The new IPCC economic models

The new IPCC economic models show that economic growth is part of the solution

Story submitted by Tim Worstall

The IPCC has just released details of the economic models that are used to generate the emissions numbers for the climate change models. Whether or not we want to believe in climate change, think it’s all natural variation or are convinced that Armageddon is near at hand, the results are fascinating.

For the assumptions of the deeper greens are entirely refuted by what the IPCC themselves are saying. Economic growth is actually the solution to the perceived problems, not the cause. In the IPCC modelling the set up with the most economic growth has the least emissions.

Further, we don’t in fact need to reduce our energy consumption: again the model with the least warming still shows consumption near on doubling this century.

In fact, their models, recall, their own, the IPCC’s calculations, show that slower economic growth will lead to more warming.

There’s more on this at Forbes.

http://blogs.forbes.com/timworstall/2011/08/10/solving-climate-change/

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81 Responses to The new IPCC economic models

  1. Richard Tol says:

    Tim makes a mistake that is easily made, indeed, one that is facilitated by the authors of the study. He compares across the RCPs, assuming that they are consistent with one another. They are not. The four RCPs were build with four different models. Comparing RCPs is thus meaningless.

  2. Mike Lorrey says:

    This is something i’ve long argued. It turns out that the peak emissions level per dollar of GDP is when the per capita income is around $10,000 (1990 dollars).

  3. Oh dear, so Greenstrife et al’s dream of a golden non-industrial future society is blown away by their own organisation …

  4. Mike Jowsey says:

    Uh huh – ya THINK ???

    I don’t believe the Greenies are only just waking up to this paradigm….Is it that they are finally looking for a soft option out?

  5. Keith says:

    None of it would make anything other than a negligible difference to climate, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see the doublethink engaged in by certain NGOs to reconcile this with their prejudices.

  6. SasjaL says:

    Anything that expands freely, will sooner or later to be slowed down, and finally stopped (collapse) by their own (outer) limits, if no countermeasures are performed. (For example, the Soviet Union …)

    Economic response to climate change falls under the epithet “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it …!”

  7. John Marshall says:

    OMG. The IPCC poking their already too long nose into something else they little understand.

    The best solution to our economic woes is to shut down the IPCC AND the US EPA. Get a grip on the fact that climate is driven by natural events not some trace atmospheric gas and use the overtaxed fossil fuels, with taxes reduced to removed, and get competitive industry going again without the millstone of ‘green power’. China would find that to compete with a robust competitive West will take more than government control of industry and democratise as it should.

    Two birds, one stone.

  8. Stan Pederson says:

    The article points out that economic growth will lead to lower increases in carbon emissions than low economic growth and offers the evidence of the IPCCs own data, and this on the assumption of a fossil fuels based economy. Then it slips in a promotion for a carbon tax at the end, with no evidence for it’s efficacy.
    Dealing with climate change, formerly known as AGW, is not the point; getting the worldwide carbon tax instated is the point. The IPCC economic report (and the article perhaps) can be viewed as propaganda trying to placate those who worry that the the only way to reduce carbon emissions is to stone-age the economy. Logical contradictions abound, but the message is consistent: world government and world government taxes.

  9. Alan Watt says:

    As I believe the IPCC diagnosis of “the problem” is dubious in the first place, I don’t know how much credence anyone should place on their prescription for “the cure”. Mr. Worstall concludes his Forbes article with:

    “Or as I pointed out at book length recently, a globalised market economy with a carbon tax will do just fine.”

    If CO2 isn’t a problem, how would imposing a “carbon tax” have any beneficial effects? If we somehow decouple the imposition of a carbon tax from the rest of the eco-wacko agenda, the only thing it will accomplish is shifting energy use to lower-cost alternatives. But because the apparent “lower” cost is entirely the result of the tax, in effect we would be shifting energy use to *higher* cost alternatives.

    This will impede economic growth, not foster it. The tax simply hides the fact that your economic system has become *less* efficient, while handing new money over to the very people who have proven they can waste it on a larger scale and with fewer consequences than any private enterprise.

  10. Ed Walsh says:

    Richard if “The four RCPs were build with four different models. Comparing RCPs is thus meaningless.”, then what is the point of them. If no comparissons can be made then what do we learn from this?

  11. LazyTeenager says:

    John Marshall theorizes
    ———-
    The best solution to our economic woes is to shut down the IPCC AND the US EPA.
    ———-
    Yeah sure. No numbers, just handwaving.

    Go to China, look at the sky, breath the air, if you can. Watch Chinese people coughing and spitting to clear their throat, if there is no EPA this is what you get.

  12. Alexander Duranko says:

    Because of three major errors ['back radiation' is really Prevost exchange energy which can do no work, 'cloud albedo effect' cooling supposed to hide CO2-AGW is really heating, 80% of net CO2 increase is from warming seas and oceans], the true level of CO2-AGW is at most a tenth of the median level claimed by the IPCC and may well be net zero.

    So, no climate model can predict climate. It’s time the IPCC was shut down for peddling junk science.

  13. C Porter says:

    They can only come to this conclusion because of the conclusion of another garbage non peer reviewed report from Greenpeace saying that 80% of energy supplies could be from renewable sources. If it makes them feel happy, let them believe this dross.

  14. Ken Harvey says:

    They already have one task for which they are not qualified but that does not daunt them from gratuitously taking on another for which they are also not qualified, and that one which currently has all of the experts in the field beaten. With such versatility perhaps they should be in charge of nuclear engineering development.

  15. H.R. says:

    Are economic models any better than climate models?

  16. polistra says:

    This runs counter to actual history. The largest drop in real pollution happened when the Soviet Union collapsed. And the emissions graphs in one of yesterday’s stories show clearly that CO2 emission is perfectly and positively correlated with economic growth, in all types of countries.

    You CAN have growth without adding real pollution, as the US demonstrated in the ’60s and ’70s, but you can’t have growth without adding CO2 emission.

    Dust filters, SO2 scrubbers, and catalytic converters are relatively cheap and don’t stop economic activity. All attempts to slow down CO2 are economic stoppers. That’s their whole purpose, for heaven’s sake!

  17. Pascvaks says:

    (SarcOn)”””””FLASH!!! The IPCC announced today that the ONLY way to save the planet is to grind all gold on Earth into a microfine dust powder and equally distribute it, from an altitude of 33.28 km, over the entire surface of the globe at precisely 03:36 GMT, 17 December 2014. Europe, Russia, Africa, Oceania, S.America, N.America, and SE Asia have all agreed to this bold, selfless plan and support it enthusiastically. The gold dust will, with the aid of natural lightning and Carbon Dioxide, convert and absorb ALL Manmade Global Warming chemicals produced in the last 16,526 +/- 294 years, and render the planet pollution free for a span of 389 +/- 16 years. CO2 levels are expected to be reduced to 1 part per trillion, a rather significant reduction indeed. Currently, China and India and OPEC countries are scheduled to hold popular elections regarding the surrender of personal and national stockpiles of Gold on 1 December 2014. The UNSecGen stated today that he “felt sure these countries would surely indever to persevier and make the best decision for the sake of all the World’s starving souls in search of enlightenment and a little fresh water to drink and some clean air to breathe and that, surely, the filthy British government would surely raise the benefits of the poor starving masses burning down London and Liverpool and….” (The SecGen is still speaking and be broke away to get this out ASAP).”””””

    Expect nothing!
    The Party’s over!
    Time to pay The Piper!
    ;-)

  18. “Renewable” fuel is not a panacea. Because of poverty, indoor smoke from wood cooking fires is the greatest cause of deaths for children under 5 at 2 million/year.
    Amy Smith shares simple, lifesaving design
    See Tom Reed’s ultra efficient clean woodgas stove with ~ 40% efficiency vs 10-12% for an open stove.
    People need work and income to pay for the technology to have a clean environment and better health, separate from whether the fuel is “renewable”.

  19. bruce says:

    White flag.

  20. James Sexton says:

    Richard Tol says:
    August 11, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Tim makes a mistake that is easily made, indeed, one that is facilitated by the authors of the study. He compares across the RCPs, assuming that they are consistent with one another. They are not. The four RCPs were build with four different models. Comparing RCPs is thus meaningless.
    ====================================================================

    Richard, you should read the link provided in the article. The RCPs are like numbers built with a common protocol. The concept of RCPs was brought about specifically for comparisons to other RCPs derived from various models. http://www.springerlink.com/content/f296645337804p75/fulltext.html Start at section 2.

  21. Enneagram says:

    UN´s FAO has a more realistic forecast: Graph refers to temperatures up to the year 2100. This paper is actually and succesfully used by fishermen all over the world:

    Find full paper in: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/y2787e/
    Graph in page 50 of : ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/y2787e/y2787e08.pdf

  22. Alan the Brit says:

    Just hold chaps & chapesses, these are outer models we’re talking about. We have pretty much criticised these when they claimed armageddon scenarios for the future, that they are flawed, many seriously, yet they all apparently concluded that we’re all gonna die sooner rather than later! Now, either they have completely misread their original model output, accidently or deliberately or through ignorance, OR thye lied about them. SO, how do these models fare, are they trustworthy, are they reliable, have they any basis in reality? Remember Lehman Brothers used a model or two to predict economics of climate change 90 years from now & look what happened to them in less than two! Having said all that, it has been demonstrated that developed nations have lower over all Carbon Footprints than undeveloped ones, without the use of models. We also need to remove the deliberately insidious language of propaganda, from the whole issue asap. Phrases such as “the West’s “addiction” to fossil fuels”, with all the inherent associations of drug addiction, & “Carbon Pollution”, etc. Change the language change the process!.

  23. Jeff says:

    Tim’s article sounds great, but his final conclusion is to support a carbon tax. How we arrive at that conclusion is somewhat vague.

    Moving on to the “overview”, (published in Climatic Change) upon which his article is based, alarms are set off up front by use of the words “may” and “possible” in the first 2 sentences of the introduction. In the methodology description, it says the scenarios “should provide information on ALL” [my emphasis] “components of radiative forcing that are needed as input for climate modeling and atmospheric chemistry modeling,” but then it restricts “all” to “emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants and land use.”

    It also says that “all RCPs include the assumption that air pollution control becomes more stringent, over time, as a result of rising income levels.” This is a deceptive assumption because it is regionally observed. Incomes increased in early-industrial U.S. and England, but pollution was tolerated until the populace was able to afford exporting that manufacturing to other places, first domestic, then foreign. Moving the pollution does not eliminate it.

  24. rbateman says:

    And to think they did it all with a creditability rating of FFF !!

  25. Pamela Gray says:

    The EPA is still needed to keep real polluters, such as several along the Willamette River, from pouring mercury into our streams and rivers. It is still needed to keep gas stations and other types of fuel-based industries from pouring left overs into the ground. It is still needed to keep large feedlots from allowing filthy sludge to seep into ground water. It is still needed to keep our meat free of bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. It is still needed to help us clean up after illegal pot operations in our forests and drug labs in our neighborhoods. And it is still needed to keep corporate farms from sending poisoned fruits and vegetables into our homes.

    But what we can do to economize is to treat food, and air/water/ground polluters with the same disdain, penalties, and oversight. We have too many governmental agencies with too little funding and personnel to adequately keep us from getting sick.

  26. ThinkingScientist says:

    So the IPCC now agree with what I think George W Bush said all along?

  27. John-in-Oz says:

    I’ve invested three hours and failed to find a WUWT article I think I have read. Maybe I’m going senile. In any case, I’m asking for some help from WUWT readers.
    Can anyone give me the link I’m looking for? As I recall it, Anthony reposted a link originally produced in some other blog, that contained details of a poll about public perceptions about climate science. The poll asked people a few questions, including “what colour is carbon dioxide?”
    All help appreciated, and I apologise for being off-topic.

  28. Steve Oregon says:

    Here in Oregon the alarmist left screws up eveything they touch. We’re the poster child for wrong and ridiculous.
    The many causes throughout the spectum of the left that have hitched onto AGW are really similar causes in themselves. Based on lousy or no evidence while pushing for rememdies that have bo chance of arriving where they imagine. When failure ensues it’s because more of the same failed remedy is needed.
    They are ike nitiwts driving to a destintion while never recognizing all the passing signs they are heading in the opposite direction.

  29. Rob MW says:

    Thanks very much for this news Tim. I just finished convincing the wife and kids that we had to start thinking about living in a cave, for the sake of the planet, and now you tell me I need to update to a fully modernised carbon integrated and intensive cave……………just bloody great, and, to make matters worse my new proposed sea level rise inspired water-side retirement home in the ‘Blue Mountains’ (NSW, Australia) may not now see the sea…….just bloody great./sarc on

  30. John-in-Oz says:

    The ‘senility’ possibility gains credibility due to my mis-spelling my own name in the e-mail address for my previous post. (Mutter, mumble, iPad keysize.) Could anyone who helps me please do so as a reply to THIS post, not the previous one.
    Thanks.

  31. ferd berple says:

    We have long known that with economic prosperity birthrates decline and emissions are stabilized. This is what has happened in the G7 countries. Except for immigration many of these countries do not have birth rates sufficient to maintain their population.

    Initially the G7 countries had high air pollution, as we seeing in India and China now. Then with prosperity they were able to afford improvement in air quality standards. Compare London today with the pea soup fog they used to get from air pollution. That wasn’t achieved by shutting down the economy. It was paid for by growing the economy.

    The Al Gore’s of the world that continue to preach one set of policies for everyone else, while living that fat lifestyle ignore the most obvious of facts. You cannot make positive changes to the world unless you first come up for a way to pay for these changes.

    Taxes alone cannot ever pay to change the world because the money must first be earned before it can be taxed. Only after governments provide economic growth can they use taxes to make a change. Otherwise the result will be crushing debt that destroys the prosperity needed to pay for change. This has been clearly demonstrated in both the US and Europe.

  32. Olen says:

    In the article: We know very well that there’s a connection between economic growth and population size. Richer countries on average have lower fertility rates so as the world becomes richer fewer children are born. Further, we don’t in fact need to reduce our energy consumption.

    The political elite of the West have solved that problem by importing more poverty and higher birth rates to combat hard earned wealth in the West. And it has worked very well as the West goes down to poverty.
    And the IPCC may be looking at loss of funding due to economic decline in the West. The bottom line can be a bitch.

  33. Kent F says:

    Worstal’s analysis, if correct, sounds to me like the IPCC is trying to make the alternative energy scam more palatable. It roughly boils down to, ‘You can be an AGW skeptic or a believer, keep on living well, as long as you subsidise all our inefficient power generation schemes to the eyebrows (and evermore redistribute your savings to all our UN mendicant countries).’

  34. Shevva says:

    Over here in blighty we have just gone through protests about not being able to afford the latest trainers or mobile phone, I wonder what happens when they have to choose between food and heating this winter?

    And the IPCC couldn’t find there arse with both hands. There answer is to push the price of energy up to un-affordable prices then turn round and say ‘Oh and by the way can we have as much growth as possible to save the planet please’ (At least there polite).

  35. Alan says:

    “Whether or not we want to believe in climate change (…)” What? What? Are we going to have to explain again that it’s not about believing in climate change or not (since it always does change, we all agree on this)? I’m tired of this problem, it’s all over the media… but here at WUWT?

  36. Genghis says:

    Previous models woefully under predicted aerosol emissions by China’s growing economy, thus the lack of warming that we are seeing today and the falsification of their weather models.

    Now we have more models showing accelerating economic growth, when the economic world is facing a potential implosion? I think the IPCC may actually serve a useful purpose as a contrarian indicator.

  37. Dr Chaos says:

    @Richard Tol
    If the different categories were not meant to be compared, why did the authors place them on the same graph repeatedly, with nice colours, apparently inviting comparison?

  38. Sonicfrog says:

    Look, they are waking up to the fact that no one will accept living in a world with an even worse economy than the one we have now…. which is exactly what they previously wanted. Preaching that we have to slow economic growth doesn’t sound bad when we are in boom times, but when we’re in a Great Recession, and people realize how sucky that is, the “slow the economy down or we’re doomed” message is only going to further drive people away from the AGW camp. When we finally get some real economic growth (in a few years maybe) then you’ll see them reverse again and say “whoa, we need to slow this thing down”.

    Cynical??? Yes! But they’ve earned it..

  39. Johnnythelowery says:

    I thought this was going to be pics of Patchy’s kind of models. You know…………

    Miss IPCC Patchy Morales 2011

  40. Crito says:

    Are economic models any better than climate models?

    Actually economic models are much better at predicting the past than climate models (e.g. lack of Mideaval Warm period in some models). I do admit that predicting the future has not been the strong suit of either discipline.

  41. Venter says:

    What a stupid solution.

  42. Of course. With no economic growth and no technological advancement The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894 could not possibly have been overcome. We would indeed be doomed, our shining great cities buried under half a mile of horse manure. Could have been worse than we’d thought.

  43. SJWhiteley says:

    They may be on to something. Something that many have known for a long time, and is just basic common sense to the rest.

    Ignoring the difference between local and global phenomena for the moment, you’ll universally notice that rich people live in clean, environments. Poor people, on the other hand, dump their garbage in their back yard. The objective is to make the poor people rich so they can spend more effort on a pleasant environment, rather that scrabbling around for clean water, a nourishing meal.and proper sanitation.

    The best way to make poor people rich (however one may measure ‘richness’, and not only in monetary terms) is cheap and abundant energy. Raising the cost of energy has little effect on ‘the rich’ and drives the poor even deeper into the [snip] hole.

  44. Nuke says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    August 11, 2011 at 4:32 am
    John Marshall theorizes
    ———-
    The best solution to our economic woes is to shut down the IPCC AND the US EPA.
    ———-
    Yeah sure. No numbers, just handwaving.

    Go to China, look at the sky, breath the air, if you can. Watch Chinese people coughing and spitting to clear their throat, if there is no EPA this is what you get.

    It’s a fallacy to believe that the only reason we have clean air or clean water is because of the force of government. We have these things because people want clean air and clean water.

    The fact that the EPA is messing around with greenhouse gases tells us that has largely succeeded in achieving the things it was originally created to do. It’s no longer a necessary agency.

    One could equally say “look at all the smog! We need the EPA.” Well then, why isn’t the EPA focusing on that? If their original mission isn’t completed, why are they seeking to expand into regulating other things?

  45. It’s not news to me that it’s better to burn coal than people.

    And the better the burning of the coal, the better it is for the people.

  46. Richard Tol says:

    @James Sexton
    Population, income, energy demand, energy use, and CO2 emissions come as a package (called a model). You can compare emissions and incomes for various scenarios in one model. And you can compare emissions and incomes between models for the same scenario. But you cannot vary model and scenario at the same time (and hope for meaningful results). The problem is just too non-linear, and the models are too different.

    @Dr Chaos
    I guess that the authors of the paper never thought that anyone would ever do what Tim did. They would not. People tend to assume that other people know what they themselves know.

    @Ed Walsh
    You can make first order comparisons (emissions v emissions) but no second order ones (emission intensities v emission intensities).

  47. dalyplanet says:

    Just pay the carbon tax and everything will be fine.

  48. John in L du B says:

    So why the carbon tax?

  49. John Howard says:

    Pamela Gray says we need the EPA to keep us from getting sick.
    The faith of the government-educated is a wondrous thing to behold. Imagine believing the general proposition that those who produce goods and services and offer them to us on the voluntary market are the baddies and that those who produce nothing and live off us by means of an extortion racket called taxation are the goodies who care for us. Imagine believing that someone showing you a product is dangerous and someone pointing a gun at you is your savior.
    Imagine thinking that the unproductive slobs who claim to “serve” us won’t take bribes from those who wish to trade with us. Imagine thinking that producers are motivated to harm their customers while extortionists are motivated by altruistic concern for the welfare of their victims.
    There have always been proper legal procedures to deter those who harm or threaten us. It is absurd to think we also need a tyrannical gang of parasitic nannies to control us all while they feed upon us. Faith in coercive power is truly a wondrous thing to behold. Fear of voluntary free trade is even more wondrous.

  50. hunter says:

    These economic models show what many ahve believed is the reality about environmental issues in general- that economic prosperity permits more effective environmental policies.
    The problem is that the IPCC solutions to their CO2 obsession is in conflict with the economic study they have done.
    The AGW believer community is going to minsinterpret (deliberately?) the acceptance by the skeptic community of the IPCC economic position as support for the idea that skeptics should accept all that the IPCC says.
    The believer faith is so brittle and shallow that they are unable to accept the nuanced perspective of many skeptics, or even mild critics, of the AGWconesnsus.
    so how to make clear that skeptics welcome the IPCC agreeins with skeptics regarding economics, we still have strong disagreements with the IPCC based on well founded concerns about the process, the quality of the work, the scale of the alleged CO2 crisis, and the evidence itself, among many other areas of concern.

  51. DesertYote says:

    #
    #
    LazyTeenager says:
    August 11, 2011 at 4:32 am

    John Marshall theorizes
    ———-
    The best solution to our economic woes is to shut down the IPCC AND the US EPA.
    ———-
    Yeah sure. No numbers, just handwaving.

    Go to China, look at the sky, breath the air, if you can. Watch Chinese people coughing and spitting to clear their throat, if there is no EPA this is what you get.
    ###

    What a bunch of ignorant non sense. The problem is not a lack of an EPA, Chin has their version of the EPA. The problem is Socialism and Communism. The EPA is nothing more then a vector for facilitating the leftist anti-freedom agenda using the environment as a pretext. I think you need to learn some real history and stop listening to your Marxist professors.

  52. TedK says:

    “Keep your eye on the pea folks.” As the shysters rapidly move the cups around to baffle the eye.

    We know the models already in use by the IPCC are flawed and have failed to reasonably match the last ten years climate. Before any movement forward on new models, I expect to see an analysis detailing the model components, their mis-calculations, reasons why, and suggested fixes; along with representative model runs highlighting input impacts on results.

    Instead, the models have been extended to include new models that

    “…provide plausible descriptions of how the future may evolve…”

    .

    OK, by ignoring problems in the previous models there is a complicit decision to advance with the errors but to change the message and the message vehicle. Now, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when the message is “Don’t worry, everything is fine, just pay taxes and our climate and economic problems will be controlled.”

    There are some interesting caveats in the RCP abstract:

    “The RCPs should not be interpreted as forecasts or absolute bounds, or be seen as policy prescriptive…”
    “Certain characteristics of individual RCPs may play a role in interpreting their results. Further research is needed to explore sensitivity of results to these characteristics.”
    “There are uncertainties in the translation of emissions profiles to concentrations and radiative forcing”

    .

    The end result is that not only is climate an incredibly complex system that has not been sucessively modeled yet, now we add to that complexity population growth, economic modeling, social consequences and technology changes. No problems are expected with the new RCP models.

    Yeah, right! Ok, we’ve read the abstract and watched the pea. Do we get to read the code, check the calculations, look over the

    “…harmonized across models …”

    adjustments made to the data?

  53. Pamela Gray says:

    I think some of you paint history with too white a brush. It seems some of you think that when regulations were non-existent, we were poison free people. And if we were poisoned by some unscrupulous business, we could simply and easily sue and somehow be reimbursed for our injuries. Tell that to a mother who gave birth to a child riddled with mercury poisoning. There is no amount of money to reimburse for that.

    The business world is as populated with fraudulent people and businesses able to get away with fraud as much as the government is populated with fraudulent politicians and agencies able to get away with fraud.

    Does buyer beware mean that we must be aware of danger before it kills our children or afterwards? Real polluters must be made to pay and then put out of business permanently, just as politicians and government agencies who trade in fraud must be.

  54. Pamela Gray says:

    where did my post go?

  55. John Reading says:

    Pamela’s post is at 6:35am

  56. Andrew says:

    I must say that, regardless of the findings, whether one likes them or not, or they seem reasonable or not, one should never base any conclusions on economic “models”. Economics is a social/philosophical science, not a physical one, and for that simple reason, the application of physics style mathematical modeling to economics is fallacious and leads very often to conclusions that are not merely quantitatively but qualitatively wrong. Human behavior is not governed by mathematical equations.

  57. maz2 says:

    Hubba Hubba: Ding Ding!

    Look at the models on this Red-Green thing:

    >>> “It seems unfathomable to many that miracles would be needed in a government-supported industry created with great fanfare just two years ago.”

    …-

    “Energy
    In Ontario, gloomy skies for solar power”

    “Silfab Ontario has been making solar panels for barely four months in a refurbished factory west of Toronto, but already employees are nervous about the security of their jobs.

    Plans to hire more people and expand production are on hold as demand for solar parts wavers and stock sits unsold. Several companies who install solar panels have been unable to pay for their orders because they’re waiting for assurances the power projects will be connected to Ontario’s electricity grid. A backup in the approvals process has brought the fledgling industry almost to a standstill.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/in-ontario-gloomy-skies-for-solar-power/article2125904/

  58. DesertYote says:

    Do we have an imposter? No regulare would post,
    “where did my post go?”.

  59. TomB says:

    I’ve never doubted that there were good and honest efforts by many IPCC contributors. Driven by an interest stirred by this site I’ve plowed through quite a few IPCC documents. One of the many factors that weaned me away from the alarmist view was the difference between the scientific reports and conclusions and the so called “Summary For Policy Makers”. That’s not a summary, that’s a complete re-write with almost diametrically opposed conclusions.

  60. DirkH says:

    Lomborg has argued the same thing in The Skeptical Environmentalist (not explicitly with regard to CO2 emissions but for pollution); a line of argument for which he was denounced by Nobel-peace price receiving Pachauri as a Nazi; so sorry, the IPCC can only do one thing to earn my respect. Dissolve. And apologize for being a bunch of scum.

  61. Nuke says:

    Andrew says:
    August 11, 2011 at 10:10 am
    I must say that, regardless of the findings, whether one likes them or not, or they seem reasonable or not, one should never base any conclusions on economic “models”. Economics is a social/philosophical science, not a physical one, and for that simple reason, the application of physics style mathematical modeling to economics is fallacious and leads very often to conclusions that are not merely quantitatively but qualitatively wrong. Human behavior is not governed by mathematical equations.

    It’s absolute hubris and the height of arrogance to believe we can accurately model highly complex and chaotic systems such as the climate or the economy.

  62. Dan in California says:

    polistra says:August 11, 2011 at 5:24 am
    The largest drop in real pollution happened when the Soviet Union collapsed. And the emissions graphs in one of yesterday’s stories show clearly that CO2 emission is perfectly and positively correlated with economic growth, in all types of countries. You CAN have growth without adding real pollution, as the US demonstrated in the ’60s and ’70s, but you can’t have growth without adding CO2 emission.
    ——————————————————–
    Easily shown not to be true. First, I am looking at my flat screen monitor that takes half the power to run compared to my old CRT monitor. Less materials of construction too. Second, if you care about CO2 emissions, then changing from coal fired power plants to nukes will cut way down on CO2 emissions. China is completing about 6 nukes per year now and will increase that to one per month soon.
    ——————————————-

    Pamela Gray says: August 11, 2011 at 9:40 am
    t seems some of you think that when regulations were non-existent, we were poison free people. And if we were poisoned by some unscrupulous business, we could simply and easily sue and somehow be reimbursed for our injuries. Tell that to a mother who gave birth to a child riddled with mercury poisoning. There is no amount of money to reimburse for that. The business world is as populated with fraudulent people and businesses able to get away with fraud as much as the government is populated with fraudulent politicians and agencies able to get away with fraud.
    ————————————————–
    Yes, Pamela, and I think you would agree that it’s far easier to expose and eliminate fraud in the commercial world than in government. Consider for example “truth in advertising”, required of commercial companies. What would the world be like if politicians were required to fulfill their campaign promises?

  63. Bruce Cobb says:

    “Or, to boil it right down, the IPCC is telling us that the solution to climate change is economic growth and low-carbon energy generation.”
    Of course they would say that. They’re obsessed with the idea that 1)climate change is a problem and 2)we’re causing it with our nasty, evil C02. The biggest problem with their “solution” to a non-problem is that the two “solutions” are antithetical to one another. Forcing a change to “low-carbon” energy, via a carbon tax means higher energy costs which stunts economic growth.
    If economic growth is the “solution”, then by all means we should concentrate on that and simply forget all that carbon nonsense. “Problem” solved.

  64. Andrew says:

    Nuke-There is a more fundamental reason why one cannot “model” the economy, even in principlem whereas physical systems one can theoretically model mathematically. It is difficult to model climate, it is WRONG to mathematically model the economy: mathematical equations cannot capture the nature of human behavior. I would recommend anyone who thinks otherwise read numerous works on this matter by the Austrians, although Mises’ Human Action should be sufficient a start. He makes it quite clear why one cannot consider the problems of Economics (of human action) to be understood through mathematical equations. This is perhaps why so many physical scientists are clueless about basic economics.

  65. Nuke says:

    Andrew says:
    August 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm
    Nuke-There is a more fundamental reason why one cannot “model” the economy, even in principlem whereas physical systems one can theoretically model mathematically. It is difficult to model climate, it is WRONG to mathematically model the economy: mathematical equations cannot capture the nature of human behavior. I would recommend anyone who thinks otherwise read numerous works on this matter by the Austrians, although Mises’ Human Action should be sufficient a start. He makes it quite clear why one cannot consider the problems of Economics (of human action) to be understood through mathematical equations. This is perhaps why so many physical scientists are clueless about basic economics.

    I won’t argue whether it’s morally acceptable to model the economy (but that is an interesting discussion for some other time, btw), but I will argue it’s impossible to model the daily choices made by billions of people every day.

    We could make it easier to model, however, by reducing choice. Simply dictate what people can and cannot do. Let the government make the choices for them. We could model that, couldn’t we? Imagine how easy it would be, if like the failed USSR, consumers only had place to buy bread, only only one type of bread to buy. Soon, we would be able to create 5- and 1-year plans for the economy. We could save the planet!

  66. Andrew says:

    Nuke-I think you’ll find that Mises argued that economic calculation is not made easier by planning. Not the least reason being that planning requires economic calculation to be possible to do in the first place (which leaves one in a chicken/egg problem, except in this case you want to create Chickens and Eggs out of nothing) And at any rate, if you limit people’s decisions you miss the entire point of the economy! But I suspect you already know that.

  67. DirkH says:

    Nuke says:
    August 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm
    “We could make it easier to model, however, by reducing choice. Simply dictate what people can and cannot do. Let the government make the choices for them. We could model that, couldn’t we? Imagine how easy it would be, if like the failed USSR, consumers only had place to buy bread, only only one type of bread to buy. ”

    That’s the best way to promote black markets with the according shadowy organizations running the trade; you end up with a whole new market, but one that will always try to hide from your view. And that is exactly what happened everywhere in the USSR, in the GDR, in the entire communist world; we usually call it endemic corruption but that’s only its effect on the bureaucracy; the corruption is necessary to enable the black market to hide from the official view. Corruption is the symptom for economic activity hidden from view. It’s happening in Mexico with the drug trade.

  68. John-in-Oz says:

    Leigh-In-Oz, that’s exactly it. Thank you for your help.
    (Nice name and country, btw.)
    It’s also a sobering reminder to me to always fact-check, even those things I’m convinced are true. I had sincerely but wrongly asserted that 40 percent of the public believe co2 is black. The correct number is 3 percent. Oops.

  69. Two things that strike me as odd—even suspicious—about the reported results:
    1. The extremely low level of hydro­car­bon and nuclear use and very high level of “bio­fuel” use in the highest-income/lowest-emission pro­file. I won­der what “adjust­ments” have been made to rel­a­tive prices in these mod­els to pro­duce such an energy mix? Typ­i­cally, the IPCC is not say­ing: “… socio-economic para­me­ters have not been included in the RCP infor­ma­tion avail­able for down­load” accord­ing to the paper.
    2. How the high­est income scenario—mysteriously—could have the low­est energy-intensity of pro­duc­tion, the second-lowest pri­mary energy use, the high­est use of “carbon-capture” tech­nol­ogy (in fact, a neg­a­tive emis­sion of car­bon per aver­age unit of energy in later years) and a pop­u­la­tion growth tra­jec­tory that is the actual pop­u­la­tion tra­jec­tory is a mys­tery to me.

  70. 1DandyTroll says:

    The new IPCC economic model? Is it, perhaps, sounding something like this:

    Stick ‘em up! Hand over all your hard earned cash you capitalist “schwine”! We got the Catholic church on our backs, literally. Think of your great great grand children! How ’bout handing over your dough now, eh?

  71. Scott says:

    Richard Tol says:
    August 11, 2011 at 3:12 am
    “Comparing RCPs is thus meaningless.”

    Why did the IPCC put out four if not for comparison purposes?

  72. Gary Hladik says:

    Pamela Gray says (August 11, 2011 at 9:40 am): “Does buyer beware mean that we must be aware of danger before it kills our children or afterwards? Real polluters must be made to pay and then put out of business permanently…”

    Pamela, why would you insist that polluters be put out of business permanently, thus throwing an unknown number of possibly innocent employees out of work and depriving the economy of a (presumably useful) product? Why not require adequate pollution control measures instead (which, if expensive, could have the same resultt)? Note that closing the business could have the undesired effect of moving the pollution to a less environmentally vigilant nation.

    “…just as politicians and government agencies who trade in fraud must be.”

    A much more difficult proposition. Private offenders (including you and me) are up against the full resources of our government, including effectively unlimited funds and a near monopoly on violence. Public “offenders”, on the other hand, have these resources on their side. :-(

    Obviously individual politicians can be and have been voted or driven out of office, but the Congressional incumbency rate, for example, remains high:

    http://politics.innerself.com/html/articles/reforms/general/89-congress-for-life.html

    As for government agencies, offhand I honestly can’t think of one useless or counterproductive office/agency/department that has been abolished, though I assume there are some (readers, please help me out here); instead, they tend to grow and extend their own power. The EPA, for example, which protects us from mercury, arsenic, organic pollutants, radiation, carbon monoxide, etc. now protects us from atmospheric carbon dioxide as well. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    It’s not a matter of who’s temporarily in charge; the problem is the very existence of an agency backed by the power of government that can and WILL tell us how to live our lives.

  73. Nuke says:

    @ Andrew & DirkH:

    I am NOT advocating central planning or restricting choice. Sorry, I assumed I could post something outrageous and have it seen to be a parady. However, I think it tracked too closely to the ideals of many eco-progressives to be seen as I intended.

  74. Shanghai Dan says:

    Lazy Teenager writes:

    Go to China, look at the sky, breath the air, if you can. Watch Chinese people coughing and spitting to clear their throat, if there is no EPA this is what you get.

    I breathe the air here in Shanghai quite well… The local Shanghai Air Pollution Control Bureau is pretty stringent and quick to act to keep the skies nice and blue (when there isn’t a typhoon blowing through), and pollution to a minimum. It rained today until about 1 PM, but cleared up nicely and we’re having a lovely evening – will be a great time to grab a meal at an outdoor cafe and walk around the Bund, taking in the scenery before retiring to a club for some drinks and conversation.

    It’s certainly not as bad as what I lived with in Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Chile, and just outside of Brussels, Belgium – and definitely not like when I lived in Los Angeles in the early 90s…

  75. Rhys Jaggar says:

    It’s very interesting that different economic growth can have apparently counter-intuitive effects.

    In biology you see similar phenomena: Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha is, unsurprisingly, something which kills tumours at high concentration.

    Unfortunately for those who fancied delivering protein to tumours, it turns out that low doses cause tumours to grow FASTER.

    This factor-dependent multimodality is something folks in science should think a lot about.

    Because it’s a feature of most open complex dynamic systems.

  76. Jeff says:

    ferd berple says:
    “We have long known that with economic prosperity … emissions are stabilized. … with prosperity they were able to afford improvement in air quality standards.”
    —————————————
    This is the classic misunderstanding of this issue. With prosperity, people can afford to export their pollution problems. Even scubbers need to be disposed of somewhere. Economic growth is the best solution to poverty and disease, but beware when a movement which seeks to return us to the stone age uses it as an argument.

  77. timetochooseagain says:

    Nuke-Actually, I could pretty much tell your post was intended to be tongue in cheek. Notice I said:

    “And at any rate, if you limit people’s decisions you miss the entire point of the economy! But I suspect you already know that.” [Emphasis added]

    I did want to point out, however, that a planned economy is actually not simpler to “model” so to speak. Many people don’t fully understand the important work the Austrians did to explain why planned economies fail. Some of the points are very subtle. I encourage everyone to study these issues. Take care! :)

  78. Stephen says:

    A lot of Greens will have no trouble at all accepting this. Many believe that investing in (what they believe to be) low-emission technology is economically productive. This would just look like justification for more solar/wind subsidies.

  79. John Howard says:

    Pamela Gray (9:40AM 11AUG), dripping with true lefty condescension, informs us of the obvious facts that environmental problems existed before there were regulations and that poisoning children with mercury upsets mothers who can’t then be bought off with money. Gosh, you think?

    Stating the obvious as if no one else gets it and brandishing a mercury poisoned baby are lefty techniques being used here as prelude to Pamela’s main point: that there are just as many baddies in the business world as in the government world.

    Wrong, Pamela! The group of people who live by productivity and try to please customers include far fewer baddies than the group of unproductive parasites who live by means of an extortion racket and coercion and take bribes from those they claim to regulate and attack the productive to win votes from the envious and seek out victims to regulate in order to justify their power.

    No one has a right to harm another. But no one has a right to rule and feed off others in the name of preventing harm, since ruling and feeding off others are harms. Preventive law is aggression. Only punitive law is just.

  80. The Kaya identity still holds:
    CO2 emission = population * GDP/capita * energy/GDP * CO2 emission/energy.

    I.e. for a high GDP scenario to result in low emissions needs other factors to be low. The two graphs at Forbes indeed show that population is assumed lower in the high GDP scenario’s (makes sense). Haven’t checked, but probably the emissions per unit GDP are also lower in the high GDP scenario’s, i.e. choices are assumed to be made that decarbonize the economy (makes sense).

    It is thus a little too simplistic to say that economic growth causes the least emissions; emissions are lower in the high GDP scenarios because population density and emission intensity of the economy are assumed to be low.

    On the current trajectory of increasing all three of them, there’s no way in hell that emissions would be lowest.

    See some graphs of population, GDP and emissions (and discussion of their roles): http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/what-does-population-have-to-do-with-climate-change/

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