sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

Friday's Top 10: Matt Nolan has a detailed look at global warming issues and policies, including the source of rising emissions, China's plans, the NZ Greens, Dilbert & more

Friday's Top 10: Matt Nolan has a detailed look at global warming issues and policies, including the source of rising emissions, China's plans, the NZ Greens, Dilbert & more

Today's Top 10 is a guest post from Matt Nolan, his fourth. His previous one is here.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comment stream below or via email to

And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 10 yourself, contact

See all previous Top 10s here.

Global warming is an important issue.  The global financial crisis took people’s attention away from it, but in the intervening period the concerns about man-made climate change have become more apparent.

This has been a big week for discussing these issues, so I thought I’d run through a few of the links involved.

1. The official reports - an update
The International Panel on Climate Change had, by April, released a series of three reports on the issue discussing the physical science (evidence and mechanisms), the potential impact on the environment and society, and policy choices.

They provide an excellent resource, but for those of us (like me) who are not specialists in the area and have limited time there is a bit too much information.  As a result the technical summaries are useful, as are the summaries given by the Australian department of the environment and the Economist.  The cliff notes via the Aussies:

The Working Group I report finds that there is strong evidence that the Earth’s climate system is changing, and there is now stronger evidence than ever that human activities are the primary cause.

The Working Group II report highlights the increasing evidence of a number of climate change risks facing Australia and the world. Some climate change risks have already materialised, and are having widespread and consequential impacts.

The Working Group III report highlights the global nature of climate change and the need for international cooperation.

2. Global warming and coordination
From a social-economic perspective, global warming constitutes one of the most difficult global coordination issues of our time.

Around the world we have a series of nation states, each with (in theory) the interests of their present and future citizens at heart.  A sudden increase in temperatures around the world is a harmful change for the citizens of a country – making many processes, industries, and jobs irrelevant and possibly cutting food production leading to incredible hardship in poorer nations.

However, global warming is caused by global emissions while a nation can only choose its national level of emissions.  As a result, a single countries decision to cut emissions mainly benefits OTHER countries and their citizens rather than the citizens of the country taking on the cost.

We can view this problem as a version of the “Tragedy of the Commons” issue – which is often applied to considering the management of fish stocks, and is one of the key justifications for the enforcement of property rights.  This is a view that exists beyond typical political boundaries, for example in this article a US conservative states:

Mind you, I certainly find it worthwhile to be working on ways to reduce carbon emissions as well. It’s just that I don’t have hope that they will be successful, for tragedy of the commons reasons.

The key difference in belief around what good policy entails is actually related to how likely we believe a global agreement around this issue will be!

3. The source of rising emissions
As low income countries have become wealthier, the proportion of carbon emissions produced by these nations has risen strongly – especially in China.  VoxEU illustrates this well in a chart from a recent article:

To Noah Smith, this reinforces the importance of China for any agreement around Global Warming.

China’s carbon pollution has soared in the last 15 years, and is now about double the U.S. level. The rest of the increase has come from oil-producing countries and from other, more slowly developing Asian nations. But China overshadows all of the other sources.

So if we’re going to prevent the more severe effects of climate change from occurring, we’re going to need to do something to decrease Chinese emissions. What can we do?

4. Chinese plans for tackling global warming?
With the Chinese economy slowing, and the high profile failure of Suntech (a subsidised solar panel manufacturer) undermining the solar industry, there were growing concerns that efforts to fight carbon emissions in China were faltering.  It was with this backdrop that there are renewed signs China to limit carbon emissions this week!

However, what the absolute “target level” of emissions will be for China is still unknown – and it is far from certain that they will even announce such a target.  As the Guardian article states:

China's emissions have risen dramatically in the last two decades, overtaking those from the US – the previous biggest producer – in 2006. Although the average Chinese person's carbon footprint is still much lower than the average American's, it is catching up, and is now on a par with the average European's.

As a result, China may still feel it is relatively unfair for them to have to put a strict cap on emissions when, on a per person basis, many other countries are heavy polluters.

5. US plans for knocking emissions from power plants
Due to a natural gas windfall, and high fuel prices, carbon emissions in the United States have pulled back in recent years.  Even so, in both total and per person terms the US remains a major polluter.

As a result it is encouraging to also see the Obama come out this week, announcing his Clean Power Plan.  The plan commits the US to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30% from their 2005 level.  Although this is a useful step, it is less ambitious than it sounds at first glance – from Scientific America:

Much of the rest will be the continuation of a trend to shut down coal-fired power plants and fire up natural gas generators instead, a shift that, paired with the Great Recession, has already helped drop U.S. emissions from power plants from roughly 2,400 teragrams of CO2 in 2005 to roughly 2,000 Tg of CO2 in 2012.

Simply put, existing natural gas-fired power plants will be run more often and new ones will be built. Burning natural gas instead of coal emits 40 percent less CO2, the bulk of the CO2 savings assumed under this plan.

Of course, natural gas is mostly methane. And methane is an even more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, which means if the power plants—or the pipelines and wells that supply them—are leaky the climate may not be helped as much.

6. Green policy
On the back of these international events, the New Zealand Green Party announced that they would replace the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with a carbon tax.  The announcement is here and the details here.

The plan involves a tax on carbon, with the revenue funnelled into other tax cuts.  As far as there is an “externality” for carbon production this is a typical Pigovian tax – which economists are big fans of.  The key quote from the Greens here is:

We will not allow households to continue shouldering the cost of pollution, as they currently do under the failed ETS. Polluters should pay for the damage they do, not households.

7. Feedback on Greens
I’ve seen a few New Zealand economists discuss the Green policy:  John Small, Aaron Schiff, and myself.

Generally we seem reasonably positive about the scheme, but there is a certain issue which both Aaron and I bring up in our respective posts – that actual “externality” the government is transferring from firms to households depends on the nature of an international agreement.

This idea is explained more here, but ultimately if New Zealand is the only country to tax carbon and cut emissions nothing happens to global warming.  In this case, all we are doing is taxing a bunch of firms and giving the money to someone else – there is no real “externality” being solved between households and producers, as firm’s actions have a virtually non-existent external cost to NZ households.  There is just a transfer of wealth – this is not a ‘win-win’.

If there is an international agreement, then the full global cost of carbon emissions (and the benefit of emission cuts) will be placed in the hands of New Zealand taxpayers – a carbon tax is a way of appropriating that, and the “externality cost” of carbon is set by this international agreement.

New Zealand alone cannot stop global warming, and by itself this scheme (in strict economic terms) does nothing.

But as I note in my post I support the tax – as I see actively pricing carbon as a way we can do our bit to try to force through international cooperation on global warming.  This appears to be how the Greens also feel.

8. Where is Kyoto heading?
One of the key points raised by the Green party policy is their aspirational goal around a global agreement.

One of the key justifications for the introduction of a carbon tax is to make New Zealand a moral leader with regards to introducing policy with regard to a global issue. The view here is that, if we need countries to coordinate the best way to do so is to act in good faith in a way consistent with such coordination.

So how are we going with a post-Kyoto arrangement?

Well at present the Kyoto agreement has been extended (although without some founding nations such as Canada), and negotiations are ongoing for a new broader agreement by 2015.  But for now, the details are an unknown:

But what will this new climate change agreement look like? Will it be the legally binding treaty for which many vulnerable countries yearn, carving up the world's remaining allotment of greenhouse gas emissions based on which nations have already belched more than their fair share and which still need space to grow? Or will it be a looser agreement like the Obama administration wants, in which nations declare the cuts they are willing to make, then rely on global peer pressure to ensure those reductions are ambitious?

And to whom will it apply?


9. Technology saving the day?
When Thomas Malthus predicted that growth in population would occur to drive everyone down to subsistence wages, “technology” appeared to save the day.  When people became concerned about peak coal and energy scarcity resulting from it, “technology” appeared to save the day.

Given the amazing advances science has given us, there is a strong faith among some that technology can save the day: either by reducing carbon emissions directly (mitigation) or limiting the negative effects of global warming (adaptation).

An example of the first comes from the book “Superfreakonomics” – something that is discussed on the author’s blog here.

The core of the chapter concerns Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based invention and patent company headed up by Nathan Myhrvold. While I.V. employs several climate scientists, it generally operates outside the climate-change establishment. We present I.V.’s views on climate change in general, the limitations and costs of carbon mitigation, questions about the scalability of alternative energy sources, and the company’s proposed global-warming solutions.

The most controversial of these solutions – a “stratoshield” — involves the controlled injection of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to cool ground temperatures, which mimics the natural cooling effects of a big volcanic eruption like Mount Pinatubo.

The geo-engineering they suggest is an attempt at using technology to limit the negative effects of global warming.

However, much of the environmental community think these types of solutions are impractical.

Personally I find both sides a bit dogmatic in this debate, and willing to be a bit personal, especially given the unknown nature of technological change.  Technology is worth discussing, but not relying upon as a panacea for the negative effects.

10. But, technology and policy can be complements not substitutes!
It is common to hear the above point, that technology and new energy will save the day – and hopefully this is the case.  But technological innovation and the right sort of policy environment are actually complements when it comes to global warming – implying that there is more role for active policy not less.

Technological progress involves the efforts and knowledge built up by a large series of dedicated researchers – researchers which need funding so they can focus on the issue.  In this way, policies that either fund this research directly, or increase the return associated with the research (eg increasing the price of carbon related production), help to drive technological progress.  A clear exposition of this was given in 2008 in a critique of IPCC work at the time:

The increase in fossil-resource prices triggered by high economic growth will lead to an increase in energy efficiency. Admittedly, a possible increase in carbon intensity caused by a renaissance of coal is a worst-case scenario for any climate policy. But the impact of increasing fossil-fuel prices on technological change and on mitigation costs, or policies, cannot be analysed in any meaningful way for policy-makers by assuming a 'frozen technology' scenario.

And sure enough, the high fuel prices since that period and the drop in the price of natural gas (due in part to fracking) has helped to drive down carbon emissions in the US and around the world!

One note I would make though – subsidising ‘green investment’ by taking on some of the risk or paying funds also acts as an income transfer to those wealthy enough to undertake these schemes in the first place!


* Matt Nolan is an economist at Infometrics, and an author at the blog TVHE. He specialises in looking at the household sector, and household economic data, but will offer an opinion on pretty much anything related to business and the social sciences.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments
May 1st, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

As suggested by a friend, I’m following up my Top Ten bad global warming arguments list with a Top Ten good arguments list. These are in no particular order, and I might have missed something important.
These ten were just off the top of my head….there’s no telling what might be lingering deeper in my brain.
I have avoided specific alternative causal mechanisms of natural climate change, because I view them individually as speculative. But taken as a whole, they represent a class of unknowns that can’t be just swept under the rug just because we don’t understand them.
For some reason, all of these ended up being phrased as questions, rather than statements.
1) No Recent Warming. If global warming science is so “settled”, why did global warming stop over 15 years ago (in most temperature datasets), contrary to all “consensus” predictions?
2) Natural or Manmade? If we don’t know how much of the warming in the longer term (say last 50 years) is natural, then how can we know how much is manmade?
3) IPCC Politics and Beliefs. Why does it take a political body (the IPCC) to tell us what scientists “believe”? And when did scientists’ “beliefs” translate into proof? And when was scientific truth determined by a vote…especially when those allowed to vote are from the Global Warming Believers Party?
4) Climate Models Can’t Even Hindcast How did climate modelers, who already knew the answer, still fail to explain the lack of a significant temperature rise over the last 30+ years? In other words, how to you botch a hindcast?
5) …But We Should Believe Model Forecasts? Why should we believe model predictions of the future, when they can’t even explain the past?
6) Modelers Lie About Their “Physics”. Why do modelers insist their models are based upon established physics, but then hide the fact that the strong warming their models produce is actually based upon very uncertain “fudge factor” tuning?
7) Is Warming Even Bad? Who decided that a small amount of warming is necessarily a bad thing?
8) Is CO2 Bad? How did carbon dioxide, necessary for life on Earth and only 4 parts in 10,000 of our atmosphere, get rebranded as some sort of dangerous gas?
9) Do We Look that Stupid? How do scientists expect to be taken seriously when their “theory” is supported by both floods AND droughts? Too much snow AND too little snow?
10) Selective Pseudo-Explanations. How can scientists claim that the Medieval Warm Period (which lasted hundreds of years), was just a regional fluke…yet claim the single-summer (2003) heat wave in Europe had global significance?
11) (Spinal Tap bonus) Just How Warm is it, Really? Why is it that every subsequent modification/adjustment to the global thermometer data leads to even more warming? What are the chances of that? Either a warmer-still present, or cooling down the past, both of which produce a greater warming trend over time. And none of the adjustments take out a gradual urban heat island (UHI) warming around thermometer sites, which likely exists at virtually all of them — because no one yet knows a good way to do that.
NOTE: I’ve been thinking about why my “bad arguments” post involved statements, but my “good arguments” post involves all questions. I think it’s because the bad arguments (I attempt to debunk) always seem to be posed as facts, which the believers seem to have complete faith in. In contrast, the “good arguments” are posed as questions because of the inherent uncertainty of the whole global warming issue…the IPCC states so many things as facts, yet there are usually alternative explanations they don’t discuss.


Thanks for that zingmywang. You've convinced me - the skeptics are like an irrational religious cult. I'd assumed they had some good arguements. 

The reason why your "good arguments" are all questions is very simple.  It is easy to question facts with no understanding of them.   It's interesting that there are close to zero peer reviewed studies that support your opinion.  
Just had a quick look at this Roy W. Spencer chap turns out he is a religious nut too.  
 "Twenty years ago, as a PhD scientist, I intensely studied the evolution versus intelligent design controversy for about two years. And finally, despite my previous acceptance of evolutionary theory as 'fact,' I came to the realization that intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious, and no less scientific, than evolutionism."
Ha ha evolution - the science isn't settled either.  

 It's interesting that there are close to zero peer reviewed studies that support your opinion. 
Interesting but probably irrelevant;
*  None of Sir Isaac Newtons work was ever peer reviewed.
*  A single paper of Einsteins was peer reviewed.
*  The original double helix DNA paper from James Watson and Francis Crick was not peer reviewed.
In fact, the peer review system didn't even exist before 1967 so none of the following scientists ever had work peer reviewed; DaVinci, Gallleo, Capernicus, Kepler.. the list is enormous.
So the idea that truth can only be discovered through peer review is rubbish.
Even the extent that peer review may improve the scientific process is a debate.

"Even the extent that peer review may improve the scientific process is a debate."
This would be in the same usage as there is a debate about climate change?
The Royal Society was the first form of peer review, you might want to look up Newton's involvement with it.

To suggest, or infer, the Royal Society is, and always has been, a functional equivilent to the current publication peer review system since 1967 would be a fraudulent claim.
And what about DaVinci and Einstein, how do they fit into your 'peer review has always existed' proposal?
A debate in the meaning the current peer review system is not scientifically proven to imporve the scientific process.  So although it may have some benefits in some circumstances, putting too much importance on it is a mistake.

Busy working my way through "The Making of the Atomic Bomb". Einstein features largely in the discusstion of nuclear physics and when I compare what I have read there to your statements it is quite clear you don't have the faintest idea about anything.

Enjoy your book anyway.

I wrote a scientific paper at lunch time that has not been peer reviewed. It's encouraging to hear that the peer review process is irrelevant and my paper is more credible for not having it. 

Or, to put it other ways (to encourage you);
* peer review may or may not add anything to your research;
* peer review has an approximately equal chance of improving or deteriorating your research;
* the quality of your research is not determined by peer review.

Gasp...taht means Hero of Alexandria wasn't peer reviewed either !   Does that means all steam and water turbines are going to stop?

No, but you could poo poo his conclusions as unreliable and suspect.

O_o and you think peer review is going to slow that process down?

I think he should consider peer review becuase without it he really has no credibility - :)

Peakeverything - you forgot to paste the next lines of wikipedia to put your religious smear into context. Have his religious beliefs caused any issues with the satellite data capture he pioneered?
"Climatologist Patrick Michaels has defended Spencer, arguing that his religious beliefs have nothing to do with his climate change research.


  • 1989 - Marshall Space Flight Center Center Director’s Commendation
  • 1990 - Alabama House of Representatives Resolution #624
  • 1991 - NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (with John Christy)
  • 1996 - American Meteorological Society Special Award "for developing a global, precise record of earth's temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate." (with John Christy)"

To start wiith that ts PM's view.
and the institutes Spencer is part of,
George C. Marshall Institute
Neither are hardly a place for scientific openess, but Heartland at least is happy to take money off anyone and sell their (usually right wing) position.

Yes it is PMs view and the view of troops landing on DDay no doubt - religious freedom and all that. Your religious beliefs have nothing to do with the practice of science. Thank goodness the American Meteorological Society, NASA etc.  doesn't have such bigoted views.
You smear a climate scientist beacuse of his religious and political views and then spam the site with 50 odd links to skepticalscience which is written by a cartoonist who photoshops images of himself as a nazi, astroturfs, fabricates quotes and post edits his blog comments to "win" debates.

a) I have no religious beliefs, b) mainstream christians seem are more balanced on their views. Where a scientist's has views that are at odds with the best science, then I put little weight on his opinion, and about zero when I see he is a fundie christian, simple. 
Skepitical science links all the actual science, which refutes the rubbish that has been put up on here by deniers, simple....

Can you show us the SkS links where they refute rubbish claims like:
IPCC claim Himalayan glaciers melted by 2035
Dr David Viner UAE CRU 2000 snow will be a very rare and exciting event (not rare, still boring)
UN 10 million climate refugees by 2010 (zero todate)
$15billion spend on now rusting Australian desal plants for droughts that never came.
Predicted 0.21/decade degree average global temperature increase vs actual BAU 0.04.
Etc. Etc.
There are plenty of examples of them astro turfing, fabricating quotes and post editing comments... if their case is so strong why the need for such laughable school boy tactics? I feel sorry for people to link to the site.

Sure, he has done some good science in areas where he has no preconceived ideas.  The fact is he obviously gets a bit mixed up when he has a personal view tied up with his faith.  To deny both evolution and climate change due to a belief in a god is not good science. 
I would be interested to see if there is a strong correlation between belief in a god and climate change denial.  I was not able to find any studies on this matter, although studies did show an interesting relation between IQ and faith.

Premise - Every person has preconception.
Premise - All scientists are people.
Conclusion - all scientists bring preconceptions.
So I think it's a very weak criticism and if we accepted it we could equally criticise all scientists (two what useful end I know not).
Science includes the principle of "inference to the best explanation"; quite storngly used in areas of science where experimentation is limited (like Cosmology).
On that basis there are alternate theories to evolution; that is to say there are other ways to explain the facts as observed.  In fact, if you started with the premise that God exists the evolution theory in its widest form cannot be true; although parts of evolution certainly can be true (lest we forget even Darwin was agnostic at the end of his life).
Climate "denial" is an empty market phrase.  I don't know anyone who denies the planet has warmed and to debate it is to argue with a themometer.
The debate is about what caused the increase.  What I personally deny is that today we can answer that question with scientific certainty.

its CO2, simple....its certain as much as anything can be.
What isnt certain is the scale of effects due to variations, that will be worked out, but its big...and it will be severe.
Ask the [re-]insurance indusrty about it, they want to shift the risk away, so they are convinced.

Peak - he doesn't deny climate change. His research suggests most global warming is attributed to natural forces and less so to industry emitted CO2. To suggest he "denies" climate change is not correct.
Given 25% of post industrial CO2 has been emitted this century and "global temperature" have barely moved/"hiatus" the data seems to be supporting this. The runaway global warming hypothesis is looking weaker as the years pass. The UEA CRU's Dr. David Viner stated in 2000 children were not going to know what snow is and it would become "a very rare and exciting event"... These children are now graduating from high school and it is runaway global warming itself that is facing extinction - not snow.

9) Do We Look that Stupid? How do scientists expect to be taken seriously when their “theory” is supported by both floods AND droughts? Too much snow AND too little snow?
Apparantly so....
Roy Spencer is all you need to say.

[personal abuse. deleted. Ed]

The world needs GLOBAL co-operation but within a small web site personal abuse gets four 'approvals'.
There's a lesson in that.

Well you could read,
but I dont think you will, as you show a huge streak of  denial so I'll respond here for the record.
Please excuse any mistakes, refer to the above sites written by climate scientists if in doubt.
1) El Nino and la nina effect short term trends.  So if you only want to look at decades ie cherry pick then sure.  Try it another way, determine the warmest decade in the last 150 years....guess what its this one.    So la nina's are cooling effects, but then we get a switch to an el nino which is a warming effect.  Oh and its looking like an el nono is probable and probably will be large this year. We could see records broken, ie fires, deaths, droughts, floods etc.....
2) We know the warming in the last 100 years is negligable, its just about all CO2 and humans.
3) IPCC is a concensus body bringing together the science and it isnt political, though its likely that its output has been tempered by politics. Simple go read teh two above sites from the horses mouth as it were.  Otherwise it isnt a vote, dont know here you get that from but from your posts its obvious you really have not done any research.
4) Climate models can and have hindcasted accurately, so you are utterly wrong here
5) That's the same as 4)
6) Models are not fudged and are not hidden, given your utter ignorance on so much so far as shown above, well I find it laughable you can claim such knowledgable detail on the models, see 4) and 5).
7)  Um, well the climate as it warms leaves more energy in the oceans for more extreme and frequent weather events.
8) Try breathing double or treble the CO2 you normally breath, see how well you do, submarineers in damaged subs often die of such.
Besides that its not the direct risk of CO2 but the effects on the weather, lots dead from heat waves, or hurricanes, ask them how great they feel maybe?
9) See 7) and yes frankly you do look stupid, thanks you removed any doubt I might have had about you being worthwhile to listen to.
PS weather is not climate.
Try this,  it puts it across in simple terms, you may get there,
11) Wrong,
Apart from that well the charts get improved as the instruments and measurements improve.  On top of that the models improve and we have seen that they have tended to underestiamte a little.
IPCC discuss facts and data not denier nut job alternatives, ie its science, maths, physics that can be demonstrated and proved and not religious or political mumbo jumbo that cannot.

8) the clever skeptic will point out that you can't see CO2 so it probably doesn't exist. 

Matt, could you say more about why you support a carbon tax rather than a cap and trade scheme?  Both will impose costs on producers of greenhouse gas emissions, but a cap and trade scheme also ensures that benefits go directly to reducers. 

So if NZ does something about carbon/climate change it won't have any effect in the world scheme.
Sounds like my mate who won't pay $100 off his mortgage because it won't make enough difference.  So now after 25 years he has a massive mortgage, while facing a big big  income drop at retirement.  And I have paid little bits many times, with great results.
I think we should do what we can inside our country now.
As long as the costs and benefit of any activity are retained in New Zealand.  None of those fancy smancy schemes, where somebody in the Ukraine or somewhere else gets NZ cash, paying them for planting forests, when there is no forest.

No, it is nothing whatsoever like your mate who won't pay off his mortgage.  The full (negative) consequences of your mate's (misguided) actions fall on him alone, while the full (positive) consequences of your (sensible) approach fall on you alone. 
A better analogy would be whether you - just you - should donate $10000 towards reducing New Zealand's national debt.  Big cost for you individually, minimal benefit for the New Zealand economy.
The whole point is that any action on climate change taken by New Zealand has impacts at a global level, not only in New Zealand.   Certainly the costs of activity can be retained in New Zealand, but the benefits can't.   As such there's no particular merit in carrying out emissions reduction activity here rather than anywhere else.  In fact, if the same amount of money can buy more emissions reduction somewhere else, then paying for emissions reduction somewhere else is environmentally superior.

You are correct.  The issue is whether those "somewhere else" countries have a robust system to ensure compliance with the rules.

You are correct.  And it seems pretty clear that some somewhere elses don't have such systems.  Now it seems to me that it would be a really worthwhile use of the vast resources of organisations such as Greenpeace to help those countries that can't afford or don't have the administrative capacity to design and implement such systems and to persuade Governments such as ours to reward those countries by allowing trading with them.  But no, they are more interested in inflicting punishment on capitalists than in actually benefiting the environment.

I should note a more extreme version of the Green's proposal was enacted by the right wing state government in British Columbia, at it has worked really, really well. It is described as one of the few taxes that are actually popular.

Re: The Green's proposal, I don't agree that "by itself (in strict economic terms) this scheme does nothing". First, each country that enacts such a scheme will make it much easier for others to follow and for an international agreement to be reached. There are only a few hundred countries in the world, so our weight in negotiations is a bit bigger than our emissions share would suggest. Second, regardless of what other countries do, the scheme is still a win-win in that it encourages energy efficiency and a shift away from fossil fuels - it's not just moving money around in a zero-sum way. If you believe that the risks to NZ of a persistent current account imbalance aren't fully priced in, a belief that many readers here seem to share, then reducing this risk, by reducing our annual $8b oil import bill, is a benefit of the scheme. So, in analyzing the scheme, the important thing is to determine how much fossil fuel use would be reduced, not just who wins and who loses. Energy self-sufficiency would be a win for everyone.

"Global - Co-operation".  Isn't that an oymoron?

A good question to ask is why all 15 climate models assume positive feedbacks from any incremental heating due to CO2 - yet NASA inserted the ERBE ( Earth Radiation Balance Experiment ) satellite some years ago to measure  the net heat flows as a funtion of the temperature below and it found that as the earth warmed - in this case due to the differing locations being measured ie tropics - subtropics - poles that the radition increased to space as one would expect the hotter it was below.
This means the feedback co-efficient is negative - exactly the opposite of all the models.
Why would we use untested assumptions in our models instead of satellite data in this very important variable ?

JB...Maybe you could explain to  the IPCC about this negative feedback phenomina.
Clearly they need your guidance. Send them a link!

I think the idea is to think for yourself rather than abdicate that responsibility to someone else.

Is that still legal?

Just got more ads today to try to get me to purchase more "education" as a profitable product . No thank you.  Sell your scam to someone else.  one rule change or new certificate launch and everything paid for is expensive confetti.   so much for upskilling and thinking for oneself

Is that still legal?
Nice one.

Ralph, The idea that we can think for ourselves on this issue is a hoot!
All we can ever do on something complex is to seek credible sourecs of information, pre mashed.

That is very Post Modernist of you Pureant.
Reminds me of the old Asimov Foundation series of books where the old scientific establishments main method for 'research' was review of historical documents.

Ralph , Much to kind..I would be eternaly grateful if you could send me some links to credible sources on the subject of negative and positive feedbacks which it sounds like you are totally familiar with., pre mashed of course.

Alas the comment was directed toward the inference that unless the IPCC accepted JB's questions his thoughts were not relevant.  Perhaps I read into your reply what was not there.
I am for healthy questioning of all things.
*edit* - and I am not a scientist or expert in the field of climatology.

and your risk management ability is? also zero?

Ralph, apologies for confusion. No I was suggesting that the IPCC maybe is not aware of this positive feedback so maybe JB could tell them about it. Crickey they may not know, and this could prevent millions being spent on mitigation.

I'm not sure what you trying to say. ERBE was an experiment conducted in the 1980's and our understanding has improved significantly since then. Try reading this:

this is some of what I find concerning about such studies.
Most of the models work from a handful of input systems (CO2, solar radiation, latent heat) and thus when used on a non-Chaotic static model, show positive expectations.

the system being modelled is Chaotic and dynamic.  The very least is a chemical buffer system.  Futhermore there are Chaotic time delay components based on dispersement, and weathern patterns which are dynamic.

ie.  If you create latent heat in one spot, eg hot carbon.  then that hot spot will cause medium to move,  the movement creates drag and pressure variances.  the latent heat will cause rising and dispersement of heat...but it MUST be less dispersed heat (otherwise the movement would amplify as dispersement would be hotter).  This means cooler medium will move into those low pressure areas, cooling them as their energy bleeds off into the cooler medium.  That is allowed for.  but the energy bled off is into CO2 and other compounds, which have better sink capabilities than O2 and N2, so more energy is absorbed for less heating effect.
 But what you will see is, tiny increase in CO2 and heavier gases "stirred" into place.
And more variable weather as the patterns themselves shift with the extra latent energy (can't absorb as much elsewhere, nor can the CO2 etc dump energy or form O3 at altitude)

So I'd expect to see cooling.  I'd expect to see rapid changing and more extreme weather patterns (eg cool air sucked from roaring 40's pulling frozen air off the antartic, causing unseasonal or disruptive patterns when hitting what would normally be moderately warm areas..and vice versa, with air not cooling as much during winter, and reducing the suction effects).  And I'd expect to see tiny increases in CO2 and other heavy atmospherics around the hot areas.

By the time you start to see heating in the hotspots and overall warmer patterns dominating we're into the crisis stage of the buffer solution, without much margin left.

Because its a NET thing.
To start with it wouldnt be a "found", even an A level student should be able to tell you increase the temp differential, increase heat flow, the Q is what is the actual losses and gains and what is NET.
So this is one small negative feedback.  The neg effect / difference in a complex equation where all the rest are NET positive.
It has been used a lot by scientists,
Can you show such assumptions? or are you blindly guessing?

Just a few comments.

Is it really true that 97% of scientists agree on the man-made global warming theory?

Climate science hopelessly politicized. Geological Society of Australia gives up on making any statement.

Also the Petition Project, a lot of scientists including PhD's seem to disagree, well over 30.000 in fact:

And why do we only hear of exceptional heatwaves in the main stream media, but not news like this?

or this

Just wondering.

Is it really true that 97% of scientists agree on the man-made global warming theory?
Not sure - but I am pretty sure I heard on TV they use the same brand of tooth brush.

No you are not wondering really are you.
a) 97% climate scientists, yes.
In the professional field of climate science, the consensus is unequivocal: human activities are causing climate change and additional anthropogenic CO2 may cause great disruption to the climate.
b) joannova seems somewhat politized / monitized herself.
c)  Thats a quite notorious document, most of not all were not climate scientists, long ago debunked as utter rubbish and even fruadelent and written by a bunch of fundie god squaddies if I recall correctly.
Several studies conducted independently (Oreskes 2004, Oreskes 2007, Doran and Zimmerman (2009), Anderegg et al. (2010), Cook et. al., 2013) have shown that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing the climate to change, and that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are causing global changes to the climate. These views form the scientific consensus on climate change.
d) Climate is not weather.  What we do see from climate change is more extremes in both hot and cold, but especially hot. So "freak" cold snaps are prefectly inline with a changing climate expectation.
e) Sea ice doesnt matter, what matters is the land ice,
Really its like wack a mole....the same rubbish seems to keep coming back no matter how frequently refuted.
Is your mind that blinkered?

antoymouse seems to be linked to the climate science coalition and heartland institute.
No need to say any more

It's just as well to recall, regarding 'scientific consensus', that until the early 70's there was an absolute consensus that ruled out Wegener's tectonic plate theory about the surface of the earth...
Judith Curry has a few wise words about uncertainty, especially within the models on which the current 'consensus' is based:
Summary of major uncertainties

  • Deep ocean heat content variations and mechanisms of vertical heat transfer between the surface and deep ocean
  •  Uncertainties associated with external forcing data and implications for attribution analysis and future projections
  •  Sensitivity of the climate system to external forcing
  •  Clouds:  trends, forcing, feedbacks, and aerosol – cloud interactions
  •  Nature and mechanisms of multidecadal natural ‘internal’ variability
  •  Unknowns – solar indirect effects, magnetic and electric field effects, orbital (tidal and other) effects, core-mantle interactions, etc.

And her reading of the IPCC's latest emission is also well worth reading:  the end of climate exceptionalism.  The money shot:
"The question then becomes NOT what is causing climate change or how we can prevent it, but rather:  How much resilience can we afford? "
Certainty, after all, is an attribute of faith, not of science.....

That argument can easily be trumped with the precautionary principle. In answer to your uncertainities:

  • Oceans are a buffer and are absorbing most of the heat. The coming El Niño will be very interesting.
  • Climate forcings are well understood.
  • Clouds are tricky, they can be both a positive and negative feedback.
  • Climate is chaotic but there are patterns. The current Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) appears to be ending so watch for a potential upswing in temperature...
  • Your unknowns are not large forcings, e.g. solar output barely changes. Volcanism can have large short-term effects on temperature. So could a large asteriod.


Nice principle but I it seems to me to contain a practical consideration loop somewhat as follows:
*  Threat and uncertainty exist (see the Aussie case example);
*  But response must be proportional;
*  But the science required to provide a measure for proportion is uncertain.
The result of which it seems to move the questions rather than "trump" as such.

Its great that I see ppl such as yourself standing out, makes it clear how extreme and out there you are.
and nope, the threat is large and severe and the un-certainty small.  There is no other competant conclusion IMHO but toact with all due haste..

People who stood out include Ghandi, Martin Luther King and a host or worthy figures I would be proud to meet let alone have the priviledge of standing with so in and of itself it's not much of an accusation.
You have not addressed any weakness in the argument.
You have failed to address the elephant in the room, which is proportionlity.

Actually Judith Curray is wrong on 2 accounts, a) the science and b) the business, ie risk management and mitigation. The risk is certain enough and the impact big enough to act.
So its not a Q of faith, its a Q of competance.

It isn't even worth getting into a discussion with climate change deniers.
I think this is part of the answer .
As is ending our population ponzi scheme.

Some sources for those who care to think like true scientists:  i.e. accept any 'theory' as provisional, apt to be overturned or amended as the result of new theory, and always, always open to challenge from whatever quarter. 
Chiefio - a techie who has reconstructed the GISS series using their own sources, own code, and documented the issues found: - the paucity and inaccuracy of the historic temperature records, the 'snowbird' tendency of more recent measurement sitings (towards lower altitudes and the cities), and the many-decades -long cycles which our satellite record (since the early 80's only) cannot yet encompass to a statistically significant standard.
Willis Eschenbach:  a Pacfic resident who has some of the best thinking outside the established science echo chamber, on topics such as heat transfer tropics to poles, etc.
Both are, of course, gifted amateurs - in the mould of Darwin, Newton and Lord Kelvin.  Thus they are free, in a manner not available to the 'scientists' tied to the treadmill of Grants, Funding, Outcomes and Demonstrated Research, to speculate, ponder, self-correct and generally to chart their own course.