I wonder, is this actually right?

So, meat eating causes climate change.

To which, in the comments, the answer was given, that there is x vegetation growing, that’s going to be eaten by something, somewhere, the same amount of methane/CO2 whatever is going to be emitted, so eating the beef doesn’t make any difference.

At one level this fails because of nitrogen. We deliberately add it in order to boost growth and there are emissions from that.

But at the other, larger, scale, what’s is actually wrong with the idea?

Or rather, what will some warmist tell us is wrong with it so that we may examine their logic?

A few occur off the top of the head, that perhaps cows eating it produce more emissions than rabbits, (termites are a major source of emissions themselves I believe).

But even if there are corrections to be made like that this means that it is the marginal emissions of meat eating that must be considered, not total.

So, why isn’t the idea right at heart at least? Vegetation will be eaten/rot (which is only being eaten by bugs etc) and so who eats it and what happens to them doesn’t make a difference.

That is, are there any emissions from meat eating?

I truly don’t know which is why I ask. I’d expect the correct answer to be that there is some difference but that it’s not total emissions at all but marginal. But who knows? And where is it discussed in the literature? It must actually be discussed in the academic literature, so where?

Why not do this the right way?

“Sin taxes” on meat to reduce its huge impact on climate change and human health look inevitable, according to analysts for investors managing over $4tn of assets.

The global livestock industry causes 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and meat consumption is rising around the world, but dangerous climate change cannot be avoided unless this is radically curbed. Furthermore, many people already eat far too much meat, seriously damaging their health and incurring huge costs. Livestock also drive other problems, such as water pollution and antibiotic resistance.

You know, like every damn economist keeps shouting, just tax the emissions themselves?

This isn’t quite the way to do it but still

More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns.

Stricter air pollution rules and higher carbon prices are set to push even more plants into unprofitability, according to the analysts Carbon Tracker, with 97% of the plants losing money by 2030. Furthermore, rapidly falling renewables costs are on track to make building new wind and solar farms cheaper than continuing to run existing coal plants by the mid 2020s.

The correct way to do this has always been to work with the capital cycle. That is, the William Nordhaus version of the carbon tax.

We want to use the things we’ve already built and paid for for as long as they still work. To scrap them before they wear out loses us what we’ve already spent.

We don’t want people to build new ones though. Therefore a low tax now, rising off into the future in a predictable manner. That way we sweat those assets we have as they fall apart but still make the transition.

No, please, leave aside all the climate change isn’t happening etc. This is purely about what should we be doing on the assumption that it is. Which is, as people should know by now, the thing that really pisses me off. Just for, and only for, the sake of argument accept that it is happening. The idiots are still doing the wrong things.

This is pretty standard investment advice, isn’t it?

Now, the Norwegian central bank, which manages the fund, is proposing that it ditch the investments in the very industry the fund was built on.

In a letter to Norway’s finance ministry, Norges Bank wrote: “We conclude that the vulnerability of government wealth to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices will be reduced if the fund is not invested in oil and gas stocks, and advise removing these stocks from the fund’s benchmark index.”

The recommendation rested “exclusively on financial arguments”, it added. Climate change and the environment did not even merit an aside – the advice is all about a fund manager maximising value for their client.

If your income is being made from one particular activity or industry then your investments should almost certainly be made into other activities and industries, shouldn’t they?

You know, diversified investment?

You don’t put your pension into your employers’ shares after all…..

Plant food, plant food

Trees grow more quickly in cities than rural areas, a new study has found.
Researchers analyzed tree rings in ten cities around the world, and discovered that urban and rural trees have undergone accelerated growth since the 1960s – and say climate change may be the reason for this.
The results revealed urban trees are growing even faster than rural trees, and it could be due to the urban heat island effect, which involves higher temperatures in cities compared to the surrounding landscapes – and that may stimulate photosynthesis to help the plants grow.

No, it doesn’t change my general view. But it is fun, isn’t it, how many different feedback effects we find?

It’s all almost as complex as an economy, you know, those things we know we cannot plan in any detail, all that’s possible to to set a few general rules and leave it to then get on with everything.

The one intervention, a carbon tax, then leave well alone……after all, a revenue neutral carbon tax isn’t going to do any harm either.

The reason we must have the electric car tax credit

“If you look at total cost of ownership and factor in the cost of the vehicle, the cost of fueling and the cost of maintenance, many electric cars are already cheaper on a total cost-of-ownership basis than conventional vehicles,” Gina Coplon-Newfield, the director of the Clean Transportation for All campaign at the Sierra Club, told Salon.

Because they’re already cheaper therefore they must be subsidised.

Well, that is indeed the argument.

Bjorn Lomborg has been saying this for two decades now

Climate change may have unexpected benefits for Britons because fewer people will die from the cold during the winter, a new study suggests.

Although many regions of the world will see death rates soar as the climate heats-up, in northern Europe hot weather mortality will be cancelled out by the decrease in cold weather deaths.

It’s interesting what he got right in that book. And also how badly he’s been excoriated over the years for doing so, isn’t it? His predictions of the price of solar power have been right, for example….

Elsewhere

It isn’t going to be governments making pledges in Paris which change the future anyway, is it? It is going to be technological advance and the associated actions of the aggregated 7 billion of us which will. And one lesson to take from that great economic experiment we call the 20th century is that markets and incentives work rather better at determining what does happen than the promises, pledges and predictions of governments when trying to manage an economy. Or even reality.

As Bjorn Lomborg said near two decades ago – and boy doesn’t he still get stick for having been right – in a world where solar power drops in cost by 20% per annum and is still doing so what a politician promises to do to the rest of us is really very small beer indeed.

I don’t think so really

There is a “catastrophic” gap between what needs to be done on climate change and what governments and companies are actually doing, the UN has warned.

Despite pledges to work to mitigate and deal with climate change, current plans still lead to a 3-degree Celsius rise in temperatures by the end of the decade, a major new report warns.

Replace “decade” with “century” and you’ve got what the report does try to say.

Well, yes, and we were told this too

Now, in an authoritative and excoriating report commissioned by the government, Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, has torn away the fig leaves covering the government’s nakedness. Policy interventions, he tells us, are so numerous and badly designed that they have resulted in costs well in excess of what is needed to meet emissions targets. These subsidies will cost a hair-raising £100 billion by 2030. “Much more decarbonisation could have been achieved for less,” Professor Helm drily observes.

Nick Stern actually told us. Change the damn price, once and once only, then leave it alone. Don’t try to plan the thing in detail.

Because, as Professor Helm does not hesitate to tell us: “Government has got into the business of ‘picking winners’. Unfortunately, losers are good at picking governments, and inevitably — as in most such picking-winners strategies — the results end up being vulnerable to lobbying, to the general detriment of household and industrial customers.”

That is a nice formulation which I’ll have to steal. Losers picking governments…..

About time someone noticed really, isn’t it?

Consumers are paying too much for their energy because of “excessive” green taxes added to bills, a damning Government-commissioned report has found.

A series of “spectacularly bad” decisions by ministers have “unnecessarily burdened” households and businesses with higher green energy subsidies than necessary, according to Prof 
Dieter Helm, of Oxford University.

Some of us have been saying this for some time now.

Even under Stern’s carbon tax it should have been about £30 billion tops. More than that is being charged – when we include, as we should the fuel duty escalator etc. Too much is being paid therefore.

That’s before we get into the nonsense manner in which they’ve actually done it.

Well, yes, OK, challenge these statements

The BBC has apologised to viewers for airing an interview with Lord Lawson in which he was allowed to deny climate change without challenge.

The corporation has now admitted that the interview was a breach of its own editorial guidelines, after the former Government minister claimed that global temperatures have not risen in the past decade.

Well, go ahead then, challenge them.

The controversy was caused in August when Lord Lawson said that a UN body on climate change had “confirmed that there had been no increase in extreme weather events”.

He added that “during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined.”

As far as I’m aware at least the first statement is true the second, well, I’ve not been following the twists and turns but it’s at least potentially true. For the last decade that is – not so for many but then that’s not what he said either.

Sigh

The grownups have finally won and everyone in the UK, from those in cold homes to those on polluted streets and in flooded towns, will benefit. The most important aspect of the UK government’s new clean growth strategy is its unequivocal statement that tackling climate change and a prosperous economy are one and the same thing.

Well, no, not really:

But the biggest worry is the very limited support for carbon capture and storage, the technology that takes emissions from fossil fuels and buries them under the ground.

“The technology”? We don’t have a technology which does this. We’re even pretty sure that we’ll never have a technology which does this. It’s not the grown ups who go about wishing for the sunbeam and cucumber storage technology.

I wonder why we don’t do this

The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm stretching across the North Atlantic.

Building a renewable energy project the size of India across the ocean would allow the entire world to get access to sustainable energy and fulfil its needs, according to a major new study.

There are likely to be very significant hurdles to building such a major project, especially one that would require international cooperation and incredible levels of investment. But it would also allow people to get access to vast amounts of energy: at least more efficiently than onshore wind power.

The two researchers found that if a wind farm were built across three million square kilometres of the ocean it would account for roughly the equivalent of all energy used today.

I mean, there must be some reason why we don’t, mustn’t there?

The thing is, all of this is true

Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister, has drawn criticism for suggesting climate change “is probably doing good” and claiming that “far more people die in cold snaps”.

Addressing the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a climate sceptic thinktank, on Monday evening, Mr Abbott said policies to tackle climate change was like primitive people trying to “appease the volcano gods”.

“There’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (which is a plant food after all) are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.

It’s actually what the science says too.

The science goes on to say that it doesn’t stay like this as emissions and temperatures rise which is what the problem is. It’s not that unusual for a bit to be a good thing, a lot not so much, any drinker can tell you that.

“At least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.

That’s also true, although the influence of what is being done on that future when the effects, in aggregate, are predicted to be bad is probably good.

Reacting to the speech on Twitter, Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, said: “I know Donald Trump has lowered the bar for idiocy but…..”

But Ed, he’s actually right here.

The problem with climate change related damages payments

To claim that countries emit is to make the same category error. Britain, or the United States, does not make carbon or any other kind of emissions. The people in those places might, this is true, in fact it is true that they do.

But the people and the country are not the same thing. To insist that they are is to be very much more statist than the world actually is.

There is a subset to this problem too. If it is the people emitting then it is the people who should be paying whatever damages are being claimed.

Say that the average US lifestyle involves 20 tonnes a year of emissions. That’s not right but it’s about so. We also know what those damages will be from the Stern Review — $80 per tonne CO2-e. Thus, the claim is that each American should be paying out $1,600 a year in damages — and that simply is not going to happen.

We cannot just charge it to their government either, as the government has no money, it only has what it can take in tax from the populace. And it simply is never going to be true that Americans will pay some $500 billion a year (300 odd million people at $1,600 a year) to foreigners.

It might, just about, be true that they will agree to pay a carbon tax of that amount, the revenue raised to be used to reduce their other taxes. And as the Stern Review points out, that does solve our climate change problem.

But no, they just will not, whatever all right thinking people tell them, pay that amount in costs and damages. Won’t happen. Not even worth dreaming that it will.

It does always slightly puzzle me that people try to insist upon such damages. Are there people out there quite so insulated from reality that they really do think the US would pay $500 billion a year? Sirsly?

Poor old AC Grayling, well behind the curve

We need to make democracy work in the fight to save the planet
AC Grayling
For centuries, humans have championed the democratic political system. But can it facilitate the radical change needed to stop the potentially annihilating effects of climate change?

And everyone’s got to be re-educated into saving the planet and so on.

What’s completely missing is what we’ve also heard this morning. Assume that you do buy the whole story. We’ve still already turned the corner.

To put it into a bit of jargon. The entire IPCC structure tells us that, using the older SRES, we need to get the economy off the A1FI track and onto the A1T track. Once we’ve done that we’re done, we’ve solved our problem. As best we can see what with the spreaqd of renewables, the drop in solar price, fracking for gas and all that, w are on the A1T, not A1FI. Therefore, we’re done.

It is actually accurate to state that we’ve already solved climate change.

While I disagree with the conclusion the analysis is as I’ve been saying

Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found.

Wrong isn’t quite the right word. Actions taken have changed things.

An unexpected “revolution” in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

Near everyone uses Business as Usual (BAU) predictions of emissions and thus temperatures. Near everyone uses, as their BAU, either A1FI from the SRES or RCP 8.5 from the newer set.

We’re not, ever, going to get anywhere close to those emissions levels, Precisely because we’ve gone off and done all this stuff with renewables.

No, leave aside whether they’re reliable, cheap, whatever, we’re simply not, ever, going to have the sort of energy mix assumed by either of those BAUs. The use of them is, in reality, lying now, for we really do know they’re never going to come to pass. Even just the simple existence of fracking for gas means we’re never going to get to them. For their basic underlying assumption is a largely coal fired world.

So, that part of the analysis is correct. This isn’t:

But yesterday he said: “We’re in the midst of an energy revolution and it’s happening faster than we thought, which makes it much more credible for governments to tighten the offer they put on the table at Paris.”

No, that’s not what to do at all. Instead, say, great, it’ll be cheaper to hit the target we need to thus great, we’ve done it. That’s the time to declare victory and go home.

Err, no

Yesterday brought news from the UK that offshore wind prices have fallen by half in the past two years and are now – for the first time – lower than nuclear and gas.

That’s for the fast spin up gas to cover the gaps in wind and solar, not for baseload. That cost should actually be added to the costs of renewables, not gas.

Technology needs to advance further for this revolution to maintain momentum. The fossil fuel and nuclear industries are increasingly struggling to compete in terms of cost but they argue they are a more stable supplier of electricity when there is no wind and no sun. But that does not have to be the case. It can change if the government and business sector do more to develop and promote battery technology so that solar and wind energy can be stored and distributed at night and between breezes.

And won’t things be better if we only knew how to do what we don’t know how to do?