U.S. Life Expectancy in an Era of Death Trains and Death Factories

Guest post by Indur M. Goklany

In a recent op-ed in the Guardian that WUWT commented on, James Hansen of global warming fame, argued for closing coal fired power plants asserting that “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

So what’s happened to US life expectancy as the number of coal fired death factories have multiplied and as the climate has gotten warmer?

us-life-expectancy-era-of-hansen-death-trains

Figure 1: Data are plotted for every ten years from 1900-1940, 1945, and each year from 1949 onward. Data sources: life expectancy from Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009, and earlier editions; coal usage from Goklany (2007) for 1900-1945, and EIA (2008) for 1949-2007; carbon dioxide emissions for 1900-2005 from Marland et al (2008).

As the above figure shows, US life expectancy at birth increased by 30.5 years, from 47.3 years to 77.8 years, between 1900 and 2005, while coal usage more than tripled. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2005 were nearly nine times the 1900 levels.  And, of course, the climate has also gotten warmer (not shown). To appreciate the magnitude of this improvement in life expectancy, consider that the approximate life expectancy in pre-industrial societies varied from 25-35 years.

While the increase in life expectancy is not directly due to greater coal use or CO2 emissions, much of it was enabled in one way or another by the prosperity fueled in large part by coal and fossil fuel consumption, as I have noted in my book, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet.  Also recalling the IPCC’s temperature trends from 1900 onward, according to my eyeball analyzer there seems to be a better correlation between life expectancy and coal use (and CO2 emissions) or their logarithms than that between temperature increase (either for the US or the world) on the one hand and, on the other hand, coal use (and CO2 emissions) or their logarithms.

It may be argued that Hansen’s comments pertain to the future, not to the past or present. But to this I would respond that the above figure is based on real data whereas Hansen’s declaration is based on some unknown projection about the future based on unknown, unvalidated and unverified models.

Giving up fossil fuel energy use and, with that, compromising the real improvements in life expectancy and other indicators of human well-being that have accompanied that energy use, would be like giving up a real bird in hand to avoid being attacked by a monster that may or may not exist in the bush, that is, a monster that may only exist in the virtual world.

This doesn’t seem like a rational trade-off.

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147 thoughts on “U.S. Life Expectancy in an Era of Death Trains and Death Factories

  1. Obviously, the decline in life expectancy is being masked by temporary factors and will come back in an ever accelerating manner once we hit a tipping point in the near, but not too near, future. About the same time the Artic is ice-free in the summer.

  2. Didn’t the new administration and the Tom Dashle book (Critical) say that the elderly use too much of the nation’s health care dollar? They suggested that those resources should be redistributed to the younger set that ostensibly has many productive years ahead rather than the resource sucking of late retirement.

    If the administration gets it way on the carbon cap and trade front and health care “reform” and universality, who would be tempted to assert a shortened life expectancy was due more to decreased CO2 or to decreased health services available to the elderly?

  3. If the EPA can categorise CO2 as a polluntant then in this virtual world that Hansen lives in we would all have to apply for licences to breath out. So every year you could buy your right to breathe for whatever the current carbon credit exchange rate is.

    Then to solve the problem of the elderly, you would cap the number of licences you could buy, say to 60. Anyone who dies earlier than age 60 could leave their spare licence quota to their descendants so that they could live for longer than 60 years.

    Now back in the real world, I only have 10 years to go before 60 so I think I’ll go and buy shares in Dignitas in Switzerland! (an Euthanasia clinic).

  4. Rossa (00:13:07) :

    “If the EPA can categorise CO2 as a polluntant then in this virtual world that Hansen lives in we would all have to apply for licences to breath out. So every year you could buy your right to breathe for whatever the current carbon credit exchange rate is.”

    It used to be called “the head tax” now it is the “cap and trade” tax. Considering that a cap goes on the head it must be an improved one! ( as in whoever the cap fits).

    I wonder that political advisers to Obama are not reading this and similar blogs. Obama is in a very real danger of being remembered for posterity as the head dancer in a rain dance. Anybody who believes in his potential to improve the US should be advising him to hold his horses on cap and trade for the next few years ( renewable energy goals are fine, imo). What if the next winter is even worse than this one?

  5. Increased life expectancy is due to medical advances, better nutrition, cleaner, safer workplace conditions and cheap energy. Burning coal does emit some fairly nasty substances (co2 not being one of them), but the benefits have outweighed the disadvantages for us as a species.

    The environmental argument is that we’ve got to stop being homocentric and put ‘earth first’. Personally I agree that we should be working to curb pollution, but not that we should use a specious argument about co2 to advance the anti-pollution cause. The environmental baby is in danger of being thrown out with the IPCC-AGW bathwater.

  6. We in North America live longer than we ever have and have learned lessons(some forgotten) from the best generation who ever lived. The parents of the baby boomers, who gave their lives and futures to improve the lives of their kids and country. Me being a first Gen X coming out of the 70’s/80’s, the generation that were not hippies, we had jobs, alot of us brought up by our grand parents from broken homes because this generation couldn’t handle responsibility.
    We partied on the weekend with recreational drugs, the so called “Weekend warriors”.
    My baby boomer divorcee parents where part of the ME generation( they all read books on this self serving psycho babble sheit) that let any dumbass self proclaimed prophet trying to cash in on their own narcissistic generation and start a new belief system. A voiding of true religion, for their own selfish ideology.

    And here we are today, them scrambling to stuff that nest egg through speculation in oil and hedge funds, whatever gets them their retirement in the sun.
    All failing(like it always does) because someone eventually has to pay they piper in the end , and that would be you and me. That’s why this second generation radical hippy, anti humanists/capitalist are about taxing you to solve imaginary problems, with imaginary solutions, with real money.

    Taking real money and investment out from ender our kids, grand kids and maybe even your GREAT grand kids, who will pay and who knows how long for these leaches will feast on the future generations?

  7. That period around 1970 is mighty interesting. Coal is near flat. After the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 or so, oil use dropped. That’s almost all the carbon source dropping or flat. Yet the CO2 curve continues up… then it has a drop in about 1980-85 when the economy got going again and folks were buying bigger cars again… Somehow CO2 doesn’t seem to be tracking fuel use…

    It would be really interesting to see a close up of that interval with real global oil and coal consumption figures rather than hazy memory and eyeball curve fits …

  8. That 30 years per healthy, educated person has added enormous value to western civilisation.
    This is where developed countries have far outstripped the 3rd world who desperately need cheap energy to raise their SOL and this cheap energy is being denied them by our newly acquired green policies.

  9. O/T but relevent

    Over at Climate Audit http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=5416
    is a sorry tale. But apart from the obivous quetion, I am dumbfounded that such basic things necessary to the global warming claim, such as atmospheric hunmidity, are basically unknown to any degree of reliability.

  10. Over here in the UK HMG keeps tabs on what is politely termed “fuel poverty”. Basically, households that cannot afford to just turn up the heat once it gets cold.

    A quick glance at page 5 (pdf) shows that around 15% of UK households fall into this category.

    I don’t think you need a PhD to work out what happens to these people, many of them pensioners, once the Carbon Cult get their new Gaia taxes.

    My guess is that there will be a large increase in the totals as the taxes ripple through the economy – followed by a sharp fall in the first particularly cold winter. Virtual Science meets the real world.

  11. Brilliant. This is one in the eye to all those climaholic $cientologists! Its like those crazy fools were blaming the killer smogs in the UK in the 50s on coal power. But you have wonderfully proven them wrong. Life expectancy goes UP because of coal use. We need to start posting this message everywhere on the internet we find it. Its the same story as DDT all over again. Crazy psuedoscientist claiming a wonderful technology is ‘killing’ the birdies. We ban DDT and millions die…….

  12. In the end what everyone would support is a stable world population at a sustainable level of resource consumption per capita.

    That will need to involve voluntary reproductive restraint globally.

    The only way to get the third world to participate in the tendency of the west to reproduce at less than replacement rate is to provide an economic incentive.

    People will only voluntarily have less children if children become an economic drain rather than an economic lifeline.

    That means that everyone globally and especially the elderly have to get wealthy enough to change their reproductive decisions.

    If one removes wealth from the elderly to pass it to the young then again more children will be an economic advantage in old age. That is the last thing we need.

    Why is there so little logic applied to basic human behaviour when people talk about these issues ?

    We need to use a lot more energy of every kind to keep the west wealthy enough and make everyone else wealthy enough for reproductive decisions en masse to get us past the coming population peak as fast as possible. Thereafter global population could well embark on a long term manageable decline.

    The more we panic now the more we risk an infinite deferral of that happy scenario with unlimited death and environmental destruction instead.

  13. The decline of this site continues. Playing the person – if its not Hansen is Gore if not Gore its Hansen.

    As for a cost benefit analysis – real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny – eg http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/climate-change-wont-wait-for-recessions-end-20090304-8oh6.html?page=2
    in the Australian context amounting to just $6 per household per week…. Similar results through the peer reviewed literature which you choose to ignore.

  14. But the Malthusians, Eugenicists and assorted misanthropes actually want to reduce life expectancy. Saves them from reintroducing the real death trains. They spend their lives telling us there are far too many humans (always the other guy though; the assorted misanthropes invariably consider themselves the superior part of the race).

    (I reckon, if nature knows best, there are exactly the right number of humans)

    I grew up with rows; my parents didn’t get on. But I learnt that when in a row, humans accuse their opponents of exactly what they are doing themselves. All the disasters the AGW/greenie/misanthrope set are warning us about are exactly what we will get if their policies are implemented.

    I’m 60 in a few weeks time. If I had to stop breathing I wouldn’t be able to tell the youngsters about the ways I’ve been so dumb over the years. Not that it matters much; they’ll just find their own ways.

    By the way, I think I have discovered a new medical condition:

    Hansenile Megalomania

    AM

  15. DJ (02:57:58) :

    “The decline of this site continues. Playing the person – if its not Hansen is Gore if not Gore its Hansen. ”

    But these guys set themselves up for it.

    Animal 1 to Animal 2: “So what are you then?”

    Animal 2: (loudly) “I’m a Wide Mouthed Frog. What are you?”

    Animal 1: “I’m a Predator. I eat Wide Mouthed Frogs.”

    frog’s mouth shrinks quietly.

  16. $6 Australian Dollars per household per week would support some third world families for a month if not squandered on the vast infrastructure required by carbon trading and the inevitable corruption.

    It could push many poor Australian families over the brink of insolvency if accumulated over time.

    Who believes the burdens have been properly calculated anyway ?

    The burden will not be distributed equally leaving many with a much greater financial burden and many with no burden at all.

    Who is to say the costs will not escalate as soon as the requisite machinery is in place ?

    Anyone who thinks the whole process will be cheap and cheerful is living a fantasy.

  17. Well, DJ, if Gore or Hansen would ever pry their tails out from between their legs and publicly debate their failed hypothesis, there wouldn’t be a reason to set them straight here.

    Rather than being an apologist for people who are alarming the population in order to get an enormous tax increase based on false science, along with a much bigger government, maybe you would like to try and give a credible reason that CO2 needs to be reduced at all.

  18. DJ (02:57:58) wrote: “real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny…”
    And some real analysis using scientific methods says we should increase CO2 – hence the debate.

    And I suggest on your “playing the man” line that in this case Gore and Hansen are also “the ball”; which is why they get played.

  19. DJ (02:57:58) :

    Another good reason why peer review is discredited. A good read for you would be Lomborgs, “Cool It”.

  20. DJ (02:57:58) :
    My income will not increase by $20000 as the article suggests, in fact it has declined by 50% these last 6 months.
    “In the case of Australia, they showed that a 30 per cent emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 and a 60 per cent reduction by 2030 could be achieved by developing technologies and energy efficiency measures costing $2.9 billion, or an average cost of $290 per household per year. This is based on a carbon tax of $65 a tonne.”
    $2.9 billion to develop AND IMPLEMENT by 2030 is totally unbelievable. this would not even cover the cost of a single nuclear energy plant.

  21. DJ (02:57:58) Since the carbon cycle is unknown, “real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny”, is just a WAG.

  22. From DJ’s article: “Thermal inertia, the fact that it takes up to a century for carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere to have its full climatic impact, means that there is a further 0.6 degrees of global warming in the pipeline”

    Hilarious. Now if we could learn how to capture “thermal inertia” then maybe all of our energy problems would be solved.

  23. In the midst of all the changes in AGW understanding obama’s official global warming envoy (a lawyer from the clinton era) is insisting on finalizing our US policy in 9 months toward the global effort on climate change. I put the keynote address on the air vent. It didn’t seem to make big news but it’s the first concise layout of the intended US response to global warming over the next 4 years.

  24. Stephen Wilde (02:55:33) wrote: “That will need to involve voluntary reproductive restraint globally.”

    Or, Stephen, we simply wait for the normal levelling out that comes when the standard of living of those currently breeding rather freely reaches a western level when birthrates seem to fall naturally to the stage where folks are not even replendishing themselves.

    There is generally a nice balance in natural things which does not require the numb hand of government to derail; and even when that inept hand does intervene, time will mostly consign it to the halls of infamy.

    It’s a big, wide, wonderful world we live in. Celebrate it.

  25. I don’t understand why most of the loonies out there praise Algore, he’s not trying to reduce the CO, he’s just making money out of it.

    Create an imaginary enemy, then claim that you can destroy it, but you will need money = taxes.

  26. anna v (00:42:19) :

    . . . I wonder that political advisers to Obama are not reading this and similar blogs. Obama is in a very real danger of being remembered for posterity as the head dancer in a rain dance. Anybody who believes in his potential to improve the US should be advising him to hold his horses on cap and trade for the next few years ( renewable energy goals are fine, imo). What if the next winter is even worse than this one?

    If anyone in the White House is readings blogs like this one, they’re doing it just to disparage them. The people behind Obama don’t care a whit about the facts. ‘Climate change’ is just an excuse to push for aggressive tax-and-control legislation, which unless it can be stopped in the Senate, is what they’re going to get.

    /Mr Lynn

  27. pkatt (01:15:24) :

    carbon sequestration: soilent green:)

    should be: soylent (SOYbean + LENtil).

  28. DJ (02:57:58) :
    The decline of this site continues. Playing the person – if its not Hansen is Gore if not Gore its Hansen.

    You’re right, thas been noticable since winning the award, many of the guest posters have been very poor, it will soon get back to normal I’m sure once Anthony has finished his station review. The constant right-wing agenda and political mud slinging being spouted by many of the ‘new’ people has been tedious so will welcome a return to good science based posts

  29. I can see Logan’s Run becoming a reality at this rate, except it will be 50-60 not 30 for the chop, that’s me putting the trainers on then! Heat = Life, Cold = Death, it’s rather simple really. Why do so many Brits head off to Spain over the winter periods, & I wonder why so many retire over there, it must be all that cold wet weather they keep getting. It’s our Florida chaps!

    If Hansen believes that CEOs of Oil/Gas/Coal businesses & any other denier should be put on trial (presumably a show trial like the good old communist days & the Nazi show trials too before them) for crimes against humanity & the Earth, then surely those who clamoured for the blanket ban on DDT via flimsey evidence, heresay, & outright distortionate lies, (to my knowledge DDT was subsequently found to evenutally be innocent of all charges against it), then IMHO they should stand trial for their culpability in the deaths of millions of men, women, & children of the Third World, who have died because they couldn’t kill the maleria bearing mosquito through a lack of DDT! It cuts both ways Dr Hansen so be careful what you ask for, you may just get your wish.

  30. Well, there is not any direct relation between coal use and life expectancy. Most of the improvement in average life expectancy over the past couple of centuries or so is a direct result of (a) improvements in public sanitation (no more open sewers), and (b) reductions in childhood mortality. There was a time (and it still obtains in the underdeveloped world) where a high percentage of children would not live to adulthood.

    Clearly an industrialized society with a large surplus of energy can afford to devote resources to public health, mitigation of childhood diseases, and (most recently) elder longevity. Fossil fuels, including coal, have given us that large surplus, which the Algoracle and his Alarmist acolytes are now attempting to eliminate. The relationship between coal and life expectancy is not causal, but enabling.

    /Mr Lynn

  31. Actually CO2 needs to be increased. While some might claim that ‘Jurassic Park’ was pre-emptive climate-denier propaganda from Big Oil, it is generally accepted that for 100,000,000s of years the climate was stable at 2-5,000 ppm of CO2 and an extra 5-10C. During this time the biosphere seems to have been extremely healthy, since animals the size of the big dinosaurs need a lot of food.
    Thus anyone who believes increasing CO2 will lead to runaway heating either isn’t aware of the fossil record, or they are simply too lazy to think before they speak.
    Given that in the last million years we have gone down into Ice Ages colder than now, then recovered to warmer than now seems to show clearly that CO2 is irrelevant to whatever sets global temps.

  32. DJ: The decline of this site continues. Playing the person – if its not Hansen is Gore if not Gore its Hansen.

    These are Global Warming’s high priests, and are also the ones most frequently quoted by the mainstream media. That makes them obvious targets.

    DJ: … in the Australian context amounting to just $6 per household per week….

    Maybe you should break it down to dollars per second, it’ll sound even smaller. And pardon me if I’m skeptical of a replacement of fossil fuel by wind and/or solar only adding $25 (10%) to my monthly electric bill.

  33. It’s very simple:

    Energy is life.
    Cheap energy is prosperity.

    Anyone opposing reducing energy expansion has a death wish.

  34. So, are you trying to tell us that not only do we have to worry about increasing population, (i.e. number of carbon footprint makers) but our longevity (i.e. length of our carbon footprint trails)? Bummer.

  35. tallbloke wrote:
    The environmental argument is that we’ve got to stop being homocentric and put ‘earth first’.

    Which is in itself already a homocentric stance; we are not humans separate from the planet and separate from Nature. We ARE Nature. Nature is expressing herself through us, another species, another variation, another potential unfolding. Other species grow and hit limits and die out. So Nature evolved a brain and a consciousness which could go beyond blind hunter gathering in a limited resource environment, an intelligence which could invent new resources. Show me a species which can feed on coal and oil and radioactive rocks.

    OK, yes, we have to think about resources–and we always have done–but Nature “desires” us to make more use of the planet, not less. And that is Nature developing this potential, as us, we are not anything but Nature. Those who imagine otherwise are stuck in their own personal ideas about wanting the feeling of grass between their toes.

    As a French Zen master/teacher put it, “everything is organic”.

  36. Sandy

    “Actually CO2 needs to be increased.”

    That is about the gist of it. We are at a very long term low in CO2 concentrations. There is not a single known incidence of thermal runaway in the geologic record even with CO2 levels 10-20 times that of today.

    The recent biomass surveys seem to indicate a growing amount of land-based plant matter (I haven’t heard of any results regarding ocean based biomass changes) despite the concerns of deforestation. Apparently the deforested land is re-cropped with non-tree vegetation overall. This is ‘corellating’ with a rise in CO2 concentrations of ~35% during roughly the same time period.

    The Earth seems to benefit from the increase in plant ‘fertilizer’ and from a very minor increase in temperature over the past couple centuries.

    There is so little evidence to the contrary. Why do we pick on CO2 as being ‘bad’? Would we rather have less biomass? Not be able to recover from deforestation? Be colder? Have shorter growing seasons?

  37. @Richard111 (05:41:55) :
    Age of stupids making a climatechange film? Somehow calling yourself “Age of stupids” does not look like a bright idea to me, but then if those people where bright they would not come up with such a name in the first place.

    “One of my life biggest turningpoints”, there are so much similarities between Sciencetology and AGW.

  38. Mary H, I don’t have a problem with the sometimes weird vitriolic diatribes against the opposite side, IE from you, DJ, or conservatives. And I don’t have a problem with the posts. While I visit this site everyday twice a day, it is not the first site I go to.

    Here is my daily routine, twice a day.

    Check satellite infrared weather systems at several km distances. Check the jet stream globally. Check ice extent and area globally as well as temperatures at the poles. Check snow pack. Check local weather predictions for several locations and elevations. Check sea surface temperatures globally. Check ozone. Check water vapor. Don’t check CO2 because it tells me nothing. Then I end up here. I do that twice a day. Sometimes I don’t check everything on my list. But I get around to them at least every other day. I never go here first.

    Why you might ask? Because I want to form my own opinion about weather patterns and predictions. Tell me, what data sites do you check daily before talking about weather? I can give you my list of links if you like.

  39. Stefano (05:56:43) :

    Great post! Thank you.

    More evidence of homocentricity:

    Area of South Carolina (30,099 sq mi dry land)(5,280 ft/mi)(5,280 ft/mi)/(7,000,000,000 people on earth)=(119.87 sq ft/person)sqrt=
    10.95 ft.

    Every man, woman, and child on earth could be placed on the dry land of South Carolina and would have to take two or three steps to touch his neighbor.

  40. It’s quite correct to say that as the poorer nations get richer their birth rate will drop. Current estimates are that the population will stabilise at about 9 billion round about mid-century (give or take). But we can’t force that except by taking the sort of action that will enable them to improve their own conditions — better access to good health care and above all abundant clean water.
    Unfortunately for them the eco-fascists don’t want that for reasons I have never quite fathomed. I suspect they don’t understand the equation.
    Two things that will help in the long run are an increase in global CO2 levels to improve crop returns and the use of GM crops designed to produce in unfriendly conditions. I’m in favour of both because I reckon the Bangladeshis have just as much right to live till they’re 80 as I do.
    Incidentally, Ms Hinge, since I’m UK-based I don’t have any sort of right/left bias as far as your politics are concerned and nor do I have any connections with Big Oil or Big Pharma or Big Anything Else. But as someone else said above, if Gore and Hansen want to make themselves the ball instead of just the player then they will get kicked.
    I don’t know whether Hansen knows exactly how offensive his “trains of death” comment was to Europeans; I expect he does. That’s not just “playing the man”, Ms Hinge; that’s “playing” several million of them and over here we have long memories.

  41. Mary Hinge (04:41:10) wrote:

    “The constant right-wing agenda and political mud slinging being spouted by many of the ‘new’ people has been tedious so will welcome a return to good science based posts”

    Mary,

    As one of the “new” people that you refer to, I enjoy this site because it mixes science with politics. Al Gore and Hansen are political animals who are using so-called science to promote themselves and a destructive ideology through the political process. They don’t care about the science! The right-wing agenda that you wrote about is the counter balance to Al Gore’s, et allia, dangerous ideology which is designed to re-structure our society to a centralized command and control system.

    If you are a scientist, put your training aside, and start learning the history of dangerous ideologies, of dangerous economic systems, and of dangerous governments. Learn about the dichotomy of living standards between free-market systems and socialist/communist/marxist systems. Socialism always leads to some form of totalitarianism and very low standards of living, because of human nature; not because of bad intentions. Socialism is a great system, if we could only get it to work!

    The science that you promote means nothing when the jack-booted government thugs are banging on your door at 0200 hrs.

    Most highly educated people that I know, are experts on the “tree”, but they have lost site of the “forest”.

    markm

  42. Coal without a doubt has improved the well being of people and was behind the Industrial Revolution. As the old C&O Railway film “Coal Bin of America” says “Coal is power”.There have been technological improvements with coal usage to generate electricity. I remember reading that back around a hundred years ago several pounds of coal were required to generate a certain amount of Kwh of electricity, by the 1970’s it was down to ounces of coal to generate that amount of Kwh.
    Windmills, solar and waterwheels ain’t gonna do it. I mention waterwheels because that is how the very early factories in Waterbury,CT ran their operations. Rumor has it they were able to generate up to 750 horsepower.Now you know why they call the place Waterbury ;and, of course ,they generated their own power with coal later because it was cheaper and better than waterpower.And they didn’t have to build the factories next to the rivers and brooks anymore.

  43. If anyone would care to actually download the McKinsey & Company report cited in the article that DJ referred to, it is available here

    http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/ccsi/pathways_low_carbon_economy.asp

    Note that the figures seemed to be based on a proprietary model and data base and the report is intended as a business promotion tool. Not exactly “peer-reviewed” science. The rest of the article in The Age seems to be recycling standard “facts”… the “… melting of the Arctic and Antarctic…” is partially based on the Steig et al article in Nature, which the recent IPY report out of Geneva is referring to as well.

  44. DJ (02:57:58) : As for a cost benefit analysis – real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny – eg

    The cost analysis of the administration’s cap and trade scheme indicates that it will suck up 4% of the national GDP (at today’s productivity level) from the power companies alone. That cost will be passed on to the energy users — industry and the poor alike. The half trillion dollars that goes to the government from the scheme (not a “tiny” sum) will be applied to the deficit reduction plan. This inefficient movement of capital will have a profound negative effect on the economy. Perhaps econometric methods should be used in the analysis instead of scientific methods. The scientific method is showing the cap and trade scheme will not have an appreciable effect on the climate. The econometric analysis clearly concludes the scheme will be quite expensive. So, on balance, why do it?

  45. Bill Junga (07:25:39) :

    But in the Naugatuck Valley they didn’t build far from the river, until the flood in 1955 washed them all down stream into the Housatonic…

  46. The “tiny” cost that DJ speaks about is built on a LOT of assumptions.

    The reason the cost is small is because supposedly we could make a heck of a lot of per person/building changes that will reduce emissions and also save us moneyover time (assumes with a $50 ton carbon tax as an incentive to make these changes).

    The amount of savings is relatively minor per person and the up front costs are relatively high, but these barriers to adoption are essentially ignored, and the assumption is that virtually everyone makes these changes.

    Then, these projected savings from increases in efficiency are used to offset the costs of CO2 savings activities which have increased costs over current methods (Wind, PV, CCS etc)

    See page 20 of:

    http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/ccsi/pdf/US_ghg_final_report.pdf

    Note the big savers are Commercial Electronics, Residential Electronics, Residential lighting, Commercial Lighting, Automotive Fuel Economy, and improvements in Shell construction for houses and businesses.

    The NET of this is that virtually every sector of the economy would have to focus most, if not all, of their free available capital spending over the next 20 or so years on replacing old appliances, lighting or other forms of energy efficiency to make a scenario like this come true.

    Arthur

  47. No matter how good things are, there will always be miserble wretches who can see nothing but doom gloom.
    Talk about being spoiled to the core.

  48. “As for a cost benefit analysis – real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny . . . In the Australian context amounting to just $6 per household per week….”

    My apologies if I missed any intended sarcasm, but such claims are based on incredibly poor analysis. These analyses miss the concept of carbon leakage and ignore the fact that jobs are lost as well as gained when government imposes widespread policies. They assume unrealistic efficiencies and responses and disregard the impact of higher costs and unintended consequences.
    I would not be surprised if Kyoto-inspired legislation and regulations have already increased costs by $6 per household, and I believe we could agree that the Kyoto Accord has had minimal impact and has even been counter-productive in many instances.
    Duke Power (a supporter of Cap & Trade) recently revealed that its electric rates would increase by more than 13% in the first phase of Obama’s plan with more increases to come. Though electricity is important in our lives, it is not the major part of our energy expenditures so that $6 figure is laughable.
    Implicit in Obama’s long term goal is the calculation that per capita CO2 emissions must be below 1870 levels – when my grandfather emigrated to the U.S. Those were the days before automobiles, refrigeration, air conditioning, warm houses, medical uses of energy, and so forth – and many people typically never traveled beyond 50 miles from their homes. If you can show me how to reduce my CO2 emissions to such levels, I gladly will sign up! Recently, I installed a ground source heat pump to heat my house. My consumption of energy went down little, but upfront cost was over $12,000.
    One final point: at least initially, many CO2-inspired rules will increase our dependence on foreign oil. That is really unfortunate policy and has costs many times bigger than what you think is the cost of CO2 reduction.

  49. Rossa (00:13:07) :
    “If the EPA can categorize CO2 as a pollutant then in this virtual world that Hansen lives in we would all have to apply for licenses to breath out. So every year you could buy your right to breathe for whatever the current carbon credit exchange rate is.”

    And consider for a moment the warning labels on every beer and soda container:

    “Warning, the EPA has determined that carbon dioxide is a hazardous material. Ingesting this product which contains CO2 may cause life threatening symptoms including but not limited to effervescence in nasal passages and noisome expelling of gastric air.”

  50. Mary Hinge refuses to acknowledge that global temperatures have been dropping since 2003 – no matter which temperature monitoring organisation you look at.
    Now we are told by the AGWists that warming has been put off 30 years or so!
    Last year, their models did not tell us that.
    No matter what, the Mary Hinges of our planet will continue to keep their heads deep in the sand hoping for the end of the world.
    It’s what I call Jim Jones psychology.

  51. Mary Hinge,

    I am one of those “new people”. I visit this site daily and I enjoy it immensely. I enjoy the science and the politics. I even enjoy the condescending views of some of the more arrogant posters. I am not a scientist, but I do have enough of a scientific mind to administer anesthesia to healthy and sick patients almost every day. As an anesthetist who deals with c02 during every anesthetic I find alot of the science and politics of c02 very interesting.

  52. Anthony,
    Can you give us a preview of what to expect at the NIPCC convention coming up?
    – Any media outlets planning to report?
    – Will it be possible to see some presentations via live streaming?
    – Any special guests to appear?
    etc.
    Hope to start hearing some buzz about this event.

  53. Ah, now I see, this is what tipping points are about. A thousand years ago, while we scandinavians were still vikings, there existed something called “ättestupa”, a steep slope where old folks in a family jumped out and ended their lives. Much cheeper than todays retirement plans. Just think of the huge savings those tipping points will generate! So from nowon tipping point = “ättestupa”.

  54. DJ (02:57:58) :

    The decline of this site continues. Playing the person – if its not Hansen is Gore if not Gore its Hansen.

    As for a cost benefit analysis – real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny – eg http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/climate-change-wont-wait-for-recessions-end-20090304-8oh6.html?page=2
    in the Australian context amounting to just $6 per household per week…. Similar results through the peer reviewed literature which you choose to ignore.

    And what measurable effect on global climate would this have? Show me the peer-reviewed literature which shows, unequivocally how we can control the climate. I won’t hold my breath.

  55. [Snip – ad hom ]

    [Hansen’s] statements especially about coal trains as death carriers; however, there are many other variables to consider when addressing life expectancy such as a much higher death rate in infancy in the early 20th Century, the introduction of antibiotics, and other advances in medicine.

  56. If we assume that more coal = more energy = better lifestyle (health care, sanitation, etc) -> longer life expectancy,

    then cutting back and shutting down “death trains” and all the other evil sources of CO2 should mean shorter life expectancy. (getting back to ‘old people have an obligation to die’)

    As someone rapidly approaching ‘old’, I’m not overly thrilled.

    It would solve the Social Security problem.

  57. Life expectancy, the most efficient energy sources, and wide spread access to the affluence efficient energy can bring are all inextricably intertwined. Coal remains essential as does oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy. We should continue their development in technologically cleaner versions as we invest in more efficient forms of renewables.

    An important historical memory — and today in China and elsewhere — are that those living close to the production of energy in all its forms — mining, transportation, industrial and manufacturing transformations — have had to pay a price of shortened life spans for others’ longevity. Government can be very helpful not only by protecting citizens from private industry abuses, but also by helping to maintain a relatively equal playing field through regulations (if only our U.S. financial industry had been required to keep their regulations), testing the education of students so citizens can identify successful schools, providing access to health care in public-private partnership so that no one is left out, and investing in a society’s necessary infrastructure. (The military is a given for longevity in any society.) I guess these ideals show that I am a liberal — but one who wants science and representative democracy. I don’t see many, if any, liberals running government today. I cringe at “conservatives'” ideas of what went wrong with their ascendancy.

    Regarding population decrease, I have no objection to this idea. I do believe that all societies and the earth’s flora and fauna would fare better. What no one has mentioned so far that is one key to a more reasonable population is the education, social protection, and access to resources of girls and women in every society. (At the same time I am not slighting boys and men.) If the developed world had used its affluence to support those societies that furthered these goals (and worked to influence or exclude from “humanitarian aid” those who did not), we would be in much different place today. And science rather than propaganda might be our ideal.

    To Sam the Skeptic: Birth rates will not necessarily drop just because a society has more wealth. You must ask the questions: who owns the wealth; who owns women’s bodies; and is reproduction being put at the service of “increase-and-take-over-the-world” propaganda. Science is important in these matters as well.

    To the DJs and Mary Hinges: Investigations of who wants what for which purposes are also in the service of scientific inquiry. Even more so when debate is squelched, data are manipulated, historical data are changed, and false — and easily proven false — theories are put forward as “settled science”.

  58. Yes, cheap energy is the cornerstone of any developing industrial base. If anyone cares to look it up, there are charts available online showing countries by development and countries by life expectancy. Basically industrialization = longer life.

    Gore prattles on about how “billions will die due to climate change” in the developing world. Well I’ve got news for him, they’re already dying early deaths because of poor conditions…essentially 100% of them. This is not like the poorly supported, increased possibility proposed by the AGW camp. Denying developing nations cheap power is an outright death sentence for all affected.

  59. schnurrp (04:38:47) :

    should be: soylent (SOYbean + LENtil).

    (SOYbean + LENtil) = LotsaTrips(Bathroom^2)

    ;)

  60. Clearly an industrialized society with a large surplus of energy can afford to devote resources to public health, mitigation of childhood diseases, and (most recently) elder longevity. Fossil fuels, including coal, have given us that large surplus, which the Algoracle and his Alarmist acolytes are now attempting to eliminate. The relationship between coal and life expectancy is not causal, but enabling.

    It’s similar to evolutionary paths from total vegetarian to omnivore. Eating meat provides more calories and protein, meaning the organism spends less time foraging for food and can pursue other matters.

  61. Stefano (05:56:43) :

    So Nature evolved a brain and a consciousness which could go beyond blind hunter gathering in a limited resource environment, an intelligence which could invent new resources. Show me a species which can feed on coal and oil and radioactive rocks.

    Gaia had us evolve because the earth was running out of CO2 and needed us to dig it all up again.

  62. Life expectancy in the U.S. is irrelevant. We’re rich.

    I would like to see a graph of life expectancy in impoverished areas dependent on food aid from the US and the UN.

    On the same graph plot the global cost of grain and the percent of grain used globally used to make ethanol.

    Global starvation is today’s reality, and the believers in AGW are just making it worse.

  63. Stefano (05:56:43) :

    . . . Show me a species which can feed on coal and oil and radioactive rocks.

    Well, a multi-cellular species, anyway! ;-)

    /Mr Lynn

  64. Pamela Gray (06:48:41) :

    Check satellite infrared weather systems at several km distances. Check the jet stream globally. Check ice extent and area globally as well as temperatures at the poles. Check snow pack. Check local weather predictions for several locations and elevations. Check sea surface temperatures globally. Check ozone. Check water vapor. Don’t check CO2 because it tells me nothing. Then I end up here. I do that twice a day. Sometimes I don’t check everything on my list. But I get around to them at least every other day. I never go here first.

    Yes, but do you check the oil, water and fuel before going on a long drive?

  65. Stephen Wilde

    Don´t worry about us, third world countrymen. You know, nature is by far wiser than any of us, and it will take care of the population issue by reducing the amount of people in the NH.

  66. MartinGAtkins (09:01:12) :

    Stefano (05:56:43) :

    ” So Nature evolved a brain and a consciousness which could go beyond blind hunter gathering in a limited resource environment, an intelligence which could invent new resources. Show me a species which can feed on coal and oil and radioactive rocks.”

    Gaia had us evolve because the earth was running out of CO2 and needed us to dig it all up again.

    Maybe we are on our way to extinction like the dinosaurs.

    When I was in college some fifty years ago the following joke went around:
    Dinosaurs became extinct because the size of the brain was too small for the volume of the body it had to control.
    Homo sapiens evolved.
    Homo sapiens +car will become extinct because the brain is too small for the volume sapiens+car.

  67. Pamela Gray (06:48:41) :
    Here is my daily routine, twice a day.
    Check satellite infrared weather systems at several km distances. Check the jet stream globally. Check ice extent and area globally as well as temperatures at the poles. Check snow pack. Check local weather predictions for several locations and elevations. Check sea surface temperatures globally. Check ozone. Check water vapor. Don’t check CO2 because it tells me nothing. Then I end up here. I do that twice a day. Sometimes I don’t check everything on my list. But I get around to them at least every other day.

    The long winter evenings must just fly by ;-)

    Pierre Gosselin (08:16:47) :

    Mary Hinge refuses to acknowledge that global temperatures have been dropping since 2003 – no matter which temperature monitoring organisation you look at.

    We have been over this many times before, you can cherry pick your 2003, why don’t you look at trends? Anyone should know that there will always be variables that cause short term increases/decreases in temperature. Very recently was the La Nina last year, in 1998 there was the El Nino. What is not in doubt by any credible scientist is that the temperature rise from the latter half of the last century has been rapid. Take this graph of trends http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:12/plot/wti/trend/plot/gistemp/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend . The last 30 years (picked as this is the starting point of the Wood for Trees temperature index, not ‘cherry picked). You can very plainly see that the trend of the last 30 years was much higher than that from the mid 18th century.

    Now we are told by the AGWists that warming has been put off 30 years or so!
    Last year, their models did not tell us that.

    Err…yes they did, in fact it was reported on WUWT in April 2008. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/04/30/a-look-at-hadcrut-global-temps-and-pdo-with-hodrick-prescott-filtering-applied/

    Notice the crusial line “Global warming will stop until at least 2015 because of natural variations in the climate, scientists have said. Researchers studying long-term changes in sea temperatures said they now expect a “lull” for up to a decade while natural variations in climate cancel out the increases caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. “

    No matter what, the Mary Hinges of our planet will continue to keep their heads deep in the sand hoping for the end of the world.

    This is again a clumsy use of a typical tactic used by disputants. By not facing up to the undeniable facts you yourself and your ilk are the ostriches in this debate. As for the ‘hoping for the end of the world’ jibe, that is not only very, very untrue, but counter to what credible scientists are trying to do, that is save the civilised world from the more extreme and unusual weather events nad climate changes that will/are happen(ing) due to AGW.

  68. DJ, and Australia have it wrong. It will not cost $6 per household per week.

    California (that state that knows ALL about global warming) has decreed that IT COSTS NOTHING AT ALL, in fact, IT SAVES MONEY to go green. In addition, new jobs are created, the economy roars, and we all sing kum-ba-yah. (I made up that last part about singing. The others are truly part of their claims).

    Here are the links:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/cc.htm

    Scoping Plan is at:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/document/scopingplandocument.htm

    Economic Assessment is here, and see Appendix G:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/document/appendix2.pdf

    Those interested can see my analyses at: (and other postings with AB 32 in the title)

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/ab-32-and-electric-power-sector.html

    I should note that independent analyses of the Scoping Plan, conducted by economic experts, showed that the Scoping Plan is hopelessly optimistic. But, California forges ahead without any regard to what the experts publicly stated.

    And Obama wants the national plan to mirror the California plan.

  69. OT, but provides context for Hakan B’s comment:

    I want remind the descendants of Vikings who view this site that the Viking culture was rather primitive until late in the 5th Century. The change came when the some Vikings rowed their boats to Ireland and met St Brendan the Navigator.

    Brendan and his monks taught the Vikings how to sail and navigate. This new found mobility unleashed Viking raider/traders on the world to do their thing.

    It is noteworthy that Brendan’s discovery of North America is well documented. His voyage was replicated by archaeologists and featured in a film produced and sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

  70. Jeff Alberts (08:52:57) :

    You know I didn’t make that up (although it ought to be (SOYbean + LENTil) SOYLENT Corp., the name of the company that manufactured the food pellets in the film “Soylent Green”.

    Here’s a review from Wikipedia. WIki sets the scene in the first sentence with a mention of global warming along with overpopulation in the year 2022 as the cause of mankind’s suffering. When I saw that I checked other reviews and none mentioned global warming using instead pollution and overpopulation. Novel was written in 1966, film made in 1973, I don’t think they had global warming in mind. Some Wiki contributor stuck it in!!!

  71. DJ (02:57:58) :

    The decline of this site continues. Playing the person – if its not Hansen is Gore if not Gore its Hansen.

    As for a cost benefit analysis – real analysis using scientific methods shows the costs of reducing CO2 are tiny – eg http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/climate-change-wont-wait-for-recessions-end-20090304-8oh6.html?page=2
    in the Australian context amounting to just $6 per household per week…. Similar results through the peer reviewed literature which you choose to ignore.

    You mean as the Australian government has chosen to ignore its rather modest promise of cuts? They have since shelved cuts “for further study”.

  72. P Folkens (23:55:22) :

    “Didn’t the new administration and the Tom Dashle book (Critical) say that the elderly use too much of the nation’s health care dollar? They suggested that those resources should be redistributed to the younger set that ostensibly has many productive years ahead rather than the resource sucking of late retirement.”

    I have an opinion which may run contrary to this concern. I’m a retired physician (got out while I still have a sense of humor). If denying health care for the elderly starts happening on a grand scale, I expect lifespan numbers to go up. It may be that the healthiest thing for old folks like me is to stay away from doctors as much as possible. Taking bushels of medications and undergoing invasive diagnostic procedures in an effort to make your lab tests approach a statistical ideal is a lousy way to live. Life can be just fine over here on the right side of the bell-shaped curve.

    If you want to live better and longer, trade your uncomfortable dining room chairs for comfy swivel office chairs. Sit down with your family at meals, talk and laugh, find out what’s going on in each others’ lives. Have a glass of wine, and just enjoy each other while you still have each other. Push your worries aside, and listen to what people are saying. Take your time. Hold your opinions until asked. Notice what good people your family members are, and what that really means.

    I’m not convinced that doctors can make you as an individual live a single day longer than your “allotted span”, but never forget: we can surely prolong your dying.
    Henry

  73. Apparently, the only government which takes this graph seriously is China’s. While we scale back our coal industry, they are accelerating development of theirs. CO2 control in the rest of the world is pointless without their cooperation, and will only result in China becoming the dominant power. Don’t we have enough economic problems without Cap and Trade?

  74. RJ Hendrickson (10:26:20) :

    Amen! And they have the whole conventional pollution thing to deal with yet before they start thinking about co2.

  75. schnurrp (10:19:19) :

    You know I didn’t make that up (although it ought to be (SOYbean + LENTil) SOYLENT Corp., the name of the company that manufactured the food pellets in the film “Soylent Green”.

    Oh I know. I saw it when it originally came out in the theaters. I would have been about 11. Seen it a few times since, great movie, if a bit (ok a LOT) dated.

  76. Henry Phipps (10:25:39) :

    I’m not convinced that doctors can make you as an individual live a single day longer than your “allotted span”, but never forget: we can surely prolong your dying.

    Enjoyed and heartily agree with your philosophical comments.

    Reminds me of the eulogy from the film “Being There” which ends “… and no accountant can audit life in our favor.” [or close to that anyway].

  77. Mary Hinge (09:50:50) :

    You seem to really believe this:
    As for the ‘hoping for the end of the world’ jibe, that is not only very, very untrue, but counter to what credible scientists are trying to do, that is save the civilised world from the more extreme and unusual weather events nad climate changes that will/are happen(ing) due to AGW.

    If I were starting my studies now, I think I would go into biology and gene studies. There is something in repetitive human behavior that calls for programming in the genes. Take the rain dances, for example. Many cultures have something similar. Greek culture has church litanies praying for rain, not so colorful as rain dances.

    I am sure that humans controlling the weather by controlling CO2 emmissions belongs to the rain dance gene.

  78. Mary Hinge thinks s/he knows exactly…

    …what credible scientists are trying to do, that is save the civilised world from the more extreme and unusual weather events nad climate changes that will/are happen(ing) due to AGW.

    Do you simply invent things as you go, MH? Like saving the ‘civilised’ world?

    click1

    click2

    click3

    Who exactly are these “credible” scientists presumably saving the world from your fictitious extreme weather events, and from entirely natural climate changes? Can you name them?

    And please provide empirical evidence that AGW is significant enough to be measurable. If you can do that, you’ll be the first. Otherwise, you’re simply another frightened person needlessly alarmed by non-existent “what ifs,” such as entirely natural weather events and normal, natural climate changes.

  79. Mary Hinge:
    “Get thee to a school” – a school where they teach analysis and where they encourage you to understand data sources and production. That woodpress graph you offered to show that “the trend of the last 30 years was much higher than that from the mid 18th century” is quite meaningless. If you would look at the warming trend from about 1910 to about 1940, you would find a similar rapid increase. In a fluctuating line, you can expect to find periods of rapid growth. It is quite meaningless to say that the last 30 years have been faster than the long term trend unless the previous trend had been monotonic. And there are many reasons why one would expect increases in the last thirty years: on land, there are micro siting issues in addition to UHI. Also, land use changes impact changes to the positive direction. Moreover, those thirty years are characterized by positive phases of the PDO and AMO. (Some would also point out that solar energy in various possible ways positively impacted temperature in this time frame although I think that issue is far less clear.) And, please observe: I am a believer that the CO2-induced warming effect in laboratory experiments will still be true to some extent in the chaotic real atmosphere. But so far, we lack evidence that the feedbacks will be positive and that the CO2 impacts will swamp natural variation. (For the record, I’m not confident that we have an accurate handle on the long-term Global Mean Temperature, but this GMT term is commonly used in AGW discussions, so I use it in this post.)

  80. As far as life expectancy goes modern plumbing has contributed a significant percentage of the gains.

    http://plumbing.1800anytyme.com/info/history_of_plumbing.php

    Particularly important was the 1876 publication of George Waring’s landmark book, The Sanitary Drainage of Houses and Towns, along with various other books and articles explaining how to correctly design plumbing systems that worked the way they were supposed to. And thus began the good life as we know it today. Famed physician-writer, the late Dr. Lewis Thomas, former Chancellor of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, wrote in 1984: “There is no question that our health has improved spectacularly in the past century…One thing seems certain: It did not happen because of medicine, or medical science or even the presence of doctors.
    Much of the credit should go to the plumbers and engineers of the Western world. The contamination of drinking water by human feces was at one time the single greatest cause of human disease and death for us; it remains so, along with starvation and malaria, for the Third World type Countries. Typhoid fever, cholera and dysentery were the chief threats to survival in the early years of the 19th century, mainly in New York City and highly crowded and populated areas, and when the plumbers and sanitary engineers had done their work in the construction of our cities these diseases began to vanish.”

    Dr. Thomas also said, “One of my key points is to criticize our country’spolicy of building high-tech medical facilities in underdeveloped countries. What would benefit the Third World much more is decent plumbing.”

    I would add that the chlorination of our drinking water was a large part of it too…

    Mike Bryant

  81. Jeff Alberts (10:49:51) :

    It is a shop-worn idea, “man mis-uses earth, suffers consequences” but the idea that some contributor to Wiki felt it necessary to blame global warming updates it to a certain extent. I thought Edward G. Robinson was great in this film, evidently his last.

  82. Smokey (11:08:26) :
    So can you and your ~snip~ explain why temperatures are rising now, when all the indicators you and your minions spout out would mean the earth should be cooling rapidly?
    Amongst the theories put forward on this site to explain why the earth should be cooling are low sun spot numbers/ solar minimum; -ive PDO; ENSO, whilst not a La Nina is very close. All of these should, according to what has been said on this site, be causing the earth to cool….it isn’t, so can you explain why this is happening?

    anna v (11:02:43) :
    I am sure that humans controlling the weather by controlling CO2 emmissions belongs to the rain dance gene.

    I am trying to remove the image from my mind of an ostrich doing a rain dance! Take your head out of the sand and you might enjoy better rhythm.

  83. Mary Hinge,
    We’re not going to drink your Climate Kool Aid.
    Forget it.
    C’mon! You seriously believe we can regulate the climate by adjusting a few ppm of one single (small) climate factor? That’s utter crackpot science.

    You people scare the living bejesus out of me, truly.
    And you’re also scaring the financial markets. Have you been watching the world stock markets? They got no confidence in you social engineering crackpots. It’s nothing less than WAR ON BUSINESS.

    My view is that 33% precent drop in the stock market is far worse for humanity than the 33% CO2 increase we’ve had.
    Anthony’s graph proves it. I’m sorry but you kooks are really out to lunch on this issue.

  84. E.M.Smith (01:37:17) :
    That period around 1970 is mighty interesting.

    Look at the period circa 1987. That’s when the speed limit increased to 70 mph. I can’t recall the figure, but it increased oil consumption immensely.

    DJ (02:57:58) :
    in the Australian context amounting to just $6 per household per week…. Similar results through the peer reviewed literature which you choose to ignore.

    Actually, we know exactly what it will cost in the U.S., and you’re way off.
    In Obama’s budget is a plan to raise $650/yr billion with cap and trade. Assuming 300 million population gives $2166 per person. Average houshold size around 3.5 gives $7583. Guess you missed that.

  85. Pierre Gosselin (12:16:20) :
    And you’re also scaring the financial markets.

    Yet another cheap tactic, don’t you have any relevant arguments rather than this misinformation?

    My view is that 33% precent drop in the stock market is far worse for humanity than the 33% CO2 increase we’ve had.
    Anthony’s graph proves it.

    Your sort of logic is fresh out of Monty Python’s ‘Sex is more fun than logic’!
    Anthony’s graph proves what? Your argument is the worst sort of logic, for those who don’t know the Monty Python sketch about logical fallacies etc, here it is http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/~rafe/sexlogic.html

  86. “All of these should, according to what has been said on this site, be causing the earth to cool….it isn’t, so can you explain…” [etc., etc.]

    Mary, please. When you start with a false premise, then your conclusion is false.

    The planet’s temperature is flat to cooling. It is not warming:

    click1

    click2

    click3

    Have we now reached the point where climate alarmists simply state their opinion that there is continuing global warming, regardless of the facts?

  87. Pierre Gosselin: “My view is that 33% precent drop in the stock market is far worse for humanity than the 33% CO2 increase we’ve had.” You are right, but
    Humanity is too many: These figures will be restricted to the greenier countries. You get everything already: A “convenient” armageddon, and even not one but several “anti-christs” :).

  88. Smokey (13:10:30) :

    Try and look at the picture prior to your cherry picked date graphs.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl

    Notice how the temperature varies along the upward trend, sometimes its down sometimes its up. There was a short term cooling trend in the late ’90’s but the temperature kept going up. Eyeballing the graph you can see we are coming out of the La Nina induced cool spell, temperatures are indeed up.
    Just to show you what I mean about ‘cherry picking’ notice the date line discrepancies on the icecap graph. A simple check with the graph shows it only goes to mid 2008, not the 2009 it suggests.

  89. Mary, please. When you start with a false premise, then your conclusion is false.
    Um, no, this is not true, Smokey. False premises can lead to correct conclusions (not that hers is). Of course, a false premise followed by a correct conclusion in no way makes the premise any less false. There is a brief article on it at the Wiki if you wish to head over there.

    Mark

  90. Mary,
    Hadn’t you noticed? Do we all have to spell it out in words of one syllable?
    There-has-been-no-global-warming-for-at-least-the-last-six-years.
    Now I happen to believe that that might be due to natural fluctuations just as I believe that the warming in the early part of the 20th century and again in the latter part of the 20th century was due to natural fluctuations.
    If you prefer to believe that the late 20th century warming was anthropogenic and not natural then logically (and you love logic, as we know) you must also accept that the current stable or cooling trend is also anthropogenic.
    Where the warm-mongers get it wrong is in their view that every increase in temperature is a sign of AGW; every pause or reverse in warming is either bad data or a slight pause that they were expecting anyway or lies or as Tom in Texas just said, stick your fingers in your ears and hope it’ll go away.
    I’m no scientist; never have been. But I’ve learnt enough in my 60 years to know scaremongering when I hear it and to know vested interests when they try and con me. (I’ll let you into the secret; it’s when they refuse to debate with me and tell me that “the science is settled” and that if I disagree I’m a denier or a shill.)
    How about you break the mould, Mary, and come up with some facts? Just the facts, ma’am.
    Oh! and while you’re at it, have a look at this and be afraid.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/printable/6320/

  91. Great link, Sam. Now I understand my denial is a sickness, and can only be cured by proper treatment. Maybe Mary and DJ can develop a 12 point program for us to follow.

  92. Yawn. Another attempt to define a possible correlation as a causation. The chart actually shows NO correlation between life expectancy and either coal consumption or CO2 emissions. Unless they all kind of go upwards, most of the time, sort of, except differently counts as statistically relevant.

    Backpedaling a bit by saying that the life expectancy increase “was enabled in one way or another by the prosperity fueled in large part by coal and fossil fuel consumption” is rather slippery too. You could make a much stronger argument that improvements in public sanitation alone would be a better fit. Not to mention those other energy-irrelevant areas like medicine, diet, “old-fashioned” pollution, education, etc.

    Indur M. Goklany’s “eyeball analyzer” needs a bias re-calibration.

    Nothing to say about the rants here in the comments about taxes, killing old people, AGW believers are stupid unlike “us”, and “Obama!!”. Maybe… irrelevant and tired?

  93. Mary Hinge, something I’ve wondered is why for trends we look at 30 years?

    Why not 3 or 300 or 3000 or 30000 ?

    I gather some solar theories suggest we should be looking at cycles on the order of 200 years. And I gather a colleague of Mann’s wrote a book suggesting man’s influence on climate was detectable since the dawn of agriculture on the order of 10000 years.

    Somebody somewhere chose 30 years. And if we have cooling for another 15 then maybe they should be talking about 60 years. Or longer. Or less. Or whatever.

    Someone chose 30. Do you know why?

  94. Sam the Skeptic (13:50:30) :
    Mary,
    Hadn’t you noticed? Do we all have to spell it out in words of one syllable?
    There-has-been-no-global-warming-for-at-least-the-last-six-years

    How many syllables?

  95. 1)We admitted we were powerless over our denial—that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2)We came to believe that Gore could restore us to sanity.
    3)We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Gore as we understood Him.
    4)We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    5)We admitted to Gore, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    6)We were entirely ready to have Gore remove all these defects of character.
    7)We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    8)We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9)We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    10)We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
    11)We sought through reeducation and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Gore as we understood Him, asking only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
    12)Since we have had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to deniers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    Fight the damnable warmth!!!

  96. Thank you, Mike. I feel the need to rent and watch An Inconvenient Truth, sell my SUV, and walk to the commissary to buy low watt light bulbs. I will conquer my disease.

  97. Ben Lawson (14:33:17) :
    It was James Hansen who likened coal to death camps. The chart shows that although the use of coal increased, the rate of deaths decreased. James Hansen has once again made wildly inaccurate claims. Why don’t you take correlation/causation issue up with him?

  98. In reply to Stefan: The number 30 was picked for statistical reasons, comparing the
    ” t ” distribution to the “normal” distrribution. Assuming a “normally” distributed population, and a given standard deviation, an event in a one tailed distribution happening only 5% of the time by chance fluctuations would have a standard deviation from the norm of about 1.645.
    Using a sample of 3, you’d need a standard deviation of a bout 2.35 before you could say the deviation was significant. That higher number goes down the more observations you rely on, until you get to 30, when the standard deviation for the “t” test for 5% significance is about 1.70, reasonably close to the 1.645 figure for an “infinite” sample.

    Of course, the average temperatures in connecting years are NOT random. If this year is really cold, chances are that next year will also be cooler than average.
    If the correlation between this years temperature is about 20%, , your EFFECTIVE sample size is only

    (1-.2)/(1+.2) = 0.66, so instead of a 30 year sample, you need 45 years or more, otherwise your making unjustifiable statements on the probability of your distribution. You’re saying the event will happen only 5% by chance, when the REAL probability is more like 6 or 7%

    That correction for autocorrelation only works for SMALL correlations. When you get big numbers like 50% correlation, that (1-.5)/(1+.5) =.33, implying you need a sample size of 90, may not work. Even with a sample size of 90 you can’t be too sure that you’r results are reliable. A more reliable technique in this case would be to get a good estimate of the time factor required- for the case of 90- implying you need to triple your sample size, you instead sample every third year.

  99. Stefano (05:56:43) wrote a post including: “Which is in itself already a homocentric stance; we are not humans separate from the planet and separate from Nature. We ARE Nature.”

    A very fine piece, Stefano, which I applaud. Thank you.

  100. Sorry, Moose. I’ll go down to the government commissary and put my name on the list to make my presentation to the federal bureau of low watt bulbs which bulbs I will receive “free” according to my needs.

  101. Mary,

    Your English and your link to that Monty Python sketch are worth more than any of the arguments for or against the dreaded AGW!

    Regards,

    Larry Kirk

  102. Jim (06:23:00) wrote: “Why do we pick on CO2 as being ‘bad’?”

    Because it can be measured, partly attributed to man, and therefore taxed, Jim.

  103. Mary Hinge (15:02:30) :

    ” Sam the Skeptic (13:50:30) :
    Mary,
    Hadn’t you noticed? Do we all have to spell it out in words of one syllable?
    There-has-been-no-global-warming-for-at-least-the-last-six-years

    How many syllables?”

    Mary, we’re all just digital here, just electron dreams in a recently formatted storage matrix. All of our comments are just ones-and-zeros.

    Henry, who doesn’t find being a zero much of a handicap after all.

  104. Henry Phipps (10:25:39). Thank you for that wonderful post, Henry. I am travelling on your slope of the bell-shaped curve and wholly endorse your sentiments and have gained from your having written them here.

  105. Ben Lawson,

    I think you missed the main point.Here is a quote about what James Hansen stated:

    “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

    Indur stated a question:

    “So what’s happened to US life expectancy as the number of coal fired death factories have multiplied and as the climate has gotten warmer?”

    The Chart showed that DESPITE decades of increasing use of Coal.We are on average living longer than ever.

    Indur goes on with this:

    “As the above figure shows, US life expectancy at birth increased by 30.5 years, from 47.3 years to 77.8 years, between 1900 and 2005, while coal usage more than tripled. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2005 were nearly nine times the 1900 levels. And, of course, the climate has also gotten warmer (not shown). To appreciate the magnitude of this improvement in life expectancy, consider that the approximate life expectancy in pre-industrial societies varied from 25-35 years.”

    It seems very clear that we are not hurting from the use of Coal.A primary source of electrical power.

    Thus what James Hansen claims is nonsense.

    I wonder how you can come up with a very different conclusion?

  106. April E. Coggins: “Why don’t you take correlation/causation issue up with [Hansen]”. Hansen isn’t making a correlation, Goklany is, and poorly. Hansen was extrapolating, which may or may not be useful, but even nose picking habits have implications for mortality rates. Ask an actuary.

    Alan D. McIntire: “The number 30 was picked for statistical reasons”. Start again. You’re trying to justify applying random sampling concepts to sequential data. You can’t. Good insight into your logic though.

    sunsettommy: Goklany’s claims stand on their own as false. There’s a whole fleet of obvious, direct and powerful reasons why life expectancy is rising. If the only conclusion you can draw is that coal ain’t hurtin’ no-one, lets just say you’re starting from a conclusion and working backwards. Or do you think Dr. Hansen is suggesting that people will start choking to death on actual lumps of coal?

  107. The analysis in the base note of this thread is a small example of what can be found in ” The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet” by Indur Goklany . His use of statistics is the fairest I have seen. Almost always he uses all the data that is available, and he explains the very few exceptions. When there is more than one source of data, he uses the source that his analysis debunks. It is a great source of accurate information about many controversial topics.

  108. Mike Bryant (15:07:33) :

    Mike, thanks. Hilarious, sobering (really), and a little terrifying.
    Roger Carr (19:14:42) :
    Thanks for your kind thoughts.
    Mary Hinge:
    I want you to know how much all of us Grampas appreciate your efforts to re-educate us. Most of us have been proven immune to liberal-speak, but we like the thrill of raw emotionalism at our stage of life. Grandma is telling me to shut up.

    Henry

  109. Mary Hinge (12:10:04) :
    Amongst the theories put forward on this site to explain why the earth should be cooling are low sun spot numbers/ solar minimum; -ive PDO; ENSO, whilst not a La Nina is very close. All of these should, according to what has been said on this site, be causing the earth to cool….it isn’t, so can you explain why this is happening?

    anna v (11:02:43) :
    I am sure that humans controlling the weather by controlling CO2 emmissions belongs to the rain dance gene.

    I am trying to remove the image from my mind of an ostrich doing a rain dance! Take your head out of the sand and you might enjoy better rhythm.

    Sad. You must not realize how the caricature applies to yourself like a glove, just from your statement above that ignores natural cycles and the cooling that has started.

  110. Ben Lawson (14:33:17) :

    Yawn. Another attempt to define a possible correlation as a causation. The chart actually shows NO correlation between life expectancy and either coal consumption or CO2 emissions. Unless they all kind of go upwards, most of the time, sort of, except differently counts as statistically relevant.

    Backpedaling a bit by saying that the life expectancy increase “was enabled in one way or another by the prosperity fueled in large part by coal and fossil fuel consumption” is rather slippery too. You could make a much stronger argument that improvements in public sanitation alone would be a better fit. Not to mention those other energy-irrelevant areas like medicine, diet, “old-fashioned” pollution, education, etc.”

    Public sanitation could be applied because there was enough energy available to apply it. All improved solutions in human societies take extra energy to be applied. Without the cheap energy available to the western societies, we would be at the same level as the third world countries on all counts. energy=money really.

  111. Roger: “…and we all sing kum-ba-yah. (I made up that last part about singing…”

    I’ll try to break this to you gently, Roger. Kumbaya *is* part of the plan. Even as we converse the White House is working on a directive that will require the recitation of at least three verses per day by every American.

    Believe me, I’m as gutted about this imposition as you are, but we all have to make sacrifices for Holy Mother Earth, and aesthetic preference is simply no excuse not to participate in this sacred communal activity.

    On the positive side, those with elitist musical tastes might be able to secure permission to pay for a proxy to perform the service.

    In the meantime, after me: “Something’s warming, Lord…”

  112. L Kirk (18:45:49) :
    Mary,
    Your English and your link to that Monty Python sketch are worth more than any of the arguments for or against the dreaded AGW!

    If you liked that skecth you must dust down your record turntable and buy the vinyl version of ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail-Executive Version’. Full of some of the best material the team wrote.

    Henry Phipps (20:42:46) :
    Mary Hinge:
    I want you to know how much all of us Grampas appreciate your efforts to re-educate us.

    It’s a pleasure and all part of the MH service ;-)

    anna v (20:57:06) :
    Sad. You must not realize how the caricature applies to yourself like a glove, just from your statement above that ignores natural cycles and the cooling that has started.

    I’m afraid you’re wrong (again). I knew exactly what you were trying to say, I was merely reversing your proposition, thus presenting a more accurate picture of the situation.

  113. anna v (21:31:12) :
    Public sanitation could be applied because there was enough energy available to apply it.

    Errr, so what about the Romans? Marvelous race the Romans………….

  114. Only the very wealthy Romans had plumbing, and their lead pipes may have contributed to their fall. Their life expectancy never approached our lofty numbers.

  115. Public sanitation costs money. A lot of money. That is why many Third World countries still lack it. Cheap energy is what enables many, many life saving, and life extending technologies. Life expectancy followed the labor saving technologies enabled by coal. Google “coal” to see how it was regarded a hundred years ago.
    By the way, If the Romans had had access to coal, gasoline and the internal combustion, we would still be speaking Latin. Sorry Mary, that one don’t fly either.

  116. Here’s one:

    Coal is a portable climate. It carries the heat of the tropics to Labrador and the polar circle; and it is the means of transporting itself whithersoever it is wanted. Watt and Stephenson whispered in the ear of mankind their secret, that a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta, and with its comfort brings its industrial power.
    Emerson, Ralph Waldo

  117. The degree to which a society can support people in the sciences, engineering, military, business, arts, and (yes) government is directly related to the amount of surplus resources available, once the basic needs of the population (food and simple housing) are taken care of. It was the utilization of fossil fuels, principally coal, that leveraged human effort, made the industrial revolution possible, and created the conditions we see today, where only a small percentage of the population is engaged in providing the basic necessities of life. It is somewhat simplistic, but the evolution of culture can be seen as the evolution of energy utilization (see the works of Marvin Harris).

    For us to eschew the use of coal, of which we still have plenty, without an economical substitute, and to do so on the highly dubious ground that CO2 emissions present a hazard for the future, would be the height of self-destructive folly. For the next century, the growth of the American and world economies is going to depend on increasing the amount of energy we generate, from every source, especially coal.

    /Mr Lynn

  118. Mary Hinge

    I have asked you and Joel nicely several times before on what basis you believe global temperature data back to 1850 has any scientific validity. If I ask you nicely again can you explain how a tiny number of unreliable, random, constantly chaging stations should be used to underpin what is supposed to be a scientific theory? Thank you.

    TonyB

  119. the solutions are so easy: stop industrialization. oops! that already happened, it’s called global recession. humans should take a hint about their activities and in general, get smarter about living on the planet earth.

  120. Before responding to Ben Lawson (14:33:17; 20:20:50), I must thank Sunsettommy, April Coggins, anna v, Mike Bryant, Chuck Bradley, Mr Lynn, Stefan, and others who either came to my defense or tried to educate Ben by pointing out the errors in his ways, etc.

    Ben Lawson’s suggestion that improvements in public sanitation, medicines, nutrition, education, etc. may have a better fit to improvements in life expectancy than coal usage or CO2 emissions, may or may not be correct — more on this below — but his claim that I claimed a correlation or causation between coal usage or CO2 emissions is simply incorrect. Specifically what I said was that

    “According to my eyeball analyzer there seems
    to be a better correlation between life expectancy and coal use (and CO2 emissions) or their logarithms than that between temperature increase (either for the US or the world) on the one hand and, on the other hand, coal use (and CO2 emissions) or their logarithms.” [Emphasis added.]

    But let’s not belabor the nuances of the English language, and turn instead to the broader issue of the proximate causes of the increases in life expectancy. To quote from the original post:

    “While the increase in life expectancy is not directly due to greater coal use or CO2 emissions, much of it was enabled in one way or another by the prosperity fueled in large part by coal and fossil fuel consumption …” [Emphasis added.]

    The above makes no claim that either coal or CO2 usage is the proximate cause – that’s an inference that Ben Lawson jumped to on his own. But it does claim that whatever agencies caused it, they were “enabled” by coal/fossil fuel use.

    What precisely do I mean by “enabled”? Let’s elucidate in the context of some of the possible causes of higher life expectancy listed by Ben.

    First, Ben mentioned sanitation. And I agree it’s an important factor. In fact, I would lump it with safe water (because one of the major functions of sanitation is to reduce water contamination so that it is more fit for human consumption or human contact). But what enables sanitation and access to safe water to consumers?

    With respect to sanitation, waste water has to be collected, then treated and, finally, discharged. With respect to safe water, water has also to be collected, treated and then delivered to consumers. In most places, collecting and moving water requires an expenditure of energy to run pumps and other equipment (unless one is fortunate to be in one of the few locations where gravity does the entire trick). Energy is also needed to operate many of the processes employed in sanitation and water treatment plants. In the U.S., more likely than not, energy consumption means fossil fuels, and if there were no fossil fuel energy, there would be fewer central sanitation and water treatment plants.

    Next, let’s consider nutrition, which I would lump together with food. Indeed without sufficient food, our immune systems would be compromised and mortality would be higher for all age groups. But what makes it possible to grow and distribute sufficient food and nutrition to the population? A short list includes nitrogen fertilizer (remember the Haber Process?), transportation of agricultural inputs from producers to farmers, transportation of agricultural outputs from farmers to the eventual consumers, and farm machinery. Each of these is enabled by fossil fuels. Without them, farmers would not have enough surplus food to meet the demands of the total population, and many more of us would be hungry, malnourished and susceptible to death and disease. Also, absent energy consumption, there would be virtually no fresh produce outside of the growing season which, of course, is a recipe for poor nutrition.

    Third, let’s examine education. [I would generalize this to “human capital,” which is indeed a critical factor.] We are all more knowledgeable, although not necessarily better educated (he says with a smile), in part because we have cheap and good lighting at our disposal. Without such lighting (made possible by electricity or fossil fuels such as gas, propane, or oil once we got beyond whale oil and tallow), there would be fewer hours in the day that we could put to good use. Without fossil fuels, primary and secondary education would probably not have been K-to-12 but K-to-15 or K-to-16 to impart students with the same amount of information. Of course, without fossil fuels, chances are that children wouldn’t have either the time or the (personal) energy to get a lot of education, particularly considering all the hours they would have had to spend doing chores, raising crops, cutting wood for fuel, drawing water, feeding the animals that would literally have been the workhorses on the farm, washing clothes by hand, etc. In fact, without cheap and readily available energy, the labor of children would be a critical asset for survival of the family that wouldn’t be allowed to go to waste. Children would be put to work as soon as they could to watch over a goat, feed the horses, lift a bag, or sow a sock. Getting an education wouldn’t be at the top of the “to-do” list for children. [Has it occurred to you, Ben, why child labor, for example, exists in poor agrarian societies, but I digress.]

    Moreover, it takes lots of energy to make paper, without which most of us wouldn’t have text books or notepaper which until very recently were absolutely critical to education. Today we may be able to get by through reliance on computers and IT, but that too is enabled by cheap and accessible energy. Similarly, energy is critical to manufacturing lunch boxes that children drag to school, whether they are made of aluminum, plastic or cardboard. Trivial as this may seem, the notion that adequate sustenance is critical to education is a cardinal rationale for the school lunch program. Notably, manufacture of paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic are among the most energy-intensive industries.

    Fourth, let’s consider medicines and, more generally, medical advances. How do the medicines that we consume get to us? That requires transportation (and energy consumption). Did your mother, Ben, deliver you in the relatively safe and clean environment of a hospital? How did she get there, and bring you back? Ever been in a hospital without a physical plant? Would you go to a hospital that lacked electricity? Why do hospitals generally have back-up power in case of emergency? Without readily accessible and cheap energy, access to medicines would be poorer, and medical establishments wouldn’t function as well as they do (or don’t, depending on your point of view).

    Virtually anything that one consumes is associated with some energy consumption, if for no reason other than the fact that unless one grows or makes it oneself, relatively cheap transportation is necessarily involved. And even if one grows or makes it on site, energy probably was used in its production. Even our loved ones contain some energy, because they are built from the food they consume, which as already noted, requires energy. Similarly, virtually everything that one does requires electricity or some other form of energy. And in the U.S., energy is and has been for over a century almost synonymous with fossil fuels (barring the portion that nuclear contributes). Hence it’s accurate to say that whatever the proximate causes of the increases in life expectancy from 1900 to 2005, none of them would have operated without ample use of coal or other fossil fuels.

    Finally, I should note that there is a relatively good correlation between life expectancy and the logarithm of GDP per capita, as noted in the book, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives, etc. And GDP per capita is not unrelated to energy use.

    Incidentally, the factors discussed above are noted in that book as significant contributors to the “Cycle of Progress” which enables — that word again — economic development, and increases in human capital and technological prowess that have helped improve our standard of living (including life expectancy).

  121. Yes, thank you Indur Goklany. Well written and refreshing to read. Positive themes seem to be getting rarer to find.

    I had to sheepishly smile at myself when I noticed something that probably everyone else had already figured out.

    For correlation/causation to work in this example, the average life expectancy would have to increase to 142.5 years for the coal increase and a whopping 427.5 years for the CO2 increase.
    Of course being mere mortals, our bodies have limitations that even coal cannot overcome.

    But it is clear that coal is not a killer, rather the efficient energy that coal produces allows us to live longer, richer lives.

  122. This is true, but the fact that most of us ignore is the fact that the misanthropes don’t care about the improved human condition. Rememeber, we are destructive parasites of the earth to the Gaia worshippers. They want us eliminated, ergo movies and TV shows about what life would be like without humans.

    Articles like this enrage the sociopath misanthropists, because they hate all humanity except for themselves.

  123. “Articles like this enrage the sociopath misanthropists, because they hate all humanity except for themselves.”

    Truth be told, they probably hate themselves, too. Psychological projection takes care of the rest of it.

  124. “Truth be told, they probably hate themselves, too.”

    If they hated themselves, they’d all off themselves to lead the way to a “healthier” planet. Seeing that they refuse to do so implies to my feeble, conservative mind that they hate others but love themselves. Or they think they’ll be spared in any economy-choking carbon free regime.

  125. Indur,
    Thanks for the article and the follow up in comments. Her’s hoping that you have much more success with your studies, and that you will be able to endure the slings and arrows that will continue to come your way.

  126. Indur Goklany (20:24:13) :

    Excellent post, and good summary of the enormous benefits that cheap and accessible energy bring to human society and development.

    If the Luddites demonstrating in DC the other day, not to mention the millions more who are gulled into thinking that just turning off the lights is going to ‘save the planet’, have their way, we will be forced back to the days of back-breaking poverty, poor sanitation, and rampant disease—and the elimination of probably 9/10ths of the human population.

    We need to counter these fools. “Drill here! Drill now!” had some brief popularity back during the Presidential campaign when gasoline crested $4 a gallon. But already that is forgotten. We need a political party that will not kowtow to the Luddites, but will campaign forcefully and constantly for more energy, more prosperity, more growth, and the continued evolution of technological man. The Solar System, and eventually the stars, await, but not for the timid.

    /Mr Lynn

  127. “While the increase in life expectancy is not directly due to greater coal use or CO2 emissions, much of it was enabled in one way or another by the prosperity fueled in large part by coal and fossil fuel consumption …”

    The above makes no claim that either coal or CO2 usage is the proximate cause – that’s an inference that Ben Lawson jumped to on his own. But it does claim that whatever agencies caused it, they were “enabled” by coal/fossil fuel use.

    If there is “no claim” then why do you put them on the same chart? You are simply talking around my arguments.

    I have a great appreciation for technology it is various forms and agree that our prosperity is highly dependent on energy resources. The problem is that fossil fuel usage has consequences that may undermine the benefit you so loosely assign to them.

  128. Nothing is either all good or all bad; there are always trade-offs.

    For instance, ethanol puts about 50% more emissions into the atmosphere per mile driven than the true “green” fuel, gasoline.

    In fact, there is nothing more efficient than fossil fuels for heating and transportation. Coal stack scrubbers remove almost every bit of soot and other pollutants. The only real emission is CO2, which, despite false claims to the contrary, is beneficial to the environment.

    We can debate the well known “consequences” of fossil fuels, versus the very real effects of the alternatives that are, in most cases, worse and much more expensive.

  129. Ben Lawson (14:25:19):
    “If there is ‘no claim’ then why do you put them [coal use, CO2 emissions, life expectancy]on the same chart? You are simply talking around my arguments.”

    Response:
    (1) Recall that this all started with Hansen’s claims likening coal use and CO2 emissions to agents of death. What I was doing was pointing out that despite increases in coal use and CO2 emissions, life expectancy had gone up.
    (2) Let me repeat, I don’t claim that either coal or CO2 usage are the proximate causes of the increases in life expectancy, but I do claim that whatever agencies caused it, they were enabled by coal/fossil fuel use.

    Ben Lawson (14:25:19):
    “I have a great appreciation for technology it is various forms and agree that our prosperity is highly dependent on energy resources. The problem is that fossil fuel usage has consequences that may undermine the benefit you so loosely assign to them.”

    Response: Sure, fossil fuel usage has some pernicious consequences but, on its face, the continual long term improvement in life expectancy (and many other indicators of human well-being) suggest that the negative consequences are overwhelmed by the aggregate benefit. As Smokey (14:43:33) notes, “Nothing is either all good or all bad; there are always trade-offs.” And in this case despite the trade-offs, humanity is far better off for having access to cheaper forms of concentrated energy. One has to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Finally, note I won’t be around the next few days to respond to any comments. Thanks nonetheless.

Comments are closed.