A Crossroads for Climate Advocates

One of the most civil and smartest voices in the climate blogosphere belongs to a blog commenter named Paul Kelly. I don’t know who he is. But I’ve always enjoyed reading his contributions to threads, which I’ve mostly seen at Stoat’s or Bart Verheggen’s place. And it is at one of Bart’s recent threads that I’m shamelessly poaching some of Kelly’s comments to highlight in this post.

Kelly, after experiencing yet another long, occasionally nasty back-and-forth with participants from both sides finding no common ground, says to Bart:

This thread is, for me, another illustration of how insistence that climate be the antecedent of action postpones any action.

On his motivations and where he stands:

I’m taking action to spur energy transformation. My reasons are economic and environmental. These reasons and the actions based on them are not affected in any way by climate science or climate concerns.

I do not dispute climate science nor diminish its concerns. I think it is beyond doubt, however, that climate is an impossibly poor basis for policy or the measurement of its success.

Why energy? A lot of us boomers grew up with the promise of 21st century energy transformation. It’s rather exciting that the technology is finally here.

Finally, at the end of the thread, here is Kelly advising one well-known climate commenter (emphasis added):

I’m afraid you’re going to wait a very long time for coordinated worldwide action to decarbonize the global economy. Piecemeal is the reality. That’s not a bad thing. There is no grand globally constructed action for replacing carbon fuels, but it will happen through the aggregate of millions of individual actions.

You hope for some unknown critical mass of people to see the risk you see. After more than twenty years of published science, IPCC and COP, who is yet to be persuaded? The climate concerned are at a crossroads. They must decide if it is more important reach a goal by acceding to others who share their desire for energy transformation but not their climate concerns; or, to win a debate over who’s reason is better.

120 Responses to “A Crossroads for Climate Advocates”

  1. Hector M. says:

    I agree with Kelly on the importance of energy transformation. However, this is no excuse for ignoring wildly exaggerated claims about climate, or blind denials based on ideological grounds.

  2. Tom Fuller says:

    Hector, maybe the theme for today should be, instead of focusing on ‘who’s right,’ let’s talk about ‘who’s left’. It does work both ways. For every Tim Lambert there is a Monckton.
     
    If we are going to advise the climate hysterics to drop demands for total submission to their various regimes, those of us who don’t agree with them may find it advisable to drop our demands for admissions of error and outright wrong-doing. So perhaps ‘ignoring wildly exaggerated claims about climate or blind denials based on ideological grounds’ is exactly what we need to do to move forward.
     
    And of course I like Mr. Kelly’s comments about innovation, as I’ve been banging the same drum. I know Roger Pielke Jr. keeps writing that it won’t be enough, but I think he forgets that emphasis on a specific sector can produce surprising results.
     
    We’re almost at grid parity with solar due to incremental innovation. No big super invention, just thousands of little ones, and grid parity is a really big deal. I think there’s more of them right around the corner.
     
     
     
     

  3. Steve Reynolds says:

    >There is no grand globally constructed action for replacing carbon fuels, but it will happen through the aggregate of millions of individual actions.
    Yes, now is the opportunity for those who say non-fossil energy is economically viable to prove that is the case by buying, investing, and doing research themselves and in voluntary cooperation with others. Then there is no need to coerce others to provide their resources.
     

  4. gautam says:

    Surely the attitude to coal exemplifies this debate.  On the one hand, you have Hansen talking about coal fired power stations being  like death factories and so on. On the other hand, if energy security were to be the main issue, in most countries, coal would have to take centre-stage. There is plenty of it about everywhere and particularly in areas such as India and China where energy demand is going up fastest. There is little prospect that in such places coal utilisation will go down till carbon-free energy becomes cheaper than coal and that might take decades. Of course, the Hansens and the Romms would argue that the developed countries should transfer vast amounts of wealth to these energy-hungry developing economies to wean them away from coal or, I suppose, from the increased use of energy itself. And this while de-carbonising their own economies at a rate, which is, frankly, not remotely likely. The failure of Copenhagen, amongst other things, highights this. The Hansens and the Romms and the Gavin Scmidts believe in the model predictions, which, in some cases, seem to say that catastrophic AGW is already here. The rest of us have to hope that they are wrong and the world will be able to live with the consequences, if any, of AGW.
     

  5. Steve Bloom says:

    One of your problems, Keith, is that you have a hard time distinguishing between civil and smart.  Also, Paul plays to your Broderesque liking for sound bites that make no sense upon close examination, as in this sentence you highlighted:

    They must decide if it is more important reach a goal by acceding to others who share their desire for energy transformation but not their climate concerns; or, to win a debate over who’s reason is better.

    That’s wrong in every way, and you really shouldn’t need me to tell you why. 

    That same thread provides a good example of Paul tripping on his own shoelaces, where he says first:

    “Going after soot is a necessary step, a prerequisite for success.”

    I don’t quite agree, although there’s no doubt that it would be a good thing.  But prioritizing it only makes sense in terms of climate.  Then a little later he says:

    “I think it is beyond doubt, however, that climate is an impossibly poor basis for policy or the measurement of its success.”

    Huh?

  6. GaryM says:

    I for one hope we wait forever for “coordinated worldwide action to decarbonize the global economy.”  Governments of countries of 300 million people do a good enough job mucking up their own economies as it is.  Here’s hoping they never get a chance to screw up the lives of all 6 billion at one time.
     
    If the climate activists are correct, and the climate is about to shift dramatically in a way that will devastate billions of people, then drastic action needs to be taken, and soon.  If they are wrong, the governments should stay out of the way.  I don’t really see a way to find a compromise on issues of that scale.  But those who do not see imminent catastrophe on the horizon, but do want action now, don’t really need to.
     
    Those skeptics who want to decarbonize the U.S. economy have a great place to start.  Did governments “de-horse-and-buggy” their economies?  Did governments find and develop energy sources and means of using those resources that allow the poor in this country to live better than the kings of history?  The answer here, at least in part, is not more government, but to get the government out of the way.
     
    The government, as result of the (I know you hate the word) politics of the “environmental movement,” brought development of nuclear and hydroelectric energy to a screaming halt in the U.S. in the 70s.  The China Syndrome was more effective agitprop than even Al Gore’s diatribe or the unintentionally comic The Day After.  (Probably because it was a good movie, politics and science aside.)
     
    At that time, one side in the political debate sought rational development of these resources, while maintaining appropriate safety regulations.  Another demonized them at every step for doing so:  Tools of industry.  Evil capitalists willing to risk the safety of the whole world for their greed.  Too stupid to understand the science or the consequences.  The risks are too great to take the chance.  Any of those arguments sound familiar?
     
    If liberal and moderate climate skeptics began urging these types of energy developments now, simply by combating the hysterical attacks against them as non-science, they could have a serious impact on the public debate.  And do some real good at the same time.
     
    Just come out and say it.  Not just on blogs or academic papers as some have already done.  Be vocal.  Send letters to the mainstream news publications.  Write articles about it.  Get as many signatures as you can, just like the numerous climate pronouncements.   “Time to develop alternative energies that we already can produce, that are cost effective and safe.”
     
    For those who think it’s better that the government to do it, they should say so, no problem.  Once we get a “consensus” to do it, then we can argue about how.  By the way, I know there are skeptics who have begun urging these “alternative” sources already, but let’s just say that that part of the debate hasn’t been very “robust.”

  7. Paul Kelly says:

    Thanks for the kind words.  Before commenting on the rest of the thread, let me first respond to Steve.
    “wrong in every way, and you really shouldn’t need me to tell you why”
    Steve, you are person who very much prefers to win the debate. In the thousands of blog comments of yours on – as far as I can tell – every climate related blog on the internet, not one has contained anything of practical value.
    The only thing holding us back is the higher prices of alternatives. One reason for high prices is the inability of individuals to influence the market through small transactions. In thinking about that problem, I had an idea. How about you and me and a bunch of people who agree with us throw ten bucks at a specific deployment project.  Essentially, it’s a way to buy a piece of energy transformation.
    I talked it up in my neighborhood and we have a group called the Beverly Energy Club. If anyone is in Chicago on Fri. August 6th, you’re invited to a club event at The Music Station at 103rd & Wood.  Call (773) 840 – 3005.
    If you can’t get to the event, but would like  to participate, do what club members are doing. Send a check for $10 to Habitat for Humanity Chicago South Suburbs 139  West  Joe Orr Rd. Chicago Heights, IL 60401. Please put Beverly Energy Club on the memo line.

  8. Paul Kelly says:

    I think all that extra html is there because I tried to paste the HFHCSSaddress from another webpage [I TOOK CARE OF IT./KK]

  9. Tom Fuller says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time people with different destinations traveled the same path. There are many who believe that energy independence is a goal worth pursuing for national political reasons–many of them are conservatives. There are many who object to the outsized role played by the oil baron countries–many of them are conservatives. And there are many who are concerned about the effects of conventional pollution. Many of them are liberal.
     
    Promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency should not really be objectionable to anybody. Even those who lament the subsidies provided renewable energy understand that all energy gets subsidised. If you look at the gross totals, you think that fossil fuels get an awful lot. If you look at the net energy produced, you think that renewables get an awful lot. But investing in research for storage options and better efficiencies from solar photovoltaic cells does not cost an awful lot. Looking for a genetically designed biofuel  in R& D departments does not cost an awful lot.
     
    Paul, I agree with you about Steve, but I don’t think you understand his mission, which is to deligitimize his opponents, not their policy preferences or proposals.  As long as he and his buds can slime you, they don’t have to bring anything to the table. They just need to be able to quote themselves on other weblogs as having ‘debunked’ everything you say.

  10. Steve Bloom says:

    Here on the internet, Fuller, you are your ideas.  Try getting some new ones.  Actually learning what the science says would be a good start.

    That’s very good, Paul.  Keep it up.  Hopefully you  won’t refuse participation by the climate-concerned even if they think doing so doesn’t necessarily involve the decision you insist they “must” make.

    BTW, I’ve been an environmental activist for upwards of thirty years now.  Posting on blogs shouldn’t be confused with activism, although it may be useful for gaining information and working out ideas.

    “The only thing holding us back is the higher prices of alternatives.”  Er, no.  Aside from the general problem of human inertia, there’s the not-so-small issue of the massive direct and indirect subsidization of fossil fuel use.  Consider also the extensive networks of automobile-dependent suburbs here in the U.S.; they’re a vast sunk investment that makes it hard to contemplate shifting to streetcar suburbs, which would be far more efficient than switching to electric vehicles.

  11. Steve Bloom says:

    BTW, Paul, re climate as a basis for policy and measuring the success thereof, familiarize yourself with this and this.

  12. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve (5):

    Paul has you pegged. I’ve never seen you interested in having an honest back and forth with people who challenge any environmental orthodoxy, be it on population or mainstream climate policy. Your role seems precisely as Tom Fuller (9) says, to “delegitimize your opponents.” What’s weird is that you do it most obnoxiously with people who might otherwise be considered your natural allies, like Paul Kelly.

    So here again, we see that you engage with insult and snideness, when all you have to do is say, “you know what, I think it’s great that you’re interested in decarbonization too, but here’s why I think you’re wrong…”

    You’re utterly incapable of meeting someone halfway. Paul Kelly is on your side. He agrees with climate science, he shares your concern with you about the future climate, he just doesn’t think focusing on the science or the concern is the best way to meet the goal of decarbonization.

    Instead you come on to this thread your usual insulting and patronizing self from the get-go. Do you have any idea how counterproductive your style is? At some point, I’m just going to ban you, since all you do is hijack threads with your steady stream of insults. I’m sick of it.

    So go ahead, make your next move. Tempt me.

     

     

  13. Tom Fuller says:

    The thing is, we’re so close.  A lot of people are really ignoring the strides we’ve made in both renewable energy and energy efficiency that it’s like they’re watching a fight in the stands at a ballgame and missing the action on the field.
    Peder Norby, a San Diego County Planning Commissioner and Stellar Solar customer, has been doing exactly that for the past 18 months. He drives an electric Cooper Mini-E and recharges it by plugging it into his solar-powered house.

    Not only is Peder helping to save the planet “” he’s saving a huge amount on transportation costs, too.
    Turns out that the cost to drive 1 mile on solar power is about 1/20th the cost of driving the same distance using gasoline!
    At $3.00 per gallon, a 20 mpg gasoline car costs about 15¢ per mile to drive.  But solar electricity can be generated at your home for as little as 7¢ per kilowatt-hour and will propel an electric car about 3.5 miles”¦ a net cost of 2¢ per mile!”
    http://stellarsolar.net/blog/2010/07/solar-powered-electric-cars-save-the-planet-and-money-too/
     
    Now literally, your actual mileage may vary, but at the end of this year when the U.S. posts its third straight year of declining fuel use, and this time with a positive trend for GDP, maybe somebody will actually look at the scoreboard.

  14. Bob Koss says:

    That Bloomberg link to fuel subsidies is very deceptive in only providing a dollar figure. It doesn’t take into account the huge disparity in usage between fossil fuels and renewables. Subsidy per megawatt hour is more reflective of the relationship.
    The US Energy Administration put out a report two years ago showing subsidy figures per megawatt hour. They show fossil fuels getting only a pittance compared to other forms of energy.  Renewables get 50-60 times as much.
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/press/press296.html
     
    They say:
    “Coal-based synfuels (refined coal) that are eligible for the alternative fuels tax credit, solar power, and wind power received the highest subsidies per unit of generation, ranging from more than $23 to nearly $30 per megawatt hour of generation. 

    The smallest subsidies on a per unit basis were for coal, natural gas and petroleum liquids, and municipal solid waste, all at less than $0.45 per megawatt hour of generation.”

  15. Steve Bloom says:

    Keith, why would I care in the slightest what you think of me?  If you think my ideas are bad, let’s hear it.  Re honest back and forths, your history here is to dodge them by acting all hurt.  Hey, you just did it again!  BTW, did you even notice that you resorted to quoting the co-author of the “The CRUTape Letters” as back-up for your ad hominem attack on me?    

    Re your threat to ban me, go ahead.  It’ll say ever so much more about you than it will about me.

    But getting back to the subject matter of the post, I’d really like to see you defend what seems to be his central idea:

    “I think it is beyond doubt, however, that climate is an impossibly poor basis for policy or the measurement of its success.”

    Do you actually agree with that statement?
       

  16. Alex Harvey says:

    Steve Bloom #5 (and noting #10 and Keith Kloor #12),
    I’ve also seen Paul Kelly’s comments and your own at William Connolley’s blog, RealClimate and elsewhere.
    Now Keith quoted Paul Kelly saying,
    The climate concerned are at a crossroads. They must decide if it is more important reach a goal by acceding to others who share their desire for energy transformation but not their climate concerns; or, to win a debate over who’s reason is better.” [Keith’s emphasis]
    So I’m not really involved here, and I found the sentence perfectly clear, and moreover one of the sanest and most obviously correct statements I’ve read in a while in this increasingly grating climate change debate spectacle.
    But you responded to this saying,
    “That’s wrong in every way, and you really shouldn’t need me to tell you why.”
    So you give us no reason why we shouldn’t agree with it, because it’s obvious, you say. I hear this a lot at Stoat too. “It’s obvious.” “If you don’t already agree with me, you must be stupid.”
    Next you try to show that Kelly’s position is inconsistent by pointing out (a) that Kelly feels we should all agree we should do something about soot; and by then asserting (b) that doing something about soot makes no sense unless we all already agree with you about climate change. “[P]rioritizing it only makes sense in terms of
    climate”, you say.
    Now whereas Kelly’s statements made perfect sense, this assertion (b) is in fact the bizarre statement. I am skeptical of climate change, yet I can think of many reasons why we should prioritise doing something about soot.
    Here are some just off the top of my head.
    (1) soot is pollution and it kills little animals and I like little animals and so I’d like it if we stopped killing them.
    (2) unlike stopping carbon emissions tomorrow, preventing soot emissions is eminently achievable. We stopped CFC emissions back in the 1980s because we COULD. Likewise, we COULD stop soot emissions if we tried to (call this a “low hanging fruit” argument if you like).
    (3) Black carbon=soot emissions, and not therefore CO2 emissions, are said to have caused around 50% of all warming in the Arctic Circle since 1880. See e.g. http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0405-hance_blackcarbon.html
    (4) Soot is bad for you. E.g. http://healthandenergy.com/soot_threatens_health.htm
    So once again, I am left inescapably with an impression that the climate change advocates are a fringe group of extremists. Sorry if that’s not the impression you’d like to leave.
    Best, Alex

  17. SimonH says:

    The prospect of an energies discussion without an incessant message of impending “doom if we don’t act now!” is attractive.
     
    Adoptions require pluses on cost:benefit. The adoption of automotive, though more expensive than horse-drawn, had obvious advantages. The adoption of personal automotive over public transportation also had demonstrable (mechanical) and social (advancement) advantages and thus resolved the cost disparity. The disparity in cost of a phone call from a cellphone compared with a landline is resolved through greater mobility and accessibility (though rate of adoption would have been even greater if the disparity in cost had been less, obviously).
     
    Right now there is no motivation propellant behind adoption of alternative energies, because of the disparity in cost between alternatives and traditional energy provision in the absence of obvious benefit. Artificial inflation of fossil fuels in order to address the disparity is perceived as an offence of coercion (as witnessed in the climate science debacle and resulting collapse of its public confidence) and would almost certainly force political rather than social change. There is no benefit associated with the additional cost of adopting alternative energies at present. Until there is fresh innovation and discovery which ultimately introduces benefits in adoption, on cost and/or advancement, I don’t see this changing.
     
    Are such innovations in the pipeline? What kind of investment in discovery is on-going? Here is where the impetus should be, because neither solar nor wind are viable. Solar seems closer.. wind is offensively inappropriate. We’re just not there yet. YET.

  18. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve, please, you flatter yourself. I’m not hurt in the slightest. I think it’s obvious to all that I’m frustrated with your tactics. Alex Harvey (16) did a nice job restating your debating style. No need for me to say more, except for this: if I ban you, it’ll be because you resorted to insult and/or name-calling in a comment.

    When that happens–and it’s only a matter of time, since you can’t help yourself–I’ll point it out and that’ll be it.

  19. Shub says:

    Promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency should not really be objectionable to anybody
     
    Tom, I salute you for your your full-blooded warmist credentials.
     
    1) What is this “energy efficiency” thing?
    If I buy a gallon of gas and set it on fire or throw it down on the ground is nobody’s business. How much of the fuel which I own gets converted to ‘energy’ is nobody’s business.
     
    2) Why do you need to ‘promote’ renewable energy?
    Because it wouldn’t sell otherwise, isn’t it?
     

  20. Dave H says:

    @Tom Fuller
    > For every Tim Lambert there is a Monckton.
    I know you have a personal grudge against Lambert, but I find that comparison – implying that the two are equivalent and opposite – astoundingly offensive. Unless of course you mean “for every fact-checker, there is a litigious, self-aggrandising liar producing ever more blatant misinformation in need of correction”. In which case, carry on.
     

  21. Keith Kloor says:

    Tom, that one flew by my radar, (I’m still battling a nasty, resilient mid-summer flu), but I have to agree with Dave H (20) here. Lambert may be many things (and I’d say a selective “factchecker” would be one of them), but he aint the opposite of Monckton. It is unfair to Tim, who despite my own qualms with him, provides a useful service in the climate blogosphere. His  partisan tone gets in the way, that’s all.

  22. Shub says:

    I don’t know Dave, but by ‘fact-checker’, if you mean the censorious, comment-deleting, copy-pasting, monomaniacal, Google-itis-afflicted ‘science’ blogger smear artist, carry on.
     
    Kieth: – Now you see how Steve, Dave et al in hijack mode.

  23. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub,

    I’m really not in the mood for this. Your characterization of Tim is out of bounds. Language like that in another comment–directed at anyone– earns you a free pass to the moderation station.

     

  24. Dave H says:

    @Paul Kelly
    I have to say, I once thought the same – that grassroots initiatives to set up alternative power generation and the increasing obviousness of the economic benefits of non-petrol cars would eventually turn the tide.
    The problem is that this basically ignores the main problem, which is that the material wealth of Western nations has been built by exporting environmental debt to poorer countries – countries that are now developing at a truly astonishing pace and have every right to expect the same standard of living as we are accustomed to.
    Here’s a telling image from the last election here in the UK:
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Environment/Pix/columnists/2010/4/19/1271682499089/Liberal-Democrat-Carbon-C-008.jpg
    This is an illustration of what impact the Liberal Democrat’s energy policy would have on the UK’s output of CO2.
    This is an astonishingly (and in my view unrealistically) radical programme leading to an all nuclear/renewable energy grid, mostly electric public and private transportation, improved efficiency in homes etc. Even with this, the UK’s CO2 output only drops by 50% – well below the 80% we’re aiming for by 2050. Why is that? because the *vast* majority of our CO2 debt comes indirectly from exported manufacturing and imported goods, and none of these schemes – indeed, nothing you’ve presented – does anything substantial to address this.
    This is a picture that has resulted directly from economics – so if you want to correct this picture, how on earth do you propose to do it if the only tool you seem willing to use is economics? Science is giving us a gigantic neon warning sign that continuing like this has every chance of being extremely harmful for *everybody*, and this warning is the only real reason that exists for not continuing on a path of reckless self-interest.
     
     
     
     
     

  25. Shub says:

    litigious, self-aggrandising liar

    Is this language OK Kieth? That is what I was pointing out?
    I can back up what I said with fact. Tim Lambert is a sharp blogger, but he has made significant contributions to retarding understanding of science.
    I know it is Monckton open-season (all the time?). I don’t know, I felt like defending the underdog…
    If you can spare the time, I would sincerely request you to examine the whole record vis-a-vis the Abraham episode, in the blogs, in its totality.

  26. Dave H says:

    @Keith,
    I stand by what I said about Monckton, and I’d quite happily back that up with documentary evidence if requested. That said, I have no intention of derailing this thread or getting into yet another extended and pointless slanging match about someone as worthless to this topic as Monckton. Feel free to delete my original comment and all replies if it helps tidy up the thread (indeed, I encourage you to do so for your own sanity!).
     

  27. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub (25), well, you earned your moderation pass. The good news, you can always give it back if you can show you can play nice.

    Monckton is a public figure that, I’m sorry, I have zero sympathy for. If that’s the horse you want to ride, few people will take you seriously, because he’s hard to take seriously.

    Anyway, calling another climate blogger a liar on my site will not be tolerated.

    Remember, folks, I’m in a foul mood on account of this flu. Not the best time to test boundaries.

  28. Dave H says:

    @Keith
    To be fair to Shub (loathe as I am to do so!), I don’t think he was calling Tim a liar – he was quoting *my* words about Monckton. Of course, among other things, Monckton has admitted to telling porkies in print interviews, so I think I’m on pretty firm ground with that description. That said, I have a sense of the lid having been removed and the worms being all over the ground, and another worthwhile thread is in danger of derailment so: I sincerely regret bringing attention to Fuller’s aside about Monkton, I apologise for making dealing with flu worse than it needed to be, and I promise not another word from me on this topic.
     
     

  29. Dave H says:

    For anyone interested, the interactive version of the carbon calculator tool I linked to an image of earlier is here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2010/apr/21/national-carbon-calculator
    Bear in mind it’s only for the UK. Its fun to play with, but the hidden cost of offshored manfacturing and distribution – which has been driven by economics – makes the hope for incremental and highly localised economic solutions to a comparatively urgent global problem seem somewhat naive.

  30. SimonH says:

    Dave H #28: “Of course, among other things, Monckton has admitted to telling porkies in print interviews”
     
    Citation definitely needed here, please.

  31. Tom Fuller says:

    All, I apologise for the comparison re: Lambert/Monckton. I was just trying to get two non-scientist advocates at either end of the spectrum. I have been critical of both and will continue to be so, but not as vehemently here as elsewhere.
     
    I find the automatic dismissal of calls to fight black soot really interesting and illustrative.  As Alex Harvey points out, it’s something we can do, it would have a material effect, and it’s pretty innocuous.
     
    It should be presented as an olive branch both sides can grasp and work productively on.  Other than naked, pure power politics, I see no reason why the ‘consensus’ team is so dismissive of it.
     
    It reminds me of deforestation–again, something we all should be able to agree on. 25% of human CO2, something we’ve conquered regionally in the past, and yet it doesn’t really even get discussed, with REDD the only politically permissible option.
     
    To me, it verges on the bizarre that the steps we can take that are actually doable are dismissed so peremptorily by the ‘consensus.’

  32. MikeN says:

    >If the climate activists are correct, and the climate is about to shift dramatically in a way that will devastate billions of people, then drastic action needs to be taken, and soon.  If they are wrong, the governments should stay out of the way.  I don’t really see a way to find a compromise on issues of that scale.
     
    I think it is possible to the current mix of emissions among countries, as well as the model results and required changes(80% reduction in emissions).  The developing world is growing in missions.  Already, total emission for EU, US, Canada, Japan, Russia, and South Korea total <50%.  That number is only going to get smaller.  So any reduction by those countries will have little impact on global warming.  Even a 100% cut only cuts emissions by <50%, and probably more like 40%, which is insufficient.  Therefore, the only reductions that can work are those that will be agreed to by the developing world.  When you factor that in, you see that the only way to achieve the goal of avoiding a catastrophe is to develop cheaper energy that the developing world will want to adopt.  There would be no need for cheating by those countries in earning carbon credits, because it is in their own interest to use the cleaner energy.

  33. Tim Lambert says:

    Tom Fuller uses a fake apology to have another go at me.  My position is not extreme at all – it is no different from that of the staid old IPCC.  Fuller’s position on the science is little different from that of Monckton.   Fuller is one of the more intemperate bloggers out there – I am a regular target of his abuse.  Neither Shub nor Fuller have had their comments at my blog censored.
     
    Sorry to disrupt the discussion further – this will be my only post in this thread.

  34. Tom Fuller says:

    My apology was not fake–probably because I wasn’t apologizing to Lambert, but to Keith and other posters.
     
    Looking at emissions by developed/developing countries distorts the picture. Look at China and the U.S. as group 1, and you could almost get away with putting everybody else in group 2.

  35. Tom Fuller says:

    Based on recent stories about black soot and previous reports about human emissions from deforestation, am I correct in thinking that if we ‘solved’ both issues we would take care of more than one-third of emissions?
     
    Is that not something worth striving for?  Give poor people an alternative fuel and lifestyle and pay them not to cut down trees? Offer subsidies for existing filtering technologies to soot producers?
     
    It’s not like we would automatically stop all other efforts. Nor is anyone likely to make the claim that these two actions would be a sufficient defense against warming.
     
    What is the problem with  focusing on these two as a measure that has real results and that nobody would object to?
     
    And if not these two, which two?

  36. Gaythia says:

    Reading blog comments is interesting and enlightening because of the differing viewpoints and perspectives presented.  But those individual personalities should be expressed in discussing the topic at hand.  Please attack the ideas, not the people.  Most of us readers don’t know any of you anyway.
    If we wish to get the public involved in climate change, small scale processes and technologies that they can participate in directly are great first steps towards comprehension of larger scale problems and their solutions.
    I think that efforts need to be multi-pronged, and include local as well as global issues.

  37. SimonH says:

    Tom Fuller #31: “To me, it verges on the bizarre that the steps we can take that are actually doable are dismissed so peremptorily by the “˜consensus.'”
     
    I dunno, Tom, paint me cynical but you seem a little naive all of a sudden. Regardless of the obvious value of the proposition, the proposition doesn’t support the political agenda. Why would you think that all of a sudden it’s science, rather than advocacy, driving the call to policy? The advocacy has its specific target and neither addressing black soot nor reforestation are helpful to the end game. Of course they’re dismissive.

  38. Tom Fuller says:

    SimonH, well, I’m actually thinking of the politics more than anything else.
     
    It seems to me that the consensus side badly needs a win. They’re not apparently going to get it from multinational organisations, due to what you can either term as recalcitrance or common sense on the part of China and India.
     
    They’re not going to get it in national legislatures–lack of money is really going to pinch a lot of noble-minded initiatives.
     
    Can they get sustained and favorable media coverage? They’ve done very well with this in the past, but now that opponents have their contact details in reporters’ Rolodexes due to Climategate, it will be much easier for reporters to get a responding opinion.
     
    Which leaves the environmental lobbies. My understanding of their situation is that they too are suffering from funding issues, which may cramp their broadcast message styles.
     
    It would seem to me that a conciliatory move would really make sense from their point of view. The real problem is Kissingerian in nature–they’ve spent so much effort demonizing the opposition, even if they wanted to hold out an olive branch, to whom would they extend it? For that matter, when you call Skeptic Central, who do you expect to pick up the phone?

  39. SimonH says:

    To be clear, CO2 reduction is the global change vehicle that has been identified by the “consensus”. If you address black soot issues and if you address the problem of deforestation, you (at least in part) reduce the perceived impact of fossil fuels, thus directly and negatively affecting the impetus behind driving down CO2 emissions, energy source restructuring and social change – the sociopolitical agenda.

  40. Gaythia says:

    If you want to build support in India, how about starting with promoting small scale local businesses that provide peasant women with soot free cooking stoves?

  41. Dave H says:

    @Tom Fuller
    > Give poor people an alternative fuel and lifestyle and pay them not to cut down trees? Offer subsidies for existing filtering technologies to soot producers?
    How are you going to acheive this absent a global agreement? When you’re talking subsidies *where is the economic incentive* to do this in the first place? It’s an environmental concern – it only becomes economic if you legislate to make it one, surely.
    >And if not these two, which two?
    At a guess, I’d say this sort of statement is (probably) why many people shy away from giving any ground on this. It smacks of Lomberg-esque false dilemmas.
    Another reason (and one that strikes a chord with  me personally) is that it smacks of bending science to fit political necessity – somewhat like saying “ok, if you accept the earth is round, we’ll stop pestering you to admit its older than 6000 years”.
    I’m more than happy to have a rational debate about the political reality of acceptable solutions, but I find it abhorrent to allow political expedience to give tacit approval to a continued (and needless) muddying of the scientific picture.

  42. Shub says:

    Kieth
    I see that you are ‘moderating’ my posts. Farewell. I hope you continue your good work and debate with the constructive voices you attract. I am *not* a constructive voice – I’ll readily admit that.
     
    Tim Lambert deleted/delayed my posts on two threads – one where I defended another’s poster’s who was threatening litigation, and another – when I defended Jonathan Leake. Examine Tim’s record, of his treatment of Jonathan Leake, and his treatment of the Amazongate issue – you might see what I meant when I wrote what I wrote – his actions are driven by blind defense of the ‘consensus’ and the IPCC. If you are going to control what I say, because I defended Monckton – so be it.
     
    Best
    S

  43. Steve Bloom says:

    Fuller:  “I find the automatic dismissal of calls to fight black soot really interesting and illustrative.”

    Please read more carefully.  I’ve been all for prioritizing soot reduction ever since Jim Hansen (remember him?) originated the idea. 

    But it’s important to note that even this component isn’t innocuous since so much of the problem is tied up with CO2 (e.g. the Chinese coal plants).

    Even reforestation is a little complex since forests tend to reduce albedo.  Of course removing old forests is an unalloyed bad thing, and it continues on a large scale.  From recent reports the trend has improved, but we’ll have to see how much of that is related to the global recession.

  44. Bob Koss says:

    #20: Dave H first comment alludes to Monckton being “a litigious, self-aggrandising liar”

    #21: Keith agrees with Dave’s general comment, but makes no mention of the tenor of that statement.

    #22: Shub mimics #20 by directing his phrasing toward Lambert. Alluding to a possible high-jack in progress.

    #23: Keith chastises Shub by saying next time Shub becomes 2nd class commenter.

    #25: Shub makes direct quote from #20. Stating explicitly he was pointing out what had been let pass without Keith chastising #20 Dave.

    #27: Keith demotes Shub to 2nd class status even though Shub defended himself admirably.

    #28: Even Dave defends Shub.

    It is now four hours later. Maybe Shub has left the building. Maybe Shub has commented and the comments are awaiting release or consigned to oblivion. I have no way of telling.

    Should I have to worry that quoting a prior comment which passed muster might demote me to 2nd class around here?

    Frankly, I don’t comment that much. Mostly lurk. So, for myself I don’t care. I find Shub to be a worthwhile contributor here and he does play well with others. I am disappointed this tiff has been handled so poorly. Ad hominem remarks only degrade the conversation and shouldn’t be permitted for anyone. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    I think Shub should publicly be restored to 1st class status since he was publicly demoted.

  45. Shub says:

    Once more Kieth, I pointed out that the genius soot-free stoves have been given up on, by people in the know, and I pointed that out above. #38 – which is held up in moderation.
     
    Even as that happened, we have Gaythia – offering stoves as a credible solution to the soot problem in #41. How and why could that happen? Because of censoring – that’s why.
     
    And to think of it, I jumped in this thread to point out the worsening of dialog by Dave H, picking on Tom’s comment, both of whom, recognized what I tried to point out.
     
    Funny.

  46. Steve Bloom says:

    “For that matter, when you call Skeptic Central, who do you expect to pick up the phone?”

    Good point.  There are people to call, e.g. the Koch brothers, but a) they’ll deny being Skeptic Central, and b) they’re the fossil fuel industry and want to keep on doing business as usual.

    As for the Climategate rolodex thing, good luck with that.  Despite your efforts to the contrary, it’s just a rapidly fading blip.

    And is it harder to push for an economic transformation in the middle of a severe recession?  Well, yes.  

  47. Shub says:

    Bob, thanks for your support
    Kieth:
    Regarding #27 – I did not even realize when you said “you have earned your moderation pass” that you were placing me on moderation. I feel stupid and embarrassed beyond words now. Please delete all the words I filled out in the past few comments junking up your moderation queue – I would not have posted here at all if I had realized I was being ‘moderated’.
    Thanks

  48. SimonH says:

    Tom, you make good points and make them well. They’ve certainly had good media coverage in the past but I think the media is smarting, now, having been themselves caught napping. An insufficiently cynical and scientifically dumb press has failed to question or even identify the advocacy scientists’ motive exactly like they’ve NEVER done with anyone else. They’ve accepted the scientists’ words as gospel, unquestionable and definitive. They’ve been burned as a direct result of that.
     
    So, to the question “Can they get sustained and favourable media coverage?” I think the answer right now is probably that they can’t. The press is realising that it has to up its game and will inevitably introduce a scientific cynicism to its coverage simply never seen in the 20th century and I think it’s actually going to be a very hard time for anyone that doesn’t disassociate themselves from the scientific consensus to be taken (and/or quoted) at their word. For all that I actually like Bob Watson as an individual, I know that the fact that he has stated such things like that the UEA enquiries were thorough and balanced is reason enough for a journalist (one that is in pursuit of journalistic tenets of balance at least) to use no small measure of cynicism in processing anything he says.
     
    And, as you say, they know where to find Steve McIntyre. Out of all the voices heard in the scientific noise since last years’ eruptions, I don’t think anyone has come out sounding more distilled, reasoned and balanced (thus trusty) than McIntyre. I can’t think of anyone, anyway. I think Steve McIntyre is taking calls at Sceptic Central. And yes, I think he is a scientific sceptic. I see people saying they don’t think he can be a sceptic, but I don’t understand how they can get to that.
     
    I suspect that if Steve’s not in, the call may ultimately go through to Doug Keenan because I think Doug Keenan will eventually, or even ultimately, provide the media’s excuse for having been suckered. Keenan’s concerns about academic malfeasance and even his accusations of fraud – if they are proven substantive – as well as his calls for new mechanisms of accountability will be the media’s next flag to wave. The media is hunkered down, at the moment, looking for a way out of the trench. They need a diversion; an excuse for having been caught with their pants down and their inadequacies bared for all to see – that they were fooled, not because they’re idiots but because the malfeasance was so well masked – and I think Keenan could potentially deliver on that for them.
     
    But I don’t think an olive branch to the sceptics is needed at all. I think any good dose of healthy science, NOT driven by an agenda – as long as it addresses a problem that is properly established in science AS a problem – will amble easily through the sceptic camp unabated. But coming up with something that will do that could be a challenge. Of course, if it can’t satisfy the sceptics, one could argue that it’d be unnecessary policy anyway.
     
    As a conservationist, reforestation just seems obvious. As an environmentalist, black soot catalysing just seems obvious. I don’t necessarily think a global warming connection needs to be made.. it strikes me that it’s just good policy on its own, independent of anything. But that’s just me.

  49. Gaythia says:

    Maybe we should all wish Keith a speedy recovery from the flu and resume the actual thread of this discussion on another day.

  50. SimonH says:

    Since I’m here, can I add my voice to the calls for Keith to please reappraise the Shub situation. I think you’ve misread Shub on each of his successive posts, Keith.

  51. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub, all–

    Look, I’ll own up to being realy cranky today (you’d be too, after a week with the plague) and perhaps even addle-brained.

    So rather than sort everything out, Shub, I’ll just take you off moderation. But just so you and everyone is clear on what being in moderation means:

    It’s not controlling what you say–you’re in charge of that. It’s merely reviewing your comment before I post it. I don’t like snipping comments either, as I find that too labor intensive. (I do it on occasion.)

    Anyway, let’s call it square today and I’ll crawl back under my rock and maybe feel human again tomorrow.

  52. Keith Kloor says:

    And Shub, forgot to say I was sorry.  I treated you badly. I’m hopped up on a nasty combination of antibiotics and cold meds. I obviously didn’t follow the exchange correctly.

    But if you keep mispelling my first name, I’m really gonna publicly flog you. 🙂

  53. Tom Fuller says:

    Hooray for both of you–Kerth, get well soon.
     
    Now. Apart from DaveH, who believes that we could not act on either deforestation or black soot without an international treaty (why not? consumer boycott of bad wood, Bill and Melinda Gates promoting Indian ovens, one nation subsidizing scrubbers for industrial emitters…), what other reasons are there that we could not adopt some mascot issue to show that people could work together on abatement or reduction without a litmus test?

  54. Bob Koss says:

    Shub, if you are still around.
    I think your original comment on soot-free stoves got consigned to oblivion. If that comment was more extensive than your remarks in #45, perhaps you could post it again?

  55. Bob Koss says:

    Keith,
    Thank you for reconsidering your action.

  56. Dave H says:

    @Tom Fuller
    How about, rather than simply dismiss my comments with a somewhat snarky aside, you actually engage with me in the debate you claim you seek?
    Lets take deforestation as an example.
    You claim a consumer boycott could have an effect – yet boycotts have been going on for decades with no appreciable effect, even with corporate backing in some cases. And a consumer boycott is an *environmental* issue, so without agreement that such a boycott is necessary in the first place on *environmental* grounds, the endeavour is doomed to fail.
    Even if you could organise a consumer boycott, what is the scope? Citywide? Statewide? Countrywide? What percentage of the consumer market do you think you could – realistically – hope to capture with a grassroots campaign, and how long would it take you to reach that figure? What percentage of the global market does that represent? Do you think that developing nations desperately seeking wood care even slightly about the source unless given a *very* good economic reason to do so?
    Deforestation is down in the last decade, thanks in a huge part to the amazing efforts in Brazil, where top-down political action driven by an understanding of the environmental concerns has had a massive impact. Other countries? Not so much, thanks to corruption, ignorance of environmental concerns and a ready market in developing nations. They want to get where we are, and us paying slightly more for an ethically sourced table, when the very luxury that allows us to make that choice has been created by exploiting and offshoring our own environmental debt to them is not what I’d call a particularly persuasive example.

  57. laursaurus says:

    Feel better soon, Keith!
    I promptly received the seasonal flu shot along with my kids in early October. Had H1N1 been available, I would gladly have rolled up my sleeve.
    Sadly, my family was swined a few weeks later. That was the nastiest bug I’ve come down with in probably 20 years. The kids were only sick for a couple of days, but I wound up with bronchitis. Even when I had strep throat about 8 years ago, I hardly ran a fever. Swine spiked my temp up to 102! I began to feel horrible on a Saturday morning, so didn’t get to my doctor until Monday. He prescribed Tamiflu and Z-pack (antibiotics) but to no avail. Apparently you need to take the Tamiflu within the first 48 hours. Lucky me! It took over 2 weeks for me to begin to feel human again.
    Rest, chicken soup, and taking your meds as prescribed is about all you can do. I sure as heck didn’t feel up to even logging on to my computer during that time.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Keith.
    Note to all: it’s well worth the $30 to not catch the flu. Get your flu shots for yourself and your children. Kids may not get all that ill, but they spread it around quite efficiently. There is no way to ever know if they passed it on to someone who did end up hospitalized or even dead.

  58. Paul Kelly says:

    Steve Bloom,
    Glad you support prioritizing soot. Hansen agrees but he didn’t originate the idea. I brought up soot on the thread at Bart’s as an example of non climate driven actions that happily also address climate concerns. It is non climate driven because environmentalists would still attack soot even if it had no effect on climate, while the climate concerned would not.
    Also, I was speculating that it might be more effective to target forcings other than CO2 and feedbacks. They, after all, are the cause of potential climate dangers. Doubling atmospheric CO2 by itself results in less than 1C warming.

  59. Shub says:

    Thanks Keith. I apologize for not understanding your comment about moderation.
    Bob, I did save the comment I posted earlier. I wrote:
    “Tom
    You must have come across the latest on soot, in the Yale Climate Change forum (Bidisha’s article). After years and years of wasting time and effort on concentrating on direct reduction in biomass burning, the realization has dawned (finally) that increased fossil-fuel consumption is probably the only way to cut down wood and bramble burning by the poor.

    Is it too tough to think that the path to luxury of climate consciousness lies through the soot-emitting wood burning and then, soot-emitting diesel burning?

    My guess would be that, if there is a policy-wide effort to tackle soot and black carbon “˜emissions’ from developing countries, the only logical conclusion would be to accelerate material progress which would mean increased fossil-fuel usage, which our climate friends are opposed to, ““ in principle.

    Secondly, I would even guess that climate change alarmism gains its energies mainly from flailing and wailing about unsolvable  conundrums of the atmospheric “˜commons’ rather than actually contributing to palpable change in local living conditions of *humans*.

    Unsexy problems such as black soot, therefore will not be pursued vigorously.

    Why, for years, it was the accepted norm, to deny credibility or support any mitigation efforts, merely for the fact that, it would open up capacities for guilt-free fossil-fuel burning.”
    Pielke Sr posted about black carbon-soot just a few days back
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/a-post-at-the-yale-forum-climate-change-the-media-by-bidisha-banerjee-black-carbon%E2%80%99s-grey-areas-key-messages-from-a-yale-workshop/
     
    Bidisha Banerjee’s earlier post (part I) about the stove approach:
    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2010/07/black-carbons-grey-areas/
    One small quote from the article:
    “Do struggles to accurately represent these complexities risk under-cutting the new groundswell of support for funding cook-stove initiatives, putting or leaving lives at risk? ( “Kill a million and a half people and nobody gives a damn,” a government official told Bilger. “But become part of this big climate thing and everyone comes knocking at your door.” )”
     

  60. Paul Kelly says:

    Tom,
    It’s a small world. What was the club you ran? James Wesley is a good friend, a great comic and still the original “enviromedian.”

  61. GaryM says:

    The warnings of imminent disaster may not be making the news much right now, but there is no reduction in the climate consensus scientists’ access to the media.  Just a few recent news stories: warmest May on record;  warmest June on record; may be the warmest July on record; warmest year on record; warmest decade on record, subtitled Global Warming Undeniable. Phil Jones says no statistically significant warming since 1995.  (Oops, how did that get in there?)
     
    There is unlikely to be any compromise with the climate activists until they come to the conclusion that they have no chance of getting their larger agenda.  They don’t need the whole thing, but they want at least the camel’s nose in the tent, ala government central planning of health care.  If I believed what they say they believe, I suspect I would feel the same way.
     
    Those who believe their goals are beyond reach underestimate the politicians on the “warmist” side.   Yes, the polls have turned against them.  Yes the media now has people like Steve McIntyre on speed dial.  But the same was true with “health care reform.”
     
    Conservatives were more than willing to pass reform allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, high risk pools for those with preexisting conditions, and much other “low hanging fruit.”  There were plenty of “experts” on both sides.  But there was no compromise, not even any real negotiation.  Similarly, there is much that can be agreed to (by a majority) on immigration enforcement.  But again, no negotiations.  Why? Because if you compromise on things your opponent wants anyway, how do you get your larger agenda?  Once again, who is blocking nuclear and hydrolelectric power development in the U.S.?
     
    The goal in the “lame duck” session after the next congressional election will not necessarily be full fledged cap and trade, but more likely some framework that institutionalizes the belief that government should centrally plan the energy sector.  There will probably be zero movement on the activist side at least until after the elections.  The debate will probably just become more ferocious until then.  Witness Judith Curry’s reception of Real Climate lately.
     
    As a conservative, I can tell you that I am satisfied with the way the debate is proceeding. I hope the activists are as vociferous, condescending and arrogant as they have been for decades.  This is all an excellent lesson for the public on group think in general, and on the politicization of science in particular. The wonders of the internet and alternative media are shining the light of day on political tactics that are wearing out their welcome.
     
    For the blogosphere, this may seem like a bad thing.  But I think it is better this way.  The climate activists are pursuing the policies they believe are necessary and they have the Congress and Presidency.  Let those who oppose them, oppose them and offer their alternatives if they choose.  Then let the voters choose.  It’s messy, ugly, inefficient as hell, but as has been said by many before, it’s the least worse alternative.

  62. Bob Koss says:

    #59 Shub,
    Thanks for that. I glad it was unnecessary to rewrite the comment.  The links were very informative.
     
    IMHO focusing on small scale solvable problems, and thus small investment,  is always better than attempting an over-arching  large scale solution with large investment.  Especially when the proposed large scale co2 reduction solution has many unwanted  consequences, doesn’t really solve the perceived problem, and only postpones it for a few years.
     

  63. JamesG says:

    I nearly called my son Keith until I realized that many of the famous Keiths seemed to be alcoholics. I went instead for Kenneth. Certainly it was irrational superstition but people are like that! Bad things just might happen if you do this rather than in this world that so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
     
    I was disappointed with Steve Blooms reaction. I think he does actually have to explain “why it’s wrong”. Hansen may have been one of the first to suggest soot reduction in relation to climate but in relation to public health virtually everyone beat him. Nevertheless why oppose it as a first step – as even Hansen suggested? It’s a position that’s neither rational nor logical.
     
    And there we have it – people are just like that. Maybe like Dhogaza, Ehrlich, Attenborough and all the other nouveau Malthusians he believes there can never be any solution with so many horrible people in the world. Environmental activism in this instance meets humanitarianism head-on. Who will win? Well it’ll probably be those with the most votes. Thankfully..
     

  64. Shub says:

    At least some climate change communication efforts seem to specifically decry the ‘small scale approach’ for the strangest of reasons
     
    Listing modes of climate change discourse, they write, among other psychologic defense mechanisms used to remain disengaged from large-scale legislative action, this one:
     
    David and Goliath (“˜A small number can change the world’): this approach gives the impression of positive action. But its aggressive, oppositional style can be used all too easily by others to dismiss the advocates of action as “˜long-haired hippies out to change the world’.
    http://www.ippr.org.uk/pressreleases/?id=2240


    If the authors are indeed saying what I think they are saying: small scale efforts can elicit resistance in the larger populace due to their aggresive pursuit by committed individuals and therefore such actions do not deserve encouragement (!)

  65. JamesG says:

    Shub
    Heres another reason: Hidden Agendas:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/programmes/analysis/transcripts/25_01_10.txt
    Nuclear greenwashing is another. Wall street greed is another. The great thing about carbon dioxide control is that it ticks so many boxes that have nothing to do with climate. I wonder sometimes if the only people making green energy progress are the oil companies: Shocking perhaps it is to discover that BP and Shell are the number 2 and 3 solar panel makers in the world (Sharp is the biggest).

  66. Alex Harvey says:

    Curiously, I found this article about soot after my last post #16. “Cutting Black Carbon Soot Could Save Arctic” http://www.enn.com/press_releases/3444

  67. SimonH says:

    JamesG #65: Shocking perhaps it is to discover that BP and Shell are the number 2 and 3 solar panel makers in the world (Sharp is the biggest).
     
    It’s perfectly rational if you put aside the contemporary perception of these companies as “Big Oil”. These companies are “Big Prospectors”. Fossil fuels have only ever been a vehicle for these companies whose goal is, and always only ever has been, prospecting for money-making opportunities.
     
    This is why “Big Oil” dropped their active promotion of the “denial movement” many moons ago, when its management advisers pointed out the untapped opportunities that could be exploited if it switched to drilling for fortunes by building advocacy science rigs and deploying CRU/Mannian drill-bits.

  68. Tom Fuller says:

    I think the numbers are off in your rankings for BT and Shell–and Sharp, actually. But BP is investing £6 billion in renewables over the next four years, and Shell is going big time into it as well. All the smaller next generation biofuels companies are teaming up with the majors, as well.
     
    They were all perfectly willing to be cap and trade-ulated, as the costs would have been born by others, mostly.
     
    Funny how these discussions never include GE…

  69. Keith Kloor says:

    Paul Kelly left another recent comment at Bart’s that I want to share:

    I like to focus on energy transformation because it brings together otherwise disparate groups around the common goal of replacing fossil fuel. Does anyone not think we’d be better off arguing about the how rather than the why.

    Bringing disparate groups together at this blog has become a chief aim of mine, so I’m with Paul there.  And I agree our time would be better spent arguing about the how instead of the why.

    There’s just one remaining problem: I don’t see a public clamor for decarbonization, period. Not for climate change. Not for environmental reasons, not for energy security, foreign policy reasons, etc.

    I bring this up because if ever there was moment in time when the public might have rallied behind energy security as a rationale, it would have been in the aftermath of 9/11. Thomas Friedman urged this rationale so often it seemed every other column was about how american dollars at the gas tank were funding Saudi-sponsored Islamic extremism being taught in madrassas, and so forth.

    It never took. You can see in today’s op-ed by Friedman that he hasn’t totally given up on arguing this.

    Anyway, I bring this up because I wonder what the impetus is for energy transformation sans climate change if there is no impetus for energy transformation, period. I wonder if the disparate groups Paul is referring to can even be brought to the table  on this?

    Am I making sense in my fevered state?

  70. GaryM says:

    Why would you want energy transformation, decarbonization, cap and trade without the climate Sword of Damocles having over out heads?  Well, check out the link JamesG posted (65). and find all the other reasons behind the “solutions” so many activists  seek.  (I was astounded at how open they were.)  So the short answer to Keith’s question is almost certainly no.
     
    The more interesting question to me is what will  liberal/moderate skeptics do when (and if) they finally see that they are not going to have a grand coalition with the Real Climate type activists (at least not without just capitulating on the whole science thing).  Which will triumph, their politics or their science?  Will they really come out and actively campaign for developing nuclear and hydro electric power?  Will they favor allowing more drilling and refining capacity to increase our energy independence?
     
    If the hard core agenda can be stalled until there is a more skeptical (shall we say) congress, a coalition with conservatives will likely become the only way to accomplish anything that matters on energy policy.  Oh the horror!!!

  71. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, I’m in it because there is a sword of Damocles (I can’t write that without a flashback to Rocky Horror Picture show…), but it is only partially climate related.
     
    This is becoming my hobby horse, so sorry if I’m boring some here.  I’ll try and add some new stuff, at least.
     
    There will be 8.1 billion people on this planet in 2030–that’s in 20 years. Most of them will be in the developing world, but that part of the developing world that is actually developing. They will be moving up the energy ladder and requiring lots more energy than they do now.
     
    Stick with me, here. The Department of Energy has forecast energy production of 685 quads for 2030. The U.N. thinks it will be 702. These are ground-up projections based on construction capacity, budgets, past performance.
     
    But if that’s all the energy available in 2030, it will be a horrible crime–because the demand from consumers will be about 2,400 quads, based on trend consumption and population growth.  And that shortfall will be met–by burning trees, peat, straw, animal dung and whatever gasoline they can drain out of the tanks of their scooters.
     
    If that situation does come to pass, it will halt the miraculous growth of the developing world. It will start wars–they won’t be climate wars (yet) or water wars (yet). They will be energy wars. People will go to war over hydroelectric dams and river routes. They have in the past.  People will go to war over access to forests. They have in the past.
     
    Renewable energy can grow, at best, about 2.4% a year. Not enough. If we try and provide the rest with coal and oil, we’ll choke to death long before the planet warms enough to harm us–but that will happen in certain regions.
     
    We might be able to cover some of the shortfall with energy efficiency reducing that 2,400 quads–but there’s no sign of anybody getting in front of that parade.
     
    We do have a serious problem, and it involves climate change. But it isn’t limited to that.
     

  72. Paul Kelly says:

    Keith,
    There is no need for a public clamor. My energy club idea can succeed with only the people who already want to speed transformation. There are more than enough of us.
    I’m asking everyone who is willing to pay a tax or higher prices not to wait. Start throwing in now. I’m asking people to start with one house that Habitat F0r Humanity is about to rehab in Chicago. Click my name for their address. They will be thrilled and surprised by your participation.
    Is the energy club an appeal to people’s altruism? No, it is really a selfish, market driven approach. Spending money to reach a goal is no more altruistic than spending it on a shirt or a ham sandwich.
    Economics demands actions that reduce the price of transformation rather than increase the price of carbon. Neither taxes, cap and trade nor any other carbon pricing scheme insures the deployment of alternatives. They are likely to merely make both alternatives and carbon less affordable.
    It is possible to create a market that speeds transformation. A market consists of consumers, sellers, and a product. In this case, the consumers are those see the need for replacing fossil fuels. The product being sold is actual energy transformation. The energy club functions as the seller. By aggregating many consumer actions toward a specific project, it allows people to use  small purchases to get in on the action.
     

  73. Steve Bloom says:

    (Re-submission — would have been comment 38)

    Fuller, I know it ruins the false equivalency, but Lambert is a scientist, although not of the climate variety. 
    Keith, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I go after you when you engage in or promote fuzzy thinking.  Of course you resent that on multiple levels, but that’s life.  Engaging with the ideas, which I would point out that you have yet to do in this thread as in so many others, is the intellectually respectable response.
    Alex, you managed to completely miss the point on the soot.  To repeat:  Prioritizing it over other steps requires a climate rationale.  You proved that nicely by putting two climate-related reasons in your list of four (with which I agree entirely, BTW).  (Also, just to be clear, “prioritizing” means doing it first.)
    On Paul’s other general point, maybe you can ‘splain it to me since Paul and Keith are unable or unwilling to.  Trying to cut through the distracting verbiage, I think what he’s trying to say is that it’s difficult to get people to act on climate since it’s hard for them to understand the nature of the problem, and that we should therefore stop talking about climate and instead focus on peak oil, energy security and pollution/health. 
    Well, first of all, there’s nothing stopping anyone from doing just that, and more power to them (as it were).  But on the policy level, I almost get the impression that Paul thinks e.g. Congress is filled with people who would happily facilitate an energy transformation based on those three factors if only people would stop talking about climate.  The difficulty with that reasoning is that each of those four issue areas already provides a fully-developed, independent rationale for a transformation, and yet here we still are having made little progress.  Paul needs to provide an anlaysis accounting for this situation, and he hasn’t.  Maybe you can.  
    The other key aspect, not to look TF’s gift horse in the mouth here “” any progress we can get is great ““, is describing how a focus on one or more of the other three areas will keep us anywhere close to the trillion tonne/350 ppm limits identified as needed to keep us from exceeding 2C (noting that 2C is probably already too high given recent paleo results for the mid-Pliocene and mid-Miocene).  The difficulty is that the response curves tend to look rather different.  Note that even the Breakthrough Boys, who take the approach of glossing over the problems in order to focus on the benefits of the solution(s), still need to resort to the science in order to establish a benchmark for progress.
    Anyway, I’m all ears.

  74. Michael Hauber says:

    ‘I do not dispute climate science nor diminish its concerns. I think it is beyond doubt, however, that climate is an impossibly poor basis for policy or the measurement of its success.’

    I certainly haven’t read everything in the climate debate, but cannot think of any example of someone consistently arguing against action on climate change without disputing climate science.

    The climate concerned are at a crossroads. They must decide if it is more important reach a goal by acceding to others who share their desire for energy transformation but not their climate concerns; or, to win a debate over who’s reason is better.’

    So if the climate concerned admit that climate science is flawed then everyone will agree to a carbon tax or cap and trade?  Does the opposition to carbon tax/cap and trade have nothing to do with a lack of desire to achieve an energy transformation and is about a disagreement on the preferred method?  Are the opponents of a carbon tax/cap and trade base their opposition on a desire to punish climate change believers for being too certain?

    I guess that I would be one of those that is being accused of trying to ‘win a debate over whose reason is better’.  However my prime motivation in this debate is not that a particular action on climate change is taken.  My prime motivation is to oppose the lies and distortions of many involved in the climate change debate.  These lies and distortions are certainly on both sides, but are far more evident on the ‘skeptic’ side.  I want everyone to have the best possible understanding of the best possible climate science to make up their own decisions on what climate change action should be voted on.

    Current dis-informative arguments that climate change is not happening have resulting in a lessening on climate change action over the last few decades.  The current argument is so much ‘climate change is the end of the world’ vs ‘climate change is a hoax’, when it becomes obvious that climate change is not a hoax, the ‘end of the world’ view will win by default, and there will be little scope to remind people that fossil fuels have a very real benefit for society and that we need to weight these benefits against the costs of climate change in a rational way.

  75. SimonH says:

    Michael Hauber #74: “These lies and distortions are certainly on both sides, but are far more evident on the ‘skeptic’ side.”
     
    I think more specifics are demanded here. I’d like to know who the “many” is that you say are distorting things, in which fashion and in which subjects. I’m interested to know who from each side you believe is distorting and lying. You may think it laborious to be specific, but I think if you’re going to cast these rocks the least that should be required is that you qualify your behaviour.

  76. Steve McIntyre says:

    For what it’s worth, I agree with Kelly’s point and have made the same observation on numerous occasions.

    I think that there are practical energy policies where people can reach agreement despite differences of opinion on climate e.g. some people worried about energy in the future or with trade deficits might find common cause with people who are worried about climate. 

  77. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve,

    I’m glad to hear that. I wonder if you have considered focusing more on this topic in your blog? You have a devoted readership and someone like you could probably play a significant role in moving the ball in this direction.

    Returning to the disparate allies issue, I brought this up before (#69) because in the mid-2000s I saw movement along these lines and wrote this “trend” story for Audubon magazine. But this loose coalition of disparate forces never reached any critical mass, in my opinion, and seems to have fizzled out since then.

    Someone should correct me if I’m wrong. Regardless, it seems like the blogosophere can help reconstitute some of those forces for change.

  78. Paul Kelly says:

    Michael Hauber,
    You’re missing the point. I’m sure you agree that the only way to address climate concerns is by replacing fossil fuel use. Climate is one of a number of valid reasons to do so. The question is how can it be accomplished. My belief is that “top down” actions aimed at suppressing CO2 and/or pricing carbon are untenable in the first place and will not achieve their intended goal in the second. Actions should be based on actual deployment of transformational efficiencies and technologies and reducing their cost.
    Nowhere have I said anything even remotely suggesting the climate concerned should admit that climate science is flawed. It may bother you that some dispute the science. It doesn’t bother me, nor does it affect how I think we should proceed. The science is what it is, although, as you say, it is often misrepresented. I tend to follow William Connolley at stoat.
     
     

  79. Paul Kelly says:

    Keith,
     
    I think one reason the disparate allies fizzled is that it couched in terms of a political movement. Successful transformation is more a social movement.

  80. laursaurus says:

    I am also a bit puzzled by #74.
    The allegations of lies and distortions are summed up into one strawman argument vs. another? Anyone using either POV you used to argue over policy decisions, is abruptly marginalized as a crank. The best comparison to Lord Monckton would be Al Gore. Both have pretty much alluded to taking these extreme and ridiculous claims. But if your motivation is to oppose ‘lies and distortions”, characterizing the positions of either side in the debate over policy is clearly disingenuinous.
    Ok, then. For arguments sake, let’s assume your distorted summary is accurate. Then your assertion that more disinformation is evident on the skeptic’s side, is plainly false. The best science was not merely distorted, it was shamelessly misrepresented in a Hollywood production. Al Gore’s docu-horror flick effectively pannicked it’s captive audience. Climate science made it’s debute via the iconic hockey stick along with a comparision between a chart comparing CO2 level with temperature across 7 stages. The dramatic visual message distracted his brief caveat stating that the relationship between the 2 is “complicated.” Heartbreaking images of polar bears swimming in the annual summer ice melt, pulled heart strings. Maps depicting an impending 2om SLR shocked the frightened audience. Coincidently, Hurricane Katrina met the threshold as overwhelmming evidence of CAGW.
    But amazingly the believers of CAGW, always manage to overlook all of this and accuse the skeptic side of being more guilty of distortions and lies. A politician teamed up with Hollywood in an feature film production of essentially an infomercial.  Just when CAGW couldn’t possibly be more politicized, Al Gore is granted the Noble Peace Prize! Heavily invested in a scheme divised by Enron is ignored, while accusations of well-orchestrated disinformation campaigns funded by Big Oil are still alive and well in the comments of RC, Deltoid, CP, and DC. Unashamed by the blatant hypocrisy, the surly commenters alert our attention to whenever a particular month, season, or year is the 3rd warmest of the decade, century, or however they can manage to frame it to appear significant. OTOH,pointing toward record snowfall, coldest temperature, or decline in hurricane activity just goes to prove how skeptics are too dumb to know the difference between weather/climate. Who exactly is distorting the evidence?
     Notice that anyone from Steve McIntyre to Marc Morano can freely state they agree with pretty much any argument used in favor of CAGW. But should a member of the “consensus” climate scientists, publicly acknowledges the validity of even the most straight-forward skeptical point, things turn very ugly.
    If the best climate science available is exempt from the scientific method, how can it be accurately described as “science”, then your definition of “best” is meaningless.
    If the stingy HMO’s routinely cover and encourage obtaining a second opinion when surgery has been recommended, the vast un-washed masses demonstrate a much better grasp of the scientific method than every consensus climate science
    advocate.

  81. laursaurus says:

    It’s true that the issue was coopted from the beginning by politics, by cashing in on the anti-Bush sentiment in response to an unpopular war.
    Someone mentioned the missed opportunity after 9/11, and I whole-heartedly agree. By stepping back to look at the bigger picture, our helpless dependency on oil became painfully clear to me. This predictment translated into the Bin Laden family’s wealth. Without it, Al Q’aida would probably never been able to accomplish anything on the scale they did.
    What finally motivated me to deliberately walk when possible, ride my bike, and even ride the natural gas-powered bus system, was witnessing the uncut (pun unintended)video of the be-heading of Nick Berg. It’s really too bad how not only the timing was off, but the political spin worked to a disavantage.
    If we only could have foreseen the future! Remember the patriotism afterwards? Too bad the crippling rise in the price of gas occurred 7 years later.
    The average Joe/Jane, whether they were elite liberals or red state conservatives, Americans would have been more than motivated to cut the oil umbillical cord.
    That is what we need to move forward on policy. The scientific evidence is just too filmsy and the policies proposed are just costly and ineffective.
    However, given the choice between another devasting terrorist attack and a few feet of SLR, I’ll take option B.

  82. Paul Kelly showed up on my blog a couple of weeks ago saying vague things he couldn’t back up in any detail. His most specific point was this: “My idea is a little more baked than you might think. Our little deployment club started in April is up to 30 members who are willing to throw in $10 a month. Many are small businesses. We hope to have 500 members by year’s end. I’ll let you know how we’re doing. ”  That would be $60K a year coming in. That’s a ludicrously trivial amount of money for energy infrastructure, but a tolerable living for an individual keeping expenses low. I hope there is some value coming back out, but I’m still unclear on what that would be.
     

  83. Dave H says:

    @Laurasaurus
     
    Interesting how you manage to bring up a good half dozen or so misrepresentations and distortions in such a small space. Of course, I dare not take issue with all of them for fear of being deemed some rabid fanatic or threadjacking troll, or somesuch nonsense. Suffice to say I disagree quite profoundly with pretty much everything you said – and for other misrepresentations, its good to see the zombie corpse of Phil Jones’ “no statistically significant warming” comment is still shambling around in this thread.
     
    On Topic:
     
    @Paul Kelly
     
    My issue with a lot of the talk in this thread about “social movement” is that the action is needed most where social movement is least likely to occur (developing countries), and that I cannot think of a single social movement of the type described having had an effect on the kind of scale we currently need.
    Normally, social movements are intended to raise awareness of an issue, or enact a change on a local level, in order to propagate the thinking behind that change to a power structure able to implement or validate that change in a top-down level. It is about creating a large enough voice or justification on a single point for politicians or business to take note and act, often against entrenched positions. Indeed, it is often about making the status quo unpopular enough to force the hand of those holding the tiller.
    But then, realistically, what would such a social movement look like? Would such activism really be palatable to those that seem to frown on any action even remotely associated with environmentalism?

  84. Lazar says:

    I like Paul Kelly’s emphasis on individual actions in the marketplace, in my view this lacks enuf attention in most mitigation discussions. As he says, we don’t need government to start doing *something*. I just disagree that that something is sufficient. The culture needs to change, individual choices need to change, and are changing. But that is not all of the solution. Government action is needed, but also at the state, county, town and municipal levels. California accounts for 13% of the U.S. economy and 12% of the population. It is an error to discount actions at smaller scales because they are insufficient when considered alone, it is also an error to consider action at the smaller scales as sufficient and to underestimate the magnitude of the problem. I think we can all get along fine.

  85. SimonH says:

    But… why?
     
    I mean.. why would anyone change, given the flux right now? Where’s the benefit? The climate scientists have – I’m sorry to say – had the lion’s share of the virtuous intent available, and the public will likely not, now, enter into any regime of personal sacrifice on a whim like they might once have. That ship has sailed.. 74% of the general public are satisfied that.. all this stuff you guys have been scaremongering over.. turns out it’s all no biggy. That’s where we’re at, now.
     
    Except now the only thing that’s truly uncertain, AND which actually matters, is the knackered economy and tentative-at-best job security.
     
    If you want people to move in your direction, you are going to have to come up with something better than just an emotive feel-good. You have to come up with some realistic cost-saving; some direct, guaranteed personal financial benefit without a hint of deferred gratification. People aren’t easy to sell vapourware when finances are tight or when futures are uncertain like they are now. Sorry to be such a downer, but you have to know this is how it is right now.

  86. Paul Kelly says:

    Hi Michael,
    The couple of days spent at your place really helped me with the difficult task of putting what I find easy to explain in conversation into understandable written words. I hope I’ve done a better job here. The piddling amount you disparage represents solar water heating for 12 homes. A baby step? Sure. Energy transformation depends on many, many such steps.
     
    By social movement, I mean individuals acting outside of politics to do things that don’t require government support or permission. Government certainly has a role, especially with tax incentives and utility standards. Don’t know how the grid can be brought into the 21st century without a lot of government input.
    Most social movements seek to convince the general public about something. I’m looking to organize the already convinced.
     

  87. Lazar says:

    Lemme see…
    USA Today/Gallup Poll. June 11-13, 2010. N=1,014 adults nationwide. MoE ± 4.
    “Would you favor or oppose Congress passing new legislation this year that would do the following? How about regulate energy output from private companies in an attempt to reduce global warming?”
    Favor: 56%
    Oppose: 44%
    Pew Research/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management. June 10-13, 2010. N=1,010 adults nationwide. MoE ± 4.
    “Right now, which ONE of the following do you think should be the more important priority for U.S. energy policy: keeping energy prices low or protecting the environment?”
    Energy prices: 37%
    Environment: 56%
    ABC News/Washington Post Poll. June 3-6, 2010. N=1,004 adults nationwide.
    “Do you think the federal government should or should not regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming?”
    Should: 71%
    Should not: 26%
    USA Today/Gallup Poll. May 24-25, 2010. N=1,049 adults nationwide. MoE ± 4.
    “With which one of these statements about the environment and the economy do you most agree? Protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth. OR, Economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.”
    Environment: 50%
    Economic growth: 43%
    Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences Survey. May 12-18, 2010. N=1,001 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.7.
    “As I mention each area, please tell me if you believe this represents a major problem, a minor problem or not a problem at all for the country today. Global warming.”
    Major problem: 54%
    Minor problem: 23%
    Not a problem at all: 19%
    CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 5-12, 2010. N=1,580 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
    “Do you think global warming is an environmental problem that is causing a serious impact now, or do you think the impact of global warming won’t happen until sometime in the future, or do you think global warming won’t have a serious impact at all?”
    Serious impact now: 38%
    Impact in the future: 29%
    Won’t have a serious impact: 24%
    Plenty more at…
    http://www.pollingreport.com/enviro.htm
    In response to SimonH, I don’t know where his 74% figure comes from or what “all this stuff you guys have been scaremongering over.. turns out it’s all no biggy” means.
    Nor do I believe that people are so dull that they value
    “guaranteed personal financial benefit without a hint of deferred gratification”
    above all else.

  88. Paul Kelly says:

    Lazar,
    The bottom up approaches I’m proposing certainly aren’t the whole answer and I’m not saying do this and don’t do anything else. A while back MIT identified 13 distinct areas that had to be addressed to replace fossil fuels. They called them wedges. Consider my ideas an additional “people’s” wedge.

  89. Lazar says:

    Paul Kelly,
    “Consider my ideas an additional “people’s” wedge.”
    I’m happy with that. And I highly value the positive let’s-get-up-and-do-it approach. Kudos to yourself and others for taking the initiative and doing the hard work. I’m very glad to see that evolving. We’re cool.

  90. Tom Fuller says:

    I remember people laughing at Habitat for Humanity when they first got going…

  91. GaryM says:

    Not that list of carefully worded polls again…  I wonder why  words like “tax” and “decarbonization” are always left out?  I prefer the poll I suggested at comment (61) on the Suffer the Grandchildren thread.
     
    On the other hand, you could just take a poll with the same questions Lazar suggests in (87) above, but for “protect the environment” substitute “tax energy at a rate sufficient to ensure that you won’t be able to afford to buy gasoline, oil, coal or natural gas anymore,”  and for “regulate energy” substitute “prohibit all drilling for oil and natural gas, and mining for coal, while taxing your brains out to pay for inefficient wind and solar power.”
     
    I wonder why they never ask the questions that way?

  92. SimonH says:

    Lazar, all of the polls I’ve seen recently are so firmly geared towards coaxing a cAGW-positive response that, in answering the questions posed, even I sound like I’m probably freaking out about climate change.
     
    Anyway, the 74% figure is UK-specific and extrapolated from the February Populus poll as reported by the BBC, here: “only 26% of those asked believed climate change was happening and “now established as largely man-made”.”
     
    Though we are inherently a liberal nation, nevertheless the Brits are of course a cynical bunch. Most also don’t believe in god, in contrast to the US where around 95% of the population does. Of the Brits that indicated a belief in a higher power, 390,000 indicated their faith was Jedi (2001 census).

  93. Ray says:

    Beyond the infighting the above comments have a tone of surrender. Climate change is history? Hope so, but its to bad we hadn’t figured this out 30 years ago and spent those wasted billions of dollars on something other than climate porn. 

    Bjorn Lomborg was right all along.

  94. Shub says:

    Dear Lazar,
    I see that none of your poll questions ask the target:
    Will you pay an additional X hundred dollars to the federal government so that it can cool the globe?
     
    All beauty contestants want “world peace”, dont they? Do you think anyone in the audience objects? Let us believe the polls when they stop playing hide and seek with global warming.
     

  95. Hank Roberts says:

    > Paul Kelly
    The fairly famous one who writes about politics and climate professionally?  Or just some guy by the same name in blog comments?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=“Paul+Kelly”+climate
    Keith — antibiotics? Not for flu; good luck, must be something bad.

  96. Paul Kelly says:

    Hank,
    The writer one is from Australia. The most famous <a href=”http://paulkelly.com.au/A-Z”>Paul Kelly</a> is from there, too. I’m from Chicago and definitely am just some guy making blog comments.

  97. Steve Bloom says:

    Well, I looked at Paul’s web page and was completely confused about what the organization is actually going to do.  It sounds as if there are no specific plans yet.

    It’s probably not a surprise that the general concept (a volunteer-based organization working on energy projects in their neighborhood) has been developed and implemented <a href=”http://heetma.com/about-us”>elsewhere</a>, and is now spreading around the country.  The “barn-raising” concept has a lot of appeal.  Note that these folks have no problem talking about climate change as a motivation.

    Also, Paul, I’m curious about your assertion that Hansen didn’t originate the idea of prioritizing black carbon reduction as an effective short-term first step to mitigate climate forcing.  Who did, then?  

  98. Steve Bloom says:

    Hot link for prior comment.

  99. Michael Hauber says:

    > Paul Kelly says:

    It may bother you that some dispute the science. It doesn’t bother me, nor does it affect how I think we should proceed. The science is what it is, although, as you say, it is often misrepresented. I tend to follow William Connolley at stoat.

    From this I could amost conclude that you are interested in the policy debate and don’t care about the science debate.  I am interested in the science debate and don’t care about the policy debate.  Maybe ‘don’t care’ really means ‘care enough to read and follow, but not enough to participate and push a point of view’.

    But you seem to object to our desire to ‘win a debate over who’s reason is better’.  This suggests that you don’t care that the science is being disputed, and are saying that I shouldn’t care either.

    But I do care that the science is being disputed, and I care more about the fact that the science is being disputed then I care about any particular policy in regards to fossil fuels.

  100. Lazar says:

    ABC News/Washington Post Poll. Dec. 10-13, 2009. N=1,003 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.5.
    “What if that significantly lowered greenhouse gases but raised your monthly energy expenses by 10 dollars a month? In that case, do you think the government should or should not regulate the release of greenhouse gases?”

    Should: 60%
    Should not: 37%

    “What if that significantly lowered greenhouse gases but raised your monthly energy expenses by 25 dollars a month? In that case, do you think the government should or should not regulate the release of greenhouse gases?”

    Should: 55%
    Should not: 42%

  101. SimonH says:

    Lazar, #98: The ABC/WP poll is meaningless until it’s tested. In addition to the questions being hypothetical and leading, the figures given amount to a wholly invalid proposition. $25/month will NOT result in significant reductions in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and will not address global warming.
     
    ACTUALLY take $25 off someone, offer them nothing tangible in return, and then ask them how they feel about the policy. Heck, watch what happens when a teller take $5 over the counter for a $4.99 item and doesn’t offer the penny change. Hypothetical scenarios are hypothetical.

  102. Pascvaks says:

    Talkers talk, doers do.  Talkers tend to get very philosophical when someone asks them to be quiet and help shovel out the barn.  They often say something like ‘there ought to be a better way to shovel out the stinking stuff all over the floor’ and when they are pressed further they come out with a comment about ‘barns being old fashioned and how someone ought to invent something better’.  Talkers love to talk.  And dream.  Day or night. 

  103. Paul Kelly says:

    Steve Bloom,
    Thanks for visiting the club page. You’re right that the “message” needs refining.  As I said to MT, I’m a lot better with the spoken word than with the written.
     
    The HEET group is similar to the energy club. I’ll reach out to them. That their motivation is climate is OK with me. All motivations are valid. Keith says you and I should be allies. Wouldn’t that be fun!
     
     

  104. laursaurus says:

    So Pascvaks,
    Are you a “talker” or a “doer.”

  105. Paul Kelly says:

    Michael Hauber,
    You summarize our positions and define “don’t care” well. Disputes about the science from within the science community and without don’t matter to me because a) I’m not a scientist and b) my views on policy are the same regardless of the correctness of the science in part or in toto.
     
    Defending the science is certainly a noble endeavor. I will ask why, given your disinterest in policy, it is important to you.

  106. toby says:

    Think of the plot of Ibsen’s play, Enemy of the People;

    Dr Thomas Stockmann, a popular doctor in a Norwegian town, discovers that the local baths (a major tourist attraction) are being contaminated by waste from the local tannery. He proposes the closure of the baths and a major clean up.

    To Stockmann’s surprise, his science is rejected as an attack on the community, making him the “enemy” of the play’s title. The plot was borrowed for the early part of Jaws.

    Clearly, what Stockman should have done was keep his mouth shut, but proposed a “baths transformation” that would have accomplished the same goal.

    The climax of Ibsen’s play take place at a town meeting where Stockmann’s former friends and allies turn on him. In a sense, we are still at that meeting in regard to global warming.

    P.S. There is a film version of the play with Steve McQueen (very unusually) as Dr. Stockmann. Ibsen was setting the individual against the democratic trends of his say, a theme that would have appealed to McQueen.

  107. Hank Roberts says:

    Paul, would you post the detail on the solar hot water system that you’re planning about for the donation to Habitat?
    I agree that after caulking and insulation, that’s the best path — it’s mature tech, not changing as fast as photovoltaic.  I’m curious what system is appropriate for Chicago, what it cousts, and how they will be maintained in a Habitat building.

  108. Paul Kelly says:

    Hank,
    Solar Service Inc. is a leading local company. I think their systems start under $4,ooo. The owner is active in the Illinois Solar Energy Association and supports Habitat. He spoke at our first 21st Century Energy Forum. Also speaking was the brilliant passive solar architect Howard Alan. His 25 minute talk was like a year of college.
     
    Solar hot water at 4 – to – 8 thousand and ground temperature assisted electric heat pumps for heat and air conditiong at 8 – 12 are best suited to this area. The solar can also be used to enhance forced air heating systems. They are both relatively low maintainance. Both claim under 8 years to break even.
     
     

  109. Michael Hauber says:

    Paul, why is defending the science important to me?

    An interesting question and one that I’ve been thinking about following this exchange.  What it comes down to is I believe that the best policy is guided by having the best information to make decisions.  This I would consider a statement of ‘value’ rather than a rigorous statement of fact that I can defend with evidence and logic.  Perhaps it is a question that could be explored in a more rational and scientific manner, but it is hard to define ‘best policy’ for instance….

    A couple further thoughts – there seem to be many who dispute the science and dispute any policy of action that has a non-zero cost.  I do occasionally come across those who dispute the science and seem to agree that reducing fossil fuels is a good thing.  I cannot recall ever hearing of anyone who agrees with the science and thinks that we should be taking less action.  There are many who may agree with the science and think we are taking not enough action, or the wrong action.

    From this it seems to me that if we strengthen the belief in the science then we would strengthen the desire for action.  Whether this is a good thing, I would not be 100% certain.  It seems common sense to me that if people have generally less belief in the danger than the science warrants, then generally less action will be taken than the science warrants.  However it is possible that people may overreact beyond what the science warrants, so I wouldn’t claim certainty on this.

    On the other hand we are certainly achieving something in the fight against fossil fuels.  When I last looked at some figures (18 months ago?) we were at 1% of the world’s energy coming from fossil fuels, with an annual growth rate of 30%.  Assuming a 2% growth rate in world energy demand, we need to grow renewables by 12% a year to reach 100% of the world energy demand in 50 years.  So we seem to be on track.  As the renewable energy gets higher growth will be harder, but we will be a few decades down the track with better technology, and with a few decades of warming, more motivation to make the switch.  Or with a few decades of less than expected warming, better evidence that we can take our time (if we want to avoid climate change, other issues could be pressing more or less urgently).

    Ultimately I do care about the policy direction.  But I don’t have the confidence to push any particular point of view.  However I think it is still good for myself to air my views from time to time, as a good test of an opinion is to put it out there and see if anyone shoots it down in flames….

  110. Paul Kelly says:

    Hank, If you’re still here, I’d appreciate your thoughts on any or all of my ideas. The immediate goal of the energy club is to get a deployment partner. The ideal partner is a 501c3 organization (so that the $10/month Buy A Watt A Month purchases are tax deductible)  that needs to reduce it’s energy costs and has a building  amenable to retrofit.
     
    Habitat For Humanity Chicago South Suburbs is not a deployment partner. Club members are directing their energy transformation purchases to HFHCSS to demonstrate how the club works. HFHCSS is not affiliated in any way with the Beverly Energy Club, nor does the club represent HFHCSS. This Habitat unit is committed to 21st Century energy solutions.

  111. Hank Roberts says:

    Paul, I’ll look for whatever you’ve got on your blog, assuming that’s where you mean to take comments.  Been looking at solar hot water when we redo our roof next, as an obvious easy choice.

  112. Paul Kelly says:

    Hank,
    Tried several blog platforms, never got the hang of it. I’m doing better with Facebook and will open up a post on my wall.  Most of what I’ve been able to get down on paper is on this thread. Click on my name for the club’s webpage.

  113. pouncer says:

    Where do we “Lomborgians” — more worried about malaria, water shortages, meteor strikes, etc than rising sea level —  fit into the overall picture?

  114. Hank Roberts says:

    http://www.esajournals.org/toc/fron/8/6

    283

    Into the breach
    Andrew C Revkin
    Citation . Full Text . PDF (73 KB)

    Science, Communication, and Controversies

    284

    Restarting the conversation: challenges at the interface between ecology and society
    Peter M Groffman, Cathlyn Stylinski, Matthew C Nisbet, Carlos M Duarte, Rebecca Jordan, Amy Burgin, M Andrea Previtali, James Coloso
    Abstract . Full Text . PDF (524 KB) . Supplemental material

    292

    Communicating with the public: opportunities and rewards for individual ecologists
    Michael L Pace, Stephanie E Hampton, Karin E Limburg, Elena M Bennett, Elizabeth M Cook, Ann E Davis, J Morgan Grove, Kenneth Y Kaneshiro, Shannon L LaDeau, Gene E Likens, Diane M McKnight, David C Richardson, David L Strayer
    Abstract . Full Text . PDF (1393 KB) . Supplemental material

    299

    Above the din but in the fray: environmental scientists as effective advocates
    Judy L Meyer, Peter C Frumhoff, Steven P Hamburg, Carlos de la Rosa
    Abstract . Full Text . PDF (1047 KB)

    306

    The role of interface organizations in science communication and understanding
    Deanna L Osmond, Nalini M Nadkarni, Charles T Driscoll, Elaine Andrews, Arthur J Gold, Shorna R Broussard Allred, Alan R Berkowitz, Michael W Klemens, Terry L Loecke, Mary Ann McGarry, Kirsten Schwarz, Mary L Washington, Peter M Groffman
    Abstract . Full Text . PDF (2477 KB)

    314

    The engaged university: providing a platform for research that transforms society
    Ali Whitmer, Laura Ogden, John Lawton, Pam Sturner, Peter M Groffman, Laura Schneider, David Hart, Benjamin Halpern, William Schlesinger, Steve Raciti, Neil Bettez, Sonia Ortega, Lindsey Rustad, Steward TA Pickett, Mary Killelea
    Abstract . Full Text . PDF (762 KB)

    322

    The role of federal agencies in the application of scientific knowledge
    Richard V Pouyat, Kathleen C Weathers, Rick Hauber, Gary M Lovett, Ann Bartuska, Lynn Christenson, Jana LD Davis, Stuart EG Findlay, Holly Menninger, Emma Rosi-Marshall, Peter Stine, Nadine Lymn
    Abstract . Full Text . PDF (568 KB) . Supplemental material

  115. Paul Kelly says:

    Hank,
    Yes, communication is important. One can even major in it at college, but it’s better learned by age six or seven.  Like Michael Hauber, winning the science argument seems most important to you.  As said before, it is a noble endeavor.

  116. Ken Coffman says:

    I’m an engineer, so I know how to use a cocktail napkin to do a sanity check.
    Should I trade in my car for an electric vehicle?

    My lovely Maxima gets (let’s say) 20MPG. Each gallon of gas contains about 34kW/hr of power. My commute (round trip) is 20 miles. So, I  use 680kW to get back and forth to work. Let’s say I get 30% effciency in my use of a gallon of gas in my car. So, I use 204kW/hr for my commute. On average, I can get 300W/’hr from a square meter of solar panel (this includes the conversion losses from photons to electrical charge in my car’s battery pack and that we only get 10 hours or so of usable sunlight per day). So, I need 680 square meters of solar panels. Do I want to dedicate this much of the earth’s surface just to my commute? No. Do I want to pay for that many panels and installation? No. If a solar panel lasts 20 years, will I get my money back? No.
    You might not like my conversion factors. Use your own. You might be happy with a smaller, lighter car. That’s cool.
    When I do buy a hybrid vehicle–I am an electrical engineer–I’ll immediately devise a method for driving power back into the grid…selling you guys cheap petrol-power at your highly-subsizided rates…until you send the green police to stop me or destroy our economy by driving gas to $10 a gallon.

  117. Hank Roberts says:

    Paul, I’ll keep checking the website. I don’t follow twitter stuff closely.
     
    Aside — http://scientopia.org/blogs/   is now open.

  118. Marco says:

    Don’t know whether Ken Coffman still reads this, but I wonder how he gets from 34 kW(/hr?)/gallon, a commute of 20 miles, and a car that drives 20 mpg, to 680 kW for his commute. I get to 34 kW (just one gallon used).

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