IMF calls for fossil fuel subsidy reform

Wow, I agree with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on something!

The IMF have come out strongly against fossil fuel subsidies, saying that they are threatening both the environment and the stability of the global economy. The IMF has calculated around $1.9 trillion worldwide, or 8 percent of Government revenue is spent on energy subsidies the vast majority of these contributing to climate change.

The paper has included the negative health and environmental externalities of fossil fuel consumption in the total of $1.9 trillion, and states that fossil fuel subsidies are now growing so large that they’re destabilising economies. Other estimates such as the International Energy Agency have put fossil fuel direct subsidies at $623 billion and others have put it at $1 trillion, but what’s clear is when you also account for externalities our fossil fuel addiction comes at a huge cost.

IMF First deputy Managing Director David Lipton said that removing the subsidies would strengthen incentives for ‘research and development in energy-saving and alternative technologies’ and has the potential to reduce global emissions by 1-2 percent.

This is a huge issue for our economy and our climate. I was heartened to see last year that the New Zealand Government came out at the Rio+20 summit supporting the reform of Fossil Fuel subsidies.

However, I think that the Government has a pretty loose take on what amounts to a fossil fuel subsidy and is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. While they call on countries to end consumption end subsidies, they also claim that they do not subsidise fossil fuels in New Zealand. If you look at how the Government directly and indirectly helps out the oil and gas industry it quickly adds up. The National Government has given away free seismic information costing tens of millions of dollars, funded overseas promotion trips and reports; ‘generously’ has the forth lowest royalty plus tax rate in the world and has pages and pages of tax exemptions. Then there is the $1 billion plus annual cost to taxpayers of picking up the carbon tab under the National Government’s woeful Emissions Trading Scheme.

It’s time instead that we invested in clean energy and clean jobs and levelled the playing field for renewable energy and a sustainable and more prosperous New Zealand.

94 thoughts on “IMF calls for fossil fuel subsidy reform

  1. Mostly agree, although I think criticism for “Giving away free seismic information” is barking up the wrong tree. I think on general principles information held by the government on NZ should be free if at all possible, and that principle doesn’t change just because it happens to support fossil fuel development in this particular case.

  2. It’s time instead that we invested in clean energy and clean jobs and levelled the playing field for renewable energy and a sustainable and more prosperous New Zealand.

    Gareth, I hope you don’t think renewable energy equals sustainability and prosperity. That seems to be your summary. Unfortunate.

  3. Richard – I agree. I expect that geothermal energy harnessing would also benefit from that seismic information.

    Trevor.

  4. Tony- that is Gareth’s last sentence, not a summary of the post. While it is late in the day (for the climate) for the mainstream to acknowledge the damage done by fossil fuels, it is heartening that they have commented in this way. Changing to renewable energy won’t instantly take us to a land of milk & honey, but continuing down the fossil fuel road will definitely lead us to a very bleak future.

  5. Kerry,

    I’m not sure what you mean. However, renewable energy is secondary. We first need to figure out how to do with less. If we simply try to substitute so-called renewable energy (“so-called” because the infrastructure is probably not renewable) for fossil fuels, then we won’t have achieved much except, maybe, a slowing of the environmental deterioration that is on-going.

    Viv,

    Using that phrasing for the last sentence certainly gives the impression that I posted. If Gareth would like to rephrase, he is welcome to do so. We need, but I don’t expect to get, a dose of reality about what is and is not sustainable.

    I agree that continuing down the fossil fuel path (until we can’t) will lead to (and is leading to) a very bleak future but believing that renewable energy is the saviour for our way of life is not very helpful.

  6. Tony- I agree we can’t just substitute renewable energy for fossil fuels and expect to carry on as before. A major ‘downshift’ of energy use has to happen. As I see it, the Greens know that and want to plan for it and do it in an organised way, if possible. The alternative, as shown by the current government, is to just ignore climate change and peak oil and we will have an unplanned chaotic descent into a low energy future..

  7. Viv,

    I keep hearing/reading that the Greens know that but I don’t see that in their public statements or policies. They (those statements and policies) are about retaining our current living arrangements and behaviours, more or less, but adding a green tinge to it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that if/when they get some real clout in government, they start to instill the need for real change and powering down.

  8. Tony – A lot of people simply won’t accept your doom and gloom scenario. I agree that powering down is required to some extent, but that can be achieved through better insulation, more efficient appliances and lighting, and solar water heating. Recycling and building things so they last longer will also help. However there is a lot of renewable energy available to be harnessed. New Zealand has more than its share per person. Our 5GW average electricity generation is less than the electricity we could generate from wind energy alone, using just on-land wind turbines. Globally, there are enough deserts to power most if not all of our requirements using solar power. We should be able to build solar power stations and wind turbines so they can be refurbished and eventually recycled. Energy should not be a long term problem. However there are serious issues with ramping up the use of renewable energy fast enough to meet our needs, and the fossil fuel subsidies are making this even harder. The biggest long term problem may not be harnessing enough energy but storing it so it is available when needed (although solar thermal power may be the solution there), or converting it into a form suitable for our transport needs.

    Trevor.

  9. Demanding power-down is a movement, not a tenable political party position.

    Moreover, it is a RESULT, not a requirement. The requirement is to reduce the CO2 emitted. If we campaign on the basis of forcing a result (that may NOT be necessary here), rather than the requirement, people WILL know we are not serious about the real issue, but instead are pushing an unnecessary barrow.

  10. Trevor- you seem to have ignored transport, most of which is fossil fuel based. We can build electric trains, but what about tractors, milk tankers, forestry skidders etc? There’s not going to be that much biodiesel. There is no way we can expect to run an economy based on bulk primary agricultural exports and tourism all run on renewables.

  11. Could do a Tractor using broadcast power… some inefficiency but not impossible.

    The easier thing is to use manufactured liquified methane or ammonia for the engine. Use the electricity to break out the H2 from water and then combine it with N or C from the atmosphere directly. This makes a transportable liquid fuel that is mostly compatible with current technology. The Germans are doing something similar now with their “waste” renewable energy that is in excess of immediate demand. Liquid battery tech is also an option.

  12. BJ- we have to significantly reduce energy use to be able to cut CO2 emissions, its not secondary. We can’t have grab a seat cheap flights and jet skis and reduce CO2, so energy descent has to happen at the same time as a change to renewables. It’s a very unpopular message, George Monbiot said no one ever rioted for austerity. We are very good at ignoring things, as NZer’s gorge themselves on chocolate this weekend when 20% of us are diabetic or prediabetic. Most people don’t want to face up to reality it seems.

  13. Viv. No we don’t actually. We are very fortunate to be in the position with a small population and lots of renewable energy resources.

    NZ is perfectly capable of producing enough renewable energy to maintain our present use.

    It will cost us less long term than our present fossil fuel use.

    What is lacking is the political will, as some of us think a magical fairy, such as “the market” or God, are going to fix it all for us.

    And others of us think we are going to get votes for sustainability, expecting the poorer (80%) to bear all the costs while for the richest 2% it is still 17% annual increases, in wealth. Or we need population increased, to help “economic growth”.

    I agree continuing with inefficient and costly forms of long distance travel, such as aircraft, and using two ton of metal capable of going 200km/hr for a commute at 50km/hr is daft, when we can use more efficient means and save on the amount of energy we have to produce.

    We will have to power down, not for lack of sustainable energy, but because the idiots we have “in charge of the asylum” will have waited too long to do anything.

  14. At the moment, people on low incomes are expected to change their lifestyle to pay for the unsustainable choices of the wealthy.

    Anyone who is genuinely concerned about the environment will be looking at policies that allow for decreased inequality, a steady state economy (not dependent on growth, which precludes increases in non -productive earnings, such as interest), democracy (so we can force Government into action) and real costings on unsustainable energy use. (Such as tax and dividend).

  15. BJ. You can plug a tractor in, with a spring loaded cable, at the corner of the paddock. We used to do that with forklifts inside a ship.

    And then there is this. FCSHIP – Fuel Cell Technology for SHIP. Proposal number GRD2-2001-50022, EU-project withing the GROWTH programme.

  16. It’s an unpopular idea but it has happened to all societies and civilisations since civilisations arose. They all hit limits and they ignore the approach of those limits. It is utter hubris to think humans can somehow morph the natural limits and processes to keep growing or, even, keep consuming the proportion of NPP that they do now, as well as extracting finite resources.

    It is just not tenable to believe that our complex society can be maintained indefinitely. The only real question is how long can we pretend that limits don’t apply to us. Plenty of commenters are doing that now. Even if energy was our only predicament, a society built on fossil fuels (and, particularly, easily obtained energy dense and portable fossil fuels) is not going to operate purely on renewable energy infrastructure that requires a fossil fuel backbone to build and operate anyway. Nor can it be done without environmental consequences or limits. A society that continually degrades its environment cannot be sustained. A society that consumes resources beyond their renewal rates can’t be sustained.

    As Viv rightly points out, we have a transport infrastructure which, along with just about everything else, requires fossil fuels to operate. It is generally accepted that an energy transition takes 40 plus years but the transition has to be started to actually complete. Not, I repeat, that renewable energy can power our society the way it is now (with or without degrading the environment). Efficiencies can only get us so far, then the same limits re-emerge.

    Look, it’s clear that, at least officially, those who consider themselves Green, really do believe that our society and civilisation can continue for ever (or else they only consider the next decade or few) with just a few tweaks here and there. It is just not tenable.

    BJ, I agree about a message like this not being accepted but then I can only comment on the public utterances of Green politicians. Sometimes a few seem to be almost there, in terms of seeing reality, but then step back. I will likely continue to vote for Greens but only as they are the least worst political party and maybe their view of the world can be a bridge to a more realistic view.

  17. “”Not, I repeat, that renewable energy can power our society the way it is now””

    Where is your evidence for that?

    I know that, in New Zealand, with our current population, we can supply the same amount of energy from totally renewable sources.

  18. Viv – I agree that transport is a major issue, but I see some solutions.

    Methane is being converted to methanol, and can be manufactured from CO2 and hydrogen. This gives us a liquid fuel source compatible with existing infrastructure. However I suspect that this will only be useful for small engines such as motorbikes and chainsaws.

    Petrol vehicles can be converted to use methane (CNG) directly, and I think it would be a very good idea to convert new vehicles to CNG (a.k.a. natural gas) in the North Island rather than waste the natural gas in power plants. However this is only bridging technology. All electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles are longer term solutions.

    For other transport needs, I see use of the H2CAR approach (that is not H2 Car) which uses biomass as a source of carbon and hydrogen from renewably generated electricity to generate hydrocarbon fuels.

    Ammonia-based fertilisers can be made from hydrogen directly – no fossil fuel input needed there.

    However none of this is easy, and we haven’t really begun. The first step is to increase our renewable generation and cut back on our use of fossil fuels for electricity generation, and even this is stalled in New Zealand, thanks to the NACTs.

    Trevor.

  19. Diesel fuelled trucks are being replaced by LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) trucks on some routes in California. Since LNG is just cooled methane, this may be a workable solution for much of our diesel-fuelled applications.

    LNG is also being used to power some shipping.

    Trevor.

  20. BJ- we have to significantly reduce energy use to be able to cut CO2 emissions, its not secondary. We can’t have grab a seat cheap flights and jet skis and reduce CO2, so energy descent has to happen at the same time as a change to renewables. It’s a very unpopular message, George Monbiot said no one ever rioted for austerity. We are very good at ignoring things, as NZer’s gorge themselves on chocolate this weekend when 20% of us are diabetic or prediabetic. Most people don’t want to face up to reality it seems.

    Because your AGW story and Peak Oil story are both ludicrously overstated.

    The fact is we’re not short of energy. We’re swimming in natural gas and oil. The fact is the danger of AGW has been laughably overstated.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/02/peak-oil-we-we-wrong

    “So this is where we are. The automatic correction – resource depletion destroying the machine that was driving it – that many environmentalists foresaw is not going to happen. The problem we face is not that there is too little oil, but that there is too much.”

    But some people do get a kick out of “end of days” scenarios. That desire for a cleansing of humanity and Protestant austerity. Environmentalism is proof that humans can’t eradicate religion – humans will always find some deity to believe in.

  21. If. a proportion of the amount of subsidy currently spent one fossil fuels, was spent on renewables, we would have solved a lot of the issues by now.

    Including the amount we have spent supporting the US and UK on wars to continue cheap oil supplies.

  22. Arana.

    All the evidence so far shows that effects of AGW is happening faster than the moderate models.
    And a lot faster than we can cope.

    Not that you will ever believe evidence.

    And the real scary bit. We do not know what the tipping point is for irreversible runaway warming.

  23. All the evidence so far shows that effects of AGW is happening faster than the moderate models

    Wrong. It’s stalled, and they can’t account for it.

    Not that you will ever believe evidence.

    It amuses me how many armchair climate scientists we have claiming to “know” what is going on in a complex, chaotic system, where even the experts hedge their bets.

    Repeaters.

  24. we have to significantly reduce energy use to be able to cut CO2 emissions, its not secondary. We can’t have grab a seat cheap flights and jet skis and reduce CO2,

    Vivian, while I agree that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that we can have those things and reduce CO2, they remain secondary. The issue is the reduction of the CO2. That is what HAS to be done. If you do that through any means and the consumption must as a result come down, that consumption will come down because it IS secondary. It is dependent on the CO2 emissions having a cost or by not having a cost, a subsidy.

    The thing you cannot do is try to force the consumption itself down directly. Our economic system will fight you tooth and nail if you try, and more than likely it will BEAT you until it is too damaged by the warming to fight any more…. which would be a whole lot too long by my lights.

    This is an important distinction to make. Not many quite get it… if you want to effectively handle the CO2 emissions you address them DIRECTLY, not by dealing in their consequences or specific forms of emission or banning certain activities. You put a price on them that the market notices and the market then balances the new information and availability of Jetski fuels. Maybe it comes up with something new too.

    Cut back? I am sure we will wind up doing so. However, it is best managed without making claims about how much consumption needs to be cut in any given sector… because (among other reasons) – I doubt that anyone can guess just how much that is. The price on the CO2 gives the market the chance to do what it actually DOES do well. Anything else is just a “movement” not a basis for policy.

  25. And the real scary bit. We do not know what the tipping point is for irreversible runaway warming.

    I’d be more worried about being hit by a bus. Not that I spend too much time worrying about it….

  26. Because your AGW story and Peak Oil story are both ludicrously overstated.

    The AGW story isn’t overstated at all Arana… you’ve seen the evidence and nothing but a single overhyped Norwegian study in response.

    Wrong. It’s stalled, and they can’t account for it.

    Now if you actually read and understood a word of that LAST thread where we beat this to death, you know DAMNED well that it (a) is not stalled and (b) is accounted for.

    Stop claiming otherwise or show us some evidence that the deep ocean HAS NOT warmed, or that the trend (accounting for solar, ENSO and volcanic influences) is NOT there.

    The “Peak-Oil” issue was also real enough. The conventional oils peaked quite some time ago (around 2005 I think) and have been declining in production since. What has happened (at first) is EXACTLY what was expected by Peak-Oil theory, the price rose, the economy broke… and then to the surprise of some, other energy supplies started to become viable at those prices.

    The oil/energy price however, is not dropping and the EROEI has gone from good to bad… and headed for worse.

    That is straight from the Peak Oil playbook.

  27. I’d be more worried about being hit by a bus. Not that I spend too much time worrying about it….

    Given your apparent blindness to one side you might be advised not to be quite so unconcerned.

  28. Sure.

    wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/05/has-global-warming-stalled-now-includes-january-data/

    “Above, various facts have been presented along with sources from where all facts were obtained. Keep in mind that no one is entitled to their facts. It is only in the interpretation of the facts for which legitimate discussions can take place. After looking at the above facts, do you feel that we should spend billions to prevent catastrophic warming? Or do you feel we should take a “wait and see” attitude for a few years to be sure that future warming will be as catastrophic as some claim it will be? Keep in mind that even the MET office felt the need to revise its forecasts”

  29. I worked in the oil industry for long enough to know that peak oil is a fact.

    In the 80’s Reverting to fracking was considered almost the last resort, before we started on really expensive to extract reserves like the Great South Basin.

    There will always be oil, but the costs of getting to remaining oil are increasingly high.

    And. Given our present trajectory we will be competing for ever more expensive oil, with countries much wealthier than us.

    Getting away from oil dependency makes economic as well as environmental sense.

    Over 7 billion a year on oil now. Less than 4 billion in 2008. Cost of oil imports doubling every 5 years at the moment. The US bringing in new reserves will hold things off, briefly, but not for too long.

  30. What has happened (at first) is EXACTLY what was expected by Peak-Oil theory,

    What a glorious piece of historical revisionism, BJ! Can’t you just admit you got it so badly wrong?

    The Peak Oil theory has been wrong far more often than it has been right. You may as well just toss a coin.

    edition.cnn.com/2013/03/04/opinion/frum-peak-oil/

    “Think again. World oil production continues to rise. Leading the oil renaissance: the United States. The International Energy Agency predicts that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become (again!) the world’s leading oil producer by 2017. If the agency’s estimates prove correct, the United States and Canada together will become net energy exporters by about 2030, and the U.S., which uses 20% of the world’s energy, will achieve energy self-sufficiency by the mid-2030s”

  31. Settled, eh.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/twenty-year-hiatus-in-rising-temperatures-has-climate-scientists-puzzled/story-e6frg6z6-1226609140980

    “But the fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted.

    Research by Ed Hawkins of University of Reading shows surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range projections derived from 20 climate models and if they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.

    “The global temperature standstill shows that climate models are diverging from observations,” says David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
    “If we have not passed it already, we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change,” he says..”

    The only thing “settled” is the misplaced arrogance of the “settled” crowd.

  32. Again, once more with emphasis.

    First:

    The planet’s temperature includes the temperature of the ocean. The warmth has been going into the ocean. More staying there lately than before. Here.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50382/abstract

    Second:

    The jerk jerking off at Watt’s circle-jerk is a regular at it. He has said EXACTLY nothing that you and others have not said. “Here is the surface temp. It hasn’t warmed. Explain it” followed by ” Nyah Nyah Nyah I can’t be bothered listening”

    I have this

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/shakun_marcott_hadcrut4_a1b_eng.png

    He can’t explain it.

    …and this

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-real-global-warming-signal/
    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/figure05.jpg

    …another picture he (and you apparently) would find impossible to process.

    You can ignore the scientific truths Arana, right up until Mother Nature whups your ass. Then you give up the lies or die. You have that choice normally. Here the ass-whuppin happens to a future generation. You can kill THEM by being stupid.

    Not going to make friends by advocating that sort of child abuse here though.

  33. Sorry Arana, but I got it perfectly correct, even the first time, because I knew that at the higher prices more effort would be made to supply… but conventional liquids are in decline around the world and continue that way. Exactly correct.

    Don’t bother looking for ME claiming that there would be no more oil. I never did. I claimed it would be more expensive and I expected it to be from more difficult sources but never said that it was as simple as you in your ignorance are claiming was the case. Maybe you mean that “you” collectively, but I warned Greens not to put too much faith in the hope that Peak Oil would save our butts from climate change.

  34. Arana,

    Maybe you ought to check out the fantasy predictions of the oil industry cheer-leader, Daniel Yergin, for examples of where some so-called expert got it wrong, time after time after time.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the world’s economies (even by the standard of very dodgy government statistics) are struggling to get going again, nearly 4 years after the recession was meant to have ended. No economists understand why because economists always get their predictions wrong, also. Official oil production figures may be going up but only because they throw in everything they can think of that might be considered oil or oil equivalent, sometimes double counting (such as the oil that goes into producing biofuels, as well as the end result of producing biofuels) and never adjusting for the very varied energy content of the liquids or the net energy of producing the liquids. Of course, you can pretend all you want that we are swimming in oil but it just ain’t true (with the state of the world’s economies as exhibit A). If we were swimming in oil, it would be cheap and economies would be taking off. Neither is true.

    However, people are pinning their hopes on alternative energy sources, as fossil fuels continue to deplete or because fossil fuels damage the environment, as is also self-evident by now. Neither of these things concern you, though, Arana, because you have “experts” to back up your belief system. That must be great for you but this isn’t a forum for that sort of belief system, so I’m not sure why you post here, except as a troll.

  35. Such a shame Arana didn’t go away somewhere for Easter. I recommend anywhere out of cellphone or internet range. Give us a break from your trolling. We were having an actual discussion about real world issues. I guess you’ve achieved your goal of, as usual, derailing the debate.

  36. Arana – The Australian is a Murdoch publication. They lie about climate all the time, just like his other outlets, the Mail, the Wall Street Journal (rhymes with), Fox News….

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/global_warming_contrarians/news-corporation-climate-science-coverage.html

    …and the Australian has been at it for some time…

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2013/01/13/the-australians-war-on-science-81-matt-ridleys-20-year-old-wrong-prediction/

    The problem is that they are focusing on one thing and not the whole picture, as always cherry-picking to maintain their desired conclusions…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/02/2012-updates-to-model-observation-comparions/

    They are quoting a fellow by the name of Whitehouse – the guy being skewered here

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/fake-skeptic-draws-fake-picture-of-global-temperature/

    In the article you picked up he has misinterpreted Hawkins work. Pretty recent article, not so recent work…. Hawkins himself was saying something else…

    http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2013/updated-comparison-of-simulations-and-observations/

  37. Gregor W

    Congratulations Arana!

    Another thread successfully hijacked. Well done.

    Only reason regarding the hijacking is that one sides always bites and it is like shooting fish in a barrel. It is so easy.

    Frogblog is full of “yes it is, no it isn’t” AGW rants (wont say discussions as nothing is discussed) from both sides of the fence.

    Maybe it is time for the Green supporters to stop biting so much and instead figure out how this environmental information

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10874670

    fits into the the likely environmental changes caused by AGW.

  38. Give us a break from your trolling.

    It seems to me that “holding a different opinion” can be deemed “trolling”. Doesn’t this place encourage diverse opinion and discussion?

  39. Here the ass-whuppin happens to a future generation. You can kill THEM by being stupid. Not going to make friends by advocating that sort of child abuse here though.

    Mercy! Child abuse? Drawing a very long bow, BJ.

    Your response is ad homeniem. If we follow that reasoning, nothing in the Guardian can ever be true, given their editorial bias.

    They are quoting a fellow by the name of Whitehouse – the guy being skewered here

    Again, this is one set of geeks vs another set of geeks. Few people are capable of determining the veracity of such arguments.

    The divergence between prediction and results is interesting, because if it continues, then you must reject the AGW theory. We probably aren’t there quite yet – but we’re close.

    Interesting times.

  40. Gerrit

    We cannot here leave unchallenged on our own blog, assertions by or links to denialists and idiots.

    They are given leave to post here as they wish because the alternative to bad speech is more speech, not banning their sorry butts from the blog.

    Which puts the onus on us to make clear the error of their blatherings.

    You got third choice? Tell it. Can’t beat sense into rocks.

    ___________________________

    Your link is to shifting of tectonic plates. Not exactly a big causal link to anything to do with climate. Maybe changes vulcanism somewhere… can’t tell if there is acceleration GPS too recent. No theory I know says rate is related to vulcanism, pure speculation.

    Only other connection is possible as ice melts and moves in places, giving tectonic rebound and possibly loosening/tightening bits and pieces of the crust so it can move more/differently. Too soon to see much of this.

    So not much to see. Not in terms of AGW. Earthquake risk is another matter, but still can’t tell if there is more now or same or less than was before.

    ___________________________________

    Problem is that fossil fuels are subsidized. Trillions of dollars subsidies pour into that sector… and that does NOT include the negative externality of climate change that is occurring as a result, which makes the problem tenfold worse.

    It really is time to end these.

  41. Actually bj, Gerrit has a point.

    It’s the validation and feedback Arana craves – I’m as guilty as any here of getting suckered into this false discourse.

    There is no possibility of meaningful discussion as Gerrit points out. In fact, meaningful discussion is not the purpose of Arana’s comments, as has been demonstrated numerous times; it’s baiting pure and simple.

    If ignored, Arana will eventually tire of one-way conversations – after first going through an escalated period of ‘needling’ to tempt people back into argument – and find other people to get a rise out of; probably over at the Standard or Red Alert I suspect.

    Save yourself the hassle.

  42. I don’t think you’re going to be like being in government much if you think I’m a challenge.

    In any case, my views are hardly unique. How will you get such people onside when you’re in government?

  43. BJ,

    Your link is to shifting of tectonic plates. Not exactly a big causal link to anything to do with climate.

    Maybe, maybe not, but anything that changes the environment is off concern.

    For example we have shifting plates up and down and altering sea levels as it does so. Are the sea levels changing due to plate movement?

    Unless one takes those measurements into the climate equation, the results will always be doubtful.

    Secondary problem is conflicting reports, eg this one

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/8494426/Antarctic-sea-ice-is-expanding

    One minute the Antarctic ice is disappearing, the next it is growing again.

    No wonder people are confused.

    Watched beloved Arsenal play in the English spring during a snow fall. What gives?

    Global warming? Record low temps in Northern Europe.

    Trend is for cooling

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120709092606.htm

    But wait, then we get this

    http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/global-and-european-temperature/global-and-european-temperature-assessment-4

    No wonder so much uncertainly and doubt exists.

    Who to believe?

  44. No wonder so much uncertainly and doubt exists. Who to believe?

    My point all along.

    Some people choose to posture, pretending to understand the science, typically on the basis of having read a few books and reports, then get irritated when called on their limited knowledge.

    Then they take it out on me. For pointing out that truth.

  45. Ya know,
    if it’s consistently measurable, it’s a fact,
    if its not it’s an opinion.

    Lots of people here posting opinions, not very many posting replicable facts.

    Time for a new formula George!

  46. Arana – I don’t want you anywhere near my side mate. To have an ally like you would leave me wondering what I’d done wrong.

    As Gerrit and Gregor both note, it is a waste of my time explaining anything to you. You have repeatedly ignored information provided to continue to post rubbish.

    Unfortunately, unanswered rubbish repeated on this board leaves the countless people who read it and do not post, wondering what has possessed the Greens. Once again I wonder if Frog might not work out some means of allowing actual Greens to self-identify here.

    So thanks for nothing. You have advanced no argument, provided no information, educated nobody. All you have done is annoy people and ignore information on your own part, to the degree that you aren’t actually passing a Turing test. I have the notion that you are a ‘bot, feeding this rubbish in our direction. You don’t respond to information provided.

    Remind me of “Ajax” off another board. Also a ‘bot. Same style but not quite as refined. Ignorant as a pet rock.

    So no… I don’t care if you are “onside” mate. I don’t want you anywhere near me, I might be tempted. You are QUITE welcome to go to hell… I object however, to your attempts to drag the rest of civilization down with you.

  47. You talk a lot, but don’t listen.

    Observe:

    “While the actual equations governing climate dynamics on earth are un-
    known, it is natural to assume that these dynamics are Markovian, i.e., the future state depends only on the present state, on a suitably large space of (hidden) variables v 2 IRP; P  1. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the perfect dynamical system for the climate is given by
    (2.1) vt = F(v) + (v)W ; _
    for v 2 IRP where  is a P K noise matrix and W_ 2 IRK is K-dimensional
    white noise. Already in (2.1), for simplicity in exposition, the important time varying e ects of the seasonal cycle and diurnal cycle [97, 31] have been4 ANDREW J. MAJDA ignored; furthermore, again for simplicity in exposition, no jump process contributions in (2.1) have been included”

    If I was at a dinner party, and I had one knowledgeable climate scientist on one side of me making his case, and then another knowledgeable climate scientist on the other side telling me the complete opposite, I’d have no way of judging who was right.

    In the end, for most people, it’s who they choose to believe.

    So when you post your links and your selected research, you’re just one other guy at the dinner table paraphrasing the guy you agree with. Why should I listen to you? I don’t even know which climate scientist to listen to.

  48. @Gerrit Are the sea levels changing due to plate movement?

    The sea levels aren’t a measure of climate change, they are a result of it, so there is a certain irrelevancy to your remark, but it is also due to rebound effects, a valid question. It is taken into account too. Just remember that the answer doesn’t affect in any way, the problem of AGW.

    No reports of the ANTARCTIC Ice disappearing… the ARCTIC Ice is doing the vanishing act. There aren’t conflicting reports except for people who aren’t following the science. The science gives us some very different effects in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Always has.

    Here is a comparison:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/poles-apart/

    … and some additional information on the different latitude bands

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/regional-marcott/

    stemming from the Marcott reconstruction.

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/shakun_marcott_hadcrut4_a1b_eng.png

  49. @Arana – You are obfuscating.

    Your quotation from the Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, Vol. 000, 0001{0031 (2000) is quite incomplete. If you read it even partially you would recognize it as a theoretical treatment of the statistical problems involved in climate science, of which there are no few.

    None are serious impairments to the theory, they limit the ability of the models to improve on what they do.

    In the author’s words –

    “The goal of the present article is not to review all of the above interdisciplinary developments but instead to emphasize the author’s personal view on the statistical-stochastic, multi-scale framework for large dimensional turbulent dynamical systems which is emerging at the present time and the central role it is likely to play for uncertainty quanti cation and sensitivity in climate change science in the near future.”

    You were warned Arana… You can’t just find a paper on a complex mathematical side issue, dump a fragment here and expect it to be misunderstood. You are failing, and you have failed, to provide the slightest argument beyond “I can’t understand”. Which means that you SHOULD be listening to the climate scientists.

    Instead you provide this nonsense

    If I was at a dinner party, and I had one knowledgeable climate scientist on one side of me making his case, and then another knowledgeable climate scientist on the other side telling me the complete opposite…

    Which can only happen on planet Key, because the knowledgeable climate scientists on THIS planet all agree on all the major issues… so “the complete opposite” won’t be presented to your other ear.

    Not that you actually hear or see on both sides in any event.

  50. Arana’s bullsh*tting you, bj. I wonder how long can you tolerate that sort of time-wasting?

  51. One last point for both Gerrit and Arana. Uncertainty is NOT your friend.

    I have pointed this out before. We DO have to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. We do that all the time. We actually have fairly well developed methods of dealing with “risk management”.

    Amusingly condensed and digested form.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF_anaVcCXg

  52. I know he is bullshitting. I have known that from the moment he started.

    SOME people will look here for information.

    I reckon there should be a limit on the amount of BS someone is allowed to REPEAT here. I believe in free speech, and I am happy to answer real questions once and twice. Arana’s usage here is however, an abuse of our hospitality.

    Frog needs to consider just what other ways to handle it might be available, and I don’t know the limits of the blog SW. The members here probably want to be identified somehow… or a credibility metric provided by Greens only… or some other way of not having to deal with this person beyond noting their skew orthogonal relationship to anything we think.

  53. Your quotation from the Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, Vol. 000, 0001{0031 (2000) is quite incomplete.

    Straw man.

    Obviously, it isn’t complete. My *point* is that few people understand these calculations and this science. In the end, we *choose* to believe one position over another.

  54. As for how long? I learned my patience from the sea. I don’t know for sure how deep it goes.

  55. Not a “Straw Man”. You didn’t do much more than try to find something too mathematically dense for most people to read.

    The paper itself was IR-relevant. There are plenty of more accessible treatments of climate science, much more suited to the average person and properly reflecting the science.

    One such is published here…

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

    In the end, we *choose* to believe one position over another.

    Yes, we ALL do that.

    On what basis though?

    On the basis of the science? Which is in fact quite unanimous in telling you what is happening.

    Well no, you’ve rejected that. You are choosing your science to suit your ideology/religion.

    When in human history has THAT ever worked?

  56. Given climate science has a high level of uncertainty, isn’t “being uncertain” a reasonable position?

  57. It isn’t Pascal’s wager because there IS information available. Not the same thing at all.

  58. But climate science has a high level of uncertainty.

    Climate scientists are quite certain (for scientists).

    High degree of uncertainty compared to what, and in what respect? No, we have a bald assertion from you. Utter rubbish.

    I am going to start taking shortcuts here because I am tired of bothering with your nonsense.

  59. It isn’t Pascal’s wager

    It is Pascal’s Wager. Replace “AGW” with the word “God” and work through it.

  60. High degree of uncertainty compared to what, and in what respect?

    We simply don’t know if man-made c02 leads to catastrophic global warming. It might be the case, but we don’t know that to be true.

  61. Gerrit find two papers. One mentions cooling. The other mentions warming. Therefore the science is not settled. Except one says that the trend over 2000 years is for a slight cooling, and doesn’t have data for the last few years, while the other applies only to the last few decades during which burning fossil fuels has increased CO2 levels. I see no conflict between these two papers.

    Also note that the tree ring data is for a small area of Northern Europe.

    Trevor.

  62. 1. “God is, or He is not”
    2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
    3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
    4. You must wager. (It’s not optional.)
    5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
    6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

    As I pointed out, this fails to meet the criterion of simply being Pascal’s wager on number 3. You aren’t in the position of not having knowledge or reason to work with. Not by a LONG stick.

    I will further point out that UNLIKE a religious belief that affects merely my own soul and is hypothetical in nature, this decision affects every human on the planet and WILL have an effect, one way or another, on OTHER people.

    Finally, I ask whether you have, other than your derision, any legitimate reason to dispute the logic of Pascal, which is, fundamentally, the logic of decision theory…. The number of different aspects of human knowledge you have to disown in order to continue to believe your own position just grew. You really must hate science. It is so… inconvenient :-)

  63. Thanks Trevor, I missed Gerrit’s second set.

    You believe the science and the timeframes. The last 2000 years have (apart from the last 150 years) been cooling, as one would expect in an interglacial that is trending down to the next glaciation in the ice-age.

    Timeframes errors are one of the most common errors in this field.

    “The CO2 was much higher 400 million years ago and the planet wasn’t overheating”

    – Yet on that scale of time the SUN was significantly COOLER.

    “Recent changes in climate are due to changes in the output of the SUN”

    – Yet for the last 150 years, changes in Solar output aren’t anywhere near explicative of the magnitude of the temperature change. Over the last 2000 years we SHOULD be getting cooler. Son-of-a-gun… we WERE getting cooler! So what happened lately?

    There will not be another glaciation. There will not be another “Ice Age”… those are over. Possibly the only good thing in the package… but we already did that. Reached that point thirty years ago. Still emitting now.

  64. As I pointed out, this fails to meet the criterion of simply being Pascal’s wager on number 3. You aren’t in the position of not having knowledge or reason to work with. Not by a LONG stick.

    But that isn’t the case he’s making. He’s saying if we don’t know which is right, and AGW is right, then the consequences of not acting on AGW and graver than acting (A). Therefore, we should do A.

    Pascals wager.

    The problem is the argument advocates [option whatever] regardless of what science says. It’s a theological argument, dressed up as science. That’s why I’m surprised you’d make it, but I suspect you’re just pulling my leg :)

    You really must hate science. It is so… inconvenient

    Ironic.

  65. arana believes there is a great deal of uncertainty in climate change, but overlooks the certainty. The estimates of the temperature increase from a doubling of CO2 cover a wide range, but they are all positive. Even if it were just 1.0 degree C, and a consensus was that we should limit temperature rise to 2 degrees C, that does NOT mean we are off the hook. It just means that we must limit our CO2 emissions so that we don’t get more than two doublings, i.e. we need to keep the CO2 well below 1200 ppm. Yet we are in danger of exceeding even that limit as we burn more and more coal and seek out new forms of fossil fuels to extract and burn. However it is much more likely that a doubling of CO2 will lead to much more temperature increase than just 1.0 C, and therefore we need to contain our CO2 emissions to a lower limit.

    Trevor.

  66. Trevor29

    Gerrit find two papers. One mentions cooling. The other mentions warming. Therefore the science is not settled.

    No, what I was saying in my comment was that there are conflicting reports and studies out there.

    It is those conflicts that are seized upon by people for nefarious purposes on both sides of the divide to argue endlessly and pointlessly, depending upon ones own personal perspective, on the problem.

    Problem I have is that we don’t have settled METHODOLOGY to deal with the issue.

    The discussion is always between “yes it is, no it is not”. Never about common sense, affordable, measurable and sustainable option for remedies.

    I will not argue the toss anymore one way or the other about AGW.

    I will only argue the toss about remedies that meet the above criteria of being measurable, sustainable and affordable.

  67. arana believes there is a great deal of uncertainty in climate change, but overlooks the certainty.

    Because you say it is certain, it must be true.

  68. This debate serves a useful purpose, as described by Rob Painting, bjchip et al, in creating a ‘data base’ of solid arguments on all points concerning AGW. Reading those, and the ‘counters’ from the deniers who chatter here, my understanding and confidence in the science that describes what is happening to the planet is greatly strengthened. I’ve been speaking at various venues lately, on associated issues, and emboldened by what I’ve learned here, have presented my audiences with what I believe to be a realistic and convincing picture of the global climate situation. I guess I should thank the ‘mini-moncktons’ who rant, pop-eyed and foam-flecked here, as it’s their needling that has provoked the detailed responses from our resident thinkers. Thanks, Arana, thanks, photo, thanks you others. You’ve done us a great service.

  69. Lame attempts at reverse psychology won’t work, Greenfly.

    As Gerrit points out, without a settled methodology, the debate becomes “they said vs they said”, often coupled with argumentum ad verecundiam, all washed down with some bad theology.

  70. Mine are statements of fact, Arana, not attempts to stop your chattering. None so far have succeeded in doing that and again, I thank you for the service you’ve provided. You are annoying, it’s true, but like a burr under the saddle, we get to see the horse go through its paces, rather than watch it plod about the paddock. Gerrit and your irritating good self are wrong to claim that it’s ‘they said v they said’. The factual and substantial evidence presented by the blokes I cited is the only ‘said’ in town. Your chatter is merely a canvas, (somewhat threadbare) on which they can paint the science picture. You’re no muse, but you do amuse, no jouster, more jester but try to stop you? No need. Keep it coming!

  71. Arana,

    I did not mean settled methodology to measure climate change, I meant settled methodology to control climate so as to sustainably maintain 7 billion poeple.

    That I will discuss, not whether or not AGW is happening.

    Big difference.

    It is the extend that the collective 7 billion people will go to to maintain a sustainble environment that is the key.

    Remebering that while we can destroy one environment, another is created that may, or maybe not, be better to sustain 7 billion people (and counting).

  72. The factual and substantial evidence presented by the blokes I cited is the only ‘said’ in town.

    That’s a belief.

  73. I did not mean settled methodology to measure climate change, I meant settled methodology to control climate so as to sustainably maintain 7 billion poeple.That I will discuss, not whether or not AGW is happening.

    Fair enough. The AGW “debate” is tedious and circular.

  74. The problem is the argument advocates [option whatever] regardless of what science says.

    I see you didn’t actually WATCH the whole video. The end of the video shows exactly how the available science integrates into the question of probability of occurrence.

    Another failure. You have to be getting tired of being caught out like this… maybe you ought to actually read past the first paragraph, or watch to the end.

  75. @Gerrit Problem I have is that we don’t have settled METHODOLOGY to deal with the issue.

    Yes we do. It is called risk management. Go watch the video. We don’t have certainty and until the future arrives we won’t. Reasoning with uncertainty has its own rules.

  76. settled methodology to control climate so as to sustainably maintain 7 billion poeple.

    Oh… THAT’s what you wanted.

    I don’t actually think there is one of those actually available on this planet. We don’t have enough time to build enough reactors, wind, solar and hydro to shut down enough fossil fuel burning to prevent warming while providing the same level of energy as we are consuming today. If we wanted THAT the effort required to do it would look like the war effort during WWII I think. That’d be if we started right now. In another 5 years give-or-take even that won’t do it… and I don’t see any such effort in the works.

    Similar timing problems with a CATS based solution, as the effort to get out there is a good 10 years and another 10 for enough mirrors to be placed to actually slow the insolation… that’d be a best case option because that gives us a bit of extra time to complete the removal of the CO2 emitting power.

    Not a lot more. Have to do both.

    As for an “established Methodology”… you have none. The experiment with our global atmospheric chemistry and climate has put us into terra incognito… we can predict where we are going, but there is no experience, no proven technique, no reliable path back. The climate has built in hysteresis. We can’t even just retrace our steps.

    Which may be why Hansen is quitting his job with NASA so he can be permitted to protest, bring lawsuits and testify against the government (and others) as required to make the points necessary.

    In his words “At my age I don’t have to worry about having an arrest record”.

  77. Another failure. You have to be getting tired of being caught out like this… maybe you ought to actually read past the first paragraph, or watch to the end.

    You haven’t “caught me out”. I spotted his sophistry, and it’s now clear to me you didn’t.

    There are a number of problems with his argument. For example, he doesn’t know the consequences of the economic downturn that may come with action, but he’s pretending he does. How does he know it’s inconsequential? Well, he says so.

    The AGW argument, as it’s often presented by environmentalists, is circular. Many people believe AGW is happening, and then attempt – often poorly – to reason their way back.

    And it shows.

  78. No he does NOT, as part of the logic diagram or explanation, claim anything of the sort. Those economic problems get loaded on in both sides of the diagram too.

    COMPARED to the problems if the worst case occurs (as many scientists say it will) those economic woes ARE inconsequential. The problems if you get a worst case aren’t even measurable in economic terms, they aren’t economic consequences, they are existential.

  79. Getting back on topic (which you may recall was the IMF not being happy about the huge taxpayer subsidies given to fossil fuel companies): The key point is that governments use taxpayers money (our money – I’m a taxpayer and I presume most of you are as well) to subsidise fossil fuel companies to the extent of at least 5 times NZ’s annual GDP. I don’t agree with that. Do you?

  80. Tom – If there were no alternatives to fossil fuels, subsidising the search and development of fossil fuels might make sense, e.g. to avoid the bigger problems of not having a fuel supply. However there are alternatives, and therefore if fossil fuels are subsidised, then the alternatives should receive similar attention. Given that fossil fuels are finite, developing alternatives makes sense, whether or not AGW is considered.

    With AGW taken into account, the fossil fuel companies should be subsidised only for such areas as developing renewable transport fuels, e.g. from forest and farm waste. However this might be a bit of an over reaction given that fossil fuels are also used as the base materials for lubricants and plastics and a whole lot of other materials.

    Trevor.

  81. Hi, 2 days and nothing from our wingnuts, probably a record. Billions or trillions of dollars in subsidies for their favourite industries is not something they want to talk about – either agreeing or disagreeing is a loser. Never mind, they are alive and well on other threads and doing their prolific kneejerk posts.

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