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The Carbon Flame War
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Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: kookiness. on 07/27/2010 13:04:50 MDT Print View

I 'll dumb it down a little more for ya,
Researchers in certain fields are know to have a bias and set out to prove it true. In science you start with a hypothesis and try to prove it wrong. Data mining and such nonsense is not uncommon in fields like medicine, nutrition, and fields related to GW because they are so politically charged and so much money is riding on the results.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: kookiness. on 07/27/2010 13:14:03 MDT Print View

"Back to fun n' insults with graphs!"

Isn't it about time someone threw in a Smug Self Satisfied Insult(TM) just to stir the pot?

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
smug. on 07/27/2010 13:21:05 MDT Print View

Tom,

Such a suggestion could only be made by a simple-minded simpleton (and likely part-time Warmist) who clearly posseses too much unknowledgeableness to even comment on this robustly intelligent thread.

Please contain your input to mosquito-density updates in the High Sierra and inexact and ill-conceived musings upon Iraqi history, topics about which which even your simple brain can form tepid and murky thoughts.

Cordially yours,

Dave.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Carbon Flame Distraction on 07/27/2010 15:10:21 MDT Print View

Agree again with the frustration that all this GW *debate* is distracting from the real issues, which in many ways are the result of burning of carbon fuels and destruction of carbon sinks. Other issues such as water pollution and over use, , habitat destruction and a myriad of other unquestionably anthropogenic disasters also get honourable mention.

As to the validity of science, I am becoming more and more disappointed in the integrity of my fellow scientists. When there is so much money/careers at stake to prove something is true (rather than, as Brian points out, starting with the null hypothesis), more and more scientists appear to be selling their souls to prove a point. However, I also admit that the methods of science have progressed our welfare (often to the detriment of the environment) to levels that would not have been possible without the scientific method. Science is neither good nor evil, it just is.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The Carbon Flame War" on 07/27/2010 15:46:50 MDT Print View

I'm not smart enough to understand the charts, but I appreciate that Roger takes the time to post them and advocate a dissenting view. Rog - keep up the good work, some of us are on your side!

For me, it's not whether the planet is warming or cooling, it's the proposed solution that I have a real problem with. A massive tax and spend scheme will absolutely not do the trick. Any Cap and Tax bill will be riddled with goodies for special interest groups and exceptions for favored political entities.

If one believes that we should spend billions of dollars to reduce the use of fossil fuels and subsidize alternatives, the solution doesn't have to be a gargantuan complicated bill designed to obscure what really goes on.

Simply add a $1.00 per gallon tax on fuel every year for as far into the future as you want until you raise whatever money you think you need. And add an excise tax that shows up on the bill of every utility customer in the country.

Then spend the money however you want. Back when Obama felt free to speak honestly, he said that under his energy plan, prices would "necessarily skyrocket". Just be honest about it.....get your representatives to vote it in.

We all know that's not gonna happen.

I would not support the plan I outline above and would work vigorously to defeat it, but I would appreciate the honesty.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Carbon Flame Distraction on 07/27/2010 15:59:22 MDT Print View

"I also admit that the methods of science have progressed our welfare (often to the detriment of the environment) to levels that would not have been possible without the scientific method. Science is neither good nor evil, it just is."

I agree 100%
I did not mean to attack "science" in anyway only vent my frustration at the break down of trust between the public, media, and the scientific community ect. the public doesn't know who they can trust anymore. I blame the media for this most of all...

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 16:24:20 MDT Print View

Sorry, Brian. Didn't mean to be offensive.

My point was simply that you are committing a logical fallacy.

To say that I won't believe in X prediction because A, B, C predictions are silly is not a sound argument.

Also, the false equivalency between Catholic dogma and the science behind AGW is pretty tough to swallow.

When Catholic eschatology was being formed, men thought the earth was flat, evil spirits caused illness, God created the world in seven days, and so on. To compare Catholic eschatology to AGW in order to discredit AGW is silly. AGW is a scientific theory, with evidence--something end-times Catholic dogma has never even pretended to be.

I was simply pointing out that your approach in rejecting *any* dire predictions could also be used to reject catastrophes that have happened or certainly could have happened. (Nuclear war and the Holocaust were my examples).

But to take this further, science predicts that in billions of years, the sun will expand to the point that it will completely engulf the earth, destroying everything on it.

While this may sound apocalyptic, it certainly seems to be the way stars similar to our sun behave.

Do you reject this theory simply because it sounds too similar to end-of-the-world scenarios imagined by ignorant religious zealots thousands of years ago?

See where I'm coming from?

Edited by Rezniem on 07/27/2010 16:27:43 MDT.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 16:37:02 MDT Print View

David throws around a lot of right-wing buzz words. Tax-and-spend, etc., but let's face it--a deep discussion of the policy implications of curbing this disaster is beyond the scope of anyone commenting here.

FWIW, cap-and-trade is not a tax-and-spend policy. To characterize it as such is a lie. Cap-and-trade was developed by free-market economists attempting to use market efficiency to solve the problem. It is not without its pitfalls--moral dilemmas, information problems, speculation, and so on. In fact, it's been dissected by the left and the right for various reasons.

I'm not a big fan of cap-and-trade, myself, but it is not the same as a flat carbon tax, as David proposes, which has never been politically possible in the U.S. I don't think a flat carbon tax would work either. It would probably just stifle the economy, causing those at the bottom to suffer more.

Which brings me to an interesting point that Brian's post reminded me of. The GW crisis is so problematic because those best-positioned to solve it are a) the least likely to suffer the fallout and b) those most likely to profit from denying it. It's easy to scoff at apocalyptic gloom and doom from the relative comfort of North America. For those millions of real, live human beings who depend on the weather for daily subsistence, a prolonged drought or rising sea will indeed bring a catastrophic apocalypse on their household. Apocalypse is not beyond the realm of possibilities for many, many human beings.

I think GW requires international cooperation and a "get to the moon" ambition. It will require sacrifice, but there is no easy solution. Carbon taxes and cap-n-trade will just prolong the inevitable and cause economic woes without solving the crisis. Unless there is massive, unprecedented global cooperation to tackle this problem, then we better start planning on how to live on the brave new world we will be creating.

Europe has been making strides in the right direction, but even if the U.S. were on board, without China and India's cooperation it wouldn't matter at all.

The mercury levels in the Sierra lakes are rising because China is opening one new coal factory every single week....

Edited by Rezniem on 07/27/2010 16:40:21 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: smug. on 07/27/2010 16:46:16 MDT Print View

"Such a suggestion could only be made by a simple-minded simpleton (and likely part-time Warmist) who clearly posseses too much unknowledgeableness to even comment on this robustly intelligent thread."

Darn, Dave, I just spent half the afternoon trying to find the definitions of all those long words. It finally dawned on me; you made 'em up. Didn't you? Taking advantage of a simple-minded old simpleton. Baaaad karma, Dave, baaaad karma.

BTW, it's Eye Rack, Davey boy. Even a simple minded simpleton like me knows that. Gotta go now. I've got a headache.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The Carbon Flame War" on 07/27/2010 17:10:46 MDT Print View

Hey Nate, I don't appreciate being called a liar, is that really necessary?

Initially, the permits were going to be sold, with the costs passed on to the end user. That's a tax to me. It could still go down that way, who knows?

The increased costs to comply, either by reducing emissions or buying offsets, are also borne by the end user. To me, that's a tax by a different name. And where does the money go? To politically connected/favored constituencies, as ever.

And a heavily regulated exchange with arbitrary caps that are continually ratcheted down hardly fits the definition of a free market.

In my opinion, f there was no money or power in it, there would be no support for it.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 17:40:48 MDT Print View

I didn't call you a liar. That would require intent, which I don't think you have. But in anycase, my apologies.

When you lump "cap and trade" into some pre-formulated "tax-and-spend" buzz-word box you just completely obfuscate the issue. Cap and trade is quite an innovative approach to the problem--so innovative that it earned an economist the coveted Nobel Prize in Economics (which isn't really a Nobel prize).

Cap and trade does not require permits be bought. Some schemes have envisioned that caps be set and trading occurs w/o any initial purchasing of the carbon credits. So no, no taxes or spending AT ALL in this scheme.

And this is why lumping into that category is so blatantly wrong. It's not purely a revenue-generator as a tax-and-spend scheme would be, but a market-driven approach to create economic incentives to move to renewable energy sources and allocate resources efficiently in the meantime. You knwo, capitalism and all that. Not command and control.

I have very little sympathy for people who scoff at any collective action. Unfortunately, it's very en vogue right now on the right to bemoan *any* possible benefit to acting collectively. There are problems that the individual and the market cannot solve. Global warming may be one of them. Nuclear proliferation is another. The list gets longer as globalization increases. Collective action will be more required in the future than it is now, on many issues, and that's just the hard reality that the right in the U.S. can't seem to face.

They'd rather stick their heads in the sand and say "I hope you're right there, Mr. Denial Crackpot, no-Ph.D.!" than consider the possibility that we should heed the warnings of the scientific community.

Basically, we're all in this bus together, and it's heading towards a cliff, going very fast, and we've got a few people whose freedom is more important than saving the entire bus.

And while I *hope* that GW is not as much of an issue as it appears to be, I certainly wouldn't wager the fate of the entire planet on that hope.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Carbon Flame Distraction on 07/27/2010 17:51:46 MDT Print View

"I blame the media for this most of all..."

I blame the public for this most of all. And I just don't buy the old canard that we're too busy trying to survive to figure it all out. If we want to stay ignorant, make decisions based on what we're told to think or 30-second attack ads instead of learning how to actually think critically about our lives and the world around us, then we get what we deserve.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: "The Carbon Flame War" on 07/27/2010 17:54:19 MDT Print View

"Any Cap and Tax bill will be riddled with goodies for special interest groups and exceptions for favored political entities."

Agree completely. Actually, pretty much ANY bill of any kind is riddled with goodies for special interests groups and exceptions for favored political entities. But we keep voting in 'our' politician year after year (for the most part) because ..... well, because ...... we'd just rather not actually think about change, just whine about it and blame 'the other guy' for all of our troubles.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The Carbon Flame War" on 07/27/2010 18:07:33 MDT Print View

A federally mandated market driven approach is an oxymoron. Will you concede that the legislation being discussed is chock full of ins-and-outs and rules and exceptions to rules?

An energy market for 350 million people (or a health care market) is an incredibly complex beast. No bureaucracy can hope to set up an effective system to "manage" it.

But I have no fear of collective action. For instance, every time I go to the movies, there are a bunch of other people there.

If enough people get together and support a straight-forward, honest no-BS energy plan, I would accept that. And if people act on their own or form their own advocacy groups to curb fossil fuel usage, I 100% support their right to do that.

I just don't trust the Feds.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: "federal mandates" on 07/27/2010 18:23:57 MDT Print View

Hi David,

Fly in your proposed ointment is the markets are unsuitable for doing anything other than maintaining the status quo, so outside influences are required to make changes, i.e., overcome inertia. The second fly is any thought that our energy resources resemble "free markets" in any way, shape or form. The energy industries live on unimaginably enormous subsidies of all kinds that they are loathe to surrender. You're looking for money trails in all the wrong places--the financial resources being wielded to maintain things just as they are, are orders of magnitude greater than what you imagine can be earned from reducing carbon and shifting to alternative energy resources. Orders of magnitude.

The cap-and-trade you profess to fear is a Republican innovation from the battle against acid rain decades back. Did you know coal power, the target of that cap-and-trade scheme, remains the U.S.'s largest and cheapest electricity source? Cap-and-trade didn't slow them down, did it? I'd prefer a straight carbon tax myself, but that contains the word "tax", which seems not to be possible in our Enlightened Times.

I see you live in the East Bay. Should you and any children you may have care to continue living there you need to start thinking about where your water is going to come from. Climate change isn't some far off period of modest discomfort, it's now and it's here. We cannot stop it, but slow and lessen it we must.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 18:37:46 MDT Print View

The House version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act was based primarily on the free allocation of carbon credits. So this is what got me riled up. The feds were going to give them away. (Source.)

But the bill is dead, and we'll never know what the eventual outcome of it will be.

Any bill is laden with "pork". But, in general, the "pork" is a tiny fraction of the overall budget and given far too much attention from naysayers. (For instance, the 2 million spent on grizzly bear research flogged so much by the McCain campaign was an infinitesimal fraction of the overall budget, and quite reasonable, given the importance of the grizzly bear to the tourism industry of Montana and Wyoming.)

I think you're mistaken about what 'collective action' signifies. When one talks about 'collective action' regarding policy/econ they are talking about action required to overcome 'collective action problems'. In game theory, a collective action problem arises when two or more persons gain more by not cooperating than by acting collectively. However, they lose more if everyone fails to cooperate than they would lose if they cooperated. Similar to the prisoner's dilemma. So the movie theatre does not really pose a collective action dilemma because there is no difference between gain/loss by seeing the movie together or separately. There are also free rider issues, first mover problems, etc.

So it's not paradoxical to have regulation attempt to correct some of the moral and social dilemmas posed by the market. Economists bat this stuff around all the time, and no one but low-tier ideologues actually thinks it poses any oxymoron.

For one, there is no unfettered market. You are living in a highly regulated market, as is everyone on this board. The federal government shields us from some of the worst excesses of the unfettered market, and yes, I do believe a regulatory regime can be enacted that would curtail the problems posed by global warming. This Reagan-era disdain for *any* government action has gotten out of control. The regulatory structures that you take for granted every day have made our world safer than a totally free market would.

Not to mention that oil and coal pretty much own our politicians, who have given them hefty hand-outs year after year. So yes, please make a stink about the "special interests" arguing for clean energy when the money given to oil and coal, and spent lobbying our representatives, is far greater.

Wikipedia has an excellent description of the collective action problem posed by climate change in its article on collective action.

Edited by Rezniem on 07/27/2010 18:40:33 MDT.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The Carbon Flame War" on 07/27/2010 18:44:21 MDT Print View

Rick - I appreciate the thoughtful post...

I respectfully disagree with you on a couple of points in there, but I fully understand that energy providers are hardly free-market operators. From what I know, most are quasi-public corporations operating under the oversight of a controlling commission. PG&E, for instance. I don't think adding rules and complexity will improve that situation any.

And regarding the cap and trade of the coal production by-product (which I can't think of the name of) - it may not have slowed down the producers much, but I bet it raised the price!

BTW -I have lot of respect for you for voicing your support of a carbon tax.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 18:45:33 MDT Print View

"I'd prefer a straight carbon tax myself, but that contains the word "tax", which seems not to be possible in our Enlightened Times."

I like taxes that are put to good use and achieve their intended goals. However I think a straight tax just disadvantages the already disadvantaged while not really adequately discouraging the rest. I think in terms of things like cigarette and alcohol taxes: The poorest smokers often divert money from food, health and education of their children to afford the extra tax, while the well off hardly feel the tax.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 19:03:57 MDT Print View

"However I think a straight tax just disadvantages the already disadvantaged while not really adequately discouraging the rest. I think in terms of things like cigarette and alcohol taxes: The poorest smokers often divert money from food, health and education of their children to afford the extra tax, while the well off hardly feel the tax."

Well, now that someone has let the cat out of the bag by mentioning taxes, how about rationing? I think one could make a case that some resources should have a limit put on the amount that can be used by any one individual, no matter how much money they have. Water is the first one that comes to mind. You could charge $500/gallon and some people would continue to water their private 5000 acre golf course without batting an eye. I think a pretty good case could be made for applying that principle to fossil fuels as well. Go ahead and drive that Hummer, you still only get 100 gallons/month. Everybody pays the same price and has the same allocation, hence no regressive impact. Limit the use and let people decide how to use their allocation.

Let the flames begin. ;-))

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 07/27/2010 19:26:48 MDT Print View

"I think one could make a case that some resources should have a limit put on the amount that can be used by any one individual, no matter how much money they have."

But then how would you allocate the resource to folks such as primary producers? Need irrigation to feed the country, need tractors running diesel to feed the country, etc...? And having also created a black market for the resource, how would you stop folks (such as primary producers) from selling their allocations at a gross profit?