Solving Global Warming Requires Putting a Cap and a Price on Pollution.

By Andrea Durbin of Portland, Oregon.  Andrea is the executive director of Oregon Environmental Council and member of the Oregon Global Warming Commission.

Oregon, along with other western states, is working to create an economy-wide cap and trade system as the regulatory basis for addressing climate change. A well designed cap and trade – or better yet – a cap and invest system is a critical element of the overall climate regulatory framework because it guarantees declining emissions – the only way to reduce the threat of global warming.

A cap and trade system has two critical elements.

The first is the cap itself, which sets a scientifically-based limit on total emissions allowed and then lowers that cap over time to meet specific and attainable long-term reduction goals.

The second key element is getting the right rules in place for the trading system, which includes putting a price on pollution. Congressman DeFazio recently published an op-ed in the Oregonian criticizing cap and trade, based on Europe’s experience because unregulated industries profited from the trading. His criticism is spot on, but his solution to abandon cap and trade is not.

Just because the trading system was set up poorly at first in Europe doesn’t mean that the whole cap and trade system is a bad idea. It means that we get to learn from others’ mistakes and avoid repeating them.

Our air is a public resource and should not be undervalued, which is why any pollution emissions must be priced and valued. Europe made a mistake at the beginning of not valuing this resource. They have now corrected these problems and are seeing much improved results.

The fairest method to price emissions is through a quarterly public auction, which is precisely what the Northeastern states are doing. An auction system makes those responsible for the pollution come to the table and immediately rewards those who make real reductions. Dollars can then be ‘invested’ in programs that benefit the public and reduce global warming pollution, like energy efficiency, home weatherization, and assistance to low-income families.

Congressman DeFazio’s answer to global warming is to promote a cap and offset program, which essentially means capping the pollution, but having no system to require actual reductions. Frankly, relying on offsets as the central component of a carbon regulatory program is dangerous. Offsets alone -- which are investments into practices that absorb carbon or replace their emissions -- are clearly not an answer. What happens when your investment in offsets, such as a forestry reforestation project, burns down in 5 years and emits all of that stored carbon? Effective solutions to global warming require actual, measureable carbon reductions.

Cap and invest is a tested and proven system in the US -- it drove out the use of the pollutants that caused acid rain in the Northeast in the 1990s. By setting a firm cap on global warming pollution and stepping down that cap gradually, year by year, industries, businesses, communities and individuals adjust and prosper as we transition Oregon to a clean energy economy.

President Obama has made solving global warming a priority, but his Administration also recognizes the important roles states and regions are playing in developing that regulatory system. Working out a national system will likely take Congress years and should be informed by the systems we are forging here at the state level.

Oregon doesn’t have any time to waste – global warming is not going away, and the cost of inaction is significant. The State Legislature should establish a cap and invest system this session and make sure that Oregon is a part of the effort to shape and influence future national policies in a way that reflects our regional interests.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Font cleanup on aisle one!

  • (Show?)

    Here's the thing. We know how to reduce pollution: tax it. Not pennies per gallon. Dollars. Unlike all the other B.S. programs taking around the issue, there isn't an easy way to cheat. You don't even have to keep the tax money. You could give it back directly to the people, starting with the poor.

    But here's the reason why implementing a tax is unpopular: unlike cap and trade, it would actually be effective; there isn't an easy way to cheat.

    You see, worldwide, people worry about global warming in about the same way that the morbidly obese worry about their weight. They know it's bad, but are dead set against anything that would actually force them to alter their behavior. So our politicians, acting faithfully as the representatives of the people, are doing what the people demand: giving them the global-warming equivalent of a fad diet. Something that won't work, can never work, and is, in fact, designed to make us feel better while we kill ourselves.

    But don't blame the politicians. If they actually did something effective, they'd be booted out of office faster than you can say "I want my Hemi and $1.50 gas".

    Really, I hope that the physics of global warming is such that we lose Florida before we destroy the environment. Because the vast majority of the public isn't going to change their behavior until it's clear we'll all die if we don't.

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    I’m with you on stopping global warming. But I’m not yet convinced a cap-and-trade system is the best way to go. NY Mayor Bloomberg (here) and Ralph Nader (here) have come out for a carbon tax. They have their reasons.

    I also think it should be a revenue-neutral cap-and-trade system, not a cap-and-invest system. Not that I’m against public investments in energy conservation and alternative forms of production. But the trading system will have enough to do without figuring out where to make investments. And the politics will be better for a revenue-neutral proposal.

    I am for a substantial, revenue-neutral gas tax as the first priority. And Oregon should do one if President Obama doesn’t propose one.(see here, here, for examples). It would not only fight global warming, but would reduce our payments to hostile petro-state, would reduce our involvement in the politics of the Middle East, and would bring dollars home that are now spent abroad.

    The tax on carbon in such a gas tax would, I think, need to be higher than the cost of carbon in a cap-and-trade system to be effective in reducing gas consumption and creating incentives for alternative forms of transportation fuels.

    My question to you, Andrea, is whether you think a substantial, revenue-neutral gas tax could be administered in Oregon in addition to a cap-and-trade system on non-transportation sources.

  • (Show?)

    As an FYI, Typepad just did a major revamp of their interface, and it has resulted in assorted funkiness. I just cleaned this one up--holler if you're seeing any unforseen side-effects of the cleanup.

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    I know that the cap-n-trade train is already rolling out of the station, but shouldn't we really be adopting a carbon tax? It's easier to understand and administer, has a more direct incentivizing effect, and generates a bunch of taxes you can invest in green tech (or health care, schools, etc.).

  • InTheBuilding (unverified)
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    The biggest problem with a carbon tax is that you're not sure how much you'll actually reduce global warming pollution.

    Which is a pretty darn big problem.

    The second biggest problem is counting the votes for a carbon tax. Hard to get to 36 in the House and 18 in the Senate.

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    Thanks for fixing the post.

  • Jägermeister (unverified)
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    There are several problems with a carbon tax as I see it. First, it is a command and control approach versus a market-based mechanism. Blanket taxes lead to an economically inefficient level of output and allocative inefficiencies, which is why economists tend to favor a cap-and-trade scheme. Also, a market-based approach is more politically palatable than the scary 'T' word.

    Second, carbon taxes do nothing for micro-particulates, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, ozone, etc... All of these have an environmental impact and need to be regulated as well. (Although I think SO2 is already regulated in this country?)

    Third, carbon taxes are not dynamic. Our goal is to reduce atmospheric contaminants over time so that it doesn't wreak economic havoc. Carbon taxes follow a 'set it and forget it' model that would need to be updated on a regular basis to encourage reduction.

    Frankly I think we need both, but cap-and-trade should come first on businesses and big polluters, and then apply a consumer-level carbon tax to encourage individuals to make better choices in their product purchases. Any such system would need to be very visible at the price level though.

  • billy (unverified)
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    Both depend on making energy so expensive that people cannot afford to heat their homes or dive their cars.

    Is this really what progressives want to do to people?

    Shouldn't you first prove that CO2 actually can cause dangerous warming?

    How many people know that CO2 causes, AT MOST, 30% of the observed warming?

    How many people know that those temperature cycles that AL Gore showed actually show temperature leading CO2, thereby disproving CO2 as a cause of temperature increase. (Yes, Al Gore lied to us.)

    Think of it? - what do you base your belief in CO2 on? Is it fact based or emotion? (The mere fact of warming DOES NOT prove that CO2 is the cause.)

    Thanks B

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    billy- Sorry, but I suspect you're wasting your breath here with any arguments against global warming. It's become the 'scientific consensus' among the true believers - even though science is never determined by consensus. It's a religion - they don't have to prove it exists.

    And yes, ominpresent regulation is what progressives want to do to people.

  • InTheBuilding (unverified)
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    Oh, yeah, people will have no energy or no cars. Right.

    Like in Japan, the world's second biggest economy, where they use half the energy per capita as in the US. Oh, poor Japanese. If only they could heat their homes.

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    Well billy, I will admit you have made a number of good points about the inefficiency of public transit, but the fact that greenhouse gasses cause warming is really beyond scientific dispute. One of the reasons why we're not seeing more of an effect than we already are is that we also happen to be at a solar minimum right now, which tends to cool the Earth, so the effects tend to cancel each other out.

    But there is no sign that the sun is going into a major cooling phase, so we don't have an ice-age sun to save us from ourselves.

    But that's hardly the worst of it. In addition to warming, CO2 poisoning is poised to acidify the oceans. Already, many reef ecosystems are dying or dead because mollusks simply can't build their bodies in an acid environment. Add in overfishing, and you're talking about literally killing many of the species used for basic food around the world.

    And by the way, I'll take scientific consensus over GOP pathological nutcase jay-sus freaks any day.

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    Shouldn't you first prove that CO2 actually can cause dangerous warming?

    Would have been nice if you boys had been so assiduous about facts before you bombed the hell out of Baghdad. Of course, that you couldn't decipher that evidence is related to your inability to comprehend the science on global warming.

    For others, thanks for the tax vs trade discussion. I feel more edumacated.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    "billy" is Jim Ka[a]rlock. Correctly spelling his surname triggers a Blue Oregon filter that blocks the comment from being posted.

  • dddave (unverified)
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    Oregon is what, .001% of the world wide supposed global warming? Clue for you folks, there is NOTHING we can do in Oregon that will affect the planet as a whole. ZERO, even if we accept your "faith" in the global warming hype. To add a false economy (read "cost") is foolishness. Teddy K., is you want to affect the world, run for "world KING" or something, otherwise, stick to things that pertain to our state and your job.

  • Jägermeister (unverified)
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    there is NOTHING we can do in Oregon that will affect the planet as a whole.

    Except set a good example, and be ahead of the curve on this before it's imposed at the national level.

  • Andrea (unverified)
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    In response to the question about why not a carbon tax?

    The problem with the carbon tax approach alone is that it doesn't guarantee carbon reductions because there is no cap.

    For a carbon tax to be effective over time and meet the reduction that is ultimately required -- according to world scientists, 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 -- we'd have to apply a tax that is way outside the boundaries of what is politically possible.

    While we may wish otherwise, the reality is that we don't have the political oomph to put a tax in place at a high enough level significantly reduce carbon emissions.

    That said, taxes and fees are still important tools that we should figure out how to use effectively, but the CAP is what is going to make the difference, along with a system in place to meet that cap.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    " Correctly spelling his surname triggers a Blue Oregon filter that blocks the comment from being posted."

    How un-American of you...

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    "YESTERDAY, a former chief at NASA, Dr John S. Theon, slammed the computer models used to determine future climate claiming they are not scientific in part because the modellers have “resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists”. [1]

    Today, a founder of the International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, and International Symposium on Forecasting, and the author of Long-range Forecasting (1978, 1985), the Principles of Forecasting Handbook, and over 70 papers on forecasting, Dr J. Scott Armstrong, tabled a statement declaring that the forecasting process used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lacks a scientific basis. [2]

    What these two authorities, Drs Theon and Armstrong, are independently and explicitly stating is that the computer models underpinning the work of many scientific institutions concerned with global warming, including Australia’s CSIRO, are fundamentally flawed."

    This was published at the 2008 Weblogs Award Winning "Best Science Blog" Watts Up With That?

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    @ Andrea

    You seem to distinguish a difference between the costs of a carbon tax and of the costs of carbon allowances (as auctioned or traded under a cap-and-trade system) necessary to reach a given level of carbon gas reduction. In both, it is the increased costs/prices to consumers that will reduce emissions. If the carbon tax needs to be so high as to be effective in terms of the 2050 goal, how will the cost/price increases under a cap-and-trade be any less? Am I missing something here?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    mp97303: yes, of course there are professionals who think the global climate computational models are problematic. They account for considerably less than 1% of the practitioners, however.

    Show me a field where there is unanimity, and I will show you a religion.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    @ Andrea: The fundamental problem in using the sulfer trading program as a model for carbon is that sulfer leaves the atmosphere rapidly, carbon does not. As several people have pointed out recently, we need to think of carbon dioxide more like nuclear waste and less like sulfer.

    The cap and trade boosters are proposing to set up a gigantic trading system of the type that has worked so well in the financial sector, where we will be trading intangible rights (to pollute) and creating weird disparities where the worst polluters will get the biggest rewards rather than pay the biggest freight.

    If you take coal out of the program, then a cap and trade is probably OK, because all projections are that we (humans) will burn all the gas and oil we can find, and that this still won't drive climate off the rails. But if we try to burn much more coal, we're screwed, and screwed for good.

    Carbon from coal has to be capped, and fast -- we need to get off coal as fast as possible, not create a property right to burn it.

    A tax works much faster than a cap-and-trade scheme, and can be adjusted quickly. Collect stiff taxes on fossil carbon when it enters the system (a handful of points) and rebate 100% of the money back to citizens. It creates all the incentives of your cap-and-trade without enriching traders and without being easy to distort.

  • Richard (unverified)
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    It's amazing that ya'll are so believing and are advocating these policies to deal with something that isn't happening.

    CO2 does not drive temperature, period. CO2 is a trace greenhouse gas and man's portion if a tiny fraction of that. But again CO2 does not drive temperature.

    Here's a perfect, short power point video by climate experts with IPCC data.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDI2NVTYRXU

    I get the impression that with many of you it somehow doesn't matter if AGW is a fraud? It does.

    It's becoming clear to most people and mdeia that AGW fraud is a Democrat cause. Own it.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    @Joel:They account for considerably less than 1% of the practitioners, however.

    Can you back that figure up?

  • Richard (unverified)
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    I meant to add this.

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=02&fd=04&fy=1999&sm=02&sd=04&sy=2009 The Cryosphere Today Compare Daily Sea Ice Side by side polar ice cap comparisons

  • Charles Pierce, Australia (unverified)
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    I was interested to find this blog. 20 years ago I had a book published on different economic concepts to point the way to a sustainable world economy. Someone who liked the book contacted me this year to suggest that I update and re-publish it as a blog. She set up the blog, and the book is now complete on the blog in a series of postings. There are now also additional pieces on global warming and other subjects. Here is the link:

    http://www.economicsforaroundearth.com

    With all good wishes, Charles Pierce

  • Adam Zielinski (unverified)
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    Andrea,

    I don't think a cap necessarily guarantees anything. People/companies will cheat and emit more CO2 than they are allowed. Who's going to police them and what's the penalty going to be? Who's going to know if someone emits more CO2 and they don't buy enough credits to cover it? Every year there is a news story about some factory that has been spilling pollution for several years without detection. How is this going to be any different with CO2?

    With a carbon tax, you can't avoid it and you can't cheat. If you buy coal or gas, you're paying it. No need for an army of auditors to monitor everything. In this way, a carbon tax is more like a sales tax, while cap and trade is like an income tax. The sales tax and carbon tax capture the underground economy because they are much harder to avoid. Cap and Trade and the income tax require tons of paperwork and there are zillions of loopholes and special exemptions for favored interests, which create market distortions.

    In reality, most economists favor a carbon tax, because it is more free market friendly. Cap and Trade is more regulatory in nature.

    I think you are underestimating what the costs of carbon allowances under cap and trade will have to be to make a difference, and overestimating how high a carbon tax would have to be.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer writes: One of the reasons why we're not seeing more of an effect than we already are is that we also happen to be at a solar minimum right now, which tends to cool the Earth, so the effects tend to cancel each other out.

    But there is no sign that the sun is going into a major cooling phase, so we don't have an ice-age sun to save us from ourselves.

    Steve- Astronomers watch an 11 year sunspot cycle that has been very regular since the 1700's. The last peak (or 'solar maximum' was in 2001 when there were 150-175 sunspots observed on the sun. The next cycle is forecast to peak in about 2012 - and then (SURPRISE!) the sun will go into another 'cooling phase' until the next 'solar minimum'... probably ~2019.

    So we don't need an ice-age sun - we just need an injection of sanity to save us from the global warming pathological nutcase jay-sus freaks.

  • Eve (unverified)
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    The fact that greenhouse gasses cause warming is an unproven theory. Prove it before you cripple the remains of this country's industry and before you make it too expensive for people to heat their homes. Did you know that cold kills way more people than heat? This entire global warming hoax is too idiotic to be believed, especially now on a cooling planet.

  • riverat (unverified)
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    The goal has got to be to reduce CO2 emissions to a net zero within 40 or 50 years. I think a carbon tax that is raised each year at a rate that gives time for alternatives to be developed but eventually makes it prohibitive to emit CO2 would be most effective. It puts the burden on everyone, it's much simpler to administer than cap and trade and impossible to avoid. I'm intrigued by the idea of returning it everyone at an equal per capita rate. That's a good incentive to encourage and reward people to use less carbon. I would take out enough for administration and a small percentage to fund research though.

    Dave

  • riverat (unverified)
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    'skeptics' - The expense is already there and sooner or later we pay for it. If you include the externalities in the price of fossil fuels it probably costs us 3 or 4 times or more than we currently pay. Internalizing the costs would encourage reductions.

    The physics of CO2 show that it absorbs infrared radiation. Current projections show a 2 degree C (3.6F) rise is already built in even if we stopped CO2 emissions tomorrow. Dangerous? That depends on your definition but it will certainly be hugely disruptive to human activities.

    It's true that CO2 is only 30% of the total greenhouse effect. If there was no greenhouse effect the average temperature on the surface of the earth would be somewhere around -35F instead of around the 50F we currently enjoy. However, of the additional warming we've been observing it's probably more like 80% or 90% caused by the additional CO2 we've been emitting.

    It's true that CO2 levels lag temperature increases coming out of a glacial but that doesn't prove anything because it's not an either/or thing. One doesn't preclude the other. That lagging CO2 helped amplify the warming that was occurring until other negative feedbacks became strong enough to reverse the trend. So no, Al Gore didn't lie about that.

    If you think CO2 can't drive temperature I think it's up to you to show why not given the physics of it. All I see from that side of the argument is a lot of hand waving and little of scientific merit.

    Dave

  • billy (unverified)
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    riverat It's true that CO2 is only 30% of the total greenhouse effect. JK: Thanks for finally admitting that fact.

    riverat . ... However, of the additional warming we've been observing it's probably more like 80% or 90% caused by the additional CO2 we've been emitting. JK: Just how does that work since CO2's effect is logarithmic and we are on the plateau, where the increase in effect is very small for an increase in stimulus?

    riverat It's true that CO2 levels lag temperature increases coming out of a glacial JK: Thanks for finally admitting that David.

    riverat but that doesn't prove anything because it's not an either/or thing. One doesn't preclude the other. That lagging CO2 helped amplify the warming that was occurring JK: You are the one with the PhD and a science writer with access to the peer reviewed journals, so show us the peer reviewed proof of your claim: “CO2 helped amplify the warming that was occurring”

    riverat If you think CO2 can't drive temperature I think it's up to you to show why not given the physics of it. JK: No, David, it is up to you to prove it. I have been asking for that proof for many months and you have never produced it.

    riverat All I see from that side of the argument is a lot of hand waving and little of scientific merit. JK: And all we see from your side is admitted liars making headlines: I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is -- Al Gore (For citation, see: sustainableOrergon.com)

    we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might. have -- Editor of Climate Change Journal (For citation, see: sustainableOrergon.com)

    Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time -- Jim Hansen (keeps NASA climate records) (For citation, see: sustainableOrergon.com)

    And Hansen’s boss just came out and said: He [Hansen] was never muzzled ... He thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988.. ...some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results... They have resisted making their work transparent ... Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy... See emails at the bottom of: epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=1a5e6e32-802a-23ad-40ed-ecd53cd3d320

    BTW David, we are still waiting for you to show your previous statements to be true. Your claim that you have answered them is simply false: 1. “the science is that the world is warming and man is responsible for much of it. This is well-established in the scientific literature.” 2. CO2 can cause “far more than 0.5 C warming” 3. “if you're going to damage the climate by burning carbon " 4. “today's CO2 is different – manmade (there's irrefutable proof of this).” 5. “Global warming is, simply, the most serious and most difficult problem ever faced by mankind. . .This is a sound, definite scientific conclusion, no longer in any real doubt”

    Where is the evidence? Your silence is ample evidence that you have none

    Thanks B

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    This is all pedantic. The methane estimates from melting permafrost are off by maybe a factor ! If so, we're looking at the 200 year warming predictions by 2050, in which case this society is a walking dead man. No alarm; humanity hasn't earned better, and the rest of the planet will recover like most organisms do after shedding a heavy load of parasites. Its simple. The earth is an organism, and has a fever to rid itself of our infection. Humans are a cancer. Isn't that what you call a group of cells that "decide" that you don't need all those other kinds of tissue; you can have every cell in your body be pulmonary lining! The brain runs things; why shouldn't it take over every cell in the body? Normal cells don't behave like that, cancers do, and that is exactly how humans behave. Cancers are also more energy intensive than other cells, just like humans vis a vis other mammals. It's hard to destroy cancer with a fever, though, and the organism may take some real damage getting us off.

    billy- Sorry, but I suspect you're wasting your breath

    That's all he does. Hopefully he'll have used it up soon. This prob can only be addressed if people like billy's CO2 output is at zero.

    BO's pretty indulgent, letting a known environmental terrorist post the same comment spam on every topic where CO2 appears even once. Editorial policy that Sam is more important than the environment?

  • billy (unverified)
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    Jiang, does this mean that you deny the science that shows we are no warmer today than medieval times, Roman times and Egyptian times?

    Do you deny that the Antarctic ice cores show temperature rising before CO2 by hundreds of years?

    Do you deny that CO2, at most, accounts for 30% of the warming?

    Do you deny that water vapor is the major greenhouse gas?

    Sounds like you are a denier.

    Thanks B

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)
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    Cap and trade and carbon taxes will have an impact on private businesses, but what are we asking the government to do to reduce CO2 out put? The U.S. military may be a significant cause, but few are asking the fly boys to cut back. No one seems to suggest we get rid of a couple of those carrier task forces.

    Locally we might paint our roofs white and use a relective material for roads. Some work has suggested that doing just that in 100 of the world's largest cities would reduce GHG by about 44 metric gigatons annually, if I recall the article correctly.

    Some advanced work on LEDs looks like we might be able to light our homes more efficiently in the next decade and reduce light costs from 20% of electric usage to around 5%. Thus we will be able to get by with a smaller increase in electric generating capacity.

    Then there is this and it would require changing our transit system and maybe opening the market. "A “Smart Jitney” system could be developed rapidly, and provide for a very sizable (50-75%) reduction of gasoline consumed and greenhouse gases generated by transportation." http://www.communitysolution.org/pdfs/NS12.pdf

    Much of this requires government to change habits a damn difficult job.

  • Lance Comfort (unverified)
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    Historically CO2 increases follow temperature increases, not the other way around, thus temperature cannot be a result of CO2 changes. Trying to state the oposite is a little like saying "I got hit by a car, so I stepped into the street." It's backwards and obviously so. The problem is good ol' Al Gore made his little movie and fudged his data to fit his hypothesis. Now every backyard environmentalist is hollering 'save the planet from the evils of carbon!' In the meantime funding is being cut for the testing of air quality and the number of testing sites has dropped dramatically over the past eigth years.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    Posted by: billy | Feb 6, 2009 2:40:27 PM

    Jiang, does this mean that you deny the science that shows we are no warmer today than medieval times, Roman times and Egyptian times?

    We're cooling towards the next glaciation. Staying ANYWHERE near level represents a major rise in temps.

    Do you deny that the Antarctic ice cores show temperature rising before CO2 by hundreds of years?

    Cherry picking. A few core samples that disagree with Greenland's and the fossil record could well be a local effect. The Antarctic has very complex microclimates, kind of like California.

    Do you deny that CO2, at most, accounts for 30% of the warming?

    No. If you were a physician and you had 100 patients dieing each week from a lifestyle disease that was caused by fat and white sugar, and the white sugar accounted for 30% of their morbidity, would you tell them they didn't need to put themselves out and stop eating it? I'm used to social sciences data. They don't have ANYTHING that accounts for 30% of ANYTHING. Admit it. That constant repetition about the 30% meaning we should do nothing about it, is derived exclusively from your feeling about how much 30% is. Real scientific. Mentioned on every thread, you still have never said a word about CH4.

    Do you deny that water vapor is the major greenhouse gas?

    This is your best one. You would actually watch a guy spread gasoline on the sofa, light it, and as the house was burning down say it wasn't from lighting a flammable liquid, the walls were bursting into flame due to infrared radiation. Yes, fires tend to produce that and the more it gets going the more you get and the hotter the walls get until everything burns up. It isn't an issue when the house ISN'T on fire, though, is it? Yes, HOH vapor is the major greenhouse chemical. Can you really not see that increasing the temperature of the planet, overall, would cause more water vapor in the atmosphere, which will cause more warming?

    Sounds like you are a denier.

    Indeed. I deny your religion. Reread your krap. It reads like baptismal promises. It's definitely a religion. "Do you reject the satan Gore? Do you reject all his works? Do you believe in the righteousness of industry, the need for people to drive, drive, drive and consume, never telling an idiot he's destroying your life and the future of the county to come? Then I baptize you in the name of Cheney, Ford and Morgan."

    Science is more about being able to falsify hypotheses than about peer review. Peer review is better than not having it, but it has made abysmal mistakes. Your hypothesis is not falsifyable. You will not/cannot state the conditions under which you would accept the null hypothesis. Hence, you are preaching religion. You know how I feel about that?

    Thanks B

    Reem yerself until it bleeds!

    Please run again. I so regret not having attended one of your rallies.

    Lance, I thought you were at City Hall now.

  • riverat (unverified)
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    JK

    If you admit CO2 is about 30% of the greenhouse effect then thanks for finally admitting the fact that CO2 can cause greenhouse warming.

    BTW, my numbers were a bit off. I looked it up and the average temperature on the surface of the earth is about 14C (57F). Without any greenhouse effect it would be about -18C (-0.4F) a difference of 32C (57F). 30% of that is 9.6C (17.2F) which would bring the average temperature down to 4.4C (40F) without CO2s greenhouse effect. Of course it's not that simple because the various greenhouse gases IR absorbtion characteristices overlap to some extent but a rough calaculation by a climate scientist shows the contribution of CO2 to warming is somewhere between 3C (5.9F) and 9C (16.2F).

    Human activities have released enough CO2 to raise the level from 284 ppm in 1832 to 384 in 2007, about 35%. It's been increasing about 3ppm/year lately so it's pushing 390 ppm by now. At that rate it will be around 650 ppm in 2100 but if the rate keeps increasing as it has it will be more like 750-800 ppm by then. Toxicity studies show that over 20% of people feel discomfort in a room where the level of CO2 is 1000 ppm.

    What human activities you may ask. Coal averages around 70% carbon so a ton is about 0.7 tons of carbon.. That produces about 2.3 tons of CO2 from buring a ton of coal. (Carbon has an atomic weight of 14 and oxygen is 16 so CO2 is 46. That's 3.29 times the weight of the carbon atom alone.) Similar calculations can be done for other CO2 producing activities and we know how much coal, petroleum and gas we're burning and how much other industrial activities produce so we know how much CO2 human activities produce. If you add it all up it turns out that only about 2/3 of human emissions remain in the atmosphere and the other 1/3 is absorbed into the environment.

    Regarding CO2 being either a forcing or a feedback (in other words leads or lags temperature) tell me why it can't be either depending on the situation. I haven't found a paper that specifically addresses the CO2 amplification hypothesis just several mentions of it as a possibility that warrants more investigation when someone can get around to it. So you can have that one. But the warming from an ice age generally continues for 5000 years and you have no proof that CO2 didn't cause the other 4200 years of warming. Of course it is only one factor among many interactions.

    No PhD, just a lifelong (50+ years) interest in science and technology and a computer guy. I've come to understand how all life on this planet (including human) is dependant on a complex web of interactions that includes climate. Human activities have altered that web, sometimes in positive ways but more often negative (from my point of view anyway). If you break enough strands in a web eventually it collapses. As we weaken it we weaken its ability to continue to support our population. Eventually it will catch up to us. As they say "You can't fool Mother Nature", at least not for long and she's likely to kick us in the ass for ignoring that. Those that think the environment doesn't matter are fools.

    Science doesn't offer proof in the absolute black and white way you want it to. Instead it consists of observing, forming hypotheses about those observations, testing the hypotheses (by experiment) against reality, refining them until until they match reality enough to be called theories. Those theories are subject to change any time by new observations and hypotheses. Einstein's Relativity showed that Newton's Laws of Motion were wrong but they're still good enough for a lot of situations. Computer climate models are built on the formulas for the physical processes derived from observation of the various factors involved. They're not perfect but like Newton's Laws they match reality well enough to be useful. They don't predict weather (more than a week or two out) because they can't. Instead they simulate weather and its interaction with the atmosphere, land, sea and sun. That data is used to make climate projections. Climate after all is just the statistical compilation of weather over periods of time. Climate models are tested against real observations and nothing that's occurred lately is outside the range of climate projections from the models.

    As far as your list goes some of it is answered above but we could argue back and forth all you want and you'd never accept anything I wrote and you'd never give up. I've got better things to do with my time. (He says after spending a couple hours composing this :-(.

    For those who want to explore the subject I suggest Real Climate/Start Here. It helps to have some basic scientific knowledge though.

    Dave

  • billy (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jiang: does this mean that you deny the science that shows we are no warmer today than medieval times, Roman times and Egyptian times?

    We're cooling towards the next glaciation. Staying ANYWHERE near level represents a major rise in temps. B: If we are “cooling towards the next glaciation.”, shouldn’t we be emitting as much greenhouse gas as possible?

    Jiang: Do you deny that the Antarctic ice cores show temperature rising before CO2 by hundreds of years?

    Cherry picking. A few core samples that disagree with Greenland's and the fossil record could well be a local effect. The Antarctic has very complex microclimates, kind of like California. B: Your lack of knowledge is showing. Antarctic is the South Pole. Greenland is near the North pole. As to “local effect”: they are overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community. So much that ReaClimate (the alarmists’ home) actually admits to their accuracy and the apparent fact that temperature leads CO2. (Of course they spin it their way with a wild theory full of words like “could” and “may” - as are most alarmists’ “science” if you actually read any of them.)

    Jiang: Do you deny that CO2, at most, accounts for 30% of the warming?

    Admit it. That constant repetition about the 30% meaning we should do nothing about it, is derived exclusively from your feeling about how much 30% is. B: Appearently you don’t understand percentages. 30% mens for every 100 items, 30 are ... In this context it means that whatever predicted warming amount that you want to pick out of thin air, only 1/3 of that will go away if man shut down all CO2 emission. The other 2/3 is beyond our control.

    Jiang: Do you deny that water vapor is the major greenhouse gas? ....Yes, HOH vapor is the major greenhouse chemical. Can you really not see that increasing the temperature of the planet, overall, would cause more water vapor in the atmosphere, which will cause more warming? B: Where do you get the garbge that “ more water vapor in the atmosphere, which will cause more warming”? More water vapor give us more evaporative cooling and more sunlight reflecting clouds and emission of heat into space as it condenses. Didn’t you pay attention in thermodynamics class? Also, there is still a lot of discussion in science circles as to wether H2O warms or cools.

    Jiang: Indeed. I deny your religion. Reread your krap. It reads like baptismal promises. It's definitely a religion. "Do you reject the satan Gore? Do you reject all his works? Do you believe in the righteousness of industry, the need for people to drive, drive, drive and consume, never telling an idiot he's destroying your life and the future of the county to come? Then I baptize you in the name of Cheney, Ford and Morgan." B: Got any proof of all those imagined harms? I can prove Al Gore is liar: British court forbid showing his SciFi video in schools without a disclaimer. He admitted lying to Grist in his interview. (He called it an “over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is”. If you have trouble understanding this consider it as if GWB had said: I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous Saddam Hussain is)

    Jiang: Science is more about being able to falsify hypotheses than about peer review. B: Your global warming postulate (not really a hypotheses) has been falsified by the following facts: It did not predict the current cooling. Its prediction of Troposphere warming was false.

    It is false. Period.

    Jiang: Your hypothesis is not falsifyable. You will not/cannot state the conditions under which you would accept the null hypothesis. Hence, you are preaching religion. B: My hypothesis??? Global warming is yours. BTW, you are preaching religion, I am skeptical and trying to get you to actually look at the facts.

    Thanks B

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