorn? A few things to bear in mind. Aviation is projected to grow, so clearly it could contribute much more than that, etc., etc. …

    ATTP, despite your attempts to spin and minimize what I said, it is still true. If everyone quit flying the IPCC models say it would cool the planet by 0.054°C by 2050 … of course, those same models have never been right before, but let’s ignore that …

    So if you want to hugely inconvenience yourself for no gain, go ahead and do it … just don’t pretend that you’re making any difference. You’re not.

    And please, I implore you, don’t assume that advocating such meaningless virtue signaling gives you the moral high ground. It doesn’t make you look noble. It makes you look foolish.

    It also makes you look like you don’t care about the environment … I don’t think that’s true, but it sure makes you look like that. Money can only be spent once, and advocating spending it on imaginary environmental solutions means it isn’t there to spend on real environmental problems.

    Regards to all,

    w.

  35. Willard says:

    Dear Willis,

    You say: despite your attempts to spin and minimize what I said, it is still true. Then you go on to repeat the same talking point of your previous comment without addressing anything that was said against it. In every single paragraph. That’s the only thing you say, in fact.

    So you’re the one who’s spinning right now.

    Furthermore, your spin minimizes the importance of going flight free, which is intriguing considering the usual contrarian tu quoque, e.g.:

    Google is hosting a three day climate summit packed with A-list activists arriving by mega yacht and private jet.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/07/31/a-list-google-private-jet-and-megayacht-climate-summit/

    As a ClimateBall veteran, you ought to know that every bit of CO2 counts. Your point does not counter this. It’s just an irrelevant factoid instead of a complete counter-argument. A bait. A squirrel.

    À bon entendeur &c,

    W

  36. Joshua says:

    October 20, 2019 at 5:38 pm
    Willis –

    Anyone who refuses to fly in order to achieve that ludicrously small change (which may not even happen) is a deluded individual who has drunk the koolaid and is merely virtue-signaling at a rate of knots.

    By this logic, when you read comments in the “skept-o-sphere” that are critical of people concerned about climate change for flying to conferences about climate change (or other behaviors deems inconsistent with their concern), do you call the “skeptics” writing those comments deluded (or use some other epithet)?

    Right?

    Wrong. The fact that someone speaks out against X does NOT mean they perforce must speak out against Y. I can speak out against murderers and be totally silent regarding armed robbers.

    Me, I don’t care if someone flies or not. Meaningless to me.

    However, it seems you misunderstand most folks objection in this regard. It is not to the flying. It is to the hypocrisy of those people endlessly lecturing us on our CO2 footprint who then take a private jet to a conference, or go on a long airplane vacation. The problem is the hypocrisy, not the CO2.

    Regards,

    w.

  37. Victor Venema (@VariabilityBlog) says:

    October 20, 2019 at 7:39 pm
    If I may use a mixed social media technique for a poll.

    Victor, your poll is hilarious. A full quarter of the respondents say that I have more effect on future warming than does flying … guess what?

    Your poll backfired and bit you in the ass.

    w.

  38. Willis,
    Well, the mis-information spread by you and others at Watts Up With That may well have contributed to the lack of action that has lead to us failing to yet reduce our emissions. To be fair, that may be over-playing your significance.

  39. dikranmarsupial says:

    Willis said “ATTP, despite your attempts to spin and minimize what I said, it is still true. If everyone quit flying the IPCC models say it would cool the planet by 0.054°C by 2050 … of course, those same models have never been right before, but let’s ignore that …”

    citation required.

    Those of us who understand calculus know that some big things are comprised of many small individual components. Also if we in the developed world are not willing to make small sacrifices in our lifestyles (mostly to do with “wants”) why should they make sacrifices in their lifestyles (mostly things we would regard as “needs”).

  40. Willis,

    It is to the hypocrisy of those people endlessly lecturing us on our CO2 footprint who then take a private jet to a conference, or go on a long airplane vacation. The problem is the hypocrisy, not the CO2.

    Well if flying is irrelevant, why is this hypocritical?

  41. Steven Mosher says:

    Not flying is not my first choice of actions.

    Folks focus on not flying because the vast majority dont fly. It is easy to gore the other guys
    ox. Tough to gore your own. The toughness of goring your own is seen by the struggle that
    some AGWers have with stopping their flying.

    So King for a day, I’m not picking airplanes.
    1) the payback is small
    2) the losers are likely to be very very vocal and you can lose traction on more substantive issues

    of course my living depends upon flight so I am biased. But if folks decide to gore my ox, I’m less likely to go along peacefully on the next issue.

  42. Steven,
    Something that seemed to come across in the meeting was to avoid flight shaming. The goal isn’t to get people to not fly at all, it’s to get people to think about whether or not they really do need to take as many flights, or to consider an alternative if possible. Clearly there will be people who need to fly, including some who are vocal climate activists. The question is whether or not that is the optimal thing to do, not to suggest that it should never happen.

  43. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Not flying is not my first choice of actions.”

    Good job we don’t have to choose only one action. Taking “The Crutape Letters” off the market ought to be easily implemented and potentially reduces the proxy emissions from all those that otherwise would be misled by it.

  44. Greg Robie says:

    I’d like to trust that it was noted that, when trying to clarify my question, I constrained myself to the [somewhat/mostly] known planet-centric surface air temperature forcings. I left out the seasonal forcing of the elevated Arctic tropopause within Arctic’s twilight dynamics. This seems to be either overlooked or felt to be sufficiently averaged into things to be functionally ignored.

    However, even in the hypothetical this forcing increases and, thereby, adds heat to the climate system on an ongoing basis. The Inuit hunter observations suggest that this forcing started to be observable about 70 years ago (i.e., during these men’s lifetimes). If it is, and is omitted in the paper that justifies the “Peak Warming” graph, its calculations are off by a forcing that plausibly has a doubling rate of between 40-50 years, and is in – perhaps – its fifth doubling cycle (at the very least completing its fourth).

    Since such an unconsidered/unknown unknown would go a long way toward accounting for the observed ‘early’ loss of Arctic sea ice, permafrost, and land based ice, isn’t a continued omission behavior that boarders on willful ignorance; motivated reasoning?

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  45. Willard says:

    > The fact that someone speaks out against X does NOT mean they perforce must speak out against Y.

    More generally, X does not mean perforce Y simpliciter. Unless X is Y. Even then, must X really mean X?

    Must Willis perforce spin his minimizations here? If not, he must not perforce use the “must perforce” trick.

  46. ecoquant says:

    @Willis Eschenbach,

    The world doesn’t end in 2050.There are lags but, then, if you are as expert as you claim, you know that of course if you do, that implies you are trying to distract, obfuscate, and underwrite a luckwarmer perspective.

    Aviation emissions are just about 5% of all of them. Considering how few of people on the planet partake I’d say some really hefty taxes on it are in order.

  47. Joshua says:

    Willis –

    First, sorry for jumping to conclusions based on your lack of response, to imply that you were engaged in an insult and run. Glad to see you came back to respond.

    > The problem is the hypocrisy, not the CO2.

    If the amount people fly is irrelevant, then a question I have is why do people such as yourself take time out if their day to write epithets about people advocating for less flying?

    You say it’s because you’re *concerned* about the issue of hypocrisy, but I think you left us some good clues about in your follow-on response that suggest perhaps otherwise.

    Please notice that in your original comment at 4:53, there was no mention of this “problem” of hypocrisy that you later explain is your concern. So that seems a bit inconsistent.

    Now, later you say –

    > It is to the hypocrisy of those people endlessly lecturing us on our CO2 footprint who then take a private jet to a conference, or go on a long airplane vacation.

    You showed up HERE to drop epithets in a post written by Anders, where no one was lecturing anyone, let alone “endlessly” doing so, and where presumably many people make efforts to limit their flying – so there’s no apparent hypocrisy of the sort that concerns you at the blog where you came to express your *concern.*.

    I think it’s a classic sign of an amateur approach to science to lump a together diverse group of people with a cartoonish depiction, particularly if you then use such a poor process of categorizing in bad faith to assign guilt by association.

    I would suggest that engaging in the form of identity aggression that it seems to me you engaged in is more likely a bigger “problem” than the hypocrisy you’re *concerned* about. Not that your tendency to focus on insulting, derived from poor reasoning, has much differential impact – just one more person engaging in that behavior makes little difference in the long run.

    Now how about your *concerns* about virtue signaling? Since you’re *concerned* about that, and because of that concern you spend time assessing people’s motivations to ferret out when they are virtue signally, and then you spend time insulting people based on having figured out that their motivation was to virtue signal, can you please be so kind as to spend a little time explaining your technique for motivation-divining?

    I’d like to apply your technique to your posts where you express your concerns about children to see what your technique would show. I want to make sure they aren’t motivated by virtue signaling – because if they were that would be hypocrisy – and given your level of *concern* about that “problem” – maybe if we work together we can figure out if you should start taking down your posts.

  48. Willis Eschenbach says: “However, it seems you misunderstand most folks objection in this regard. It is not to the flying. It is to the hypocrisy of those people endlessly lecturing us on our CO2 footprint who then take a private jet to a conference, or go on a long airplane vacation. The problem is the hypocrisy, not the CO2.

    I hope you will allow me to guess that it is only the hypocrisy of the people you have determined to be your enemy? WUWT was crying outrage about commuters being blocked by the Extinction Rebellion, while shortly after cheering on anti-green farmers blocking the roads.

    #StupidTribalism

  49. ecoquant says:

    @VariabilityBlog

    And such tunnel vision (and actual hypocrisy) is seen in other places: Standards for solar and wind farms to impact forests and fields and environments are set high, by neighbors and probably covertly by opponents to zero Carbon energy, but tree fellings for residential developments, and annoying and loud clusters of landscaping and lawn mowing services or even pesticide spraying are tolerated throughout suburbia.

  50. Joshua says:

    VV –

    > I hope you will allow me to guess that it is only the hypocrisy of the people you have determined to be your enemy?

    Well, at least with virtue-signaling, Willis has a chance here to show that he applies the same evaluative standards to his own public expressions of *concern* as he does to the concerns of people he disagrees with.

    That in turn might at least help him to demonstrate that his *concern* about the “problem” of hypocrisy doesn’t selectively exclude himself.

  51. Mitch says:

    You should think about the alternate view for restricting air travel–it leaves more room for those that don’t care to continue their actions. A person buying an electric vehicle offsets someone else to buy a gas guzzling pickup and also enables him.

    Flying should be like dieting–just be aware. Teleconferences are nowhere near as effective as actual meetings.

  52. “Teleconferences are nowhere near as effective as actual meetings.” I think regional conferences with skyped appearance by keynote speakers with extensive Q&A sessions could be very effective. I agree that a person benefits from sharing a table or lunch/breaks, work sessions with peers can spark growth and understanding. I also think we can manage all that without airflight if we wanted to make that happen.

    Here we are, hanging out with CO2 at 408 ppm and continuing to rise without any clear sign of a slowdown, and we know that allowing CO2 to continue to rise spells disaster. When, if ever, are we going to look at that situation and say, well, that’s it, I am going to change my life now, I am no longer going to engage in the activities that have a really large emission footprint unless it is really important. Conferences are certainly an area where a climate scientist can lead the way and demonstrate how it can be done. I think Kevin Anderson is on this path already.

    Warm regards

    Mike

  53. “American adults can be divided up into three groups. About one-half (53%) of those didn’t fly in 2017. Another one-third (35%) flew 1 to 5 times per year and are responsible for about one-third of all flights. The remaining minority of Americans –12% to be exact – who fly six or more times per year were responsible for about two-thirds of all flights in 2018. That’s an average of 14 flights per person.”

    https://theicct.org/blog/staff/should-you-be-ashamed-flying-probably-not

    A little data and analysis can be helpful. I think if we dig down into the lifestyles of these 12%ers, we would find that their total footprint is astounding. What should be done about these folks? If we want to be effective, we need to look at the data and focus our flight-reduction energy on the folks who are driving the problem of airflight emissions.

    Mike

  54. Ben McMillan says:

    This article suggests an interesting way individual choices on climate change can lead to collective progress:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/21/leading-engineers-turn-their-backs-on-new-fossil-fuel-projects

    It looks like the desire (especially of young engineers) not to contribute to fossil-fuel extraction could cause a shortage of engineers in certain companies, or at least lead to a drain of talent from consultancies heavily involved in coal-mining etc. That is one of the ways that a company that does something widely regarded as damaging loses their social contract to operate, well before it becomes illegal. Wonder if that will start happening in the air travel business?

    If you like, this is part of a process of isolation that occurs, so when the hammer does finally fall on the operation, the knock-on effects are on people who have made a conscious choice to be heavily involved. At some point there is a critical mass where the whole sector is acting outside of the ‘normal’ economy of ‘reputable’ firms.

  55. eq says: “Aviation emissions are just about 5% of all of them. Considering how few of people on the planet partake I’d say some really hefty taxes on it are in order.”

    Mike says, first flight of the year has no hefty tax. Second flight incurs a 10% tax. Third and fourth flights incur an additional 15%, then fifth and above start to incur hefty tax, maybe an additional 50%, tenth and above are taxed at 300% of the ticket cost. Target the taxes at the folks who are driving airport expansion and airflight emissions.

    This is not rocket science. We could do something about it if we wanted to. Any question about why we won’t do something about it should start with an analysis of the flight habits of our representatives, senators and officials who set public policy.

    Mike

  56. [Please chill, dear Willis. This is not Tony’s. – W]

  57. David Appell says:

    Willis wrote:
    [Mod: This bit has been moderated, so have done the same here.]

    Actually it’s the carbon emitters who are the totalitarians, having decided they have the right to change the climate as they wish, lasting for the next 100,000 years and impacting tens of billions of future inhabitants of the planet.

    “A true conservative would logically be a raging environmentalist, and the fact that the vast majority of alleged “conservatives” are completely in the pocket of the extractive and exploitation industries is a testament to the intellectual bankruptcy of the movement.”
    http://forums.talkingpointsmemo.com/t/discussion-what-a-maine-tea-party-battle-can-tell-us-about-obamacares-future/23072/6

  58. ecoquant says:

    @Mitch,

    A person buying an electric vehicle offsets someone else to buy a gas guzzling pickup and also enables him.

    Actually, this is not true, and thereby breaks the usefulness of the idea for air travel. It’s not true because ICE and gas guzzlers are not exchangeable with EVs. This is also the idea behind decentralized electrical energy versus grid centric: They are not exchangeable.

    In the case of EVs, because they are a different technology, one which has positive features well beyond being (effectively, in the limit) zero Carbon, as EV adoption expands, without even changing prices on ICEs, they get more expensive to own and operate: There are fewer gas stations, fewer repair shops, fewer dealerships and, when the numbers of EVs on the road are adequately large, insurance for ICEs will go up. These happen because EVs are inherently superior, they more reliable, they are safer.

    Similarly, a home or business which gets most of its power from its own generation, with storage for smoothing, is for its owners a superior solution to the centralized grid, whether or not that grid delivers zero Carbon energy or not. And as more people defect from the centralized grid, the cost of getting power from it increases, since there is a fixed plant whose operating costs need to be supported by a smaller footprint. It is even more the case for homes and businesses which rely upon fossil fuels for heating or operation: Eventually, the cost of the fossil fuel distribution network burdens the consumers, and more consumers abandon that energy source.

    In the case of air travel, this doesn’t apply so much: Sure, they can dial down the number of flights, which would be a good thing, but until the number of flights is so small that either the cost of a flight needs to go up or airlines and airports begin folding, the impact isn’t as high.

    In the former case of EVs and decentralized power, political jurisdictions and companies which do not access the superior technology will be burdening themselves with more expensive than necessary power. Presumably this will affect their competitiveness, as it does for homes and businesses, in the case of homes, for resale value, in the case of businesses, for margin.

  59. Steven Mosher says:

    Jesus , you guys want to kill my business flying and also kill my income from my wildly popular best seller? and force me to eat my vegetables and give up beef? and I’m suppose to be motivated to save the planet for people like ya’ll and your spawn? huh?

    I definately buy the science. no sales job required there. but ya need to work on selling the rest of the package

  60. ecoquant says:

    October 21, 2019 at 6:41 pm
    @Willis,

    It doesn’t matter on this point whether or not Democrats win elections, or if you “believe” in these outcomes or not. Climate disruption is coming for your wealth, and, as I’ve noted — no doubt generating great unpopularity for myself — when it does take the wealth from people like you and your kids, I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh and applause.

    Egad, sire, indeed you’ve put your finger on a fundamental difference between us.

    Me, I hope that you have all the wealth you may need.

    You, you hope I end up impoverished and in the gutter.

    And you think you have the moral high ground?

    Charming …

    w.

  61. “Mike says, first flight of the year has no hefty tax. Second flight incurs a 10% tax. Third and fourth flights incur an additional 15%, then fifth and above start to incur hefty tax, maybe an additional 50%, tenth and above are taxed at 300% of the ticket cost.”

    I can see the value of that approach. But distance matters and the reasons for flying matter.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if most of the people flying to Hawaii every day are taking their first and only flight of the year. But there is no “need” for anyone in the US to sit on a beach in Hawaii, you can drive a hybrid or take the train to thousands of miles of US coast for sun, sand and drinks.

    If you want to restrict unnecessary flying, restrict airline access to unnecessary places. In a zero emissions world, tourism in Hawaii would look like it did in the 1920s.

  62. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Hey Willis! Are you American?

    For 2018:

    Global oil production rose by 2.2 million b/d or 1.5 %. Almost all of the net increase was accounted for by the US, with their growth in production (2.2 million b/d), a record for any country in any year.

    Natural gas consumption rose by 195 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 5.3%, one of the fastest rates of growth since 1984. Growth in gas consumption was driven mainly by the US (78 bcm), supported by China (43 bcm), Russia (23 bcm) and Iran (16 bcm).

    You were saying something about hypocrisy? From the moral high ground?

    And, actually, the problem IS the CO2.


    I definately buy the science. no sales job required there. but ya need to work on selling the rest of the package

    The science isn’t for sale, and as for everything else, the Steven-Mosher-Buy-In-Index sets a new benchmark for puffery.

  63. Willard says:

    > you guys want to kill my business flying

    Charge more. Problem solved.

    Deal with it.

  64. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Jesus , you guys want to kill my business flying and also kill my income from my wildly popular best seller?”

    Well, it was an instance of my “king for a day one thing we could do”

    “I definately buy the science. no sales job required there. but ya need to work on selling the rest of the package”

    some irony there re. comments about deadlines ;o)

  65. Mal Adapted says:

    Willis Eschenbach:

    However, it seems you misunderstand most folks objection in this regard. It is not to the flying. It is to the hypocrisy of those people endlessly lecturing us on our CO2 footprint who then take a private jet to a conference, or go on a long airplane vacation. The problem is the hypocrisy, not the CO2.

    This looks to me like sheer defensiveness on your part: the guilty fleeing when none pursueth. Well, I’ma lecture you now, although I assure you it will end, right here if it’s tl;dr ;^). Ahem: rising atmospheric CO2 is the problem, Willis. It gets incremented every time anyone consumes fossil fuels or any good or service produced with them, in proportion to the amount consumed. Anyone with even the most tenuous connection to the global economy contributes to anthropogenic global warming. That self-evidently includes you and all other commenters here. Contrary claims are by now extraordinary. Strictly FWIW, I think you’re the hypocrite. Denying your share of collective responsibility for the problem helps you resist social pressure to contribute to a collective response. Of course you don’t want to be ‘lectured’ about it. It’s as if mere acknowledgment of AGW, ‘endless’ once made, is exhorting you to step up.

    The tragedy of the Commons arises, in part, because voluntary internalization of socialized costs runs into the free-rider problem: I make a voluntary sacrifice; you don’t; you enjoy a marginal benefit of my sacrifice at no cost to you. It’s the “if I don’t, someone else will” driver of common-pool resource Prisoner’s Dilemmas. Climate science pseudo-skeptics don’t wish to recognize they’re prisoners like the rest of us. They can enjoy either the short-term private benefit of Jevon’s paradox, more or less gleefully; or the longer-term shared benefit of a slower rise of GMST, while denying that’s a benefit with strenuous feats of gaslighting. Is it coincidence that the climate pseudo-skeptic’s choices are to the profit of the fossil-fuel producers and investors, who are keeping the marginal climate-change cost of their products out of the market price? Now I’ma lecture you about the poorz: tragedy further ensues when consumers of a common-pool resource, e.g. a stable climate, are economically constrained to choose short-term private over long-term shared benefit; the more so when lower income makes ‘adaptation’ to the declining resource more difficult.

    Yet if voluntary private efforts to reduce personal carbon footprints can measurably reduce emissions, “virtue-signaling” will help. People make economic choices for all kinds of reasons, wherein “rational” may just mean “seems like a good idea at the time.” If someone else’s virtue signal stimulates competitive virtue in me, I can add competitiveness to my other more-or-less selfish reasons for internalizing my marginal costs, like a desire to contribute to collective efforts, and/or a distaste for flying under most circumstances anyway, i.e. low marginal private benefit of flying. It might nudge me into action [for reasons I mentioned previously, I’ve already stopped flying except for family emergencies]. My footprint is proportionally reduced. Does it matter that my motives are selfish? AGW-deniers ride for free anyway. They’re hypocrites: consciously or not, they’re transparently self-interested.

    Garrett Hardin remarked to a friend that he wished he’d titled his seminal 1968 Science article “The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons”. Sustainable management of the global climate Commons requires collective action, polycentric across a range of scales. In the US, at minimum that means voting for public officials who acknowledge the climate science consensus. IOW the so-far endless flood of AGW-denial in the public sphere, whatever its proximate origins, is the problem. Want to help? Don’t deny AGW, here or elsewhere!

  66. ecoquant says:

    @Steven Mosher,

    From my perspective, the thing which angers me the most is the continuing sense of White Entitlement in the face of changes in behavior which demand urgent action. I am, however, not pollyannaish enough to believe people will make these changes voluntarily.

  67. ecoquant says:

    @Willis Eschenbach,

    Egad, sire, indeed you’ve put your finger on a fundamental difference between us.
    .
    .
    .
    And you think you have the moral high ground?

    There’s nothing moral about it, and I don’t pretend it is. I think anyone who chooses not to do these measures on their own isn’t pursuing their own self interest, despite being told about it for gadzooks at least 50 years.

    And, now, the rumbling of zero Carbon energy and transport can be heard in the distance, with consequences for the pocketbook, at least but not only, as an investor.

    But if people choose not to pursue their own self interest, I’ll laugh and laugh … etc.

  68. ecoquant says:

    @jeffnsails850,

    There have been more modest attempts. The EU wanted to impose a fee on flights into and out of the EU for climate mitigation reasons and the Obama administration fought it and got them to walk back the proposal.

  69. Joshua says:

    Willis –

    I don’t know if you attempted to answer my question and ran afoul of the moderation criteria. At any rate, I would still like to ask you again to address my questions – perhaps in a fashion that won’t likely be moderated?

    How could I look at your posts where you express your opinions about which kinds of policies make the most sense, often accompanied by criticisms of the opinions of others on a variety of issues, or by out-right insults directed at people who express opinions different from your own, from “virtue-signaling?” What are the criteria you use to make such a differentiation?

  70. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    >Jesus , you guys want to kill my business flying and also kill my income from my wildly popular best seller? and force me to eat my vegetables and give up beef? and I’m suppose to be motivated to save the planet for people like ya’ll and your spawn? huh?

    Hmmm. I can see why you might feel that way, but I don’t think many people actually want to kill your business. I think that rather, they want to move society to more actively address the risks posed by ACO2 emissions. One way to do that might be, as a society, to do things like pursue options to air travel. I think that many are more generally concerned about this issue on society in general, and not just about the impact on them and their spawn.

    Consider that it’s easy in discussion of this issue to fall into the trap of polarization, where people can sometimes focus on the identity of who is expressing which opinion – which can make it difficult to engage in respectful discussion of what the different opinions are. One by-product of that polarization is that sometimes people think that they’re being targeted, and feel like victims, when actually what people are really doing is expressing their views.

    > I definately buy the science. no sales job required there. but ya need to work on selling the rest of the package

    Since you think that you’re being targeted, as someone who buys the science, do you think it’s possible that people who hold those opinions might express their opinions without you feeling targeted? How would you suggest that people voice their concerns about the risks posed by air travel, and their opinion that it would be better if we relied less on air travel?

  71. ecoquant- I remember that. People don’t like tariffs. I’d ask you to think about why the attempts are “modest.” Why not ban air travel to Hawaii- phased in over 10 years or so? There are other beaches, even other islands.
    Why are the government officials in Hawaii, all of whom are very, very concerned about climate change and taking action, making plans to use wind and solar to power hotels and villas that it would not be possible for anyone to visit in a zero emissions world? Shouldn’t the state be drawing up plans for what to do with the vacant hotels?
    The answers are 1. most people have been told you can “solve” climate change without cost or change to their lifestyle and telling them “you won’t ever go to Hawaii” would change that. 2. Most people would expect a tech solution- you can’t prohibit me from going to Hawaii, but you can mandate bio fuels for the trip if we ever have enough for trivial holidays, and the bio fuels are cheap.
    and the 3. Hawaii’s economy depends on tourism and Hawaiian politicians aren’t about to put their constituents out of work for climate change. But they’ll issue press releases about how the jetliners full of midwesterners will be greeted by LED lights in the terminal.

  72. mrkenfabian says:

    Making low emissions personal choices, based on caring about our emissions, are admirable and genuinely helpful but are, in the absence of economy wide change, insufficient. Getting everyone’s choices, whether they care about the issue or not to be sufficiently low emissions is essential. Given it is those who don’t care who need to be convinced – especially those with responsibility above and beyond that of their personal lifestyle choices (like business and political leaders) – we have to be mindful of how our advocacy of personal lifestyle choices comes across. And that is made more difficult by the presence of fierce and ethically bereft counter advocacy that has the support of major media organisations.

    Whether we care about climate change or not is NOT the bottom line for whether we bear responsibility for our emissions – something that needs highlighting in the face of the self appointed (and in my view, deeply hypocritical) hypocrisy police. It is a facile argument to claim people calling for change, who as functional members of society depend and benefit from existing fossil fuel use is a hypocrite but it resonates strongly, in part because of the obstructionist framing of the whole issue as driven by unreasoning extremists making unreasonable demands. For that reason alone it should not be allowed to go unchallenged.

    No-one should have to go all stone age to have the right to call on their governments to take seriously a problem that decades of consistent expert advice already tells THEM is extremely serious. The hypocrisy hypocrites are – let’s be honest – more likely to mock anyone who does live without anything that has fossil fuel inputs than take them more seriously for their emissions purity; it is a theme and meme that feeds on and reinforces the (false) claim that forcing humanity back to the stone age is what addressing climate change will lead to – and is the explicit outcome “climate activism” seeks. I feel no need to dress myself or my activism as a much mocked stereotype, just to prevent criticism from hypocrisy hypocrites; seems like a case of forked if I do and forked if I don’t. Fork them I say.

    Reducing personal emissions is worthwhile – and essential to the sanity and self esteem of those who do care – but purity is going to remain elusive without an economy and society wide transition. It happens to be a transition that I want to ultimately enable activities like air travel without emissions, not prevent air travel.

  73. ecoquant says:

    @mrkenfabian,

    I wonder how much of the alignment on this issue with politics happens because of the per capita consumption of energy in rural areas versus urban, and, so, it is a byproduct of the urban-rural divide, not a cause of it:

    The original article for the graphic is, by the way:

    L. Parshall, K. Gurney, S. A. Hammer, D. Mendoza, Y. Zhou, S. Geethakumar, “Modeling energy consumption and CO2 emissions at the urban scale: Methodological challenges and insights from the United States”, Energy Policy 38 (2010) 4765-4782.

  74. MKF says: “Making low emissions personal choices, based on caring about our emissions, are admirable and genuinely helpful but are, in the absence of economy wide change, insufficient.”

    Mike says, “This is not an either or choice, it is a both and decision. The personal and political are completely intertwined in this matter. As we make low emission choices and bring political pressure for economy-wide changes we set the stage for big changes and we buffer our own individual circumstances from the upheaval that is coming.”

    If the problem of climate change was in the form of a multiple choice question, the correct answer will most certainly be choice D. All of the Above. Start where you are. Make the changes in your kitchen, in your furnace room, in your personal purchase decisions, with your travel choices and take that low emission commitment out of your home and life and into the world.

    This ain’t rocket science.

    M

  75. Steven Mosher says:

    “Hmmm. I can see why you might feel that way, but I don’t think many people actually want to kill your business. ”
    of course they dont want to personally kill my business. But the practical outcome is what matters. For 7 years I didnt fly. Easy to convince me then that flying was evil. Someone else’s ox. Gore it.
    Now of course my self interest runs differently.
    You want me to act against my self interest? A spoonful of sugar might help. Or convince me why I should care?

  76. Neil Young above tried to share this link but needs to change rights to public viewable (I think)

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/14Z4hfMT33CqmrgvKVmAnnbyQKyzYta8Q/view

    Supposed to be an ironic screenshot…

  77. mrkenfabian says:

    Ecoquant – I can see how rural people would see fossil fuel use as more essential and more difficult to replace, yet I note that in Australia they are very willing to install PV with storage and PV powered water pumps. That is going to become more commonplace as major power companies see opportunities for ditching long runs of unprofitable power poles and wires.

    But I would say the rural preponderance of opponents of climate action are more likely to be long running opponents of environmentalism who more likely to buy into the idea that the climate issue is driven by unreasoning and unreasonable extremists.

    As the group that owns and manages the largest areas of land as business enterprises they tend to harbour long running opposition to Environmental regulation and have been encouraged by the political parties that advocate on their behalf to see environmentalists (who usually lean more left than the dominant rural based National Party with it’s permanent coalition with right leaning Liberal Party) as unreasoning extremists – and are more inclined to buy into the idea that the climate issue as driven by them. Which is why I think putting a more respectable and mainstream face to climate activism will be more effective than Extinction Rebellion type protest; those are just the sort conservative rural Australians will NOT want to associate with. It is not like rural Australians universally reject climate science – groups like Farmers For Climate Action are a growing force but are not going to be impressed by disruptive protesting.

    Mike – yes, it is not an either/or choice. I absolutely support taking actions at a personal level but economy wide change is essential. But I am sanguine about the capacity for people to know better but do it anyway; we have institutions and regulations because people too often do not do the right thing or best thing or smartest thing. A lot of our everyday choices are not well thought out; I still harbour a special objection to disinformation that encourages and justifies doing the wrong thing.

  78. Steven Mosher says:

    “From my perspective, the thing which angers me the most is the continuing sense of White Entitlement in the face of changes in behavior which demand urgent action. I am, however, not pollyannaish enough to believe people will make these changes voluntarily.”

    I don’t identify as white. My chinese boss keeps telling me I’m too korean. Anyway, when I fly I do find about 1 percent of the folks on the flight are white devils. What should I say.. hey white devil why are you flying.

  79. Steven Mosher says:

    “The science isn’t for sale, and as for everything else, the Steven-Mosher-Buy-In-Index sets a new benchmark for puffery.”

    Wonderful job selling your policy. Awesome. I will say it again. Y’all get together see if you can agree on policy and then try to sell it without insulting the buyer.

    Or not.

  80. ecoquant says:

    @Steven Mosher,

    Given responsibility for historical emissions, basically, yes.

    – Jan

  81. Steven Mosher says:

    “Deal with it” ah yes, the approach that got you protesting farmers in Dutch land. End tourist flights to islands. Deal with it Hawaii. Other people’s ox. Gore it.

    Sell me on sacrifice, Christian. Or just impose your will.

  82. Steven Mosher says:

    “Given responsibility for historical emissions, basically, yes.”

    Ah yes, sins of the father. Might work with Christians.
    So we can do a favor for the energy poor and not let them commit the same sins we did.

  83. Willard says:

    > the approach that got you

    This comment:

    we are headed to 3C, get used to it.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/the-grrrrrowth-institute/#comment-163981

  84. ecoquant says:

    @Steven Mosher,

    More like the Recently Arrived have a right to tap the Golden Juice of fossil fuels, and fairness demands those economies which are drunk on the stuff begin detox early

    – Jan

  85. Willard says:

    > Y’all get together see if you can agree on policy and then try to sell it without insulting the buyer.

    Look who’s talking.

    How’s your sell going so far, Mosh?

  86. mrkenfabian says:

    Steven – Climate action seem to me to be something distinctly different to selling and buying in an open market; it is surely about promoting responsible actions or regulating irresponsible actions to avoid dangerous consequences. And I think that if that requires active promotion of responsibility for our actions as if it were a desirable product that we have a choice to buy or not we do have a serious failure within our society and societal institutions. (Yet I think the lengths self interested, organised opposition to climate responsibility/climate action go to is indicative of how real those interests fear the possibility that courts and parliaments will use their powers to act. ie the potential to act at governmental level is quite real, for all that various kinds of influence have largely prevented or reduced effectiveness.)

    I see it as about responsibility and accountability – and institutional ‘shareholders’ have a greater burden of them and duty to incorporate them into their choices than ordinary citizen consumers, no matter that they have greater capability for responsibility avoidance.

    If we must not alarm people by suggesting bad things will happen through failure to act “selling” climate action is certainly made a lot more challenging.

  87. ecoquant says:

    @mrkenfabian,

    I can see some people here being sceptical, but there are actions at the top levels of finance to try to turn companies’ and business focus upon the problem. After all, bankers and insurers are in the business of pricing risk and tend to be pretty pragmatic about operational needs, unlike some of the Chicago School.

    It will be interesting to see.

    To the sceptics, I’d say, yeah, neoclassicism in all its forms has harmed us in this directlon, but even if they have been some of the most influential economics, they are not the only ones, and their popularity is as much what business and politicians have wanted to hear as anything else.

    I strongly feel they and businesses like Unilever and Virgin should be given a chance, for I do not see the political will, whether at the grassroots, or at other levels, rising up to the challenge here. For the reasons cited above, I doubt a Greens or a Green New Deal will work. Also, anything done to mitigate or reset climate damage at a global level will require vast amounts of capital. These people are where that is at. I also think they operate at a level beyond a Ferengi profit one: Initially, at least, the Premier League was founded not as purely profit-making enterprise, but to try to wrest eyeballs away from other distractions and onto TV spectacles. People playing here are accustomed to losses at times, as long as they eventually win. I also (personally) believe Unilever’s and Virgin’s motives to be genuine.

    This is one of the reasons why I’m less enthusiastic about compromising Citizens United in the United States, or hobbling corporate influence. Unfortunately — and even though I might vote for her if she’s the only choice — Senator Elizabeth Warren might go in that direction. **sigh** There are several climate-related things I’m unhappy with her about.

  88. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    > of course they dont want to personally kill my business.

    Right. So when someone reacts that way the first place to start is to talk them in off the ledge.

  89. Joshua says:

    > Easy to convince me then that flying was evil.

    Your language. You need to be talked in off the ledge..

    > You want me to act against my self interest?

    No, I want to have a discussion about interests vs. positions. I want to deepen the discussion about interests, to include such things as externalities and long term vs. short term benefits.

    Come in off the ledge. It’s much more comfortable inside.

  90. David B. Benson says:

    All of that may matter little:
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/694/trillions-trees?page=2#post-6012

    Have to convince the governments of other countries to “Do as I say, not as I do”. I’m doubtful.

  91. ecoquant says:

    Self-interest as a motivator is pretty old and powerful:

    It was in keeping with the practice of mankind for us to accept an empire that was offered to us, and if we refused to give it up under the pressure of three of the strongest motives, fear, honor, and self-interest. And it is not we who set the example, for it has always been the law that the weaker should be subject to the stronger. Besides, we believed ourselves to be worthy of our position, and so you thought until now, when calculations of interest have made you take up the cry of justice — a consideration that no one has ever yet brought forward to hinder his ambition when he had a chance of gaining anything by might. And praise is due to all who, if not so superior to human nature as to refuse dominion, yet respect justice more than their position compels them to do.

    (From Thucydides, “The outbreak of the Peloponnesian War”, The Peloponnesian War, emphasis added.)

  92. Steven Mosher says:

    “No, I want to have a discussion about interests vs. positions. I want to deepen the discussion about interests, to include such things as externalities and long term vs. short term benefits.”

    sure my interest is staying employed. right now that requires more travel than I should make since being diagnosed with thrombophlebitis. Hurts like a motherfucker and I suppose I am lucky it is not DVT. But you do what you have to do to make a living. meh. Short term benefit? I get paid. Long term benefit? I’m not a burden to you when I retire. Externalities? ya I like a bargin which means I pay less than I really should. I imagine there are circumastances where I paid more than I should.
    try not to keep score
    So my basic interest is survivial. nothing more nothing less. I own no more than I can fit in a suitcase. seriously, nothing. Food, shelter clothing. My interests. long term interest? not having to rely on you for those basics.

  93. Steven Mosher says:

    “Right. So when someone reacts that way the first place to start is to talk them in off the ledge.”
    now thats funny. maybe you dont get the appropriation of the ER rhetoric?

  94. Steven Mosher says:

    “More like the Recently Arrived have a right to tap the Golden Juice of fossil fuels, and fairness demands those economies which are drunk on the stuff begin detox early”

    give me fairness or give me death?

    I’m not sold on fairness, the planet is at stake. there will be winners and losers. deal with it.

  95. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven – Climate action seem to me to be something distinctly different to selling and buying in an open market; it is surely about promoting responsible actions or regulating irresponsible actions to avoid dangerous consequences. ”

    the laguage of seling and buying can be replaced with the language of “convincing”
    so dont get too inflamed by the metaphor.

    you basically have a few kinds of appeals to convince folks.
    they boil down to fear or hope ( with the GND you get both!!)

    So you can convince me to take action because “X” bad thing will happen to
    you or others and nobody like bad things!. or you can convince me to take action
    because “Y” good thing will happen. tastes better lasts longer!

    you could also join them together ala GND and say X bad thing will happen unless we
    bring about the glorious socialist utopia. Bonus!

    Or you could just impose your will. it really is that simple. Persuade or use force.
    persuasion comes in many forms, basically it is using signs, signals, symbols, ideas,
    appeals, words, pictures, stories, rhetoric, facts, role models, etc.. or you can
    use force.

  96. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Given responsibility for historical emissions, basically, yes.”

    Ah yes, sins of the father. Might work with Christians.”

    Those who can’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Ever wonder why the middle East is so unsettled? Could it be that it is because of the interference of the British, French and US throughout the 20th century (e.g. Sykes-Picot agreement, Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement)? We do have to live with the consequences of the sins of our fathers. Pretending that we don’t is a recipe for incurring further problems for our sons.

  97. dikranmarsupial says:

    “sure my interest is staying employed. right now that requires more travel than I should make since being diagnosed with thrombophlebitis.”

    Sorry to hear about the thrombophlebitis, sounds nasty. However, I rather doubt you have any problem finding employment, given your CV. You don’t have to travel for they employment you *need*, I suspect it is more that you need to travel for the employment that you *want*.

  98. Steven Mosher says:

    “Those who can’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. ”
    Yes, and so to those energy poor we should say, dont make our mistake.
    of course this is unfair. I should be punished for my great great grandfathers emmissions,
    my grand fathers emmisions and my fathers. 3 generations. This is the system
    of punishment they used in Joseon dynasty. screw up and the next 3 generations are slaves.
    I’m not seeing any reason why I should agree to this. You have the option of using force.

  99. Steven Mosher says:

    “However, I rather doubt you have any problem finding employment, given your CV. ”
    my experience? exactly the opposite. Especially in the US.

    https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/propublica-new-york-times-older-workers-job-ads-facebook-google-linkedin

    But yes I could go be a greeter at Walmart and never have to fly. Hmmm, na I will live with the guilt of flying. Sorry. In other words, you want me to sacrifice what I want, and settle for less, only what I need. And the reason I should do this is what? will I get a patch or something?

  100. dikranmarsupial says:

    ” Yes, and so to those energy poor we should say, dont make our mistake.
    of course this is unfair.”

    It’s also a false dilemma. Our mistake was not using fossil fuels, it was wasting them. To those energy poor we should be saying learn from our mistake and make better use of fossil fuels and we should be ready to give them our help to do so, and be making reductions ourselves so that the burden falls less on them. There is nothing unfair in that.

    However rhetorical debates tend to focus on extreme positions rather than looking for understanding or compromise. For example “But yes I could go be a greeter at Walmart and never have to fly.” there are plenty of well paid jobs for people with your CV, but instead you need to opt for transparent rhetorical hyperbole about being a greeter at walmart in order to avoid the point being made. Plus ca change…

    “And the reason I should do this is what? ”

    This is the problem in a nutshell. If you don’t care about your actions having a negative effect on others, then there is indeed no benefit for you in doing anything about climate change as it largely won’t affect you personally, and you have enough wealth to adapt to any consequences you might experience. I’m alright Jack.

  101. David B. Benson says:

    To fly or not to fly, that is the question.

    It is the wrong question. For over time, your automotive transportation, your space heating and your consumption of red meat make a much bigger difference in the scheme of things.

  102. Ben McMillan says:

    There is a tendency to try to ignore flying, but that is mostly because it’s a hard problem rather than an insignificant one. It’s a big fraction of emissions for your typical white middle-class blog commentator. And people do love their overseas trips (me included).

    As far as I can tell, the aircraft/airline industry have decided to put in in the too-hard basket and do token things like offsetting and small proportions of biofuels mixed in with the fossil juice. But it isn’t scalable and compatible with a net-zero world full of relatively well-off people who like a bit of a foreign vacation.

    So something has to give.

    There isn’t even a serious effort for developing hydrogen-powered aircraft. Battery-powered looks like a long-shot for anything beyond, say, internal flights in the UK.

  103. David B. Benson says:

    Ben McMillan, the US Navy uses lots of extra reactor power to produce jet fuel from sea water. Probably not applicable for the airlines.

    But using an EV, a heat pump for HVAC, and avoiding red meat you can still go on your vacations without guilt.

  104. I smell something fishy.

    David B. Benson says:

    “Ben McMillan, the US Navy uses lots of extra reactor power to produce jet fuel from sea water. Probably not applicable for the airlines.”

    You mention this process as if it’s routine or even close to realizable:
    https://patentyogi.com/aircraft/us-navy-plans-produce-jet-fuel-seawater-board-aircraft-carriers/

    What was that you said about Mark Jacobson?

  105. Ben McMillan says:

    David B. Benson: I’d also be interested to read about it, if the US Navy have got that working. It would mean a large-scale demonstration of direct air/water capture of carbon, which would be interesting in its own right.

    I don’t see logically why I should feel guilty about one carbon-emitting activity, but not guilty about another. Or is the idea that as long as I’m doing ‘enough’, then I can go enjoy a nice holiday? I guess I have some sympathy for that view, but it doesn’t get us to net-zero.

  106. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    > sure my interest is staying employed.

    How do you distinguish between positions and interests?

    > right now that requires more travel than I should make since being diagnosed with thrombophlebitis. Hurts like a motherfucker and I suppose I am lucky it is not DVT. But you do what you have to do to make a living. meh.

    Yes, these judgements must be made in context. We all have different factors to consider. How about if we have a discussion about how to balance individual factors within societal context?

    > Short term benefit? I get paid. Long term benefit? I’m not a burden to you when I retire.

    I’m hoping that we can look at this more comprehensively – in other words that there are a variety of long-term benefits that affect us all.

    > Externalities? ya I like a bargin which means I pay less than I really should. I imagine there are circumastances where I paid more than I should.
    try not to keep score

    I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to here. When I was talking about externalities, I was referring to whether the price that we pay when burn fossil fuels for personal use truly reflects the costs to society. It’s a complicated topic, but I’m willing to have that discussion if you are

    > So my basic interest is survivial.

    Sure. We all have a basic interest for survival. And there is more than one way to survive. And to varying degrees, we consider the state of survival for others when we evaluate decisions that affect our own survival. Seems that you have now gone back to the notion that I’m lobbying for some kind of existential threat to you. Remember when you said this?:

    > of course they dont want to personally kill my business.

    Not only do most people asking you to evaluate your carbon footprint not want to kill your business, neither do they want to threaten your survival. At some point, it gets hard to have this discussion of you catastrophize and frame the discussion as a worst case scenario.

    > nothing more nothing less. I own no more than I can fit in a suitcase. seriously, nothing.

    That’s interesting. Certainly that figured into any discussion of your carbon footprint.

    > Food, shelter clothing. My interests. long term interest? not having to rely on you for those basics.

    I appreciate that. Clearly, self-reliance is an important value for you. It is for me as well. And I don’t want you to rely on me for basics either. So let’s use that as a starting point, a shared interest, in our m discussion of how to balance values such as those when we talk about the impact of individual behaviors within a discussion of how to address time risks of aCO2 emissions.

  107. “It’s also a false dilemma. Our mistake was not using fossil fuels, it was wasting them.
    — What “waste”? We built a pretty good life.

    “To those energy poor we should be saying learn from our mistake and make better use of fossil fuels and we should be ready to give them our help to do so.”
    —So, global CO2 emissions are not a problem? This is not a net zero plan, it’s not even a plan to get back to 1990s levels of global emissions, which you believe would make Earth uninhabitable. In addition, there’s no such thing as “energy poor,” the lack of economic activity pre-1990 and sudden boom post 1990 was not due to some sudden reversal in coal availability. They’re burning plenty now because they made the decision to use energy that is and was available to them. If anyone cared enough to say “hey this works just as well without the CO2” we wouldn’t have this dilemma.

    “.. and be making reductions ourselves so that the burden falls less on them. There is nothing unfair in that.”
    —What burden? I keep reading that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels. The wind is free, have at it! It’s a globally competitive world now, there is nothing “fair” or particularly thoughtful about a plan for poor countries to become rich by selling (or collecting) stuff from formerly wealthy countries. Work up the business plan for opening a factory in Indonesia that makes things for Americans who can no longer buy them because they decided to be “fair” and not buy stuff.

  108. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    > now thats funny. maybe you dont get the appropriation of the ER rhetoric?

    When someone perceives catastrophic outcomes from a discussion, it’s important to get them to step in from the ledge. On the one hand, you seem to think that people aren’t out to kill your business, and on the other hand you seem to be saying things that suggest you perceive an existential threat.

    If you’re on a ledge, come back inside and have a beer. I’m not in favor of threatening your existence. One of my interests (which happens to coincide with one of my positions) is for us to work this out together. As long as you perceive an existential threat) from me) I don’t think we can progress towards that goal. What could I do to demonstrate that I intend no existential threat from you? If, when you think it through, you decide that I’m not threatening you existentially, then I’d ask that when you start to feel that I am, you take a breath and calm down, and explain how you’re feeling threatened.

  109. dikranmarsupial says:

    jeffnsails wrote ““It’s also a false dilemma. Our mistake was not using fossil fuels, it was wasting them.
    — What “waste”? We built a pretty good life.”

    yawn, sorry, not going to rise to the bait, try harder.

  110. ecoquant says:

    @jeffnsails850, @dikranmarsupial,

    Well, it’s possible developing countries with foresight will leapfrog fossil fuel power. This happened with telephone systems, since cell towers were easier to deploy and cheaper.

    Unfortunately, whether or not a local country uses fossil fuels, there are many energy majors who covet fossil fuel and other resources in developing countries, and the heads of such countries, seeking cash, make deals for extraction, refining, and export, much to the detriment of those who live near such projects.

    I of course don’t applaud this, and there is the additional problem that the same countries, dependent upon fossil fuel income, will suffer when few want their product. Given that majors hail from OECD countries (not all, but a lot), it’s difficult to criticize.

    Still, I think the matter is one of looking closer to home and doing something about that. As I’ve harped upon here across a few posts, my current struggle is reconciling people’s dislike of new natural gas pipelines, compressors, and generating stations with this kind of behavior:

    RICHMOND, R.I. — Another rural community is setting limits on renewable energy.

    A week after the the Hopkinton Town Council banned wind turbines, the Richmond Town Council moved to curtail utility-scale solar sprawl.

    With no opposition from the public or developers, the council voted unanimously Oct. 15 to adopt a ban on commercial solar development in residential neighborhoods, areas that are classified as R-3 zoning districts. The town already prohibits wind turbines.

    The latest restriction on renewable energy in Rhode Island is part of a trend that many communities are following, especially towns with farmland and open space, as developers look for cheap land for industrial-scale wind and solar projects. Efforts to pass statewide siting rules have been sidelined by policy disputes in the General Assembly.

    To help these communities, a study through the Office of Energy Resources would help create incentives for building renewable projects on brownfields and built environments such as parking lots and former quarries.

    The Richmond ban doesn’t prohibit solar arrays on farmland and on commercial and industrial properties. The typically smaller, non-commercial rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays that offset electricity used on the property are still allowed on residential land.

    “These [commercial] solar arrays have a place, maybe in a parking lot, in a shopping plaza to cover cars, but not in someone’s backyard,” Town Council president Rich Nassaney wrote in an email to ecoRI News.

    Rhode Island gets 90% of its electricity from natural gas. Massachusetts gets something like 60%. Pilgrim Nuclear is shut. Other coal burning plants are shut or shutting down. Vineyard Wind is delayed, and Beacon Hill in Boston is dragging their feet on letting another tranche of development off the coast.

    Sure, we’re not going to make the difference on whether or not climate disruption happens. But (a) we were supposed to lead on this, and (b), collectively, we’ll lose out to Connecticut and New York State in competitiveness because this is being done.

    Ironically, a good many opponents of the solar farms in fields consider themselves environmentalists saving trees. These are young growth forests, former farmland, so they are useless for Carbon sequestration.

    And I’m sure the new gas fired generation plants won’t be built nearby either.

  111. ecoquant says:

    We do all those @David B Benson, and also offset flight emissions by purchasing WRECs. As noted, that’s not the same as not emitting, but ….

  112. Willard says:

    Y’all don’t get it.

    You’re no kings anymore. That flight of fancy flew away. Now I’m King of CO2.

    You gotta please me or else.

    I know, I used to brag that I was for a carbon tax. Not this time. Not now.

    Dumping CO2 in the atmosphere like there’s no tomorrow is in my Interest.

    You can’t stop me. How will you please me? No idea, but you must.

    These are the new rules. I don’t make the rules.

    Thank you.

  113. to fly or not to fly? That is not the right question or the wrong question, it is a good question. Every part of our lives that have a carbon footprint should elicit the question, “do I really need to do this? Is there another way to accomplish the goals of this activity with smaller emissions?”

    Ben asked why he should feel guilty about one carbon-emitting activity, but not another. I don’t know about guilt, but it makes sense to me for a reasonable person to be concerned about every activity that leads to emissions. This isn’t rocket science. More CO2, more heat. More heat, more CO2 as feedbacks kick in to gear (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0592-8). More CO2, more heat, more extinction processes and large scale suffering on the planet.

    Can individuals do it alone through individual choices? Again, I think the wrong question because making individual choices builds toward large scale changes in our communities as we put our wallets where are hearts exist on the matter of reducing emissions and the suffering the emissions bring. At some point, individual action and commitment will gather adherents and become a way of life, and eventually, we might even see top down action to reduce carbon emissions, but I think that follows the trend of an activist slice of the general population that walks the walk and talks the talk. It’s too easy to resist change and loss of a carbon-intensive way of life as an existential threat, when it is likely no such thing. It simply requires an open heart and mind to determine how to adjust. If you want to see a true existential challege to a way of life, look at the situation of the folks who live along the Colorado River south of the US border.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/22/mexico-colorado-river-people-left-without-river?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVUy0xOTEwMjI%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUS&CMP=GTUS_email

    Personally, I would be ashamed to complain that my way of life and very existence is threatened if I have to pay the true cost of my airflight when I know that there are people today who have lost their way of life because of the extraction industries of the “advanced” nations. But, hey, that’s just me. YMMV.

  114. Assortative mixing and resource inequality enhance collective welfare in sharing networks

    “Resource sharing can impose an economic trade-off: One person acquiring resources may mean that another cannot. However, if individuals value the social process itself that is a feature of economic exchanges, socio-structural manipulations might improve collective welfare.”

    https://www.pnas.org/node/894089.abstract?collection=

    Complicated stuff.

  115. Willard says:

    > if individuals value the social process itself that is a feature of economic exchanges, socio-structural manipulations might improve collective welfare

    Not strong enough. Here we show how it must:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/the-grrrrrowth-institute/

  116. izen says:

    @-Joshua

    Thanks for the link.
    (yes, lurking, sometimes I comment just so I can follow the thread in my ‘comments I’ve made’ list)

    The counter-argument that the sugar industry did not shape the anti-fat narrative because the scientists they chose to support already were anti-fat may not entirely exonerate the industry from culpability.
    The Tobacco industry found scientists that were already keen on ideas that other factors may be at play in CHD and lung cancer.
    The Fossil Fuel industry found scientists that held views at odds with the mainstream science on climate change before they were co-opted by FF funded think tanks. Some were the same people who colluded with the tobacco business.

    The large effort and monies funnelled towards lobbying, highlighting compatible science and regulatory capture. After all, who batter to help regulate tobacco, sugar, and oil than the main people involved in its production and sale ? (/s)
    Those businesses did not NEED to convert scientists to their cause. There were already candidates who they could recruit. That does no negate the industry role in shaping the discourse around the subject. The asymmetry between the amount of resources the businesses applied to the subject and the few extreme iconoclast who were virulently anti- tobacco, sugar or oil before it was a mainstream position and may have over-stated the case does not refute the role of the industries involved in these products.

    I would take issue with the claim there are too many people, or that over-population is a significant part of the problem.
    Taking out half the population that has the smallest Carbon footprint would make little change to the total cumulative emissions.
    Double the population but with half the high Carbon foot print of US, Australia, and there is little impact on total emissions, perhaps a reduction.

    Personally I would favour a large increase in population, the carrying capacity of the globe depends on how food and energy are produced and distributed, do it right, or at least better, and I see no reason why at least doubling the current population would be a problem.
    Although room temp superconductors and fusion power would help….

  117. ecoquant says:

    @izen,

    I would take issue with the claim there are too many people, or that over-population is a significant part of the problem. Taking out half the population that has the smallest Carbon footprint would make little change to the total cumulative emissions. Double the population but with half the high Carbon foot print of US, Australia, and there is little impact on total emissions, perhaps a reduction.

    Yes, I agree with you @izen. It’s a consequence of Professor Anderson’s oft quoted assertion that the richest 10% of the population is responsible for 40%-50% of emissions, if consumption is included in the accounting. So there’s plenty of room at the bottom.

    This is also why, in the discussion of flying here, it makes sense for the 10% (which includes essentially the entire populations of OECD countries) to cut back and down. I believe the figure is, for instance, that even the poorest people in the USA have a per capita Carbon footprint 15x the world mean. And, as I’ve noted elsewhere in graphs, the disparity between urban dwellers and rural in terms of per capital Carbon emissions is vast. Some of that is clearly circumstance — you need to drive farther in big, open, lightly populated regions — but some is choice, both choice to live there and lifestyles while there.

  118. ecoquant says:

    @izen,

    I should also quote an analysis from the other side which a sharp friend of mine made of the problem rolling out zero Carbon energy in southern New England (USA):

    Key quote:

    “The decision to not allow [commercial] solar in residential areas is quite simple,” Nassaney wrote, “the people that live in these neighborhoods have to look at these things, the energy produced does not benefit them or the town, and the land is then unusable for 25-plus years.”

    While we might disagree with that, it is illustrative of the “exploitative” and “extractive” perception when elites and developers descend on a community to impose their ideas…

  119. izen says:

    @-ecoquant

    I am pleasantly surprised that someone shares my distaste for the increasingly common trope that a big part of the climate problem is ‘Too many people’. Thanks.
    It so often seems to be those that have already gained a lot worry that it is a zero sum game, and if ‘The Poors’ gain, they will lose. It is also a defence of the status quo in terms of the production and distribution of energy. An unexamined belief that because we live in a scarcity, finite resources system, that is the ONLY way that human society can be ordered.

    It risks dismissal as techno-cornucopian; but with sufficient energy no resource is finite, obligatory or un-replaceable with alternatives.
    Human science knows of energy sources with MUCH better energy density than breaking C-H bonds, but we are STILL burning stuff. No qualitative advance on the early hominids that discovered the secret of banging the rocks together to make their own fire.

    There is something fundamentally depressing about the argument that the climate problem is insoluble because there are too many yellow or brown people who want to burn as much stuff as the Western elite. The problems that arise from using a scarce resource, whether it is environmental/ecological impacts, social disruption, and unequal rationing SHOULD promote the search and embrace of alternative ways of meeting the needs, wants, and desires of ALL, not petty political arguments, or resource wars over the distribution of our currently limited options.

    To some extent (and my discomfort/surprise) I agree with Mosher. If the choices presented are between BAU and ignore the consequences, or some incremental amelioration of BAU to accommodate its worst impacts, nobody wins.
    Stable societies develop strong resistance to radical change. The last significant step-change in the social system was driven by the technology of oil extraction for energy use. It started as a search for an alternative to the diminishing resource of whale oil for lighting. Electrical power and electronics pigy-backed on that technology until we are now faced with a similar, but far greater problem of scarcity and ecological damage than faced by the lighting oil sellers of the 1900s.

    All this is hopelessly idealistic,Utopian, and unrealistic of course. But energy is the key factor, for the extreme radical application of that insight, try the Kardashev scale of civilisations. We have not yet got to within 0.0001% of a type 1.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale

    “Large-scale application of fusion power. According to mass–energy equivalence, Type I implies the conversion of about 2 kg of matter to energy per second. An equivalent energy release could theoretically be achieved by fusing approximately 280 kg of hydrogen into helium per second,[19] a rate roughly equivalent to 8.9×10^9 kg/year. A cubic km of water contains about 10^11 kg of hydrogen, and the Earth’s oceans contain about 1.3×10^9 cubic km of water, meaning that humans on Earth could sustain this rate of consumption over geological time-scales, in terms of available hydrogen.

  120. ecoquant says:

    @izen,

    I have every confidence that zero Carbon energy backed by various kinds of storage will eventually crush fossil fuels, on superiority and cost, without subsidies. I expect that will be slowed by entrenched interests fighting to keep themselves there, and by various NIMBY actions. And, unfortunately, the laggards of state and region will be pricing themselves out of competition for businesses and people because no one will want to use or own expensive fossil fuel energy.

    I also see a greater and greater defection from the grid, not necessarily disconnecting, but using the grid for only a fraction of one’s electrical power. This will get serious once batteries get cheap enough and people start thinking about doing a replacement cycle of roof-mounted PV with more efficient versions. That will be the answer to towns (like ours) which restrict ground-mounts.

    The thing of it is I do not know whether this will happen before a market collapse (Minsky moment) when capital markets price in the full ramifications of climate disruption and partial collapse of ecosystem services. I don’t think there’ll be a climate catastrophe, but, currently, fossil fuel-driven economies are in an investment bubble, and that could burst any time in the next 10 years. Given the rich market that exists for fossil fuel-related products, a lot of people are going to get financially hurt there.

    As far as fusion and advanced nuclear (e.g., Thorium) go, I think it’ll be a long time before these have the bugs wrung out enough to be competitive, even if they are successful. And they may not win the race, since they are expensive to build, and solar and (especially) land-based wind are cheap, as long as land is available.

    Over the last several years, my perspective has grown from enthusiasm for making a difference to pessimism that people are going to see what they need to do to protect their own interests. I once believed we oughtn’t “hoard” our solar energy by working towards independence from the grid, but now that people are fighting sensible build-outs of solar farms (wind turbines I might see, but quiet solar farms?), I say take care of yourself as you can, and let them all end up where they end up.

    My only insistence is I don’t want to pay a penny towards helping people who were foolish enough to build million dollar homes on seacosts. Alas I presently do, to the tune from the U.S. Treasury of something like $25 billion to $40 billion per annum, depending on how you count. And some of these aren’t even homes, they are businesses with absentee owners.

    I know that sounds selfish, but I just don’t know what to make of people. They are quite stupid in their own way, and it takes too much energy to fight them.

  121. I am inclined to comment further on population, but I sense a fair amount of “topic drift” if we go there much more.

    Perhaps this is a topic for another thread. I like what Betsy Hartmann had to say about population on this site: https://earther.gizmodo.com/is-the-world-really-overpopulated-1834854464

  122. BBP says:

    If people want to get back on topic, electric planes (at least in some areas) are coming https://www.vox.com/2019/5/14/18535971/electric-airplane-aircraft-aviation-clean-energy
    Since almost all of the electricity in British Columbia is hydro, this will be a very low carbon option

  123. David B. Benson says:

    Ben McMillan — The process for converting sea water plus carbon dioxide into jet fuel is described in the patent linked just before your comment. It results in very expensive jet fuel. That is fine with the Navy since it means fewer tanker ships chasing after the carriers. Got it, Paul Pukite?

  124. Steven Mosher says:

    “I know, I used to brag that I was for a carbon tax. Not this time. Not now.”

    yes. i prefer outright bans. certainty. raise a tax i will pay it and continue or find a way around it. start with private jets. 300000 flights per month. limit that to 200k by 2030, 100k by 2040. 0 in 2050.

    auction off the right to departure and arrival.
    raise more than a tax

  125. ecoquant says:

    I’m all about congestion pricing and emissions free zones, as they have in London, so this auction idea isn’t bad at all: Limit the number of flight slots and auction them off.

  126. Joshua says:

    ecoquant –

    >… so this auction idea isn’t bad at all

    Really? That’s a pretty regressive policy. Only rich people can fly?

  127. Willard says:

    > Limit the number of flight slots and auction them off.

    That’s more or less how travel retailers work already. Aeroports have limited space. Planes are not warehouses. Clientèle is fickle. Operating an airline is expensive and highly regulated. These market contingencies make operators sell seats under their allocation costs.

    And then there is the stochasticity of fuel prices:

    Fuel costs are volatile; carriers can hedge fuel to reduce volatility, but hedging is gambling, expensive gambling.

    A one cent increase in fuel costs US airlines an extra $180 million annually.

    https://www.mcgill.ca/iasl/files/iasl/airline_economics_psd.pdf

    Hiking prices will change the industry. Resistance is to be expected both from the sellers and from buyers. Big money is at stake. Solvability is a very big issue. I doubt “überizing” all this will help at all. On the contrary.

  128. ecoquant says:

    @Joshua,

    Well, any financial penalty can be superseded by them using the same argument. Trouble is, to change human behavior, the tax on commodities which have inelastic prices — such as petrol — needs to be pretty high.

    The other options might be seen as worse: Clamping down on the availability of fossil fuels is likely to push their prices into unaffordability. Indeed, that’s an intended byproduct.

    There are few good choices here. Would have been had we all started in the 1990s.

    But, you oughtn’t worry, such penalties will never get enacted. What will happen, as I mentioned elsewhere, is that things will go on BAU, no matter who gets elected to the Presidency in the USA and the Congress, and, some place down the road, there will be a very severe market crash.

    I’m sure that’ll be regressive, too.

  129. Joshua says:

    ecoquant –

    > Clamping down on the availability of fossil fuels is likely to push their prices into unaffordability.

    A carbon tax could be revenue neutral to redistribute access to energy.

    Some argue that pricing carbon to account for externalities would necessarily limit energy access for the poor. I don’t agree. The wealthy can eell afford to pay higher prices for carbon even as access for the poor is subsidized. It is a matter of will. Which in turn is a function of motivation – which I believe will exist only if and when a significant negative impact of aCO2 emissions is clear and unambiguous in people’s daily lives.

    If auctioning off air travel includes some method to subsidize flying for those less wealthy it wouldn’t be so regressive. That seems a bit complicated, although perhaps no more so that subsidizing fuel access via a revenue neutral carbon tax.

    Sure, tough choices have to be made, but I think effort should be made that they don’t exacerbate the already existing pattern of climate change impacting people in inverse proportion to their economic status.

  130. David B. Benson says:

    According to
    https://oilprice.com/The-Environment/Global-Warming/Is-Eating-Meat-Worse-Than-Burning-Oil.html
    meat and dairy product production is as bad as the entire transportation sector, including airplanes.

  131. Ben McMillan says:

    The other climate issue with aircraft is that their climate forcings are at least double (and possibly much larger) that suggested just by fuel usage:
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-challenge-tackling-aviations-non-co2-emissions

    These other forcings can’t be mitigated by, for example, using biofuel, or making fuel from captured carbon.

    Which is why reducing how much we fly seems the most effective solution.

  132. mrkenfabian says:

    I would not ban the use of fossil fuels – but I would aim for a requirement that the price include paying for an equivalent amount of (real, verifiable) negative emissions. Whether it is air travel or a personal choice to drive high octane “muscle” cars, these are not insurmountable. I think an overbuild of solar and wind offers opportunities for synthetic fuels for “essential” or discretionary use – and potentially become a significant form of negative emissions.

  133. izen says:

    @-ATTP

    Having an over-inflated opinion of my abilities in graphic design I had a look at your slides with the arrogant expectation I could offer a critique and improvements.
    I was pleasantly surprised (and a little disappointed!) to find I could not. They are clear, well referenced, and effective. I especially liked the common background of the temperature ‘barcode’. Some do break the powerpoint ‘rule’ of no more than 3 bits of information per slide. But that is based on the assumption that people are too dumb to absorb more than 3 bits of information from a slide. A dumbing down that is I suspect a self fulfilling prophecy.

    For a talk that is about the Carbon footprint of air travel I was at first surprised to find no graphic that compared the amount of CO2 per mile for different forms of transport. However on looking for data on this is soon becomes clear that the issue is not simple.
    Fo a basic comparison of Kg per Km, air travel produced about twice as much CO2 as a car, 10x as much as a train, and 100x as much as a boat.

    But occupancy matters, as does the fuel source used.

    A full long haul flight may use less per person than a low mpg car with one occupant.
    The Boston light rail commuter service at off-peak hours is electric, but that power is ~80% fossil fuel generated. Ships using heavy diesel have their own additional problems, a trans-Atlantic trip can have a large Carbon footprint per person depending on the number of passengers. Electric cars, coaches, trains and ships have the potential to significantly improve the carbon footprint of car, train, and ship transport that are not accessible to aircraft.

    Because our society has so many time deadlines and regards travel as wasted time, aircraft have an apparent advantage in speed and travel time.
    Although given that my last flight was 30min in the air, but well over an hour waiting at each airport to get through checks and security this may not be as much of an advantage as claimed.

    At the risk of getting into contentious discussions about these factors, I still think it may be worthwhile including a slide that at least compares the simple CO2 per mile of flying with other forms of transport.

  134. Greg Robie says:

    ATTP, I did phrase the clarification of my question concerning the “Peak Warming” slide in a way that sort of left you ‘off the hook’ in terms of the slide’s scientific integrity. I did comment about not flying. So I’ve only myself to blame that I do not have any further response from you beyond your equivocated one – & thank you for your time posting that one.

    But, one more time (& still regarding the IPCC hypothetical): do you know if Ricke’s and Caldeira’s work that undergirds your presentation’s closing BOLDed assertion “It will never be too late [to, on a relatively short timescale, get net emissions to ~zero]!”, is what it is because of the constraining time scale of 2100? Or can you share an open access link to that paper(s) with me so I can read about the work’s assumptions?

    Or did you mean in the “Take away points” slide that it will never be to late to make the problem more challenging? 😉 My question I tried to clarify relates to the former. The two non-anthropogenic forcings I’ve shared – the known latent heat of ice forcing, and the likely unconsidered seasonal lift of the Arctic tropopause and the dynamics of increasing refraction within the Arctic twilight one – are in play. At their current doubling rates they may not show up in that “Peak Warming” side’s graph time scale (thanks to trusted assumptions concerning heat uptake by the oceans, which may cause them to be masked in current models based on the 2100 timeframe). But relative to either forcing, the inevitable (the latent heat forcing), or the ongoing (the seasonal tropopause rise), isn’t it disingenuous to make the BOLDed assertion … except as it applies to the latter interpretation of the BOLDed closing assertion of the “Take away points” slide?

    I’ve asked my question because it seem to me the past and current behavior in the political sector/aspect of society indicates a game theory “Plan A” of geo-engineering. It can be observed to be being affected. If so (or even if it isn’t!), isn’t ‘missing’ these two forcing in the calculations that engineer that geo-engineering something that will probably lead to a significant miscalculation?

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  135. ecoquant says:

    @David B Benson,

    I looked at the page link but it’s not very technical … It simply quotes pieces here and there, so I don’t know what to make of it. What I wanted to know is if the claim includes the upstream emissions from N2O resulting from fertilizer, a potent centennial scale greenhouse gas.

    Anyway, prefer technical articles myself, per this one, and particularly its supplementary data.

  136. ecoquant says:

    @Ben McMillan,

    Actually, one simple — if problematic — solution is to lower the levels at which aircraft fly, bringing them back down well into the troposphere. I don’t know how that trades off with fuel consumption for long hauls, however.

  137. ecoquant says:

    @mrkenfabian,

    “Negative emissions” are not a win, Ken. I’ve looked at the economics several times. Even assuming the existing technologies can scale and there’s a place to put the CO2, target prices of US$100/tonne CO2 (which is well below current costs) give astronomically large costs for drawing down any appreciable amount of CO2. Moreover, the systems, even at scale, are slow … 70 ppm CO2 drawdown might take a couple of centuries. They can’t keep up with our present outflow of 40 GtCO2 per annum.

  138. “The wealthy can eell afford to pay higher prices for carbon even as access for the poor is subsidized. ”

    The purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce the use of carbon. If you structure such that the rich don’t care and keep using carbon and the poor don’t pay it and keep using carbon, then it would have no impact on carbon use.
    Unless the idea is to hammer the middle class- those who will feel it if the price goes up and who don’t qualify for the subsidy.
    For the political price you’d pay, would you get much reduction in carbon use from a carbon tax that only impacts the middle class?

  139. ecoquant says:

    @jeffnsails850,

    Carbon taxes are no cure all. They change behavior slowly, are never likely to be high enough (politics) to force emissions to zero, don’t differentiate between efficient and inefficient burning of Carbon, and, when successful, particularly when used to offset other kinds of taxes, become disincentives to reduce more.

    Remember, we need to get to zero emissions, not merely reduce emissions.

    – Jan

  140. Ben McMillan says:

    @ecoquant:
    Lowering the level of flights is definitely helpful in terms of reducing the non-CO2 climate impacts of aircraft, but it means flying slower or worse fuel consumption or some combination of the two. Overall positive though in terms of climate impact.

    There are other things you can play with as well but I think it will be like cars: anything except electrification is a stop-gap, and trades off one thing against another.

  141. Greg,
    I’m still not entirely sure what you’re asking. I think the Ricke and Caldeira work is based on standards GCMs that include fast feedbacks, but not slow feedbacks and don’t include things like permafrost. So, it would be that warming would continue even if we got emissions to ~zero, but this should be slow and if we were to get to zero by about the middle of this century, these additional factors may not be all the significant.

    The paper, as far as I’m aware, is open access. You can get it here.

  142. izen,

    Having an over-inflated opinion of my abilities in graphic design I had a look at your slides with the arrogant expectation I could offer a critique and improvements.
    I was pleasantly surprised (and a little disappointed!) to find I could not.

    Thanks 🙂

    For a talk that is about the Carbon footprint of air travel I was at first surprised to find no graphic that compared the amount of CO2 per mile for different forms of transport.

    I was one of multiple speakers, and so I was asked to talk about climate science, and to try and keep it reasonably short (15-20 minutes). IIRC, this came up in one of the other talks.

  143. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    You’ve shown yourself to not be a good faith partner in discussion with me..and actually that you’re focused on a political antipathy. Plus, this isn’t going to happen anyway…but just for the sake of exploring a theoretical idea…

    > Unless the idea is to hammer the middle class- those who will feel it if the price goes up and who don’t qualify for the subsidy.

    I see no reason to assume “the rich wouldn’t care.” This theoretical air travel pricing scheme would be progressive based on a means assessment. A pricing that was progressively steeper in proportion to wealth would ensure that people “care.” It wouldn’t have to be that air travel for people with less wealth would be subsidized to the extent that their cost of airfare would be exactly equivalent to what it is now. They could pay more as well – but they wouldn’t effectively be excluded from flying as would be the case if tickets were accessible only to the highest bidders.

    As an aside – if you let go of some of your political antipathy you could reason something like that out on your own. Your confidence that people are motivated to “hammer the middle class” or some such nonsense, only gets in your own way – as it necessarily limits your ability to think things through.

    I don’t think that such pricing schemes are perfect. We’re in a situation of choosing among sub-optimal options to choose those which are less sub-optimal. IMO, the habit of seeking a perfect solution or gaining satisfaction with pointing out that no solutions are perfect is part of the problematic dynamic in how, as a society, we approach these kinds of issues.

    What we need, IMO, is a structure where people can agree that we all have a shared interest in reducing emissions, and a shared commitment to working out less than perfect ways to improve outcomes. Of course, that means an open discussion of the various pros and cons – but you can’t have such a discussion with people who aren’t committed to a process of consensus.

  144. I think it may be a fool’s errand to keep trying to convince folks to look at the consistent underestimation of the speed of climate change in terms of things like glacial melt, sea ice loss, permafrost melt, but I guess I am that fool, so:

    attp says “I think the Ricke and Caldeira work is based on standards GCMs that include fast feedbacks, but not slow feedbacks and don’t include things like permafrost. So, it would be that warming would continue even if we got emissions to ~zero, but this should be slow and if we were to get to zero by about the middle of this century, these additional factors may not be all the significant.”

    The framing of your last couple phrases tells the story. You are insufficiently alarmed about the feedbacks like permafrost melt (among others). If you were sufficiently alarmed and cautious, the last phrases would read, “but we can hope and pray that the slow feedbacks are truly slow and can be stopped by getting to zero asap. If we are slow getting to zero and/or these feedbacks are not as slow as we hope, then our species and many others are in very serious trouble.”

    This is the truly alarmed mindset of folks like the ubiquitous Greta and the young thinkers in the extinction rebellion. They have come of age reading the news and science and have observed that the scientists have repeatedly underestimated the feedbacks and speed of change. These young folks are much less sanguine about taking their chances on the speed of change anticipated by scientists of previous generations. These are some pretty smart kids. We should really hear and absorb what they are trying to tell us. I think they do not believe anything to do with climate change is going to be “not be all that significant” for them. This is not a phrase that they can or will use when pleading with us about climate change and the impacts it is going to have on their lives.

    But, hey, maybe it will all be fine. Just look at well we have done at moving away from fossil fuels already and then look at the CO2 atmospheric accumulation numbers. Isn’t it clear that we are doing fine and can meet a zero target by the middle of this century? Don’t the trend lines show we are on our way to zero?

    And one plane trip per year to enjoy Maui or Kauai? How can we say no to that in our golden years? Our annual Hawaii trip really can’t be managed by a bunch of hops in the small electric prop planes, so the young folks will just have to understand that we can’t give up everything to leave them a planet like the one we grew up on, sometimes we just have to drive to the airport and hope on that big old jet plane! Aloha!

    Mike

  145. Joshua says:

    ecoquant –

    >Carbon taxes…. don’t differentiate between efficient and inefficient burning of Carbon, and, when successful, particularly when used to offset other kinds of taxes, become disincentives to reduce more.

    You seem to me to be saying that carbon taxes, necessarily, couldn’t be differentiated on the basis of efficiency. If so, why do you say that?

    Also, can you explain why you think they are a disincentive to reduce. I know that RPJr. and others argue that with greater efficiency you actually get *more* energy consumption (I forget the term they use for that dynamic)…but again, it seems to me that there are not givens and would depend on how a tax is structured…

  146. Shouldn’t the bold text on the slide read, It will never be too early to get to net zero. ?

    Greg’s questions about the context for this kind of phrasing that suggests we have plenty of time resonate with me.

  147. Joshua- I don’t believe anyone “intends” to hammer the middle class, I think it would be the unintended consequence of fiddling with an obviously regressive tax to make it less damaging to the poor.

    I think it flows like this- a carbon tax should get people to use less carbon, but the rich won’t notice it so I get no benefit there, I oppose harming the poor so I will exempt them somehow and get no benefit there, which unfortunately means the only folk who will notice it (and don’t like it) are the middle class and that causes me two problems- i don’t get much environmental benefit from forcing behavior change from the middle class alone, and they will vote against the tax.
    Max political pain for minimal environmental benefit, all because of the unintended consequences of attempting to make a regressive tax progressive.
    Oh and it sidesteps another point. The poor don’t fly much and there are only so many rich people. A policy that pushes people to use less, buy less, will always disproportionately be painful to the middle class. That’s why the coach section of the plane has a whole lot more seats in it than the first class. If you want to seriously reduce CO2 via a ban or tax, it means telling midwestern middle managers they can’t fly to Disney and won’t ever go to Hawaii.

  148. Willard says:

    > the rich won’t notice it

    Repeating this won’t make it true. First because a neutral tax is, well, neutral. Second, because the producer could be taxed instead of the consumer. Third, because those who produce little CO2 won’t pay much. Fourth, because those who produce a lot of CO2 produce a lot, e.g.:

    Around 50% of these emissions meanwhile can be attributed to the richest 10% of people around the world, who have average carbon footprints 11 times as high as the poorest half of the population, and 60 times as high as the poorest 10%. The average footprint of the richest 1% of people globally could be 175 times that of the poorest 10%.

    https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/extreme-carbon-inequality

    However, there is a sense by which the 1% may not feel any effect. They consume so much that consuming less won’t affect them. Think of their mega-mansions. It could cut a few cube meters to offset its CO2. They’re so enormously gigantic it won’t make much of a difference.

    The trick, as always, is to make sure regulations are homogenous enough to discourage free-riding developers. They’re the ones who dry wet lands and trash agricultural zones.

  149. mrkenfabian says: October 23, 2019 at 7:31 am
    I would not ban the use of fossil fuels – but I would aim for a requirement that the price include paying for an equivalent amount of (real, verifiable) negative emissions. Whether it is air travel or a personal choice to drive high octane “muscle” cars, these are not insurmountable. I think an overbuild of solar and wind offers opportunities for synthetic fuels for “essential” or discretionary use – and potentially become a significant form of negative emissions.

    Just because I like surfacing the concept from the dusty shelves it apparently got relegated to, I will point to Myles Allen’s years-ago proposal that has always intrigued me.

    It goes by the name of “Sequestered Adequate Fraction of Extracted” (SAFE), and it would essentially impose on fossil fuel producers the obligation to sequester a rising percentage of the emissions associated with their production. This fraction rises as we exhaust our remaining allowable (net) emissions (e.g. 400 GtC, or whatever the current number is for a 66% chance at 2C, or whatever goal). Ultimately, that fraction goes to 100% (or even possibly above, as I think about it). But the basic calculation is:

    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Au-CZ_P-00mi0G5eOBgFiqx3Xa82

    If you achieve this, you never exceed your carbon budget.

    There are a number of elegant features of this scheme.

    You never directly impose a carbon price (with all the guessing entailed) although there is an effective one, depending on how much sequestration costs. Which also highly incents the producers to develop or encourage (buy) low-cost sequestration.

    You don’t pre-suppose how much gross fossil fuels we consume, nor how many tonnes of sequestration is mandated. This is largely determined by the market under the SAFE constraint.

    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Au-CZ_P-00mi0HHSQB3QSC9cr4lu

    There is also a large dose of “put up or shut up”. Right now we are hurtling towards agreements that are mostly assuming massive amounts of negative emissions and sequestration, but no one is on the hook for actually delivering any.

    The idea seemed to go exactly nowhere, I guess because of governance and other issues. Plus, the physical constraints on massive amounts of sequestration may mean that anyone considering quickly realizes how gargantuan the ask/cost may be and shelves (which actually speaks to the “put up or shut up” point…)

    On the other hand, the producers would at least see a theoretical path forward to extracting as much of their current and future reserves as they choose/can afford/sell, rather than the “leave 2/3rds in the ground” threat hanging over them now. Similarly, extant and future above-ground fossil-fuel burning assets and supporting infrastructure are less likely to be abruptly stranded.

    Anyway, always a little surprised this went nowhere. It seems to have more physical and economic rigour – and less wiggle-room/gaming potential – than much of what is currently on offer.

  150. Don’t know how to link/embed pics anymore. OneDrive apparently doesn’t give a “.jpg” link, which may be the problem.

    Can people “see” those links if they click through, at least?

  151. Willard says:

    > Can people “see” those links if they click through, at least?

    No. Private repositories can’t be hot linked.

    Put them in tweets. Add the tweet here.

  152. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Hmmm. That seemed like a reasonable engagement. So let’s continue.

    > Oh and it sidesteps another point. The poor don’t fly much and there are only so many rich people.

    This theoretical policy isn’t indented to solve the problem of climate change. It is intended to mitigate the extent to which individal carbon footprints, based on individal behaviors, contribute to the problem. It actually doesn’t directly address the dominant contributions, which are less directly explained by individual behaviors.

    So given that, we have a variety of sub-optimal choices. We could do nothing. We could eomolwment a regressive policy. Or we could implement a less regressive policy, which will have a limit impact but may have some impact. Indexed to wealth, you could assess a fee to air travel that would (1) have some impact of reducing the smint that rich people fly, (2) have some impact on the smint that non-rich fly, (3) raise revenues that could be used to target the impact of emissions (adaptation) or subsidize less carbon intensive energy supply (mitigation).

    Or you could do nothing.

    Unless there is an opportunity cost or blowback I think doing something should be better than doing nothing.

    There could be political blowback. So then you have another cost/benefit loop to look at. Thats a tough one, lots o’ counterfactual reasoning that way lies. But that isn’t an excuse to decide on non-action – and yes, non-action is a decision

    > A policy that pushes people to use less, buy less, will always disproportionately be painful to the middle class. That’s why the coach section of the plane has a whole lot more seats in it than the first class.

    Your theory there might be right; I’d have to think about it. But your explanatory analogy doesn’t work for me. I don’t get the logic. A plane has a limited number of seats. Taking up space for first class restricts the space for coach. But absent first class, they’d likely squeeze ciaach seats anyway. How is offering tiered seating a policy with “buying less” as a goal?

    > If you want to seriously reduce CO2 via a ban or tax, it means telling midwestern middle managers they can’t fly to Disney and won’t ever go to Hawaii.

    Not as I see it. I see it [people] reaching a consensus that flying less is a shared goal. As such, one way to materialize that goal is to increase the cost for everyone, in a manner that will likely (1) affect behaviors (reduce how mucbpeole fly), raise revenue for addressing climate change, and (3) take steps to address the degree to which such a policy is regressive.

  153. Joshua says:

    Oy.

    Well, owolw = people. I think the rest of the errors can prolly be figured out.

    [Owolwed. -W]

  154. My diagrams from above.

  155. Willard says:

    Works like a charm, Rust. Thanks!

  156. And here is the Allen, Frame, Mason Nature Geoscience commentary.

    The case for mandatory sequestration
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo709

    From 2009.

    2009!

    Ah, the heady, carefree days of 2009. When mitigation pathways weren’t riddled through with negative emissions. What a concept!

  157. first sentence from Allen Frame Mason is my mantra: “The fact that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions are more important than annual emission rates calls for a fresh approach to climate change mitigation.”

    So we needed a fresh approach in 2009 because CO2 accumulation is more important than annual emission rates. How have we done since 2009 on CO2 accumulation?

    The rate of increase has not slowed, it has accelerated.

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/flirting-with-disaster-greenhouse-gas-report/

    and yet, a lot of folks think we are doing fine because trends in green power look good etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love green power, I make about 1/3 of my electric consumption from my porchtop solar array, but if the greenhouse gases just keep rising, it means nothing. More ghg, more heat. When it gets really hot, it will make sense to some folks to jump on a big jet airplane and go somewhere cool. I don’t know what to say about the general failure to pay attention to accumulation of CO2 and CO2e and put that front and center since Allen Frame Mason spelled it out ten years ago.

    Warm regards all

    Mike

  158. Willard says:

  159. izen says:

    @-rust
    “The idea seemed to go exactly nowhere, I guess because of governance and other issues. Plus, the physical constraints on massive amounts of sequestration”

    I’d guess it is because the idea is in fundamental and direct contradiction with the core economic purpose of the fossil fuel producers.
    Whether State or private, the business model for FF producers is;-
    1) To extract, transport and sell their production at the lowest possible cost and sell at the highest possible price.
    2) To increase the production and promote the increased consumption of their production.
    Because both of these goals increase the financial return for the owners of the means of production.

    The sequestration of a ton of CO2 is much more expensive and difficult than the production of a ton of fossil fuel. Therefore profitability of the product is reduced and if that cost is reflected in the price the consumption is significantly reduced to the extent that consumption is elastic in response to price.

    The concept of SAFE is diametrically opposed to the economic basis of the whole FF production process, it is as radical as suggesting that profit and Groooowth are NOT the essential bedrock of our civilisation.

  160. Mal Adapted says:

    Willard:

    However, there is a sense by which the 1% may not feel any effect. They consume so much that consuming less won’t affect them.

    Even if the 1% don’t feel any effect, the energy market will. The incentive to seek cost-effective alternatives to fossil carbon is expected to build out the carbon-neutral economy in a jiffy.

    jeffnsail50:

    A policy that pushes people to use less, buy less, will always disproportionately be painful to the middle class. That’s why the coach section of the plane has a whole lot more seats in it than the first class. If you want to seriously reduce CO2 via a ban or tax, it means telling midwestern middle managers they can’t fly to Disney and won’t ever go to Hawaii.

    You’re still talking about a policy of pushing people. A carbon tax (at least one similar to Carbon Fee and Dividend with Border Adjustment Tariff) doesn’t target anyone for pushing. All it does is raise the price everyone pays for fossil carbon. Rich people do burn more carbon per-capita than poor people. It’s not true for everyone, but the dividend part of CF&D/BAT ensures its net progressive character. The people who fly coach to Hawaii can still do it as often as they can afford to. Every middle class person makes decisions on the margin like that, day in and day out. We’ll still visit Disney or Hawaii, just less often. We’ll have more stay-cations. It isn’t true that American’s can’t tighten our belts when it’s indicated. That doesn’t mean we won’t still want to visit Disney more. Under steady demand, the newly-competitive price of carbon-neutral energy will decline as market forces drive economies of scale, with newly increased profits re-invested in R&D.

    It won’t necessarily work as well as we hope, but if it’s not enough we don’t need to foreclose other interventions. How about a cash-for-gas-guzzlers incentive coming out of the general fund, like in 2009*? We can drive to Disney cheaper in a Prius than the old GMC Denialali. More and better Priuses get sold, further reducing demand for gasoline. And so forth. Of course rich people will still fly first-class whenever they feel like, poor people still won’t fly anywhere, and the presently socialized cost of more Priuses will still exist. Fossil carbon emissions should decline by decrements nonetheless, buying us time to address long-existing conditions.

    Of course, that’s according to market economics. I’m by no means convinced it’s all voodoo.

    * Which I was pleased to cash in on, trading my 28 mpg 1998 Toyota Tacoma for a 40 mpg 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. I may or may not have gotten the better part of that deal, but the Fusion saved me a lot on gasoline. I nonetheless traded it for a used 22 mpg 2015 Tacoma when I retired seven years later, because I needed a minimal truck again. I don’t drive nearly as much anymore: a net emissions decrement over the ten years. I’m pretty sure I’d find more ways to reduce my emissions with a carbon price in place. I’m no different from any other old middle-class guy!

  161. ecoquant says:

    @smallbluemike,

    and yet, a lot of folks think we are doing fine because trends in green power look good etc. but if the greenhouse gases just keep rising, it means nothing. More ghg, more heat. When it gets really hot, it will make sense to some folks to jump on a big jet airplane and go somewhere cool. I don’t know what to say about the general failure to pay attention to accumulation of CO2 and CO2e and put that front and center since Allen Frame Mason spelled it out ten years ago.

    Here’s the thing, Mike, which is what I’ve been really struggling with lately. Suppose a (big) group of people has climate disruption explained to them, and they are quizzed on particulars so there’s evidence they really do understand. And suppose, then, the actions needed to counter it are explained, and they are quizzed and they understand those, too. And then suppose the costs are outlined, and, again, a quiz shows they understand those. But when asked if they want to pursue the mitigation efforts, an overwhelming majority says, “No, we’ll take our chances and hope for the best”. When you point out the risks, they shrug, and leave, saying “Thanks for the pizza.”

    What do we do? I don’t think there’s anything we can do. And this kind of behavior is pretty much what behavioral economist-psychologist Daniel Kahneman forecasts. A similar assessment is presented by Meyer and Krunreuther. (Ironically George Marshall quotes Kahneman, too, but in my opinion draws a completely wrong conclusion. I’ve written up my reasoning in a review of Marshall’s book.) People are just bad at risk assessment.

    ref: Loss aversion.

    ref: Status quo bias

    ref: Myopic loss aversion.

  162. jeffnsails850: “The purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce the use of carbon. If you structure such that the rich don’t care and keep using carbon and the poor don’t pay it and keep using carbon, then it would have no impact on carbon use.

    The people who vote for politicians who pontificate about the wonders of the Holy Free Market when it comes to policies that hurt us and the poor suddenly do not believe in market mechanisms any more when it comes to solving climate change. Judith Curry’s “interesting“.

    Whether it is markets bringing supply and demand together in the electricity market not being possible or car drivers and plane flyers suddenly not responding to price signals.

    But I welcome you making the case that the economy would work better if wealth was spread more equally because then the price mechanism would work better and lead to fairer outcomes.

  163. izen says:

    @-ecoquant
    “But when asked if they want to pursue the mitigation efforts, an overwhelming majority says, “No, we’ll take our chances and hope for the best”.”

    I would largely accept the Kahaneman and Meyer and Krunreuther narrative of how individuals process risk and respond to information and an understanding of the best cost/benefit analysis. But I think this approach is focusing on just one side, or element of a much more complex multilayered system.
    It would be equally unbalanced to attribute the outcomes of impacts from natural/man-made disasters to the next level up, the societal and economic system in which the individual is embedded. However the larger social system with its economic operating principles does strongly shape and constrain the possible options and patterns of response that the individual can credibly make.

    The option to go ‘off grid’, become vegan, abandon car ownership are all severely limited not only by the available alternatives, but by a range of social taboos and disadvantages that would come with such choices for the individual.
    They are also options that the larger political-economic system over most of the globe is systemically opposed to.
    There is effectively an immune response within the body politic that acts to defend the current multi-cellular/societal stability by suppressing the options for an individual to ‘rebel’. For many, perhaps the majority of individuals at present, it effectively excludes from consideration any choices that do not conform with the prevailing values and parameters of acceptable behaviour.

    For this reason I am unwilling to ascribe culpability to the flaws in individual decision making solely to the individual. Although I recognise that it would be almost equally unjust to apportion all the blame on the socio-economic imperatives that shape those flaws.

    But some insight and acknowledgement of the inadequacies of the larger system by individuals would be welcome. Even if it risks them being defined as a ‘cancer’ that threatens to status quo, BAU ecology of our current institutions

  164. mrkenfabian says:

    Ecoquant – if negative emissions are more expensive than other options for no-emissions air travel then requiring equivalent negative emissions for flying with oil should encourage the other options. I’m just more inclined towards pricing fossil fuels out of air travel rather than restricting it – and such a requirement would effectively be a high carbon price.

    The impacts of contrails on climate do add another factor I hadn’t been considering… make it a requirement for above-equivalent negative emissions? I suppose synthesised fuel would not be a true negative emissions approach because it doesn’t feed carbon to long term sinks, but it ought to displace the fossil fuel use.

    I don’t know how far the costs of synthesised-using-CO2 fuels might improve but it is safe to assume it will. I do see overbuild of solar and wind as an opportunity to bring down the energy costs of doing so down. That kind of overbuild is likely to occur for other reasons and solar especially still has a lot of room for cost reductions; I think overbuilding and it’s periods of curtailed production will be seen as opportunity for high energy processes rather than purely as increased capital cost.

  165. David B. Benson says:

    And then there are ferry boats:
    https://www.king5.com/mobile/article/news/local/washington-state-ferries-converting-to-electric-power/281-191657ee-4b04-4ffa-9b79-dd864cd1a82d

    Unclear just what hybrid – electric means for those ferry boats.

  166. Greg Robie says:

    ATTP, Thx. I couldn’t get it at that link (my tech is too old!), but the Carnegie Science website had this page – https://www-legacy.dge.carnegiescience.edu/labs/caldeiralab/Caldeira_research/Ricke_Pulse.html – that includes an explanatory video by Katharine Ricke and, to boot, a mea culpa video by Ken Caldeira concerning a 2012 video where he asserts a forty year delay in surface air temperature responses to changes in emissions.

    6000 combinations of model runs regarding the carbon cycle, climate sensitivity, and thermal inertia of the oceans yield the graph you have used. The cryosphere was not included, likely because of the speed thing and assumptions.

    If the modeling of the Arctic cryosphere more closely matched the observed changes, I would concur about the peak warming assertion. Instead I assert that the Inuit observations regarding increased refraction and that retractions thermal dynamics are ignored at the risk of enhancing our peril … within hypotheticals! In real life the peril can not be “enhanced”. It is already an existential crisis. Isn’t conspiring to say or infer otherwise “silly” motivated reasoning?

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  167. eq says: “when asked if they want to pursue the mitigation efforts, an overwhelming majority says, “No, we’ll take our chances and hope for the best”. When you point out the risks, they shrug, and leave, saying “Thanks for the pizza.”

    What do we do?”

    I agree with you. I think there is very little that we can do, but I think it makes sense to speak frankly about where this leads, it leads to a level of global warming that will cause civilization collapse. Ok, I think that is where we are going. I am not happy about it, but there is little we can do, except to live our lives as if the way we live matters, to live as gracefully and with as little impact as we can manage, and finally to call BS when folks try to spin the path we are on as being anything close to sufficiently responsive to CO2 and CO2e accumulation to make the world reasonably safe for the children who are sorting the science and saying, hey, our house is on fire.

    Maybe we should ask those children how we can be of service to them in their struggle to lessen the damage and danger they will face.

    If we ask them, I think one thing they will ask from us is to give up flying in anything but the most pressing emergency. That’s not a big ask for me, I have already given that up, but others find the request that we stop flying to be too intrusive. I guess we have to decide whether we shrug that off or say, shame on you. That is what this thread is all about, is it not?

    So, I guess, for my part, I say, shame on those of you who continue to fly at this time in anything but the most pressing emergency. I agree with the young folks who have reviewed the science and the climate path we are on and have found flying to be inexcusable.

    If you don’t look at the science and emission numbers and find flying to be inexcusable, I say bravo, you have fooled yourself successfully. I am not required to play along with that foolishness. I can speak up about it and I do from time to time.

    Mike

  168. izen

    The concept of SAFE is diametrically opposed to the economic basis of the whole FF production process

    Fossil fuel producers are going to object (i.e. “prefer not” and will generally oppose) to other carbon prices (tax, caps, etc.) for the same reasons, as they will generally oppose any scheme that internalizes negative externalities. So that is not really a strike against SAFE.

    Although I do think that they would oppose SAFE more because I think it makes the challenge and cost much more stark. Again, that “put up or shut up” in terms of making sequestration at scale a reality. Better to support a “modest” carbon price which will for the foreseeable future would allow them to continue with extraction-as-usual, and then when it turns out that sequestration comes up short, they can innocently point to the fact that they played ball and supported the carbon price.

    Anyway, I just interjected the somewhat square peg in these comments because Ken Fabian alluded to a similar scheme. And I just want to keep dripping the SAFE concept into discussions, because ultimately I think we will need some way to establish “a mandatory link between carbon sequestration and fossil fuel extraction.”

    I suspect that in practice that this will prove to be prohibitively expensive at scale. Or, with luck and some surprises from technology, perhaps not. One thing it would do is stop kicking the responsibility and cost and even feasibility of sequestration onto future – even unborn – generations. Which seems to border on criminal exploitation without consent.

  169. ecoquant says:

    @izen,

    I gently disagree. The human system has a device for adjusting to such society-wide blunders, whether they are in the feverish buying of tulips, the Roaring ’20s, the Internet Bubble, or the real estate bubble of 2007-2008: Markets crash, people are unemployed, people lose their wealth. It’s harsh but, arguably, it’s better than the natural response to mistakes: Eat the Selenium-laded carrot leaf and you die. Oops.

    I have every confidence that Nature + markets won’t tolerate people’s collective foolishness on climate disruption indefinitely. Unfortunately, that means a lot of people are going to get (economically) hurt.

  170. ecoquant says:

    @smallbluemike,

    … it leads to a level of global warming that will cause civilization collapse.

    Maybe I’m a silly optimist, but I don’t think that’ll happen. I think the market crash and then hard-nosed socialism is much more likely. To your credit, Sir David King worries about civilization collapse a lot, too and he knows a lot more than I do.

  171. David Z. Benson said:

    “Ben McMillan, the US Navy uses lots of extra reactor power to produce jet fuel from sea water.”
    …..
    “Got it, Paul Pukite?”

    A tense standoff.

  172. izen says:

    @-David B. Benson
    “Unclear just what hybrid – electric means for those ferry boats.”

    It is probably a variation – version of the Diesel/electric system also used in trains where a Diesel engine is used to drive a generator which then drives electric motors. The speed and torque characteristics of electric motors mean that no clutch or gearbox is needed and the size of the motors eliminates large drive-shafts.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel%E2%80%93electric_transmission

  173. ecoquant says:

    @rustneversleeps,

    It is “criminal exploitation without consent”, for sure.

    But I wonder, suppose the fossil majors are convinced to switch, independent of market and government, hypothetically. What will/would the reaction of the typical OECD resident be to having their fossil fuels (relatively) suddenly withdrawn?

  174. “But I welcome you making the case that the economy would work better if wealth was spread more equally because then the price mechanism would work better and lead to fairer outcomes.”

    Free markets actually do spread wealth more equally- compare China’s poverty rate pre-1990 to today. Poor people want more money so they can start flying too, just like middle class people. People are less interested in whether they make as much as the 1% than they are in the steady growth of their own income. And nobody wants the whole world to be poor.

  175. Greg Robie says:

    @-rust: SAFE seems brilliant … if we were a rational species! But keep pushing it. It is not quite as rational as my pet ‘solution’: voluntarily and non-violently dumping the economic meme’e default reserve currency – the unconstitutional Federal Reserve note (as a matter of honor), and coining a sustainable carbon pollution credit denominated one – but SAFE is more likely.

    But geo-engineering is perceived to be cheaper, and therefore …

    Researching the Anglo-American Oil Agreement dikranmarsupial mentioned in this comment thread, I turned up this 18 page Yale Law Journal article from 1946. The political calculus involving oil companies (when they were yet perceived to be national entities) might be instructive concerning the political efficacy of SAFE; of anything but geo-engineering.

    IIRC, with the current ~10 year doubling rate of the, now, ~2 trillion joules of heat that the receding Arctic sea ice has freed up to heat something else each year, and the > 0 but

  176. Greg Robie says:

    And I meant to include this link to that Yale Law Journal article: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4446&context=ylj. It is way past time to let this permaculture’s chickens out of their foulhouse! =)

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  177. Greg Robie says:

    Lesson regarding the use of the “less than” symbol learned … & an edited/combined repost … w/o the signature link to avoid auto moderation:

    @-rust: SAFE seems brilliant … if we were a rational species! But keep pushing it. It is not quite as rational as my pet ‘solution’: voluntarily and non-violently dumping the economic meme’e default reserve currency – the unconstitutional Federal Reserve note (as a matter of honor), and coining a sustainable carbon pollution credit denominated one – but SAFE is more likely.

    But geo-engineering is perceived to be cheaper, and therefore …

    Researching the Anglo-American Oil Agreement dikranmarsupial mentioned in this comment thread, I turned up this 18 page Yale Law Journal article from 1946: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4446&context=ylj. The political calculus involving oil companies (when they were yet perceived to be national entities) might be instructive concerning the political efficacy of SAFE; of anything but geo-engineering.

    IIRC, with the current ~10 year doubling rate of the, now, ~2 trillion joules of heat that the receding Arctic sea ice has freed up to heat something else each year, and the more than 0 but less than 1.4% additional un-modeled heat the seasonal and Arctic-centric increasing refraction via a rising lift in the tropopause that the Inuit hunters’ observations point to, we will arrive at a political awareness regarding geo-engineering much sooner than is likely imaginable [that we are already past].

    Having slept on the details of the explanation of the “Peak Warming” slide graph, Ken Caldria’s point regarding the study is likely not the same as how it was used in this “Flight free talk” framing.

    While I will not disagree that messaging is best effected if it is kept simple – and IMO these slides do this well – such simply is no longer a rational argument for what can easily be misconstrued. Alternatively, isn’t it imperative to grasp that ‘simple is what is simply done’ [& simply start getting the business models of our academic institutions in conformance with the science they have birthed]?

    There are both climate and economic tipping points. Leaving the climate’s ones out, Ken Caldria was able to walk back an earlier, too conservative, presumption. Leaving the economic ones out William Nordhaus was able to get a Nobel [and saddle science with trying to study how to possibly effect a 2° limit for political stooges and financial overlords/motivated reasoning]. Hansen asserts (in one of my three public videos linked in my email signature that such is crazy) … and “I believe it” (i.e., the cosmic baker took us fruitcakes out of the over too early!)

    So, ATTP, when chatting with that Extinction Rebellion person next week, might it be wise to try listening from your discomfort zone?

    😉

    >

  178. Willard says:

    > Free markets actually do spread wealth more equally

    That does not meet the request to show the economy would work better if wealth was spread more equally because then the price mechanism would work better and lead to fairer outcomes. The assertion is also dubious when taken as a general law:

    At best one can argue that more GRRRRROWTH gives more breadcrumbs. Even if true, how does the redistribution work exactly? The explanation does not trickle down all by itself.

    Oh, and since you like Gilets Jaunes:

  179. mrkenfabian says:

    Rustneversleeps – “ultimately I think we will need some way to establish “a mandatory link between carbon sequestration and fossil fuel extraction.””

    I suppose my thinking comes from wanting the externalised costs of consumer choices to be more explicit; it is not advocacy for negative emissions as a principle solution. If some burning of fossil fuels is deemed truly essential, let’s see how essential it is when the costs of making it zero emissions are included.

    smallbluemike – ” I say, shame on those of you who continue to fly at this time in anything but the most pressing emergency.”

    I don’t so much disagree with the truth of this as disagree with how well it works practically for convincing people for whom knowing better but doing things anyway is an everyday state of existence – and I suppose can even be cause for a special kind of self congratulation, feeding that inner rebel. But especially I think that pragmatically, as a political message for turning the minds of the uninformed, misinformed or just plain apathetic it is less than optimal. For a well informed population that cares enough to sacrifice short term prosperity and gratification for the sake of the longer term, sure, but we do not have that. Our societal institutions exist for the purpose of incorporating responsibility into our individual choices, although it does appear they are being used more for incorporating responsibility avoidance into our collective choices.

    Ultimately this kind of “if you care you won’t fly” emissions shaming crosses over into all kinds of everyday activities, down to using electricity, driving cars – even to eating food grown (using FF powered machinery and FF transported to a FF powered local store) – as the obstructionist hypocrisy police will not hesitate to point out; those who don’t care will feel no shame and most of those who will feel shame won’t feel enough of it to stop entirely.

    I think that whilst it will forever be an elusive aim, trying for and arguing for equivalent or better prosperity with a transition to low to below zero emissions will be more effective than arguing for voluntary frugality. I will continue to favour arguing for economy wide change and avoid shaming people for being full and (dis)functional members of the society they are part of.

  180. That does not meet the request to show the economy would work better if wealth was spread more equally because then the price mechanism would work better and lead to fairer outcomes. The assertion is also dubious when taken as a general law:

    Would love to see the observations the growth rate estimates in 2200 were based on. Looks like model results, call me sceptical of that in macro-economics.

    Under FDR and in the 50s and 60s tax rates for the rich were appropriate, inequality normal and economic growth rates much higher than under the fundamentalist corrupt version of capitalism we unfortunately have today.

    Who will make better investment decisions? 100,000 millionaires or Jeff Bezos? There was a time markets were praised for their decentralized information processing. That is not the economy today.

  181. “Under FDR and in the 50s and 60s tax rates for the rich were appropriate, ”
    And eliminated by John F. Kennedy because they were basically a lie, the effective tax rate for the 1% has been pretty much static (link below). Confiscatory tax rates don’t work. Ask the European Union members that repealed them.
    This is especially interesting in the US now as at least two major candidates for president want to bring Scandinavian level of social services, but quite reasonably are horrified at the thought of introducing Scandinavian taxes. Why? Because the VAT and those high income taxes on middle class taxpayers give the game away. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders like to tell people the fairy tale that you can take money from the rich and hand it out like candy. In reality the middle class pays most of the bill and even the poorest of the poor have to hand over at least 20-25% of their “income” in tax thanks to the VAT (federal tax rates on the “poor” loosely defined up to lower middle class, in the US are essentially zero).

    The phrase “inequality” resonates because people hear “you will have the ability to do the stuff the middle class does.” Once they realize you don’t mean that at all, “inequality” no longer resonates.

    https://slate.com/business/2017/08/the-history-of-tax-rates-for-the-rich.html

  182. ecoquant says:

    @jeffnsails850,

    I think a VAT is just what we need, since there are direct emissions for heating/cooling/transport, and then there are the emissions embedded in consumption, which are about as big again.

  183. ecoquant- interesting idea. wouldn’t a carbon tax function roughly the same way, yet focus on the CO2? Should the EU member states simply increase the VAT rather than use carbon tax or carbon trade?
    In the US they’ve boxed themselves into a corner by promising two unicorns- a tax that only the rich will pay on carbon would reduce emissions (it wouldn’t) and a large tax or financial punishment through the courts on “fossil fuel corporations” wouldn’t have any impact on the price you pay for gasoline or electricity (they obviously would).
    The EU states are admirably adult about all this- if you want X, everybody is going have to pay for it and the nation will put real effort into making it functional and cost effective. I might disagree with the size of the tax, but that is the most honest way. If my support surprises you, it shouldn’t. Conservatives are fine with consumption taxes. If people have to pay for the stuff they vote for, they care more about it’s cost and effectiveness.

  184. ecoquant says:

    @jeffnsails850,

    Consumption has knock-on effects which even a comprehensively designed Carbon Tax/Fee with border adjustments may not be able to capture. The trick about border adjustments is that, to work, the upstream life cycle emissions of product production, back to sourcing raw materials, needs to be reflected in the fee charged upon import. Those are difficult to track.

    On the other hand, a VAT border adjustment might charge a fee for every transaction along the way from raw materials production.

    If someone buys a Hummer (or a Tesla) from a local outlet who in turn gets it from the original dealer, there ought to be an additional fee charged because whatever the process that manages the secondary dealership has its own Carbon and environmental impacts. Presumably, the Carbon tax/fee on the Hummer (or Tesla) remains the same in either case.

  185. you could, I imagine, bake the carbon tax into the VAT then just offer a rebate or some other incentive for Tesla buyers.

  186. You brought up “confiscatory tax rates”, jeffnsails850. I did not claim taxes were or should be 90% for the rich. That is a classical strawman argument.

    The article you link to yourself shows tax rate were higher for the rich and much lower for us in the times of American was Great economically:

    A similar story with a large change for the richest 400 families can be found in the NYT.

    All plans of Bernie and Warren are paid for. Naturally you can pay a lot with that money. It is not just about those rates, but also about how insanely rich these people are, especially in America. In Europe it would be harder to pay for nice things by taxing the rich alone, but also because the politicians do not dare to touch them. It is time they work for us.

  187. Note, the graph of Slate does not include the two Trillion climate hoaxer Trump gave to the 1%.

  188. Greg Robie says:

    @ATTP, the “no committed warming” slide, since the paper it is based on does not include the crysophere, misrepresents reality. If the two Arctic cryosphere forcings* I discussed here are factored in there is committed (if not yet quantified) warming … both in the pipeline, and currently unfolding and miss-assigned.

    I note the IPCC “Special Report on 1.5°C” similarly asserts the non-existence of committed warming and references Matthews and Solomon, 1913 (). That study is more constrained than the subsequent Ricke and Caldeira, 2014 report that is the source of the slide’s supporting’ graph … and is similarly wrong. Matthews and Solomon, 2013 limits its justification of its findings to the carbon cycle and the thermal inertia of the oceans.

    By omitting the cryosphere, the part of the climate system where the models are consistently – and significantly – off, suggests that what was explicitly noted in the Oreskes and Stern essay concerning such omissions is in play … and has entered a social echo chamber phase. The IPCC “Special Report on 1.5C” does so in section 1.2.4. As an example of following suit, doesn’t this talk’s presentation do so as well in this particular slide?

    There is a multi-generational lag in the climate system’s response to perturbations that these [delusional?] self-reinforcing studies conspire to hide in plain sight. Is this how motivated reasoning socially ‘works’ within the climate modeling community? Has ‘twisting’ science to support the 2°C policy (& garner needed funding), created a social positive feedback. Has this dynamic passed a tipping point? (@-izen, that great haiku from the next post’ thread applies to overt power AND self-imposed thought police! @-Chubbs, when, in a generation, SR15 is looked back on like AR3, the what-was-not-modeled-right will be exponentially different AND the same … except for shallow coral reefs.)

    * Less equivocated, or the Cliff Notes version: a A dismissed/overlooked set of Inuit observations provide unquantified data regarding an unconsidered (& unmodeled-able – supercomputers are not yet fast/powerful enough by two generations to do regional and seasonal calculations!) forcing. The veracity of this is plausibly supported both by current observations of the Arctic tropopause dynamics AND an overlooked role of fossil carbon soot in the Arctic troposphere since the start of the industrial revolution. This forcing, if accounted for in the models, would likely get the changes in the Arctic cryosphere right.

    The knock-on effect of getting-this-wrong is that the scientific 1°C ‘safety’ limit from the late ’80s is likely too conservative; the economic 2°C Noble Nordhaus’ erroneously justified model is a [bad] joke. Present actions are extinction.

    Twitter version: https://youtu.be/flmtD2oh27k #CapitalismFail

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  189. ecoquant- one thing they neglected to mention in this is that, at least in the US, a significant number of people at the bottom of the income distribution pay little or nothing out of pocket for electricity or gas heat. Both are included in fixed rent for all public housing in New York City, for example, and many states have programs to help low-income residents with power bills.
    Making the power company rates more progressive wouldn’t have any impact on the poor because they don’t pay the “rate” – it’s covered by the progressive income tax.

    Victor- Did you notice how the first graph and the second graph don’t match? The reason can be found in the fact that people are making fun of the second one for being misleading and the first is accepted by everyone.
    Secondly, it’s “rate,” not tax dollars and includes state and local taxes. The rich pay the same sales tax rate as the poor, but it’s still progressive. Do you know why?
    Trump offset the income tax rate by closing loopholes that the 1% love- like writing off the property taxes paid on all those fossil fuel gobbling mansions and private jets the celebrity climate concerned have.

  190. Yes, there are differences, but both graphs show the same basic pattern: tax rates for the rich have gone down over the period systemic corruption has gone up. If you value oil companies more than humans you can think that is fine, but it has has happened.

    The sales tax is a flat tax, everyone pay the same rate. It is not a normal use of the word to call that a progressive tax. That term is used for taxes where the rate goes up.

    You should not believe the lies of Donald Trump, I guess even you guys will have to admit by now that Trump is a pathological liar. He claimed loopholes would compensate for the changes in the rates. That was a big fat lie.

    The rich and corporations effectively got 2 Trillion in tax cuts, hat money is missing, normal folks will have to pay for it later. I am confident you will not be able to find a credible source that claims the rich did not get a tax cut, that is was all compensated by closing loop-holes.

    The tax cuts for the rich were made permanent by Trump, the crumbs normal American got were temporary. Trump takes good care of his establishment buddies. He has been a conman all his life, it is his only skill, you should look at what he does, not what he says.

    Next to this also the taxes on corporations have gone down. In the good old days they paid more than 30% of all taxes, nowadays their effective tax rate is 8%. That difference is now paid by normal people due to systemic corruption.

  191. Victor, the sales tax is “progressive” in that the rich consume more, therefore pay much more in sales taxes even as they pay the same “rate.” People understand this.
    Donald Trump did decrease the tax rate for the 1% (and everyone else who pays taxes) and closed a loophole that benefits the rich- the ability to deduct state and local mansion taxes from federal taxable income.
    Federal individual income tax revenue hit a record high. The “loss” from Trump’s tax cuts comes entirely from corporate income taxes- which reduced revenue over previous years. Trump cut corporate tax rates to EU levels. Corporations don’t pay corporate income tax. You do, along with poor people, middle class people, rich people, the employees of the corporation, retirement funds and, yes, the 1%.
    It’s a regressive tax that is popular only among those who buy the myth that corporate expenses aren’t passed down to the buyers of the corporate’s products. More enlightened nations keep the corporate tax rate low and then use the income tax to get at profits in a more progressive manner.
    For example- do you slap Apple with a high corporate tax and stick everyone – rich and poor alike – with a higher price tag for the iPhone, or do you keep the tax on the iPhone lower and tax the Apple execs income? Your better argument, then, is that Trump should have lowered corporate income taxes and increased the rate for high incomes. Nobody is making that argument- Trump lowered both and Democrats want to increase both.

  192. Joshua says:

    Zombie arguments persist:

    > Federal individual income tax revenue hit a record high.

    https://reason.com/2019/01/18/mcconnell-gop-tax-cut-growth-revenue/

    > And still, some continue to make the absurd case that the tax cuts are paying for themselves. To set the record straight — they are not. Those misleading claims ignore inflation and baselines and count all economic growth during the entire Trump administration — even growth from before the tax cut. Tax revenues have fallen to well below what they were projected to be, as all credible analysts predicted.

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/trumps-tax-cuts-did-not-work-planned-and-made-americas-debt-worse-90676

  193. Joshua says:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/christianweller/2019/05/30/the-2017-tax-cuts-didnt-work-the-data-prove-it/#cef6ea258c13

    https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/did-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-pay-itself-2018

    > TCJA, however, is not that tax cut. While some TCJA supporters are touting that nominal revenues were higher in fiscal year (FY) 2018 than in FY2017, that comparison does not address the question of TCJA’s effects. Nominal revenues rise because of inflation and economic growth. Adjusted for inflation, total revenues fell from FY2017 to FY2018 (Figure 1). Adjusted for the size of the economy, they fell even more.

  194. Joshua- read better and you might one day be able to discuss in good faith.
    I clearly wrote that the corporate income tax cuts did not pay for themselves- corporate income tax revenue is down. I also clearly wrote that the better argument would be that Trump should have cut the corp income tax and kept the personal income tax on high earners the same or higher.
    I see you have nothing to say about the fact that corp tax rates are regressive.

    I love your line that a tax cut designed to promote economic growth shouldn’t be counted as a success because you need to adjust it for the economic growth it caused. Therefore a personal income tax cut that produced more revenue for the government should be ignored or seen as something less because it also caused caused economic growth.
    Y’all should run with that in 2020, especially in the mid-west. Please.

  195. ecoquant says:

    @jeffnsails850,

    Corporations don’t pay corporate income tax. You do, along with poor people, middle class people, rich people, the employees of the corporation, retirement funds and, yes, the 1%.
    It’s a regressive tax that is popular only among those who buy the myth that corporate expenses aren’t passed down to the buyers of the corporate’s products.

    Well, that’s not entirely true: It isn’t necessarily the case that all portions of a tax or a tax increase are offset by increase in prices. Indeed, it’s pretty silly to think that’s true unless there’s no elasticity in the market the company participates within. They could be offset by giving suppliers less work or business, or taking out bigger loans, or slowing expansion plans. Your claim only works in the “all other things being equal” case.

    Also, speaking of loans and debt, the self-initiated corporate debt in the States dwarfs the federal one by a lot, and that amount of debt hasn’t always been that high. It is also a myth that increasing federal debt necessarily dampens economic growth. So does corporate debt, because they crown out buyers of money. But there’s no control over that.

    Here’s an idea: Tax corporations in proportion to the amount of debt they have.

  196. “They could be offset by giving suppliers less work or business, or taking out bigger loans, or slowing expansion plans. ”
    Yes, they could pass the cost off onto their vendors and employees as well as the buyers of their products. Either way, the corporation isn’t paying it, the buyers of their products or their suppliers are paying it.
    I’m not sure businesses take out loans to pay their taxes, if so they are paying them back either by raising prices or cutting employees and vendors.

    The debt point is interesting. I’m not doubting you but I’d like to see where the debt is- what industries. There has been a massive amount of spending in the US over the last 10 years on oil and gas infrastructure for example. And the interest rates are so low that borrowing for expansion makes a lot of sense. I know a guy who borrowed to grow his business even though he had the cash reserves to do it. It just made more sense financially.
    Do you want to encourage corporations to not borrow (by taxing them more if they do) or tax them less if they borrow. They write off interest expense from their taxes and they pay more in taxes if the borrowing is for production and revenue growth, so they already are somewhat taxed based on their level of debt.

  197. ecoquant says:

    My point was that it isn’t only government debt which crowds out borrowers.

    Your other points are a distraction: You squarely implied it was only products whose prices were affected. And you did not address elasticity at all in your response.

  198. Willard says:

    > I see you have nothing to say about the fact that corp tax rates are regressive

    The part where you establish that fact seems to be missing, JeffN.

  199. jeffnsails850: “Victor, the sales tax is “progressive” in that the rich consume more, therefore pay much more in sales taxes even as they pay the same “rate.” People understand this

    A progressive tax is a tax in which the average tax rate (taxes paid ÷ personal income) increases as the taxable amount increases https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_tax

    jeffnsails850: “People understand this

    I am sure there will Trump supporters pretending they do not know the normal definition of a progressive tax, but do pretend only these people are the People.

  200. jeffnsails850: “Corporations don’t pay corporate income tax. You do, along with poor people, middle class people, rich people, the employees of the corporation, retirement funds and, yes, the 1%. It’s a regressive tax that is popular only among those who buy the myth that corporate expenses aren’t passed down to the buyers of the corporate’s products.

    That is one of the weird libertarian talking points sadly even Stoat buys into. It is for people who hate people and think amoral corporate aliens are wonderful. I am sure corporations lobby for lower corporate taxes and higher subsidies because they like the poor so much.

    Money circulates, so any tax can be said to be paid by the next or previous party. Trump claims China pays the taxes Americans pay on Chinese products due to his trade war. Do I need to say this is wrong, or is it enough to say “Trump claim …”?

    Corporations do not pay an “corporate income tax”, they do not pay the tax on their income/revenue, but on their profits. One of the many ways corporations are favoured over humans.

    A tax on profits does not change the price of goods much. The price is determined by supply and demand. If price X makes most profit, it will do so with or without taxes on this profit. If corporations could increase the price and make more profit they would already have done so; they are not charities, nor human. This tax influences how much dividend can be paid out and thus the price of the stock, which is nearly exclusively held by the 1%, who thus profit from lowering corporate taxes.

  201. sales tax is a regressive tax. There is no reasonable argument that the sales tax is anything but a regressive tax.

    https://www.accuratetax.com/blog/regressive-sales-tax-infographic/

    There are alternative facts at play, but no reasonable argument about the nature of sales tax and who pays in a system based on sales tax.

    https://itep.org/whopays/

  202. verytallguy says:

    “Victor, the sales tax is “progressive” in that the rich consume more, therefore pay much more in sales taxes even as they pay the same “rate.” People understand this.”

    Jeff, understand that you don’t understand basic definitions

    From teh wiki

    A progressive tax is a tax in which the average tax rate (taxes paid ÷ personal income) increases as the taxable amount increases.

    A sales tax is independent of the taxable amount, so cannot be progressive.

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