This is Your Brain on Climate Change

In the never-ending quest for climate change analogies that might strike a chord with a disinterested public, smoking and slavery have been repeatedly invoked in recent years. I don’t buy the slavery/fossil fuels parallel. I find the comparison with smoking equally problematic, but I also get the argument.

In 2010, Andrew Hoffman published a relevant study that got a lot of media play. In his coverage of it, Douglas Fischer at the Daily Climate wrote:

Hoffman’s analysis, published in the journal Organizational Dynamics, compares current cultural norms on climate science to historical societal views on smoking and slavery.

“At core, this is a cultural question,” Hoffman said via Skype from Oxford University, where he is on sabbatical. The change in attitudes about smoking in the 20th century is similar. “The issue was not just whether cigarettes cause cancer. It was whether people believed it. The second process is wholly different from the first.”

For years, Hoffman noted, researchers raised the alarm over data linking smoking to lung cancer, only to see the public ignore it. Gradually awareness shifted, and now the public widely accepts the fact that smoking and second-hand smoke causes cancer, with bans on public smoking increasing and smoking rates and deaths on decline.

I would argue that attitudes about smoking also changed because the evidence became unequivocal at a personal level. In other words, people saw loved ones (or themselves) become ravaged by cigarettes. And even still, that’s often not enough to dissuade many from picking up (or kicking) the habit.

What does seem to work, however, is this. And this:

It’s part of a new advertising campaign by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Evidently, it’s working. It also demonstrates where the parallels with climate change end.

Incidentally, for those too young–or too addle-brained–to remember, the title for my post is a play off this famous (and ineffective) television ad, which is memorable because of how much it was parodied.

141 Responses to “This is Your Brain on Climate Change”

  1. MarkB says:

    Classic logical fallacy, once again: “Smoking, therefore ‘X'” – as if somehow the causal link between smoking and lung cancer justifies anything and everything. Let’s try another version: “The scientific consensus was wrong about stress and ulcers, therefore the scientific consensus is wrong about climate change.” How’s that work for you? The fact that such logical fallacies are the stock in trade of the climate change advocacy crowd goes a long way to explain why naive observers of the dispute are naturally skeptical of the science. With fundamentally dishonest friends like these, how can you trust the science?

  2. Tom Fuller says:

    I do believe it is not understood how well the public got it that smoking was dangerous. I remember a long thread here (or maybe at Bart’s) where I kept trying to say that we all knew… and I still believe it. People knew it for centuries.What changed was the effectiveness of media communications showing exactly what you show above. It made it far more real and they made it personal. Yul Brynner was the leverage point in my opinion. But there were others. Funnily enough, they didn’t have to blow up and kids or rain polar bears from the sky. Funnily enough, the messages that worked didn’t patronize the audience or demonize tobacco companies. They just showed the effects of a lifetime of smoking on real people.But it took a long time to get it right. I don’t for one second believe that the fools in charge of climate communications are capable of learning the true lessons of the tobacco wars. But it could be done.

  3. Marlowe Johnson says:

    part of the problem of course is delayed response and inertia. we don’t have several older planets with radically altered atmospheres that we can look upon and then decide ‘thanks but no thanks’.no analogy is perfect, but the slavery one at least captures the assymetric relationship between those who benefit and those who don’t.

  4. Tom Fuller says:

    I don’t think the slavery analogy is apt at all. If I were to refer to it I would instead refer to the forced lack of development some want to inflict on the developing world by constraining energy use.And of course they never refer to it in that way… but that’s the inevitable consequence of the policies proposed.

  5. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @4it seems you want to deliberately ignore the ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ part of the framework that has governed international negotiations on climate change for the past 25 years or so (to be fair so do many u.s. senators).  have i missed something? remind me again how the ‘policies proposed’ lead to the ‘inevitable consequences’ you describe. while you’re at could you share your code on energy projections? inquiring minds are curious… p.s. my kingdom for the secret on how to create line breaks in the new comment box…

  6. Tom Fuller says:

    #5: “have i missed something?” Yes.

  7. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @6since your paying attention at the moment, is it too much to ask for you to elaborate?

  8. Tom Fuller says:

    CDR being ‘re-evaluated’ while too few resources committed to CDMs.Money being redirected away from other development goals to politically ‘worthy’ fight-the-climate-boogeyman projects. Fraud and corruption the natural consequence. Poor stay poor.

  9. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @8that’s an argument for reform of policy implementation rather than policy intent. if you want to argue that the policy intent is doomed to fail then by all means make your case.

  10. Tom Fuller says:

    Leaving all fossil fuels in the ground… like old ladies not getting mugged… just condemns the poor to stay poor. 

  11. jeffn says:

    Re Smoking, it’s fascinating that the “all about the science” anti-tobacco actinides have moved on to seeking bans on electronic cigarettes. Based on what? Well, nothing. If the urge to ban is satisfied by the science- as it is with tobacco- they are pro-science. If the science doesn’t support a ban, well who cares about the science? Same impulse is at work with nuclear power and GMO food.
    The common denominator is always the desire to control.
    As for the slavery comparison? One aspect is apt- the poor Chinese are being shipped all of the West’s stinky, dangerous factories where they are being asked to toil for us as long as they don’t aspire to anything vulgar like a standard of living in the plantation house.

  12. Matt B says:

    It’s not news, that if you want a healthier life you’re better off not smoking….Sinclair Lewis goes on for a while in Babbitt about smoking being a vice worth quitting and that was back in 1922…..

    One factor in the acceptance of smoking as ravaging your health is the fact that we are living longer….if smoking was just one risk of many that can cut your life short then why bother quitting, something else would get you anyways….but as we live longer (in 1900 US male life expectancy 46.3 years, 1950 65.6 years, 1990 71.8 years) it becomes clear in recent years that that

    A. many who continue to die young are smokers

    B. many smokers that don’t die young develop some hellacious health problems

    Who needs the Surgeon General’s report, live long enough and the evidence stares you right in the face…..

  13. Dean says:

    I’m not convinced that most people accepted the dangers of smoking early on. Undoubtedly a few did, but in my experience people are extremely capable of rationalizing things when it suits their purposes, benefits them, or allows them to avoid an inconvenient truth.   I think Matt’s second point (#12) is also relevant – as other health threats declined, this one became more significant and more visible.

  14. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @10why? there are plenty of other, more important factors that contribute to poverty besides the differential costs between fossil and non-fossil energy sources. agricultural policy and governance are two big ones that come to mind. Again, if you have some evidence to back up your claim, do so. otherwise it looks like vacuous posturing. 

  15. BBD says:


    To get breaks – type text as normal, with paragraph breaks, and add formatting – eg bold; italic. THEN click the penultimate button on the toolbar (blue brackets). Look for the html at paragraph breaks. Position the cursor after the ‘end paragraph’ tag </p> and hit Enter twice. When all done, submit comment. It sounds more time-consuming than it is.

  16. jeffn says:

    15- BBD, I’ve been able to get the line breaks by clicking the blue brackets first,
    deleting the “enter comments…” line
    and then just typing normally, using the enter key to start new paragraph.

  17. Marlowe Johnson says:

    thanks guys.

    hopefully this works !

  18. Tom Fuller says:

    Marlowe, obviously there are many factors that contribute to poverty. There are even many factors involved in reducing it. It isn’t all about energy. But cheap and plentiful energy is a precondition for alleviating it.//Using a tortured analogy with slavery is wrong. First because it’s crap, wrong on the facts. Second because it’s malicious, intended to once again class your opponents as evil.//The same is true for a tobacco analogy. The lights in your house don’t go off at sunset if you smoke a cigarette. It’s unutterably stupid and again is intended to class your opponents as evil. What a mortal pity that you will need these people to eventually agree with you on something–anything–as far as a solution goes. 

  19. Roddy Campbell says:

    Marlowe go and listen to Bill Gates – cheap energy critical for alleviating poverty.  Not complicated.

  20. SamuelJ says:

    Along the lines of effecting public opinion the way the anti-smoking campaign did (by making it personal), there is a current example of a similar successful strategy in Obamacare. After the uproar over the birth control drug policy, unmarried women’s choice of Obama over Romney jumped markedly, which translated into a bump in his lead over Romney. The policy uproar made the issue personal to these women. The CAGW-er’s may wish to take a (Machiavellian) page out of the Democratic book and hammer droughts, floods, etc even harder as examples of climate change, using the media to trump it up (as they certainly will), to make it personal to the people affected by these disasters. Invent or find a poster child victim of a tornado, for instance (ala Sandra Fluke) who resonates with the public. It works in elective politics, so why not in climate change? Even though the CAGW-er’s are trying this line of attack now, they have not coordinated it and promoted it well enough to have the desired effect.  

  21. harrywr2 says:

    #20It works in elective politics, so why not in climate change?The effect is short lived and you end up corrupting peoples trust in ‘science’ as an institution.I.E. The cluster of hurricanes around the time Hurricane Katrina was used as ‘climate change’ and there was heightened support for action on climate change.  The cluster of hurricanes has since been shown to have been a cluster rather then a trend. Everybody that claimed it was a ‘trend’ ended up looking like liars.Little white lies have a short self life…the price of which is to damage the credibility of the person telling the little white lie.

  22. BobN says:

    MattB – be careful about falling into the “increase in life expectancy at birth equals we are living longer” trap.  The main reason for the increase in life-expectancy at birth is that childhood/adolescent mortality has decreased remarkably.  If you look at life-expectancy at age 25 between 1900 and now, there has been surprisingly little change.Regarding smoking, I think that anyone that has ever tried a cigarette knows intuitively that it can’t be good for you (just think of how that first puff made you hack and wheeze) but tries to rationalize it away.  Other than for a period in the 40s and 50s when tobacco advertizing was actively asserting health benefits from smoking, I don’t think any of the subsequent tobacco industry’s “Merchants of Doubt” campaign had much effect on whether anyone took up smoking or not. 

  23. SamuelJ says:

    #21 I’d agree with you if we could stipulate that the public would seek for the truth. Unfortunately, in political activity the truth rarely matters. Those that promote “their side” more effectively, regardless of the “facts”, win more often than not.

  24. Matt B says:

    @22 BobN…..thanks for pointing the infant/adolescent mortality skewing of the data out, I’d revise my previous point but I’m too lazy…..

  25. harrywr2 says:

    #23Short term ‘white lies’ are indeed effective in politics. In the US elections are determined by about 20% of the population. The so called ‘swing’ vote. You don’t need to lose much of the swing vote until you have lost your chance at getting elected. When one side has been caught in ‘little white lies’ once too often the swing vote swings. Science as an institution isn’t a political party where we just change sides. If the ‘swing vote’ loses faith in science as an institution  then we are headed back to the dark ages.

  26. Jarmo says:

    #22 BobN….on Merchants of Doubt: Very true. I read one of those internal tobacco studies from the 1970’s and it said kids started to smoke to defy their parents and show off their independence, a rite of passage sort of thing. Health issues hardly matter when you think everybody over 30 has already got one foot in the grave ;)I see very little similarity with AGW and smoking. One is about personal choice over something nobody really needs, the other about energy which we all need.

  27. Dean says:

    As to cheap energy and poverty, I think it is important to differentiate between poverty as it exists in wealthier countries and poverty in the poorest of countries. Although the cost of energy is always relevant, I don’t think it is nearly as significant in the U.S. as it is to so-called “development” in India or sub-Saharan Africa, where availability of affordable energy is essential.
    The issues then comes to AGW sensitivity. Many of us are concerned that the conventional technology which provides that cheap energy so essential to poverty reduction will take back that prosperity, so to speak, when the compost hits the fan. But if you think that sensitivity is low, then AGW will never have the level of impact that would counteract the poverty reduction. I’m not going to go into the debates over sensitivity again, but the bottom line is that we want poverty reduction to be sustainable and not a temporary relief that gets undermined.
    The problem is that even in the most optimistic case for newer technology, that at least slows down poverty alleviation, which from my rather extensive travels in those parts of he world, I know means that it won’t happen (i.e. they won’t wait).

  28. Lewis Deane says:

    ( Keith, your hole comment system has gone nuts!)I don’t believe in anything. In fact, if I believed in anything I would know I was lying . To ‘believe’ seems to me nonsense, like to be someone wicked.The sea is a monster full of dreams, my son,Dragons that must rise from the deep and whalesThat must turn from 20 km down and smile as they rise:There is laughter in the deep, laughter of the Gods,Bubbling below you, grinning,The clouds sail down,Louring on your head. The eagles have bitten you.But you know, my son, you are not alone.Reach out to me and your mother and we will reach back.

  29. Lewis Deane says:

    I think deep, deep, far in the sea, somewhere cold and indifferent, somewhere bitter and hot, we flop on an island, like sealions and sing our bitter wails. I think songs are made there, about sad mankind and his foolish ways. We love him but we can’t help him and wouldn’t do so even if we could.

  30. TimG says:

    Marlowe Johnson Says:  We don’t have several older planets with radically altered atmospheres that we can look upon and then decide This is the entire problem. With smoking there was actual real *EVIDENCE* that tobacco is bad. With climate change there is no evidence that climate change will be bad. The predictions of disasters are nothing but computer generated speculation.The people who are constantly beating the climate change drum need to learn the difference between real evidence and computer models. The difference matters to most people.

  31. TimG says:

    Sorry – Missing quotes an line breaks between  “entire problem”  and “With smoking”. Everything after “With smoking” are my words. (why is this comment editor so flaky?)

  32. BBD says:

    Lewis Dean @ 28 and 29

    Sounds like rapture of the deep to me 🙂

  33. harrywr2 says:

    #27,but the bottom line is that we want poverty reduction to be sustainable and not a temporary relief that gets undermined.There are all of 32 billion tons of coal in Africa(30 billion in South Africa) and another 60 billion tonnes in India(A fair portion in mountainous regions inaccessible by rail).China is burning 4 billion tonnes of coal per year which gives them 26 years of coal  left. (Not geologic…economically recoverable)India and Africa don’t have enough coal to develop on the back of coal alone. It costs $12 to dig a ton of coal out of the ground in Wyoming. The transport will add around $50-$60/ton to the price.In the Cancun declaration and reinforced in the Durbin declaration were the words ‘technology transfer’.Regardless of what one believes about climate change India and Africa aren’t going to be able to develop on the back of ‘cheap coal’. At best it will be a ‘stopgap’ measure.The ‘Kyoto’ plan that the developed world would adopt the ‘latest and greatest’ technology to make room for increased developing world CO2 emissions had it backwards. The developing world needs the ‘latest and greatest’ technology if it is going to develop at all.

  34. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @33if coal is so expensive then can i assume that you’re all for nearly-revenue neutral carbon pricing, with a wee bit of the pot going to LDCs to fund leap frog energy tech development?

  35. Marlowe Johnson says:


    you need to up your game bud.

  36. TimG says:

    #35 – What is that supposed to mean?

    You can’t seriously believe that there is any actual evidence for harmful effects climate change? (note: showing that it is getting warmer or ice is melting is not evidence of HARM)

  37. Fred says:

    So far it appears that acting in accordance with CAGW theory is the true parallel to smoking. CAGW has caused and is causing enormous amounts of economic pain and misery. Think of all the people out of work or making less than they could because of the disapproval of the Keystone Pipeline. Ditto for the job loss due to the administration’s stopping drilling on the outer continental shelf. Consider the billions wasted subsidizing “green energy.” Smoking is certainly on the suicide continuum. Following the policy directives dictated by believers in “global warming” is self-destructive for society as a whole.

  38. Tom Fuller says:

    TimG at #36, your going back and forth with Marlowe is not likely to be productive, as he is committed to an agenda. He is however, rational at least so you might call his attention to the IPCC’s best guess that harm resulting from climate change will most likely begin to be in evidence somewhere after 2030 or 2040.// That in the lower portion of the northern hemisphere, many beneficial effects will be noticed before then, including a longer growing season for staple agricultural crops and lower mortality due to weather extremes.//It won’t really help, like I say, but have fun with him.

  39. BBD says:

    call his attention to the IPCC’s best guess that harm resulting from climate change will most likely begin to be in evidence somewhere after
    2030 or 2040.

    Tom: fair point. Let’s give it a chance. 😉 Explain it to your grandchildren with a straight face. I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do.

  40. Marlowe Johnson says:

    i am indeed all ears. please show me the linkies that show that there’s nothing to worry about until 2040 when tom and timG? will be worm food….i on the other hand plan to be shooting rounds in the mid 80s 😉

  41. Marlowe Johnson says:

    oh and tom,

    unlike you i’m not committed to propping up sales of my pulp fiction book nor pushing super-secret-consulting reports to Dr. Evil or whoever else has the misfortune to pay you for your ‘knowledge’.

    my ‘agenda’ is pretty straightforward. there’s plenty of bullshit going around in the world. it comes in many shapes and sizes: advertising, lobbying, influence peddling, extortion, and sometimes just plain old vainglorious posturing to name a few. a couple of people come to mind on that last one. i’m sure you can imagine who i’m thinking of.

    the consequences of our current emission trajectory path may not mean much to you (given that you’ll be worm food), but it will sure as hell fuck up my golf plans and the future of my kids.

    of course carbon pricing is evil, the ‘free market’ is perfection and most important of all, Al Gore is FAT (although i’m giving him a run for his money after 2 weeks in your buffet-infested country).

  42. Jonas N says:

    Marlow .. are you saying that you have links from the future? Or are you just demanding that others have?

  43. Lewis Deane says:

    Thanks, BBD #32, though ‘poetry’ is, sometimes, more than useless. Poets, you are the bums of the world, bums of the world unite!

  44. Tom Fuller says:

    Marlowe, if you’re really that unfamiliar with what the IPCC actually publishes, one must wonder where you get that splendid authoritative tone.//Maybe living in a fact-free world helps you carry it off.

  45. TimG says:

    #41 Here is a link to the IPCC Special Report on Extremes: disasters
    It says that there is no actual evidence of a link between climate change and extreme events. The only “evidence” comes from computer models.

    This is why comparisons with tobacco and climate change are meaningless. With tobacco there was actually evidence that tobacco was harmful.

  46. hunter says:

    The same sort of people who corrupted the IPCC into publishing and defending (for awhile) the idea of Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 now bring a faux conference on how AGW is going to cause a national nervous breakdown: the age of AGW, it is the AGW community putting out the schlock, phony, paid for, corrupt science.

  47. hunter says:

    Marlowe,Are you referring to Tom’s book on climategate as ‘pulp fiction’? If so, you are playing a Baghdad Bob role in this: One of a total sycophant and ignoramus.

  48. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @TFi did a simple google search of ‘ipcc damage projections’ and came across this. It says some really interesting things about impacts:Africa:By 2020, between 75 and 250 million of people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition.Australia:By 2020, significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur in some ecologically rich sites, including the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland Wet Tropics.that’s just a sample from a 2 minute google search. care to try again with actual references? the attentive reader will note that you have yet to provide any evidence to back up your claims.  in any case, that line of argument is morally execrable as BBD pointed out to you already.  Whether or not net impacts are negative in 2030 or 2050 or 2100 is immaterial. the relevant ethical consideration is that we are imposing a serious burden on future generations.

  49. Marlowe Johnson says:


    i did a simple google search of ‘ipcc damage projections’ and came across this. It says some really interesting things about impacts:

    By 2020, between 75 and 250 million of people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition.

    By 2020, significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur in some ecologically rich sites, including the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland Wet Tropics

    that’s just a sample from a 2 minute google search. care to try again with actual references? the attentive reader will note that you have yet to provide any evidence to back up your claims. in any case, that line of argument is morally execrable as BBD pointed out to you already. Whether or not impacts are negative in 2030 or 2050 or 2100 is immaterial. the relevant ethical consideration is that we are imposing a serious burden on future generations.

  50. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith if you could delete the duplicate comment @ 48 it would be appreciated. oh and my kingdom for a preview button.

  51. Jarmo says:

    #49,That 50% decrease in rainfed agriculture production was the infamous Ali Agoumi study, a non-peer reviewed estimate of North Africa. 30% of land there is irrigated and irrigation is increasing so rainfed agricultural production will go down anayway. As usual, the IPCC gives the “no adaptation” scenario and leaves out the positive stuff in the studies they quote. No undergraduate could get away with such a thing.

  52. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @51you miss the point. tom says ipcc says no impacts until 2030 or 2040. i say liar liar pants on fire. to be helpful i also provide the link to ipcc material that proves it.

  53. harrywr2 says:

    # 34if coal is so expensive then can i assume that you’re all for
    nearly-revenue neutral carbon pricing, with a wee bit of the pot going
    to LDCs to fund leap frog energy tech development?
    Firstly…’revenue neutral’ carbon pricing is just another way to phrase wealth redistribution. The wealth will be distributed from the poor to the rich. The poor spend a disproportionate amount of their money on energy…hence they will be taxed the heaviest.  Secondly the tax will an unintended consequence of discouraging energy conservation as many ‘energy saving’ technologies have a relatively high initial energy content. I.E. BMW’s new carbon fiber ‘eco car’ is made with carbon fibers which are energy intensive. The lifecycle energy intensity of the vehicle will be lower however the energy to make it will be higher…a tax will just push ‘initial pricing’ higher. (Which is why BMW ‘outsourced’ the carbon fiber spinning to the US)The current ‘global price’ of coal (not to be confused with US or Australian domestic price) is $5.50/MMBtu. That makes  coal more expensive then nuclear,wind,hydro,geothermal(depending on crustal depth) and biomass.Sending money to LDCs(least developed countries) to develop ‘leap frog’ energy technology accomplishes what exactly?  A fair chunk of the R&D money in ‘developed’ countries gets spent on ‘politically favored’ but for all intents and purposes ‘dead end’ technological development.

  54. Jarmo says:

    #52 – To be fair, those impacts you mentioned were the only ones on your source listed “by 2020” and I am yet to find a single study that would back up e.g. that Agoumi claim. New kind of consensus science, I guess?To me, the more problematic issue is the cherry picking the IPCC practices – or selective quoting of studies.

  55. Tom Fuller says:

    Ah, Marlowe, indeed my pantaloons feel the heat… but not because I am a liar. It’s just the sun shining in through the window. As Jarmo notes, the claim for impacts on African agriculture refer to a study of a handful of Moroccan farms that for some reason the author felt applied to the entire continent. Discussed and dismissed, I’m afraid, although there is no doubt that African agriculture should be watched carefully going forward.//Perhaps your anger–ooh, such ire that could call forth the dreaded childhood chant–led you to ignore certain parts of the page you link to.//For North America, “In the early decades of the century, moderate climate change is projected to increase aggregate yields of rain-fed agriculture by 5 to 20%, but with important variability among regions”. //If I may direct your attentiion to the Synthesis Report of ARF here ( you will find “Crop productivity is projected to increase slightly at mid- to high latitudes for local mean temperature increases of up to 1 to 3°C depending on the crop, and then decrease beyond that in some regions (medium confidence)…” That of course, is in accordance with the WGII statement “Firstly, ecosystems are expected to tolerate some level of future climate change and, in some form or another, will continue to persist as they have done repeatedly with palaeoclimatic changes. …Many ecosystems may take several centuries (vegetation) or even possibly millennia (where soil formation is involved) before responses to a changed climate are played out .”//In a long discussion (Ch.4.4.1) of CO2’s beneficial effects on biome growth and decreased consumption of water, they conclude “Many ecosystems may take several centuries (vegetation) or even possibly millennia (where soil formation is involved) before responses to a changed climate are played out.” However, the overall thrust is that the benefits will start to be outweighed by negative impacts at or about 2030.//How far do you want to take this, Johnson? Tobis used to do this all the time. He doesn’t anymore. Do you want to know why? He got embarrassed because time after time he would start by calling me a denier (which he still does) who doesn’t know anything about the science and end up by being forced to acknowledge that my points were indeed buttressed by peer-reviewed academic literature. He had to do it on extreme weather and Pakistani floods, Russian fires and Egyptian revolutions. He had to do it on both Antarctic and global ice extent. He had to do it on the validity of combined heat and power as a means of increasing energy efficiency of power generation. He had to do it on fuel poverty and coin-operated heating systems in the UK leading to increased mortality due in part to green policy. Time after time he was forced to say ”I’m forced to concede that Fuller has a point. He has found a paper…” Of course then he would start to censor my posts (which he still does).//If you go through the AR4 (which I have) you will find time after time that they express their belief that impacts will be muted until at least 2030 and in many cases far later. And in almost every case where they foresee impacts prior to that, it is because those impacts exist today. If you’re going to preach, at least read your bible.

  56. Jarmo says:

    #55 – The IPCC did a pretty poor job on those African agriculture studies in AR4. In one case -Eid et al. 2006 – they actually quoted the wrong paper. Their quote (In
    Egypt, for example, climate change could decrease national production of many
    crops (ranging from ““11% for rice to ““28% for soybeans) by 2050 compared with
    their production under current climate
    )  was from Eid & El Marsafawy 2002, which was a conference paper on crop impacts. The 2006 paper was about economic impacts of AGW on agriculture and actually concluded that irrigation and investment into heavy machinery would improve farm incomes under climate change. Not something you’d like to quote.


  57. Marlowe Johnson says:


    carbon fibre cars? what a curious choice of examples for energy efficiency. harry do you have any idea what the % of the total energy of a vehicle goes into its manufacture relative to what it uses over its total useful life? it’s about 12% on average. Every near-commercial energy saving technology vehicle technology pays for itself multiple times over on a lifecycle basis. that you would use the carbon fibre example to try and suggest otherwise betrays an interesting amount of ignorance on your part

    your suggestion that a carbon price would somehow discourage investments in energy conservation investments is also without merit. maybe you should spend less time reading coal market reports and more time reading an econ 101 textbook.

    lastly, your understanding of the impacts of revenue recycling in the context of carbon pricing is also flawed. it is self-evidently true that a straight carbon tax/cap would be regressive because lower income groups spend a higher proportion of their income on energy than wealthier groups. however, it does not then follow that there are no policy tools available to address income distribution impacts. see here for example.

    about the only thing that I can agree with is your last sentence.

  58. BBD says:

    Tom Fuller @ 55

    He had to do it on extreme weather and Pakistani floods, Russian fires and Egyptian revolutions. He had to do it on both Antarctic and global ice extent. He had to do it on the validity of combined heat and power as a means of increasing energy efficiency of power generation. He had
    to do it on fuel poverty and coin-operated heating systems in the UK leading to increased mortality due in part to green policy. Time after time he was forced to say “I’m forced to concede that Fuller has a point. He has found a paper”¦”

    In the interests of openness and transparency, can you provide links supporting all this? I’m sure many readers will be interested to follow all this up simply to learn more about the various topics under discussion.

    Speaking for myself, one in particular interests me more than the rest. It’s the claim about UK energy prices being elevated by ‘green policy’ rather than the rapacity of the big six energy companies themselves. I would welcome clarity on this as I first believed the former, then discovered that the GWPF was feeding false information into the UK press, and now understand the rise in energy costs to be mainly down to corporate greed.

  59. Marlowe Johnson says:


    again you miss the point. i’m not suggesting that I endorse those particular studies that underlie the conclusions presented by the ipcc. as i said earlier, it took me all of 2 minutes to find material that contradicted his claim. whether the net impacts become negative in 2040 or 2050 is totally beside the point as far as i’m concerned. 

  60. Tom Fuller says:

    BBD, just use google blog search with my name and ‘climate’. It won’t take long. Marlowe, you’re a case study. I give you the argument that you will be forced to use over the next 5 to 8 years due to PDO, ENSO and other cycles and you act like a twit. You ‘found’ one flawed study of the Sahel that had been blown out of appropriate scope by your hysterical alarmist buddies and you think that contradicts everything else written in the IPCC? You ignore contradictory findings on the same page and you think you have made a case? What a joke.

  61. Tom Fuller says:

    BBD, there’s at least one thread here on CaS that discusses it, but this is more recent:

  62. Marlowe Johnson says:

    it wasn’t hard. it was the first link from the google search ‘ipcc damage projections’. again, i don’t think looking at net impacts at a certain point in time is a particularly useful or appropriate way of thinking about climate change.  the point of this exercise is to enlighten readers about Tom Fuller’s penchant for overstatement and misrepresentation. it’s a credibility thing.

  63. Tom Fuller says:

    Indeed it is Marlowe. You could use some.

  64. Marlowe Johnson says:

    and Tom thanks for posting the link @61. you really are a gift that keeps on giving.

  65. Tom Fuller says:

    Always happy to oblige. And be sure and check the borehole while you’re there for the rest of the conversation.

  66. grypo says:

    Corporate greed and bad infrastructure AND government failure to protect pensioners.  The closest I was able to confirming Tom’s story was a commissioned study by the government (but independent), that said the policies WOULD be regressive in the future if it currently stayed “as is”.  The broader point tho is that Tom is bringing up a point that people need to keep in mind when discussing carbon taxes.  They need to be progressive, and if some neo-liberal politico wants to satisfy some energy lobby he better understand how taxes work and be ready to take that subsidy from people who can afford it and doesn’t have coin-operated heaters.

  67. Tom Fuller says:

    Grypo, as I mentioned over at P3 and in the previous thread here, obviously it is not only government green policy that contributes to fuel poverty. Their energy companies are rapacious. Estate housing is dilapidated. Using coin operated heaters is antediluvian. Etc. But government green policy on top of that just pushes more people into penury. And it is not only policy going forward. It’s been happening for a decade.

  68. BBD says:

    Thanks Tom. Brave, linking to that P3 thread. Also, failure to back up very strong, wide-ranging claims noted. FWIW, the lies injected by the GWPF into the UK press (mainly the Daily Mail and the Telegraph) grossly over-state the cost of those ‘green policies’. It’s complicated, but in the fantastically remote eventuality that anyone out there give a sh*t they can follow it up here.

    Personally, I doubt that ~7% of the annual bill is killing anything like as many people as the incessant energy price hikes inflicted on the UK public by the big six energy suppliers.

    The crime here is *insufficient* government regulation. When unrestrained, corporate greed can have surprisingly nasty side-effects. Take note, all you free market apologists out there.

    Anyway, enough on that as it is way off topic. I just wanted to acknowledge Tom’s not-terribly-helpful reply like the good little netizen that I have always aspired to be.

  69. Tom Fuller says:

    Just like on the CaS thread here last year, where (I think it was actually Marlowe…) derided links to the Daily Mail and managed to ignore the links to the Guardian and the BBC that supported the same story… Glad to know you’re all consistent…

  70. Tom Fuller says:

    And for those who think the government might be inclined to shade the numbers just a bit, here’s the politically correct Independent:”The number of people dying as a result of fuel poverty is three times higher than government estimates suggest, according to new academic research.Some 7,800 people die during winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes properly, says fuel poverty expert Professor Christine Liddell of the University of Ulster. That works out at 65 deaths a day….”If the Government recycles carbon revenue to make homes super energy efficient it can end this scandal once and for all,” he said. “These deaths are totally preventable. This is perhaps the greatest test of whether this Government has an ounce of true compassion and moral fibre.”His campaign wants the Government to direct £4bn a year from carbon taxes to vulnerable families.”It also lays much of the blame on energy companies: “It is completely outrageous that the Big Six energy firms are able to rake in eye-watering profits as people up and down the country are forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.”The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change acknowledged this last month. “The latest official fuel poverty figures show 4m households in England in fuel poverty, compared to 1.2m in 2004.”Channel 4’s blog notes, “Britain’s groundbreaking “carbon budgets” aim to cut UK emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and at least 80 per cent by 2050.The government has a number of policies in place to encourage the big energy providers to cut emissions by relying less on fossil fuels and investing more in various forms of renewable energy.Policies like the EU emissions trading system and the renewables obligation are designed effectively to force energy firms to redirect their resources into greener energy, but they will also inevitably push up the price of gas and electricity as the producers pass on the extra cost to the consumer.The projected increases are significant. For example, the Department of Energy and Climate Change predicts that the cost of electricity will rise by a third by 2020 as a direct result of the government’s green policies.Nevertheless, the effect of environmental taxes on current fuel bills has been overstated. The latest figures from Ofgem suggest only about 9 per cent of what we pay for fuel is attributable to green taxes.”So, BBD, only 9% of the UK fuel bill is down to green taxes. But a much larger sum comes from rate hikes approved by the government to pay for energy companies converting to green power generation, mostly wind.I’m not putting links in because of the way comments don’t work here. If you want a cite, google a block of text in quotes.

  71. harrywr2 says:

    #57 Marlowe, that you would use the carbon fibre example to try and suggest
    otherwise betrays an interesting amount of ignorance on your part
    An across the board carbon tax is just too blunt of a tool Marlowe.Like so many ‘well intended’ ideas like Kyoto it will have unintended circumstances.I actually have to look at a house with 2 sq meters of solar panels installed(heavily subsidized by taxpayers) that have moss growing on them. The roof had moss growing on it before the solar panels were installed. Moss only grows where the ‘sun don’t shine’.Here is a nice ‘politically correct’ windmill project in Reno,NV city’s seven windmills have so far generated about $2,800 in energy
    savings, meaning it would take about 150 years for the windmills to
    produce enough energy to make up for the $416,000 price tag.
    If I offshore a carbon fiber plant I haven’t reduced my CO2 footprint…I’ve just sent it elsewhere to be accounted for differently.But I actually want the carbon fibers because they reduce ‘future’ emissions. Reducing future emission is the supposed goal.So if I build a car out of carbon fiber and over the 20 year life of the car it will have less ‘future’ emissions how do I account for that at ‘time of purchase’.If you want to reduce future emissions you need to do the ‘hard work’ of identifying impediments to lower emissions products and identify ways to remove those impediments.The ‘market’ doesn’t generally recognize anything with more then an 8 year payback. Auto’s however have an average life of 17 years.Average ‘new vehicle ownership’ time is the US is about 5 years. how do you plan on explaining to a potential purchaser its worth it to ‘pay extra’ for energy efficiency when the ‘return on investment’ period is greater then the period they plan on owning the car.

  72. Marlowe Johnson says:

    i like Tom version 1.0 better:

    the fact is that pensioners are freezing in cold, dark unheated flats across the UK. Some are dying. This is happening because of various governmental policies to increase the take-up of wind power.

    Remember Tom, the internet is forever. OTOH watching you twist yourself in knots is entertaining.

    On second thought I like Tom version 0.9 even better:

    “There are people who have died from fuel poverty in the UK who would be alive today if the UK had not accepted unquestioningly the Hockey Team version of paleoclimatology and the IPCC’s upper bounds of likely climate change.”This thread was one your best Tom. your contributions have been pretty weak by comparison.

  73. Tom Fuller says:

    I stand by both statements. They are both true.

  74. Jarmo says:

    #59 – So, your point is that it does not matter whether the IPCC claims are shit or sunshine. What really matters is that you are technically right. Pyrrhic victory?

  75. Tom Fuller says:

    Funny how quickly you abandon one line of argument when you get your tail end handed to you on a plate and, just like your kind never fails to do, you pick another argument that is just as flawed and foolish. But hey, Marlowe, your travel stories were inspired pathos. Maybe you should stick to them.

  76. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @71i’m sorry but i have no idea what it is that you are trying to say. care to try again?

  77. Jarmo says:

    #73, – a report commissioned by WWF in 2008 estimated that that windfall profits in Phase II (2008-2012) of the EU ETS for the power sector in Germany, UK, Poland, Spain and Italy alone would accumulate up to 71 billion euros. was probably much less but somebody paid those billions in the from of price hikes.

  78. BBD says:


    We’re talking about what kills in the here and now. A 7% increase in fuel bills, or the currently unregulated rapacity of the energy sector. I managed to track down the full Ed Mathews quote recycled by the Independent and yourself at # 70:

    With over 6 million households in fuel poverty in the UK, I do not believe the British public share the Chancellor’s view that gas is
    cheap.  Gas has caused 80% of the rise in energy bills in recent years. A future energy strategy focused on gas will continue to hold UK
    households hostage to high and volatile gas prices. The focus of the Chancellor should be on weaning the UK off fossil fuels and minimising energy use by making it possible for every UK household to super insulate their home. Re-cycling carbon tax to households can provide enough revenue to super-insulate 600,000 homes every single year. It
    offers a permanent solution to bring down household energy bills and end fuel poverty once and for all.

    Greedy energy companies, it seems, are the root cause of the problem. Not ‘green taxes’. This is one of the very, very few occasions when I find myself nodding in agreement to Caroline Lucas (the UK’s one and only Green MP):

    It is completely outrageous that the Big Six energy firms are able to rake in eye-watering profits as people up and down the country are forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.

    Vested interests are distorting this story and you have been taken in by their misdirections. The real villains are the Big Six, and the enabler is the government, which refuses to regulate and constrain their rapacity. So people die, and it is a loathsome injustice. It doesn’t have much to do with windmills yet. Although all are agreed that this could change in due course.

    But we are talking about what is killing people *now*. Let’s not forget that.

  79. BBD says:

    Oh and Tom, the way you edited your # 70 makes it appear that *all* the direct quotations are from Professor Christine Liddell of the University of Ulster. I have no doubt that this was an accidental oversight on your part, but perhaps you could be more careful? People less trusting than me might get the wrong idea.

  80. BBD says:

    Apologies: Ed Matthew is Director of Transform UK. The source for the quote I provided is here.

  81. BBD says:

    The Independent article which Tom accidentally but quite substantially misrepresented is here.

  82. Tom Fuller says:

    BBD, you’re smoking something funny if you think I misrepresented what the Independent wrote. You’re smoking something even funnier if you don’t recognize that the UK government okays rate rises and gives explicit guidance on percentage of green energy utilities must provide. The capital costs of windfarms are passed through to consumers in the form of higher energy bills.//I do not say that this is the only factor. However, these higher costs are not green taxes. They serve the same purpose. They, along with the 9% green taxes, drive many into fuel poverty. Some die as a result.//What part of this is difficult to understand? What part of it do you dispute? What part of it can any sane person not understand/dispute?

  83. Marlowe Johnson says:

    As I said before Tom, you might have a point if the UK didn’t also have in place several programs to address the impact of higher energy prices on low income households.  Since they do, you don’t.

  84. Marlowe Johnson says:

    the interested reader might take a look here for example and see that crisis loans are available for short term needs including:meeting daily living expensesrent in advanceboard/lodging chargesresidential charges for a hostelpre-paid meter fuel debt

  85. Tom Fuller says:

    #84, talk about a trip down memory lane–I tested the Direct Gov site with EZ Gov back in 2008. That page went up March 9, 2012. Glad they can learn.

  86. Tom Fuller says:

    And #83, the fact that they have programs to address fuel poverty explains why the number of deaths due to fuel poverty has tripled? 

  87. harrywr2 says:

    #76,I’ll try again.There are many things about ‘energy production’ and ‘energy consumption’ that can’t be fixed by  ‘market forces’. President Reagan signed the US China Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 1984 is didn’t actually get ‘approved’ until 1998. wasn’t until September 2008 that President Bush managed to approve a civilian nuclear co-operation agreement with India. was a failure because the developing world for all intents and purposes was ‘prohibited’ from having any options other then burning fossil fuels.So the idea that if we just ‘tax’ something it will fix ‘non-monetary’ reasons for doing or not doing something seems somewhat misguided to me.The list of ‘reasons’ that fuel consumption might show signs of being ‘inelastic’ for reasons other then the price of the fuel is long.A simplistic…we’ll just tax it and the market will respond doesn’t make it.You need to first examine if there are reasons unrelated to costs that are causing the market to behave ‘irrationally’.

  88. jeffn says:

    So, BBD, just to clarify, you think we can solve AGW with the equivalent of a 9% power bill hike? Or are the costs just getting started?
    I love this topic. When someone asks what we need to do, the Romms, Grists, BBDs all babble about millions of windmills, hundreds of thousands of nukes (built in hurry), WWII style rationing, end of democracy and capitalism, etc etc.
    When someone asks how much all this will cost… Well practically nothing. Percent or two on power bill- and most of that nothing but rapacious power plant owners. Cost? Postage stamp a day!
    And everyone knows a global treaty is necessary to charge people a postage stamp a day.
    What’s even funnier is that tomorrow they’ll be calling everyone who questions their math on CS an “idiot.”

  89. kdk33 says:

    The real fun is this:  the scare side would eradicate the single most important social development in human history, the free market, as a necessary prequel for eradicating the single most important technological innovation in human history, readily available low cost energy (ie fossil fuels).  And why, well becaue it has become about 1 deg F warmer over the last century.

    When the climate scare history is written, people of the then time will be unable to not wonder about the primitive minds of our time – and how much more advanced they are, and why the end-of-earth myths of their then time are real. If only we could do away with those pesky doubters.

  90. Jarmo says:

    #82  -Here’s a page where you have electricity price information in the UK. As you can see from graph, the price doubled between 2002 and 2009. Same time frame as for EU ETS, FIT etc. //

  91. kdk33 says:

    And #83, the fact that they have programs to address fuel poverty explains why the number of deaths due to fuel poverty has tripled? 

    NO, no, no. That’s the beauty of socialism. First, craete an artificial shortage–ie. high price–then create a program to ‘help the poor’. It’s wonderful what can be done with other peoples money.


  92. BBD says:


    BBD, you’re smoking something funny if you think I misrepresented what the Independent wrote.

    You did. Blatantly. I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt, but now you are denying it. Which is childish, obviously false and profoundly counter-productive.

    Time you went back and looked again at the principal underlying cause of increased energy bills in the UK. The f*cking greed of the Big Six. It’s all explained above. Unaccountably, you just ignored what was written.

  93. BBD says:

    It’s increasing GAS PRICES Tom. Try removing the blinkers.

  94. Marlowe Johnson says:


    “There are many things about “˜energy production’ and “˜energy consumption’ that can’t be fixed by”˜market forces’. ”

    True! Is there anyone who thinks that carbon pricing is the only policy measure that’s needed to address climate change? We’ve got a strawman on our hands it seems.

    Luckily government kleptocrats are a creative lot and have devised all kinds of different strategies for controlling the unwary masses 😉 .

    Since we’re on the subject of transportation, the obvious one that comes to mind is fuel efficiency standards, which in your part of the world is referred to as CAFE. Now one of the really interesting questions when it comes to efficiency standards and cars, is why the market generally undervalues it so much. David Greene has done a lot of very good work in this area, and essentially argues that it comes down to uncertainty about future benefits of fuel savings and loss aversion. 

  95. Tom Fuller says:

    BBD, I think you really are smoking something. The article does indeed lay much of the responsibility on the energy companies. As I called them rapacious before you did, you won’t be surprised to see that I quoted the Independent: “It also lays much of the blame on energy companies: “It is completely outrageous that the Big Six energy firms are able to rake in eye-watering profits as people up and down the country are forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.”But I disagree slightly with their conclusions. Although they dismiss the above the line green tax at 9% as non-contributory, I want to emphasize for the purpose of discussion here the fact that the government approves the energy companies’ requests for rate hikes, and that the government explicitly gives them permission to pass through capital costs for building wind farms to consumers.I didn’t know we needed to have a recap every ten comments or so.

  96. harrywr2 says:

    #90 Jarmo,The Northwest European benchmark price for coal also doubled between 2002-2009 from $32/tonne to $70 tonne.(It’s currently trading  above $100).Coal price increases + gas price increases + ETS + Wind and Solar Subsidies all added together have caused a rather painful change in UK power prices.I’ll quote from 2001 US EIA Projections(about the US prices)<i>Continued improvements in mine productivity (which have averaged 6.7 percent per year since 1979) are projected to cause falling real minemouth prices throughout the forecast……Theprice of coal delivered to electricity generators,which declined by approximately 95 cents per ton between 1970 and 1999, is projected to fall to $19.45 per ton in 2020</i>So if we take the projected US price of coal of $20/ton + $20 ton seaborne shipping then add a $20 ton CO2 tax($40/ton of coal) importing  coal from the US into the EU trading block would be mildly ‘non-competitive’.There’s absolutely nothing to ‘not like’ about a protectionist trade policy that can be justified on other grounds. US sourced GM seed or food… bad…US sourced coal environmentally bad….US sourced beef fed with antibiotics…bad…bad…bad…To be fair a 4X CO2 emissions scenario would be highly likely if the price of coal had remained at $20/ton. Even a 1X climate sensitivity would yield a 2.4C rise in global temperatures.

  97. Jarmo says:

    #96 harrywr2 – the power prices also went up here, thanks mainly to ETS. The idiot politicians – I remember how some of them argued that since power generators receive emission permits for free, they will not charge anything from the consumers. Those who understood tried to argue that since permits can be sold, they have value and that value will be added to power prices. And thus our electricity generators became as profitable as Apple is today.

  98. BBD says:


    As I called them rapacious before you did, 

    No, you didn’t. See # 589:

    Speaking for myself, one in particular interests me more than the rest. It’s the claim about UK energy prices being elevated by “˜green policy’ rather than the *rapacity of the big six energy companies themselves*. 

    We are going to need a recap every few comments until you stop misrepresenting every damn thing under the sun. You are *still* conflating what MIGHT happen with the cause of fuel poverty and associated mortality that already has happened. So, let’s put this pernicious lie to bed once and for all. ‘Green taxes’ are not primarily responsible for sharply increased energy prices in the UK. Thus they are not responsible for cold weather mortality arising from fuel poverty to date. Do you get this yet??

    Speculation about drivers of possible <i>future</i> increases in energy bills has *no bearing whatsoever* on the events of the recent past. Conflating the two is dishonest and misleading. Do you get this yet??

    Mendacity about the cause of fuel poverty and related deaths can be traced back to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is a UK-based climate ‘sceptical’, right-wing, ‘free market’ propaganda machine pretending to be an ‘education charity’ and a ‘think tank’. The GWPF absolutely refuses to disclose the sources of its funding but is relentlessly pro-gas.

    Gas is hugely important in the UK. It now accounts for about 45% of total UK energy consumption. Soaring gas prices are by far the largest component of increased energy bills over the last few years. Thus they are by far the most important factor in increased fuel poverty and associated mortality. <b>Winter gas prices rose 40% from 2010/11 to 2011/12.</b>

    Yet the GWPF (and you) seek to blame government energy policy on renewables for these deaths. 

    I’m sceptical about the achievable potential of on- and offshore wind in the UK. I believe it to be demonstrably lower than claimed and that the costs will be very significantly higher than projected. But even I draw the line at the lies peddled by the GWPF. Real people died. Twisting the truth about why is vile. 

  99. Jarmo says:

    #98 – Why do you think gas prices have been soaring? Because Central Europe and Britain are using more gas due to increased cost of coal due to environmental legislation – or, in the case of Germany, green victory over nuclear. Increased gas demand can be directly linked with EU ETS. Which also raises the price on the use of gas on power generation because gas power plants do emit CO2.

  100. Tom Fuller says:

    Hi BBD, actually I called the UK energy companies ‘rapacious’ on the earlier thread last year that Marlowe so kindly linked to.//Before we start going around in circles on this mendacity thing, let’s see if we’ve identified areas of agreement or disagreement. If you have the time and inclination, can you respond  by indicating whether or not you accept the following points?//1. Deaths in the UK from fuel poverty have risen dramatically, almost tripling to 65 a day. 2. Green energy taxes have added 9% to the average household energy bill. 3. Through mechanisms such as ROCs and pass-through of FiTs to non-participating ratepayers (“The suppliers pass on the cost of the Feed-In Tariffs scheme to all their electricity customers.”, , the capital costs of renewable energy generation are passed through to consumers. 4. This pass through is not labeled a green tax. 5. The UK government agency OFGEM approves the rate rises enabling this pass through of capital costs for renewable energy to ratepayers. These various programs started in 2002 (sorry to spring that on you, it’s referenced in the old thread Marlowe linked to) and has changed names and descriptions several times.// Let me know.//On to new supporting material on actual costs. “The main policy tool used to promote renewable energy generation is the Renewables Obligation, which effectively raises the market price paid for electricity  renewable sources. This scheme cost electricity consumers £1.1bn in the UK and around £100m in Scotland in 2009/10.

  101. Tom Fuller says:

    In case you’re wondering how this argument should evolve going forward, I will stipulate that fees imposed to finance green energy schemes are only partially responsible for fuel poverty, in case anyone didn’t understand my previous comments, although I thought I was fairly specific.// I will then argue that, much as the UN does in attributing a portion of deaths from malnutrition and chronic disease to global warming and others attribute a proportion of deaths from malaria to global warming, that it is an exercise in statistics to determine what portion of deaths due to fuel poverty are attributable to increased costs due to renewable energy.//I do not expect that percentage to be very high–in the ballpark of 10% might be a reasonable starting point for discussion. But that’s still 780 people last year.//The logic should be quite clear. Each increment of increased cost should push some percentage of people at the margin into fuel poverty, and some will die as a result.//Hence, I will stand by my argument that (even though rapacious energy companies bear the bulk of responsibility, and conceding that remedial action should start with them) government support of windfarms has increased the cost of energy, pushed more people into fuel poverty and that some have died as a result.

  102. Marlowe Johnson says:

    and of course tom I imagine in your creative accounting that you won’t forget to include all those people that didn’t die from black lung disease, emphysema, lung cancer, CPD, etc. right? after all, you wouldn’t want to create the impression that you’re trying to mislead people.

    i look forward to seeing your code.

  103. Tom Fuller says:

    You again. Sigh. Marlowe, except for black lung disease, the ailments you mention are overwhelmingly attributable to lifestyle choices around smoking, drinking and diet. If you honestly think you can attribute some portion of that to electricity generation from coal, gas, hydro, solar and nuclear, good luck with the math.//As for black lung disease, the BBC estimates 200 new cases per year. How much of that has been reduced by wind power? Please show your work.

  104. BBD says:

    Tom, re your 101, it’s still gas prices. Only someone advancing a counter-factual agenda would pick the *minority cause* of a problem and trumpet it incessantly. That’s misrepresentation.

    Let’s review the facts properly. 

    UK Committee on Climate Change report: Household energy bills – impacts of meeting carbon budgets (December 2011) (emphasis added):

    The key conclusions of our analysis are:

    “¢ The change in energy bills since 2004. The average dual-fuel energy bill for a typical household increased from around £605 in 2004 to £1,060 in 2010. Of the total £455 increase (i.e. 75%, compared to general price inflation of 16% over the same period):

    ““ By far the largest contributor was the increase in the wholesale price of gas, which added around £290 to bills.
    ““ Around £75 was due to policies that reduce carbon emissions. This included £30 to support investments in low-carbon power generation, and £45 for funding of energy efficiency improvements in homes, which will also have helped to reduce consumption.
    ““ Around £70 was due to increasing transmission and distribution costs, and £20 was due to VAT.
    ““ Therefore, over 80% of the increase was unrelated to low-carbon measures.

    “¢ Energy bills in 2020. We project that the combined gas and electricity bill for the typical household could increase (in real terms) from £1,060 in 2010 to £1,250 in 2020, if there is limited success in implementing energy efficiency measures.

    ““ Our best estimate is that policies to achieve a low-carbon economy will add a further £110 to bills in 2020, almost entirely due to support for investments in low-carbon power generation (including renewables) and with a small increase (around £10) required to support energy efficiency measures (including smart meters).
    ““ The price of gas in 2020 is inherently uncertain. DECC project in their central scenario that the wholesale gas price will increase to 68 p/therm in 2020, from around 60 p/therm today and 44 p/therm in 2010. We estimate that this will add a further £175 to energy bills.
    ““ An additional £15 per household is likely to be required to cover increased transmission and distribution costs to 2020.
    ““ Offsetting this, we expect consumption to fall, both because 2010 was an uncharacteristically cold year, and as old boilers are replaced with newer, more efficient models over the next decade.
    ““ The combination of these effects is a projected total energy bill of £1,250 in 2020, compared to £1,060 in 2010. Within this bill we anticipate total costs of £130 per household for measures to support low-carbon investments and around £60 for supporting energy efficiency improvements in homes.

    It’s mainly gas prices. Not renewables in any size, shape or form. Gas prices. Which (for example) rose 40% between the winter 2010/11 and 2011/12. And it’s been bloody cold these last few winters. Perhaps explaining the increased mortality better than the cost of renewables. Only people with *agendas* are trying to blame energy price increases in the UK on renewables.

    Remember, it would suit me to agree with you. So why don’t I do so? Because you are advancing a warped, partial argument that doesn’t focus on the key facts.

  105. BBD says:

    UK government department OFGEM – Why are energy prices rising? (November 2011):

    What’s driving up energy prices

    Higher gas prices have been the main driver of increasing energy bills over the last eight years. As the graph below shows, Britain enjoyed a period of falling gas prices until 2004/05. This is the year that Britain first imported more gas than it produced itself. Becoming more reliant on imported gas has meant that British gas prices have become increasingly influenced by global events, especially those that affect the oil prices as often European gas prices are linked to the oil price.

    The oil price is now a big driver of GB gas prices. This is because during periods of high demand in winter, Britain needs to attract flows of gas through the pipelines that connect Britain with Belgium and Norway. And to attract this gas, the GB price has to be at least as high as the gas price on mainland Europe. As the gas price in mainland Europe is largely linked to the oil price, gas prices in Britian also become dependent on the price of oil.

    A large portion (35-50%) of electricity generated in the GB is done by burning gas. And as around 50% of the wholesale electricity price is made up of the costs of the fuels used to generate the electricity, changes in the gas prices will also signifcantly affect the electricity price.

    What else is affecting prices?

    We estimate that between now and 2020 Britain needs to invest up to £200 billion to meet its environmental targets and to secure energy supplies. At the moment, the cost of Governmentenvironmental and energy efficiency programmes adds around £100 on to the average energy bill of £1,300. However, greater reliance on non-fossil fuels such as nuclear and renewables, could reduce Britain’s dependence on gas imports.

    The Government is currently proposing major reforms to the electricity industry, to attract the necessary investment to replace aging nuclear stations and coal fired power stations which do not meet EU emissions standards.

    Network costs, which make up around 20 per cent of your bill, will also have to increase. We estimate that around £30 billion will be needed to be spent over the the next ten years on our energy networks to replace aging infrastructure, support the drive to a low carbon economy and connect to new supplies of gas. This will increase network costs by around £60 over the next ten years.

    Now, those interested in where OFGEM has failed in its regulatory duties, and its role in the rise in fuel poverty need to read the concluding section very closely:

    Plans for reform

    Our recent investigation into the energy market concluded that energy companies were failing consumers by stifling competition through a combination of tariff complexity, poor supplier behaviour and lack of transparency.

    It also showed that suppliers’ response to the reforms Ofgem had introduced following its 2008 energy probe had been patchy.

    We are therefore proposing to make it simple to compare tariffs so consumers will find it easier to choose the right deal. We are also proposing to break the power of the Big Six suppliers in the electricity market.

    In addition to this we are proposing more prescriptive changes for annual energy statements and bills. We will also be publishing the findings of an independent report into making energy company accounts more transparent in the New Year.

    It’s feeble stuff. Too little, too late. OFGEM is ineffectual and the negative consequences are undeniable. The Big Six are running rings around it.

  106. Tom Fuller says:

    Marlowe… a man who continuously mischaracterizes those with whom he disagrees deserves some level of ostracization. Someone who behaves idiotically on a Web 2.0 thread in 2012 probably deserves more pity than contempt. And indeed I do feel both for you. The proportion changes in rough correspondence to the level of idiocy in your remarks.”The risk of developing the disease is related to the duration and extent of exposure to the coal dust. It’s much less common than it used to be, thanks to better control of exposure to coal dust but more than 200 new cases are still diagnosed in the UK each year. Most affected workers are over the age of 50.” 

  107. Tom Fuller says:

    Marlowe. You called me a liar and linked to a paper.//The paper is titled “Long Term Exposure to Air Pollution: Effect on Mortality.” It was published in 2009 by the UK’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.//I did not refer to it and did not make any statements about it or its findings.//The paper is 186 pages long. The paper asserts that PM2.5 (a term of mass concentration that denotes the mass of particles generally less than 2.5 μm diameter per cubic metre of air.) The paper also looks at sulphur dioxide as a cause of increased mortality.//The paper leans heavily on a study done by the American Cancer Society in big cities in the U.S. That, plus other referenced studies showed that lower levels of both fine particles and sulphur dioxide corresponded with lower mortality.//I made no statements about this in any of my comments.//The findings, while tentatively expressed, actually appear fairly robust and I do not now and have not above disputed them.//On page 25 of the study it identifies two sources of particles that are not efficiently removed by rain and snow: Emissions from power stations and hydrophobic carbonaceous particles from diesel engines.//Nonetheless, the study comes down on the side of measuring, controlling and attributing increased mortality to PM2.5, in part because those particles include much of the pollution from sulphur dioxide.//However, the ACS study that was the linchpin of COMEAP’s study was of large cities in the U.S. These cities don’t have coal power plants. Much of the ACS study’s quality control checks concerned proximity to roads, as vehicles were considered a primary generator of PM2.5. Indeed, a study by Hedley in 2002 frequently referenced in the COMEAP report noted a strong correlation between reduction in short and long term mortality and reduction in the use of sulphur levels in transport and industrial fuels.//At no point in the paper did I find any discussion of what or who are the primary emitters of PM2.5. The paper does not discuss this. Hence, while I thank you for offering me the opportunity to expand my horizons, I curse you for wasting my time and calling me a liar. These are the actions of an execrable toad.//Just to satisfy the curiosity aroused by being called a liar with burning trousers, I went to the EPA’s National Emissions Inventory for PM2.5, which brought forth the findings that the primary sources of emissions of PM2.5 were, in descending order, highway vehicles (38%), electrical utilities (23%), Off road mobile (16%), Industrial and Commercial fuels (16%) and Other (7%).//Marlowe. Don’t ever expect me to chase one of your links again. You are a time-waster and a troll. Good-bye.

  108. Marlowe Johnson says:

    tom, if want to try and argue that air pollution doesn’t kill people be my guest. if you want to further argue that emissions from coal-fired power plants don’t contribute to increased mortality rates via cancer and respiratory illness go ahead. if you want to pretend that coal miners don’t get black lung disease anymore have at it. 

    The irony here of course is that you’re objecting to the form of my argument when it is exactly the one that you are using with respect to renewables and fuel poverty mortality. It’s obvious that the current renewables policy in the UK has a marginal effect in both cases. But don’t complain when it’s pointed out to you that it’s disingenuous to only look at one side of the ledger.

  109. Tom Fuller says:

    Troll. I never made that argument.

  110. jeffn says:

    So, to recap the BBD/Marlowe position:
    1. billions of dollars worth of windmills added nothing to the bills of pensioners dying of the cold. The reason for this is because everyone knows that windmills are part of the green energy effort except in those cases where acknowledging this fact is… problematic. Dead pensioners being a problem, windmills are miraculously not part of the green energy strategy.
    2. Pensioners are dying in the cold- a fact that can only be accepted when the blame is placed on “rapacious industry.” Otherwise, what cold? There is no cold weather. Only deniers say otherwise.
    3. How dare anyone suggest that comprehensive energy policies have any affect on the price of gas! The gas price hike- caused by a spike in demand that couldn’t be there because it couldn’t be cold and couldn’t be there because windmills are so awesome at replacing fossil fuels – really is driven entirely by evil corporatists who defied the UK government by collecting the rates the UK government approved.

    And the Reality-based version – The UK’s decade long experiment in fiddling with the energy mix to satisfy the global warming scare has resulted in an expensive mess that will get far worse and already leaving grandma shivering in the dark with almost no affect on emissions.

  111. BBD says:


    You really need to read # 98 #105 and # 106 – at the very least – before commenting. Note the numbers quoted therein. Read the linked reports. Think. Otherwise you look callous, stupid and biased. Which is an ugly combination. Especially when you are accusing others of the exact same thing.

  112. Tom Fuller says:

    BBD, jeffn’s humorous recap is not that far off the truth. Your argument boils down to the assertion that because energy companies have caused more fuel poverty than the UK government, we should ignore what the UK government has done. To the extent that your actual position is different, please feel free to clarify. To the extent that that actually does describe your position, I emphatically disagree with it.

  113. kdk33 says:

     The UK’s decade long experiment in fiddling with the energy mix to satisfy the global warming scare has resulted in an expensive mess that will get far worse

    Isn’t socialism wonderful?

  114. BBD says:

    Tom, you force me to repeat myself.

    Only someone advancing a counter-factual agenda would pick the *minority cause* of a problem and trumpet it incessantly. That’s misrepresentation.

    That’s what you are doing. You’ve been shown exactly how, and you’ve ignored everything I’ve posted. A clear picture of your agenda has emerged.

    Also try to remember that I live in the UK. Perhaps I have a clearer grasp of what is going on here than you do (see thread). I have also pointed out that it would suit my general views on renewables to agree with you. That I do not should sound a loud warning bell about your argument. 

    It’s predominantly gas prices forcing UK energy bills up. Not renewables. You cannot claim otherwise because you have *no evidence*. Beware the Daily Mail, Tom. And especially the GWPF.

    All the evidence shows that gas prices are the problem. And OFGEM practically admits it has been next-to-useless in controlling the greed of the Big Six (see end # 106 – did you even read my comments?).

    This is getting tiresome.

  115. jeffn says:

    112- BBD, oh I read them. I even clicked over and read them in context.
    They still contradict themselves. Let’s look at it from even another angle:
    To suggest, as you do, that a decade of “comprehensive” energy tinkering in Europe has had no affect on today’s price of energy means all that comprehensive effort did nothing.

    But we know that’s not true. You’ve done a whole bunch- littered the landscape with windmills, created an ETS, congratulated each other on “lowering emissions” (even when you didn’t) via mandates and caps and taxes.

    But the moment someone says “cost?” you wilt into a puddle of denial. “We didn’t do anything. No. No. It was them!” By the way- one of those cites for the price of gas said it was driven up in part by the Greens effort to shut down nukes in Germany. So the greens killed granny however you figure it.
    It’s time to stand up and take both the responsibility and the credit for your work. If you won’t, there’s no reason to listen to you.

  116. BBD says:


    I argued against renewables from the start, when it was New Labour’s bright shiny idea (of a job-creation scheme for the post-industrial NE, amongst other things). I’ve always maintained that the UK should have expanded its nuclear baseload capacity and used gas for peaking. Where did this ‘you, you, you’ come from? You are projecting ridiculously.

    What did I just say to Tom about *alarm bells*? You claim you are reading the comments but I don’t believe you are. 

    I’m not in a puddle of denial. I’ve shown – clearly – that this stuff about renewables being the main cause of fuel poverty is rubbish. A lie peddled by the energy industry in all probability (who *does* fund the GWPF? Why won’t it say?).

    Why not stop being tiresome before you really start? Just read the comments (really, this time).

  117. Tom Fuller says:

    BBD, indeed you keep repeating yourself. Your assertion that we should ignore one of the various causes of fuel poverty is very clear. I just don’t agree. The behaviour of energy companies has caused a large part of the fuel poverty that exists in the UK. Government policy and charges has caused a smaller part. I think both should be addressed. // BTW, I lived in the UK for six years, five in London and 1 in heavenly Hove. I don’t claim to understand it like a native. But I’m not entirely ignorant of life there.

  118. jeffn says:

    Tom, let’s stop beating around the bush- it’s far worse than saying government policy is only “partly” responsible.
    The last decade has been one long drawn-out discussion on energy policy. In Europe, the BBDs got pretty much whatever they wanted and in the US, we’re told, the evil fuel companies got whatever they wanted.
    So flash forward to today. In Europe, grannies are freeIng in their flats from high energy prices. In the US, gas has never been cheaper. So we get the green/liberal double-speak- the fact that prices are highest where greens had the most impact must mean the greens didn’t have any impact. Bull.
    BBD, I’ll put it to you again- why is labour/green not responsible for the results of the energy policies that Labour/green made central to the last 10 years of their world view? Are you seriously suggesting that energy policy was untouched by AGW in Europe? Or maybe just answer this- how come after 10 years if playing with energy, your so dependent on gas that a minor, predictable, spike in price kills three times as many “fuel poor”?

  119. Marlowe Johnson says:


    I think you’ll find that it’s easier to understand Fuller’s position once you realize that he’s a member of the third way-bti-rpjr-revkin-kloor “energy quest” cult.  

    One of the key tenets of this cult is that *anything* that makes the UP-FRONT costs of energy more expensive is bad. very bad. so bad in fact that they created law for it. perhaps you’ve heard of it? If not, it’s called the IRON LAW. sounds important eh?

    the natural consequence of this belief and adherence to the aforementioned law is that renewables are a SIN.  Because as we all know, the upfront costs of renewables are higher. once you accept this, then it’s not much of a cognitive stretch to imagine that renewables are actually killing people!

    Now before I set the legions on the fire, let me say that there is a legitimate kernel of objection somewhere in the steaming turd so reliably deposited by Mr. Fuller.  Bad policies have consequences. On the other hand, so do good policies. The trick, of course, lies in figuring out how to distinguish one from the other and then deciding which consequences matter more. not an easy task.  Frankly, as an American, I’m surprised that Tom isn’t more incensed by the biofuel policies that have been in place in his country for almost 2 decades, as they have likely costed far, far more in absolute terms than the push for wind turbines. But then i guess the image of old british grannies freezing to death longing for the days of coal fireplaces is more compelling than a giant agribusiness duo like ADM-Monsanto sticking it to the people.

  120. Tom Fuller says:

    Have a drink, troll. I think you used several of the buzzwords yourself.

  121. Tom Fuller says:

    Hiya jeffn, I was going to disagree with several of your premises, but #120 just put me off the whole thing.

  122. Marlowe Johnson says:

    was it the steaming pile of turd bit Tom? the literary part of me was actually kind of proud of that one. 

  123. jeffn says:

    Hiya Tom, I can anticipate some of your disagreements. Even concede that on some you’re probable right. But the blinders on these guys just has to be called at some point.
    The high-level analysis is on target- energy policy was the climate concerned’s buga-boo. Nowhere did the “concerned” own energy policy more than in Europe and the UK. Does nobody remember being pummeled with the partisan nonsense about “why isn’t Bush doing what the Europeans are doing?”
    Now that European and UK energy policies are an expensive mess that’s killing people, I’m supposed to do a 180 and believe it’s all the fault of unregulated energy markets?
    Nonsense. When BBD and Marlowe can own their failures they can sit at the adult table.

  124. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, the troll cannot sit at my table no matter what. And I understand your exaggeration for effect and I actually enjoyed reading your last set of comments.//But, trolls aside, UK and European energy policies have never been good, logical or even coherent. I’m not seeking to blame the UK government. I want them to give either money or energy to those too poor to purchase it.//If they do that I am perfectly happy for them to experiment with different methods to change the fuel mix. I highly doubt that offshore wind power is an optimal solution, but if the population consents (and by and large it does), who am I to argue?//Island nations are really tough from an energy standpoint. The UK didn’t have to think about energy for a couple of blissy decades because of the North Sea bonanza. It may sound familiar, but I think a re-run of the Dash for Gas is their best bet for a bridge fuel while they contemplate the inevitability of nuclear power. But that’s their decision–as long as they don’t forget the poor.

  125. Marlowe Johnson says:

    tom why is it that you never talk about u.s. energy policy. is because of super secret NDAs? afraid of some blow back perhaps? inquiring minds want to know why such a guru of energy policy can never seem to point to his own work…

  126. Tom Fuller says:

    Have a drink, troll. 

  127. Marlowe Johnson says:

    one step ahead of you sir.

  128. jeffn says:

    Tom, you figured out my concessions! 🙂
    I’m sympathetic, but here’s my problem: as you can see by your troll friend, the architects of the poverty are never required to take the blame for their actions so the cycle repeats until the government is too poor to cover the cost of the golly anymore. See Greece.
    Let’s try an analogy. Marlowes transport is in charge of getting Tom, Keith, and band of homeless to the park downtown. Five private vans are lined up, each driver trying to undercut the others price. Nay, says Capt. Marlowe, I have petitioned the government for a fleet of swift unicorns and they will be here any moment. Soon only one van is left and a sad looking young public servant regretfully informs Marlowe that they have yet to find the unicorns. Seeing his unbelievable luck, the last van driver offers a price three times the going rate when his competitors were around.
    Jeff’s laughing his butt off
    BBD is asserting that this is entirely the fault of an unregulated cab industry.
    Marlowe is certain this says nothing about the unicorn theory.
    Tom agrees that this mess is Marlowes fault, but really the government should step in and make sure the homeless arent hurt by the unicorn idiocy.
    If the government follows Tom’s advice, and the homeless will get suckered into Marlowe’s unicorns fantasy nightly. Follow jeff’s advice and it happens once, and then everyone ignores Marlowe

  129. BBD says:


    Nonsense. When BBD and Marlowe can own their failures they can sit at the adult table.

    ARE YOU F*CKING BLIND? Sorry about that, but I seem to be having trouble getting you to read my comments. And I’m getting fed up with repeating myself. But one more time:

    See # 117:

    I argued against renewables from the start, when it was New Labour’s bright shiny idea (of a job-creation scheme for the post-industrial NE, amongst other things). I’ve always maintained that the UK should have
    expanded its nuclear baseload capacity and used gas for peaking. Where did this “˜you, you, you’ come from? You are projecting ridiculously.

    When you stop projecting, start reading what I say and above all, start *thinking* we can carry on.

  130. BBD says:

    BBD is asserting that this is entirely the fault of an unregulated cab industry.

    Let me re-word that for you so that it is correct:

    BBD has shown above, by referenced argument, that this is mainly the fault of a poorly regulated conventional energy sector.

  131. BBD says:

    It’s mainly gas prices gentlemen. The villains of the piece are the Big Six and the useless bastards at OFGEM.

    So, why the f*ck are you lot sticking the boot into renewables?

    If you really care about the dead, then you *have* to focus on the main problems: gas prices; OFGEM; fuel poverty safety net policy failures. But you do not. You have to be forced even to barely, grudgingly acknowledge that the main primary cause is gas prices. And then it’s straight back to attacking renewables. This is a callous, partisan, self-serving pile of shit. As Marlowe points out above.

    You don’t give a stuff about the dead. It’s blindingly obvious. For you, they exist only to serve your agenda.

  132. jeffn says:

    Don’t worry, BBD, they’ll start teaching you Econ 101 after you hit puberty. Mind the temper tantrums tho.
    Do try to answer at least one of my questions to you above- why, after making energy policy the most important thing in the world to you tribe over the last decade, after congratulating yourselves endlessly for the “action” in Europe on AGW ( as opposed to those cowboys in the US), are you so uniquely dependent on gas that a minor, predictable price spike kills people in the UK? Why are there no stories about the fuel poor in the deregulated wasteland of the US?
    Do you believe the Republican Party was in charge of the UK or US from 2000 to 2008?

  133. kdk33 says:

    A remarkable exchange.  Gas prices high in UK and BBD labels greedy gas companies murders.  OTOH, BBD would cut the world off from low cost readily available energy (to save the planet and everything), but gets his panties in a twist when I point out to him that this policy will kill people, mostly poor people.The simple facts are these.  The world uses fossil fuels because they are cheap.  The world does not use [any of the above] because they are not-cheap.  Forcing a switch from cheap to not-cheap energy will destroy vast amounts of wealth and kill people.  Forcing this switch will require…. well force.In the end, BBD and Marlowe will eradicate the single most significant social achievement in human history,free markets and free societies, as a prequel to eradicating the single most significant technological achievement in human history, readily available low cost energy – and will kill people, probably millions, in the process, and leave the world a much poorer, bleaker place.The only justification for this insanity is if CO2 driven climate change is a clear and present existential threat to humanity.  It isn’t.
    It is now aobut 1 degree F warmer now than it was 100 years ago.

  134. BBD says:


    First, please *read* comments # 130 – # 132 and stop projecting. At the wrong person.

    a minor, predictable price spike kills people in the UK?

    Please summarise why the history of gas price inflation since 2004 was ‘minor’ *and* ‘predictable’. Do share your world-class economic vision. I’m fascinated.

  135. jeffn says:

    Speaking of economics, Germany is contemplating a special new tax on the young because, surprise, the welfare state is unsustainable:

    Whoo-hoo, who wouldn’t want to be young and in Germany now, baby!

    This, you may recall Keith, is the Germany that is being so squaresville as to refuse to pay for Greek socialism without visible Greek “austerity measures.”

    So, the Greek plan to pay for their socialism with German money ran aground on the frustrating fact that the German socialism removed so much of the German money that there’s none left to pay for German socialism. And, oddly enough, America won’t cough it up. In other words, both countries ran out of other people’s money and suckers willing to lend them money they’ll never repay. Who could have predicted that?

  136. jeffn says:

    BBD- I’ll make a deal with you, I’ll summarize how markets function after you answer the question put to you twice now- why is the tribe that wrote the comprehensive energy plans of 2000-2012 not responsible for outcome of their energy plans?

    Here’s a bit of a foretaste for you- For a decade, your tribe told Granny not to worry about being dependent on gas- the UK would diversify it’s energy, and use a price signal to encourage conservation and thereby reduce demand. New energy sources + lower demand + warmer winters = safe granny. That was your plan.
    The new sources were useless and expensive so granny found herself dependent on gas, the “price signals” meant granny had no money for the gas she wasn’t supposed to be dependent on and the trio of cold winters that the government failed to prepare for (because doing so would be counter to AGW dogma) left her shivering in the dark without help.
    If your tribe had focused on functional energy sources, insisted that those sources be cost-effective, and prepared for reality instead of fantasy, none of this would have happened- regulated market or no.

  137. BBD says:

    That was your plan.

    Are you a bit BLIND or something jeff? Let’s try again:

    From # 117:

    I argued against renewables from the start, when it was New Labour’s bright shiny idea (of a job-creation scheme for the post-industrial NE,
    amongst other things). I’ve always maintained that the UK should have expanded its nuclear baseload capacity and used gas for peaking. Where did this “˜you, you, you’ come from? You are projecting ridiculously.

    Can you see that now? Or shall I do the whole thing *yet again* in CAPS for you?

    Now stop bloody wriggling and complete your argument. You claim that the history of gas price inflation since 2004 was “˜minor’ *and* ‘predictable’. Explain why.

  138. Lazar says:


    “Your assertion that we should ignore one of the various causes of fuel poverty is very clear.”

    Perhaps BBD wants to focus on solutions, like you do here…

    “I’m not seeking to blame the UK government. I want them to give either money or energy to those too poor to purchase it”

    How much would this cost? Taking at face value…

    “Some 7,800 people die during winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes properly, says fuel poverty expert Professor Christine Liddell”

    and assuming that granny living on her own consumes as much as the average household in 2011/2012, around £1,200.

    and ignoring that we’re including spring, summer and autumn energy usage.

    and assuming granny can’t afford any of the bill.

    That gives an upper bound cost of £9.4 million per year, or 0.0008% of GDP, or 1/50th of the cost of just the security for the London Olympics.


    Granny is freezing alone in her home because of social failure. Removing the £75 increase in energy bills that are due to carbon reduction policies won’t stop granny from freezing this year or next, that cost is soon dwarfed by rises in energy prices due to supply and demand — that ain’t the greedy fossil companies fault either.

    Practical solutions, as you suggest above, might upset the free-market small-government fundamentalists.

  139. jeffn says:

    BBD, your argument is that because you personally didn’t support labour’s energy policy, we can’t blame labour policies? You are the BBD who claimed fuel poverty was entirely a gas price problem caused exclusively by greedycorporations?
    If so, own your tribe- don’t blame free markets.
    One more time – is labour responsible for labour? Do you recall any discussion of energy policy over the last 10 years?

  140. BBD says:


    So we’ve established that it’s not renewables but gas prices that are the problem. Now we need to establish blame. You mention NL energy policy, a ‘tribe’ I don’t belong to and greedy corporations.

    What you omitted to do was complete your original argument, as I asked you to do. We need to clarify this before apportioning  blame. You claim that the history of gas price inflation since 2004 was “˜minor’ *and* “˜predictable’. Explain why.

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