Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last Call For Climate Of Change

Sunday's Climate Change march in NYC was massive, with 300,000 plus people participating.  It was part of a global effort with marches in cities across the globe.  Maybe the people running our country will finally get the message as a result.

I wouldn't count on it though. 

Under leaden skies, throngs of demonstrators stretching as far as the eye could see moved through Midtown Manhattan late Sunday morning, chanting their demands for action on climate change.

With drums and tubas, banners and floats, the People’s Climate March represented a broad coalition of ages, races, geographic locales and interests, with union members, religious leaders, scientists, politicians and students joining the procession.

"I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers’ union. “It begins in the streets.”

Climates marches were held across the globe on Sunday, from Paris to Papua New Guinea, and with world leaders gathering at the United Nations on Tuesday for a climate summit meeting, marchers said the timing was right for the populist message in support of limits on carbon emissions. The signs that marchers held were as varied as the movement: “There is No Planet B,” “Forests Not for Sale” and “Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy.”

“The climate is changing,” said Otis Daniels, 58, of the Bronx. “Everyone knows it; everyone feels it. But no one is doing anything about it.”

 And no, nothing will be done about it, as long as our leaders are giving us idiocy like this to feast on.

Truth be told, if things are as dire as the marchers believe, it’s already too late. That’s the problem with the hysterical wing of climate change advocacy. Cutting emissions of greenhouse gases won’t do the trick if we are on the edge of the climate precipice. We would have to halt all human activity that contributes to global warming and then hope nature can reverse the process.

And idiocy like this.

But public opinion surveys consistently place “climate change” at the bottom of Americans’ political priorities, presumably because most people have enough common sense to realize that giving the government more money and power won’t change the weather.

Please notice the argument is no longer "climate change is a hoax" but "there's nothing we can do to stop it if you're right, so there's no reason to do anything!"

So why bother?

PS, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year ever on record globally.

But why bother?

1 comment:

Horace Boothroyd III said...

William Nordhaus, Yale economist and undergraduate advisor to Paul Krugman, has written a series of books on the economics, science, and politics of climate change which culminates in his master work Climate Casino. It is a self contained work, although it may be easier to digest after reading all seven books in order so as to be intimately familiar with the argument and how it works.

The gist is that the science of global warming is very well understood, so that anyone who quibbles over the basic results is either misinformed or dishonest. The science sets the framework for how the environment responds to further input of carbon dioxide. The economics set the framework for how the economy will respond to the changing climate, allowing us to balance actions against costs and benefits.

The fundamental economic fact is that society does not charge enough for the right to dump carbon dioxide into the environment that we share, in fact the current price is zeroing. By adding a price in an intelligent fashion we can discourage carbon consumption and encourage replacement technologies in an economically efficient and politically painless fashion. This is the idea behind the carbon tax.

In fact, the dollar cost of the carbon tax is shockingly small. To reach the current best estimate level, one that halts global warming at or below two degrees C above preindustrial baseline, would require a tax of $26 per ton of carbon dioxide with an annual increase of three percent. That translates into nine cents per gallon of gas, increasing by one additional penny every three years. Note that this is not a gas tax but an illustration of just how small the carbon price would be.

A lesser economic fact is the idea that society underinvests in science, on a systematic basis. Investment in science pays massive dividends for society, everyone benefits greatly from all the advances taken as a whole, yet individual investors have a difficult time harvesting profits even from discoveries that are wildly successful. Breaking this conundrum will make resolution of the climate change problem cheaper and easier and faster, if we can figure out how to do it.

Unfortunately the gibbering idiot left over at the Daily Kos and FireDogLake is committed to the strategy of preventing global warming through walks in the autumn sunshine and acts of vandalism and sabotage against energy services infrastructure. As noble as their intentions might be, their actions are going to accomplish pretty much nothing. Considering opportunity costs, all the things we could be doing but are not because our energy goes into organising showy one off rallies, these actions are in fact counter productive.

So I do my bit trying to educate, which has been my life's work as a scientist, even though I have come to realise that the world really want to be saved after all. If I can touch one person through this space you have provide, kind Zandar, then today will have been a good day.

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