A conversation with Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. on the Kaya Identity

As many readers know, there was quite a hullaballo over the Kaya Identity last week, two posts by Willis Eschenbach here and here created sides seemingly equally split on whether the equation is useful or not.

One of the most strident critics was Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., and in the spirit of keeping an open mind on the issue, I offered him space on WUWT. Here is my email and his response, reprinted with his explicit permission.

On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 9:52 AM, Anthony xxxxxxx@xxxx.com wrote:

Hello, Roger Jr.,

I’d like to direct you to a comment on WUWT that challenges your calculations using the Kaya Identity.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/12/the-beer-identity/#comment-1685623

I provide it only for your information.

I know both of you have issues with the current state of discussion on WUWT regarding that equation/identity/relationship, and I’m certainly OK with that.

I think that much of the dissent over it has to do with the difference in viewpoints between science and engineering. I and many others look at the Kaya identity equation more from the engineering perspective, and expect it to perform as many other calcs do, but it seems that it doesn’t act as a hard equation, but more like a soft one, that generally defines the relationships of terms. A number of commenters have approached it from the engineering viewpoint, and find themselves puzzled as to why the numbers they get don’t seem sensible.

I puzzle over that also.

To that end, and because you’ve been highly critical, agreeing with such statements as “breathtakingly ignorant”, therefore, given the critical comment above, I’d like to offer this, first raised in another comment:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/12/the-beer-identity/#comment-1684325

Perhaps Anthony could give equal time to Pielke in defense of the Kaya identity?

I’m more than happy to do so should you be so inclined; not just for my own education on the topic, but for the hundreds, if not thousands of others that suffer from the same doubts that the equation isn’t as well thought out as some claim it to be. Or, if it was never intended to produce real world numbers accurately, but serves only to illustrate the relationship of the variables, explain that clearly so that the engineering types understand it better.

If you wish to make a submission, MS Word with embedded images works best. Any equations you might want to use in MS word’s equation editor don’t translate to WordPress well, so they will be converted to images. Or, you can optionally use LaTex, which is supported directly in WordPress.

I would appreciate an answer, no matter if it is a yes or a no. Thank you for your consideration.

Anthony Watts

=========================================================

Roger’s response Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:59 AM (published with permission)

Hi Anthony-

Thanks for your email. Apologies for the delay in responding, as have been off email while traveling.

If you’d like to help your readers better understand the use of the Kaya identity, which I think is the most important tool for analyzing actual and proposed carbon policies, then I would recommend that you introduce them to this paper (open access);

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/4/2/024010

The mathematics are simple. Of course, there is a more in depth discussion in my book, The Climate Fix.

Finally, for those who’d prefer a lecture format, here is me at Columbia Univ last summer explaining the significance of the Kaya Identity for climate policy analysis:

Thanks, and all the best,

Roger (Jr.)

==============================================================

I agree with Roger that: “The mathematics are simple.”

In fact I think it is that simplicity that lends itself to being criticized as not being fully representative of a complex system. Willis described the Kaya Identity as being “trivially true” while Roger in his book and video treats its with the same respect as some physical law equation. My take is that the truth is somewhere in the middle between those viewpoints.

Whether it is best used as a political tool or as a physical science tool is still an open question in my mind, though I tend to think it leans more towards political usefulness. Whatever your viewpoint is, let’s thank Roger Pielke Jr. for taking the time to respond and to offer his view here.

 

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July 18, 2014 6:18 pm

I don’t have 90 minutes for a “simple” explanation. I’m raising points I have raised before. Why is it all about “fossil” fuels and not the non-“fossil” hydrocarbon sources of CO2? ethanol? bio-gas methanol? wood? And where in the equation are the natural CO2 sources? Or is it as I have posed elsewhere anthrocentric – all about man?

Daniel G.
July 18, 2014 6:42 pm

Why is it all about “fossil” fuels and not the non-”fossil” hydrocarbon sources of CO2? ethanol? bio-gas methanol? wood?

It includes that too.

Vanishing Point
July 18, 2014 6:48 pm

Another version of Kaya identity
2 + 2 = 5 ±1
and just as useful. Post modern science at work. In addition to peer review now we have to redefine maths too.

Editor
July 18, 2014 6:49 pm

I’m on the road with little time at the moment, but I wanted to thank Dr. Pielke for providing his viewpoint. I may not reply for a few days until I get back, but I greatly appreciate his willingness to discuss the issue.
Best to all,
w.

scf
July 18, 2014 6:54 pm

The meaning of the word equation: both sides are equal. There is no such thing as a soft equation. Either two things are equal, or they’re not. The climate models are more accurate than that ridiculous so-called equation.

July 18, 2014 6:56 pm

Don’t fudge. Willis was not just wrong, but snarky wrong. And you published it.
[we are giving your opinion on the matter all the consideration it deserves -mod]

Louis
July 18, 2014 6:59 pm

If the Kaya Identity is useful for climate policy analysis, as Dr. Pielke says, then it would be concerned with human sources of CO2 only. Climate policy has little or no effect on natural CO2 sources. Such policies would also have little effect on human emissions that are due to acts of war, criminal behavior, or unintended accidents, such as wild fires, burning coal seams, etc. It would be mostly concerned with everyday human activity that can be influenced or controlled through climate policy. If it is used to educate or make recommendations, I’m all for it. But I’m 100% against using it to control people through carbon taxes, onerous regulations, or any other non-optional use of the law.

roaldjlarsen
July 18, 2014 7:00 pm

I always get very excited when experts and scientists, Dr. this or that, doesn’t seem to be able to wrap their minds around something simple. In his video he uses a bathtub as an illustration for explaining the challenge of stabilizing the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) level. This is how i understand it, – written in very simple english; The effect of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is almost as high it can be, simply because the effect of adding more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) decreases as the level of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) increases, and the level is close to saturated in the atmosphere already, a further increase of the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) will only give a theoretical (approx. 1 degree Celsius that are most likely to be dwarfed by other variables), non measurable temperature increase.
In other words, if you’re in the bathtub – all submerged in a completely full bathtub – to continue to add water will not make you any wetter. It’s the same with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – it doesn’t rise temperature.
Read more; http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/

Zeke
July 18, 2014 7:12 pm

One more equation.
We put spending per hectare and
environmental and tax red tape per productive sector,
and a particular population in DC and its bureaucracies,
and then we balance it all with a molecule on the other side.
Which molecule shall we balance this Eris tocratic force with? Something really avoidable, like arseno-legislentium. Really we cannot have levels like this in our capitals. Sorry.

dp
July 18, 2014 7:18 pm

Hopefully people who have been trying to use the identity as a formula will stop doing that and follow the example in Dr. Pielke’s link. A good test is to use current values and calculate the necessary rate of change in each parameter to realize a predetermined level of CO2 emissions by some predetermined date. The U of Chicago calculator does this using their selections but does quickly let the visitor explore the impact of these changes.

Mark Bofill
July 18, 2014 7:22 pm

Thanks Dr. Pielke. I’m looking forward to reading and viewing this this weekend.

Ian W
July 18, 2014 7:29 pm

CO2 emissions do not vary in direct ratio with GOP. As stated above CO2 has a logarithmic effect (if any overall effect in the real atmosphere) and that effect is close to, if not at, saturation. This is another example of simplistic linear projection based on false assumptions. It is useful but misleading in discussion with those with low information such as politicians, it’s target audience.

Louis
July 18, 2014 7:30 pm

FYI: In the video, Dr. Pielke introduces the Kaya Identity just past 18 minutes in, and he begins to explain the parts that make up the identity at 20 minutes in.

Robert in Calgary
July 18, 2014 7:46 pm

Has this link been posted here recently?
Main page http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/models.html
Specific page http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/kaya/

geronimo
July 18, 2014 7:49 pm

It kinda makes sense, however given the softness of the parameters any hope of accuracy must go out of the window. Having said that, accurate or not, it will provide guidelines to the politicos as to whether they can reach their targets. More importantly, from my point of view, including the GDP/head of population makes it explicit to the politicos that any mistakes that are made in their assumptions will have a price to pay in the GDP/head of population. All too often these mitigation strategies are developed with lots of arm waving and it will be “alright on the night” this at least tries to show the interaction between mitigation and economic welfare.
It is not Schroedingers Wave Equation, or Kirchoff’s Laws, that’s for sure, but a reasonable attempt at telling the whole story. The politicos should have some backcloth against which to make their decisions.

gnomish
July 18, 2014 7:53 pm

who cares about co2?
those who want to tax your breath, is who.
what’s the kaya incantation good for?
parasites to befuddle their victims while they catherize a main vein is what.
the science is ‘how to bleed you out’
it’s a cookbook!

Curious George
July 18, 2014 8:02 pm

Let’s simplify the problem: We will concentrate only on CO2 generated by cars:
[Cars identity] CO2 = (Number of cars) * (average CO2 generated by a car)
Now I take a liberty of twisting Dr. Pielke’s statements (I have changed “population” to “Number of cars” and “economy” to “cars”) in http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/4/2/024010 to apply to this equation:
According to the logic of this relationship, carbon generated by cars and accumulating in the atmosphere can be reduced only by reducing (a) the number of cars, or (b) the carbon intensity of a car. Most proposals advanced by governments and in international negotiations focus on actions that will lead to the reduction of the carbon intensity of the car (whether or not they are explicitly presented as such), which in this paper is referred to as ‘decarbonization’. Policies
to reduce the number of cars or that result in economic contraction are not generally considered by governments as a strategy of emissions reductions. Thus, the [Cars identity] provides a
straightforward and useful basis for evaluating the proposed and actual performance of policies focused on decarbonization and which are typically called mitigation policies.
What does [Cars identity] really tell us? Nothing. It is only a thinly veiled definition of an average:
(average CO2 generated by a car) = CO2 / (Number of cars)
There is absolutely no insight here, deep or useful. The [Cars identity] brings nothing new to the table. Yes, you can reduce car emissions by limiting the number of miles driven, or by building more efficient engines, or hybrid cars, or electric cars – but all of it comes from our knowledge of cars, not from the [Cars identity].

Michael 2
July 18, 2014 8:11 pm

Ian says:”and that effect is close to, if not at, saturation.”
Saturation would be 1 million parts per million. We have a long, long way to go.

Michael 2
July 18, 2014 8:13 pm

Dr. Pielke is a man I respect. Not strident; well reasoned in his arguments.

Robert in Calgary
July 18, 2014 8:25 pm

Okay, went from 18:00 to about 46:00
For me, the most interesting parts were the Dungeness B comparison at around 39:00 and the 3rd runway/China example at 43:00.
While I appreciate that Roger finds Kaya useful in his work. To me in the real world, it’s still garbage.
I’d rather see an identity factoring in CO2 hysteria and Deep decarbonization hysteria.

Michael 2
July 18, 2014 8:34 pm

“An extremely powerful tool for policy analysis.”
C = C
Wow.

July 18, 2014 8:39 pm

Of all the discussion topics, I have no idea why anyone is making a big deal out of this.
Who was making a big deal out of Willis’s original post?

john robertson
July 18, 2014 9:03 pm

Perhaps what is truly interesting here, is that these soft “sciences” have gotten away with impersonating actual science for so long, that they now believe these kind of methods can produce useful information.
There is an obvious failure to communicate at play in both of Willis’s posts.
This Kaya thing, is a mockery of empirical measurement and reproducible results.

July 18, 2014 9:09 pm

Sorry couldn’t watch after he endorsed weepy Bill ;>(

Toto
July 18, 2014 9:12 pm

From the Transcript button of the YouTube video: [needs work!]

54:30
so forget about all this nonsense about targets and timetables for emissions
54:33
reductions
54:35
its its it’s a sideshow it’s it’s a about the path to insanity
54:39
number one but it’s also I unlikely to bear fruit from a policy standpoint that
54:44
the question we ought to be asking
54:46
is how are we going to generate 90 percent-plus
54:50
afar energy from carbon-free sources at the same time we
54:54
double triple quadruple global energy supply

July 18, 2014 9:17 pm

Thanks a lot for shearing this. Wish to get this type of article again and again.
Wish to Get such article again again

Alex
July 18, 2014 9:23 pm

I’m with Anthony, it’s in the middle, but it really depends on your purpose. If you want to understand the basics of your “policy levers”, the equation is mostly inoffensive. But if you want to really understand, or better yet predict, the GHG emissions of an economy/society (as if that will really have much impact on actual climate!) then I think it fairly crude and useless.
Cheers,

Michael 2
July 18, 2014 9:32 pm

I should not have been so snarky. I’ll watch the entire show and see how it goes (when I have that much unscheduled time).
I see two entirely distinct things under this umbrella — one is a reasonable approach to estimating total CO2 emissions, and the other is “C = C” which doesn’t seem very useful.

Peter
July 18, 2014 9:43 pm

The bathtub analogy is oversimplified. In practise if the inflow is increased the water level will rise only until the increased inflow matches an increased outflow, due to the increased hydraulic pressure of water at the outflow orifice. A new equilibrium will be established at a slightly higher water level. Similarly if a person gets into the bath the level will immediately rise, but outflow will increase and the level will drop until the same equilibrium level is again achieved, but now with less physical water in the bath. In the climate system more CO2 stimulates more photosynthesis, the planet gets greener and a new equilibrium at the slightly increased CO2 level develops. Nature has a way of compensating, in this case to the benefit of living things.

hunter
July 18, 2014 9:50 pm

One of the challenges with someone who is smart but largely self-taught is they may over look or be surprised by ideas that have been developed and accepted by others.
The idea of a mathematical identity seems to be one of those.
Here is an excerpt from the definition for “Identity”:
“What are identities used for?
They are used in simplifying or rearranging algebra expressions. By definition, the two sides of an identity are interchangeable, so we can replace one with the other at any time.
For example, suppose we are working an algebra problem and we have We recognize this as one side of a familiar identity* So we can replace it with the thing on the other side of the identity:
In summary, an identity says that two things are equivalent. If you see one, you can replace it with the other.
*Important Identities are only useful if you know them, since only then will you recognize that a replacement is possible. But there are a lot of them (see trig identities below). Get a feel for the common ones and have a quick reference handy to look them up. ”
That excerpt is from
http://www.mathopenref.com/identity.html
Which is the identity section of the Math Open Source Dictionary.

July 18, 2014 9:55 pm

The “Kaya Identity” stating CO2_emissions = Population * GDP/Population * Energy/GDP * CO2_emissions/Energy has a duality:
1: It says CO2_emissions = CO2_emissions
2: It says that factors favoring increase of CO2, such as increase of population, increase of per-capita GDP, and decrease of energy efficiency, contribute to increase of CO2.
I propose a temporary decrease in the birth rate, to the extent our planet’s ability to comfortably and healthfully sustain its human population is being stressed. This means no need for people to die until they do so from old age. And, I favor mandates for increased energy efficiency of appliances, vehicles, homes, lighting, etc. to an extent as great as possible that allows consumers to pay less overall. I see a very large number of small savings there, and I see this as significant.
What I don’t like is restriction of energy consumption from the supply side, unless significant “conspicuous consumption” becomes significant. That is a possible issue, due to income inequality decreasing over the past 40 years, and one metric set there is median/mean ratio of incomes of individuals and families as determined by the US Census Bureau. Another is how the 5 “fifths” of US population fared for income. I worry about the top-20% or an upper fraction of that, which has a majority of USA’s disposable personal income, feeling free to add demand (and accordingly upward price pressure) to limited natural resources that are necessary for everyone else.
There is another matter: I don’t think CO2 is the best reason to encourage energy efficiency. I think that decrease of energy demand via increased energy efficiency allows allows the limited fossil fuel supply to last longer, and allows people who work for a living to pay less for the energy that they need to live their lives. This also allows solar and wind more time to become competitive, and for nuclear power (including a largely renewable form and another form both having great supply and lack of usefulness for making bombs), to be more accepted.
Japan failed to consider that both they are prone to earthquakes, and that there was significant chance over a time scale of decades for an earthquake worse than any of the previous 100 years.
I don’t see Japan’s failure to design a nuclear power plant to withstand an earthquake having intensity only one order of magnitude greater than “likely to occur within 100 years” as an argument against nuclear power. Instead, I see that as a fault of how Japan handles things new to them in the past several decades.
Furthermore, I see all-too-often poor civil engineering in USA, due to consideration for “100 year” floods as being “rare”, and on-average hitting 1% of USA every year. This gets compounded by flooding trends being altered (largely for the worse) by land-use changes that result mainly from population growth. My point here is that civil engineering having shortfalls is an argument to improve civil engineering, catastrophic disaster consideration in power plant design, and/or to reduce the birth rate, rather than to roadblock nuclear power.
Nuclear has its power generation mechanisms not generating CO2, and its track record is better than coal, and probably also both oil and gas, for risk rate of dying prematurely or spending time being disabled. This applies to those working in the nuclear power industry (as opposed to fossil fuels), and it also applies to everyone else, even in the likely event fracking is not as bad as its opponents claim it is.

Mike McMillan
July 18, 2014 10:04 pm

Pervasive ignorance.
Questioner at the end saying the Tea Party is funded by the rich capitalists is like saying Lincoln was bankrolled by the slave holders. The Chamber of Commerce, big business, and establishment political parties have spent in the hundreds of millions against Tea Party primary challenges. Pielke Jr doesn’t question the premise.
Further comments self-snipped.

RobertInAz
July 18, 2014 10:05 pm

Gee. I am stunned you guys don’t get it. Instead of focusing on the CO2 terms, plug in real world numbers for the other terms and see what you get.
I have not followed the threads, but Willis gets it wrong with his very first statement when he says “where “CO2 emissions” are the CO2 emissions of say a given country; “Population” is the population of that country; “GDP” is gross domestic production of the country, which is the total value of all the goods and services produced; and “Energy” is energy consumed by the country.”
And then he basically says he can perform a trivial dimensional analysis to show the identity is meaningless. I guess the same type of analysis applied to Newton’s Law’s of Motion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton's_laws_of_motion. Or how about JKeplers lay of planetary motion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler%27s_laws_of_planetary_motion. Or consider the law of gravity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton's_law_of_universal_gravitation.
Go back to high school physics Willis. Every equation in physics cancels out in the same way – the dimension on the left will equal the dimension on the right be it joules, watts, or KG CO2. It is the stuff in between that is relevant.
Now, lets go back to the identity (I am doing this from memory and a brief refresher on the equation)
On the left we KG CO2 emitted by the entity.
On the right we have total population in people of the entity
We have GDB (dollars) per person of the entity
We have energy (watts)/dollar of GDP of the entity
We have KG CO2/watt of energy of the entity
Each of these terms describes something that is of interest and measurable. IMHO, it requires a unique form of obtuseness to not be able to figure out the applicability of this identity.

RobertInAz
July 18, 2014 10:14 pm

This one is for you Anthony:
“I agree with Roger that: “The mathematics are simple.””
Well duh – Step 1: go back and review all of those incredibly complex equations you learned in high school physics again.
“Willis described the Kaya Identity as being “trivially true” while Roger in his book and video treats its with the same respect as some physical law equation. My take is that the truth is somewhere in the middle between those viewpoints.”
See step 1. Trivially true identities are the basis of all modern engineering.

Hoser
July 18, 2014 10:21 pm

As formulated, the Kaya is ridiculous, but focusing on that is to worry about the trivial. Why bother?
It’s either a mistake , or we should reformulate the thing to have a more useful discussion. Here is one version that might be more useful.

co2em =  totCO2emissions * EconEnergyEff * perCapitaGDP * Population
units:      CO2/GW           GW/GDP         GDP/person	     Persons

(I hope the format doesn’t totally suck. It started out looking good.)
In this version the units cancel out to something slightly more interesting. But that part I realize could be very valuable is the Economic Energy Efficiency. In other words, how much raw energy does it take to produce our GDP? How have we done historically? How do we compare to other nations? I’m working on some of those figures now.
As an aside, I updated my understanding of GDP versus GNP. I had thought the GNP only included balance of trade, but no, it also includes all foreign business activity of Americans and removes foreign business activity here. And surprisingly (at least to me), our GNP is much higher than our GDP. The economic benefits of foreign trade make the trade deficit appear to be much less of a worry. However, we should remember our federal debt is equal to our current GNP.
I wonder what it really means when our domestic economy is apparently so weak and our companies involved in foreign trade are doing seemingly very well. Something seems seriously wrong about that. That current buzzword “sustainability” comes to mind. I also wonder how much our government is interested in our well being, since it is getting much more revenue from sources other than US citizens (as income tax). Could we ever reach what should be an impossible state in which the government needs nothing from its citizens? Then what will make it continue to work in our best interests?

Hoser
July 18, 2014 10:23 pm

Oops, I should have changed the energy units to TWh.

bushbunny
July 18, 2014 10:36 pm

Hmmm forgive my ignorance Dr P. But what has mathematics got to do with the weather. We have had snow in New England (Australia not the USA) And it is colder here that it has been for nearly 103 years. Although we are 3,500 ft about sea level, we are surviving well. I just don’t understand how some climate scientists relay the planet is warming when we have two hemispheres and so many micro-climates within them that we can’t make one decision or hypothesis to cover all. Cutting greenhouse gases when 95% is water vapor, is an impossible dream. The physics does not support any of the predictions about climate change being forced by human activity, unless you are referring to UHI effects known in big urban and city environments which is not typical in smaller or rural communities. Australia has diverse environments including that nearly 2/3 of our land mass is classed as desert. Yet Alice Springs right in the centre is experiencing night time temps of minus and daytime temps up to 20 C. A typical arid environment or desert temperature fluctuations.

Editor
July 18, 2014 10:39 pm

RobertInAz – Willis got it right. The equations are circular logic.
Let me explain. You say:
“On the right we have total population in people of the entity
We have GDB (dollars) per person of the entity
We have energy (watts)/dollar of GDP of the entity
We have KG CO2/watt of energy of the entity”.
Total population – we know that (to reasonable accuracy).
GDP per person. We don’t know that directly. The way we get it is by estimating total GDP and dividing it by total population.
Energy per dollar of GDP. We don’t know that directly, we get it by dividing total energy usage by total GDP.
Kg of CO2 per unit energy. We know that for each form of energy, but to get the average over all energy, we total the CO2 and divide by total energy.
So the exact same number that goes into the ‘top’ of one equation goes into the ‘bottom’ of the next equation. Hence the equation really does say “C=C”. It’s therefore circular logic – it ends up with what it started with.
Sometimes, equations like this can be valuable. That’s when the various factors are obtained from different sources, and hence provide something new when combined. That’s not the case here.

July 18, 2014 10:39 pm

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr:
Kaya Identity huh? That’s the current gimmick name?
Looks like unlabeled pie chart value using mathematic symbols and fancy sciency letters and numbers.
Every position in the formula is filled with a variable; estimated variables that is. Every assumed variable produces a different ratio series.
Must be cool to tie into some flows of continuous metrics and then animate with the resulting scrolling values. Sort of like watching call/put or bid/sell values during a busy market day. Just as useful for long term decisions too, though it does take a lot of imagination.
Kaya may be decent for an explanation, for that moment only as any variable input into formula will change before the formula is run.
What Kaya fails to accomplish is to establish a start/fini/zero/even bar that allegedly relates GDP, population to any third substance whether it is water, CO2, money, beer, flatulence…
Maybe it’s a formula Mann can use?

kim
July 18, 2014 10:42 pm

So what does this identity thingy do when the world cools?
===========

July 18, 2014 10:42 pm

Read the paper, skipped the video.
What the paper seems to be saying is that the UK Climate Change Act seeks an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions over a given time frame, and that this is impossible to achieve on the basis of “decarbonization” of the economy. In other words, the Act is DOA unless the government is willing to destroy the economy or reduce population, or both.
I have to agree with Dr Pielke on that matter.
However, I don’t think you need a fancy formula to make that case. Nor can the formula be justified by observing (which the paper does) that certain economic patterns have not happened in the past, so can’t be expected to happen in the future. That’s just not a quantifiable argument that can be incorporated into an equation.
The basic premise though, that “decarbonizing” the economy is not possible while maintaining population and standard of living is what skeptics for the most part have been arguing all along. We just don’t need something like the Kaya identity to make that case. 1,000 people carrying 100 lbs each can’t move freight as far, or as fast, as a single semi-trailer. They could not do in a month what the semi can do in a few hours. Figure out what that does to the cost of the truck load of goods. Pray it isn’t produce, because it would never even get to destination before going bad or being consumed by the porters. That’s all you need to understand to know that the “decarbonized” version of our economy would collapse of its own weight.

Khwarizmi
July 18, 2014 10:49 pm

geronimo says (at 7:49 pm):
“The politicos should have some backcloth against which to make their decisions” …
about how we will live, and how much we will pay. As usual, we get no say.
The “Democracy Identity” – you’re standing in it.

July 18, 2014 10:57 pm

And if CO2 in fact has no effect on temperature then what? How does CO2 explain the Maunder minimum? The sun is the more likely cause.

Khwarizmi
July 18, 2014 11:02 pm

That is a good question Kim. A lot of people won’t like it.
ANd yet, the world really is due for cooling, and it is now in a circa 30 year meridional cooling pattern, according to the UN FAO. The Zonal warming pattern, according to the U.N, was due to end around 2004. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y2787e/y2787e03.htm
Interesting that the UN forecast concords with not only “the pause,” but the meridional excursions of the polar vortex over the formerly glaciated U.S. regions, great lakes and Niagra freezing, etc. (I think the modern adjusted records stink – especially 2010.)

July 18, 2014 11:06 pm

Every position in the formula is filled with a variable
I can do that. F=ma

July 18, 2014 11:08 pm

Khwarizmi says:
July 18, 2014 at 11:02 pm
Habibullo Abdussamatov says we will see noticeable cooling in 2014.

July 18, 2014 11:13 pm

This is a statistical calculation that indicates that ocean cycles and solar activity can explain most of climate. CO2 explains nearly nothing.
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/analysis-solar-activity-ocean-cycles.html

July 18, 2014 11:16 pm

I do not know if the Kaya equation is valid or not, but his video was a real eye opener, and it shows that most governments do not have a clue when it to energy production and emission reductions.

dp
July 18, 2014 11:20 pm

Kim – the Kaya identity deals with decarbonizing the economy and has nothing to do with with temperatures. It was created by an advocate of renewable energy. It doesn’t offer many pragmatic ways to reducing CO2, but that never stopped an alarmist. I’ve decided it is the perfect tool for Planned Parenthood to use to leverage climate change hysteria in promoting their services.

kim
July 18, 2014 11:28 pm

Thanks, dp. All together now, sing Kumkaya.
==================

bushbunny
July 18, 2014 11:31 pm

kim LOL I can remember the tune vaguely but not the words. I’ll just hum it.

July 18, 2014 11:32 pm

maybe it’s a “soft’ equation cuz – unlike 6=2*3 and E=MCsquared – the Kaya factors – population, gdp per capita, etc – are cherry picked to “guide” policy makers – the righthand side doesn’t emerge from a rigorous set of equations leading up to them – instead someone used common sense to produce them – or used their agenda
the usefulness of this equation is that it shows policy makers how tweaking any of the chosen factors will effect the lefthand side of the equation – and that’s why the equation is so simple – it shows only the cherry picked factors – and allows them to be tweaked – it can be said to almost state the obvious
i don’t know if alternate factors can be found to make a new and improved guide for policy makers – Kaya kinda works as long as it is never used in isolation – policy makers need to know effects outside of co2 output

Editor
July 18, 2014 11:45 pm

M Simon says: (July 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm) “This is a statistical calculation that indicates that ocean cycles and solar activity can explain most of climate. [link]“. It’s pretty, but it’s only a statistical calculation, and it has only been tested over the ~160yr period that was used to derive it. ie, it hasn’t really been tested. The real-world climate has proved to be a graveyard for hypotheses that work for a while but then collapse. (As the IPCC and others keep saying, it’s a complex coupled non-linear system). It will be interesting to see how this one goes over the next few decades – and more. At least it’s going a bit better than the CO2 hypothesis, which looks like it’s well on the way to collapse (rising CO2, not-rising temperatures). If solar activity and the ocean cycle fall together, I fervently hope that it fails!

JamesNV
July 18, 2014 11:46 pm

I hear people saying that skeptics are acting like alarmists. Or are skeptics and alarmists acting like… people?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/arts/people-argue-just-to-win-scholars-assert.html

RobertInAz
July 18, 2014 11:48 pm

Mike Jonas says: July 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm
“RobertInAz – Willis got it right. The equations are circular logic.”
In which case, every identity that forms the basis of modern physics is circular logic.
You make the same error as Willis when you say: “So the exact same number that goes into the ‘top’ of one equation goes into the ‘bottom’ of the next equation.” The correct description is: “The units of the variable at the top of one term of the equation are the same as the units of the bottom of the next term of the equation. In physics, we confirm our equations are right when the units on the right cancel out to equal the units on the left.
Let’s break down Willis’s wildly incorrect description of the identity term be term: the entire statement was “where “CO2 emissions” are the CO2 emissions of say a given country; “Population” is the population of that country; “GDP” is gross domestic production of the country, which is the total value of all the goods and services produced; and “Energy” is energy consumed by the country.”
1. where “CO2 emissions” are the CO2 emissions of say a given country;. CO2 Emissions on the left are the CO2 emissions of, say a given country The CO2 emisiions term on the right is the CO2 emission for a given unit of energy production. The CO2 term on the right is much smaller. Both terms can be expressed as KG CO2 – the basis of the confusion,
2. “Population” is the population of that country; This is true for the first term. Population in the second term refers to a single person. Again, these are entirely different things that have the same unit of measure – people.
3. “GDP” is gross domestic production of the country: Again, true for the first appearance of the term. For the US, this is trillions of dollars. For the second appearance of the term, it refers to a single dollar. Again, the units are the same (dollars) but the terms refer to completely different things.
4. “Energy” is energy consumed by the country.”. Same store, the first use of the term is a really big number (terrawatts), the second use of the term is a single watt. Once again, the units are the same but the meaning of each appearance of the term is different,
I see the ambiguously framed equation is on 12 of the report Willis referenced. It should have been written like this:
Total CO2 = Total Population * (GDP (dollars)/Person) * (Energy (watts)/ dollar GDP) * (Gram CO//Watt)

RobertInAz
July 18, 2014 11:54 pm

That said, if you insist on wrongly interpreting the Kaya identity as did Willis, then you will reach the same conclusion – it is uninteresting,.

RobertInAz
July 18, 2014 11:59 pm

In defense of the report, the description immediately before the ambiguous equation was correct:
“we simply refer to them as CO 2 emissions. CO 2 emissions can be expressed as the product of four inputs: population, GDP per capita, energy use per unit of GDP, and CO 2 emissions per unit of energy: “

dp
July 19, 2014 12:02 am

A recent study shows that people concerned about climate warming use more electricity than the rest of us so the quick solution is to ban communicating climate alarmism.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/10965887/People-who-claim-to-worry-about-climate-change-use-more-electricity.html

Khwarizmi
July 19, 2014 12:08 am

JamesNV says (at 11:46 pm):
I hear people saying that skeptics are acting like alarmists. Or are skeptics and alarmists acting like… people?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/arts/people-argue-just-to-win-scholars-assert.html
= = = = = =
Some people argue just because they don’t enjoy living in a world of extraordinarily popular delusions, with the ruling caste of “movers and shakers” and “opinion makers” always herding us into their shearing sheds or abattoirs. Some people argue for the opposite reason, of course, and they have the loudest voices.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 12:11 am

Let me try again:
1. where “CO2 emissions” are the CO2 emissions of say a given country;. CO2 Emissions on the left are the CO2 emissions of, say a given country The CO2 emisiions term on the right is the CO2 emission for a given unit of energy production. The CO2 term on the right is much smaller. Both terms can be expressed as KG CO2 – the basis of the confusion,
2. “Population” is the population of that country; This is true for the first term. Population in the second term refers to a single person. Again, these are entirely different things that have the same unit of measure – people.
3. “GDP” is gross domestic production of the country: Wrong! First appearance is GDP for a single person. For the second appearance of the term, it refers to a single dollar. Again, the units are the same (dollars) but the terms refer to completely different things.
4. “Energy” is energy consumed by the country.”. Wrong! First appearance is Energy per dollar of GDP, the second use of the term is a single watt. Once again, the units are the same but the meaning of each appearance of the term is different,

dp
July 19, 2014 12:20 am

That said, if you insist on wrongly interpreting the Kaya identity as did Willis…

Because that happened the rest of Willis’ initial article had to be accepted as uninformed. It never got better from there. As strange, his misunderstanding seemed to be the prevalent take on the identity. Not many got it right. It’s happening again in this thread, too.
I do question the value of the entire enterprise given that the presumption of it is more CO2 is bad. We don’t know that, yet.

JamesNV
July 19, 2014 12:25 am

Khwarizmi, that’s a nice sentiment. But it is clear from recent nasty infighting, that as a group skeptics are no less human than the warmists. As a whole, I wonder how much this kind of primitive behaviour holds humanity back.
I remember how disappointed I was by Roy Spencer’s unfair attacks on Willis. Sigh.

richardscourtney
July 19, 2014 12:41 am

Donald L. Klipstein:
You make two proposals in your post at July 18, 2014 at 9:55 pm and the first is

I propose a temporary decrease in the birth rate, to the extent our planet’s ability to comfortably and healthfully sustain its human population is being stressed. This means no need for people to die until they do so from old age.

I have repeatedly pointed out that rhis is what the Kaya Identity is really about. In the previous thread I wrote at July 14, 2014 at 5:40 am in this post.

Yes!
I have been saying that for days. For example, at July 11, 2014 at 7:55 am in one of my posts on the other thread I wrote

The equation as presented – as you say – pretends and “is intended to illustrate” that reduction of CO2 emissions requires fewer people or poorer people. It is an excuse for Malthusianism. This evil is screened by being accompanied with assertions that similar effects may be achieved by more efficient energy production or more efficient energy use, but those efficiency improvements will happen as a by-product of normal economic activity if no interference is adopted.

And your claim that this “means no need for people to die until they do so from old age” is disingenuous because it would ensure they dies of “old age” at a younger age.
The matter is explained in my rebuttal of Malthusianism which is here. I ask you to read it.
Richard

July 19, 2014 12:57 am

V= s/t or F=ma or etc. are not like the Kaya’s identity. These equations are at their simplest form, and relate different QUANTITIES. The Kaya’s identity is NOT at it’s simplest form; when it is, it is a tautology, A=A. It says nothing. As analytic philosophers say “it is meaningless and should never have been uttered.”
Dimensional analysis is not made with UNITS and it is not made with QUANTITIES. Dimensional analysis is made with QUANTITIES DIMENSIONS (see Wikipedia “List of Physical Quantities”).
In dimensional analysis, V= s/t (and all other correct equations), after you replace quantities with the quantities dimensions, must yeld the same dimension on each side of the equation or, to be simple, must be tautological to be dimensionally sound.
Simplifying Kaya’s identity to get a tautology is simplifying an equation, not dimensional analysis.
Otherwise, anyone can write nice innovative equations which also are meaningless.
Speed = exp(log(Speed)) * (Trains / Boats) * (Boats / Cows) * (Cows / Trains)
Sorry. As I said before, I did this when I was ten to amaze friends.

Joel O'Bryan
July 19, 2014 1:14 am

The most fundamental question, taken as a given assumption by the KId, is that reduction of man’s CO2 emissions can effect global temps. That is specified by RP Jr., that 450ppm =’s +2C by 2100. And that that 50 ppm, above todays 400ppm, comes from man, and thus can controlled by man.
My retort is simple, BS. The sun and its irregular rhythms, the ocean-atmosphere cycles, and their nonlinear feedbacks, with the biosphere and ocean chemistry responses means that man’s ifluence is secondary or tertiary. Natural climate varibility due to factors beyond our control most likely swamp those things within our control. Thus decarbonization of world economies is a fool’s game.

Clovis Marcus
July 19, 2014 1:30 am

It seems that atmospheric CO2 concentration is a proxy for wealth and growth. No wonder the watermelons don’t like it.

July 19, 2014 2:03 am

The problem is most people don’t seem to realize that 6=(6/2)*2 is as much an identity as is y= (y/x)*x; where 6 and 2 are obviously just “numbers”; and where y and x are “variables”. In other words, an identity does not have to contain variables !
The KAYA identity is trivially true when using “historical values” (i.e. “just the numbers”) for CO2 emissions, population, GDP per capita, energy consumption per unit GDP and CO2 emissions per unit energy.
The real problem begins when KAYA is used as y = x1 * x2 * x3 * x4, where y = CO2 emissions, x1 = populaton, x2=GDP per capita, x3 energy consumption per unit GDP and x4 is CO2 per unit energy; AND where y, x1, x2, x3 and x4 are now all treated as variables. It does not take a genius do understand this is NO LONGER an identity! You cannot take an arbitrary value of y (CO2 emissions), and expect that for whatever values of x1, x2, x3 and x4 the LHS = RHS.
Once you consider y as an independent variable, and x1, x2, x3 and x4 as dependent variables, you are treating the KAYA “equation” as some kind of “model” that allows you to calculate future values of y, based on some “assumed” values of x1, x2, x3 and x4. But such kind of model is totally detached from reality, for a number of quite obvious reasons. Firstly, it’s an oversimplification (just 4 variables to describe a very complex reality!). Secondly, and more importantly, none of those variables on the RHS are independent of each other (e.g. GDP per capita would more likely than not be some kind of function of Population; not to say that Population in the long run might as well depend on GDP per capita). And accepting that there are dependencies between x1, x2, x3 and x4, there are absolutely no reasons to expect that those dependencies would have to be linear, on the contrary!
In conclusion. The KAYA identity used with historical values is trivially true; KAYA used as an equation to “predict” or “prognosticate” future values of CO2 emissions is an abomination.

July 19, 2014 2:07 am

To invert Forest Gump’s famous maxim, “Intelligence is as intelligence does”.
In that spirit, the process through which a number of posts have materialised here, from either side of the ‘argument’, could best be described by the cautionary phrase, “Ready, fire, aim!”

July 19, 2014 2:15 am

Johan says: July 19, 2014 at 2:03 am
Correction, I of course mixed up independent and dependent variables !

Björn from Sweden
July 19, 2014 2:17 am

Great if people can use it (kaya) as a mental crutch or whatever, to remember that (co2=emissions=energy=money=production)*p/p
Kaya also tells us there where no people on earth 300 years ago.
I guess Occhams razor no more is as sharp as it used to be.

Shawnhet
July 19, 2014 2:18 am

JEyon says:
July 18, 2014 at 11:32 pm
“maybe it’s a “soft’ equation cuz – unlike 6=2*3 and E=MCsquared – the Kaya factors – population, gdp per capita, etc – are cherry picked to “guide” policy makers – the righthand side doesn’t emerge from a rigorous set of equations leading up to them – instead someone used common sense to produce them – or used their agenda”
Well, you’re sort of right about this. The way the right hand side stuff is measured leaves it open to many sorts of errors, but if it was actually flawed we could test it out by double checking against the actual physical measurements of CO2 emissions. This is the step that critics of Kaya never seem to get to which is how the Kaya actually performs (the answer seems to be not perfectly but not bad either).
When I first heard about Kaya my gut instinct was that it couldn’t be very useful but it seems that it does do a reasonable job of modelling CO2 emissions, to my surprise. If, for example, the GDP per capita was unrelated (or inversely related) to CO2 per capita – Kaya would not work in the real world whether or not the units of one side of the equation match the units of the other side of the equation.
Cheers, 🙂

Shawnhet
July 19, 2014 2:55 am

Since Anthony pointed out this post, I think it is worth discussing in a bit of detail.
“http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/12/the-beer-identity/#comment-1685623”
“1. If
c= 2, g=20, p=4, e=8.
Then
RHS = p x (g/p) x (e/g) x (c/e) = 4 x (20/4) x (8/20) x (2/8) = 4 x 5 x 0.4 x 0.25 = 2
Therefore CO2 Emissions = 2 if c= 2, g=20, p=4, **e=8**.
2. If
c= 2, g=2000, p=4, e=8. (Increasing g)
Then
RHS = p x (g/p) x (e/g) x (c/e) = 4 x (2000/4) x (8/2000) x (2/8) = 4 x 500 x 0.004 x 0.25 = 2
Therefore CO2 Emissions = 2 if c= 2, g=2000, p=4, **e=8**”. Emphasis mine.
As you can see above, this approach is based on saying you can have whatever GDP you want providing you can increase GDP without increasing energy (e remains 8). The problem with this is that it can’t be done in the *real world as it exists currently*. For now, if I want to buy a toaster (and increase GDP by doing so) it takes energy to acquire the materials to make, energy to manufacture it, energy to move it to the store and energy for me to move it back from the store to my kitchen.
This example doesn’t reflect the real world.
Cheers, 🙂

Robin Hewitt
July 19, 2014 3:09 am

M Simon says: I can do that. F=ma
That sounds good until you mix it with politics and everything goes wrong. I have an example.
In the UK we have a 12 ft.lbf legal limit on the permitted power for an unlicenced pneumatic rifle. The accepted formula for calculating muzzle kinetic energy is velocity squared times projectile mass in grains, avoir dupois, all divided by the magic number 450240 and there lies the rub. Obviously to convert pounds mass to pounds force you have to stand somewhere and drop something. To get 450240 you have to stand somewhere where gravity is 32.16 ft/s/s. Beats me.
Obviously science disagrees with the accepted norm. Try to decide which is correct and you end up having Pilates’, “What is truth?” argument. If you are programming for MKE do you want to spend eternity explaining why you are right and 450240 is wrong? No, you use 450240.
If this Kaya thing is for policy makers perhaps we simply render unto Caesar that which is Caesars’ and agree even though it is complete bunkum and tosh.
I tend to infuriate people, if this post infuriates you I apologise, I will try to understand but it is difficult for me, please define your precepts.

July 19, 2014 3:10 am

Dr. Pielke is a man one can respect. He is not strident and is well reasoned in his arguments. However in this instance, he is also wrong.

July 19, 2014 3:16 am

What really beats me, even none other than IPCC itself admit that at best,KAYA can only be used to organize discussions of the primary driving forces of CO2 emissions
[QUOTE] While the Kaya identity above can be used to organize discussion of the primary driving forces of CO2 emissions and, by extension, emissions of other GHGs, there are important caveats. Most important, the four terms on the right-hand side of equation (3.2) should be considered neither as fundamental driving forces in themselves, nor as generally independent from each other. [/QUOTE]
http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/emission/index.php?idp=50

urederra
July 19, 2014 3:29 am

One problem I see with the equation is that the terms are statistics, not physical variables. GDP/population, for example, is a statistic called Per capita income (from wiki: total resources/total population) It is the mean or arithmetic average domestic production per person. If you read any statistics book you’ll realize that you can only use means or averages if you can prove that the values being studied follows a normal (or Gaussian) distribution. Only in the Gaussian distribution case you can apply the Central Limit Theorem.
This is obviously not the case since the average domestic production does NOT follow a normal distribution, Not in the USA, not in China, and more obviously not in the world. Some people produce a lot and make a lot of money falling into the outlier category. That breaks the normal distribution. And since the distribution is skewed, the arithmetic mean does not properly describe the population.
The same can be said about Energy/GDP or CO2emissions/Energy. They are not physical variables, they are arithmetic means of values that you cannot prove that follow a normal distribution and therefore these statistics don’t properly describe the distributions.
Also, the Kaya identity reminds me of the Drake equation. Both are invalid under the scientific point of view because none of them are derived from empirical data, Not Drake equation, nor Kaya indentity. The relationships among terms used in both equations are not based on physical experimentation. You do not know if the correlations are linear, quadratic, logaritmic or mixed with saturation, like Michaelis-Menten kinetics or relativistic velocity.

Harold
July 19, 2014 3:31 am

There is no good reason to write down the Kaya identity, because given values for the terms on the right hand side, calculating the CO2 follows from a trivial application of algebra which we expect anyone over the age of twelve to be able to do. It certainly does not merit a grandiose name. The only reason to write it down and give this trivial algebraic identity a name is to give the illusion that the variables contained in it are fundamental, like mass and time and similar in physics equations. Equations from physics, of course, are not mere algebraic identities.

July 19, 2014 3:53 am

Drake’s equation, although entirely made out of unknown functions of unknown values, has a definitive advantage over Kaya’s: the terms don’t cancel out. And the LHS, defined, quantity is not present on the RHS too.
Though, miraculously, I read a comment somewhere here that sheds some light /sarc/ on it: the quantities with the same name “above the line” are not the same as the quantities with the same name “below the line”, so they don’t cancel. Oh, wonder.
I also read another comment saying something like, if you increase GDP, it makes the population vary, so actually, even though GDP cancels out, the change in population will make a change. (This, I guess, is because the population “above the line” is something completely different from the population “below the line”). How didn’t I think of it? /sarc/
I have been showing the Kaya thing to my colleagues, but I can’t write here what they said about it. I wonder if economists use algebra in a different way than the usual guy does, and recent world events suggest it might be so.
This concludes my interest in this Kaya erm… thing, except for comedy purposes.

July 19, 2014 4:00 am

The Wizard of OZ is on TV tonight in Aus! I wonder how many know it was original written as an allegory of Economics with weather and climate as major themes.

Gras Albert
July 19, 2014 4:02 am

Ruth Dixon sheds light, as usual, on how Kaya can have some skill, if both inputs and outputs are provided and interpreted without bias
See My Garden Pond – Kaya

July 19, 2014 4:17 am

Shawnhet says:
July 19, 2014 at 2:55 am
You can put any values you like into any variables and “c” will equal the value you gave it.
Just do the Math yourself, as Dr Rodger Pielke Jr recommended, over and over.

July 19, 2014 4:20 am

The sea levels are not rising, the ice sheets are not melting, the weather has not become more extreme, the temperature trends are disputed, What/where is the equation that connects CO2 concentrations and catastrophic climate change? Without that connection this discussion about modeling mankind’s contributions to CO2 is a tale of sound and fury told by you know whom.

catweazle666
July 19, 2014 4:21 am

Looks to me like the sort of “equation” that only an ologist would find indicative of anything at all.
Talk about oversimplification…

hunter
July 19, 2014 4:51 am

Thanks to Dr. Pielke for his post.
In a conversation it is good to know what the definition of words and terms are.
What an identity is, and is not, seems to be at the heart of Willis’s concerns.
If we can define identity, perhaps we can move forward past this.
This seems to be a reasonable definition of “Identity” as used in mathematics:
http://www.mathopenref.com/identity.html
Here is an excerpt from that definition that seems to applicable to our conversation:
“What are identities used for?
They are used in simplifying or rearranging algebra expressions. By definition, the two sides of an identity are interchangeable, so we can replace one with the other at any time.
For example, suppose we are working an algebra problem and we have We recognize this as one side of a familiar identity* So we can replace it with the thing on the other side of the identity:
In summary, an identity says that two things are equivalent. If you see one, you can replace it with the other.
*Important
Identities are only useful if you know them, since only then will you recognize that a replacement is possible. But there are a lot of them (see trig identities below). Get a feel for the common ones and have a quick reference handy to look them up.”
I think Dr. Pielke is owed an apology.

Tom
July 19, 2014 4:56 am

I’m a mathematician. Willis is right and Pielke is wrong. Here is my attempt at an explanation.
The climate change economics community would like to have a useful equation that shows how changes in things like population would affect things like carbon dioxide levels. No such equation has been derived from controlled experiments, so they posit a theoretical relationship between the variables of interest, and use this as a tool to describe potential outcomes to politicians. This is all well and good.
Problems arise when you compare their equation with something like F = ma (Newton’s 2nd law of motion). This too is a theoretical relationship linking force, mass and acceleration. This “law” is just a very good approximation of the physical world – special relativity is needed for an improved understanding. However, F = ma can be used to solve real and important problems. In order to put men on the moon, NASA knew how much acceleration was needed, and then designed rockets with different mass and force configurations that would (hopefully) attain the acceleration. This IS rocket science, and without F = ma the moon landings would very probably not have happened.
Compare this with the Kaya identity. Supplying values for global population, gross domestic product and gross energy consumption gives you absolutely no new information. You haven’t solved a problem. It doesn’t matter if the values are accurate current estimates, or if they come from an idealised scenario. You end up knowing that the carbon dioxide emissions are equal to the carbon dioxide emissions.
Unlike (say) physics and chemistry, economics and climate science are full of “models” which can’t be used to solve any actual problem. This isn’t the fault of the disciplines: no-one is going to test an economic model involving (say) minimum wages by increasing them $10,000 per hour and seeing what happens, and there simply isn’t another planet that we can test climate models on by removing all the humans. So they have to invent mathematically and scientifically sub-standard “models” like the Kaya identity to make any progress. It only becomes a problem when they believe their own hype, and start thinking that these “models” encapsulate some scientific truth.

July 19, 2014 5:03 am

Josualdo says: July 19, 2014 at 3:53 am
I have been showing the Kaya thing to my colleagues, but I can’t write here what they said about it. I wonder if economists use algebra in a different way than the usual guy does, and recent world events suggest it might be so.
No,Josualdo, economists use the same kind of algebra. What we’re witnessing here is a complete failure to understand the difference between identity and equation.
x4 = x1*(x2/x1)*(x3/x2)*(x4/x3) is obviously an identity [namely an equation which is true regardless of what values are substituted for any variables (if there are any variables at all].
z1 = z2*z3*z4*z5 is an equation (namely a mathematical sentence built from expressions using one or more equal signs), but it is obviously not an identity. All identities are equations, but not all equations are identities.
What Pielke Jr. and others are doing is treating z2, z3, z4 and z5 as independent variables in an equation (not identity !) that allows you to calculate the dependent variable z1. Although called “independent”, their contention is that policies can somehow change the values of those variables, or certainly of some of them (e.g. higher carbon taxes would mean lower CO2 emissions per unit energy, through a change in energy mix, e.g. coal plants being replaced by wind turbines). Problem is, the latter is not obvious from their equation. In fact, very little is.

Chuck Nolan
July 19, 2014 5:19 am

The formula/equation/identity provides only one way to reduce CO2 to the level necessary to save the earth.
Reduce people.
Nothing else goes far enough.
But first, you have to believe in the identity.
You have to know it is the only answer.
(2+2=5 you see that, don’t you Winston?)
What do you see?
cn

July 19, 2014 5:36 am

Mike Jonas says:
July 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm
FWIW Habibullo Abdussamatov and David Evans come to similar conclusions both by different methods.
If you look at the radiation bands CO2 affects – they are saturated (mostly). Thus zero effect for CO2 is not an absurd conclusion. It may in fact be the correct conclusion i.e. the CO2 effect – if any – is down in the noise.
I’m still waiting for an explanation of Maunder, Dalton, etc. Once the CO2 hysteria dies I think we will start looking at the sun to explain those periods. And when I say sun I do not mean just TSI.
What is interesting to me is that the alarmists and a LOT of sceptics are on the same page when it comes to CO2 – there is an effect. They just differ on the amount.
I am – OTOH – on a different page. And thus take it from “both” sides.

July 19, 2014 5:39 am

nickreality65 says:
July 19, 2014 at 4:20 am
yep.

July 19, 2014 5:46 am

Scott Wilmot Bennett says:
July 19, 2014 at 4:00 am
The Wizard of OZ is on TV tonight in Aus!
Check out the colloquial meaning of snow and poppies in the US. This may help:
http://turnmeondeadman.com/trippy-films-the-wizard-of-oz-1939/

Tom in Florida
July 19, 2014 5:48 am

Here’s my identity:
political policy acceptance = baffle them with bull sh*t
In plain English: the more you bullsh*t people the better chance of your politics being accepted.
I believe that also applies to climate “science”.

Chuck Nolan
July 19, 2014 6:01 am

If we include climate sensitivity and earth’s current temperature in the identity we should be able to calculate how much we need to reduce GDP to get a desired temperature decrease.
These guys think of everything. I like it.
cn

Tom Johnson
July 19, 2014 6:05 am

This discussion reminds me a bit of training I was given at GM a few years ago, before I retired. The training was mandatory for management. We were trained on the critical importance of RONA, return on net assets. We were given a number of multi-term formulas to calculate RONA. Someone asked the trainer: “Since RONA reduces to profit divided by assets, why wouldn’t managers simply sell off assets to improve RONA?” The reply was simple: “Don’t be silly. Managers aren’t that dumb. Doing that would bankrupt the company.”
Hmmmmm?

July 19, 2014 6:11 am

Joel O’Bryan says:
July 19, 2014 at 1:14 am
The KID will sort the sheep from the goats, I kid you not!
The KID, I love it! 😉

sleeper
July 19, 2014 6:20 am

Tom in Florida says:
July 19, 2014 at 5:48 am
Here’s my identity:
political policy acceptance = baffle them with bull sh*t
Here’s an identity I’ve discovered over my 60 years of living, let’s call it the Kaka Identity:
Politician = Bullsh*t Artist

July 19, 2014 6:39 am

I could not help but notice that some commenters, apparently those with their feet solidly grounded in engineering, seem to mock economists and environmental scientists for the KAYA identity.
But the biggest irony of all is that prof. Kaya, father of the so-called “identity” named after him, is an engineer. I will shout it, so that everyone may notice it, an ENGINEER !
The so-called “identity” was the result of a discussion regarding the main drivers of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and Kaya and his fellow engineers came up with 4 (four!) driving forces, namely:
P = global population
g = global GDP per capita
e = energy intensity of world GDP
f = carbon intensity of energy
And so it came to be that they wrote the “equation” (I tell you, equation):
F = P*g*e*f, where the variable F = global CO2 emissions from human sources, and the variables P, g, e and f as defined above.
Now, I ask you, my engineering friends, is F = P*g*e*f an IDENTITY ????? Is it, if you know that in mathematics identity means an equation which is true regardless of what values are substituted for any variables? So, is this what engineers are saying: 20 = 2 * 5 *7 * 2.4; or maybe 34 = 9 * 2.7 * 30 * 0.1 ???
Is it the fault of economists that apparently a professor in engineering can’t tell the difference between an identity and an equation? 🙂

ferd berple
July 19, 2014 6:45 am

Managers aren’t that dumb. Doing that would bankrupt the company.
======================
Obviously never watched Gordon Gekko / Wall Street. Raid a company. Buy up the stock with junk bonds. Sell off the assets. Make billions.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 7:01 am

Dr Pielke shows in his video that human emissions of CO2 jumped from 1% to 3% annual growth in 2000 (15 min in). Yet, when we look at CO2 at Mauna Loa, there is no corresponding jump in CO2 accumulation.
If the bathtub model of atmospheric CO2 levels is correct, with humans as the source for increase, why does Mauna Loa not show a corresponding jump in the rate of increase? Doesn’t this argue strongly that the increase in CO2 is not directly tied to human emissions?

July 19, 2014 7:08 am

And, once more, what is the connection between CO2 and climate/weather especially the catastrophic kind?

dp
July 19, 2014 7:10 am

F = P*g*e*f

You can start with what is known from observation and calculate the unknowns. Global CO2 emissions, for example, are approximated. Global GDP is approximated, and global population is known to an acceptable value. Global energy consumption per capita is probably known with low accuracy but we’re talking politics here – close enough for government work, etc.
Now you have a starting point. This means you can begin what-if’ing by creating a time series of varying rates of change for each of the knowns (P, g, e, f) and how that affects F. This can be plotted and given to a Senator or Congressman as supportive evidence of your agenda.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 7:18 am

“If the bathtub model of atmospheric CO2 levels is correct, with humans as the source for increase, why does Mauna Loa not show a corresponding jump in the rate of increase? Doesn’t this argue strongly that the increase in CO2 is not directly tied to human emissions?”
The identity does not address atmospheric CO2 levels – it is focused on the CO2 emitted by an economy.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 7:19 am

Pielke’s “Iron Law” of Climate Policy
In practice, this means that efforts to make dirty energy appreciably more expensive will face limited success.
http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/yalee360_pielkes_iron_law_of_c
===============
And then in the same breath the author contradicts himself and proposes a carbon tax as a solution. The justification being that the tax will be used to fund innovation.
This ignores the lessons of history. Innovation is not something that can be purchased by governments. On the contrary, governments have an incredibly poor record of picking winners and losers.
The problem is that the author has a conflict of interests. Academics and universities rely on government funding. So of course they will see taxation and research funding of their work as the solution.
The rest of us, the ones living in the real word, that don’t have our snouts berried in the public trough, know when someone has their hand in our pockets.

July 19, 2014 7:19 am

False God’s/Equation’s

July 19, 2014 7:20 am

We do know the 10 commandments.
Do the math, add one more.
Thou shall not bow down to false equations.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 7:24 am

The identity does not address atmospheric CO2 levels – it is focused on the CO2 emitted by an economy.
===========
I’m watching the video of Dr. Pielke’s presentation. There is a general rule in logic. No matter how correct your conclusion mathematically, if your premises are wrong then your conclusions are wrong.
I’m questioning the premises behind the Kaya Identity, because if the premises behind the Identity are wrong, then no matter how correct the mathematics, the conclusions of the identity will be wrong.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 7:28 am

The unstated premises of the Kaya Identity are:
1. increased atmospheric CO2 levels will lead to warming greater than 2C, which will lead to harm
2. increased atmospheric CO2 levels can be controlled via human CO2 emissions.
The contradiction between Dr. Pielke’s video (15 min) and Mauna Loa CO2 argues that premise 2 is wrong.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 7:31 am

There appears to be a group of posters who still parrot Willis’s original misunderstanding of the meaning of the equation. This is from the document he linked.
The simplest way to describe the deep decarbonization of energy systems is by the principal drivers of energy-related CO 2 emissions—for convenience, since the focus of this chapter is on energy systems, we simply refer to them as CO 2 emissions. CO 2 emissions can be expressed as the product of four inputs: population, GDP per capita, energy use per unit of GDP, and CO 2 emissions per unit of energy:
CO 2 emissions = Population x (GDP/Population) x (Energy/GDP) x (CO 2 /Energy)
Unfortunately, the equation is poorly framed and thus ambiguous.
Johan above proposed re framing it. ( Johan says: July 19, 2014 at 2:03 am ) similar to this
T-CO2 = (T-POP) * (GDP-POP) * (WATTS-DOLLAR) * (CO2-WATT) where the terms are defined as above. If the article had done something like this, then Willis would not have found the equation remarkable.

July 19, 2014 7:31 am

dp says: July 19, 2014 at 7:10 am
F = P*g*e*f
I’m not disputing that, but given that P and g in normal circumstances would be considered “exogenous”, all the “equation” says is that in order to reduce global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, all that energy and climate change policies can hope to achieve is 1) to lower energy intensity (which can never get below the limits set by thermodynamics); and 2) to lower carbon intensity of energy (which would simply be equivalent to decreasing the share of fossil fuels).
Now, if a Senator or Congressman really is that stupid, you might just as well say: “Well, Sir/Madam, if we keep all other 60000 or so relevant variables constant, I am quite certain substituting a coal plant for a wind farm would lower CO2 emissions”. Whow !

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 7:35 am

ferdberple says: July 19, 2014 at 7:28 am
“The unstated premises of the Kaya Identity are:” –>Both conclusions are wrong
The Kaya identity says nothing atmospheric CO2. It says nothing about atmospheric CO2 and temperature.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 7:36 am

At 31 minutes in, Dr Peilke shows a very interesting graph. CO2/GDP has been dropping almost linearly since 1980. In 1980 it was 0.9 and in 2006 it was 0.62. Based on a straight line projection, which is the type of projection climate science is best known for, we end up with a carbon free economy in 60 years.
That is what we are seeing in the graph. If governments simply get out of the way and let people innovate, by 2040 CO2/GDP will be 0.30 and by 2070 CO2/GDP will be 0.0.
The Kaya Identity tells us that human emissions of CO2 will be 0 if CO2/GDP = 0.0. Thus we can conclude that business as usual will result in world with largely carbon free energy by around 2070.
So,what we really have is a bunch of governments running around spending money and creating panic, to solve a non problem. A problem that the market has been solving long before governments started meddling.

JJ
July 19, 2014 7:38 am

OYG!
A third post showcasing Willis Eschenbach’s mathematical errors and personality deficits? Does not the notion of quitting while one is really, really behind have any resonance here?
Rule #1 of successful deep hole rescue – stop digging.

July 19, 2014 7:39 am

IMHO the only real issue is the connection between CO2 and weather/climate/catastrophe/global warming. Even IPCC AR5 admits uncertainty about the magnitude of CO2 radiative forcing/feedback. The thirties were the hottest/extremest w/300 ppm (Goddard). Just focus on that, and all the semi-related issues becomes increasingly tiresome sideshows. Kick out one leg of three and the rest collapses.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 7:45 am

The Kaya identity says nothing atmospheric CO2
==========
Not correct. In logic there is the “unstated premise”. It is part of the equation logically, it is simply not formally stated. To see if the conclusion is logically true, you need to add the unstated premise to the formal equation as part of your evaluation.
If the CO2 emission in the Kaya Identity were not going into the atmosphere, then the Kaya Identity would not exist. If 100% of human emissions was being absorbed for example by increased plant growth this web site would not exist and we would not be talking about the Kaya Identity. The Kaya Identity exists based on the unstated premise that human emissions drive atmospheric CO2.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 7:47 am

A few posters are challenging the notion Kaya is an identity. I think Johan considers this an important distinction. I do not consider the distinction particularly relevant.
All identities are equations. Maybe there are some equations that are not identities. Have not thought that notion through.
Others have challenged Kaya because the terms are not exact for all countries and all circumstances. That complaint is a red herring. Kaya is good enough to guide policy response. Someone linked to this Ruth Dixon post above: http://mygardenpond.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/a-graphical-look-at-the-kaya-identity/#more-706
Very valuable.
Others complain about Kaya because they think it is a tool of alarmists. It is in fact the opposite – Kaya is a strong argument in favor of adaptation not mitigation because it drives out the true cost of mitigation.
In particular, Kaya shows the devastating impact of mitigation policy that drives up energy cost on the poor countries.

dp
July 19, 2014 7:50 am

Now, if a Senator or Congressman really is that stupid…

Never misunderestimate the ignorance of representative government. It is populated by giving an uninformed public promises of a chicken in every pot, pot in every brownie, and free health care, food, and shelter to foreigners willing to hike into the country illegally.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 7:52 am

ferdberple says: July 19, 2014 at 7:45 am
“The Kaya Identity exists based on the unstated premise that human emissions drive atmospheric CO2.”
More accurately, Kaya is relevant because of the assumption that human CO2 emission drives atmospheric CO2. No disagreement there. However, that assumption is not part of Kaya.

Berényi Péter
July 19, 2014 7:57 am

Discussion of Kaya identity starts here.

July 19, 2014 8:08 am

RobertInAz says: July 19, 2014 at 7:47 am
Maybe there are some equations that are not identities. Have not thought that notion through.
Well yeah, maybe, who knows. y=x is an equation, and it is certainly true for y = 1 and x =1, and also true for y = 2 and x = 2, and actually, for an infinite number of cases. Now, I wonder, I really wonder, would it also be true if y = 1 and x = 2, or if y = 2 and x = 1, or …
Now, of course, there is a proof that says 2 = 1
a = b
a^2 = ab
a^2 – b^2 = ab-b^2
(a-b)(a+b) = b(a-b)
a+b = b
b+b = b
2b = b
2 = 1
With thanks to Dr. Math for this classic fallacy.

Tim Hammond
July 19, 2014 8:11 am

Not sure what all the fuss is about.
Is there anybody who is saying that CO2 emissions are not the product of energy use? And that the more energy we use the higher emissions will be? And that our production of wealth requires a certain expenditure of energy?
That’s all this says – trivial yes, true yes.

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 8:12 am

At 42 minutes in, Dr Pielke shows exactly how effective government policies are at de-carbonizing the economy. The UK was de-carbonizing at 3% per year prior to the Climate Change Act. After the Act was passed, the UK has been de-carbonizing at 1% per year. The UK spends billions to cut emissions, and as a result the problem gets worse. The effect of the UK government trying to pick winners and losers.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 8:13 am

Johan says: July 19, 2014 at 6:39 am “Now, I ask you, my engineering friends, is F = P*g*e*f an IDENTITY ????? Is it, if you know that in mathematics identity means an equation which is true regardless of what values are substituted for any variables? So, is this what engineers are saying: 20 = 2 * 5 *7 * 2.4; or maybe 34 = 9 * 2.7 * 30 * 0.1 ??? ”
Not quite. Consider F=MA. Where F is expressed as KG * M/SEC**2, M is KG and A is expressed as M/SEC**2. I would consider this a physics identity. The dependent variable is on the left, the independent variables are on the right. Applying Johan’s approach of inserting random values on the left and and the right of course leads to ridiculous results. In Kaya, the value on the left is calculated from the values on the right. It holds for a broad range of real world examples. In F=MA, you can insert implausible values on the right. It does not impact the usefulness of Newton’s second law of motion.

July 19, 2014 8:29 am

RobertInAz says: July 19, 2014 at 8:13 am
Not quite. Consider F=MA. Where F is expressed as KG * M/SEC**2, M is KG and A is expressed as M/SEC**2. I would consider this a physics identity.
Ah, we have a philosopher in the room! Before going over to the Dark Side (becoming an economist), i did obtain a bachelor’s degree (many moons ago) in physics. I have never known a physicist to call F = ma an identity. BTW, Newton defined F as F = (dp/dt), and Euler “popularized” it into F = ma, but not relevant.
Now, in your defense, there is a mathematician turned philosopher named Whitehead who did claim that F = ma is an identity, but what he (probably) meant was that if we define F as ma, the problem is, the “fundamental” equation f = ma becomes ma = ma, which is trivial and meaningless.
So yes, if we turn this whole matter over to philosophers, I’m sure we’ll have some kind of answer a few thousand year from now.

Catcracking
July 19, 2014 8:31 am

For those who believe mandates work and spending more tax dollars to subsidize alternative energy should look at the experience with production of mandated cellulosic ethanol which has been a absolute failure (0.8 million gal versus 6 million mandated). At what point do we realize that attempts to build commercial cellulosic ethanol is not in the near future although the government “doubled down” on spending..
“The US Environmental Protection Agency lowered the amount of cellulosic ethanol required in 2013 to the amount actually produced, relieving refiners and importers of the need to buy credits to cover shortfalls against the earlier mandate.
The adjusted volume is 810,185 ethanol-equivalent gal. The earlier requirement, published on Aug. 15, 2013, was 6 million gal.
EPA made the change in response to petitions for reconsideration from the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.
AFPM welcomed the move.
“I expect EPA to use the same rational thinking to revise its proposed 2014 ethanol and biodiesel requirements, which are already long overdue,” said AFPM Pres. Charles T. Drevna.
He said EPA has proposed a mandate of 17 million gal of cellulosic ethanol for 2014 and noted production of the material in the first quarter totaled less than 75,000 gal.”
http://www.ogj.com/articles/2014/04/epa-cuts-2013-cellulosic-ethanol-mandate.html
The US 2014 budget for climate change is $21.6 billion. Can anyone tell me what progress has been made with the hundreds of billion of dollars spent over the years, besides increasing our carbon footprint with all of academia and grant recipients traveling to conferences in posh places?

John Greenfraud
July 19, 2014 8:34 am

Less GDP Good
More GDP Bad
Seams pretty clear what the Malthusian crowd gets out of balancing the Kaya identity, i.e., confirmation for their assumptions, shortsighted policies and alarmist ideals all wrapped in the illusion of mathematical certainty.

July 19, 2014 8:35 am

Wrong/incomplete question. Are CO2 emissions only/totally/solely/alonenessly the result/consequence/product/result of mankind’s energy use? Well, no. And CO2 is not the only GHG. Now “they” are coming for methane! A psychopathic anti-coal agenda is driving all of this nonsense.

July 19, 2014 8:36 am

Total CO2 Emissions = Sum of all CO2 Emissions
The Kaya and Beer CO2 emissions are not exclusive, they are overlapping subsets of total CO2 emissions. The number of arbitrarilary definable subsets is is very large. The left side of the Kaya Identy represents total CO2 emissions related to population, per capita GDP, and energy per GDP. The product of these factors is only useful for describing changes in this subset of CO2 emissions as arbitrarily defined. Other factors could be included to describe a different subset.
The arrangement of units in an equation to define an identity is called dimensional analysis.

July 19, 2014 8:37 am

Tim Hammond says: July 19, 2014 at 8:11 am
Not sure what all the fuss is about.
It keeps us off the streets. Our wives like that.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 8:41 am

Johan says: July 19, 2014 at 8:29 am
I have never known a physicist to call F = ma an identity.

No argument. However, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a ……
This semantic discussion does not impact the relevance of Kaya to real world policy making.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 8:49 am

Johan says: July 19, 2014 at 8:37 am It keeps us off the streets. Our wives like that.”
+1

ferdberple
July 19, 2014 8:52 am

Dr Pielke at 56 minutes in talks about average human lifespan. In 100 years we have substantially increased human lifespan, without any global treaty to increase lifespans.
What would have happened if we placed a tax on death? What would have happened if we used cap and trade to reduce death? Would this have reduced death? According to economic theory, this should have the effect of reducing death.
The problem not accounted for in economic theory is that there is no alternative to death. Price sensitivity, supply and demand simply do not apply when there is a monopoly. CO2 is a similar problem. CO2 has a de facto monopoly as far as energy production is concerned.

July 19, 2014 8:56 am

I started this thread in 1989 when it was simple global warming. Premises: 1) earth is warming at an alarming rate (seems subjective and lately not so) 2) the sole cause is rising levels of atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Keeling) 3) mankind’s industrial activity is solely responsible for this increasing CO2 concentration (only because no one has bothered to locate other sources such as ocean floor volcanic vents. IPCC AR5 admits it has no knowledge of the bottom half of the oceans.) After twenty five years not one of these points has been conclusively demonstrated.

July 19, 2014 9:00 am

Now, of course, there is a proof that says 2 = 1
a = b
a^2 = ab
a^2 – b^2 = ab-b^2
(a-b)(a+b) = b(a-b)
a+b = b
b+b = b
2b = b
2 = 1
With thanks to Dr. Math for this classic fallacy.

I don’t understand why this old divide by zero example is supposed to have anything to do with Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. and the matter in question today. Obviously if a = b then (a – b) = 0 and you can not divide both sides of the equation by zero. But so what? Why is that part of this Kaya Identity discussion?
Someone enlighten me?

RH
July 19, 2014 9:04 am

The Kaya “identity” is too simplistic to be of any scientific use. It simply lends scientific credibility to the political opinion that we developed people are too destructive, and too numerous, to be allowed to continue our way of life.

dp
July 19, 2014 9:05 am

John Greenfraud says:
July 19, 2014 at 8:34am
Less GDP Good
More GDP Bad

Carlos Slim has a solution – destroy the per-capita contribution to GDP. What he is suggesting is the elitist notion of reducing the quality of life. That is behind all schemes that regulate consumption.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4899aaf8-0e9f-11e4-ae0e-00144feabdc0.html
Next: a well-regulated caste system.

July 19, 2014 9:10 am

Michael 2 says:
July 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm
Ian says:”and that effect is close to, if not at, saturation.”
Saturation would be 1 million parts per million. We have a long, long way to go.
Michael, Ian is addressing the absorption spectrum of CO2, that is how that molecule absorbs selective wavelengths of infra red radiation, which does follow a logarithmic curve. You are referring to concentration which relates to the gas mixture. Ian is entirely correct that the atmosphere is already absorbing most of the IR it is sensitive to in the system so increasing CO2 will only have a diminishing effect on heat content. This is the great flaw of the alarmist community argument. They assume that the CO2 / heat relationship is linear. It is not.

July 19, 2014 9:11 am

Mark Stoval (@MarkStoval) says: July 19, 2014 at 9:00 am
Someone enlighten me?
Hello? It was a joke, in response to RobertInAz who claimed that “Maybe there are some equations that are not identities. Have not thought that notion through.”
If you can prove that y = x is true regardless of what values are substituted for y and x, than clearly y = x is an identity. If not, it’s an equation but not an identity.

richardscourtney
July 19, 2014 9:12 am

RobertInAz:
At July 19, 2014 at 8:41 am you say

This semantic discussion does not impact the relevance of Kaya to real world policy making.

YES!
As I have repeatedly said, the Kaya Identity is a useful propaganda tool but has no other use.
Richard

scarletmacaw
July 19, 2014 9:13 am

Mike Jonas says:
July 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm
RobertInAz – Willis got it right. The equations are circular logic.

You make the case best. While the equation/identity is true, and appears useful, it only applies to statistical averages, and none of the terms on the right, other than population, can be determined directly.
The equation does not sum over individual contributions. We are not calculation the GDP contributed by John Doe, only the average per person, which comes from the total GDP divided by the population. So the product “total GDP per person” x “population” is no more meaningful than just one term, “total GDP.” Likewise, CO2 per unit GDP is not a known quantity, nor is GDP per unit energy.
The known quantities are Total CO2, Total GDP, Total energy, Total population. The ratios in Kaya are not known.
To be useful, an equation/identity should be based on quantities that are directly measurable. When Total CO2 is needed to find one of the terms on the right hand side, the whole thing is trivial, as Willis has stated.

krischel
July 19, 2014 9:14 am

It would’ve been real nice if Pielke Jr. had at least admitted that the equation is *not* an identity, and is not justified through algebraic construction.
It would be even nicer if he and others would write the equation properly, with the required variables included, rather than using the exact same text to refer to both a variable *and* a unit.
The confusion and controversy have, as their root cause, imprecision in expression.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 9:21 am

richardscourtney says: July 19, 2014 at 9:12 am “YES!
As I have repeatedly said, the Kaya Identity is a useful propaganda tool but has no other use.”

On the contrary, Kaya reflects real world data (see Ruth Dixon: http://mygardenpond.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/a-graphical-look-at-the-kaya-identity/#more-706 )
It is relevant to policy making because it quantifies the economic and engineering impossibility of the mitigation approaches most loved by the alarmists.

July 19, 2014 9:21 am

If you can prove that y = x is true regardless of what values are substituted for y and x, than clearly y = x is an identity. If not, it’s an equation but not an identity.

I am still not getting the joke here. In the case of a function y = x we see that the value of y is dependent upon our choice of x. If I pick x = 1 then y = 1.
Consider f(x) = 2x +2 when x = 4. We get 2(4) + 2 = 10 and that is it. So, f(4)=10 and nothing else. Y = 10. You don’t get to just pick both x and y independently of each other then claim it satisfies the given relationship for god’s sake. If that were true it sure would make grading math tests a whole lot easier! (no child left behind indeed!)

krischel
July 19, 2014 9:29 am

Consider F=MA. Where F is expressed as KG * M/SEC**2, M is KG and A is expressed as M/SEC**2.
Rewritten as the “Kaya Identity” is presented, with only units, we would teach our physicists:
KG*M/SEC**2 = (KG)(M/SEC**2)
The “Kaya Identity”, presented in the same way we present F = ma would read:
F = P*g*e*f
The people who write the “Kaya Identity” with units only, instead of including variables, are wrong.

July 19, 2014 9:29 am

Mark Stoval (@MarkStoval) says: July 19, 2014 at 9:21 am
I am still not getting the joke here
My word! All I had to do to prove that y = x is not an identity, is to provide a counter-example. Which is exactly what I did. What if y = 2 and x = 1. Clearly, 2 does not equal 1, hence we conclude y = x cannot be an identity.
(drum roll). Enters the joke. Oh, but wait, what if we can prove that 2 = 1 … !!!
I cannot believe I even have to explain such a silly joke. This whole thread on KAYA is more absurd than any Monthy Python sketch I’ve ever seen.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 9:30 am

scarletmacaw says: July 19, 2014 at 9:13 am
To be useful, an equation/identity should be based on quantities that are directly measurable. When Total CO2 is needed to find one of the terms on the right hand side, the whole thing is trivial, as Willis has stated.

It would be nice. I would replace “To be useful” with “To be most useful.”
Total CO2 is not needed to determine any of the terms on the right. I don’t know where that notion originates. In fact, total CO2 from energy production is probably derived from adding up all sources of energy and then calculating the CO2 emitted by each. We can eliminate the population and GDP terms of Kaya and just focus on energy terms to get total CO2.
The point of the first two terms is to illustrate Pielke’s Iron Law: politicians are not going to reduce population and they are not going to reduce GDP. Therefore, they have to either increase the GDP efficiency of energy or decrease the CO2 emitted by energy. Kaya illustrates in a quantitative way the magnitude of GDP efficiency increases required or the magnitude of CO2 reductions required. The results of applying Kaya to the alarmist desired CO2 scenarios shows they are not obtainable.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 9:41 am

Johan says: July 19, 2014 at 9:29 am “My word! All I had to do to prove that y = x is not an identity, is to provide a counter-example. Which is exactly what I did. What if y = 2 and x = 1.”
Oh my oh my. You have a physics degree and are currently an economist? I guess as an economist, you can provide counter-example to all of the trigonometric identities listed here. Mathematicians do use the term identity – a lot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigonometric_identity
In fact, you can invalidate all of modern mathematics with similarly framed counter-examples. Start here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mathematical_identities

July 19, 2014 9:43 am

I cannot believe I even have to explain such a silly joke.

Sorry, but you can’t divide by zero, nor can you just pick any value you want for x and y if y is the dependent variable and x is the independent variable. I think they might have named the variables in that manner for that reason you see. What I really did not get is why the non-proof (error in logic) of 1=2 has anything at all to do with the topic under discussion.
I first saw your “proof” in an undergrad number theory course in ’72 if memory serves me. It was presented to demonstrate that subtle errors in logic will creep into your work (divide by zero in this case) if you are not rigorous. I still find no reason to equate Dr. Pielke’s work with that “proof”.

justaknitter
July 19, 2014 9:43 am

“I think that much of the dissent over it has to do with the difference in viewpoints between science and engineering.”
The viewpoints of science and engineering? How about the viewpoint of Jr High Math.
The Kaya Identity is a fancy pants version of The Multiplicative Identity Property:
x = (1)x
The Kaya Identity does not show the relationship between population, GDP, energy consuption and CO2. I think what would be needed would not be an identity but and equation along the lines of Ohm’s Law. A “Kaya equation” that shows the relationship of population, wealth (I would use income per capita not GDP) and CO2 emissions.
How this formula is used politically becomes ugly very quickly. Poverty and population control = good…….wealth and babies = bad.

Catcracking
July 19, 2014 9:48 am

I propose a procedure that would once and for all make our leaders aware of the cost and implications on life style and comfort of every law or regulation.
The approach is that any new government proposal such as de-carbonization should first be implementation on the governing class first as a trial, in this case the Administration, all congressional representatives and their staff including all the cabinet members and their staff. Since their activities do not appear in any significant way contribute to the GDP, it would lower the emissions per GDP of the country without affecting the economy. More importantly it would make them fully aware of the consequences of their actions, since they appear to be oblivious to the effect of new laws/regulations. If there are no negative consequences after a 5 year trial, then the proposal could be gradually extended to other areas starting with cities. Does anyone think that if the “Affordable Care Act” was implemented under these rules there would have had so many problems and issues if it directly impacted them? Remember Congress sought and received an executive exemption, although they were supposed to also comply with the ACA.
Think about it. Who has the largest footprint in the world? Surprising, it is those individuals who are concerned about your carbon footprint. How much would the US carbon footprint be reduce if the every government agency including the White House cut it’s carbon emissions 20% near term. Besides the cost of our energy use would fall and fossil imports would decline.

Shawnhet
July 19, 2014 9:53 am

Scott Wilmot Bennett says:
July 19, 2014 at 4:17 am
“You can put any values you like into any variables and “c” will equal the value you gave it.
Just do the Math yourself, as Dr Rodger Pielke Jr recommended, over and over.”
There’s nothing wrong with your math – it just describes an *unrealistic* situation. Neither you nor anyone can find a real world example that is consistent with your hypothetical.

July 19, 2014 9:58 am

RobertInAz says: July 19, 2014 at 9:41 am
Mathematicians do use the term identity – a lot.
Where and when did I say there is no such thing as “identity” in mathematics? I even gave the formal definition of identity – so many times already I am getting tired of it.
In fact, there IS a KAYA identity, namely CO2 = P * (GDP/P) * (E/GDP) * (CO2/E), where CO2, P, GDP and E are just numbers (not variables). It’s the kind of identity where one says 24 = 4*3*2*1 (because an identity does not need to contain variables).
Now, before you continue insulting me, by asserting that “Maybe there are some equations that are not identities. Have not thought that notion through.”, you already made a laughing stock of yourself. But maybe you can show us some formal proof that ALL equations, without any exception, are identities. I am sure mathematicians would be very interested in that.

richardscourtney
July 19, 2014 10:00 am

RobertInAz:
Your post at July 19, 2014 at 9:21 am says in total

richardscourtney says: July 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

YES!
As I have repeatedly said, the Kaya Identity is a useful propaganda tool but has no other use.

On the contrary, Kaya reflects real world data (see Ruth Dixon: http://mygardenpond.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/a-graphical-look-at-the-kaya-identity/#more-706 )
It is relevant to policy making because it quantifies the economic and engineering impossibility of the mitigation approaches most loved by the alarmists.because it quantifies the economic and engineering impossibility of the mitigation approaches most loved by the alarmists.

“Kaya reflects real world data …”. Reflects?
“It is relevant to policy making …”?
QED
Richard

July 19, 2014 10:17 am

Thank you Dr Pielke jr.
I tend to share the characterization by Pielke jr on what is called the Kaya Identity.
A thought: if the so-called Thermodynamic Identity*** is an identity in the same sense as the so-called Kaya Identity is an identity, then the Kaya Identity could be as potentially useful as the Thermodynamic Identity. I think there is little doubt about the usefulness of the Thermodynamic Identity.
*** Thermodynamic Identity*** => google it for a definition of it; it is a well discussed / documented concept.
John

July 19, 2014 10:17 am

Mark Stoval (@MarkStoval) says: July 19, 2014 at 9:43 am
“nor can you just pick any value you want for x and y if y is the dependent variable and x is the independent variable.”
To begin with, I never mentioned functions, you did. Secondly, y = x is a function, but it is also an equation (or do you disagree with that?). And no, you cannot pick any value you want for y and x, because it’s an equation but not an identity (it’s completely irrelevant that y = x also happens to be a function). Now, this may surprise you, but x^2 + y^2 = r^2 is an equation, but it is NOT a function. Still, it is obviously not an identity either, unless 3^2 + 4^2 = (whatever)^2.
You also say: “I still find no reason to equate Dr. Pielke’s work with that “proof”.”
How many times do I have to tell you this, I was not attacking Pielke but ridiculing one of the commenters.
And as for the relevance to Pielke. Pielke is using F = P*g*e*f, where F, P, g. e and f are variables. And for anyone who has more than 2 brain cells left, F = P*g*e*f is an equation, not an identity.
And now I’m out of the loony bin. Enough is enough !

July 19, 2014 10:28 am

I was not attacking Pielke but ridiculing one of the commenters.
You may have thought you were doing that, but to me that was not the apparent intent. I will take you at your word.

nutso fasst
July 19, 2014 10:36 am

RobertInAz:

“…Kaya is relevant because of the assumption that human CO2 emission drives atmospheric CO2…that assumption is not part of Kaya.”

Yes. If you argue CO2 emissions don’t matter then Kaya is irrelevant to your argument.

“Kaya is a strong argument in favor of adaptation not mitigation because it drives out the true cost of mitigation.”

Agree. The Kaya Identity helped Pielke memorably demonstrate that the UK cut their CO2 emissions primarily by making the nation poorer, not by filling the countryside with wind turbines.
ferdberple:

“If governments simply get out of the way and let people innovate…”

Pielke seems to be saying “give up your Soviet-style xx-year emissions targets and concentrate on developing low-cost, low-impact, low-carbon energy.” I’m not sure he wants governments to get out of the way, but he’s doing a good job showing what should be obvious to everyone by now: current governments are not just dysfunctional, they’re misanthropic.

July 19, 2014 10:38 am

Catcracking says: July 19, 2014 at 9:48 am
“Think about it. Who has the largest footprint in the world? ”
The answer could be Barak Obama. He has a large house, a huge jet (which he uses often) and a very large support staff.

Bob
July 19, 2014 10:39 am

I have mixed feelings about Pielke Jr. Unlike his father, he is not a physical scientist but he seems to buy the AWG story lock-stock-and barrel. He appears to be genuine, but I instinctively find anyone to be naive who voted for Obama, not once, but twice, and is still proud of it.

Toto
July 19, 2014 10:42 am

Thanks for the link to the Ruth Dixon blog. I particularly liked this graph:
http://mygardenpond.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/figure-4-infographic-bubble-chart-per-capita.png
(source:
http://geodata.grid.unep.ch/extras/posters.php#infographics_posters_bubble_charts
other charts there are worth a look too)
My conclusion from this series of posts: If you want to improve quality of life, and I do, improve the economics. If that means increasing CO2, tough noogies, as someone we know would say.

john robertson
July 19, 2014 10:46 am

I see the former ardent defenders of the utility of this Kaya Identity, are finally acknowledging its actual usefulness, as a tool of committee.
But hey, maybe we can go 500 comments on this too..
The official orchestrated hysteria toward carbon dioxide emission from the activities of mankind, as demonstrated by the IPCC and endless national bureaucracies, arose due to pseudo science and pretentious claims of scientific evidence that CO2 causes Global Warming.
The work of committees, created and controlled by the likes of Canada’s Liberals, so we should look for truth and actual science in the creation of people who openly stated ; “Who cares if its true.. it works for us..”Like our past Minister of the Environment?

Gary Pearse
July 19, 2014 10:52 am

The trouble with at least the GDP/Population ratio is that it doesn’t work as a simple linear ratio for policy (or perhaps any other) purpose. If you increase population in a productive economy (Western-type) the GDP normally grows faster than the population. US per capita GDP in 1869 was $2,013 (in 2000 dollar value) and in 2005 it was $37,600.
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic448946.files/lecture_facts_growth.pdf
The population increased from~ 38M to 310M in this period (about 8 times). The GDP on the other hand grew by 150,000 times from $76.5B to $11.7T. Now, I get it. The greens formula is for a dictatorship or commie economy.

TimC
July 19, 2014 10:55 am

Johan said at 8:08 am: “Now, of course, there is a proof that says 2 = 1”. However I’m afraid all your example actually proved was that 2*0 = 1*0 (as does every integer multiplied by zero). It did not actually give any conclusion that was fallacious: the algebra was simply wrong.
And I personally think that saying that A/B * B/C * C/A = 1 (which of course is trivially true so long as none of A, B or C are zero) can produce useful conclusions, so long as considered in proper context.

Toto
July 19, 2014 10:59 am

“And now I’m out of the loony bin. Enough is enough !”
We’re not in Kansas anymore, but how do we get back?
All (almost) of the discussion of the mathematics of Kaya misses the most important point.
The “Kaya Identity” is NOT mathematics, it is statistics. If you plug in the real world numbers you will see that it is not exact, it is an approximation, it has an implicit error term. The discussion should be about how well this equation fits reality or doesn’t.
It can just as well be used to show that reducing CO2 is ~a sideshow; it’s the path to insanity~

July 19, 2014 11:20 am

So that’s what the “thermodynamic identity” is? I’ve applied it for over thirty years in real power plant performance analysis, it describes what happens to the steam energy flowing through a real steam turbine’s bade path. I don’t think the Kanye equation has a similar, real, physical, application.

Arno Arrak
July 19, 2014 11:23 am

Why bother with carbon dioxide levels if carbon dioxide does not warm the world? Have you guys forgotten that there is no greenhouse warming caused by carbon dioxide today and there has been none for the last 17 years? Are you aware that for 17 years the greenhouse theory of Arrhenius has been predicting warming but nothing has happened? If your theory predicts warming and nothing happens for 17 years you as a scientist have no choice but to dump it into the waste basket of history. There is a place waiting for it right next to phlogiston, another failed theory of heat. I cannot understand how anybody calling himself a scientist does not understand the basics of how laws of nature operate. Cessation of warming for 17 years is not a frivolous hiatus but tells us that laws of nature are at work. You cannot turn these laws on or off at will. If there has been no greenhouse warming for 17 years there has been no greenhouse warming at all, period. In case you are wondering what to do without the comfort of the Arrhenius theory, there is another greenhouse theory called the Miskolczi greenhouse theory or MGT that does explain what is happening. It predicts exactly what we see: no warming despite an abundance of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. To understand this requires knowledge of what the greenhouse gases are doing that prevents their absorption of IR from showing up as warming. What is happening is that there are several greenhouse gases in the air that simultaneously absorb in the infrared. Arrhenius theory can only handle one of them, carbon dioxide in this case. But carbon dioxide is not even the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor is, and their cooperation is what we need to understand. Arrhenius fails at this but MGT is cap[able of handling the more general case of several GHGs simultaneously absorbing in the IR. In such a case the gases involved create a joint optimum absorption window whose optical thickness they control. The gases that count in the earth atmosphere are water vapor and carbon dioxide. Their joint optimum absorption window has a fixed IR optical thickness of 1.87, determined by Miskolczi from first principles. If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere it will start to absorb in the IR, just as the Arrhenius theory tells us. But as soon as this happens, water vapor present will begin to diminish, rain out, and the original optical thickness of their absorption window is thereby restored. Absorption by the introduced carbon dioxide is still active of course but its warming effect is just balanced by the reduction of atmospheric water vapor that is happening simultaneously. This has been going on for the last 17 years and explains the absence of warming today. If rising carbon dioxide did not cause any warming for 17 years laws of nature tell us that it never has caused any warming at all. Any alleged greenhouse warming that happened before this time is nothing more than natural warming, misidentified by ober-eager climate scientists anxious to prove that greenhouse effect is real. Clearly any claims that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere causes anthropogenic global warming or AGW have to be nullified. And with it, alarmist demands for mitigation and emission control become irrational irrelevances, wasting public resources, and must be stopped immediately to curtail any further waste.

Skrub
July 19, 2014 11:24 am

The Kayla identity obviously makes the assumption that CO2 production is directly proportional to GDP, so substituting a different factor like beer producion is an apples and oranges situation.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 11:38 am

I’m trying to reconcile these two comments:
john robertson says: July 19, 2014 at 10:46 am
“I see the former ardent defenders of the utility of this Kaya Identity, are finally acknowledging its actual usefulness, as a tool of committee.”
nutso fasst says: July 19, 2014 at 10:36 am
“Agree. The Kaya Identity helped Pielke memorably demonstrate that the UK cut their CO2 emissions primarily by making the nation poorer, not by filling the countryside with wind turbines.”

July 19, 2014 12:01 pm

i learn best by doing – second best by watching someone else do – i read Pielke’s paper mentioned above (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/4/2/024010) – and came away enlightened – and slightly embarrassed
while i thought of Kaya as a engine to generate the lefthand side – Piekle used the equation to examine the righthand side factors – concluding that the GDP effect of the Climate Change Act was too precipitious – so in a limited fashion – Kaya does give us the cost of certain changes
i had been bothered by the use of raw Population & GDP numbers – thinking that they might be refined – but their use is close enuf for government work – and government work is what Kaya is intended for – and greenie influenced policy makers are usually interested in not adversely affecting the population numbers or gdp – and much more interested in energy efficiency in terms of co2 emissions
unfortunately – the numbers plugged into the factors are assumptions calculated outside the equation – and Kaya is not intended to evaluate those assumptions – and the technological factors are fronts in the great global warming war
if an opponent were to bring up Kaya in a debate – saying it proves that we need a green technology to avoid global warming – after pointing out that he hasn’t proved co2 guilty – then point out the Kaya makes a case for nuclear energy too

empiresentry
July 19, 2014 12:11 pm

Thanks to Dr. Pielke for participating. Interesting but I want to see how this is applied to the real world and my concern is how this will be sliced/diced as a basis for world development. I guess I missed something.
I lived in third world countries in the midst of tribal subsistence, agri-poverty, banana republic social dictatorships. Dr. Pielke makes a short mention of it, the number of people who die from cooking over dung.
– 3 million people die every from indoor air poisoning because they do not have fuel or electric. (WHO org)
– 3.4 million people die every year including 760 000 children…because they are not allowed to have electric to run drinking water and sanitary systems. http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/
– 850,000 people die every year because refrigerated vaccines cannot be maintained…because some activist group determined that we could not bring in 5000 feet of electric line and that a solar panel powering a single light bulb will be enough to run a refrigerator…although the doc had to chose between surgery light and the refrigerator.
Only the rich with disposable income are focused on environment issues. I find this ethnocentric since the solutions offered remove choices for the poor and limit their opportunities for developed: a two tier system: rich countries and all others.
.It was ‘interesting’ standing by watching Indians starve because Honduras put a ban on cutting limbs from trees for firewood. Only wood that has landed on the ground could be used…there are ways around that.
.
When comparing GDP as a measure for carbon emissions, it ignores countries with low GDP who rely on slash/burn farming and other pollution based processes. Slash/burn is the method to fertilize the low quality land, otherwise more jungle will be needed to get the same crop.
Countries with less income not going to spend millions for air scrubbers on electrical plants.
So using the Kaya in the real world, 50,000 cars must be taken off the roads in Massachusetts so that a community in Mosquito can have a washing bin instead of using the river….and free up women to do other things.
Because, the reality is, this admin will never pass any of the 13 nuclear power permits started up 8 years ago, my Enviro light bulbs are not enough, and sending cash to the rich in a Banana republic makes that person very rich.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 12:13 pm

After some more research, I concede Johan’s point that the Kaya identity is not like a mathematical identity. My post at July 19, 2014 at 9:41 am is completely wrong. Mathematical identities have no dependent variables. I should have stuck with physics.
That said, while making the analogy between Kaya and the laws of physics I stated that these laws are like an identity, They are not like a mathematical identity, A physical law has independent and dependent variables so it is incorrect to refer to them as an identity.
So I have to agree that calling Kaya an identity is a misnomer and is clearly getting in the way of understanding its usefulness.
Good on you Johan.

JohnH
July 19, 2014 12:18 pm

Maybe I’m overlooking something, but I don’t see why there’s any controversy about this. It looks like a useful tool to describe your degrees of freedom in altering CO2 emissions. In that sense it’s similar to F=ma. If I want to increase or decrease force this equation tells me that I can either alter mass or acceleration or both. Or I can increase one and decrease the other. But is it really this easy? Nope, because if you exchange on of your masses with a different object with different materials then the “a” changes. The Kaya Identity seeks to find all of the subtle effects that change the outcome.
In another sense it’s like the Drake Equation. Whether you use a top down or bottom up approach your final result is only going to be as good as your knowledge of each variable. That makes it useless for most purposes except as a “what if” exercise. As a propaganda tool I can’t see that it’s significantly more useful to either side.

July 19, 2014 12:21 pm

Plants and photosynthetic organisms are the dominant life form on Earth. The leaves of plants are home to microbes (Pseudomonas syringae) which are excellent ice nucleating particles. When these bacteria are wafted into the upper atmosphere they cause rain, which waters the plants. Plants breath CO2 and exhale oxygen. Humans breath oxygen, and eat plants, then the humans dig up fossil fuels and burn them, which feeds the plants.

JPS
July 19, 2014 12:27 pm

Stupid question: why isnt the “Kaya Identity” replaced with CO2= f (population, gdp, energy consumption, efficiency) . It seems to me that would eliminate the confusion.

outtheback
July 19, 2014 12:37 pm

Not having read much of the other discussions about this I am probably repeating other’s comments.
Anyone here who runs a business will know that numbers can be explained in more ways then one. Numbers are not absolute by any means, only when used in a certain way, but there are always more ways then one. And which is more valid depends on opinion. One can turn a profit into a loss and the other way around (within reason) and eventually you do run out of options.
According to the link given by Dr Pielke, and the graph supplied therein, China has the highest rate of emissions per $1000 GDP but they also have the lowest rate per capita, although no mention of this in the article that I could find.
This is not meant as trying to criticize the equation by the way, just a fact.
If I were a Chinese official I would use the per capita figure to clobber the rest of the world for not doing enough, and you could not fault their side of the argument.
The UK comes out quite well in the per $1000 graph, but all they have really done is exporting their most dirty industries to the likes of China, India and others.
And the UK is not alone with that, it was all done to help developing nations or so we were told by policy makers and it is was a sign of the times according to them running those companies.
The equation stacks up as far as a mathematical formula is concerned for the CO2 issue based on the given parameters, but it depends on how you wish to look at it where the problem lies.
In the case of this report, as this was written for the Brits all I can conclude is that it makes the British Government look pretty good compared to some others and that was the intention of the Brits in the first place.
They already knew the outcome of the findings before they asked, Dr Pielke in this case, to conclude it. I do not wish to criticize Dr Pielke’s good work but to me this is a bit like Cadbury getting research done to show the benefits of chocolate, pay for the research and set the parameters and presto there is the conclusion we were looking for. How about that.
Or is that being too skeptical.

July 19, 2014 12:46 pm

JohnH says:
July 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm
[it’s] useless for most purposes except as a “what if” exercise.

that’s it in a nutshell – well put
JohnH says:
As a propaganda tool I can’t see that it’s significantly more useful to either side.

it’s use assumes CO2 to be dangerous – the overarching controversy – the question of the danger of increasing co2 – is not mentioned – unless someone brings it up

JPS
July 19, 2014 12:46 pm

I would point out that based on the “Kaya Identity”, doubling the population while keeping gdp, energy consumption, and efficiency equal results in zero increase in CO2 emmisions. I guess CO2 is independent of population.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 12:53 pm

“I would point out that based on the “Kaya Identity”, doubling the population while keeping gdp, energy consumption, and efficiency equal results in zero increase in CO2 emmisions. I guess CO2 is independent of population.”
Only if you use the incorrect understanding of Kaya. With the the correct understanding: CO 2 emissions can be expressed as the product of four inputs: population, GDP per capita, energy use per unit of GDP, and CO 2 emissions per unit of energy: then doubling population while holding all other terms constant will double CO2.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 12:55 pm

“In the case of this report, as this was written for the Brits all I can conclude is that it makes the British Government look pretty good compared to some others and that was the intention of the iBrits in the first place.”
on the contrary
nutso fasst says: July 19, 2014 at 10:36 am
“Agree. The Kaya Identity helped Pielke memorably demonstrate that the UK cut their CO2 emissions primarily by making the nation poorer, not by filling the countryside with wind turbines.”

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 1:00 pm

According to the link given by Dr Pielke, and the graph supplied therein, China has the highest rate of emissions per $1000 GDP but they also have the lowest rate per capita, although no mention of this in the article that I could find.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita
According to this source, China is 20% behind the EU and closing fast on per capita CO2 emissions. The US is twice the EU,

jorgekafkazar
July 19, 2014 1:15 pm

Yes, thanks, Dr. Pielke, for responding.

Dreadnought
July 19, 2014 1:27 pm

(Snip -off color comment -mod)

krischel
July 19, 2014 1:40 pm

“Only if you use the incorrect understanding of Kaya. With the the correct understanding: CO 2 emissions can be expressed as the product of four inputs: population, GDP per capita, energy use per unit of GDP, and CO 2 emissions per unit of energy: then doubling population while holding all other terms constant will double CO2.”
The “Kaya Identity” is misunderstood when it is poorly stated.
1) it’s not an identity, it’s an equation;
2) the equation is stated with units only, not variables.
With the correct equation presented, it will be correctly understood. The proper way of writing out the Kaya Equation is:
F = P*g*e*f
It is left as an exercise for the reader to understand that because the Kaya Equation is *not* an identity, it cannot be constructed algebraically from CO2 = CO2.

Dreadnought
July 19, 2014 1:48 pm

I offer my sincere apologies for over-stepping the mark earlier on.

Curious George
July 19, 2014 1:49 pm

krishel: Please correct in the Wikipedia.

Michael 2
Reply to  Curious George
July 20, 2014 11:04 am

Curious George says “krishel: Please correct in the Wikipedia.”
You can do this yourself. *I* could do it. Anyone can do it but the warmists love it the way it is and the skeptics rather enjoy it too. I’ve got my screenshot and when it changes (if it changes), I’ll screenshot it again to show the workings of the Ministry of Truth.

scarletmacaw
July 19, 2014 1:58 pm

RobertInAz says:
July 19, 2014 at 9:30 am
Total CO2 is not needed to determine any of the terms on the right. I don’t know where that notion originates. In fact, total CO2 from energy production is probably derived from adding up all sources of energy and then calculating the CO2 emitted by each. We can eliminate the population and GDP terms of Kaya and just focus on energy terms to get total CO2.

Total CO2 is what is used to find the CO2/energy term. That it comes from adding up a few sources does not change anything. Kaya does not separate the sources, it only uses the CO2 sum divided by the energy sum. In both cases those numbers are probably WAGs, but that’s another matter entirely. Even if they were dead-on accurate, Total CO2 is needed in the right hand side of the equation. So you have Total CO2 = f(Total CO2).

dp
July 19, 2014 2:47 pm

Krishel says @July 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm:

The “Kaya Identity” is misunderstood when it is poorly stated.

And followed it with a self-fulfilling example.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 3:08 pm

Total CO2 is what is used to find the CO2/energy term.
Hmm. How is total CO2 determined/measured if not as I described?

Editor
July 19, 2014 3:20 pm

RobertInAz says: (July 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm) “In which case, every identity that forms the basis of modern physics is circular logic.“. Not at all. In a normal physics ‘identity’, each factor brings something new to the equation without taking anything away. In the Kaya formula, each term from the second onwards takes away a factor from the previous term, until there is nothing left but what it started with. As I explained, taking GDP per person for example, we don’t know GDP per person in its own right, if we did then this part of the equation would be valid; we only know it as total GDP divided by total population, and therefore the terms cancel out.
You make the same error as Willis when you say: “So the exact same number that goes into the ‘top’ of one equation goes into the ‘bottom’ of the next equation.” The correct description is: “The units of the variable at the top of one term of the equation are the same as the units of the bottom of the next term of the equation. In physics, we confirm our equations are right when the units on the right cancel out to equal the units on the left.“. Of course the units have to be the same right and left. But that’s not the point. The point is that in the Kaya equation the quantities are necessarily exactly the same ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ and hence add nothing to the equation.

What the Kaya equation seems to be trying to say is that CO2 emissions can be reduced by reducing total population or GDP per person or energy per dollar of GDP or CO2 per watt. That’s all true, but not very helpful. For example, CO2 emissions can be reduced by replacing old coal-fired power stations with new ones or with gas or nuclear, improving house insulation and using passive-solar design, sending freight by rail instead of road, repairing roads faster or making traffic lights more efficient – or even by improving girls’ education. Sure, each of these can be mapped post-facto to one or more of the terms in the Kaya equation, but the equation didn’t help and doesn’t help.

JamesNV
July 19, 2014 3:34 pm

I see a lot of ‘mathematicians’ apparently unable to figure out that Kaya is a simple tool that uses statistics to help people reason about policy implications. (Does anybody seriously believe that Pielke sees Kaya as akin to the laws of physics? Good lord.) It shows policy makers that they have a choice: if they want to reduce emissions, they can either bankrupt their countries, or they can focus on energy innovation.
I also see a lot of people who are having allergic reactions to the idea of “government interference”. Right or wrong, the “do nothing” option is not on the table, nor will it ever be on the table. If governments are implementing policies to reduce CO2, I would much rather see them shift the bulk of their efforts towards energy innovation.

Michael 2
Reply to  JamesNV
July 20, 2014 11:00 am

JamesNV says Right or wrong, the “do nothing” option is not on the table, nor will it ever be on the table.”
Oh? How did you happen to become Keeper of the Table?

July 19, 2014 3:38 pm

So what’s the point of reducing CO2? Obama/EPA limited US power generation to 1,100 pounds CO2 per MWh which will make a 2.2% difference in global CO2. Big deal! Why are governments compelled to reduce CO2?

John Brisbin
July 19, 2014 4:02 pm

If one were to express the Kaya Identity if text form it would be something like:
Carbon dioxide emissions are directly related to energy use, GDP and population.
And it would be undeniably true, as a rough rule of thumb.
Instead it is expressed as a series of precise, directly proportional numeric relationships, intended to impress the innumerate with its precision and by extension accuracy.
This is closely akin to the neophyte with a calculator who believes that because he saw 5 events in 7 seconds that they must occur every 0.71428571428571 seconds and that the last digit is significant despite the lack of precision of the input.
It is also a generalization beyond what the evidence supports.
Specifically, the claim that these factors are directly proportional is obviously false. They all require the stipulation that ‘all other things being equal’ which is never true. If for example, population increases, some things become more efficient (transportation) others might become less efficient (results of land use pressure).
These factors make the Kaya Identity as valid and useful as the statement that 77 degrees Fahrenheit is 10% hotter than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is neither precise, accurate nor true, but perhaps 80% of the people will believe it because it looks mathematical.

Michael 2
Reply to  John Brisbin
July 20, 2014 10:54 am

“the Kaya Identity as valid and useful as the statement that 77 degrees Fahrenheit is 10% hotter than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Or that 1 degree F is infinitely hotter than 0 degrees F!

DirkH
July 19, 2014 4:06 pm

RobertInAz says:
July 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm
“In defense of the report, the description immediately before the ambiguous equation was correct:
“we simply refer to them as CO 2 emissions. CO 2 emissions can be expressed as the product of four inputs: population, GDP per capita, energy use per unit of GDP, and CO 2 emissions per unit of energy: “”
And now, let’s apply the “Tools in the toolbox”, as the warmist sociologists love to call them:
a) Population. That’s easy: Smallpox and civil war should take care of that.
b) GDP per capita: We know what to do about that: Abolish profits, equal pay for every job, killing every incentive to be productive. Cuba leads the way.
c) Energy Use per GDP: EU just decreased that by adding blow and hookers to official GDP. Easy as cake!
d) CO2 per energy: Ok, that’s complicated. One needs brains for that. No tool in the policy toolbox. a,b and c should suffice.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 4:07 pm

John Brisbin says: July 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm “It is also a generalization beyond what the evidence supports.”
On the contrary, Kaya reflects real world data (see Ruth Dixon: http://mygardenpond.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/a-graphical-look-at-the-kaya-identity/#more-706 )
The key point is for a particular country, Kaya holds for the purpose of policy analysis. It is not a perfect tool. What tool would you suggest to help policy makers understand the cost of mitigation?

Michael 2
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 10:53 am

RobertInAz says “What tool would you suggest to help policy makers understand the cost of mitigation?”
No tool exists. Mitigation of a naturally occurring substance, CO2, has never before been attempted on a large scale. Consequently you come up with an idea and let the idea reveal the costs.
Kaya is useless. It is because the terms cancel that what you are left with is exactly one factor — the CO2 efficiency of energy. Until and unless you have “carbonless energy” all other approaches are doomed. You don’t need Kaya for this.

July 19, 2014 4:18 pm

Mitigation – of what? Why? CO2 does not equal warming does not equal apocalypse does not equal any needed policy “mitigation” solutions. First step in a solution is making certain you have the correct problem. What does the Kaya tell policy makers they need to do? Why do the “policy makers” need to do anything??!! Too much time on their hands? Trying to insure their “legacy?”

megawati
July 19, 2014 4:24 pm

Absolutely astonished that wuwt continues to even entertain this complete nonsense.
Yes, Kaya is an identity, but it is also a tautology: it conveys no wisdom and has no utility at all, in stark contrast to Newtonian mechanics, Maxwell´s electro-magnetics, or Einstein´s mass-energy relationship, for example, which were also expressed as simple equations, but had insight and made us wiser and helped catapult us into modernity.
Kaya is of the pure crap pseudo-science category that usually only finds an audience among scientifically/mathmatically illiterate enviro-fascist art-school student types and climate scientists.

JamesNV
July 19, 2014 4:29 pm

nickreality65, The reality is that policy makers believe it to be a problem. So they ARE going to do something about it. What would you rather them do? ‘Investing’ in energy innovation, research and development is not necessarily a bad idea regardless of CO2.

Michael 2
Reply to  JamesNV
July 20, 2014 10:48 am

JamesNV says “Investing in energy innovation, research and development is not necessarily a bad idea regardless of CO2.”
Quite right. Fossil fuel will run out. Substitute is needed. However, since the cart was hitched to a gimpy horse, now that the horse appears somewhat crippled it may be hard to move that car.

July 19, 2014 4:38 pm

Looking at the past decades of alternate energy “investing”, yeah, it can be a bad thing. A massive waste of resources. I remember the big solar boom of the seventies. How many of those systems have been abandoned? Such “investing” diverts resources from real problems. A natural museum recently opened nearby with a nice gift shop. I can think of no greater harm to the environment than the production of a lot of useless crap – and wind and photovoltaic and CFL “investments” fit that description.

JamesNV
July 19, 2014 4:44 pm

I’m enjoying the scientific “macho men”, strutting around showing off their “hard science” cred, aggressively dismissive of “fluffy” things like economics, art and psychology because it’s so “soft” (maybe a little too feminine?). Seems a bit neurotic. 😉

July 19, 2014 4:50 pm

says the pot

JamesNV
July 19, 2014 4:52 pm

nickreality65, when I said not ‘necessarily’ a bad idea, I was thinking nuclear.

RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 5:19 pm

megawati says: July 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm “Yes, Kaya is an identity, but it is also a tautology: it conveys no wisdom and has no utility at all,”
Dr. Pielke has documented many cases where Kaya provides useful insight. Perhaps you could explain where he is wrong. Did you read them? Did you read my explanation on how many WUWT readers (starting with Willis) misunderstand Kaya? Which understanding of Kaya are yiou basing your assertion on?

roaldjlarsen
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 19, 2014 5:29 pm

“Kaya” is a political tool that, in the worst case, can actually be allowed to kill people in the name of “saving the planet”.

Michael 2
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 10:40 am

RobertInAz says “Dr. Pielke has documented many cases where Kaya provides useful insight.”
Has it convinced anyone not already convinced of the “A” in “GW”? I don’t know, seems iffy.
“Perhaps you could explain where he is wrong.”
He illustrates that the terms cancel right in his program leaving “C = C”. You can insert anything at all in the middel so long as it cancels. If the thing you inserted happens to be explanatory, that’s fine, but you don’t need this “device” or gimmick. Just explain what you intend to explain.
“Did you read them?” yes.
“Did you read my explanation on how many WUWT readers (starting with Willis) misunderstand Kaya?” Yes. You show algebra then explain that it isn’t algebra. Very clever!
“Which understanding of Kaya are yiou basing your assertion on?”
Mine (of course). The same is true of everyone commenting on it, each is commenting from his own understanding of it.

July 19, 2014 5:54 pm

This conversation began as a discussion of the Kaya identity and the scientific/mathematical/engineering merits of its application as a tool in guiding CO2 mitigation policies. (the 50 to 1 project explained it better and simpler) Not now nor never have there been solid scientific justifications for such CO2 mitigation so the merits of the Kaya equation are moot.
James NV: And just where does all of that energy go? Into the atmospheric system. The US uses around 100 Quad Btu/y. Where does that go?
100 Quad Btu/y * atmos lb / 0.24 Btu/lb F = F/y independent of CO2.

July 19, 2014 5:55 pm

Oops, launched too soon. 100 Quad Btu/y / (0.24 Btu/lb F * Atmos lb) = F/y Check it, like I have to ask.

Gary Pearse
July 19, 2014 5:56 pm

JamesNV says:
July 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm
“Investing’ in energy innovation, research and development is not necessarily a bad idea regardless of CO2.”
Wind energy is 1000s years old and died out because it was so limited – innovation isn’t the right word here. Also, innovation is good but not holus bolus investment in the full scale real deal before you have done the research, knowing that at this stage the efficiency is 15%. We all know what the new replacement should be able to deliver to be a reasonable alternative and this is where the research should begin, but not on a country-wide scale.
Also, few comment on the enormous waste of resource that we have in hundreds of thousands of climate scientists doing the same thing they have been doing since 1990 with no change in the theory or improvements. We should be disappointed if only ONE researcher did the same thing without variation for over 30 years despite the track record of forecasting from the theory being abysmal. It would be the same thing to keep looking for phlogiston long after the likelihood of its existence is near zero. I’m afraid there are no Einsteins, Newtons, Maxwells, Plancks, Bohrs…. in this pathetic ‘science’. A good example of what is exasperating to thinking, searching persons is the article on the Yamal, Russia pingo feature in which an ARCTIC RESEARCHER was totally unaware of such a landform and gave a fanciful theory for its formation connected to CAGW.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/18/new-pictures-of-the-hole-in-yamal-and-pingo-was-its-name-o/

Michael 2
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 20, 2014 10:08 am

Gary Pearse says “we have in hundreds of thousands of climate scientists doing the same thing”
Successful “consensus” mythology. It is not known how many climatologists are doing the same thing, maybe a few dozen. Most here can probably name the principle players from memory.
What you see in the mainstream media typically is based on the 12,000 *papers* reviewed by John Cook for his 97 percent consensus claim. Of that 12,000, 64 to 72 were really about AGW.

John Brisbin
July 19, 2014 5:58 pm

RobertInAz says:
July 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm
John Brisbin says: July 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm “It is also a generalization beyond what the evidence supports.”
On the contrary, Kaya reflects real world data (see Ruth Dixon: http://mygardenpond.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/a-graphical-look-at-the-kaya-identity/#more-706 )
The key point is for a particular country, Kaya holds for the purpose of policy analysis. It is not a perfect tool. What tool would you suggest to help policy makers understand the cost of mitigation?
end of quote from RobertInAz (sorry I seem to have no formatting controls)
The population based graph you refer to is conveniently on log-log scales. What it seems to indicate is that the supposedly linear function is linear (within +- 1-2 orders of magnitude)
I call that scientific sophistry. Close enough for climate science, though.

July 19, 2014 6:13 pm

I read the paper and listened to the lecture. It was a somewhat boring lecture that did make a few obvious points.
I did notice that Pielke had one huge mistake in his thinking. The major mistake is that Pielke does not seem to understand the economic distortions that are caused by subsidies and indirect subsidies and costs that are added due to anti-CO2 legislation.
For example – the government tells a utility that they must have 20% clean energy. The utility decides to put up windmills and add the infrastructure to handle the windmills. They need to shutdown some of the existing power plants and build new plants to provide “peak power” when the windmills are not generating enough power. The amount of infrastructure needed is enormous as are the costs for the windmills. The end result is that most of the components for the windmills, new plants and infrastructure are manufactured in places like China. To manufacture the new plant, the infrastructure and windmill components requires large amount of emissions as the steel, copper, carbon fiber, fiberglass, housings and etc. are all manufactured. The other cost is transporting all the components and the using large amounts of cement, the transport of workers and etc. etc. The end result is that some of the windmill projects may never generate the amount of power to pay the energy costs for building the infrastructure, installing the infrastructure transporting it, switching to new power plants and building the windmills. However, they have effectively shifted the CO2 emissions to China for the power that is generated. Going to 20% clean energy though does increase the cost massively for energy because essentially, the energy user is financing a huge amount of waste that only has the benefit of shifting CO2 generation to China and does not actually have any net CO2 reduction or if there is some it is very small.

noaaprogrammer
July 19, 2014 6:29 pm

Step 1) Independently crowd source estimations for each factor on the rhs for some country. Do the same for the CO2 term on the lhs.
Step 2) Determine the mean, median, or mode for each factor.
Step 3) Divide the product of the rhs factors’ mean, median or mode into the respective mean, median, or mode for the lhs CO2.
Step 4) Repeat from step 1 for all countries of the world.
Step 5) Plot a frequency histogram of the results for step 4 using an appropriate bin size.
Step 6) If the shape of the frequency histogram is more or less normal with a small standard deviation, then use its mean as a constant of proportionality after the equal sign. If the shape of the frequency histogram is otherwise, than scrap the Kaya Identity.
There, fixed it!

john robertson
July 19, 2014 7:49 pm

@Outtheback 12;37.
You nail it.
Its Bistro-maths.
Or is it the joke about the 3 accounts seeking the same job.
Final answer;”Whatever you want the numbers to be”
Your hired.

bushbunny
July 19, 2014 8:43 pm

O/T Do you reckon any of these so called climate change bullshit artists, ever go out of the front door and look up at the sky? Is it cloudy, raining, snowing, sunny etc., check their barometers if they have one, or thermometers, well I do. Any amount of graphs and maths leave me cold. I am no good at math, one of the reasons I could not go for a Science degree, I couldn’t even work our the scientific calculator. But I do know history and archaeology. And I am skilled in horticulture and agriculture, even bonsai. And I know spring follows winter, then summer and autumn (fall) and in Australia we always needs a healthy dose of rain. If too heavy we flood. We have tropical, sub tropical and temperate, alpine, and up North has the big wet, (monsoon) . Luckily, I have my grandfathers notes on when he visited Australia in 1892 and 1894. He revealed that rough seas demolished the American fleet in a very bad cyclone. A coal tender turned turtle in Port Jackson,
(that’s Sydney) after a strong Southerly buster hit it while being loaded. So what’s new, eh.

Dr. Doug
July 19, 2014 8:59 pm

Anthony wrote (main post):

In fact I think it is that simplicity that lends itself to being criticized as not being fully representative of a complex system. Willis described the Kaya Identity as being “trivially true” while Roger in his book and video treats its with the same respect as some physical law equation. My take is that the truth is somewhere in the middle between those viewpoints.
Whether it is best used as a political tool or as a physical science tool is still an open question in my mind, though I tend to think it leans more towards political usefulness.

Anthony,
The point of the Kaya Identity is simply to provide an analytical framework to account for the technical relationships that result in the flow rate of anthropogenic CO2. Yes, in math terms it’s ‘trivially true’. Also, it doesn’t (in itself) ‘fully represent’ a complex system, but it provides the framework for representing whatever degree of complexity might be desired — in examining how GDP affects energy use, how energy use affects CO2 emissions, and so forth. The Kaya Identity is worthy of respect as a useful truth.
The Kaya Identity does not purport to be a ‘physical science tool’. Technological change, as Pielke notes, affects the values of two of the ratios that make up the identity, but that’s the extent to which physical science comes into it. The Identity adds nothing to our understanding of how any given flow rate of anthropogenic CO2 will affect climate. Pielke does not claim otherwise.
The Kaya Identity is certainly a policy tool, if that is what you mean by ‘political tool’. In the text, Pielke uses the Kaya Identity to show how a particular policy would only be feasible given implausible assumptions about future changes in the ratios that make up the Identity. Isn’t that useful?
I am disheartened at the number of comments that make empty arguments against the Kaya Identity without engaging with Pielke’s actual use of it. We have already had two long threads in which people made such arguments in a vacuum. Now that we have an actual text (and/or video), I would expect that people would respond to it.
I’m also hugely disappointed that you, Anthony, refer to Willis and Roger as having two ‘viewpoints’ — presumably somehow of equal weight, despite the vast (!) difference in their expertise. You introduce Roger here as one of Willis’s ‘more strident critics’, when Roger is the expert on the matter, while Willis has not yet shown that he even understands just how the Kaya Identity is used. In scholarly discourse, the proper approach is for a well-developed analysis to be tested by criticism. It is Roger who has that analysis, not Willis. Furthermore, Roger has certainly not been ‘strident’, but low-key and very substantive. Willis, on the other hand, has taken drive-by pot-shots.
I would have expected better of both of you.

Mike Tremblay
July 19, 2014 11:26 pm

The Kaya Identity appears to me to be an abstract representation designed to display the relationship between Global CO2 emissions, Global Population, Global GDP, and Global energy consumption. As that, it can be used to simply explain a complex problem – BUT – using it to establish public policy is IMHO extremely dangerous.
I say this because the purported goal is to reduce CO2 emissions to zero. Using the Kaya Identity it becomes obvious that the ways to achieve this goal are
a) Reducing the World Population to zero – Complete genocide and self-annihilation
b) Reducing the Global GDP to zero – I’m pretty sure this would lead to a complete collapse of civilization as we know it.
c) Reducing the Global energy consumption to zero – everyone would starve to death or die from exposure, which would effectively achieve point a).
d) Reducing Global CO2 emissions to zero – which can only be achieved by a), b), c), or converting all carbon based energy systems to non-carbon energy based systems.
Obviously the only logical choice becomes converting all carbon based energy systems to non-carbon energy based systems, since the Kaya Identity shows that in order to achieve zero emissions, any combination of the other three choices means that we must reduce at least one of the other three variables to zero – which would result in the extinction of the human race.
The worst thing about this is that nobody seems to realize that it is impossible to turn back the carbon emission clock. Even if we reduce our CO2 emissions to zero, the concentration of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise simply because our population continues to grow. The present human population of the earth is at least 6 times what it was in 1850 – consequently the natural CO2 contribution of humans is also at least 6 times what it was in ‘pre-industrial’ times. Unless there has been a corresponding explosion in CO2 consuming lifeforms this means that ‘natural’ anthropogenic CO2 emissions will continue to contribute to the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, albeit at a slower rate.

July 20, 2014 12:42 am

Mike Tremblay says:
July 19, 2014 at 11:26 pm
The worst thing about this is that nobody seems to realize that it is impossible to turn back the carbon emission clock. Even if we reduce our CO2 emissions to zero, the concentration of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise simply because our population continues to grow. The present human population of the earth is at least 6 times what it was in 1850 – consequently the natural CO2 contribution of humans is also at least 6 times what it was in ‘pre-industrial’ times. Unless there has been a corresponding explosion in CO2 consuming lifeforms this means that ‘natural’ anthropogenic CO2 emissions will continue to contribute to the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, albeit at a slower rate.
No, this is wrong because the CO2 we breathe do not come from fossil sources.
All the CO2 we exhale come from the food we eat, and the carbon in that food has been captured from the air. These processes cancels out and is zero in sum.
/Jan

Harold
July 20, 2014 2:33 am

Krischel,
You can’t compare the Kaya identity to F = ma because F = ma defines what we mean by ‘force’. It doesn’t follow from mere algebraic considerations regarding its units because before it is stated there is no notion of force in the theory. The Kaya identity on the other hand does follow from mere algebraic considerations.
That the Kaya identity may be useful is beside the point, it is ridiculous to give an algebraic identity a grandiose name as if it captures some deeper truth.

Khwarizmi
July 20, 2014 3:11 am

Jan Kjetil Andersen,
All the CO2 we exhale come from the food we eat, and the carbon in that food has been captured from the air
Carbon in food is often captured directly from hydrocarbons. Food from the Gulf of Mexico is a prime example: http://living-petrol.blogspot.com/
Microbes consume more hydrocarbons than we do. If we don’t burn them, they will anyway. The carbon “budget” is not fixed in a zero-sum superficial surface cycle.

July 20, 2014 3:48 am

Actually none of it matters because after several decades and scores of additional CO2 ppm the evidence is crystal clear that CO2’s influence over global warming and climate is inconsequential.

Blade
July 20, 2014 3:57 am

gnomish [July 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm] says:
who cares about co2?
those who want to tax your breath, is who.
what’s the kaya incantation good for?
parasites to befuddle their victims while they catherize a main vein is what.
the science is ‘how to bleed you out’
it’s a cookbook!

Repeated for truth!
To Josh, picture a kettle of slow cooking frogs leisurely wading around in their comfortable pool debating nonsense while the chef grins. Maybe you can somehow work in Angels and pinheads too.

Shawnhet
July 20, 2014 6:26 am

Dr. Doug says:
July 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm
Awesome post. I agree 100%.
Cheers, 🙂

July 20, 2014 9:07 am

Khwarizmi says:
July 20, 2014 at 3:11 am

“All the CO2 we exhale come from the food we eat, and the carbon in that food has been captured from the air”
Carbon in food is often captured directly from hydrocarbons. Food from the Gulf of Mexico is a prime example

Thank you for an interesting link Khwarizmi, but I think that the share of non-photosynthesis based food must be negligible compared to what we get from photosynthesis-based products.
/ Jan

July 20, 2014 10:08 am

Shawnhet says:
July 20, 2014 at 6:26 am

Dr. Doug says:
July 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm
Awesome post. I agree 100%.

You can add me to the supports, good work Doug.
/ Jan

Fredrik
July 20, 2014 11:29 am

Cynicism alert!
My interpretation of the Kaya identity: if someone is truly worried about catastrophic AGW due to CO2-emissions, but refuses to accept an increase in realistic alternative energy sources to fully fill the production-gap that shutting down fossil fuels will leave, must be for population reduction and/or radically shrinking economies.
Populations can be reduced in two ways. The short term solution is some kind of genocide, the long term is forced sterilizations or some other draconian measures to reduce birth rates. This long term solution is probably to slow given that we have to ACT NOW™!!
Economies can be shrunk and people can be put in poverty and misery by many means, taxation and/or highly regulated plan based economies could be viable options. Unfortunately this will probably have an adverse effect on birth rates, so perhaps some kind of combo of population control and economy control needs to be put in place just for safety’s sake. The fear of you or your family being killed by something other than malnutrition or cold could at least add some kind of excitement into the extremely dull life you will be living.
So, with rising populations and economies in developing nations, requiring somewhere around 3-4 times the current energy consumption and 2-3 billion more people in a few decades, we are left with a choice of three paths:
1) Kill every 9 out of 10 humans give or take.
2) Make sure that life is truly depressing for those 9 out of 10 humans by taking away any means to reach a reasonable standard of living.
3) Build nuclear power plants like there’s no tomorrow. Take the alarmist word for it and accept that the climate science is settled and divert all those research funds into short and long term science projects with one aim, abundant energy for all. This has a side benefit that we need old school schooling focusing on the the sciences that don’t have science it their names: physics, mathematics etc. Who knows what we’ll find as a humanity if we would go in this direction. But since this path requires free thinking and motivated individuals I guess it is out of the question.
F*ck it

RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 11:43 am

Michael 2 says: July 20, 2014 at 10:53 am Kaya is useless. It is because the terms cancel that what you are left with is exactly one factor — the CO2 efficiency of energy. Until and unless you have “carbonless energy” all other approaches are doomed. You don’t need Kaya for this.
It is this persistent misunderstanding the prevents people to understand Kaya’s usefulness. For example, you can lower per capita GDP. This is the effect of some mitigation strategies. Kaya helps quantify the amount of lowered per capita GDP required to meet a CO2 target. Politicians can decide if they want to do that. They don’t, explicitly.
Another example is increasing the energy efficiency of GDP. This is actually a potentially fertile area for innovation. This will be especially true when we stop focusing on the last term. An example of this is on recent contracts, we are bidding hotelling space only for the technical workforce. (This are call center size work spaces). The expectation is the majority of workforce will work remotely most of the time. Collaboration tools become paramount.

Michael 2
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 6:49 pm

“Kaya helps quantify the amount of lowered per capita GDP required to meet a CO2 target.”
I simply do not believe it or you. This Kaya thing, revised so it doesn’t self-cancel, is somewhat of a measure of past performance.
If you start tinkering with society, you will also change the thing being measured. Suppose you knocked GDP per capita to ZERO, which is true or nearly true in some third world nations. Do they stop emitting carbon dioxide? No, very likely on a per-capita basis they emit MORE — they burn whatever is handy, wood usually, and the impact on the environment is much worse than a wee bit of global warming.
Suppose you increased the carbon efficiency of energy — the one thing that would be “win win”. So what happens if the constraints are removed? Population would skyrocket most likely with sufficient energy — between people feeling like they can have more children and probably even a cessation or reduction of war (some people LIKE it so it will never completely go away).
Suppose you could change the energy per unit of GDP? Well, when anyone here says how exactly that is to be done maybe we can explore it. Essentially that’s the opposite of the industrial age — going back to knitting at home. GDP without energy.

RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 11:50 am

This bears repeating. I’m frankly dumbfounded skeptics here do not realize Kaya is a skeptic’s tool. It is the warmists attacking Dr. Pielke on his blog on this subject.
Dr. Doug says: July 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm
The Kaya Identity is certainly a policy tool, if that is what you mean by ‘political tool’. In the text, Pielke uses the Kaya Identity to show how a particular policy would only be feasible given implausible assumptions about future changes in the ratios that make up the Identity. Isn’t that useful?

Mike Tremblay
July 20, 2014 12:01 pm

Jan Kjetil Andersen says:
July 20, 2014 at 12:42 am
————————————————————————————————————————-
Actually, I am not wrong – the CO2 we exhale does come from the food we eat, that point is correct, but the oxygen that we inhale to produce the CO2 comes from the photosynthetic conversion of any CO2 (regardless of its source) that is present in the atmosphere. This is one of the canards foisted by the CAGW crowd – the CO2 that is being released from the burning of fossil fuels HAS to have been in the atmosphere at some point in the past, hence the higher concentrations of CO2 present in the atmosphere before the carboniferous era. If you reread what I posted, you will see that i wrote that ‘Unless there has been a corresponding explosion in CO2 consuming lifeforms this means that ‘natural’ anthropogenic CO2 emissions will continue to contribute to the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere’ – the explosion of carbon consuming lifeforms during the carboniferous is what resulted in the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere at that time and also resulted in the creation of the fossil fuels that we are presently using.

Arno Arrak
July 20, 2014 12:37 pm

In a comment above I raised the point that determining what happens to carbon dioxide levels is is irrelevant because it is not the cause of global warming. And it is not, as I pointed out, because those proposing that it causes greenhouse warming simply cannot explain why there has been no warming for 17 years. They are so desperate to explain it away that they have started to look for that “missing heat” in the ocean bottom, of all places. This is just an example of how much they wish the stoppage of warming to go away. It has gone so far that they have persuaded their captive science journals to print articles on that stupidity and other unlikely hypotheses. Fact is that their greenhouse theory of Arrhenius is an abject failure and must be discarded. This leaves them with no rational explanation for the pause Somehow nobody on this blog even blinked an eyelash when I said that and most could not be pulled away from thinking that the Kaya identity means something. It does mean something. It means exactly as much as rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic meant after it hit the iceberg. The iceberg for global warming fantasists is 17 years of no warming which their several dozen supercomputers simply cannot explain. Roger Pielke Jr. is a smart man but he has put a huge amount of effort into an aspect of global warming that has no chance of leading anywhere. Instead letting yourself be pulled into fighting side issues, why not concentrate on the main thing: the observed absence of greenhouse warming for the last 17 years? Without greenhouse warming there can be no global warming movement and getting rid of it should be our aim.The warmists are doing all they can to deny the absence of warming by claiming that it has merely slowed down, not stopped. They have minimized it both in AR5 and in NCA and Obama just ignores it. We must be ready to handle any future attempts to cover up or misinterpret what this lack of warming means for global warming, and be ready for novel attempts to deny it.

nutso fasst
July 20, 2014 12:59 pm

In his lecture, Pielke rejects emission target mandates, perpetual subsidies, and cap and trade. He promotes expanding energy access to those who lack it, and rejects population control and restrictions on GDP growth. That leaves efficiency improvements and technological breakthroughs as “levers.”
We don’t want the wealth being squandered on fear mongering propaganda and crony green energy schemes to be redirected to crony research institutions. So, is there any “investment” that might spur innovation?
How about incentive prizes for a viable thorium reactor design and durable solar roofing that exceed a certain output/cost ratio?

dp
July 20, 2014 1:07 pm

RobertInAz says:
July 20, 2014 at 11:50 am
This bears repeating. I’m frankly dumbfounded skeptics here do not realize Kaya is a skeptic’s tool.

I just posted the same notion here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/12/the-beer-identity/#comment-1690445
Willis got me to thinking outside the box by abandoning Dr. Kaya’s purposes to ponder unintended uses of the identity. Just one example but because this is largely a policy/political tool there are surely other unintended abuses that can be discovered to exploit one’s agenda du jour.

July 20, 2014 1:55 pm

July 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Jan Kjetil Andersen says:
July 20, 2014 at 12:42 am
Actually, I am not wrong

Yes you are.
Take an example; imagine that the World had had 1 Billion fewer people than today. Well there would be emitted less carbon from the breathing from 1 billion fewer people, but food for 1 billon people would not have been produced. That means that the farms of the world would not have captured the carbon for food for 1 billion people. The less carbon capture on the farmlands equals the less emissions by exhaling CO2. This means that it is a zero sum carbon budget.
There would probably be more wilderness and less farmland, but the carbon captured in the wild plants is released when the plants rotten. That is also a zero sum budget.
/ Jan

u.k.(us)
July 20, 2014 4:05 pm

bushbunny says:
July 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm
“O/T Do you reckon any of these so called climate change bullshit artists,….”
=============
What do you have against artists ?

Mike Tremblay
July 20, 2014 4:10 pm

Jan Kjetil Andersen says:
July 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm
Yes you are.
—————————————————————————————————————————
No, I am not wrong – but let’s not get in a trivial tit for tat contradictory argument.
The carbon cycle is called a cycle for a reason – all the CO2 that gets consumed or sequestered will eventually return to gaseous CO2 it started at, it’s just a matter of how long that takes.
In a simple breakdown of the level of concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, it does not matter where it came from, what matters is whether the rate of emission of CO2 is greater than the rate of absorption. The sources of emission consist of natural (including ‘natural’ emissions from humans) or anthropogenic (from fossil fuels). Considering that the anthropogenic sources are exclusively from fossil fuels it can be conclusively demonstrated that the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is most probably due to our consumption of fossil fuels and the resultant emission of CO2. I say ‘most probably’ because if you make an assumption that the natural processes are at equilibrium for emission and absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere then the only source of increase is from the burning of fossil fuels – the spigot in Pielke’s bathtub. Unfortunately, the assumption that natural sources are at equilibrium is false.
Your example of a 1 billion person drop in the population resulting in a zero sum budget is also false. Disregarding the fact that most of the CO2 removed from the atmosphere is done by microscopic plankton, farms that do not grow food are still teeming with plant life so there is not a net reduction in the plant life capturing carbon. As far as wild plants releasing their carbon when they die and rot, i recommend you study how fossil fuels were formed.

July 20, 2014 5:02 pm

“..Considering that the anthropogenic sources (CO2) are exclusively (coal fired power plants!!!)from fossil fuels…” What about the other GHGs, methane, etc. What about contemporary HC fuels, ethanol, bio-gas methane, wood, bagasse,…..
“…assumption that the natural processes are at equilibrium…” I do not consider this a valid assumption. There are plenty of good reasons to believe that for a dynamic earth equilibrium does not exist, does not last. CO2 could be ramping up because of gradual warming driven by solar cycles or ocean floor (nobody knows what’s going on down there.) volcanic vents independent from man’s activities (coal fired power plants). Just because we don’t know the answer doesn’t mean we can just fill in man, even though he is the divinely inspired, created, centerpiece of the cosmos. The earth will adjust and accommodate. If we don’t really know why a volcano erupts does tossing in virgins (coal fired power plants) help?

July 20, 2014 5:03 pm

Got carried away. Forgot to mention there is a significant agricultural component to CO2 emissions.

John Moore
July 20, 2014 7:03 pm

Wow, what a bunch of fuss over something that is pretty simple. The Kaya identity is a way of demonstrating variances – the general, necessary impact of messing with one or more of its terms. For that, I think it’s pretty good. If you want to use it to calculate exactly how much of this or that you need… well… see the last paragraph below. Oh, and don’t get hung up on whether or not CO2 causes the earth to melt, or whatever – that isn’t the point of the KI.
The Kaya identity is best understood if you *don’t* cancel out the various numerators and denominators. I think everyone is getting hung up on the obvious fact that if you cancel them all out, you get C = C. That is true, but it is a feature, not a bug. This is no different from a trigonometric identity, except that seeing the numerators and denominators side by side triggers old middle school algebra instincts to cancel. Don’t do that – it just confuses things.
So let’s reformulate it:
E = q*Ei*Ci
q = quality of life – i.e. GDP/population is sort of a measure of this. For policy purposes, it’s a lot more interesting than GDP.
Ei = Energy intensity – don’t worry about what it is made of, for now
Ci = Carbon intensity – don’t worry about what it is made of, for now
We can easily see that decreasing emissions requires (Ei and Ci held constant) a decrease in the quality of life – GDP/capita.
So, if we don’t want to decrease the quality of life, just mess either Ei or Ci.
And, we can do that.
And that’s the point of the KI.
Some have argued that it isn’t precise. In one sense, that’s false – it is, by definition, an identity. But in another sense, it’s true – you can’t really hold some variables constant in the real world. And, of course, there are non-linearities.
However, this shouldn’t matter. It isn’t meant to be a precise way of tuning policy. In fact, if you are trying to precisely tune a policy, you are committing the fundamental error of progressivism – the idea that you can actually tune things exactly.
So, this provides a way of *demonstrating* sensitivities, which is useful for explaining the most important policy conclusion: you cannot significantly reduce emissions without either hurting quality of life, or making dramatic *independent* improvements in Ei or Ci, and you need to thus look at the likelihoods of those improvements and their (invisible in this identity) impact on GDP/P.

Michael 2
Reply to  John Moore
July 20, 2014 9:23 pm

John Moore says “The Kaya identity is best understood if you *don’t* cancel out the various numerators and denominators. I think everyone is getting hung up on the obvious fact that if you cancel them all out, you get C = C. That is true, but it is a feature, not a bug.”
Of course it is a feature. *I* wouldn’t use it, but what do I know about persuading billions of people that I am a brilliant scientist?
It makes no difference if you cancel or don’t cancel
Suppose 10 = 7 * (6/7) * (5/6) * (10/5) (the numerator in the fourth term on RHS must be the same as the LHS term). In fact, it doesn’t make the slightest difference what numbers you use along the way so long as you remember that the numerator of each term is the denominator of the next.
Obviously, if you have actually *measured* something, then feel free to insert it, at which point it ceases to be the Kaya Identity.

RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 7:14 pm

John Moore says: July 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm
nicely said,.

Greg Cavanagh
July 20, 2014 7:35 pm

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.
Please answer me this question: What is the half life of CO2 in the atmosphere?
I think I should also do a followup question: Do you believe that any CO2 released into the [atmosphere] remains in the atmosphere?

RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 7:52 pm

Greg Cavanagh says: July 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm
Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.
Please answer me this question: What is the half life of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Not relevant to the Kaya discussion, Outside his area of expertise.
I think I should also do a followup question: Do you believe that any CO2 released into the [atmosphere] remains in the atmosphere?
Hmm, the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere makes the answer to this trivial. Perhaps you want to rephrase.
p.s. I’m not Dr. Pielke.

Michael 2
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 20, 2014 8:44 pm

RobertInAz quoting a question from Greg: “Do you believe that any CO2 released into the [atmosphere] remains in the atmosphere?”
Robert says “Hmm, the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere makes the answer to this trivial. Perhaps you want to rephrase.”
Trivial and yet you choose not to declare your answer.
“p.s. I’m not Dr. Pielke.”
No doubt. I suspect he would say that any particular molecule of CO2 is eventually going to be taken up in some way — such as turned into a carbonate rock or into plant cellulose.

John Moore
Reply to  Michael 2
July 20, 2014 9:05 pm

All this blah blah about how much CO2 is or remains in the atmosphere is orthogonal to the subject at hand.

Michael 2
Reply to  John Moore
July 20, 2014 9:14 pm

John Moore — the subject at hand had changed. In a few minutes it may change again. Indeed, you have already changed it from a discussion of how LONG does CO2 remain in the atmosphere to how MUCH is or remains in the atmosphere.

John Moore
Reply to  Michael 2
July 21, 2014 9:47 am

@Willis “According to the Kaya Identity, what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling those variables?
Well … nothing. No change in the slightest. The population and the GDP and the energy used all appear in both the numerator and the denominator, so they cancel each other out. ”
Willis, you failed to note that total energy appears in two terms, not just one. That means that your numbers require the carbon intensity of energy production to be reduced by the increase in total energy.
So, after you plug in the numbers, go back and look at the values of each of the four ratios and you will see this.
The key to using this is to NOT cancel things out in the equation, and to look at the final values of the four ratios, not just the final value of each side, which will, of course, be equal to E.
And that is why the identity is useful: Plugging in the numbers shows these interdependencies.

July 20, 2014 7:58 pm

And if CO2 has no meaningful impact on global warming or ice caps melting or sea levels rising or hurricanes blowing or people sweating it’s all a bunch of moot gum flapping.

John Moore
Reply to  nickreality65
July 20, 2014 8:07 pm

“And if CO2 has no meaningful impact on global warming or ice caps melting or sea levels rising or hurricanes blowing or people sweating it’s all a bunch of moot gum flapping.”
If everybody believed that, you would be right. They don’t.

Curious George
July 20, 2014 8:09 pm

John Moore: You take the liberty of holding some ratios constant; I’ll take the liberty of holding some of Kaya numbers constant: If the GDP grows twice, everything else being constant, CO2 production does not. change. If the population doubles, everything else being constant, CO2 production does not change.
Does it make sense? Of course not, even though it is mathematically true. The issue is that in the real world all parts of the identity influence each other – holding selected numbers or ratios constant does not make sense. If Kaya identity nudges you in that direction, better check twice.

John Moore
Reply to  Curious George
July 20, 2014 8:44 pm

The equation doesn’t address GDP – it addresses GDP per person. If you want to play with the GDP, note that the carbon emission only holds constant (for constant population) if you halve the energy usage per GDP. And if you do that, it does make sense.
If you don’t do that, the equation shows that emissions go up. And that, also, makes sense.
Put another way, the equation shows that to double the GDP while holding emissions constant, you have to halve the Energy/GDP. And that’s the whole reason that it’s valuable – it shows that the Energy/GDP is a big constraint on your ability to hold down emissions while increasing GDP.
Note that for the above analysis, to make explanation simpler, I assumed that P is constant and Ci is constant. This sort of holding variables constant is normal in multivariate analysis. In the real world Ci and Ei are closely tied together, but my point holds.

Khwarizmi
July 20, 2014 9:20 pm

Oh, and don’t get hung up on whether or not CO2 causes the earth to melt, or whatever – that isn’t the point of the KI. – John Moore
= = = = =
The “identity” is built on the very premise that our CO2 emissions are warming the planet dangerously, and thus must be limited. The truth value of that premise does matter. 17+ years of accelerated emissions but no warming is not a problem for you? It is healthy and scientific to be “hung up” on falsification of the hypothesis by the real world, because a false hypothesis is not one you would want to cling to or agonize over for the rest of your life. What a tragic waste of time that would be.
“If everybody believed that [CO2 did not have a meaningful impact], you would be right.” – John Moore
= = = = =
Wrong. Truth is not established by consensus: truth is established by the real world, not by its representations or representatives. The real world, despite popular beliefs, indicates “no meaningful impact” for CO2.

July 20, 2014 9:32 pm

Mike Tremblay says:
July 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Your example of a 1 billion person drop in the population resulting in a zero sum budget is also false. Disregarding the fact that most of the CO2 removed from the atmosphere is done by microscopic plankton, farms that do not grow food are still teeming with plant life so there is not a net reduction in the plant life capturing carbon. As far as wild plants releasing their carbon when they die and rot, i recommend you study how fossil fuels were formed.

Thank you for the answer Mike, but I do not follow you in this.
We all know how fossil fuels where formed, that is trivial. The thing is that only a tiny fraction of the plants and animals are sedimented and form fossil fuels. The overwhelmingly bigger part rot and release the carbon when the plants die.
However, one part that do not rot and release carbon is the one that is used for making food. The Carbon in that part is released when we breathe, but it makes no difference in the carbon budget since microbes in the rotting process would have released if that food had not been made.
/Jan

Editor
July 20, 2014 9:48 pm

Here’s my problem with the Kaya Identity. To refresh my tired memory, here is the identity again.
CO2_{emissions} = Population * \frac{GDP}{Population} * \frac{Energy}{GDP} * \frac{CO2_{emissions}}{Energy}
Suppose we put in the actual numbers of today for population, GDP, CO2 emitted, and the rest. This gives us the current amount of CO2 emitted today.
Now, suppose that the population doubles and the GDP doubles and the energy used doubles. That seems like a very probable change, that in the future we’ll have more people using more energy and producing more stuff.
According to the Kaya Identity, what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling those variables?
Well … nothing. No change in the slightest. The population and the GDP and the energy used all appear in both the numerator and the denominator, so they cancel each other out. As a result, the conclusion has to be that a doubling of the population combined with a doubling of the GDP and a doubling of the energy used will have no effect on CO2 emissions.
Does anyone believe that doubling the population and doubling the GDP and doubling the energy used will NOT change CO2 emissions? Yet that is exactly what the Kaya Identity says.
What am I missing here? As an identity the Kaya Identity is assuredly true, but how is this useful in the real world?
w.

Mike Tremblay
July 20, 2014 11:25 pm

Jan Kjetil Andersen says:
July 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm
—————————————————————————————————————————
Simply put Jan, the rotting process does not return all the carbon to the atmosphere in the same amount of time as consumption by people, and as such it acts as a carbon sink compared to human consumption. To give an example, somewhere in the past I remember someone saying that it takes 1 acre of farmland to feed 1 person for 1 year. Now, given that nearly 100% of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere by that acre will be returned to the atmosphere by the consumption of the food produced from that acre within the same year, there will be a zero net change in the atmospheric CO2 concentration over the course of one year for that acre.
Now, the fact is that in order to create one acre of farmland, one acre of undeveloped land must be converted to farmland, and since the undeveloped acre is not used to produce food, and because the process of decay is much slower, the time to return 100% of the CO2 sequestered by that same acre is on the order of tens of years for grasslands, hundreds of years, in the case of forests, or millions of years, in the case of swamps and jungles. All of this means that any undeveloped land, when developed into farmland, is removed from the negative CO2 balance into the zero CO2 balance and effectively becomes a net CO2 increase – in other words, before the land is developed it is removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and after it is developed it is not , even though it is not emitting CO2, so effectively all the CO2 produced by the human dependent upon that acre of farmland is being added to the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere.
If we expand this to the whole biologically related balance of CO2 production and consumption, and make another false assumption that the non-biological/non-anthropogenic CO2 balance is in equilibrium, (ie. CO2 emission from volcanic sources is in equilibrium with CO2 absorption by metallic ions), you can see that any increase in the CO2 producing (animal) populations has to be matched by an increase in the CO2 consuming (plant) populations in order to maintain zero increase in the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. In fact, in real terms this population matching is rarely achieved, with constant ‘boom and bust’ cycles in the living populations of both plants and animals. Thus, we see in the geological record, and in the present Keeling curve, natural cycling of the CO2 concentration curves – and this provides a possible explanation of the increases and decreases in CO2 concentrations in the past that cannot be provided by man’s consumption of fossil fuels.

Jim G
July 20, 2014 11:37 pm

Wow, scary stuff in print.
The excuse a politician needs to implement population reduction strategies under the guise of building a better world.
Where have we heard that before?
And the excuse? “It’s mathematical. To save the planet, we must take active measures to reduce the population.” All the factors in the equation have the same end. Reduce population, reduce GDP (standard of living), reduce energy consumption. Fact is, energy consumption has been an integral factor in current longevity. (Think refrigeration to keep food cold to keep bacteria from growing.)
For those thinking we aren’t already taking active measures, look at Obamacare;
Driving up the cost of healthcare makes it less available.
Open border without sending ill people to quarantine?
Escalation of costs in food and energy?
I never thought I would see such things in my day.

Mike Tremblay
July 20, 2014 11:43 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm
What am I missing here? As an identity the Kaya Identity is assuredly true, but how is this useful in the real world?
————————————————————————————————————————-
As I understand how Dr. Pielke presented it, it is useful if you want to establish an emission goal and want to know what the consequences will be for the GDP, Population growth, and energy consumption. To me, it obviously fails if you want to establish zero emissions – which is the purported goal – unless you commit to the absolute conversion of all energy sources from carbon based to non-carbon based energy sources.
IMHO, since it was created by an economist, it is very similar to the obsession that economists had with reducing the deficit (carbon emissions) while ignoring the fact that as long as there was a deficit the national debt (CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere) was increasing. You can’t stop the national debt from increasing until you reduce the deficit to zero, and you can’t reduce the national debt until put the deficit into a surplus – something that in terms of CO2 concentrations, will never be achieved in our lifetimes, the lifetimes of our children, nor the lifetimes of our grandchildren.

Dr. Strangelove
July 21, 2014 1:38 am

My take is the Kaya Identity is correct and useless. Here is my Pop Identity:
Population = Males + Females
It is correct and useless for forecasting purposes because it does not tell me how many males and females in any given year in the future. But it is accurate in any given year in the past.

July 21, 2014 1:46 am

I see that this blog fudges the difference between an equation and an identity.
The difference is simple at first sight: the sign for an equation is “=” but for an identity is 3 horizontal bars.
You prove an identity to be true using mathematics. In mathematics identities can be solved or not. If solved they are true. If not solved they may be true or not. Maybe somebody else can solve and identity I cannot solve. If an identity is true it is true because of the tautological nature of mathematics.
You don’t prove an equation by mathematics. In fact, if an equations sets out a law of nature or your theory how nature works, you can never prove it to be true. You may or may not be able to show that it is false. If the relationship is not capable of being proven false, then it is not science.
The method of showing a relationship to be false is: the hypothesized relationship becomes unsatisfactory for explaining the observations of interest. You need a new theory.
So Newton’s laws of motion were not false for Civil War artillery 150 years or so ago . But the same physics do not explain many phenomenon related to GPS satellites and their receivers which use the theory of special relativity developed by Einstein a little over 100 years ago..
The Kaya Equation describes a theory about the behavior of nature. Whether or not it will be falsified depends on whether or not it explains observations better than some other theory. If the Kaya Equation is not satisfactory for the purpose it was put forward we will say that it has been falsified.

July 21, 2014 1:56 am

The question was asked, Why all the fuss about the difference between emissions from fossil fuels and other fuels? Or, why did Dr Murray Salby lose his job?
Murray Salby is a leading climatologist, author of a leading university textbook in atmospheric physics a new edition of which is on my bookshelf. Dr Salby was fired from Macquarie University. reason. We do know that he had given a lecture in which he claimed that most of the CO2 in the atmosphere was not generated from fossil fuels but from other sources.
We have a new paper by multiple authors that you can read for yourself on this subject because it is open source (free).
Simulating the integrated summertime ?14CO2 signature from anthropogenic emissions over Western Europe, D. Bozhinova, M. K. van der Molen, I. R. van der Velde, M. C. Krol1,, S. van der Laan, H. A. J. Meijer, and W. Peters. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 7273-7290, 2014, URL: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/14/7273/2014/
Abstract: “We find that the average gradients of fossil fuel CO2 in the lower 1200m of the atmosphere are close to 15 ppm at a 12 km×12 km horizontal resolution.”
My comment: The significance of this is that total CO2 in the atmosphere is usually taken as about 400 ppm now and 280 ppm before the onset of the industrial age.
Main text:
“Radio carbon dioxide (14CO2) can be used to determine the fossil fuel CO2
addition to the atmosphere, since fossil fuel CO2 no longer contains any 14C.”
Figure 4(B) on page 7281 shows the maximum observed fossil fuel CO2 (ffCO2) as 50 ppm.
My comments:
For densely-populated Western Europe the study recorded only 3.75% as the average fossil fuel CO2 in the lower 1200 meters (4,000 ft) of the atmosphere and only about 12.5% as the maximum before diffusion.
Vertical diffusion of CO2 above 1200 meters has the effect of reducing the average percentage of fossil fuel CO2 percentage because only 15% of the mass of the atmosphere is below 1200 meters, while about 60% of its mass is between 1200 meters and top of the troposphere (about 10,000 meters). In addition, lateral diffusion takes place west to east and north to south.
The average percentage of fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere must half or less the average below 1200 meters in Europe and even lower for the whole globe.,

Edim
July 21, 2014 6:33 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
“Suppose we put in the actual numbers of today for population, GDP, CO2 emitted, and the rest. This gives us the current amount of CO2 emitted today.
Now, suppose that the population doubles and the GDP doubles and the energy used doubles. That seems like a very probable change, that in the future we’ll have more people using more energy and producing more stuff.
According to the Kaya Identity, what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling those variables?
Well … nothing. No change in the slightest. The population and the GDP and the energy used all appear in both the numerator and the denominator, so they cancel each other out. As a result, the conclusion has to be that a doubling of the population combined with a doubling of the GDP and a doubling of the energy used will have no effect on CO2 emissions.”
CO2emissions = pop*GDPpc*EnergyIntensity*CO2Intensity
If both population and GDP double, that means GDP per capita is unchanged. If both GDP and energy use double, that means energy use per unit of GDP (energy intensity) is unchanged. Assuming the same CO2 emission intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of energy unchanged), CO2 emissions will exactly double in your scenario.

Michael 2
Reply to  Edim
July 21, 2014 2:47 pm

Edim says “Assuming the same CO2 emission intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of energy unchanged), CO2 emissions will exactly double in your scenario.”
How about just assuming that the Kaya Identity is useless? You cannot just “assume” the fourth term is unchanged and still call it mathematics.
If you double energy in the third term (2E/GDP), you must also double it in the fourth term (CO2/2E) and the net effect is that the doubling of the numerator, divided by a doubling of the denominator, is “1” or unchanged.
You are quite right, as is everyone else here that refuses to process an algebraic equation as an algebraic equation but do please understand all the people that DO process algebra using the rules of algebra. What is this world coming to when sometimes an equation isn’t an equation?

RobertInAz
July 21, 2014 6:48 am

After a all of this commentary, Willis still declines to read and understand the text accompanying the ambiguous formula.
Willis continues to repeat his initial misunderstanding.
Sad.

Michael 2
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 21, 2014 2:39 pm

RobertInAz says “Willis continues to repeat his initial misunderstanding. Sad.”
And you continue to repeat yours (and I, mine, etc). Not sad! I haven’t had this much engagement in quite a while. I had no idea how few people can work ordinary algebra, or lay something out that deliberately looks like algebra but we are assured that it isn’t (you could, of course, lay it out differently so that it means what you seem to think it means).

RobertInAz
July 21, 2014 6:56 am

Willis Eschenbach says: July 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Now, suppose that the population doubles and the GDP doubles and the energy used doubles. That seems like a very probable change, that in the future we’ll have more people using more energy and producing more stuff.
According to the Kaya Identity, what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling those variables?

For this toi play, the CO2 efficiency of energy production doubles. So if today, a KW of energy production emits 100 KG of CO2 – in the doubled population/GDP/Energy scenario, it will emit 50 KG of CO2. Kaya tells us this type of progress is implausible.
In Willis’s thought problem, Population doubles, GDP per person stays the same, Energy per dollar GDP stays the same, so the CO2 efficiency of energy production must double to keep total CO2 constant.

Edim
July 21, 2014 7:18 am

Willis, if you cancel everything out, of course you get CO2emissions = CO2emissions, but that’s not the Kaya Identity anymore. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean “no change in the slightest”, it means:
CO2emissions(after your doublings) = CO2emissions(after your doublings)
It may be undetermined, but it’s correct.
However, if you use the Kaya Identity and its factors, then you can calculate the emissions if you know the factors (pop, GDPpc, EnergyIntensity, CO2Intensity).

Curious George
July 21, 2014 7:27 am

Edim dear, Robert dear, put numbers directly in Kaya. Willis is right.

Edim
July 21, 2014 7:53 am

No, Willis is wrong, maybe not even wrong. If population doubles and the rest (GDPpc, energy intensity, emission intensity) stays the same, emission doubles, by definition.

Michael 2
Reply to  Edim
July 21, 2014 2:35 pm

Edim says: “No, Willis is wrong. If population doubles and the rest (GDPpc, energy intensity, emission intensity) stays the same, emission doubles, by definition.”
No, you are wrong.
1. Nothing else “stays the same” if population doubles (duh).
2. The Kaya Identity DOES NOT ALLOW you to double population without changing anything else.
C = P * (G/P) * (E/G) * (C/E).
Double P
C = 2P * (G/2p) * (E/G) * (C/E).
No change in “C”. The 2 in the numerator divided by 2 in the denominator leaves 1, the multiplication identity.
And that is exactly correct! If you were to “suddenly” double the population, they would share the same productivity, or in other words, GDP divided among twice the people!
Incredibly, the Identity does actually work — it shows that tinkering with “just” population isn’t going to work, neither changing “just” GDP.
The only independent variable is “C” so if you want less “C” well then just make less of it.

RobertInAz
July 21, 2014 7:59 am

Curious George says: July 21, 2014 at 7:27 am
“Edim dear, Robert dear, put numbers directly in Kaya. Willis is right.”

Before:
Total CO2 = 100
Total population = 10
GDP/Person = 10
Energy/GDP = 1
CO2/Energy = 1
100 = 10 * 10 * 1 * 1.
Total population = 20
GDP/Person = 10 (unchanged – GDP doubles)
Energy/GDP = 1 (unchanged – Energy use doubles)
CO2/Energy = 1 (unchanged – energy efficiency remains constant)
200 = 20 * 10 * 1 * 1.
In order to get this wrong, you have to very carefully ignore the text that accompanies the ambiguous formula and you have to studiously ignore the many explanations in this thread about what Kaya means.
So yes. If you continue to insist on ignoring reality – then Willis is right.

Michael 2
Reply to  RobertInAz
July 21, 2014 2:30 pm

RobertInAz says “In order to get this wrong, you have to very carefully ignore the text”
Actuallly, you have to ignore the formula/identity or whatever one wants to call it.
Using your example, but the Kaya Identity, you start with
Before:
Total CO2 = 100 (C)
Total population = 10 (P)
GDP/Person = ? Cannot be determined but lets say GDP is 100 so 100/10 = 10 (G/P)
Energy/GDP = ? Cannot be determined but lets say Energy (E) is 100 so 100/100 =1 (E/G)
CO2/Energy = ? This can be measured but is specified as C/E or 100/100 = 1.
100 = 10 * 10 * 1 * 1.
Total population = 20
Total CO2 = 100 (C)
Total population = 20 (P)
GDP/Person = ? Cannot be determined but lets say GDP is 100 so 100/20 = 5 (G/P)
Energy/GDP = ? Cannot be determined but lets say Energy (E) is 100 so 100/100 =1 (E/G)
CO2/Energy = ? This can be measured but is specified as C/E or 100/100 = 1.
100 = 20 * 5 * 1 * 1.
As you can see, the Kaya Identity moves some factors around but the result is unchanged. More pop, less GDP per person, all the same!
Ah, but you said not to change any other term — the Kaya Identity does not allow that. If you change population in the first term, why do you not change it in the second term? If you change GDP in the second term, why do you not change it in the third term?
Obviously if “G is not G” and “P is not P” and so on, then you can do anything you like and it will have all the respect it deserves (not much, in other words).
Plainly you are *working* from something that is not the Kaya Identity. Why do you defend the indefensible? Acknowledge that the “identity” is mathematically useless and not even a very good persuader. You and others argue “what if we double population but don’t change anything else”. Well how likely is THAT?

Dr. Doug
July 21, 2014 8:24 am

Willis, if you were to pay attention to the conversation you started OR to the actual way that the Kaya Identity is used (see Pielke!), you would know that this is nonsense:
Willis (yesterday, 9:48 pm):

Now, suppose that the population doubles and the GDP doubles and the energy used doubles. … According to the Kaya Identity, what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling those variables? Well … nothing. No change in the slightest. The population and the GDP and the energy used all appear in both the numerator and the denominator, so they cancel each other out. As a result, the conclusion has to be that a doubling of the population combined with a doubling of the GDP and a doubling of the energy used will have no effect on CO2 emissions.

The Kaya Identity starts with the working assumption that each of the ratios remains constant. If CO2 emissions per unit of energy remains constant, then emissions in your scenario would double, of course.
To be sure, as Pielke discusses, the ratios in the Kaya Identity do not remain constant over time. Energy/GDP tends to fall due to both technological change and (what I prefer to call) structural change in the economy. CO2/energy may fall due to both technological change and structural change in energy sources. The Kaya Identity, as competently used, accounts for all this and puts it into a framework that (i) aids our understanding and (ii) helps to identify what might (or might not) feasibly be done to change outcomes. Pielke uses the Identity to show how Britain’s official energy policy cannot plausibly achieve its goals.
Willis, you waste people’s time and show great disrespect when you take uninformed and misguided pot shots at others’ analysis. Please, inform yourself now about how the Kaya Identity is actually used — and put into practice the first rule of holes.

TimC
July 21, 2014 9:02 am

Willis said at 9:48 pm “Here’s my problem with the Kaya Identity …. what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling [all] those variables? Well … nothing“.
If you take my earlier simplified formula up-thread A/B * B/C * C/A = 1 (which is equivalent Kaya-style to C = B * A/B * C/A) and assume both A and B double in unit time dt, then differentiating by time produces: dC/dt = dB/dt * A/B * C/A + B * d(A/B)/dt * C/A + B * A/B * d(C/A)/dt
where dB/dt = B (it doubles in unit time); d(A/B)/dt (change in A/B in unit time) = 0 (A/B remains the same) and d(C/A)/dt = (dC/dt A – dA/dt C) /A*A where dA/dt = A (again it doublea in unit time), so d(C/A)/dt = (dC /dt – C) / A.
Thus dC/dt = B * A/B * C/A + 0 + B * A/B * (dC /dt – C) / A, giving dC/dt = dC /dt.
So (extrapolating no more than a little to the full “formula”) Kaya actually predicts that the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling all the variables is (drumroll please …) whatever the increase in CO2 happens to be.
I don’t believe this greatly assists either side of the debate …

Shawnhet
July 21, 2014 9:27 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm
“Now, suppose that the population doubles and the GDP doubles and the energy used doubles. That seems like a very probable change, that in the future we’ll have more people using more energy and producing more stuff.
According to the Kaya Identity, what happens to the amount of CO2 emitted from doubling those variables?
Well … nothing. No change in the slightest. The population and the GDP and the energy used all appear in both the numerator and the denominator, so they cancel each other out. As a result, the conclusion has to be that a doubling of the population combined with a doubling of the GDP and a doubling of the energy used will have no effect on CO2 emissions.”
Heh. Can we really be ~1000 posts in on something that is a simple math mistake?
Let’s take a look at the math:
CO2(1)=2P*(2GDP/2P)*(2E/2GDP)*(2E/2CO2) equation 1
CO2(2)=P*(GDP/P)*(E/GDP)*(E/CO2) equation 2
Divide equation 1 by equation 2 to get the ratio of CO2(1) to CO2(2)
Gives you a ratio of 2:1 (we have one more 2 in equation 1 than gets cancelled out by the ratios).
Cheers, 🙂

Shawnhet
July 21, 2014 9:31 am

D’oh. I flipped the last term in my equations 1 & 2 – should read 2CO2/2E and CO2/E respectively. The rest of my post is still good though.
Cheers, 🙂

John Moore