Denying the Climate Catastrophe: 8. The Lukewarmer Middle Ground

This is Chapter 8 of an ongoing series.  Other parts of the series are here:

  1. Introduction
  2. Greenhouse Gas Theory
  3. Feedbacks
  4.  A)  Actual Temperature Data;  B) Problems with the Surface Temperature Record
  5. Attribution of Past Warming:  A) Arguments for it being Man-Made; B) Natural Attribution
  6. Climate Models vs. Actual Temperatures
  7. Are We Already Seeing Climate Change
  8. The Lukewarmer Middle Ground (this article)
  9. A Low-Cost Insurance Policy

In this chapter we are going to try to sum up where we are and return to our very first chapter, when I said that we would find something odd once we returned to the supposed global warming "consensus".

First, let's return to our framework one last time and try to summarize what has been said:

Slide75

I believe that this is a pretty fair representation of the median luke-warmer position.  Summarized, it would be:

  • Manmade CO2 warms the Earth, though by much less than most climate models claim because these models are assuming unrealistic levels of positive feedback that over-state future warming.  One degree C of warming, rather than four or five, is a more realistic projection of man-made warming over the next century
  • The world has certainly warmed over the last century, though by perhaps a bit less than the 0.8C in the surface temperature record due to uncorrected flaws in that record
  • Perhaps half of this past warming is due to man, the rest due to natural variability
  • There is little evidence that weather patterns are "already changing" in any measurable way from man-made warming

The statements I just wrote above, no matter how reasonable, are enough to get me and many others vilified as "deniers".  You might think that I am exaggerating -- that the denier tag is saved for folks who absolutely deny any warming effect of CO2.  But that is not the case, I can assure you from long personal experience.

The Climate Bait and Switch

Of course, the very act of attempting to shut people up who disagree with one's position on a scientific issue is, I would have thought, obviously anti-science.   The history of science is strewn with examples of the majority being totally wrong.   Even into the 1960's, for example, the 97% consensus in geology was that the continents don't move and that the few scientists who advocated for plate tectonics theory were crackpots.

But that is not how things work today.  Climate action advocates routinely look for ways to silence climate skeptics, up to and including seeking to prosecute these climate heretics and try to throw them in jail.

The reason that alarmists say they feel confident in vilifying and attempting to silence folks like myself is because they claim that the science is settled, that 97% of climate scientists believe in the consensus, and so everyone who is not on board with the consensus needs to shut up.  But what exactly is this consensus?

The 97% number first appeared in a "study" by several academics who sent out a survey to scientists with some climate change questions.  They recieved over 3146 responses, but they decided that only 77 of these respondents "counted" as climate scientists, and of these 75 of the 77 (97%) answered two questions about climate change in the affirmative.

Slide82

We will get to the two questions in a second, but note already the odd study methodology.  If the other 10,000 plus people sent the survey were not the targets of the survey, why were they sent a survey in the first place?  It makes one suspicious that the study methodology was changed mid-stream to get the answer they wanted.

Anyway, what is even more fascinating is the two questions asked in the survey.  Here they are:

  1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
  2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

The 97% in this survey answered the questions "risen" and "yes".

Do you see the irony here?  If you have been following along with this series, you should be able to say how I would have answered the two questions.  I would certainly have said "risen" to 1.  The answer to question 2 is a bit hard because "significant" is not defined, but in a complex system with literally thousands of variables, I would have said one of those variables was a significant contributor at anything over about 10%.  Since I estimated man's effect on past warming around 40-50%, I would have answered "yes" to #2!  In fact, most every prominent science-based skeptic I can think of would likely have answered the same.

So you heard it right -- I and many prominent skeptics are part of the 97% consensus.  Effectively, I am being told to shut up and not continue to say what I think, in the name of a 97% consensus that represents exactly what I am saying.  This is so weird as to be almost Kafka-esque.

This is what I call the climate bait and switch.  Shaky assumptions about things like high positive feedback assumptions are defended with the near-certainty that surrounds unrelated proposition such as the operation of the greenhouse gas effect.

In fact, merely arguing about whether man-made warming exists or is "significant" falls well short of what we really need in the public policy arena.  What we really should be discussing is a proposition like this:

Is manmade CO2 causing catastrophic increases in warming and warming-driven weather effects whose costs exceed those of reducing CO2 production enough to avoid these effects?

It is about at this point when I usually have people bring up the precautionary principle.  So that I am not unfair to proponents of that principle, I will use the Wikipedia definition:

if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action or policy is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action that may or may not be a risk.

The principle is used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from making a certain decision (e.g. taking a particular course of action) when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

I believe that, as stated, this is utter madness.  I will give you an example.   Consider a vaccine that saves thousands of lives a year.  Let's say, as is typical of almost every vaccine, that it also hurts a few people, such that it may kill 1 person for every thousand it saves.  By the precautionary principle as stated, we would never have approved any vaccine, because the precautionary principle does not put any weight on avoided costs of the action.

So take fossil fuel burning.   Proponents of taking drastic action to curb fossil fuel use in the name of global warming prevention will argue that until there is an absolute consensus that burning fossil fuels is not harmful to the climate, such burning should be banned.  But it ignores the substantial, staggering, unbelievably-positive effects we have gained from fossil fuels and the technology and economy they support.

Just remember back to that corn yield chart.

Slide123

Bill McKibbon wants us to stop using fossil fuels because they may cause warmer temperatures that might reduce corn yields.  But there is a near absolute certainty that dismantling the fossil fuel economy will take us back to the horrendous yields in the yellow years on this chart.  Proponents of climate action point to the possibility of warming-based problems, but miss the near certainty of problems from elimination of fossil fuels.

Over the last 30 years, something unprecedented in the history of human civilization has occurred -- an astounding number of people have exited absolute poverty.

Slide124

Folks like McKibbon act like there is no downside to drastically cutting back on fossil fuel use and switching to substantially more expensive and less convenient fuels, as if protecting Exxon's profits are the only reason anyone would possibly oppose such a measure.  But the billion or so people who have exited poverty of late have done so by burning every bit of fossil fuels than can obtain, and never would have been able to do so in such numbers had such an inexpensive fuel option not been available.  We in the West could likely afford having to pay $50 a month more for fuel, but what of the poor of the world?

Perhaps this will give one an idea of how central inexpensive fossil fuels are to well-being.  This is a chart from World Bank data plotting each country based on their per capital CO2 production and their lifespan.

Slide79

As you can see, there is a real, meaningful relationship between CO2 production and life expectancy.  In fact, each 10x increase in CO2 production is correlated with 10 years of additional life expectancy.  Of course, this relationship is not direct -- CO2 itself does not have health benefits (if one is not a plant).  But burning more CO2 is a byproduct of a growing technological economy, which leads to greater wealth and life expectancy.

The problem, then, is not that we shouldn't consider the future potential costs and risks of climate change, but that we shouldn't consider them in a vaccuum without also considering the costs of placing severe artificial limits on inexpensive fossil fuels.

Slide78

People often say to me that climate action is an insurance policy -- and they ask me, "you buy insurance, don't you?"   My answer invariably is, "yes, I buy insurance, but not when the cost of the policy is greater than the risk being insured against."

As it turns out, there is an approach we can take in this country to creating a low-cost insurance policy against the risks that temperature sensitivity to CO2 is higher than I have estimated in this series.  I will outline that plan in my final chapter.

Here is Chapter 9:  A Low-Cost Insurance Policy

  • J_W_W

    If anything people that believe in Catastrophic warming come after lukewarmers even harder than they do actual people who completely deny global warming.

    In my mind it is similar to how Muslim apostates are completely not tolerated after leaving the religion.... Make of that comparison what you will.

  • Chris

    Anthropogenic global warming is the "N-Rays" of modern science.

  • jdgalt

    In fact, merely arguing about whether man-made warming exists or is "significant" falls well short of what we really need in the public policy arena. What we really should be discussing is a proposition like this:

    Is manmade CO2 causing catastrophic increases in warming and warming-driven weather effects whose costs exceed those of reducing CO2 production enough to avoid these effects?

    In my view, even that question assumes too much of the conclusion the enviros want to compel us to draw. Here's what I think we should be asking.

    1. Assuming for the sake of argument that the climate is warming within the range of the most widely accepted predictions -- what will be the likely results?

    I for one think the results will be mostly good for humans (and the life below us in the food chain). For one thing, northern Canada and Siberia will become much more livable, and capable of growing more food. The only noticeable downside is that low-lying coastal locations will see a sea-level rise of up to a couple of inches per century, and probably less. And any place which can't afford to build seawalls THAT fast is probably not worth saving.

    2. If the results ARE judged to be bad, then what are the most cost-effective means of either holding back the warming, or alleviating the results?

    My take is that changes in solar output cause the lion's share of the warming, and that any action taken to reduce CO2 emissions by "reducing our footprint" won't have any measurable effect on the problem (but WILL drastically impoverish the rich world, which I believe is the reason the enviros want to do it). But engineering solutions such as Gregory Benford's boatload of iron filings can reverse the warming quickly and cheaply if it turns out that we should. (And if that does happen and it goes to far, it can also be reversed quickly and cheaply.) So the whole idea of "reducing our footprint" should be discarded as counterproductive.

    Now, by all means, let's run the numbers if there are sufficiently reliable data available, just to shut up the liars who started this mess.

  • Ugasailor

    Certainly use of fossil fuels - to propel agricultural machinery and as a source of energy for the production of ammonia, used as fertilizer, has contributed to the steady increase in U.S. corn yields. That said, I believe that development of the hybridized corn seed, first by academics and government scientists - then by private/public companies - is the overwhelming driver in the steep rate of yield increase shown in the graphic. You can see in the graphic that grower adoption of hybrid corn seed (vs. open pollinated varieties) took off in the late 30's once growers realized that the increased yield they experienced offset their costs to collect and replant seeds from the older varieties. That time period also marks the rough beginning of the hybrid corn seed industry, which then grew and through competition between companies, pushed and continues to push yields higher and higher. After WWII, the advent of modern weed, disease, and pest control products also contributed to rate of yield increase. Note that the vast majority of modern herbicide/fungicide/insecticide products are produced from petroleum feed stocks.

  • Trevor Mobbs

    I think you need to unpack the assumption about fossil fuels being cheaper and more convenient than other forms of energy. This is changing rapidly. For example, while folks in certain Western countries have been arguing that solar can't be relied on and is too expensive, entrepreneurs in other countries (especially China) have been getting on with figuring out how to make it more reliable and less expensive. And in some cases people have been making billions of dollars from the results.

  • jdgalt

    The only people who've made billions are sucking the taxpayer teat. Solar will not be less expensive for centuries, and it will always need a fallback power source since the sun doesn't shine 24 hours a day. The same goes for wind. Which is why the countries that are now abandoning nuclear power (including the US) will regret it, and trying to effectively ban coal is even worse. We have plenty of fuel to get past those centuries, so the only thing we need worry about is defeating these eco-nut laws.

  • J_W_W

    Please do note the greens are trying to ban GMOs as well as fossils fuels.

  • Trevor Mobbs

    "Solar will not be less expensive for centuries?" That's quite an assertion and one that appears to ignore the fact that it IS less expensive now than when it was first developed. Like all technologies.

    Why exactly should solar behave unlike... basically every other technology in our lives?

    And I fail to see how Chinese businessmen who've made a heck of a lot of money from solar in their own country and in places like Africa are sucking off your taxpayer teat.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "That's quite an assertion and one that appears to ignore the fact that it IS less expensive now than when it was first developed."

    That is a red herring. It matters not one bit if solar is less expensive than it used to be. To be economically viable it has to be less expensive than the alternatives. That is at least a century away and may well never happen. After all, even fossil fuels are less expensive than they used to be on almost any time frame using constant (inflation adjusted) dollars.

    "And I fail to see how Chinese businessmen who've made a heck of a lot of money from solar in their own country and in places like Africa are sucking off your taxpayer teat."

    Not ours, but their own. Almost all solar in China is being funded by the Chinese government. Likely the fact that China is relatively lacking in domestic fossil energy is the driver behind this.

    As to Africa, small scale solar is viable in Africa because grid power is either unavailable or unreliable.

    Attempts to build grid scale solar in Africa will fail for the same reasons that small scale solar works there.

  • Trevor Mobbs

    Well Matthew, thank you for at least adding some qualifications to what were previously blanket assertions.

    I don't know about the economics of grid scale solar. Meanwhile, here in Australia there are reports about how electricity companies are in serious trouble. Why? Because they've spent lots of money on shiny new infrastructure for the grid, only to discover that demand for grid electricity is starting to fall as there has been a rapid rise in the number of households installing their own solar panels and dramatically reducing their reliance on the grid.

    Why? Because solar panels have become cheap enough to make it worthwhile. The length of time it takes for the panels to pay for themselves in reduced electricity bills has fallen to the point where many households a viable investment.

    Australia is a large exporter of coal. There is now public concern that we (especially under our previous leader who said coal was "good for humanity") have been focused on generating more and more coal when there are signs that fewer and fewer people overseas are wanting to buy it.

    While people here are arguing with me vigorously about how renewable energy will never work, elsewhere in the world people are going ahead and making it work. And that was exactly my point in the first place.

  • Kevin

    I don't think solar energy should be abandoned at all. But a few things need to happen before we vilify fossil fuels:

    1. It takes a great deal of electricity to produce solar cells. So without fossil fuels (right now), production of solar cells (panels, etc) is impossible.
    2. Cost of solar is still too high to just stop using fossil fuels
    3. Other countries still need fossil fuels as they are STILL the cheapest form of energy at this time. Getting out of poverty is far more important to human life than an unprovable catastrophe predicted (along with MANY other catastrophes that have never come to pass).

    As soon as solar energy surpasses fossil fuels in cost vs output, governments will not need to outlaw fossil fuels because the market itself will eliminate it. I have started using LED bulbs because the prices have come down and now savings over time make sense. The cost of the first LED bulbs was way too much to justify the switch. What I could save in electricity costs did not offset the cost of the bulbs.

    On another front (related to this discussion), our government regulations essentially eliminated the manufacturing of incandescent bulbs in this country. Bulbs that fell below the energy requirement per lumen output were deemed "illegal" (in a sense). Incandescent bulbs fell into that category, so they could no longer be manufactured. In 2011, the last incandescent manufacturing plant shut its doors and many jobs lost. MIT recently developed a technique to make incandescent bulbs more efficient than even LED bulbs. But now, there are no manufacturing plants equipped to produce them! So, if they ever make it to production, it will have to be sent to some other country to produce them. (I say "if they make it to production" because it is still in the prototype stage and very possibly not cost effective yet). At this point, there is no incentive to improve the efficiency of LED bulbs because the government has eliminated the competition by taking incandescents out of the market. If LED bulbs are better, the manufacturers of incandescents need to improve their product or bring the cost down to stay competitive. Incandescents have improved tremendously over time because competition among manufacturers provided the incentive. When LEDs got into the mix, the race for efficiency did not start until the cost of LEDs dropped enough. There was no need for government interference. But for the sake of "Climate Change" they did, and ended up destroying the future manufacturing of VERY efficient incandescents that save even MORE energy than their "favored" LEDs. Improvement only occurs when an incentive to do so is present.

    Saying all that was my way of holding up solar energy as viable when the cost can be brought down. I believe it will as long as government doesn't step in and screw it up. If they eliminate fossil fuels, why would solar ever have to improve? Right now, they HAVE to improve because fossil fuel is still the better alternative. But as you mentioned, the cost of solar has continued to decrease. I will rejoice when it IS more cost effective than fossil fuels, but I think the fossil fuel industry will strike back with even more efficient products/methods to remain competitive. So we will all win, if we can keep government out of the mix.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "Why? Because solar panels have become cheap enough to make it worthwhile."

    Only because of massive government subsidies. I don't know the specifics for Australia, but here in the US government subsidies will cover nearly half the real cost of a home solar installation. If you actually calculate it based on the true cost, not just the cost to the homeowner, the break even point is at the edge of the lifespan of the solar panels.

    "While people here are arguing with me vigorously about how renewable energy will never work, elsewhere in the world people are going ahead and making it work. And that was exactly my point in the first place."

    Meanwhile in the EU and the US, grid scale solar and wind operations are going bankrupt despite massive government subsidies.

    Entire grid scale wind farms have been abandoned because the operators have discovered that they are too expensive to maintain. They keep building them because of government subsidies, but they don't maintain the turbines to the level needed for long term operation and simply abandon the wind farms when too many have failed.

    Renewables work in the small scale or in medium scale in remote areas. They don't and likely never will work at large/global scale.

    Bio-fuels will pull too much agriculture away from food production to work at a national/global scale.

    Solar and wind lack sufficient energy density or reliability.

  • Ugasailor

    Yes, indeed they want to. In my book, green = 'anti-science' .

  • EricAdler

    " Even into the 1960's, for example, the 97% consensus in geology was that the continents don't move and that the few scientists who advocated for plate tectonics theory were crackpots."
    There were serious flaws in Wegener's original theory. He didn't have a good explanation for the force causing the motion of continents, nor did he describe the manner of the motion correctly. In addition, the importance to humanity of gathering additional knowledge was nowhere near as high as the importance of global warming.
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/wegener.html
    "What prompted the revival of continental drift? In large part it was increased exploration of the Earth's crust, notably the ocean floor, beginning in the 1950s and continuing on to the present day. By the late 1960s, plate tectonics was well supported and accepted by almost all geologists."

  • EricAdler

    "So take fossil fuel burning. Proponents of taking drastic action to curb fossil fuel use in the name of global warming prevention will argue that until there is an absolute consensus that burning fossil fuels is not harmful to the climate, such burning should be banned. But it ignores the substantial, staggering, unbelievably-positive effects we have gained from fossil fuels and the technology and economy they support.
    Just remember back to that corn yield chart."
    The factors that created the corn yield improvements are genetic modification of corn to enhance its resistance to environmental stress.. http://www.agronext.iastate.edu/corn/production/management/harvest/producing.html
    "Yield increases are coming largely from improved stress tolerance. It is a combination of improved genetics and management. Some corn breeders suggest that the observed yield increases come as a result of improved genetics and management, whereas others put more weight on the improved genetics as the driving force. In either case, corn stress tolerance has increased over the past five decades, allowing us to plant more seed per acre and withstand more environmental stress. The point though, is that this effort to increase corn stress tolerance has not increased yield potential; it has only increased the plant's tolerance toward stress. Transgenic hybrids are no different; whether they are herbicide resistant or insect resistant, transgenic hybrids are only protecting yield, not increasing yield potential."

  • EricAdler

    "Folks like McKibbon act like there is no downside to drastically cutting back on fossil fuel use and switching to substantially more expensive and less convenient fuels."
    This is a straw man argument. The real argument is that the expense of switiching is more than paid for by the problems avoided. In fact the cost of solar and wind power are going down rapidly, and a smart grid can tolerate a high percentage of power from renewables.

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam

    He may not have had the theory all the way down to the nuts and bolts, but the original facts that caused him to come up with the theory to explain them were just as valid at the end as at the start.

    That's the way science works. You take note of certain facts. You look for a reason that would make the facts come out the way they do. You develop your best guess as to what the mechanism is that would cause it. You make predictions based on that hypothesis. You perform experiments and observations and see if your predictions match reality. If they do and they are repeatable by others, the hypothesis advances to a scientific theory. If they don't you have to go back to the drawing board.

    If nothing over an extremely long period of time contradicts your theory, it may even become known in non-scientific circles as a law. Even then, future discoveries and theories may shoot it down, as relativity did to the "law" of gravity and the "laws" of thermodynamics. While they are still more than sufficient for the vast majority of everyday use, relativity, quantum mechanics and later theories have been proven to be more accurate on a fundamental level.

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam

    The operative word there is "vision." Vision and reality are often two different things.

    What are the goals? What sort of life does this politician envision for the people in his country? A developed country where people have the resources and freedom to take their lives in the direction they want or one where masses of people are able to simply exist as fodder to the state?

    When and if various alternate energy sources are economically viable they won't need government subsidies. Where government subsidies exist the market is directed to meet the subsidies, not to find the best solution possible. While free people may or may not find the best possible way to ameliorate a given problem, when government gets involved you can almost guarantee it won't be the best, just the one supported by people who give the most (financially, ego or otherwise) to the politicians, bureaucrats and activists involved.

    In a sparsely populated area with almost continual sun or wind, those technologies may well be the best way to go. That doesn't mean it's the best for everyone everywhere. There are a lot more places where they will never be cost effective due to industrialization and the requirement for 24/7 dependable power. Germany is in the process of building several new coal plants (dirty brown coal at that) because their attempt at moving everything to renewables has made energy costs skyrocket and still been insufficient to meet demand.

    People are dying (literally) because they can't afford to heat their homes. Cold kills a lot more people than heat. I've never heard that fact being brought up nor those deaths being included in any analysis.

    Rich countries can afford to clean up their emissions. We used to have pollution almost as bad as China's. Days where the air stank so bad you didn't want to go outside unless you absolutely had to, your eyes burned and the skies were brown.

    The Chinese and Indians are still pulling themselves out of absolute poverty. At this point the trade-off of pollution vs the benefits of modernizing and industrializing is still well on the side of industrializing. In the future that balance will change. When it does, that is when they will change and invest in cleaner processes. Their choice, not ours.

  • jdgalt

    Spot on. And that goes for every poor country in the world. Unfortunately, the eco-movement wants to keep them all poor by pretending the resources to improve them don't exist. Which is BS; rich countries become far more efficient than poor ones.

  • EricAdler

    " Germany is in the process of building several new coal plants (dirty brown coal at that) because their attempt at moving everything to renewables has made energy costs skyrocket and still been insufficient to meet demand."
    That is not quite correct. They are closing down their emission free nuclear plants because of Fukushima angst.

    "Cold kills a lot more people than heat."
    This statistic is probably because the flu season always occurs in winter. You are not going to get rid of the flu by raising the average temperature a couple of degrees. You will increase the number of heat related deaths in summer as the incidence of high temperatures go up.

    India and China are seeing the effects of pollution now. China is struggling to figure out how to clean it up. It is one of the drivers for reducing the use of coal. India is working on switching to solar power. It is actually cheaper than coal, but capital intensive.
    http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/11/india-gets-1-5-billion-loan-rooftop-solar-power-program/

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam

    The new coal plants were already planned and some already under construction even before the Tsunami. Shutting down the nuclear plants will only exacerbate their problems. Hopefully they will replace at least some of it with modern nuclear technology.

    Cold always has killed more people than heat. A lot more.

    As to the flu, while I'm sure that may be the proximate cause of some of the deaths along with pneumonia, it onlys track if you consider that cold puts the body under more stress and therefore more susceptible to illnesses. It's primarily the old on fixed incomes and the very poor that simply can't afford the heating costs that are dying in significantly increased number. For England alone, that number is estimated to be over 40,000 people dying just this year. They are euphemistically calling them "excess deaths" and directly attributing it to "fuel poverty."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/weather/11382808/Winter-death-toll-to-exceed-40000.html

    Google "england excess deaths cold" for more stories on it.

    Yes, India and China are seeing the bad effects of pollution now. Very much so. But it's still a trade off between the costs of pollution and the costs of absolute poverty. Very few problems of any kind that involve the choices that people make have actual solutions. It's always a trade off between costs and benefits of all the options available at any given time with the necessarily limited resources available.

    As I said, in some places where the infrastructure does not already exist *and* it's expensive to build *and* there is no immediate need for large amounts of 24/7 dependable power *and* there is sufficient dependable sunshine, solar *may* be the cheaper way to go. There is a whole lot of the planet where those conditions are not met and solar is *not* the cheaper way to go.

  • EricAdler

    The construction of the new coal plants prior to the nuclear phaseout seems to be an attempt to replace old lignite generation facilities with newer more efficient ones. This provided a reduction in emissions for the same amount of generated power. Some people thought emissions reduction should have been done some other way.

    https://carboncounter.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/why-germanys-nuclear-phaseout-is-leading-to-more-coal-burning/

  • EricAdler

    Their is a simple answer for poor people dying due to lack of home heating, and it is not climate change. Provide the poor with an energy subsidy if they can't afford to heat their homes. The US does it, although the conservatives in the US oppose such efforts, and even favor cutting food and medical aid, because of their conservative ideology.

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam

    The poor can't afford to pay for heating because of the greatly increased cost of energy produced by solar and wind. That is supposedly necessitated by the fight against the catastrophic man made global warming hypothesis.

    England is the only country in Europe that has been willing to publicly acknowledge the problem at all and even that is spotty. Over 40,000 people died in just England, in just this winter alone that wouldn't have died otherwise. How many deaths does it take to become a "significant" cost worth taking into consideration? Does it not bother you at all?

  • jdgalt

    India and China are just repeating the pattern seen in the US and the other rich countries: as each country industrializes, it first goes through a period where polluting heavily is worthwhile, but then everybody becomes rich enough that top priorities such as having food and comfortable housing for everyone can be checked off as solved. Then the people start to care about environmental cleanup, because they can afford to care about it.

    The only humane way to get to a low-pollution world is to help the remaining poor countries industrialize, so that they too can get past the point of not being able to afford cleanup. The only reason most environmentalists won't consider doing that is that their real motivation is hatred of humanity -- they want us all to freeze in the dark.

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam

    That's not what the article said. It said that they were planned to take over from nuclear plants approaching the end of their life even before Fukushima. Fukushima simply accelerated the already planned closing dates. The comparison to older coal plants was used as a justification to count them as part of their commitment to alternative energy, not the cause for building them.

  • jdgalt

    Do you have a source for those 40,000 deaths?

  • EricAdler

    I think the source is the Daily Telegraph

    "How many deaths does it take to become a "significant" cost worth taking into consideration? Does it not bother you at all?"

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12015735/Winter-deaths-soar-as-elderly-suffer-in-cold-weather.html

    "Experts said the failure of the flu vaccine last year – which was only effective in one in three cases – was one of the key factors behind the deaths.

    The deaths came as NHS services struggled to cope despite unusually mild weather.

    Charities raised concerns that the death toll could rise this year.

    Hospitals are already under heavy pressure, with latest published figures showing longer waiting times and levels of bedblocking than last year...."

    You raise a good point. Maybe we should fund a research project into how to produce vaccines against the currently active strain of flu viruses more quickly. The current method using chicken eggs takes many months, and by that time different strains of flu become more important.

    So the increased deaths were not due to exceptionally cold winter temperatures. They came about mainly because flu vaccines failed. I recall that new strains of flu occurred after the vaccines for the flu season had been developed using previously prevalent strains.

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam
  • EricAdler

    You are assuming that non emitting electrical energy sources are currently significantly more expensive than coal. Your post is built on a false assumption.
    Then you claim that environmentalists hate humanity.
    It is clear that your free market individualist ideology is motivating your thinking more than the facts. After all, you have taken the pseudonym, John Galt, in honor of the protagonist in Atlas Shrugged.

  • EricAdler

    OK. So a previous administration made a decision to close nuclear plants before the Fukushima disaster. When Merkel came in she put the closure on hold to replace inefficient coal plants with newer coal plants. then changed her mind after the Fukushima disaster. I will buy that, but so what? Germany is still producing a lot of energy from wind and solar, and plans to increase the fraction produced by renewables in the future.

  • EricAdler

    That may be what YOU read. . However the article I linked looked at the actual data, not the predicted data in the atricle published before the fact, and attributed the excessive death rate to the failure of the flu vaccine, not to colder than normal winter temperatures. It contradicts the predictions made by spokesmen for various groups featured in your article that unusual winter cold was a factor in excess deaths.

  • http://www.MyGauntlet.com Diane Merriam

    You keep changing your statements. First it was all due to Fukushima, then it was only to replace older, less efficient coal stations, and now you're back to saying it was all due to closing the nuclear plants and that Merkel put the closings on hold before Fukushima. No, she didn't do that either. Nor were the closures an administrative decision. The Bundestag passed a law mandating the closures by 2022. The only administrative decision was the one accelerating the closures.

    If renewables were that cost effective and dependable, they wouldn't be building coal plants, and coal plants burning dirty brown coal at that. But they are.

  • jdgalt

    Here is the proof of my assertion. The eco-nut movement are the people with an ideology based on lies. Of course, its leaders do not always inform their followers about their real goals. They have lots of "useful idiots."

  • jdgalt

    I'm a conservative and I have no problem with subsidized heat for the poor in the winter. Especially since around here, it's funded by private charity (the Salvation Army).

  • EricAdler

    Good for you. What is the capability of private charities. Do they have the means to serve all who are in need of financial heating assistance?

  • EricAdler

    That is why we have a team of scientists called the IPCC to evaluate the proof. This is certainly extraodinary in the history of mankind. I don't know of anything similar in history.
    "Extraordinary demands on other people require extraordinary proof."

  • EricAdler

    " The eco-nut movement are the people with an ideology based on lies. Of course, its leaders do not always inform their followers about their real goals. They have lots of "useful idiots.""

    This is the common argument used when all other arguments are knocked down. AGW is a hoax designed to produce a socialist one world government. The scientists that are producing the research are useful idiots. Just string together a few quotes and voila the whole plot is exposed. I am not buying it. The historical sequence is that the science that showed humans are warming the atmosphere with GHG emissions came first. The opposition came from right wing free market ideologs, opposed to all forms of regulation, who rallied a few scientists to their side, funded by the fossil fuel industry. this is well documented by science historian Naomi Oreskes book and film, "The Merchants of Doubt".

    The small minority of scientists who disagree with the idea of AGW accepted by the overwhelming majority of scientists are crying foul, making a lot of noise, but their arguments fall flat on scientific grounds. The world is starting to ignore them as 195 countries agree to cut emissions.

  • jdgalt

    That is why we have a team of yes-men called the IPCC to pretend there's a scientific basis for believing in CAGW, which is certainly a scam comparable to the career of Lysenko.

    Fixed that for you.

  • jdgalt

    The proof that it's a hoax is here for all to read. Including the e-mails in which Mann and his friends set up the fraud.

    The media are starting to admit it, too.

  • EricAdler

    You are deluding yourself because of your ideology.

  • ScipioRex

    "Solar will not be less expensive for centuries", I dunno, I have faith in the free market to innovate. A century ago we didn't have the transistor, It was only 66 years from the Wright Brothers to the moon landing. I think it's pretty hard to extrapolate what innovation we can do that far ahead of time, and anyone betting against innovation and improvement is likely to lose.