Only half of Americans would pay $1 a month to fight climate change

Roger Pielke Jr has now moved on from the climate debate into sports policy, but he still issues occasional bulletins of climate stories that are well worth reading. The latest, Pielke on Climate #6, discusses emissions intensity, hurricanes, and ocean heat content, but starts off with a remarkable fact from a recent public opinion survey. The  survey begins by asking people how important certain issues are to them. Out of six issues, climate ranks lowest (with 48% saying it is very or extremely important) after immigration, energy policy, terrorism, the economy and health care (84%).  Nevertheless 48% is fairly high, and this goes up to 74% if you include “moderately important”.

Now here’s the interesting bit. People were then asked:

Suppose a proposal was on the ballot next year to add a monthly fee to consumers’ monthly electricity bill to combat climate change. If this proposal passes, it would cost your household $1 every month. Would you vote in favor of this monthly fee to combat change, or would you vote against this monthly fee?

Only 51% said they would be prepared to pay this dollar a month. That figure drops to 27% when the sum is $20 per month. Here’s Roger’s graphic:

Pielke calls this the “iron law”. Here’s my way of putting it: If you ask people if they care about climate change, most people will say yes. But when it comes to how much they are prepared to pay, the answer is remarkable little.

111 thoughts on “Only half of Americans would pay $1 a month to fight climate change

  1. The really important question never then seems to be asked (or if it is the results don’t seem to be discussed). Ask those who indicate they believe climate change is important, why then are they not prepared to do anything about it (by donating even minimal amounts of money). Only by evaluating responses to this third question can you evaluate answers to the first.

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  2. If the ‘iron law’ only works at the ‘peanuts’ level it is no law at all. In other words, it carries no insight. People are probably paying more for subscriptions scams they signed up for and cannot get out of, than they are *williing* to pay for climate

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  3. According to the United Nations 2015 Global ‘My World’ survey on causes for concern covering 9,736,484 respondents, ‘Action taken on climate change’ came flat last, sixteenth out of sixteen categories.
    http://data.myworld2015.org/

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  4. Nuts,
    I wouldn’t contribute either not knowing excactly what they proposed to do with the money. Maybe do the Climate Change equivalent of Rain Dances?

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  5. If we asked citizens how willing they are to pay for adaptation and or mitigation projects without using the words climate change, my bet is that willingness would increase.

    About seven years ago I ran a survey on Examiner.com. Those who identified themselves as Republicans said they were willing to pay as much as $250 / year to help pay for a smart grid.

    We should remember that many, many people are willing to pay over the odds for hybrid or electric cars and rooftop solar panels. They’re more expensive, even after the subsidies–but more people are buying them every year.

    Food for thought?

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  6. Hi Thomas, you mention willingness to pay for specific proposals, although adaptation or mitigation isn’t that specific. A smart grid might be.

    Would you agree to a a tax contribution of $250 a year for Peace? I feel that this would be equivalent to the question Roger refers to. I just cannot understand why anyone should be upset by a vague response to a really vague question. And in truth I’ve lost some respect fot Roger, assuming of course that I did understand what he wrote.

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  7. JF, I’m not sure why you say you’ve lost some respect for him. Are you saying he’s upset? To me he seems more smug, saying there’s more evidence for his “iron law” that he’s been talking about for years.

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  8. Paul,
    It may be meaningless in the long run but I felt there was no information in the results of a survey in which people were asked would they contribute to fighitng climate change without a stipulation as to what the method might be. I put this in with the 97% of all *** type surveys, basicly to be ignored. Yet he didn’t ignore it.

    help me with what I surely must be missing here and accept that I very quickly appologize when I discover I’m wrong about something, which unfortunately seems to happening more and more as I slide into the dwindles.

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  9. Hi Paul,
    I feel the plague of our age is bogus surveys. We get surveyed a lot. I frequently find that I’d like to answer their question in a way that freflects my thoughts on the subject but the way the question is constructed, I cannot.
    .
    I feel that the scientific literate – sub-group of scientists – should be rigorous in not referring to nonsense surveys.

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  10. Alan:

    In my view, your question here:

    “Ask those who indicate they believe climate change is important, why then are they not prepared to do anything about it (by donating even minimal amounts of money).”

    Suffers the same problem as this premise:

    “If you ask people if they care about climate change, most people will say yes. But when it comes to how much they are prepared to pay, the answer is remarkable little.”

    Have you forgotten that the thinking man is unconvinced of the veracity of AGW?

    Q: Are you concerned about climate change?
    A: Of course, what rational individual wouldn’t be? The climate affects our existence!

    Q: Will you then pay money to combat climate change?
    A: Of course not, why would I when there’s no good evidence to suggest anything can be done about it?

    Now, an entire generation of young skulls full of mush is currently graduating the American public screw-all system, hence I suspect the results of this survey could show an increase in those willing to pay in the coming years. We’ll see.

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  11. Here’s a question: would you favour a carbon fee and dividend scheme from which you would benefit (receive more than you pay)?

    Most people would favour being given money, it would likely pass. Of course not everyone can benefit, but as the rich use more energy than the poor, the rich would end up paying.

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  12. Sy
    You quote me suggesting that a third question ought to be asked, then write:
    “Q: Are you concerned about climate change?
    A: Of course, what rational individual wouldn’t be? The climate affects our existence!

    Q: Will you then pay money to combat climate change?
    A: Of course not, why would I when there’s no good evidence to suggest anything can be done about it?”

    Oddly at the end you answer my third question without it having been asked (and answering another regarding why you might be concerned about climate change).
    I think it might be important to discover what proportion of the polled population would be willing and consider themselves able to pay, from those concerned but who feel unable to contribute.

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  13. Alan:

    Oh I see, so “those who indicate they believe climate change is important” are restricted to those who accept the premise of AGW then?

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  14. Read my 5.35pm post again. I don’t mention AGW at all. The study is about whether climate change is important (any cause) and how much the person questioned is prepared to spend to prevent it (or circumvent its effects?). I don’t consider this whole exercise worth while. The important information (why those expressing concern are not prepared to invest minimal sums for prevention) does not seem to be addressed.

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  15. Len:

    It would seem several problematic assumptions plague your proposal, with the primary being this:

    “Fee and Dividend or Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D) is a market-based mechanism for reducing the carbon emissions that help to drive anthropogenic climate change.” (bold mine)

    I would hope my countrymen would reject the idea on the basis of this flaw alone.

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  16. Strange that though the questionnaire listed six items, they didn’t ask how much people would be prepared to pay monthly to improve the other five. So: how much would you be prepared to pay each month to reduce/increase immigration, improve energy policy, defeat terrorism, boost the economy and boost (public) health care? Without those answers, you have no context in which to judge the climate answer. That is perhaps what the study authors wanted so as to allow pillocks like Pielkes to trumpet the lack of public concern.

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  17. Don’t fall for Len’s deliberate provocation of calling Pielke a pillock. I notice that personages like him (or his collective) only incite retaliation for such practices when they have lost or are destined to lose an
    argument. Ignore the loser.

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  18. Len

    Thank you for the link. The problem, it seems to me, is that it isn’t really thought through, at least in my opinion.

    “Some or all of the fee is returned to households as an energy dividend. Returning 100% of net fees results in a revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system”

    “Regular dividend payments would stimulate the U.S. economy, leading to the creation of 2.8 million jobs over baseline during the program’s first two decades.
    The stimulative effect was also found to positively affect national GDP, adding $70–85 billion per year for a cumulative 20-year increase of $1.375 trillion over baseline (the approximate equivalent of adding an additional year of growth during that span).”

    But if it’s revenue neutral, where does the stimulus come from? It’s not from the state, and it’s just moving money from A to B, not increasing the amount of money in the system or adding to GDP generally. And unless it truly has the effect of stimulating innovation in the renewables industry, so that renewables costs fall by more than (or at least as much as) the tax placed on carbon fuels, then its net effect will be to increase energy prices overall, not reduce them. Far from being a stimulus, that would be a drag on the economy, surely?

    It MIGHT help to transfer money from the rich to the poor (though I wouldn’t bet on that, since the rich usually find a way around these things) but unless the poor receive more in the way of dividend than they do from higher energy prices, that won’t help them either.

    The problems identified by the Energy Modeling Forum study 2012 do seem real, and the solutions suggested to deal with those problems do seem to start to make the scheme look horrendously complex. What’s the betting that the “net dividend” would be eroded (to nothing?) by implementation costs?

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  19. Alan, Pielke is a pillock for suggesting some iron law specific to climate, and Paul is unwise to repeat or embellish it. People pay willingly for what benefits them directly. You are not going to get large numbers of people saying they’ll pay the government monthly to do something as nebulous as reducing immigration, or improving national security however important it is to them. Doubtless you think climate is special in that respect, as presumably did the authors with their motivated study.

    Mark, I’d accept it being neutral. It would be surprising though, for example, for Europe importing $500 billion annually in fossil fuels if reducing that sum didn’t have some effect. My guess is that a fair proportion of FF use is wasted so reducing that suits me.

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  20. “…the rich usually find a way around these things…”

    Mark you’re right. Think about it this way – corporations never pay taxes assessed against them, rather the consumers of their products pay them.

    If this is true, then what must the implications be for a fee (tax) that’s assessed at the first rung of the manufacturing cycle and supply chain for *every* product humans consume, from basic food, water, power and fuel for the poor, to luxury mansions for the rich?

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  21. Oh the shame! Requiring Google to explain a (pseudo)witty.
    BTW. Piddocks are also known as angelwings. Make of that what you may.

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  22. Mark Hodgson,

    I advocate what I call a revenue neutral carbon tax. Although I’m open to different methods, my original idea was to tax primary producers of CO2 emitting fuels and rebating that tax in full by means of lowering other taxes. In the US, I think lowering Social Security taxes by the amount received in CO2 taxes received in the previous year.

    I won’t ask if you like it or not–I don’t want to expose myself to ridicule, especially if I deserve it. But do you think it might work as intended?

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  23. Sy, you misunderstand. The purpose of the tax/dividend is not to raise revenue but to change behaviour. So even if a company can pass on the tax, the tax will still influence its decisions and will cause adoption of different processes and business models. The fact that the cost is passed on to the consumer doesn’t matter. The poor buy less than the average consumer and so get back more than they pay.

    Paul, Alan, Jaime was you are so dedicated to opposing action on climate change, how much would you pay monthly to the government if it was used to oppose global action?

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  24. Tom, the tax/dividend is revenue neutral. The problem with rebating against other taxes is that those who don’t pay that tax are excluded. Much better to pay flat rate all residents, as in Alaska I think.

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  25. “The purpose of the tax/dividend is not to raise revenue but to change behaviour. So even if a company can pass on the tax, the tax will still influence its decisions and will cause adoption of different processes and business models.”

    You beg the question with regard to behavior, Len. If a company can simply pass a cost of doing business on to their consumer, for what reason would it go to the additional trouble of adopting different business processes?

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  26. I’m neutral on the idea of the carbon tax. I suspect it won’t have the effect intended, and I always worry about the Law of Unintended Consequences. One of which is that the tax will be imposed, but the “dividend” will be eroded by politicians concerned about the state of the economy who decide they can’t afford the dividend (but need the tax).

    Developing that point, if the intended effect of moving the country away from fossil fuels is achieved, in whole or in part, then the taxes the Government currently receives in spades from fossil fuels, plus the new carbon tax, will both fall as fossil fuel sales also fall. Then the Government will have an even bigger tax shortfall than it does now, so other taxes will have to rise to fill the gap.

    I’d like to see it tried somewhere other than the UK before any suggestion that the UK should adopt it without seeing how it works in practice. I can’t explain definitively why it won’t work, I admit – I just have a nagging doubt that it will turn out to be a bad idea (my concerns as expressed above just hint at the problems I suspect lurk below the surface).

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  27. Sy, heard of competition? Its a cracker! Or are you a competition denier too?

    Mark, Tiny, it has been tried in British Columbia since 2008. BC emissions fell relative to the rest of Canada and its GDP didn’t. That is not proof that it works (there may be confounding factors) but it is perhaps indicative. Alberta has a scheme starting this year.

    It has also been tried for decades in Europe and elsewhere in the form of fuel taxes. Europe has far more efficient transport than the US as a result. Of course governments that rely on fuel taxes will have to find other sources of revenue or cut their spending. So what?

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  28. Oh good grief, Len, BC has 4.8M people…that’s like arguing Romney’s Massachusetts style health care can work in the entire United States. The evidence of that debacle is before everyone’s eyes…

    As far as an “argument to competition” goes, this is a tax. The producer’s competition can’t lower their rate through improved operations, etc., any more than he can. Everyone’s in the same boat with the same rate and they haven’t the power to do anything about it.

    It’s just common sense that the energy producer would pass this cost on.

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  29. “…my original idea was to tax primary producers of CO2 emitting fuels and rebating that tax in full by means of lowering other taxes. In the US, I think lowering Social Security taxes by the amount received in CO2 taxes received in the previous year.”

    Mark/Thomas:

    May I offer an argument?

    Before anything can be consumed, it must first use energy to be produced or manufactured. From basic food, clothing, water, power and fuel for the poor, all the way forward to luxury mansions for the rich, everything we consume to survive and thrive requires energy to produce, manufacture, store, transport, distribute, etc.

    If you agree to this premise, then wouldn’t all such schemes as proposed amount to a regressive tax on the poor via higher prices for all goods and services in the target economy?

    Since you’re taxing energy, you’re taxing everything humans consume in order to survive, starting at the production/manufacturing cycle and continuing all the way through the supply chain to the final consumer, we the poor. By “consume”, I presuppose “consume” means both as in food and “use”, e.g., clothing, etc.

    At the first sign of such a tax being implemented, energy producers are going to begin restructuring their pricing models to their end consumers upward to accommodate the increased cost of doing business. Since taxation is a government purview, if the energy producer is smart (and they are) they’re going to build in margins to account for the uncertainty going forward of wind-driven politicians to suddenly decide a marked increase in the tax rate is required for whatever reason. I’m sure you’ll agree that when a tax is implemented it is very rarely lowered.

    Hence those margins won’t be designed to advantage the final end-consumer, that is, we the poor. Rather, those margins will be designed to protect the profitability and survivability of the producer, as they should.

    Since each consumer of the energy producer along the consumption ladder is also a vendor to another consumer, and so on going forward through the consumption chain, the upward pricing trend will continue at some pace, possibly exponentially. Admittedly we can’t be sure how much, but since neither can they be sure, and uncertainty in business breeds a common sense assumption toward the need for higher prices to cover potential losses, we should expect the same. Smart businesses try to evaluate market conditions at least 3 to 5 years in advance in order to attempt to prevent natural and unnatural political, economic and business cycles from inordinately affecting their profitability.

    So then, as energy from the well moves up the ladder of consumption forward, each sector that “touches” this energy for resale to another consumer *or* is effected as an end consumer is going to be forced to increase their prices to their consumers by whatever margin was placed against them, plus now their margin as well, all the way up the chain to the end, i.e., to the regular Joe’s like we, who don’t get to pass on the costs.

    This is another reason why in this case a presupposition regarding behavior modification is false, not only because it assumes the truth of the premise in the conclusion, but also because it assumes that a business is in the same predicament as the poor. The poor don’t have the option to pass on costs like a business, therefore, they indeed *sometimes* modify their behavior according to taxation.

    Think of a simple example like food and the problem becomes complicated. First, it takes energy for the farmer to produce the crop, hence the farmer will be forced to adjust his prices upward to account for the increase in energy costs from the producer. Fuel for the farmer’s equipment will have already been taxed starting at the well, forward to the refinery, forward through the distribution points (i.e., transportation on roads), to the distributors and then to the farmer. The farmer has to store his crop which generally takes electricity which is powered by fuel, which was again taxed starting at the well forward. Not only the storage facilities, but all of his farm is powered by energy which was purchased from a taxed vendor who purchased it from another taxed vendor all the way back to the well.

    We should remember that it takes energy for the producer to get the product out of the ground and store it as well. That energy is often purchased, in which case from a taxed vendor who is a consumer of another taxed vendor and so on in what could amount to a very vicious, expensive circle.

    We’ve barely gotten the food out of the ground. It still has a long way to go with many taxed vendors in between before it reaches a distribution center where the poor can purchase it.

    And this is just *food*…we haven’t started with clothing.

    How will you account for this necessary phenomenon when you issue dividend checks to the American people? How will you ensure that each individual, especially the poor who won’t have hardly spent but a smidgen in social security taxes, receives as much back as was expended both in the rate that was initially levied against them as well as the additional price increases from the natural movement of pricing markets that couldn’t possibly be accounted for?

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  30. Sy, what you think passes for a healthcare system in the US, with or without Obamacare, wouldn’t anywhere else in the rich world. That’s rather irrelevant here though.

    It might be that a tax/dividend that seems to work for a small state wouldn’t scale, but you present no reason to believe it, just assertion. You’d have to believe that prices have no effect on decisions, which would be odd. But perhaps not the oddest thing believed here.

    As for competition, if you run your data center on coal and mine runs on gas, yours is going to be less profitable as the tax rises, if it isn’t already. Same goes for anything powered by coal. Result long term: no coal. Is it so difficult to see how the same plays out throughout the economy? Evidently so for some.

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  31. “Sy, what you think passes for a healthcare system in the US, with … Obamacare, wouldn’t anywhere else in the rich world.”

    Agreed.

    “It might be that a tax/dividend that seems to work for a small state wouldn’t scale, but you present no reason to believe it, just assertion.”

    Then it would appear we stand upon the same scales of faith. Why is yours better than mine in such a case?

    “You’d have to believe that prices have no effect on decisions, which would be odd. But perhaps not the oddest thing believed here.”

    Indeed, it would seem the oddest thing believed here is that a global conglomerate would expend a great deal of time, money and various resources rethinking and refocusing it’s entire business model to accommodate a simple tax rather than simply pass it on to its consumers.

    Would you also argue that when the price of drill pipe increases ExxonMobil shifts into gear restructuring it’s entire worldwide operations? If not, why not?

    “As for competition, if you run your data center on coal and mine runs on gas, yours is going to be less profitable as the tax rises, if it isn’t already. Same goes for anything powered by coal. Result long term: no coal.”

    That’s an odd conclusion. In such a case it would seem more likely there’d be: “no data center”. Did you learn that in Progressive Logic 101 or Introductory To…?

    Regardless, haven’t you’ve built and burned down another one of your famous straw men? Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the idiom, “in the same boat”. It means “all things being equal”. Not to mention any number of additional objections, e.g., cost of gas production versus coal, resource availability, political climate, additional taxation or the lack thereof, etc.

    Shouldn’t your ilk deal with the other argument’s merits regarding the poor and why such a scheme isn’t a regressive tax upon them? Why do you seem to ignore this?

    Or perchance such a thing doesn’t matter since it is assumed the poor be-damned rather than abandon Progressive theology?

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  32. I’d be interested in knowing more about the BC experiment, and will watch what happens in Alberta. I’ve been lucky enough to visit both, and experienced great kindness there from the locals, so have a genuine interest in their doings, quite apart from these experiments.

    Sy, I think, neatly illustrates my Law of Unintended Consequences point. Any major policy change, especially one involving tax and one involving an attempt to influence people’s behaviour, should be considered in the same context as a game of chess. Before making your move, you need to consider what the reaction to it will be, and how that reaction will play out (and possibly influence your next move, and so on). The problem we have in the UK as that our politicians seem to be draughts players than chess players – the idea of contemplating unforeseen reactions to their decisions seems well beyond them (I offer up the EU referendum as a case in point).

    Life is rarely as simple as some would like to believe, especially where money (and lots of it, at that) is concerned.

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  33. Len, the problem with your theory is that the taxes that are currently attached to CO2 don’t work. Sure, CO2 goes down a bit locally but to nowhere near what you would say they need to be. After a period where a lot of money is spent and a lot of new ideas are tried, the excellent beginnings turn out to be exactly that – beginnings. Which quickly tail off. A healthy electricity grid can handle renewables. Sure, it makes the other plants run inefficiently but nobody counts that. However there is a finite limit. Germany does not have as much renewable power as it seems to have. It actually shares them with those coutries that smooth supply (eg take it when there is too much and supply when there is too little. Even with the EU grid to call its own, Germany’s reductions have stalled for the past 8/9 years.

    Europe has energy prices that would see US citizens take up those weapons they keep just in case their leaders go nuts (definitions vary). Manufacturers balk and threaten to leave, just as they have done in the UK. Countries would have to ban imports or their own businesses would never be able to compete. That kind of isolationism is being vehemently condemned by those who might support a CO2 tax. Those goods imports are just as CO2 heavy as they would be if they were made at home… more so because of the transport emissions. When imports and exports are factored (including energy) the UK has barely budged on CO2 and yet it has cost us trillions.

    Tell me again how a CO2 tax (neutral or not) will work.

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  34. One of the frustrations of warmists stems from the belief that if only everyone signed up for climate hysteria, they’d cut CO2. The evidence against that is that irrespective of what green peoplebelieve on CAGW, the more affluent they are, the bigger their CO2 footprint. A Cambridge study recently discovered that those who self identified as conservationists were no greener than anyone else at the same economic level. It’s not a co-incidence – green concerns are a rich man’s obsession.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/10/10/conservationists-take-nine-flights-year-despite-knowing-danger/

    Warmists dream of martial law where we are forced to save the planet. Doing what? Learning to live with intermittent power, few possessions and a meagre diet? Sounds a lot like North Korea to me. And there’s the rub. The single best way to make emissions drop is to make/keep the peasants poor. Warmists should be embracing Brexit, the falling pound and strict immigration controls.

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  35. Sy:

    “Why is yours better than mine in such a case?”

    Because people are the same everywhere. Give them a chance to save money and they’ll take it.

    “…a global conglomerate would expend a great deal of time, money…”

    Who cares about the oil companies? They would, of course, pass the cost on. The tax might affect their exploration plans but doesn’t have to.

    “In such a case it would seem more likely there’d be: “no data center”. “

    Really? The coal-powered data center would rather close than change electricity suppliers? The same goes for all other users of coal. Long term, nobody will use coal if it costs more. It is not as if coal has some killer advantage beyond being ‘cheap’ when it can pass on its mucky byproducts free of charge. Maybe you can keep it alive by subsidizing it even more, as was done for decades in Europe, and by allowing coal barons to pollute as and where they see fit.

    There’s another question to match that posed by the study at the top: would you pay $1 (10, 20 etc) a month extra for electricity generated by coal? People here probably would. Just like greens switch to renewable sources even if it costs them more, I expect skeptics would switch to dirty sources if offered, even at higher cost. There’s a business idea for you. Free of charge.

    You seem to think that a change in relative costs doesn’t provide an incentive to people and companies. But that is what the tax does, it changes the long-term relative prices of gas vs coal, renewables vs gas, imports and transport vs local production, oil-based vs plant-based, F350 vs Prius. That will have an effect on every part of the economy over the mid to long term. And the dividend makes it progressive, if paid per-person.

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  36. Tiny, the tax/dividend idea is usually accompanied by a border adjustment to level the playing field. I don’t suppose BC had that and it may well be that heavy users of energy moved out of BC as a result. GDP seems not to have been affected relative to the rest of Canada though. With the border adjustment, they’d have no reason to move.

    I do agree that the tax alone might not achieve the reductions envisaged. High fuel taxes in Europe haven’t prevented people from driving or companies from moving products great distances around the continent for each stage of production and assembly. Economists suggest that a tax alone is sufficient (but perhaps their goal is different) but I’d expect regulation to be used too. For example, no, you just can’t vent [choose your pollutant: methane, nitrous oxides, toxic metals etc] to the air or water.

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  37. “You seem to think that a change in relative costs doesn’t provide an incentive to people and companies. But that is what the tax does, it changes the long-term relative prices of gas vs coal, renewables vs gas, imports and transport vs local production, oil-based vs plant-based, F350 vs Prius. That will have an effect on every part of the economy over the mid to long term. And the dividend makes it progressive, if paid per-person.”

    Len, once again you’re back to restating propositions which have already been addressed?

    Like a top you spin when your string is pulled, but I sense your tip is becoming dull once again. As with any other toy in the box, once it’s been played with one grows bored and tosses it aside for a newer, more intriguing one.

    Since it has been postulated here that thou art Legion, is there anyone else in there that might have something new and interesting to offer?

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  38. Len, London doesn’t have heavy industry but that doesn’t stop it using a lot of products from those fields. How much more does the playing field need to be levelled? How can you level the low moment to moment use of energy of a city trader with a heavy energy job like a steel worker in Wales? One brings in far more money but without somebody making steel somewhere then the city trader would be out of a job. How do you counter the entitlement of a billionaire to enjoy the fruits of their success with the modest lifestyle of a minimum wage person? There are only so many offsets on the planet.

    The fundamental problem is not the handful of billionaires blarting out CO2, it’s the many, many ordinary people living moderate lives that add up. The western governments have been trying to nudge those people into a low CO2 lifestyle but they don’t appreciate that the only act that will significantly reduce CO2 is austerity max. Many things are possible now, they’re just not as nice/fun/cheap/effective as the energy rich alternatives so people, including warmists and politicians, self justify their behaviour. The government is in the midst of tearing up the rules on building on greenbelt, do you think those plans have a thing to do with cutting CO2? Oh I’m sure that they’ll insist that the houses have solar panels but every house equals a lot more energy consumed than not building it.

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  39. Len

    Possibly unlike some people who comment here, I enjoy your input. In fact I almost always enjoy the input of people with different ideas to my own, because considering such people’s views is a good way to stretch oneself intellectually. If we only interact with people who think like us then sites like this would be in danger of becoming echo chambers (like over at aTTP, for example), and what’s the point of that?

    However, I think this comment from you demonstrates a rather strange view that you seem to hold of people who visit this site and who regard themselves as sceptics:

    “There’s another question to match that posed by the study at the top: would you pay $1 (10, 20 etc) a month extra for electricity generated by coal? People here probably would. Just like greens switch to renewable sources even if it costs them more, I expect skeptics would switch to dirty sources if offered, even at higher cost. There’s a business idea for you. Free of charge.”

    I have no particular brief for coal or other fossil fuels. I’m not in love with them. I don’t prefer them to renewables, all things being equal. I just recognise that fossil fuels are generally cheaper and provide more reliable sources of energy than “renewables”. I recognise that they spew out pollutants (by which I don’t mean CO2). I recognise, too, that wind turbines in the wrong place can be a blight on our beautiful landscapes, and I puzzle over why environmentalists are so keen on destroying our visual environment.

    Ceteris paribus, if renewables could provide cheap and reliable energy without blighting the landscape, I’d be happy to sign up, and certainly wouldn’t pay more for fossil fuels. I’m a pragmatist where such issues are concerned. I don’t know, of course, but I suspect most people who comment here would say much the same. I think you misjudge us, sadly possibly due to an inherent prejudice on your part.

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  40. “Len, once again you’re back to restating propositions which have already been addressed?

    It’s a style of trolling called ‘Clown Dancing’, its practitioners just waltz you round and round in circles, and have zero interest in a serious debate.

    They may or may not believe in whatever position they appear to support – most don’t – they just want to frustrate you and tie you in knots.

    You cannot possibly win a debate with one because they are not actually debating, their only intent is to waste your time and bandwidth.

    Here is an excellent exposition on the subject by the greatly missed MemoryVault:

    https://libertygibbert.com/2010/08/09/dobson-dykes-and-diverse-disputes/

    As a rule of thumb – PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE TROLL

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  41. cat:

    What if the evil meant by the troll is turned to good? Perhaps in that case pasturing trolls is worthwhile?

    For example, what if another reader comes along and reads what you’ve written in response to the troll and thinks to him/herself, “Now there’s something about which I hadn’t thought! I believe I’ve changed my mind on this particular subject matter!”

    Or even suppose a mustard seed is planted only to be watered and grow down the line.

    In such a case a good has been done to the world from the evil intent of the troll, hence even more ashes are heaped upon it’s many heads.

    Not that I’m advocating going too far with this idea. But one can take it as far as one can manipulate the manipulator into getting one’s point across.

    …if you get my drift…

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  42. Of course, it’s always fun poking trolls with a sharp stick to make them froth and wriggle.
    Then, when you’ve got a response, you back out and ignore them.
    There’s nothing that winds up a troll more than being ignored!

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  43. sy, not really addressed. You think a carbon tax would have no effect on emissions. Not only is this shown to be untrue by BC the incentives are clear. You just don’t want to accept that.

    Tiny, you too seem to think that incentives don’t matter. And I’d thought you were one of the few here (along with Tom, Mark, Alan sometimes) who had something worth saying.

    Mark, just my little bit of fun. But the extent to which some skeptics refuse to accept that fossils have a negative side or receive subsidy makes me think there really is a (small) constituency who really would prefer dirty energy to clean. I mean if one really thought that CO2 would not cause problems and did not believe coal to be filthy, dangerous and not actually cheap – from mining and use to disposal – then one might prefer it on principle to the alternatives. I mean if one *really* believed all that he’d maybe think: this is a great resource and I should support it and the people who give (strike that; let’s say devote) their lives to it. In that case you’d willingly pay more for it. Okay, so I know nobody *really* believes that coal isn’t a shitty, expensive thing from start to finish, but, like I said, I’m just having fun.

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  44. cat:

    It’s not so much trolling the troll, although I admit there’s absolutely a diabolical part of me that sometimes takes hold of my otherwise shy, loving and gentle nature in order to put them in their place when they get too far out of line. But that’s a personality flaw of mine.

    My hope is always to find ever more clever and fun ways to use the troll’s agenda against him/her in order forward my own, without the troll understanding what’s being done to them. Always respectfully, of course, at least when I’m able.

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  45. Cat, there are several problems. Trolls may come in disguise or may not always be in full troll mode all the time. You engage and before you know it you’re dancing – a full pas-de-deux. Then trolls can poke back, hard or soft (sometimes the merest brush (Len is good at this)). A multitroll attack, especially if directed at you personally can be difficult to take, which is why I adopted the nom-de-blog “Supertroll” over at BH. Lastly one man’s troll is another’s supporter.

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  46. Cat we stagnate if we all agree. AK, you weren’t a troll at BH for disagreeing, you were a troll for telling other people what they were allowed to think or post and taking every post personally when they weren’t aimed at anyone specific. Just as we might dislike climate scientists as a whole but individually many of them are fine and even many instances of climate work is ok. Even ATTP is worthy of debate when he’s engaging properly and not just disagreeing for the sake of it and/or playing to his crowd.

    Len ‘Tiny, you too seem to think that incentives don’t matter.’ not if they don’t achieve the desired goal, no. I don’t believe in waste, even if it’s for a good cause and this cause is debatable. Renewables are like peeing on a forest fire – pointless but a sop to those who want to feel that we are doing something. I know that a tax won’t work because a very similar tax is not working in anything but a minor sense. Instead of investing in things that we know work very well (nuclear and suitable insulation (although we are approaching a limit on that)) we’ve faffed about with pie in the sky projects. There has been some very clever/clumsy accounting and few people know how little progress we’ve made for all that wasted cash and public patience. Idiots wave those expenses away. The same idiots who tell me that CO2 is a problem. Do I detect a pattern?

    I made many good points and you ignored them all. That’s trolling or low intellect. Take your pick.

    One of the reasons that warmists are losing ground is their unwillingness to defend it. They prefer instead to whine at and about sceptics. There is substantial evidence that the warmist grand plan is not working. Isn’t it time to start listening to the side that have consistently called the failures before they were obvious to everyone?

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Because people are the same everywhere. Give them a chance to save money and they’ll take it.

    Not even remotely true. They will, generally, buy the cheaper of two options, but only if those options are equally good.

    Hence those Greenies who fly off on their overseas holidays, when they could holiday local for a lot less.

    I don’t buy the cheapest car that will do what I want, the cheapest clothes that will keep me warm, the cheapest food or the cheapest wine. No-one does, unless they are so poor they have no choice.

    People will continue to use fossil fuels because they are convenient. No amount of posturing about electric cars makes them convenient.

    Like

  48. Tiny. I had been thinking hard whether and how to address your accusations that I was a troll over at BH. I had, more or less decided to ignore it, in the belief that others reading any response from me wouldn’t really be interested. But I discover that someone else, using my name, has answered using my name. This unauthorized use of my name has happened before on this site.

    Having had decided to ignore you as not meriting a response, it will remain something I will stick with.

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  49. Amazing! Somebody is really messing with my head here. A post, ostensibly from me in reply to Tiny was on this site responding to his 9.13am. This I commented on at 1.05pm, only to find that “my ” response had disappeared. I wish whoever is responsible wouldn’t, it causes me to question if I am going senile and, presumably, others reading my real responses to question it as well.

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  50. Sock puppetry is a serious problem, The site admin need to work with you to remove any comments that were not you and try and exclude the person. As for being a troll, I did use the past tense and your moniker Supertroll is a provocation you might note I refuse to use. We can all behave trollishly from time to time.

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  51. “You engage and before you know it you’re dancing – a full pas-de-deux.”

    Not really, it’s a matter of training, get in, do the job, and get out again quick.

    You see, I was trained to fire single aimed shots from a bolt-action Lee-Enfield .303, and then retire in good order, I was qualified to sniper level.

    I don’t hold with, nor will I indulge in, the modern technique of ‘spray and pray’, you just end up dragging far too much spare ammo around with you, which is hard work and reduces your mobility, and those Mk VII rounds were a LOT heavier than this modern 5.56mm stuff.

    It’s just the same with trolls, you haven’t got to be afraid to leave them to have the last word, their self-importance is such that being ignored often hurts them far more than anything you could possibly post.

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  52. Chester,

    “Not even remotely true. They will, generally, buy the cheaper of two options, but only if those options are equally good.”

    You contradict yourself, so, far more than remotely true; just true. People like to save money. If a carbon tax introduces a price differential, people will respond, the bigger the difference the more they’ll alter behaviour. That is true throughout time and place. Of course it would be as stupid to assume that prices are the only factor as it would be to assume that price doesn’t matter.

    Tiny,

    “I made many good points and you ignored them all…”

    Ah, except you didn’t. You asked some rhetorical questions and wrote lots of words but there wete no good points. If you want to dispute that prices affect behaviour and that the higher the price differential the more effect there is, both of which are as close to economic fact as there is, you’ll need a lot more than waffle about the difference between London traders and Welsh ironworks.

    “Isn’t it time to start listening to the side that have consistently called the failures before they were obvious to everyone?”

    That would be the ‘side’ that can’t agree among itself on any aspect of the climate science or mitigation beyond opposition to anything that doesn’t give a leading role in the economy to oil, gas and coal companies and their corresponding elites. Your ‘side’has so devalued its own currency by including nutjobs of all varieties that nobody listens to you. There may be some sensible voices among your number who will accept that coal had to be subsidized for decades and really sucks and that oil and gas, though sucking less, come largely from nasty regimes that we’d be better off separating ourselves from and that we do need to re-think our energy matrix, quite apart from AGW. They would be worth listening to and might need inject some realism in the debate. I’ve not come across many on your ‘side’ who qualify (Tom, perhaps here).

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  53. “If you want to dispute that prices affect behaviour”

    Of course they affect the behaviour of people too poor to afford them. It doesn’t affect the wealthy. It doesn’t affect those who demand a pay rise or benefits to restore their position. Unless the majority do without, CO2 barely budges.

    How expensive do you think you would have to make energy to cut CO2 to 2 tonnes per person? And will you still be enjoying your current lifestyle? I know that those crusading billionaires don’t expect a change in their luxury status.

    http://notrickszone.com/2017/10/22/germany-will-miss-its-own-2020-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-targets-by-a-long-shot/

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  54. Warmists are so out of touch with human nature and how our society works and even CO2 emissions that they think that we can be nudged into an effective CO2 footprint.

    At least 5 years ago I worked out that to just park global CO2 levels would take 2 tonnes per person. That figure falls as the population rises. For westerners it falls to zero or below if the less developed countries want their turn at a high CO2 lifestyle. The last time our average footprint was 2 tonnes was about 1850. Have these people ever put their personal figures into a CO2 calculator? For those Guardian and BBC reporters who went on the Ship of Fools with Dr Chris Turney, the individual return flights from the UK alone was 5 times that. Are you going to blow a half year’s allowance on even a short haul holiday flight? The standard form of transport in 1850 was walking and a lucky person might have a day out to sea side on a train a couple of days a year. Think about how they lived back then. Think how little they had and how little they did.

    I was peeved to see the last time that I did my calulation that I was responsible for 1 tonne of societal CO2. I had to take off half my allowance for schools and roads and government and stuff. Bugger them! As I played around with the figures, even if I cut out heat and travel altogether, I still couldn’t go as low as my 1 remaining tonne. I did wonder if I could earn credits by turning to cannibalism (consume their annual CO2 allowance, along with their chops and rump). It was the only way I could continue eating meat. Having pets was a no, no. The clothes I’ve got would have to see me out and gardening for veg would be essential, not a hobby.

    So tell me. How high would the tax have to be to nudge me into that level of CO2?

    Like

  55. “Of course they [taxes] affect the behaviour of people too poor to afford them.”

    Or not, depending on which products you tax and how critical to the lives of the poor are those products.

    For example, in terms of income groups (poor, middle, upper) who use alcohol and tobacco in the United States, a greater percentage of the poor use tobacco (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/low-ses/index.htm). If not a greater majority of the poor per income group, at least as great a percentage as other income groups use alcohol (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897210/).

    When the Progressive Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, one of the first things he did (in the midst of an economic crisis, mind you) in order to fill his coffers with more filthy lucre was to institute a regressive tax upon the poor via cigarettes and alcohol, ostensibly with the “admirable” goal of reducing the practice. I said at the time that this was a despicable deception typical of the modern Progressive ilk in the United States, done not for the good of the poor but rather to enrich the government off their backs.

    Common sense tells the rational man that the poor smoke and drink at least as much and likely more than others despite the cost. Therefore, unless Progressives are complete morons, Obama knew it as did everyone else. Common sense was confirmed via research just a few years later:

    “As recently pointed out by public health experts Ken Warner and Harold Pollack, endlessly raising tobacco taxes eventually becomes cruelly regressive for addicted low-income smokers who can’t or won’t stop smoking. Taxes are powerful inducements to quit and are clearly too low in some parts of the U.S.

    But in places like New York City, where taxes may drive the price of cigarettes to $10-$15 a pack, deeply-addicted, low-income smokers may face the choice between spending much needed income on tobacco or venturing into the black market for untaxed cigarettes, which carries significant risks of its own.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/01/14/why-the-wealthy-stopped-smoking-but-the-poor-didnt/?utm_term=.6e18532644af

    Clearly at the outset we see the article, like the Progressive who argues generally for behavior modification via taxation, plainly contradicts itself. That is: “Taxes are powerful inducements to quit and are clearly too low in some parts of the U.S.” is offered as a premise alongside the contradictory premise: “But in places like New York City, where taxes may drive the price of cigarettes to $10-$15 a pack…”, but that’s beside the point. It *is* the Washington Post, after all…

    The existence of a single instance of contradictory evidence nullifies a generalized proposition, therefore, the premise that price affects behavior in all instances must be rejected as false.

    Now what to reasonably conclude about fuel taxes? How will the poor modify their behavior regarding fuel taxes? Will they go purchase new, expensive electric cars, perhaps? How? Will they run down to the bank and borrow thousands of dollars to pay a contractor to install new, better insulation in their homes? How? Perhaps they’ll go and spend $15,000 to $20,000 on a new, more efficient A/C and heating system? How?

    Or does common sense tell us they’ll simply be forced to take the stripes across their back of, in the best case scenario, a horribly misguided tax policy based on a false premise (AGW), and in the worst case scenario, a deliberate Progressive attack on those who are unable to defend themselves?

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  56. You two have great comprehension problems. Sy doesn’t understand the simple maths of averages that mean all who have below-average emissions would be over compensated. Tiny doesn’t understand that prices matter throughout the economy not just at the checkout. Neither seem to from the idea that incentives matter over decades not just the next year.

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  57. Len

    You responded rather shortly and simply to 2 well-argued pieces criticising your carbon tax. I am watching as a disinterested neutral. Please try a little harder to deal with the critique, as at the moment you don’t seem to be doing very well on this one.

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  58. I have forgotten most of what I knew (and occasionally had to teach) about microeconomics, but it seems to me that Len is pushing the first component of supply and demand – that increasing price usually causes a decrease in demand, but has forgotten about elasticity. Goods that are considered essential are highly inelastic, meaning price increases cause a disproportionately low decrease in demand. This was clearly shown to apply to oil when prices reached $147 a barrel, but demand hardly changed.

    BTW while not relevant to the current discussion, price increases do not always cause demand decreases. For high priced luxury items, price increases sometimes makes them even more desirable and demand increases. So Len’s belief is not universal

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Alan

    Thanks for the reminder of my half-forgotten A level economics (it was a long time ago…). Elasticity of demand is indeed the key to the carbon tax reducing CO2 emissions, but if demand is relatively inelastic (as it tends to be for essentials, or for items to which people are addicted) then price increases will have little or no effect.

    If spending on essentials is increased due to a combination of tax increases and inelastic demand in respect of the taxed item, then poor people inevitably have less to spend on other items. Apart from making the lives of poor people worse, it can also have a negative impact on other areas of the economy where demand is more elastic.

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  60. Elastic or not, reduced demand CAN be done. Look at Greece. Of course that was and still is massively painful. The only visible effects of CO2 reduction on the global emission graph are major recessions. Len is hinting that people can be moved in the right direction in a gentler way, if a longer time period is used. Sure you can, you can destroy a prosperous civilization over 100 years instead of just 10. Of course that gives people longer to fight back. Look at how we’ve balked against ‘austerity’. Look what happens when people’s salaries are squeezed, they demand higher salaries and they vote for free stuff Corbyn. May counters with an energy cap and a massive house building plan. These are not the actions of people who are thinking about CO2.

    How long would you let society amble towards a low CO2 future Len? 17 years have driften by since I first heard about CO2 and James Hansen did his little party piece 29 years ago.

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  61. Mark, point me to the relevant posts and I’ll comment on them.

    Alan, yes, demand elasticity doubtless is a factor. But waste isn’t inelastic, so a price increase should squeeze that out. And as I keep repeating, incentives are long term: do you think an investment in anything coal-related would be sensible in an increasing-carbon-tax context?

    Mark, the dividend over-compensates those with below-average consumption, as I’ve said, even if spending on essentials increases. Why is that so hard to understand?

    Tiny, there has been no serious attempt to reduce emissions beyond investment in renewables. And even the Energiewende was, at least initially, more about returning energy generation to local control.

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  62. Len. I cannot understand the mind that can, in all seriousness write in the same post:

    “But waste isn’t inelastic, so a price increase should squeeze that out.”

    ” there has been no serious attempt to reduce emissions beyond investment in renewables”.

    To most of us here, the second statement is tantamount to increasing waste. Furthermore a price increase will do more than squeeze out waste, it will (for the poorest segment of society) squeeze the basic necessities. The poorest probably waste energy the least. Any taxation of energy, to reduce CO2 emissions, will be highly regressive. Rebates or concessions on other taxes will never compensate those who are most vulnerable.

    Like

  63. “Mark, the dividend over-compensates those with below-average consumption, as I’ve said, even if spending on essentials increases. Why is that so hard to understand?”

    Because 1) there’s no possible way to account for both the prices of not just essentials, but everything, increasing and 2) the system you cite as your plan doesn’t say anything about over compensating for what was originally paid:

    “4. Some or all of the fee is returned to households as an energy dividend. ”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fee_and_dividend?wprov=sfla1

    If only “some” or “all” of the fee is returned, this can’t be “more than”, or compensation over that which they originally paid.

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  64. Len “Tiny, there has been no serious attempt to reduce emissions beyond investment in renewables. ”

    Where have you been? What about carbon credits? recycling? Insulation? Diesel cars? Endless TV whining about climate change? Low energy bulbs? Tripple A rate appliances, which include shrinking space in fridges and freezers and a much reduced lifespan? The energy price rises to pay for the subsidies for renewables that have pushed heavy industry abroad? Industry efficiency? Congestion charging? Anti plastic bottle campaigns? Condensing boilers? The quangos, committees, ministers and teams tasked with cutting CO2? What else were you expecting?

    All those things and more, and yet the CO2 has only come down slightly. Once coal was swapped for gas and Industry shrank there was almost nothing easy left to do. The commissioned nuclear won’t replace the stuff that should shut in the next 10 years. What will your new carbon tax do?

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  65. Sy, Alan, if the policy was to put an extra tax on wine and distribute the proceeds evenly across all adults, you are telling me that those who drink no wine or less wine than the average person would *not* be better off! Whether it is maths or just math, you should learn some.

    Also Alan, you didn’t answer my question: do you think an investment in anything coal-related would be sensible in an increasing-carbon-tax context?

    Tiny, “What about carbon credits? recycling? Insulation? Diesel cars? Endless TV whining about climate change? Low energy bulbs? Tripple A rate appliances, …? The energy price rises to pay for the subsidies for renewables that have pushed heavy industry abroad? Industry efficiency? Congestion charging? Anti plastic bottle campaigns? Condensing boilers? The quangos, committees, ministers and teams tasked with cutting CO2? What else were you expecting?”

    Carbon credits – neutered by initial design.
    Recycling – not climate specific
    Insulation – ditto and a no-brainer anyway
    Diesel – true. Government fooled by fraudsters in industry
    TV – that’s not policy
    AAA – Is that carbon related or an indication that the existing A was no longer useful due to improving tech?
    Renewables – did they push industry abroad? Industry seems not to need that excuse to move to China.
    Industrial efficiency – is that carbon related or good business sense?
    Congestion charging – Is that for carbon or health?
    Bottles – a no brainer for re-use/recycling.
    Boilers – is that carbon related?
    Quangos etc – that’s talk, not action.

    These are all half-hearted responses in my mind. If gov/EU really wanted to do something it would have given the emissions trading system some teeth, enabled recycling by imposing standards on packaging to ensure that materials used *could* be recycled easily and to reduce quantities of plastic, provided a way to insulate homes and offices directly rather than via energy companies, enforced efficiency standards on the rented sector, restricted entry to towns and cities countrywide to low emissions vehicles, paid for park-and-ride, better public transport, vastly improved cycling facilities and legal protections to match those in other lands, outlawed low efficiency appliances etc.

    Even with the half-hearted measures taken, emissions are apparently down by 36% since 1990 – hardly nothing (though a lot must be imported now).

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  66. “Sy, Alan, if the policy was to put an extra tax on wine and distribute the proceeds evenly across all adults, you are telling me that those who drink no wine or less wine than the average person would *not* be better off!”

    That isn’t the policy is it?

    I’m telling you nothing, however, the program you cite as your authority for cap and trade is telling us all something about you and those crimson fishes you so often toss about…

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  67. At last, some real answers Len. Sort of.

    Give the emissions trading system some teeth – what does that mean? And who is going to enforce it globally? We have enough trouble agreeing to human rights, do you really think bits of paper with notional CO2 allowances are going to be respected? Several trading schemes have already collapsed. They’re a license for fraud.

    Enabled recycling by imposing standards on packaging to ensure that materials used *could* be recycled easily and to reduce quantities of plastic, – again hard to impose across borders. The problem with recycling are numerous, from contamination to a lack of demand for the recycled producs. At the moment a lot of what we are collecting for recycling either goes to the tip here or gets shipped abroad where it’s sent to landfill where we can’t see it. The best form of recycling (as used across the EU is to incinerate it for power.

    Provided a way to insulate homes and offices directly rather than via energy companies – many homes and businesses here are already insulated. Those that aren’t are often problematic (eg damp or solid walls or no money). Even with decent insulation, most homes are a long way from high efficiency. There was an interesting experiment where they spent £85,000 improving a two bed terraced house. The end result was a warmer house, with no loft space and energy bills that varied between a third and a half of what they’d been. That’s quite a steep outlay and much of it couldn’t be done in stages. We have housing stock worth less than the price of the upgrade. The government already tried green loans and the whole scheme was a waste of money. This is going to penalise the fully occupied family home that might be inefficient over the efficient mansion that’s empty most of the time and only partially occupied at best.

    Enforced efficiency standards on the rented sector – some scope for insulation improvement and a quicker replacement boiler but little else. The government can’t even ensure that every home is occupied, never mind efficient. How much will the rent have to go up to pay for it?

    Restricted entry to towns and cities countrywide to low emissions vehicles, paid for park-and-ride, better public transport, vastly improved cycling facilities – You’ve been hunting for Corbyn’s money tree to pay for all this. But even if you do it, what’s the chance it will work the way you think? Maybe those that want to cycle are already doing so. Perhaps people will abandon the town centre and shop out of town? All those facilities going to waste. Empty shops. Why not just make the car tax bigger? Of course the poor will be hardest hit either way. Will you be giving them a free electric car or cycle clips?

    Legal protections to match those in other lands – what?

    Outlawed low efficiency appliances – many appliances are already efficient but compared to what? They still use energy. A massive larder fridge could be more efficient than a tiny cheap version but the big one will still use more power. Two efficient freezers use more than one inefficient model. Ageing or poorly maintained equipment uses more energy than a new version but replacing equipment is an energy outlay. I’d rather see a rule that meant equipment should last for at least 20 years rather than stop after 7 and be easy to top up with refridgerant.

    So while all these onerous energy saving rules are being imposed, do you think that the public and business just does as it’s told? Don’t you think a new politician won’t come along and promise to scrap the burdens? Both Labour and the Tories regularly undermine CO2 saving with other policies.

    Ultimately the things you’ve suggested won’t bring our CO2 down massively. Even you admit that the real value of CO2 reductions aren’t 36%. We’ve shut down our coal for gas but we import a lot of EU electricity that will be being generated by coal. We can’t all be using France’s nuclear supply. We import a lot of stuff from coal powered China, including a lot of solar panels, but the big energy exports will be for metals and other heat related manufacturing (eg I worked for a company that made acetate plastics from wood pulp, vinegar and a lot of heat. It is now based in China and the US.)

    Your visions are simplistic.

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  68. Sy, replace wine with carbon and yes, it is.

    Tiny, simplistic? Well, it was a single paragraph blog comment. What do you expect, a fully developed policy analysis? As for your quibbles: you don’t like recycling, you don’t like insulation – having earlier said you did – you don’t like restricting traffic in cities, you’re against efficiency standards – you sure you don’t work in Trump’s EPA? Really, your opinions are exactly what I’d expect of you.

    As for legal protection, if your car hits a cyclist in Germany, it is your fault, no further discussion needed. Cycling is integrated into the transport infrastructure and everyone cycles from young to very old, rich and poor alike, despite far worse weather in winter. That doesn’t require a magic money tree like the £350 million a week brexit bonus. It requires planning, organization and regulation (hey, I bet that word sets your trumpian nerves jangling).

    The 36% CO2 reduction btw is since 1990. Since about 2006 it is 30%. I have no idea how much of that is due to the increase in renewables and demand reductions due to improved efficiency of transport, lighting and appliances and how much is down to offshoring of production. But you probably don’t either, although I doubt that will stop you claiming that action against CO2 is ineffectual.

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  69. The 36% CO2 reduction btw is since 1990. Since about 2006 it is 30%. I have no idea how much of that is due to the increase in renewables and demand reductions due to improved efficiency of transport, lighting and appliances and how much is down to offshoring of production. But you probably don’t either, although I doubt that will stop you claiming that action against CO2 is ineffectual.

    It certainly won’t stop me:

    1990 354.29
    1991 355.68
    1992 356.42
    1993 357.13
    1994 358.61
    1995 360.67
    1996 362.58
    1997 363.48
    1998 366.27
    1999 368.38
    2000 369.64
    2001 371.15
    2002 373.15
    2003 375.64
    2004 377.44
    2005 379.46
    2006 381.59
    2007 383.37
    2008 385.46
    2009 386.95
    2010 389.21
    2011 391.15

    https://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/ghgases/Fig1A.ext.txt

    Alan:

    I’m not up on the meaning of “DGDDT”

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  70. Len
    “if the policy was to put an extra tax on wine and distribute the proceeds evenly across all adults, you are telling me that those who drink no wine or less wine than the average person would *not* be better off!”

    What policy? What is your taxation aiming to achieve? What do you do for wine-consumers who pay no taxes where you can apply a rebate? Answer me those questions and I’ll consider your hypothetical.

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  71. Alan,
    “What policy? What is your taxation aiming to achieve? “
    Reducing wine consumption [CO2 production] without being regressive.

    “What do you do for wine-consumers who pay no taxes where you can apply a rebate?”
    A tax rebate is your invention in this context. I said the aim would be to “distribute the proceeds evenly across all adults”. This could be a cheque in the post or bank transfer or whatever. That Alaska Permanent Fund manages to make such payments and might be a good model.

    “Answer me those questions and I’ll consider your hypothetical.”

    Make my day.

    Sy, UK emissions.

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  72. Why on earth should the poor in the UK be forced to continue to shoulder the burden of reducing emissions for the entire planet when, according to objectively verifiable evidence, it isn’t working?

    What is this…hatred(?)…disregard(?)…contempt(?) that you and your ilk have for both your own as well as other nations disadvantaged poor that you would continue to oppress them in the face of this fantastic notion of AGW for which you have neither good logic nor evidence to believe, other than by faith alone?

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Out of six issues, climate ranks lowest (with 48% saying it is very or extremely important)

    Yes and Hillary Clinton is president of the USA because polls of voting intentions said so.

    Brexit? Same.

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  74. “I’d Love to Change The World”

    Tax the rich, feed the poor
    Till there are no rich no more

    Margaret Thatcher

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  75. Alan:

    “Don’t Get Dusty Down There.”

    I just got this…only just this second…

    Time to retire?

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  76. Well Len I doubt you will save much CO2 by increasing the taxation on wine. But heh-ho. If this significantly reduces wine sales and therefore wine production, there will be less wine produced, closure of vineyards, workers in those fields, and in the wineries, unemployed. Similar unemployment in wine distribution, marketing and sales. Think of all those out-of-work sommeliers. Add to this group all of those adversely affected by the losses of employment.
    Now you have some scheme to identify these people and somehow recompense them – even though many of them will live in different countries with different tax regimes. This scheme will cost. So you propose reducing overall revenue and tax revenue, together with some hypothetical scheme that will pay those adversely affected and pay for operating this scheme – just to save a little CO2! Utter madness.
    This avoids the obvious difference between wine and fossil fuels – one a luxury the other essential.
    Len, don’t waste my time.

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  77. Len, it’s not a matter of whether I like recycling or insulation, it’s how well it works. I have insulation and I recycle. I also note how many recycling centres burn down ‘by accident’. I read reports where recycling is going to waste. I know what my bills were before insulation and afterwards. Wall insulation had no effect at all. New windows are nice but I’d already plugged the gaps. Loft insulation works well but like other forms of energy saving it’s not always suitable (eg try insulating a loft with a hatch that would only fit a small boy like my Aunt’s home and cladding the solid walls with a damp problem.)

    50% of our 1990’s coal was only shut down in the last few years and that accounts for a big chunk of CO2. It represents a one off improvement. No more coal other than as a back up to a dangerously under stocked network. Wind relies on other energy sources when it’s not functioning to capacity. We can include wind, only because we have other sources of energy. The inter connectors with the EU are not that new (new ones being laid) but the traffic is now mostly this way and certainly used much more than they used to be. The EU network has a good supply of coal and gas stations but just because they’re not here, doesn’t mean the emissions aren’t ours. Both the UK and Germany rely on the EU grid to solve unreliables problems. If we all cut CO2 with wind and solar generation, the grid wouldn’t function, so in effect the cut in CO2 should be shared with our neighbours, making our reductions much less impressive.

    Many of the high energy businesses have only shut down in the last 10 years. The site I worked for shut down in 2006 and its bigger sister site stopped in 2012. We re-import the products.

    So the Germans cycle? So what? Their emissions per capita are still greater than ours. The barrier to people cycling is not legislation to ensure dead cyclists’ relatives get compensation. It’s not even cycle lanes. People just don’t want to cycle. Sure, you could make them but that comes back to cutting CO2 being painful and the potential for significant public resistance.

    Have we reduced CO2 at all? I should bloody hope so given all the money we’ve wasted on it but a fall of 30% out of 36% in the last 10 years? Not in any figures I’ve seen. 6% out of 36% in the last year maybe but most of that was due to a swap from coal to gas as base load. Plus mild winters. Plus a doubling of the carbon top up tax in 2015. I also believe that air travel isn’t counted in national stats. That’s handy.

    Do I expect you to come up with a fully developed policy analysis? Funnily enough I didn’t. I expected you to make throw away, pie in the sky comments, like every other hot air head warmist. You did not disappoint me.

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  78. …closure of vineyards…

    Oh no…not that!

    Say it ain’t so, Alan! Say it ain’t so!

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  79. Sy it’s no more true than CAGW
    If Len believes this, he’ll go into hoarding mode.

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  80. Tiny, 36% is shown here: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-cuts-carbon-record-coal-drop
    Since it contradicts your well learned dogma that policy has been ineffective, I expect you’ll find reason to reject it. World Bank figures look as if they may be similar, but I haven’t dug into them, as the bank is doubtless part of a conspiracy to distort the numbers too.

    Alan, I can’t make out whether you think the wine analogy is the actual proposal for CO2 reduction or not. Since you managed to spend many years at UEA without understanding the GHE, I’ll assume the worst.

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  81. Len. Who says I don’t understand the GHE? I am fully conversant with the concept, I just believe that the positive feedbacks are not as large as are commonly believed, and are accompanied by largely offsetting negative feedbacks.
    You conceived the wine analogy, not I, then pestered me for a response. Dance!

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  82. Len do you read your own comments? You wrote “Since about 2006 it is 30%” where does it say that in the report? It did say that the recent 6% was mostly due to the shut down of the last of the coal fired generation. Every now and then there is a report about real emissions that try to calculate the effect of imports, exports and flights. The figure shows very little reduction on 1990 levels although swapping coal for gas should have had some effect. The emissions calculations are false accounting. They don’t care about foreign based emissions but the atmosphere isn’t fooled. If you really cared about the emissions you’d want them to be assigned to the end user.

    Now for evidence of the green pain.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/25/energy-cost-review-lays-blame-governments-door/

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  83. No Alan, you give a good impression of not understanding: “From my limited knowledge I believe there are multiple explanations and major disputes between different advocates.” ATTP put you right. Now you claim that -ve feedbacks outweigh +ve feedbacks despite having claimed earlier that you knew so little physics that discussing it made you uncomfortable. Suddenly you know enough about atmospheric and planetary physics to have your own ideas about it.

    And now that you’ve at last understood my analogy, would the tax reduce CO2 (wine consumption in the analogy) and would it benefit non producers (non drinkers in the analogy). Forget secondary effect unless you think the tax is going to be so effective as to wipe out the industry.

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  84. Tiny, read off the levels from the relevant graph, if you can. I read it as being about 30% since 2006. As I said before, some of that will be emissions that have simply moved. I don’t have a way to know how much that was.

    The carbon tax does explicitly take imported emissions into account. That is one way in which it is superior to all mechanisms tried till now.

    As you must be aware, emissions reduction is going to happen, despite whatever subsidies your friends in the US administration throw at coal and oil. If efficiency actually concerns you, you’d be better getting behind the best way of achieving reductions, not playing King Canute.

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  85. Heh!

    The 36% CO2 reduction btw is since 1990. Since about 2006 it is 30%. I have no idea how much of that is due to the increase in renewables and demand reductions due to improved efficiency of transport, lighting and appliances and how much is down to offshoring of production. But you probably don’t either, although I doubt that will stop you claiming that action against CO2 is ineffectual.</blockquote?

    Bingo!

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  86. I’m not a mathematician but I do know arithmetic.

    Guess who’s numbers don’t add-up

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