A Canadian's view on CO2 and the economy

bread_line

Photo: (not part of original article) bread lines of the great depression – coming again?

Climate change: Less CO2, less jobs. It’s that simple.

03-16-2009 NIGEL HANNAFORD

If you want to know what an economy that pumps out less carbon dioxide is like, look at Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Factories closed, growing numbers of jobless, people driving less because they have nowhere to go, government deficits.

As it happens, it’s the U.S. debt crisis that’s done it to us. When the air comes out of the tires of your biggest trading, look out.

However, it’s also what a well-meaning climate-change lobby felt was pain worth risking for the sake of the planet, when it recommended a regimen of emission caps and/or carbon taxes to reduce C02 emissions in Canada.

How do you like it so far?

Not so much, at this desk.

This is not the whole story as it doesn’t include coal and natural gas, but there are some provocative specifics in a recent Statistics Canada document. The Supply and Disposition of Refined Petroleum Products in Canada, was published in November 2008, coincidentally a good month to review because it’s both the latest month for which figures are available and also the month when Canadians watching the American meltdown first noticed they might have a problem of their own. For, it was in November 2008 that retail fell off a cliff – especially car sales – joblessness started to climb, and the federal government was forced to revisit its economic forecasts. No more chat about balanced budgets, and so forth.

So, what do these numbers show?

Well, in Canada as a whole, domestic sales of all refined petroleum products were down five per cent in November 2008, over November 2007.

Refined petroleum products is a statistical category that includes gasoline, diesel, butane, petro-chemical feedstocks, asphalt, av-gas and a number of other things too numerous to detail. It’s not a perfect marker for industrial activity, because some industry runs off nuclear and hydro power, especially in central Canada. However, it’s good enough to indicate a trend: If there is less diesel being used, for example, there are probably less trucks on the road, because there is less reason for them to be there.

So, for Ontario and Quebec, it’s not good news that its fuel use is down slightly more than the national average in November, at 5.5 and 5.6 per cent reductions year over year respectively.

And it is especially not good news for Alberta, which is down more than seven per cent.

Ontario and Quebec are down because their manufacturing industries are in trouble.

But, what’s Alberta’s excuse? In some ways it would be a relief to spot some dramatic decline in a line item, thereby isolating the problem. Unfortunately though, the decline is across the board, suggesting a general slowing of the Alberta economy. Ouch.

All this is good news however, if you are part of the super-active climate-change lobby promoting the idea that human activity is generating so much carbon dioxide that the atmosphere is warming. (With the likely consequence of polar melting, rising sea levels and the widespread distress caused by human dislocation, etc.) A rough and dirty calculation of Canada using 445,000 cubic metres of various refined petroleum products less in November 2008, over 2007, is a reduction in CO2 emissions of 1.6 million tonnes. Annualize that kind of a reduction in fuel use and you’re looking at something like 20 million tonnes less C02 in 2009, if the recession doesn’t turn.

However, don’t cheer too quickly. In 2006, (Environment Canada’s most recent published figures,) Canadian emissions were 721 million tonnes of greenhouse gas equivalent. Take this hard-won 20 million tonnes of CO2 off the total, and it’s still just over 700 million tonnes. Meanwhile Al Gore’s true believers want to take it all the way down to Canada’s Kyoto target of 558.4 Mt.

We have a long way to go, then.

Point: If this is what an economy producing 20 million tonnes less of CO2 looks like, how prosperous will one be that contracts enough to shed a further 141.6 Mt.?

Happily governments of both parties have quietly acknowledged the suicidal nature of CO2 restrictions that actually produce significantly less CO2, (as opposed to simply making business pay carbon levies for the privilege of carrying on business-as-usual.) They have also acknowledged in their budgetary allocations, that so-called green industries are no compensation. One has to manufacture an awful lot of windmills to nudge the gross domestic product.

For that at least we can be thankful. The pity of it all however, is that when the history books of 2109 are published, their writers will express amazement that men ever thought their capacity to initiate climate change was greater than the natural forces that in the last 30,000 years first covered this continent with ice two kilometres thick, saw it recede, and allowed sea levels to fluctuate 100 metres.

If this recession does nothing else, it should bring home to all Canadians the supreme importance of not letting alarmists have their way with the economy.

This is what it would be like.

But, worse.

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110 thoughts on “A Canadian's view on CO2 and the economy

  1. Any job openings in the green lobby. I wonder what their average pay is at the organizer level and above?

  2. I had a discussion about this subject with a few Canadian friends who had the ‘we’re superior to you because we don’t emit as much CO2 and how can you (US) be so bad to emit sso much CO2’ attitude. I pointed out that their stance was hypocritical as long as they profited from the sale of petroleum products to the US that enabled the emission of the CO2 to make products that they then buy from us.
    If they REALLY want to take a stand about CO2 they should leave the oil/tar sand in the ground and refuse to sell it anymore. But that would cripple the Canadian economy and government revenue streams so I suspect they most likely won’t. My Canadian friends said as much.

  3. I think I’ll get into the business of selling carbon offsets. My business model will be to charge well-meaning enviomental-nuts to pay me to plant trees and shrubs. This will create employment, save the planet, make the greenies feel good about all the electricity they use, and make my yard will look GREAT!

  4. Worldwide recession has probably already done what years of carbon trading couldn’t hope to do. Now I’m waiting for SOMEONE in the US to add up all that fuel that isn’t being burned and report on it.

  5. The Canadians have a serious problem.
    Their Prime Minister Harper was elected because he opposed CO2 mitigation taxes.
    After a meeting with Obama stated that he was committed to a “Green Pact”, based on the USA policies.
    Another case of broken promises?

  6. The way politics usually works is that once a bad idea is entrenched (as CO2 reduction is), there will be backdoor loopholes for the politically connected while the rest of the population is diverted from the true cause of their problems. This will happen because opposition politicians will be fearful of challenging the paradigm that is reinforced by an ignorant or complicit media. The public at large won’t understand who’s at fault and how to fix it.
    It’s why real political change comes by revolution rather than progression – just the opposite of what is taught, of course. People are weird.

  7. It is great to finally see someone put a true “cost” on CO2 reduction. Unfortunately, most people don’t take a serious look at an issue or their habits until their wallet is involved.
    The end product of all of this nonsense is further economic crisis with dramatic price increases for the “middle class” folk who politicians always claim they are helping in the end.

  8. How much CO2 would be produced making the resins to fabricate enough composite windmill blades to replace the energy loss from the annual reduction in fossile fuel energy needed to cut some 180 Mt of CO2 emmisions needed to meet our Kyoto targets?

  9. This has nothing to do with the post, but it should be noted that the photograph above is not of a depression-related breadline, but, rather, of a breadline in the aftermath of a catastrophic flood.

  10. I am afraid that the false claims that CO2 causes GW, espoused by the Environmental Movement, have done irreversible damage to the US economy. Not even the thundering sound of freedom of ten thousand Harleys will suffice to reverse the harm that has been done.
    The false claims that CO2 cause GW can only be dispelled by educating people. CO2 does not cause GW or any kind of warming for that matter. CO2 causes cooling. When you hold a can of soda in your hand you feel the cooling coming from the can into your hand. This is happening because the CO2 used in carbonation lowers the temperature of the liquid inside the can.
    Reply: This post was approved because, content non-withstanding, it did not violate any blog rules. Yet I still felt this caveat needed to be added. ~ charles the moderator

  11. Less CO2 will mean less jobs.
    Right now there is simply no steady altenative supply of energy. Wind and solar are sporadic, expesnive and require natural gas backup 1 to 1. Biodiesel and ethanol are pie in the sky.
    If you try to elimnate coal, oil and gas, you’re left with a flickering power grid. Certainly nothing you can maintain an industrial society with.
    The whole thing would be as successful as the experiment in communism. It’s utter lunacy.

  12. The whole experiment reminds of an old STAR TREK episode where the Enterprise picked up some lazy space hippies who were on the way to a paradise planet of some sort. When they got there, it turned out to be completely poisonous, and they all died.

  13. I fully agree with Gary at 07:41.
    The likely result of any proposed carbon reduction scheme would be the disproportionate application of the law to those who were not politically connected enough or powerful enough to ignore it. Laws like this are simply a power-grabbing mechanism for those who lack the personal qualities to win legitimate recognition for themselves, or the good taste to content themselves with a modest and respectable life.
    In order to see this clearly, we need only examine the issue from the environmentalist’s own perspective; provided that he is a committed, true-believing environmentalist who reasons with courage and ironclad logic from his premises, not the politicized variety. I do not agree with such people of course, but let us at least admire, for the puproses of discussion, their ideological purity. Would any sort of carbon-trading scheme satisfy such a one as this? What does he care whether or not the carbon dioxide still belched into the atmosphere has been offset by validly purchased credits, according to the laws of Caesar? He wants the carbon dioxide to stop. He can do “back of the envelope” calculations as well as anyone else, and a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere, whether it has been purchased or not. The empty formalisms of carbon trading availeth nothing to expiate the sin; it must be repented, halted, and undone. He would see carbon-trading as just another example of politicians playing games; dutifully and forthwith he would overturn their tables and throw them out of the temple.
    Let us be clear about this: such schemes will soon draw criticism from both the Left and the Right. From the Right, because they are manifestly ridiculous and suicidal; from the Left, because they are impure, insufficient, and mingled with stench of “this world.” It is a positive development, for this at least will be a world worthy of men. The participants on all sides will have the sack to say what they believe and why, and the politicians looking to triangulate positions and articulate wedge issues will be out of luck. It is a braver and harsher world, but it is also a much-needed clearing of the air.

  14. Ron de Haan (07:31:53) :

    The Canadians have a serious problem.
    Their Prime Minister Harper was elected because he opposed CO2 mitigation taxes.
    After a meeting with Obama stated that he was committed to a “Green Pact”, based on the USA policies.
    Another case of broken promises?

    Not so.
    Harper was elected because the opposition are a bunch of idiots… which, of course, is the usual way of the world. For the most part, canadians are sheep along for the whole cAGW ride.
    The Harper government was almost brought down in December by the opposition when not enough attention was paid to the green agenda… oh, and Harper also was trying to stop an old canadian tradition of giving money to each party based on votes. In other words, even a lame, broken, unpopular party can gain serious financing just by getting a lot of votes, thus ensuring their continued presence in election after election.
    To simplify this, there was no way Harper was going to avoid paying at least lip service to the green agenda, unfortunately.
    Meanwhile, here in Alberta the gravy train that was absolutely CRUSHING everything has come to a screeching halt. An exceptionally vibrant economy, sparked by the oil industry and energized by oil prices high enough to spur oilsands development has been pretty much decimated. Environmentalists are trying to shut down $100 billion projects because a few birds drowned in a tailings pond, and self-righteous sanctimonious environmentalists ALL have to tour the sands so they can condemn them. A new premier who apparently has no clue about anything brought in a socialist agenda to give everyone a “fair share” (their name for it) of oil profits, which led most oil companies to just stop exploring here.
    I will never have anything but derision for the forces that make Alberta into a boom-bust economy. There was no good reason for idiotic socialists to damage what was a good thing, and no excuse for opportunists to roll in, exploit what they could, and leave.
    Government on several levels is responsible, and the best way to fix it is for them to just leave stuff alone. If it ain’t broke… etc.

  15. So I guess the banks responsible for the housing crisis and global recession get all of the carbon credits for the CO2 saved during the recession?

  16. Jim Greig (07:23:38) :
    I think I’ll get into the business of selling carbon offsets. My business model will be to charge well-meaning enviomental-nuts to pay me to plant trees and shrubs. This will create employment, save the planet, make the greenies feel good about all the electricity they use, and make my yard will look GREAT!
    Jim;
    It’s a better deal than you think. I’ve seen several stories on companies selling carbon offsets and essentially doing nothing for the money. Given the very limited exposure and rapid disappearance of these news items it seems fairly certain if you collect the money and just keep it there will be few negative consequences even if you get caught.

  17. Respectfully, I disagree with part of Mr Hannaford’s analysis, taxes on carbon are going to have some of the same effect on the economy as actual limits on carbon production. Paying a carbon tax just means that the dead space in our economy will grow.

  18. “And it is especially not good news for Alberta, which is down more than seven per cent”.
    I’m not sure where the carbon went but it’s NOT because of major job losses. Alberta’s unemployment rate is 5.4% which is one of the LOWEST unemployment rates in North America and a full 1% of that was just last month. Alberta is still doing very well compared to the rest of the world.

  19. John in L du B (07:54:22) :
    How much CO2 would be produced making the resins to fabricate enough composite windmill blades to replace the energy loss from the annual reduction in fossile fuel energy needed to cut some 180 Mt of CO2 emmisions needed to meet our Kyoto targets?

    Good question. Let’s break things down:
    Carbon dioxide from SUVS = pollution = bad
    Carbon dioxide from building windmills = good pollution
    Birds killed by oil spills = bad
    10x birds killed by wind turbines = good
    Pollution from industry = bad
    Toxic waste from producing solar panels = good
    I hope that helps!

  20. Most of my family lives in Canada and I spent many years there before settling in the US.
    I visited for few weeks last summer and found that folks (at least in Ontario) were getting more than a little weary of the AGW nonsense.
    My sister, who only a year earlier refused to even discuss the science of her party’s (Liberal party of Canada) stance on CO2, was by summer 2008 beginning to wonder where the warming had gone.
    Canadians are often easily led by the likes of David Susuki and other green promoters, but they are not complete fools.
    Canada, being further north, is much more sensitive to climate than is the case with their neighbors to the south. A few degrees warmer or colder makes a big difference to a farmer in Saskatchewan, or a forestry worker in Ontario or BC.
    After two winters of much colder weather I expect to see a lot more Canadians turn around on AGW.

  21. Ron de Haan (07:31:53) :
    The Canadians have a serious problem.
    Their Prime Minister Harper was elected because he opposed CO2 mitigation taxes.
    After a meeting with Obama stated that he was committed to a “Green Pact”, based on the USA policies.
    Another case of broken promises?
    ———-
    BANG ON. I hate Harper but voted for him because he was the only one that wasn’t all about “Go Green Carbon Tax Green Shift” . Why the hell are 3 of our 4 federal parties such environmental extremists? How about some uniqueness and selection in the system?

  22. Many of us now refer to the ever slippery David Suzuki as Dr. Fruit Fly, in honour of what he has some knowledge about because when it comes to Climate he is big time Stuck on Stupid.
    Its a long story, don’t ask. When we can actually figure out how many houses he owns and is his eco-greeny footprint is the size of PEI or Alberta, we might start to cut him some slack.
    Meantime he continues to mine the very profitable Global Warming AHHHHHHHH we’re All Gonna Die” and gets richer and richer. He’s not nearly as good as Slick Al (aka Saint Gore, Bishop in Charge, Church of Global Warming Scientology) at raking in the green, but he’s trying to catch up

  23. The article simply shows the “sceptics” grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate. The published economic literature is very clear that the costs of mitigation are small and much less that buisness as usual (unless of course you hide behind discount rates).

  24. DJ:

    The article simply shows the “sceptics” grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate.

    The American capitalist model [pre-0bama] produced much better results using the free market than other countries produced with state socialism. China couldn’t care less about Kyoto, except for the fact that it received multi-$Billions in free carbon credits that it could sell while continuing to pollute. Other countries cashed in similarly. Guess who pays for those “credits”?
    The U.S. and Australia did not sign the Kyoto protocol limiting emissions. But almost every other country signed the protocol. The results since Kyoto was signed a decade and a half ago:

    Emissions worldwide have increased 18.0%
    Emissions from countries that signed Kyoto increased 21.1%
    Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%
    Emissions from the U.S. increased only 6.6% [source]

    Since the U.S. was clearly on the right path, and the countries signing Kyoto were going down the wrong path, why is the new Administration implementing cap and trade?
    The answer is clear: the scheme will raise enormous amounts of revenue. It is a hidden new tax, pure and simple — and a really big tax. American families will pay those taxes through the much higher prices tacked onto goods and services by the cost of carbon credits.
    To add insult to injury, cap and trade will do nothing measurable regarding emissions. We are already on the right track, as can be seen in the figures above. While adding over 20% to our population since Kyoto was ratified, our emissions only increased less than 7%.
    Finally, anyone who expects the U.S. ruling party to ease the burden on workers is dreaming. Elimination of the the mortgage interest deduction is already being discussed, as is fully taxing Social Security income as wages. The IRA deduction disappears at $89K of income. Your retirement contribution credit goes away if you earn over $33K. Charging wounded veterans for VA hospital treatment is now being proposed.
    This radical sea change from a “can do” nation to a country where fully half the population pays no federal taxes, and lives as dependents of the other half, was completely avoidable.
    But voters were susceptible to the never ending media drumbeat of guilt, and they wanted to feel good about themselves. Well, now they’re not going to feel so good about their financial situation. And the fault can be laid almost entirely at the feet of this new confiscatory government.

  25. I don’t for a moment believe that Prime Minister Harper believes in AGW catastrophism , but as head of a minority government, he has to play the politcal game. When your dearest neighbour and largest trading partner is ten times bigger than you are, you can make noises like a sovereign nation, but you are actually at the back of the bus with Obama at the wheel. When America says jump, we say “how high”. In Harper’s shoes, I would do what he appears to be doing. Pay lip service to the AGW faction and quietly go about doing as little as possible, hoping the whole thing dies an ignominious death before your government hits the fan.

  26. Baaah, baaah, nope don’t feel like a sheep, lol, but I gotta say that McBugbear (10:02:23) : “Paying a carbon tax just means that the dead space in our economy will grow.” Ha ha ha. I almost fell on the floor.
    Try this one for the size of the power change required to go from fossil fuels to less carbon intensive alternatives. Not gonna happen. We are going to use every speck of fossil fuel that we can find, well eventually, unless someone makes a breakthrough in cheap power generation.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/more-simple-energy-math-5063

  27. DJ (11:16:28) :
    The article simply shows the “sceptics” grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate. The published economic literature is very clear that the costs of mitigation are small and much less that buisness as usual (unless of course you hide behind discount rates).
    DJ, what are the costs of business as usual? Can you cite some sources to back this up (other than the fantastical Stern Report or others of it’s ilk). Even the AGW proponents acknowledge that Kyoto will accomplish nothing and is merely a grand gesture. (Or incredibly stupid gesture depending on whether you buy into AGW catastrophism.) I am curious. While the economics of CO2 reduction have not been of primary interest to me, I have yet to see any literature stating that the costs of substantially reducing CO2 emissions are small.

  28. M White, fascinating article, thanks for linking to it.
    But what else does anyone expect? China has been showered with free money via free carbon credits for simply being obstructionist. Since it paid off before, naturally China will continue demanding free Western money.
    They learned by watching North Korea. The more the Norks cheated on every agreement, the more free money was shoveled into their pockets.

  29. Slightly OT:
    Cold reality of global warming efforts
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7929174.stm
    “1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no
    discernable upward trend. Last year saw a miserable summer in much of
    western Europe, and the same countries are in the middle of a winter which
    has been colder than for many years. For the average layman, global warming
    remains a distant prospect. ”
    Interesting. That’s not the BBC we have come to know?

  30. Here in BC we pay carbon taxes and I’ll sit on sis-in-law’s deck and watch the coal trains pull in and fill up boat after boat. We’ll only kill the planet if WE use coal. We have another 2.5 cents per litre come July – unless we take a reltaively short term 4 year hit on the economy and get the New Democrats in power, there will be a total of 12 cents per litre come 2012 or something like that. You have no idea how much it pains me to say I hope the NDP win the election. They’ve been too loud about scraping the tax and implementing a Cap ‘N Trade to not follow through. The hope is they know how much a Cap ‘N Trade will kill jobs and they are just blowing out there . . .
    I once heard our idiot premiere telling wine growers they are going to have to move their operations further north. I refer to Andrew Weaver, http://climate.uvic.ca/people/weaver/, his climate advisor as Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings. Constantly whispering lies and deceipt in the premiere’s ear. Managed to get himself and plum position and a $90 million investment in U of Vic for climate research. He can now play with his useless models for years.
    “The published economic literature is very clear that the costs of mitigation are small and much less that buisness as usual (unless of course you hide behind discount rates).”
    When I read something like that, gullible and naive are the adjectives that immediately come to mind. It helps me understand how people can get sucked into the whole catastrophic AGW crap.
    If one looks at the books of a lumber mill, or steel producer or any major mfr one realizes just how much power consumption takes off their bottom line. Usually #2 or 3 just behind labour and/or financing costs. Then take a look at the volume consumed. The sheer number of unreliable solar panels and windmills required makes it just stupid. Companies are constantly looking at ways to reduce power consumption or supply more cheaply. If alternatives were anywhere near realizable, they would have adopted them eons ago. Even with insane subsidies, they are economic. Once one does that and one starts to realize those authors, (Stern et al) have a green agenda, are ignorant or just plain stupid. I’d bet on the first.
    Tony Blair wanted to replace all GB’s coal power plants with windmills . . . until he was informed he would need 30 million of them.

  31. Refined petroleum products is a statistical category that includes gasoline, diesel, butane, petro-chemical feedstocks, asphalt, av-gas and a number of other things too numerous to detail. It’s not a perfect marker for industrial activity, because some industry runs off nuclear and hydro power, especially in central Canada. However, it’s good enough to indicate a trend: If there is less diesel being used, for example, there are probably less trucks on the road, because there is less reason for them to be there.
    this is a pretty stupid approach. you can t use the petroleum use as an economic indicator, to contradict green ideas. that simply doesn t make any sense.
    Emissions worldwide have increased 18.0%
    Emissions from countries that signed Kyoto increased 21.1%
    Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%
    Emissions from the U.S. increased only 6.6% [source]

    you decided NOT to use per capita numbers. and yes, Kyoto allows some countries to catch up. this is a horrible analysis!

  32. sod (12:26:57) :
    you decided NOT to use per capita numbers. and yes, Kyoto allows some countries to catch up. this is a horrible analysis!

    Per capita numbers certainly aren’t going to help your argument here. When the averages from the non-signers vs. the signers are that far apart, there’s a problem. Yes, I guess it is a horrible analysis, because it makes Kyoto look bad, right?
    Mark

  33. new paper by Jones et all says that UHI influence on observed warming is on the same order of magnitude as true climatic warming over the same period, not an order of magnitude less than the IPCC has stated. too bad I only have access to the abstract…
    Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008JD009916.shtml
    however, i take issue with the following:
    We show examples of the UHIs at London and Vienna, where city center sites are warmer than surrounding rural locations. Both of these UHIs however do not contribute to warming trends over the 20th century because the influences of the cities on surface temperatures have not changed over this time.
    this assertion assumes that the data set has not been urbanized over time by rural station dropout…

  34. The article simply shows the “sceptics” grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate. The published economic literature is very clear that the costs of mitigation are small and much less that buisness as usual (unless of course you hide behind discount rates).
    economics 101: when you restrict supply of something, the price goes up. Rationing carbon (the “cap” part of “cap & trade”) WILL, and necessarily MUST result in higher prices for energy.
    This increased cost will be passed along as part of the cost of everything you live in, eat, wear and own. Companies, per se, do not pay taxes themselves, but pass along increased costs to the end users. That’s you, DJ. The “cost” of mitigation is NOT small. The cost of “business as usual,” or “adaptation” as I call it, is small. And it’s built in through improvements in efficiency and technology that will occur without legislation.
    The really sad part, though, is that you don’t seem to understand the numbers. To take emissions down to the level where CAGW proponents “want” them would require lowering our standard of living to ~1900 standards. That’s right, we’d have to lower our energy consuption per person to 1900 levels.
    Tell me, DJ, do you drive? have a washing machine? refrigerator? microwave? central air/heat? carpet? tv? Do you want to do without all these “luxuries” to revert to a ~1900 standard of living?
    If yes, then feel free to move to some third world country. You’ll fit right in.
    If no, then shut up.

  35. DJ should have been a dentist: “This might cause a minor bit of discomfort.” And then the real pain begins.

  36. In the photo, has anyone else contrasted the people on the billboard with the people in the line? It’s a juxtaposition with a message. Interesting photojournalism in itself.

  37. you decided NOT to use per capita numbers. and yes, Kyoto allows some countries to catch up. this is a horrible analysis!

    I thought emissions are bad. If the purpose is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, why does Kyoto allow some countries to catch up? Is a molecule of carbon dioxide from an American SUV or private jet more potent than a molecule of carbon dioxide from an Indian cooking fire or a Chinese LCD factory?

  38. “If you want to know what an economy that pumps out less carbon dioxide is like, look at Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.” My god, this passes for insight? The current drop in energy consumption is the result of the economic situation, not the cause of it. Might as well say that wearing looser clothes makes you thinner. Your premise is unsupported and completely irrelevant.
    Smokey (11:20:41): You also know that emissions are effectively linked to economic output but choose to ignore that in your selected statistics, which actually compare the slower increase of relatively static mature economies to the faster increase of rapidly growing economies.
    China has undoubtably been getting a free ride in all this, but that is the natural consequence of “capitalist” manufacturers seeking the lowest cost of production.
    (Thanks for the laugh “Professor” Tavella)

  39. sod (12:26:57) :

    Emissions worldwide have increased 18.0%
    Emissions from countries that signed Kyoto increased 21.1%
    Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%
    Emissions from the U.S. increased only 6.6% [source]
    you decided NOT to use per capita numbers. and yes, Kyoto allows some countries to catch up. this is a horrible analysis!

    It is no secret that most of those who signed Kyoto have been unable to fulfill their obligations as per the agreement. Further EU members (and some others) have voiced that the Kyoto agreement was economically devistating to their countries. Meeting the Kyoto numbers was not possible, not realistic, and in my mind… unnecessary.
    The largest issue is with CO2. Here is a graph of CO2 emissions per capita from 1997 to 2005 of the EU countries and the US.
    http://penoflight.com/climatebuzz/Misc/eu15us.jpg
    Catch up? Let me ask. Why would countries in the EU be allowed to ‘catch up’ when countries like Kenya are not allowed to install a desperately needed coal fired power plant to help save millions of lives each year? That, in reality, is a reflection of how ‘green policies’ are, in part, a contributing factor in the deaths of millions each year. That is by definition…. democide.
    Green policies, in regards to CO2, can and will destroy economies, lives, life, and not achieve any significantly measurable impact on the climate.
    Should we be good stewards of the earth? Yes.
    Should we have controls on “POLLUTION”? Yes.
    Should we be stupid about it? NO.

  40. >The American capitalist model [pre-0bama] produced much better results using the free market than other countries produced with state socialism.
    Perhaps you are talking about another America than the one on planet earth.
    AGW is a market failure. What you advocate is not free market – its freeloading and allowing polluters to pollute without consequences for the damage they cause. You are anti-capitalist and anti-free market.
    >The U.S. and Australia did not sign the Kyoto protocol limiting emissions. But almost every other country signed the protocol.
    Australia has signed and is on target to meet it’s target. It was pretty easy – broadscale land clearing in marginal farming areas was stopped.

  41. [snip-no calls to prayer mmmkay?]
    … educating the public is still an essential task. Once again, CO2 does not cause warming, it causes cooling. Why on Earth would you use an extinguisher with CO2 to stop a fire? Because it heats it up? No, you use a CO2-loaded extinguisher on a fire because CO2 lowers the fire temperature of the fire. Simple, yet hard to visualize, it seems.
    Reply: Either this is really funny satire or really sad. Yet I cannot just let through without moderator comment as the criticism of such would be fodder for blog attackers ~ charles the moderator

  42. DJ: “AGW is a market failure. What you advocate is not free market – its freeloading and allowing polluters to pollute without consequences for the damage they cause”
    CO2 in not a pollutant, but you know that.

  43. Australia has signed and is on target to meet it’s target. It was pretty easy – broadscale land clearing in marginal farming areas was stopped.
    Australia was on track to meet its Kyoto target prior to signing. Signing Kyoto made no difference and it was sold to the electorate on that basis.
    Australia met its Kyoto target for the same reason the UK met its target (the only other big economy that did) by a massive shift of electricity generation from coal to Natural Gas.
    Australia and the UK complied with Kyoto because of an accident of geology, ie they found natural gas.
    Otherwise, Kyoto has been an abject failure.

  44. I don’t know about anyone else, but I hope they don’t give up. At their current rate it will take them more than 20 months to reach the pole. They might just appreciate a little global warming after that much time in freezing conditions.

  45. @sod
    “you can t use the petroleum use as an economic indicator, to contradict green ideas. that simply doesn t make any sense.”
    Actually, using energy consumption, i.e. petroleum, is the perfect economic indicator. Unless you prefer to revert to “the good old days” of human muscle power (try pulling a plow yourself, and see how many acres you plow in a day). Or pull seeds from raw cotton with your hands, and see how many bales of cotton you produce in a day. Or, pedal a bicycle-style generator and see how many homes you can light and power.
    Or, perhaps you prefer to revert to the wonderful, idyllic life of a pre-1900 farmer, using mules and oxen to provide work. How, exactly, are the millions of city-dwellers supposed to live in this manner? Would you put half of them to work bringing in feed for the animals, and the other half scooping their poop?
    When fossil-based energy is used productively, as the western world has and does, energy consumption is a good measure of economic activity.

  46. DJ
    “The article simply shows the “sceptics” grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate. The published economic literature is very clear that the costs of mitigation are small and much less that buisness as usual (unless of course you hide behind discount rates).”
    Which published economic analyses in literature are you referring to? The ones from independent experts that analysed California’s AB 32 Scoping Plan? The ones that concluded that AB 32’s economic justification was completely false and hopelessly optimistic? Not a one concluded otherwise. AB 32’s Scoping Plan writers used as a basis that any cost for a mitigation measure was justified, no matter how small the greenhouse gas benefit.
    When you paint with such a broad brush, saying “sceptics’ grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate,” you have targeted me, for I am a confirmed and avowed skeptic. I welcome your critique of my understanding of economics. Fire away.

  47. Domingo Tavella (14:08:26) :
    … educating the public is still an essential task. Once again, CO2 does not cause warming, it causes cooling.
    Where have you been? C02 causes everything Bad. This is why it is considered “pollution” and must be banned. You can even see all the filthy C02 pollution belching from smokestacks and causing smog. Plus, Al Gore said it, so it must be true.

  48. I am puzzled. Why are my comments being censored? I am doing my best to educate people into seeing that CO2 cannot possibly be a source of heating, it is a source of cooling.
    Why would you use dry ice to keep things cold? Dry ice, used a lot in laboratories, stays at a constant -109 F. Dry ice is made of pure *concentrated* CO2. Doesn’t this tell you that CO2 causes cooling? The more concentrated, the colder.
    If it were the other way around, as the extreme environmental lobby (which is heavily vested in Gore’s companies) would have you believe, you would use dry ice to ignite your BBQ, not to keep your ice cream super-cold.
    You erased my comment on the power of prayer to change the weather. [snip]
    Reply: Yes I did censor that, and your espousing of it again in this post, but I left enough for others to see what I was censoring. Calls to religion or religious discussions are prohibited. Your posts are really taking up an inordinate amount of moderator time. I still can’t figure out if you are a troll, joking, or serious, but at some point we have to draw the line. I can’t even begin to comment on your descriptions of the properties of C02. I would suggest you take them elsewhere. Further calls to prayer etc will result in entire posts being deleted. ~ charles the moderator.

  49. DJ, re the “hide behind discount rates” issue.
    In an environment where limited capital must be allocated amongst competing uses, one must strive to obtain maximum return on that capital. As I have written before, there are always many more potential projects than there are funds available to make them a reality.
    Thus, a discount rate is one tool that is used to determine which projects shall receive funding. I am aware that some, perhaps many, environmentalists hold that a 2 percent discount rate, with a 30 or 40 year horizon, is appropriate for saving the planet because the cause is so worthy.
    There are indeed some projects that are sufficiently worthy that no discount rate analysis is required, for example, a sewage treatment plant. Few would argue that the public health benefits justify the expenditures for such a plant. Others are fire stations and equipment, police stations and equipment, and public works such as roads, or dams to prevent catastrophic flooding.
    Do you argue that cutting CO2 and other greenhouse gases, in particular methane, are in the same category as sewage treatment plants, fire stations, police stations, public roads, and flood-prevention dams?

  50. Don’t feed the trolls…don’t feed the trolls…don’t feed the trolls…
    Ahhhh crap…
    /trollfood on
    DJ, please stop making sweeping statements without offering any references to back them up (same game you play every time you come here).
    Please give stats on Australia’s complaince with Kyoto goals and how “easy” it was to accomplish. Also, please explain why C02 continues to rise, while temps continue to fall. Since you’re an avid reader here, I’m sure you’ve seen the charts/graphs that point this out, many times in fact.
    Apparently you disagree with the premise that if costs of energy go up, costs of goods and services will go up as well? If you do disagree with that, please explain how the increase cost of energy gets offset in your model.
    Thanks.
    Domingo, not sure why they continue to let you post, but they do, and so I guess you get your entertainment from it. Why try to walk the line like that?…why not just come out and say what you believe?
    We know how a fire extinguisher works. We know how C02 in a can of sode work. We also have a pretty good idea of how controlling C02 going to impact the economy, which isn’t well. Do you disagree?
    JimB
    JimB
    Reply: I try to keep the leash as loose as I possibly can. It gets tough. ~ charles the moderator

  51. March 17, 2009
    Y2Kyoto: The Snows Of St. Patrick
    “No Guff” sends greetings from Vancouver Island.
    Snows-of-St.-Pat.jpg
    “We should have seen crocuses and daffodils by St. Pat’s, with a few cherry blossoms peeking out, too. Instead, we’ve had more than 3 months of unremitting snow on the ground – and I’ve been shoveling for the last three days to boot. Unheard of. So who are we going to believe? Al Gore? Or our lying eyes?”
    Posted by Kate at March 17, 2009 7:29 PM
    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/011000.html#comments

  52. Anthony, Charles and the rest of the mods…
    I just want to go on record as saying I think you all do a fantastic job of managing this site. You display amazing amounts of tolerance, and your efforts have created a forum where ideas can be readily exchanged. Much of the “pure science” is lost on me, but I always feel better off having read WUWT, several times daily.
    Keep up the good work.
    p.s. The trolls always get tired before we do ;)…although you folks tend to bare the brundt of that I think.

  53. John in L du B (07:54:22) :
    “How much CO2 would be produced making the resins to fabricate enough composite windmill blades to replace the energy loss from the annual reduction in fossile fuel energy needed to cut some 180 Mt of CO2 emmisions needed to meet our Kyoto targets?”
    John,
    If you take all the CO2 emissions to produce, transport and install a windmill you end up with a negative balance.
    You also need a back up power resource (natural gas power plant), so people end up paying three times the price per Kw.
    Horizontal axle wind mills were first applied in the year 1291 AD.
    We used them to saw wood, grind corn and pump water.
    They were replaced by steam engines because of higher output performance and reliability.
    Modern wind mils propelling a turbine to generate electricity come with the same disadvantages as the old wind mill: low power output and lack of reliability.
    Proponents sell the wind mill as high tech but in reality it is low tech.
    When Western Europe was under influence of a high pressure are this winter that brought severe cold, the wind mills did not deliver any energy due to a lack of wind.
    Do I have to say more?
    I am not against an alternative energy resource to replace fossil fuels but only if this technology is able to compete in price and performance.
    I am against any technology that lacks reliability and is pushed because our fossil fuels are taxed and the alternatives are subsidized.
    In the end, as always the consumer pays the price for the folly of stupid and corrupt politicians, extreme environmentalists and ruthless entrepreneurs.

  54. Domingo Tavella (14:08:26): “Why on Earth would you use an extinguisher with CO2 to stop a fire? Because it heats it up? No, you use a CO2-loaded extinguisher on a fire because CO2 lowers the fire temperature of the fire.”
    When I read this I almost passed out from lack of oxygen, as if someone had sprayed a CO2 fire extinguisher all over my face.

  55. What JimB (16:21:57) said! You guys do a great job. I visit several times a day and enjoy both the posts and comments, although more “pure science is lost on me than on JimB. Thanks again.

  56. Domingo is a troll. I have seen him on other blogs. He is well-spoken and is a critic of anyone who doubts AGW. His current persona reflects his misunderstanding of the thinking of AGW skeptics. He is hoping that someone here will agree with him.

  57. Domingo Tavella (14:08:26) :
    CO2 does not cause warming, it causes cooling. Why on Earth would you use an extinguisher with CO2 to stop a fire? Because it heats it up?
    Domingo,
    CO2 released in our atmosphere does not cause heating nor cooling.
    See: http://algorelied.com/?p=899
    New Peer Reviewed Study:
    In summary, there is no atmospheric greenhouse effect, in particular CO2-greenhouse effect, in theoretical physics and engineering thermodynamics. Thus it is illegitimate to deduce predictions which provide a consulting solution for economics and intergovernmental policy.
    That sucking sound you hear is all of the air and energy being sucked out of Al Gore’s global warming climate change climate crisis machine.
    Source: Falsification of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame of Physics published in The International Journal of Modern Physics. Authors: Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner
    Jennifer Marohasy notes that Michael Hammer previously reached a similar conclusion.
    CO2 in a fire extinguisher is highly compressed and if applied it takes away the oxygen from a burning source thus killing the fire. CO2 is also used as an inert gas in fuel storage tanks to prevent ignition of fuel vapors.
    Let us not swap one BS (Bad Science) for another.

  58. You won’t have to worry about recovery if Cap & Trade gets going. There will be no recovery, as the costs of C&P will kill all growth.
    The straw will break the proverbial camel’s back as follows:
    Industry & Commerce will cut millions of jobs in order to absorb the outlay for C&P, and pass it along to the consumer who will capitulate by the millions.
    Now, there’s a true feedback mechanism we have all seen at work (or laid off if you will).

  59. I commend Charles the Moderator for his tolerance and good humor. I also find it advisable to distract the ardent from time to time.
    I have been known to interject a folksy homily after as few as four ad hominems, or two references to religion, or curiously, even one mention of the word Foraminifera. But that’s due to a childhood trauma, which I don’t care to discuss while completely sober.

  60. John Hawkins, writing on Townhall.com, said it as well anyone I’ve seen lately:
    “There are few things stranger than watching a “debate” over global warming. One side constantly quotes scientific facts, makes logical arguments, and tries to appeal to reason. These people are called “anti-science” by the side that “argues” by comparing their opponents to Holocaust deniers, spins apocalyptic doomsday scenarios out of whole cloth, and is constantly dinged for stretching the truth on the few scientific facts they do talk about. These people are the ones who supposedly “put science first” in the debate.”
    Well said!

  61. One little understood consequence of Kyoto is that it has caused a massive increase in CO2 emissions (not to mention real pollutants like sulphate emissions) by transferring energy intensive industries like steel from energy efficient economies like Germany and Japan to energy inefficient economies like China and India.
    It takes 50% more energy, and more than 50% more CO2 emissions, to make a ton of steel in China compared to Germany or Japan, and this ignores the cost of transporting a heavy material like steel half way around the world.

  62. As a Canadian who thinks the Mackenzie Brothers were a perfect tummy chuckle, I’m still waiting for someone who is way smarter than I am (there have to be billions) to simply explain why a gas (CO2), that is scientifically classified as a ‘trace gas’ and is south of four hundred part per million in the atmosphere, is so vital to the degree of change in the planet’s climate as it is to the marvel of photosynthesis. I know it’s a greenhouse gas but it is so pathetically puny in this regard, and I know it’s supposed to be a ‘forcing agent’ but I would bet that Mr.Sun and Mr. Ocean have more to say on that subject. I have scoured the IPCC papers and the tomes and texts of the scientifically informed but have only found, by and large, opinion based on assumptions.
    I propose that the Mackenzie Brothers get together and hold forth on this subject as their ‘Topic for the Day’, as in: ‘Proposed: Alarmists are Hosers Eh! At least it might bring some humour to a politically dour subject.

  63. not specifically on Canada’s situation, but related (I am Canadian and applaud many of the thoughtful comments on this thread):
    “Carbon Registry Opens
    LONDON – The Voluntary Carbon Standard Association launched its global multiple registry system on Tuesday, but delayed a key component which will enable carbon emission offsets to be transferred across registries.
    Offset companies and traders have been eagerly awaiting the new system, which will enable the transparent tracking and trading of offsets called Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs).”
    read the complete press release dated March 18, 2009 here:
    http://planetark.org/wen/52084
    sounds like empty turnover to me – or an invitation to corruption and further market distortion

  64. Chas (17:36:02) :
    “As a Canadian who thinks the Mackenzie Brothers were a perfect tummy chuckle”…
    Near the end of my career, I was once asked, in spite of my prairie upbringing and my unanticipated professional accomplishments, what I felt I had missed. I was expected to discuss research, teaching, or experimental clinical practice. I told the audience, “ I miss Gilda Radner, and Freddie Mercury. And I want the Mackenzie Brothers back.” The university audience stood and applauded. Exit stage right.
    Regards, Henry

  65. My view on CO2 warming the globe, I don’t see that happening especially since it doesn’t seem like Global Warming will resume in the next few months if you factor in a month’s SST value affecting temperatures a few months later.
    We did have the warmest Febuary on record here in Wichita by a whopping 8 degrees above the previous record, but UAH suggests it may have been a bit colder in other places. Strangely enough it may end up being we see the highest temp. we get for March being below the highest we got in Febuary if the long range forecast is close to accurate.

  66. Very important to read this links:
    Here is “study” that makes clear what the AGW freaks are really up to:
    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N11/EDIT.php
    This is a proper response to this madness from Chris Horner:
    http://spectator.org/blog/2009/03/17/just-enough-of-them
    Any CO2 reduction legislation eventually will put a rope around our necks, ready for the lynching.
    We better get rid of the AGW/ CO2 doctrine before real disaster start to happen.
    http://green-agenda.com

  67. If our preying/ praying troll on a motorbike is the Domingo Tavella that google came up with, then he has a Master’s in Financial Engineering.
    Perhaps he has a little time on his hands now that the finances have all been engineered, and he can turn his able hand to winning friends and influencing people in the Skeptosphere.
    If he’s some other Domingo Tavella, then there’s hope for the U of Cal. after all.
    It’s interesting that he couldn’t bring himself to include a solecism or two, or at least a typo.
    Hey Domingo, you got five minutes of my time, and I have to agree that CO2 does cool the atmosphere; even Al Gore knows that.

  68. Man made CO2 driven global warming has been falsified repeatedly in many, many different ways. It is the Rasputin of hoaxes. It just won’t die.
    When Rasputin’s body was retrieved two days after being dumped in a river, it appeared as if he had tried to claw is way out from the ice. He finally died from drowning after being unsuccessfully poisoned, shot three times and beaten. He was buried in secret to avoid desecration. Thus ended Grigory Yefrimovich Rasputin.
    I think we need a public burial for the AGW sting.

  69. By the way, the picture that leads this article is not actually from a bread line of out-of-work people from the Great Depression, as the caption implies. It is a 30’s era picture, true, but the people were queueing to get assistance after a flood in Memphis, Tennessee. Although the photo is often used for ironical effect, to imply that these poor down-and-out people were excluded from the American Way, this is not true. Actually the nation had enough wealth, even in the middle of the Great Depression, to extend a helping hand to those in distress from a natural disaster.

  70. AlGoreithm
    – noun. A set of rules for solving the money problem in a finite number of steps, by raising fear and guilt, and selling carbon credits to the greatest common multiple.
    Not a new game. Chaucer (c. 1343 – 1400) wrote in The Canterbury Tales of the Pardoner, who sold “Pardons, Hot from Rome” to gullible imbeciles.
    You Sin, you buy a Pardon, all is forgiven. Have another go, luv?
    At least the purchase of Pardons was optional to the buyer – Gore and Obama want to make Cap and Trade the Law of the Land.
    That means you may soon be obligated buy “CO2 Pardons, Hot from DC”.
    An Obamanation! But McCain was just as wrong about AGW! Some choice you US voters had!
    Perhaps you could counter-argue on Constitutional grounds – for example, the Separation of Church and State.
    Global Warming is obviously a Religion – it has no basis in Science.
    If this were not so costly and tragic, it would be really funny – kind of like the Inquisition.
    “Recant, Accursed Climate Heretic, or Burn in Hellfire!”
    Every generation or two seems to have its roving bands of raving lunatics.
    We got the GreenShirts – another gang of power-hungry thugs out to control the world. Better than the BrownShirts, I guess, maybe… ?
    Plus ca change, plus ca change pas. 🙂
    ************************************

  71. Tom in Texas,
    I used to think the cool spot was here on the west coast of Canada, and it’s been extra cool this winter. However, I’m having second thoughts on that since I read that the Ontario government is proposing legislation that would give inspectors the power to enter and search businesses and/or residences that they suspect of harboring inefficient electrical appliances. Fines up to $25,000. Warrants required for home searches. If this were to spread across the country, which they’re hoping it will, then Texas, and a whole lot of other places, could wind up being cooler than Canada.

  72. Earth hour, yes, all the hype here in Sydney. I actually keep my power consumption down to quite low levels normally anyway, I rather keep more money for me than a power companys’ shareholders. According to my last quarterly power bill, I consumed 575.1Kw over 91 days, emitting 0.61 tonnes of CO2, AU$1.50 perday.
    Last “Earth Hour” I powered on as much as I could in protest at this rediculous example of tokensim.

  73. PS. I forgot, with “cap and trade” and carbon taxes, I won’t have a choice (To pay “shareholders” like Al Gore).

  74. Maybe slightly OT but reading these comments about “inspectors” and fines etc for non-complaiance, reminds me of “The Bottom Inspectors” scetch from a UK comic (GREAT comic BTW IMO) called Viz.
    All this effort to control CO2 (Population actually and eventually) is so anal.

  75. From the web:
    Scientists have found a new threat to the planet: Canadian beer drinkers.
    The government-commissioned study says the old, inefficient “beer fridges” that one in three Canadian households use to store their Molson and Labatt’s contribute significantly to global warming by guzzling gas- and coal-fired electricity.
    “People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles,” British environmental consultant Joanna Yarrow tells New Scientist magazine. “Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people — let’s hope it has an effect.”
    *****************************
    Ontario considers banning old-style light bulbs
    Ontario is considering becoming the first province in Canada to follow Australia’s lead in banning old-fashioned, energy-sucking light bulbs.
    ******************************
    Ontario launches new energy saving programs
    Clearing your kitchen of an old fridge will become much easier thanks to a new energy conservation program introduced by the Ontario government on Friday.
    Under the “beer fridge bounty” program, the province will accept old, inefficient appliances for free pickup and recycling, saving the consumer a normal disposal fee of about $110.
    *****************************************
    Comment:
    So Canadians will soon mutate to become a bunch of pale people drinking warm beer under ugly ultra-white light.
    Kind of like the Brits, but with better teeth!
    Oh Canada! 🙂
    *****************************************
    Note:
    Given Canada’s anti-hate crime laws and draconian human rights commissions, it is prudent to state that the above comment is deemed satire and is not intended to demean or cause hatred towards any identifiable group, race, or creed.
    Everyone likes to poke fun at the Brits (and especially the French – why is it that French Army tanks have only one forward gear but five reverse?).

  76. Dropping energy prices indicate less demand and consumption, hence less production of CO2. And yet the CO2 numbers continue to climb, doesn’t that falsify the AGW theory?

  77. Smokey:
    “And the fault can be laid almost entirely at the feet of this new confiscatory government.”
    And more importantly, can be laid at the feet of those that elected them.
    Learn people! Don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over, even for the most altruistic motives! California is losing residents at an alarming rate due to the high cost of living and taxes. Yet those same ex-Californians will move to a new state and vote for the same kind of idiots that ruined California.
    Investigate the past actions of people who are running for office. If their history is far left or far right, that is what they will be when in office, regardless of the moderate song and dance they do during the election. Vote using logic, and not feelings, or for a pretty face.
    This also applies to the crap sandwich of a candidate that the early Republican primaries left for the rest of the country to swallow.
    Vote ’em all out and start fresh!

  78. Just heard on CNBC that some administration not-so-bright has stated that they want a tariff on Chinese goods carbon content unless the Chinese enact a carbon tax or cap & tirade scheme like the one the Obama regime is pushing.
    The Chinese, as they are wont to do, have played the economic blackmail card of “Maybe we don’t need quite so many U.S. Treasuries…”
    All the Chinese need to do to spike this administration is stop buying U.S. Treasuries. The Chinese are the cash flow engine presently supporting the U.S. Debt, and they are nervous about it anyway; but to summarily stop buying would have been, to their mind, an aggressive act likely to trigger retribution. Now we’ve given them a ‘casus belli’ to do whatever they want. We insulted first. (And the Chinese are extraordinarily sensitive to any whiff of neocolonialists telling them what they must do…)
    Do we have no one in the government (under either party) who has a clue how international economics and geopolitics work? If I were the Chinese Premier, right now I’d be telling my aparatchik mandarins to start a gradual “death of 1000 cuts” on U.S. Treasury purchases. Slowly sell down what they hold starting with longest maturities and turn all new purchases into very short durations. Keep a slightly reduced U.S. Treasury buy rate (so no one can say you have stopped) but pull the maturities in to 1 or 2 years. Then all you need to do is wait a year to be ‘sold out’ via maturation. Basically, change the 1st and 2nd derivative of the treasury accumulation rate.
    I would expect that within 2 years max, 1 year if they really hustled, they could hold no paper longer than 2 years maturity and with an average maturity of 1 year. It would be hard to get it shorter than that (folks notice if you churn from bonds to bills – the swap from a 20 year bond to a 10 year bond or from a 5 to a 2 is not noticed much, swap to a 90 day T-bill from a 20 year bond, it stands out…). It would not be hard to sell $100 million of mixed 20 and 10 year bonds in one agency while buying a mix of 10s and 5s in another and hide the swap down from 20s to 5s.
    Ack! A google turned up that it was Mr. Chu (who ought to know better).
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123733297926563315.html
    Why does this matter? Protectionism and tariff wars were part of what caused The Great Depression to become so deep and prolonged. The last thing we need right now is a trade war with China (which we would lose) forcing them into internal stimulus (which would only make them stronger) and us into hyperinflation (which is where we will be with ‘spending as proposed’ along with our present nonexistent production of wealth; if not sterilized by bond sales. Oh, and with darned near every manufactured thing you buy bumped up by 10% to 20% via a tariff. Try, just try to find physical goods in the store not marked “made in China”…)
    And just what would happen to the U.S. Treasury when a $Trillion of bonds matured and the money was not ‘rolled over’… They would have no choice but to print money, and stoke inflation ( I don’t see any other “sucker” ready to step up in size to fund the credit card…) It would not be pretty.
    Unfortunately, the Obama administration being zealots on the carbon issue will find that non-negotiable. The economic reality of a China, unfettered in its coal use as our economic competition, being guaranteed “a win” will at some point set in (it looks like it is happening now). Rather than taking the rational decision to avoid the crippling carbon taxes, the only choice the administration will find acceptable is to strong arm the Chinese – and that will be a disaster.

  79. DJ (11:16:28) :
    The article simply shows the “sceptics” grasp of economics is worse than their grasp of climate. The published economic literature is very clear that the costs of mitigation are small and much less that buisness as usual (unless of course you hide behind discount rates).

    Actually, DJ, it would be more accurate to state that the AGW adherents’ grasp of economics is as shaky as their grasp of science. That includes your own. I have read several of these “analyses” demonstrating the minimal economic impacts of reducing GHG. When I read one written by a REAL economist, discussing the economic impact from the perspective of effect of induced, mandated and regulated scarcity on the Value Chains of all human economic activity, I’ll pay attention. Until then, the “economists” you rely on are just as dishonest and fraudulent in their analyses as the AGW adherents.
    To take a simple example: bread.
    It requires energy to harvest the wheat, energy to transport from farm to granary, energy to transport from granary to mill, energy to process into flour, energy to transport flour to bakery, energy to transform into bread, energy to transport from bakery to grocery store, energy to manage the climate in the store. (I’ll neglect the energy of you peddling however many miles to the store and back when you buy – except that you will need to eat more to get the energy for all that bicycling.)
    The total contribution of energy across the entire Value Chain to the price of the loaf of bread is (if I recall correctly) around 25%. If you quadruple the cost of energy, what will that do to the cost of a loaf of bread? Now figure it out for every single thing you buy – food, clothing, shelter, etc. Next, realize that as all these prices increase dranmatically, wages will have to increase to keep pace. The likely result is called “hyperinflation.” And these “economists” claim the impact on the economy is “small and much less that buisness as usual” [sic]?!?
    I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion, that different perspectives can yield different analytic results. But words have meaning, and when these guys use them they have to be able to tell the story of that meaning. When the story being told doesn’t match the word used, it’s called a “lie.”

  80. All,
    re qualified Economists’ view of costs/benefits of Global Warming mitigation efforts, in light of California’s AB 32 Scoping Plan.
    Peer review comments from:
    Dallas Burtraw, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
    Mathew E. Kahn, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Robert N. Stavins, Ph.D., Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government
    Harvard University
    Gary W. Yohe, Ph.D., Professor, Wesleyan University
    Janet Peace, Ph.D. and Liwayway G. Adkins, Ph.D., Pew Center on Global Climate Change
    A key conclusion from the peer reviewers is:
    ” ARB underestimated the costs and overestimated the benefits of the individual measures that were a key input to the economic modeling. Additionally, reviewers questioned why in some cases the costs and savings of various individual measures were omitted from the analysis. (Stavins, Kahn, Pew)” (emphasis added)
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/economics-sp/peer-review/peer_review_comments_arb_responses.pdf

  81. John W. (09:35:13) :

    DJ (11:16:28) :(unless of course you hide behind discount rates).


    Since discount rates are fundamental to the determination of net present value of any and all investments and revenue streams</b. is it essential to use them, and to do so correctly. The value of a stock, bond, or any other investment instrument, is the net present value of the expected future income stream which is calculated with, yes, the discount rate.
    Actually, DJ, it would be more accurate to state that the AGW adherents’ grasp of economics is as shaky as their grasp of science. That includes your own. I have read several of these “analyses” demonstrating the minimal economic impacts of reducing GHG. When I read one written by a REAL economist, discussing the economic impact from the perspective of effect of induced, mandated and regulated scarcity on the Value Chains of all human economic activity, I’ll pay attention.
    Well, I am an economist so here’s my “analysis”. There is an existence proof of what happens when energy supply is constrained and prices rise (several, actually, always with the same result…). It is the early 1970’s Arab Oil Embargo. It was an unmitigated disaster for anyone and everyone dependent on energy (which is just about everyone and everything). We had rampant inflation in a stagnant to recessionary economy (resulting in the coining of the word “stagflation”).
    You could make the same statement about both world wars, though that is complicated by the downstream pickup in economic growth from massive government spending for war goods. Not a bad effect if coming out of The Great Depression, but hugh inflationary pressures are not so good if you are not in a great depression (and despite the bellyaching about this minor recession, it’s no where near a depression – great or otherwise.) The only thing constraining price inflation then was The Gold Standard, which we left behind long ago, and even with that there was inflation.
    I have participated in a large number of “economic justifications” for some capital goods purchase, or facilities expansions, or other expenditures. They are generally more fantasy than anything else. The proposer puts in every possible assumption that is good for their case and leaves out all the ones that are bad for their case. As an executive level manager you get pretty good at spotting the B.S. The AGW argument for near zero cost is full of BS (Bad Science? was that what someone christened this?).
    A final note: Markets are one of the best ways known to find true value and optimal decisions. (No, they are not perfect, but this is not the place for a freshman discussion of market dislocations and inefficiencies. But they are substantially better than the alternatives in almost all circumstances.) The markets clearly have not chosen the “green solutions” when they made no sense. To force feed them to people pretty much demonstrates that they are not the best economic choice. And sub-par economic choice increases costs and decreases utility available to the economy (economist speak for “It stinks, costs more, and doesn’t make as much money”). An example? Wind turbines are now being installed since they make economic sense. Even with subsidies, most folks realize that solar photovoltaic has a ways to go (though they might get there in just a couple of years).
    FWIW: I am a staunch supporter of alternative energy sources. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in it since before the oil embargo. I could write a couple of books in the technologies and economics of it. Despite my fervent advocacy of it, you can’t force a bad idea on an economy with out having some kind of bad reaction. Yes, I have compact fluorescents everywhere, I’ve made an ersatz biomass gasifier, I’ve made my own biodiesel and I’ve made methane digesters. Oh, and I have a couple of solar panels laying around. No wind turbine, though. I live in a near zero wind zone… but I own stock in a wind fund “FAN” along with several other alternative energy companies including wave and algae power sources. I did sell my GEX solar fund a while back, but will buy in again when it looks right. See: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/holdings/ for a complete list. Oh, and I was running cars and lawnmowers on alcohol starting in about 1968 on through the 1980’s or so. I want alternative energy solutions, but not enough to compromise my adherence to truth. The only fiddling with the market that we ought to be doing is putting a “countervailing tariff” on OPEC source oil to offset the power of OPEC. I would use a tariff such that OPEC oil had a price floor of $80 / bbl (i.e. no tariff at $80+ OPEC price. OPEC at $50, tariff of $30 on OPEC oil only) This would let the alternatives go forward as directed by the market, with no fear that OPEC would put them out of business by opening the oil faucet. The idea of the government picking winners is just broken in so many ways that I’ll leave it for another day…

  82. Pierre Gosselin (09:27:10) : Right now there is simply no steady altenative supply of energy. Wind and solar are sporadic, expesnive and require natural gas backup 1 to 1. Biodiesel and ethanol are pie in the sky. […] The whole thing would be as successful as the experiment in communism. It’s utter lunacy.
    I’ve noticed that many folks have a problem getting an intuitive grasp of numbers. ( I do find “seeing numbers” so it took me a while to figure out that others did not…) These folks often benefit from seeing a pre-made picture:
    https://eed.llnl.gov/flow/02flow.php
    Shows the total energy flows in the U.S. economy. Notice the small lines? No, I mean the really small lines. Yes, those, the ones you almost can’t see. Those are the “alternative energy” contribution to our power system… Notice the big fat lines? Coal, Oil, Natural gas. That’s what the AGW crowd thinks can be replaced by the nearly invisible little lines…
    SIdebar: Comes From and Goes To
    Notice that coal is largely used for electricity (and electricity is almost entirely dependent on coal with a bit of nuclear and a very small part of natural gas). Kill coal and the lights go out while the factories grind to a halt, computers and networks stop, the HVAC (heat ventilation air condition) shuts off, traffic & street lights go out, refrigeration ends and the grocery store can’t check you out.
    Now notice that oil is almost entirely used for transportation and transportation is almost entirely dependent on oil. Kill oil and all transport stops (with the minor exception of some electric light rail). No trains, ships, planes, cars or trucks delivering goods. No farm tractors or harvesters. Now you could replace every single transportation system in America (and Canada, and Australia, and…) but it will cost an astounding quantity of money and take 20+ years. (Ships & Trains don’t get replaced every couple of years…). Heck, I know folks still using 30+ year old harvesters and 40+ year old tractors!
    Finally, Natural gas. It gets split with electric generation up front, but most of it goes to heating homes & businesses with some used for industrial (most of that being chemicals… much of what we call “petro”chemicals in fact comes from natural gas. That change happened in the 1970’s Arab Oil Embargo years). Cut off the gas and we freeze. We also lose most of the plastic goods and things like anti-freeze. (Yes, there are biological alternatives, but it takes time to convert…)
    There is no way that graph can be changed to have all those outputs made without those inputs of carbon based fuels. The entire energy infrastructure of the nation would require uprooting (just think of the environmental impact reports and the disposal costs, if nothing else!) and replaced with an ill defined “something else”. While I support producing as much wind, wave, solar, biofuels, et. al. as we can: I fully realize that it’s a 20 to 50 year process to convert about 1/2 our energy use and that many uses ought best be served with coal, oil, and natural gas for at least 100 years.

  83. sod (12:26:57) : this is a pretty stupid approach. you can t use the petroleum use as an economic indicator, to contradict green ideas. that simply doesn t make any sense.
    Um, in reality: Oil is an excellent indicator of economic activity. It directly tracks production and transportation. I usually use price, rather than volume, since as a relatively price inelastic product the price move more than the volume, but that’s really just a scaling factor on the charts. But it is volume that is reported on the inventory reports, then price moves.
    Oil underpins economic production and if you don’t understand that you will get killed trading stocks or oil. It is one of the key indicators I look at: at least weekly, on Wednesday when oil inventory and consumption volume are announced on every single financial show and in every single financial newspaper around. The stock market and bonds markets usually jump one way or the other (except in the unusual case where the predictions exactly matched the reality). There is a reason stock and bond prices move based on oil volume: Oil is an indicator of economic activity.

    Emissions worldwide have increased 18.0%
    Emissions from countries that signed Kyoto increased 21.1%
    Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%
    Emissions from the U.S. increased only 6.6% [source]

    you decided NOT to use per capita numbers. and yes, Kyoto allows some countries to catch up. this is a horrible analysis!
    Sorry, but the “capitas” didn’t change much during that time. Europe has a depopulation problem in may countries. The U.S. has a large immigration rate (especially compared to places like China). The “per capita” delta is even greater than that static analysis.
    The fact that you are hiding from is that market economies (old U.S.A.) worked really well at cutting consumption of an expensive product and socialist / communist economies did not. Sadly, now that we (the U.S.A.) are a Lang Type Socialism government, we too will have a less efficient economy.
    Finally: “Catch up”. So if we were talking about any other ‘evil thing’ would we allow catching up? Can I “catch up” with my murderous neighbor? Can I “catch up” with the fraud level of Madoff? Can I “catch up” with the M.J. consumption of the local pusher or the “tricks” level of the local street walker? Exactly which “evil things” are allowed a “catching up” provision? Theft? (I could use a new car… I’d only steal a Honda, and not even a very new one… do I get a pass? 😎 No, the reality is that CO2 is not an “evil thing” or there would not be an allowance for anyone to “catch up”. The reality is that this is a back door form of communism; a way to “spread the wealth” and punish the rich as though breaking on person’s rice bowl would feed someone else… It is raw hate and envy packaged as a fraud.

  84. Ah yes, earth hour. The hour where I leave my save money ideals and make sure every light in the house is turned on and I’m running my dryer. Just switched to a gas stove so can’t run my electric stove like last year. It’s still out back, maybe I’ll plug it in for the hour. Dang gas stove is covering the 220 plug and it is stinkin’ heavy.

  85. Headline: “White House Admits Cap-And-Trade Tax Costs Triple Their Official Estimate”
    http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/03/17/kerpen_cap_and_trade_triple_cost/
    Here’s most of the article:
    By Phil Kerpen
    …. Now, amazingly, the White House is telling something closer to the truth about this tax hike, admitting that the official budget estimate of $646 billion over 8 years—already a mighty steep price to pay—is far, far lower than the real cost.
    The deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, Jason Furman, is giving us a glimpse at the real number, telling Senate staff the energy tax scheme would actually raise “two-to-three times” the budget’s official $646 billion revenue estimate. Dow Jones reports that 5 people at the meeting confirmed the statement—we can be pretty sure he said it.
    ………………….
    If Furman is right that the real tax hike would be two or three times the official budget estimate—and it’s likely still a lowball—that would mean the actual tax hike would run well into the trillions, roughly between $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion between fiscal years 2012 and 2019 by Furman’s own estimate.
    …………….
    Remember that these staggering costs of $1.3 to $1.9 trillion are for just the first 8 years of a 40 year program that gets much more expensive over time. This would be the final knock-out blow for a wobbly U.S. economy, and we can only hope that as people learn the facts they’ll oppose it strongly enough to force Congress and the White House back to the drawing board.”

  86. E.M.Smith, re petrochemicals:
    “…much of what we call “petro”chemicals in fact comes from natural gas.”
    Technically true, but a bit misleading. Here is what happens.
    Raw natural gas from a well is separated in a gas plant into pipeline quality natural gas (mostly methane with a bit of ethane), and separate streams of ethane, propane, mixed butanes, and natural gasoline.
    The petrochemical plant, and I refer here to a steam-cracking plant, receives the ethane, and sometimes propane, and cracks them into ethylene and propylene. The chemical process is dehydrogenation at high temperature in the presence of steam. (C2H6 —> C2H4 + H2). The cracking process is not perfect, and some ethane is cracked into methane (C2H6 + H2 —> 2CH4)
    The ethylene and propylene become the building blocks for the petrochemicals, of which an example is poly-ethylene (trash bags).
    Natural gas is used as a fuel in the petrochemical plant, as the processes there require a lot of energy.
    You are absolutely correct about the energy flows, although in the U.S. natural gas and nuclear are about dead even at 20 percent. Hydroelectric will not grow much, if any over the years, as the dams are largely in place already. Replacing coal with nuclear is not a good idea for many reasons, not the least of which is cost per kwh generated (30 cents for nuclear vs 5 cents for coal).
    Replacing coal with natural gas is the most economic choice, if (when) the cap-and-traders prevail. That one change will reduce CO2 emissions by a factor of about 4, compared to coal-based power plants. Such conversions will generate huge traffic in carbon credit trading. In the U.S., we will require substantial LNG imports and enhanced natural gas distribution systems. We are already constrained along the east coast in the winter months. That fact may suggest some investing ideas to you!
    Roger

  87. mark wagner (13:34:13) : economics 101: when you restrict supply of something, the price goes up.
    I hate to say this Mark, but you are wrong. It was Economics 1A, Intro to Microeconomics. (1B was intro to Macro). By the time we got to upper division stuff we were doing linear programming optimization of production and things like “The Economics of Ecology” (Econ 136, I think…) and International Trade & Finance (forgot the number, but loved the class). So your point is one of the most basic things taught in the very first introduction to Economics class. The law of supply and demand.
    Everything else you said was pretty much “spot on” with the minor nit that taxes are passed to any and all of the stake holders; wherever they can be shoved. Some comes from lower dividends, some from lower wages available to be paid, some from lower prices paid to suppliers (if possible). Yes, most gets packed into the product as “cost of goods sold”, but there is a theoretical quantity that can come from other stake holders. (I know, a nit. Do I really care if I pay $1 more for a product or got paid $1 less? Or had $1 less dividends to buy it with? In both cases my ability to purchase goods dropped by the same amount, but Economists must be kind of anal about these details… it’s what we do :-}
    Tell me, DJ, do you drive? have a washing machine? refrigerator? microwave? central air/heat? carpet? tv? Do you want to do without all these “luxuries” to revert to a ~1900 standard of living?
    Oh, and you left out: “Use a computer or a computer network?” 8->) Data centers are hugh energy sinks. We had a 750 kVA transformer for the one I ran…
    Ben Lawson (13:58:50) : The current drop in energy consumption is the result of the economic situation, not the cause of it. Might as well say that wearing looser clothes makes you thinner. Your premise is unsupported and completely irrelevant.
    Ben, might I refer you to the next part of your posting?
    Smokey (11:20:41): You also know that emissions are effectively linked to economic output
    The two are linked at the hip. Less energy usage is less economic activity (as you noted in the Smokey comment). The original posters point is quite valid. Want to know what it will look like with this much energy reduction, look at the economy today at that reduced level of energy consumption. A directly proportional to B in both directions.
    How you could get the linkage in part 2 and not in part 1 is an interesting study in inconsistency; but I’ve noted before that internal consistency is not among the strong suits of AGW believers…
    China has undoubtably been getting a free ride in all this, but that is the natural consequence of “capitalist” manufacturers seeking the lowest cost of production.
    No. Not at all. The movement of industry is a derivative effect. That China gets a free ride is a direct consequence of Kyoto treaty wherein it is specified. Everything else is an economic consequence of that decision.
    And this:
    Carsten Arnholm, Norway (12:17:12) :
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7929174.stm

    is not the BBC I’ve seen lately:
    “The much-vaunted European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has turned out to be an ineffective and costly piece of market fixing, which will not achieve its stated aims.
    Carbon offsetting is even worse: transferring money to developing countries to fund projects that probably would have been implemented anyway, and with little real impact on emissions.
    The carbon emissions market risks being the next bubble to burst.”
    WOW.
    “The answer is to use the best available and most cost effective low carbon technology for base load generation (nuclear power), increase the focus on energy efficiency in all sectors of the economy, and encourage R&D on new transport and power generation technologies.
    But to start to move in this direction needs policymakers to acknowledge the hard fact that the present unwarranted faith in power from renewables and emphasis on punishing emitters is going nowhere.”
    Double WOW.
    Amazing what a “freeze your bippy” winter will do to the ol’ attitude 😉

  88. Roger Sowell (15:48:36) : There are indeed some projects that are sufficiently worthy that no discount rate analysis is required, for example, a sewage treatment plant.
    While you are correct in broad scope, I would only add that a discount rate analysis would still be valuable to compare different alternatives for achieving the same ends; and for knowing if a project was not very efficient and a search for stronger alternatives ought to be done… (I know, a tiny nit from the back of a flea… but this is about Economics… and that’s what we do. 😎

  89. Allan M R MacRae (04:23:37) : Scientists have found a new threat to the planet: Canadian beer drinkers.
    “Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home.”

    I’m sorry, but this is just going too far! Someone needs to inform these folks that the American Beer Fridge us usually near The Gun Safe and the only reason the owner is not in TGS is because he’s been in TBF and can’t do the combination anymore ;-). Now take away TBF and there will be an immediate armed revolt from sober red necks! Something to be truly feared! ( I R 1; and nobody is touching either of my magic cabinets 😎
    Ontario is considering becoming the first province in Canada to follow Australia’s lead in banning old-fashioned, energy-sucking light bulbs.
    Someone needs to inform those folks in Ontario that it’s cold there. All that it will do, to ban incandescent bulbs, it to move the bill from the lighting to the heating side of the ledger… Now in Arizona in August, you’ve got a good argument!
    Oh, and a CFB is good for about 10,000 on / off cycles MAX, so those 10 year lifetimes are not for things that get turned on and off a dozen times a day… like, oh, the kitchen or bathroom. And don’t even think of putting one in the fridge. Aside from not putting out full power for about 5 minutes of warm up time, if you break one you get to buy a new fridge due to mercury contamination… Oh, or the oven… And motion sensor driven outside lights are not a good place for them either. Aside from the on / off cycling lifetime problem, that 5 minutes to warm up doesn’t work quite so well as a “scare the burglar with a bright light” solution… And I still haven’t found one that works really well on a dimmer. They are also not so good for baby chick warmer lights nor for photographic enlargers where color matters. And if you break one in a photographic dark room you will get odd fogging on papers and films due to mercury sensitization. Oh, and for studio flood lights they are a bit wrong on the color temperature too. They are also kind of wrong for a whole host of specialty applications like those little flame shaped mini-bulbs, but I think you see the problem.
    Have I mentioned lately that markets work far far better at deciding what to make than any central bureau or Authority?… Choice, freedom, marvelous things. Wonder where I can find some.
    So Canadians will soon mutate to become a bunch of pale people drinking warm beer under ugly ultra-white light.
    But the beer will only be warm in the summer (set it outside other seasons). Bears don’t drink beer do they? 😎
    especially the French – why is it that French Army tanks have only one forward gear but five reverse?
    Why, to outmaneuver the advancing Germans while maintaining fire on target! Évedent, n’est-ce pas?

  90. Genghis (07:33:45) : Dropping energy prices indicate less demand and consumption, hence less production of CO2. And yet the CO2 numbers continue to climb, doesn’t that falsify the AGW theory?
    Yes. In fact a similar observation was made about the CO2 pattern around the Great Depression then WWII …

  91. Roger Sowell (15:32:39) :
    E.M.Smith, re petrochemicals:“…much of what we call “petro”chemicals in fact comes from natural gas.”
    Technically true, but a bit misleading. Here is what happens.

    Don’t see where it was misleading. Incomplete, yes. I tend to be a bit prolix at times so was skipping the chemystery part 😎 Gas goes in, chemicals come out. And a lot of waste heat…
    Replacing coal with natural gas is the most economic choice, if (when) the cap-and-traders prevail. […] Such conversions will generate huge traffic in carbon credit trading. In the U.S., we will require substantial LNG imports and enhanced natural gas distribution systems. We are already constrained along the east coast in the winter months. That fact may suggest some investing ideas to you!
    Beat you to it! I own some TGP and CHK. Chesapeake as a general ‘bottom fish’ natural gas play (there may be better, I didn’t do an exhaustive search, just bought ‘familiar and good enough’). TGP is Teekay LNG partners. It has an 11% dividend right now and is in an established up trend. They are the only dedicated LNG tanker ticker that I know of. Bought them when it became clear that Russian gas through Ukraine was going to cause the Brits et. al. to make sure to have some part of their supply by sea… I expect it to grow nicely over the years as they add ships. LNG tankers are on decades long leases, so the revenues do not vary with much of anything. Yet the market sells them down to silly levels when the Baltic Dry index says “Sell Shipping!” due to low spot rates for cement & iron ore. One of the few market inefficiencies you can regularly exploit. (But don’t tell anyone!) Oh, and a Canadian natural gas / oil trust with a 22% or so dividend. I expect to be holding this for years to come (or until someone offers an insane price for them at a blow off top!)
    FWIW, a new process has let us get gas out of “tight shale” so there is generally a glut in natural gas right now (it’s below $4 / unit where it was $12+ last year) and will be for a little while. It will take a while to soak it up so Nat Gas isn’t a fast trade at this point. More a value buy and long hold. So look for things with fat dividends to make the wait worth while… As coal plants cut over and as nat gas goes to trucking, the prices will rise. Oh, and I’ve got CLNE to leverage the Long Beach Harbor (et.al.) conversion of trucking to CNG. More volatile, but looks bottomed and rising to me. A long term start up style company. That’s the T. Boone Pickins company that does CNG truck conversions and gas stations… Think of it as CARB mandated business…
    Hey, just because I think the “kill coal” movement is nuts and CARB is clueless doesn’t mean I can’t make money off of them!
    (CARB is California Air Resources Board. Our pollution Green Shirts.)

  92. E.M.Smith,
    There is also the methanol -to-olefins process, in which methane (natural gas) is first converted to methanol (see below). Then the methanol is converted to ethylene and propylene. That is a true natural gas-to- petrochemicals conversion. It is not in widespread use due to unfavorable economics. Ethane is a fairly useless byproduct from natural gas processing, so is a low-cost feed to conventional petrochemical plants.
    http://www.uop.com/objects/26%20MTO%20process.pdf

  93. E.M.Smith (16:07:04): The two are linked at the hip. Less energy usage is less economic activity (as you noted in the Smokey comment). The original posters point is quite valid. Want to know what it will look like with this much energy reduction, look at the economy today at that reduced level of energy consumption. A directly proportional to B in both directions.
    How you could get the linkage in part 2 and not in part 1 is an interesting study in inconsistency; but I’ve noted before that internal consistency is not among the strong suits of AGW believers…

    So by your logic factories stop production because workers stop driving to them. Also by your remarkable logic if we were to magically double our energy efficiency we would halve our economic activity. Hmmm… Logical fallacies are the hall-mark of [skeptics] attempting to fabricate arguments.
    REPLY: Ben, while you are on the subject of “fabricated arguments” you might take note of the fact that Mr. Smith was not referring to “driving”, that is your invention. The base idea is that access to available an inexpensive energy increases opportunity, and thus productivity. Economics 101. – Anthony

  94. Anthony, my comment began with “so by your logic”. It was an example of applying Smith’s logic, not an invention.
    I see the actual article’s premise as using consumption of petroleum products as a gauge of our current economies (which of course it does reflect) and a warning that forced reduction in petroleum product usage, presumably driven by CO2 restriction laws, will CAUSE a reduction of our economy in a sort of “starvation” of our economic engines.
    If as you say “inexpensive energy increases opportunity, and thus productivity” then why are we mired in this recession when, for example, gas prices are so low?
    These are intentionally simplistic concepts that would make great examples in Economics 101. But they would wilt in Economics 201.

    REPLY:
    Equilibrium takes time, be it climate or economics. – Anthony

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