Don’t worry, fuel hasn’t gone up that much. No, this one is about food. For quite some time now, ever since I’ve been doing it, certainly more than a year, our weekly family-of-4 shopping bill at Waitrose has been £100, give or take about £20, depending on how much booze or other exceptional items are on the list. Given all the news about increasing commoditity prices, and food riots, and suchlike, I keep expecting it to head skywards, but it hasn’t. Perhaps Waitrose already has such overheads that they have enough fat to cut.

Tax and Dividend?

Its Jim Hansens plan (or is it copied from someone else? who cares) and its pushed again here. The idea: carbon tax, to be returned diurect to the public. As he sez: Principles must be crystal clear and adhered to rigorously. A tax on coal, oil and gas is simple. It can be collected at the first point of sale within the country or at the last (e.g., at the gas pump), but it can be collected easily and reliably.

Sounds good, though notice that the principles don’t allow you to decide exactly where to tax it, so there is plenty of room for argument there.

Later on, it gets murky too: The entire carbon tax should be returned to the public, with a monthly deposit to their bank accounts, an equal share to each person (if no bank account provided, an annual check – social security number must be provided). No bureaucracy is needed to figure this out. If the initial carbon tax averages $1200 per person per year, $100 is deposited in each account each month (Detail: perhaps limit to four shares per family, with child shares being half-size, i.e., no marriage penalty but do not encourage population growth).

So what in the crystal-clear principles allows you to decide if it should be limited to n shares per person? And looking harder, what allows you to decide it should be an equal share per person? Is it only the lack of any other method of division?

It is too early to tell

…as the famous sage replied. He wasn’t talking about the Thompson et al. stuff, but he could have been. RP Jr appears determined to prove me right and is in danger of saltating the carcharhiniforme (ho ho).

Meanwhile, in an abrupt U-turn, James “maverick” Annan is toeing the party line, describing RC’s post as “pretty reasonable as ever” :-).

But enough snarking. I should say something.

It now seems fairly clear that “everyone” is accepting the correction as necessary, and in my brief perusal of the T et al. paper I thought it seemed fair enough. Whats up for grabs is how much, and where, the temperature record is likely to change; and how the conclusions the IPCC drew from it would change. If the graph in the Indie is vaguely correct (and though its in a newspaper, its sourced to CRU, which some have leapt over) the answer is: not a lot. The change from a dip to a slow trough won’t affect modern trends at all, nor would they substantially affect the sulphate-aerosol cooling interpretation. Which is just as well, because removing it would be embarassing, as JA noted at first.

However, it isn’t clear how much the record will change by. Although its likely satellites, buoys, and extra ships will limit the change to the early 1960’s, it could be longer. Hopefully all the nice T record people will be even now beavering away at their revised series.

[While I’m here, let me point you to http://sonic.net/~nbs/webturtle/ -W]


£75 is how much it cost to fill up our C5 a few days ago; with diesel at 1.29 per litre, you could work out our tank size, if you were bored.

Current fuel prices are clearly causing some pain, or at least some squealing, all around the world (as Maribo notes, “we are approaching the elastic part of the gas price equation”). It would be nice to think that this will lead to a reduction in consumption, although the hike in prices is caused by increased consumption so the rise is more likely to just redistribute the consumption. And it will lead to more coal-to-oil plans, like this by the US airforce (thanks to G). As they say: “We’re going to be burning fossil fuels for a long time, and there’s three times as much coal in the ground as there are oil reserves,” said Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson. “Guess what? We’re going to burn coal.” Of course there is another sie, ziv Tempering that vision, analysts say, is the astronomical cost of coal-to-liquids plants. Their high price tag, up to $5 billion apiece, would be hard to justify if oil prices were to drop. In addition, coal has drawn wide opposition on Capitol Hill, where some leading lawmakers reject claims it can be transformed into a clean fuel. Without emissions controls, experts say coal-to-liquids plants could churn out double the greenhouse gases as oil. “We don’t want new sources of energy that are going to make the greenhouse gas problem even worse,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said in a recent interview. I wonder who will win? Of course if current oil prices are a bubble and the price falls, coal becomes uneconomic again. According to that article, its even uneconomic at $60 bbl.

Maybe this will be enough to make CO2 air scrubbing attractive: the grauniad has another article on another proposal (thanks L). But details on coast and efficiency are lacking, and/or secret.