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Kyoto and the Stern Review of Climate Change

In preparing the new printing of my energy economics textbook, several widely publicized topics were deliberately omitted. One of these was the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. On several occasions I heard this document mentioned when I was visiting professor at the Asian Institute of Technology (Bangkok), which caused me to immediately make it clear that it was not to be discussed in my classroom in the course of what might be described as normal business.

Last year Lord (Nicolas) Stern (of Brentford) appeared in Stockholm in order to entertain a large audience with the conclusions reached in his famous analysis of potential climate change calamities. I of course was not invited to attend his presentation, because it was almost certainly believed by its arrangers that had I been present, there might have been what is sometimes called an `incident'. This was definitely not certain, because I would have been willing to exercise a maximum of restraint in order to avoid informing Lord Stern that many leading economic theorists regard his work on this topic as scientifically meaningless.

Meaningless and in the light of the finished product, pedagogically superfluous. To my way of thinking the Stern Review -- or at least the small portion that I have examined -- is an insult to both conscientious economics teachers and the students who require their knowledge, as well as innocent bystanders who pay taxes in order for -- among other things -- systematic and professional attempts to be made to ascertain the extent and mechanics of global warming, and if necessary to suggest or devise efficient programs for reducing its possible dangers. The analytical fragments of the Stern Review remind me of esoteric contributions to a journal called `The Review of Economic Studies' which played an important part in my education at the University of Stockholm, and contained articles which were often a part of the curriculum when I taught mathematical economics in Uppsala and Australia. I feel it appropriate to mention that I haven't read anything in that journal for more than 20 years, and I enjoy informing students and colleagues that I consider myself a better person as a result of this abstention.

After scrutinizing a few pages of the Stern Review, the first thing that came to my mind was that if it is true that we are now living in the most dishonest period in modern times, as a Canadian billionaire claims, then the so-called research done by Stern and his team might turn out to be a prime contender for the paramount scam of the present century: in wisdom and verbosity it belongs in the same category as Mein Kampf, and this is perhaps the reason that Professor Richard Tol said that if it were presented to him as a `Master's' thesis, he would grade it F (for failure).

But please take note that I am not criticizing nor denigrating climate scientists or anybody else who takes the position that global warming is a clear and present or nearly-present danger, because this may well be true. Instead I am merely commenting on an economic investigation whose ennoblement can be attributed to careerists in the faculties of economics and the environmental bureaucracies, and where the principal concern of some individuals on both the writing or reading end of enterprises of this nature may be money and some of the beautiful things that money can buy. Here I am thinking of subsidized travel and accommodation on the one hand, and on the other a superficial understanding of a fashionable topic.

Let us suppose for the purpose of this discussion that I was totally and obsessively corrupt, and found myself with the opportunity to write a thick book with the title The Ferdinand E. Banks review on the economics of climate change. Please be aware that what I am implying is that for me to write a book with that title, I would have to be `bent' in one sense or another, because otherwise I would never have anything to do with an assignment of this nature.

Given the limitations of economic theory, there is only one sensible approach to the project, and that is to find a model that can be adjusted and/or refined and/or extended and/or tweaked in such a way as to allow my assistants (and perhaps myself) to carry out rambling discussions of the economics of climate change in perhaps 700+ pages. The model that would be chosen by me, or my assistants, or my graduate students, or by party animals posturing themselves and courting attention at the bar of an Uppsala University student club could only be the one published by Frank Ramsey in his famous article `A mathematical theory of saving' (1928).

What is the logic behind this choice? First of all, the Ramsey model is complicated but not too complicated. Even if they are put off by its mathematics, the basic intent of such a model should be recognizable to a majority of advanced economics undergraduates, to include those pursuing their education in or near certain store-front universities where environmental studies constitute almost a religion.

Equally as important, the Ramsey model can be summarily enriched in case someone visiting a lecture on global warming decides to play ego games with the lecturer, in the course of which they proclaim the triviality of the basic Ramsey construction. If the basic model is polished up, a skilful lecturer might be able to successfully convince a drowsy audience that it is capable of providing some genuine insight into whether future benefits from `present' action to prevent climate change outweigh the cost of this action. The model -- though not the real world - reduces this puzzle to determining the discount rate that should be used to evaluate future benefits.

A simple example might feature being able to continue enjoying the marvellous beach life on the west coast of Sweden in future summers, while the estimated (or presumed or postulated) present cost of achieving this goal might involve altering Sweden's energy architecture in such a way as to include more wind turbines and natural gas, while promoting a nuclear retreat. Of course we know something about what this would mean, because the cost of electricity in Denmark -- which is the promised land of wind-based energy -- is perhaps the highest in Europe, while the cost of electricity in Sweden -- which has a large nuclear commitment -- is among the lowest.

For readers who are curious about this particular trade-off, I can refer to an article in the latest IAEE Energy Forum by Mary Hutzler (2009), in which she examines a proposal by the billionaire T. Boone Pickens for the massive employment of wind and natural gas in the United States, where it would be used to generate electricity (wind) and provide an alternative motor fuel (natural gas). I have attempted to convince large numbers of persons in the U.S. and elsewhere of the futility of this approach, however their fear (or hatred) of a situation in which the United States must depend on Middle Eastern countries for increasing amounts of energy has tended to undermine their rationality.

Another option for solving this problem is to get producers to invest in production equipment featuring clean outputs. For instance, electric generators might use coal, but carbon dioxide emissions from this coal would be sequestered underground or in the ocean, or perhaps generators could buy permissions to emit from other firms that possess the knowledge to greatly reduce the production of CO2. (This is apparently a big thing in Australia just now). In any event, and this is important, physical capital that might be used to produce items that were important in the manufacture of present necessities and luxuries would (directly or indirectly) be devoted to the suppression of CO2 emissions. In other words, the present consumption of necessities and luxuries would be reduced, and the disutility this would entail would have to be weighed against being able to visit the west coast beaches in the future.

Ramsay-type equations are designed to provide a `scientific' approach to comparing a future utility with a present disutility -- e.g. enjoying the beaches of the west coast of Sweden in the future in return for a present monetary outlay. Of course neither those equations nor any equations derived since Adam and Eve can carry out this particular commission to my humble satisfaction, but that is irrelevant. When many persons see or maybe just hear about the mathematics employed by Frank Ramsay and Lord Stern, they tend to draw the conclusion that it is in the same category as that employed by Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton. My comment on this situation is that this is precisely what is wrong with academic economics at the present time.

As mentioned above, many economic theorists find it difficult to accept the validity of Lord Stern's theoretical work, but some are of a different opinion. I certainly respect many economists who find the Stern analysis important, but as far as I can tell they find it important because they accept that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is the real deal -- which it may be -- and genuinely feel that the general public should be made aware of what could happen in the event that bad news in the form of e.g. rising sea levels arrive before precautions are taken to deal with its most unfavourable aspects.

As to be expected, some concerned citizens are almost totally confused when confronted with the opinions expressed in this short paper. Take for example Joan Ruddock, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the UK. She has dismissed the criticisms of people like Professors Tol, Partha Dasgupta and Martin Weitzman because -- according to her -- these economists suffer from "a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of formal, highly aggregated economic modelling in evaluating a policy issue."

I'm afraid that I must reject that point of view Ms Ruddock: they do not misunderstand. You and I are guilty of that shortcoming! You because your education in economic theory is inadequate, and me because the only interest I have in aggregated economic modelling is the slender amount necessary for me to write this note.

I would like to close by saying that the Stern Review may well be on its way to enjoying the same status as `The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money' by John Maynard Keynes, or `The Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour' by John von Neuman and Oscar Morgenstern. These are famous books that everyone knows about, although very few have actually read them. I for instance know a great deal about them, and may even have told some inquiring student or colleague that I have read them from cover to cover, but if I made this assertion, it is a departure from the truth. What is true is that if I had been ordered to read every page in these works by e.g. my regimental commander in the U.S. Army -- Colonel Michael (`Screaming' Mike) Halloran of the 24th Infantry -- I might have made an attempt, but even an order by a president of the United States would not cause me to read, think about reading, or even to thumb the pages again of Lord Stern's attempt to clarify the importance of the Kyoto Conference on the Environment.

REFERENCES

Baltscheffsky, S. (1997). 'Världen samlas för att kyla klotet'. Svenska-Dagbladet.
Banks, Ferdinand E.. (2009a). 'Deeper thoughts than usual about nuclear energy'. 321 Energy.
_____ (2009b). 'Nuclear and the new American president'- Energy Politics.
_____ (2007). The Political Economy of World Energy: An Introductory Textbook. London, New York and Singapore: World Scientific.
_____ (2004). 'A faith-based approach to global warming'. Energy and Environment, Volume 15, Number 5: 837-852.
Beyer, Jim (2007) 'Comment on Banks'. Energy Pulse (www.energypulse.net).
Harlinger, Hildegard (1975). 'Neue modelle für die zukunft der menshheit' IFO Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (Munich).
Huber, Peter W. (2009). 'Bound to burn'. City Journal (Spring).
Hutzler, Mary (2009). The Pickens plan: is it the answer to our energy needs? IAEE Energy Forum (Spring).
Nadeau, Robert (2008). 'The economist has no clothes'. Scientific American (April).
Ramsey, Frank (1928). 'A mathematical theory of saving'. Economic Journal.
Stern, Nicholas (2007). Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. London: H.M. Treasury.
Stipp, David (2004). 'Climate collapse'. Fortune (Feb. 9, 2004).

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Discussions

Kyoto was to be the first, but irreversible, step onto the "slippery slope" of carbon emission reductions. The Stern Report was an effort to suggest that the first step would be "easy and cheap". Both, as you suggest, have been howling failures.

There are many reasons for these failures.

(1) Kyoto was illogical. (When you perceive that you are digging yourself into a hole, the first step is to STOP DIGGING.) The logical first step would have been to halt increases in annual emissions, rather than trying to have some "fill in the hole" while others were still digging. The increases in annual emissions rates are predominantly from the developing countries, led by the ~10% annual increases from China. China has more than offset all of the carbon emissions reductions contemplated by the Kyoto Accords.

(2) Kyoto was inadequate. (When you decide to "solve" a "problem", it helps to pursue a course of action which actually offered some possibility of doing so.) The annual emissions reductions contemplated by the Kyoto Accords, even if achieved by every nation on the globe, would not have "solved" AGW. Reductions an order of magnitude greater than those envisioned by the Kyoto Accords would not have done so either.

(3) Inconveniently, the globe ceased warming at approximately the same time as the Kyoto Accords were agreed to by the signers. Despite a massive "obfuscatio ad absurdum" effort, the taxpayers have not been convinced of the necessity of sacrificing their futures on the altar of AGW.

(4) The participants in the Kyoto Accords have had a decade to evaluate the costs and benefits of their efforts to comply. Most have realized that compliance would be far more expensive than Lord Stern and his "band of merry persons" would have led them to believe. Most have also realized that, while not cheap or easy, the "7% solution" would have been far cheaper and easier than the remaining 93%.

Reality Bites! :-)

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Ed: Could we get a credible current reference for your item 3) above "the globe ceased warming at approximately the same time as the Kyoto Accords were agreed to by the signers." ?

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Ed, I guess if you cannot work Al Gore's name into a 'credible current reference' as defined by Len alone, then you will not be able to provide one.

I guess Len won't accept anything Lord Monckton writes - especially his brilliant response to Markey and Barton (number 13), here: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/ He probably doesn't read Richard Watts either, or SEPP or Marohassy, or Nova, or Morano, etc. etc. or the fact the Gavin Schmidt and colleagues are now climbing down off their perch for about 20 years. Sad! John.

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Just a brief word here. I am NOT debating global warming. This is a topic that I have completely lost interest in because of the many charlatans and/or suspicious characters on both sides of the debate. I am also unqualified to handle the physics of the issue. I can however handle the economics, and despite his talent, Lord Stern has stooped unnecessarily low by becoming involved in a project of this nature.

WE DON'T NEED 'HIS' REVIEW! We don't need valuable space in our academic librairies taken up with more pretentious nonsense. We also don't need the thoughts and posturing of Lord Monckton, and especially Mr Al Gore, whose incompetence resulted in people like George W. and Condoleeza roosting in the White House for 8 years, starting a war that shouldn't have been started with Iraq, and insulting innocent members of the TV audience like my good self with their outrageous and irrelevant babbling about freedom and democracy.

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John: Could you indicate which, if any, of those references are peer reviewed articles by climate scientists? eg I note from Wikipedia "Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (born 14 February 1952) is a British politician, business consultant, policy adviser, writer, columnist, and inventor. He served as an advisor to Margaret Thatcher's policy unit in the 1980s and invented the Eternity puzzle at the end of the 1990s. More recently, he has attracted controversy for his public opposition to the mainstream scientific consensus on global warming." -- I prefer to get my science from other than politicians.

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NASA finds sea ice still melting

It is quite reasonable to argue that the cost of reducing carbon emissions might be onerous. But even given that, expending energy to refute the motivation for doing this will prove ultimately futile, not the least because this line of reasoning is likely wrong.

But even if it wasn't, population pressures will stir us to seek out something other than coal and oil anyway, even not (right) now, that perhaps 20 years hence. So the notion that this is a wasteful enterprise is not supported by either conventional reality or even the rarefied reality possessed by many AGW deniers.

And Edward, the "plan" is to not have so many babies. But this will prove hard to implement, not the least because of the legacy religious beliefs that often encourage large families and the growth quotient that seems to be an essential aspect of modern capitalist society. Barring growth restrictions, we need to find energy sources much more powerful and cleaner than what we are using today. They need to be clean because we are now so crowded there is little room to dump waste sources. As hard as changing human behavior might be, this may be even a harder problem than limiting population growth.

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James: "Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC....The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium...which is why 'global warming' is now called 'climate change.'" - Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado. " -- How do you reconcile that with NASA global weather station + satellite combined data per this graph to 2009 showing ANNUAL CHANGES in temperature have NEVER BEEN NEGATIVE since 1996? Looks to me like your Dr. Keen is smoking something funny.



"Global Monthly Mean Surface Temperature Change

Line plot of monthly mean global surface tmperature anomaly. The black line shows meterological stations only; redle dots are the lan d-ocean temperature index, as described in Hans en et al. (1999). The land-ocean temperature index uses sea surface temperatures obtained from satellite measurements of Reynolds and Smith (1994)."

Or simply peruse ANY of the temperature presentations at this NASA site. GISS Surface Temperature Analysis - Analysis Graphs and Plots

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No.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/02/dummies-guide-to-the-latest-hockey-stick-controversy/

It all goes back to who bears the burden of proof. By shooting the CO2 levels to values unprecedented in 600,000 years, I say the burden of proof is on the AGW deniers that this global science experiment is NOT a problem. If proving a negative is difficult (difficult, not impossible) then I'm sorry, but maybe we should of thought of that before burning lump of coal in sight so we could drive to Wal-Mart and buy more plastic lawn furniture.

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James,

There are multiple sources of confirmation of past CO2 levels. Ice core samples are commonly used, as are other sources.

Some sources can be found here: CO2 Levels

Significantly, the CO2 levels now are higher than anytime during the past several ice age cycles.

My logic indicates no such thing (abandoning the planet). Conversely, your logic (do nothing as we continue to multiply to 9, 12, 18 billion souls) will definitively lead to a catastrophic collapse of population akin to what happens when yeast grows unbounded in a Petri dish.

I would like to think humanity can out think the behavior of yeast, but sometimes I'm not so sure.

There's a medical term, "Primum non nocere", first do no harm. I don't see why this conservative and thoughful concept shouldn't apply to our environment as well. Your (assumed jocular) view that releasing more carbon will benefit the planet would be in violation of this principle.

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James: Not sure what YOUR interpretation of the word anomalies is. Near as I can tell, that graph indicates that mean surface emperatures have deviated UPWARD every year since 1996. Funny? Anyway, if you don't like that one, try any of the others from that NASA site I linked. eg.


Please detail for me YOUR interpretation of how any of these graphs indicate recent cooling?

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James:

Our current levels of CO2 are 27% above measured levels from the past 650,000 years. The measurements do not have to be that accurate to justify the concern. The ice cores from different parts of the world are generally in concert with each other. No serious researcher questions the basic validity of the ice core sampling with respect to CO2 levels. Not a fruitful tree to be barking up.

I don't think the former inhabitants of Easter Island would agree that Malthus was utterly discredited. You should read Collapse by Jared Diamond.

While it is true that societal collapse is not inevitable, it is certainly a possibility if resource limits are ignored.

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Len,

I believe that, with a little research, you would discover that Dr, Hansen's GISS shows the largest temperature anomaly of the commonly referenced temperature sources.

I believe that, with a little research, you would discover that the average temperature measurement station from which data is collected and used by GISS is subject to measurement errors in excess of 2 degrees C according to the NCDC rating system. (www.surfacestations.org)

With a little critical thought, I believe you would realize that collecting temperature data from such error-prone measurement stations, massaging it through several "black box" computer programs and using it to report temperature anomalies to two decimal place "accuracy" is folly.

It would seam reasonable to spend a few million dollars to measure temperatures accurately, from properly sited and maintained measurement stations, before committing to spend trillions of dollars redesigning the world.

Ed

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When questioning CO2 levels, it always falls upon Beck and Jaworowski is question ice cores.

If you look at Figure 2 of Jaworowski's own paper you can see that atmospheric measurements before 1900 were horribly inaccurate. His comment about citing an average of 335 ppmv is ludicrous. Much of Jaworowski's work was only published in Lyndon LaRouche's journal.

Some comments about Beck's paper and the review process of E & E can be found here:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/remember_eg_becks_dodgy.php

James, it's not me who has the blinders on. I have no trouble questioning the status quo (as I did with the Hydrogen Economy) but one does need substantive evidence to work with. Beck and Jaworowski do not provide this.

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James,

The link led to many other links critical to Beck, including this one

I'll point out just one concern of these critics. Beck says the CO2 level jumped from 290 ppm in 1925 to 470 ppm in 1942, then dove down again to 320 ppm by 1950. Pray tell, where did all this CO2 come from? And then go to? It makes no sense whatsoever. This is compared with the alternative hypothesis that these measurements do not reflect global values, but local variations.

As the critics point out, the Mauna Loa collection site was developed because CO2 measurement was so problematic; often due to local sources which distort measurements intended to represent global value.

But I agree that we disagree.

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Gentlemen,

You may find this discussion interesting and perhaps enlightening.

http://masterresource.org/?p=3847#more-3847

Ed

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Mr Carson Sir. Your tactics are despicable.

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Following is the text which accompany's the above NASA data.

"Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change

Line plot of global mean land-ocean temperature index, 1880 to present. The dotted black line is the annual mean and the solid red line is the five-year mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates. [This is an update of Fig. 1A in Hansen et al. (2006)]"

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I ask again. WHERE DO YOU GET A DECREASE IN THE PAST 10 YEARS?

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Example from raw data at this site GLOBAL Temperature Anomalies in .01 C base period: 1951-1980 -- The explanation of how to interpret these data is clearly written at the bottom.

"Divide by 100 to get changes in degrees Centigrade. Multiply that result by 1.8(=9/5) to get changes in degrees Fahrenheit.

Best estimate for absolute global mean for 1951-1980 is 14C = 57.2F, so add that to the temperature change if you want to use an absolute scale (this note applies to global annual means only, J-D and D-N !)

Example -- Table Value : 40 change : .40C or .72F abs. scale if global annual mean : 14.40C or 57.92F"

From the data, if you can read it, the values for J-D (Jan to Dec) anomoly for EVERY YEAR from 2001 to 2009 are GREATER than any from any prior year except 1998 (70).

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Gentlemen, the belittling of a hereditary peer is not something to be taken lightly, however in the case of a windbag like Lord Monckton, I think that I will recommend a 'pass'.

Although only an appointed Lord, Lord Stern was in Sweden yesterday, where he addressed a congress of ignoramuses at the great ski resort of Åre. Among other things he put in a good word for nuclear. So, perhaps he is has gotten the message. In the long run the Chinese will probably take it all, but I prefer them taking it in a thousand years instead of in a decade, which might happen with a nuclear fade-away in their competitors.

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James: "Over the past ten years, the previously rising curve has FLATLINED." -- Well, at LEAST I've gotten you around to no longer claiming a cooling ttrend in tha past ten years, as you via your references, did on 7.23.09. So, what issue would you like me to refute your "references" on next?

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There's another take on this discussion. This article points out yet ANOTHER flaw in the IPCC models I wasn't paying enough attention to catch. For those of you (Len Gould) who won't click on the link, Dr. Bunger shows how the IPCC's data are clearly flawed because of the exponential growth of carbon, without knowing where it comes from. Just like the IEA blithely printing "prognostications" that had no merit in reality (some thankfully since redacted), the IPCC takes THOSE fallacious assumptions and rolls them forward, consuming ALL KNOWN AND UNKNOWN oil on the planet well before the 22nd century! oops

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James,

As I'm sure you now realize, this comment thread is not the optimal place to argue religion. :-)

Ed

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James. Yet you still argue a position from non-existent, or flawed data (""), the very definition of a religion.

Your quotation in an hilarious attempt to back up you position

“Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC….The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium…which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.’” - Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado. "

Though true (see the graphs I posted) actually says NOTHING which can be used to refute IPCC. It "conveniently" ignores the fact that even Keen's carefully selected COLDEST year, 2007, is warmer than any year in the 20th century except for ONE YEAR in the 1990's.

Agruing with you is just too easy. I continue posting only to make sure no unsuspecting reader might get sucked in by your references to bogus "scientist politicians".

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Jeff: Please cite a legitimate scientific reference for the claim in your referenced article "Peak oil may solve climate change - Most climate change models assume that future CO2 emissions will grow exponentially over this century." -- I've nefer seen any such assumption stated.

And regarding "running out of oil" solving CO2 loading growth in earth's atmosphere, that's ridiculous. Unchecked, coal will be used to substitute for oil and the CO2 loading problem will get worse, not better.

You guys are just so far off any base in reality, science or economics it's becoming funny, if it wasn't so serious an issue.

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"considering we only have about 13 trillion boe on earth in oil, gas, coal, oil sands, heavy oil and oil shale combined. ... The fact is, oil is peaking about now, gas will probably peak within a decade, and coal within a couple of decades." -- Coal peaking by 2030? Give me a TINY break. That is simply plain WRONG. The entire southern half of the province of Alberta, Canada is underlaid with coal seams 100 meters thick which are not presently counted as coal reserves simply because mining them would be uneconomical in the present market. 10^12 sq meters x 100 meters, = 10^14 cu meters, 1000 kg / cu meter. That just one location. Now do USA, Australia, China, India, etc. for "uneconomic but known resources". Let energy go into shortage, though, and it will ALL be gassified in situ and burned.

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IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios - 4.4. Scenario Quantification and Overview - 5.3.1.5. Inter-family Comparison

Readinbg the above reference clearly refutes your "exponential" claim, see graph below. Pretty much par for the course in discussions with you guys.



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James, I'm certain Len had a high quality Canadian high school education and might have even touched biology while there. Don't know about since then however, but his posts DO leave something... missing. He used to post on physorg until they laughed him off the site. I still chuckle at his infinitely energetic infrared particle taking a brownian walk through 60,000 feet of atmosphere heating everything in its path. Clearly his high school science courses didn't deal with the inverse square law.

Len, your graph didn't make it. I'm guessing if you meant to post a picture the file type would be .jpg or .gif rather than .htm as you did when I viewed your source: "http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/emission/118.htm". Looking at the web link I see lots of graphs but it isn't obvious which one you meant to post. What IS obvious however is you COMPLETELY missed Dr. Bunger's point . A little puzzler for you. What is the growth rate at 1.5% per year COMPOUNDED for 100 years? How big for example will $10,00,000 get by then? Considering that the money in this case is SPENT every year (but still compounding, kind of like politicians like to do with taxes) how much in TOTAL gets consumed? Now I know your IQ is about 75 points lower than mine but you can still figure this stuff out with the aid of internet tools, but if you're REALLY stuck I'll give you the answers. Meantime, reread, or better yet, actually read for the first time Jim's short article and make sure you understand it before you spout off again.

Your point about coal is almost interesting, but Dr. Jim Bunger is way ahead of you there and already converted into BOE (bbls of oil equivalent). Next you should look into the Fischer Tropsch efficiency and recalculate how many TRILLION bbls you think can be produced from same, in situ or otherwise? Reread this: Fifteen trillion boe is an astounding number considering we only have about 13 trillion boe on earth in oil, gas, coal oil sands, heavy oil and oil shale combined. And only a portion of this total, probably no more than one-third, can ultimately be recovered under reasonable economic conditions. This disparity, between IPCC projections and fossil fuel reality, is sufficient to call into question all the conclusions of the climate change models, as future CO2 concentrations are the principal input to the model that drives all the outputs. [emphasis added]

Again, as an expert, I implicitly trust Dr. Bunger infinitely more than I trust YOU, (Bunger's credentials are extremely well known, he's peer reviewed and an acknowledged WORLD expert, especially in unconventional oil ) and the fact that I know him personally doesn't impact my judgment in the slightest.

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So that's, what, 4 climatologists agreeing with you guys, several hundreds if not thousands agreeing with the IPCC? Sounds par for the course for you guys.

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And I'm STILL waiting for EITHER of you to respond to my question, posed several times above.

"I ask again. WHERE DO YOU GET A DECREASE IN THE PAST 10 YEARS?"

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Len,

UAH MSU and RSS MSU (satellite data) both show a decrease.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/10/rss-global-temperature-for-june-09...

GISS, on the other hand, contends that the globe's airports and miscellaneous other Urban Heat Islands continue to warm, although well within the error band identified by NCDC for the average US measurement station providing data to the GISS temperature set.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/15/giss-worlds-airports-continue-to-r...

I still contend that it would be well worth spending a few $ millions to collect accurate temperature data from properly sited and maintained measuring stations before investing $ trillions reacting to temperature sets based on erroneous data.

I understand that measuring temperature accurately is not the easiest task, but it isn't the hardest either.

Ed

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Regarding your contention that eg. IPCC does not consider depletion, this quote at title "5.3.1.4. B2 Scenario Family" in IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios

"Emissions in the B2 scenarios with harmonized global input assumptions (population, GDP, final energy; B2-MESSAGE, B2-AIM, B2-MARIA) are very close in 2100. Differences in emissions are largest around 2050, which reflects the different patterns of structural change in the energy systems in anticipation of depletion of conventional oil and gas. "

It is also quite clear that IPCC is considering resource depletion in its scenarios, eg look at the heading "Primary Energy EJ " in the table IPCC SRES Emissions Scenarios - Version 1.1 - World - B2 IMAGE . eg. oil use in 2020 is assigned to be 130 EJ, and in 2100 is assigned to be 86 EJ, a reasonable rate of depletion assumption if one listens to EIA and not theOilDrum, and includes tarsands and shale as oil. Other of their 43 complete scenarios make alternative assumptions about such things, some in line with more rapid depletion.

Considering the IPCC reports have been vetted and accepted by representatives of pretty much every government worldwide including the appointees from the Bush admin., I think I might take their statements over yours.

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A few comments.

I'd like to think this is not a religion, at least to me. I for one, could be persuaded that global warming/climate change is a farce, but I do not think that's the case at this time.

And I DO appreciate the issues with temperature measurement that Edward brings up. Most of his posts seem to be reasonable.

What gets me and continues to get me is the CO2 level. No one questioned the CO2 levels from the ice cores 20 years ago; the science seemed to be fine THEN. But when it becomes a literal inconvenient truth to AGW deniers, they draw in discredited research from the likes of Beck and Jaworowski, which few serious researchers take seriously at this point. This is like disproving Darwin by citing LaMarck.

I think what sometimes happens on this thread is that people paint themselves into corners and then waste a bunch of effort defending their mindset. I try not to do that. When I make mistakes, I admit them. For example, I once thought CO2 could "settle" out of less dense methane, but that appears to be highly problematic. Something about Reynold's numbers. Mea Culpa. I was wrong. See? It's not so hard. (It's still a bit unclear to me because I know that a much harder gas separation occurs with Uranium separation.)

And on the subject of religion, I submit that the global warming believers and deniers are akin to the rival factions from "The Life of Brian", the Judean People's Front, and the People's Front of Judea, who both hate the Romans but prefer fighting amongst themselves instead.

The "Romans" in this case is not Global Warming, but peak oil. Dealing with Peak Oil will be hard enough such that GW or no GW, the solutions are not that much different.

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btw, my quick estimate of 10^12 sq meters x 100 meters, = 10^14 cu meters, 1000 kg / cu meter of "inaccessible" coal under Alberta provides, assuming 50% carbon, 10^14/10^9 = 10^5 / 1183.5 = about 90 times more carbon than THE ENTIRE Cumulative CO2 Emissions GtC used in the most recent IPCC B2 MARIA scenario.

Your reference hasn't a clue.

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(forgot the 50%) should be "10^14/10^9 * 0.5 = 10^5 / 1183.5 * 0.5 = about 45 times more carbon " No difference at all.

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Doubters of that coal in Alberta can go to Alberta Geological Survey - Interactive map of coal beds -- Choose a map scale, then click the "Coal Isopatch Thickness" button for any of the 7 different coal zones mapped. For example, the Drumheller coal zone is mapped for an area more than 800 km long by 250 km wide with seam thicknesses from 25 to 125 meters at a depth of 200 to 1000 meters. At just east of Calgary, the total seam thickness of all 7 zones is 0 + 7 + 75 + 5 + 1 + 0 + 25 = 113 meters, fairly representative of an area of about 2 x 10^13 sq meters. So perhaps only 10 times more carbon in that one location than IPCC's total estimate for cumulative carbon emissions from 1900 to 2100. Still no difference at all.

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Jim,

As I have suggested here previously, it is important to define the "problem" before designing the "solution".

This comment thread has touched on AGW and "peak oil"; energy independence has not been mentioned here so far, though that could change.

In previous threads, coal has been discussed as the "priority" from an AGW perspective. Oil is obviously the "priority" from a "peak oil" perspective. Those two facts strongly suggest that the "plan of attack" for dealing with the two issues would be very different, though the ultimate results might be similar. Certainly the "plan of attack" would be tightly focused in an economically constrained environment. I believe we are in an economically constrained environment.

I question whether anyone here "denies" that the globe has warmed since the trough of the "Little Ice Age". I certainly do not. I suspect most of us are rather glad it has warmed.

I believe many of us, myself included, are very skeptical of the AGW hypothesis and even more skeptical of the AGW hysteria. I acknowledge that it is not possible to "prove" what will happen 100 years in the future. It is even harder to "disprove".

I am extremely skeptical because my analysis suggests to me that none of the "solutions" to AGW being proposed publicly would actually "solve" the "problem" as defined. That makes me suspicious of the "slippery slope". I don't care how often or how loudly Waxman-Markey is proclaimed as the "solution" to "save the globe". My engineering analysis convinces me that such a claim is ridiculous on its face.

Ed

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The G8 "commitment" to limit global temperature rise to 2 C brought this to mind.

King Arthur (Camelot):

It's true! It's true! The crown has made it clear. The climate must be perfect all the year.

A law was made a distant moon ago here: July and August cannot be too hot. And there's a legal limit to the snow here In Camelot. The winter is forbidden till December And exits March the second on the dot. By order, summer lingers through September In Camelot. Camelot! Camelot! I know it sounds a bit bizarre, But in Camelot, Camelot That's how conditions are. The rain may never fall till after sundown. By eight, the morning fog must disappear. In short, there's simply not A more congenial spot For happily-ever-aftering than here In Camelot.

Camelot! Camelot! I know it gives a person pause, But in Camelot, Camelot Those are the legal laws. The snow may never slush upon the hillside. By nine p.m. the moonlight must appear. In short, there's simply not A more congenial spot For happily-ever-aftering than here In Camelot.

Ed :-)

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2 x 10^13 cu meters

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Ed,

If you were the head of the Soviet Army, you'd never have defeated the Germans, because you'd spend all your time planning exactly how you'd defeat their incursion. The same goes for Omaha beach when that "plan" went out the window.

AGW is a big enough problem that it will take years to figure out a plan, if it is indeed possible. Criticizing Kyoto as being insufficient is missing the point. If nothing else, it was a learning experience. We have a lot to learn.

And if you think this is all superfluous, then you are free to bow out and live your life without disruption. Just don't be a net contributor of CO2 to MY atmosphere. If you are still doing that, then expect further intrusions of this sort.

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Ed: Legislating support for solar thermal and nuclear over coal, electric transport over petroleum, is in no way comparable to legislating the date of the start of spring, even though it makes a cutsey obfuscation to interject.

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Len,

The G8 did not legislate anything. G8 announced a "goal" without a "plan", which renders it just a "wish". Therefore, it deserves the same level of respect as the song lyrics. The interjection was not an obfuscation, but rather an attempt at clarification, by comparison, with humor.

W-M is arguably an attempt to legislate lots of things, including "support for solar thermal and nuclear over coal, electric transport over petroleum", all wrapped up with a massive new federal revenue stream from the sale of emissions allowances.

Jim,

In both cases you mention above there was a plan which was believed to offer the opportunity for success. When they didn't, they were changed, very quickly and "on the fly". None of the "plans" on the table today regarding AGW offers the opportunity for success; and, the climate scientists on both sides of the issue KNOW that.

Before you can develop a plan, you must establish a goal or goals. In the case of AGW, the goal must be to stabilize atmospheric carbon concentrations, at least initially. That means first stopping the growth of annual emissions rates, followed by reductions in annual emissions rates. Continuing to "dig the hole deeper" (the developing countries) while others are "shoveling the dirt back into the hole" (the developed countries) is insane. (Just visualize the cartoon.)

Kyoto, if it taught us anything, taught us that nations will lie and cheat while continuing to maintain a self-righteous image. It certainly has not been a reassuring experience.

Ed

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Ed: I'm amazed! Are you promoting a "world government" which can legislate with authority over nation states? Good progress!

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Hardly!

The members of the G8 didn't legislate anything individually either; or, even promise to do so. They just made a joint "wish" when they couldn't agree to do anything.

The only thing I can imagine which would be worse than a larger federal government is an even larger world government.

Ed

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Ed,

So you are saying if all the shovels don't stop at exactly the same time, it's not a plan? Before one stops digging this hole (your analogy) then the digging will slow down at first. I don't see why this is so problematic to you. It just seems evidence of practical reality.

If some countries stop polluting whilst others continue, I admit, that's a problem. As I recall, slavery wasn't outlawed worldwide all at once either. That doesn't mean it still didn't make sense for some countries to outlaw it before others (and at an economic cost to them as well).

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Jim,

It certainly seemed problematic to a lot of people when the US didn't sign on to Kyoto. Right, Len? :-)

It is logical to stop digging the hole deeper before starting to fill it in again. Right now, China is digging faster than all of the developed countries would be expected to fill in the hole if W-M were adopted and adhered to by all of the developed countries. Therefore, the hole keeps getting deeper.

Maybe I'm just missing something.

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Len, Let's be crystal clear here shall we? You despise "scientist politicians" (by your OWN quote) but there is NO BETTER DEFINITION OF THE IPCC, which I'll remind you for the 1000th time stands for InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change. Better not read this link either since it COMPLETELY debunks your theory that the IPCC is such a great peer review process. And futhermore you're way off base as to the numbers of climate scientists IN THE WORLD! Saying there are thousands of climate scientists is as inaccurate as saying there are millions of nuclear engineers. Before the vast new riches, courtesy of the BUSH administration and a lot of sky is falling rhetoric from the political class, climate science was a sleepy little backwater eddy with a membership in the low hundreds worldwide. The TRUE climate scientists like Lindzen and Singer had their pedigree long before the "Johnny come latelys" with their, at best physical science degrees and their fear mongering.

Then we have so-called "scientists" like Hansen who screamed bloody murder under the Bush administration that he was being "muzzled" all this while giving over ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED interviews?!!?? Who is the "scientist politician" here? Hansen was BREAKING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENTAL POLICY by discussing policy that by definition was "above his pay grade" and when someone brought it to his attention the screaming began. But we've been over this ground before and you'll just ignore for the 1400th time having your arguments chopped out from beneath, ahh faith is such a wonderful thing. Whatever you do, don't read Hansen's latest because he's not saying nice things about the Obama administration's cap and trade plan either, so it is both topical to Fred's gold star article here and underscores that he's still a loose cannon on deck.

Your discussion on coal is so mistaken that I don't even know where to begin. Needless to say mining engineering is yet another area of your ignorance. You pull out the "expert" card every time someone steps on your holy grail, and yet pretend expertise yourself that is both ill warranted and misinformed. Leave THIS to the experts and Bunger is certainly one of those without a doubt.

Speaking of Bunger your post mentions this link, which I suspect was a mistake on your part, but one can never tell. From that link we find this quote, which is VERY interesting on the face of it, "In a small number of cases slight corrections were made after the publication of the document to prevent negative emissions which occurred as a result of the standardization procedure". So we have an admission (for a "small" as in we aren't going to tell you ALL the places we did it) of book-cooking so the numbers come out right. Well at least THERE they admit to cooking the books, as McIntyre has proven getting these "scientists" like Hansen to admit to ANYTHING they've done is about as easy as pulling hen's teeth, so he just has to continue catching them in lies and mistruths and support himself by donations NONE of which come from big oil. BTW McIntyre IS a mining engineer so for amusement I should send him your theories on Alberta coal.

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A comment on Beck's paper "180 Years of atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods"

[COMMENT]

In the period from about 1943-1946, the CO2 concentration dropped like a rock from 470ppm to 350ppm, the equivalent of removing almost 1 trillion metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Talk about a giant sucking sound.

Then, in the next two years the CO2 concentration jumped back up by 80ppm (from 350ppm to 430ppm), the equivalent of adding 615 billion metric ton of CO2 to the atmosphere.

In the next couple years, it again dropped by 110ppm, the equivalent of sucking 845 billion metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

For comparison, burning of fossil fuels currently increases the atmospheric CO2 concentration by about 1.5ppm (11.5 billion metric tons CO2) each year.

If we are to believe that the graph represents the actual atmospheric CO2 concentration before 1957, then presumably there must be physical mechanism(s) for such wild fluctuations in he atmospheric CO2 concentration.

My proposals: Black hole fly-bys to explain huge decreases in short time periods. Opening (and then closing) of giant CO2 valve allowing leak from the earth's interior to explain the large increases over short time periods.

Other proposals welcomed.

[End Comment]

James, earlier you asked me to do the math. Well, here's the math and it shows the Beck's findings don't make any sense.

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James I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Len's Alberta coal point, and the dissenting scientists number in the tens of thousands, not hundreds. Len, who understands nothing about mining, obviously, doesn't know what room and pillar means and doesn't understand stripping factor. As Hubbert said, when the amount of energy utilized to retrieve a product exceeds the energy available from said product, it will NOT be exploited. This is self-evident, but for example $billions had to be lost in ethanol plants in this country to drive that point home. When the Net Energy Ratio (NER) of ethanol was shown to be .78 (ie, less than even) the numbers were cooked and NER was replaced with EROEI. As we see from the asset values of those poor farmer coops, physics is not to be trifled with. I'll grant that Alberta has about 37 billion tons of coal available, and seriously doubt more than half of it will EVER be consumed.

Ferdinand's own countryman Anders Silvertsson from Uppsala University has a far more detailed analysis than Bunger's Study of World Oil Resources with a Comparison to IPCC Emissions Scenarios. Unfortunately I can't link to the many excellent graphs and charts because it is in .pdf format. Fred can perhaps translate the first page for us, but don't worry the rest is in excellent English. Furthermore Fred, perhaps you and Anders can have a drink together and peruse those Scandinavian beauties on the beach and discuss low viscosity lubricants and give us a detailed report?

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