British Columbia, British Utopia

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I was pointed by a commenter on another blog to the Canadian Province of British Columbia, where they put a carbon-based energy tax scheme into effect in 2008. Before looking at either the costs or the actual results of the scheme, let me start by looking at the possible benefits of the scheme. I mean, on my planet if there are no benefits the costs are kinda beside the point. The BC carbon-based energy tax was sold on the basis that it would help in the fight against the theorized CO2-caused global warming. So how much will the actions of our northern cousins affect the world temperature?

Well, that’s hard to answer, but we could set an upper bound on the possible cooling by a thought experiment. According to the current climate paradigm, CO2 rules the global temperature, and the change in temperature is about 3°C for each doubling of CO2. That means if we know the emissions, we can calculate the resultant temperature change.

So here’s the thought experiment. Suppose British Columbia had been founded in 1850 as a separate country with the high ethical aim of achieving freedom from evil carbon based fuels. And instead of calling it “British Columbia”, the early colonists decided to call it “British Utopia”, because they were going to make the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against evil carbon dioxide. They weren’t going to use any fossil fuels ever, their country would be a true utopia. So they built a wall around British Utopia and didn’t trade with anyone, to keep out nasty carbon from trade. To avoid CO2 emissions they didn’t use any oil, either their own or from elsewhere. They didn’t make any cement, or import any, too much CO2 released in the manufacture. The Utopians didn’t use coal for heat or transportation or making steel, just wonderful organic renewable wood. Since the carbon in wood was recently taken from the atmosphere, burning it doesn’t add CO2 to the atmosphere, it just replaces what the tree removed from the atmosphere. And suppose further that they had kept true to that until today …

To me that sounds like they’d lead short lives under brutal conditions, breathing a hazy brown atmosphere from all the wood smoke. And if you run your country on wood you might well end up looking like Haiti … but we’ll let all that go for the moment and ask the important question:

If the British Utopians had made that noble sacrifice for humanity in 1850 and foresworn fossil fuels … how much cooler would the world be today?

Fortunately, given the assumptions made by the IPCC under the current paradigm, we can calculate how much cooler it would be if the British Utopians had given up emitting CO2. The CDIAC has data for both Canada and the World ms showing CO2 emissions since 1750. And since for a given country the CO2 emissions are a function of population, and we know the historical BC population as a fraction of the total, we can figure the total BC emissions, and thus, the amount of Utopian cooling. So here’s the true Canadian hockeystick, showing how much cooler, year by year, the world would be from the British Utopians’ self-sacrifice:

british utopians contribution to cooling the globe

Figure 1. How much cooler the world would be if the British Utopians had abjured the evil carbon habit in 1850.

Now, the blue line in Figure 1. shows how much the virtuous actions of the British Utopians have cooled the planet over the last century and a half. If they had “Just Said No” to fossil fuels, the blue line shows how much cooler we’d be today. That would be about five thousandths of one degree … man, those Utopians really know how to get the most bang for their buck, huh? Give up all the modern comforts for a century and a half, live in the dark ages for decade after decade while everyone else is partying down, and what do they have to show for a hundred and fifty years of self-deprivation?

Five thousandths of a degree of cooling.

But wait, it gets worse … think of the grandchildren!

Over on the right hand side of the graph I’ve shown another fifty years of projected emissions. For a young couple just starting a family today, in fifty years their grandchildren will be in their thirties. So what might the BC carbon-based energy tax achieve for these grandchildren?

I’ve shown two possible futures. One is fifty years of the “Business As Usual” scenario in red. This continues the post-1970 trend, which has been an average of about a 1.5% annual increase in British Columbia emissions. That’s what we might pessimistically expect if there were no carbon-based energy tax of any kind. That’s worst-case.

And in green, I’ve shown what would be the absolute best-case result from the carbon-based energy tax. This is the total fantasy outcome, where the BC emissions remain at their 2008 value (the date of the BC tax), and they don’t increase at all for fifty years. Of course atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to rise because of the constant annual addition of the same amount of CO2 emitted in 2008, but not so much as in the “Business As Usual” scenario.

Now, the difference between those two possible scenarios, the worst-case and best-case scenarios, is the theoretical maximum possible cooling that might result from the carbon-based energy tax. That is shown by the black line in the lower right corner … and that cooling is three thousandths of a degree.

So there you have it. All of the pain that the folks of BC are going through, all of the miles of paperwork, all of the sacrifice, all of the damage done to the poor, all the taxes collected and bureaucrats coddled, for all of that, what the good Canadian folks have achieved for their grandchildren is three thousandths of a degree of cooling.

About all I can say is, I certainly hope than the grandchildren show a proper appreciation for that fantastic inter-generational gift, and that they send the old geezers a nice thank-you card like Miss Manners recommends. After all, it’s the thought that counts, and it’s not often you get a present that’s that significant …

Seriously, folks, the anti-carbon zealots must have hypnotized the masses. I know no other way to explain such idiocy. Here’s the thing:

Suppose someone came up to you and said “I can guarantee you that I can cool the planet by three thousandths of a degree over the next fifty years.” And suppose you checked them out, and found that they were telling the truth, in fact they could guarantee the three thousandths of a degree of cooling in fifty years.

How much would you personally pay for that?

Would you pay a thousand dollars to be guaranteed that amount of cooling, 0.003°C, and not today but in fifty years?

I wouldn’t. Not worth it. Too much money for too little benefit.

But the collective madness of the BC citizens has reached the point where they’re willing to establish an economy-slowing tax accompanied by a whole bureaucracy, with enforcement officers and piles of paperwork, and spend millions and millions of dollars in the mad pursuit of a best-case benefit of three thousandths of a degree cooling, not now, but in fifty years.

All I can do is shake my head in astonishment, and wonder at the madness of crowds. A plan is proposed, someone does a cost-benefit analysis, the benefits are too small to have a hope of being measured and don’t occur for decades … and in response people say “Great plan, let’s implement it immediately”???

Ah, well … I’m an optimist, I figure at some point our Canadian neighbors will wake up and go “Wha?” …

Best to all,


PS—As I mentioned above, I wanted to take a look at the benefits, the costs, and the effects of the BC carbon-based energy tax. I’ve only discussed the (lack of) benefits in this post, so as you might expect, there will be a couple of additional posts to cover the effects and the costs. In fact they’re mostly written, because this started as one post and got unbearably long … so I’ll cover the costs and the effects of the BC tax in future posts.

PPS—Please don’t tell me that this is just the first step. The BC taxpayers have already spent half a billion dollars on this farce and that’s not the half of it. If your wonderful first step costs a billion dollars for a cooling of 0.003°C, I am not interested in your second step whatever it may be.

NOTE: This is one of a four-part series on the BC carbon-based energy tax. The parts are:

British Columbia, British Utopia

Fuel on the Highway in British Pre-Columbia

The Real Canadian Hockeystick

Why Revenue Neutral Isn’t, and Other Costs of the BC Tax


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Lance Wallace

Figure 1 is not showing up.

Willis Eschenbach

Try again, I hit the “Post” button prematurely and had to scramble to connect the dots, but I think it’s good now.

Diana Moher

My grandmother thought governments were evil entities. She said, “mark my words. If they can, they will find a way to tax the air we breathe”. That was over 30 years ago. She was, unfortunately, right. #disgruntledbritishcolumbian

Willis for President.
“if there are no benefits the costs are kinda beside the point…” Ah, but these kind of projects bring benefits that politicians seek, the expansion of their government power – very different than the one’s that actually help normal people. Two entirely different kinds of “benefits”.


What is even more delightful is that the Canadian federal government charges GST (5% tax) on the carbon tax. In 2008 the federal government made 30 Million from GST on the carbon tax. Don’t blame the citizens, they didn’t do this or even think it up. It was all the BC Liberal government. Liberals are Democrats, always looking for new ways to take your money.

David Davidovics

I actually have a carbon tax rebate cheque in the amount of $3.12 from a while back. Never bothered to cash it and was thinking of getting a frame and putting it on the wall.

Robert in Calgary

Lets not forget Eve, that in BC terms, the Liberals are the current free enterprise (coalition) party.

In Australia we have the same situation.
It is justified as an example to other countries.
If all countries follow this lead, then the problem is solved.
In the meantime, this is a good source of revenue.
Revenue which can be used to buy votes.

The really wonderful part is that while we in BC do drive cars, roughly 95% of our electricity is generated by wonderful, renewable, hydro power. So, even before the crazy right wing government brought in the carbon tax, (and yes, the “Liberals” are the right wing party in BC) we were already emitting rather less CO2 per capita than virtually any other Western industrialized population.
Go figure.


hillrj left out the good part, to lower world temperature by reducing demand on fossil fuels a Carbon Tax that would cost the average punter $9.80 per week was to be imposed, having announced the “Carbon Tax” the Labor Party discovered that it would cost votes, in order to regain those votes they announced a compensation package (wait for it) $10.20 per week, LUMP SUM IN ADVANCE. What bogan wouldn’t go for that one, this enables the voter to purchase more energy from fossil fuel than they could afford before.


What is even funnier or sad or proving its just another tax scam is that BC exports lots of oil, coal and natural gas with plans in the works to export a lot more. We are also the home of Andrew Weaver and the infamous David Suzuki with a PHD in bugs, fruit flies, pushing climatic doom. I am not knocking those working with bugs, he is an embarrassment to the field.


What a great model. Up until now nobody has been able to answer the crucial question, “By how much will the CO2 tax reduce global warming ?”. Perhaps the model could be refined and, after peer review, used as evidence why even higher CO2 taxes are needed. Obviously the current tax level is failing dismally.

Indeed Robert and Eve. The scary part is that the other main party in BC (the NDP) would raise carbon taxes even more, stop oil pipeline projects, slow natural gas development in north eastern BC and increase taxes. – (Willis – read pages 39 and 50 – and you thought California is bad?)
Had the NDP won the May election, BC would be looking at increased job losses due to increased income taxes and taxes on “vented emissions from oil and gas operations”. Willis’s far fetched scenario would not have been far fetched at all. I grew up in BC but I could never move back there.
Happy in Oilberta.

Chris G

Well the dirty little secret is that the provincial government charges rate payers this filthy little carbon tax to fund their filthy little evil projects. Check this report out:
It shows that their production and export of natural gas and other liquids is set to nearly quadruple in that province alone by 2020. And they feel good that they are cleaning up China’s exports with all their cheap gas. So while they save their little province from the modeled fate of catastrophic global warming, cooling, climate wierding or climate change (pick one, not sure what day of the week it is), they make bank on exporting their supposedly damaging product around the globe.
Did I mention the provincial government makes bank on the mineral rights as well?
Grateful for their exports
I can do without their sanctimonious and hypocritical preaching on the topic.

Mike H

But we’re LEADING the world and all that “green” power technology is going to locate in British Utopia!! Jobs! Jobs and more jobs!!. . .
hmmm, wait a minute, if nobody is following, how can we be leading? I guess Aus is following but at least they are in the process of turfing out the party leader who brought them the Carbon tax. Us British Utopians on the other hand, just re-elected the liar in chief. (She originally didn’t win her riding in the general election, called a bi-election in a safe riding, (West Kelowna) and was re-elected. Politics as usual in BC. Shame on West Kelowna.)
Willis, do a little digging and you’ll find out 70% of the carbon taxes paid out went to friends of the liberals. The auditor general wasn’t very impressed.

stan stendera

Willis’ eagle flies again. What a treasure you are Willis.

Diana Moher [July 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm] says:
My grandmother thought governments were evil entities. She said, “mark my words. If they can, they will find a way to tax the air we breathe”. That was over 30 years ago. She was, unfortunately, right. #disgruntledbritishcolumbian

A wise lady because truer words were never spoken. George Harrison alluded to many things but left that particular one out of Taxman. But he got the tax on ‘heat’ correct.
It is a serious point in my opinion. If you don’t realize the absolute depths these scoundrels will sink to when they tax the air then you are utterly an hopeless sheep. It so simple even a liberal should understand ( ‘leftist’ to you non-USA citizens ).

Hi Willis,
Thank you again for your creative way of making discussion. It’s rare to be both very technically savvy and creative as you are. There’s not that many left/right brainics like you out there!
I am not trying to not pick, and I know you’re being generous using the 3C claim per doubling of CO2 to make a point. I just want to be clear I get exactly what you’re saying. When you say 3/1000 cooling, do you mean the temperature would be, according to the IPCC, 3/1000 C cooler than if CO2 emissions remained at business as usual levels? In other words, now is not stasis, but whatever the temperatures are going to be, they’d be 3/1000 cooler if BC stopped increasing emissions?

Why are our left coasts the most extreme? Must be something about living on the Pacific rim and the uncertainty of having another tomorrow….
Willis, I find a bit of confusion in the post – at first you talk about British Utopia being founded in 1750, but your graph is based on 1850. Shouldn’t that be 1750 (I know it wouldn’t change the configuration much)? Then 2 paragraphs below the graph you state the time lapse as 150 years — that should be 250 years from 1750.
Thanks for an interesting approach. Peace.
[Thanks, fixed. 1850 is correct. -w.]

Layne Blanchard

Cooling the planet is not the objective of Carbon Taxes or other Carbon schemes. Collecting vast amounts of tax for whatever can be dreamed up is the objective. The other objectives as we have all observed, include a self destroying desire for de-industrialization, and conversion of economies from Private Enterprise to Public Bureaucracy.

Willis Eschenbach

Mario Lento says:
July 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm

… but whatever the temperatures are going to be, they’d be 3/1000 cooler if BC stopped increasing emissions?



The largest foundation grant at the time in Canadian history, nearly $100,000,000, went to establish the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions at 3 (now 4) British Columbia universities.
You can take the Climate 101 course originally designed for our civil servants (with mood music yet!) here:
Reference material by John Cook here:

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm
Thank you… and I can extrapolate that if 3C per doubling is too much of a gracious plenty, the effects (if any) would be much much less than that small number of thousandths of a degree C… and we cannot really measure temperature that precisely as far as I know!
You’ve in a cogent example shown how ridiculous and harmful it is to abide by the warmists’ agenda.


BC political cartoonist Ingrid Rice (a leftist) published one in August 2012 that you would love. It’s not online that I know of, so I will describe it. A guy is reading a newspaper. Big headline: “Ottawa prof claims BC’s carbon tax works — 15% decline in fuel purchases since 2008”. Another headline: “BC loses 14,500 jobs in July — half of job losses in Canada”. The guy’s comment: “Sure! The carbon tax definitely reduced my fuel usage ………… But what really helped was losing my job. I no longer drive my car. I just live in it.”


And 0.003°C is the measurement uncertainty of a top class temperature calibration laboratory so, even after all this sacrifice, you still could not be sure that you had achieved anything at all.

Rhys Kent

Thanks for that Willis. I live in BC and it’s a great place, but the attitude of the government on this issue is embarrassing. As a former shop teacher (teaching small engine repair and other classes) I spent the last five years of my career explaining the myths of the warmist community to my students, and coaching them on questions to put to their science teachers, all of whom embraced warming. I wasn’t well liked, but the science department folks also feared me and never once challenged me. I even met a Dr. A. Weaver in my shop, good friend of Dr. M. Mann…..
Imagine my surprise when the Education Ministry adopted “An Inconvenient Truth” as curriculum ready, without any review or skeptical analysis, and delivered free copies to all secondary schools. I had fun with that too.
So the leap into carbon based energy taxation was not a large one. Science and the inquiry that drives it, is very much rejected by a large percentage of the population here, as any glance at daily news media will reveal. Carbon tax, no pipelines, no oil tankers, no gas shipments, no log exports, and……..what?……….no revenue? I want my health care!
No logic either.

Stuart Lynne

Its just a tax … and at least the proceeds are used locally instead of going to some other part of the world.
Not that I enjoy paying it any more than any other of our taxes!

The BC Carbon tax came from a series of measures, including Smart Meters, proposed by the BC Climate Action Team (CAT). Here is a link to the press Release providing details including members.
Several of them are connected to the IPCC, especially Andrew Weaver, who was lead author on the modelling chapters in the 1995, 2001, 2007 and the upcoming AR5 Reports.
Weaver recently won election in the Provincial government as member of the Green Party. I understand he is also deputy leader of the National Green Party.
David Keith as a member of the University of Calgary had a business promoting CO2 sequestration techniques.

Keith has been very active in attacking skeptics and others who ask questions. He is now professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The Ex-officio members on the list are all linked with Weaver and Environment Canada and active in various ways promoting the work of the IPCC.
The CAT produced the Climate Action Plan (CAP) which you can read here;
You can see that they cite the IPCC (page 6) as the source of their certainty about the problem and the need for action. There is even a separate insert by Weaver on page 10
I gave a presentation a few years ago to the BC Municipalities Association in Revelstoke explaining what was wrong with the IPCC science. Gordon Campbell, then leader of the opposition, approached me after and said he had never heard any of the information I provided. He said he would have his environment critic Murray Coell call me. A year later I spoke to the Municipalities again, this time with a greater emphasis on water. Campbell was again present, but now as Premier. He asked me if Coell had called me. I said no and he angrily said I will look after it. A month or so later I was summoned to the Premiers office for a meeting with Coell and his staff. The Premier started the meeting but announced he could not stay – he had arranged for his office to make sure it happened. Campbell and his then cabinet were well aware of the serious scientific limitations.
This suggests that Campbell, who essentially left office completely out of favour, saw greater benefit in appearing green and reaping the benefits of the carbon tax.
So, BC, with enormous energy resources, has among the highest gasoline prices on the continent thanks to scientists with political agendas.


If one thought the “FRACKING” issue was interesting in any other country, wait till it comes to BC:
One could speculate if the “tar-sands” was a feign…
Oh, yeah, that “tar-sand oil”, I am sure the Chinese will have not problems processing it. Keystone XL (This is an EXPANSION of a pipeline…) or not, it WILL be burned. I can’t wait till Mckibben, Hanson and Suzuki figure it out the EDF reports were BS, though I suspect Hansen already knew and was just keeping up the image (Not to mention the community service that might have caused his retirement….).

There are two forms of carbon usage taxes in B.C. The Carbon tax on fossil fuel, then there is the carbon offset payments that school and hospital boards must pay.

Mike H says: July 11, 2013 at 10:15 pmWillis, do a little digging and you’ll find out 70% of the carbon taxes paid out went to friends of the liberals. The auditor general wasn’t very impressed.

Mike is referring to the offset dollars.
The Carbon tax is revenue neutral, it does not bring in extra money but rather other taxes were reduced. For low income people, a rebate is given called BC climate action tax credit.
During the election just over 4 years ago, the NDP (New Democrat Party) promised to axe the tax. This statement has often been reported as a reason why the NDP lost that election. As had been stated, during the most recent election about 2 months ago, the NDP said they would keep the tax and even raise it and add additional costs. This time around the NDP lost even more seats than the previous election. I doubt however that I will see this being reported as a possible reason why they lost this time. By the way, people knew that the NDP would just bring in some kind of other goofy method to collect money from carbon usage if they axed the tax, such as a carbon cap.
The previous premier that introduced the original carbon tax, Gordon Campbell, was rewarded by being appointed Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in September 2011. He was rewarded for being nice with the Canadian federal government. There was some speculation that after leaving office, he would get a plumb job with G.E. because of the billion dollar contract to replace all the electric meters in B.C. with “smart” meters.
The wind lobby is constantly trying to get windmills built in B.C. The Run of River lobby has been far more successful and just earlier this year B.C. Hydro had to dump energy through spill ways in favour of the run of river providers, thus increasing B.C. Hydro customers costs.
A few years ago, the B.C. government was reassuring its citizens that B.C. was getting drier (due to climate change of course), they had scientists in the woods measuring the rain for the previous 8 years. I was appalled to learn of the cherry picking once I had spent time learning climate science.
The Liberal party had discussed whether  or not to get rid of the carbon tax during their last convention before the last election and they decided that they could not get rid of it because they had come to rely on it to help offset the other tax reductions. So let that be a lesson to any other jurisdictions considering a revenue neutral tax, you might not be able to get rid of the tax later.

Gary Hladik

As I recall, the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is only about half of humanity’s estimated CO2 omissions. Not that it would make much difference, but does your analysis take this into account, Willis?


A couple of years ago I wrote ‘The futility of Carbon reduction’ Very much on the same theme as this post by Willis
“It seems that the UK government is expecting to spend about £32 billion, (~2.2% of UK GDP), according to the Stern Review [1], every year for the foreseeable future in order to achieve by the year 2100 at the absolute maximum global temperature reduction of ~0.0019°C, (less than 2 thousandths of a degree Centigrade). This temperature reduction would have to involve the total elimination of all future UK CO2 emissions. Any lesser goal for reduction as proposed could only be even less effective temperature wise. The Stern review was released in 2006, so as ever with government budgets the sum will have escalated since. If the UK is proposing to spend £32 billion ($50 billion) per annum to partially influence ~1.7% of world CO2 emissions, it means that the equivalent global spend could be as much as ~$3,000 billion per annum for the foreseeable future. At present this would amount to about ~4.5% of the global GDP, ($69,000 billion) to achieve a reduction in temperature for the whole World of 0.11 °C about 1/10 degree Centigrade, on the basis that all future CO2 emissions were eliminated.”
I subsequently contacted 12 leading climate scientists to ask for their confirmation as to the effect our herculean efforts would make to this highly theoretical (and lets not forget that) effect on global temperatures.
4 didn’t bother to reply another 4 blustered but basically agreed the trivial reduction figures were correct but that it was a good thing anyway, and another four said they hadn’t even done the calculations anyway and didn’t intend to.
I don’t want to hijack this excellent thread by Willis but it seems to me that Willis or Anthony could –if they thought it worthwhile-usefully issue a challenge to climate scientists to either refute the figures, deny them or justify them by way of an article here.
I’m not holding my breath though that there would be any response. Those that know the answer don’t care and those that haven’t done the calculations don’t care either.
However, perhaps an even more useful thread might try to determine how we get these figures out into the MSM.


Broder’s headline could tell an entirely different story…cos CAGW policies are definitely going to ensure more energy breakdowns. nice to see the latest buzzword “resiliency” & “wicked” in one sentence:
11 July: NYT: John M. Broder: Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns
“We don’t have a robust energy system, and the costs are significant,” said Jonathan Pershing, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for climate change policy and technology, who oversaw production of the report. “The cost today is measured in the billions. Over the coming decades, it will be in the trillions. You can’t just put your head in the sand anymore.” …
In the meantime, Mr. Pershing said, cities, states and the federal government must take steps to adapt and improve their resiliency in the face of more wicked weather…


eventually common sense prevails:
9 July: Australian: AAP: Germany to pull plug on solar subsidies
GERMANY will stop subsidising solar energy by 2018 at the latest, its
environment minister says, after last year initiating a scaling-back of
generous state support for the faltering industry…
Berlin “has so far invested 216 billion euros ($A308.24 billion) in
renewables and the biggest chunk went to solar, the technology which does
least to ensure the power supply,” said the head of industrial group
Siemens, Peter Loescher, in an interview published in the business daily
Handelsblatt on Monday.
Germany has seen a wave of solar company insolvencies and the number of
people employed in the industry fell to 87,000 in 2012 from 110,900 a year
earlier, while sales plummeted by 11.9 billion euros, according to
government figures…


It’s actually worse than it seems. Just how long will it take for the world to discard fossil fuels? Twenty years on and no progress there I’m afraid.

July 09, 2013 | Roger Pielke Jr
“Clean Energy Stagnation
Growth in Renewables Outpaced by Fossil Fuels
The world was moving faster towards reducing its reliance on carbon intensive energy consumption in the 1970s and 1980s than in the past several decades. In fact, over the past 20 years there has been little if any progress in expanding the share of carbon-free energy in the global mix. Despite the rhetoric around the rise of renewable energy, the data tells a far different story……”

“Global percentage of renewable energy hasn’t changed in 20 years
I wonder why”


I think the analysis is invalid. Anything worthwhile that BC produced and sold since 1850 has likely been made somewhere else instead. This is not a sacrifice that makes a pro rata contribution to CO2 abatement. It’s a sacrifice that just arbitrages the SOURCE of emissions to non-Kyoto countries.
Take it from an Aussie – as we closed alumina smelters, new ones popped up in China. And our alumina is shipped by diesel burning ships for a net increase in emissions. And the leftist govt proclaims this as a SUCCESSFUL policy.


From my last comment I forgot to add this second paragraph which is important and shows how badly the greens have failed.

Roger Pielke Jr – 9 July 2013
“Clean Energy Stagnation
Growth in Renewables Outpaced by Fossil Fuels
The world was moving faster towards reducing its reliance on carbon intensive energy consumption in the 1970s and 1980s than in the past several decades. In fact, over the past 20 years there has been little if any progress in expanding the share of carbon-free energy in the global mix. Despite the rhetoric around the rise of renewable energy, the data tells a far different story……
The figure above shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. These sources include nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.”

Remember, they don’t like nuclear and some of them say hydro is not renewable / clean energy. That’s how bad it is.


Willis, why not go one step further and make a graph of what how much the global temperature would change if one individual stopped using fossil fuels? You can always divide a problem into sufficiently small parts that any single piece seems insignificant for the total solution. If your goal is to avoid action, that is great, I suppose, but it’s not very constructive.


Actually Willis, given that the actual sensitivity is closer to 1 Deg C it is very generous to offer them 0.003 Degrees, much closer to 0.001 Degrees methinks.
In Australia, this is known as the Bolt Question after Columnist Andrew Bolt who relentlessly pursued the government with the question,
How much cooler will it be in 2100 with our 11 Bn per annum carbon tax than without?
For those in other jurisdictions, this is a great question that NEVER gets a straight answer and makes AGW proponents in government look like right dills.
BTW I ran the calculations, to offset 1 Degree of global warming in 2100 using measures as cost effective as the Australian (i.e. Gillard) Carbon (Dioxide) tax would require worldwide taxes to the tune of 1/2 Quadrillion dollars per annum. And you Americans (Sorry Canadians, but you are in North America too) let your governments/presidents sell you this stuff.


Horrendously complex but maybe time somebody did a full analysis on the actual emissions created by the production of the tens / hundreds of tonnes of paper forms from standing timber to paper, the emissions created in the collecting, collating and processing of the data including the total emissions of all the government and government contracted personnel employed solely to process the data, The emissions of the extra employees engaged in non productive work, The emissions from the processing, transporting, lighting, heating, cooling, computing, communicating, printing and etc and etc in both business and government that can be directly ascribed to the CO2 emissions regulatory regime.
In short, the total amount of CO2 emissions including the total emissions by the entire government’s own emissions regulatory system as well as the emissions created by forcing the non government, productive sectors to go through the costly, painful process of complying with all the government’s regulatory demands on CO2 emissions..
A lot of people both in and out of government including the rather nauseous and rabid green NGO’s who keep forcing this garbage onto our society might get a very serious shock at the amount of CO2 emissions from the completely non productive government emissions regulatory bureaucracies and in the business sectors in meeting the emissions regulations if these CO2 emission numbers were ever done on a real life situation like BC.
None of the above includes the separate issue of the horrendous and unprofitable financial costs forced onto households and business by the government mandated CO2 emissions regime.


If the BC residents had gone zeroCarbon by 1850 there would be no grandchildren, death would have loomed large.
Your calculations assume zero change for anything else in the climate driver mix and that the GHE theory is correct.

Willis, it’s really much worse than you thought here in British Columbia – as some of my fellow BC-ers have noted above.
We have been cursed with the “carbon tax” – in no small measure thanks to IPCC-nik Andrew <barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles> Weaver (whose campaign histrionics, to much admiration and adulation by the nationally taxpayer-funded CBC, have seen him recently elected to the provincial legislature as the BC Green Party’s first such success) and his connections to the former Premier who lapped up his exhortations and brought forth BC’s very own imitation of the U.K.’s Climate Change Act, known here as the “Climate Action Plan”
But this legislated lunacy – and rash dash to be the greenest of ’em all – has resulted in schools and hospitals being required to purchase “carbon offsets” from their already cut-to-the-bone (and for all intents and purposes) provincial government established operating budgets to compensate for the failure of many (old) facilities to live up to “green” standards. As one Canadian MSM reporter had observed:

The idea that we have struggling schools paying $25 a tonne for the carbon dioxide they emit while having to forgo the hiring of teachers and the purchasing of books is preposterous. Especially given that in many cases this money is going to highly profitable private-sector companies.

And with such measures, the province claims to be “carbon neutral”. A claim that the Auditor General has found to be “not accurate”.
Pls. see Of advocacy carts, evidence horses and Andrew Weaver’s carbon “baby”
And considering that the heretofore unknown entity known as “Sustainable Prosperity” (and its head honcho, Stewart Elgie) cited in some Canadian media reports as pronouncing the “success” of BC’s carbon tax, pls see also:
BC Auditor General confirms enviro-activist Elgie’s “resignation” claim unsustainable

Bloke down the pub

One of the many things in life that irritates me is when a member of the public on tv says ‘they are not interested in politics’. Until people realise that the decisions politicians make will hurt their pockets, we will carry on being fleeced. It should be remembered that ‘politics’ comes from the Greek word polis, meaning citizenship, and tics, meaning blood-sucking insects.

Ian W

It is an incorrect assumption that these ‘carbon taxes’ are intended to reduce ‘global warming: they are intended to reduce industrial output and wealth creation and in that they are succeeding. Every country and State that has imposed a carbon tax regime has deindustrialized and its wealth creation has been reduced. Those countries that have avoided the restrictions on ‘carbon’ have become more industrialized and wealthier.

richard verney

It seems to me that one cannot make this type of assessment without first assigning a figure to climate sensitivity to CO2. Accordingly, I enquire:
1. What sensitivity have you assumed?
2. Why have you assumed that figure?
3. What would be the outcome with a lower figure being prescribed to climate sensitivity? For example, if one assumes a figure of 2degC, 1.5degC and 1 degC what would be the various outcomes?
Sorry if this causes you some extra work, but I consider it important to add some perspective given that climate sensitivity is contentiou, and with ever increasing study and experience from observation, climate sensitivity is increasingly appearing to be lower than the warmists were initially contending.

richard verney

Further to my post at 02:57am, I note that you have used a climate sensitivity figure of 3degC. I do not know why I missed that.
Please therefore just deal with question 3, since I consider that most people on this site suspect that the figure of 3degC is now (with recent data coming in and being analysed) on the high side, and I suspect that many consider that climate sensitivity falls within the range of 1 to 2 degC (there being some who consider it zero or near to zero that as makes no difference, and others who may consider a figure of over 2degC realistic).
I know that the answer will show that the temperature reduction is pi**ing small, and I accept that the thrust of the point you were making is demonstrated even using teh 3degC figure that you used. The entire policy is absurd, and becomes ever more absurd as climate sensitivity is reduced.


BC is not my northern cousin, it’s my western neighbor. The block of real estate that blocks me from the coast. The rough-hewn bumpy land distorted by the collision of the Pacific Plate with the North American plate.
It’s been known to me for my entire life as “La La Land”, and all of our family vacations included trips to both Vancouver and Seattle to visit relatives. I always wondered why there were so many skunks in BC. Or at least, there was always a haze of skunk smell wherever a group of people were hanging around.
That’s the BC “Green”. It’s grown in a million places in BC, because the rainforest climate is ideal, both for growing it and for hiding it. And no pesky DEA flying around locating crops, either, just some RCMP detachments that mostly seem to be regular customers.
Extremists? Hell yeah! Many draft dodgers moved to BC in the ‘Nam years, and were probably too stoned to even notice the amnesty, so they stayed. Vancouver is just the extension of Seattle anyway, although I personally find Seattle to be a far, far nicer city to be in. Besides, they have a monorail.
I have several friends in BC, as most people born in Alberta seem to. Each year there’s a little more distance, as their political landscape drifts so far left that they’re past “here be dragons”. Eventually they’re going to have to build a bridge at the border.
Oh yeah, it’s great fun hearing BC residents talk about how horrible a pipeline would be, if it were to be built. All you need to do is show them a map of all the pipelines that already exist. They’re usually shocked.
In all of my travels around Canada, which was a LOT for a few years there. I find BC to be the second oddest place. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’re usually nice people, they are after all Canadian. But they seem to be a bit slow and not quite connected with reality. (The oddest population in Canada is Winnipeg. No idea why.)

Skeptik said @ July 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm

hillrj left out the good part, to lower world temperature by reducing demand on fossil fuels a Carbon Tax that would cost the average punter $9.80 per week was to be imposed, having announced the “Carbon Tax” the Labor Party discovered that it would cost votes, in order to regain those votes they announced a compensation package (wait for it) $10.20 per week, LUMP SUM IN ADVANCE. What bogan wouldn’t go for that one, this enables the voter to purchase more energy from fossil fuel than they could afford before.

Skeptik forgot to mention that in order to receive the compensation package, you had to be on the government teat. Those low income earners such as myself, who earned ~$10,000 last FY, received no compensation. None, nada, zip,.. The government website talks up the benefits for someone earning $30,000 p.a.
NB The Git is retired and owns pretty much all the toys he needs and grows and barters for nearly all the food he consumes.

Willis Eschenbach

Gary Hladik says:
July 12, 2013 at 12:59 am

As I recall, the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is only about half of humanity’s estimated CO2 omissions. Not that it would make much difference, but does your analysis take this into account, Willis?

Indeed it does, modeled with the standard exponential decay …

Willis Eschenbach

richard verney says:
July 12, 2013 at 2:57 am

It seems to me that one cannot make this type of assessment without first assigning a figure to climate sensitivity to CO2. Accordingly, I enquire:
1. What sensitivity have you assumed?
2. Why have you assumed that figure?
3. What would be the outcome with a lower figure being prescribed to climate sensitivity? For example, if one assumes a figure of 2degC, 1.5degC and 1 degC what would be the various outcomes?

As I said in the article, I used the IPCC’s central estimate of 3°C per doubling of CO2. That way nobody can claim I’m minimizing the effects of CO2. If the sensitivity is half that, than the temperature change would be half that.