Softening the Climate Sell - Commentary

Emphasize Human Health, Not Carbon

Ken Silverstein | Jul 28, 2011

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When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $50 million to the Sierra Club to help it fight coal-fired electricity, he made a point of saying that public health is the central issue. True, the mayor is an advocate for reducing carbon emissions. But he is also a proponent of cutting acid rain, soot and mercury that also flow from burning coal.

At a time when the world is ensconced in poverty and war, it has shown that it has little staying power with regard to climate change. Nations are disagreeing on the tactics to curb heat-trapping emissions and the targets that they would be required to meet. Money, of course, is also at the heart of the debate: Who will pay and what economies will be helped or hurt by participating in such global protocols.

Therein lay the wisdom behind Mayor Bloomberg's approach. He is not getting caught up in the politics of climate science. He has risen above the typical partisanship. Instead, he has kept this on a level that anyone's mother gets: It's about "public health" and ensuring that all of our kids are free to breathe clean air -- not suffocate from a lot of political bull crap.

"If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the United States, we have to get serious about coal," the mayor said in a recent statement. "Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk, polluting the air we breathe, adding mercury to our water, and the leading cause of climate disruption."

This is a similar tack to that of the United Nations and President Obama. The president has shifted the focus away from enacting carbon constraints and more toward the formation of cleaner energy sources. He wants 80 percent of all such energy forms to come not just wind and solar but also nuclear, natural gas and "clean coal," and all by 2035.

Likewise, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is now emphasizing the employment of more sustainable fuels without trying to extract firm commitments on carbon reductions. The UN's leader remains steadfast in his belief that man-made carbon emissions are causing global warming that has the potential to create environmental devastation. But he now says that the most practical way forward is to try and facilitate the wider use of green technologies.

No doubt, the topic of climate change and whether it is a manmade phenomenon is contentious. One side is proclaiming that the world's leading scientists have given sufficient warning while continuing to say that the other position is bought and paid for the fossil fuel industry. Meantime, the warming skeptics are arguing that the science is -- at best -- uncertain and that the link to human activity is weak.

But even if one accepts that the phenomenon is less than "urgent" and more like "uncertain," the world's leaders cannot slam the door and hope for the best. They must at least be pragmatic and inspire the use of cleaner burning fuels.

Democratic Process

In his book, "The Art of the Long View," Peter Schwartz gives the example of the 1973 oil embargo and how the Japanese responded compared to the United States. Japan reacted to high oil prices by implementing energy efficient strategies. This country, meanwhile, did little, believing instead that such an economic dynamic was temporary. Nearly 40 years later, we are having the same debates.

At the time of any policy decision, it is impossible to know which scenario will play out. Still, it is imperative to think through all decisions -- in effect, to suspend one's beliefs in an effort to think the unthinkable. Just as boom and bust cycles are inevitable so too are catastrophic events. In business, entire industries once thought to be inevitable have faded. Meantime, social media enterprises as well as internet giants unheard of 20 years ago are now the fabric of society.

"If you had said Enron and WorldCom would fall, and the World Trade Center and the city of New Orleans would also be gone, people would have said you were crazy," says David Hallam, former chief executive of the Structure Group, in previous talk with this writer. "Executives understand the implications of each scenario and use them when evaluating decisions."

Policymakers must also do the same. Dealing with climate change may seem insurmountable. But once again, the answer is not to ignore the other's position; rather, it is to listen carefully to what their solutions are -- and to incorporate a practical path forward that heads off a potential problem in a cost-effective manner.

To that end, the country needs to pursue the tools that will help curb carbon emissions. The American Energy Innovation Council that advocates investment in clean technologies says that this nation must spend more money on research and development. It needs $16 billion a year. But last year it spent $5 billion.

For sure, the science has never been exact with predictions that temperatures could rise by 1 degree Celsius to 6.4 degrees Celsius, all over the next century. But it would be highly irresponsible to disregard what many acclaimed scientists have said.

"Plenty of uncertainty remains; but that argues for, not against, action," notes an editorial in the business-minded Economist. "The range of possible outcomes is huge, with catastrophe one possibility, and the costs of averting climate change are comparatively small. Just as a householder pays a small premium to protect against disaster, the world should do the same."

Driving forces can change the course of human existence. But the democratic process is designed to deal with those evolutions. As such, lawmakers are required to engage the opposition and to then effect reasonable solutions. Responding to environmental threats should not be a partisan issue. It should be -- as Mayor Bloomberg phrased it -- a human health one.

EnergyBiz Insider has been named Honorable Mention for Best Online Column by Media Industry News, MIN. Ken Silverstein has also been named one of the Top Economics Journalists by Wall Street Economists.

Follow Ken on www.twitter.com/ken_silverstein
 
energybizinsider@energycentral.com.

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Comments

Congratulations Ken

I always enjoy reading your columns. To me it seems clear that we need out of the box thinking, which is in short sipply. I was at the DOE Grid Integration Workshop (http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/grid_integration_workshop/index.cfm) recently, and it seemed clear to me that some new thinking is sorely needed. New transmission lines are still being planned and built one at a time, and planned in isolation. We never would have gotten our interstate highway system with that sort of planning!

Rhe main idea I tried to get accross at the Grind Integration Workshop is that the natural unit of a future supergrid is an HVDC loop, wheter it is based on overhead lines or unserground rlpipes, as I advocate (www.r;pipes.com). Multi-terminal HVDC misses its potential when planned and executed one link at a time. And continental-scale transmission is absolutely vital to move our energy economy off of fossil fuel.

What If Climate Change Happens

As Ken's article and comment indicates, it is not just whether one believes or disbelieves that climate change is occuring, it is "what if" it could happen.  If a climate change opponent is 99% sure that climate change is not occuring, what if they are wrong?  What if the 1% happens and the world is destroyed or severely damaged?  We could be betting the world - going "all in" with the world to use the popular gambling term.  Ignoring the risk that climate change might be occuring is too big of a risk to take.  Instead, the reasonable solultion is to undertake the low-cost and medium-cost approaches that reduce the chances that it will occur. 

Chris Neil

 

 

What If Climate Change Happens

As Ken's article and comment indicates, it is not just whether one believes or disbelieves that climate change is occuring, it is "what if" it could happen.  If a climate change opponent is 99% sure that climate change is not occuring, what if they are wrong?  What if the 1% happens and the world is destroyed or severely damaged?  We could be betting the world - going "all in" with the world to use the popular gambling term.  Ignoring the risk that climate change might be occuring is too big of a risk to take.  Instead, the reasonable solultion is to undertake the low-cost and medium-cost approaches that reduce the chances that it will occur. 

Chris Neil

 

 

Human Health and Coal-Fired Power Plants

Mayor Bloomberg and the Sierra Club may say that coal-fired power plants cause human health problems, but a dispassionate review of recent data indicates that current coal-fired power plant emissions do not cause human health problems. 

Broadly, the EPA says air pollution in eastern metropolitan aeras is caused by local sources and distant coal-fired power plants. Do high pollution days occur when there is a strong westerly wind or when there is little wind? It is when there is little or no wind when the highest air pollution concentrations are experienced. Yet, by some magic, it is distant power plants, not local pollution, that are key to improving air quality.

Power plant SO2 and NOx emissions declined dramatically during 2008-2010 as a result of 
Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which was promulgated in March 2005. Have we seen reports that asthma related emergency room visits have plummeted? Has demand for drugs to control asthma plunged?


EPA's claims that power plant emissions cause significant human health problems are not reasonable because they are based on the assumption that all inhaled fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has the same impact on human health regardless of whether or not it is carcinogen. When I asked Dr. Levy of the Harvard School of Public Health why he assumed that inhaling a simple salt compound (e.g. sulfates or nitrates) is as dangerous as inhaling a carcinogen, he said that "without that [assumption] I couldn't prove power plants are a health hazard". 

EPA's 'independent' science advisory board went along with this key assumption despite the fact that the 'all PM2.5 has equal health impacts’ assumption contradicts decades of research on the health impacts of tobacco smoke 

Given this clearly illogical assumption underpinning EPA's entire assessment of health risks associated with power plant air emissions, it should come as no surprise that there has been no documented health benefits associated with the 50% cut in SO2 emissions and substantial reduction in NOx emissions associated with CAIR. 

Between 1990 and 2004, emissions of criteria air pollutants decreased by 30% while asthma rates doubled. Since 2004 emissions have continued to decline (dramatically for the power industry) yet asthma rates have continued to increase. 

I am not saying that reducing air pollution increases asthma, but I am saying there is clearly something other than air pollution from power plants that is driving increased asthma rates. Yet, the EPA keeps justifying new air pollution regulations on power plants by saying that reducing air pollution from power plants will reduce health impacts due to asthma.

"The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

Incidence of Asthma

I agree very much with the comment “Human Health and Coal-fired Power Plants”, but with the one exception concerning reported increases in asthma cases. Can these reports be relied upon? I have serious doubts, based on my own personal experience (please refer to last paragraph of my comment “Public Health?” in the current thread).

 

Perhaps more disquieting were the medical professionals (one nurse and four technicians) who approached me at various times to share their concerns that their offspring may have been misdiagnosed as having asthma.

 

My point here is that the claimed incidence of asthma may be just as flawed as the general subject matter debated in this article. I should hasten to add that I am not qualified in the medical profession other than basic anatomy and physiology as taught in the high school I attended many years ago.

 

Human Health and Coal-Fired Power Plants

Mayor Bloomberg and the Sierra Club may say that coal-fired power plants cause human health problems, but a dispassionate review of recent data indicates that current coal-fired power plant emissions do not cause human health problems. 

Broadly, the EPA says air pollution in eastern metropolitan aeras is caused by local sources and distant coal-fired power plants. Do high pollution days occur when there is a strong westerly wind or when there is little wind? It is when there is little or no wind when the highest air pollution concentrations are experienced. Yet, by some magic, it is distant power plants, not local pollution, that are key to improving air quality.

Power plant SO2 and NOx emissions declined dramatically during 2008-2010 as a result of 
Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which was promulgated in March 2005. Have we seen reports that asthma related emergency room visits have plummeted? Has demand for drugs to control asthma plunged?


EPA's claims that power plant emissions cause significant human health problems are not reasonable because they are based on the assumption that all inhaled fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has the same impact on human health regardless of whether or not it is carcinogen. When I asked Dr. Levy of the Harvard School of Public Health why he assumed that inhaling a simple salt compound (e.g. sulfates or nitrates) is as dangerous as inhaling a carcinogen, he said that "without that [assumption] I couldn't prove power plants are a health hazard". 

EPA's 'independent' science advisory board went along with this key assumption despite the fact that the 'all PM2.5 has equal health impacts’ assumption contradicts decades of research on the health impacts of tobacco smoke 

Given this clearly illogical assumption underpinning EPA's entire assessment of health risks associated with power plant air emissions, it should come as no surprise that there has been no documented health benefits associated with the 50% cut in SO2 emissions and substantial reduction in NOx emissions associated with CAIR. 

Between 1990 and 2004, emissions of criteria air pollutants decreased by 30% while asthma rates doubled. Since 2004 emissions have continued to decline (dramatically for the power industry) yet asthma rates have continued to increase. 

I am not saying that reducing air pollution increases asthma, but I am saying there is clearly something other than air pollution from power plants that is driving increased asthma rates. Yet, the EPA keeps justifying new air pollution regulations on power plants by saying that reducing air pollution from power plants will reduce health impacts due to asthma.

"The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

Reality of Softening the Climate Sell

Ken,

Your article provides several compelling points. However, given the current trajectory of American politics with two-year political campaigns for President, political divisiveness, and by industry, myopically focused on next quarter’s profits, there will be little, if any, support for these points.  

Dr. Jeffrey Everson; www.jheversonconsulting.com

 

Reasonable Arguments

I think the column is well reasoned and takes a middle ground in this heated discussion. Some of the writers want to ignore the problem. Others say the world is coming to an immediate end. The column implores the two sides to sit down and this column is framework for that.

Ken here

Thanks for your notes. Read them all. Appreciate you all. Really do. Column is meant to provoke, not necessarily persuade. Your notes are proof of the free press; we champion all views and will air them all. As for my column, it is intended to get people to consider a worst-case scenario. What if? Along those lines, it is prudent to take small steps now.

Agree. okay. Disagree. okay too. As I've always said, this column merely throws up the jump ball and lets the players to scramble for it. Thanks for your indulgence, particularly if you disagree. I do appreciate all readers and all views. This is just my own.

 

Ken

UNMASKED

With this article, Ken Silverstein has succeeded in unmasking "Energy Central" as little more than a tool of the progressive Green movement. I say "progressive Green movement" because conservatives happen to support Green initiatives....but like me, they don't buy the utter and complete nonsense of "going Green" at the cost of our entire economy. 

Apart from the foregoing, I'm heartened by the challenges represented in the prior posts. The progressives have been indoctrinating our children since the first Earth Day and it's high time, indeed past time, that analytical professionals held the progressive "story" to the fire. If we don't, it'll never happen. The general public is unable to do so and in any case they are too easily swayed by emotional tugs....which coincidently, is EXACTLY what Silverstein proposes in this article.

I guess we can be thankful for the unexpected transparency.

This is an odd argument, Ken

As other commenters have noted, there is no substantive scientific debate on climate change.  Increasing CO2 concentrations raise the temperature.  The last 100 years have seen a massive increase in CO2 release into the atmosphere, largely due to anthropogenic causes (e.g., burning fossil fuels).  Increasing temperatures lead to lots of climatic disruptions, with significant economic consequences.  There is no fundamental disagreement on any of these points.  That's not to say that all climate or economic models are in precise agreement, but the differences are in the noise - this is a clear economic externality of fossil fuel combustion, with resulting 'tragedy of the commons' consequences until such time as we put a price on CO2 release.

That said, there is plenty of political opposition to pricing CO2, just as there is with any other effort to price a market-externality thanks to the resulting wealth transfers.  Those who would lose from that wealth transfer have pursued a politically-expedious, but ethically-suspect  strategy to create the appearance of scientific debate where none exists. 

So to your argument that we frame climate change primarily as a public health issue, I'd ask you two questions: (1) who should frame this way?and (2) to what purpose? 

First, who: Politicians?  Climate-protection advocates? Public health officials?  I suppose one could make a narrow political argument that if these are the arguments that work, then let's use them in the name of political expediency.  But let's not ignore the fact that there are real facts that must be dealt with: the fact that kids try to be good around Christmas time doesn't make "be good because Santa is watching" a good strategy in July.  Likewise, framing climate arguments that ignore climate realities could have short-term gains but raise long-term dangers. 

Second, to what purpose?  Presumably, in order to address climate risks - but then why do you lend credence to the junk science that is so-called 'climate skepticism'?  Every voice that adds to that chorus makes it harder for well-intentioned polticians - who are rarely trained as scientists - to separate truth from fiction.   Moreover, if we are acting because of climate risk - as I believe we must - then the only material obstacles are political.  The science is settled, as is (to an only marginally-lesser degree) the economics.  The problem is the politics of wealth transfer - and I'm hard pressed to believe that is addressed simply by finding a clever way to frame the argument.  It's coming up on 20 years now since we decided that our political structure could not sign onto Kyoto.  Hard to believe that is simply because of the way we've framed our arguments.  But so long as we don't find a way to address the political challenge, we will pay a massive price of inaction.

No substantive debate because it is not allowed to happen

I have to disagree that the science is settled on manmade CO2 being the primary cause of global climate change.  It is not.  There are far too many reputable scientists who have raised questions that were swept under the rug.  There are far too many indications that the IPCC report writers manipulated and/or selectively used data to force the data to fit their hypothesis.  Try reading "Climate of Extremes" and "Climate Coup" for well referenced literature that indicates the principal IPCC authors actively engaged in data manipulation and suppression of dissenting views--especially fairly well documented evidence that CO2 increases in the past have following temperature increases rather than the other way around.

What is even more irksome is that the power of the EPA is being used to drastically alter the US economy and standard of living by regulation that put onerous cost increases on all forms of business while China, India, and other developing nations are building coal-fired plants without CO2 mitigation that will far surpass any emissions we eliminate.  The unproven "consensus science"  (what an oxymoron!) of the IPCC report is being used to justify billions of dollars in grants to uncompetitive renewables developers that will destroy the reliability of the US power grid just at it is destroying acres of forest on mountain ridgelines.  The renewables advocates keep talking about all the CO2 they have avoided without considering the impact of keeping older, less efficient plants as backup power because the economic disruption of subsidized green energy is making investment in more efficient power too much of a gamble.

Just remember the ancient consensus science was that the Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

I would like a Congressional hearing that allowed scientists on both sides of the debate to present their evidence pro and con the theory that manmade CO2 is the primary cause of global climate disruption.  Of course the politicians might have to be gagged during the testimony.  From what I have read, the "deniers' have proof of their contentions while the IPCC scientists have conjecture and computer models built with manipulated data. 

Substantive Debate

There is no substantive debate on climate change - climate is changing, as it always has.

There is no substantive debate on AGW because the AGW believers will not engage in debate. Rather, they rely on withholding data, ad hominem attacks and arguments from authority.

In the current situation, as in all previous instances, temperature began to increase before CO2 began to increase. That would argue against CO2 driving temperature.

There is no "consensus" on the price that might be put on carbon, largely because there is no "consensus" on the cost of carbon emissions. Of course, one might argue that any price on carbon would be a "start"; and, that it could be adjusted later if determined to be inadequate to achieve the desired results, whatever they might be.

Since AGW, if it is a problem, is a global problem, the problem could be described as both the diplomacy and politics of wealth transfer, both national and international.

The national wealth we are talking about is ~$30 trillion. The global wealth we are talking about is ~$150 trillion. Those are expensive precautions against a potential problem.

Public Health?

Ken, I’m directing my comment at the first paragraph of your article. How do you differentiate between Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s opinion on “public health” and other opinions on carbon? It is more emotive, yes, and therefore likely to gain more traction, but are these not all the same “hype”, “spin”, and plain old “opinion”? What are Mayor Bloomberg’s qualifications in the area of public health to claim that this is the central issue? In the light of his pledged financial support of the Sierra Club to help it fight coal-fired electricity, I find it difficult to take the Mayor’s opinion as being unbiased.

 

No, I would say that the central issue here is politics, plain and simple. On the contrary, we need clear and unbiased decision-making based on established facts to determine the best short, medium, and long-term approaches to resolve pollution without destroying our economic viability in the process. And, of course, we need reliable metrics to define exactly what we mean by “public health”. (Please refer to my comment “Yes, Please Question Basic Assumptions” responding to the previous comment “Questioning Basic Assumptions” dealing with health issues and posted in response to your article “Cutting Coal Plant Emissions”, dated July 13, 2011 through July 15, 2011)

 

Ken Silverstein - Kool Aid Drinker

Mr. Silverstein's support for action on 'climate change' could be excused a couple of years ago as many of us 'non-scientists' were trying to sort through the clutter of information overload.  When the U.K. censored AN INVCONVENIENT TRUTH unless 9 core claims were corrected however, I would have expected someone named "Top Economics Journalists by Wall Street Economists" to have stopped - like the rest of us - and wondered first HOW so many errors could have been endorsed by the world's leading climate change evangelist and, more importantly asked, "WHAT ELSE was wrong?"

Then - I was curious why a number of leading CLIMATOLOGISTS (not philosphy professors with doctorates as included in the 'concensus' claim) were not adamant to embrace this data such as Richard Lindzen, of MIT.  In fact they offered caution.

When, however, emails by the very scientists who drove the IPCC report of globabl warming were discovered to admit that even THEY were disturbed by the lack of actual evidence to support their theory - most rational intelligent people were downright (dare I say it) ...skeptical.  That could be why GALLUP reports only 44% of US citizens believe in man made global warming from 71% in 2007.

And yet Mr. Silverstein boldly forges ahead to further weaken our fragile economy with more regulation and onerous tax burden solutions - embracing the need to still 'take action' on climate change.  He says,

"But it would be highly irresponsible to disregard what many acclaimed scientists have said." 

Really?  It is RESPONSIBLE to spend money we don't have on a theory  that is so controversial that 1,000 international scientists openly challenge the concept of man made global warming?  Most of whom now even question data that there is in fact ANY substantial warming AT ALL?

We wake up to headlines this week that, "Arctic scientist who prompted global warming fears for polar bears -- now under investigation for 'scientific misconduct," and with it a critically reviewed paper that gives substantial evidence that nearly all climate models are seriously flawed. Is it  "RESPONSIBLE" to continue to push for a complete restructuring of the world economy and the energy industry?

I have lost all respect for the Wall Street Economists who would give any award to such a person.

On the other hand, when I was offered investment cash for our company based on carbon credits - I declined in the case that indeed, this market was based on sham science.  Yes, it cost us investment capital but I felt it was prudent to protect our company and shareholders from later embarrassment.  Where is the integrity in either journalsim or the energy industry regarding this?

I spoke to one leading energy executive a month ago who admitted he did not believe that CO2 was in ANY WAY harmful.  And yet he freely petitioned the DOE for grant money because 'it was there.'  Perhaps Ben Franklin would prounounce the great American experiment over since it was he who prophesied it would only last until we as people discovered we could vote for ourselves funds from the public treasury.

Yes.  Most of us agree on the dangers and needed actions on particulate pollution, acid rain and toxin groundwater control.  If one does not, i suspect that most of  those NOT in the 'green movement' would label those borderline 'evil.'  But it is now fair to question the motives of people like this author and the holding company that would continue to allow such irresponsible journalism.

How can you NOT cite even one mainstream climatologist who disagrees with your theory?  You even try to "stain" the carbon emission argument by bringing issues such as 'acid rain' into your introductory thought.

Put down the Kool Aid Ken.  The responsible thing to do is to either resign - or start being a bit more accurate and balanced in your editorial comments. 

The extra research funding...

could come from the elimination of the US Department of Education, which has a record of expensive failures.

Softening the Climate Sell

It is ironic that you write yet another article in support of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) just as yet another peer reviewed study blows yet another hole in the 'science' of global warming.

Spencer, R.W.; Braswell, W.D. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613.

 

 ..."No doubt, the topic of

 

...
"No doubt, the topic of climate change and whether it is a manmade phenomenon is contentious. One side is proclaiming that the world's leading scientists have given sufficient warning while continuing to say that the other position is bought and paid for the fossil fuel industry. Meantime, the warming skeptics are arguing that the science is -- at best -- uncertain and that the link to human activity is weak. 

[the cult of balance--99% of climate scientists on one side --1% skeptics on other side.

Paul Krugman | The Cult That Is Destroying America:  "Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis - a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences - it's increasingly obvious that what we're looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system. And no, I don't mean the fanaticism of the right. No, the cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism." 
READ MORE        
...
"To that end, the country needs to pursue the tools that will help curb carbon emissions. The American Energy Innovation Council that advocates investment in clean technologies says that this nation must spend more money on research and development. It needs $16 billion a year. But last year it spent $5 billion."  
With the cult of austerity now in control, where are the extra billions suppose to come from?


 

coal

the problem with clean coal is that it is too expensive. cheaper to drill for gas and build combined cycle plants. coal utilities dragged their feet for too long.

Cleaner coal

The advocates for greener energy must also consider the technologies to make clean coal. I realize that industry often fights tougher regs and that only gives ammunition to the environmentalists. These technologies can rid coal of many of the harmful emissions associated with it but it will require the utilities to go along. Agree that we all have to come to the table.

What now

Now its called "climate disruption"?  All political crap.  Obama recession II about to begin.

Duplicate deleted.

Duplicate deleted.

Selling Climate Change

Hi Ken et al,

I would argue not just public health but security in all its forms may be at risk and is a more powerful driver that includes health issues. Environmental security is much misunderstood but see information on it at http://enviroenergysol.com/EnvironmentalSecurity.aspx 

Joel Gordes

Global Climate Disruption / Climate Weirding

The entire CAGW exercise is unserious. The concern regarding CAGW has been around since the end of the CAGC panic of the mid-70s. However, there is still no unique position regarding the percentage reduction in global annual CO2 emissions required to keep the globe from becoming spherical "toast". There is also no unique position regarding the time frame within which the CO2 emissions reductions must occur. Therefore, to a great extent, there is not global "buy-in" to the non-existent goal and schedule, despite 16 Conferences of the Parties, most recently in Cancun, Mexico.

The principal CAGW issue being discussed publicly is the need to reduce global annual CO2 emissions. However, that is only one aspect of the issue. CAGW "avoidance" is really a "three-legged stool":
Leg 1 - zero global annual CO2 emissions;
Leg 2 - global veganism (to reduce methane emissions from animal husbandry);
Leg 3 - population controls ( to achieve "sustainable" population of ~1 billion; and
Seat - global governance (by the UN or some equally feckless bureaucracy).
I argue that this "stool" would be the ugliest and most expensive piece of "furniture" ever designed by man. It would certainly be a "stool" which could not be picked up by its clean end.

Meanwhile, the nations of the globe have divided into three camps:
1 - developed countries which have technology which could reduce CO2 emissions;
2 - developing countries which demand access to that technology at no cost; and,
3 - undeveloped countries which demand the profits from the sale and use of that technology.
That is hardly a prescription for cooperation toward a successful outcome.

The sun is also entering a period of reduced activity, which might bring back concerns about CAGC.