Somersaults and a belly-flop: carbon tax fails on all counts

The government is trying to water down the carbon tax, its most costly error. Following the astonishing decision to join the EU’s carbon abatement scheme, I had a piece in the AFR on Wednesday. Henry E also had an excellent piece in the Australian. Here is the text of mine.

In a humiliating back down, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, though failing to acknowledge the damage of a carbon tax to the Australian economy, has recognised that the tax at $23 per tonne of carbon dioxide he introduced last month is excessive.

The carbon tax sets Australia alone with the EU in imposing such a measure and at an escalating price starting at $23, is twice the level that prevails in the EU.  In now saying the tax will be linked to that of the European price by allowing Australian carbon dioxide emitters to buy emission indulgences from the EU, the Government has conducted four somersaults and a belly-flop.

First it has abandoned the intent of the carbon tax, which as the Government appears to have forgotten, is an 80 per cent reduction in Australian emissions by 2050.  Achieving such a level would be impossible at $23 per tonne (a tax that has raised the wholesale price of electricity by 40 per cent).  To achieve its 80 per cent emission reduction objective would require a tax of over $150 per tonne.  This would bring about a threefold increase in the electricity price and, as well as directly imposing colossal costs on households, would shred the present industry structure of Australia and bring about a considerable reduction in living standards.

In its eagerness to win Green support and obtain a war chest to win supporters with tax cuts, the Government eagerly grabbed Treasury forecasts that a carbon tax would have little economic effect.  Such forecasts assume far-reaching technological changes favouring low-carbon energy.  This is despite no improvement being experienced in the economics of these sources compared with conventional electricity generation for the past twenty years.

Linking the price to the European floor means it falls to $10, a level that will mean hardly an iota of emission reduction but imposes price rises to consumers and industry that will still drive many firms offshore and shrink the number of the most productive jobs.

Secondly, the fact that the existing and future spending requires a carbon tax of $23 per tonne escalating year by year has been abandoned leaves a massive hole in the budget.  This once again demonstrates the ALP’s inability to maintain the necessary fiscal discipline.  Dropping the price to $10 means tax collections halve from the $8 billion or so a year anticipated by the government.   And if emitters fulfil all their requirements in emission credits from the EU then the Government will gain no tax.  Will it now reduce spending if so where?

Thirdly, in opting for the highest carbon tax in the world at $23 per tonne in the expectation that all other countries would follow suit demonstrates the damage created by the government believing its own propaganda.  In a raft of papers designed to shore-up the Government’s decision, all it has proved is that no major country is following Australia’s lead with a carbon tax and all of our trading competitors are simply rejecting it.  In its decision to shelve the Roxby Downs expansion, BHP acknowledged to European stock exchanges (though not in its Australian press release) that the carbon tax had been a factor in demoting the prospectively of Australian investments.  Other project downgrades we will see from increasing supplies from new mines across the globe and a tax-driven diminished Australian competitiveness.

Fourthly, the government is allowing Australian emitters to buy credits from EU countries.  If 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide credits are bought in this way that means gifting the EU some $1 billion a year.  There is no possibility that this wasteful funding of the EU at Australian electricity consumers’ expense will mean any reduction of emissions on a global level.

It is time to recognise that the carbon tax is a total failure of policy and to dismantle it before it does further damage to the economy in general and to consumers in their power bills.

Unfortunately the AFR followed this up with a real lame piece by Tony Wood of the ALP governments’ financed “think tank”, the Grattan Institute. His article said, “The European ETS is the largest carbon market in the world. Linkage will mean we help create a bigger market. ….. the big-picture view suggests this is a good outcome. ….. The government’s move in this direction carries risks to be managed, but is heading in the right direction.” You wouldn’t read about it!

The irrepressible Warwick McKibbin McKibbin, a long-time supporter of carbon taxes, sniffing the wind, has condemned the Euro link.  Previously the former RBA Board Member advocated using all the economist’s interventionary “tool kit” including:

  • a comprehensive approach with a portfolio of policies that both encourage the technological solution to energy generation and encourages technological and behavioural changes in how energy is used.
  • create a clear long term goal for carbon reduction over at least one hundred years, with long term property rights over carbon emissions … tradable in a market for long term carbon emissions … out past the 2050 target.
  • substantial investment in research and development into carbon saving technologies.
    increased awareness, through education, in how changes in consumption of energy can impact on the emissions outcome.
    .
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55 Responses to Somersaults and a belly-flop: carbon tax fails on all counts

  1. C.L.

    It is time to recognise that the carbon tax is a total failure of policy and to dismantle it before it does further damage to the economy in general and to consumers in their power bills.

    Yes. But if the malicious phlegmatism and the death toll of the border policy catastrophe is anything to go by – and it is – the chances of Gillard coming clean are zero. They no longer care about the country. This government cares only about beating the Abbott Monster at all costs.

  2. coz

    So does that mean electricity prices will drop?

  3. Alan Moran

    Coz
    All things equal, having increased 10% at the household level they will fall by 5%.

    But then again there is the increasing renewable costs and the line charges and the various state efficiency schemes. I would not run a book on it

  4. coz

    yah, once those bloated bureaucracies get a certain level of income they aint gonna let it go.

  5. cohenite

    So does that mean electricity prices will drop?

    Of course they will drop; they will drop because there will be NO electricity for some of the time; that can really reduce your bill.

  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    they no longer care about the country

    I don’t think this particular lot ever did, CL, only about some ideological vision they had of their utopia; our dystopia.

  7. entropy

    I thought McKibbin was a fan of a consumption based carbon tax, and has always rubbished the government’s mess of a tax?

  8. Twodogs

    Sounds like my idea, Entropy.

    Replace the 10% GST with a Carbon Consumption tax, rounded to an average 10% on all (ahem) goods and services, and voila! Carbon abatement, tick! Problem solved, everyone happy.

  9. mareeS

    They no longer care about the country…

    She never did, still doesn’t, that’s for certain. In a more civilized culture a disgraceful failure to the nation such as MsJ would have necked herself, fallen on her sword, thrown herself off a cliff, supped the poison cup, put an asp to her breast…Julia, there are so many options. Please choose one!

  10. Gab

    choose them all. I won’t complain.

  11. Nanuestalker

    Ladies, easy up…actually ignore that! 🙂

  12. no improvement being experienced in the economics of these sources

    What bullshit!

  13. Alan Moran

    1735099
    Read the whole sentence, No improvement in the relative economics of renewables. The cheapest (wind) at $100 plus a MWh remnains three times the price of coal based electricity. It was similarly placed in 1990

  14. Combine Dave

    It seems that despite public acceptance hybrid and electric vehicles will also not diminish in cost when mass produced, due to the cost of using rare earth metals in battery systems.

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE57U02B20090831?irpc=932

  15. dianeh

    •create a clear long term goal for carbon reduction over at least one hundred years, with long term property rights over carbon emissions

    McKibbin must be joking (or worse). This govt cant plan ahead for 1 week let alone 100 years.

    But the question really is why would we plan so far ahead when there are so many unknowns such as future technology, future climate change, alien invasion etc. We dont plan 10 years ahead for needed infrastructure such as dams and roads, and even electricity grids but we are expected to plan ahead for what, gas certficates!!

  16. .

    This numbers freakshow is trying to prove renewables are cheaper now by means of a 12 year old survey?

    What a monstrous fuckhead.

  17. cohenite

    1735099 attempts to argue that there are economies of scale and inherent cost and energy output efficiencies with renewable energy.

    This is wrong.

    Renewables are inherently contrained and unlike normal economic expansion have these inherent limitations compounded by expansion.

    The inherent limitations are defined by MEP. In layman’s terms MEP shows that natural process wind down not up as economic processes do [with other unnatural constraints like diminishing returns, Says law etc].

    In particular wind power is constrained by Betz law and solar power by various quantum conversion limits.

    What this means is that in ideal/perfect conditions wind and solar have an optimum energy conversion rate of 50-60%.

    But conditions on Earth are never ideal; the wind does not always blow at the ideal speed and the sun does not shine at the ideal intensity and direction.

    The difference between the ideal energy conversion rate for wind and power is expressed by the capacity factor which is the % of the installed capacity which the wind or solar installation produces over an averaged period, usually at least 1/4 or a year.

    But the capacity factor is also misleading because it does not show the moment to moment variation of energy conversion by wind and solar which is defined by the intermittancy. The intermittancy of wind means the probability of a wind power source achieving its capacity factor at any one moment is less than 6% as Table 1 shows.

    There can be no economies of scale or of any other kind with renewables because nature does not give economies of scale.

  18. Numbers link:

    The use of sustainable produced biomass for combined heat and power generation is the largest in the world. About 10 % of the total national electricity production is generated using wood-derived fuels and modern power plant technologies.

    Numbers supports burning native forests for energy in Finland but not here?

  19. Gavin R Putland

    Now let me see if I’ve got this straight.

    The carbon tax is terrible because the price per tonne is too high. But reducing the price is disastrous because it blows a hole in the budget. But repealing the carbon tax is good although it blows a bigger hole in the budget.

    The carbon tax is a con because global warming is a socialist rent-seeking fraud. But reducing the carbon price is bad because it reduces the abatement of global warming.

    The carbon tax is insupportable because it puts Australia ahead of the pack. But linking the price to Europe’s is intolerable although it means Australia is rejoining the pack.

    Trading credits with Europe is bad because it doesn’t reduce total emissions. Never mind that it isn’t meant to, because total emissions under a cap-and-trade system are determined by the height and coverage of the cap, not by the trading.

    The original carbon tax was bad for the economy because it was an $8 billion-a-year reverse tariff. And the modification is bad because it halves the reverse tariff. And please don’t mention the other $270 billion worth of reverse tariffs in the Australian tax system.

    All of which proves that the Government, and not Alan Moran, is guilty of four somersaults and a belly-flop.

  20. Sydney Climate Realist

    Australians did not give this Government permission to link us to the basketcase EU and their corrupt ETS. The 21013 election will be more than a referendum on the C02 tax – it will be a referendum on our independence from the UN’s slush fund and the EU.

  21. Alan Moran

    Gavin Putland
    Let me be crystal clear
    The carbon tax is terrible FULL STOP. The hole in the budget is due to Rudd/Gillard reckless spending.

    The carbon tax is a con FULL STOP. It is made worse because Australia is ahead of the pack and soon to be part of the failed EU system.

    If there is any point to carbon policy it is to reduce emissions.

    A $4 billion impost is better than $8 billion. Both are a waste and will reduce living standads without affecting the purported target which is global emission levels

  22. Lysander Spooner

    SORRY TO DO THIS PEOPLE BUT: DOWN DOWN….(now its stuck in your head isn’t it? 🙂

  23. Old bloke

    $23 a tonne, $10 a tonne, or even $0.02 a tonne is too much. There is no global warming, the seas have not risen, the oceans are not warming, and the polar bears are all very happy thank you.

    Global warming is a fraud, just look at the empirical evidence. Scrap the scheme in its entirety, sack the bueracats and return to the land of sanity.

  24. Lee from WA

    Hi Alan,

    I was wondering what length of time carbon would need to be priced at $150 a tonne to achieve the 80% reduction? Could Labor argue that at the moment the price will be $10 but some time in the future, the price will go up and achieve that target?

  25. There is no global warming, the seas have not risen, the oceans are not warming,

    just look at the empirical evidence

    Yeah – do that!
    You might have a point when it comes to the polar bears.

  26. cohenite

    Numbers links to a 2001 Levitus paper to justify his assertion that AGW is real; Levitus has a 2012 paper.

    Levitus’s 2012 paper is really stupid, or at least schizophrenic; he says:

    Key Points•A strong positive linear trend in exists in world ocean heat contentsince 1955
    •One third of the observed warming occurs in the 700-2000 m layer of the ocean
    •The warming can only be explained by the increase in atmospheric GHGs

    But he hasn’t checked with the bosses at the IPCC; as David Stockwell notes the IPCC in AR4 notes:

    The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the TAR, leading to very high confidence that the effect of human activities since 1750 has been a net positive forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m–2.

    Yet levitus 2012 finds a forcing based on:

    The heat content of the world ocean for the 0-2000 m layer increased by 24.0×1022 J corresponding to a rate of 0.39 Wm-2 (per unit area of the world ocean) and a volume mean warming of 0.09ºC. This warming rate corresponds to a rate of 0.27 Wm-2 per unit area of earth’s surface

    So Levitus has found a forcing and therefore an AGW effect, which is 1/2 of the IPCC’s LOWEST estimate.

    So, even if you accept AGW, it is at incredibly lower levels than forecast.

    And your points about sea levels and warming are just fucking stupid; empirical evidence my arse.

  27. JC

    Now let me see if I’ve got this straight.

    The carbon tax is terrible because the price per tonne is too high. But reducing the price is disastrous because it blows a hole in the budget. But repealing the carbon tax is good although it blows a bigger hole in the budget.

    Yes yes and yes

    Yes because it is too high.

    Yes because all osrts of spending and subsidies are based on that high price.

    Yes unless the spending is cut.

    I don’t quite see why that’s a problem gavin as you’re normally better than

  28. val majkus

    but … but … but

    Wind energy is great says a new report commissioned by the Labour think tank Institute For Public Policy Research.

    Among the report’s findings are that large scale industrial wind farms can:

    • Boost GDP growth by up to 3,000 per cent

    • Cure all known forms of cancer

    • Rescue drowning kittens from sacks in canals and lead them to secure, happy homes where they are well cared for in handcrafted wicker baskets with lovely, snuggly faux-sheepskin blankets for them to purr on and little saucers of organic Jersey cream designed by Cath Kidston.

    • Treble the beauty of the landscape.

    • Engender social justice.

    • Bring about lasting world peace.

    • Mean that if you’re an ordinary, struggling working class landowner like Earl Spencer, the Duke of Gloucester, Lord Gisborough, the Earl of Moray or the Duke of Roxburghe – not forgetting our old friend Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt – you won’t after all be forced to sell your third-favourite Raphael cartoon in order to make ends meet, you just stick up a ruddy great wind farm instead and Bob’s your uncle: problem solved!

    sounds a bit like our Dept of Climate Change and its off shoots
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100178585/wind-farms-cure-cancer-save-kittens-create-world-peace-says-new-wind-industry-report/

  29. So, even if you accept AGW, it is at incredibly lower levels than forecast

    So you set out to debunk AGW, but the best you can do is to say that it’s less than some forecasts.
    Now find something that contradicts sea level rise and ocean warming.
    Should be fun….

  30. brc

    Everything about the carbon tax is terrible – from the stated aim, to the unidentifiable environmental results, to the socialist redistribution, to the botched implementation that had to be changed before it was even two months old.

    Changing the carbon tax (downwards) in any way is better, but it is still worse than just abandoning the entire concept altogether.

    Holes in the budget can be plugged by other means, like not handing out goodies for energy price rises that no longer exist, and sacking every ‘climate’ public servant, and defunding every climate-related project except for recording the temperature (accurately).

    The budget hole was created by the existing stupid government, which decided to hand out the goodies before they even started to collect them. This was designed to give them another term, so they could start broadening the tax to include petrol + diesel, agriculture, and gradually crank the rate up to the $100/tonne the Greens wet dream about.

    In 2007 there was no budget hole. In 2012 the government receipts are higher than they were in 2007. The budget hole can be easily fixed just by unwinding every stupid Labor policy implemented in the last 5 years. This will take a year or two, and make a lot of people upset. But it must be done.

  31. brc

    Now find something that contradicts sea level rise and ocean warming.
    Should be fun….

    The actual data is enough. Yes the ocean level is increasing – as it has been for several centuries. At an extremely slow rate.

    This is no problem for any civilisation on earth, who can easily and affordably outpace a couple of mm a year. A sea level drop of the same speed would be just as damaging (ie, not very much).

    Lower Manhattan in New York has easily outpaced sea level rise in the last 200 years. And that has cost virtually nothing in the scheme of things.

    The problem with the alarmists is that they conflate the armageddon scenarios (100m sea level rise, 5 degree temp rise) with BAU climate variability, and then clamp onto any data in the +ve direction saying ‘see! told you so!’.

    There is zero evidence for the positive feedback scenario that the alarmism (and associated policies) is based on. Pointing to a +0.5 deg rise since 1980 proves nothing but that the Earth has gotten a bit warmer. And not one single life has been in jeopardy because of it. If anything, it is life positive due to greater food production and fewer cold deaths.

  32. val majkus

    how times have changed
    1974 it was all about global cooling

    it was causing the deserts to expand, the absence of Indian monsoons, frostier climate in the huge cold zones of the north

    a funny comment at the link

    I found a LIFE magazine story from the 27th of Aug 1956 and the headline “Our new weather”. http://tinyurl.com/966ll46 – It starts on page 117.

    1956 higher temperature
    1974 lower temperature
    1987 higher temperature – Time Magazine “The heat is on” – 2001 “Global warming”
    today lower temperature or at least no warming in the last 10 years or so

    It’s a perfect trend of “natural” cause.

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/08/30/spiegel-1974-temperatures-over-last-20-years-have-dropped-faster-than-at-anytime-in-the-last-1000-years/

  33. val majkus

    And may the renewable energy targets be scrapped too

    Let’s take up targeting dart boards or clay pigeons

  34. Alan Moran

    Lee from WA

    what length of time carbon would need to be priced at $150 a tonne to achieve the 80% reduction? Could Labor argue that at the moment the price will be $10 but some time in the future, the price will go up and achieve that target?

    It would need to be priced at $150 per tonne or more forever unless some new power source took the place of fossils (or unless nuclear became universal in which case a price of about $30 per tonne might work).

    Tax fans will have to acknowledge this or, in Treasury’s tradition, exploit some fantasy of technological breakthroughs. They propose a slow rise to this destructive tax rate for a number of reasons, one of which is to give them funding to bribe voters and reconstruct the economy.

  35. cohenite

    Now find something that contradicts sea level rise and ocean warming.
    Should be fun….

    You arrogant sack of shit;

    Sea level for AGW dickheads.

  36. Blogstrop

    Numbers is a troll wherever he goes and should be ignored. Reason will work no better than it does with our other resident ones. You just end up telling him what we’ve told all the others endless times, and he’ll just attempt his little points and links endless times.
    Good article, Alan.

  37. My post referred to the comment –

    There is no global warming, the seas have not risen, the oceans are not warming.

    The articles you cited have nothing to do with any of these issues, although I think you were trying to find something that shows that there has been no sea level rise.

    The first one is about data interpretation and is critical of methods used. It is about the history of oscillations, and how it is measured Any reference to prediction is in passing and inconclusive. It talks about interpretation.

    The smooth-falling sea-level interpretation contradicts other studies which suggest that sea level in eastern Australia oscillated during the Holocene (Baker Et al., 2001a). Data from New South Wales, Australia, were interpreted to indicate up to three oscillations over the last 6000 years linked to global eustatic variations(Baker and Haworth, 2000a,b; Baker
    Et al., 2001a). These interpretations are partly supported by other studies, such as from Antarctica, where icesheet ?uctuations may have resulted insea-level variations of less than 1m during the last few thousand years as a result
    The data suggest that sea level reached its maximum by
    7000 yr BP, followed by two 0.3–1.0 m oscillations (4800–4500 and 3000–2700 yr BP) and a fall to its present level after 2000 yr
    BP. This interpretation contradicts other studies from eastern Australia that show a smoothly falling sea level since the mid-Holocene high stand.

    The second study cited refers to Rahmstorf and Vermeer’s model, and is critical of it. Again, it has nothing to do the issue I posted about, but is a disagreement amongst scientists about choice of models. They conclude that some predictions are out by “one or two orders of magnitude than the historical evidence”. Nowhere do they say “the seas have not risen”.

    The important conclusion of our study is not that the data sets we analyze display small sea-level decelerations, but that accelerations, whether negative or positive (we reference studies that found small positive accelerations), are quite small. To reach the multimeter levels projected for 2100 by RV requires large positive accelerations that are one to two orders of magnitude greater than those yet observed in sea-level data.

    The third study is of limited value because it is restricted to a limited number of gauges, and the authors are cautious because of a range of variables, but in part, they conclude –

    The longest continuous Australasian records, Fremantle and Auckland, situated on the western and eastern periphery of the Oceania region, respectively, exhibit remarkably similar trends in the relative 20-year moving average water level time series after 1920. Both time series show a rise in mean sea level of approximately 120 mm between 1920 and 2000 with strong correlation (R2 ? 0.93) to fitted second-order polynomial trendlines that reflect a tendency toward a general slowing in the rise of mean sea level (or deceleration) over time on the order of 0.02–0.04 mm/y2.

    So tell me which of these articles contradict anything I’ve posted.

    You arrogant sack of shit;

    It takes ignorance (and a fair dose of arrogance) to post a series of red herrings. I’ll tell you something for free. Read your citations before you post them.

    Your use of gratuitous abuse says more about you than the issue in question.

  38. Gab

    Related. What a farce:

    His analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria’s wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

    A forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data shows Victoria’s carbon-intensive brown-coal power stations do not reduce the amount of coal they burn when wind power is available to the grid.

    Cumming says surplus energy is wasted to make room for intermittent supplies from wind.

    Cumming’s findings have been confirmed by Victoria’s coal-fired electricity producers and by independent energy analysts who say it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up…

    Even in SA, which uses gas, not coal, for base-load power and makes much greater use of wind, Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement at $1484 a tonne…

    In a letter to Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark, Cumming said the owners of Yallourn, Hazelwood and Loy Yang power stations had confirmed in writing that the power stations combined consume about 7762 tonnes of coal an hour.

    “They have confirmed that the power stations do not change the coal feed intake 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The coal consumed by these three power stations alone makes base-load power available at a rate of 6650 megawatts,” Cumming wrote. “Victoria also burns coal powering an additional emergency standby of 630 megawatts, according to Sustainable Victoria documents that were presented in your Mortlake Planning Panel. Victoria’s demand only exceeds 6650MW generally for less than 10 hours every 72, and rarely exceeds 7200MW.

  39. cohenite

    Let me put it together for you numbers; the Lewis et al paper shows that current sea levels are the end product of a long down trend with a few oscillations apparent along the way.

    The second paper by Houston and Dean is a response to a typical cherry picking response by Rhamstorf to their first paper; it is not a dispute about “choice of models”; Houston and Dean have ‘simply’ done a least-squares quadratic analysis of all data over 60 years to ascertain trend; this is as basic as it gets but nothing has been done like this by the IPCC ‘scientists’; what Houston and Dean find is NO acceleration of trend in sea level rise, and over the recent period, a deceleration in trend of sea level rise.

    The implications of this are 2-fold; firstly it confirms the Lewis study over the longer period that sea level in the modern period is unexceptional as compared with any period since the Holocene; and secondly, as a result of that, contradicts completely the prediction by AGW that sea level rise is a product of AGW, is exceptional and will achieve sea level rises over the next century; Houston and Dean found sea level rises which:

    are opposite in sign and one to two orders of magnitude less than the +0.07 to +0.28 mm/y2 accelerations that are required to reach sea levels predicted for 2100 by Vermeer and Rahmsdorf (2009), Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted (2010), and Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejeva (2010).

    The 3rd paper by Watson confirms, independently, the Houston and Dean study and also demonstrates the oppressive censorship from within the AGW fold given that Watson was publically reprimanded for speaking to the press about his study results.

    Now you say:

    It takes ignorance (and a fair dose of arrogance) to post a series of red herrings. I’ll tell you something for free. Read your citations before you post them.

    I not only read them, I understand them.

    And abuse of AGW believers who take an attitude is never gratuitous.

  40. It is an indisputable fact that sea levels have risen across the globe through the 20th century. AGW will almost certainly cause this phenomenon to accelerate through the 21st century and beyond. The magnitude of this rise remains uncertain, but it is a given.

    These uncertainties include the changes in the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the dimensions of regional changes in sea level. Local nonclimatic components of relative sea-level change (e.g. subsidence) are complicating factors. Although the impacts of sea-level rise are potentially large, the application and success of adaptation are large uncertainties that require more assessment and consideration.

    Science is never certain. The accuracy and completeness of measurements and the adequacy of our understanding of these measurements is always in question. The climate system is complex and there will always be uncertainty. Nevertheless climate science is strong and its basic findings irrefutable. These findings are supported by multiple independent lines of evidence.

    Nit-picking “models” does not invalidate it, but everybody seems to be writing about climate change.

    Almost without exception, these writers adopt a position on the issue related to their political views.

    Given that the concern originated from the scientific community, the fact that it has become controversial is bizarre. There’s no doubt that the issue has been picked up by both ends of the political spectrum to fit specific (and very different agendae) but it really isn’t a political issue.

    What is to me alarming are the recent assertions of both sides of the debate. On the one hand we hear hysterical conspiracy theories about world domination. On the other we are scared witless with forecasts of death by fire, floods or starvation. These polemics simply complicate what is basically a simple issue.

    Like many other Australians I have children. Like many other Australians I take out insurance. I don’t believe that this insurance is a waste of money, even when my house doesn’t burn down, or my car isn’t written off.

    I believe that it is reasonable to insure the future of our planet against two basic threats which would affect the quality of the lives of my children and grandchildren. If we have to make financial and lifestyle sacrifices as part of this insurance then I can live with that.

    The first threat is the strong likelihood that exponentially escalating carbon emissions are having negative effects long-term on climate. The second is that we are consuming non-renewable energy resources at a rate that isn’t sustainable if we want to enjoy the same lifestyle benefits currently available.

    Either or both of these trends will bring us to a point where the benefits of not acting now will be far exceeded by the costs if we don’t.

    Even if you completely reject the IPCC consensus, the issue of depletion of non-renewable will simply not go away.

    I’ve been trained in risk analysis. I understand the low-risk high-consequence component of basic risk management. There is no more severe consequence to taking an unnecessary risk than the degradation of our planet. That consideration alone should be enough to convince the most avid sceptic that we need to act. Sure, we don’t need the hype, we don’t need political positions to be taken and defended, but we do need basic behaviour change on the part of individuals, corporations and nations.

    For me, the most convincing argument comes from personal experience.

    My wife and I lost our firstborn child (a daughter), in 1982. The post-mortem indicated that she died of an aneurism that was a result of a congenital defect. The reason for the defect was never established, but studies of the children of Vietnam Veterans contain some very convincing statistics.

    This experience, by itself is a powerful personal motivator to support planned and dogged action by individuals and government to maintain our planet as a viable life source for future generations.

    I am one of many veterans sprayed with Agent Orange. I’ve returned to Vietnam on a number of occasions in the last few years and seen vast swathes of the countryside that still haven’t recovered after forty years. I’ve visited Vietnamese institutions for people with disabilities and have been staggered and horrified by the extent and number of these congenital malformations.

    Vietnam has one of the highest incidence rates of these malformations on the planet. The use of this defoliant was an example of utter contempt of the natural environment. This mindset continues today in the attitude many of the sceptics. It is arrogant, totalitarian and basically suicidal.

    Alan Moran, you can commit to future infanticide if you wish, but I don’t think it’s fair that you force the rest of us to join you.

  41. It is an indisputable fact that sea levels have risen across the globe through the 20th century. AGW will almost certainly cause this phenomenon to accelerate through the 21st century and beyond. The magnitude of this rise remains uncertain, but it is a given.

    These uncertainties include the changes in the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the dimensions of regional changes in sea level. Local nonclimatic components of relative sea-level change (e.g. subsidence) are complicating factors. Although the impacts of sea-level rise are potentially large, the application and success of adaptation are large uncertainties that require more assessment and consideration.

    Science is never certain. The accuracy and completeness of measurements and the adequacy of our understanding of these measurements is always in question. The climate system is complex there will always be uncertainty. Nevertheless climate science is strong and its basic findings irrefutable. These findings are supported by multiple independent lines of evidence.

    Nit-picking “models” does not invalidate it.

    Everybody seems to be writing about climate change.

    Almost without exception, these writers adopt a position on the issue related to their political views.

    Given that the concern originated from the scientific community, the fact that it has become controversial is bizarre. There’s no doubt that the issue has been picked up by both ends of the political spectrum to fit specific (and very different agendae) but it really isn’t a political issue.

    What is to me alarming are the recent assertions of both sides of the debate. On the one hand we hear hysterical conspiracy theories about world domination. On the other we are scared witless with forecasts of death by fire, floods or starvation. These polemics simply complicate what is basically a simple issue.

    Like many other Australians I have children. Like many other Australians I take out insurance. I don’t believe that this insurance is a waste of money, even when my house doesn’t burn down, or my car isn’t written off.

    I believe that it is reasonable to insure the future of our planet against two basic threats which would affect the quality of the lives of my children and grandchildren. If we have to make financial and lifestyle sacrifices as part of this insurance then I can live with that.

    The first threat is the strong likelihood that exponentially escalating carbon emissions are having negative effects long-term on climate. The second is that we are consuming non-renewable energy resources at a rate that isn’t sustainable if we want to enjoy the same lifestyle benefits currently available.

    Either or both of these trends will bring us to a point where the benefits of not acting now will be far exceeded by the costs if we don’t.

    Even if you completely reject the IPCC consensus, the issue of depletion of non-renewable will simply not go away.

    I’ve been trained in risk analysis. I understand the low-risk high-consequence component of basic risk management. There is no more severe consequence to taking an unnecessary risk than the degradation of our planet. That consideration alone should be enough to convince the most avid sceptic that we need to act. Sure, we don’t need the hype, we don’t need political positions to be taken and defended, but we do need basic behaviour change on the part of individuals, corporations and nations.

    For me, the most convincing argument comes from personal experience.

    My wife and I lost our firstborn child (a daughter), in 1982. The post-mortem indicated that she died of an aneurism that was a result of a congenital defect. The reason for the defect was never established, but studies42 of the children of Vietnam Veterans contain some very convincing statistics.

    This experience, by itself is a powerful personal motivator to support planned and dogged action by individuals and government to maintain our planet as a viable life source for future generations.

    I am one of many veterans sprayed with Agent Orange. I’ve returned to Vietnam on a number of occasions in the last few years and seen vast swathes of the countryside that still haven’t recovered after forty years. I’ve visited Vietnamese institutions for people with disabilities and have been staggered and horrified by the extent and number of these congenital malformations.

    Vietnam has one of the highest incidence rates of these malformations on the planet. The use of this defoliant was an example of utter contempt of the natural environment. This mindset continues today in the attitude many of the sceptics. It is arrogant, totalitarian and basically suicidal.

    You can commit to future infanticide if you wish, but I don’t think it’s fair that you force the rest of us to join you.

  42. .

    Even if you completely reject the IPCC consensus, the issue of depletion of non-renewable will simply not go away.

    We will never run out of fossil fuel, and nuclear can provide for millions of years of power anyway.

    Nit-picking “models” does not invalidate it.

    Yes it does. The Greenhouse theory is only half true. The earth has radiated most of the “extra” heat. This has recently been proven.

    The sea level rises are so small they are unimportant. The AGW model cannot explain the MWP. Catastrophic sea level rise would take millennia of global warming.

    Numbers, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

  43. JC

    The sea level rises are so small they are unimportant.

    I always like that one. Humans have been building dykes for 800 years. I guess that technology is lost.

    David Friedman cited a study by Nordhaus on this subject where he estimated the total cost for the US by 2080 in building dykes etc was $10 billion. Big fucking deal.
    Oh yes, wadda bout Bangladesh we keep hearing. Their wealth alone will allow them to build barriers in 100 years.

    It’s a non-story.

    It’s a non fucking story.

  44. We will never run out of fossil fuel, and nuclear can provide for millions of years of power anyway.

    Bottom line: there is a finite amount of conventional light, sweet crude in the earth’s crust.
    And if we’re never going to run out of fossil fuel, why would nuclear be necessary?
    Bizarre…..

  45. The Greenhouse theory is only half true.

    Which half?

  46. It’s a non-story.

    It’s a non fucking story.

    How long have you had this problem with repetition and obscenity? I’d diagnose Tourettes.

  47. cohenite

    numbers, your comment is a template of everything which is used by AGW advocates; I’m sorry about your daughter and I don’t think it should be discussed except to say you say:

    The reason for the defect was never established

    And then you associate with Agent orange, a proven carcinogen, and then associate with AGW; it is a house of cards built on nothing except an emotional response and self-reference with no evidentiary connection; you are saying in effect: my daughter died, we don’t know why; agent orange is bad, therefore AGW is too. That is fucked.

    Your science is really irritating; you have linked to Church and White 2006 to base your conclusion that:

    It is an indisputable fact that sea levels have risen across the globe through the 20th century. AGW will almost certainly cause this phenomenon to accelerate through the 21st century and beyond. The magnitude of this rise remains uncertain, but it is a given.

    This is hyperventilating bullshit; noone is disputing that sea levels have risen during the 20thC; but it is also indisputable that the rise has been uneven with periods of deceleration within an a period of positive oscillation in an overall downward trend of sea level.

    Houston and Dean 1 & 2, which you have obviously not read/read and understood deals specifically with Church and White 2006 and they say this:

    A review paper on sea-level acceleration by Woodworth et al. (2009) notes that the analysis by Church and White (2006) shows a positive acceleration, or ‘‘inflexion’’ point, around
    1920–30. They do not use the mathematical definition of an inflexion point as the point where the curvature (second derivative) changes, but instead define it as a change in sealevel trend. They say that the inflexion point around 1920–30 is the main contributor to acceleration from 1870 to 2004.
    Woodworth et al. (2009) concluded there was consensus among the authors that acceleration occurred from around 1870 to the end of the 20th century; however, with the major acceleration
    occurring prior to 1930, the sea-level rise (Figure 1) appears approximately linear from 1930 to 2004. Church and White (2006) did not separately analyze this specific period.

    What this means is that Church and White 2006 did not analyse the data correctly; there is a statistically significant break in the data which when considered means that Church and White’s conclusion that sea level rise is accelerating over the 20thC up to the present is wrong; the correct conclusion is that sea level rise accelerated to the break in 1930 but decelerated since then to the current linear rate which would also mean theat the IPCC predictions for sea level by the end of the 21stC are also unfounded.

    This is typical of AGW fanantics; good and thorough science is sacrificed for the emotional investment in this bullshit about AGW.

  48. sea level rise is accelerating

    The post I highlighted was Old bloke’s
    which stated

    There is no global warming, the seas have not risen, the oceans are not warming,

    which is typical of the bullshit regularly posted unchallenged here. I will always call crap when I see it.
    Nothing posted since has challenged my original contention that this is a fine example of the distraction, obfuscation and belittling of data based projections featured routinely on this site.
    Sea level is rising – what is contestable is the rate, and whether it will be a threat sooner rather than later.
    My post about Agent Orange has obviously sailed right over your head.
    The very simple point made here is that the denial of consideration for the environment, whether it results from unbridled greed or total war, has consequences for future generations.
    These, like AGW, cannot be ignored simply because they require the use of the intellect.
    It occurs to me than many who post here place no value on anything they can’t eat, drink, or f**k. It’s way past time you grew up.

  49. cohenite

    My post about Agent Orange has obviously sailed right over your head.

    No, it didn’t, I described your emotional sophistry just right.

    And you do the same thing again:

    The very simple point made here is that the denial of consideration for the environment, whether it results from unbridled greed or total war, has consequences for future generations.
    These, like AGW, cannot be ignored simply because they require the use of the intellect.

    What you keep doing is conflating real pollution and environmental issues with a phony one, AGW. This is at a basic level, just guilt by association.

    There is no evidence for AGW. I will shortly put up a paper dealing with a review of a number of recent studies which repudiate the AGW theory. I have already provided a number of papers on this thread which defeat the notion that sea level and AGW are connected. Your wilful disregard for them reflects your puerile need for AGW to be real not any substance to your ‘science’.

    AGW is shot to bits; it continues as a vanity exercise for morally aggressive pricks like you, for money-making scam artists, power seeking blood-sucking organisations like the UN and witless governments like the Gillard train wreck; all of whom are doing far more damage to the environment and the future than any ‘deniers’.

    You have no science, you have no moral imprimateur, but you have an implacable need to be pessimistic; if you weren’t such a nuisance it would be sad.

  50. 1735099

    will shortly put up a paper

    code for “There is nothing that I can post to back up my wacky opinion”.

  51. Gab

    Is this thread part of 1735099’s therapy?

  52. cohenite

    will shortly put up a paper

    code for “There is nothing that I can post to back up my wacky opinion”.

    No numbnuts, the review will be soon and has been partially dealt with at Jo Nova’s; but I have already posted PR backup to rebut your scurrilous contention that current sea level is caused by AGW; you just can’t admit that you and your moral cause de jour, AGW, is a vile, destructive lie, can you?

    Is this thread part of 1735099?s therapy?

    Only if he is a masochist; I don’t mind, he can’t win the science argument because AGW only ever had a scintilla of science which has evaporated under the overwhelming weight of empirical and observational contrary evidence. I do wish his insults were better though, a fresh, original insult is bracing; his are stale; he needs to take a step back and emotionally distance himself from the fray; but then, if he did that he’d probably realise he’s defending bullshit; so it’s a win/win really.

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