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  • By Michael Mann and Tom Toles

    August tied July as the hottest month on record, according to NASA data released this past week. This year we’ve seen half a dozen thousand-year floods, along with epic droughts. M […]

    • Here’s what makes me nuts:

      The science and explanation that informs about global warming is simple, eloquent, and demonstrable. It boils down (no pun intended) to the only two things that definitely exist — matter and energy. There are more particles (matter) in the atmosphere than before and these particles are moving faster than before because of the temperature (energy). Now here’s the part that pisses me off.

      If your business, your paycheck, your children’s next meal relies on your business fucking up our earth…. I get it…. i am ashamed, i disagree with you and all the rest of the shit that can be said…. BUT, step up and fucking say it to me. Be a grown up. Own it. Say, “look, asshole, I simply do not prioritize the environment above my family thriving…” or whatever the story may be. But STOP fucking challenging my intellect and telling me that my science doesn’t check out as if you have any clue as to what science is or how it works.

      The problem is dishonesty. Just stand up and say that your profit margin is more important than my earth. At least we’d be able to speak to one another. But when you stand there and assault what I stand for and hide behind denial and name calling…. well…. now we have to fight.

    • This (borrowed from a different context) applies just as much to the climate topic:

      And the Caption Contest Winner Is …“Don’t question it, Charlie. Your career depends on it.” Caption by K….

      Posted by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth on Monday, April 11, 2016

    • shoe … why not try it like this ….
      .
      it’s obvious to all but the most obtuse that our climate is changing, as it always does. And given the changes in our ice caps, it’s pretty clear that it’s getting warmer. Now we, as a group need to determine what to do about it. So if you are think you have the solution, show it by living your solution. If you think it’s man made, but you own four homes and 6 cars and jet around the world to preach your “solution”, come clean. Admit it to us and to yourself. Own it. If your livelihood, and your families next meal depends on you burning copious fossil fuels, own that when you suggest that burning fossil fuels is the problem. Don’t try to hide behind your offsetting donation to some “green” charity, walk your walk. In fact, if you truly believe it’s fossil fuels that are harming our planet, stop using them. You’ll actually garner some respect and you may turn a few heads.
      .
      if you aren’t prepared to man up, stop pointing fingers at the rest of the world.
      .
      The problem is dishonesty. If you have a vested interest in the proposed solution you are touting, be upfront. If you aren’t starting by making the changes yourself, step aside and let the grown ups speak. Because you’ve shown yourself for what you are. An opportunist who does not believe what they are saying.
      .
      Once that is settled, we can get down to the business of how best to deal with what is happening. Once the charlatans and vested interests are weeded out, we can discuss the benefits of conservation, new technologies, mitigation of the results of climate change and how to deal with the inevitable changes to the world. And everyone in Florida can move to higher ground.

    • DC Toronto

      if you aren’t prepared to man up, stop pointing fingers at the rest of the world.

      The problem is dishonesty. If you have a vested interest in the proposed solution you are touting, be upfront. If you aren’t starting by making the changes yourself, step aside and let the grown ups speak. Because you’ve shown yourself for what you are. An opportunist who does not believe what they are saying.

      Once that is settled, we can get down to the business of how best to deal with what is happening. Once the charlatans and vested interests are weeded out, we can discuss the benefits of conservation, new technologies, mitigation of the results of climate change and how to deal with the inevitable changes to the world. And everyone in Florida can move to higher ground.

      I work in eco-technology and am now seeking to wrap the various projects into a circular economy business model. I work with a large number of businesses (peopled mostly by folk half my age). My colleagues attend conferences and meet very many more. Like me they all walk the walk. We eat our own dog food.

      Your imputation, as far as I can see is utterly specious.

      Folk seem often to put off action themselves because… Oh… “others aren’t doing anything yet” or “the technology isn’t here yet”. Simply buying the best eco products currently available… purchasing electrical power from eco-vendors… not buying that SUV but a micro-turboed one litre compact, an electric bike for the local shopping and hiring the SUV for your holiday… giving a damn enough to do this… will very, very quickly drive the changes we all seek.

      I can point all the fingers I like and I point them first and most accusingly at all the obfuscaters.

      “No charlatans then we’ll listen.”

      How’s that going to work? How will you ever be sure without actually engaging and learning yourself?

    • DC Toronto #3
      Sep 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

      The problem is dishonesty. If you have a vested interest in the proposed solution you are touting, be upfront. If you aren’t starting by making the changes yourself, step aside and let the grown ups speak. Because you’ve shown yourself for what you are. An opportunist who does not believe what they are saying.

      The problem is indeed dishonesty! The oil companies and mining companies were indeed opportunists when the PR departments as “liars for profit” and “merchants of doubt”, spread disinformation about climate science and climate scientists. The fact was, that for most of them their own company expert scientists were telling them that the evidence was sound, but “liars for profit”, don’t let things like evidence get in the way of propaganda campaigns!

      .
      Once that is settled, we can get down to the business of how best to deal with what is happening. Once the charlatans and vested interests are weeded out, we can discuss the benefits of conservation, new technologies, mitigation of the results of climate change and how to deal with the inevitable changes to the world.

      There is absolutely no need to wait for the propagandists and charlatans to be weeded out!
      The science is clear and the science advisors already know who the charlatans are!
      Most deniers are science illiterates anyway!

      The charlatans however, have no intention of admitting their dishonesty, respecting scientific expertise, or shutting up, so the ignoramus denial noise in the media is likely to continue!

      The real issues are in the debates between science, technology, and business experts, about which are the best options for particular locations, particular community and business needs, and how to get these in place on realistic timescales.

    • DC, I think we are saying mostly the same type of thing. When Phil and Alan4 bring their formidable assets to the table, it makes our table bigger. Both of you are dead on with the idea of informing and educating. Then pinball makes the very good point of asking if they “believe” in dumb shit, maybe they don’t get the science…. and pinball is right.
      I think this demonstrates something. The science is not really the debate. What to do with it is. And my point was that i’d rather be honestly stabbed in the front than backstabbed by dishonest people.

    • SO depressing. The USA has an astonishing number of numbnuts- which includes CC deniers, god-botherers,
      conspiracy freaks and many others. Arguing logic with such jellyfish-brains is futile; some other techniques
      may be effective but I’ve yet to find one.
      A lifelong friend in England is thus afflicted and it boils down to one simple thing- his electricity bill!
      Apparently the universe has been set up to penalise him personally… what can you say?

    • Another load of nonsense from Michael Mann.

    • Richard Cooper #11
      Sep 21, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Another load of nonsense from Michael Mann.

      Specifics? Evidence based criticism?

    • Another load of nonsense from Michael Mann

      We have a Denier among us! God be praised! It MUST be true- ‘cos he says so.
      As my Ph.D brother-in-law once said- ‘because I say so’… and I thought he was
      kidding me.

    • Articles like this obscure the substance and scope of the global warming process by
      yucking up the foolish gibberish of a handful of American deniers whose names have become
      infamous. The operative term for understanding emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases that drive up atmospheric temperatures is “GLOBAL.” Currently China has far surpassed the United States in such emissions, yet nowhere on this list does the reader find the names of the Chinese industrial planners who are building
      coal-fired plants at a clip of one per week. Tar and feather Sarah Palin, gloat in the sacrificial ritual of the clownish scapegoat, then sleep peacefully in the delusion that the Washington Post is fighting climate change? I don’t think so.

    • Currently China has far surpassed the United States in such emissions, yet nowhere on this list does the reader find the names of the Chinese industrial planners who are building coal-fired plants at a clip of one per week.

      Melvin, this rocketed China from nowhere to Manufacturer of the World in decades. Astonishing. If you look at all industrialisations in history they always went through peaks of carbon intensity until they caught up. The UK started first and went through the biggest peak of all, making new geography, the Black Country. All industrialising nations went through subsequently lower peaks and as we’ve discussed future industrialisations will be the most benign yet. China’s industrialising process was exceptionally brief.

      The facts

      China has 4.3 times the population

      China use only 30% of the energy per person compared to the USA.

      24.7% of their power is renewable, 13.8% for the USA

      China has probably gone through peak CO2

      The USA’s emissions continue to rise with the biggest contributor to the rise, the domestic sector. Bamboozelors have a lot to answer for. The capacity of the American citizen to consume power is prodigious compared to her Chinese counterpart.

      Ordinary Americans pointing fingers at others on every occasion, justifying their own inaction, without the pertinent facts are the roadblock too.

      Bamboozelers come in all flavours.

    • Global warming and carbon dioxide producing industries, individuals, etc is the classic ethical dilemma of the tragedy of the commons. The price of gasoline and jet fuel should reflect it’s damage to all of our commons.

    • Melvin #16
      Sep 21, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Articles like this obscure the substance and scope of the global warming process by yucking up the foolish gibberish of a handful of American deniers whose names have become infamous.

      Unfortunately stardom in the US media is more dependent funded campaigns and sponsorship, than on competence, honesty and accuracy!
      The rantings of “Stupidity Smith” (@#20), are much more likely to be presented in the public media as credible claims, than the work of a thousand honest expert scientists who have no PR budgets!

    • @Alan #24

      Smith is just reflecting the attitude of the deniers, as was the late Justice Scalia in his infamous quote, “I told you before I’m not a scientist.” Over a brief flutter of laughter from observers, he added, “That’s why I don’t want to have to deal with global warming, to tell you the truth.”

    • @ Phil: “Melvin, this rocketed China from nowhere to Manufacturer of the World in decades. Astonishing. If you look at all industrialisations in history they always went through peaks of carbon intensity until they caught up…”

      I’m aware of the history of industrialization. Industrialization is not a stage humankind has passed through, it is the reality we live in. “Peaks of carbon intensity” is both a useful and misleading phrase. Fossil fuel power plant and engine efficiency coupled with clean refining, “scrubbing,” carbon capture, etc. has pushed the amount of energy generated per unit of cleaner fuel to impressive heights. “Intensity,” however, has not put global carbon emissions in the rear view mirror. Population growth will more than double over 1990 levels by 2050 -33 years away from us. Billions of people multiplied in the near future are energy poor. Demand for fossil fuels will soar during the next three decades in non-OECD countries with greenhouse gas levels rising at rates studies can only speculate. Even with more renewables coming on line, gradual and slight drops in global levels will not put a dent in the 80% + cutbacks projected as necessary to address the magnitude of the problem.

      If world population had stabilized in 1990 then embarked on a gradual downward trajectory toward mid 1960s levels (about 3.5 billion) through slightly sub-replacement total fertility rates, then global warming might well have fallen within a manageable range. Official silence from world leaders about overpopulation -the growing population crisis especially in Africa but also in Asia outside of Europe, North America and Australasia- will be the fatal absurdity of our times. Turning on buffoons who deny global warming is an impotent refuge for those who are clueless about the monstrous overbreeding of Homo sapiens on this planet.

    • @ #20

      [Lamar Smith] is probably too scientifically illiterate to use a scientific calculator, let alone evaluate scientific papers, but in no way feels inhibited by his personal ignorance!

      It may or may not be true that Mr. Smith is scientifically illiterate, but that’s not the real problem anyway. The real problem here is that Mr. Smith has an agenda and priorities motivated entirely by greed for short-term (his lifetime) financial gains and seems to have no concern for what “might” happen after he’s gone off to “the good place”. If this were not the case, he probably would not have been “elected” in the first place and he certainly would not have been selected to chair this “science” committee.

    • Melvin,

      I see you have again deflected the need to push for policy changes and simply retreated into trend fatalism. Pining for earlier population control is fatuous. Population cannot be turned around anywhere near as fast as people imagine. The health dividend ensures effectively all 1.9bn children under 16 alive now will be alive in 2090. Unless you can stop them reproducing in the next twenty years, the population will continue to grow even with increasingly ubiquitous negative birth replacement rates due to rapidly improving health and growing lifespans. It is generally considered the health dividend produces a two generation run-on.

      The huge birth rates of Africa and still significant birthrates of the Indian subcontinent are supplemented by these decent health dividends and failing the imposition of pan African dictatorships and programs like the one child policy of Mao’s China, nothing much is going to halt this slow train wreck. The best we can do because birthrate is inversely proportional to personal wealth in societies is lift people as quickly as possible out of poverty, educate women and make them financially self sufficient and reduce the need for children as biddable slaves/pension. We do this in part by making them energy self sufficient, and not wasting money on soon to be useless fossil fuel infrastructure. From a clean start now, in solar rich areas, there need be no carbon spike. The greatest growth in IT and Lighting in Africa is the off-grid sector. Off-grid lifts more people more quickly out of poverty in Africa than any other technological inovation. Education and commerce are transformed, agricultural expertise disseminated, people connected.

      http://www.energynet.co.uk/event/africa-energy-forum-grid-2016

      The biggest problem remains the energy gluttonous individuals of first world countries (American domestic consumtion was the growth point there) and, I repeat, trend-fatalism and a disinclination to affect policy by voting and purchasing power. The current EIA projections for Chinese coal use are now untirely undercut by circumstance, the energy efficiency advances ahead of the curve and on the fly policy changes, bringing forward the projected peak at 2025 to 2013.

      So now I make it that you have a grand total of four deflections and excuses for fatalism and innaction with this latest, population.

      People live for a long time these days. Declining populations will have to wait patiently through our demographic time bomb and also lifting people out of poverty. Far faster is a policy change that creates new businesses and brings political stability to all players.

      The technology is here and ready to significantly subvert the trends that depress you. Will it be enough? No, not for my kids or theirs, but we can do significantly better than the trends currently extrapolated.

      I claim we are waiting for you, Melvin and folk like you, more than any.

    • @Phil: “… Pining for earlier population control is fatuous. Population cannot be turned around anywhere near as fast as people imagine.”

      I agree that pining for earlier benchmarks is fatuous. That’s why world leaders are no longer talking about reducing carbon emissions below 1990 levels and have moved on to talking about reductions below 2005 levels. By 2020, talking about 2005 levels will probably acquire a pining-for-the-past stigma and a “realistic” benchmark will be advanced to 2010.

      Sub-Saharan Africa’s total fertility rate of 5 children per woman (on average) is indeed horrendous and not quickly checked with 40 something per cent of the population under 15. You apparently refer to population momentum with huge cohorts of women coming into their childbearing years generating growth for decades after replacement fertility is achieved. You also apparently recognize that the parallel pulse of greenhouse gas emissions in our lifetime will inflict harm for decades after effective reductions.

      The biggest problem remains the energy gluttonous individuals of first world countries (American domestic consumtion was the growth point there)

      There is some truth here. But “Gluttonous individuals” is largely an exercise in scapegoating because everyone in the world wants “a better life for themselves and their families.” The millions of “refugees” from Syria – in reality mostly economic migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and other assorted hellholes- are fleeing to Europe because they want to enjoy the European standard of living with high energy consumption at the core. “The biggest problem” is threefold: People, People, People.

      Conservation marks the man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness but how much do first world countries cut back on energy consumption -50%? 60% while the developing world matches the decrease with population increase?

      Finally I concur that each of us should do our part in conserving and pushing green policy but we see what we see with respect to “trends-currently-extrapolated.” In my view China will make marvelous gains in wind turbine generated energy while holding onto the carbon emissions crown for decades. And God knows what shitloads of pollution are going to come out of India and Africa in the near future. The picture is mixed and very, very clouded.

    • Melvin, I feel we are now converging.

      But “Gluttonous individuals” is largely an exercise in scapegoating because everyone in the world wants “a better life for themselves and their families.”

      It is an excercise in fingerpointing specifically at those who most fingerpoint at (say) the Chinese, who are only responsible for 30% of their CO2, and most deny they are the problem.

      Here you can see per capita emissions.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions.

      US 16.5 tons per capita

      China 7.6 tons per capita

      On coal there is a joint top position with the US and China tying at 2.1t/c.

      China has probably peaked in CO2 and recently announced a large cutback in their coal programme. The US hasn’t. Its still increasing in CO2 mostly because of domestic energy consumption. (The US and commercial sectors are doing much better often class leading when they are not old money enterprises.)

      The list of high profile AGW deniers and the right wing stance on the issue is the instigator of this US domestic failure to comprehend their own obligations to act. Little such resistance to the truth of AGW within the populace exists in Europe. (Its difficult to tell about personal views in China. But the daily reality of coal and cars is a choking fact for very many.)

      What can turn on a dime? Not population, seemingly not long term investment plans when you are a mature democracy. Public opinion, public buying habits. A look at public reactions to something like shunning sexism, acceptance of gay marriage show a long slow start then a rapid shift of the majority and a long slow tail for the stragglers.

      American public attitude can flip whole industries, can secure changes in long term investment plans.

      We must pull every lever with them

    • Correction

      the Chinese, who are only responsible for 30% of their CO2,

      should read

      “the Chinese who are only responsible for 30% as much energy consumption per capita.”

      CO2 per capita followed.

    • The picture of the sign in the OP, illustrates the use of “Biblical interpretation blinkers”, showing a “prediction” of global warming from Luke’s fairy story!
      ( Not sure what earthquakes have to do with it! – But hey – faith-blinkers can interpret any words to say “God-did-it”!- and “Come to our proselytising website for more ‘information’,” is of course included. )

    • “the Chinese who are only responsible for 30% as much energy consumption per capita.” Phil, you’re making my argument. Per capita fossil fuel consumption and per capita carbon emissions tie the increase in global warming to population growth. All along your main premise is that the world could be ready now to implement
      a zero-emissions energy infrastructure with shovel-ready technology, government policy and subsidy changes, and plain will power.

      Also: Per capita emissions figures by nation are misleading in isolation. China’s 7.6 per capita reflects a radically different energy mix than the United Kingdom’s comparable 7.96, resulting mainly from massive coal-fired plants while much of the population stays mired in consumer poverty. Other anomalies among nations have nothing to do with perverse indulgence in excess or the virtue of conservation.

    • @Alan4discussion #4
      I think you missed the point I was making. Having climate “champions” like David Suzuki flying around the world to talk about greenhouse gas emissions is the height of hypocrisy. Are you suggesting they should stop? What about the IPCC flitting around for their meetings. Seriously? Venice is the best place for them to meet? Are they suggesting this is the lowest carbon footprint meeting place they can find? (post #33)
      .
      Besides, they do not make policy for countries, they simply advise on the issue. In Canada, we make our own decisions about how to structure our economy. A big part of which is natural resources including oil. You may not like our oil, but one thing that is missing (admittedly I haven’t researched completely) is a full costing of the various sources of oil. Our processing is very intensive (to be kind) however there are no wars fought to ensure our oil flows. Comprehensive costing is needed to make truly effective decisions. To date I am not aware of any.
      .
      And before you consider railing against Canadian production, consider that in this world, Canada is a net Carbon absorber by an estimated 20-30% more than we emit. If we are going to make economic and social decisions, at the very least try to have all the facts on hand before attempting to make those decisions.

    • @ phil #5
      if the “others” who are not yet acting to curb their footprint are the same people who are banging the drum for conservation by others, then yes, it does make sense to follow their actions and be suspicious of their words.
      .
      Somehow I’m not surprised that you ride an ebike. But I doubt it’s an issue of conservation of fossil fuels.

    • DC Toronto #35
      Sep 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      That’s pretty obvious. And the world needs oil and gas. We are not about to stop using fossil fuels, so protesting against them is foolish and hits the wrong target.

      While we can’t stop instantly, it is a crass assumption to claim that technologies are not available, or going to soon become available, to provide alternatives.
      Have you looked at biofuel use in Brazil, or the new developments in battery and smart grid technologies? ?

      ‘You may be correct that many don’t understand the science. I’m certainly one of them. I’ll admit that.

      I think that is an issue you should try to address before making pronouncements on the subject. There is a big difference between a lack of information and someone’s personal lack of awareness of it.

      But even those who purport to understand it take much on faith.

      Confidence in scientific methods which cross-check information and measurements, multiple times and multiple ways and publish it for wider scrutiny, is not simple “faith” or whimsical opinion!

      See the discussion on this thread about the collection of data. Neither side of that debate has an answer,

      That is simply an assumed false equivalence, based on a lack of research.
      The work on man made global warming has been checked in details – ranging from global coal, oil, and gas production figures, to weather stations and satellite temperature and heat measurements over decades.

      one says he’s reviewed leaked computer algorithms (post #15)

      I think he said he studied computer algorithms in the 1950s.
      The technology has moved on rather a lot since then.

      while another says that Mr Cox knows “how to find and read peer-reviewed science papers and articles” (post #18)

      That would be because professors of physics DO know how to find and read research papers on which they base their work and their presentations.

      It is also because I have read up on the information I would expect him to use.

      and decries that climate ‘deniers’ favorite tactic is to obfuscate.

      Some of us have been checking up on multimillion $ dishonest denials and doubt-mongering for years – as can be confirmed by looking back at the archives of this site.

      But if you want to convince others of your position on this subject you need not only good science, but you need to be honest with those you seek to convince.

      That is the integrity expected of scientists and feature utterly lacking from denial campaigns.
      Scientific measurements are no less accurate because some dishonest science illiterate contradicts them in the mass media!

      As seen above, neither the supporters nor the sceptics have actual information to support their claims on this thread.

      That is utter nonsense! Quotes and links can be provided to those who ask.
      I realise that those unaware of the scope of research data, may struggle to frame the right questions, but that is no basis for claiming answers are not available.

      both rely on their confidence in the information and the source that they rely on.

      The skill of the scientist is in checking the honesty, competence, and validity of sources, by both reputation and by comparing multiple independent sources.

      Frequently deniers simply don’t have any sources as they are simply contradicting the evidence, spouting rhetoric, making stuff up, or illustrating that they are science illiterates, by making schoolboy errors in the basic science.

      And in the end, the world will still be here. Temperature and weather patterns might change, but the world will not disappear, and in the end, humans will adapt as needed to survive.

      I would want to see some evidence for that claim, given that past climate changes have brought about extinctions of around 90% of the life forms on the planet! The planet will still be here.
      A massive human population crash, starvation , wars and poverty, would be very painful for millions.

      I would also want to see a balance sheet which included items such as the cost of writing off all the coastal ports and cities, desertification of tropical farmlands etc., against the cost of ditching obsolete polluting technologies and investing in clean replacements.

      Carbon caps and trading come to mind.

      I am not in favour of carbon trading much of which is corrupt.
      I am in favour of stopping state subsidies to coal mining and oil exploration.

      Add that to the outrageous cost of electricity in my province of residence, much of it related to green initiatives,

      Really? Perhaps you are getting your information from dubious sources!
      Are you aware that on-shore wind turbines produce the cheapest electricity of all compared to the selection of other production methods? – and of course the costs of dirty electrical generation would cost more if the costs of the damage caused by the pollution was paid for by the polluting companies, rather than by the public and by future generations.

    • @ alan
      I note that you didn’t respond to my final point, that Canada is currently a net absorber of carbon, and therefore has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any country in the world. But I’ll respond to a couple of your claims.
      .
      biofuel has been shown to be a more carbon intensive proposition than fossil fuels. And it reduces food output from the worlds limited arable land. Are you suggesting they’ve solved these problems?
      .
      I’m not questioning the scientific method, I’m questioning the scientists and those who interpret and report the data. And I’m suggesting that there are as many with vested interests who are attempting to use this issue to enrich themselves.
      .
      It is not nonsense that the people on this thread did not provide the evidence, both were working on faith in those who did the actual work. You may be blinded by your own desire to see your point of view, but the poster did not provide any links to the scientists data.
      .
      I agree with you that significant subsidies on exploration are not desirable and a more natural price for energy would be preferable. I spent some time reviewing methods to reduce gas usage for commercial real estate, looking mainly at geothermal as an option. It was shelved quickly as electricity prices rose in Ontario and natural gas prices declined.
      .
      Evidence that humans survived climate change? How about that guy they found frozen in the ice? He didn’t survive, but others in his ‘family’ most certainly did. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
      .
      And again to the last point of my comment. Canadians per capita are net absorbers of carbon. Our country does more to combat climate change than most anyone else.

    • @ Alan, it’s easy to dismiss the actual science when it doesn’t fit your narrative isn’t it? The fact is Canada is one of the cleanest countries on the planet. Do you have scientific evidence that it will reverse with global warming? At what point will it reverse? How about a link to a peer reviewed study?
      .
      So tell me alan, what have you done to combat global warming? Do you own a car? House? Cottage? Have a family? Or do you ride an ebike about town and live in a basement apartment to conserve carbon?
      .
      Personally, I recently replaced my gas hvac in my home. I briefly considered geothermal, but given the cost of energy, it would have been a significant net loser for me (Ontario hydro rates vs nat gas – which may relate to your point about subsidies, although green energy receives significant subsidies as well). My car is not currently large, but that may change if I feel like it. My point is, the country I live in is one of the cleanest in the world. There is virtually no action in other countries so my contribution will be minimal and would reduce my lifestyle. If I’m headed for oblivion with the rest of you, I plan to enjoy the ride.
      .
      going back to my recent hvac decision. There are a few communities that operate on geothermal heating. There is an added saving in reducing the infrastructure requirement for natural gas lines. This seems like one of the biggest areas of potential savings … but it’s not sexy so gets little recognition from the global warming warriors among us and in at least some of the communities they were required to put the gas lines in anyway … and pay the city to do it! (unions you know)
      .
      I’m out for today … will try to look back in future. enjoy the weekend Alan.

    • DCToronto

      Somehow I’m not surprised that you ride an ebike. But I doubt it’s an issue of conservation of fossil fuels.

      Currently I ride a bike, but age needs some help. I’m after a particular mountain bike tricked out with hub motor and the biggest battery for my 11 mile journey along the river to work. The journey is getting too much for me and of late I’ve been taking the car.

      My big thing is rather more sustainability, which I see as the over-arching issue, and, of which, AGW is only a symptom.

      I’d be fascinated to learn what my real motives are in all this. After twenty years its about time I discover the truth.

      Oh and what on earth claims do I make for my business activities? I have said nothing about any specifics.

    • Melvin

      Per capita emissions figures by nation are misleading in isolation.

      Which is exactly why I presented the three per capita figures of Coal (par) CO2 (45%) and Energy (30%).

      you’re making my argument. Per capita fossil fuel consumption and per capita carbon emissions tie the increase in global warming to population growth.

      No. Discussing per capita figures (that must always exist) doesn’t prove a specific causal or necessary quantifiable link between population and carbon impact. We have discussed already the reducing carbon trajectories of new (culturally) population growth.

    • DC Toronto #41
      Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      My point is, the country I live in is one of the cleanest in the world. There is virtually no action in other countries

      That is simply wrong.
      While many polluters – aided and abetted by foot-draggers, continue to pollute, new technologies are in the process of development, and can, if there is the will to get on with it, fairly quickly take over many energy systems while obsolete dirty technologies are closed down.

      so my contribution will be minimal and would reduce my lifestyle. If I’m headed for oblivion with the rest of you, I plan to enjoy the ride.

      While individuals should show a responsible attitude to what they are leaving for future generations, most of the big key decisions need to be taken collectively at international, national, area, or company level.

    • DC Toronto #41 Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm My point is, the country I live
      in is one of the cleanest in the world. There is virtually no action
      in other countries

      There’s me thinking the Alberta/Athabasca tar sands are in Canada-
      and NO, they’re not ‘oil’ sands but TAR sands. d’oh!!

    • @rocket888

      A lot of your questions were addressed in this excellent Q&A with a climate scientist and a whole crowd full of climate skeptics worth a bit of a look he explains very clearly why models often have to make adjustments for say they heat island effect.
      here

      You also seem to be making the assumption that hand written data does not have inbuilt assumptions and filters built in. I’m really not very good at maths but I am aware that various statistical methods are often used to deal with various forms of data to get a whole picture. Even calculating an average is an algorithm that smooths out the local bumps. So I feel you are asking the wrong question. I suggest you go to your local university and find a climate scientist and ask them why the particular algorithms are being used. I think you will find there are usually very good reasons.

      You comments also show a bit of a misunderstanding about how the long term data is collected and calculated. There is not one measure that is being turned into this data but many streams of both current and ancient forms of temperature record that have to have taken into account.

      For example: (been awhile since I did any study on this but the basics are correct I think)

      temperature measurement – from thermometers.

      ice core data – ratio of different isotopes of oxygen give an idea of temperature in the oceans water with oxygen with more protons is heavier and correspondingly harder to evaporate so hotter years result in more heavy water in ice core samples.

      Coral data – corals contain different ratios of heavy water that are opposite corresponding ice core data so if an ocean is very hot less heavy water will appear in the corals and sediment layers. These are opposite to and the ice core data and constitute collaborating data.

      Tree ring data – growth of tree rings can indicate weather conditions.

      and numerous others.

      Now the raw data from these will not tell you exactly what the temperatures were you may have other factors influencing for example tree ring growth how much moisture was in the air, was there a volcano that blasted off that year and effected other aspects (I’m just guessing here you you get the point that not all data will be perfect as raw data – it will be lumpy). So these are the sorts of things the experts have to debate about and confirm and cross correlate and often therefore as difficult as it might be for an amateur to understand why some adjustment has been made the correct response (unless you are just not wanting it to be so) is to ask someone who knows more than you before you jump to a conspiracy. In fairness to you, you have expressed doubt and not a definite position but your time would be better spend asking someone qualified to explain why different filters are being used.

      Regards

    • DC Toronto underscores a pragmatic question laymen are asking about the climate change issue. Whenever we ask, “I get the general science, so where do we go from here?” The first answer ignores the announcement that we get the science, and puts us through the ringer of listening again to the 20 lectures on the syllabus for Anthropogenic Climate Change 101 tricked out with recent alarming reports and studies. The prolonged second part consists of calling out deniers and ridiculing them tediously for their ignorance, stupidity, and greed ad nauseum. The third part scolds “Americans” in particular and the first world in general for excessive energy consumption and pointlessly extols the virtues of conservation in a world where the preponderant output of carbon will come from China, India, and other poorer nations outside North America and Europe. Despite optimistic assertions about the imminent dissemination of anemic wind, solar, and flow-through batteries that just aren’t selling on a global scale, the unavoidable conclusion is we’re whistling in the dark until we are blue in the face. The truth is we just don’t have the answers now. Isn’t it more productive (and “scientific”) to admit to not knowing and get back to the drawing board?

      (Note to DC Toronto: The fact is Canada is one of the cleanest countries on the planet. In terms of per capita
      carbon emissions this ain’t so. Canada is almost on a par with the U.S. (17.5) at 14.67. Australia achieves closer parity at 16.75 and tiny Oman soars by nearly every other country at 20.56.)

    • Melvin

      Despite optimistic assertions about the imminent dissemination of anemic wind, solar, and flow-through batteries that just aren’t selling on a global scale,

      Strawman. I’m not optimitic about such imminent dissemination. That indeed is my point here. “Too little too late”.

      I am optimistic we have all the technology we need. My response to your first excuse for inaction.

      I am dismayed by many things but most about the indifference of the average American to the state of things and their own moral responsibilities.

      Anemic.

      (Very happy to see you now using per capita metrics.)

    • DC Toronto #41
      Sep 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      so my contribution will be minimal and would reduce my lifestyle.

      That is simply no so.
      Everyone can replace their old energy guzzling systems with energy efficient electrical appliances, LED lighting, etc. They can also support local government authorities in energy saving plans such are replacing old street-lighting with remotely controlled LED lights.

      Those living in isolated communities in the forests of Canada can use the bio-fuel wood in efficient stoves (but should be careful in managing the toxic smoke and keeping it away from the air they breathe). – Providing that harvesting of wood, is equal to, or below, the rate of regrowth, this can be carbon neutral if green fuels are used in the process, or low carbon if not.
      Wood-smoke (like smoke from coal tar) is a bad pollutant in cities so should be avoided, – but wood and wood waste, could be used in out-of town generation plants.

      If I’m headed for oblivion with the rest of you, I plan to enjoy the ride.

      That attitude is the global problem which is created by large numbers of people abdicating personal responsibility, and claiming parity with the planets worst selfish polluters, rather than seeking the best options to benefit everyone!

      There are also large areas of Canada, which will literally “sink into the quagmire”, if the permafrost continues to melt at an increasing rate.

    • This quote is needed in my last response-

      admit to not knowing and get back to the drawing board

      If you are advocating increased spending by governments on this, wonderful.

      But here’s the thing about technology, you’ve seen it over and over. The first manifestations of new technology are a bit crap and expensive as hell. The only way to realise its full potential is by trying it see what works what needs fixing and doing better. This is exactly what has happened with wind and solar. The latest wind turbines have no gearboxes and GaN switching gear to act as an electronic gearbox. They are an order of magnitude more “available” and better eke energy out of more windspeeds. Its only by installing and trying again and again that we see the next refinement. No technology ever sprang from the drawing board perfect. What we need is sustained investment to bring the the whole interdependent system into an increasingly refined being.

      Solar exactly the same with tumbling manufacturing costs and installers learning how to do their bit better. The costs of these sources has been and continues on a downward trajectory and onshore wind beats just about anything on cost now. Solar and their new inverters and Wind and their hugely simplified mechanics become very long term assetts indeed. At last technologies like flow battaries (just on the starting blocks but with steadily enhancing round trip efficiencies) and trans and intercontinanetal power line technologies ever dropping baseload requirements.

      (Look the full picture is much richer than this. Baseload provision should start to move to multiple local CHP providers. (The technology is super sound but the compound businesses are complex to set up.) Running initially from natural gas these transition to green gas by becoming the focus of garbage and sewage disposal for their area.) Etc., etc..)

      What is missing to extract all the value out of these long term assetts? Commitment and long term investment, the invention of new types of compound businesses, legislative reform to support them.

      Only last Friday, China’s State Grid Corp Chairman Liu Zhenya (the head of the world’s largest power provider) said his company rejects the so-called all-of-the-above energy strategy to meet China’s evolving power needs and address climate change. Liu argues it’s better to move on to the next generation of energy technologies and that China believes it might as well start now.” The only hurdle to overcome is mindset, according to Liu. “There’s no technical challenge at all.”

      So, admit to not knowing and get back to the drawing board?? Or carry on noticing the technology is here and the political and economic job is only a quarter done?

    • @crooked #8
      I’m not sure we are saying the same things. I don’t really think you need to be told by the guys in oil/gas that their paycheques depend on, well … oil and gas. That’s pretty obvious. And the world needs oil and gas. We are not about to stop using fossil fuels, so protesting against them is foolish and hits the wrong target.
      .
      ‘You may be correct that many don’t understand the science. I’m certainly one of them. I’ll admit that. But even those who purport to understand it take much on faith. See the discussion on this thread about the collection of data. Neither side of that debate has an answer, one says he’s reviewed leaked computer algorithms (post #15) while another says that Mr Cox knows “how to find and read peer-reviewed science papers and articles” (post #18) and decries that climate ‘deniers’ favorite tactic is to obfuscate.
      .
      that may be true. But if you want to convince others of your position on this subject you need not only good science, but you need to be honest with those you seek to convince. As seen above, neither the supporters nor the sceptics have actual information to support their claims on this thread. both rely on their confidence in the information and the source that they rely on.
      .
      my complaint is that those at the front of the climate debate are often hypocritical to the point that they can not be possibly believed. people like Gore and Canada’s David Suzuki leave large carbon footprints in their bid to convince the rest of us to do our part.
      .
      [Disparaging personal remark about another user removed by moderator.]
      .
      But as I said, it does seem quite obvious that our planet is warming and our climate is going through a change. Outright denial is the realm of trolls and fools. The next big question however is what to do. So far many of the suggestions have later been shown to have many enriching benefits for the proponents of said solution. Carbon caps and trading come to mind. Add that to the outrageous cost of electricity in my province of residence, much of it related to green initiatives, and you get stagnation of a delay in taking action.
      .
      I don’t disagree that something should be done. Agreeing on what to do is the hard part. Hard enough in one Canadian province. Harder still among nations. And almost impossible on a worldwide scale. And in the end, the world will still be here. Temperature and weather patterns might change, but the world will not disappear, and in the end, humans will adapt as needed to survive.

    • @DC Toronto

      somehow I’m not surprised that you ride an ebike. But I doubt it’s an issue of conservation of fossil fuels.

      Why do you have an issue with riding electric bikes? And why would you doubt it has anything to do with saving fossil fuels?

      I do ride an ebike currently have done so for the last 1000km or so. I can tell you a significant part of my buying it was not just to save money (which it does), not just to save my wife time (which it does), not just to get some exercise (which it does – not as much as a non-electric bike but you still pedal just not as hard, or if as hard you go much quicker), but also did it to do what I could to help reduce climate change. This is also why I have an electric lawn mower, insulation, led lighting and spend more buying energy efficient refrigerators, washing machine etc. It’s why we use a clothes line unless it’s been raining for over a week.

      The fuel I have saved mind you is not a significant amount (about 3 tanks of gas based on city consumption) but the decision was made because mornings were becoming chaos with only one car and I cannot and will not anytime soon be able to afford to buy an electric car. I don’t need to though as I can buy an electric bike and get to work without too much sweat (I don’t need to shower) and I have massive panniers which allow me to take my laptop a tonne of files or paperwork (marking etc) and much more. Almost everyone I know has two cars because of similar levels inconvenience and most could achieve the same levels of independence replacing their second car with an ebike. So I could have driven the 1000kms of trips to work and while that is important to me I have also not needed a second car who’s manufacture, transport to this country, maintenance and upkeep, not to mention carbon used in extracting and processing said fuels, minerals etc would be significantly more than 3 tanks of gas.

      I’d strongly encourage anyone who used to ride a bike but isn’t as fit anymore and doesn’t want to get to work sweaty to go electric. Many are hideously overpriced but for about $500 you can buy wheel hub kits with a battery pack and a controller that you can convert your old trusty bike to an ebike. They are great, mine if run at full power gets about 45 km before it starts to get low and need a charge but I’ve ridden it at lower power settings for 75km so long as your happy to go a bit slower. Riding to work is an absolute pleasure, not too exerting but you do get a little puffed. Do it. If everyone replaced one car with an ebike we’d be a long way ahead.

    • Reckless,

      You have renewed my determination.

      What size battery (voltage ‘n’ amphour)?

    • The peat. The peat! The peat is on fire!
      .
      Alan, you’ve inadvertently made the point that the science is far from settled. How far are we down the road to lower water tables and vulnerable peat fields? Is this still reversible? And if so, what would it take on a global basis to achieve this? These questions are not yet answered – and these are the key questions to answer to make policy going forward. We should also understand what would happen to those peat fields after a fire. As your post shows, fire is a major driver of forest eco-systems. The peat will be vulnerable if the water table is lower (which is counter-intuitive to higher ocean levels …) but a lower water table would allow it to be replaced by forest.
      .
      It’s not that there isn’t general consensus on certain aspects of the science. But the predictions are open to a fairly wide interpretation … and much of the information is missing.
      .
      Layered over this uncertainty is the political aspect. JimJ comes in with the expected slam against the oilsands in Canada. But Jim conveniently ignores the cost of maintaining the middle east oil in flowing. At least a portion of the massive military oil consumption must be attributed to maintaining the middle eastern oil flowing …. when added to the transportation costs (not to mention human rights abuses as most democratic nations understand them) and oilsands production is not as dirty as it’s made out to be.
      .
      But that was not my main point. Sure, the peat fields may burn baby burn …. but they are not now. And Canada overall is a net absorbing nation. Here is a link to start you off … http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/canada-may-already-be-carbon-neutral-so-why-are-we-keeping-it-a-secret
      .
      you might want to question the source … but the underlying report is from a well respected organization. And this aspect is rarely considered in climate change discussions. Nor is the difference in geography. Canada will always have additional emissions because of our winters. This will not change and to live here people need to heat their homes. Our vast distances will require additional transportation costs. That;s not going to change. My point is however, that the solutions to date have looked only at one side of the equation, without credit for the vast amounts of carbon that we store for the world each year.
      .
      You MIGHT be correct, it might reverse. But it hasn’t yet.
      .
      There is a discussion of china’s per capita emissions on this thread. The key point is the poverty experienced by so much of the population in China. Measure output for urban populations and compare those. Then get back to me about how clean china is. And how long they will stay clean as more of their population rises out of poverty.
      .
      If you really want to talk about the peat …. get back to me when you can assure us that Russia’s peat bogs wont thaw (hint – it’s already too late). That alone will put us in a massive hole greenhouse gas wise.
      .
      In the final analysis, people make decisions based on what is best for them. Much of this comes down to short-mid term economics. As i noted, at this time, the economics is skewed towards fossil fuels due to their huge energy density and portability. That is key to maintaining a persons place in the world and most will be quickly overwhelmed if they don’t take advantage in the same way their neighbors do.

    • Melvin – thanks for the support, but my point is not on per capita output, See the link above for the overall net carbon absorbed by Canada. We are the cleanest in the world.

    • DC

      There is a discussion of china’s per capita emissions on this thread. The key point is the poverty experienced by so much of the population in China. Measure output for urban populations and compare those.

      Nope. Countries don’t work in a piecemeal fashion.

      The population of China is feeling pretty good at the moment, GDP per capita is going up whilst the Gini Index is falling quite sharply now. This latter is a measure of national income equality, e.g. it rolls in a rural/urban disparity. (The USA as a kleptocracy, and currently as bad as China, is worsening….the UK too…) In China carbon intensity is falling well ahead of the rate of any possible growth in GDP. A series of five year plans on managing rural impoverishment due to workforce depletion (30% move to cities) allowing the formation of much larger and more efficient collective businesses has seen rural incomes jump in the last two year of 12% and 9%. This is part of a bigger plan for Chinese food quality, moving to greener practices and higher values.
      China is pitching at stabilisng around this rural urban balance pretty much.

    • DC Toronto #56
      Sep 25, 2016 at 11:45 am

      My point is however, that the solutions to date have looked only at one side of the equation, without credit for the vast amounts of carbon that we store for the world each year.

      I think the point is, that you haven’t checked on this sort of research, and are just making stuff up to match your preconceptions while cherry-picking a few figures.

      Yes – Carbon is being stored in dead plant matter and stored in the ground. That’s how the peat got there in the first place.
      It is not rocket science to work out that this year’s storage pales into insignificance if the last 10,000 years of CO2 stored in peat goes up in flames, putting 10,000 years of absorbed CO2 back into the atmosphere!

    • Phil, I’m not sure what motivates you to make such poorly considered posts, but if you think China is leading the way on sustainable energy production then you truly don’t have a clue. China built more coal fired plants in the past few years than anyone else. These will be in service for decades.
      .
      And yes, phil, the future estimate of a countries output MUST consider lifestyle patterns of the population. As more Chinese move toward the middle class they will increase sharply in their emissions. Ignoring this fact is the same type of thinking that ensured that Kyoto was never implemented. It penalized countries that were not in a recession as of the base year and rewarded those who were. That type of one sided bargaining will doom any agreement for any thinking person.

    • Wow Al, good point. A single year of carbon storage is not as significant as 10,000 years of peat storage. I’ll take your word for it, although you’ve provided no stats. I believe our forest covers significantly more land area than the peat …. but I’ll accept your premise.
      .
      Still, it’s not relevant. We are discussing Canada’s contribution to greenhouse gasses right now. This year. And right now, we are a net absorber.
      .
      And as you said, the peat is already on fire. So that ship has sailed. And you still haven’t shut down the 600 coal plants in china. They might reduce the number they open in future …. but I’m still skeptical that will actually happen. You’ve got virtually no real commitment from the big polluters to resolve the issue. And these are the important points …. because if every living Canadian bought a hummer and drove it every day, the emissions from our 35million population does not compare to the emissions of a billion Chinese, the US, Europe or india. It’s simple math Al.
      .
      I get it, you don’t like the oilsands. In a perfect world that oil would stay put. But our world isn’t perfect Al. You still haven’t factored the cost of foreign wars and military spending/emissions into your middle eastern oil’s footprint. And to hold Saudi Arabia up as a paragon of virtue in this equation is mind boggling. Maybe you agree with the cultures of the middle east … which would be interesting here on Mr Dawkins website …. but there is far more to a barrel of oil than simply what it takes to remove it from the ground and refine it. To think otherwise is simple minded at best.
      .
      No Al, you don’t make a convincing case for increasing costs for our businesses through misguided green initiatives. To date they have been applied unevenly, have not been universally accepted, and have ignored many very important aspects that we already do to combat the problem. That’s the nitty gritty of the issue that needs to be dealt with to get more of the population on board a plan to reduce emissions. The alternative is to make the best of what’s coming and plan for a future with radically altered climate. I have my eye on some acreage in the not too far north … somewhere that will warm up nicely in the coming years. Something out of harms way where my family can settle if (or I expect when) the world fails to make significant headway on the issue.

    • DC

      I don’t know if you bother to read my links here or in the other thread? It seems not. My comments are based on the latest data. China cancelled 40% of its new build of coal fired power stations in April. Peak CO2 appears to have arrived a decade early.

      One of the key things to keeping track of events in these matters is to follow national policy decisions. China is really interesting with more coherent and sustained policy making than most democracies could manage.

      I already dealt with your second paragraph. Carbon intensity is now falling faster than earlier (high!) growth rates.

    • Phil, a single pronouncement from China is not enough to convince me that they will follow through to reduce their emissions. Just as releasing a single wrongly imprisoned Canadian will not convince me that they are a now a country that respects human rights. Maybe you’re more easily convinced than I.
      .
      Either way, Canada as a country is much cleaner. So we are still leaps ahead.

    • Al, Saudi’s invest in many many industries. One of the key reasons they work with the US to avoid a US recession is effect it would have on the billions of $’s they have invested the the NYSE. Investing in green technology is no more a sign that they now believe the climate science than it is that they are now squeezing the final drops of oil from their reserves.
      .
      Dig a bit deeper friend …. the simple answer is not always the correct one.

    • Al, I haven’t suggested that we shouldn’t look to make our infrastructure more green where it makes sense. Electric trains, great – if they really are greener, and can be run for a similar price.
      .
      I’ve already agreed with you that we should put all energy types on a level playing field. Subsidies that skew decisions make the decisions more difficult. But we don’t have a full costing of different fuel types. We have broad consensus that fossil fuels are not fully costed for the environmental impact they cause. but neither are batteries or photocells and their waste products. And I don’t believe we are getting there any time soon. Our decisions will still be political in nature, and I don’t have faith in that system. I’ve seen the mess in green infrastructure here in Ontario. It has not helped and in fact we have both overcapacity AND the highest rates in virtually all of North America. A true boondoggle if there ever was one.
      .
      And here’s my good friend Phil telling me that china is now going to be the leader in green energy, even though they overbuilt their coal fired plants by the hundreds and have worse smog than anywhere in Canada. That sounds like a plan I want to sign onto.

    • DC

      a single pronouncement from China is not enough

      Nor was it singular. Prodigious amounts of material, investment plans, commentaries from other businesses confirm their faster than expected achievements and renewed determination to become technology leaders.

      DC, you seem to have a rather quaint and period picture of the Chinese. It is the most rapidly changing society on the planet with a hundred cities over one million in population. They will population peak before 2030 entirely by lifting folk out of poverty whilst relaxing the one child policy.

      The middle classes must consume more carbon? They did in the bad old American days. They don’t have to. Make ’em pay for sustainable, Jinping. These Chinese nouveau riche aren’t wastrels. They’ll pay for eco, because eco will be how they’ll eat most of American and Canadian’s techno-lunch.

      Their lamentable human rights may well be a cost of tightly managing their nifty societal course corrections.

    • DC

      I’ve seen the mess in green infrastructure here in Ontario.

      Can you point to an article or commentary on this? I’m sure quite a few fnck nps happen in various places. What went wrong there?

    • DC Toronto: You are bringing many intelligent practical questions to the debate. Optimistic folks
      just can’t entertain the likely scenario that BOTH fossil fuel consumption AND renewable energy will probably increase until at least 2050. Some reductions may be achieved as the world turns more away from dirty coal to cleaner natural gas but a pound of emissions from either fossil fuel weighs the same.

      Just a note regarding your inadvertent contention that Canada is a “clean” country. With respect to per capita emissions by nation, this just ain’t so. Canada ranks right up there with the USA with 14.67 compared to 17.5. Australia has achieved virtual parity at 16.75 and tiny Oman is off the radar screen with 20.56

    • Melvin,

      Optimistic folks just can’t entertain the likely scenario that BOTH fossil fuel consumption AND renewable energy will probably increase until at least 2050.

      Trend fatalism comes from those who don’t see what has been made possible by technology and much more importantly by advancing government policy. Some governments actually bucking trends.

      Again(!) no-one is optimistic, otherwise I’d just ignore you.

    • Melvin #77
      Sep 26, 2016 at 2:18 am

      Optimistic folks just can’t entertain the likely scenario that BOTH fossil fuel consumption AND renewable energy will probably increase until at least 2050.

      The laws of physics and the planet’s climate, don’t care if humans are optimistic, pessimistic, rational or stupid!

      If heat inputs cause temperature rises in the atmosphere, the ice and the oceans to reach threshold trigger-points for chemical reactions which cause escalating feed-back effects, nature will deal drastically with a reckless human overpopulation.

      The options are to quickly end the age of coal and oil in an organised handover to sustainable energy systems, or to carry on increasing atmospheric CO2 regardless, and end the age of oil in climate chaos, – with extensive areas of the Earth no longer capable of sustaining the human, animal, plant populations, and food resources, currently occupying them.

      As Phil points out, many new technologies are available.
      Unfortunately many people would rather die than bother to think!

    • Melvin

      Unfortunately many people would rather die than bother to think!

      Many do.

      Adding to Russell-

      Of those that are left, many others would rather die than act.

      Most, in fact.

      The concerns I express, Melvin, are not about the disaster to come. (Well, its here.) But about how it will be compounded into a horror, by the prevaricators, their fatalism and their four excuses for their inaction.

      My biggest fear is not China. It is not even Trump. It is decent, thoughtful you.

    • phil rimmer #80
      Sep 26, 2016 at 5:37 am

      Of those that are left, many others would rather die than act.

      This reminds me of a quote from my brother, after he was rescued from a ferry which had a hole ripped in the engine-room when the crew took a short cut across rocks with the tide a tad too low!

      Brother (in the dining room three decks down)
      “That was an almighty jolt! We’re going to the boat deck to get life jackets!”

      Brother – To diners at the next table:-
      ” Are you coming too? – The engines have stopped.”

      Fellow passenger;-
      “No! I haven’t finished my dinner!”

      (The crew were also feckless, initially tried to pretend there was no serious problem, and failed to launch any lifeboats as a storm brewed and the ship drifted out to sea! –
      A couple of hours later it was still afloat and happened to blow on to an island where it wedged on the rocks and listed, making it impossible to launch lifeboats on rocky landward side, and impossible to launch lifeboats on the seaward side where waves were crashing against the hull.
      Eventually the navy arrived and took everyone off by helicopter.)

      The diners were probably quite smug – having finished their dinner by then! – … and somebody else had taken responsibility!

    • Again(!) no-one is optimistic, otherwise I’d just ignore you.
      My biggest fear is not China. It is not even Trump. It is decent, thoughtful you.

      Trend fatalism comes from those who don’t see what has been made possible by technology and much more importantly by advancing government policy. Some governments actually bucking trends.

      The first two lines are attempts to transform the discussion into an ad hominem tantrum.

      The next two lines express an opinion based on a belief system. The world has been building wind turbines and nailing down solar panels on roofs at an accelerating clip for 15 years. Redoubling our efforts reflects actual current policy not developments that only a handful of visionaries are recommending. My role in the discussion is to make realistic observations about the mix of fuels and sources of energy people are using globally based on multiple reports and extrapolations into the future. Impoverished sub-Saharan Africa will add a billion poorly educated people by 2050. Certainly these folks will take advantage of considerable solar power, but the process will take place gradually and also use plentiful reserves of oil and natural gas to build not only energy infrastructure but physical infrastructure as well: roads, bridges, urban centers and suburbs, airports and ports, mining and manufacturing facilities, industrialized agriculture and cattle feedlots. The opportunity to take some dwellings off the grid will be blunted by corrupt regimes more committed to self-enrichment than funding grants to destitute people for residential solar installation.

      Finally I must express an opinion based on inferences from empirical observations that might enrage you. Wind and solar are relatively anemic sources of energy constrained by installation costs, (high costs for battery power,) low energy outputs, geographic logistical obstacles, portability and transmission limitations. Fossil fuels come with some of the same costs and additional environmental-health costs. But the fossil fuel infrastructure is up and running on a global scale. It’s taking care of most of the world’s energy needs here and now. I’d welcome a zero-emissions energy regime completely supplied by renewables at reasonable consumer cost when the energy output of such renewables is stepped up to meet global demand for 10 billion people.

    • The first two lines are attempts to transform the discussion into an ad hominem tantrum.

      Not at all. Not at all. It has been my consistent concern, not just with you here but with all who have some impression of the higher profile bits of what is going on and criticise it in this piecemeal way. I truly see it as damaging, most particularly in the USA. I have often written here about the error of thinking the problem one of technology when the real stumbling block is political will, better legislation to manage compound businesses and reforming financial markets to better profit from long term investments.

      In 2009 a Stanford (?) paper analysed China’s wind assetts and decided that wind alone could meet all her future needs. Yes it would a huge number of turbines but these are now very long term investments and much cheaper to maintain than once. Why on earth you should imagine a solution like huge power stations (non anaemic?) should be the solution configuration, when even these are being re-imagined as much smaller and numerous thermal plants scattered throughout the landscape. (Many many small plants allows CHP applications that push efficiency from 40 to 44% up to 70%, increase system robustness, and drop transmission losses often 8 to 12% end to end.) Or maybe I have misunderstood anaemic.

    • Melvin #82
      Sep 26, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Impoverished sub-Saharan Africa will add a billion poorly educated people by 2050. Certainly these folks will take advantage of considerable solar power, but the process will take place gradually and also use plentiful reserves of oil and natural gas to build not only energy infrastructure

      You are missing the whole point that photovoltaic panels and solar cookers don’t need “an energy or heavy transport infrastructure”!
      Small wind turbines can be fairly local too.

      but physical infrastructure as well: roads, bridges, urban centers and suburbs, airports and ports, mining and manufacturing facilities, industrialized agriculture and cattle feedlots.

      Subsistence farmers don’t need these either!
      Solar-powered lighting, internet, radio, and TV, are all that is required for communication, plus very basic roads, tracks, or cycle tracks, to take goods to market, and bring fairly light materials back to villages.

      The opportunity to take some dwellings off the grid will be blunted by corrupt regimes more committed to self-enrichment than funding grants to destitute people for residential solar installation.

      Third-world dwellings which have never been on a grid and have no grid or grid capacity in their neighbourhood, don’t need to “come off-grid”!

      They simply use solar energy on-site, instead of transporting fire-wood, cans of oil fuel, or bottled gas.

      Any additional 3rd world population, is not going to born “on-grid”!
      You need to get rid of the obsolete “big infrastructure” mind-set!

      It is the promoters of foreign takeovers of lands and resources, who prop up corrupt regimes sympathetic to their imported, white elephant, big infrastructure schemes, and cash-crops for export.

    • @ Phil Rimmer,

      Here in Australia regulations mean we can only have 250 watt motor (I know a number of people have much bigger as they have brought kits etc.) I have a 10amp/h battery. As I said it I still have to pedal and I find myself pedaling fairly hard until I get puffed and then drop the speed down a bit and pedal hard again. The difference is the speed If I have it on high the bike will on flat ground will do about 35 to 40 km/h which is a quick as I’m comfortable going anyway. If I turn it to a lower setting the speed drops. But the feeling is like someone gently pushing you from behind. My brother and sister in law also have ebikes and I’ve ridden them, they are all great. Just enough to a good push, Up hills I can maintain 30km/h if I push hard and are not in top gear. even with my panniers full to the brim. Again many of the ebikes in stores are wildly overpriced. Just get a decent kit and convert the old bike or even buy a new light bike and convert it. the simplest is to get a front wheel replacement with hub motor. Plenty of reviews on-line. Good luck.

    • @Phil: the error of thinking the problem one of technology when the real stumbling block is political will, better legislation to manage compound businesses and reforming financial markets to better profit from long term investments.

      Reading the statement aloud sounds good, but there are no specific policies outlined for actions effectively tailored to specific locations. Will power, hope and polemics are not policies. “Long term investments” is just too vague to be a useful term once you get out beyond five years of some poor Joe putting his money up. Keep in mind the time frame crucial to reversing carbon emissions -about 30 years. When Joe goes to his banker/broker and says I’ve invested $10,000 with you over the last 10 years and it’s time to cash out in order to send my kid to college, buy a new house and so on, he can’t be told, “sorry you’re locked in for the long term.
      Come back in ten more years.

      The claims of shovel-ready green technology; how quickly and at what cost it can be implemented on an economy of scale; and the level of energy output sufficient to meet growing demand while drastically reducing
      greenhouse gas emissions is far from obvious. California, for example, leads the nation in solar installations while ranking number two in carbon emissions behind number one Texas. Denmark is the wind energy capital of the world well ahead of China yet per capita carbon emissions exceed those of the UK. Once more, the complex mix of energy sources actually used keeps renewables at the margins and puts into question their
      effective output to meet national and global energy demands.

      As Alan points out, studies can extrapolate the number of wind and solar installations necessary to meet global energy into some astronomical number that must also increase as population grows by the billions.
      In my view, such extrapolations have little practical value. By 2050 about 85% to 90% of the world’s people will live in developing countries with corrupt governments, many with no central governance at all in a state of civil war like contemporary Syria. Trying to coordinate their political and economic systems with the complex progressive models you propose on an international stage will take a miracle. I do put my money on inventing or radically upgrading new green technology that is energy effective, flexible, affordable, and feasibly installed rapidly on an economy of scale. It is the build-it-and-they-will-come principle.

    • Melvin,

      It is Institutional Fund managers and the like who can afford the due diligence of vetting the quality of longer term investments and are themselves seeking additionally cash stream returns from pure cash generating (by being energy generating) businesses. Many in the market are discovering the financial joys of assett based cash stream businesses. What needs reform is that institutions become more expert in the specific technological and commercial offering and its ongoing servicing needs, along the lines of the German intelligent financing in the Mittelstand sector. Most specifically it needs to see Governments offering worthwhile tax concessions to very long term investments in assett based cash generating business. (I don’t want to divert here onto the circular economy intent on creating indefinitely sustainable businesses, but this kind of favoured investment will hugely benefit this also.)

      Governments should favour such assett based investments as it will greatly stabilise this rather dangerous and hot headed financial sector. 2008 and Casino banking/trading (post Glass Steagal) was a substantial disaster still not guarded against enough.

      Nothing happens overnight with such technology and it is possible to be entirely daunted by the great mesh of things that are also needed. Every 3MW turbine planned, planted and paid for needs wiring in not just locally but supported by smart infrastructure that can allow its electricity sold very far away. (China is playing catchup on this infrastructure with a 28% uplift in spend on the Grid.) Wind, viewed on a large enough scale is constant, and will be until someone turns off the sun. Every turbine planted in a different location multiplies up the value of every other turbine by reducing the extent of baseload provision. (Solar has similar fascinating opportunities by spreading over large lateral timezones, smearing and sharing generation and consumption peaks. Europe/Africa/Asia have together an 11 hour belt of very high generation opportunity to work with. Hurrah for GaN switching and HVDC transmission.) The more you do the better it gets and increasingly for keeps. But we need that Moonshot mentality to get the popular support for these huge changes.

      I have failed to convince you on how different Africa will be. But I and the companies I work with are firmly convinced the roll out of energy use will be quite different, with a pan African smart grid (of greatly reduced need) coming after a much of the topical generation and use is already in place. This will be where green gas/CHP integrated businesses, rolling up waste management will flourish most, as much because they don’t need to compete with existing infrastructures.. Big institutional lenders, like tech savvy Credite Suisse, will increasingly not finance increasingly risky fossil infrastructure given they are a diminishing assett. The bulk of Africa will never have telephone lines, they won’t even have to the door cable or fibre. They will look back at the rest of the world, and note that the past is a foreign country…they do things differently there.

    • Sorry. They won’t have cable or fibre. They will have 5G.

    • Phil I cannot argue with your impressive knowledge in technical fields of your expertise. I hope your techno-financial model gains traction on a global scale in the near future. From one layman’s perspective
      I see a reluctance on the part of societies and governments to put up the mega-cash necessary to fund these massive undertakings on a worldwide scale when so many other “needs” take priority in public funding. Because
      global climate change proceeds so slowly in its impact, the public cares more about maintaining the “old” economy and infrastructure that supports current standards of living. You’re proposals seem to call for major disruptions and austerities in the lives of ordinary people, many who are already poor, people aspiring to increase discretionary income spending for the good life afforded by consumerism in the here and now.

    • Melvin,

      Thank you for your generous comment and thank you for sticking with this.

      You’re proposals seem to call for major disruptions and austerities in the lives of ordinary people,

      I earnestly don’t think it need come to that. The major disruptions are to old money businesses and old money banking.

      Old money businesses are seeing their assetts starting to haemorrhage value and increasingly fail to get the finance they need to maintain them. Old money banking want to keep their casinos and cocaine, trading hundreds of times the value of GDP in “financial instruments”. Since the eighties they have had the maths to understand that trading with large enough chips skews the outcomes in their favour. Theirs are zero sum investments favouring….banks.

      These folk have a disproportionate amount of clout and have the ear of too many politicians and the voice of too many media outlets.

      Inflation is historically low. The time to disfavour casino banking for longer term plans and invest in cash stream assetts like wind, solar, smart grids, negawatts and compound CHP businesses, (these pay for their investment as they go, generating cash from day one) is now. The astonishing amount of money tricked out of the poorer by the richer with casino banking is hugely under utilised. An estimated 20% is lying completely idle. No one will go to prison for this open handed “crime” but governments might mitigate the past harm by encouraging it back into investment use with attractive tax incentives in return for some guaranteed income.

      This is mostly for the likes of the USA. If fully seized this opportunity could put the USA back into a sustainable technology lead in the sector. It could revitalise the industry and create jobs in virtuous new businesses with global markets crying out for their product. Any small energy hike would soon pass. In the UK we protect old folk in energy poverty. This would be an easy temporary measure. Even back in 2009 the levelised cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines was lower than coal. Encouraging longterm investment would realise this effortlessly.

      The Chinese spending well ahead of the curve has done nothing to harm the impressive rate of growth in personal wealth of all its citizens. It is telling that the head of the Chinese solar industry (and university) expects only to succeed because of commercial superiority now.

      Africa is transforming the wealth and education of its poorest precisely because of solar. Its implementation costs by skipping the infrastructure and by jumping to the latest technologies are tiny in total compared to first world’s investment upon investment.

    • DC Toronto #3
      Sep 20, 2016 at 10:37 am
      shoe … why not try it like this ….
      .it’s obvious to all but the most obtuse that our climate is changing, as it always does. And given the changes in our ice caps, it’s pretty clear that it’s getting warmer. Now we, as a group need to determine what to do about it.

      And there’s the problem: Solutions to ill defined problems. The glaciers and ice sheets have been melting for at least 12,000 years, well before Chevy Luminas hit the streets and coal power plants improved everyone’s quality of life. Nossir, let’s not qualify it with a lot of technical stuff like AGW vs NGW. Let’s pretend to fix things that you couldn’t possibly have control over.

      When you demonstrate mastery and control of volcanism; plate tectonics; orbital mechanics; solar wind, cosmic rays or solar irradiance, let us know. Then we’ll take you seriously.

    • The real problem, Tom, is sustainability. AGW is just one possible manifestation of this. The scale of the risk and the error bars on the predictions make the thing scarier not less so. Because the underlying need is sustainability (don’t steal the good materials from our kids, don’t mess the place up) the solutions are a no brainer. The economics of sustainability are rapidly approaching flipping point and the political arguments for indefinite energy security are winners already.

    • Tom Connor #95
      Sep 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      The glaciers and ice sheets have been melting for at least 12,000 years, well before Chevy Luminas hit the streets and coal power plants . . .

      The difference between climate scientists and climate change deniers, is that climate scientists know why the ice caps were melting before the massive burning of fossil fuels by humans started, and they know what causes the relationships between increases in CO2, changes in temperature, and the present increased ice melt.

      Climatologists like Milankovitch have understood the basics for decades even if they made a few initial mistakes!

      Deniers who don’t know what to measure or how to measure, just like to pretend everyone else is as ignorant as they are, so throw around complex science issues which THEY don’t understand!

    • Tom Connor #95
      Sep 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      and coal power plants improved everyone’s quality of life.

      Ah yes! Those choking and dying of lung disease, in the smog of Victorian London, 1960’s Los Angeles, and modern China, really do/did have their quality of life “improved” by burning fossil fuel????

      No ssir, let’s not qualify it with a lot of technical stuff like AGW vs NGW.

      No! – We don’t want to pull our heads out of the sand and actually look at temperature inputs of natural climate cycles and separate the baseline temperatures from the added human effects of burning known and measured quantities of fossil fuels. .
      That would be ditching denial and using science to achieve a realistic view!

      Let’s pretend to fix things that you couldn’t possibly have control over.

      I mean to say: We have absolutely no control over how much fossil carbon fuel humans extract and burn!!!!? Do we????

      When you demonstrate mastery and control of volcanism; plate tectonics; orbital mechanics; solar wind, cosmic rays or solar irradiance, let us know. Then we’ll take you seriously.

      There are features of nature which are beyond our control, so let’s pretend this allows us to abdicate responsibility for damaging actions which ARE well within out control!

      EPIC LOGIC FAIL!

    • Why not give priority to stabilizing then reducing population by factoring in decreasing aggregate demand along with advances in green energy and conservation. The logic seems airtight. Whatever the per capita carbon footprint – whether small, medium, or high- reductions in aggregate emissions will also be matched with reductions in population size. If a population of 1,000 emits carbon at 1 ton per person annually, total emissions for the year will be 1,000 ton. If the population decreases to 800 with the same per capita footprint, then carbon emissions will be reduced by 20% to 800 tons corresponding to the 20% fall in population. The advantage prevents population increases from wiping out progress in lowering per capita carbon. Suppose our 1,000 people cut per capita rates in half from 1 to .5. If population doubles to 2,000 the gain is wiped out. The gross emissions return to the annual 1,000 tons.

    • @ Phil #74
      .
      Our provincial government contracted to pay above market rates for green energy while also contracting to produce more energy than we need and selling to neighbour provinces and states at less than current market rates. A double whammy that has enriched many “green energy” entrepreneurs.
      .
      they also contracted to build several gas powered generating plants which they cancelled weeks before an election to ensure a win in that riding. The cost to cancel the contracts was approx. $1 billion (if my memory serves), and that’s before the cost to build the plants in the new location.
      .
      it has been a huge boondoggle (to be kind) and we now have some of the highest electricity costs in the world. Corruption, greed and political expediency are the most likely causes. It has put us far behind other jurisdictions and has been a significant factor in a loss of manufacturing and industry in the province.

    • @ Alan #75
      .
      do you know what these subsidies represent? Do you actually think that is what I referred to in my comment?
      .
      @ Alan #76
      .
      Phil is a stickler for per capita measurement. What is it per capita? How does THAT relate to other countries?

    • @ Alan #99
      .
      “China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.”

      I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them …. but hey, you and phil think they will save the ice caps from melting …. I’d hate to see if things were bad.

    • DC Toronto #101
      Sep 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      they also contracted to build several gas powered generating plants which they cancelled weeks before an election to ensure a win in that riding. The cost to cancel the contracts was approx. $1 billion (if my memory serves), and that’s before the cost to build the plants in the new location.

      it has been a huge boondoggle (to be kind) and we now have some of the highest electricity costs in the world. Corruption, greed and political expediency are the most likely causes.

      Political U turns, corruption, and political incompetence have no inherent connection to green technologies.
      Globally carbon industries get about three times as much subsidy as innovative clean green technologies – actively promoting pollution and obstructing progress.

      @#103 – What is it per capita? How does THAT relate to other countries?

      Per capita is the average per head of population.
      The per-capita figure makes meaningful fair comparisons of countries with different population sizes possible. – Otherwise we just get figures which suggest the obvious – that large (industrial) countries usually produce more CO2 than small ones.

    • @ Melvin #77
      .
      you didn’t bother to read to the end of the comment.
      .
      The land in Canada absorbes vast amounts of carbon. More than ALL Canadians combined spew into the air by a factor of about 20%. Canada as a country reduces the greenhouse gasses both in aggregate, and for Phil, per capita.

    • @ Alan #104
      .
      If you don’t know, just say so. It’s ok. I already know there are many things you don’t know.
      .
      political U turns and corruption have EVERYTHING to do with implementing the technologies and solutions to combat the human component of climate change. All of the changes currently proposed or even just imagined will require massive investments and significant changes for people. Fairness, openness and effectiveness will be needed to get significant numbers of thinking people on board. Ineptitude will set the process back significantly.
      .
      You can see examples of this in the government of my province (the largest in Canada), in some of the initial proponents of sustainability, who didn’t live sustainably themselves (Gore, Suzuki) and in the rise of politicians and ideologies that reject global warming and the emerging solutions (and the attendant accords and agreements). Kyoto died a wimpering death because it was seriously flawed. Paris has no teeth, but with luck it will align countries and move us a step forward. But even getting to that point we needed to spew massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere so that everyone got a trip to Paris – yippee! And mostly on the taxpayers dime.
      .
      which brings us almost full circle to my initial comment. I’ll ask you what I asked phil …. what have you done personally to combat global warming?

    • DC Toronto #103
      Sep 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      “China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.”

      I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them ….

      China was one of the worst polluters with its coal power-stations and
      poorly regulated nouveau industrialisation.

      It still has a long way to go, but has enthusiastically embraced green technology production.

      but hey, you and phil think they will save the ice caps from melting …. I’d hate to see if things were bad.

      The point for Canada, is that it WILL suffer as a result of global warming, and must avoid the triggering of massive feedback effects from peat fires and sea-floor clathrate methane releases.
      Global problems require everyone to play their part in fixing the problems – including setting an example and pressing others to behave responsibly.

    • DC Toronto #106
      Sep 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      @ Alan #104

      political U turns and corruption have EVERYTHING to do with implementing the technologies and solutions to combat the human component of climate change.

      Most of the green technologies used in suitable locations, are economically viable in the long term, so the problem is with the politics not the technologies.

      All of the changes currently proposed or even just imagined will require massive investments and significant changes for people. Fairness, openness and effectiveness will be needed to get significant numbers of thinking people on board. Ineptitude will set the process back significantly.

      As I have pointed out, feedbacks such as permafrost melt and peat fires
      are part of the future.

      Stupid investments such are extracting tar-sands and more oil drilling, is only going to make matters much worse.

      As CO2 levels and temperatures climb, the laws of physics don’t care who is responsible, or who is ducking responsibility.
      If the human populating does not get a grip on this, everyone will suffer!
      Some a lot more than others.

    • @ Alan #107
      .
      how do you think Canada will suffer? Have you considered the benefits available?
      .

      108 …. I didn’t say it’s the technology …. have you stopped reading? Those technologies will not be implemented without the political will …

      .
      And Al, you’ve conveniently avoided answering my question about the subsidies you complained about in post #75 …. do you now what you were complaining about? Or did you just press google, find a big number and post it? You really do need to dig in and understand what you’re posting.

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    • Melvin

      Why not give priority to stabilizing then reducing population by factoring in decreasing aggregate demand along with advances in green energy and conservation.

      Because that is too slooooooow. The health dividend runs on for two generations, There are no good levers to pull on this for many countries without creating a demographic disaster of unproductive and expensive old folk and a political backlash.

      By contrast if we merely look at negawatts, energy efficiency, that is galloping ahead. In one of my own current sectors, lighting in the residential, hospitality and retail, there is an as yet unused capacity to drop energy use by a further 55%, with a further 20% by 2020. Current products using conventional business models lag well behind what is actually possible.

      This applies to all energy use sectors, and is why negawatts gives the biggest CO2 hit per dollar of any investment. It is why Chinese carbon intensity is dropping so rapidly and facilitating the gear change away from coal earlier than expected.

      Mega changes are possible. If we had mortgages for e-vehicles made modular, (50 to $100k) with most components maintainable for fifty years, carbon fibre chasis, non crashable, re-manufactured batteries in the premium, ten re-skins in the total price. We could be running 200mpg CO2 equivalent vehicles moving to infinite over the decades. It would stimulate innovation in the modular parts because much smaller companies can join in. With modular formats mass customisation creates more varieties not less, it re-vitalises local businesses with real local added value rather than imported, it drops manufacturing effort and waste, embodied energy and CO2 by 80%. Back in 2000 or so I had the CEO of a Californian energy Company (not PG & E) talking so excitedly about the appearance of sufficient EVs and their batteries. For him even then it would be game over for fossil.

      Or like the youth of Paris who no longer buy cars but car share or rent an Autolib to zip them round Paris as cheap as the metro.

      https://www.autolib.eu/stations/

      There are so many tractable ways to make deep cuts in our energy use (I have a big long list). They will all work faster and deeper and with less social impact than population control.

      The spectacular birthrates most needing tackling are in the poorest areas…Africa etc. What will bring its 5 plus birthrate tumbling down is lifting them out of poverty, educating women and giving women the prospect of earning. More than anything Solar is achieving this. There is no fear of gas guzzlers appearing here, they have half a century of development to go. E-transport will be in place then, because…..of course it will. The equivalent of a trillion barrels of oil fall out of the sky everyday. A very great deat of it lands on them.

      What will happen with these good ideas is that they will dribble out, be fudged and grow much more slowly than they could. Moonshot and “War” mentalities show an upper limit of what we could do with the social compliance these things bring and sufficient committed money.

      Renewables and eco-tech are actually the way to do most good most quickly and will increasingly bring other societal and political benefits. I assert they will be better levers to pull to bring our population peak forward and down from 12bn in 2100.

    • DC Toronto #103
      Sep 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      @ Alan #99
      .
      “China, the country with the sixth-highest death rate linked to air pollution, is relatively wealthy, but is plagued by smog in its cities and polluted air from industrial sources.”

      I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them ….

      I would say that green energy isn’t working so well for them YET!

      Once their rapidly expanding green technologies replace their old polluting energy systems, their pollution levels will drop!
      At least some Chinese are trying to fix the problems, rather than trying to pretend climate problems don’t exist, or that the pollution is nothing to do with them.

    • @ Alan #75
      .
      sorry AL, you’re not correct. The number you quoted was an estimate of the discrepancy between price and underlying costs in various nations in the world. Canada is not included in that list.
      .
      it does not include any actual subsidies to resource companies.
      .
      it’s important to know what you are posting. As I said before. I agree with you that the various energy forms should compete on an even basis. But it is not as simple as you’d like to make it.
      .
      Ending direct energy subsidies would be a useful thing. I don’t see it happening in the near future, but it would allow the world to make more effective decisions. But it would have to include the all in cost of the various forms of energy, pollution (in the form of carbon from fossil fuels, or nuclear waste or battery waste) and it would need to recognize the built in advantages of the headstart enjoyed by oil/gas energy and the existing infrastructure they enjoy.
      .
      it’s not a simple task and I’m not optimistic that the world will get it right.
      .
      and to continue that thought, even if the world gets it right, I don’t think it will be in time to avoid significant disruption from climate changes.
      .
      as for the calculation of the price gap subsidy … while some may find it an interesting idea, I don’t believe it’s terribly useful number. Oil has historically had significant price manipulations (see OPEC 1973). And subsidies in oil producing countries, particularly where the state earns the bulk of the resource revenues, is simply taking from one pocket to the other (let me know if you need further explanation). It would be much more useful to look at subsidies granted directly to oil/gas producers to reduce the cost to consumers. OF course, this would need to be net of the tax revenue generated by the sale of these products to find the real net subsidy, but I expect you get my meaning.
      .
      My real point AL, is that if I thought we could gather the information to make the right decisions and get enough people on board and do it in a time frame that would actually have a meaningful impact, I’d be all for it. And step one on that road is to call out the imposters who use it as a populist issue to garner wealth or power. Good luck with that Al … pointing fingers at those who raise this issue won’t help.

    • @ Al #111
      .
      in the last decade china built 100’s of oil burning electricity plants with 40-50 year life spans. That is the minimum time horizon to see a significant shift in their overall output.

    • @ Alan #118
      .
      here is an article that explains it.
      .
      How green energy is fleecing Ontario electricity consumers
      .
      There are many hidden costs in our electric bills in Ontario. They’ve instituted time of use pricing among other advances that have made the bills virtually unreadable to the layman. Costs have rising substantially in Ontario, and as you can see, rates are above market for our green energy.
      .
      it may not be the fault of the technology, but it’s a reality for people who live here and creates suspicion around new initiatives …. which was my original point.

    • and one that shows the provincial gov’t backtracking on their wonderful rhetoric about renewable energy.
      .
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/ontario-cancels-plans-to-purchase-more-green-electricity/article32071794/
      .
      it’s important to understand what you’re posting Alan. This province has suffered immensely in our bid to become greener. This will set back the useful programs by years as the memory lingers in voters minds.

    • @ Alan #119
      .
      I fail to see the point of your posting long sections of already published material. The link I provided was related to YOUR article about the subsidies on fossil fuels. This was the source for the Bloomberg article you linked. Ultimately, this was YOUR source. Your post seems to suggest that YOUR source is not reliable.
      .
      In any event, I addressed the issues with the method used by your source. I think your quoted subsidy number is virtually useless as noted. So far the response has been to suggest your source is not very good. Do you have information that is relevant to the discussion?

    • DC Toronto #121
      Sep 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      and one that shows the provincial gov’t backtracking on their wonderful rhetoric about renewable energy.

      theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/ontario-cancels-plans-to-purchase-more-green-electricity/article32071794/

      it’s important to understand what you’re posting Alan.

      It certainly is!

      This province has suffered immensely in our bid to become greener.

      BUT – That’s not what your linked article says!

      Ontario’s renewable energy industry has been dealt a blow with the province’s decision to cancel the latest round of green power projects.

      The Liberal government announced on Tuesday that it is killing off its second “large renewable procurement” plan, the process in which companies bid to build wind and solar farms and other projects.

      Mr. Thibeault said contracts signed in an earlier green-energy procurement will be honoured. In March, the province reached 16 deals with 11 firms to build wind, solar and hydroelectric projects for a total of 455 megawatts of new capacity. The negotiated prices were much lower than earlier fixed-price contracts for renewables because of the competitive bidding.

      Ontario already has more than 4,000 MW of wind capacity and 2,000 of solar power.

      The Liberal government has been under pressure from the opposition and rural residents who oppose wind farms to scale back its renewable plans and to find a way to trim increases in electricity prices.

      But the cancellation was a shock to the renewable-energy industry, which was counting on the new program, which would have awarded contracts for about 1,000 MW of projects in 2018.

      John Gorman, president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, said the decision could hurt manufacturers and installers of solar product in the province just as they are becoming significant global competitors. “We are on the cusp of being recognized players in the international community, and we are at the doorstep of other provinces like Alberta [which are about to start] developing vast amounts of solar,” he said, adding that the changes in Ontario could damage the industry before it gets a chance to expand.

      Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said the wind industry is “shocked and extremely disappointed.” He said the decision is a “missed opportunity” for the province to prepare for future energy needs and mitigate climate change. He also noted that the cost of wind is now competitive with that of other forms of power generation.

      Lobby group Environmental Defence called the cancellation “short-sighted” and said this is “exactly the wrong time to put the brakes on renewable energy.” It noted that *prices for wind- and solar-generated power are dropping and are now competitive with new nuclear power or natural gas sources**. Gideon Forman, an analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation, said the move was “baffling,” at odds with Ontario’s low carbon plans, and potentially puts many jobs at risk.

      However, John Cook, president of Toronto-based clean-tech investment firm Greenchip Financial Corp., said many Canadian power producers have already shifted development plans from Ontario to provinces that are moving away from coal-fired electricity production, such as Alberta.

      Mr. Cook said it is important that Ontario residents realize green energy was responsible for only 5 per cent of the total increase in the price of electricity for the past five years.
      “The real cause of [higher] electricity prices has been nuclear refurbishment, transmission upgrades, the HST, and debt retirement,
      ” he said.

      This will set back the useful programs by years as the memory lingers in voters minds.

      It certainly will set back useful programs:- which is of course the intension of the carbon promoting propagandists, who have blamed green developments for the increased prices resulting from nuclear refurbishment, transmission upgrades, the HST, and debt retirement, to encourage deceived voters and misled politicians to make these foolish decisions.

    • China’s coal fired power stations are continuing to slump in the levels of their utilisation (%age of capacity). Now they are down to 50.9%. China’s aggressive plan to cut coal provision is proving painful in some provinces with the years plan possibly missing its plan deadline of November. Part of the problem is in the speed of change being required and the impacts on businesses and communities. 1.8 million coal and steel workers are to be laid off. I have seen reports that China may pay to speed up the process.

      Here’s a little more on that Liu Zhenya commentary and its context. This article explains that base load provision at best is no longer needed or is at worst a fossil fuel con. It was of course one time true and as catchment area and capacity of renewables expand so it diminishes. I might be truer to say that old money fossil is well motivated to hang on to the concept the longest.

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/base-load-power-a-myth-used-to-defend-the-fossil-fuel-industry-96007

    • phil rimmer #125
      Sep 28, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      Excellent link – killing the base-load myth now the Chinese grid has enough geographical coverage.

      @link- “Base load is an archaic term that is no longer commercially relevant. Once that capacity is built – coal-fired generation is the most expensive marginal cost of supply because of the fuel cost, because it has to burn coal to operate.

      “We believe that with more renewables and storage, peak electricity prices will halve over the next 20 years. Once you build solar and you build storage, the marginal cost of production is zero.”

    • DC

      It is entirely possible to screw up the transition to renewable. Expecting too much too soon, not having the courage to extend solar systems (!) across a large enough lateral spreads or wind turbines accessing different geographical wind assets. Early adopters mistakenly feeling they should not be getting into the sunk cost fallacy and not upgrading through the rapidly improving equipment, can actually see terrible returns on their planning, approval, tower planting and connection investment by not up-speccing generators and blades.

      Innovation in the design and manufacturing of wind power generation components continues to be critical to achieving our national renewable energy goals. As a result of this challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Program and Advanced Manufacturing Office are partnering with public and private organizations to apply additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, to the production of wind turbine blade molds.
      The Wind Program works with industry partners to increase the performance and reliability of next-generation wind technologies while lowering the cost of wind energy. The program’s research efforts have helped to increase the average capacity factor (a measure of power plant productivity) from 22% for wind turbines installed before 1998 to an average of 33% today, up from 30% in 2000. Wind energy costs have been reduced from over 55 cents (current dollars) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1980 to an average of 2.35 cents in the United States today.

      http://energy.gov/eere/next-generation-wind-technology

      Manipulating feed in tarrifs is entirely the way governments can invest in transforming their country’s energy infrastructure and favouring its new technology businesses. As a number of earlier posts have already explained new technology takes time to stop being a bit crap and very expensive. Canada was early into this arena. Sometimes being second is the safer position… just back from the “bleeding edge”.

    • Ah, here we go.

      http://uk.reuters.com/article/china-coal-capacity-idUKL3N1AS3FA

      This is government policy turning on a dime. If anything this shows how rapidly they are intent on changing things.

      Posting old stuff on China is clearly to underestimate their responsiveness to need and the coherence of their newly formed plans. (The 5 year 28% uplift in grid spending was a recent decision taken very hot on the heals of the analysis Wind investment not being fully realised without more copper.)

    • Phil, this U.S. IEA report from May, 2016 discusses China’s ambitious programs for reducing coal consumption but projects the time frame out to 2030 and 2040 hardly showing government policy turning on a dime .

      Coal consumption in China reaches a peak of nearly 90 quadrillion Btu around 2025 before gradually declining to 83 quadrillion Btu in 2040 (Figure 4-11). Government policy [concern for air pollution, carbon emissions and a shift from manufacturing to a balanced service sector-consumer economy] and an economic [manufacturing] slowdown are responsible for the peak and ultimate decline in China’s coal consumption… (my words in [brackets] )

      More alarming is what the IEA reports in the following paragraphs, especially about India, and world increases in coal fired energy projected out to 2040:

      In the IEO2016 Reference case, world coal production increases by 1.2 billion tons from 2012 to 2040, with 0.7 billion tons (62% of the total increase) coming from India (Table 4-1). China remains the largest coal producer through 2040, although its annual production declines in the second half of the projection period after peaking at approximately 4.7 billion tons in 2025. Production in Australia, Africa, and Russia also increases substantially, with their combined increases representing 24% of the world’s total
      production increase…

      Piling bad news on top of bad news, the report looks at projections for Africa:

      In the IEO2016 Reference case, total coal consumption in Africa increases from just under 5 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 7 quadrillion Btu in 2040, mainly as a result of demand in the electric power sector and metallurgical industries. South Africa accounts for more than 90% of Africa’s total coal consumption and more than 72% of its total primary energy consumption in 2012…chronic power shortages combined with the economic advantage of coal-fired generation suggest that coal will continue growing as a primary source of energy supply for South Africa.

      However we may prefer one data set over another; one analysis and projection over another, The EIA report for May, 2016 cannot be considered “posting old stuff on China” [and the rest of the world] nor can it be considered the output of biased hacks.

      Reasonable people may ask why you seem to be saying something very different from the EIA on the topic…???

    • Melvin,

      Did you intend to refer to this?

      https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/weo-2016-special-report-energy-and-air-pollution.html

      This report is about NOx, SO2, CO and VOCs (CO2 is not considered a pollutant in its analysis) it is “Based on new data for pollutant emissions in 2015 and projections to 2040,” Its window of view will not take in events just a few weeks before its publication date. In another debate this is entirely the evidence I would use to shame folk into action. But we are having a debate here about trend fatalism and asking the question is action (albeit two degrees too late) from governments a possibility. (Your contention…technology stands in our path, my contention politics and economic policy do).

      The report reads government policies in the light of its own remit (air pollution). I would contend that whilst there is a little economic slow down in China its rate of increase of energy intensity (energy effiiency through technology and business model shift) is a far bigger factor in realising opportunities for energy policy change.

      Completely agree about South Africa. If you will recall that is one of the countries I excluded in my analysis of Africa. Its has a lot of fossil legacy that it will find too tempting not to use. One silver lining though is to note SA has half the birthrate of African average. This is consistent with my claim that lifting people out of poverty will solve the population issue by default (with the health dividend caveat).

    • DC Toronto #122
      Sep 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm – @ Alan #119

      I fail to see the point of your posting long sections of already published material.

      The point is to pick out relevant sections from long documents and highlight key features.

      Putting in links which simply throw pages of text at someone, accompanied by a dubious claim that something in them supports some viewpoint, is simply unhelpful.

    • PHIL: The link I referenced for the information on projections for China and other regional, and national
      entities encompassing global production/consumption of coal out to 2030-2040 is from the United States Energy Information Administration official report International Energy Outlook 2016. Click on the link:
      http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/ Go to the IEO Section at the upper right top of the first page and click down the list on “coal.”

      The report covers everything you’ve been saying about China, concurs that coal and carbon emissions will subside (perhaps 22%) for various reasons, but takes a far more emphatic view about the prominence that the role of coal will play in the mix of energy in China and worldwide by mid-century:

      The moderating growth of the total energy consumption and the shrinking coal share suggest that China’s coal consumption could stay on the path of slow grow followed by decline. However, the sheer size of the country’s additional future energy demand even with weaker economic growth, plus coal’s dominance and economic appeal, indicate that coal will remain the leading energy source in China for many years to come. Therefore, while seeking to limit coal consumption on one hand, the Chinese government has also focused on consolidating and modernizing the domestic coal mining industry, mitigating the environmental effects of coal in coal mining, and improving the logistics of coal supply to ensure the steady operation and continued development of the country’s coal sector and to improve the economic competitiveness of domestic coal relative to imports.
      Coal consumption in China reaches a peak of nearly 90 quadrillion Btu around 2025 before gradually declining to 83 quadrillion Btu in 2040

      The question I asked you is simple and has nothing to do with arguing on the side of “trend fatalism.”
      Any data and projections should be contested especially as the magic year of 2050 draws closer, but why do you talk so differently from the U.S. EIA interpretation of the data projecting global coal consumption out to 2040? Should the EIA be dunned for their “realism” and you commended for your “vision.” Are they and you not experts alike?

    • Melvin

      Should the EIA be dunned for their “realism” and you commended for your “vision.” Are they and you not experts alike?

      No. think think they did a good job, but Events.

      April this year saw the announcement of a dramatic 40% cut to the coal development program. At the time this may have been taken as gestural. In fact it seems so far they were deadly serious. We see that this really was ambitious and that their years target of cut back “may not meet its November and remedial action is next. The further policy announcements of raised funding in complementary areas later in the year show this is a substantial and focused course correction.

      It has been a source of great relief over these last few months to see this narrowing down on the program, with decidedly ambitious statements from Chinese industry leaders (Grid and Solar) in support. Much more importantly seeing money formerly earmarked for coal removed and support for 1.8 million redundancies likely.

      The EIA report if published next year would be slightly more upbeat.

      For me this year has proved that big energy policy can be changed or brought forward on the fly. It also confirms what we negawatt purveyors have been saying all along that energy efficiency and intensity (the most effective sustainable investment) will exactly bring forward the flip time and drop future investment burden. We just need to see more of these course corrections happen and see that these actually build on the value of earlier investments. (Every new turbine or grid link uplift adds value to the earlier turbines etc.)

      In the USA the problem is the politicisation of the issue. (Myself I always prefer sustainability over AGW because it is a bigger problem, just not quite so obvious.) This generates an easy snow job for a very complex set of interdependent technologies. In a rapidly changing scene, old views need to be rapidly swept away. This is easier said than done.

      A couple of years ago I would not have been so assertive that the technology was in place. (I knew it would come but when and when cost effectively. I watched fuel cell and hydrogen development closely but found the cost projections were never met.) Flow batteries (a form of fuel cell technology) is now technologically ready to play its part, we can see great round trip efficiencies as possible. We see great EV investment adding to this peak shaving and gap plugging prospect. Fully available new negawatts (55% in my sector), funding starved by conventional businesses. There is sooo much technology available now that wasn’t viable 2 years ago, I have changed my tune. China has just a few months ago signaled hers. The problem is political and economic.

    • @ Melvin,

      re: you comments about controlling population as a prime strategy.

      Melvin, I’m with you to a point, we do need to control our population. However can’t we walk and chew gum the same time? Billy Connelly had a novel solution “If we could convince everyone to eat just one other person we’d halve the problem overnight”. His maths is wrong but the idea would have to be something as extreme as that to have an impact in time (as Phil has pointed out). However I agree that as a species we keep running into these crises one after another and if we do lick climate change additional growth in population or more precisely additional increases in consumption in any given population will continue to push other environmental factors. Nature is clearly telling us we’ve exceeded our sustainable population.

      However I’d ask you to consider this. While doing some study on this (very little Alan and Phil know miles more than I do so I’ll rely on them to correct me if I have this wrong) I was reading up on how CO2 is absorbed by the oceans and transported through currents under the oceans. This is not new to you or anyone, however what was news to me was the time this cycle takes. The CO2 being absorbed right now off the coast of say England will dive down as it travels North and flow around the world popping up (I believe – been a while) somewhere around South America 700 years latter. So it’s pretty clear to me that coal is while not quite dead certainly coughing up blood. Certainly in the next 25 years no one will care to burn coal clean alternatives will be too cheap. Gradually over a few hundred years plants will sequester the CO2 back into the ground, the atmosphere will return to a more natural state. But in 700 years from now our carbonic acid laden water will be belched up into the atmosphere again as that water emerges from the deep ocean. This is not certain it’s possible all sorts of nasty things might happen to the ocean currents but this is the legacy we will be leaving for our ancestors. Do you really think we have the right to subject them to it? Of course my child will be dealing with this his whole life insects, birds, fish are all changing migration, many organisms are being pushed out of existence in the process. We have to do better now, and limit population as well.

    • Reckless Monkey: “We have to do better now, and limit population as well.” ( Thank you.)

      I suggested this complimentary approach in a comment up the thread: “Why not give priority to stabilizing then reducing population by factoring in decreasing aggregate demand along with advances in green energy and conservation.”

      Phil thoughtfully begged to differ: “Because that is too slooooooow. The health dividend runs on for two generations, There are no good levers to pull on this for many countries without creating a demographic disaster of unproductive and expensive old folk and a political backlash.”

      Population stabilization followed by reduction involves disruptive dilemmas on several fronts. Ambitions to “control” population from 1950 through the 1970s were ham-fisted and backfired with dystopian nightmares like forced abortions carried out in India that led to widespread repudiation. Castigated for trying to contravene the human right of personal reproductive choice, nations usefully adopted “indirect” methods: the dissemination of contraception, sex and reproductive education, the empowerment of women, etc. While these methods showed impressive progress in dropping international birthrates toward replacement level (about 2.1 children per woman), there were significant failures notably in sub-Saharan Africa, India; South Asia and Southeast Asia. Combined with population momentum, huge cohorts of women under 15 coming into their childbearing years, these developments will inevitably lead to a world population topping off at 11+ billion people this century an addition of 8 billion people to the world population of 3 billion in 1960.

      Phil is right that population stabilization will lead to “temporary” (50 year) dependency ratio disparities between shrinking numbers of younger workers 18 to 60-65+ and growing numbers of retired older cohorts 60-65 +.

      The fallacy is twofold. The process also works in reverse. The “older” poorly educated subsistence farmer parents in Africa are charged with supporting, nourishing, educating their 7 children but cannot earn enough income or otherwise employ personal capacities to meet this responsibility. More importantly, we cannot overlook the reality that everyone ages. The classic population pyramid with larger numbers of children, adolescents and young adults at the base tapering into smaller and smaller cohorts of older middle age and elderly cohorts at the pointed pinnacle (death) would seem ideal for maintaining a healthy dependency ratio supplying a large younger workforce to care for a small group of old retired folks. In practice maintaining such a demographic age structure would only mathematically accelerate rapid and infinite population growth. We’d have to bight the bullet and accept some disruptions of an aging population on the road to stabilization/reduction at some point sooner rather than later. – Politicians have failed to explicitly admit that homo-sapiens are but another species. When we overbreed, just like deer or rats, we destroy our ecosystem environment whether through over-consumption, resource depletion, pollution, and, yes, global warming.

    • Melvin

      I am really happy with a “both and and” approach to our travails.

      Maybe four or five years ago, population control was my number one concern (though I worked in eco-tech.) Slowly I flipped my priorities as I understood how reliable a rule the correlation was between fecundity and poverty and female education. Before the only lever to pull seemed draconian on the Chinese model of one child, one not available to democracies. What the Chinese discovered was that their population continued to decline after their fiercest application of “one child” seemingly as a “wealth dividend” took up the slack.

      Bill and Melinda are doing great work introducing family planning into Africa (RC Melinda will not be beatified, I’m guessing) but they know that for it to be effective they have to lift the health prospects of their off-spring. Kids are biddable slaves and pension fund to the poor and they need to know that they will have sufficient around when they are older and /or feel comfortable of their own future wealth. So, this I contend is wrong-

      The “older” poorly educated subsistence farmer parents in Africa are charged with supporting, nourishing, educating their 7 children but cannot earn enough income or otherwise employ personal capacities to meet this responsibility.

      Children of the poor work to support themselves and their families and their aging parents… particularly girl children who are far more often kept from any available education.

      I’ll put this here as a starter

      Lifting people out of poverty, ensuring child health (so you don’t need a spare), educating and empowering girls, not only automatically alters birthrates very quickly, it also facilitates a more tractable population. So active family planning programs become the quid pro quo sought by the helpers (like Bill and Melinda).

      As I’ve argued before off grid solar is entirely a wealth, health and education facilitator bringing opportunity in Africa. The population catastrophe is merely (!) a continental one before being a global one. AGW is entirely now and the result of the most advanced and rapidly advancing nations and the moral and practical obligations are on them.

      Government policy change and economic reform can happen today. And make real changes within a year or two. Family planning works over generations.

      My fear is if tackling AGW is primarily to be ameliorated by population reduction we truly will be mega stuffed. The peak is currently 2100. We may bring this forward to 2050 (We should try to and more.) But this will be avoiding the African catastrophe. The big polluters (already below replacement rate and into the health dividend run-on) don’t have that many births to curtail so easily. (Five down to two because money and now they’ll both live is an easier argument to make than two down to one or none is taking away life purpose for many already comfortable.)

      This is why Sustainability should be the actual objective. I am far less sure about a specific size of population being ideal. I rather like 7 billion at the moment because it gives us 7 million folks with an IQ of >150. Were it sustainable it would give us greater wealth, power and brains to insure against external (rather than self inflicted) catastrophes. The actual size we need in future is contingent on such survival requirements, the quality of the stock and what (who?) we make to help us.

    • Government policy change and economic reform can happen today. And
      make real changes within a year or two.

      First you have to quell the noise of the deniers, which I rather think was the point of the article. Their distraction is slowing the necessary focus. For instance, here in the States, one of the primary candidates for POTUS believes global warming is a hoax. A secondary candidate believes corporations will voluntarily take the needed steps.

    • Vicki

      First you have to quell the noise of the deniers

      Indeed, but an equal and possibly greater problem I have contended here and in the Obama climate thread is the ease with which the allegedly and actually sympathetic can contribute to a prevarication and delay in achieving the political momentum needed. I won’t re-vamp the sources of prevarication here. I have counted five so far but they sit on often well meaning misunderstandings.

      Adjusting the views of the well meaning prevaricators is far easier than tackling outright denialism. We need to push on pushable doors.

    • I agree with Vicki.

      A POTUS Denier would enable more prevarication.

      Talk of excessive population is Prevarication, or lightly camouflaged Denialism, whether consciously or not.

    • Hi, Len.

      A POTUS Denier would enable more prevarication.

      Sadly I cannot control possible POTUS AGW deniers once in office. I might though affect his potential electors and get them to change their choice.

      In a democracy even one so clearly in the pocket of old money, our only chance to change outcomes is to appeal to ordinary folk.

      Choosing to flip the minds of those halfway there seems a better use of resources.

    • @ Alan #136
      .
      nice ad hominem AL. I guess you had nothing of substance to refute their claims so you attack their funding. When you proffer a report from a ‘green’ thinktank, do you expect the same? I know you like to think that it’s “science”, but it’s not really. There are no measurements or results as it is speculation about the future.
      .
      I’m not saying there isn’t a point to the science, just that it’s a best guess at the future. In fact, it could easily be much worse than they suggest … we could have passed the tipping point so that we are now bailing water on the titanic by cutting emissions.
      .
      Anyway, you’re off on a tangent again, straying far from the original point that I made. But you are correct, I only read a portion of what you write as you seem to go on at length without making substantial points and more than once I see you revisiting posts multiple times.
      .
      Yours is an interesting response on a web-site devoted to questioning religion and by extension anything that is taken as gospel, which you seem to do given your seemingly blind reliance on pro-green studies.
      .
      as an example, in your post #118 you’ve highlighted what you deem important in the article. You are claiming that renewable energy is not a driver of costs, by claiming that only 9% of the bill relates to green energy. But what portion of Ontario’s energy is ‘green’ energy? And more important, how much of what consumers consume is green energy (ie, subtract the amount sold off the get the net amount we actually consume).
      .
      you also quote from this same article that prices will rise by 40% in the next 8 years. I am dubious since they’ve been spectacularly wrong in all of their estimates, but if true it is still 5% per year. They claim this will be from inflation – although the inflation rate is not projected at 5% for the next 8 years (check their budget forecasts). In any event, inflation in what? Many of the costs are sunk costs. Their operating costs are labour and consumables. Is this related to increases in the cost of the gas at electricity plants? How reliable do you think that number is Al? Just today our federal gov’t announced a carbon tax. Is that factored in?
      .
      You don’t have to run around and answer these questions Al, because so far your answers have been uninspiring. What you should do is examine your attitude to discussing climate change. You are not the expert you think you are. And your attitude is one of the problems that arises in discussions such as these. Competing claims and self appointed experts who don’t recognize legitimate questions. That is no way to move more people to the cause my friend.

    • @ Phil #129
      .
      “this is gov’t policy turning on a dime”
      .
      yeah phil, our PM trudeau admires how the communist government in China can make quick changes … to everything except human rights, access to markets, floating their currency and financial disclosure. Oh, and democracy. Don’t forget that right to select your own government phil.
      .
      who will measure china’s progress and hold them to account? Call me a sceptic, but I need more proof than a quick policy reversal before I’m quite convinced.

    • DC Toronto #147
      Oct 3, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      @ Alan #136

      nice ad hominem AL.

      Quoting from audited accounts and university studies is NOT “ad hominem” simply because it tells you what you don’t want to hear! It is valid criticism.

      I guess you had nothing of substance to refute their claims so you attack their funding.

      You are just making this up and presenting it backwards!
      There is nothing of evidenced substance in their claims, as anyone who understands the science knows!

      When you proffer a report from a ‘green’ thinktank, do you expect the same?

      Oh dear! I think you have just illustrated the root basis of your science and accounting denial! The evidence comes from thousands of university studies and expert bodies – not “green think-tanks”.
      It is the junk denials which come from sponsored propaganda think-tanks with prior commercial and political agendas and no credible scientific evidence.

      I know you like to think that it’s “science”, but it’s not really. There are no measurements or results as it is speculation about the future.

      Just because you have not looked at climate change measurements or can’t recognise science when it is presented to you, in no way invalidates the science or the measurements on links I have provided.

      I’m not saying there isn’t a point to the science, just that it’s a best guess at the future.

      That is simply a clueless assertion. Numerous features are predictable to high levels of probability on the basis of climate history, climate records, measurements, and calculations based on physics.
      Many of the earlier predictions have been fully validated as they have been overtaken by events.
      Quite a few which were disparaged as “alarmist and grossly exaggerated”, turned out to be far too conservative, as the predicted climate changes kicked in.

      In fact, it could easily be much worse than they suggest … we could have passed the tipping point so that we are now bailing water on the titanic by cutting emissions.

      That becomes an increasing possibility as politicians sit in denial and refuse to take urgent remedial action. There are plenty of examples in planetary science as to the range of possibilities.
      .

      Anyway, you’re off on a tangent again, straying far from the original point that I made. But you are correct, I only read a portion of what you write as you seem to go on at length without making substantial points and more than once I see you revisiting posts multiple times.

      Chains of unevidenced assertions often need each point explained separately. – Lack of reading could explain a lack of comprehension and “points” sailing past without triggering understanding.
      .

      Yours is an interesting response on a web-site devoted to questioning religion and by extension anything that is taken as gospel, which you seem to do given your seemingly blind reliance on pro-green studies.

      I’m afraid this is just a psychological projection of your mirror imaging of your own blind denial of evidence which you can’t or won’t understand!
      .

      as an example, in your post #118 you’ve highlighted what you deem important in the article. You are claiming that renewable energy is not a driver of costs, by claiming that only 9% of the bill relates to green energy. But what portion of Ontario’s energy is ‘green’ energy? And more important, how much of what consumers consume is green energy (ie, subtract the amount sold off the get the net amount we actually consume).

      There are some up-front investment costs in new technologies, over and above the basic running costs of fully depreciated existing equipment, but that would have to be replaced anyway, and up-front long term investments, can usually be recouped from efficiency savings.
      .

      you also quote from this same article that prices will rise by 40% in the next 8 years. I am dubious since they’ve been spectacularly wrong in all of their estimates, but if true it is still 5% per year. They claim this will be from inflation – although the inflation rate is not projected at 5% for the next 8 years (check their budget forecasts). In any event, inflation in what? Many of the costs are sunk costs. Their operating costs are labour and consumables. Is this related to increases in the cost of the gas at electricity plants? How reliable do you think that number is Al? Just today our federal gov’t announced a carbon tax. Is that factored in?

      It is reasonable to factor in carbon taxes to pay for the damage which CO2 pollution is causing.
      .

      You don’t have to run around and answer these questions Al, because so far your answers have been uninspiring.

      Scientific studies based on years of research and checked-out by critical thinkers in top science and engineering journals, are the best quality and most reliable information we have, regardless of if you prefer to take your “inspired” information from sponsored deniers who just make stuff up!

      What you should do is examine your attitude to discussing climate change.

      My attitude is one of looking into the credentials and reliability of sources, the evidence, and methods on which they make claims: – as it has been for some decades of studying the subject.

      I am well known on this site for effectively debunking bad science, incompetent science, dishonest representations of science, and pseudo-science – as is illustrated on other science discussion threads.

      You are not the expert you think you are.

      How would you know anything about my specialist areas of expertise?

      And your attitude is one of the problems that arises in discussions such as these.

      You are back to psychological projection again.

      Competing claims and self appointed experts who don’t recognize legitimate questions. That is no way to move more people to the cause my friend.

      I know! That is why I drew your attention to the well funded science illiterates and charlatans on whose words you seem to dote!

      Until you learn to recognise valid scientific and economic studies published at reputable expert sources, on links, you will continue to be a science denier with no credibility on a science site!

    • DC Toronto

      yeah phil, our PM trudeau admires how the communist government in China can make quick changes … to everything except human rights, access to markets, floating their currency and financial disclosure. Oh, and democracy. Don’t forget that right to select your own government phil.

      Already noted by me up the way.

      But if they save the planet. If they pull Africa out of poverty more than others, if they keep their own folks increasingly happy, the USA has a problem, by not inventing a means of speeding up its ability to do the big stuff.

      The American government-phobic mentality will be the death of its top nation status. It will lose again and again in its technology lead by not offering equivalent platforms to the Chinese. Formulating big plans is thwarted by the lazier rich. Democratic market economies can work better than this if the market is rebalanced (by Government!) like thus and so and money markets made less like Las Vegas and more like the seventeenth century coffee houses where real money making adventures were planned and funded.

      Purely commercial standards agencies from Standard and Poors through to Underwriters Laboratories serve the USA ill at the moment. The former is part of the disgrace of the financial, markets the latter safety standards works against innovation from smaller companies. Elsewhere, governments driving opportunity from “mittelstand” type/size companies could form broad standards for a new class of modular product, for cars, houses, personal IT etc. favoured by tax incentives where long lived parts are keepable, short lived re-manufacturable. These will have huge environmental impact reduce/exclude imports, repatriate jobs increase innovation rates by modularising problems….

      Governments need to re-invent market forms and rules to facilitate compound (integrated and interdisciplinary) businesses. The USA can keep up if the old money can be told to shut up for long enough and simple-minded libertarian economists can be made to see the street market is no longer the paradigm it once was.

    • I think my second to last paragraph above doesn’t quite encapsulate what I wanted to say.

      Standard setting agencies of all types are underperforming in the USA because of the dogma that government must not engage in things that can be simple market entities, forcing upon those agencies a commercial requirement. This applies equally to setting the standards of the free-ish market and using tax as a tool of technological change. By turning these agencies into funded centres of expertise like the Law and Judges, critical and expert power but distanced from the levers of government except without extensive due process, far less biddable and old money purchasable decision making becomes possible. I would indeed like to see such an unbiddable and fact based policy formulating entity developing market and taxation policy, even.

    • While the article does become fall into ad hominem and genetic fallacy, this does not change the fact that many of these people have much to gain from denying climate change and much to lose if the government continues towards environmentally-friendly climate-aware policies.
      However, I do think that it is likely better to argue the scientific facts as opposed to the people, and leave the ad hominem attacks to those with no other valid arguments.

    • While the article does become fall into ad hominem

      An attack on lies and false claims, along with identifying those incompetently or dishonestly making such assertions, is NOT an ad-hominem attack.

      However, I do think that it is likely better to argue the scientific facts as opposed to the people, and leave the ad hominem attacks to those with no other valid arguments.

      The evidence is abundant and readily accessible, so those who recklessly doubt-monger or incompetently promote contradiction of it, are perfectly valid targets for criticism!
      It would be very far fetched to suggest that those in public office and active in public debates, had never had facts or criticisms of their views, pointed out to them before they make their denials!