Hansen on cap-n-trade vs carbon tax

Hansen has finally realised why cap-n-trade is more “popular” than a carbon tax. Of course I said this ages ago. JH says (I think it’s in there somewhere; the text I’m quoting is from an email):

In my testimony I noted that a “Cap” raises the price of energy, just as does a simple honest carbon tax on oil, gas and coal at the first sale at the mine or port of entry. “Cap” is a pseudonym, disguising the fact that it is a tax, assuming that the public is a bunch of dummies, who will never catch on. With all its hooks and eyes, Cap&Trade will allow a lot of funny business. At least we would get a few Wall Street millionaires back in business, via speculation and gaming the Cap&Trade system (funded by John Q. Public, of course).

On the train I read on politico.com that the number of lobbyists in DC working to influence federal policy on climate change increased in the past few years by 300% to 2,340 lobbyists — four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress. At least the alligator shoe business is doing well. Not too good for alligators, though.

A Carbon Tax & 100% Dividend would not let Congress enrich their favorites or divine winning technologies. Instead, the winners would be innovators who invent products with improved energy efficiency or develop carbon-free energies, which allow people to reduce their carbon tax. Of course, if you don’t trust your innovation skills, it is easier to pay a lobbyist to get Congress to adopt a jury-rigged Cap&Trade system.

2340 lobbyists. They are outnumbered by the at least 2500 people, mostly young people (but everybody welcome), who plan to converge on Washington March 2 (despite inclement weather) to peacefully protest the Capitol Power Plant, which our Congress insists must be powered substantially by coal (our coal-black Senate seems to be the culprit). The Capitol Power Plant is just the symbolic target — the real aim is to influence Congress to adopt legislation that will rapidly phase out coal use. See http://capitolclimateaction.org/

The question is: who will Congress listen to? Protesters (bringing no gifts – it’s hard enough to pay their own way) or lobbyists (with lobbying expenditures last year of about $90M).

Young folks, if you need an indication of what you are up against, let me give you one example. Peabody Coal (a.k.a. Peabody Energy) hires Dick Gephardt, paying him $120,000.00 per quarter in 2008. The amount of money going into lobbying is increasing rapidly. As Shakespeare would say, gird up your loins.

Unfortunately, whilst JH’s analysis is fair enough, I’m not very convinced by his solution.

“Will” I be able to think of a witty title for this post?

BS has the definitive answer to the George Will nonsense. Or read John Fleck, who conveniently links to our joint paper. Until I started typing this, I had an even better answer: I ignore it, it’s a pile of toss. But alas, I’m unable to resist joining in, even though I have nothing new to say. And indeed, I haven’t even bothered to read what he wrote, so uninterested am I in his errors (yes yes, I know dearest septics, but life is too short).

Andy Revkin (a page, incidentally, that the vaunted Chrome displays very badly) f*cks this up badly, effectively painting Gore and Will as equivalents. This had the usual cause: not because he thought they were, but because for that piece at least he really wasn’t interested in what they were saying: he just had a journalistic point to make, and they were convenient fodder. Revkin, of course, isn’t about to apologise for his error, and in this he is just like Will, or whatever paper printed Will’s twaddle. See, I can do false equivalence too.

Will’s stuff is twaddle, and we’ve already debunked it, so enough of that: let’s look instead at whatever evil Gore has committed. Gore is in most respects correct, so it’s worth picking at any problems. I’m having a slightly hard time finding out what Gore actually said. It’s apparently all about one disasters-are-increasing slide. Brad Johnson defends Gore on the grounds that Revkin Is Attacking Gore For Trusting The New York Times, which is odd. Gore certainly *should* be attacked, if he is sourcing his climate change info from a newspaper. Gores office makes the same defense. With all due respect to the few good journalists out there, it’s just not the way to get your science. If you find something appealling in a newspaper, you have to track it down to the original source, and read that. You simply cannot reply on a newspaper. RP Jr as usual flies off the handle, but he has at least bothered to read the original, and for the idealogically pure who won’t follow a link to Roger, I’ll quote justifying the upward trend in hydro-meteorological disaster occurrence and impacts essentially through climate change would be misleading. Which is correct. AIT was largely correct, with misleading sections. This appears to be the same sort of thing. Because Gore isn’t a scientist, and his primary interest isn’t the scientific truth. He is a politican, and his primary interest is convincing people of things.

And if you say to me “but his heart is in the right place, we should support him” I say in reply [[Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Andrewjlockley]]. Or, put another way, it’s best to be accurate. As the wise mt says, we know the answer already, from the climate viewpoint.

ps: it took quite a bit of reading through the CRED report to find anything about causes. The end of a rather long exec summary (clearly none of these people have ever talked to an exec 🙂 offers a few weak words, which certainly can’t be taken to clearly link disasters to climate change. Indeed, the point of the report only seems to be to produce figures, not to draw any strong conclusions. I imagine that the Gore folk just naturally assumed that the two trends (T and Disasters) must be linked; after all, how could it be otherwise, and what need can there be for any proof? Here’s what I found:

Although if the above mentioned trends are consistent with the conclusions of the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) fourth assessment report- stating that climate change is likely to affect the severity, frequency, and spatial distribution of extreme climatic events such as hurricanes, storm surges, floods and droughts- the linking of past trends in the EM-DAT figures and to climate change needs to remain guarded. Indeed, justifying the upward trend in hydro-meteorological disaster occurrence and impacts essentially through climate change would be misleading. Climate change is probably an actor in this increase but not the major one- even if it impact on the figures will likely become more evident in the future. The task of identifying the possible impact of the climate change on the EM-DAT figures is complicated by the existence of several concomitant factors. For instance, one major contributor to the increase in disasters occurrence over the last decades is the constantly improving diffusion and accuracy of disaster related information. Furthermore, disaster occurrence and impacts do not only depend on exposure to extreme natural phenomena but also depend on anthropogenic factors such as government policy, population growth, urbanisation, community-level resilience to natural disaster, etc. All of these contribute to the degree of vulnerability people experience. Beside past major efforts to reduce disaster risk, the vulnerability of those populations most at risk continued to increase over the last decades. Climate change comes as an additional pressure on this rising vulnerability. Developing countries, many of which are already the most vulnerable to natural disasters, will be particularly affected by climate change. This will occur not only through the experience of more frequent and/or or severe disaster phenomena, but also through the slow onset impacts of climate change.

New camera

This isn’t going to turn into a photo-blog. But since my S10 started playing up (“lens error”) I got a D80 off ebay (so its not really a new camera at all, but nikon owners other than me seem to look after them well). And then took the S10 to bits, on the off chance of fixing it. But it is really very intricately constructed, as I knew it would be. Just taking it to bits to this stage was hard, getting it back together just about possible, but actually finding out what is wrong, let alone fixing it, so far eludes me. And this is what the lens barrel assembly looks like, or rather what the circuit layer on top of it looks like.

The D80 is nice. It’s good to have a proper SLR again (the F-801 was good too, but as an analogue object has been obsolete for years).

What is this?

A thin excuse for no blogging, but I’ve been away and fighting off the wackos. In the meantime, what is this:

[Some creative answers so far, but no-one has come close. Answer soon -W]

[My favourite answer is the Harley handlebar… I can just see a custom harley hand-crafted from antique silver. But the true answer is: a leg-of-lamb holder; the bone is inserted into the tube and secured with the screw, which then provides an elegant handle to hold the joint when carving -W]

Runaway climate change?

Wiki has an article on the subject, created by over enthusiastic folk. I tried to kill the witch on the grounds that it had no good definition; alas that didn’t fly. My best effort at a defn that fitted reality was this but it didn’t last. The wiki article will die a long slow painful death, but the term lives on elsewhere.

One of those places being Why we need a zero carbon world by zerocarboncaravan.net. All very nice people, no doubt, but over enthusiasts all. Why do we need a ZCW? Easy: We need a zero carbon world to drastically improve our chances of avoiding a runaway greenhouse effect that is irreversible. Um. But what *is* a RGE? Wiki thinks it’s the same thing as RCC. I’m dubious. I think it might be the thing where our oceans boil away, in which case we can forget all about it as its not going to happen. ZCW seem to use RGE and RCC just about interchangably too, but I think its fairly clear they aren’t doing a lot of thinking. Continuing, climate science indicates that runaway climate change is likely unless extremely rapid cuts in carbon emissions take place within the next few years. Well, since I don’t know what RCC is, I suppose thats a little bit hard to argue with. But unless they mean Hansen, who is well out on a limb, its hard to see exactly what science they are referring to. And no article about RCC would be complete without fatuous nonsense like In 2001, it was projected that the sea ice on the Arctic Ocean would disappear in around 140 years. Now it is clear that it will be gone in a decade or so. Even the wild-eyed wackos don’t say its clear it *will* be gone in a decade (unless they are hiding a very long tail nder “or so”).

OK, enough ranting. can anyone point me at a credible defn of RCC or RGE?

[Update: thanks to Eli for the idea, and ABM for the H+S ref. I’ve now decided I know what RaGE is, and have dumped it into wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Runaway_greenhouse_effect&oldid=271212711 for the version I left, which might survive, and [[Runaway_greenhouse_effect]] for the current version, which could well be a disaster by the time you read this. Improvements (especially more refs) very welcome. Less impressed by comments attempting to define RCC -W]

If that trend continues, says Serreze, sea ice will be -6 feet thick by 2050

Someone refererred be to As Effects of Warming Grow, U.N. Report is Quickly Dated . It’s yet another piece of the std.nonsense that one swallow does a summer make, and anyone who feels like quoting the odd warming factoid can throw away the IPCC, whilst of course sneering at the people who say it hasn’t been getting warmer recently, ‘cos obviously *that* is just weather.

So, what do we have? Since the late 1970s, satellite observations have shown a steadily growing retreat of Arctic sea ice in summer. Earlier [obviously it is too much trouble to say exactly which studies are meant; but this looks consistent with IPCC] models projected that between 2050 and 2070 the north polar sea would be essentially ice-free for at least part of the year. But in 2005, a steady downward trend in summer ice started to plunge more sharply. It got worse in 2006 and 2007, and moderated only slightly this past summer [Don’t know what the author thinks is going on at this point. 2005 was nothing special. Nor was 2006. Only 2007-8 are off the long-term declining trend. However, the 2008 ice was more extensive than in 2007. Clearly, the year-to-year trend is positive for 2007-8. That is obviously meaningless. For some reason, however, the 2006-2007 yearly trend *isn’t* meaningless, presumably because it indicates warming]. The area of the Arctic Ocean now covered by sea ice in summer is only about half as large as in 1950, according to satellite photos [Photos???] and data from earlier studies. The year-round sea ice is also appreciably thinner, often only three feet deep as opposed to nine feet a half-century ago. If that trend continues, says Serreze, “the move to ice-free will come a lot earlier, say, around 2030. Some people are even saying it could happen as early as a decade from now.”

“Some people” think the moon landings were faked, and that aliens abducted their sister.

Which trend does Serreze mean? The one about ice getting thinner? That’s the one I faked the headline from:clearly if we linearly extrapolate 9′ 50 years ago through 3′ now to 50 years in the future, its going to be -6 ‘ thick. Thats obvious nonsense. Or we cold take the area, which halved between 1950 and now. So again, by about 2050 (or a bit later, really) we’ll be down to no ice. But obviously that’s far too boringly slow. So instead I suppose Serreze must be drawing trend lines through 2007, which is obviously valid, as we all know that a single year is a valid trend, if it’s heading in the right direction.

Elsewhere, the text mentions Greenland melting, but it is by no means clear how important or long-term that is. Yes CO2 grew a lot in the great boom years, but no we’re still pretty well on IS92a and who wants to bet that 2009 will still show a huge growth? See-also stoat passim.

Need more evidence that IPCC is out of date? How about Pfeffer, of the University of Colorado, along with several colleagues, recalculated the projections of sea-level rise and came up with a range of .8 to 2 meters. Except… oh dear, this is an utter travesty of what Pfeffer actually does. See yet more stoat. P waves their hands and produces some numbers; they don’t mean a lot though. They certainly don’t replace IPCC and they very definitely aren’t definite.