Catherine Leining and Suzi Kerr trace how the NZ ETS came to get a bad rap and show why it is worth saving and how it can be improved

Catherine Leining and Suzi Kerr trace how the NZ ETS came to get a bad rap and show why it is worth saving and how it can be improved

By Catherine Leining and Suzi Kerr*

Recent news reports about different aspects of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) have proven wrong the well-worn saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

The government’s First Biennial Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change indicated that the scheme has had little effect on domestic emissions compared to a modelled “without measures” scenario and this will continue under current policy settings.

The forest industry has reported that low and uncertain emission prices have created little incentive for new forest planting and posed little barrier to deforestation relative to competing drivers.

In mid-May, arbitrage by NZ ETS participants at apparent taxpayer expense created headlines as the government acted abruptly to halt reregistration arbitrage by post-1989 forestry participants.

This caused an outcry among stakeholders because they were not consulted and the full arbitrage problem was not solved.

At the end of May, the Iwi Leaders Group announced intentions to file a Treaty of Waitangi claim stemming from low emission prices which have impacted on the value of Treaty settlements.

At the beginning of June, the Green Party announced its new climate change policy, calling for the complete replacement of the NZ ETS with a broad carbon tax whose revenue would be returned to the economy through tax relief to households and businesses. 

A fog of uncertainty

As a country, we seem to be missing a common vision for New Zealand’s pathway toward a global low-emission future and the role of emission pricing.

The NZ ETS was intended to expose the economy to a price on emissions, thereby driving cost-efficient emission reductions, influencing investments in long-lived capital and land use and reducing our future vulnerability to rising international carbon prices and stranded assets.

Instead, under weak settings, the emission pricing beacon of the NZ ETS has been obscured in the fog of growing policy uncertainty around whether New Zealand truly intends to reduce its emissions and who will bear the costs.

Until this fog lifts, market players will not want to move ahead with investments that could be placed at risk by future policy changes.

To be successful, a price on emissions needs to be expected to remain high enough for long enough to shift investment decisions. Under an ETS, for emission units to be valued by the market and generate a price signal, participants need to face a limited supply of units which is underpinned by confidence in the rules governing the use of units. These conditions have not been sustained in New Zealand’s carbon market and the resultant low price signal has not produced much mitigation.

While shifting from a weak ETS to an ambitious carbon tax is one approach for generating a more effective and reliable emission price signal, it is not the only approach.

It would come at a high cost from the design of, and transition to, a new tax regime and the disposition of assets created under the NZ ETS.

Ultimately, the level of mitigation and price certainty produced by the carbon tax would depend on the process chosen to adjust its ambition over time; this would be subject to the same political uncertainty that has led to problems in the NZ ETS.  A rough transition between pricing mechanisms could further erode private-sector confidence in government commitment to policy. 

The fundamental purpose and architecture of the NZ ETS remain sound.

How the ETS could be made to work better

The current problems result largely from failures to adapt the scheme efficiently to changing conditions, follow a consultative process when changing government rules impacting on private investments, and above all, demonstrate clear policy commitment to a rising long-term domestic price on emissions.

The existing NZ ETS architecture could be adapted to provide both increased price ambition and price certainty under a domestic-only scheme while retaining the option for New Zealand to easily rejoin a future, well-functioning international market for emission units recognised under international agreements.

For example, a clearly binding limit on units available to the domestic market between now and 2020 would push prices up toward the current ceiling of $25.

Alternatively, requiring a fixed payment per unit, possibly as well as surrender of units, would push the emission price up, effectively creating a temporary tax within the existing structure.

A more rapid phase-out of free allocation and consequent auction of surplus ETS units could generate revenue that could be recycled into the economy, similar to a carbon tax.  Concerns about the current distributional consequences of an emission price could be addressed without changing the whole policy and further undermining confidence in the direction of policy and the value of investments that will shift our economy in fundamental ways. 

The suggestion to rethink our approach to emission pricing, increase ambition and improve price certainty is a useful one.  We could choose to build on the existing foundations of the NZ ETS rather than start from scratch with a new mechanism.  Using inclusive consultative processes to shape the country’s future climate change mitigation pathway and provide longer-term policy certainty on emission pricing with cross-party support would help to restore public trust and stimulate the kind of investments that will prepare New Zealand to compete effectively in a global low-emission future.


Catherine Leining is a Policy Fellow and Suzi Kerr is a Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. This article also appeared on the blog “New Zealand’s Low-Emission Future.”  The views expressed are those of the authors.  

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How ppl see countries,
NZ sucks for prosperity and equality, yet scores quite well for Plent and climate, which surprises me.

The problem is, no one wants to or can afford to pay.  The Green's policy for instance is a joke, take from some to give back to households, yet households pollute.  A far better outcome is to tax and then use that for grants to install green technology like insulation and solar powered hot water.  Households save money, we create jobs where needed and the planet benefits as well.

hahahaha.... you're talking like an engineer!

that would actual reduce carbon and move towards fixing the problem.

No headlines in that. no profits.
Where's the lifestyle increase?  where's the extra consumption?

the proles will never go for it.

of all the ETS in existence, does any country have a national emissions trading scheme that works?
are there any pairs of national ETS that successfully work together?
hint: wishing does not count.

A similar approach was very successful in addressing sulphur dioxide emissions in the US:

I think trading schemes are (have proven to be) a joke.
Time to legislate/regulate.
I can hear the wailing from the Libertarians now..........

No doubt libertarians would object, but one doesn't have to be a libertarian to object to an approach which is extremely unlikely to prove effective, let alone efficient.
As I have shown, the same approach has proven very effective, and highly efficient, in an analogous context. 
The reason that carbon trading schemes haven't worked, and neither have carbon taxes, is because Governments have not had the political courage, or indeed the political mandate, to adopt settings which cause serious economic pain and hence send a strong enough signal to bring about large scale changes in behaviour. 
That being the case:   Do you think Governments are going to find the political courage, or indeed the political mandate, to legislate/regulate in ways which cause serious economic pain and hence send a strong enough signal to change large scale behaviour?
And what exactly do you think such Government regulation should say?  Perhaps you want Governments to mandate the use of renewable energy, electric cars, energy efficient washing machines?  Can you give some other examples of cases where Government regulation has successfully brought about the adoption of a politically-preferred technology?  

Banning CFC's maybe counts?

I refer you to my first two questions above

Trading schemes are not a joke.

They have been _highly_ effective.

Several perople have made significant profits, plenty of people have been employed doing things tht wouldn't have needed doing if there was no emissions trading.  And there's an opportunity to start taxing the system waiting just beyond the horizon.

How can you call any of that a joke?

Man-made climate change (Global warming as it initially was, then changed because temp increase stopped 15 years ago) is a joke. So, any solutions to address this joke are also jokes.
Theoratically, ETS is more cost-efficient than the command-and-control and tax method. But, it is a theoratically sound method to address a joke. Who will be serious anymore?

You are not even up to science 101.
Glaciers are white, hence reflect sun, when they are gone and you have a dark sea and land, well they then absorb more energy as science 101 tells us and hence warm faster.

an ice cube cools becuase the near zero meltwater mixes with the water in the glass and entropy (temperature) balances out in proportion to each. If a drink is 3/4 ice it will be noticeably cooler because of the higher proportion of ice. If there is a single ice cube (so let's say 3% ice) then it is not going to make much difference. If all Greenland's ice melted, it would raise sea levels by 24 feet, which is a lot to us at human size, but is about 0.2% of the world's oceans, so will have little cooling effect.

Uh no, this is secondary school science.
The "cooling effect" you imagine is an energy transfer. Heating in this case, in effect its from the sun so its "new" there is no (NET) cooling effect as such (maybe locally as ice falls into the sea but that is inconsquential).  It is also a change of state from solid to liquid so that takes a lot more energy but with no temperature change (rise).  

You obviously failed school science then, as this is in-correct.
or are trolling.

Some things are irrefutable, maths and thermodynamics are 2.
Some things are statistically highly probable to the extent that a wise person would go with the odds bearing any better information.
eg vacination, or climate change and dealing with it.

no, you're wrong.
that's me.

But you're stupid so we don't expect much better from you.

Was it domestic science by any chance?
All I am quoting is simple physics and nothing more to someone who seems unable to grasp it.
cause and effect of what?  If we are still on clmate change, that is incorrect. With the exceptions of a few extremist politicos  and about 1/2 of Congress who get bribed not to act the science finding a handful of real climate scientists who deny GW is caused by man is just about impossible.

a) Temp increases didnt stop 15 years ago. 
"Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What's more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010."
Hottest May on record,
"Last month was the hottest May globally since records began in 1880, new figures show.
The record heat, combined with increasingly certain predictions of an El Niño, means experts are now speculating whether 2014 could become the hottest year on record.
Data published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday showed the average land and ocean surface temperature last month was 0.74C above the 20th century average of 14.8C, making it the highest on record.
Previously, the warmest May was 2010, followed by 2012, 1998 and 2013."
When the next el nino happens (maybe this year) its quite likely that 1997/98 records will be broken. 
b) Cherry picking a time frame is not robust math or science.

“On record” being the caveat - what do you expect we are in an interglacial but you make out like it is something unusual. I'm the tallest I've been on record but I am quite relaxed about it.  Things have been warming up for the past 15,000 years. Get used to it. It was 5 degrees warmer in the Arctic 100,000 years ago and I'm sure caveman didn't go all chicken little.
You are right temperature increase did not stop 18 years ago but it did not increase at the rate predicted, and certainly didn't accelerate, which it would have needs to do to make your bunker investment pay back. 0.04 C/dec. actual vs. 0.21 C/dec. predicted is a fail in any other field other than the climate science. Especially when 25% of the post industrial CO2 went into the atmosphere since 2000. Warming rate1910-1940 with bugger all industrial CO2 just as fast as 1975 to 1998 warming period. So inconvenient for chicken littles and Hank Paulsons.
“Experts” are speculating the El Nino could be the new norm – run for the hills!
 “a theory endorsed by Dr Russ Schnell, a scientist doing atmospheric research at Mauna Loa Observatory, 11,000 feet up on Hawaii. "It appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they're going to become more intense and in a few years, or a decade or so, we'll go into a permanent El Nino."
"So instead of having cool water periods for a year or two, we'll have El Nino upon El Nino, and that will become the norm. And you'll have an El Nino, that instead of lasting 18 months, lasts 18 years," he said.”

meanwhile as Forbes shows business is seeing imacts and even the opportunity to profit and hence more and more will run away from being associated with extremist nut jobs who's denialist ideology does them harm.

...continues to confound me that apparently literate people are still in denial.  I suspect you are mixing ideology (ACT party member maybe?) with science. 
heres a tip

Not even as far right as Act....but yes the further right the stronger denial.
If however you look at Labour you see the same thing in effect, ie "we have to have a "just" environmental policy that doesnt cost jobs".  Which really mimicksks the right "we have to have a "just" environmental policy that doesnt cost profits".

all change costs profits.

all costs must be passed on to the consumer.

thats a fundamental economic environmental truth, you can't get something if no-one pays for it.  And unless you're already overpaying for your basic commodities (which is theoretically impossible, without market interference) then it's the consumer who must pay more.

test THAT.

The climate here has changed.   Plant and animals behaviours have altered.

however any system that sucks resources away from the solution provider is obvious stupidity (and therefore likely to be governmental policy)

Thing is, customers _want_ better environmental operations?
That is _want_, not just "wish for".
_Want_, as in willing to pay for....?
Then I/we have have no problem at all stepping up to that demand.....!

It's when the public/media/government want it for free.  then _No_.

All the science and hyperbole in the world isn't going to change that fact.

And over at The Telegraph this story broke out.  Puts a whole new perspective on Man-made.....lets see the publishing of data which wasn't the real data that was placed into the computer which generated the man-made data......meanwhile NZ'ers rant and rave that the man-made is real data, when in fact they don't have any idea where the data come from in the first apologies for ranting here either....first it was the hockey it's this data their any intelligent life out their?  Now I had better log off quickly before Steven comes along........

To be honest, for a few days now I was expecting Profile to post this, but I think he has in a earlier version of the same story last year (this story has been circulating on conspiracy sites for some years now and gets periodically picked up by people who don't realize that it is the same story being warmed over) 
The link from SimonP is but the most recent of many, many debunkings of this story. Does anyone want to start a sweepstake on when "the scientists are lying to us, the world is secretly cooling" will next show up?

DH - this is not about debunking anything. It is about having healthy scepticism !
It annoys me that people label issues as a conspiracy.  There are many problems in climate change which are not known and people have a right and an obligation to point these issues out as this is where further scientific studies need to be undertaken. Science can be full of conclusions but are those conclusions always correct? There is a popular past-time by some to label those who question the science as being conspiracy theorists which by-passes verfiability and falsifiability procedures.
"My proposal is based upon an asymmetry between verifiability and falsifiability; an asymmetry which results from the logical form of universal statements. For these are never derivable from singular statements, but can be contradicted by singular statements."
—Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery,

the thing is I don't know that this particular story is healthy- it is not a new criticism in as much as it has already been tested and has stood up to that criticism and the people raising it again are just ignoring that it has stood up to the criticism, so there is no evolution of knowledge taking place. It is also a criticism that even other climate skeptics have labelled as stupid, so rather comes from the fringe of the fringe. In a Popperian framework, in theory what the telegraph article raised as already been tested and rejected as a theory and just bringing it back through e echo chamber that lead to the telegraph article does nothing to make it less invalid.

Basically science can always be re-defined by new evidence.
All the scientists will do is claim their results were accurate and fitted the data they had available.  And that is the limit of accuracy on such methods.  You _cannot_ ask scientific proof beyond what scientific data will support, by it's very definition.

we had scientists that _proved_ Urea was great for pasture and put it on at 400kg/hectare.
now we have scientists that have _refined_ that data to say that 400kg is bad in a single dressing and has other (leaching) effects.

Both are right.
We also have scientists that say such practices are bad for the soil, retard clover, and destroy soil microbiology.

They are also right.

For their data.

that's why you can't take something like climate change and carbon effect and wait for scientific proof.  The science can only _describe_ what they're seeing based on the data they have at hand.  Having more data increases probabilities, but it can _never_ resolve the answer because scientific process itself is continually being redefined in policy and practice.
That is why maths and engineering _use_ science but aren't considered scientific fields.

This particular denialist journalist is a nut job and he's quoting another nut job so pathetic that even Tony Watts says his anti-AGW claims are wrong.
The actual data has been corrected, yes as the dispersment of measuring stations was not uniform (if I read it right). The method is publically available and has not been challenged as incorrect or unjustified in scientific / mathematical communities.
The hockey stick has been proven good btw and in fact Mann is currently sueing an online(?)  libertarian(?) publication for defamation.
"This past Friday, a DC Superior Court judge handed down yet another decision that climate scientist Michael Mann’s defamation case against the conservative magazine National Review should move forward."
Sounds like there is a reasonable case to answer.
Great of course because the defendants have to prove a whole lot in a court of law, so they cannot lie, make up or falsify data, so they have fat chance.

Can you verify/prove those statements in your opening sentence Steven?

As an personal opinion, I dont need to.  For the second part that claim has been examined and thrown out and even been poo-pooed by denialists like Tony Watt as awful.  So the claim is rubbish and put out by the fringe of the fringe who cant even and doesnt want to appreciate the reasoning/science.  Then we have a so called journalist re-gurgitating this rubbish blindly.
nuff said....

And over at the Washington Post they did a damn good job. Witholding 12000 documents from coming under boots.
And then there is this article
Pro..paganda and warmers...sorry....Pro...climate change punters share much in common don't they.

a) the law was upheld/met.  Especially as the case wasnt even honestly brought but brought with the intent to cause harm and not discover truth at all.
b) A judge looked at the case and decided that the remarks were bad enough and repeated enough to go to trial where a jury can decide the matter.
Somehow it seems you dont like the law either (as well as science and math).

Steven.....your point a) - what do you mean "the case wasn't even honestly brought but brought with the intent to cause harm and not discover truth at all"??
Did you even read the links I provided?  It is Mann who is suing the author!
It is the judge who ruled that 12000 papers and other information belonged to the University did not have to be supplied under their Official Information Act. Therefore these 12000 papers can never be scrutinised.
If you want to discover the TRUTH then why would you advocate that protecting 12000 papers as being exempt from the process?
Your advocating for corruption in society if you think a defendant should be denied the right to adequately defend this a Socialist Policy?

a) Read the history of the case.  there was no intent to get the truth, what there was was an attempt to smear Mann and his work and absorb his time as he defended every msuing of his decades of work.
The "corruption" is political it comes from the loony right side of society.
The judge rightly threw it out.
This was really an attempt to re-run the climategate scandle and stop science and nothing more.
Mann is sueing the paper/blog, yes that is correct as I posted earlier, obviously you didnt read it, not my problem.

Oh boy, nothing like blissful ignorance is there.
Tell me, today our crude oil output is 72million barrels per day (roughly), 51 years 11months and 28days from now what will the output be per day (ignoring increased demand for a moment)?
and the output at 52years and 5 days?
"present consumption"
Say we have 72mbpd and a 1.33% Lets keep it simple) demand increase per year what will be the actualy demand at 51 years 11months and 28days?
How old are your children? grandchildren?
In 52 years and 5 days what will they do for oil?

You didnt answer my Q,
I didnt say petrol, I said "crude oil" which yes makes plastics.
Electric cars, no, not economic or producable in the quantities we have now, but that is a different agrument to crude. "everyone" same applies to lithium or any other material for that matter as crude.

Yes, because in the next half-century we're not going to make any technological progress or changes to our way of life at all, regardless of economic or any other cost

Still not answering the math.
Context? because you are not making any sense.
So I will guess, The problem with technological progress ie complexity is it uses more energy, but we will have less energy, ergo yes indeed TP will slow, or triaged ie we'll have to pick where we consume the energy to get TP.
regards I look out across the city everything I look at is consuming oil.  If there is a substitute in the wings we are leaving reeeeaaaaaal late.  If you think electricity, bacteria, sunlight or whatever is going to step and replace oil, I'd suggest you are in cloud cuckoooo.. If there i/about to be a substitute, what is the billions spent on war in Middle East all about then??

Is the Middle East really about Oil?? Or is that an assumption based on perceptions?
Or is the Middle East/Oil really about money? Everybody is reliant on energy so this energy has a very high value financially and psychologically to all.
Think about what control really is......and how one can achieve control. As you state one method of control is war....but there are many methods applied when implementing control from sexual, financial, psychological and physical.
Control = to have power over something. When people lust over something they desire ownership/control....maybe this is why in the 10 commandmants a clear guideline was provided in the "Thy shalt not covet".  To covet something in simple terms is to lust after.....and a simple process for monitoring covet is to watch over our own thoughts and feelings that we are not desiring/lusting after someone elses property/goods etc and then to protect ourselves from those who are coveting/lusting after things we may have. We have to remember that coveting something can and does lead to corruption !!
Humans are always trying to evaluate issues. Humans use both their rational mind and gut feelings/instincts. However how many people ever question the skill of both their rational mind and gut instincts??.....both the rational mind and gut need training. People who hanker after control know this and use it against populations who are unwary that they are being manipulated.
Think about what makes a good salesperson? In simple terms they can wrap up a deal.  Good salespeople use well known and trusted techniques.....they appeal to your senses, find out what your needs are etc then stitch up the deal. Now think about how Political parties operate...they look for causes/issues...they make promises i.e. they sell those promises to the public....people choose the preference which suits their finances or psychology or both. It is the what can I get mentality rather than is this upholding values and principles that respect everyones freedoms and rights of being responsible.....think about the history of Constitutional Rights, various Bills of Rights etc because throughout history there have been Rights abuses.
Oil and energy are about control of finances. Financial power over people and populations. I find it ironic that energy and power are one and the same staring people right in the eye yet elusive to the mind of the masses in general.
There have been a large number of inventions that can replace oil. However these inventors always seem to meet their death under unusual circumstances...WHY? and what happens to their inventions?
Think about what would happen if a free source of energy were wouldn't add much to GDP of any country would it ! In fact if anything is FREE it doesn't add to GDP figures....that is why FREE is so hated and it is why redistribution is a preferred method.
If cars/vehicles/houses etc could be powered for FREE....what would happen to GDP in any country? Maybe have a look at why water is holding such enormous's not because of water shortages although these are often pointed out via media stories when droughts hit etc. Then of course there is the CO2 issue which goes hand in hand with the water value. If you can tax or make money off water and CO2 then we are moving society in a new economic direction of where something that could have been FREE can now be of value which will add to GDP.  Free stuff subtracts from GDP so if you want alternative power sources to replace oil then expect that water and CO2 will be the new ways of achieving growth in GDP and then expect the release of the already invented technology.

Money is an IOU for work/energy, so no it is about the oil.  
Nasty things happening to "inventors". One obvious answer for the nut jobs selling their fake inventions / oil replacements is after they have ripped ppl off someone decides to get even.
At the end of the day it comes back to thermodynamics, you cant get energy out that isnt there in the first place.  Oil is a very dense and portable energy source we dont have to create, just extract and refine, nothing comes close to it.

Just because there is a dollar increase in something doesn't mean that you will use more energy.  Maybe you forget to allow for efficiencies that are also made along the way.
Again can you prove the existence of "nut jobs selling their fake inventions" ? Or is this just your opinion? Or have you just listened to the few media stories that break out and made an assumption that all inventors are nut jobs?
And have you considered Quantum physics?

"dollar increase in something doesn't mean that you will use more energy"  I have never said this.
Efficiencies, yes sure, however that becomes a diminishing return.  So a 1995 4litre car V  a 2014 4litre car should have a considerable improvement in mileage.  Further efficiency can be got by downsizing to say a 2014 1600cc car.  Further efficiency can be got by a Prius EV however that is 2.5times the cost so of questionable capital saving.
The Internet is littering with snake oil salesmen selling "inventions" to the gullible and desperate.  There are even some legitimate research which simply looks to never give a return eg bio-fuel from algae for instance.  The original wouldbe inventors assumed ppl would pay whatever the biofuel cost, the last 8 or so years should ahve proved that as wrong.

it makes plastics... it is also a major supply point for sulphur used in the fertiliser industrty.
fertiliser used to produce biofeuls and food... just as well we don't really need those!

notaneconomist ... you pulled your rant pretty quickly (or someone else did).  Did you happen to read this after the post?? :)

Adjustments have to be made to accomodate weather station shifts and changes. It is not cynically done to manipulate the climate record.

.........ah...I see it's back again. 

Whatever the arguments back and forth for global warming and climate change, something is happening. As a farmer I pay a fair bit of attention to how warm or cold wet or dry it is. Compared to 20 years ago the weather here has got warmer. Note I am not talking climate. Just weather. We used to have -4 degree frosts regular through winter. Lucky to get a frost in the last 5 years. Summers are way hotter. It burns the pasture off. It never use to do that. Yet 2 years ago it was the coldest summer in a good while. About 4 and 5 years ago we had the longest meanest winter storms. The cold winds and rain wiped out cattle in this area. Too hot and too cold. You wonder whats coming next.

Keep an eye on the El Nino that is probably coming this year.  That will make NZ hoter and dryer (ditto OZ). If its like 97/98 the next 2 years could set records and May 14 is already noted as one of if not the warmest on record without an El nino effect.

Even Forbes magazine admits that climate change is real and that there has been a huge misinformation campaign similar to those which denied the link between smoking and lung cancer.

What an amazing piece to be in Forbes...
Im gob smacked...
"The denial of man-made global warming is one of the greatest PR campaigns in history.  With echoes of the industry-funded research from tobacco companies that denied links between smoking and lung cancer, the well-coordinated PR plan has delayed new regulations for coal and petroleum industries and influenced millions of Americans."
Looks like we see a seperation of business from politics.  Business so the impacts and costs to them,
"Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years,” said Jeffrey Seabright, Coke’s vice president for environment and water resources, listing the problems that he said were also disrupting the company’s supply of sugar cane and sugar beets, as well as citrus for its fruit juices. “When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats.”
So really, finally we may see action because businesses can see its costing them money, they are walking away from the right wing nut jobs doing them harm.
and of course there is money to be made,
"Shell has been preparing for it for decades. The company’s business depends on being able to anticipate and respond quickly to seismic shifts in the energy market. So it employs a team of big-thinking futurists, called scenario planners, to keep it a step ahead. In 2008 the company released a fresh pair of scenarios for how the world might respond to climate change over the coming decades. Both were predicated on what the company called “three hard truths”: that global energy demand is rising, that the supply of conventional energy will not be able to keep up, and that climate change is both real and dangerous.”

This is from one of the Forbes blog sites, so the people writing within it are free to take whatever position they like. There is no particular editorial control - Forbes and the author split the advertising revenue.

Some learned journal URL's to show the extent of uncertainty about such basics as Planck's 'constant' , clouds, that big yellow thing in the sky, and the gyres which until recently were unknown but seem to drive oceanic weather systems...
Article:  Giant "whirlpools" in the ocean, up to 500 kilometres across, are driving the world's climate on a scale previously unimagined. We just don't know exactly how yet.

The bodies of swirling water, called mesoscale eddies, are 100 km to 500 km in diameter. They form when patches of water are destabilised by obstacles like islands. The eddies carry huge volumes of water and heat across the oceans, until they slowly stop spinning over days or months and reintegrate with the surrounding water.

The assumption was that they gradually diffused the heat they carried in all directions as they travelled, which would hardly do anything to the climateNow, for the first time, the amount of water and heat they carry has been measured and it turns out the eddies have a big effect after all.
Article:  "The belief that arbitrary materials can sustain black radiation
always results from an improper treatment of reflection and energy influx. In Max Planck’s case, this involved the mandatory insertion of a carbon particle within his cavities.
This acted to drive reflection. In the construction of laboratory blackbodies, it involves departure from thermal equilibrium as the inflow of energy enables the emissivity to drive
the reflection. In the belief that optically thick gases can emit blackbody radiation [16], it centers upon the complete dismissal of reflection and a misunderstanding with respect to energy inflow in gases [17].
In fact, many cavities can never be filled with black radiation, even if one attempts to drive the reflection term. That is because certain materials are not conducive to emission and prefer to increase their temperature rather than drive reflection. Arbitrary cavities do not contain black radiation, and that is the measure of the downfall of Kirchhoff’s
Taken in unison, all of these observations, even dating back to the days of Kirchhoff himself, highlight that the universality of blackbody radiation has simply been overstated.
The emissive characteristics of a cavity are absolutely dependent on the nature of the cavity walls (see [13], [14, p. 747– 759], and references therein). This has broad implications throughout physics and astronomy."
Journal reference
Article:  According to the authors, the "Sun influences the formation of clouds and rainfall activity through Galactic Cosmic Ray mediation" and "Solar control on the Indian Summer Monsoon rainfall, cloud liquid water content, and integrated water vapor is observed over India during 1977–2012." 
Article:  "Altocumulus clouds are important, yet climate models have difficulties in simulating and predicting these clouds" and "Approximately 93.6% of Altocumulus clouds cannot be resolved by climate models with a grid resolution of 1°."


Thus, only 6.4% of observed altocumulus clouds are simulated or predicted by climate models. Needless to say, clouds have profound effects on Earth's radiative balance and climate; a mere 1-2% change in global cloud cover alone can account for global warming or cooling. Among their many failings, climate models are unable to simulate clouds, ocean oscillations, solar amplification mechanisms, precipitation, sea ice, albedo, convection, etc. etc.


Article:  Computer models must wait for better data
"Ultimately, it [aerosols] affects the amount of clouds that are out there, and also the properties of the clouds -- the area, for example, they cover over the globe. And all that affects the radiation that can actually hit the [Earth's] surface," Muhlbauer said.
To demonstrate the aerosol effect, Koren and his colleagues observed clouds forming in the Horse Latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. This region of the global oceans has little wind, which means pollutants are not easily carried over from continents. A few clouds may exist, but not too many given the aerosol-starved nature of the region.
The scientists used data from four different satellites to observe the clouds, the aerosol content, temperature, meteorology and rainfall over 92 days in the winter of 2007. They found that the skies became more overcast as the aerosol levels in the air increased naturally. And the effect did not cease; there was no point of saturation beyond which aerosols stopped affecting the clouds.
As the cloud cover doubled, they reflected more incoming solar rays back to space. Thus, the clouds had a cooling effect.
Koren and Altaratz hypothesized that the last time the skies were this clean of aerosols -- other than in the Horse Latitudes, that is -- was before the Industrial Revolution. The skies then must have been much less cloudy than today, Koren said.
An implication of this theory is that as these cumulus clouds became more widespread at the very beginning the Industrial Revolution could have cooled the Earth. Including these clouds in climate models could alter results significantly.
But there's no way to know for sure. No one maintained records of aerosol levels in preindustrial times, and for now, Koran's suggestion is mere speculation.
Muhlbauer said this was an "interesting" scenario but cautioned that the findings are extremely preliminary. Adding cumulus clouds into climate models is a "long way off," he said.
"That's going to be another 10 years at least."
The net result of all of this:
Increase in Humility is needed.  There's a lot we don't know, least of which about the Sun, the clouds, and the radiative properties of common gases.....